“Amy! I have the biggest dilemma of my wedding,” called Lynx. We were in the ballroom. Littered all over the room were sample invitations, decorations, and food.
“What’s your biggest dilemma, nïxï?”
“What color suit do I wear?”
I laughed. Of course that was the biggest problem my brother had.
“This is serious, Amy.” His lips were twitching. “Fine, you’re no help. Alex!” he yelled even though Alex, his betrothed, was three feet away sitting with his brother Jaeel.
“Yes, ån?” Alexander came over to us. Ån was the equivalent to sweetheart.
My heart swelled to see them together and happy. Just a month ago, Alexander was dead and my brother was miserable. The Guclon, the creators of my people, brought Alexander back to life and saved our planet.
“I don’t know what color, love—what color for my suit?”
“Not you too!” Lynx cried.
Just then, Talia walked in and my heart soared even more.
“Hi,” she mumbled against my cheek as she kissed me.
Things with Talia were great. They were amazing. We were sleeping in the same room, whether it was hers or mine, every night. She calmed me and gave me a sense of purpose. She made me feel like I wasn’t a monster.
Cassiopeia, my oldest sister, sauntered in, her dress tailing behind, a frown on her face. As soon as she saw Lynx and Alexander, though, she grinned. Everybody was happy to have Lynx back to normal. But I still wondered why she had been frowning. “Dinner is ready. I would like everyone to come. I have some news.”
Uh oh. Whenever Cassiopeia had news, it was bad.
Everyone followed Cass to the royal dining room. Once we got to there, I saw that Caelum, Golda, Delphinus and John were already seated.
We all sat and Cass began speaking immediately. “Some of you know SE Agent Justin Brock visited a week ago. I’ll just get right to it. Some of the moons want to invade Earth.”
That was most definitely not good. “Why’d he tell you this?” I asked.
Cass hesitated, brushing a strand of white hair out her face. She was already stressed. “He wants us to protect Earth with a few other planets.”
Caelum laughed. “Why would we protect those weak humans?” He wasn’t very fond of the race. The race that we were descended from.
“Precisely what you said, Prince,” John answered. A few years ago, he never would have spoken to Cal. Now, he was King and has had to put Cal in his place multiple times. “Humans are weak. We can’t let our fellow planets kill off an entire race.”
Caelum rolled his eyes but said nothing.
“Agent Brock has asked us to fight for Earth. Now, this is entirely voluntary. If you or other citizens don’t want to, you don’t have to,” Cass told us.
“I will,” I said. Of course I was first to agree; I had lived on Earth for eight years.
“Me too,” said Talia.
“I will as well,” Alexander said.
Then Lynx and Golda. It took a while for Caelum to agree. I watched as Golda elbowed him in the ribs. “Fine,” he grumbled.
“I will tell the citizens tomorrow,” Cass decided.
After dinner, Caelum pulled me aside. The last couple months, Cal had been in a coma from Princess Drea of Tethys’ blade. I had entrusted all of my deepest secrets to his sleeping body. Unknowingly, everything I told him he had heard. “I want to talk about Vela.”
I shushed him until we got to my room. “What about her?” Vela, our mother, had practically overthrown our government and then faked her death. She trusted me with the secret that she was alive when I was on Earth.
“Why did she fake her death?” He sat in my desk chair while I sat on my bed.
I had put off having this conversation with him since he woke up a month ago. I told him I was always busy but really, I didn’t know if he’d believe me. He was always Vela’s favorite. “She didn’t want Orion to rule anymore.”
His green eyes narrowed at me. “That’s it? She has a family here.”
I sighed. “Cal, she cancelled the treaty between Enceladus and Tethys.”
He let out a short laugh until he realized I was serious. “Why in the universe would she do that?”
“She told me that she heard Tethys was going to attack.”
“So, she cancelled the treaty? She might as well have declared war.”
“I’m just telling you what she told me, Cal.”
“So, the leaders of the coup killed Orion and what, let her go?”
This was the part I didn’t want to tell him. He’d surely run out screaming that I was lying. “Caelum . . . Vela organized the coup.”
He was silent. “No . . .”
I stayed silent as well.
“Sh-she killed Orion? She killed all those innocent people? She led us to believe that she was dead.” He was angry now. “What kind of mother does that to her family?” he shouted.
“What kind of mother-” I couldn’t finish. I didn’t want to go into detail about all of the horrible things she did to me. Caelum knew them.
“Amelia . . .” Cal’s eyes softened. “I believe you, you know.”
“I trust you. More than I ever did her.”
“But you loved her. You were her favorite.” He was the perfect son in Vela’s cold eyes. He was a strong warrior, he liked girls, he obeyed.
All Cal did was smile. I had seen him smile more in the past few weeks than he did in the one hundred nineteen years I’d been alive. “I believe you. She did awful things to you, Amelia. How could I trust her over you?”
I was really starting to love who my eldest brother was becoming. I looked away so I didn’t cry.
“I have to go,” he said. “But I still have more questions.” With that, he left.
I went to stand but my vision went black. There he was. My father.
“Aw, your dear bully of a brother is making amends.”
I rolled my eyes. He couldn’t kill my high. I was happy for once. Things were good. “He’s no longer a bully.”
He laughed, his tone so rich I was disgusted at the compulsion he had over me. He stood from his throne. His seven foot, red, scaly frame still scared me but less than the first time I saw him. By the look on his face, he read my thoughts. He could do that. “It’s good that you’re not scared. What kind of father would I be if I allowed my daughter to be scared of me?”
Something occurred to me. “Do you have any other children?”
I took that as a yes. I realized now was as good as time as any to find out more about him and his weaknesses. “So what do religions have wrong about you?”
“What don’t they have wrong is a better question.” He sat down again.
“You fell from Heaven.” He nodded. “You became the leader of Hell.” Another nod. “What am I missing?”
“I was God’s secondhand man. I was beloved and adored and respected. I commanded most of the angels. I was otherworldly handsome. Lucifer, the Morning Star.” He looked up as if reminiscing. “I was in charge of looking after Earth and mankind. Then I didn’t like something He did so when I challenged Him, I was cast out. To rule Hell for eternity, never to leave.”
I would not feel sympathy for the Devil. I would not feel sympathy for the Devil.
“Tell me, Stacia, do you want to be loved and adored and respected?”
I didn’t answer. Of course I did.
My father smiled. He read my mind again. “Why do you want to know about me now?”
Suddenly I felt as if I was being suffocated. I couldn’t be here anymore. I thought of being back in my room and when I opened my eyes, I was.
There was a knock at my door. “Amelia, can I come in?” It was Talia.
Talia kissed me once and then again more passionately. Now she was sitting on my lap.
“What was that for?”
“I missed you.”
I laughed and brushed her dark blonde hair out of her face. “I just saw you.”
She grinned. “What did Prince Caelum need to talk to you about?”
“Just some stuff about Lucifer.” I hadn’t told Talia about Vela.
“Lucifer? You’ve never called him that.”
“What should we do tonight?” she asked.
I smiled devilishly and we had a wonderful night.
The next day, Talia and I worked on the Vela division. We had already finished rebuilding the Saturn and Moon divisions. Orion, my no good “father”, had kept all of his citizens in complete poverty while the royal family was swimming in riches.
Cassiopeia was about to tell the citizens about the invasion of Earth so Talia and I walked hand-in-hand to the Planet Hall.
“Greeting citizens,” Cass spoke in Enceladian. “I have some troubling news. First I want to say that Enceladus is not in danger. We are fine. Earth, on the other hand, is in danger of an imminent invasion.”
Some people sighed, others looked scared, some annoyed.
“Space Enforcement has asked us to help defend the humans. This is entirely optional but the royal family and myself have agreed to help. If any of you want to help, come to the palace and talk to Constable Asger.” Cass paused. “I know some of you will be hesitant to help the humans but they’re weak. They need someone on their side. If no one helps them, surely they will all be massacred. If no one helps them,” Cass stopped abruptly and exhaled, “If we don’t help them, how can we expect anyone to come to our aid when we are in need?”
Cassiopeia and I had never gotten along when we were younger. She had bullied me and never respected me. Now, I was proud to call her my sister and the leader of my home.
Cass flew back to the castle, taking John and her guards.
“Do you think anybody will fight?” Talia asked me.
I thought about it. “I think some will. The people of Enceladus are good people.” But they had been through a lot. Sure they were good people but they were not soldiers.
Later that day, at lunch, Cassiopeia came up with an idea. “We’ll have a ball.” Everybody stared at her until she elaborated. “Next week. Agent Brock told me that he is bringing the leaders of the other planets that will fight for Earth. So we should have a ball.”
“I think that is an excellent idea!” Lynx exclaimed. Of course he did.
I wanted to groan. I hated balls. Some of the worst memories of my life happened at balls with Vela.
“I want to start having balls every month like Vela and Orion did when we were young. Everybody will be welcome, not just the Dukes and Duchesses. It will give us a stronger community. Enceladus cannot afford to be divided any longer,” Cass said.
She was right. Our planet needed to come together. We couldn’t—we wouldn’t—survive another civil war.