Chapter 57 A Pleasant Landing
“My name is Fern, and from now on you work for me, and you belong to me!”
Aha, what does that tell me? This Fern guy is handsome, graceful, but rude. Is he also “dangerously confused”? That remains to be seen.
We walk to a huge craft, parked on the beach, half-way in the water. There is a ramp stretched from the door to the sandy soil.
I feel a tickling on my right hand. There is a ribbon of purple mist around it. It flows ever so smoothly and disappears, leaving a feeling of peace and happiness.
A woman stands in the doorway of the spaceship. She is transparent. Fern does not seem to notice her.
“Welcome back to Arileot14. This ship is yours by birthright, but Fern does not want you to know that.” She says without parting her lips, as we walk into the craft. “What is going to happen to you next is not for the faint heart, but then, Ari’s grandson has always had a very strong heart. More so now.”
We get to the bridge of the ship, and Fern pushes me to the big screen on the console.
The screen shows the huge moon with rings, the water and the beach I was just on.
“We’re going to the planet of Lira, Andromeda Galaxy.” Fern says aloud, addressing no one in particular.
The picture of the moon shifts and changes position, the beach gets ever smaller. I realize we took off.
“Here. I can’t leave your mind completely blank, as much as I’d love to.” Fern gives me a leaf. “There is some history, cast of characters, and about 20 languages of Milky Way and over 35 thousand languages of Andromeda. Obviously, Leot wants you to stick around with me and not with the stinky humans!”
I have half a mind to tell him that Salix has already given me such a leaf, but then somehow decide to not to reveal anything. That will prove to be a life-saving habit with my new bossy-boss. After all, this guy is dangerously confused, as Salix put it. OK, let’s see where this is going.
I put the leaf into my mouth. It is tasteless and dry. The data somehow begins appearing not in my mind, but on the screen. Am I interfacing with the ship?
“Yes, Tensartis, it is your ship. It sees you as its captain. You can order it anything. But do not let Fern know that you know it.” The woman, that greeted me by the entrance, is here again. Her voice sounds soft and soothing in my head.
The information from the leaf slowly transpires on the screen in letters I can read.
“Kallitris, AE, native of Ashtarma, Coma Berenices, last whereabouts are unknown.”
“What is AE?” I ask, suddenly disturbed.
“Advanced Entity. It means an evolutionary level at which a creature is essentially a clump of energy that cannot be destroyed. It becomes an event… Like “rain”, or “fire”, if you will.” Fern answers.
“Right.” I nod.
Is that right? What I remember now clashes with this statement. The information from the leaf that Salix gave me begins to trickle down into my mind. It does not make much sense yet, but at least I can form my own opinion. I know that Leot is “AE”. But Kallitris? Hmmm…
“Gidealis, native of Earth, Milky Way, committed suicide.”
I read silently. Fern is watching me closely.
Gidealis committed suicide? That’s it? That’s all this arrogant ederi wants me to know? I know he fathered a child on Crumbling Rose… Ok, that’s a drastic way to run from child support, for one. Let’s read on.
“Izumrud (Zumi), native of Crumbling Rose, Andromeda, MIA”
Izumrud is missing in action? There’s got to be helluva action there for that guy to go missing.
“Duhi – an offspring produced by a union of an ederi and a tree before the Law went into effect. Highly intelligent species… They use the symbolic language called ortosezeris. Further mating with ederi remain prohibited even after the Law was abolished. Mainly due to the fact that Duhis are capable of dreadful transformations deemed too dangerous to explore… Ancient project “Duhi” halted by Law.”
Ok, that just gave me some goosebumps. What’s with these “duhi” things? Were they the trees that greeted me on Almaz, trying to talk with their foliage? Seemed harmless enough. How much harm can a tree cause, granted it is firmly rooted in the ground, right? What am I missing here?
“You can finish reading this later. Here is what you need to find and bring me alive.” Fern touches the screen and a picture appears. I match the picture of a handsome black-haired ederi with the data from Salix’s leaf, and I already know who that is, but keep silent.
“His name is Moro. I know he is on Lira. We’re already in the atmosphere. Go.”
Fern leads me to the exit door. He grabs a handle on the opposite wall with a hand that seems to have no bone in it. His hand winds around the handle like a rope, tying him firmly to the wall.
Then the exit door of the ship slides open, and I get thrown out into the sky.
The shock of that takes my breath away.
Did he just kick me out of the spacecraft in the middle of the flight?!
The strong light hits my eyes rendering me blind for a long, painful second. And I fall. Really, really fast.
Just when the logic is telling me I’m going to die, a draft of wind picks me up. There is a pull on my back, as if someone grabbed me, and I see an astonishing thing – there are big, delightful wings above me. They are of dark-purple amethyst color, strong and powerful.
I can control them as much as I can control my hands. All I need to do is think. Think of moving them… Wow, it worked! I flap, and make a swift turn. One way… then another… The ground looks far away, a mixture of green and dark. Now, that’s inebriating! Out of the ordinary!
Super cool! Great! Suddenly I remember that I’m in a pursuit of Moro. Inexplicably, I know where he is. I descend, catching the streams of cold, fresh air. There seems to be way more oxygen in it than on Earth, and way less gravity. How do I know that? Why am I thinking about it now? I’ll figure it out later.
Now I’m in a sweet pursuit of this guy Moro. Must catch Moro. It should not be hard. I can sense him. I know where he is. Simple enough. I know he is underground. This place only looks like Earth, but it is not. There are tunnels down there. They are inhabited. Where exactly is Moro?
I feel him, and abruptly fold my wings, diving down like a rock. Whatever human left in me shivers with fear and cold, but most of me enjoys the flight. My body seems to know what it is doing. I can’t get enough of this marvelous freedom, and the horizons are endless. I can fly anywhere I want, and yet, there is an order overriding my desire to fly. Must. Get. Moro.
I spread my wings a split second before I hit the ground, and I land on it gracefully and safely. Not that I doubted it. I land in the field with trees all around. Or, I guess, these are the “duhis”. They all talk with their foliage. No, they moan. They release a signal of distress, but it is not meant for me. I think they are warning someone about… about me?
There is no time. I prance, then I run on all fours and it feels natural. How did that happen? Running is easy, liberating. I run across the field, past the trees. Whatever these things are frustrated about, I don’t care. They can’t stop me.
I have no more wings, I changed into something else. Something, that can run and exact revenge as ordered. Have. To catch. Moro. No question “why” clouds my mind. There is an order, and I have to follow it.
Fast… Faster… over the rocks and boulders… through the grass… Everything in my path must fear me!
There it is! An entrance to what looks like a cave. That leads to the catacombs. They are a complicated maze of passages, wells and huge halls underground. Moro is there. It should not be hard to find him. I’m so heavy that the ground seems to be shaking under me. And yet, I’m stealthy. What a weird feeling.
I get an unpleasant feeling of something that might prevent me to get to my target. I slow down, wary and on the alert. Hmmm… What is this? There is a group of ederi in front of the desired entrance. One of them stands aside.
He is wearing something on his eyes. So I can’t really see half of his face. But it is not Moro, that’s all I need to know. They sure look pitiful. I can smell their fear of me. They are an annoying obstacle I can easily overcome.