Raine wasn’t an idiot. She knew what her parents were, just as she knew that the deal they were brokering wasn’t exactly a benevolent one. But if she did anything now, it would prevent her from gaining further intel that could be of use–especially if what they said was true and the princess was there.
They had landed a few hours earlier onto a small, backwater planet called Earth. It was nice, truly, and while Raine could see its appeal, her only concern was the princess–and on finding her before her parents did. The princess was the only one who could restore order to their planet.
“You would have to give us magic–even the odds a little if what you say is true.”
Raine turned her attention back to the conversation, not liking where this was going. “We’re talking about what’s likely two Smagians. We just need you to flush them out–we can handle it from there–they are our people afterall–our problem.”
“Now, now,” Raine’s mother said, patting her on the shoulder as if she were a child, “surely we can do more for our allies than that.” She turned back toward the general. “We can spare a few magic rocks to aid you, but you will have to choose only your most worthy soldiers to receive them.”
“And me,” the general insisted.
“Yes, of course,” Raine’s father assured him, and they kept negotiating. In the end, they had given the general one stone for each element in exchange for their agreement to assist in the coming invasion.
“So how do you know that the princess is even here?” She asked as they made their way away from the docks.
Her parents exchanged knowing looks. “We know,” they said together, but Raine shook her head.
“I’m not a child anymore. How can I help, if I don’t actually know what’s going on?”
They exchanged another look, before her mother sighed and turned back to Raine. “We had operatives discharged to any life-supporting planets we were able to find. One of our operatives has made his way into the princess’s inner circle. We received contact not that long ago.”
Raine frowned. The only person the princess had trusted back on Smag was Reno–Raine’s twin brother.
10 years earlier.
A crash woke Gillian from a deep sleep, and the walls shook with a loud rumble. She could hear screams and wails from the hallway, and the flash of light that could only be from magic. Even as she clamored out of bed, the door burst open to reveal Reno, her best friend, standing there fully dressed. “We have to get out of here,” he told her.
Unquestioningly, she took his hand and let him lead her down the hallway. She wanted to cry–or scream at the sight of the mangled bodies ravaged by earth and water magic at their highest level of devastation. For a moment, she stopped and could only stare at Reno, wide-eyed and on the verge of tears. “Your parents did this?”
Reno shook his head fiercely. “They’re not my parents anymore. Come on.”
But Gillian resisted, shaking her head. “What about my parents?” she whispered.
Reno bowed his head. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t get to them in time.” He met her gaze. “That’s why we have to go. You’re the only hope that Smag has left.”
Together, they ran down the hallway, very nearly running into one of the guards. At first thinking they were safe, Gillian very nearly implored him for help, but he formed fire in his hand and threw it at them. “Gillian, get down!”
The fire wouldn’t have done much damage to Gillian, but Reno was another story. Together, the two of them threw a blast of magic at the guard, fire and wind combining in a swirl of flame that the guard just couldn’t defend against. His charred body fell to the ground and the wind and fire died out. Gillian could only stare in horror.
“What did we do?”
Reno gently took her hand to lead her away. “What we had to.”
Gillian bolted up in her bed, breathing heavily. For a moment there, she had thought she had been back on Smag, and that they were being invaded all over again. Realizing that she was in the apartment she shared with Reno on earth, she pushed herself up on her pillows and listened. All was quiet. Kevin had apparently had to leave–although he was Smagian, he had managed to find himself a job working in a warehouse, and whenever shipments came in, he would get a phone call and need to go in. As a result, Gillian was used to waking up alone, but she really could have used the company after dreaming about that night.
Quietly, she climbed out of bed, padding her way over to the door and stepped out into the main part of the apartment. All was quiet. She moved toward Reno’s door, knocking quietly. When there was no response, she opened the door slightly, not wanting to wake him if he was sleeping. He was probably sleeping. With a jolt, she realized she was alone in the apartment. Reno must have stayed over at his girlfriend’s place. Unlike Gillian, he had fallen for a human, which was something that Gillian just couldn’t fathom. She liked Kay Leigh just fine, but at the same time, she was reluctant to trust humans.
Even as she thought it, she heard a knock on the door. With narrowed eyes, she checked the clock in the kitchen–2:30 in the morning. Who would be knocking on the door at 2:30 in the morning?
With a frown on her face, Gillian made her way to the door and checked the peephole. And instantly paled. Standing on the other side of the door was the daughter of the couple who had killed her parents. Standing outside the door, was Reno’s sister, Raine.