“Ah!” Darius said, a look of surprise appearing on his normally calm face. “Him!”
“Yes, you remember too, Darius? One of your first assignments in the royal guard, correct? A while after my coronation,” Fidel said with a large smile.
“Why didn’t we think of him first?” asked Darius.
“He doesn’t exist in books or in common knowledge. Of the people in this room, only, let’s see, four would know of his existence. He doesn’t like to be troubled, after all. Therefore, I announce to the rest of this room, that the following conversation will be something you are not to repeat. That is normally assumed with our discussions, of course, but this even more so,” Fidel said, to the shock of a few in the room. This select group of people was privileged to almost everything Fidel knew, so it was very surprising to hear such an announcement. The few people in the room all acknowledged Fidel individually, after which the conversation continued.
“Darius, you are to take these children, and your subordinate here, to him. The giant turtle who lives at the bottom of Lake Tershi. The being who was born five thousand years ago, who lived through a different time than us.” Fidel’s words surprised everyone in the room, including Darius.
“Sire, all of the children? And just Var and I?” Darius asked.
“Yes, all. They know quite a bit now, after all, correct? And, it has to be only you two; I don’t want more people to know of his existence.” Fidel said.
“Even still, these four are unrelated. They should be returned to their parents and asked to be quiet. I’m sure they will be silent about this matter. In fact, we didn’t have to tell them about this, especially if we want to keep his existence secret,” Darius said.
“Darius, I can think of no one better to send than these children. I’m sorry, but I cannot explain to you. You will understand, in time. There is a specific reason, and it will be revealed to you once you reach Lake Tershi, I promise,” Fidel said reassuringly.
“But Sire,” Darius said as he approached Fidel directly. He whispered to Fidel, “Don’t you need to personally come?”
“That, my dear Darius, will not be necessary. Get ready to leave. And please, inform their families, give the families a story they will believe, even if it’s incredible. I’m sure you can come up with something accommodating.”
“Yes, Sire,” Darius said quietly with displeasure. He took a few steps away, and stood where he was before.
“Oh, but first, you boys, do you want to go?” Fidel asked. “I should have asked you first.”
“Yes,” answered Va’il and Zeick instantly. Kelin approved as well, and Pete felt he had no choice but to go along with his friends. Saying no wasn’t an option. Va’il silently thought that he shouldn’t worry Mai’ou again, but his conscience reasoned it out for him quickly. That, and his overwhelming excitement. Mai’ou won’t worry, since the king himself is sending me, great, he thought.
“Wonderful. Then I have another thing, for the half. Come here, Va’il.” Va’il gaped as he was being asked to approach the king. He managed to close his mouth and then remembered how to walk. He walked up to Fidel’s throne, and stood just a meter in front of him. Fidel sat happily, smiling widely at Va’il. He suddenly had a serious look upon his face, and then spoke very quietly with Va’il, so that no one, not even Aoi, could hear him.
“Va’il, come closer.” Va’il did as he was told, and from then on, their conversation was in whispers.
“Sire?” Va’il questioned Fidel silently.
“I want to show you something. Here, watch this.” Fidel pulled out a piece of paper that he had been hiding between the arm of his throne and his leg. A pen also appeared, this time from the other side. Fidel was careful to make sure that no one but Va’il could tell what he was doing and what he had. He wrote on the paper, and Va’il watched.
They weren’t words, but scribbles in Va’il’s opinion. Va’il wondered what Fidel was doing, as it appeared that he was doodling incoherently and letting his hand move randomly on the paper.
“Now, Va’il, look at this. Okay, now look at me.” At Fidel’s prompt, Va’il looked at the paper, and then looked at Fidel. Fidel’s green eyes looked back at him. Va’il thought, for a moment, that Fidel’s eyes looked very similar to his own.
“Enough,” Fidel whispered, “I’ve confirmed it. You can learn it.”
“Sire?” Va’il asked, confused.
“Just listen to me. When I stop talking, go back down to your friends, watch me, see what happens, and then follow Darius. I’m sorry that I couldn’t give you more time, but I’ll give you this gift. You saw how I wrote? You can do this too. It will probably be easier if you use your left hand at first, since your dominant hand will tend to write words it already knows and is used to. When you want, no, need, someone to do something, or need them to stop doing something, you write. To learn, get a paper. Close your eyes, and think very hard about what you want someone to do or stop doing. Let those words become etched into your mind. Then move the pen across the paper. Write however you hand feels like moving, not how your mind thinks it should. Your right hand should eventually be able to do this as well. When your hand stops, what appears on the paper will look like gibberish. Show it to the person. They will do what you wanted them to do. They will. They always will, repeatedly if you want. Don’t think this a joke, either, and don’t abuse it. Never abuse it. Free will is so important, and you will always doubt your choices in life. Regret means much more than regretting a result, but it can mean regretting each individual action, and each one further breaks down into many smaller actions, and so on, all of which you can end up regretting to the smallest of action. I don’t want you to have too many regrets, so don’t abuse this. You’ll regret many things, and wish sometimes that you had used it when you didn’t. Sometimes, things have to take their course. Even if it doesn’t always end up well. I know; I’ve done something that won’t end well. But it led me to meeting you, so I won’t regret it. I’m sorry, Va’il. Oh, and one last thing. The words written here are a command to shut your eyes for seven seconds. That’s how I know you can write these. Go now,” Fidel whispered.
Va’il stumbled down the steps, confused but happy. He didn’t understand what Fidel had said or the importance of what had just happened. He smiled and considered the paper. He had stared directly into Fidel’s eyes, without blinking, he was sure of it. He doubted whether Fidel was serious or not.
“Aoi, come here, for a moment,” Fidel said. Va’il looked up as Aoi walked over to Fidel. He pointed to his lap. Va’il watched as Aoi looked down. She shut her eyes. She brought her hands to her face and rubbed her eyes for a few seconds with her fists, as though something was irritating them. She then looked at Fidel with a puzzled look. He waved her away, and then she sat back down looking very puzzled. As observant as everyone in the room was, including the nobles in the balcony, no one but Fidel and Va’il had realized what had transpired. Being a foreigner, Aoi had no realization or excessive thoughts whatsoever about what had just happened to her. She, most definitely, would never tell anyone about the paper Fidel made her read.
Fidel dismissed the entire room. It was too late to leave for Tershi, so Fidel sent messengers to the boy’s families informing them of where the children were. As they walked through a series of hallways, Va’il appeared paler than usual. He was shocked, and the other boys could tell. Kelin teased him for a few minutes about being shocked over talking with King Fidel, but Va’il didn’t respond. He didn’t tell anyone of what transpired or what Fidel had said. He never would. He felt that he had learned something very important, and telling anyone would break the mystique of the knowledge he had received. Not only that, but he felt like the conversation he was forced into was something that was his alone, that he didn’t want to share with anyone. Not even Mai’ou. It was his. He felt guilty for a moment about being selfish, but then he remembered Aoi. Internally, he knew that Aoi had closed her eyes for exactly seven seconds. It was this event that made him forcibly remember the words that Fidel had said to him. That night, he recited Fidel’s words over and over, still unable to grasp their essence, as he tried to sleep. Eventually, after repeating a version that was similar many times, he fell asleep.