Rei's father sat at the end of the dining room table, looking at an open newspaper. With a wave of his hand, the current topic slid to a new one, and the headline began to read itself aloud. Rei walked over to him.
"Do I have a brother or sister?"
"Not as far as I know…why do you ask? Are you feeling lonely?"
"No…mommy was talking to someone on the phone. I heard her say something weird."
"Oh? What did she say that you thought was so strange?"
"That she's a single mom raising two kids."
Her father laughed. "Yes, that sounds like something your mother would say."
Rei awoke suddenly. She tried to sit up, but she felt mild pain in her stomach. Her midsection was wrapped in long bandages. The Phoenix armor program was laid on a nightstand beside the bed where she lay. Despite her pain, she forced herself to sit up. Bard walked in at the same moment.
"Ah, I see you're finally awake." He took notice to her wincing.
"I'd take it easy. That cut was a nasty one. Thankfully it didn't get any deeper."
"Where are we?" Rei asked.
"Do you remember that large ship we'd seen?"
"We're on it."
"WHAT?! Now I'm being kidnapped, too?!"
"No, no, no. The crew managed to come to your aid just in time. The captain had brought you here and receive immediate medical attention."
Rei noticed nothing but clouds outside of the porthole.
"Yes we are." Said another voice. A man dressed in a black trench coat walked in, with Keena following.
"Your friend told me a little bit about what happened before we arrived on the scene, and what you're up to."
"What do you mean?"
Keena looked at her disdainfully. "This man is the captain of the vessel. And he saved your life. You should be more respectful, got it? Pfft…kids…"
The man laughed. "No need. I'm just glad that I was able to get to you in time."
"Oh…thanks…" Rei said.
"Get some rest for now. If you don't mind I'd like to speak with you when you're able to get up and about. But don't hurt yourself."
Bard left to a room next door to where Rei slept. He sat up in his bed and drifted off to sleep.
"What's going on?"
"Never mind that, now."
"But, Master. Everyone is preparing for heavy battle. Is it them?"
"Not just them. Him."
"Him…surely you don't mean…?!"
"Yes, he's coming. This is not some mere battle. This is a war of the age."
"Then I'll prepare, too."
"Don't be a fool! This is a greater foe than the entire alien abomination force combined. I want you to flee."
"Master?! Am I truly a disgrace to you? You've no faith in my skills?"
"You're too hard on yourself. You always have been. I think quite the opposite. You've honed your abilities further than anything I could ever have. Should we all fall here today, I want to entrust our last hope to you. That is why I want you to run. I need a strong warrior to lead our future. I've sent your younger sister to the remote wood to the southwest of the Olympia City settlement. She will await you there. Don't keep her waiting too long."
"Master…I…I'll do as you ask."
"I wish you Godspeed. I trust you two will stay safe. Now go!"
He hesitated. "Master, what will happen to --"
There was a loud crash. The sound of steel against steel rang out. Countless speedlings flooded into the area.
He watched Arcan run, drawing his katana. In one swift move, he took out the first row of aliens in a single stroke.
He only caught a glimpse of what the true enemy was. All he gave himself time to see was a black figure. He turned and ran, just as Arcan instructed. A large tremor struck, and he fell over; everything went white, and there was a loud ringing in his ears. When he could stand, and his vision cleared, he was staring at a smoking field. Bodies lay everywhere. Trees feet thick had fallen or were burning. Arcan or the enemy was nowhere to be seen. Was it already over? It was far too quick. He wouldn't believe it.
"…no…it…it can't be over this fast…we were barely a match…Master…I'm sorry…"
He clenched his fists. His teeth grit. The glimpse of his now worst enemy flashed into his head.
"You slew my people. You killed my Master…and now…now…I'll kill you…as long as I live…YOU HEAR ME! AS LONG AS I HAVE BREATH…I SWEAR IT! I'LL DESTROY YOU!"
"You wanted to see me?"
"Ah, I see you're feeling better…I hope. You aren't pushing yourself too hard, are you?"
Rei ignored the pain in her stomach.
"I'm fine. What do you want with me? Why am I a prisoner here?"
"Prisoner? Hahaha! You aren't bound or trapped in some cell are you?"
"You aren't a prisoner, you're a guest. I was just helping you to recover. That aside, I understand that you're a wanted criminal. But your friends have told me it's a misunderstanding. So then, if I may ask, what exactly is your story?"
"I'm just an angry teenage girl. Why would you care?" Rei started to fiddle with the leaves on a bamboo plant that sat on the desk separating her and the captain.
"Well excuse me. Not to be rude, but did your parents not ever teach you any form of manners?"
Rei cringed a bit. "Don't. EVER. Speak about my parents."
The captain looked down. He turned and faced the large window that was in his quarters, below the deck and toward the stern. Clouds slowly flew by.
"I see. Sensitive topic, eh? It took me a while before I was ever on good terms with my father. My mother? I hardly knew her. She passed when I was barely able to walk."
"Sometimes it's easy to dislike your family, but nothing can separate the bonds of blood. Neither distance, nor words of anger."
"I still don't get it."
"What I'm trying to say is you shouldn't hate them. If you aren't close to them, they can't get close to you."
"What? I love my parents! What are your talking about?"
He turned and raised an eyebrow. "Then I'm not understanding why the mention of them makes you very defensive. In a way, you remind me of an old friend."
"And I should tell you, why? Just drop anchor and let us go."
"You don't have to. I'm guessing you're just saving it for the police."
"You just said that this was a misunderstanding. And yet, now you're threatening to turn me in because I won't tell you about why I'm a wanted fugitive?"
"Yes and no."
"You typical, human, asshole!"
"Eh? 'Human'? Well I'm not an alien, now am I?"
"You and the rest of your dirty race are as low as them. You might as well be."
"You talk like you aren't human."
"I am, but doesn't mean I ever asked to be. I just not proud of it."
"Wait, wait, so you're telling me you dislike the human race?"
"I LOATHE them!"
"…that's interesting. That really isn't helping your 'get out of jail free' card right now."
"So yeah. Go ahead then. Guess that proves you're human."
"I'm not planning to call the authorities because you refuse to tell me anything, but it's because I can't tell that your friends may simply have been trying to convince me you AREN'T some deranged criminal so you can try to escape easy. Unless I hear it from you, I have no reason to believe that you're really just a misunderstood teenager. And a lot of my profession involves chasing down bad guys."
"I DON'T NEED YOU TO TELL ME MY PLACE! JUST LET OFF BEFORE I'M FORCED TO HAVE YOUR BLOOD INVOLVED!"
In an angered rage, Rei hadn't realized she'd turned the bamboo plant into a shriveled, dried out, and crispy twig. She'd absorbed every ounce of life out of it.
"…just what was that you did, there?"
Tears of anger flowed down Rei's face. "It's called me standing my ground. Don't understand then, if you don't want to. I'm tired of having people who are bigger than I am push me around! You'll never get anything out of me!"
"No, look what you did to the plant!"
Rei took notice to the bamboo. "Umm…"
She knew she couldn't explain any other way.
"It's a life drain ability I can do. Keep pushing me over the edge, and the plant won't be the only thing dead in here."
"There's only one person capable of such a feat. When your friends told me your name, how did I not realize it was you?" He began to laugh.
"Sorry Rei. It's just a bit awkward for me having to meet you like this. I haven't seen you in such a long time."
"…we've met before?"
"You were barely six or seven years old. Your personality reflects your mother's. I haven't talked to her in a while. Your resemblance to your father…is a little too great…so much that you've little tolerance for human beings…"
"How do you know them?"
"Old friends. Used to fight some stupid aliens together for a while. Some bigger than you can imagine…so how are they? All in good health I hope?"
This was the same thing as the guy from the S.H.I.E.L.D. building in Etna City. If he knew her and both her parents, Rei knew she should be able to trust him.
"Missing? What do you mean?"
"They were kidnapped. Taken from me. They got themselves captured just to keep me from being taken captive as well. They said that I was the one they wanted."
"Was the one who wanted?"
"Some group called 'Magnum Chaos'."
"Oh, give me a break. Magnum Chaos? Surely you're joking."
"I'm not. And I'll do whatever it takes to see my parents again."
"So that's what this whole thing has been about? Assassinating a high ranking general? Stealing an armor and a train? Just to see them again?"
"Yes. Any. Damn. Thing."
"That'll be your father and mother talking at that same time. Seeing both of them in one person is rather scary. And that about sums up why you're so far away from home. So…Ladon has a hold of them now? But why would they be after you?"
"I don't know."
"Hmm…it's obviously that ability of yours. Probably needs it to fuel that machine he was working on those years ago. They got busted and discharged from the military when it exploded. It's supposedly designed to be able to wipe out the entire alien race in one shot or something. I'd imagine it would take a large power source to do so. Of course, that would also put human lives at risk too. They probably wanted you because you could leech lives from living things, so they probably wanted you to fuel that evil thing."
"Where are they now?"
"Who knows. I thought they were supposed to be disbanded. But if they're still active, I'm sure they've been working on that space laser. Now they just need a power source strong enough to power it. Mithril isn't apparently strong enough by itself. They're probably going to hold your parents captive until they get you. But as far as where they operate now, I'm afraid I can't tell you. I'm really sorry."
"No need to apologize. I didn't expect it would be that easy to find them. Thanks anyway. And I should be sorry…"
"I bear no hard feelings toward you. I know it's hard to want to be level-headed when loved ones are missing. Especially when you're as relentless to find them as you are."
"My parents did raise me with manners…I'm just so scared something horrifying might happen to them if I don't hurry…"
"Don't think like that, Rei. They should be fine. I'll help do whatever I --"
A deckhand burst in. "Sir! We've got trouble! The authorities called!"
He stood up. "What did they say?"
"Sources from an unknown location reported seeing a wanted criminal being carried onto the vessel, sir. We've been ordered to land in the closest town and be searched by the local militia immediately! If we refuse, we are to be shot down!"
"Hmm…I see…Rei. I cannot guarantee your safety now. The closest city to us now is Minocrete. I can help you get out without being caught, but you're on your own from there. Even worse, I hate to send you out in your present condition."
"I'm fine. That plant didn't help hardly, though…"
"I see you wear an HYD-00-IX. That thing will help you recover at an alarming rate. Keep it close. And don't push yourself too hard."
"I'll try. I can't thank you enough for helping me…and saving my life."
"It's not a bother. Gather your belongings and alert your friends as quickly as possible. And what exactly are you armed with?"
"A cutter and a light bow. I've been using the bow ever since Dad gave it to me."
"I see. May I take a look at that bow please?"
Rei handed him the light bow. He took a few other things from his desk. He placed the bow and the material within what resembled a large copy machine. Lastly, he put on a pair of thick gloves, and took something else and placed it into the machine. Mithril. There was a banging sound, like a hammer to metal.
"A friend gave me that thing. It's a world of wonders. Now let's see what it did for your bow…"
He pulled out the light bow. Or what WAS the light bow. He now held something with blue and black hues, and several fancy features. It was now a form of compound bow. The limbs were much sharper and sleek. Four stabilizers stuck out from the raiser, two on the upper half and two on the lower half. It occasionally glowed with a blue light.
"That weapon is called Trinity. It's not sold outside of the military, so there's no other way you can get it. But you'll enjoy the upgrade, I assure you. For now it's best to prepare for landing. Here's what I have in mind, so listen carefully…"
Keena, Bard, and I managed to flee from Minocrete City and the militia through a pine thicket thanks to that ship captain (who again I forgot to ask for his name). He'd saved my life and destroyed BH3294 Model G back in Nightmoon, and gave my light bow a neat upgrade. He seemed to have been close to my parents too, like the CEO of S.H.I.E.L.D.…