027 Those Who Watch the Sky - 27


 27 – Children changing With the Sky 2

Carrying Link who was fast asleep in his arms Elliot did not immediately return to the Dolmen, instead he making his way to a human sized control panel on the elevator platform that could easily support multiple Dolmens. Following him Melody remained silent as she wrestled with what was going on with Link and Elliot. Despite her desire to bide her time and see what was going on she could not help but express her lack of understanding as she looked at the script that came to life on the terminal Elliot worked on.

“Um~ Elliot, I can’t read that at all ~ I think it might be from a different age ~

“It probably is Melody. I can’t read it at all either. Link might be able to figure it out since I know her father taught her a great deal about the technology of the Ancients, but I don’t want to wake her yet. Besides, I may have another way to interact with it that I can understand.”

Turning away from the terminal Elliot made his way to the Dolmen. Melody watched from afar as the machine recognized its new pilot and lowered its empty left hand to receive him. Stepping into the palm of the mech’s hand Elliot was lifted to the cockpit and strode inside with Link. Melody didn’t like them disappearing from her sight and let a wordless song fall from her lips stirring the wind around her and taking flight to close the distance between her and the Dolmen. As she arrived she grabbed onto the damaged chest plate that served as the cockpit hatch and looked inside to see Elliot seated in the pilot’s seat with Link on his lap. The smile that had been adorning his face had finally faded and a look of relaxed concentration had taken its place as he worked a number of overhead switches and keypads above him.

“So~, what are you trying to do Elliot? ~

“Just familiarizing myself with the Dolmen’s control’s Melody. It’s not like the one back in Cross I used to play with the training simulator on and actually moving it is a very different experience than anything the simulations prepared me for.”

“Yet you still killed that big monster with it ~ That’s amazing Elliot ~

“Not as amazing as Link who knew exactly what was going on nor this Dolmen itself. Once I got seated and took the controls everything in here switched to our modern language during the boot-up process. It still took me a little bit to get a handle for piloting it but it seems no matter the era the Ancients were pretty consistent with how they designed Dolmen to operate.”

“Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha! ~ I have no idea what you’re talking about Elliot but you can get it to do what you need to, right? ~

“Here’s hoping I can Melody. You might want to either find a better perch or get to a safe distance though.”

“No, I’m good here.”

Melody’s refusal to budge was a decision of curiosity to Elliot but he did not push the matter and kept his curiosity internalized.

“Well, be careful then and hold on tight.”

Taking Elliot’s advice Melody dug her talons into the metal of the chest plate and braced herself for the standing of the Dolmen. Despite her song dropping from her speech Melody could not contain her amazement as the Dolmen stood and strode across the elevator platform to the terminal Elliot had attempted to make use of on foot. It seemed unlikely that the towering mech could do anything with a terminal designed for human interfacing and Melody looked back into the cockpit to see what Elliot was going to do.

Elliot was going over a number of framed holographic screens that he had pulled down from above and was entering commands on the various keypads that he had also pulled down. He worked quickly but also paced himself to read whatever it was that came onto the screens before proceeding to the next commands he entered. After a few moments of him going over everything he looked up the slanted elevator shaft at where the body of the White One still laid slowly oozing copper blue blood onto the track.

“Of course you would want the whole thing Link. I hope this doesn’t stress the generator too much.”

As he spoke the words Elliot piloted the Dolmen to retrieve the body of the White One and dragged it onto the elevator platform. Once he was satisfied that it was fully on the platform Elliot commanded the Dolmen to kneel and looked in the direction of the elevator terminal. A moment later a horrible sound of groaning metal and ancient machinery filled the supply corridor and with a terrible shaking, which loosed clouds of dust from seemingly everywhere, large metal railing fitted with chicken wire rose on both sides of the elevator platform separating it from the supply corridor and shaft both. Another moment, later and likely delayed due to lack of use, a number of amber-hued warning lights came to life and began spinning lively to warn any present that the elevator was active. The amber lights were soon replaced by red lights and with a fierce lurch the elevator began to rise.

Amazed and enjoying every moment of the spectacle Melody only flinched when the alarms that should have sounded with the lights finally started blaring. She did not let the horrible noise bother her though and simply watched the walls of the elevator shaft pass by them during their ascent with a huge smile on her face. Elliot smiled too as he watched from within the Dolmen though there was a hint of melancholy to his smile as he looked down at Link and brushed the back of his hand against her cheek.

“Sorry you don’t get to see this Link. I’m certain that you would be able to enjoy it just as much as Melody and me, but I guess you can call it your just desserts for visiting Ambrosia without us. Still, if all goes well maybe we can visit here again and help the church reclaim this lost shrine and let you experience the dam and temple to the fullest. For now though, I hope you’re having sweet dreams full of adventure to tide you over until then.”

Not being able to join Link in her dreams Elliot instead focused on the interior of the Dolmen. He already had a fair idea of what more he would need to do once they got to the surface but the elevator was moving faster than he expected and he had no desire to waste any time. Passing on continuing to watch the elevator shaft pass he instead began working numerous keypads and reading the data provided by the screens attached to them. As he worked he could not help but frown as the words ‘No Signal‘ flashed on one of the screens. Watching that blinking set of words made the ascent feel significantly longer to him than it really was but when the message changed to read ‘Establishing Signal’ it made the wait worth it. Knowing that the Dolmen was detected something Elliot allowed himself to relax and turn his attention to the top of the shaft before him and the massive blast door like shutters that opened to let the elevator into the late afternoon light.

“We’re outside again! ~ And look Elliot! ~ Look at that huge lake! ~

As the Dolmen emerged into the forested over growth that had taken over whatever road had once led to the entrance to the dam they rose from Melody exploded gleefully in response to their surroundings. Erring more on the side of caution Elliot chose to instead scan their immediate surrounding for signs of life before noting the massive lake to the right of where they exited the dam. To call it massive was perhaps underselling it as at least from where the Dolmen knelt he could not see the other side of the lake or where it ended in the distance.

“It’s amazing…”

“Isn’t it! ~ Isn’t it! ~ We should wake Link up so she can see it too! ~

“I’m sure she would appreciate the sentiment Melody but I’d rather not wake her if we can help it. Let her sleep until she wakes up on her own.”

“But–”

Poking her head into the cockpit Melody was going to argue but simply ended up pouting as Elliot cut her off.

“I’m not being mean on purpose Melody. Honest. It’s just… Well, look at her. How long has it been since Link has rested this peacefully on this journey of ours?”

“She’s going to get mad at you for leaving her out of all of this when she does wake up.”

“And weren’t you just mad at her for excluding us from her little trip into Ambrosia?”

“But that was–!”

Elliot’s sudden laughter deepened Melody’s pout but to an extent she felt better about his recent behavior and had to force herself to keep pouting. She couldn’t sustain it though and started smiling herself as well.

“You’re so mean Elliot! ~

“I hope you’ll forgive me my lady.”

“Only if you bring me the biggest haunch of meat you can find ~ And it better be from something with red blood ~ Foreigners’ blue blood makes my stomach flop around ~

“Well you’re in luck Melody, the Dolmen’s systems are picking up all sorts of life up here and hunting will give me something to do while I wait to see if it can find a town.”

“That sounds wonderful! ~ I can’t wait to eat again! ~ It’s been too long since I last was able to eat! ~

“Calm down Melody, it’s only been about two day.”

“Do you know how long two days is to my stomach ~ It’s like forever! ~

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Alright then Melody, I get it. Just let me get the Dolmen somewhere more stable than the elevator and then I can find us something to eat and put together a fire. We’ll probably be sleeping here for the night anyway.”

Not wanting to make Melody wait any longer than she already had between meals Elliot quickly headed off to hunt after kneeling the Dolmen down amongst some trees and returning it’s revolver to the hollow in its leg that once held it ages ago. He did not leave everything with the Dolmen however as he had noted a handgun grip sticking out of a compartment next to the pilot seat before he left and withdrew the weapon. Giving it a quick check over the magazine held about 15 rounds of ammo though he had no idea if it was any good from what he could tell without disassembling the weapon. He would do just that later however as he waited for the meat of the woodland rodents he ended up catching to cook over the campfire he made. Naturally however he was again seated in the cockpit of the Dolmen as he did so that he could do so not only in safety but check what the mech’s senses had detected. Melody being curious of Elliot’s actions joined him leaving Link asleep beside the fire.

“I bet if you used that you could have caught something bigger ~

“I doubt that Melody. Gun’s like this are for use on people, not animals or monsters. On top of that while it seems that everything is in order I don’t know if the bullets will fire at all and I haven’t practiced firing a gun since we left Cross.”

“But you fired the gun on this thing… Though it was more like a cannon! ~

“I really just got lucky Melody. That and the Dolmen’s firearm draws on the Artificial Gate Generator so even being out of practice since my target was stationary it was likely that I would have hit it at that distance.”

“Sti~ll, the skills that you and Link have are so different from each other ~

“Of course they are. Outside of our swordsmanship and hand to hand training with you we still had different lives from each other even at home. Even when I visited her my experiences were different depending on what she was doing. Her mother introduced me the Dolmen under Cross which is where I learned to pilot one and her father introduced me to firearms.”

“You really got into it practicing with them for a while after we fought those bandits though ~

“I’m still surprised none of them ever mentioned your involvement with Link and I besting them. It was hard enough for me not to which is part of why I got so into my firearm practice; I wanted to know everything about them so Link and I could better fight them once we went adventuring.”

“I bet magic can beat guns ~

“If you have the time to cast a spell before being shot, sure. Speed is the main advantage of guns after all. Though they have plenty of weaknesses and as Mr. Sycamore told me bullets are so small that you can’t really infuse them with Nectar to make them stronger like you can swords and the sort. That makes them completely useless against monsters that can enhance their bodies with Nectar.”

“It just sounds like you’re making excuses for why dinner is so small ~

Pouting playful Melody drew laughter out of Elliot as he finished reassembling the firearm. He did not manage to chide her about complaining about their still cooking meal however as a light that started blinking on one of the smaller screens in the cockpit distracted him. Turning his attention to the screen his eyes widened and he nearly cried at what he saw.

“Melody, look.”

Inviting the harpy into the cockpit Elliot pulled the screen down on the arm it was attached to and turned it so Melody could see it. For as much knowledge in her head that she retained from all of the books she read growing up she could not understand the information displayed on the screen. It seemed to be showing a map in real time of a very large area though and there was a small blinking light at what she guessed was the dam as well as a larger splotch covering the dam itself. Far away and well past the lake in what seemed to be a mountainous region that the river that fed the lake cut through was an even more massive splotch. More accurately it was a massive collection of tiny lights that looked like a splotch at first, undiscerning glance. Fortunately for Melody her lack of reaction prompted Elliot to tell her what she was looking at.

“Melody, don’t you see? That’s a city. And compared to Cross it’s huge so that means that the Cardinal Church should have a massive presence!”

“Ah~~~‼”

Melody’s eyes lit up and her mouth fell open in joy as she realized what it was she was looking at.

“Does that mean…

“It does Melody! We’ve almost made it. And with the Dolmen it’ll only be a few days until we’re there as long as we don’t strain the generator. If we really push it though maybe, just maybe we can pull it off in just two!”



Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater

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