I had a few hours until dinnertime so I found my feet taking me to the Saturn Division, to Jae’s house.
As I lifted my hand to knock on the door, it swung open.
“Princess,” greeted Jae. “I’m getting better at sensing people.”
“Come in, come in.” I obeyed and sat on his couch. “Yes, sensing people. I suppose it’s a part of telekinesis. It’s just like feeling an object in your mind. I feel a presence.”
“Wow, can you teach me?”
“Of course.” He grinned. “But that’s not why you’re here now, right?”
I shook my head. “I am going to trust you with something that could be dangerous. You have to promise not to tell anyone.”
He sat down. “You have my word, Princess.”
I took a deep breath and Jae sat next to me, face serious. “It appears I am immune to others’ mind control.” I said it quickly.
Jae’s eyes widened. “Immune?”
“How did you figure this out?”
“It was when we were getting ready for the war. Cassiopeia barked a command to the crowd and everyone around her but it didn’t work on me. Then again a few days ago, Cassiopeia’s powers didn’t work on me.”
“Hmm, are you sure there’s not just something wrong with the Queen’s abilities?” he asked.
Well I never thought of that. But it always appeared to work on the citizens. “At first I thought it was just because Enceladians can’t control that many people with their abilities but I don’t think that’s it.” I stopped. “Try to command me to do something.”
Jae looked shocked for a moment before he recovered. “Uh . . .” He stared deep into my eyes. That wasn’t a necessity for mind control but it made it more successful. “Say that I am the most attractive person you’ve ever laid eyes on.”
I felt his mind control try to force me to say it but it didn’t work. Jae just kept staring at me. “It doesn’t work.”
“Fascinating. Why doesn’t it work?”
I shrugged, sort of knowing the answer. Jae knew Orion wasn’t my father but that was all I had told him. I couldn’t tell him who my father really was.
“Do you think it has something to do with your biological father?” Spot on, Jae.
“Do you know him, Amelia?”
I hesitated. What would I say?
“It’s alright. No pressure. You don’t have to tell me.” He changed the subject. “Let’s try some more.”
For the next hour, Jae tried to control me with no such luck.
“What should we do for dinner?” Talia asked me. When I saw her, I was reminded of the voice in my head.
How easy it would be for me to rip her throat out.
I didn’t know if I should tell her. I decided not to. “I have something planned.” Just because I had all these problems, didn’t mean I wasn’t thinking of Talia and ways to make her happy.
Earlier in the day, I had asked the kitchen staff to make dinner for Talia and I. They kindly obliged. I led Talia to the kitchen so we could pick up our food.
“Thank you so much, Gianna.”
“Our pleasure, Princess.” Gianna bowed.
I rolled the food cart out with Talia trailing behind me. When we got to the stairs, I lifted the cart with my telekinesis.
“Where are we going?” asked Talia as we stepped onto the next floor.
I stopped in front of the ballroom and dug a key out of my blazer’s pocket. Cassiopeia had lent it to me. I unlocked it and let Talia go in front of me.
The ballroom was huge. There were numerous round tables covered in elaborate tablecloths, plus a large open space for dancing. In the corner was where the music and lights were controlled.
I had to switch on the lights and, in the dark, I accidentally turned the music on. Talia gasped, startled.
“Sorry!” I yelled over the music as I frantically tried to turn it off. I finally found the button and heard Talia laughing.
“What are we doing in here? It’s really gorgeous.” She was looking up at the vast crystal chandelier. She had never been in the ballroom. I didn’t exactly have great memories in there.
“Amelia, I told you. You must dance with this man,” my mother said, sternly.
“I don’t want to,” I pouted. I was fifty-three years old. Vela had caught me kissing Alessa. Lynx had introduced us days earlier. Now Vela was pushing me to dance with men, flirt with men, even more than she normally did.
“You have to. That girl is not respectable! Plus she is a girl,” Vela violently whispered.
“She is respectable! She is the daughter of the Duke of the I Division. I like her. Why can’t you be happy for me?” I said the last part a little too loudly and some people turned to look at us.
“Hush.” Vela grabbed my arm painfully.
Alessa came up to us with her father. The two bowed toward us. “Your Majesty. Princess, are you alright?”
I smiled at Alessa’s question and shook my arm from my mother’s grip. “Now I am.” I took hold of Alessa’s hand and walked away.
Now Alessa was dead but my mother was still alive and kicking . . .
“Sorry, Talia. Let’s eat.”
We ate and afterward we took a peaceful walk outside the palace near where we kept the animals.
The next day was Talia’s birthday. Yeah, it was her birthday and I’d had one night to prepare. She had casually let it slip while we were walking around the palace last night. That day, I woke long before the rest of the planet. I had decided to set up a picnic in the forest in a clearing. I brought blankets, pillows and candles.
It was all very romantic, I had to say.
Two hours later, breakfast time, I managed to drag Lynx outside with me. I told him I needed his help with Talia’s birthday. He had been getting better. Now he needed to be outside more.
We flew to the clearing where the wind had blown the blankets askew. I groaned.
“No wonder you need my help,” my brother said.
I rolled my eyes and motioned for him to help me straighten them out.
I whipped around and saw Jae. Oh, fëŵ.
Lynx dropped the blanket he had been holding and just stood, staring at Jae. Alexander and Jae looked a lot alike, with Jae being more lean. “No . . .” Lynx whispered.
“Forgive me, Your Highness,” said Jae.
I moved towards Lynx to guide him away but he shook me off. He moved closer to Jae who looked to me for help.
“Maybe you should go,” I said in a low voice.
He nodded, spread his wings and flew off.
I put my hands on Lynx’s shoulders. He stared in the space Jae had occupied.
“Lynx, I am so sorry.”
“He looks just like him.”
“I know . . . I didn’t know he would come. I’m sorry.”
He stepped back, unfurled his wings and flew above the tree line. I beat my black and white wings once and followed behind him.
We landed at the palace and he ran up to his room. I once again followed him but stopped at Talia’s room.
I knocked. She opened the door and her hair was adorably sleep matted. “Happy birthday!” I stepped inside and hugged her.
“Thank you.” She blushed.
“So,” I said, sitting on her unmade bed. “I have big plans for tonight.”
She grinned. “Sorry I didn’t give you more of a heads up.” She began to make her bed. With me on it.
“No problem. I do well under pressure. Listen, I know you might not want to spend some of the day doing this but . . . Lynx saw Alexander’s brother, Jaeel, this morning. He’s really shaken up. I was wondering if you would sit with him for a bit while I’m getting ready.”
“Of course, Amelia. It’s no bother. I’d love to.” Talia put down a pillow and sat next to me.
“You just seem to know how to cheer everyone up. Thank you, Talia.”
I kissed her and did not want to stop. “Dress warm tonight.” I kissed her cheek and left the room. Then I realized that it wasn’t going to be cold because of the rising temperature. “Or, the opposite!”
I felt bad for not making sure my brother was okay but Talia was good at making people feel better.
I went to the kitchen and began making dinner and dessert.
“Just a little farther . . .” I had my hands around Talia’s face, covering her eyes. I led her to our spot in the woods. “Here.” I drew my hands back.
Talia gasped. “It’s beautiful, Amelia.” I swore I heard her voice shake.
We talked and ate and talked some more. When we finished dinner and dessert, I decided it was time to give Talia her gifts.
I handed a big oblong-shaped box to her. She opened it and gasped once more as she pulled the dress out. I’d had the dress made uniquely for her right after Ålmôn Klïp. It was made by the royals’ seamstress, Karen. “It is gorgeous.” The dress was a floor-length cobalt blue. On either side of the dress were sequins running all the way down to the floor. The gown was a sleeveless halter neck. “I love it!”
Talia folded the dress and put it back in the box. She hugged me tightly.
“I’m glad you like it. I had it made just for you. But that’s not all.” I pulled out a tiny square box.
Talia opened it and I watched as her eyes filled with tears. “Oh no, are you okay? Did I do something wrong?”
She shook her head, unable to speak. She took the necklace out of the box. It was a silver heart-shaped locket. Talia’s hands fumbled with the locket. “I’m sorry,” she finally said. “I am just so touched. No one has ever gotten me something so beautiful.”
Enceladus didn’t use paper money. We bartered. So I had gone to the jeweler and our seamstress with gems and such. But, neither would let me actually pay.
“You’re worth it, Talia.” I touched her cheek fondly.
“Thank you, Amy. Thank you.” She kissed me and everything else faded away.