That seemed to be the effective end of their honeymoon, temporarily I hope, us girls not having had a chance to share because of it dying too early. Her mind was so filled with pictures and ideas that even at night she was not as involved in our loving, only reacting if directly stimulated. Robbie decided it might be better to leave her alone until this dream of hers is completed.
“We are arriving tomorrow and it gave me an idea which I thought I should first discuss with you. Solomon, you might know better than all of us. I’m thinking of swopping places with Freddie, I would like him to see this planet. Can it be done?”
“Why do you think I would know? How intricate are the controls you would have to assume? Anyway, I am not certain it would be a good idea. Explain what you were thinking of doing? You would take over his responsibilities?”
“That means he would be taking over yours?”
In a smaller voice he confirmed it.
Alki was looking at him as if he could not believe his ears. “You have changed! You would be willing to entrust your loves to another Robert?”
“He is not another, an alternate Alki, he is part of me.”
Alki asked, “Could you call the protector?” I did so. He listened with a solemn face.
“You intend asking me Alki?”
“I don’t know, I suppose I want to know if you agree as protector.”
He sighed. “Alki, there is so much they do, almost daily, that I do not agree with. Strictly speaking all the girls should be next to him all the time. What of when they jump to other countries or alternate worlds without him? My prime demands they have maximum protection at all times and only Robert can provide that. Should it be enforced?”
Robbie asked softly, “You have not spoken of this before. You have been troubled?”
“You know the answer to your question Robert.”
“Why have you allowed it then?”
“At earlier times I often nearly did not. Especially after losing some of them. I came to the conclusion that to blindly try to enforce whatever my prime demands of me, would cause them more harm than good.”
“Would you mind my sharing your body for a while?”
“Correct. Would you stay here and keep this place from falling apart while we take him with us?”
“I sense you have no fear of danger at this planet, but I still do not like not being available should they need me. If they are in danger and need me, I would abandon Freddie with possibly dire consequences for those remaining aboard. Freddie must remain in space, not in the void. Robert, if you tell me it is that important I will do so.”
“Protector, it is not necessary. Robert has not asked me whether I wish to do this. Robert, you worry without reason, I am able to experience the beauty in many ways. All the girls allow me to share their minds and I share with you. The advantage of being there in flesh does not justify the risk. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I would want to entrust anyone else with the wellbeing of my body.”
“It is necessary for you to get away from here now and then.”
“I’d rather take a holiday on a tropical island with some of the girls.” Even the protector grinned at Robbie’s emoting.
Robbie tried to compensate for his instinctive response with humour. “Why would you want to do that, what do you know about girls and tropical islands?”
“I hear they have mosquitoes and I’d like to see a mosquito bump.” His amusement could be felt by all of us and yet Cherine whispered in her mind, *Arthur?* We felt the amusement grow stronger.
“Sam?” she asked, her eyes huge with wonder. I smiled back. “No, it is Freddie or Robert, however you want to think of him, he also reads the diary.” I added, when I saw her eyes bright with tears, “I’m sorry love.”
“Freddie, there will come a time that you’ll feel the need to get away for a while. Let me know when you do. Protector, don’t go, we need to talk.”
“I am what I am Robert, there is no need to talk.”
“I’d thought of your being a protector as giving you joy, I was naïve! I’m guilty of doing what I get angry with Sam for doing, if she does it. I did not think it through.”
“I have a suggestion for you Robert.” Robbie nodded for him to continue. “Take Allan and make yourselves gods, then you will know everything and there will be no room in your lives for error.”
Robbie was not in a mood for humour, thinking of it as being flippancy, but Cherine cut in quickly. “That’s a great idea! Think, none of us would or could ever be in any danger ever again.”
Allan stood up, leant over and kissed Eleni. “Since Cherine thinks it is a good idea we better do it. Bi Eleni.” Robbie stared at him as he approached and then tilted his chair back, looked up at the sword and laughed.
“I’m not sure anymore who is teasing whom.”
Robbie is no longer entirely confident he can keep track of our coming and goings and instructed Freddie to always stay alert on arrival for other-time copies of ourselves and to jump if he senses us already at our arrival point. We arrived at three in the morning, Robbie only opening his eyes for a moment, looking around until he sensed what had changed, and with a sigh went back to sleep.
“But you have to come with DC, it is so beautiful and you might never come here again.”
“The idea of being with so many of you in a small area is not pleasing Empathia. I hated it when travelling on a platform to your planet, in particular the return, it was so full of…people.”
“Then I’ll stay here with you.”
Dark Cloud looked at her suspiciously. “Are you going to change yourself into a baby again and spend the whole time crying?”
“No, but I will feel a little sad, I really wanted to see it.”
“Then you are not a real friend as you say. If you were, you would be glad you are staying with me.” Robbie calls that a ‘female’ answer, but we insist she was just being childish.
“Empathia, as you sow so shall you reap.”
She grinned. “She is getting good at it, isn’t she?” Robbie laughed.
“Girls, let me take our guests first, most of you have already seen this place, in addition, I’ll only take Latreia and Agapi with now. Soon as we return I’ll take the rest of you and that way there will be plenty of space for Dark Cloud to stay far away from me.”
Jade asked. “I’ve got a better idea Robbie. Make us a small platform and I’ll take some of them to the fire-world. I bet Dark Cloud would enjoy riding it.”
“Hmm, I sense all the youngsters would rather come with you. Allan, take your family with and let them ride with Jade and Cassie. Protector, you should go with them.”
As the void, Robbie folded it and we were almost instantly close to the fire-world, about an hour of flying to arrive there. Lucy went and sat next to the protector.
“Can you tell me now?”
“You are referring to your wish to jump to Sharipya? How would you do it Lucy?”
“I would picture the place I want to go to and jump there.”
“Shall we break that up into what you would actually be trying to do? First of all, you have to jump across realities. From there, once you are in the correct alternate reality you would have to jump from Earth to their planet which is in a totally different part of your galaxy.
You all use the word jump very loosely, as if all of it were one class of action. The correct word is teleportation. When you jump from the Earth to the moon, or from your home to London, those are teleportation. Jumping across realities is not.
You are using teleportation to break through the ‘skin’ of your reality, the gulf of non-reality then expends enormous amounts of energy in getting rid of you. Visualising your destination, spatially and within time, affect the direction non-reality throws you.
With teleportation however, you are using your own energy or powers. You would not arrive there Lucy. At but a fraction of the distance, your body and soul would dissolve as all the energy in you is used up. Do you recall the effort Robert made to lose himself by jumping? Even those short jumps were costing him energy and as he grew weaker his ability to harm himself lessened. If he had tried to jump to another star there would have been no body or soul for Cherine to collect.”
Cherine cried out and then in a fury she attacked the protector. She only used her fists, not her powers, and he sat without protecting his face until she collapsed sobbing. Dommi wrapped her in her arms and we all looked at the protector with our accusation not only in our eyes, but in our hearts. He had paled but his face remained serene, only his eyes showing his pain.
“We can’t stop him from knowing.” Jade cried out. With so many minds knowing the truth, he is bound to see it within us.
The protector ignored all of us and spoke to Cherine. “Did you not warn me that the loss of Robert would destroy or harm all of you? Did you not make him my prime by extension?” She pulled away from Dommi and stared at him. “Cherine, he has known since the previous discussion when he feared Lucy might try it. How did you think I knew?”
“Yes. Are you forgetting our efforts to find the girls in the non-reality? When he thought about it he realised the truth. Why do you think he only jumps great distances as the void?”
“You mean we could have lost him at any time?”
“Who are you Cherine?” We all stared at him, totally at a loss, not understanding the reason for his question. “Who am I Cherine?” Again we kept quiet. “I came into existence because of his desperate need to protect you Cherine, my existence is a bonus for the others, I am here because of you. Cherine, you are not my prime, you are his. I am only the manifestation of that fact.”
“He cannot kill himself because of Cherine?” Dommi asked.
“Correct. Even if his pain is unbearable and he tries to kill himself, he dare not be successful for then he would be abandoning Cherine and nothing, whatever hell he is in, can justify that. His efforts to die were nothing more than a way of his handling his pain. Stay alive and so will he.”
Empathia, as if speaking to herself said softly, Dark Cloud hanging on to every word of hers. “Protector, you have just told Dark Cloud how to kill Robert. She will now concentrate all her powers on final death for Cherine.” She looked at Dark Cloud. “In a way it was obvious wasn’t it DC? You always knew that love is our weakness? Don’t you find it interesting that strong as your hate is, it can only conquer if it is able to use love as it’s weapon?”
“You are right, it is interesting, but also useless information. Even Baritte saw the truth of what you said, but Cherine is the strongest of you all. Robert is the weakest, so I have to concentrate my powers on destroying him first. If he is gone, then Cherine and the rest of you will not be able to fight me.”
“We will not want to you mean?”
“No, you will want to, you may even give me final death before you give it to yourselves, but still I will have won. I will have destroyed you and my enemies.”
“They and your people will be in the same position, locked away until the end of time, so how do you see any victory in that for yourselves?”
“We do not care about the future, only the past. For us not to have a future while they do is not acceptable.”
Empathia looked at us proudly. “See, I told you she is clever!” She gave her a hug and letting her go stood up. “I think we are arriving. Lets have some fun.”
Fun? We were all feeling bruised and battered already, we did not need the ride anymore.
The protector said, “Jodine, I was told to hand over control of the platform to you as soon as we arrived. Robert said the rodeo girls are in charge now.”
The platform came to rest to the side of the beast, as we do not wish to be sucked in, that kind of crazy idea we can leave to Allan. The two girls withdrew and whispered. When they hugged and re-joined us grinning, we knew we are in for something exciting.
“Dark Cloud, we are going to rest the platform on the surface of the creature, far behind the mouth. The floor below us will become flexible and shape itself according to the contours beneath it. Goldi and I will then prompt the fire-world to move for us. We are doing this for fun, the creature will not fight us.”
“I have watched your storytelling, I understand what will happen, though not the reasons. Why is it fun?”
“The correct word is exhilarating. Our bodies sense the movements as being dangerous to us and react. What the mind knows does not dampen the reaction of the body to a great extent. I think Jade intended offering you the opportunity to back out if you do not find our plans exciting.”
“I have to back out if they are not exciting? Where would I back out to?”
I grinned. “You are becoming worse than Robert with his love of playing with words. Hang on tightly, you are about to discover what exciting means.”
We moved so that we were behind the head, far out, over the tail. We thought the girls wanted to catch it by surprise so the first moment we realised we were not going to land on the head was when we landed about three quarters down the length of the tail. The surface we were resting on was about half a kilometre wide, some of the bumps the size of hills. We all scrambled to the high points for the view. All of us except Dommi. She went to Allan and crouched before Jessie.
“Do you understand why we came here Jess?”
“Allan said we are coming to ride a big animal. Where is it?”
“Underneath us. I bet you’ve never seen an animal so big?”
“Is it bigger than an elephant?”
“Bigger than a thousand elephants. Jess, this animal is like a pet, it won’t harm us. You know those two sweet girls, Jodine and Goldi, we call them the rodeo girls because they made this animal tame like a pony and it lets us ride on it. They are going to make it fly very fast and maybe turn lots of ways, but remember, you can’t fall off. I think you should let Eleni or Allan hold you until you are used to riding with us.”
She looked at Eleni and then moved into the arms of Allan. He emoted such happiness that everyone stopped whatever they were doing to look at him.
“Allan, why don’t the three of you join me on that hill?”
Once we were in position Goldi spoke. “When riding the head, we noticed the tail swings around, looping and unlooping. We thought it might make the ride more exciting.”
“For many of us this is the first time love,” Dommi said, “You should have kept the additional excitement for the next ride.”
“Dommi, there will always be somebody new as long as Robbie is our husband.” Jodine teased.
“Take it easy in the beginning.” Dommi ordered as she sat by me. I whispered, “I’d avoid the pet business for a while Dommi.” And she whispered back, “No, we must start being open with her. If we tiptoe around her it worries and frightens her.”
At least half the girls screamed as the fire-world gave a startled jerk. It did not move for a while as the girls soothed it. Whatever rapport and control they establish, it made for a smoother movement as they sent it zooming around the sun. The platform was filtering the rays which at this distance would have killed us and somehow Robbie has found some kind of energy to dissipate the heat, the side facing the sun sending the heat to the part in shadow on the far side of the tail. The girls were keeping it this close to give us the sensation of speed. Though the fire-world was soon travelling at enormous speed, it was not something we could feel, as the sun is huge and doesn’t have permanent features.
They changed direction and we were aiming for a planet. It was too close to the sun and barren, if not also molten in many parts. Seeing the tiny disk growing so quickly hinted at the speed we were travelling at, but the girls wanted us to feel the speed so they had it pass by it at a small distance.
As we passed by the barren rock, a little larger than our moon, they had the fire-world curve sharply. The tail swung out and this time everyone screamed, including our rodeo girls. Soon as Jessie recovered from her fright she called out, “Again, again.” Happily we obliged a number of times.
Goldi called out, *I think it is having fun! It was bored!* The protector and Allan looked at each other and grinned. They instantly knew what this means: Robbie will be visiting here quite often from hereon.
The fire-world not only twisted and turned, it also revolved sometimes so that we felt as if we should be flung off, but we did not even lift off the surface. I wondered at what speed it must be revolving for us to be able to see and feel it - think of how fast the Earth revolves and we cannot sense it.
“I would like to see the storytelling of the time he fought with it. The part you call the mouth, it was as big as the largest continent on our planet.”
Empathia looked at Meli, her eyes imploring and she laughed. “With pleasure Dark Cloud. I think everyone would enjoy seeing it after being on this crazy ride.”
The rodeo girls were already making plans for the next visit when they want to place the platform close to the tip of the tail. I think I’ll skip that ride.
After supper we had a storytelling. First they briefly showed our trip of that day and then they reverted to the lesson of Robbie. They skimmed over the drawn out boring parts, those where Robbie was in danger of losing his mind and concentrated on the attacks, his teasing of it and the visit to the parallel universe to discover its origins. The telling finished with the Inguel and Robbie trying to neutralise the creature. By the time they finished we were all too awake to go to bed and had an impromptu party on the beach.
Empathia brought Dark Cloud to Robbie. “DC has a question Robert.”
“Of all the planets it attacked, did none of them have spaceships?”
“Freddie, check the memories.”
“I have found a number of them, would you like me to play one on the screens?”
We watched as the fire-world approached a solar system. The sun was still a distant star when it was met by a fleet of spaceships. It was obvious they were here on a scientific expedition as they sent out probes instead of bombs. The fire-world did not react to them and the commander must have felt safe. The ships moved closer and now the creature sensed sentient beings. The first raging torrent of fire caught three ships and they exploded. It was amazing to see how fast it turned, aiming for another two ships. One was caught in the flames and the other at the edge of the flames managed to escape. We could see the damage to it, and from the way it moved it was obvious that either there was no one alive or the controls had been fused. Not long thereafter it also exploded.
The rest of the ships (twenty three of them) reformed, ships with heavy armaments taking the front line while the others withdrew. Laser beams sliced at the surface without causing damage. Missiles exploded harmlessly while the fire-world destroyed another five ships.
“It is obvious they did not consider the fact that a creature able to emit such vast amounts of raw energy would be impervious to explosions. What bomb can compare to the explosions on a sun? Think of that energy travelling through it without the creature being harmed.”
Ships sped off while a few remained to try and harass the fire-world from a distance. They tried to divert it, but the creature had long since sensed the mass of sentient life on their planets and surrounding space and ignored their efforts. Months went by and then we saw a cloud of spaceships appear. The screens went blank.
“Dark Cloud, at that time I feared being in the same time and place twice, so I left before more lives were lost. I had to, so that we could return to collect their souls and samples from their bodies. You can take it for granted that the people you saw and their planets were totally annihilated since that reality was completely empty of any life. I’m guessing they tried using massive amounts of bombs at the same time without effect.”
“Robert, I have found other civilisations with spaceships.”
“You can show them some other time to the scientists Freddie, I think the questions Dark Cloud had, have been answered.”
“What I have been shown will be seen by my people and they will know there was no shame in losing to you .”
“It also means there will be much glory for you when you are able to show them you defeated me?”
“No, not glory. They will see that love made you weak and there will be questions about shame in our attacking and destroying you. I can now show them there was no shame.”
“There will be shame Dark Cloud. Should you find a way to destroy Robert and his family, you will be condemning millions of planets, millions of species. Robert and Cherine with their family, they represent hope and life. They offer an end to suffering and pain. You may not see shame in destroying the man himself, but you do not see shame for yourself and your people in the destruction of life? What was done to your people you would do to an entire universe and still claim there was no shame?”
“We do not seek to destroy him Luigi. We only ask he withdraw, allowing us to settle our war with the Unation that attacked us. Their attack and destruction of our people was unprovoked and criminal, they have to pay for what they did.”
“You cannot see they have paid?”
Her face contorted with anger and hate, she shouted, “No! They must face final death for what they did. They must not be allowed to continue to exist.” Carried away by her anger she turned on Shiyra and Merlin and a bolt of energy slammed at them. Shaken she saw it deflected and dissipated without causing harm to anyone and she stared at Robbie, expecting retaliation.
Sadly Robbie looked around. “There go our bougainvillaea. I loved them, they added such beauty to this old place.”
Empathia shook her head sadly. “DC, strategy - you forgot all about strategy. You are weaker now because you allowed your hate to betray you. Now they know what you can do even with your mind blocked.”
“Her mind is not blocked Empathia. She broke through the block.”
“Wow!” She stared at Dark Cloud with admiration. “Can you teach me to do that?”
Gently Robbie answered her. “Can you hate and be as angry as she was Empathia? That is all you need.”
“You were wrong! Hate is strong.” Dark Cloud said to Empathia.
“What do you think Empathia?” Robbie asked.
“Dark Cloud is confusing her powers with her hate. If she had controlled herself she could have caught you by surprise at a time you were not expecting to be attacked. She allowed her hate to force her to betray herself.”
“Is love stronger than hate?”
“No. I don’t think so, whatever qualities either have that could be defined as strength or power, exist in the other. Love endures. So does hate. A person who loves is willing to sacrifice everything, but then so is a person who hates. Eagerness to save a loved one could provoke the person into betraying his strengths before he should, just as hate did for DC.”
“Are you saying love is no better than hate?”
She looked stumped for a moment and then giggled. “You are twisting my words. Of course love is better; it is the way we grow. Hate is destructive. Your question was about which is more powerful, not better.”
Robbie looked at Cherine mournfully. “You promised to give me daughters who would give me joy - not babies who win every argument. Maybe we should have Normal babies from now?”
She pulled Empathia to her, hugging her. “It is your fault Robert.”
“You know that all of us try to mould ourselves to be your ideal. Empathia realised you treasure the mind above beauty. That is why she is so ugly, she concentrated all her powers on making herself clever for you.” Empathia was looking at her mum as she spoke and smiled when she called her ugly.
“Ugly!! How dare you call my daughter ugly.”
“You are not her husband, so don’t tell me what I can call her.”
Robbie pretended dejection. “A girl as lovely as her and with brains to boot, she’ll never agree to marry me.”
I giggled. “Empathia, he has trapped you. If you say you would, it proves you have not got as much brains as he thinks you do.”
She shrugged. “I don’t have a problem. Whatever he thinks of me marrying him, he would have to agree that I would have to be very stupid not to want to marry the rest of you.”
Alki, with elbow resting on the table rested his face in his hand, covering his eyes as if in despair, spoke. “Marian, I’m frightened of having a child now. If they are getting born smarter and smarter and we have one, he will want to take over my business from the day he is born.”
“We are not like you foreigners Roberto; you know that every Greek dreams of having sons.”
Allan said, his face very serious. “You know that is a fallacy Alki, it is like saying every Greek is a pallikari (warrior).”
“Are you saying they are not?”
“Are you saying they are?”
“Of course! Ask any wife or mother.”
I listened to the chitchat, but I was concentrating on something else. Empathia was urgently whispering with Dark Cloud who was obviously not in favour of whatever her little friend wanted of her. Empathia had a privacy shield up so I did not listen in, but her shield was a giveaway; it was obviously something very important. My only clue were the thoughtful glances at Shiyra and Merlin. They were aware they were the subject of the conversation and could feel those icy green eyes on them, but they tried to ignore them, trusting in Robbie to protect them.
Dark Cloud said, softly but firmly, “I’ve had enough, I’m going to my house to be alone.” She stood up to leave, looked down at the earnest face staring at her and leaning to her ear said in a fierce whisper. “This is bad advice you are giving me, but I will do it for you.”
She looked towards Robbie, as if expecting him to stop her, but he acted as if he was not aware of her. Scowling she walked over to her enemies.
“I apologise for attacking you. My apology does not mean I will not destroy you at the first chance I get, but I asked for the telling tonight and we are both here as guests.”
“We would not have resisted you if Robert had not protected us.”
“You are foolish then.”
“No Dark Cloud, we were foolish when we attacked your people. Whatever happens to us now is owed to you. We thought millions of years of regret were a high price to pay, but your people paid a higher price. We only wish there was a way for us to go back in time with this spaceship world of Robert and stop our people, but you know what Robert says.”
“If you want to pay the price we demand, why did you hide from us?”
“Not all the souls in our mother soul are guilty, some of them died as children. You are right though, we should have separated, for those who were guilty to be punished by you.”
“You know now, why does Robert protect you against your wishes?”
“He insists that at the end of time all over-souls will become one and if even one soul was dealt a final death we will all suffer for all the times to come. We do not understand him, so we cannot say we agree or not, but he makes a strong argument that if we allow you to punish us as you wish, we will be guilty of causing your people even more pain, one that time cannot erase. He is forcing us to want to live to devote our lives to paying our debt to you in other ways. It frightens us Dark Cloud, for the price he says we must pay is to be your friends and love you. We do not know whether we are capable of doing that. Perhaps it is because our burden of shame is so great.”
I did not have the right to interfere, but I was curious and wanted to pose a leading question. “Shiyra, if you are not allowed by them to be friends and repay your debt, or if your own shame blocks you as you suggest, how will that affect your people?”
“I think it would be worse to bear than the moment of final death. At least we will then be at peace.”
Dark Cloud left them with an angry look, as if she felt they had tried to cheat her. She walked up to Robbie and without waiting for him to acknowledge her, aggressively demanded. “When I am at my house or sit on the hill by myself, do you observe me?”
“Even when Empathia is with you we often do not watch or listen. It is not something we like to do in secret.”
Without noticing his reply had been evasive, she nodded and left us. Once she was gone, Goldi asked Empathia, “Did she mean it about not attacking when they are here as our guests?”
“Not if she gets angry or thinks she has a chance of succeeding. I will try to get her to come as our guest as often as I can.”
Merlin said, “When Shiyra spoke to me of Robert and his family I found it difficult to believe, even when I saw it directly from her mind. I believe now, but still do not understand. How can Empathia be our friend and yet try to help our enemy?”
“Perhaps that is the only way she can be a true friend of yours?” Cherine enigmatically asked.
*Girls, look after Jessie so that she does not notice Allan and Eleni are missing.* The imps moved in fast and once they had her laughing, Candy and Goldi joined them. They soon had her undivided attention, so Robbie touched Allan and Eleni as he jumped.
Allan pulled back from the edge, but Eleni was fascinated by the sight of the Sparklers so close to them. The shell of Freddie gives a soft glow even at night and she looked down at the view. Robbie made the ledge opaque so that Allan could relax and they moved back to stand by him.
“Why don’t you jump up here sometime Allan and take a running jump off the ledge. You know Freddie will not let you come to any harm and you’ll enjoy flying.”
Allan shuddered. “No thanks. You make me think of dreams I used to have. I find I can fly and land on a ledge or some other high point and then freeze with terror at the thought of jumping off - what if I no longer can fly?”
“I’ve had those dreams too. Try something different then. Decide you want to fly when you go to Meli’s world. Keep doing it until you lose your fear. I wanted to talk about Jessie, we have to help her.”
Ruefully Allan smiled. “I think you would be helping me more than her, in the immediate that is. It is painful wanting to love her while feeling her fear of me.”
“I did think of the time you got the protector to attack you for the Cherine of Keith’s reality.” Laconically he added, “My problem is that I’m a coward and would not enjoy being smashed around.”
“It would not be suitable either. I did it to make her love her Robert, we need to make her love you. My impression is she is now beginning to accept that you are her protector, and yet that same strength she sees as being a threat to her. To have you attacked would be a bad idea Allan, we need some other idea. You’re the writer, use your imagination.”
“That wouldn’t help; I doubt even Meli would come up with anything. Talking of Meli, did you understand her latest novel, it left me totally confused.”
“Stick to the subject Allan. Eleni, any suggestions?”
“You won’t like it.”
“I won’t, or Allan?”
“Both of you.”
“Tell us then and let us worry about it if we don’t, your responsibility is only to Jessie.”
“No. Maybe it is like that with Cherine and your wives, but my responsibility is to both of them or else we are not a family. That is what I see.”
“Tell him Eleni.”
“I think Allan must bear the pain he feels when she pulls away from him or runs to me for protection from him. He is gentle and his love is slowly winning her over, let her have the time she needs and let love grow in her heart. It is the best way to heal her. No tricks to force her please Allan.”
Robbie saw Allan was willing to go along with her suggestion, so he decided to let it go. “I’ll give you one year. If she still needs help then, please let us all try.”
They agreed and then Eleni asked, “What would happen if I jumped?”
“Freddie is able to manipulate energies that would keep you floating; to you it would feel as if you are flying. He would also monitor your thoughts at a superficial level and as you wish to rise, sink or move forward he would use the energy to move you. You would be safe Eleni.”
“Another time.” She looked thoughtfully at the land far below. “Roberto, what would happen if hundreds or thousands jumped at the same time?”
Robbie thought about it and communed privately with Freddie. “It would be very uncomfortable for them and a number of them could be hurt. Freddie would have to create one pocket of energy and gather them all together. They would land softly, but the crush may hurt some.”
“Nobody can die on your world?”
“Nobody has till now.”
“That does not include the animals and insects?”
“It does not. They need to breed Eleni, I’ve tried to ensure they all live under optimum conditions, but I cannot interfere with their natures.”
“Good, I’m glad.”
Robbie asked, “Allan, may I ask you a personal question?”
“Why did you make her so beautiful - how can you bear it?”
He smiled, flattered and touched by Robbie’s flattery of his loved one. “I did not make her beautiful Robert, I only brought out what was in her.”
There are many times we see similarities between Robbie and Allan, it could be the reason they fight so often, but we are also very glad they are so different in so many ways. Their devotion to those they love is one similarity of theirs we do treasure.
Dark Cloud spent the next day by herself, not wanting company, so we did not go to the lace world. The next morning Empathia jumped to her and asked her to join us. She looked flustered. “I forgot, we were supposed to go yesterday.”
“I felt you needed time by yourself. We did not mind waiting.”
She put her hands to Empathia’s face and stared into her eyes. “I think I am beginning to understand that you are my friend. Empathia, you know I will kill you, why?”
“Do you remember when you sent a soul to me? It hurt me a lot, but not just because of the hate like everyone thinks. I could feel behind that hate a lot of pain. That is what hurt me more. I have to reach that pain and take it into me; it is like a baby crying, I need to hold and soothe it. Once I could see that and I saw what Robert did to you, creating you as a new soul, I knew I would love you very much. If you kill me someday, maybe a little bit of my love will stay in you?”
“I will call you friend then, as long as you understand.”
We stood in the platform, but for some reason Robbie was not taking us anywhere. He was holding Latreia to him, but his mind was elsewhere.
“If you girls will allow me to pontificate without teasing me, I would like to say a few things that have been on my mind.
Many of you have been born as Cherinians and to the style of life we enjoy. Those of us who were Normals before Cherine and I came together, see your minds and there is a sweet joy in knowing you are not prey to the fears and pains we have known. There is a beauty in your minds none of us can ever hope to achieve, but it never causes us to envy you in an evil sense.
Seeing the lace planet brought it all back to me, the worries and fears I have for you. I see an analogy of sorts. The beauty you will be seeing soon is almost unearthly, it touches the heart as no painting or poem could. We all feel the universe is a richer place for having something so lovely.
You know that I will not allow any experiments or direct contact as I fear we could contaminate and destroy this planet. It has been pointed out to me that since a spaceship was found here it means the planet has already been exposed to alien bacteria and so on. I refuse to accept it as a valid reason for waiving my embargo. There will be no settlements of scientists and no direct contact. I have decided I have to create another much smaller Freddie, not with anything similar to this world though. The new Freddie will be a sphere of pure energy and will remain here to guard this planet. As we bring life back to this reality and they develop, they are certain to begin travelling in space. Any spaceships that arrive here will be warned away. If any try to land or probe the planet or its atmosphere, the guard-ship will wrap their spaceship in stasis and keep them here until we return for us to deal with them.
One more thing, as Latreia pointed out to me. Remember that the beauty you see here, overwhelming as it is, can be seen by any of you within a single snowflake. Beauty is all around you, do not forget to take the time to see it now and then.”
Gently we lifted off and passing through the double walls of Freddie we entered the void and from there Robbie took us to normal space and down to the lace world.
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
8th December, 2019