The First Her

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Part 13

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After eating breakfast– toasted bits of an animal that Kira didn’t dare to identify, they set out.

Ni’ev walked behind Kira and Nebula, who eyed everything from the pyramid to the jungle in the distance. Kira’s fingertips caressed the neglected walls as she walked, occasionally being interrupted by small tufts of vegetation. It didn’t feel like the grass was invading the rock, though. It had been here this whole time, keeping this lonely giant company.

The green gave the pyramid its stripes. Even after so neglect, it still stands for its people.

The group crossed the staircase to continue walking around the level.

“Be careful,” Ni’ev warned. “The floor is uneven here.”

Before they crossed the disturbance on the rocky floor, Nebula fell to her knees and touched the protruding shards.

“What is it?” Kira asked.

“This kind of rock... I mean, I’ve been thinking about this ever since I saw the pyramid, but this rock type is strange. I’ve never seen anything like it on Earth. This rock is limestone, but see these little specs? I’m pretty sure those are gold. It’s just that the concentration... it’s abnormal. Gold doesn’t naturally clump in these precise shapes,” Nebula rambled.

“I’ll work on fixing you a microscope,” Kira offered.

Nebula rose, wiping her hands on her dress. “Yeah, I’d love to look more into those clumps. If this entire thing really is golden...” she stopped to look up. Whistling, she said, “it’s a monster.”

Kira continued walking around the pyramid.

“You should go inside the next room,” Ni’ev suggested.

She crossed the entrance. Like all the others, this one had no curtain or wooden door.

Her sandal dipped into an inch of water. She looked down and realized that this room was flooded. The walls were shaped differently, too. They had concaving slots as if items were once placed inside. The most interesting part was that the level had four exits that connected all faces.

She pointed across the floor. “That wall. What’s behind it?”

“That is where we slept last night,” Ni’ev answered.

“Nebula, are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

Nebula nodded. “I think I am.”

Kira’s mind began to run. “The Ezronians were much more sophisticated than what we give them credit for. Not even the Ancient Egyptians managed something like this. How is this thing standing? And what is that?”

Ni’ev looked to where she was pointing.

“It is Ezronian writing. It says ‘all answers you seek are in the stars.’”

With an itching suspicion, Kira requested, “Can you lift me up, please?”

“I would prefer not to touch you.”

She smiled. “Vrox won’t get jealous. I talked to him about this. He’s not as territorial.”

Ni’ev hesitated before stepping forward. “I will grab your waist, then.”

With a nod, Kira faced the entrance that they just crossed and waited. Ni’ev’s hold was gentle on her but firm. Now that she was eight feet in the air, she was able to skim her fingers across the inscriptions.

All the answers you seek are in the stars, huh? No. I think all the answers are right here.

“Kira?” Nebula asked, trying to shatter the anticipation.

“This inscription was not made by hand. They used a laser. I’m positive about this. The writing is so precise and deeply engraved. Ezronians had access to lasers, I know it.”

“That’s impossible,” Nebula returned. “It looks like these guys just barely got past the bronze or iron age.”

Vrox’s tale of Ezronians once being an advanced species surfaced. The more she stared at the engraving, the more confident she became of the idea.

“Ni’ev, what was this room used for?”

“It was the common room. Scrolls and books were placed in the wall slots, but it appears like they have been looted by men and nature.”

“This was a library?”

“In a way, yes. However, important literature could only be found in the commander’s library, which is further up in the pyramid.”

They had to keep climbing, then. She was sure that there were answers right here, in this historic home.

Ni’ev gently placed her back on the ground. “What is your evaluation?” he asked. “Is this safe?”

She touched the walls with both hands and dove her fingers into a corner. The base of this pyramid was safe– too safe, and that’s what confused her. The walls had to be engineered to perfection to handle the complexity of this design. Who the hell built this place? It certainly wasn’t some cavemen smashing rocks together.

“Yeah. This level is safe. Can we check the next one?”

Ni’ev shook his head. “No. My brothers and I must clear the levels before you females can explore. There may be animals hiding.”

She nodded. ”Okay. Let me just finish looking at this level, then. Nebula? Did you notice anything?”

"Nope. I’ll have to get a ladder in here to look at the bricks that are higher up on the wall.”

They stepped through the water. As Ni’ev scanned for danger, Kira looked for explanations. More engravings were decorating the walls. Ni’ev translated them, but they sounded like a bunch of nonsense about the stars.

“Kira?” Vrox called out from the eastern entrance. “It is time for you to rest.”

“Hold on. I’m memorizing these lines. By the way, do you know where I can find paper and a writing utensil?”

“No, but I know where you can find food. Come. It is mid-day, and you have not eaten anything.”

Nebula and Ni’ev began to make their way outside, while Kira fought Vrox’s tugs.

“The seedling is hungry. You must feed him,” Vrox insisted.

She laughed, finally giving him attention. “Him? What makes you think it’s a him? What if it's a female and she becomes your successor?”

Vrox’s head crooked, heavy with confusion. “My successor? Females cannot be commanders, Kira.”

Her smile disintegrated, and her hand slowly rose to her stomach as if to protect the fetus from its father’s words.

"But... if you're the new leader of Ezron, you are royalty. Wouldn't it be your daughter's birthright to inherit your title when she comes of age?"

He shook his head. "Not if she is a female."

Once again, Ezronian and Terrian culture clash, but she swallowed her bitter anger. Now wasn’t the right time to discuss political matters. They had to establish their home before they could prepare one for the rest of Ezron.

“Let’s go get that lunch,” she offered with a smile.

War of all types was coming. Civil and foreign, violent and philosophical, bloody and teary. Red was on the horizon, slowly lurking forward.

But it wouldn’t arrive today.

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