026 Those Who Watch the Sky - 26


 26 – Children Changing With the Sky 1

~ Naiveté.
It is the given, the expected of all fledgling adventurers.
The universal truth that will change about any who set out under the open sky.
Yet, it is only one thing that changes amongst many.
For those infected by the Foreigners though we expected only our bodies to change.
We never questioned our minds changings.
We never thought more than Foreigners could become a part of us.
We never thought more than Foreigners could change us.
We never realized how much we had already changed. ~

“The white one is vanquished and we and our companions have crossed to the lost shrine of Ocia ~♪ The conditions for our union is complete and we are now the same in song, Ambrosia, and flesh ~♪ The servants of Ocia and her children will now head our pleas through any gate we so open ~♪”

“Link, are you alright Link!”

Ceasing her song and expressing worry Melody glided back to the floor of the supply corridor and set Link down beside her sword. Link’s mind was elsewhere however as the voice of her mermaid self became her own and she slumped to the ground forgetting how to use her legs. The entire world seemed out of focus to her and she simply stared with vacant eyed confusion ahead.

“Link, what’s wrong Answer me Link! Say something!”

Panic creeping into her voice Melody began to dance from foot to foot anxiously her voice growing louder. The external sensors of the Dolmen easily picked up her voice and Elliot looked behind him at the internal display of the Dolmen showing him what was behind it. The Domen tracked its pilot’s movement and the head of the twenty five meter tall mech also looked back over its shoulder to better serve Elliot. Seeing Link sitting on the ground as she did though prompted Elliot to vacate the pilot’s seat. Damaged as the machine was it still functioned normally save for the torn open entrance to the cockpit and sensing that there was no docking platform it knelt down autonomously and extended its arm for its rapidly departing pilot. Elliot was in fact departing so quickly that he leapt from the hand of the Dolmen while still several meters above the ground. He did not seem to notice the height he fell however and sprinted towards Melody and Link as if it was all in stride.

“Melody! What happened What’s wrong with Link Were you two struck by that monster’s attacks

Not taking the time to breathe as he sprinted across the supply corridor Elliot threw out a barrage of questions for Melody. Melody could not answer any of them and simply turned a desperate teary face onto Elliot.

“I don’t know! I don’t know. Link and I were mostly out of the way but she kept wanting to help you even though there was nothing we could do. And then when you killed it I thought we were going to celebrate together but she just went limp in my grip. I- I- Elliot what do we do~

“Link…!”

The look of dread that weighed down Elliot’s face was not the support that Melody needed and she started bawling in terror.

“We’re not losing her are we Elliot Please tell me we aren’t losing her! I don’t know what I’d do if we lost Link! I don’t know! I can’t–“

“CALM DOWN MELODY‼”

The sudden outburst from Elliot stunned Melody into silence though the tears that were running down her face persisted. Her sudden silence had a far greater effect on Elliot than her tears  however as he saw staring at him none other than himself when Link had yelled at him before he first laid eyes on the White One. Staring at Melody dumbstruck by the effect he had on her he noticed that his right hand was trembling and he lifted it up to look at it. He couldn’t get his hand to stop trembling and he knew exactly why. He was afraid of losing himself as much as losing Link.

“I- I’m sorry Melody… I… I don’t know how much longer either Link or I have… We… We’ve been too complacent… We’re possessed by Foreigners but we let ourselves forget that… We let ourselves forget that even considering Link’s condition. …And then I didn’t believe her when she said she went to Ambrosia… I didn’t stop to think about what type of affect that had on her or the Foreigner trying to take her from us…”

Falling to his knees Elliot himself began staring off into space wracked with despair and Melody panicked. Grabbing Elliot’s shoulder with a talon she shook him and called out desperately to him.

“Don’t you go either Elliot! Don’t leave me here! Elliot! Please!”

Shaken to his senses Elliot gasped as he realized what he was doing and grabbed Melody’s foot.

“Ah-h-h~! You came back! You came back… Wah~‼”

“It’s alright Melody… It’s alright… I’m still here. I’m still here. I’m still me.”

Elliot forced himself to smile for Melody’s sake and the harpy outright broke down in tears. Releasing her foot so Melody could support herself as she cried and tried to wipe the tears from her eyes with her wings, Elliot fell back into a seated position and found he was still trembling as he supported himself with his right hand. Pulling his hand back around to look at it he tried to reassure himself as well.

“That’s right… I’m still here and I’m not as strong as you Link.”

Turning to look at where Link still sat staring off at nothing Elliot pulled his left hand from its customary spot on the head of his scabbard and reached out for her. Though it pained him when she did not react at all to his hand cupping her cheek he forced himself to keep smiling. Turning her head gently so her vacant gaze fell on him he called out to her softly.

“Link. Link. I know it’s hard… I know it’s different for everyone who has ever been infected by a Foreigner. I know most don’t make it, that most true Sa·B·ers are supported by Cardinal’s Light. But we’ve made it this far… We have transportation now. The Dolmen should be able to detect any nearby Artificial Gate Generators as well. That means we should be able to find a town. We’re on the last leg of this journey Link. It’s just a little ways longer, so please Link… Come back to us… For me. For Melody. For your dream to be the world’s greatest adventurer. You can’t achieve your dream if you don’t come back and then my sword will have no purpose and Melody will be left alone in the world. Please Link, come back to us…”

His voice beginning to break Elliot did not fight the tears that rolled down his face. He kept smiling as he looked at Link however refusing not to smile for her. Still though Link continued staring ahead vacantly and Elliot had to stop lest he lose his own mind. Lowering his head he gritted his teeth and called out to the saint of the Cardinal Church.

“Lady Cardinal… please! It’s your light that is supposed to save us and haven’t we proven ourselves yet Link answered the pleas of beings who dwell in Ambrosia and together we slew the beast that plagued them. They’ve been saved from it and it’s all because of Link. She deserves to be rewarded for her efforts, not taken from the world she so wants to experience! Please Lady Cardinal! Please, save Link with your light!”

~ How pure your heart child, and how it aches. Truly this maid is blessed to move your heart so. That you would cry so much for a human being… ~

“Ah-h-h~…!”

Lifting his head and trembling Elliot stared into a light so soft and so warm, gentle as a mother’s hand caressing his cheek. And to his shock he could feel it, feel a delicate hand full of such kindness and warmth upon his face that his tears became unlike any he had ever cried before. He knew the light before him was a goddess and that she had answered the pleading of his heart and very soul. Somewhere in that light he was certain she smiled upon him. And then the light was gone and he was again looking at Link whose own eyes looked upon Elliot with just a hint of her behind them.

“Elliot… Don’t forget to bring the body…”

With those words Link’s eyes closed and she fell over into him.

“Link!”

Melody cried out and started to hurry to her and Elliot but stopped as Elliot held out a hand ordering her to. He did not need to say more though as the smile on his face as he looked down at Link slumbering in his lap was serenely joyous. Melody was confused though as she did not experience the light that Elliot had. He surely understood that though and as he pulled Link close and cradled her in his arms as he stood he offered Melody reassurance of Link’s well being.

“She’s okay… She’s okay Melody. She’s been saved. Lady Cardinal has saved her…”

“Elliot? What are you saying…?”

Tilting her head to one side Melody stared unsure of Elliot’s meaning.

“You’re right. I shouldn’t invoke her name without knowing the proper way to address her. We’ll need to get ourselves to a town if we’re going to prove my worth still and so I can learn how to properly address her.”

“Elliot… I have no idea what you’re saying. You’re saying Link is okay but she’s not even conscious now and you’ve gone from yelling at me to crying your eyes out to talking all creepy in a really short time. You haven’t lost your mind have you? You’re still you… right?”

“I’m fine Melody. But I have to prove my worth still. Link here doesn’t have to anymore though. She’s been saved and now she can rest. She’s earned it too…”

Taking one last look down at Link asleep in his arms Elliot continued smiling serenely as he turned to return to the Dolmen. Melody was not sure if she could trust him with Link and took a tentative step back as she contemplated what to do. Elliot already knew exactly what needed to be done and advised Melody of the same.

“Come on Melody. You heard Link didn’t you? She wants us to bring that monster with us and you don’t want her waking up to find out that we ignored her do you?”

“Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha… Not really. Link maybe nice but she can be scary too.”

“Come on then, let’s hurry. I can’t afford to make her mad at me for losing myself either so the sooner we get to a town the better.”



Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater

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