Reads: 35

I’m still in the tent when I wake, lying on the couch Annette was sitting on earlier. She...is on the floor...passed out beside me.

“You woke up quicker this time. Maybe your body is adjusting.”. As I slowly sit up, I agree with Paula. My throat doesn’t feel so fucked up. I glance around for her. This tent functions as the headquarters of the camp. I find Paula behind one of the desks, shifting through papers. She is definitely part of the brains in this family, which is why it surprised me that she raged with the others. “I’m still a Moon no matter how smart I am.”.

There she goes being a psychic again. My face can’t be that readable...she isn’t even looking at me. What does being a Moon have to do with anything? I have noticed...they have some similar physical and...mental traits. “What’s happening now?”.

Paula sighs, keeping her attention on her papers. “Well, the battle for the throne is happening, but the support from the people is low.”.

“Because?”. Again these damn people do not like explaining!

“The suspicion with the King being alive or dead for 1. It’s making the citizens question who is responsible, and why isn’t anyone trying to figure out.”. I still think Leon had something to do with it. Multiple things happened at once, but he was beside Vincent and walked away. “The support of the people could go either way, but as it stands, no heir has it. You have the lowest approval since you’ve never been in the public eye before.”.

I still don’t care for the throne. I’ve never been a responsible type, so it wouldn’t work for me. If I had to take it...it’ll only be in name. “I have a question. Why did everyone make moves at once?”.

Paula glances up at me. “You wouldn’t know, but before you were born, King Vincent barely stayed at the castle. He was always delegating or making deals with other countries. No one was ashamed to call him their King back then.”. Paula smirks at the anger building on my face. “Don’t get pissed at me. I’m just the messenger. Anyway, after you was...created, he rarely left the castle, but once you were born, King Vincent didn’t leave the grounds once over the past 20 years.”.

My heart tightens. “Then his peace conference –

“Something was important for him to leave you, and I bet it had nothing to do with a peace conference.”, Paula says, cutting me off.

She doesn’t say it...but it sounds like it could have had something to do with me, or was it just a ruse to get Vincent out of the castle? My eyes shift to Annette. My Bond with Vincent and her is...stronger than with anyone else. He is...was family, but Annette, something is different...it’s indescribable. Things in my head become scrambled if I think too hard about it, but I have this importance...it’s annoying.

“She…we did some terrible damage to the castle….. Once we got word that you were taken, Aunt Annette nearly killed everyone she got her hands on.”. I bet she did. If a pair of parents were scripted for me, based on my previous life, Annette and Vincent would be a perfect match. “She contained herself...somewhat, figuring dead people couldn’t tell her where you were.”.

I chuckle. That sounds like her. Annette stirs awake, and when our eyes meet, I have to look away. As expected, that excitement exploded in me. Side note, these Bonds I fucking hate. “How will the throne be decided then?”.

Before Paula can answer, a guard enters carrying some papers. She takes them, and her rage increases as she reads them over. “Get my Father and Uncle!”. The guard rushes out to do his task as Annette stands, stretching. “That damn Advisor is making things difficult!”.

Before I can ask Paula what, Annette drags me from the couch, then out of the tent. “Don’t want to know what happened?”.

“No. It does not matter. I will kill whoever comes to me.”…... It must be sooo nice to be so strong. I sigh, sagging as she drags me into a cabin. It’s small but decorated nicely. “Clean up and change out of those clothes.”.

I smirk at how demanding she sounds. Dangr attire must not be to her liking. I do as she says with no protest, returning to her once I’ve showered and changed. Annette is nursing a bottle sprayed out on the single bed. The cabin has 2 rooms, a bathroom, and the main room. In the main room are the bedroom and living room. There isn’t any sort of kitchen area, but it has a fully stocked bar. Of course, I’m already pouring.

“How is it you have a taste for alcohol?”.

I ponder on how to answer as I drink. If you consider her, I could say it’s genetic, but Annette’s drinking...stems from something else. Alcohol never deserted me, and I could find it anywhere in life 1. “Ezra allowed me some.”. I pour myself another...sorry Ezra.

“Was that your attendant?”.

My fingers grip the glass tightly as I swallow down the cup. “Yes.”. Annette doesn’t say anything as I pour myself another drink. Her...this silence...feels a little different. Nothing about her is agitated. Bringing up Ezra has reminded me – “Do you know who set the fires?”. I wait for her to answer as I empty, refill, drink, and repeat. The bed creaks as she stirs around on it.

“Brother and Uncle think it is 1 of the Concubines.”.

“I asked did you know.”. I turn to her, watching her stare up at the ceiling. For a moment, she frowns some kind of deep.

“Evangelina.”.

The blond 1, then. I gulp down my glass and turn back to the bar, refilling it. “Was she supposed to be the Queen?”.

“Victoria first, then she came along. I came as a surprise to everyone.”. Annette chugs her bottle after that.

Once I’ve finished my glass, I set it down, then step closer to the bed. “Can we visit her?”.

Annette glances up at me, fully aware of what I mean. “Killing her will not get you anything. The woman was most likely a puppet for someone else.”. I shrug. “The only thing it would do is break your Bond with those siblings. Families can not kill each other without broken Bonds……”. She raises her bottle to her lips, then sighs. “That old man is basically forcing the backers to kill them off.”.

So if I cause a...broken Bond, then I’ll be able to handle my siblings…this world is…something. It’s like asking if the pain from it is worth it. Vincent’s...death has me feeling like constant shit...... Maybe since I was close to him, it’s like this. I don’t care for those siblings, regardless. I’m sure they thought to kill me at some point...hell, Olivia even said it to my face. “I don’t care about that broken bond shit. She tried to kill me but killed Ezra. If they have a problem after she’s dead, then so be it, but it has to happen.”. Annette rolls her eyes, looking away. “I also want to chat about this Leon person.”. Something inside me points to him being involved with Vincent’s death.

Annette sits up, sliding off the bed. “He has been hiding somewhere ever since we attacked.”. I note how vicious she sounds. He must be on her hit list as well. “He has a lot to be hiding for.”.

Yes, he does, but it feels like she knows something more. “Was he the 1 you wanted to see when we left your room that first day?”.

“No. That old man had a personal guard. I thought he would have left him.”.

“Because of me?”.

“Yes.”.

“Why did you stay away?”….. I didn’t think before I asked that...it just slipped out. The way Annette has stiffened...tensed up...I regret it a little. I can’t say why I’m so curious about her answer, but my heart is pounding with anticipation. Annette doesn’t speak for a long ass moment, making me wonder if she’ll answer. What could have been so awful that night?

“It...was my fault what happened to you…. I...could not bring myself to face you then.”…...

So she’s blaming herself for it. Bullshit. Those who harmed me...that baby is to blame….. She knows something. “You have...you know what’s wrong with me?”.

“A guess. I am searching for a more concrete answer.”.

“But you already have it.”. Annette looks at me. “You never pushed for me to use magic or...you’ve always carried me. How did you know I couldn’t fly?”.

She blinks like I’ve said something stupid. “My eyes are different than others. Magic is not flowing around you as it should be.”.

Oh. I thought I was on to something. Still, once she gets her concrete answer, maybe she can fix me……. “What about now?”.

“What?”.

I lower my eyes, wondering why I find this so important. “Are you...bothered that I’m here?”. The silence that comes after makes me anxious.

“...That damn Bond awakened the moment I laid my eyes on you.”.

Being forced to have such strong feelings for someone you’ve just met is absolutely my least favorite thing about this world. I’m...halfway disappointed by her answer, but part of me understands how Annette feels. If it wasn’t for the Bond...I don’t think either one of us would be around each other…...

Why...why would I feel this Bond for a mother who isn’t mine? Bonds are tied to our souls, right? I can’t possibly be their real child…can I!? My soul...why would it have magic that could be blocked if I was dragged here? There is no way in hell I’d come to this world willingly.

“Angel.”.

It’s a lot I don’t understand about any of this. Annette’s curse is inside me somehow...this Bond shit is really messing with my head. “Ouch!”. Annette is standing right in front of me...with that blank look. “What?!”. I rub my arm…she hits too damn hard! It’s seriously annoying how the pain lingers inside!

“You will not be forced to do what I had to.”.

Well, duuuuhhhh...I managed to keep that expression off my face. No need to be hit a second time. “I know that.”. I do frown as I continue to rub my stinging arm.

Annette rolls her eyes at me and then strolls out of the cabin. I follow her back to the big tent.

“Wow, I can smell the alcohol as soon as y’all entered.”.

Paula smiles when neither Annette nor I give her a reply. That smile is starting to annoy me. Kent turns to us...looking like he’s aged 50 years.

“Leon is forcing our hand.”.…

Okay. What does he want us to do? Bitch?

“How much have you 2 drunk?”.

I’m perfectly buzzed, floating in my happy place, and Annette looks the same no matter how much she drinks.

“Well, they both are still upright, at least.”. Paula...grins at Anthony, who sighs, looking between us. “I wish you both didn’t be” –

He stops catching a glare from Annette and me. Whatever he was about to say, I wouldn’t have liked it. Paula snickers...another thing I’m starting to find irritating, as Kent lets out a long exhausted breath. “Let’s get moving.”.

Ren, Tony, and April meet us outside the tent…guess they are going to. I’m pleasantly numbed and don’t even care where we are going. That is until I find myself face to face with my royal pain in the ass family. Paula snickers seeing my face mirroring Annette’s.

“Why the hell are we here?!”.

Annette beat me to the question. We are currently standing before a few hundred citizens of Goranous. I glance at a smirking Paula. “You know, some kind of warning would have been nice.”.

“Neither 1 of you was listening. How is that our fault?”.

I can tell she was hoping for this...reaction. I’m about to sober up real fucking quick. We are on some stage with the royal family and their spouses, like some election campaign shit. Kent, Anthony, and Paula surround Annette, while Ren, Tony, and April surround me, and on the far side stands my glaring family. Like my hostility isn’t fucking justified! They aren’t even hiding their hatred...why does it feel stronger than before? It makes sense now why Paula was talking about them on our way over….. I should have caught on then...at least I know their names now. Leon and his giant Knight stand center stage like the hosts of this fucking show.

“Goranous citizens, I Advisor Skye, bring you the royal family!”.

The crowd erupts in cheers as my siblings and their counterparts plaster smiles on their faces waving to them….. I gag from the sight.

Kent’s eyes move between Annette and me as his lips barely part, but I catch what he said. “Behave you 2.”.

Yeah, right, sure we will.

“Is that the Royal Princess?”.

“So tiny and beautiful!”.

“She’s a Moon, though.”.........

Why the fuck are these people so prejudiced against us redheads! Paula is snickering...she finds everything too got damn funny! She smirks, and I roll my eyes looking away. I tune out the rest of Leon’s speech as he introduces the family because I don’t care! If I wasn’t buzzed, I’d definitely be at his throat! I look over to Annette.

“No.”.

Kent is seriously watching us. All I did was look at the woman. I wish for nothing more than to fly out of here, so I need this woman for the time being. “Why, this doesn’t concern me.”. Yes, yes, yes! Annette steps closer to me.

“Agreed.”.

Yes! For once, we are on the same page. Now, let’s just take off and get the hell away from all these people.

“Annette, please behave.”.

Kent’s pleas fall on deaf ears until Paula produces 2 bottles of wine...the good kind. “Have a drink and relax. This won’t take long.”.

I pop the top and settle down on the floor, drinking away. Annette sits beside me as the others surround us.

Nice tactic. This kind has an effect that makes you...nice and wavy. I hear a few murmurs, but not enough for me to care because the wave has arrived in no time. Fuck, yes. I sway with it, loving how relaxed I am for a chance. Damn, this feels good. Every time I start returning to normal, I sip a little to dive back in. I fucking love this! I can see why this is Annette’s drink of choice.


Submitted: September 13, 2022

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