Chapter Sixteen: This Isn’t Fair
Gresha opened her eyes, then groaned when bright lights blinded her, and she quickly closed them again. This felt so familiar. She moaned and turned her head, opening her eyes again. When her eyes focused, she saw a large nose and big brown eyes, then a large tongue came out and lapped at her face.
“Matrios,” she groaned as she wrinkled her nose.
‘You scared me.’
“I’m sorry,” she said with a smile.
She heard a chuckle and looked up to find Leih standing beside her bed, smiling down at her. He wiped her face off with a Kleenex, then leaned forward and kissed her.
“Welcome back, Short Stack,” he said, still smiling.
“How long was I out?” she asked as she looked up at his perfect face.
“Two days,” Pilar said from the other side of the bed.
She turned and looked at her brother. He pulled the covers down to listen to her hearts and smiled when they both sounded perfect.
“What happened?” she asked, looking back at Leih and Matrios.
“Matrios got you out of the building to us, and Pilar got you to the hospital and patched you up,” Leih said with a smile.
“My markings,” she said, moving her arm to see the gash as memories of what had happened flashed through her mind.
Pilar laid his hand on her arm to stop her, a smile on his face. “They’re fine, Sister. I was able to heal your wound without any scaring. Closed them up nice and tight. It took a day for them to get their light back, but they’re fine,” he assured her as he patted her arm.
Gresha pulled her sleeve up and sighed with relief when they looked like nothing had ever happened to them.
“Sister!” Nahla squealed as she entered the room.
Leih lifted her onto the bed so she could hug her sister. Gresha smiled and hugged her little sister tight. Gio entered the room and smiled at her.
“Good to see you awake. You had us all worried,” he said, then moved around the large Snoggle and leaned down to kiss her cheek.
“Hi, Daddy,” she said with a smile, her sister still in her arms kissing her cheek over and over.
“Did I hear the lovely voice of my niece?” Masorien asked as he entered the room with a large stuffed bear in his arms.
“Nice teddy bear, Uncle Mason,” Gresha said with a laugh.
“Oh, this?” Masorien asked, holding the bear up with a grin. “It’s for the babies,” he said, then walked to the end of the bed and set it at her feet. “They just almost lost their Mama. I thought they needed a bear hug,” Masorien said as he laughed at his bad joke.
“I think you need to leave,” Gio said, staring at his brother.
“Ah come on, she knows it’s for her,” Masorien said, smiling at Gresha. “I’m glad to see you’re okay,” he said as he shook her foot.
Gresha chuckled, “thank you, Uncle Mason.” She looked at her sister, who was still kissing her cheek, and chuckled. “And you,” she said, tickling her. “You are going to make my cheek raw with all those kisses.”
Nahla giggled and tried to push her sister’s tickling fingers away from her. When Gresha stopped, Nahla sucked in air as she tried to breathe.
“I think we should let the princess rest,” Masorien said with a smile.
“I’ve been asleep for two days,” Gresha said with a pout.
“I agree with Uncle Masorien. You need your rest,” Pilar said with a smile.
“But I just woke up from sleeping for two days,” Gresha groaned.
Leih leaned down and kissed her, then pulled Nahla off her lap and headed for the door, then turned and looked at Matrios.
“Come along, Matrios,” he said as the Snoggle laid his head on the bed next to Gresha.
“He’ll be okay in here,” Pilar said as he ushered them out of the room.
They closed the door quietly, leaving Gresha in the quiet. She looked at Matrios as he blew air from his nose, then turned onto her side and scratched the top of his head.
“They didn’t stay long,” she said, watching him.
‘They’re worried about you.’
“But I’m fine,” she assured him with a smile.
‘Call your mist.’
Gresha tried to pull her mist out and wrap it around Matrios. Nothing happened.
“What’s going on?” she asked in a panic.
‘A Highborn’s gift is connected to their markings. When they’re damaged, it tears at their gift. Many have lost their gift forever from a minor cut in their markings. Yours was torn through to the bone.’
“No,” Gresha cried, “Gretta.” She whimpered and closed her eyes, tears streaming down her cheeks.
‘Sleep, Princess. That may be all you need is some rest.’
“Knock, knock,” Pilar said as he opened the door to his sister’s room.
Gresha looked up at the door and smiled as she sat up. “Geena!”
Pilar smiled and walked into the room with Geena in his arms. He walked over to his sister and set Geena on the bed with her. Geena leaned towards Gresha as Gresha leaned up on the bed. They hugged and cried for several minutes before Gresha took a deep breath and smiled as she pulled away from her cousin.
“Thank you for rescuing me,” Geena said with a smile.
“It was my fault they captured you in the first place,” Gresha said with a shake of her head.
“No,” Geena said with a shake of her head, then turned to look at Pilar. “You were right.”
“I told you,” Pilar said with a frown as he shook his head.
“Right about what?” Gresha asked, looking from her cousin to her brother.
“That you blame yourself,” Geena said, smiling at her cousin, who was once her sister.
“But it is…”
Geena placed her fingers over Gresha’s mouth. “You saved everyone. If not for you and Leih, no one would have escaped that day.”
“But you didn’t,” Gresha mumbled against Geena’s fingers.
“It wasn’t your fault,” Geena said as she lowered her hand. “I was in the beam with the rest of you, then someone tackled me and knocked me out of the beam,” Geena said with a frown. “After that, I don’t remember much. They kept me out pretty good. I remember they moved me a lot, and always into a white room,” she said with a shiver.
“We were lucky to find you,” Gresha said, wiping a tear from her cheek.
“I hear you have a new pet,” Geena said with a smile as she tried to change the subject.
“He’s my companion,” Gresha said as she took her cousin’s hand.
“Companion,” Geena said with a nod, “I would love to see him.”
Gresha looked up at Pilar. “Have you seen Matrios?”
“He had scratched to be let out of your room a couple hours ago. I think he’s with Leih and Nahla.”
Gresha smiled and turned to her cousin. “I guess that will have to wait. But I can tell you how I got him.”
“Oh yes, please do,” Geena said as she pushed Gresha over, so she could lie on the bed with her.
They laid in the bed talking for hours. Gresha told her of how she had met and become the first-ever to own a Snoggle. Geena turned onto her side and laid her head on Gresha’s shoulder like they used to do when Gretta was sick and in the hospital.
Gresha sighed as she laid her head on Geena’s. Soon, they were both asleep and Pilar smiled, then quietly left the room.
“I don’t see how you can still love me,” Gresha said with a pout as she went through the closet for something to wear for the day.
Leih and Pilar had decided they needed to have a family outing, to get their minds off Gresha losing her gifts. Leih had gotten the fair fixed up and going again. Gretchen and her family were coming along, as well as Kimberly, Scott, and Angeleiya.
She didn’t want to go to the fair, she wanted to keep wallowing in self-pity.
“I fell in love with you when I thought you were a mere Earthling,” Leih said as he peeked around the corner into the closet. “Have you not picked out an outfit yet? Everyone will be waiting for us.”
“I don’t want to go,” she said, still pouting.
He walked into the closet and took her into his arms, then kissed her.
“With or without your gift, you are still the woman I married, the woman I love more than anything in the universe. The woman carrying my children,” he said with a smile as he laid his hand over her stomach.
“Some all-powerful mother I am,” Gresha said with a cry.
“Gresha, stop it!” he ordered as he gently shook her. “You are still a Highborn. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t still be connected to Matrios.”
She looked up into his eyes and smiled. They had turned silver without him realizing it. She needed to break the habit of searching her closet naked.
“One round before we go,” she purred as she leaned against him.
He looked at her confused, then looked down at her naked body and realized his eyes had turned silver without him realizing it. He growled and pulled her against him, then kissed her hard.
They baptized her closet several times before she finally got dressed and they headed out the front door to meet up with the rest of the family.
Gresha smiled at her family. She was glad Leih and Pilar had talked her into this. The fair on the station was just as she remembered it.
Only this time, no one spat at them.
Everyone was happy to see the royal family together again, and Matrios was even making friends as he allowed the children to pet him. The parents watched with frightened looks on their faces, but as long as Gresha stayed at his side, they seemed to be somewhat okay with it.
When she felt Matrios was tired of the attention, she told the children her Snoggle needed a break. When they walked away from the children, Matrios blew out a puff of air.
Gresha giggled as she wrapped her arms around him, and they walked back over to their family.
“Stay calm!” Masorien called as he looked up at the top of the Ferris wheel.
“What’s going on?” Gresha asked as she looked up, then cried out when she saw her sister at the top of the Ferris wheel. Her seat had broken, and she was dangling, holding onto the bar.
“Where’s my father?” Gresha asked in a panic, looking around at her frightened family.
“He had to go to a last-minute meeting. We sent someone to retrieve him,” Masorien said, not taking his eyes off his niece.
‘I’ll go stand under her.’
“No,” Gresha said as she stopped Matrios from running over to the Ferris wheel. “If she falls, she will get hurt more from falling on you than she would falling on the ground.” She stopped and looked at her uncle. “Why isn’t she using her powers to help herself?!” Gresha cried out.
“She’s too frightened,” Masorien said, watching her.
“What about you?” she asked, looking at him.
“I tried, it’s like this place is blocking my powers or something,” he quickly said.
She turned from him and he sighed with relief.
“What about putting a mattress under her?” she asked as she looked around for something soft to cushion her sister’s fall.
“We sent someone to retrieve whatever they can to cushion the fall,” Masorien said, then moved closer to the Ferris wheel.
“How did this happen?” she asked as she followed her uncle.
“Sister!” Nahla screamed as she slipped.
“Nahla!” Gresha called as she ran to the Ferris wheel.
“Help!” Nahla screamed as she lost her grip and fell.
“Nahla!” Gresha screamed as she fell to her knees, crying.
“Gresha!” Leih hollered, running to her.
“Leih,” Gresha said with a cry as he lifted her to her feet.
“Look,” he said, pointing to under the Ferris wheel.
Gresha shook her head. She didn’t want to look at her sister’s mangled body.
“Sister!” Nahla called out to her.
Gresha looked at her sister and stared at her.
Nahla floated in the air about eight feet from the ground, Gresha’s blue mist wrapped securely around her as it held her in midair.
“Nahla!” Gresha cried out as she ran to her sister.
She stood under Nahla and held her arms up. The mist evaporated and let Nahla fall into her arms. Gresha held her sister close as she rocked back and forth.
“It worked,” Nahla said with a smile as the rest of their family formed around them.
“What worked?” Gresha asked as she looked around at her family.
“We knew if you thought one of us was in danger your gift would activate,” Leih said, then moved to stand behind her.
“You did what!?” Gresha yelled as her blue mist wrapped around her elbow and she jabbed him in the ribs.
Leih doubled over as he tried to catch his breath. “Well deserved,” he said, then moved back away from her before she hit him again, or worse.
Gresha looked at her sister. “You were in on this?”
Nahla nodded her head happily.
Gresha set her sister on her feet, then took off at a run, away from her family. That was so cruel. How could they have done that to her!? She could hear her family calling out to her, but she ignored them. Crying, she ran from the fair and through the city, until she was too tired to run anymore and collapsed in a dark alley. Hopefully, no one will find her, and she can cry here all night, alone.
“Look what we have here,” someone said in the darkness.
“Who’s there?” Gresha asked as she tried to see.
“Hey there, pretty lady,” another voice said.
Gresha could see his white teeth in the dim lighting as he grinned.
“Oh, do go away,” she said, then turned her back on them.
“Don’t turn your back on us,” one of the men said as he moved closer to her.