Lavender Moon Part 9
Ava has been waiting for her husband for hours. Zan had promised her that they would meet for lunch, but he had not shown up at the table. One of their advisers told her that Zan had a very important meeting, and it must have run over time. Knowing that Zan would be exhausted, Ava decided to wait outside the conference hall.
She leaned against the door when it swung open. She slid away quickly turned around with a smile.
Her smile vanished upon seeing the man standing before her. Gorgeous, tall, with dark sinister eyes, Khivar grinned at her. "What are you doing here?" she demanded.
"A peace panel, my dear," Khivar murmured. "Your husband seems to have whipped up an insane idea that I would be happy with land donations. But I'm not easily pacified. You know that."
"Of course," Ava spat at him. "And I ask forgiveness everyday for being thankful that my sister died before you got your hands on her!"
The man made a clucking sound as he slowly shook his head. "Now, now, Ava. I never saw a body. And I know how good you are at hiding. You were able to keep her from me until you were sure that Zan would marry you. I don't believe for one second that my betrothed is dead." He stepped closer to her, and despite her bravado Ava was forced to take a step back. "And when I find proof that you've fabricated all this, I will call in the contract that your father signed."
"You forced him to give you Azaria's hand in marriage or you would have destroyed our people!"
"She's mine, Ava," Khivar whispered. "As well as half your family lands."
Khivar smirked and turned left at the corridor. Upon seeing the blonde beauty waiting outside her room, his face softened. When she saw him, she ran towards him and flung her arms around his neck, and pulled him down for a kiss.
"I can't bear this," she told him. "How did the peace talks go? I can't wait until you've reached an agreement with him, Khivar. Then we can be proud of our love. We will not need to hide it anymore."
answer, he reached behind her and turned the knob. He pulled her
inside the room. There on her bed, he made her forget who she was,
and to whom her loyalties lay.
Khivar rose from the bed, leaving the sweat-sheened body shivering with his absence. "Khivar, come back here," she complained.
The man did not listen. Instead, he peered out the window and spotted the figures in the garden. "Is this view the same in all the rooms?"
"No. I'm the only one who can see that dome."
"Who's that the queen is talking to?"
"Probably Zan," she answered, not even rising.
"Come here and answer me, Lonnie."
Vilandra sighed and left the warmth of the bed, the sheets trailing behind her. "That's 'Ria," she told him.
She missed the gleam in his eyes. "'Ria?"
"Just a girl Zan brought home suddenly. She just appeared. She's very nice." She turned to her lover suspiciously. "Are you attracted to her?"
"No." He dropped a kiss on her lips. "No one can compare to you, Vilandra. I'm just curious."
Moon - Part 9
Maria stiffened. Behind her she heard the faint shuffling and was instantly aware of another presence in the room. Very slowly she moved towards the door, so that she could run if needed. She reached her hand towards the knob.
She whirled and faced her the intruder, who was crouched below the window. "This room is two floors up," she ground out. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"I'm used to climbing windows for you."
"Will you stop talking to me as if we know each other!? I don't know who you are and you sure don't know me. Please, just leave."
voice was shrill. She was nervous, he could tell.
"I'm Michael. You've always said it beautifully. Say it again."
"No! Stop it, I said!"
"You don't know me!"
He walked closer to her, and she stepped backwards. The doorknob pressed painfully at the base of her spine. "You're my Maria. And you fought so hard for me. Now I'm fighting for us. Listen to me." She closed her eyes at the deluge of scenes in front of her. She did not recognize them. She didn't. She doesn't know him.
"Leave me alone."
"Please. Just let me hold your hands. I'll make you remember," he promised.
She shook her head fervently. "Stay away." In a flash, she turned and pulled the door open. Michael called after her, but she quickened her pace and vanished at the turn of the corridor.
Maria remembered running too. There was a faint niggling finger at the back of her brain that told her that she had been running too, at the height of emotion, with someone calling out her name that she tried to shut out. It was… a woman. She remembered her voice sounding so concerned.
Maria slowed and breathed deeply. She leaned against the wall and slid down. She hugged her knees to her chest and closed her eyes. Her entire life was gone. What would she lose if the stranger was wrong? What would she lose if she allowed him to hold her hands and nothing happened?
She would lose the last ray of hope that she clutched to her heart like the only lifeline.
But what if he was right?
Maria had to find him. She stood up and found herself face to face with a darkly attractive man who reached out and grabbed her hair. Maria hissed at the pain.
"What are you doing?" another voice demanded. Maria strained to hear her. She tried to turn her head to face the woman, but he was holding her head to face him so tightly she could not. She was almost sure that it was Lonnie.
The man before her smirked in a way she did not
find adorable. Adorable smirks were… No, she has not seen adorable
smirks before. She has not. She really has not. "I need something
from you, Princess."
"Let her go, Khivar. You're hurting her."
"But I need her. I can't wait to see how Ava would take to this." And then his eyes shifted to Maria. "You and your bitch of a sister thought you'd escape me by faking death? You should never have underestimated me, Azaria."
"What are you talking about, Khivar? That's my friend! Maria."
"No, you ignorant slut!" he spat at Vilandra, who cringed at the realization that her lover was not who she had thought he was. "This here is royalty from Zan's enemy planet, but a bastard. She's my fiancé who thought she could renege on an agreement by playing dead. Let's see how well you and Ava would take to real death. Then you'd know it's not something to be toyed with."
"You're insane, Khivar. Ava's an only child. We researched. Before she married my brother, we researched her lines. She's an only child. That's an innocent girl. If you're mad at the queen, have at it with her. But let Maria go."
"She's the illegitimate daughter of a queen, Lonnie. Use you freaking brains!" And then his voice softened. "Now I need something from you." He laid his hand on Maria's nape and let go of his painful grip on her hair. "Don't be fooled," he whispered. "My touch can kill, so don't move." Maria was able to face Vilandra now, and from the look on her friend's face she could see that Khivar was telling the truth. "Now Lonnie, you will walk the two of us out of here. And then at midnight, I want you to open the gates without alerting the guards. If you don't do it, this white neck will be scorched by half past midnight. Will you do that for a friend?"
"Don't," Maria said softly. She knew that this man would storm inside the castle and kill everyone inside. No one would be this treacherous for something less than the crown. "Not for me."
"Is that true, ice princess? You won't do it for a friend? Are you truly that cold?"
Vilandra met Maria's eyes. Maria could see the uncertainty in them, so she assured her, "It will be fine, Lonnie. Don't worry about me. Think about how to save your family."
But her words seemed to make up Vilandra's mind. "The gates will be open by midnight," she said. "Don't hurt her."
Khivar's lips curled. "You realize that this girl is officially dead? History will find no reason for you to betray your family because Azaria no longer exists."
"I don't care. Just make sure you release her and allow me and my family to seek exile." Vilandra ushered them to the exit. "Give me your word, Khivar."
"My word." He leaned towards the princess and brushed his lips on hers. She squirmed in revulsion. "I would have wanted more nights with you. You're not so cold in bed." And then he grabbed Maria's hands and ran with her to a waiting glider.
It was the dark of night when Khivar dragged her back to the castle. As expected, the gates were open, and Maria prayed that Vilandra would learn to forgive herself in time. The troops burst into the castles and soundlessly killed the guards with guns that emitted sharp lights. Laser. Bodies fell with succeeding thuds.
Khivar pulled her into the familiar corridor that led to the royal chambers. "What are you doing? Your promised, Lonnie."
"As I said, the bitch hardly uses her muddled brains," the man muttered. "Ever thought a traitor's word meant anything?" He kicked open the door to Zan and Ava's bedroom. The two shot up from the bed. Maria turned her eyes away at the sight. They were obviously in the middle of showing their love to each other. Zan's broad chest glowed from the lavender moon. She hardly had time to register the paleness of Ava's bare breasts before a crimson pool blossomed between them at the crack from Khivar's metal. He could not even give her the dignity of a clean death from the laser weapons.
Zan rolled down from the bed and pointed a gun at Khivar, but he had whipped Maria in front of him that the tiny red circle pointed to her forehead. Zan lowered his weapon, and growled deep in his throat. Later, Maria saw how his Adam's apple burst into a thousand smattered pieces of skin.
Maria screamed. Her vision was beginning to grow black. With adrenaline pumping through her veins she pulled away from Khivar and stumbled in Vilandra's room. She pushed the door open. The figure on the bed was still motionless. She rushed to her to shake her awake. They had to run. Maria pulled the blankets away to reveal the beautiful form Vilandra. Her eyes were still open and her mouth hung slack. Beside her, her arms hung limply, the wrists slashed. Her screams now were silent. She screamed and screamed but no voice came out.
She wanted to run, but instead found out that there was no longer strength in her legs. She fell down on the floor and everything around her was framed in a dark dark haze. Her head rolled to the side. Directly in front of her appeared Rath's face. His eyes were unseeing. There wasn't even anything left in her to cry. She wanted to touch his face, to close his eyes, but she couldn't fund the energy to lift her arm.
And then she was in someone's arms, being carried away from the gore, from the blood—away from the vacant eyes of a dead friend and a dead love, away from the bloodied naked bodies of a savior and a sister.
"Take my hands," she heard the voice say again. "Take my hands and I'll give you more
energy. Take my hands and I'll get you away from all this. You'll wake up and this will be nothing but a nightmare."
And somehow, in that dark, dark crevice that she had slipped under, Maria placed her hands blindly into his.
Isabel faces them, tear-filled away turned away. Maria could still see her as that other princess. She was not that different from Vilandra she could see. Maria did not know how long it would take for her to separate the two. All she knew was that she would not look into Isabel's eyes for a long while and not be reminded of dead, vacant ones of a woman who killed herself out of guilt.
"Isabel, no matter what Whitaker said, you were no traitor."
She nodded. Maria saw Isabel swallow heavily, and then again. "I've—I've been tortured by her words for so long. She was right though. That's how everyone else knew me. I opened the gates for my lover's army."
"But we know better now, Izzy," Michael told her. "If you did anything wrong, it was that you never told Zan or… Rath. You won't commit the same mistakes again. You can trust us with anything."
One trembling hands reached up to wipe away the tears. Isabel hastily got up from the chair. "I need to… be alone. I need to tell myself that it's okay to forgive me. I'm so glad you're back. And Maria… thank you. Thank you for finding myself." The door shut behind her softly.
Maria turned to Michael. He held out his hands to her, and without hesitation she laid hers down, palms kissing his. "You never gave up," she said.
"Not for the only woman in the universe," he told her. "See, even my parents knew where to send me so I could find the galaxy I propelled you to."
Maria looked pensive for a moment. He asked what was bothering her. She grinned at him. "You crashed."
"Your people weren't that stupid. You were probably not meant to be sent here. You were probably supposed to land somewhere closer to Antar. I must have pulled you guys to Earth, because I'm clingy."
rumbled with his laughter and he pulled her closer to him. "Then
cling to me," he whispered in her ear. "Cling to me like a
friggin leech and suck the life out of me."
Clamping her teeth into his neck, she endeavored to comply.