So, after hearing from Farenk that his main duty had been to keep my parents and me separate, which he had succeeded in, there were so many ways for me to react. Shout, cry, kill, walk off, punch, … I’d never expected understanding to be the one to win. Having sort off talked things out, but not really (and I still can’t believe how calm I stayed under those circumstances), I got to see how they made chocolates. *factory sound*
[Music in background]
This is Nadec, my adventure. Written down in a better way than I can tell it.
[Music louder and solo]
Ch 51: Acceptance
‘Nadec? Nadec, are you alright?’
The voice of Farenk pulled Nadec back from the sad thoughts about her parents’ disappearance and her last words to them. Farenk waved his hands in front of her eyes, snapping his fingers. Nadec sounded small and broken as she spoke.
‘You broke us apart. I stopped talking to them again and then they were dead. It was your fault. It was because of you, the last words I told them were so hateful. I forgave you for it, because you were there to support me, and I loved you so I though you were worth it. But after the funeral, you disappeared. You took my parents, and everything else left of my heart. How could you?’
When he didn’t reply straight away, she shouted: ‘how could you?’
‘I didn’t want to leave you,’ he pressed his palms against his eyes, slightly muffling his voice. ‘They forced me. That man, Klappah, appeared in the apartment, the night of my disappearance, and transported me back here while I slept. I woke from a sudden bout of nausea and puked my whole guts out.
‘Once my stomach was empty, I demanded him to take me back. Then I threatened him, even though there wasn’t anything to threaten him with. Then I begged. He kicked me off his leg. He said my sister was safe, and instructed me to find a building, knock on the door, and introduce myself as someone who could help in their factory. He left. I was too stunned to follow him or do anything at all. Eventually, I managed to get up, and made my way to—what I only later found out to be—your aunt and uncle.
‘I found my sister there. It was a comfort against knowing the misery you’d be in, small as it was. They did put me to work in the factory, and because I’d lived on Earth, which they didn’t know, I was the best worker they had so it didn’t take me long to climb up in position.’
He scraped his throat, rubbed his eyes again, and stood up, looking at an illustration on the wall. Still embarrassed to show his tears, despite how easy they flow, Nadec thought.
Anger still ruled her emotions. But there was also compassion and understanding. She inwardly cursed at that. Sometimes she just wanted to be angry at someone, without being able to put herself in their shoes and understand their emotional perspective.
‘Okay,’ she said. ‘Let’s have a look at the chocolates.’
He slumped his shoulders forward, but nodded. After a deep sigh, he turned towards her. ‘Is that it?’
‘Everything’s been said.’
He nodded again, understanding. They could assume a professional relationship now, as customer and chocolatier, as Queen and subject, as mistress and servant’s boyfriend. Nadec expected it to be awkward at times.
They walked into the production hall. Amazement painted Nadec’s face as Farenk explained the air-cooling system. A multitude of fans powered by connected small wind mills on the roof, blew air through deep holes in the ground. The air picked up the underground’s natural coolness, giving the hall the perfect temperature.
Long tables looked like conveyor belts, which were moved along by someone turning a wheel at both ends. They’d certainly found a way to do everything without electricity. People standing along the sides of the tables managed all the different steps of chocolate making. Pouring in moulds, emptying the moulds to leave an outside layer of chocolate, pouring the filling in, pouring the top layer on, …
It looked incredible. Nadec had been in a chocolate factory once, and while that had been an impressive sight, with the machines and the belts, this way of working felt ten times as impressive.
Farenk waited for her to follow him, his wide smile clashing with his still-reddened eyes.
‘It’s brilliant, isn’t it?’
Nadec could only agree. She waved for him to walk on. He went all the way to the end of the large hall, where a double door granted them access to a smaller chamber. It was even cooler in there. Melia and Meralda were busying themselves by counting a seemingly endless neat stacks of the small boxes Nadec had first seen at her aunt’s, containing the original chocolates.
‘We have been able to produce almost one and a half as many chocolates than usually,’ Farenk sounded proud, and briefly touched Melia’s back in greeting. She smiled back at him, even though she hadn’t been involved in the production.
‘My people have been working more hours and sped up their tempo at my urging. Don’t worry, I promised them this is a temporary situation, and they’ll be able to go back to their regular schedule and tempo tomorrow. I assured them I don’t expect to maintain the same tempo, now that I know they can do it. I’ve worked for enough bad bosses on Earth to know how not to manage people.’
‘Despite that, there are still not quite enough chocolates. Luckily, we have plenty of stock. They only have to be taken out of their boxes.’
Nadec looked at the neat stacks of small boxes, feeling guilty. They’d put so much effort into packing these things.
‘How many of these newly produced ones in the chests do you have?’ she asked as Farenk opened up one of the chests opposite the stacks of small boxes. He showed her the specially designed coin-like chocolates. ‘Wouldn’t those be enough?’
Both Melia and Farenk pressed their lips together at her. They shared a look, and Melia gave a slight nod at Farenk. Nadec managed to not show her surprise at the quick and sharp pang of jealousy shooting through her chest. Good on them for thinking alike and sharing their thoughts, she directed at the jealousy. It evaporated as fast as it had come, as if it had never been.
‘Nadec. I understand you still have to get used to the position you find yourself in. But this is fine. I want to do this, Kridec and Stetem want to do it. People believe in you and look up to you, and even more will do so in the future, which means they will want to do things for you which you might find above yourself. They are not.
‘You will soon be one of the most important people in this world. You will have to accept gifts that seem unreasonable to you, or seem to be like a sacrifice from your point of view. But from the gifter’s point of view, it is not.
‘I remember your mentor, you always spoke super highly about him. He was the one who supported you from childhood to pursue your fighting career, right? I remember, from the moment you were able to, you always bought him the best presents for Christmas. You always said he seemed embarrassed at receiving those, because it was obvious how much time and effort you put in them. But you thought he was worth it. Right?’
‘Yeah,’ Nadec said reluctantly. She understood, and forcibly unclenched her jaw. She would have preferred to hear this from someone else instead of Farenk. ‘But that doesn’t mean I like it.’
‘Yes, well, accept it. You need to make an impact tomorrow, so you’ll need as much of the chocolates as you can. I will have my team keep on producing during the night, and will assign someone to empty these out into chests. Alright?’
‘Fine. I’ll pick them up tomorrow around this time. Is this where everything will be?’ Farenk nodded. ‘Good. Make sure it is empty, or at least make sure nobody stands in the middle because I’ll Skip straight here. I’m sure she—’ Nadec pointed to Melia’—has told you about Skipping? How high is your rooftop, and can we have a look at it?’
Nadec took a perverse pleasure at the look of bafflement on his face. She grinned. ‘Never mind, I’ll have a look. Stay here. And move aside.’
She Skipped, and appeared too high above the roof. She twisted an ankle, slipped, and slid down. She cursed. Not on Frank’s name this time, never again on his name. Fortunately, the roof’s slope wasn’t steep so she only slipped down a little bit before stopping. She growled at herself. That had been incredibly stupid. She struggled to walk to the tip of the roof, her ankle throbbing and with an obvious limp. She’d expected a flat roof.
She spun around to locate the castle. It wasn’t hard since it stood on the highest point in the center of the city and towered above everything else. When she asked Blackie if she was flying, the reply came swiftly.
Blackie had just been lounging on the tower top, amused at seeing the people looking small, crawling about down in the Square. Nadec asked her to fly above it. When Blackie’s confirmation came, Nadec hardly saw her. Occasionally she could see a black spot appear from behind the towers and buildings. It had the size of a small bat from where she stood. So that wasn’t how she would be able to distribute the chocolates. She thanked Blackie and Skipped back down into the stock room.
When she appeared, she lost her balance because of the injured ankle. If someone hadn’t caught her, she would have planted side-down on the floor. Farenk rapidly let go of her waist, taking a step back as if nothing had happened. Awkward.
‘Okay, I know what I came here to know,’ and received even more than I wanted, she thought, ‘so let’s go. I have other things to do. Melia, I assume you’re staying here for a while longer? I’ll pick you back up when I come for Blackie. Meralda, your choice, come with me or stay with them?’
‘I will come with you, my lady.’
She Skipped back towards the statue. Kitty lifted his head from where he’d been sleeping on her bed, eyes squinting up at her, and uttered a small meow.
Nadec installed herself on the bed as well, and began reading Jodec’s journal while Meralda made food. It didn’t take long for Nadec to become absorbed in the small book.
Nearly all of the questions she had about Skipping received an answer in the next hours. Most importantly, she now knew how to create the illusion of Blackie dropping the chocolates.
You have been listening to Nadec, chapter 51 Acceptance
Narrated, adventured and lived through by myself, Nadec. Written in a better way than I can tell it, by Astrid Jef.
Don’t go just yet, we’ve got bloopers coming up. [music on background]