The Valkyrie War (Act 2)

With war officially declared on Merope, the tension between the humans and the kree is greater than ever, with Amelia and Ellisia stuck in the middle of it all. They promised to stay together no matter what and without any secrets, but as more secrets are revealed, the pressure mounts and when King James starts his plan in motion, they will find that it's not as easy as they had hoped. With the battle lines forming and sides being chosen, will the two ever have the happy, quiet life they so desire? Or will their differences be far too great to handle and force them to turn against each other? Don't miss the epic second act and conclusion to this beautifully tragic love story, of the star-crossed lovers, born from different worlds.


2. Betrayals of Love Are Rarely Painless, Kiss me Hard Before You Go

              *** “Amelia’s Bedchamber”, Royal Estate-The West Province, Spring Year 2529 ***

            “Here you are Princess, your dress.” Amelia’s chambermaid places a beautiful white gown with gold lace across her bed and matching heels on the ground beneath. “Will you be needing assistance with dressing?” She stands earnestly, waiting for a reply.

Amelia is quiet and less than enthusiastic, but she’s careful not to take it out on her. “I’m ok, thank you Paige. You may go now, I know you’re eager to get home yourself.”

“No Princess, it’s ok! I’m not in a rush or anything. I’m here for you, anything you need….”

Amelia observes as she blushes slightly and won’t look her in the eyes. She sighs internally, as she thinks to herself, she still hasn’t gotten over her crush on me? Paige has been her maid since they were young, maybe around 5 or so, though she watched more than did at that time, under the direction of her mother, who primarily serves the King and Queen. Once they were about 13, Paige was left to work alone and it was at that point that she and Amelia had gotten close, perhaps even to the level of friends. Amelia wasn’t demanding, so Paige enjoyed working for her. However, somewhere along the way, it seems she’d developed feelings for Amelia and they were clear for everyone to see, including Amelia herself, which is why she pulled away. She can admit that Paige is a very cute girl, but Ellisia is the only girl for Amelia and so nothing will ever happen. Which is why she had hoped that pulling away would send the message, but it seems that was ineffective and her crush remains. Still, she remains pleasant.

“Really Paige, I’m ok and to be honest, I kind of want to be left alone right now. So….”

Finally seeming to get the message, Paige submits. “Ok then, I hope you have a good time Princess. I’ll see you in the morning.” She smiles and then reluctantly makes her way out.

“Finally, she’s gone.” Amelia plops down on the bed and closes her eyes. “Elli….” After a few minutes, she finally feels contented enough to carry on with getting herself dressed. She should hopefully be able to keep Elli off her mind now, even if only for a little while, so she can get through this dreadful night. As expected, Elli was bummed about having to delay her plans for Amelia and that she couldn’t come to the ball, but she was optimistic as ever, saying there was probably a good reason. It’s nice Elli has so much faith in her parents, but she’s still disturbed.

“Amelia, I’m here to pick you up.” Spencer walks in just as Amelia is in the process of pulling her dress up. He shuts the door behind him and stands beside the door, patiently waiting.

Amelia isn’t startled or shocked and casually turns to him. “Oh, perfect timing, zip me up yeah?”

“Sure.” He walks over to her and zips her up with little effort, having done so many times before.

“Thanks.” She sits on the bed and begins to put her shoes on, but he shoo’s her hand away and does it for her. She laughs out loud and says, “you’re getting too good at this. You might’ve actually made quite the fine husband after all. Well, you still can be, just not mine.”

“Ha, thanks. I’m flattered by the compliment and I love you, but I’m not interested in being your husband. You’ve got Elli, I’ve got Toby, that’s how things should be. Anyway, are you ready?”

“Yea, we still have a few minutes, right?” She asks this with a slightly anxious expression.

Spencer realizes something is wrong and so attempts to prod her. “Hey, what’s up?”

She points to the drawer of her nightstand. “Look in there, I placed the notes in it.”

Spencer is a bit confused, but does as she says. He pulls open the drawer and two folded pieces of paper are there, just as promised. He takes them out and reads them one at a time. “Don’t think for a moment that you’re safe behind the walls of this fortress, they are just a false sense of security. We are always watching you Princess and we are everywhere.” He reads the second one. “Your parents are deceiving you, they always have. They are not to be trusted. If you want to truly be free Princess, come out to the South garden at midnight, I will be waiting.” He looks at Amelia, who appears even more anxious than before. “Who gave you these? Did you see?”

“No, that’s what’s so scary. Whoever it was came in through my window it seems and was watching me, even when my mother was here. Then they left just as easily after leaving the second note. They say they want me to meet them at midnight too. It’s all really scary.”

“Well you’re not going!” They both seem startled by his sudden declaration. He calms down a bit before continuing. “Sorry, but I’m not letting you go. This has trap written all over it. For at least tonight I’m your Berserker, your protector and so I can’t allow you to be in such a risky situation. Elli would never forgive me if I let anything happen to you. So, we should just ig-.”

“No.” Spencer is surprised by her sudden response. She realizes this, but carries on. “I appreciate your resolve Spence, really, but I’m not running away from this. I said it was scary and it is, but I’m not running from it. They called me out and so I’m going to see it through, no matter what the dangers may be and I’m going to do it alone. That’s my decision, so please accept it.”

Spencer wants to argue, but knows better than to do so when she’s looking at him like that. “Fine, but I’m only giving you five minutes. If you’re not back by then, I’m coming out and bringing your parents with me, agreed?” He sticks out his hand with a serious expression.

She smiles and shakes his hand firmly. “Agreed. Now, let’s go before my mother implodes.”

They laugh and Spencer sticks out his arm for her to hold. “Well then my lady, shall we?” She takes his arm graciously and they walk out together, making their way to the grand ballroom.

     *** “The Royal Ballroom”, Royal Estate-The West Province, Spring Year 2529 ***

          Spencer and Amelia arrive at the doors of the hall and after being greeted, the Royal Event Planner proceeds to announce the arrival of the night’s guest of honor. “Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, but may I please have your attention for a moment?” Everyone goes silent and turns their attention to the man. “May I now introduce your Valkyrie Princess, Amelia Diane Mangier, accompanied by her Berserker and prospective Valkyrie Prince, Spencer Monroe Durbin!” There is thunderous applause as the door opens and they make their entrance. Neither are particularly happy about how they were introduced, but they can do nothing but smile and wave.

It doesn’t take long before Amelia is swarmed by her guests, all hailing from the kingdoms of the other provinces. Ambassadors, Nobles and many others of prestige are eager to get a moment with the Princess, who will very well be the leader of the new world order if the treaty comes to fruition. However, those details are still are very obscure to Amelia, as her parents feel that is not yet a need to know topic for her. She doesn’t really care either way, but after receiving those notes, she feels a newfound interest in the affairs of her kingdom and the secrets her parents may be keeping. “Amelia!” A deep voice full of enthusiasm calls out to her. “Happy Birthday Baby Love.” King James pulls her into a tight hug. Smiling, he says, “you look beautiful Amelia.”

She’s instantly comforted by her Father’s embrace and hugs him back, everyone else in the room disappearing, leaving just she and him. “Papa…I’m sorry about earlier, I shouldn’t have said-.”

He places a finger on her lips with a smile. “It’s ok, let’s just forget about that for now. Dance with me.” He pulls her to the center of the dance floor, everyone moving aside to allow them passage. A beautiful ballad begins to play and they begin waltz around the ballroom.

“Papa.” Amelia places her head against his chest as they continue moving, never missing a beat. “I wish it could always just be like this. I wish that I didn’t have to be Princess or have to worry about all the things with the Kree. I just want to live happily, free of stress and obligation and spend my days with Elli. We could finish school, Elli would probably get a job in the higher ranks of the military, while I stayed home and looked after our kids. Maybe we’d adopt, or maybe we’d find a donor and I’d carry a child of our very own. Either way, we’d be together and at peace. No Kree, no wars, no anything. That’s what I want more than anything Papa.”

James embraces her tenderly as he says, “I know Baby Love, I know too well the burden and strain of holding an entire kingdom on your shoulders, I’ve been doing it for years now.”

“I know Papa, and that’s why I can talk to you about it honestly, because you do get it. Mom always thinks that I’m just being a child, but we know the truth. I’m sorry Papa, but I still can’t respect a woman who’d pass of her birthright and responsibilities to you, just because she can’t be bothered. My Grandmother was a noble woman, who ran the Kingdom and turned it into the most well respected of all the provinces, while still doing her duty to defend against the threat of the Kree, which she lessened I might add. Grandfather was there as a support and was always willing to step in if needed, but Grandmother never just passed everything on to him. I know you love Mom and that’s why you do it, but I think you let her take advantage of you too often. She claims to be so strong, but I think she’s weak. I can’t even remember the last time she said she loved me. She doesn’t love anyone but herself. I’m sorry Papa, but I hate her so much!”

“Amelia.” His voice is quiet, but stern and Amelia looks away in shame. He gently places his hand on her cheek and turns her head back towards him. “Lia, please look at me.” She does as she’s told, her lip slightly quivering, clearly holding back her tears. “I think it’s time I explain this to you. Your mother is a lot of things, but one thing she’s not is weak. I’ve seen her deal with situations that even I don’t think I could’ve handled. She didn’t pass off these duties to me, I took them from her, because I knew she disliked them. I did this for her because I love her and wanted her to worry about nothing but protecting us against the Kree, which she’s done perfectly for us. She fights so hard, not because she wants to neglect us, but for us. So, we won’t have to.”

“For us? Papa, are you actually trying to tell me that Mom is doing what she does for us? I don’t think I can believe that. Even if that is true though, why wouldn’t she show that she loves me? You say she loves us so much that she’s fighting hard, then why don’t I feel like she does. Why is she so cold on me and so hard on me? She treats me like I’m a disappointment, not her child.”

“Yes, I can understand that’s how it may feel, but she has her reasons for that. She wants you to hate her. If you hate her, then you won’t want to follow in her footsteps. If you hate her, then you’ll do everything it takes to avoid taking on your birthright. We both know how much you desire to not be the Valkyrie Princess and so this was the only way she could push you away from it, without actually telling you to do so, as it would’ve been immoral for her to do that. The Valkyrie Queen can’t possibly tell the Princess not to become the next Queen, that’s akin to treason. You had to be the one to make that choice and decide you were going to turn away from it. Then she’d be able to say, well she can’t force you and we’ll just have to find another way.”

“Papa, seriously? You expect me to believe this? I’m sorry, but I don’t. Don’t make excuses.”

“I’m not making excuses for her, it’s the truth. Did you know, that bear you mentioned earlier, the one you believe I brought for you when I came to give you birthday greetings this morning, was actually her gift to you? In fact, all the stuffed animals you’ve gotten each year have been from her, but I allowed you to think they were from me because she asked me to. Also, every morning, when you’re still in a deep sleep, she comes to your room and sits at your bedside. She holds your hand in her own and sings you a lullaby. She kisses your hand, or your forehead and whispers that she loves you by your ear. Sometimes she even apologizes for being so cruel and cries with your hands in hers, pressed against her cheek. I’ve seen her do this almost every night outside the times you were with Elli. I wouldn’t lie about this Lia, it’s true.”

Amelia is so shocked by this revelation, that she actually stops dancing. “What? That can’t-.”

James acts quickly, getting her back into the flow. “Don’t stop now, it’ll raise suspicion.”

She continues to dance, but her enthusiasm is gone. “She really did all of those things?”

“Yes, she did. She does just about everything she does for your sake, not even mine.”

“That’s so unfair though. How can she be so cruel and make me hate her, just for the most selfless reason there could be? Now I feel like a brat for hating her. She’d go this far for me?”

“Yes, that’s what it means to love selflessly as a parent. I’d have done the same if I were in her.”

“So, she really wants me to walk away from the throne? Am I really allowed to do that?”

“Yes, you can and it’s what we both want more than anything. I can make things easy for you, but only if you truly want it. I have a special place already in place for you to go and I can have Elli join you there soon after. You can live just as you want. You’d finish your schooling there, and when the time is right, Elli will join you and you’ll both be free to live as you want, fully taken care off. You’d never need to worry about the Kree again. So, what do you think?”

Amelia can hardly believe what she’s hearing, but she can’t deny that it’s very enticing. “Elli will be with me, right? That’s all I really care about. I want to be with her forever, as a family.”

“That’s right, she will be. She’s got a little bit more that needs to be dealt with before I can let her go, but I promise, she’ll be with you soon enough, then you’ll never be apart again.”

“Then I’ll do it. I’ll do anything I have to as long as I can be with Elli from now on.”

“I’m so happy Baby Love, I know your mother will be too when she hears. I’ll confirm the details then and have you on your way, first thing in the morning.”

“Are you sure that’ll be ok? I mean, won’t people be suspicious if the Princess is suddenly gone? Not to mention, what about the Berserker Competition? Everyone is expecting that to happen, but is there even a point anymore if I won’t be becoming Queen anyway? Actually, how are you even going to make this work? I know that we now have ways to fight the Kree without needing the Valkyries anymore and that we’re more for the sake of tradition at this point, but everyone else outside of our family doesn’t. Do you have some kind of plan?”

“I do, so don’t you worry about a thing. I just want you to look forward to your carefree life.”

“Ok, I guess I’ll leave it to you then, but now that I’m thinking of it, where is Mom?”

“Oh yes, she had to deal with an emergency outside the walls, but I know she’ll be back soon.” The music finally ends and they come to a stop. “It seems our dance is complete.” He smiles.

“Thanks Papa, for everything.” She smiles back and he takes a bow. Then a voice calls out.

“Princess!” An unfamiliar noble man approaches her. “You look absolutely stunning Princess; may I have the honor of a dance with you next?” Soon after, there is a line of noble men and women who wish to dance with her. She has no choice but to smile and oblige them, as for at least the moment, she’s still Princess. So, she takes his hand and is escorted to the dance floor.

          After hours of dancing and conversing with the guests, Spencer finally cuts in to rescue her. “Princess, may I have this dance?” He smiles gallantly, and she obliges willingly.

He escorts her away from the crowd as they dance, until they are finally out of sight and on the patio overlooking the South Garden. Once it’s confirmed no one had followed them, Amelia breathes a sigh of relief. “Thanks for saving me Spence, I was at my limit. Sorry if I pulled you away from Toby though.”

He shakes his head. “It’s ok, I actually wasn’t with Toby all night. He was schmoozing with the guests, being all flirty and arrogant as usual, which I’ll admit, kind of pissed me off, but I knew who he was when I fell for him, so I can’t really be angry. Besides, we can’t exactly be publicly affectionate for obvious reasons. I mean, no one but you, Elli and your parents even know about us. To everyone else, I’m no different than any of his other flings.”

“Well, I get it, but honestly, screw what everyone else thinks, what does Toby think? Have you expressed your dislike of his actions? Are you sure you can trust he’ll stay true to you? I mean, please don’t think I’m trying to cause a rift between you two, it’s just…well, I know my brother. I’ve seen how he’s been all my life and to be honest, he’s not the best at commitments. He’s too much of an attention hog to be satisfied with the praise of only one person, even if he loves them, which I’ll admit, I believe he does love you. I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“I appreciate your concern Amelia and I totally get what you’re saying, but you don’t have to worry. Maybe it’s different because you can only see him as your brother, but I can see him as a man and I know that his words are true and that I can trust him. Like I said, I’ve always known who he was and I still love him anyway. That’s what it means to love someone, I think you understand that too don’t you? I mean, with Elli’s true nature and everything?”

She nods, realizing he’s got her there. She still despises Kree, but she was forced to look at them in a new perspective because the love of her life has ties to them. It’s only for Elli, that she can accept that just maybe, not all Kree are bad. Just like humans, even they have bad seeds and so she won’t hate them blindly anymore, but she won’t stand beside them as equals either. There are some things that she just can’t do, not even for Elli’s sake and Elli has accepted that fact.

“I’m letting him run free off his leash because I can’t be the respectable man he needs me to be right now. That’s not an insult to myself, but simply fact. Only a noble will ever be worthy of standing at his side in the public eye and I’m not there yet. However, I’m going to work hard to become that man in my own right, so that I can stand beside him as an equal. Until that day comes, I must be content with having him in secret. I can at least have the peace of mind to know that no matter who fawns over him during the day, I’m the only one who gets to have him late at night and sleep beside him in his bed. That’s a privilege reserved only for me, and I think that’s pretty damn great. We’re making it work and we’re happy. That’s all that really matters.”

“I can understand what you’re saying, but do you think that really matters? Did he say this to you or something? Because in case you didn’t realize, Elli is also a “commoner” in a manner of speaking, but that doesn’t mean she can’t stand beside me. I want her to, always.”

“Are you sure about that Amelia? Because if that’s true, then why isn’t she here with you now?” Amelia opens her mouth to speak, but finds herself unable to speak. “I don’t mean to upset you or anything, but with you saying all of this, have you actually looked at your own situation? I mean, yes it may not have been your decision, but the fact remains that Elli wasn’t invited to her own girlfriend’s birthday party. Your father said they just didn’t want to run the risk of anyone finding out her secret, but is that really it? I mean, the school already knows, so surely the students have talked and word has spread. I couldn’t exactly push him for more, but even I could tell that wasn’t the whole truth. It’s surprising because they seemed to be so supportive of you two. Though, they also support Toby and I, but look where we are. The simple fact Amelia, is that nobles cannot marry commoners, no matter how much the relevant parties may want it, simply because that’s not the way of the world. That’s why Elli must do the competition as I must, because we are adopted commoners who must earn their nobility. No matter our personal relationships with your family, we still must prove ourselves, or we’ll be out. That’s it.”

“I don’t believe that! I’m sorry Spence, but I can’t believe that because my Papa already pro-.”

There is a sudden ding of the bell, as the clock strikes midnight. Spencer turns to Amelia and says, “well, it appears our talk will have to be resumed later, as your stalker awaits. I’m serious though, five minutes and not a second more. I’ll keep them away, are we in agreement?” Amelia nods. She descends the stairs and makes her way into the garden, which is like a maze, especially at such a later hour. She wanders for about a minute and then she is grabbed from behind.

She tries to scream, but her mouth is covered as she’s dragged out of the maze and into a secluded area. Finally, she’s released and she turns around defensively as she shouts, “who are you!?” She expects to see some shady character or Kree, but instead she sees a girl. “Makena?”

Makena grins, as she steps into the glow of the moonlight. “Wow, I never would’ve imagined the Valkyrie Princess would recognize me so easily. We’ve never officially met.”

Having calmed down, Amelia returns to her normal self. “Well, I can’t say you’re my favorite person, considering how much of a bitch you always were to Elli, but you’re technically dead, so I’d naturally know your face. We had a memorial and everything in your honor. But I guess Elli was right after all. She was so certain you weren’t dead. She said bitches never die. Ha.”

“Ha, ha, so funny.” She runs her fingers through her long, curly red hair and Amelia finally notices her outfit. She’s wearing an all-black stealth suit, looking like a real spy. She’s got a few daggers spread out on the suit and her entire demeanor seems to radiate sexy and it’s hot.

“So,” Amelia starts. “Why did you call me out here? It was you who left those notes right?”

“That’s really your first question? You’re not even going to ask me how I’m alive?”

“Why? Frankly, I don’t care. But you’ve got about two more minutes before our time is up.”

“Fine, I’ll cut to the chase then. My commander wants to meet you, to enlighten you.”

“About? You expect me to just say ok? Follow you to some secluded place so you can kill me?”

“Of course not, my commander would never. If there is anyone safer with her, it’d be you.”

“Me? Why me specifically? Does she know me? Or am I somehow that valuable to her?”

“Look, just say you’ll meet with her already. She’ll explain everything to you then, including why you shouldn’t believe everything your parents tell you. After school tomorrow, we-.”

“No can do. I’ll already be gone by then. My Papa is sending me to a place where I can live happily and freely with Elli. That’s all I ever wanted, so I don’t care about anything else.”

“He’s sending you away? Are you an idiot? Obviously that’s got some crooked intentions behind it! You can’t go, he’s clearly setting you up. He’ll send you away to some undisclosed location, and use that as fuel to either progress the war with the Kree or manipulate others like Elli.”

“Don’t you dare talk bad about my father! I know that he might have a few secrets, but he’s not a monster and he wouldn’t use me as a pawn for his own selfish gain. He loves me!”

“Sometimes we hurt the ones we love the most…ever heard of that saying? He knows that your blind love and trust for him makes you venerable and he definitely knows how important Elli is to you, so of course those would be his bargaining chips. Look, I’m sure your dad loves you, but that doesn’t mean he will put you above his ambitions. I can’t believe your mother agrees.”

“What, my mother? My mother is the one who wants me to leave the most. He said it himself, that she’s been so cold and distant with me, so that I’d come to hate her and repel anything that has to do with her, including taking over the throne. So of course, she agrees with it.”

“Huh?! What kind of bull is he feeding you? You really are an idiot. Listen, your mother-.”

“Amelia!” Suddenly, Spencer’s voice can be heard calling out for Amelia back in the garden.

“Well, it looks our time is up. This was a nice chat, but now stay the hell away from me!”

“Amelia wait! You don’t understand! If you go away, then your Mom, Elli, they’ll all-.”

“Amelia!” Spencer finally finds her and rushes over to her. “Are you ok?”

“Yeah….” She looks back, but sees that Makena is long gone. “I’m fine, let’s go back.”

“Ok…?” They are silent as they make their way back, but Spencer can tell she’s deep in thought. “So, um…how’d it go? Did they even show up?”

“It was uneventful and a waste of time, so let’s not even talk about it. Is the party over yet?”

“It seems to be winding down, so, I’m sure you could escape and no one would care.”

“Good, because I think I’m going to retire to my room now. Tell my father I’ve gone to bed.”

“Right…I know what that means.” He grins. “Don’t worry, I’ll cover for you. Have fun.”

Amelia rolls her eyes at him and laughs. He does know her really well, almost too well. She makes it back to her room and strips off her dreadful gown. She changes into her uniform skirt and blouse. She may wear a guy’s uniform at school now, but she likes to wear this uniform specifically when she’s going to see Elli. As much as Elli likes her school uniform, she likes her in this too. Amelia may prefer pants, but she’s still a girl and has days where she wants to feel pretty too. She grabs her overnight bag and proceeds to make her way to the secret path. It’s a hidden tunnel system that Elli introduced her to, and it allows them to get to each other’s rooms quickly and effectively at times like this. As far as she knows, only the two of them and Spencer are aware it exists and she’s always careful to keep it that way.

*** “The Almont Residence”, Garmin-The West Province, Spring Year 2529 ***

          “Elli, dinner time!” Liam calls from the kitchen with a gentle, but commanding enough voice to reach the second floor and pass through Elli’s closed door to reach her ears.

“Coming Liam!” Elli closes her notebook, having just finished her homework anyway and stands up from her large mahogany desk. Beside her, is her matching bedroom set, the sheets only the finest cotton. Her bedroom is one of elegance, yet her with its slightly messy nature, due to clothes scattered around the floor, it has a character fitting of someone such as Elli. She opens her door and enters a hallway. Her room is located on one end of the hall, Liam’s directly across at the other. There is a third room in the middle, but it’s mostly used as storage, since there is no one else but she and Liam, as it’s always been. Every room has its own bathroom, but there is also a guest bathroom opposite the middle room. Directly adjacent to that, is a long staircase, which leads to a large foyer area. Elli descends these stairs and to her right, a large, homey, living room, suitable for entertaining guests, or just having a nice night in, which is exactly what they use it for. To the left is the kitchen and combined dining room, where Liam is currently struggling with cleaning a large pan. Elli laughs out loud and says, “need some help?”

Liam shakes his head with a smile. “No, I’ve got it. I always forget how damn heavy this pot is, so adding water to it on the stove was probably a bad idea, since moving to the sink has led to my current predicament. Anyway, that’s done, so let’s sit down and eat this tasty meal.”

Elli sits down in her usual spot and Liam sits in his. Elli finally notices that the quantity of their meal is much larger than usual. “Liam, what’s with this? You made so much food and now that I’m actually looking, it’s all of my favorites.” She looks at him suspiciously and he looks suddenly nervous. “What did you do? Why are you trying to soften me up right now?”

“What? Maybe I just wanted to spoil you a little. You should just be grateful for it.”

“You always spoil me though Liam, so that’s obviously a lie. Spill it already!”

“Dammit Elli, why are you so perceptive? Is this your Demikri powers at work again?”

“Nope, nothing to do with them. I just know you really well. You’re my brother after all.”

“Ok, I guess you’ve caught me. I need to ask you a question first. “How would you feel about having someone new move in with us?” He fiddles with his fingers, obviously nervous.

“Who? Like a friend of yours or something? I mean, I’d be ok with it, we do have that third bedroom that’s just gathering dust. I’m sure it’d help with the bills too if you had someone else putting into it. This is a big house after all, like three times bigger than our old one. I’m still not used to it to be honest, though I’m happy I can be closer to Amelia. Is that what you mean?”

“Um…well…I suppose they will be contributing to the household, but not so much in a financial aspect, but rather a domestic one. You see, I’ve been seeing someone for a while, and-.”

“Oh, you mean like a girlfriend? Well, it might have been nice to meet her first, but I guess.”

“Yes, well, you know how I’ve never really liked introducing you to anyone until I was sure it would be a lasting thing, but it’s gotten to the point now that I can’t keep her secret from you anymore. So, I invited her to dinner so you could meet. She’ll be here soon.” The doorbell rings just as he says this. “Oh, I guess sooner is closer than we thought. I’ll get the door.”

He answers the door and soon after, a woman enters the dining area. Elli looks at the red-haired bombshell of a women in front of her, and is not surprised that Liam feel for her, because she was quite beautiful and sexy. Her blue eyes were like fresh pools of the nicest pond. Though, she can’t help but think that she looks very familiar. She approaches Elli. “You must be Elli.”

Elli stands up and faces her, trying to give her a welcoming smile. “Yes, nice to meet you miss-.”

“Foster.” The smile suddenly fades from Elli’s lips as she finally understands. “Delia Foster.”

“You, your….” Elli is stunned by her reveal, unable to say a word. However, when she catches sight of the ring on her finger, Elli finds her voice all at once as she explodes. “Liam, are you fucking kidding me? You’re marrying her? She’s moving into our house? This woman?!”

“Hey, watch your mouth Elli. This woman is going to be my wife, and therefore your new step-sister, and the mother of your baby cousin, so show some respect. Do you understand?”

“Wait. Are you saying you knocked her up too? Is that why you’re marrying her?”

“I didn’t knock her up, we decided to do this together. After she lost Makena…it was hard. We’d been dating for several months before that, but after it happened, she was devastated. I’d already asked her to marry me and so although I wasn’t going to have the wedding without you, I felt it wasn’t necessary to wait. I wanted to help her move on and so we thought having a new baby-.”

“Would what, replace her dead daughter? You thought you’d replace one bitch for another?”

“Elli!” Liam looks at Delia, who looks down uncomfortably. “Delia, I’m sorry. She’s not usually this rude. I’m going to talk to her right now, so just give us a moment, ok? Elli, come with me!”

He pulls her into the living room and goes off like never before. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? How dare you speak to her like that. I know I blindsided you a bit with this, but that’s still no excuse to be so damn rude. She lost her daughter for god sakes, to those mon-.” He catches himself, but the damage is already done. “You know what I mean Elli, not like you.”

“Not like me? Oh, so you just mean the Kree that are not as humanized as I am, is that it? I’m so fucking sick and tired of everyone saying those things. Oh, those monsters, those beasts are terrible, but not you Elli, you’re different, you’re good. I’m not! I’m not any different from them, why can’t you all see that? The Kree are not monsters, it’s everyone else who makes them out to be! I learned the truth of my past, my origins and my birthright on the day I went to Merope and met my mother. I learned that there was nothing to be ashamed of and that all I’d learned about Kree was a lie. It was the Kingdom that made them the monsters they warn us about. By depriving them of the nutrition they needed, they succumbed to their inner demons. It was the humans who used them for their technology, but then turned on them and made them our enemies. I’ve always been torn in my loyalties, because the brother I love is human and the girl that I love is human and the Princess of this Kingdom, but at the same time, it’s exhausting to play both sides. There are those on the Kree side that consider me a traitor and not fit to be the future Empress, which I don’t even know if I want to be, I might add, but it’s not better on this end, as the people of the kingdom look at me like scum they have no choice but to tolerate. I’m sick of it! So now you bring that woman here, the mother of my most hated enemy and expect me to welcome her. You do realize she hates Kree more than most people, right? I mean, as you said, Kree killed her daughter and she was the one calling for war against the Kree. You expect me to believe that she’s willing to accept me, knowing Kree blood runs through my veins?”

“You’re right Elli, it is hard for me.” They are startled when Delia joins them in the room. “Yes, I do hate the Kree, that’s no secret and Liam understands that. They took my daughter from me, my baby. I had her when I was practically a baby myself, after falling in love too fast, and things were hard. I made many mistakes, and I will go to my grave regretting them and the fact that I was not able to tell Makena how much I loved her. She died hating and resenting me.”

Seeing her start to tear up, Liam rushes to her side. “I’m sorry babe, let’s just stop talking now.”

She places her hand on his and shakes her hand. “No, I need to say this.” She walks closer to Elli. “Elli, I know how terribly Makena treated you. Liam told me about it, all those times you came home, ranting about the terrible thing she may have said to you on that day. I won’t make excuses for that, because I know that it wasn’t right and I take all the responsibility for that. Makena had a bad attitude, especially after her father and I divorced, and I often found it hard to deal with, so I simply didn’t. Liam and I fought often about it. Him requesting I reprimand her for her behavior, so you wouldn’t be hurt, but I was weak. It almost cost us our relationship at one point. But in the end, we loved each other too much and so tried to think of a way to handle it together. However, we didn’t get that chance, because suddenly she was missing and then soon after, her body was found. I was a wreck as you’d imagine and your brother was there for me. He helped me stay together and gave me new hope, vowing to help me get a fresh start with a baby of our own, which would fill the void. I could make up for my mistakes with Makena and raise our child right. Carrying this child, has rekindled the joy I’d been lacking in my life.”

“Look, I’m sorry about Makena and I’m glad you’ve been able to find new joy, but that doesn’t change the fact that she made my life hell. To be perfectly honest, I feel like she got what she deserved. I hated her, which is also not a secret. So how then, do you think that a woman who hates Kree, can cohabitate with a Kree girl who hated said woman’s daughter? How could I trust that you won’t try and kill me in my sleep? Maybe you thought if you could kill the Kree Princess, that would somehow cripple my race? Is that your plan or something?”

“No, I have no plan Elli and I don’t hate you. I do hate the Kree, for good reason, but I know that you are different. Yes, you may be Kree, but you are not when it comes to mindset. Whether you wish to admit it or not, you think like a human and that’s why I don’t see you in the same light. You were a Kree, raised as a human, by a human, surrounded by humans. Even if you feel a kinship with your kind, you’d never join them wholeheartedly, because your values are human. You basically just alluded to that yourself. Your loyalty to the Princess is proof of that. I know how good of a girl you are and that you’d never condone what happened to Makena, even if you did despise her. Liam has talked about you so much, that I feel I know you already. I have no qualms about living with you or raising our child in the same space. I trust you Elli, and it would be my greatest wish, if you could trust me too.” She looks at Elli earnestly and smiles.

Elli suddenly feels conflicted. She knows what she says is true, but at the same time, she hates her for thinking it. She hates herself, for being unable to defend her Kree people further, because she can’t stand to shame Amelia’s name. So, she looks at Liam, the pain etched across her face, making him feel remorse. As tears fill her eyes, she turns and shouts, “do whatever you want!”

Liam watches as she storms off and retreats up the stairs. “Elli, please wait! I’m sorry!”

“Just leave her be Liam. She needs time to process all of this. This was a lot to throw at her.”

“I know Delia, I just, I hate myself whenever I cause her pain, even if there’s nothing I can do about it. Also, I’m so sorry about the things she said. Usually she’s not so rude, but-.”

“I understand. It’s ok. She had every right to be angry, as Makena did her wrong, I will not make excuses for her. But I also can’t help but hate myself, because I know she was only like that because of me. I didn’t show her enough love, I wasn’t supportive enough to her. I’d always been sure she was a lesbian, but I didn’t know if I agreed with it, so I never allowed her to express her desires openly. I ultimately led her to feel that her feelings were something to be ashamed of and disgusting, so it was only natural that she’d treat others who shared that trait terribly. I’m sure she in her own way, wanted others to feel the misery she felt. It was on me.”

“I did Elli wrong too though. I should’ve introduced you sooner and I should’ve made her understand that no matter where she may have come from, she was still my baby sister and that I loved her no matter what. I was insensitive, even just now, and so that was all on me too.”

Delia places her hands on her stomach. Well then, I guess we both have some things we need to do better with our new baby, don’t we?” She leans against Liam and he embraces her.

“Yes, we do. I’m sure we’ll still make mistakes, but this time, at least we’ll have each other and hopefully be able to catch them, before it too late to fix. I know Elli will come around.”

“She will, I can see she’s a good girl at heart, just as you said. Anyway, shall we eat?” He nods and escorts her back to the dining room, where their massive feast awaits.

          Upstairs, Elli plops onto her bed, her tears staining her pillow. She knows that she was just extremely rude to someone Liam cares about and that she was a bit irrational. She knows Liam didn’t mean any harm and Delia shouldn’t be blamed over the actions of her daughter. Elli knows that no one could tame Makena or her behavior, no one except Navi of course. She still doesn’t know that she believes Makena is actually dead anyway, not even Navi thinks so. However, even if she is alive, if the Kingdom has their hands on her, she could be suffering a fate worse than death. She can only hope that Navi will find her and knowing Navi, she will.

          She looks at her phone and thinks of Amelia. She wants to speak with her so badly, but she’s not sure if she’s still at her party. She still feels a bit sad that she couldn’t be with her on her birthday and that the plans she had made for Amelia will have to be rescheduled, but at the same time, she’s sure there must be a good reason. She really wants to vent to someone right now, but she still doesn’t really have any friends, so she might have to go this one alone.

Just as she considers calling it a night early, she hears her window slide open and close gently. She can sense someone coming towards her with expert stealth and if she wasn’t Demikri, she’d never know they were coming. She feels the bed creak and feels the weight of someone on top of her. They lean down, placing their mouths right beside her ear, as though about to whisper, but they nibble Elli’s ear instead, finally eliciting a reaction from her. “Cut it out Alice!”

Elli swats at Alice, but she skillfully evades and comes to rest on the bed, opposite of Elli. “Oh, don’t be so mean, I’m just messing with you. Besides….” She leans down by her ear again. “As I recall, you used to like it when I did that.” She growls in Elli’s ear, making her swat her again.

“Can you not bring that up? That was the past, this is now. You know Amelia is the only one.”

“Well yea, I know she’s the only one you love, but not talking about it, isn’t going to change the fact that we slept together. More than once I might add and we had loads of fun.” She teases.

“That was a dark time for both of us. Amelia and I had broken up and you’d lost Navi. We were just comforting each other in times of need. It never meant anything to me or you.”

“I never said it meant nothing to me though, you did. Look, I’m not saying I’m in love with you or anything, but I did enjoy our time together and to me it wasn’t nothing. You mean more than that and I’d like to believe I mean more than that too. Or maybe I’m only good for anything when a young maiden is heartbroken over a break up. Is that it then?”

“Now you’re putting words in my mouth. I never said that, nor do I think that. I just mean that it wasn’t a big deal. We had sex, we enjoyed it, but that’s over now because I’ve got Lia back.

“Right, but I wonder, does she know about us? I know you spilled on everything else, this too?”

“I didn’t think it was relevant. It’s not like she hasn’t done it before too.”

“Well, I think those two cases are a bit different. She slept with Spencer before you two started dating. You slept with me while you two were technically not even broken up, not officially. As I recall, you told her you wanted to take a break and that you’d return to her. That’s not the same as breaking up. Besides, why not tell her if it wasn’t a big deal?”

“Are you trying to get in my head or something? Cause I’m not finding it very cool.”

“No, I just want you to realize the hypocrisy of your statements. Anyway, it doesn’t matter to me if you tell her or not. I’m not a homewrecker, but I’m at least honest enough to admit that I’m not going to turn an attractive girl away when she throws advances at me, grief or not.”

“Ok, good for you. Anyway, I won’t be throwing anymore advances at you, so don’t worry.”

“I’m not, but I do wonder how things are going for you two. Did you have your hot session yet?”

“No, she had other obligations, so we’ll have to reschedule. Why do you even care?”

“Because, I know how hard you worked on planning it and how excited you were for it.”

“Yea, well, Princess duties trump girlfriend duties, so it is what it is.”

“Jesus, why are you so bitchy tonight? Did you fight with Amelia or something?”

“No, I just found out that Liam’s new wife and baby mama is going to be the devil incarnate’s, also known as Makena’s, mother. She’s going to be moving in with us very soon.”

“Oh, well that’s pretty terrible. I’m sorry, I totally understand. You should be pissed.”

“Yea. And it’s frustrating because I want to be talking with Lia about this, but I can’t!”

“Yea, I feel you. Well, I can be your interim ear if you want, no sex required.”

“Ugh, please stop talking about sex! You’re only making me feel worse.”

“Why? Oh…could it be…are you sexually frustrated Elli? When did you last get some love?” Elli is silent for a moment and then mumbles under her breath.“ What, I didn’t hear you?”

“A month ok! It’s been a month since we’ve done anything and it’s been killing me. Happy?!” Elli groans in frustration into her pillow. Alice pats her back, giving her moral support.

“Damn dude, I’m sorry. That’s a tough deal.”

“Yea, and so you’re teasing isn’t helping me.”

“I’m sorry, I’ll tone it down. But, aren’t you worried you’ll be too weak to resist me? Think you’ll give in to temptation? Cause maybe then I should try harder.” She chuckles.

“You are so evil sometimes, you know that?”

“Yea, I’ve been told that once or twice. I just can’t resist. I’m a wolf and when I see my prey, I pounce!” She tackles Elli and they begin to play around for a bit, until Alice suddenly stops. She stands and removes her shirt and pants, leaving only her undergarments.

“Hey! What the hell are you doing? Put your clothes back on!”

“What? I’m just getting comfortable. You can’t expect me to sleep in those clothes, can you?”

“Huh? Are you planning on sleeping over? I never said you could.”

“Well, good thing I wasn’t asking.” She gets under the covers. “Ready to sleep now?”

“No, I haven’t even eaten yet. I’m going to work on some extra assignments until that woman leaves, then I’ll go grab a plate. Sleep there if you want, but when I’m ready to go to sleep, I’m kicking you out.” She gets off the bed and sits back at her desk.

“Ok, fair enough. I’m gonna read these GL comics you’ve got here, while you school it up.”

“Yea sure, make yourself at home.” She says sarcastically. She won’t say it to her, but she must admit, she’s happy Alice is there, because she really didn’t want to be alone right now. However, she won’t disrespect Amelia by allowing another girl to sleep beside her in bed, so she is serious when she says she’s going to kick her out when she’s ready to sleep. She wouldn’t want Amelia to get the wrong idea, especially considering her history with Alice. She opens her notebook again and begins her work, for the moment, at ease.

The clock finally hits midnight and Elli’s hunger has reached its peak. With no more work to distract herself with, she’s finally faced with the reality that she must go back downstairs, whether Delia left or not. She looks at Alice, who’s still reading her GL books. “Hey, I’m going to get some food now. Do you want something to take with you on your way out?”

“So, mean…you’re serious about kicking me out huh? Ok, I’ll go, but I want some pie.”

“Of all the food Liam made, the pie is what you choose? That’s my favorite pie, so….”

“Come on, don’t be stingy! Just a single piece of pie is all I’m asking for. Please Mistress.”

“Don’t call me that! Ok, I’ll give you your damn pie. Just get dressed already, would you?”

“Yea, yea.” Alice waves her off, as she continues to read with an amused grin.

Elli heads to the kitchen to see Liam packing up food. She approaches slowly, her guilt mounting on her. “Um…need help Liam?” She’s nervous, ready for him to slap her again, but he doesn’t.

“No, I’m just about done now. I fixed you up a plate though, it’s in the oven.”

“Thanks.” She fidgets her fingers slightly. “So, has Delia already left?”

“Yes, she left just a while ago. She left her regards for you. She hopes to talk with you again.”

Elli feels guiltier than ever before. “Yea, I think we got off on the wrong foot, so I’d like a chance to speak with her again as well. Also…if she makes you happy and you love her, then I’ll support you Liam. I can’t blame her for what happened between me and Makena, and I can tell you care deeply for her. The fact that she’s carrying your child is also a big deal. So, I’ll support your marriage all the way and I’ll always do my best to be your beloved little sister.”

Liam finally turns to Elli, tears pooling in his eyes. He leans down and pulls Elli into a strong hug. “Thank you, Elli, that really means a lot to me. I do love her, so much, but I love you even more. So, having you two fighting would’ve killed me. I also promise that I will continue to be the best big brother I can and I’ll never abandon you. You’re my little sister forever, ok?”

Now Ell begins to cry as she returns his embrace. “Yes, forever.” They hug for a while longer.

“Ok, I should let you eat, but first, could you run down to the basement and grab me the pie container? I forget to get it earlier.”

“Of course, actually, would you mind cutting a couple of slices of the pie for me please? I’ll be back soon!” Elli runs off and makes her way down the basement stairs.

Liam is slightly confused. “Two pieces?” Just as he says this, the doorbell rings. He hurries over to it, thinking it might have been Delia who forgot something, but instead he opens it to see Amelia. “Oh, Amelia. I didn’t realize you were coming over. Oh, that must be why….”

“Sorry Liam, I know it’s pretty late. I’m not intruding or anything am I?”

“No, no, of course not. I told you before Amelia, you’re always welcome, anytime. You’re family as far as I’m concerned. Please come in. Elli just went to get something in the basement, but she’ll be back soon, Would you like some food? Or is the pie what you came for?”

“Oh, by pie, do you mean your famous Pecan Apple Pie? I’d love a slice of that please!”

“Looks like Elli already had you covered. Here, I’ll cut them for you and you can bring up to her room. I’m sure she’ll join you soon. She just needs to grab her food.” He slices the pie. “Here.”

“Ok great. I’ll just wait in her room then. Thank you, Liam, and rest well.” She takes the pie slices and carefully carries them in each hand, as she makes her way up the stairs. She makes her way to Elli’s room, and sees the door is cracked. She opens it and her eyes go wide, as she comes face to face with a half-naked girl she’d never seen before, stretched out across Elli’s bed.

Alice looks back nervously as she says, “Uh Hi…you must be Amelia.” The silence is deafening.

          Back downstairs, Elli passes of the pie holder to Liam. “There you go. I don’t think I need to heat up my food, so I’ll just take the pies and be on my way.”

“Oh, no need. Amelia already took them up for you guys. You should’ve said she was coming.”

“Amelia? Wait, Amelia is here? She went upstairs already?”

“Yes…is that a problem? I assumed the extra slice of pie was for her. Was it not?”

“Dammit Liam, you should’ve called me when she got here, not just send her up! Dammit!”

She drops the plate back onto the counter and beats it up the stairs in record time, leaving Liam confused. “What the hell did I even do?” He strains his ears, to listen in upstairs.

“Amelia!” Elli calls out to her, and she turns, her face looking shocked and devastated at once. Elli rushes over to her and reaches for her arm as she says, “I can explain! She’s just a-.”

“No need!” Amelia snatches away her arm and pushes past her, heading for the stairs.

“Wait, it’s not what it looks like! Amelia, please just wait a minute. Let me explain!” She chases her down the stairs and manages to catch her as she reaches for the door. “Wait Amelia!”

“Let go! I need to get home.” She snatches herself away from her again and opens the door. “Sorry for intruding Liam, have a good night,” she says as she walks out.

“Yeah…uh, you too….” Watching Elli run after her, he realizes he might have just made a big mistake. Seeing Alice walk down the stairs, he understands how. “Oh Alice, you were here?”

“Yea, I stopped by to see how Elli was doing, but perhaps I just made things bad for her.” They both sigh together, feeling regretful and guilty all at once. “I think I should go now. See ya.”

“Yea…see you around. Take care on your way back.” She leaves and he sits down, exhausted.

          “Amelia, just hear me out for a second. That was Alice, I told you about her remember? She’s my friend and she’s been really helpful to me and a great supportive friend. But that’s all.”

“Oh, so that’s Alice. Well, it’s nice to have a face to put with the name. She is quite stunning.”

“I guess, but still, it’s nothing like that. I know how it looked, but she was just lounging. That’s just how Alice is. She’s very laid back and sometimes goes overboard, but I swear that nothing happened between us. I would never do that to you. I’d never cheat on you, I swear.”

Amelia finally stops. “Huh? What are you talking about? I already know that. So, what?”

“What? I mean, you aren’t thinking I was being unfaithful? Why are you so angry then?”

“I’m angry because I came here tonight, thinking we’d be together, since we couldn’t be earlier, but I arrive to find another girl, half-naked in your bed. It made me feel that maybe you weren’t missing me after all. I was thinking you’d have been sad and lonely and I wanted to come cheer you up, but it seems like I’m not needed since you’ve already got her to do it for you.”

“Huh? That’s why you’re angry? You thought I wasn’t missing you? Of course, I was missing you Amelia, I miss you every moment we’re not together. The truth is, I was depressed when I knew I couldn’t spend your most important day with you, Alice just happened to show up at the right time and I wasn’t able to send her away. She helped keep my mind occupied so I wouldn’t be filled with despair missing you so much. I usually don’t let her act so freely as she did tonight, but I’ll admit, I was lonely and Alice has always been there for me in those times. So….”

“So, she was just a distraction for you then?” Amelia seems to relax. “I see, I’m happy then.”

“Yes, no one can really make me happy other than you, I assure you. Though…I think I need to tell you this now, just so there will never be any doubt. When we took our break, well…she….”

“She was there for you, I know.” Elli is caught off guard by her sudden statement.

“Well yes, but not just that, I mean she and I …well, you know, we comforted each other.”

Amelia chuckles. “I get what you’re saying Elli, you don’t have to spell it out for me. I’m an idiot, but I’m not dumb. I can read between the lines. You guys had sex, I get it ok?”

“Wait, did you already know, or are you really just that cool with it?”

“I had my suspicions. The way you talked about Alice and how supportive she’d been, I had more or less assumed it included that. It was the same with Spencer and I back during that time we had to part for those three years, so I totally get it. I’m not mad and I know you’d never do anything like that while we’re together. I was never worried about that, I just thought that you weren’t missing me as much as I was missing you. I thought you might be growing tired.”

“Amelia….” Elli walks over to her and embraces her from behind, kissing her neck. She then grabs her hand and whispers into her ear, “I could never grow tired of you. I love you.”

As Elli kisses her neck, shockwaves surge through her, making her whisper, “Elli, I need you.”

“Me too.” Elli pulls her face down and they share a passionate kiss. “Let’s go back home now.”

Amelia nods and led by Elli, they return to the house. Liam apologizes profusely, but they just laugh at him and say it’s fine. They retire to Elli’s room after pie, their souls unified as one.

          As they lie together in bed, hand in hand, Amelia tells Elli about her Papa’s plan. To her surprise however, Elli is not as supportive of it as she’d hoped she’d be. “Are you crazy Lia?”

“Why does everyone keep asking me that? I’m not crazy, I’m just taking a good opportunity. Don’t you want to be free from all this stuff? Aren’t you tired of everything?”

“Well sure, as much as anyone would be, but at the same time, I’m realistic Lia. Nothing about any of that sounds right. I can’t see your mother ever saying that either. She seems to me to be one of extreme duty. So, although I don’t doubt she’d love for you to live a peaceful life, I’m fairly certain she’d never encourage you to abandon your duty. If anything, she’d want you to become stronger. It might seem crazy, but perhaps her behavior really has been for your sake.”

“So, you’re saying my dad is lying to me? I know you don’t like him, but isn’t that a bit much?”

“I’m not saying this because I don’t like him, though that is true, but because it just doesn’t make sense. It all sounds far too convenient. Besides, how do we know it won’t be months before we can see each other again? I can’t be without you for that long Lia. Even just this month of limited skin ship with you has been difficult, so thinking of having absolutely nothing, not even your company for months on end…well to be honest, I don’t think I can handle that.”

“I know, it’ll be hard for me too, but I know it’s for the greater good. Are you really going to deny me this? Are you going to tell me not to go or risk losing you in the process?”

“Of course, not, I’d never do that. I’ll never hold you back and I trust your judgement, but I’m just expressing how painful and sad it’ll be for me if you go, but I’ll make it work somehow.”

Amelia looks at Elli’s pitiful face as she tries to be the supportive girlfriend she always is and suddenly, she realizes that she’s already got her happiness. No matter where they are or what situation they may find themselves in, as long as Elli is there by her side, she’s happy. “Ok. I won’t. I’ll tell my dad in the morning. I don’t want to be without you either, not even for a second. I know that whatever may come, if we’re together, we can tackle anything.” They kiss again. “Oh yea, and you won’t believe-.” She stops short, deciding she better not say.

“What? Why’d you stop so short like that? What won’t I believe?” Elli asks curiously.

Amelia smiles. “You won’t believe how much I love you. I love you so much Sia, always.”

Elli smiles. “I love you so much too Lia, always and forever.” They kiss again, and drift to sleep.

          The next morning, Elli wakes to see Amelia has already left. This is nothing unusual however, as she often must do this, so she can beat it back to her room, before anyone realizes she was gone. Though Elli is almost willing to bet that her parents already know, but choose to leave her be. She gets up, showers, dresses and makes her way downstairs for breakfast. Liam isn’t there, likely already at the estate for his gardening duties. After a quick bowl of cereal, Elli makes the short walk to the Academy and to her classroom, which she is surprised to see is empty. “What the hell? Where is everyone?” Just then, someone approaches from behind.

“Morning Princess. You seem to be in high spirits today? Lovely night with the bae?”

She turns to see Navi, looking miserable as ever, but smirking. “Navi…. First, ugh to that word. Second, why do I need a reason to be happy? Where is everyone though? I’m not early.”

“Yes, in fact you’re late. I knew no one would tell you, so I decided to do you the solid. Everyone has been called to the auditorium. There is apparently a super big announcement.”

“Oh, I see. Ok then, I guess we should go. Amelia’s already there I guess?”

“I don’t know Elli, I’m not her keeper. That’s your job, isn’t it? Well…it used to be anyway.”

“Listen, no need to be a jerk and what are you even talking about?” Navi says nothing and Elli just drops it. They arrive to the auditorium just as the Principle is taking the stage.

“Please, give me your attention everyone. I’m afraid there is some unfortunate news I have the burden of sharing with you all. Once it’s heard, all classes will be cancelled and you are to return to your homes at once. Further instructions will be provided later on by our King.” There are murmurs, but the room remains relatively quiet. “Late last night there was a Kree attack outside the walls, which Lady Almyra responded to. However, contact with her was lost and early this morning, a body was found. After testing and examination by Dr. Wanda, she was able to confirm that was indeed her body.” The murmurs intensify. “Yes, I’m so sorry to announce this, but I’m afraid Lady Almyra, our Valkyrie Queen, is dead.” There are gasps and cries. “She was killed by the Kree and so as a security measure, the Princess has been sent to an undisclosed location until further notice. There’s panic in the room and Elli feels like her lungs have closed. Navi simply shakes her head, not surprised by these events as she’d anticipated them. Elli can’t breathe, or think and feels sick. Unable to do anything else, she sprints to the only place she can.

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