Chapter Twelve: Heartfelt
"What are you going to do with us?"
Sylva gazed at her captors, fear sparking in her blue eyes. "If you're gonna kill us here and now, won't people be suspicious? How're you going to dispose of two dead bodies without anyone seeing you? And what will happen when Semela doesn't turn up to the finale or the banquet tonight - assuming Atom win? What will you say then?"
"That she has been taken ill by all the excitement." Nadia shrugged. "It would not be the first time that Semela has been unfortunate to miss out on such things."
Semela narrowed her eyes, realising the implications in her bandmate's words.
"You made me ill." She accused, speaking in her native tongue. "Whenever you did not want me there...I see it now. I should have seen it before, but I believed that Atom was going to be a success, and that you were as focused on your music as I am!"
"A silly mistake to make." Nadia smiled. "We could have killed you long ago, had you become suspicious of our actions, but you did not. You provided us with the music to make Atom a contender, and whilst you were useful, we kept you along for the ride. Now that we are so close to winning tonight, we will no longer need you anyway. Your usefulness is over - it makes no difference to me if you die here or later. In the end, it was always bound to happen."
She turned her attention to the musician, slipping back into English.
"And to answer your question, Sylvina, I know this theatre very well. I know all the hiding places, and I know the secret tunnels. It is an old building - and I grew up in it's shadows. Noone will ever find you - or if they do, they will never be able to identify who you were." She laughed. "Archaeologists will puzzle over you in years to come, but noone will ever know what happened to the American rock star on the night of the contest."
A voice came from the doorway, and Nadia swung around, startled by the sudden interruption. She cursed in Morvanian as she recognised Anatole, with a group of the royal guard in tow. "I think that my mother would very much like to hear you say that - in front of her court!"
"Nat!" Sylva exclaimed. "But how...?"
"We worked it out." Nancy slipped into the room, Copper and Sadie in tow. "Just in time, or so it seems."
Nadia swore, backing against the wall. Grabbing Mischa's arm, she knocked against a panel, revealing a hidden passage. Dumbstruck, everyone could only watch as the two rebels disappeared into the darkness.
"After them!" Nat was the first to regain his composure, gesturing to the royal guard, who obediently took up the pursuit.
"She said she knew every passage - you'll never catch her." Sylva bit her lip, as Sadie hurried to undo her bonds and Copper and Nancy rushed to do the same for Semela. "But how did you find me? I didn't think you'd ever guess that it could be Nadia behind all of this."
"Her name gave her away." Sadie said simply. "One of the people involved in the rebellion up north had the same last name - Kastano. Turns out that Nadia and Mischa are relatives of Adreana's, and wanted the throne for themselves."
"Yeah, I gathered that." Sylva stretched her arms, glad to be free of her restraints. "Semela tried to help me, but they caught her by surprise and tied her up too. She wasn't involved in all of this stuff - she just got caught in the middle."
"I had no idea that they were planning anything like this." Semela looked ashamed. "I get so wrapped up in my music that things pass me by."
"Noone holds you responsible, Semela." Copper assured her gently. "Thank you for trying to help Syl. I only hope they catch them."
"They're planning to kill Adreana and everyone at the palace." Sylva remembered. "They wanted to win this contest so they had a shot at the Queen directly."
"You need not worry. They will not get within the palace's walls." Nat assured her quietly. "There will be guards and police looking for them all night - and they will be found. Where the Queen's safety is at stake, nothing is spared."
He came to join Sadie at Sylva's side. "I'm sorry that I got you into all of this trouble. I should have been honest with you from the start."
Sylva stared at him for a moment, then slowly, she nodded, getting to her feet.
"It might have been nice, if just for once, a guy felt they could trust me." She said quietly. "And besides, Jewel have a set to play - are we still in time to go out there?"
"It's the interval." Sadie nodded. "But are you sure you're up to it? Syl, after everything you've been through, noone would blame you if you decided against it."
"I want to sing." A look of determination crossed Sylva's face. "That's what we came to Morvania to do, and that's what we're gonna do."
"Well, then let's do it." Nancy grinned. "As they say, the show must go on!"
Nat watched the musicians leave, a frown on his face.
"Caught between a rock and a hard place." he murmured softly. "First she believes me to be her attacker...and then she is angry because I did not trust her with the truth. Can I blame her? I suppose not. I suppose I would be as upset if the situation was the other way around."
He glanced at Semela.
"Are you all right?" He asked gently. Semela got to her feet slowly.
"I think so." She admitted. "I...will I be in any trouble? I didn't know..."
"Of course not." Nat smiled at her.
"And what will happen? If - when - they catch Nadia and Mischa, what will they do?" Semela's eyes became big as she contemplated.
"They are traitors." Nat shrugged his shoulders. "And there is only one fate for them."
"My mother will be wondering where I am, and Corvin also." He said ruefully. "Since I said I would be gone just a few minutes, and have been almost an hour. Before Corvin sets his guards to find me, I should return to the theatre. Will you come too? Corvin will want to hear your story, after all."
"If you want me to." Semela nodded. "Though with them still out there, I'm afraid of what will happen. They would have killed both Sylvina and me, had you not found us."
"I know." Nat pursed his lips, looking thoughtful. "And even if we had caught them then, I would not have forgiven myself had harm come to Sylvina."
He shook himself from his reverie, aware that his companion was eying him strangely.
"Besides, I much want to hear Jewel play." he said. "So, let's go!"
"I can't believe we're here."
Sadie gazed out at the view, a dreamy look in her dark blue eyes. It was several hours later and, having won the competition, Jewel were enjoying their night as guests of the Morvanian royals. News had filtered through during the meal that Nadia and Mischa had both been apprehended heading for the border, and that both were currently imprisoned awaiting trial. Adreana's throne was once more secure, and, safe in that knowledge, the royal household had put on a spectacular spread.
"A royal palace. Wow. Think of me, Sadie Monahue, eating dinner with royalty! Sheesh, what has happened to me in the last few years!"
She gestured. "From prison slop to royal cuisine - noone could doubt my good intentions now, could they?"
"Not at all." Her companion, Copper assured her with a smile. "I know that what happened in England was rough on you, Sadie, but you are a part of our team now, and we like your quirks, believe it or not. You have a whole wealth of experiences that none of the rest of us have - it always helps to have a fresh perspective on things."
"Well, I'm glad that Nat isn't going to take personally the way I greeted him earlier." Sadie blushed. "I flew at him, pretty much, but luckily he understood that I was just worried about Syl's safety."
"I think he was just as worried." At that moment Nancy joined them on the balcony. "Wow, some view from here! You must be able to see all of Morvania from up here. Talk about ruling from the top!"
"It's as old as the theatre, Nat said." Copper nodded. Her eyes became dreamy. "I like the whole history feel to it. I know it's silly, but can't you just imagine yourself as a mediaeval damsel in distress?"
"Oh, definitely." Sadie giggled. "Waiting to be rescued by a knight on a white steed."
"Blah, you guys talk nonsense." Nancy rolled her eyes. "Next you'll be telling me you believe in fairy godmothers granting you wishes!"
"Aw, get into the spirit of it, Nance!" Copper reproached, a grin on her face. "You might never get another chance to dine with royalty."
"Well, Syl doesn't seem to be enjoying it as much as we are." Nancy cast her gaze back towards the banquet hall, where Sylva was sitting alone, a preoccupied expression on her pretty face. "I asked her to come out here with me, but she said no. I don't think she wants to be here - I can't figure her out sometimes. I know she went through a lot at the show, but she's safe now, and I didn't peg her to be someone who dwells on these things. Nat wasn't the demon she thought he was, either. I thought she would have been pleased."
"I don't think she liked to be lied to." Sadie looked thoughtful, taking in the synth player's expression as the girls headed back inside. "But I understand why Nat did it. Sometimes it seems logical to hide who you really are, because you're afraid of how people will treat you. The thing is, though, you can't hide the truth forever. You can't be anyone other than who you really are - and if people can't accept you for that, then you might as well not bother to begin with."
"You've come to grips with everything since Georgia's trial, haven't you?" Copper observed. Sadie nodded.
"I am who and what I am, and that's just me." She said quietly. "I don't say I'll always like it, and I don't imagine I'll ever trust a guy again, but that's life." She pursed her lips. "Nat's going to speak to her - what I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall of that conversation."
"I think it's best we let them sort things out for themselves." Copper said wisely. "Syl might be a flirt, but she's also sensitive and proud. I don't think she'd want us to know, else she'd have told us already how she was feeling. Remember, Topaz isn't here with us for her to confide in...in some ways it's made her stand alone more, where her feelings are concerned. We have to let her do this her way."
Inside the banquet hall, Nat had steeled his courage, heading over to talk to the silent musician. She had spoken little during the meal, except to answer when a question had been directly addressed to her, but, assuming her traumatic experience at the theatre was responsible, noone had made much of a fuss about it. However, she had refused to meet the prince's gaze, and Nat knew that his deception was at least partly to do with it.
"Syl?" He murmured gently.
"Did you want something?" Sylva raised clouded blue eyes to his, and his frown deepened.
"I hoped we might talk." He said at length. "I have plenty I need to say."
"Well, this is your home. You are the prince." Sylva's smiled, but her expression lacked any humour, and her eyes remained preoccupied. "I can hardly stop you."
"Will you come out onto the balcony with me?" Nat asked. "I wish to show you something."
Sylva opened her mouth to refuse, but, seeing the solemn look on her companion's face she shrugged, getting to her feet.
"All right." She agreed slowly. "But make it quick, huh? The sooner Jewel are out of Morvania, the better."
Nat sent her a troubled look, but did not respond. Instead he led the way outside, pushing the door quietly shut behind him.
"Take a look at the view." He murmured.
"I see it." Sylva replied. "But I don't understand why you brought me out here. You lied to me, Nat, and you made me feel like a real fool, when Nadia dropped the bombshell on me about who you really were. You felt able to put me in danger, but you didn't think to warn me. I could at least have been prepared, and I wouldn't have believed you were the one out to hurt me. Tonight need never have happened, if you had only told me the truth."
"It is so easy to say in hindsight." Nat sighed, gesturing out across the light-speckled landscape of the city. "But you see, Sylvina, that is my destiny. All of those houses, those people, this land. One day I will be King, and then there is no way to hide from my responsibilities. My mother is not an old Queen, but she is also not a politician, and more and more I am called upon to make decisions. Eventually my freedom will all be gone." He smiled sadly. "My life belongs to the people, after all. It does not belong to me."
"So what has that to do with me?" Sylva demanded, turning away from the view.
"For once I wanted to be like every other man in Morvania." Nat glanced at his hands. "You were a stranger, you did not know me or my family. You did not realise when we met that I was Prince Anatole, and for the first time I wondered if maybe I would get a chance to prove to a girl that I am more than a title and a big estate. Too many girls have chased me for the wrong reasons. I...I wanted you to like me for the right ones."
"I did like you." Sylva said softly, tears touching her eyes at this heartfelt confession. "I liked you a lot, Nat. But I don't like being lied to. I hate that you couldn't trust me - you weren't being yourself. How am I supposed to tell you if it was the real Nat I liked, when the only one I knew was a lie from start to finish?"
"It was not all a lie." Nat shook his head. Gently he took her hand. "I did not tell you my title, but everything else I said to you was true. I promise." He eyed her keenly. "Would you have been so warm to me had you known from the start who I really was?"
"I don't know." Sylva hesitated, then pulled her hand away. "And I guess we'll never know, will we?"
"No. I don't suppose we shall." Nat sighed. "Will you go back to America, then, still angry with me?"
"No." Sylva paused, then, "But I'm rather thinking I'll go back to America, knowing that this time my heart got broken by a prince."
She closed her eyes against her tears.
"I'm a flirt and a tease and I like a good time. People call me shallow." She whispered. "But since I fell in love with the guy back in America, I haven't been able to be that carefree with any other guy. I've always found myself thinking of him instead. With you...for the first time since then, I was able to forget all of that and just enjoy your company. I thought I was moving on. Yes, I came to Morvania hoping for a holiday romance, but it was different when it actually happened. I liked you the day I met you, and that's the truth. I wouldn't have sneaked out with you otherwise. Had you told me the truth, I would never have believed you were trying to hurt me."
Nat bit his lip, then.
"All I can say is that I'm sorry." He said finally. "More sorry than I can probably put into good English, Sylvina. There has never been anyone quite like you in my life - someone who treated me just as I am, and nothing different. I shall not forget that." He smiled slightly. "Even now, you still call me Nat. In your head, I think, I am still not the Crown Prince."
"No, but in reality, Nat, that is what you are." Sylva met his gaze with a sombre one of her own. "And even if I forgive you - hell, I guess I do forgive you - for lying to me, it doesn't change anything. Jewel will leave Morvania in a few days, and in truth, I'm glad of it. I can't spend much more time here, thinking about everything that's happened since I arrived."
"No, I understand." Nat nodded. "And I apologise for putting you in danger."
"Nadia thought we were plotting together, because of what Mom was involved in back in '86." Sylva reflected. "When I get back to LA, I'm gonna hash it out with her, and find out everything. It's got me curious now, and Phyllis doesn't like talking about it."
She glanced at her hands. "What if Nadia had succeeded, though? Become Queen in your mother's place? What then?"
"She would not have lasted." Nat shrugged. "There is unrest, but most of Morvania love my mother." He smiled. "And as I told you before, I want what is best for my country. If that means helping mother behind the scenes with the political side of things, then so be it. One day it will be my responsibility, anyway."
"Nadia said you weren't Adreana's legitimate heir. She said that Corvin was your father." Sylva remembered. Nat laughed.
"Yes, that's a favourite rebel ploy, but it's grasping at straws." He said, amused. "My father was a powerful Morvanian Duke, whose lands were to the north and west of the country. He and my mother had a marriage of politics, and I was the only child. He died of natural causes when I was five, and Corvin, loyal as ever, was Mother's support. He helped to raise me, but he is a man of honour, and my mother knows her duties. There has never been an affair between them." A sad glint touched his eyes. "Like you and I, etiquette gets in the way."
"So Nadia was wrong." Sylva reflected. "You are the true heir, after all."
"Yes." Nat nodded. "It does not take much to see how Corvin adores my mother, and how mother has come to rely on him as a brother and a friend. But that line will never be crossed. I know who my father was, and I have never had any doubts." He looked pensive.
"How will we leave this, Sylvina?" He asked softly. "Nothing that has happened can be changed, and soon you will leave. Can you just walk out of Morvania and forget?"
"I don't know." Sylva pursed her lips. "To be quite honest, it got to be a drag when I started getting indepth feelings for people, instead of just brief infatuations. My best friend back home fell into the trap of a long distance relationship and she got her heart broken - and here I am not even knowing how to part from someone I didn't even have a holiday fling with. What's with that?"
"I don't know." Nat admitted. "All I know is that you are special, and one day you will find someone as special to spend the rest of your life with. You've opened my eyes a lot, Sylvina, because even now you treat me as a person, not just a title and not just a name. If you can do it, maybe there is hope for others, huh?"
"And if I can get over Jack once with you, then I can move on again." Sylva nodded, though her eyes were sad. "Maybe I'm finally growing up."
"Maybe we both are." Nat paused, then gently he bent to kiss her. Sylva did not resist, and when they broke apart, tears shone once more in her eyes.
"What was that for?" She whispered.
"To say goodbye." Nat told her. "And so you don't forget in years to come that once you captured the heart of a prince."
"If you don't understand me now, then maybe it's better we leave it there." Nat put a gentle finger to her lips, halting her speech. "Let us just agree to be friends and let it go. After all, as we both know, there is no future for a rock star and a prince."
"Friends, then." Sylva grabbed his hand, shaking it firmly. "Because I don't want to go back to America hating you, Nat."
"And I couldn't begin to hate you." Nat smiled. "But people will wonder what we are doing out here. Come on - we should enjoy tonight. After all, tomorrow you prepare to go home, and I shall never see you again."
"Never is such a long time." Sylva said sadly. "But hey, maybe Jewel will come back to Morvania one day. Or, who knows? Maybe you'll get to study in America after all."
"No...I am needed here." Nat shook his head. "But if Jewel ever do return to Morvania, Sylva, you will always be welcome as my guest at the palace."
"Then I'll be sure to look you up if I'm ever in town." Despite herself, Sylva smiled. "After all, this place has the best cuisine - and I wouldn't turn down good food for all the world!"
Prologue: Morvania, 1987
Chapter One: Los Angeles, 2014
Chapter Two: At The Airport
Chapter Three: Laviana
Chapter Four: The Competition
Chapter Five: The Queen
Chapter Six: Ransacked!
Chapter Seven: Anatole
Chapter Eight: Nerysa
Chapter Nine: A Frightening Realisation
Chapter Ten: Betrayal
Chapter Eleven: The Truth
Chapter Twelve: Heartfelt
Chapter Thirteen: Home
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!