The Rebel's Heart: Part Ten
Darena sighed deeply. “I’d say we’ve gotten ourselves into the hardest training hole known to Neopia. But in its defense, it’s also the best. When pets aren’t pushed, they don’t even bother trying to perform well. It’s just the nature of things. The instructors know it and they take full advantage of it.”
Quiet stretched after her long journey with Bithiah and Zaretan. She never realized that the Caylis was sympathetic with the inhabitants of the small island that Bithiah and Zaretan’s parents ruled.
“So, just so we’re clear here. Your parents took in Caylis when King Kelpbeard exiled her?”
Zaretan answered Quiet while Bithiah appeared to be looking for something in the sand along the beach. “While it’s a bit more complicated than that, yes, that is the heart of the matter. So whenever we need a favor, Caylis will help us out. This is only the second time, and although she tends to be sullen, she can be a great help. So, like in this case, she brought her special seaweed necklaces so that we could breathe underwater and get here more easily.”
Quiet was impressed. “Your parents must have made quite an impact on her.”
Zaretan grinned. “They make an impression on everybody. The question is whether or not the impression will be good. When you meet them, you’ll completely understand. To ‘set the stage,’ if you will, they’re rather unique. They say that opposites attract. Our parents are indeed opposites. My father is quiet like Bithiah. They both tend to be quiet and observe things from a different kind of view. My mother, however, is loud and she often sticks her wing in where it shouldn’t be. Not that it is always a bad thing, mind you. It’s just that she tends to get on some pets’ nerves. My own included, on occasion!”
Quiet tried to stifle her chuckle, but stopped when she realized that Zaretan and Bithiah, who had been listening, were both laughing.
“I mean no insult, Quiet. It is simply the way things are. I am sort of middle ground between the two. I’m not obnoxious, but neither am I silent.”
Quiet’s inquisitive nature would not leave her alone, so she asked Zaretan a question while Bithiah approached the two of them. “Do you have any other siblings?”
Zaretan and Bithiah looked at each other before Bithiah answered Quiet. “That is a question to be answered some other time. Now please keep in mind that our parents will not recognize us. So we may not be welcomed with open arms. Outsiders are frowned upon because whenever an outsider comes, they tend to bring trouble. As much as I hate to say it, you may not be a friend to us. We will help you, but we try to avoid trouble. Given what we plan to do, trouble will be caused. I’m afraid that it is inevitable.”
Quiet nodded simply. She understood what the Unis were doing for her, and she would not blame them if she was not welcomed with open arms.
“Your Highness, some green Unis and a royal Flotsam are here and the Unis claim to be your lost daughters.”
The camouflage Draik was infuriated. “Who would try such a trick? Have we not been through enough trying times? Why do some feel the need to taunt us with our loss?”
The Darigan Draik next to the camouflage Draik sighed deeply. “Let us avoid jumping to conclusions. Perhaps our daughters really have returned.”
Queen Exartencia growled in anger. “I would hardly believe it, but bring them in. Perhaps they have a reasonable explanation for their cruelty.”
King Xendero nodded to the attendant. “Please bring them in.”
With those words, the attendant called forth Quiet, Zaretan, and Bithiah. Quiet looked around in awe and wonder at the elaborate details in the throne room. The King’s throne had intricate drawings carved into the marble back. The drawings depicted various parts of the reigns of all royalty past. The curtains were silky and they shone like the sun. Every part of the room was intricate and showed a great amount of care and work. The Queen’s throne also had drawings etched on the marble back. However, given Queen Exartencia’s constant squirming, Quiet couldn’t see what the drawings depicted.
Zaretan and Bithiah, on the other hand, looked indifferently toward the things that most awed Quiet. They were more concerned with their parents sitting on their royal chairs. The King appeared thoughtful while the Queen seemed to be unsure of whether she should fly across the room to hug them or to banish them for their cruelty. Finally, the Queen decided to simply do nothing.
Finally, Zaretan spoke. “Wow. It’s amazing that I can be heard over everybody’s shouts of joy. It’s so good to finally be back home.”
The King smirked. “You may have been kidnapped as a baby, but I’d know that attitude anywhere. Zaretan!”
Zaretan nodded. “Yes, that would be me. And the quiet green Uni standing next to me would be Bithiah. Perhaps you remember that she takes after you?”
The King smiled from his heart. “Yes, I do recognize her. You may not be the Draiks that I remember, but you are the daughters that I so love. Welcome home!”
Queen Exartencia studied Quiet. “And what of this royal Flotsam. What is she doing here?”
Bithiah was so overcome with joy that she seemed to forget about her silent nature. “Ok, so basically, Darigan is attacking Meridell. Quiet is a duchess in Meridell, and her friend, the Princess, Amaretta is training to become a knight. The King demands their return home. However, we cannot deprive Amaretta of her dream, so basically, we want you to send a message to King Tanis assuring him that his daughter is fine and that so is Quiet along with her servant Zania and Amaretta’s servant Darena.”
The King and Queen were clearly confused, so Zaretan proceeded to tell them the more detailed version of their tale.
Once the King and Queen had finished listening to their daughters’ tale, they were unsure of how to proceed. The Queen was all for sending the message, but the King wasn’t as sure as his wife.
“I don’t like the idea of lying to her father. If she is hurt in the war, he’ll find out the truth. He could easily wage war on our small island. And I can guarantee that he would win. I do not wish to put us at risk that way.”
The Queen interrupted the King. “Oh, don’t be such a wuss! Of course we’ll send the letter. That poor Princess has been deprived of her dream for her entire life. You know how it was for us when we thought that Zaretan and Bithiah had died. Our dream was for them to return. Now they’re back, and I know that you’re as thrilled as I. Would you deprive the Princess of the same feeling simply because you do not wish to avoid angering her father? You know as well as I that the servant of hers will and can protect her. According to Quiet, they’re practically best friends. What can it hurt us to do that poor child a favor?”
The King growled slightly. “Very well. I shall send the letter assuring our protection of the Princess, her servant, the Duchess, and the Duchess’ servant. I will also thank the King for taking such great care of the cursed Unis. Everybody likes flattery. For your sake, Quiet, and for the sake of your friend, I hope that the King accepts this letter and asks no questions. And as a note to the lot of you, I do not condone lying to the King. I do this only because of what you, Quiet, have done for me. Else I’d have told the King the truth behind the matter. Do not think that I am some pushover to be toyed with. I pity the poor child and wish to reward her for her kindness to my daughters. But be warned that these actions will not continue. I will not take the blame should something befall his daughter. While I hope that she remains safe, I can make no guarantees either way.”
“My King, a messenger has come with a message for you.”
“Very well, Latfta, send this messenger in.”
The King’s servant ushered into the massive throne room an Island Flotsam.
“Greetings, King Tanis. I come from a small island off the coast of Brightvale. It is there that your daughter, your daughter’s servant, the Duchess, and the Duchess’ servant are being protected from your war. I do not know the entire story, but I know that our King explained the whole tale in this scroll.”
The Flotsam handed the scroll over to the King’s attendant who in turn handed it to the King.
The King carefully observed the royal seal on the scroll before he opened it and read the first few sentences aloud. “Dear King Tanis. My name is King Xendero and I rule a small island off the coast of Brightvale. I have here the Princess Amaretta Creme and the Duchess Quiet, as well as both of their servants. The Princess saved my twin daughters, the cursed Unis, as I believe you referred to them, and in turn I am protecting them in my castle. We are far removed from the war and will do what we can to keep them all safe. I hope that this knowledge can allow you to concentrate on the matters at hand. I am afraid that we cannot help you in this war, but I hope that you can take heart in the knowledge that your daughter is safe. If you continue reading, you will understand all that has transpired to lead to this turn of events.”
After the King finished reading the scroll, he stood up and paced back and forth between the door to his throne room and his mighty chair. He did that for half an hour before he spoke to his servant, his Queen, and all those around him.
As he inhaled to speak, the room turned deadly silent. Then in a whisper, the King spoke. “It is time we fight our war.”
To be continued...