Alex opened the door to a room he had not opened in several years. Inside he faced his entire family, his mother, father, brother and twin sister. He could not remember the last time they had all been together and the fact that they were now, didn’t vote well for him.
“So the message to meet in the family room wasn’t a mistake,” he said closing the door behind him.
His family stood like an army against him.
“Alex, we are worried about you,” his mother said this in a stern motherly tone.
“Why would you be?” He asked.
“It’s been weeks and…” Nova started but he didn’t let her finish.
“I am caught up in all my duties, I have done everything you have asked, and I haven’t done anything wrong!”
“Exactly,” Demetri shouted back at him. “You have done nothing.”
“In less than two weeks you have done more than two months’ worth of work,” his father stated.
“When was the last time you slept?” Nova had come forward and placed her two hands on the sides of his face and looked into his sleepless eyes.
“I sleep enough,” he grumbled pulling his face away from her grasp.
“When was the last time you left the palace?” Demetri asked.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Where are your friends?” His father asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Why are you acting like this?” His mother asked.
“I don’t know.”
“How long are you going let this continue?” Nova demanded.
“I don’t know.”
“When was the last time you smiled?”
The room’s pressure suddenly flat-lined as the question brought the room’s attention to Demetri. He had asked the question out of pure concern with no hint of anger or frustration. Alex felt his whole body slump like he no longer had the energy to fight. He couldn’t remember the last time he had gotten a good night’s rest. He just couldn’t understand how he had gotten so bad that his whole family had to intervene.
He looked to his brother and answered, “I don’t know.”
There was silence in the room once again. This was the silence of defeat; no one knew what to do.
“You may just get the chance to smile again.”
Everyone in the room looked to the side to find Savio standing there as though he had been there the whole time. He wore a smile on his face though he looked as exhausted as Alex.
The whole room bowed in respect once the initial shock had passed.
“For what do we owe the pleasure?” The king asked rather nervously.
“I need your son,” Savio turned to Alex.
“I need you to go to Tarress and protect Lillianett, she may be in danger.”
“What,” Alex and Nova gasped together.
“It seems Zalia has already gone to Tarress and Lillianett is most likely the reason,” Savio explained.
“How? And why Lilly?” He asked.
“It’s complicated and I doubt we have time to talk about this.”
“We should have talked about this before she left,” Alex said.
“Perhaps, but remember it was her that didn’t want to talk about it.”
“I remember,” he sighed. “So the mission?”
“Find Lillianett and protect her from Zalia. Bring Zalia back as soon as you find her.”
“By myself?” Alex asked.
“No,” Savio shook his head. “Your friends are waiting on standby for you.”
“Okay then,” he nodded. “Let’s go.”
He was about to turn and leave when his brother cleared his throat in strong protest.
“Savio, I mean no disrespect but must it be my brother? Hasn’t that vile creature done enough?”
“I wish you would watch your mouth Demetri,” Savio smiled. “It has to be your brother and his friends. I doubt there is a soul in this world she trusts more.”
Demetri frowned and didn’t say another word. Alex turned and walked out of the room smiling so hard that it hurt.