Chapter 21 - The Feast
Copyright © DenGlemtePrinsesse, 2020
The music was deafening, the lights were blinding and I'd been struggling to walked through the dancing crowd, in between bouffant ball gowns and sparkling tunics, but I didn't let any of those stop me.
Apparently, there really is a feast. And it's being held in the premises of the castle.
I don't know how I should feel about this party at the moment, but it hides me. The blinking lights made me impossible to be distinguished from everyone.
"I'm sorry." I uttered after bumping a servant. I stared at him in horror as he tried to balance the chalices on the silver platter. Fortunately, he managed to stay still and held everything in place. The last thing I need is cause a scene and gather everyone else's attention.
"I'm really sorry." But I needed to step away before my purpose gets out of my sight. I breathe in relief the moment I caught a glimpsed of her servants before I completely lost track of her as she turned to the corner.
When Ali and I got out of the forest, I thought walking into the palace would be hard. For one, if someone really plotted my presence in that inhumane ceremony, then my being alive and roaming around will be utterly unwelcome. I feared that I would be dragged out the moment they saw me coming, even before I could carry out my intent.
But even by the edge of the forest, it was easy to conclude that everyone is busy. The real feast has been rolled out. The empty foyer earlier has been filled with magical and royal beings. And as much as I wanted to blame these people and get mad at them for being happy while some had to die for them, I couldn't. Part of me is thankful for they serve as a camouflage. I feared, someone will eventually pop up and start dragging me out.
I pulled Ali's robe tighter over me as I turned towards where she vanished. Even though the robe isn't as glamourous as the clothes everyone is wearing tonight, it is enough to cover my alienated human uniform that would sure to garner questioning glances.
Ali is waiting outside, by the edge of the forest. He told me he couldn't stand by and watch these people rejoice while Utovaj is falling. And I wonder also how these people could be this happy at times like this, don't they have any idea what's happening outside their kingdom? I shook my head and continue walking, I'd promised Ali to tell my friends they needed help.
My original plan was to look for my friends first, tell them what happened, seek help for the people outside this kingdom, and inform them about the chaos happening in the other parts of this world, but when I saw the Queen the moment I step into the palace, all the rational things I planned vanished.
The urge of knowing the truth and feeling betrayed takes over me. I was an inch away of losing my life, my family and my friends. I was so close to losing the few things I consider my everything. I wanted to know who's resposible for that. So I couldn't help but follow the Queen's traces through hallways and a grand staircase, before finally walking in through a huge brick wall, literally. And that shouldn't surprised me, but I couldn't help my eyes, popping out each time I witness something extraordinary.
I didn't know how to pass through all her servants and guards that remained steadfast outside the wall. So I hid myself and decided to wait for her until she walks out. But when her servants started moving away all of a sudden, I saw hope.
I walked in front of the wall right away, testing it. Immediately taking my hand back as I saw it vanished when I tried touching the wall. My heart is frantic again, whether because of the wall or what lies behind it. Regardless, I stepped forward, allowing myself to disappear through it.
One moment I was in the dark, I panic, but the following second I was in the brightest place I'd ever been. My eyes, squinting as I adjust to the blinding lights coming from everywhere.
It was a huge room. A room of mirrors? Of colors? Of lights? I couldn't tell, but surely it was empty. The room was literally made up of glass. The walls up to the posts, from the ceiling, the dividers and even the floor were made of glass, both transparent and not. The room seems like a venue for dancing colors that has been poured gently in each sheet of the thin glasses.
As soon as my eyes finished feeding itself on the wonders of the room, they automatically landed on the two shinning figures standing distant but straight from me, far enough not to hear anything. I was taken aback for a second for I expected the Queen to be alone. But the eagerness of me to know the truth hadn't change and so my feet began moving forward.
The two figures, facing one another, must have been talking a real serious matter for they didn't seem to recognized that someone, aside from themselves is present in the room.
I created no effort in walking silently to come near them unrecognized, the nervousness did it for me. With shaking knees and cold hands, I began breaking down my questions in my thoughts as I continue getting closer to them.
It was a length of a bus that distance me from them when I recognized the melancholic, velvet voice, it is surely the Moon Princess. In line with the recognition, part of me wanted to acknowledge the grand pendant of a large golden crescent moon on top of a long metallic silver wand she's holding, it was touching the ground.
I was in the meter of two or three from them when I stopped, it was when they saw me.
The look of shock upon the Queen's face shot wary to my system, I felt like being stab on my chest. Why would she look at me that way? That isn't a confirmation, it can't be.
"Your Highness..." My lips trembled. I was torn between speaking and running away. I gulped the lump in my throat. The Queen finally recovered, composing herself.
"About the banquet, did you really send me there? It was a sacrificial ceremony, Your Highness. Did you send me there to be one of the sacrifices?" After hours of long walks and contemplating, I finally delivered my thoughts to the rightful recipient. My fingers, crossed behind me as I waited for her response. Her impassive face was giving away nothing, no hints of confusion nor guilt to what I just asked.
"What is the mortal speaking, my Queen?"
"Why it appears the mortal indict me of deed I know nothing of." The Queen stared straight at me, I immediately shook my head.
"It's not like that, Your Highness. I am just asking—"
"Is it? Thy stood before me, holding me responsible for such act I did not carried and yet here thou, claiming thy purpose here is not verdict. I'm afraid thy action speaks a thousand unspoken words, mortal."
"How could a mortal dare speak lowly of the Queen?" My knees trembled when I saw the Princess' eyes turned white and started to glow, and so does the wand. Her wand, no longer touching the ground for it was already pointed to my direction. I am regretting my desicion now, knowing too well whatever happens next wouldn't be fine.
"Lunea, do not. Mortal is worth not of thy soul." The Queen stopped the Princess, saving me from whatever pain I should be dealing with.
I breathe when her eyes turned back to normal, she took her wand next to her again. All my air escaping through my mouth in relief.
But still she glares at me, and it made me panic again when she started walking to me. She held her wand with both hands, her grip on it tightens. I saw it coming at me but it was already late. I was thrown three meters from where I was standing.
"For having the princes under thy spell, thou mortal deserves more." I held still, not wanting the electricity worsen in my arm. Thousands of needles poking it all at once. I looked up at the Princess wondering how someone looking so innocent could hit people. And spell?
"Your Highness, spell? I am not capable of that."
"Witness it with my own eyes, mortal. The princes cared for thou, a mere mortal. How does one decipher such act?" Why can't they understand that I am a friend to their princes.
"Leave, mortal." The queen spoke, clearly offended and disappointed. She turned around and started heading deeper into the room.
"Wait, Your Highness." I called, but the Princess' wand stop me, hitting me once more. It hurt, but that's the last thing I wanted to think about right now. I need to say sorry to the queen. This is a misunderstanding. I don't want my friends to know what I did here, they will going to get disappointed at me for my actions. I am now regretting my rash decisions.
"Your Highness, let me explain." She hit me again but this time in the head. My eyes, shutting at the high pitch sound ringing inside my ears, through my nerves, and spreading all over my skull. I fell on my knees as the impact emitted vibration in my head. My hands, grabbing fistful of my hair. Why her actions are rude.
"Princess..." I called, waiting for the dizziness to subside. I glanced up to her, my left hand now resting to my side.
"With all due respect, you didn't have to do that. I only wanted to say sorry to the Queen."
"Mortal, thou dare speak to me in such manner." Her lips twiched to one corner, her fist, curling. She tossed her wand again. Anticipating, I caught it just before it landed on my head. I stood up, my eyes pleading her to stop.
"Your Highness, please. I'm not here to fight." She's pulling back her wand but I didn't let go of my grip, knowing too well she would only hit me again.
"Move or thou will be move." My hand flew to my mouth when I saw the Queen next to me. I have no idea how she got next to me in a split of a nanosecond. I looked up at her. The Queen's eyes were glaring me, pinning me to my position. I wanted to say sorry but I couldn't utter a word. Her eyes, sending out hatred.
"What have thou done?" The Princess cried. Confused, I turned to look at her. Oh no.
Her eyes are glued to her shaking hand, disbelieving. There's blood, a lot! Coming out from her forehead, dripping all over her white dress. What have I done?
The sound of her long metalic wand echoing the empty room as she dropped it to the floor in horror. The crescent pendant has blood on its sharp edges. It must have landed on her forehead, cutting it, when I suddenly let go of the wand in the middle of our tugging. I didn't mean it.
The Queen rushed to the Princess, catching her as she fell on her knees in shock. The Princess hasn't diverted her glance yet from her hands. What have I done?
My knees started shaking, how could I be reckless. This has to be corrected, everyone will going to be very disappointed at me for this.
"What's going on here?" My head snapped, searching for the owner of the voice, an addition to our small crowd. My eyes, popping out of its socket.