Story by T.Charters copyright (C) 2017. email@example.com
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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.
"It's hard not to be at least slightly upset when someone thinks that little of you," Amanda confessed. "But I've always found it best to try and laugh about things like this than take them to heart." She smiled. "It was very childish though," she said.
"You are clearly a far stronger person than I," Marc responded.
"We both have our strengths," Amanda suggested.
Mark shook his head. "An understatement on your part I think," he said with great respect. "With all you have been through I do not think I could have shown so much courage."
"I ran away and hid from everything," Amanda admitted being completely honest. "I left everyone and everything I knew behind. Where's the courage in that?" She didn't sound so proud.
"You're not hiding now," Marc suggested. "You saved the Crown Princess, healed the Royal family and helped improve the lives of countless others. Every Fey is in your debt."
Amanda gently shook her head. "You make it all sound so noble," she said. "A few days later it might have been very different."
Marc frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked.
Amanda stopped walking. She looked up at Marc. "Nurses are required to have regular blood tests," she explained. "All medical personnel are. To make sure we haven't been exposed to something contagious. That wasn't an option for me this time."
Amanda stared. She seemed surprised. "You really don't understand?" she asked.
Marc shook his head.
"As vampires we don't just digest the blood we drink," Amanda explained. "We absorb it. Much of that blood will make it into your own veins along with the markers of diseases the donor may have been exposed to. Luckily we're immune to such things but testing our blood can produce very strange, unnatural results."
"What did you mean this time?" Marc pressed.
"Previously I would have, borrowed some blood," Amanda revealed while again not sounding so proud, "but I'd been there too long. There was no point. Soon they would start to notice that I haven't aged or don't scar when I injure myself. It was time to leave."
"Where would you go? What would you have done?"
"Run, hide," Amanda replied.
Marc stared. He clearly knew very little about the lives of Fey living in the human world. "I am sorry," he said. "I didn't know. It was inappropriate of me to intrude."
Amanda shrugged. She smiled. "Just don't tell Pop," she joked. "I'd prefer he construct a more honourable past for me."
"There is nothing dishonourable in your past that you need to feel sorry about," Marc said seriously. "You only did what you needed to survive, nothing less. You have nothing to be ashamed of."
"You're wrong," Amanda said darkly. "My family died because of me. Because of what I did, because of what I revealed to that monster. I will never forgive myself for that, and neither should you."
"You're angry," Marc responded. "Good!" he said firmly. "You will need that."
Amanda stared. She took a step back. "He's here? Isn't he?" she said.
Jane rushed into the suite closely followed by Pop and the Queen. They all looked worried. Marc had obviously revealed what had happened with Amanda and that Damian was now being held in a holding cell somewhere close by.
It seemed that Amanda didn't even notice them arrive. If she did, she didn't react. She was practising in the centre of the mat but not the same relaxing, meditative stances and transitions she'd happily shown Jane. Instead she was repeatedly throwing punches, kicks, sweeps and blocks. She had her eyes closed and was soaked in sweat.
Both Pop and the Queen stood and stared. They had never seen anything like it.
Jane stepped up to the side of the mat. "Hey you," she said sounding concerned.
Amanda eyes flicked open then she immediately grabbed Jane and flipped her over her head before gently lowering her to the mat.
Jane at first squealed then giggled in fright.
Amanda leapt on top then pinned Jane's arms above her head.
The Queen was about to politely clear her throat when Pop shook his head. He took the Queen's hand then led her silently from the room.
"I think they'll be okay," he said while blushing more than a little.
Amanda kissed Jane up and down her neck, on the forehead then finally her lips. She moved her hand lower.
Jane sighed and squirmed with delight. "Not in a talking mood I see," she giggled.
Jane promptly frowned.
"What is it?" Amanda asked.
"You're fangs," Jane replied. "They've dropped."
Amanda poked a finger between her lips. "Weird," she said. She hadn't even noticed. It was lucky she wasn't in a biting mood. "How did that happen?" she asked sounding confused. She hadn't fed in hours.
"Maybe because you were angry," Jane suggested. She smiled. She didn't seem worried. "Do that thing with your hand again?" she pleaded.
"That?" Amanda suggested.
Jane shook her head.
"What about that?" Amanda repeated while smiling once more.
Jane again sighed and squirmed with delight.
Amanda laid down beside Jane and playfully nibbled on her ear.
Jane sniggered and giggled out loud. "So what are you going to do about Damian?" she asked sounding completely breathless.
"Try not to worry about him until tomorrow," Amanda mumbled in reply.
"And then?" Jane asked.
Amanda sighed. She rolled onto her back and looked up at the ceiling. "I don't know," she said.
Jane sat up. She climbed on top. "I'm sure whatever you decide will be right," she agreed. She smiled then abruptly frowned. She quickly glanced around as though suddenly remembering something. "Where's mum and dad?" she asked.
Amanda stared. "They were here?" she whispered in reply while quickly propping herself up on her elbows. She looked horrified.
Jane bit her lip.
"So they probably saw us then?" Amanda suggested cringing.
Jane reluctantly nodded. "Yep," she quipped.
"Urgh," Amanda said while slumping back down. "That's going to need some therapy."
Jane chuckled then laughed out loud.
"To think," Amanda added. "I was always worried about walking in on my parents when they were having sex. Urgh!" Even now she still shuddered at the thought.
Jane smiled. She leant down and whispered in Amanda's ear. "Think of it as payback," she suggested. "Maybe it will stop them from coming in so often."
Amanda smirked. "We could probably just ask them," she said.
Jane scoffed. "Where's the fun in that?" she replied.
Amanda smiled and shook her head. "Never a disappointment you are," she said.
Damian screamed and cursed. He shook the bars at the front of the cell. "WHAT'S GOING ON?" he yelled. "WHERE AM I?" It was clear he'd been told very little.
The guards stationed outside didn't move. They barely even acknowledged he was there.
They stood a little straighter as Marc stepped up to the door.
"You're in the palace holding cells," he explained while looking quite disgusted at the man inside and after obviously having heard Damian's yelling. "If it had been my choice," he added darkly, "even though I find the idea repulsive, I would have had you executed on the spot."
"So why didn't you?" Damian sneered.
"One of the Royal Family has asked that you live," Marc replied.
Damian frowned. "Why?" he asked. He looked confused. "I've never met any of them."
Marc stepped closer to the bars. He glared. "You hurt her once before," he said. "I warn you not to do it again."
"Her?" Damian called as Marc strode away. "Who are you talking about? ANSWER ME!"
"It wasn't the council aide?" the Queen asked. She sounded puzzled.
Pop shook his head. He sat on a chair at the side of the room and looked up at her. "It was Miller," he revealed. "Guard Miller. So much for loyalty," he suggested.
"So where is the aide?" the Queen inquired. "The one who gave the story to the council."
Pop shrugged. He didn't know. "Still working with Allegra," he reasoned. "Or maybe she's fed on him as well."
The Queen shook her head in disgust. She sat back in her chair and sighed. She looked devastated, broken. "Are we to blame for all of this?" she asked. "Are we responsible?"
Pop leant forward in his chair and gently took her hand. "No," he said firmly. "Both Jane and Allegra were loved equally. We're not responsible for their choices." He smiled, almost chuckled. "If you remember it was Jane we were worried about, with her drinking and partying and doing almost anything she could to get in trouble. Allegra was always the responsible one."
The Queen nodded. "Do we really need to tell them about this?" she asked.
"They will find out," Pop admitted. "It would be better if it comes from us."
The Queen nodded once more. "You're right, as always," she added. "I missed you."
Pop smiled. "Don't worry," he said. "We'll all get through this, together."
"So are you going to go tell them?" the Queen asked.
Pop immediately shook his head while blushing and again looked a little embarrassed. "I think I'll wait for them come out here," he suggested.
The Queen chuckled. "Were we ever that much in love?" she asked.
Pop smiled. "Even more," he replied.
Amanda met with the staff for the second time then walked with Marc and Romana back toward the library to meet Jane.
Marc was a little quiet.
Even Romana seemed less bubbly than normal.
Amanda stopped and stared at them. She found it frustrating. "I'm not upset with either of you," she said. "You don't need to protect me from everything. I'm going to find out sooner or later."
They continued walking.
Ambassador Grent was waiting in one of the smaller rooms. He jumped up as they approached. "Your Highness," he said smiling broadly and bowing as normal. "Please allow me to congratulate you on your engagement."
Amanda nodded. "Thank you," she replied. She smiled though she looked a little puzzled. "Why are you here today?" she asked. "I didn't think we had any more meetings scheduled this week?"
Most of the preparations for the anniversary were now complete and the day was rapidly approaching.
"Meshia," Grent explained happily. "She is meeting with your Royal tailor," he revealed. He pulled himself up rather proudly and puffed out his chest. "It was truly a wonderful gift," he said graciously. "I apologise for not thanking you sooner." He smiled. "Meshia was beside herself," he confessed. "Her friends were suitably jealous."
Amanda chuckled. "I'm glad," she said. "Though I think you should thank Jane more than I. I wasn't even aware we had a tailor."
Grent laughed. "I suspect they will enjoy the challenge," he suggested. "You vampires are not generally known for being short and stocky."
Amanda smiled. She had to agree. She had never seen a vampire nor even a familiar who was anything less than tall and slim. She thanked Grent and wished both him and Meshia the best then continued onto the library.
Pop looked up rather seriously from where he and Jane were sitting. "How are you doing?" he asked.
Amanda just shrugged. She sat in a chair nearby. "So what's going to happen tomorrow?" she asked. "Do I just see him in his cell and tell him that, that's where he's going to stay?" She didn't sound hopeful. Everything up until this point had taught her to expect the worst.
Pop reluctantly shook his head. "Sadly no," he replied. "Word of this has spread, and since you impressed the Council so much the last time they have asked to be present at his sentencing. I'm guessing they're wanting to see how you cope with this as well."
Amanda sat back in her chair. She felt like she was being punished.
"In truth you are a bit of a mystery to them," Pop explained. "In their eyes you have no past but you are still their future. They are understandably curious."
"So you're saying it's a good thing?" Amanda suggested.
Pop nodded. "In a way," he replied.
"So what is going to happen?" Jane asked. Like Amanda she didn't sound so happy. She reached over and took hold of Amanda's hand and squeezed it until the blood ran dry.
Amanda smiled. She placed her arm around Jane's shoulder and pulled her close. "What she said," she said.
Pop smiled and nodded once more. "We'll gather in the throne room," he revealed. "Jane, as the Crown Princess, will stand on the right of the throne and me on the left. It's all just ceremony for the council's benefit really," he explained while screwing up his face. "At some point the accused will be brought before the throne and the charges read, then you'll be introduced to the room." Pop paused. He looked worried. "You just need to tell him what his sentence is, nothing more," he advised.
Amanda nodded. "I can do that," she said.
"You don't really need to speak to him at all," Pop added. "He will be firmly restrained and there will be plenty of guards present. You'll be perfectly safe."
Amanda smiled and nodded a little nervously. She squeezed Jane's hand and actually shivered from a sudden chill as though someone had just walked over her grave.
Jane frowned at her. "Are you okay?" she asked.
Amanda nodded. "Just seems like it's all finally coming to an end," she reasoned out loud.
Jane smiled. "Then you can forget about him," she said.
"I hope it's that easy," Amanda replied.
Pop sat back in his chair. He was silent for a time and seemed to become even more serious. "There's something else you both need to know," he said rather suddenly, making them jump. "Miller's dead," he revealed. "Allegra had him killed."
Amanda and Jane stared.
"He made the wrong choices," Pop suggested without trying to justify it.
Jane shook her head. "He still didn't deserve to die," she said sounding angry. "No matter what he did." She actually felt a little responsible.
"No," Pop agreed. "He didn't, but clearly Allegra and her followers doesn't have the same morals as the rest of us. That makes them dangerous and unpredictable."
"Have they found anything more?" Amanda asked.
Pop sadly shook his head. "They always seem to arrive just after Allegra has moved on," he replied.
"Maybe they should stop looking," Jane suggested.
Pop turned and frowned.
Jane shrugged. "If they stop looking," she said, "then maybe Allegra would stop running. Eventually she might make a mistake."
Amanda smiled. "And if the palace was to release some sort of statement saying that, then it would make Allegra seem less important and less scary to everyone."
"We'd need to increase the guards around the palace though," Pop suggested, thinking out loud. "Just in case she tried something."
Jane smiled. "I never said we stop watching," she responded brightly, "just looking."
Pop frowned at her. "When did you learn to be so devious?" he asked.
Both Amanda and Jane immediately laughed out loud. They'd dealt with the same question before.
"What?" Pop asked glancing back and forth. He clearly didn't understand what was so funny.
"Well," Amanda explained. "She is Allegra's sister."
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