Skyla frowned and put out her hand to Darian. Lady Harmony was the Leading Lady at the Luna Dome, and as the Leading Lady she was most likely to be elected as the next queen. If something were to happen to her, Skyla had to take the lead.
“Give me the radio.”
He hesitated and then stretched out the black coil that attached to the radio a few centimetres. Skyla stepped closer to Darian and took the radio from his hand. The coil wasn’t long and Skyla felt uncomfortably close to him, like she was invading his personal space. She tried not to fidget.
“Hello?” Lieutenant Starkley said. “Captain?”
Skyla held in the talk button on the side of the radio. “This is the queen. Tell me what’s happening.”
There was a pause before the lieutenant replied. “Your majesty…she’s…there’s something wrong with…er…ee…eh…”
She tapped the radio. “Lieutenant? You’re breaking up.” She looked up at Darian. “These radios are new, from the last shipment. Why are they-?”
“He might be in trouble,” Darian interrupted, reattaching the radio to his belt. She noticed a light on top of the radio blinked red every three seconds. He reached for the doorknob. “Stay here.”
“No, I’m coming with you,” she replied as she stuffed her feet into her slippers.
Darian shook his head. “Your highness, it’s too dangerous.”
“She’s my Leading Lady, and so she’s my responsibility.”
“And keeping you safe is my responsibility.”
“I’m ordering you to take me with you, Captain.”
The seconds seemed to crawl by. Every second they wasted standing there was another second that Lady Harmony was in danger. If something happened to her, Skyla knew she would be questioned by the media and the Earth leaders. Earth was distrustful of the Luna political structure since they got rid of their last monarchy almost fifty years ago. She didn’t need them breathing down her neck or having them think that she had staged some sort of assassination to keep herself in power.
Darian sighed. “As you wish, your highness.”
She followed Darian as they left her bedroom. The hallway that led to Skyla’s bedroom had very few doors, and those that were there were mostly used for storage. Usually there was a guard posted at the beginning of the hallway that connected to the rest of the Dome, and another right outside Skyla’s door, but they were nowhere in sight. Darian must have relieved them.
At the end of the hallway was another corridor that crossed it like a T, and ran in an oval shape around the Ladies’ quarters. There were over fifty ladies stationed on the Luna Dome, but the Dome had the capacity to house over a hundred. Darian quickened his pace and Skyla struggled to keep up with him. He only slowed for a moment as they approached Lady Harmony’s quarters. The door was slightly ajar.
“We can check there later,” Skyla said. “We have to get to Lady Harmony.”
Darian nodded curtly and picked up the pace. Soon they exited the residential area and moved into the shopping district.
“How…much…further?” Skyla asked between breaths.
Darian kept jogging but pointed at his radio. The blinking red light was pulsing faster now. “Every time we lose a signal, the tracking device kicks in. We’re getting close.”
Skyla tried to control her breathing and not think about the stitch forming in her side. Since she’d been elected queen six months ago, she hadn’t had time to keep up her exercise regime. She promised herself that after this ordeal was over, she wouldn’t let Darian see her sweat again.
The red light blinked every half second as they neared the throne room, which was located near the centre of the Dome. There were more people in the hallways now. When they saw Skyla, they bowed respectfully, keeping their eyes to the floor. She was grateful that their eyes didn’t linger on her sleepwear.
A crowd gathered outside the throne room. Three of Darian’s guards stood outside the seven foot high wooden doors, keeping the citizens away. The doors were once part of an old church that had long since burnt down on Earth, and were shipped to the Moon as a “house warming” gift for the first settlers. Since then, the doors had been integrated with the security systems and the smooth metallic compound that composed the Dome.
“Your majesty! A word, please!”
The curious citizens joined him, jabbing her with their questions on either side. As a public servant it was her duty to answer their needs, and it pained Skyla that she had no answers for them. Darian laid a strong hand on Skyla’s shoulder and used the other to create distance between the queen and her people.
“The queen will address your questions later,” Darian said. “For now, please, step aside.”
People grumbled but grudgingly moved to either side of the wide hallway to allow them passage. Skyla quickly moved to the throne room doors. The guards punched the security code a keypad beside the door, and she heard the lock click. Skyla almost pushed the guards aside as she marched into the throne room.
There, before her on the marble floor, lie Lady Harmony, as still and as quiet as the surface of the moon.