The outskirts of the royal city
After they escaped the royal city and fled to the outskirts they hid themselves near a mansion that belonged to one noble he knew that him wasn’t here.
After watching what happened to the princess he had to keep it together to not rush and kill the chancellor that was responsible for this entire situation.
The princess that send him on mission was nearly killed as a result and dread filled his mind to be unable to protect her.
Ironically, he was now back at the mansion that was hours ago his mission´s target. From his hiding spot in the trees he was overseeing the land and watching for enemy movement.
Nothing moved in the vicinity of the mansion, but he remained patient. A single mistake here and it could be fatal for him and the princess, certainly this time with a worse ending.
The mansion itself was cloaked in darkness, for any other person it would look like the owner was residing in the royal capital during this season, but he knew better.
With his Mârden he summoned a wind familiar, a little bird that he often used to supervise areas from above. As he altered flight path to fly over the mansion but his familiar suddenly hit an invisible wall and disappeared from the sky.
Through the magical link he felt a backlash that came from a forced interruption between his familiar and him, nothing he couldn’t endure but it wasn’t enjoyable.
Though it looked like the inhabitants all left the mansion a magical shield was being maintained. Either Ruck had something to hid or he was so paranoid in the past that his devilish plan would have been revealed before he you had the chance to act. He didn’t know how to bypass it, if he had more time and better circumstances he could surely dissolve the shield but he had neither.
Jumping down from the tree he checked the condition of the princess who was well hid a few meters behind him.
The magical construct, still in the appearance of the queen was hovering above her, fulfilling its duty.
“Any news?” He kept his question short and his hopes reasonable. After his last conversation he wasn’t interested in any longer discussion with a construct.
“Throughout the our time of our escape I had the chance to check on her. The vitals all seem to be normal and nothing dangerous happened to her body. For the condition of her mind I only can say that she will certainly wake up but I can't say why she still is sleeping. Probably the shock, combined with the overpowered magical spell that made her sleep, is keeping her mind in the world of dreams.”
“You can't say something positive, can you?
“As a magical construct I don’t ha---“
“You don’t know sarcasm or have the capabilities to go against your mission. I heard that more than once.”
“How can a magical construct be so uhhhhh”, he thought.
“If you can't help me with the princess, how would it be if you aid me in getting into this mansion?
“My creator gave me the mission to aid and protect the princess in case she commands and I don’t accept any other.”
His frustration grew and he wanted to rip the pendant off and throw it into the next river, preferably a deep one.
“Remember what they thought you”, he recollected his main and breathed deeply in a rhythmic interval. After he had a bit of peace of mind he faced the construct again.
“Look, we have the same mission and we both came on the orders of one of her parents. I aid the emperor and on his command protect the princess and you got your orders from our empress. My mission is the same as yours.
You can help protect the princess if you help me to get into this mansion, it would even be enough just getting rid of the magical shield.”
“Are you trying to get me to help you through a loophole with your foolish words and persuade me to accept a command because they have the same use?”
“Very well. This one time I'll aid you but don’t expect anything further.”
The magical construct flew higher, above the trees and faced the magical shield. He didn’t see what happened after but the shortly after the magical shield flickered and was visible. The cracks started to spread all over the shield and the parts started to fall and dissolve into the air.
“I hope no one saw that”, he thought, “Or else this hiding spot isn’t any better than presenting the princess in the main market in bare daylight.”
The construct came back but something changed, before it looked like a real person but now it had a ghostly appearance as if it lost its colour. He didn’t want to ask and he doesn’t care.
“I´ll retreat into the pendant for now. The barrier is gone by now but watch out for traps and such. You won’t be able to depend on me.”
Then it vanished, leaving him and the princess alone.
“As if you would help me anyways.”
He picked up the princess, carrying her with his two arms and proceeded cautiously to the mansion.
Everything was still clad in darkness but it wouldn’t mean there weren’t any guards inside that were waiting for him.
He hoped that the chancellor took his forces to the royal capital and abandoning this mansion. It was still uncertain what he planned to do but he couldn’t risk being in the eye of the storm. He wanted to continue and search for the emperor but by his previous order he prioritized the safety of the princess.
Slowly he was closing in to the servant entrance and nothing of the barrier remained like the construct promised.
The entrance was of course locked but a simple spell would solve that
“Raghen”, he whispered and he heard the lock moving.
Slowly pushing the door to prevent it from making any noise he entered. The entrance let to a small servant's area with a kitchen, storage space and private rooms for the servants. After making sure that no traps or silent alerts were placed in this area he laid the princess down in one of the beds in the private rooms and locked the door behind him.
Normally he would have had enough time to rest after his missions but during the last evening and the rescue in the night the strain was immense. He was getting sleepy but couldn’t afford to close his eyes in the middle of the enemy´s territory. He feared that if he would place some defensive magic arrays or alerts someone would pick up the traces in the aether. He couldn’t check the other floors or rooms for now so he had to watch the vicinity on his own.
The sun was already rising and the morning came over Escos.
“This will be a hard day”
Dying wasn’t painful, at least for me. I didn’t even notice my crash on the earth or the pain, not a single sound of the wind in my ears or the crushing of my bones.
Everything was in silence.
A white room, and everything in white. Furniture, accessories, literally everything.
It resembled my private rooms but something was off, I couldn’t say what but it was missed something.
“What will Ruck probably do with it? I don’t even want to think about how disastrous it will be if he spreads the intel I've collected on the entire empire”
Then it dawned me. “Why can't I hear my own voice?”, I tried to say it but I only heard it in my mind.
Every time I try to say something loud out I only hear my voice in my head, no matter what the volume and even when I thought I was screaming the voice remained in my head.
“Calm down, don’t lose focus. What you can't do today, do tomorrow but for now, focus on the present.”
I walking around the room, trying to shift the focus of my mind. Everything was in place where it belonged to. The intel in my drawer, various clothes, undergarments and dresses in the furniture.
The desk, mirror and bed were at the same position as usual and it looked like her room.
The bed looked liked it was inviting her to rest for a few hours and to forget this strange situation but she couldn’t
“Even with this much light here I cou…. Wait a second.”
She looked back to her desk, nothing unusual to be seen there, but beyond where normally the window would be was …. Nothing. A perfect white wall without any window.
“So how can there be light in here.”
The entire room was illuminated by … itself? There was no light source and she still could see as if it was bright daylight.
And as her last realization she noticed the door.
A door that has appeared out of nowhere.
“If I stay any longer inside of here..”, and walked towards the door. It was real, she could feel it with her hands, no imagination or something else. The door that was supposed to be here but appeared out of thin air in a room missing windows but being bright as daylight by an unknown light source.
“Maybe it's better to leave”, she muttered.
Grabbing the handle she pulled, expecting some resistance to stop her from leaving the room, but the door opened smoothly.
“This can't be true”, she thought while she looked at the white wall behind the door.
“A fake door in a copy of my room. What is this crappy afterlife? A punishment for failing and losing against the chancellor?”
She turned away from the door and started walking around the room, hoping something else would happen but she was alone and the silence was her only company.
Suddenly the bed looked much more attracting than before, faster than she noticed she was on top of it and already sleepy.
As her eyes were closing, she looked for the last time towards the door.
And bolted out of her bed. Someone was standing in the way of the doorframe of a door leading to nowhere.
This one fact would have been acceptable in her rather odd situation but something else was exceeding this.
The person standing in front of the doorframe was no on else than her long-dead mother.
While she was unmoving sitting on top of her bed the person, no her mother, was coming closer.
“What are you? My mother is long dead and I don’t believe I´m in the afterlife.”
Her mother was leaning her head to the side and staring at her.
It looked like she was silently saying “What did you expect”.
Then she started to speak, “Didn’t your mother tell you about me?”
“I've no idea what you are talking about. And what do you mean with ‘my mother’. She is standing in front of me.”
“I see, so she didn’t tell you. In that case I'm delighted to solve this strange situation my princess. As if I don’t have any given name you can refer me to as a magical construct, a being made by your mother, living inside your pendant that the empress made to protect you.”
“Yes, the now deceased empress was concerned about no being be able to see you grow up into a beautiful girl so she made me to aid you in times of emergencies to ensure you would survive and to see the future, unlike herself.”
“In that case you failed. Where were you when Chancellor Fiven dropped me over the balcony I the royal gardens. I was falling such a height and yet you didn’t come.”
“Even with your mother being a very talented mage I'm by no ways an eternal source. I've a limit placed upon myself how much I can do and when I can act. If I would have helped you with every crisis you faced I would have exhausted my mana a long time now. No I had to make sure that no-one else would have come to help you. When you closed your eyes I made you fall sleep and protected you, by the time you crashed in the lower city you didn’t receive any damage but I couldn’t negate the spells because under the impact half of a house collapsed over you.I
“If what you say is true and I´m asleep where am I and why did you come out of a fake door?”
“… - By a mistake of mine during the spells the sleep got amplified and there was a chance for you never to wake up again on outside. For yourself you would have been kept inside this room until your body would have died.
This room represents your ego, so to say. It's something your mind created to retreat. Your subconscious came up with this room because it's an environment you are well familiar with but it's actually yours to change. The reason why I came through this ‘fake’ door is that until your mind dropped its isolation I couldn’t contact you. For myself it was on the outside a normal room with a door but your subconscious didn’t create something beyond the door, that’s why a wall appeared.
As I said it's yours to change, you are in your own mind (too much your). If you wish to leave or change something you only have to imagine and it will happen.”
Just as she finished her explanation I try to imagine the window behind my desk and in a second it appeared.
“Is this so. Hmm, I can leave when I wish?”
“Sure, either create a floor behind the door or go to sleep on your bed. Both will make you wake up.”
My mother, no the magical construct, finished it's explanation.
“Wait a second. You said I wrecked a house during my fall, did I hurt anybody?”
“No, the attackers that appeared in your city led to a mass evacuation using the officials. The house was empty but still got destroyed.”
I let out a long breath, it would have been devastating to kill someone because I fell into their house.
“Am I still buried under the aftermath?”
“No a man came a few hours later and took you away.”
Suddenly her heart clenched and she felt the fear coming back she experienced at the balcony.
“Which man and where am I now?”
“He didn’t introduce himself but the way he spoke of you he holds your very dear. After he freed you from the rubble he escaped the city and went to the outskirts of the royal capital. He searched for a hiding place and we came to a mansion that looks like it was abandoned by the chancellor that attacked you.
After sneaking inside he placed you in a bed and stands guards now. You were sleeping for a whole day after we escaped but he's at his limits now.”
“I see, I assume it’s safe for now but I should wake up to see who is my guardian.”
I imagine a pathway behind the door and a long floor appears that ends in a distance light. I guess my subconscious has a sense of humour.
I start to leave but turn around before I leave the room, the construct is still standing in the middle.
“One last question: Why did you choose to appear as my mother? I far as I know magical constructs have a form on their own.”
“I choose this appearance because I thought it would help you. I thought a human that you can relate to would be easier for you to talk.”
“It is nothing that bothers me but it's strange to talk to my long dead mother. I only have a few memories because I was so young. I don’t need a copy to talk to, my image of her in my mind is enough to hold her dear. Next time you can appear in your natural form.”
I turn around, not waiting for a response. It felt ominous to talk to a dead parent even though I loved my mother it isn’t the same.
“She is dead but lives in my heart and mind, I don’t need a copy”, I was thinking when I entered the light.