Breaking the Paradigm | Chapter 7 | Shattered Bonds
Shattered Bonds

Breaking the Paradigm

Chapter 7

Shattered Bonds

Chapter 7

Shattered Bonds

Finally, we arrived at the senator's villa. The unbearable smell of manure penetrated to the very core of our beings. The senator helped us out of the truck and embraced each of us in turn. Given that Fia, Clio, and I were rank with odor and, moreover, considered enemies of the academy and the state, these warm embraces seemed quite odd. After my mother's death, the senator never showed a flicker of emotion toward me; on the contrary, he grew distant and addressed me exclusively as "Lucius." Before that tragic event, he was my dear father and I was his cherished Ace. So you can imagine my genuine surprise, tinged with a dash of apprehension. When he said, "Ace, my son, please follow me," it only muddied the waters further. The girls were escorted by the senator's servant to their respective chambers, while I silently complied and trailed behind my father.

"My Ace please, have a seat," the senator warmly motioned me to a chair next to him.

"Thank you, Senator, but I'll stand. I'm quite dirty, and I wouldn't want to soil your chair," I replied, maintaining a cold and formal tone, adhering to our established tradition.

"Thank you, Senator, but I'll stand. I'm quite dirty, and I wouldn't want to soil your chair," I replied, maintaining a cold and formal tone, adhering to our long-standing tradition.

"Very well, as you wish, my Ace. I have much to say, but alas, time is of the essence," he responded, a sense of urgency coloring his voice. "Max probably filled you in about the extended council," he continued, locking eyes with me. I nodded in affirmation. "I want you to understand one thing, my boy. My love for you never wavered. Naturally, after the incident with your mother, my care for you didn't diminish; it intensified, and…"

"What 'interesting wording' you use, Senator, for the most agonizing moment of my life. I lost both my mother and father in that 'incident,'" I interrupted, injecting as much cold and aggressive intonation into my voice as possible.

"Yes, son, I employ 'interesting wording,'" the Senator replied, his smile tinged with bitterness, "because I'm at a loss for how to convey what I need to say to you."

"You probably intend to tell me that I haven't actually lost a father, and that your treatment of me has been in the service of some greater good—perhaps to 'build character' or some such thing. Although no, you've already stated that my mother didn't care for me and that, post-'incident,' you began to take better care of me” - both in words and facial expressions, I tried to make him understand as clearly as possible how unpleasant he was to me.

"No, my dearest son. Your mother was the most caring person in the universe. No one could have cared for you better than her. And again, no, you truly lost your father that day. I ceased to fulfill the role you expected, needed, and deserved."

"Exactly," I coldly confirmed to the Senator.

"I'm trying to say something else entirely. That car accident wasn't a mere coincidence; it was orchestrated. Your mother was deliberately killed, and then it was directly communicated to me,"

My entire being—body, mind, consciousness, and subconscious—cried out for the catharsis of tears. I felt an acute need to let them flow, yet I couldn't bear to expose such vulnerability in the Senator's presence. Simultaneously, a torrent of questions inundated my thoughts, each demanding an exhaustive response. So, I bottled up my tears for a moment when the Senator couldn't see me, mustered my resolve, and commenced the interrogation.

"So you're saying my mother was killed?" I tried to reassert the mask of hostility on my face, then continued, "And you knew about it and did nothing?"

"Yes, I knew. But you're mistaken; I did take action, and you'll soon discover what and why," he replied, dodging my queries yet recognizing he couldn't evade them entirely. "Please, spare me the questions about my actions for now. All will be revealed tomorrow."

"Fine," I retorted, already convinced of his inaction and lacking the energy for a futile debate. I pivoted to my next question, "Then answer me this: why would anyone want to kill the kindest, most loving, and most honorable person on the planet?"

"They told me explicitly why they killed my Didi," my father said, each word heavy with regret. "Those words are etched into my memory forever. She was killed because she loved freedom, because she embodied it, and to ensure that Max and I would fall in line."

"Ah, a strategic move indeed. You sit as a Senator, Max reigns over the academy, and my mother is six feet under," I retorted, my voice dripping with sarcasm. Though I had already pieced it all together, years of pent-up anger clouded my judgment and fueled my desire to wound my father deeply.

My father clearly lacked the energy to elaborate further; he simply shook his head and offered me a warm smile. As for me? I wanted to retract my last venomous words, to say that I finally understood—that the system operates as it always has—but I held my tongue. Well, not entirely; I mustered, "We have nothing more to talk about," and exited the room. He proceeded to his so-called "extended council meeting," departing without bidding farewell to anyone.

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