The previous chapters can be found here

The entire castle was murmuring when Regina was escorted out of the room she had been originally brought to by a visibly shaken Amy to the Queen’s quarters. Every corner they turned, the staff dropped every pretense of work to stare at the woman who had made the Light appear for a second to every single person inside the barrier. Citizens had flocked to the castle to confirm the vision that had collectively appeared to all of them.

Meanwhile, the Queen quietly made her way underground.


 

Regina looked around the room. If she’d thought the room she had been in was exquisite, then this was definitely Royalty. Quite literally. Images had bombarded her the moment she’d woken and had only eased when she had been led into this room.

She hadn’t missed the looks she’d got either. She’d done something different. Something even she was having trouble understanding. She’d just meant to tell them her name. Instead, she’d shown them and from what she had gathered while walking down the corridor, them included everyone.Telepathically. And now they were brimming with questions. She could feel Amy’s mind buzzing with curiosity.

Yes, she decided, Curiosity did kill the cat.With a headache. Like the one that had reached painful heights in her head right now. Screwing her eyes shut, she concentrated on easing her headache till it receded just a little so she could open her eyes now.

“My God!”, she tried to scramble backwards from the face that was inches away from hers, foreheads touching, till a pair of purple eyes opened.

“Your barrier worked only one way” , she explained,”So I built it the other way.”

Regina sighed and smiled gratefully at Amy for making the images go away.

“What happened to me?”

“You went into Immersion. And to be frank,i have no idea how you made it out and you should start explaining as soon as the Queen’s here because I’m sure she’ll want to…”, Amy trailed off for the second time that day as the familiar confused look returned to Regina’s face.

“Immersion?”

“Yes..” Amy replied slowly, a slight deja vu plaguing her, “The 16 lakes that we visit at the time of Protection and Death?”

“16?”

“Yes”

“Is that a fixed number? Or does it vary from person to person?”

“Umm….”, Amy started, unsure of how much to tell the clearly confused girl in front of her.

“Royalty see 23”, the Queen said quietly, closing the door behind her and sitting down opposite Regina.

“Ro-Royalty?”, Regina spluttered, eyes bulging, “Is this a fairy tale of some kind? Is this a joke?”

It had to be. A strange place, strange dreams, strange woman looking at her with watery eyes. Wait, what? Watery eyes?

“Royalty, yes. They are usually chosen by the light in a less unconventional way though.”, the Queen answered, unfazed by the spluttering newcomer in the castle.

Amy looked from one woman to the other and decided that the Queen seemed to have missed a very critical problem.

“Umm, the Immersion, my Queen? No one has survived a second interaction before? “, she pointed out.

The Queen smiled slightly, and Regina decided that she quite liked that smile. It made her feel warm inside and she wondered whether one could burrow in a feeling.

“She didn’t.”

The Queen’s answer shocked both the women into silence. Regina wondered if she was dead for the hundredth time today and if heaven was always this dramatic. She looked at Amy out of the corner of her eye and almost laughed out loud. The blonde was standing stock still, brow furrowed and mouth hanging slightly open as she stared at the Queen.

After a few minutes of silence, the Queen finally broke the ice by saying, “It was her first”

This did nothing to better Amy’s condition as the furrow in her brow only grew deeper before she spoke very solemnly, “That would mean she had been devoid of the Light for the past 23 years” before adding a fearful, “What does that mean, my Queen?”

The Queen’s smile never faltered as she turned her palm up to reveal the object concealed in her hand.

Handing an old and worn golden square to Regina, she said, “It means that we have bidden our time for long enough and Aurora has returned to her birthplace.”

So, I did add another mystery, what is the Square?

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