9. I Want to Go Home
I stared at her with wide eyes and shook my head at the foreign name. I new it was mine, or that it was supposed to be mine, but I hated it and no part of me wanted to own it.
"Of course it's you." She whispered, her breath expressing how surprised she was. She took a few steps toward me, limping as she let her staff fall to the ground and placed her good hand on my cheek. Jakko stiffened behind me, though no one made a move, "Look how beautiful you are." Tears began to fill her bottom lids and I recoiled from her touch, frowning at her odd reaction.
My eyes shifted to Sarn and Thijs, they remained painfully levitated against the wall.
"Oh." She waved her hand, sending them both to the ground. "Come sit, I'm sure you have more questions than I have answers." She motioned for us to follow her and she waddled to a pair of small couches covered in colorful blankets.
My eyes never left her as I walked to take a seat. She had wrinkles decorating her face, showing every smile, every frown she had ever made. Her eyes were a dull blue and they only brightened when she had teared up. I looked up at Jakko, who was following me only to see him glaring at Thijs, who shrugged as he motioned that the lady was crazy.
She sat down and patted the seat next to her, though I chose to sit on the other couch, with Jakko pressed tightly to my side. She looked between the both of us before she settled on me, "You want to go back? I didn't even know you were here. Why would you want to go back?" Her eyebrows furrowed and her voice was thick with worry. I wanted to throw something at her, I hated when complete strangers acted as if they knew me. "Ilona?"
"Her name is Aria." Jakko grumbled next to me. He leaned his elbows on his knees looking intently at the lady, "Who are you?"
The lady scowled at him, scoffing as she rolled her eyes, "I am Keena. I was the royal Alvina to her parents, to Ilona's parents."
Jakko's body shifts as he looks at Thijs, "What the fuck, Thijs?" His eyebrows furrowed as Sarn rolled his eyes, "I thought you only contacted those that are against her parents?"
"She is!" Thijs yelled back, "But I knew you wouldn't even want to send her a letter if you knew she once stood by their side and-"
"It is true." She broke their conversation, everyone's eyes now focusing on her, though her's remained on me, "I was loyal to your parents. I did all kinds of magic for them. I-I was the one that sent you to earth." I gasped, stiffening next to Jakko, "I only did it for your safety." She shook her head, defending herself. "The Deema were afraid that you would continue the reign of your parents', leaving them in poverty." Her eyes softened as she looked at me, "But I held you, looked into your eyes and knew you would not be a tyrant like your father."
She sighed and then continued, "It was after that, when Zenon began to slaughter my people by the thousands that I promised to never do magic for them again. He lost his temper." She looked down at her deformed hand, "As he always does." She chuckled to herself cruelly, lifting her head to look back up at us, "But you're here now." A smile slowly formed on her face, and just as quickly disappeared, replaced with a frown, "But you want to leave?"
I nodded, I had given no indication that I couldn't speak and dreaded the moment she would look at me with pity, anger and discomfort. I made no move to communicate, and Jakko noticed instantly, "Yes, we want to go home. You agreed to it in your letter-"
"Ugh, stupid letter." She waved her hands around and grunted as she shifted her weight from her ass to her feet, "I thought it was a joke!" She waddled to her staff that laid on the floor, "You must remain here, she is the only one that can rule peacefully, though I must give her something first-"
"So you will not open the portal?" Jakko growled.
She looked over her shoulder, "I will not. I will not take away the only chance we have at peace and prosperity."
My chest had began to tighten and I stood up, pushing off of his shoulder, hyperventilating as I made my way to the entrance of the room.
"Aria?" Jakko's concerned voice reached my ears and I turned to look at him, tears in my eyes. His face twitched and he took strides toward me, reaching out for my cheeks.
"No!" He stopped dead in his tracks, frozen with a frown on his face, "It's not fair-"
"Don't I get a fucking say anymore!?" I tried to take in a full breath, but the erratic sounds coming from my lips told me I was barely getting any oxygen to my brain.
"Aria, you need to calm-"
"Don't! Don't you tell me to calm down!" I took a few steps back until my back hit the wall and I wailed, "I just want to go home. I don't want what everyone else has planned. I-" I tried to take in another breath and I watched Jakko's face fall, his body reaching me just as dots appear in my vision.
"It's okay, love. I got you. You can let go." He whispered softly into my ear. I nodded, happily accepting the protection he offered and let my body fall, closing my eyes and feeling his embrace.