The Lieutenant

PART THREE: THE ORACLE

Lieutenant Nobu was surprised to find the King and Queen of Medula awaiting them.  Aurora and her daughter Avery introduced them before being whisked away to be attended to by medics. That was the last he saw of the mother-daughter pair as the King and Queen took over orienting them to their new surroundings.

“My lady, my lord, it is an honor to make your acquaintance. I am First Lieutenant Nobu, the chosen Protector of the Oracle of the Dark World. I humbly ask that you may have me and the witches I have in my charge. Once I have found my charge, I shall arrange for my charges to be released to safer locations,”

“Protector Nobu, it is an honor to meet you. I have met your charge, Oracle Emica already and she has been an absolute pleasure to host in our home. Please, make yourselves feel right at home. Do not hesitate to ask for whatever you may require. As for now, when you are ready, my wife and I would be honored to show you to your new abode, if you so desire to make this world your home; temporarily or permanently,” the King responded.

“My lord, you are far too kind. Please allow me to introduce the witches in my charge to you,” Nobu said before nodding towards the witches he had cared for and protected in the Dark World.  However, they all choose to hung back and adamantly refused to greet the fair-folk King and Queen having reached their limit on trusting people they felt should not be trusted.

“Forgive them, my lord and lady. They have suffered greatly at the hands of fair-folk,” Nobu begged of King Ember and his Queen.

“We completely understand, Protector Nobu and do not hold it against them at all. Please, come with me and we shall show you to your quarters,”

Nobu nodded and followed behind the King and Queen. His charges followed behind them like scared children all holding onto one another even as they walked further into the new dimension they’d call their home. As the received a grand tour of the strange world they were in, he periodically checked in on his charges to make sure that they were alright.

Terrified though they were, his charges were not under any form of duress even as they were taken to a Large Apartment-like complex where they were introduced to other Sphere residents including Master Alradius and Mistress Catania, two dryads who terrified his charges the more despite their kind demeanor and obvious well meaning to them. The couple even exchanged pleasantries in the dryad tongue with him which he was happy to respond to, grateful for their wholesome interaction.

Curiously, Nobu found, there was a little Witch girl in the company of the dryad couple comfortably cradled on Mistress Catania’s bosom who smiled brightly at him and something about her smile made him feel at ease as well as making him form an impression that he had met her before.

“Welcome to your new home, Protector Nobu!” the little girl shouted excitedly after him after he and his charges had walked away.

Astounded, he turned to face King Ember and asked, “Please excuse me, my liege, but who was that little girl?”

King Ember smiled brightly. “Why that is none other than the Savior of your world, Miss Imani,”

“The Savior?” asked Nobu shocked. His charges were equally as astonished by the King’s confident pronouncement and murmured among themselves as they finally settled into the rooms they would temporarily occupy.

“We shall leave you and your charges to settle in and acquaint yourselves more with your new surroundings, Protector Nobu. In case you require anything else, my wife and I and every resident here is at your service,”

“My liege, we are eternally grateful for your kindness and hospitality. I- I am afraid I must ask you this- I noticed that my charge- Oracle Emica was not among the residents we met- I am worried about her. Is she alright? Where is she? I sense that she is nearby but- but I cannot be certain,”

King Ember smiled. “Worry not, Protector Nobu. Your charge is in good health and is safe and sound. She must have lost track of time in the Library which she likes to frequent. I shall send word of your arrival right away so that she may come meet you,”

“I am humbled, your majesty, thank you,” he said with a respectful bow.

“Ah, not at all, not at all!” Ember responded. He then held his wife’s hand in his own with loving delicateness a clear indication of the deep love they shared. He watched the couple leave him and his charges and felt his heart beat fast as he contemplated the life he and his charge could have if she accepted him as a partner as well as a Protector.

For several moments, his charges weighed in on the situation they found themselves in. It was hard for any of them to accept the offerings they had received from the King and Queen and they spent many precious moments debating on whether to accept the kindness they had received.

Nobu was ill at ease that his powers did not work in that strange world. In fact, the only thing he was capable of perceiving was that his charge was close by and nothing else. He nervously fidgeted like his charges as he awaited his charge to come greet him but it appeared that she had either not received the King’s message that he had arrived, or alternatively, she was avoiding him altogether, a possibility that hurt him unlike anything else.

Of course Nobu understood why Emica did not want to meet him. Heavens knew he would have a hard time believing a dryad was assigned as a Witch’s Protector for as long having come from the Dark World where such dryads were known for their persecution had he been her shoes.

However, he found that a part of him was saddened by the fact that Emica would not think he would have lived a righteous life in spite of being a dryad and that he would have risen above the common dryad folk’s mentality.

Nobu settled in faster than his charges mainly because he needed something better to do than hang around terrified that his charge would not ever want to meet him. After a while, he noticed that his charges’ guard slowly began to wane and they accepted King Ember and Queen Anna’s hospitality easier as each precious moment passed by.

By dinner time, his charges had all taken soothingly long baths, changed into the clothes assigned to each of them and even tagged along with him to the large Mess Hall where they were surrounded by a host of other casters who all eagerly ate their meals whilst happily engaging in idle chatter.

His charges were astonished to find males of their kind among those gathered in the hall and after a while, they happily engaged in conversations with them and even had the meals provided for them after a while. He let them enjoy their dinner in peace whilst going to sit next to Master Alradius and his family. He noticed that Emica was not among them.

“Please pardon my asking so, Sir, but is it common for Emica to miss meals like this?” he asked Master Alradius concerned for her health.

Master Alradius shook his head. “You’ll have to forgive our Emica. She is frightened by her destiny and therefore is seeking to avoid anything that would remind her of it, including you, unfortunately,” he explained.

“Oh, I see,” Nobu said sadly looking down at his meal.

“Don’t worry. She’ll come around,” Mistress Catania assured him.

Nobu shrugged his shoulders doubting her words. He did not finish his dinner but instead decided to go for a walk around the Dyson Sphere admiring its structures. He occasionally met some passers-by as he explored his new home world who were all very friendly to him. Eventually, he decided to ask for directions to the Library and sped up to reach the building as quick as he could.

His heart raced as he observed the large building from the outside. She was there- he could feel her presence and it felt that a magnetic force more powerful than gravity was pulling towards the Library just as it had felt when he had been drawn to her on the two occasions he had met her. He hastily climbed up the stairs and sought her out, his heart leading the way.

Emica was pouring over a large volume on Magical Botany when he found her. He sighed, relieved to see her there so engrossed in the book she was reading.

“My lady Emica, I have come,” he spoke to her, his voice softening considerably. His heart was pounding as quick as lightning as he observed her and  he marveled at his ability to notice even the tiniest intricacies in the movement of his charge. Perhaps it was the reason Gaia had seen it fit to create him as Emica’s Protector… His entire universe revolved around her, after all and so, he reasoned, he needed to notice every little thing she did and lovingly memorize it for all of time…

Emica closed her eyes sighing in frustration and then firmly shut the book she had been pouring over before turning to face him. He had been unprepared to stare deep into her gorgeous honey-colored eyes and to observe her angelic features.

Her long, black hair poured easily onto her shoulders like a running stream. She was more beautiful than anyone he had ever beheld and he felt things within him awaken that had been dormant  before then…

TO BE CONTINUED…

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