I Shall Be Queen

Jessica Frost has turned into an immortal villian, and her adventures are slowly goring dangerously intense.

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Author's note

I accidentally deleted the last one so here's the sequel again.
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14. Conversations

When there was silence between Jack and Elsa, Jessica whispered to him from the shadows, “Can I talk to you, Daddy? Like, now?”

“Yeah, Jess,” Jack said. He told Elsa that he would be back in a bit. He then followed Jessica into a private corner in the shadows.

“You’re putting the same rule on him? That he can’t converse with commoners?”

“Yes. Earlier than you, so that the disaster with you doesn’t happen with him.”

“You really hate them, don’t you?”

“I don’t hate them, I just dislike them.”

“What made you not like them?”

“Something happened that I rather not talk about.”

“Well, you’re going to have to explain to me.”

“No, I’m not.”

“If you do, I solemnly promise that I will not tell anyone.”

Jack sighed. He had to trust her.

“When I was young, about 15, a commoner-her name was Alice-came up to me and asked if she could play with me, since I was all alone playing with some blocks. I said yes, so she played with me. But then, about 5 minutes later, my father saw us playing with each other. He yelled at me, ‘Jackson, get in here NOW!’ Alice looked absolutely frightened at the sound of his voice, and I can’t say I blame her for that.”

“Then what happened?”

“He put me in my room. He whipped me for about 15 minutes, and then locked me in, saying he would punish Alice. He was true to his word, because I could hear Alice crying down the hall. I saw her the next day, clutching her arm. He’d used her to beat herself, making her hurt herself. She gave a sympathetic look, and I’m going to guess she knew what happened to me. But then, a couple hours later, she came up to me and blamed me for everything. I was so angry I began beating her right then and there. Her mother quickly took her away, and glared at me. I glared back. Then my father came up to me and said, ‘You must control your temper, Jackson.’ I knew I hadn’t. Alice got her revenge by throwing blocks at me. The wooden kind. She was prosecuted, from what I was told.”   

“Why did you hurt her?”

“She blamed me for EVERYTHING I did, Jess.”

“That’s still no reason to hurt her!”

“Jess-”

“Where is she now?”

“As far as I’m concerned, she’s gone.”

“Wrong. She’s right here,” Jessica said. “That demon you were talking about? The one you said ruined my future? She is that demon. She was killed by your father, not prosecuted. Then she turned into a demon and terrorized your father. She followed you, even when you married Mom. She was angry at you for what happened. She still is, and she went inside of me. Alice was the demon inside of me. There were times where she would let Hecate control me, but that was rare.”

“You mean…”

“I mean she’s hearing everything you say and watching everything you do. She was always with you. Then she saw me when I was born, and took her chance to come inside of me.”

“So, what about Hecate?”

“Hecate was inside of me only once, when the guard was holding me. She was inside of me, and then possessed the guard while also possessing me. She possessed two people at once. It was a one time thing,” she added when Jack looked shocked, “she cannot do it again for another 6 years.”

Jack slowly regained his composure and whispered, “She’s still around, Jessica. I cannot act uncarefully. Alice… is she still inside of you?”

“Yes,” Jessica said. “Do you want to talk to her?”

Jack took a deep breath and said, “Yes.”

Jessica closed her eyes. She began communicating with Alice through her thoughts.

Alice! Alice!

I’m here. What is it?

Daddy wants to talk to you.

What makes you think I’ll listen to him? He hurt me.

And you hurt him. You’re even.

I don’t think he wants to talk to me.

He does, Alice. He said so.

Alright, I’ll talk to him.

Jessica turned into Alice on the spot. Alice had brown hair, hazel eyes, and a beautiful face that, if she was still alive, would have made every man want her as their bride.

“What do you want, Jack?” she asked in Alice’s voice, and before Jack could speak she added, “I don’t care if you’re a king or not, I’m calling you Jack, because you’re the Jack I knew.”

Jack nodded. “Alice, when did you die?”

“The day after we were caught playing together,” Alice said bitterly. “He put me into a cell and whipped me. Then he asked his wife-your mother, I assumed- what she wanted done with me. She wanted to save me, said that all I did was play with her son. She smiled at me and said, ‘He’s never looked happier.’ Your father wouldn’t take it. He killed me with a sword.”

Jack looked shocked.

“Oh, don’t look so shocked, Jack. You’re just like your father in so many ways, I can’t really tell the difference.”

“I’m nothing like my father,” Jack said angrily.

“No, you’re EVERYTHING like your father. Your father didn’t let you play with commoners, just like you didn’t let Jessica or Ethan. You punish criminals with death, no matter what they did, just like your father. You even killed your daughter’s best friend, just like your father did.”

“My father didn’t kill my best friend. I never had one.”

“Really? I thought us to be best friends, always hanging around without your father knowing.”

Jack sighed. “Alice, I may have my father in me, but I also have my mother’s care and gentleness. I don’t punish criminals with death if they don’t need it. I choose what I think fits the punishment. It’s usually not death. If I was exactly like my father, I would have hurt my daughter for hanging out with a commoner.”

Alice glared at him for a moment, and then sighed. “Jack, I’ll admit, you are still the Jack I knew. But I’m staying with Jessica. I realize she’s exceeded the weapon training, but I still want to keep an eye on you. You have a tendency of making bad choices to get what you want. Remember what you did to Jess just to keep her from being a villain.”  

Jack nodded. He remembered full well. In his mind, he had thought that doing what he did to Jess what for her safety. It turned out he was only hurting his daughter, which was the one thing he had been afraid of.  He was afraid of hurting his family.

“You’re still angry at me, aren’t you, Alice?”

“Yes, and I always will be.”

“I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Really? Because you act almost exactly like your father. You hurt me, you hurt Jessica herself, and besides that, I tried to tell you how I felt! But you wouldn’t listen! You acted upon instinct! I loved you, Jack, but that love is gone!”

Jack slowly took a step backward. “You loved me?”

“Yes! But that’s gone now! You hurt me, Jack! I played with you, yes, but-”

“You blamed me for everything! What did I do?!”

“You made me get killed!”

Alice lunged for Jack, but stopped just as her hands were about to go around Jack’s neck.

Jack slowly backed away. “You’re crazy, Alice. Please, give me my daughter back.”

“‘You can’t wake up, this is not a dream, you’re part of a machine, you are not a human being!’ That’s what you said to me! You hurt me!” Alice screamed.

“Alice, that was years ago!” Jack cried back.

Everyone was watching them.

“Alice, I wasn’t the one who hurt you! That was my father!”

“You are every bit like your father! I should have known that you would go blaming someone else for something you did!”

“ALICE, STOP IT!” Jack yelled.

But Alice didn’t stop. She lunged for Jack again. But Jack got out of her way and she snatched empty air.  

“Jack? What’s going on?” Elsa asked.

Jack grabbed Alice’s arm and led her out of the room while everyone stared, bringing her to a room down the hall.

“Now listen to me, Alice, you can try to hurt me all you wish. But I want you to know that it was not my fault that you were killed. It was not yours either, however. It was my father’s fault. My father’s stupidity. Now I need you to tell me something. Do you forgive me?”

“For everything you’ve done to this poor girl I’m standing in? For everything you’ve done to your own daughter? Let’s see, you prohibited her from interacting with commoners, you burned her best friend, you upset her so much that she turned herself into a fountain statue, you forced her to be married, which didn’t go well, then you tried to ‘take the villain out of her’, which didn’t work.”

“I realize that, Alice.”

“That doesn’t mean you haven’t learned from your mistakes, because you keep making the same ones over and over.”

“Alice, please. I’m trying to be a good father to Jess. I’m doing what I think is right-”

“Only to find that they are mistakes you cannot take back.”

Jack was quiet, and then, slowly, Jack understood. He’d been blind to Jessica’s true needs. She didn’t need a husband, she didn’t need a best friend. She’d been rebelling to get something she thought he’d never give her: attention and love.  

He put his face in his hands and whispered, “I really messed up. I should have known I was doing it my entire life-with Jess, with you, with every single decision I made. I’m sorry.”

Alice then stared at him, confused. Both of them were talking to each other in Jessica’s head.

What are you thinking, Jessica?

Alice, I can hear him. But how can I be sure he’s not lying?

He has never lied to you, as far as I know, Jessica.

Then what do I do?

I’ll question him further.

“Are you talking to Jess, Alice? She’s-she’s inside of you right now. You’re talking to Jess, right, Alice?”

“Yes, I’m talking to her. Give me another minute. She’s still deciding what to think.”

“Jessica, if you can hear me, I’m going to tell you this now. I love you, and everything I’ve done for you, no matter how cruel, was what I thought was right for you. I realize that everything I’ve done is a mistake. If you love me as much as I love you-” He took his sword out of his sheath and handed it to her. “Then put this blade through my heart to punish me.”

Alice turned back into Jessica. She was shocked. She quickly dropped the sword.

“No! I can’t!”

“Jessica, I deserve it for what I’ve done to you. It all adds up to this. Please.”

Tell him I won’t do it either, Jessica, Alice said in Jessica’s head.

Jessica shook her head. She said to Jack, “No, and neither will Alice. She agrees that you don’t deserve this. Besides, it’s Ethan’s birthday. Do you really want Ethan to be fatherless on his birthday?”

Jack stared at Jessica for a moment. Then he said, “There must be some way I can make it up to you.”

“I will not hurt you,” Jessica said. She picked up the sword, stepped forward, and gave it back to Jack. “I refuse to hurt you.”

Jack took the sword back and put it back into his sheath. “Please. There has to be a way I can make it up to you!”

Jessica said nothing. She shook her head again and said, “Don’t try to make it up to me. Don’t try to make it up to Alice, either. It will not work.”

“What are you trying to say, Jess?” Jack asked.

“I’m saying, I forgave you years ago.”

“You certainly didn’t act like it.”

“Just because I didn’t act like it doesn’t mean I didn’t.”

Suddenly, Jessica turned back into Alice without warning.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Doing what?”

“Whenever she says something like ‘I forgave you’, you say something that makes her words mean nothing! It’s as though you’re trying to hurt her!”

“You should know by now, Alice, that I’m not trying to hurt her.”

Suddenly the door opened. It was Elsa. “What’s going on?”

Alice turned around. Elsa gasped. “Jack...are you…are you cheating on me?”

“No, Elsa. I’m not. Alice, please leave, just for a moment.”

Alice turned back into Jessica and Elsa slowly said, “Jessica, what happened?”

“Jessica can turn into Alice and back.” He explained everything that Alice was, that Alice had done. “Alice will stay inside of Jessica. She’s always been inside of Jess, and always will be. See, Elsa? I’m not cheating on you. I would never do that to you.”

Elsa took a deep breath and said, “Jessica, is this true?”

“How sad, that you can’t even trust your own husband without asking your daughter if what he says is true or not. But to answer your question, yes, what he said is true.”

“I just want to make sure,” Elsa said defensively.

“Touchy. I’m quite surprised, really,” Jessica said, pretending to check her fingernails. “I thought you would be more trusting. After all, you’ve been married how many years? 20 or so?”

“A-about that many, yes,” Elsa said.

“Then why are you so untrusting?”

“I trust him, it’s just that he’s had a tendency of doing things without telling me, that’s all.”

Jack didn’t say anything. Then, Elsa said, “Jess, I trust you, and I trust Jack. It’s just...I’ve been preoccupied lately, with paperwork and preparing for Ethan’s birthday…”

“Have you given Ethan his present yet?”

“No. I wanted to give it to him last.”

“Well, why don’t you go give it to him now?”

“I’ll do that, Jess.”

When Elsa left the room, Jessica turned back into Alice.

“Alice, please. I-”

“Don’t.”

Jack went silent, not daring to speak. Finally, after a couple moments of silence, he said, “You took away my daughter. I want her back.”

“I never took her. She’s still inside of me.”

“NO! I won’t believe it! My daughter’s gone! In a couple hours, she’ll be back in the Underworld, and where will I be? Stuck in the office! I want to be with her, and I only have a couple hours left!”

“Then die. Then you can be with her.”

“If I die, my wife and son won’t have me.”

“You’ll have to make this decision on your own, Jack. I won’t do it for you.”

Jack began thinking, trying to decide. Then Alice said, “Why not let her decide whether she wants to be with you or with Daniel? Her decision could shock you.”

No, Alice, please. Don’t bring me into this.

Alice ignored Jessica and said, “After all, she’s the subject here.”

Jack looked at Alice and said, “Alice, I want you to change back into Jessica, please. I want to know her decision.”

Alice changed into Jessica again and said, “You’re crazy.”

“Explain why I am crazy.”

“Because you want me to decide! Here, I’ll give you my decision. I’m staying down there, with Daniel, and you can live your perfect little life with your son! How does that sound?”

“Jess, I’m begging you, don’t leave! I-I can’t-”

“You wanted a son! I know you did! I heard you!”

“What?”

“When I was 16, I heard you tell Mom that you wanted a son to replace the one you didn’t have. Me! You loved me, but you wanted a son. Because only a son can become king! Why was I not enough?!”

She grabbed a photo of Jack, Elsa, and herself and threw it at the wall, causing the glass to shatter. “I wasn’t enough for you! What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I be that perfect child you wanted?”  

“Jess-”

“I thought that if I made ONE step out of line, you would be disappointed in me. That’s why you want another child, isn’t it? To replace the not-so-perfect one!”

“Jess, please.”

“I knew it! You never wanted me! You just pretended!”

“No, Jessica, that’s not true. If you’ll just listen to me, I’ll explain.”

Jessica went silent.

“Yes, I want another child. But it isn’t to replace you, exactly. It’s so that he can rule this kingdom, because you cannot, since you’re ruling somewhere else.”

“You want him to become exactly like you?! You tried to make me that way, and look how I turned out! I ended up going through so many bad things because of you that I became a villain! Not just a villain, but a good one! One that understood the dangers of being one.”

She stepped forward, as did Jack.

“Jessica, this conversation-”

“Is not over. I know your greatest fear, and you’re facing it.”

“Jess, calm down.”

“You’re afraid of me. You’re afraid that I’ll overthrow you.” Jessica said scornfully.

“I was, Jess. I’m not anymore.”

“You were afraid of me. That’s enough to make me begin not to trust you.”

“Jessica, stop it.”

“You’re afraid.”

“Jess…”

“You’re afraid, and that’s why you wanted to replace me.”

Jack went silent. Finally, he nodded.

“Yes, that’s true. But let me make this clear. I was afraid that you were growing up and that you would leave me soon. That’s why I wanted to have another child. Because the one I had would be leaving me soon. I wanted to hear the little running footsteps that you made when you were younger. I believe that Ethan, once he is of age, will soon rule. He will marry, he may have children. Same with you. Until then, the ghosts of your footsteps echo within these halls, matching his own.”

Jessica stared at Jack and said, “That’s why?”

“That’s why, Jessica.”

“Ethan. I thought he was immortal.”

“No. He isn’t. He never will be. This conversation’s over.”

He left the room, leaving Jessica alone.

 

 

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