Mindy’s solemn response bode well. In Merleina, the neighbors treated each other as an extension of one’s direct family; but the girl was the little sister he never had.
She has been spending more time at the main office of her father’s company. Still, it cannot be discounted that Mindy and Karina had been friends most of their lives. Exposure to the latter made it possible for Mindy to raise her frequency and eventually acquire the ascension symptoms. A case he was working on with Sola’s Gate Keepers came to mind. If she did have the symptoms, will another Zertan drone come after his niece? Two of his Guards took shifts watching over Mindy and would alert him if a Keeper notices her or when danger is close by.
Reno returned to the Keeper’s human residence. Arturion would probably demand an explanation of his motives behind the unexpected reunion.
The house seemed empty. The trees and plants outside were quiet and not a single creature stirred inside. Neither Arturion’s physical body nor his auric field was in sight. However, Reno’s instinct told him otherwise.
Merleinans usually have wards in their homes to keep their privacy in a world where people can easily pick up another’s thoughts, intentions, and emotions. In the third dimension, Travelers, Keepers, and Guards found it useful to block intruders and those with ill intent from entering the vicinity of their abode.
Arturion sat waiting for him in the living room – rather, waited until sleep took over. This was no ordinary side effect from using Merkaba to make an active man doze off on a hard wooden chair.
“I’m awake.” Arturion’s head lifted.
“You are now,” he returned, guessing what had transpired in their homeland the day before.
“I can sense you from where you’re standing,” Arturion said wearily.
“Good. I won’t have to waste my breath reminding you about the rules of traveling then. Suffice to say, if you had kept our meeting on schedule, you wouldn’t have met my niece.”
“You never told me you were related to Mindy.”
“You didn’t ask. I, myself, have only recently discovered her friendship with Karina.”
“During the funeral.”
“You should have warned me this morning.”
“Perhaps. But I was curious about how both of you would react.” Arturion waited for him to continue. “In fact, she believes that it would only be fair to add you as one of the prime suspects in committing arson and, possibly, murder.”
“Who’s the other one? Peter?” he asked, untroubled by Mindy’s doubts of his innocence.
“She mentioned him.” Reno repeated what his niece had heard from Peter.
“Then, our suspicions are correct.”
“It does not prove he has a direct connection with the Zertans.”
“Peter’s family is involved in politics. His ancestors have powerful friends here and all over the world. The current patriarch, Peter’s father, is an influential figure; but there is no love lost between father and son. The young man has yet to prove himself to his old man.”
“Why not take him in for questioning?”
Indeed, it would have been easier. The Elders, however, had interfered in the Black Guards business. A message had been sent to his office prior to his departure to the third dimension. It clearly stated that there would be no direct contact with any individual suspected of collaborating with the Zertans. The high priestess and Sola knows the reason behind it. However, the Council has been in session for the last two weeks. The only means to communicate with its members is to send a written message to the recipient.
“It—” Reno’s train of thought was interrupted as Kala came to mind.
Arturion jumped from his seat, his chair crashing unheeded on the floor. For a moment, his eyes were unseeing.
They looked at each other with the understanding that the situation had changed at home. Reno extended his arm; he would make the return journey to Merleina for the two of them. But his friend had already initiated a Merkaba of his own. Light flashed. Arturion vanished.
Reno followed suit, shaking his head disapprovingly. He made his destination to the makeshift training area he and Karina have been using and walked the remaining distance to the house.
The front door was ajar. Worry and sadness leaked through the doorway. He closed it as he entered the threshold, shutting out the rest of the world of what was taking place inside.
On the second floor, he met Kala outside Karina’s quarters. Sara was inside with Sola and Arturion.
The vertical line deepened between the girl’s brows. She was concerned for Karina but refrained from speaking to anyone or sharing her thoughts with Reno.
In a short while, Sara ushered them all to the living room. The high priestess and the Keepers’ Commander still wore the Council’s official robes. They had apparently left directly from the Session hall once they received word from Kala. It also meant that the Liyanna, even unofficial, holds weight for the Elders to allow Sara and Sola to leave the meeting.
The set of the high priestess’ mouth was not promising. Sola appeared more concerned for his foster son than Karina. Arturion had his Gate Keeper’s stoic mask on. Reno knew it well and its purpose for he had seen its birth years ago.
“We can sustain her physical body until she wakes – if her soul chooses to return from her spiritual journey. Apart from that, there is nothing we can do,” Sara declared.
“A spiritual journey?” Reno asked. There are those among them, enlightened beings, who could traverse galaxies and universes and the dimensions by voluntarily leaving behind their physical body in search for higher truths. They usually come back after a period of time. This was just one of several means of travel for the spirit.
“Karina slipped in the bathroom and hit her head. She is in a state of deep sleep. The Silver Cord, connecting the body to the soul, remains intact; but her spirit is not present among us. She travels and would not respond to my call.”
The Qihaman mountain range, situated at Merleina’s borders in the south and east is riddled with secret tunnels and caves. A year prior to the Atlantean wars, Council member Qihaman had dreamt of exploring the mountainous area on foot. He had reached the peak of the mountain when the sky darkened with the promise of a storm. He saw a light flash nearby beckoning him. Curiosity piqued, he followed it and discovered a cave with a little girl waiting inside. She pointed at the deeper part of the cavern, the entrance to the tunnels. The girl guided him through the network of passages until they came to an exit. She had led him to the base of the mountains and gave him a pendant that only he could activate into displaying the map of the tunnels. As payment, he would store the tunnels with food and other provisions.
The dream ended, Qihaman woke holding the very same necklace in his hands. He visited the location of his dream and verified the authenticity of the gift. He learned then the necessity of a map as the mountains were protected from anyone who uses the Sight and tools for scrying and tracking.
A Council meeting was held. The dream was analyzed and dissected. They concluded that the dream was a warning of imminent upheaval. When war erupted, civilians unable to fight – children, pregnant women, the elderly and the injured – took shelter in Qihaman’s mountains.
After Merleina’s shift to the fourth dimension, people returned to their homes and abandoned the sanctuary. The mountains were later named after the Council member; not for discovering its secrets but for defending to his death one of its passages against a group of enemy scouts, who had stumbled upon the entrance leading to the medical facility.
At present, the Order of the Black Guard built their headquarters in one of its mountains. The location was ideal at best. It was exactly at the opposite location of the Gate Keepers’ HQ. The near proximity of the Forest Folk was advantageous for business dealings and in keeping the Guards sharp and alert at all times.
The Guard Commander had returned to his office after a rare disagreement with his friend. Arturion had maintained a calm exterior but his recent actions betrayed his true feelings.
Karina had been left at Arturion’s residence. True to the high priestess’ word, sacred geometry had been cast on the human woman’s recumbent form and administered daily with honeyed water. All this to sustain life; yet, they could not stabilize nor contain the energy overflowing from her body. Even the house’s wards could no longer hold the energies from seeping out and covering the whole of Merleina. It manifested in ways: the lavender scent, the richer taste in the bounties of the earth; the speedier recovery of injuries and illnesses.
The Council was forced to confirm the existence of a potential Liyanna to the public when the strange occurrences became difficult to ignore. They were disinclined to give away her whereabouts but the animals and Devatas visiting the house and leaving gifts could not be overlooked for long. Sara had taken the task of addressing the Merleinans; to assure them and give hope; and to ask them to pray for the health of Karina and the staff caring for her, instead of going to the young woman’s temporary lodgings and dropping gifts and tokens. Her promise to notify them of any change in Karina’s situation proved effective in diffusing speculations. Those who were in attendance when Sara spoke left homeward to pass on the information.
Everyone was confident in the skills of the high priestess and her Order. The human would survive and regain consciousness. Still, Reno had watched Arturion abuse his ability to activate Merkaba. The latter’s number of travels between the third and fourth dimension was enough to last a year just to visit and hold hands with an unconscious woman. Reno would hear him talking to her softly about growing up in Merleina, the interesting bits in the country’s lengthy history, and her foreign visitors. No one minded Arturion’s stories except for his haggard appearance.
Initially, he would see her twice in a week. But as Karina continued to sleep through the month, Arturion’s visits became more frequent. His worry was understandable. The longer she slept, the lesser the possibility that she would awaken.
Reno had attempted to persuade Arturion to stay and rest in the third dimension for at least a week before others recognized the depth of his affections for Karina. The Keeper refused to listen and stated that he was only fulfilling his obligations. In the middle of the argument, the Commander almost lost his temper because of Arturion’s stubbornness. Fortunately, Sara came and diffused the tension between them, scolding Reno to keep himself in check. Telepathically, she assured him that she would personally make sure that Arturion would follow his advice.
In his office, the Commander brooded over Karina’s case. He and the Guards have not been able to make any progress with their investigations. The Black Guards he had personally selected could not come up with any leads regarding the mystery surrounding Karina and her mother.
A bead in the tiger eye bracelet he wore around his wrist momentarily gleamed. One of his people had submitted a report. He held it between his thumb and index finger. The sender was Haron, one of his best Guards, who has been working undercover as an executive assistant to a businessman since three years ago. The man was suspected of being affiliated with an organization working for the Zertans. The unknown organization has a broad network ranging from politicians, syndicates, charitable institutions to pharmaceutical companies.
The encrypted message was short. Haron would be accompanying his employer to a conference conducted in a different country every three months. It would be held in two weeks’ time at the Peninsula Hotel based in Makati, Philippines. He would submit another report the day after the meeting.
The Commander had a few misgivings. Giving Haron the approval in undertaking this task would be a direct disobedience to the Elders’ orders. He would just have to keep it under wraps until it was over.
Reno rubbed his hands together with anticipation. The news had lifted his mood. A window of opportunity had opened for them. If the organization is indeed allied to the Zertans, his man would be able to share with the Order valuable information regarding both groups. There was also the slightest chance Haron might find the missing piece to the puzzle in resolving the investigation.
The Guard Commander sent a reply to proceed with the mission. The probability of being stripped of his rank had occurred to him more often than not. The consequences were great, but it would be worth it.
Wattpad code: 58366003
©MC Babasa 2014
A/N: Feel free to post your feedback as this is the first book. Your comments and suggestions may influence the story as it progresses up to the second book.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.