Chapter Two

"How can people be so stupid?!" Elly cried slamming the broom on the floor. "Why

would they get mad at me for being nice to them? You know what Krelian? I hate people!

This world is full of idiots!"

Idiots you say? Krelian thought as he watched the scene before him. You had such a negative attitude toward people for so long my dear Elly…no you are called Sophia now…the founder of the Nisan religion, also known as the Great Mother of Nisan. How odd that you have become the person whom all the people look to for support and spiritual guidance. But you have developed an undying faith in the human race at an inopportune time. He looked at her standing before the crowd with the usual kind, gentle expression on her face. Despite the distance between them, her voice carried to his ears and he could do nothing, but listen.

"…we are all the same in the eyes of God. There should be no reason for us to look down upon one another. We all have our faults thus making us equals. We should not hold grudges and should always be willing to forgive…"

A loud cough broke through the sweet words and Krelian glared back at the soldier. The man was fairly new and didn’t know what Krelian’s icy glare meant. He chuckled and gestured at Sophia.

"What the hell is she babbling about? And why in the hell are we here anyway?"

Krelian kept his face neutral and gestured for the man to follow him. He saw Lacan look at him in shock and concern and ignored it. Lacan had nothing to say that he would listen to anymore. His stupidity had almost cost Sophia her life several times…but she seemed to want to be around him anyway. Krelian dismissed the thought irritably. Now was not the time to dwell on what could not be. He turned to the soldier and narrowed his eyes. "Do you have a problem with this?"

The soldier smirked. "Hell yeah. What’s the point in listening to some bitch talking about us loving one another when she’s part of the war too."

"Krelian," Lacan said warningly.

"What? Did I say someth-" the soldier’s words were cut off as Krelian’s fist connected with his face. He dropped to his knees and put a hand under his chin to catch the blood.

Krelian walked back toward the throng and listened to Sophia again. Lacan will tell her what happened. He thought nonchalantly. He’ll probably tell her while he’s painting one of those god-awful paintings of his. His nonchalance turned to anger and he had trouble resisting the urge to punch Lacan as he and the soldier walked past him. The only time he got to spend with her was the day she told him that reading would calm his soul or some such thing. He immediately berated himself for not remembering it. He looked at Sophia again only to bask in the warmth of her gentle smile.


* * * * * *


Krelian woke up with a start and began to mutter curses at himself. Melchior is going to kill me. He thought grabbing a handkerchief to wipe the moisture off the book. He wiped the side of his face, glad that he was alone for once. What a riot the soldier’s would have if they found out that their general drooled when he slept. He thought ruefully. He blinked a few times to clear his vision of spots and poured a cup of coffee. Where did I leave off? He thought as he turned the pages. Oh. Here it is. He shook his head and tried to smooth the pages down that had folded as he shifted in his sleep. "Nanotechnology? And what is this?" Krelian read further down the page and nodded his head instantly understanding the definition. "Nanotechnology is the growing science of automatic microscopic machinery that can be released into the environment or into the human body to do work (from terraforming to genetic engineering) on a molecular level. Hmmm. This knowledge would be ideal on the battlefield. Would this include regeneration of limbs also? Would it cure diseases? This I must look into."

* * * * * *

"They want to what?" Sophia asked incredulously.

The choirboy shifted nervously and blushed when Sophia gave him a comforting smile. "The people want to see a painting of you. We have several skilled artists in town waiting for you to take your pick. The guy who has that big ship…I forget his name…" the boy paused for a second his eyebrow furrowed with thought.

"Roni," Krelian supplied from across the room.

The choirboy jumped at the man’s voice and began to stutter. "Y-yeah…him…h-he said th-th-that," he swallowed hard and started again and spoke so fast that the rest of the sentence came out as one word. "ThatLacanshouldbetheonetodoit!"

"What?" Sophia asked. She stood up and put her hand on the boy’s shoulder. He seemed to calm down at her touch. "A painting of me? I’m not too sure about that."

"Okay," the choirboy said his voice a mixture of disappointment and relief. "I’ve got to get back to my duties."

Sophia watched the boy dash down the long cathedral hallway in confusion. She turned to go back into the library and bumped into Krelian. "I’m sorry Krelian," she said with a small smile. "Do you have any idea what he said?"

"About Roni?" the man asked taking his seat at the table once more. "I have no idea. I heard him say something about Lacan, but he’s been a bit busy lately. I doubt he’ll have the time to paint your portrait."

"Hmmm. I’d agree if Lacan was the one to do it," Sophia said softly. She saw Krelian look up at her from the book he was reading and raise an eyebrow. She hadn’t meant for him to hear that.

"Why is that? His art is mediocre in my eyes. It lacks feeling. He wouldn’t be able to capture your true beau-" Krelian caught himself and cursed his body as the color rose to his pale face. Lacan was an excellent artist; his pictures seemed to capture the essence of every living being. He knew that he was only speaking out against him because he wished for the talent also. Sophia seemed to hold Lacan and his talent in high regard. She rarely came to him for anything unless she wanted to be alone. Krelian was the first to admit that he seemed to have a built-in people repellant, and as a loner was glad about it most of the time. There were times when he longed to have someone to talk to, but the longing was soon killed whenever he had to lead the army out to fight in that stupid war between Solaris and Shevat. I don’t trust that Queen Zephyr for some reason. She talks about rescuing land dwellers from her city situated on the Tower of Babel. It seems to me that she’s looking down on us the way Solaris is; and refuses to admit that she’s only using us because of our military. He thought shaking his head. He put the book back on the shelf and walked over to Sophia who was looking out the window. She looked up at him in a disarming manner and smiled her small smile.

"Can’t you do something about his work load?"

Krelian groaned. "I’ll let him know," he said.

"Really?!" Sophia cried practically tackling him with a hug.

Krelian put his arms around her and kissed the top of her head. He originally had no intention of telling Lacan anything, but holding Sophia-no-Elly this close shattered any hard feelings toward Lacan. He wanted to make Elly happy and if letting Lacan paint her portrait would make her happy he would be glad to do it.

* * * * * *

Krelian shielded his eyes against another explosion and piloted his Gear toward the general of the Solaris army. The general saw him coming and sidestepped him delivering a strong blow to his back. Krelian turned and swung his sword severing the other Gear’s hand. He watched the body part regenerate right before his eyes in terror. What kind of material was Solaris using to make their Gears? And how could it be defeated? The general used his moment of distraction to hit Krelian with tiny, green, diamond shaped, projectiles.

"Owwww," Krelian moaned shaking his head to clear his vision. "This is going to be much harder than I thought." He lay there a moment later wondering why the general wasn’t taking the opportunity to finish him off then heard the Gear advancing toward him. He got up quickly and attacked catching the general by surprise. He managed to get a few decent hits on his opponent, but his triumph was short-lived as the projectiles hit him again. He groaned and his head lolled to one side. His eyes widened as he heard the familiar sounds of Lacan and Sophia’s Gears. He had never been so happy to see the two of them together. He got up and used a Frame HP on himself then joined the fray. Lacan and Sophia had already landed several hits on the general’s Gear. Krelian grinned when he saw the fuel leaking from the fuel tank of the enemy Gear. Solaris had oppressed the world long enough. Now was the time for their reign of terror to end, but how had they found them?

"Sophia?" he said. It hurt to talk and he wondered if he had suffered a serious injury.

"Krelian? Are you all right?" she asked. Her filled with concern. She piloted her Gear to him careful to avoid Lacan’s Chi bolt.

"I’m fine," Krelian said. "Cast a fire spell on him. The fuel’s leaking. I doubt he’ll survive an explosion."

"All right. Be careful Krelian?" Sophia said going back to stand near Lacan.

Krelian heard a small explosion and gasped when Sophia’s Gear fell before him. "What just happened?"

"Elly!" Lacan cried running to the downed Gear.

"I-I’m fine," Sophia said getting up. "You said a fire spell Krelian?"

Krelian looked at her Gear. It had taken severe damage from Lacan’s Chi bolt and he wondered what had been going through Lacan’s head at the time. He could hear their conversation as he covered for them. Lacan was apologizing and Sophia was telling him that it was okay and she would be fine. She cast the fire spell and the enemy Gear that had grown weaker from Lacan’s Chi bolts and a lack of fuel slumped over as huge sparks came from it.

"Run!" Lacan yelled quickly piloting his Gear away.

"W-wait!" Sophia yelled. "My Gear won’t-" Her words were cut short as Krelian picked her up and flew to safety.

Krelian jumped out of his Gear and stormed toward Lacan who was talking to Roni and Rene. He grabbed the man’s arm and flung him against a tree. "What the hell is wrong with you?! First you damn near kill her and then you leave her behind when you knew her Gear was disabled. You don’t deserve her!"

"What’s that supposed to mean!" Lacan yelled pushing Krelian away. "What are you? Jealous or something!"

Krelian grabbed the man’s shirtfront and would’ve broken his nose had Roni not begun to shout furiously and point to the sky. Rene ran over to them and pulled them apart.

"Look! Solaris’s ship is about to blow us bits if we don’t do something! Stop fighting over her! Sophia!" Rene cried looking around for the young woman.

Krelian and Lacan ran toward an empty ship intent on fighting to the death for their freedom. Just before they got to it, it rose into the air and began to speed toward the Solaris ship on a suicide mission. Roni and Rene ran toward them looking very confused.

Rene pointed to the ship with a shaking finger. "Who?"

Lacan shrugged and Krelian looked around. Fear clenched his heart when he didn’t see Sophia tending the wounded. Please God say she’s in the tents. He prayed running toward them. The people started at the sight of him and began to moan and ask him where Sophia was.

"She’s not here?" he asked his voice rising almost to a shriek. His body went cold and numb as he looked up at the speeding ship. His body recovered slightly and he ran back toward Lacan and the others. "She’s in the ship," he told them breathlessly.

"WHAT!" Lacan cried. His face went white and he looked as though he might faint. "She’s…in there?" He snatched the radio from Roni. "Elly? What do you think you’re doing?! They’re firing at you turn around!"

"Saving you," she said calmly.

"You’ll die stupid! Come back!" he yelled.

"You don’t understand. As the Great Lady of Nisan it is my duty to save my people."

Krelian listened to the whole conversation his body going stiff with rage, shock, and grief. God? He prayed once again. If you have any power will you please save her? Please! Krelian looked toward the sky and saw a single star twinkling through the smoke. His ears picked up the last of Sophia’s words.

"Please take care of everyone. And Lacan! Live!"

The four men watched the explosion dumbly. The soldiers, who had no idea what had just happened, began to cheer and sing that the war was over and that they had won. Krelian stared at the ship’s remains floating from the sky like feathers from a bird’s wing…or an angel’s wing. He put a hand to his head and gave a shuddering sigh. He felt someone’s hand on his shoulder and looked over at him. It was Lacan. Maybe I should be supportive. Krelian said when he saw the man’s tears. He thought back to the eventful day and realized that Lacan was to blame for everything. He shrugged his hand away and glared at him maliciously.

" ‘ Lacan! Live!’ "

Krelian mulled her words over in his head. Sophia didn’t love him. She loved Lacan. She had mentioned no one else before she died. He walked toward a cliff looking heavenward.

" ‘Lacan! Live!’ "

She had counted on Lacan for comfort and he shouted at her and told her how stupid she was for saving them. Why couldn’t he be grateful for what she had done? Her action was the ultimate act of love…for him. I should be the one receiving those feelings! Krelian thought clenching his fists and glaring back at Lacan who had a wild look about him as if he were about to lose grip on reality.

" ‘Lacan! Live!’ "

He glared up at the sky and began to hurl curses at the stars. Where was God when I needed Him? I prayed to nothing! "Where was God when all of this happened?!" he yelled turning to face the bedraggled and grieving trio. "If God does not exist in this world, I will make God with my own hands!"