Author’s Note: So I decided to try Carry on Tuesday‘s prompt this time, for both possible serials again. I would have had a hard time resisting a line from a favorite movie of mine, especially with the decorations we have to go with it, so I didn’t resist.
The prompt was “After all, tomorrow is another day” from Gone with the Wind.
As I mentioned before, this is one of the possible serials that I’m considering keeping on site. People can pick one or both, and if they want more information, they can look here.
“Tomorrow is another day. You may continue to watch the queen and see what she does,” Gekin said, dipping his feet into the pool of water. Anokii would have smiled if she didn’t know that he was doing it to ease his aches. He had been taking too many risks, too many trips. They all knew that their time before the king returned was short, and those who were not distracting him down south were occupied with getting more of their people to safety—or strategic locations—before he turned on their other neighbors. When he went for the queen’s people, they would be ready.
She hoped, at least.
“I know it is another day. I know I must keep watching her, but the more I learn of her, the more I worry that she cannot be trusted at all. She is… frightening.”
Gekin rubbed at the back of his neck, his body betraying all of his aches. He had gone to the border despite his promise to ensure her safety, and Anokii should be angry, but she was not. She did not know how to be, not when he was doing so much for the others. Her life was not so very important—not to anyone but him.
“Do you think that they sent her in to work against the king?”
“I had wondered, but she does not seem quite… sane. She baited Malzhi, and she did not answer his summons. She is not acting as though she has a plan or as though she believes she will live much longer.”
“They could have sent a dying woman on purpose. If they wanted an excuse to provoke a war, they could claim that the king had murdered her, and that would be all they needed. She is only a tool, someone to be manipulated by both sides. You cannot expect her to think that she will live. If the king does not kill her, someone else will. If the king does not kill her immediately, she stands to suffer enough at his hands that she would wish that she was dead.”
Anokii frowned. “You sound as though you pity her.”
“I do not think that I pity her as much as I might have some means of understanding her position. I have never spoken to her, though I did travel with their party for part of the way. I did not think her all that interesting—she did not speak in my presence, though I was told that she conversed with Agache at one point.”
“She spoke to Agache?”
Gekin nodded. “Does that surprise you so much? He was her companion for most of the journey, and the only one who would dared to have spoken to a future queen. She had either her servants—all of whom were dismissed when she reached the castle—and him.”
“Then perhaps that is what she meant by regrets.”
“The queen must be aware that the king used her to justify his imprisonment of Agache. I do not know why he chose not to execute him publicly—that is what he would have wanted, a way to demoralize us all.”
Gekin snorted. “Killing Agache did not demoralize us. It gave us more reason to fight against him. Agache is now a martyr, and many who would not fight or act against the king before are willing to do so. They know they have no one to appeal to, not without him. Now we do more. We fight harder. We are more unified. It is far from what he would have wanted when he killed his cousin.”
Anokii nodded. “True. That much good, at least, has come out of his death. Not that his death should be considered good, but we did not let it stop us.”
“We could never let it stop us. We must keep going. There is no other choice. Our people will die out if we do not. Already we have seen this place steal most of our children, if any are able to have them, and we as a species will die. If only we had never chosen to live above ground. The earth would have protected us, and those like the king would not have coveted our riches. We would have seemed to have none.”
“I wish that we could go back to living only at night. This heat is a slow death for us all.”
“We will find a way to have our lives back. Our kind craves the moonlight. We are meant to be of the night and the darkness. That is why we have no color of our own,” Gekin said, touching her cheek. “I remember our first moments in the dark. You glowed in a way that I had never seen before and have never seen again.”
“I have always hated how that cave-in cost us our favorite place. These catacombs do not go deep enough to allow us to have our phosphorescence, and I have never seen you more handsome than you were in the darkness.”
He smiled. “Soon, ninaimant. Soon.”
“I must return to the castle now.”
“Stay with me. The queen will not need you until morning, but I… I need you now.”
Anokii nodded. She could not refuse him. She had never refused him anything in all her life, and she would not start this late in it. “Come. I know of a darker place than this.”