PART 47 – Gaj’s Gate
It was the morning after Sola’s death, Luna had cried herself to sleep in Clarissa’s lap, she didn’t have the energy to stay awake. Clarissa sat there with Luna on her lap playing with the poor girls hair, showing that someone cared for her. Despite the saddening aura Luna was emitting most of the people in Anri’s Brigade were slightly relieved that Sola was dead, which made them feel like bad people. They were mostly happy because Sola was the only member of Luna’s squad that truly seemed to hate Anri’s Brigade, and without her around their was a feeling of relief and comfort knowing that everyone still alive had some sort of bond at this point and they wouldn’t be killing each other, except for Jordan and Donny. Those two still had a grudge that needed to be settled.
Everyone was just being lazy this morning, which was odd do to the situation, less than a mile away were their enemies Gell, Clara, and Gaj, but none of them were doing anything to oppose them. They were hesitant and scared; Sola’s death was an awakening to everyone. With her death came the realization of possible defeat and it was a display of Clara’s power. Each person knew it would happen eventually, their fight with Clara, but now was a time for the dead to be mourned, wounds to be healed, and preparations to be made, the fight with Clara would have to wait until the next day.
Ken had taken Sola’s body and wrapped it in a Hazolian flag that he had brought with him in case one of them died; he then put the body away from the group so no one would have to constantly look at Sola. Ken and Jordan then began to play cards again. Avner and Donny were talking about plans of attack for the following day, Clarissa was still comforting Luna, and Mia, Anri, and Veronika were all sitting near the edge of the platform and were all surprisingly laughing, Mia had been telling jokes and stories to lighten the mood. Mia was very happy that her heritage had not gotten in the way of her friendships but she knew that some time soon she’d have to tell Anri and Donny about her nobility.
“Hey, Do you two play?” Ken looked up at Donny and Avner holding a few cards in his hands. Donny and Avner looked at each other while Jordan emotionlessly looked at Ken seemingly annoyed that he invited the two of them to join them. “Of course we do, what do you think knights do on guard duty?” Avner said. “And your betting using bowls? I’m definitely in.” Avner added sitting down next to Ken and Jordan. “I guess I’ll play too, there is anything else to do.” Donny sat down as well and the four men began playing cards together. “You all drink, right?” Avner laughed pulling a jet-black bottle out of his backpack. “You own a bottle of North Desert Wine?” Jordan asked. “Of course, its extremely rare, this one bottle cost me almost 15,000 bowls.” Avner bragged. “I had a bottle of it once, I killed a man for it.” Jordan coldly said, his comment put a weird look on Avner’s face. “Anyway, are you offering some to us?” Ken asked. Avner pulled four wooden shot glasses out of his backpack and placed them in front of him. He smiled at Ken, “I absolutely am.” And then enemies began to become friends.
As the four men laughed, gambled and drank together Luna was starting to wake up in Clarissa’s lap. “How are you feeling?” Clarissa asked rubbing Luna’s shoulder. “I actually feel useless.” Luna answered. “Useless? Why do you feel useless milady?” Clarissa asked. “Because I couldn’t help Sola, and now that she’s gone I feel weak, defenseless, pointless. I can’t fight like everyone else, I’m useless.” Luna’s voice was sad and sullen. “Princess Anri doesn’t fight either, you could beat her in a fight. And if you want to talk about useless, you’re talking to the right person.” Clarissa said. Luna looked up at her from her lap. “What do you mean?” Luna asked. “I’m the most useless person I know. My best friend just died and I didn’t cry because I don’t remember being her friend, my memory is still all screwed up, and the man I love for a reason I don’t even know resents me. Of course I can fight, but I don’t even know what I’m fighting for. You still have a purpose Luna, your going to lead a kingdom, but what happens to me once we’re done here? I’ve got nothing to go to, I have no purpose to anyone. I don’t feel useless, I am useless, but I’ll still fight to defend my friends. Beat that feeling of uselessness like I have Luna, your friends still need to see you be strong. I’ll always be here to help you.” Clarissa’s speech made Luna feel better. “Now I know why my sister liked you so much, even without memories you’re still smarter than most people I’ve ever met.” Luna turned back onto her side and saw a glint of light come from inside her backpack that was positioned on the ground in front of her. “Huh, I forgot I had that. I’ll be back Clarissa.” Luna grabbed the object and stood up, she began heading in Anri’s direction.
Luna began to slowly approach Anri, Mia, and Veronika; the three women were all still talking. The conversation was based around how much unnecessary clothing Anri brought on the trip. They had all of her twelve dresses and five pairs of boots and shoes laid out on the platform, Mia ridiculed Anri’s fashion sense while the princess tried to defend her taste in clothing. Luna stepped in on the conversation. “Excuse me Anri, could I talk to you for a minute?” The three women all looked at Luna in surprise. “That’s Princess Anri to you, and of course you may. Mia, Veronika, would you excuse us.” Veronika and Mia began walking away slowly; Mia threw her arm around Veronika. “While we wait let me tell you about a strange experience I had in Zaidoulu with two lesbians.” Mia started, Veronika looked at her confused. “This doesn’t sound like a story I want to hear.” Veronika cautiously said.
“What is it that you want?” Anri asked as she began packing up all of her belongings. Luna was amazed by the amount Anri had packed. “Why did you bring so much unnecessary clothes, you’ve only worn two outfits since we’ve seen you.” Luna said. “I like to be reminded that I’m a Princess sometimes, when we are off fighting and risking our lives I look at my personal belongings when I have time. It reminds me that I’ll be happy when it’s all over, it makes me feel special. Is that why you came over here, to ask me why I had so many outfits?” Anri finished packing and looked up at Luna annoyed. “No it’s not, I actually wanted to come over here and…” Anri cut off Luna. She stood up and got in Luna’s face. “Don’t forget Princess Luna that we are enemies, don’t think for a second that your sisters death will make me take sympathy on you. You stole something very dear to me and started a feud between our families that night you broke into our palace and stole my…” Luna held a platinum tiara out in front of her, it was shining and beautifully imbedded with rubies and diamonds. “My tiara…” Anri said in disbelief. “I brought it with me everywhere because like you, it reminded me that I was a Princess and it made me feel special.” Luna placed the diamond tiara into Anri’s hands and saw Anri’s face light up with excitement. “I didn’t think I’d ever see this again.” Anri exclaimed happily, she placed her tiara on her head using it as a headband. “Thank you Luna.” Anri said with a smile. “Your welcome.” Luna responded with a smile as well. “I’m really sorry I stole from you, we needed the money to fund the city. I can pay you back when we get out of here.” Luna sadly said. Anri thought about what Luna said for a second. “It’s alright, I have too much jewelry as it is. I’ll even have a tiara made for you when we get home.” Anri said. “What? Really?” Luna said in surprise. “Of course, we’re friends. We’ve got the same foe and the same goal, I don’t see why we can’t be friends.” Anri stuck her gloved hand out to shake Anri’s hand out to shake Luna’s hand but got something different. Luna hugged Anri suddenly catching her by surprise. “Thank you Anri, I didn’t think I’d have friends after this, my sisters been my only friend for so long. I hate being alone.”
“She hates being alone? She couldn’t compare to me.” Veronika said as her and Mia watched the two princesses talk from their hidden location behind several stacked Cubus bodies. “I know you’re lonely, I’m sorry about Jonathan.” Mia said as the two sat down. Mia then pulled out a flask of Markevv rum and handed it to Veronika. “Oh yes please.” Veronika said taking a big sip off of it. “Huh, I never really thought you were the drinking type Veronika.” Mia chuckled. “Alcohol makes me warm, and besides I don’t have threesomes with two other women in Zaidoulu when I’m drunk.” Veronika laughed as Mia rolled her eyes and sarcastically sighed. “I knew you’d make fun of me if I told you. I’m easily persuaded to do things when I’m very drunk, okay!? Just don’t tell anyone else, especially Avner; he would never let me live it down.” Mia demanded. “Okay, I won’t tell anyone I swear.” Veronika passed the flask back to Mia. “Why don’t you tell me a story Veronika, what happened to you before we met you in EDGE headquarters.” Veronika shuttered hearing EDGE’s name being mentioned. “I have no happy stories to tell.” Veronika quietly said. “Fine, then tell a really sad one.” Mia handed the flask back to Veronika after tasking several sips herself. “Fine I’ll tell you how EDGE first found me.” Veronika finally gave into Mia’s demands for a story. “That sounds interesting, our encounter wasn’t anything special.” Mia said. “Well prepare yourself.”
“I used to live in the mountains of North Zaidoulu, where it was winter almost all year, I lived with thirty other people in a nomad colony. There were a few of us that were elementalists at the time, I actually wasn’t. I was 21 at this time and I was actually very happy with the nomadic family I had lived with. Then one day out of nowhere EDGE attacked us during a blizzard. Everyone died; I was shot twice in the arm and once in the leg. And EDGE just left us there they went back to their camp to wait the blizzard out, they would come back later to collect our bodies. So I was left alone bleeding. The only way I could stop the bleeding was to tie off all three wounds using my clothes, it was either bleed out or be naked in the snow. Foolishly I tied off my wounds and as if it were instinct I found warmth where I could.” Mia was looking at Veronika with much more praise then she ever had before. “Where did you find warmth, not many people survive long in blizzards, I know you would now, but back then probably not.” Mia asked. “I piled up the bodies of all my dead friends and family and crawled into the middle of the pile, their slightly warm corpses and hot blood kept me warm for two days. It was then that I started losing my ability to feel the cold and things started freezing around me, I became what I was scared of. EDGE found me shortly afterwards, they gave me clothes and tied me up very uncomfortably before they dragged me to EDGE headquarters, I spent the rest of my time under Jonathan’s supervision.” Veronika’s story was surprising and saddening to Mia. “Why didn’t you fight back, you could have beaten EDGE, your really strong.” Mia asked. “Would you fight a battle that serves no purpose? I’d have defeated EDGE and then just crawled back under that pile of bodies. Only after I met Jonathan did I want to be free, but I couldn’t get out alone.” Veronika answered. “I’m sorry you had to go through that. But you’ve got us now! We’re all your friends, and you’re probably the smartest and most individualized person I know.” Mia said patting her on the back. “Thanks Mia, you’re a good person too. I’m glad to have you as a friend.”
“I can feel him coming.” Clara said reaching out and touching the gate. “I still say we should leave Gaj in the void Clara we put him in there for several justified reasons.” Jethro said. “One of which was trying to marry me, you’ve been guaranteed a position as a ruler in our future world, so silence yourselves, just keep making elementalists.” Clara demanded. “We can’t… Not anymore…” Jethro quietly said. “What! Why not?” Clara angrily said. “We need death Clara, we need souls of the dead.” Jethro informed. “My son is an elementalist of death, he’ll bring you plenty.” Clara walked over to Gell and began rubbing his shoulders. “We need more than one man can produce Clara. Do you want to know why there are elementalists in the first place?” Jethro asked. “I think we have time, humor me.” Clara said. “There are elementalists because of the Vegeran extermination conducted by Acriale, once an entire kingdom is eradicated we can then make roughly a thousand elementalists, and after that their children have an even slimmer chance of becoming one. The only alternate method is using on of those man made abominations that you son holds.” Jethro announced. Clara didn’t even notice the heart shaped gem Gell was holding onto. “Deudalaphon.” Gell emotionlessly said handing it over to Clara. “Interesting.” Clara said placing it back in Gell’s hands. “But you see Jethro, everything that needs to be in place is.” Clara stretched and sat down on the edge of the table facing the gate. “I lured the three princesses here by lying to them saying that there was a wish to be had, I’m happy they fell for that. Then using their presence Gaj is coming back into our reality and we will then take over this continent, where you will rule under us. You will then make an entire population of elementalists for us. Where will you get the souls you need? Gell tells me Zaidoulu is about to wage war on Acriale, we will join Zaidoulu’s side and help them come out victorious, and then we will kill them as well. That amount of souls should suffice.” Jethro’s gem body illuminated in worry at Clara’s plan, he was scared because it was working, Jethro silently hoped that Anri and Luna would eventually enter the table and stop Clara and Gaj.
The gate in front of them suddenly burst open revealing a swirling dark void. Clara smiled widely and gasped. “Gaj my love, you’ve grown so big…” A massive dark figure of almost twenty feet slowly began to emerge from the gate, once Gaj had exited the gate it began to close behind him. “Father…” Gell said kneeling before the massive monster in front of him. Clara began to happily cry at the side of her disgustingly magnificent husband. “Welcome home my love, I’ve waited so long for this moment, I’m so happy to be in your presence again.” Gaj smiled “And I’m happy to be in yours Clara.”