“Princess Lucia!” Skyler bowed hastily, then ran to my side. “Are you hurt?”
“I’m fine.” I replied, veiling my annoyance at the interruption.
“What’s wrong?” Mizuki asked, her almost relinquished band forgotten.
“Sera--” Skyler’s voice broke into a sob. He covered his mouth, trying to hold onto a professional appearance. “There was another attack.” He managed. “Whoever’s after Lucia, they have magic on their side.”
“Where are the others?” Mizuki took a cloak from a cabinet and wrapped it around my shoulders. “We have to tell the King. Lucia isn’t safe here.” She looked back at Skyler and her face fell. “What happened?”
Skyler’s hands balled into fists at his sides and he wouldn’t look at either of us. “A guard found Seraphina in the memorial courtyard. She… she was completely frozen.”
Mizuki put a hand on his arm. “I’m sorry.” She wrapped her arms around him, even though Guardians were elite warriors and didn’t hug each other. But Mizuki had always ignored that fact, and her hugs were calming.
“It doesn’t seem possible.” Skyler murmured. “It’s like… like she was turned into ice.”
His words surprised even me. “What?”
He shook his head. “It has to be magic. And powerful magic at that.” His eyes met mine, serious to void. “Lucia, would I be able to look over Queen Amali’s records.”
“Luna has them memorized.” I told him. “If you have questions, she’ll have answers.”
He nodded, extricated himself from Mizuki’s arms, and bowed. “Thank you.” He said before turning to the door.
“Wait.” Mizuki called after him. “What does this have to do with Queen Amali?”
“Our magic.” He answered, holding up his wrist and the band around it. It irked me, hearing him talk about the magic like it belonged to him. “It comes from her island. Maybe this ice does, too.”
“He’s admirable.” Mizuki sighed. “Even with everything that’s happened, he’s still able to think clearly.” She turned back to me and pulled the cloak tighter. “Still, it’s too dangerous. We need to get you to safety.”
“I don’t want to see my father.” I stated. Anger still ran through me and he wasn’t next on my list.
“Alright.” Mizuki agreed. “It’s been an ordeal. Why don’t you wait with Ellen while I talk to him?”
I nodded and she left the room, water band still in her possession. It can wait. I decided.
As I walked through the halls, I noticed that every guard I passed kept their eyes on me for as long as they could. “Three.” I heard one mumble to himself.
More anger flooded me. They weren’t watching me because I was the heir to their kingdom and there had just been an attempt on my life. They were watching me because of rumors. Because I was supposedly cursed.
Ice crackled across the floor with each step I took. If they weren’t worried about a magical assassin, then I’d give them a reason to be.
A door opened a few meters down the hall and Ellen rushed out. When she saw me, she sighed. “Lucia.” She jogged up to me, innocent smile shining like the sun. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” She put a hand on my arm, then ripped it away. “You’re freezing!”
She looked behind me down the hall, maybe for an open window I’d passed. Her eyes grew wide when she saw the ice. “What happened?” She asked in amazement.
“Ellen.” I said to get her attention. “The Guardians need to stay in balance.”
She nodded. “I know. Fire and Water. Earth and Air. Light and Darkness.” She smiled widely at me. “Have you decided to appoint a new Darkness Guardian? To keep the balance?”
“No.” Ice crackled around our feet and she stepped back, a hint of worry dampening her smile. “That’s not the only way to keep balance.”
I held out my hand, a snowflake already forming. “More Darkness isn’t the answer. I just need less Light.”