Oh no. This was all Angelina’s fault. She’d made a mistake when trying to figure out how to get everyone home, and now they were being threatened by someone who could easily kill most of them in minutes.
Angelina had to straighten this out. If she just explained everything, she was sure the strange woman would understand. Well, kind of sure.
Okay, she wasn’t sure at all. But she had to try.
“Can you understand me?” Angelina asked in Italian.
The strange woman had sounded as though she was speaking Italian, but the others had been replying in English as though they understood her. Angelina figured it was one of those situations where some otherworldly being spoke in a universally intelligible way.
She wasn’t always good at getting her point across, so she thought it better to use her native language to make sure she was as clear as possible.
“I can,” said the woman. She-Who-Wears-The-Stellar-Whatever.
“Angelina, what are you saying to her?” said Naomi.
“It’s fine,” said Angelina. “I’m going to explain everything.”
“Okay, but–” started Naomi.
“I’m listening,” interrupted the Stellar woman. “Explain yourself.”
“We didn’t mean to come here,” said Angelina. “We got stuck in a strange place between realities, and we were trying to get home. Instead, we made a mistake and ended up here.”
“Hm,” said Stellar-whoever. “I suppose that’s plausible. You wouldn’t be the first after all.” She turned to Bathsheba. “She claims they came here by accident. What would you have me do with them, my love?”
“Why, let them go, of course!” said Bathsheba. “Stella, you know I never wish you to hurt anyone who hasn’t tried to hurt me. How many times do I have to tell you?”
“But my darling, some of these humans are different from the others before. See this one?” Stellar-lady gestured at Jen. “She was able to touch the garden gate. I couldn’t let her harm you.”
Garden gate? Was that… the circular portal so wide they couldn’t see the other side from where they stood? ‘Garden gate’ was way too mundane a name for it.
“I don’t want to harm anyone.” Jen mumbled, not looking up.
“You will look at the almighty and glorious She-Who-Wears-The-Stellar-Crown when you address me!” snapped the Stellar woman.
Jen lifted her head to meet the woman’s eyes.
“I don’t want to freaking harm anyone!” she snapped back. “There! Is that better?”
Angelina flinched. Was Jen okay? What could have possibly happened between the time they’d been sucked into the sky and now to make her so upset?
“You dare speak to I, the all-powerful She-Who-Wears-The-Stellar-Crown, in such a tone? I should destroy you where you stand!”
Bathsheba put a hand on her wife’s arm.
“Please don’t harm her, Stella. I’m sure she means no disrespect. She’s only suffering from a broken heart.”
Broken heart? Wait, had something happened with Jen and Sam? When?
“That is no excuse for such insolence!”
“Dearest,” Bathsheba’s voice was gentle. “What would you do if I left you for another?”
“Why, I would raze this reality to the ground and then rain destruction upon the earth in a blind rage.”
Oh. Yikes. Angelina hoped Bathsheba never had wandering eyes.
“Exactly. When it comes to matters of the heart, one cannot always be controlled.”
Stella-lady relaxed, the anger disappearing from her expression as quickly as it had appeared.
“Very well. I see your point. Glowing girl, you may live.” She clapped her hands. “Now! Since I’ve decided in my infinite generosity to spare your lives, I supposed I should let you go. Farewell!”
“Wait, what–” said Angelina.
Before she could finish her sentence, the strange vast tube vanished around her.