Dervinias was kelvieri by species, and a scientist by trade. As he leaned over his microscope and peered into the lens, a high-pitched ping flicked behind his right eye.

Only one person had access to him by this means of communication—the King of Canaru—his boss, and adulterer father. The man who’d banished him to Earth almost two centuries ago. He closed the lid over his eye and touched the center of it with his middle finger. An image of the King blipped into his eye. “Your Highness, to what do I owe this honor?” 

“Listen closely. Palmo has royally mucked up. Venus is headed toward Earth.”

“How many times has he screwed up? When will you learn, fa—”

“Hold your tongue.”

“But Earth. Why? That wasn’t part of the plan. She was to be sent to Jihyra.”

“I know that,” he roared. “He was at least successful in convincing all of Kelari that the princess is a traitor and a murderer. And that she’s run away to avoid her fate.”


“Quiet! Venus must be destroyed. Immediately upon her arrival.”

“You know I can’t kill our kind. If I did, you know what’ll happen, unless you’ve forgotten. And I’d be no use to you there.” As he spoke, he dropped a blue liquid onto the cells. Under the microscope, he watched them writhe, multiply and suddenly start to die. Damn.

“You’re of no use to me now. At least not yet. This is your chance to redeem yourself. Though you cannot kill her yourself, I’m sure one of your teenaged followers would be more than willing. They’ve been killing for you quite a while now, have they not?”

Dervinius threw the slide into the trash and froze. “Wha-What are you talking about?”

“Do not disrespect me with your lies! Did you really believe I had no idea what you’ve been doing on that planet? I know everything. Make this happen or the next time we speak, I won’t be so understanding.”

“Yes, your Highness.”

But his father had already gone.

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