Negotiations on shaky vines

Chapter 50x- The President’s last gambit

by Exhausted_ambition

Tags: #dom:female #f/f #hypnosis #petplay #pov:bottom #scifi #anxiety #CW:dubious_consent #cw:violence #dom:internalized_imperialism #dom:plant #drug_play #Human_Domestication_Guide #ownership_dynamics #sensation_play #sub:capitalism #sub:female #trans_egg #transgender_characters

CW: violence

By the Everbloom we are at chapter 50! I could never have expected this project to get this far. Thanks for all the feedback, discussion, and support!
--------------------Documents in order: Centhia, West New Habsburg, 16:17 (CC +7d,5h,17min)------------------
 
Yesterday had been hectic, the momentary calm that had arrived in the aftermath of the ‘night of fire’, as people had begun calling it, had been broken by a massive amount of orders. The bureaucracy had become an engine running at full throttle, from early in the day, too late into the night. Laura had done as ordered without question because she could feel where the orders were coming from.  
 
When she had talked to Percy it was almost like she could hear the president instead, because there could be no doubt that this was his doing. The rest of the bureaucracy had felt the same and had moved to the president’s tune without hesitation. That day the bureaucracy had become less an organization of people and more of a machine, there was no doubt, no disobedience, just doing what was ordered. A frenzy of productivity had fallen over her and all the others. She had gotten more work yesterday than she often got done in a month. 
 
Late during the night when she had made her way home, she had felt the air of tension in the mostly empty street. Centhia knew that something was coming, and once more the people held their breath for what was to come. 
 
When she had woken up today she had been greeted by a message, congratulating her for her hard work and ordering a day off. Laura’s veins had turned to ice, a mandatory day off could only mean one thing. The last time she had received such a message the entire Terran loyalist association and all Terran observers had been purged, and that was not the first time this tactic had been used. 
 
Laura had quickly bolted the door to her apartment, and grabbed her handgun and rifle, making sure she was ready when the tension broke. The rest of the day she had spent in anxious and lonely silence while observing the situation on the overnet. The entirety of the planet could feel that something was about to happen…and then it had.
 
Less than three hours ago the affini had left the planet. It had started with pictures of affini boarding their shuttles, outreach centers closed their doors, and her messages to Picea had been left unanswered. Then a thousand shuttles had departed the surface like a swarm of white and blue, and they all headed to the same location. The leviathan-like ship, that had orbited the planet for weeks like it was trying to replace Centhias long lost moon, had absorbed the shuttles and then…jumped away into the void. 
 
It was unthinkable, unimaginable, but it had happened, the affini occupation was over. Centhia held its breath for one more hour and then the tension broke like fragile glass. A sector-wide broadcast from the ‘restorers of the republic’ had shown three shadowy figures in a large opulent room declaring the restoration of old rule and the removal of the collaborator president. Demonstrations had surged out into the street and both family and mercenary troops had sprung out of hiding and towards vital strategic targets. So far she had seen no signs of fighting, the garrison seemed to have melted away just like the affini. 
 
She had sent a few ambiguous messages to some coworkers and gotten the reply she had expected, the one she would have sent. The bureaucracy would stand by the president no matter what happened, even if he was dead in a gutter somewhere it did not matter. The bureaucracy was the president, and the president was the bureaucracy. Laure just hoped the president would come out on top once more because at the moment it looked dire. 
 
Laura tried to repress the feeling of loss, the fact that she would most likely never see Picea ever again. She had grown so accustomed to the affini’s presence that life seemed duller without her. She would remember their last date dearly, at least she would always have that.
 
Then there was a knock on the door, fuck! At least her apprehenders/executioners had been polite enough to knock. Laura grabbed the rifle, readied it, and jumped behind the table she had prepared for cover. Even well-off people like her knew how to use weapons, it was the most universal education one could find on Centhia. 
 
There was another knock, soon the door would be knocked inwards, then she just had to hope to be lucky. Either a quick death or somehow killing the intruders, she very much doubted the latter. Then the door was forced open and….Picea? Laura lowered the rifle…it was impossible.
 
Picea stepped through the door and closed it behind her “hello little flower. put the gun away, you might hurt yourself.” Laura reapplied the safety on the gun and put it down…how was this possible.
 
Laura stood up, her voice stammering “how…I don’t…did you not…leave? And why…are you…here?”
 
Picea walked up to her and smiled “if you believed that I would ever leave such a cutie like you, then there is much I must teach you. We never left, we just had to draw some scared little humans out of hiding.” Laura swallowed, so that was what all the work yesterday had been about, the president had laid a trap.
 
The affini stopped and looked around the apartment “no, this won’t do at all. After today you will come and stay with me, okay?” Laura hesitated for a moment, there was a predatory glint in Picea’s eyes.
 
Then Laura smiled “okay, I can come live with you, as long as you continue to make food that is.” Picea walked up and scooped her up into her vines, Laura blushed as the affini kissed her on the forehead. Finally, after a life of danger, she felt safe.
 
--------------------A brother’s betrayal: Centhia, North New Bergen, 16:55 (CC +7d,5h,55min)-------------------
 
Olan grinned and made sure to wave the blue and green flag of the republic high into the air. Finally, the president had chased away the xeno menace. The planet would belong to him once more, but not all people seemed to understand that. The district autonomy hub, the center of control for North New Bergen had yet to proclaim its loyalty to the one true president of the glorious Centhian republic. 
 
Olan would not let that stand and neither would the people, a huge mass of them followed him as they made their way towards the building. This was only one of many armies of the president, soon they would all converge upon the hub and reinstate the president’s control over the district. First, they would demand it, but if the traitors refused then they would brandish their weapons and take the building by force.  
 
Olan looked at the masses “FORWARD! Today is the day of victory! Today we prove our dedication to the president! To the republic he built for us!” Cheering and shouts echoed his words, and the crowd grew ever more passionate. Olan felt proud, he and his brother had finally begun to repay a sliver of the debt they owed.
 
Then there was a sound like synchronized thunder, first low and then louder and louder. It was the sound of heavy boots hitting the ground in a coordinated fashion. A cold went down Olan’s neck, and in the street, in front of him a platoon of garrison forces had appeared.
 
Then the sound was heard from the right, then the left, and then shouting behind him proved his worst fear. Each road from the intersection where they had started to cross was blocked off, they were surrounded. This was not the garrison from a week ago, they were in full formation and looked like an unbreakable wall of ballistic plating. 
 
How could this have happened? how had they known of their location so precisely? Why had he agreed with Tidar to split up the army into several easy-to-catch pieces? Tidar….no….Olan looked back and saw the mix of guilt and fear in his brother’s eyes….why? 
 
Tidar straightened his back “I’m sorry brother, but this is the only way. We have not been fighting on the right side, the president would not want us to do this. It has to end now.” Olan felt his stomach drop, despair and confusion clouded his mind. 


The hard and loud voice of a garrison officer rang over the crowd “by the orders of President Hansen this gathering is deemed illegal. All who surrender might be granted amnesty when an investigation into your activities has been completed. We have you surrounded, lay down your arms and surrender!” Olan’s hand began to shake, was Tidar, right? Did it even matter now?
 
The flag of the republic fell from his hands and landed on the ground, Olan raised his arms “We surrender!” Hopefully, this was what the president wanted.
 
--------------------The phoenix's last flight: Centhia, East New Habsburg, 17:04 (CC +7d,6h,4min)----------------
 
When the news of the affini retreat had reached the Phenix brotherhood, morale had gone from abysmally low to an all-time high. They had finally managed to drive away from the occupiers, and the humiliation that the president had inflicted upon them when they had been scattered and captured a month ago was avenged. 
 
Jonathan had known this moment would come, he had felt it in his heart. That is what had kept his flame or resistance alive even as they were captured and under that horrible affini’s control. He had tried to escape 9 times before he had succeeded the day all hell had begun to break loose. When the orders had come from their buyers he had proudly led his squad forward and into the heart of New Habsburg. Their goal was to capture the Central bureaucracy HQ and with that the control of the planet itself. 
 
The Phoenix brotherhood had marched through the streets unopposed, the garrison probably too scared to come out and fight them. Each step had made Jonathan more confident, more certain of victory. The part of the city they moved through was empty, that should have been the first sign. The second was when the squads sent to recover the rest of the brotherhood from capture did not report back. They had not gotten any third sign before the trap was sprung upon them. 
 
Affini surged in great numbers out of the rail system and soon the triumphant march collapsed into chaos. The sound of gunfire rang across the city, this time they were the ones on the defensive. Jonathan’s squad had been in the back of the formation, so they heard the affini approach with the frantic reports of the other squads. 
 
“We need immediate support! several hostiles are-“
 
“Fall back! Watch out, we got hostiles on our lef-“
 
“We are surrounded! We need evacuation and we need it now! Is anyone out there?!“
 
“Our line is broken! squad delta-4 is falling back to prepared…fuck! They are right behind us, shot th-“ 
 
Jonathan threw the receiver to the ground in anger, his squad looked around anxiously. He felt fear rise up, but he pushed it down “we have been compromised, we need to fall back to prepared positions. Move people! I am not returning to that hotel!” They were the most skilled mercenaries in the sector, perhaps even the accord itself. They would survive this, even if the rest of the brotherhood did not.
 
His squad began to move backward, making sure to watch their flanks as they made their way through the abandoned street. Jonathan cursed, he should have seen this coming. No matter what happened he would not return to that repugnant weed that had held them, prisoner. The sound of gunfire and explosions still filled the air and skyline, the Phoenix would not go down without a fight.
 
Then a tall and familiar figure exited one of the empty buildings, and the squad froze in place. it’s voice was very stern. “I am very disappointed in all of you, such poor behavior can not be tolerated.” It was her!
 
Jonathan lifted his plasma rifle “FIRE! SHOT THAT THING DOWN!” blue light and gunfire filled his senses as the squad opened fire on the weed. But she was too fast, and the weapons had too little effect. A vine or two might be shot apart but there were so many of them. First one fell, then another, and the affini moved with a graceful precision that left more and more of his squad sedated on the ground. 
 
Jonathan turned and ran, fuck his pride, fuck the brotherhood. He was getting out of there! He rounded a corner and slowed into a crouch, there was no way he was running away from it, but he could avoid it. His heart beat so very fast, and his trigger finger itched, ready to fire at the first sign of danger. The guns of his former squad mates fell silent, there was a tense silence in the air. 
 
He piqued around a corner and a vine stuck forth and grabbed the rifle. He managed to get one shot off, that uselessly hit a building behind the plant, before the gun was ripped from his grip. Jonathan tried to move back but vines gripped around his limbs in seconds and pinned him to the wall; he tried to strain against them, but it was useless.
 
The affini came closer and smiled a predatory grin “finally caught you.” Jonathan felt his breathing become ragged, tears built up in his eyes, not like this…
 
The affini dried one of the tears away “oh, don’t be sad. Soon everything will be fine.” The affini seemed to analyze him for a second “yes, you know what. I think I will keep you, breaking your resistance will be fun. And once you have finally surrendered to me there will be nothing but happiness in your future.” Before he could fully understand the words, a needle-like point from a flower pricked him in the neck and everything went dark. 
 
--------------------Terra’s second fall: Centhia, planetary Orbit, 17:05 (CC +7d,6h,5min)----------------------------
 
Grand admiral Sendar had grinned when he had read the reports, they had finally done it. The main affini capital class ship and the two warships had retreated from the Centhian sector. Their location was unknown for the moment, but one thing was clear, His strategy had worked! The affini could perhaps not be beaten in a frontal assault, but they could be bled until they had no option but to retreat. 
 
This was it, perhaps the turning point of the war. With this new strategy, he could slowly force the plants away from the accord, away from his home. Terra would be free once more, and he would be its savior. 
 
First, however he had to secure his prize, the planet of Centhia itself. He had received a transmission less than an hour ago and already the fleet had been contacted. He gave the order and soon felt the kick in his lungs as the Indomitable II jumped. When his senses recovered a moment later he was looking upon the glory that was the rest of his fleet jumping into the system. 
 
He had been forced to scatter his great navy to keep the affini in check but now it could be consolidated once more. Every second more and more ships jumped into the system and formed into formation. They were less than 90 now, but it was still a mighty fleet. The fallen would be remembered but there was no time for that now.
 
As the great Terran armada formed up and moved on the gray planet, a far smaller fleet of Centhian ships came out to meet them. Sendar relished this “move the fleet into a spear formation!” His fleet moved into a triangle shape, one meant to fight Terrans, not affini. Unlike the formations that he had to use against the weeds, the purpose of this formation was to break through the enemy formation and scatter them to all sides, not flee at the first sign of danger. 
 
For a moment the two fleets stared each other down, then “sir. A transmission is coming from the enemy command ship.” The Centhian fleet was not here to fight but to surrender, Sendar’s grin grew wider. 
 
He made sure to contain his excitement “patch it through.” He had to remain cold and collected. 
 
The large screen on the bridge blinked and then the face of an old and bearded man appeared “Hello gentlemen, this is Grand admiral Stuklov of the Centhian defensive fleet. Welcome to Centhia.” The uniform of the aged admiral was finely made, Sendar felt a sting in his pride that he did not look as presentable. 
 
That, however, mattered little “I received your transmission, and I accept your plea for help. But know that I will take control of this sector and use it to crush the affini menace.” He had the largest fleet by far, he could glass the planet within days if he wished.
 
Admiral Stuklov nodded, he looked complaisant “I understand, once your proclamation is broadcast I am sure the rest of the planet will fall in line.” They had better or they would be forced into line with orbital bombardment. His boys on the ground had done excellent work preparing the planet for occupation. 
 
Sendar allowed himself to feel unfiltered pride, from here they could build an even greater fleet. Stuklov had even promised that there was affini technology they could salvage, and soon they could fight the alien’s head-to-head. Soon the affini could be driven ba-
 
One of his subordinates suddenly looked frantic “we just got reports that our forces on the surface are fighting affini!” WHAT? That could not-
 
Admiral Stuklov's face broke into a smile “Did you really think that I would betray the republic and its president?” The confident look on that aged face could only mean one thing, this was a trap!
 
Admiral Sendar suddenly felt all the pride, relief and hope disappear and be replaced by fear “We need to get-“ before he could even utter a command the space around his fleet rippled. First, the two warships appeared and flanked them on both sides, then a second later the massive leviathan of a ship appeared right in front of them. They were surrounded! No! no! no! this could not be happening!
 
Stuklov smiled with satisfaction “One last thing, The president told me to say goodbye on his behalf.” The old admiral began to laugh. Sendar took out his pistol and fired into the monitor, the admiral's cold laugh still rang in his ears. 


Sendar shouted, his voice almost breaking “ALL SHIPS JUMP IMI-“ his shout was cut off as one of the beams of blue light struck the bow of the Indomitable II and the ship lost power. Then the ship shook as a tendril from the leviathan-sized ship grabbed around it.
 
He stood up “give me a status report, NOW!” This was not how it was supposed to go! He should have killed that bastard president when he had the chance.
 
One of his subordinates looked over a monitor filled with red warning signs “the hyperdrive, thrusters, main power, and weaponry are offline. Life support is still functioning….” The man’s voice slurred and then he fell to the ground. Gas was being pumped from the vents, Snedar was lucky that it had not reached him yet. The others were not so lucky, soon there was only him left standing.
 
Sendar grabbed a mask and put it on, preparing his gun with shaking hands. He felt his breath become more and more rapid, this was not how it was supposed to go! He needed to get to the escape pods before the affini boarded. He heard gunshots that were quickly silenced, fuck! They were already abroad.
 
He needed a way out, some way to escape, the lights on the bridge began to flicker. The door to the bridge opened and a tall figure moved through the fog of gas. Sendar raised the gun “stay back! Don’t come any closer!” The figure moved forward despite his warning. 
 
He fired the gun twice in panic, his shaking hands meant he only hit the side of the door and a monitor. The figure suddenly moved far too fast towards him, he shot once more and hit it…but it did not even slow it down. The affini was upon him and the mask was ripped from his face, instinctively he breathed in the ‘fresh’ air. 
 
He felt his senses begin to slow and blur, he heard a gentle voice “there you go, no more running from…” before the affini was done talking he was swallowed by the darkness. 
 
---------------------The end of the old: Centhia, Shivar residences, 17:11 (CC +7d,6h,11min)-----------------
 
Phlox Feris, 4rth bloom, and her squad had arrived at the rendezvous point, there was no one there. They had received orders merely an hour ago to meet at this location for an operation, but the human support was nowhere to be seen. Then parts of one of the walls of the room moved and shimmered, in front of her was a human clad in some kind of suit, a mask over their face and a rifle on their back.
 
It spoke, “unit Z-39 affirms affini presence, ready to transmit tactical data.” The way it spoke was mechanical like each word was carefully selected and ordered. 
 
She hesitated and saw a few of the other affini look confused, was this the support? She smiled, best to be friendly “that would be very nice dear.” Hopefully, they would not need to put this strange human in danger.
 
The human, that had called itself Z-39, moved towards the window “location of enemy command center uncovered by handler, alpha squadron is ready to infiltrate and disable hostiles. Affini are to provide support in case stealth capabilities are compromised.” Phlox was a bit confused, she looked towards where the human was looking. It was a very large house by even the standards of the area they were in. 
 
It looked normal though “what do you mean the handler uncovered the enemy command center?” It was a very cryptic way of talking. 
 
Z-39 still looked at the building “replaying handler message: oh, so those fools were hiding there…poor choice. Message over.” The human seemed to imitate another person’s voice for a moment. 
 
Phlox sighed, this was too strange for her to fully get to terms with at the moment “okay, I and my friends will move in and secure the building. You and your friends wait until we are done, okay?” the human shivered a bit.
 
Then it turned to her “incorrect, shadow division unit is more efficient than affini unit. Affini too loud, can lead to unnecessary casualties on allied or hostile forces. Alpha squadron will lead infiltration, affini squad moves in after area is secured.” Z-39 then walked out of the room and shimmered again before becoming almost invisible. 
 
Phlox shared a confused look with some of her squamates before following. Her squad made sure to stay in cover as they approached the house. She took up her data pad and saw that she had received intel on the internal surveillance in the building. As she looked she saw windows and doors opening slightly as several of those shimmering humans made their way into the building. The building might have looked normal from the outside but on the inside, it was full of armed humans. 
 
For a moment she got very afraid, what if the shimmering humans got hurt? Then she saw how they moved, it was with almost perfect synchronized and mechanical precision. Without making a sound the humans moved through the outer layer of the building and silently sedated any armed humans they came across. In just a matter of moments, the main entrance was filled with sleeping humans, not one of them had seen the shimmers close in before it was too late. 
 
Phlox did not quite know what to make of this, but they still had to help < let's move in, the main entrance has been cleared.> her squad moved forward with a slight bit of hesitation. So much about this situation felt wrong. Something about the shimmering humans unnerved her, most affini droids moved in a more organic way, that might be because they were cuter that way, but these humans were not machines. 
 
When they got into the building all they really could do was secure the sedated humans. They moved further and further into the huge human hab, finding more sedated humans in their path. Then from a room up ahead there was shouting “you might have killed my brother, but you will not take me!” two shots were fired. 
 
Phlox moved as far as she could and barged through the door to a large dining room. Leaning over a table were two sedated humans, Z-39 held down an enraged human with almost uncaring strength. It then produced a syringe in its free hand and injected the human beneath it, who went limp.  
 
Z-39 stood up and said “subject Talim Victorian detected other subjects’ neutralization. No harm was done to unit or subject.” It pointed to a wall where the two gunshots had hit, Phlox felt a wave of relief. 
 
Z-39 then stood still for a moment, its jaws moved slightly underneath the mask. It turned around “all hostile subjects have been neutralized. Alpha squadron to converge and communicate with parallel squads and handler.” Just a moment after it was done talking more very similar-looking humans entered the room in the same synchronized and mechanical fashion. 
 
They formed two lines with the Z-39 in the middle “Alpha squadron report: primary enemy command structure has been successfully liquidated. Objective completed.”
 
Another voice that talked very similarly, came from Z-39 “Beta squadron report: all primary power structures of family classification have been successfully liquidated. Objective completed.” It had to be some kind of transmitter in the suit.
 
A Third mechanical voice spoke “Gama squadron report: Mercenary forces and liquidator units are neutralized. Objective completed.” None of the humans in the room have moved an inch since they took their place, Phlox could still sense some excitement from their mostly silent biorhythms
 
There was a brief silence before another voice rang out, it was far more natural and feminine “message to all units: good work, you have done more than should ever have been required. It is time for you all to get some rest. Message over. Initiate protocol ‘domi umbra’, confirmation code UA-CTI-437-B12.” There was a long silence, none of the strange humans seemed to move. 
 
Then they began to put down their rifles and take off their suits. Phlox and her squad were still standing there in a bit of stunned silence, Z-39 moved up and removed its mask. It was that friendly young man she had met in the rail system! He smiled gently “hi! I was wondering if you could bring me and my comrades to the nearest domestication center. It would be a great help.” 
 
------------------The ashes of conflict: Cebrex V, Elysia, 21:22 (CC +7d,10h,22min)-----------------------------------
 
Mellady had spent the last 7 days in the crumbling bunker. At first, she had been scared that it might collapse upon her if it took a direct hit, and it might have. but luckily the bombardment had stopped a few days ago. Even with the outside presumably safe, she had decided to stay in the bunker, not even moving out to take a look. 
 
Part of it was that she had enough water and food here, that might not be true for any other place she would go. Another was that she did not want to see Elysia after the bombardment, if she stayed here she could imagine that it was still how she had last seen it. The final part was that she had to protect the affini remains. 
 
The fuzzy orb that had remained of the affini had grown into the ground and over time it had slowly grown vines and branches around itself. At this point, the vines and moss-covered branches formed a large cocoon around the orb. In the deafening silence, the humming of the orb was all that had kept her sane. She had considered leaving yesterday but the thought of leaving the orb behind was too painful….she did not know entirely why. 
 
The death of the affini was supposed to make her happy, no? it was just another invader. Still, it had saved her life, another thing she could not fully explain. She had to admit she regretted now following the affini in the first place, perhaps then they would both be alive. And she could be somewhere other than this collapsing concrete tomb. Then she heard voices.
 
“Found anything over there?!” the voice was shouting from a bit away, 
 
“Nah, just more garbage, what are we ever supposed to find here? Do you think they are even coming back for us?” The other voice was frustrated, Mellady grabbed her rifle and stood up from next to the orb cocoon. 
 
“Hey, I think I see a bunker of some kind. Perhaps there are supplies there, I don’t think the captain will be very pleased if we return with nothing, and I don’t want to take that risk.” Fuck, it must be Terran soldiers, and they had found the bunker. 
 
She moved up the stairs, keeping her rifle ready. It only sounded like there were two of them, she could take that on. She moved up further, listening for their steps, they were getting close. 
 
Then two figures moved in front of the light from the top of the stairs. Mellady pointed the rifle and fired, the harsh sun that she had not been exposed to for days blinded her momentarily and the shot went wide. The figure that she had tried to fire on ducked “fuck!” The other one charged her before she could get a second shot. 
 
The man slammed into her and knocked her to the wall, the rifle fell out of her grip and fell down the stairs. The second man held her pinned “stop! We don’t want to hurt you.” Mellady hesitated for a moment. 
 
The person she had fired upon came down the stairs, a pistol pointed at her “We don’t want to but will if you try anything else…” The man looked down the stairs “anything valuable in there?” Mellady hesitated for a moment if they found the orb they would doubtlessly destroy it. 
 
She forced herself to stay calm “no, only rubble and some rations. What do you want?” The two young men looked at her curiously and exchanged a glance.
 
The second one released his grips “we are here looking for anything that can stop the affini invaders, to protect our homes. That can be resources, weapons or…
 
The other man finished the sentence “recruits for the cause. We know you have suffered under the weeds on this planet. Want to come with us and liberate your home?” The speech was not very convincing, it was just regurgitated propaganda. 
 
She hesitated for a moment and the one with a gun sighed “honestly you don’t get a real choice here, start moving.” No, she did not want to leave the orb….her hesitation seemed to frustrate them.
 
The one with the gun pointed it at her head “come on! do you want to die here or do you want to serve the accord in its time of need?” Mellady saw that the other one was looking scared at something down the staircase. 
 
The man stuttered “fuc-“ two sets of vines surged up and engulfed the two soldiers. They struggled but only half a second later they were both unconscious…Mellady stared at the sight for a fraction of a second and then the fear she had built up for over the week finally manifested as she ran up the staircase. 
 
She stumbled upwards and away from whatever had just taken out the soldiers, trying to cover her eyes from the light. And then she saw it….what remained of her home…the strength in her legs gave out only a few paces from the ruined staircase.  
 
The city was no more, most of the houses were charred corpses. Her vision was uninterrupted as most of the buildings had been completely leveled to the ground, only ash remaining. The desolation stretched for as far as she could see. Mellady felt tears in her eyes and tried to blink them away…why had this happened? how was she supposed to rebuild if there was nothing left? The warm summer wind suddenly felt very cold. 
 
Something moved behind her, but she did not care, her home was gone…what more could she lose. Vines picked her up and she was held up in an embrace. It was the affini that had chased her, saved her “how?” the question fell out of her. 
 
The affini looked slightly different from before, moss-covered its vines and bark. It smiled at her “I’m sorry it took such a long time, but I had to rebloom after I was hit. Thank you for protecting me, little one.” The longer she looked the more she realized, the affini looked just like the orb cocoon…were they immortal? 
 
The affini held her softly “I am glad I got to help you in time, those two won’t be dangerous anymore. I am sure they will make some affini very happy. You are safe now.” She was safe…..Mellady looked back onto the ruins of Elysia. 
 
The affini followed her gaze “oh I’m sorry little one…I know this place was important to you. I promise that we will rebuild it, I will find you a new home.” Mellady finally let the tears flow.
 
Her home was gone, destroyed….but something about the voice of the affini made her believe it. She looked up and into the affini’s eyes….they were beautiful. Perhaps the affini were invaders, but….maybe she could still have a home here.

Hope you enjoyed! this will probably be the last we see of Centhia in this story but I have plans to tell many, shorter tales here.

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