I turned towards Dad, the look on his face told me that everything I heard was true. It took me a while to process all of this. Granny fell onto that sofa and I stared at Granny’s tattoos as if I’d never seen them before. Her right wrist held Virgo and her left hand was Pyxis, she inherited from her father and passed it to my grandfather and Grus was from her mother.
“I thought you were dead” I blurted.
“We all did” Granny muttered, her hands crossed over her chest.
“Why did you leave us?” Dad said. I could hear sadness in his voice. Years of pain hitting him at once.
“Antonio....” Alfred started.
“No,” Dad said “I want you to tell me the truth”
“What truth?” I interrupted.
“It’s a long story” Alfred said.
“We have all night” I said confidently even though I felt like throwing up. The family drama had reached me again, I tried so hard to let go of it but it chased me back.
Alfred sighed and sat up. “I left my family right after you were born,” he started.
“So you are my grandfather?” I asked.
“Yes” he replied. I sucked in a breath and Dad looked at me. I didn’t meet his eyes, I looked at his hands and my eyes traveled to his tattoos, Virgo and Pyxis on his left and on his right was Ophiuchus.
Then the strangest thought came to me, all those years I wondered what constellation I could have read the imprints on my wrists to find out what constellation my mother was from but I never did.
“So you knew you had a grand daughter?” I asked quietly.
“Did you know my mother?” I muttered.
“Why did you leave?” I asked quietly.
“I left because of what happened to your mother” he sighed.
“What?” I demanded.
“Don’t you know?” he asked in disbelief.
I shook my head. “Antonio, have you told her nothing about her past?” he said to Dad.
“I don’t want her to live in the past and go though pain” Dad said.
“What happened to her?” I thought out loud.
“It was murdered” he told “They killed all the Ophiuchus and they would have killed you too”
“Who killed her?” I asked.
Silence. He looked away as if to even think about what happened was killing him.
“Hydras” he said quietly.
That’s when I lost it. “What?” I shouted.
“King Jaxon always feared the Ophiuchus would overthrow them and word got out that Ophiuchus can control Hydra and people were already sick of the King so they started the uprising” he finished.
“But why did I live?”
“You lived because you are half Virgo and the let you grow and now he’s going to steal Virgo from all three of you to make Hydra stronger” he warned “He already got Ophiuchus”
“He stole stars too” he added “That’s why the kingdom has grown weak”
“But if he wants to kill me now,” I started “Why does he want me to marry Prince Alec?”
“That’s how he plans to kill you” Alfred informed “When Alec is Signed by Virgo and you by Hydra, he’s going to strip you of every constellation inside of you”
“How is he going to do that?” Granny said, annoyed.
“We are still working on that” Alfred said, ignoring Granny’s misery.
“We?” I repeated. “There’s more of you?” I asked.
“Of coarse” Alfred tried to sound excited. “There are a lot of families involved” he started.
“Who would be stupid enough to join an uprising?” Granny huffed.
Alfred raised a eyebrow and started ticking off everyone one on his mental list, “There’s Taurus, Cancer, Pisces, Capricorn.....”
My head shot up when he said Capricorn.
“He’s a friend of yours?” Granny interrupted “That Capricorn boy, I never liked him”
“Don’t talk about Tristan like you know him” I fought.
“What other constellations?” I asked.
“A few minor ones and half of the twelve constellations” he sighed.
“Doesn’t sound like much” Dad huffed.
I narrowed my eyes and Alfred started talking, ignoring Granny Dad like he was used to their behavior. “Tristan has told me a lot about you”
“He talked to you?” I asked.
“All the time” Alfred grinned.
“I can’t believe he didn’t tell me” I grabbed my head in my hands.
“He can’t go around telling people that he’s trying to overthrow the king” Alfred said.
“Yeah I know, but....” I breathed “but I’m his best friend”
“I know it’s hard to take in but that’s the truth” Alfred told.
“Father,” Dad said barely audible “Just tell us why you’re here?”
“Why are you here?” I asked suspiciously. Part of me was furious with my long lost grandfather for ignoring me for almost sixteen years and part of me was confused and worried about what he was telling me.
“I’m here to get Annabelle” he sighed.
“What?” Granny, Dad and I shouted at the same time.
“Why me?” I asked.
“Because you are the only person with the blood of Ophiuchus” he appealed.
I felt my dinner crawl up my throat, I managed to swallow it down but it wasn’t going to stay down much longer. Dad and Granny were looking at me. Was I actually thinking about this?
“What does that have to do with me joining a rebellion or not?” I muttered.
“You’ll find out soon” he said.
“This is ridiculous” Granny spoke through her teeth “She isn’t going anywhere except to the palace where she will wed the prince”
“No, she’s not” Alfred challenged. “You want her to die?”
Granny stayed silent. “If she gets married the king will kill her or strip her of her ability” Alfred repeated. “You knew that before I told you” he said quietly.
“Don’t pretend like you know me” Granny stormed.
“I do know you” Alfred argued.
“No, you do not”
“I know that you’re sending your grand daughter to a place where she’ll die and so will you and Antonio” Alfred told.
Silence. “I am not going to die” Granny said “And neither is my family”
“The king is going to steal Virgo” Alfred repeated.
Granny got up ans started shouting, “I am promised a better life than...this” she gestured all around her “and Annabelle might get herself and all of us executed because she’s refusing to marry”
“What are you talking about?” I yelled. “Who promised you a better life?”
When Granny didn’t answer Alfred spoke for her, “She works for the royal family” he accused “and she has always been involved in their affairs. When I found out I left her”
Granny did not deny what we all just heard instead she looked grim and relieved.
“Mother,” Dad sat up “Is this true?”
Granny smiled wickedly, “Of coarse it’s true”
No way. My grandmother is an evil witch, I thought. Not exactly a witch but same thing in this case.
“You knew all this?” Dad raised his voice.
“Yes” Granny grinned “I have known for years, I knew everything that was going to happen”
“How?” it was all I could say.
“Because as your grandfather said, I work for the king” Granny repeated.
Dad got out of his seat with difficulty. “Mother! How could you?” Dad’s voice was filled with anger and hatred.
“You’re doing the same!” Granny pointed out.
“Yes, but not behind anyone’s back” Dad protested.
“So,” I started “all those weeks ago when I heard you talking to someone in your room.....that was....”
“That was one of the royal guards” Granny finished “Almost everyone in the palace knows about this”
“And don’t you think this will feed the uprising even more?” Alfred talked “Don’t you think people are going to protest against the King for stealing the stars?”
“It doesn’t matter what I think” Granny said plainly.
“Do what you must and don’t even think about taking her away” Granny warned.
“Why do you care?” Alfred challenged.
“I care about safely delivering her to the Prince and getting appreciated by the king” Granny said.
“Don’t talk about me like I’m an object” I demanded.
“Annabelle,” Alfred looked at me “Don’t listen to your grandmother. You have to come with me, we need you......”
Dad cut him off, “Father, listen to me.....”
Alfred didn’t pay attention to him, “and you are the only Ophiuchus left. You are the last of your constellation” he breathed. I’m going to throw up, I thought.
“You’re the last Star” Alfred told. I don’t want to believe this.
“...of Ophiuchus” Dad added. I glanced at him. I tried to digest everything but it was too much for me to take.
“That’s it” Dad said “You can’t just walk in here after nearly sixteen years and decide to take my daughter away”
“Come with me” Alfred said to Dad.
“Why no?” Alfred said.
“Because....” Dad hesitated “because.......what would the king think of me? I am one of his best workers, what would he say when he found out?”
“Are you kidding me?” I raged “You just heard what he’ll do to me if I stay here and you still won’t let me go?”
“You believe all this?” Dad asked me.
I didn’t say anything. I opened my mouth once or twice but closed it. Did I believe?
“Maybe I do” it wasn’t exactly a lie. Maybe I do believe some parts of it. “I believe he’s my grandfather...and I think he’s right about the rebellion”
“You have to leave” Dad demanded.
“There isn’t time,” Alfred worried “She has to be the one to lead us, she’s the only one who can”
“I said leave” Dad repeated.
I didn’t expect Alfred to actually get up and leave but he did. He was almost out the door when I ran after him.
“Wait!” I yelled as he opened the door.
“If I want to come with you then how do I let you know” the words were out of my mouth before I knew it. I thought he would tell me to come now but instead,
“I’ll keep in touch” he smiled “I’m going to the Capricorn’s. I will be there for a few days but I can’t go back to the State without you”
He said that and disappeared into the night. I locked the door and ran to my room. I could hear Granny and Dad fighting but I thought about what my grandfather had said, the State.