Part One: Escape

Chapter One: The Trial

Thea

Thea wondered how much longer she could stay alive. She'd been on the prison ship for days, weeks, and was surprised her jailers hadn't figured out who she was sooner. The infamous Crown Princess of Shraka.

Of course, she'd been careful to hide her identity. Once everyone had realized that there was something very wrong with the princess, that she was a-

Thea shook off the thought. Better to leave the past in the past. She'd run away, falling into a string of crimes.

Somebody clanged their blade on the bars of her cells, jolting her out of her thoughts. "Rise and shine," called the guard. "Big day on trial."

Right. Today was the trial. Thea grabbed her bedsheet, folded it in half, and tied it around her waist. The metal of six stolen knives pressed against her waist as she tightened the fabric. Only for emergencies, but she knew she could never be too careful.

Thea wondered what her fate was in the trial. She knew she would be sent to Diomiy, the jail moon, for at least twenty years, if not more.

"Hurry up!" ordered the guard, casting a confused glance at the sheet skirt Thea now wore.

As she walked down the hall to the courtroom, Thea considered the possibility of using her talent. However, she quickly dismissed the idea. She'd sworn to herself that she would stop, that she would never do it again.

Thea still had nightmares of the two princes, screaming as their flesh was boiled from the inside out and their organs were shoved out their throats. She involuntarily shuddered.

"Britani Relis," started the judge, stating the fake name Thea had given herself. "You are here today due to an extensive record of crimes in the past year, including theft, attempted murder, attempted use of magic, and destruction of Shrakan property."

The judge droned on and on about Thea's crimes and whatnot, while all the ex-princess could think about was her home. Shraka.

The planet Shraka was beautiful, but Shraka was not just a planet. It was an empire.

Thea's ancestors had devoted their lives to conquering all of the galaxy. Now, it was done, and they ruled over everyone and everything. Her mother, Empress of the Irimont Galaxy, was a stern woman, rarely showing love for her two daughters and two sons. Well, now it was just two daughters. Thea was only the Crown Princess because she'd been born nine minutes and thirty-two seconds before her twin sister, Ciera, and she often wondered whether her life would have turned out the way it did if she'd been born second.

"Forty years on Diomy," announced the judge, jolting Thea out of her thoughts.

Forty years? Isn't that a bit much? Never mind, Thea, she told herself. I'll never even get to Diomy; why does it even matter how long I'm supposed to spend there?

"Take her away. The prison ships leave at dawn."

Dawn? No! That's too early! I have to wait until noon! No! "Wait!" she cried, then internally cursed herself. Damn it, Thea. Now they definitely won't be suspicious of you.

"C-can I have a day on Cornia? Just to roam around? See my home planet one last time?" Thea amended her panicked state, trying to make it seem as if her lie was true. "Not even a day! Just half of one?"

The judge wrinkled his nose at her. "No," he simply stated, yanking away almost all of Thea's hopes. "Go to your cell."

The guards dragged her away, and she reluctantly followed.

Tonight. It'll be my only chance.

Just like how the night she left the palace was her only chance.

Thea forced the memories down as she tried to sleep on her little cot, but she knew her dreams would haunt her just as much.

Thea stood just outside the large wooden door, her ear pressed up against it. "She's hiding," said the Empress. "Do you really think what happened to princes was her fault? She could just be sad about their... passing," spoke the advisor.

"I know my daughter," the Empress hissed. "She would be riding or training right now, in her grief. Not hiding from me. Send guards to take her to the dungeons at dawn. We'll decide what to do with her then."

Thea sighed in relief. She knew that she'd be convicted for the deaths of her brothers, but her mother still did not know of her powers.

She'd sliced open the stomachs of her brothers so there was no suspicion as to why their organs were lying on the ground, but not without retching a few times. There was no way she'd be allowed to live if they knew what she really was...

That night, a jab in her side awoke her. She flung her hand out, sending the stick she'd enchanted to wake her up floating gently out the window. The window she'd left open. A large sack sat on the ground, filled with clothes, money, and some weapons.

Thea snatched her black cloak, a gift from one of her brothers, off the ground and clasping it around her neck. She held the moonstone pendant on it for a moment, then whispered, "I wish you were here, Wesley."

A groan suddenly erupted from the walls, and she stiffened, reaching for her dual hunting knives. Is it Mother's guards? she thought in a panic. Have they come for me already?

But nobody opened the door, nor the secret passageway behind a tapestry. A figure melted out of the walls, then grabbed a knife off the floor. It stabbed itself in the gut and quickly drew out the knife.

It kneeled before her, holding out the bloody knife to her.

"W-what..." she stuttered, fear coursing through her veins. "W-who... who are y-you?"

It tilted its head at her, then said in a familiar voice, "You called for me, Highness."

She stared at him in disbelief. "Wesley?"

Thea woke up, covered in sweat. She remembered that night so clearly... She remembered choking down a drop of her brother's blood to bring him to life once again; she remembered grabbing her sack and slipping outside under the cover of darkness; she remembered using her magic to send sleep to the guards by the castle walls to slip past.

Wesley had shown her how to work her powers, and she had later summoned her other brother, Clement, and bound him as well.

She knew it was risky, but she had to see them again. "Wesley?" she called, her voice soft. "Clement?"

They stepped out of the shadowy corners as if they'd been hiding there the entire time. She looked at them, tears slowly dripping down her face.

"Hey, Thea," whispered Wesley. She sobbed out loud, quickly lifting her hand to her mouth.

Thea! she scolded herself. The guard could've heard you!

"Woah!" yelped Clement, rushing forward to her. "Calm down," he said, moving to sit on the bed, followed by Thea's other brother.

"I'm scared," she said, mentally casting a silence spell. "Can you help me... help me escape?"

Clement quirked an eyebrow at her. "Do you really think we wouldn't help you?"

She laughed lightly. "I suppose not," she answered.

"So," began Clement, once again serious. "What do you need us to do?"