A Parallel Dream

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 6 (v.1) - An Interesting Dinner

Submitted: August 27, 2019

Reads: 9

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Submitted: August 27, 2019

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The King had prepared a magnificent feast for us to enjoy. Servants lined the sides of the room with silver platters in their hands. Steam rolled from underneath the closed lids of a few of the containers.

“We would like to take this opportunity to formally welcome our guests, the Empress Grace Parencia, Grand Transmaculator Felicia von Bettinger, and the Empress’s acquaintance Elijah Arrington.”

Geez… did he really have to add in that I’m an acquaintance? It makes me sound like I just randomly showed up to the palace and just happened to be with them. They should remember, they are the ones who summoned me here. We sat around the elongated table positioned in the middle of the room. Servants brought forth a plethora of shining domed platters.

“Let the feast begin!” The king motioned to the servants to remove the domes from their respective dishes. The smell overtook me at first. Sweet, savory, salty. The aromas smacked my nose. I had forgotten just how hungry I had been. The dishes were a mixture of many different colors I didn’t know could be mixed together.

“What is this?” I used my utensil to pull apart one of the dishes that had been set in front of me. It was a dark blue and green with white noodles adorned on top.

“This is a starter. Most starters are simple vegetables and fruits. They are used to soothe your stomach before the main course arrives.”

“This is supposed to be vegetables and fruits?” None of the items on the plate in front of me resembled a vegetable from my home world. The blue rubbery items on the plate looked more like a jelly. The green leaf-like objects at first resembled lettuce but when touched by my utensils would shrink to an abnormal shape.

“Come to think of it… I’m not super hungry now.” I began pushing the plate away from my body. Grace grabbed my arm.

“Don’t be rude Eli. They were nice enough to allow us to seek refuge here. The least you could do is accept their gifts.”

I glanced down at the monstrosity before me. Did I really have to eat these… things? I carefully picked up my utensils and began cutting the “vegetables” and “fruit” into bite-sized pieces. My fork pierced the blue jelly, and I attempted to consume what was in front of me. It… it isn’t that bad. That’s surprising. It tasted similar to cantaloupe but a little sweeter. I was pleasantly surprised. I finished my starter and began looking around for the main course. Felicia leaned over and whispered in my ear.

“Now we will have about an hour of discussion before the main course arrives.”

An hour! I’m starving here… I just want to eat. What could possibly be so important. I leaned back into my seat and glanced down defeated.

“So, Empress Grace, my daughter mentioned the unfortunate circumstances of why you are here but failed to elaborate on the details. You wouldn’t mind explaining a bit more would you?”

“Well, unfortunately, I know about as much as you do. The Arthenian Kingdom attacked without provocation. We were even discussing a marriage alliance between his son and myself. I’m not sure what happened, but it is likely related to the outbreak.”

“Sorry to interrupt but what outbreak?” I quietly spoke up.

“The outbreak is what we are calling it for right now until we discern what the real problem is. Many people throughout the world have been acting irrationally. Declaring wars, letting greed overtake them, committing genocide. All of these actions have been committed by individuals who, before, never would have done them.”

“When did all of it start?”

“About a year ago. At that time, the Neerine Emperor began committing large amounts of genocide against the minorities under his rule. Many fled to neighboring countries and some even sought refuge within my own Empire. It was odd because the Neerine Emperor had always been a pleasant man. A bit blunt, yes, but he would never have had acted in such a way previously.”

“It was quite odd indeed. We took in many refugees too. Many of our current residents had family members involved in the genocide. They have suffered dearly…” The King trailed off. A solemn expression spread across his face.

“The persecution of non-humans has always been a problem in the various countries here, but it had never risen to the level of genocide. It was unprecedented when reports surfaced of mass executions in Neerine. I immediately sent forth a diplomatic mission to the capital to try and understand what was going on. They never reached the capital and were turned away at the border.”

Grace seemed quite upset and angry discussing the topic. It seemed to be an issue she was truly passionate about.

The King spoke up. “Eli and Felicia, would you mind giving us a bit of time alone to discuss the more sensitive issues? We will notify you when we plan to begin the entree.”

My stomach rumbled. “Eh... alright I guess.”

Felicia and I exited the dining room and the doors closed behind us.

“Seems serious. Is everything alright?”

Felicia smiled. “It’s cute for you to be so nervous, but I promise, the Empress is fine.”

I blushed lightly. “N-n-no. T-t-that’s not why I asked.”

“Relax. I’m just picking on you. Is there no humor where you come from?”

“Well, yeah but…” Before I could finish speaking, Suri cut in.

“We hope you have found your stay satisfactory. If there is anything we can do, just let me know.” Suri glanced at me curiously.

“So, we haven’t had the opportunity to talk much since I had you strung up.” She grinned. I wasn’t an expert, but I’m pretty sure she loved the control.

“Well, what questions were you hoping to ask?” I muttered back, slightly enthralled by her smile, which had evaded me up to this point.

“Just who are you, and why are you personally accompanying the ruler of a nation. I highly doubt you are just an acquaintance.”

I truly wasn’t sure what to say. The idea of summoning a Divine One was already a testy topic so I knew that I needed to tread carefully. On the other hand, I didn’t want to lie to Suri if I didn’t have to. As I was preparing a response, Felicia cut in.

“Suri, we can’t really answer that right now until your father speaks with the Empress. It’s another… sensitive issue.”

“Ahh so someone’s special, is he?” Suri slammed her hand into my back. Wow! She is extremely strong! I did not expect that to hurt so much.

Felicia looked back at me. “Something like that…”

Suddenly, the two large doors in front of the dining hall swung open and out walked the King and Grace side-by-side. The meeting was much shorter than I expected it to be.

“Ah! Hello everyone!” The king smiled warmly.

“Dinner is ready! Come in and pick your seats!”

I turned to make my way into the dining hall, but I noticed that Grace was stopped near the entrance.

“Are you alright Grace?” I was a bit concerned by her sudden silence and quiet demeanor.

“Y-y-yes I’m fine. We need to discuss something though Eli.” Her eyes drew downward as she spoke to me.

“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s really wrong it’s just that… we need to try something Eli. I was speaking to King Vulcan, and it appears that we never fully completed the ritual. We need to complete the ritual by performing a full transfer.”

“A full transfer!!! Are you insane?!” Felicia stormed up to Grace in a fury. It was the first time I had seen Felicia take a stance against Grace.

“A full transfer could kill or maim him!!! It’s not only dangerous but taboo.”

“Kill me! Grace what are you suggesting?” I stepped back from Grace and looked at her in shock.

“King Vulcan spoke to me and uncovered documents demonstrating that a Divine One’s power can be brought out through a full transfer.”

“What do you mean by brought out? I’ve already told you that I’m not a ‘Divine One’ or whatever you want to call me.”

“Listen, Eli, I know it sounds difficult, but I need to try something. I can’t sit idly by while my empire turns to dust and its people suffer. Only you can do something now. You are all we have left.” Grace turned to me with tears welling up in her eyes. Wow, she really knows how to guilt trip someone. A flurry of thoughts ran through my mind. I wanted to help, but I didn’t want to risk dying and leaving my sister. She must understand, right?

“Regardless, it’s time for dinner. Eli just think about it during dinner, and we can go over the details later. I know it’s short notice and a lot to ask, but I don’t have time to waste.” Grace turned and began her way to the dining room. Felicia followed. Wild thoughts ran through my mind as I crossed the threshold into the dining room. If I could save an entire world, would I risk giving up my life? The thoughts haunted me as I took my seat at the table.


© Copyright 2019 Jonathan Nelson. All rights reserved.

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