Hi, everyone! It's me, IsabellaWinxSirenix a.k.a. WinxMagiaDiWordGirl. So here's my continuation of the Radiance series, Angel's Sacrifice. If you haven't read the added epilogue in A Symbol of Hope, please do so before reading this. I have to warn you: in this book, prepare for a surprise/cliffhanger at the end of every single chapter. You'll find out that I love those! :D Anyway, on with the story!
"Hey, you were trying to guess the secret code! I can't believe you lied to me! I mean, if you can't trust a superhero, who can you trust?"
–Chuck, "You Can't Crush City Hall"
Disclaimer: "Do I even need to say anything?"
"Thank God they got her to a healer in time," said Tobey as the ground quaked yet again. For the past five hours since Becky's attempted coronation, the entire planet had been trembling and plunging into darkness as Islanzadi's heart failed and started up again. Healers had been working around the clock, frantically trying to save their queen and planet. Instead of using medicine and preforming complex operations, Lexiconians used herbs and minerals; anything from nature, for their theory was that since they were created from nature, only nature could restore them. Becky had offered to use the Light of Hope to heal her, but since she didn't have any control over it, the healers thought it would do more harm than good. Waiting outside, Becky disagreed, but there was nothing she could do but cry as Tobey held her close.
"It's all my fault," sobbed Becky quietly, repeating what every holo-news feed was saying about her across the globe. Almost every single Lexiconian was blaming Becky for this worldwide crisis. Many citizens were protesting for Becky to be denied her royal title, saying that they would never want such a weak, softhearted person to lead their planet. Others were speculating on whether she was a traitor, bribed by some rival nation to bring down Lexicon by arranging for someone to shoot the queen. Of course, Becky hadn't done anything of the sort, but she still felt responsible. If only she had the nerve to kill her mother, even now, she wouldn't be in this mess. She felt terrible, the deluge of hate and spite pounding in her head incessantly. What kind of princess was she if she had put her planet in jeopardy like this? Her mother was pleading for her to drive the sword through her heart, and yet Becky didn't have the guts to do it. If someone wants to die, it shouldn't count as murder, right? It didn't to most people, but it did to Becky. Now it seemed everyone was going to pay for her moment of weakness, especially her mother.
Becky's relationship with her birth mother was a complicated matter. At first, it was quite difficult for Becky to see past the initial aversion to her, seeing as she almost took over the world. When Becky came back for visits, she used to flinch in fear whenever she came into view, trying to make herself as unnoticeable as possible. In spite of the Light of Hope inside Miss Power, she was always reminded of terror she had put her through. She feared that sooner or later, she would take away the mask of kindness and torment her daughter once more. For this reason, Becky always kept her guard up around the queen, terrified that yet another person in the universe had betrayed her lied to her. These were natural actions towards the woman who had haunted eleven-year-old Becky's nightmares for months. She wasn't going to kid herself: she could never truly trust Miss Power. Still, after Becky saw the hurt in her mother's eyes at her mistrust and withdrawal, she decided to extend the olive branch and try to get to know her mother, the only birth family she had. Becky wanted to find out what had made her mother become so horrible.
It turned out that Miss Power had started out just as nice as Becky. Unlike her daughter, however, she had been willing to bend her moral standards, justifying them with shallow, hollow excuses about doing it for the good of Lexicon, when it really was to serve her vengeful nature. Driven into madness with guilt, her boyfriend, Zephyr, was the only person who could guide her in the right direction. However, about a year into their secret relationship, both were caught in a spaceship crash, with only the queen surviving. Once he died, Miss Power lost all control over herself, both mentally and emotionally. She became horribly unstable as she fully surrendered herself to all-consuming rage and grief. Still, underneath the pain and suffering, there was still a part of her that still had the ability to love, a part Becky and the Light of Hope had increased tenfold, helping to ease the pain. Despite all the horrendous things she had done, she was still a good person, and Becky couldn't stand not being able to save her.
"It's going to be okay, Alexandria," said Adelina, joining the silent vigil outside the healer's room. Over the years, she and Becky had formed a kind of friendship, brought together by their suffering and mourning. Ever since Andrew died, Adelina had changed. For the first couple of weeks, she had resigned herself to sitting in bed, gazing at the ceiling as if she could see straight through to the clouds of Heaven where Andrew now dwelled. She was lost without him, forgetting what life was worth living for. Only Becky had been able to provide some consolation, hugging her while she poured out innumerable memories of Andrew. Eventually, she had returned to a state of normalcy, but she wasn't exactly the same, nor would she ever be again. She no longer moved with her former grace and elegance and would only sing melancholy songs of lost and unrequited love, the only outlet for the grief to escape her mind, to not become completely insane with loss. When speaking to others, she would often speak in a dazed tone, not firmly planted in what was going on around her. Many times, Adelina would enter into a sort of trance, losing all grip on reality as she delved fully into a world of sorrow, only to return with a jolt a few minutes later, tears streaming down her cheeks. Her once sparkling eyes were now clouded with the shadow of grief, blocking the true beauty of the world. It pained Becky to see her friend suffer, but there was nothing she could do. Looking now into Adelina's lifeless eyes, she couldn't stand the idea of her mother dying, to become a hollow shell of a person like Adelina.
Just then, the Chief Healer approached the pair of them. Becky perked up, hoping for good news.
"Queen Islanzadi is stabilizing," she stated, trying to hide her vehemence for the princess underneath a look of professional indifference. "We predict she will make a full recovery."
Smiling with relief, Becky pushed aside the small twinge of hurt at the woman's icy tone. At least she hadn't completely messed up. But who would want to kill her mother?
Before going back inside, the healer said, "There's another message. The High Council requests an audience with you at the palace, Princess Alexandria." She pointedly glanced at Tobey. "No one else is authorized."
Giving the healer her ultimate death stare, usually saved solely for her annoying brother TJ, Becky dismissed her and shot like a bullet into the sky, reaching the palace within seconds. She hesitated at the doors of the Grand Hall, where the High Council was sure to be situated. The High Council consisted of every noble on Lexicon, everyone from archdukes to lords, and while Becky alone had more political power than all of them combined, they were formidable. One of the first lessons she had was to always stay in the High Council's good graces, for if the decision was unanimous, they could even punish the Royal Family. Right now, Becky knew she would be severely punished for not completely the Ceremony of Passing. Still, she knew it would be all the worse if she waited, so resigning herself to fate, she opened the doors.
All 63 members of the High Council swiveled their heads simultaneously once Becky had entered the room. Looking about, Becky observed that the nobles seemed polite enough, albeit a scattering of icily glances. Archduke Cyrus, leader of the country of Vertias, rose from his place at the head of the long marble table.
"Welcome, Princess Alexandria," he greeted formally. "We heard of your mother's condition; we hope she will make a full recovery."
"Your concern is appreciated," Becky replied, remembering her lessons on proper etiquette when dealing with nobles, although she hated the way the words rolled off her tongue.
Bowing respectfully, he moved to the empty seat directly to his left, gesturing for Becky to take the place of honor at the head of the High Council. She sat down, waiting with bated breath for the verdict on her punishment.
"Now, I'm sure you know why we called you here, correct?"
"Before you punish me, I just want to say that I'm really sorry I didn't preform the ceremony, but I just couldn't stand the thought of killing my own mother!" blurted Becky.
The archduke, as well as the other nobles, was taken aback by her outburst although with a hint of amusement. "Alexandria, of course we're not going to punish you! Where in the galaxy did you get such a preposterous idea?"
It was Becky's turn to look surprised. "Because of me, our planet almost died!" she shouted, throwing proper manners to the wind. "Aren't you going to revoke my title, exile me, or punish me somehow?"
"Don't be ridiculous!" exclaimed a duchess rather snootily. "Of course, we are displeased, but we understand the fact that you were not raised with our way of thinking. Fear not; you are not at fault."
"And besides, we've got much more important matter on our hands," added Archduke Cyrus. "We have just received reports on the arrow that nearly killed Queen Islanzadi. Tests show that it was crafted from 100% pure Lexonite."
"Lexonite?" repeated Becky. "Are you sure?" According to her studies, Lexonite was a highly rare mineral, only found in nearby asteroids and the Xié'è ring of Lexicon. While deadly to Lexiconians, it wasn't exactly the easiest thing to get your hands on.
"My dear, it is Lexonite, after all," said Lord Alaric, former leader of Iustitia and on good terms with Becky. "It's not that hard to test."
"Unfortunately, we were at a loss to discover who was behind this near assassination," said the archduke. "Security at the ceremony said in the firmest confidence that no one was carrying the mineral in or out of the pavilion. This was quite easy to deduce, for everyone present was Lexiconian, and as we all know, no Lexiconian would have been able to fight the negative effects of Lexonite long enough to fire the arrow with such precision and accuracy. For this reason, we believe the culprit must have been a foreigner. This theory was heightened about fifteen minutes ago, when a valuable clue was discovered. Engraved on the arrowhead were the initials TTM."
"What does that mean?" asked Becky curiously. "Does it stand for someone's name?"
The archduke shook his head. "It stands for the phrase 'Tra Taangeven Milito'."
Even though Becky knew perfectly well what it meant, he translated it anyway. It was a phrase that could destroy the peace Lexicon had been striving for for five years, a phrase that could undo everything, a phrase that could very well mean the end of their planet.
"It's a declaration of war."
Yikes! Just when you thought the fighting was over! Expect the second chapter on Saturday, but in the meantime, review!