I went into a trance that night. Random thoughts ran through me head, now everything made sense. That shining star in Ophiuchus, that was me because I was half Ophiuchus. I was mad at Tristan for not telling me about any of this and also I felt a tingle of happiness, I finally know the truth and I can make things right. The only question is, how?
I thought about every time I’d seen Ophiuchus in my dreams, every time I’d felt like I’d seen it somewhere. Maybe it had been a mark left on me by my mother. It had always been there, right under my nose and I hadn’t even noticed. All those times I tried to talk about my mother to anyone they’d change the topic or pretend like they didn’t know. The whole thing made me furious. Anger rushed through me.
I have to make things right. Another problem, I have no idea how to do that.
Think, Belle, think.
If I’m going to do this, I have to do this on my own. I can’t drag my friends into this but Tristan was already in it. I locked the door and went to sleep which came immediately. I had my first dream in weeks.
The Stars shine on the dark sky and the woods are silent, the water in the lake is still. The only light source is the stars above me. I look up and see Ophiuchus right above me, I see me reflection in the water. Same face, same straight red hair with amber eyes.
On the other side of the water, someone is waking towards me, walking on water. She’s wearing a white dress and her hair is done up in braids with golden hair pins. Her arms are decorated with gold jewelry.
“Now you know the truth” her voice echoed.
I didn’t say anything. For once I know this is a dream and it isn’t real.
“What are you going to do about it?” she said softly.
I hesitated. “I don’t know what to do”
She clicked her tongue and said politely, “You know what’s right, Annabelle. You know what to do”
She is now half way to me. “No,” I said “I don’t know”
“Join the uprising” she said. Her warm breath touches my face.
“My family would never let me” I said.
Her expression turned stern, “Do you really believe those people are your family?” she said quietly. “The people who are your family are the ones willing to fight for the Stars” she told.
I stayed silent. “You don’t belong where you are” she said “You belong with the rebels”
“How can I be sure?” I questioned.
“Because I’m telling you” she smiled. “There isn’t much time, you have to leave as soon as you can”
“Who are you?” I asked.
Her expression changed, she almost looked sorry for me. “I am not who you think I am” she said.
“But you can trust me and trust me when I say that if you don’t run away, you’ll be trapped” she said before turning into a ball of light and vanishing.
I checked my reflection in the lake and I saw the stars reflecting on water. I looked up and intersecting Hydra was Ophiuchus. It was almost as if Hydra was trying to merge itself into Ophiuchus. I cannot let that happen, I thought. The sky lit up with a color of green and gold and I opened my eyes. I closed them when I saw it was still dark out and this time there were no dreams.
“I can’t believe this” Lyra raged. We were in her bedroom and we all had just gotten our Matches.
She fell on her back and her bed caught her.
“It’s not that bad” Amara tried to sound happy.
“Not bad?” Lyra repeated. “This is outrageous” she shrieked.
“If you scream so much your going to wake up your twin sisters” Tristan said.
“What constellation did you get?” Lewis asked.
Tristan folded his letter and stuffed it in his pocket, “I got a Pyxis” he sighed.
“What?” we all said at once.
“You told me you were getting a Cancer” I recalled.
“I was hoping to get a Cancer” Tristan corrected. I don’t know why but I felt really depressed and heartbroken but it wasn’t for everyone else but only for Tristan. I felt like I lost him.
“You were hoping to get a Virgo” Lewis muttered under his breath but I heard him.
“What?” I shrieked.
Tristan threw a pillow at Lewis from the other side of the room and that mouthed for him to shut up. I glanced at Tristan and Lyra giggled, Amara hid her mouth with her hands.
“What is wrong with you guys?” I said.
“Nothing” Tristan said.
“Who did you get?” I asked Lyra.
“Centaurus” she groaned.
“I’m half Centaurus” Lewis said.
“Great,” Lyra said “I’m gonna be related to.....that” Lyra pointed at Lewis who looked offended.
“Tristan my grandmother is a Pyxis” I told.
“Your grandmother hates me” Tristan said.
“No, she doesn’t” I lied.
“Liar” Tristan accused.
“I’m not the only one lying” I said looking directly at him. I remembered everything from yesterday but today everyone was already so frustrated so I decided not to confront Tristan.
“What are you talking about?” Amara questioned.
“No idea” Tristan said suspiciously. “Belle?” he said looking at me.
“You wanna explain something, ding-dong-bell?” Lewis joked.
Lyra actually laughed and Amara joined. Tristan giggled with Lewis. I had to restrain myself.
“Where did that come from?” I demanded. “Don’t call me that”
“Everyone calls you ‘Belle’ instead of ‘Annabelle’ so I just came up with that” Lewis joked, still recovering from laughter. “What does ‘Belle’ even mean?” he added.
“‘Belle’ means beauty in French” Amara told.
“When I was kid I could never say ‘Annabelle’, it always came out as ‘Belle’ so that’s the story” Tristan smiled.
“I remember that” I grinned.
“So,” Lewis began. “You call her beauty?” he asked.
“She is beautiful” Tristan said, smiling a little. Lyra was awestruck and Amara was smiling with Lewis. Tristan’s face turned as red as my hair.
“Amara, who did you get?” Lewis asked, changing the subject. Thank the stars, I thought.
“I got Orion” she sighed. “I like Orion, it’s not bad at all”
“Never even heard of that one” Lyra sat up.
“I got Pegasus” Lewis said.
“I am so sorry” I said.
“It’s not your fault” Amara said and the others agreed. They didn’t look happy one bit.
“It’s not like you got a good Pair” Lewis reminded.
“Yeah” I agreed.
“Hydra is boring and power hungry” Tristan said.
“I never liked them” Lyra smiled at me.
“I agree” that was Amara.
“Can we talk about something else?” I suggested.
“Yes, please” Lewis begged.
“When do we start college?” Lyra asked. “Not that I care anymore” she added.
“I think I’ll join late” Amara said.
“Why?” Tristan asked.
“Because I skipped two grades and I’m still sixteen” Amara said.
“Yeah but you can go next fall” I said. Amara was an Aries and Aries are really intelligent. She got Aries from her mom, that hardly ever happened. But Aries was stronger than Apus, her father’s constellation so Aries beat out Apus and Amara fell more into the Aries side. She is the most intelligent person I’ve met.
“Yeah” Lyra chimed in. “You would be the best in the class and you’ll graduate college earlier then your suppose to” Lyra teased.
“Oh,” Amara said “Be quiet”
“She’s right” Lewis said.
“I’ll think about it” Amara sighed.
We didn’t talk much, it gave me an excuse to look around Lyra’s room. In a corner there was a dresser with bottles of strong perfume, pressed glitter and powder and blush. Her wardrobe door was half open and I got a peak at her formal clothes and expensive handbags. The bedroom wall was painted light pink and was decorated with framed photos of her and her siblings, on another wall hung pictures of all of us there were some from prom and graduation, some from middle school. Lyra had braces in middle school and she hated her smile, it surprised me that she would frame that picture.
“I can’t believe that you still have these pictures” I said.
“What?” Amara asked and I showed her the photos.
“I hated my smile back then” Lyra said.
“I know” Amara said.
“You wouldn’t stop talking about how much your teeth hurt” I remembered.
“Well, they did hurt a lot” Lyra said.
Her windows were draped with pink curtains and it was so silent that I could hear the clock ticking.
“I feel sad” Lyra said.
“Same” we all chorused.
“This is our life now” Lyra said. I hate that thought. I could make this right if I just told everyone about what happened yesterday. I nearly did then I recalled when Lyra and I were arguing, she said that it wasn’t easy being my friend. I knew why she said that , imagine if I asked her to join a rebellion.
I was the last person to leave, I walked alone and didn’t tell anyone about what happened yesterday.
Dad was home, Granny was dressed up for a party.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“To the palace” she told “and you are coming with me”
“No” I said quickly.
“Annabelle,” Dad started “you have to go. I’m not asking you, I’m telling”
“Why do I have to go?”
“The king has called us for dinner” Granny said, she looked smug and innocent. I hated it.
“I don’t feel good” I lied. “Can’t I just stay home and you two can go?”
“No” Dad said. “I have to go visit someone else and you and Granny are going to the palace”
I didn’t even bother to ask where Dad was going and I didn’t argue anymore about going to the palace.
“Fine, I’ll go” I agreed. I was halfway up the stairs when Granny yelled, “Get dressed”
“What should I wear?” I said.“I was going to go like this” I gestured to the jeans and leather jacket I was wearing over my high neck sweater and ankle boots.
“Put on a dress,” Granny rolled her eyes “and do something with that hair and face of yours”
It was my turn to roll my eyes. I pealed off my casual clothes and scanned my closet for something fancy. Half the dresses were too long and I would have to wear heels with it so that was never going to happen.
The only thing that looked comfortable was a long pale blue and grey dress with a long neck and thin straps, I put it on and I looked terrible. It looked awful with my hair and white skin. I saw a white off the shoulder dress with flowers but it looked like a wedding dress. Granny came to check on me and I still didn’t have anything to wear so she picked a green dress that was almost black and it made me look like Mckenna Scorpio. I took that one off too, I chose a long sleeved short dress which was silky and had flowery detailing. The hem of the dress was till my thighs, I pulled grey leggings over my legs and covered my feet with sparkly shoes. Then I remembered a white fur coat Lyra had given me last year and I dug through my closet to find it. My makeup was light and my face was glittery because of something called highlighter, Lyra had taught me how to do it.
I descended the stairs with no energy, Granny kept glancing at my shoes. I was shocked that she didn’t say anything about that.
“Car’s here” Dad said. Me and Granny hopped in and she handed me a small box, I opened it and inside sat a ring decorated with emeralds and star stones.
“What am I....”
Granny cut me off, “Put it on” she demanded.
“Do I have to?” I whined.
“You know you have to” Granny said and I did. I slipped the ring on and threw the box onto Granny’s lap.
In the light of the stars I saw what she was wearing. A white coat over a blue dress which was long and fell to the floor. She was wearing silky gloves and diamond earrings and a matching necklace. She was wearing thick eyeliner, her face was white with powder and her cheeks pink with blush.
It took forever for us to reach the palace and when we did I was ready to fall asleep. Granny shot me a look and I tried to look awake. The palace looked the same as it had before, same polished floors, the smell of vanilla and alcohol streaked the air and jewels and stones embellished the walls. Why did they have to add jewels to everything?
My eyes closed about twenty times before we were welcomed into the dining hall. My eyes adjusted with difficulty to the gigantic chandelier hanging from the ceiling. People were waving to me and smiling at me, some laughed and turned their heads as I walked by. Granny vanished into groups of ladies and she kept glancing at me and she looked smug and wicked. She chatted with all the women like she knew them. The way she was acting told me she had been busy making friends and bragging about her grand daughter being engaged to the prince, then I remembered the night when my grandfather showed up and exposed Granny for knowing the truth and not telling anyone. I still couldn’t believe that Dad completely forgot about what Granny did, she lied to us. Didn’t Dad believe what his own father was telling about Granny? Couldn’t he tell Granny was being weird?
My thoughts washed away when I spotted the girl who had bullied every single person in high school. I hadn’t seen Mckenna since graduation, now she were here, at the palace. Why is she here? I asked myself.
Mckenna lifted herself from the table they were sitting at and slowly walked over to me. I now saw what she was wearing. A long black velvet dress, it was high neck and it had long sleeves, the dress had a cut down the middle so everyone could see her legs. When she turned around to look at someone I got a glimpse of her back which was fully exposed because there was no cloth covering that. Her eyelids were black and dark green,her lips were painted brown, she hovered over me because she was wearing heels and her perfume was as giving me a headache. She had dyed half of her hair green and it was roughly curled. She held up her glass of champagne like she was toasting someone.
“Aren’t you to young to drink?” I asked before she could say anything.
Mckenna looked at me like I was the most disgusting person in the kingdom. “Look who decided to show up” she grinned at me but it wasn’t nice. She took a sip of her drink and moved her eyes up and down my dress, that’s when I realized I was still wearing my coat. I swung it off and as I did Mckenna smiled at me wickedly, she hid it behind her glass but I saw her.
“What are you doing here, Mckenna?” I put power into my voice. “I thought this party was for royalty only” I added. I don’t know where that came from, seems to me that Mckenna was sprinkling her rude personality on me.
“Your not royal either” she pointed out. “Oh,” she said “But you will be when you marry your prince”
“I am not marrying anyone” I said through gritted teeth.
Mckenna’s mouth opened wide and she was smiling so it looked absurd. “Annabelle,” she was pretending to sound disappointed. Her tone changed when she said the next sentence “What a rude thing to say. Do you realize how lucky you are?Al lot of girls wanted to be in your place but instead Alec got engaged to the girl who didn’t want any of this” she gestured to the hall. She bent down and whispered in my ear, “You are going to pay for this” she promised.
“Get away from me” I said. She smiled but she didn’t back away. She tapped her finger to the now half empty glass in her hand, all heads turned towards both of us.
Mckenna put a charming smile on her face, she used that to fool everyone into thinking she was a good person, typical Scorpios. “Good evening everyone,” she smiled “Tonight we are celebrating my dear friend, Annabelle....” everyone stared at me in a bad way. “......and Prince Alec on their engagement. Congratulations both of you!” she bubbled and everyone clapped. Prince Alec and the King emerged from the crowd, with Queen Sophie clutching his arm. I saw Princess Lydia and Prince Keegan as well.
“I was just talking to Annabelle about how lucky she is and she said something very hurtful about Prince Alec,” Mckenna lied. Everyone muttered to each other and hid their faces behind their hands, I felt sick to my stomach.
“She said that she does not want to be married to the prince and that she hates the royal family” Mckenna added. Everyone gasped. Granny dug her nails into my arm, how long had she been standing behind me?
“No,” I spoke. “She’s lying. I would never say something like that” I said. I would say something like that but I kept that thought to myself for my own good.
“Lying in the palace, Annabelle” Mckenna said with mock disappointment.
“Mckenna, shut up” I demanded. Another gasp. “This is none of your business, why are you even here?”
“Miss Scorpio is a guest of mine” Prince Alec said, he was now standing between us, his face was to me.
“Is this true, Annabelle?” he asked me, his eyes were bloodshot and his fists were clenched. His jet black hair was combed away from his emerald green eyes. I saw his star stone turn greener than it was, he was angry. More specifically, he was furious with me.
I hesitated. I thought of the things Alfred had told em, I could run away and never come back again. I thought of graduation and how I would miss everyone if I ended up in the palace. I shouldn’t have to do this if I don’t want to but I was going to die either way. If I get married the King will steal Virgo and take my powers along with Dad and Granny’s no matter how much they say otherwise, and if I refuse he’ll kill me.
I sucked in a deep breath. “Can we talk in private?” I whispered.
“What’s wrong with here?” Alec said. “You already started a conversation in front of these people, why not finish it here as well?”
I opened my mouth to talk and words came out, “Your Highness,” I started “I respect you and your family. But I didn’t expect you to choose me and I do not desire to be a Hydra”
They all gasped again. The King was breathing heavily and Granny was having an argument with the Queen.
“You are rejecting me” Alec said, his eyes were glowing green in anger and the stone around his neck was burning his shirt.
“I am sorry” I slowly backed away.
“You have embarrassed me in front of my family and half of the palace staff. You will be sorry for this” he whispered to me. “And I didn’t choose you, Annabelle” he added “You were never a choice, I knew half of my life that you were going to be my bride and don’t worry you will be because you have no choice”
Anger grew inside me. “I’d rather die then be your....anything” I raged.
“Annabelle! Enough!” Granny scolded.
“Then I have some good news for you” Prince Alec stepped closer. He opened his mouth to speak but I cut him off.
“Why do you want me anyway?” I asked.
“Hydra needs Virgo and this is the only way to do it” he told.
“If you refuse then our families will never get tied, Hydra will grow weak and soon all the constellations will as they are powered by Hydra and it will all be your fault” Alec said, he made sure everyone in the room heard him.
“How dare you,” Queen Sophie was walking towards me. “You dare to talk to a Hydra like that. Typical Virgos, they’re selfish and harsh”
Virgos were sometimes selfish and harsh but I am the least Virgo ever. I don’t even know which one of my constellations is more stronger.
“Leave her alone” King Jaxon said. “I am giving you some time to decide if you want to be a Hydra. I will call you here when your time is up, just remember that the fate of the kingdom is in your hands now. If you reject the Hydras then you will be responsible for the extinction of the Children of the Stars” he finished.
I felt sick. Granny grabbed my arm and dragged me around the round the white tables decorated with centerpieces. She dug her nails into my skin harder when I tried to pull away. We were out of the palace doors now and everything had been caught on camera, there were reporters and interviewers there and I was going to be front page news tomorrow.
We walked home and I looked at Hydra , the constellation was lit up and it’s aura was dark green. It hadn’t cooled down by the time we got home. It was after midnight and I was surprised to hear laughter coming from the kitchen when we walked through the door.
“Is Dad home?” I asked to no one in particular.
Granny pushed me on the couch and ran to the kitchen I got up and followed her. Dad was sitting at the table with another person. When Granny walked in they both stood up. Now I saw who it was, it was Hope Ursa Major. What was she doing here? Was she here to give me a late night session?
“Annabelle,” Hope smiled. “I did not know you were here”
“I live here” I pointed out.
“Oh, hush” Granny said to me, her face plastered with a smile. Is this the same woman who dragged me home by my arm?
“What are you doing here?” Granny stole the words from my mouth.
Hope looked at Dad and he cleared his throat. Hope was now putting on her black leather jacket and zipping up her shoes. Her hair had once been tied in a bun but now it had come loose. Dad looked tired and irritated.
“Hope was just telling me about Annabelle’s progress” Dad said. “She shouldn’t be having nightmares anymore”
“Yes,” Hope chimed in. “She shouldn’t”
“What makes you think I’m still having nightmares?” I quizzed.
“And are you?” she shot back.
“No” I lied.
“Well then,” she said grabbing her purse from the table. “My work here is done”
With that she left and now it was Dad’s turn to get scolded my Granny.
“What was she doing here?” she asked politely.
“She just showed up a few hours ago to drop Annabelle’s progress report and then she told me everything about Annabelle’s dreams” Dad said.
“Your daughter is completely out of control” Granny totally ignored Dad and went straight to me.
“What now?” Dad yawned.
Granny exhaled what happened tonight and I didn’t even try to protest because my decision was final and there was no changing that. I wasn’t too excited about what was coming next but I knew I had to do something, it wasn’t going to be easy though. The only question was, how do I run away and join a rebellion without anyone finding out?