Prime Respite (Part 1)


Chapter 1

Under the shades of the gleaming celestial bodies drifting amidst the sea of darkness, he watched from his vantage point as hundreds of men are heralded toward a camp complex. Arrays of domes made from timber gobbles up the weary men with their heads down and hands over them. Watching over those men are his forces, clad in their harness. Heartless Androids built specifically to become war machines. They push over those that lag behind, and pull collapsed men aside dragging them to a specific dome reserved for them. But why should that matter? Those men are cattle anyway.

At least that’s what he thought.

It is what they deserve. Those thralls, if not handled properly, could bring catastrophe to the civilization. The worshippers of divine powers, he works day and night to ensure no quarter is given for them.

Eventually, the last of the dome’s gate is shut.

“Everyone’s in.” A voice comes through his utilizer.

The man turns to his colonel who is standing to his right and nods. The colonel nods in return. He brings up his utilizer and calls out to his men.

“No temple shall be finished tonight.”

As soon as his words spread through the complex, all lightings are cut. The complex below turns into a sea of darkness. What remains is the glowing dots of the Androids’ harness, marking their presence to nearby friendlies. They begin to surround the domes, and pour them with a liquid. The weary men inside aren’t aware of this as they gave in to their drowsiness.

The Androids that pour the liquid then retreats as their larger counterpart strides in and take their place. The contraptions attached to their arms begin to whir. They raise their arms and aims them at the domes.

“Now.” The colonel word relays.

And within the next second, hell breaks loose.

The man, still in his vantage point, witness as the red rooster prances with grace and vigor.  Their radiant nature outshines the celestial bodies. Their eloquent gesture plays to the rhythm of the frantic and incoherent chorus of those trapped inside the domes. So vigor they are, that distant observer would mistook the dawn breaking.

His sight is fixed to the blazing field. The chorus, that sings great agony aloud, begins to inflect his lips’ edge upward.

A wonderful play, the man thought.

A relieving show, sufficient to soothe the cavities in his heart.

–**–

The orange light streaks through the curved glass enclosing halfway of the hall. One would struggle viewing the western mountains from the hall at this hour. They will have to squint against the dazzling light. Those who does could admire the view below and beyond, the complex and the terrains that enveloped it. Although the light brought discomfort vision wise, the warmth that comes with them balances out the cold atmosphere of the hall.

I lost count at the total hours I have spent standing here, gazing at this mesmerizing view. Although there are other observation points here in Creatio Genetrix with equally captivating scenery, none beats this one. I think. I always hustle my work every time I am given this hall, so that there’s time for this lovely pause.

“Lena!” I hear a voice from one end of the hall calling my name.

I turn to the approaching maid as soon as possible, for she is my senior. “Here, ma’am.”

“Dinner’s ready.”

Hearing that, I hastily reach for the cleaner and the sweeper. “Will be there.”

“Nu-uh.” The senior maid’s voice halts me. “Just go for it, I’ll take care of them.”

That’s very kind of her.

“Thank you, ma’am.” I say, dropping the cleaning equipment before holding my ankle-long skirt up and bending to the maid. I then hurry my way to the mess hall.

I’m lying if I say that I’m not starving. But it’s not my dinner. The call for the maids to have their meal is ‘Break time’, and it applies to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, depending on their shift. Whenever the mealtime is mentioned, the meal is none other for him in his chamber that perches atop this structure. The ruler of this great nation, who have uplifted the civilizations through technological might. The policy that he enforced pushes the citizens to the boundaries of human knowledge. All that for the outmost sophistication for the living.

But, to my capabilities, that purpose is still way beyond. At least they allow me to serve as a maid in this nation’s white house. At least, I am a section of the pillars upon which the nation’s pioneers stood. It’s a great privilege.

I storm the mess hall and skims the entire room, looking for a trolley prepped with meals on it. I stumble upon one of the maids stationed there at the moment.

“Where’s the dinner?” I ask her.

“You’re the one tasked with it?”

I nod.

“Over there.” The maid extends her arm to one side of the hall.

There I see a trolley being stormed with several maids holding food trays sealed by cloches.

“Here you go.” One of them says, handing the trolley to me as soon as I got there.

“Thank you.”

I begin to push the trolley into the elevator and heads for the topmost chamber. The elevator opens at a sizeable lounge, perhaps enough to cram fifty people inside it. There are cushion seatings in each corner with teak-framed table before them. Beside those seatings are cambodia and ferns that has symmetrical stature, perhaps a fruit of genetic engineering. A wool rug with curving fractal patterns covers the floor. In the center of it all is a fountain with the ArC insignia on the top. Hanging on the walls are tapestries, the most remarkable is the one that has the same insignia lying on top of two crossed shovels at the center of concentric circles. As far as my knowledge goes, it stands to represent this nation’s light which shall one day reach the edge of the solar system. The shovel though, I’m not sure. Perhaps it has something to do with laying a fine groundwork.

His office is just at the end of the hall opposing the elevator. There’s another hall perpendicular to that direction. To the left is his personal room, and to the right is his personal bathroom. It is perplexing how he doesn’t integrate the bath into his personal room, but I guess that is not my concern.

“Dinner.” I call out.

Not long after a maid opens the office door. She holds the trolley, her glance falls at me.

“I’ll take it from here. Wait outside.”

I share her glance and nod. There shouldn’t be any doubt. She’s the one directly serving him at the moment. She knows what she is doing. So, I let go of the trolley, which she then pulls inside before closing the office door. I step aside, my back to the wall beside the office door.

The Primus.

The most powerful man in the world. He who have created a haven that has nurtured me, allowing me to bloom in wealth. He must be a venerable one. The one who shed a radiance of discipline to his subjects. It has to be exhilarating to hear how he become such a person. Unfortunately, he doesn’t appear anywhere. And there’s not even a word that reached me. Hence, I am still adrift about the twist and turn of the man. Perhaps his work comes with thick layers of curtains between him and his citizens. Well, I could only wonder for now.

One thing that unsettles me however, is the fact that he is having dinner at barely sunset. Why?

–**–

A military officer bursts through the cramped room filled with combat gears and gadgets. There, a female Android is sitting on one of the chairs before an elongated table, her attention is fixed to her desktop.

“Pardon my late arrival, ma’am.” The officer says.

The female Android glances at him for a moment and present a grin. “Only one-minute past. Sit down, Warren.”

The officer marches toward her, the loud thudding of his footsteps fills the room. He reaches for a chair near the Android, his ornaments and decorations glitter under the only lighting in the room.

Once he sits down, the Android turns her chair in the officer’s direction.

“What did you find?”

“There’s a small region, far to the east near the equator.”

“What’s over there?”

“An ArC airship from their HQ is reported to head towards and depart from the region periodically. We believe they have a secret base over there which might hold details beneficial to defeat them.”

“You seem confident that it is a secret base.”

The officer tilts his head. “Well, the analysts do. I suggest we send a unit to spy on the area if we are to attempt an assault.”

The Android raises an eyebrow, her crimson eyes share the officer’s gaze. “Are you saying that this is an opportunity to…”

“Correct, ma’am.” The officer nods.

The Android sighs. “Very well.” She says, tapping on her utilizer. “Avantia, come over here dear.” She calls through.

“Yes, mother.” A serene voice crackle through, like a droplet of water on a solitary lake in the middle of a night. The cold response breezes through her utilizer, enough to cool the cramped room.

–**–

That one was a mistake. She was feigning an opening and I fell for it. Perhaps I could really score a hit if I am quick enough. The next thing I know, is that she goes for my stomach just when my katana is heading for the top of her head. A quick diagonal slash upward that flickers my shield red. The spar is over. The instructor maid and I unsheathe our blade and step backward. An applause follows our bow. I don’t think my performance is worthy of it. Nevertheless, it sparks me that I laid an excellent show.

The instructor approaches and points at things that require improving. I nod, thanking her for her inputs. She then retreats and dismiss the practice.

Every citizen of the Artificial Creationists is obliged to at least capable to operate a weapon. It is one of the requirements to acquire the citizenship. This allows them to protect themselves during hostile assault before reinforcement comes. Such mandatory practice also applies to the officials. They even have to excel at them. Our weapon of choice is the katana. In real combat, we would use a blade of similar design. The difference is that it could emit a lethal energy wave, sufficient to cut through humans and Androids in a swing.

But I doubt I would ever really use my combat gear. The front is far away from the ArC’s capital. And our enemies don’t seem to threaten this city anytime soon.

It’s almost three AM when I head out to the plaza. I see fellow maids stride away from and into Creatio Genetrix. There are not much people around, spotting them is like finding pine trees in a pine woods thanks to their uniform. A handful of vehicles occupy the hollow parking lot, perhaps belonging to the officials who decided to work overtime.

Unlike the other maid, the dormitory complex I live in is not within the complex of Creatio Genetrix. It lies on the outskirt of the capital, at least thirty-minutes transport and ten-minutes’ walk. The housing area is quite remote, so the transport wouldn’t reach it. I stride on one side of the paving. It’s a little bit dark since the lighting is reduced. But I need not to fear any unsavory intent pouncing on me. Ahead of me there’s an intersection. On one of the skirts stand two men clad in their combat gear. The military, the Proxies. Beside the police, the Primus also utilizes them to maintain security in towns and settlements alike. Their presence among the people suppresses the unsavory action probability to non-existential.

My dormitory complex is a two stories u-shaped building that houses as much as ten rooms, each is four by three meters wide, enough to hold a settler and their essential belongings, such as clothing, gadgets, and maybe books. I sigh as I come across a sink which has a pile of plates, presumably used ones. Oh, well.

This tiny addition for the day won’t hurt I guess. Indeed, this place has meals available for the inhabitants. It’s included in the fees and are served for lunch and dinner. It’s up to the inhabitants to be considerate with each other as the meals are placed on a sizeable table in the dining room. These plates must be a remainder of the dinner and apparently no one is willing to wash them.

Just as I rinse them with water, an adolescent man emerges from his room nearby. He yawns as he stretches his arm overhead. Then he tosses an empty bottle toward a bin across him. He misses, and the bottle fell on the floor, triggering a jarring noise that permeates the place.

My face frowns at this behavior.

“Excuse me mister,” I say turning to him. “That bottle won’t creep toward the bin by itself.”

“Shut up, miss.” He says, his face turning bitter. “Just because you’re cute doesn’t mean you could boss me around.”

W-what?

“That’s not how an ArC citizen should behave.” Indeed, it is the behavior that clashes against the prime virtue of our leader, discipline.

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” And that’s the end of it. He just walks back to his room and shut the door, leaving me to handle the waste.

I proceed to my room after all the dish washing. As soon as I arrive, I pull out my headband and a pin that has been sticking on the base of my frill tie for the entire evening. The pin represents my rank amongst the maid of Creatio Genetrix, a maid corporal. I began my service two years ago. And I reached this rank just last month. They claimed to be indebted to my discipline during both of my shift, that they appreciate me with this fast promotion. Well if it meant a raise in my salary, I wouldn’t deny it.

I don’t think of changing after I pull out my tie and loosen the button on my collar. Maybe it’s really me, but my head just slams into the pillow. And my body sinks into the bed laid on the floor. I turn to gaze the ceiling, laying an arm against my forehead. Normally every maid is assigned to one shift, and there’s actually more to be done there than meets the eye. Only those who have completed the contract are allowed to double their shift. I did, since I wished to earn more.

Only two more years before I can afford to purchase a piece of soil and some seeds, which will deplete both my life savings so far and the amount I’d earn after those years.

I close my eyes with a smirk on my face, knowing how fast time does fly. I let out a deep breath.

“Just a bit more.”

–**–

Under the dark azure shade of the sky, I see monarchs trace a winding, twisting path. But they all agreed in a specific direction, forming a turbulent column that only trails above. Their wings gleam the colors of the embers as they flutter through the air. A fine contrast against the darkening sky. One could recline and appreciate the sight during the evening pause without a care in the world. Just as they don’t have any as they streak across the heavens. Until one of them stops midway and crash lands on my palm.

I then clench it to suppress the sudden heat, that of boiling waters, which is somehow caused by the fallen monarch. That’s when I realize the scorching atmosphere rising. I rise up to a vigor crowd of flames, trampling the houses all around in their excitement.

Black smokes creep here and there, hindering my view. There are just embers on timbers. I look around, only to be met by villagers running amok. Their screams are all that come to my ears. For some reason my whole body felt painful. As if a dense wooden pillar just fell upon me. I trudge through the mess, calling out to my parents.

“Lena!” Suddenly I make up a voice calling for me.

“Mom, dad!” They’re ahead of me, in the intersection of the village’s plaza. Mom is on the cobblestone path, seemingly powerless to stand. Dad is attending to her while reaching out for me.

I reach for them.

But as soon as I do, a twister of flame sweeps the street behind them. It gets closer, and before long they’re reduced to ashes that fly with the wind.

“No!” I cry, in a futile attempt to save them.

The twister keeps getting closer. It topples me to the ground and stops before me. Just as I thought I was about to be engulfed, it opens up to reveal a woman figure. She is decorated with ornaments only the royals could afford. A diadem lies atop her head. Her crimson eyes are gazing down on me. My whole body is throbbing. My breath shortens. And I think I’m getting some skin burn. There’s no way I could mount a resistance against her.

“Why are you doing this!? Why?” I lob the question to her.

But a cold stare is her only answer. She raises her right hand and snaps her finger.

The embers turn into swarms of monarchs, the same ones that I’ve just witnessed, storming in all directions. Some of them stream past me. Their columns coalesce high in the sky, before eventually diving in.

To me.

Then I snap out of it. Surrounding me are other maids in groups, chattering with each other. Looks like I just fell asleep. I came to sit at one corner of the maid lounge to ease my muscles. But it appears that my drowsiness is at it again. Fortunately, it’s break time so I won’t run into trouble anytime soon.

I take two eggs and a cup of coffee for this break session. This is one of our accommodations. The system would then reduce a value worth of our consumption during breaks. As soon as I finished wiping my mouth, my utilizer flickers, notifying an incoming transmission.

==||==

From: CG Maid Command

Invitation to see Maid Colonel Iva at the end of the break time.

==||==

Huh. The colonel wants to see me. What’s it going to be this time? A special task? A punishment I am unaware of? Or perhaps, another promotion? The buzzer rang and slaps those thoughts away just as soon as they begin to take root. The break time is over. It would be the duty of the maid stationed here to clean up the mess.

I trace my way back to the main hall and head for the elevator. The maid colonel’s office is just one story below the Primus’ chamber. The level has arrays of rooms separated by transparent glass. Each is packed with high ranking personnel, both officials and maids. Most of them have their sight fixed on their screens. Their fingers swiftly run across the keyboards. There’s at least one or two people hurdling in and out of the chambers carrying their tabs, a document viewer device. None bats an eye, even when they streak past me. It has always been like this here. Although the glass confine any sound, the rush still fills the serene hall.

The colonel’s aide let me in after my report.

“You were looking for me, colonel?” I said after I present a bow.

The maid colonel glances at me, her fingers are still laying on her keyboard.

“And another four, so you might want to sit down.” She turns her gaze back at her screen as soon as she says that.

“As you wish.” I respond before sitting on the couch before her.

Colonel Iva is a stiff woman in her thirties. She taps on the keyboards like there is no tomorrow. Rumors say that she has dedicated her service since she is ten. The longest serving maid in Creatio Genetrix. Another noticeable feature about her is the scar on her left cheek. It seems to be a product of internal bleeding. I wonder who have defiled this woman’s grace by inflicting that scar upon her?

Her room is silent, with just the hum of the air conditioner. It would be disrespectful should I say anything and interrupt her focus. If I wanted a conversation, she should be the one who incites it. Hence the wait feels like forever, as the colonel kept her attention to her screen. I am left here, with my sight periodically shifting from one direction to another in an attempt to keep boredom at bay.

As I let out a deep exhale, the colonel’s utilizer flickers. Following it is the voice of her aide, informing the arrival of a group of maids. They then enter the room not long after and ordered to sit beside me. There are four of them and I am surprised to see the pin on the bottom of their neck. They are all maid sergeants. One of them, is a maid color sergeant.

The colonel then clasps her hands and place it on the desk, her attention is shifting to us.

“First of all, congratulations that you are selected for this task.” She says.

From the corner of my eye, the four maids are sharing a glance. My sight remains to the colonel.

“The Primus is taking his leave. And that’s the drill.”

My nerve is building up as soon as the colonel said that. That statement of hers triggers a rapid development of my nerve.

“We have to care for him.” Says one of the maid sergeants.

“Correct. Basically, you’re about to do the same there with what you are doing here. Only you have to be more cautious as to not upset him.”

“Why not hand this task to maids of higher rank?” The other sergeant asks.

The colonel jerks her head. “In the light of improving the discipline and composure of junior maids, we tend to prioritize them for special task such as this. Besides, the privileges would serve you well too.”

            I dare myself to glance at the other maids, the one sitting next to me shares my glance.

            “You’ll be departing in forty-eight hours. There will be no orders for you until then. Prepare everything, combat gear included. More details will come later. And once again, at all cost, do not upset him.”

            “We’ll do our best ma’am.” The sergeant beside me responds.

“And for the person in charge…” The colonel sets her glance to her screen briefly. “Valeska Helena.”

My heart sank as soon as my name is on the line, followed by a blow to my gut. A sweat streak through my right cheek. I can feel the maids’ gaze on me, even though I don’t see it. Perhaps they’re as astonished as me.

“B-but,” I glance at the sergeants. “We have maid sergeants here. Why me?”

“Sir Microv’s order. Perhaps only heaven knows.” The colonel sighs. “There won’t be any change. That’s the decision. Dismissed.”

I raise a hand in an attempt of further complaints, but the sergeant beside me pat my left thigh and nod. I let out a deep breath and nod back. Not long after, we find ourselves bowing to the colonel before heading out of her room.

Just when I thought we’re about to part ways, the sergeant that was sitting beside me reaches out. She is the maid color sergeant.

“Congratulations.” She said calmly, before giving her hand. Her brown hair is straight and goes just slightly beyond her shoulder. There are two bundles on both sides that are brought up and tied on the back of her head. She also wears a glasses with an ebony frame.

“Uh, yeah sure.” I grab her hand while scratching my head.

“It’s Hana, Tanaka Hitohana. Pleased to take your command.” She nods, before presenting a smile that appears to be genuine and affectionate.

“Glad to hear it.” I reply.

Hana leers to the three maids behind her before looking back at me. “How about a session in the lounge?”

“Uh…” A tea time between us would be excellent indeed. But I don’t think I am willing to sacrifice a bit more of my accommodation for this tiny affair. Thus, the options are either I won’t get anything there or…

Hana grabs both of my shoulders. “On me.” She says, jerking her head.

I really am not sure about this. A senior, placed under my command, is treating me. But before I wrap my thought around it and decide…

“Come on. Time is fleeting.”

“Eh!” I grunt as Hana begins to pull me by my hand. The other three maids proceed ahead of us.

I guess an hour or two to get to know each other won’t hurt.

We pick a table surrounded by a continuous seating that has one of its side against the wall. It’s Hana who sits there. The rest of us sit opposing each other. Hana treats me a chocolate puff cake with a thin layer of cream crust on top, and a cup of hot mango tea. What a kind woman. My grateful conscience lead to a personal promise for something to honor this in the future.

I crumple in my seat. My hands lay on my thigh and my sight fixed down to my tea. My sight keeps looking around as my courage to speak is still dressing up.

“Gee, you’re not used around strangers, aren’t you?” The maid beside me exclaims. But before I can make up my mind to say anything, she gives her hand.

“Shabrina Agonskaya, Rina.” She says. “I’ll be right behind you.”

“Pleased to lead you.” I grab her hand.

Rina has a bob cut of shoulder length with bangs covering her forehead.

“My turn! My turn!” The maid opposing me barks out. “Hi, Lena. I am Erika El-Nabila.” She says with glee. Her eyes closed and her chest is puffed out as if that’s something to be proud about. I think her voice just vibrates across the vast lounge. Or maybe it’s just me who isn’t used to hearing loud voices. “Call me Eri, okay?” She continues, opening only her left eye and doing the gesture. Her hair is also of shoulder length but it is a bit wavy compared to Rina’s.

“Eri. Noted, no problem.” I respond, trying to keep up with her vibe in which I failed worse than I thought it would be. My awkward glee is what remains of me.

And that’s when the final maid, who is sitting beside Eri, gives out her name.

“Fiona Theodora, Theo.” She says, grinning at me before raising her right hand. “Pleased to meet you.” She nods.

It appears that she is not the one who talks a lot. Her hair is braided and lies in front of her left shoulder.

“Pleased to meet you too.” I nod back.

They all seem to be women in their twenties. That makes me the youngest one here. Seems like the only challenge would be overcoming my hesitance to command them around.

“By the way,” I say in an attempt to incite a topic. “You gals seem to have known each other for quite a while.”

They share a glance with each other. It’s Hana who speaks up first.

“Perhaps dating four years back. Eri and I were colleague in the ArCademy. We got assigned to different unit when we enlist for the maid service. It is when I meet Theo, we were both privates back then. Meanwhile Rina here is my drinking partner in this lounge.”

“Drinking?”

“Tea of course. They don’t make alcohol beverage here. Even if they do, I still desire to keep my face.”

It is relieving to hear that she is not the type that likes to go wild.

“Hey, hey Lena.” I turn to Eri as she calls out to me. “I hear you’re the only corporal with double shift.”

“Basically, the youngest corporal with the most work for her rank.” Rina chimes in.

“Yeah,” Eri says to Rina before turning to me again. “How do you manage that? Doesn’t that exhaust you? And threw away any time you have for, having fun?”

Those questions have me turning my sight away for a moment. Does it exhaust me? Definitely. And yes, I haven’t had any fun since I enlist to the maid service. Actually, I never had any ever since my settlement is sacked. My parents were the wealthiest folk there. They perished with their lands in a single evening. Since then, I never thought of anything but working to restore the wealth of my family, their name, their glory. Because I’ve promised myself then, I won’t rest until that goal is achieved. After that, who knows? I will decide that next once I had restored my family’s wealth.

But I can’t say that in front of strangers, even if they will assist me in the operation.

“You can say that I have a decent focus at my dream.”  It is only what I could think of. I never really thought of how could I keep up with the intense labor. It just happens.

Eri rests her elbows on the table and put her head on her hands. “Woah, that’s amazing!” She exclaims. Something is gleaming from her eyes. “I want to be focused too.” She then fixes her glance to Hana as soon as she said that.

“I don’t think that’s how it works.” Hana said, raising an eyebrow.

Rina sighs while Theo slightly covers her lips as she chuckles. It is when that question comes to me.

“Have anyone here ever came close to him before?” I ask. Since we’re going to care directly for the Primus, I might as well consider which one of these maids have encountered him.

Hana looks to the ceiling. “I think I haven’t.”

“I do.” That’s Theo who said that.

Everyone’s gaze turns at Theo.

“Where were you at that time?” I ask her.

Theo shakes her head. “I was ordered to clean his lounge. He was there at the time, sitting on the couch, his sight at the tapestry across.”

“How do you feel?”

She takes a deep breath before turning to me. “Well, what can I say? You will hear time ticks, along which you’ll keep praying that no mistake will take place. It’s like your life is on the line. And when you slip, there’s a whole ocean opening up to swallow you.” Theo says, putting her head on her right hand. “I wonder how will he persecute me should I slip that day. It must be a pleasure.”

Huh!? A pleasure in persecution? Something is not right with this girl.

Apart from that…

One’s sense of duty can really spikes when they are beside the person who created the duty. It is normal that one wishes to not fail when their chief is watching them directly. Part of me wishes that she is just overexaggerating. The Primus is just another chief that we respect and we wished not to disappoint. As long as we don’t think too much about it, whereas doing so would drive our focus away from the task, everything will be fine.

“Well, given the rumors around, his glare is still a thing to be terrified about even when he wishes no ill will to us.” Rina says.

“That should’ve been expected.” Hana responds. “That mask of his, no one really knows what he feels. Plus, he probably has plenty of internal enemies, that’s why he tends to glare at anyone he meets.”

“To make sure no one has the opportunity to stab him in the back.” Rina says.

“Correct.”

“But why would he have internal enemies?” I ask. “He brought wealth to his domain, not to mention the flourishing scientific development that supports it.”

“Yeah, I know.” Hana says. “But you know how hostile he is toward every religious state, down to its individual citizen?”

“What?”

Hana takes a deep breath. Her face is frowning in the process. As if hordes of murky clouds come to her shade.

“You weren’t paying attention, were you Lena?” Eri chimes. She leans closer and starts to whisper. “I heard this from someone, he once persecuted an entire religious community by gathering, before then burning them in their sleep.”

Huh!? I freeze. For a moment, I couldn’t believe what she said.

“Not to mention his expansionism. It’s probably the reason why we’re clashing with the Vindicators right now.” Eri continues

“I guess that’s what you get for being a hardcore scientist.” Rina says, chuckling slightly.

Only Theo who doesn’t speak that way about him. Her face is still away from us since she stopped talking, supported by her right arm. She grins as she is breathing with her mouth slightly open. I guess that’s owing to her seemingly bizarre imagination. It does seem like he can take everyone’s life anytime, anywhere, and anyhow he wanted. Nevertheless, he created a sanctuary where no beggars could be seen. The impoverished could sign up for a labor and have meals three times a day with their salary. They could even expand their properties a few years later.

As long as that is kept, nothing else matters right? As long as our proper service is kept, nothing will go wrong right? Right?

            I brought that thought home, where the colonel’s message just arrived as soon as I open the doorstep of my dormitory. I then open my window, letting in a stream of evening air that I barely appreciate since I am not used at arriving during these hours. Then I sit at my bed, opening my utilizer and connecting it to my tab so that I could view the details sent by the colonel.

It covers plenty aspects, from the team dossiers to the handling of the Primus’ private properties. The Primus’ leave venue is his mansion at a remote island southeast of the main continent. Of all the content written, what interest me first is his meal schedule. The interest stands upon the fact that he had his dinner before sunset.

And how my mouth gapes as soon as I see it.

The Primus eats whenever he feels like, so be prepared. And that’s it, there is no schedule.

“So that’s why.” I say in a manner that reveal how odd that sounds to me.

Just after the ‘schedule’ is his meal preference. The colonel lists all the dishes that had been presented to him the most throughout his reign. They all however, has one thing in common.

“No vegetables…”

Really? He never once consumed any vegetables?

Oh my.

I take a deep breath as I slam my head on the pillow. My gaze is straight to the ceiling. An evening breeze slips through the window, fluttering a bundle of my hair. The foliage outside rustles to their rhythm. There are no structures shambling under fire, no suffocating thick smokes, and no people scattering in panic in contrast to that evening. Only the hum of my room’s exhaust and the engines of one or two vehicles passing by. If only my parents and I made it here in the first place.

“…”

The Primus watches over us. As long as our gears spin, there is a delicate warmth under his spotlight. But who watch over him? Is anyone aware that he might catch a case of stomach or intestines failure? The cooks, his personal maid, and even the colonel doesn’t seem concerned. Most importantly, such routine is a blatant act of indiscipline. Other than the hilarious possibility of his demise due to organ malfunction, what will become of us if the people discover that fact? Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the national security and order would proceed as well as currently in his absence.

I feel the need to do something. The chance is right in front of me.

But do I possess the audacity to commit the ordeal? Especially at the risk of upsetting The Primus.

Since he held the string over us all, everything I’ve worked for will be at stake. And once he is upset, I’m done for.


Prime Respite

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