Chapter 8

Emily and Truth

Emily chewed her lip in frustration. The wreckage of the Sophist vessel brought back too many bad memories and maintaining a cheerful facade in front of Princess Phantasia Caelestis was no easy task. She had the eyes of a seer.

“This vessel belonged to one called ‘Hierodula’,” she announced. “Some called him ‘Father’, or ‘the Founding Father’, and referred to this as his ‘throne’.”

“And you can tell all that just by looking at it?” Emily asked, adding a touch of awe to her voice to maintain appearances.

“I see all things,” replied the Princess, before glancing to her side and adding a mumbled, “Most things.”

To Emily, the Princess took the appearance of an adolescent girl, childish of nature if not of form. Elegant in poise and majestic in posture, she held her head high as they navigated the slender paths through the thickets surrounding the crashed ship, her flowing dress caught by the same unfelt breeze that played with her hair. Sometimes she would reach out and brush her fingers against the wings of a butterfly or the soft fur of bumblebees as they danced about the wild flowers, greeting them as if they were old friends. Bird or beast, living or not, aware or ignorant, all things had a soul, and, in Princess Phantasia’s eyes, all things were equal.

“Don’t you ever get confused?” asked Emily. Her own experiences of the aethereal world and its vast well of information had often left her dizzy as a child. It was one of the reasons she tried to avoid it.

“I do not,” replied the Princess, “though I am troubled by the need for so many names. This world would be simpler were everyone to see the same thing.”

Everybody perceived the aether differently. That was why names were so very important. There were as many Phantasias out there as there were people, but they all shared the same soul.

The Princess stopped by the wing of the Sophist ship. “Dante Orpheus followed this path,” she said.

As much as she wanted to ignore it, Emily saw it too. Vibes, fingerprints in the aether, traces of Dante’s observations as he made his way into the ship’s carcass alongside Alonie Kent. As Emily followed their trail, she spied subtle hints of Shelley Eoghan, too. She wondered what else Alonie might steal from her.

But, then again, if Prince Freyr had his way, it was probably for the best. The thought of his request brought a taste of bile rise to Emily’s throat.

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Yes, that was a sneaky Kingdom Hearts reference.