Prime Respite (Part 8: Final)


Chapter 8: Final

It’s sunrise when the Proxies pour down the island in response to their leader’s call.

Trails of dark smoke sway as they rise to the heavens. The grandeur of the gardens an hour ago is nowhere to be found. Only shredded decorations remain, shadows of their former self. The ground reeks of heated shrapnel, those that came from the same muzzles that defiled his serene respite. Who would’ve seen that coming? Who would’ve thought to send a force to raid a mansion of no strategic value?

Then something come to his mind. His personal computer inside is an archive to all his reservoir researches. It’s his secret that won him his conquest, and the seat above every ArC personnel. Hence everything about them has to be as far as possible from everyone. Who knows what those thralls might come up with now that they have uncovered it. His world dominance has dropped from certain to probable. If he wishes to remain on the top, he has to do something.

How they concluded that he stored his reservoir researches in his mansion is beyond him for now. Maybe fortune sprinkles all over them as they made their decision. Maybe they have agents among his men.

“Microv.” He then calls to his subordinate. “How’s Lena?”

“She requires our finest medical treatment if you wish her to live.”

He takes a deep breath.

“Looks like someone is concerned.”

“She was, mesmerizing. The fragrance that she left on me resembles that of the hyacinth I picked once in my dream. She…care for my well-being, and committed herself to it. Who am I then to deny her of my compassion?”

“Even though you’re charging her?”

“That is another story.”

He begins to turn to the remaining three children that has attempted to drive those thralls out. The girl, Julia if he is not mistaken, has a wrapping around her abdomen and her left thigh. The red marks on them appear vivid and fresh. One of the boys have blood streaking down his temple and an arm supported by a sling, while the other has bandages covering his left eye and another on his shoulder.

“The other children then?”

“They’ll live alrite.” He responds, nodding at them. “They’ll recover. Though not sure about that boy’s eye.”

He peers to his left, to the Proxies that gathers up the other children who, unlike the three, aren’t as fortunate. They’ll receive a proper burial. But for now…

He steps past his subordinate and confronts the children, his posture seemingly towering over since the children are on the ground. Was there any more of those thralls’ agents? Among these three, perhaps? He might be able to answer but that would require quite a delay. There is however, one thing for sure.

“You’ve opened your arms for a hostile agent.”

The three shares a glance. Julia speaks up. “Sir, how are we supposed to know that she is a Vindicator?”

“Regardless. Since there’s a written regulation concerning such deed, you too shall be charged.”

Julia gasps. She gazes down in silence, her face turns to ground with a hint of tears beginning to trickle down her cheeks.

“Charged?” The boy, which bear the name Lennard as Microv told him, asked with his unusually low tone. “Charged, huh!?”

He then stands up. “Hey, listen up.” He says, taking a step closer. “Who the hell are you!?” His yell causes all the Proxies watching him ready their rifles. “We are meant to serve a leader indeed. But in turn, that leader has to protect us, provide for us. After then we would abide by their words. But you…” Lennard points his left index to the Primus.

“Your war had milked us to the very edge, till there’s nothing left!!! And then you just cast us aside like toys that you don’t want to play with anymore!”

“Are we obliged to serve you then? Do you have the right to boss us around then?” He proceeds to point at the arrays of his comrades’ corpses laid side by side. “No, we aren’t. No, you don’t! My friends lost their lives, believing they did the right thing for you. You should be grateful that we even listen to your rally.”

A silence ensues. A standoff between the most powerful man in the world, and a fragile boy with a broken wing. The Proxies share a glance to each other, considering whether or not they should take immediate action.

“What!? Now you’re planning to kill me or something? Execute me in this very moment maybe?”

“Lennard.” The boy named Zen calls out his friend.

“I’m spitting facts here, Zen! Are you going to deny those truths!?”

The Primus is silent. Heat begins to converge on the top of his head. But as much as he is willing to unleash it, he doesn’t intend to repeat the accident that costs his office’s maid colonel her beauty. Especially against a young boy that’s already a victim both from the thralls’ incursion and his own ambition. He turns to gaze at the mesmerizing sunrise in the distance. The gradient sky that signals of the rising sphere of light. The magnificent view caught his attention for a few moments. And before he realizes it, the heat on his head disappears. Now he can view things the way they should be viewed. The way everything the boy said is true.

He takes a deep breath and turns back to the boy.

“As much as I have torn families apart, I can’t be cruel to my own citizen who obeys me with their heart.” He says with a gentle tone.

His calm response surprises Lennard as he relaxes his muscle. Microv lifts a finger, and the Proxies turn down their rifles.

“But written regulations remain the way they are. Stepping over them is treason, and ought to be dealt to maintain order.”

The three children share a glance. Lennard looks down at his feet. It means he’s still going to charge them for allowing hostile infiltration.

The Primus steps closer and holds Lennard by his shoulder.

“However, I have a proposition. A compensation for you children.”

–**–

It’s a week after the incident.

I trudge along a hall with my cleaning equipment, occasionally pressing my left arm to my abdomen, where the remainder of my stab wound is. Despite the hull of my torso plating, the daggers that struck there felt incredibly painful. I wonder…

Hunnggh!

The noise that I made as I wrinkle under the flaring wound. I thought I was fully recovered. Turns out the pain still lingers after seven days of treatment. That golden-haired girl was really meant to kill.

Ouch.

They sent me back to Creatio Genetrix. I was in the treatment bay when I regain my consciousness. To my surprise, the maid colonel herself is beside me as soon as I open my eyes. But what comes out of her mouth was a terrible news.

“…Thereby, Valeska Helena, is under charge for the violation of private properties, especially the properties of the Primus himself…” She said.

And for that occasion, he confiscated all my life savings, as well as cutting my accommodation to just enough for my daily needs.

“I’m sorry…” is the only phrase that she uttered after, before she leaves the room.

I let out a deep exhale as that fact come to haunt me again.

Now how am I going to buy a land and restore my family’s wealth?

I was so close. Yet I lost it all.

Given my cut, I’m not sure how long until I have enough. That is assuming land prices aren’t rocketing due to scarcity in accordance with population growth.

Everything just goes on simultaneously within my head. They are too much for me to process. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what should I feel. And then a sniffle comes through. My sight remains on the floor, but I believe anyone else near catch that. This failure, it cuts deeper than those daggers that had stabbed me. I raise my left arm to cover my eyes as they begin to well up.

But with that, gone are my sights. And that happens, again. I slipped.

All my body, from head to feet crashes against the floor. I couldn’t bring myself together, thanks to the injuries that are screaming due to the collision. So I remain on the floor, cowering to hold against the pain.

Why does this happen to me?

I don’t understand. What sin have I committed to deserve this? Maybe restoring my family’s wealth isn’t meant to be my path. Maybe following them up is one. If only that fall lands a nail in my coffin. If only the empress wasn’t there to shield me. If only the flames that evening consumed me. If only my dad didn’t bother to fertilize my mom. Damn it. If only the slipping could just kill me right here, right now. I would greatly appreciate it, even though I have nothing to show my gratitude.

Mom, dad, forgive me. I could only go this far…

“Lena!” Suddenly I heard a female voice. I wish it is my mom. I wish she would come, pick me up, and caress me like old times.

To my surprise, I’m really picked up. Oh, how I miss you mom.

“Lena, please stay with us.”

Of course, mom. Why would I…

Wait, us? Ah, of course.

I reopen my eyes to a face of a girl calling out to her surroundings. Her arms are around my back, supporting my body. She then leers back on me.

“She’s back!” She shouts before wrapping my arm around her shoulder. “Come on.”

“Hnggh!” I grunt as the injuries whine again when she is helping me to stand. I press my left arm against my stomach.

“Thank…” It’s the only word that comes out of me as the pain stands out.

That’s when I see other maids gathering near me.

“She doesn’t look good, initiative treatment perhaps?”

“Lena, Lena, have you had your breakfast?”

“I can get you something from the lounge.”

“How about some rest? I’ll handle your tasks.”

The chatter goes on. But I’m in quite a physical pain that prevents me to reply. I just ask them for a place to lie down. They then bring me to one side of the hall. What they do is quite astonishing. One of them hastily pulls their half-apron and lays it on the floor. Another sits on her calf on one side. And the girl that is supporting me carefully lays my head on the other girl’s lap, the one that is sitting on her calf.

It appears that these maids suddenly concerned about me. I appreciate that. But if it isn’t genuine, then why bother?

“W-why are you helping me?”

The four maids share a glance.

“Um…” The girl that helped me up speaks first. “I heard about your stories. I’d love to hear it from you.” She taps her indexes against each other. “My name is Zara. How about we become friends in turn?”

Friends?

“Hey, hey, me too!” The girl that offers me her lap exclaims. “Oh, it’s Anne by the way.”

“I’m Saskia. Pleased to meet you”

“And you can call me Thalia.”

Ah…friends. Something that I have been missing since that fateful evening.

–**–

A year passed.

The days I’ve spent with Zara, Anne, Saskia, and Thalia paid off. They make time flies fast. And for some moment, I forgot that I still have to pay for my charges. That the Primus confiscate all my life savings and cut my accommodations. The colors they brought brings a new flavor to my gray, tasteless world. I still am heartbroken over the fact that I’m going to need perhaps another decade to purchase a land. But with them here, they don’t hurt as much.

I appreciate them. Some more to my debt list.

It is then when I got orders to pack all my belongings. They don’t specify the purpose, only saying that I’m about to be moved somewhere else. It’s probably something to do with my punishment. I’m being moved somewhere for my arrest. Well, I’m in no state to disobey so I just follow their orders.

I bid farewell to my new friends, saying that we shall meet again. And then I take off.

I’m still in my maid uniform when the air transport lands. To my surprise, I return to the island of the Primus’ vacation site. I’m then put in a transport along with my belongings. As the trip goes, I gaze out the window. Out there are majestic arrays of trees and mountains. It feels peaceful. Something about them soothe my pain and ease my worries. Before long, I find myself wanting to stare at them for the rest of my life. Perhaps it’s the greatest joy that I could obtain for the moment.

I grin at that thought. Nature really is fascinating.

Eventually the transport stops.

I step down to a sizeable piece of flat-land. On the other side is what appears to be a farmhouse. The sight left me in awe. And along with that astonishment is a ponder. Why would they bring me here?

“Here we go.” The transport man says to me as he walks up beside. “We’ll be taking care of your belongings. For now, they’re waiting for you.” He says, pointing his thumb at a specific direction.

“Why am I here?” I ask him.

“Just, go to them over there.” He says.

I turn my gaze to the direction he is pointing. There I see a large group of Proxies, and three familiar faces beside them. They are Julia, Lennard, and most importantly, Zen. My heart is relieved. I am all stuffed with glee at the fact that they survived the incident.

I stride to them.

They wave at me as I draw near.

“Lena!”

“Over here!”

That’s Julia and Lennard yelling in turn. Zen remains calm beside them, with a grin that warms my heart. I notice an eyepatch on his left eye. Nevertheless, that doesn’t reduce his gorgeous features.

“It’s been a while, isn’t it Lena?” Julia says with her captivating smile.

I nod. “I’m glad you’re all still in one piece.”

Everyone then turns to Zen. “Well, not exactly…” Lennard says. “But acceptable.” He shrugs.

I also turn to him. My feelings got in the way, forming way too many words to convey. I couldn’t decide what to say. So I just wave my hand saying,

“How are you, Zen?”

“I’m fine. Thanks for asking.” He says, nodding at me.

“Hey,” Lennard barks again. “You two haven’t see each other for a year. Is that anything you have to say?”

Zen and I share a glance. His gleaming eyes gaze straight into mine. It is an enchanting moment. I couldn’t believe I manage to find a stranger of my age, to whom I would give my compassion. I think I am fortunate that he also feels the same way.

I glance to Lennard. “Maybe the rest will come later.”

“Ehh, the rest?” Julia says with a smug. “Do you really plan to do that later?”

Uhh…what?

“Julia, please.” Zen says to her.

“Alright, alright.” Julia raises her hands.

Ah I see. That. When a couple hasn’t seen each other for a long time, what would they do? Normally, a hug, a kiss, and then…

“Ah look, Lena is red again.” Julia chuckles with a hand covering her lip.

Again? I take a deep breath. Oh well… That might be too mature. But I’m not denying that I would do that with him.

In any case, I decide to change the topic. I gently shake my head.

“By the way,” I say. “What’s going on here? And what’s with all the Proxies over there?” I point at the large group of Proxies with my thumb.

“Well…” Lennard says, pausing midway to leer at Zen.

“I think it’s better for the man himself to explain the case.” Zen says.

The man?

Not long after, someone comes out of the farmhouse. It’s sir Microv. It doesn’t take long for him to turn over here.

“Hey,” He directs his yell toward the farmhouse. “The delinquent lass is here!”

Oh my…Even after a year, he still refers to me with that phrase.

Then a middle-aged couple I’m not familiar with emerges out of the farmhouse. They turn their gaze this way. The ones that come after them are Colonel Iva, and the Primus, respectively. They all stand there in silence for a second. The Primus moves first, gesturing to the rest behind him to follow up.

“Are you still in pain?” He asks.

“Physical?” Because I still have some inner pain that still lingers. The loss of my parents, for example. “They’re long gone by now.”

“Excellent.” He turns to sir Microv. “That’s one medical achievement.”

“One for the books.” Microv responds, tapping on his utilizer.

“How is your mansion doing, sir?” I ask him a fake question, hoping to break the ice after a year lacking of words exchange.

“Rebuilding. Should be done any time soon.”

As he turns to the direction where his mansion is supposed to be, I guess it’s time for the real question.

“So, sir…” I call him again. “What’s all of this?”

He turns to me. “This is your land now.”

“Huh…?” What!? My land!? Wait, he can’t be serious. Am I in a dream right now? There’s no way this is happening. This…this is just a dream right. Right?

“He’s telling the truth, Lena.” Julia adds. “I don’t think a person like him would pull this huge of a prank.”

“Whoo…” Lennard follows up with a clapping. “Congrats.”

Still, I couldn’t comprehend the fact that he just gives me away a land this vast. It takes me five minutes’ walk to get here from my drop point. There has to be something behind this. This is too good to be true.

“B-but…why?”

The Primus glances to the spacious empty land to his right.

“The confiscation of your life savings, as well as your accommodations’ cut is directed for this.” He says. “It’s an alternative for you, and your friends, to pay for the charges.”

“I have to cultivate this land.”

He nods. “Think about it. Not only you’ll achieve your dream, but this island will also flourish like it once had.” He then turns to me again. “But you have a condition in turn.”

 Ah yes, here they come.

“From now on, you will no longer be a part of the Creatio Genetrix’s maids. Reapplication in advance will be denied. And in the next five years, you will have to reach a certain net worth. Success means you’ll keep everything, and a pardon will apply to all of you. You are still pardoned if you fail, but you have to forfeit all of this as I assign someone else to take over.”

I nod. “That means I won’t be receiving any more accommodation from you?”

“And no more salary.”

“I understand.”

“Instead, this couple will accommodate you.” He says, pointing to the middle-aged couple who step forward. “Come get to know them. They’re your godparents now.”

Godparents? I gape at the fact that he went this far as giving me godparents.

“Glad to see you, Lena. I’m Glas Weisskopf. Just call me Weiss.” He says. Mr. Weiss then turns to his wife. “Give it a go, honey.”

“With pleasure, I’m Rosemarie. You can call me anything around that. Rose, Marie, or perhaps Mrs. Weiss.”

“Pleased to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Weiss.” I present a bow.

“I think I like this girl.” Mrs. Weiss says to her spouse.

“Colonel Weisskopf is a shining fella on the front.” Microv barks. “So captivating that our enemies are all going for him. So dangerous that Mrs. Weisskopf keep wishing for his safety twenty-four seven.”

“I appreciate the introduction Mr. Edward.” Mr. Weiss nods at sir Microv.

“And those men there, are his.” Microv continues, nodding at the direction of the large group of Proxies. “They’ve seen countless unpleasant times that we consider them to retire.”

“But of course…” The Primus speaks again, raising his hand. “That is if you succeed, in five years.” He says. “Your failure equals to sending him back to the front, as well as his men.”

Hearing that, Mr. and Mrs. Weiss turn to each other with a smile that seems to be forced.

“What if I reject your offer?” I say to the Primus.

“Then you’ll return to Creatio Genetrix and live up with your cut salary and accommodation until you’re pardoned. Your friends will be a subject to the Proxies discipline, and will be sent to the front along with Colonel Weisskopf and his men. This place, will be my private property.”

That left me in silence, pondering of the situation. If I succeed in cultivating this land under the timespan that he proposed, I’ll be the lady of this land. Just like my mother. And my family’s name will be restored in the process. I can’t imagine what happens next if I fail. Well, I’m not concerned for myself. It’s more about Julia, Lennard, and Zen. Perhaps even Mr. Weiss. I believe Mr. Weiss have seen quite a thorn in the front. Meanwhile, Julia, Lennard, and Zen have gone through a rough beginning. If they are all sent to combat the Vindicators in the main stage…

I don’t know. Now it’s not just my family’s wealth at stake, but also the lives of Julia, Lennard, Zen and these men. It’s no longer personal. And due to that, my doubt is over the roof.

Apparently, my silence is noticed by everyone. From the corner of my eyes, I see the Primus jerks his head, gesturing for everyone to disperse for a moment. He then approaches me.

“Sir…” I stutter.

“You’ve made it this far. You have no reason to be discouraged.”

“They’re in danger, sir. You said you’ll send them to the front if I fail.”

“That is if you fail.”

“But the first task that I am entrusted with ended in failure.”

The Primus sighs. “Take lesson then, Lena.” He says with a gentle tone that somehow feels heartwarming. “No one has ever succeeded in the first try. But I believe you’ll succeed now. After all you’ve been through, and given your determination.”

I turn to everyone who is now standing within distance from me. They all seem to be cheering out for some reason, getting to know each other. Especially the maid colonel.

“Retirement is cool, indeed.” That’s sir Microv barking in the distance. “But I ain’t stopping now. Who the hell is up to sweep his mess along the way?”

His mess probably refers to the Primus’.

“Can I talk to Zen please?”

The Primus nods. He strides to where the crowd is and gestures for him. It doesn’t take too long for Zen to come after me.

“What’s the matter?” Zen asks.

“Did you know that he’s sending you, Julia, and Lennard to the front if I fail?”

“We’re aware of that, Lena.”

But not only that. They will be assigned to Colonel Weisskopf’s unit which, as far as sir Microv’s description goes, apparently tends to bear the burden of dangerous tasks. The fact that there remains around fifty men left in his unit implies the numerous amounts of casualties associated with achieving the objectives given to them. The odds of survival are certainly minimal at best. Zen probably won’t survive another day in a mission handed to his unit.

“The Vindicators have killed nearly all of your friends that night. It’s dangerous out there.”

Zen takes a deep breath. “Look Lena,” He says, getting even closer to me. Perhaps the closest one. His bright captivating features this close begins to drive me wild. “You shouldn’t be concerned about that. Focus instead, on how to make the best of these and succeed.”

I turn my gaze down. “You know I led a team once and failed. And that’s only for a simple task of caring for the Primus.” I mean, owning a land is indeed my dream. But, “I don’t know about cultivating this land under a deadline.”

“Don’t worry Lena.” He says. “The frontlines are brutal places. I’m pretty sure Mr. Weiss and his men have little to no desire in returning there, even though they’re made for it. And that’s why I believe they will also do their best to help you, alongside us.”

My sight is raised back at him. This feeling blossom even brighter within as I trace the details of his features. Eventually, I give in to my temptation. I step closer, placing my hands on his chest just below his shoulders, and leans my head against it.

“If you’re going to the front, then I’ll come with you.” I say gently. I believe I have the sufficient fitness drills. But for the role, anything could work. As long as I’m with him.

“If you insist…” He says, wrapping his arm around my shoulders.

My heart races, like a pendulum that sways faster with each tick. The smooth texture of his shirt provides a comfort for my head. I silently rejoice in the presence of his delicate scent that pervades to every corner of my nostril. The vast grass lands in spring where he offers his hand while wearing a glimmering royal suit is now within grasp. Only without the glimmering royal part. Nevertheless, I remain grateful.

Who would’ve thought that it would come to this? For the first time ever, nothing else feels matter for me. Just him all the way. The way his warmth permeates within me raises my confidence by a huge amount. No matter what the world has to offer, I believe I could withstand it. I want to stay like this forever.

“But for now, let’s do our best together. Promise. At least you did something for the best of this place.”

I nod. “You’re right.”

Zen then turns to the crowd. “Do you want me to get them?”

“I’d be much obliged.”

Zen walks to them. And in the next moment, they all come marching here. I turn to the Primus and make my statement be heard by everyone here.

“I’ll accept your offering. And I shall meet your demand as well.” I say to him.

“That’s the spirit!” Lennard shouting at me.

“Way to go, Lena.” That’s Julia cheering me up.

“I’ll be here if you need me.” Of course you will, Zen.

The Primus turns to sir Microv and Colonel Iva. He then pulls out his utilizer.

“There are some starter seeds that you could work with in the farmhouse’s storage. There will also be some transport at your disposal, including a cargo ferry that should carry your commodities abroad. Here are the licenses and contracts that you’ll need. The number of the net worth is also attached. The name of this place is for you to decide. Register it once you are assured.”

I retrieve all the documents he sent to my utilizer.

“Do you need anything else?” The Primus proceeds to ask me.

I take a deep breath. “I think that’s everything, sir.”

“Colonel Weisskopf?”

“All is well, sir.”

“Take care of them, that’s an order.” The Primus points at him.

Mr. Weiss stands in order and salute him without saying a word.

“Yeah, I’m blaming you if one of their arses caught fire.” Sir Microv points at Mr. Weiss.

“Hush, Microv.” The Primus says. He then turns to Colonel Iva. “Iva, parting gesture? This could be the last time you see her.”

She nods before stepping forward. The maid colonel has been silent through this moment, but she never seemed more joyful before.

“Ma,am…” I salute her.

Colonel Iva present a gentle smile toward me, a genuine one that she never seems to be able to commit before. “Drop that formality. You won’t be taking orders from me anymore.” She says.

“Uhh…” Just as she said, I gradually lower my salute. “As you say, Ma’am.”

“Ms. Iva.”

“Yes, Ms. Iva.”

“Thank you.” She nods at me. “For that, for your service…” The maid colonel makes an unexpected pause. “For everything…”

I, of course, notice what she is referring to.

“I’ve heard about you from him.”

Colonel Iva steal a glance to the Primus behind her. He sighs and turns his gaze down. She turns back to me and nods. Her eyes however, starts to glitter.

“Thank you for trying to protect us.” I say to her

In a split second she grabs me and hugs me with all her might. Her face is against my left shoulder, which begins to feel damp. Sniffles and whimpering come after.

“I’m in your d-debt…forever.” She says.

“Ms. Iva…”

The prestigious maid colonel who appears to be strict all the time falls apart before me. The Primus turns around and takes several steps away, followed by sir Microv.

“I don’t know what you did. But one night, when he told me to bring him a chocolate pudding, he raises the spoon and put it into my mouth piece by piece. He proceeds to brush my hair, dropping the best fragrance he has as he tidies them up. And as I lay on my bed, he gently put my blanket on before sitting next to me for bedtime stories. When I give in, he kisses my forehead, wishing me a good night before apologizing.”

A tear comes running down my cheek.

“Thank goodness…” I say. “How I’m relieved to hear that, Ms. Iva.”

She nods on my shoulder before letting go. After wiping her own eyes, she pulls out her napkin and wipes her leftovers on my left shoulder.

“Promise me you’ll not fail.” She then says. “I’ll not be the only one who mourn should you fail. Hana, Rina, Eri, and Theo will as well.”

Now that the maid colonel, Ms. Iva, mentioned it, I have to succeed. As it’s not only for my family’s wealth, Zen, and the lives of others. But also for her, as well as my fallen team.

Hana, Rina, Eri, Theo…If you are watching, listening, I hope you note this.

“Don’t worry, I won’t fail.”

She sniffles once more. “Tell me if you need anything. I’ll gather all the help I could get.”

“Don’t be too harsh on yourself, Ms. Iva.”

“But for you, I insist.”

I nod.

“Iva!” That’s sir Microv calling her out in the distance. “Transport is here. Your father wants you to come over as soon as possible.”

“I’ll be going, take care Valeska Helena.” She says to me before trotting to catch up with Microv.

This has to be the greatest prize in my life. I never thought that I’d receive something like this. Despite the condition, this is something that will make me forever indebted to him. Imagine the possibilities. I could expand my family’s wealth. I could get a place for Uncle Bark who had ransomed me. And perhaps, Hana’s last will…

Will I ever see him again? Will he still be alive once this place reaches its pinnacle? Will I ever be able to repay him?

My body surges first before I knew it. I call out for him once more.

He turns around.

“Thank you, sir.” I say, bowing to him with teary eyes. But now, they are tears of joy. “Thank you for everything.”

“Thank me later. When you’ve reached that net worth.” He says, stroking my head.

“I promise to see you through to your end.”

He gently shakes his head. “You don’t have to.”

I sniffle as I raise my head. And he wipes my tears.

Ah…

“If only Iva is your age, if only Genesis and Katrina are still alive…You all would make the best of friends.” He says, turning his gaze to the skies.

Despite all of his misbehavior, he is still a human. Despite all of his cruel deeds, he only longs for a daughter. His hostilities and ruthless tendencies arise to protect the tender part of his soul, the part which he couldn’t give to anyone since there’s only a tiny remain of them.

“Don’t stop disciplining people, Lena. That’s an order.”

That’s the last thing he said to me, before departing with his transport.

I wave farewell as everyone converges on me.

“Hey Lena, you might want to give this place a name.” Lennard says to me.

“I concur.” Mr. Weiss adds. “Just, not after this island.”

“I suggest something that could encourage our gear to grind this land, to meet his demand.” Zen says.

I look around, trying to find the perfect phrase. Fortunately, it comes when I stare at his transport that gradually disappears in the distance.

“Prime…”

“Oh, so we’re naming it after him?” Lennard asks.

“Not quite.” I respond. It’s more of how this island functions as his primary venue for his leave.

“Prime Respite.”

–**–

A calm day. The foliage is rustling at the presence of a smooth breeze, blowing down from the top of the hill. Here I stand, on a decorated courtyard at one serene part of the island. A resting place for its inhabitants who have passed away. Their memorials are carefully established using ceramics which shines every evening, emblazoned by the setting sun. It is as if the spirits sit upon them, together watching the mesmerizing view of the sun meeting the sea.

“And so that’s it, as told by my mother herself.” A middle age man says to me.

“Did the she ever meet the Primus again?”

The man shakes his head. “Sadly…” He says. “She would stand here at the end of every week, gazing at the sky, waiting for his return.”

“But he never came back.”

“Well, what should I say?” The man pulls his pipe out of his mouth. “My mother’s foundation has created such a noise in his vacation site. He probably migrated to another one, he can do whatever he wants.”

My glance turns on the stones that lies before me. There are four of them laid side by side.

Karl Schneider Luetzen

Valeska Helena

Julia Ferrata

Wilhelm Lennard Santoso

The names that are inscribed on each stone from left to right, respectively. They who have established the greatest contributor to the Creationists’ cause. It is said that he, who was once the most powerful man in the world, named me after the girl on the right. He claimed that she was captivating, not only in figure and feature but also heart and soul.

On another layer a bit lower than them, lies another four.

Tanaka Hitohana

Shabrina Agonskaya

Erika El-Nabila

Fiona Theodora

The maids that accompanied Mrs. Lena on that fateful task. Even though they decided to abandon her, she still wanted them to be buried alongside her. The first one, Tanaka Hitohana, is a remarkable maiden. As my great grandmother puts it, ‘Without her, the Terran Vindicators are toast under the march of the Artificial Creationists’. Even though they lost, they went out in a mighty blaze visible to the ends of the world.

“Yuki!” A woman’s voice calling me from behind. I turn around, finding her marching to my position. “It’s getting dark. You need to return to the inn.”

“Sylvana come on…” I say to her. She is my great grandmother. “Just a bit longer.”

“I’m afraid that is not possible.” She says, crossing her arms. “As a daughter of the most powerful man in the world and the greatest theocratic monarch, you too shall manifest their discipline.”

“Well, well,” The man, Mr. Valeska Kolya Luetzen, says to Sylvana. “This woman fits the description laid by my mother.”

Sylvana takes a deep breath. “I have no choice. The ArC is a menace. The raid I had conducted once was to undermine their logistics as much as possible.”

“Don’t sweat it, my lady.” The man bows before her. “I was about to thank you for saving my mother.”

Sylvana’s gaze returns to Mr. Kolya. “Blinded by hatred, my men ran wild like savage dogs that would pounce at any flesh in sight. I couldn’t control them. Imagine if they catch up to her first, instead of me.”

A silence ensues. Sylvana and Mr. Kolya gazes upon each other for a moment.

“Anyway, I’m here to pick our young empress.” She says, grabbing my hand and dragging me away from Mr. Kolya. “Come, you have to study.”

“No, no. Wait!” I squeal in a way so that she let go of me. “Sylvana, please…”

But instead of letting go…

“Aeliana Julia Kinetica Pratama Tribhuwana,” That sounds terrible. “Your delinquency throughout the day has pushed me into a state where I couldn’t tolerate them any further this evening. You shall return to your room, immediately.”

“Aw….”

“We shall part here for a moment, Mr. Kolya.” Sylvana says, glancing at him. “I appreciate that you look after her through the day.”

“With pleasure.” He shrugs, putting his pipe back in.

“Goodbye, Mr. Kolya.” I wave to him.

“Till next time, her majesty.”

As we stroll under the crimson shade of the setting sun, I glance at Sylvana who is still holding my hand. The decorations on her figure are radiant before the light of the evening. To her, I call out.

“Sylvana…”

“Yes, my dear?”

“Why did you save her, of all the others? Even though you ordered the destruction of her village?”

She halts her steps and gazes down.

“It’s my subordinate who did that.” She said. “I was outraged when the result came out. I hustle as soon as possible to try and restrain my men. But it’s too late.”

“Still, why would you do that?”

“If you’re fighting monsters, you have to see that you don’t become monsters yourself.”

Don’t become monsters yourself… I turn my gaze forward for a moment, pondering at her statement. It’s when another question pops out.

“Do you regret saving her, then? Since she is the reason behind the apparent perpetual rotation of the gears of ArC war machine.”

Sylvana turns to her left. Toward a magnificent view of huge interconnecting domes, floating around the island. The domes that house sanitized environments, sustaining thousands of lives scarred by the wars, providing them a decent life.

“No,” She shakes her head and grins. “Not at all.”

–END–


Prime Respite

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