A Queen's Ascension: Part Ten
Vyssa leaped up, knowing her attempts at taking down Frezon were as good as over. "Your mother?" she echoed quietly. "Morgana is your mother," she repeated.
Prince Frezon smiled at her. "Yes. You didn't think that someone as intelligent as I would fall for the pathetic act your friend put on?"
"What?" She frowned, confused.
"Tomos, isn't it? My mother told me. Friends in high places indeed. However, not even Queen Nabile can get him out of the dungeon for what he's done." Frezon sighed. "Such a shame. But no matter. As soon as I knew you both were aware of my plan with Amira, I had to get you out of Sakhmet to avoid telling the senators. It was really all too easy. I was actually surprised you fell for it."
"So the Aisha that old us about Morgana..."
"Was none other than my dear sister, Vyssa," Frezon finished for her. "We worked together to bring down Amira's crown. It was a dangerous game. We knew that Amira would take a suitor once she learned of the law, which is why I had to get to Sakhmet as quickly as possible. It's fortunate that all members of the royal family get invited to the coronation."
Vyssa shook her head. How could she not have seen through all of this? She felt sick suddenly. "Why is Tomos in the dungeon?" she asked, realising what Frezon had said previously. "He hasn't done anything."
"On the contrary," Frezon said, "an accomplice to killing the heir to the throne is hardly not doing anything."
"What?!" Vyssa shrieked. "It was you who wanted this, not him! Amira's not even –" It hit her, like a cold dagger plunging straight into her heart. She grabbed her sister's hand, shook it frantically, even grabbed Amira by the shoulders.
Her beautiful sister did not stir, did not even move.
Her beautiful sister was gone.
"Oh my... oh no... please no..." Vyssa mumbled, incoherent mostly through her shaky, panicky ramblings. She tried for another ten minutes to rouse Amira, heavy, fat tears falling from her eyes as she did so. She was bawling like never before. It was worse than when she found out about her father's death. She didn't know what to do. She was inconsolable. She felt a rage like never before and stood up, still shaking, and faced Prince Frezon. He was standing behind her doing nothing, his tail swishing about violently, showing that while his face could hide emotion, his true joy was escaping behind him.
The room was silent for a second. The second felt like a minute, with an atmosphere so tense Vyssa felt like she was seeing Frezon through a thick fog. She took a step forward, cautiously. It was like wading through mud. She didn't want to look back and see Amira again. It was too much. She closed her eyes for a moment to regain her composure before glaring straight at her cousin as though seeing him for the first time.
"What have you done?" she whispered, struggling to get the words out.
Frezon pretended to look appalled. "Me? I haven't done anything. I came over for a visit to watch my dear cousin ascend to the throne to find she was exhibiting strange behaviour. She insisted the throne go to me, so I was very flattered. But then her sister started to get jealous and she kept vanishing a lot. It turns out she went to see a sorceress to get a potion that would slay her own sister. I was nearby when I heard a commotion in Amira's room. When I came in Vyssa was stood over her and there was an empty potion bottle on the bed. Amira was gone. I asked Vyssa what had happened and she broke down and told me everything. She also told me that her friend Tomos helped her to get the potion. He had one also just in case the other one didn't get to Amira probably, but I personally sensed the evil in it and took care of it myself. I thought I saved her, but I had no idea her own sister would be involved in this – and the one who would end it all."
Vyssa clapped a hand to her mouth. She understood, perfectly. All of this had been Frezon's plan all along. He looked the hero by rushing to see if Amira was okay after personally getting rid of the other potion. She had given the potion to Amira thinking it would save her, when it had done the opposite. She was trapped. She had been the one to do it. There was no evidence to suggest that Frezon had been in any way against the law during his stay and he would become King Frezon I tomorrow. The only other Neopet standing in his way was her and she had been gotten rid of rather spectacularly. Any second now the guards were going to rush in. She knew they would at first suspect Frezon, but he had truth on his side with who really gave Amira the potion. Vyssa could pretend it was Frezon all she wanted, but it was her. And it always would be. And they would see this in her eyes, the horrible truth that lay beneath them and screamed out to be heard.
She sat on the bed and rested her face in her hands just as the guards burst in, declaring that they had heard some sort of commotion earlier but no sign that everything was okay so they had to come and check. The guard saying all of this barely finished his sentence before he shouted out loud at the sight of Amira. Their strong princess was lifeless, pale and gone. A huge alarm was raised and every guard in the palace appeared, with the senators and advisors in tow.
Frezon explained what had happened. Vyssa was frozen in shock and unable to do anything but nod when they asked her if she had really been the one to do this to Amira. Not quite believing what was going on, the guards led Vyssa away to the dungeons to wait and see what would happen to her.
Amira was taken away, swiftly, to the Royal Tomb and led on a marble surface. Her flute and her paintings were placed beside her and one hundred candles were lit around the area. It was locked up immediately afterwards. Only members of the royal family could enter the Royal Tomb for mourning purposes, and they were busy. Frezon was busy planning his speech for tomorrow. Sankara was busy packing to arrive in Sakhmet for her brother's coronation. He would lift the ban on her living in Sakhmet as soon as she arrived and greeted everyone. And Vyssa was sitting in a dark, dank dungeon.
"V-Vyssa?" a quiet, trembling voice murmured.
The princess looked up from her sobs. "Tomos?" She sniffled. "Is that you?"
"It's me, dear friend. Oh, Vyssa. What has happened?" he said sadly.
She told him everything, stopping every now and then to cry some more. He held her close the entire story, stroking her hair and whispering that it would be all be okay soon.
"How can it ever be okay again? Oh, Tomos," she cried.
There was a cough heard behind them, and they turned to find Senator Barca stood there. Before they could speak, Barca held up a hand to silence them. "I'm not here to say much. I'm just letting you know that Amira has been placed in the Royal Tomb. As a prisoner, your rights as the next heir to the throne are relinquished. Frezon will be crowned king tomorrow morning." There was a pause. "You will, for obvious reasons, not be attending."
"Barca, there's been a huge mistake. Yes, Vyssa did that to Amira, but –" Tomos started.
"That's Senator Barca to you," Barca snapped at him, "and I'm not having a conversation with you two. Good bye." With that, the senator left, not even turning round once to look at the two of them again.
"That's how everyone will look at me." Vyssa sighed. "How Barca just did. A look of bemusement, disgust and horror rolled into one."
Tomos took her hands and stared at her directly. His look was warm and friendly. They were in this together. Vyssa knew that. She didn't know what she would do without him. "How am I looking at you?" Tomos asked.
"Like I am still worth something," Vyssa replied, but even with a true friend on her side she could not smile.
"We can't let him get away with this," Tomos said suddenly. "We have to tell everyone the truth."
"The truth is, Tomos, it was me! I did it," Vyssa shot back.
"Would your sister want Frezon to rule?" Tomos retorted. "Or would she want her sister to, her sister who she knows will lead the Lost Desert to prosperity and greatness? You were fooled. It was your fault not at all. If we could just get everyone to listen, to make them see that we were tricked..."
Vyssa looked at him, somewhat convinced. "But how are we going to do that? We're stuck in here," she said.
Tomos grinned, despite everything. "You don't think this is my first time breaking out of a dungeon, do you?" he asked her.
To Be Continued In – A Queen's Ascension: Justice!