It had been several weeks since Mae had accepted the title of Queen. She still wasn’t used to it. In fact it was becoming down right annoying. It seemed everywhere she went she was followed by people. All of a sudden she had gone from being near invisible, to the centre of the whole universe. She missed being unnoticed. Before she could roam about as she pleased, with only her faithful companions, Amity and Missy for company, and do pretty much what she liked. Now it seemed she couldn’t answer a call of nature without someone asking where she was going, what she was doing and worse yet, attempting to go with her. Since that day in the dormitory she hadn’t had a moment alone, she certainly hadn’t had a chance to try to find her Mum again. That was distressing her more than anything else. After the last encounter she was desperate to know that her mother was unharmed, however the cry of intense pain told her otherwise.
They had left the factory. It had been decided that the time had come to confront Alistair and his regime. There had been many long discussions, mostly Alex and Hector yelling at each other around her, and she had only been able to follow half of it. But it seemed that her declaration and the reaction of The Song to her accepting her role as Queen were significant events, and were signs that it was time to act.
So, as a result all the inhabitants of the factory were now on the move. Marching slowly but surely on their way to The Capital. The town of Murpodompous was never all that big, but stretched out all together moving through the land they were a mighty army. Also, Hector had devised the travel route so that it passed through as many small towns and hamlets as they could. As Alex had told them, for a considerable time the underground networks had been doing their job, spreading the word that change was coming. So when the giant caravan arrived, they were welcomed with excitement and anticipation, rather than fear. Then to ensure maximum effect Alex would mesmerise the townsfolk with one of his great orations before dragging Mae before them all, and showing them their Queen. The people clapped and cheered as she stood before them, and each time the glow that surrounded her seemed to intensify. When the caravan left again, they took most of the inhabitants of the towns with them. So, now they had half of the population of Gildamoor was on the move; and all for her.
They were spending a rest day in the small forest village of Cumberfyre. After weeks on the road, Hector and Alex had decided that everyone could use a day’s rest. They decided, after being told off by the Queen’s constant companion,self-appointed bodyguard, lady-in-waiting and best mate, Amity had yelled at them for not looking after Mae better. The girl had even managed to get most of the well wishers, self-appointed aides, advisors and general hangers-on to leave Mae alone for an afternoon. Well, not quite alone, she still had Amity and she still had the dog. They followed her silently, as she ventured into the woods around the village.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and the two girls and their canine friend had found a reasonable sized pond, with a pleasant grassed area around it. It was the perfect place to relax and forget for a moment that they were marching to war. The girls were laying on their backs with their eyes closed, the dog resting her head on Mae’s feet. The warmth of the sun was glorious. They were close to dozing when they heard a twig snap. All three were immediately alert and standing. Missy, whose keen sense of hearing and smell had kicked in, moved toward a clump of bushes bearing her teeth and snarling. Amity followed close behind gripping a shotgun she had armed herself with back at the factory. She reached out toward the bush, pulling the branches apart.
“Okay! Like come, like out you creep!”
Standing before them was a tall,good looking and athletic looking young man, with long, unkempt blue-black hair, and eyes that blazed bright purple. Startled, he fell forward toppling on to the girl and dog. Amity and Missy got the upper-hand first though forcing the young man to the ground and holding the gun over him.
“Like who the hell are you? Why have you been following us?”
“Following us?” Mae had come over and stood beside her friends. “What do you mean following us?”
Amity pointed at him using her gun, the man looked from one to the other with a mixture of defiance, annoyance and fear. There was also a slight hint of bemusement.
“This creep has like been following us since like we left town.”
The man chuckled.
Amity gave him her filthiest stare. “What is so like funny? Arsehole!”
“Just, you’re not much of a protector are you?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, that I’ve been following you ever since you left Belbarbiton, and you’ve only JUST noticed me.”
“Could I get up now? The grass is damp and my arse is getting wet.”
The women glared at him.
“Trust me. If I wanted to hurt you, I’ve had plenty of chances before now.”
Amity continued to glare. However, Mae who sensed that there was more to this young man than what they saw softened.
“Oh come on. Up you get.” She reached out her hand to help him up, when he grabbed her hand there was a spark of electricity and light where their hands met.
Once he got up, he brushed himself down, “Well, thank you, Your Highness, that’s a new experience for me.”
“Um, me too.” Mae’s voice was slightly shaky. Her hand was still tingling. “What was that?”
“Not too sure. But, my guess it was The Song recognising us as kin. It tends to get excited when stuff like that happens.”
“Kin? What like family?”
“Well yeah,” he stood scratching his head, looking like he was deciding his best course of action. “Okay well, I suppose introductions are in order, I’m… Brynwald.” He bowed, making a grand flourish with his name.
“Nice to meet you Brynwald, “ Mae stuck out her hand to shake his.
“Umm, maybe later hey.” He chuckled. She laughed too.
“Oh yes. I’m still getting used to having powers. I don’t know quite what I’m doing.”
“Yes. I noticed that.”
Amity gave him a look that said she still thought he was a creep.
“Look I’m sorry I didn’t show myself before now. I meant to earlier, but I needed to be sure that it was safe, for both of us. You and I are on the most wanted list for some rather unpleasant people.”
Mae just looked confused.
He turned to her and took her by her shoulders, a soft purple glow started to radiate, “I’m your cousin.”