Main Story, Chapter 6
“I thought you might say that.” Obsidian said, his voice laced with an underlying condescension. “Kira, I have every intention of leaving this pathetic little land behind once I have been transformed.” he said, and she saw in his eyes that he wasn’t lying. “But I won’t leave until I have unlocked that power. And I know you will see it my way.” Obsidian said, slowly walking towards Seth and Eben. He placed his hands gently on Eben’s shoulders, and the boy began to softly cry. Obsidian patted him lightly on the head, then turned to look at Kira. “Seth,” he said quietly, a menacing edge creeping into his voice, “you remember what I told you would happen to Enna if you did not cooperate?”
“Yes.” Seth hissed, his jaw tightening in rage.
“Well, Kira has not heard, and I need to modify my previous statement.” Obsidian said, his smile sending a chill down Kira’s spine. He let his hands fall off Eben’s shoulders as he turned back to Kira. “Enna is in the lowest cell, under full guard. Four soldiers outside the cell door, one in each corner of the cell, and four with their sword points gently resting on her neck. They are ordered, at any sign of danger, even a false alarm, to kill her instantly. The soldier who has remained with us,” Obsidian said, absently gesturing at the guard by the door, “has been ordered to send the message of Enna’s immediate execution should either of you refuse to cooperate. That is where the change is, Kira.” Obsidian said, watching the tear that gently slid down Seth’s cheek. “Her survival is not only dependent on her husband’s cooperation, but yours as well. And just for you, Kira, I’m adding that Eben’s life is also at stake. If you do not help me, then I cannot help you save them. It’s your choice, Kira.” Obsidian said, folding his hands behind his back. “I cannot make the choice for you, but I sincerely hope you make the right decision.”
The boy began to cry a little louder, moaning for his mother. Seth’s tears began to fall unhindered, and he looked at Kira and said, “Please,…I can’t, but…” his voice fell, choked by emotion. Kira glanced quickly at the guard by the door, but he averted his eyes. She looked back at Obsidian, and he was watching her expectantly.
“Well, Kira, what is your decision?” he asked quietly.
“I don’t suppose you’ll give me a day to think about it.” she said bitterly.
“No, Kira, you know I can’t do that. Time is precious, and we all have precious little of it. Besides, I may never have this opportunity again. I can’t risk any of you escaping, or being rescued.” Obsidian said.
“By whom?” Kira asked incredulously. “Who would come for us? Does anyone even know we’re in danger?”
“Well, for starters I have the gypsies to worry about.” Obsidian said calmly. “The moment they find out that Seth and Enna are missing, they won’t be too happy. I would have left Enna if I could have convinced Seth any other way, but alas I saw no alternative. According to gypsy law I have abducted one of their own, something I have avoided with Seth but not with Enna, and they can now legally declare war against me. And not many of the peons know that I’ve even taken over, Kira. The only ones that do are in my service. I can’t risk an uprising ousting me when I have all the Keys in my possession. And it may surprise you,” he added thoughtfully, “but not all of the soldiers still in the palace are on my side. We’ve been having some…difficulties with a few bands of renegades recently, guerilla attacks that allow the perpetrators to vanish like smoke and blend back into my soldiers with ease. Is that enough for you to agree that I can’t afford to give you a day?” he asked sarcastically.
“No.” Kira said, trying to stall.
“I wasn’t really giving you an option.” Obsidian said, sighing impatiently. “Please make your decision, and let’s get this over with.”
“And what happens if I refuse?” she said defiantly. Obsidian simply drew a knife and placed its point on Eben’s throat.
“Please, Kira, don’t test me. You know I will follow through.” Obsidian said.
“You can’t afford to follow through.” Kira said, smiling. “You said so yourself. You need him, and you need Seth, and you need me. So if you kill him, your plan will never work.”
“Well, I hope you can live with yourself, then.” Obsidian said, bringing back the knife to strike. He began to strike with dizzying speed, and Kira broke.
“Wait!” she cried. Obsidian stopped the blade after it made a small knick in Eben’s neck.
“So you’ve changed your mind?” Obsidian asked quietly.
“Yes.” Kira said, her head dropping in defeat. Her hair fell in her face, hiding her smile. It was a thin hope she held, but it was the only one she had.
“Well, then please come over here and place your hand on Seth’s.” Obsidian said. Kira walked slowly forward, dragging her feet. She slowly raised her hand, then held it over Seth’s.
“What if you’re wrong?” Kira asked, her hand hovering over the pair below hers.
“Kira, the greatest leaders in history are always those who take the greatest risk.” Obsidian said. “I am willing to take that risk.”
‘What if I’m wrong?’ Kira thought to herself, then placed her hand on top of Seth’s. Obsidian smiled, and walked around Eben to place his hand on hers.
“Thank you, Kira.” Obsidian said warmly. “You made the right choice.”
“Now what happens?” Seth asked, looking at Obsidian. “You don’t look any different.”
“Nor do I feel…” Obsidian began, then stopped and looked around. Kira started as she heard, then saw, what Obsidian and now Seth had seen: they were standing in the Imperial Gardens. “Well that’s unusual.” Obsidian commented, looking at the darkening sky. Deep, rolling thunder pealed throughout the air, and auroras of yellow, blue, purple, and green gently wafted through the clouds, chasing the streaks of lightning. The storm trees’ leaves were white, indicating that a storm was coming. Seth opened his mouth to speak, but his words were lost amid the torrent of wind that whipped through the park. A bolt of lightning struck the ground near the fountain, and a giant thunderclap knocked the four elves to the ground.
When Kira looked up, the sky was clear, the wind was calm, and the other three elves lay immobile on the ground. Obsidian was the first to stir; he calmly sat up, flexed his hand in front of his face, and shook himself awake. Seth groaned, and rolled over, but did not get up. Eben simply lay still, his chest smoothly rising and falling in a steady rhythm. Obsidian looked no different to Kira, and for a moment she thought he’d failed, then he vanished from view. She gasped, and began to search for where he’d reappear. He did after a few moments, not far from where he’d first been.
“Remarkable.” he said, looking at his hands in awe. “Simply unbelievable.” he looked over at Kira, as if seeing her for the first time. “Kira, I must thank you for giving me this.” he gestured at the air around him. “I can see things I’d never seen before, go places I’ve never even dreamed of, and all thanks to you.”
“And of course you’ve changed your mind about leaving.” Kira accused, and Obsidian took on an injured look.
“Kira, I have every intention of leaving.” he said softly, frowning. Then he smiled, “But of course, I don’t have to leave immediately.”
“You filthy monster!” Kira shouted, running at him. She had no idea what she was going to do, but nothing else presented itself except to claw this brute that stood calmly before her, the fiend responsible for the deaths of so many she loved. He just stood there and let her come, and when she reached him she flailed her arms at his head, but found nothing but air as she ran straight through him. She turned and looked at him in shock, and he simply stood there, smiling.
“Kira, it worked.” he said, smiling like a child that had just received a new toy. “You can’t touch me if I don’t want you to, and even if you do it won’t hurt me.”
“Oh really? Mind if I try?” a familiar voice called behind him. Obsidian spun, and saw Caden standing in the entrance to the Gardens. Caden waved at Kira, then smiled nonchalantly at Obsidian as he walked towards him.
“Caden? What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be dead.” Obsidian said, his brow furrowed in confusion.
“Supposed to be dead and actually dead are two different things.” Caden said, walking within an arm’s length of Obsidian. He reached up and slapped Obsidian, barely hard enough to move his chin, yet firmly enough to let him know that Caden could touch him. “Hi.” Caden said, his smile widening.
“How did you…you’re not supposed to be…how did you do that?” Obsidian asked, his hand touching his cheek where Caden had hit him.
“You wanted to be a Moderator? Congratulations, you’re in.” Caden said, his skin starting to change color. It faded from its peachy color to a white pink, not pale and sickly, but a vibrant pink. His hair switched from dark brown to a bright red, waves of the strange light pulsing throughout his hair in dizzying patterns. He looked at Kira, and his eyes were the bright orange she’d seen him have in the other world. “I told you he’d let me in.” he told her.
“Wait, what do you mean? What are you?” Obsidian asked, taking a step back, suddenly afraid.
“You don’t know? You are one, Obsidian, but not from my world.” Caden said. “Allow me to formally introduce myself: my name is Cadence, and I am a Moderator, though not from this world. I have been on assignment to protect Kira, though I wasn’t given full access to my abilities, due to this world not being my set’s territory.”
“Set?” Kira asked, taking a step towards this strange new form of her friend. She jumped when something furry rubbed up against her leg, and gave a startled cry of surprise when she saw what it was. “Fe! What are you doing here?” The cat just looked at her with solemn eyes, and swiftly padded over to Caden, who had changed his appearance back to its normal, elven look.
“I see you got here fine.” Caden commented to the cat, who simply blinked in response. “Well, Kira, you know there are more worlds than this one; you’ve been to just one of them. Each world has a separate set of Moderators, and since all the Mods in this world were ordered to stand off, I was sent to this world. I had to relinquish my Mod abilities when I crossed the Veil, the barrier that keeps the Moderators from fighting wars with each other; but you becoming a Moderator, Obsidian, allowed me, and several others, to cross over without losing our abilities. Do you know what my ability is, Obsidian?” Caden asked, looking at him excitedly, an eager glint in his eyes. “Wave manipulation.” Caden said energetically, staring down Obsidian, “I can control waves: light, sound, and heat, to name a few.”
‘You have not explained the Order to him.’ Kira heard a voice say, or thought she heard. She looked around, but Seth and Eben were still unconscious, and neither Caden nor Obsidian had spoken.