Bellum Potestas

In a small galaxy far, far away, two young heroes fight gallantly their way through the darkest dangers and highest threats to beat the clock and save all before a disasterous bomb goes off. Will they make it there in time, or does their story come to an ominous end?


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2. My Mission - Adwr

     ~ Chapter one ~

"Adwr!"

     "Huh?"

I sat up abruptly, brought groggilly from my sleep back to the agonising torture of listening to Mr. Yix's history lectures.

     "Adwr, if you would be so kind as to not sleep in my class, that would be much appreciated." Mr. Yix warned condescendingly. His blond hair was slowly turning red, and to avoid his anger rising too high, I nodded sleepily and sat up straight, "ready" to listen.

     "As I was saying, the war we are currently in, The Great Gem War, began nearly twenty years ago. Lichsnoff's queen, Queen Li, fell ill. She had an ailment that had no cure. No cure other than the Gem, I should say. Now, as we all know, Gems grow only once. They can never grow on a planet once it has had a Gem. The Lichsnoffians' Gem was destroyed in the Battle of Elttab, so they pleaded with our Queen, Queen Layora, to lend them her own Gem.

     "Queen Layora, being the kind and generous queen she is, obliged. She sent her trusted adviser to send it to them. A week later, Lichsnoff waged a war on us claiming they never received the Gem."

     Yeah, yeah, yeah, I thought to myself dully. We've all heard this before. This stupid school teaches the same things every year. Women are so lucky that they get only the first five years of education. Men are stuck rotting here for ten years after. This is what I call "gender discrimination".

     The intercom suddenly made a static noise before blaring, "ALL STUDENTS UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY, REPORT. REPEAT. ALL STUDENTS UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY, REPORT"

     I stood up, along with three other students with late birthdays, and I collected my things hurriedly. I walked quickly out into the hallway, full of other people bustling curiously about towards the eerie auditorium.

     Looking at my reflection in one of the windows I passed, I realized my hair was white. Pure white. I tugged on the hood of my jacket, pulling it up over my hair, not wanting anyone to notice my fear.

     Why do we have to report? I thought curiously. Reports are for military purposes, at least every other time that this has happened. There is usually a call once per year for students wanting to join the military once they finish their education. There is also the occasional call for a student whose father has been killed in battle. But every male student in a particular age group? Why?

     I arrived at the auditorium soon enough and quickly took a seat in the back, trying desperately to avoid attention at all costs. I didn't like being here the first time, and I certainly didn't like being here again.

     The very moment I sat down, a man came briskly onto the big, wooden stage. He looked about forty plus years old. Probably a War Hero or something else. He announced sternly in a gruff voice, "I am the General, and I am also certain that you are all wondering why you have been called to report. The military needs your help"

     Curious murmurs spread rapidly throughout the crowd, but it didn't last too long. The General bellowed angrily, "Silence!" louder than a gunshot echoing through a megaphone on full blast. "As I was saying, the military needs the help of one of you insolent little brats. Who's up for the job?"

     Now, I knew a lot of people who wanted to join the military, and maybe it was simply the fact that The General just called us all "insolent brats," but silence rang throughout the auditorium, somehow louder than the General's yelling.

     "Fine then," The General warily said. "I'll just pick someone." His cold eyes searched the shivering audience, and suddenly he yelled, "You, there! With the Glasses in the back row!"

     I looked curiously up and down the back row, looking for the poor sucker that has to go up to the stage. But there isn't anyone on this row with glasses... except, of course, for me.

     No! Why me? I groan glumly in my head.

     Carefully, I stood up and made miniscule little steps toward the stage.

     I was water thin glass. I was fine china; fragile. Soldiers can't be fragile, they can't be cowards, they can't be scared of their own shadow. They can't be, well, me.

     I shiveringly climbed up the looming steps that lead to stage and, naturally, just because the universe hates me, I tripped on the top step, causing a loud roar of jeering laughter as well as a slightly bloody nose. I stumbled foolishly, trying desperately to get up.

     "What's your name?" the General asked.

     I stutter a reply of, "A-A-A-Adwr"

     "Well, A-A-A-Adwr," the General mimicked. "You're coming with me."

***

     I sat in the car terrified, trying fiddlingly to flatten my unruly hair under my hoodie, so that if it suddenly changed, it would be hidden. If there is one thing I didn't need, it's to - what's the old saying? oh yeah! - "wear my feelings on my sleeve"

     I felt the large hover car suddenly stop moving, and I tried hard to look through the window to see where we were, but all were heavily tinted black as night. I might as well have been foolishly staring at a mirror, because it only faintly revealed my lousy reflection.

     I have messy, unruly hair that sticks out wildly. It's blond, but it constantly changes colours, like everyone on Marklar.

     My blistering blue eyes are really clouded, so I am constantly having to explain that I am most certainly not blind. It's one of the reasons I unfortunately have these big circular glasses. The blind, after all, don't need prescription glasses.

     I look like someone took my head and another, my feet and yanked as hard as they could. I'm really tall (something I get - got - from my father) and as my best friend jokily called me about a year ago, skinny beyond all reason. Skin and bones. I mean, I've always been skinny, but it wasn't until my mosterous step-dad rudely moved in and stopped feeding me that I sadly became a full-time stick man.

     The big car door ominously opened, and the surly General boredly pulled me out. The dazzling starshine blinded me for a split second, but when I could once again see, I dizzily found myself right in front of the stunning palace, the last place I would have expected. What was this?The third surprise of the day?

     The General silently lead me in, one hand gripping my bony shoulder, the other hovering readily over the large ray gun in his holster. Does he seriously think I'm gonna run away? Or is he just hoping I will? I thought.

     The two of us stopped abruptly in front of a door, which the General opened. He shoved me in the room and I was faced with the queen.

     Queen Layora. The beautiful middle child of a set of triplets. Just the fact she has siblings is enough to make you want to literally worship the ground she walks on. A sibling is a dream, what with the One-Child-Per-Family Legislation, with only twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc. being a reasonable exception. Then there's the crazy fact that both her siblings were male, and she was chosen to rule. I suppose it's just because her brothers didn't want to rule, but still. A girl utterly overpowering two guys. Not to mention, she actually has a full education. It's no wonder every girl on Marlkar wants to be her.

     "So," she said sweetly "You're our volunteer?"

     "N-N-Not exactly," I replied in the stutter that goes into action when I am scared. "I-I was ch-choosen."

     "Heroes aren't chosen. They're made."

     "I-I'm-I'm not a h-hero"

     "Not yet anyway."

     "N-Not ever. I'm a t-t-t-t-total c-cow-coward"

     "Said the person arguing with the Queen. Not even the General dares"

     "Well, I-I am n-not the General"

     "I know who you are. You're Adwr, son of the late Setuz. I remember you when you were five. I was at his Farewell. It was raining that day, which is very rare, as you know. Raining on Marklar, who would have thought? Ha!"

     "You w-were at the Far-Farewell? W-Why?"

     "Your father was second in command, right under the General. And he was so brave. Smart, too. He claimed he was close to finding the Gem's location"

     "I-I never h-heard anything about th-that" I lied sorely. He was just crazy.

     "Stop stuttering, please. It's annoying"

     "S-Sorry. I'll t-try"

     "You won't try. You will" Queen Layora sterny said, snapping her delicate fingers sharply. I felt a weird taste in my mouth and noticing the gold ring on her finger, wondered if she was using a Control on me. "Anyway, I should tell you why you're here. There was a bomb that arrived this morning in the teleports. It's locked, so we can't get inside to shut it off. The only thing that can unlock it is the Gem."

     "You want me to find the Gem? You have tons of troops. Why me?"

     "There is an Age Lock set on the teleports. No one in our troop can go through. You have to find the Gem before the bomb goes off."

     "When will that be?"
     "A week."

      "You're expecting me, a nineteen-year-old kid, to accomplish in a week what thousands couldn't accomplish in twenty years?"

     "Nineteen years, fifty-one weeks."

     "Whatever! I just can't to this! I'll be scared to death every time I see my own shadow!"

     "Take you father's advise. His last words to me were, 'A solider has courage, but a hero needs brains and courage.' "

     Brains and courage? I and... "Are you saying I should bring someone with me?"

     "No! I'm saying that you shouldn't think you are lacking the only quality you see, when in fact, you possess a quality needed. What on Marklar would make you think that?"

     "Well, I'm not going without Grazyna." I replied stubbornly.

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