Chapter 53 Friendship in Despair
“Well, you’re correct. He is slow, because he is in the process of intercepting Leot’s communication with Almaz. I believe it’s his real reason for going there. But the official reason for the attack is tellurium. Our cities are made of tellurium. He always wanted it for his purposes.”
“Let’s skip the subterfuge for a second. But could the said intercepted information be an explanation for his foul mood? What could he have possibly found out?”
“You’re wise beyond your age.” Salix, usually shy and timid, now gives me a crooked smile, and stretches his hands, like a child wanting to be held. “He caught a couple of transmissions. He suspects that you’re in league with Leot.”
I wish I was!! I sit down and the erahi climbs on me. Yeah… Kallitris might not be far from the truth, especially after all this cold treatment! I might as well do that, because I feel that I have no choice. I can’t believe we’re on the way to bomb another planet. It’s going to be bloodbath, Crumbling Rose all over again!
“Maybe there is a way for me to prevent the attack. They say I have an “emergency button” in my mind. If I pressed that, Leot would be able to hear me and know of Kallitris’s insane plan. More to that, he would be able to pinpoint our exact location.”
The adorable erahi’s furry hands embrace my neck, and he hugs me tightly without any answer. I know, he loves me, and does not want anything bad to happen to me. I enjoy his affection. Especially now, when he looks like an oversized yet, malnourished cat, hanging on me, nudging me, loving me.
Suddenly I notice a barrel of a gun to my temple. I turn my head enough to see that Salix is holding that gun with tears in his eyes.
“Dude, are you crazy? I… I thought we were friends? I just said I was going to look for a way to save your home…” I stutter, swept in an unbearably sad, yet calming feeling, hard to describe with words. It seems… right. He is sending me this wave telepathically.
My friend is crying silently, ready to pull the trigger.
“I assure you, it’s the correct thing to do, Tensartis. You’d do the same for me, if you knew my future was as dark as yours. You have no future. Your fate is horrific. You will not stay in your present body one way or the other. It will be a compassionate act to finish you off here and now.”
He called me “Tensartis”. I do not like it when creatures around me go into this mysterious spin-off. They remember me being here under a different name. To them the history repeats itself, but to me it does not make any sense and it does not make it any easier now!
“Then do it. Everyone seems to know my future. What choice do I have?”
We are now both crying, looking in each other’s eyes, like fools.
Salix’s thin hand trembles and a long finger with a suction cup on it is going on and off the trigger, as he is still hugging me with his other hand. In his native environment an erahi would climb trees and hang off walls with those suction cups on their hands.
It adds uncalled for humor to the scene, as his suction cup makes the finger stuck on the trigger of an ancient human weapon, and, as Salix makes a decision not to shoot me, he can’t tear off his finger right away. Then, he hesitates, puts the finger back on the trigger, only to get it stuck again.
“If you follow through with the bombing and survive, Kallitris will use you to finish what he has started – he will force you to employ the Faith Star in your mind to make him all powerful. If you do not survive, then Leot will have you, and do worse to you.”
I remember the vision I had back on Crumbling Rose of burning to death in a spacecraft, then a flash back to when I searched for a girl in the dark. These visions seem to be connected, but not in a finite sort of way.
It seems like Leot is trying to tell me something. But not “just kill yourself because there is no hope”. No, he’d never say that! There is something wrong with what Salix is saying. I do not doubt his abilities, but even the best of psychics sometimes see a distorted picture of the future.
Salix is a pessimist. He is never happy, and he is flooded with the “worst possible case scenario” things. For as long as I’ve known him he had been the analyst that always came up with a negative forecast of anything.
There are voices in the arched hall. Kallitris seems to be yelling at some erahi for not following his instructions.
“Hurry up and decide, Salix.” I whisper. “If he sees us like that you will have to finish me off, and then yourself! What hope do you cling to?”
“There is none.” My friend’s voice trembles as he is watching the hall intently for sheirer to appear.
“Then kill me… Wait, what would happen if you did that now?”
“The war will break out. Kallitris will blame Leot for taking you, and he will leave no stone unturned and no planet un-burned until he finds Leot to make revenge.”
“Then don’t kill me. Think. He was intercepting communication with Almaz that was allegedly sent from Leot? Does he think that Leot is coming to Almaz? Is it why he is planning to destroy the whole planet? He just wants Leot. If we trick him into believing that I know where Leot is, I’ll distract him by taking him there, while you guys evacuate the main cities…”
“Hmmmm….” Says Salix.
“He already believes that Leot is in touch with me. Good, let’s lead him on.”
“What are you doing here? What’s this in your hand?”
Kallitris is not human, although he looks it. He is far from human, his is not even carbon-based… I should never get complaisant with a creature like this around! Because sometimes he acts and moves way too fast for me to notice.
How did he manage to get here from the hall? I freeze in fear assuming he saw Salix with the gun, but as I turn my head to where the barrel was, I see erahi’s grinning face, holding a remote control from one of the screens on the walls.
“We need to go faster!” Kallitris says, and frowns at the picture of the city of Narr he condemned to destruction so nonchalantly.
“Yes, sir!” Salix jumps up and runs to the console.
He does look much happier now. Maybe what I came up with under duress actually made sense to him. Let’s hope Kallitris did not notice any of that. I need to get him to believe I know more than I do. We can still save the situation, if we play it right. And then… Then I’ll break up with him, find Iris and Relemill, and go back to Earth.
What do I do now? I need to distract Kallitris, and I need to find that button in my mind to call Leot. We don’t have much time.
“I need you to find a way of secretly going to Almaz, and arrange for the evacuation of Narr.” I think to Salix. He gives me a terrified, startled look.
I have chosen this life. I’m not a victim of circumstances. I know Leot did not mean for me to die in a stupid way. I also believe that a Teacher, whoever He is, and wherever He is will never give his students a task that cannot be solved. There has to be a reason to all this, there has to be a way out.
Before I can think of anything, Kallitris turns to me, and grabs me in one powerful hug. This guy is big. His normal size is over six times human height plus those long, magnificent amethyst-colored wings. He took on a more or less human form for me, but he is still massive, and his eyes are now glowing misty jade-green.
“Demi, I’m sorry for my cold behavior. Whatever I suspected you of, I was wrong. I want to give you the diamond of my unconditional love forever.”
With that he hands me a fist-size diamond of impeccable clarity. He gives me those all the time. His home planet is just that – carbon in every form.
“What if I break it?” – I smile, and take the sparkly thing.
Did I just say that aloud? Am I stupid, or what? Where is the store that sells “self-control”? He can read my mind, and probably already knows of my secrets with Salix, and here I am hinting at it?!
But the diamond in my hand is as heavy as his love. I would carry it around for my sake, but now it seems like the whole Universe is getting tired of carrying Kallitris the sheirer.
“I dare you to try. You will realize that it is impossible.”
With that he takes my hand, and leads me away.