Earth; Tokyo and Belvidere, VT
Zept was gone already, and she was alone. It had been a rough transfer, or could she simply not stand? And Guyver—he—
She burst into tears, the image captured in her mind forever.
Sali noted the restored bond with a smile, and the next instant dropped the entire kettle into the hearth. Ilara’s quick reaction, pulling her back, kept her from getting splattered or burned as stew and coals flew.
“Sali! What’s wrong??”
“I—Er—elie āan, Guyver!”
“Go!” Kara said, feeling some of it too as she leaned against the table, at the same time telling her husband to do the same.
Miara was out walking with Zan, who didn’t want to sleep, when she felt that thing that said something was wrong, and quickly searched around for it.
Gaia, Kingdom of Eileen, secret altar
Zept reappeared in the room used for the blade ceremony, groggily checking his surroundings. Morok was restraining Sol from clawing at the guards who’d felled Guyver. Zept wanted to do the same, but force himself to think of his task. He'd already told himself he did something stupid in leaving Eiry alone like that, he couldn't complicate things more.
Guyver's body was motionless, held on his knees by the spears, head hung low, burned hands palms up as if to say 'Why?' Blood still flowed from the wounds. Zept ran over, kneeling, not heeding the blood that fell over the sword.
A hand touched his shoulder—a delicate one. He turned to see a priestess and King Barom behind her. Zept finally lost it, lunging for him, mana charging in moments.
"I knew we shouldn't have trusted a kid king like you!"
Zept's anger was not the kind a fighter harnessed, he was one who prevailed on maintaining his cool. The king sidestepped slightly, embracing Zept, who flinched, then slumped.
"Yield. We all knew there would be risk. I'll not lose another life to this wretched weapon. Rest assured, I'll not lose Guyver, either."
The priestess spoke. "This is within acceptable measures."
Zept broke free. "Get'offa me!" he looked at the woman, his anger quickly replacing his brief moment of weakness. "Start talking. My boy is dead because y'alls guards over reacted. His wife just watched him die and then they tried to kill her—come on, man, this is bull! Tell me now or I'm gonna—"
"Yer gonna relax, lad,” Morok interrupted, restraining Zept now. “You and Sol are supposed t'be the calm and collected ones 'ere." Zept looked over; Sol had worked his rage up into unconsciousness, a cleric looking over him. "Priestess Maria. Please. An answer if you have one?"
Maria nodded. "We can bring him back. The demon is still lurking within his body. We shall have to exorcise the demon before reviving him. It will be very demanding on his body."
"Begin immediately. Hold the guards who killed him; their fate depends on Guyver's survival. Gods willing, it will be his decision." Barom ordered. "Spare nothing. Bring this man back. He helped prevent a full scale war and helped stop one in this world. I'll not allow his wife to be a widow yet. My dear father said there would be no more casualties to this weapon, and I intend to keep his word."
"Your majesty, no one but those involved in the revival and exorcism must be allowed to enter. We shall take his body, but we require a diamond," Maria said.
"Consider it done. Bring him back."
Clerics moved to take Guyver's body away, and Zept began to struggle again. "No, I'm going! I need to be there for him!"
Barom sighed. "I must do as the Priestesses asked. All not involved must leave this place. This is not a request. There is no guarantee of his survival. Retrievers, Zept, you may stay here in the palace, or at any of the inns in town, free of charge." Barom began to leave, then thought again and turned to Zept. "Zept. You have his sword. I know you are a close friend of his, but as you love him, do not attempt to enter, or you shall be thrown out immediately." Then he followed those who’d taken Guyver's body away.
“Let's go, lad. Help an old dwarf carry his friend," Morok said with a tug.
Earth: New York. Guyver and Mavrik's home.
Zept crashed onto the floor.
"What were you thinking!?" Mavrik yelled.
Zept quietly stood, this was the fourth time Mavrik threw a punch, this one backed by a scorching flame. Zept didn't resist, again, taking it square, again, and getting floored, again.
"Fight back, damn it! At least you could have left Eiry here! You left her alone. Are you stupid or something?!?" Mavrik started kicking at him, stomping.
Leila walked into the apartment, giving one shocked scream before running over to stop Mavrik from beating on Zept. Mavrik let his scalding flames dissipate—he couldn’t do that in front of her. Instead, he picked Zept up and dumped him at the door. "Get out. Get the hell out!! I don't want to see you here til you find out what happened." He didn’t stay to make sure Zept did it, going to his room to dial Eiry's number franticly.
Leila looked at Zept, getting an aid kit to patch him up, but Zept refused. "I'm ok. I messed up. I have to fix this."
"G's dead. Mav will give you the details. I have to go. I have to tell his friends both here and in Gaia. I have to get more information, please make sure Mav and Eiry are ok."
Zept opened a portal and was gone.
Gaia. Unknown location.
Guyver's body was cleaned. His hands were clasped, holding a large diamond. Maria left the altar. Outside, a messenger was waiting.
"Tell the king everything is going as planned. We will need time. I will send word when we have succeeded. We will succeed."
The messenger nodded, mounting her horse and speeding off.
Gaia. Kingdom of Eileen. Tara's inn. VIP Suite.
Morok drank his ale and looked around the room. Sol was still out cold. He'd never seen an elf rage as he did. Zept still hadn't slept, bruises lining his body. He was smoking a 'cig' as he called it. Amelia Windrider and her sister Arisa had just arrived, going straight to Zept.
"How brother die?" Arisa asked. Morok reminded himself that Arisa was foreign born, abandoned by an unknown means and eventually adopted by Amelia. She'd been brainwashed and used as a tool, her speaking thus hindered. It had been so many years and she still hadn't fully recovered. But she carried on.
Zept looked at Arisa first. Her red hair reminded him of Eiry despite Arisa's being far shorter. He hung his head. Arisa gave him a small hug. "Brother will return. Not worry." Zept crushed his cigarette, and started crying.
Amelia was usually a beacon of energy. Many spoke of how she was like a big sister to everyone. She and Guyver valued their friends and loved them all the same, like family. Just her presence was enough. It looked like Arisa had learned something from her. Amelia nodded quietly to Morok, then went to tend to Sol.
There knock on the door, and a messenger walked in. "A guest is here, but people are nervous."
"The dark elf girl. She's been here before. And still so much fear. I'll meet her downstairs," Morok said, walking out. A few moments later he returned with Oracle.
"I am sorry. I should have come sooner," she bowed. "I feared my presence would have caused problems. Despite my efforts, I am judged by my kind." She went to Zept, who was still in Arisa's gentle embrace. "He shall return. I've seen the release of his burden, and his union."
"I...don't need your predictions. I need my boy back."
"I am in your debt, Zept." She moved her cloak, revealing her supple skin and the tribal markings of restraint, the very same he’d inscribed. "The last I would lie to is you. What I see shall be. He will return by tomorrow."
Zept looked at her.
"You must seek his wife-to-be, her sister, and her trusted friend."
Arisa released him, and Zept stood, looking at Dimension Diver.
"We'll be here. Get going, Zept," Amelia said, smiling as she could.
Zept nodded, and he was gone.
Belvidere, VT. Roma Inn.
[Friday, January 20.]
A portal appeared, and Zept stepped through, carefully carrying Zalan. Miara followed, quickly sheathing Dimension Diver before they switched burdens.
"It looks nice out here," Zept noted, looking around at the snowy landscape. "Tired of all the city crap."
"Don't change the subject," Miara said shortly.
"I'll admire the scenery and we'll stick to the subject of silence until we get there, then." Zept returned a tired glare, and they stared at each other for a few moments until Zalan made a noise and pointed in what seemed like a random direction. While Zept had no idea where they were, they seemed to be familiar with the forest they were in. After a moment or two, Miara started off through the trees.
A flash of red fur was all the warning Zept had before a large, demonic looking thing jumped on him, exhaustion dulled his reflexes and claws raked painfully across his already bruised, swollen and bloody face, he'll likely have new scars.
That voice he knew, but that was the end of it, and when he rolled up, hand to his face to prevent his eyepatch from revealing something, the creature snatched something from Eiry and dashed behind a few trees. Miara was right, she looked worse for wear, for all she was bundled up—the way she held herself said she hurt. But her eyes were distant, red. Miara had dropped back, and then another woman who looked just like Eiry marched up to him, pulling on a coat. She looked remarkably like Eiry, only shorter and more built, with a braid of blonde-red hair.
"You've finally showed up, huh?”
"You must be Sali."
"G told me if something went wrong she was most important."
"Then why the hell did you dump her?"
"Yeah…Mav said that too."
That got him smacked again, so he gave the real answer. "She works in Japan. I made the bad assumption she had family there. I'm not used to this sword. So my first thought was somewhere in Japan that's quiet and out of the way."
"She saw her mate die! Don’t you have any sense!?"
"My priorities were to get her to safety, away from the chaos—she was close to getting killed just like he did. Once I secured her safety—and she did some sort of strange move on my ass—I had to go see what they were going to do. I couldn’t just leave him there, either. It wasn't the best action, but she's not harmed. She should have had no issue contacting someone. "
The three of them just stared at him, and he wondered how that was so wrong.
"Look, I came here to own up to my poor decision making. But also to get the both of you and Miara. Oracle says we'll have him back today—the Priestesses should be done by now. We need to see if it worked."
“What…do you mean?” Eiry asked. “Did they really..?”
“I told you,” Miara hissed at him. “Look, you all talk, I’ll pop back to the inn and get you some real clothes. Is it safe to take Zan?” she asked Zept. “He gets extremely upset if our bond is ‘turned off,’ you could say.”
“Uh...I’m sure we could find someone to watch him.”
She plopped the kid into Zept’s arms, and in a moment had disappeared with the sword. Sali, meanwhile, had joined Eiry, an arm around her. Neither of them looked like they’d slept much in the last few days. They had what seemed like a quiet exchange before both looked at him expectantly.
It didn’t take long to explain what the King had entrusted the Priestesses to do, and by then Miara was back, and they left the two girls to change. Eiry’s face had changed considerably, sometimes hopeful, and sometimes afraid of what they might find. Zalan had changed and climbed up into Zept’s arms, and he found the petting the strange child calmed him.
"What do you know about us?" she asked.
"Not much, Lupa is all he said. If it don't concern me I don't get into it. One of you is G's wife. Another, his sister, and this guy's cute. I'm not from this world, but I guess some people have a problem with your kind. Your secret's safe with me. Y'all seem just fine if you ask me."
“Maybe later there will be more time later for that. Lupa change fast,” she said with a grin, as Eiry and Sali appeared again, this time in more normal clothing. Zalan hopped down and up into Eiry’s arm where she cuddled him close.
Zept took Dimension Diver back from Miara. "Well then. We ready?"
"Let's get going." Sali said.