A long night
“Wake up! Wake up, Jason!”
His eyelids flicked open and Jasmine’s face slowly came into focus. His eyes struggled to adjust to the dim light emanating from the large silver chandelier hanging from the ceiling at the centre of the room.
The gemstones which adorned the chandelier cast soothing reflections of ruby, emerald and sapphire all over the room adding to his sense of confusion and disorientation. It took a few moments for his head to clear before he realised that he was in the Princess’s chamber, lying on his back atop her four poster bed.
She shook him gently.
“Wake up, Jason. It’s just a dream,” she whispered trying not to startle him as he stared blankly at her.
“Hey,” he said softly, smiling back at her a brief moment later. He squeezed the sleep out of his eyes, stretched his body under the white silk sheet and rolled over onto his left side, facing his wife.
“You were having a nightmare again,” she explained, caressing the back of his neck with her fingers.
Jason couldn’t remember any details from his nightmare, just like on the previous occasions, but a feeling of fear and helplessness still lingered now that he was wide awake. He knew only too well from experience that this feeling would continue to plague him for a while still, before eventually fading away.
The nightmares started soon after he arrived on the planet six years ago, but over the years they had gotten much more intense and frequent.
Looking into her sparkling green eyes he reached out to her and pulled her close, holding her tightly against him, her head resting on his chest. He ran his fingers through her long black hair moving away the strands which had fallen over her eyes.
Jasmine was just a little taller than he was and surprisingly strong for her slim body.
“Thank you,” he said to her. “I’m sorry if I disturbed you.”
“It’s still a while before morning,” she replied. “We should try to get some sleep.”
Jason nodded in agreement.
“Yes, we should,” he replied.
He gave her a tight hug causing the well formed muscles in his arms to bulge, evidence of the amount of time he’d spent in the gym over the years. Changing his naturally small appearance had become something of an obsession for Jason.
His body was still tired but he knew that sleep wouldn’t come so easily to him now. It was always difficult to drift off after having one of these nightmares. He also felt guilty for disturbing Jasmine’s sleep after the long day she had endured and he didn’t want to disturb her any further.
He faked a huge yawn and stretched again pretending to be really sleepy.
“Goodnight sweet Jasmine,” he whispered to her before turning around. They each retreated to their respective sides of the huge bed, he to the left side and she to the right.
Before long Jasmine was fast asleep again. Jason gingerly turned onto his left side to face her taking care not to wake her up again. He watched her chest rise and fall in time with her breathing and smiled to himself. She looked so peaceful and content. Just watching her sleep awakened in him an instinct to protect her from the world out there.
Beyond the castle walls a full moon shone out of a starry night sky. It was yet another balmy and pleasant night out there, just like the night before.
Unlike Earth, Carac did not rotate along a tilted axis so the seasons never changed. The kingdom of Octavia experienced perpetual springtime as it lay a little below the equator, a real paradise by Earth standards. This was in stark contrast to the desert region of Zalhar which experienced perpetual summer, a short distance away.
Lying on the bed in silence, Jason could hear the sound of leaves rustling in the gentle breeze and the chirping of nocturnal insects. The sweet jasmine-like scent emanating from the flowering coffee plants growing in the nearby orchard wafted in through the open window filling the room with a delicate fragrance.
Jason had carefully engineered and cultivated the Coffea Arabica plants in the hydroponics laboratory on board the Equinox as a gift to King Wilbur. Three painstaking years of cultivation later, and a further three years since the first planting, Carac’s very first coffee plants were flowering, promising a decent yield of coffee beans in the near future.
A smile tugged at the corners of his lips as he recalled the King’s very first experience drinking coffee during a tour of the Equinox. Jason himself had brewed that first cup for his guest while Dr Eve Lomax attended to the semi conscious Princess Jasmine in the medical bay.
“You have to teach my cook how to produce this fantastic drink, Jason,” was what King Wilbur had said to him after being served a second round of coffee, and Jason was only too happy to oblige.
The peaceful night sounds and sweet scents which wafted into the room through the open windows did little to lull him into blissful slumber. Feeling his left hand beginning to cramp, the restless Jason turned onto his back.
Staring up at the colourful chandelier he marvelled at how much life on Carac had changed since he’d arrived. Thanks to his newly constructed solar power stations and Alpha Centauri’s twin suns, most of Carac was now electrified. The very chandelier he was staring at once relied on candles to illuminate the room.
Jason, Vince and Eve together had propelled this once elementary civilisation into an age of technology overnight.
The locals were quite smart and extremely susceptible to Jason’s mind control power making it fairly easy for him to share Earth technology with them, and in a relatively short space of time. Their eagerness to learn new skills and better their lives acted as a catalyst much to his delight.
The newly constructed university which he had commissioned was now at the forefront of this learning process attracting students from all over the planet. Education was decreed a free service by King Wilbur who was also generous enough to provide meals and accommodation to the students at no cost. The University of Octavia quickly become a melting pot of Earth and Carac ideas.
Apart from his famous University of Octavia, smaller schools of learning had been established all over the planet and King Wilbur had made it a requirement for the youth to attend.
His mining operations yielded the vast quantities of precious metals and silicon required to build the solar power stations as well as his fleet of faster than light war ships which were close to completion now. These new vessels were nowhere near as huge as the massive Equinox but would be highly manoeuvrable and kitted out for battle once ready.
Steel and glass buildings mushroomed all over Carac replacing the old traditional wooden dwellings.
Jason also managed to accomplish something else that no one on Carac dreamed possible. Planet wide peace. He had united all the people of Carac under the rule of King Wilbur.
Admittedly, he had decimated King Roland’s army and all those who stood in his way quite brutally with his superior technology, all in the name of peace, but it was necessary and over the years true peace did blossom.
He saw very little of Vince and Eve in the years that followed. His relationship with them had deteriorated much ever since his attack on King Roland and his army. Vince had expressed his disgust at the merciless slaughter of so many men and animals. Eve was just as disgusted and disappointed with him after Vince had relayed the story to her, leaving out none of the gory details.
Eve set up a medical centre at the university to teach and to help the people, while Vince headed up a medical research centre, freely sharing his knowledge while continuing the work he had so loved back on Earth.
And then, two years ago, Jason married Princess Jasmine, King Wilbur’s only daughter, further cementing the loyalty of the people towards him.
Jason King had shaken off his humble beginnings. He was no longer the misunderstood little boy from Oceanview. He was now a royal prince, a royal prince with huge plans for the future.
He had become Prince Jason of the kingdom of Octavia, and all of Carac.
“Who would have guessed that I’d become royalty?” he thought smugly to himself as a hint of a smile touched the corners of his lips.
“Sweet dreams, Jason,” he thought to himself as he began to drift off.