Htrae, Year 3045
I have to do this. Thought Elbon It 's my duty. I owe it to my people. Creeping stealthily into the king's private study, Elbon's heart raced as he reached the king's desk and began rifling through the drawers. Suddenly, his long, useless tail brushed against a fragile vase, sending the piece crashing to the floor. Immediately, the sleeping guards awoke and raised the alarm. Throughout the immense castle, Elbon hear could the echoes of the inhabitants stirring to life. Shoving a piece of paper into his pants pocket, Elbon concentrated on getting his natural camouflage to take effect. Suddenly, His Majesty, King Suoirafen, burst into the darkened room followed by a dozen well armed guards.
Eyes sweeping the room, the king saw only the broken vase, not the camouflaged Elbon, curled in a small ball near the far wall, under the window. Turning to his guards, King Suoirafen opened his mouth to punish his guards for raising a false alarm, when he caught a whiff of a smell he recognized all too well.
"I don't know who you are, but I know what you are." The king said menacingly as he prowled the room searching for the intruder. "I can smell your kind. Come on out. I won't hurt you... much." With each word the king moved closer and closer to the spot where Elbon lay curled in a protective ball.
He's going to find me. Thought Elbon fearfully. I'm doomed!
"I cannot hone in on his exact spot. Torch the room. If he doesn't reveal himself, then we can identify his charred corpse and then kill his family for being affiliated with a traitor. "Spoke the king indifferently. "Try to control the fire this time. I'm not in the mood to have the castle rebuilt."
"Your Majesty." Came a timid voice. "Please, don't. I shall reveal myself" With that, Elbon turned off his camouflage and stood before the king, eyes on the floor. "I know this creature." Said the king with great surprise in his voice. "Guards, leave us." The guards not willing to test the infamous temper of their king, fled the room. "Well, well, this is quite a surprise. Tell me, what are you doing in my private study at this late hour?" Questioned the king with mock patience.
Stumbling for words, Elbon did not know how to begin. "Your Majesty- I was only- That is to say I... uh. . . was looking for the library. . . and I must have gotten lost."
Clearly not believing his words, King Suoirafen took a seat behind the large desk and motioned for Elbon to sit in one of the seats across from the desk. "I find that hard to believe, Elbon. You have lived in this castle your entire life. I think that you were looking for something. Am I right, Elbon? Don't lie to me because I will know and you will not like the consequences."
Looking across the desk, Elbon swallowed the lump in his throat. "Your Majesty is right.
"I was looking for something."
"And what was that something, boy?"
"Money. I was going to steal money and send it to the village."
Truly shocked by Elbon's words, King Suoirafen had to take a moment to compose himself and get his thoughts together. "Elbon, how could you? Have I not provided you with delicious food, a grand roof over your head, and beautiful clothes of the finest fabrics? Did I not educate you as though you were my son despite the fact you are a lowly Multar?"
"Yes, Your Majesty." Replied Elbon indifferently. "But surely, my actions are not so surprising. Those villagers are my family. It is my duty to help them in anyway I can."
"Elbon, I have given you everything you could possibly want. I took you in when your were an urchin on the street. If it weren't for me, you would have died on the streets. Those villagers are not your family, I am" Said the king with genuine sincerity in his voice.
"Hah!" Scoffed Elbon. "I am nothing more than a pet to you. You parade me around in front of those other titled Bellimores as though I were a novelty. You only want to show them how great a king you are by educating one of the simple Multars.
"Enough!" Yelled the king angrily. "Do not forget, boy, I am still your king."
"You stole the kingdom from my family generations ago. You aren't the real king. I should be king, not you or your son." With that Elbon jumped up and began to storm out of the room.
Reaching across the expanse of the desk, King Suoirafen grabbed Elbon by the tail and yanked him back. "You think you can be king? Then take the throne in the way my ancestors did: kill the current king. But, how can you, a peaceful Multar, do such a thing? We will have a test. If you can dethrone me, the kingdom will be restored to you and all Bellimores will leave. However, should you fail, your life will be forfeit. Do we have a deal?"
"Yes." Replied Elbon and shook the king's hand to seal the deal.
With that King Suoirafen, hurried out of the room leaving Elbon standing in the middle of the room with the small paper burning a hole in his pocket. Elbon broke into a sudden smile, knowing, in his heart, he would win the throne back.
Returning to his room, Elbon looked around the opulent home. Everywhere he looked Priceless artifacts lined the walls, artifacts that should be his. When his ancestors ruled, the people lived simple agrarian lives. When the Bellimores first attacked, the Multars tried to fight, but Bellimorian technology was far more superior. Throughout Bellimore rule, technology progressed, but the Multars seen as inferior beings, never became anything more than simple farmers. But things were going to change. Elbon would journey to a faraway planet to find a champion willing to help the Multars fight. Elbon, quite knowledgeable of Bellimore history, knew the perfect planet to search for his champion. The Bellimores had journeyed to this planet before, when interplanetary space travel was completely new. Suffering from mechanical malfunctions, one of the Bellimores' space crafts crashed and the three occupants were either killed or captured by the planets' inhabitants. Based on the reports of the two surviving crafts, the third craft crashed in a place called Ros-Well. That word sounded so strange on Elbon's tongue. Since, he did not know the language of the Earth-Lings, as they were known, he would have to steal a translator so that communication would pose no problem.
Taking the paper out of his pocket, Elbon's hands were shaking as he looked at the map. This map showed the exact location of the only aircrafts capable of achieving light speed and traveling through worm holes without collapsing on themselves. Suoirafen was so paranoid of an invasion and rebellion, that he kept highly advanced technology limited to a small number of trusted nobles. Filled with joy and hope, Elbon began packing for his trip, lost in his thoughts. Sensing a presence behind him, Elbon quickly spun around to find Prince Suoiciv, the only son of the king, standing in the doorway, watching his progress intently.
"Umm..., did Your Highness need something?" Asked Elbon curiously. Although he and Suoiciv were good friends, he usually had to maintain a formal tone when addressing Suoiciv.
"There's no need to be so formal." Answered Suoiciv as he closed the door and sat in a large, plush chair. "I heard a rumor that you were challenging my father for the crown. Is it true, Elbon? Are you really trying to steal the throne?"
Hesitating a moment, Elbon was unsure how to respond. Granted, he and Suoiciv were practically brothers, but if he took the crown, Suoiciv would lose his kingdom. "I'm sorry, Suoiciv, but the rumors are true. I plan to lead a rebellion and restore the crown to my family."
"Don't be sorry. I don't want to be king anyway. I want to be a painter. Father knows that but as he says, 'The crown prince is not to engage in recreation intended for the weak.' You know how he is." Seeing the next question in his friend's eyes, Suoiciv hurried on. "Anyway, I came here to offer my help."
Staring hard on Suoiciv, Elbon's mind began processing all the scenarios in which he could be betrayed by his friend. "I don't understand. Why would you want to help me? If I succeed you will lose everything. Are you in league with your father? Is this a set-up?"
"Elbon, you were always so distrustful." Chuckled Suoiciv wryly. "Let me explain. I hate my father and everything he stands for, including the crown stolen from your family. I want nothing more than to see you receive all that is rightfully yours, even if it means I will suffer. Do you want my help or not, Elbon?"
"Yes, of course I do."
"Good. Come on. I'll take you to the ship. It's all prepared for your voyage.
"But how--" began a perplexed Elbon
"I knew you would accept my help." Interrupted Suoiciv. "I brought you a translator. Now hurry and up and be quiet. If we get caught, we will wish we were dead."
With that Suoiciv and Elbon crept noiselessly out of the room. Turning down a long hallway, Elbon tried to get Suoiciv's attention because the hallway was a dead-end. Shaking his head, Suoiciv gestured for Elbon to stay back. Walking to the wall, Suoiciv began feeling the wall with his hand. Suddenly the wall opened and revealed a secret passageway. Suoiciv entered and motioned for Elbon to follow. The wall closed behind them leaving the two blind in dark blacker than night.
Lighting a torch, Suoiciv turned to Elbon. "Isn't this neat? I bet you didn't even know this castle had secret passageways." Seeing Elbon shake his head, Suoiciv continued his talk as he lead Elbon deeper and deeper through the labyrinth. "My father doesn't. That's for sure. This tunnel leads to my father's secret aircraft storage rooms. Ah, here we are."
Grinning widely, Suoiciv allowed Elbon to walk ahead of him into the huge aircraft hanger. "You'll notice there are no guards. I found a friend in the head security officer who has found himself short of money on more than one occasion. Consequently, he "accidently" arranged breaks for all the guards at the same time."
"Do you know how to operate this machine?" Asked Elbon, beginning to doubt the intelligence of his plan.
Giving Elbon a disbelieving look, Suoiciv could only shake his head. "I have been studying these crafts for years. They are surprisingly simple to operate. I guess Bellimorian explorers are not notorious for their high intelligence. Anyway, I charted your course for you and readied the cryogenic freezing system. When you land- What is that look for?"
"I guess I am a little surprised that you have done all this." Answered Elbon with a half-truth.
Mulling over Elbon's words, Suoiciv chose his next words carefully. "Elbon, I am your friend. I want only to help you. I realize you have questions about how I knew you would do this, but believe me when I say I am not plotting against you."
"How did you know I was going to Earth? I only decided a short time ago. Can you predict the future?" Retorted Elbon sarcastically.
"If1 say yes then will you just believe me? Trust me. I would never lie to you." Said Suoiciv, a hint of sadness in his voice.
Realizing his friend would never betray him, Elbon mentally chastised himself for being a suspicious fool. "You're right. I shouldn't doubt you. Just tell me what to do."
With that Suoiciv began explaining in great detail everything that Elbon would experience including the strange deja vu he would suffer after spending almost five years in suspended animation. "I think that's everything. Come on, I'll show you around the ship."
Entering into the silver, circular craft, Elbon could not help but notice how spacious the ship was. There were three cryogenic freezing pods, three sets of controls, in fact, there were three of everything. Suoiciv led Elbon to one of the pods and signaled for him to get in. Looking doubtful, Elbon hesitated. The pod looked like a clear, pear-shaped bathtub and, it had many wires and pumps going into it. Looking into his friend's face, Elbon found the reassurance he needed and climbed into the pod.
After sealing the pod shut, Suoiciv walked to the control panel and turned on the device. Immediately, the pod was filled with the gel-like substance that would put Elbon in a comatose state for the duration of his journey. Turning his attention to the controls, Suoiciv turned on the autopilot and left the ship, sealing it tightly. Scurrying to the control tower, Suoiciv opened the hanger.
With a great burst of light, the ship was gone from sight leaving Suoiciv with a devilish grin on his face. "You will get to Earth, my dear Elbon, but you shall never return. Of that I am certain."
Beverly Hills, Year 2002
"Sebastian Sanders! You have exactly two seconds to get down downstairs before I leave you!" hollered Juana Martinez, the short, stout woman recently hired by the Sanders family to look after the wayward Sebastian.
Laying on his huge king sized bed, Sebastian slowly awoke and cursed his father for hiring a nanny to watch him. Rolling out of bed, Sebastian stumbled to his closet and pulled out the first pair of pants and shirt he found. Taking a look in the mirror, Sebastian made sure his clothes looked grungy. Today he wore a faded pair of green cargo pants and a black shirt with a skull on it. Studying his face for a moment, Sebastian realized how much he looked like his dead mother. Unlike his raven-haired father and brother, Sebastian had sandy brown hair and green eyes that looked like wet moss. He was even pale like she was, making him look sickly. Deciding he looked grungy enough, Sebastian walked languidly down the stairs.
"Hurry up. If we are late again, I'm going to send all of your precious toys to my children. Unlike you they respect their elders and appreciate what they have in life." Admonished Juana.
"I'm pretty sure my parents hired you to keep me out of jail, not discipline me." Responded Sebastian dryly. "And those "toys" are the latest in electronic equipment. Touch them and I will have you deported faster than you can blink."
With those words, Sebastian walked out the door to the waiting car. Looking longingly at the garage, Sebastian wished he could drive his own car, a vintage mustang, but his father and stepmother were too strict.
Apparently, once you get into one teeny accident you are too "irresponsible" to drive. Why can 't they stay out of my life? Thought Sebastian bitterly. Since when are parents supposed to be involved in the lives of their teenage sons?
Casting a sideways glance to Juana as she entered the car after him, Sebastian sighed heavily. "You don't have to come to school with me. I think I can get there without my nanny holding my hand."
"Hah! I may be old, but I am not stupid." Laughed Juana. "If you could get to school by yourself, then your parents wouldn't have me."
The rest of the drive to Haverstead, a prestigious private school, was filled with comfortable silence. Despite his outward dislike of Juana, he admired her ability to stand up to him. Nobody had ever talked to him the way she did. Everybody walked around on eggshells around him on account of who his father was: Victor Sanders III, CEO of Sanders Incorporated. Sanders Inc. was actually a large network of companies that included everything from law to oil to genetics. Juana, not impressed by his fortune, refused to take any of his bull and put him in his place.
As the car pulled up to the school, Sebastian inwardly groaned. He hated this school. It was filled with snobs, posers, and hypocrites, all born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Although he was just as rich, if not more so, as the other students, he remained true to himself.
"I will pick you up at three o'clock exactly. Do not be late." Said Juana. "Oh, and Sebastian, try to enjoy yourself You never know when you might have fun or meet a friend."
"Thanks." Replied Sebastian sarcasm dripping from his voice. "I'll try to remember that." Turning, he walked slowly up the marble stairs. All around him, other students chatted about the hot issues of the day: the newest boy band or the upcoming lacrosse game. Sebastian stuck out like a sore thumb. In his faded, casual clothes he could be easily distinguished from the other guys in their khaki pants and navy blue blazers and the girls in their white blouses and blue plaid skirts. Although uniforms were mandatory, the school made an exception for him, since his father so generously donated to the school each year.
Looking back, Sebastian saw the car was gone and hurried to a waiting cab. For the past week, a cab had been picking Sebastian up from school and taking him to the Double Stack, a book cafe he loved to frequent. Settling into the cab, Sebastian didn't even have to tell the cab driver where to go. With a sigh, Sebastian watched the scenery pass outside the window. The Double Stack was located on the outskirts of Beverly Hills next to Sanders Memorial Park, dedicated to the World War II veterans, built by his grandfather. Today was Friday and the last trip he could make. The school thought he had the flu and his parents thought he was in school. He already missed one week of school, if he missed any more days next week the school would become suspicious.
Arriving at the Double Stack, Sebastian got out and told the driver to return at exactly 2 pm. He would need about an hour to get back to school before Juana came to pick him up. Walking towards the café doors, Sebastian heard someone calling for help. Looking around, Sebastian tried to find the person, but to no avail. Shrugging his shoulders, Sebastian went to the café to order a latte and read his favorite book: Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.
Unbeknownst to him, something was watching Sebastian from the woods while he read his book, immersed in the French Revolution. That same something watched Sebastian as he got into the cab, dropping his wallet in the process on the sidewalk. At first the creature did not move, hesitant to go into the broad light of day, but soon night came. To its great surprise, the wallet was still on the ground, where it was dropped so many hours ago. Grabbing the wallet,the creature scurried back to its place in the woods. Opening the wallet, the creature was perplexed by the contents. There were pictures, assorted cards made of some strange, inflexible substance, and a great deal of green paper with people on it. Based on its limited knowledge of the language of this planet's inhabitants, taught to it through five years of subliminal messages, the creature was able to decipher the address of the wallet's owner. The only problem now was getting to that address. Suddenly, headlights flashed and two people, involved in a heated argument, stepped out of the car. The creature watched with keen interest and was soon delighted to realize one of the people was the wallet's owner.
"Sebastian, I don't even want to know what you were doing here today." Said Victor Sanders, clearly frustrated with his youngest son's wild antics. "You were supposed to be in school. Surely, you remember school? It's that big building with all the teachers and students."
"It sounds vaguely familiar." Came the reply from a sullen Sebastian.
"Watch the attitude." Victor replied sternly. "Where did you leave your wallet?" Seeing his son shrug his shoulders, Victor became even angrier. "Try to think Sebastian. That wallet has your credit cards and your money in it. Where is the last place you had it?"
"If I knew that, then we wouldn't be here looking for it." Retorted Sebastian sardonically. "Let's just go. The café is closed, but if I left it there someone will call. I'll get the wallet back."
Clearly annoyed with his son's indifferent attitude, Victor raked his hand through his hair, trying to calm himself before he spoke again. "You need to be more careful, Sebastian. What were you doing out of school, anyway? Have you been skipping again?"
"It's not that big of a deal. I only missed-"
"Not a big deal?!" Exploded Victor. "How can you sit there and tell me that skipping school is 'not a big deal?' Don't you care about your future? Your brother would never have done something like this."
Walking back to the car, Sebastian was prepared to ignore his father's comments, until he brought up his brother. Whirling around, Sebastian erupted in a flood of repressed emotions. "Maybe you forgot, Dad, but your pride and joy, your namesake, is dead! Do you remember how he got that way? He killed himself! You may not want to admit it, but he did it because of you. You and your pressure to be the best at everything! Don't ever compare me to him again! You may not think I am as good as he was, but at least I'm not a coward!"
With that Sebastian got in the car and slammed his door shut. Stunned and heartbroken, Victor climbed into the car and drove home. Both father and son were suffocating on the unexpressed emotions in that car.
Throughout the entire argument, the creature watched on with fascination. Now as the car sped away, the creature followed, just barely able to keep up with the vehicle. Finally arriving at the home, the creature stopped a moment to catch its breath.
Before the car had come to a complete stop, Sebastian jumped out of the car and ran behind the house to the old shed, his own private little world. Victor wanted to go after his son, but something held him back. With a sigh, Victor walked inside to fix himself a drink.
Inside the shed, Sebastian took a look around. It was a shrine to the two most important people in his life, both of whom had abandoned him: his mother and his brother. His mother died of leukemia about ten years ago, when he was only six. Not having a clear idea of her, Sebastian took every photograph he could find of her to try to form a mental picture. His brother, older by four years, had hung himself, just two years ago, at the age of 18. Victor Sanders IV had everything going for him: good grades, acceptance to Stanford, and all of their father's love. Sebastian could not forget the day he came home from school and found his brother hanging from one of the bars he used for exercise. He walked to his brother's gym because he needed a ride to the Double Stack. When he entered he saw his brother, limp and pale with a rope around his neck. Thinking he was playing a joke, Sebastian approached his brother and touched his hand. When he touched that icy hand, he knew his brother was not joking. Shuddering, Sebastian pushed aside those memories. He went to a corner a pulled out a book, determined to find some solace in the world of literature.
Lost in his book, Sebastian was unsure how much time had passed when he heard a strange scraping noise. Putting the book down, Sebastian listened again and heard the noise again. Sebastian had to stifle a cry when he opened the door. Standing on his doorway was some strange creature that looked like some mutated person. Slamming the door, Sebastian started to panic. Nobody ever came to his shed. He could die out here and nobody would know. From outside the creature began to speak to Sebastian.
"Esaelp od ton raef em. I deen pleh. Ym eman si Elbon. I evah emoc morf Htrae." Said the creature. Oh no. I forgot to turn my translator on. Flipping the switch on the translator he repeated what he had just said. "Please do not fear me. I need help. My name is Elbon. I have come from Htrae." Although he did not understand the language, Elbon assumed the translator was working properly because neither his name nor that of his home planet sounded different.
Slowly, Sebastian opened the door and peeked outside. Standing on the porch was the creature called Elbon. Elbon stood about a foot shorter than Sebastian's puny five foot five and had a long tail extending from its body about half its height. The creature was covered in shiny scales and wore clothing made from brown, spandex-like fabric. With its bright scales and dull, clothes the creature looked very silly. The most striking feature was the creature's face. Atop the thing's head, there was a mop of black hair and the facial symmetry was strikingly similar to that of humans.
"Are you going to let me in or must I stand outside?" Questioned Elbon, who's translator made him sound like one of those computerized voices. Noting Sebastian's hesitation, Elbon continued on with a smile. "I swear I don't bite."
For some reason, Sebastian no longer feared the creature and easily replied, "Sure come in." He moved aside allowing the creature to enter being hit with the long tail, which swayed from side to side with every movement Elbon made.
"Sorry about that." Apologized Elbon. "This tail is more cumbersome than it is useful. What is your name?"
"Sebastian. Sebastian." Realizing that he was being watched, Elbon quickly explained. "It helps me pronounce words if I say them over and over again." Elbon tried to sit on the couch, but there was no hole to allow his tail to pass through. "Maybe I'll stand. I'm sure you have a ton of questions. Please, ask anything you wish. I need your help and will not take offense.
Realizing Elbon was waiting for him to respond, Sebastian tried to think of a question. "Umm... ok. . . what are you and what do you want?"
Smiling at the bluntness of the question, Elbon responded with no hesitation. "As I said, my name is Elbon and I am from Htrae. Htrae is the name of my planet. It is very similar to your planet. Third from its sun and the atmosphere is almost exactly the same. I am from a race of people called the Multars. We are a peaceful, simple people. For centuries my family justly ruled the land. About a century ago, we were invaded by another race, called the Bellimores. We were defeated and have been ruled by them ever since. One of my ancestors was able to escape his execution and the royal Multar line has continued through me. I was taken in by King Suoirafen, the current Bellimore king, and raised in the castle. Now, I want to overthrow the government and kill the king. If I succeed, then the crown is restored to me. The only problem is it is against Multarian nature to be physically violent. I need a champion to lead my people."
"Wow." Uttered Sebastian. "That's a lot to digest. Why would you come here to find a champion?"
"Simply speaking, you are a violent people." Answered Elbon in a matter-of-fact tone. "During the first Bellimorian voyage to this planet, you had just finished a war involving the entire planet. Based on observations, the people of this country were the victors. You had just dropped two atomic bombs on a smaller country. Logically, I would assume that any person of this country could easily lead a violent government rebellion."
Perplexed, Sebastian pondered the alien's words. "Atomic bombs? You must be talking about World War II. Did the Bellimores come to Earth in the 1 940s?"
"Don't be silly." Laughed Elbon. "That expedition took place fifty-five years ago in the year 2990. The 1940s were more than a millennium ago. Neither Multarian nor Bellimorian history goes back that far. As far as we know, nothing existed."
Now it was Sebastian's turn to laugh. "Fifty-five years ago the year was 1947. It's only 2002. But seriously, if the Bellimores came here fifty-five years ago, they could be the famous Roswell Aliens."
Looking excited, Elbon eagerly responded. "It was Ros Well. One of the crafts went down and killed the three Bellimores or they were captured."
"Oh my God." Exclaimed Sebastian. "The rumors are true. Aliens really did come to this planet. Do you know what they wanted?"
"No." Replied Elbon, sadly shaking his head. "I was not alive then and Suoirafen's father, the current king, sealed all records of the incident. There is something strange about the time of the crash. The times match up perfectly. How is that so?"
"I don't know. You know what else is strange? Your face is so symmetrical. If it weren't for the scales, I would think you were a really short human. Even your hands are similar to humans. You have opposable thumbs and everything." Said Sebastian as he gave Elbon a quick appraisal.
"Maybe it is some natural phenomenon between the three species?" Postulated Elbon.
Digesting this new information, Sebastian took a moment before responding. "Three species? The Bellimores and Multars are the same race of people?"
"Well, kind of" Responded Elbon. "Many years ago the Multars and Bellimores lived together as one people. A group of rebels ceded from the group and started their own new community. They became the Bellimores and the name could not be more appropriate. The name means "warlike." We remained similar in all aspects except for height and smell. Multars have a very distinctive smell that any Bellimore can detect. A Bellimore also has a strange smell, but the two are very different. Most Bellimores are at least a foot taller than Mulfars. Except for me, of course."
"What do you mean?" Asked Sebastian, detecting a hint of sadness in Elbon's voice.
"I have the height of a Bellimore. I am taller than all other Multars. Only my peaceful nature and smell distinguishes me from the Bellimores."
"Perhaps you are part Bellimore." Offered Sebastian. "That might explain why you are so much taller than the Multars." Realizing that his new friend did not like that idea, Sebastian quickly changed the topic. "You must need a place to stay. My father and stepmother have gone to bed by now. I have an old pullout sofa in my room. You can sleep there. Come on."
That said, Sebastian and Elbon crept into the Sanders' family home. Sebastian lead Elbon up a staircase and motioned for him to be quiet. Elbon was reminded of his best friend, Suoiciv, and the time Suoiciv had helped him escape Htrae. Taking note of the beautiful artwork, Elbon realized his new friend must be quite wealthy. When the two reached Sebastian's room, Elbon was not surprised to see a large, beautifully decorated room. However,he was surprised by the messiness of the room.
"Don't mind the mess. The rest of the house is immaculate. All the rooms except this one." Smiled Sebastian with a hint of devilish pride at his small rebellion. "Do you need any clothes to wear to bed?" Seeing Elbon's nod, Sebastian retrieved a pair of shorts and a t-shirt for him to wear. "You can change in the bathroom. It's right through that door with the skull and crossbones on it. Word of warning: the bathroom is just as bad as the rest of my room."
While Elbon changed, Sebastian busied himself with trying to pull out the sofa bed. Finally he succeeded, after far too much effort.
"You can sleep there." Said Sebastian, pointing to the bed. "Goodnight."
Elbon murmured a quiet goodnight and seftled himself on the bed. At first he tossed and turned, unable to be comfortable on his back because of his long tail. Giving up, Elbon turned onto his stomach and was soon asleep.
Sebastian, on the other hand, lay in bed, thinking about Elbon and his problem. There was no way he could be Elbon's champion and lead a government rebellion, but maybe he could help. After some more pondering, Sebastian fell asleep.
While Elbon slept deeply, Sebastian slept restlessly, the night filled with strange dreams Standing in an all white room, red words were printed on the wall, which undulated like the waves of the ocean. The wall had "Htrae si Earth" wriften all over it. Suddenly there was great flash of light and Sebastian bolted straight up in his bed. Panting and sweat-covered, Sebastian to a moment to calm himself Immediately, Sebastian grabbed a pen and a scrap of paper and wrote down the phrase. He looked over at the sofa and saw Elbon was awake.
"Did you have a bad dream?" Asked Elbon, as though he had just read Sebastian's mind.
"Not a bad dream. Just strange. It's really early. We should go back to bed. My parents will be gone soon. They always leave early on Saturday mornings." Sebastian laid back down, but was unable to fall asleep. He got up and sat at his desk looking at the piece of paper. The phrase must be written in some type of code. All he had to do was decipher it. Sebastian looked at the paper and tried to figure out the code. Suddenly, an idea came to him. Maybe the words were written backwards in English. He tried that and the phrase now read "Earth is Htrae."
What does that mean? Earth is Htrae? That makes no sense. Thought Sebastian, clearly frustrated by his results. Walking to where Elbon lay sleeping, Sebastian put his hand on Elbon's shoulder and shook him. "Elbon, wake up."
"Hmm I'm up." Replied Elbon on a yawn. "What is it?"
"I had this dream and I saw a weird phrase written all over the walls in red paint. I realized that the words were backwards English and translated them. The phrase means "Earth is Htrae." Does that mean anything to you?"
"Um. . . Sebastian, what are you talking about'?" Asked a confused Elbon.
"I have an idea. Turn your translator off and say something. Then let me figure out what you said. If what I'm thinking is right, then your language should be English backwards." Asked Sebastian with excitement in his voice.
"Ok." Replied Elbon. Reaching to his waist, Elbon flipped a switch and cut off the translator. "Naitsabes, uoy era yzarc. Ruoy nalp si sselesnes."
"Ok, give me a minute to figure it out."
Turning his translator back on, Elbon watched as Sebastian huddled over his desk trying to write the words backwards. Elbon did not care about the languages of the two species. He wanted only to find a champion to help his people.
"Sebastian, you are crazy. Your plan is senseless." Read Sebastian. "Is that what you said Elbon?" Seeing his nod, Sebastian got very excited. "Do you know what this means?"
Elbon could only shrug his shoulders, not realizing the importance of this discovery. 1 have no idea."
Sebastian began pacing back and forth across the carpet, while Elbon's eyes followed his very move. "It means that Multars, Bellimores, and Humans are somehow related." Seeing the doubt in Elbon's face, Sebastian quickly hurried on. "There has to he some link. There is no other explanation. Do you know anything about the arrival of Multars on Htrae?"
"No." Replied Elbon sadly shaking his head. "Historical records only go back to the year 2500. There is no evidence of arrival or evolution of the Multars. Perhaps-" Breaking off with a sudden gasp, Elbon clutched at his chest and fell to the ground, groaning in pain.
"Oh my God!" Exclaimed Sebastian rushing to Elhon's side. "Are you okay? What's the matter?"
"The king is here." With those words Elbon fell into merciful darkness.
A few tortuous hours later, Elbon awoke to find Sebastian leaning over him. 'i'll be okay. Just an unfortunate side effect of being a Multar." Joked Elbon, a half-smile on his pale lips.
"Yeah, Multars are notorious for having painful premonitions at the most inopportune time." Said Elbon sarcastically. "We also can sense emotions in others and have a really fun ability to camouflage ourselves at will."
"What did you mean when you said the king was here?" Asked Sebastian.
"King Suoirafen has arrived on Earth and he is on his way here now. We have to run away." Said Elbon in a rush. "If he finds me, he'll kill me and anyone stupid enough to help me." That said, Elbon began to get up and headed for the door when the sound of Sebastian's taunting voice stopped him dead in his tracks.
"You came here looking for a champion, but you want to run when things get a little scary." Scoffed Sebastian. "How can you possibly try to rule a people when you are so scared? You can never be a true king unless you face your fears."
"You're right." Remarked Elhon. 1 never realized that before. I have to be strong and face Suoirafen regardless of what might happen."
"That's the spirit."
"And you, Sebastian, are going to help me. Come on. Suoirafen will be here at any moment."
"Umm.. ." Stuttered Sebastian. 1 don't think you need me. This is more of an alien thing. Besides, won't Suoirafen wait until night to come?"
Smirking a little, Elbon had to try hard not to laugh. "You are a part of this Sebastian. Besides, some Bellimores have the same, if not better, camouflage ability as Multars."
Grabbing Sebastian by the arm, Elbon dragged him by the arm down the stairs to the living room. Luckily the servants had Saturday mornings off, otherwise Sebastian would have some explaining to do. Suddenly, in a hailstorm of splintering wood, Suoirafen burst into the house, followed closely by Suoiciv.
"I told you he would be hear, Father." Said Suoiciv triumphantly. "Didn't I tell you?"
"Yes, son. You have proved yourself worthy of the crown." Said the regal Suoirafen, never taking his eyes off of Elbon. "Well, Elhon, are you going to invite me in? It is terribly rude of you to leave a guest standing in the doorway." Thankfully, both Suoirafen and Suoiciv had translators so Sebastian was able to understand the conversation.
"Your Majesty, please come in. Make yourself at home." Replied Elhon, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
The three aliens and Sebastian walked to the white leather couches and sat down, Elbon and Sebastian on one side, Suoirafen and Suoiciv on the other.
"Elbon, you are to return to Htrae immediately." Said Suoirafen sternly. "Our deal did not involve you stealing one of my crafts and journeying to another planet. Fortunately, Suoiciv told me of your escapade and we quickly followed."
"Traitor!" Screamed Elbon. "How could you do such a thing? We were best friends.
Calmly picking lint from his shirt, Suoiciv took his time in replying. "You see, Elbon, I couldn't let you take the throne. Even if you didn't kill Father, you have a legitimate claim to the throne." Noting Elbon's puzzled look, Suoiciv merely scoffed. "Don't tell me you don't know. Why do you think Father took you in to the palace? You are my half-brother. He wanted to find out which of his two sons were better suited to be king. As the elder and more cunning son your claim is far more legitimate than mine. It doesn't matter that your mother was a Multar. You have royal Bellimore blood in your veins. I couldn't risk the chance of you taking the throne so I "helped" you on your quest."
For a moment, nobody spoke. Everyone was too stunned at this revelation. Sebastian sensing that he had no place in this familial dispute quietly left the room.
Standing up, Elbon walked to the huge fireplace and placed a hand on the mantel looking at the ash. "Is this true, Your Majesty? Am I your son?"
I didn't want you to find out this way, but yes it's true." Replied the king with a heavy sigh, no longer able to keep up the facade of anger towards his favored son. "You are my son. I loved your mother very much, but I couldn't marry her. Even if she was descended from Multar royalty, she was still a Multar. A union between us would never have worked. When I learned of her death, I was heartbroken. It was if a part of me had died along with her. Then I learned of your existence. I brought you into my home and raised you as I did Suoiciv. I wanted to see which of y~u would make a better king. I soon came to love you and realized you should be king."
"Tell me, fathcr, why did you extend that deal to me?" Asked Elhon bitterly. "What if I had died or killed you'? What then?"
"Elbon, I never once thought you would fail. I knew you would kill me and take your place as king. I didn't fear that death. I knew I would be reunited with my true love, Elleb, and you would have your rightful place. I didn't mean for this to happen."
"Father, you can't be serious." Whined Suoiciv. 'I should get the throne, not Elbon. I am a pure Bellimore, not some dirty half-breed. I was the one who snuck around the castle passageways to hear-"
Turning on his youngest son in a fury of motion,, Suoirafen's rage erupted. "How dare you! You shall never be king! A king should be noble and honest! Only Elhon can be those things. Now sit down and be quiet! I will deal with you on Htrae." Returning his attention to Elbon, the king's tone softened. "Elbon, if you are willing, I want you to be my heir. I will abdicate my throne to you and assist you in any way you need. Please return home with me."
"I will return with you." Said Elbon realizing that his place was ruling the Multars and Belhimores with his father at his side. "But what are we going to do with Suoiciv?"
Smiling. Suoirafen's eyes brightened with glee. "We shall let him take your plane hack to Htrae and you shall ride with me. Come we should leave now."
"Let me say goodbye to Sebastian." Walking to the kitchen where Sebastian had stood for the past half-hour, Elbon prepared to say his goodbyes to his newfound friend. "Thank you for all you were willing to do. I shall never forget you." With a quick hug, Elbon turned to join his father and Suoiciv in the living room.
Taking a glance at Sebastian, Suoirafen made a quick decision. "Elhon, use your camouflage and "escort" Suoiciv back to the ships. I shall meet you there." Waiting until his sons were gone, Suoirafen turned to Sebastian. "You have a question. Please ask me."
"Ok. What is the deal with the similarity between Earth and Htrae?" Asked Sebastian.
"Earth is Htrae." Replied Suoirafen. "But not for many centuries. Most humans are going to be killed in a nuclear war and the survivors become Bellimores and Multars. The language is merely backwards English."
"So, Htrae isn't really another planet?" Questioned Sebastian.
"No, Htrae is what Earth will become. We did not space travel, we time traveled. Time is not a constant. It's all relative
"Can the future be changed?"
"Nothing is set in stone, but do not worry. The reason Elbon was drawn to you is because you are the link between Earth and Fltrae. Your descendants will be the royal Multars and Belhimores. Each ruler, your descendant, is told the history of Htrae upon his taking of the throne." Replied Suoirafen. "Everything is a variable. Remember, Elbon only found you because you dropped your wallet."
"How did- "Began Sebastian
"1 have my ways."
"One last question. What is the deal with your names? Elbon is noble, Suoicmv is vicious and you are nefarious."
Chuckling a bit, Suoirafen could no the help, but smile. "That is only the product of twisted Multarian and Bellimorian humor. The names are used to represent our characteristics, but again nothing his set in stone. I must leave now. I will forever be grateful. You have done more than you can ever know."
With that Suoirafen was gone, leaving only a strange smell and a broken door. Walking mindlessly to his shed, Sebastian walked inside and looked around. He grabbed one picture, a family portrait, and decided to have the rest put into storage. Hearing his father's car pull into the driveway, Sebastian broke out into a run. Reaching the end of the driveway, Sebastian threw his arms around his father and apologized for his crazy behavior, promising to change his ways. The road Sebastian chose would not be easy, but he had spent enough years being dead. It was time he lived.
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