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Chapter 9 - A Long-Lost Friend

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Chapter 9

VIVIENNE DIDN'T believe in fairy tales. Growing up, she never dreamed of becoming a princess. She was the kind of girl who fantasized about marrying the boy next door. In her wildest, most secret of dreams, she used to pretend she was the girlfriend of a gangster. Not a real gangster, but one of the boys at school who dressed in baggy jeans, put gel in their hair, and who used to get kicked out of movie theaters for wearing too many chains. That was probably the wildest fantasy she ever had when it came to boys.

When she woke up the next morning, Vivienne discovered she wasn't the shy girl with dark witchy hair who fantasized about boys on motorcycles anymore. The word around Pearl Tower was that she was "The Verge Vixen." The girl who was on a verge of royalty, that was her new claim to fame.

Wisteria, aka Panther, on the other hand, was strutting about the courtyard as though she already had a tiara on her head. She waved enthusiastically to Vivienne in the hallway.

"I'm so sorry about the Mars," Wisteria said, with a gaggle of followers admiring her every move. "You probably wouldn't fit in with his crowd anyway."

Vivienne wondered if Wisteria had bothered to listen to the second story of the day, which was that Prince Mercury had been spotted cavorting about the outskirts of Manna City with a full house of disreputable girls in his company. But here, with her bright yellow dress and pretty pink ballerina flats, one would think Wisteria was the queen of the world. Vivienne hoped none of her new followers were cruel enough to inform her that her new nickname was "Wed to Prince Playboy."

Vivienne suddenly regretted dressing in a simple black skirt with a white blouse with pearl buttons. To those that didn't know her, she probably looked like she was going to a funeral. Vivienne picked up breakfast and met Sallen in the dining room to eat. The dining area was surprisingly empty. There were a couple of seasoned Orlins, stuffing their faces with salad while checking their cellphones. There were also men and women with shifty eyes who Vivienne didn't recognize. She finally found Madame Jyger, seated among a group of serious-looking Orlins. She pointed Vivienne to an area behind a painted silkscreen. There, Vivienne found Sallen was sitting by herself and a bowl of spinach and anemone soup.

"Where is everybody?" Vivienne asked.

"Sssh," Sallen said. "Keep your voice down." Sallen was wearing make-up and her hair was done up in a bun. Vivienne suddenly wished that she had done more than brush her teeth and run a comb through her hair that morning.


"Don't you know anything?" Sallen asked. "Oh yeah, you're been too busy hibernating to follow the news. After the Night Masquerade, the Pearl Tower is open to the public again. Only the richest, classiest members of Manna City citizens could afford to come in but even so reporters manage to get inside. They're listening to us."

"So we're supposed to sneak around like criminals?"

"No, we're supposed to leave," Sallen said and showed Vivienne a text message from Jaker Henton. "He invited us to live at the Henton Estates with his uncle. Calbert will be there too, of course. I'm supposed to tell you to pack your things. We're leaving in three hours."

"Wait, wait, back up. First of all, where did you get a cell phone?" Vivienne asked. She wondered if she had been sleeping for ten years instead of ten hours.

"I got it from Madame Jayer. She gave me yours too. They will call us when we're supposed to meet with them again. For now, we're supposed to work on our bonds with our Ansuras." Sallen pulled a cellphone out of her other pocket.

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by KateLorraine
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