Chapter XVI

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Cenerea, 3rd planet from the star Letria. Regalius, The Homeland, Central Region,

Just Outside Of The Capitol City, The Arcturan Estate,

Forty-Two Cenerean Years Ago

"Mother, NO! I...I swear to you, it wasn't all me!" Lily screeched.

Jinah covered her mouth with her hand attempting to mask the smirk beneath it.

"You have to know it was that little bitch, Jinah and that hacker she's been screwing! Somehow..."

"Silence! I do not believe you, Lilith!" Mother Arcturis Doltanna shouted loudly, her voice echoing through the large marble throne room. "I have several slaves confessing to their participation in your heinous deed and even more as witnesses. They have sworn to me of their involvement in exchange for their lives," the woman hissed. "You have always hated your brother, so jealous of my Gilford, and this hatred has now set all of our plans to regain our empire back to zero. My life's work is now gone along with my precious son in one fiery moment!"

The matriarch paused and looked away, attempting to maintain her composure. "I took you in, Lilith, when your mother died during childbirth. Gave you a home and treated you like you were my own flesh and blood..." Doltanna returned her gaze to her adopted daughter, one filled with rage. "Well, you selfish little bitch, as I am sure you are aware by now, I never had designs on you becoming the next Mother Arcturis. Gilford was to be the next in line, the first King of Arcturius in millennia with his impending marriage to that Scientist General, Wendy Powell. The two of them were not only to regain our rule over Arcturius, but over the entire Confederation. Now..." the woman stammered. "Now, I will have to bury my dream and two of my three children in less than a month. Take her away!" she commanded, waving her hand toward the door.

"B-b-but, Mother, I..."

Two large slaves in formal white Central Region Defense Forces (CRDF) uniforms snatched Lilith Arcturis from the shiny marble floor to drag her out of the room.

"Wait!" Doltanna shouted. She leaned forward from her throne.

Lily raised her eyebrows hoping her mother might have decided to take pity on her. She looked up at the woman with pleading eyes.

"Boys, before you put a bullet in her head, feel free to take her down to the dungeon and do anything you want to her, just please make it something memorable, will you?" The Arcturan paused and waived her hand, "...oh, and there's no time limit."

"Ma'am," one of them acknowledged with a grin, tipping his cap with his fingers, and the two men dragged the beautiful Arcturan from the room.

"MOTHER!!!"

As the heavy doors to the throne room slammed shut silencing Lily's pleadings, Mother Arcturis turned her eyes toward the nineteen-year-old Jinah, the girl's smile now completely dissipated, replaced by tears and a decent amount of remorse. The matriarch's expression softened. "Jinah, honey."

"Yes, mother?" the young woman sniffed.

"Shut that shit off!" she said forcefully. "I know full well, that what happened to my Gilford was due to Lilith's scheming, but I do find it troubling that she implicated you and some unknown hacker in her confession. Why would she do such a thing?"

The girl shrugged, "I don't know. Maybe she was desperate?"

"Right," the woman said, peering at her remaining daughter, probing her face for a tell. "Let me put it this way, my pretty one, if I do find out you did have anything to do with this, I can promise you a fate far worse than what Lily will experience. I am all out of time and forgiveness; do I make myself clear, honey?"

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