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Moonbreeze: Part 5 – Chapter 49

SHE THREATENED TO kill us!” Duclin shouted from his throne.

Blake was speechless; disappointment was radiating from him, I could feel it.

The meeting had been a disaster ever since we walked in. They hadn’t mentioned anything about quarantine yet, and it felt as if none of Blake’s answers satisfied them.

“Well, under the circumstances given at the time –”

“Under the circumstances,” Duclin interrupted him. “It was a threat.”

King Caleb actually seemed to enjoying this, seeing Blake caught in the middle like a slab of cheese a mouse was about to maul.

“Threats to the Ancients carry great consequences. She should be punished.”

“We have Etan to free. This can wait for another time,” Blake said.

“So, it doesn’t even bother you that this girl said those things, made a threat to the people that keep you all safe – especially you in your time of darkness. I expected more justice from you. More loyalty.” I hadn’t meant it like that, jeez.

I could feel Blake freezing next to me. “My loyalty doesn’t lie with a bunch of hypocrites. I made it clear whom I serve, and that will never change.”

He spoke true words, I knew they were, because he was serving me. It sounded like an obligation again and a part of me yelled that he didn’t mean it that way. He just spoke on the same level as the Ancients. “So sorry if I disappoint, but I think there is a greater need that is requiring this girl’s attention than being dumped in a dungeon to wait for your punishment.”

Okay, that I didn’t like.

“And if you think, that you will throw her in a cell with me just standing by, then I’m afraid you have no idea who I am.”

I glanced up at him. Okay, I should’ve expected that last part but I didn’t.

“Fine, you want to discuss what is going to happen to the people you brought back, there is no discussion. We voted already. They go into quarantine for three months. You have only ten to worry about, we have almost a million innocent people this side.”

Blake glared at the Council. “All of you agree with this? Chong?” He looked at Master Longwei, who didn’t say anything. “Constance?”

Her gaze found his, and she had no words.

“It’s cruel and doesn’t show them mercy. Nothing we promised them will come true. You will only instill fear – more fear.”

He shook his head, and I knew he was giving up. This couldn’t be happening. They couldn’t do this.

“It is done. You have no say in this matter. Elena has made her plea, before all of this even started. She should’ve thought about the consequences, dealt with it differently, the way her mother and father would’ve been proud of, not by threats. But we can’t blame the poor girl. She had no idea who they were.”

Duclin’s words started to awaken something inside of me. I knew who my parents were, not the way I wanted to, but I knew. They’d used threats too at a stage, ones that were ignored and that had led to a war – a war that brought peace.

“They will be confined to a medical facility,” Duclin spoke again. “Where they will go through a cleptomius test.” He started naming all the possible tests for diseases that existed. All I could see was Cassy’s beautiful face, men holding her down to push a needle into her arm. Her screaming for her mom who couldn’t help as she was going through the same thing. More fear, and his words about my parents not being proud of me rushed through my head. They would not be proud if I let this happen.

“They’ve suffered enough.” I interrupted him. I spoke softly, but he heard and stopped.

“You have no jurisdiction in here. I told you before, you made your plea with threats,” he said through clenched teeth, trying to overpower me. “The law isn’t on your side –”

“I said, enough!” I screamed that last word while staring up at him.

He hadn’t expected that. None of them had. Duclin’s eye twitched.

“You speak about laws and about these people as if they are carriers of the plague. They don’t have any disease, because I promise you if they did, all of Paegeia would’ve had them. I would’ve had them.”

“Elena,” Duclin said. “You have a healing ability running through your veins. You heal easily.”

I smiled at him. “Didn’t you hear? My healing ability doesn’t work the way it used to anymore. Nothing works the way it used to. I almost died a few times, but luckily Blake healed me.”

“Our decision is final. You wouldn’t know anything about these sorts of matters,” he said, and started speaking of the tests again as if I’d never interrupted him.

“What don’t you understand?” I said.

“Elena.” Blake spoke softly.

“Keep your mouth shut and let me deal with this,” I said and stared at Duclin. “For four months I was in Etan. The only disease in that stinking hell hole is from the evil that is overpowering the people. The same evil you want to put them through again. These people have suffered enough, and none of them will be placed in quarantine. A doctor can visit them daily but as a friend, and they stay with loved ones.” I walked toward them until I reached their thrones. “Yes, I threatened all of you, because you didn’t come in peace.”

Duclin laughed. “You didn’t even know under what pretenses we were there. You just assumed that we wanted to hurt them.”

“Assumed, camping out miles from the lodge. If your pretenses were so kind, then why did your men feel so guilty that they couldn’t accept accommodation from Connie and David? I knew what your intentions were the minute I walked out of those Creepers. Do you want to know how? The blood in my veins stirred.”

“How dare –” Duclin said.

“You might not like me much,” I said, “and I might not be my father or even my mother. Like you said, I didn’t know them, but I am their daughter, and I’m the only person with their blood flowing through my veins. You have trampled over me since the day I opened that vault, and yes, I might not be the right suitor in your eyes to take their place, but this is not about me anymore. This is about the people of Etan that are still part of Paegeia, no matter how badly you tried to erase them from all the maps. I saw one where they were still part of Etan, and the people of Paegeia are my responsibility. That is who I stand up for today. I alone, am the only one that can keep them safe through my blood. Not through yours, and not through anyone else’s in this court. You have a problem with that, don’t make it mine.”

I turned my head and found at King Caleb sitting in his chair. “I will not step down from this title.” I glared into his black, beady eyes. I turned to the Ancients again. “And I will fight every single one of you that come near those people trying to harm them. They have suffered enough. My decision is final, not yours. And if I have to die protecting those people, then so be it. At least I will die for people that need me.” I stopped at Duclin. “You are right,” I carried on. “I might not have known who my mother and father were, but what I’ve learned about them from all of you, was that they had compassion, they showed mercy, and they would fight for the weak when no one else would. And that alone, would’ve made them proud of who I am today. So don’t you ever try to make me feel small speaking for them, because in reality they might actually have turned around and been disappointed with not just you five up there, but with this whole bloody Council.” I regarded everybody. “You are the ones that are insane, not me. And I just realized that none of you are equipped, or smart enough, to run my world.”

“Your world?” Duclin tried to mock me again.

“Yes, mine. It was given to me the day all of you chose to make my great, great, grandfather, William, your king, and nobody is going to take it away from me. It is my birthright.” I stared at Duclin. “And the next time you see me, it’s ‘princess.’” I’d gone through plenty of shit to get where I was tonight.

My eyes caught my Pappi’s. A soft, almost invisible smile tugged at the corner of his lips.

“They need to be in quarantine!” Duclin yelled. “Have you all lost your minds?”

“Well then you’ll have to go through me.” I lit up my palm and a pink flame danced on my hand.

Gasps filled the court as Duclin’s eyes grew, and he stared at my flame.

“And me.” Blake’s voice filled the court. I turned around and gawked at the same flame that was dancing in my palm, flickering in his.

“Me too,” King Helmut said, and a blue flame appeared in his palm.

Every person who had abilities stood up with us. Dragons and riders united. Everyone except Caleb and a few members from Areeth.

“I think it’s done, Duclin,” my Pappi said. “They don’t need our vote this time.”

“And who is going to protect the rest of Paegeia? All the innocent, all the children?”

“All the children.” I smiled then glanced over my shoulder at the guard who was standing at the door. I nodded, and he opened the door. A few moments later, Sir Robert entered, followed by the group we’d gotten out. Gasps filled the air as most of them were children. I looked back at Duclin.

“You wanted to harm children. I protect the children. I protect Paegeia, me and my dragon. I thought I made that perfectly clear a few moments ago.”

He nodded. “Well, you made up your mind. Who are we to say otherwise, princess?” His words were sarcastic. “Just don’t come to me when Paegeia is going through an epidemic.”

“We have plenty of Swallow Annexes to cure them,” I replied.

“Will there be anything else?” Blake asked. Nobody answered. “Then I think that is it, meeting adjourned.”

We turned around and walked toward the group.

Sir Robert smiled softly at me. He bowed his head slightly.

“Don’t start with that crap please.”

I hugged Cassy and stroked Daisy’s arm.

“We’re not going into quarantine?” I heard Annie asking Blake, and he shook his head, giving her a hug.

“Nobody is going to even think of putting you into quarantine, Jumble-Bean.”

I smiled as he said that, and found the empty seat Constance had been sitting. So was Master Longwei’s.

We went back to the room.

They were all going back to David and Connie’s. This nightmare was over.

I blew out a breath as my body trembled. Blake laughed. “Finally, you have stepped into your parents’ shoes.”

“That was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

“They will think twice now before they say anything to you again. I’m proud of you.”

I smiled. Okay, that was unexpected.

A knock sounded on the door, and everyone seemed scared once again.

Especially Annie. It could be her mother. I walked up to her as Blake went to get the door.

“She’s going to be happy, I promise you,” I said.

She nodded and stood next to me as Blake opened the door.

Master Longwei barged into the room, walked past Blake and came to a standstill right in front of Annie and me.

He stared at both of us as tears lingered in his eyes. “Anouk?” he asked.

Annie smiled and nodded, grabbing her grandfather around the neck.

“How did you know?”

“I saw your father the minute I saw you walk through that door.”

She had tears in her eyes. “I remember you, well not in this form, but your scent. I always felt safe.”

He hugged her again and kissed her on top of her hair. “Thank you, Elena,” he mouthed, and I nodded.

Where the hell is Constance? I was sure that if Master Longwei had seen Annie, Constance must have seen her too. Why wasn’t she here?

“Come,” Master Longwei said. “We can take carriages back to Dragonia Academy. You all are welcome to stay tonight at the Academy, rest and tomorrow you can go back to David’s place. Nobody will harm you there. You have my word.”

He led Annie out with her arm hooked in his, and they immediately started to speak. I knew she was dying to ask about her mother, but Constance not being here. No, she loved Anouk.

“Thank you Elena.” Annie smiled. “Seeing you like that. I’m glad we had you, Plucky on the other hand.” She teased.

“Oh, quiet.” He kicked her backside playfully.

I smiled. I felt like their protector. I felt like a princess for the first time ever. “I promise they won’t hurt you.”

We all walked right behind Master Longwei and Annie, and as we exited, flashing lights overpowered everyone again.

“Really?” I grunted.

“Just let them take their pictures,” Blake said, walking a few paces in front of me.

Questions were asked about what had happened inside, but we ignored them.

Just then a low growl appeared right behind the cockroaches. As one, they all turned and their cameras went off, more flashes filled the night sky, and light reflected off silver scales.

Annie just stared at the dragon; tears formed in her eyes as Master Longwei kissed her temple.

“Go. She’s missed you a lot and thought that her dragon form was the only form you knew.”

Annie smiled then ran to Constance’s dragon.

She grabbed her mother’s paw and Constance’s big silver head covered Annie’s entire body.

A soft wail that I’d never heard a dragon make before, escaped Constance as Annie sobbed, and then the dragon disappeared leaving the silver-blond doctor in its place. I’d never seen Constance kiss one person’s face so much. Tears streamed over both women’s cheeks, and one ran down my own.

What I was watching was so overpowering. The scene was happy and sad all at the same time, but mostly happy, so happy I couldn’t contain my emotions.

To think, Annie never knew Constance’s human figure, and the only way Constance could reconnect with her daughter, to make her feel safe, was to give her a form that used to do all of that, her true form.

I feared Constance was never going to let go of Annie.

Blake took a robe from one of the members of the council and rushed over to his aunt’s side and covered her body.

“Thank you, Blake, for bringing her back,” Constance said.

“I’m not the one that has the ability to dodge the Creepers.”

She laughed. Kissed Annie on her head one more time and saw me.

She smiled as more tears rolled down her face, and opened her free arm.

I went to her. She was one of the few women who was like a mother to me.

“I’m so proud of you. So sorry that I was filled with doubt. It will never happen again, princess.”

She folded her arms around me and her body shook gently.

“The minute I saw her, I knew you’d kept your word. I just didn’t want to hope and when I saw Chong with tears in his eyes, I just knew. Thank you for bringing my baby to me. I could never –”

“Shhhh, you have done more for me than you will ever know. It was nothing; in fact I was adamant about it when I discovered it was Anouk. She is a lot like you, well without the British accent.”

We all laughed.

She wiped her eyes, and kissed Annie again.

“See, I told you she would remember you,” I said to Annie.

“Still, when she didn’t show up with my grandfather, I thought‒

“I would never, you are mine and I think it’s time I took a couple of weeks off. I’ll ask this David if he has a room for me too. I’m sure you’ll want to stay close to the people that watched over you.” She didn’t even ask about her husband; I think she knew. “I missed so much, look at you. You are practically a grown woman.”

Constance laughed and wouldn’t let Annie go.

The cameras were still flashing but nothing could break these two apart.

Isabel was next, as I was sure Sir Robert had discovered who she was while we were speaking to the Ancients. Isabel hugged Annie and kissed her too. Thank heavens she hadn’t turned into a dragon.

Annie just kept staring at both of them and they made jokes about it.

It was a good reunion – more than good, the best.

“Let’s get back to Dragonia.” Constance still had her arm around Annie and squeezed once.

“Elena.” Isabel hugged me. “Thank you so much.”

“It was no big deal.” I watched her go to Daisy and Maggie, touch the kid’s faces softly, staying close to them.

Sir Robert just smiled. He seemed tired, sad and happy all at the same time. It made me feel guilty. My father was alive, he was back in Etan, and I couldn’t tell his dragon the truth.

He would know soon, however. One day he would know that his rider, The Greatest King that Ever Lived, was alive.

I scrolled past everyone and realized I wasn’t the best suited for this world. There was still so much to learn, but I would learn from The Greatest King that was Still Alive. I was going to free my father.


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