Over thirty years had passed since Lidenbrock had passed. Princess Poma was never the same afterwards, she lacked any enthusiasm, and the warm glow of her eyes was replaced with constant melancholy wrapped in dark rings of depression. Their son was named Jason, after her husband’s father. He aged faster than the average Neomad child, and abnormally slower than the average human. An outcast in a city of outcasts
As servants finish dressing Jason, she finished entering the security code into the apartment pod terminal beside the mercurial free forming door. Grabbing Jason's hand she starts down the hallway with her hood pulled up. Looking back to make sure no one had followed, she dips into a service room, peaking one more time through the door before closing it and using the terminal to solidify the entry. The regal princess gracefully presses her hands to the walls using some uncharted technique to locate a lock.
Her mind calculating the possible points as she responds in the surface language taught to her by her late husband, focused on the wall with her palms flat against it, “Our people have lived in this city, for over thirty thousand years my son."
"Thirty two thousand, four hundred eighty six..." He mumbles,
She speaks in a sweet but vacant voice, momentarily smiling at him before continuing "It has been filled with many secrets over the time since our breaking from the surface world... This City has adapted to us, bent and twisted itself to fit our needs each decade, as soon as it was needed..." Her hand reaches out down by her knee, clicking in a smooth non-organic metal tile, the wall sliding back and to the side with the sound of grinding ancient gears, "Many secrets only the wise few know of. " Smirking reassuringly at her son, the two walk down the dark corridor with only the light from her neon luminescent bracelets lighting the way until His skin changes rapidly to a luminescent green, his mother ever surprised by his adaptations staring in astonishment as they walked towards the end.
Steel turns to stone as his fingers graze against the wet rock towards an outlined square of light from a flickering fire on the other side. Poma pushed the rock in four key areas, square bolts rolling inward making it drag slowly to the left, revealing a large encampment of cells with a foul smelling river running through the middle meandering out of a spillway
Bending down on one knee she holds Jason by both shoulders, her drained eyes beaming into his own, "You are young, but you are not stupid. I have taught you everything I know about the surface, everything your father taught me, everything your uncle has told me."
"...? I was never told about an uncle... What...?" He asked with a worried expression on his youthful thirty year aged adolescent face.
Putting her hands on his face she locks his gaze in “You need to listen very carefully, what I say next will be is the most important thing you will ever hear"
"You were told how I met your father, how easily we joined in union...it was not purely on love..." Her eyes water as they strain with willful fortitude to make sure every word sunk into her son "I have been to the surface... as has your grandfather, many...many times. There are others like you, a small handful of hybrids that live above, and waiting”
"Shhh... Above us is a city; in that city is one like you. His given name a millennia ago was your Alexander...When he conquered most of the charted world in the pursuit of my father’s approval. Until he realized..." A tear runs down her cheek from the well of water on the rim of her almond eyes
"Jason...your grandfather was, and is, a tyrant. In his youth he used Alexander as a smoke screen to conquer and eliminate the Sapiens, in an attempt to raise our people to the surface World as the rightful rulers. Alexander saw through the masterful leader our father painted himself as, to what I can only guess I see now, an aging monster desperate to leave a mark on the world, and he would have his mark be the stain of innocent blood." Wiping her eyes she scoops Jason up and jogs over to a wall as unnoticed prisoners begin to howl and bang rusted cups on the bars, a glazed look of lamentation in their eyes, the boy's chest heathing frightfully "Who are they mommy?!"
"These...are your other uncles and aunts. Worse failures than Alexander in father's eyes, only because they were born more human than Neomad... It's too late for them." Setting Jason back down on his feet Poma lays flat on her stomach, reaching into a gap in the floor of the mountainous prison wall, a click and whir of the steam controlled locking mechanism billows hot fog from the crevices, lifting just enough at the bottom to fit a small body through. Rolling her hands back towards her chest as she sit on her knees, Jason running into her arms, she kisses him on the forehead and hugs him tight before pulling him back, "No more tears, no more weakness and grooming. You must be strong for all of us." Meanwhile in the distance the clapping of boot to stone grows as the guards begin ushering through the main entry to the abnormal screams of the long docile prisoners, catching a glimpse of the glowing bracelets on Poma's wrists and moving in.
"Go through the tunnel, there will be a self-serviced transport hatch, it will take you directly to Grimm City. Your uncle will not be far behind. I only know he lives in the city to spite father. Don't be nervous when you reach the top, you needn't find him, he will find you. Do you understand?" Looking to the shadows climbing the walls, marching closer, Jason feels his mothers' hand push his cheek towards her and nods, "Never forget. Go!" Climbing into the hole the soldiers round the corner, acting on instinct to what appeared to be the escape of one of the prisoners. Holding his hand she smiles at Jason as the door slides down. Jason returns it with tears in his eyes as her face rolls out of view, a spurt of blood just making it through the closing slit. He sat in the darkness for what seemed like days, as the prince engraves her last words in his mind, going through the seven stages of grief in as many minute. His eyes harden in the darkness as they begin to glow red, his body matching the hue to light his way to the escape dock. Climbing in the inputs the access code, a simplified archaic version of the advanced technology they used today.
He was spat out into an alleyway through a false sewer drain with a lid stamped circa 1872, rolling onto the foreign ground of graveled tar, his eyes reforming to take in the bright gas lamp light, lungs shifting themselves in his chest to absorb the toxic air. Skin darkening to a base brown to absorb heat in the cold night. Finally adapting Jason stands, appearing at least ten years older in his tight germ repelling suit and hoodie, walking down the cobbled roads with his head hung low, his focus only on finding shelter before the logically inevitable search party visits the city in guise.
Just then a cherry red carriage pulls beside him, clopping slowly to a stop as the door opens, a slender white man in a pinstripe suit and matching fedora blowing cigar smoke out the opposite window before stepping out, Jason's eyes dark around the side, sunken into his scowl "Who are you..." He asks in native Neomad
"My name is Joe"
"You can call me Alexander"