A/N – Hi guys. Well, I finally wrote a new chapter. Thanks for waiting and feel free to enjoy :)
"…She has absolutely no experience." Joan was in the middle of arguing with Thea in the Quorum room. "It is impossible."
"The Divinity has always been run in a monarchy up until eighteen years ago when all the members of the Perenglow family were killed. Talia's the next in line," Thea said.
"She's of age," said Kade. "In 765 Bartholomew Perenglow began his sovereignty at the age of fifteen."
Since everyone in the room but Kade and Talia were old enough to have vivid memories of the monarchy intact, she guessed Kade had read the details in a book. Everyone took pause at the mention of Bartholomew so Talia figured it was true.
"That situation was completely different," Joan said. "Bartholomew had been properly trained since childhood and when he took the throne there was no division between the divinely gifted people. Talia, on the other hand, has hardly any field experience and the Ascendant Sons are exponentially more powerful that regular human governments."
"Talia has more field experience than most of the operatives at the Midwest base," Thea countered. "She has developed all the power of a purely divined leader. There is not one person more qualified to lead the Divinity."
"How about we conduct a vote," Martin, who sat on Joan's other side, suggested.
"It doesn't make sense for you to hold a vote on Talia's birthright," Kade said mildly.
"There should be no vote at all," Joan said icily. "The Quorum is in charge for a reason. Circumstances have changed. The Divinity's objective is no longer just to promote peace for all humans. It's to stop the Ascendant Sons. Talia is completely unprepared. Her gifts – although purely divined – are obviously no match for Duskar's power. When she commandeered the last mission, look how many casualties we had –"
"As I remember," Talia cut in, "there weren't any other suggestions on how to run the last mission. Anyone in a position of leadership suffers casualties," she bit out, detesting the word. "Look, we're going to lose people if we decide not to stand idly by and let Duskar win. But soon we will lose even more if we do nothing to finally stop him. Duskar killed my parents and I'm sure a lot of your friends and members of your families were murdered too. If we don't get more proactive, a lot more people will get hurt. It's my time to make sure this gets settled once and for all."
"So do you, Talia Perenglow, accept your place as leader of the Eternal Divinity?" Martin asked slowly.
"Yes. I do," Talia said firmly, standing up.
Everyone else followed, although Joan and a few other Quorum members stood reluctantly.
Later that night, Talia stared at the golden clock against the floral printed wallpaper in her room.
Talia started violently.
"Sorry, did I startle you?"
"Um, yes," Talia said with a sigh.
Kade had suddenly appeared right behind her single bed. He scooched next to her, almost pushing her off. "So, how are you doing?"
"I'm not quite sure yet. I mean, I'm not sure I can do all this. How am I supposed to run the entire Divinity? I don't even know what that entails."
"Don't worry. The Quorum is going to be there to advise you."
He smiled. "Yep, me too. Are you ready?"
She grinned a bit. "For what?"
"You have got a lot of reading to do. The Quorum is going to catch you up on all the Divinity projects that are ongoing right now, and they may have a couple of books for you to flip through."
Talia groaned. "Big dusty ones?"
"Yep. Big dusty ones."
The next day, a woman on the Quorum named Theresa caught Talia up on all the Divinity projects that were basically going nowhere, and only one that sounded promising based in New York. It was a small group of talented young operatives in training that had been sent to Manhattan for a sped up training course.
Talia was exhausted by the end of the day, overloaded with information. But her day wasn't done yet. She was headed onto a train to Slovenia.
Once Talia got there, she paid Ingrid and Christian a visit. Ingrid greeted her at the narrow front door with a friendly smile. There were still paintings, some done, some half finished, all over the house. Both Ingrid and Christian scowled a lot less than when she had first met them. Apparently, they had gotten engaged and she and the gang were invited to the wedding.
"Thanks for the invite. I'm really glad the two of you are together again." Her voice got serious. "Ingrid, do you have any idea where the real Paradox piece is?"
"Christian and I are really both done with the Divinity and the Ascendant Sons," she said slowly. "But, I didn't want it to fall into Duskar's hands so easily."
"Well, just so you know, you're speaking to the new leader of the Eternal Divinity," Talia said. "I hope in time you'll both be able to gain back your faith in the Divinity. All we want to do is make all the violence stop permanently."
"I'm glad to hear that," Christian said. "And congratulations on becoming Queen."
He turned and exchanged a quick look with his fiancée. Ingrid sighed briefly. "It's in India. There's one other Sagaci that I trust. Gajendra Vadke."
"We're landing," Kade said, gently shaking her awake. "It's good to see you're getting more sleep these days, T.P."
Talia smiled and stretched as she watched out of her window as the plane started to descend. The plane trip to India was a long one, but the way out of the airport seemed even longer. For Kade, that is. Talia held both his hands tightly the entire time they were in the airport. And he still seemed a minute away from freaking out. They took a bus to the ancient town of Tirupati. By the time they got to the temple it was the middle of the night. It looked like an incredibly intricate, many tiered sandcastle made out of pure gold sand. The Tirupati temple was lit magnificently, a shining beacon in the night. Talia looked up at it in awe.
"Welcome," a voice said from behind them. "Follow me."
They were led down a long dusty staircase. Talia wasn't scared at all; the man looked trustworthy to her. Kade didn't look perturbed either. The stranger had a commanding, no nonsense presence. At the end of the staircase there was a large underground room full of ancient looking Indian artifacts and paintings on the walls.
"So, you are the new Queen," the man who guided them said. He was a robust man with long shiny black hair and a kind looking face. He was dressed in dark traditional robes.
"Queen?" Talia said vaguely, not committing to the statement.
He gestured at the necklace she was wearing. The one Iris had given her in New York for protection. "I'm very good at noticing details," he said as he searched behind them for something. He retrieved a Paradox piece that looked like crystal clockwork and handed it to Talia. She noted it was authentic because it made the small chiming sound. Talia put the piece in the case she had brought.
"Thank you very much," Talia said as she closed the black case.
"Miss Perenglow, I have something else to tell you. I knew Izo Wakahisa from Japan. He had something very important to tell you, and in case he couldn't give you the message he told me."
"What is it?" Talia asked.
"There are not thirty Paradox pieces. There are forty."
A/N – 40 pieces? Yep, that's privileged information, so don't go around telling people ;) Thanks for reading, and you know I never object to you pressing the button below :)