Chapter 22

The buzzing sounds echo’s through the estate, Davidson and Kazimir are here.  Everyone heads into the entrance room to great our guests.  Cara and I are ready, she moves closer to me as Dyami opens the door.  Entering the estate Kazimir’s eyes open at the sight of Cara next to me, “Well it seems you had a guest over night.”

            “What am I not allowed to have guests?” I say placing my hand around Cara’s waist.

            “On the contrary I am just thought you and Fiona were, you know.” Kazimir says.

            “No, we are just close friends, still you touch her I will kill you, you hurt anyone I care about again, and I will kill you.” I say.

            “Yes I am sure you will.” Kazimir says extending his arm to lead us out, “Oh, and for what it is worth, I don’t believe this little charade for a moment, but the people will fall in love with the two of you, and as long as you do what we say, I could care less whom you bring to bed.” Kazimir whispers into my ear as we pass by.   

            Once in the car Davidson and Kazimir sit opposite Cara and me, unlike Kazimir, Davidson is all a flurry with the budding relationship, Kazimir doesn’t whisper a word, showing me something he didn’t intend, who really runs Eden, “So tell me, when did this romance start, I mean up until now I was lead to believe that Riley and Fiona were madly in love. “ Davidson says.

            “No, we were more like siblings; I care for her, but not like that.”  I say.

            “Well thinking of her like that does explain the fierce devotion to her.” Davidson says, “I have to say, Cara here is an excellent catch, quite well off.”

            “Oh I know.” I say, Cara leaning her head against my shoulder.  Kazimir stares me down and motions secretly with his hand to keep it up.  He wants me to play into Davidson’s hands, I was right this bastard doesn’t want to simply secure Eden he wants to take if for himself. 

            “You should tell the people of Eden about your and her, how you met and such.” Davidson says, “They will eat it up.”  Davidson isn’t as crafty as I thought, Kazimir is the puppet master, and we are all his puppets.  Thought Davidson doesn’t seem to realize it.

            “Well it appears that we have arrived.” Kazimir says, “Remember what is at stake, Fiona isn’t the only girl in your life who is in danger now, I would hate to see something happen to your dear Cara.” He says this in front of us both, it is he has sent a clear message; you both do as I say or everyone dies.

            “It is good to see you again Riley.” Christmas says.  She must have been waiting for us to arrive.

            “Same here Ms. Christmas.” I say.

            “Oh, please call me Elizabeth; I see they granted your request to have Ms. Cassidy accompany you.” Elizabeth says.

            “We try to spend as much time together as possible.” I say taking Cara’s hand.

            “Oh, you have to tell me what you two are up to when we get the chance.” Elizabeth says.

            “We will, you can count on that.” I say, “Shall we begin the tour.”  The servant quarters are nothing like the where I have been so far, from what I have seen Eden is a grand city full of wealth and frivolous extras.  Down here below the upper city, lies the dark dim world where the servants live.  The builders of this city have constructed a city above this one.  I city of light, underneath them below ground are the servants.  The whole system has been designed so they can move to and from work without being seen by these who live above.  Even in this dim world its inhabitants light up when I approach.  Within moments they have us surrounded, not to attack, but to see.

            “I can have a security team escort us through if you want.” Elizabeth says.

            “No, its ok, I want to see them.” I say.  Bringing Cara in closer to me I continue to walk through the crowd of people.

            “You should talk to them.” Cara says.

            Nodding my head I stop and look through the crowd, so many people, and young, old.  These people deserve a fair shot at life, their children deserve a chance.  I have to speak so they understand, but Davidson and Kazimir do not.  Focusing in one a small child I walk over and kneel besides him, “Hello there, what is your name?” I ask.  The child steps back hiding behind his mother’s legs, but still watches on.

            “It’s ok.” The mother says, “Remember the stories I tell you at night, this is that man’s son.”

            “They are not just stories, everything you have heard, been told is true.” I say, “I have come back to Eden to keep his legacy alive.”  My focus is on the woman, she smiles.  Does she understand I don’t have time to find out, “I understand there is uncertainty down amongst the servants?” I ask, “Believe me when I say that your safety and wellbeing on foremost in my mind.” My gaze meets Kazimir; he nods of his approval with what I have said, “I will stop at nothing to ensure your future shines bright.”  People begin to cheer and clap, I can only hope that my message was clear, if not my contacts will ensure the word is spread.  A small girl stands at my feet she tugs on my pants.  I kneel down once more; she leans in and whispers barley loud enough for me to hear, “My mommy says you daddy died fighting to free us, is that true.”

            “Yes, as do I” I say, “But that needs to be our little secret ok.” I wink as I rise to my feet once more.

            “Shall we continue?” Elizabeth says.

            “Yes, lead on.” I say.

            Walking through the streets of the under city once more people seem to follow us.  Kazimir has done a good job of building my character, no matter what side you are on, or position of class you have, you cannot help but one to see the son of Commander Liam Quinn.  While walking there is a commotion and shouting from a side ally, this is different from the normal noise of people gossiping about me.  Pushing my way through people I arrive in the ally, three troopers clad in the same armor from haven stand above an elderly man.  There mask less faces show nothing but distain.  Blood drops down his far head, his body strewn about the ground, “Please I beg you, my family has no food.” The man cries.”

            “What is going on here?” I ask.

            “Mind your own business.” A trooper says striking me in the head with the butt of his rifle.  The crowd gasps as if all the air in the world suddenly vanished.  Kazimir darts forward slapping the trooper across the face. 

Blood trickles from his lip, “How dare you strike him, do you not recognize who he is.” Kazimir says.

“Sorry Commander Kazimir, I didn’t realize, I was just reacting.” The trooper says.

“What exactly caused you reacting to so harshly.” Kazimir says.

“This man was caught stealing food, the punishment is death.” The trooper says.

Rising to my feet I cut in, “Death for stealing food.” I say.

“Well people do have to pay for their crimes.” Kazimir says.

“Well you are right on that, people need to pay for their crimes.” I say with a wink as I staring directly into the eyes of the elderly man.

“Though I suppose in honor of your visit, we can let the man live.” Kazimir says, “Go free eat.” He waves the man away.  Kazimir is a genius, not only is he going to use my father’s legacy and I, he is going to turn himself into a hero.  Wiping the blood from my eye I watch as Kazimir simply smiles towards me and return to his place besides Davidson.

“Well I think we have had enough excitement for one day.” Elizabeth says, “Let us return to my estate, I have lunch prepared.”  They sure do eat a lot here in Eden, back home I would be lucky to get one meal every few days, so far today I am preparing for my second.

Elizabeth’s estate is much like mine, except slightly smaller, though even with the size of hers I could not imagine why anyone would ever need that much room.  He grass is neatly trimmed much like mine; however it seems she has changed the trees into decorations of animals neatly carved from the branches and leaves, “You did well today, though you did almost blow it with that stunt about the food.” Davidson says, “But we were lucky to that Kazimir was able to turn it around.”  Kazimir sits next to Davidson looking rather pleased with him, “though in hindsight, perhaps it was a good move, the people will talk.  They will talk of the kindness of Commander Kazimir, of how Mr. Quinn here took a hit for a helpless old man, and then they will bow to us.”

“I couldn’t have said it better myself, Chancellor.”  Kazimir says starting at me a wicked smile upon his face, “Well we should head in, can’t sit here all day now can we.”

“You’re coming along.” Cara says.

“Didn’t know we weren’t invited.” Davidson says.

“Chancellor, you misheard me, I was simply in shock that you would grace us with your presence over such a simple lunch.” Cara says, “It will be an honor to have lunch with you.”

It is clear that Elizabeth was not expecting Davidson and Kazimir for lunch.  The table bears only three place settings, Elizabeth quickly sends her servants scrambling to fix the issue.  In a matter of minutes the table is reset for the correct number of people.  Lunch is a cream soup of various vegetables, “So do tell us of how you two met?” Elizabeth asks.

“Oh yes, do tell.” Kazimir chimes in.

“Well it was during the time at the hospital, Cara here saved my life, it was only natural we would develop feelings for each other.” I say, “I am just happy we are able to get some time together alone, without all the watchful eyes of the hospital.”

“Oh that is most wonderful.” Elizabeth says.

“So Ms. Christmas, I understand you feel we should allow the servants to earn citizenship.” Kazimir says, “Do you really think that is wise.”

“People will work harder more honestly if they have something to work towards.” Elizabeth says, “What do you think Riley?”

“I don’t think it would be a good idea to grant servants freedom, maybe when they are old and can no longer work, make them think they have earned something.” I say.

“I like that idea, appearances are everything after all.” Kazimir says.

“You mean like how we keep up the appearance of the air still being radioactive outside of Eden.” Elizabeth says.

“I would watch what you say Mr. Christmas; I would hate to see anything happen to you.” Davidson says.  My eyes glance over to Kazimir, “oh what harm could it bring, it seems out friend from the Wastes is the only person who doesn’t know.”  I turn to Cara; her face says it is true; I am the only one who doesn’t know.

“What are they talking about? I ask.

“Go ahead Ms. Cassidy, it’s not like he can do anything about it.” Kazimir says.

“The air is clear, it cleared up decades ago, and the radioactive zone isn’t even real. Cara says, “We use it as a method to control people.”  To think I have spent my entire life behind a mask when I didn’t have to.

“What about the sun, will that kill us to.” I say.

“Potentially if you spend years in its rays, but we have the cure for skin cancer, so it is not a threat to the people of Eden.” Cara says, “I am sorry I didn’t tell you, it just never came up.” I don’t know what to say, thankfully Elizabeth changes the subject.

“Perhaps, this is a matter you two should talk about when you are alone.” Elizabeth says, “For now I believe we were talking about the future of the servant class.”

“Yes I believe we were.” Kazimir says, “I have to say Mr. Quinn has quite the idea.”

“May I make a suggestion?” Cara interjects, “In the medical field we conduct tests for new medicines.  Perhaps we should try that here.”

“What are you getting at Ms. Cassidy?” Davidson asks.

“Why not try it here in District six, free those too old to work, see how it turns out, it could be a study to see if it truly benefits the Brotherhood.” Cara says.

“Maybe you are right; it would also go a long way to help quell the unrest amongst the districts.” Davidson says, “I will think about it, for now we seem to be done and I have things to do.”  After Elizabeth says goodbye we return to the car and begin the trip back to my estate, I need to get some time along with Cara outside of the estate to meet with the others.

“Chancellor, do you think it would be possible for Cara and I to have the night to ourselves, I would like to take her to dinner, I feel I may have been too harsh in my treatment of the information revealed to me.” I say.

“What do you think Commander?” Davidson asks.

“I would not advise that Chancellor.” Kazimir says.  I have to play to Davidson here, there has to be a way to get the time I need.

“Sir, what good is having a beautiful woman at your side if you can’t show her off to the people, would a few hours really hurt.” I say kissing Cara on the cheek.

“I suppose it won’t hurt if you spend a couple of hours out on the town.” Davidson says, “Do you object Commander.”

“Sir, I am but a simple Soldier who is obligated to follow orders.” Kazimir says shooting me a glance; he knows I have out played him on this one.

Back in the estate Dyami has been busy cooking dinner, I feel bad, but it will have to wait till another day.  Once the car is out of sight we head into the study, “Dyami, we are going out tonight, Cara and I.” I say.

“I guess I will save the food for another night.” Dyami says.

“Actually I need you to cook double.” I say.

“You want me to cook twice the amount of food for a meal you won’t even be at.” Dyami says.

“Yes, send it to the servants in district six, spread the word it come from Kazimir and me.” I say.

“Won’t he and Davidson get suspicious?” Cara asks.

“I am counting on it, Kazimir will know I am plotting something, but he will use it, Davidson will know something else is up, Kazimir will have to explain. I say.

“You are planning on turning them against each other somehow.” Cara says, “Care to let everyone else in on you plan.”

“I don’t know do you have any other secrets you wish to share.” I say.

“Forget this, I said I was sorry, I am out of here.” Cara says heading for the door.

“Cara wait, I am sorry that wasn’t fair.” I say, “If we can start to plant the seeds of doubt about Kazimir into Davidson’s head we can use it.  Look, Kazimir is planning on overthrowing Davidson; I will use Davidson’s doubt to convince Kazimir I am going to work with him to take out Davidson.”

“Ok, it is a good plan; let’s just promise no more secrets between us.” Cara says.

“Agreed I will go over everything over dinner, Cara can you arrange Sebastian and Guy to meet with us.” I say.

“I shouldn’t have too much trouble setting it up.” Cara says, “Is there anything else you need.”

“No, once that is done we need to get ready, don’t forget we have a date tonight.” I say.  I don’t know why I do it, just caught in the moment and all the planning, “Dismissed.”

Once again we are in our finest attire; Dyami has had my suit from the first day in Eden cleaned.  Cara wares a simple blue dress tight against her skin which runs down to her knees, her back is exposed.  This dress has been clearly chosen to get people to watch, perhaps even a specific person.  Her heeled boots are of tight black leather and stop slightly below the knees, “Cara, you look amazing.” I say.

“Thank you, you don’t look half bad yourself.” Cara says.

“Have our dinner arrangements been made?” I ask.

“Yes, everything is set; it should be quite the night.” Cara says.

While we wait for the car my eyes seem to drift naturally to Cara, her body, her hair, and her lips.  She truly is beautiful, standing there watching her form in the light of the estate my mind drift to Fiona, locked away in a cell somewhere while I am out dinning on the finest foods, I can’t help but feel betrayal.  It seems like years ago I promised I would never hurt her, and now the only way I can keep her alive is to hurt her.  The thought of Kazimir describing Cara and I together almost wrenches me heart from my chest.  My own thoughts towards Cara seem to do the same.

My mind draws back to the moment as the long black car drives in to view, moments later Kazimir stands before us, “I wanted to thank you for the little present you sent to the servants in district six on my behalf in person.” Kazimir says, “had to spend my night explaining to Davidson how it was all part of his plan, would you believe that his plan.”  Kazimir looks over towards Cara, “Look at you; you sure do look ready for a night on the town.” Kazimir says, “I would go, but Davidson seems to think you two deserve a night alone, he is quite taken by your little mock relationship.”

“Why don’t you tell him the truth then?” I say, “If you are so against it.”

“Oh, I am not against it, I have plans in the works.” Kazimir says.

I lean in close to Kazimir whispering into his ear, “I know exactly what your plans are, be a shame for Davidson to find out, I mean I don’t want him to end up like Hyde.”  Kazimir is taken back at the realization of what I know.

“It is not like you can do anything, remember, if you do, all the lovely soft things in your life will die.” Kazimir say.

“Maybe, maybe not, how about your and I have a little conversation once I get back.” I say.  Kazimir is fuming at the loss of control over the situation.

“Fine, but no this you walk a very thin line right now.” Kazimir says.  Walking to the car I turn once more driving the knife further in.

“Oh you wouldn’t happen to know any places we could go, being you can’t come and all.” I say.

The End

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