WE WERE SENT into Mrs. Carson’s office by her secretary not long after arriving. “Come have a seat over here on my couch ladies,” she told us.
Being in the principal’s office was at least a little bit less scary then. “Okay, I’m very busy this time of year, but I wanted to make sure I took care of getting your schedules done personally due to your… umm…”
“Weird?” I suggested.
“Odd,” Hannah suggested with a smile.
“Unique,” Mrs. Carson said with her own smile, “unique circumstances.”
“Thank you,” I said simply and Hannah’s voice was overlaid on mine.
“You two must have been great friends before all of this?” She asked.
“Us and our friend Jacob… we were like the three musketeers,” I told her.
“We grew up with each other,” Hannah added.
“Well, that’s been good for you two now it seems.” She paused to shuffle some papers, “Okay, well first thing is to let you know what your powers testing showed.”
Hannah squeaked and started to shake just a little bit.
“Hannah, since you haven’t been told anything yet at all, let’s start with you.” She paused and pressed a few times on the tablet she held, “First you’re an Exemplar Level 2, meaning you’re definitely at genius human levels mentally and about as strong as a normal human can get. Next you’re an Empath Level 2, in other words you can feel emotions from others and you can tell who is feeling what. You seem to be Level 2 in Danger Sense. Your main abilities seem to be related to the Pyrokinetic blasts you can make. They rated you a 4C in Pyrokinesis, volcanic level heat with gun accuracy, and Telekinetically a 2C, able to lift up to 200lbs remotely. The power is fairly useful since you seem to have control like if it was your hand picking it up. The final thing they noted was that you seem to be a Regen Level 5. Meaning you should heal very well if you get hurt.”
I smiled at Hannah, “You’re a tough cookie!”
“Yes, you are,” Mrs. Carson agreed. “Don’t get overconfident around here though,” she advised.
Hannah nodded and squeezed me, “What about this one?”
“Sofia’s tests were interesting. We already had a foundation with hers from Los Alamos of course,” she smiled at me, “but, we have the ability to test here beyond theirs. The device you went through last night is one of a kind built by one of the devisors we have on staff that has helped our accuracy improve. So far it seems to give about the same results as our established tests, but once in a while picks up on some powers that slip by us. We may actually ask Sofia to come in for some additional tests in a few weeks to confirm the device.”
“What changed?” I asked.
“Well, obviously your main talent is your Avatar talent. We agree with the Level 5 from your previous testing there. Esper Level 3 also did not change,” I nodded. She took a deep breath and said, “We’re labeling you a Power Mimic Level 1 due to the fact you seem to be able to take on Hannah’s talent. We think this is likely due to your nursing from her?” She shook her head, “Not really sure. It lets you have the equivalent of a Level 1C Pyrokinesis test though.”
“Cool,” I said off-handedly. It was kind of in a way. I wondered if I stopped nursing if I would still have it though.
“Next your Exemplar Level stayed at a Level 4, borderline Level 5. One of our technicians was leaning towards five, but the device went with four, so we’re sticking with that.”
Not much had changed so far, the way she was speaking before made me wonder about my Wizard level.
“The last power that showed up obviously is your Wizard power. Here Mrs. Grimes and the device both seemed to think that you’re actually a Level 7 here.”
I looked at her and said, “You’re joking right?”
She shook her head, “I’m afraid not. It’s probably partially due to Caireen being involved, but you definitely fit the description simply by the way you interact with Ley Lines. Mrs. Grimes noted that you also blew through her protection circle easier than anyone else she’s had before.” She sighed and seemed to age a decade in her posture. I watched her pull her glasses off her face as she looked at me, “Sofia, I have to implore you to be very careful with your use of magic. Level 7 wizard traits very often lead to self-destruction... You have a lot of power at your fingertips.”
I nodded, “The whole with great power thing…”
Hannah squeezed me reassuringly again. “So, did the device come up with any other results?”
Mrs. Carson nodded, “Age regression seems to be a common side-effect with high level exemplars, so the device has the ability to pinpoint the exact age of a student to help out with determining their age. Hannah you’re showing up as being 16.”
“Wait, what?” Hannah asked. “I feel like I got older… not younger?!?!”
Mrs. Carson shrugged, “I’ll be honest, the device hasn’t been wrong yet. I think you may just be perceiving the changes brought about by your Exemplar trait?”
“And what about me?” I squirmed.
She looked at me and gave me a kind smile, like she was about to pronounce a death sentence or something. “Well, this is where the device and our doctors really can’t make up their minds. The Device is saying eighteen months…”
I nodded, “That’s what the doctor said earlier,” I sighed, “but...?”
“But the doctors think based on your dentition, height, and skeletal structure you could be more like right at twenty to twenty-two months.”
“So, are you changing my MMID data?” I asked.
She shrugged, “I’m going to leave that up to you. We probably should split the difference and change it to twenty months. However, I have seen enough out of the machine to believe it’s probably more accurate at eighteen-months.”
Hannah squeezed me in a hug and I just nodded, “Go ahead and change it to eighteen-months, I guess… I definitely qualify for free everything at restaurants now, right?”
Hannah laughed behind me, “Somehow I don’t think your appetite is what they have in mind for ‘kids eat free.’”
Mrs. Carson cracked a small smile herself. “There’s one other thing that the Device did seem to confirm on you Sofia... We can run the test again in a few months, but the results indicate that you aren’t aging.”
“I kind of figured that. I guess I’ll spend a lifetime as a baby…” I felt a tear going down my cheek which Hannah wiped away and kissed the top of my head.
“Hannah, I won’t be surprised to see you reach eighteen again with your body and then freeze at a certain age as well. The doctors have made notes that they’ll test you both again in three months.”
“Well, here are your new MMIDs and your official student IDs,” she said handing over two new cards apiece to us. “Sofia, do you have your old MMID so I can destroy it?”
I nodded and reached into my storage place for my purse and to give it to her. She smiled at me and said, “You both have great pictures on these!”
“Okay, now that we have all of your test results out there, I think we need to talk about your coursework. I know both of you were almost done with high school and were taking very advanced courses.”
I sighed and nodded, “So it’s official, back to preschool for me?”
She laughed, “No, but I think it would do both of you good to consider this a chance to explore some of our more specialized course work. Because of your abilities in your other subjects I think you two could benefit though from working on this for more than just six months or even a year.”
Hannah nodded, “So sophomores...?” I couldn’t blame her for trying, even with the discussions on Sunday about us being as freshmen already.
Mrs. Carson looked thoughtfully but shook her head. “Because you’re coming in so late this year, and already rooming on the freshmen floor, I really do think it would be better for you both just to go ahead and be freshmen.”
“I’ll never make it to college…” Hannah groaned.
“We will be sure that you work on some coursework over the next couple years that will make it to where you can enter college as at least a junior. It’ll make up for that a little bit,” she said.
“I guess,” I heard her grouse behind me. I leaned into her and turned around to give her a hug.
“Thanks Sofia,” she told me.
We spent the next hour putting together our two schedules as best as we could. We both ended up with Costume Shop I, Powers Theory, Powers Lab, and Calculus II together. I had Intro to Magical Arts, Intro to Magic Theory, Intro to Basic Mystic Concepts, and an Advanced Martial Arts class separately from Hannah. Hannah had Esper I, World History, Intro to Psychic Arts, and a Firearms Basic Safety class. I wanted to take the Firearms class too, but there just wasn’t room in my schedule. As it was, we would both have a class after dinner each day. Mrs. Carson tried tweaking the schedule as best as she could to allow us to meet up at least every other hour even if we didn’t have classes together.
“Thank you for your help with this,” Hannah said politely as we wrapped up.
“It’s my pleasure,” she told us both. “Try and make it by the bookstore in the next couple hours before they close so you can get your materials and supplies.”
“Okay,” Hannah said before we left her office and bundled up in our coats.
Ms. Carson’s secretary gave us an odd look as we walked out the doors, past the reception area, and out of the building where we could see snow flurries were starting up. “Remind me to wear tights tomorrow…” I said to Hannah.
Suddenly the air around me was warm though. “What did you do?” I asked her.
She looked down at me and shrugged, “I guess I can warm up the air too?”
“That’s cool… I guess we don’t need coats when you do that?” I suggested.
All of a sudden it was cold again and I glared at her. “Well, I guess I haven’t quite got the knack for that yet. Maybe you can learn a spell.” She said with a bashful smile.
Caireen said to me, ‘there is one, but I think tights would be good until spring comes anyway…’
I just sighed, “Where are we going now?”
“The bookstore like she said?”
“Are you going to make it any longer than my diaper is?” I asked. For once I noticed it was squishy without someone else telling me.
“Our room first?” She said with a grimace.
Unfortunately, Poe seemed to be the furthest building away from anything! Hannah walked quickly though and it wasn’t too long before Hannah carried me through the doors and sat me down on my feet in the lobby. Ms. Potter stopped us as we passed her room and said, “There were a bunch of boxes that came for you two today. I took the liberty of putting them by your door.”
“Thanks,” Hannah said and smiled at me. “Shall we go see what our mommies sent us?”
I smiled, “I’m hoping for cookies!”
She laughed and patiently waited while I walked beside her up the stairs to the second floor on my own two feet. It wasn’t that I moved that slowly, I just had a very wet diaper that seemed to have gravity trying to pull it off my body even with the help of the onesie. I grimaced since my skirt seemed to be having issues too. ‘Caireen, do you think you could make some of these outfits with the skirt attached to a onesie?’
‘Sure,’ she seemed to smile at me, ‘I thought it was a good idea yesterday too, but didn’t want to push you into that one.’
‘Thanks, but I think it’ll be easier to deal with for us…’
As we walked down the hallway to our room, I noticed the dorm seemed almost eerily quiet with all of our friends and fellow students off at their classes. A large pile of boxes sat in front of the door to our room. “Wow, our moms went a bit overboard?” Hannah suggested.
I looked at the pile as she unlocked our door and shook my head. Hannah and I dragged the boxes in and began opening them up. We put the contents on the ground where I could help sort them. My mom had sent several large boxes of diapers, more bottles, pacifiers, bibs, clothes, hair supplies, shampoo, toothpaste, and even some stuffed animals - including the bear Hannah had given me in the hospital. I shrugged at most of it as just being boring necessities - some of which we had already been given by Caireen and the school. The real treasures she also sent me were framed photos of the pictures we had taken Saturday, pictures of our family before my mutation, and even pictures of my grandparents and extended family. I had a few tears going down my face with homesickness as I looked at a picture of Lily and myself from the other day.
In another box I found a pink Disney Princess backpack which had Belle, Cinderella, and Rapunzel on it. Mom had thoughtfully stocked the front pocket with pens and pencils, but I couldn’t help but notice the kids backpack was big compared to me! Even being smaller it was like two thirds my size! I looked at it thoughtfully and then instinctively used magic to make it shrink in its outward appearance. ‘Caireen, how do I make it larger inside like you’ve done with this room?’
I could feel her pride as she instructed me how to do it, and I then made the main compartment much larger than any normal backpack would be, and divided it into several sections. I would be able to keep some spare diapers, clothes, my books, and maybe a bottle or two in there and still have some spare space. Hannah had stopped opening boxes to watch then, “That is so cool!”
I smiled, “And the backpack fits me and looks ‘totes adorbs,’ right?”
She laughed at me, “Please don’t ever say ‘totes adorbs’ again?”
“Why, I am according to Esmie!”
“I am never letting you talk to her again!”
I just laughed, “You want me to do this to your backpack too?” Her mom had sent her own well used purple Jansport backpack out to her.
I just smiled and motioned for her to hand it to me. She grabbed a few things from the main compartment first and then I began working to help her have the space in there for stuff for her and anything she might want to carry for me in there too. It was now the world’s best student backpack, and diaper bag, a young mom could need!
“Thank you, Sofia!” she said with a big smile and she stocked it for herself. We sorted through the rest of the makeup, clothes, and other supplies her mom had sent her.
“They did send cookies!” Hannah said as she opened the final box. Inside was a care package of microwave popcorn, homemade cookies, and even some dried red chile pods!
It was nearly an hour later that she had changed my diaper, nursed me, and we were on our way to the bookstore with her backpack on her shoulders. I wore mine as well, and enjoyed the novelty of actually walking across campus on my own two legs. Mrs. Carson had mentioned that our IDs held money that our parents had loaded into them, as well as any money we might earn on campus jobs, to spend there. Following the directions we were given, we soon found the campus store.
“Whoa…” Hannah said when we entered the doors.
“I can’t really see anything,” I told her. She leaned over and picked me up so I could see. From a taller vantage point then I could see that we were in a store that would rival Walmart for supplies. It seemed to have electronics and components in one section of the store that made even a Fry’s store seem pitiful. Hannah noticed there were traditional shopping carts sitting next to the door. I waited in her arms while she grabbed one, put the seat down, and then set me down in it. Unlike a regular cart seat though this one seemed to sense a baby, and automatically buckled a belt across my waist.
I frowned, “This isn’t fair…”
Hannah laughed, “You haven’t actually been in one of these since you mutated, have you?”
I shook my head, “Mom never made me go into Walmart or the grocery store. The closest we might have been, would have been the stores Saturday, but you all pushed us in the stroller or let us walk....”
She smiled reassuringly, “I promise I’ll let you out if there’s something you really want to look at.”
I huffed and spent the next ten minutes looking at her rather than the store from my fixed viewpoint. She would grab items from shelves, and that would be my only real opportunities to see what was there. “Please let me out?” I asked.
She sighed, “Alright, but you have to stay with me!”
She poked at a button on the buckle and released me from the restraint before setting me down on the ground. I still couldn’t see past the aisle we were on, but at least I could look around it! As we followed the maze, I got the impression you would never have to leave the campus for anything. There were your basic necessities for hygiene, groceries, clothing, movies, games, the electronics and computers, and finally the books and supplies that we came for!
It took us a half hour of looking at our course schedules and the required texts to find all of the books for both of us. We found some needed supplies for the courses. My magic courses had some specific items needed and she needed a gi for her beginning martial arts class. We carefully split off each other’s items into two separate piles at the cashier.
“Why aren’t you the cutest little girl?” The cashier asked of me.
I smiled, “So I hear.”
She looked blankly at me for a moment but processed our items, “Okay, that’ll be six hundred and ninety-four dollars,” she said with a smile at Hannah with my pile. Somehow, she seemed to be missing me handing her my student ID.
“Ma’am, that stuff is mine, here’s my ID.”
The lady looked at me suddenly like I’d grown two other heads. “Umm…”
“I’m a student,” I reassured her.
She looked like she was about to faint as she ran my card and then passed me a receipt. I had only purchased my books and a few other supplies, so I pulled my backpack off of my shoulders, took the shopping bags she had placed the items in, and shoved it all easily into my backpack before placing it back on my shoulders. I couldn’t help but grin at the lady as she looked like she was about to faint.
She caught herself though and quickly rang up Hannah without saying another word. She’d picked up more items than I had, but she was also able to throw everything in her enlarged backpack. Hannah picked me up and placed me on her hip while surreptitiously she checked my diaper, “Come on Sofia, let’s go find the restroom before we head back to our room.”
I was able to watch the lady practically have her eyes pop out of her head as Hannah carried me into a nearby ladies’ room. We both giggled as she pulled down the changing table on the wall.
THAT NIGHT AT dinner Camille and our new friends all pumped us for information on her powers testing and our class schedules. “Now we just need to figure out who can go with Sofia to each class…” Hannah finished.
“Well I have Magic Theory at the same time,” Camille told her, “and Knag and I both have Magical Arts at the same time too.”
Lizi nodded at the mention of her name. “We can just go straight from lunch over there,” she assured Hannah and I. “I have the same section of Powers Lab too,” she added.
“I have the Advanced Martial Arts class with her,” Volango piped in as I watched her munching on what had to be her fourth or fifth banana. Beth was obsessed with them, even if she tried to deny it!
“That only leaves Mystic Concepts,” Camille said. “Anyone taking that section?” She asked the friends sitting around the table. I watched as everyone shook their heads.
“Guess I get to be on my own for once,” I said sort of happy and very scared at the same time.
Hannah frowned, “How far is it from my history class to there?”
“It’s pretty much on the other side of the campus,” Hailey said.
“Look, it’ll be okay, I’m not ever really alone,” I reminded her.
She nodded, “I guess.”
“So, you both are starting tomorrow?” Esmie asked.
“Yeah,” I said before popping my bottle in my mouth.
Esmie smiled at me, “You are so cute!”
I just blushed and kept nursing the bottle until it was empty and Hannah replaced it with my pacifier. I just took in the conversations around the table and tried to keep track of everything. From the stories of feuds like Streaked and me, to villains’ actions in other towns, to horror stories of the MCO and Humanity First there was always something being discussed that made everything feel completely unreal. Everyone finished eating and I jumped down from the table to go back to the dorm with everyone. I thought I was going to get a chance to walk, but Beth picked me up and put me up on her shoulders for a piggyback ride. “The view better up there?” She asked me.
I sighed, “I miss this being the view.” Or at least, sort of said that through my pacifier.
“You’ll get used to it,” she assured me, “trust me.”
I didn’t say anything in response as we walked back to Poe. Once there everyone ended up in our room for some last details. “Okay, so Sofia can’t change herself. It looks like I’ll be able to be there for a lot of her changes, but if she needs it, can you all change her?”
Camille smiled, “I’ll be happy to!”
Beth looked a bit uncomfortable, “I’ve never changed a diaper before,” she admitted.
“Well, there’s a first time for everything,” Hannah said and suddenly put me up on the changing table.
“Do you…” I started to say and then felt the warning look from Hannah and the internal warning from Caireen.
‘This is what I’m talking about Sofia,’ she said.
I sighed, “Get it over with please…” I looked at Hannah.
“Okay Beth, you’ve at least got a good baby here to change. She doesn’t wriggle around like her sister!”
I smirked at that! Lily was a wriggle worm most of the time when she needed changed!
“Okay, first thing you’re going to do if you’ve got a table is strap her down so she can’t accidentally roll off,” Hannah instructed her and had Beth do it. She was clearly uncomfortable with it, but did it anyway. “Now she’s got this skirt on, just push it out of the way underneath her.”
Beth timidly pushed it up, “You’re not going to break me,” I told her.
“Didn’t grow up thinking you were going to have to be a mother?” Hannah smirked.
Beth shook her head, “No...” She looked almost a little upset, but she said, “Okay, I’m not going to break you Sofia… Next is this onesie I’m guessing?” After that she gained some confidence and made it to my diaper pretty easily.
“Go ahead and get another diaper ready to put underneath her.” Lizi suggested.
I turned red as I realized I had become the ultimate doll for all of the girls here. With the pull of the two tapes on my diaper she had me exposed. “Wipe her really well front to back,” Hannah instructed. I was having a hard time keeping my composure now as I had three of my friends and Hannah working together to change my wet diaper. “If it’s a dirty diaper use the back of the diaper to wipe as much off of her as you can,” she added.
After a seemingly interminable amount of time I was in a dry diaper and the onesie had been snapped shut. “Why don’t we leave the skirt off Sofia,” Hannah suggested.
I just shrugged, since Caireen hadn’t gotten around to attaching the skirt to the onesie. My friends had just seen me at my most vulnerable, what more embarrassment could really come? Hannah grabbed my backpack that I had modified and showed everyone where we were going to keep my diapers, wipes, bottles, pacifiers, and extra clothes. “It’s a good thing you can do magic,” Lizi noted, “I don’t know how you would have made it around without it.”
“Simple, a diaper bag,” Camille said, shaking her head while smiling. “Most mothers don’t have magical babies and they get along just fine.”
Eventually they left to go do their homework and Hannah closed the door to gain some privacy. A nursing session was needed for her sake, and then I was able to get onto the sweet computer that I had on the desk. I discovered that there were special games that were only available to students here on a test basis and downloaded a couple. Before I could do more than make a character in one though Hannah said, “You want to call Jacob with me?”
I shrugged, but walked over to join her at her desk. She used her computer to go ahead and setup a video chat with him. “Hey Jacob!” She said.
“Hannah, Ni... Sofia!” He was somewhat excited. “Where are you two?” He started, “Your pictures were all over the news. They said you were wanted for a terrorist attack.”
I sighed, “We’re at a special school for mutants. We were attacked at the mall and defended ourselves.”
“You’re okay then?” He asked.
“Yes,” Hannah said, “Just in a bit of shell shock.”
“Wait… Hannah, why are you there?”
“My parents didn’t call you?” she asked, a little annoyed.
“My parents grounded me from my phone, they may have called it.”
“What did you do?” I asked.
“I might have decked a guy for making some rude comments about you…” he answered sheepishly.
Hannah shook her head, “Well Jacob I’m here because I mutated too.”
“Wow!” Jacob said. I noticed him adjust something on his computer and I was sure he was zooming in on Hannah. “You have the same eyes as Sofia now.”
“Yes,” Hannah said simply. We spoke together for an hour before his mom banged on his door and he said goodbye quickly in a panic.
“Something tells me he wasn’t supposed to be on his computer.” I said.
“Nope!” Hannah sighed, “He’s going to be in so much trouble,” she shook her head, “typical Jacob!”
“Wow, it’s late Sofia, we both have classes tomorrow.”
I sighed, “Bath time?”
She nodded. I followed her to the bathroom in just my onesie and drooping wet diaper. In the bathroom I noticed that two of the bathtubs were being used by the other girls, but the one I had used last night remained open. Hannah started a bubble bath for me with some of the soap mom had sent and plopped me inside the tub. While I played with the bubbles, she washed my body and hair. “Okay Princess, we don’t need you wrinkling away!” She said as she picked me up and dried me with a towel. She wrapped me in it and carried me back to the room in her arms like an infant. The routine of diapering me, dressing me in a footed sleeper, and then nursing me to sleep while singing a lullaby was truly becoming that… a routine.
IT WAS ALSO becoming routine to wake up in Caireen’s castle. Like yesterday she wasn’t in the room as I woke up. I had some dolls in my crib with me so I began playing like I had been with Lily. I had to have been playing for a while when I felt a quick cramp and found myself squatting. ‘I can cry and get her attention… Or just keep playing…’ I told myself. Right then though I found myself squatting a second time and went the crying route.
Caireen was in the room within a minute and picked me up, “Oh now, do we you have a poopy diapee Princess?” She cooed at me, “Shhh… I’ll get you all cleaned up in a moment.”
She laid me on the changing table and worked to clean my bottom off. Routine was the action at this point, and I only squirmed a little as she worked to get me into a new diaper. A quick nursing session, burping, and she said, “I have to get some things done in court today, I want you to come with me.”
“Court?” I asked.
“It’s one of the things you have to do as Queen sweetie, you’ll see,” She assured me.
One of the servants showed up at that time and bowed before saying, “All is ready for you, Your Majesty.”
“Thank you,” she said. “We’ll be ready in a moment.”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” he said and exited the room.
“Let’s get you dressed properly!” Caireen said with a smile. She sat me on the ground and I followed her over to a wardrobe of dresses that were fantastic. One of them looked very much like the Sofia dress that I had in the real world. She didn’t hesitate on picking that one and began dressing me in a petticoat and then the dress. My hair was piled onto my head quickly and my tiara appeared in her hands.
“Well Princess Sofia, I do believe you’re ready to see what being a Queen is like for today.”
I shrugged and said, “so do they believe I’m your daughter in this kingdom?”
She nodded, “You are my daughter and my chosen successor here.”
“How can I…”
“Someday… not anytime soon. Relax!” She smiled at me. “Behave and watch today.”
She picked me up and carried me down corridors and stairs until we came to a small receiving room with couches and a small fireplace. Here she sat me down and said, “You will wait here for a minute and then my advisor Elizabeth will let you know when to enter.”
I felt nervous as she went through a door and down a hallway that I supposed must lead to a throne room? The door in my room shut with an ominous thud, and I then heard one do so further down the hall. I felt my diaper grow wet from my nerves.
I paced a little bit and sillily practiced curtsying for no reason other than boredom. My dress was pretty and I enjoyed twirling around in it for a moment too. I was wondering how much longer it was going to be when I was surprised by a voice.
“Princess Sofia,” a lady had snuck up on me and curtseyed, “Your Highness, your mother is ready for you in the throne room.”
The lady was dressed in a simple but elegantly styled emerald green dress. “May I ask your name?”
“I’m Rosemerta,” she said.
Something inside me for some reason had an alarm bell ringing. I instantly wondered what happened to Elizabeth. Caireen had very clearly said it would be Elizabeth coming for me. “What happened to Elizabeth?”
“She’s waiting in the throne room.”
“Mother told me Elizabeth was coming for me. Go get her and have her come.” I said. Something was not right here and I began drawing in power to protect myself.
Suddenly the lady before me scowled, “Come along you sniveling little baby!”
As she reached for me, I screamed and fired one of the energy blasts I had been taught to make at her. Rosemerta managed to jump away from most of the blast so that only a bit of her arm was hit.
“You little bitch!” She cursed and lunged at me again. I dodged her and then attempted to kick her in the head with a flying kick. I missed and hit her chest instead. She cursed again and managed to get a hand on my foot and dangled me from the air. “Little girls do not attack their elders!” She screamed at me and smacked me hard on my face. I felt her try to rip my tiara from my head, but all it did was make it feel like she was ripping my hair off!
I charged up another charge and managed to get her to drop me. Just as I rolled to a standing up position Caireen and a dozen guards ran into the room. “Seize her!” Caireen commanded.
Rosemerta cackled and said, “Oh no, I don’t think so!” Somehow, I watched as she shapeshifted into a bat of all things, and then flew out the open door. Caireen missed her with a spell and we watched her fly away into the distance. “Secure the castle!” She said to her guards and two of them left to carry out her orders. The others took up places at the two doors inside and out.
“Oh no, Sofia, are you okay?” Caireen asked me as she picked me up.
I could feel my face was bruising and my leg hurt from how she had suspended me in the air. “I hurt,” I answered simply before I began bawling.
Caireen called out, “I need a fresh diaper and a new dress for Princess Sofia.”
One of the guards bowed and said, “Right away Your Majesty.”
I was still incoherently crying. I thought the castle would be safe from anything!
“Who was that?” I managed to sob out.
Caireen shifted me in her lap to where she and I could see her face. I could see her own tear streaks and anger evident in her face. “One of many enemies I have…” she paused, “you remember my anger with the vampire comment you made?”
I nodded and felt my eyes open wide shaking my head, “You’re kidding?”
She shook her head. “They’re not like your culture thinks of them. They don’t drink blood; they drink the essence within their victims for their own twisted magic.”
“And they can turn into bats?” I asked, “That’s real?”
“Some of them…” She shuddered in anger.
A woman in a servant’s uniform walked in then to the room carrying a change for me. Caireen laid me down on the floor and quickly changed my soaked diaper and dress. “Are you thirsty, baby?” She asked me when she was done.
I had mostly stopped sniffling by then and nodded. Without any sense of shame of the guards being present she carried me to a chair and presented me with her breast. For once I didn’t even feel shame or a need to resist, I just nursed for a long time until she burped me. While I was nursing, I could feel my essence refilling and my face seemed to hurt less. She eventually stood up and said, “Court is cancelled for today for security reasons Princess, but I want to meet with my generals and you to come with me.”
With that she carried me down the hallway she had disappeared to earlier. I nervously sucked on my thumb as she another door to the throne room was opened by a guard and my mouth opened in shock. The room was gilded in gold accents with a patterned wooden floor that was extravagant enough on its own. The room was decorated in paintings like European castles often were, but this room somehow made the most luxurious castle I’d seen pictures of look like my parents’ house. On one end opposite to us there were a set of doors fifteen feet in height and massive. I guessed that is the end visitors came through.
To my left I saw a raised platform with six stairs leading to the top. On the platform a large throne and a much smaller, but otherwise identical, throne next to it. Both thrones were covered in green fabric and gilded legs and frames. I could see emeralds inlaid to the frames and I couldn’t help but think, ‘mine?’
Caireen walked to the top of the dais and sat down with me in her lap. “Your Majesty, Your Highness, General Reginald is here with his staff,” a herald stated.
“Send them in!”
I watched as a giant of a man walked in with five other men behind him. They bowed before us and said, “Your Majesty, Your Highness, a million apologies for my failure to protect Princess Sofia, I will be stepping down…”
“No, you won’t,” I found myself saying. Somehow, I knew that this was a good guy and it wouldn’t have mattered who it was, the vampire lady would have made it in anyway.
“Your Highness I failed you and the Queen, there is no other option.”
“My daughter is right, General Slane, even if a little out of turn here,” I blushed at her light rebuke. “I do not believe this was an attack that could have been prevented. This creature managed to get through my wards, something I did not believe was possible. I’m at least as much at fault as you are.” I felt the sadness in her words.
“Your oath was until death or I release you from your service, correct?” I felt Caireen squeeze me slightly in a hug. “My daughter does not wish for you to be released and neither do I. All I want is to find out who put this creature up to this and make them pay.”
“We think we know that,” he said and motioned an advisor forward.
“Your Majesty, we believe King Camulus and Queen Damara met with this Rosemerta this week.”
“How dare they!?!” Caireen said angrily. “Fine, if they want to play this way. Do you know of any other movements by them yet?”
“No, but I would recommend…” After several hours of discussions of plans we left the throne room to return to my nursery. Everyone was under the impression that since Caireen turned down the marriage offer they were going to force us into it. With our kingdom under their control they would be a force to be reckoned with… and not a good one either!
“I was scared,” I told her as she changed my diaper.
“I can imagine. How did you know that lady was a fake anyway?”
“Well I had an instinct that something wasn’t right… she didn’t come from your throne room hallway for one… and you told me your advisor’s name was Elizabeth,” I reminded her.
She nodded, “Simple, but you were able to figure out the deception. Luckily for both of us they didn’t take that part further.”
“Am I safe now?” I asked.
She kissed my still slightly sore cheek, “as safe as I can make you. Truthfully Sofia I think this is going to mean war. As soon as I confirm they were behind all of this I’m going to make them pay.”
I nodded but didn’t say anything more. She nursed me to sleep and I wondered which could possibly worry me more, a war with what amounts to gods and goddesses in my dreams, or going to high school as a baby...