Chapter 16

Chapter 16

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 16

 

 

            “Why must I sing in Sector Three? Do you want me to die? Your own daughter!” complained Emerald.

            “It had to be done,” explained Bishop Marble. “The people in Sector Three need to be distracted from all their fear and grieving. Remind them how beautiful the world can be. Sing about love and all those other things people love that you love to sing about.”

            Emerald glared at him. “I don’t even write my own songs!”

            Marble shrugged “Who cares? People think you do and they love you for it. All they want is a little entertainment. Something to distract them while all their friends and family are dying.”

            “You’re horrible!”

            “Thank you. So you think you can be ready in an hour?”

            Emerald’s father never seemed to understand or care about her feelings. For all his talent in making people love him he was terrible at making his family love him. His family was just another investment to maintain power and his endless supply of money. On camera he would convince you otherwise, but outside he was a businessman and nothing else. The King of Propaganda they called him. Along with the most dashing man in the Ark. And the man made of gold. And a hundred other nicknames he forged for himself on the television screen. To Emerald he was the most incompetent father any child could have.

            Emerald’s jaw dropped at the realization of what he just said. “I’m leaving today?!”

            “In an hour, yes,” her father assured with his attention now fixated on his COM. “You have to catch a train along with the Knight, Judas.”

            The mentioning of Judas made the idea of traveling to Sector Three not seem so bad. Emerald fancied Judas despite him being married. She liked courageous men who fought. Virgo used to be her dream husband until just the other day. Now she just feared and hated him. But Judas was still young, honorable, and courageous with not a stain on his records. Even though she’d only met him on formal occasions before where she didn’t have the luxury of having a normal conversation, on paper he was everything an idol like her could ever want.

            Emerald tried not to seem too pleased by the sudden news. “Is he going to be my bodyguard?”

            Marble shook his dashing head. “No, not at all. You’ll have normal guards, as usual. But they should suffice.”

            This sent her mood back to hating her father. “So why am I even leaving with him?”

            “He’s going to kill that demon you’re so scared of.”

            Emerald felt butterflies in her stomach, as Judas suddenly became the bravest man in the world. “How brave!”

            “I wouldn’t call it brave, more like he has no choice.”

            “Say what you will, he’s out there fighting and making sure the Ark is safe instead of making stupid movies, talk shows, political campaigns and-“

            “And all that stuff that keeps the people happy, distracted, and from panicking. Yes, I know.” Marble clicked his COM dissipating all the touch holograms being projected. “Are you ready yet?”

            Emerald rolled her eyes and started getting ready. She dressed herself in green silk scarves that covered just enough for her to not be exposed. She sprayed green glitter on her exposed areas and the corners of her eyes. After she finished putting make up all over her already perfect face she tied her hair in her iconic side ponytail high up so that her hair wouldn’t drag against the floor. She ended her glamour with a spray of her own brand of perfume. She posed in various positions in front of the mirror to make sure she looked her best. She wouldn’t dare leave a building without looking anything less of perfect.

            When she was escorted to the train she was guided to the same cubicle as Judas. To her satisfaction, they were the only two inside. She felt real butterflies in her stomach as she laid her eyes upon his heroic purple aura. He was gazing out the window, like a statue, armored and secluded. It was so mysterious and enticing Emerald couldn’t even hold back the wide mischievous grin forming over her innocent face.

            Emerald quietly sat across from him and pretended not to care by not acknowledging him. Instead she pulled out her COM and started flipping through her contacts and pretending to text as if she were a busy person. Every once in a while she glanced through her holograms to see if he caught notice of her but he remained as he was, his eyes lost into the distance. Emerald adjusted herself in a more revealing manner and crossed her legs to show the perfection of her long tendered limbs. Judas didn’t even glance. This made her a bit aggravated. She’d never been ignored so blatantly in her life. Normally people begged her for even a glance of acknowledgement. Only person who ever ignored her to this degree before was her father, and he was like that with almost everyone behind screens.

            Finally Emerald lost her patience. “I haven’t seen you since the New Year’s banquet.”

            Judas tilted his head. “I remember. You sang that song, I forgot the name.”

            Watching From Afar,” Emerald said proudly.

            “Yeah.” Judas turned his gaze back to the window.

            Emerald clenched her hands in frustration. “So, what brings you to Sector Three.”

            “The usual,” he said without looking at her. “Hunting criminals down.”

            “Anyone in particular?” she said pushing for a more interactive conversation.

            “A nightmare from my past.”

            Emerald remembered her father once speaking to someone on the phone about Judas personally knowing the demon. She couldn’t really make sense out of most of the conversation but she was certain that somewhere along the conversation her father referred to the demon, amongst others, as family to Judas. She also remembered reading on an old paper once that Judas turned his own treasonous mother in for hiding illegal humans. She wondered if the demon was one of those humans. Her curiosities quickly started getting the best of her, as she suddenly needed to know more just for sake of knowing.

            “Is it true you knew the demon once?” she asked. Judas answered with a glare that made Emerald shrivel like a mouse. “I overheard my father talking about it once,” she said in an attempt to undo whatever harm she accidently caused.

            “I’m sure you can ask your father.” he replied in an irritated tone.

            How rude! “My relationship with my father isn’t as perfect as television would have you believe. Besides, I rather learn directly from you,” she said with the best smile she could force.

            “Sorry, I don’t really like talking about my past.”

            Emerald felt one hundred worlds further than she already felt. Unsure of what to say she decided to pretend to be busy once more and skim through her COM. Through her pretend texting she realized she was awful at making conversations. She was so used to people always approaching her and asking her questions that she never felt the need to make an effort to talk. Now she was in the most awkward moment she’d ever been in her life sitting two feet away from one of the few men she deemed qualified to marry her.

            She thought about a million ways to spark a conversation. She considered asking about how his wife was doing but figured that would only direct the conversation the opposite way of what she wanted. She considered asking if he ever watched any of her concerts but feared his response would only belittle her more than he already had. She almost asked what kind of food he liked since he’d yet to request anything from the servers but thought it was a stupid awkward conversation all on its own. Finally she decided to just ask what had been on her mind since her dad told her she was going to Sector Three.

            “Are you scared?” she asked.

            This caught his attention. “You ever seen a dead person?” he asked in an almost threatening voice.

            “Yes,” Emerald answered. “I’ve sung many times in open casket funerals.”

            Judas shook his head in disbelief and turned his gaze back on the window. “You may be surprised when you sing at the funerals in Sector Three. I don’t think they will be open casket.”

            At this point Emerald just wanted him to keep talking. “Why? What’s so different? A dead person is still a dead person no matter how they died, right? In that sense it’s all the same.”

            “Yes, but it’s not the dead people we care about in funerals. It’s the people attending. You’ll find the audience to be quite different in Sector Three.”

            Emerald quickly regretted her choice of topic. It was obvious now that her and Judas would never find a common ground. She’d never met anyone so dark before in her life. A bad day in her life was being late for a performance, disappointing her father, not getting the highest rates on her channels, or a bad hair day. It didn’t take a genius to realize Judas had seen things that would break a normal person. But that was also why she was so intoxicated by him. He wasn’t like anyone else she knew. He wasn’t a tool of the media, well technically everyone in the Court of Royals was to some extent, but he didn’t care for it. They just made an example of him.

              “Well,” Emerald thought out loud. “Then maybe you can prepare me for what I’m about to walk into.”

            Judas chuckled. The sick kind of chuckle that just made you feel uneasy and scared for what you were about to hear next. “You’re asking the wrong person. I’ve seen it and I’m still not prepared.”

            Emerald swallowed. “So you are scared…” If he was scared she could only imagine how scared she’d be once she got there.

            “Ever have someone hate you so much their life goal is to kill you?”

            Emerald thought about it for a second. Being a celebrity you always have your haters. But she never feared those that didn’t support her. She never felt anyone could touch her. At least that’s what she thought until Virgo betrayed the Ark.

“Ever since Garnet died, I’ve questioned it,” she answered.

“Funny how the world works sometimes. One minute you think every thing is fine, the next it seems like everyone wants you dead.”

Emerald couldn’t help but feel he was referring to himself just now. He didn’t sound scared, but she could tell he was. It reminded her of the last time she spoke to Garnet.

“Funny thing is, I didn’t think everything was fine.” This caught Judas’s undivided attention. “Two days before Garnet died, we talked. She wasn’t her usual optimistic self. I mean she tried to seem it, but it was clear she was making an effort. I wanted to ask what was wrong, but I figured it was probably something small and personal like a fight with her father, like the ones I have all the time that ruin my mood. The thought of her dying never crossed my mind once. Now I can’t help but feel I could’ve made a difference and I hate myself for it.”

“Don’t let guilt destroy you,” Judas said quietly. Again, Emerald could just feel he was referring to himself.

“She was my only real friend…” Thoughts of the times she shared with Garnet started flashing through her head. She felt the urge to break down again like she’d done the recent days and decided to quickly change the topic to distract herself. “Let’s talk about something else. I don’t like talking about things that make me sad. It’s in the past now, nothing can be done anymore.”

Judas gave the first genuine smile she’d seen on him the whole ride. “Okay. I understand.”

The rest of their conversation flowed so naturally and casual that how it initially began felt like a pessimistic fabricated memory. They both managed to distract each other with whatever was haunting them with small talk about the Ark. Emerald was great for meaningless talk because everything she controlled in the media was meaningless. Talk shows, fashion shows, new trends, up and coming artists, and about everything else that appealed to the youth of the Ark. To her surprise Judas was surprisingly informed with a lot of the pop culture. He explained that as a Knight it’s crucial he knows these things to find his targets, and that a lot he learns during his investigations. When the train finally came to a stop Emerald couldn’t help but feel it went by too fast.

As they stepped off the train Emerald said, “So this is where we part ways.”

“So it seems,” said Judas.

“Will I see you again?”

“I’ll be in the area probably not too far from you. Everyone is booking hotels in Sector Three since they don’t feel safe in their homes anymore. Not to mention I’ll be investigating around town until I can pinpoint the demon’s location.”

Emerald hugged him and kissed him on the cheek leaving a startled defensive look on Judas. “Don’t get yourself killed. I’d like some company on the ride back,” she said.

He returned a questioning smile but gave no words before nodding and turning away towards his ride. Emerald watched him leave with a grin on her face. He’s a little difficult to talk to, but he’s perfect.

Emerald was taken to the hotel she was staying at shortly after. The accommodations inside were generally to the same level of quality as those in the Ark but the hotel itself was completely different. For starters, it wasn’t a suite at the top of a huge building. It was a big building, but it was wider than it was tall. She found the Sector to be extremely unfamiliar overall. She knew the structure of Sector Three from studies and had seen pictures but seeing it in the flesh was always a different experience.

Sector Three was divided into four districts. Emerald was currently in the Town District, which was the most populated area, by homunculi. The town section had all the stores and tourist sites but it was no skyscraper. Not too far from the town district was the Lab District. This was where all the technology companies were established. Here was where the all the new tech was invented. In the backyard of the labs was the Factory District, the largest and busiest district. All the mass production occurred here. This was also where the human slaves were kept and put to labor. The last was the Living District. The Living District was where most of the families who worked in Sector Three lived. It was alienated from all the other districts and based on groundmass was technically the largest district, but most of it was empty territory owned by the inhabitants. According to her father though more than half the residents of the Living District were staying in the Town District due to the demon.

Emerald entered her balcony and looked at the town below. She’d never seen a gloomier crowd. No one looked happy or like they were outside just for the sake of being outside. Fear consumed the streets; it was like nothing she had ever seen before. The Ark didn’t portray any of this. The media was clean of any mention of the murders and whatever rumors reached the Ark from people who left Sector Three, the media covered it up with lies and distractions. To the people of the Ark it was just another urban tale to gossip about. To the people of Sector Three it was a reality. Just who was this blue haired demon? 



© 2012 Cynical_Art


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Added on September 7, 2012
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Author

Cynical_Art
Cynical_Art

New York, NY



About
I am 21 years old, I got my Bachelors in Science Degree when I was 19. My career profession is computer animation (I am an Environment Modeler, for those that follow the profession) but I love to writ.. more..

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