PART SIX: A NIGHTMARISH FUTURE
A violent storm rocked the country of Denary, pelting the windows heavily late into the night but Tabitha was wide awake for a completely different reason. She sat up in bed and observed her Protector rather enviously who seemed to be fast asleep.
Tabitha tried shuffling out of bed as silently as she could but before her feet touched the ground, her Protector was already on his knees besides her tenderly holding her hands in his own.
“What’s the matter, Tabby? Are you having nightmares again?”
“Yes. It’s that same nightmare I can’t seem to shake off… It… It won’t let up,”
“What can we do to make it go away?”
“I can think of only one thing- addressing the nightmare head on and for that… we would need help which may not be so readily available right away,”
“I will find a way for us-“
“The only one I can think of who can help us in addressing the nightmare is Emica and… well, I don’t know how we can even reach her and even if we did, I don’t think she would truly aid me,”
“You don’t want to owe her for anything either,” Dolphus stated.
Tabitha frowned and nodded.
“Perhaps something from the House can help us? A book or- or scroll, anything?” Dolphus suggested.
Tabitha shook her head. No volumes had a solution to her recurring nightmare but something about the Oracle’s house was particularly calling out to her that evening and she heed the call with Dolphus and his pack, faithfully following her. After a few minutes, Dolphus was suddenly on full alert and stated, “I sense some kind of intrusion incoming.”
His pack readied themselves for a fight but Tabitha shook her head. “You’re not going to believe this but… I think it’s Emica,”
“Emica? Why would she come here?” Dolphus asked surprised.
Tabitha opened her mouth to speak but Emica appeared right before them at that very moment. From the moment Emica looked into Tabitha’s eyes, it was clear to both of them that the nightmare they had had for the past couple of days was shared and was a cause for worry.
“Good evening, Oracle Tabitha?”
“Evening, Oracle Emica. I see that we have something in common this time at least,”
Emica nodded. “Is yours about Emperor Brodus?”
“That’s the one. Is he… Is he even real and what are we going to do about him?”
“Yes, he is real albeit living in a separate, distant timeline. And as for what we can do about him, well, we cannot exactly rush in to fight him considering how powerful he is…” Emica stated worriedly.
Emica turned to face her Protector and it was clear how uncomfortable he was with having to divulge information to Tabitha and her protectors.
“I have also received word that two of the most notorious travelers who are mostly based in my Timeline are planning on travelling to that bleak future to try and win over Emperor Brodus as an ally. Once successful, we both know how bleak things can get- our nightmarish visions tell us that much,”
Tabitha took in a deep breath as she absorbed all Emica had revealed. “I’d rather not become someone’s personal hand puppet or die at the hands of a future Oracle. I still have a lot left to achieve. So what can we do to prevent these notorious travelers from getting to Brodus?”
“With regards to the two travelers, there is nothing much we can do since the Emperor is heavily guarded and will only receive guests that he deems fit. Tricking him would be difficult if not entirely impossible…”
“I have, however, organized for us to meet Oracle Zuri and warn her of the dangers to come. I shall offer her asylum while we seek a permanent solution to this whole mess,”
“How shall we even meet Oracle Zuri?”
“For that… well, I have a few friends that are travelers and one of them has so graciously agreed to help us with this task,”
“You have traveler friends?” Tabitha asked impressed. She turned to face her own Protector and his pack who were all as astounded by Emica’s reveal as Tabitha was.
“Due to the Protections of this house, I’d urge you to follow me directly outside so I may summon my friend,” Emica meekly pronounced.
“Oh, yes, by all means,” Tabitha stated feeling partially relieved of stress then when Emica seemingly seemed to have a solution to what ailed them.
Soon afterwards, they all stood outside the House of Damnation’s boundaries where the protections bestowed upon it and its surrounding areas were no longer in effect. Tabitha and her protectors observed in awe as Emica summoned the traveler that would transport them to 24th Century Timeline Beta-One (Timeline B-1) where they’d meet Oracle Zuri, the most powerful known Oracle of that time.
The summoned Traveler appeared immediately she was summoned. She was a beautiful woman with a fair complexion, airy black hair and a sweet but shy smile. Although she was dressed in modern-day clothing, Tabitha had a sense that the woman was not from that time era and it intrigued her greatly.
“Oracle Tabitha, please allow me to introduce you to my Traveler friend, Princess Erabelle of Medula,”
Princess Erabelle curtsied before the Dark Oracle and her protectors.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, my lady. Oracle Emica already briefed me on the particulars of this mission. We can set out for your destination as soon as you’re ready. I am at your service,” she ever so sweetly pronounced. Tabitha was surprised at how the Princess’ very demeanor swayed her and acknowledged the sheer power of such a powerful hybrid.
“Thank you, Princess Erabelle. I think that the sooner we do this, the better unless Oracle Emica has a reservation as to why we cannot set out on our journey right away?” Tabitha stated. Emica shook her head.
“Let’s go then,” Tabitha pronounced.
Erabelle nodded and promptly opened up a portal to the future. She urged all present to enter the Portal before her and then closed it up once she was through; guiding them through a time tunnel of sorts until they emerged on the other side.
“We are in the 24th Century Dryad Kingdom of Mariamne. To be very specific, we are currently in the year 2380 in Timeline B-1. Here we can find Oracle Zuri,” Erabelle promptly informed all in their party.
“So we really have traveled to the future?” Tabitha asked excitedly.
“Yes, indeed, Oracle Tabitha,” Emica stated with a faint smile.
Tabitha stared in awe, looking around the Island country with an almost child-like exuberance. In no time, the Royal Guard came towards them and once their story checked out, the Guard guided them towards the Royal Palace.
“Are they not suspicious of us, Oracle Emica?”
“Oh I assure you that we sent word well ahead of our visit, Oracle Tabitha. They know to expect us,”
“You had everything this well figured out, Emica? I’m impressed,”
“I thought I’d get some of the important parts I could do on my own out of the way to speed things up because I am sure the Entity’s agents could very well have already made contact with Brodus,”
Tabitha nodded. They were soon upon a Magnificent Palace and before an ethereally beautiful Queen. The Queen walked up to them and they courteously bowed to her.
The Queen took Emica’s hands in her own, smiled at her and stated, “Oracle Emica, it is an honor to finally meet you and your party in the flesh,”
“Your Grace, the honor is all mine. Thank you for having us today,”
“It is a rare honor to host not one but two reigning Oracles. It is equally as wonderful and an honor to host a Princess of the Great Nation of Pharland, Princess Erabelle. Oracle Emica and… Oracle Tabitha, if I am not mistaken, it is a pleasure to make your acquiantance,” the Queen stated.
Tabitha nodded appreciatively for the Queen’s acknowledgement.
“I have word that you wish to converse with Oracle Zuri?”
Both Oracles nodded.
“I had sent word for her to come and meet with you as soon as I received your message but before she gets here… might I know what this is really about? Your message on the urgency of this matter is a cause for concern,”
“Your majesty, Oracle Zuri’s life is in grave danger. A dark sorcerer from a different timeline has developed a technique capable of enslaving the very spirit of an Oracle…”
“With this power, he can use Oracle Zuri, the most powerful Oracle to have ever lived, to sustain his power. By extension, he can enslave us as well and at this critical time when we fight the greatest evil known to man, we simply cannot afford to become mindless slaves,” Emica explained.
The Queen nodded appreciatively. “I am certain you shall find the solution to this predicament together with Oracle Zuri but in the meantime, kindly allow me to treat you to some Classic Mariamne hospitality. It is one of the things our humble Island country is proud of being associated with,”
“It is an honor, your Majesty,” Emica stated.
The Queen guided them to a beautiful Orchard filled to the brim with succulent, brilliantly colored fruits of many varieties some of which Tabitha had never encountered before. Her exuberance was once more piqued and she observed the future world with awed splendor.
As they had their refreshments and enjoyed a fine selection of music played by the Queen’s own children, Oracle Zuri joined them with her Protector in tow. Like Emica, Zuri had chosen the path of light, her clothing indicating it as clear as day.
What was more astounding was the fact that Zuri, unlike Emica and Tabitha was part witch and part dryad, an unprecedented event that had not occurred in either Oracles’ Timelines. Stranger still was the fact that Oracle Zuri’s interaction with the Queen gave off the impression that the two were not very fond of each other despite the politeness displayed by both parties.
“Oracle Emica, Oracle Tabitha, it is a pleasure to meet you both. I’m Oracle Zuri,”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Who exactly is Oracle Zuri and what threat does the mysterious Emperor Brodus pose to her and Oracle Emica and Tabitha? Stay tuned to find out… Links to previous entries in this story are listed below. Enjoy;