“Tell me this prophecy,” Richard said.
“If you wish,” Zoey said. He reached down below the table and pulled up a book. Katie knew instantly that it was the Book of Tradition. Zoey flipped through a few pages, scanning for the passage she wanted. At last, she stopped at a page and began to read. “‘He who takes the sword of the sun shall fight off those who trouble the world. He will fight through to the end and at last bring peace. The Gods shall help him, and yet they shall fight against him. There is only one reason that he will fight, and that is to save his love.’”
They were silent when she finished. She looked up expectantly. Katie was startled. Did that mean that Richard would risk his life to try and save hers?
“Do you understand now?” she asked him.
“It’s a prophecy, not my faith. I don’t have to do it!” Richard shouted. He walked back to the window and starred out it. Katie knew he was thinking the same thing she was thinking.
“You will be sucked into it whether you want it to or not,” Zoey said. Katie walked back to the table and sat down. Ridley stood near Richard. He leaned over and whispered to him. Richard nodded and said something back. He turned and looked at Katie.
“We should be going,” he said to her. “I want to get back to the village and help fix it back up.”
Katie didn’t move. She couldn’t believe that Richard was going to leave all this behind. She was surprised that he wouldn’t even bother to try to help the Queen. Thinking back, Katie found it horrifying that she had been planning the same thing last night.
Richard walked up to her and held out his hand to help her up. Katie starred at the hand for a moment before taking it and allowing him to raise her to her feet. When she was up, he released her hand.
“Richard!” Zoey shouted. “You can’t be planning on leaving now!” her voice was hysterical.
“I have made my choice,” Richard said. “I’m going home to take care of my friends and family.”
“Richard, maybe you should listen to her,” Katie said. Richard turned back to her. Katie backed up a step.
“Katie, what are you talking about?” he asked her. “I can’t do this.” Katie came forward and took him hand.
“You can do it. I know you can,” she said. Richard looked down at her hand for a moment.
“I can’t,” he whispered. She heard fear in his voice. “Please, don’t make me have to do this. I can’t. I can’t allow anything to happen to . . .” Katie knew he left the “you” out.
“You can, Richard,” Zoey said, walking up next to them. “The prophecies may not have said whether you would win or lose, but we all have faith that you will prevail.” Katie nodded to him.
Richard looked into her eyes.
“I know you can. I will be there to help you. I promise,” Katie said. Fear ran across Richard’s eyes for a moment.
The door opened behind them. Richard turned to see. The Queen, her dress flowing, walked towards them. In her hand, she held a book. As she came, everyone lowered themselves to the ground and bowed. The Queen stopped right in front of them.
“Rise. We have much to talk about and little time,” she said. Her voice sounded dry, as if she were getting sick. As one, they all rose to their feet.
“My Queen,” Richard whispered.
“Richard,” she said back. “There is much I need to talk to you about. Sit and you shall hear everything I know.”
They all sat at the conference table. Richard sat to Katie’s right, Brianna to her right. Ridley and Zoey sat across from them to each side of the Queen.
“What is it that you need to tell me?” he asked her. Katie knew that he was determined not to have to fight Zarha.
“You must hear some of the prophecies Zoey and I have read,” she answered.
“Zoey already read me the prophecy,” Richard said.
“She may have read you something else, but I have something more important for you to hear. It is not exactly about you. It is about Katie,” she said.
“What about her?” Richard asked, turning to look at Katie.
“Zarha will not stop until he has killed her,” the Queen said. “He will attack this palace if she does not leave. She will need you to protect her.”
“We can leave now,” Richard said. He made to stand, but Katie pulled him back down.
“No,” the Queen said. “You must wait until after I have told you what you need to hear. Zarha will always come after her. When the times comes and you go to protect her, you will not be able to. She will be killed.”
“How do you--”
“Know this?” Zoey finished for him. “Prophecy has said so. If you decided not to fight Zarha on your own, he will kill Katie. After he kills her, you will then take him out of revenge. Either way, Zarha will end up killed. You see how these two prophecies are connected?”
Richard was silent. Katie felt chills run down her back. It was scary thinking that if Richard didn’t fight Zarha on his own, Zarha will kill her. She had no say in it. Richard was the only one who could choose what would happen to her.
“Do you want to fight Zarha on your own time and kill him now? Or would you rather he came and killed Katie?” the Queen said, her voice ringing through the room.
“I will protect her,” Richard said.
“You think that now, but when the times comes, you won’t be able to.” Zoey said. “I don’t want to scare you. I only want you to know what will happen in the future if you decide not to fight Zarha.”
Katie felt Richard shaking next to her.
“When will we have to leave?” he asked.
“As soon as you are ready,” the Queen said. “Zarha will not attack for a few days.”
“How do you know?” Katie asked.
“The same as we know all the other stuff,” Zoey said. Katie looked over at Richard. He appeared to be struggling with something.
“Anything else I should hear?” he asked the two women.
“There is one other prophecy that I want to talk to you about,” the Queen said in a sad voice.
“And that is?” Richard asked, his voice full of nervousness. Katie knew how he felt.
“It has to do with the main reason for Zarha capturing Katie,” Zoey said. The Queen nodded.
“What was the real reason?” Katie asked.
“Let me read the prophecy to you,” Zoey said. She pulled a piece of paper towards her and started to read. “‘The tyrant will use the Diamond of the Moon to hurt and destroy the Diamond of the Sun. If the Diamond of the Sun cannot control his emotions, he will be killed.’”
“What does that mean?” Katie asked into the silence that followed.
“It means that after Zarha has killed you, Katie, Richard will not be able to control his emotions and Zarha will be able to kill him too,” the Queen answered.
“You are sure this is about Zarha?” Ridley asked.
“We cannot be one hundred percent sure that Zarha is who this prophecy is talking about. For all we know, it could be referring to Astroth,” Zoey answered him. Katie noticed that Richard was silent.
Zoey looked at the Queen for a moment. After a quick nod, Zoey turned back to the group.
“There is one more I want to tell you. This one is about Brianna,” she said.
“Me?” Brianna said, her voice terrified. Zoey nodded.
“Let’s hear it,” Richard whispered.
“‘When Earth sees the tyrant of the land, she shall fall into a great spell. She will not be herself anymore and would kill her friends without a second thought,’” Zoey recited.
“NO!” Brianna shrieked. She jumped up and moved to the window, her eyes wide. Katie got up and came to her, but Brianna kept moving away.
“Brianna?” Katie whispered.
“How do you know this will come true next time we see Zarha?” Richard asked, his voice level.
“We have our ways of knowing,” Zoey said vaguely.
“Brianna, why are you so scared?” the Queen asked.
“A dream,” Zoey answered for her. “She had a dream about this prophecy the other night. Is that right, Brianna?”
“Brianna didn’t say anything.
“It’s okay,” Katie whispered. Brianna stopped moving away from Katie and instead allowed her to pull her into a hug. She was crying. Katie gently patted her back. “I know you won’t ever hurt us.”
“Things happen,” Zoey said. “Do you understand why all of this is important, Richard?”
Richard nodded and stood. “Can we leave? For our rooms, I mean,” he said. The Queen nodded. Together, everyone stood. Richard strode for the door. Ridley dashed to catch up with him. The men exited the room.
Katie and Brianna walked together. Brianna sobered up as they walked. A few moments later, Brianna pulled the back of Katie’s shirt. Katie turned. Brianna’s arms came around her and pulled her into a hug. Katie gratefully accepted the hug.
“He will do the right thing,” Brianna whispered in a cracked voice.
“I know,” Katie whispered back. “And so will you.” Katie turned to see the Queen and Zoey watching them.
“I wouldn’t worry,” Zoey said. “Richard knows what he must do.” Katie nodded, fearing to test her voice.
“Yes,” the Queen said, smiling. Katie noticed that she was very pale.
“My lady, are you okay?” she asked the Queen.
“I have seen better days. But do not worry about me. Worry about what is to come, child. You will all be ready,” the Queen answered.
“Thank you,” Katie said as she and Brianna left.
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