Trust Thy Heart

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Chapter 14

Cassius, Como, Aella, and I are in hiding. From the Royals, and the association. But even in the back of my mind I can't get rid of the growing feeling that the association isn't bad. I mean, they were trying to make the world a better place. But they wouldn't have hesitated to kill my sister, and that is why I left in the first place.

Como? I have no idea why he left, but it must have been something more than a couple people trying to kill some "Stupid Royals," as he's put it several times. Every day that passes is like a clock ticking. And I can barely stand it anymore. We are hiding in a hidden tree house of Cassius's creation. He does have Earth powers after all.

It is a beautiful and intricate structure of trees and branches overlapping one another, and vines that climb their way up them, covering our hidden place from the naked eye.

"I'm confused...when did you guys start to date again?" Como smirks, not letting the topic of Aella and Cassius drop, even a week later. Either that, or he's extremely bored. I wouldn't blame him for the last one.

"We've answered that question at least 10 times already." Cassius glares at Como, clearly annoyed with his questions. Cassius is a very kind person, and to set him off is a rarity, so I'm not surprised when Como's smirk disappears as quickly as it appeared.

Aella knows who I am. Well, who I used to be. Princess Anahita Aqua Cascade of the kingdom of StormsEye, or at least what's left of it. But Cassius does not show any recognition to me, at all. And Aella doesn't seem to want to be the one to tell him of my secret identity.

"Guys, stop fighting. It will only make things so much worse." Aella whines from her spot next to me. We all sit on cushions of flowers, and I sink into mine, knowing exactly where this will go. Because, it has happened every day since we started to hide here.

"I'm sorry." Cassius says, taking Aella's hands in his, and they seem to talk something silent with their eyes. From the corner of my eye, I can see Cassius look away and out the one window of the tree house.

"Hey...Cassius, could you help me gather dinner?" I ask him, wanting to stop this romantic sit com from getting any cheesier.

"Yeah, sure." Cassius reluctantly get's up from his cushion, and follows me down the vines of the small opening beneath us. We land to the ground with a thud, and I immediately start off. The one good thing about living out here, is that I always have fresh air to clear my full head.

We walk quickly along in silence. Because of safety reasons, Cassius told us that we should not be out in the wilderness for more than 20 minutes. Wild animals, or worse, people could stumble upon us. And even though Aella, Cassius, and I don't look like ourselves, it's still a risk we don't want to take.

My earlier advice to Aella on getting a T shirt and jeans was stupid. I realize that now. I mean, how was she supposed to walk into a market and demand a commoner outfit? She didn't even carry any gold coins with her! So instead, she ripped her already torn gown to shreds, and somehow manipulated the air to fold and swirl together to replace the once elegant gown with a rosy pink jumpsuit. It would look horrid on most people, but on Aella it looks perfect.

"So...what is this about?" Cassius asks, noticing my expression as we walk. Something both annoying and fascinating about Cassius, is that he can read someone's expression as if it's the back of his hand.

"Nothing, I just wanted to ask you something." I say as I start to gather up our dinner in my hands. We have resorted to eating flowers, because it is the best way to survive without taking time to search for animals or even berries. Cassius could grow flowers out of the flooring of the tree house, but he never does.

I think it's because we all need some time outside, and collecting edible flowers seems to be the best excuse for this. Every time someone goes outside our hidden place to do this, Cassius accompanies them to make sure they are collecting the flowers we can eat, and not flowers we can't eat.

"Ok, go ahead." Cassius smiles at me, his gaze polite and friendly, and I continue to collect flowers with my reply, not wanting to see his change in expression.

"I just wanted to tell you..." Wow this was harder than I thought it would be. "My names not Anna. I'm sorry, I should have told you before, but I'm really Anahita. I just needed to lie to protect Como from the truth. My truth." I explain, shocked as Como's hand comes down on my shoulder.

"It's ok. I thought you looked similar to her, but of course I didn't want to ask. I mean, what if you weren't the lost Princess? Besides, she's supposed to be dead. Of course Brenton doesn't know that..." Cassius stops, staring at me with confusion.

"What do you mean by Brenton doesn't know?" I ask him, urging him for more information on who I thought was once my friend.

"Well...the Royals wanted your sudden death to be kept quiet. And they didn't want to "upset" Brenton with the news. So they just...they didn't tell him." Cassius breathes, letting his hand fall from my bony shoulder, and I take a small step back. Brenton knew I was out in the world somewhere, and yet he hadn't come searching for me.

My heart beats in my chest, and my brain feels a thousand times heavier than it did just seconds ago. Brenton didn't care about me. I was right from the beginning to suspect that our love was only meant for the cameras. Everything we had ever said or done with each other was just like practice for when we'd be in front of the publics eye again. And I was a fool to believe that maybe, just maybe, we might be falling in love.

***

Of course we don't have a T.V, but we do have a radio in Como's small jet, that we listen to every day to inform ourselves of the world still raging on outside the place we've made for ourselves. I have asked Como why we don't just live in the jet, but of course his response was it is too small, and that if anyone stumbled upon it, we would for sure be screwed.

Although no one ever comes to the outskirt gardens of AirDale. And no one has found the jet we covered in flowers and vines to try and disguise it, like we did for the secret tree house.

"Why is it taking so long?" Como grumbles as we wait for the staticy radio to emit the news from yesterday. The sound is almost unbearable, and it makes me grit my teeth to keep from doing anything I'll regret.

"...And last night..." The urgent voice of a man fades away as the radio starts it's static routine again, even with Como pounding on it from the front of the jet. Aella and Cassius huddle together in their usual spots in the back, and I can feel their close breaths on my neck. It's lucky no more people are present, or we wouldn't be able to fit inside here at all.

"Give it a shake." Cassius suggests, motioning with his hands to the radio. Como does what he asks, and the voice comes back on for a second, and dissapears just as last time. Many people could be confused and think that Como's powers are electricity, but that is not the case. He has explained to me, that his ability is strictly lightning, and not to be confused with the electric currents of machinery.

"Hand it to me." I reach out, and bring my hand down on one side of the radio. It makes a tiny sound, and I continue the process, just like burping a baby.

"...Yes, Rebels are storming the Kingdom. And they are taking even more actions into their hands to fight for the equality they think they deserve. Many commoners think that Royals live lives of luxury, and that it isn't fair to them, as most people live lives of hard working and still can barely support their families. But many wealthy commoners claim that this isn't true..." The voice fades out again, and we are left in silence.

Of course the wealthy commoners would claim that they are equal with the Royals, it is the mask Royals have come to depend on. Even when I was Princess, I had always thought that life as a commoner wasn't hard. That it was luxurious like mine, but I had only ever gone to Wealthy communities outside of the Palace, and had never explored farther into the main commoner communities.

My parents would never let me, and now I know why. When I had tried to expand education for kids, I had visited the wealthy schools...damn it! They didn't need the help!

"Is everyone ok?" Aella is the first to speak. Cassius nods beside her, and Como smiles tightly, but I don't move. Wealthy commoners probably never had to work a day in their lives, and when I thought I was helping my kingdom...that was a lie too.

"Yeah." I finally respond, not wanting the others to worry about my sudden change in attitude. I couldn't dwell on the past. Besides, I have other things to take care of. Como opens the jet's small doors, and we all tumble out as fast as we can. The news on the radio was the hard truth, and it must be difficult for each one of us to face. All in different ways, but still...not easy. Not at all.

***

It is the middle of the night, and I still can't force myself to sleep. It is too hard to close my eyes and let everything else just slip away. I move silently, willing my footfalls not to wake the others, and make my way down to the base of the tree house. It is hard to see in the dark, but I manage to tell where it is that I am headed.

I have one thing on my mind, and no matter how stupid it may turn out to be, I need to follow my instinct. And my instinct says that the association truly isn't bad. They just made a mistake with Aella, but I would make sure that didn't happen again. My feet crunch beneath sticks and rocks all around me, and I can't believe I haven't tripped yet.

Feeling my way against flowers that I have memorized line rows of individual trees, I quickly find where the jet is hidden. I don't want to steal it, but there is nothing else that can get me to the association fast and easy. Of course, I have no idea how to fly this thing, but I have watched Como against the controls long enough to have an idea of what to expect while flying an air craft.

I peel away the loose vines and squeeze my way into the door, that is already cracked open slightly, as if expecting me. The jet is surrounded by a camafloge grown by Cassius, but at the front of the jet, I can still see ahead of me. There should be enough space for a clean ascent, and I press a button that I assume is the motor.

It starts low and rough against the silence of night, and I quickly start the process of getting this scrap metal into the night sky. The others must have heard the jet awakening, and are probably on their way here right now. With fascination I pull a long lever, and am surprised to feel the jet lurch forwards. I pull the lever up higher, and with a bit more speed of the jet, I am suddenly in the air.

I almost squeal in delight, but then remember the task at hand, and look down into the darkness of the forest, now far below me. I am too far gone now. No one will be coming for me. But I don't feel scared or lonely, instead I feel free.

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