Rykani Short Stories #001: Royal Fuck-Up (Complete)

Well, it took a fair bit longer than I thought it would, but I’m finally ready to present some of the writings I’ve been… uh… writing over the last few months. The short stories themselves will be split into several parts that’ll get posted on here every few days, just to give you guys some more regular content to enjoy while I’m slaving away at AAiS.  Here’s the first part of a short story that serves as an introduction to a strange new planet that I bet will be of no importance whatsoever in the greater rykani-verse going forward: Epsis.


Update from the 18th of March: And here’s part two of Royal Fuck-Up, which introduces us to another minor character of no future relevance whatsoever: The ambitiously kind-spirited social media queen of epsis, Ve’a Dok’amar.


Update from the 5th of April:  And that’s a wrap. For a short story that was done like two months ago, I sure as heck took my time putting it out there, huh? Well, I’d like to say that I’ll try and be more punctual with my uploads going forward, but also, you probably know how this stuff goes by now.


Update from the 6th of April: Oh, also, just as a bonus, here’s a quick sketch of the psychopathic queen in chief herself. Look at her and recoil in horror:





‘All the splendor of the galaxy. All of it. Here. The might of a thousand armies, the wealth of a billion corporations, the influence of 527 epsian families. The showrunners of the galaxy, all sitting rank-and-file within a single hall. Truly a sight for the ages.’

These were the thoughts occupying Lamiwija’s mind as she stood there, frozen in her self-reflection, atop the stairs of entryway 12. Had it not been for her eyes darting from left to right in their desperate struggle to get a sense of the epsian Royal Assembly ahead, others present might have thought her dead, and most likely relished at the observation.

However, despite outward appearances, Lamiwija was feeling very much alive. Even more alive, in fact, than at any point in her recent memory. The sight of the Royal Assembly had just ignited the old queen’s spirit in a way only a few select things could, but even Lamiwija wasn’t sure of the exact cause.

After all, this certainly wasn’t the first coronation meeting of the Royal Assembly she had partaken in, nor was it part of the first hundred of such meetings to be graced by her attendance. From Lamiwija’s perspective, the routine abdications and coronations of the different epsian monarchs had lost their novelty two cycles into her rule, and the following 895 cycles did little to reignite that initial excitement. But this time was somehow different.

Of course, the monarchs present were their same old unscrupulous selves – given one obvious exception – and so was the surrounding hall tasked with containing their combined vehemence.

The curved rows of seats and desks that the royals were expected to seat themselves in had stayed the same since the last Assembly meeting, just as they had done for tens of thousands of cycles previously. At the center of the gigantic room also stood the same towering podium of epsian granite that had been mounted there during the initial construction of the surrounding edifice, some many hundreds of thousands of cycles ago. For some reason, no High King or Queen had ever mustered the courage needed to order a dismantling of this rocky abomination, even with the offensive aura of archaic simplicity and natural imperfection it gave off.

‘So, what had changed?’ was the question now at hand for Lamiwija. Well, for one thing, the epsian queen certainly hadn’t rediscovered her teenage interest in geology; that phase was long behind her and preferred to never rear its flawed – if occasionally shiny – head ever again. Lamiwija could also still feel the same burning hatred for most of the royals seated across the room that had been ignited during her own coronation all those cycles ago. But then, what was it that was different?

Beneath the cover of an invisibly condescending smirk, Lamiwija removed her gaze from the stone podium once more. ‘Well,’ she thought, ‘if the place hasn’t changed, and neither have I, that leaves one alternative.’ The queen’s eyes went sweeping down across the rows of self-absorbed vanity in front of her. However, despite any and all efforts, it seemed the royals down there were the same self-


‘Wait!’ screamed something in her mind. ‘There it was!’. Lamiwija wasn’t sure what she had seen, but it was something unexpected. Something that had disturbed the usual, steady flow of royalist monotony like a leaf in the water. The resulting waves of disorder spread out across the hall with dramatic effect, shattering the usual shiny predictability of everyday royal business. But what was it-

‘No!’ This time she caught it. Down to her left. Third row. Seat 31. Zeh’lu Awuiah. Administrator of the 331st epsian estate. Heir to the Awuiah lineage. King of epsis. He had given a quick cordial nod to Ma’yieh K’nuje, queen of the 234th estate, just in front of him and to his right, and even worse, the queen had just responded in kind.

Frozen in place just as before, Lamiwija’s mind was reeling back as if it had just taken a shot to the gut. Her eyes widened, searching for answers in ardent curiosity, and returned to their stoic selves just late enough for someone to have noticed this sporadic action. Again, cause showed effect, and soon new ripples of deviation further tore at the remainder of a quickly fleeting normalcy within the Royal Assembly.

However, Lamiwija had suddenly gained a more pressing issue than royal uniformity to concern herself with: The observation of an action which bordered on both physical and sociological impossibility.

After all, every single ryka on epsis knew of the recent tensions between the K’nuje and Awuiah estates – they were an open secret, intentionally kept in a scorching spotlight by the rulers of both families. As it was told, each side blamed the other for their shared failure in securing a takeover deal of the H’gane Space Manufacturing installation, and once money got involved, forgiveness naturally ceased being an option for all self-respecting epsian royals.

The observed nod had, therefore, stood in utter violation of the tightly kempt rules of epsian social conduct. Sure, the action itself certainly contained no hint of reconciliation – far from that, in fact – but the acknowledgement of each other’s existence was a complete change of pace from the last three cycles of silence between the two monarchs. Something had happened, and Lamiwija could see it quite clearly now:

‘The epsian royals are in a cheerful mood!’

Her mind raced at the thought. ‘Calculations had foretold the possibility of such an occasion, but not within my lifetime…’

It was no use at this point. Lamiwija had let her façade slip, and by now, there was no reason to hide her amazement of the scene in front of her anyway. As the faintest grin forced its way over her lips, she could hardly believe what she was witnessing. ‘I never would have thought such a thing possible. Not with the ongoing stall in colonization projects, or with the recent market collapse along the Far Frontier, or with all the dangers of economic damages from the escalating Civil-’



And just like that, a sudden impact on her tail robbed Lamiwija of a mind that was teetering on the edge of comprehension. Surprised by the unexpected sensation, she turned around to face the source responsible for such an outrageous interruption.

It took all the composure of a well-educated monarch for Lamiwija to not lash out at whatever ryka was standing behind her. For good reason, the crime of an unsolicited touch of an epsian monarch carried the sentence of immediate planetary eviction with it, and the sentence for the cause of unsolicited pain was something much, much worse.

But Lamiwija knew that the clerk responsible for this scandal would be aware of the consequences of his actions, and was, therefore, probably shaking in terror awaiting her response. So, she could afford to remain calm for the time being. A quick examination of her rear would identify the culprit, and the entire Assembly could thereafter cherish in seeing a lowly servant be punished for his crimes against the mighty epsian royal caste.

Lamiwija’s reversal was followed by drawn out moments of concentrated study in which the search for a horrified perpetrator, despite all her outrage driven efforts, remained fruitless. However, disappointment in a public punishment seemingly denied could not manifest itself quicker than the embarrassment that overcame Lamiwija’s face as she finally gained a grasp of the situation at hand.

Apparently, the queen’s mind had thrown civility to the wind in the excitement of its analysis. Without noticing, Lamiwija had leaned so tightly upon the chair in front that her extruded tail, as well as the rear on which it rested, had blocked the descending staircase of entryway 12. By the looks of it, all monarchs attempting to enter the Assembly had courteously decided to await an eventual readjustment of posture and taken up quarter along the large hallway out front. All of them, but one.

It took Lamiwija’s eyes several more seconds of frantic searching before the culprit was identified for good. Then, her stare came to rest upon the comforting smile of-




“Ah” was the sound that involuntarily escaped Lamiwija’s mouth alongside her inner exclamation of shock, followed by another clearly panicked “A- AH!” as the gravitas of the other’s identity hit her.

The beautiful, pink eyes that Lamiwija’s stare had sunk its claws into belonged to no other than Ve’a Doka’mar, administrator of estate 367, heiress to the Doka’mar family, queen of epsis and the only ryka in the universe one could not afford to alienate unless… unless-!

‘By the grace of all gods! You’re such an idiot, Lami!’

Lamiwija knew the situation wasn’t looking good – quite the opposite, really. Behind Ve’a’s courteous smile, her sparkling pink eyes, her fashionably muted dress and her superior epsian grace lay hidden the power and influence of perhaps the most significant universal linchpin currently alive. Lamiwija had to think of a way to salvage the disaster at hand, and quick.

Without delay, she kneeled to the ground in a botched ritualistic motion unbecoming of even the youngest epsian monarch. “B-blessed be the winds of epsis, for they carry a spirit of fortune to me.” was the stuttering platitude that accompanied the clumsy gesture.

In almost every other circumstance, the performed rite would have served as a socially acceptable, if somewhat awkward, introduction between two strangers of the epsian elite. However, it quickly dawned on Lamiwija that she had, in fact, already acquainted herself with the Doka’mar queen during a session of the Assembly some tens of cycles previously, making it precisely the wrong greeting for the occasion.

Of course, the immaculate, ceremoniously pure society of epsis gave no room to such reprehensible mistakes. Whether Lowlife or Highborn, all citizens of epsis were made into devout followers of the guiding rules of social conduct, once etched into crystal by the Founders themselves, through the K’hery-Hierarchy. As a queen of epsis by right of genetic ancestry to a founding family, Lamiwija was, therefore, not just causing insult to the moral fabric of her birthplanet, but also setting herself up for another time-wasting round of chastening by the members of the Assembly.

But seemingly undeterred by the inappropriate greeting, Ve’a met the words of Lamiwija with a courteous smile that perfectly hid her feelings of uncomfortable confusion underneath it. Guiding the other up from the sleek floor of the royal assembly, she wondered if Lamiwija had really forgotten their last meeting.

Not that such thoughts would matter much to Ve’a given her current situation. No matter if the wrongful greeting was an amnesic expression or an insult of hostile intent, the epsian ethos forced her into giving the appropriate response regardless: “Blessed be the graciousness of the Wej’to family, for they receive this passing face of fortune.”

Now back on her feet, Lamiwija fought a desperate inner struggle to regain her composure. Of all the monarchs she should run into this day, it had to be the central pivot of her future fate. Of all the ways she should meet the single focal point of the galaxy, it had to be in the most unfortunate chain of events possible. This certainly wasn’t part of her plan to-


Lamiwija realized far too late that she was currently staring at Ve’a in complete absence of voice. This wouldn’t do. Lamiwija couldn’t possibly afford estranging the Doka’mar queen any further. She had to say something. Anything!


“Apologies, I had… momentarily forgotten our previous meeting, Ve’a, ruler of the Dok’amar fortune.” There, that should do it. Anything was better than awkward silence. “How goes the busy life of a pangalactic sensation?”

“Not to worry, gracious queen of Wej’to.” Answered Ve’a with her usual display of public elegance. “Life treats me fair, although I have to humbly distance the term ‘pangalactic’ from your kind description of my renown’s reach.”

“Huh?” came the marred response from Lamiwija. “Whatever do you mean, queen Dok’amar?”

“Well, one can hardly describe my vocation as being of galactic proportions, given the spotty spread of my fame outside of the Center Worlds.” Retorted Ve’a.

Bingo! Lamiwija recognized her opening in an instant: Ve’a’s humble nature was the surefire way to get out of this mess! With some choice words and a bit of charm, she might just manage a recovery from this ongoing disaster.

“The travelers of the Thu’nkwe tribe couldn’t have written the story of a leader as humble as the ruling queen of the Dok’amar fortune.” Lamiwija countered with a tactfully unsubtle smile on her face. “A lowlife would feel an equal while the universe lay at the feet of the Dok’amar family.”

However, Ve’a, naturally unaware of Lamiwija’s intentions, received these words with nothing short of bewilderment. After all, epsian monarchs were neither known for their forgiving nature, nor for their subtlety when it came to displaying any lingering feelings of contempt. Why, then, was the other handing out compliments after the grossly egregious blunder Ve’a had just committed by bumping into the tail of another royal leader?

Just a few seconds ago, Ve’a had been certain of her need to deescalate the situation before it turned into a public shouting match she could ill afford at this time in her career. Why, then, was she suddenly showered with compliments and compared to the divine ryka of the Thu’nkwe tales? Why was the other acting so… odd?

Well, in truth, she thought, Lamiwija acting somewhat out of the ordinary was perhaps not that noteworthy of an occurrence. For as long as Ve’a had ruled, the Wej’to queen had always been known for acting out of tune with the world around her. Not in as offensively gross a manner as the self-declared ‘Underground King’ Zerot’ was presently, of course, but conversations amongst the monarchs told always of Lamiwija being… different. Just… different.

Different how? That was the question for which no one had yet managed to provide an answer of adequate precision. Certainly, when spoken to, Lamiwija would answer. When touched, Lamiwija would react. When insulted, Lamiwija would respond in kind. But each and every single one of her responses was just… wrong. Or, perhaps, not wrong, but rather… maladjusted?

Ve’a had as hard of a time dealing with Lamiwija’s known oddities as did most every epsian monarch, which is why she had followed the others’ lead in avoiding her as best she could. Although, after having committed this regrettable act, and presently finding herself confronted with the Odd Queen herself, Ve’a was forced into deep thought in her search for an adequate response to Lamiwija’s unanticipated words.

“It is all in the nature of my work,” she finally answered with an intonation of great caution “for I serve the universe as much as any other sovereign of epsis. Of course, the means through which I serve the ryka dictate my conduct in ways some would perhaps consider… unbecoming… of a monarch.”

“O-Oh, but no offense was meant from my part!” Lamiwija hastily retorted. Ve’a had clearly taken things the wrong way and judged the talk of her humble nature as an attack on her rulership.

In total fairness, most epsian monarchs would have done the same, Lamiwija knew. To consider a Lowlife worthy of existence was a thought so wretched that it would garner the scorn of every Highborn on the planet. Accordingly, telling Ve’a that she was humble enough to stand beside one of the filthy Lows was a statement akin to nothing short of a declaration of war if interpreted in the traditionally uncongenial fashion of conduct between epsians of different estates.

It seemed as if Lamiwija had clearly outspent her fortune with the ill-choosen praise of the Doka’mar queen. By this point, few hopes of salvaging the situation remained, and the Odd Queen scrambled desperately for a path out of the still ongoing awkward staring contest between the two monarchs. Something, anything would do!

‘Humbleness is out. Politics too. The weather? Yea- no! Never mind! All monarchs control the weather of their own estate. Right. Not much to talk about there. Uhh… hobbies? What hobbies? What in the name of all gods could you talk of in regards to your hobbies, Lami?’

Ve’a observed the signs of Lamiwija’s inner struggle with growing concern. Clearly this talk hadn’t gone well for either of the two, and at this point, all she could do was to disengage and be more careful in her avoidance of the Odd Queen going forward.

“I understand.” Ve’a said to that effect “Perhaps it would be best if we both retreated to-”


“Your far-reaching fraternity with the ryka of this universe has been a fascination of mine for a long time now, you must understand!” Barked Lamiwija in hasty interruption before tripping over her words. “Uh,… tell me, queen of Dok’amar, what is the… goal… of your ceaseless pursuit?”

Ve’a had to fight off both feelings of surprise and annoyance before responding. It seemed like the Odd Queen really wasn’t going to let her go easily, was she?

“What is the goal of any pursuit worthy an investment of time and effort by the epsian elite?” There! That snarky remark would surely make her pay for asking such a pointless question.

“Oh…” Was the extent of sounds that would escape Lamiwija’s mouth before it was forcefully pulled shut once more. Soon after, an almost pained expression overtook the Odd Queen’s face.

To Ve’a’s eyes, it had seemed like the spoken sentence had achieved its goal of ending the conversation. However, unbeknownst to the Dok’amar queen, Lamiwija’s mind had just been thrown back into its eternal struggle between courtesy and philosophical curiosity that would always see the words ‘Don’t do it, Lami! Don’t do it, Lami! Please, don’t do it, Lami!’ lose out by the end.

“CERTAINLY A… A QUEST- question… uh… worthy its contemplation by an epsi-… the Dok’amar queen.” The force with which these words escaped the prison of Lamiwija’s grinding teeth was audible. Despite best efforts, she just couldn’t stop herself now. “Especially as the gains of your pursuit seem ambivalent at best to the age-old pillars of epsian rulership.”

“Are-… Do you accuse me of… wasting the resources of my estate on senseless efforts?” Ve’a asked in turn, clearly taken aback by the other’s sudden change in tone.

Was this it? Was the Odd Queen finally showing her true face and turning this interaction into the confrontation she had tried so hard to avoid? Ve’a winced at the thought before being overtaken by a familiar wave of self-pity.

‘Why me?’ her mind cried out once again ‘Why does everyone on this planet hate me so much…’

However, despite Ve’a’s well-founded expectation of an open confrontation, it seemed that Lamiwija had different plans. “Ah, certainly not!” she said “I only wante- wished to point out that your social media presence neither gained you money, power, nor influence, at least according to the traditional epsian definitions of these terms. Of course, despite such a perceived lack of gain, no one has yet to openly question your means of power projection, and anyone who would do so could be thought of as foolishly simple-minded.”

“Ah, well,… nowadays, it is understood that there is more to influence than one’s share in an economic endeavor.” Countered Ve’a with a sudden, notable uplift to her mood “Which isn’t to say that the founding monarchs, in their inspiring wisdom, had a flawed perception of influence. They simply couldn’t have foretold how modern evolutions of the InTwine would reshape our universe, and what role EP-communications would play in the future.”

“Well spoken, queen Dok’amar. Modern redefinitions were never intended to lessen the eternal glory of the founding monarchs, only to harden the epsian society against modern realities. May I ask you, then, gracious queen of epsis, what is the value of the virtualized social influence you seek?”

By this point, the discussion between the two of them had started attracting the attention of several monarchs seated along the upper rows of the Assembly. To Ve’a, it became increasingly obvious that there was no way remaining for her to disengage from this talk, no matter how much she wished to simply get to her seat and bury her head in the fluff of her own arms. But what, in the name of all gods, was Lamiwija thinking putting her on the spot like this?!

“I suppose the more pertinent question underlying this discussion would be this:” and Ve’a made sure to choose her following words with utmost care “What is the value of any social relationship, queen Wej’to?”



For a moment, Lamiwija simply stood there, her mouth opened in a half gasp and her eyes pointlessly searching in the pinks of the other’s. Along the stretch of a few moments, the queen seemed spellbound by the words spoken, when, all of a sudden, her body was showered in a warm feeling of enough vehemence as to make her shudder.

‘That was it!’ she suddenly knew. ‘Ve’a is the key!’

The chain reaction of chemically transmitted happiness which surged through Lamiwija’s body soon expressed itself, first through a smile, then a stunted chuckle and finally full out giggling. To monarchs around her, the Odd Queen must have had the appearance of a curious bouncy ball of joy, jumping up and down wildly while tittering like a fledgling during its first inhibitor malfunction.

This inexplicably graceless behavior would surely earn more than a few harsh admonishments during the coming session of the Royal Assembly, but Lamiwija didn’t care. She simply couldn’t care. Not now, anyway. After all: This was it. This was all Lamiwija had hoped for, had wished for, had spent millennia scheming for, had lost centuries of sleep for. This was it. Standing right in front of her with clear concern in her eyes was IT.

After more than an eternity of pure bliss, the onset of physical exhaustion finally allowed Lamiwija to regain a hold of herself. As the Odd Queen finally found the strength to open her eyes and look about, the sound of a final giggle was quickly blanketed by a total silence.

By now, almost every monarch and servant in the assembly had come to face the queen, each expressing his or her own special flavor of contempt, dismay and irritation. Obviously, Lamiwija didn’t mind much, since, if the others knew, they wouldn’t simply be staring in abject displeasure. Given Lamiwija’s continued healthy existence and notable lack of fatally placed projectile wounds, however, it seemed they didn’t know. They truly didn’t. And how could they? There was no way for them to know what had just happened…

Still, the primal desire to celebrate the results of three millennia of planning had to be put aside for now. There was work to do, and Lamiwija’s jovial outburst was currently holding up the entire Assembly.

‘All right, time to put an end to the distraction, Lami.’

In just a few elaborate strokes of her hands, the Odd Queen straightened her dull dress and shuffled the plocculli on her head back into a more formal shape. As the manic grin on her face gave way to a cordial smile, she then faced Ve’a once more, and bowed to the Assembly’s floor in a gesture of apology.

“Words cannot excuse the embarrassment I have caused you, queen Dok’amar.” Lamiwija spoke aloud in a rueful tone, “My estate shall not rest until it someday finds a way to pay for my ruthless behavior.”

Now it was Ve’a’s turn to stand in shock of the other. The queen of Wej’to was an odd case, for sure, but her behavior today was… something else entirely. Other monarchs had been voted out of power by the Assembly for causing far less disturbance than Lamiwija had caused today, and yet… and yet… yet what? What had just happened?

Sure, Lamiwija didn’t really have to fear the wrath of the Royal Assembly as long as Zerot’ was there to block any punitive motions that required unanimous support, but why risk it? And for what? What had Ve’a said that justified such an outburst?

The Dok’amar queen made no effort to hide this inner confusion as she guided Lamiwija up from the ground once more. At the very least, it seemed to her as if the Odd Queen was fully intent on making sure that any blame for this incident stuck where it ought to. However, even as the eye contact between the two monarchs finally resumed, Ve’a couldn’t help but pick up a hint of defiance in the other. It glistened there, hidden below layers of masks and skillfully woven into that generous smile, those fierce eyes, and those-

“I will make sure that a generous financial compensation will reach your estate within the duration of today’s session.” Interrupted Lamiwija in the sweetest tone she could put on. “For now, though, I believe we best head to our seats. May I accompany you to your row, queen Dok’amar?”

Every single cell within Ve’a’s body recoiled at the idea of suffering the Odd Queen’s exposure for any snap longer than they had already been forced to do so. Still, denying her request at this point would only guarantee further delay, further discomfort and – most likely – further discussion.

With a cordial nod and bow, Ve’a agreed to the offer and for a few moments, the two queens descended the stairs in silence. But Lamiwija wasn’t done just yet:

“I would like to apologize for my reckless behavior once more, queen Dok’amar. I am aware of the importance proper appearance plays in your distinguished pursuit of happiness, and if any bad comments should find their way to your ears, please, redirect them to the true source of today’s incident.”

Lamiwija, still carrying a broad smile on her face, pointed three fingers to her own head and turned to Ve’a in search of a reaction.

“I appreciate the worry you show for my status, Lamiwija. However, given your handling of the aftermath, I wouldn’t expect this incident to cause my reputation any significant harm.”

Immediately, the Odd Queen picked up on the change of address from ‘Queen Wej’to’ to ‘Lamiwija’ which forced her into fighting another burst of inner warmth by shaking her head. No matter if done by accident or with full strategic intent, the usage of her chosen name signified quite openly Ve’a’s continued interest in cordial relations between the two of them.

And even more importantly, it signified to Lamiwija that this was truly it, and that now was the time to bring it all home.

“That makes me glad, que- Ve’a.”

The small stutter was enough to make the words ‘Don’t stumble now!’ ring through Lamiwija’s head in an almost painful volume.

“And I must confess, Ve’a, how very much I enjoyed our short discussion, that is until my inexcusable outburst so rudely interrupted it.”

“Truth be told, so did I, Lamiwija” came the response that almost caused the Odd Queen to lose all remaining strength in her legs.

‘This is it!’

“Perhaps we should continue it at another time, then? I would very much enjoy having a… a discussion between…”

‘Now, Come on!’



“…uh… you know… b-between…”

‘DO IT!’


Lamiwija’s offer of a new relationship status rang across the hall, clearly frightening the poor queen of Dok’amar at her side.

‘Whoops! That may have been a tad bit too loud…’

However, undeterred – or perhaps unsurprised – by the other’s lack of emotional control, Ve’a soon gave her response:

“C-Certainly, if that is your wish, my new Tuji Ke.”

‘Tuji Ke?’

‘Tuji Ke…’

Tuji Ke! Good acquaintances! The first relationship state on the path of a true Saikinship! Lamiwija had done it. It was done. It actually happened. She had the opportunity and took it. Lamiwija did it. She actually did it. Lamiwija had found… had found a…

No! The word proved itself too much for Lamiwija’s mind to handle and, besides, she couldn’t lose her head in a self-congratulatory appraisal of the situation just yet, anyway. There remained some work to do first.

With control over her emotions quickly fleeting, Lamiwija first tried going for a hug, then decided for a touch of hand, but eventually settled for a courteous bow and nod. After all, this wasn’t the time to overdo it and inadvertently ruin everything. No, things had to go slow from here on out, very slow.

As Ve’a reached the row of her seat, the two monarchs separated with another pair of gracious bows. A final smile from the ruling queen of the Dok’amar estate, as well as the sound of painfully suppressed giggling, accompanied Lamiwija to her own seat; but only upon arrival did she get the time needed to comprehend the events that had just transpired. She sat down with the gravity of the entire Assembly on her shoulders.

Her plan, her one and only plan, had just come into fruition. All her work was now set into motion, and it would only be a matter of time until… until…

A quiet sob overcame Lamiwija’s mouth. Her mind clearly couldn’t keep up with the many emotions she was currently experiencing in a race from one sentimental extreme to the next. Very quickly, her vision faded into black, and the sounds around her became nothing more than muffled white noise. With the last of her strength, she cushioned her dropping chin on a pair of fluffy arms, but soon, even the sensation of her extremities withered to nothing.

Lamiwija was passing out. She knew that much. However, why shouldn’t she be passing out by this point? After all: She had done it. She had just succeeded in the sole lifelong effort her mind deemed worth pursuing. She had just put millennia of preparation to good use, and she had just acquired something infinitely more valuable than consciousness.

Lamiwija had found a friend.


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