Chapter Three - Mizradal
"So what do you plan to do now?" Kai demanded of Holly as she came back towardshim bringing the child with her.
"I should think that would be obvious," she retorted.
"Well?" Kai asked.
"Return to my TARDIS, with the child and try to make repairs," she answered. "I should have tried to make repairs to begin with, but I admit I couldn'tresist the temptation to go for a walk and see what this world was like. However I think I've seen enough to get the idea and now it's time to moveon."
"How long do you think it will take to make repairs?" Kai asked.
"I have no idea," Holly replied.
"Well where do you plan to spend the night?" he asked her.
"My TARDIS of course," she replied.
"I have a hut that I built myself," Kai offered.
Holly glared at him. "I think my TARDIS will be much better."
"Fine," Kai said. "But let me walk you two back. I told you thatthis jungle is not the sort of place you want to get stranded in the middleof the night."
"I suppose you have a point," Holly answered. "Then do lead the way."
Kai began to lead the way through the thick brush of the jungle as the twowomen followed. Holly was quite talkative and jumped at nearly everysingle insect or other creature that came along. She didn't seem toget on all that well with plants or creepy crawlies. Kai was amazedat the speed of her reflexes when she jumped back from a rather large spiderthat had barely touched her shoe.
"Those are harmless," he assured. "They just look nasty." Shemade a face and continued to walk, still keeping a distance from the spiderand every other creepy crawly.
The child on the other hand didn't seem nearly so surprised by the creaturesof this jungle, but then after all, she was a native of this planet. She almost started to laugh when she saw the discomfort the Time Lady feltabout being in the jungle. However, when she sensed she was being lookedat, she suddenly drew a very serious and calm expression.
"Are children normally so quiet?" Holly inquired of Kai.
Kai didn't answer her, but bent over and looked in the little girl's eyes. "What's your name little one?" he asked her.
"Mizradal," she said with a smile.
"Is that where you were born?" he asked.
"I don't know," she answered. "It's just my name."
"It's also a village about two days walk from here," Kai answered. "I'd hazard a guess that you were born there. What were your parentslike?"
"I don't know," Mizradal replied. "I never met them."
"How sad," Kai replied. "Everyone ought to know their parents. My parents taught me many things and were well respected within my clan. It is because of their deaths in battle that I have vowed the deaths of athousand Seldati as vengeance." Mizradal said nothing, but continuedalong in silence. Holly continued to jump at nearly every creatureshe encountered and Kai assured her that everything was okay.
"Be glad it is not Gimblethrov season," he answered.
"Gimblethrov season?" she asked.
"They are in hibernation now," Kai answered. "But basically a Gimblethrovis a rather large insect. A very large insect; they typically run aboutseven feet tall and they like to eat trees. They don't eat people oractively seek to hunt them. However, if your movement happens to startlethem, they will think you're in their way and cover you with a nasty greenslime to slow you down. The slime is poisonous to most humanoids."
"Another reason why I love this planet," Holly answered him. "Let'sfind my TARDIS and get back to safety."
"We're in the section of the jungle where I found you," Kai answered. "But I don't see a ship."
"It looks like a tree," Holly answered. "Follow me."
Kai glared at her. "What kind of sick joke is this? You makeus risk our lives only to bring us to a tree?" Suddenly he became veryangry.
"It's not a joke," Holly said defiantly. "This is my TARDIS." She reached into her pocketbook and pulled out a key. "Follow me,"she said, as she vanished.
"We won't all fit," Kai protested, as he did so, pulling Mizradal behindhim. Suddenly the jungle around him vanished and he was standing inthe middle of a very large room. At the center of the room, seemedto be a large hexagonal computer system and he gathered that was the mainpurpose of this room. The room itself was decorated with opulence andelegance. A large crystal chandelier hung from the high vaulted ceilingdirectly over the console. On one wall there was a large view screenthat showed the jungle where they had just been. Kai noted that itdidn't have the look of most spaceship interiors. Red velvet curtainshung around the view screen in such a manner that it looked like a livingroom window. The walls of the room were beige and contained many roundels. The floors however were made of marble and covered in places with plush,ornate rugs. Kai noticed that there was a sitting area in one cornerof this room that consisted of some interesting (at least that was the bestadjective he could think of to describe the modern furniture) sofas. They were also red velvet and looked very comfortable. In the middlebetween them was a large, glass coffee table that had various books spreadout as well as an open box of chocolates. Kai noticed that this roomdidn't appear to be the only one. He could see a long corridor behindhim that appeared to be very vast.
"This is inside a tree?" he nervously asked.
"I suppose you can put it that way," Holly answered.
"How big is it?" he asked.
"522 rooms," she replied.
"522 rooms?" he demanded.
"Well I didn't see a need for any more," she answered. "At least notyet."
"How does it work?" Kai asked.
"Believe me if I thought you had either the mental ability or the lifespanto comprehend it, I wouldn't have allowed you to see it," Holly replied. Kai looked to Mizradal who was trying to take this all in, but still sayingnothing.
"Mizradal," Holly began. "What do you think?"
"It's, it's like a fairy tale," she answered.
"Do you like it?" Holly asked. "Would you like to live here?"
Mizradal thought for a moment. "Live here?"
"Yes," Holly answered. "You will live in the most beautiful room youhave ever seen, wear the loveliest clothes any little girl has ever worn,travel to places you've never heard of, and learn about things you can'teven imagine yet. Would you like that?"
Mizradal thought for a moment. "Yes," she answered.
"Then come," Holly said, as she motioned for Mizradal to follow her. She totally ignored Kai and concentrated on her latest project; Mizradal. Mizradal obediently followed Holly down a corridor to a place Kai didn'tcare to follow. Obviously he wasn't needed or wanted. He thoughtabout leaving the place altogether, except he had no idea how to get out. The thought of being trapped here indefinitely terrified him somewhat thoughhe had to admit it was much more comfort than his hut. He sat downon the sofa and picked up a book. He didn't know what the strange symbolsmeant and he couldn't even identify the language it was written in, but thatwas not necessarily because they were in a strange language; he had neverlearned to read and he had never actually held a book before. SomeS'o'h Maiyuoom could read, though the oral tradition was much more respectedamong his people. He could tell long stories from memory of his traditionsand that was much more revered than the skill of reading. The S'o'hMaiyuoom hadn't use books for many generations. Not since computershad been invented and computers could tell the oral stories they held. Only those trained to maintain the computers needed to know what the symbolsmeant. He set the book down and decided to eat the chocolate. After a couple of pieces of chocolate, he fell asleep both from exhaustionand from the comforting hum of the room.
Kai awoke at the sound of footsteps as he was always on alert, even in thedeepest of sleep. "Isn't she absolutely adorable?" Holly exclaimedas she brought Mizradal in the room. She used the same sort of tone she wouldhave used for a kitten or a puppy or any other "cute" creature. Kai had madethe observation that his strange new companion had a certain affection forany creature which she deemed as "cute" or "adorable," or any other of thesimilar adjectives she used to describe her pets. Perhaps that was what botheredKai more than anything else; Mizradal was Holly's latest pet to be lovedand doted over. It was obvious that Holly was very fond of Mizradal, butall the same her arrogant and condescending attitude towards the child greatlyannoyed and even angered him.
He found the place in which she both resided and traveled to be overwhelming.With its long and winding corridors, high vaulted ceilings, and hundredsof rooms, the interior of this "TARDIS" far exceeded even the most opulentpalace Kai had ever regarded. And when he considered that all of this wascontained within the trunk of a tree, he pondered that it was the productof an immensely superior civilization. Despite the fact that its occupantappeared to inhabit the body of a young woman, he knew she was unlike anyyoung woman he had ever met. She was just as alien as anything slimy andgreen with tentacles. How dare she present such an appealing form that hefound pleasing to his eyes, so pleasing that he even succumbed to feelingshe knew she could never return towards him. Such things seemed impossibleby her very nature. He knew that if he spent his entire life in devotionto her that she would only regard his devotion with scientific curiosityand fascination. And even if she were to attempt to bear her soul to him,he knew he could never receive it. He found this place to be far too muchto endure. He didn't have the desire to go and explore it's many wonders,partly because it was so alien and far beyond his comprehension that it terrifiedhim. And he knew in some way that this "TARDIS" was more than just a traveldevice or even a home; it was in some way a manifestation of the personalityof its alien occupant. And the wonder and fascination with which sheapproached the child made it obvious that she was a different sort of beingthan any he had ever encountered and that her very nature was vastly differentfrom most species he had seen. She ushered the child into the roomwith the excitement of a scientist making a new hypothesis she could hardlywait to test.
Mizradal stood before him adorned in the finery of a princess. She wore ared velvet dress trimmed with lace ruffles and a satin ribbon. Her stockingswere lace and her shoes were polished black paten leather. Her hair had beenbraided into two long braids that were tied with ribbons and curled at theend. She was a beautiful child and the transformation from a dirty slavegirl was miraculous to say the least. Holly motioned for Mizradal to sitin a rather plush chair and the child, who was still very much used to doingeverything that was expected of her, obediently took a seat. She was veryquiet, as no doubt as a slave she was beaten if she spoke when not spokento. But as she sat in the chair without making a sound, she looked down atthe ground and kicked her legs (which dangled from the chair) back and forthin a very normal childlike fashion. "So Kai," Holly repeated in a tone thatreminded him of the condescending, patronizing tone royalty often took whenaddressing their subjects, "Tell me what you think. Is she not absolutelyadorable?"
"Yes she is," Kai answered in the same nervous tone a subject would use toreply to a fickle whim of a queen. "She is very...cute," he finished.
"Good, I'm glad you think so," the Time Lady answered as she took a seaton the sofa across from Kai. She adjusted her gown as she took her spot inthe middle of the sofa. She had changed into a long, flowing, pale, blue,satin gown with split sleeves. Her long brown hair cascaded down hershoulders. Kai found himself staring at her slender figure that wasaccentuated by her choice in gowns and once again realized he was attractedto her. He cursed himself for being so foolish, for she was far lessattainable than a Seldati princess. He realized he might claim victoryover a Seldati princess's heart and affections only for them to be forbiddento marry. But the being before him could only hurt him because shewouldn't return his affections, all the while being entirely innocent ofany cruel intentions. She would never intend to hurt him; he knew that. But all the same, she would hurt him a thousand times only to innocentlyapologize and continuing just being whatever she was that so hurt him. He finally put his finger on it; she could never really need him, at leastnot in the same sense that a normal woman would need her mate. Fromwhat could he save her or rescue her? He realized his usefulness toher ceased when they left the jungle because she was so far advanced andbeyond him that she couldn't ever emotionally need him the same way. She had lived considerably longer than he had and would continue to livefor thousands of years long after he was gone. She hadn't told himthat she would live as long as civilizations and empires, yet somehow hesensed that she was far more powerful and far older than her youthful appearancehad originally led him to believe.
"Well," Kai said. "I suppose you have no need of me. I shouldbe on my way." He started to get up and he hoped that she would lethim exit now before it was too late. He was finding himself more andmore attracted to her every minute and the only reason he had stayed thislong was for this reason. And the more he sensed that his attractionwas in vein, the more he sensed he couldn't stop it. So the best thingwas for him to just leave and not get involved.
"Actually Kai, you're wrong," Holly said to him. "I do have need ofyou."
"For what?" Kai asked.
"You've got to help me take care of Mizradal," she answered.
"Why do you need my help?" Kai asked.
"Well you're obviously much more familiar with children than I am," she answered. "And you know how to-"
"Relate to them?" Kai finished.
"Precisely," Holly replied.
"Perhaps we should go for a walk," Kai suggested. "And not discussthese things in front of Mizradal."
"Please don't go," Mizradal spoke up for the first time without being spokento. She was almost afraid of herself for saying it as she was no doubtnot supposed to do such a thing in any of the previous places she lived. "I like you."
Kai looked at the child. "It's alright," he said. "We're justgoing to go and talk this over. We'll be right back."
Chapter Four - All You Need is Love