The light near the throne room was almost blinding, the panic-stricken hearts of the crowd lighting each one up like an enhanced star. Fear is contagious in the Mine. One person becomes afraid and glows more brightly, so the next sees his fear and does the same...it's always an inevitable chain reaction. I could feel poison pushing against my own fingertips, eager to be released.
"Get the king and queen to safety!"
"Is the princess all right?"
"Watch out for their hands?"
What was going on? Curses! I was too short and couldn't see a sunny thing! The guards' voices merged together into a roar; my head began to buzz. If not for the glimpse of yellow, I would have remained in a state of perpetual confusion.
Citrinites. There were Citrinites in the palace. Only three or four, by the lighting, anyway. Clumsy fighters, too. The guards could take care of this problem. Lafrindyx was safe, and so were the rest of us. By the time I left for the mail room to retrieve my box, the throne room had already dimmed down considerably.
"Why do we rule over them?"
Ah, Lafrindyx. Always one for a deep philosophical question right before bed. Who would have thought that brushing someone's hair would require such intellectual strength?
"Because they are our child tribe."
"The child is grown by now, don't you think? Ready to live on its own?"
"It's not about age," I replied. "It's about respect. Children respect their parents, and child tribes respect their parent tribes. We're all a family, and Citrine has always been a problem child to us Mystic Fire Topazians."
"But isn't it possible that we could be problem parents?"
I carefully worked the hairbrush through a snarl. I had never considered that before. "They wouldn't exist without us," I said finally. "They owe us respect for their very lives."