The day of the ball, December fifteenth, the dress I wore was an elegant, ombre, flowing gown that went from black to blue. Actually the blue was called “absolute zero” as our dressmaker, Karen, informed me.
When Talia came out from behind the changing screen in her dress, my jaw dropped. Her dress was a silky fabric that puffed at the waist. On the top were silver sequins. What made me happiest was that the dress was totally the same grey as my eyes.
“You look absolutely amazing, Talia. Come here.” I took her hand and spun her.
“You like? The dress made me think of you. You and your beautiful eyes.” She placed her hands on my cheeks.
She was staring at me in a way that made me hot. “What?”
“Nothing,” she said and kissed me. “Ready?”
We left my room and headed to the ballroom. Cassiopeia was already there with John and Agent Justin Brock. Justin was wearing a nice black suit that only showed his blue hands and face. He was from the planet Rhea, I remembered. Cass wore a huge deep violet, ruffled gown. John had on a nice silver waistcoat that complimented Cass’ dress.
“Agent, you remember my sister, Princess Amelia.” I shook his hand. “And this is her lady-in-waiting, Talia Durand.”
“Good to see you again, Princess. Pleased to meet you, Lady Talia.”
After pleasantries, Talia and I went to the buffet.
There were several tables all around the room. One had twelve seats, presumably for the royal family and the leaders of the other planets fighting for Earth.
After a while, rulers of Tarvos, Iapetus, Janus and Hyperion arrived. As well as some of our citizens, the ones who agreed to help Earth and my siblings.
Justin introduced us all. “Royal family of Enceladus, may I present you Queen Eciri of Tarvos.” Queen Eciri was purple. The craziest part of her appearance was that she had four onyx eyes. What was less crazy was the astronaut helmet on her head. “Lord Mel of Iapetus.” Lord Mel had possibly the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen (sorry Talia). They were gold, pure gold. He didn’t have any pupils. Other than that and his pointy ears, he looked human. “King Peidax of Janus.” King Peidax was abnormally tall and his tan skin was covered in tattoos that I knew were actually moving. “And lastly, Queen Selene of Hyperion.” Queen Selene was the skinniest person I’d ever laid eyes upon. She was also the shortest in the room.
We all sat at the rectangular table along with Constable Asger and Chancellor Erik.
“I want to welcome you all to our home. I hope you find it as beautiful as I do,” Cassiopeia said. The four rulers (plus some of their guards) and Justin were staying on Enceladus for a night. Much to Caelum’s protests. “Agent Brock, I believe you have some information.”
“Yes, thank you, Queen Cassiopeia. As you all know, four moons of Saturn want to invade and destroy Earth. Those four planets are Titan, Mimas, Dione and Rhea.”
I mentally went through those planets. Titan was a planet of brutal nine-foot Viking types. Mimas was a planet full of robots. On Dione were people made out of literal rocks. And Rhea . . . that was planet Justin was from. All I knew about it was that the people had blue skin, pointy ears and an extra set of each organ.
It didn’t look good for Earth.
“Space Enforcement has tried to contact each planet,” Justin began. “They all sent back the exact same message. ‘March’. We believe this means they will attack Earth in March.”
“Why do they want to attack Earth?” Lord Mel asked in English (that was the universal language of SE). Mel was an extremely attractive man. His planet inhabitants had a certain effect on others, I remembered then. They possessed what was called a glamour. Their glamour could change their physical appearances which meant either they were all always making themselves stunning, or they were a race of incredibly beautiful creatures. They could also make someone see or not see something with their glamour.
“We don’t know that exactly. We just think it’s because its residents are vulnerable. They know nothing of other worlds and are not as advanced.”
“Why have they waited so long?” said Queen Selene. She was so short I could barely see her over her wine glass. Hyperion was a planet of nymphs who were born skinny, short, horned with greyish/tan skin and pointy ears.
“The Council thinks that since they are all war mongers they aren’t as strategic as other beings. It took them a while to realize how they could join together,” Justin answered.
The universe had a Council that was above Space Enforcement. The Council controlled things SE wouldn’t handle or was incapable of.
“Can’t the Council do anything?” Delphinus asked. She wore a sparkling red dress that was loose at the stomach to account for her growing belly.
Justin shook his head and was about to reply when King Peidax spoke. “What could they do? Go to each planet and take them all prisoner? There’s nothing we can do to stop them.” The only tattoos I could see on the King were on his hands and neck. I didn’t know why or how they moved but I was intrigued. I once met a person from Janus. It was when our planet was heating up and we asked SE for help. The man had flirted with me which had caused my father to invade my thoughts.
“King Peidax is right,” said Justin. “But what we can do to stop them is fight them on Earth. I would like to know how many of everyone’s citizens are willing to fight.” Justin took out what appeared to be a cell phone.
“Just about 200,000 of my citizens will fight,” Lord Mel said.
“Only one thousand of my women will fight,” said Queen Eciri. Only her women were fighting? Then I realized her planet, Tarvos, was an all-female planet. Looking at Eciri was a little unsettling. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to her or her species but she did have four pitch black eyes covering her face. Through her clear helmet I saw that her ears were more like antennae and she had no lips.
“One thousand is better than none,” Justin commented while typing on his gadget.
“200,000 Enceladians will fight,” John told Justin. That was a little under half of our population which was now 502, 514.
“100,000 of my citizens will fight for Earth,” King Peidax informed.
“Queen Selene?” Justin asked.
“300,000, Agent Brock.” I didn’t know what her population was but that seemed like a lot of people to fight in a war that wasn’t theirs.
“Okay, thank you everyone. I want you all to know that you are doing a good thing. Earth needs helps and I’m glad that they will receive it.”
“Is everyone on Rhea, Mimas, Titan, and Dione fighting?” I asked. The leaders turned their attention on me as I spoke and I tried not to squirm in my seat. Lord Mel’s eyes flashed bright with shock and something like . . . pain?
“We have no way of knowing that,” Justin answered. “But based on those four planets’ histories, they will most likely all be involved.”
“That’s not good,” Lynx commented. He was right. I knew that Titan was the biggest moon of Saturn with a population of two million people. If they all fought, we were already outnumbered. Our numbers came to 801,000.
“No, it’s not. Even Rhea has one million citizens,” Queen Selene pointed out. Her voice was small to match her size but I knew not to underestimate her. “Right, Agent?”
Justin pulled at his collar. “Yes, Queen.” He was obviously very uncomfortable with the fact that his planet, his home, was involved in wanting to annihilate the Earth. Maybe that was why he left to join SE, because his people were cruel.
“When are we going to Earth?” Caelum asked. His face was void of emotion. He was a warrior through and through. Even in his ball attire he looked like a soldier.
“SE and the Council wants you all to be there February twenty-seventh.”
I looked at Delphinus. Her due date was February eighteenth. She wouldn’t be able to go. Not that that was a bad thing. If one of my loved ones was at home safe, with her newborn, it would better.
Then I thought about Talia. There was no way I could convince her to stay on Enceladus. Maybe if I stayed too but that wasn’t even a question.
“Where are you sending us on Earth? America?” I wondered.
“Yes, the council thinks we should send you all to America. The ships we are sending you in have shuttles that can travel hundreds of miles in mere minutes. So, if the combined planets go somewhere other than America, you will be there,” Justin answered. I hated the fact that we had no idea where they were going.
We finished our dinner and I excused myself to be with Talia. She was sitting at a small table with Alexander and Golda.
I kissed her on the cheek. “Want to dance?” The music had been turned down for dinner but now it was back up.
She grinned and took my hand, letting me pull her to the middle of the room. About a dozen people were dancing the êtlô which was almost like the Earth's Waltz. Talia and I joined in. We had never danced together in public but it was so much fun.
About fifteen minutes later, King Peidax came up to us. “Princess Amelia, it would be a pleasure to dance with you.”
I didn’t want to insult him or his race and say no so I took his hand. I put my right hand lightly in his and the other on his broad shoulder as he swept me into the êtlô.
“I asked to dance with you because I couldn’t help but notice your odd beauty.”
Odd? Should I be offended?
“Or maybe unique is the right word. It’s so different than your siblings’ beauty. But gorgeous nonetheless.”
Was he hitting on me? Didn’t he just see me dancing with my girlfriend? “Thanks.”
“I also asked you to dance because I like to know about people I go into battle with.” He stared into my eyes.
He was slightly taller than me so I shifted my gaze to the swirling tattoos on his neck.
“What do they do? How do they move?” I had to know.
“My people have a gift called animation. We can take these tattoos and give them life.” I looked at the tattoos on his hand and suddenly the black ink came off his skin and wound around my bare wrist. It looked like a nearly transparent black bracelet and felt like wind brushing my arm.
He took back the ink. “We can also use them on a much larger scale. They can become full size beings. They can suffocate and strangle their victims.”
How could someone fight those things?
He smirked. “Your eyes are breathtaking, Princess.” He twirled me around. “I have read about your planet. You all have four abilities. Mind control, invisibility, control of the elements, telekinesis. Very fascinating. What can you do?”
My eyes narrowed. “I can do the same.”
He smiled fully and the whiteness of his teeth was blinding. So bright I almost didn’t notice that most of his teeth were pointed. “I’ve heard about what you can do, succubus. Show me.”
Snap his neck.
There was my father’s voice in my head.
I broke out of his grasp and bumped into Lord Mel. “Move along Peidax. No one wants to hear what you have to say.”
Peidax glared but walked away.
“Thank you, Lord Mel. But I can handle myself,” I told him. I wasn’t going to let another man speak to me that way. I noticed Alexander was standing behind him. He had no doubt seen what happened with Peidax. He still had the personality of a guard. But I knew this went beyond that. He was about to be my brother’s husband and I was happy to call him my friend.
“Call me Mel. And I am fully aware you can handle yourself, Princess.”
I wanted to excuse myself but his golden eyes held me in place. “What is the population of Iapetus?”
“I have 1,189,006 citizens on my planet,” he answered. “Don’t mind Peidax. He’s always like that. Rude, insensitive and full of himself. Most of his people are.”
“Thanks again.” His golden eyes sparkled as he bowed and watched me go.
“What was that about?” Talia asked me.
I hesitated in answering. I smiled at Alexander. By his nod, he knew why. “How about we get out of here?” I whispered in Talia’s ear. She followed me out of the ballroom.