Tie It With a Ribbon


“Is what we did right?” she asked, leaning against him for support.

“I don’t know,” he admitted quietly, “but I miss them so much. I just wish things could have been different.”

“But Camille and Salina will take very good care of London and Amelia, right? Even if they will never forgive us for what we did?”

“I have no doubt in my mind. Salina is the perfect Queen for the Aquilans, and Camille is the perfect Queen for the Leonians. I just hope they won’t allow Temperance and Merit to make the same mistake we did, one that cost us everything.”

She frowned. “That story only had two children. What about the third, the hybrid?”

“He’ll stay with us, Mom and Dad. And when he’s old enough to understand everything, and when we’re old enough to understand, we’ll go back, Alena. We’ll claim our thrones back and throw the kingdoms together before this can happen ever again.”

Alena smiled. “What if we get there too late? What if the world continues to spin despite the staged act?”

Zanzibar looked over to the young boy playing in the river. “Well, that’s a risk we have to take. Until they’re ready for us, we can’t go back, or you might not snap out of it in time.” He rubbed his back as it ached under the bandages.

She sighed. “I don’t know what came over me. I think it was everyone around us. We couldn’t trust anybody, Zanzibar, but I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to again.”

He kissed her softly, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Until then, we’ll blend in here, with the humans. And we’ll just pray that no one else attempts what we did, because it would just end up the same. I suppose history does repeat itself.”

“Can you tell me something? Do you still not feel grief for the death of your parents?”

He sighed softly, shaking his head. “I will never forgive them for using me to try to end such a precious life on the basis of ‘what if?’ I will cherish the memories we had, and I will hold those years dear to my heart, but once they tried such a horrendous thing… They were no longer my parents—they were monsters, consumed by the world around them, a world which we so narrowly escaped being pulled into ourselves.”

She nodded and stood up, holding out a hand. She would not pressure him further, though she liked to think that someday they would look upon those graves again without sickened scowls. “It’s Xavier’s bedtime.”

“Maybe that’s what we need,” he murmured, looking to the sky. “Maybe we just need to worry about him and his life, without having to worry about losing ours.” He sighed, releasing a shaky breath. “And yet I can’t help but wish to go back, to see them again, even if it wasn’t yet meant to be.”


“Auntie Camille!” Amelia cried, rushing up to Camille and grabbing hold of her skirt.

“What is it sweetheart?” she asked, smiling down at the child who held her brother’s eyes and her sister’s voice.

Though she had seen them die, she did not truly believe they were gone. And even if they weren’t, well, she could see them both so clearly in the two blessings they had left behind. Xavier had vanished the same night as Alena and Zanzibar’s bodies had disappeared, and she clung to the hope that someday they would come home.

“Look at that boy over there,” she demanded, pointing to a young Leonian, who smiled sheepishly in return. “Isn’t he so cute?”

She gasped, shaking her head furiously. “No, Amelia. You must never go near that boy. Never. Do you hear me?” she asked, shaking her shoulders relentlessly.

“You’re hurting me!” she cried, sobbing.

Camille stopped suddenly, standing up. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. Just, please, we will find you a nice Aquilan boy.”

She hurried towards Weston to ask how things were going at the Nest with Salina and London. She knew that Zanzibar and Alena and Xavier’s disappearance had been hard on her, because she had simply stopped loving her Aquilan husband, as if she truly believed it was impossible to continue what they were doing.

He was still trying to talk sense into her, and Camille prayed that he would. But if they would only return, she knew that the light and wonder would return to Salina’s reserved eyes once more.

Amelia wiped her eyes, looking over to the boy who was smiling still.

“But he’s so cute,” she mumbled to herself, thinking for only a moment. “Wait!” she called, laughing as she chased after him and grinning as he dashed up to meet her.

“Hey.” He smiled brilliantly, unable to remove his eyes from the bird that should not have had this hold over him.

“I’m Amelia,” she told him coyly. “Amelia Giovanni. What’s your name?”

“Benji,” he murmured, holding out a gentle hand.

She smiled, taking his hand. “Do you want to know what my biggest wish is?”


She smiled, leading him towards the marketplace. “I taught myself to fly; and someday, I would like to teach you to soar.”

He smiled. “What does it feel like to have the graceful winds beneath your wings?” Benji murmured, shaking his head. “But these feet were not made to leave the ground.”

“I really like you Benji.” She kissed his cheek softly, causing him to blush furiously.

“I like you, too.”

♠ ♠ ♠

Essentially, Alena and Zanzibar were forced to make a difficult decision: they had to leave their home or die. Because they could not just up and leave, they had staged their deaths. However, Alena had almost risked the entire plan as her insanity took over, though she had been able to get control over herself just in time. They left London and Amelia as heirs to the empty thrones, placing Camille and Salina in charge until they come of age.

Their biggest fear is that, before it is time for them to return and reclaim their thrones, someone will attempt what they did. They know it would only end as it always has in the past, but they believe that they can break the cycle because they know what to avoid. They had to wait for the two kingdoms to become more trusting towards each other before they dare try again. Until then, they will simply focus on raising Xavier so he may one day rule the two kingdoms.

Then the story fades back to the kingdoms where Amelia is heckling Camille, who cannot help but feel as if her brother, sister, and nephew have not truly left the earth just yet. When she hears that Amelia has taken a fancy towards a Leonian. Fearing that Amelia may turn towards the road that Zanzibar and Salina have taken, she fights her on this, forbidding her from seeing him ever again. She then leaves to find Weston to discuss their predicament and to see how Salina, who had seemed to give up on her marriage entirely, was doing. This is to show how much Salina has changed from an outgoing Leonian to a reserved Aquilan.

Meanwhile, Amelia cannot help but disobey her aunt's words and hurry to meet up with her new friend. The boy also holds her dear to his heart, though he does not understand why. She shared with him that she wants to teach him to fly just as she does, and he strangely desires to understand the feeling of wind cradling his body, and he regrets that his feet were not made to leave the ground.

The story ends with Amelia and Benji exchanging admittances of fondness, something Alena and Zanzibar had prayed would not happen between any birds and lions.

I like to think it's a happy ending, at least in a strange way. It's meant to make you think...and I just like the idea of history repeating and a story to which you can almost imagine up a true ending :) That being said, I'm not going to do a sequel to this, because I wanted a rather open-ended last chapter. Thanks for reading, commenting, and subscribing! :)