Andrew was lead out of the building by a squad of Kalalusian guards with Professor Pateman’s research team following closely behind. Although Lord Lusaka didn’t punish him for his failure and promoted him to take the professor’s place, Andrew didn’t sense a wisp of joy. Instead, he felt very oppressive about what happened in the last half an hour. Everything happened too quickly and abnormally. Why Lord Lusaka spared him and “rewarded” him for his actions? Why would he become the Head Professor when he has little experience in Science? All of this made Andrew really uncomfortable.
As they went down the steps of the building, Andrew felt a bit better when breathing the “fresh” air and seeing light once more. There was no “fresh” air even before the Kalalusians invaded and these aliens made it worse. The warmth of sunlight was also long forgotten, mostly because the thick clouds and fog blocked the sun. But even though the environment outside wasn’t that amusing, Andrew thought it’s much better than the courtroom. After all, he could move around freely outside.
The guards took them towards the clearing outside the building. There, lined up in a straight roll, were the Technobioles. He saw Beto Stuart climbing into one at the very front and some other officials took ones after him. Andrew and the research team however, were led to a Technobiole at the very end of the line. Andrew was always curious what it feels like to ride in one, but never had the chance. Now, seeing the huge vehicle up close, he imagined how comfortable it was to sit in it.
He was dead wrong.
When he entered the vehicle, it was extremely dark. If it’s not for the light outside, he wouldn’t have even be able to get to his seat. Then, he was surprised to see the rest of the professor’s research team making their way into it. He thought since he was ranked to a higher level, he alone can get a vehicle. Soon, the vehicle was very cramped and the air smelt sour of the human breath. The seat wasn’t comfortable either. It’s made of a very hard material and ached his bottoms.
The vehicles started going and indeed, at a very fast speed. Inside the car, it was total darkness. And total silence, too. No one talked or chatted the whole way as if they were overseen. Andrew felt very dizzy due to the speed of the vehicle. In the morning, he was still taking an Ultratrain like many other middle-classed humans. Now, he is riding in a private vehicle that only Kalalusians and high-classed humans could ride in. This slight of change still echoed in his brain, causing him to have a strange feeling that he never had before.
Andrew had no idea what Professor Pateman was doing till this day. He only convinced himself that the professor was doing some advanced research for the Kalalusians. But here lies two problems. The Kalalusians was already a high-tech civilization and their race seems far more intelligent than humans. So why would Kalalusians let humans to do the research for them? And what possible technology would they be researching? Second, the Kalalusians seems thirsty for the ancient relics of earth and Andrew was in charge of that. If they are doing some technical research, then why in the world do they need these old “treasures”? It doesn’t make any sense; since history and science was never share a same path.
The vehicle began to jerk violently, causing all the passengers inside bumping up and down. They must have driven us into the suburbs, Andrew thought. The Kalalusians were extremely strict about roads and the only place that possibly has an irregular road is the countryside. So the professor’s laboratory is located outside the city. Not surprising at all.
“Ramei, I am so glad to hear your voice again!”
“Yeah, yeah…..Same feeling over here.”
A butterfly, for some reason survived its extinction decades ago was attracted by a strong sense of odor; an odor that has not been smelt for years; the smell of a blossomed flower. The butterfly flew over dried-up grass and lifeless vines and into an open window. After circling the marble ceiling for a few moments as if enjoying the long-waited odor, it finally landed softly on a young girl’s blackish hair.
“Ah, look Ramei, a butterfly!” The girl said in a surprising, but still gentle tone as she carefully held the butterfly in her palm.
“Butterfly? What on earth is a butterfly?” Another girl’s voice sounded from the computer in front of her.
“It’s a beautiful bug that was once seen everywhere on the planet!” The girl gently touched the butterfly’s blazing wings. Then she stopped with a sad look in her beautiful eyes. “But they disappeared a few years ago.”
“Whatever…….” The voice on the computer said with a disgusted tone. “It’s probably some sort of weird creature that the cursed Kalalusians bought in.”
“No! This species of butterfly is definitely from our mother earth!” The young girl cried, raising her tone. “I’ve heard the Professor mention this before. Butterflies are a sign of hope and kindness!”
“Where does that saying come from?” The voice from the computer snickered. “The Professor is really weird in some ways. You know that.”
The young girl fell silent. The butterfly still remained in her hand, unwilling to go.
“And Cassiel, you need to think more about your future.” The voice from the computer spoke again; this time, in a more gentle tone. “You can’t remain in Professor’s house and serving him forever!”
“But this is my responsibility to take care of him!” the young girl Cassiel said, suddenly very agitated. Then she turned her eye away from the computer and whispered quietly to the butterfly, “I owe him my life……”
“I know….I know…..The same excuse every time. Even I am tired of it.” The girl on the other end of the computer said. “I am feeling like I am your mother.”
Cassiel didn’t look up at the screen. Tears were already falling uncontrollably from her elegant eyes, dripping onto the pure white skin of her hand and on the wings of the butterfly.
There was a moment of silence.
“I am sorry Cassiel! I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” The girl in the computer suddenly realized she have said something wrong. “I mean you are probably the prettiest and of course the kindest girl that exist in the universe. You are just too perfect to be true!”
“It’s….It’s okay Ramei; I wasn’t upset because of you.” Cassiel said, wiping her tears with a purple handkerchief. “I was just……worried about the Professor!”
The girl in the computer started giggling out loud. It’s the same kind of laughter that a “witch” could make. For Cassiel, the only thing she didn’t really like about Ramei is her laughter.
“Are you serious Cassiel? You are really on your nerves lately!” The girl on the other end, Ramei teased. “What could happen to him? Get fired? Get exiled? Get executed? No, you silly girl! Professor Pateman is a very important to those aliens. I am sure that he is still in the job for a while.”
“But…..but…..Professor Pateman said before he left this morning that if he doesn’t come back alive……then……” Cassiel bit her soft red lip. She laid down the butterfly cautiously on the stone table and then gracefully turned to reach for a silver box on the far left side of the computer. The box was probably made out of real silver and all around the box was carved with mysterious and complicating marks. She walked her fair-skinned fingers gently on the metal surface, feeling the cold temperature of the box. The same temperature she felt lying on the freezing stone ground that one unforgettable night. That…..destined night which changed her life forever.
“Then what?” Ramei’s voice bought Cassiel back to reality. She put the silver box aside and looked back to the screen. “Nothing…..” She replied.
“Really?” Ramei’s voice sounded suspicious. “Tell you what, I bet that the Professor will be back safe and sound today”
“And if you win?” Cassiel asked, feeling much better.
“Then you owe me a drink at the Annual Science Fair.” Ramei said with pride in her voice. “Professor Pateman will take you to the Science Fair this Saturday, won’t he? And of course my drunken father and I will surely be there too.”
“Oh yes!” Cassiel exclaimed. She had almost forgotten that the Professor has promised to take her to the Fair. “This meant that we can meet again!”
“Yes, silly girl.” Ramei’s voice sounded cheerful for the first time. “And finally after all of these years, I am sure we’ll have more to talk about rather than just on the internet.”
“And if you lose?” Cassiel asked without thinking.
Ramei was silent for a second then she replied with one word at a time: “Then you’ll never make it to the Science Fair.”
Cassiel fell silent once more with sadness overtaking her eyes. Everything was quiet. No longer could she hear the wind blowing outside her window; No longer could she make out the sound of the construction pit nearby; No longer could she listen to Ramei’s words; No longer could she notice the sound of Aeroplanes flying high in the sky…….She does not want to lose the only family she had…….
The sound of Technobiole’s wheels rubbing across the sand dirt road suddenly awakened her. She leaped towards the window and with a great sign of relief, she saw two Technobiloes, one which belongs to the Professor coming to a stop outside the building.
“It’s Professor Pateman! He is back!” Cassiel jumped with joy like a six year old girl. “He is safe! He is safe!”
“I’ve told you silly girl, I know that old bastar……….I mean old wise man will be back safe.” Ramei said, her voice also filled with relief.
“Yes, yes! And I am going to show the butterfly to him. He will be totally amazed!” She cried, scooping the butterfly carefully from the table. She turned to open the door of her bedroom.
“And don’t forget, you owe me a drink!” Ramei reminded after her.
“Yes, Yes! You can drink as much as you like as the Fair!” Cassiel shouted, already running down the hallway.
“Silly girl……” Ramei muttered as she closed the online chatting window.
After ten minutes of the rough ride, the Technobiole screeched to a halt, sending a wave of relief among the passengers. The door of the vehicle opened, allowing light to enter Andrew’s eyes once more. However, he was still deep in thought of all the problems that appeared in only one day. Or…….half a day. The Kalalusians are up to something…….something big and mysterious, he said to himself as he stepped out of the vehicle. And I am going to dig it out.
The laboratory, a stone-made building was located in the suburbs indeed, with little buildings surrounding it. In fact, there were actually trees and flowers, though their leaves withered a long time ago. The roof was round and the walls appeared to be very thick. It reminds Andrew of the bunkers humans built during the war against the Kalalusians. They were destroyed with a single Kalalusian missile.
Another Technobiole stopped a meter away from them. A Kalalusian official jumped out of the vehicle, followed by a team of fully-armed guards. They jogged up to Andrew, making him stressed from bottom to top once more.
“Please don’t misunderstand us Professor Lanchaster. We are here for your safety.” The official said, giving him a standard Kalalusian salute. He wore a steel-like armor and a black cape; just like any other Kalalusian. “I am Khodan Lusiar. From now on, I will be the head of your security.”
“I have bodyguards?” Andrew asked with bit confusion. He didn’t expect his importance be that much.
“Yes Professor. And please cooperate with our work.” Khodan said. Although his face is covered by a mask, Andrew could still sense that he is smiling; or more likely to be snickering.
“Hey wait a minute, I didn’t know that Professor Pateman has bodyguards, so why do I have one now?” Andrew asked without thinking.
“And I hope this cooperation is without question.” Khodan added, ignoring Andrew’s question. “Now, allow me to show you to your new workplace.”
Without another word, Khodan began walking towards the building. Andrew had no other choice but to follow him. Khodan’s soldiers and the research team formed two separate lines, keeping in step with them.
A gust of cold wind swirled around them as they approached the metal doors. It made Andrew chilled from top to bottom, sensing the feeling of fear once more. Four Kalalusian guards stood on patrol at the door and opened it after seeing Khodan.
Inside the building, the temperature was freezing. It felt like if they’ve just entered a morgue. The walls and the floor around them are made out of thick marble; reflecting their shadows under the dim white light as they went through the hallway. When they neared the door at the end of the hallway, Khodan stopped and turned around.
“Professor Andrew…..before I let you into the lab, you must understand that although you are now the head professor, there is various things in the laboratory that you cannot touch.” Khodan said coldly. “And of course, everything in the lab must be kept secret from the people outside; even to your closest family.”
Andrew nodded, wondering what sort of game the Kalalusians are playing now.
“Good, good….”Khodan let out a delighted laugh. “You are smarter than you look.”
Andrew frowned as Khodan reached for the doorknob of the big steel door. He tried hard to ignore all the sarcasm and weirdness and focus more on what secret lies behind this door.
Suddenly, when Khodan’s inflexible hand was just an inch away from the knob, the door opened with a loud bang. Everyone, including Khodan jumped a feet tall at this total surprise.
A strange aroma mixed with the wind dived into Andrew’s nose as the door fully opened. The smell was very strange, but it felt sweet and relaxing. Andrew was sure he knew this smell before. But before he can recall the smell, a shadowy figure bursted out of the room in great speed. With a raise of his eyes, Andrew couldn’t help but to take one step backwards. Not because it’s a monster, nor that is something he had never seen before, but simply stunned that there was still such people that existed in the world.
It’s a girl, a very young girl. Around fifteen to sixteen, probably the same age as Andrew’s teenage son. But she didn’t look like any of the teenage girls at that time. She had a very white skin; not pale due to the lack of sunshine, but white as if she had just bathed in milk. Her straight oily black hair was simply fabulous. It could even reflect the light behind perfectly off her shoulders. But the most stunning was probably her eyes. The eyes………It’s…….It’s just……beyond….any description. The color of her eyes was pure black, but under the dim light, it appears to be light brown. The most fascinating thing was that a glimpse of silver flashed in her eyes as she stopped in front of them. But it disappeared quickly.
Andrew turned confusedly at Khodan, who let out a teasing laughter. The teenage girl bent to her knees for a gasp of breath and then looked up at Khodan. Andrew felt really pressured as he saw her eyes again. The eyes weren’t big or small; it’s just the perfect size that makes her more attracting than any other female creatures that walks this earth.
“Mr. Khodan sir, I am glad you are back!” Her voice was soft and gentle, even though she was still out of breath. Andrew was starting to doubt that this girl was some sort of servant or something. In her hands, she held a strange but beautiful creature with colorful wings. Andrew guessed it might be a long-extinct species of butterfly.
“Where is the Professor?”
Khodan didn’t reply.
The girl looked around at each person, in the eyes. As her eyes stopped in Andrew’s, he couldn’t help but to look up at the ceiling. Her eyes weren’t evil or even threatening. In fact, it was rather filled with gentleness and innocence. But that very sight just made Andrew wish she could disappear instantly. It’s like she’s looking right into the heart of his soul.
The butterfly took off from the girl’s hand, flapping its wings and disappeared into the darkness behind them.
Khodan snorted and made a step forwards, attempting to bypass her. But before he can make another move, the girl grasped him on the cape. Standing up, with her eyes burning with fury, she stood firmly in front of Khodan. Although she is almost a head shorter than him and obviously weaker, her black eyes showed no signs of fear. Andrew held his breath. If Khodan plans to cut this girl apart like what Lord Lusaka did to Brian, then Khodan this time will have to cut through him first. For, he’ll rather die than to see such a sparkling jewel be wrecked in the dirty hands of a monster.
Khodan didn’t react violently like any other Kalalusian; much to Andrew’s surprise. Instead, he raised his hands as if surrendering and then let out a crackling laughter. “No need to be angry, dear. Professor Pateman decided that his job in the lab is too boring for him, so he decided to take a stroll in the construction pit……”
“You threw him in the construction pit?” The girl interrupted, with tears in her eyes.
“Calm down…….” Khodan said, turning to Andrew. “I am sure you’ll want to meet Professor Lanchaster here, who’ll take your father’s place during his absence.”
“You know he won’t survive in there for less than a week! Please….Please let him come out!” The girl wailed, tugging desperately on Khodan’s cape.
“That’s enough Cassiel!” Khodan said, tightening his voice. “This place now falls under the order of Professor Lanchaster. You should go pack your bags and belongings. The science lab has no place for a troublesome child in the first place.”
He waved to the two guards behind him who stepped forward to hold Cassiel. “Ascort this young lady to her room and make sure she stays in there until I gave further orders.”
Andrew wanted to do something but he can’t. He is not really the boss around here. It is Khodan.
“The Human Research Laboratory might make some amazing discoveries in you.” Khodan said, touching lightly on Cassiel’s hair with is iron hands. “After all, you are the most perfect human I’ve ever seen. Your blood should be as pure as your eyes.”
Cassiel tried to resist, but the guards shoved her inside the room and out of their sight. Khodan let out a delighted laugh and walked back to Andrew.
“Now you’ve met Professor Pateman’s priceless daughter, allow me to show you to his workplace.” He turned and marched into the door. Andrew had no choice but to follow. His head was still buzzing with images of Cassiel and prayed that she’ll be alright. He is also interested in the Human Research Laboratory, which he only heard but never knew what they were researching.
They entered a big living room; furnished and clean with many rare antiques lying on every corners of the room. After taking a short tour of the house, they came upon a very small room with nothing at all. Khodan stopped in front of a plain, ordinary looking white wall and turned around to face Andrew.
“Here is the Laboratory, Professor Lanchaster.” His metal mask seemed more sinister than ever before.
Andrew looked around the room. There’s absolutely nothing in here, with no scientific equipment of any kind. He looked back to Khodan with confusion in his face. Is this really the infamous Laboratory?
Khodan laughed again. “I mean, this is the entrance to the Labortory.” He corrected. He then opened a secret panel, just like the one they saw before in the Courtroom and typed in some kind of password. The side of the wall opened instantly, hardly making a sound and a ray of silver light poured out. Andrew knew this kind of light. It represents endless experiment and observation; the kind of light that can only be found in a laboratory.
“I’d like to have a word privately with Professor Lanchaster.” Khodan insisted, looking at the research team. “All of you stay outside.”
Without further orders, Khodan headed inside. Andrew followed in eagerly. After all of these years, he finally get to know what is he been working for.
The Laboratory was located in the basement of the house. After climbing down a series of stairs, they finally reached to the bottom floor. A smell of chemicals poured into his nose as Andrew entered the Laboratory. It was actually bigger than he expected.
“The Laboratory is divided into four sections, with four different purposes.” Khodan introduced as they walked around the Lab. “You’ll only need to know one section today and that is where you mainly work.”
They came across a small room in the center with four sides made out of hard plastic. IT seemed like a small office, with four big computers, two Helper Robots, three phones and dozens of other scientific equipment whom Andrew never seen before. He guessed this is where he worked.
“This is the only section you’ll want to know. This is your working office.” Khodan explained as they stepped into the plastic room. “This office controls all three other sections. That’s where your research team works and you’ll understand what they’ll be doing after you come to work tomorrow.”
Andrew slightly touched a strange-looking equipment, wondering what its uses. The office seemed a little cramped, but it does have a lot of neat things that Andrew can’t wait to test it out.
“I am not allowed into your office unless there’s an emergency. And of course, today is an exception.” He said, walking towards the table, which is piled with papers and boxes. “Therefore, you don’t have to worry about us interrupting you during you work.”
Andrew did not answer. He was still thinking about the girl, Cassiel. The beauty of her appearance just couldn’t disappear from his head.
“Anyways, this is what Professor Pateman was doing for months.” Khodan said, obviously feeling annoyed about Andrew’s absent-mind. He picked up a pile of papers and an old-looking scroll, preserved in a transparent case. “Now it’s your job to solve the translation problems on the scroll.” Khodan said, his green eyes narrowing. “And you if you fail, I am afraid your punishment will be far worse than Professor Pateman’s”
Andrew looked aside, avoiding his eyesight. He really didn’t want to take this job. Compared to digging all day in the hot sun, he admits that solving mysteries of past human civilizations sounded much more exciting. But, the problem is, if he didn’t complete it, he’ll possibly be executed. This spoils his passion.
“But of course, you have three months to do this.” Khodan said, as if he could read Andrew’s mind. “So I am sure there won’t be much of a problem for you.” He said, offering the scroll and the papers to Andrew.
Andrew took it with an uncomfortable feeling. He had no idea what the scroll is and he still doesn’t have a clue what Professor Pateman was doing secretly in his Laboratory. If all he is doing is examining antiques and treasures, then why are rumors about him so bad? And he is sure that the Kalalusians are in poor taste of these old things. They only care about new weapons and technologies, so why appoint someone to find these ancient stuffs? Are Khodan and Lord Lusaka hiding something from him? Hiding from the entire human race? The question is growing like a seed in his head and he couldn’t help but think all different possibilities about this strange research.
“I’ll leave you to here now. I am going to have a meeting with your research team and my fellow guards.” Khodan nodded and then headed back to the stairs.
“Wait!” Andrew was no longer able to control his mouth anymore.
Khodan turned halfway around with suspicion in his evil green eyes. “Is there a problem?”
“Um….that girl….I thought that….” Andrew mumbled, unable to think of an appropriate word. “What’s….her name again?”
Khodan swirled fully around, facing Andrew squarely. “Her name is Cassiel…..Cassiel Celina.” Khodan spoke, adjusting his metal gloves. “She is Professor Pateman’s beloved daughter.
“Celina? Isn’t…her last name supposed to be Pateman?” Andrew asked.
Khodan shrugged with one shoulder. “Don’t know, perhaps she hates her last name and changed it. To tell you the truth, I don’t like that last name, too. Celina sounds better than Pateman, for a girl like her. ”
Khodan seemed to smile behind his mask. “Anything else?”
Andrew swallowed out loud and looked to the ceiling. “Is she……really going to be sent to the Human Research Laboratory?”
“What do you think? Where else can she go? She’ll just affect your research and besides, I wanted to put her out of the house a long time ago…..If it’s not for Professor Pateman…..”
“No! I’ll be perfectly fine with her!” Andrew blurted out loud.
Khodan narrowed his eyes and took one step towards Andrew. “What? You are fine with her?”
“Yes! Perfectly fine!” Andrew said firmly. “And besides, what can discoveries can the other research lab make from her anyways?”
“That’s none of your business.” Khodan said coldly, turning away from Andrew and walking back to the entrance. Just as he was about to disappear up the stairs, he yelled back in a low-pitched voice.
“Since you are okay with her, then so be it. But, she’ll still have to go to the research lab for just once. Just a quick examination and then she’ll be free to go.”
Andrew felt grateful to a Kalalusian the first time in his life. He wanted to shout a thank you, but this time, he learnt to shut his mouth. Now he could focus on the research. If the sight of Cassiel staying in a gruesome research lab for a lifetime doesn’t fade from his mind, then he will never get his work done.
He started clearing up his table. Yes, it is his table now. And he wanted it to be as tidy as possible. As he was stacking papers, he uncovered a photo. It’s a photo of a Professor Pateman around his age with a cute girl riding on his back. That girl is obviously Cassiel and though she’s still a toddler, the beauty reflected from her image is breathtaking. He started thinking about the Professor. Imagining he is working with the other slaves somewhere in the city. He began to doubt that Professor Pateman was always an evil character. This photo in front of him perhaps showed the kindness that lies deep in every human’s heart.
After half an hour of busy sorting, he was ready to go home. He decided that he’ll figure everything out tomorrow and for today, he needs to rest. He tucked the scroll and some important papers into his suitcase and made his way out of the office. But an electronic device grabbed his attention before stepping out of the room. It seemed like half-computer and half-smartphone. “Might be useful.” He muttered to himself as he scooped the black device up into his suitcase. It is after all, his now. He decided to take a look at Cassiel before he leaves. Just to see if she is okay.
Cassiel sobbed quietly on her bed as the world seemed collapse around her. She has lost everything she loved and lived a very depressing life. Although Professor Pateman can be strict and is a workaholic sometimes, he was a wise and kind man in Cassiel’s eyes. Now, the only person she could rely on as a family has been taken away from her and she had no idea where to find him. In this moment, she felt as lonely as ever.
A slight tingling on her hair made her look up from her already wet pillow. It’s the butterfly again! She gently held the butterfly over to her eyes with her fingers to see the colors on the wings.
“Aren’t you just beautiful?” Cassiel said, smiling with tears still in her eyes. She crawled back up to a seating position, holding the butterfly in her palm and watching the scenery outside the window.
“I am wrong to cry.” She whispered to the butterfly, wiping her tears with her sleeve. She set the butterfly by the window and took a deep breath of the “fresh” air. She’s not yet alone. At least before being sent to some frightening laboratory, she can still ask for help. If she can get on the internet, perhaps Ramei can rescue her or do something to save her. Even if she doesn’t have the ability to do that, letting someone know about her troubles will make her feel better.
No longer thinking, she got up and walked towards the computer, hoping that Ramei is still online. She pushed the power button several times and the computer just won’t open. She tried to open the lamp, but the lamp remained shut. After several more attempts, she realized there was no electricity at all. The guards obviously switched off the trigger outside her room. Now, the day is running to an end and the already dusky room is getting even darker. The temperature was also dropping and it became so cold that she has to curl herself under the blankets.
A sharp knock on the door disturbed the silence. Cassiel pocked her head out of her blanket, just to see the door opened in front of her. She just hoped that it wasn’t the Kalalusian guards. She didn’t want to leave just yet.
Andrew pocked his head into the dark room. The smell of the odor sprayed into his face once more, making him draw a long breath. He then reached to flick on the electricity trigger inside his house. As the lights went back on, he saw Cassiel again, whose know sitting at the end of the bed, looking frightened and helpless. Poor girl, she must have experienced a lot of things that no one has ever gone through.
Andrew walked slowly but steadily into the room, trying not to look awkward. He drew closer until he is just at the side of the bed.
“May I sit down?” Andrew said, forcing a smile.
Cassiel hesitated for a few seconds and then nodded slightly.
“My name is Andrew Lanchaster, a formal worker of your father, Professor Pateman.” Andrew said, taking a seat carefully on the bed. “Don’t worry, I am here to help.”
Cassiel didn’t answer. Instead she began wiping the tears from her eyes, which were already a bit swollen. The sight of this made Andrew felt as if been stricken in the heart by a knife. It reminds him of his small daughter, which is only eight.
“I won’t let them take you away to do those researches. You can still stay here if you want to.” Andrew said, trying to sound relaxed.
“Really?” Cassiel said softly, almost a whisper.
Andrew nodded will absolute certain.
“Thanks……” Cassiel said, lowering her head to look at the patterns on her blanket.
“Are you……frightened?” Andrew felt very uneasy when asking this question. It makes him look like a freak. Surely no one would answer to this stupid question. But to his surprise, Cassiel nodded, with tears in her eyes once more.
“Um…..look….I’ll try to find Professor Pateman as best as I can…..” Andrew added nervously. Cassiel looked up instantly into Andrew’s eyes. Her big eyes are no longer filled with sadness and depression. A luster of hope shone bright in her eyes.
“You know where the Professor is? You know?” Cassiel exclaimed, clutching Andrew’s hand and squeezing it with her ice-cold fingers. “Take me there….please!”
Andrew took her hand and put it into his own. “I don’t know where he is, but I promise I’ll try my best.”
Cassiel let go of Andrew and leaned her head against the wall. Andrew now, suddenly feeling some sort of strength from the inner side of his heart stood up and walked towards the window. “Why don’t you come with me tonight and live in my house for a while? I am sure it is far better than spending lonely nights with these cold-blooded Kalalusians.”
He didn’t even know what he was saying.
Cassiel was silent for a moment and then shook her head. “I am sorry…..but I can’t go with you……I am going to wait for Professor Pateman to come back.”
“Nothing can come done except further misery my young lady.” Andrew explained, looking her straight in the eyes. He knew the strength is something he experienced before; as a father to his two children. The strength is a call of responsibility and love from deep inside his heart.
“After all, my home is a lot safer than here. You can at least sleep assuredly.”
Cassiel didn’t speak or move. She hugged a pillow tightly in her arms while looking up at the ceiling. She doesn’t want to stay here with these fearsome Kalalusian creatures. But he also doesn’t feel like going away with this stranger. After all, although he looks kind and helpful, but during a time like this, even a naïve girl like Cassiel understands the importance of not to fully trust anyone.
“Look……Cassiel….I know how it is uncomfortable for you to come with me. But I swear by the last bit of kindness left in our human’s heart that I am trying to help you. Please…..trust me!” Andrew almost wanted to kneel down and beg her to come with him. He had a feeling that she’ll not live to see the light outside when morning comes if she doesn’t come with him. He has made up his mind. He extended his hand in front of her, waiting for her to accept his “invitation”.
Cassiel looked at Andrew’s hand hardly for a few seconds and then finally, she reached her hand and accepted his. Andrew pulled her up from the bed and gave her a nice warm hug. This misfortunate girl needed some heat or she’ll be completely frozen.
“I’ll need to pack up some things, Mr. Lanchaster.” Cassiel said, climbing down her bed.
“Sure, but be quick! The guards can return in no time!” Andrew said, looking towards the door.
“The guards?” Cassiel was confused.
“Yes, I called them off for a while. Things will be complicated when Khodan knows that I am taking you out of the house.” Andrew explained, pacing towards the door. “I’ll wait outside, but be hasty!”
Cassiel nodded and started packing her belongings. The first thing is her blanket and a blue stuffy. They were her companions since childhood. Then she took the laptop computer along with some souvenirs the Professor had bought her for her birthdays. She also packed some clothes, dresses and towels. She even took her personal shampoo and toothpaste. Then, she opened a secret cabinet inside the clothes drawer, revealing a strange, light blue-colored box. The object inside the box is something that meant great importance to her past. Something that the Professor insists she may never see during her entire lifetime. But, for some reason, the Professor trusted her to keep it and she did it well, always destroying the curiosity before it overthrows her. Now she had no choice, but to take it with her.
After stuffing all of her possessions in her backpack, she turned to look at her room one last time. She had a feeling that she’ll never see this room again. Then, just as she was about to opened the door, she spotted the silver box lying silently on the table. Remembering the Professor’s words, she grabbed and held it in her arms, knowing she could no longer cramp in into her backpack. She turned off the lights and headed outside.
After a game of hide-and-seek with the guards on their way outside the house, Andrew and Cassiel were stopped at the entrance. It was Khodan, followed by a dozen of Kalalusian guards and the research team. Both Andrew and Cassiel widened their eyes. This could mean trouble.
“Need a lift back home Professor Lanchaster?” Khodan taunted, making a weird, but unfriendly salute. “I see you’ve got company.”
“Um…..No thanks.” Andrew said, trying to ignore him. “I’ll take the Ultratrain back home, thank you.”
“Indeed……And she is coming with you?” Khodan asked, turning to Cassiel.
“Yes…..yes….” Andrew stammered, frantically trying to make an excuse.
“Well then…….Why are you so interested in this young lady?”
“I……need a servant!” Andrew blurted. “I want her to be my servant in my house.”
Khodan fumbled his fingers on the Laser sword gently, still looking meanly at Cassiel. After a minute or so, he gave in and waved the guards to step aside.
“Very well then Professor Lanchaster……If that is your wish…..”
Andrew nodded rigidly and walked past Khodan to the gates. He took a deep breath of air the moment he passed Khodan. He didn’t expect it would end this fast and easy…….And his expectations were right…..
“Halt!” Khodan’s sharp voice froze everyone in their spots. A bead of sweat dropped down from Andrew’s forehead as Khodan walked up to them again.
“What’s the thing the girl is carrying in her arms?” Khodan said, examining Cassiel’s silver box.
Andrew was surprised, for during all of this commotion, he didn’t notice that Cassiel was carrying a box. But something made him shiver as he saw the marks on the box. It looks extremely familiar.
Cassiel’s body was already shivering as Khodan took out device from his pocket and aimed at the box. His greenish suddenly looked very frightening, as if a hungry predator has spotted its prey. Although she didn’t know what’s inside the box, she had a feeling that it’ll be very bad if this box is taken by the Kalalusians. But right now, she can’t do anything about it.
A red light casted by the device landed on the surface of the box and began circling the area. Andrew recognized the device. It is a device that could search for energetic materials. He had no idea why Khodan is doing this.
“It’s Professor Pateman’s research data, sir.” A young man from the research team said. “It’s used for the Scroll Translation Research.”
“Isn’t it so?” Khodan said, looking at the device. Then with a disappointed look, he backed off and tucked the device into his pocket. “The box seemed a little too fancy for some rotten papers.”
Then he turned back to Andrew. “Don’t forget you are in the suburbs, Professor. Shoji Tuono here is one of my trusted guards. He’ll drive you two back home.”
A masked guard made a step outside the rest and saluted to Andrew. Then, without a single word, he began marching towards the parked Technobioles.
Andrew nodded to Khodan who reminded him not be late for work tomorrow. Then, holding Cassiel’s hand, they started off the parking lot. As Andrew lifted his head towards the sky he could see a rough image of the moon, hidden deep behind the thick clouds. A gust of wind picked up some dry leaves around him. He, for some reason, now has a feeling that he just changed the destiny of millions of people.
Yet still, too many mysteries are waiting to be solved. And most of them appeared in just one day.