(Invitation)  our hopes and expectations
tag: liuxing // February 4, 2031


Saariyah's Star Yell was a heavy weight within Jeremiah's pocket, darkened as it had become. Oh, he had considered immediately going to see Queen Liuxing but somehow running into Kesatria had taken that steam out of his sails. If Kesatria was like that then Saariyah's beloved Queen was likely worse ...

It left him feeling-

No, wallowing in his own thoughts and feelings would get him nowhere. That was why he had gone to handle the upgrades to the Crystal Palace servers and otherwise. It would pass time so that he could, come the afternoon, approach Chandra first. Jeremiah could not have said what he expected to happen when he saw Chandra but seeing understanding in their eyes was honestly worse in some ways.

Anger would have been better, would have fed into the pain within his chest that came when he thought about Saariyah being taken by Spectrolite and being corrupted to the point she would likely not recognize the woman she truly was. (There was trauma in his past, the kind that few knew about and was not tied to having been part of the Dark Kingdom so long ago, that had to do with being Jeremiah Mercer and watching helplessly as his sister had been hurt after their kidnapping. This incident only brought that to the forefront, Jeremiah unable to escape the overlap and similarities.)

Speaking with Chandra did not make things easier, nor truly help, but it did help guide him to being able to speak with Queen Liuxing. Chandra guided him through the halls of the Crystal Palace, to the place that the Queen of Kinmoku currently resided.

"My Queen," called Chandra, after knocking and announcing their presence and entering. They were, at the moment, alone as Jeremiah waited outside the suite. "Doctor Mercer wishes to speak with you." There was a pause before they added. "He holds something for you." Though they were not certain what it was, they had an idea judging by what they remembered from the security video.

They would not move to let Jeremiah in until Liuxing gave the go-ahead, the look upon their face saying that as much as this interaction might pain the Queen, it was one that needed to happen. Even when Jeremiah was granted the audience and entered, Chandra would stay nearby (unspoken and quiet support).

"Lady Liuxing," said Jeremiah, fingers loosened around his cane as he swept into an appropriate bow. His silver hair was pulled back in a way that was not unlike how Saariyah sometimes wore hers--though his was nowhere near as long for all that it now reached his shoulders--and he was well-dressed (as always). "Thank you for allowing me the chance to speak with you." For the moment he would not move closer until gestured to do so, keeping an appropriate--respectful--distance away (something that Saariyah had, much like so many other things, taught him about Kinmokuseian culture).





For most of the day, Liuxing had spent it rather busily. Idle hands left for an idle mind - a mind that would be want to wonder and ponder, maliciously; and while she had gone through a multitude of different activities within the last several hours (an array of previously dusty tomes lined various tables), the last handful of minutes had been spent in a calm solitude.

The woman had lit various incense, primarily lavender, and thrown open the windows in an effort to purify the air; a small teapot was settled upon her primary coffee table, several porcelain cups surrounding it, only one filled with the murky liquids contained within. Various flowers, of various species, crowded the rest of the table, with hardly any rhyme or reason to their placement - a faint glow would cause them to grow or shrink, a glimmer that came tenderly from the queen's own palm.

Each translucent light was a strenuous task, which over time had begun to build up a throttling pain within the woman's temple. Her stamina left much to be desired, truly - even though she wielded control over flora relatively well, she had seldom used the ability, and especially not on a lengthy scale such as this; simple placements or center pieces was the extent of her usage within the past few months, at the very minimal.

Things change, a sigh that escaped past scarlet-painted lips, a hand which gently caressed the side of her head, long nails pushing wisps of hair behind an ear. She was tired - exhausted, really, but the nights were more sleepless than she cared for; they only brought shadows from the past, memories that she had tucked away in hopes of never thinking of once more. How long she sat, motionless and eyes dull, was unknown - only that the sound of a rap on her door shook her out of her stiff reverie. Blankly, her eyes turned upon them - her face only showing sign of anything upon hearing a familiar voice. Both Chandra and Kes had made it a habit within the last few days to regularly check up on her, and for a moment she expected this to be another one of those moments. The announcement of a certain Heavenly King caused any soft comfort to strain into a pit within her stomach - a feeling only reinforced upon seeing Chandra's pitiful gaze.

Just when she was starting to feel better, things had to come teetering down once more.

Liuxing had tried not to speak to any of the Crystal Empire within the last days; her last interaction, with Violet, had left her feelings of embitterment and distrust. She supposed she could seldom hide from them any longer, no matter how sharp her feelings. For a moment, she allowed her eyes to meet with Chandra's, followed by a soft nod, indictive of allowing Jeremiah to enter her quarters. Carefully, she stood, her hands holding one another as she breathed in, eyes following the man as he fell into a customary bow. Her face was polished stone, devoid of any emotion, as she regarded him.

Seeing him only bubbled up her emotions from that night - a beast in her throat that wanted to scream, to place the blame on anyone but herself. "Doctor Mercer," her voice was still characteristically soft and gentle, but empty of any energy it might once have had. A hand brushed the air in front of her, a way of welcoming the man and offering him a seat on a settee directly across from her. Lowering herself down, she reached for her tea cup, taking a thoughtful sip, her eyes rarely leaving the silver-haired man. "What may I help you with?"

It would be best to get this over with as quickly as possible.



Jeremiah was tired. Oh, sure, he had been made to sleep for nearly four days but what had happened weighed him down in more ways than he was comfortable with most knowing. The knowing gaze from Chandra, the subdued voice in which Kesatria had spoken to him in the early hours of the morning (after having just awakened after his forced rest), and the way that Queen Liuxing was keeping herself composed when he knew she was emotionally and physically exhausted all ate at him in different ways.

Helped that voice within his own mind that could not be softened yell out: you failed her when she needed you the most!

This meant that Jeremiah started with a similar blank face--the carefully crafted facade that those of nobility could wear to hide the truth of anything--but it began to wither and disappear. He did not think he deserved the soft and gentle voice, even devoid of energy when he felt as if he had cost the Queen one of the people most important to her.

So Jeremiah sat, posture the very picture of nobility, when the gesture was made (painfully aware of the fact that Chandra stayed within the room; not mad with him but understanding), and waited until he was given leave to speak.

... only to find that the words did not immediately come, mind instead going through the process of identifying and naming the various flowers and otherwise upon the table. Hadn't Saariyah said that those of Kinmoku practiced something similar to Japan's hanakotoba? It did not matter.

Within his hands, carefully folded and hidden in fabric reminiscent of Saariyah's eye color, was the Star Yell he had purified after the attack. Jeremiah set it down upon the table, pushing it towards Liuxing without a word. It was the unwrapping of it that would be painful, the Star Yell darkened in color- corrupted. The sharp pain in his chest at that thought was enough to make him speak.

"Nothing I can say will ease this, Queen Liuxing," he said finally, his Upper Received Pronunciation accent smooth and even. "The pain caused, the pain about to be caused," as soon as she saw the darkened Star Yell, "and an apology would not be enough." Though he did not necessarily believe in apologies so much as actions correcting the wrong.

"Not when Saariyah has been taken."





Steel yourself, her mother's voice would ring in her ears, brisk as a sharp wind. She would not let her emotions overflow, would not let any weakness present itself, especially in this more vulnerable state. It was hard, and bitter - especially when one would consider that last week, the imperial Queen would have considered Jeremiah (and by extension, the Crystal Empire) a close ally.

Perhaps he, and the others of the empire, still considered her a part of their friendly, trusting alliance.

That alliance had done nothing but cause her loss, all for their own gain.

Maybe, in time, she could forgive. That time was not now, and she wasn't sure when it would approach.

The woman's eyes were icy as she watched the man place a bundle upon her table, body stiff with suspicion. What could he possibly have to offer her - she knew it was nothing good, her head turning to make contact with Chandra, as if pulling support from the guardian. Wordlessly, she leaned forward, slender fingers wrapping around the bundle, a knot forming in her stomach. Bile bubbled in her throat as her back leaned against the end of the couch, hand clenching as she felt the distinct, pointed shape of a star.

Instantly, she knew what what it was, her breath catching in her throat. Slowly, she forced herself to unwrap the gift, her teeth clenching together in an attempt to keep her lip from quivering, the rest of her body stiff and motionless. What seemed like hours passed, the last piece of emerald fabric unraveling, leaving something so sacred to her sitting emptily in her lap.

The sight of Saariyah's Star Yell made her nauseous, her mouth opening to gasp in air, as if she was suffocating - darkened, blackened, corrupted. Jeremiah's words were hardly comprehended by her, her almond orbs ripping from the object to meet his own. Even she could see the pain on his face, despite the high stone walls she had built around her own emotions. Perhaps another time, she would have tried to console him, to offer support - and despite her own true nature, she struggled to feel the will to do so.

"You are correct, Doctor Mercer," she finally stated, her hands wrapping around the Star Yell subconsciously. "I am not sure what will be enough to correct the egregious mistake that resulted in my own being taken." The word was sharp, her chin raising in defiance - against perhaps Jeremiah, or perhaps her own tumultuous emotions. "Once my lady is retrieved, I see no reason for my people to stay within this galaxy, less they themselves prefer to." Although she truly doubted some of the Galactica would remain - especially not with how conflicted many of them were in the first place.

"Is there more to this meeting, or will this be all?"






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