Chapter 48 A Tough Decision
Zumi nods and smiles, motioning everyone to get up.
Only now the meaning of everything the voice said starts making sense. These ederi are from the Northern Shores, they came to reclaim their prophet, or whatever they think Zumi is. The voice of Leot wants me to lure Kallitris in to Crumbling Rose, so he can get executed there for his crimes. I’m the one who will make this happen. Now, Zumi’s vision totally fits in.
“I can hear your every thought. You are incorrect. Please trust me.” The voice in my head says.
“How can I trust you? You said you’d hide all my secrets, and yet you allowed Yasen to see that Zumi was pregnant from me!!! Now we are really in trouble!”
“It is all to the better. I need you to call Kallitris.”
“Allright. I see no way out. But can you at least ensure the safety of Zumi and the unborn child?”
“This is exactly what I’m trying to do.”
While everyone gets up and comes to Zumi to greet him and offer their adoration, Verba approaches the screen, on which I can see that we’re already outside the atmosphere of Gliese 581 e. I see an imprint of a human hand on the dashboard among many buttons – a standard feature on all the ships built by Kallitris, specially for me.
Verba looks at me and sparkles in small specks of light. He seems to know that the black stone is talking to me, and he does not seem to be concerned, but then again, why should he? It’s me who is going to sacrifice my boyfriend for my lover, and it is their darned “prophecy’ that will do me in.
Verba nods in approval, and I put my hand in the imprint. I can’t believe I just did it. This alone will attract Kallitris and send him rushing to wherever I am without ever thinking twice. Allright, let it be. We fly back to Crumbling Rose, I lure Kallitris, he gets killed, and Yasen will reclaim me as his slave.
Yeah, some unfair law had to be broken for their darned civilization to be rebuilt, and I have to sacrifice everything just to pay for what my boyfriend did. Oh, well, let’s not feel like a victim. Now I actually have stakes in this game. What wouldn’t I do to save the life of Zumi’s enchanted child, who is also my child?
“Kallitris, this is Domiarn. I’m on one of your ships. Please locate me.” I say quite loudly.
Several ederi turn their heads in surprise. Their eyes darken and grow wide, clearly giving away their alien nature to whoever could mistake them for humans so far. They are shocked to hear their enemy’s name, and they immediately assume the wrong thing.
A tall ederi, who helped us inside, walks up to me with an enraged expression on his face, and grabs my hand, pulling it out of the imprint.
“What are you doing?!” He hisses, squeezing my wrist.
He enters my mind, and starts sifting through it in the most painful way, while releasing neurotoxin through his skin into my bloodstream.
I’m in so much pain I can’t even make a sound. Then the most familiar voice is heard all over the ship. I would cry if I could, because I still love him, because I miss him so badly.
“This is Kallitris. I have located you, Demi. Why are you on Gliese 581 e, Libra System?” My boyfriend’s voice booms from everywhere. I recognize this imperative tone. Come to think of it, I used to hate it when he’d talk to me like that when I was a child.
The ederi react differently to the voice of the one who once waged a war against them. Some are desperate, some get fearful, and others are disdainful of my actions. They are too quick to judge, and I can’t argue my side, as the tall guy forces me to the floor, injecting more and more neurotoxin. His eyes are wild with anger.
“Hold on!” Zumi rushes to my aid, literally peeling the guy’s hand off of my wrist, and pushing him aside. “Demi will not consciously betray me. There must be a reason for his behavior!”
“Kallitris, you know how it happens, when you get a girl pregnant, and then you have to… kind of run away from her parents?” I answer weakly, barely breathing from the overdose of the neurotoxin.
“What?!” He responds sharply.
“Just come to Crumbling Rose. If you still love me.”
I pass out in Zumi’s hands. His embrace is bittersweet.
Oh, Crumbling Rose, beset with troubles. My fear of coming back is so persistent, I can feel it even as I wake up, hurt and disoriented. I open my eyes only to find myself in a small white room.
“Very well!” A painfully dear voice says and I feel a draft of fresh air in my face.
The amethyst-colored wing swings over me and I see Kallitris. His eyes keep on changing colors as he looks at me with love and, somehow, bitterness.
A hand touches my cheek, and then I feel someone kissing me in the lips. His smell is so familiar, so sweet.
“Iris? You? On Crumbling Rose?” I stutter, wondering if I’m just still asleep.
“We’re not exactly on Crumbling Rose. Verba deemed it to be too dangerous for now. We’re orbiting it until the ceremony. He will tell us when it is safe to enter the atmosphere.” Zumi comes up, and hugs me, as I get up, still dizzy.
A ceremony? What ceremony? These guys are something else. It’s always “prophecy”, “ceremony”. Weird.
There is a cry, like that of a child. Zumi immediately disappears only to come back with a bundle. A hand sticks out of multicolored sheets. He brings the bundle closer, and I can see a face of a child. It’s skin is dark, like Zumi’s, but it has my eyes, I swear.
“Is that your child? When did that happen?!’ I gasp, carefully touching a baby’s hand.
“I had to detoxify you, and keep you in an induced coma for over two months. You took in the energy from two fire balls, plus the neurotoxin overdose. Your parasite was begging for help. While you were out, your child was born on my ship. I assisted Izumrud in childbirth, it is much easier than with the humans.” Kallitris shrugs with his shoulders, and his wings fly up in the air. He never did change his human\sheirer appearance.
“Zumi, sorry I missed it all… How are you doing, this childbirth thing must have been really painful!” This comes out awkward, but, frankly, I do not know what to say. I’ve never been a father before, let alone never had a child with another guy. I take my lover’s hand, overwhelmed with emotion.
I notice that Kallitris looks at me with disapproval, or more like, with anger. I understand, he’s probably upset I cheated on him.
“I’m doing fine, just like always.” The ederi gives the bundle to a pair of stick-like hairy hands and I recognize Salix. He winks at me, and puts the baby into a crib by the wall.
“This is my fifth child, Demi. Two of them I had on my own, one with Verba, and another one with the man you do not know.” Zumi gives out a sigh, and Verba appears behind him, glowing light-greenish color.
Two things become certain to me all of a sudden :Verba has some information he is not revealing, and the storm is brewing. The brand in the form of the rose Yasen burned into my chest begins pulsating, giving me a very unpleasant feeling.
Kallitris looks at Zumi and Verba with hatred he can barely conceal, and the guys know it, but seem to have no other choice but to remain on their enemy’s territory. How did we get here from the other sip, anyway?
Salix appears in the doorway briefly, and beckons me outside. I excuse myself, and leave the room under a stern and suspicious glance of Kallitris. He is such a tyrant.
“Demi, there is something I need to tell you.” Eternally sad eyes of the erahi make me feel uncomfortable.
I’m happy to see him after so long, and he continues to be my dear friend, but today he is tormented by something unknown to me. Well, other days he is tormented by Kallitris, so, I guess, with his kind a “torment” is a state of mind.
“I hope you have good news, my dear.” I say gingerly.
“No, I do not.” Salix leads me through the maze of hallways inside of Kallitris’s vast ship. He walks quickly on his long, thin legs, and stops suddenly right at the beginning of the archway with tall ceilings.