Verlais was trembling. Past the door opposite him was the office of the Myst Prime. Essentially Verlais’s boss. But being the lowly Myst soldier that he was, he’d never actually met the Prime. Now, suddenly, in this small base in the Vrekan territories of Portalia, he’d been called up to discuss ‘delicate’ matters.
Finally, the door opened up, seemingly on its own.
Verlais did as he was told. He stood up straight and marched in, doing his best to hide his nerves. Inside, the Myst Prime was sitting behind a desk made out of various bones, held together with metal pins. Most of the furniture was similarly built. As per tradition, Verlais bowed, then saluted, not sitting down until the Prime told him to.
Not wanting to make a scene, Verlais pulled out a chair as quietly and quickly as he could and sat down. He didn’t say a word. He couldn’t.
The Myst Prime was idly flicking through a large, assorted pile of files and paperwork, all the information his soldiers had gathered referring to Verlais’s incident. Verlais could feel a tickle in his throat, but a combination of fear and respect kept him from doing anything.
Eventually, the Prime spoke.
“There has not been a Vrekan Theotkon for centuries. Yet here you are. How this was not picked up on during your initiation into the Myst, I do not know.”
Verlais shrugged. He hadn’t known either.
“Or at least, I did not know. Now I do. My intel suggests that you and your… friends… are something slightly different… Interesting…”
“Sir… may I ask a question?”
“Am I going to be thrown out? Is that why I am here?”
The Myst Prime laughed loudly, making Verlais jump. “Thrown out? You? You, little one, are now a huge asset to the Vrekans. You are right in a way, your status as an asset is no longer that of being a member of the Myst, but of Vrekans in general.”
“So I am…”
“No. You will have a strike on your record, but you are well within your five strike limit. You will keep your lowly Myst rank. But you have more use to us as a tool of imagery.”
Verlais blinked, unsure how to reply. The Prime immediately spotted his confusion.
“Us Vrekans have never had a good image. Most other races do not trust us. You are the key to unlocking that trust. You see, Theoktons, Dessaron such as you and your friends, you bring trust to everyone by defeating Deitics, the common enemy of the mortal races. Before your… arrival, the Rethavok had the monopoly on Theoktons. They still do, but you and the Banikan…”
“Her name is Ct’Era,” Verlais interrupted. “I’m sorry, sir. Everyone just called Ct’Era ‘the Banikan’ and it really discredits her. You said it yourself, the trust between races is locked away. Ct’Era, Kindyna, Arksi and I, we together unlock that trust.”
The Myst Prime smiled and leaned back in his chair. “You and I, we are on the same page.”
“We are. The four of you are a brand new symbol of unity. A symbol the Vrekan government wishes to sponsor…”
“So what do you want me to do, sir?”
“Come closer, and I’ll tell you…”
Kindyna lounged in her sunbed by the large, blue pool, only half-reading a saucy romance novel. She’d been chilling out for the last few days, making the most of the year-round summer climate that made Vriskera such a good holiday location. Her main home, back on Thanatia 2, would probably be swimming right now.
Normally, she would have headed home anyway. There were parties to attend. Other Thanatians to flirt with. Things like that. But this was nicer. Her sudden rise in fame had meant that her spying days were on hold, but Kindyna was now considered a hero and a saviour by the local Thraki. Considering that the local Thraki were in charge of all of Vriskera (apart from the city her aunt ran), this meant that Kindyna could essentially do whatever she wanted.
And that’s what she was doing. The amount of donations and gifts she had received, she could spend all winter in the posh southern hotels, being tended to by servants and butlers. Instead though, Kindyna had rented a villa in a small, gated community for a few weeks. Despite all the fame she normally craved, Kindyna just wanted to be left alone.
Well, not completely alone.
A communicator buzzed behind Kindyna. She reached round and turned it on loudspeaker.
“Hello!” a gravelly but familiar voice shouted from the other end.
“Ct’Era! You alright?”
“I am very happy! This is so nice! Much nicer than my last home!”
Kindyna smiled. She’d helped Ct’Era find a place in Vriskera, and their sudden popularity meant that Banikan/Thanatian relationships were better than ever. “What do you like about it?”
“It has a roof! And warm places! And a bed! You Thanatians live better than Banikan kings!”
“Well, not all of us, but yes, we do have beds. Aren’t you exaggerating a little?”
“Perhaps, but many Banikans struggle to get by. I always have done, despite the popularity I had in my tribe. This is all… amazing…”
The line crackled slightly. It was obvious that Ct’Era had put the phone down for a second and was trying to open something. A few seconds later, Ct’Era’s voice returned.
“I must also thank you for taking me shopping. A very strange experience. I had never been to a Cassid shopping mall. Much fun indeed. What are you doing right now?”
“Oh, nothing. I’m just relaxing by the pool.”
“That sounds like a splendid idea.”
Ct’Era put the phone down. Kindyna continued to smile, until she realised what Ct’Era meant. A gigantic splash in the pool sent water flying everywhere, very narrowly missing Kindyna and her book. The Banikan bobbed up and down happily in the pool.
Kindyna sighed, then sat up, putting her book to one side.
“I think you’re enjoying yourself a bit too much.”
“Perhaps. But it is worth it!” Ct’Era laughed, before diving down into the water and swimming around for a bit.
Amused by her friend’s optimism, Kindyna decided she could do with a quick swim as well. But just as she removed the light cloth covering her shoulders, her communicator buzzed again. It was Verlais.
“So you don’t remember anything?”
“Nothing at all from the last six months. Woke up in hospital and the medics are all running around talking about some ‘new Dessaron’! So confusing…”
Arksi watched as Arkay sipped his drink, before taking a sip from his own carbonated beverage. They’d been sitting in the little cafe for about ten minutes, and it’d taken them both eight minutes to do anything but order drinks. There was no one else inside, but outside, a handful of reporters were trying to grab some photographs of Arksi. Luckily, the cafe owner had closed everything off for him.
“Nothing at all?”
Arkay shrugged. “Well, there’s the occasional flash. Nothing recognisable though. Must totally suck for you though, remembering everything… Was it painful? I still don’t get what happened to you.”
“Painful? Apart from breaking my arm and the occasional bits and pieces, no. Wasn’t any torture or anything. I’m thankful for that. Really, the whole… adventure was pretty simple. Escaping from Deitics, fighting Zonta, freeing the Whenvern, all that. All this though…”
“All the being famous, being recognised, people wanting us. Was it like this for you?”
“No. I’m glad though, I hate the idea of being famous.”
Arksi wasn’t sure how to answer. “I guess… It’s drawn a lot of unwarranted attention, not fun us Ksa, we’re supposed to keep our heads down.”
“You shouldn’t worry about that. The rest of the K-Class will cope. Nenth will cope. Is he alright?”
“He was pissed. Then he found out what happened. Now he thinks I’m awesome and is glad I decided to stick around. Now I’ve got my own place to live, Nenth wants to come over for Macromera and I can’t wait.”
Arkay smiled. “I’m so glad you got a happy ending.”
“Oh, me too,” Arksi grinned, only to be interrupted by a vibration on his left wrist band. It was a message. “Ah darn. I gotta go.”
“That’s fine,” Arkay replied as he finished his drink. “You head off, these drinks are on me.”
“Yeah. You go do your thing, Arksi.”
Arksi stood up and smiled some more, and headed towards the exit. “Thank you.”
“No worries,” Arkay waved as Arksi rushed off. “Have fun being a New Dessaron!”