I paced around the room, thinking. There was nothing as far as I could see, except dark stone. The room itself was the size of a classroom, with two gates on either end, made of steel. I ran over to them at once, gripping two of the bars so hard I could feel my knuckles cracking as I tried to produce the heat. It flickered, then went out. I tried again, but the same thing happened. Over, and over, and over. It was no use.
I collapsed to the floor, exhausted, lonely and miserable. I had failed.
It was almost funny. Here I was, thinking I could defeat Marissa and the rest of her people by myself. And I couldn't even get out of this room. What kind of Waterperson was I?
I wasn't one. That was the answer.
I had never really been one. I had lived above water for all of my life. I wasn't like Ben. Before I met him, I couldn't even swim!
Ben. As much as I tried to push him away, he always crept back into my thoughts. Like I didn't have more important things to think about.
Like my impending doom.
Or the fall of the kingdom.
And the King's family.
I laid on the floor then, my cheek pressed against the cool, rough surface. The stones probably dug into my face, but I didn't care.
Then I felt something more, or rather, heard. A tapping? No, they were footfalls, and they were coming closer. I sat up, surprisingly alert. It had to be Marissa, or Courtney or Kayla, coming for me. Which means that they would have already dealt with Ben.
I felt my fire flare inside me. I was standing, a warm air pulsing from my fingertips, threatening to glow orange and illuminate the darkness. And then I saw the person, sprinting towards the gate with lightning-fast speed, and she was almost a blur.
"Melody!" I shrieked, pressing my body into the metal bars, aching to get closer to her on the other side. She flung herself against the bars with equal force, a grin growing on her face.
"I thought we'd never find you!" She giggled, slightly bouncing. "We heard the commotion as you and Ben came in, we knew it was you!" Her eyes darted around expectantly. "Where is Ben?"
"Melody, Ben is in trouble, and I'm trapped. I'm the only one who knows where he is, he-" I stopped, contemplating what she had said. "Wait, what do you mean we?"
And then I heard the sound of stampeding feel before they came into view- at least 50 Waterpeople were coming down the corridor, holding lightpoles. The Queen was in the front line. She looked terrible; her regal green gown was torn and faded, her chesnut brown hair disheveled, and no crown on top, though she still wore a queenly, determined look on her flawless face. As she neared, she raised her arm effortlessly and the bars glided upwards, almost sending me flat on my face.
"Jenn, where is Ben?" she asked before I had a chance to speak.
"I know where he is, follow me," I answered taking off the way she came. The crowd followed the three of us- me, Tawny, and Melody.
"If you don't mind me asking," I started after a few moments of silence, "how did you move the gates?" She scoffed, though not at me.
"My dear, these are our dungeons. Those puppets don't know who they are dealing with." I looked at her in awe.
She then said, "So, you know where my son is?"