030 Those Who Watch the Sky - 30


30 – Children Changing With the Sky 5

The sounds of battle had passed, and Melody found herself desiring to extract herself from under the pile of corpses that buried her.

“It should be safe now… right…? I don’t hear anyone and no one is fishing through the corpses so Elliot must have driven them off. I wonder if Elliot is gone too…”

Entangled in a net and weak from hunger extracting herself from under the heap of bodies was far from an easy task. Fortunately for Melody however the wordless song she let fall from her lips called the wind to her and at her command sliced away the net. There was still the matter of actually moving so much dead weight from atop herself and as she lacked the strength she instead managed an awkward crawl to freedom. Staggering to her feet Melody took in the scene and her large eyes widened as her mouth fell open at the number of dead,

“So many people… And Elliot killed all of them…?”

Looking at the corpses and the path they made it was easy to determine where Elliot had led the battle. With a forlorn look Melody followed that path with her eyes wondering if she would see Elliot returning upon it. Leading into the surrounding woodlands however even with her tremendous vision she could not spot where the thinning trail ended.

“Elliot…”

With a fierce shake of her head Melody forced herself not to dwell on Elliot and turned her gaze to the Dolmen.

“I can’t help Elliot if he’s truly gone, but Link I can still do something for.”

 Walking with an uneasy swaying motion Melody made her way slowly but steadily to the Dolmen and called out as she approached it.

“Link! ~ I’m going to sound really selfish, but it’s probably better than you waking up to see Elliot like that… so I’m going to get something to eat and then I’ll fly you to wherever Elliot was taking us ~ I’m just going to need you to–”

Melody’s eyes widened as she looked up into the Dolmen’s chest cavity and did not see Link in the cockpit. Her absence was so shocking however that Melody still nearly finished her statement.

“…stay here… Link‼”

The sight of the dangling pilot seat harness straps sent Melody into a panic and with a surge of adrenaline she danced about frantically looking for signs of Link.

“Link! Link! Where did you go Where are you Ah–!”

Looking down at her feet Melody spied what she very much did not desire to. Even under the disturbance of the ground caused by her panicked dancing she made out the small barefoot footprints of an icaran female and knew exactly what it meant. That they ran parallel to the trail of corpses into the woods made it irrefutable. Not bothering to linger on the meaning any longer Melody put her further surging adrenaline to use and bolted into the woods.

As Melody darted past the initial line of trees into the forest she discovered that the wood was not as dense as it appeared from the riverbank. Considering the height of the Dolmen even supported in a one-armed stance, seeing into the woods would have been easy from the cockpit. However, from the cockpit of the Dolmen Link saw Elliot in pursuit of those surviving ruffians he had engaged whereas Melody from the ground was treated to a much different scene.

“LINK‼”

Coming to an abrupt stop and having to spread her wings to prevent herself from falling over Melody screamed at the scene before her. There was so much blood on the ground and it was spilling free from Link’s right shoulder where Elliot’s sword had driven into her collarbone. Kneeling before Elliot with a grimace of pain on her face Link kept her eyes on her wild-eyed friend who risked a glance in Melody’s direction.

“What are you scowling about Elliot…? It’s just Melody…”

Link’s voice called Elliot’s feral attention back to her and gnashing his teeth he drove with greater strength down onto her. With the ground supporting her Link was able to brace herself to keep her own sword locked in place and minimized how much deeper into her bone Elliot could drive his sword. Her efforts were only so successful however and a fresh spray of red blood jetted out of her shoulder to compliment the cascade pouring down her.

“Ow! Ow! Ow–!”

“LINK‼”

Again Melody screamed and was about to dash forward to rescue her dear friend from her other cherished friend but Link smiled softly and she stopped uncertainly.

“Link…

“What are you getting upset about Melody…? I though you’d be as happy to see me as I was to see you considering what I woke up to…”

“How can I be happy to see you like that Link

“It’s fine Melody… Elliot is just a little worked up… isn’t that right Elliot…?”

Though Elliot had his full attention on Link he did not seem to hear her words. Still Link smiled brightly at him.

“But you know Elliot…? You can calm down now… Melody is fine… See…”

How Link managed not to scream out in pain as she motioned ever so slightly with her head towards Melody was likely due to the adrenaline coursing through her veins or perhaps the blood loss had simply numbed her. No matter the reason she still managed to not only refrain from screaming but continued to smile calmly. Whether it was her words, her smile, or her demeanor somehow Link managed to convince the feral Elliot to again turn his gaze in Melody’s direction. He did not turn his head much but the sight of the harpy drenched in the blood of the corpses he had buried her under left him baring his fanged teeth. The sight of those fangs chilled Melody yet Link still kept smiling.

“Go ahead Melody… let Elliot know you’re fine…”

“But…”

“You are fine, aren’t you Melody…?

Pressed by the insistence in Link’s voice Melody gave her self a quick look over. While it was true that she had not eaten in days and had spent all of her energy clinging to the Dolmen, even the fall from the twenty five meter tall mech and her subsequent capture by the ruffians had not injured her. Asides from her hunger and being drenched in the blood of the dead she was for all extents and purposes fine. Seeing Link still smiling so calmly Melody was confused even more so yet nodded her head and answered meekly.

“Yeah…”

“Well then let Elliot know… And if you can’t find the words… just smile…”

Caught between Elliot’s feral glare and Link’s calm smile Melody only grew more confused. The sight of so much blood spilling from Link though made Melody want to do anything but smile as tears were coming to her eyes. Fear that she was going to lose her only friends and family left her eyes trembling in terror and she could no longer find her voice. Yet her fear gave her strength as much as it paralyzed her. The thought that she could fail to carry out what could be possibly Link’s final request was more than she could bear and her face became home to a most unusual expression as the corners of her mouth curled up in defiance of her tear and terror filled eyes.

“D-do you see me Elliot…? I-I’m f-fine… Y-you saved me… a-and kept me safe…”

“You hear that Elliot…? You did great… Melody’s fine so you can calm down…”

In an amazing display of speed, strength, and agility Link released her sword long enough to switch to a reverse grip with her right hand. The instant of lost tension allowed Elliot to drive his sword deeper into her and a loud snapping sound echoed through the woods. The change immediately drew Elliot’s attention back to Link who through sheer force of will kept his sword from going deeper despite her broken collar bone supporting her sword arm. Even in spite of the pain she kept smiling and put her left hand to use and gently cradled the side of Elliot’s face.

“And see… I’m fine too… I’m still bleeding red so you know I’m me… and as angry and upset as you are I know you’re still you… after all… you’re still only using one hand… what have I told you about holding back Elliot…?”

The Foreigner blood that had mingled with Elliot’s own and threatened to consume his mind and soul could not fend off the weight of the Link’s words and gentle touch upon his face. Shaken to his very core Elliot released his sword and stumbled back several steps his feral glare becoming one of horror. His horror was at himself and what he allowed himself to do however and he could no longer allow the Foreigner blood to dictate his actions, his eyes giving way from the white of the feral beast he had become to his own emerald orbs.

“Link…! Link, I’m so sorry…! What have I– How could I–

“It’s fine Elliot…”

Tears bursting forth from his horrified eyes Elliot shook his head in denial.

“How can you say it’s fine Link Look what I’ve done to you! And it’s not just what I’ve done to you either! What I’ve done to Melody is unforgivable!”

“Melody’s fine Elliot… Didn’t you hear her…? You save her and kept her safe… And me, I’m fine too…”

Straightening out her left arm Link snapped her fingers and a small sphere of light appeared within her upturned palm. As she continued speaking though her smile finally gave way to an expression of lighthearted recollection.

“Now how did that go again…”

Closing her eyes yet again Link began chanting softly.

“~ Oh merciful Atheaeldre,
as life wears flesh so too do we recognize its restoration.
Head the humble words of this pilgrim and let us aid the wounded.
Heal! ~”

Moving her left hand so that she pressed it up under her right collar bone a golden glow washed over Link. As she continued to hold it there a slight breeze swirled up around her and slowly but surely Elliot’s sword was pushed from her shoulder. It was not a quick process however as the spell was not particularly powerful and for several quiet minutes Elliot and Melody watched Link. Even when Elliot’s sword finally fell free from Link’s shoulder and slid harmlessly off of her sword to the ground she still held her hand to her collar bone. Eventually the golden glow faded and Link opened her eyes.

“See? All better–“

Even as she spoke the words Link suddenly fell forward.

“Link‼”

Crying out together Elliot and Melody hurried to Link. Before they got to her she managed to release her grip on her sword with her right hand and caught it with her left in a reverse grip and drove it into the ground to support herself. Fighting not to lower her right arm Link looked up at Elliot and Melody and smiled broadly.

“See I’m just fine. A little tired though. I really need to learn a better healing spell then the one Squawk taught me.”

Falling onto her rear and into a listless sitting position Link burst out into bright and cheerful laughter.



Copyright © Joshua D Tarwater

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