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Destroy You must have thought this was it. You must have said it’s the end. Listen…to my words, attend. Do rocks fall from the sky, And statues come from above, To land like a white dove? Rocks may shatter and crumble And you may think you’ve won, They’ll survive—not as one, But as small bits of the whole. Destroy all, if you may, We’ll live under the sun’s ray. Songs of Adrohen Chapter 149. The Kalnian Books. “He’s taking quite a while; don’t you think?” Kuro asked, moving silently beside me. “Yes.” I yawned a bit and paused to look at the stars. Olympus Ariana—for that is what we survivors named our little territory—was much too crowded and noisy for my liking. I skipped over a root and stared into the grassy plain beyond. With a final sigh and a quick glance at Shiro, I continued moving. I knew I shouldn’t have moved beyond the borders, but who cared? The self-proclaimed Defence Department was already laying down silly laws to “protect” us. They’d have a whole mess on their hands by the time I was done with them. “You shouldn’t go there, Oru.” There she was again, sticking to the rules. I smiled mischievously and turned to Shiro. “You want to stay behind? Sure. Kuro and I will be back soon.” I scratched Kuro’s head and he hooted. Laughing at him, I moved onwards; sure enough, Shiro’s light steps followed behind us. There is something about the purity of undefiled nature that makes it stand apart from anything else. The stars, the forests, the plain. Man knows nothing but to defile: a pity and a shame. My mind wandered to the Grand Architect and his mission to the Novark. “Feeling tired already?” Shiro asked, a few steps ahead. “Nope. Just waiting for your delicate lungs to catch their breath.” “Shut up…” She whispered, lying down beside a gnarled, but fruitful tree. I smiled, half yawning, half fading into the beauty of a silent night…I wished I could sleep, but it wouldn’t come, no matter how I lay on the waving, cool grass that stretched for miles around or how softly the wind blew under the serene starry night. All of a sudden, Shiro sat up, her white hair moving like silky crystal strands in the zephyr. Kuro stirred as well, looking in the direction of Olympus Ariana. “I think there’s trouble back at Ariana, Satoru. We should leave, before “didi” finds us here.” Kuro announced, standing on a low hanging bough. I moaned and sat up, glaring angrily at him. ““Didi” is a poor name for the Defence Department, stupid.” He hissed and started moving. Well, there go my plans for some mental chess matches. I followed, trudging along while he and Shiro moved swiftly to the outskirts of Ariana. As we got closer, I cringed at the noise coming from the camp. “Hurry, Oru! Something’s gone terribly wrong!” Shiro alerted us and disappeared into the crowd. I lost Kuro in the rush and found myself jogging past white three-storey tall Sections, abandoned camp fires, whispering circles of people and heavy machinery. A lot of people were walking around from place to place and scarcely a lip seemed to be still. As I got closer to the gathering, a series of loud wails came from somewhere beyond. A quick voice told me that there was no way I was going through this crowd. Instead, I looked at one of the Sections to the left and the Heavy Duty Excavator that someone carelessly left in the Civilian Zone... Tsk. Do they have to give names to everything? By the time I’d climbed up the boom and hopped from the bucket to the second storey of the Section, I could see Shiro’s feet swinging from the top of the Section’s sloped roof. Climbing in the Tang suit was easy, but not with the loafers on my feet. Kicking them off, I clambered to the top, thankful that Oethe decided not to make the sides of the Sections completely smooth. As I looked out and over the crowd, I ruffled Shiro’s hair a bit, until she threatened me with her rifle. “Hm. Another of the Nightelves has just landed. They lost one to the Arkship folk then.” I noted, sitting down. We looked down at the metallic landing pads, lit up by powerful floodlights that covered the area in an ambient blue hue. The technical officers were already repairing what damage the Nightelves sustained as the soldiers walked out of the craft. Other engineers and soldiers seemed agitated and quite pissed off. “Crap. That means the Mad men will get their hands on our tech.” I shrugged and looked beyond the laser fence into the distance of the grand night scenery the planet had to offer. “Perhaps.” Kuro found his way to us and panted for a while before staring me straight in the eye. “The Grand Architect’s dead.” Great. First day of contact with the fools and they managed to kill Hisashi. Kare wa bakadesu. “What? No tears from you?” Kuro asked bewildered, looking from me to Shiro and back. “Nope.” I answered, stretching. “Me neither. He was an idiot for going out to meet them like that. He should have let Intel. go first.” “You are hard people, you are.” He said and settled down behind us. By the sound of the “wailing wall” from beneath us, it was clear that the people below were quite the opposite. “Who’s going to select the next Grand Architect?” Shiro wondered, fondling her rifle. I scratched my head, trying to get my thoughts in order. It could only be one person—or thing as the case might be. “Eidolon.” Kuro grunted and we laughed. “I’m sure he’s not going to pick you.” Shiro chuckled, aiming at a flood light in the distance. “You kids! Get down from there!” “It’s Hartmut!” Kuro said and slipped down the other side. I looked over the edge of the roof at the annoying man and sighed. “Shiro, are you…and she’s gone.” I muttered to myself, after sighting her long white hair disappear behind the other side and I jumped off the Section. I barely made my landing on the bucket, before intentionally losing my grip and sliding down the boom, tearing my trouser in the process. With a hop and a step, I was face to face with the six foot German body builder. He stared down at me like I was a protein shake. “What were you doing up there, Satoru?” I stared back into his eyes, refusing to answer or break my gaze. You tell me. He lingered for a few seconds and turned his eyes somewhere else. Bingo. “Nothing, Hartmut.” I answered at last, checking my torn trouser. “Don’t tell me that. What were you doing?” “Perhaps you saw me grow fifteen limbs? Or do you have evidence that I contacted the Mad men? Maybe you saw me shoot down a few Sections that are still in orbit?” “Don’t—“ I growled at him and he backed off. “This is why people don’t talk to you, freak.” He spat and turned away. There. You did it again, Satoru. You just had to make him hate you. I sighed and picked my loafers that he’d neatly arranged for me beside the Excavator and walked to my Section barefoot. “Satoru Masanori.” A voice trumpeted as I bumped into something cold and metallic. I looked up and saw a battle scarred Eidolon facing me. From the looks of it, it was clear that I’d spent eight minutes walking into the crowd of people. How did I get here? “Are you or are you not Satoru Masanori?” Eidolon asked. I gave the AI a cold stare and replied. “I am.” “Good.” He lingered for a few seconds more as if he wanted to say something before turning away. The crowd followed him and some strangers that seemed to have come with him. “Who are they?” Kuro asked behind me. “Refugees.” “From the Arkship area?” I gave him a tired look. “From the netherworld, stupid.” He scratched my face and left in anger. I tried walking to my Section again and found it this time. Shiro was already waiting for me on the roof. I was there in a few minutes, after picking a silk shirt and a pair of trousers. “Tell me something, Oru.” I yawned and flexed my neck. “What is it?” “If you are made the Grand Architect in place of Hisashi, what would be the first thing you’d do?” “That’s sudden. I haven’t thought about it.” I lied and closed my eyes. I had already planned to do a total change of the Oethe structure once we landed, but making friends wasn’t my strong point, so I’d have to do things the labour intensive way. “You’re lying to me.” She said, smiling at her rifle. “You’re going to try to make it happen, yone?” Kuro slapped the back of my head. “He is going to do it.” I picked up Haiiro and the thin white ghost lights lit up from the handle, like a glowing liquid filling a cup, until they reached the muzzle of the pistol and the lights circled round. “Yes, I am going to do it: I’m going to destroy everything.”