Aftermath Chapter 1

Nothing Much

By Kawaii Kitty

It had been two years almost since their return to Expel; many of them had found themselves something. Bowman returned to Linga and Nineh, and now teaches at the university. Rena and Claude had found each other; anyone could predict a relationship between the two. Noel had gone on an adventure, seeking animals of all kinds to document them or something like that, in any case he had disappeared trying to find animals.

Chisato worked for the new Lacour Times, the very first reporter woman, He still remembered her first article, seven warriors defeat sorcery globe and save Expel. Of course only half of what she had said was true but that was the whole point of news papers right? Opera still hadn’t managed to find a way off Expel, though some would say she didn’t really want to leave. She was convinced her boyfriend or who ever she was looking for was on Expel, and she couldn’t get her ship fixed. Then there was Celine, she returned to Mars and found herself arranged married to someone. She had disappeared and none of the villagers had found her yet.

But Leon, he had found himself homeless, orphaned. There was nothing left for him now. When they had returned he remembered locking himself in the spare room at Renas’ house and not coming out for nearly a whole month. Only to eat of course, though he barely did. Rena had tried to explain to him that there was still a meaning for him, that he was gifted and smart but none of that was consolation. What was his gift if he had no one to share it with? The only people he had loved had been taken so rudely from him.

He could’ve gone back to the castle, but there was nothing there for him, not anymore, only the lab and the useless lab workers. Rena and Claude had volunteered to take him in but what did that mean? They might as well have drawn names out of a hat their reluctance was so obvious. There was nothing for him, nothing but the Linga Academy for Gifted Children

The academy had been built not even a year after they had returned; it was part of the rebuilding that had spread over the world. Trade was at an all time high and people were feeling generous. But it was all just a scam, gifted only really meant children with rich parents, Leon could’ve taught one of the classes by himself. But it was the only thing he had left, he couldn’t stay with Rena and Claude he would only get in their way, so this was his last resort.

Leon walked slowly through the Academy campus his mind drifting off with the soft warm spring breeze. He watched the other students sitting and talking amongst themselves. Some watching as he, Rena and their ‘tour guide’ passed by, the perky young woman talking so fast he could barely understand anything she said. She pointed up at the main building and started rattling on about it being designed by some famous architect.

“And this is the main building where most the classes are currently held,” She said moving over to another larger building, “At the moment there are only three teaching blocks but with further funding we hope to extend our campus…”

Leon glanced about absently brushing a lock of his blue hair out of his face. A strange melodic chime came from the main building and most of the students started bustling about and moving to their respective classes. Leon couldn’t believe how many children occupied the school already, most of them children of rich traders from Herlie or Hilton, some even from the newly rebuilt Click. He was probably smarter than all of them put together.

“Well isn’t there some sort of scholarship he could go for?” Leon pricked his ears up suddenly becoming interested in Renas’ conversation with the tour guide

“Well yes but you would still need to pay text book fees and buy a uniform, even a full scholarship doesn’t cover those things.” The tour guide explained leading them into the main building and up to the deans’ office.

“So how much do you think the text books and uniform would cost?” Rena asked hesitantly, she obviously didn’t want to have to pay for Leons’ schooling considering he didn’t really need it that much

“I’m not sure but with accommodation costs it could come to about…” The tour guide placed her finger over her lips and stared at the wall for a moment

“Wait,” Leon interrupted her calculations, “If I get a perfect mark on the scholarship test would you be able to cut those prices in half or something?”

“Hmm I don’t think so, though no ones ever got a perfect mark on the scholarship test, I suppose if you did we could do something about it, look I’m not really the person you should be talking to about this.” She said stopping outside the deans’ office.

She opened the door for them and waved her hand gesturing them to enter. They obliged walking into the large well-furnished office. Leon now knew where all the funding went, obviously not into teaching. The walls and floor were made of a dark rich wood, probably mahogany or some equally expensive timber. As was the desk and most the furniture. The chairs were padded and had leather lining and the ceiling supported a large intricate chandelier.

“How may I help you?” The dean asked leaning his elbows on the desk and cupping his hands over his mouth.

“Uh Leon here wants to sit the scholarship exam.” Rena said nervously

“Mmm hmm,” The dean replied prodding Rena to continue

“You are who we’re supposed to see right?” She asked hopefully cupping her hands in front of her.

“Yes but there’s a few things you must do first.” The Dean replied sitting back in his chair and glancing at Leon.

Leon shot him a dirty glare and turned his back to him. This guy was obviously another money-grubbing pig, just by looking at him Leon could tell. He sat back in his expensive leather chair, his half bald head resting comfortably in the rest. His fat stomach threatening to spill over the edges of his expensive polished desk,

“Like what?” Rena asked

“Well there is a set date for the scholarship exam, and we will need you to fill out some forms, you are his legal guardian aren't you?” He replied never taking his eyes off Leon.

“Well yes… in a way…” Rena replied nervously,

“And there is also the question of money.” He said looking Rena up and down in a disgusted fashion

“Yes the thing about that is…” Rena trailed off nervously tapping her fingers together

“Is it possible,” Leon spoke up glancing over to Rena, “If say for example I got perfect marks on the scholarship exam I could get the text book fees and accommodation for half price?”

A smile pulled at the corners of the Deans mouth and he let out a slight chuckle.

“No I’m sorry the scholarship only covers the school levee, if you were to get perfect marks which would be impossible for any child your age then maybe we could consider it.” He replied chuckling to himself for a moment.

“So when is the scholarship exam?” Rena asked cutting of the deans’ laugh

“We will contact you two weeks before the exam, you will receive details on it, where and when it will be sat and so forth.” He replied waving his hand lazily about

“Oh okay thank you for your time, we con show ourselves out.” Rena said inching over to the door

“Hmm.” The dean replied instantly losing interest in the pair.

Leon scowled once again at the dean before following Rena out the doors.

“I can’t believe that guy, what a cheapskate.” Leon growled stomping his foot on the ground

“Leon,” Rena scolded lightly smacking his shoulder, “There's no need to be saying that, he said it is possible if you got full marks on the exam.”

“Well no need to worry big sister Rena, you know I’ll get full marks.” Leon said folding his arms across his chest as they started walking away from the Deans office

“Mmm hmm.” Rena agreed nonchalantly, leading Leon out of the academy building into the streets of Linga.

“What don’t you think I can do it big sister Rena?” Leon pouted stopping where he was and turning his back to Rena

“No Leon it’s just that…” Rena said walking back to him, “oh nothing.”

Leon blinked a few times turning around to meet Renas eyes. She was right, he shouldn’t make her and Claude pay for his schooling, it wasn’t fair on them. But what else was he supposed to do? Could he possibly ask the king of Lacour for funding? No he wouldn’t do that, now his parents were dead the king didn’t give two damns about Leon.

“I’m sorry big sister Rena, you shouldn’t feel obliged to pay for my schooling, I don’t even really need it, I just didn’t want to get in the way of you and Claude. I could find another way you know…” Leon said leading Rena towards Bowmans house.

“No Leon, we have plenty of money from our journey and not all of it is ours, a good portion of it is yours I mean you did help us right?” Rena said patting Leon on the head, “I was just thinking about how you would be there Leon, do you think you can cope by yourself?”

“Of course I can big sister Rena, I’m old enough now” Leon replied proudly placing his hands firmly on his hips and closing his eyes.

“Hey watch it.” Someone yelled from in front of Leon.

He snapped his eyes open just in time to see the ground rush up to his face. He threw his arms out in front of him hoping to cushion his fall. He fell with a thud to the dirt packed road, his arms getting crushed under his body weight. He groaned and rolled into his back rubbing each arm and shaking his head slightly, trying to relieve the pain there.

Once the shock had subsided he sat up glancing menacingly around at whoever had tripped him. He turned around to face forward and was met with two large emerald green eyes right in his face

“Are you okay?” A loud high-pitched voice asked nearly deafening him

Leon backed away from the speaker and scrambled to his feet, dusting his clothes off. He glared menacingly at the young orange haired girl the stood in front of him jumping energetically from one foot to the other.

“Sorry 'bout that bobot here can be a real pain sometimes.” She apologised motioning to the small round hunk of metal that sat at her feet

Leon growled at her eyeing the bobot cautiously.

“That's okay.” Rena said for him moving over to get a closer look at the bobot, “I remember this thing.”

“Huh?” The girl grunted cocking her head to one side,

“Yeah when we came here the first time we saw it, and you were chasing it around.” Rena replied kneeling down next to the bobot.

“Hmm I don’t remember that cause I’m always chasing bobot around.” She half giggled twisting a lock of her hair around her pinkie finger

“Yeah Claude seemed really interested in it, what did he call it again… a macheen?”

“Huh? How did you know that?” The girl said picking the bobot up and holding it to her chest

“Claude knows lots of stuff like that,” Rena replied proudly, “Maybe you should meet him?”

“Really? How does he know?” The girl replied eyes Rena suspiciously

“He's from Earth.”

“Urth?” The girl said still eyeing Rena off, “Hmm, well, okay my names Precis. F. Newman, and this is bobot.” She said offering Rena her hand

“And I’m Rena Kenni, pleased to meet you.” Rena replied shaking Precis’ hand

“And you are?” She asked Leon offering him her had.

Leon snorted in reply and turned his back to her. He wasn’t going to shake the hand of someone who tried to make a fool out of him. She didn’t deserve to even know his name.

“Leon.” Rena scolded him, “Don’t be rude.”

Leon spun around to look Rena in the eyes. Didn’t she understand? This Precis girl had made a fool out of him.

“But big sister Rena.” Leon pleaded shooting a glare at Precis.

“No butts Leon, what did I tell you about manners?” Rena said in a motherly fashion waving her finger in front of his face.

Leon growled again but reluctantly shook Precis’ waiting hand. He couldn’t believe he was taking orders from Rena, if he were back in the castle she’d be the one taking orders from him. But that life was long gone, he had to forget all of that, he was the one taking orders now.

“So what brings you to Linga?” She asked Leon smiling politely

“None of your business.” He snapped pulling his hand away from hers and wiping it on his oversized yellow shirt

“Leon.” Rena warned but Leon just snorted and walked off, he’d had enough of this

“What's up his nose?” Precis asked poking her tongue out at Leons’ back

“Nothing.” Rena trailed off watching as Leon disappeared into Bowmans house, “He's just upset.”

“Oh,” Precis said tapping her fingers against bobot,

“Yeah, well I better go check on him, I’ll bring Claude here one day, you two would get along very well.”

“Sounds cool!” Precis yelled throwing bobot into the air and catching it again

“I’ll see you later.” Rena said walking towards Bowmans house.

“Bye!” Precis replied running down the street and disappearing behind some houses.

Rena frowned as she walked into the house making her way up to the guest room where she knew Leon would be. She knocked lightly on the door to check if he was in there

“Go away.” His voice rang from inside the room,

Rena entered anyway closing the door carefully behind her locking her eyes on Leon. She frowned again clenching her jaw tightly.

“Leon how many times do I have to tell you?” Rena said walking over to the bed he was sprawled on

“I know, I know, just because I’m smart doesn’t mean I can be a smart arse.” Leon replied sitting up on the bed

“I never said that.” Rena replied

“You, Claude your both the same,” He said with a smile

“Well anyway that was very rude of you back there, I know it’s hard for you, with your parents gone and everything but that is still no excuse for being rude.”

What would she know anyway? She’s never lost everything before, never had nowhere to go. It was a damn good reason to be rude, especially to brats like that Precis girl.

“I’m sorry big sister Rena, but she tripped me first.” Leon said trying to defend himself

Rena sighed and pat his arm lightly. As much as Leon wanted to go to the Linga Academy to get out of Renas’ hair, he wanted to stay there in that small village. It was so comforting, even though the people there were so far behind the times he thought he would crack sometimes; being with Rena and Claude was almost like being back with his parents.

“But still…” Rena said sighing again

“I wanna go home.” Leon said seeing how much Rena obviously missed Claude.

“Me too, we’ll leave tomorrow morning, first thing.”


Ashton stared at his latest good luck charm watching the four-leaved clover as he spun it around in his fingers. He let it drop into the palm of his bare hand staring at it intently, trying to get as much luck out of it as he could. He heard a small squawk from behind him as a blue dragon head peered over his shoulder. He frowned at the four-leaved clover before wrapping his fingers around it and squashing it in his palm.

Good luck charm. He watched in contempt as the shards of the broken clover fell to the floor from the bed he lay on. No good luck charms worked for him, his luck just seemed to get worse and worse. Another low growl emitted from his back a red dragon head peered over his other shoulder at the bits of clover laying on the floor.

Ashton sighed and rubbed his temples cursing all the gods he had ever heard of. Ever since he was a child bad luck had followed him around like a bad smell. Everywhere he went mirrors would break or black cats would follow, things would break whatever. ‘The thirteenth child’ they had called him, no one wanted to be around him. That's how he managed to get into the situation he was in now.

He sighed again shifted around on the uncomfortable lumpy hotel room bed. If it weren’t for them people, he, he would be normal. He couldn’t believe it, he had been winning, and for Trias’ sake they could’ve at least been quiet while he won. But no, they distracted him and now this.

Ashton glanced over his shoulder at the two dragons that stuck unceremoniously out of his back. The red one was asleep on his shoulder blades while the blue one pecked at the bedside table. They didn’t even take responsibility, not even a word of pity. ‘You were the one that lost focus’ the leader had said. How he wished he could grab that little pretty boys face and smash it into a wall or something. He hadn’t lost focus; they had distracted him.

Ashton scalded himself once again, he knew it was useless whining about it; there was nothing anyone could do. He had gone to Mars but the elder declined him, said there was nothing in his library about exorcising demons. The thing that got to Ashton was the elder didn’t even look, he just straight out told him, as if someone had come in only five minuets before and asked the same question, he didn’t have it. That had been almost a year ago.

There was a possibility they could’ve got some new books but Ashton never bothered to look; the look that elder had given him gave him the impression that he did have something but didn’t want him to know. A whole two years these dragons had been on his back, two long years of searching, praying, good luck charms but still nothing. They didn’t even have names; it was just the blue one and the red one. He asked them if they had names but it had been so long since anyone had used them they had forgotten.

Ashton sighed once again, it seemed he’d been doing that a lot lately, he’d been doing it his whole life, but lately a lot. How was he supposed to live with two dragon heads sticking out of his back? He couldn’t live a normal life, no one would want to hire a mercenary with dragons, he was bad luck before but no one knew that. He was going to go broke if he didn’t do something. He was close already, it wouldn't be too long untill his quickly diminishing supply ran dry.

The thought of starting a street act had crossed his mind. People would probably throw money at him, they already did. When the two dragons fought people would gather around and some would throw money. But that was just embarrassing; his parents didn’t tattoo nearly his whole body with Magical heraldic patterns just so he could sit in the street while people threw money at him.

Ashton absently traced the pattern on the back of his left hand. He didn’t even need to look to know the pattern; he’d traced it so many times. He knew every inch of tattoo that covered his body. The small oval shaped tattoo on his forehead, the intricate pattern that ran down his left arm, and right leg. And the huge pattern covering nearly his whole back. That one, they said was for good luck, it was really working well, that was all Ashton could say about that one, it was really doing its job.

Ashton picked up the empty bottle of Ishidaya tea that sat by the bed, a lot of good that had done, he couldn’t even get drunk properly. He was in a bad way. He laid his head on his arms trying to fall asleep, but finding himself still cursing his bad luck. Why did Tria the almighty god of creation find it so fun to mock him? Some of the more religious people would say everything had a reason, and he had tried to convince himself that everything, every bad little thing that had happened to him had a reason. But this was just going too far.

One of the dragons, the blue on, pecked him on the head, messing up his combed hair. It growled something that would be unintelligible to some, but Ashton could understand it perfectly.

“You know it’s not exactly a walk in the park being with you either.” It said laying its head down next to his, “We didn’t really want to be stuck on your back”

“Then why did you possess me?” Ashton yelled back startling the dragon

“Hey you wanted this.” It replied moving around to lie on his head

“Why?” Ashton asked shaking his head in complete confusion, “Why on Expel would I want a pair of dragon heads stuck on my back?”

“The last thing I remember is you saying you wanted to be as strong as a dragon, then vuala here we are stuck on the back of some wimpy little girl boy.”

“What was that?” Ashton yelled grabbing the dragon around the neck and yanking it around to stare into its beady navy blue eyes

“Yeah that's right,” It choked out its face turning a comical shade of purple, “Quit your complaining you wimp and get us off here.”

Ashton growled and squeezed the dragons head tighter until her was sure it had learnt its lesson. He released it and it flopped over his head, hanging out in front of his face. He moved it carefully around and placed it on his back along with the other dragon. As much as they like to believe he wanted them on their, he still couldn’t fathom why he would have wished for a pair of dragons hanging off his back. Probably another one of fates cruel games, he wished to be as strong as a dragon but instead he got dragons on his back.

“Well what are you going to do about it?” The blue dragon asked again, “I don’t wanna be stuck with you forever.”

“Shut up and let me think.” Ashton scalded the dragon

He, it had a point. But where on Expel was he supposed to find a way to exorcise these dragons? The only other place apart from Mars would be Eluria. He had seen books in his fathers study about demons, and exorcism. But the sorcery globe had destroyed it. Just his luck, literally. Unless, the sorcery Globe had landed not far from his home village, not all of it had been destroyed and his father’s study had been underground. There might be a slight possibility that some of the books could still be intact. Why hadn't he thought of this sooner?Unless that elder from Mars village had gone and raided the study, which was a definite possibility considering he was going to find it.

“Now your on the right track.” The blue dragon said halting his concentration.

“But how am I supposed to get to El? I don’t have any money.” Ashton replied sinking into his arms again

“Now don’t get too discouraged, who said you can’t just hitch a free ride?”

“But, what if, what will happen when I get caught?”

“Hey stop being so pessimistic.” The dragon scalded laying it head down besides Ashtons’ again

“Its hard not to be when you’ve got luck like me and besides how am I supposed to blend in when I got two big ugly dragons sticking out of my back?”

“Who you calling ugly?” It snapped back tilting its head to one side, “Anyway you just leave that to me.” It smirked at him nodding slightly

Great, just peachy, it was probably going to dress him up as a hermit or something. Oh well, if it worked, which it probably wouldn’t, he’d get a free ride to El. And if he was caught, his life couldn’t get any worse anyway. He lay his head back down on his arms sighing one last time. His eyes slowly drooped down as his mind drifted off to sleep.


Chisato sat in the front row of the Lacour arena. She breathed deeply taking in every aspect of the tournament. Each year she was sent to interview the winner of the Lacour Tournament of Arms, and she loved it. Apart from the interview last years tournament was a blast, she never knew watching as people hacked into each other could be so much fun. The winner last year had been Sir Dias Flac, apparently he had won every year for about four years, but he wasn’t all that. Every question she had asked him had been answered with a grunt or some smart comment about reporters. Not a very nice man at all.

The crowd started to cheer as a loud voice started to introduce the next challengers. Chisato perked up instantly forgetting last years terrible interview. She grabbed the bag of nachos that sat on her lap, amongst other things and watched intently as the challenger strode out into the stadium.

“…Last years champion…” Chisato could barely make out the speakers voice over the crowds cheering, but she could never forget that man.

If he won this year Chisato could genuinely say, not to be blunt that she’d be very pissed off. Hopefully some other people had trained and gotten stronger than ‘Sir Flac’. If Claude were in the tournament he’d kick Dais’ butt no doubt. But unfortunately for Chisato he had put his sword away and committed his life to Rena. Maybe she should have just entered; though it was banned for women she’d wipe the floor with Dias’ smug smile.

“And the winner of round one is Dias Flac.” The loud speaker boomed over the screams of admiring fans

Great, if he won every match like that she’d be in a lot of trouble. She grabbed her notebook off her lap careful not to spill the drink she nursed between her knees. Damn primitive Expel, didn’t even have enough technology to put cup holders in the chairs. She jotted down some nots about the first round match. This wasn’t fair, were there any fighters out there strong enough to beat that damn Dias?

“Chisato!” A voice yelled in Chisatos’ ears startling her, making her spill her drink all over her new reporters out fit.

Chisato spun around to meet the person who had ruined her new, very expensive outfit. She was met with three pleasantly humoured golden eyes. A smile crept up onto Chisatos’ face as she realised who had spilt her drink.

“Opera?” She asked

Of course it was Opera, what other three eyed woman would wear a cocktail dress with a bomber jacket? She jumped out of her chair, momentarily forgetting about her notebook and nachos, and hugged Opera tightly.

“My god Opera it’s been so long.” Chisato said pulling away from Opera and

“Yes it has.” Opera replied over the crowds roaring cheers

“What have you been doing?” Chisato asked completely forgetting about the tournament

“Searching, you?” Opera yelled back shoving a man out of her way

“Did you find your boyfriend?” Chisato yelled momentarily losing sight of Opera as a man fell in front of her

She felt her arm being grabbed tightly and her body being dragged very unceremoniously out of the crowd into the staircase that separated two parts of the grand stand. Opera let go of her arm and motioned for her to follow her as she walked past the grand stand and into the higher, less crowded part of the stadium.

“Sorry I couldn’t hear you.” She said once they had made their way out of the crowd.

“So did you find your boyfriend?” Chisato asked again

“No, but I got some clues, I know he’s on this planet somewhere.” Opera said plunging her hand into her jacket pocket.

Opera fished around in her pocket for a moment longer before pulling her hand out, a small slip of plastic balanced between her middle and index fingers. She handed it proudly to Chisato, her eyes gleaming along with her smile. Chisato looked over the object running her fingers over the smooth surface. It was an ID card, her boyfriends ID card. She studied the small blurry photo; squinting to make out the mans features. He had three eyes, of course, and longish blond hair.

“Nice…” Chisato mumbled handing the ID card back to Opera

“Now that I have evidence I know I can find him.” Opera said shoving the card back into her pocket

“But how long ago was it left here? For all you know he could’ve dropped it years ago and be long gone.” Chisato pointed out pushing her pen against her lips

Opera blinked a few times the information sinking in slowly. She shook her head slowly a smile creeping up to her lips

“No, no Chisato you’re so pessimistic, I know he’s here.” Opera said grabbing Chisatos arm and leading her away from the stadium

“But you don’t have any other evidence.” Chisato replied glancing back at the stadium

“Oh but I do.” Opera said her eyes glinting mischievously; she leaned closer to Chisato covering her ear with her hand, “I found his ship.” She whispered

“You did?”

“Yup,” Opera nodded, “I didn’t go inside or anything but I know it’s his!”

“Wow that great, so you haven’t given up yet.”

“Nope I’m not a quitter, and plus even if he did leave I haven’t found any means of getting my ship fixed.”

“Why don’t you just get Claude to get his dad to send some people to repair your ship?” Chisato asked trying to his her voice in case any Expellians heard

“Well how would Claude contact him and… I’m kind of in a little trouble with the Earth federation.” Opera admitted lowering her head


“Well I did break the planetary protection thingy, I came to an unadvanced planet without permission.”

“Oh…” Chisato trailed off glancing back into the arena for a moment. She really shouldn’t be talking out here when she’s supposed to be writing a report for the Lacour Times. She shrugged it off turning her attention back to her friend; she could get the information off some drunk, or the winner when she had to interview them.

“So have you seen Celine lately?” Chisato asked changing the subject

“No, should I have?” Opera replied

“No its just no ones seen her since she found out she was getting married to someone from her village.”

“Oh…” Opera started but was cut off by a large scream from inside the arena

“Oh no, I hope that's not the final round, I’m supposed to be writing a report on the Tournament.” Chisato said running to the door that led into the arena

“So your at work now?” Opera asked walking up next to her

“Yes and I’ve missed most of the tournament, look Opera I gotta go, I’ll talk to you after the tournament.” Chisato said hugging her friend once again

“You know where to find me.” Opera yelled after Chisato as she disappeared into the gathering crowd

Of course she knew where to find her, where else would she go? Chisato ran frantically through the crowd pushing her way past the many spectators that lined the arena. It wasn’t going to be easy for her to get the information now. She pushed some more people out of the way running through the door that led to the grand stand. She peered over the tops of people’s heads at the battle below.

No. It was that Dias guy, and he was so obviously winning. She didn’t want to have to interview him again, the last time had been bad, she could just imagine it this time. She cringed inwardly as Dias delivered the last blow to his opponent, his face and eyes never changing, not even a flinch of human emotion crossing his cold stone face. He glanced around himself at the roaring crowd; he didn’t even look tired at all, not a dorp of sweat. He didn’t wave, or smile or show any signs of joy, elation, happiness that he’d just won the most prestigious tournament in this whole tiny world. He just strut out of the stadium leaving Chisato very scared, she didn’t want to do this interview


The ground was wet, the bugs never stopped chirping, the air was humid, the trees made her sneeze, her hair was falling limp, and she stunk like an old pair of gym socks. This planet was definitely the worst place she could ever have imagined being. It was even worse than her great aunts house in the ‘country’. Never had she imagined nature could be so, awful.

Cherry trudged through the thick, dark, wet forest. Her long red hair sticking to her scalp and her face with sweat. Her breathing had long past labouring and her lungs now felt like mush in her chest. Her long baggy pants stuck to her legs in an uncomfortable fashion, and her short midriff top had a huge sweat stain right on the front. She had long ago thrown off all of her clothes that had any warmth.

Earth was so much better than this hot sticky death trap. She would prefer the smog and dirt any day to the pollen that stuck in her nose and made her eyes water. If she ever got out of this forest she would be a church girl for the rest of her life. She would sacrifice any animal that god wanted, she’d even become a nun, maybe.

It was all his fault anyway. If he hadn’t been such an idiot, gotten himself into this mess she wouldn’t have to clean up after him. That idiot Claude had forever been getting her in trouble, ever since she joined the cadets. How she wished he were here right now so she could give him a good punch on his arm.

His father personally sent her on a mission to find him. They knew he was on this planet somewhere and needed someone to persuade him to return to the Federation to take his fathers place. Like that would happen Claude hated his father and hated even more the Federation. He probably stepped onto that transporter intentionally to get away from all that. She didn’t blame him; nobody wanted that kind of responsibility. But she still blamed him for her having to come to this uncivilised place and risk her life for him.

She threw off her pack in frustration her red eyes blazing with fury. Would this forest ever end? She dropped onto a nearby tree root letting her head drop into her hands. She sighed heavily allowing her breathing to return to normal. Never again, never again was she doing anything for that ungrateful little twerp. She flopped back onto the wet ground feeling as the cool water from the grass soaked into her back. How she wished she were back on Earth, having a nice warm shower, or a bath with lots of bubbles.

She closed her eyes focusing on the warm relaxing water and bubbles. Or she would have if those insects stopped buzzing. She knotted her eyebrows together clenching her fists by her sides. She couldn’t even imagine a bath without them damn insects interrupting her. She listened closer trying to figure exactly where the insect was so she could kill it. Wait, she had only really heard insects while she was out at her great Aunts house and since she got to this smelly death hole, but she knew what she heard was not insects.

She jolted upright focusing on the noise. No it wasn’t insects but she was pretty sure of what it was, voices. She jumped to her feet grabbing her pack as she did, if there was voices, she must be close to civilisation. She walked past another huge tree; they all looked the same to her, and was surprised to find a small clearing. It was the first clearing she had seen since she landed in this forest. She was even more surprised to find two people sitting in the clearing. One was a woman, probably about 23 years old by the looks of her and her tight clothing she couldn’t be very old. And the other, blond hair, could it be? No, there must be millions of people with blond hair it couldn’t be.

“Watermelons and cheese.”

Watermelons and sheese? That was her saying, that was her and Claudes’ saying, it had to be him.

“Claude!” She yelled as she ran out from behind the tree

The two people turned around, surprise etched onto each of their faces, the woman especially. Claude stood up staring at her, shock written in his eyes

“Cherry?” He said blinking a few times

“Yes, it is you,” She yelled running up and hugging him tightly, “My god Claude, do you know what I went through to save your hide? Do you know how long I was trekking though that blasted forest? Do you know how much I smell right now?”

“Yes, but what are you doing here?” He asked his face still taunt with shock

“I came to save you now lets go before I blow this place up.” She replied grabbing his arm and attempting to drag him off.

“Wait, I’m not going anywhere.” He said wrenching his arm out of her grip

“Your right. We need to get supplies, they don’t by any chance have any batteries on this planet?” She asked looking over to the half naked woman

“Cherry did my father send you?” Claude asked turning his back on her

“Yes and I will forever hate him for it, not that I don’t already.” She replied hopping around to meet his eyes

“Well then go back and tell him I’m not coming.” He said glancing down into her ruby red eyes

Cherry felt her face drop and her limbs get weak. He wasn’t serious was he? He couldn’t be, no of course he was joking, no one wanted to stay on this planet. She smiled up at him hoping he’d smile back, but nothing. Was he really serious? If he was she was going to blow something up, regardless of how much trouble she got into by the Federation, she was going to blow this whole planet sky high.

“You joking right?” She asked nudging his shoulder.

For some reason she did not want to hear his answer. He looked down at her, his sapphire eyes showing no sign of humour.

“No I’m not joking so you might as well go back to your ship right now and leave because I’m not following.” He said grabbing her by the shoulders and spinning her around to face the forest she had just come from.

“Oh no, oh no.” She said pulling his hands off her shoulders and spinning back around to face him, “I am not going back without you, I did not risk my life just to hear you say ‘I’ve come to love this planet more than Earth and have decided to live a pointless life here’ its not happening Claude.” She said placing her hands firmly on her hips

“Cherry I’ve told you once and I’m not going to tell you again, go back to your ship and leave. Tell my father that I’m not returning to the Federation.”

Cherry could feel the bile rise in her throat. This was not happening, she would wake up now. She closed her eyes and reopened them again to find herself still in this middle of the humid forest she had been in before. She glanced up at Claude and felt her knees start to buckle. He was serious, he was dead serious, he was going to stay on this unadvanced puny little planet while she had to slave away for the Federation. It was not happening.

It was probably all that woman’s fault. Cherry glanced over once again at the barely dressed woman who watched on as the scene unfolded. She probably seduced him and put him under some heraldic spell to make him love her and make him stay. This planet was very high in heraldic magic, that's probably what happened and now Claude was stuck on this place forever.

“Its your doing isn’t it?” Cherry yelled pointing at the purple haired woman, “You put him under one of your witch spells so he’d stay.”

“Cherry its not Celines’ fault, I want to stay.” Claude said, his back still turned on Cherry

“Its not me Claude loves, its Rena.” The woman said standing up as if to defend herself.

“Oh, well I’ll just have to make sure I eliminate her and break the spell she’s put on him.” Cherry mumbled tapping her fingers together

Claude sighed and turned to face her, brushing a lock of his golden hair out of his face

“Look Cherry I appreciate you coming all the way out here for me…” He started

“And risking my life for you,” She added

“Yes risking your life for me, but I’m not going back. I love Rena and I want to stay here with her, and killing her is not going to help the situation.” Claude finished laying his hand on her shoulder and giving her a small helpful smile.

Cherry sighed and looked up at him.

“Claude,” She whined grabbing his hand and squeezing it hard, “You‘ve changed for the worst, I’m starting to wonder why I came all the way out here.”

Claude didn’t reply, that was a bad thing.

“You’re all boring and serious now, what happened to the Claude I used to know?” She asked giving him her most disgusted look ever

“He grew up.” Was all he said

Cherry felt the disgust rise inside her. Whatever that Rena girl had done she was going to pay dearly for. Claude had always been the most fun person to be around, but now… She remember they had said once, when they were younger, that no matter what they'd always be friends, that they’d never grow up and she’d always be able to beat him at video games. And of course they'd never have a job in the Federation. If only things had stayed the same as then.

“Fine do whatever you want, but don’t come complaining to me when you find this planet doesn’t have the new dragon slayers game, or when you feel so suffocated by this place that you feel like screaming. Because I will be exploring the universe like you always said we would, I’ll be free.”

“Cherry…” He started staring so deep into her eyes

“You lost your chance now Claude I’m leaving.” She said spinning around and looking at the dense forest that lay in her path.

She sighed and spun back around, shrugging her shoulders.

“Uh is there anywhere I can get my ship fixed?”


Chapter 2

Star Ocean 2 Fanfic