Oh Cinder, I’ve missed seeing your face when you make sarcastic comments in an attempt to hide your true feelings about me.” “Please.” Rolling her eyes, Cinder started organizing the guns against the wall. “See that eye roll? It translates to ‘How am I possibly keeping my hands off you, Captain?’” “Yeah, keeping them from strangling you.
A/N: Takes place before all the books in the series. When Levana and Rikan are playing together at the palace of Luna. They are betrotheds to create a union between Luna and Earth, which is why they get to see each other once in awhile. (My thoughts were that they were supposed to marry, but it got called off when Rikan found true love in the E.C). This is before Levana is burned in the fire. Childhood theme.
Her dress was getting muddy quickly, and if her mother were to watch her now, she’d chastise the little princess.
But Jannali was probably somewhere else in the castle, tucked away with entertainment and men and wine. Levana was much too young for that. And at this age, she wasn’t sure if she would ever have much of an interest for those things anyway.
Maybe only Rikan. She had an interest in him. She dearly loved Rikan, though he wasn’t a man yet. Merely an eight-year old.
“Wait up!” Her grubby hands latched onto the rock of her nature and zoo-playground that was made especially for her. A burbling stream rolled off in the distance, and the tropical trees towered over her as she raced up to keep up with the prince.
“You can’t catch me!” Rikan taunted, his childish face beaming. He lost his footing then, his crimson and crisp clothing growing dirty and wet from tripping over a moist moss patch. Still, he was way ahead of her, and his limbs were up again and swinging as gracefully as he could over the patch.
The animals in the zoo squeaked and scattered out of the way as Levana harrumphed, and she barked at them.
“Move! Make way,” she ordered, kicking dirt towards them. Most of the smaller, more skittish mammals scurried away. Bunching up the material of her dress in her little fists, she kicked at some of the animals while racing to keep up with Rikan. The creatures ran away, and she felt almost powerful- queen of her jungle.
But as she advanced, an enormous, irate peacock rose from the grass, and he raised his feathers high, announcing his majesticness. The vibrant blue and magenta hues of his golden-outlined man shone and grew only higher, and his nostrils flared.
Levana gulped. Her heart felt like an anvil, and she skittered to a stop.
My, my, said Channary. You’re awfully spoiled. You have so many animals. So many. Don’t you agree? Do you love them all?
This peacock had been one of the tested subjects the scientists had fun with- a lab animal that had its size multiplied several times, transforming it into an even more exotic creature. When it had first entered her playground zoo, Levana had called him ‘Jewel’, played with him for a day or two, then moved on.
“C’mon, Levana,” Rikan called. She glanced his way, wanting more than anything to go after him and continue playing- maybe even sneak in a slobbery kiss in there, too…
But there was this horrid animal in the way, and Levana would not- could not- move until it did first.
“No.” Levana folded her tan and stout arms in defiance, and she pouted with her lower lip jutting out. Her gauzy, glittering dress that was bejeweled with tiny stars was soaked in a lot more mud by now, and she smelled terrible - like manure- but she was more concerned about the animal in the way.
“Are you scared?” asked Rikan, nearly laughing.
Something crawled down her spine, and she glared at him.
Come here, Levana. Here! Look at the animals. They love you, Channary smiled. This way, love. Yes, they want to be your friends. Don’t cry! Why are you crying? Are you scared?
Was she scared?
She had every right to be scared.
“The peacock is just in the way.” She stomped her feet, feeling cross.
“Just move around it, Lev.” A smirk played on his lips. “Hurry up, or I’m going to find Torin and play chess with him instead.”
Of course, Levana. Look, little sister. Baby, sweet sister. The animals told me they love you. Don’t be afraid. Now, hurry up. Hurry, they’re waiting.
Levana remembered being flung into the bird section of the zoo. She remembered being pecked without wanting to. She remembered wailing and wanting mercy to take her over, wanting to die.
She had suffered minor injuries from Channary’s bird-manipulation-trick, and she only suffered some bloody cuts that were now stitched up, but it was enough for Levana to be a bit paranoid of birds. Plus, the birds she was thrown into were small and weaker. This one had the strength of three grown men.
“No! Don’t leave me,” she whined. Desperation took autopilot of her feelings.
“Just go around. We don’t have all day.”
Shuddering, Levana cowered as the animal snarled, his beak disturbingly large enough to inflict several wounds.
But this was Rikan. Her love, her true love. He’d never do a Channary trick. So, she made her move- snaking quickly around the beautiful beast, heart pounding in fear…almost to Rikan…almost…
The peacock jerked his head and snapped suddenly, tearing her dress. Its beak cut apart the hem of her clothing, and she shrieked, trying to get out its grip. But the animals only grew stronger, pulling and yanking her in, eating fistfuls of her dress. Rikan screamed- the cacophonous noise shattering and horrendous, making her feel chill to the bone.
“Stars! Help her!” she heard him screech as her ears rung, the rushing blood pounding in her ears. She couldn’t focus, and the world tilted upside down.
Levana was too shocked to say anything at all. And she was also sure she wet herself.
Frantic tears fell out of her eyes instantly as the violent bird swung her around from his mouth. Her heart must have stopped- she wasn’t breathing, she couldn’t be breathing…wasn’t capable with breathing…
“SOMEONE HELP THE PRINCESS!” Rikan’s voice cried, faint and distant. Soft yet screaming. Dark yet light.
Trying to wrestle out of the peacock’s grip, she grunted harshly. A figure bounded towards her- she could see in her peripheral vision- and someone was yelling and crying. Shouting something over and over again- but Levana couldn’t make out the words.
“STOP!” she sobbed, not sure if it was from frustration. Her face was flushed, and by now the bird held her ten feet from the ground, and her dress was in mangled shreds.
The last thing she remembered was being thrown away, not to a pack of birds, but far away- being cascaded into a blanket of water.
Part Three: Cress meets someone special. Snowy Day THEME TLC SHIP WEEKS (Summary: Cress rents a floor of a landlord’s apartment with other college students she doesn’t know much about yet. She’s shy/socially awkward b/c of her traumatizing past. )
Ugh. Cress shivered underneath the thin, blue blanket. Rolling around on the bed, she shifted to her side, and she let loose a wince as her long locks got wrapped around her waist.
The irritating, roaring noise of coffee beans being crushed in the morning was not what Cress was looking forward to. Her first night at the landlord’s house wasn’t that bad- she slept late but sound. The others had slept around the same time she did; Cress heard their 'goodnights’ before they went to bed.
Wow. She was such a loser. Cress, socially awkward, didn’t even talk to Cinder, Scarlet, Kai, and Wolf after that uncomfortable 'if-I-order-packages-will-they-come’ thing. Sighing, she sat up on her bed, rubbed at her eyes, and decided to redeem herself. Perhaps if she tried to fit in and be more open, things would get better. She wouldn’t dread her decision on coming to this house for Winter Break then. Maybe. She should go over to kitchen and say 'good morning’, or a 'hi’ at the very least.
A soft yawn escaped her lips, and Cress ruffled her long hair up into a messy pile with an elastic, but the band snapped and her hair fell past her hips again. Cress dangled her legs over the bed and tried again. And again. And-
Impatient, she stood up and peered into a mirror by the bedside drawer. Her face was groggy, but her eyes were lucid enough to make out her hair- which was an utter tornado. Cress bent down to grope for her brush in her suitcase, and she yanked the tines through her ringlets, trying to untangle all of the strands.
After about ten minutes, the result was a fuzzy and frizzy blonde poof. Luckily, there was a little bathroom in her room, and Cress took advantage of that. No walking out and accidentally bumping into someone. She shuddered- that would be terror.
Deciding that she would take a shower later, Cress tucked her overgrown locks behind her ears, doing the best she could for now. She quickly brushed her teeth, and as her stomach roared in anticipation for food, headed out of the room.
The aroma of warm coffee and hot chocolate invaded her nostrils. She wondered who was up so early making drinks for everyone- Kai? It seemed like he was a genuinely generous person.
She rounded the hall, expecting to meet someone with a cup in their hands. And maybe a platter of cookies on a table. Cress didn’t realize how hungry she was until now.
Kai wasn’t there. Nor Wolf, Cinder, or Scarlet.
A different man was in the kitchen, his figure leaning against the table. His rigid back faced hers, and all she could make out was that he was fit and tall. She could also see the wisp of some tousled hair on his head. Her heart leaped, wondering what a stranger was doing here. Was he the last person to join them? Would he stay here?
Cautiously, Cress looked down at her bare feet, wiggling her toes. She should say something. He still hadn’t turned around yet to face her.
Mustering up all of her courage, she cleared her throat, ridding of the butterflies at the base of her stomach.
When he turned around, everything couldn’t have been faster, and everything couldn’t have been slower.
He was lean. perhaps even muscular- she could see the outline of his taut abs underneath his tight Under Armor shirt. The man had swiveled around in surprise. A warm, heavenly face looked down- no, more a bit too high- at her with amusement, like he couldn’t tell where she was. He was tan and a beauty. Irises glistened with charm, and there was a faint mark of hot chocolate on his upper lip. His hands held a red mug, and he was probably drinking out of it before she interrupted him. Chiseled jawline and a graceful slope to his nose. An angel’s halo was his hair, light and impeccably in place.
He was, to simply put it, the most handsome human being Cress had ever seen in her entire life time.
“Hello,” Cress started. She whimpered, feeling tiny underneath the man’s scrutiny.
“Oh, hey.” His eyes were still narrowing at her. The speculative glare he brought reminded Cress that she was no match. Reminded her that she was pathetic- she was clad in a little, pale pink nightgown with a hole in the collar, and her hair was a mess, and she wasn’t even five foot…
Cress stumbled back, more shocked than him, and fell to her knees as she made a loud squeak. His face contorted into an apology.
A sharp intake of a breath came from him. “Are you alright?” Slowly, he staggered closer to her.
Suddenly hyper-aware of the fact that she actually fell from the presence of him, Cress nodded, still on the wood-panelled floor. Her cheeks burned and she felt tears spring to her eyes. “I’m fine…Just…stumbled…” She bit her lip, feeling worthless.
What a fool she was. Just like her nanny always said- Crescent, dear, you’ll find your place in the world. The place being death, if you keep it up with you stupidity. Mistress Sybil’s scowl and her words had once stung Cress, and they always would- the haunting woman she was.
I’m a college student. I’m successful and smart. And I’m not lying on the floor in front of an angel. This is a bad dream, and it’ll all go away if I just…Whimpering, Cress scooted away from the man’s outreaching hand.
“Here. Need help?” He flashed a smile as his extended arm dangled towards her. But, the arm was too off to the side. Frowning and wondering if it was a hoax, Cress stood up on her own, and the man managed a cheeky grin.
Cress was sure her heart stopped.
“I like you. You seem like the independent type, you know, not like one of those spoiled princesses. What’s your name?” He was a good head taller than her, but he was not at all menacing.
“We could all use a few damsels not in distress,” Cress mumbled.
Did she actually say that out loud?
Wincing, Cress shook her head. “No, I mean…um…” The man brushed it off.
“I’m Captain Carswell Thorne,” he said, flippantly winking at her. Cress inhaled sharply, feeling her nerves flutter as her face melted into a goopy mess. He was a captain?
“Oh. Oh.” Taking a deep breath, Cress nodded. “Crescent, er- Cress. I’m Cress,” she squeaked.
“Nice to meet you, miss,” he said. “Now, would you like a cup of coffee?”
Cress couldn’t speak anymore. She nodded once, biting her lip.
“That’s what I thought.”
He turned around to pour some into another cup, and her curiosity wavered.
“Um…Who are you exactly?”
“Oh! I’m your fairy godfather,” he smiled. He paused from his pouring, and he looked up.
Silence. Cress studied his face, which looked a bit unfocused.
“That was supposed to be a joke…but yeah, I’m Cinder’s brother.” He continued pouring the liquid, cautiously, and then handed it to her. She took the cup, relishing in the warmth it brought to her palms.
“Thanks,” she muttered. Then, recognition hit Cress, and she remembered the conversation she had with the others yesterday- he drove a UPS truck… “Oh- brother.” She paled, and her legs shook. Smartly, she sat on the chair by the table. And then, he joined her, making Cress feel all the more uneasy.
“I don’t recognize your voice. You go the the same college as her?”
“Er…yes, I do. We probably don’t have the same majors.” Cress thought back to Cinder- she wouldn’t be caught dead with a computer. She was probably majoring in politics or more important, cooler things.
Carswell’s gaze dipped down on Cress’s face, and she blushed, feeling self-conscious. She looked away towards the window, feeling her face warm, and then gasped. She dropped the mug on the table, grateful for no spills.
“Is it snowing? Oh!” Abruptly, Cress tumbled out of her seat and rushed to the front window, sighing with joy. “Oh, oh, oh!”
“Gah,” he mumbled. “Is it?” Still, he was sitting at the table. Of course he couldn’t see from there.
“Come, look!” Cress, momentarily forgetting the fact that she was wearing a short, ugly nightgown, jumped up happily like she was prettier than a fairy. The flecks of the starting white flurries of happy flakes fell from the heavens, and Cress beamed. She loved to spot the morning snowfall- it was part of her routine. Her spirits rose, and she felt almost confident that this moment was nearly perfect.
“Look, you seem really sweet…But I actually can’t see it.”
“Yeah, come on, I’ll-”
“I’m blind.” A sad, dry grin stretched across his face. “Sorry.”
Cress started, feeling humiliated. She spun on him, shocked and repulsed. No.
“Yep. Not born, thank goodness. Blind about a year ago.” The man shrugged, almost like he was going to laugh. Why, Cress couldn’t fathom. She knew about blindness- her father was a doctor, after all.
“But, how can you…I’m so…”
“How can I function this well?” he laughed, cracking his knuckles. “You’re so sorry?” Again, Carswell laughed, making Cress feel insignificant and naive. “Not your fault. Not your trouble.”
Aghast, Cress stood there, frozen like an icicle. She wanted to apologize, wanted to take back her thoughts about caring what she looked like in front of him, wanted to make him see…
Wait- what if this was a joke?
Before Cress could ponder the thought, a voice cut through.
“So, I’m assuming you’ve met my oh-so-charming brother?” Cinder, with her messy brown ponytail and her baggy clothing, stepped into the kitchen.
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Here’s what I think-
When I see retellings of childhood classics I’m automatically a little wary. Can they really live up to a classic? Can they really bring something to the table that hasn’t been tried by dozens before? Somehow, someway, Marissa Meyer thought up of a genuinely creative re-imagining of one of the most popular classics–Cinderella.
This book was hands down amazing. The Lunars and the abilities they possess, along with the fear of death at every corner, is perfectly mixed in with classic elements of Cinderella. It’s ingenious. I have never been as satisfied with a fairy tale retelling as I am with Cinder. The characters are witty and fresh, with a love story that has it all: a swoon-worthy prince, a charming personality, great chemistry–a true fairy tale romance.
Even though it’s essentially a retelling, the originality in this novel is outstanding. From the futuristic concepts to the interesting turns to the plot, we have a whole new enchanting world to get introduced to. While there are new spins added to the story, these are not especially unpredictable. From the very start it’s obvious what the big twist is going to be. However, it’s obvious in a way that makes me think this was the author’s intention. As if she wants the reader to know what Cinder does not, making us feel wistful; if only everyone knew, things would be so different for her.
A little snippet-
“Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.”
Glitches in a Game of Chess- Levana and Cinder Battle, with a different spin/take on it- LAST DAY- REVOLUTION
Glitches in a Game of Chess
It was her.
Just the queen, and her niece. Her ugly-duckling niece.
Levana suddenly cackled, a smile curling at the edges of her blood-red lips. She could see and hear the girl’s breathing accelerate.
The girl was nervous.
She laughed again, the noise clear as day, ringing throughout the throne room. Levana crossed her long legs, amused. Her white, regal dress swooped around her, like a dove’s wings.
“Why, what a surprise. I’ve been waiting for you,” she said, voice as sweet and fake as artificial sugar. Indeed, Levana had been waiting long for her niece to come. And here she was, looking insignificant and vulnerable, so vulnerable. Trapped with the person who wanted her most dead. Lovely how things turned out- the cunning queen knew that she would be able to get Selene by herself, isolated her from the rest of them…after all, this was only a game. A game of war and gore and hatred- moving the queen’s chess piece to kill the pawn, that’s all it was…
“I’m here to stop you,” the girl started, voice teetering a bit like a drunk man, but Levana caught her off short with another laugh. This time, she tilted her head dramatically and hysterically shrieked like a madman.
This was, of course, all part of her strategic plan. Get Selene feel scared, hurt- change the atmosphere of confidence and strength to bloodlust and fear. The girl, she saw in her peripheral vision, was gripping her fists toughly against her sides. Her fists- one so deformed that she needed metal plating. A wave of pride and empowerment coursed through Levana’s veins, and she relapsed into her original composure- collected, queen-like, and proper. But it did nothing to stop the fires burning and flames tonguing inside of her body, agonizing coals and deathly pyres and bloody hot embers shaking.
“Shall we get to business, Cinder?” she screamed, tasting her niece’s name in her mouth. Cinder. Ashes and filth. Soot and dust. Unwanted and disfigured.
Almost how Levana felt.
Hastily, she viciously vacuumed up her slightly sympathetic thoughts. No, she never really felt like that. Remember, she had Evert.
Evert. His long-ago, warm smile invaded her mind, and again she cleared away her conflicting feelings. Her wedding band. She slipped it quietly off her finger and dropped it to the floor, relishing in the noise it made as it softly clattered. She didn’t need that thing anymore.
The girl stood up straighter, and making a risky move, began her bioelectricity. Selene’s lasso tightened around Levana, but only for a mere second. Smugly, the queen smirked. She was going to win- this would be an easy move.
Idiotic of the girl. How stupid she was. Just like Channary.
Come here, baby sister. I want to show you something.
Her head ached and pounded against her skull, reverberating and hammering against her bones.
She shivered, tangible shudders crawling like tarantulas under the thin clothing she wore. She was not prepared, not trained well enough, not ready… And worse was- Levana knew it, too.
But reality was relentless and evil, wanting a silly girl to die. And she was that silly girl. Cinder was being pathetic and hopeless; she was so messed up and was going to screw up this revolution.
She fought back, hissing in anguish as her aunt pressed her control over her again and again. Levana’s milky-white palms were folded innocently together, and her face was serene and beautiful. Beautiful as in glamoured cheekbones and a ski-slope nose and arched, impeccable eyebrows and wide, auburn irises. Overall, she was flawless.
But beneath, Cinder knew there were some flaws. If she stared at the queen long enough, fault lines popped up and the orange light went off in the corner of her eye. She recalled the faults at the ball. Of course, she couldn’t truly see the queen’s appearance; she only saw lines not matching up to the glamour and such. Still, the thought that she wasn’t perfect was comforting.
The feeling of resignation and torture overcame her body, squeezing her limbs till they were sore, and she crumpled to the ground like a brown paper bag. She began to choke from not being able to breath, choke and cough and fight to live, fight for life.
She needed to- needed to fight, needed to live, and she was so desperate to get back to her allies and..
No, she wasn’t. Truth to be told, Cinder just wanted to die. Forget that this ever happened. Maybe she should just pretend that she was weaker than a duckling, weaker than a feather, and she could vanish and pretend that nothing was wrong with her.
Which was, to sum up in one word, a fantasy. If that were to happen, Cinder would be pegged as a selfish girl, and she wasn’t selfish. She would give up anything for anyone.
So she kept fighting, working and wailing, sweat beads forming and then dripping off, then forming again. Her shirt was drenched with sweat and exertion, and her hair was in thousands of knots and unruly tangles. So many times warning diagnostics came up in her vision, and too many times she blinked them away. Her cyborg mind was going to shut down soon enough.
Or maybe she would really die. An image flashed in her mind- Kai. If she died, he wouldn’t be able to bear her death. And everyone else, not just her allies, but the whole world would be doomed. Levana would get what she wanted again, like a spoiled child in a candy shop.
This served to make Cinder angrier, and her wrath bubbled over. Her chest heaved heavily, battling against human nature. Her limbs shook and writhed on the floor, and foams and strings of saliva started to form around her mouth like rabid spittle from a diseased dog. She was in this state, while Levana was sitting on a throne, perfectly content with what was going on.
Cinder was not going to be some pawn. She was not going to be another one of the queen’s chess pieces. Oh, she was so over going through that- her entire life she went through manipulation and hatred. Even in a state of lassitude, she managed to get her hand- her metal hand- over the windowsill of the throne room. Helplessly, it collapsed to the floor. Cinder glanced up to see the queen grin- a Cheshire-cat smile starting. Cinder tried again, and her hand caught onto the sill. This time, her grip was strong.
And so was her vigor- her strength slowly renewing at an exhausted pace, but nonetheless it was coming back. Her hand of flesh now grasping the sill, her legs that were splayed out in front of her were crawling, and she was beginning to stand up…
It’s you. It’s just you, and you don’t think that’s manipulative?
Impossible. The little nuisance was up on her feet, ready to annoy her as a gnat flying in front of her face.
She sneered at her, wanting her dead more than before. “You’re up,” she stated. “Well, congratulations. We have all day and all night and forever to abuse each other.” The queen’s control started again, and she grasped Selene’s thoughts together, pinching every corner of her mind. The girl faltered for a moment, and Levana was sure that she had her, but she straightened herself.
The girl was fighting back.
Levana felt a slight, tiny spider-web crack in her brain, and eventually the hairlines of glass breaking evolved into a shattered jar. Selene’s power was closing in on her, and how she was doing it was a terrible mystery to the queen. Levana desperately pushed the girl out of her, and she focused on every single detail on Selene. She stumbled and cried out, and for a second, the queen was content.
But the girl was up again, and she was breathing like she erupted to the surface of water after drowning. Drivel flew out of her mouth, and she looked like demons possessed her. Selene’s mouth curled and she looked beautiful, an ugly, indescribable beauty that drove people insane.
Levana’s heart raced, and she finally realized what she was up against. This was Channary’s daughter, and she was never going to stop. Ruthless and determined, idiotic and vengeful. The queen’s weary eyes misted and fogged, and she took a shaky breath. The girl was stronger than she thought; perhaps Levana had underestimated her. As Levana narrowed her eyes in pure concentration, she realized something- something worse than Channary herself.
If Levana wanted to win this war- or at least try to-, then she would need to let go of her glamour.
Her glamour- her pride. Her everything, her cover-up and concealer.
She couldn’t let go of the only thing that she knew was true in this world. Her lies. She needed them.
But as time slipped by, parts of her disappeared. First her soft-looking hands, her long neck, her wavy hair, then her eyes…
Her appearance glitched. Mirages were created from past glamours- past glamours from years ago swirled together to create a mess. Solstice-that cursed Sol- with her dark skin and her ruby lips, the pale-ghost girl she wore on her birthday was in there, the cropped hair from the funeral was mixed in, too, and so many other features kept moving on her flesh…
They were intense and melting and struggling so hard to stay strong.
Cinder gasped in horror and revulsion. She didn’t pay heed to how Levana was reacting until now; up until this point, Cinder was focusing on the combat.
Levana. Cinder cursed as her legs collapsed on the floor again. The face infringed her brain, etching itself permanently in her memory. She shut her eyes, and another pain bloomed, this time over her spine. The queen- she was glitching. There were defects all over her face- different skin tones all over her body, irises clashing together from different hues, her hair partially short and long, her arms different lengths, her waist slim but her stomach bulging like a pregnant woman’s, and so on. Everything a different length…It was extremely terrifying, and Cinder wanted this to be over. Her eyelids flipped open, and she quickly shut them again, wishing that she had kept them closed.
Her aunt looked different now- but worse. This time, it was much worse. The mirage or whatever it was faded into a more proportionate person, but it was so bad. Cinder wanted to cry so badly, and she felt something sticky and warm pooling out of her right ear. Blood trickled down and hit her shoulder like rain. Curling up into a ball while still trying to maintain her control, Cinder screamed as loud as she could, nearly depleting the little energy she had left. A sudden round of naseua hit her, and vomit was up and out her throat. Levana- her left eye bruised and shut tight like a door, her hair gray and patchy, her scalp burnt and crimson and ebony, her face looked like a lion had scratched it up, and red scars were trailed all over her- these were so much more than those little disfigurements Cinder had remembered from the festival at New Beijing.
This was not right. This was the work of fire. Of flame.
With her eyes still closed, Cinder stood up again, and blood was now dripping out of her other ear. Puke clung to her clothing, but Cinder didn’t even wipe it off.
“I know,” she said. Her voice was so tiny among the chaos, but it echoed in the otherwise silent room. “I know about ashes from- from you. I know.” Gradually, Cinder’s eyes opened, and she found the queen smiling at her.
A smile that made Cinder want to hide and disappear- a smile so evil and grotesque and one that could slaughter the whole face of Earth. She didn’t think Levana could talk anymore, but she coughed harshly.
A sign that she wouldn’t give up. And neither would Cinder.
The battle had felt like eons had passed, but Cinder’s internal clock told her two hours had gone by- only two hours. In two hours, so much had happened. Eventually, Cinder felt Levana’s control beginning to decline; it was waning and wobbly.
Levana was writhing in agony, and waves of weakness were flashing out from her. She fell out of her throne chair, face first, and her dress train was now pleated and no longer neat. It exposed her legs, and those were marred and haunting as well.
Cinder didn’t want it this way. She thought she would be ecstatic when Levana died in front of her. But now that it was happening, she felt like she was the evil one.
Then again, maybe Levana was making her think this. Cinder shook her head. Levana was no longer. Her control had diminished like the light blown out from a candle. It- she was gone.
Solemnly, she walked a few steps, testing her leg strength, before awkwardly and tiredly walking over to Levana. To check if she was really dead. Tentatively, Cinder held her aunt’s wrist in her palm. No pulse. She dropped the cold wrist away, shivering. She killed her- the little pawn beat the queen. Something buckled in her knees, and she fell to the floor- a feeling of success and guilt. Her hands led her, lifting a strand of hair away from the woman’s face. Cinder grimaced but she stopped herself. Her aunt was dead. And she was abused. Like her.
She wasn’t sure if she should do this, but she did it anyway. Cinder planted a soft, brief kiss on the queen’s forehead.
It was stupid of her to do that. Immediately, she rubbed her lips with her palm. But she was overcome with mercy, and the queen…Dead. Gone. She went through the same thing Cinder undergone- who made her burnt and why? Why did she choose to do this to her niece- the same way as she had gotten hurt? Questions ached in Cinder’s mind, and she abruptly lifted herself up to leave. This place was too haunting; she could not take it anymore. Levana’s real appearance- of flame and coals…
The game of chess was won.
She was the fairest queen Luna had ever know.
A/N: That was a bit dreary… And a weird take on the revolution…
Anyway, the italicized quotes before each new line break are from Fairest, written by Marissa Meyer.