Chapter 4:

The Princess of Aquia 2

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

She was taken straight from the main hall through several corridors to the throne room where a royal assembly was to take place. Two overly large doors slowly and automatically swung open to grant her entrance.

A vast and empty throne room awaited Fiona. It was a wide expanse that gave an awkward feeling opposite to claustrophobia. Round, spiral columns filled space throughout the room, and the two thrones were against the wall opposite the door. Several lights lined the walls but did not give off enough light to brightly illuminate the whole space.

The thrones sat on a platform high in the air and were fashioned out of large, chrome-colored frames. To an unknowing observer, it would seem the thrones hovered in midair with no support. The platform had some lights underneath it, but they served more for decoration than practical purposes.

Fiona walked up to the throne next to three others and dropped down on one knee. They were all blue like the princess, and each had some gauntlet on one of their arms. The advisor who had brought her slipped over to stand next to others who stood on the side. Some of the other advisors like him had a green complexion, while others were shades of blue. The people were about the only splash of color in the otherwise dark and chrome throne room.

"You summoned me, father, she said.

Fiona's father sat on the left throne from her position. He leaned his elbow on one of the throne's arms and his head on his balled fist. A mechanical-looking bird sat on his right shoulder. He sighed when Fiona addressed him but didn't say anything more. Though he had heard about the beast incident released in the castle, he didn't have the time or concern to scold her for it.

Fiona's mother, the queen, elbowed her father in the side, prompting him to sit up straight and clear his throat. He looked around the large room. The four directly in front of him were his children, and around the room stood a small crowd of other advisors.

"With the conference just around the corner, it is time to delegate the tasks you all will be doing. I expect we have guests arriving here in Quenth in a matter of days."

"Dast father!" the four said in unison.

"Donn, you will be in charge of entertaining the military heads."

"Of course, father, I take it the recent expedition and capture would be a suitable story to tell?" the eldest of the four answered. He was the tallest of the four siblings with broad shoulders and an impressive build. Donn's silver hair was spiked in a fashion that should have been considered messy, but for some reason, it never came off that way.

"Very good. Hermina, I'd like you to take care of greeting the guest as they arrive and seeing them off, but don't strain yourself too much."

"I will be careful, father," The second oldest answered. She had long black hair, much like Fiona, and a slender build. Unlike the rest of her siblings, Hermina was sitting in a chair that hovered above the ground.

"Fiona... just stay away from as many guests as you can. I'll find some busy work for you later."

"Dast, father," Fiona said with a slight frown.

"Asha, I am putting you in charge of the servers."

"I will make sure everything runs smoothly." The youngest of the four siblings said. In comparison to his siblings, he was the shortest of the bunch. His hair was silver like his elder brother's, but unlike Donn's, Asha's hair stayed neatly combed.

The king nodded. He was about to wave his hand to dismiss his children but was suddenly interrupted as purple energy appeared right behind the crowd of advisors.

The advisors naturally scattered away from the growing energy. They ran to different corners of the throne room and looked back in terror. The princes and princess all stood up from their bows, and the siblings slowly moved farther apart from each other. None took their eyes off the suspicious energy. The King also stood up and held out his arm. The mechanical bird flew out of the shadows and landed on it. In a flash, the robotic creature grafted to the King's arm. In the end, it looked like a similar gauntlet his children all wore. He looked down from his high platform with a furrowed brow.

A machine that none of them recognized burst through the energy. It swerved and scraped along the side of one of the many columns spread around the room. The side got scarred, but it did not stop. Instead, it continued its out-of-control path directly at Fiona.

"Fiona!" Donn yelled out, but she reacted before he could do anything. In the blink of an eye, she disappeared in a red flash. The machine harmlessly flew past where she had stood and directly collided with one of the columns. The front of it wrapped around the column, and from within, large bags suddenly inflated. In a blue flash, Fiona appeared next to the window and looked in. The large bag of fabric was deflating, and the driver was unconscious.

"It's a Netzian; he seems to be out cold!" she yelled to the others in the room.

The king took a slow seat down and shook his head.

"Of all the times, what are they plotting now?" the king said to himself.

Donn walked up and peered into the window as well.

"Father, I think we might have a different problem on our hands than what you are thinking."

The king stood back up from his throne. He stepped off the platform and landed on the ground with a thud. The impact did no damage, and he walked across the room, his mechanical arm still at the ready. His children took a step aside so he could look inside the machine as well.

The king's big eyes grew larger, and his face turned a paler shade of blue. He stared for a moment before shaking his head and regaining his composure.

"Fiona, I have a new task for you. Take this one to the infirmary, and when he wakes, make him tell you everything. If he doesn't, kill him."

"Dast father," Fiona said with an unenthusiastic sigh. 

Taylor Victoria