Lainie was laying on her stomach on my bed, reading some book. As I drew closer, I saw that it was a book about Enceladus’ history.
“How’s the book?” I asked and laid next to her.
“It’s so fascinating. Did you know that your planet doesn’t even have seasons?”
I laughed. She was so cute. It was too bad I had to break her heart.
“Did you know that this planet was never meant to hold people? That no living Enceladian knows how you guys got to this planet?”
It was true that we weren’t placed on Enceladus by a “higher power”. We ended up here somehow. There were many different stories as to how.
“Did you read the most famous story as to how we got on this planet?” I didn’t think an old fable would be in the history books.
“No. It just says no one knows,” she answered.
“Well, there’s a few different stories. But I’ll tell you the most popular one. The first generation of Enceladians were believed to be around in the 1200s-”
“1200s?” Lainie exclaimed, interrupting me.
“Yes. The story says that an alien race from some far away planet snatched up a certain amount of humans from Earth and dropped them here and on Tethys. It’s said that Enceladians, Tethians and humans are all related.”
“Well how do Tethys and Enceladus people have abilities and humans don’t if we’re related?” Lainie asked me.
I remembered when my mother told me this story. I had asked all the same questions as Lainie was. Vela would tell it to me as a bedtime story. Those stories were the only fond memories I had of my mother. “The story states that the aliens were doing experiments on humans. It says that they used their advanced technology to give us powers. Tethys as well.”
“Wow. And is that the truth?”
I shrugged. “It could be. I don’t know if we’ll ever know for sure.”
“What are some other stories?”
I thought for a second and propped myself on one side with my arm to face Lainie. “The more religious historians think that angels from whatever comes after death placed a bunch of us on one of Saturn’s moons. They think that the ‘higher power’ created a new race.”
“But what do you believe?”
I smiled at her and brushed her hair out of her face. I needed to tell her that she had to leave. “Lainie, I don’t think you should stay here.”
“Here? Do you want me to—um stay in like a guest room or . . . ?”
“That’s not what I mean. I mean Enceladus.”
Lainie sat up and glared at me. “Haven’t we had this conversation?”
I sat up too. “I don’t want you here,” I blurted. I took the only approach I knew would drive her away.
“You don’t mean that.”
“I do. I think I want to break up,” I lied.
Her eyes were hurt but her voice didn’t reveal it. “You’re lying.”
“I’m sorry . . . I just think it’s best if you leave. If we stop seeing each other.” I could feel my heart splintering.
“You’re just saying this because you don’t want me to get hurt.” She stood. Her eyes were tearing up. “I know you don’t want to break up. We have talked about this. I’ll stay in the palace and not come out until you come get me. I’ll stay safe. You said there’s going to be a guard with me. You don’t have to worry about any-”
“I don’t love you anymore!’ I yelled and shot out of bed.
Tears had spilled down her cheeks. “You don’t mean that,” she whispered again.
I didn’t say anything in fear I’d break down.
“Fine.” Lainie ran out of my room and slammed the door.
Only then did I cry.
Sometime after Lainie left, I had fallen asleep. Cried myself to sleep. On the floor. Pathetic.
I got up and showered quickly, realizing it was morning, wanting to find Lainie and make sure she wasn’t hurt. Well, physically hurt anyways.
I dressed and then heard a knock on my door. Somehow I knew it was Alexander. I opened the door.
“Good morning, Your Highness. I hope you slept well.”
I rudely ignored his greeting. “Have you seen Lainie?”
“I have. She’s in the cafeteria.”
“Oh good,” I said, relieved. “Did she seem okay?”
“Well, to put it bluntly, she seemed sad.”
I sighed. “We had a fight. I said some things. False things. I want her to go back to Earth before Tethys attacks.”
Alexander nodded. He was a good listener. But that was what he was paid to do. “I don’t mean any disrespect to Miss Lainie but she is quite set in her ways.”
“Very true. Would you mind keeping an eye on her today? Just until I can convince her to leave?”
“Of course, Princess. The Queen has asked to speak with you.”
“Oh, alright. Thanks. Let me get some shoes on.” I settled on my old Earth tennis shoes and followed Alexander downstairs. He led me to the throne room and left for the cafeteria.
“Sister, I hope you slept well,” Cassiopeia said to me in Enceladian. All of my siblings were there along with King John.
I gave a curt nod and forced a smile.
“I called everyone here because we got word from Space Enforcement. They are holding a ball at their base near Saturn. They have asked us and the royal family of Tethys to come,” Cass said.
“I thought that they haven’t heard from Tethys,” said Lynx.
“No, they haven’t but they know Tethys has received the invitation.”
“How? What happened to the few SE guards that were going to Tethys when I first got here?” I asked.
“They don’t know, actually. They haven’t heard from those guards. It’s like they just disappeared.”
Awesome. Disappeared. I knew what we were all thinking. Queen Amara killed them.
“Anyway,” Cass interrupted my thoughts. “The ball is tomorrow night. Everyone should meet with the tailor today so she can makes us new formal attire. Only the royal family is welcome.” She said the last sentence to me, talking about Lainie.
Cass excused us and Lynx joined me in walking to the cafeteria.
“Lainie came to me yesterday. She stayed with me for the night,” Lynx told me.
“Thank you for being there for her. Did she tell you what happened?”
He nodded. “You didn’t mean what you said, right?”
“No, I just don’t want her to be here. She’ll get hurt. I can feel it.”
Lynx sighed. “Amelia, what makes you think she’ll actually leave? Even after you said those nasty lies to her, she still loves you. She’s staying, whether you like it or not.”
I knew he was right but I stayed silent and kept walking.
“Amy.” Lynx grabbed my arm so I stopped walking and faced him. “I think you should give Lainie some time. You both need time. What you said to her is not something easily forgotten.”
“It’s not supposed to be forgotten. I don’t want to hurt her but I need her to leave.”
“Maybe I can do some convincing,” Lynx offered.
“Thank you nïxï.”
“Now, let’s go get fitted.”
Lynx dragged me to the tailor’s office across from the kitchen. The tailor was an old woman named Karen who was slightly younger than Vela. She had been the palace’s tailor ever since I was born.
We walked in and she seemed to be waiting for us.
“Princess Amelia.” She walked right up to me. “It’s been a long time. You look good.”
“So do you, Karen.” But the truth was, she didn’t. She looked sick and sounded sicker. Her body was frail and her hair wispy. Last time I saw her, she was healthy.
“Well, let us get to it.”
Karen had me stand on a fitting platform. She had a measuring tape and took measurements of my entire body. Next she did Lynx’s.
“Perfect. I’ll have your outfits ready by tomorrow,” she said.
I didn’t know how she’d finish a complete suit and a ball gown. Let alone all of my siblings outfits too.
“I want purple, Karen. Don’t forget,” Lynx told her.
“Of course, Prince. Princess, any specific color for your gown?”
“Red.” I didn’t hesitate in answering her.
After, I made Alexander promise he would keep watching Lainie. At least until I decided to talk to her.
That night I fell asleep, alone and upset.
I was awoken by a knocking. I groaned. Did no one respect beauty sleep around here?
I rolled out of bed and answered the door. Before I opened it I knew it wasn’t Alexander.
“Good morning, Princess Amelia.” It was a girl around my age, maybe twenty years older. On Enceladus, twenty years wasn’t a lot of time. She had bright blonde hair and was strikingly beautiful. She had an immediate familiarity but I couldn’t place her. “I don’t know if you remember me but we knew each other when you were just a baby. My mother was a maid in the palace and your caretaker. We used to play together when she would watch you.”
“Talia,” I said. The memories came to me. Then, shockingly, I hugged her. It wasn’t my intention, it just happened.
She hugged me back tightly.
I stepped away awkwardly. “I’m sorry. I don’t really know why I did that. A lot has been going on lately. I guess I just needed a hug.”
“That’s okay,” she said, understandingly. I remembered her kindness and her soft brown-green eyes.
“Thanks. How have you been?” I asked and invited her in.
“I’ve been good, Princess. It’s been a long time since we’ve spoke. How have you been?”
“Well, in truth I’ve been better. We should catch up some time when things aren’t so chaotic.”
“We should,” Talia agreed. “But right now, I was sent to get you ready for the SE ball tonight.”
“Oh. Alright.” I just now noticed that she had a full makeup kit, complete with a straightener and a curling iron.
I sat at my vanity and let her do her job. “So your mom . . .”
“She—uh, died in the coup last year.”
I had figured as much. “I’m sorry, Talia. She was a good woman.” That I barely remembered. Then something awful occurred to me. What if I killed her mom? “Did I-um, did I-”
“No, Princess. It was a coup member.” I exhaled in relief. Talia continued to brush my long raven hair. “Would you like it curled or straight?” My hair was naturally straight.
“How about curly?”
“Alright.” She plugged in the curling iron. I took in the difference between Enceladus’ and America’s electricity sockets. Ours had five holes in a circular design. Even the straighteners and curlers were different.
Along with technology. On Enceladus, most of the technology was ahead of Earth. A decade ahead maybe. Things that weren’t ahead were the cars and cameras. Those things were ruled obsolete.
“What color is your dress, Princess?” Talia asked.
“It’s red. You can call me Amy. You certainly didn’t call me Princess when we were kids,” I chuckled.
She didn’t say anything. “But you don’t have to,” I said quickly. She only nodded.
The curler was warm and she gently curled every strand of my hair.
Next, she started on my makeup. She put on blush then eye shadow. Enceladian women hardly ever used makeup. The royals made use of it more than anyone else. It was made from plants, specifically ŷæs.
“I’ll hold off on lipstick until you’re about to leave,” she said.
“Sounds good to me.”
There was a knock on my door. “Come in.”
It was Karen with my dress in her hands. “Princess Amelia, you look lovely. Talia, good to see you. Princess, I wanted to see if I needed to make any adjustments to your dress. Would you mind?” She held the dress out to me.
I took it and stepped behind my folding changing screen. I took off my clothes and slipped on the dress. It was a comfortable, silky, blood red. It had a revealing key hole on my chest and swept the floor.
I stepped out and the way Talia looked at me made me blush.
“Oh! It’s beautiful, Princess,” said Karen. “It’s perfect. I don’t need to make any alterations. Unlike your sister Princess Delphinus’ dress. I made it too small for her. She’s gained some weight in the belly area.”
Karen was never one for keeping her mouth shut. But it was nice for once. Everyone else kept the gossip from me in fear of getting punished. Or maybe killed.
“Well, here’s a dress cover. You can keep the dress in your room. Just make sure nothing happens to it. I mean nothing, Princess,” Karen told me strictly.
Karen left and only then did Talia speak.
“You look gorgeous, Princess.”
“Thanks, Talia.” I fiddled with the chest hole, nervously.
“I uh. I should get going. My work is all done.” She stumbled backward, toward the door. “You really do look stunning, Amelia.” And with that, she left.
I tried to push away the feeling in my stomach; the butterflies that I shouldn’t have been feeling.
I took off the dress and hung it on the folding screen.
“Amelia!” I heard Lynx call from somewhere near my room. He opened the door without knocking. I ducked behind the screen seeing as how I was naked.
“Learn how to knock!” I screamed at him.
“Please. It’s nothing I haven’t seen. We used to take baths together. The Queen would like to see us,” he bowed.
I rolled my eyes at him and put my pants and long sleeve back on. “Let’s go.” I grabbed his arm and pulled him downstairs.
We walked into the throne room and the rest of our siblings were there. I noticed Delphinus was wearing an oversized flowing shirt. I didn’t know why I noticed that. It was just clothing but it was different than what she’d normally wear.
“Siblings, I wanted to talk to you all before the ball,” said Cassiopeia. “We need be prepared for Queen Amara and her citizens if they show up. Though I don’t think they will. But I wanted to say a few things about Amara. She’s cruel.” Cass’ eyes roved over us all as she spoke. “She’s calculating and she knows what you’re going to do before you do it. I don’t know if that’s an ability or if she’s just highly skilled. Her magic is well controlled and diverse.”
Caelum looked pissed. “Weaknesses?”
John spoke up. “Her scepter. If it’s taken from her, she can still use magic but it is extremely less powerful. Her spells become limited. It makes her easier to kill if necessary.”
“Overall, I just want us to be careful tonight. No stupid mistakes. Be polite. Hopefully they show up,” Cass said and I could see how worried she was. “Now go get ready. We must look our best.”
Lynx and I walked out together. “Have you spoken to Lainie?”
“Yeah, she’s hurting. But she’ll be okay, eventually,” he answered.
“I feel so bad. But I can’t apologize.”
“I said she’ll be okay, Amy. But will you?” He walked away.
What the hell? What was that supposed to mean? I had to go talk to her.
I trailed after Lynx. “Lynx!”
He stopped walking.
“I want to talk to her.”
“She’s in my room.”
I ran up the stairs. Lynx’s room was on the other side of the library beside Caelum’s.
I knocked on the door. Lainie was there. “Oh. Hi.”
“Hi. Can I come in? I want to talk.”
She didn’t answer but opened the door wider.
I stepped in. Lynx’s room was much more stylish than my own. From his bed, which had silky black sheets and a silver comforter to his vanity that was covered in grooming products to a large shaggy black rug on the floor. I didn’t want to know what his closet looked like.
“Lainie,” I started. I didn’t know how to phrase my words. “Have you thought about leaving?”
She sighed. “Amy, I know you said you don’t love me anymore but I don’t believe you. You just want me to leave so you don’t hurt me. I want to be here. You can’t make me leave. I won’t leave you.”
I swore I heard my heart breaking. “I wasn’t lying when I said that stuff. And of course I don’t want to hurt you. You have to leave.”
“Why are you being such a bitch?” she spat.
I recoiled like she physically hit me. “It’s just the truth,” I said bitterly.
“I won’t go. So you might as well apologize and tell me you still love me.”
I was suddenly offended that she figured I’d just come crawling back to her. “Fine, you can stay. But I have nothing to apologize for. We’re through.”
Her eyes watered as I turned and left.
Now I knew why Lynx had said that. Was I going to be okay?