Suxen opens her eyes and sits up on the single bed. She turns ninety degrees and sets her feet parallel on the ground before standing up. She turns a hundred and eighty degrees and makes the bed with precise movements.
Then, she walks over to the window and opens the flaps to a green prairie. She turns and takes three steps to a small round table. She pulls a chair and sits down in front of a small jewelry box that she opens.
The sides within are lined with copper and there is a mount with three tiny feet sustaining a black Rykz core with long drooping nerves that resemble so many hairs. They dip in a small amount of the Rykz’ brown viscous blood.
Suxen opens a drawer and takes out an almost spoiled piece of meat that she stuffs into the liquid. She then seizes her single portion of flow and directly uses it to write an equation on the meat, disdaining to use restrictive constructs.
The numbers and symbols describe the process she observed from the transparent liquid that the Rykz use to break down their food, turning it into usable nutrients.
Yet, she doesn’t stop there and continues describing various biological processes from the extraction of oxygen to the treatment of infectious bacteria before simulating the circulatory system of blood to feed the Rykz core.
Only the Rykz would be able to keep an exposed core alive with so little energy but not even they could do so by using equations. Suxen shows no pride in this achievement and merely closes the box.
To her this is a simple act of applying the knowledge she has accumulated which is why she views everyone else with disdain because of their incapability to correctly use the tool that is flow.
She did not even feel disappointment at the fact she failed to implant the core to a Lisilese warbeast’s brain because observing the conflict between the two sets of instincts taught her much.
Suxen found this core by process of elimination during her interrogation of Princess Cetyz. She disconnected cores from the nervous system one after the other and found that, when this one was isolated, her specimen lost much of her aggressiveness but also much of her fears.
After functioning for a few days without the core, the Rykz specimen shut itself down. It entered a deeper and very different hibernation state than that of the Lisilese who do so to heal, digest, or survive a sharp drop in internal temperature.
Suxen’s plans to create and control life have never been set in stone for she still considers herself in the learning phase, yet her encounter with Elizabeth Vil was a huge setback that caused her to utterly scrap them.
It was a setback not because she lost the institute but because it opened the door to creating a perfect species that is capable to adapt at will. Others would call the event a boon but, to Suxen, it was a hit to her pride because she had never considered it possible to achieve in this century.
Suxen despises this Elizabeth Vil because the specimen’s resistance prevented her from learning all that she could. Yet, it matters very little because she will soon enter the Vault. She is certain that the knowledge contained within will further her ambitions.
She does not expect to learn much about flow there, which is her primary goal at this point in time, but the Emperor’s solution to mortality is worth studying and she will be given resources far beyond what King Cenwalh could provide.
Suxen knows that, before creating the perfect species, she must first understand the flow matrices that have so far escaped her. The ignorant call it a reserve but she has deduced that it is a framework of energy that grants a being their access and capability to use flow.
The matrice covers a being’s entire body and is capable of splitting and changing its own boundary depending on the host’s state. Suxen hypothesized its intelligence but dismissed the possibility when it failed to counter her probes despite blocking her examinations.
This knowledge, that no one else holds as far as she is aware, originates from many different experiments which caused hundreds of deaths at first until she perfected her methods by figuring out how to slow down her constructs’ effects so that she can study and make changes in real time.
She attempted to design a workaround to the block stopping her from examining a matrice’s makeup by using flow frequencies from human, then Lisilese, and then Rykz but none of it worked so Suxen attempted to breach in with brute force.
To directly attack a matrice, she needed to locate it first which Suxen found to be difficult because a matrice only interacts with the physical world when defending itself or when flow is drawn from it.
She solved that difficulty by relentless testing on subjects, sending unending probing waves of energy at their matrices and forcing them to draw energy from the very edges of their bodies until she gathered enough data to define matrices through sets of coordinates.
She used those and frequencies to create a construct capable of directing attacks against the framework of energy, a crutch she only planned to use until she truly understood.
Yet, her various attacks failed because the matrices always outmatched her through an apparently limitless supply of flow energy. She ran many tests and refined her methods to the point where the matrice spent more energy than she did to block her.
Suxen never lost focus despite all her failures because they proved that flow does not learn. She eventually reached the conclusion that she needed to design a way to pull a matrice to the physical world to breach it.
After all, flow is only affected by the rules of physics when drawn out so the hypothesis that matrices would be vulnerable if put in the same circumstances makes sense considering they are made of flow.
Suxen thus designed a construct to pursue that very purpose but she ran into the same block that prevented her from interacting with the matrice. The expected failure confirmed to her that she needed to attack the problem from a different angle.
She theorized that a matrice could be unable to block a hybrid host’s frequency from affecting it because it would be unprecedented and unique. She believes it could work because flow is unintelligent and therefore matrices would be unable to adapt to the breach.
The problem Suxen encountered was that no such being existed so she decided to create one herself. It led to Princess Cetyz’ butchering and the implantation of the core inside a Lisilese warbeast’s brain in preparation for creating two hybrids.
The madwoman believed it would take decades of experimentation but Elizabeth Vil was brought to her a mere year after she began. Despite her lack of empathy, this unexpected boon and her desire for a breakthrough caused her to skip many nights of sleep to advance her work as quickly as possible.
It all added up and resulted in a slip-up. She didn’t supply her Numbers with enough flow out of fear she would lack energy, she didn’t demand that the Shade transfer the hybrid’s flow pledge to her out of impatience to start, she didn’t knock out the specimen when the first experiment ended because she was too busy considering the results.
While it was disappointing to find that her sets of coordinates lacked data to successfully pull the matrice to the physical world, she felt exhilarated because she found proof that flow exists in a dimension that it is completely unlike the four she knows.
The results indicated it is separate yet connected, independent and isolated yet can incorporate with the reality Suxen knows of. She has multiple theories but the one she believes most probable is that the dimension is either the source of flow or the place it is stored to be redistributed to matrices which function as drawbridges, and that the dimension is artificial.
The reason Suxen thinks this explanation is the most probable is that she believes she has proven flow a tool and that there doesn’t seem to be any other reason for the dimension to exist other than its apparent function. Such a complex system could not simply connect to three species without impetus and since flow itself isn’t sentient, then there must be a creator.
Suxen cares not for such an existence, her mind is focused on figuring out a method to isolate a matrice’s connection to the flow dimension to finally be able to defeat the block. She plans to try as soon as she can develop a hybrid or recover Elizabeth Vil.
She sits at the table in the bedroom for hours with the closed box in front of her, thinking and rethinking while the two people in the other room go about their lives which she considers animalistic.
Suxen thinks it likely that there are other Shades than Aisha in the area but she has no need to escape so she has spent no time to confirm the matter. Tsek, on the other hand, she has spent days considering as they journeyed to Kruzser.
She would have evaluated him as useless in seconds if not for his connection to the hybrid specimen but she is uncertain whether he can be made use of or not so she prepared a plan just in case.
The madwoman rises from her chair without hesitation and walks up to the door to open it, finding Aisha. The woman with short black hair, a cute round face, and bright blue eyes stare at her inexpressive captive for a while before stepping aside.
“Lunch is ready.” She says while soothing a ruffle in her white dress from having her fun in the morning.
“I require flow for my studies.” Suxen replies simply, having found that the best way to manipulate this particular idiot is to feint dedication to her Emperor.
Aisha pulls a couple of portions and gives them to her. Tsek turns his green eyes to Suxen as she sits down but quickly ignores her to keep eating his gruel. He is aware that he is only here because Aisha took an interest, even if he doesn’t know why, and that his best chance to find Elizabeth Vil is to play along.
Once she’s finished her meal, Aisha catches Suxen’s attention by picking up a roll of parchment from a pouch. The madwoman finds it unusual so she decides to serve herself again and eat slower. The Shade goes through the list of new students accepted to the University and stops at one entry that reads the candidate Teva came from Izla Meria.
“You wanted to do something, how about entering the University?” Aisha asks Tsek.
“Does it have anything to do with Elizabeth?” He questions.
“It doesn’t.” The Shade lies for Suxen’s benefit, planning to brief Tsek later to get him to approach this particular woman of peasant origins. “But it’s a way to become stronger.”
“Okay.” Tsek agrees lackadaisically.
Aisha sighs internally, finding that he’s starting to bore her with his inability to find motivation unless something exciting is going on. She misses Elizabeth and her clear sense of purpose, as well as inner fire. She regrets that she had to leave her behind because she could use her in her work for the Emperor.
“I’ll make the arrangements and be back tonight. We’ll be entering Kruzser tomorrow.” She tells the two and gets up to leave.
Aisha doesn’t worry about how the two will get along since they haven’t exchanged a single word during the entire time they spent together and never got into a fight when she left them alone.
At first she had planned to impress on them the consequences of hindering the Emperor’s designs if they misbehaved but she doesn’t mind it being unnecessary.
Besides, there are two Shades deployed in the area to ensure Suxen’s safety and Aisha has a good grasp of Tsek’s personality, she knows he isn’t the kind of person that would act unless it benefits him directly.
Unbeknownst to Aisha, who knows for a fact Suxen disdains the University, she caught her attention by mentioning it. The madwoman’s lack of understanding of others does not mean she is unable to predict their actions.
Suxen is aware that Elizabeth Vil will eventually need to find human help to deal with her crumbling body if she remains in the Empire, which means Tsek just became a possible source of information on her specimen.
The madwoman doesn’t immediately make her move. She first finishes eating and then pushes her bowl to Tsek who takes them with a blank expression. As he does the dishes outside.
Suxen assembles her barrier construct with complex equations in place of segments, a much more developed construct than the one she shared with the King. She then re-programs it for her current needs which involves removing most of the automatic parameters for manual control. She finishes just as Tsek enters the living room.
She determines the location of the blind-spots by assessing the location of the windows and confirms by using her memory of where their bestial sounds came from when the two animals mated in this room.
Then, she waits patiently for Tsek to walk into one, which he does when he heads to another room to train. She rises and quickly steps into the blind-spot before noisily walking up to him.
He lets go of the handle and turns around only to find a circular shape made of seven golden hexagons facing him. The central one flies out and hits him in the chest, propelling him back against the wall.
Without that one piece, Tsek catches sight of Suxen pushing her glasses up with a frown. She snaps her fingers and an equation appears in front of her. It flies out at the hexagon.
The golden shape flashes to stick to the center of his chest and applies pressure to hold him in place. Four more hexagons suddenly fly out to secure his forearms and thighs.
“This will require further study, it should have followed my intent in some way even if the simple command I added didn’t have all the parameters to program the correct motion.” Suxen mumbles.
“What is this about?” Tsek asks, a bit miffed but also somewhat excited the stone-cold woman is taking an interest in him.
“Silence.” Suxen replies even though she has already put the issue to the back of her mind because she knows this particular monkey responds to confidence and authority.
“…” As if to prove her right, Tsek almost speaks up but decides against it.
She observes him for a bit as she wonders how exactly the specimen and the obnoxious Shade controlled him. She searches her memory for precise cues to follow and recalls the way they found him as well as the sounds he made during his entanglements with that Shade. She steps up and slaps him.
“That’s for talking without permission.” She tells him.
Tsek’s breaths grow rougher. He believes himself angry but, somewhere inside, he’s enjoying this new excitement and wonders what brought this change about.
Suxen takes note of the way his green irises widen and the increase in his blood pressure from his protruding jugular. She concludes that he isn’t truly angry because someone preparing to kill would pale.
“You’re going to report to me everything you report to Aisha.” Suxen informs him with a flat voice that brooks no contradiction. Tsek blinks. “You can talk.” She tells him.
“Why would I do that?” Tsek asks. “I get benefits from her.”
“You won’t get anything from me.” Suxen utters, restraining her first impulse to blow him to pieces along with the hexagons. “You’ll do this because you crave things you cannot have. This puts you in the center of events where you can gain the spe, Elizabeth Vil’s favor.”
“It would go a long way if you showed a bit of flesh, Director Suxen.” Tsek replies with squinted eyes as his instincts born from the streets finally catch on to the blatant attempt at manipulation. “I know what you’ve done and I would rather watch you get slaughtered by her than risk getting caught in the middle if all I get out of this is to be there to get run over.”
Suxen pauses, she has to because she would otherwise kill him and she can’t afford to do so with how dangerous the specimen turned out to be. She needs advance warning of the hybrid’s status or she may be caught unaware again, and Tsek’s report or lack of will function as a rudimentary alarm.
She writes down a few numbers with a tiny amount of flow and sends it to the barrier construct. The hexagons begin discharging kinetic energy in small increments akin to blows from large fists, which will rapidly consume the single portion of flow she used so she dismantles the other two hexagons to fuel the beating.
“Arh, he, ah, hey! St, argh, stop!” Tsek cries out. Suxen puts the construct on hold.
“Are you so unintelligent you don’t understand that communicating with me provides you with the opportunity to betray me as well?” She asks out loud.
“… I, why?” He asks, panting and baffled.
“Because you’re insignificant.” Suxen replies, caring more about putting an end to the discussion than figuring out what his question is.
She snaps her fingers before he can reply and lets the program run its course because there is no lethal danger and it should leave focused bruises that she can easily blow off the Shade asks questions.
She returns to her room, her head already filling with deadly experiments to run on that animal once he’s outlived his usefulness. She doesn’t even hear the cries coming from the living room. A handful of minutes after the calls die down, Tsek knocks on her door.
“I’ll do it, bitch.” He calls out. “Just to be there when Elizabeth slaughters you.”
Suxen doesn’t reply, she merely sends a construct through the door, she adapted a messaging and beacon construct to communicate at a distance which she suspects is how the Shades receive instructions.
She throws in instructions on how to maintain it and to use at least five portions if they’re both in Kruzser. She feels confident in her superiority over this monkey who will unknowingly dance to her tune.
Meanwhile, Aisha is riding towards Kruzser with a grin on her face because she believes that the Empire’s period of stagnation is at an end and can’t wait to ditch her two charges to return to her work for Emperor Rasaec.