As I exited the restaurant the Grand Cardinal was already waiting for me in the elevator. His apparent fake happy expression now back to the old unforced one. He was furiously texting on his phone but as soon as he noticed me he put it quickly away. As I got in, he quickly tabbed something on the elevator control panel, presumably our destination, before striking up another conversation.
"You wish to leave I assume."
"Yep straight out of the main gate. Need to meet with someone."
"Yes of course I will escort you out. Also Lady Lucy I'm terribly sorry for what happened back then. I lost my cool, but an insult to you is an indirect insult to Miia herself. But as you thankfully reminded me Mr. Rodriguez didn't know your person. And thus my reaction wasn't warranted. While Miias glory and honor are above all we still try to remain civilized. And I'm sure she wouldn't want me to complicate an already difficult situation unless you wanted to."
"I guess she wouldn't... And by the way who even was that guy and this whole HF war talk you had. I hope I didn't just delay peace talks."
"No, you have nothing to worry about. Like I said it was in no way your fault. It is more than Mr. Rodriguez, or his highness Rodriguez as he wants to be called, is nothing more than a brute who doesn't think before he acts. And just so we're clear I'm telling you're this in confidence."
"Anyway as I was saying he is a brute but also the son of the current leader of a planet called Zecen. It is located slightly outside our area of control. They are currently not part of the HF and have over the longest time rejected advances of us trying to integrate them. But certain events have made them reconsider. They have only recently united and are now facing internal as well as external issues. And we are currently in the process of working out what it would take for them to join us. But as you can see their best diplomat isn't very suited for the job."
"Ok, at least it's only like that. But if you don't mind me asking what is the HF?"
"Oh yes of course you couldn't know. The HF or Holy Fystraration is a sort of intergalactic federation covering all of the planets devoted to Miia. While the planets act independently similar to states the whole union is basically a country just a whole lot bigger. Currently, there are 3368 member planets. Zecen would be the 3369. Unless another planet joined before them. While we are religious focused we are still a democracy. Each planet gets to elect a representative who then, in turn, is part of the parliament. But said body only really talks on matters of interplanetary importance. While they are independent of the church in most matters they rellie on our consultation and we often speak there. And sometimes like in the case of Zecen we even interact as diplomats. But mostly only in such troubling cases."
Just as he was done monologing the elevator stopped and the door opened. Strolling ahead the Grand Cardinal once again took the word.
"Here we are ground-level main northern entrance. If you walk around that corner you will find yourself in one of the main entrance halls from there the exist is easy to spot. Although I have to excuse myself since I won't be able to escort you further as the halls will be filled with people of which many would recognize me. Which would I fear to lead to you also being swarmed as you are in my company."
"Don't worry I have to thank you. You already helped me quite a bit so thanks. And if I'm lost I always know who to rely on. Right?"
"Ahh yes. Miias light truly shines along to path to greatness. But before you go we still have something for you. Around that corner, before you enter the main hall is a receptionist who if you talk to her has something to give you."
"Thank you once again. And Goodbye."
And with that, I exited the elevator.
"And a Goodbye to you. And good luck on your upcoming journey."
As the doors were closing I turned around one last time.
"And by the way, I meant Miias guidance in a literal way."
And with that, the doors were closed.
I steadily made my way towards the corner and as I got around It there was a big dark oak door in front of me. I already noticed it before but this door made me realize it again even more clearly. Everything in this place was huge this door was more than twice my height and almost half as wide. It looked so heavy I probably couldn't even open it. While I was intrigued by trying first I walked up to the receptionist more interested in what Montalto had for me.
"Ah, your must be Lady Lucy."
"Yep and that's the second time today."
"Good. Grand Cardinal Montalto had these two items requested for you. All your personal information has already been integrated. So they are ready to use."
"Ah thank you."
"Thank you for staying with us."
The receptionist handed me two small items. One of them looked like a bracelet. The other like a pair of earrings shaped like small golden Fs.
"Miia you really not to stop pushing your merch onto me."
"Ey. That wasn't even solely my doing. And also that isn't just for show they are a necessity nowadays. Just put them on and you'll see."
Thankfully the earrings weren't the kind where you needed a hole but instead, you could just clip them onto your earlobe. The bracelet was kinda weird though as it was more like just a black band that would snap onto its own end as if it was magnetic. But as soon as I put both on together something unexpected happened. A second voice activated this one, not like Miias in beauty but also with a small robotic undertone.
"HELLO, USER ACTIVATED: LUCY FYSTRA. COMPONENTS: BASE, EAR. ALL SYSTEMS OPERATIONAL. "
"Wow, what was that?"
"That's your new smart communication device. It's like a smartphone but on steroids. And the earrings work as headphones."
"That's so cool how do I open it."
"You don't need to you can just tell it what to do but if you want to see you can either get an eyepiece or just pull on the left side of your bracelet."
To my total shock as I pulled on it split down the middle and between the two pieces was a screen. The further I pulled the bigger the screen got until I reached almost my elbow where it stopped. The screen was now covering my entire forearm and to my almost even bigger shock, it seemed like I didn't even need to hold it with my other hand the screen seemed like it was glued to my arm. And on top of that, It had a touchscreen. I could use my right hand to open different apps. There was a messenger an internet browser and even a video app reminding me of youtube.
While I was still toying with my probably new favorite thing in the world Miia rudely interrupted me.
"While I love seeing you geek out over this you may take it elsewhere. The receptionist is looking weirded out. She's probably not used to someone not knowing what that is. Your gonna be on a train soon so you'll have more time to inspect it."
"Ah yes sorry for making you wait. I'm ready to leave now. Once again thank you for this and have a nice afternoon."
"No problem... And also a good afternoon to you. I'll open the doors now you may leave quickly until too many visitors notice."
Uhh. and I thought I could at least kinda test my strength. But that thought was quickly eradicated as the door revealed what was behind it.