What You Seek Is Seeking You

Submitted into Contest #152 in response to: Set your story in an oracle or a fortune teller’s parlor.... view prompt

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Fantasy Fiction

Three realms lived at the top of the Wonnak mountain: the Realm of the Sun, the Realm of the Deads and the Realm of the Moon. Crown Prince Amedeo sought the help of the first one. Even though as a human he was forbidden the entrance to this land, he dared to climb the mountain. He did not want to harm anyone or to see the Queen. He had to see one person. He heard that this woman could have answers to questions he did not he was asking. 

After what seemed to be hours of walking, Amedeo saw a small house in the middle of the forest. An eye and the sun were drawn in gold ink on the door. Carefully, he pushed the door. He entered the house, not knowing where because of the lack of light. He was about to speak when the room lit. He was in a ballroom, the ballroom of his castle. A woman was sitting at a round table in the centre, another chair in front of her.

“You finally came,” the woman greeted the newcomer.

A shiver ran through Amedeo’s spine and it was not due to the cold air breaking into the illusion. The woman sitting in front of him had been gifted with the ability to read the past, present and future. And as her ancestors and her descendants, she was blind.

“Do you know who I am?” Amedeo asked, not daring to move.

“Of course, Your Highness. The cards told me you will come on a day like this,” the woman smiled as she motioned to the desk laying on the table. “Please, take a seat.”

Amedeo did as he was told. He was used to it. People often thought that being royalty was all about giving orders. But are royal members the rulers or the ruled ones?

“Please, move your hand above the deck and choose five cards faces down.”

Amedeo raised his right hand and moved it above the deck. Once from left to right, then from right to left.

“You must believe it, Your Highness. The cards do not reveal themselves to the ones who do not believe in them,” the woman explained.

All of his life, Amedeo was told that magic should not be trusted, that all fortune tellers, sorcerers or any other kind of magicians were nothing but charlatans. So, what was he doing here? Amedeo was here because when people were in desperate situations, they would do irrational things, things they would not do with their right mind. Because the woman’s words would be his last hope. Because the woman’s words were everything he wanted and needed to hear, whether it was truth or lie.

The prince took a deep breath and moved his hand above the deck with his eyes shut. In the middle, he felt something warm slapping his palm. When he opened his eyes, he saw a card stuck against his hand. He tilted his head and put the card face down next to him before doing the same process four times. When five cards were sorted, the woman put the deck on a side and took Amedeo’s cards. 

She revealed the first one. A couple was kissing under the moonlight. It could have been beautiful scenery if one of the two was not a skeleton and if Amedeo could not read ‘XIII. DEATH’ on the card.

“Death, upright. Ending of a cycle,” the woman simply said.

Amedeo swallowed. His father, the King, was murdered by an enemy nation. His death marked the end of his reign, and so to a cycle. The woman revealed the second card, a man walking on a hill with a bundle on his shoulder.

“The Fool, upright. New beginnings, innocence, adventure.”

New beginnings: Amedeo’s worst fear. Amedeo always felt at ease with routine. He was not an adventurous person, unlike his younger siblings. He needed guidance. Amedeo needed his father’s guidance.

“The Moon, upright. Fear and anxiety. You are allowing your imagination and emotions to take control of your life.”

“This is not how a king should feel,” Amedeo commented.

“Even kings are human beings, Your Highness,” the woman answered before revealing the fourth card, a man with a beard and a lantern, “The Hermit, upright. Receiving or giving guidance.”

One card was left. Amedeo’s heart beat faster, harder. His hands were sweating and fought the urge to touch the back of his neck — a stress habit he struggled to get rid of. The woman revealed the last card where Amedeo could see a Pharaoh on his throne.

“The Chariot, reversed. Opposition, lack of control.”

Amedeo did not have control over his life. He had spent his short life being controlled. Was it his fate? To be a puppet failing to guide his people?

“I do not think I understand the cards.”

“The cards are not meant to be understood. They are meant to be felt, Your Highness.”

“Am I an empty shell? I do not feel anything.”

“Oh, Your Highness. You are feeling too many things at a time, it clouds your own heart,” her tone was compassionate with a hint of sadness, “Anger. Painful loss. Love. Fear. Those are the worst things to feel.”

Amedeo lowered his head, eyes focused on the hands laying on his lap. The woman’s words had the same effect as a kick in his stomach. His lungs were running out of breath and he took a deep breath.

“But those emotions are not wrong. They are a great fuel.”

“A fuel to make my nation explode.”

“A fuel to burn your skin and free the real version of yourself,” she first said before revealing another card, “Devil, reversed. Independence, reclaiming power, freedom.”

“Why… Why are you showing me this card? I did not sort it.”

“This card sorted you, Your Highness. That is why you are here,”

Was the woman telling him the card called him here? Had cards that kind of power? The human prince thought power was running through the fortune teller’s veins. Was he wrong?

“How long have you been waiting for me?”

“Eighty-six years.”

Amedeo frowned. Eight-six years ago, his nation won the Great War and became the most powerful realm on Earth. Every time a nation rises, the risk of falling rises too. Was Amedeo the one responsible for the rise or the fall?

“The cards guide you. But only you can act upon or against it, Your Highness.”

“Do you mean there is still hope?”

“I believe that where there is life, there will always be hope.”

Amedeo rose to his feet. He heard everything he needed. The road was scary and unclear but at least, there was a road to walk on.

“Thank you. I swear I will come back once it will be over.”

The woman smiled and watched him leave. A fortune teller could not tell everything to the ones seeking answers. They could not tell them things that could change their fate. 

So, she never told him he would never be able to come back.

July 01, 2022 11:01

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