Chapter 3: The Superior
“Uh, not to bother you, gasp, miss, but where are,gasp, you taking me?” Kylin panted as she finally caught up to the mysterious woman.
“To the Oblicion, of course. Stop asking questions” immediately replied to the woman in a monotone. Kylin couldn’t understand how she was able to move so quickly in the Outside without exhausting herself. Especially due to her appearance, which deeply contrasted to her long lasting stamina. Wrinkles lined her face and the skin on her arms and legs were saggy with age. Yet her steely voice and manner still gave chills down Kylin’s spine.
“The Oblicion?” Kylin gasped, hoping she misheard. Why was she being called to the Oblicion? Did they suspect her, as a person who was in contact with Mr. Owen right before he left? Or was it for another reason? Did they figure out why she wanted to be a Finder in the first place? Or more importantly, did they know her secret, that she wasn’t satisfied living in Oblicit and thought the Down Below could be more than a myth. Kylin was too afraid to put her thoughts into more coherent ideas, hoping what she was just being too over imaginative. She quickly shook her head, trying to erase the apprehension that started to creep upon her.
“Yes, the Oblicion, young lady, can you hear correctly?” the elderly lady sneered, smirking her mouth to one side, and twisting the scar on her lips. Kylin was shocked at how nastly the woman acted towards her. Who was she, after forcing Kylin to frantically drag along behind her with no context at all, to act so unpleasant? After all, shouldn’t Kylin be mad, furious at this old crone for trying to lord over her? She mustered up her courage that formed in her frustrated state, pushing down the trembling feeling in the pits of her stomach and said to the elder,
“Why are you bringing me to the Oblicion. Also, what happened to Ben?! At least answer my question before you start putting me down.”
The woman stopped in place, staying perfectly still, and acting as if she had never been spoken in that manner before. For a moment, Kylin thought she did it- thought she actually was bold enough to make her point across enough to make the lady answer her questions and treat her with respect.
But Kylin was wrong. The old lady turned around to face Kylin directly in the eyes. Her eyes widened in surprise but the rest of her face was deadpan expressionless. Kylin’s whole body shook as the elderly woman approached her with her unsettling enlarged eyes. The lady stuck a hand out, and as quick as a viper grabbed Kylin’s chin. As Kylin looked at the hand grabbing her, she shuddered as she counted only 4 fingers and no thumb.
“Kylin.” she hummed, smiling an overly fake smile.
“You will treat me with respect, Kylin, or I’m not going to make today pleasant for you, understand? ” With that sentence she tightened her grip, squeezing the bottom of Kylin’s chin just enough to cause it to hurt.
“I- I understand.” Kylin gulped, starting into the elder’s eyes.
“I understand, miss, is the proper way to greet one of authority. Didn’t you ever learn that. You know, I’m beginning to think you don’t even know who I am.”, whispered the lady into one of Kylin’s ears, every word making Kylin flinch. The woman waited for a response, gently stroking her four fingers on Kylin’s neck.
Who was this person? Kylin racked her brain, trying to remember if she had any inkling to who this puzzling yet frightening person was. She was old, strong for her age, was wearing light blue clothing, and- wait. She was wearing light blue clothing. Who else did Kylin know that wore light blue clothing? Her dad. And who did he work for? The Oblicion.
Oh no. Oh no. Kylin began to realize who this person was. She mentally slapped herself for acting so immature in front of a person who everyone learned about in their first year of school. This old lady, marked by the scar on her lip, her missing thumb, and her erratic mood, was not only part of the Oblicion committee, but was also the leader of Oblicity as whole. And Kylin had just angered her.
As Kylin’s gears in her brain turned, the Oblicity leader perked up.
“Ah, I see. You realize who I am, don’t you? I for one, cheated a bit. You see, I already know who you are, because as you probably guessed, your father works for me.” She let go of Kylin’s neck and chuckled to herself, her dark mood instantly gone.
Kylin rubbed at the sore spot near her neck and said nothing. What was she supposed to do with the leader of Oblicity? And why the sudden change in emotions? When Kylin was still in school, she remembered feeling excited about learning something that was so important.
“Class, settle down. Marisa, stop trying to eat the walls, this is the forth time I’ve told you. Bilton, wake up, will you? Today’s lesson is something all of you are required to learn, and it’s important, so listen up.” said Ms. Patella, one of Oblicity’s first grade teachers.
Kylin set aside the mini castle she was making behind her back and perked up. She loved listening to important things. It made her feel nice to know stuff that adults knew, too. Kylin always hated when her parents would always talk about stuff privately, telling her she was “too young” to listen in. Kylin wasn’t too young, in her opinion. Afterall, she was 7, which was pretty old.
“Has anyone heard of the phrase, the Oblicion before? Maybe by older siblings, your parents, or even teachers? It’s okay if you don’t.” Ms. Patella smiled and waited for a hand to call on.
The Oblicion? Kylin had heard of that phrase for sure. In fact, her father worked for them! She raised her hand, proud that she had something to share with the class.
“Yeah, my father, he works for them! Like he goes to their workplace everyday to do stuff for them.”, Kylin said, beaming a smile..
For some odd reason, Kylin noticed a strange tension in the atmosphere. Ms. Patella’s back stiffened, and her usually friendly smile seemed less friendly and more strained. The other kids in her class looked at her curiously, as most of them hadn’t heard of the Oblicion before.
Kylin’s cheeks blushed red, and she stared downwards in embarrassment. Was it that strange?
“Any-anyways, the Oblicion is a special committee that is in charge of the whole of Oblicity. Do you see that large bubble out there, in the distance? ” Ms. Patella stuttered, moving on with the subject and pointing to the bubble she mentioned.
The children clamored. They had always wondered why that bubble was there, but their parents just ignored their curious questions, telling them not to worry about it. This was finally their chance to find out!
“The Oblicion, however, did not actually found the city of Oblicity, as well. Not much is known about how the city was founded, but by 2041, the city was born. 20 of the children of the city took charge after a, “ahem” incident, and those 20 created what is now known as the Oblicion. In fact, those 20 people are still alive today, and make sure Oblicity prospers by any means possible. Their means and ways of doing so are considered secret knowledge. Not even the people who work for them, like, for say Kylin’s dad, would know about it. ” With the last two sentence Ms. Patella nervously avoided Kylin’s curious gaze.
A young boy who was slightly dozing off earlier tentatively raised his hand.
“Is there like some type of leader of the group? Like a big boss man? Would we ever get to meet him?” Billy said, before resorting to sticking his finger into his nose.
“Yes, there is a primary Oblicion member who takes charge of the whole committee. However it’s a lady, not a man, so take care to remember that. She tends to have a, I mean it’s rumored that she has a short fuse, so if you ever meet her you shouldn’t say anything that could push her buttons. She is called by others Madam Amber, and while I’m not allowed to show you any photographs of her, she can be identified by a scar crossing her lips and her missing thumb on her left hand.” stated Ms. Patella, still not looking at Kylin once in her whole lecture.
“Ooh, are they battle scars or something?” said the girl named Marissa, eyes wide in appreciation.
“Allegedly, people say she got it from the uh, ‘incident’ from the beginning of the foundation of Oblicity. Now, class, how many years has it been since then? You all should know it, or I’ll put it on your test tomorrow.”
The children all quickly replied, “65 years ago Ms. Patella.”
“Correct. Now, this probably doesn’t apply to you now, being only in first grade, but if IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES you manage to pass by a member of the Oblicion, you must treat them with the utmost respect and authority, especially Madam Amber. Make sure to use their respected titles, miss or sir referring to them, and most importantly, don’t talk to them as if talking to any normal citizen, and even if you disagree with them, follow their every whim. Understand?”
Ms. Patella looked at all the children with almost a plea in her eyes, desperately hoping someone would get her message and realize the truth of the Oblicion. Of course, no one did, as they were only young children. When Ms. Patella glanced quickly at Kylin, she gulped.
“Class is over. Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you tomorrow sweeties!”
“Ma-Madam Amber?” Kylin stuttered, bending her head down at the old lady hovering in front of her.
Madam Amber beamed, her terrifying manner fading away. “You even remembered my name! How lovely. Anyways, I know you have some questions, and I promise to answer them as soon as I can but you have to be patient, okay? I can’t have people just talking to me all at once. It gives me headaches.”, she sighed, putting her index finger and thumb on the bridge of her nose.
“Well actually, miss, I do have few questions that I was hoping I could answer. Why are you taking me to the Oblicion? How did Mr. Owen die? Uh, miss.” Kylin asked, making sure to not to further irritate Madam Amber.
“Uhg, the boring questions. Dear, I thought you a little more interesting than that after your little outburst. Eh, I’ll answer them anyways, since you asked nicely. Mr. Owen was your mentor for your new job, correct?” Amber questioned, cocking her head in a queer fashion.
“Yes, as a Fi-” Kylin started, before getting abruptly cut off by the elderly woman.
“Ah- Ah Ah, no interrupting, or I’ll get mad. Don’t get me mad. I know what a Finder is. Hmm, interesting that you chose that job voluntarily. I bet you were one of those people who thought being a Finder was cool because you got to see exciting things. Well, sometimes Finders are too curious, see too much, and that’s when the trouble starts.”, mused Madam Amber, and she squinted her eyes, staring intently at Kylin. Kylin felt a bead of sweat drip down her neck as the lady continued to inspect her. She had expected the leader of Oblicity to be different from normal citizens, but this seemed a little...much.
After waiting a few seconds, Kylin asked “How did you know that, madam?”
“How did I know that- ha!” Madam Amber guffawed a surprisingly low chuckle.
“Kylin, I know everything going on here, after all, I’m in charge of this whole damn place!” she shouted, throwing her face to the sky. Kylin looked around nervously at a person who passed by in an orb suit, glaring at Madam Amber.
“Alright, so you wanted to know some answers? I’ll answer them at the same time. It’s simple. You’re coming with me to the Oblicion so we can assign you a new mentor. We’ll also explain the causes of Mr. Owen’s death. But you have to act polite, understand? I simply can’t take insolent people.” Madam Amber stated with a grin, eyes flashing.