It had been a long while since they had last met.
It was like the beginning of any other story. Two people who hadn’t seen each other for months, maybe years — who had exchanged letters over one summer and decided to meet each other again, after a very, very long time.
And just like in any other story, they decided to meet in Sinnoh — where they had last met.
Steven folded up the spare piece of parchment he had with an unsent draft, tucking it into his coat pocket. As he waited, he lifted his cup of tea and sampled it.
Just like always, the mint tea in Floaroma was as strong as it always had been. (A little too strong for his liking, actually. The locals seemed to like it just fine.)
He dropped another cube of sugar into his tea as a light breeze nipped at his skin following the opening of the tea house’s door.
"Mikuri," said Steven, before looking up from his tea.
A story stretched in a multitude of paths. As one creates, accepts, colours, and folds them, one must take care to maintain the bridges. The power of fondness polishes, the intensity of recollection rebuilds, and the sense of absence…refills them with essence. Wallace could vanish before friends and not reappear for weeks or depart Hoenn and not return for years. The new faces and places connected to his old and he did not forget for this was his story.
Another day was just a continuation. Time was an illusion one should not mourn in woe, but relish in pleasure.
Reunions were winds that filled his sail.
Wallace walked up to Steven with a glowing smile. There was excitement sparkling in his eyes, and it was not from seeing his old friend after for so long.
His lips hesitated for a split-second; it was subtle and subconscious that he did not notice until later.
"Daigo!" Yes, the friend, not the name the world knew. Wallace sat down across Steven, swishing his cape with a graceful, effortless sweep so that it fell neatly behind him on the chair. "The lost mural painted by the oldest Smeargle in history will be put in display in Olivine City! I’ve only learned of it this morning from a correspondence. His letter slipped inside my portfolio and had been there for days. Ah, I should have convinced him harder to using e-mail."
“What do you want to be when you grow up, Chris?” The face of her father slips out of her youngest memories but her entire life – twenty-one years of it – clung entirely to the legacy of her sworn promise to him. “I wanna be just like you, Daddy – a knight! That way, I'll always be by your side!” And to the legacy of his death.
“Year 474 of the sun calendar – the Grasslands, where the Karaya lived, went to war with the Zexen Federation, a rising nation to its west. A quarrel over a small toll the Grasslanders were charging others to cross their land grew into a full-scale border dispute. Fighting between the allied forces of the six Clans (the six most powerful clans of the Grasslands), and the Knights of Zexen has now become a quagmire with no end in sight.” - The battle was a sure victory. No one doubted Sir Galahad, captain of the Zexen Knights, and his fine swordsmanship. His gleaming smirk, passed onto her, Sir Galahad's second knight, and Sir Salome, chief strategist, was a burning torch of inextinguishable flames. They saw it go as he rode down the plains. As he was up front leading the charge, his form was hidden from theirs by the cavalry following him, but they might as well call what they were watching to be Sir Galahad's spirit as a whole; all knights gave him the fiercest loyalty, second only to their loyalty to the people of Zexen.
It was just a matter of time. All they had to do was to wait.
Sir Leo, the large and strong knight, galloped urgently toward them from the front lines. As he approached, they saw his square face and robust armor worn by bruises, scratches, and dirt. Nothing Sir Leo couldn't take. But his sword was still drawn and accompanying him was...no one.
“Sir Leo, you're all right!” Sir Salome said but it was far from a warm, optimistic greeting. He too noticed the important absence of someone. “Where's Sir Galahad?”
“The first charge has been wiped out. Galahad and Pelize, they...” - Sir Pelize the vice-captain, mighty of course as he was the right-hand man of Sir Galahad - Sir Galahad, the captain of the Zexen Knights, wise, skilled, honorable and brave - “...Before my very eyes, they were...slain!”
The world spun. Chris saw Sir Leo's mournful expression and the plains Sir Galahad disappeared into slip out of her sight, the sky quickly occupying of what was left of what she saw. A hand caught her from falling off her horse. Sir Salome pushed her upright, speaking to her, but Chris had already fallen from a great height and shattered.
“Lady Chris,” the Lightfellow housekeeper began. Chris turned her head around, taking her eyes away from the door. Chris took note of his bowed head and closed eyes though he did not appear to be sleepy at the slightest. Day and night he and Chris have waited. Chris was always the first to fall asleep as hard as she fought much like how her father was at this very moment.
“I'm afraid I have some terrible news. Sir Wyatt...he's...”
There were two chairs arranged in their rectangular dining table. There used to be three, but now Chris sat where her mother did at the other end that faced her father. A hot delicious dinner laid before her but Chris only paid attention to the vacant chair staring across her. The housekeeper usually accompanied Chris for dinner, standing near the wall, asking Chris how her day was, but he started leaving five minutes later before returning after who-knows-how-long, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder and beckoning Chris to eat. The housekeeper informed Chris that her father had gone missing in battle but it was Chris, several months in the future, who told herself that he was dead. When Chris had brought this up to him, he only looked down and said:
“I'm sorry, Lady Chris.”
“I thought...” she managed to say at last, “I thought at least this time, I could be by your side...” She began to sob uncontrollably. She couldn't be by her father's side when he fought. She couldn't even be by his grave for there was none. She joined the academy to become a knight to honor her father's memory and, graduating top of her class, she thought she finally did it. But she had fooled herself. She could not stop the repeat of the past. The worst days of her academy whirled back to her and possessed her.
Sir Salome shook her urgently by the back. “Lieutenant Chris, give us an order – now! If you don't, the whole force will be wiped out!”
“It's too much,” she said weakly, remembering the scornful gazes of her male classmates with vividness, a nightmare that had come to haunt her and use her own lips to admit it. “I can't – I'm just a woman – ”
“You can do it!” Sir Salome shouted, shaking her again. “You're Wyatt's daughter, aren't you?”
“Ironheads!” a lizard warrior cried, coming at them with one more of his kin. “Leave this land!”
Chris wiped her eyes with the cold knuckles of her gauntlet. The face of her father slips out of her youngest memories but Sir Galahad, who she had served for five years, stayed with her. His paternal smile, his thoughtful, asleep face; the swing of his sword, the scribble of his quill, the flight of his cape. His voice brimmed with assurance while he looked onto her with the proudest gaze. Finally, the furious glare of the redhead Tinto daughter flashed before Chris.
“You probably slept your way to knighthood!”
A big ball of anger jumped out of her from the pits of her stomach.
The lizard warrior charged toward her with the beast of a face, true to its animalistic form, and the realization surfaced in her with rage and fury that this face was Sir Galahad's murderer. She drew her sword and lunged forward from her sit, striking a deep slash across the lizard's chest. Her horse ran forward, stomping at its fallen corpse, and her blade feasted on the blood of another. Chris raised her red-pointed sword and faced the knights.
“TAKE UP YOUR SWORDS, ZEXEN KNIGHTS! UNLESS YOU'D PREFER TO DIE LIKE DOGS HERE!”
And, to her surprise, Sir Salome raised his staff vertically before his face and, right there in the battlefield for all to hear and witness, pledged his loyalty to her. It didn't register into Chris, or into the other knights, but a great surge of power – of spirit – filled everyone. Swords were raised and men were roaring. Horses were moving, swords and bows being used.
Chris was everywhere, feeling only the need to strike each enemy down until there was no more, until there was only a dawn gazing from the distant mountain at the corpse-filled field and a sense of loss seeping from their blood-soaked hands and feet.
- “In this costly battle between the Zexen and the Grasslads, Zexen lost both their Captain and their Vice Captain. At the most dire of moments, the Zexens were saved by the leadership of a mere lieutenant. Her name is Chris Lightfellow. After that battle, she became known as the Silver Maiden.”
(I love my work here. I should finish it.)
disjointed Much like a stray scrap of metal floating in space, Banagher felt he was drifting in the darkness. Although he could pull himself somewhere and live the rest of his everyday life content to it, he could not muster the will that would commit him to a certain choice. The easiest path of "continue" was before him and yet, Banagher found himself stopping and looking around. It wasn't that he had no desire to move on. But he felt that he was in some sort of dream, and a voiceless call out there was telling him to wake up and come back to the present where he belonged. He'd had this "disjointed" feeling for as long as he could remember but ever since his mother died, it was all that he would wake and sleep into. He considered that his mother's death might had been a catalyst, but not in the obvious way a person would theorize. Instead, he thought that there was no one else left - no relatives - to keep him distracted, and that made Banagher feel like he was the most disgusting human to ever live. He doubted that was completely true; for one, he hadn't done something completely horrible that involved taking someone's life. Banagher loved his mother and she, without a doubt, loved him back. While they shared great familial affection for each other, however, Banagher thought it was his mother who got the short end of the stick. Banagher's mother was a strong-willed woman who raised him alone for more than ten years. She might not have been able to provide for the needs of a spoiled, overweight, whining brat but she gave more than enough for the needs of an average, male teenager who had no exceptional skills except the repair of his childhood toy, Haro, a robotic toy based on the one originally built by the war hero Amuro Ray. But just like how he couldn't help but feel "disjointed," he did not see his mother belonging in her situation, here in the nearby slums where a hard-working, elegant woman like her worked late night in the office and walked home alone through unguarded streets. When there were rallies yelling, stones flying, and water pumps firing near the city hall, Banagher, as a child, would lock windows and doors and wait with desperate hope for his mother's safe return. His worst fears were never realized and out of all the terrible things that could have happened to her, an illness was the most peaceful. Banagher's mother didn't suffer long, but that was assuming she hadn't been hiding her terrible health from him for the past months. She died in the public hospital early morning just the night before Banagher held her hands, coarse as a testament of her love, and sensed the fleeting life leaving before her pale, sleeping face. Banagher knew what he had to do when his mother died, but he did not know why he wanted to. He needed money, but he did not know why he would need it. He needed it to live, but he started questioning what the point of it all was. Initially, he wondered if these thoughts were what counted as suicidal, but having no desire to harm himself, he disregarded it away. Surely it was normal to question the purpose of your own existence. Banagher knew that his mother's must have been about him and should she still be alive, his would have been hers in return. But when a group of men in black suits and cliched sunglasses arrived in her funeral, claiming that they worked for the father Banagher had never heard from, he took in the bait, naively believing that the "disjointed" feeling would come to pass if he came along. Banagher didn't know what kind of man his father was or why he wanted Banagher to enroll in Anaheim Electronics, a prestigious technological school, but quite frankly, his expectations weren't high coming from a man who did not come to his own wife's funeral. voice What exactly Banagher had been expecting, he didn't know anymore except that he was, at times, as naive as a child could get. Banagher was used to washing his dirty clothes, running errands, taking some side jobs, and asking girls out to the movies or for some dinner. Being able to act independent and work on his own were somehow signs that he was on the path of a reliable man, an all-knowing adult who could function well in society. Maybe Banagher could do just that. He had no trouble adapting blood civilian violence responsibility the unreasonable world the god called possibilities
He's a boy who's hardly a child but barely an adult, and that's more than enough to shake one's head in confirmation and say, "He's definitely a child."
Because when one is only partially an adult, then he is not an adult at all. While there is still the glint of naivete and foolishness in his eyes, he will remain a child. When one still has much to learn of the complex society and the status quo built on and on by his ancestors of far and wide, he will remain a child. Until he can surrender to "how things are" and look at the world with the same jaded echo of "reality" then he will, forever, be a child.
An adult knows that look in a child's eyes. Rebellious, selfish, irresponsible. One who's confined by his own emotions without care or consideration of the big things beyond his powers. The world is big. That pair of eyes knows nothing.
Maybe so. Banagher will not be presumptuous to make claims that he knows more than enough. It's true that it's the existing system that has protected him and allowed him to enjoy the "ordinary life" that his mother has always told him to appreciate, but that doesn't change what the rights and the wrongs are.
Call him ungrateful, hypocritical, shortsighted, but he won't turn away. The moment he does, he shames the human dignity and the one part of him that has separated him from the mindless, working ants that moves forward without a second glance to the ant being consumed by a spider, being drowned by the rain, being crushed by the soles of our feet.
what is your full name?
"Banagher." One can see that heart the adult so mocked, strong and unwavering, looking back through brown, zircon eyes. "Banagher Links." what are you, exactly?
And it's not because he's a child - nor an adult - that he wavers from the question so easily. He is simply human.
At least he believes he is. He silently looks with a guarded stare before he allows his gaze to fall.
"A human. I was born in space, but there's really no difference. Wherever we're born in doesn't change what we are.” Thinking of the great wars prior to the establishment of the Earth Federation, waged in the name of national identity, makes him feel confident over his claim. But as he inspects a less general and a more personal concept His eyes look to the side doubtfully. “...or maybe it does. After all, I'm...” Banagher can see Alberto's mouth opening with wordless curses. He cannot read his lips, but he can feel the hatred. The sadness. The envy.
are you right-handed or left-handed?
when you're in the shower, what's the first thing you wash?
Banagher does a double-take.
He'd been detained and interrogated by the military too many times in less than a month. He was treated fairly well even when on enemy hands, though he couldn't be as sure if he would be treated as considerately without his unique status as the key. The last time with the Earth Federation was the truest form of interrogation he experienced, the kind he'd seen in movies and TV. He kept his silence against the burly, veteran soldiers and versus the glaring lamp pointed to his face. Nothing they attempted to do could pry the secret from his lips. Here, he squirms in his seat and leaves the question with an evasive "um."
what was the last thing you ate?
"Some microwave food. There was some tofu and peas. I wasn't really paying attention," he says, putting a hand on his stomach. He's a little bit hungry now, no doubt because of all the stress and pressure he's been through.
if we looked around your place, what would we find in your nightstand? trash can?
Banagher looks on with dubiousness but answers honestly - partly.
"There's an alarm clock on the nightstand. The trash can has plastics, papers, trash..." He lied at the second part. In truth, Banagher doesn't know what the the trash can contains. It was most likely empty, because when two guys live together in a hostel, their trash is bound to go anywhere on the floor instead.
who were the last five people you spoke to?
He holds on to a longer suspicious stare. He's given the interviewee the benefit of doubt because the questions so far were either standard or medical, but they were getting more investigative and Banagher fears only of getting others involved. Who he's spoken to is no secret though, so again, seeing no harm in it, he answers eventually. "Takuya," - though he had barely been listening - "Audrey..." There's a long, waiting silence that follows. There isn't anything else for him to say, not based from his memory of the chaotic operation of escaping the Federation, saving Audrey and Ms. Marida, fleeing to space with the Garencieres, being "saved" and later boarded (on the Nihel Argama) by the Sleeves... Thinking how little time he had to speak with others, he becomes anxious if there would be another opportunity to do so again.
what is your hometown? do you miss it?
Answer. when did you first get interested in the opposite sex?
Banagher frowns. Well, the shower question has caught him off-guard (and awkward) but he isn't some totally clueless nerd. "All my life."
when was your first sexual experience? with whom?
"That's none of your business," he answers, irked. He's not particularly sensitive about his sex life - or the lack of thereof, which he does so by choice, but he will not honor such a rude question.
do you have a significant other?
If his reaction from any of the love-related questions has given any hint, Banagher does not like his personal life being pried upon. But surprisingly, he mellows down and his thoughts are already somewhere far away to the point that he can care less about the company he's with. "Audrey..."
is the glass half-empty or half-full?
The question catches his interest. He looks down to his shoes, not thinking of the smart, philosophical answer he has for it. His thoughts lead him to more questions, to more confusion, to more complicated things that he cannot possibly word for himself. He cannot reach an answer by just sitting and thinking about it. "Does it matter?" he asks, not disregarding the question. He's digging deeper into it. "Can we only look at things by the amount we gain and by the amount we lose?"
what would you wear to a halloween party?
That Earthnoid celebration. He'd gone to them a couple of times.
"A vampire." Nothing original but it's the most hassle-free. Vaguely, Banagher wonders if Audrey has ever gone to a Halloween party. Probably not, but would she be interested in going into one? What kind of costume will she wear? She'll look good in any outfit. Banagher silently laughs. He's getting ahead of himself thinking he'll be able to ask her that. Time is against them. Their duties and obligations too. Audrey...Minerva is the princess of Neo Zeon. It doesn't matter if he may not be able to take her to dates or get to see her in beautiful prom dresses as long as he'll be able to stay by her side. But he'd still like to take her away to a Halloween party someday.
if you could turn into any animal, what would it be?
"Any animal?" he mumbles, thinking. Banagher has not put much thought of the beasts that roam their surroundings. To him, the world has been about humans and machines, Earth and space. He knows nothing about the power of nature though it is the sustenance in the form of its corpse that has kept him alive to this day from his plate. He knows of the rattlesnake, the scorpions, the hyenas, but in all the environment-controlled colonies in space, they do not exist. Humans chose that they do not exist anymore in their new homes. These creatures - these lives that were left abandoned in the deteriorating Earth or locked up in zoos for the sake of "awareness" continue to strive against the illogical madness of nature. Banagher knows it too well since his entrapment in the desert. The struggle to live. Maybe a bird, Banagher considers, but he knows of birds getting shot down by hunters more often that he sees them ruling the sky. Maybe something that lives in the waters. He's read that the water in Earth is so huge it's practically limitless...but if they were speaking of clean water though... "...a plant," he says. His eyes look elsewhere, set on this answer. "I wouldn't have to hurt anyone just so I can live. I'll even help sustain other lifeforms by providing nutrients and oxygen. I know it's not an animal but...why can't we be more like them?" All the technology and resources that mankind has accumulated for years all seem to result in nothing but destruction and pain.
explain your family.
name three smells that describe your home kitchen growing up.
where do you work at?
what kind of music do you like?
what is your greatest regret?
if you could live in a forest, in the mountains, or by the sea, which would you choose?
what makes you laugh?
what superpower would you pick, if you could choose one?
do you believe in zodiac signs?
how do you travel?
what is your greatest aspiration?
coffee or tea?
describe yourself in exactly five words.