CHAPTER THREE

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"Did you have trouble finding my rooms, Reverie?"

Revy didn't respond as she closed the doors behind her. She walked to her father, elegantly seated at the windows. He was already in his dark suit, sitting on his golden royal cape. He had one leg outstretched and he was waving a finger lazily, golden light trailing it.

It never failed to baffle Revy to see a tyrant seated so comfortably, almost like King Thanatos was just any ordinary human. She gulped at the sight of the power. So careful. So casual as if it was a simple trick to show the children.

But she knew better.

The royal bloodline of Analide has been intact for centuries, since the start of the kingdom throne. Star sons and firstborns, the power of the galaxy being passed down to every King and Queen. It was the reason why Analidians have fought back against every other colonizer, every other kingdom, every other empire, everyone who had tried to enslave them.

One star sent hurtling towards their nation was enough to keep them away. Two weeks of darkness, a strange shift in the seasons, or an irregularity in their days frightened them enough, ushered them back to the comfort of their spiceless foreign lands.

People were afraid of what they couldn't control, of the spectacular raw energy of the world above them.

Colonizers tried to reset it. Their elemental powers tried to have the planet move, tried to stop the crash of an asteroid, the falling of the star, and the destruction that would come.

But they couldn't.

So their Kingdom was left alone, hailed to be the deadly Land of Stars. And the tribes of Analide became more comfortable with one another, friendlier, finally accepting each other as one. They were a Kingdom now, with one ruler and governors to oversee locations.

"Are you ready?" Her father didn't rise from his sprawl, only looked at her. Revy shuddered at his awful, cold eyes.

Whip.

Deep breaths.

Revy focused on the lingering presence of Micah's power, the hidden layer of heat and protection. The love and trust of her brother, helping to grip her strong as she faced the person she hated the most.

Revy breathed in.

She looked her father right in the eye. She looked at this man who hurt her, beat her, scarred her, and trained her. This man who turned her childhood into a living hell, who hurt her people, who brought wreckage into her Kingdom—Reverie faced him, and for once...

I am not afraid.

"Yes, Your Highness." She knelt. The last time she would kneel like this.

He gave her a weak chuckle. Revy kept her head bowed as he rose from his chair and walked towards her, his steps even and unhurried. She felt the shift in the energy as he came closer—it felt alien and otherworldly. Powerful. Thrumming with life and stars.

Mine.

"Do not disappoint me," he said softly. He placed a lazy, aristocrat hand on her head, and it took all of Revy's willpower not to flinch away. Not to recoil as she remembered all the times that hand was curled into a fist, drove into her stomach—

She grit her teeth, clamped her jaw.

"Do you know your responsibilities as Queen?"

The Oath. A simplified version of the Oath.

Her father was making her say the Oath. Revy decided quickly that she won't say to him, alone in his rooms, what she intended to say in front of the watching royalty later.

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