.05 Questing: SlumsMature

Sarah didn't know that such an extravagant place could exist in the slums.

The moment they arrived at the palace, Sarah knew for sure that her mother had been hiding things from her. This was nothing like the little hut that they had lived into for a while.

Sarah sighed as she stared at the palace. It was a tall building built on a small hill. A long winding trail led up to it and she could see the outlines of a carriage waiting at the door. The palace was built beneath a tall, but abandoned underground water reservoir from the domes. How else could such a tall building fit underground without poking out from the top? The palace itself was inconsistently made with bricks, stone concrete and wood. The whole thing looked strangely elegant yet out of place, not only because it stood out from the rest of the buildings and because of the strange combinations of materials, giving it an awkward glow.

The castle was terribly tall and possibly because of a slightly hole in the reservoir, a small amount of light shone through it, day and night, giving it mysterious glow that was different from anything else that anyone had ever seen before. After all, this was the only place that people could see glimpses of the real sun and the real moon. But even these were only glimpses and they were only from the light shone down from the hole. It was a shame, but because of this, it made the palace a hugely sacred place down in the slums. Because it was the closest most people would ever get to the sun.

Sarah followed Kyle who made his way up the long winding driveway. there were no one here, but from the look for the carriage, and the tracks on the ground, they had obviously just arrived here for a little while. Maybe they could catch hannah before she got too attached to this place. Before, Sarah wouldn’t have worried that Hannah might get attached, after all, she was from the domes, a place so much more brighter than this place. Just the slight bit of light here was nothing compared to the above. But now Sarah wasn’t so sure. It seemed as if how much light there was in the building wasn't as important of a thing to Hannah. She was more interesting in fun. Maybe this was the fundamental differences of people from the slums and people from the domes - they didn’t understand to savor the light just as much.

When they reached the door of the castle, a guard stopped them.

“Why are you here?” The guard demanded, his voice gruff. He stood by the door awkwardly, stiff from his press suit. Obviously he hadn’t guarded for a while and he looked rusty. If you could tell someone looked rusty standing guard.

“We’re here to see the queen.”

“The queen is still settling down. She won’ be taking any visitors riht now. Come back later. Maybe you have better luck then.”

“It’s very urgent news.”

“How can it be urgent? The queen has only been created for a little while, urgent news can come so fast.” The guard stared at them skeptically. Obviously he was smart, he knew the tricks for getting into the palace. Urgent news, personal news, personal errands, anything like that. They would really have to convince him.

But kyle didn’t seem to be in the convincing mood. He frowned.

“Alright then. I shall be back as soon as possible.” He turned around and led Sarah back down the path. Sarah stare at him confused.

“Why are we just leaving?” She asked, somewhat angry at Kyle’s halfhearted attempt. Kyle shushed her and suddenly turned off the road and jumped into a shadowed ditch.

“Do you think that that guard would be willing the let us in? He’s smart, no urgent news would be here yet. Not everyone even knows that there’s a new queen. We’ll have to go in another way.”

“Oh.” Sarah nodded, realizing how stupid she was being and feeling bad for questioning Kyle. It was just hard because of everything that happened these days. Her suspicions were high. Everything was suspicious. It was a rather sad and upsetting fact.

Sarah followed Kyle through the ditch which ran a much longer route and had many other split offs, but Kyle seemed to know where he was going. Had he gone her before?

“How do you know these routes?”

Kyle laughed.

“I knew you would ask this.” Sarah’s face flushed in embarrassment. “I was once curious about what was actually in the palace and henceforth figured out all of the secret ways of getting in that that I could explore every crevice to my own content.”

Sarah nodded.

“Did you find anything?”

“I found a library that was rather interesting. It was pretty uncomplete in terms of range of literature. I think it had much more books on delusional stuff.”

“Really? Did you look are every book?”

“I read every single one.” He said, not without pride in his voice. “They were mostly about... Crazy things. Things that could never happen. I suppose you could call these books novels. Have you heard of those?”

Sarah frowned as she searched for that term in her memory. In the domes, the only library was a small shelf that contained self-renewing books so that the book never got worn or torn. But then the word clicked in her mind. Her mother had shown her a book once. It was about a story of a girl with a dog and then something happened to the dog and... Sarah tried to remember what had happened next, but she could only remember that it was something bad and it broke her heart, because the dog had died because of it.

“Yes. I have. My mother read one to me before.”

Kyle nodded.

“I read every single book in that library.” He said again. “I must say it was one of the few times that I had really enjoyed reading...”

“Was there anything else?”

“Else of what?”

“Of the palace.”

Kyle thought for a while as if he was running every room of the palace through his head.

“There were many bed chambers but only one of them seemed to have been used in any recent time. It probably was the queen’s. I’m not too sure why there were also other rooms. Maybe for a family that now no longer exists?”

Kyle frowned at the thought.

“How do you know this?” Sarah finally asked. “I’ve never met anyone like in the slums before. Well, except for maybe the freelancers. I suppose you could count me as a freelancer as well since I’ve lived in both worlds, but I’ve never actually met a freelancer. Are you a freelancer?”

Kyle fell silent at the question, his lips pursed into a dark frown. He was thinking of something and Sarah now felt bad for asking such a question, why couldn’t she just have stuck to what kind of novels he like reading?

“I suppose you could call me part freelancer. But no, I am not a real freelancer.”

“Then you’re a fake freelancer?”

Kyle winced as if he hadn’t been expecting this question either.

“Yes.” He finally said, his voice slightly strained. “I suppose you’ll want to hear my story as well.”

Sarah nodded.

“But if you don’t want to tell me, I won’t get angry.” She realized how stupid she sounded afterwards, she getting angry at Kyle? That was just plain pointless. Kyle could storm off anytime and leave her helpless, but if she stormed off, Kyle still had a home, a business he could go and tend to.

Kyle sighed.

“Well... It all happened when I was five... That day I was officially titled Kyle the Great...”

The End

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