Chapter 25:

Half and Half

Curiosity Killed The Cat

“Have you heard of yin and yang, Kothur? It’s an old philosophical concept represented by a circle with a black half and a white half.” Fehram asked him while making a circle with his finger. “The receptive feminine energy of the yin interlocks with the active masculine energy of the yang. It means everything in this universe has an opposite and with that, they complete each other. Light and darkness. Man and woman. All that to say, you’ve been living your life too passively, don’t you think? Always trying to please everybody. You can’t run away from being a man. You tried, but still ended up wanting to fuck that little girlfriend of yours. That’s a pretty masculine feeling.”

Kothur kind of forgot his brother was like this. So damn crude. Kothur gave him an annoyed look as he gripped the steering wheel. “I get it, alright? You didn’t have to put it that way.” Did he have to look into everything? Wait. He just realized something. “Does that mean you know what happened to Mylise? Is that where we’re going?”

“Aw man. Did I give away the surprise already?” Fehram laughed. “Turn right over there and park in any spot.”

They both got out of the car. Kothur looked around the unfamiliar area as the wind pelted him. They had driven to the edge of town. The large parking lot was in front of a small square building with no one outside. It looked long since closed down.

“Just go patiently wait on that bench on the side there. When anyone asks, tell them about your eye thing. I’ve got to go pick up Reohn. The poor kid’s probably freezing by now. Don’t worry. We’ll see each other again.” Fehram waved his hand and started to walk off.

Huh? Kothur panicked. I have to tell someone about my eye? I don’t want to do that! Wait, was he just going to leave me here? Right when I just met him after so many years? Kothur wanted to call out to him, but kept quiet and turned to walk towards the building like he suggested. He was pretty nervous as he sat waiting in the shade, not knowing what he was looking for. Sometimes he saw other men walk inside, but it didn’t seem like they noticed him. They looked rather intimidating.

A few minutes later, he saw a familiar face walking towards him from behind the building. A lady with fair hair, her posture perfect, and with each step came with a clack from her shoes. She was wearing a black long-sleeved blouse with a skirt instead of her usual uniform. A ribbon scarf was tied under her collar. He was so glad to see her again in good health. “Mylise!” He waved to her as he stood.

Mylise looked many more times surprised than the last time he had caught her off guard. She put her hand up to her open mouth. How cute. “Kothur? What are you doing here?” Her voice was high-pitched in shock.

“I’m not sure myself. My brother sort of dropped me off here.”

“Your brother did? Reohn?” She said in a confused tone.

“No. Fehram.”

Her eyes went wide at that. “Fehram was here?” She noticed other people starting to stare at them and quickly wrapped her arm around his. Kothur let out a startled noise at the sudden touch. “I don’t know what you were thinking. You shouldn’t have come here, but it’s too late now. Just follow my lead, ok?” She spoke in a low voice.

Well, didn’t that certainly didn’t sound ominous or anything. Kothur nodded anyway, trusting in Fehram’s judgment. They walked together to the inside of the building with her arm still around his. It looked like a normal office building; there just wasn’t anyone there. No one at the receptionist desk nor in the chairs to the side.

Mylise led them through to another room from a wooden door in the back. It seems all of the men it saw earlier were back here. Some of them were armed. They stared uncomfortably. Kothur was getting worried. An older man in a suit came up to them.

“...” Mylise was talking in that same foreign language. The same one he heard that girl speak all those years ago. Since then, he had learned it was the language of the Rydes. Kothur felt his heart pound. Oh no, he thought. He must be in enemy territory here. He couldn’t help but worry what she was saying to them.

Kothur found himself in a small room at a wooden table across two men. The only light came from a small lamp above them. Mylise was next to him. She spoke softly to him. “They want to interview you. I’ll translate what they say and help you if they ask anything. I told them you’re defecting your country and want to help out the Rydes.”

Oh. Oh no. Suddenly Kothur was thrown into disarray. He gripped his legs as his chest started to hurt. Was this really the best course of action, Fehram??

The men started speaking in a low voice to Mylise. She answered back before translating to Kothur. “They asked some background clarification on you. I told them you were a teacher at the head branch school and were about to be promoted to principal. They want to know why you decided to defect. Just say ‘because I saw how evil Weit truly is.’”

“Because I saw how evil Weit truly is.” Kothur tried to his best to sound convincing.

Mylise translated his words to them. He couldn’t be sure, but it felt like she was adding extra information in there. The men excitedly replied to her. “I told them your brother is Fehram. The Rydes have been wanting to capture him for a long time. They believe he has a certain power that they want to obtain. They want to know if you can help them find him. Are you guys in contact?”

“Well, I just met him today and then he left again without a way for me to contact him. I think he said he’s coming back.”

Mylise happily told the news to the men. The men smiled at Kothur. He gave a nervous smile back and once again asked Mylise another question.

“They are happy to have you join them and that you will be a valuable asset. They want to know if anyone knows you’re here or if you joined secretly.”

“Ah...” Kothur had to think about what to say. It’s not like he woke up today planning to betray his country. Fehram just made him drive here without telling him what this place even was. “No one knows I defected, but there are some people that are after me. Trichael seems to have made some sort of antigovernmental cult with me as their first target.”

Mylise paused a second before translating, probably processing it herself. After their reply, she turned to look at him with a serious expression. “They said they will keep you safe here, but they want something in exchange. I know this may be hard to think of, but do you have anything to offer them?”

Kothur remembered what Fehram told him before he left. Was this the right time? He touched his eye patch and swallowed. He hesitated to tell her this secret he’s been guarding so closely. “My right eye lets me see a glimpse of a person’s past under certain circumstances. I can offer them that.”