This was the third time in my life I’d been truth-drugged. I should be getting used to it, I suppose. I lay back and waited and looked around at all the writers' closed faces. Well. Either closed or vulpine. They’ll pick over my entrails. I’m glad I don’t have anything to hide any longer.
Chevenga started flirting with Kallijas who turned out to be a laugher as he went under. Everything Chevenga said to him elicited a flood of, of all things, giggles. I felt the tears gathering in my eyes and closed them. I couldn't swallow the lump in the throat. I shouldn’t feel ashamed that they saw this and I was glad I was already quite a distance away from my feelings.
It was the floating feeling. I actually liked that. I realized why I cried on the way into truth-drug, as Krero made sure the writers knew the routine for asking. It was because I carried so much; so much in my muscles that everything hurt a little bit all the time. Under truth-drug, the hurts all went away. My gut un-knotted, my neck and shoulders. My whole torso unknotted. It was almost shocking that it all just vanished like that and for that reason, I wept.
Chevenga started telling Kallijas more explicitly what he’d like to do and Krero asked him to stop. If I could have turned my head I would have seen that Kallijas wouldn’t be blushing now. He was under the influence of truth-drug. I think I am. I’m not crying any more.
They essentially asked us the same questions as they did in the presser. They asked me if I lied about anything in the presser and I was happy to just be able to say ‘No.’
They asked me if I wanted Chevenga and if I was going to be his lover -- more specifically his sex boy. Both he and I could say no to that, and did. They weren’t that straightforward, knowing that we would remember what was asked and how. But the true point of the whole thing was that we three were willing to submit to their questions under truth-drug.
I wished I could see Intharas’s face when he asked me “To Minis Aan. Did you lie to us in the presser earlier?” and I answered “No.” but I was busy gazing at the Chamber Ceiling and could not turn my head.
It was a much shorter session than the press conference since we could only answer simple yes/no questions and Krero wound things up smoothly. Servants came to show the writers out. Krero saw to it that Chevenga and Kallijas were carried off to the Imperial bedchamber. A servant laid a light coverlet over me which was welcome. I missed Gannara, but he was at the Diamond looking after things over there.
The servant – a fellow I didn’t know -- didn't sit next to me and watch me direct but rather sat near the door and gave me privacy, which was nice. I was coming out of it when my grandfather came in and sat with me, dismissing the servant. “How are you doing, Minis?” he asked me quietly.
“Good enough.” I answered, and burst into tears all over again. He set his hand on my shoulder and wiped my face as I sobbed… still too limp to get up or restrain myself. “S.s.s.s.s.orry… Grandfather… I’m s.s.s.sorry…”
“No need to apologize, Grandson.”
Just hearing that, then, under that much influence still, was enough to help me gain a little composure. But though I could stop sobbing, I still wept. “I…still… feel badly.”
“I understand. It is merely a typical side effect of truth drug.” He had a cool cloth as well as his handkerchief and it felt so good to have enough control to turn my own head into his hand. “You did very well, Grandson. It is harrowing to tell so much truth, and under coercion, even if you told the truth in the first place.”
“I don’t know if I can do this, Grandfather.”
“Nonsense. You have chosen your course and have taken the first steps to follow through to the end. Inasmuch as you are Mahid, you will do this. Inasmuch as you are an Aan, you can do this. Do not doubt your own strength. That is what children do.”
“Yes, Grandfather.” I didn’t whine to him that I was supposedly still a child. The drug had worn off that much. Even if I was only second threshold, I was close enough to third that I should not be doing childish things, still.
“Kyriala… have you seen Nuninibas?”
“No, mama. He was in the garden with Ilesias last I heard. I think I heard his dog barking a while ago.”
“Thank you, darling. I shall continue seeking him. It is time for his sword-practice and his teacher is livid.”
“Perhaps he went to sit with Ilesias’s class with Gian?”
“I’ll check dear, thank you.”