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The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) - Literature (15) - Nairaland

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:47am On Aug 28
this is so weird oooo. What just happened? Nebud is now a swan!!!!! How on earth will he be able to get Marcinus eyes now. And i suspected at the very first that Manus had a hand in all that had been happening..... He wanted the support of all the people not just some people.... wow

Great work ObehiD

Thank you, It's good that you predicted Manus. Let's see if you predicted what happens next wink
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:47am On Aug 28
Part 12

It had been so long since I’d felt like this. My mind worked surprisingly well given the overwhelming weakness of my body. The cage that Manus put me in was made of wood. It had a bowl at the bottom which was filled with the okun which continuously sapped my strength. I lay sprawled in the pink liquid, my wings spread uselessly by my sides and the claws on my legs poking the open air. The most I could do was move my head slightly, an action which prompted my beak to scrape lightly against a wooden bar.

I had never thought that I would be a swan. Now, in hindsight, I probably should have seen the possibility of this. Not even when I watched Manus turn a magistrate into a soft rooster, had I considered that I would follow in the uspec’s wake. How had I been so blind?

One sleepless night spent trapped in the weakened body of a swan had afforded me time to think. It had allowed me to see things clearly. Now, everything made sense. It had always been there, always right in front of me, but I had never noticed it. I thought back on the first time that I had seen Marcinus ‘drunk’. It had been right after it imbibed the drink from its sibling Manus, in the gymnasium, my first day in the Chateau. While I pored over my memories, I remembered a conversation which had made absolutely no sense to me at the time, but now, made complete sense.

I recalled one of Manus’ guards the day of the bout asking Manus if it would need its protection later in the day. Manus had told the guard that it would not, which meant that Manus had known before the fight that Marcinus would be taking its place at the celebration. I realized that Marcinus had not gotten ‘drunk’ in the inn, until after I gave it Manus’ pellets. Which meant that Manus had probably put those pellets into Marcinus drink before the uspec’s fight making it appear drunk. Manus had set Marcinus up perfectly so that Marcinus would have to take Manus place at the celebration.

The last piece of the puzzle was the fighter, the one that had beaten Marcinus during the bout, the one that I had beaten in the green dome. That uspec had tried to kill Marcinus. Why would it dare, unless it had guarantees that it would not be punished by the Kaiser? And when it had failed to complete its task, the uspec had come to the inn with more uspecs to kill Marcinus.

This all led to one daunting realization, Manus was trying to have Marcinus killed.

Once I realized that, everything else fell in place. But, Manus words from the night before, “You have disrupted my plans one too many times Nebud” still did not make sense. I knew that it was planning to kill its sibling, but I had only interfered in the inn. How had I disrupted those plans too many times?

The curtains to the room were held open by guards.

Manus walked in first. There were three uspecs with it. They all stopped at a side table to fill platters with food and cups with drinks. My cage had been set on a lounging bed in the side of the room. An imp had carried me here the night before and left me here, alone, throughout the night. I had fought uselessly against my lethargy then. I learnt that with the okun sapping my strength, there was no escape. I was too weak to rise onto my legs or flap my wings. All I could do was move my head, and even that I could not do forcefully enough to raise a racket and draw awareness to myself.

Resentment welled in me as I lay on the okun in the cage, watching the uspecs eat. They filled their stomachs with pleasant smelling pastries and succulent looking meats. When I’d been weak and with Gerangi, my mind had also been dulled, so I did not have the willingness to hate. Now, I found that it was all that I could do. There was also fear, the fear that Manus would never set me free, that it would keep me as a swan forever, but I chose not to dwell on that. If I could not dwell on fear, then I could focus on hate.

“Why don’t you just kill it?” an uspec asked, jerking its head towards me.

Even though the uspecs were lounging behind me, I could see them with the eye at the back of my head. When Manus changed my identity from uspec to swan, two of my eyes had taken the place of a normal swan’s and the other had positioned itself behind my head. With the three eyes, I was able to get a good view of the room. I could see each bed, and the uspecs lounging on them.

Manus was silent. Its eyes turned to study me. The uspec broke off a piece of bread and chewed on it. Then it picked up its goblet and took a huge gulp of its purple drink. It put the goblet down before turning one of its eyes to stare at the uspec who’d asked the question. “I don’t believe in wasting valuable life.”

Another uspec laughed. “You had over fifty uspecs slaughtered in the inn last night Manus, what is one more?”

“I said valuable life.” Manus stated, straining the word ‘valuable’. “Besides, Nebud saved my sibling’s life. I will always reward that kind of loyalty.”

Silence greeted Manus’ words. The uspecs stared dumbly at Manus as if at a loss for words. I could not blame them, I suddenly felt the same way. I had assumed that my crime had been saving Marcinus life. Had I been wrong? Was Manus not trying to have Marcinus killed then?

“You confuse me Manus.” An uspec said. “Didn’t you turn it into a swan because it saved Marcinus’ life?”

Manus sighed. It placed its goblet onto the stool by its bed, and left the platter sitting on the bed. Then it stood and paced the room. It walked with its hands steepled behind its back. “Nebud risked its life to save Marcinus. I asked it to watch over my sibling and it did. I did not think that the uspec would be foolish enough to risk its own life for my sibling, but it did. I am an imperial of the line of the Kaisers of Katsoaru, I will always reward fealty to my line.” Manus stopped its pacing in front of my cage and then it bent so that its hand held onto the top of the cage. “And, if it had only been last night, then I would not have done this. But first Nebud finds that stupid swan and brings it back in time to save Marcinus from the assassin I hired, then it saves Marcinus from a room filled with killers. That is just one too many coincidences. It is better if Nebud is out of the way until after the naming ceremony.” The tone of Manus voice dropped down as it peered down into the cage, staring at me. “Until after the naming ceremony Nebud. Forgive me for what I said last night, I spoke out of anger. You are truly the most loyal banneret I have ever seen. I will reward you properly when all of this is over. In four days, the naming ceremony will be over, and I will have you brought back. I will restore you to yourself. Then, I will give you position and wealth. I will reward you Nebud, but only after the naming ceremony, after I am heir.” After saying that, Manus stood to its full height and walked back to its lounging bed.

Have me brought back?

Just as the question floated around in my head, an uspec said, “if you plan to restore it, then why not just leave it here? Why send it away?”

“I cannot risk anyone finding it before the naming ceremony.”

“With the uspec out of the way, what will you do to Marcinus?” an uspec asked.

Manus glared at the uspec. “Marcinus was born a year after I was. I still remember the day that pater brought it home. It was really nothing spectacular. My birth was a result of a duel between pater and a two-band noble. Marcinus came from a duel between pater and a commoner. The adherents advised pater to do it this way so that I would be the obvious heir. They did not know that Marcinus would start playing with swords only a month after it was born. They did not know that Marcinus would form all of its outer eye-sockets before I did.”

“But you filled yours first Manus.”

“Only because Marcinus did not want to steal another uspec’s eye. It only did so because it was what pater commanded. They fought together, pater took Marcinus to places it would never take me. It even let it call it ‘mater’. I tried once, but pater stopped me. It said that it was not fitting. I was meant to hate Marcinus. But then Marcinus never called our pater, mater, when I was there, because it knew how it made me feel. I was meant to be jealous, but every time pater tried to get Marcinus to dazzle the nobles, Marcinus made sure it fell short so that the nobles looked to me. Marcinus was content to be my general, to lead my troops, but pater was not. Even now, pater still thinks that Marcinus would make a better Kaiser than I would. And even now I cannot hate my sibling for it. I do not want to harm Marcinus, I am its older sibling, I only want what is best for it. But while Marcinus formed a bond with our pater, you know who I bonded with?”


“My port. I care about this port more than Marcinus ever could. Marcinus learnt that Uspecipyte rubbish from our pater. They value their religion, the worship of a coward god, over their own port, over their own people! If Marcinus becomes Kaiser, it will keep this port Uspecipyte and the plenum will come for us. Chuspecip is fiction, the plenum is fact. And the fact is that the plenum is taking over this existence, and the only ports that will survive are the ones that bow to them. But Marcinus and pater don’t see it. They think like warriors, like all battles are fought with a sword. I do not want to harm Marcinus, but I must. If Marcinus lives, pater will make it its heir, and Katsoaru will be on its way to becoming just one more Uspecipyte forgotten kingdom.”

There was silence after Manus was done speaking. The uspecs seemed pensive, as though Manus’ words had so much significance that they needed time to properly decipher them. To me, Manus was just one more selfish noble. It was just like Fajahromo, willing to slaughter its own sibling for power. I did not care about its rosy speech, all Manus wanted was to be Kaiser, and it was willing to kill anyone who stood in its way. I couldn’t help wondering if I would ever find siblings in power who did not think first about the pursuit of power.

The sound of the curtain being pulled open, broke the silence which had fallen over the room. A guard walked in. “The kennel owner is here imperial one.” It announced.

Manus gestured with its hands for the uspec to be let in. The kennel owner? Finally, the last piece of the puzzle was filled. I had wondered how Mara, Marcinus swan, had gotten to the kennel. It was obvious that Marcinus cared deeply about the creature, but now I knew how. It was Manus, it was all Manus.

I recognized the uspec that walked in. It was the one that I had spoken to my first day in the Acropolis. This was the uspec who’d lied, saying that it had not known that the swan it had was a frosted beast. Now, I knew better, I knew that my instincts had been right.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 3:48am On Aug 28
The uspec dropped to its knees in front of Manus, but it did not bend all the way as it would if greeting the Kaiser, it only bent its head in a neck bow. “Imperial one.” It greeted.

“Rise.” Manus ordered.

The uspec stood. Its eyes darted to the cage, and then it took its time studying me. I could tell from the widening of its eyes when it saw me, and then the smile which now formed on its face, that it was excited at the prospect of having another swan in its kennel.

“The last time I ensured a swan to your keeping, you let it go. You failed me Mijad.”

The uspec’s avaricious eyes turned away from me. It bowed deeply to Manus. “Forgive me imperial one, if you would only give me the opportunity to make it up to you, I will not fail you again.”

Manus nodded pensively.

Mijad’s eyes darted back to me.

Manus cleared its throat. “Very well,” it said, “you will get your second chance. But if you fail me again, I will turn you into a nama and have the kitchen bake you into a pie. Do you understand me?”

The uspec’s eyes widened. It swallowed nervously. “Yes, imperial one.”

“Good. Do you know when the naming ceremony is?”

“It is in three days, imperial one.”

Manus nodded. “I want you to take the swan and bring it back to me the day after the naming ceremony. I want to see you here first thing in the morning on that day. Do you understand me?”

The uspec bowed. “Yes, imperial one.”

“You will receive your payment when you return. Do not fail me again Mijad.”

“I will not, imperial one.”

Manus’ eyes fixed on the eye at the back of my head. It stared at me for a long time before nodding at the uspec. “Take it then.” It ordered.

The uspec smiled as it reached for the handle on my cage. It pulled out a black bag from a pocket in its leather clothing. It carefully placed me into the black bag. I was engulfed in darkness then. I felt myself being lifted in the air, carried.

“My guard will escort you out, to make sure you have no problems leaving the Chateau.” I recognized the voice as Manus’.

I was tossed around in the okun in the cage before I heard a voice say, “Gratitude imperial one.”

Then I began moving. From the swinging of the cage, I could tell that I was being moved. But the darkness from within the bag was too much to tell where I was going. From Manus’ words, we were probably on our way out of the Chateau. We would be going to the security check then. I imagined we had reached there when I stopped moving and I heard the voices. I recognized one of those voices as Manus’ guard’s. The other was not familiar. They spoke for a while and then the swaying continued. The swaying was just forceful enough that I was sent rocking between the ends of the bowl which contained the okun, but not so forceful that the okun spilled over.

I could not help thinking of the irony of the situation, as my swan’s body was weakened, and I was in the hands of an uspec I had come so close to killing. I wondered what this uspec would think if it knew that it was I, not a swan, but Nebud, the uspec who’d taken Marcinus’ swan from it. I wondered if perhaps I could have saved myself this journey by taking the uspec’s life when I’d had the chance to, that first day in the Acropolis. I could not help going back to that day and seeing the room filled with uspecs cheering on two kares fighting. I knew I would not be made to fight, not when Manus had made it so clear that it wanted me back. I did not know what to think of that. I was still angry, I was angry that it had done this to me, that it had turned me into a weak swan. As I thought of my anger, I realized another way that I could see, or at least get glimpses into the mind of the uspec carrying me.

I concentrated on the lifeforce in my anger then. I sensed anger around me. I could not tell where it came from, if it belonged to the uspec carrying me, or if we were in some place with other uspecs, but I sensed the anger and tried to reach for it. Each time I caught hold of an uspec’s anger, it slipped away. It was as if I could not reach for it. I could not take it from the uspec, or examine it. I was too weak.

Blasted okun!

I had never thought that I would have reason to hate the okun, it was after all the soul of my spectrum, the thing that I was so closely bound to. But then, I had not thought that the magic of my spectrum would be used so effectively against me.

Light poured into my cage, blinding me with its brightness. One glance around the room was enough to tell me where we were. I saw the cages and the kares in them. I saw the horns on the heads of the hounds and knew that we were back in the room where I’d found Mara, the frosted beast. Unlike that time, there were no patrons in the kennel, watching the fight and cheering their preferred kare. There were only the cages in the room now. Cages and a select few uspecs seated on stools around the room. The uspecs had sack bags and cheap coffers in different spots in the room.

It looked like they were packing up.

“Guess what I have with me?” Mijad called out, placing me on an empty stool in the middle of the room.

“What?” an uspec asked, leaning against the wall behind it. It had its eyes closed.

“A swan. Looks like Manus decided to give us a going away present.” Mijad teased.

A going away present?

Mijad’s words seemed to catch the uspecs’ attention because they gathered around me.

“That is not just a swan Mijad, it’s a green swan, a green swan with three eyes!” An uspec stated in awe.

“Is that what I think it is?” Another uspec asked.

“If you think it is an uspec whose identity has been changed, then yes, it’s exactly what you think it is.”

“Who is the uspec?”

“Do you see this?” Mijad poked at a point on my neck. Its fingers prodded so forcefully that I wished for the strength to lance it with my beak. “And this?” Its callous finger poked at my tail then.

“Is that silver?”

Mijad smiled widely. “What we have, is a banneret turned into a swan. Once we get to Lahooni, we can sell it for a fortune. At least two pieces of worth, which is a great deal more than the twenty pieces of merit Manus is going to pay for the swan’s return.”

“Two pieces of worth! We’ll be rich Mijad, we’ll be rich! We can open a real fancy kennel and have smoke bears and snow jackals fighting against each other. Even the nobles would pay to see that. We’ll be rich!”

“Yes, once we sell the swan, we’ll be rich. Let’s rush the packing. I have a feeling that Manus might send someone to check on the swan later today. We need to be gone before then.”

As soon as Mijad’s words hit me, I began to panic. They were going to Lahooni. The uspec had no intention of taking me back to Manus to have my identity returned. If I left this port as a swan, then I would remain one for the rest of my life. I would remain trapped in the body of a swan. If I could just get them to cancel their trip to Lahooni, then I would have more time. But how could I do that in my current state? If I could pollute their emotions, I would be able to turn them against each other as I’d done so many times before. I tried again to reach for the emotions I felt around me, but each time I tried, the okun weakened me, taking the strength I needed to converse with the emotions away.

I had to get rid of the okun which was sapping my strength.

Suddenly, I was starting to wish that the magic of the kute eyes didn’t exist. Then I remembered one salient detail; I had the magic of the kute eyes.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 9:19am On Aug 28
Nebud should do something fast if not..... I comment my reserve on Saturday.....
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 9:50am On Aug 28
And he is just realising that simple fact. Nebud wants to use spectra. And please, someone should tell me where Musa is.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 10:31am On Aug 28
Yes, it has kite eyes cheesy wow! But then, what does a kute eye do Obehid? undecided

Can't wait for Saturday grin
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by ayshow6102(m): 11:35am On Aug 28
Obehid help me to fill in my comment I'm feeling very weak maybe it's because of the okun_______________________________________
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cherriex(f): 10:30pm On Aug 28
I love your write up,more grease to ur elbows, have sincerely checked this page more than 20times from the last update, kinda addicted, waiting patiently nd thank you.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Ultimategeneral: 8:41am On Aug 29
@ObehiD, what am suprised at is the fact that the pious magistrate with the phansopy was subdued. was that he does not have spectra? ok, even if he doesn't have it in full, with phansopy he should be able to deflect.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by phoenixchap: 8:44am On Aug 29
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Botaflica(m): 10:40pm On Aug 29
Suddenly, I was starting to wish that the magic of the kute eyes didn’t exist. Then I remembered one salient detail; I had the magic of the kute eyes.

I am betting this is an advantage for you Nebud.... Lets see what you will make of it...
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cherriex(f): 10:55pm On Aug 29
Chaiiii this waiting is.........cant believe I spent d whol9 day checking for update every hour.plssss Obehid thou I know is not easy writing. Kudos to u always.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cherriex(f): 10:56pm On Aug 29
Chaiiii this waiting is.........cant believe I spent d whol9 day checking for update every hour.plssss @Obehid thou I know is not easy writing. Kudos to u always.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 5:05am On Aug 30
@cassbeat I await to see the reserve of your comment which you will comment on Saturday. Don't forget to comment it oh, you have me in suspense now cheesy

@tunjilomo Yes oh, it has realized it, now we await the drama that will ensue wink Where is Musa indeed...

@Fazemood So, kute eyes give uspecs the power to create okun and use that okun to seep energy from other people. They need that energy for the other forms of spectra.

@ayshow6102 maybe it's because of the okun underneath you? I don't know oh, did I get it right? Have you been transported to the spectral existence? LOL

@cherriex thank you, I really appreciate that, and welcome to the comments section! So, I'm sorry you've spent so much time checking on updates. I post twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings (before 6 usually). Thank you so much! I'm so flattered that you're addicted grin

@Ultimategeneral That is a GREAT question. So, you may have missed this, but Manus discussed it, when it showed Nebud the magistrate in the cage. The magistrate has pansophy and the full range of spectra. But, and this is the important part, pansophy is a contact magic. Remember, pansophy is the transfer of lifeforces from one thing to another, and this transfer can only be done when the uspec with the magic is touching both things, or is touching a pansophy conduit (a metal that can host all pansophic lifeforces) to both things. Manus explained that it caught the magistrate unawares and used the okun to sap the magistrate of its strength, before it changed its form and did all the other things. So, that is why the magistrate could not use pansophy on it. When it comes to spectra, it's a skill, you're going to have people who are better at it than others, so you can have two people with the same number of eyes, but one's magic can be stronger than the others. Hope that answers your question?

@phoenixchap Thank you smiley

@Botaflica Indeed, let us wait and see what Nebud will make of all this...
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cherriex(f): 8:32am On Aug 30
@Obehid thanks for the info,Saturday is close cheesy,atleast I can rest my mind.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by dragonstar14: 4:10pm On Aug 30
I'm really impressed with what you have been doing obehiD your story has so far been captivating and Intriguing I'm waiting to see how nebud is going to use the magic of the kute eyes
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:33am On Aug 31
So, I've decided to put some jara in today's update so this one is going to be long! I hope you enjoy!

@cherriex you're welcome, and Saturday has come so it's time to unrest your mind grin

@dragonstar14 Thank you, I'm glad that you're still enjoying it!

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:34am On Aug 31
Part 13

After hours passed in which I did nothing but stare at the pink liquid around me, I became painfully aware of the fact that utilizing spectra was not as easy as owning it. The uspecs had come a long way in their packing. All the sacks and coffers were filled and pushed to one side of the room. The cages, with the exception of mine, had been stacked against the wall to the other side of the coffers. The uspecs sat around now, partaking of the last meal that they would have before setting off for the journey to Lahooni.

I was running out of time.

Why did I not put more effort into searching for tomes about spectra? I had focused my readings on pansophy, a magic which I knew that I would never possess, instead of focusing on spectra, the magic that I already have. Now, I needed the magic of the kute eyes but I could not summon it. Mijad ordered the uspecs to finish up their meals, and as I heard the spoons scraping against the bottom of the wooden bowls, I felt my weak heart pound with as much vigor as it could sustain.

Spectra. I scoured my brain. Surely, I must have come across it in one of the many tomes I’d read. I just needed one instance, one mention of the magic, something that could help me unlock it, before it was too late and I was forever separated from Katsoaru and the one uspec who could return my identity. I thought about the tomes, the many stories that I had read of the tales of the made nobles. Perhaps, if I had the brains of an adherent I would be able to free myself from this mess.

The fog door to the room softened as an uspec walked in. Three imps walked behind it, pushing in a large cart. The cart had a large empty bowl in the center of it and four wheels underneath. I could tell from the effort the imps exerted that the cart had a significant weight to it, even when it was empty.

“Load the bags and coffers on first.” Mijad ordered.

The imps immediately went to work, picking up coffers and sacks and loading them into the large cart. I couldn’t help wondering how many journeys it would take before the cart was filled. I remembered Arigad’s last tome then. The Kaiser had ordered its wealthiest belongings to be loaded into a cart and tossed into a flow fog where no uspec would be able to get it.

It had been a taxing day for Arigad. It was the moment the Uspecipyte Kaiser realized that its port was about to be defeated and annexed. It had spent the remainder of its days locked in its castle, writing its last tome, the one I had read, with the designs for a gymnasium affixed to it.

That was when it hit me, Arigad’s last tome!

Arigad had spent the remainder of its life doing two things. The first was writing, but the second, the second was teaching. It had devoted its final years to its only offspring, Arexon. I remembered then, a story which had caught my interest. I had been drawn to it because of the young, Arexon. It had only spent a year with its progenitor before their port of Aboga collapsed. I remembered this detail because Arexon had only been a year old when its first eye sockets formed. It was remarkable. I remember reading that and thinking it was impossible, no child formed its eye socket that early, but according to Arigad, Arexon had.

Arigad had tried to teach its offspring the understanding of the boga eyes then, the magic of the fogs. I recalled one thing in particular which Arigad had written. It had said this, “the magic of a spectrum lies in its soul, and there is only one key to the soul.” It had been its way of teaching its offspring the magic of the boga eyes.

I contemplated the words as they would apply to me. “The magic of a spectrum lies in its soul.” The soul of a spectrum, there was something so unbelievably familiar about that phrasing. I had heard it before. It was as if a voice from the past poked at my brain, teasing me with the promise of a memory which I could not fully recover. I knew what the soul of a spectrum was, and of course the magic lay there. I already knew that the magic for the kute eyes was in the okun, the soul of the kute spectrum, but it was the key I could not recall. The memory teased again, so close, yet so far away, and then it was there, I recalled it. I remembered the day that I had spent with Gerangi in its cell. It had given me my first introduction to the magic of this existence.

“Each soul has the ability to manipulate a specific lifeforce if triggered by one with a key. The key to a spectrum’s soul is the eye of an uspec who belongs to that spectrum.”

The key was the eye, of course! With this newfound information, I turned to peer into the okun. Did I need to immerse my eye into the liquid? Looking around the room, I noticed that most of the sacks and coffers were no longer there. One more trip with the cart and all of the bags would be out of the room. Would the cages follow next?

It was hard to summon enough energy to force my eye into the okun, but I did it. My face had already been so close to the okun, and so it only took the slightest jerk of my head to put my eye into the pink liquid. I stared into the liquid, waiting to feel the magic of the okun.

Nothing happened.

Was I to say something? Surely not, I had seen a handful of uspecs use spectra, but they’d never uttered incantations. Then what was it? Was there some secret language which I had to invoke, a hidden means of communication with the okun? If there was, then surely as a kute I would know it.

I searched my mind, trying to go back to that tome. At the time, I’d chosen to read Arigad’s final tome over and over again, because for some reason, I found comfort in it. I read the tale of the annexation and wondered if that was how it would have been in Lahooni if I’d had the chance to grow up with my progenitor Calami. When I read that tome I would put myself in Arexon’s place and for a moment, I would know what it would have felt like to be told stories by a Kaiser who cherished me.

“There is only one key to the soul,” Calami would say to me as Arigad had said to its offspring Arexon, “and only one link between them.”

And I would say to Calami in response, as Arexon had said to its progenitor, “the channel.”

Then Calami would nod and smile at me in that way which was both maternal and regal, and I would know that I had pleased my pater. The channel. The word echoed in my head as I pulled myself out of the dream which the memories had induced in me. The channel. Of course!

Suddenly, I remembered the essence of Arexon’s education. It had all been about ‘the channel’. If Arigad’s last tome had been a mystery, then the climax would have been working with Arexon as it uncovered the identity of the channel. It was the thing through which all creatures are bound. It was emotions. And it made perfect sense. Emotions was how I communicated with the swan, a frosted beast born from the soul of my spectrum. It was mute, it spoke only as the okun would, through pain.

As soon as I made this realization, I reached out with the lifeforce in my pain to the okun. The okun was an inanimate thing beneath me. It was the soul of my spectrum and so I knew that it had life, but it was life which I had never felt. Once I reached through my pain to the okun, I found a wealth of pain reaching back to me. The intensity of the pain was almost overwhelming. I could only describe it as bleak. It was as if I was suddenly staring into the source of all pain, as though there was only void on the other side of it.

I found myself being drawn into the pain, seduced by the emptiness of it. Pain was one of my emotions, it was the language I spoke with the most ease, and I could tell from the pain in the okun, that the okun had been searching for a long time to find someone to speak to. The okun yelled. It spoke in a tongue which was foreign to me. It screamed and I could do nothing but listen. I did not know how to respond, to tell the okun that I could not hear it. It kept pulling at me, pulling at the lifeforce in my pain and I could feel myself get sucked into it.

Then I saw the frosted beast.

I was back in the swamp, watching the swan with awe. Its white skin dazzled me. I lay on the bulging root of a large tree and the swan chose to share the root with me. It found that I was weak and then it fed me the black okun fruit. It gave me strength.

I felt that strength now. I felt the strength course through me, filling my wings with new energy. I flapped around in my cage, oblivious to the hard feel of the restricting bars. I banged against the roof and then the bars. To and fro, I flew, every vein in my body pulsing with an overflow of energy which I found hard to contain. I had to expel the energy and so I kept flying, I kept crashing into the bars even when it hurt my fragile swan body. My long neck went twining around the bars, and I jerked the rest of my body with so much force that it would not have surprised me to see my neck snap.

The flying continued for a long time. I could not tell how long I was like that, or what caused it, but when I finally settled my aching swan body, I found that the room was quiet. There were no more bags or coffers in the room, no uspecs or imps. The stools that the uspecs had been seating on were empty. The only other living creatures in the room were the kares.

I walked around my cage on legs which felt broken, my eyes zooming over to the hounds and the cages they’d been locked in. There were ten cages in the room, the same number that had been there when I was brought in. All of the kares lay flat in their cages. On the bottom of the closest cage, I saw something which I hadn’t seen since Lastmain, a lit okun. The lit okun covered the floor of the kare’s cage. I took my time studying the creature. When minutes passed and it had not made even the slightest motion, no raising of its chest, no twitching of its paws, I knew that it was dead.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:34am On Aug 31
For some inexplicable reason, I felt like I was responsible for the kare’s death, for all their deaths.

It was a chilling thought, one that I was happy to see dispelled when the uspecs returned to the room. Mijad led the excursion. “It’s time to load the cages.” The uspec said, its gaze turned back to the uspecs behind it.

One of those uspecs whistled as it walked over to the nearest kare cage. “We’re going to be rich!” that one said, casting a glance my way before stopping at the cage. “Mijad.” Its voice shook as it called out to its leader. The uspec extended its hand into the cage, prodding the kare in it. When the kare still did not wake, the uspec moved over to another cage. “Mijad!” it screamed the name out, just as it carelessly stuck its hand into a cage stacked above another. It did not look before placing its hand into the glowing pink liquid. As soon as the uspec’s hand touched the lit okun, the uspec fell onto the floor convulsing.

I felt its dying pains and yanked them before they were exhausted with the uspec. I transferred that pain in its entirety to the uspec standing closest to the fog door. There’d been six of them in the group. One was dead now, from the lit okun in the kare’s cage. The other wailed with the polluted pain I had given it.

“Shut up!” Mijad yelled, rushing over with the other three uspecs to the cages. “Stop!” Mijad struck out with its hand, catching an uspec’s wrist before it could place its hand into the cage as its dead friend had done. “Step back. Step back!” At Mijad’s prompting, the uspecs carefully backed away from the cages with the lit okun.

“What is it?” one of the uspec’s asked, its gaze darting between the dead uspec and the wailing one behind it.

“Lit okun.” Mijad replied with a shudder. “I don’t know how it got here, but it kills. Leave the kares, bring the swan. Let’s get out of here.”

“What’s wrong with it?” they gestured to the screaming uspec.

“Shut up!” Mijad yelled at the uspec. “Bring the swan!” it yelled at another.

The uspecs were rooted to the spot. “Bring the swan!” Mijad yelled again. “I said shut up!” it screamed at the wailing uspec. When the uspec with the polluted pain still did not stop its screaming, Mijad stalked over to it. “Shut up!” Mijad yelled. “I’m trying to think. Shut up or I’ll shut you up!”

I felt Mijad’s anger then, it was primed for picking. I reached into the lifeforce in my anger and split it into two equal halves. With these halves, I was able to seep half of Mijad’s anger away, enough to lessen some of the uspec’s rage, but not enough to leave it stunned. I put this anger into the wailing uspec, adding polluted anger to its polluted pain. The combination of both of these emotions appeared too much for the uspec to bear.

It became crazed. The uspec pulled out the sword in its sheath and ran towards Mijad in a maddened haze. Immediately, Mijad pulled out its sword. The crazed uspec swung its sword with force but no skill. It attacked with ferocity which Mijad did not have. I could tell from the blows and the way that Mijad screamed at the uspec, that it was trying to calm it down with its words. It was trying to reach its friend, it did not want to have to kill it. But the mad uspec was too far gone, it could not understand anything Mijad said. It found a weakness in Mijad’s attack, and ran its sword into Mijad’s neck. It did all of this while thrashing its head around and wailing with pain.

Before Mijad’s anger and pain could expire with it, I yanked the uspec’s anger and transferred it to the already crazed one, intensifying that uspec’s anger, then I put Mijad’s dying pains into another uspec. That uspec cried out. It reached for its leather clothes and began tearing through them.

Right at that moment, the crazed uspec reached to attack one of the two sane uspecs left. Those two immediately pulled out their swords. Having seen what the crazed uspec had done to Mijad, they did not fight it with any restraint or sympathy. They fought for their lives, swinging with skill and coordination. It did not take long for them to strike a death blow to the crazed uspec. I yanked that uspec’s polluted emotions and transferred it to one of the sane ones. That one lashed out at the last remaining uspec without polluted emotions.

As they fought, the uspec with the polluted pain wandered mindlessly into their fight. The uspec lumbered between two swords and found itself speared from the front and the back. I yanked that one’s pain and put into the one that was already suffering under the influence of polluted emotions. The addition of the pain, seemed to make its fighting more whimsical. The sane uspec could not keep up. Its sword was knocked out of its hand. The sane uspec made one last attempt to save itself. It pulled out a dagger and managed to stab the crazed uspec in its stomach. That wound only added to the pain which the uspec already felt. It also left the last uspec weaponless. The crazed uspec sliced its sword through the sane one’s neck.

I took the anger from the crazed uspec and gave it to the dying one. There was only one way for polluted anger to be exhausted by an uspec, and it was through death. That uspec died and the anger went with it. Only one uspec remained, and that one suffered from the effects of a large amount of polluted pain. I watched as the uspec fell to its knees, brought down by the weight of the pain it felt. The dagger the uspec had put into it still stuck out of its stomach.

The uspec put its head in its hands and wailed so loudly I wished for the lit okun to appear and kill it, just to shut the uspec up. The incessant loud cries continued, until finally, the uspec crawled over to a wall and began slamming its head against that wall. The uspec banged its head against the hard wall over and over again. It killed itself by slamming its head against that wall.

I could not imagine a worst death.

Now, all I had to do was wait until the person Mijad said Manus would send came.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:35am On Aug 31
Part 14

Time passed slowly as I waited for the arrival of the uspec. I realized as I waited that I had no way of knowing if Manus would think to send an uspec. As the moments ticked away with no way to quantify them, I stared at the room. From the bodies on the floor, to the kares in their cages and then finally the lit okun underneath them. The okun gave off a continuous glow of soft pink light. I stared at that light wondering how it had come to be there. Though I could not fathom how, I knew that I had created it. That was after all the magic of the kute eyes, to create an okun and use that to siphon power from another creature. I’d, however, never heard of a lit okun being created using the magic of the kute eyes.

I heard a thud. I turned then, my front eyes zooming over to the hard fog entrance to the room. The fog which had sealed the entrance was no longer there. An uspec stood in its place. This was an uspec I had seen before.

The uspec wore no leather clothes, no gold on its arms to declare it as a noble. It had four of its outer eyes filled, all of them filled with eyes belonging to uspecs. The lack of imp eyes showed that the uspec did not have spectra. It had tentacles, a soaru uspec then. The uspec had a simple black belt around its waist. A sheathed sword appeared to be the only varnishing on that belt.

As soon as the uspec’s face turned to stare at me, I took a step back in my cage. This uspec bore an unbelievable resemblance to Marcinus. It was there in the uspec’s gait, in its face, even in the widened disbelieving eye which now scanned over the room. If I did not know that Marcinus had all of its outer eyes filled, I would have said the uspec was it.

The uspec whistled. Its face turned back to study mine, and this time it smiled. There was familiarity in that smile, a smile of kinship. It was as if this uspec considered me a friend. How could an uspec I had never met look so fondly at me?

“I thought I was coming to save you.” the uspec said.

I heard the voice and knew that it was Marcinus. Had it lost its eyes then? The uspec walked over to the cage. It bent to a squat in front of me, and stuck its finger in through the space between the bars. It stroked my skin with that finger, petting me.

I jabbed my beak into Marcinus’ finger.

It jerked its hand back, staring incredulously at the blob of blood on its finger. Then it rose its head so that its gaze was back on mine. With its uninjured hand, Marcinus reached up to the empty eye sockets on its face and peeled off a layer of skin. As Marcinus revealed its last eye, I scolded myself for not thinking of it. Of course it had used faux skin. I had only read about this thing which could take on the appearance of whatever part of the body an uspec desired. It was a marvel to see how truly realistic it looked.

“Let’s get this over with then.” It said. “Move towards the back of the cage Nebud.”

Filled with curiosity, I inched backwards. Marcinus stared at the lock on the cage, and then hail appeared, suspended in the air above the lock. That hail migrated to the lock. I watched as Marcinus used the hail to set fire to the lock, burning it to a crisp. Then it grabbed onto the door and pulled it open.

I walked out of the cage.

Even though I still walked on clawed legs, it felt good to walk on a hard surface which wasn’t filled with okun. I never thought the day would come when I would prefer dry ground to pink liquid, but it had. I flapped my wings then, testing out my new freedom.

I was suspended in the air when luminescent red clouds formed around me. The clouds enveloped me, their radiance blinding me. Then suddenly I felt the pains of my body morphing. I felt each break of my fragile swan bones. Yet, I found the pain much easier to endure this time, as I knew what would come after. It was not the great unknown which had predated my transformation to this form. In the blindness induced by the bright lights, I was unable to see through the haze of clouds, but I was able to feel the solid ground underneath me. I felt it when my flapping wings lost their mobility. I felt the solidness of the ground against soft skin, not the claws of a swan’s leg. When the clouds went away, I was standing. I was Nebud, back in my body, my identity as uspec returned.

I turned my focus to Marcinus, the uspec who had freely rendered its magic to my aid. When had a noble ever selflessly given anything to me? “Gratitude imperial one,” I said, shocked at the timber of my voice. Had it really been so long since I had felt truly grateful to another uspec?

Marcinus smiled at me. It nodded. “I owe you my life my friend, this was the least I could do.”

I swallowed nervously, suddenly at a loss for words. I cleared my throat, irritated by my own extreme reactions to the uspec’s show of gratitude. Of course, I did not expect an imperial such as it to feel the need to repay kindness. I had thought that it would feel entitled to my protection as a banneret serving its sibling. The thought of that sibling reminded me of the danger that Marcinus was in. “How did you find me?”

“Your imp. It is rather bold, and it cares for you a great deal. Musa snuck into the Chateau this morning. It was going to go into Manus’ suite to find you, but luckily Tammy found it before it made that fatal mistake. Tammy brought Musa to me. It told me that you had not returned the night before. Once I realized you were missing, it wasn’t too hard to bribe an imp or two into telling me what Manus had done to you. I checked Manus’ cage room, saw that you were not there, and decided to check every other kennel in the burg. This was the tenth one I tried.”

I was shocked that the uspec had expended so much of an effort to find me. “Gratitude imperial one.” I said again, not really sure what else to say.

Marcinus frowned at me. Its expression turned solemn then. “You have nothing to be grateful for. You saved my life Nebud, I owe you much more than this.”

I nodded, and then I looked away, finding it difficult to meet the uspec’s eyes. My mind chose that moment to remind me that I had to steal one of those eyes. Marcinus found me and freed me and in exchange I would steal its eye. That was if Manus did not kill it first. “Why did you use faux skin?” I spat the question out, hoping to distract myself with its response.

“Haven’t you noticed that most uspecs in this port don’t have spectra? You’ve seen firsthand how dangerous the magic of the clouds can be, that is why imp eyes are only given to a few handpicked by the Kaiser. If I had walked around with all my eyes filled, I would have stood out like a sore thumb. That would not have helped my search for you.” Marcinus turned to the bodies. “And these?”

I knew that I had to lie to the uspec, but I was surprised by the slight discomfort the thought of lying wrought in me. “They fought amongst themselves.” I said, “it was as if they went crazy.”

Marcinus’ eyes were filled with suspicion as it studied me. It looked at me in the way that it had the first time we met. Its eyes travelled over my body and then they returned to my face and stopped to stare right into my eyes. It was a look which reminded me of the uspec’s progenitor. The similarity between both uspecs rose an unexpected pang of grief in me. Would I have had so many similarities with my progenitor?

“We should go.” Marcinus stated. “It took a great deal of convincing, but I managed to keep your imp from following me. I find that I fight much better when I do not have to worry about the safety of others in my care. In exchange though, I had to promise Musa that I would bring you back to it as soon as I found you.” Marcinus looked down at the ground, shaking its head. Then it chuckled. “I know, my progenitor and sibling tell me that I am too fond of imps.”

So many thoughts crossed my mind after Marcinus spoke. First, I thought of telling it that Musa did not need anyone watching out for it, but then I thought better of that. I found it startling that Marcinus would put so much stock in the promise it made to an imp. I admitted that I was unusually fond of my imp, but that was because of its connection to my line. I knew that I would not feel the same way about an imp I did not know. I nodded at Marcinus.

The uspec waited until I walked up to it before it made any move towards the door. Its eyes scanned the room one last time and then it asked, “was this the kennel that you found Mara in?”

How had it known? I nodded.

The sadness which came over Marcinus’ face was unbelievably stirring. I found myself averting my gaze. But when I heard Marcinus mutter, “Manus” underneath its breath, my gaze darted to the uspec. Did it know then? Did it know that its sibling was trying to have it killed?

Marcinus walked out the door first. As soon as I stepped into the familiar room, my eyes fixed on a belt resting on the table. It was my belt! With my cutlass and dagger, and everything. I picked the belt off the table. “How?” I gaped at Marcinus.

Marcinus smiled, but the smile lacked warmth. “An imp found it in Manus’ suit and brought it to me. I knew that you would want it back.”

“Gratitude.” I strapped the belt onto my waist. The cutlass was a reassuring weight on me. I did not know how much I had missed the confidence which brandishing the weapon brought, until it was returned.

Again, Marcinus smiled, and again the smile did nothing to chase the sadness which had come over it when I confirmed that the swan had been held here. We walked out of the kennel in silence. The humidity hit me once we got out of the covering. Who would have thought that I would find that humidity comforting? The droplets of pink on my skin were a sign of my identity as uspec. They were a mark of my freedom.

Marcinus only walked about ten steps away from the curtains before turning back around to stare at the kennel. Marcinus closed its eyes. It stood still, with its eyes closed and its hands hanging from its side, as if in deep contemplation.

Hail appeared in the air. The last time I had seen this much hail had been in the hatch in the pits of Hakute. But that hail had not been nearly as large as the drops which now hung, suspended in the air. The hail moved towards the kennel. I watched as the hail clung to the sides, filling the exterior of the walls until the dwelling was completely covered with white. Then the kennel went up in flames.

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 4:36am On Aug 31
The sound of the blast was so loud that I wasn’t surprised when uspecs were drawn to the sight. Commoners stood far away, watching with wide fear-filled eyes as the inferno consumed the kennel. I had never seen anything like it. While it happened, Marcinus stood with its eyes closed. Finally, the kennel was reduced to ash on the foam floor. The flames flickered away then. Quicksand formed underneath the ashes. That quicksand pulled the ashes away, transporting them to a location which only Marcinus would know.

When Marcinus opened its eyes, the kennel was gone, and all that was left in front of us was empty foam ground. Marcinus turned to nod at me. It continued walking then, seemingly oblivious to the commoners who dropped to their knees, bowing in reverence to it.

“You are quite skilled with spectra.” I said, as we drew close to a portal.

Marcinus nodded. Its voice was low when it spoke. “I do not like it, but my mater made sure that I learnt. Mater was right, skill should always be honed, regardless of how its owner feels about it. I could be the greatest fighter in the world, but if I go up against an uspec with a better grasp on spectra than I have? Well, my skill with the sword will not matter.”

“The mighty one is very shrewd.” I said.

The imp standing in front of the portal pulled the curtains aside and knelt with its head touching the floor. It did not demand the required fee as it would for any other uspec. Marcinus walked into the portal and I walked in after it. As soon as we stood on the hardened quicksand, the form went away, and we were pulled in. The quicksand took us to the wall of slots which separated the commoners’ portions from the merchants’ block. Marcinus walked into the fog, and the fog went away. I walked in through the slot, wondering how Marcinus had removed the fog without a key or paying the required price. Perhaps the line of Kaisers had the key in their blood? That was an intriguing thought.

I tried to ignore the silence, and Marcinus’ obvious grief as we walked. The further into the block that we got, the harder that task became. I reached through my emotions instead. I thought, if Marcinus’ countenance was a result of the knowledge of Manus’ treachery, then it would feel anger. I found that Marcinus was feeling neither anger nor pain. It would probably have sorrow, but as sorrow was not an emotion that I could control, I would not be able to feel for it.

Marcinus broke the silence once we were within eyeshot of the lodging. “I am being terrible company, am I not?” Its voice held a certain self-deprecating note.

I shook my head. “Your company is just fine.”

Marcinus sighed. “I should have known.” It said. “Perhaps I did, I think I did. Manus never liked Mara. The first time Manus saw the swan it asked me to get rid of the creature. When it saw how close I was to it, it relented and said that I could keep it in my suite. I tried to, but Mara just follows me. I should have known that when the swan scratched Manus, Manus would try to get rid of it. I just thought that my sibling would talk to me before it did that. Manus knows how much I value Mara, why would it be so unforgiving over a little scratch?”

We were in front of the door to my suite. I realized from the way that Marcinus looked at me, that it was waiting for an answer. It expected me to have insights on Manus’ behavior? “Manus is not a warrior.” I said, sure that I could not say what I actually thought. Perhaps Manus had known that the swan would attack the assassin that it sent for Marcinus. That was probably why it had sent the swan away.

Marcinus laughed. I saw the tension ease from it. It bent so that it was leaning casually against the wall by the entrance to my suite. As it laughed, I watched the sorrow which had marred its features lift. “You are right.” Marcinus said, wholeheartedly accepting my explanation. “I did not even think of that. I think as a fighter, and so injuries to me are minor inconveniences. To someone who is not injured as often as I, well then the swan’s scratch would probably have been more offensive. Thank you Nebud.”

I nodded, wondering all the while if Marcinus had truly accepted my explanation. From the smile which lit its face, I could tell that its previous grief was gone. Was Marcinus truly that blind? Or was it just that eager to excuse Manus?

I reached into my belt for my copy of the key to the suite, then I placed it into the hard fog door. The fog softened as the key went in. Had it really only been a day ago that I left? It felt like weeks had passed since I last saw Musa. The fog went away, granting access to the room.

“May I come in?” Marcinus asked.

The request surprised me. “Of course.” I stretched my hand out, in the direction of the exposed room and Marcinus walked in, smiling.

I’d just taken a step away from the door when I heard Musa’s scream, “Master!” It ran out of the room and came rushing in towards the door. Its face lit with a smile of relief when it saw me. “Where have you been master? What happened to you? I thought you said you could survive without my …”

I cleared my throat, cutting the imp off, before it said something foolish in front of the imperial one. Marcinus stood to the side, its hands crossed in front of it. It observed Musa and me with a grin on its face.

Musa’s gaze turned from me, to Marcinus. “Thank you domina.” Musa said.

Marcinus laughed. “I wish my mater could see this. Perhaps seeing that the great Nebud is as fond of its imp as I am will soften its attitude towards my behavior.”

“The great Nebud?” Musa asked.

Marcinus winked at the imp. “Mater is very fond of your master. Nebud distinguished itself yesterday.”

Musa turned to face me. “Then where have you been?”

“I’ll explain later.” I said to the imp. “Please, come in.” I stretched my hand out towards the entertaining room, and Marcinus proceeded me. It reclined onto a lounging bed.

“Are you hungry?” I asked. “I know I am.”

Marcinus laughed. “I will share a meal with you if you are offering.”

I nodded, then I turned to Musa. The imp nodded excitedly. “I’ll prepare something, all of your favorites master! I’ll bring some wine first.” Musa was still chattering as it walked into the cooking room.

It wasn’t until Musa returned with the wine that I recalled all that happened the night of the slaughter in the inn, and the role I had played in Marcinus’ lethargy. That memory rose another in my head. I remembered how cold Marcinus had been towards me, after I went to the tent with Manus. Had it known? I wondered, staring into my drink. And there was one point that I still could not make sense of. My mind went back to that first day in the gymnasium. Marcinus had willingly taken the drink that Manus sent. Why?

“You can ask.” Marcinus said, taking a sip of the wine in the goblet before placing it on a stool.

“Did you know all along?”

“That Manus was poisoning my drinks?” It nodded. “Yes, I knew.”

I frowned. That made no sense. “Why would you let it?”

Marcinus sighed. “I hate politics, I hate the games, I hate the scheming, I hate all of it. I am the younger sibling, I was never meant to be Kaiser and I have never wanted it. I fight because it pleases me to do so. I do it because mater takes pride in my skill. I do it because Manus can use me when it becomes Kaiser. We are one of the few powerful Uspecipyte ports left. We need a strong army and it is my duty to serve my Kaiser with my gift, and so I train. When mater announced that it was going to have a naming ceremony, I knew that Manus would feel threatened, I knew that it would do something. So, when it started putting drugs in my drinks to make me appear drunk, I just took the drinks. I didn’t care if the nobles saw me as a drunk. If it helped Manus, I didn’t care. Besides, Mara removes the effect of the drug. I don’t know how it does it, but a few moments alone with the swan and I am back to normal.”

I put my cup down. “You let Manus make a fool of you.”

Marcinus shrugged. “I am not meant to be Kaiser, but mater does not see it. This way Manus and I both get what we want. It gets to be Kaiser, and deal with the nobles, and I get to fight. More important, we both get to remain siblings, free of the jealousy and plotting that power struggles bring.” It stopped speaking and looked down. “Yesterday was the exception though. Yesterday I was determined to fight well for our mater’s pride. Manus distracted me by bringing you into the tent, then it slipped the pellet into my drink when I was looking at you. I apologize for being so cold towards you. I thought that you’d known, that you were somehow part of Manus’ plan to steal the glory of the Kaiser’s bout from me. Now I know better.”

“Manus asked me to put the pellet into your drink at the inn. It told me that the pellets would help counteract the effects of the strong liquor. I had believed it.”

“I do not hold it against you my friend.”

“You could have died in that inn. Manus’ pellets could have left you too befuddled to defend yourself.”

Marcinus laughed. “Pure coincidence. Manus could not have known that the plenum would have Kuworytes in our port during the Kaiser’s bout. Manus was just playing its game, trying to get me to make a fool of myself in front of the only people who still respect me, the commoners.”

I had to fight to keep my reactions buried. Marcinus did not know that Manus wanted it dead then. Was I supposed to tell it? And why was Marcinus so content to appear the fool. “I could not do it.” I said. “I could not allow anyone make a fool of me like that.”

Marcinus just kept smiling. “I am a second imperial. I love my sibling, and it is the first imperial. It deserves to be Kaiser. You’d be surprised what you could do when asked to by one that you cherish.”

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Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cherriex(f): 8:53am On Aug 31
And finally back to my okun,d fact that I dreamt about the green creatures surprises me.i love to read esp adventures cos our imagination can do wonders,we create the characters in our mind in a picturistic manner that we even have that dejavu effect sometimes, ride on @obehid.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by tunjilomo(m): 9:15am On Aug 31
Well, Marcinus is one of a kind. I wish and at the same time wonder if Manus knows it's sibling has no ambition for the throne.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by phoenixchap: 10:15am On Aug 31
Good twist and fabulous write up..
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Fazemood(m): 10:32am On Aug 31
Marcinus my friend the only uspec I like from the very first introduction, why are you being too simple to see the schemes of your sibling? I am happy you could see that Nebud was just used. That is a relief but Manus isn't what you think it to be.

I am glad that you both (Marcinus and Nebud) are getting on well. I am glad.

Obehid, I thank to you for this wonderfully crafted update. Thanks. Happy weekend. And BTW my birthday was on the 29th, so this is a birthday present cheesy
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by cassbeat(m): 10:35am On Aug 31
Thanks for this lengthy update obehid..
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by OluwabuqqyYOLO(m): 11:37am On Aug 31
Obehi, I love you!
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by HotB: 3:30pm On Aug 31
You’d be surprised what you could do when asked to by one that you cherish.”
I wonder who it cherishes. It cant be the Kaiser.

Thanks for the extra-update too, obehiD. It made my day
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Ultimategeneral: 10:33pm On Aug 31
thanks obehid, for the lenghty episode. i really appreciate. still i can't stop wanting more.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by decoderdgenius: 2:03am On Sep 01
Double double...me likey! Wonderful ccraftsmanship as usual. It has me so enthralled. I doff my hat to you. Gratitude.
Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by obehiD: 5:06am On Sep 02
@cherriex thank you! Can't believe you dreamt about them. What did the green creatures look like? I agree, it is very intriguing the way our minds work. I have had some dreams where it's just like I should go back and continue the action because, I wake up when the suspense has reached its peak lol

@tunjilomo Yes ohhh, Marcinus really is one of a kind. Anyway, let me not come and start saying how much I like Marcinus cheesy

@phoenixchap thank you!

@Fazemood As in, I don't know if you remember when you said this, but you posted one comment like that, I think it was close to when Nebud just entered Katsaoru and was beating up the uspec that helped to steal its bag. Anyway, you posted a comment saying that you didn't just like the uspecs. And when I read that comment, in my mind I was just thinking, I can't wait for you to meet Marcinus. I just knew that you would like Marcinus grin Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY I knew there was a reason why my mind was telling me to post double this weekend wink Hope you had a great day!

@cassbeat thanks for reading the lengthy update smiley

@OluwabuqqyYOLO Thank you! Chai, I love how you're enjoying this story like this cheesy

@HotB Actually, I can't speak for Marcinus (because I'm not in its mind grin) but, I think it really cherishes the Kaiser. But, when Marcinus said that, I believe it was referring to Manus. It was saying that it cherished Manus and so it would do anything for it.

@Ultimategeneral Thank you for reading and enjoying and especially for wanting more grin

@decoderdgenius I like how you used 'gratitude' it's like you're mind is really in this spectral existence world oh lol. Thank you for reading and being enthralled.

1 Like

Re: The Marked: In The Spectral Existence (A Stand-alone Fantasy Fiction Novella) by Botaflica(m): 5:23am On Sep 02
Awesome. I knew Nebud will use this to its advantage. That’s reassuring to know that it’s studies are worth the time it took. More experience now and more understanding of how things worked. From the novice Nebud to a well informed and reformed Nebud. Thanks for the update. Still waiting for the next update.

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