“That’s wrong!” a little boy yelled at me.
“No, it’s not.” I was helping the Moon division (which used to be the MC division) build new, better houses. Before, the houses were little more than shacks. That was thanks to Orion. May he not rest in peace.
The little boy, named Rian, told me I was painting the house incorrectly. “I wanted it blue. Mother said I could pick the color of our house!” he whined. He was about nineteen.
Nineteen didn’t sound like a whining child but since my people could live to be near a thousand years old, he was still a child. He acted and looked like one too. Enceladians aged and matured much slower than humans. Children on my planet aged from one to fifty years old. Teenagers went from fifty to two hundred. That meant I was technically a teenager, being 119. Adults ranged from two hundred to a millennia.
I lived on a planet called Enceladus. It was the sixth moon of Saturn. Our planet had no seasons, no sun and it never got above sixty degrees Fahrenheit. The average was forty. Which was a real problem considering it was nearing fifty degrees.
Today, I was almost sweating. I was used to low temperatures. Even when I lived on Earth in Ohio for eight years, I had to leave for somewhere cooler in the summers. That one hundred degree heat had made me literally sick.
“Well, your mother told me she wanted the house green,” I told Rian.
He stuck his tongue out at me and ran across the stream, soaking his feet, to presumably find his mother.
“Need some help, painter?”
I turned around and saw Talia. Talia was a friend from my childhood. She was twenty years older than me and we had just recently gotten close again. She was a palace servant who dealt with dressing the royals, specifically me.
“As a matter of fact, I do.” I smiled.
She and I had been flirting nonstop since about two months ago. Nothing concrete had happened though. She knew I wasn’t ready yet. It had only been four months since Lainie, my human ex, and I had broken up because I tried to kill her.
Talia grabbed a paintbrush and started painting the door the same pastel green. “You know, you are really doing a great thing with helping the citizens.”
“I know. You tell me every day,” I joked. She did.
“I mean it. It’s good for them. To see a royal actually helping with things that matter. It’s also good for you to see that they don’t hate you.”
I sighed. They didn’t all hate me, which was what she should have said. During the war with Tethys, my dark side had come out and I had used my “unique” power on everyone, killing Enceladians and Tethians alike. My “special” power was called energy sourcing. It was dangerous and practically uncontrollable. I had this power because Orion, who was my siblings’ father, wasn’t my father. The Devil was. The actual Devil was my father. Satan, Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, etc., whatever his name was. I met him when I went dark that day.
I looked at Talia and she was standing much closer to me.
“You alright?” she said in the voice that knew I wasn’t.
I nodded my head. I sometimes zoned out thinking about how many people I killed. Forty. That was how many of our people I murdered. Nobody had wanted to tell me how many. I finally dragged it out of Asger, our constable. Forty. It didn’t seem like a lot but my people were innocent. They didn’t deserve to be murdered. I didn’t know how many people I killed last year during the coup though. A lot less but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was a murderer.
“Amy . . .” Talia was worried now. She was there for me when I was so much worse. She saw what I went through not even a month ago. One second I was fine, doing things like painting a house, the next I was sobbing on my floor.
“I’m okay, really.” Only I wasn’t.
She smiled warmly at me. “Let’s get back to work. There’s still a lot to do.” She was right. We had almost finished remodeling one division. We still had three more to go.
I went to check on Lynx later in the day. He had lost his boyfriend in the war. The only deep relationship he’d ever had. He usually just hooked up and moved on. He had been in love with Alexander who was murdered brutally, cut in half. Lynx hadn’t come out of his room in four months. Every day, a servant brought him breakfast, lunch and dinner that stayed relatively uneaten. At least he was showering.
“Lynx,” I called, knocking on his door. I walked in and he was sitting on his bed, looking disheveled. “How are you?” I closed the door.
He looked up at me with that look of despair in his eyes. “Great,” he said monotone.
For a whole month, he wouldn’t speak at all. It was better now. Slightly. “I brought some sweets.” I brought him æb which was like chocolate cake on Earth.
I sat next to him and handed him the dessert. He ate it eagerly which surprised me even though it was his favorite dessert. I visited him every day and no matter what time of day it was, his meal sat on the food cart half-eaten.
“Good,” he mumbled.
“You should go see Caelum. You’re the only one who hasn’t visited,” I told him. Caelum, our older brother, was in a coma and had been since the war. Queen Amara’s daughter, Drea, stabbed him with a poisonous blade and we haven’t been able to wake him.
He shrugged and laid down in my lap. Every time I saw Lynx, he laid in my lap and fell asleep.
An hour later, I quietly left and made my way to Caelum’s room. If someone would have told me two years ago that I’d be visiting my comatose brother, Cal, and worrying about him to the point of exhaustion, I would have laughed in their face.
Caelum and I never had an awesome relationship. He was a bully to me when I was younger. I had never fit in with my family and he never let me forget it.
I opened the door and wasn’t surprised when I saw Golda sitting on the bed next to him. Golda was Cal’s betrothed and the reigning Duchess of the Vela division.
The non-royals of Enceladus lived in divisions. There were four divisions. The citizens used to be allowed to specialize in only one power even though they possessed all four (telekinesis, mind control, element control and invisibility). The citizens were split up according to their specialization. Queen Cassiopeia, my sister, changed that law. Now, the people could live anywhere they wanted and practice whatever power they wanted. She even changed the division names to Vela, our mother’s name (T division), Moon (MC division), Saturn (E division) and Greek (I division). Then there were reigning families of each division, compiled of Dukes and Duchesses. The families kept their divisions in order under Orion’s rule, now Cassiopeia’s rule. They also attended balls at the palace.
“How is he?” I asked, sitting in the chair beside the bed.
“The same, Princess,” Golda said sadly. She was holding his hand and stroking his face. “How is Prince Lynx?”
“He’s getting better. He showed interest in æb today.”
“That’s good. Do you mind if I step out for a minute?”
“Of course not.” She thanked me and left the room. “Cal. I miss your snide comments. Really.” Caelum was actually the only person I had told about meeting my father. Not even Talia knew. It was funny because Cal would be the last person I would ever confide in if he was awake.
Next to Cal’s bed was a vase of mïnôp, which was an Enceladian healing plant. It obviously wasn’t working. Nothing our doctor did was helping.
I laid my hand on his and squeezed. I leaned back in the chair and closed my eyes. I hoped Lainie was doing okay. I hadn’t contacted her for obvious reasons. How could I forgive myself for nearly sucking the life out of my girlfriend? She told me she forgave me and that I needed to forgive-
I sat up with a jolt and saw Golda walk into the room. She had a plate of food. It made my mouth water. I guessed it was dinner time. I didn’t remember the last time I ate.
“You can go get yourself some food, Princess.” Golda must have seen the expression on my face. I blushed and said goodbye.
Down in the royal dining room, Cassiopeia, King John and Delphinus were sitting at the long table.
“Nïx,” Cass greeted, calling me sister.
I sat next to Delphinus who also used to torment me but now we were much closer. As close as we could be, seeing as how she was four months pregnant. Enceladian pregnancies were nearly the same as human pregnancies, lasting nine months as well. Only I was born in six months and hadn’t been considered premature.
“How are you feeling?” I asked Del just as the servants brought out dinner.
“I’ve been better,” she huffed. But I knew she was happy about having a child, even if the father wouldn’t be in the picture. She’d been alive for three centuries, as well as all my siblings, and she was ready to be a mother.
“Anything about the heat?” I asked no one in particular.
“We are going to freeze the planet. Hopefully it will help,” Cass answered. She was fanning herself with her element control. I saw the wind blowing her hair. She had to be the hottest of us all. She was wearing a full royal garb for some reason.
“What’s the temperature?” asked Delphinus. I knew she was maybe just as hot.
“Is the conditioning on?” Del wondered.
“The air conditioner,” I corrected. I couldn’t blame her though. Enceladians had just recently learned what an air conditioner was. We had never needed any on our planet so it didn’t exist. I learned of them when I was on Earth. I’d even had one in my apartment. It was my task to explain what an air conditioner was two months ago.
“It should be,” said John.
We ate our dinner in silence. Though I noticed that Cass barely ate anything. She was worried, I could tell.
“Tomorrow, I will announce the plan to freeze Enceladus. I want it to happen before Ålmôn Klïp on the eleventh. It would be great, Amelia, if you could get Lynx out of bed to come. We want to appear as a united front,” Cass said at the end of dinner.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to but I nodded anyway and excused myself. Del mumbled about how she was going to see Lynx.
Ålmôn Klïp was a holiday on Enceladus that roughly translated into Star Day. It was an annual passing of shooting stars. It was special to our people because the stars on Ålmôn Klïp were said to grant any wish. I doubted it was true and so did the people of Enceladus but it truly was breathtaking so we didn’t mind the tales. I actually hadn’t seen the stars in almost nine years so I was excited.
I headed to the library where I knew Talia would be.
“Ĉëv,” she said as she saw me, which meant hi.
I sat down with her. “What are you doing?”
“Our planet. Just reading up about it. Refreshing my memory from school.”
On Enceladus, everyone went to school. The royal family had personal tutors but the divisions each had a building for school. Our children went to school until they were eighty years old. During and after that was another type of school which was for our powers, called Ability/Wing School—or AW School. It didn’t end until they were 130. If I had lived in the divisions, I would still be going to school.
“You know, on Earth, they call it global warming,” Talia said.
“Really?” I mused. I already knew this but I loved listening to her talk.
Talia and I spent the rest of the hour being too loud in the library and reading some old history books.