One Week Later
We were leaving tomorrow. Cassiopeia hadn’t wanted to leave so early but the citizens were getting sick. Even I had started to feel weak from the heat.
The palace was all packed up. Most of the boxed stuff was waiting by our ship dock, which was just beyond Planet Hall. My room was just an empty bed.
Lynx didn’t want to move. He said he would be leaving behind the last of Alexander. That was about all he said on the subject.
Once we got to Miranda, we had to begin building. Not everyone was going at once, of course. It took a long time to get there so there would be time for people on Miranda to start building while the spaceship was going back for the rest of Enceladus. SE was going to loan us a dozen agents and a few ships to help.
I still wasn’t sure this was all going to work. We were going to an uninhabited planet, with about 500,000 people plus however many animals we had. Plus all of our belongings. SE was just going to drop us in a strange environment and let us figure it out.
I visited Caelum who had been moved to the infirmary downstairs for easier transporting. Poor Cal. If he woke up—when he woke up—he would be on an entirely different planet.
“Hey, nïxï.” Golda must have been home, packing up. “So I don’t know if you’ve heard but we’re moving tomorrow. I know, I know,” I said like I knew what he would say if he were awake. “It’s so soon. But people are sick. Miranda is similar to our atmosphere. It will be fine.” I grabbed his hand, reassuring him and trying to reassure myself.
I was worried about being on a different planet. Worried for the citizens. They were Enceladians. Not Mirandians. I was certain that would never change. No matter how many centuries we’d be on Miranda. I was never extremely proud to be Enceladian but a lot had changed when my sister took the throne. The planet became one to be proud of. We were Enceladians. That would never change.
I left Caelum when Golda arrived.
“Amelia!” someone shouted from downstairs. It sounded like Cassiopeia and I jumped at the volume. I sprinted down the stairs, thinking something was wrong.
I got down there and saw she was standing just outside the palace, doors wide open.
“Look!” She pointed to the dark sky.
I looked and there was a giant spaceship getting ready to dock. “That’s not one of SE’s.”
Cass shook her head. That was when I noticed her sai’s and that she wasn’t wearing a dress. I couldn’t count how many knives she had. Most of them were probably hidden. Next to her was John, gripping a sword. My broadsword was in my room. Cass had insisted we keep out just a few weapons, when all the rest were packed up.
I sprinted once more to get my sword. When I got back down, Cass was already flying to the planet square with nearly all of the palace guards. I followed them.
We anxiously awaited whoever was on that ship that looked unlike anything I had ever seen.
More and more Enceladians joined us.
“Stay sharp, everyone,” Cass whispered.
We were all hovering in the air so we could see above the hall. Suddenly the ship opened and out came . . . humans?
No, they couldn’t be humans. They had no knowledge of life on other planets. And that ship was too far advanced.
There were four of them. They headed on foot to the square. Only then did we land.
“Who are you?” Cass demanded in a scary Queen voice. “What are you doing on my planet?”
They were all wearing plain Earth fashioned clothing. A man stepped forward. His eyes were grey, just like mine. I looked at all of them. All of their eyes were grey . . . “We are here to help. You may call us the Guclon.”
The Guclon? I had never heard of them.
“I am sure you are all riddled with questions. Let me offer some answers. The Guclon are an ancient alien race.”
“You look just like humans,” John pointed out.
“Ah, yes. We are in human form.”
“What’s your real form?” Cassiopeia asked.
The man nodded to a woman next to him. Suddenly her face twisted up in something like concentration. In seconds, instead of her body, there was a floating ball of greyish light. It was so bright I had to squint. It was iridescent and breathtakingly beautiful.
The citizens gasped.
The woman switched back to her human form. “That is our true form now,” she said. Her eyes scanned me.
“Why are you here?” Cass asked, her voice wavering.
“I will start at the beginning. Our planet is called Gon. It is millions of light years away from here. We have been around since the beginning of time. I am sure none of you know how you came to this planet, only that it is your home.” He paused for confirmation. “The Guclon are the ones who put you here.”
Some people gasped. Others tried to call out their lie.
“Your ancestors are humans.” Another round of cries. “We took a handful of humans from Earth in the year 1000. We took your ancestors and altered their genes, giving them abilities and wings. At first they were scared, confused but eventually they loved it.”
I heard what he was saying but could barely process it.
“We then made Enceladus, sixth largest moon of Saturn, habitable. We gave you trees. We gave you air. Our technology was—is—extremely innovative. Earth did not even know of technology then. We also did this with Tethys. Tethians are also altered humans.”
“Your animals, as I am sure you know, are not animals that live on Earth. When we altered your ancestors’ genes, we also crossed species to create your animals.”
“Why?” Cassiopeia whispered.
“We wanted to experiment. We had been living lives that were just ordinary. We had all-knowing abilities and nothing to use them on. Experimenting with you and Tethys gave us purpose. We have been watching you for a thousand years.”
A thousand years. We were altered humans. Enceladian was a made up race. I could hardly believe any of it.
The man spoke again. “We have come today to help you. We want you to stay on Enceladus. We made it habitable but we knew this would happen. We are here to make it habitable once more.”
I could tell the citizens were believing him. Some of the more religious types were on their knees, looking at the Guclon like they were gods.
“How will you do that?” asked John.
“Our technology is capable of many things. With your blessing, Queen Cassiopeia Ladus and King John Reed, we would like to start. It may take a few hours.”
I looked over at Cass. She was really struggling with this. She wanted to trust them but it was hard, I knew. It was all very confusing. She sighed. “Okay.”
“Excellent.” He smiled and gave a curt nod to the other three people. They turned and walked back to their ship.
“Wait,” I spoke up. “You’ve been watching us for one thousand years.” He nodded. “You didn’t think you should have intervened at some points? Like Orion ruling? The coup? The war?” Suddenly I was angry. Oh, I was so angry.
“Princess Amelia, you should calm down.”
Oh really? I should calm down? “What about when my mother made a deal with the Devil? You didn’t think that was important enough? When she killed her husband? Also not important enough?”
No one knew that Vela had Orion killed. But then I didn’t really care.
“And when she made me. You just let her create a monster. Not the Devil. No, something equally as bad. His daughter. How was that. Not. Important. Enough.” I bit out each word.
My vision started to darken. It was coming. I knew it. I could feel it. I dropped to my knees and screamed out. I clutched my head, trying to control it.
Suddenly Talia was there. I couldn’t see her but I recognized her touch. “Amy, Amy. I’m here. Don’t go. Stay with me. Stay with me. Please stay with me.”
She kept repeating that. I was so close to becoming what I hated most. And this time I wasn’t sure I’d be able to come back. Talia was too close. If I went dark, she’d be dead in seconds.
I screamed again. This time in anger. I didn’t want to turn. I didn’t want to kill people.
Give up, Stacia. Give in.
His voice was in my head. Instead of summoning me, he was just trying to make me dark. Make me The Destroyer.
“No!” I shouted.
“Amelia, please. I’m here. Come back to me.” Talia’s voice broke. It sounded like she was going to cry.
That was what brought me back. The darkness cleared and Talia was in front of me, so close. “Is it you?” There were unshed tears in her eyes along with fear.
She threw her arms around me. “I was so worried I’d lost you.” When she looked into my eyes again, I realized she wasn’t afraid of me. She was afraid of losing me.
“I’m here. It’s okay.” I looked around. The people had backed away from me, forming an open circle. They were terrified. “I am so sorry,” I said, standing up.
“Princess,” the man began, “Our job was to observe. Like any creators in the universe, we could not get involved. We had to let you all make your own mistakes. If we always came running when you were in trouble, you would never learn or grow. We wanted you to be a real society, which is why we created a language, food, even holidays.”
I didn’t like what he was saying but I did understand.
“The decision your mother made,” he paused. “Both of them,” he said in a much lower voice, “were poor. But Princess, we know ultimately that you are good.”
The man just smiled. Though it looked like there was a hint of sadness in his eyes. His friends came back with a machine on wheels the size of one of our vüŵ (that apparently the Guclon created). “We need to put the device in the center of the planet.”
Cassiopeia nodded and made the citizens move out of the way. The grass at the center where we froze it was dead.
The Guclon placed the device where the dead grass was. The woman who had shed her human skin typed on the touch pad at the top of the machine. As soon as she pulled away the machine made a sound like there was a fierce windstorm coming.
“How does it work?” John asked.
“Well, on the bottom of the device there are dozens of holes exerting freezing air into your planet,” the woman replied.
“But that’s what we did with our abilities,” Constable Asger added, making me realize he was there.
“Yes, Constable Asger, but your abilities were not enough. It needs to be constant for a few hours. Also, your abilities aren’t cold enough. There was no way you could have fixed it,” said the woman.
It was a little eerie how they knew all of our names.
“Now, I understand that Prince Caelum is ill and in a coma,” the alien addressed Cass. She nodded. “We can help him.”
“What?” Cass exclaimed. “You can bring him out of his coma?”
“Yes, we can. We can also cure all of your citizens that fell ill to the heat.”
“If you’re so set on letting us make our own mistakes then why help at all?” I asked them.
“These are not your mistakes,” was all he said.
“Why don’t we go and cure your Prince?” the woman suggested.
“I’ll stay with the citizens,” John told us.
So Cassiopeia, Delphinus, Golda, Talia and I followed the only two who spoke to the palace.
We led the Guclon to the infirmary but I was sure they knew exactly where Caelum was the same way they knew our names.
The two Guclon hovered over Caelum. They placed both their hands on his chest. There was a bright light and then they stepped away.
Golda rushed to Cal’s side. “Caelum?”
Then he opened his eyes. I swore I never thought I would be so happy to see his green eyes. “Golda?” His voice was raspy but I could have wept at it.
Golda threw her arms around him. “Oh my,” she cried. “I thought I would never hear your voice again.” She helped him sit and gave him some water.
The rest of us stood in shock. Cal was really awake.
Then it was Cassiopeia’s turn to hug him. “Bæt zü. You scared us.” Damn you, she had said.
“Sorry,” he grinned. Then Del hugged him. “Whoa, you’re huge.” We all laughed while Del socked him in the shoulder. “Pregnant or been eating too much?” That earned him another punch.
“And you’ve lost some muscle, big brother.” Her tone was fond. She had missed him. And Cal had lost some weight. His arms were not as big as they once were. Even his face seemed to be missing some weight.
Then it was my turn. I made eye contact and his eyes softened. I almost thought I imagined it. “Caelum.” I put my arms around him and was surprised that he held on so tightly. “I missed you,” I whispered in his ash-white hair.
“I missed you.” It sounded like he even surprised himself.
We pulled away in time for Dr. Jones to race into the room. “Prince Caelum.”
“Who are you?” Cal asked.
Dr. Jones froze. “You don’t know me?”
“Kidding. But actually, who are they?” He pointed at the Guclon.
“We have a lot to talk about,” Golda said, intertwining her fingers with his.
“Are we on Miranda?”
How did he know about Miranda? I had only told him when he was in the coma.
Everyone seemed to be thinking the same thing.
“I heard everything in there. It was like I was awake but I couldn’t open my eyes or move. It was terrible. It was like a prison.”
I shuddered. He had heard everything? That meant he knew about me. I had told him everything about me. Who my real father was, how Vela wasn’t really dead, how many times I had seen the Devil . . . Now he knew it all.
“Princess Amelia,” the male Guclon spoke. “Your other brother, Prince Lynx. He is severely depressed?”
He stated it as a question but I knew he knew the answer. I bit my lip and nodded.
“We can help him.”
“What? You can? How?”
“Come with me.”
Without another look at Caelum or Talia, I followed the man out of the room.
“Where is Alexander’s body?”
I hesitated, confused. “It’s in the graveyard.” Enceladus had a graveyard in the forest just to the right of the palace. We had to bury too many after the war. Some that I killed.
“Take me there.”
It didn’t seem like he was going to explain so I obliged.
Once we got there, his face changed to sympathy. “We need to dig up Alexander’s body.”
“I am going to bring him back, Amelia.”
Tears came to my eyes. “Are you serious?” I whispered.
“Then why not bring back everyone else?” All the people I killed.
“We only have the energy for one. Based on our analysis, Alexander is the best choice. He will heal your brother and you all need your brother. Both brothers. The royal family needs to be intact in the following issues to come.”
The Guclon waved it off. “We need to dig it up now.” I led him to Alexander’s grave. “You need to use your elemental control.”
I began lifting the dirt. “Won’t he be not a body anymore?” I said in the nicest way I could.
“Alexander is frozen.”
What . . . ? I decided not to ask. I just kept moving dirt with my mind. Finally I came to a lead colored box. Alexander’s coffin. When we had the mass funeral for all the Enceladians who died, Lynx didn’t go. But neither did I. No one wanted me there.
The man knelt down and opened the coffin. Sure enough, Alexander was frozen. But that wasn’t why I had to look away. I suddenly remembered the last time I saw him. His body was cut in half at the waist. Sure they had put him back together and he was wearing guard’s uniform but I couldn’t get that sight out of my head. Neither could my brother.
The Guclon pulled out a small hexagon shaped box. He placed it on Alexander’s chest and rocked back to his heels. “It will take a minute.”
“What exactly are you doing?”
“When Alexander was killed, we took his soul instead of letting it go. His soul is in that box.”
I would’ve laughed if it didn’t seem like he was serious. I stared at Alexander from his black hair to his uniform. My brother’s true love. I tried to see his soul go into his body, as ridiculous as that sounded. I saw nothing.
“You cannot see it. But I can.”
“Did you ever have a human form?”
“Ah yes. We evolved right around the time we settled your ancestors onto Enceladus. We no longer have a need for physical bodies.”
“And your form now—is that why all of your eyes are grey?”
“Our eyes were always grey, even when we had bodies.” His eyes flicked to mine. “Amelia, we do care about you. We care about all of our creation. You must understand. God does not intervene in the world, just as we did not. I am not claiming to be God, or like Him, but we are not monsters. I hope you do not think of us that way.”
“I don’t. I understand.”
“Thank you.” He smiled. “Alexander is waking up.”
I crouched down next to him. Sure enough, I heard breathing. “Will he be the same?”
“Yes but he does not remember dying. Just that he went elsewhere for five months. Do not worry. He was in peace.”
Alexander’s eyes opened and I started to cry. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out.
“Side effect,” the Guclon told me. “He will need some water.”
Alex tried to sit up and I helped him. “I can’t believe it. You’re okay.”
He nodded but seemed confused.
“You died, Alexander. In the war, five months ago.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Lynx?” he mouthed.
“You should go to him,” said the man.
I agreed and helped Alexander stand. The second he was on his feet, he collapsed. I picked him up and used to my telekinesis to hold him on his feet.
We walked back to the palace through the forest. No one in the square noticed us. They were too busy asking questions to the two other Guclon.
We stopped at the kitchen and got Alexander some water. It was difficult getting him up the stairs to Lynx’s room. I opened Lynx’s door with my telekinesis. His room was just a bare as mine. He was simply sitting on the floor.
He looked up and his eyes widened.