Three Space Enforcement agents showed up a little later. They all wore similar black uniforms. The differences were their races. The only man had tan skin with swirling tattoos and teeth that were pointed. One of the women had brown horns on her head and feet that resembled hooves. The other woman appeared to be human, except for her one red eye, but I knew she wasn’t. No humans worked for SE, let alone knew about it.
Apparently, my private tutors hadn’t done much good because I had no idea what planet each of these people were from. They all were from one of Saturn’s moons or Saturn itself. I knew that because the Saturn SE base only employed agents from the section of the universe it was protecting.
They shook mine and each of my siblings’ hands along with the two scientists and introduced themselves. The man was named Raine, the horned girl named Mika, and the human-looking woman was Enisa.
As soon as Enisa shook my hand, I noticed her arm. It was entirely made of shining metal. It was a robotic arm. The marksmanship on the arm was incredible. It was so intricately built. The fingers were slim along with the arm. Not bulky. I’d never seen anything so advanced. It sparked a memory in my head of what planet she was from; Mimas, the robot planet.
Cassiopeia had everyone sit in the dining room while the servers brought out dinner.
“So, why don’t we get right down to it, Your Majesties,” said Mika, addressing Cass and John. “Your planet is heating up and you’ve asked for our help.” She took a sip of her wine.
“Yes,” Cassiopeia answered. “Our planet is never supposed to get above sixty degrees Fahrenheit. It is now rounding fifty five.”
I cursed silently. Was it really that warm already?
“What is the average for your planet?” Enisa asked in a monotone voice. Her red eye seemed to narrow in at Cass.
“It normally stays in the high thirties,” Dr. Udom said, which was cold, but our people were used to it. We didn’t get cold in it like other races would.
“My people are becoming ill. First the elderly were sick and now the children as well. We need a solution, which is why I reached out to Space Enforcement. I need your help,” Cass told them in a voice that sounded defeated.
Raine spoke up. “There are uninhabited planets all over. We could find one that mirrors yours and relocate you all.” Everything but his face was covered in black ink that appeared to be moving. I squinted at his arm. He caught me watching. “Yes, they are moving,” he whispered and smiled flirtatiously at me. I wanted to ask how but now was not the time.
Don’t let him look at you that way. Snap his neck.
Whoa, what? Why did that keep happening to me? It was that voice again. Mine but not mine.
“That’s what we suggested,” Dr. Wainwright said.
“How difficult would that be? How many ships would we need? How long would it take?” Cassiopeia obviously didn’t like the idea of moving planets. I had to admit I didn’t like it much either. It would be a hassle. As much as Enceladus had done to me and I had done to it, it was my home.
“It would be rather difficult. But it might be the only solution, Your Majesty,” said Raine.
Delphinus was quietly observing. She looked rather bored but I knew she was paying attention. I knew this was important to her. Her baby needed a planet to live on.
“My Queen,” Dr. Udom began, “This is the only way.” He turned to the SE agents. “Fifteen days ago, we tried to cool our planet with our abilities. It worked for only days before the temperature rose to higher than it was before.” His attention went back to Cassiopeia and John. “We need to do this.”
Cass sighed a weight-of-the-world sigh. Technically, she did have the weight of a world on her shoulders. “Enceladus Klïp is tomorrow. I cannot tell the citizens that we are moving to a new planet when they are celebrating this one.”
“How about we wait?” I suggested. Cass looked to me like she forgot I was there. “It will give you more time to think.” I suddenly thought of Caelum and how much he would hate to miss a meeting like this. He would never relocate.
Cass sighed for the millionth time. “Alright. We will wait until Enceladus Klïp is over. Then I will decide.”
With that, we finished dinner silently. Raine flirted with me more and I was thankful I didn’t hear anymore remarks from that voice.
Cassiopeia stood. “Thank you for coming and helping us with our . . .” she searched for the right word. “. . . problem. The royal family appreciates it.”
The agents shook all our hands again. Raine winked at me.
He doesn’t deserve to wink at you.
Then I was caught staring at him, wanting to snap his neck.
“Princess?” Raine questioned.
I blinked several times, trying to get rid of that want. “Sorry, it was nice meeting you.”
I walked away. As soon as I exited the dining room, my vision became blurry. Those thoughts were threatening to take over. I walked, not really knowing where I was going. I felt I was walking up the stairs but I wasn’t sure.
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.
That was all I wanted to do. I was shaking. It felt like I fumbled with a door knob, hopefully to my own room.
Then the room went dark.
There he was again. My father.
“Stacia,” he said again, tssing. “You should have gave in. Became The Destroyer.”
I exhaled, rubbing my eyes. Surprisingly, it didn’t surprise me that my father visited again. Contradictory. “If you wouldn’t have visited me, I’m sure I would’ve gone dark.”
“Oh really?” He chuckled, a terrifying noise. He looked just the same as last time except, next to his throne was another one. It was smaller and crimson red, the same color as blood, whereas his was black underneath the fire (that was out this time). The back of the chair stretched up about five feet and my father’s was maybe seven.
“Is that Lilith’s? Will I get to meet her?” I cocked my hip. Even though I was scared, I was thoroughly annoyed.
He laughed. “No, my dear. Lilith’s throne is made of solid gold. No, this is yours.” He held his hand out toward me.
I would’ve laughed if I was sure I wouldn’t pee from fear. “My throne.” Somewhere deep down, those words felt amazing to say.
“Yes. All yours. I had it made after the last time I visited you. By the way, have you enjoyed my messages?”
I stared into his yellow reptilian eyes for a while until it clicked. He was the one putting those thoughts into my head. Those evil thoughts. “You,” I whispered. My anger bubbled up like a tea pot.
My father laughed loudly, seeming to shake the room. “Yes, me. I haven’t been able to get the voice quite right though.”
Something occurred to me. “How much of my life can you see?”
His clawed hand tapped on the end of his arm rest. “It’s not that I can see it exactly. Like I said last time, there’s a tether connecting us. I can feel your life. I can feel your emotions.”
“But how can you see things? Like Talia or that man who was flirting with me? You knew exactly what was going on.”
“Well at some moments your emotions are clearer to me. You draw me in with the more powerful emotions. It’s like you’re channeling me. That is when I can see your life. It’s like looking through fog. I see things through your eyes.”
I shivered. So he could see my life. Even if it was only for certain moments.
“I can’t see it all the time of course. I can also ignore it but I like to know what my daughter’s up to.” He stood and closed the distance between us. I was too scared to move. “Join me, Stacia. You won’t have to control yourself. You won’t have to control the things that make you better.”
“Of course you can,” the Devil growled, grabbing my chin.
I didn’t dare break away from the touch but my horns a tail shot out.
“There she comes,” he purred.
That was when I did break away. “I want to go back.”
He rolled his eyes. “Again, I can’t keep you here against your will. Which is why I need you to turn dark, Stacia. Just leave it all behind. Those people back there don’t really care about you. They’re just trying to please you so you won’t kill them. Especially your no good siblings. I was there all those years ago when they were bullying you. I couldn’t access you then because you had no powers.”
My siblings. Caelum. “Do you know how to cure Caelum?”
My father sighed and stepped back. “Even after all he’s done to you, you want to help him. Such a big heart.”
“I do,” he said, looking away.
“How?” I exclaimed.
There was a wicked grin on his face. “Summon me.”
For a second I genuinely, truly thought about it. “No, I won’t do that. Just tell me how to do it.”
The Devil went back to his throne and draped his large frame over it. “Stacia, only I can cure your brother. In person.”
I sighed. “I would like to leave.”
I thought about it. “A lot. I really want to go home.”
I blinked and I was suddenly back in my room. I let loose a breath I didn’t realized I’d been holding.
“Princess, it’s me.” Talia called, knocking on my door.
“Come-” my voice was barely there. I cleared my throat. “Come in.”
She obeyed and grinned as she spotted me. I came to her and kissed her on the cheek, glad to see her. Glad to have her ease my insanity.
“Are you alright?”
She knew. Just that fast, she knew something was wrong. “I saw him again.”
Her face softened in sympathy. “Amy . . . what’d he say?”
“The usual.” I bit out a harsh laugh. “Wants me to join him.”
The expression in Talia’s eyes, whatever it was, calmed me. I hugged her tightly, like I’d never let go.
She hugged me back just as tight. “Why don’t you turn in early? You’ve had a long, long day.” She was right. The day began with Jae threatening to kill Talia, then the meeting with SE and then my father paying me a visit. And the day wasn’t even over.
I started to think what she suggested was a great idea. I agreed and curled into my bed. As Talia moved to leave, I called out, “Wait. Will you sleep here?”
Talia looked down at her outfit. She was wearing a maid’s dress with an apron. She seemed to not care. Talia climbed into bed next to me. I put my arm around her and fell asleep shortly after.