To Wonder Why

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After the battle at Lake Morgana, the Wardens are separated. Skylar is exiled on Zeld, declared a wayward Princess, Reese and Fitz are forced to become workers on another planet, and Everett is just trying to find Colosseo; the stone of destruction. All the while fabled monsters are escaping their universal prison and are hell-bent on creating as much as damage as possible.
Sequel to Up There So High

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1. A Bored Princess

 

 

Part One 

 

Chapter One 

A princess was not meant to be bored. She was meant to be slaying dragons, leading her country into victory, or defeating octopus-shaped monsters. Not staring at a ceiling. Admittedly it was a pretty view: a painted rendition of the galaxy. But that was not the point.  

Skylar was more than some damsel locked away in a tower. But her parents had exiled her, told the people or Zeld that she had endangered the Pantheon and disbanded her group of friends. With Everett away on Earth, a location even she didn’t truly know, and Reese and Fitz on another planet entirely, she was alone.  

Five months after the battle at Lake Morgana - or nearly three Earthen months according to Everett's past calculations – she found herself in her parent’s old summer home in Zane. Her grandfather had given Barbary’s Chateau to them whilst he went on his travels; he wouldn’t have guessed that just a month after he left the planet his daughter would be declared Queen by the Pantheon.  

She had servants for company, those who wanted to stay in the summer house all year round. Their families were in Zane and the pay was good. There were also guards, to make sure that she never left the sprawling grounds of the home. Skylar called all of them The Silent because only a few talked to her in-depth. They were vastly unlike her maids who had become friends to her.  

It was lonely and stagnant: different from her previous time fighting with the Miracle.  

She sighed and got up from the bed, tearing her eyes away from the galactic rendition.  

She may have been surrounded by luxuries, but she wanted nothing more than to be outside in what she recognised, barricaded by trees and greenery.  

There was a chair that looked like the word precarious, an elegant table pushed up against the bay window, the hills and valleys and skies lying innocently against the innocuous glass, and the red carpet covered the cold sections of painted wooden floors. This was what she had been reduced to, a handful of the most tasteful furniture in existence.  

We, at our cores, are just a collection of perceptions, memories and definitions. My definition, at least for now, is furniture.  

Skylar thought as she stood, marvelling how the amber light didn’t catch on the decadent walls of jewels and stone bars. She paced, thoughts internally rattling as her bare feet padded against the carpets. 

I must not waste away here, she promised herself and walked out of her bedroom. Isolation could drive a man wild, and she retreated to the gardens to rebel against that notion. The grounds were surrounded by high bushes and woven trees, a natural fence which was re-enforced by Zeld’s habit of towering trees.  

To stem boredom whilst in the chateau, she pushed both her body and mind – running around the chateau at dawn and dusk, and painting to keep her imagination occupied. Servants gathered an easel and paint for her, a stool to nestle in the thick grass, and a set of paints and pencils. She had yet to paint the garden, and soon her fingertips were immersed in green.  

“Miss Kingsley?” a maid’s voice said to her left. 

She hummed but did not move from broad sweeps of her brush. Dusk was just setting in, and her limbs didn’t want to move for her run. The sky was erupting into patches of purple and pink in between the ever-growing tree branches.  

“You have visitors, Miss Kingsley.”  

The paintbrush halted.  

“Visitors?” she muttered, turning her head. Her parents had said nothing about visiting her, in fact, her mother made it explicitly clear that she didn’t want to see her for a while.  

“Your grandfather has arrived back from his trip; he was very surprised that you are here.” The maid smiled and held out her hands for the paints.  

Skylar numbly handed them to her and followed another made back into the chateau. This maid was newer and didn’t look her in the eyes as much, she took to the quick march up the steps into the main dining room.  

“Your smock,” the maid remarked, raising an eyebrow as Skylar looked confused.  

She wore a smock to make sure the paint wouldn’t ruin her clothes, and she hurriedly untied the straps and handed it off to the maid. She knew that there was paint on her arms and hands, and flecks may have adorned her brow and cheeks. Her hair would be windswept and she would not look like the Princess her grandfather would be expecting.  

But he hadn’t seen her since she was a little girl. She didn’t know exactly what he was expecting from her.  

Excitement rose in her bones and a skip worked its way into her legs as she jumped the last two steps. She had visitors, and the stagnant nature of Barbary was over.  

Her grandfather was not alone. When she finally surfaced into the main room, the maid ducking out of the door with the smock in hand, there were two men at the octagonal table. Her grandfather, Darion Ryker, had always known that wanderlust existed in his soul and once he had known that his daughter and her family would be fine without him, he took the chance to explore. At first, it was around Zeld, beating back the trees with axes as he walked from pole to pole, but then it was galactic travel.  

He sat at the table; long hair now braided down to his chest. It was still a deep silver, and he had a beard an inch from his chin. He smiled when he saw her and pushed his chair back.  

The other man took a step back to avoid the chair. He was tall and slender, limbs wrapped in a grey suit. He held a top hat in his hands, a fashion that was unpopular for Zeld. They were meant for costume, typically used in theatre. Black hair was slicked back, and one ear was wrapped in black metal jewellery, descending into a hole in the bottom of the lobe. He looked Earthen and foreign like the stories of what Everett would describe as being rebellious.  

“Ah, Skylaric,” her grandfather said, opening his arms to hug her, “You have grown.”  

She hugged him gleefully, he was warm and his beard tickled her neck, “You haven’t seen me in years.”  

“It should be about nearly twenty years,” he pondered, stroking his chin as his eyes grew sad. “But now we have time to make up for the lost time.” He pulled back to look her properly, laughing a little before letting her go. “This is my friend Kalin,” he gestured back to the other man who grinned at her, “I met him on my travels.”  

Kalin’s eyes seemed drawn to a spot just up from the middle of her forehead and she absentmindedly rubbed at it.  

“You can tell,” she laughed, “No one on Zeld would walk around with a top hat.”  

“Oh, is that what it is,” Kalin said, looking at the hat in his hands, “You never told me,” he directed towards Darion, placing the hat on the table.  

Darion laughed and slapped him on the shoulder.  

“I was a bit surprised to see that the Chateau is under guard,” her grandfather remarked, turning back to her.  

She shuffled on her feet, looking intently at the ceiling, “I disagreed with mother,” it took a moment to think of the right words, “You may have heard of The Miracle on your travels?”  

Kalin sharply inhaled, “We heard that The Miracle was defeated,” he said slowly.  

“It involved Zeld did it not?” her grandfather inputted.  

Skylar nodded, “The final battle was here, near Lake Morgana. I and some friends I met discovered a way to defeat her, but it involved the Pantheon and un-bonding it from my mother. She wasn’t exactly pleased.” 

“Aye, Maeve wouldn’t have liked that,” he laughed. He and Skylar’s mother had various conversations; letters sent months after they were originally written. Skylar had even written to her grandfather a few times, telling him how life as a new Princess was. She knew him more from the written word then face to face conversations.  

“She branded me and my friend's enemies of the Pantheon and exiled us. Me to this tower and my friends to other planets,” she left her statements vague and simple, scared to tell them the whole story. Entity knew that she didn’t want to relive it all – her heart still panged from seeing Everett for the last time, the chance of something happening between them washed away with miles of galactic territory. A future had been exiled alongside them.  

“I’ll have to see your mother, but we’ll leave that for another day,” he chuckled and linked his arm in with hers, “Now what do you say that we settle into some rooms and then order dinner?”  

“Pod travel always makes me hungry,” Kalin remarked and followed them out of the room.  

Skylar had been placed in the highest room, and she took them to a suite below hers. There were three bedrooms to a floor, and the gentlemen were pleased with the space they were offered.  

Skylar rubbed her hands together as she watched them prepare, servants, gathering luggage up the stairs.  

“Pod travel?” she asked as Kalin took the last bag from the servants.  

He raised an eyebrow at her.  

“You said that you were hungry from the pod travel?”  

“There are huge spaceships, we call them Motherships, where other ships can connect to them. There’s a technology called Pods, enclosed small ships which can be hurtled through space from one of these Motherships to a declared location. The person in the pod is asleep until the last hour of the journey. Journeys can sometimes take days or weeks depending on where you’re coming from.”  

Skylar just nodded, blown away with the logistics of it.  

“It can take some time to adjust to being on solid ground again,” Kalin said and disappeared into a room with his bags.  

“I can imagine,” she said into the space, turning to see her grandfather smiling at her. There was a lot of smiling, and it almost made her nervous.  

“It’ll take some time to adjust to how you are now,” he said, “I’ve missed so much.”  

“You’re staying on Zeld, right?”  

“I’ve made my peace with space; it was time to come home.” He hugged her one last time before turning and telling her to hurry dinner along.  

Skylar knew a dismissal when she saw one.  

“Where did you find Kalin anyway?” she questioned as she hovered in the door frame for the last time.  

Without turning around her grandfather answered, “On a planet far, far from here.” She could almost imagine him winking when the words left his lips. He was enigmatic as always.  

She shook her head and left, descending the stairs to head to the kitchen. The last time she had an enigmatic visitor she learned of a place called Earth and it led to a lot of dangerous and exciting eventualities. It led her to both The Miracle and Everett. Two ends to a very bitter and sharp sword.  

She couldn’t wait for what possibilities awaited her.  

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