Doctor Citan Uzuki kept his
emotionless gaze fixed on the distant horizon, his arms crossed
over his chest as the wind twisted and twirled about him in the
open tower, the highest point in Shevat. It was all he could do
to not look at her, the woman who was his only true weakness.
All it would take is one look into those beautiful gold
eyes and all the defences he'd worked up since he'd left Lahan would be annihilated.
" You're going, aren't you... To Solaris... " Yui was trying to keep all her emotions buried deep inside, but it was becoming too difficult. Her beloved husband may never come back and this fact was tearing her apart. But,... she couldn't show him how vulnerable she really was without him, it would only make things more difficult for him.
" Yes... " Citan replied, fighting the urge to face. " I have chosen my own path. There is no turning back... "
This is going to be another
one of those conversations... Where he's the cold, withdrawn Solarian...
and not my husband...
Yui blinked away unwanted tears as a new wave of deep sadness
and heartbreak hit her blindside. " You will be hurt... "
She pleaded, but quickly added, " they will also be hurt..."
Citan tensed up and closed his dark brown eyes. I must remain strong... " Indeed... But I could not find another path choose... "
A crushed look washed over Yui's
serene face. There was another path, but he didn't even consider
it, not that he would have allowed him to abandon Fei and the
others anyway. " If I happen to be overcome... " He
took a deep breath, contemplating that grim reality. That would
mean he would never see Yui again. He quickly shook that thought
from his mind. I must remain calm... " At that point,
I have already... "
" Don't say anymore ." She whispered, her pain seeping through her words. " I already know... " Yui clutched his sword, seeming to draw strength from it simply because it was his. Enough strength to move closer to him and realize, she had to let him go... " Now here. This is your sword... Please... Please come back alive !"
...Please come back to me...
Citan couldn't fight it any longer, without hesitation, he turned and faced her. He kept his eyes downcast, his gaze resting on the katana her slender hands was holding.
" Then you too... Please take care of Midori ." His fingers brushed across hers as he sat the sword aside and grasped her slender hand. A faint smile crossed her lips as her golden eyes locked with his and he drew her closer...
" Doc ?" Fei called
one last time before Citan was finally startled out of his daze.
" Oh, Fei... You startled me ." Citan removed his glasses and began to clean them with his shirt. If it hadn't been for Yui's quick thinking, I would be blind.
" You okay, doc ?" Fei asked, his tone harboring deep concern. I've never seen doc like this...
Citan put his glasses on and gave Fei a bewildered look. " Of course, Fei. I'm fine ."
Fei gave him a suspicious look, but decided not to pry. It had always proved useless in the past to extract information from him on a more personal level. " Well, I came to tell you that we arrived at the Snowfield Hideout."
" Oh... " Citan adjusted his glasses one more time and got up. " Thank you, Fei ."
Citan glanced around disdainfully
at the tearful reunions of his friends, feeling more isolated
and alone every fleeting second. The one he loved was gone...
Fei and Elly; Bart and Margie; Billy, Jessiah, and Primera; it
could go on forever. And yet he foolishly waited, yearning to
hear his wife call out for him. He sighed and turned away,
finally accepting the grave reality of her death. I came back alive, Yui... Why aren't you here? You can't leave me yet... I still need you...
" F- Father !" A soft, child-like voice called out, causing Citan to twirl around just in time to see Midori running towards him with open arms. Midori... I still have her... Our daughter... Citan smiled, booming with pride as little Midori Uzuki jumped into his out-stretched embrace and wrapped her tiny arms around his neck. " ...Daddy..."
Citan almost had a heart attack, but managed to retain his composure. She's never called out for me...
" Its okay, Midori ." He soothed. " I'm here ."
Citan never kept his gaze fixed on one object as he walked further down the hall, expecting a Wel to jump out any minute. Billy was somewhere exploring the hall in the opposite direction, equally guarded and silent. They had lost contact with each other a few moments ago.
Citan and Billy were the only two who could afford to come when word reached Nisan that there were survivors staying here who couldn't reach the 'sanctuary'. And although he had hesitated, Citan allowed Midori to stay with Jessie and Primera while he was away. Yui would have clobbered me in the head with a frying pan for that one... If she were still here... Now's not the time to start mourning again, Hyuga Ricdeau! You couldn't save your wife, but you can save these people... So pull yourself together!
Citan nodded to himself as he walked down another flight of stairs, venturing deeper into the bowels of Ethos H.Q. I'm getting better at this... It's easier to not think of her when I stay busy... and when I'm not doting on Midori, her mirror-image minus my eyes... It would have been unbearable if Midori had Yui's eyes...
Citan stopped dead in his tracks
and drew his sword. Someone... or something was very close by,
watching him. In the distance, he heard another sword being drawn
and turned around just in time to see a cloaked figure charging
at him. " Wait! I'm not you're enemy !"
The small, cloaked figure stopped, but remained in battle stance. " Hmph! That's what the last of your kind said !" A female voice spat back vehemently. " But I'll kill you like I did him for hurting the children !" She ran foward and brought the blade crashing down against his. Citan kicked her back, sending her sliding to the floor.
" I don't want to hurt you, miss ." Citan tried to reason as she jumped back up.
" You're gonna have to
if you want to live !" She lunged again, but this time Citan
side-stepped her. He quickly grabbed her by the waist and disarmed
her. She began struggling to free herself from his grasp, kicking
and punching wildly. He grabbed one of her wrists in a death-like
grip with his free hand and twisted it behind her back. Her yelp
from the pain caused Citan to freeze. The memory from his first
meeting with Yui flooded into his mind like a wave crashing in
at high-tide. He had been badly wounded and thought she was the
enemy, but in all honesty, it was because Lady Yui Gaspar that
he survived at all.
Citan let go of her wrist and jerked down her hood only to find himself staring into a pair of frightened gold eyes. He stepped back as she jerked away, a thousand different pent-up emotions trying to flood into his usually emotionless, Solarian exterior.
" Y-Yui ?" The woman didn't reply but instead, unleashed a weak deathblow combo. Citan reluctantly shoved her back, but not nearly as hard this time. " Yui !"
" Stop it !!" She raged as she unleashed another deathblow.
" Citan !" Billy shouted as he came running towards them, drawing his gun.
" Billy, no !!" Citan panicked, but it was too late, Billy had already fired two shots at the woman. Without hesitation, Citan placed himself between her and Billy's gun. Billy's eyes grew wide and dropped his gun in shock when both bullets pierced through Citan's back. Citan fell forward as the woman caught him but her knees buckled under the unexpected weight and they both collapsed on the floor.
The last thing Citan remembered was Billy yelling, " oh my GOD !!" and staring into his wife's beautiful gold eyes before he was engulfed by darkness... Yui...
It all seemed to happen in slow motion; the Etone's gunfire and that man falling into her arms; but, yet it happened so fast Yui didn't even have time to blink. His unexpected weight caused her knees to buckle and they both fell to the floor.
" Oh my GOD !!"
Yui barely heard him, shifting under the man until his head was resting in her lap.
Run... Run, you fool... They'll capture you if you don't... Although it made sense to do so, her heart prevented her from moving. She was captivated by his deep, sensual brown eyes; the way they seemed to penetrate the very essence of her soul, as if only she could ease his pain. Whoever you are... I'm sorry... Her golden eyes flew up when she finally came to her senses and saw the Etone rushing towards them. At that point, her instincts took over, causing her to grab her sword and run.
" Wait !!" Billy yelled as Yui disappeared down another flight of stairs. " Oh my god, Citan,... you damned old fool..." Billy ripped open his shirt and began examining the bullet wounds. " You fool... why'd you do such a damned fool thing?..."
Yui fell back against a wall several floors below, panting heavily and watching to see if the Etone had followed her. After several moments of dead silence, she relaxed and sheathed her small sword in the folds of her cloak. How did he know my name?...The way he looked at me... as if he knew me... intimately...
" ... Yui?..." A gentle, aged voice whispered from the shadows in concern. Yui jumped, gasping in fright. She quickly recovered and eyed the shadowed doorway curiously. " You startled me, Anna ."
An elderly woman suddenly crept out from her hiding place in the shadows and reached Yui's side. Anna was in her late sixties, early seventies with long, silvery hair pulled back to show a whithered, sun-kissed face with kind, pale blue eyes. " What happened ?"
" Where're the children ?" Yui inquired as she began rebraiding her honey-gold hair and pulled her hood up to conceal her face.
" Safe..." Anna glanced up at the young woman. " Down below ."
" Good place for them... Its a good place for you... "
" What happened up there, Yui ?" Anna tried again.
" Nothing important, Anna. Don't worry about it ." Yui's thought suddenly fell on the man that now lay dying in a pool of his own blood up above as she glanced down at her bruising wrist. I've got to help him... He needs me... Her eyes shot up at the sound of another growl. " Anna, get down below ."
" Why ?"
" I think the Wels are back..." Yui whispered, stealthily drawing her sword and moving towards the staircase. " Please, Anna,...Take care of the children ."
" Be careful, Yui..."
Billy's head shot up in surprise and quickly drew his gun when a slender, cloaked figure appeared in the doorway, sword drawn. " Get down ." She commanded. Billy reluctantly obeyed just as a Wel lunged over him and slashed out at Yui. With all dexterity she jumped back to avoid the blow and hastily lunged forward with her sword, slicing open the Wel's chest. He growled in pain and and attacked again. Yui twirled past him in a swirl of black garments, bringing her blade back and defeating the foe.
Giving the blade a victory twirl, she sheathed her sword and reached Billy's side. Billy gave her a skeptical look with his sky-blue eyes. " I don't know whether I should thank you or shoot you ."
" Please... This has all been a misunderstanding..." Yui whispered, her golden gaze resting on an unconscious Citan.
" You can say that again ." Billy replied.
" How is he ?"
" I have to get him to a doctor,...or else..."
Yui collapsed to her knees beside them. " I'm so sorry... This is all my fault..."
" Hey, calm down ." Billy commanded. " I'm the one who shot him..." He admitted guiltily. " Just who are you ?"
" Yui what ?"
" I don't have a last name ."
" Why not ?"
" I don't remember it ."
Thats odd... Billy thought to himself. " How do you know Citan then ?"
" I don't ."
" He sure seemed to know you ." Billy remarked.
" I've never laid eyes on him before in my life ." Before Billy could reply, another Wel roared in the distance. Yui and Billy both drew their weapons in unison. " Get him out of here. I'll cover you ."
" It's too dangerous--"
" I can take care of myself. Go!"
Yui waited until Billy had Citan outside before she cloased the large double doors with an exasperated gasp, waiting for the appearance of more Wels. Why was I so drawn to that man... Maybe I did know him... Erghh... Why must all my memories be such a blur?... Yui hesitantly looked down at her right hand, her sword hand. With
great deliberation, she removed the black glove, exposing a gentle, slender hand. Her golden eyes rested on the small wedding band around her ring finger, a deep sadness washing over her. Is he the one that made the engraving inside my ring?... Why can't I remember ?
Approuching footsteps caused Yui to drop her glove and take a combat stance, anticipating another Wel. " Sister Yui..."
Yui let out a sigh of relief and set down her sword. " I'm right here, Mary ." She slowly stepped forward, reaching out for Mary. Suddenly, a Wel dove out at Yui from the side, knocking her to the floor. Yui could hear Mary screaming her name out in the distance as she recovered from the fall and wrestled for her life with the Wel.
She felt her body weakening against the Wel's awesome strength, but she couldn't give up, it would mean her and Mary's life. Yui twisted around, reaching out for her sword. The Wel took advantage of her vulnerable position and bit down on her arm. " Aghh!!!" She cried out in pain as his razor sharp teeth tore into her flesh. She began punching and kicking her attacker, trying to free herself from the excruciating pain. She finally managed to kick him off her and rolled over to her sword. Mary ran to Yui in fear of the infuriated Wel as she slowly pulled herself up, cradling her blood-soaked arm and picking up her sword.
The Wel got up with lightning speed, flashing Yui a feral grin. Yui steadied herself, standing between Mary and the enemy, anticipating the next attack. " Be careful, Yui ." Mary whispered, hiding behind a desecrated statue.
Yui side-stepped the Wel's outstretched claw, swiping down at his midsection. The Wel swiftly slashed out at her in blind fury, slicing her acrossed the stomach and knocking her into a wall. She hit the wall with a loud thump and winced when a sharp pain shot up her arm. The Wel charged after her without hesitaion; Yui struggled to bring up her sword and impaled him. She let out a sigh of relief, relaxing against the cold wall.
" Sister Yui!" Mary came running towards her. " You're bleeding !!"
Yui gave her a weak smile in reassurance, glancing at her blood-soaked clothing. " I'll be fine... I just...need... to rest ." Mary removed her worn-out cape and began wiping away the blood on Yui's exposed hand. " Thank you, dearest ."
" Yui !!" Anna called from the open doorway, rushing to her young friend's side.
" Dear god... You're bleeding to death !"
" Calm down, Anna..." She commaned weakly, her face losing color. " They'll heal ." She extended her hand out. " Now,...please... help me up ."
Anna hesitantly obeyed, not trusting Yui's self-diagnosis. She encircled Yui's tiny waist, careful not to touch her wounds as they began to walk. After a few steps, Yui lost her balance and nearly fainted. Anna gently laid her down on the cold floor, wiping away the blood and sweat collecting on her forehead. " Oh, Yui... Poor dear... Hang in there..." Anna whispered as Yui's eyes began to close and she lost her grip on conscious reality.
Midori Uzuki suppressed a smile in delight when she felt the tug of a fish biting on her fishing line, looking up to her great-grandfather. Wiseman Gaspar instantly knew what she was saying with those big brown eyes and bent down to help her. Primera Black, too, felt the tug of a fish and looked up to Jessie. " Papa..."
Jessie, who had been brooding against a tree, instantly shot up to help his daughter. He came down here with Primera and Midori to fish with Wiseman Gaspar, thinking he'd do it the **old fashioned way** by shooting the fish out of the water.
Gaspar quickly let him know otherwise by taking his guns away and refusing to give them back. It only made matters worse by taking the small amount of alcohol he'd brought away too.
A deep sadness washed over Midori and she sat down on a nearby tree trunk, her angelic face etched in deep thought. Gaspar instantly noticed the change and took a seat beside her after tossing the fish back into the water. " I'm sorry, Midori. We had to let the fish go ."
Jessie and Primera realized something was wrong as Midori wiped away a rogue tear and shook her head. "...Daddy...Mommy..."
Fear for Citan's life washed over Gaspar and Jessie as Primera pointed upward.
" Billy..." They all looked up as the Yggdrasil approuched Nisan.
" Something must have happened ."
Fei and Elly walked down another flight of stairs, arms entwined. " I wonder why Billy sounded so strange in that message. He even scared Bart ."
" I wonder why doc didn't say anything ." Fei mumbled absent-mindedly, not even hearing Elly.
She gave him a side-ways glance with her crystalline blue eyes. " I don't know why you're so worried about Citan, Fei. He can more than--"
" Damnit, Billy! Why didn't you tell us you needed a doctor ?!!!"
Sigurd raged in the distance.
" Fei and Elly stopped, looking to each other in wonder.
" What the HELL was I supposed to say !" Billy shouted back. " Hey, Siggy! Guess what! I shot you and my father's best friend !!!"
" Oh my god!" Maria yelled." Somebody get a doctor !"
" I'm already here !" The female doctor from the Yggdrasil announced. " Oh yes!!
Bullet wounds!! I've always wanted to treat--"
" Shut up !" Billy and Sigurd both shouted in unison.
" Boy!" Jessie boomed. " First you shoot me out of a gun and now you've shot Hyuga! Next you'll be shooting Primera !"
" ...Daddy..." Midori whispered.
Fei let go of Elly and made a mad dash down the stairs. " Doc !"
" Fei!" Elly chased after him, afraid of the scene that awaited them downstairs. They both stopped at the bottom of the stairs when they saw little Midori hugging her father's large hand, crying her little heart out. Sigurd and Billy finally stopped arguing and Jessie was awkwardly silent.
The doctor glanced up nervously from her unconscious patient. " We need to move him to a bed so I can remove the bullets ."
Sigurd and Jessie carefully picked up their fallen friend and followed the doctor down the hall. Midori just watched, clutching her father's glasses as more tears made their way down her cheeks. Fei was in complete shock, unable to move. Doc... shot?
Midori...crying? What's going on?! Midori didn't even cry when Yui died...
Elly glanced at Fei with concern before catching Billy by the shoulder. " What happened ?"
" Citan and I split up..." Billy's sky-blue eyes shifted around, trying to carefully word his explaination. " All I know is some woman attacked him and he wouldn't fight back ."
" Who was it ?" Elyy asked curiously, clutching Fei's hand.
" She said her name was Yui---"
" Yui ?!" Fei's head shot up in surprise. " Impossible...She's dead..."
" Just who is she? Citan kept calling her name like a madman, and yet..." Billy ran a shaky hand through his white-minx hair. " She said she'd never seen him before in her life ."
" Yui was Citan's wife and Midori's mother, I believe..." Elly replied, passing Midori a concerned glance.
" Where is she ?" Fei demanded.
" I don't know... We were attacked by Wels... She held them back to give Citan and me time to escape..."
" How could you let her-- How could you leave her defenseless against-- How could Citan ?!!"
" Calm down, Fei ."
" If this woman really was my granddaughter..." Wiseman Gaspar spoke up as he bent down and picked up Midori, patting her little back. " She can take care of herself. Citan knows that ." With saying that, he followed in the general direction they'd taken Citan, soothing Midori the whole time.
" He's right ," Billy continued. " She could wield a sword just as good as Citan can ."
" Yui's never picked up a sword in her life..." Fei, swimming in a pool of confusion, sat down at the bottom of the stairs. " Citan... How could he just leave her..."
" Maybe it wans't Yui..." Elly suggested, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder and sitting beside him. " Billy, tell us everything that happened ."
Billy nodded. " I believe she was one of the survivors... She attacked Citan thinking he was the enemy. When he saw who she was, he refused to fight her... but she kept attacking... So I shot at her and Citan took the bullets..." Billy looked away from Fei's furious glare.
Elly flashed Fei a warning glance. " Continue, please ."
" She disappeared but returned moments later, saving me from a Wel. The way she looked at him, as if she were trying to remember, but couldn't. More Wels were approaching, she held them off while I got Citan out of there ."
Fei shook his head in disbelief. " It couldn't have been Yui ."
" I suppose we'll just wait until Citan recovers... He'll know for sure..."
" I'll have the door open
in a minute, Commander Ricdeau ." Lt. Amyra Lambert
announced quietly as she began accessing the override command to the shield generator doors.
Hyuga Ricdeau nodded, already contemplating their next move. The explosives were set at all four gate generators. Once they detonated, all of Shevat would be left vulnerable to the awaited strike force. An easy victory for Solaris...
Amyra reached Hyuga's side as the doors opened, ready to storm Aphel Aura and Zephyr's Palace. Neither one of them was expecting to see a lone warrrior waiting for them. The warrior was small and slender with a face shrouded by a golden mask and a dark blue hooded-cloak. Although her size wasn't very intimidating, her deadly looking sword was, especially if she knew how to use it.
" Go home before you get hurt ." Hyuga commanded with little emotion.
" I was about to tell you the same thing ." She replied coldly.
" This is not the place for a young woman to be ." He tried again.
" Nor for a Solarian officer ." She countered.
Hyuga sighed, drawing his katana. " Return to the ship, Amyra. I will handle her myself ."
" She isn't worth it, commander ."
" Leave us, Amyra. Someone needs to teach this young fool a lesson ."
Hyuga waited until the doors shut behind him, watching the gold-masked warrior curiously. " There is still time to avoid this... Go home to your family and live... There is no need for our conflict ."
Her golden eyes flickered, a smile crossing her shrouded face. Chivalry from a Solarian... Something I never expected... " Aphel Aura is my home... The Shevites are my family... And as long as you attack my home and family, I will stand here to defend them to the death... if that's what it takes ."
" Very well... Your acceptance of our circumstances will not weigh on my conscious as heavily as before ." Hyuga raised his sword up in a salute of honor towards the warrior as she returned it.
" The same applies to you, Solarian ."
In the blink of an eye, their swords met with a fierce clash. They pushed each other back, neither one losing their balance. The warrior dashed forward, preparing to do a low sweep with her sword. Hyuga dodged and grabbed her wrist, disarming her. Twisting her wrist back, he drop kicked her and got far enough away to evade any counterattack she may have had.
She jumped up with lightning reflexes, eyeing her sword laying behind Hyuga. He lunged forward with his sword, the woman twirled past him, knocking it from his hands and kicking him back as she went into a backflip. Landing with angelic grace, she picked up her sword.
Hyuga kept his eyes fixed on Shevat's golden guardian as he picked up his own sword. " You're good, little one ."
" So are you ." She replied, her tone as masked as her face.
" Under different circumstances, I would almost enjoy meeting my equal ."
" Indeed ." She agreed calmly. " Under different circumstances ."
" I regret having to hurt you ." Hyuga brought his sword up.
" Likewise ."
Hyuga thrust forward again, the woman jumped back and then gracefully twirled past him, slicing open his arm. He quickly counterattacked by bringing his leg out and knocking her to the floor. She rolled past him, reaching for her fallen sword as she jumped up.
White ether began to glow around the woman. She sheathed her sword and thrust her hands out as Hyuga charged at her. " Ring of Fire !!" Hyuga was knocked back near the shield generator by three rings of fire. Her eyes grew wide when she saw debris flying from the generator as the bomb went off. " Oh no!!!" She dropped down, shielding herself. An explosion?!!
Did it take the generator? Yui slowly got up, rubbing her bruised wrist tenderly. I can't see because of that blood smoke... She pulled her mask off and ran to the computer terminal and began pulling up the system status. Yui let out a sigh of relief when everything checked out normal. That bomb wasn't intended to destroy the generator... The woman with him?... Her golden eyes shot up when she remembered the Solarian, finding him collapsed on the floor and covered in blood. Without so much as a second thought, Yui ran to Hyuga , finding him rendered unconscious.
She collapsed beside his fallen body, checking his vitals. Dear god, what have I done?... No, he's alive... Thank you... She began wiping away the blood around his face and eyes. I'm sorry... I'm sorry... Her golden eyes shot up when she heard snickering in the background, the silhoette of a woman in the smoke.
" You're a young, foolish woman... Saving your enemy..."
Yui started to get up and confront the woman, but her enemy/patient mumbled something incoherently and she instantly began treating him again. She glanced up as she began tearing off a piece of her cloak to cover his eyes. The woman had vanished without a trace. Whoever you are... you were set up by that woman... maybe even by your people...
" Yui, what the hell are you doing?!!"
" Jedda! Thank god..." Yui rose up. " I need your help ."
" Need my help ?"
" He's wounded, help me--"
" You're wounded, too. He's a Solarian, Yui ."
" Solarian, Shevite... It doesn't matter, Jedda. I must--" Yui tried to kneel back down but Jedda jerked her back up by the arm.
" Have you lost your ever-lovin' mind ?!!" Jedda demanded.
" No..." Yui's eyes grew dark as she pulled away from him. " But everyone else in this god-forsaken world has !!"
" Zephyr will imprison him... The council will demand it ."
" Let them try, Jedda..." She warned.
" Yui-- You're going against your own people to save a man who tried to kill you-- You can't do this--"
" Watch me..." Yui whispered absent-mindedly.
" If you're not going to help me, just leave ."
Yui continued treating his most drastic wounds as Jedda left her in dead silence. Have I lost my mind?... I don't know and I don't care... Let the council try something... I'll explain myself to Zephyr... Only if I knew my reasoning...
" Midori, would you like to come with me to get something to eat ?" Maria inquired cheerfully. " Chu-chu and Emeralda will come too..." Her pale blue eyes watched Midori lay back down beside her father, allowing no expression to cross her angelic face. Gaspar rest his hand on her shoulder, shaking his head with a frown. " Well, we'll save you something ."
Maria left the room, her failure weighing heavily on her shoulders. " Midori... Citan will be fine if you leave for a few minutes..." Midori didnt even acknowledge her grandfather, but wrapped her tiny body around Citan's arm, grasping his limp hand.
Gaspar was familiar with this scenario all too well. Yui had lost both her parents when she was no older than Midori and it had taken months to reach her. Now Midori was having to deal with her mother's death and her father dying... Gaspar's train of thought was broken when Sigurd, Jessie, and Ramsus entered the room.
" How's he doin' ?" Jessie inquired.
" I-- Fine. Taura assured me he'll be up to his usual, mischievious ways in no time ."
Sigurd and Ramsus passed each other knowing looks. It was a lie told for Midori's benefit, but were they really fooling the daughter of Hyuga Ricdeau--Citan
Uzuki-- With Fei's outbursts and their quiet conversations, Midori knew her father wasn't fine. Even Taura wasn't sure... His wounds had healed thanks to the nanoreactor, but Citan himself obviously hadn't recovered and Midori refused to leave his side until otherwise.
" Midori... Do you know what Hyuga's thinking ?" Ramsus suddenly spoke. " Do you know why your father won't wake up ?"
Midori hesitantly shook her head yes, remaining firmly attached to Citan's arm.
" Midori... Maybe we can help him if you tell us ." Sigurd suggested.
" You can't ." She replied coldly. " No one can ."
" Are you sure ?"
Midori passed them an emotionless glance with her dark brown eyes, the same one Citan would flash if someone ever doubted him.
" Midori..." Gaspar began, almost in a pleading tone.
" Daddy is sad..." She finally whispered. " He is thinking about Mommy... That is why he will not wake up ."
" The Shevite girl he left Solaris with ?" Ramsus spoke up.
" My granddaughter, Yui ." Gaspar replied solemnly.
" Perhaps now isn't a good time to discuss this ." Sigurd cut in.
Gaspar nodded, slowly getting up. " Midori, I'll be back in a moment ."
Midori watched as the four men left her alone with her father, silently waiting for the door to close. Daddy... why are you forgetting me? Silent tears began to make streams down her cheeks. Daddy... do not leave me... please do not leave me... She began stroking his black hair and kissed her cheek. " I will take care of you..."
Hyuga's heavy-leaden eyes slowly fluttered open when the delicious smell of a rich stew cooking in the other room hit his nostrils, the aroma making him realize how hungry he was. Where was he? A woman humming in the distance suddenly caught his attention, her footfalls coming closer to him with every beat in her song. Hyuga waited patiently as she approached, closing his eyes and not moving a muscle. As soon as she reached his side, his hand shot out and grabbed her wrist in a deathlike grip. She yelped in pain, but didn't try to jerk away. " Where am I ?" He demanded coldly.
" Aphel Aura ." She replied calmly, not meeting his gaze.
" Why am I here ?" Hyuga's tone returned to neutral.
Her eyes suddenly shot up, locking with his. Hyuga was captivated by those beautiful golden orbs... The same eyes of that warrior... This small, beautiful angel defeated me in battle?... Impossible... For the first time in a long time, Hyuga felt guilt and hesitantly let go. She slowly withdrew, tearing away from his intense gaze and rubbing her wrist tenderly. " Your men left you to die..." She replied softly, keeping her eyes downcast.
Although better judgement told him not to, Hyuga accepted her answer. The woman sat down in a nearby chair, wiping away a few rogue tears. " Forgive me, miss. I did not mean to hurt you ."
" Its okay ." She whispered back. " You had no idea ."
Hyuga recognized that voice, although it was a great deal softer now. It was her, the woman he'd fought near the shield generator. Why did she save me? Any normal person would have killed me... " Am I in the prison ?"
" No... You're in my home..." Her cheeks flushed, as if this fact embarrassed her.
Hyuga suppressed a grin at that thought. I wonder why she's embarrassed... Is it because her enemy is residing in her house, more than likely in her bed... Or was it just the fact that a man was residing in her house... It obviously makes her uneasy... Heh, heh... Perhaps we should play a little game, my lady...
" May I ask what the name of my guardian angel is ?" He flashed her a sensual smile.
She fought the urge to slap him soundly acrossed the face. He's just playing mind games... Well... I'll play along for the time being... Until it gets too dangerous...
" ...Yui... Yui Gaspar..." Why does he make me feel so... different?... Is it because he's handsome and dangerous? What a fool I am.... Grandpa and Nickolai would be ashamed of me....
" I am honored, Lady Gaspar ." Gaspar... I recognize that name... Is she related to the wiseman? How ironic... His Majesty will like this... " My name is Hyuga Ricdeau."
Yui started to say something, but paused when she heard a knock coming from the other room. Her golden eyes instantly met his. " Excuse me... I'll be right back..."
Hyuga watched her get up and step into the other room. So young... and so beautiful... It is almost a pity she is a Shevite... and a Gaspar... Maybe its for the better... for both of us... He sighed in disappointment and closed his eyes. Oh well...
Citan's eyes slowly fluttered open, seeing nothing but a bright blur. " Midori..." He whispered hoarsely. " Is that you ?"
Midori's head popped up, eyes wide with surprise. " Daddy ?"
" I cannot see you, dear ." Midori giggled and reached for his glasses, placing them gently on him. " Ahh... There you are !" He smiled, tickling his daughter tenderly.
She reached forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. " Daddy... You are okay ?"
" Yes, I am fine. Did they leave you alone to take care of me ?"
Midori shook her head. " I made them leave ."
" My little baby... Already as overbearing as her mother. What will I do with you?"
Citan smiled when she scrunched her tiny nose at him. " I always liked that quality in your mother, Midori ."
Midori lept into her father's arms when he opened the door, fully-dressed. " Where is everyone, dear ?" She just shrugged her shoulders and lay her head on his shoulder. Citan just smiled and patted her back, walking into the dining room.
Fei glanced up absent-mindedly while taking in a mouthful of his food. " D-doc !"
Food spewed out of his mouth and he went into a coughing fit. Elly began patting his back while the others stood up to greet their friend.
" Hyuga, decide to join the world of the living ?" Ramsus inquired teasingly.
" Indeed I have, Kahr. One cannot idle their life away in the world of dreams and long forgotten memories, can they ?"
" Of course not ."
" I believe you have something to say to Hyuga. Don't you, Billy ." Jessie spoke up, his tone dark.
" Uh... Yeah..." Billy stammered. " Citan... I'm sorry... When I opened fire on you, I thought--"
" Do not worry about it, Billy. It was just a slight misjudgement on your part. Now, where is she ?"
" W-who ?"
" My wife. Where is my wife ?" Midori's head popped up.
" Hyuga..." Sigurd began.
" Citan ?"
" Doc, maybe you should rest a bit longer ." Fei suggested.
" Yui's--" Maria trailed off sadly.
" You left her ?!!" His eyes grew dark. " How could you leave my wife in that--" He sat Midori down. " Damnation !!" He stormed out of the room in a blind rage. Midori looked at them with her usual emotionless gaze before trailing after her enraged father.
" Daddy ?" Midori whispered in the doorway, watching her father tear their room apart in search of something.
" Where is my sword ?"
" You are leaving me again ?"
" I have to, Midori ."
" No ."
" Your mother is out there. I have to find her ."
You don't know that... You don't know...
" Midori... Do you not miss your mother ?"
" Is it Mommy ?"
" I believe so ."
" I want to go too ."
" No... It is too dangerous ."
" Then you can't go ."
" No, Daddy ."
" Hyuga... What are you doing ?" Sigurd inquired.
" What's gotten into you ?" Jessie demanded.
" I am going to save my wife ."
" How do you even know it is her ?"
Citan sighed. " Yui once told me that I cannot always think things through with logic... because some things are matters of the heart, which require no logic at all ."
Jessie and Sigurd just glanced at each other, knowing they had lost this argument before it had even begun. " Alright... But we're coming with you ."
Midori pulled on Citan's pant leg, alerting him to her earnest desire to go. Citan was about to tell her she still couldn't go until Maria and Emeralda stepped into the room. " We can watch over and protect her if you allow her to go ." Maria offered. " Like you and Sister Yui watched over me when Grandpa brought me to Shevat ."
Citan suppressed a smile at that remembrance. Ol' man Bal had brought Maria to Shevat back when Yui was still pregnant with Midori. Yui had instantly volunteered to care for the young girl. Nickolai had been like a brother to her. Yui had been heartbroken when we had to leave Shevat without her. " Very well... Keep her in the Yggdrasil until I come for you ." Citan picked Midori up and gently tickled her stomach. " I cannot lose my little Midori ."
Author's Note: H-hey! Wake up! Its over now! Atleast this chapter is.... Not to worry! I'm not going to be lazy anymore. I'm going to be very serious about updating this fic and my other one. I believe this one is about to get very interesting, atleast with Citan going after **Yui**. I suppose we'll find out soon enough what's going on and what happened in their past... As if you haven't figured it out already! Hey... I still have a few surprises up my sleeve. ^_~ As always, I'm open for any criticism on either one of my fics or any ideas you might have. You know where to e-mail me. I hope to hear from you soon!