"What the hell?" I scream, frantically trying to smash the glass enclosing my sister in a small prison. An observation room.
"What is this?" Como whispers beside me, putting his hands to my shoulders to calm me. But I can't. I won't.
"Aella!" I shout, pounding my fists against the glass, my hands getting redder by the second.
"Wait...Aella? You mean the princess?" Como gasps next to me, and I fight the urge to slap myself. I had just hinted at knowing the Princess of air, and now he is going to question me for it.
"Yes." I nod, refusing to meet his gaze, instead turning to stare at my sister. Her hair is in her usual up due in braids, but hair sticks out of it in all angles, and her mouth drips blood. She must have put up quite the fight. But...for what?
"How?" He asks, and I finally gather up the courage to stare up at him. He stands tall, eyes fixed on the Princess tied to the wooden chair. I debate in my head whether I should tell him the truth, but what slips out next, is anything but.
"I was her maid." I blurt out the first thing that comes into mind, shocking myself for a second. And by the looks of it, I startled Como too. His eyes widen and his mouth opens slightly, but the look of curiosity is gone in a second, replaced by sudden confusion.
"I thought you said you were from StormsEye." He says suspiciously, and I curse myself for telling him anything at all. He's still a stranger, no matter how much we've been through together.
"Can you blame me? I barely knew you at the time." I force myself to smile, and his gaze relaxes, if only a little.
"How did you end up at the barn then?" He asks, still cautious about my sudden outburst. And I rack my mind of any and every life I could possibly tell him.
"Everything was just too much pressure. My life was terrible, and I felt trapped. So...I ran away and found myself a safe place to hide. The barn." I explain quickly, forcing my lie through my teeth, as I watch Aella glare across the room from us. She must not recognize me, I realize with a shock. "We need to get her out of there." I look at Como, silently pleeing with him to help me get my sister out of here. Or at least try.
"Why should I free that ungrateful brat?" He scoffs at Aella, and crosses his hands along his broad chest. I almost scream at him in sudden rage, but decide not to at the last moment. It would only worry him.
"Well, just because the Royals make bad decisions for their kingdoms, doesn't mean that all Royals are terrible people." I carefully tell him, stepping towards where I hope will be a door inside the room where my sister sits, trapped.
"Sure. But I'm still not going to help free...her." Como gestures at Aella with disgust, and I frown at him. If he was so for equality, shouldn't he just be able to block out his hate for the Royals, and be willing to help them? We are no better than our enemy if we just sit back and let them suffer.
With a sigh, I feel around the glass, trying to find a hollow spot that may conceal a door, and in less than a minute I find something. And with a push, I go flying into the observation room. Aella stares at me quietly, not daring to speak.
"Aella. It's me." I whisper, trying to get her to trust me. But to no avail. She spits at my feet, and stiffens in her chair, staring daggers at me.
"I have no idea who you are. And if you are going to try to get me to talk...you will have no success. Just like the others." She sneers at me, struggling against the tight rope that binds her to the chair.
"I'm Anahita. And I am going to get you out of here." I try to explain to her, and surprise registers on her face for a moment, followed by a thick wariness.
"No...you can't be. The King and Queen of StormsEye said Anahita died in a tragic accident when a guard mistakened her for an escaping prisoner. But you must not know this because it is not in the news. The Queen wanted to keep it quiet." She laughs at her words. She must not believe this either, I mean...with my fancy dress and jewels, no one would ever mistaken me for a commoner. Even with me running out of the palace like a bullet.
But at least I know one thing. No one came looking for me, because they thought I was dead. Another lie, in the already full void. This one even worse than before.
"Aella. You have to believe me." I plead with her, my heart hammering in my chest. I'm her sister, she must believe me.
"I don't have to believe anything. Although..." She stares at my scars, her face suddenly growing soft. We stare at each other for a minute, before I step forward and begin to untie her, my hands working fast against the tight rough rope. "Thanks." Aella manages out, taking a step back from me, clasping her hands behind her back.
"Don't thank me yet. We still have to get you out of here." I urge her forwards, and she obliges, walking along side me, her steps small and polite, and her ripped dress and broken heels scratching against the cement floor.
"They kept me here to observe me, to see how my powers worked and to find out why commoners can have them too. They said they just wanted to help. But I didn't believe them. I've been here for only a few days, but every night they tied me to that chair after interrogating me for things I didn't even have answers too, and whenever I told them I didn't know, they always hit me as punishment." She explains softly. "I have no idea, but my powers worked sometimes, and other times, like when the officers interviewed me, and when I was left alone at night, it was as if a blanket were around me, muffling my ability use. And I just...I couldn't free myself." She finishes, a tear making it's way down her now pale cheek.
"What happened to Cassius and Brenton?" I ask, the magazine I'd read just minutes before, still fresh in my mind.
"Cassius escaped before they could take him away too. You see...we were running away together. Stupid, I know, but I just want to spend the rest of my life with him, and no Royal pressures. I'm selfish, I already know that. But Brenton...he's still back at BloomsRidge palace. You know...I don't even know how I got caught. I have a strong ability, but I chose not to use it. I didn't want to use my powers to kill." She speaks slowly. She believes that I truly am Anahita, and she trusts me.
"I'm so sorry." I tell her, reaching out to touch her hand, but at the last second pulling away. "When you get out of here you will need to disguise yourself. Take off all your remaining makeup and trade in that dress and those heels for regular clothes. Like mine..." I gesture to my outfit carefully.
"Wait...your not coming with me? Your staying with these phsycotic people?" She whispers harshly as we emerge from the prison she was held in just moments before. Como spots us, and glares down at Aella as we join him.
"Just so you know. We are not crazy. We just want the truth, as any sane person would." Como argues, staring daggers at Aella. She doesn't seem affected by his attempt at scaring her, and scrapes dirt out of her nails in boredom.
"And who are you?" She returns his glare, and Como's face jumps a bit at the weight of it.
"Como, your highness." He says as sarcastically as humanly possible, shrugging his large form into a comedic bow.
"Please don't call me that." Aella says, annoyed by his presence. "So...when am I to be getting out of here?" She adresses me, her long lashes fluttering up to meet my gaze.
"Right now." I nod my head at her, and we start together, the three of us, to the entrance of the association headquarters. My sister being tortured and interrogated by these insane people, just proves how wrong I was to trust them in the first place. Neither side of the battle raging on against the Royals and the commoners are particularly good sides, and I weigh my options of escaping into the shadows with Aella.
Since Aella "escaped" the association, the officers would definitely try to find out as much information possible, by questioning everyone there. And I don't want to be there for that, so I best escape while I can. Como can come if he choses to. But I honestly don't care at this point.
"It's up this way." I tell Aella, leading her up the twisting staircase of the hidden association below ground, with Como trailing behind us. Our steps echo across the floor, and Como shushes us with every footstep we make.
"They will be alerted when we exit the base. So we have to move as fast as possible." Como explains to us as we reach the top of the stairs, facing a fake block of wood. The door to freedom so close, and yet so far at the very same second.
"Got it." Aella grins, taking my hand in hers, and Como's in the other. He looks repulsed by the gesture and tries to pull away, but Aella is too strong for such a thing. She may look weak in her ballgowns, her tiny form making it look almost impossible for her to have such strength. But as all Royals have been taught how to fight since such a young age, Aella is the opposite of weak. She is brave and powerful, just as Royalty should be.
"Three...Two...One!" Como counts us down, and he swings the door open, an alarm sounding throughout the headquarters of the association, the blaring siren screeching in my ears. They must put an alarm on to alert themselves of intruders, as well as prisoners that try to escape. Prisoners as Aella is.
Aella grips my hand tightly, and her eyes shut with such ferocity that I think she may split in two. But before I have the chance to ask her what the hell she is doing, we are lifted into the air and up into the dark night sky. The cold wind blurs past us, and I can feel myself shivering from head to toe as we rise even higher into the air.
"What the hell is happening?!" Como screams from Aella's other side, but I am no fool, and I already know what is happening. Aella is using her ability to get us away from her prison before anyone has the chance to stop us.
The clouds are wispy and look like shreds of a cotton ball, and I want to reach out and touch them, but don't dare pull away from Aella's grip. Knowing that if I do, I am done for. Aella keeps her eyes shut, only daring to look a couple times, too focused on our path to safety than to enjoy the view around us as we cross over the mountains, and finally we touch down right by the jet Como and I rode in to get here.
"I'm sorry. I'm weak right now, my powers are too far drained from such little use these past days." Aella collapses onto the earthy floor beside me, and I pick her up quickly, not wanting to see her crumpled up next to me.
"Its ok. Don't worry about it, just save your strength." I assure her, my eyes finding hers, even through the darkness.
"How did you know that my jet was here?" Como asks, already hoisting himself into the metal contraption and starting the motor, the sound reverberating all around us.
"I didn't. Coincidence I guess." Aella shrugs, and I help her get into the jet, following her swiftly, and shutting the door firmly behind me.
"So...where to?" I begin, not daring to upset Como. He must hate me for everything I've inflicted onto him. But I didn't tell him that he had to come with Aella and I, he made that choice all by himself.
"We need to find Cassius." Aella pipes up from her seat in the back of the jet. Her legs bouncing up and down in anxiety.
Cassius. The boy my sister is in love with. But in the far corner of my own mind, I can't help but wonder one simple question. Where is Brenton? And what the hell is he still doing with the evil Royals of the 4 kingdoms?