Zephyr stood outside in the Spiraling Gazebo, looking out at the cloudy skies...the cold, biting snow that was falling onto the ground.
To her, it had been devastating
when the awakening of Deus occurred. The city of Shevat, that
had been flying in the skies for many hundreds of years, only
to be brought down by the monster most believed was "God".
As it was, only a small part was visible...was the rest of the
Citan and the others were just there...the Solarian having told her about the mentally odd man, Ramsus...it seemed to be a relief that he would survive...and might even help them.
It was also a relief to hear that Fei's personalities, including the dangerous Id, had re-integrated, as Citan had told her before now.
"Are we truly looking at Judgement Day before us?" she asked, although now she was alone on the gazebo.
There was no response.
Citan looked through what was
left of Shevat, seemingly calm, though his step was anything but.
"What do you think's going on?" Bart asked Fei, who were both following behind the doctor, "I can't tell with that demeanor of his."
"I don't know, but I can take a guess," was the reply.
Before Fei could reply, one of the soldiers in an Aveh uniform came up to them.
"Doctor Uzuki, thank heavens! I've been looking for you," the soldeier said, sounding somewhat relieved and upset.
"What happened?" Citan asked calmly.
"It's about Yui and Midori...we need to talk over there," the soldier said and pointed to one of the cavernous rooms nearby.
"You two stay here," the Solerian said to the other two behind them, "This is one matter that..."
"You go on ahead, doc," Fei replied, "We better look around here ourselves."
He nodded and went into another room with the soldier.
"Now what were you saying?" Bart asked.
"He was probably looking for his wife and daughter...if I had family on board when Shevat went down, I'd be near frantically looking for them, too," Fei replied.
"Man, I didn't know Citan had family...never acted like he did," Bart said, shaking his head.
"He mentioned it before, you just weren't paying attention."
"Either way, makes me regret what I said about no people with attachments."
"Well, let's buy some equipment for the Gears and ourselves....probably be the last time we do," Fei said, turning towards a booth that looked like the kind that would sell Gear parts.
Bart nodded and went to a soldier that was selling things he had seen earlier.
"Good day, sir....what can I do for you this time?"
"The usual...maximum Omegasols, about 20 Alphasols, 25 Sigmasols," the young pirate replied.
"Okay," the soldier said and listed his price, which Bart paid with some good-natured grumbling.
Fei quickly walked up to them and said, "Hey, Bart...something's up. That one soldier came out of that room but doc didn't."
"I'll check it out in a minute," the other said as he put the new supplies into a bag, "Hope they're okay."
The soldier saw the two men
that were with the doctor coming up towards the room and quickly
said to them,
"Sorry, men, you can't go in right now. Doctor Uzuki said he wanted to be alone."
Fei peeked into the room while Bart said, "Why? What's up?"
The young man silently gasped as he saw Citan sitting at a desk a little ways into the room, face unseen and shaking, and torn sobbing could be heard.
What happened here, he thought and barely heard the soldier explain, "When Shevat fell, Yui, Midori and several children were in one of the sections that was breaking off. The woman managed to get all the children out, including Midori, but...before Yui could escape, the section of the city she was in crashed down....her body was recovered a short time ago."
"You mean--" Bart was asking.
"I'm sorry," the soldier simply said.
"We better get going," Fei quickly said and dragged Bart off in another direction.
Billy sighed as he and Primera
walked about the Yggdrasil. With most of the people having gone
to the Snow Hideout, which was actually what was left of Shevat,
the ship was strangely...silent.
"A bit too quiet, don't you think?" A voice from behind them spoke.
Billy turned and grinned, saying, "A bit creepy. What're you doing still here, Maison?"
"I already stocked on supplies a while back. No other need for me to be down there, wouldn't you agree?"
"Well, aren't there any old friends you'd want to see one---I mean see again?"
The old knight shook his head, "No, I don't think so. All of those are either here on the ship or in Bledavik...and I already said my goodbyes there."
"Bi...lly..." a little voice beside them suddenly said.
Billy turned to the left, staring incredulously at Primera. "Did you say something?"
"Bi...lly. Billy," she said with a little smile.
The young ex-Etone waited for a minute then burst out laughing. Maison couldn't hide a grin either.
"Citan was right, you're calling for me now! Wait'll I tell him the good news!" the young boy said to his sister.
Rico grumbled as he walked about the Snow hideout. The place really wasn't much after the flying city's destruction, not to him, anyway.
What surprised him was news from the remaining Kislev soldiers...Kaiser Sigmund had gone missing around the same time that Deus' beams attacked Nortune...some people said that he was dead, while others said that he escaped somehow.
What would have happened to my life if I weren't born a demi-human, he wondered, Would I still have been so quick to throw everything away? And all the people I've met...Fei and Citan...would they still have been in D Block? I can't say whether the world would be like this now or not...whether it would have been better or worse.
"What am I thinking?" he muttered, "Can't change what's happened...but can we really change this world's fate?"
"There chu are!" a squeakish voice spoke from behind, "I can't find my chu-chus! Have you seen them?"
"I haven't seen them around," he grumbled, "Seems a lot of people and creatures vanished with most of Shevat."
"I know what chu mean. I'm scared by it...Have chu seen the others?"
"I saw Bart and Fei around the main part near the guest room but I guess the others are close to the ship if not on it."
"Okay...I guess I'll see chu later, when we're ready," Chu-chu said with a sigh and took off.
"Eve of Judgement Day...or Armegeddon's Eve," Rico muttered and walked on.
Maria grinned as she sat in
the room with the only other two inhabitants.
"So you forgive him then?" she said to one of them, Dan.
"Well...umm...yeah, I guess. I dunno, Won't ya let me think about it?" he said irritatedly.
"Okay, okay, I'll stop pestering about it," she said with a laugh.
"You got to see your grandpa?" he asked.
"I did. I'll say, it was a relief to know that at least one of them was alive...and human."
"Bal's nice," the other girl in the room, Midori, said, "He even played with me a while after fixing father's friend's Gears."
Actually, even though Midori didn't move her lips, the other two heard it as if she did.
"Is Citan here?" Maria asked.
"I think so but...I think he found out what happened."
"Oh, no. Poor Citan...it must be really hard on him right now. Him and you both," Dan remarked.
"I hope Fei gets here before we all have to go...I know you have a lot to discussing to do."
"I thought you were gonna stop pestering about that!"
Fei sighed sadly as he walked
back to the ship. Too many people had died when Deus struck out
at the planet, and not just on Ignas...first the deaths in Lahan...then
Now Citan's wife was dead.
And Elly might be as well...
He shook his head at the thought.
I can't be thinking that, not now. Elly's strong, she's got to still be alive! Doc's lost his...I can't lose mine!
Jesiah and Sigurd sat on board
the Yggdrasil's Gun Room, helping themselves. For once, neither
felt like getting into the booze...they were just drinking plain
water and juice.
"Ever wonder where the others might be doing?" the former asked.
"Sometimes...then again, it's none of my business."
"Well...think about this, then. Up there, when Solaris existed...I wonder if they ever thought or imagined what the -Time- of the -Gospel- would actually mean or do?"
"I don't think so. Then again, their Armageddon came around before Deus ever woke up," Sigurd said with a sigh.
"Yeah...who knows when ours will come?" Jesiah asked, then took another gulp of some type of juice.
"Not for a long time if we can help it," Sigurd replied, "Not if we have anything to say about it."
"You know, it'll be soon one way or another.....either the end of the physical world...or the end of the world as we know it. If we beat Deus, you remember what Hyuga said will happen. All our Gears will stop, and Ether power will be gone forever. Either way, Armegeddon's coming."
"Now you're starting to depress me."
With the rising of the sun the next morning came a change to everyone on the ship and in the hideout.
Everyone gathered on the bridge of the ship. It was evident the mood that most were in. Citan was rather quiet, moreso than usual, with rather reddened eyes, which also held rather unusual emotions within: anger, grief, sorrow...and determination.
Fei and Bart knew what was up but wisely kept quiet about it...the last thing they needed was the grieving doctor to explode in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"All right," Sigurd said, "This is it. I don't think I need to say this but...there's no turning back now. Judgement Day for the planet's come...let's make the Judgement in our favor, make sure that the people that got hurt or died didn't do it in vain."
"This one's for Margie and Aveh," Bart said, agreeing.
"The people of Lahan and Elly," Fei added.
"The innocents put in that Soylent System," Jesiah agreed, "And the stolen surface people."
"This's for all the chu-chus," Chu-chu added with a nod.
"The people of Shevat," Maria said with steel in her voice, which was unusual, "and my father."
"For Zeboim," Emerelda quietly said.
"And for Yui," Citan spoke in a strange tone of voice...half calm, partly in pain and anger...all determined.
"All of them and for the world!" Sigurd said, "Let's go get him!"
With that, Yggdrasil rose into the air as the sun rose fully into the sky...a world's fate in the balance.