As she spoke, Flora’s thoughts traveled through her memories, far into the past. She felt as if she had gone back to being a little girl who was telling the story of her first lucid dream to the Sang-je.
To an Anika, her first lucid dream is a defining moment. It is proof of her existence, the moment she is accepted and acknowledged. No matter the time and age, an Anika would never forget this momentous moment in her life. Flora, to this day, remembered it all as if it had happened only yesterday.
As a young child, she lacked the desired vocabulary to describe the wonders that she had witnessed, the emotions she experienced. If only her excitement could be articulated, the little girl’s fantastic debut would thrill all those who heard. Alas, she could only clumsily do her best to sufficiently express and explain what she’d seen. She was a little upset about it, but there was nothing she could do. Once she was done narrating, she sat there eagerly looking at the Sang-je like she was now.
— “Flora Anika, it appears that you are receiving special blessings from Mahar.”
It seemed like she would never tire of hearing those words. Every time they had met, the Sange-je had always reiterated, bringing her a joyous smile.
“Each day I live gratefully indebted to the benevolent Mahar.” She replied with a smile.
When she was young she had not understood the meaning and only uttered the parroted words. But now, she knew.
The Sang-je treated all the Anikas equally. He would never judge their value, do or say anything to imply that one was greater or lesser than the others. So, coming from him, the word “special” represented the utmost praise.
— “I have recently heard His voice.”
Taken aback, Flora stood up in surprise and bowed deeply towards the Sang-je.
“May Mahar’s blessing be eternal,” she said. “Felicitations to you, Sang-je.”
— “His words always carry a profound meaning. It would not be good to delay the interpretation of His words. This is why I’ve asked to meet with you today.”
Flora, in the middle of sitting back down, looked up with wide eyes. “Was there something in His words that was meant for me?”
The Sang-je shook his head.
— “I was unable to fully interpret His meaning. I only had the intense urge to meet with you.”
“… with me?” Flora was befuddled. She failed to make the connection between the course of events.
— “The Mahar concerns Himself especially when it comes to you. I was worried that perhaps something might have happened to you, but I am glad to see that you are well.”
“Yes, I have been doing well thanks to you, Your Holiness.”
— “Flora Anika. If there are any changes to your lucid dream then please let me know immediately. Even if it’s a small or seemingly insignificant change.”
“Yes, Your Holiness.”
— “I trust in your truthfulness”
Flora’s breath hitched, just for a second. It was such a short moment that no one other than herself would have noticed. With an expression of deepest faithfulness, she clasped her hands together and bowed her head.
“I merely obey the superior will of Mahar.”
After Flora left, a knight entered.
— “Don’t let anyone in until I call you.”
“Yes, Your Holiness.”
The Presence-Chamber’s doors closed as the knight left. The Sang-je, who had been sitting very still in the silent chamber, let out a small sigh.
He had watched Flora Anika with keen interest ever since she was very young. She was of a pure and honest character. Perhaps in comparison to Jin, who was often summoned together with her, Flora’s naivety was even more pronounced. The Sang-je was certain Flora was not one to lie before him.
But over the years, the Sang-je had seen and had countless human beings by his side. Mankind was a paradox. The more one tried to understand, the more one was left confused. It was good as well as evil, yet at the same time neither good nor evil. If there was something one could say with certainty about this race it was that there exists nothing as unpredictable as a human.
Humans… they sure are quite difficult, he thought to himself.
There were a multitude of people with a lifelong wish to see the Sang-je, if only just once, and there were also those who were afraid of coming close to even his shadow. They were wary of approaching him lest their inner thoughts are clearly read and laid bare.
Every time he’d think of this, the Sang-je would laugh dryly to himself. If only he could truly read the thoughts of mankind like a book, then every problem he was plagued with could be easily solved.
Jin… Flora… Who is it? Which one will complete the final journey?
The golden lashes lining his closed lids quivered.
Or perhaps, it will be neither? Will I have to wait longer?
His lashes slowly lifted upwards, the red irises revealed themselves. These eyes, focused on some point in empty space, resembled a pair of cold, crimson glass marbles.