Story by T.Charters copyright (C) 2017. firstname.lastname@example.org
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All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, Gods or Demons, living, dead or imaginary is purely coincidental.
As Miller was led away Amanda turned to Marc. "Can you see that Jessica gets home?" she instructed.
Jessica nodded herself. It didn't seem quite as much fun anymore.
Amanda turned to Jane. "Are you okay?" she asked. "I'm proud of you. I don't think I could have made that decision."
Jane smiled thinly. "I'm glad you didn't have to," she replied sadly while squeezing Amanda's hand. She turned to her mother. "What were they using me for?" she asked.
The Queen shook her head. Like Pop she looked lost. It was beyond anything she'd imagined. She couldn't believe that even Allegra was capable of something like this. To mutilate another for personal gain was beyond evil, but to do it to a sibling, her own sister...
"Was there a clue in anything she left behind?" Amanda asked turning back to Marc.
He shook his head. "Nothing," he replied, "but we weren't really sure what we were looking for."
"Well, now you are," Pop said seriously. He turned to his wife, Jane and then Amanda. "Why would she be working with the humans?" he inquired. "The Fey have always remained hidden from the human world. What could she be hoping to gain? What could be worth the risk of exposing us all?"
"Not followers," Amanda suggested.
"You don't think she meant to turn them?"
"No!" Amanda replied, shaking her head. "Allegra wouldn't have needed Jane for that. It has to be something different. Something she knew that humans would desire." Amanda thought for a long moment. "I need to speak with someone," she said quickly while looking up, "but I don't think you're going to approve."
"Why ever not?" the Queen inquired while frowning deeply. She sounded worried.
"He's human," Amanda replied.
"You have an idea?" Pop asked. He sounded intrigued.
"Maybe," Amanda responded.
She had Marc return her phone. He cleared the room of any other guards so that only he and the four of them remained.
Amanda dialled a number from the contacts then activated the speaker.
The phone rang for a brief moment before being answered.
"So," David said happily as he answered the call, his voice echoing around the room, "I knew you couldn't give me up." He'd obviously recognised Amanda's number from the caller-id.
"That's right," Amanda joked in reply while smirking herself. "I've finally realised I've been wrong about you all these years."
Both Pop and the Queen looked a little confused.
"So how are you?" David asked with his happy demeanour being replaced with something approaching concern.
"I'm good," Amanda replied. "You?" she asked.
"Fine," David responded.
Amanda became a bit more serious. "I'm calling because I need your help," she explained. "A favour if I could."
"For you anything," David replied.
"And if it was anyone else?" Amanda asked jokingly.
"Just as much," David suggested, "but I'd probably complain about them afterwards."
"So what do you need?" he asked.
"Do you still read all the latest medical journals?"
"Uh-huh," David responded. "Sure," he said.
"I need you to find something for me," Amanda explained. "It might seem a little strange though."
"What is it?"
"I'm not exactly sure," Amanda replied, "but it'd be new, exclusive, probably very expensive and if my hunch is right something to do with cosmetic's or anti-ageing."
"Is this about your patient?" David inquired as his tone became serious once more.
Amanda nodded. She looked up at Jane and smiled. "It's always about her," she replied.
After Amanda hung up Pop frowned at her. "Why do you think it would be new?" he asked. He didn't understand. "Allegra and the Doctor held Jane for over two hundred years."
"Because humans are not known for keeping secrets," Amanda replied. "If it were that old we'd know about it already."
"And who is this David?" the Queen asked while crossing her arms and sounding a bit overprotective. "Do you trust him?" she inquired.
"With Jane's life," Amanda replied.
Jane smirked. She smiled. "I still don't like him," she said while folding her arms. "He still sounds very sure of himself."
"You don't agree with the decision?" Bob asked.
"No!" Jessica replied firmly while shaking her head. "He should have been executed for what he did."
Bob nodded. "That's one thought," he reasoned.
"What's another?" Jessica pressed.
"Well," Bob started, "now he'll have to think about what he did for the rest of his life or eternity. The Fey have very long memories. I think it's unlikely that anyone will forgive or forget him."
"Would The Watch still help him?" Jessica inquired.
"He is still Fey, so yes," Bob replied.
"But not Marshall," Jessica suggested.
"Marshall was warned that this might occur," Bob explained rather seriously, "but he still chose to ignore us and the consequences."
Jessica nodded. "I wonder if he knows about Allegra and what's happened?" she inquired.
Bob frowned. "Yes," he agreed. "I wonder?"
"So what do you think of Jane's decision?" Amanda asked. She was impressed with the way that Jane had handled everything.
"I have no thoughts on the matter," Marc replied uncharacteristically.
"Really?" Amanda responded. She sounded surprised. "Normally you like to give me your opinion and I am interested."
Marc frowned. He had barely spoken since the event. He seemed upset as though he in some way felt responsible for the actions of each and every guard under his command. Miller's failure clearly embarrassed him more than he was willing to admit.
Amanda smiled. "So what do you think?" she asked.
"I have always thought that the punishment should fit the crime," Marc replied seriously. "But how do I justify my desire for Miller to be executed, when I also believe that no person including myself has the right to take the life of another. I understand what the Crown Princess is doing," he added respectfully. "Miller will be forced to remember what he has done, both in his own reflection and in the faces of those who recoil in horror when they realise who he is. A quick death does not provide the ongoing subtleties or torment of this sentence, but still, I am torn."
Amanda stopped and stared. She was horrified. "I don't think that's what Jane intended," she said sounding a little disgusted at the suggestion. "She just wanted to make him feel weak, like she had been."
"Oh," Marc responded taking a step back. "It would certainly do that as well," he agreed. "Perhaps I am too close to this and am reading too much into it."
Amanda shook her head. "You think," she said smiling. "For someone who has no thoughts on the subject you certainly have a lot to say."
They continued walking. It was now late in the day and they were slowly making their way back to Amanda and Jane's suite after Amanda's second meeting with the staff. The scandal with Miller was all that the staff had wanted to speak about as well. They'd desperately wanted to know what they could do for the Crown Princess and Amanda herself. Amanda appreciated it, though she would prefer it be forgotten, just like Miller himself.
They walked silently for a time.
Amanda suddenly squealed then bent double at the waist while clutching her ribs. She laughed out loud then collapsed against a wall where she breathed heavily.
Marc glanced around in alarm. "What's the matter?" he stammered while sounding extremely concerned. He almost sounded panicked.
Amanda looked up and smiled. She giggled. "I think someone wishes to see me," she replied.
Bob stepped out into the carpark at the front of the store. He stared at his phone for a long moment. Finally he dialled a number he'd always thought he would never call.
"Master Watcher," Marshall said, his voice echoing ominously in the earpiece. "I never expected to be receiving a call from you."
"Nor I calling you," Bob replied.
"So are you wanting to warn me off again?" Marshall inquired.
Bob shook his head. "No," he replied. "Are you aware of what has happened to your mistress?" he asked.
"She's been expelled from the palace," Bob revealed, "charged with treason and murder. She's on the run."
"Well, that explains it," Marshall responded. He had wondered. He really didn't sound that disappointed.
"You don't need to do this anymore," Bob suggested. "You could just walk away."
"I never wanted to do it in the first place," Marshall replied, "but I had no choice. You know that. So what happen's now?" he asked. "I'm no saint," he said. "I've done many things I'm not proud of, even before being turned. What place would you see for someone like me?"
Bob shook his head. "I don't know," he replied.
Marshall laughed. "You know what's so funny about all of this?" he said.
"No," Bob replied sounding a little curious. "What?"
"I've found him," Marshall revealed.
When Amanda stepped round the door into their suite she found Jane quietly sitting in the middle of the mat waiting for her.
"Been practicing, have you?" Amanda suggested. She looked pleased. She'd always found it relaxing and helpful in clearing her mind. She sat on the mat beside Jane. "I gather you wanted to see me," she laughed while tilting her head to one side. Her ribs were still tingling.
Jane smiled, she nodded, then she abruptly started crying.
Amanda took Jane in her arms and pulled her close.
"Everyone keeps telling me how brave I've been and that it wasn't my fault," Jane cried, her head resting on Amanda's shoulder. "I don't want to be brave anymore," she said. "I don't want to be strong. I don't want to be constantly reminded of what Allegra has taken. I just want to be me, with you."
"You don't have to be brave anymore," Amanda replied. "I can do that for the both of us."
Jane immediately looked up and stared. "NO!" she said firmly while shaking her head and without sounding selfish in the slightest. "There is as much darkness in your past as mine. It should be someone else's turn. We should be allowed to just be us."
Amanda smiled. She couldn't argue with the sentiment. There were many things she would love to forget. "So who would you suggest?" she asked.
"Are you safe, secure?" Bob asked.
"I am," Marshall replied. He chuckled. "I never expected you to care about me. So what are we going to do?" he asked. "This Damian truly is a monster. He cares nothing for those he's turned nor the damage he's done to those around them. He makes Allegra crimes seem mild in comparison."
"I don't know," Bob replied. "And it's not for me to decide."
"But you're the Master of The Watch," Marshall responded sounding confused, "if not you, then who?"
Amanda and Jane had just finished practicing when there was a knock on the door to their suite. They had dropped to the mat in each others arms and were still giggling wildly. It had taken them a while to forget everything that had happened so that they could again be themselves. The knock on the door was a rather rude awakening. They reluctantly untangled themselves then Jane pulled the door open. Amanda remained sitting cross legged in the centre of the mat.
Pop and the Queen stepped into the room, both were looking rather concerned.
"I apologise for disturbing you," the Queen said graciously, "but there is something which urgently needs your attention."
"What?" Jane asked less than diplomatically. She returned to the mat then sat beside Amanda and took hold of her hand. Together they looked a little worried. For both the Queen and Pop to visit in such a way did more than just hint at something important.
"The Watch has advised us that they have stopped Allegra's staff from returning the monster who attacked you," the Queen revealed rather seriously while turning to Amanda.
"Apparently they are not that unhappy about what has happened to their mistress," Pop added lightly.
Jane shrugged. "So," she said as she comfortingly squeezed Amanda's hand. She didn't understand why they were even discussing this.
"They may have been stopped," the Queen continued as serious as before, "but they report that this Damian truly is a monster. He has destroyed so many lives that even they suggest that something must be done. The Watch has suggested that you should make that decision."
"You mean me?" Amanda replied, looking up. She appeared disgusted at the thought.
The Queen reluctantly nodded.
Jane turned and stared. "You don't have to do that," she said. She looked horrified.
"When you say The Watch, who do you mean?" Amanda asked. "Bob?" she queried.
The Queen nodded. "He thought it might offer you some closure," she explained. "He does know you better than anyone."
Amanda promptly shook her head. "No," she said sounding quite disappointed at what Bob had suggested. She slowly stood up. Jane stood beside her. "If that's what he thinks then he clearly doesn't know me at all."
"So what would you suggest?" the Queen asked.
Amanda shook her head. "I don't know," she said quietly. She had spent years not thinking about this and had never once thought about revenge. It just wasn't in her to think that way. She had never imagined that it would ever be her decision to make. She looked pale, much of the colour having drained from her face. She desperately looked at Pop.
He smiled. He seemed to understand what she was feeling. "The Watch has had years to clean up this mess," he proposed. "Maybe it's about time they did."
"Would they kill him?" Amanda asked rather plainly.
Jane turned and stared.
"Is that what you would want?" Pop inquired. He didn't sound judgemental one way or the other.
Amanda immediately shook her head. "No," she said firmly, "absolutely not, but he also shouldn't be allowed to harm anyone else."
"To imprison another vampire for crimes is not unheard of," Pop revealed. "Unusual, but our laws are very specific."
"What do you mean?"
"Regardless of what he has done," Pop explained further, "he has the right to confront his jailer."
"You mean..." Amanda began to ask. She knew exactly what Pop was about to say but like everything else so far she hadn't expected it.
Pop nodded sadly. "You would be required to inform him of his sentence."
"Could he challenge the decision?" Amanda asked worriedly. She didn't want to go through all of this to only have him walk free.
"No," Pop replied shaking his head. "He has already been judged and found guilty, but I doubt that, that would make it any easier for you."
"No," Amanda agreed. "It won't!"
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