|Voice from the Future|
|Book: Voice from the Future, Chapter 9|
City of Secrets
Night in the Palace
Chapter 9: The Bond of a Family
A whole week passed since their disastrous attempt to see the Emperor. Even now, they were no nearer to getting to see him then they were on that night.
"Remind me again why we haven't left already?" Siesta asked as she Louise, and Kirche were walking back to the inn from shopping
"Because, Her Majesty, is counting on us." said Louise "We can't just leave without getting any progress."
"Too true." said Kirche "But no matter what plan we come up with, the Secret Police, and the captain, remain an obstacle. I just can't see how we're going to get anywhere near the palace at this point."
They walked into the inn.
"Hey Kirche." said Suzuka coming to greet them "Do you know where the library is?"
"The city library is a block down that way." said Kirche pointing to her right outside "Why do you want to know?"
"A reliable informant told me that copies of the designs of the palace and the underground catacombs are kept in there. I think they could be of use."
"In that case shall we help you look?" Louise asked
"No thanks mom. I'll go by myself."
"But maybe we could be of assistance to...." Suzuka had already passed them and left "you. She hates me."
"No she doesn't." said Siesta putting her bag down "What makes you say that?"
"She's been avoiding me for days." said Louise, putting her bag down too "And not just me, Saito too. Neither of us can get a word to her anymore."
"That hasn't gone unnoticed by us either." said Guiche, who just walked into the lobby with Montmorency "She talks to everyone else freely, but will barely speak to the two of you."
"Perhaps she just needs to be by herself." said Kirche putting her bag down finally "She at that age where you require much time by yourself."
"That's no excuse." said Montmorency "I mean, Louise is expecting her isn't she? Why shouldn't she treat her like a parent already?"
"You guys can calm down." said Louise "I have an idea on how to turn this around." everyone gave her a questioning look.
Later that night, Louise finished a letter addressed to her sisters, telling them pretty much everything, and asking them to come to Germania. Eléonore and Cattleya responded immediately and left for the Germanian capital without haste. They arrived within five days after Louise sent the letter.
"Here at last." said Eléonore as she and Cattleya got off their carriage in front of the Zerbst family inn
"To think that Louise would call us all the way to Germania." said Cattleya
"Eléonore! Cattleya!" Louise called running to them "I'm so glad that you could-"
"You have a lot of nerve calling us to another country like this!" said Eléonore pinching Louise's cheek
"Ow. But you got my letter didn't you?" said Louise once Eléonore let go of her "I told you everything in it. Didn't you understand?" Eléonore just sighed
They went into the inns tea room to discuss this further
"We understood perfectly." said Eléonore sipping tea
"When we saw what you wrote, we just couldn't believe our eyes." said Cattleya
"And I don't believe it." said Eléonore putting her cup down with more force than necessary "We knew full well about that girl from the future, but I refuse to believe that that girl is your future daughter, and of the peasants! And I refuse to believe that you're pregnant by him!"
"You don't believe me, fine! Suzuka! Could you come here sweetie?" Louise called
"I hope this is important mother because I..." Suzuka stopped in the doorway once she saw Eléonore and Cattleya "Aunt Eléonore! Aunt Cattleya!" she walked over to them and hugged Eléonore and Cattleya
"So it was true?" Eléonore asked
"Uh huh." Louise answered
Meanwhile in the larger room, the boys, Kirche and Agnès were discussing tactics on how to get into the palace.
"Did you notice that Louise's sisters arrived?" Kirche
"Hard not to." said Agnès examining a map of the palace "How do you think that they will take the news that Suzuka is their niece?"
"Knowing Eléonore," said Saito "not very well."
"Perhaps Cattleya will be able persuade Eléonore to be more gentle." said Guiche
"Anyway," said Agnès "What do you think of using this passageway here?" she pointed to a tunnel, which it's entrance was located at a waterfall near the palace.
"That could work." said Kirche
"How much security do you think we'll encounter?" Saito asked
"I don't think we will with this one."
"Why?" Julio asked
"Because these maps are ancient. I don't think they know about several of these." said Kirche
Back in the tea room;
"So you really are our niece from the future?" said Eléonore
"Yeah." said Suzuka "My full name is Suzuka Henrietta li Bala de vi Hiraga. I'm sorry I kept this from you for so long."
"Not at all, not at all." said Cattleya "I always thought one of us would have a child, but I didn't expect little Louise to be the first of us. Tell us, and we know you can't say too much, but at least say this, were we good aunts?"
"You were. I loved being with you. But needless to say, aunt Eléonore was my favorite." a long silence followed that comment "Perhaps I shouldn't have said that."
"But I was your favorite?" said Eléonore with a smirk "What made me the better aunt?"
"It's not like that!" said Suzuka "I shouldn't have said that at all, it was disrespectful. It's just, I spent more time with you than I did with aunt Cattleya. Plus you never took the tone you give mom with me."
"I see." said Cattleya with a smile, clearly not offended by what Suzuka said "So you just spent more time together, and she was sweeter with you than she is with Louise."
"Don't get me wrong. You were great too. I loved being with you too."
"But still, what made Eléonore the better aunt?" said Louise
"I said it wasn't like that, mother!" Suzuka retorted
"Hey. Don't talk that way to your mother." said Eléonore
"I'm going to get us some more tea." Suzuka then got up and closed the door behind her
"When she gets back, I'm going to leave you three alone for a while." said Louise
"W-why? She's your daughter." said Eléonore
"I know. But she doesn't treat me like a parent. She's been avoiding me for days and won't talk to me or Saito. I feel as if were disappointing parents."
"Come on." said Cattleya "I'm sure there's a reason."
"I know there is. That's why I thought that if she won't talk to me, maybe she'll talk to you two." said Louise as Suzuka came back into the room with a tray and tea set in her hands
"I was faster than I thought I'd be. This was all set." said Suzuka as she set the tray down "I should get back to the others."
"What, and leave your favorite aunts alone?" said Louise getting up "Have some tea together, have a cookie. Get some answers." Louise then left them alone and went to the meeting room "Hey everyone."
"Where's Suzuka?" Kirche asked
"I left her with Eléonore and Cattleya so they could talk a bit."
"You're just in time." said Agnès "We believe we have a plan on getting into the castle."
Back in the tea room, the three were sitting in awkward silence
"So." said Eléonore "Really, what made me the better aunt?"
"Eléonore!" said Cattleya
"What? I can't know what I did with her?"
"You wanna know, fine." said Suzuka
"No need to be so blunt." said Eléonore "So, what did I do?"
"Well, to start with, you were my teacher."
"Me? Your magic teacher?"
"Yes, before I started attending the academy. You were a little strict with me at times, but it was because of you that I did so well. And when we weren't studying, you would take me places around the village."
"And what about me?" Cattleya asked "You said we didn't spend a lot of time together, but you loved me all the same. What did I do? Give you a few of my pets?"
"Comfort you when you were sad?"
"Occasionally. It was usually mom."
"Did she give you 'that talk'?" Eléonore suggested
"Great Brimir! No!"
"What did we do most of the time?" Cattleya asked desperately "You're going to have to tell us, because I am crashing here."
"Most of the time we, (sigh) we talked." said Suzuka
"That's it?" Eléonore asked
"Yeah. Whenever I had something on my mind, something I couldn't tell mom, dad, or you aunt Eléonore, you, aunt Cattleya, would always listen. When I needed someone to talk to, you were always there."
"You loved being with me, because I helped you get things off your chest." Cattelya concluded taking a sip of tea
"Mom left us alone so you two could find out what's wrong with me, didn't she?" Suzuka finally deduced
"She just want's to know why she's such a horrible mother." said Eléonore
"What?! No! She's great, she's wonderful, she and dad both."
"Then why are you treating them like they don't exist?" Cattleya asked and Suzuka just sighed "Suzuka, if what you and I do is talk, talk to me."
"....Because she doesn't exist in my future, OK?" Suzuka finally said with tears filling her eyes "She died in the war with Omeggadon, shortly before I came back to this time."
"Omeggadon and his Hogarian Empire." said Eléonore taking a sip of tea "Louise told us about that in her letter. So he becomes powerful enough to slay a Void Mage?"
"Yes. Which is why I don't want to get close to her, because, I don't want to lose her again."
"Well maybe that's all the more reason to get close to her." said Cattleya as more tears came out of Suzuka's eyes. "Come here." Cattelya held out her arms, and Suzuka ran right into them and cried in Cattleya's chest. Eléonore joined the hug too.
In the meeting room;
"So that's the plan." said Agnès "Everyone got it." the entire group nodded, then Suzuka, Cattleya and Eléonore entered the room
"Hey you three." said Saito "Everything well?"
"We were just having a little talk." said Eléonore
"Well good." said Kirche "Because we just finished the final plan to get into the palace."
"Louise told us about this stuff too." said Eléonore "I imagine it's going to be difficult, even with careful planning."
"What's the plan?" Suzuka asked eagerly
"We'll fill you in on the way." said Agnès "We leave now."
"Louise? Might we have a quick word?" said Cattleya as everyone filed out
"Sure." said Louise
Once everyone left;
"As it turns out, it wasn't because you and Saito were bad parents." said Cattlaya
"Then what was it?" Louise asked
"I'm sorry," said Eléonore "it was a personal matter, that's all we can say. But we put her mind at ease."
"Something bad happens to me in the future, doesn't it?" said Louise
"We can't say. Nice try though." said Cattleya "But we can say, that you still have a chance to change what happened in the future. Rest assured, you have a good girl growing inside you."
"Thank you Cattleya." said Louise as she put her hands on her belly "Say Eléonore, would you care to join us for this task. You would, undoubtedly, be very handy. Plus it would be good to have two Full Mages there."
"You couldn't stop me." said Eléonore "Lets go."
"I'll wait here for you then." said Cattleya
"We should be back by morning." said Louise
With Suzuka's mind at ease, and a palace infiltration plan ready, the group, now including Eléonore, prepare to meet the Emperor.