Chapter 18: Promise Fulfilled
There was silence in the room as my words sunk it. The first to react was Alden. "No, Ella, we'll find another way." His eyes portrayed determination. I knew he wasn't going to react well.
"Alden, you know it's the only way." I said back, slightly narrowing my gaze. His teeth clenched.
"My Queen," Commander Stanton said. I have not seen him since the last time I went to the military base. "I do not believe this is a very good idea." His dark eyes looked right into my soul. Even though he was very young, he was extremely accomplished and rose quickly through the ranks. I had heard he would soon once again be promoted to Colonel.
I respected this man and took his words into account. I knew he would not want me to go either, because it would be risking the Queen of our planet to harm. Alden on the other hand replied with pure protective feelings towards me, which I understood. However, I knew that there were few options, and this was one of the bests.
I nodded for him to continue. "If something goes array, it would risk you, our Queen." He pointed out and many of the other men in the room nodded slowly in agreement.
"I know this risk is great, but I also know that there are few other alternatives." I rested my hands on the edge of the table and shifted my weight onto them. "If something happens, then I must ask you, as my people, to please escape without me. I can do much more harm if I know my people are off this planet."
More silence as the men pondered my words and its inner meaning. Admiral Rane spoke. "Your Majesty," he paused, thinking over his words, "Do you mean to…detonate the base?"
I did not reply, but I didn't have to. The silence was enough as confirmation.
Alden broke the tension. He grabbed my upper arms and said loudly, "Ella, you don't mean to do this right? Right?" His voice was broken as he slightly shook me. "You promised not to leave, Ella, you promised."
I kept a straight face and turned to the others in the room. Nodding to them I said, "Men, we'll temporarily put this meeting on hold. Please excuse the King and me for a short while."
I dragged Alden out of the room into the hallways and into another room a little ways down the hall. Brown boxes were everywhere filled with supplies. "Ella," he said once we entered the room, his eyes showing confusion and slight betrayal. "You don't mean to do this right?" I couldn't look at him and averted my gaze to a corner of the room. "What happen to what you said? Did you not promise? Did you not say that you were never going to leave me?" He shook me. "What happened to that Ella? What happened to the Ella that stayed by my side when I broke down at night? The Ella that I woke up seeing first every morning? The one person I could never live without." His eyes slightly watered. I reached up and pushed his head towards my shoulder. I couldn't bear watching my king cry.
"Alden, I made a vow when I became Queen." I smooth his hair down and I spoke, hoping to calm him. If I ever died, I don't know if Alden would be able to take it. He is definitely a strong King but he needs never ending support from someone. If I did not make this through, I hoped someone would help him get through. Be it even a woman; as long as she took care of my beloved—my Alden. "I promised to put Aranot's well-being above my own and to make all my decisions with the people in mind. I promised to protect you Alden." He lifted his head, still leaning over, and looked into my eyes. "If I die…I die knowing the fact that I protected you and the planet."
He shook his head like a stubborn child and wrapped his arms around me. "I will never let you go. I also vowed to protect my people, and you are one of them."
I tiptoed to kiss him one…last…time. Slipping something from my pocket, I plunged a needle into his neck, injecting an anesthetic. "I'm sorry," I said as he began to lose consciousness. His eyes closed and his body slumped into mine. I gently led him down onto the floor. "It's the only way that guarantees high success, Alden, and you know it." I took the needle out and left it on the floor for whoever found him. They would be able to tell that it's an anesthetic and not something else.
I had grabbed a needle already filled when I passed the hospital room. I'm sure some nurse is wondering what happened to it. "I love you, Alden, my King." I leaned over to kiss him on his lips. He did not respond, but I didn't expect it. "If I make this through, I promise to tell you that to your face when you're conscious." I gentle laid him on the floor and kissed his forehead, running my fingers through his hair for possibly the last time.
I stood from my kneeling position, taking one last look, before leaving the room. He shouldn't be found for about thirty minutes and he would be out for five hours. That gives me plenty of time. The King would be secured but no one else would know of my plan. I returned to the room and all the men turned to look at me, giving me respectful nods. "The King is currently emotionally compromised and will not be returning to this meeting." Admiral Rane gave me a knowing look, but I did not acknowledge. I'm sure these men knew I did something, but wouldn't question. I would never harm my dimidetas. They also knew that my plan was the only way for possible success and that the King would never agree to it. They trusted me. "Let's get started." I said, locking gazes with each of the highly ranked men in this room.
My hands were tied behind my back as General Talia pushed me forward. He played his part perfectly. I was glad he did not treat me with extreme caution as the other Generals and Admirals would have done. They would give it away, but General Talia's naturally gruff features and cold looks would hopefully convincingly appear as if he did not care that he was giving away the Queen of Aranot for the planet's safety. Two men stood on either side of me with looks of disbelief. Other than the men in the war room, no one knew of our plan. They truly believed their General was giving the Queen away.
I could command them to release me, knowing that they would obey me rather than the General, but I could not let that happen. Their grips on my upper arm were solid, but gentle. I struggled against them, screaming for release, but never commanding. They could never disobey a direct command from their Queen.
"You traitor," I spat at General Talia and he simply backhanded me. Most likely with less force that he could actually use, but it still stung. I knew I picked the perfect person for the job.
We had sent a message to Wayne telling him of an exchange we were willing to make. In exchange for me, Wayne and his Seditious would leave Aranot and Trianthas alone.
The former prince of Trianthas with the yellow eyes appeared as we entered the clearing. I was bound around the wrists with my "traitor" subjects to the sides of me. His rebels flanked him, weapons in hand. Wayne scoffed at me and said, "My Queen, I told you that you should have stayed with me. They do not even want you. I could give you so much more."
"What about our trade." General Talia said, "Do you agree?"
Wayne grinned. "Yes, I agree. I find your Queen so rather interesting. It's worth the trade. She'll be mine." His eyes gleamed. "Send her over."
The General pushed me with a lot of force and I fell over. I turned to glare at him and he glared back. Shakily I stood and walked forward. I was truly scared. I did not know what was going to happen to me, but in Wayne's eyes he took it as rage on what my people had done. Good.
"Come, love, join me." He held his arms out and I faltered a bit before once again slowly walking forward. Once I was in arms reach, Wayne wrapped his arms around me and kissed me on the lips. Tears pricked my eyes—it felt so wrong. He was so cold and uncaring. "Oh, love, don't cry. It's okay. I will take so much more care of you." He leaned down to whisper in my ear, "and I'll give you revenge." I jerked out of his grip and fell to the floor, my arms still bound together. Wayne raised one hand and his rebels raised their guns to take aim. I heard the clicking sound of locks being released from behind me. Both sides had guns raised at each other.
"No!" I screamed. "Please, please, please, no!"
Wayne's head inclined down at me. "Dear, they betrayed you. You don't need to protect them."
I thought fast. I needed to use his infatuation for me to my advantage. I took a breath and said, "Please, don't shoot. You can have me if you don't do this."
His head turned to the side and he laughed. "Oh, Estella, dear, I already have you."
"You may have my body, but you don't have will. I'm willing to obey your every command if you just leave them alone and let them live. They may be traitors," I spat the word 'traitors,' "but they're still my people and I made a vow."
"Such loyal words for a planet that just betrayed you, but I will concur." With those words, the rebels lowered their weapons. Wayne leaned down to assist me in rising. I pushed my body against his and he wrapped his arms around me, looking at the Aranot soldiers. My bound hands reached for something tucked into my pants and I pulled it out as the ropes dropped to the ground and plunged the cold metal blade into Wayne's stomach, twisting and making sure it's a fatal wound. No doctor or medicine in the world would be able to save him.
"That's for my brother and Delilah." I whispered into his ear. His body slumped into mine and his eyes remained the same cold look I was used to, but this time it held…pride?
Gunfire began on both sides and I quickly avoided them, I felt pain in my right leg and left arm, but eternally grateful for the bulletproof vest I had on to protect my major organs. I ran back to the Aranot side with my soldiers covering me as best as they could. My feet pounded against the dirt floor and soil shot up in the air as bullets hit the ground. Just a few more steps.
I leapt towards my people as General Talia caught me just as I lost the rest of my strength and collapsed. I had a few bullet wounds in my arms and legs and the pain was nothing I could ever imagine. I smiled weakly up at the man. I could see red liquid jewels running down my arm and drop onto the ground—stark red against the luscious, vibrant green.
"You've done well, Your Majesty." He lifted me into both of his arms and my feet were no longer touching the ground. My eyes began to flutter closed. The last person I saw was Inali's face as he yelled at me. Something about…holding on?
Beep. Beep. Beep. Something warm was pressed against my side. Beep. Beep. Beep. I groaned and opened my eyes, quickly shutting them again. The light was blinding. Once again, I slowly opened my eyes to examine my surroundings. I was in a hospital—a real hospital. My arms and legs felt stiff and I glanced at them to see white bandages still tinged slightly pink with blood. The warmth pressed against my side was Alden. He was sitting on a chair next to my bed, his hair unkempt.
There was a slight discomfort in my arm as I noticed an IV needle in my skin. It was uncomfortable and I wanted it off. The beeping I noticed was from the heart monitor hooked up to me by one of the many wires suctioned onto my skin. I tried to move my arms, but the pain prevented me from wanting to. I wanted to run my hands through Alden hair, wake him up, and tell him that I loved him, but I couldn't.
"Alden." My voice croaked from disuse. He did not stir. "Alden." I tried again a little louder. His breathing was still even. I closed my eyes searching for my bond with him. Delving into my mind, I searched for a single unbreakable strand that linked me to my dimidiates. I found it and pulled hard.
I heard a gasp next to me and I opened my eyes. Confused eyes stared into mine before relief quickly flooded them. His face held days of restless nights and worry. He looked a little gaunt and I feared that he had not eaten much. "You're alright." His heavenly voice breathed. I smiled, not wanting to move my head from fear of pain. He stood and leaned down to kiss me.
We parted, but his lips were still centimeters from mine. "I have to tell you something," I whispered. His eyes held questions. "Come closer." He leaned a little farther and I craned my neck up to whisper into his ear. "I love you." He quickly pulled back, mismatched eyes that I found endearing were wide. His lips crashed into mine.
He pulled back, resting his forehead against mine. "I−I love you, too." I leaned up to kiss him and felt him smile.
"Where am I?" I asked when we parted.
"Home." His eyes held slight pain. "You were out for a week."
"And what about the activists?"
"Broken apart…for now. Ella…did you…" he trailed unsure if he should continue. "Did you…kill him?"
My eyes closed and I breathed in Alden's comforting scent. "Yes. I did. Do you…" I hesitated, wondering if I wanted to even know the answer, "hate me?"
"Heavens, no." he said in disbelief. "How could I ever hate you, Ella. Do you know what you mean to me? You're always risking yourself and doing things that I strongly disapprove of and still do, might I add." He gave me a pointed look. "But I could never, ever hate you. If you ever disappeared, I wouldn't be able to live." He stood straight and ran his fingers through his hair, breathing heavily out. "So you have to get better, my Queen. After all this, you're never leaving my side." He bent down once again and reached out a hand to cup my cheek. His eyes gleamed with mischief. "So, I'm putting you on 24/7 watch."
It's done. My first story completed. It's been quite a journey going through Estella's story. Special thanks to Alaeryel for all those reviews! They were very encouraging! (: Thanks all for following this story all the way through. It's sad to see this story end, I've fallen in love with Estella and Alden and it'll hurt to leave them, but there's other characters awaiting my attention. I hope to see you all once again in my other stories!