I had never seen Tessa walk so fast. The three of us went down a bunch of corridors, torches with white fire lighting them up like light bulbs. Tessa was carrying the chair, very far ahead of us. I was doing okay, walking at a normal pace, but Liku stayed behind just in case.
The three of us were silent as Tessa quickly rounded the corner. I felt things were getting awkward, and Liku looked mortified. “Uh, Liku?” I asked. He looked down at me, his emerald eyes glazed with tears. “I…thank you. For what you did. Bringing me here. I know, it sounds stupid but…” I wasn’t sure what to say next, and Liku didn’t look any better. “If I do stay, I’ll try my best to live up to what you thought of me.” Liku breathed a quiet sigh through his nose and looked away from me.
After a couple more turns, we saw Tessa standing in the large room the mist had shown me. At the end of the room was Viallanne, sitting coldly on her throne. There were four smaller thrones on each side of her, each corresponding to an element with a human-dragon hybrid on it in their human form. The elements were plants, gems, soil, rocks, water, wind, day, and Liku’s throne: night. All together the thrones formed a U shape.
Liku went to hurry of to his throne, but Tessa stopped him. “Liku,” she said firmly. She was standing in the center, placing down the chair to face Viallanne. The large doors slammed behind us. Liku sighed and stood by the doors.
“Tessa, what is going-” She glanced at me. She had brown eyes like me. But oddly enough, even though her eyes were lighter than mine, her stare was colder. I could feel it in my veins. “Is this…R.J.?”
I opened my mouth to say something, but Tessa luckily cut me off. “No, Your Majesty. That is why we are here. Liku had told me that we were to retrieve Annalia instead of R.J. and bring her here. I trusted that he was right, but I was wrong. Liku has recently told me his story about what happened.”
Everyone was silent, staring at me and Liku except for Tessa. Viallanne returned her gaze to Tessa and went to open her mouth, but Tessa once again was quicker. “Oh! Right! Your Majesty, Annalia, she…” Tessa lowered her voice. “…she destroyed a Normwhaug.” Gasps rose within the crowd. Viallanne looked pleased, yet stunned. And a bit irritated. All eyes turned to me as they whispered anxiously among themselves. I felt myself blush.
Suddenly, the sound of Viallanne banging her scepter on the ground echoed throughout the room, instantly bringing them to silence. As soon as I saw her I could tell how she originally had ice powers. “As important as dealing with Liku is, the fate of our world is more important, along with dealing with her.” All eyes went on me again. Tessa was watching me from behind Liku’s throne, where she normally stood. “Annalia,” She pointed her scepter at the chair Tessa brought in. “Sit.”
I obeyed with fear. All eyes were watching me, examining me as a human. “So, Annalia,” She said my name as if it disgusted her. “What was it like when you were brought here?”
I panicked inside. I didn’t know what to say, or what the question meant. “Like, what was it like before I got here? What it was like in the portal? Or when I first arrived?” I prayed she wouldn’t whip me or zap me fro supposedly challenging her.
“The first one and last one. Mainly the first.” I gulped. I don’t think I was supposed to be brought into Azudacluke in that much chaos…I could get them in more trouble…But if I lie she might kill me…
“Well, I was in homeroom…my first sort-of class of school, when…when, uh,” I looked at Tessa, her face showed no hints or emotion. Liku on the other hand, was horrified. My heart even broke a bit when he nodded his head grimly to go on. “When my friend Beatrice walked into the hall and got frozen. Everyone was freaking out, Tessa was yelling at us to keep calm, then the next thing I knew the door was on Tessa, I rushed over to help her, Dragon Liku came in, froze the class, and then Tessa made a portal and Liku tossed me into it.” Viallanne’s eyes were wide. She glanced back at Liku and gave him a shocked death glare.
After a few seconds, she returned her gaze to me. “And what happened when you arrived?”
“Uh, I was in a forest full of lavender plants. Everywhere. Then Tessa told me where I was. I screamed, freaked out, she tackled me back to the ground where I was laying, then she stormed off, I ran after her, then she realized she somehow left Liku on earth, she left me, I wandered off, not too far-” I took a breath. “Then Haugliea, a Normwhaug attacked me.” Everyone started whispering anxiously.
“Haugliea, you say?”
“Uh, yeah, is there something special about her?”
“I’m not sure, never heard of her. We’ll just have to remember that when the Normwhaugs ask who you are and I’ll say you killed Haugliea. Maybe I can even mock them with it…anyway, how’d you kill her?”
I explained everything, the pain, each phase, but I decided not to bring up how I met Rohtaan. I already had an army of Normwhaugs who were against me, I didn’t need the ruler of the good people to hate me as well.
Viallanne tapped her fingers on her scepter while thinking silently. “Before we deal with you, Annalia, I’d like to deal with Liku first.” I turned around and saw him lift his head slightly. Gosh, I felt terrible for him. “Annalia, stand with Tessa. Liku, come forth.”
I obeyed and was shaking by the time I reached Tessa. I looked at her for any sympathy, but she was too focused on Liku. Her eyes were cold and squinted.
“Liku, is it true that you gave false information to Tessa and brought Annalia here instead of R.J.?”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” he muttered.
“What was that?”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” he said louder.
“Why might you do this?” Liku explained what happened the day he came with the reptile crew and how he just knew I was the one. But with every sentence he said, he grew more ashamed and quieter.
The Queen pondered upon this for a minute. “Liku,” she said. Her voice was softer than normal. “Your service up to this point has been well appreciated.” She paused. Everyone held their breath. Tessa grabbed my hand. Tears were welling up in her eyes. She was trying to look tough and formal, but it wasn’t working.
“But,” Viallanne continued. “Going against the my orders, me being the Queen of Azudacluke, is considered treason.” Tessa flinched. A tear rolled down her cheek. Viallanne stood up, now towering over Liku since her throne was raised on a large platform. “You shall be executed at sunrise tomorrow!” Her voice boomed. Everyone burst into noise. Tessa was full blown crying, her hand covering her mouth.
Liku was trembling, his face paler than snow. Her emerald eyes were bulging, staring up at Viallanne. But he didn’t say anything in return to object. I squeezed Tessa’s hand harder.
Tessa uncovered her mouth and looked at me. She actually stared at me for a while, as if she were coming up with a plan. “Guards!” Viallanne yelled. “Take Liku to the dungeons!” Two guards moved forward to grab Liku.
“Wait!” Tessa screamed. I was suddenly dragged by Tessa to the center, and she pulled us in front of Liku. “Your Majesty,” My heart was pounding even before it was about to break.
As a tear streamed down Tessa’s cheek, she looked at me before saying in a softer voice, “Take her instead.”