We stepped out into the laboratory where both Verex and Xirian were still pouring over data. Seeing me enter Verex immediately made a bee-line for the back cupboard. Withdrawing a small leather sack, he returned to our position. He looked down at the girls with that fabled smile of his, the smile that almost never left his face...no matter how grim the condition. And yet, how many times had I caused him to lose it I wonder? Just how much strain...how much misery had I caused this man...
No...Now was not the time for such thinking. I had a mission now, they would be awaiting my arrival. At least, if they knew what was good for them they would be. I swear, if Tanex tried to leave me behind...I would have his head. Figuratively speaking, of course. >:}
Withdrawing two small gourds from the satchel, he passed them down to Xyta and Aidex. A Bright yellow one for the child of light, and a light blue for the child of ice. "These gourds contain an elixir used to restore energy based on your specific element. Now I am a researcher; not to be mistaken for a doctor or healer. Please note the difference, this elixir will not HEAL you...but ONLY restore your energy. Healing must be done by your own will." He explained firmly. "Thank you for bringing them here now RaXi, I've a feeling things are about to get...dicey."
"Indeed." I affirmed. "I am to enter Zero and convince Xerebus to aid us in our war. And so I must ask that you watch the girls while we're gone...tasks have been divided, only you and Xirian will remain here as far as I know." Once more...I caused his smile to fade...into one of a much more serious manner. He looked down at the girls standing before me, then back into my eyes.
"May I speak with you alone?"
Raising an eyebrow, I was curious what had him so upset. "I suppose...but I don't have much time, we are to depart immediately."
"It'll just take a moment." He stated firmly...I could suddenly feel the temperature rising.
"Take it outside! I don't need you HEATING up my laboratory!" Xirian screeched as he nudged his glasses up on his nose, the light shimmering quickly off them.
"Stay here." I ordered the children as we stepped out into the hall. "What is-"
"What is the meaning of this RaXi?!" Verex cut me off, his back to me. "You're going into ZERO....into Abyss! The Labyrinth...and you expect me to stand idly by? To remain behind?!"
"You needn't worry about the Labyrinth, we'll be navigated by not one, but three former members of Zero...." I expounded.
"But still...you're going to confront him. Xerebus. Can you do this with a mind unclouded?!"
"I am not going to stand in the way of this plan. How many times must I explain?!" My voice echoed through the hall. "However. I will NOT allow Nyx to face this alone. No matter what her past may reveal...if he is bound to her...then I will stand beside her and help her face it." My tone seemed to be lowering....as memories of the happy Nyx from my past flashed before my eyes. Killed in an instant by the shattering image of Saix fading away. "I WILL NOT LOSE HER VEREX! And I REFUSE to entrust her to ANYONE else! Even IF they should be former apprentices and close comrades..."
A Look of concern flooded his gentle face as he began to understand just what exactly was going on. My fists were clenched and trembling with rage, my eyes closed as I tried to suppress the annoying emotions that seemed to flow through me. Why! Why did the thought of Nyx being in any sort of danger put me in this STATE?! I stopped trembling and became completely still from the sound of a slight laughter....that seemed to grow and echo in the corridor. Verex was....laughing.... "HOW DA--"
"You know RaXi...you really ARE something different. I don't think I'll ever meet anyone else as complex...or difficult as you can be." He interrupted once more. I was completely silent...I didn't know how to respond to something so...odd. "It makes me wonder...do such thoughts ever cross your mind concerning me...? Ah Well! The point is...you care for every one of them...don't you? You might pretend that you don't...but you really do. It must worry you to see them in danger..."
I really didn't like the sympathetic expression on his face. That patronizing look... "I need no one's pity. As a warrior it is my DUTY to see to the safety of my comrades, that is all." I disregarded.
He snickered once more. "Whatever you say." He paused. "I know you won't let me come...besides you've asked me to look after your apprentices...therefore my hands are tied...however...there's still something I feel you should know."
I analyzed him, as though trying to see just WHAT he was going to said before the words left his mouth...
"Xerebus. No matter what went on between he and I....I get the feeling that he isn't a bad man...perhaps he's just been misunderstood." He stated solemnly.
"Do not make excuses for him. I will not interfere, but forgiveness is beyond me at this point." I discarded flatly.
"I'm not making excuses. It's just...the entire time I served him...I always got the feeling he was...sad. No. I can't even explain it right, that word doesn't do the emotion justice...sad is such an empty word. It was just...and intense feeling of emptiness. As though...as though everything had been stolen from him and he himself became a complete void...does that make sense?" Verex attempted.
"That's only natural...after all...we are nobodies. Nothingness..."
"NO! That's not it!" Verex stammered frustrated. "What he did, the actions he took weren't for nothing. He's searching for something, something lost perhaps. Something that was very dear to him..."
"And so shall we make excuses for Xraktos as well? After all, is he not also seeking to restore his lost lover?" I stated coldly. My eyes were unwavering...a glacier untouched...unfeeling.
Verex sighed. "All I'm trying to convey...is well...I don't want you to judge Xerebus harshly. There's a chance all this was just a huge misunderstanding. If you really care about Nyx...and if Xerebus is part of her past...you will have to take into consideration all circumstances. In this RaXi, you must exercise quite a bit of compassion."
My eyes narrowed and turned to the side. "Great...something I lack significantly...."
Verex's hand pulled up my chin and looked into my eyes. He smiled widely. "You have more compassion than you may think." With that he let go and returned to the laboratory, waving over his shoulder. "You'd better be careful and come back quickly. Don't make me go after you alright? And don't worry about the girls...they're in good hands."
The door closed behind him and I felt myself involuntarily smile. A gentle look not often found on my face...of course I quickly removed it. Opening a portal, I made my way back to the meeting room. Tanex was already gazing straight at me...even before I'd stepped out. Very good... I thought, a somewhat cocky smirk crossing my lips. "Well," I paused. "Are we going to get this show on the road already? Or are we going to stand here and think about it?"
"You were taking so long RaXi...I thought about leaving you here." Tanex joked, a mischievous grin playing across his lips.
My eyebrow raised and I was about to comment back, when Nyx cut in. "That's not true RaXi! We wouldn't have left without you!" She assured me, slightly giggling as she elbowed Tanex in the ribs.
Yes...I would try my very best to protect that smile of hers...I would never let harm come to her...never. I thought silently, deciding not to argue. And yet...something was beginning to bother me. The look in her eyes...a look of deep concern...worry perhaps...though she was trying her best to hide it...it was there...
"Ugh, let's go already..." Marlex sighed stepping through the portal without hesitation. Xeros followed quickly behind.
We followed suit, bringing us once more to stand before the mighty Citadel Abyss. Frankly...I was growing tired of this looming castle...just how many times would I come to its gates. =_=' I looked back at Nyx...she was now gazing up at the Citadel with a more distressing expression...I couldn't keep silent any longer.
"Nyx...what it is it plaguing your mind? Second thoughts?" I asked her calmly...analyzing her face...her every movement for a hint. For anything...
"Perpetual motion, the image won't focus blue is all that's seen,
but here in this moment, like the eye of a storm it all came clear to me..."
I sighed a bit. Corine stood in front of his battered master defiantly. I didn’t move or attempt to make any motion towards Lloyd. Corine growled at me and glared.
“He’s not harmed,” I glared. “He’s out.”
“Stay away! What did you do? Stay away!” Corine squeaked.
I didn’t answer. I refused to acknowledge the mercy that had suddenly run into me at that last split second. Instead of attacking his body as I had intended, in that split second, I barged into his mind. Without even realizing it, I had instantly ripped passed his mind’s defense and formed an image in his mind. In that second he had collapsed.
“Kratos what is your intention?” Effrete asked.
“Effrete…Leave. Now,” I ordered sharply.
“Kratos?” Effrete asked.
“I said now,” I answered.
“……As you wish Kratos….” Effrete answered, and with that, Effrete and his eternal flames disappeared into nothingness.
Corine still glared at me fiercely. The fear running though the lesser nobodies ran through me along with their sight, but I kept my face composed. I stepped forwards calmly, and the growling of this little fox only continued to grow louder.
“I SAID STAY AWAY!” Corine growled.
“You are very young,” I said walking closer still. “Yet as fierce as any of the other summons and much more loyal than any other…”
“STAY AWAY! I won’t let you harm Lloyd!” Corine growled.
“Lloyd is lucky to have a summon like you,” I continued.
“STAY AWAY PACTMAKER!” Corine growled and bearing his teeth now.
I stopped walking and stood before this tiny fox. The lesser nobodies around us swarmed, but Corine held his ground growling. I couldn’t help but feel something in this situation. The heat of the battle had died, and all that was left was the numbing sense of what I knew.
“Lloyd…” I said moving my head up a bit.
“Having regrets, Kratos?” a voice asked from behind.
I turned around sharply, but I already knew who it was. The lesser nobodies already saw the blue hair and semi-pointed ears, and I could feel the mixed bloodline magic that was so potent in this half-elf. Yuan stood before me.
“The other survivor of Cruxis,” I commented. “Hello Yuan.”
“Kratos,” Yuan acknowledged.
“You have certainly changed,” Yuan said crossing his arms.
“As have you,” I answered.
“I’m not the nobody of my former self ruled by false emotions that you nobodies carry,” Yuan smirked.
“I am not the half-elf that failed in protecting the Karlan tree from being destroyed,” I answered.
Yuan smirked again and the lesser nobodies around us wanted to run.
“I see,” Yuan answered. “Even the nobody of Kratos acts somewhat like his former self, and yet so much more extreme in emotion. Is it because you don’t have real emotion anymore? Do you do anything to feel Kratos…or should I say… Xraktos?”
“Enough, as far as we are concerned here, I am Kratos,”
“No,” Yuan answered. “You are his nobody, a twisted form of what Kratos used to be.”
“Shut up,” I glared.
“Is it nice to feel rage?” Yuan challenged. “I bet it’s better than feeling the nothingness you feel without a heart…”
“Yuan,” I glared.
“The real Kratos would never attack his own flesh and blood, his own son that he had with the woman he loved dearly,” Yuan continued. “And you think you have the right to his name. YOU DO NOT!”
“SHUT UP YUAN!” I roared. “I AM KRATOS!”
“BLASPHEMY!” Yuan yelled back. “The real Kratos died that day years ago in the Karlan War! When Martel brought that Kratos back, he was not the same. He was a shell of his former self bent only on gaining the attainment of God status! And now you…..you a segment of that shell….you are nothing…but a braggart and a coward.”
“YUAN!” I roared, and the fight was on.
<_< *noms kimchi*