He needed to put on a show and that is what he would do!
He had been getting ready for this day for a long time. The moment that it was announced Shabina would open for the MultiFacet lyears ago, he knew that the Vibulare would send Billen, and the Royligio would counter with him. He looked across and saw Billen and he felt a rush of emotion at seeing his eldest brother. Arsin could take him, and it was time to prove it.
Billen had made his choice long ago. Their mother had done the same. Neither of them would let go of their disbelief despite his best attempts to sway them. The One have mercy on them, even though they were committing the unforgivable sin of refuting The One’s existence.
He winked at Corina. She was a pleasant sight, as always. Many in the Royligio disapproved of his affection for her. She wasn’t one of them unless she Converted . But that could be worked on, especially after he won today. He needed to figure out how she fit in his life….
Thalina was what was stopping her from joining him and he knew it. They hadn’t exactly talked about how all of them fit together, but Billen was his enemy, plain and simple. If Thalina joined Billen, well, Corina would have to choose her loyalties. She had told him that she found being in The MultiFacet harder day by day. The Roy had to be the option for her, Arsin thought, and then he felt another rush of emotion. He needed to regulate it, but it was difficult with the crowd. However now was not the time to go Pure Emotion, that wasn’t allowed here after all. He would win within the rules.
Shabina, as usual, was bossing Corina and Thalina around, huffing and puffing and marching to the centre. For someone who was supposed to be a neutral arbitrator, she and The MultiFacet sure always liked to steal the show. She was no better than that pompous Pieroz.
The Multi Facet was no longer relevant, and the time was coming for the Royligio and Vibulare to settle their quarrel. No… the time was coming for him and Billen to settle their own rivalry. He had proposed it on the day of departure, when they had both left for their Facets 5 lyears ago from the Sanctuary. A one-on-one duel with the Well at stake. Billen had ignored him that day. Upon hearing this story, Corina had laughed at his bravado, but she’d never do so again!
All of a sudden Shabina’s voice cut through all the noise. She was making everyone listen to her, so he began humming to himself the praises of the ONE, to drown her out.
Billen didn’t want to be outdone and had given his nonsense charter, like a stiff as hell line. He wouldn’t be outdone and knew that Billen hated being spoken over. So, Arsin began to recite the Royligio Creed before Billen could conclude, competing with his brother for every bit of the gathering’s rapt attention. Smirking, he thought, ‘Take that, bro!’ They weren’t the only ones who could project over the sound frequency!
Their beautiful Royligio Creed was elegant and refined, unlike that busta trash that Billen was spewing.
He was angry now and ready. He wished that it hadn’t been a ceremony and instead, was a real fight. Billen wouldn’t use pure reason defense today, but the day he did, Arsin would be ready. He would obliterate it at speed and from length. His pulse quickened at the feeling of that future battle. He and Billen had only skirmished growing up. He doubted Shabina or Lavindra could even try to match him with his current ability.
True he had never had to face either of the “Potentials”, (what a stupid name!) except when they were kids and that didn’t count. He would be ready for them too, let them all come, he could take them all on at the same time! Billen and Shabina would be stunned.
He readied himself. Ceremonies mattered to his Dadin, who had trusted him to bring honour and glory to their righteous cause. Ammi and Billen were on the wrong side of history.
He did regret how deeply the entire situation had hurt Rydin. He felt sadness at the depression that the fighting had sent his brother spiralling into. It was ironic, because around Billen, Rydin would show more emotion, yet with Arsin it was all reason. Maybe that was why Rydin had found an affinity with Shabina. Rydin was always trying to play both sides. Arsin had warned Rydin that Shabina would burn him– that she only cared about The MultiFacet.
Even though Arsin hadn’t seen him in years and Rydin refused to speak to him or take any messages. He had heard from sources how devastated his brother was when Shabina left him. It had been inevitable; The MultiFacet would never accept Rydin. To them, he was a joke. Unable to do any proper form of Lining, and further Rydin couldn’t last one second with that whole Living with Contradiction thing. Corina had tried to explain it to him but it seemed more confusing than ever!
No, Arsin would bring his bhai to the Royligio and he would protect him. Dad had made him promise to bring him out of his misery: alone in the Sanctuary. Why did his father even have to ask? Rydin meant something and so did Corina, though the two of them didn’t exactly get along. He would get them both with him.
His feet had moved as if on their own, and suddenly he was standing in the Centre, right across from Billen. Of course the insular Vibulare was trying to use his considerable height to intimidate his younger brother, but Arsin was above fearing the idiot! His drive would shatter any physical gap between them. He would ascend.
Shabina had kneeled, as was customary. She wasn’t his concern. Billen was waiting for Arsin to kneel first! Incredible, after all this time Billen thought of him like some kid, still! No, Arsin would trust his feelings that told him when to kneel, and as he finally made his move, Billen moved with him. How did that happen? No time to figure that out; it was time to start. He made ready to fling his prism into the air.
He knew Rydin was sending him good vibes from wherever he was in that Sanctuary Zone, Arsin wished Rydin was there. Funny how he still tried to impress Rydin even at a momentous time like this. Even when Rydin had been very explicit to Arsin and Billen that he would rather fight both of them than ever take sides. Arsin chuckled, take on both of them?! He couldn’t handle one.
Don’t worry, bhai. I will help you see the way. Arsin was ready for his destiny to truly begin.
Arsin was pacing back and forth. He was by himself in the Red Room. He had been this close to victory he felt it! Somehow of all things to happen, Rydin had crashed the occasion!
If it had been line combat, his sensor prism would have alerted him to the presence, wouldn’t it have? No one used white spectrum anymore so he couldn’t be completely sure.
That was a moot point right now. Rydin was in serious trouble. He had to bail his brother out of the situation. Again.
Still he couldn’t help but be frustrated, “I would have won today, damn you Rydin!” Now who knew when he would get a chance to face Billen again. Even if the Roy and Vib went to war, there was no guarantee he would get to prove his superiority to Billen.
He felt a bit embarrassed, remembering the feeling of being flung through the air and landing on the second level right in the midst of Royligio supporters.
Arsin shook his head. It was downright comical, if it also wasn’t so serious.
A knock on the door broke through his sulking, what now?
“I had asked not to be disturbed.”
The doorwaza lined open anyway. Corina stepped in…
…followed by Zana.
He frowned. Could they ever get a lycle alone? It was hard enough to get Granpan to give him any free time. The “Great Kaylin” was sizing up this fiasco to see how it could benefit the Royligio. He was sure that old “Bhudi Velut” was doing the same thing. She was his grandmother as well, but he despised that side of the family. Velut especially!
“Arsin, I apologize for the intrusion,” Zana said with a clearly annoyed tone.
He sighed and waved his hand. “It is fine, Zana, if the two of you are coming in together,
it must be important.”
Zana was always direct and she came out with it. “Arsin, Corina wanted to talk to you in private.” Zana didn’t look particularly pleased.
Corina’s face expanded with water a little and hesitated before speaking. “So I asked Zana if we could have a small aside, I didn’t exactly tell my superiors.”
Zana rolled her eyes.
Arsin smiled. He would have to get these two to get along once Corina joined.
He spoke, his voice unable to hide the amusement, “So you are breaking protocol to come see me, I am flattered.”
Corina’s smile only deepened.
Zana cleared her throat. “If the two of you don’t mind, everyone just left and is heading to go to the holding cells now, so could you make this quick?”
Corina shot Zana an exasperated look. Zana shrugged back at her in impatience.
Corina turned to Arsin, “I just wanted to see if you were okay, and to apologize for what happened.”
Zana looked like she would rather have been cleaning broken line fragments than be witness to this, but Arsin loved the attention.
He looked at Corina. “Thank you, yes. The MultiFacet should have had better security than this, but,” he snorted, “Rydin always has a habit of showing up, invited or not.”
Corina seemed to get a little defensive at him insulting The MultiFacet, “I said we are sorry, Arsin.”
Zana looked at Arsin and shook her head.
He tried to diffuse the insult, “It’s okay. It is not like you are responsible or have any control over what happens.”
Corina went from affronted to angry, “What did you just say?”
Zana put her hand over her mouth and kept shaking her head.
“I just meant that you are not the head Connect, or the Seleto, or Potential, or anything, you are right now just an apprentice.”
Even wronger answer.
Zana at this point had put her hands up and her mouth was open.
Corina’s face had rapidly expanded, and her face was Redder than his Shalmeez.
Arsin was trying to find something to get out of this hole, and quickly!
“Look it’s the same with Zana she has no real power either.”
Was it possible to have a wrongest answer. Yes, yes it was.
Zana balled her first and looked like she was going to bury Arsin in lines, but Corina erupted first.
The sweet chime-like sound of her voice had turned into an angry chorus ” Why do you always make light of all of my hard work?!”
Zana nodded her head forcefully in silent agreement, well they were at least on the same page in their indignity about what he had said. Arsin was sweating a little, not a good time to waste water he thought!
Arsin opened his mouth to speak, but Corina curtly cut him off before he started, she was still angry but somehow her voice dripped with the formality of a Connect.
“The Three Facets will meet shortly, with key leadership discussing what to do with your brother and how to handle the fallout from today.”
How could she have changed moods so quickly?
Corina stepped right into his personal space, any other time he would have enjoyed it, but right now it made him squirm!
With that she whirled to face the door, her hair flew up and as it did, Arsin smelled a very sweet fragrance. He wanted to stop her from leaving but he felt a little dizzy and aroused at the same time. Maybe touching her wasn’t such a good idea right now.
She began to walk towards the door.
He called out, “Corina wai-“
But she didn’t look back and was gone just like that. The doorwaza opened and then slammed as she stepped through it.
Zana looked at him very annoyed.
“I ummm, errr…. am sorry.”
Zana’s annoyance gave way to a smirk, “Smooth Lines, Razi.”
Arsin felt very foolish and smacked his fist into his other hand.
Zana quickly added, “Don’t even think of going after her.”
Arsin flashed her a big insincere smile, she shook her head and crossed her arms and said,
“Look you need to be ready for what happens down there, focus now.”
Arsin nodded his head, “Ever the diplomat aren’t you, Zana? Diplomacy will not win us the Well.”
Zana answered back. “And that,” pointing at the door, “will?”
Arsin hated his friend having the upper hand on him, so he got back at her.
“No I guess if you have connections with the right diplomat, negotiations go smoothly.”
This time Zana blushed and blinked furiously, clearly caught off guard. She stammered, “I have no clue what you are talking about!”
He put his hand on her shoulder. “Oh I was just rambling.”
Zana immediately changed topics, “What do you think will happen to Rydin?”
Arsin’s mirth vanished, “I don’t know, but I need to go talk to Rydin before he accepts punishment.”
Arsin repeated to himself, “I need to talk to Rydin.”
This time it was Zana who grew serious,
“You and everyone else.”