Kahlan and Cara walked side by side on their journey towards the Valley of Oblivion. Richard's compass had shown that this would be the way from now on.
"Maybe if we manage to find the Box of Times early enough, we could try to make things a little better", Kahlan spoke to Cara in a friendly tone. It was crucial to have Cara back with them to secure Seeker's quest.
"What is it with this box that is so important?" Cara asked.
Kahlan spoke about the Box of Times that they were after, and it was the most recently seen in the Valley of Oblivion. Zedd had explained to her and Richard that this strange box contained Time's Arrows.
"The flow of these arrows controlled everything: one couldn't stop their flow, but one could alter them for good or for bad purposes. Each arrow controlled something: There were arrows of Emotions, of War, of Love, even of Time and Perception..."
"Arrows of War and Love?" Cara laughed and looked incredulous at Kahlan. "You mean somebody could manipulate them and we would feel it?"
"Yes, if Evil forces have been able to disturb the arrows contained in this box... It would mean misery in this part of the Earth, manipulation of our passions, misinterpretations..."
"Okay, Kahlan, hold on. Passions, all that stuff? You expect me to believe it just like that? Hmm..." she smiled but looked thoughtful.
Kahlan listened with a kind of enjoyment Cara's forthright comments. And yes, Cara would definitely be the most challenging person to manipulate, since she was precisely trained to be strong against any mental weaknesses. Kahlan remembered so well the tribunal where she was ordered to execute Cara by confession. At that moment, Cara's flaming eyes and her expression of no remorse proved that nobody could change her mind. In that confrontation, Kahlan had also had a strange feeling that...
"Zedd, Richard, can it be that Rahl has already manipulated the Arrows contained in the box?" Cara's question interrupted her.
"You may be right Cara", Richard said, "we wouldn't know any more what is wrong and what is right. Like that a friend would appear as an enemy, or an enemy as a friend, you wouldn't trust your feelings." Richard looked at Kahlan who was watching him strangely. "What?"
"Oh nothing Richard."
Kahlan continued walking sunk in her thoughts. It was true that two forces had been playing in her mind since Cara joined the group. The first force was the disturbing one of the terrible thing she could never forget. That Cara had murdered her sister. Her beloved sister! Even she probably couldn't have done otherwise. But also slowly she had been able to forgive Cara, and she wanted to believe Seeker's words that people can change.
The second force in Kahlan's mind was capricious. She felt something in the presence of Cara that she didn't understand well. It was her appearance, her way of speaking, her attitude of acting first and asking for permission later. Kahlan glanced over Cara's look, admittedly a gorgeous look considering the figure she had and her tightly fitting costume. Maybe she was simply drawn to Cara's down-to-earth style and her ability to cold-blood wield her agiels or any sharper weapons if that was case. And as a woman she could say that Cara was - plain and straight - a beauty. A down-to-earth beauty queen with a set of skills she was kind of jealous of.
"I don't believe this manipulation has been going on for a long time", Zedd commented, "otherwise we would have noticed it earlier."
"I think you are wrong, Zedd. I have noticed it earlier," Cara said.
"Really?" Zedd raised his eyebrows.
Richard smiled and moved closer to Kahlan. "Aww, nice! Cara explaining things to Zedd." They listened.
"Zedd, I have noticed the manipulation from very early on. In fact, it worked so strongly against me when I was taken from my home to become Mord-Sith. Even I was very young, I should have known better my father's feeling toward me in that prison! His feelings before I..."
"Cara, please you were really young at that age!" Richard touched her arm but Cara shook it off and continued.
"Zedd, I'm convinced that manipulation of Time's Arrows is not a recent phenomenon."
"She might be right", Richard whispered to Kahlan.
"But Cara…" The wizard opened his mouth.
"I felt it very strongly Zedd! I remember it like yesterday and I understand it now."
The wizard collected his thoughts and continued after a long time.
"I didn't want to reveal this to you yet. But Cara, you are right. The manipulation of our feelings through the Box of Times has been going on much longer than I wanted you to believe. It's much more dangerous than what you have known so far."
All three were horrified from Zedd's revelation.
"What can we do?" Kahlan asked.
"The Box of Times needs to be returned to a safe place, somewhere where it is surrounded by kind people. Before that, controlling this box allows any Evil force to enter your dreams, change your perceptions, influence..."
"Kind of magic?" Richard asked.
"More than magic. It really changes reality. So Cara, even you will have trouble to fight it."
Richard, Cara and Kahlan looked perplexed at each other. They were not sure if they understood.
"Okay, cut it wizard! Enough deep stuff for now", Cara winked her eye to Richard and Kahlan. "Let's just move on and find that box."