It was only a few days after Carina was born and the tension in the palace and the planet was palpable. We were to leave for Earth tomorrow in order to get there the twenty-seventh and everybody was either snapping at each other or weepy.
I hadn’t gotten much sleep lately because of Carina but I didn’t mind so much (I wasn’t that tired anyway). The baby was just what our family needed.
We had just finished a call with Space Enforcement. They said they would send several ships to us to travel to Earth in. They gave us strict protocol not to interact with the humans before the attack or unless it was absolutely necessary.
“Right now, I want to distribute the weapons and armor to the citizens going with us next week. I would like Caelum and Amelia to help me.” With that, everybody went their separate ways. Caelum, John and I followed Cass to the basement where the weaponry was located.
“Ah, Your Royal Majesties,” Colton, the keeper of the armory greeted. “Just in time. The armorer just brought up the armor and our blacksmith gave me the weapons a few days ago. I have the armor in here.” He pointed to a huge cart full of all different kinds of armor; gorgets, rerebraces and pauldrons. “Weapons here.” There was another bin filled to the brim with weapons such as swords, knives, even shields. “The royal family’s is set aside.”
Cass ordered two guards to roll the carts out to the planet square. We followed them out to where the citizens were waiting eagerly or nervously, I couldn’t tell.
“Hello citizens,” Cass spoke in Enceladian, “It’s good to see you all. We have all the weapons and armor that we will need. I wanted to make sure everyone has enough and that it’s adequate. I would like everyone to form four lines in front of Prince Caelum, Princess Amelia, King John and myself. We will distribute the armor first.”
The citizens obeyed and we started handing out things like a cuisse which covered a person’s thighs, a cuirass that covered the entire torso and a greave that protected a person’s front and back calve. Almost all of the citizens avoided meeting my eyes and my skin as if afraid I was contagious. Like they’d catch the “evil” if they touched me.
A while later, we had passed out all the armor. We were short a few people so John flew back to the palace to let the armorer know. His “office” along with the blacksmith’s was outside near the castle. Next, we moved on to the weapons. We gave out broadswords (my specialty), claymores, cutlasses, rapiers, and longswords.
Halfway through that I heard, “P-p-princess Amelia?” I turned around and saw a young maid flying up to me. She landed and didn’t take her eyes off the ground. “Th-the scribe, Dagfinn wants to talk to-to you, Your-Your Highness. He’s in the infirmary and we don’t think he has long left.”
Oh no. “Thank you.” She took off the second “thank” left my mouth. Yet another person terrified of me.
Cassiopeia had heard and nodded at me. John came back and took my place.
I flew back to the palace and stopped at the infirmary, taking a deep breath. I braced myself and walked in. “Dagfinn.” He was propped up in one of the beds lining the room. No one else was in there, thank goodness. I remembered last year when there weren’t even enough beds for our sick. And when some woman called me a devil for killing her son during the war with Tethys. . .
“Princess, thank you so much for seeing me.” I sat next to his bed and examined him. He was much skinnier from the last time I saw him. His skin had lost color. My heart reached out to him. He was a good man and one of the few people not afraid of me.
“How are you?”
“I’ll be gone soon but I am no longer in pain.”
“Good.” I mustered up a half smile. It was the least I could do. “I mean—I mean not good that you’ll be gone but good that you’re not in pain.”
He smirked. “I asked you here today so I could teach you how to read minds.”
My mouth slid open. He what? “Dagfinn, I don’t need any more crazy abilities.”
“No, no it’s not crazy. It’s a part of mind control. Really, you already have it. You just need to unlock it. Please, let me teach you. No one else knows how to do it. I never had children so this will be my legacy.”
Bæt. “Okay.” When I first met him, he had read my thoughts regarding his age. I had embarrassed myself by calling him old.
He grinned and sat up more with my help. “It’s nothing more than concentration.” Even his voice was weak. “You have to want to know what the other is thinking. If you want it enough, it will come. Think of a number.”
Forty. It was the first number that popped into my head and I grimaced.
“Forty,” Dagfinn said.
I nodded. “Yeah.” I had to admit it was a handy ability.
I listened and listened. Heard nothing. I shrugged.
“It’s okay. It doesn’t come easy at first. Try again.”
What are you thinking, Dagfinn?
Just then I heard it. “Ten.”
“Ten! Oh my gosh, I did it!” Now that I thought about it, what Delphinus did two years ago could be a variation of mind control as well as this was. When she sent me that message in my head saying, “we are coming”, she had used mind control but she wasn’t exactly controlling me. She was forcing her thoughts into my head. Telepathy.
He smiled. “Yes, you did.” He grabbed my hand and closed his frail hand around it. “Now this is going to be a full sentence so concentrate.”
I obeyed and heard nothing for a while. Then I shut out everything else.
“You are not responsible for the actions of your other self. She killed those people. Not you.”
I took my hand from his. “You don’t understand. She’s a part of me. It was my fault. I failed in stopping her.”
“Oh, Amelia. If this haunts you forever, you’ll never be truly happy. One of my dying wishes is for you to find peace, once and for all. That will never happen if you harbor all this negative energy. Let it go.”
Easier said than done. “I’ll try.”
He smiled. He was closest thing I had to a father or a grandfather according to his seven-century age. “I must warn you. You must not use the ability to invade people’s privacy. There are certain things you never want to hear. Things that will break you. I urge you to be careful. Once you can do this easily, thoughts tend to find you. So be careful.”
“Seems like too much of a hassle and a burden,” I said.
He chuckled, the sound a little wet. “It will come in handy when you are fighting enemies. You will be able to hear what they’re thinking. You will be able to find their weakness and predict what they’re going to do.”
“Thank you, Dagfinn. I want you to know I’ve really enjoyed you being in my life. You are a good man and I’ll remember you forever.” I would not cry. “You’re the closest thing I have to a grandfather.”
“That means a lot to me, Amelia. Thank you. You are the closest thing I have to a granddaughter, so we are even. Now you must leave. I fear I will be gone soon.”
I leaned over and kissed him on the forehead. “Goodbye, Dagfinn. Thank you.”