12. The Null (Page 3)

“Am I making any sense to you?”

“Maybe… a little? I don’t know. It’s a lot to take in,” Hataru played with her fingers, “If what you say is true ─ that I am a Seer ─ why didn’t I know until just recently? Shouldn’t I be able to remember being here before?”

“I have a feeling that you have. Earlier, I heard you say that you’ve had dreams like this before. That you used to re-live the day you lost your parents?”

The princess stopped, “You saw that?”

“My dear, it is nothing to be ashamed of. When you’re a Seer as old as I am, you tend to, well, see a lot of things. So have you had those dreams before?”

“Yes,” she whispered, “when I was younger. Whenever I got stressed, I would faint, and I would be forced to watch the same scene, over and over.”

“And you also said something about medicine?”

“The royal doctors. They told me that I had a blood disorder ─ anemia ─ which caused my fainting, and they prescribed me to a monthly injection to help prevent it. Though I still pass out from time to time, I haven’t dreamed since.”

“Until now,” the hoary Seer observed, stroking her chin. “You said these injections are monthly?”

Clarity filled the princesses eyes when she realized, “Yes. Actually, I was supposed to have my next injection when I arrived in Marcelia, but then… I never did. That was supposed to be almost a week ago. Is that why I’ve come into The Null, now?”

“Hmm… I’ve heard of Seers who use herbs to induce their visions, so I suppose it is possible for a drug to have the opposite effect. Have you ever missed a dosage before?”

“I’m usually very good about keeping up with my shots, but I have forgotten a few times.”

“But that never caused you to have any dreams, right? This treatment of yours must have been accumulating in your system for years, continuously thinning your connection to The Null. It would take some powerful magic to revive that connection so quickly.”

“Magic?” Hataru was reminded of her conversation with the prince. Magic is just what the ancient peoples called the science they didn’t understand. Science can explain everything!

Suddenly, a sherbert of color whirled before them like a phantasmagoric kaleidoscope, spinning around and changing shape until it finally settled into a hyperreal moving picture. A glorious, thousand-candle chandelier twinkled over a magnificent ballroom decorated with heavy, velvet banners displaying some academic insignia. Some couples shifted their way through a waltz on the dance floor, but many of the party goers stood along the sidelines chatting amongst themselves. Young men in stately uniforms stood around the finely stocked refreshment tables, joking with one another, and the girls in gaudy dresses on their arms chortled shamelessly at every word.

“I─ What is this? I’ve been here before…” Hataru whispered to Sibyl.

“Interesting… Something must have just triggered one of your memories. Go ahead, step inside.”

“What?”

“You heard me, step inside,” she gestured to the scene.

The End

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