The Rebel's Heart: Part Nine
“Okay, so if I can’t talk to the King, what am I supposed to do? He’ll be searching for us as soon as he finds out about the war.”
“Don’t worry. We can take care of that.”
Zaretan and Bithiah spoke to each other in hushed tones.
Bithiah said quietly to Quiet, “We have a plan. Your father thinks of this as a health retreat, correct?”
Zaretan took over. “And Amaretta’s father believes that this is a health retreat, but he demands your immediate return.”
Quiet nodded. “Yes. I would consider that to be accurate.”
“We can’t send someone in and pretend that she is Amaretta.”
“That’s why we have a better idea.”
Quiet didn’t even bother anymore to try to figure out who was speaking when, so she simply accepted the fact that they would take turns speaking.
“We will send her father a message.”
“We will also send your father a message.”
“A message from our father.”
Quiet was startled and could hardly form her words. “Your father?!”
Zaretan and Bithiah smirked, “We told you that we were royalty. We still are. Our mother and father rule a small island tribe off the coast of Brightvale. It is only small, but still we are royalty. With the proper seal and the understanding that we will protect you both from the war, neither of your fathers will ask questions.”
“In that way, you will be protected, since you and Zania, your servant, will come with us. Also, Amaretta will train with Darena. The King will be free to concentrate on the war, and your father will be free to help the King.”
“So you see, we all win.”
Quiet had the look of pleasing astonishment on her face. “You two have surprised me quite a bit, but I must admit that I never expected this. If you don’t mind me asking, why are you both green Unis?”
Bitterness overtook Zaretan’s face while Bithiah’s face transformed itself into regretful acceptance. Zaretan spoke first, “We weren’t just cursed. I was a Maraquan Draik. I was forced to drink a Green Uni Morphing Potion. I hardly remember being a Maraquan Draik, but I understand what I was deprived of.”
Bithiah’s quiet voice replaced Zaretan’s angry bitterness. “I was a Faerie Draik. I too was forced to drink a Green Uni Morphing Potion. I have accepted my past. It still leaves me sorrowful, but I have come to accept that I cannot change who I am or what I was.”
Quiet nodded but remained silent. Words could not describe the horror of being morphed from a majestic, royal pet to a common green Uni, then being kidnapped and cursed. While Quiet tried to keep from stereotyping pets, she couldn’t see these magnificent pets being content to be mere green Unis.
Bithiah was the first to overcome the emotion in her voice. “Regardless, we must go to our homeland, and quickly. The faster this is done, the more easily the King can concentrate on this war. We need a truce, Quiet. Without the letter, there will be no truce. Without a truce...”
Bithiah trailed off and didn’t finish her thought.
Quiet nodded sorrowfully. “Without a truce, nobody will win. King Tanis will never accept defeat. Neither will Lord Darigan. Without a truce, they will fight until everybody has died. They are not cruel, but they are stubborn and set in their ways. There must be a truce. But who will tell King Tanis?”
Zaretan shook her head. “That is not our concern.”
“Our only concern is to take you with us to our homeland while we give Darena and Amaretta time to train.”
“Zaretan, Bithiah, if you don’t mind me asking, why are you so eager to help Amaretta and Darena?”
“We understand what it is like to lose everything that is important to you.”
“We know the pain and suffering associated with the loss of a dream.”
“We cannot deprive Amaretta of her heart’s deepest desire.”
“And without Darena, Amaretta will be lost.”
“They need each other.”
“They need you.”
Yet again, the twins spoke at once. “They need all of us.”
Quiet nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, I suppose that you’re right. So how are we going to get there?”
Bithiah grinned. “With a little help.”
“All right, recruits. My name is Talina Rena Mendure. You can call me TRM for short. Yes, I have a long name. Deal with it and get over it. It is approximately 10:45 pm NST. This has only been your first day. So, how many of you already regret joining my cabin because you thought it’d be the easy way out?”
TRM paused a moment as she looked around and saw that nearly all the pets had raised their hands. “That’s what I thought. There are no transferring shacks here. You chose this shack, so you’re stuck in this shack. Your training today was light. By tomorrow morning, most of you will regret the running you did today. Train through the pain. In roughly ten minutes, you should all be in bed. I don’t care if you just need a bathroom break. If you are out of your bed between 11 pm NST and 6 am NST, you will be running even more. I’d advise sleeping through the night. Go to bed, campers. This was the last day of recess. Tomorrow you’re playing against the professionals.”
As Darena and Amaretta prepared their bunk, Darena motioned Amaretta to join her below.
“TRM may stand for Talina Rena Mendure, but we said it stood for Tough, Rough, and just plain Mean. And on a side note, in just a few days you’ll regret your decision to have the top bunk.”
Amaretta and Darena laughed quietly as they both finished setting up their possessions.
The next morning, the two were rudely awakened to the sound of a high-pitched cry.
TRM addressed the pets in the shack, “How do you like my little wake-up call? It’s the only good thing about being a baby.”
Amaretta heard a pet muttering behind her. “If you hate being a baby so much, why don’t you just get re-painted?”
TRM seemed to glare through Amaretta to the pirate Kougra behind her. “Do you want to pay for my new paint job?”
The Kougra snorted, “Yeah, like I could afford that.”
TRM smirked. “Well I know what you can afford. You can afford to miss breakfast and run while the rest of us eat. What’s your name, recruit?”
The angry pet was seething, but knew better than to anger TRM again. “My name is Qualizada.”
TRM raised an eyebrow. “Oh is it, now? Do you want to give up your snack and dinner too?”
“Qualizada” grimaced but spoke, “Fine. My real name is Itty_Bitty_Witty. Happy?”
TRM glared at Itty_Bitty_Witty. “No need to be rude, Itty. Which, just so you know, is what you’ll be called from now on. And you’d be wise to figure out real quick that I am not here to baby you. You will treat me with respect no matter what you think about myself and my methods. History has proven that I am the best trainer in this camp. A minimum of half of you will be invited to join the royal guard. It is an honor and a privilege to be asked to do that. However, the road to the royal guard is not an easy one. You will go through intense training and you will be pushed past your limits. You will hurt. You will hurt physically and mentally. That’s just too bad. You chose my shack, and you’re going to have to deal with the consequences of your decision.”
TRM finished her lecture and allowed the pets to leave for breakfast. Once the pets had all finished, TRM had them running around the track for an hour straight. It was not lost on any of the recruits that pets from all the other cabins ran for a maximum of thirty minutes. Once they finished running, TRM had them run the training course ten times each. And while the pets were running the course, the others were running on the track. Once they day was finally finished, the pets all collapsed into their beds. Exhaustion didn’t even begin to describe the physical and mental condition of the recruits. Only Darena was not completely worn out by the exercises, though she was certainly tired. Amaretta was probably the most exhausted. As the Princess, she hardly ever exerted herself physically. Because of that fact, her body was not prepared for the day. Of course, nobody else was prepared for it either. In the morning, TRM woke up the pets, yet again, to her piercing cry.
“Good morning, kids. How’d ya sleep? Not well, I’d guess. In fact, you probably hurt more now than you did yesterday. Now go get yourselves ready for breakfast. Then, as you probably guessed, you’ll be running.”
Amaretta groaned with every step as she spoke to Darena. “What have we gotten ourselves into?”
To be continued...