"So," the woman sitting before me asked, smoothing her skirt down as she picked up her pencil and notebook. "What's it like to be the ruler of the world?"
"Frankly?" I replied "Exhausting." I leaned back in my chair, looking lazily out over the city.
This was not the expected answer. I could feel the surprise emanating from her. The blonde reporter looked up sharply, bangs swaying on her forehead. "Excuse me?"
"First there was the political maneuvering to get to this spot," I said idly, wiping off a speck of dust from the seat of my black chair. "Then there's the baggage that people expect you to take care of when you're the leader." I sighed, standing and turning to the window completely, clasping my hands behind my back. "What good is owning the world if no one follows you? In order to keep my kingdom, short of making everyone hate and fear me, I have to please the people."
"Well . . ." the reporter said as her pencil scratched frantically across paper. She cleared her throat after a moment. "Not a lot is known about how you rose to power . . . ."
"Mm," I said, rolling my shoulders. "Okay. I'll bite."
What could it hurt to tell everyone, now that I was the undisputed ruler? Perhaps a hero would rise against me.
"I had always been a people-pleaser. In school, I was always the 'teacher's pet.' I wanted people to think the best of me, and I always knew just what to say to get people on my good side. In essence, I had a superpower--and unlikely one, but one nevertheless."
I paused, thinking as I tapped my thumb over the other. The girl was anticipating my next words, her aura abuzz with curiosity. I smiled to myself, then continued.
"I've had it all my life, yet I know no one else who can do what I can--I can sense what people want to hear. I can 'read' people's emotions, as it were."
The woman shifted in her seat as she scribbled. You can tell what I'm thinking? her aura seemed to say, the sharp scent of trepidation in the air. I glanced back at her with my smile, and her eyes darted away.
"Years passed. I graduated high school with a diploma, and found I had nothing. Years of sucking up to teachers, my parents, and other students had gotten me nowhere--except for a stinking diploma, which any old loser can get.
"That's when I decided I was done. I had honed my art enough at this point that I knew what I wanted to do. I didn't want to be teased for being a kiss-ass anymore. I wanted people to kiss my ass, for once in my life.
"It didn't start out as 'world domination.' First it was becoming mayor of the city. I can't tell you how many hands I had to shake, how many meetings I had to attend, the debates I had to give . . . but in a short six months, I was elected president of the city."
I paused to chuckle. "I wanted people to bow down to me, and how they did. And then, I realized, I wanted more. Next it was creeping up to becoming state governor. Then I slowly worked my way up to being a congressman--I barely met the minimum criteria of being twenty-five, at the time.
"Little did people know, six years later, at age thirty-one, I would be the youngest president--or likely the youngest, anyways. I never was all that good at history--America had ever seen.
"And then, like dominoes, the others fell before me." I smiled. The foreign nations had been a bit harder to conquer than America, due to their obstinacy, but I had won in the end. "It's easy to win when you know what everyone wants--and you have the power to grant it."
Everything in Between
Her pencil scribbling on the page was the only thing heard in the office for a moment. She wanted to get all of this new information down.
Then there was silence in the office as I continued to survey the city below. I could feel her aura behind me--wondrous, in awe of me. That was to be expected.
"You once declared yourself as evil," she finally said, her aura becoming curious again.
The way of a reporter, I mused. In awe one moment, then right after you again.
"Why is that?" she questioned when I didn't respond.
By the time I had taken over the world, the world didn't know what had happened. One minute there were wars and contentions, and the next, unified beneath my flag.
"I'm evil because there was no one to stop me," I replied simply.
The confusion was evident all over her face. I didn't need a supernatural ability to sense it. "How would that make you evil?" she questioned. "You ended wars--world hunger, even. You're a hero!"
A wry smile twisted my face. "Just because you can doesn't always mean you should. I could manipulate you right now into sleeping with me."
"But you aren't," she pointed out, emphasizing it with a pencil wag at me.
"Yes. Mostly because I have no interest in doing such a thing," I mused. I didn't care because I could manipulate anyone the hell I wanted to sleep with me. People had ceased to be of great interest to me long ago, after so many years of twisting them to what I wanted. "However, I used base emotional manipulation to get where I am today. Tell me . . . when has that ever been the act of a hero?"
She paused, mouth open as if to respond. Then she shut it, frowning as she scrutinized me. Her aura was wary--almost betrayed. A counterfeit, it accused.
It would be right.
I smirked. "What was your name, again?"