Emma could barely think. Marian and Cleopatra…cousins? It seemed impossible. The queen who once seemed so regal and perfect had turned out to be…well, not perfect.Emma sighed. Instantly the phrase her mom had used so much flooded back to her. “Looks are deceiving, Emma. They really are,” Mrs. Biddington would say. Emma now knew her mother was right.
“Listen, Cleopatra. I have an idea. But I’m gonna need your help. Are you willing to hear me out?” The young queen lifted her eyes toward Emma. “Okay. Good. So you and Marian are different. I get it. But you’re still cousins. And you can’t change that, even if you don’t like each other.” Emma said.
Cleo stared hard at the ground.
“Anyway, I have a plan,” Emma added quickly. “A plan to bring you two together again.” And Emma began further explaining her plan in great detail. Once she was finished, Emma asked the queen to follow her into the desert. “Let’s retrace our steps- you know, the ones we took when we first met. I’m guessing Marian will be out there somewhere.”
Cleopatra agreed, and the two set off on their journey. They wound their way through a curious crowd of people. Peasants crowded around, watching their queen leave her kingdom. This was a very rare and strange sight! After exiting the gated kingdom, Emma pushed through the burning desert. “Are…we…almost to the..spot?” The queen gasped. She chugged some water down her parched throat. Emma answered only in a nod.
Hours later, both were delirious from the heat. “I think I see Mom!” Emma mumbled, as she pointed at a heap of gold sand. Cleopatra shook her head slowly.
“You’re just….imagining it, Emma!” But Emma was so weak she collapsed right there. Cleopatra’s eyes widened in horror. “What am I to do?” she asked. If only Marian was here, Cleopatra thought to herself. She would know exactly what to do! The water-deprived queen winced as the sun beat down on her back. I need help! But the queen could also stand it no longer. Her wobbling knees gave out, and Cleopatra fell to the ground.
Meanwhile, Marian was stumbling around the desert herself. She had more practice though, and had thought to bring water. The surviver had not yet become delirious, but was close to it. Now she wandered towards a clump of something. It looked almost like…was that…two people? Marian suddenly shook the thought off. I’m getting delirious- I know it! she thought fiercely. But her theory was actually correct. As she stepped closer, she fell upon Emma and Cleopatra! “Oh!” she gasped.
Instantly, Marian took action. She bent down, and poured the remainder of her water on both girls. It was only a couple of drips on their foreheads, but at least it was something. Marian tried her best to bring back Emma, and after seeing she was okay, attempted to help Cleopatra. Emma was awake and okay now, despite the fact that she was weak. Now both girls tried hard to wake Cleo.
“I can’t do it,” Marian gasped at last. Her eyes brimmed over with tears. “I don’t know what else to do!” Emma nodded, letting a wet tear slip down her cheek.
“You’ve done what you can, Marian.” she answered quietly. “You’ve done what you can.” There was a long pause of silence as Emma and Marian stared at Cleopatra. The only noise was soft crying. As Emma wiped away her tears, she noticed Cleopatras’ eyes flutter open. “Emma? Marian?”
Marian laughed happily. “It’s us!” she replied, as a fresh pair of tears rolled down her cheeks. “Oh, Cleopatra I feel so bad! I really do like you, and feel terrible I ran away! Will you ever forgive me?” she begged. Cleopatra grinned from ear to ear.
“Of course!” she answered. Both girls hugged happily, and then smiled at Emma. “What do we do now?” Cleopatra asked. Emma sighed.
“Well, you might as well know. I am actually from a totally different place: the future. I’ve been trying to tell you guys forever, but- but I was too scared. And I came here in a Time Travel Machine. It’s right over there, actually,” Emma said, as she pointed towards the machine. Marian’s jaw dropped. Emma carefully walked over to the machine and explained how she found it.
Then, very slowly she said, “Marian, Cleopatra- I belong in the future. I have a life of my own, parents of my own. And I need to go home.” Emma turned towards her friends. “You are both welcome to come. Will you join me?”
“I’m in,” Marian stated with a smile. Emma looked at Cleopatra.
“Are you?” she asked. Cleopatra shook her head.
“Dearest Emma, I too have a life of my own. I believe I should stay here. But I’ll miss you!” she added. Emma nodded understandingly.
“Okay. Let’s go, Marian,” she called, as she stepped up into the machine. As soon as Marian was inside, the doors slid closed. “Bye!” Emma called. Marian waved as the Time Travel Machine shot up into the air. Emma wondered what adventures she would go on next. I guess I’ll never know until they happen, she thought excitedly. And boy was she right.