"The Emperor and Prince will arrive at 4, so you are expected to attend dinner with them tonight."
I look over at Orion, my head guard, and give an over exaggerated sigh. "Can't Empire Day be next week, or month?" I leaned backwards over the back of the chair I was currently sitting on until I was upside down and able to see Orion. "I've been enjoying not having my every action scrutinized by those two killjoys."
Orion laughed and kneeled down so he was a bit more eye level "Sorry, but it is tomorrow and your father, your brother and you are expected to attend the ball. Your father wanted to arrive a day early to handle some business at the palace."
I gave another loud sigh. The last time I saw my father and brother was over two months ago, which in my opinion wasn't long enough. "I almost forgot about the ball."
"I didn't! It's going to be awesome! I already know the hiding spot for where we are all meeting up."
I sat up and glared at my best friend Zeth, who was currently lounging on my couch playing on his holopad. We were hanging out in my private suite so he felt comfortable enough to put his feet on the armrest.
"Well isn't that great." I say sarcastically "You and everyone else will be having fun in one of the palace's storage rooms while I have to hang with Emperor Gloom and his little clone in the ballroom with everyone's terrified parents."
Zeth turned his head towards me and smiled, "Oh you'll be fine. You've done it a hundred times before. Besides nobody will be able to stay in the hiding spot long." That is true. Whenever my father attends a ball, all the parents try to keep a closer eye on their kids to make sure they behave. Everybody wants to give my father a good impression, trying to gain his favor. Which was pointless because my father doesn't trust or favor anyone except maybe my brother Luke.
"How about after the ball the three of us can come back here and watch a movie. I can get Zeth security clearance to stay the night and we could order some food" Orion asks smiling at me.
I smile back. Orion always knew how to make me feel better. He has been my head of security since I was three and has practically raised me. Both he and Zeth know me better than anyone else in the galaxy. I met Zeth at a fundraiser when I was five.
I enter the ballroom with the guard assigned to escort me around. All the other guests were quiet as they watched me enter the room. I paused at the door and starred back at them.
This was my third event I have been to without my father or brother. The first was a parade where all I had to do was ride in a speeder and wave at citizens. The second was an opera that I fell asleep to in my private box. This is the first time I had to actually interact with people. I'm beyond terrified.
I walk around the party for about three hours, unsuccessfully trying to avoid interacting with others. Senators and other elected officials would come up and introduce themselves to me and talk about all the great things they have accomplished while in office. They would then ask if my father has ever mentioned them. I would always give them the same answer, "no." Then they would frown and excuse themselves. After three hours of this I was ready to leave, but I know I can't for another two hours.
I wish Luke was here, but I also don't. Luke and I have always been pretty close. We always told each other jokes and would play together, until lately. Until father started Luke's training; then Luke started to change. He is becoming more like father, cold.
At some point, the guard who was supposed to be watching me disappeared. Probably to try to keep the other senators from pestering me.
I walked over towards the dance area. I couldn't do any of the fancy dances that the adults did. But I enjoyed watching.
Next thing I know I feel a mushy substance on the right side of my body. I look down to see a piece of cake with bright blue frosting smeared all the way down the side of my black dress. Everyone in the room goes silent. I can feel their eyes watching, waiting to see how I will react.
I look up to see a boy a year or two older than I staring at me with a plate in his hands. He has dirty blond hair with hazel eyes. We stand there staring at each other for about a minute. Then he looks at his plate, my dress, then back at my face and says, "If it helps my case, I think it looks better this way."
We have been friends ever since.
"Sounds good. Zeth can you get permission from your mom?"
"Already on it!" he yelled back.
"Great. I'll go arrange that now. I suggest for the time being you get prepared for dinner." Orion said while leaving the room.
"What you don't think I look presentable like this?" I joke while referring to the leggings and tee-shirt I was currently wearing.
"Oh the outfits fine if you want to be disowned." Zeth jokes while getting up from his seat and moving towards me.
"That wouldn't be too bad." I grinned.
Zeth rolled his eyes and next thing I know I'm being tossed over his shoulder and carried to my closet. "What are you doing" I asked between giggles.
"Well you have to get ready somehow." He replied smugly.
"What you going to help me change and do my hair?"
"If that's what it takes." He said while putting me down on one of the chairs in my closet which was composed of two dressers, a vanity, a couch, a few chairs, a connecting bathroom and four mini closets with different types of clothes in each.
I laugh and challenge him, "I'd like to see you try."
Zeth looked at me for a second before saying quickly, "Challenge accepted" and running into one of my closets full of black dresses dedicated for when father visits.
"Wait!" I yelled after him still laughing "You have to do my hair first!"
I saw the Imperial palace off in the distance. We weren't supposed to arrive for another two hours, but father didn't follow speed limits and decided to take a shortcut through a few planets atmospheres. This was illegal, but he never got in trouble. One of the perks of being Emperor of the galaxy.
"So how much trouble do you think Leia has caused since our last visit?" I ask.
"None if she knows what's good for her" he answers.
I watched as the palace comes closer and closer into view. I haven't seen Leia for two and a half months. Not that I saw her much when father and I were at the palace anyway. She was always gallivanting around the city or planning trouble in her room, while I was always training or meditating.
We are not very similar. From a young age I realized my importance to the galaxy as the heir to the empire, so I matured while I was still very small. It was necessary in order to learn how to use the Dark Side. Father would refuse to teach me if I misbehaved or acted childishly.
But Leia hasn't grown up yet. All she seems to do is party and sneak out of the palace. The guards are supposed to keep father posted of Leia's behavior, but often times Leia seems to be able to stop them. But both father and I are aware of her behavior, she doesn't change when we are around. It is also obvious when the three of us go to a ball or some other public gathering. The public and other diplomats act differently towards Leia than they do towards Father and I. They watch her like she is their entertainment, waiting to see what ridiculous shenanigan she will pull next. They treat her like an equal instead of the royalty she is. Citizens respects Father and me.
"Well last time we visited, she had snuck out about five times."
"I won't let that happen this time. It is time she start acting her age" he answered as he lands the ship. "Go to her room now and tell her we have arrived early; I will join you there in a short while. I have something important to tell her."
"May I ask what you are speaking to her about?" I asked.
"You will find out soon enough." I am about to leave when father stopped me and adds "Test your shields while you approach." I have recently been working on hiding my presence in training. Hiding from Leia will be a good test.
I nod and exit the ship. I head towards Leia's private quarters. As I am walking, I check all the guards' minds for any information regarding my sister's actions over the last few months. Like usual, there isn't much, they are all very oblivious, which is why Leia is able to get away with so much.
As I approach Leia's suite, I put up another shield so she won't be able to sense me coming. Leia and I have always had a very close connection when we are near each other. She can always feel my presence, the reason this is a good test of my skills.
I enter her suite into the living room area. As I open the door, my ears are blasted with loud music and two additional voice singing along and laughing. The noise is coming from her bedroom area. I enter the bedroom to discover the closet doors open. What I see next leaves me frozen in place.
Over by the vanity on the other side of the room is Leia sitting in a chair wearing a very revealing slip meant to go under a dress. Standing behind her is a boy with a comb in his right hand trying to brush through Leia's hair. Both were singing and dancing to the song.
Feeling uncomfortable, I take a step back so they can't see me. Next thing I know, they are up and dancing around the closet. The boy grabs Leia and swings her around, holding her close. It wasn't in a romantic way, but I was still angry that he felt it acceptable to grab my barely dressed sister who was laughing at his antics.
"WHAT IS THIS?"
I snap my head around to see Father standing behind me looking very angry. I turn back to Leia and the boy, who are both standing in the same spots. One of the boy's arms is wrapped around Leia's back, while the other hand had landed a bit farther south than it should be. They both stand there shell shocked for a few seconds before Leia quickly moves away from the boy, grabs a remote sitting on a table and turns off the music.
She turns back around to face father and I "Father, I thought you and Luke were arriving at four."
"So this is how you act while I am not here? Parading your body to boys while wearing little to no clothing." Father replied with a very angry tone. His eyes glaring at Leia.
Leia looks down at her body as if noticing for the first time how skimpy she is dressed. "No. Zeth was just trying to do my hair. I always do my hair and then get dressed. I didn't think a thing of it."
The boy, apparently Zeth, had at some point moved away from the center of the room and was hiding in the corner. He is looking at the ground terrified. 'Good' I think to myself. 'He should feel scared.'
Father doesn't pay any notice to Zeth, instead he continues to glare at Leia, who is still staring at the slip she was wearing. "I can tell. You really think this is appropriate behavior for a princess? When will you grow up Leia? I don't expect anything from you while I am away, except to behave. Then I come back to this."
I see Leia's eyes flash a moment with anger while staring at the ground. What is she angry about? Getting caught? What did she expect to happen?
Leia then looks up at Father. "I am sorry father, it will not happen again" she says with confidence in her voice. She is always able to do that. Stand up in front of father with her head high, even when he is at his angriest.
"It better not. I won't stand for this type of behavior anymore Leia. It's time for you to take some responsibility for yourself." With that Father storms out of the room.
I look over at Leia again. Her eyes were blazing with anger at the door Father just left through. Her head the whips around towards me. "What are you still doing here?" she snaps.
"I can be wherever I want Leia." I snap back.
She stands there glaring at me for about a minute. I ignore her and direct my attention to the boy in the corner "What do you think you were doing when I walked in here?" I demand from him.
"We were only joking around Your Grace. I didn't mean any harm to your sister."
"I'm sure you didn't" I say with sarcasm.
"Leave him alone Luke!" Leia yelled at me.
I give her a glare before shifting it to the boy again. "I will be watching you." I turn back to Leia "Be ready for dinner, Father has something important to share with you" I state before turning and leaving the room.