She desired to leave so much. Go away over there If only it was possible. She felt discouraged and began to cry, and more tears streamed down her face.
She slackened her arms and rested them a bit. The baby against her her baby was not saying a word, perhaps even afraid too, for she felt the despair of her mother and all her uncertainty. Impassively, Xenia moved her head up : a bright light, dazzling on the forest and on the mist. An engine noise Not them again ? No, it was a different ship (even if she was not an expert, she knew enough about ships to recognize their origins).
Voices, Xenia surmised, would be audible, so she came close slowly, a hand on the mouth of her daughter. She listened and heard voices speak :
- Vus have one hour. Hurry and be cautious.
- Are voa sure that this is what voa want ?
- Of course. There are no other solutions.
- There are always others ! All we needed to do was adopt from an orphanage !
- Ia already told voo, no. Ia refuse to risk my honor. Ia know what they will think about me if I they knew I adopted. Ia will have my own child ! Nobody will ever know about this !
- It is really uncertain a wild child ! What do voa want us to do with it ?
- Its education will do everything ! And stop arguing, weve gone over this enough times. Lets go
- Do voa want me to come with voa, your Highness ? It is not advisable.
- It is useless, Vivian.
- If it is as voa order.
The last one inclined and let the two others pass.
Afraid and mistrustful in front of the two strangers, Xenia turned back, staggered another time, and braced herself with her two arms, releasing her daughters mouth, who let a scream escape her lips. The queen heard the infants cry immediately.
- This way !
She ran and caught up with the fugitive.
- No, no, no ! Please dont hurt me ! I I dont know anything, I dont know Let me go ! Please ! implored Xenia on her knees.
- Who are yoa ?
- Xe Xenia .
- Is that your child ?
- Yes, my daughter
- Do yoa want to leave this place ?
Eyes wide open, lost, Xenia remained speechless for a moment, wondering what to say
- Do yoa want to leave this place ? Answer.
- I I dont understand who are you ?
Xenia was finally able to articulate. The queen sighed shortly, sat on her heels to be at the same level with Xenia, stared at her directly in the eyes, and rested a gentle hand on her shoulder :
- Listen, we are not going to hurt yoa. We can help yoa.
Xenia began to open her mouth, but the queen cut her off with a sign from her other hand.
- Let me finish. If you sell your child to me, we will help yoa escape. Yoa will live wherever yoa want. Yoa will not be able to see her again and you will keep our deal a secret. Those are the only conditions. Do yoa accept ?
- Well y... yes... yes completely !
Xenia succeeded to stammer.
The queen helped her to stand. Xenia kept her daughter against her and walked with the queen and the others to the ship.
The king, who did not say anything, was observing that strange wild female with a pitiful and sorry face. He also inspected his future child in her arms as well as he could.
Installed on the ship and ready to go, the queen told Vivian, with a nod of her head, to bring what she had promised Xenia. In front of the abundant sum of money, Xenia fell to the floor, pushed her daughter in the arms of the king, sat beside the queen, and looked at her fortune. She knew what it was; she dreamt of it excessively (surely all her life), but she had never seen so much before, not even its shadow.
- Good. That belongs to yoa now. Lets agree a last time. Look at me, for heavens sake ! It belongs to yoa, we will not take it back ! This money is for yoa, yoa are free. Yoa can not to see this child againdo not even try to contact us ! Vivian, here, will stay with yoa. He is loyal, it is to be sure yoa keep your word. Excepting that point, yoa may do what yoa want with your life.
Eyes full of gratitude, Xenia acquiesced, and inclined respectfully.
When they were near enough to Upleas, and when the small escape pod was ready, Vivian took Xenia with him. Vivian looked at his queen a last time, eyes full of pledges and comfort. Just before closing the lock-chamber, Xenia looked through the scuttle and whispered a wonderment only audible to herself :
- So there is life on this planet , then turning back to the queen, her name is Ma
- Whatever it is, it is hers no more.
The queen activated the closing of the lock-chamber and watched the ship launch off and away. The king, holding the child in his arms, came near his wife, eyes wet with tears :
- Her mother is beautiful. She will be, as well It is a girl We could not be luckier.
He deposited the heiress in the arms of her new mother, who took her tenderly and smiled at her. It was a girl, and no matter the past, it was her own child. The king bent over her and remained this way, contemplating that little hope they thought they would never possess.
Some days later, the birth of the heiress of the royal throne of Upleas was heralded.
In the great temple, where celebrations of all the events of the royal family were held, the child was baptized to be officially declared royal princess and future queen. In this way, holding her in his arms, the Devos declared :
- By the name of your mother Zéninuma, and the name of your father Idlé, Io baptize yoa Zélée, royal princess and future queen of the people of Upleas. Yoa will receive your education in the majesty and the wisdom a queen requires to rule with honor. Become strong to serve your people the best way they may need under your guidance.
End of the Prologue