The majority of the ships decided to hover over the nearby ocean, but this one silently landed outside the large, marble and glass building. While the ships may have been silent, the sound of a thousand heavy pairs of feet stomping out of time towards the stairs certainly wasn’t. Outside the building, the home of the Rethans’ government, Vice General Elkay watched as the elite of the Temthan army approached, lead by a very scantily clad feminine being. Behind him were the N- and K-Class Ksa.
“Aha! What a lovely world you have!” Empress Elisia smiled. “I assume you, little angel, are the leader of the Threavok?”
“Good! I was hoping to be able to speak to you! In private. I would much prefer to not have to tear chunks out of your lovely home. I would like to make an arrangement.”
Elkay wanted to roll his eyes at this near naked being but didn’t. Instead his eyes were drawn to the beings behind her. He did not want to make the conversation private though. All eyes were on him to not mess up. “We will converse here, in the open, for both the Threavok and the Temthans to hear. It is their fates we are discussing and we must allow them to listen in.”
Elisia laughed for a good few seconds, apparently finding the Vice General’s statement hilarious. There was no such laughter from the Temthan elite behind her. “You are a funny being. I am so glad that the rest of you are much like our Xentress. Strange, stubborn but beautiful in your own way. This is why I wish to discuss a peaceful solution with you.”
“If you insist. But if peace is what you truly want, you will leave. It is the simplest solution.”
Scanning the Temthan Empress up and down, Elkay noticed that she was armed with a long dagger. More of a sword, really. She didn’t seem to have any telepathic powers, but her skin was incredibly slimy. There was a strange, vile smell, like something soaked in old alcohol. Possibly all that skin slime. He noted that he should probably avoid direct contact with her. Goodness knows what was in that slime.
Once again, Elisia laughed. Her voice grated against the young Rethan’s ears. “Haha! That is adorable! But no. I have a simpler solution. The Temthans have technology beyond your wildest dreams. Interstellar travel. Intergalactic travel. All the food, drink, drugs and sex that you want. We want very little from you, really, just your loyalty, your dedication to our religion of the Holy Cycle and a mere hundred of your kind for our own breeding purposes.”
“I would not give one Threan to you. And while your technology may be great, we believe in the right to believe whatever you want, not to be forced into some pathetic death cult.”
Elisia’s smile faded. They were non-believers? The fools. “You may believe the Holy Cycle to be unreal, and while you are free, wrong but free to believe that, you are wrong to say that you haven’t already given us something…” Elisia spun around. “Lenik, bring forth the Xentress!”
A tall, bulky, nearly naked but certainly male Temthan stepped forward, bringing with him a hooded figure. Even though they were mostly covered up, Elkay immediately recognised who it was. The Xentress said nothing as she stood by Elisia’s side, vaguely staring in Elkay’s general direction. Present, but not present. And stinking of the same vile goo that covered Elisia’s skin.
“Why do I doubt that your Xentress is here willingly?” Elkay sighed. “You can offer what you want, but I am not handing over any of my population to you, nor will I force my vok to follow a religion against their free will. We may seem primitive to you, but we are perfectly fine as we are.”
Elisia stepped back in confusion. “You do not want our technology? You do not want our gifts? You deny all that we offer you? You truly are a primitive race. An ungrateful race. Spoiled.”
A small smile flashed across Elkay’s face. “You call us primitive, ungrateful and spoiled, you do realise that you’ve flown all this way and demanded we do everything you say in exchange for very little on our end? If you want a peace treaty to ensure that no harm comes to either of our races, then I am very happy to agree to that. But you have offered us nothing. We have all the, as you put it, food, drink, drugs and sex we could want and our technology suits our needs as we designed or adapted it ourselves. In reality, you have asked us to be your slaves for virtually no reason.”
The Empress was astonished with the stupid creature’s confidence, but worse, how sharp his tongue was. He was angering her.
“If your kind will not quietly bow down to us, then we’ll have to convince you via blood and pain!” Elisia reached round to her dagger, only to find it wasn’t there. That didn’t bother her. She’d just have to strangle the life out of this pathetic being with her bare cla-
A familiar dagger stuck out of Elisia’s stomach. Her eyes looked directly at the scum in front of her, but it seemed he was somewhat shocked too. To her side, slightly behind her, stood the perpetrator. Her own Xentress had turned against her.
“D-do not harm family…” Arkay muttered as he removed the dagger and dropped it on the ground, before limping away, past the Vice General and towards the Ksa standing guard behind him. He collapsed in the arms of one of the K-Class, who dutifully carried him away.
Elkay smiled as he walked round Elisia and picked up her intricately carved blade. “It seems even your own have turned against you. Knowing my little brother and his excellent training, he’s stabbed you in such a way that you are essentially paralysed and you’ll be dead within a few minutes unless you are treated. Despite your attempt to kill me and take over my home, I’m willing to give you the medical attention you need. For a price.”
Elisia fell to her knees, holding her guts in her hands. “Y-you p-planned t-this!”
“I wish I was wise enough to plan such a trick. But Empress, you are bleeding to death, so I will be brief…” Elkay paused. Not a single Temthan behind her had moved or attempted to attack. Were the Temthans that bound to their Empress? Did she control them? Or was she simply not very popular? Perhaps this ‘all powerful empire’ was much weaker than they let on. “In exchange for healing you and curing you of your almost guaranteed paralysis, you will leave my vok alone. You will also leave the Maza systems alone. You will get to leave here fully healed, and none of your Temthans will be harmed.”
The Empress gurgled some sort of reply, her mouth filled with blood.
“I-I s-said okay… I-I a-agree to y-your t-terms…”
The Vice General raised his hand, calling over five Ksa who picked Elisia up and carried her away on a stretcher. The Temthans though were all still unmoving. He needed to speak to them.
“Temthans. I apologise for the injuries Empress Elisia has suffered, but it is clear to me that you are in dire need of a new leader. If any of you wish to remain here under our rule, or the rule of another Maza race, then you are free to do so. Otherwise, you are all free to leave.”
Many of the Temthans looked at one another, waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Finally, Lenik, the brutish male from before, ordered his fellow Temthans to return to their ship, before coming over to speak to Elkay.
“Great General, you have a tongue of gold. Please, for the good of the Temthans, kill Elisia, before she decides to try and wage war again. Her popularity and desire to do what’s best died long ago, and her obsession with our religion has damaged us. She must join the Holy Cycle.”
Elkay tutted. “I cannot do that. Despite the anger I feel for what she’s done to my little brother…”
“The Xentress is… your brother?”
“Indeed. I must thank you for returning Arkay home, I thought I’d never see him again after he was stolen from us by Deitics. But you must sort deal with your leadership yourself. I cannot break the deal I just made with your Empress.”
Lenik sighed, a horrible, defeated sigh. “We are nothing without a powerful leader.”
“Then find a new one. The Rethans have given you an opportunity to change. Take it.”
“Rethans?” Lenik was clearly confused.
“The Threavok went extinct thousands of years ago.”
“Hm…” The Temthan thought to himself for a moment. “Normally the Xentress, followed by the head Raptoran, leads the Temthans while our leader is incapacitated. Arkai will not be able to lead us, so I must carry this burden. I shall inform our ships to leave, and have one stay until the Empress is well once more.”
Lenik nodded a thank you, then ordered the Temthans back to their ship. None of them had wanted to fight after all. In the distance, many of the ships hovering over the ocean were beginning to take off and fly away.
As the Temthans walked away, Elkay watched on, astonished by what he had just managed to accomplish.