Sofie dragged through the rest of the day, absorbing as much as possible yet feeling shaken from the feeling that everything had changed for her. She hadn't felt it at first when she'd arrived but now that she did it hit her hard. All she could offer that afternoon were stiff smiles and nods on the outside. Inside, she desperately wanted to go home. But what home did she have left?
As Ed went about doing his nightly routine Sofie folded and refolded the same coat over and over again, worrying about this huge change in her life. Was she doing the right thing? Should she just run back home and get used to life there again? Sofie huffed out a sigh and gave herself a light slap on the forehead. What was she thinking? She couldn't go back. No matter what. As Ed came out of the bathroom she went in, holding a threadbare shirt and yoga pants in her hands. Her fingers kept moving to the top of the pile, expecting to feel the weapons belt there but she knew she couldn't have brought it here. She had slept with that belt on every night at home and yearned for the safe feeling it gave her but bringing it here would certify Ed's suspicions and she didn't want to seem more out of place than she already was feeling.
Sofie finished her shower, brushed her teeth and hopped into bed noticing Ed doing his daily devotions. So he believed then. She had nothing against those who believed, it was their life after all but as for herself, she couldn't afford to believe in anything. Everything had let her down in the end and what was to say that God wouldn't do the same? No, believing was hoping and she had destroyed almost all hope her in a life a while back.
Her eyes were just drifting closed when she heard Ed.
"Hey, Sofie...I've been meaning to talk with you about something. During that 'Two Truths and a Lie' game, I implied that my becoming Emperor was a lie and my being wealthy was the truth. Actually, the reverse is true. Everything I possess was given to me by my parents. I have nothing to call my own, not a penny to my name that I earned with my own two hands. Part of the reason I joined this course was so I could learn how to support myself. But it's not the only, or even primary, reason for my being here. The primary reason is because I aim to become Emperor of the galaxy someday. I need to go out there and see my future subjects, and learn who they are, what pleases them, what they struggle with, what challenges they face. I need to see the galaxy. Being a star trader lets me do that at my own pace."
Sofie looked up at the bare underbed of the mattress above her and blinked. It was surprising how soft and elegant spoken these folk were. She knew that words coming from their mouths usually contained lies but she couldn't detect a trace of it in Ed's. She let out a murmur of sound to let him know she was listening, turning on the bed and pulling her thin blanket up to her chin.
"When I was younger, as part of my history lessons, I learned a little about the other people we share this galaxy with. The Terran people suffer under the thumb of tyrannical overlords, with no freedoms, little food, and no future. The Zeranian people live in decadence, suffering in their own way under the weight of their own cultural corruption. The Confederates have to deal every day with rampant lawlessness and piracy. But here? We Crescents enjoy a prosperity not seen in centuries. Our justice system is solid. Our military is strong. Our moral compass is calibrated. The people of the galaxy are crying out in pain, and we have the means to help them. That's why I want to become Emperor."
He was right with his analysis of the galaxy. But she doubted he would serve any good as an emperor. No matter how prosperous the Crescent people were they couldn't solve the problems in Zerania, Terran or the Confederation. It was simply fact. If they were living happily then why sacrifice that to help? No one helped each other nowadays. Ed was simply just a sheltered boy who had never seen the struggle and rightful selfishness people held towards themselves. He had never seen what people were willing to do for money, for power. Sofie believed that the people were't calling out in pain but more in rebellion, there was no one to rescue them so they had to do it themselves. One day, if Ed made it to Emperor he would be overruled, wrecked, ruined by his belief in good, in doing good. Her lips parted against her will and she spoke as he talked of something else
"Don't try to help Edward. We are undeserving of it."
She clenched her fists. She shouldn't have said that.