Kylo Ren was not an ordinary man nor was he an ordinary Alpha.
If he had told her, back in her shelter in Goazon Badlands, that he was an Emperor, Rey would have laughed at him. She certainly would have. He was more of a knight or a sorcerer than a king.
Looking back, after their confrontation with Plutt, Kylo had ordered his men – who came with such grant entrance in their Star Destroyers – to bring the slaves back with them. He said that he would provide them with education and better livelihood and send them to his other cities to live. He swore to help rehabilitations for slaves who were under Plutt’s drug’s influence, especially those who got withdrawal syndrome.
He assured them changes. He promised them a more humane treatment, along with a pledge to improve Jakku. He was committed to send his men to scan the area around Niima Outpost to look for any resources – anything to promote progress.
“For this land to prosper,” she recalled, he had ordered his stormtroopers to bring Plutt back to the Seat to serve his punishment there. “After all, Jakku would be one of my empire’s province,” he announced.
She had asked him whether he was using her to claim Jakku ownership. He had firmly denied her claim and revealed that he had done these – claiming and prospering a foreign region – to his other provinces and improve their living conditions, which she found it hard to believe. He further convinced her that the reason he came to Jakku was because of the pull – Her. Not the others.
Why would he help us? She questioned herself, she was standing on the bridge of his Mandator IV-class Siege Dreadnought airship, Fulminatrix, watching the minuscule landscape of Jakku from above. It would cost him a lot, he wouldn’t gain profit, especially in Jakku.
The earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed, her little voice whispered softly. If he wished for a better world, he would have to change himself and fight everything he knew with his very own effort.
So, you’re telling me he is a good guy? Rey scoffed at her inner voice.
Open your eyes and see. Open your heart and understand, it advised her kindly before it disappeared into the back of her head.
“Rey?” Kylo called her, he was walking toward her with his helmet off. “You’re ready to go?”
“Sure,” Rey responded. “I don’t have anything to do with Jakku anymore. Gotta move on, and see the world,” she continued, her smile did not reach her eyes. “And Raqisa?”
“He is somewhere in the ship; Reza is seeing him right now. He was too excited after kicking Plutt’s thugs around,” he explained.
After Plutt passed out in front of his Palace, Raqisa went berserk as if he were possessed by the devil himself. He went on a kicking rampage, attacking Plutt’s thugs. He had to be stopped by a number of Kylo’s stormtroopers after they arrived back then.
“Remind me to never stand behind him again,” Rey took off her head cover, “And Reza?”
“Our Beast-master,” a man answered her, his voice was full of assurance. The man who swaggered toward them was almost as tall as Kylo but was slightly more muscular. His shoulder-length hair with blonde highlights at the end reminded Rey of a lion, and his tanned skin even made him more so. He exuded confidence, playfulness, and experiences, especially with the scar on one of his eyebrows. His thick eyebrow framed his deep settled eyes, while his face was framed with a thick bushy beard. “He is the best when it came to talking to animals and monsters. You might find those non-sentients comments on us – human – interesting and scathing,” he continued.
“Ardashir, you finished Coruscant?” Kylo acknowledged him after the man gave him an immediate proper salute by putting his right hand on his heart and bow his head lightly after standing between Rey and him. “How was it?”
“It was not so bad,” the other man smiled stiffly before taking a glance at Rey, “I’ll tell you later.” He assessed Rey from head to toe, politely, though she could not help feeling scrutinized. Ardashir wore a dark assassin’s attire – light-weighted – with small daggers on his chest, a normal-sized dagger on his right thigh, and a kilij hanging on his left hip. His shoulder and chest were covered by a dark cotton-like cowl, and his muscular legs and arms were covered with thick leather skin for protection.
“Is it me or you guys stinks?” he poked light-heartedly. Kylo responded him with a scornful look while Rey took a few steps behind the two men out of shame. Her face blushed in mortification, and she wished for herself to be swallowed by the earth.
“Really? That’s the first thing to say?” Kylo asked him.
“I mean I can smell you from the hall, I’m not wrong,” Ardashir reasoned. He was smiling as if he was joking, “The troopers and the personnel here might’ve something to say…”
Kylo gave Ardarshir a withering glare. “Ignore him. His mouth runs faster than his brain,” he assured Rey. “And his prick did more of his thinking.”
“Wow, when was the last time I heard you being this crass?” Ardashir chuckled sarcastically. “Certainly, it was back then when we still wandering around.”
Kylo clicked his tongue as a warning. He then fished his tracking device out of his pocket and gave it to Ardashir. “Tell Meir that this needs to be smaller,” Kylo reminded him.
“You’re his second-in-command?” He looked to be too mouthy to hold an important position, Rey thought curiously.
“What? You might be surprised with all that is hidden in these sleeves,” Ardashir showed her the back of his hands as he wiggled his fingers, “I’m full magic you know. Magical.”
“So, you’re like Kylo too? You can use the invisible force and your sword goes fiery?”
“Well, yeah, but that is what Master is good at, right? I’m better at other stuff, things that he’s not proficient at,” he reasoned.
“Rey, you want to get some rest and meal? I could provide it for you?” Kylo asked her politely, trying to divert her attention back to him.
“I, I can eat? You sure? I don’t have anything to pay you,” she replied humbly, but her stomach voiced her real opinion rather loudly. Her face was a fifty-shades of red.
“You don’t have to worry that. Master has been feeding and housing us for so long and he never asked us to pay back. Eat it before he changes his mind,” Ardarshir walked ahead to lead Rey out of the bridge.
Kylo stayed behind to watch Rey go ahead with his second-in-command. She looked back and with her doe-like eyes, her gaze asked him why he did not follow them. “I’ll join you soon,” he assured her before looking back at the bridge’s observatory glass panel.
Indeed, Jakku looked small from up above – puny and worthless. He saw the white armours of his men down below, trying to secure the Niima Outpost while handling and organizing the slaves to be sent to one of the airships. They had dismantled the pleasure house and Plutt’s Palace first; it was a trafficking ring – too small to be noticed yet effective with its isolated location.
I should’ve come here sooner, he swore silently.
He stared at the deserted Plutt’s Palace; its sight was irrelevant as it was insulting to him. He raised his hand with his pointer and middle finger up to the sky before striking it down to the ground below swiftly. A bolt of lightning struck the Palace, followed by a thunderous boom. From up above, he could see the only towering structure in Jakku fall down into rubbles, which were slowly eaten by the fire from by the lightning.
He felt relieved, and he hoped Rey would too.
“Set course to the Seat,” he ordered his men.
Never in her entire life had Rey experienced the pleasure of warm water running through her hair and down to the skin; it was indescribable. This was the first time she truly ever felt clean – scrubbed anew. The shampoo and the soap bar did wonder in washing away the dirt, sands, and oils that had accumulated throughout her life in Jakku. She remembered not too fondly that the public bathing house in Niima Outpost overpriced its charge and rationed the water each bather used, and it was also a communal place. It was a luxury back then – to be clean.
Ardashir had previously led her to a guest-chamber inside the Lord’s Wing and begged her for a shower. She was promised that the food needed time to be prepared and the shower was a way to spend her time. She had disagreed with him on that out of modesty until he mentioned the warm water.
She never dreamed of the day she took a proper shower, and this was a dream came true. Then here came the towel. Oh, it was so soft, Rey crooned.
The bathroom mirror supplied a number of bottles for a vanity use. When she opened them one by one, she found body lotion, olive oil, and oil perfume. She did not know what the other bottles contained, best not to use them without knowing what they were used for.
As she got out of the bathroom, her eyes zeroed in a set of new underwear and a folded garment, sitting orderly above the queen-sized bed. She picked it up and examined it, words could not describe its beauty. It was a very loose white organza embroidered shirt-dress with a white camisole and a harem pants in a matched colour. It was the most elegant dress she had ever seen, even when it looked modest.
Should she wear the dress? But when she looked at her old desert garment, she was torn on wearing her old dress and went to the dining room to meet Ardashir and Kylo. It seemed impolite to do so. She could imagine that Kylo would not say a word on anything she wore, but Ardashir would definitely say a word or two.
The new dress then, she decided before she slipped on to the pants and wore the camisole, followed by the dress. She dried her hair with the towel, then styled it into her usual three buns. After she slung her quarterstaff to her back, she set out to meet Kylo and Ardarshir.
The Lord’s Wing’s living room was not the most opulent room she had imagined, though it was luxurious for a military standard. While it was decorated in a dark-muted colour of modern style, it never lost the military practical touch. The camel-back sofa set was covered in a simple earth-coloured fabric, followed by an elegant rectangular wooden coffee table at the centre. A red antique-looking carpet with a number of Ottomans in dark colour covered the living room’s tiles. She saw weapons hanging on the wall – swords and guns – along with paintings and a rack of weaponry in a various state of mess. There were two book cabinets filled to the brim and a set of study table with a number of clear scrying globes on its surface. Behind the study set was a large landscape window panel which showed the scenery of desert passing through from up above – hot yellow sands and nothing.
The dining room was connected to the living room via a sliding panel of a carved-wooden divider. Behind the panel, Rey saw Kylo sitting on the master’s chair with Ardashir on his right side. The long table was filled with many mouth-watering dishes, colourful fruits on a bronze platter, and a small vase of bearded irises, but when she looked away to notice at Kylo, she saw him in a matching expression with Ardashir – they looked grave. They must have been discussing something of an important matter.
Rey tried to lean closer to the wooden panel, trying to peek through the chrysanthemum carvings, hoping that she would hear what they’re discussing in secret.
“…had ordered the execution publicly…”
“…law made any children presenting as non-Beta to be sent to…”
“…never would I think he passed that motion to…”
She could not catch their full conversation since it was too soft to be heard. She caught fragments only. She saw Ardashir dominating the conversation while Kylo was listening to him intensely. He behaved differently, almost calculative and cold – distant. The one she saw there was an emperor, not Kylo Ren, who had been kind and generous to her, the one righteous enough to free the slaves and helped the Jakkuvians.
The panel creaked as she was trying to lean further, prompting her to stand beside the room divider sheepishly. To her surprise, Kylo and Ardashir stood to greet her when they saw her standing. Kylo even wore a dumbfounded expression, starstruck – taken.
“Lo and behold. The awaiting’s over,” Ardarshir commented with a knowing smile. He smirked knowingly when Kylo stood to drag the chair on his left, allowing Rey to seat beside him. “I bet you had a good shower,” Ardashir commented on her clean face.
“It was more than I had ever dreamed off,” she replied modestly.
“You look…fresh,” Kylo praised her eagerly. Soon he realized that it was such a poor praise that he hid his face immediately behind his palm with Ardashir’s rambunctious roar of laughter.
“What kind of compliment is that!?” Ardashir wheezed before he went back to his laughter again. Kylo’s face reddened to the point that his ears, hidden beneath his silky dark hair, peeked out with the same shade of blush as his face did. Ardashir kept on laughing so giddily that it filled the long-shared silence between Kylo and Rey. Feeling annoyed, Kylo raised his hand at his second-in-command and pinch his thumb with the rest of his fingers, effectively shutting his mouth from laughing.
While Ardashir was mumbling and mumming in panic as he was trying to open his forcefully shut mouth, Kylo moved to pick up a glass for Rey and poured warm çay into it and gave her a warm bowl of tomato corba. He scooped various kinds of foods onto her plates; there was a single portion of golden coloured pilav rice, a long skewer of beef adana kebap and a few sticks of chicken şiş kebap, and finally, a kuzu pirzola. It was more than a hearty meal, he even shifted the three person-serving tomato and feta-cheese pide closer to her, and poured her a glass of water.
“Master slow down! The food will become mubaddzir,” Ardashir said after he managed to open his mouth, he tried to stop his master but received his glower instead, “Why are you serving her meats and carbohydrates? Where are her vegetables?” he complained.
Rey’s eyes widened at the sight of her platter; her mouth opened and closed and she swallowed her spit hungrily. It was the first time she saw her plate full of fresh meal and delectable cuisines, her eyes watered a little.
He provided you. He was a good Alpha, her inner voice crooned. Eat.
“Let’s start with the appetizer,” Kylo shifted the bowl of tomato corba closer to her. The soup was red and orange in colour, and it was not too thick. She saw yellow couscous in the broth along with chunks of tomato flesh and a sprinkle of cut parsley garnish.
She squeezed the lime into the soup and mixed it well with her spoon before dipping a piece of pide ekmek. She took the wet flatbread and blew it softly before eating it.
It was the most delicious food she had ever tasted.
Seeing her expression was enough to make Kylo Ren feel proud of himself. He felt, for the first time, like a good Alpha, being able to provide his Omega good food and proper nourishment. As usual, Rey devoured her meal so inhumanely fast that Ardashir could not help putting on a concerned face. She was inhaling her food; she chewed so little and swallowed so quickly.
“Rey, Rey, slow down, slow down. There are plenty of foods, there is no need to eat it too fast,” Ardashir begged her, his brow furrowed in worry. “You’ll get a stomach-ache and may ruin your dress,” he continued.
The mention of her new dress made her stop and surveyed the white organza on her sleeves, her chest, and stomach. Thankfully, there was no stain of corba and kebap’s herbs falling onto her dress, although her mouth and fingers were in various shades of yellow and red sticking here and there.
“Did you always eat like this?” Ardarshir inquired.
“This is the first time I ate all of these. I loved everything, all of the meals tasted heavenly,” Rey said enthusiastically. Her smile was so infectious that Ardashir could not help putting a little smile at her. He poured wine into two glasses, for himself and Kylo.
“This reminds me of Reza and me when I first met you, back to the days when you like to collect us strays,” he chuckled to Kylo, who tensed immediately. “Wanna hear a tale?” he offered Rey, who answered with an enthusiastic nod, continuing her meal in a more leisure pace. Kylo gave him a disagreeing look, but Ardashir ignored him.
“It was five years ago; I met Reza far earlier,” Ardashir began. “We were street urchins; pickpockets on the street of Savareen. It was a bad place; Savareen made Tatooine looked like a resort if you were to compare them, even if they were the neighbouring regions. That is how bad Savareen is,” he continued, “Alpha and Omega there lived in a terrible condition. Even children received the same amount of hate as the adult Alpha and Omega did. We, Reza and I, were no exception. I was a damn good conman; he was a damn good pickpocket; he even trained the crows to steal pockets and anything shiny. We have been living that way since we were young.”
“Crows?” the prospect of teaching crows seemed more interesting than the concerning information that the man seating in front of Rey was once a criminal.
Ardashir put on an amusing smile. “Anyway, Master and his first two knights came to Savareen. Of course, like any other new comer, they gained immediate attentions with all they wear – all black and mysterious, ugh, so depressing. Everyone tried to steal from them but no one could make it, except Reza and me,” he continued, “So as we’re running away through the streets and small alleys, one of the Master’s knights managed to poison us without our knowledge. You see how disastrous it was; we’re slowing down but we didn’t know what caused of our strange affliction was. When we were resting in our hideout, the other knight found us through the liquor in the bottle. She was a water elementalist and a damn good scryer.”
“You have such interesting people with you, Kylo” Rey commented him.
He gave her a strained smile. “The perks of traveling around,” he said humbly.
“Then what’s the rest?” Rey asked Ardashir. She added more skewers of adana kebap onto her plate while Kylo passed a bowl of coban salatasi closer to her. Still, she needed her vegetables.
“Master and his knights barged into our hideout. We were paralyzed at that time; we couldn’t even blink, let alone breathing felt strenuous. The first thing he said to us was that he was impressed by our ability to steal–“
“I remember I didn’t say that,” Kylo cut him.
“Nah, you’re just forgetful with all of the state matters, the Arts and studies, and your books. Keep on putting all of the information into your head and you’ll forget things easier like Old Mosi,” Ardashir countered, “He is a nerd, Haseki.”
“Don’t call her that,” Kylo warned him, his tone dictated obedience.
His second-in-command paled. “I’m sorry, Hatun then,” Ardashir corrected himself. “Yeah, he said he was impressed, then he offered us to be his knights, well mostly because he also found out that Reza and I have the sixth sense like Master and the rest of his knights. That’s all!” He concluded quickly. He further demonstrated his sixth sense, picking up an apple and grapes by floating them into his hand.
“Sixth sense can do that?” Rey remembered clearly that Kylo used that power to throw and push the scavengers around back in Jakku, he even used it to choke Plutt.
“Yes, but I’ll leave that to Master to explain it cause I’m too lazy. Bye!” Abruptly, Ardashir took many skewers of adana kebap and şiş kebap onto his plate, few chops of kuzu pirzola, and a bottle of wine before he ran away to the Lord’s Wing’s exit door.
“You scared him,” Rey stated incredulously.
“Not really. How do you know I scared him? He could’ve been heading to where Reza is and have a meal with him by now,” he sipped his wine.
“You smelled pissed off when he was telling his story, then you smelled angry when he called me Haseki,” she blurted.
A dawning look came upon him; his eyes widen with realization. She could smell him? Resting his cheek onto his knuckle, Kylo was thinking deeply. He would keep that information for later.
“Haseki means head consort or most favoured by the king. Were you to know what it means, you would disagree with him immediately,” he explained.
“I– “he hesitated; his eyes met hers squarely. “You know my intentions, but I want you to have a say on it. I want it to progress naturally. I know where your heart lies right now, and it’s not with me. I don’t want people to call you by that title as if I could have you that easily. I, I want you to know that you own yourself,” he expressed after a long thought. “Haseki made it sound as if I owned you,” he added.
“I, that’s very thoughtful.”
He gave her a polite smile which she thought as one of his trademarks. And honesty and sarcasm, she added silently. “Tell me the meaning of Hatun. Then tell me of the sixth sense,” Rey asked him, which he responded with an eager smile.
True to Ardashir words, Kylo Ren was a nerd and a big one, pun intended.
To her pleasure, she was surprised by the amount of knowledge stored in his mind. A warrior, a sorcerer, an emperor, and a scholar – that was him. Layer after layer of him was shed to her acknowledgment, not that he was an onion in the first place.
He had patiently explained the meaning of Hatun, along with a short history of women who had used it as an honorific and a given name.
He had illuminated her on the sixth sense, along with a small demonstration of what it could do. Sixth sense, unlike the other human senses, delved into a knowledge, especially on the supernatural. On the basic level, the most common forms were sight and sense, such as the ability to see the Neighbour from the other side and Djinn, to look into the past and the future, to scry, and precognition. On a more advance level, it might exist in the forms of the capability of using telekinesis, telepathy, mind reading, mind control, elemental control, concealment, animal bond, and many more. The more Rey heard of what kind of ability and power manifested from the sixth sense, the more confused she was.
But she was certain of two things – one could possess more than one sixth sense and this was more likely found in Alpha and Omega than in Beta.
Their conversation went for long. An hour became two, then two became three, then it went on and on and on. After Rey finished her meals –which was a surprise to Kylo that she did not experience any stomach-ache or nausea – they moved to the Wing’s living room. Kylo showed her the current world map where her Jakku was and where his capital was.
“We’re close now,” he said after receiving a call from the communication line.
“I’m surprised that we’re slow,” she said after looking at the world map intently. His empire was growing and was still expanding, she assessed to herself. A conqueror too huh, she thought indifferently. “I thought every military aircraft carrier nowadays carries a hyperdrive technology?” she asked quietly.
“We’re not suited to use hyperdrive right now. We’re flying low, right above the sands of Crait,” he answered as he pointed at the Crait region which was known for its mineral and salt.
“I thought flying low on a foreign land constituted a violation.”
“It is. But I have my own reason to provoke them,” he smiled knowingly.
“What is that?”
“They’re remnants of once a great empire, I bet you know which. The remnants on Crait are not strong, prideful, and are prone to injustice. I’m just provoking them to show its citizen which way leads to my empire, in case they want to look around. Maybe it would inspire them for a change in their life,” he said conspiratorially.
“Immigrants?” Rey stared at him incredulously.
“Yes. My empire was built on one. None of my citizens are locals. My throne was built by an outcast, together with no ones, in the interest for every stranger,” his gaze seemed distant as if he was pondering over a past.
Curious. From what she heard in Jakku, north of Crait was nothing but a no man’s land.
“Come,” he took her hand and led her to the window panel.
Far away, between the glittering sea and the sunset-painted skies, lay a green land with rolling hills and snow-tipped mountains. As Fulminatrix grew closer, she saw fisherman’s ports, tanker stops, and airship’s starports. There were towers of mosque’s minaret along with the crown domes of churches and synagogues. She heard the adhan call for Maghrib prayer as she saw the tall buildings which she thought as a housing complex, libraries, a market place, and schools. Bridges connected some parts of the land that were separated by the sea straits and she spotted a number of small boats passing through the arches.
There were conveyex’s railways along with the smaller tracks of railspeeders and hovertrains, never deviated from their magnetic guides. The speeders were moving accordingly to their traffic, on the land and up above the sky.
What impressed Rey the most were the trees that were on every corner of the city. She found parks here and there, and they were in the colour of burning red, emerald green, and golden, framing the city beautifully and tidily. Far behind the business of the capital, near the evergreen hill and was separated by a trench, lay his castle; a complex of tall all-glass dome framed with sturdy black metal steel. She saw a building inside the domes – palaces – and she could tell that this was the largest building of the grand metropolis.
This is his wilderness, his turf, his domain, the little voice inside her reminded her.
“Rey,” Kylo called her. His face was proud, and his scent told her that he was pleased. The smile plastered on his face was gentle and his dark eyes were glittering in spirits.
“I welcome you to the Seat.”