Reads: 15

“Princess.”………..

That sounded awfully like Ian. I glance over my shoulder, looking up to see him smiling down at me…... “What are you doing here?”. He is a man...but those...feminine features sometimes make me question that. You would think that beard would dispel it...but no…he looks like a bearded woman...that isn’t weirdly off-putting…..... Before he can respond, Annette drags me into her, pinning me against her chest…....

“Stay away!”.

“I can’t breathe!”. Her grip is so tight...I’m going nowhere as I push against her with all my strength. What the fuck is she doing, and how is she so muscular and soft?!

“Nice to see you again, Princess and Queen Lux.”……….

Annette and I freeze at that voice. Talia. She instantly gains our complete attention. The grown woman is a stunning sight...I can’t deny that. Talia stands just behind Ian, wearing a... low-cut golden dress that matches her hair. The dress is long, but it is hugging her so fucking good. Goddammit her figure……….

“Oh.”......

Paula breaks the trance, but what exactly does that oh mean. Admiration is a thing. She smirks when I look at her...before Annette’s slowly ticking head draws my eyes as it turns in my direction…like I can hear the sound of the thirsty gears grinding. Her face is blank as hell when it lands on me.

“Stop.”.........

Those sharp green eyes were roaming just as much as mine was. “I’m not doing anything. What about you?”. The smirk rising on my lips pisses her off.

“Please, don’t you 2 start.”.

Too late for that, Kent, because I feel the need to piss this woman off today. It’s not like I missed her or anything...my smirk didn’t work. I’m impressed Annette hasn’t tagged me...yet...maybe I can hurry this along. I look up at Ian and smile when her grip tightens around me. She can’t control whatever this agitation is coming from, and I’m currently loving it. “I just left y’all. Why back so soon?”.

Ian smiles...with an over-the-top thumbs up. “We have your back.”.

Hmm...my backers. I don’t particularly need any with this family of mine, but I don’t mind seeing them again….. I really don’t? No, I don’t. “Would you like a drink?”. I offer him my bottle, but Annette snatches and crushes it..….. “Why the hell did you do that?!”.

“You stop!!! Did I not tell you to stop making eyes at him!!!!”.

“I’m not making eyes, and what the fuck are you seeing, you” - I freeze, feeling the heat pouring off her. She is about to blow, and I’m way waaaay waaaaaaay too close. - “Wait, Annette, I concede!”. I try to wiggle away from her as she glares at me like I’m not pushing with all my might!

“Go ahead and finish that sentence.”…..

“You amazing woma – Mother that I do not loathe.”. I offer her an honest smile, and Paula burst out laughing.

“Oh, yes, that she is. So believable.”.

Her laugh is the worst thing I’ve ever heard! You know those people who go ‘hee hee’...like what the fuck is that. It’s ‘haha’! Annette’s laugh is more so a chuckle, but at least it’s ‘haha’….. I know I have issues…I just find it so fucking irritating. Annette’s still rising heat catches my attention. Time for plan B...slightly letting my emotions loose, I can feel a cough coming, and Annette releases me reading my face. Freedom! I scurry away from her, regaining control.

“Oh...that was good.”.

“Paula, stop encouraging th – Annette, noooooo!”. Anthony pounces on her.

“Trying to make a fool of me! You are dead!”.

I jump to my feet...why does she sound so fucking menacing!? What? I was supposed to let her have her way, fuuuuck that shit!

“Stop it!”. Kent aids Anthony in holding her down.

“Let go!”.

All 6 of our little party are struggling to keep her down...which I’m sure Annette could throw them off. “I did nothing! You’re fucking angry for no reason! I’m not interested in any of these people...at least not that way!”.

“Then what way?”..….....

I’m suddenly aware of how close I am to Leon. I had completely ignored the others on the stage up to this point. My brain can’t keep up with my body as I pull out a dagger and launch myself at him. He’s stunned by my quick motion. The tip of my blade slightly cuts into his neck, but I feel an attack coming. Instinctively, I retreat, dodging Tyler’s sword. He’s surprisingly fast, considering his size. He steps defensively in front of Leon while I size him up. Leon has to fucking die! Every fiber of my being tells me so!

“Get off!”.

Annette struggles with the others...still just behind me. She really should be able to sling them off...is she planning something?

“Princess, you openly attacked me.”. Leon rubs his neck, brushing his fingers against the little blood there.

“That is grounds for her arrest.”.

I look over at Victoria. “Do I look like I give a shit about your laws. I’m going to kill you.”. My finger moves to Evangelina. “You, and this old bastard.”. The 3 of them shudder, getting a whiff of my killing intent. I can’t release that aura...pressure thing, but this much I can do.

Oliver glares at me, moving ahead of the sibling group. “Are you mental?”.

“Once your mothers are dead, our Bonds won’t be an issue.”. I’ll fucking kill each of them, then I’ll have my peace and quiet again, and by me, I mean Annette will handle them for me.

“No, I don’t think you’ll be harming my Mother?”. Landon steps forward...flexing his muscles…...

This damn blockhead is getting a rise out of me. “You can’t kill me just as much as I can’t kill you. So who the fuck are you trying to impress?!”.

“Princess, I don’t know what information they –

“Think before you speak, Advisor.”.

Leon pauses at Kent’s threat. I must say I’ve noticed this Moon family...instills fear. At their position on the stage, the crowd stands back a little way. Before Leon gets the chance to speak again, he locks eyes with me…my brain dies. “My Father is dead because of you!”.

I charge at Tyler as he raises his long sword casting fire on it…magic…. The thing looked like an ordinary sword. His defensive stand remains as he readies for my attack. Drawing my other dagger, I launch myself at him, and he blocks all my attacks effortlessly. I’m just engaging in his combat, getting a feel for him.

The way Tyler swings his sword and matter of stance is way more precise than mine. Not a single wasted motion, putting our styles opposite of each other. My martial arts would have been the same had I not been in the streets in my younger years. The unpredictable nature of...that world, mixed with my training, gives me a unique style. This man isn’t my target, so I don’t feel the need to kill him.

As Tyler blocks another 1 of my simple attacks, I use the momentum to launch myself in the air. His surprised eyes follow me as I rise…I’m just as amazed since I went up pretty high, and as I descend, he readies to block me, but I smirk seeing Annette finally on her feet. She fires...this green-colored blast straight to the center of his chest.

At the last moment, Tyler notices it and jumps out of the way but gets clipped on the shoulder. As he falls...I’m not surprised to see Leon aiming purple crystal-like prisms at me. He fires them, and I twist in the air spinning around them as I descend. My daggers sink into both of his shoulders once we collide.

“Argh!”. Leon falls to the ground as I land on him.

“Do not move.”.

Anyone wanting to come to his aid was stopped by Annette. The rest of the Moon group move closer to me, prompting the others to step back.

“Why your dumbass thought it was a good idea to meet face to face is beyond me.”. I pull out a dagger, making him groan. He stills his breathing gazing into my eyes like he hasn’t been stabbed.

“Vincent taught you well, Princess. I hope you don’t think things will end here. There is always a plan at work. You will be our Queen.”……..

That is an obvious taunt, but the smile on Leon’s lips is threatening my satisfaction. The old man isn’t scared to die. I drag my dagger across his throat, releasing that crimson red color, as I watch him gasp for air. After a moment, I lean in closer. “Whoever else responsible for killing my Father, or trying to fuck with my life, will follow you and your fucking plans.”.

The only thing my ears pick up now is his strangled breathing. The cut isn’t too deep because...I want to watch it, but deep enough to make him choke on his own blood. I want to see when the light slowly goes out. The gargled sound starts dying down...I glare into his eyes at how that fucking smile remains as he finally fades. After he takes his last breath, I straighten and close my eyes, picturing the last time I was with Vincent. That ominous feeling I felt when he left the room. The last time he braided my hair. If I had asked him not to go...would he have stayed? My emotions spike and I clench down hard, regaining control over myself.

“She…really killed him…....”.

The surprised hush surrounding me comes to life thanks to Evangelina. When my eyes open and land on my royal family, their stunned expressions...pisses me off. Yes, I may look like a little, fragile doll, but the fact that they underestimated me this much is infuriating. The audience murmurs reach my ears as the crowd grows restless. I can’t imagine what they think is going on. I raise my dagger, pointing between the Concubines. “Which 1 of you tried to kill me that night?”. Those siblings immediately move in front of their mothers.

“Don’t get us wrong. We are more powerful than that coward.”.

Landon’s chest dances with the statement...he’s a meathead that I can’t fucking wait to get my hands on. I’m not stupid enough to think I could handle all four of them...I have no doubt they’ll be challenging. I witnessed as much the day we met. “More powerful than this.”. When I gesture to Annette, he clenches his jaw, squeezing his fist shut. “Nothing to say?”. I should feel bad using Annette like a weapon of mine, but I don’t. She doesn’t even dispute me. My eyes move to Olivia. She hasn’t yelled once, but I can feel her malice flowing into me. Oh, she’s behaving for the crowd...they all seem to be.

“Baby sister.”. I sigh. Because of that little conversation, my Bond with Beatrice is slightly stronger than the others. “You’ve ridden our family of 1 problem. Can we end things here for the evening?”.

I squint my eyes at her as...I’m deflating. Dammit! I’ll have to kill those Concubines away from their demon spawns. Why are Bonds so fucking controlling!

“…That was too easy.”. I look to Paula. Her lip is being gnawed at as she gazes down at Leon. “I wonder who he worked for?”.

She must have heard him...I got what I wanted, so...I don’t care about the rest.

“I, Knight Tyler Davidson, humbly ask the Royal Princess to marry me.”……...

What! I spin around, finding him kneeling there. I literally just killed the man that raised him.

“She is mine!”.

Ian is beside me in a matter of seconds, and the murmurs are raised. I forgot he was up here. He has me smiling when that red color shows up. With Leon dead, I don’t feel as on edge...which shouldn’t be the case with this family so close by, but eh...I shrug...I’ll take it.

5 seconds later, Annette is ready to erupt, and I’m honest to god scared for Ian and Tyler, feeling the rage pouring from the woman. “You 2 might want to run.”. When my eyes land on Annette…why is her demon glare directed at me….. How is this my fault!? I blink at her...how am I to fucking blame?! Flames appear on her hands…it’s time to go. “I did nothing!”. I jump into the crowd as Annette hurls fireballs after me. The crowd erupts into chaos as she manages to hit innocent bystanders...as long as it’s not me, I don’t give a damn.

Everyone left on the stage watches the scene before them.

Paula doesn’t care what happens in the future. Aunt Annette and the Princess returning to the family is the best gift she could ask for. She’s laughing so hard watching her Aunt become enraged at how the Princess is dancing around her flames. Those...citizens...Paula hopes some of them survive those burns. Aunt Annette is seriously trying to hurt the Princess.

“I was hoping to avoid this.”. Kent shakes his head but figures this much isn’t that unmanageable. Even with her magic blocked, the young Princess is somehow able to take damage from Annette. He knows plenty among the family who still have scars from sparring with the child.

“Then maybe we should have left them.”. If anyone picked up on his little niece’s condition...Anthony will not fail his Sister this time around. If the entire continent wants to demonize his family, he’ll show them what the Moon’s strength can do. He looks at Paula, waiting for her to settle down and get a handle on this situation.

“What are we going to do about this?”. How can everyone ignore the dead body lying center stage? Tony had no idea she’d follow through. When Paula advised they let the Princess have a little fun...he didn’t think she meant this. They were instructed to step in if things turned dangerous, but the Princess handled herself just fine. Her speed...Tony will have no problem seeing her as his Queen in the future.

Kent and Anthony blink at the body, then turn their eyes to Evangelina and Victoria.

That drunk should be dealing with this, but here are those duties again, falling on Evangelina. Vincent is dead...why must she still clean up after that woman? That unruly child...she hadn’t thought much about, but Evangelina sees she needs to take the girl into consideration. Somehow, the child was able to survive that attack. Now, seeing as her body is not burning nearly as much as it should be...she couldn’t possibly be as powerful as that drunk….. Why isn’t she fighting back, or better yet, why isn’t she using magic?

Victoria moves her eyes from the body to Ian. “What exactly is Dangr’s Crown Prince doing here?”. She doesn’t care about Leon and is glad the fossil of a man is gone. What concerns her more is why the royal family of Dangr is standing on Goranous’s stage. Unlike the people of Croza, Dangrs are liked and respected by everyone. She had hoped to pair Beatrice with a suitor from there, securing a connection to their powerful healing Dangr magic.

“The peace talks wasn’t a ruse. I’m offering my hand in marriage to the Royal Princess.”.

Nearby nobles burst out laughing, making the Prince turn red. His mother steps up beside her son. “We offered the King something none of you could.”. The amusement drains away from everyone as they regard Talia.

“And he agreed?”. Ian and Talia mask their reactions, but Victoria is sure the peace conference was indeed a rouse. Vincent would have refused them no matter what they offered.

“Are we ignoring that the Queen looks as if she’s about to murder the Royal Princess.”. It was 1 thing watching the Queen hurl fireballs in such a careless manner, but now she’s on top of the Royal Princess...punching her.

“No matter how bad Annette beats her, she can’t kill her.”. Kent had hoped the young princess would have gotten fed up and fought back by now. At least she doesn’t appear to be in significant danger. Annette is still holding back. He redirects his attention to Leon, as the others do the same.

“She murdered someone right in front of everyone.”. The annoying thing’s speed had come as a surprise to Olivia before, but now she clearly saw some combat training. Were the rumors really that off? As odd as that fight was, the thing didn’t use any magic. Olivia clears the growl out of her throat. She would love to test her flames on whatever element it has.

This was a surprise to Oliver. Not only did Leon clear up the suspicion around the King’s death, but he also sacrificed himself for his cause. Not denying the Royal Princess’s claims is one thing, but allowing her to kill him…Oliver doesn’t believe he’ll like the results of all of this. “His death is justified since he killed the King.”.

That same justification bounces around those on the stage.


Submitted: September 23, 2022

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