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The corridors were large and airy offering a splendid view of the surrounding gardens and tracks. Natural light poured through making the jewels decorating the corridor shine, increasing the majesty exponentially. Guards stood at regular intervals on alternating sides. The guards were not in suit of armor as I had expected but in a more comfortable uniform with swords at their side and knives strapped to their belts. They wore dark goggles and stood in an alert position giving ken an ever so slight nod as he passed. I glimpsed a small white cord sneaking around each ear of the guards. The walkway was thickly carpeted, and the sides revealed a gleaming white floor. The design on the carpet matched that on the floor though it was only visible if you looked hard enough otherwise both seemed plain.

These open corridors snaked along the inner wall of the palace and the outer perimeter was faintly visible in a distance. It was circular with various other hallways branching off both sides at regular intervals. The outer branches ending in a beautiful balcony which was again, guarded. I noticed that the guards were not only men, but a lot were women too unlike the stereotype of all men armies. The gender equality was something that had caught my eye in the spaceship docks too. A lot of the mechanics running around seemed to be women.

I hurried to catch up with ken. Boy, he walked fast. Many people zipped past us, not walking or running but floating. The realization that these people were what we referred to as aliens hit me with the force of a speeding truck. It changed my perspective on what I was viewing. Instead I started to compare everything with that on earth. Ken didn't look like the sort of aliens they depicted in movies. Sure, he was taller than your average man but that may be because I was comparing him to an Asian man. He seemed to be about a little more than six feet tall. All other features were same. No bulging head, no pointy ears or small nose, four limbs, ten fingers. He was just...normal. Not everyone was the same though. Some guards looked like ken whereas some had a greenish tinge to their skin, like they were sick. While others were thin as a stick. Very thin, not malnourished. Their shoulder spans were shorter and heights taller, graceful rather than awkward. I didn't see a single soul in the same uniform as ken. The people who passed us represented variety in clothing and styles.

I was so lost in my thoughts, I almost missed it when ken turned into one of the inner corridors. It was short ending in a T where we went left, up a flight of stairs and entered a room on the left which was once again guarded. We stopped for a second in front of the door after which it noiselessly slid aside to reveal a private office with floor to ceiling widows looking over the same view that the corridor offered. It led me to believe that we were directly above it. An old man occupied the only desk in the huge room. He motioned me to enter. Ken bowed to the man and left the door sliding shut after him. Even though his white locks and wrinkly skin made him seem old, his eyes were enthusiastic and posture energetic. He had the face of a man who had been handsome in his younger days.

"My name is Herold. Yours must be Daniel?" I nodded, remarking about everyone's ability to know my name here. The urge to bombard him with questions was difficult to contain. Where was I? What did the mark mean? Who was Ken?

Before my curiosity overwhelmed my patience, he began "I'm sure you are very confused about the events of the past few days. But I can assure you, it is nothing to worry about. you are now a part of this much larger governing system responsible for 11 planets which harbor advanced life. I have to admit that you are the youngest recruit we have ever had for such a high position but that does not mean that the expectations would be low from you. They would be even higher, for we need to know what made the power choose you over so many other eligible, older and more experienced candidates. I believe in you because you believe in the right things. Something you have repeatedly proved in these past few days.

I know that you come from an unaligned planet, so you must not be aware of the responsibility you now shoulder. I cannot enlighten you about all the stories, theories and workings of the past and us in this single, short meeting, sill I would try my best to impart as much knowledge to you as I can and is necessary and appropriate. The rest you can learn in bits and pieces, a little from here, a little from there, over time you will spend with us" he smiled. Somehow the last few words troubled me, I felt like he was warning me he would keep a few secrets. His words only confirmed my earlier suspicion that not all was well here and that my life has definitely turned upside down.

He continued "Daniel, you must have noticed the brand on your chest. It distinguishes you as a Lord. Like me, like Ken. It is the name of the position which makes you responsible for the safety and well-being of your planet, Earth and its people from both external and internal factors. This planet we are currently on, is Teras. It is, in a way the very center of the whole universe, the capital planet also the residence of many officials, lords and the control center for the army. Because you are currently untrained, you can only assume your position once you have completed the basic training and any one specialized training course. For this you will be attending the Teras Academy for Apprenticeship."

"Wait a second, you don't expect me to leave home, do you?"

"That would certainly be convenient both for us and for you, but if you do not want to, you do not have to."

"You will be the one explaining this to my parents. If I tell them all this, they'll rush me to a phycologist. Leaving school to join this academy!"

"Oh, no. No one will be getting to know this. As your planet is unaligned, no one who is not directly involved in extraterrestrial matters ought to know of our existence. The way you have come tonight, I hope you can come like this everyday or you need to find another way. Anyway, after you graduate from the academy, which should take no more than 2 sa or 200 days, you will be joining the council of Lords. Though I will make sure you attend at least a few sessions beforehand. The council is a meeting of all Lords once every 7 days in the grand room in this very palace. The council is the judiciary and the executive of all planets. Therefore the Lords are one of the most respected and powerful people in the universe. Even between lords, there are two heads, the bearer of the golden crown, the Grei and the bearer of the silver crown, the Srei. I am the current Grei and Ken is the Srei. The lords also have to supplement the army when it is required because we have the power running through our veins which make us superior fighters than normal soldiers. Not that you will be charging for war in the near future. This power has a long history of itself but that is a tale for another day."

He paused, letting me digest the mountain of information, assessing my reaction. I kept a straight face but my mind was working faster than a computer, analyzing the risks, drawing up conclusions. I was exited to begin this new adventure, face the obstacles and learn. There was so much to learn here. Another planet, so many more planets with life! We were not the only living people in this vast universe after all. That was a relief. Not only were there more people but their technology was so much more advanced than that on earth. Space travel, space war! Just wow. What a pity, I wouldn't be able to share all this with my friends, with no one actually.

Right on cue, Herold slipped a paper across the desk. "The non disclosure agreement. Have a look through it, its just a formality though, a safeguard."

I read it, nothing out of the ordinary there. The usual complicated words, long, boring paragraphs in the smallest possible font and some every 100th or so word, highlighted. I could've yawned out of both tiredness and boredom if I would not have known that the person I was sitting in front of was perhaps the most powerful and senior man in the whole universe.

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