“We have two choices,” Seraphine throws a stick into the golden-black coloured fire, while some of us crowd around to hear her thoughts, “Negotiate one on one with Traegr now – for a resolution which is unlikely. Our second choice is for us to come prepared to the negotiation. A small group of us will go to the nearest city and access the Golden Palace’s top-secret records.”
“What documents did you want off Traegr in the first place? Something about CU?” I ask, curious, and also trying to distract her from Celeste’s absence. I had told her that Celeste was teaching some girls how to heal with herbs from the forest, in case Celeste was not there to heal them herself directly. Seraphine had believed me so far.
“The documents are not something I want to discuss,” Seraphine replies sternly, picking up a small hand-made morta and pestle she grounds down some purple herbs, she was making the proper paint for her infamous mask, “I just need you to trust me with important information. I take everyone’s safety very seriously. I wanted to suggest we go into the city to search for these documents but I want to know who is willing to come with me. We’ve prepared this place long enough.”
“How can we search for documents if we don’t even know what they are?” I ask, not wanting to disrespect her or push her too far.
She glances at me, I instantly feel stupid, and she looks back down to her purple paste, spitting in it to create a smoother texture.
Typical fire users; harsh and blunt, often with a refined temper.
Seraphine never showed her temper, however, she simply had well-honed attitude and sass.
In the end she does not answer me.
“I think we should find Kaelyn first –” Lilo speaks up for the thousandth time but is quickly shut down by Seraphine.
“Not happening, not yet. I told you it’s totally out of our depth to search for someone, with no leads, no information, nothing. We don’t even have a starting point to search for her –”
“The Volcan Labrotories is where she was last seen, what if she is still there?” I suggest.
“With all due respect, princess, if she was there, she would have escaped. She possesses my Shadow fire, it burns through everything. Kaelyn is a strong girl, we haven’t heard from her yet, there is a strong possibility she’s dead,” Lilo gasps at Seraphine’s honest words but she does not take them back, “I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. Who wants to come to the city with me? We’ll be heading to Quartz Zone, that is where the ruling bodies are set up to store Dark Gem’s teachings and beliefs. I will be the one to search for what I’m looking for – I just need back up. I also need distractions to stay here and visit the Golden Palace, prance around a bit and distract the dull-witted cave men behind the walls. But whoever volunteers to stay has to do it safely.”
“Are we going to do anything about the humans?” I ask, “The ones in camps, being used to mine Gem stones.”
“There is nothing we can do, not yet. We need to acquire the upper hand in the Golden Palace first – we need respect,” Seraphine reminds us all.
“How do we do that?” I ask.
“I’ve been thinking about this since my memories have been completely restored. They will not submit to us, but we will rule with them. I want them to adhere to the first ever female council, a co-operative council that makes decisions beside the Dark Gem’s own separate council. Separate ruling entities that exist together to create the best outcomes for everyone. Our greatest weakness is the magic-bond most of you girls have with the different Dark Gems back at the Golden Palace. Loving them is not an issue, lusting after them blind, is. You give them an inch, they take a mile.”
“Pretty sure that phrase is originally from Earth,” Pharis sticks his arm out, excited, “I’m coming with you into the Quartz Zone, it sounds cool.”
“It is, the buildings are all made of Quartzite –” Lilo excitedly explains, however Seraphine interrupts.
“I like you, Pharis, but I don’t trust you yet,” Seraphine growls, “You can accompany us on missions when you’re trained.”
“I saved your life, talk about being ungrateful,” Pharis rolls his eyes in disbelief at her words but he also knows she is being her typical tough self.
“I am grateful you saved my life, but what I don’t trust is your age, your magic is untrained and you’re impulsive. Don’t give me that look, Pharis, you’ve already been flirting with everyone in this camp, keep in mind I don’t take lightly to Dark Gems... you’re not becoming one, I hope,” I hear the humour in her tone now but Pharis just looks utterly offended.
“I’m not a mindless beast like the rest of the men on this planet. I hate this place sometimes, it’s so barbaric here, despite all the cool technology...!” Pharis is standing by the fire and takes the opportunity to spin around and storm off, only to come to a staggered halt, “Celeste?”
Everyone perks up and I have to stand to see over everyone’s raised heads. I see her running into the camp with tears, crying, her head in her hands.
Seraphine jumps up next, wanting to approach with me.
I put out a hand to stop Seraphine and shake my head.
“Allow me to talk to her, I know her,” I ask and she nods, sitting back down.
“Leave it be,” she commands the other girls, who then settle as they see me hop past the logs and run to Celeste.
“Hey! Wait up, what happened, are you hurt?” I call out after her as she jumps onto the nearest tree and starts climbing. I follow after her until she reaches the very top, she grows a bed made of vines into a small hammock that she curls into, literally hanging above everyone, higher even than the deck she had proudly made.
I’m not as fast a climber as she is, her legs were longer than mine. I eventually make it up though, and I quickly crawl along the thick branch and slide into the hammock with her.
“Why are you crying?” I prompt her to answer me and she slowly wipes away her tears – and she hiccups.
“No... r-reason,” she gasps, tearing out the flowers from her hair she slowly wraps her arms around her legs and falls to her side into the fetal position. I mimic her so our knees are touching and we’re facing each other.
“I saw him,” she whispers, “he found me.”
“Traegr?” I whisper back.
“I just hate that I can’t work out what I want,” Celeste admits, “As much as I want to hold him and heal him and care for him – I know he will hurt me by hurting you and everyone else. He despises rebellion, he admires submission... do you remember when it wasn’t so bad?”
“Look... the big picture is that they want us to submit but they take it too far. I don’t mind them being dominant as long as they don’t treat me like utter shit. Sabir takes his teasing to a whole new level that pisses me off. If I lived back their I just want to be able to explore the forest without being scolded, and not do so many damn chores. Some things just need to change first. I promise you they will. We’re pretty much destined to be the female Gems who bring the Dark Gems down off their high horse – permanently. Not just in phases like in our past.”
“What does Seraphine have in mind?” Celeste asks, her silver eyes full of hurt and suffering and want.
“Give me your hands, they’re trembling,” I pretend to order her the way Traegr would and she manages to laugh huskily through her soar throat. She gives me her hands and we clasp our fingers together, any sort of touch was comforting to her, I knew she loved to be reassured with actions rather than just words, “Seraphine wants to legally trap them. Don’t quote me on that, she won’t even tell me what documents she is searching for. All I know is that by finding out their top secret information that will somehow help us in starting a female council. The first to have ever been on Kiyr. So we rule side by side.”
“We’ll be back with them soon, then?” Celeste seems hopefully, “But we’ll actually have peace?”
“We have to put our faith in Seraphine’s leadership but in the mean-time... Celeste... I know you. Did Traegr try to sleep with you tonight – or did he?”
“No, no, he just kissed me,” she admits, “He made me want him.”
“You need to promise me you won’t give into his ‘charms’...pshh, if you can even call them that – of course you find that funny. Stop smiling I’m being serious. You can’t give into him, not yet at least. We can’t keep living the way we use to, it’ll drive us crazy,” I say this knowing she’ll realise I’m referring to Sabir and I as well.
“I don’t mind being The King’s maid,” Celeste says cheekily and shyly, obviously hoping Seraphine doesn’t hear.
“Oh, I know you do. You love following his orders, you even welcomed me into his bed when he said I would be a part of it,” I try not to laugh at the memory, “Most girls would have told me to fuck off!”
“Whatever makes him happy, makes me happy,” Celeste sounds like a smitten school-girl talking about her first crush. She was a sucker for submission, “I’ll do whatever he wants.”
"I know,” I giggle, “You’ll even suck off Sabir if he ordered it.”
“He has ordered it and I have done so, and it made Traegr smile so I didn’t mind,” Celeste blurts out, so happy about her resolve in what makes her happy – Traegr’s smile; which was rare.
“You’re nuts in your own way, Celeste, it’s cute. You’re so shy about everything but so confident and bold when it comes to sex, and the forest.”
“Two things I love,” she says cheekily, grinning, finally her tears are gone.
“Do you think Seraphine had a good time with Hraken when he beat her and won the right to fuck her afterwards?” I snicker, feeling at ease, two girls bitching; sometimes it was all you needed to feel a bit better.
“Don’t be silly, of course she loved it. Hraken is the strong silent type but I guarantee he is a monster in the sheets.”
“You really think so?” I can’t help but burst out into a whizzing giggle as I try not to laugh louder.
My messed up laugh sets Celeste off and then we are both laughing.
“You sound like a piglet!” she accuses me, hardly breathing as she copies me.
“Shut the fuck up!... but it’s so true, I did!”
We literally laugh ourselves to complete exhaustion and curl up into each other for warmth. We fall asleep that way, for once, our minds were at peace.
We’d have to soak up the calm while it lasted – because this peace sure as hell wasn’t going to last forever.