Chapter 6: Future Mate

'Who is this?' Bell groaned as she heard a knock on her hollow.

It was First Lavender, and she was still sleeping... until she was interrupted by the knock.

She walked up to the entrance and saw a sooty owl handing her a letter that said 'To my dearest Bell' at the back. After that, the sooty owl left.

'Typical.' she thought as she opened it.

Dear Bell, Since we have officially courted, The Emperor and Empress had been requesting to see you. I think that this is about time you and my parents meet, I promise it is going to be a great night. Please come to The Palace of Purity in The Forest Region of Tyto nine nights later.Always yours,Crimson.Crimson

She closed the letter and threw it to the corner of the hollow.

Bell tied her 'free pass' on her neck and flew out of her hollow for tweener.

After she arrived to the dining hollow, her family members did not dare to talk to her as usual. But today, her sisters and Mrs. P were looking at her 'free pass'.

Bell noticed the stares and took the food before flying out of the hollow.

It took her a week to fly near the borders of Ambala and Tyto.

The sun was about to rise when she heard cheers and other noises from the abandoned hollow that she stayed in, so she flew out of her hollow to investigate.

As she flew closer to the source of the noise, she found herself in a place surrounded by a few tall trees with long branches covered to the brim with leaves.

There were alot of owls, perhaps a few hundred? But Bell observed one thing: they all have heart shaped faces just like her own.

Some of them were pearching on the long and strong branches of the trees, some were sitting inside the hollows meanwhile most of the owls were cramming on the ground.

Bell could easily blend in with the large number of tytos, so she picked a spot in the centre of the crowd.

Less than a minute later, two owls spiraled down from a high branch. Another owl from high above yelled to the crowd 'Make way! Make way!'

The ones in the centre of the crowd took big steps backwards, Bell picked up on that and followed.

A circle with a three metre radius was soon made in the centre of the crowd.

The cheers resumed.

'Silence!' the elderly male owl in the circle shouted.

'Welcome to this meeting, my comrades.' the old male paused 'We, True Purity are having another meeting this early on in the night is because since the execution of WE member Larry for communicating with other rebel groups...'

The crowd cheered jubilantly.

As the cheers were dying out, he continued to deliver his speech 'Security has been much more prone to cracking down rebels.'

The crowd shouted 'Down with the fiends!' for ten times.

The handsome young male in the circle began to speak 'And you all aren't here for nothing.'

As he began to talk, Bell couldn't help but pay attention to his confidence shown when he makes wing gestures as he speaks and passion in his pebble like dark eyes.

'That emperor and empress of ours claimed that they were all for tytos, the purest species in existence. But look at what they are! Their policies show their fiendish instincts. Look at their newest policy! Five percent of their advanced education places for tytos were given to those vile hagsfiends, this is beyond unacceptable!' he said.

During the speech, she couldn't keep her eyes off him. As he walked around, he gave Bell a wink. She felt her gizzard squeeze.

The meeting was soon over, the owls were dismissed. Before Bell could follow the others, the handsome owl wrapped his wings around her.

'Let me go!' she screamed. Her lustful thoughts had turned into thoughts of fear and rage.

Bell was twitching and biting his wing, but it was useless. He started preening her gently. After that, he said 'I mean you no harm, come with me.'

He letted her free and flew up. Bell hesitated for a while and followed.

They flew up to a hollow high above.

'Do you want some tea, Bell?' he asked.

'Sure.' she answered.

'Hey, make some tea!' he yelled at the nest maid snake behind him.

'Wait, you know me?' Bell blinked.

'Yeah! Remember me?' he cocked his head.

'Oh! He's the owl who danced with her in that long night which I travelled to Tyto. What's his name? Bill? Boil? Oh yes, Beau.' thought Bell.

'Ah, the pellet drops.' she replied.

'So, how is your... relationship with Crimmy?' he asked.

Calling The Prince by his name was already considered blasphemous, but giving him a nickname is just an extremely risky move. Bell's gizzard was all over the place, this was oddly... attractive?

'It's... fine.' she lied. If being not even remotely interested in him is considered fine, then she was honest.

'I see.' he said. Tea was ready, he handed her a cup.

'Thank you, Beau.' she said politely while blinking her eyes charmingly.

'You're welcome.' he replied.

She looked at the moon outside, it was almost midnight. 'It had been fabulous spending time with you, but I have to go or I will be late.' she said sadly.

'Well, goodbye, gorgeous. May we meet again.' Beau said.

'Bye.' said Bell and began to fly.

She turned her head and saw Beau wink at her, she nearly swooned midair.

She managed to arrive at the palace on time, Crimson was waiting for her at the gates.

The palace was a grand church long long ago and was built by Others. But now, it became a palace after some rearrangements.

'My dear! You have finally arrived!' Crimson said cheerfully as Bell stood before him.

'I miss you so much!' Bell lied and hugged him.

Tears of joy streamed down Crimson's face.

'Let's go inside! I can't wait to see my future father and mother in law!' Bell said.

So, the couple went inside. As they had arrived the throne room, Nyra and the Striga were already pearching on their respective thrones.

'I am honored to meet you, your majesty and empress.' she greeted in a courteous manner.

This seemed to please the rulers.

'We are very glad to meet you... again, Bell. You must be very hungry after a long flight. Crimson, please show her the way to the dining chamber.' said the Striga.

'Yes, father.' agreed Crimson. 'Please follow me.' he turned to Bell.

Bell followed him into the dining chamber.

She was immediately greeted by a large variety of food, ranging from lemmings to bats...

'Good Glaux!' she exclaimed.

'I don't break promises, my dear.' he said.

She waited for the monarchs to pearch before pearching.

They chatted and laughed during the feast, even Nyra had loosened up a bit.

'Striga, you look quite ill. I think think that you should take a rest in our sleeping chamber.' Nyra suggested. After he left, Nyra's face expression changed drastically. She turned to her son and said 'Go back to your own sleeping chamber now!' as if it was a command.

'Okay... mother.' he said and left.

'Racdrops! She must be up to no good.' thought Bell.

'Bell.' said Nyra.

'Yes?' Bell replied uncertainty.

'You have never loved my son, right?' asked the empress.

'Of...of course not! What are you talking about?' lied Bell.

'You think that you can fool me?' said Nyra, raising her voice.

'No!' answered Bell in fear.

'Bell, I can tell that you disliked him since day one.' she said bluntly.

Bell realised that there is no point in lying to her, so she told the truth 'Yes, you are right.'

'Honestly, I have never blamed you. I actually relate to you alot.' she said, sounding kinder.

'I am sorry, I do not understand.' Bell said.

'Back in the day, I was the mate of the old High Tyto. He was old and scrawny, the young and beautiful me did not like him for one bit. Well, I actually loved your uncle Kludd. But he died. Before the war, I had to form an alliance with the Striga to avoid future conflicts. So I don't blame you.' she said in an oddly gentle fashion.

Nyra went over to embrace Bell before they said goodbye.