Selene and I had agreed to save all questions until we reached Sarton. That being said, as soon as it came into view, Selene stopped.
"Do you think Allie will remember me? What if she doesn't?"
After everything that had happened, I wasn't expecting that to be the first question.
Letting out a sigh, I said, "Selene, we have been gone for, at most, two weeks. So how could she not remember you? And why are you so nervous anyway?"
In a surprisingly quiet voice, she replied, "She was the first human to really accept me. She is my friend, and I care what she thinks."
This clearly meant a lot to Selene, so I replied, "Okay. She will remember you, and if she is important, why don't you get her something. I'm sure she would appreciate that."
Sounding happier, she asked, "What should I get her?"
Shrugging, I replied, "She is your friend. That's for you to decide. Besides, it would mean more to her if it comes from you."
Staring at me, she asked, "Are you telling me that because it's true, or you don't feel like putting in the effort to figure out a good gift?"
Letting out an exasperated sigh, Selene said, "Let's get going."
Laughing, I followed the now annoyed Selene into the capital.
Any doubt in Selene's mind that Allie wouldn't recognize her should have been taken care of as soon as the first guard spotted us. His face quickly drained of color, and he began to stammer out something about alerting the Queen.
Before he could take a step, Selene was in his face.
"You will do no such thing. This is supposed to be a surprise, and I swear if you ruin it, you will die slowly and painfully."
Walking up to Selene, I asked, "Did you just threaten to murder someone because they would ruin your surprise visit with a child?"
"Shut up. This is important."
Turning to the scared guard, I asked, "Can you please let us know where the Queen and the Princess are? As you can see from my friend here, it is quite urgent."
The poor guard could barely comprehend our words, but he managed to stammer out, "Garden."
That was all Selene needed to hear, and she began to walk towards where I had first met the Princess.
She was clearly a woman on a mission, so I decided to just stay quiet and see what would happen.
Following Selene, I smiled as I thought about the last time we entered the capital. Selene and I had just met each other, and we were completely different people. It's crazy to think about how much the two of us had grown since we left.
"There really has been a massive change since the two of us were here. I now only slightly want to kill you."
With a smile, I replied, "Only slightly? As a lowly human, I need to work on that."
Without breaking her stride, she asked, "You really think you are human? Even after understanding the language of the underworld?"
Shrugging, I replied, "I know I am human. What I don't know is what or who is inside of me. Almost all of the time, it feels like I just have immense power inside of me. There have been a few times, though, where it feels like something inside me is steering me to a decision. Or, at the most extreme moment by Rebecca's grave, it took over."
"Is it something I need to be worried about? Or, can you control it?"
The bluntness and simplicity of her questions caught me off guard. I stopped walking and thought about the answer. There was just so much I didn't know about my strength to be able to confidently answer.
Letting out a sigh, I said, "I really don't know. I need to find more out."
Stopping in her tracks, Selene said, "Not good enough. You promised to protect me. Are you going to attack me again? Or, will you control it?"
Selene's words were what I needed to hear. In a more firm voice, I stated, "I will control this power."
"Good. Now hurry it up. We can't be late."
"How can we be late when they aren't even expecting us?"
"Just shut up and follow me."
Laughing, I replied, "Yes ma'am," and continued to follow Selene.
Thankfully, it was starting to get dark out, so we made it the rest of the way without being noticed.
Standing outside of the garden, Selene spread her wings and gracefully flew over the wall. Not bothering to fly, I lept over the wall and landed with a thud next to Selene. Selene gave me an amused look, but remained quiet and began walking.
I was about to follow behind her when I spotted the bench surrounded by rose bushes.
Turning back to Selene, I said, "You have fun with Allie. I think I'm going to stay here for a bit."
Selene hesitated for whatever reason, so I added, "I will be fine. You know that this isn't my sort of thing, so go enjoy yourself with your friend."
Giving me a smile, Selene nodded her head, then slipped into the night.
I think I had sat on the bench for all of five seconds when I heard the Princess let out a surprised squeal, followed by a lot of giggling.
Happy that everything was going well for Selene, I let out a long sigh. Things were finally starting to calm down, and I was looking forward to that.
Before long, I heard someone walking my way. I waited for a moment, then the Queen appeared. Seeing me, she gave me a smile and sat next to me on the bench.
"I figured I would join you here to give Selene some space. I hope you don't mind."
Shaking my head, I replied, "I have no problem. Your daughter means a lot to Selene, so you can do as you want."
"I am glad the two of them get along so well. I wasn't expecting to see you two back so soon, but it works out. I have been hearing some rumors that I think you would want to know about."
The way she said that last part caught my attention. She seemed almost scared to bring it up in front of me.
Taking a deep breath, the Queen said, "A few of our scouts have been hearing rumors of children being taken from their homes in the far south. A massive group of raiders, killing those in their way, except for the children. I believe whoever did this to you has reemerged and is doing it again."
The Doctor was back.
Hearing this, immense anger welled up inside of me. This wasn't just my own anger. It was the anger of whatever was at my core.
The anger inside of me continued to grow and grow, causing me to become worried. I felt like I was on the verge of losing control to the power inside of me again.
As if embodying my worries, my right hand slowly began to change into its demon form. At first, it was just my hand, but the right side of my body began to change while the left remained unchanged, as I fought the anger with all of my might.
I let out a gasp as my right wing forced its way out of my back, and I fell onto the ground.
Through pained grunts, as I fought to keep control, I growled out, "Get Selene."
I heard the Queen run away, but I didn't pay attention. I was worried that if I relaxed for one moment, whatever was in my body would take control. I could feel the demon part of my body trying to take over my human form with every breath I took.
After what felt like an eternity, I heard feet running my way. Looking up, I saw a worried Queen and Selene staring at me.
Before they could say anything, though, a frowning princess stomped my way. Giving me a stern look, she demanded, "Why did you let Selene get hurt" and proceeded to kick me in the shin.
As soon as this happened, everyone froze.
The Queen looked absolutely mortified that her daughter had just done that. Selene looked like she would have been laughing if two beings weren't fighting for control of my body. Even the anger paused as if trying to understand why a child had kicked me.
Taking advantage of the pause, I took a deep breath and quickly withdrew all of my demon form back into my body.
Winning my internal battle, I rolled onto my back, exhausted.
Selene was quickly by my side and asked, "What was that? What is going on?"
Letting out an exhausted laugh, I replied, "Your friend just saved me. But the four of us have a lot to talk about tonight."