Chapter 15 - Under the Moonlight

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It had been a long time since the queen genuinely smiled. 

15 years, to be exact.

Queen Arachna gazed at her Map of Magic, a map showing all the continents of the world — and many more. A large cluster of stars shone brightly in the northwest region of the map. 

The queen tapped one of the stars in the cluster, seeming to know the exact one to choose.

Alana Winters, the star was labeled.

The queen sighed, letting herself relax for the first time in years.

She closed her eyes and massaged her temples with her long fingers. 

Maybe I should sleep, Queen Arachna walked over to the nearest balcony and gazed at the full moon, high in the sky, moonlight reflecting off the bejeweled roofs of the townhouses. People were bustling around the streets, and the sound of music was drifting up to her balcony. 

It's been long since I slept well.

The queen lifted her head to look at the crystal white castle a while away, its walls glimmering in the moonlight. Silvery light illuminated her pale face while casting shadows under her sharp cheekbones. 

Alana is safe there, she thought. There is no reason to worry anymore.

The sense of dread the queen felt still didn't go away.

Queen Arachna pushed away her uneasiness. She had to rule a nation of magical creatures and people, after all. 

A queen should never doubt herself.

Queen Arachna pursed her dark red lips tighter.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a glint of black. 

Queen Arachna turned her head in the opposite direction to see a midnight black castle, directly opposite the silver one. The castle was not as grand — with ivy climbing up its walls and half-crumbling turrets. 

But the moonlight always makes everything look more beautiful.

The queen turned her face away from the light and walked across the room to her four-poster bed, draped with purple and gold fabric.

Queen Arachna traced a finger across the bed's intricate wood headboard, leaving a thin trail in the dust. 

Witches don't usually sleep at night.

To be frank, Queen Arachna usually didn't sleep at all until Alana had been brought safely to Audoria.

She looked down to see a black, hairy tarantula climb from the headboard onto her hand.

The queen smiled.

"Hello, dear," she cooed, letting the gigantic spider climb onto her arm. "Where have you been?" 

The spider climbed onto her shoulder and nuzzled its hairy head into the queen's neck.

Queen Arachna laughed. If there was one being in the world that actually understood her, it was this spider.

She heard a scraping noise and turned to see her bedroom door open, with a goblin standing in the doorway.

Queen Arachna hastily wiped the smile from her face and scowled at the goblin.

"You didn't knock." Queen Arachna tilted her chin upwards as she turned to the goblin, eyes narrowed.

The goblin swooped down in a low bow, pointed green nose touching the cold, black floor. "Forgive me, your Majesty," the goblin rasped. "You have a visitor."

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