The Valkyrie Princess

In the year 2530, the world has been reformed after the deadly attack by the Kree 500 years before. These humanoid aliens invaded, craving the high levels of Carbon and other elements in the height of the earth's global warming crisis. However, these elements could also be found in human blood, leading the Kree to attack humans. The brave warriors known as the Valkyries rose up and fought, saving humanity from total ruin. The world became a green utopia and natural preservation is strictly enforced to avoid another crisis and the potential for another invasion. Although fewer, the Kree still roam certain regions and pose a threat. Therefore the Valkyries continue to defend their respective citadel regions from them as Valkyrie Princesses. Amelia, a charming, boyish, warrior, is the next in line to become Armenia's new Valkyrie, but then she meets Ellisia. This peculiar, but kind and beautiful girl changes everything and upon meeting, their tragically beautiful love story begins.


8. Beyond the Distant Horizon of the Sea, The Tides of War Turn

             The sun is shining brightly; the rays slipping in through the cracks in the curtains. It’s a beautiful morning that anyone would happily wake up to, yet all Amelia Diane Mangier can see is gray. As she sits motionless on the bed, in the same spot as she was on that morning when she awoke to find her soulmate had left her, her breathing is shallow and she’s stuck in a daze. She has no awareness of reality, her mind disconnected from everything, her will to do anything completely broken. She has no idea what day it is, what time it is, nor does she know how long she’s been in that spot. All she’s vaguely aware of is the hair band around her wrist, which she snaps against it from time to time as though it’s her last way to connect with Ellisia and it’s the only place left on her body that doesn’t feel numb. She doesn’t cry, in fact she hasn’t since that morning. There’s probably no spare fluid left for tears anyway and it hurts too much to bother. Outside, she thinks she can hear voices, but she has no strength nor will to question them.

            “…, James! Enough is enough! I’ll…, it’s time for…, and come home.”

            “Yes Love but you can’t rush…, she’s fragile right now…, break her. Liam said….”

            “…, was a week ago! She’ll die if…, needs to snap out…, not the only one hurting!”

            “We’re all hurting, but Liam and Amelia are the most as her leaving directly affects them more. Liam is just barely holding himself together, so how do you think Amelia is?”

            “Miserable I’m sure, but she can’t stop living and forsake her duties as the Valkyrie Princess because she lost her love. That responsibility must always be kept no matter what.”

            “Ok fine, but let me go in and get her, please. No offense, but I’m more delicate.”

            “Whatever you wish, just get her back to the compound at once. I leave her to you.”

She can hear footsteps walking away and a knock at the door. It opens slowly and someone enters. They approach her, getting closer and closer and although she doesn’t know if it’s friend or foe, she doesn’t react as she could care less if she was slain right where she sits. However, rather than a slash to the neck, she’s embraced in a snug hug, her head resting against a familiar chest. “Hey Lia, it’s Papa. I’m here for you now. So let’s go home ok?” He picks her up and puts her into a Princess carry position, not minding at all the soiled mess she’s become, and leaves the hut. He carries her all the way back to the compound, soothing and comforting her as they go.

            Once they arrive, she is left in the immediate care of her chamber maids. They quickly undress her and guide her to the bath. They clean her up and cloth her in a simple sun dress. They have the chef prepare a nutritious meal and attempt to feed it to her, but she refuses. The doctor comes to examine her next and confirms that other than malnutrition, she’s healthy. She sets her up to be fed by I V and leaves her with one of her maids beside her at all times to monitor her. This routine goes on for another week and all the while, Amelia continues to be unresponsive. Her body moves along with their guidance, but it’s as though her body is on autopilot. She’s yet to return to conscious awareness and is lifeless, refusing to respond to anyone despite the numerous times she’s been visited by her parents and even Liam. It’s clear for everyone to see, she’s become completely broken and no one knows how to help her.

“Anna.” A young woman, Amelia’s current maid, looks up to see her fellow maid. “The head maid has summoned us all to the meeting with our King and Queen. You should come too.”

“But if I go, who will monitor the Princess? Isn’t someone supposed to be by her at all times?”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine. I mean, she’s pretty much a vegetable right now anyway, she’s lifeless.”

“I guess you have a point. Ok, let’s go then.” She gets up and follows her out the room.

Upon hearing the loud sound of the door closing, Amelia stirs. She becomes slightly lucid to the point that she realizes she’s alone for the first time in a week. This is also the first time she’s been aware of herself since the beginning of her trance and she notices how thin she’s become. She slowly gets out of bed and walks over to the mirror, her legs slightly wobbly as she regains her strength in them. She looks at herself in the mirror and can barely recognize the girl staring back at her. This girl looks like a corpse and is lifeless, ready to return to the grave at any moment. She sees the band on her wrist in the mirror and like her brain has finally caught up, all the pain and sadness she’d been numbed to returns at once, causing her to cry out and fall to her knees as she clutches her head. “Ah!” She can feel fresh tears starting to form. “Sia….” She falls to the ground. “Sia…, Sia…, Ellisia!” She bangs on the ground. “You promised! So why did you….” She rolls around in agony and then suddenly goes still. She looks at herself once again in the mirror, her maple hair is a mess and her green eyes are dull. Her pitiful appearance makes her laugh. “Of course she left you Amelia, who’d ever want trash like you? You’re a disgrace to your family, yourself and the title of Valkyrie Princess. Everyone’s always told you haven’t they? It was your own fault for refusing to listen. For thinking that you actually deserved happiness and love. You’re nothing but a disappointment, no one cares about you. It’d be so much better for everyone if you didn’t exist. You should just disappear. You should just die.”

She goes silent for a brief moment and then smiles, her eyes becoming a bit crazed. She gets to her feet as she continuously repeats, “die. You should just die. Once and for all, end it all.” She walks to her window and opens it up. She can feel the warm breeze of a nice summer night against her face. She looks down to see tall rocks, sitting on the edge of the sea. The waves look strong; they’d certainly carry her far away to a place where no one will find her and she can have her eternal sleep with her beloved. However, she’s far too low. “Higher, I must go much higher.” She carefully steps out onto the ledge and grabs an extended brick and uses it to hoist her to the next window ledge. She does this repeatedly, gradually rising and nearing the roof at the top. She finally gets there and now stands on the highest ledge, able to see the entirety of the coast, which fortunately happens to be right beneath her window. “Wow, it’s so beautiful. What a wonderful final sight to see before I die.” She breathes in deeply and spreads her arms wide, ready to fly away and then go on an everlasting journey beyond the sea and into the deep horizon.

*** “The Royal Coast”, Garmin-The West Province, Summer Year 2528 ***

            The clash of the waves against the shore can be heard in the otherwise silent night. A tall young man stands with the dress and poise befitting a prince, as the warm breeze rustles through his golden hair. He looks up to the starry sky, his blue eyes illuminating in the moonlight, matching the deep sea before him. In the distance, a teenage boy stands watching, his breath taken by the sight before him. He still can barely believe that the man before him is the one he has the honor of calling his boyfriend. For so long, longer than he can even specifically identify, he’s longed to call him his. So when he was approached by Prince Tobias a month ago and asked to go out with him, there was no hesitation. He hated that he broke his promise to Amelia and their relationship has become a bit strained as a result, but he doesn’t regret it because he has to think of his own happiness too. He’s aware that Tobias hasn’t been kind to Amelia and is sometimes rude and vain, but despite his flaws, he knows that he’s not a bad guy. Even if their relationship started as a selfish desire to slight his sister, he’s certain that Tobias has genuine feelings for him, otherwise he’d have let him go as soon as he’d accomplished his mission. He’d even prepared for it to happen, but then Tobias told him he “always sees things through”.

            Spencer begins walking towards Tobias, getting his attention. Tobias watches as the boy walks towards him awkwardly, showing his nervousness. He wants to laugh, but he holds it in and maintains his noble demeanor. Although it’s widely known that they are dating, Tobias is careful to keep himself refined, especially in the eyes of the public. He’s always prided himself on his impeccable manners and cautiousness, a direct contrast to his sister. He’s always made it his mission to be everything Amelia isn’t, so that he would shine and when the opportunity presented itself, he could step in dignified and with more than enough qualifications. He didn’t want to allow anything to tarnish his perfect image. So when he first realized he was gay, it was a hard pill to swallow. It was especially bothersome because Amelia’s never hidden the fact that she’s attracted to girls most often. If he openly admitted to liking other boys, he felt it’d make him the same as her and he never wanted to share anything with her. So he did his best to hide it, became the Prince of Princes, courted all the girls and made them swoon, but in the end, he couldn’t stop his desires. He began seeing other guys in secret, until finally upon being exposed, he owned up to it and spun it into something dignified. He managed to make himself out to be a revolutionary prince and continued to enjoy the respect and fame he’s gained, where Amelia has been judged and ridiculed for sharing the same fate. As happy as it made him as her rival, even he must admit as her brother, that the double standard is cruel and he finds it in poor taste. Even still, he wanted to hit her where it’d really hurt and he’s always been aware of Spencer’s feelings for him. Anytime he was in the same room, he would look at him with his doe eyes and it was in part those gazes and Tobias realizing how much he liked them that led him to discover the truth about himself. So he decided to accept his confession, which he’d turned down in the past. He turned it down not out of disinterest, but actually out of fear of being judged, especially considering Spencer’s five years younger. However, at that time he was able to accept himself completely and he felt it was only right that he be honest about the fact that he’d secretly had his eye on Spencer as well, though he never intends to admit that to him. He used him for his goals yes, but he was still serious about his intentions. He meant it when he asked him to be his boyfriend and he plans to follow through with it until the day arises, if ever, that they find themselves drifting apart. However as of now, they are still going strong and if he’s being honest, Tobias doesn’t want this happiness to disappear from his life anytime soon. Of course, he’d never say that. He’d never tell the oak haired boy with the big brown eyes and pale skin in front of him that he wanted him to always be by his side and that he never wants to let him go.

“You’re late.” He crosses his arm and taps his foot as he looks at Spencer disapprovingly.

“I’m sorry, I was just…, trying to make myself more presentable to stand next to you.”

“Why’d you waste your time with that? You’ll never be presentable enough to stand beside me.”

“Right…, I’m sorry. I was foolish.” He looks down in shame.

Tobias frowns and grabs his jaw, pushing his head up. “Don’t look so depressed. I said you’d never be presentable enough to stand beside me, that’s simply fact as I’m a prince and you’re just a lowly noble. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want you to.” His expression softens.

Spencer’s face lights up, happy to hear those words. “I’ll always stay by your side Toby.”

Toby’s face turns red. “Did I give you permission to call me that?! How dare you!”

Spencer immediately becomes apologetic. “I’m, I’m sorry! Forgive me Prince Tobias.”

Tobias finally lets a chuckle slip out. “Idiot…, I wasn’t serious. Stop acting so scared around me. It’s ok to be normal, especially when we’re alone like this. Why do you think I asked you here?”

Spencer looks embarrassed. “To be honest, I was a bit scared that you were going to end things.”

“Listen, I told you before. I see things through. I also told you, I’m not letting you go so easy.” Toby pulls up his chin and kisses him, making Spencer’s legs go weak. However, Toby is ready and pulls him in with his arm. He eases them down to the ground, kissing his face and neck.

Spencer feels tickled as he’s kissed all over, but nervous when Toby reaches for his shirt. “Toby wait…, we can’t do this here. Especially doing it for the first time together out here is a bit….”

“What’s the big deal? I would’ve thought having our first time on the beach would be romantic.”

“It can be I guess, but maybe if we had some candlelight and a picnic or something.”

“You are such a mushy romantic Spence, though I suppose that side of you is pretty cute. But ok, I’ll hold off for now. It might be better anyway since there may still be some moral repercussions about a 21-year-old doing that with a 16-year-old. We can still make out though can’t we?”

“Of course we can. I…, I want to….” His face goes red in embarrassment.

“Seriously, stop being so cute dammit! You’re going to make me a sinner.” He laughs out loud.

Spencer laughs too and then they’re kissing again. Having set the limits, Spencer doesn’t resist when Toby reaches for his shirt and pulls it up, exposing his abdomen. As Toby kisses him all over and feels him up, Spencer feels his excitement growing as well as his desire. “Toby….” His head falls back and he reflexively looks up. He opens his eyes momentarily and in the distance, he thinks he can see something or rather someone standing on the roof of the compound. He opens his eyes wider and a familiar figure starts to reveal itself, to his alarm. “Amelia?!”

Toby looks up in anger. “Seriously? You’re seriously going to call out her name right now?”

“No that’s not-.” He sits up, pushing Toby off and turns to get a better view. He can clearly see now that it is indeed Amelia and he becomes scared. He points up to her. “I mean Amelia is on the roof! Look up, I think…, oh god, I think she might be considering jumping. Did Elli…?”

Toby looks up and can see it is Amelia, but he’s not so convinced she’s serious. “I don’t think she’s actually going to jump. She’s probably just making a dramatic scene about it for attention.”

“No, you don’t understand Toby. I know Amelia better than anyone and she’d totally do it. She’s talked about doing it before. A while ago, when things were really bad and everyone was teasing her. When she felt like no one cared about her and wouldn’t care if she was gone. She often talked about how easy it’d be to climb up there and jump. She believed her body would be carried forever by the sea and she’d live in eternal peace. She often asked me if I’d go with her. Times were rough for me back then too, so I’ll admit I sometimes thought about it, but Amelia will actually do it. She almost did once, but I talked her down. It was actually just before she met Elli. Things got a lot better once they met, as she had a reason to stick around. She became stuck on her to the point that Elli became her literal life line. Elli was the only thing keeping her to this world. I was simply a distraction for her until they could be together for real. So once they officially started going out in the Spring, things changed for the better. She’d never been happier than when she was with Elli. So for her to be up there and ready to jump, that means Elli must have gone away or something happened to her. Whatever the case may be, if Elli is gone, so is Amelia’s tether and so she’s about to return to the sea and go on that eternal journey. We have to stop her Toby! Please help me. I know you two don’t get along, but as her brother, please help-.”

“I understand. Go and find my parents immediately. Tell them it’s urgent. I’ll go after her.” Spencer jumps into action and leaves. “Idiot!” Toby curses his sister as he races to save her life.

*** “The Royal Meeting Hall”, Garmin-The West Province, Summer Year 2528 ***

            The King and Queen are the first to arrive to the hall and they take a seat in their respective spots. They are to meet with a sales liaison from Merope, who’s come to make the monthly trade. Usually Almyra doesn’t attend this meeting, leaving it to James, but today she’s been asked to attend, as there are additional items for sale that she’d be interested in. As they wait, there is silence, both thinking about other matters; which in this case is what to do about Amelia. Almyra turns to James and finally speaks. “So, what do you say we do about her?”

James turns his attention to her and responds. “I don’t know Love, I would say time, but to be honest, she seems to be the same no matter how much time we give her. I mean, it’s been two weeks and she still won’t voluntarily eat or really respond at all. Not even my voice seems to be reaching her. It seems Ellisia’s grip on her heart is stronger than any we can provide.”

She replies with a sigh. “Yes, it would seem so. I want to take the stance that she is a Princess and therefore must continue to carry out her duty no matter what, but at the same time I am human. I, if anyone, should know quite well the impact of losing your first love. However, this is a bit different because Clara and I ended things with a mutual understanding of necessity. We’d talked it over and came to the decision together, ending it for the sake of the future. In this case, no one can say why Elli just up and left her life behind without a word. Clearly Amelia never saw it coming and Liam didn’t get any notice either. No wonder he’s going crazy over all the things that could have happened to her. Who’s to know if she even left on her own accord or if she was taken by force? If she did leave of her own accord, I’d like to know why. I thought we’d reached an understanding, but perhaps I was wrong. Or perhaps the Dumont girl was as bad of an influence on her as I feared and this sudden shift was her doing. No matter if it was willingly or forced though, if she’s in the clutches of that Kree kingdom; she’s as good as gone.”

James clears his throat and responds. “Well, I can’t say anything with certainty, but you could be on the right path with Ms. Dumont. You see, Elli never came home on Monday and the last Liam heard, she was going somewhere with Navi, but she promised to be home for dinner. She never came back that night, however Navi did and just so happened to at the most opportune time. I’m not sure if you’ve been listening to the talk, but the Armenia guards had responded to an incident involving Ms. Makena Foster and Ms. Megan Hughes and Navi was there. It seems Megan had drugged Makena and attempted to sexually assault her, but Navi had intervened.”

She nods and says, “yes, I’d heard something about that, though I didn’t listen deeply. I was quite shocked to hear of Megan doing such a thing, considering her father, Walter Hughes does excellent work for us as one of our lead scientists. Though I’d imagine he was just as shocked to hear of it. It was quite fortunate however that Navi just happened to be there.”

James agrees. “Yes, it almost seemed too fortunate. Also the circumstances are hard to explain. They were told she happened to be passing by and just had a bad feeling, but it’s unlikely she’d have been in such a panic that she’d break a window, another impressive feat if I may add, rather than ring the doorbell like anyone else or even call the guard. They would’ve never expected her to be Demikri as they are not trained to identify them, but you and I both know just how she was able to do something so extraordinary, but she wouldn’t have done it in such a showy fashion unless she was in a hurry or intentionally wished to do so. The most suspicious thing however, is that both Makena and Navi attended school the next day and were seen by many others leaving together. No one has seen either of them since then and it was also that same day that Liam realized Elli hadn’t just failed to return home, but didn’t go to school either. It was at that point that he assumed she must have stayed over with Amelia at their fort, but when he arrived there, all he found was the place in disarray and a distraught Amelia. He couldn’t get anything out of her before she kicked him out and so that’s why he came to us.”

Almyra quickly replies. “Yes, he was quite shaken by what he saw, but after a thorough examination of the area, it was clear that Amelia had made the mess herself and therefore we could conclude that it was unlikely they were attacked and that Elli had left on her own, regardless of if it were her idea or under the influence of someone else. If I had it my way, I would’ve made her come back with us right then and there and make her talk, but you insisted we give her time to get herself together. Now we may never get the full story on what’s happened and if there were any nefarious things going on, it may be too late to stop them.”

James sighs. “I know you feel that I’m too lenient on certain matters, but in contrast you can be too harsh. I felt that was the best decision for our daughter, not the Princess and so I don’t regret it. Like you said yourself, you should know better than anyone what it’s like. When you and Clara ended things, I was still just the guy your father assigned to be your Berserker to you. However, when I saw how depressed you’d gotten, I stepped up and helped you through it like a worthy Berserker should. It was during that period that we came to fall in love, but we didn’t get there with force. I had to be patient with you. I gave you space when you just wanted to be alone and never told you to just “get over it”. Don’t you think Amelia was feeling the same way?”

She nods reluctantly. “Yes, I know, that’s ultimately why I went along with it. But I still feel we could’ve at least questioned her a bit and then given her that space. Regardless, it’s a bit troubling to hear that both Elli and this Foster girl went missing within a day of each other and both were last seen with Navi, who’s now missing too. Have you investigated this at all?”

He nods. “Of course I have, I never take it lightly when one of our own citizens goes missing, in this case we have two. I couldn’t rest easy or face Liam if I didn’t take extensive care into investigating their disappearance. Makena’s mother was particularly distraught over her daughter’s disappearance. She wanted me to call a raid right then and there to invade Merope and find her. She’s convinced they have her, especially since it seems Megan may have hinted around to her about Navi possibly being a Demikri. She’s quite knowledgeable on them through her father’s teaching. I of course talked her down and got her to trust my efforts, but she won’t lie silent forever. If we don’t find her soon or god forbid if she ends up dead, she’ll lose it.”

She becomes serious. “For their sake, let’s all hope she turns up safe and sound because if either she or Elli turns up dead or even severely injured, our treaty will be considered voided and I will not hesitate to declare war. The treaty is already thinning out, but that will be the final straw.”

He places his hand on hers with a smile and he says, “I know Love, but let’s hope it won’t come to that. I want to maintain peace as much as possible and believe Elli will be the one to make it happen, but if they cast the first stone, then of course, there shall be no mercy left to give.”

She nods in agreement and just then, two more men walk in. The first has burnt orange hair and turquoise eyes. He wears a military uniform. He bows and says, “hello my Lady, Lord, Dennis Hart reporting in.” They both nod in acknowledgement and he takes a seat beside Almyra.

The second man walks in now, looking much more extravagant. He’s got bleach blond hair and a matching goatee around his mouth. He’s got glasses and pale skin. He wears a very scientific looking outfit, finished with a long white lab coat. He seems to be quite eccentric and bows as such before he says, “it’s always a pleasure to see you my Lady and you as well My Lord. I hope I’m finding you both well. Walter Hughes reporting in and at your service.” They both nod in acknowledgement again and he takes a seat beside James, with whom he shares a secret nod.

Almyra speaks to them both now. “Thank you gentlemen for being here today. Dennis, I’ve asked you here today as our Lead Berserker Training Instructor as this salesperson is reported to have quality battle materials for us to see. Walter, I’ve asked you here as our Lead Scientists as they also report to having important scientific goods. They also have advanced medical devices and serums for sale, so I expect Doctor Wanda Mathers should be joining us shortly as well.” Just as she says this, the Doctor walks in. “Ah yes, here she is now. Welcome, we were expecting you.”

A beautiful woman, with long Auburn hair, light brown eyes and caramel skin bows and says, “thank you my Lady. It’s always an honor to be in your presence. Yours as well my Lord.”

He nods and replies pleasantly. “Of course Wanda, we appreciate your long period of service and loyalty to us. Please, take a seat, get comfortable. Our guest should be arriving at any moment.”

            Just as she sits down, a butler comes to announce the awaited guest’s arrival. “My Lady, Lord, please allow me to introduce our guest, Miss Mara Yante, the Merope sales liaison.”

An attractive young woman with long, curled black hair with pink highlights and amber eyes enters the hall, rolling a cart containing many items. She wears a fitted black skirt and beige blouse matching her jewelry. She receives looks from not just all the men in the room, but the women as well. She smiles pleasantly, always having been one for the attention and begins her introduction. “Good Evening all, I’m honored to have been allowed an audience with you.”

Almyra stands and says, “of course, we always try to keep good relations with your city on the commerce side of things if not political. Though it is a bit later than I would’ve expected.”

Mara nods and replies with understanding. “I do apologize for that; it’s just it took a bit longer to have things ready than we’d usually anticipate. I have some great things to offer you however, so if I may, shall I begin describing these items and their uses to you?”

Almyra nods. “Please do. It seems you’ve got quite a bit to get through.” She sits back down.

Mara says, “very well.” She picks up the first item, an unusual looking device and starts explaining its functions. She does this for a variety of other items, one always exciting one of the heads sitting beside James and Almyra. Almyra herself looks quite intrigued on certain items as well. James also finds them interesting, but he only partially listens, as he can’t help but stare at Mara. He feels that something is off about her, but he can’t place it. Mara can feel his gaze.

Mara finishes her pitch and receives applause from the entire panel. Almyra stands again and says, “these items are quite advanced and seem very useful to our various departments. So we’d be happy to take them off your hands for your requested price and if they serve us as well as I hope, then we will order larger bulks. Would that be agreeable to your terms?”

Mara nods and replies enthusiastically, “of course, that would be quite desirable. Thank you!”

Almyra nods and motions to a royal merchant. He walks over to Mara and hands her a case with a large sum of Silvers, the currency of the New Age and takes the cart away with him. Almyra turns back to Mara and ends the transaction by saying, “it was a pleasure doing business with you Ms. Yante. I look forward to doing so again in the future. Do take care on your journey.”

Mara bows and responds pleasantly. “of course, you take care as well. Please excuse me.” Mara starts to walk away, but before she is completely out the door, James calls out to her.

“Ms. Yante, just a moment please.” Mara turns back to look at him, with a curious expression and she says, “yes? Is there something wrong?” She avoids looking him directly in the eye.

James stands and walks over to her. Almyra and the others are curious, but say nothing. James stands beside Mara, and with an analytical expression he says, “you’re not the usual sales liaison. If I remember, it was always Lari who came to sell Merope’s wares, why the sudden change?”

Mara maintains her calm demeanor as she responds with, “yes, Lari is the usual liaison, however he had to attend to some other matters today and so I jumped in to make the sale today.”

James inches closer and attempts to get a better look at her face, however she continues to avert her gaze. He continues with, “I guess those things do happen sometimes. However, another unusual practice is to bring these items on a cart with nothing but a cloth cover. Usually, he’d bring the items in containers or boxes and they’d always come in bulk automatically.”

Mara can tell she’s getting close to being trapped, but she continues to evade. “That’s also true,” she says. “However, these items are all very new and in the experimental stages, so we wanted to play it safe by only offering you select samples. If they prove to be safe and effective, then we will gladly produce them in bulk for your purchase. It was all in your best interest, I assure you.”

James doesn’t look quite convinced, but before he can continue, Almyra chimes in. “James, stop interrogating the poor girl. She’s given you reasonable answers, so let her be on her way.”

James sighs as he looks to Almyra. “I know love; I was just being a bit precautious.” He turns back to Mara. “I’m sorry for my insistence, but if I may, I just have one more question.” Mara is hesitant, but nods, giving the ok. He continues. “Thank you. Now, I can’t help but notice that you won’t look me in the eye. I could understand if you are nervous, but I’m not sure that’s all. I’m quite curious about your eyes to be honest, as I’ve never seen any quite like them. You seem to be human and your eyes are not like that of Kree, hybrids or even Demikri, but they are not quite right either for someone of Asian descent. Furthermore, I’ve never seen heard of a Merope citizen being of natural Asian decent nor do they take in immigrants and never humans based on my knowledge, so please answer me this. Just what are you to them and what is your existence?”

Mara can no longer maintain her calm resolve and James knows it as he grins in satisfaction. Seeing the tension between them and how James places his hand over his sword, Almyra begins to approach them, her finger on the button of her band, ready to react at a moment’s notice. She looks at Mara and with a serious tone asks, “what business really brings you here Ms. Yante?”

Mara; or rather Alice, realizes the jig is up and sneers as she says, “damn, you two are good.”

Not needing anymore proof, James unsheathes his sword and slashes at her, but she quickly jumps back, using the case of silvers as her shield. At the same time, Almyra triggers her suit, the skin tight leather forming around her body as its released from her band. The neural links around her head register and the suit is activated as her Valkyrie blade ejects from the band. She gets into a battle stance, standing beside James, who is also in his defensive pose as they stare intensely at the girl in front of them. She no longer has a smooth pretty face, but instead her skin is rough and scaly, her teeth have become sharper and eyes have a slight glow. She looks a lot like a Kree hybrid, but not quite as her skin is scaly, but not leathery or discolored, her eyes don’t glow as bright and her body hasn’t morphed at all. Her change is more or less superficial and she still looks quite human despite those changes. James shouts, “Just what the hell are you?!”

Alice laughs and with a smug tone replies with, “wouldn’t you like to know, Crown Prince?”

Almyra doesn’t understand the exchange, but James does and becomes livid as he shouts, “no matter! I will strike you down with my own sword for saying such deplorable things!” He charges at her with his sword, but she again evades it successfully.

“You can deceive them, but you can’t deceive yourself! You can run, but karma will find you!”

James charges again, becoming quite erratic. Almyra is disturbed, as he’s never this reckless in battles and never loses his calm head. However, she jumps in to help him, the two aiming for Alice in tag team formation. Although with more close calls, Alice still manages to evade their attacks and even gets one in of her own, when she kicks James in his chest, sending him flying back and against the wall. This distracts Almyra and Alice could’ve easily slashed her with her sharpened nails, but she remembers the Empresses’ orders and instead runs out the door, making her escape. James gets his bearings and yells to Almyra, “nevermind me, go after her!”

She nods, remembering that in battle they focus on the tasks at hand and securing their kingdom, not on anything that may happen to the other. She starts to chase after her, but before she can get out the door, a guard runs in first shouting, “intruder! My lady we have an intruder down in the science sector! A hooded person somehow found their way down there and began knocking out the present staff and guards. Then they headed off towards the prison area. I just don’t understand how they could’ve breached our walls. We would’ve seen them if they’d tried to get in. The only outsiders we’ve had at the compound today was that saleswoman. I don’t know-.”

“That damn cart!” James yells this as he gets to his feet. “That strange girl brought them here inside that cart she had her items on. I knew there was something off about all of this! Shut down all traffic in and out of the compound and secure every exit. We cannot allow them to escape! Almyra and I will chase after that girl, she may be very dangerous. Walter, you head to the labs and check on their integrity and assure the staff is alright. Dennis, you prepare the Berserker cadets, just in case we need to mobilize them for an attack.” Turning to the guard he says, “you inform General Smith of a possible attack and to have the royal army ready.” Finally, he turns to Wanda. “Wanda, you have the most important job of all, please go to our daughter and make sure she’s safe. No one but you can enter her room. The guard will stand watch. Can you do that for us?” His expression softens a bit as he says this and Wanda understands the importance.

She stands and bows respectfully as she says, “yes my Lord, I shall do so with urgency.” She runs out of the hall and everyone else goes on their way to complete their tasks, leaving them.

James turns to Almyra. “Are you ready for this? I don’t know if an attack is what they have planned, but we should probably be prepared for anything. I don’t think it a coincidence that they’d choose to strike when we are vulnerable due to Amelia’s poor state. If you were to fall, she’s in no shape to take over right now and if any of the ancients were to appear, then-.”

Almyra places a finger against his mouth and silences him as she says, “you think too much. Let’s just take things one step at a time and have a little faith in the rest ok?”

James smiles and says, “You always know just what to say to calm me down Love.” He leans down to kiss her as he always does before a prospective battle and they join hands. They take a moment just to feel the other beside them in silence. During this time, their hearts are connected in love. Almyra thinks about how although Clara was her true love, she has come to genuinely love James and wouldn’t want to be without him now. James also reflects on things, knowing that although his relationship with Almyra was started for personal gain, he has come to genuinely love her and almost feels guilty for using her. Evani is always going to be where his heart lies, but he’d never want to see Almyra harmed. He secretly wishes that when everything comes out and he comes out of this war as the victor, that Almyra will forgive him and continue to stand beside him. He’s not a good man, but even an evil man cannot resist the pull of love. He breathes in deeply, turns to Almyra and says, “Let’s do this.” She nods and they get to work.

*** “The Prison Sector”, Garmin-The West Province, Summer Year 2528 ***

            In the cover of the darkness, the hooded figure sneaks into the prison and one by one, knocks out the guards. Once they are all out cold, they approach the metal bars of the closest cell and address the terrified looking children in them. “It’s ok, don’t be scared,” they say. “I’m not going to hurt you, I’m here to help you.” They don’t look convinced and so after assuring no one was around, they remove their hood and Elli’s warm smile can be seen. “See,” she continues. “I’m like you guys. I’m going to make sure you all get out of here safe and sound ok?” The children recognize the familiar look of eyes just like theirs and are no longer scared. They smile instead. Seeing so many Demikri children, imprisoned like they are rats, angers Elli to no end.

When the King and Queen mentioned that they wanted her to head the Demikri army, she had been curious as to if they were able to find that many willing to fight with them, but now she knows that they’ve been making custom ordered Kree from their own people and breeding them with captured Kree in order to make Demikri. They made it seem like she was an evolutionary miracle, but the truth is that she was just the first of the Kings experiments to make sleeper agents and to greenlight his current mission to amass a huge Demikri army to fight against the impressive force that is Merope. Every living Kree and Sub-Kree have come to reside in Merope after their home cities were destroyed by the Valkyries. They’ve become one nation.

Evani explained everything to Elli, including the fact that King James used to be the adoptive Crown Prince of Merope beside Evani, but his evil ambitions led him to kill their parents and forced her to outcast humans from the nation forevermore, as she could no longer trust them. He left Merope, only to weasel his way into this Kingdom and become the Valkyrie Prince so he’d be able to marry the Princess and become King. He’s vowed to bring Merope and the very existence of the Kree to its knees ever since and creating this Demikri force is his secret weapon to do it, though it’s not as secret as he thought. Evani is smart and she knew from the moment he took interest in Elli that he was planning something along these lines. Just as she has long since figured out his spies within the nation and have turned them into double agents, which has allowed her to get all this information, such as where the Demikri children are being kept. There’s nothing she can do about those who’ve come of age and are already a part of the Kingdom’s Demikri army, but she can at least save these children from a life of blind servitude and let them live among their own kind. Evani doesn’t consider them human, as they were born from Kree, even if only partially so. Evani isn’t going to let the King get the best of her and Elli can’t help but idolize her strength and genius. She can see that she’s such a competent ruler and she hopes that one day she can rule as such.

That is why she agreed to let her use her for this plan. She will also become a sleeper agent, play the part they want her to, become Amelia’s Berserker and fight on their side. She’ll wait idly by until the right time comes and they can expose James for the snake he truly is and show the Queen and the rest of the Kingdom that they’ve been fighting for a misguided cause and that they’ve been being deceived. Evani only wishes to expose James and make him pay for his sins, but otherwise she doesn’t want excess innocent lives to be lost on either side. She feels bad about having to keep this plan secret from Amelia, but she knows if she tells her, she’d never believe her because she sees no evil in her father. In her eyes, her dad is good and kind and loves her dearly. Telling her he’s actually evil and underhanded would only cause a rift between them and possibly ruin everything. So she’ll have to deceive her just a bit, but unlike what her father did, she’s not using her for personal gain. She’s going to earn her right to stand beside her by winning the Berserker competition and helping her see her father’s misdeeds in the right way. She promised her that she’d come back to her and that she’d never leave her and so she intends to follow through on that promise. She’s going to find her, hold her close and never let her go again. She’ll never turn away from her, until the day she takes Elli’s life with her own hands.

            “Boo!” Someone says this in Elli’s ear, startling her into a defensive pose. They start to laugh and Elli just rolls her eyes. Alice then says, “oh man, you were so ready to kill me.”

“I almost did! You’re an idiot, I hope you realize that Alice. Anyway, did it go ok?”

“Hmm, define ok,” she says. When Elli gives her the evil eye, she laughs and continues. “It went ok I guess, though my cover was kind of blown. I got away, but I had to fight a bit to do it.”

Elli looks concerned. “You didn’t hurt them did you?!” Her tone is alarmed.

“Wow, look how concerned you are for them. I get it’s your girlfriend’s parents, but still….” She pats Elli on the back and continues with, “no, I didn’t hurt a little hair on their heads. Though I’ll admit, I was tempted. I almost wanted to grab that man and force him to tell me where Navi is.”

Elli looks worried. “Yea, I was hoping I’d find her down here, but no luck. If James has her, it’s not here. Maybe she and Makena ran off together after all, I mean since she’s missing too.”

Alice shakes her head aggressively. “No, Navi wouldn’t just up and leave, even after all that’s happened. She’s very noble and would stay to help her Empress even if it was from the outside. She definitely would’ve made contact with me by now and so the fact that she hasn’t mean she can’t. She’s definitely being imprisoned somewhere and maybe they’ve got Makena there too. Either way, I’m going to find her. We’ve gone through too much for me to abandon her now, especially after going through such a drastic change to stay with her.”

Elli can see Alice’s sad expression and finally decides to ask the question she’s been toying with. “Hey, just what did you do for her? I know you were human once, but now you are clearly Kree, even able to change your form when I can’t even do it and I was born from a Kree mother. Is it the serum like James uses on his people to make them sleeper agents?”

Alice shakes her head. “No, it’s not the same. That serum changes a human’s innate chemical properties to that of a Kree and allows them to survive in the highly carbonated environment of Merope, that would otherwise be toxic to humans and it allows them some of the enhanced strength, but their genes are still human. That’s how Evani was able to weed out the sleeper agents, by doing a mass genetic testing of all citizens and finding those with human genes. They are very much like Demikri, but the difference is they cannot heal themselves, nor do they have our other abilities such as super hearing, high jumping or thick skin. They’re just strong.”

“So, what does that make you then? How’d you get like this?” Elli asks this with curiosity.

“Well, I guess you can call me a test tube Kree.” Alice laughs at her own joke before continuing. “I was human, so when I arrived here with Navi, I wasn’t allowed to enter the city. However, I refused to leave and so eventually Evani came to me and said that her lead scientist had an experimental procedure he developed and that if I was willing to take a chance, I could probably become Kree and be granted permission to acclimate inside. I was willing to do anything it took to be with Navi, so I agreed with little hesitation. They strapped me down to a lab table and started doing all kinds of things. It was painful, it was scary and it hurt like hell, but I stuck it out. After days of experimentation, what they were trying to do was a success and I could suddenly do things just like a Kree, but my changes were more superficial rather than full body nothing like true Kree. I was the first human to be successfully turned into Kree through experimentation and I thought it was a great thing. However, Navi didn’t feel the same. She said I’d destroyed the part of me she loved most and that she’d never asked me to do that.

That drove a rift between us and eventually she moved on without me. She began dating other girls and only turned to me in times of grief after breakups. It was better than being nothing at all to her, but I still sometimes wonder if this is what I actually wanted from life. I did this for her when she didn’t want it and now I’m stuck like this forever. They say I may even have a prolonged lifespan like real Kree, which is bad because Demikri have the lifespans of a long living human. I often wonder if maybe I should’ve just left things as they were and accepted that Navi never wanted to be with me forever. I mean, that’s why we broke up before I even made the change. The change was my last desperate attempt at saving a relationship that was always going to fail and now I’m stuck holding the short end of the stick. So that’s why I’ve committed myself to at least looking out for Navi in any way I can, even if she doesn’t want me to. I also try and do anything I can to help Evani since she gave me the chance in the first place and I owe her that. So that’s why I’m here. I’ll definitely find Navi though, that’s a promise.”

Elli finds herself in awe at the devotion Alice had for Navi to literally give up not just her life, but her humanity as well. If Navi didn’t fall for her after all of that, then it’s clear they aren’t meant to be. Now she finds herself wondering if maybe Makena would do the same if given the choice. She doesn’t have time to think more on it however as she can hear commotion up above. “They’re coming! You need to get all these kids and prisoners out of here now!”

Elli uses her strength and easily breaks the locks of the cells and opens up the doors. She then announces, “listen everyone, I know you’re scared and probably don’t know if you should trust me, but I’m here to help you escape. My friend Alice here is going to see to it that you get out of here safely and take you to our nation. There you will be able to live normal lives and be accepted by others like you or related to the special beings you are. I know they probably made you feel like monsters, but I’m here to tell you that you’re not monsters. You are Kree and you should be proud to be as we are a nation of good people, who only wish to live peacefully among humans. I know they may not seem very nice now, but you shouldn’t hate humans any more than they should hate you. If we all just got the chance to understand one another, I promise you we’d never have to fight again. So now I want you to go with Alice, and find your own happiness.” The kids and other prisoners murmur, but they seem to be receptive to her words. She turns to Alice and gives her an order. “Alice, take the underground route just as the map showed. It’ll lead you to the waterway and allow passage out of the compound and all the way to the forest so you can return to Merope safely. Make sure you get them to safety. I promise I’ll do my best to find out more on Navi and I’ll find a way to inform you of anything I may find. Ok? Oh and here, take this cloak, so no one will be able to tell exactly who is behind this operation.”

Alice grins at Elli, making her question her actions. Alice shakes her head and places her hand on Elli’s shoulder. “Aye, Aye captain! You take care of yourself too and appreciate your girl!” She laughs and slipping the cloak on and putting the hood on, she rallies the group. “Ok people, let’s get out of here! Some yummy food awaits us in the motherland. Let’s do it!” Alice runs down the corridor and the kids and other prisoners follow just as enthusiastically as she is.

Elli shakes her head in amusement, still finding Alice’s ability to be so childish and carefree one moment and mature and wise the next a most complexing contradiction. She walks over to one final cell at the end of the corridor and opens it up like the others. Inside is a very malnourished wild Kree they’ve been using for their experimental tests and it looks angry. She enters the cell and locks herself into it with the Kree, who approaches her menacingly. She isn’t scared, but instead she smiles and with a gentle voice says, “Hi there. You don’t know me, but I need you to do me a favor. I need you to attack me with all you have. I’ll take on the sin of all the terrible things they did to you and offer you your vengeance. I’m sorry for all your suffering and that you will likely be killed, but I hope hurting me will somehow bring you peace. Will you do this?”

The Kree looks at her with a confused expression and he’s very disoriented, but looking into his eyes, she can see he understands and is thankful. He’s lived a long, painful life at their hands and even though his life is about to end when they come in and eliminate him for attacking one of their own, he can tell how genuine Elli is, even if she’d been blind for so long. The Kree enters an offensive stance and Elli braces herself for what is surely going to be painful, even though she will be able to heal eventually, but she doesn’t show fear as she feels it’s the least she can do for living in such ignorance as a human, while her people were suffering at the hands of those she trusted so much. So she will allow this lone Kree some due vengeance and in return he’s helping the cause by making her look like a victim dumped here as a traitorous prisoner who’s betrayed her people for this Kingdom, as an exchange for taking back all of the others. This way, the King and Queen will believe that she’d really been taken against her will and forced to conform. However, she refused and so they exiled her as a traitor, leaving her here to rot in the human cell she loved so dearly. Alice came up with the plan and Evani thought it was brilliant, as did Elli. Alice truly is a genius and even if she doubts the benefit of her choice back then, Elli knows that she made the right decision and that Alice is exactly where she’s always been meant to be.

*** “The Royal Compound Roof”, Garmin-The West Province, Summer Year 2528 ***

            Amelia stands on the edge, high above the ground, prepared to jump. Just as she leans forward and her feet leave the edge, her body suddenly tugs backwards, as she’s snatched and thrown back onto the roof, her head hitting the ground. “Ow!” She screams, holding her head.

A tall figure stands over her with a frown and icy glare. It’s a young man, his blue eyes shining in the moonlight. He speaks with an angry tone. “Oh, I’m sorry, did that hurt? Please allow me to help you.” He grabs her by her dress collar and punches her hard in the face, making her scream out again. “Oh, my mistake, let me try one more time.” He pulls her up again, just to punch her again, his eyes filled with anger and spite. “Oh, was that too hard? I’m terribly sorry!”

Amelia finally cries out, having reached her limit. “Toby please! Please stop, that hurts.”

“And?” He questions. “What does it matter to you? You wanted to die didn’t you? You were ready to jump off the damn roof to your death, so what’s the difference if I punch you? I can just as easily kill you without any reservations. Shall I do that for you? Just give me the word!”

Amelia starts to cry as she says through her tears, “that’s different. I made the choice myself.”

“So you’re saying it’s fine if you die by your own hands, but not if I kill you? What the hell is wrong with you? I’ve always felt you were stupid, but now I’m wondering if you’re an idiot.”

“What do you know?!” She yells. “You’ve never known true love, so of course you can’t understand. There’s no life without that person and you’d rather die than to be without them. You’ve never cared about anyone but yourself, least of all me. I know you hate my guts and would gladly kill me. So fine, here’s your chance. Go on and kill me. I don’t care anymore. I’m nothing without Elli, so just kill me! Then you can be mom and dad’s favorite for good.”

He stares into her eyes and can see that she really means it. He’s angry, so angry he feels like he could really kill her. He wraps his hands around her neck and she closes her eyes, ready for it. Just then, Spencer and Doctor Wanda arrive and Spencer calls out, “Toby wait! Don’t do it!”

Toby ignores them and tightens his grip. But he doesn’t do so with the intent to kill, but rather he pulls her up to his chest and pulls her into and embrace. They are all shocked, most of all Amelia and upon feeling wetness on her neck, Amelia realizes he’s crying. Toby cries as he holds his sister against his chest, brought to tears by the fact that he’s become seen as such a deplorable man that they believed he’d actually kill his little sister in cold blood. How did he fall so low? Amelia raises her arms and returns his hug with one of her own as she whispers, “are you ok?”

Toby laughs out loud through his tears. “Are you serious? I’m trying to save you and you’re asking me if I’m ok? Maybe I really should kill you out of mercy since you’re clearly insane.”

Amelia manages a weak laugh. “Yea, maybe I am. I must be pretty sick to get sympathy from you of all people. I don’t understand though, why did you save me? You hate me don’t you?”

“Yes I hate you!” He says this without hesitation. “I hate you so damn much it’s sickening. I hate that you get to be the special one to carry on our family’s legacy. I hate how much mom and dad focus on you and coddle you so you’ll never get hurt all because you’re the special one. I hate how you can command respect if you wanted to, just by the fact that you are the Princess, which we all know carries more weight than the Prince. I’m just the other kid, despite being the older one. I hate everything you stand for and there were many times I wished you didn’t exist, but even then, I never wanted you dead! You’re my sister, my little sister and as much as I hate you, I love you more! I love you because you’re my little sister, even if I hate the princess.” Amelia can hardly believe what she’s hearing and now that she has, she starts to cry too.

“I had no idea you felt that way Toby. I thought you hated all of me and could care less that I was your sister. It means a lot that you’ve said this, but I still don’t know if even that is enough to keep living. I just love Elli too much and if I don’t have her, I don’t know how to survive.”

He places his hands on her shoulders and pushes her away so he can face her. “That’s easy,” he says. “You’ve just got to learn to love yourself. I know it sounds annoyingly cliché, but it’s true. You know that Elli loved you for some reason right? That reason is why you feel like it’s ok to live for her. So figure out what it is about you that she loves and love it too, then you’ll find the reason to live.” Amelia looks at him with shock, but also admiration and Toby feels stupid.

However, Spencer and the Doctor look on with smiles, happy to see them share such an important moment and for Spencer specifically, he’s happy to see that he was right about Toby. He really is a good guy at heart and he probably just fell in love with him even more, something he never imagined was possible. He sighs in relief as he says, “oh thank god. I was so scared.”

Amelia laughs at Spencer’s reaction and turns back to Toby who looks red and embarrassed. She hugs him and says, “I know you’re probably never going to say it again, but I appreciate it Toby and I love you too. I don’t know if it’ll be that easy to find something to love about myself, but I promise to at least try. I know that Elli would never forgive me if I didn’t at least try. Besides, she promised she’d come back to me, so maybe I should try believing in her promise.”

Toby scoffs. “Well duh! You mean you were about to do something so crazy when she already promised to come back? You really are an idiot Amelia. If she says she’ll come back, then she’ll come back. I may not know her well, but I got the impression she doesn’t make empty promises. Trust in her and surely if it’s meant to be, you two will find your way back to each other.” Amelia nods and hugs him again. “Ok, enough already. That’s enough mushy for a day.”

They all laugh, but then someone interrupts them. “Doctor Wanda! Please come quickly, Ellisia Almont has just been found severely injured. It seems she was left to die as a traitor, locked in a cell with a wild Kree after refusing to join the Kree cause. We killed him, but she still sustained considerable damage. So the King and Queen are requesting you at once to examine her.”

Everyone is immediately silent and Wanda jumps into action. “Of course, I shall go at once! Please look out for Amelia boys, I’ll come check on her afterwards.” She starts to leave, but Amelia calls after her.

“Wait! I’m going too. Surely she’s crying and I’m not going to let her do so alone.” She gets to her feet. She starts to leave, but Toby grabs her as he gets to his feet. “Toby, I need to go!”

He replies with a gentle, “I know. But hey, aren’t you glad I didn’t let you jump after all?”

He smiles smugly and she does too. “You’re right, I owe you big time. I know you won’t let me forget it.” She runs off behind Wanda as Spencer walks over to Toby with a big, cheesy smile.

“Don’t,” he says as he puts up a hand to halt him. However, that doesn’t stop him and he still grabs him, hugging him tightly. “Alright, alright, you’re welcome. You owe me too.”

Spencer looks up into his eyes with a smile. “Yup, I do, big time. So, what do you say I pay out by letting you finish what you started at the beach earlier? With all the commotion, I doubt anyone would notice if I accompanied you to your room.” He gives a seductive gaze.

Toby can see he’s serious a responds accordingly. “Spence, are you sure about that?”

“I am,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve been more sure of anything actually. Amelia will likely want to be alone with Elli, so I’ll save my bff duties for tomorrow and if it’s my virtue you’re worried about, don’t be. Amelia took care of that a long time ago and as far as morality is concerned, I’m pretty sure no one is going to challenge the Prince. Besides, I’m giving you my consent. So I’m not letting you get away. You are going to take my hand and lead me to your room, got it?”

Toby can see the mischief in his eyes and feels the urge to play along. “Ok then, but don’t regret it tomorrow.” He leans down and kisses him with passion, before he pulls back and then practically drags him along. Spencer follows willingly, feeling happier than he ever imagined.

*** “The Royal Clinic”, Garmin-The West Province, Summer Year 2528 ***

            Amelia is the first one in the room, startling everyone inside as she calls out, “Ellisia!”

Everyone moves aside and although weak, Elli is able to move her head enough to look at Amelia. She manages a smile as she whispers, “Lia….” Amelia hurries to her side and grabs her hand. She can see tears rolling down her cheek. Elli weakly says, “I’m back Lia. I promised so-.”

Amelia shushes her and says, “I know, but don’t worry about that right now. I’m here, so no more crying ok? Everything is going to be fine now, so just rest.” She kisses her hand. Elli smiles and weakly nods, before drifting out of consciousness. Doctor Wanda approaches.

She says, “I’ll need to examine her Amelia, but I promise as soon as I’m done, I’ll let you return. Perhaps you should take this time to have yourself a nice bath and recover yourself, hmm?”

She gives her a secret look between them and she understands what she’s saying. She knows she won’t tell her parents about what she just tried to do and nods gracefully before saying, “ok.” She walks away, James patting her head as she passes. Her mother gives her a simple nod. She walks out and doesn’t stop until she’s in her room. She plays with the band around her wrist with a smile, feeling like it really is the tie that binds them together. She knows now that she can’t die. As long as Elli is still breathing, then she must live, no matter how far apart they may end up. They are clearly destined to be together and so she’s not going to doubt it anymore. She will never abandon her, until the day she dies. Elli has her life in her hands, just as she knows she holds Elli’s. They are one, now and forever until their time runs out and then again in eternity. Amelia suddenly recalls all the things she told her on their last night before all of this. How she was a Princess of her own nation and that Evani was her mother. Elli thought she hadn’t heard since she was in the middle of her childish tantrum, but she heard it all. She understood all she had said, yet she still acted like a spoiled brat. She realizes now that her dependence on Elli was not healthy and it’s what almost lead her to a premature death. She can love Elli with everything and she can devote her life to her, without literally making Elli all her life is worth living for. She knows now that Elli would’ve never forgiven her for it either. She’d have called her a coward.

She doesn’t know what the future will bring, especially now that she knows Elli’s history. It’s possible that one day they may find themselves on conflicting sides or that maybe she will not always be able to understand her as a Demikri, but she won’t let it stop them from being together. Even if the war between their Kingdoms makes them enemies one day, that won’t change the fact that they are destined. Even if the day should come where she’ll have to kill her with her own hands, she will do so, for soon after she will join her. They will stay together until death does them part and even after that, they will live in purgatory or wherever they end up together. Amelia would even spend the rest of her days in hell as long as Elli was by her side.

On this warm and breezy night, Amelia vowed to stand with Ellisia forever more and even with all her pain, even though she’s barely breathing, Ellisia’s heart aligns with her feelings. In this moment, they are truly one, bound together by the strings of fate and their everlasting love.  

*** “The Royal Hall”, Garmin-The West Province, Summer Year 2528 ***

               The King and Queen sit in their thrones as Walter, Wanda and General Smith come to report on the developments that occurred in just a few hours after Elli was found. General Smith speaks first. “My Lady, Lord, I led a unit in the search for the missing prisoners, but sadly couldn’t catch up to them or the hooded person leading them away. However, we did come across another person, and it happened to be our person of interest in the disappearance of Makena Foster. Bring her in!” He yells out to someone and a moment later, they are escorting in Navi, looking worn and broken. “This girl was found in the deep woods trying to escape. She insisted that she wasn’t doing anything wrong, and that she was just trying to find shelter for the night since she’d been exiled from Merope. She claims she ran because she feared for her life, figuring we wouldn’t understand. We didn’t quite get it, but when we went into the abandoned hut she’d been hiding in, we found a dead body matching the appearance of Ms. Foster.  She’s said nothing more about it other than she didn’t kill her and was just protecting the body. She even had the nerve to cry like she was genuinely grieving over her loss. It’s all an act I’m sure.”

Navi cries out, “I didn’t kill her! I swear on my life I didn’t kill her! I would never! The Empress executed her after capturing her. I was exiled after trying to stop her! I’ll never forgive her!”

Almyra stands and addresses Navi. “So, you’re saying you attempted to save her from execution and failed and were cast out for it, but managed to take her body with you? How so?”

Navi continues to explain. “I didn’t take her body with me. When I was cast out, Makena was still locked away. I’d been trying to figure out how to get back in and save her, but before I could, I saw them dump her body like a trash heap and realized I was too late. I failed to save her and so the least I could do was to bring her body home to her mother, as penance. It was my fault she was killed, as I brought her there in the faith that the Empress would open our door to her, but I was wrong. She immediately sentenced her to death because she was human and indirectly caused the death of one of our own and I was powerless to stop it. It’s my fault and I’ll never forgive myself, but I swear I didn’t kill her! I’ll even fight against Merope to prove it to you.”

Almyra is intrigued. “So, you’d willingly devote yourself to our side and fight against the people you once considered family? I wonder? Would you kill a Kree right now if I asked you to?”

Navi grits her teeth, but doesn’t break her stance. “I would, without hesitation. I’ll do it now!”

“Very well, I believe you then. General Smith, please take her to be cleaned up and processed.”

He seems surprised. “Are you sure My Lady? Shouldn’t she be tested? She could be lying!”

She shakes her head. “I know the tone of a girl who’s lost everything, she speaks the truth. Now go.” He grunts, but instructs his men to bring her. As she is escorted out, Navi glares at James, who nods with a grin, impressed by her convincing performance. “Wanda, can you confirm?”

Wanda steps forward and says, “yes My Lady. The body appears to be that of Ms. Foster and she was indeed killed by lethal injection, just as all Merope prisoners are. She speaks the truth.”

Next Walter steps forward. “Also, I’ve tested her DNA and can confirm it matches Makena’s perfectly. It pains me to confirm it, but Makena Foster is indeed dead. Merope has killed her.”

Almyra sighs, the pain and sorrow of losing a young life weighing down on her. “James, will you please be sure someone informs Mrs. Foster and helps her manage the burial services?”

James stands and with a gentle tone says, “of course Love, I will see to it personally. It’s so sad.”

Almyra looks up in anger. “They have taken the life of our own and that is unforgivable. General, please prepare your army and begin setting the battle lines. The treaty is hereby voided and from this moment on, we are in a state of war, with Merope as our enemy.” Everyone looks tense, but knew this day was coming and leave to prepare. James simply grins in satisfaction.                              

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