I didn't know what this store was alled, all I knew was that Aly had picked it, and Aly had good taste. I walked over to a rack of dresses by the dressing room all in my size and organized by my favorite colors and smirked.

Three, two, one....

"Ariana! Araina! Ariana!!!!!!" Aly danced her way over to me from behind a shelf carrying cute tops, shoes and mini skirts. Oh dear.

"Oh, my god. You have to go try these on! Now!" She practically sang, her face bright with anticipation. Aly shoved a short black strapless number and a pair of black Stilettos into my arms and pushed me toward an open stall, bouncing up and down.

I sighed. After the deal with Andrew I really didn't feel like doing this, but Eddy was there so I cooperated like my usual self and slipped the dress on. The shoes were perfect and I spinned and curtsied for Aly in the mirrors.

" Ohhh, cuuuttttteeee!" Aly squealed, clapped her hands. Like magic a store worker appeared looking expectant.

"Sam, we'll take these," She sang, twirling around me. Her face was so bright as she grinned mischeiviously. But I shook my head.

"Aly I am not getting another dress. I haven't even wore those other four we got last week!" Sam was still waiting and I turned to him. "Thanks, but we don't need your assistance at the moment," I said politely.

I frowned as Aly's face fell, but Eddy rubbed her arm, brightening her up again. "Fine, but can I at least put it on hold?" I glared, she looked down. "Or not, just saying...."

I sighed again. "Listen, just...I'm not into this right now. Besides, I told Iddy and Icly that I was going to meet them before the Cornation Ball. I've got alot on my mind right now just....I'll meet you there, ok?" I gave her a half smile and changed back into my clothes.

Aly had her pouty face on. I gave her a squeeze and speed walked out of there before she could make me try on anything else. I really couldn't wait to see Iddy and Icly.

Iddy and Icly Patterson. The two twins that have been my best friends since turning double digits. Their first names were actually Sidney and Vicki, but they've always liked their middle names better I guess, so everyone calls them that.

I pushed open a double door leading outside and took a deep breath of fresh air. I lived in the capital city of Daza. Most cities have less than a thousand residents, so ours is very large with over ten thousand people. I took a great leap into the air and soared thirty feet across the opening landscape made up of trees and clearings. The world here doesn't have much gravity. My people rarely get around by walking anywhere except for Guardians. We usually just take less time leaping twenty to fifty feet at a time to the place we are trying to get to.

I leapt for five minutes or so to the Soda Shop across the clearings. That's another thing, we don't have roads, but clearings are used as paths sometimes. The Soda Shop like usual had fair buisness and Iddy and Icly were talking animatedly to eachother under a canopy unbrella table.

I smiled, three chocolate milkshakes were just then delivered to the table by a waiter. I landed easily by the table and smiled. "My queen," The waiter said respectfully and bowed.

"Thank you," I said and sat down beside my friends. They grinned at me identically and I groaned inwardly. What were they gossiping now....

"Ok, spill, now," Icly ordered. I raised my eyebrows.

Iddy giggled, "Lyss filled us in on your little, 'episode' this morning. So go on, spill!"

"Yeah," Icly said eagerly, eyes bright, "How was he...?"

Iddy took on a disapproving air, "Ariana, what were you thinking? You know the risks! If not for you then what about him! Uh, but whatever, I can't really blame you-"

"I mean really, The Guard is kind of hypocritical, don't you think? They appoint a teenager for Queen, and don't allow romance's an oxymoron, I swear!-"

"I mean Guardians can have partners, plus-"

"Pshh, whatever, don't listen to them, besides, there's noone good enough for you or any of us anyways. I mean really, we are hot!" We all laughed at that. I shook my head and took a sip of the milkshake, delicious as always.

Iddy fidgeted, "Well, go on...tell us! What was it like?!" Her light blue eyes were bright with fun.

A slow smile crept up on my lips and I cleared my throat. "It was great," I said, and paused. I frowned and stirred my shake, staring at it all the while.

"It was great? That's it?!" Icly cried. I was still concentrating on getting the swirls out of my ice cream.

"Helllooo, earth to Arianaaa?" Iddy snapped her fingers in front of me. I looked up. "What is with you? Wasn't it great? I mean, we can all agree that Andrew is on fire hotness!" I smiled sadly and shook my head grimacing. At last I stopped sucking on my straw and folded my hands in my lap. Queen time.

"No, it was great, that's the problem. Guys, I'm the queen!" Iddy and Icly stared at me, blinking in unison now and then. I raised my chin and looked them both squarely in the eye.

"I am the ruler and representative of our peoplef I can't control myself, then who will? I have to control myself so others won't have to. A sacrifice of one for all. I agreed to this, it's an honor! And I'm not showing it! Sure, I'm a teenager still with hormones and mind not fully developed. But people look up to me! They chose me, for a reason. And I can't let them down, no matter what happens."

By this time Iddy and Icly were sullen and stricken at the same time. They felt a fraction of the weight on my shoulders. I knew, I was there. 

They knew my duties, priorities, schedule, but they also knew how hard and breaking they were also.

"I'm the queen," I said. "And the last one of my line right now. The past queens have, sure, been older, wiser and definetly more mature and potent in their line, but that's partly why I was chosen. I was to be different. Fresh, unique. I'm supposed to bring color to our people. In the past half year people say I've done a really good job which I'm relieved for. But that still was the entire point. The other queens were targeted easily for those older traditional traits....they hope I won't be. I am a test to continue the Monarchy. I cannot fail, and I will not! My decoy is to be protected so hopefully violence will be averted. If the Monarchy fails, who knows what will happen?

"The Guard only agreed to trying me as queen because this is what the people want. It's not as safe as other options, and I knew that going into this experiment. But I am willing to risk my life all the time for my people, and that is my focus, our people. And I believe in my people, that's why they believe in me, or else I wouldn't have a chance at this royalty stuff.

"I'm the last Dragon and I cannot and will not let my people down," I took a long breath. "So that's precisely why we are going to restrain ourselves formally at the Ball and show the Guard and other countries what Daza is like."

I gulped and Iddy and Icly raised their eyebrows. "What?"

"Everyone fom the other countries believe that the Guard's now taken over Daza. Because the decoy is recruited. I think her name's Rosalia and her Familiar's going to be Guarding her. Remember Jessica? Yeah, she'll be checking in every now and then. I heard she just got back from Refresher Camp though, so don't get in her face just yet."

Icly rolled her eyes. "Another Familiar at the Ball, they've really stepped up security this year!"

I nodded. "Well yeah, this is a make or break experiment....plus, this Ball was where Queen Tatiana was murdered." We broke into a moment of silence. To me, she'd been the Grandmother I never knew.

Iddy broke the silence. "But I mean really! You already have five permanent Familiars with specialties as a Guard! Not including your other ten Familiars! That's record in Guard history! And double the Famililars Tatiana had! You better know you're important Ari'!"

I laughed and nodded, "You know it!" I winked and we all giggled and drank the rest of our milkshakes together.

"Yeah," Iddy chimed in, "But that's probably because Eddyand aly and Jared and Lyss are together...." She broke off for a giggle then sighed and tilted her head to the side in thought. I smiled, that was one of the quirky things the twins did when thinking sometimes.

Eddy and Aly were so good together. Not to mention that they both specialized in fire and telepaths. That means that Eddy can make anyone calm r confidence...and can read and erase any negitive thoughts or emotions. Aly can read non-Guard people's feelings. I looked back up at the twins. They were lost in thought as well.

"You guys ready?" I asked. They shook themselves and said sure. We got up and took our cups inside them headed off to the Ball.         

The End

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