When I woke in the morning, Lainie wasn’t in bed next to me.
Not again, I groaned internally.
But that was before I heard the shower going. I sighed in relief.
I laid back down only to be bothered by someone knocking on my door. I groaned again.
“Princess Amelia? It’s Aesop. Prince Caelum wanted me to request your presence. He wants to train the citizens.”
“Okay, I’ll be right down. Thanks.” I rolled out of bed. “Lainie. I need to shower.”
“Join me,” she called from the other side of the bathroom door.
I did without hesitation.
The next week passed slowly with no word from Tethys. The citizens of Enceladus had gotten slightly better at fighting. They had most improved in using their abilities against attackers. Which was good. If they couldn’t fight with weapons, they could fight with telekinesis, mind control, invisibility or control of the elements.
Delphinus had offered to train Lainie some more. Lainie had gotten really good at bow and arrow. It seemed to be her specialty weapon. I just hoped she’d never have to use it.
I had gotten to know Golda and Alexander a little bit more. They were both lovely people, deserving of my brothers. Although I didn’t know how Golda put up with Caelum when he turned into a self-righteous kôô. I still kept her secret about working as a dancer at that party in the basement. I knew how my brother was when he got mad.
I had seen Alessa a few more times, in training, but never when I was with Lainie, thank goodness. I wasn’t avoiding them being together . . . I just wasn’t trying to make it happen.
Today, I was meeting with Cassiopeia to discuss the progress of the people.
“Amelia,” she greeted in a warm tone. “How is training our citizens going?”
“It’s going good. They are improving immensely on fighting with their abilities. We might actually have a chance.”
“I’m glad to hear. John, would you give us a moment?”
Again, I barely noticed John. For some reason, he never sat in Orion’s throne. He always stood at Cass’ side like he was still a guard and not the king of a planet. Maybe he didn’t feel like it yet.
John inclined his head and stepped out of the room.
“Amy, I want to thank you for coming here to help us. You are always coming to our aid and I really appreciate it,” Cass said.
It felt good hearing her say those words. Finally she, and all of my siblings were giving me the respect I deserved. “Anytime,” I simply said.
“I mean it. You’ve become a strong warrior and I’m sorry for all the pain I caused you in our earlier years.”
“Thanks, Cass. I accept your apology.”
“I really was awful to you, wasn’t I?” She laughed humorlessly.
“Yeah . . .” I laughed along with her.
Suddenly someone ran into the room, huffing and puffing. “Your Majesty. My apologies.” He was a short, skinny man with blonde hair. “Princess,” he greeted me.
“What is it, Chancellor Eirik?”
The last time I saw Enceladus’ chancellor, he was an old balding man. He must have died or retired.
“A letter has just come in from Tethys.”
Cass abruptly stood. “What does it say?”
Chancellor Eirik had a piece of paper gripped in his hands like he didn’t want Cass to see it. “It’s a declaration of war, my Queen.”
I gasped as Cassiopeia slowly sat down. “War. When?”
“One week, Your Majesty,” answered Eirik.
“Šĉôt,” Cass swore. “Aesop!” she called.
Aesop came running into the throne room. He bowed.
“Fetch me Constable Asger. Immediately. Find my siblings directly after.”
Aesop nodded and left.
“What are we going to do?” I asked Cass.
“We will prepare for war.”
The next few hours were chaotic. Cass was shouting commands like a drill sergeant from Earth. The palace staff was running around like chickens with their heads chopped off. I was practically frozen. I didn’t want to think ill of the citizens of Enceladus but no matter how far they’d come, I worried it wasn’t far enough.
Amongst the chaos I went to inform Lainie. I told her on our way back down to the throne room.
“Oh my god,” she whispered. “This is awful.”
“I know. You are to remain here no matter what.”
“I know, Amy.” She laced her fingers through mine.
We reached the throne room and it was buzzing with my siblings, the Constable, the Chancellor and a few guards.
“Everyone! Quiet!” Cassiopeia shouted. “I need to tell the citizens.”
I could see she was afraid. I hadn’t seen fear in her eyes since we were little. It was when Orion had yelled at us. She and I had been caught rummaging through his desk draws in his office. He was equally as mad at her as he was at me.
“I will need almost every guard with me.” We had about one hundred guards now but it was still less than before the coup. “The people will be scared and thrown into a panic. I need to ensure that no fighting happens until it is necessary,” Cass commanded. “As soon as I’m done and they calm down, Cal, Amy, Del and Constable Asger need to continue training. Start with weapons.”
A few of us mumbled in agreement.
“We will not sleep until we are ready.” She looked more determined than I’d ever seen her. That fear had gone away. She led more of the guards outside and flew to Planet Square.
“Lainie, I want you to come with us,” I said.
She nodded and let me lift her up so we could fly. My wings popped out of their own accord, ready to be used.
We flew against the wind and I realized Lainie was shivering. “Sorry,” I told her.
But she wasn’t paying attention to what I said. She was staring at my massive black and white wings. “So beautiful.”
I felt myself blush.
We landed and Cass had already gathered the citizens. I spotted Alessa in the front. The look on her face said she knew what was happening.
“People of Enceladus,” Cass addressed the crowd. “We have heard from Tethys. It is not good news. It is a declaration of war.”
All hell broke loose.
People tried to run away. There was screaming, crying. Luckily Cass knew this would happen. Which was why she had brought dozens of guards, who were surrounding the citizens.
I felt a familiar tingle of someone’s ability being forced into my mind. It was Cassiopeia’s. She had used her mind control. The crowd went still.
Enceladian powers weren’t able to affect five hundred thousand people. On average, there would be several thousand people in the crowd unaffected. It was just too much for us to control so when I didn’t feel the urge to stop moving or speaking, I didn’t think much of it.
I looked to my right and each one of my siblings, plus Lainie, were indeed under Cass’ spell. And I was right next to them. So why wasn’t I affected? My siblings’ abilities always had an effect on me. I decided not to let anyone know I wasn’t under the influence of Cass’ power. It might have been another one of my freaky half demon side effects.
“We will be ready for Tethys. You will be trained to the fullest. Prince Caelum and Princesses Delphinus and Amelia will continue to train you. Along with Constable Asger. Tethys is coming in one week. By then, we will be prepared for anything they throw us.”
The people were starting to “wake up” from Cass’ mind control. “I want you all to learn as much as you can this week. Do not be afraid, Enceladians.”
Cassiopeia suddenly took to the sky and left us in the square. It took a second for a few guards to follow her.
“Okay!” Caelum clapped his hands together. “Let’s begin.”
“Lynx,” I said. “Will you take Lainie back to the palace?”
“I want to stay,” said Lainie. “I could use some more training.”
I sighed and agreed. Even though I’d make sure she would never have to use her training. “Stay with Lynx. I’ll be back.”
I walked over to where Caelum was beginning to resume training the adults. Delphinus had the children and teens. “Hey, Cal.”
He barely looked at me. “Keep practicing hand-to-hand. Grab a partner,” he said to the people. “Yes, nïx?”
“Remember when you emailed me about what my ability was called?”
He nodded absentmindedly, green eyes swirling.
“Well, the scribe you mentioned . . . is he still alive?”
“Barely. He’s the oldest living Enceladian. Like seven hundred years old. He lives in the palace, near the library.” Caelum was watching the adults.
“Thanks, nïxï.” I walked back to Lainie and Lynx. I made a mental note to find the scribe later.
“I’m going to take off,” Lynx said. “Not my scene.” He gestured to everyone fighting.
We said goodbye and he flew away.