The Nasty continues…
The Core could only be accessed from the ante-room beyond the King’s Chamber, a place Biko had never known existed. He was filled with mounting excitement as he followed Sage Dusu through the king’s quarters towards that secret section.
The king’s body had been taken away by the Royal undertakers so the bed was empty, but Biko could not look at the bed as they crossed behind it to the king’s huge wardrobe. The slight depression in the bed caused by the king’s cold body filled him with great sorrow and guilt for a moment but he forced himself to push that image away.
As it was, the deed had been done in the heat of the moment. He had chosen to save his mother and the father he had not known. As painful as it was to betray the king, it had been done now. He had to swallow that bitter pill and hope to be a better king for his people after he had gotten rid of Nana.
That unsavoury act would follow closely, yes, but now it was time to acquaint himself with the secrets of the Core.
There was a huge door beyond the head post of the bed and it was covered with curtains which the Sage brushed aside and opened. It led into a huge enclosure beyond which was filled with an array of ceremonial robes and beautiful garments and footwear separated into large compartments.
Sage Dusu led the way through the cavernous wardrobe to the end of the compartment and carefully pushed a wooden bracket laden with folded clothing to the side, revealing a narrow door embedded in the wall of the king’s wardrobe.
The Sage selected a portion of the wood and gently pushed it in, revealing a startling, lighted panel with digital options on the small interface.
“What is that?” Biko asked with awe as a series of beeping sounds emanated from the panel.
“Security codes for entering the Core, my son,” the Sage said. “This place, for security reasons, can be accessed by only the king and the Sage. Now that you’re a king you’ll be given a set of codes, fingerprint and retina scan access after your coronation.”
Biko watched in awe – and with a bit of fear – as the Sage entered codes on the panel, and he almost fled from the vestry when he heard a rather strange voice speaking.
“Please place required fingers on the surface for fingerprint scan!”
Sage Dusu placed the middle and index fingers of his left hand and the thumb and little finger of his right hand on four blinking red spots on the surface of the panel.
The red lights changed to green.
“Please step forward for a retina scan!”
The Sage took two steps forward as a metal plate was revealed on the floor; he stood on it, and Biko once again trembled hard when he saw a beam of light passing across the Sage’s face.
“Welcome back to the Core of Lade, Sage Dusu,” the mechanic voice said.
The panel smoothly rolled to one side as two doors opened beyond to reveal an elevator.
“Come, my son,” the Sage said.
Biko’s face was tight with fear and shock as he stepped beside the Sage, and the doors rolled closed, but the embedded lights above remained on.
“What is this?” Biko asked in a strained voice.
“An elevator,” the Sage said with an amused smile. “It descends to the Core and comes up again mechanically, making it an efficient replacement for steps. It is a common feature on Planet Earth.”
Biko felt queasy and nauseous as the elevator descended rapidly, but he soon began to experience a wild sense of exhilaration as they went down. This was a power he had never dreamt existed, a level of life that was beginning to fill him with ecstasy.
“How could this be hidden from Ladeans? How could you deny our people such comforts?” he asked bitterly.
“A long-standing agreement between the crazy leaders of Lade and the rest of the Pentaverse, my son. That agreement makes Lade a servant to planet Earth in the name of peace! Madness if you ask me. But all that ends now! It is time for Lade to enjoy that which has been denied her for thousands of years.”
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the elevator stopped and the doors slid open. The Sage stepped onto a huge, semi-circular platform and motioned to Biko who took tentative steps forward, saw what was spread beneath him, and turned away suddenly with a look of terror on his face. He would have fled from the platform but the Sage held his arm tightly and smiled.
“Do not be afraid!” Sage Dusu said, his voice almost stern. “These are common things on earth, produced here on Lade, and it is so sad that you do not have any knowledge of them, and flee from them!”
Biko had to take deep breaths and hold on to the railing tightly to stop himself from fleeing, and even though he trembled visibly, he allowed himself to witness the grand array of technology displayed beneath him.
The Core was like a city!
It was a huge place with white-suited Ladeans moving around. He noticed that others did not look like Ladeans at all. They were dressed peculiarly in strange grey suits and looked smaller and lighter-skinned than the Ladeans. Their ears were smaller and flatter, their faces narrower and more intense. These were strangers, Biko knew immediately, and suddenly he began to feel intense hatred for these grey-suited aliens.
“Those in grey are humans from Earth,” Sage Dusu said gravely and stretched out a hand to point. “The red oval-shaped lighting in the distance are Gateways. They help the CHA – the Chosen Human Assets – to move between Lade and Earth. They come and learn the process and take them to Earth. We supply Earth with technology, medicine, sciences… an array of special services that make them develop and evolve faster!”
“And leave Lade in perpetual poverty and under-development?” Biko asked with mounting fury.
“Yes, my son, supposedly for the maintenance of peace in Lade. Utter nonsense, if you ask me. Over there, behind those green doors, our people are perfecting a new vaccine for a malady that is sweeping over Earth now and killing millions of Earthlings, and it is free! The way I see it, Earth should be serving Lade. We deserve to be enjoying better facilities, a better life, and a higher standard of living. That is something the king never understood. After hundreds of years of slavery, I believe the time has come for us to stop and develop Lade. That agreement with Earth and the Pentaverse is stupid, and should be abrogated.”
“What are those moving things? Those flying things?” Biko asked in awe.
“Vehicles, my son,” the Sage said. “Means of transportation. Cars, trains, aircraft. They have evolved over time, and what you’re watching are the latest vehicles we’ll be sending to earth!”
“Dear Spirits!” Biko whispered. “And those… coloured things with… Ladeans on them?”
“Televisions, screens, monitors, my son, quite amazing!” the Sage said. “Some can feedback videos through cameras, drones! And it has given me an idea, my son, about how to make the Ladeans love you beyond measure! Come, let’s go down and meet them, and let them know you’re now the new king. Come, my son, learn about how you were conceived, and about amazing things you have never dreamed of! This is the ultimate power, and you now have the authority to make use of them in Lade and push those damn Earthlings off our planet.”
Shivering, scared and yet exhilarated, Biko stepped beside his father and they descended into the belly of the Core of Lade.
They did not know that as they moved through the wonders of that vast and wondrous secret Core, the spirit of the dead King of Lade and the soul of his imprisoned son were also floating with them, listening to them and partaking in the horrors of evil plans they forged against Earth.
And when the Sage explained to Biko how he had persuaded the queen to come to the Core to go through what he called artificial insemination, a process called in-vitro fertilization with the sperm of the Sage whilst the king was away visiting the lower Ebuses, King Haman roared in agony and blasted around the Sage and Biko with such fury that Prince Nana was forced to shout fear.
“Father!” he called. “It is alright, father! Do not be so incensed!”
The frantic movements of the king’s spirit caused Sage Dusu to pause his speech suddenly and look around him with raised eyebrows.
“What is it?” Biko asked in an unsteady voice. “Do you feel something? I felt quite cold an instant ago.”
“Interesting,” the Sage said softly as he wove his hands in front of his face, causing faint tendrils of parallel violet rays to stand in the air in front of him, but the rays warped and became a mixed circular form before dissipating. “The spirit of the king is near us, and understandably, old Haman seems to be agitated!”
Nana noticed how Biko gasped and took rapid steps away from the sage as if scared he might be touched by the spirit of the king.
“Oh, I’m indeed agitated, you evil little toad!” King Haman said as he threw harmless blows at the Sage’s face. “I regret the day I chose you as the Sage, Dusu!”
Nana floated to his father’s side and spoke calmly.
“Let it be, Father. What will be, will be, as you said.”
“I regret a million things, my son,” King Haman said sadly. “I should have known. But then again, it is well. Come, our stay here is done. Time for you to return to your body.”
“It is far from well, my father!” Nana said as they climbed up into the sky again. “You heard their evil plans. I’m weak and untrained. I don’t know the ways of the palace, nor how to raise a mutiny. The future is bleak!”
“You’re not alone, my son,” King Haman said gently. “If this is not your destiny, they would never let it come to pass. There are hard times ahead, very bitter pills I wish I can swallow for you, but remember you won’t be alone! My spirit will be with you until the day I ascend to the higher realms. Do not despair, son. I am with you always!”
“I love you so, father,” Nana whispered, and his voice caught on a sob.
“And I love you a million times more, my son,” the king said happily. “Remember, I’ll always be at your side. Now, go, return to your body.”
“Don’t leave me to this fate, my father!” Nana said desperately. “Let your love and your power encompass me!”
The king made circles around his son, imparting his love to the young prince.
“You’re the King of Lade, my son! Hold your head high. I love you, and everything will be alright. Go now, my son. I’ll watch over you!”
“Thank you, Agya. I love you!”
And then, suddenly, Nana woke up with a strangled cry locked in his throat!
A lantern was hanging on a peg on the wall of the dungeon. Outside the gate, more lanterns were hanging on the walls. The Chief Warrior Atorku was sitting on a cane chair leaning against the wall and looking at the prince with a slightly furrowed forehead.
For a moment he felt a severe headache and indescribable nausea. He sat up on the concrete slab and dry-retched horribly.
What was that?
A vision of sorts? His father was here?
Nana looked at the concrete roof of the dungeon, expecting to see his father hovering there, but it was empty. After a while, it all settled in, and he realized that what had happened had not been just a dream, but stark reality!
He heard a commotion in the hall beyond and looked through the bars of his cell. Commander Atorku had heard it too and he got to his feet suddenly and swiftly drew his sword.
“What is it?” the prince asked fearfully.
The sound was a rumbling, hissing and grating noise of something approaching down the length of the corridor.
“I do not know,” Atorku said calmly. “Stay away from the cell gate, my prince. Stay far away!”
Sage Dusu told Biko to remain inside the Core and garner more knowledge about the existing protocols and the new technologies. The Sage then moved towards the elevator and entered but as soon as the doors shut silently, he disappeared from the elevator and appeared inside the outer reaches of the palace in front of the shut gates that led to the dungeons.
“I know your restless spirit still lingers, Haman,” he said with a bleak expression on his face. “But you’re powerless. What have you been able to impart to your oaf of a son? I can’t take chances, and you know that, Your Majesty. By lingering, you have sentenced the silly prince to his early death.”
The Sage lifted his left hand.
He was holding the tail of that vile evil creature that he had forced into the king’s mouth; that white, multi-limbed entity that looked uncannily like a prawn. It was moving in a violent, agitated manner as the sage dropped it into the corridor beyond the gate.
“Seek,” Sage Dusu whispered bleakly. “Kill.”
The tiny thing scuttled down the corridor and began to descend rapidly. As it moved, it began to grow bigger. Its body thickened out and became segmented. Then, its limbs grew, and its tail curled upwards like that of a scorpion. Its body was scaly covered with deadly, prickly hair with barbs. By the time it reached the lower levels it had become a vicious, scary, beast. When it rounded the corner and began to bear down on the cell, Prince Nana whimpered with horror. He tried to speak but his fear locked out his voice.
“What vile demon is this?” Atorku said, his voice unsteady as he twirled his sword. “You will not triumph, mammon. I am a warrior of Lade, and you’re not touching my prince!”
End of promotional chapters… Read the rest of the story on Dreame with the link below. Remember to use the next chapter button at the end of each chapter to read along. And, remember to leave a nice review of the story on Dreame. Thank you.
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