Chapter 1

(Selena)

The crown that sat atop Princess Selena's head was pressing into skull and giving her a horrible headache. She grimaced and adjusted it as she walked briskly down the hallway. She had things to attend to, and she wasn't going to let a little headache stop them. Hurrying faster now, she turned a corner and almost ran into a palace servant. The servant mumbled an apology, but Selena couldn't hear it, she was already too far down the hallway.

She paused for only a second before bursting in through the door to her right, which squeaked her presence out to the people in the room. They turned sharply. Laurelei, Selena's sister, was the only one who looked happy to see her.

"Ah, there you are," Selena heard a husky voice speak out. "Princess Selena, would you please have a seat now so we can begin."

It was her sister, Princess Aliyanah, standing so very regally that Selena almost mistook her for their mother, but of course, that couldn't be so, because their mother was no more. Aliyanah was wearing her signature ashen grey color, along with some black accents, making her appear foreboding, which was probably exactly what she was wanting.

And there, beside Laurelei, was the final sister, Princess Carmine. Selena's twin sister, though they looked nothing alike. Perhaps when they were children, they looked similar, but as they grew, they changed, both in very different and drastic ways.

Selena had long, sun kissed hair that fell down behind her in smooth waves, while Carmine's hair had grown to be much more curly than it once had been. For this occasion, her hair looked like it had been straightened, and done up in some fancy bun. Selena silently praised the hairdresser, for it was no small task to get Carmine to sit down, especially for something as grueling as straightening hair.

She was wearing a bright red dress that fell down to the floor, and a black flower in her hair to match the small patterns on her dress. She looked very beautiful, except for that frown that probably wouldn't go away during this meeting. Selena knew that Carmine hated the tedious complications that doing what they were going to do would bring, but there was nothing that could be done, and honestly, in Selena's opinion, this was the best option anyways.

Selena shuffled over to her seat beside Laurelei, turning to face the crowd that was gathering in the courtroom.

"You look lovely in that dress," Lauri whispered.

Selena's fake smile blossomed into a real one. She had asked her tailor to make it especially for this monumental occasion, choosing blue to match her eyes. She knew even as she took it out of her dressing room yesterday that it would outshine her sisters, and while that wasn't the reason she chose to wear it, she was not going to decline the attention being given her by the crowd.

"Not as good as you look in yours," she whispered back.

Laurelei was wearing a simple green dress, the color of a spring field, and while it wasn't much to look at, it was very… Lauri. Selena loved that about her. She could always find a way to personalize her outfits, or even if she didn't, they always seemed to match her, in a way that Selena could never begin to understand.

Aliyanah cleared her throat, which was not a loud noise, but somehow, within seconds, the whole crowd was silent.

"People of Aleona, I have a great announcement to make," she began. "Me and my sisters have heard your whispers in the streets. We know that you are worried for our kingdom. We are worried too, for we were never prepared for something like this to happen. But now that it has happened, there is nothing we can do to change it.

"Our mother is dead. You already know this. We have heard you weeping in the streets, and we feel your pain. We did not only lose an amazing queen, but we lost an amazing mother as well. She was loved by all, and we know that none wanted to see her gone so soon. But now, it is time to move on. The reason we have called this meeting is to announce the next queen, the new queen of Aleona!"

Selena gave a knowing smirk to her sister's back. Everyone must be thinking right now that the new queen would be Aliyanah, being the oldest and the wisest in the ways of the court, but they were wrong.

"Quiet down, quiet down everyone," she began to speak again. "We spent many nights thinking of just what we could do, none of us wanting to seem more superior than each other, but all wanting to take the throne."

Selena didn't necessarily agree with that. Of course, she did think that she would be an amazing ruler, and frequently imagined herself going to war or passing a law, but she would never have said anything about wanting to rule if Aliyanah had just stepped up from the beginning. But Aliyanah wasn't ready to rule alone. None of them were. Except Carmine, perhaps. Carmine had been the one who wanted the crown most, and she was definitely the reason it had taken so long to come to the decision.

"Our decision, you might find quite strange, but this is how it's going to be," Aliyanah's voice was louder than the very birds who flew over the palace and cried.

Her voice wasn't the kind of thing you could just listen to, it was the sound of thunder. A thunder that if you dared to disobey, you would find yourself in the hands of the lightning faster than you could blink.

"Princesses Selena, Carmine, Laurelei and I will be ruling together, none with more power than the other."

As soon as Aliyanah said those few little words, the crowd was abuzz. There wasn't a single voice in the crowd that went unheard by someone, and everyone had an opinion. Selena could hear many people shouting up to Aliyanah in frustration, but just as many expressing their happiness toward the situation. Having multiple queens would greatly increase fairness in court, and would also ensure that there would always be someone to rule in case of sickness or momentary inability to govern.

Aliyanah turned to her three sisters, giving them a small but reassuring smile, before shuffling over to the side door Selena had entered from. She and her other two sisters stood, and began walking in a single file line toward the door as well. The people below were still shouting, but by this time, the good and the bad were so mixed together that Selena couldn't make out a single concise word.

"Do you think the decision we made was a good one?" She could just barely hear Laurelei speaking softly behind her.

She didn't turn her head, and she barely acknowledged that she had heard, but after a couple seconds, she answered.

"I hope so, Lauri. I really hope so."