© 2023 by Nol Galaxy.

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SUBTLE CORRECTIONS

Prant strode through the market stalls greeting the people he passed enthusiastically. He knew that even without the greeting, all eyes would be drawn to his blue governmental robes that swayed as he walked, and the golden embroidery, catching the sunlight that marked him as a planetary protector. At a particularly busy stall, he stopped to speak with the owner. He hugged the old man close, and the man, honored by the attention of a ranking government official, returned the embrace, although he was shocked by the sudden familiarity.

 

“Mr.Japil, it’s so good to see you, I meet your son the other day, did he tell you about it?” Prant asked raising his voice just enough to be heard by the gathering crowd. He then skillfully adjusted their positions, so his good side would be seen by those taking pictures and videos.

 

“Ah, yes he told me about it, I…” the man’s frustratingly quiet voice was cut off as the previously mentioned son, arrived at the scene.

 

“Official Prant,” he yelled as was his nature, “It’s so good to see you again, did you come to buy produce from our stand?” before Prant could reply, the son continued, replacing his father at Prant’s side, and grabbing his hands. “Take anything you want,” he said with large sweeping gestures “you really helped me out the other day; I’ve never seen such telekinetic abilities before. Our colony is certainly blessed to have you… I mean you just lifted my entire truck out of that ditch.” He then turned to the crowded “you should have seen it,” he exclaimed.

 

Prant gave his best smile throughout the man’s speech, and kept his head bowed just enough to project both confidence and humility. After indulging the people with his presence for a few more minutes, he pulled himself away, citing a previous appointment.

 

At the town square, drawn by the excited murmurings of a small music event, Prant decided to make an appearance. The audience, noticing him in the back, excitedly began clearing a path for him to the front.

 

“Oh, please don’t mind me,” he said, smoothing out the nonexistent wrinkles on his robes, and feigning reluctance as the people encouraged him to take a front row seat. Whenever the people of Mito treated him with reverence, Prant couldn’t help the thrill that shot through him. He reveled in their adoration and respect of him, and like an addiction, craved it more each day.

 

He made a show of thanking them for their kindness, but before he could walk to the spot cleared for him, he was shoved suddenly from behind by a scruffy off-worlder, who used the opening to get a better spot for himself. The audience roared as one in outrage for the disrespect shown to Prant. Even the performers stopped playing their instruments. They all began jeering and yelling at the man. Some even tried to grab him, but Prant quickly took control of the situation.

 

As soon as he raised his blue sleeved hand, the people quickly calmed down. Internally he was mad with glee at the control he had over the people, but on the surface, Prant maintained a stern expression, as he encouraged kindness and understanding towards off-worlders. Once order was restored, the musicians restarted their performance, and Prant sat behind the off-worlder who didn’t even acknowledge the scene he’d caused. Prant watched the back of the man’s hooded head with an easy expression, but in his lap, his fist was cleaned so tightly that his nails left red crescent marks on his palms. Small droplets of blood dripped down his palms and stained his cloak, as his irritation grew when he noticed the man nodding along to the music. He suddenly recalled his life before he moved to colony planet Mito.

 

Behind an oppressive wooden desk, governor’s assistant Alkan had nodded to the soft music playing in his office as he informed Prant that his abilities were better suited for trash picking than for politics. It was the final rejection that broke Prant. He was not gifted with intelligence, and his powers were inadequate, by Bist’s standards. To top it off, he wasn’t even fortunate enough to be born into a noble family. It was in complete desperation that he had gotten on the shuttle to Mito, but soon after, his fortunes changed. His powers that were considered inconsequential on Bist, were viewed in awe by the colony citizens who could hardly levitate a spoon. Before the end of his first year on Mito, he had been made a planetary protector, and now six years later, he had a prominent role in the government.

 

 He sneered at the man’s nodding head and thought to himself, that while he didn’t take personal offense at the man’s actions, as a public official, he would have to summon the man later for private correction; like he'd done with other disruptors of social order. Content in his decision, Prant relaxed and enjoyed the show. In the middle of the last performance Prant noticed people shifting and murmuring. Though he was concerned with whatever was riling up the crowd, he kept his back rod straight and his eyes pointed forward at the now panicking performers, and the off-worlder who still remained relaxed and seated. Even as he felt the crowd behind him turn frantic, he ignored it aloofly, determined to not show any distress before the off-worlder did. It wasn’t until he felt a desperate tug on his robes, that he turned to see the people’s frightened expressions and shaking fingers pointing to the sky.

 

When he looked up, he choked on his own breath at the sight of a giant unmanned news blimp slowly falling, as it's hover tech failed. He stood frozen, while around him, the crowd turned into a mob of people running, screaming, and throwing themselves over their children, as if their bodies could act as shields against a hundred tons of metal. Prant was also aware of another group: those who did not panic but stood resolutely around him with an air of expectancy. They were foolish, he thought. They should have known his powers were incapable of stopping the blimp's fall. He couldn't save them all, but he could certainly save himself. Gathering his powers, he lifted himself up. The people unaware of his plan, gave him space when he sent them his most confident smile. Just as he was about to fly off, his robe was tugged again, this time the hooded off-worlder, who had still not gotten up from his seat.

 

Furious, Prant slapped the man's hand, but he wouldn't let go. He tired using his powers to shove him, but they were ineffective. The blimp’s dark shadow was growing over them, and Prant grew desperate, ripping at the man's clothes and spouting profanities. The man adjusted his grip, so he held Prant firmly by the back of his head, forcing them face to face. Prant froze. He knew the characteristic purple eyes of a Zentalian, though till now he’d never seen them in person. A grin spread across the man's bearded face as he released the stunned Prant and pointed at the blimp.

 

At the man's fingertip, a purple ball the size of a fist formed. He casually flicked the ball up, sending it hurling towards the blimp. The moment it made contact, the crowd stood silenced as the blimp was disintegrated into nothingness by the ball of anti-matter. Prant could only gape like the rest of the crowed at the show of power. By the time the people had regained their composure enough to celebrate and thank the man, he had already disappeared, but they began drinking and feasting anyway. Prant did not recover as easily. All he could think about was his earlier arrogant thoughts of bringing the man in for private correction, and how quickly he had decided to abandon the people and save himself.