Blood Crown
By Violet Day
Date: December 28, 2020
Ch. 1313

The first girl was called to her interview. It was a tall girl with a flawless dark complexion who had introduced herself as Javiana during breakfast. She strode away, following the page who came to come get her, her high heeled footsteps ringing with confidence.

Senna had heard that the show wouldn’t be aired until every trial had been completed and filmed. She had been infinitely glad. If her little sister and father saw her on the television, thinking she had left home to chase some wild dream, and she couldn’t explain… She wouldn’t have been able to handle that.

But this interview wouldn’t be broadcasted until Senna either became queen or was eliminated and went home.

Her number was called next.

Pippia gave her a big smile and a little wave. “Good luck!” None of the other girls said a thing.

Senna could tell that the other girls were starting to notice her, but not as competition. They were noticing her because she didn’t walk and sit like them, or do her hair and makeup like them, or talk about the same things as them, or know the same people as them… The only thing they had in common was a desire to be queen, but even that was debatable as a shared trait.

The page led her to a small room that was made up all cozy with a couch and flowered wallpaper. A slim woman with brown hair pulled back in a tight ponytail sat primly on one side of the couch. A camera hovered in front of the couch, held up by the powers of the Elevated cameraman.

“Take a seat,” the woman said. The page left. The door swung shut with a thud.

Senna took a seat.

“The camera’s not recording yet. I’ll be asking you some questions. They may be difficult, they may be personal, and they may be trivial. Whatever it is, try not to lose your composure. Think of how a queen would answer the question.” The reporter smiled tightly. “Go ahead and start rolling, Jinnil. Rolling? Okay. So, I’m going to start off with the basics. What’s your name?”

“I’m Senna.”

“Last name too, please.”

“Senna Lornbow.”

“What an unusual name. Senna, tell me a little about your life growing up.”

“Well,” Senna started. She supposed she had no reason to say anything else. “I’ve lived my whole life in the poor neighborhoods around the city gates. My mother left when I was little, after having my little sister, and my father has taken care of us ever since.”

“None of the other girls have a similar background. How do you think your background sets you apart from the other girls?”

“I don’t have the same education and social connections as them, but I think, coming from where I come from, it has given me a kind of drive and understanding of the common people that the other girls lack.”

“Hmm. And why do you want to be queen? Not for the king, I gather?”

“No, I definitely want to be queen in order to change conditions for those who are growing up like me, now, and for those who would have in the future. I want to change the world, as clichéd as it sounds.”

“Do you think you have what it takes to be queen?”

Senna blinked. Don’t falter, she told herself. Keep smiling. “I do. I think my upbringing has made me tenacious. Also… I mean, I’ve come this far. I’m two trials away from the end of the competition. Every morning I wake up and I want it more.”

The interviewer nodded and changed the subject to what Senna was wearing.

The interview didn’t enter any deeper territory for the rest of its duration. It only lasted for a few more minutes. When it was done, the interviewer shook her hand and told her that a page would be waiting outside to bring her to the entrance of the fifth trial.

As Senna followed the page deeper and deeper into the castle, around corners and down worn stone staircases, she kept thinking about that word: “entrance.”

What did that mean? Why did the fifth trial need an entrance?

They were deep underground when they stopped walking. The first two girls who had been interviewed were standing by a roped off archway that led into yet another shadowy stone hall. The page left her there.

One man –Senna didn’t want to call him a page, he looked more like a guard –stood by the archway silently, his face impassive.

“How did your interviews go?” Senna asked Javiana and the other girl, a short girl with a perfect hour glass figure and wavy blonde hair.

“It went by so quickly,” said the shorter girl. Had she introduced herself as Sunny? Or Bunny? Senna couldn’t remember.

Javiana nodded. “I didn’t have any trouble with it.”

That was the end of their conversation. After about ten more awkward minutes, Pippia came around the corner with a page. Senna swore she skipped around the corner.

“That interview was fun,” she said as her page left. “I wonder what the fifth trial is.”

“I don’t know, but I’m scared,” said the short girl. “Didn’t the queen say something about how we would be facing our darkest fears? I’m just so not in the mood for that.”

“Oh, I’m sure it won’t be that bad. It’s being filmed, right? So they can’t make it that scary.”

“Pippia,” Senna said. “There aren’t any cameras down here.”

All the girls looked around.

“Maybe they’re hidden?” Pippia approached the guard. “Are we being filmed right now?”

He shook his head.

The girls looked at each other.

“Will we be filmed during the fifth trial?” Javiana asked.

He shook his head again.

“Oh,” Pippia said. She looked a little pale.

“Well. I can’t wait for the queen to explain how this one works to us,” said the blonde girl.

And they continued to wait. More girls came down the steps to the archway. Soon there were nine waiting. Only Lowelle was still in her interview.

Senna hadn’t been nervous that morning, but she undoubtedly was now.

Minutes after Lowelle joined them in their quiet wait, the queen came down the steps, flanked by two pages.

“Hello girls,” she said.

This was the first time Senna had seen her so close, and heard her voice without magical amplification. The queen looked more tired up close; her face was lined and dark circles under her eyes were expertly shadowed in makeup.

“Hi,” the girls responded.

“First I would like to congratulate you for getting this far. However, only three of you will come out of this trial ready and willing to go on to the final trial. You are standing before the entrance to the fifth trial, an enchanted maze, which has been designed by the strongest magic users of the palace’s Elevated to find those among you who are the most mentally and emotionally fit to be queen. Those three will come out victorious, ready for the final trial where Prince Yoren will choose among you.”

The girls all shared looks. Even if they were not friends, they were all in the same daunting situation. It seemed that none of them really knew what to expect.

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color