Mauvais stood there, his sword outward. “Any last words?”
The King stared at the man. “You’re sick, you know that...? J-just don’t hurt my wife. Don’t hurt my daughter.”
Mauvais gave the King a devilish smirk. “Shall I contemplate on that?” He turned to ask his two of his followers, Meredith and Quell.
Quell chuckled. “You shall not,”
Meredith gave a shrill laugh. “Plead as you want, Luz, but your cries will not be heard.”
Mauvais nodded and looked at the King. “Goodbye, Monsieur.”
The King said “You’re too late, anyway.”
Mauvais froze. “Excuse me?”
The King held his head high. “She’s gone. My wife has left the dimension. You’ll never find them as long as you live! There’s no way you’ll hurt them-“
“Nonsense!” Mauvais shouted. “There’s always a way!”
A high-pitched scream came from the Castle.
The King’s head whirled around. That sounded like Fyre.
Mauvais gave a loud chuckle. “You see, Luz, that is your problem. You don’t know your weak points. I got people in there. And guess what?” He didn’t give King Luz a time to answer. Mauvais pierced the Luz with the sword. “Your heir is dead and I’m the new king of this castle.”
And in those moments, the King keeled over and took one last look at the one man he saw. His mouth opened. “You too...?”
Greg stood there, a shocked expression. The twenty year old stood out of line. “You’ll regret that.”
Mauvais turned and gave a calm smile to Greg. “Aha! Quell, your big brother has joined the party!”
Quell looked at Greg.
Greg said “Quell, I beg you, this isn’t right! The Queen and King are the true-“
“Shut up,” Mauvais said. “Shut up or Meredith, here, will be murdering her new brother-in-law.”
Meredith gave Greg a wicked grin, signaling this was nothing she’d be reluctant to do.
Greg glared at Quell. He looked back at his home village. He looked at Quell and pointed out the village. “You helped this, Quell. You made this happen. Our childhood lives are ruined-and they always will be.” He took steps back and looked at the corpse of his former leader, Luz. He said “Quell, one day...you’re going to get hurt. All of you will.”
Mauvais rolled his eyes. “And, I suppose the dead princess will make that happen? Tie him.”
Quell and Meredith both tackled Greg. Greg tried to squirm free, but his eighteen year old brother was annoyingly strong and Meredith had a sword right to his neck in seconds. Quell was strong, she was quick. They were both evil; they were a perfect match.
Greg glared at his brother. “You’ll regret this.”
“Shut up,” Quell demanded, giving his older sibling an eye roll.
“Let him come with,” Mauvais said. “He’ll be able to witness this...so he’ll know what exactly happened the day I became his king.”
“You’ll never be-“
“Your brother is quite stubborn,” Meredith frowned. “I don’t like stubborn.”
“I don’t like idiots,” Greg hissed at her.
She smacked on the head with the back of her sword and he was out cold. He woke up in the top room of the Castle of Autumnia’s Capital, where his king and queen and their one year old daughter lived...used to live, that is.
Greg was pushed forward. He froze when he saw the Queen’s dead body. He looked at Mauvais. “You’re a monster...you...you killed...she was defenseless!”
Mauvais said “She shouldn’t have been; it’s her loss. Now git a move on!”
Greg said “Huh?”
Mauvais pointed at the crib of baby Juliana. “Get her.”
Greg stared at the baby’s crib. He remembered once...he’d always been the head of combat training. He was King Luz’s right-hand-man. They had a plan. And that plan was right...Greg got an idea. He pretended to be reluctant and he picked up the small girl. She looked at him with a cold stare. What’s going on?
Greg had no idea either. Would he ever see her again? He was clueless. Maybe the next time she came to her birthplace, she’d be a grown woman. Maybe a kid. Heck-maybe she’d be an elder. But regardless of the age, she had to fight for Autumnia.
“Bring her here.”
Greg turned and made way over to Mauvais. He stopped in his tracks, causing a slight ‘screech’ on the floor. He turned back around and opened the Portal.
“What’s he doing?” Meredith ordered.
“Wha?” Even Mauvais seemed clueless.
The one thing Greg didn’t understand; Quell should’ve known what Greg was doing, but he didn’t reply.
But seconds later, Greg placed down the baby in the board and slammed the door. He heard a few cries and then the sounds left slowly.
It was then, when Mauvais and Meredith realized what he’d just done. “No!”
Greg grinned. “She’s safe!” He yelled at them. “You’re never getting to her!” He backed away towards the window.
“Get him, Quell!”
Quell grabbed out his sword and Greg was ready. He didn’t care, honestly.
But when Quell winked at him, Greg noticed it. It was an old signal they’d used with their friends to plot against them when practicing as boys. Greg grabbed the sword from his brother and elbowed the window. He jumped out and fell. “OUCH!” He cursed under his breath and heard Meredith, Mauvais and Quell screaming.
Greg stood up and clutched his arm, thanking god that he hadn’t broken his leg. That would’ve been a real problem. Greg screamed out to the world “THE PRINCESS LIVES!” and then he ran, without looking back.
He saw a few shocked, happy, angry and mad faces at him. He even had a few people throw things at him, but he continued running. Only one thing mattered, and he saw to it that it happened...
Princess Juliana was safe.
Tara smiled at her husband as he sighed. He closed his laptop and turned around. “Well,” he said. “I finally finished the damn story.”
Tara giggled and sat down on the couch next to him. For a pretty dull and unhappy week, this was the lightest moment in it. Just days ago, she was in the hospital. She was supposed to have a daughter, but...
Tara shook the thought and said “John?”
“Did you get the mail today?”
John sighed. “Uhm...” He laughed nervously. “S-“
She laughed and her forgetful husband and stood up. She said “Be right back.” She walked outside and then went to the mailbox. Hmm...bills. ‘Get well soon’ card from Linda-
A small cry was heard by Tara. Tara froze and looked at the street. A baby girl?
Tara’s eyes widened and she ran in the middle of the street to the girl. The girl’s eyes were light brown, seeming to have balls of fire dancing in them. “John!”
She saw him shuffle in the house and look out the window. Yeah?
“Get out here!”
Tara brought the girl to the side of the road and she showed John.
“The middle of the street?” John whispered, hoping to not interrupt the baby from sleep.
Tara shrugged. She looked at the girl and stopped. “Hey...” Tara picked up the little note on the girl’s tiny dress. She looked at John. “John...don’t call me crazy...this girl was meant for us.”
“What do you mean?” John ordered. “You’re not seriously- Tara, you can’t just-“
Tara showed him the note. “What were we going to name our daughter?”
“Julie,” he said. “So-“ he stopped dead and read the note. His mouth opened. He looked at the girl, then the note.
Hello. My name is Juliana. I would love to have a home with whomever finds me.
Julie sat next to her best friend, Cody Gonzalez, as he went on and on about how cool New York City was.
“So, then,” he said. “My Mom and I got to see the Empire State Building.”
Julie smirked. “Oh my God, no WAY! That is, like, TOTES COOL!-“
He smacked her shoulder. “Shut up!”
She laughed. But then the girl sitting across from them, Meg Jones, said “You went to New York City?”
Cody looked at her. “Uhm, yeah.”
Meg smiled. “I love NYC! I go to Broadway shows all the time!”
The bell rang and Meg shot up.
Julie sighed. “C’mon, let’s get going before Mr. Jones grills us for being late. Again.”
Cody rolled his eyes and stood up. “Remember last time? My mom nearly killed me.”
“As did mine.”
“What about your dad?” He asked.
Julie smirked. “He was in Bangladesh for that report for his office, remember?”
Cody said “I meant ‘last time’, Julie, as in yesterday.”
“Oh...” she stopped. “Oh, yeah! Well, they told me I was grounded and we weren’t going out this Friday, liked we’d planned. At least, you’re not going this time.”
“Dammit!” Cody cursed. “I like Applebee’s. Especially when your parents attempt to refuse when I pay for my own-“
“You shouldn’t be, anyway!” Julie stopped walking.
Cody frowned. “Well, I am.”
“But, Cody, you and your Mom should just save-“
“Juliana Carmichael- shut up.” Cody said firmly.
Julie sighed. “Okay, okay...God, Mr. Jones is a jerk.” They started walking again.
Mr. Jones greeted them at the door. “Hello, Mr. Gonzalez. Hello, Ms. Carmichael.”
“Hey,” the two shrugged and sat in their seats.
Meg sat down in beside Julie, who hated her new seats. Why? Meg was right next to her. Stupid know-it-all...
Meg looked at Julie. “Hey, Juliana.”
Julie said “Uh, you can call me Julie.”
Julie looked at Cody. He was stifling a laugh.
Meg looked at them. “What’s so funny?”
Cody said “What’s Broadway, anyway?”
Meg’s jaw dropped. “Broadway is-“
“Don’t get her started.” Annie said next to them.
Julie nodded. “Cody, it’s not worth it.”
Meg sighed. “Julie, what did I ever do to you?”
Julie frowned. “Being a know-it-all.”
Meg said “I’m not a know-it-all, Julie.”
Cody snorted. “Suuuuuurrreee-“
“Hey, shut up, Gonzalez!” Meg said. “Just because I can read and you can’t-“
“I have dyslexia!” Cody yelled at her.
Meg said “So do I!”
Cody stopped. “What?”
Meg rolled her eyes. “Like’s you’d take the time to think about me for a change! Instead of your stupid friends who only care about stupid stuff!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Julie ordered. “Stupid stuff?”
Meg nodded. “What’s the benefit in clicking cameras in people’s faces every five minutes?”
Julie said “Oh, that’s not my hobby, that’s his.” She pointed at Cody.
Cody touched the camera in his pocket. “I don’t click camera’s in people’s faces!”
Meg said “Well, then what do you do?”
Cody said “Attempt to not talk to you. It’s my favorite hobby of all, if you can believe it!”
Meg snorted. “Oh, I love that hobby, actually!”
Cody nodded. “Loving it.”
“Follow that through for the rest of your life, will you!?” Meg yelled at him.
Cody said “My pleasure.”
Meg and Cody looked to the board, ignoring each other. Meg looked back to Julie though. “And my dad is not a jerk.”
“Speak of the Devil,” Annie whispered.
Mr. Jones came from the back of the classroom. “Okay! Guys, today we are going to...“
Later, Julie got home from school and she and Cody parted ways; he went to 21 Clover and she went to 19 Clover, right next to each other. She opened the door with her key to see her brother. Apparently his bus had gotten to school earlier.
Her brother, Joey Carmichael, was a small kid with glasses, green eyes and a mischievous behavior. He was ‘Mommy’s little boy’ and ‘Mommy’s angel’, but Julie knew the truth; Joey was smart and cunning. In fact, he was smarter than Julie, and she hated to admit that.
“I got the honor roll!” He screamed with a grin.
Another ‘I’m smarter than you moment’? Julie thought. “So?”
“So, we’re going to Applebee’s!”
“So?” She asked again.
Joey sighed. “Mommy and Daddy said I could chose who accompanies us...I will be happy to make a bargain to say, ah, let Cody come?”
Julie narrowed her eyebrows. “Are you trying to bribe me for something?”
“That depends,” he said. “Is it working?”
Julie rolled her eyes. “Joey. I got a better idea; let Cody come and I won’t murder you.”
Joey nodded. “Noted! MOMMY! CAN CODY COME?!”
Julie smiled in triumph. He was the smart one, but she was the big one. She patted his head and he glared at her as she went up to her room.
Julie’s father, John Carmichael, knocked on her door. “Wanna go with Joey to invite Cody over?”
“I, like, just told him at school he couldn’t come,” Julie said. “Make up your mind, people.”
John said “Oh and, uh, one more thing...”
“Your grandparents are coming over.”
Julie’s face fell. “Oh God.”
John nodded. “Yeah...”
Julie said “I need to go get Cody! Maybe they’ll be nice this time, since he’s there!”
“I hope,” John sighed nervously.
Julie went outside and her Nikes seemed to chomp on the snow. Joey came bounding after her. Julie regretted not bringing a sweater greatly.
She knocked on the door and Cody’s single mother, Delilah Gonzalez opened the door. She smiled. “Hello, Julie!”
Julie waved to her best friend’s mom. “Hey, Ms. Gonzalez.”
“Hey!” Joey waved to her. He showed her his new certificate. “I got on the honor roll!”
“Oh, congratulations, Joey!” She told him, beaming at him. She turned. “Cody! Your friends are here!”
“Coming! I’m trying develop these photos-“
“Cody Gonzalez sus amigos están esperando!”
“BIEN, BIEN, VOY!” He screamed back. He dashed down the stairs. He looked at Julie and Joey. “Hey, Jules.” He saw Joey. He put his hand up. “Gimme five.”
Joey high-fived Cody.
“Cody usted no debe mantenerlos esperando!”
Cody sighed. “Ma!”
Delilah said more Spanish at him and he finally told her off. She sighed and went to the kitchen.
Cody sighed. “Sorry.”
Joey said “What were you saying?”
Cody looked at Joey. “She said I shouldn’t keep you guys waiting.”
“She has a point,” Julie said. “My grandparents are joining us for dinner and they’ll be here any minute.”
Cody’s jaw dropped. “Awesome! World War Three!”
Joey said “Do you mean grandma and daddy? Cuz they yell a lot...so does Mommy...”
Cody smirked. “Uhm, yeah Joey, usually your sister goes crazy too.”
“I do not!”
“Yes you do,” Joey said, rolling his eyes.
Julie glared at her little brother. “Can you go get my coat? I left in the house.”
“Go get your own coat!”
Julie glared down at him. “Get-my-coat.”
Joey nodded. “Right, I’ll be right back.” He ran across the snow, his boots hitting the ground and creating a series of ‘plops’.
Cody laughed. “Uh, why a hoodie in the middle of winter?” He unhooked his coat from the coat-hanger.
“I have no idea,” she admitted to him.
Cody smirked. “Psyched to be able to talk to me?”
Julie snorted. “More like dreading the moment and hoping for when it was over.”
Cody laughed and turned. “Lemme tell my mom I’m going first. Ma!”
“Sí?” Delilah asked.
Cody said ‘Can I go out to dinner with the Carmichaels’ in Spanish and she eventually replied ‘sí’ yet again.
Cody an Julie walked across the snow-covered lawn. They sat on the porch and then Joey came back out with Julie’s winter coat. He shoved the black coat in her face and she spat out the fake feathers from the hole. She glared at him and he glared back.
Cody said “Uh, guys?”
“The in-laws are here.” He said dramtically.
Indeed, Martha and Alan, their grandparents, were standing by their car and walking towards the house.
“GRANDMA! GRANDPA!” Joey jumped up to hug them.
“Let the War begin,” Cody muttered to Julie when Tara and John Carmichael came outside to greet Tara’s parents.
“Juliana!” Her grandparents called out.
Julie elbowed Cody when he said “Oh God, Julie, do you need a way out? I would be obliged to take out my camera and put on flash so you can make a run for it.”
“Shut up, Gonzalez,” she rolled her eyes and plastered a smile to her face as she was hugged by her grandparents. She heard Cody laugh and she made a mental note to yell at him for that.
“How are you?” Martha cried with a hug.
“I’m good,” Julie said. She looked at her grandpa, Alan. He hugged her and said “Good to see ya, kiddo.”
“Mom!” Tara went to greet her parents.
“Hi!” John smiled at them and went with his wife.
Julie sat back next to Cody on the porch while Martha did the usual routine.
Cody kept a mental timer. “Five...four...three…two, and-“
“Tara, you married and idiot!”
Cody nodded at Julie. “See? I know your family.”
Julie snorted. “Like yours is any better!”
Cody said “Uh-it is. There’s only me ‘n Mom!”
“Your Spanish-talking mother who yells at you in Spanish?” Julie said. She stopped. “Why’d she name you Cody? It’s not Spanish, is it?”
Cody’s mouth opened. “Uhm...Cody’s not my actual birth name, you know, right?”
“No, why, what is it?”
Cody bit his lip. “Uh...no.”
“What is it!?” She yelled.
Cody shook his head. “Not telling you.”
While the argued about his name, John was trying his best to get them to the restaurant as quick as he could so his mother-in-law wouldn’t behead him outside on the lawn of his own house.