(credit to @SirQuantum from DeviantArt for image)
I was stunned. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one. Instead of the members shouting in shock, they went dead silent, making it harder for me to object. “But…” I began, practically whispering. “Tessa-”
“I’m sorry,” she quickly whispered.
“Tessa,” Viallanne boomed, raising her eyebrow. “Explain your reasoning for this.”
“Well,” Tessa thought about it for a moment. “You see, Liku is a leader of an element and it would be pointless for him to give his element to someone this early when he’s already so experienced. Since Liku cares about Annalia so much and the rest of you want R.J., getting rid of Annalia would prevent our secret being exposed, punish Liku in some sort of way, and we can choose R.J. instead. Besides, you know the pixies hate doing memory wipes. It nearly kills them, and there’s only a couple left.”
“Pixies?” I asked.
“Hush,” Viallanne hissed.
Tessa looked around awkwardly. “So…yeah.”
The Queen nodded slowly, seeming impressed. “I see your point.”
“Your Majesty, can’t we just bring R.J. as well and they can fight together? And then we can memory wipe them at the end?” Liku objected.
“That’s too risky,” Tessa countered. “One earthling is bad enough, but two? We’ll be exposed within minutes.”
“But…Tessa,” I began again. “We’ve been friends for a couple years now! A-And I already killed one Normwhaug, that means I can kill more, right?”
“The way you did it took a lot of energy. I mean, look what happened to you! You nearly died!” Tessa said.
“But she didn’t,” Viallanne grumbled.
“You’re right,” I quickly said, directed towards the Queen. If I was going to stay – more like stay alive – I needed to act like I deserved to stay. Viallanne widened her eyes at me. “A normal human wouldn’t be able to stand a Normwhaug, right? And survive?” I waited for an answer.
“I don’t suppose so,” she eventually replied, rubbing her chin. “But you’re the only human we’ve had that faced one, so that is just a guess,” she said, pointing at me.
“O-Okay. But what about back on earth? If you kill me, people are going to notice I’ll be gone, and they’ll be even more suspicious about everyone being frozen and my whereabouts. Not to mention my dad will be really mad at you if he finds out.”
Viallanne raised an eyebrow at me. “Your father is going to be mad? That’s a valid reason?”
“I-I guess. Anyway, I don’t care what you think, I’m not going to be killed, or memory wiped by, pixies, or whatever. I’m staying, and that’s that.”
“I told you she was stubborn,” Tessa muttered under her breath.
“Oh, don’t even Tessa,” I snapped at her.
“Me?” Tessa shot back.
“Yes! You! You’re the one that wants to kill me!”
“It’s not you, it’s our world! I’m trying to do what’s best for the majority! So what if one life is lost, it’s better than thousands!”
“Why can’t you just believe in me? I was your second pick.”
“It’s more than just who was picked, it’s about character and bravery. Sure, you’re nice and daring sometimes, but for the sake of an entire dimension? We can’t be taking any risks, Annalia.”
“I can stay and fight, and if it doesn’t work I’ll fix-”
“You don’t get it, do you?” Tessa yelled. “You’re a mistake, Annalia. We chose R.J. for a reason and not you! It’s the only way! Someone is going to have to take the fall in the end, and I can’t let that be Liku! Sure, this will hurt Liku emotionally, but if you really want to help us, then…” Tessa stared down at the ground, trying to find what to say. “Then just die!” She yelled. Tessa released her fists, breathing hard. I wanted to flinch, but Tessa had practically sucked the life out of me.
I couldn’t seem to swallow down the second heart that was beating in my throat. No. I thought. I darted my eyes across the room. They were all either disgusted, shocked, or looking to Viallanne for her wisdom. Not Tessa. She…she wouldn’t. Something isn’t right, she-
Someone grabbed my shoulder. I swiveled my head to see that it was Tessa, her gaze fixed firmly on Viallanne, as if trying to avoid any eye contact. “Well, your majesty?” She sputtered. Tessa looked back at Liku. She grabbed my shoulder harder. “If this is what it must come down to, then what’s your verdict?”
Rage fired up inside of me, outweighing the utter confusion of Tessa moving on so quickly. There’s no way that I can go down like this. I brushed Tessa’s hand off my shoulder and gave her the fiercest glare I could manage. “Tessa.” She examined me, like a dog not obeying its master. If you can change, then so can I.
Disgusted, I took a step away from her. I took in a shaky breath. I adjusted my yellow glasses and pushed them up my nose, trying to think of how I could express the complete and utter chaos my mind was in the state of in audible words.
So, I came up with what needed to be said. What I needed to hear. “I am not a mistake,” I calmly said. “I am Annalia.”
I took a careful step forward, hoping my glasses would make my glassy eyes look brave and not recovering from despair. “Viallanne,” I said. She raised an eyebrow at me before furrowing them.
“It’s ‘your majesty’ to you-”
“No, it’s not.” The room filled with an awkward mixture of silent tension and breaths of shock.
“Annalia! Please! Stop!” I heard someone whisper-scream from far back. Assuming it was Liku, I didn’t bother to turn my head.
“Viallanne,” I repeated. “I’m a human and I’m not even from here. That doesn’t grant you any power over me.”
“You know what?” I interrupted Viallanne. “It doesn’t matter where I’m from or I am! I’m not going to allow someone as prissy and bossy as you simply kill me because I didn’t meet up to your standards!” I took another step, confidence bouncing underneath my feet. “I don’t care if you like it or not, but I have a purpose here. Whether it’s good or bad, just let it be! If you’re such a good ruler, then fix this problem without showing yourself as a killer!”
Viallanne shot up from her throne. “I refuse to take orders from a mistake!”
“I am Annalia!” I screamed back. “I don’t care what you think or what anyone else thinks! You will not kill me. You will not send me back home with no memory or having done nothing. You will not harm Liku for believing in the greater good. You will not punish me or try to stop me! Because I am Annalia!” I walked up the stairs of her throne and stood on my toes to get up in her face.
“Your words are nothing compared to my power,” she hissed in my face.
“Please, my dog speaks more eloquently than thee,” I replied instinctively with a smirk. Viallanne’s face reddened so much you could mistake her for a tomato. I was beginning to grow satisfied. “So what if I’m clumsy? So what if I’m stubborn?” I looked back at Liku. His face was shaking side to side in his hands. Tessa looked like she was going to murder me if I took one step closer to the Queen.
The guards even started to approach me, but stopped. I looked back forward and saw Viallanne holding out a finger to them. I took in a deep breath before sealing my most likely terrible deal. “It doesn’t matter if you like me here or not,” I whispered. “I’m a human. I can either restore your world, or completely shatter it with a few simple steps, some words, and anyone ready to listen. Do I make myself clear?”
Viallanne stared at me for a good while. I started to replay everything I had just said and began to regret it more and more with every word. I was dead meat.
Eventually, Viallanne nudged me down the stairs and sat down in her throne. She tapped her fingers, seemingly in a villainous way, on the armrests of her throne, occasionally glancing at the torches next to her throne.
“Wow,” she eventually laughed. “You weren’t kidding when you said you were stubborn.” I remained silent. “Well, if this is what you wish for-” she pointed her finger firmly at me. “-then you may stay.”
I blinked. Is…is she kidding me? I literally defied all of her power and even used fandom references against her. I looked back at Tessa. She was dumb-founded. I made a mental note of adding her to my imaginary list of enemies. Liku looked like he was going to drop dead right there.
“She’s going to be okay?” Liku gasped.
“Hmm…” she tapped her finger on her chin. “No.”
“Huh?” I responded.
“What?” Liku said.
“You’re right, Annalia,” Viallanne began. “You are a human. But what humans don’t realize is how different Azudacluke is from your…earth,” she spat. She stood up and stared at the guards.
“Guards!” She barked. They stood up even straighter than before, if that was possible. “Open the doors and lead her way to the exit.” The guards opened the doors, and waited for me to come down and follow.
But I couldn’t. Not with her malicious smirk hovering over me, and her cold eyes sending shivers up my spine. “I’m being nice,” she hissed. I gulped. “After all, I am giving you a head start.”