There comes a time where people have to make a life-changing choice. It may be good, it may be bad. But either way, it always works out for someone.
The choice I had to make... was neither life-changing nor important for all of humanity. It was just where I should for the game of hide-and-seek my best friend and I was playing. Theo, my best friend since birth, has been searching for me for a while now. I am honestly surprised hasn't found me yet. I've been the loudest person lately during the game, tripping over roots and running into trees.
"Come on, Arynn! Where are you?" Theo yells to the treetops and I giggle. I quickly cover my mouth but it's too late. Theo heard me and he is coming straight for me.
"Shit!" I quickly run away, the bottom of my white wings dragging across the ground. I hear Theo's brown wings flapping and I curse again. I jump into the air and I fly away. Theo chases me through the skies, our laughter traveling through our village. The other fae laughs at our childishness and greets us, to which we return it with out-of-breath greetings.
"Give up, Arynn! We need to eat dinner!" Theo calls out from behind and I sigh.
"I will not give up! I will just postpone this. Let's go," I slow down and let Theo catch up. We then fly to the palace and land in front of the entrance. We fix each other's hair and clothes before laughing and walking in with linked arms.
Although Theo and I are way different, we are inseparable. His parents were my parents' head of the guard. But now that I am Queen of the Fae, Theo is my head of guard as well as my second hand.
I am the only faerie in all the realms that have white wings. It shows that I am one of the most powerful beings in the world. While the other fae can only control some elements of nature, I can control all of them with a lot of other things.
Theo and I make it into the dining hall and we sit in our assigned seats. Our parents give us disapproving glares and we look down. I may be queen, but our parents' glares will always scare the living crap out of me.
"Arynn. You're twenty-years-old and the Queen of the Fae. You need to start acting like it," my mother scolds and I meet her gaze.
"I have been acting like a queen, mother. Who in this family led the kingdom to greatness? Who put her life on the line during every single battle to make sure our soldiers got home to their families? Me, mother. Then there are some other things like boring meetings where old people like to gloat."
"Learn some respect for your elders, child!" Anger rises in me from her words, but I stay silent. "You might've had success, but that still doesn't mean you can prance around acting like a child. You should act more like a queen than a commoner," she hisses and I glare at her, my eyes turning red, showing flames.
"I will not let you ruin my day, mother. You may not like how I rule, but believe it or not, I am doing wonderful. And those commoners you speak of are better company than you, as of right now." Mother gasps in disbelief but I don't let her speak. "Let's not dwell on that subject any longer. I am hungry. Where is Chef?"
Right after I say that, Chef with the other cooks walk out of the kitchen to bring us our food. Mother sighs before looking away from me.
She and I never had a good relationship. We never see eye to eye. But we do have our good moments.
"Thank you, Chef and cooks. I am sure this meal will be wonderful like all the others. Go home and enjoy dinner with your families," I say and they all thank me before leaving.
We eat in silence. I look at Theo's parents and I see they are eating slowly, with saddened glances towards me and my mother. I look at my mother and I see she is looking a little sad as well.
This causes me to sit up straighter. My mother rarely shows such emotion. What causes her sadness? Has something happened with father?
"What is wrong, mother? Is father okay?" I ask worriedly and mother sighs again.
"Your father is alright... It's nothing to do with him."
"Then what is it?" I ask, confused and annoyed with the stalling.
"We recently received word of a man... another powerful being. He is making a name for himself. Not a good one, though. But his people follow him without question. They claim he is a good king, but his enemies say different from their graves," Laraine, Theo's mother, says and I tense.
"What is his name? Do you have helpful information about him? Like his realm, species, anything?"
"We do have all the information we need... We also have another thing to worry about," Quint, Theo's father, says dreadfully. I stay silent, waiting for him to continue. "His name is Lucifer Steele. The King of Dragons. He is not a normal dragon-shifter. He is half-fae too. He wields dark magic. He is ruthless. His realm is The Obsidian Mountains."
I place my fork down and I lean back in my chair. Theo gives me a wary glance and I close my eyes.
"I am guessing he wants to knock me out of the way to being the most powerful, right?" I ask with my eyes still shut.
"Yes. That is what we heard," mother replies.
"And where did you hear that from?"
"Lucifer himself." I open my eyes and I stand, my food long forgotten.
"Please excuse me. I would like to speak to my father." With that, I walk away. I go up the grand staircase and I walk down the corridor to my father's quarters. I knock on the door twice and I wait for permission to enter. I hear my father's permission and I open the door. Upon walking in, I am greeted by the strong scent of alcohol. I find my father standing by the floor-to-ceiling window and I sigh. "Hello, father."
"Arynn, dear. What troubles you?" Father asks and I walk over to him, looking out the window with him. I stay silent and father nods his head in understanding. "I am guessing you heard about Lucifer Steele."
"Yes, father." I look at him. He looks drained. Deep bags are under his eyes, his brown wings drooping and withered from not being used in years. He is pale from the lack of sunlight. He hasn't been outside of his room in two years because of the curse put upon him. It's sad and I wish I could do something about it.
"What are your thoughts on it?" He looks into my gray-white eyes, searching for my answer.
"I don't think this is going to be like anything else we've faced in the past. Dragon-shifters are already powerful as is. But since he is half-fae as well, his power might be matched up with me. That honestly scares me," I admit and father pulls me into him, his wings wrapping around us to comfort me.
"But you have to remember, you are a gift from the gods above. You are more than anything in the world. You are an angel and a fae. I think you might be a little more powerful than Lucifer."
"Yeah," I trail off and I hold onto my father, finding comfort in his embrace. "I feel like something bad is going to happen. Something really, really bad. And I don't like it."
"We can only pray everything will be fine."
I nod. But even if praying to the gods worked for a lot of things, I don't think it will work for this.