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Pet Name: Falex
"On behalf of the crown, this door is to open!"
Falex awoke with a start, nearly falling out of her bed. She glanced at the clock. It was barely past three in the morning! Who would knock at such an ungodly hour?
Another knock pounded the door with a thud. "I'm coming," she rasped, rubbing the tiredness from her eyes. Tallendra, the baby Aisha she took care of, was still sleeping. How she could continue to nap in this commotion was beyond her.
Falex opened the door just as the royal Lenny was about to pound again, and the bird nearly hit her in the face. She leapt back with a squeak, and the Lenny quickly bowed in apology."I beg your forgiveness, your majesty. Falex, I presume?"
She nodded tentatively, eyeing him wearily. Was he addressing her? She was not of royal blood. Surely he had the wrong household!
"Her majesty, queen Esmeralda of Neopia, has announced that you, Falex of... this quaint town, are her daughter, and hence the rightful princess and heir to the throne," the Lenny announced in a most sophisticated tone, no hint of deception in his speech. He glanced around and frowned as if the house was unworthy, but said nothing more.
"Did I just hear princess?" Tallendra padded up beside her, big blue eyes wide with confusion and awe. Falex shoed Tallendra away, not wanting her to overhear. "Sir," she whispered, "could this not wait until morning? And I am no princess. I don't even have a mother." Falex sighed, the painful memories of her parentless youth never far from her mind. It was why she had adopted Tallendra. No child deserves to be alone.
The Lenny cocked his head. "It could not wait until morning because her majesty commanded it. I'm sorry, but I can only give you ten minutes to pack, and---,"
"And I will not be leaving my house tonight!" Falex growled with indignation. "If I'm the princess you say I am, then I am commanding you to wait until morning. Goodnight." She slammed the door in his face, narrowing her eyes in anger. How dare he demand she leave everything she had ever owned? And poor Tally! She would never abandon her.
With a sigh, she opened the door back up. The Lenny still stood there, looking rather baffled. "I'm sorry for slamming a door in your face," Falex muttered before shutting it quietly again. She flipped the lock.
Fatigue consumed her and she walked aimlessly towards her bed. Maybe she was dreaming. A muffled whimper snapped her out of her daze, and she turned in time to see a tear fall down Tallendra's cheek.
"Honey, don't cry," Falex cooed, gathering Tally up in her arms. The kitten mewed, rubbing her soft face into her shoulder. "You're going to leave me," she sobbed, the sound breaking Falex's heart.
"Never," Falex responded with conviction. No one would tear them apart. Not even the queen herself. "Let's get some sleep, okay?" Falex yawned. "You can cuddle with me in bed tonight."
Tally nodded with a wobbly smile.
Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
Thunk thunk thunk!
"Wake up, Falex!"
Falex groaned, wanting desperately to crawl deeper into her bed. "It's them again!"
At Tally's panicked mew, Falex jerked awake, leaping off the bed. Awakened unpleasantly twice in one day. Not a good start to the morning.
She unlocked and opened the door, squinting at the morning rays that entered.
"I'm your mother; you should listen when I ask something of you."
Falex gasped; the resemblance to herself was uncanny. Even squinting against the light, she could tell by the shape of the Kacheek's eyes, the curve of her brow. She even had the freckles dotting her cheeks that Falex so hated on herself. It was almost like looking in a mirror!
She stood proudly, in full regal attire, her teal fur shiny and smooth. The Lenny stood straight and tall beside her, seemingly prepared to fulfill her every whim.
"I've never met you," Falex rasped, her hand coming up to block the sob that almost escaped. "All those years, and you never found me. And now that you have, this is how you greet me?"
She no longer denied being of royal blood. It was clear that this lady was her mother.
The queen's expression softened and she seemed suddenly vulnerable and uncertain. "May I come in?" she asked politely, as if trying to make amends for her insensitive greeting.
Falex nodded tensely, still not believing her eyes. Tallendra hid beneath her covers, but Falex didn't comment. The poor thing was probably terrified.
"I'm not just going to leave," Falex said as they sat down at a table. It was best to make that statement first, she supposed.
Her mother nodded, unsurprised. "You got your stubbornness from me. Your father is a wimp."
"Why did you leave me?"
The question came out before she could stop it, the question that had plagued her all her life. Was she not good enough? Did they not love her? Was something wrong with her? She felt a tear drip down her cheek but swiftly wiped it away. She had to be strong.
"Don't you look at me like that," her mother whispered, pain swirling in her golden eyes. "We didn't mean to lose you." She raised an elegant hand to her forehead, leaning back with a sigh. "In fact, I still remember the joy I felt when I first saw your face. You looked just like me." The queen smiled, reminiscing.
"Uh, uh! Don't interrupt." The regal tone returned before she settled down again. "Because when you were one week old, thieves broke into our home. They took gold, they took gourmet foods, rare books, and most important of all... they took you." She trailed off, averting her gaze. "We searched; we really did. Half the knights of the realm were looking for you, but we never could find you."
Falex nearly leapt out of her fur with happiness. She wasn't abandoned! They really did care! But that didn't change the fact that she couldn't leave Tally.
"I want my daughter back. I want you to come home."
"You can't have her!" came a hiss, Tally sputtering furiously as she leapt out from her hiding space. The queen's eyes widened at the sight, all four pounds of angry kitten hissing and spitting at her.
"I won't leave Tally," Falex said, turning back to her mother. "I won't abandon her. I'll come home on two conditions. The first is that Tally comes with me, and she is treated like a royal as well. Second, I want two months to wrap things up here. I need time to adjust to the idea and I need to pack."
Her mother's eyes narrowed but she nodded. "I don't normally give this sort of leeway, but I will make the exception here." With that, she returned to her royal persona, the mother gone and replaced by the queen. "Take this." Falex smiled warmly, handing her the scarf she always wore around her neck.
With a parting hug the pair left, promising to return in two months to retrieve her and Tallendra. The kitten was still awestruck, staring absently at the receding carriage.
"Do we get to live in a castle?"
"Maybe," Falex laughed, wrapping Tally in her arms.
"Thank you for not leaving me."
"I never will, darling, you have my word."
"Are you going to wear pretty clothes now?"
"Hmmm," Falex pondered, tilting her head and ignoring the insult to her current clothing. "If you fancy them fashionable enough."
Tallendra nodded very seriously. "I will be honest with you, Falex."
"I know you will, Tally."
Yes, life just got a whole lot better.
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