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The Founding Fathers: Intelligent Protection They rode from the East, Blazing fires in their eyes. Behind the white beast, The sound of a million cries. The Griffin charged forth, Leading the armies of Light. Deserts faced their wrath, Fertile lands—the triumph of their might. 3 Acts of the Lambent Chapter 1:29. The Kalnian Books. Five hours more or a lot worse could happen than me slaying every human in a ten-mile radius. On my “suggestion”, the Oethe Inc. flag had been lowered and placed as gravestone for the dead that fell from the sky. Eidolon could only glower and threaten as I casually threw his glittery toys into the mud and rain. “You seem so willing to court Death. The wedding will be in no time, Oru.” Shiro noted as we walked in the forest while it drizzled slightly. We enjoyed the musty spring smell, stepping over wet and slippery roots, soggy foliage, fallen trees and passing dead and budding stumps. Small trees swayed slightly with their leaves from side to side while the taller ones stood upright whispering and shaking their boughs and branches at whoever was beneath. The light, low drone of tiny droplets hitting leaves, wood and stone was an ambient sound track` on its own. The fierce, howling wind blew gusts of cold air through my shirt and trousers, tugging, pushing and blowing them wherever it wished. The grey sky overhead had lightened up a bit, but the different shades of grey that swirled and moved still looked heavy. “I see no problem with that. Where you thinking of marrying him yourself?” Kuro asked from above, standing on a tree that moved and whispered as the wind passed messages through its leaves. All in all, the absence of any other voices and the ambient song of nature was all I needed to remain calm. But, my friends didn’t seem to notice that. She winked at him, flinging a loaded shell with flawless motion. It hit him on the head and he barely caught himself from falling six feet low. “He’s too much of an eccentric for me,” she looked at the time on her forearm. “to consider that option. We need to get you to sleep—fast.” I gave a tired yawn, stroking Haiiro gently. A few minutes ago, Eidolon was as mad as a March hare when I offered to relegate him to a lesser role. The AI threatened me with loud and tedious talk while I used sarcasm to reply it and mostly to entertain myself. I don’t think it found the repartee funny. “I’m moving Io out of the Defender’s position. Kurotou will do better there—for now at least.” “I would like to believe that you’ve thought this through. But, I’ve known you for way too long. Your answer is:” Kuro mumbled waiting for me to finish. “No.” He sighed and Shiro shook her head. “Why do you always do things like this?” I pretended to think. “Hm…Thinking is burdensome…I prefer living in the moment.” “Perfect. You had one enemy, now you have three. Eidolon is going to hate you even more, Io will turn into a lava-spewing volcano, and Kurotou will be so hot at the thought of working under you and replacing his superior. The heat he produces will be enough to keep the whole planet warm for decades.” I hushed Kuro and turned towards the camp. “I’ll stop by Kilo. If that will make you feel better.” “Believe me, it won’t.” Shiro shot back, casting a dark gaze on me before heading back to the Olympus Ariana. “You know she has a point there. I have a feeling you’ll be using Haiiro a lot more within Olympus Ariana than outside it. No thanks to the Mad men.” I sighed and nodded, yawning again. “I’ll catch you later, Kuro.” He nodded and left, leaving me alone in the woodlands. I looked towards the plains in the west. There between two shrubs, Eidolon hovered. The AI was watching me. Quarter an hour later, I found Kurotou with some guards. “What are you doing here?” Picking daisies for your mother. “Picking daisi— “I barely stopped in time. The other guards looked amused. “Do I look like a three-year-old girl to you, freak?” He asked, irritated at my presence, it seemed. “I came to apologise for what I— “ He cut me off. “I don’t want your apology. Get out of my sight.” I’m trying to be the good guy here, mate. Calm down. I swallowed and continued. “You know, it’s not really a job, because there’s no stated rules for labour protection and transactions. If you could at least— “ He moved up to me and pointed his rifle at my chest. His comrades didn’t look bothered. “You don’t seem to understand what it means to get out of someone’s sight, do you?” This was one of the reasons I stayed away from most humans. Almost every conversation went south before or as soon as it got a compass. “I’m trying to apologise here!” He sneered at me. “You can take that apology and stick it up your a— “ I sighed and slapped his gun away from me, bringing Haiiro to his head with my other hand. The other people moved a few steps backward. “They think me to be an inconsequential person. Do you know what that means?” I saw the cold sweat form on his face and gave an unconcerned smile. From his expression, I must have looked like the Grim Reaper. “You are Lhaeryon now. The Defender and the Defence Department is no more. I’m replacing them with you.” He didn’t answer. “It’s an offer. Take it, or leave it.” Research has proven that holding a gun to someone’s head gives better results on average than asking with a candy in the hand. “I’ll take it.” I bowed slightly, lowering Haiiro. “I look forward to working with you, Lhaeryon. Make sure you see me before the day is up.” With that, I spun on my feet and headed to Kilo. I found the old man polishing some rifles in the armoury. “Do you have some spare time, Kilo?” He looked up through bright eyes. “Not for you, Satoru. Except you’re going to help an old friend out here.” I smiled and picked a rifle from a showcase, grabbing a spray container and a cloth from the adjacent aluminium rack. “Compelling and old school as ever. There are machines to do this kind of thing.” I said, rubbing the barrel of the fire arm with the fabric. “There are certain things a machine can never do as well as a human…Eidolon inclusive.” Yawning, I gave him a low five. His smile faded. “How long have you been awake?” “I’ve got three more hours till I go crazy or find a way to dream.” He placed a pristine gun back on the rack. “Still can’t sleep?” “You know me. I like to show a little ginger when competition steps up.” He cleaned his hands and laughed. “Liar. You are more laid back than the ground.” He paused and looked into space. “What else do you have to do?” I leaned against the wall. “You tell me.” He threw me a rifle. “Eidolon’s got something planned. I hear the wind whispering secrets of a girl your age.” “Hm.” I shrugged and cleaned the rifle. “It doesn’t sound like a romance story to me, if it was, I’d know. I was a real ladies’ man at your age.” “No. You were the pool wrecker and Knox Carter at bars. Remember how you broke a mahogany stool on the bartender’s head in Dortmund? Why did you stop fighting? I looked forward to meeting you at the bars back then.” He took the rifle from me. “It was getting expensive. And I’m an old man now. Why do you spend more time with old people than with your age mates, anyway?” “Shiro says I’m willing to court Death. I’d better learn from those who are courting Her.” His eyes grew wide with amusement. “Well then. Let me tell you something since you want to know as much as we do. Appoint that new girl Eidolon’s waking as the Head of your intelligence department.” “An enemy into a friend.” I noted. He grinned and pushed me out of the door. “Go on. Let’s see whether you’ll be as charming as I am.” I walked towards the AI’s favourite section—the one that had a few humans that were still in cryo-sleep. The drizzle had stopped now, leaving the air moist and the environment wet. Kilo was very much different from most humans—the same went for old people in general. Unlike the younger adults, they had common sense and invaluable experience. Since Earth, Kilo remained one of the few people I could call a friend and I hoped it would remain like that forever. Kurotou met me along the way. “Listen, I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot here.” I kept quiet. “But, it would really help if you could tell me what I’m supposed to do as Lhaeryon.” I casually climbed to the top of the Eidolon’s Section, and waited for him to reach me. Nine minutes later, he came huffing and puffing while I sat calmly at the edge. Once his fit of wheezing had subsided, I stood and pulled him to the edge. He stiffened immediately. Holding Haiiro in my left hand, I pointed at the left and moved my arm over the right. Beyond and all around us was Olympus Ariana. The sunlight was piercing through the grey clouds, bringing wide and bright golden rays of light that shone down on us. Humans engaged in various activities, machinery hummed, Nightelves landed and took off, crafts patrolled the ground and the skies. White Sections stood tall, reflecting the glorious piercing rays, while zephyrs moved the air and added a nice chill to everything they touched. “Protect us.” I said and looked him in the eye. He kept his gaze on the scenery. “That’s a lot to ask.” He whispered. “You think you’re inadequate?” The man kept quiet. “You are afraid?” “The Mad men will attack us here. Petrovsky wants revenge. The Earldom of Mercia is sending delegates. Our scouts report unrest near the Ark ship. The drums of war are beating.” “Let them beat. When the drummers are tired, they will sleep.” His look felt like daggers were thrown at me. “The Mad men are on the warpath. And so are we!” “We’d best get off the war path then. Let the Mad men pass us. When they walk down the warpath and meet no one, they’ll get tired and rest. Or they’ll get on another path.” I said, yawning. Surprisingly, Kurotou smiled. “You’re not half bad, freak. We might get along.” “Even if I’m younger than you?” “That doesn’t matter. Protect, yes? I’ll do it.” “Good.” I said and climbed down. “Figure out how to get down, Lhaeryon.” I said, delighting in his confused face. I snuck into the Section, and searched the rooms. The unlit lights and dark halls made it obvious that there was no activity in here. From deep within I heard something hissing. Quickening my pace, I moved upstairs and searched the rooms. There was a quiet, inaudible exchange of words and it grew silent as I neared the source. Slowing to a walk, I opened the door. Sitting in a white dress was—without doubt—the girl Kilo talked about. Behind her, Eidolon hovered with a victorious air around it. I looked at her and she didn’t lower her gaze. Something inside me shuddered at what it saw in her eyes. “I’m Mistral. Eidolon has told me a lot about you.” She said enjoying my unease, and refusing to break eye contact. I smiled, although I was pretty alarmed. “Then you know my name. You are now Adhonys. Intelligence is your responsibility.” Eidolon moved between us, cutting off our views of each other. “Will that be all, Satoru?” From behind him, Mistral giggled. “Satoru? You mean Oru.” I failed to stifle a yawn, but my mind was racing so hard, I was sure they could hear it revving. “Make sure you meet up with me when I wake up.” I said and stumbled out of the Section. A glance on my right forearm and I knew I had a little over two hours to find some sleep. I took a walk into the plains and laid down there. Hopefully, sleep would come now.
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.”