Enceladus 3: The Heat

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Chapter Eight

The next few days were filled with trips to the infirmary and the divisions. When Talia and I weren’t fixing houses, we were helping the sick. There had been seven more children to fall ill to heat exhaustion. Cassiopeia wanted to freeze the planet again soon. She thought that would help but I wasn’t so sure.

Talia hadn’t left my side. She had even been sleeping in my room. I still hadn’t told her about seeing my father again or what that lady said to me in the infirmary.

I made sure I didn’t miss visiting with Lynx. Since he had held me while I cried, he was more willing to let me vent. He would even persuade me to tell him what was going on.

Today, Talia and I visited Lynx together. I hadn’t been able to tell him about the Devil yet. He still didn’t know who my father was and that I met him.

It looked like today was the day. “You blacked out during the war. What happened?”

I glanced nervously at Talia. She nodded reassuringly. I steadied my breathing. “I saw my father.”

“Your real father.” It wasn’t a question.

I nodded anyway. “My father is—the Devil.”

Lynx’s light eyebrows rose but he said nothing.

“My father is the Devil,” I said, more firmly. I hated it but I needed to accept it. Right? “I saw him when I blacked out. He was this seven foot, red creature. He had scales and yellow eyes, horns and a tail. He was terrifying.” I paused.

“Your father is the Devil?” Lynx asked, the same Talia had asked when I told her.

“Yes. Our mother wrote me a letter before she died.” Only, she didn’t really die and Lainie and I were the only ones who knew that! “It told me that she made a deal with the Devil to create me.”

So I spent the hour telling Lynx about my father.

After I was done, I decided to come clean even more. “Then, there was the second time I saw him.”

“Second time?” Talia asked, worried. She was sitting on a chair next to Lynx’s bed that he and I were on.

I bobbed my head. “It was the night of Ålmôn Klïp. He came to me again.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?” Talia seemed hurt. Lynx just simply watched the exchange, eyes dull.

“I didn’t want to ruin the honeymoon phase, so to speak.”

“’Honeymoon phase’?” I knew why she was confused. That was an Earth phrase. The whole “honeymoon” idea was an Earth thing. There were no such things as honeymoons on Enceladus.

I shook my head. “I just didn’t want to bother you with yet another crisis.”

“You are never a bother, Amelia.” She grabbed my hand and threaded her fingers through mine.

“Get a room,” my brother said. I looked at him, surprised. Snarky comments were his forte. Even though his voice didn’t have any inflection, it was still progress.

Talia giggled and removed her hand. The second I heard that sound, I knew I was in deep. I did want to get a room. Badly. “What did the Devil say to you this time?”

“It was different this time since I wasn’t dark,” I said. “He wanted to know if I’d made a decision about his offer. He also called me The Destroyer instead of ‘going dark’. He said I was ‘close to becoming The Destroyer’.”

“’The Destroyer’,” Lynx repeated.

“Of course I turned his offer down. I always will.” I surprised myself. Usually, I was terrified I’d say yes. I’d expressed my fears about agreeing. But now for some reason the words, “I always will,” came out. What had changed? Would I always? Yes. Hopefully.

“Yes, you will.” Talia grabbed my hand, as if, those few seconds she wasn’t holding it felt wrong.

Someone knocked on Lynx’s door. “Lynx, its Cassiopeia. May I come in?” Lynx said yes and Cass walked in. “Oh! Sorry, I did not know you had company.”

To which Lynx replied, “Oh, I was just about to kick them out.” He had an emotionless expression and the same monotone voice but he was making jokes!

Everyone let out a nervous laugh. We weren’t sure what to do since he hadn’t made a joke in a very long time. “We’ll let ourselves out. See you tomorrow, nïxï,” I told him and led us out. On our way out the door, Talia bowed to Cass.

“So,” I began, “maybe we could have a do-over date.”

“Hey, the beginning of the night was great. How about we just redo the last part?”

Oh yeah, I was indeed screwed. I nodded, too flustered for words.

She laughed at me and led me towards her room. Was it going to happen now? No . . . no, I needed to shower and look presentable.

“What are we . . . ?” I didn’t finish because Talia stopped at the library’s double doors.

Talia steered me to the back of the library where there were no people. She took me to one of the aisles in the back and kissed me.

I leaned in and then realized where we were. I pulled away. “Wait, what are you doing?” I grinned.

Talia smiled mischievously. I didn’t know this side of her but I loved it. She kissed me again and I made no more protests.

Soon we were sliding down the bookcase, careful not to knock any books off. When we were on the floor and I was on top of her, I bumped into the shelf and a book went tumbling down and landed on my kôô.

Talia couldn’t contain her laughter and I shushed her, trying not to lose it myself.

“You okay?” She was laughing silently. Her hand moved to my butt, the affected area.

I nodded and dove in for a kiss. She still had a smile on her lips that remained for a bit. Her mouth was soft, but firm, on mine. It was the perfect blend. Her legs wrapped around my waist, like up on the roof.

I reached down to her top. She was wearing a button up top that covered a plain, light pink gown. I unbuttoned it as slowly as I could even though I didn’t want to be slow or gentle.

Once it was open, I kissed her delicate neck.

How easy it would be for me to rip her throat out.

What-

I stopped moving.

“Amy? Are you okay?”

Just then, someone cleared their throat. I whipped my head up and found Dagfinn, the scribe, staring at us disapprovingly.

I got off of Talia and helped her up. She put her back to us while she buttoned her top. Her cheeks were a deep red when she turned around.

“Sorry, Dagfinn,” I said.

“Princess Amelia,” he bowed. When he straightened up, he had a smirk on his face. “Crazy kids,” he murmured. “Don’t let it happen again.” With that, he walked away.

Talia let loose a breath she had most likely been holding. “I am sorry about that.”

“It’s fine,” I mumbled.

“Are you alright, Amelia?”

I nodded. “I just heard Dagfinn,” I lied.

It looked like she knew I was lying. “I have to go do some things. I’ll see you tonight?” Talia kissed me on the cheek and left the library.

All I could do was sit on the floor.

How easy it would be for me to rip her throat out.

I couldn’t believe I had thought that. But the voice . . . it was mine yet it wasn’t. It was less of a thought and more of someone telling me—inside my head.

What the fëŵ?

I had never had thoughts so evil when I was still me. Why did it happen now? Why did it have to?

I went to talk to the only person I could about this. Caelum.

Golda wasn’t in the room, thankfully. I sat next to his bed. “Hey, Cal. I have something interesting to talk about today. Well . . . it’s all been interesting, hasn’t it?” Here I was, asking my comatose brother questions. “Talia and I were in the library—making out—and then there was this voice in my head. It sounded like mine but it didn’t feel like me. It didn’t even feel like dark me.” I sighed and closed my eyes. “It was like someone put the thought in my head.”

Suddenly, someone burst through the door. My eyes snapped open and I saw it was several people. Dr. Jones with some maids and a nurse, Cassiopeia, John and Golda.

“What’s going on?” I asked, standing up.

“Dr. Jones thinks he might have found a cure for Caelum,” Cassiopeia told me.

What? “What is it?”

A nurse I’d seen in the infirmary answered. “It’s a mix of herbs. Mïnôp, lavender, and bêš.”

Lavender? I knew that lavender only grew on Earth. “How did you get lavender?”

“SE gave it to us. They are aware of Caelum’s condition,” John informed me.

Dr. Jones had a bowl in his hand. It must have been a poultice of the herbs. A poultice was a paste that was made with mashed herbs or plants and mixed with warm water. Poultices were used to heal all sorts of ailments.

Jones lifted Caelum’s shirt. Clashing with his pale, toned abdomen was a skinny hole in his chest, near his heart. The hole was as clean as it could be but no matter what the doctor tried to do, it was still infected and it wouldn’t close. Jones suspected it was because of the magical poison Drea had used on the blade. Even the stiches wouldn’t hold. Every time our doctors tried to stitch it closed, it magically reopened.

Dr. Jones dipped his hands in the salve and rubbed it on Caelum’s wound. We all leaned in, thinking something would immediately happen.

Jones shooed us back. “It won’t take effect immediately. It will take a day, maybe more.”

Golda groaned, then instantly apologized.

“Let’s give Prince Caelum some rest,” John said, which was entirely ludicrous because that was all Cal had been doing; resting.

Everyone agreed and shuffled out of the room, except for Golda. I squeezed her shoulder before I exited.

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