Liv waits for her turn to be judged by the Kings. Her life depends on the choices of the 7 kings. Whether she would live. Or die.


49. Chapter Forty Nine

I walked around my room with the knife strapped to me using the sheath, in different places. At first, I tried it strapped around my stomach but then realized that it would be quite awkward if... when I had to use it. It also made me look like I had a knife stuck in my side. I unstrapped it, allowed the wispy lavender dress fall to its length above my knees and tried strapping it to my arm. It was bulky and annoying and impossible to disguise, but It might work if I had a smaller knife, I thought. I strapped it to my ankle and looked down. It was annoying, but I would probably forget about it. And I could cover it up by some boots. 

I walked over to the dresser, kneeled and found a pair of reasonably good looking brown boots. I slipped them on over some socks and stood. I turned and looked at myself in the mirror. I saw someone I didn't really recognize. I saw someone with a proudly turned head, someone whose hair was actually looking nice for once, someone who was brave. Which I wasn't. I was a coward. I was afraid of the future and I had ruined things with Bo because of my cowardice. 

Dresses weren't really my thing. The one I had originally came in for the Competition was an horrible and ugly hand-me-down. It had been wispy, like the one I was wearing, but it wasn't It had been green. Which was a me color, but it wasn't me. But as I thought about it, it was me. I was someone on the outside who probably looked like a mess. I was such a mess that the moment I was in the Competition, I had broken down. I cringed at the memory. 

But tonight... tonight. Just a few hours away. I would be a killer. And I wouldn't over react. I sighed, inhaling deeply and letting the air fill my lungs and then I exhaled. Another knock came from my door. I took another breath and opened it. Finn stood there, looking casual in his non-casual attire. "Hi." He said, his hands shoved in his pockets. 

"You look nice." I said, then clarified, "Better than I thought you'd turn out to be."

"You too." He said, "Not as horrible as I thought you'd be. In fact, you look quite nice." He paused for a moment, "If I liked you I might even be proud, Sis." He said. I rolled my eyes. "But that, as I mentioned, was only if I mildly enjoyed you as a person. Which I don't." 

"I'm feeling the love." I smiled and my heart suddenly started beating faster with nerves. What was I going to say? What was I going to say? How to apologize? For all the horrible things I had said yesterday. 

"Let's go." Finn said as he held out his arm. I hesitated towards accepting his arm or running away and hiding in a hole. "Come on, Liv. Livia. I'm not going to bite. You've known me for what...  over a week? And in that week we've bonded. Emotionally. Familiarly. And you know I don't bite... that many people. Its only been three so far! And hey! That's pretty good! And currently I'm not feeling very nibbly." His talking erased away my sudden bout of nerves but brought some back when he pinched my cheek. I turned my head away, slightly annoyed but I lifted my chin higher when I turned back and accepted his arm. 

We strode out of my room, I closed the door behind us, and down the hallway- which was surprisingly empty. We turned into another hallway where we ran into Eliza literally,Finn stumbled over her feet, as she had been lurking around mildly suspiciously. She walked with us, looking like she could rock anything she could wear,- even if it was a urine colored flowery dress with orange polka dots. She was just one of those people. 

Meanwhile, she was wearing dark blue. It was tight around her chest, letting her perfect little figure show, and was loose from below her knees to the middle of her stomach, where a belt of the same midnight blue wrapped around. Her hair was twisted back elegantly with a few strands that fell into her face, framing it nicely. I wondered who she was dressing to impress. 

The walk to the Party Rooms: the Throne Room and random, empty room, was filled with Finn flirting with Eliza, who responded barely, only gave some half smiles and laughs. Her eyes were vacant, almost far away and distant as if she had a million other things- more important things, on her mind. I couldn't really blame her, but I also had a gazillion other things to think and worry about, but instead of worrying or plotting, I walked and tried to get immersed and lost in the cheesiness that was Finn's ability to flirt. Or lack of ability.

When we reached the rooms, they was busy. And we were somehow late, though I could've sworn that we'd left my rooms early. Both Eliza and Finn broke away from me as we entered and went to talk to assorted people. Eliza went over to a large group of smiling and laughing people and Finn bee-lined the table of food. The room was full of families and past Competitors from this year. I scanned the room for my family. Over the heads of fancily dressed women and men and all in-between. No luck. I would've recognized my family, nothing really major could've happened to them in a week. Right? 

 I pushed my way into the throne room and saw that magically, since I didn't really understand how much family the other Competitors had, it was full as well. I looked around to try to spot anyone I knew, when my eyes fell upon Bo, who was moodily leaning his back against a pillar in the Throne Room. He was dressed nicely, his hair wet and his face solemn and for some reason, no one surrounded him. Everyone else in the room was dancing or chatting in small groups off to the sides of the room.  Across the room from him was an orchestra, who all sat, wearing gray and red, and played dancing tunes both lively and slow and he watched them and the dancers. 

Trying to act casual, I walked over to Bo and stood beside him, looking the other way so our backs were touching the same pillar.He glanced over at me for a second but looked away a second later as if I were a sore sight for him to see. I probably was.  I stood there for a while, trying to see if he would speak first or If I would have to. He ignored me for all I could tell. He was silent but I knew he knew I was standing there.  I took a deep breath and turned my head slightly and whispered"I'm sorry." 

Bo didn't respond but I knew he heard me. I knew because I practically felt all the tenseness from his body release and spread into the crowd around us, like a raindrop that splatters when it hits the ground. "I'm sorry I said those things. I wasn't being rational. If I were in your shoes- I would of probably done the same thing. If I had to do something bad and a great option came up, I would probably take it." No response. 

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I wanted to say but knew it would do no justice. "You have every right not to talk to me ever again. I was just so angry and disappointed and..." My voice faded as I couldn't find words, "And...and...Heart broken." I forced myself to say the words aloud since I had never said them before. "I was really heartbroken. It really hurt me. I thought you were just using me to do what you wanted. And It hurt me. A lot. But I've ranted a lot, and gotten it all out and I have the bruises to show for it. Ask anyone. I mean it. 

"And I understand it all. But I didn't then and not really until a few hours ago as I was lugging crates. I was going to apologize, or do something in that range this morning, but you weren't there so I guess I just let my anger boil inside of me and this is..." I took a deep breath. "This is really hard for me to say aloud." Bo was quiet. "I'm sorry for being such an ass, for not believing in you, and I still kind of doubt you, and if this is my last chance to say it. I'm sorry. And I really enjoyed spending time with you. And I hope you did too. 

"And I And I didn't have...tru." I stopped mid sentence, to take a gulp of air. It felt like everything inside me turned to lead or water and I was slowly sinking to the floor, melting. But I wasn't. I was doing something else. "And I hope you can forgive me. And I hope I can forgive me. I was rash yesterday and I understand if you hate me, but I am doing this thing​ for you and it might destroy my life or make it better. Either way I'm a sinking ship and I'm sorry if you drown with me."

 I walked away then, careful to keep a good distance  of closeness to him. I scanned the crowd again and saw someone was coming towards me. Someone familiar. I grinned as Zeke barreled into me. I laughed as he hugged me tightly, it would seem to any other people that it had been years we hadn't seen each other. "Hi there," I breathed as Zeke let me go. I looked at him, his eyes were wide and sparkling with amusement and joy, and after years of knowing him, I could tell there was a tiny amount of fear. His hair was messy, per usual and his shirt was the worn light blue shirt that just seemed to be the formal shirt in the house and he was wearing a tie that Mom made last summer for George to wear to his friends wedding. 

"Liv!" He said, loudly in my face, "How are you? Are you alright? Mom's barely spoken to us in the past week; we all worry so much! Are you alright?" He leaned in close, bending down to whisper in my ear. "Tell me everything, later though, its quite loud in here." I smiled. 

​"It is. " I agreed, "Very loud in here." I scanned the room again, "Where's Mom and Theo, Pat and George. Nice monkey suit by the way." I interrupted myself, looking around the room. Zeke's face fell to a sad look. Our eyes met for a moment, both of our expressions blank. 

"It's just Gran and I?" I gasped, my nostrils flared. 

"Gran?" The blood drained from my face. "She's here. I didn't think she'd be. This must be hard for her." I looked around the room desperately, standing on the tips of my toes to look around. 

"She's fine." Zeke said, "She wanted to be here."

"But he's here." I hissed. Zeke lifted his hands in an apologetic motion that just screamed 'calm down'.

"We've already been through this and, as I said, she was quite adamant on coming here."

"Why's Mom not here?" 

"She didn't want to be. Resisted quite a lot." My face fell. I knew what happened to her all those years ago but I was her daughter! She should care! "Don't think to much about it though," Zeke said, "She's probably going through one of her moods. She'll regret it tomorrow." 
"No she won't." I said/ Zeke looked at me, an eyebrow quirked. I quickly told him about her "adventure" in the castle that ended up with George and Finn.  I watched as Zeke's face slowly drained of blood. When I finished Zeke muttered something. "What did you just say?" I asked. 

"I said: 'Shit'. That's messed up." I nodded. It was. 

"Poor mom." I said sadly 

"Poor gran." Zeke said, I looked at him curiously. "She practically had to go through it twice. And the second one was incestuous."

"The old King sucks." 

"And he kills." Zeke said, "He needs to be stopped." A small smile flickered across my face but before I had time to say anything, Gran walked up to me. I looked at her. Her hair, was brown with a bunch of gray hairs, and as usual, it was everywhere. She was tall and the look in her eyes was of both disappointment and relief. 

"Gran..." I began but was interrupted by the silence in the rest of the party. I looked at Zeke. Protectively as always, and also unnecessarily he partly stepped in front of me, to block me from whatever. I leaned over and peeked between Gran's head and Zeke's shoulder. Everyone was watching as someone walked into the rooms. She practically glided into the Throne Room and bowed to the people that parted their way for her. 

She was wearing many different shades of light blue stuck in one long, tight dress with flowing arm sleeves. It had a low neckline which led to a lovely, round,  sharp and yet soft face. The face held two icy blue and sharp eyes. I could've recognized her anywhere. Queen Magnolia. Her hair was blond and was sharply cut to right below her ears except around her face, which was cut softer and rounder. Atop of her pale hair were some clear gems, attached to a thin wire band which left the crystals to hand off on top of her hair. One gem fell right above glabella. She was luxurious and was... causing a commotion. It appeared that no one knew that she was coming.

Silas rushed out from wherever he was and gently took her arm and led her away to a place where they could talk. I looked behind me and saw Bo, still leaning against the pillar but a little less moodily. Someone, who looked a lot like Zahra, but younger, pranced over to him and I saw them speak. She then giggled and ran off, her fingers pressed to her mouth. I looked away again and Gran and Zeke were staring at me, a gasp. 

"I didn't know she was going to be here." I said. Zeke was looking over my shoulder. I turned to see what was going on and saw the place where Bo had been. It was empty. I bit my lip, I had already failed being a bodyguard but after one sweep of the room I saw Bo dancing with Zahra's sister. I smiled.

When I looked back at Gran, she looked worried. "Livia," She said, "How are you? What is going on? Has anything... happened?"

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