Carpathia III: Epilogue 8 - The New Old Life
Jaze's House, Rune Lake, New Berengaria
Jaze didn't stay up long after he had eaten. He rapidly became sleepy, yawning and staggering a bit. After politely excusing himself, he and Toma went to his room to his nice, comfy bed. Though it smelled a little off, like stale detergent, the bed felt the same, warm and soft, a sensation that he'd almost forgotten.
Jaze alternated between restlessness and uncomfortably deep, almost feverish, sleep. The accompanying dreams, while not bad, exactly, were disconcertingly vivid and psychadelic. At one point, Jaze dreamed that he was a cartoon penis jumping up people's asses.
Awaking, such as it was, since he wasn't really sleeping, quite early with the sun still low over the horizon, Jaze slipped quietly from his bed and opened his closet. There were all his clothes, just as he left them, but now smelling the same as his bed. Without dwelling nostalgically for long on his old clothes, he pulled out a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and slipped them both on. Silently, he left his room with Toma still sleeping and tiptoed down the stairs.
Even before he reached the bottom of the stairs, Jaze could hear activity in the kitchen. Running water. Clanking dishes. Rounding the corner at the bottom of the stairs, Jaze found his mother working in the kitchen.
Jaze: You're up early.
Elektra shivered, as though startled, and immediately dropped the plate she was scrubbing into the sink.
Jaze perked his ears and watched wide-eyed as his mother rushed to him, as though he'd just arrived through the portal from Yseri again. After greeting him with a brief, but tight hug, Elektra placed her hand on Jaze's shoulder and carefully steered him to the kitchen table, where she bade him to have a seat. Jaze complied and pulled a chair for himself while Elektra took a seat as well.
Jaze: Is anyone else up yet?
Elektra clasped her fingers together and fidgeted, as though there was something heavy on her mind. Nevertheless, she answered his question.
Elektra: Not many. Um... What's her name...
In sudden rememberance, Elektra snapped her fingers and went back to her previous fidgety state.
Elektra: ...Quilyon! Yes, Quilyon is up and she's exploring the backyard right now. Asta and Lianne took Artemis home and Adell and Azrael went with them. Kagurain is still here. Lord Lynx and Kradik left last night, saying they had to go to some emergency meetings with his staff and Ryuu went with them. Everyone else is here and still asleep. Lord Lynx was kind enough to send for some cots so that everyone would have a place to sleep. They arrived right after you went to bed.
Elektra continued flexing her fingers and rubbing her hands together.
Jaze: Are you alright?
Elektra: Oh, Jaze! Before Ryuu left with Lord Lynx, your father and I asked him to show us what you saw. I'm still trying to wrap my head around everything. It's all so unbelievable, and yet seeing it all from Ryuu, I know it's true. To think that Wishmaster is... was real!
Shocked as he was that Ryuu had already showed his memories, Jaze was relieved nonetheless. Any apprehension or anxiety that he might experience leading up to it was now moot. A silence hung in the air for at least a few minutes while both sat at the table pensively.
Elektra: There's so much that Ryuu showed me that it's still sort of a jumble, but it feels like it's sorting itself out. I suppose I haven't seen quite everything. Ryuu did say that he left out all the parts that involved wee wees, which I am quite sure is for the best.
Jaze: That was my request.
Elektra paused again, deep in thought.
Elektra: Yes, it was, wasn't it? It's so strange having all these images that aren't mine in my head. Some of them are very scary, but I suppose it was much worse being there.
Breaking the sombre mood was a knock at the back door. Elektra frowned for a moment before inching curiously toward the door.
Elektra: Now who would come in by the back door? Lord Lynx sent a message a few minutes ago saying he was on his way, but surely he'd come in through the front.
Elektra opened the door a few inches and peeked outside briefly before throwing the door wide open. Walking through the door past Elektra, Keast entered triumphantly, grinning widely, which usually signaled that he had just been a part of a wonderful joke.
Keast whirled around, facing the overexcited Elektra, as his wings swiftly folded tight to his back like a collapsed umbrella. Keast backed against the wall as Elektra charged at him and scooped him up in a tight hug.
Keast: Ack! Not a hugger! Not a hugger!
Keast squirmed in Elektra's arms like a small child attempting to evade the slobbery smooches of an overbearing auntie. Elektra quickly placed Keast back on the ground and ruffled his hair.
Elektra: I'm sorry, dear. How about a pat?
Keast now seemed much more at ease.
Keast: Oh, yes. That's nice.
Elektra: You helped get my son out of that horrible Nekramentia place. For that, I will always be grateful.
Keast's eyes widened and he suddenly looked uncharacteristically bashful, lowering his head and tapping the ends of his fingers together.
Keast: Well, I didn't want to leave him there.
Interrupting them was the doorbell. This time, someone was properly at the front door.
Elektra: Oh, hopefully that's Lord Lynx this time.
Elektra hurried to the front door and opened it wide.
Elektra: Do come in!
Lynx ducked under the door frame, followed by Kradik and Ryuu, who was in his dragon form.
Lord Lynx: Thank you very much. I'm afraid I can't stay long. It seems that Keast spent the morning swooping the populace and that means I've had to push my press conference earlier than planned.
Lynx slowly turned his head toward Keast and squinted his eyes in disapproval, sending the little bat backpedaling contritely.
Keast: Um... Um... I left something upstairs!
In a flash, half flying, half scrambling on his feet, Keast disappeared up the stairs.
Ryuu: Ms. Bond, is Zet still here?
Elektra: Call me Elektra, please dearie. Yes, he's on the third floor, I think.
Lord Lynx: Ryuu, as long as you're up there, please do wake everyone and bring them down here. No hurry. They can take their time.
Like an excitable puppy, Ryuu scrambled up the stairs as well.
Lord Lynx: Ms. Bond... Elektra... Would it be okay if we had a seat at your kitchen table?
Elektra turned and held out her hand toward the table.
Elektra: Certainly. Right this way. Would you like something to drink?
Lord Lynx: No thank you, madam. As I said, I cannot stay long.
The taller chairs in the kitchen seemed to suit Lynx a little better than the sofa in the living room, though he was still much too large for them, his long legs unable to fit under the table while seated. The others took their seats as well, waiting intently for whatever Lynx had to say.
Lord Lynx: Since I have to leave, I'll leave it to Kradik to tell the others what I'm about to tell you.
A short silence passed while Lynx took a deep breath.
Lord Lynx: Kuro, the leader of the dragons is on her way here, as well as the Queen and First Minister of Tokkastra. There are three issues at hand. The issue of the portal and nekomi homeworld, your powers, and Wishmaster. For now, we are not announcing anything about the portal until we learn more from the Tokkastran authorities, but we will have to say something quite soon, for there will be questions about where you were and these new people who came back with you. As for your abilities, we feel that they are yours to do with as you will, within the confines of the law, of course, but we recommend that you keep them to yourselves.
Jaze: Sounds reasonable so far.
Lord Lynx: Given my conversation with Adell, we expected you'd feel that way. Revealing your abilities would also complicate the third issue, Wishmaster. We have decided to classify all information regarding Wishmaster and those like him at the highest level. I'm sure you can imagine the chaos if this information were to be revealed. Most would likely think that my government had gone insane. In others, it may ignite a religious fervor with the possibility of cults springing up. This is without even mentioning any other unforseen consequences that we haven't considered. I'm sorry to do this, but you are officially forbidden to discuss Wishmaster with anyone not authorized to know.
Jaze nodded again.
Jaze: I'll definitly keep my mouth shut on that. People would think I was crazy too if I started saying I went up against the nekomi devil. I'm sure the others will feel the same, but you might have to explain to the younger ones, like Reuli and Wolfram, why.
While Jaze and Lynx conversed, the living room began slowly filling up with recently awoken, first Ryuu and Zet, who seemed to be having a spirited, though hushed conversation.
Lord Lynx: Indeed, and I believe both you and Kradik as the right ones for the job.
Lynx stood and delivered a short bow to the others.
Lord Lynx: Now, if you will excuse me, I must go quickly. I shall return later to see Kagurain, if that is okay. I have also taken the liberty of having my kitchen staff prepare all your meals for today and they should be here shortly with your breakfast. Bacon, eggs, goetta, toast, fresh fruit, everything you may desire.
Before any of them had a chance to mutter a thank you, Lynx hurried out the front door.
Elektra: That was nice of him. I was wondering how we were going to feed so many people.
Slowly, the living room filled more and more with sleepy inhabitants. Meanwhile, Kradik placed his hand on Jaze's shoulder.
Kradik: We can wait until after everyone's eaten.
Jaze couldn't help but notice that Kradik seemed to be in a much more sombre mood than usual. Talk of the portal, however, reminded Jaze of the frightened tokki scientist whose remains they found at the gate.
Jaze: After we do that, I think Toma and I should chat with you alone, if that's okay.
Kradik: Yes, I would expect so. Just so you know, I was no more aware of the true nature of the keyhole monument than you or Toma. No doubt you have all accidentally uncovered an ancient, dark secret and there will be a reckoning back on Tokkastra. I'm glad of this, however. I will be very interested to find out if the Queen or First Minister knew anything of this.
Kradik's reassurance didn't feel much better to Jaze.
Jaze: I hope we didn't cause too much trouble.
Kradik: Things will work out. Tokki take pride in truthfulness and when we do uncover a secret, we get to the bottom of it, whatever it takes. As for relations between Tokkastra and Carpathia, Lynx and I are absolutely committed to maintaining our good relations. It will take some hard truth seeking, but I believe that we work together on that, we shall be stronger for it.
This made Jaze feel a little better, though he decided not to dwell on the situation much further, lest he overwhelm himself again like he did the day before.
Jaze: You are quite an optimist, aren't you?
Kradik shrugged and smiled.
Kradik: I suppose I am. That must be why I'm a diplomat, isn't it?
Still the living room continued to fill, and this time, Quilyon came in through the back door.
Quilyon: Say, is there anything we should do to prepare for a sandstorm?
Elektra in particular seemed especially shocked.
Elektra: Sandstorm? Sweetie, we don't get sandstorms here!
Quilyon pointed to the back door.
Quilyon: Then what are those clouds?
Elektra and Jaze both went to the window and both pulled the curtains, peering outside. Indeed, there was a front of grey clouds approaching rapidly.
Elektra: Honey, we're just going to get some rain. That's all.
Quilyon's ears quivered as she scrunched up her face.
Quilyon: Rain? Rain... I've heard that word before... I think Kaoru mentioned it once or twice.
Jaze: Rain is when water falls from the sky in drops. It's nothing to worry about. It happens all the time here.
Quilyon arched her eyebrows in wonderment.
Quilyon: How strange!
Jaze, sensing impending panic with the rest of the Yserians, turned to Kradik.
Jaze: They don't know about rain. We should tell them about that before anything else.
Kradik: I believe that would be wise, yes.
Before they could call everyone to attention, however, there was a thud coming from the living room. Jaze and the others rushed in to find everyone gathered around Zet, who was laying on the floor, motionless, with Ryuu tugging at his vest.
Ryuu: Zet! Zet! Are you okay?
Elektra rushed over and quickly examined Zet, who was, at least, not dead. His chest heaved as he breathed and he was moving a little.
Elektra: It's okay, dear. It seems he has fainted. What were you two talking about?
Ryuu scratched his face with his claw.
Ryuu: Let's see... Zet asked me why I wasn't in my humanoid form. I told him that I can't change until I've laid our egg. I explained that to him and his eyes rolled back into his head and down he went.
Jaze's ears perked high on his head as Zet moaned a bit as he began to revive.
Jaze: Wait, back up. Egg?
Ryuu: Zet and I made an egg. We didn't mean to, but it happened. It'll take about a week before it comes out and then we'll have to sit on it for a few months.
Jaze grimaced, a bit too flummoxed by the absurdity of the situation to think of anything else at the moment. Elektra, meanwhile, was thoroughly shocked.
Elektra: Are you saying there's a baby coming? A nekodragon? I don't know what to say! I mean, congratulations, but...
Looking to Jaze for guidance, she was surprised that he wore not an expression of shock neatly mirroring her own, but one of resignation.
Elektra: Jaze, honey, you don't seem so surprised.
Jaze rubbed his forehead.
Jaze: Trust me, mom, this isn't even close to being as weird as it's going to get around here, if the past is any guide.
All city pictures from SimCity 4