*After nearly twenty minutes searching around the corridors of the Sharan reception palace, Ilyana finally saw the blond hairs of her little fugitive of a sister, about twenty meters away from the last room she checked, behind one of the biggest door of the building.
The fact that her sister tried her best to get away from all the adults and their political talks didn’t surprise her much, however, finding her in a room that was supposed to be locked definitely was.
Especially considering that this specific room was one locked by Tintallei herself, and that supposedly meant that even their parents couldn’t open it without the key. She shouldn’t be able to be there, but there was not enough alcohol in this party to make her see things that didn’t exist.
Ilyana decided to follow her, and as she went past the golden door of the “secret” room that the younger girl had left open behind her, she watched around for a while, enjoying the view of the various treasures stocked here.
The entire east wall was covered in various medals and trophies. Some were from Tint’s time as a ground soldier and knight of her family, but most of them were from her capsuleer time, especially from the Absolute Order. Those guys loved to give medals for fairly insignificant achievements. But unless you were personally there, you wouldn’t know that the medal obtained for “the battle of Elonaya” was just a battle against an undefended POS, right? And you would admire that medal just like any other.
Other walls were used for different kind of treasures, most of them not related to her military prowess. A medal for somehow reaching second place at Miss Federation when she tried that contest, beautiful and pricey treasures that she either got as a reward for a mission or stole from a target… Books, paintings, precious stones…
Walking relatively slowly and gently towards her actual reason for entering this room, she managed to reach the little blond without being noticed.*
“-So this is why you are hiding from your own birthday party, hm? To spend your day amongst Tintallei’s trophies?”
Surprised by her voice, Eliyen immediately turns around. Her eyes blink for a few seconds before she gives her first answer.
“-“My” birthday party? I’m pretty sure you were the only one who noticed that I left the table.
-Oh no, that’s not true. Mom sent me after you.”
The smallest one raise her right eyebrow, visibly not convinced by that statement.
-I’m not stupid, you know.
-Fine, fine. But she did look at me in a way that could be vaguely interpreted as “Please, Lady Ilyana. Go fetch your little sister before our guest eat every single cake available!” “
While that joke did manage to get a laugh from the birthday girl, knowing that she was just trying to amuse her and that, ultimately, her sister was the only one noticing her absence made it hard to keep her joyful mood for long.
“-You know how it is. This is more of a political meeting than an actual party. Mom and dad need occasions to keep their network fully functional.
-But she was supposed to be there.”
She? Oh… At this point, Ilyana was starting to understand the actual reason making her sad. Sure, the fact that the other guests didn’t actually care about her birthday was part of it, but she was quite used to them not caring of anything but their business with their parents already. Having only one of her two sisters was, however, not that easy…
-I… Yes, I know. I miss her too, you know. But It looks like she did manage to get your present here in time, didn’t she?
As she was asking that, she pointed her right forefinger toward the golden door.
You know, the keys to this room are something I don’t even have myself. That’s a precious gift.
-She promised me she would come this time!”
The key obviously wasn’t enough, even tho the gift was undoubtably a sign of confidence and an attempt at keeping her, at least, busy and interested throughout this day. Seeing the eyes of the younger Khanid becoming wet, the older one moved one step further and took her between her arms, almost as a reflex.
“-I was told she was preparing to help LUMEN in a very important task.
-L… LUMEN? They are the people who saved the system from those strange people who wanted to destroy our suns, right?
-Yes, those ones. So, you see, if God puts them on a common path, I am sure she has very good reasons to follow his lead.
-But couldn’t God choose another day than today for that?”
Well. This argument wasn’t working as well as expected! Trying to divert her attention, she pointed a finger toward the purple jewel that Eliyen was watching before her arrival. She needed a diversion, and this seemed like a perfect one.
“-Do you know the story of this one?
-N… No, I don’t? Why?
-It’s supposed to have been created by the fire breath of a dragon.
-… You know dragons don’t exist, right?
-Oh believe me, there are more way more surprising things that do exist. One day, you will see space. And when you do, the wonders you will be able to witness will show you that a dragon isn’t even an impressive beast!
At the end of her sentence, she took a little break just to nod in her sister’s direction, hopping that she was successfully getting her attention on the story.
God created much more impressive things everywhere around the universe. Sooo, who is to say they don’t actually exist, somewhere?
-… Suuuure. But why are you telling me that?
Okay… It wasn’t working as well as intended, for now.
-Hey now, don’t be so impatient.
I bet you can’t even guess why it’s purple.
-Ah! Wrong! I can!
She tried to look impressed, even tho it was exactly what the reaction she expected. She knew Tintallei would have told her at least a part of this story. After all, she was really proud of that specific jewel!
“-It’s the purple color of the Thrain house. That’s where she got this jewel from, as a reward for accomplishing a space mission to help them deal with some filthy pirates. I think they were stealing their production of something? Well, anyway, they can’t steal anything anymore.
But I don’t think this one is … Magical? Or draconic, or anything. I mean, they probably have hundreds of purple jewel in their bedrooms alone. Tint just love it because it’s beautiful and frankly quite big for a jewel.”
As Eliyen was sticking out her tongue, Ilyana answered with a simple smile.
-And that’s where you’d be wrong.
She smiled for a while. Now her plan to get and keep her interest was finally starting to work.
-Well. I told you it was from a dragon already, right?
-You did, yeah…
-If the legend is correct, he created a memorial for a married couple who died fighting together, side by side, protecting his lair.
The translations aren’t very precises about it, but my understanding is that they managed to repeal the assault without any reinforcement, thanks to the strength of their love. They died of their injuries soon after the last invader was defeated.
-… That’s… Beautiful, I guess! But I still not sure why you are telling me all of this.
-Patience, little one.
-So. You want to know the purpose of this whole story. Let’s get right to it.”
She smiled again. It had now been a few minutes since her little sister last looked sad, and that was a first win in her book.
-When the Thrain house recovered the memorial, they broke it down and made several specific jewels out of it, with this very specific form.
-… Wait, what? They broke it down?! Isn’t it… Rude? And a stupid thing to do?
Well, at least, it was a very honest reaction!
-I… I suppose it could be seen that way, but… Well. We are Sharan, not Thrain. It’s not our business to discuss whatever they should or shouldn’t do when they find an ancient memorial on their lands.
-Nice way to avoid making enemies of them by saying things they would not like to hear.
As the little one sticked her tongue out her tongue again, the oldest answered with a wink before getting back to her story.
-The point is, they have now been using those specific jewels as gifts, most notablu for wedding. They are supposed to be symbols of eternal love. Well, I have no idea if they any real effect, but the symbolic is strong and pretty beautiful, isn’t it?
-Yes!.. But… I still don’t know what this have to do with me or my birthday tho?..
-… I’m afraid I definitely don’t, sister…
-Well. Who does this room and it’s content belongs to?
-… So why does she keep that here?
-… Oh… Oh! Because she keeps it to offer is as a gift if she falls in love!
-And she entrusted you with a key to this room, filled with tons of objects like this. Dozens of items, treasures and rewards with a strong signification to her.
-… I… I didn’t saw it that way… I thought it was just a way to… You know… Keep me from being bored, a little while?
To be fair, keeping you busy is probably part of her reasoning. But that doesn’t change the fact that you are the first person in an entire decade to be given an illimited access to that very special room, so…
Please, Eliyen Sharan. Always have in mind how much we mean for her. How much you mean, specifically.
And never, ever, let yourself think that she would miss your birthday on purpose, without an absolutely valid reason not to be here today. “
This time, Eliyen didn’t answer for a little while. Instead, her answer was to be found on the smile decorating her face, and the fact that her eyes got a little wet again, but not from sadness.
How about we go back, without forgetting to lock this room again, and grab some of that cake before my initial theory of them eating everything becomes a reality?
-Yeah! I hope they left some strawberries too!”
*And on that note, they returned to the party. Sadly, it was as boring as it was before, but now at least, the birthday girl knew that someone out there in space was really thinking about her, probably dreading her inability to be there in person.
… And she did get some that cake.*