Morgan and Tia’s eyes widened. “Whoa,” Morgan breathed.
“Wow....” Sam’s stunned expression slowly morphed into a huge smile. “That’s awesome!”
Mr. Lambros held up both hands. “Now, before you get all excited, there’s a lot more to all this. We still haven’t told you why we left,” he said seriously.
Sam’s expression fell a bit. “Oh...right...sorry.”
Mr. Lambros’ smile was understanding. “It’s okay, honey.” He let out a deep breath. “Not everyone was happy with the idea of living on the same piece of land as non-psionics. They thought it would only lead to us being hunted again. They also felt that non-psionics were lower forms of life and that we should be hunting them down instead. They left to find a new island and our people didn’t heard from them for thousands of years.
When Columbus discovered America there were a few scouts from the other Atlantian colony on one of the ships. They found our country—Nakria—and tried to convince the Emperor to move our people to their island. They said Nakria was a threat to their security and that if our people wouldn’t move then they would move them by force. Obviously that didn’t go over well and they were kicked out.
Since then we’ve been at war. The other colonists named their country Illuminata. And they called themselves the Illuminati.”
“Wait wait,” Sam said, “The Illuminati. Are you serious?”
“A lot of legends have a basis in fact, sweetie,” Mrs. Lambros said.
“They’ve made occasional attacks on Nakria ever since but they’ve never been very successful because of our security measures. The worst one they pulled off was sixteen years ago. They sent an invasion force of about two hundred soldiers. They killed some of our people but we managed to take a lot of them out. The rest ran off.” Mr. Lambros’ eyes suddenly had a far off look to them. “We were so proud that we’d won the fight. But we didn’t know it wasn’t over,” he said, his voice quiet by the end.
Sam’s expression became concerned when she noticed her father’s eyes had misted over. “Dad?”
Mr. Lambros drew in an unsteady breath and let it out slowly as he closed his eyes. “This is just...hard. I’m okay.”
Mrs. Lambros’ voice sounded a bit constricted. “The entire attack was meant as a distraction.”
“A distraction from what?” Sam said.
Mr. and Mrs. Lambros shared a look. “Before we tell you that you need to know something else,” Mrs. Lambros said. “Your Dad and I are the Emperor and Empress of Nakria.”
Sam was stunned for a moment before her eyes fluttered rapidly. “I’m sorry...what?” she said, her voice full of disbelief.
Mrs. Lambros sighed. “We’re the Emperor and Empress, and you’re the princess.”
Sam’s expression became an open mouthed frown as she absorbed this news. “Then what the heck are we doing here?!” she demanded in disbelief.
“We came here to hide you. The night of the attack Dad and I were listening to reports on the fight when the head of the palace guard came to us and said there was an emergency. She said your three year old cousin Alexander was missing. He’d been spending the night in your room so we were terrified.
When we got to the palace your aunt Callee was in a total panic but she said you were fine. We looked for Alex for hours but we never found him.” Mrs. Lambros’ eyes filled with tears. “We found out later that while our soldiers were fighting the Illuminati sent a smaller group to the palace to kidnap you. Alex was sleeping in your bed and because it was dark they didn’t realize they’d grabbed the wrong kid until it was too late.”
Mr. Lambros continued. “We felt that if they could get through our security once, they could do it again, so we decided to leave. We handed control of the country over to aunt Callee and told her we would be back when you turned twenty. We figured that would give us enough time to have you trained to fight in case something happened when we got back.”
Mrs. Lambros looked at her husband and then back at her daughter. “Now that you’re old enough to take care of yourself your dad and I are going back to Nakria. We’ve already packed everything. You can come with us, or you can stay here. It’s up to you, but I would like you to at least go there for a week or two so you can meet the rest of our family.”
Sam swallowed and tried to absorb everything she’d just been told. Her mind was spinning with possibilities. If she moved to Nakria she obviously would never have to worry about money again. She was freaking royalty for crying out loud, but she really didn’t want to leave her sisters or her sensei. She met her mother’s eyes. “I feel like my head’s gonna explode. I need some time ta think.”
“Completely understandable,” Mrs. Lambros answered. “There’re a few more minor details to tell you. Our last name isn’t Lambros, it’s Harris. My name isn’t Dawn, it’s Diana and your dad’s name is actually Matthias, not Mathew.”
Sam cocked an eyebrow and snorted a laugh. “Matthias, dad? Really?”
Matthias frowned. “Can it, kiddo,” he said with a bemused smile. “Your name isn’t Samantha either.”
Sam looked nervous after hearing her father’s real name. “What is it?” she asked with a tentative wince.
“Alexis,” Diana replied, ignoring her daughter’s sigh of relief at hearing her birth name wasn’t hideous like she’d feared. “But if you wanna keep your American name we understand.”
Sam frowned in thought for a moment. “I think I’ll keep Sam, but if you guys wanna call me Alexis that’s okay,” she said with a smile.
Both parents gave their daughter a hug. “We’re leaving Sunday so we need to know if you’re coming with us before then,” Matthias said.
Sam nodded. “Okay.”
“Do you want us to hang around for a bit or are you okay?” Matthias asked.
“I’ll be fine. I need some time ta think anyways,” Sam replied with a smile. “I love you guys.”
“We love you too, baby girl.” Diana replied with a warm smile. She stood, grabbed her purse and opened the front door. “Bye,” she said as she gave Sam a kiss on top of her head.
“Bye, guys,” Sam replied. As soon as the door was shut she walked back to the couch and simply let herself fall onto it, blowing out a huge puff of air as she did so.
“You okay?” Tia asked.
Sam turned her head to one side. “Yeah...I think I’m a little in shock though.”
“I don’t blame you. That was a lot to hear,” Morgan said.
Sam frowned a little. “I’m gonna go sit alone on the swing for a while.”
“Kay. Well, we’re here if you need us,” Tia said.
Sam nodded with a smile. “Thanks.”
The rope holding up the tree swing creaked as Sam swung back and forth. She ignored the sounds of the July insects as she stared at the dandelions swishing in and out of her field of vision. It started making her a little motion sick so she turned her attention to the twilight sky.
She sighed and looked back toward the house she’d lived in for the past year. “It’s not like I’ve been here long,” she said to herself, pushing off against the ground to make the swing fly higher. “But I don’t wanna leave Morgan and Tia.” She let her head fall backwards so she was staring skyward once again. “What am I gonna do?”
“You know it’s not like you’d never see us again if you decide to stay there.”
Sam turned around to see Tia and Morgan standing behind her. “Right?” Tia said in an effort to solidify her statement.
Sam smiled. “I thought I was getting some alone time ta think?”
“Yeah, but you’ve been out here for an hour. We got a little worried,” Morgan admitted.
Tia cocked an eyebrow. “You got worried. I told you she was fine.”
Morgan promptly blew a raspberry at Tia.
Sam laughed a little. “I know I’ll still see you guys, but visits every couple a’ weeks isn’t the same as gettin’ ta hang out every day.”
Tia shrugged. “Who knows, we might decide to move there too. It’s not like there’s a whole lot keeping us here.”
Sam considered this for a moment. Tia was right, of course. None of them had many local friends outside of each other and they didn’t see family besides their parents more than three times a year anyway. “Yeah. Well, I’m not gonna decide till I’ve had a chance to visit at least.”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Morgan said. “Why don’t we go get some dinner?”
“Sure. Arby’s?” Sam suggested.
“Sounds good to me,” Tia replied.
Morgan bowed low and gestured for Sam to go ahead of her. “You first, your majesty,” she taunted with an impish grin.
Sam cocked an eyebrow. “I’m gonna smack you,” she said with a laugh.
Sam and Morgan’s boss, Anthony, had an expression was of disbelief on his face. “Let me get this straight. You want me to let both of you off for two weeks?”
“I know it's a lot to ask and this is really short notice, but this is really important to me, Anthony. I wouldn't do this otherwise," Sam said apologetically.
"And I've taken a day off maybe twice this year,” Morgan added in her defense, praying it would help their case.
Anthony chewed the inside of his cheek a bit in thought. After a few moments he sighed and looked at them. “Okay, but you owe me weekend shifts for the next month after you get back. Deal?”
Sam grinned. “Deal.” She gave her boss a hug. “Thanks, Anthony. I really appreciate this.”
Anthony laughed. “Get off would ya? You'll give people ideas,” he said, not liking the possibility of people seeing them as a couple.
Sam released the hug and shook her head. “You're too paranoid.”
Anthony rolled his eyes. “Go on. Get outta here.”
Sam and Morgan went outside, jumped in their car and headed home.
“Well?” Tia asked as Sam walked in the front door.
Sam grinned. “All taken care of.”
“And we don't hafta worry about Tia cause she's her own boss,” Morgan added.
“I still can't be gone for too long,” Tia said pointedly.
“You do know they probably have sewing machines at the palace right? You don’t hafta put your work on hold.” Sam said with a dismissive wave of her hand.
“Possibly. Did you call your mom?" Tia asked her.
“Yup. We're all set. She and my dad are meeting us here Sunday so we should start packing,” Sam said with a smile.
Tia and Morgan returned the smile “Let’s do this,” Morgan said.