At dinnertime, the only time Cassiopeia let the people take a break, Lainie and I went back to the palace. I left her with Alexander in the dining room and made my way to the library.
Our library was immense. It seemed never-ending. The books ranged from history to potion making. Rows upon rows of thick, centuries old books stretched to the far wall.
The library appeared empty and I wandered around, finding the Legends section. Maybe there was something in these books about the “chosen one”. I scanned the shelves and ran my hand along some of the spines.
“Looking for something specific, Princess?” An old man suddenly popped up at the end of the isle.
“Are you the scribe?”
“I am indeed.” He must have been at least seven hundred years old, as Cal said. He held a cane in his frail hand. He was far older than my “parents”. I wanted to ask him how old exactly but that would be rude I decided.
“Oh honey, it’s not rude. I am an old man who is incapable of getting his feelings hurt. I am 704 years old.”
My jaw went slack. How did he know what I was thinking? And 704?
“I apologize, Your Highness. Now days it’s hard for me not to hear the thoughts of others.”
“You can read minds?” I gaped.
He nodded. “It took around three hundred years to master. It’s a part of mind control. You are essentially forcing the person to let you hear their thoughts without them knowing.” He paused and stepped closer. “I could teach you.” He winked.
I shook my head. “No, thanks. I already have one too many weird powers.”
“Ah, yes. That’s what you came here for, yes? Your energy sourcing?”
“Yes. I need to know all about it and how I can control it.”
“Oh! I am terribly sorry. I haven’t introduced myself. I am Dagfinn, scribe of Enceladus. It is a pleasure to meet you, Princess Amelia.” We shook hands. “Now, energy sourcing.”
Dagfinn searched for a book on the self in front of us. He found what he was looking for and pulled out a six hundred or so page book. He laid it on the nearest table and motioned for us to sit around it.
“My brother, Caelum, told me that you told him the story of a child from an angel and the devil,” I stopped. I didn’t know what else to say.
“That is true. I did tell Prince Caelum about that legend. This is the book.” He pushed it towards me. “This is where you’ll find the chapter about the ‘chosen one’.”
I glanced up at him in question.
He took the book back and started to read a passage. “’The child born from dark and light natures will be called the chosen one. They will either be the death of our entire universe or the savior. Warning-’.” He stopped reading.
“It says, ‘Warning; the creature will be extremely dangerous. Do not provoke’.”
“But how were they to know anything? How could they have predicted this?” Dagfinn asked, not expecting an answer.
“Well they were right. I am dangerous. Most recently, I almost killed a man for creeping on my girlfriend.” I still could hear that man’s nose breaking and it sickened me that I wanted to hear it again.
“It is natural to be protective of something you love,” he said.
“This went past protecting Lainie, Dagfinn.”
“Princess Amelia, you haven’t hurt her. Do not worry.”
I sighed. “What did the book mean, I could be the death or savior of the entire universe?”
Dagfinn ran a shaky hand through his orange hair. “Well, you could save our universe from destruction or you could destroy it yourself.”
I didn’t know what to say. My future looked pretty bleak. “Is there anything in that book about controlling my power?”
Dagfinn flipped through the pages. He was silent a minute too long. It worried me. “Hmm. It um--doesn’t say much.”
I could tell he was lying so I grabbed the book from him. He still tried to shield the page. I yanked the book away and stood up. I read the page. "'There is no way to control the chosen one’s power. The energy sourcing will eventually consume them and they’ll give in to the darkness. The darkness is inevitable. Nothing will be able to pull them out of the darkness. Before that happens, it’s their choice to fight it and be our savior or give in to the darkness and destroy the universe.'" I dropped the book.
Dagfinn was calling my name but it sounded muffled. I was going to have a panic attack.
My mother telling a young me that my name meant “the defender” came back to me. She knew one half but not the other. The destruction.
I dropped to my knees and my vision blurred. Suddenly, I couldn’t see anything and wasn’t aware of the world around me.
Maybe if my powers had never come in then I wouldn’t be facing this problem. If I had never come back to Enceladus, John never would have dropped me and my powers never would have surfaced. If Vela had never killed Orion or cancelled the treaty with Tethys, I never would have come back.
If she had never summoned the Devil, I wouldn’t exist. It all started with Vela.
I felt a burning rage inside. It threatened to explode. I wanted to scream and tear the library, the palace, down.
Unexpectedly I could see again. But what I saw wasn’t the library. It was Vela, trying to talk to me. She seemed desperate. I wanted her to burn. I lifted my hand and fire shot from my palm. Vela’s image flickered and disappeared. Then I was looking at the library, at the shelf that I had just burned through.
“Princess Amelia. Can you hear me?” Dagfinn was standing behind me, a good distance away.
I nodded. “I did that.” I looked at my palms. They were bright red but they didn’t hurt.
“It’s okay, Princess,” said a new voice. I turned to my right and saw Alexander. The first thing I thought about was Lainie.
“Lainie’s safe. With Lynx. Princess, maybe you want to come with me?” he suggested.
I couldn’t say no. I was numb. I absentmindedly nodded. Alexander grabbed my elbow. He led me out of the library but not towards my room. I wanted to ask where he was taking me but I couldn’t muster up enough energy.
He led me downstairs, past the throne room and to the dining room. I tried to shake my head. I didn’t want to see everyone in this condition. But instead, he took me to a bathroom in the kitchen.
“I thought you might want to clean up in private,” he said politely.
I thanked him and went into the bathroom. I took a deep breath and it felt like that was the first time I’d breathed in the last half hour.
My face was tear streaked. I splashed some water on it and stared at my reflection. I was barely recognizable. I looked like I had seen a ghost. I was the ghost.
I could be the death or the savior of the entire universe. The entire universe. I found it hard to believe I could save an entire universe. Let alone one planet. But destroying a universe . . . It was plausible. I was a monster. Wasn’t I?
I had to send Lainie back to Earth. I had to break up with her.
I felt the darkness bubbling up inside me. It was ready to burst. When I beat that man and when I burnt that shelf, it felt good. When I took the people’s energy last year, it had left me feeling so full, so satisfied. If that happened again I didn’t think I’d be able to stop. Even if Lainie tried to pull me out of it.
I checked my reflection again. My cheeks gave away that I had been crying.
Alexander was standing next to the restroom door when I came out.
“Thank you for that. I needed it.”
“Of course, Princess.” He chewed on his lip like he wanted to say something.
“What is it?”
“This may be too personal . . . Stop me if I’m crossing any boundaries but have you ever been trained in your powers? Like elemental control?”
“Forgive me, Your Highness. You don’t have to answer that.”
“No, I haven’t.”
“My little brother, Jae, is about your age. He once had problems with his abilities. He could never harness them. They were out of control. One time we even had to use mind control on him. We ordered him to not use his powers. But eventually he got the hang of them on his own. If anyone is master of gaining control, it’s him.”
I nodded. I was interested to know that Alexander had a little brother.
“I could ask him to maybe give you some advice or help?”
“Really? You’d do that?”
“I would. You’re my boyfriend’s sister and a fine Princess. I would be glad to.” He smiled.
“Thank you, Alexander.”
We walked to my room where he told me Lainie and Lynx were. I wasn’t too happy about letting Lainie stay. Or even me staying, so close to my loved ones.
“Amelia!” Lynx said when we walked through the door. “Where have you been?”
“I was in the library.” My voice shook in the beginning but I got it under control. I couldn’t stop replaying what the book said in my head but I didn’t want anyone to know I was doomed.
“Oh, well we were just about to join Caelum and the citizens. They’ve resumed training.”
I nodded, not saying anything.
Lainie came up to me. “Are you okay, babe?”
I found my voice. “Of course. Did you get enough to eat?” I asked, changing the subject.
She nodded contently.
We all stood around for an awkward moment.
“Maybe instead of training with the citizens, Princess Amelia, you could come meet my brother,” Alexander offered. He hadn’t come in my room. He was just standing in the doorway. Probably something to do with respect.
“That sounds good,” I agreed.
Lainie looked confused so I explained. “Alexander’s brother is really good at controlling his powers. He could maybe help me with my powers.”
“Well, be careful.” She kissed me on the cheek.
“You too. Take a guard with you two,” I mumbled.
Lynx and Lainie left my room and headed downstairs.
“Are you ready, Princess?”
“Would like me to have Jae meet us in the palace or go to the Saturn Division?”
“We can go to the division. I want the people to know I’m not a monster. Well, you know.” Something occurred to me. “Wait, isn’t your brother training with Caelum and the Constable?”
Alexander smiled. I had only seen him do that with Lynx. “Actually he’s so well trained in his abilities that he opted out of the ability training part. He was there for the physical combat though.”
“Alright, let’s go.”
We made our way out of the palace. We flew to the Saturn Division where Jae lived. The Saturn Division used to be Division E (control of the elements).
We landed and I took it all in. I had only been in the divisions a few times when I was younger. Orion had looked at them as below him. But that was only because he made them below him.
Entering the division there were lights, almost like Earth’s Christmastime lights, strung all over. There was a manmade vine archway leading into the division. In the middle of the walkway, as far as I could see, there was a stream of running water. Each division had their own shops. Places like fabric stores, fruit and vegetable gardens/markets and a butcher’s shop. People were allowed to open up their own stores. If they wanted to sell their homemade crafts or clothing, they could.
In the Saturn Division, the stores were near the entrance. There weren’t any people around since they were all training. We walked some more and finally hit the houses. “House” was an exaggeration. They were really shacks. Beat up, run down shacks. Most of the houses were slouching from weather and wear. It enraged me. The royal family was living in complete luxury. My bedroom was bigger than these houses individually. Cassiopeia had better fix this. There was far too many citizens in each division for the houses to be this bad. There were around 125,000 Enceladians in each sector.
“So you specialized in elemental control?” I asked Alexander.
“Have you tried any other abilities since Cassiopeia changed the law?”
“I actually have a talent for telekinesis. Prince Lynx has been teaching me in our free time.”
“I’m really happy that my brother found you to spend his time with,” I said.
“Thank you, Princess. I appreciate that.”
We walked in silence past a few more houses before Alexander stopped. “This is it.” He didn’t say anymore but from his tone it sounded like he wasn’t happy to be back. Maybe it had something to do with why he decided to become a palace guard.
He knocked on the door and it immediately opened. “Nïxï! Ü ŷôte zü,” Alexander’s brother said he missed him and hugged him.
They broke apart and looked at me. “Jae, this is Princess Amelia.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Princess.” Jae shook my hand. His hair was the same color as Alexander’s only shorter. I could see the resemblance.
“And you as well.”
“Well, should we get started? Come in.”
The house was smaller than my walk-in closet. I swallowed a lump of guilt. The bedroom, kitchen and living space were all in one room. There was a single bed behind the couch. The kitchen consisted of a stove, sink and refrigerator. The bathroom must have been behind the only other door besides the front.
Jae invited us to sit on the couch. Alexander continued standing, mumbling how he was on duty.
“So,” Jae looked directly into my eyes with his blue ones. “I’m sure Alex told you I’m the best at controlling my abilities. He was over exaggerating. I’m good but not as good as he’d like to think.”
“You’re being modest, Jaeel,” Alexander said.
Jaeel? I didn’t know Jae was short for anything.
“Well, ignore him. Anyways, when I was born I had zero control over my powers. I was reckless. Even as a baby, my abilities developed early and it was extremely dangerous. I had no understanding of them. As I grew older, it only seemed to get worse. Our parents didn’t know what to do. They even got permission to see the palace’s trainer. And when that didn’t work, we went to the palace’s healer.” He paused. “I’m sorry, bad house manners. Would you like something to drink, Princess? Gëlô?”
“I’ll have some gëlô, thank you.” Which was identical to tea.
He got up and put the kettle on the stove.
Every sector had a healer and a trainer. A trainer helped children control their abilities. Although, the sectors’ schooling was nothing compared to the palaces’.
“I was about ten when we went to the palace,” Jae continued, standing in the “kitchen”. “We saw the palace healer and he told my parents that the only way to help me was to mind control my powers away. So the healer did. For twenty years I didn’t have my abilities.”
My jaw dropped. Twenty years. I didn’t have my powers for more than a century but mine weren’t taken away like Jae’s were. “That must have been hard. I’m sorry.”
“It was. But then I was an adult and I begged that same healer to remove the mind control and he did. But it didn’t go well. I accidentally froze him and his entire office. So I left. I left our division and hid in the forest for years. It wasn’t hard to hide and get food. Invisibility and all.”
Our forest wasn’t a natural forest. Since Enceladus had no sun, trees didn’t grow. But trees were needed for oxygen so our scientists grew artificial trees with the same properties as real ones.
“Alexander found me about twenty years later. And by that time, I had mastered my abilities. Not just elements but the rest too. I thought it was dangerous just to train in one.”
“How did you do it? How did you master them?” I asked.
“It wasn’t-” He was cut off by the kettle whistling. He poured me some tea and handed me a container of sugar. “It wasn’t easy. In fact it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. There were no distractions in the forest. I did a lot of meditating. It’s not going to be easy for you, Princess.”
I sighed and looked around the house. I realized there were no pictures of their family or their parents. Also, this house would never have been big enough for a family of four. “Is this the house you two grew up in?”
Alexander shifted uncomfortably but kept his gaze on the door. Jae shook his head. “Before I left and after I froze the healer’s office, I accidentally burnt our house down. And in the house were my sleeping parents.”
I gasped and my eyes watered. “I am so sorry.” I looked at both the brothers. Alexander’s face betrayed nothing. And surprisingly neither did Jae’s.
“It was a long time ago. The year 1918. We’ve moved on,” Alexander said.
“Have you used all of your abilities?” Jae asked, changing the subject.
“I’ve actually never used invisibility.”
“Well, why don’t you try now? Alex?” Jae motioned to the couch and Alexander moved it out of the way. Which was still in the way in the little house. “Ready? Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Think about disappearing. Becoming completely invisible.”
I closed my eyes and thought about what he said.
“You did it!”
My eyes shot open and I grinned.
“Princess? You’re still invisible.”
“Oh!” I concentrated on becoming visible again. It worked.
“That was easy,” Jae commented. “Usually it takes us a few minutes to successfully become invisible the first time.”
“Now what?” I was feeling pumped up about mastering my abilities.
Jae chuckled. “Now what about your telekinesis? Have you picked things up? Picked people up?”
“I have stopped someone’s hand from coming into contact with my face.” My mother’s hand.
“Okay, let’s try picking some things up. Pick up your tea without spilling it.”
I focused on my cup and felt my eyebrows crinkle. Suddenly the teacup lifted off the table and hovered in the air. “I did it!” I felt so proud and shocked that I mentally dropped the cup. The cup landed on the floor and shattered. But the liquid didn’t.
The tea was suspended in the air. By me.
Jae came closer to the floating tea. “How are you doing that?” He put his face close to it, inspecting it.
The tea was in a bumpy circular shape. “I have no clue. I just thought about catching the tea and that’s what happened. Sorry about your cup.”
He waved away my apology. “This is amazing, Princess.”
Even Alexander was impressed. He walked closer.
“Try to move it to the sink and drop it,” said Jae.
I obeyed and squinted my eyes at the floating blob of tea. It moved into the kitchen area and above the sink. I let it go and it splashed into the sink.
Jae and Alexander were silent.
“So?” I asked.
“I’m amazed. That was really cool,” Jae said.
Alexander started to pick up the broken cup.
“Alright, we’re going to step up the difficulty. I’m going to walk away and you’re going to telekinetically stop me.”
“I don’t know if I can . . .”
“Do not doubt yourself, Your Highness,” Alexander told me.
“Okay,” I said uneasily.
I focused on Jae. He took two steps and immediately stopped walking.
I furrowed my brows and wondered why he had stopped.
“You did it. I barely took two steps and you stopped me. I guess I didn’t raise the difficulty enough. You can release me now,” Jae said.
I released him and he flexed his shoulders. “Let’s move on to mind control. I want you to make Alex walk out the door.”
“I cannot leave the Princess, Jae,” Alexander protested.
“It’s to help her. Besides, there’s no one else here. You’ll come right back.”
Alexander sighed and agreed. I stood up and stared him deep in the eyes. Not too long ago, I had used mind control on that creep who wouldn’t leave Lainie alone. “Walk out the door and stay outside for one minute.”
Alexander instantly obeyed and left the house.
Jae clapped. “Still too easy for you.”
“I noticed that after my abilities had surfaced, control just came as easy as breathing. I didn’t need to think about using them. It just happened. It was like my body knew what to do all long.”
“Hmm. Most children need the sector trainer to help them gain control,” Jae thought out loud. “You did well, Princess.”
“Call me Amelia,” I said.
Jae smiled. “Amelia it is. Your powers are well-controlled.”
“Not the one that’s the most dangerous.”
“Sit down. Tell me about it. I witnessed it but I don’t exactly remember what happened.”
We moved the couch back to its normal spot and sat down. “It’s called energy sourcing. I can take people’s life force out of their body. If I do it long enough, I can kill them. When I do it, a whole other part of my mind takes over. It’s dark and dangerous. I don’t recognize my family or friends. All I want is to kill everyone . . .” I had never told someone all of that before.
“And what triggers it?”
“Last year it was Lynx getting stabbed.”
“So it obviously has something to do with people you care about getting hurt. That’s strange. It activates when someone you love gets hurt but when you’re in that mindset, you could care less about them.”
“Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense.”
“Do you know why you have this power, Amelia?”
“I’d rather not say.”
“That’s fine. But just know that I won’t be able to help you fully if I don’t know.”
I gulped. “Let’s just say that Orion wasn’t my father. Someone else is.” Something.
Just then Alexander walked back in. “It worked. Good job, Princess.”
Jae was staring at me, squinting, probably trying to decipher what I had meant.
“Well, it was nice meeting you, Jae. Thanks for helping me.” I stood. “I should probably go check on Lainie. Maybe you could come to the palace sometime and have dinner with us,” I offered to Jae.
“That’d be lovely. It was my pleasure, Princess. Thank you for visiting. I’d like to help you some more if that’s alright.”
“Ready, Your Highness?” Alexander asked.
I nodded and we said goodbye and left.
As Alexander and I flew back to the palace, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a danger I was. Jae wouldn’t be able to help, wouldn’t be able to train me. That darkness inside me was uncontrollable, untamable.
We landed in front of the palace and Alexander murmured something about checking in to the head of the palace’s staff. I thanked him for taking me to his brother and made my way to my room, weights on my shoulders.