…and I was there on the front lines, tagging my former countrymates left and right, watching them all fall onto the floor as the tranquilizers quickly took effect. King- no, he would never truly be king- Allaketo was there, piloting his abomination and using its jaws to throw rebels against the walls, rampaging through his own personal knockout campaign.
I’d tagged my forty-seventh zorph, my whacked-up brain keeping score the whole way, when the false king Allaketo simply waved his hand-paw, causing the attackers to… halt and put down their weapons? What kind of strategy is this? Are they surrendering? The rebels quit attacking when they noticed that everybody else had stopped, looking to me for further instructions.
“Well, look what we have here,” Allaketo announced in his deep, booming voice, drawing the attention of everybody in the war-torn room. “A former queen fighting alongside her army! That isn’t something you see every day!”
“Yeah, well, it isn’t every day that the actual queen isn’t the prissy type and would rather have a plain T-shirt and a pair of jeans rather than a dress that costs more than a citizen’s food bill for a year.” Why aren’t you taking advantage of the chance to kill him? a fellow revel thought my way, and I answered, Because then they’d lose their sense of centralization and self-preservation, not knowing how to cope without one of their two leaders that they fight for, and become that much more dangerous.
“Yes, well, unfortunately, we can’t all be as self-righteous as you…” He paused for a moment, enjoying the flare of anger in my eyes. “Some of us are against the destruction of the symbolic royal family, as you would have it if we had allowed you to go through with all those law changes posing as ‘civil rights’… You should be doing normal teenager things right now, embracing your feminity and finding some run-of-the-mill boy to date and break up with a few weeks later, not be fighting a war you can’t win.” Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Maxine slowly inching her way out of the bathroom. “Anyway, tonight should be filled with fireworks…”
“Why, you planning to celebrate something?” I shouldered my tranquilizer gun, preparing for a metaphorical stab in the back- although, considering the mentality of the enemy, I should be considering a real one as well.
“Yes, and unfortunately, you aren’t invited…”  He pulled out a real gun, pointing it directly at me, his army following suit and doing the exact same thing until I had at least a hundred different firearms pointing in my direction. “I mean, since you’ll be dead, unless you wish to stand down and let us take you as a prisoner of war, and then we’ll leave all your friends here alone to live out their pitiful lives.”
“Over my dead body.” I turned around and started dashing down the hall, looking over my shoulder and expecting five hundred bullets to be imbedded in my back as retribution for not accepting Allaketo’s plan, but he waved his hand-paw over everybody, freezing them in position, a hundred anxious traitorous little three-feet-tall aliens with barrels pointed towards me. And then, when I was almost at the door leading to the shelter, about to lead everyone through the tunnels to evacuate, Allaketo raised his arm, and my world
      in flashes of color and pain
          as I fell to the floor
and somewhere, in my pulsing vision, among the flashbacks of the dark-haired boy I almost died trying to save a year and a month ago, the nameless boy I sent away for his own safety, I saw Maxine, screaming my name and being pulled back by rebels, who were dissipating in the chaos caused by Allaketo and a few of his troops swarming around me, picking me up and dragging me outside in my incapacitated state, only realizing that I had a bullet wound right in the middle of my spine when they loaded me onto Allaketo’s fancy skyskipper, stripping me down and replacing my bloody clothes with clean white ones. I hadn’t expected that small act of kindness, but it was overpowered by another wave of pain as they bandaged me up and dragged me somewhere else, this time with Allaketo’s words echoing in my brain as I lost consciousness… “We’ve prepped the ice chamber just for you, former Queen Emma of Zorphia… truly a live burial fit for a queen, being sedated and sent into hibernation blindfolded and lying on a slab of ice. Alexis, make sure she is tied down properly, please.”


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