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Chapter One: Reluctancy
I stepped out of my castle tower's second floor entrance, onto the outdoor pathway that led to her majesty's, my sister's, main floor. I couldn't wait to show her what I gathered on the mysterious star! I took the liberty of dubbing it the Purity Star, because it held the souls of all who have passed, and, in Kagumean culture, the souls are always pure; it is the vessel that directs that power where it shall go, whether it carry on as pure or descend into darkness.
Adsev Kala greeted me on his way down the pathway from Zeva's hall.
"Ah, lovely day, is it not, Avez?" He looked at me like he had always. Like, I was his son as much as I was my father's.
"Yes, Master Kala, very pleasant." I replied. He looked humbled.
"Please, for two months you have been as much an Adsev as I am. Call me Kala, I insist."
"Oh no, Master, I couldn't-"
"I insist. Come now. You, me, we are equal. 'Master' is for those higher than you. Understand?"
"Yes, Mas...yes, Kala." I corrected myself. He looked pleased.
"Very good, then. You are off to visit Zeva, yes?"
"Yes. I have something to show her. Something...she may either love, or hate."
"I hope it goes well." Adsev Kala bowed his head, as did I, and we both headed on her way.
I enjoyed stories about him as a kid. I dreaded speaking with him. It's like speaking to a person that has programmed every answer, every reply, to whatever you had to say, before you said anything. As an Adsev, would I learn to have that kind of speaking technique?
The guards greeted me and bowed in respect as they opened the doors. As I walked in to Zeva's throne room, she rested her elbow on the right arm of the throne and laid her head in her hand, her face turning to an annoyed expression.
"Hello, Avez, what might you have for me today? An interesting piece of literature explaining a crackpot theory? A "foolproof" piece of evidence that will be proven humiliatingly wrong in a week's time?"
I wasn't fazed. "Such a doubtful mind, Zay-Zay. Didn't Mom tell you that kind of thinking would get you nowhere?"
"I'm as high as I can go. I'm free to be as cynical as I want."
I made small talk. "Let's hope you don't direct that negative energy at the people...if you raise taxes any higher you'll have quite a many riots to deal with!"
"Shut up, quit stalling, what do you want?" She wasn't being moved. A head of stone. Stone. Zeva.
I started my "presentation."
"Okay, hear me out. You remember that story Dad always told us?"
"The one where he and Adsev Kala almost blew apart an entire city district? I loved that one."
"No, no, the prayer at night."
"Oh, the one where his soul would be sucked up in to the holy star, and people would look up and be scared as his face watched them."
"Yeah, that one!" I said, excited that she remembered.
"And it would rain vanilla frosting and freeze over into a sheet that would cover Kagume and turn it into a delicious cake! What do you think I am, stupid? You're going to tell me that you believe that nonsense?"
"I don't just believe it. I know it." I said as I took out a paper from my research.
"Look, see this?" I got up to her throne and showed her. "This star I've photographed. It's bigger than all the others and shines every night. It...it gives off energy levels astoundingly higher than anything around it! Using the scale of how far away we are from the average star, up close this thing would be big enough to fit millions, billions of people. And the legend says it only holds souls, no bodies. This is it!"
"Yeah, sure it is. Okay, what do I have to do with it?" Zeva asked.
"Well, I was hoping..." This was the hard part. "I was hoping you'd put some governmental...funds...into observing this star. See if...anything's unusual about it."
Zeva's face turned from cynical and annoyed to furious in less than a second. I don't think I'd ever seen that before.
"Wha...what the hell? I'm raising taxes to critical levels as it is trying to get this budget under control and keep the people from revolting and make sure enough have jobs and making sure our people have jobs and you want me to throw money on a big light in the sky to see if it flickers one too many times?! Are you insane?! I thought you were an advisor! What kind of advice is that?!"
"I am a Monota Adsev. My advice doesn't really count in the advisor cabinet." That was the only answer I could come up with.
"You're damn right it doesn't. Get him out of my sight."
And, just like that, I was back in my tower, looking at my research papers, wondering how to carry on...
. . .
"Does he know about anything yet?"
"Not much that is significant, no...but Zeva isn't going to stop him."
"Well, we gotta then!"
"No! It's too early, we'll look too overreactive. Let's just, have a little reluctancy, a little rational thought. He can go as far as he wants, for now. As soon as he finds a path up...then we'll step in."
"As long as I get to be the one to end his life, you can plan whatever the hell you want."
"You'll get your moment for your revenge...but right now we have to wait."