When I woke up, I was laying on Talia’s stomach. I jerked up, suddenly embarrassed. She was awake and her pale cheeks were red. “Sorry,” I mumbled and rubbed my eyes. “How long have I been asleep?”
“Just an hour.”
“You laid there for an hour? You could’ve snuck out,” I told her.
“The Princess comes first.”
It was my turn to blush.
There was a knock at my door. For a second, it felt so much like before the war that I half expected Alexander to tell me the Queen needed to see me.
“Princess Amelia, the Chancellor would like to speak with you.” It wasn’t Alexander’s voice, of course, and my chest ached.
“I’ll be right down,” I called. I jumped up and brushed my long black hair. It was a mess. “Do you want to . . .?”
Talia got the hint and stood up. “I have some things to do before Ålmôn Klïp tomorrow.” She smiled at me. “Don’t forget what I said.” I wouldn’t.
I trailed out behind her and made my way downstairs to the Chancellor’s office. It was right next to the Constable’s and beside the cafeteria.
I knocked. “Come in, Princess Amelia.”
I walked in and was shocked at how disorganized his office was. There were loose papers everywhere.
“Thank you for coming, Princess.” Chancellor Erik was no older than 250 and he was short for an Enceladian. Most Enceladians were fairly tall compared to humans. I was tall for my age and my gender; 5’10”. The average for adult women was 5’7” and for men it was 5’9”.
“What can I do for you, Chancellor?”
“Well, I’ll make this quick. I would like to make Talia Durand your lady-in-waiting.”
“My lady-in-waiting,” I repeated. A lady-in-waiting was like a queen or princesses’ personal servant.
“Yes, she nearly is already so why not make it official?”
“Did-did someone make you do this?”
He shuffled through some papers, almost knocking over a cup. “Of course not.”
I had a suspicion he was lying. I stepped as close to him as I could with his desk in between us. “Tell me,” I said in my most demon-y voice.
His eyes grew wide and his hands raised in surrender. “Fine, it was Talia. She insisted. It’s not that big of a deal.”
Well it didn’t seem like it was. But there was a silly, childish feeling in my stomach. Talia wanted to be my lady-in-waiting. Which meant she wanted to spend more time with me.
It was lunchtime and I decided to eat with Lynx in his room. When I stepped into his room, I noticed he had almost finished his entire lunch.
“How are you?” I asked after swallowing a bite of my vüŵên. It was like steak. Enceladus had very few animals. One was a vüŵ which was equivalent to a cow; we used it for milk and meat.
“Fine.” He sighed. “Amy, I miss him.”
I nearly choked on my water. Lynx hadn’t talked about Alexander since the week he died. He had stopped saying anything about him even though I knew Alex’s gory body haunted his dreams.
“I know, nïxï, I know.” I put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Forty. Alexander could have been one of those forty.
I would give anything in the world to see my brother smile again. To see him full of life and cockiness again. I didn’t know if he’d ever be the same person.
An awful thought occurred to me. My father possessed practically every power known to man and ones that weren’t known to man. I was sure he could bring Alexander back to life. But at what cost?
Amelia, don’t think that way.
It wasn’t like I could just ask him for a favor without anything in return. I physically shook my head to get rid of the thought.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked Lynx.
He had a faraway look in his eyes. “I was so in love with him.” His voice was devoid of life and it hurt my chest. “I can’t believe he’s gone. I can’t believe it. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” He kept repeating that even when I took him in my arms and rocked him.
“Shhh, it’s okay, Lynx. It’s okay.” Then he started to cry.
Half an hour later, he fell asleep in my lap.