Chapter 5

"Forgive me for disturbing your rest, princess Amira, your father has called you for dinner!" A lady of fine-tuning, wearing a nature cotton clothe that stretches to her ankle, appears from Amira’s door.

She lifts her upper body and the attendant dashes to assist her. "Thank you, Diana," Amira utters.

Diana curls her fist and places it on her chest lowering her head in acquiescence.

"Is everyone already in the hall?" she asks.

"Everyone is, princess, except you and princess Alianah."

"She's not awake yet, is she?"

"Not yet, princess."

She releases a deep sigh and ponders on what she has done to her sister. Guilt is squeezing her heart yet the damage has already been done and she can only wish for her sister to get better soon.

Sigh.

She trots to the wardrobe to check for a dress. She changes into her blue Celtic gown with broad bordure and long chiffon sleeves. Diana ironed the back of her dress and utters, "Go ahead, princess Amira."

She proceeds to the long dinner table where her family awaits. Cynic stares from her other siblings greet her. They have started eating so she has to apologize herself for being late.

"Serve yourself, princess," says her Aba Mandel, breaking the silence that suddenly engulfs them.

She sits between her aba and princess Vanessa. Before her butt can even touch the carved rosewood chair, she meets Winona's glaring eyes. She disregards it like she always does and makes herself comfortable on her seat. She eyes the food. Roasted meat, spinach and cabbage are what she places on her plate.

Princess Vanessa can’t help but observe princess Amira as she slices the meat and wraps it in spinach before consuming it.

"Does it taste good?" Vanessa asks innocently.

Amira nods.

"Can I try—?”

"Don't ever think about it, Princess Vanessa. That food is for weaklings. Here, feed your body with this so you'll grow strong," Winona says and offers the bowl of charcoal.

"I've been eating that, Winona. I won't weaken if I take just one bit of Amira's food," she answers back. "Besides, true power comes from our inner strength and not just from our body's physical vitality."

"Listen to your sisterVanessa! Do not train yourself to eat rubbish food or else…” Yeshua hesitates to continue.

“Or you may grow like the sister you've been admiring." Winona completes her eldest brother’s word and throws her taunting face to Amira.

"There's nothing wrong with princess Amira, I believe. She doesn't have to transform into a dragon for her to become strong because she herself is powerful without it. See what happened weeks ago in the arena?"

"Oh, you mean how her curse almost kills princess Alianah?" clarifies Winona.

A loud palm on the wooden table startles everyone. A terrifying aura emanates from the enrage alpha Douman. “You have the audacity to argue in front of me?” growls the alpha, his eyes craving for answer from each of his child. He grits his teeth when he sees the apologies in their eyes. "If you have nothing senseful to say, shut your mouth!”

Winona scrapes her seat and takes the courage to speak up on her siblings’ behalf. “Father, are we not going to hold Amira accountable for what happened to princess Alianah? It’s been weeks and yet you haven’t done anything yet!”

Amira can see the forbearance of her father as his expression hardened, his fists brimming to close.

Winona’s hand is trembling and her eyes start to water but she endures the intensity of her father’s stare.

“Princess, I understand that you care about your elder sister…” grackles Aba Mandel.

An insulting whimper escapes Winona’s lips but her Aba knows better not to fan the flames.

“But no one needs to face the whip nor fangs of death, Princess. Your father and I think of it well and our decision is already final,” says Aba Mandel.

Winona grunts as she throws herself to her chair, crossing her arms and piercing daggers to the sister she despises the most.

Amira’s mouth subconsciously curves into a smile. Rarely has her father’s decision turns to her favor and she’s pleased that he considers her well.

“There’s no need to be happy about this, Amira. Remember that you’re the reason why your sister is lying unconscious in bed!” reminds Alpha Douman before scraping his seat to leave. “I’ll go take my rest.”

Amira watches her father as he turns his back on them. It hurts to see her father throwing that same cold stare whenever her sister claim she has done something wrong when in fact, there isn’t.

Amira watches the dull reflection of her face from the shiny, golden table they have. All she ever wanted is to feel belonged but it’s too elusive for her.

“I’m already full, Aba. I’ll just go back to my room!” Amira says and without anyone’s approval yet, she excuses herself.

She heads to her chamber and wet her pillow with her tears. Her aba Mandel comes to comfort her.

“I don’t understand, aba, why I feel like I am not part of this family. If I am the one is Alianah’s position, will they care about me too? I-I don’t even understand how I managed to put her down. I don’t know where that power came from. Maybe, Winona is right. I was cursed!” She pours all her resentment on her Aba’s arm. The latter remains silent but hush his granddaughter to sleep.  

When the day dawns crisp and clear, Amira strolls in the façade of their kingdom, observing the fluffy white clouds as it gives the mountains an ethereal beauty. The blooming meadow beneath it is carped with yellow, orange and purple wildflowers while the idyllic forest to her other side, lush with healthy green trees. She reminisces its panoramic view from the clouds where Hasham used to take her at times. While her imagination is almost enough to wash her pain away, it is faltered by the distinct stares of her fellow draconian passing her way. Some are piercing daggers to her while others are keeping a distance.

Her expression dulls. She embraces herself and decides to stroll on the other wing of their kingdom. That’s when she notices some sovereigns and their trustees parading into the hall where royal meetings are usually held.

The rock dragon’s alpha in his fuzzy grey sugarcoat carries a forward expression as he takes the stairs into the hall, his two apprentices behind him, neutral.

Alpha Rowal, upfront and reverse, appears with the alpha of the desert dragons. Their small talks can’t be heard by Amira but judging by the crooks on the other alpha’s forehead and his constant rubbing on his spade shape beard, they are talking about a serious matter. The piercing eyes of Alpha Rowal, the alpha of the red dragons, suddenly travels to Amira, his eyes are communicating something she can’t decipher.

 “Princess Amira,” calls Prince Yeshua from behind her, startling and grabbing her attention in the process. She turns to see her brother wearing an embellish tunic with gold lace and a sun-kissed cloak on top of it. Standing erect and effortlessly elegant beside him is Princess Winona who’s giving Amira a prying eyes, her hand resting on her waist level.

“Oh, the ungrateful princess is wandering in the palace. You have the guts to show off your face after almost taking the life out of your elder sister, hmm?”

Vex clouds Amira’s face. Not only is she confused with what’s happening in the palace, she can’t understand, too, why she is being blamed for a fate already expected from her or Alianah.

Seeing that she succeeds in ruining her sister’s day, Winona winces and walks past Amira, hitting her by the shoulder. The latter grabs her wrist and sneers, “The challenge clearly stated that bloodshed is not forbidden. We either win or die. Too bad, Alianah is the one in the position you expect me to be in.”

Her sister feigns a smile. “Whatever, Amira! A cursed and abandoned draconian like you don’t matter anyway.” She forces her arm out of Amira’s grip and gives her a sharp-witted, scornful shot from head to toe. As she does so, a corner of her mouth twitches. “Celebrate now, regret later. I will make sure you will pay for what you’ve done to Alianah,” Winona hisses before slinking into the hall. Her elder brother follows after sparing Amira an apologetic look.

Tired of her sister’s treatment, she swears not to play as a pitiful princess anymore. She’ll only believe her Aba’s words, not her sisters. She is a royalty. The blood of the powerful class of dragons runs in her veins. She’s but a favored dragon-a golden dragon. That’s right. She is.

Hours have past the bluish sky is now ablaze with the fire of the setting sun. The busy day of the sovereigns with their discussion on something has finally come to an end. Amira notices the strange behavior enveloping each one of them but she chooses to just keep an eye.

She stays in the comfort of her room and wonders why Hasham hasn't show himself yet and why Winona and her eldest brother, Yeshua, are present in the discussion while she is not. She thinks of other things too until drowsiness creeps over her.

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