Chapter 36

Recovery? (Part 8)

“What is the news on my daughter Saarang?”

“There has been no change in her condition.”

“Then why the holo?”

“My nephew has started a civil war. He has seized the Imperial Palace and it won’t be long before he makes his move.”

“Then why not move against him first?”

“He has more than half the military behind him.”

“I see. What else is there?”

“I am trying to convince my daughter to go off-world for her safety. She won’t leave without Shaela.”

“Is it safe to move her?”

“Probably not, but if she remains behind she will most definitely die. The Water Palace is not a defensible position, I must move those loyal to me elsewhere.”

“You put me in a difficult position Saarang.”

“I know, but I beg of you old enemy, please help me save my daughter.”

“Has your daughter selected a bond?”

– Pause –

“No. The assassination attempt interrupted the evening.”

“Then that is my one condition. If Shaela survives, she will be the princess’s bond.”

“And Jett?”

“He will remain here. As a guest.”

“So be it. Take care Khemir.”

“And you Saarang.”

*   *   *

“Hey kiddo!” laughed Jett as Yveness Amaya launched herself in to his arms, nearly toppling him over with the sheer force. She was heavy, even for one so young, the metal-like bones forming quickly.

“Father says he’s going to have you excamuted!”

Jett gasped, “Not excamuted!?!”

“That’s what I overheard.”

Jett leaned down, “Will you help me escape little one?”

“No.”

The Xaabosian prince frowned, “Why not?”

“Because then we won’t see you anymore.”

Jett burst out laughing, if only she knew the irony in what she was saying. Khemir walked in and gave his daughter a kiss on the cheek.

“Ewww, gross dad!” she complained.

“Nessy, I need to speak with Jett. Can I take him off your hands for a few moments?”

She looked up at her father, and then at Jett. She didn’t understand what was going on, what was likely to happen. She was so innocent, unspoiled by war. If only she could remain this way forever but that was wishful thinking on Jett’s behalf.

“Okay daddy, but don’t take too long – Jett was going to teach me how to fire a bow!”

Khemir laughed, “As you command.” He turned to face Jett and his warm expression faded, “Come with me.”

Jett followed the Helsian chieftain  deep inside the mines, he wore a mask to cover his nose and mouth – so as not to breathe in any poisonous Sky-Shard dust, and before long he found himself outside the mines, in the chieftains private garden.

“Sit” the chieftain said.

Jett sat down. The chiefs wife was already here, this did not look like it was going to end well for him.

“Jett, you are no longer our ward.” Khemir stated, a flat expression on his face.

“When will my execution be?” he asked. He was afraid, he didn’t want to die – but it was best to face your end with courage.

It was Vennla who spoke up, “You are not to be executed.”

“Then… What is to become of me?”

“Your cousin has started an civil war.” Khemir started, “Your sister is fleeing the planet with my daughter. We will be spreading the rumour that she died during the travel – this may still be the case, and thus your execution was followed through with.”

“You must remain hidden.” added Vennla, “Therefore you are restricted to housing portion of the mines. Even our own people must believe that you are dead.”

A prisoner, that was what he was now. But in light of what could have been, it wasn’t so bad.

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