“When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
“I think Adea made a pact with the devil! That woman isn't a good influence for my daughter.” Patricia lets out a heavy sigh and rests her upper body on the bar. The whole scene makes one think that she is going through the hardest time in her life.
Frowning, I stir my coffee with a spoon. At first I just visited Seria’s shop to have some downtime, but then I somehow ended up as Patricia’s confidant. “What's the problem? Aren't you glad that she found people who can help her with her circumstances? Adea wields a lot power. She is lucky that she found Seria and Elona who can keep her in check while she is learning to control her power. I was honestly a little afraid when I first learned about her full potential. You should also keep in mind that she is only running around free because Seria assured us that Adea is no danger.”
Patricia looks up, tightening her expression. “What do you mean by that?”
After a quick sip of coffee, I decide to calm her down. My words may have sounded a little too threatening. “It's okay. Nothing will happen to Adea. But do you really think that we would allow someone like her to run around uncontrolled? Everyone above a certain level of power is monitored. I myself am no different. We can't have a loose cannon who has the power to level a city. The girl is just a teenager, yet she wields more power than anyone of her age should. If Adea loses control over her mana pool it would be equivalent to a nuke. And I was told that she is only just beginning to rediscover her full potential.”
“Even more reason not to allow her too close to that woman. She is corrupting her! Yesterday was the first time she came home in a dress! She hadn't done that for years and always kept to her school uniform. And when I asked her about the reason, she gave me a wink, imperiously waved her hand, and stated that she is on a quest of self-discovery! As if I am some kind of servant.” Patricia batters the bar with her fist. “I know that I am not exactly a good role model for her. Indeed, I did a lot of things which may have corrupted her. But when she got tested and admitted to the university I had hopes that she may achieve something better in life.”
Nodding, I try to understand Patricia's point of view. “And now you are feeling as if you are losing her.” It must be hard to learn that your daughter didn't just manage to jump one step up the social ladder, but somehow ended up at the top of the pyramid. Now Patricia fears that all of this will go to Adea's head.
“I know that it's stupid of me. Elona is Seria's mother and I owe Seria everything... but still.” She deflates into a boneless heap, as if there is no hope to solve the situation to her satisfaction. “She is spending so much time with those people and acts as if she has known them forever.”
Ah, that's the problem. Patricia is someone of the immortal rank and somehow ended up with a divine ranked daughter. She never had to expect big changes in her daughter's personality. Our society's approach on recovering old memories is very careful and, most importantly, slow. The Dedessians prefer the brute force method. They even train their minds to unlock the memories as fast as possible. Becoming as strong as possible, as fast as possible, is certainly a question of survival in their realm.
And now Adea learned those techniques due to her close contact with Seria and Elona. I guess it can be a little frightening if your daughter suddenly acts like a completely different person. Patricia was never prepared for that.
“I think you should talk to Adea. Ask her about her previous lives, listen to her memories and try to understand what she is going through. Try to understand who she was and how she has to deal with her memories. Newerth’s way of dealing with our past lives ensured that Adea will not be overwhelmed by her other personalities. This is nonetheless a difficult time in her life. Though I can assure you that she is still the same person who grew up with you. If her other personalities are coming through, then that means that she is trying to cope with her memories.” I set down the cup of coffee.
Patricia winces. “I haven't thought of that. I simply accepted that Adea was someone else in another life, not even thinking about the fact that such memories must come with a lot of emotional baggage. I myself can’t remember much about my previous lifetimes. I am such a bad mother.”
I smile. “No, you are not. Just a little overwhelmed. Nobody expects you to deal perfectly with a situation which wasn't of your own making. You and Adea simply have to deal with unexpected circumstances. It will take work from both of you to deal with that.”
“You know that you sound very sane... for a divine. Please don't take that as an insult, but normally the people who are ranked as divine class act a little insane. Us normal folk are best advised in staying as far away as possible.” Patricia presses her lips into a tight smile.
I try not to read too deeply into her statement and straighten my clothes instead. “Don't worry. I tend to think of myself as one of the more sane ones. So what actually prompted your displeasure about Elona?”
“Prejudice! I am perfectly aware of it, but I can't help myself. Elona is always showing off her spirit form and she is a succubus! I heard that she isn't acting on her instincts and that she is the queen of another civilisation, so I am perfectly aware of my irrationality. I am just afraid that all of this is becoming too much for Adea. She is still a teenager, mentally. You are right. I'll try to talk to her. A lot! She has to tell me everything. From start to finish.”
Oh, my. The poor child. I may have set something in motion that Adea will hate me for. Probably I should pray that she doesn't find out who prompted her mother to show that much concern for her changing circumstances. I am becoming as meddlesome as the rest of Seria's family.
After downing the rest of my coffee, I decide to make a strategic retreat. Getting involved even deeper will do me no good. Patricia can share her troubles with Jimmy. Isn't he the one who is supposed to listen to her concerns? He is her man, so why did she make me her confidant? My eyes wander over to Seria's goon who is bowing to her while receiving some directions regarding the shop. Yeah... probably Patricia is right not to share that sort of trouble with Jimmy. If she does, then the information will land directly in Seria's lap.
But am I really any better? I am Seria’s husband, boyfriend... argh… whatever! The whole thing still doesn't feel real with all the shit that's going on. Seria was right when she mentioned that we've to settle down and build our own place.
Without anything better to do, I wander up to the second floor and into Seria's apartment. There I decide to lie down on the bed, using my hands to support my head. It's a relief when I finally close my eyes and relax. Patricia's concerns certainly didn't help me in finding relief. Apart from attending the newly formed council of war, I also tried to find medical help for my brother. A part of me hoped that the Dedessians have some kind of medical genius among them, but Perseus probably needs more than medical help.
We've tried to feed the prisoners spirit meat and it's true that they seem a lot stabler now. Sadly it didn't return my brother to his former self. I've to ask myself if I ever really knew him. By the time my parents got around to experiment on our serious cases, Perseus was already too far gone. He is still delusional about his instincts, which makes it seem that the issue with a spirit transformation isn't just a physical, but also a mental problem.
If Shade and Elona work together, they might be able to heal him. I would have asked them if their time wasn't better invested somewhere else. It's infuriating to value the lives of others above a member of my family, but it's a sad fact that Perseus brought his fate down on himself. Nobody asked him to give in to his instincts when he knew about the danger. It was his own weakness.
And even if Elona finds a solution to the medical aspect, we would still have to bend his mind into shape. Would that even be a proper form of healing? Or would we simply recreate him according to our wishes. Maybe it's better to keep him in a mental ward until he recovers, or send him on to his next life. It may be kinder. I visited him this morning and now I am not even sure for how long he was playing the family. If I interpret his fragmented hints correctly, then he must have gone over the edge soon after my father took Clarity as his new wife.
Which means that the person I knew as Perseus never really existed. That's a lot to deal with. Especially since I have to take care of my own responsibilities.
I promised to act as a spokesperson once we get involved with the other factions who are affected by the war. Right now several of our agents are trying to contact the other realms. We've sent them to each of the locations which were identified as probable spying targets of the spirits. Of course the agents won't report back right away. That means I have limited time until I'll have even less time to think about Perseus. Once they return we will have our hands full.
“It's unusual that you are so gloomy. Did something happen that I should know about?”
Seria's voice startles me, but I don't open my eyes. “I visited my brother. It wasn't pleasant.”
She snorts and gets onto the bed, making it creak under our combined weight. Then she gets on top of me, straddling me between her thighs. “So simply feeding them meat didn't work? I am sure that we can arrange for better treatment once all the shit has settled down.”
“Thanks. It's just that I've a feeling that I never really knew my brother and the visit this morning was like a slap in the face. Maybe we've to break his mind and rearrange it, but would that even be my brother? I am not sure if turning him into a walking doll solves anything.”
She draws in a deep breath. “That probably requires a lot of philosophical thought and I am not the right person for that. I am far too simple minded in my world-view. For example, I never understood why some cultures don’t allow suicide. It’s an insult to a goddess of death. Everyone should be allowed to do with his own life as he or she pleases.”
I laugh. “I bet I know where that comes from.”
“I bet that I know how to distract your thoughts from our messed up families.” She reaches for my hands and pulls them out from under my head. Then she guides them to her bottom and I get to squeeze her soft skin.
“See? Lecherous bastard. All it takes to forget your brother, is to remind you that you are the one who got the woman. You are grinning from ear to ear.”
“You call me lecherous, yet you are the one who throws herself naked into my arms. Which man wouldn't grin at that?” I squeeze her just for the heck of it.
“This is my apartment and my bed! I can be naked all I want. Did I mention that I dislike people who lie down fully clothed in my bed? You didn't even take off your shoes,” She grumbles and starts shifting on top of me, unbuttoning my shirt.
I smirk. “I hope you will change the state of affairs without throwing me out of the bed.”