The magnificent capital loomed before the two exhausted bodyguards. Achien was made up of 3 main districts or levels: Sky, Earth, Sea. Above all that was the palace, Light of the City. Surrounding the city was The Boundaries, 4 giant spheric energy shields, each in the districts. Powering it was a colossal tower in the center of each district, providing energy not only for The Boundaries but for the entire district. Sky’s tower was powered by the winds; Earth’s tower was powered by magma currents deep inside the ground; Sea’s tower was powered by the water currents and occasionally, volcano eruptions. However, they all have one main supplier of energy: the Elyfesta (means life-giver).
The city was magnificent not only because of its size but because of its constant development. Every day, there will be at least one building taken apart for rebuilding, and it will always finish within that day. The ancient capital was quickly repaired, then opened to the public as a museum. The capital was almost always the center for all innovations and inventions in the empire. At least up until now, because the capital is lacking in money, so it cannot sponsor inventions. Its building machines have shut down because all energy has converted for war. Many of the buildings lack in repair and are falling apart. The only ones that are up-to-date are the barracks, roads, and sentry towers. The city is now only magnificent when viewed from above. Even the palace itself was beginning to fall into ruin. The walls’ murals are falling apart. Malfunctioning in the service system was beginning more common. Palons struggled to repair service robots at a fast enough pace. All this the bodyguards can see when they enter the city.
“Faresoenn, what has happened to Achien?” The first bodyguard rarely visits the capital, and every time it filled him with awe, but now he pitied the city and couldn’t bear at this horrid sight. When they passed a street, starving citizens lining up for supplies left a mark in their memory. There was a stark contrast between the well-fed bodyguards and the starving citizens, whose clothing, some now almost reduced to rags, are the only indicator of their long-gone wealth.
“It’s always been like this ever since the rebellions occurred, Nasition. Riots, robberies, and even heavy taxes led to this. No one except for the nobles is happy.”
“Why can’t we lower our taxes?”
“The war. The citizens’ taxes go to the government, who spends it on war material. The nobles, being the weapons manufacturer, get all the money, and they, in turn, sponsor the rebels, so it’s no wonder that the rebels get such advanced weapons.”
“Shh, this is the capital. Someone can hear you.”
“I don’t care what others think, I am merely speaking the truth.”
“We reached the gate. Tell the sentry of our errand.”
When the sentry allowed them to enter The Qunsplata and allowed access to the palace, the two impatiently went on and rose to the palace. Below, the city seemed like a dream, partially covered by clouds, with the erect buildings looming below.
The Entrance Hall seemed to the guards like the vastest hall in the entire empire. A strong door opened and slid to the side. It was made of energy, able to be transparent or still like a stone wall. Behind was a vast circular hall. The dome above was like a skylight, decorated with murals of the deeds of the ancients but can slide open to reveal a dome of glass. Every corner of the hall was illuminated with natural light in the day, for there were colossal glass windows surrounding the hall. At night, the floor heating and lights turn on, warming the floor and cast a ring of warmth around the hall. There were 3 doors, each leading to its destination, and they were decorated to symbolize their destination.
The one on the left had a helmet as its symbol. The door was made of cold steel and silver, but there were intricate patterns of old languages and battles etched in. On the door’s sides were two fiery orange colored pillars. This leads to the masonry, its workers the finest in all of Achien. They made the armor for the elite soldiers and even the kings and queens themselves. With that, the two bodyguards looked at their tailored armor. The white parts in their armor glittered gold and red, and the rest emitted a strange dark aura, like smoke, around them, making them like messengers of death. It was a marvel to look at it.
Then, they turned to view the door on the right. A warm green was painted on this door, and it was coated with delicate wood. The door itself was made of stone, but it felt light when the bodyguards touched it. Vines and the aroma of flowers filled their noses when they crept near the small hole intended for smelling. There was also a glass window, and when they looked inside, they saw a rushing waterfall, foam erupting from its landing place. Then the water split up at a crossroads, like a river. The paths were covered with glass, so none can accidentally fall in. The paths continued to split until it reached near the door, and there, it all went into a large pool, almost like a small lake, filled with harmless, colorful fish that are fed by plants. It looked like an aquarium from above. This was not the royal garden, as many might think now. It was only a miniature representation of it. This was the living quarters of advisors, generals, gardeners, laborers, guests, whoever works or visits the palace.
The middle door was the most grand, though. A giant entrance of nearly 10 Parvmetrics, it was a work of mastery. There was a stone arch decorated with patterns of vines coated with gold. Two pillars made of sactrilla, a strong metal that looks like marble, held up the heavy arch. The door itself was made of fine wood from temperate forests, although inside there was sactrilla too. The emblem of the Achien Empire, the Sword in the Elyfesta surrounded with Vilerai petals from Tecullia, was carved in the top of the wood. A phoenix flapping its wings was depicted in the middle of the door, and Adnathla jewels shaped like arrow tips shot from the Phoenix, a symbol of aristocracy and power. This was the door to the main hall. Below, the chamber for the Achien Council, shaped like a dome, stays still and silent. The royal Paladeia is above. Surrounding all those, the Garden of Kathor. Soon, a servant ushered them in, and in they went, into the Core of Achien.
The corridor behind the door was made purely of glass. The Garden that lay around them seemed almost like paradise. Birds flew around the area, adding music and joy into the quite silent Garden. There were four giant fountains that sprayed water high up into the air. Four streams came out of the fountains and divided the palace into nine sections. The middle section, of course, was the Inner Core, where the Council Chamber and Royal Paladeia was. The front section was the entrance hall, the masonry, and the residences. The back section was the Tower, where the mages work. At the top, the Beacon of Achien, a light that shines all day and night and is like a star at night, bright and guiding. It is said that when an either apocalyptic or miraculous event happens, at midnight, the Beacon will emit a pale glow, then suddenly burst forth with a great pillar of light, even bursting through the atmosphere, and travels towards the Elyfesta, where it will explode and fragments of Arachma stones will fall. Only once did a full stone fall, and that was many ages ago. It rests on the Sword, otherwise known as the Anapadeia, the Sword of Kings, now Anapefrai, the Missing Sword. It was lost centuries ago when a king deemed unworthy of the Sword carried it into the wilderness and was never seen again.
Once entering the Main Hall, the entrance hall suddenly seemed puny compared to it. Large banners adorned the walls. It was more like an exhibition hall than the main hall where the king and his advisors discussed matters. It was shaped like a circular arena, with an empty space in the middle. There was a narrow corridor leading to the Hall. Four stairs allowed the advisors to quickly and conveniently enter their seats. Each seat was shaped like a half-closed bowl. The advisor simply entered the seat and a holographic screen would pop up, showing the matters in the empire. At the end were two transport passages, one leading to the Council Chamber, the other leading to the Paladeia. However, the one right in the middle stood out the most. It was situated at the floor, but could be risen up. When shut down, it was like any other seat in the Hall, but when activated, it would expand and a ring of pillars, symbolizing the districts, would rise.
“Hey, Nasition, should we go up the elevator?”
“It would alert people of our presence, but I guess we have already alerted them.” With that, the two bodyguards entered a pod, and sped towards the Paladeia.