A/N: See bottom of page for Ridiculously Long A/N (#3).

To Save the Queen


When I was eighteen, I had a dream.

I was walking through the hallways of the Palace.

In front of me, Rabé was talking about the flower shop she was going to open once Amidala's last term as Queen finished. Next to her, Yané twirled in circles, laughing and holding her diploma from the University high above her head. Saché was doing cartwheels and handstands, all the while holding her blaster and hitting vases and statues with perfect aim. Eirtaé and Padmé were dressed identically and were arguing about the legislation giving slight leniency to farmers who were trying to defend their livestock from predators.

Wicaté, for some reason, was swinging on a chandelier in front of us, her power chair far below her, as she threw pieces of cloth in the air and cackled like a madwoman.

On either side of me walked the two women who, when I had last seen them, had been doing their absolute best to assassinate me—or rather, me pretending to be the Queen—over the predator legislation.

The three of us were talking good-naturedly about our favorite kind of blasters and the pros and cons of blasters versus vibroblades.

"But the thing about vibroblades is that you have to be within close range to use them. You can't just hide behind a column and effectively kill someone with a vibroblade," one of the would-be assassins pointed out.

"True," the other assassin agreed thoughtfully, "But if someone is shooting at you from behind a column, you can use a vibroblade to absorb the blast. A blaster can't do that."

"You have a point," I conceded. "But it's very difficult to effectively block a blast with a vibroblade and not get blown up in the process. And if you have the right kind of blaster—not those cheap ones you can buy in bulk, because those never hit what they're aiming at—you can fire off two shots right away and while the vibroblade is blocking the first one, you can hit them with the second blast."

"I guess," the first assassin grudgingly agreed. "But it is extremely difficult to find blasters that routinely hit their mark, you know. The market is positively flooded with cheap, malfunctioning blasters. And you can never tell if you've managed to snag a good one until you're in a blaster fight and by then it's too late. With a vibroblade, you can tell right away if it's any good or not."

"That didn't seem to help you any when you were trying to kill her," the second assassin jerked her head in my direction.

The first assassin flushed and then said hotly, "Yes, well, it wasn't like you were any more effective at killing her with your blaster! You completely missed her!"

"That's because she bent over to pick up that thrice cursed purse!"

"Oh please!" The first one scoffed. "That wasn't—"

"Ladies!" I held up my hands in a placating gesture. "Please! Both of you failed to kill me. And I don't think it was because of your weapons."

Both assassins, Padmé, Wicaté and the rest of my friends all turned to stare at me incredulously.

I shifted my feet a little uncomfortably. "What?" I asked.

All of them began to laugh uproariously for some reason.

I began to feel embarrassed and then angry. I opened my mouth to shout at them.

However, before I could, the laughter stopped, everyone froze in place and the little dark-haired girl who burned walked down the hallway toward me.

"Hello, Sabé," she said solemnly.

I froze.

The palace drifted away from us.

We were left standing in a sea of white, like a canvas that hadn't been painted on yet.

"I—" even though it was a dream, my throat felt dry. I hadn't seen her in six years. And she was responsible for saving my life.

If I hadn't dropped my purse as she had told me to, I would have been dead.

"What are you doing here?" I whispered. "I thought I would never see you again."

"You're alive," she told me, completely ignoring what I had said. "You listened to me and you're alive."

"I—yes. Yes, I'm alive," I cautiously agreed.

"Good," said the girl. "You're important."

"You've—so you've said."

"Hmm." She frowned. "I suppose I have."

"Do you—do you still burn?" I asked her when the silence began to drag on.

"Yes. But you can change that."

"How?" I asked.

She gave me an angelic smile. "Just stay alive. That might be enough."

I gave a shaky laugh. "You're going to trust your life to nothing more than my continued existence?" I asked her a little incredulously.

She giggled. "Yes. Because you're important. And you're alive. Please try to stay that way."

And then, she faded away, leaving me alone in the emptiness.

THE END (for now)

A/N: Ridiculously Long Author's Note (#3) will have three parts. (I'm sorry, guys, I just have a lot to say!)

Part I: Disclaimer/Credit

George Lucas created Star Wars and, more specifically, The Phantom Menace and Sabé and the Handmaidens. This is heavily, heavily based upon The Phantom Menace and mainly features characters he created.

Blueharvest, the website, has the script of the Phantom Menace online that I used a ton.

The Royal Handmaiden Society has loads of information on all the handmaidens, pictures of all the scenes they show up in and an absolutely wonderful identification guide. Seriously, it's amazing. Also, their essays are hilarious.

Hayley Westenra's Dark Waltz was on repeat practically the entire time I was writing this thing. Also, I blatantly stole the song title for the name of a dance in this fic.

Anidori Isilee was an awesome BETA who didn't complain when I got so excited about finishing a chapter that I posted it without waiting for it to be looked over. Seeing as this happened a lot (like, most of the time—I probably need to work on that) thanks for putting up with it and for fixing the chapters I did have patience for. :D

Sweet Christabel made the amazing story cover. It's awesome.

All of you who ever reviewed, in the entire two year history of this thing are the reason this thing is here, the reason it was finished, the reason it's going to continue. You guys are my favorite people ever.

Part II: The Sequel!

There is going to be a sequel! Yay!

Here's Five Facts About the Sequel. The first three facts are to help you keep an eye out for it. The next two are to let you know what you should expect from it, compared with To Save the Queen so you don't start reading it and feel blindsided by anything.

1. The sequel's going to be called To Die for the Republic. I'm not sure what genres you'll be able to find it under yet, but the characters will be 'Handmaidens' and 'Obi-Wan K.'. So if you see that while browsing, it's the sequel to this.

2 Once it's up, I'll post a short A/N and leave it tacked onto this story for about a week before removing it. If you have this story on alerts, you should get that, and if you have me on alerts, you should get a message about the first chapter.

3 The prologue should probably be up in September or October. Update times will be determined from there. I wouldn't expect a new chapter every week, but I'm going to try to update more than once a month. We'll see how it goes, though.

4. This story was basically a behind the scenes look at The Phantom Menace. To Die for the Republic won't be a behind the scenes look at Attack of the Clones. I guess it'll be more of a prologue and an epilogue to Attack of the Clones. Also, it'll be more AU than this was.

5. The way it's outlined now, To Die for the Republic is going to be arranged differently. Basically, it's going to have a prologue and an epilogue (like To Save the Queen) and then (unlike To Save the Queen) it'll be separated into three parts, with interludes in between. However, it's going to be just as slow moving as To Save the Queen was.

Part III: Thanks you guys!

Thanks to all of you so much for your support, comments, following, favoriting, reading and just—thanks so much for sticking with me and reading this! You guys are fantastic and just knowing you're out there makes me ridiculously happy! You all rock! :D

So, in conclusion, I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, thanks a million for sticking with me and, hopefully, I'll see most of you at the sequel! (And, um, you know: I really love hearing what you all think, so if you have any comments at all about anything in this entire fic, no matter when you're reading, I'd love to hear them!)

(Also, this has been the most Ridiculously Long of the Ridiculously Long Author's Notes. It was almost longer than the actual chapter! I have got to figure out how to be more concise.)