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Friday, July 24, 2015

Mirror of Dreams - Chapter 23

23

But I was wrong. As usual, I woke up after only a few hours – I think it may even have been close to four hours later. With nothing to do but worry, I prepared to go for a run.
Stepping onto my patio, I stretched my legs and did some light yoga. Ian completely startled me a moment later. He appeared out of the dark as if he had magically blinked into existence.
Can't sleep?” He stated more than asked because it was a stupid question. I snorted dismissively. “Then come with me for a while.”
Had he wanted to have sex, he wouldn't have said anything. He would have simply kissed me and or took me by the hand and led me to his room. Knowing this, I smirked at him.
What do you have in mind?” I asked curiously.
I brought some aerial silks with me a while back,” he stated with a shrug. “I figure that if neither of us can sleep and we have nothing better to do, then why not exercise with the silks?”
Great idea!” I exclaimed happily. He led the way to the ballroom, which had a high ceiling perfect for hanging silks from. Tossing the bag slung over his shoulder onto the floor, he looked up at the ceiling, despite the dark.
How do you think we'll get them up there?” He wondered with a thoughtful frown.
Well first, we'll need at least some light,” I responded, waving my hands at a few candles positioned around the room. I lit just enough of them to let us see without waking up the whole palace. Then I floated a candelabra up to the ceiling so that we could get a much better look.
Hmm...” Ian murmured, picking up something from his bag. “The thick wooden beams are just barely visible through the plaster in that light. I should be able to install this base pretty easily... provided I can get up there.”
With a soft chuckle, I used my power to lift Ian up to the ceiling. He inhaled a gasp of surprise at first, but then relaxed and trusted me not to drop him. Once he was in the place he felt would be best, he twisted the thick corkscrew portion of the heavy-duty base securely into the at least 4x4 ceiling beams, having thumped around a bit first to confirm that they were really there.
Float the blue silk on up to me please,” he half asked half ordered. I complied. It took him some doing, but he eventually threaded the silk through the base that would provide an anchor. The base was a steel circle that could rotate freely in either direction. The silk itself was actually a type of strong and mildly stretchy nylon measuring a total of 14 yards long – but would be folded in half. This was perfect for the 20 foot ceiling. I wonder if Ian had measured it at some point.
When the silk was secured, Ian grabbed onto it near the top and gestured for me to let him go. “Do you remember anything at all from the summer I taught you this?”
I chuckled. “Well, I remember that we invented an interesting way to have sex...”
He laughed at that. “Yes we did! But what about the tricks and techniques?”
I shrugged. “I remember enough that I could probably stop myself from falling and breaking my neck!”
That's all I ask,” he stated with a smirk.
He climbed down the silk a bit before performing some basic maneuvers. Watching him, I was reminded of some of the things I liked about this technique. When I felt ready, I joined him and did some of the tricks that I remembered. No wonder we'd invented a new way to have sex like this! Our bodies rubbed together even more intimately than when we were spinning in my cyr wheel!
We got lost in concentration, working on and practicing a routine. Many hours passed in what seemed like no time at all. Morning arrived, and – unbeknownst to me – my maids got worried when they couldn't find me. They knew that I had important plans, so they came looking for me.
Nathan also knew that I had decided to leave the palace pretty early, so he also came looking for me. When I wasn't in the dining hall already eating breakfast with Lords Gregory and Antony, and Sir Barrett, he grew worried. However, since not everyone was present, he thought I might be with his mother again. He wasn't quite prepared enough to go looking in Lady Leeza's lair for me!
Luckily for him, a guard making the rounds spotted us in the ballroom and informed Nathan before he could start panicking. They all decided that it might just be easier to come to me, since the guard had reported that I was doing something strange, and they thought that maybe it was important. I honestly didn't notice them enter the room at first. The candles had burned down very low, but the sun had risen enough to compensate for that.
Ian also didn't realize that we now had company. “I think that rolling fall could be a bit more dramatic if you climbed all the way to the top and I waited at the bottom to 'catch' you.”
I'm not so sure that it needs to be that dramatic. Perhaps rather than rolling all the way, if I appeared to actually fall just two or three yards before catching myself...”
Ian wrapped the silk around his feet several times to provide an anchor as he did the splits upside-down, and then swung me from his hands a couple of times before I swung up onto his butt to sit for a moment before wrapping my legs around the silk and laying against him. Now that we were both inverted, we noticed our audience.
Oh! Hey... How long have you been watching?” I wondered curiously.
Nathan looked impressed. “What are you doing?!”
This?” I asked needlessly. “It's called Aerial Silks. It's a form of exercise...”
I see that!” Nathan exclaimed. “It looks dangerous.”
It can be,” Ian stated with a shrug, which looked hilarious since we were both still upside down, him in a pair of tight-fitting black briefs and me completely naked.
Come down from there,” Lord Gregory insisted. “We have to leave soon.”
I know,” I murmured solemnly. Contrary to my statement, I climbed all the way to the top. Meanwhile, Ian extracted his feet from the silk and slid down it like a fire pole.
Did I wrap this right?” I asked, pointing to the looped area of the silk around my waist.
Looks like it, but I won't know for sure until you fall,” Ian stated matter of factly.
Okay,” I acknowledged, unconcerned by the possibility of a fall. A moment later, I did what Ian had suggested by rolling my way back to the ground. As it turns out, I had wrapped it right!
Ian caught me near the bottom, and then used the silk to make me seemingly fly around in circles. “At this part of the act, I should have you lay here near the ground for a moment while I pull myself above you and make us spin, like this...”
As he demonstrated, I heard Lord Gregory clear his throat loudly and significantly. I giggled softly.
Alright, my Lord Fussy Pants! If you insist, come over here and get me!”
He didn't budge. “Why? You're the one who wants to come with us. I don't particularly care if you get left behind.”
Aww,” I pouted in disappointment. “Sometimes you're just no fun at all!”
He harrumphed, but then did as asked, coming over and taking me into his arms so that he could carry me out of the ballroom. I snuggled into him, thanking him for playing along with my silliness. Because everyone who followed us was at his back, he gave me a rare smile and whispered in my ear.
I've come to learn that having a little bit of silliness in one's life is what makes it worth living.”
Purring happily, I kissed him, which made it hard for him to continue walking. Having come to a stop, when the kiss ended, Nathan pulled me out of Lord Gregory's arms and set me on my feet.
I'm not being jealous here,” he assured me with a smile. “I just think that we should be a little faster today.” He turned to Lord Antony. “Have the maids send those egg, sausage, bacon, and cheese sandwich things that Kaitlynn loves to our room. I'll see to it that Kaitlynn gets ready to go as quickly as possible.”
Thank you!” Both Lord Antony and Lord Gregory stated, and then Antony added: “I'll have it sent to you right away.”
I didn't protest the way he made it sound like I was some sort of child or doll because I understood that this was a serious situation and deserved my full respect. We got ready to go in practically no time at all, grabbing the sandwiches to eat on the way. To my extreme surprise, I had a Royal Military Uniform! It had been made just for me at some point, and was something that everyone would be able to easily recognize from a distance.
I almost refused to wear it based on the fact that it made me seem like I supported the war, but then I relented and put it on. This was solely because it was a surprisingly functional and comfortable outfit that would help inspire moral in my soldiers as they saw me lead them – hopefully to a peaceful cease in fighting.
Lastly, Nathan insisted that I wear a simplistic and functional circlet to leave absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that I was the Queen. It was a plain, ½ inch wide gold band that fit around my head snugly so that it shouldn't fall off. My maids secured it with a couple of braids, just in case.
Now ready, we joined the rest of the people who were going with us. Even Fritz was waiting. He and his guards looked worried and upset. I'm not sure they got any more sleep than I did! Even so, I looked refreshed because I was used to very little sleep and my magic seemed to give me limitless energy.
I promise I'll stop them,” Fritz whispered in my ear.
I know you will,” I murmured, kissing him.
Nathan mounted the horse we would share and held out his hand for me. I was helped into position in front of him, and then relaxed into him as he guided the horse to the front of the line. At a nod from us, Lord Gregory took a last look around. Sir Barrett also nodded to indicate that everyone was ready to go.
Move out!” Lord Gregory called out.
I waved to Lord Antony, who assured me that he would take care of everything in our absence.

***

It took us several days to march out to the city under siege by the Nibal army. Fortunately, Nibal was not being aggressive. They had attacked the city initially to provoke people to withdraw into the safety of the city. Basic measures like closing the gates and lining the tall walls with archers maintained an impasse, except for when groups of soldiers snuck out of the city to harass the enemy, who retaliated in kind.
The moment we could see the enemy army in the distance, we slowed our pace and spread out. A small conference was called between me, Lord Gregory, Nathan, King Francis, his guards, and the most important officers of my army. We talked about various ways to deal with the situation, until I finally convinced everyone to try it my way.
Basically, once my army was in position to make a stand, I wanted a small party including both me and Fritz to meet with the people in charge of the Nibal army. If everything went right, Fritz should be able to call them off and send them home. If it went badly, my army would be on hand to make them go away. I absolutely did not want it to come to that though. I was having a hard enough time coping with the fact that a few dozen people on both sides had been killed so far in the small attacks.
When it was time for us to meet with the Nibal soldiers, I stood by Fritz's side watching his son and top officers walk out to meet us. Fritz sighed in disappointment, shook his head, and grumbled in my ear.
My son and Heir is ambitious. Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised that he's leading this attack, but even so, he shouldn't have the power to do so.”
Will he listen to you?” I wondered. A stray wind blew a lock of his hair into his face and I tucked it behind his ear with a smile.
He should, but he always was headstrong,” Fritz replied with a helpless shrug. “I can't guarantee his cooperation.”
The Nibal Prince halted his men at a distance from us that we could hear each other if we yelled, but wouldn't be able to engage in fighting without plenty of warning. He had men slightly in front of and to each side of him just in case someone tried to shoot him with an arrow. I'm willing to bet they were supposed to throw themselves in front of him to protect him if necessary. Contrary to his actions, I stood in front of my men with Fritz at my side.
Release my father now!” He shouted insistently.
I looked to Fritz, a bit confused by this demand. Fritz also looked confused.
Stand down, Guy!” Fritz shouted. He pronounced it as gee like geese – which was very french. Considering that everyone here spoke english – so far as I could tell – I was somewhat surprised by this name.
Not until you are safe!” Guy roared.
Why are you doing this?” Fritz called out. “We signed an official peace treaty between Nibal and Rolandia!”
That's why I'm doing this!!!” Guy screamed almost petulantly. “You have clearly fallen under that witch's spell! Never would you have agreed to sign such a treaty unless Rolandia conceded to our superiority!”
I think you're confused!” Fritz yelled. “I traveled by myself solely because I wanted to ensure peace!”
I refuse to believe that!” Guy roared angrily. “According to the reports I received, their Queen captured you almost two months ago, and has forced you to play attendance in her court ever since. I'm here to make sure that she returns you to us safely and releases you from her evil spell!”
I could see Fritz's hand twitch as if he longed to smack himself in the forehead. He tried once more, suppressing a sigh of aggravation. “I am not under any spells! Call off our army and I will return to you!”
Return to my side and I'll call off our men!” Guy insisted stubbornly.
I put a hand on Fritz's shoulder. “Go on. It seems to be the only way we'll get anywhere with him. Plus, then you can just call them off yourself.”
He nodded in agreement, and then kissed me on the cheek. “I'm sorry that things have come to this.”
You see?!” Prince Guy squealed. “There's proof! She has him under a spell, I tell you!”
The men who stood with him seemed to grumble in agreement. Fritz stepped forward, holding up his hands to calm everyone down. A moment later, one of his bodyguards tackled him to the ground while the other stepped in front of me.
Sir Barrett and Nathan reacted by trying to rescue me, but stopped in shock at the sight of an arrow fly by the spot Fritz had been. Had his guard not acted, he would have been shot! The fact that his other guard protected me meant that they weren't sure which of us was the intended target.
They tried to shoot their own King!” Nathan stated in a near whisper of shock.
Suddenly, I was so angry that I almost saw red! My mouth opened and a song came out, which started slowly at first. As I sang, my skin started to crawl with blue fire and I felt like I was watching myself do things I had no control over. A memory of me breaking legs crossed my mind, and I sincerely prayed that I wouldn't do that again.
To my relief, I simply sent my power out at first. It was a bluish, redish, purplish mist that seemed to do nothing but slither along the ground until it had surround not only Prince Guy and his small group but his entire army. They tried their best to fight it off and seemed freaked out that they couldn't do anything to stop it.
That roar was sung loudly with a very prolonged oh – which was also the name of the song by Katy Perry. As I sang it, I motioned my arms as if lifting a steel bar of weights from my waist on up. While I did this, my power lifted everyone into the air. I circled my hands and gathered them together, moving the entire army away from the city. I wanted to make sure that no one got hurt, so I took my time.
During the song, there comes a break before she roars several times. At that point, I simply held everyone in the air for a few moments to make sure I had got them all and that they were a safe distance from the city. Then – to drive my point home – I shoved them out even farther, doing so in a couple of jarring thrusts in time to the roars just to scare them. But at the end of the song, I set them all down gently.
After that, I lifted myself high into the air – still surrounded by my ultimate power – and held my hand out in front of my face like I was holding a microphone. This somehow projected my voice so that everyone for miles could hear me. It wasn't necessarily loud, but it was clearly heard.
I am against violence! I am against war! As the Queen of Rolandia, I will not ever condone fighting between my people and yours! That said, I will not simply stand by and let you hurt or kill my people! This is your only warning, take your soldiers and leave my Kingdom now, before I get really angry!
Whether Prince Guy would have listened to me or not was irrelevant, because his entire army screamed in terror and fled like a T-Rex was chasing them. I watched them go for a few moments from where I still floated high above my men. The second I was satisfied that Prince Guy was also retreating, my power seemed to dry up abruptly and I fell to the ground.

***

When I came to, it was to a deeply relieved sigh that traveled around the entire tent – which was packed full. I saw Nathan, Ian, Sir Barrett, Lord Gregory, Fritz, both his guards, and a dozen or so important officers and attendants in my army. They all looked like they expected me to die at any second. Except for one.
Whaaaaaat's going on?” I asked slowly.
Nathan practically pounced on me in his eagerness to hug me. “You were sleeping for three days and we thought that you might never wake up!”
A medic shook her head and rolled her eyes.
Oh... Hi Major Nivea!” I greeted her with a smile as I patted Nathan on the back.
Hello, Your Majesty. I tried to tell them that you had simply exhausted your power and needed to recover, but they wouldn't believe me until they'd seen it with their own eyes,” she informed me.
Ian got tired of waiting for Nathan to let me go and pulled me into his arms. “I was so worried! Magic or not, I have never seen you sleep so much!”
I tilted my head to the side and nodded. “Well that's true.” Even in my other world, I usually never slept for longer than eight hours with closer to six being typical for me. Well, I take that back! After being sleep deprived here for a while, I could go back home and sleep for 10-12 hours if no one interrupted me!
Fritz seized my hand and brought it to his lips to kiss. “Now that I am certain that you're fine, I must take my leave. I have to return to my palace and deal with my son.” He sighed heavily as he thought about this, but then kissed my hand again. “I just couldn't leave before I was sure you'd live. You have my deepest gratitude for resolving the situation without taking any lives.”
Of course,” I murmured, squeezing his hand in mine. “I would no more kill any of your people than I would kill any of mine! All life is precious to me.”
As it is to me,” Fritz informed me with a smile. “Especially yours. I may not get a chance to see you again for a long time, so please take care of yourself.”
I will,” I promised with a smile. “And you be sure to watch your back. I am almost certain that your son tried to kill you.”
Fritz didn't answer, but I could feel the heaviness in his heart as he looked down. It must hurt unbearably to know that someone so important had no regard for your life. I struggled to sit up so that I could hug him and kiss his cheek. He savored my hug for a long moment, and then abruptly left the tent.
Bye!” I called after him. “I'll miss you!”
Everyone watched him go in silence for a long moment. Then the tent door opened and a man stuck his face inside – probably to check on me so that he could give an update to everyone who was certain to be waiting anxiously outside the tent. I only glanced at him at first, but then I gasped and focused all my attention on him.
Kyle?!?!”
Ian sat up straighter to look at the man too. The man flushed a deep shade of red to be caught spying by the Queen, but decided to come in and face the music rather than be chased down and punished even more harshly later on. To my amazement, he wore a Rolandian military uniform, one belonging to a lesser officer – Captain probably.
Kyle...” I murmured again, still not able to believe what I was seeing.
What are you doing here?!” Ian demanded, not sure whether he should hug my brother or not.
No Ian,” I stated softly. “That's not him...”
Well Majesty, it is true that my name is Kyle, though how you know that is beyond me...” he respectfully replied with a blush.
Whoa...” Ian murmured in shock, and then looked at me. “But how is this possible?”
I shrugged, spreading my arms wide as I shook my head. “I have no idea. My father and the mirror image of my mother never got together in this world, so my brother shouldn't exist either.”
And yet, there he is,” Ian argued, gesturing to indicate Kyle.
I'm glad...” I whispered just before I inexplicably burst into tears. Ian understood what I was feeling even if I didn't, so he got up, walked over to Kyle, then firmly pushed him over to my bed until I could grab his hand.
Everyone else in the tent was watching this exchange in astonishment. Even Kyle himself looked floored by this development. He stared at our hands, trying to figure out if he should be touching the Queen so informally.
Ian gestured for Kyle to sit on the bed with me, nudging him when he seemed reluctant to comply. I gripped his hand tightly, covering my face with my other arm as tears continued to pour from me. No one (except for Ian) knew what to do. Men!
Is... Is something wrong?” Kyle asked hesitantly. He put his other hand over ours in an attempt to offer sympathy.
There was war, and people died, and I had all this pressure to figure out how to stop it, and I didn't know what to do!” I babbled rapidly as I cried, which made me sound like a five year old child. “And I just missed my big brother so much!”
Kyle was more baffled than ever. “Brother???”
Ian chuckled a bit mischievously, seemingly enjoying this scene. “In our world, you're her brother.”
Huh?!” Kyle questioned, using a finger to clean out his ear because he must have misheard that.
Yep,” Ian confirmed.
Still crying, I threw my arms around him and squeezed him tight. “Oh Kyle! You're here!”
Uuuh...” he droned uncomfortably, trying to pull my arms off of him. “My mother died when I was still just a baby, and my father never remarried. I don't have any sisters!”
That's so sad!” I wailed, burying my face in his shoulder. For a moment, he held himself stiffly, and then he seemed to force himself to pat me on the back. It was very light and slow, not very comforting at all, but it helped to calm my tears.
Eventually, I was quiet, simply resting my head on his shoulder. Ian stroked my hair a couple of times. “Feel better now?”
Yes,” I mumbled, looking up at Ian without moving my head.
Ian winked at Nathan, who stared at Kyle and me with a look like he had no idea what to do. “Sometimes, all it takes is a hug from a big brother.”

Go To Chapter 24 

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