I woke up with a headache. I usually never got headaches. It was probably because of that foreign drink I had at the SE base.
I showered and got dressed. Only then did I realize no one had woken me up this morning. It was nice, for once.
I walked downstairs and into the kitchen. There was no staff but there was cooked food on the stoves and in the ovens. I helped myself to my favorite breakfast foods, one being strips of meat from a låpënô, which was similar to a pig.
Everyone was probably training in the square.
Suddenly, I heard someone crying. I followed the sound and it landed me in the cafeteria. The crying was coming from the bathroom.
“Hello? Who’s there?”
The door creaked open. It was Golda.
“Golda, what’s the matter?” I asked. Her blue eyes were blood shot.
“It’s Prince Caelum. He found out where I work.”
“Oh, Golda. I am so sorry. What’d he say?”
“He just stormed out. I don’t know how he found out. Did you tell him?” she asked angrily.
“No, of course not. I keep my promises.”
“I’m sorry, Princess. I didn’t mean to snap at you. I’m just worried he’ll call off the engagement.”
I brought her to one of the cafeteria benches and handed her a napkin. “Golda, my brother loves you. I’ve never seen him act the way he does when he’s with you. He’s so happy with you.”
“I just don’t think he can overlook this. I was an exotic dancer, Princess. It’s Caelum. You know him. How much he cares about honor and respect. He would never wed a fær,” she spat the nasty word.
“Do not call yourself that, Golda. You are no such thing. You are a strong, beautiful woman who just wants to provide for her family.”
“Thank you, Princess Amelia. You are very kind. I don’t believe that you could destroy us.”
For a day or two, I hadn’t thought about that book telling me about my prophecy. But Golda just reminded me. “Don’t worry. He’ll come around. I’ll talk to you later.” I left the cafeteria before she could say more.
I really hoped my power of mass destruction wouldn’t kill the ones I loved tomorrow. I hoped the darkness didn’t take me over for good.
I went outside and flew to the square. Cassiopeia was there observing the citizens and barking commands.
“Amelia, sorry we didn’t wake you this morning,” she said when I landed. She was wearing fabric that one would put under armor, holding her scepter.
“That’s fine. Starting a little early today?” Enceladians weren’t much for keeping track of time. It was now early dawn.
“The earlier, the better,” she said.
That was when I noticed Lainie in the crowd of citizens, wielding a sword.
I waltzed right up to her and snatched the sword from her hands. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I pulled her away from the people.
“I’m learning.” She crossed her arms defensively.
“You’re not fighting. That was the deal.”
“I know I’m not fighting. I’m not hurting anyone. Just learning the basics.”
I looked around for a guard. “Aesop, would you do me a favor? Will you escort Lainie back to the palace?”
“Yes, Your Highness. Miss?” He waited for Lainie to walk.
She glared at me but stalked back to the palace, Aesop on her heels.
“I see you’re having troubles with your human.”
It was Alessa. Right behind me. I internally rolled my eyes.
“You never came to see me,” she teased as I turned to face her.
She was sexy. I had to admit that. But not my type. Not anymore, at least. “I’ll still be here after the fight,” she said. “I’m always here. If you need a shoulder. Or something more.” She winked.
I just smirked and walked away.
The children and the adults were training separately today. While all the adults had swords, the younger kids had things like sais and knives. The “teenagers” also had swords and were grouped in with the adults. Our welder must had to have made a ton of new weapons.
I spotted Talia. She looked so fierce bringing her katana down into an imaginary enemy’s heart. She noticed me looking at her and I could’ve sworn she blushed. I gave her a little wave.
Delphinus was leading the children.
“How’s it going, Del?” I asked.
“Can you take over for a bit?” she asked me desperately. At first I thought it was just because she was tired of dealing with the kids. But she had a hand over her mouth like she was going to throw up.
Then it was like wire connected in my brain. “Del, are you . . .”
Her eyes became wide and without warning she took to the sky and flew to the palace.
Delphinus was pregnant.
Cassiopeia’s voice ripped me from my shock and disbelief. I had to be wrong. “Enceladians!” Everyone stopped sparring and gave their attention to their Queen. “I want to brush everyone up on Tethians.”
She led the citizens inside Planet Hall and stood at the podium. “Tethians are sorcerers. They are basically wizards. Their powers are ultimately unlimited. But the unlimited powers is their weakness. Too many abilities in a body can be hazardous. It can wear them out. We must rely on wearing them out. Queen Amara has a scepter that she depends on. If we get it away from her, her powers are drastically reduced. All Tethians have strange markings on them. Like tattoos. Their wings are black and smaller than ours. In previous battles, Tethys has brought their dragon-like creatures. In Enceladian we call them günt. They are enormous creatures who have wings and the ability to breathe in outer space.” Cass paused, letting the people take in all the information.
I was only half-listening. If I was right about Delphinus, who was the father? Was it that guy I had caught her making out with in the basement club? What would the baby be? Del was half human. Would the child be human or Enceladian?
“Another weakness is that they have to verbally speak their spells before their magic works. Take advantage of that pause. Tethians are murderers by nature. They won’t hesitate to kill. So we can’t either. This is a fight to the death. And we will not lose.” Her last sentence reverberated through the hall and brought me back to reality, raising chills on my arms. “Okay, everyone. We’re going to take a break. Go home, get some food. Be back here in one hour.” The citizens made their way back to their divisions.
I flew back to the palace to look for Del. I checked her room first. “Delphinus. Please open up. It’s Amelia.”
The door slowly opened. Del was sitting on her bed. She had used telekinesis to open the door. “You’re very perceptive, sister.”
“So it’s true.” I closed the door and sat next to her.
She nodded, her silver hair falling in her eyes.
“Who’s the . . .”
She sighed deeply. “The guy you caught me kissing that night. I’m so stupid. He’s just some guy. Not even important to me.”
“I’m here for you, Del. Whatever you need.”
“Thank you.” Then she hugged me. “Don’t tell anyone yet, okay?”
I closed my eyes and squeezed her back. “I won’t.”
We broke apart and she smiled. Then she quickly got up and ran to the bathroom. Morning sickness.
Enceladian pregnancies were just like humans. There was morning sickness and cravings. It took nine months also.
But apparently I had been born in around six months. That was another reason that attributed to my siblings calling me the devil. I was unnatural.
“Do you need anything, Del?”
“No. I’m alright. You can go,” she yelled from the other side of the door followed by retching sounds.
I left quickly and ran into Caelum leaving his room.
“Amelia,” he greeted.
“Hi.” I thought about Golda and whether or not I should interfere. “I saw Golda today.” I decided yes. My brother was happy with her. He needed some sense talked into him. “She was bawling.”
“You knew she was working there, didn’t you?” He said “there” like it was the dirtiest place in the universe.
“I did. She was just trying to provide for her family.”
“She could have come to me.” His green eyes were hard.
“She didn’t because of pride. You wouldn’t have asked for help if it was you. You two are so much alike. You belong together.”
“I don’t know.” He obviously didn’t want to talk about this.
“Don’t call off the engagement, Cal. I have never seen you happier. Hell, I’ve never seen you happy. When you’re with Golda, all of that changes. You become a different person. A happy person. You two love each other too much to have it go to waste.”
Caelum smiled. A rare, genuine smile. “Thanks, Amelia. Same goes to you and-uh, Lainie. Your whole speech. Just apply that to your relationship.” He walked off before I could reply.
I took that as progress in our brother-sister relationship. But with Lainie, things were more complicated. Golda wasn’t in danger of Caelum killing her. Actually Golda was in danger of me killing her. So was Lainie. Which was why my speech couldn’t apply to us. And I wasn’t sure it ever could again.
The rest of the day, I helped the citizens train. I even did some hand-to-hand combat with a few.
I had just finished sparing with a guy my age when Talia came up to me.
“Mind going a round with me, Princess?”
“Only if you can take it,” I teased.
She grinned. “Sword?” she asked and handed me one.
We began. She swung at me and I ducked, barely fast enough. She was quick.
I advanced and thrust my sword forward. She hopped out of the way.
“You’re quick,” I complimented.
“Thanks.” She winked and moved toward me, bringing her sword.
I blocked the attack and our swords locked with a clang. She was so close to me. I felt her breath on my neck. She was shorter than me but that didn’t give her a disadvantage.
She speedily unlocked her sword and knocked me on my ass with her other hand. And a little bit of telekinesis. I knew why she did it. If we were in a real battle she would have impaled me with her sword. She had won.
“Good fight.” She held out her hand to help me up.
I took it and pulled her down. She fell on top of me. Her face was inches away from mine and she didn’t take her eyes away. Her eyes flicked down to my lips and back up to my eyes.
Then the moment was over and she was apologizing. “I am so sorry, Princess. Are you alright?” She stood up and offered her hand again.
“I’m fine, Talia. But I insist you call me Amy.” I stood with her help.
“Maybe,” she chuckled.
“You were really good,” I said. “Very fast. That’ll come in handy.”
“Thank you. You’re certainly very strong. But you did lose.”
I fake gasped and pretended to be hurt.
She laughed more.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure why I’d lost that fight. There was no way in a real fight I would lose against Talia. Or anyone really. Maybe Cal.
“Well, I should get back to the group,” Talia said. Everyone else had started back on their abilities. Constable Asger was showing them how to throw fireballs.
As I watched her walk away, I realized why I had lost. I was distracted. By Talia.
At dinnertime, Cassiopeia had all us siblings eat in her private dining room.
“Listen, no matter what happens tomorrow, we are still a family. If we don’t win, we are still Enceladians. Still warriors.” Cass looked like she was going to cry. She cleared her throat. “Our tailor has made us new battle armor for tomorrow.”
“I’d like to give a toast,” John said. He stood and held his glass high. “Tonight, I am thankful to have this meal with the people I love. The people who have so easily accepted me into their family. As the Queen said, we are warriors. We’ve made it through one war already. How hard can it be? Let’s protect our home. To Enceladus!”
“To Enceladus,” we all collectively cheered and drank.
“Who is going to stay with Lainie tomorrow?” Lynx asked me.
“Aesop can protect her. He’s not much of a fighter,” Delphinus answered. No one seemed to notice that she wasn’t drinking.
The first course passed uneventfully. Cass had wanted everyone to have a good, fulfilling meal tonight so we were having three courses. She even had guards bring palace food to the divisions.
The first dish was a dish called vüŵên, which was basically steak.
By the second course, I was already full.
“Del, why are you not drinking?” Lynx asked.
“Oh well I just don’t want to get drunk the night before we go into battle.”
“One drink won’t kill you. It’s good.”
“No, I’m okay, really,” she said.
Even though Lynx let it go, I could tell he didn’t believe her. She wasn’t one to turn down drinks.
I gave Del a look that said “tell him” and she quickly glanced away.
The rest of the night was nice and quiet. Afterward Del, Cal, Lynx and I went upstairs to our respective rooms.
It was hard to fall asleep with the imminent attack coming. I knew I needed rest. It would be a long day. I couldn’t stop worrying though. Why did I have to be born this way? Damn Vela. Sometimes I wished I hadn’t been born at all. Or at least born normal like my siblings. Like a regular Enceladian.
I tossed and turned for more than an hour before my brain shut down.