chapter 15: in dreams 6

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It was a nice long dream.

He walked to the borders of Selatan and passed the gates. He had been there before often, being a meridian kid, but he had not gotten past the river port. Now he did, and went…he went…where did he go?

It was a nice river. He had never crossed it before, and he now saw how wide it was. Pristine blue and clear water, he could even see the fish swimming beside the small boat. Just beyond, the forest at the river edge was lush and quiet.

He got off the boat and showed his papers at the port. He just knew what to do and when. He was not sure why, but he did. And he must have given the right answers, because he was let through without any problems.

Afterward he programmed for a travel cloud and spent a long while gazing at the fields and hills below. A beautiful place, this region, in a way similar and yet different from Selatan, which had more snowy peaks and grassy pastures. He still preferred the cool breezes from the snowy hills of home, but this view of valleys and grassy hills was not too bad.

Where was this?

He saw a large walled city in the distance. He reached the city and circled it. Several miles across it was, with guards positioned at towers. It had no large space for a barracks. It was filled instead with imposing buildings on all sides. Houses bordered the walls of the city.

He brought the travel cloud down, where he saw a large gate into the city. He showed his papers again and answered their questions.

He entered a city a lot like his own, and yet completely different. The people looked like him, but they did not speak like him. They bustled around governing and education buildings the way his people bustled around the defense brigade barracks. The people here busied themselves with everyday life, the way his people did, trading for vegetables and spending time in the market. He still liked the people back home better, but this was not so bad.

It slowly descended on him, like a slowly sinking fog. He had never been there before, but he knew the place.

Pendi. The capital in Pendi.

He walked around and gazed up at the towers, the guards, the defensive systems placed. He looked around for other gates, and found just the one he entered through. He strolled through buildings named for programming guilds and governing institutions.

He even tried some of the food there, smiling then pointing at random to what looked tasty. It was good. Less variety in vegetables than back home, but the soup was fresh and thick and wonderful.

He was not sure how long it took him to stroll around everywhere…his awareness of the surroundings faded in and out, as if he sunk to deep sleep then rose up a bit to dream then sunk again. But it was enjoyable walking around an unfamiliar city. He was happy he did it. Even in a dream.

#

Welcome back, Soji of the meridian.

Did he even go anywhere?

Tell us what you found.

He found himself telling someone — who exactly, he was not sure — what he dreamed out, that nice long dream. He hoped the person could make sense of it all, because all he saw was functionally beautiful buildings and walls and towers and guards.

Good work, as always.

Well it was a good dream, although why it was good work, he did not know.

Erase all recent memories. Activate.

Activated.

Now rest until tomorrow.

Yes.

He knew nothing more after that, falling into the depths he was now familiar with.

#

He woke up in his room at the top floor of the barracks. He felt dizzy, like he had been asleep for much longer than he expected to be. The sun was already high up in the sky, as it was.

He patted the inside pocket. The memory jade was still there, thankfully. He took out it.

“Resurface memories. Activate,” he programmed.

But there was nothing in it. Nothing. A brand-new memory jade.

He wondered how that could be possible as he changed and headed off to the brigade kitchen. Not even a single vision, a single thought, a single impression? Did they know it was there? Could a memory jade be erased?

“Hey, Soji! How was the week off?” the cleaners greeted them as he entered.

“Was it a week already?” he scratched his head and headed to the pantry.

“Yup!” the assistant cook added. “You missed a lot.”

“Tell me all about it,” he chuckled and indulged them.

“So where did you go last week?” one of the vegetable-duty cooks asked.

“I…I…I went back home,” he lied.

He did not know what he did last week.

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