The entire image faded away into a vast expanse of nothingness, void of color and sensation. Hataru ─ eighteen again ─ couldn’t tell if it was dark or light out, and she couldn’t hear anything except the sound of her own panicked breathing. She couldn’t even feel the ground beneath her feet! Something told her she wasn’t falling, though, more like… floating, waiting, existing. But at this point, the princess didn’t want to exist. Beads of salty tears drifted from her eyes, hovering around her like spirits of woe, as she curled herself into a ball.
“No, no, no… They promised me…” she burbled, “the doctors promised me that I wouldn’t dream of that day again. They said I’d never have to relive it. They said the medicine would take it all away! No…”
A warm hand squeezed her shoulder. “There, there, my dear. It’s alright.”
Hataru glanced up through bleary eyes and sniffed, “Sibyl?”
“Wha─ What are you doing here?”
The sprightly old woman smiled, “I’m here to help you, of course.” She whisked her hand in a quick circle, and the nothingness began to shift once again. Though she still couldn’t see anything, Hataru felt the air around her go crisp, and a gravitational pull brought to solid ground.
“How did you…?”
“Don’t worry. You’ll learn to do it, too, in time.”
“Do what, exactly?”
“Control The Null. All Seers can. It’s how we navigate through space and time.”
“I told you already, I’m not a─”
“Not a Seer? Come, walk with me. That always helps you think, doesn’t it, Princess?”
“How did you─?”
“I’m a soothsayer. I know things. Now, come. We haven’t much time.”
“Haven’t much time for what?”
“You’ll see.” Sibyl Spry began hobbling away in no particular direction, at least, no direction that Hataru could see.
Once she had caught up with her, Sibyl began, “I knew from the moment I saw you that you were a Seer, Hataru, but when you claimed not to be, I had my doubts. But the fact that you are here, in The Null, proves it.”
“What is The Null?”
Sibyl thought to herself for a moment, “The best way I can describe it, The Null is where Seers go when we sleep. Here, we have the ability to contact one another, and it provides us with the means to see into the past, present, and future of not only our own lives, but of others as well. We have some jurisdiction over where ─ and when ─ we go, if we can learn to control it, bend it to our wills, but sometimes even the strongest clairvoyants lose their grip on things and are whisked off into this dreamland unannounced, like I was on the night that you and my grandson came to visit.”
“I was wondering about that… Do you know what you meant when you said─”
“Sometimes it is better not to tell everything you know. You’ll learn that soon. When people know too much about their future, they try to change it, and it never works.”
“Oh,” the young woman frowned.