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Atlantis

Biography of an Ancient
By Nesenty

Copyright 2010 by Nesenty ISBN: Softcover 1456329162 EAN-13: 9781456329167 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner. This book was printed in the United States of America.

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Atlantis Biography of an Ancient By Nesenty

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A retelling of life on Atlantis by an Ancient who was there

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Contents
Title Page Copyright Atlantean Contents Introduction Book One: The Beginning Book Two: Peace Book Three: The Fall Atlantis Epilogue Time-line Island Map City Map We Come In Peace i ii iii iv v I-V 1 - 187 1 - 157 1 158 I III - IV V VII IX XII

Atlantis: Biography of an Ancient by Nesenty

Introduction

According to many writers, philosophers, and many others Atlantis was a great civilization in the Atlantic somewhere. Where it's exact location is, is widely disputed by those in search of it. Some claim it is in the gulf, around the Bermuda triangle, others still claim it was near Greece, some say it was the bridge between Europe and the America's which is the closest anyone has come to pinpointing the location. I guess before I go any further, I should introduce myself. I am Nesenty, an incarnated life that first set foot on Atlantis when it was still just an island with what you might consider tribes people on it, before it was the grand city people would write about thousands of years later. I was not born on Atlantis, in fact, I wasn't even born on this planet the first time around. I come from the Pleiadian's, a star system which many legends have spoke of, some call it the 7 sisters, others claim it is where they came from. I am part of a Galactic Federation, comprised of many thousands of star systems throughout the universe, both in the Milky Way galaxy and outside of it. I was sent with a team of emissaries to Earth, which also included the royal family of our home, the king, his wife, and their two children. We came in peace, as we always have, we came to teach and help your species along. Others had come before, when Earth was first beginning, your species, along with the other species on Earth are star seeds. Genetically engineered with the genetics from many species throughout the universe. You are the library of what was, what is, and what will be. But that is for another story, the story of your beginning has been hidden from you and it is not yet time to release it as some of you are still not

Atlantis: Biography of an Ancient by Nesenty

ready to hear it. This story, is to bring your genetic memories and spiritual memories of Atlantis to the surface of your minds through the telling of my memories I hold. I will begin, at the beginning, when the order first came to send a team to interact with Earth. I was younger when the first order came, I had heard the stories and seen the writings of the living library, what had happened, and feared it was lost forever. I never expected an order from the ruling council to come down, especially not to us, even though we were the closest in comparison and could arrive the quickest. The night before departure was planned, I was standing in the garden outside of what could be considered a castle, where I lived as I was a personal bodyguard for the son of the king. I remember looking at the grass, looking at the trees, the night sky. The grass was so pure, the trees so welcoming, the warm breeze so comforting. I couldn't imagine ever leaving my home, even though I had traveled with the family many times, it was never as long as what was coming, I always left in my own body and came back with it. This was different, to interact with humans once again required we forfeit our current physical bodies, let our consciousness's be removed, transported, and placed in that of a human who's genetic DNA and brainwave activity was somewhere near compatible with the information we carried. I didn't sleep that night, as I am sure anyone could understand, our scientists and medical personnel were excellent at what they did, but there was always a chance something could go wrong somewhere, I mean, what would happen if the human genetics were not capable of sustaining our being, not only would they die, but what would happen to us? The following morning I reported as requested to the lab, where a solid marble table lay before me, with scanners and extraction technology all around, I was one in a long list of military, scientists, medical personnel, and many others to be extracted. I stripped down and lay on the table, feeling the cold stone against my body, watching as the scans began, slowly from my feet over my legs, my stomach, the further up it went over my

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body the harder it got to keep my eyes open. By the time it reached my chest my eyes were shut, and I felt as if I was losing myself, losing something important. As the scanner made its way over my neck and over my head, it was as if I was in a stasis pod on a long journey, I was asleep but I was awake at the same time. I could not hear what was going on around me, but my dreams kept me company. My consciousness had been taken out of my body using a laser technology none of you have ever seen or heard of, it separated the spirit body from the physical form we occupy. My body was then taken and placed into a stasis pod, which would keep it on ice, so to say, keep it healthy, give it nutrition and for all intense and purposes keep the body alive while the spirit traveled. My spirit was now contained in a crystal of the correct capability to hold an immense amount of energy, it was taken and placed into a container, specifically marked for who I was, packaged carefully and readied for transport to Earth. It was taken from the lab to the ship awaiting the rest of the passengers. Our pilots were the best, they would be responsible for hundreds of lives, both contained in the crystals and the scientists and medical team who was accompanying the emissary team to conduct the transfer procedure of us out of the crystals and into humans, and the humans spirit out of their bodies and into crystals. For lack of a better work, we would be possessing, or taking over the bodies of those with the correct genes needed to sustain us. All passengers still in their physical forms were the last to board the ship, which was resting on the ocean surface near the castle. Us, in the crystals were already loaded and secured for transport. Within the day, all were on board and ready. Citizens were gathered at the waters edge to send us off, as the pilots started engines and ran checks on system functions, they would wave to those still awake to see them. Once systems had been checked and confirmed to be working properly, thrusters would be placed on stand by as hyper drive was activated and a window was opened in space between the surface of our planet and the sky above our

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waters. Once this had taken place thrusters would be activated and the ship would disappear in a matter of seconds. Those left behind would not know if we made it for some time to come, not until the ship arrived and sent information back relaying the progress of the mission to them, and to the ruling council of the federation. I cannot tell you how long the trip was, it seemed as if I had only slept a night. But I do know reconnaissance was done, subjects were, for lack of a better word, abducted and scanned to see if they had what was needed in them to support us. When they were found, one by one, they would wake us up. I say wake us up, because to me, it was as if we had been sleeping. When in actuality, after the initial scans and proper subjects were found to transfer us into, they would then be scanned as we were, placed into a temporary holding system, we would be transferred into them, and then them into the crystals we had occupied. They would sleep well for years to come in some cases. Loved ones would be lost to the people of Atlantis, but the wisdom and information, the chance they would gain, is a price anyone would give their life for. The peace that would come over this small place, would be a price that the humans would pay for. They would later be given their bodies back, but for now, we owned their bodies, they were ours now. As cruel as that is to say, it is the truth, we had no other way to make initial contact with the citizens of Earth with without frightening them. I opened my eyes, from the most restful sleep I had been able in to get in a long time to the sight of the scientists and medical team standing over me, the feel of my new body was indescribable. It was different, it felt frail but at the same time strong. I was able to hang onto the genetic memory of the person who had occupied it before, which allowed me to understand who they were, where they were from, how they loved and lived, their language, their family history passed down through genetics. But there was something else, something missing, the stories I had

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heard, and the writings on our temples said this species was capable of many things and was once a conduit for all species and the rest of the universe, a 12 stranded being. The body I was in, felt as if it was missing what it was designed for, it was missing the essential part of what made it what it was. Nesenty, the technician said, as he learned over me, can you hear me? Yes. I looked at him. We're going to move you over somewhere where you can be more comfortable and get used to this body. He told me as he and a few others adjusted me to a sitting position. Don't try to do too much right now, this body needs to adjust to your brainwave activity and your energy. Give it some time, sleep a little bit. When you wake up that feeling your getting of something being wrong will pass. He explained it to me as he had obviously explained it to many others. I would be moved into a room with beds, laid on a soft bed and left to rest. The body needed to reacquaint itself with its new occupant. I closed my eyes, and slept.

Book One
The Beginning

Book One: The Beginning

Chapter One

I'm not sure how long I slept, but when I woke up I had my first glimpse of some of the others who had been transplanted, I wasn't sure who was who, but they all had some similar features. Their skin, as was the skin on my own body, a dark tan and our hair was white. A doctor would later explain it to us as a side effect on the bodies at taken on your energies, you will also notice other places on the body where the hair will no longer grow. Which did make sense, if our energy was too high for the human bodies, and it didn't out right and kill them, it would cause side effects including loss of hair, the hair pigment being lost, we could only hope the bodies would be able to sustain us now that it had adjusted. For a few hours everyone would be reacquainted with who was who and how they felt. I, myself, still felt the body was odd. Something just didn't seem right, but I can say it was probably just that it was not my body I was in, it was new, different. When night came, we would be beamed down to the Earth's surface, onto the beach near the natives surrounding ocean. Most reconnaissance had been done while we rested, the natives were a primitive culture, it was best we wait until morning to initiate contact. For the night, we would make camp on the beach, wait until sunrise to make first contact. With us, besides Nucuranda, the king, Surmadra, his wife and their children, we also had one or two scientists, a medical team, some workers (what you may consider construction workers), the personal bodyguard of each member of the royal family, and one or two others with who where like librarians, they

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knew the stories and the history of planet Earth. It was a functioning group, everyone knew what they needed to do and who was to do what. We awoke with the rise of the sun, a few went down to the waters edge to collect something to eat. As we were sitting there and having breakfast, the first of many we would meet on this planet, a fisher man was coming down to collect this mornings catch for the village. He saw us, dropped what he was carrying and hurried back the way he had come. Not quite the first meeting we had in mind, but he soon returned with others. None carried weapons or approached us in a way that could have been taken as violent, they watched us carefully. Having access to the genetic memories allowed for communication to go smoothly because it allowed us the ability to speak their language fluently. The king presented himself to who we presumed was their leader as he held himself differently and seemed to command the respect of the others. We come in peace, we are not here to hurt anyone, only to bring tidings of friendship. The king spoke gently to the other man. Where do you come from? This man asked, not seeming the least bit surprised by our presence, as if he had known already that visitors would be coming. From a place far away from here, farther then any of your scouts have traveled. Come with us, we will speak more of this far away land. He waved towards in land, obviously welcoming us for the time, reserving judgment for later. Walking into the village was a shock, it was unbelievable

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people lived as they did. It was to be expected, but never in my life had I believed people still lived as this anywhere. Huts made of sticks, roofs of thatched grass, dirt floors. And even though we were still in the clothing the bodies had worn when they were taken, and shoeless, it was a surprise to see all dressed similar. In barely nothing, a strap, a loin cloth, covering the lower parts of the bodies, cloth wrapped around the breasts of the women. Children running naked, darting between our legs. The king had introduced his family, his wife, his children, on the walk from the beaches to the inner village. The village leader listened carefully as the king explained that he had brought with historians, and shamans to help in the friendship we were pursuing. Gesturing towards the ground where cloth lay the leader sat down, welcoming the king and the rest of us to do the same. It was not until we were seated that he asked any more questions. Tell me of this land from where you come. He prompted, not to anyone in particular. Our home, Nucuranda, the king began, is one of peace, is one filled with wonders we hope to bring to your people. We have many friends from many different homes, who come to trade, to help keep the peace. It is as green as you have here, clear sky's such as yours, waters that run throughout the lands. We live in harmony with that which is around us. We are one with our surroundings. Where does it exist? We come from the stars you see in your night sky. He paused, watching the expressions change from intent listening to what could be taken as shock on the villagers faces, the leader remained unmoved. We come to bring what we have, to you, to help your people expand into what they have been before.

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The stories that have been passed down? The leader looked directly at our king. Of which stories are you referring to? Of a day when all were one, of a day when the sky's turned black and what once was, was never again. In part, yes. So you are the ancestors my great grandmother and father told me about, the ones who left us and promised to return? Not us specifically, but our ancestors, yes. You are welcome to stay as long as you like. Make yourself at home, I will have a few of my people help to gather the wood and grass for your buildings. The leader put an end to the conversation, seeming that he preferred to think on what was said before continuing. There is no need, we will gather what we need and then build the central gathering point where we will stay until we begin on homes. The king interjected before anyone was called to help. As you see fit. The leader stated as he walked off. You, Nefriti, Akima, Ostro, he pointed at three of the constructors he had chosen to bring, speaking in our native tongue, Go, find the stone which you will need, anyone you wish to help is available to you. Asana, take your team and gather what healing plants you see, when the hall is built we will begin treating those who need it. I knew my part, follow Kelshoro, the prince around as if I

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was his shadow. It was one of the simplest jobs one could ask for, the boy stayed out of the way and out of trouble, most of the time. He was around my age, a little older, when I had first met him he had taken it as a blow to the ego to have a younger person watching over him, he had no problem with the fact that I was female only that I was younger. He would make a good king someday, he took after his father and mother, he had a big heart, warm eyes that never showed any hint of anger towards anyone. His younger sister, Elaya, who was younger then I, she was the wild card. The one who needed ten babysitters, always getting into something, if I had my way, she would have been tied and gagged until she could control herself. Throughout the next few hours, our people would gather stones of all sizes, moving them without touching them. Laying a hand above them and then the stones would float as if on a boat in the water along side them. The more that was gathered, and the more the stones were moved without physical labor, the more of the village that gathered. It was nearing afternoon when the entire village had gathered and the stones needed were in piles near the areas they would be used. Akima stood in the center of 4 stone piles. Closing her eyes she raised her hands upwards, as she did so the dirt on the ground began to shift under everyone's feet, swirling and raising up, the piles of stone around her began to shake and raise themselves. Raising themselves one over the other and laying on top of the other, up a good ten to fifteen feet. I stood behind the prince, leaning against one of the trees, watching for any sign of panic in the natives. Within a few minutes, 3 walls had been raised, rough as the edges were I knew they would be smoothed out. Akima had done what she could, emptying her body of the energy she had, she would need to rest. Next were the pillars that would be formed in front of the

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walls, and the steps that would lead down. That was for Ostro, he would lay the stones up for the pillars and for the steps. Following similar actions as Akima had done, he stood in the center and raised his hands, bring the stones up and letting them fall into place, the ground shook as the stones hit. The natives backed up further, still watching intently, but no sign of panic beginning in them. Once the steps and pillars were in line, Nefriti would smooth the walls, the pillars and the steps. She would stand in the center of it all, inside, reaching down she took a handful of dirt from the ground, letting it slip through her fingers as she looked upwards, raising her arms in a quick motion upwards. The dirt rose, swirling as if a tornado had begun. I heard the gasps from the natives, the children laughing as if it was a game, and saw the king standing next to the village leader, probably explaining what was going on. Within a few minutes the dust began to settle and what was left was something familiar, the beginning of a building that resembled our buildings. Smooth, firm stone that would stand thousands of years to come. Nefriti had also managed to employ a ceiling of energy, one that could be looked through as if it were glass, but would keep the people inside dry. She did amazing work, no one could complain, one of our top laborers, she was well trained and sought nothing short of perfection. In the next few hours, flatter stones would be gathered and put in, in much the same fashion, for a smooth stone floor from the back wall, to the steps between the pillars at the front which faced the ocean. The villagers would come, sit, watch, speak to those working, listen intently trying to learn then return to their daily routines. The children seemed to run everywhere, between everything. A few times I thought one or two of them would be

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crushed by the stones as they were laid in for the floor, laughing the entire time. The prince would get involved, trying to sidetrack the children out of the building. I watched from my position against the tree, boredom was the last word I would use to describe what I was feeling as it was beyond being bored. I felt a tug on my cloth that was wrapped around my hips, looking down this little girl was looking upwards at me, she must have been 6 or 7 by her size. I looked down at her, not sure what to say or do, I didn't know what she wanted. She grabbed my hand and tried to pull me away from my post, glaring down at her I asked what? Without considering to gentle my voice towards her. Within moments her lip was trembling and I feared the cry's that would come. Come on, don't do that. I tried persuading her, leaning over towards her. And then it came, her eyes watered and she wailed. Kelshoro, the prince, who was watching as the event unfolded walked up, handing her a flower which halted the watering of her eyes and she smiled at him, running off to show everyone what he had given her. Looking at me with an amused look he said, You know it wouldn't hurt you to relax a little. It's not like children are going to eat you alive you know. So you think, but you forget this is a strange land, the people here have been changed. I glared at him, for all you know they could plan on eating us tonight while we sleep. He burst out laughing, shaking his head and placing his hand on my shoulder well if you feel that way, I don't have to worry about getting a good nights rest, you will be awake all night and they'll eat you first.

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He walked off before I could say anymore. I sent him a mental image of his body with a pike run through it being held over an open fire pit with the children standing all around him throwing spices on him. His response was only a wave of his hand back towards me as he walked back to where he was telling stories to the little cannibals.

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Chapter Two

Standing there, watching him interact, telling stories, playing games with the children, I found myself wondering if they were really cannibals, enticing him in for the catch. Gaining his trust so they could lead him off alone and string him up from a tree. They seemed much too small to do it on their own, but there were quite a few of the little things running around. Little barbarians with smiles to trick you. Shaking my head I let the notion of them being barbarians or cannibals go, for the moment, something that small and that easily upset couldn't possibly do anything to anyone twice their size. But it was still a possibility, I knew what this planet once was, what had happened and how things changed, and why we were here now. Watching the natives, I remember they were naturally tan, it wasn't so much something you could get by working out in the sun because the children looked just as tan, and no one had any tan lines that I had noticed. Their eyes ranged in different shades of blues and greens. Their hair was more diverse, some had different shades of yellow hair, others had brown hair, and some of them even had black hair. It was a diverse community for the most part, big, small, tall and short, different colored hair, kinda makes one wonder where they all came from. And then, there was us, or us in them. We had taken over the bodies, but the bodies were native to this land, and even though I understood what had made the hair on our heads go white and the other hair on the body vanish, it was still almost an exact opposite of what they were. The eyes themselves had seemed to stay the

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same, the many colors of the water. I believe by this time, the king had informed the village leader of what we had done, to gain possession of their bodies. In the simplest of terms that he would understand, saying that the owners of the bodies were safe, in a dream state while we occupied their physical forms. He had accepted it without question, as he seemed to accept everything else. Now that man, he may be the one who needed to be watched, he appeared too relaxed, too calm, too knowing for what this species had become. It had fallen from what it once was, now almost at the bottom of what some would consider the food chain, but this man didn't seem to be surprised by much, or at least he didn't show it. He hardly even took notice of what we were doing unless a crowd gathered, he ignored us, not the least bit bothered by the fact we had abducted his people, removed them from their bodies and taken over. Moved in to his village and started to set up home. Watching him as he went about his day, he seemed to have a hitch in his gate, a slight difference in how he walked as if he had a stone jabbed up into his foot. He carried himself well, back straight, head high, he would stop and laugh with the children and talk to the older people of the village. He was the leader in how he carried himself, how he spoke, how he commanded the respect of the others. But he seemed just as our king, he didn't hold himself above as more important then his people, they were equal to him, he did the jobs they did right along side them. There was still something off about him, something I couldn't put my finger on if it had bit me, but I sensed a difference in him. And there was the princess, I had tried not to watch her most of the day, knowing she was probably up to no good. A new body, something she could toy with, and surrounded by people she didn't know. I surely didn't envy her bodyguard, he definitely had his hands full, in more then one way, but I wasn't about to let that secret slip, so I blocked the image of what I had seen that one time

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back into it its box for safe keeping. If our commander ever discovered it, he would have El's hands for it. Laughing to myself I looked back over at my job, watching him try to teach these human children how to control the secrets their mind held. He would take a stone, and place it on top of another one, each of the five children around him following suit, then he would place the palm of his hand on top of the stone and his other hand on top of the other. Slowly lifting his hands the stone would float and work as if it had a string tied to the bottom stone as it would come up under. He would move his top hand down under the bottom stone and make them dance. The children laughed and giggled, trying to do what they saw him do, trying to emulate their teacher. The man and his stones, shaking my head I walked over to him. You know they're never going to get it. I told him, standing over him. Yes they will, they can do everything we can do or did you forget we're in their bodies. If we can do it, the genetics are still there for them to be able to do it. He looked back at me, daring me to challenge him. Possibly, but they do not understand what you do. Yes they do, children remember what the older people do not. They know, somewhere inside, they know and they understand. He stated as he stood up to look down at me, as he often tried to intimidate me, as if his stature alone was going to make me bow down. I knew him better then that, he didn't hold himself at a higher level then any of his people, and his games of trying to pull the prince card were just that, games. If you think so. I patted his head and walked off. If he

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wanted to hang out with the little barbarians, who was I to stop him. I might help them bind him to a tree just for the sheer entertainment of it. But right now, this body needed to find a place to empty itself, my lower stomach was feeling as if it had a stone in it. And this, was not something that was very different then our own bodies, things went in, be it water or food, and things had to come out. But in all my watching and searching today, I did not see one place that looked at if it held amenities for emptying oneself. Giving up, I finally approached a woman. She looked as if she was young, but then again these people aged differently then us, she could have been older, maybe even younger then what I thought she might be. Hello. I started slowly so as not to frighten her. Good day. She turned, smiling at me. Where do you release yourselves, do you have a specific building that the amenities are located in? Just find a bush, she looked around as if all the brush was apparent to me, personally, I go off a ways to make sure none of the children run up on me. Turning she went back to weaving a basket. I was utterly disoriented with the idea. Who in their right minds would find a bush to use as a room to empty themselves in. What was wrong with these people. If I had thought the children were barbarians then the adults were worse. Did these people have no idea how uncleanly it was to squat at a bush and go. Thinking about emptying oneself only made it more apparent and just how big the stone had gotten and how bad you had to find a place to go, and quick. Sighing, giving up for the moment of finding a decent place, I walked around the tree line on the outskirts of one side of

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the village, found what seemed to be a clean enough branch laying on the ground and proceeded to untie the cloth around my hips. Squatting down and resting my hands on the branch in front of me, I sucked up the disgust and let the body do its thing. As I was tying the cloth back around my hips, I decided if no one else seemed bothered enough by this to build a place for this exact reason, I would do it myself. Returning to my position of watching over the prince and his audience of miniature people, I began to look around the area for any extra stone and a place that seemed far enough away for a crude relief station. Spotting what I was looking for, I began to move the stones from where they were into a pile near the area that would suffice for now. The prince saw what I was doing and began helping to move the stones, work always went faster when more then one did it. Are you sure you can handle putting it in? He looked at me, obviously amused. I don't know what your talking about. I dared him to voice it. The relief station, are you sure you can get that body to put the hole needed into the ground? I looked blankly at him, wondering how he knew as he sent me a mental message I know because it was obvious to anyone who was listening how disgusted you were with the idea of using the outdoors to empty yourself. I stared at him, beyond pissed by this time that he had been eavesdropping, holding my hand out towards the area I planned to build on I stared at him, glaring at him. I felt my hand warm from cool to something that felt as if it was on fire and then the ground shook under our feet. Looking, I could see it wasn't as round of a hole as I had intended, but it would do, and it proved I was quite

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capable of making this body do as I wanted it to. Hole in. I told him via mind note. Yes, I can say you put a hole there, but you might want to get the building up before the kids begin to make a game out of this. He laughed at me, motioning for me to look at the hole that was now becoming something for the kids to throw stuff into. Hey! What do you think you are doing!? I went towards the group of children gathered obviously trying to fill my hole back in. Hole need filled no fall in! On little boy yelled back at me as he put his hands on his hips. Oh no it doesn't, I'm putting something around it so you all need to go bother someone else! No! Hole fill in! The boy persisted. Picking him up as he kicked and punched at the air I handed him to the prince and went back after the other children, chasing them all off while being laughed at. You sure know how to make friends fast. He sent the mental note as he walked off calling to the children, Come on kids, I think I see someone who needs some playmates. I swear I could feel the hair on my head standing straight up and I could not understand who could put up with miniature people. They got into everything! Focusing my energy and annoyance on the stones near the hole, I raised my hands, building three walls around the hole. I hurried to gather some wood, which I then mentally moved over the top of the little shack. After everything was in place, I walked over to the girl who I had spoken to before.

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Do you have a long piece of cloth I can use? I inquired. Yes, hang on a second. She said as she got up and walked into her little hut, bringing out a shred of cloth that seemed wide enough and long enough for the purpose I would use it for.

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Chapter Three

Walking back to the relief station I had started with the cloth in had, I had one purpose in mind, and that was to finish this so I would hot be baring my bum for the world to see again. After securing the cloth to the wood top, I took a last piece of wood and brought it inside, mentally visualizing the wood becoming one with two of the walls, over the hole in the ground. Once melded together, the relief station was complete. I could relax that my personal events would not be something to entertain the world with again. See you got it all up. The prince stood on the outside when I exited. Yes I did. Just in time too, we're gathering in the hall, scouts have brought back vegetation enough for the entire village, they're cooking it up now. I looked around, saw the sun beginning its decent for the day. Nodded and followed him back to the hall which had been erected earlier in the day. The entire village fit comfortably inside, it would provide good shelter for them in case of rain until we had more buildings up, preferably with relief stations in them for each family. During the feast, the village leader stood and spoke of the prophecy which had been passed down through generations.

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Long ago, in the days of our ancestors, there was peace. We welcomed others not of our kind into our homes as we do tonight. A darkness fell over the sky's long ago, and our visitors left, promising to return once again and help to bring peace back to our lands. The ancestors of the ones who sit with us tonight were the visitors, they are the ones who will return our land to what it was before. A land where our brethren does not bleed one another. A land where we can once again be proud to call our home. He looked at the crowd gathered, reaching his hand toward our king, This, my people, may you take as a sign of good fortune, for the sky's surely shine us in what is to come with our friendship. This man who stands before you and at my side, is my brother, and his people are our family. With that statement he pulled a knife out, cutting down the palm of it, he held our kings hand and sliced down his palm, placing their hands together they were now considered blood brothers. When the village leader reached for a clean cloth to wrap their hands in, our king shook his head, let me. And he placed his uncut hand over the village leaders and when he removed it, the mans hand had healed. The queen healed the king, and the feast was returned to. Stories were passed around, about the travelers who come sometimes, of the rains that come when the wind howls. Of day to day life. Children began to fall asleep in parents laps. And as the crowd began to dissipate, a few of the villagers returned carrying blankets back for us. Unrolling one that was handed to me, I made a position within reach of the prince should he find himself being eaten by the cannibals, laughing at myself I laid down. Looking out of the ceiling at the stars as they shown bright in the night sky, the fire dwindling to nothing but smoke and extinguishing itself. First contact had been made, and made successfully. The mission had begun, now we were to teach what we could and help

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the people to remember. To plant the seeds for what the future would bring to this world. I knew the task that lay ahead would be a long one, one that would last longer then some of the villagers would live, they may not see the end outcome, but they were the beginning.

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Chapter Four

I awoke as the sun was rising, rolling up the blanket I had slept on, thinking to myself this was another change that was going to need to be made. I have nothing against camping, but staying here as long as we planned on staying, a bed would need to be implemented. I agree. The thought came in as Kelshoro started to wake. This hard ground is no place for anyone to be sleeping. We should get some beds made for the kids to start with. You and those kids, I started shaking my head, I agree, children of the species should come first. So how bout it, we get a group together, maybe even those kids, and go collect some lining for the beds? He asked out loud. Works by me, but I'm watching you, not the kids, they're your job. That's fine, they have more of a sense of humor then you do, and they relax more often. He stated, laying there with his hands behind his head. Hopefully they are not as lazy as you. I looked him over and shook my head. What? Its a vacation.

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No, it's a mission, which means being ready for anything, up with the rise of the sun and down long after it has set. Relax already. He grumbled as he sat up. I picked up the blanket I had rolled up and set it against a wall. Looking back he was just now starting to get to his knees to roll his up. Will you be ok for a few minutes? I gotta make a run and check out the surrounding area. I am surrounded by our people, you don't have to stand over me like a shadow. He announced sounding a little annoyed. I walked off, not even giving him a thought to think on while I was gone. After stopping at the relief station I proceeded to walk around the perimeter, watching for any sign of disturbance, taking note of the animals in the area, the plant life. People were just starting to arise, coming out of those huts of theirs. Children were still sleeping it seemed. On my approach to our building I saw that our people had all awoke, beginning to plan out the days work. I didn't spot my job on first glance, wondering if he had wondered off on his own, I thought to myself great, he falls in a pit and it'll be my head paying the price. Good lord Nesenty, cool yourself. The annoyed voice came from behind me, if you weren't so wrapped up in keeping your head attached to your body you might have sensed me behind you. Do not wonder off. I told him. You must tell me where you are going before you go, so I know where to find your broken body at. I have more common sense then to walk into a pit that my eyes can see.

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Ignoring his ego, I asked Have you gathered your group to collect the lining, or do you plan on doing it yourself? I'll leave a message with my father, so when the children awake they can be escorted to where we will be if they want to help. He walked off towards his father. Speaking with him briefly before coming back to where I waited. We're going down by the shore, the grass there will work fine. It will be softer then the stone. The walk to the beach was a silent one, I had grabbed a few blankets before leaving camp to collect and carry the grass. I had a knife with me as well for the cutting, with any luck the prince remembered to bring a knife as well or he would find himself using a sharp edged stone to cut with because I was not about to give him mine. Arriving at the beach we walked to our left, back where we had spent our first night. The grass here was green, it was soft to the touch. Over time that would change, the grass would become dry and when things become dry it becomes brittle and tends to poke a person. But it would suffice for now, more proper bedding could be made later. Your right, it will suffice for now. The prince commented on my thoughts. What is it with you and eavesdropping on people? I stared at him. If you don't block your thoughts, it's not my problem I can hear them. If you weren't listening you wouldn't know they weren't

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blocked. Trust me, sometimes I wish your mind was always blocked. You worry too much. He said as he walked towards the grass. Rolling my eyes I allowed the subject to come to an end. He had remembered to bring a knife, we would cut at the base of the grass, leaving the roots and a good 2 inches left to regrow, the part we would use would be a foot to two feet in length. Piling the cut grass aside and out of the way. We had cut a good ten square feet a piece, when a group of about 5 children came running down, followed by Taki. Taki was a friend of mine, I had known him since I could remember. He was always around somewhere, as if he was watching over me. When I joined the federation training, he joined, when I was appointed to being a bodyguard, he made sure he was appointed on the force of over seeing the continued training of the guard. He was a kind man, he had a temper that followed him but somehow he always seemed to turn his annoyance into something of humor. Looking down I noticed the little girl who I had made whine a day earlier standing there looking at me. Do you want to help? I asked, determined not to be covered in wetness from her eyes again. Mhm. She nodded. See that blanket over there? She looked over where I motioned to. Go pick it up and bring it over here.

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She ran off like someone had set a fire to her bottom, picking it up and trying to run back with it, but failing as she began to get her feet tangled in the end of it. Standing up I was ready to go pick her up and carry both her and the blanket over when Taki did so and set her down next to me. Try not to hurt them by sending them on jobs that require they carry something bigger then they are. He gave me a warning glance before walking off for the other blanket. Are you sure you can handle it? I called after him. Would you stop teasing the man? Kelshoro cut in. What are you talking about? I questioned him, spreading out the blanket on the ground and beginning to lay the grass in the middle of it until the little girl picked up on what to do. If you don't get it, I am not about to explain it to you. Mind your own troubles. I told him. I will mind mine. The subject was dropped as we continued to cut down grass. Piling it beside us as Taki got the children moving grass from the piles into the center of the blankets. He picked up what they dropped and kept them on course of what they were doing. Having cleared an area of fifty feet a piece, the blankets were over flowing. Taki tied the ends of the blankets together, moving one over his shoulder and leaving the other for me to carry. The prince would mind the children back to the village. It had taken us most of the first light and into the high hours to clear it and carry it back to the village. We would leave the tied blankets on our stone floor just inside the pillars.

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Collecting cloth to wrap the grass linings in would be the next process, we would use the blankets that the children slept on to wrap the grass in, leaving them the cover blankets which they used to stay warm at night with. Parents were very willing to give up the bottom blankets for the cause. We carried the cloth back to our building of stone where we had left grass bundles. There were about ten children in all, ranging in age from a year or so to what appeared to be eight or so. The grass would be enough for all of them to have soft beds tonight.

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Chapter Five

Looking around while eating on some of the local fruit I noticed how a few more buildings had gone up. One looked almost like a barracks we had back home, another resembled the training area, and the last look like an education center. I got up and walked over to them, on closer inspection of the barracks it looked as if they were just finishing it up, sections in two of the walls were already hallowed out, at home that would be where beds would be placed in. In the center of the building a table had been erected, back home it was common to have a few tables inside the barracks for whatever reason the persons occupying them would use them. On another wall there were shelves hallowed out, for personal items, books, or food and water to be placed. Satisfied that they had erected it close enough to what was available at home I walked back out. Walking over to the training area I took note of the fact they left the floor a dirt one. Hitting stone was never fun, the dirt would be a bit softer. On a wall more of those shelves were hollowed into them along with taller sections, at home they would house various weapons used for training. Knowing exactly what was left to be done I left this building. Entering what had appeared to be an education center I took note of the group of librarians inscribing the walls with the native language and cross matching it to the widely spoken language of the federation, it appeared very close, as if the language had been passed down from when we were here before. A few of the letters

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and words were different, but it was close enough they would understand us if we spoke in their language, or the language used by the federation. The language used by the federation was implemented long ago so those of different races and species could understand one another no matter the native language. Others were inscribing the history of this world on a different wall, along with the legends and prophecies they knew of. It was an easy task as one only needed to wave their hand over the stone with the intent of what was to be put there, there was no longer any pounding into the stone for days at a time to create the writings. I decided it was time to finish the beds, the prince as well as Taki should be done eating by now and with any luck most of those children would stay out of the way. I walked back over to the hall that had been built the day before to where we had left the grass and cloth for the beds. The prince was already spreading out the blankets that had been given to us by the parents, Taki on the other hand was watching some bird in a tree. It was colorful, interestingly so, I can see why it held his attention, but it wasn't the task. Taki, I called towards him, stop dreaming and come help. Have you ever seen a bird like that? He turned towards me. No, and if you stare at it long enough it's going to think you might want to eat it. Bite your tongue. He sent a warning glance my way, I would never eat the animal. Picking up one of the blankets full of grass I walked to the first cloth that had been laid out and untied the end. Both Taki and

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the prince helped me to spread out the grass in the center of each of the cloths evenly. Taki grabbed the second blanket and we finished with the rest of the cloths that would turn into beds soon. Splitting up we began to put them together. Spreading the grass out over the cloth, it was around 2 inches thick, we then wrapped the end of the cloth over the edges until the sides from the length were touching, then folding the shorter ends over. Running our hands over the edges, they melded into one piece. No seam showing, no rough edge. We proceeded to do this to each of them until they were all done. After finishing, we picked them up, two at a time and carried them to the huts where we knew the children lived, leaving them with the parents to place where they wanted. Each of the parents had a kind word or a question of what it was, but once they laid them down and felt how soft they were, they were more then happy to accept the gift, and wanted to know how to make them. I spent the rest of that day following the prince around. He would go from hut to hut just talking with whoever was there, helping with whatever they were doing. You talk about a public relations specialist, he was it. He could make friends with anyone, he was also very adept at having the patience to try and teach them something they may never understand. While helping one woman weave a basket, he tried to teach her how to do it mentally. Concentrating on the branches weaving in and out of the others and then when the ends would meet they would become one with no break in between. At one point I thought she almost had it, it may have been a trick of the light or a trick of the eyes, but for a second I thought I saw the end of one of the branches begin to move, and as fast as it had started it stopped. With another, a young man who was making a net out of vines the prince tried to show him how to control it with his hands, waving a hand over part of the net and it would go together as one envisioned it, with no success the prince continued to help him tie ends together, refusing

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to do it for him. Towards the setting of the sun everyone was gathered in the hall again, fruits and vegetation had been gathered and was being cooked. The king himself provided the blessing over the lot of it. Raising his hands up to encompass all that was present, he began Blessed is the Earth who provides for us. Blessed is the food we take into ourselves. May it bring us the strength needed to continue, may it bring us the health to raise us up, may it provide the nutrition our bodies desire. Throughout the feast, stories again were passed around. Talking with an older man he told me the story that his grandfather had told his father, and that his father had passed onto him some years ago. It remained in my memory until the day I left Atlantis, and more then likely beyond that time until I came back. In the days of before. There was a great city, not built of stick and stone, but built of dreams. One day, a storm came, no one remembers what happened, but over the few years that would pass after this storm. People would tell of this city, even though nothing remained of it, people would say it was the sky's who brought it to us, we were children of the sky's. And once a visitor of the sky's came and the storm followed. Now we are no longer children of the sky's, we are no longer able to live in this city. And every now and then as years pass, this visitor who brings the storm with them, they come back. The demons of old rise up and begin to take what is not theirs. It has been many years since they have visited, no one knows if it is right, or a tale made to discourage the traveler. But my grandfather told my father that in the days of his father, the visitor came once and many of our own vanished in a single day, never to be seen again. It reminded me the history of the world, I didn't tell him

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that, I simply listened. But the fact that they had passed down the stories by telling them to one another over and over again, and it remained so close to what had happened was enough to convince me that this visitor would return again. After everyone had finished with the nightly meal and finished telling stories to one another, they started to dissipate into their own directions and huts. The king announced that we would all stay in here for the night, but once building was closer to being completed, we would resume our quarters as we had at home. Unrolling my blanket and laying down, I watched through the ceiling as the stars passed. So many stars could be seen, I knew others would be coming at some point. This was going to be a location that would bring in many from different worlds, it would be a place of knowledge. And even though my commitment was to the prince's safety, I knew from the briefing we had received from our commander when the order came down, that this was a place to be protected if it meant our lives. The species on this land were to be protected if it was at cost to our own lives, we were told they would be the messengers who would carry on the knowledge to other lands, to other peoples, spreading the seeds throughout the world that would usher the next stage of the world into being. Closing my eyes, I went back over the orders that were given to us that night before we were taken from our own bodies. It was as if he was speaking again, Where you are going, it is still under the control of the ones who took it before. The species there do not remember what happened so long ago, none of us were alive when it happened, but record was kept. We left them once, promising that we would return to them, that we would help them should they want it. This mission is not to engage unless you are engaged, do not start a war that may lead to the loss of life, but you do have orders to protect the life that is there. The island that has been chosen will become our territory, the others will not be

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given access to what we build and they will not be allowed there, if you must engage them to prevent this, do so. Prior commitments in the course of rules of engagement are to be disregarded, you are each assigned a task, that which if peace remains you are to continue with that task, if threat presents itself, you are to forgo previous tasks and prevent an outcome no one wants. He had gone on to explain to each of us personally what our positions there would be, all of which was a basic outline of what we did on our home world, but as he explained it he made it clear that all of what we knew here would not be held in account should a threat pose itself. The threat was to be taken care of before our assignments that we had been given here. As I understood it, if I let something happen to the prince in the time of peace, I would pay the price, but should peace be taken away, his life was to be given up just as easily as my own if it meant protecting the species on the island. I still wasn't sure what happened to our consciousness's in the event of the body dying, I never got the straight of that, but it was not a concern for anyone else obviously, so I let it go. Letting myself drift off into a sleep the body much needed.

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Chapter Six

It was a week later, a dozen more buildings had been built, family groups had been moved into a few of them. Single women who were of age had been moved into a section of one building, single men of age into a separate section of the same building. Beds had been made for each person in the village, including ourselves who had moved into the barracks. Sentries were giving positions for night watch as well as others during the day, they would work in shifts always watching the seas and surrounding areas. Some of the huts had been taken down and the wood and grasses used for something else. One of the artists that had been brought with had gone back to the ship and acquired the laser that was used for markings on the body. Each of our own were given the mark of the federation which we always had on our right arms. Villagers were interested in the various designs that could be accomplished using this machine, which was strange and foreign to them. They would compare it to what they used to mark the bodies, which was a sharp stick or stone dipped into dye they made, everyone could agree that our way went faster and was less harmful to the body, they easily gave up the old way of doing it, a few had been taught how to use our machine and were now actively either redoing their old work or giving someone a new design in various colors. I had grown up with this around me, it was strange to see someone act so impressed and easily entertained with something I had known all my life, but knowing how they lived it wasn't that hard to believe. I was down at the beach this afternoon, bathing the wretched smell of the body off me in the ocean waters. Watching

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as the fish and dolphins would swim near me, brushing up against me, they could sense I was different. Walking up out of the water to where I had left my cloths after washing them I saw Taki and a few others I knew standing there, apparently going to do the same thing I had just done. Picking up and tying one cloth back around my hips, I reached for the other one and as I was tying it around my chest, I heard Taki call to me. How was the water? He asked. It's nice, refreshing, gets rid of the stench that has built up. I smiled at him, You might want to stay an extra time, last time I got near you, you smelled of rotten rit. I compared him to one of the fruits from home that when it rotted, it would smell an entire building up. Funny. He said as he walked closer. I watched him glance down and then saw the look come over his face that startled me. What? I asked, tired of his staring. Your bleeding. He looked at me as if I had done something stupid. No, I'm not. Yes, he pointed down towards the cloth wrapped around my hips, you are. Looking down I saw what looked like a fresh blood stain on the cloth. What did you cut yourself on? And do I ask where did you cut yourself? He questioned me.

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I have no idea. I paused a second to think, I don't remember cutting myself, there was nothing sharp in the water to get cut on. Where's it coming from then? He asked as one of the others came over to see what was going on. Do I look like I know? I shot an annoyed glance at him. What did she do? One of the others asked, his name was Kie, he seemed as confused as everyone else. I didn't do anything. I stated. She probably hit her head on something. Taki offered with a quiet laugh. I did not hit my head anywhere on anything. I argued. Then why don't you know what happened? Asked Kie. Because I don't, I couldn't even tell you where it's coming from. I said as I watched a blood drop trail down the inside of one of my legs. Then go look. Kie laughed at me as if it was obvious to go see where it was bleeding from. Taking his advice, since it seemed the only way to determine if it needed treated or not, no matter what had happened, I walked towards one of the rocks near by and sat down. Pulling the end of the cloth up and looking both of my legs over I saw no mark, nothing that would lead one to bleeding. Pulling the cloth up higher I noticed that between my legs on the back, where the cloth was under me it appeared the cloth was bleeding.

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Figure it out yet? Taki called over to me. The cloth looks like it's bleeding! I yelled back at him. Cloth does not bleed, he returned, turning towards Kie, come on, she has lost all sight as well as memory. They walked over to where I sat. See, the cloth appears to be bleeding? I gesture for them to see what I was seeing. I see a lot of blood for no mark on you. Kie looked at me as he said that. Taki was down on one knee looking my legs over from my feet up. No marks at all. He stated when he got to my thighs, but something is definitely bleeding... And a lot at that. Kie broke in. Well why are you looking at me? I asked as they both looked me in the eyes. I didn't do it! Put this under you, see if it stops the bleeding. Taki handed me a piece of cloth he had carried with him. I lifted myself up and slid the cloth under my rear, thinking it might stop the other cloth from bleeding. We waited a few minutes and then it started to pool with blood as well. Well, it's not the cloth, Kie thought he had to let everyone else know what was obvious. Its you Nesenty, you should go see one of the medical team. Taki added.

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It is not me! I stood up. Do we have to carry you bodily to the medical team, or will you go on your own? Taki threatened me. I can manage my way just fine to whoever knows what is going on. I glared towards him. Then go already. Kie told me, waving me away. We have a stench to wash off as you did. Hopefully we do not get bit or scraped up and our cloths do not bleed as well. Grabbing a hold of Taki's arm he said, come on, she can find her own way. They walked down to near where the water was, dropping the cloths from around their hips and carrying them into the water with them to wash. I started towards the village, looking down every now and then to see if the cloth was still bleeding. I stopped and tried holding it between my legs once to see if pressure would stop it, the blood spot just grew in size on the cloth doing that. I tried using my hands to put pressure on the cloth, but it did nothing to stop the spread of the stain. I walked a ways more, was almost to the village when I tried using some dry grass to soak up the bleeding from the cloth, it kept bleeding though. I hurried into the village, finding the medical team in the education building. I need some help. I stated as soon as I entered. They turned towards me, the one who was in charge was the first to ask, what's going on? I took to bathing down in the water, when I came out, blood was staining the cloth and some going down my leg. I looked myself over and found no cuts. Kie and Taki also looked me over finding nothing. It appears the cloth is bleeding of its own. I relayed what had taken place.

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The medical team looked at me blankly, then Shoho who was in charge came over, she walked around me looking me over. Then she bent down and looked my legs over, as I had already done as well as two others. Take the cloth off. She instructed. I removed the cloth from around my hips and handed it to her. It appears the back of it is what is bleeding, that is where it pooled when I was sitting. She looked the cloth over, every inch of it. And then it was as if something had suddenly come to her as her face took on an expression of humor. She chuckled as she turned towards me, it isn't the cloth. Its you. Your body more so. How? I asked, not completely believing what she was saying, how could I bleed with no infliction. Humans, female humans, go through fertility cycles. She began, at the end of the cycle their body sheds what is not needed if no child has presented itself. She handed me a clean cloth, longer then the other I had, wrap this around your middle and between your legs, change cloths when this one begins to stain bad. Do you care to explain further? I asked, not happy with the answer I had gotten. Human females have cycles, similar to what we used to have before we evolved to the point of not having these cycles. During part of the cycle they can be with one another in mating, male and female, and sometimes a child presents itself inside the woman. If this happens, then she does not go through an end of a cycle and shed what is not needed. If a child does not present,

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this, she pointed down on me, happens. That hole down there, it is where a child is born, it is also where humans mate, and every 28 days, one month, the body sheds if the mating did not end in a child. You mean this is going to happen again? I asked, not liking the sound of what she was saying. Yes, it will happen every 28 days. That is the length of a human females cycle. In days 7 to day 20, the chances of a child from mating are highest. Avoid mating rituals in that time. Between days 21 and 28, as well as while you are shedding, mating rituals will be safest to perform without risk of a child presenting inside. I don't plan on mating at any point. But can't I stop this? I argued. No, its how their bodies function. She tried to put it gently to me. Fine. I gave up, throwing my arms up as I walked off to wash the cloth that I had thought was bleeding, with the one she had given me now wrapped around not only my hips but between my legs as well.

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Chapter Seven

Where you been? Kelshoro asked as he jogged to catch up to me. I was currently trying to get someplace without anyone around to think over what Shoho had told me, I was not in the mood to play interrogation with anyone. No where. I snapped at him. Hold on, he grabbed my arm, whats going on? Nothing I can not handle. I finally stopped. Then why do you look as if there is fire somewhere? Because I want to be by myself. I was glaring at him, which didn't seem to phase him at all. Why? He persisted. I can make it an order. Because this body sheds every 28 days. I finally told him before he did make it an order. What do you mean, sheds? I mean the thing bleeds, apparently for 7 days. And it goes through mating cycles. I wanted to find a hole to crawl in. He stood there for a moment, staring at me, and then he

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burst out laughing. What is it you find funny? I asked, when he failed to stop laughing, I continued, the fact that I bleed without infliction or the fact that the only way to stop it is to mate with something and grow child inside? All of it. And his laughing had led to watering of the eyes. What is wrong with you? Your eyes water, you laugh, how will you like it when it turns its affliction on you? I threatened him, it wasn't true, but it may make him think before he laughed again. What do you mean? Everyone gets this? Go talk to Shoho she will explain your mating rituals and your shedding. I told him and walked off before he figured it out. I needed a quiet place to sit and think, and if that meant he thought he would be next, so be it. Walking towards the outskirts of the village where some trees lay, it looked as if that was perfect coverage for finding a quiet place. The hustle around the village was beginning to get to me, for what reason I was not sure, but the noise and the people moving around was beginning to give me a bad case of annoyance, with everything. The children screaming and laughing, the women calling to them, the men pounding stones and wood hitting the ground, even my own people talking with one another was creating a raw feeling to my nerves. I found what I was looking for not twenty steps away, an area covered in grass, small, surrounded by trees and bush. It cut out the noise and sights, and smells of the village enough to let ones mind hear itself.

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Sitting there, I thought of what Shoho had told me, it made me question just what went on through these cycles, if there were any more surprises in my path. As the sun began to descend I came to the conclusion the only way I was going to know exactly what this body went through was one of two ways. The first way, would be speaking with one of the village women, an option I would use if the need arose. The second way, a far more quicker and easier path, would be to look into the body's cell memory, feel what it had felt, know what it had known. I could have done that to begin with before going to Shoho about the bleeding, but it had not occurred to me that this was an event that happened often. The second option would be my first choice, I would use it until I could understand no more from it, then if I needed further information, I could go to a woman of the village and ask them. For now, I had to return to the village, it should be settling down now and the noise should be quieting. I would take my leave of the king and someone else could assume watch over his son until I worked through this, surely he could understand the need of quiet and the need of time to think. Even if he would not understand the why of it and what had brought it on, he would understand the need of it. Walking back to the hall where I knew everyone would be gathered, I took note of the animals who were now coming closer to the village, sitting there as if they were waiting for something, watching the village as it stilled as the sun went down. Animals were nothing to be feared unless threatened, as was any species. I continued to walk towards the hall, the sound of talking rising the closer I got. Sitting down on the steps, waiting for the village to head to their own quarters before I approached the king. Stories were again being told and shared, of the life people had experienced seemed to be the choice of subject tonight. I sensed someone standing behind me, looking over my shoulder I saw Taki.

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Where have you been? He sent the thought to me, concern lingering in the feeling of it. Thinking, I needed quiet. I sent back. Thinking about what? He said aloud as he sat down next to me. What Shoho said, nothing I care to talk of right now. The bleeding? He posed it as a question as well as a statement. Natural for this species. I sighed, looking at him as if all hope was lost. Cheer up, at least you did not hurt yourself and forget what happened, tis good news. HA, yes, it is. Once a month, the female of the species bleeds for 7 days. It sounds pleasant enough. I chuckled, shaking my head. So its just the female of the species? He asked, and mentally I got the rest, because the prince was convinced we would all get it. When did you talk to him? I asked. Ran into him as he was heading for the education center to talk to the medical team. Basically got a run down of what you had said, it came to an end when we all walked in and said he had talked to you. Shoho laughed and repaired the fear you had instilled.

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Then why do you sit asking me? I was getting that annoyed feeling again. Wanted to hear it from your words, know that you were joking and this is not a joke she is in on. Then be satisfied, you have heard it from my words. It is a female affliction. I patted his shoulder, he had a relieved look on his face. Almost as if I had just confirmed the sky was actually blue, an obvious answer to something that had been a concern of someone elses. I will ask for leave when I get alone with the king, will you watch over the prince in my stead? Of course, he paused looking me over, but why? If you know what the bleeding is from, why ask for time if it is nothing of worry? I want to regress the body, use the cell memory to find out what else goes on with this body before something comes into my path. I explained. Maybe it is something we all should do. He shrugged. It would be something to consider. So none of us is surprised again by something these bodies go through. Well here's your chance to talk to him. I will stand in your place until you are ready to come back. He motioned for me to look behind us, the king and his wife, the queen were coming this direction. Once they were close enough to make a mental connection, I explained myself, I would like to take leave of my position until I can gain access to the memories this body has. So as not to be surprised by any other events in my path again. Taki will take my

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place watching over your son. You have it, take as long as you need. The king responded mentally, smiling down at us as they walked by. Thanks be to you Taki, taking my place while I find out what other secrets this body holds. Anytime, where will you go? He asked. Out into the trees, into nature, I will find a quiet place to take this body and find out what it holds. Take a weapon, and some blankets to stay warm. He told me while standing up, taking his leave for the night. Nothing else needed to be said. The village was going to sleep, I could easily slip into the barracks and gather what I needed before leaving here for whatever time was needed. I did just that, walking to the barracks and collecting my blankets and a knife. As I left the barracks and proceeded to the edge of the village where I had come from, I watched the stars again. Wondering how long it would be before the others arrived, how the people would accept beings who did not look as they did. They were asleep now, if they woke tomorrow with beings taller than them, shorter than them, different colored, how would they react? We would have to wait until that time came, hope for the best outcome. I found myself stepping through the tree line when I looked back in front of myself, walking another hundred or so feet into the trees before going to my left, I smelled water, depending on how long I would be out here, a water spring would be a good place to find. A hundred steps in front of me, after I had taken the left direction, I came upon the water I had smelled. I could hear the water flowing from somewhere, slowly adjusting my eyes in the darkness, I saw the water fall in front of me, over the space of ten feet of pooled

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water. As I looked around me, I saw tall grass, short grass, bush, trees, and what appeared to be the shape of flowers surrounding the area. This would be as good a place as any, going down next to the waters edge I laid out the blanket on the ground, rolling the other and placing it under my head I let the body drift into a deep sleep, with the sound of water to sooth it and silence all other sounds. I slept well into sunrise, having never slept better since setting foot on this planet. I awoke to what was less then a happy situation. The cloth around my hips was almost solid red, it needed to be washed, as did I. The cloth could wait until it could be washed in the sea water, where salt would cleanse it, I on the other hand, needed a bathing immediately. Stripping all cloth from my body, I stepped into the crystal clear water of the pool, where it went from here after the waterfall emptied into it I did not know. The water against my skin felt cool, it had a peaceful feeling to it, an energy flowing in it that calmed ones soul. I waded into the water until it was over my chest, letting its energy cleanse mine. Leaning back, I allowed myself to float in the water, letting the water wash over me. The feeling of sleep setting in was on the verge of taking over, yes I had just woken, but the calming effect this pool had on me was one of absolute peace, as if nothing bad had ever touched it. Closing my eyes I let its energy mingle with my own, letting the body feel what the water felt. I could sense the vibrations of the water, the energy flowing through it. The water could raise ones vibrations, it could cleanse even the most vile of energies from someones body. It was accepting of me, of animals that came to it to drink from it, of the vegetation surrounding it. It was as if the Earth herself had placed this specific body of water there to help those who found it. I let the body drift into a state where the physical became one with the consciousness. Letting its memories of what it had

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been through wash over me. I felt the sun on the body, on a hot day, the ocean waves washing over it as it strained to swim against them. I felt the skinned knee it had gotten years ago. I felt the blood flow from it as it shed what was no longer needed. I felt the contraction of the organ that held this blood as it ejected it from its being. I felt the age of the body, it was only twenty-six seasons, years old. It was young compared to what my own body and being was. By the feelings the body had, it would only normally live a hundred years at most, I was older then that at 130. My own body, my being was a young one compared to others, our commander was a good four-hundred years old, he never would give us an exact age, but he was still considered to be in his mid-life area. These bodies, I wondered to myself, how did they live in such a short time, how did they experience life in such a short time. At the age this body was, I was still living with family, still attending school for the young. It wasn't until I was nearing 80 that I had decided to train for a military position, and that had taken a good twenty years to reach the position I was now holding. The thoughts of how these people could live in such short life spans brought me out of my peaceful state, to full awareness again. It was a concern, that our high energies and our ages may wear on these bodies and they would fail sooner was a concern that would need to be taken up with the medical and science teams. When I went back of course, because being in this place was something I was not ready to give up.

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Chapter Eight

I spent the next six days and seven nights out by the waterfall. I remembered everything the body had to share, and more. The Earth spoke to the life on it, it communicated on a level of its own. Its breath, you could feel. Its heart, you could hear in everything around you. Its life, you could see in the life that was around you. Walking back into the village, it was still just as busy as it had been when I left it. More homes had gone up. An observation center had gone up, as well as a healing center. It was becoming a city, in approximately two weeks since our arrival, a village made of sticks and grass had turned into a functioning city. I knew, without having to investigate, what the observation center held. It provided a place where you could observe the changes in space around you. We had a few back home. And the healing center, I was sure would be just as the ones at home were, not only would energy healers be present, but there would be machines to diagnose and heal on the physical level, crystals would run the machines as well as be used by the energy healers. Caught in my own thoughts it took me by surprise when I sensed a change, looking up in front of me was the first team to arrive in natural form. They were Aragons, from the planet Argos. I stopped where I was, to watch the reactions of the natives as they walked in. A team of ten, the one in the front was Margol, he was the leader of the planet, he sat on the council of the federation. The others would be military, as well as healers and historians. The natives huddled near the buildings, watching as they walked in,

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carrying themselves with such pride. I watched as a child ran up to Margol, she had no fear of him. He stopped where he was, bent down on a knee and began his tricks. Creating multicolored sparks from his fingers which turned into a flower he gave her. Smiling at her he stood up as our king went up to him. Hand to elbow in a gesture showing friendship, trust, honor it was a welcome to the first of our brothers. And it was enough to convince the villagers they were safe, one by one they started to relax, to come forward and gather around. Our king and Margol would make their way to the hall that had been built on that first day, the village followed, our own followed greeting the Aragons as old friends on the way. It was the beginning, with the new senses available to me, I could feel how the Earth was responding to this. I could feel her love, her happiness, and it was enough to bring my eyes to watering when her tears of joy fell. It was raining, not hard, but soft, and in them was the feeling of welcoming the visitors to help her children. I stood back, just watching. It was a good day today, the natives had accepted that others would be coming, others that did not look as they did. They no longer seemed afraid, since our king had welcomed them, and they had come to trust him. The children were running in and out, stopping here and there, looking the Aragons over from there feet up to as far as the little ones could see, they were curious. The older villagers just watched them, watched how they interacted with us, not afraid but cautious. You came back just in time. Taki had come up behind me. They sent word last night that they would be coming, was afraid you were going to miss it. Almost did, I didn't want to leave my sanctuary. I pushed

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him, but then who would I pick on? Best get moving, the king is going to introduce them in the hall before the sun is in the middle of the sky. He told me, pushing me back as he walked off towards the crowd, making his way through I watched him smile at the villagers as he made his way to where the Aragons were standing. He embraced one as if they were brothers, in a way they were, Sakie had studied with us when we were growing up, left and then came back to train with us, those two had spilled each others blood in training, they were close enough to being brothers. When Sakie looked up to where I was, he waved me over. I waved back, sending him the mental message, I'll be along when I get there. He took his answer and walked up the steps with the others.

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Chapter Nine

Once most of the crowd had gone into the hall, I started to make my way that direction. I would catch the introduction and then head down to the ocean to wash the cloths I had carried back with me, as well as the ones I was wearing. I leaned against one of the pillars, back behind the people standing around, and caught the end of what appeared to be the start of the introduction. ...yesterday when the moon was up that his people and he had arrived and would be coming into the village this day after the sun rose. Our king was speaking, As you can see, he does not look like us, or like yourselves, none of his people will be using human form. We used your form to make first contact as to not frighten you, but as we have shown you that you are safe with us, our friends who will be coming as the Aragons, in their natural forms. Some will look similar to yourselves, others may look like large animals that are around you, others may be small like your children, we come in all sizes and forms, but none of us will harm you. At some point in the future, we may bring in large machines that have allowed us to sail to where you live, but no one will do that until you show that you are ready and more have arrived. As you can see for yourselves, all of the Aragons carry the same mark on their arms as we have marked ourselves with. This mark is what signifies the carrier as a friend of ours and a friend of yours, it means that we come in peace to you. If you see this mark, you can know that the carrier is safe. And just to have more effect, he pointed to the mark of the federation on his own arm, and then to the one on Margol, the villagers looked and seemed to accept the explanation he was giving.

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Not seeing any reason to stay and listen any longer, I backed out of the hall and proceeded down the stairs, walking for the other end of the village and down to the ocean water. Untying the cloth around my chest and my hips I carried them into the water along with me. I tied the ends of each together to prevent them from floating off while I washed one. The salt in the water washed most of the blood and dirt away from them, what was left I washed using the sand from the floor of the ocean. Scrubbing the sand into the cloth and then the cloth together, letting the water rinse away the sand. After the cloths were clean, I set them onto the shore and went back into the water, washing my body using the sand again, scrubbing it over myself and letting the water rinse it away. Hair was another thing, it didn't take kindly to being scrubbed with sand, but the salt in the water did cleanse it when it was rubbed between your hands while under the water. Walking back out of the water I grabbed two of the cloths, wrapping one around my chest and the other around my hips, I let the sun dry both them and myself on the walk back to the village. What I found was not surprising as the villagers had done just the same as they did with our arrival, returning to their work for the day. Weaving cloth and baskets, washing others in water they had brought up from the sea, cooking food. And the children, were as always, following the prince around, only now along with the prince, was the Aragons whom the children seemed to take quite a fascination with. The prince was currently giving them a layout of the buildings and land around, showing them what was where so they would know. I didn't see Taki or Sakie with them though, although the prince was surrounded by trusted companions, it was no surprise Taki found him to be safe enough to leave alone. Still think the natives are cannibals? I turned to see Taki standing behind me with his arms crossed, obviously knowing that I had lost that notion after living with them for a time, he still had

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the nerve to ask. Of course I do, why would that change? I responded by folding my arms over my chest. Well, they haven't eaten anyone yet. He shook his head at me. Turning to Sakie, I told him Be careful when you sleep, might be best to keep an eye open at all times, those miniature ones like to jump on you. Not to mention they might eat you. Taki added in. Sakie just laughed at us both, As little as they are they could not eat much before I woke to rid them away from me. Your loss of limb and breath if you leave yourself open to them. I told him, brushing past them both for the barracks. She thought they were going to eat the prince when we first got here, would stand over him like his shadow. Even scared one of the little ones and then argued with another one. Taki was filling Sakie in as they followed me to the barracks. Made the first ones eyes water profusely until the prince gave her a gift. Made the second one become steaming mad when she yelled at him. Sounds like she's making friends already. Sakie smiled as he said it, knowing I was never the first one to adjust to new surroundings with ease. And that is not the good part... Taki began, but I cut him off because I knew where this was going. Do not say it. I told him, spinning around to stick my

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finger into his face. Do not say what? He acted innocent. Placing his hand to his heart as if he had no intention of doing what he was about to. Say that you now have a mating cycle which leaves you... Before he got the words out, I put my fist into his stomach. I told you not to say such! Sakie looked from me to him, laughed, tried to make comment on the first part about a mating cycle and proceeded to laugh until his sides obviously were paining him as he wrapped his arms around himself and bent forward. Knock it off Sakie or you will be next. I threatened him. When he failed to stop laughing I stomped onto his foot with my own and planted the palm of my hand against his forehead before walking the rest of the steps to the barracks.

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Chapter Ten

Once inside I put my things away and no sooner had I done that, I heard the laughter behind me again. I told him the rest. Taki sent mentally. Janga. I sent back, comparing him to a smelly rodent that we have on our planet. You wound me... he said aloud, putting both of his hands onto his chest before dropping down to his knees. Keep it up and you will see what wounded feels like. I threatened, standing with my hands on my hips. Oh by the sun, Sakie was no longer laughing, would the two of you just mate and be done with the bickering. When we both looked at him like we would string him up, he began to laugh again, obviously making a joke at both of our expenses. He sat down on the table in the center of the barracks and watched us, staring back at him. What do you think? I sent to Taki. We could tie him to the table and let the children have him. He offered back. How about we tie him to the table and beat the laughter out of him.

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Just the threat of such would stop the laughter. With the execution of the process of ending the laughter settled, acting off each others thoughts we wrapped our arms around the others arms. Walking towards Sakie, smiling, as if we were to do what he had suggested. We've already done that, the bickering is a side effect of doing such. I told him. Would you care to stay and oversee that it is done correctly? Taki asked him. Sakie's face turned into one of being on the verge of retching. Standing up he moved slowly to our right, Not this time, maybe you need one of your own kind to oversee it is done correctly. He tried to turn and walk off towards the opening. Taki grabbed one arm as I restrained the other, But we want you. I offered as we pulled him back down to the table. Extending a hand Taki mentally brought the ropes that had been made to his possession from across the room. Hold him down. He sent the mental instruction. I climbed up onto Sakie's stomach, using the weight I had to keep his back against the table, and his arms pinned with mental intention as Taki took one arm and then the other, tying them to the legs of the table. He then proceeded to tie Sakie's feet to the other legs. Sakie had an expression of fear mixed in with the retching look one gets before emptying the contents of their stomach, he struggled against the ropes but was going no where. There. I stated as I climbed off of his stomach. Now, we can bleed the laughter from him. I looked at Taki and smiled.

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What is your choice of today for this job? Taki put towards me, ignoring the panicked look on Sakie's face. We should start at the feet, get a bowl to collect it in. I told him. By the stars, you will not! Sakie yelled at us. And a cloth for his mouth so we do not frighten anyone. Taki added in. Come on, I was jesting, you know such, what is with the talk of bleeding one dry? Sakie argued with us. We might forgo the bleeding of you if you forgo making suggestions of the likes of what you did. I told him, looking at him. Yes, your mating cycles are none of my concern, and I do not wish to know of what the two of you have done. He looked from me to Taki, trying to keep his face serious, but it did not last long as he burst into laughter again, as if the thought of such actions was the most humorous thing he had ever encountered. As his laughter began to die down we heard the princes voice behind us at the entrance. What are you doing? Both Taki and myself turned, positioning ourselves to hide Sakie who was tied to the table. Not what it looks like. Taki offered. It is just what it looks like! Sakie yelled from behind us. Trying to keep my own face serious, He has been overcome by loss of sanity, we had to tie one down to keep him

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from hurting himself. If anyone has been overcome by loss of sanity, 'tis you! Sakie yelled to anyone who would listen. I am not one who is about to bleed another. Why is he suffering from loss of sanity? Inquired Kelshoro, the prince. He continues to laugh until pains in his side bend him over. I offered. And bleeding him would solve this? The prince looked at Taki and I as if he was not in the least convinced. It may, if he cannot function, he cannot laugh, if he cannot laugh, he cannot hurt himself. Taki answered. And if I am not tied to this table I cannot witness mating rituals, nor any other part of a cycle. My sanity will remain intact. Sakie added in before he began to laugh again. If one would shush ones mouth, one would not be tied to a table. I turned around glaring at him. Let him go, the prince ordered, it is not his fault you are in this body and now have cycles. And it is not his fault if someone scared him to the point of losing sanity with the idea of mating. The prince was smiling by now, trying his best not to laugh at the situation or what had led to the current situation. Listen to your prince, he is a smart man. Sakie tried to argue the point. Taki had remained silent during this exchange. You have

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nothing to say? I asked him. Wasn't my idea. He glanced at me before looking away. It wasn't? I asked, staring at him, And I supposed you do not deserve this either? Planting my elbow into his side. Children! The prince called at us. Let the man go, if you must, go separate directions, but stop the foolishness! And at that he turned and left the building shaking his head as he went. It's your fault you know. Sakie looked at the two of us. Shush! I warned him. Hold still, I'll untie you. Taki offered. Moving to untie the binds that held his arms to the legs of the table, and then to his feet to untie those binds. Sakie sat up, rubbing his wrists. Are we done with the premating ritual? He said through laughter as he jumped and ran from the building. Taki chased him out the entrance, leaving me to steam in my own pot of annoyance once again. So much for my peace of mind I held this morning. I thought to myself as I made my way to my bunk. Crawling into it I laid back with my hands behind my head, closing my eyes for a brief nap in the mid day before I could let my mind slip back into hurried mess of thoughts I had.

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Chapter Eleven

I had a brief nap in the barracks, waking in time to get to what would be the feast for the night. On my way over there, I made a quick stop at the relief station, coming out in time to witness two of the children of the village... well I couldn't put my finger on what they were doing, it almost looked as if they were sparing... with sticks. I stood there for a moment, just watching as they flung them around without any obvious point of direction. It didn't take a wise man, or woman in this case, to figure out that they had been watching some of the training take place today and were attempting, while failing horribly, at reproducing that training. I wonder how old they are? I thought to myself. We begin training when we're young, they looked, somewhere near an age of understanding instruction... I think, I would hope... worth a try before they injure themselves. Walking towards them, they didn't seem to notice me, which worked to my advantage. I reached over and took hold of both of the twigs they were wailing around, holding on to them, I pulled upwards on the sticks, lifting the children up to their tiptoes. Boo. I quietly said to them. Both looked up at me, speechless. Nothing crossing their faces to hint at what they may be thinking, whether it be fear or curiosity. In almost a whisper, I asked, What are you doing? The little boy, who looked a fraction older then the other

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was the one who answered me, We training. Someone should be teaching you if your training. I told them. They looked down towards the ground as if they were going to be scolded. What are you called? My name is Sigh, the one who answered me before said, then he looked to the other little boy, his name is Fish. How old are you? I proceeded with figuring out just how old they were. I am 7 seasons, he is 7 seasons in a few moons. Again the eldest of the two seemed to be the one to answer all of my questions. Do you speak? I looked at the other one, ensuring that I would be understood by both. He made a sound that almost reminded me of croaking before he answered, Yes. Do you understand what I am saying? I wanted more then a one word answer out of him. Yes. He answered with his one word again. Fine I thought, if he only wanted to give me yes answers then he could answer yes to each of my instructions. Before either of you start using these, I paused looking the branches over, twigs. You need to understand that one must anticipate the opponents next move. Pointing to the older one, stand over there, you, pointing to the other one, over here. I waited until they had moved to the positions I had told

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them, now, stand with your feet a few inches apart, like this, I showed them by assuming the position myself. Put your hands up like this, palms facing out, I raised my hands up in front of me, my palms facing outwards. You want to sense the energy coming from the other person, feel their energy moving before they move. Both of you, close your eyes now, start moving your hands, feel your own energy moving and feel the energy of the other person moving, use it to anticipate where they are going to move their hands. I waited for them to start following the directions I had just giving, as they started moving their hands around, I noticed how they were fumbling about. I had no idea what I was doing, I couldn't teach, let alone teach them who needed more instruction then I could possibly give. Sighing, I stood there just watching them fumbling around their own feet, rolling my eyes before closing them and dropping my head down. Playing with the cannibals now are you? The prince called to me from a few steps back. Closer to waiting for them to figure out what I said. I looked over my shoulder at him. Why don't you two head over to the hall, find your parents and get something to eat before the sun sets. Kelshoro scurried them along. Ok! They answered together excitedly before turning and running off towards the hall. So, tell me what you were trying to get them to do? He said as he turned back towards me. I saw them swinging the twigs here around, I thought I would help them before they hurt themselves. When I tried to tell them how to sense the other, they began fumbling over their own

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feet. I summed up the last few moments in quick succession. They are a little young for that, do you not think? Their lives are short, should they not start now while they are young? Give them a few more seasons. He told me. Come on, lets get something to eat. We walked into the hall, to find that the entire village had gathered, along with the Aragons and our people. There was sharing of stories, again, as there was every night since I had been here. Only now there were three separate cultures to share stories from three separate worlds. I sat down with one of the village women, for quite an interesting story, one I was not completely prepared for. We just welcomed a new girl into our village. She started the conversation. Really? How was that? I asked, oblivious to what she was starting to tell me. This morning, her mother bore her in the healing center. She told me. Bore her? I asked, it wasn't something I had encountered on my journey through the memories of this body. Yes, she was with child for almost a season, and this morning we welcomed her to our village. She told me, looking at me as if I had completely missed the point of the conversation. When I failed to make a comment she proceeded in giving me the

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entire story. Since last night the tightening of her stomach has been upon her. This morning, early, before the sun rose she began to leak the water which brings child forth. She came to the healing center after sending her sister for me, I am the woman they call on when bringing children into the world, I have helped to welcome all the children you see here. Her tightening became quicker and lasted longer, then when the bleeding came her body began pushing, within a few marks of the sun she had bore her baby girl. She smiled at me as she finished her story. I was feeling as if I was going to retch what I had been eating just a moment ago. The image I had gotten in my mind was something I thought no one should have to see, let alone experience. Thanks to you for sharing. Was the only thing I could come up with to say as I stood up and left the building before I emptied my stomach in front of everyone. Hurrying over to the bush near the building I let go of all the contents I had just consumed. Retching one or two more times before I was spitting acid before it all stopped. Sitting down I rested my head on my knees. Feeling alright? Came Taki's concerned voice from behind me. Always sneaking up on people are we? I looked up for a second at him as he knelt down next to me. Are you sick? Not any more. What brought it on? A woman inside felt the need to explain the process of which a child takes coming into the world. I rolled my eyes laying

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my head back onto my knees. The little girl from this morning? He asked already knowing. Yes. I walked in on that one. He began. The woman looked to be in quite a deal of pain, and very angry at the same time. She looked as if she was one of the cannibals you joke of in correlation to the children, but at the same time looked as if she was on her death bed. I grunted in response, feeling sick all over again. He patted my back, At least it does not come once a month. I would take my own life if it did such. Maybe you should call this a night, return to the barracks, get back into your position tomorrow with the sun. He tried changing the subject, which I was thankful for. I agree, I relented. You go back to your feast, take your time seeing that the prince makes it to his quarters, I will make my way to the barracks for the night. Catch up with you on the morrow. He said, standing up and returning to the hall. Taking a deep breath and ensuring I would not be emptying any more of what was not there, I slowly rose to my feet. Making my way through the nearly remodeled village to the barracks where I was living for an endless amount of time to come. I let my

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mind fill with everything that had happened and changed since coming here, the most simple lives of these villagers had been turned upside down and remodeled to fit our traditional cities, basic, but far more advanced, and they had accepted the change readily. Almost as if they welcomed the change, although after watching how they worked and lived, a hard life for anyone, I can see how they would welcome a change that would make their lives a little easier. Their huts, once of stick and grass, had become buildings of stone with corners to raise heat in the chill of the nights and months to come, as well as being modeled to allow the cool air into the buildings during the warm days and months of the season. Not to forgo the changes in myself, the idea of bleeding monthly, mating cycles, the way this body works on the inside, the way they chose to bring children into this world, it was enough to drive one to loss of sanity. Finding myself standing at the entrance to the barracks already, I let the thoughts go. Thinking on them over much would not help a situation of anyone. Entering the barracks I took note of the lighting that had been placed in each of the corners of the building, and the light on the table. Candles had been made, out of what, I was not sure as it was something different then what was available on our planet. It could be any number of natural wax's that could be available on Earth. Crawling into my bunk, I looked over the material the bed lining was covered in, and the blanket available to cover myself in. It was weaved together evenly and neatly, it must have taken some time to do by hand, teaching them to mentally create items with the resources available to them would be something that would come in handy, and most likely be widely welcomed as it could quicken tasks. But that brought me back to the problem at hand, could these people possibly over come the limits that had been placed on them? Could they learn to use the abilities that came naturally to them? That was something that could wait until the marrow to explore more. For now, I would turn my back to the light of the room and the commotion the others

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would bring with them when entering the barracks for the night, I would sleep facing the wall for the night.

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Chapter Twelve

When I woke up the next morning, I made my way over to where I knew the prince slept, standing outside of the building. I watched the natives begin to stir and come out of their buildings, some with children following behind them. They had buckets of water outside of the homes, bending over they splashed their faces, a mix of waking themselves up and washing away anything that was on their face. The children had no problem attempting to copy the older people, splashing in the water before running off in another direction. A couple of them ran towards where I was, stopped long enough to look me over and then ran inside. It wasn't more then a few seconds before I heard the grunt, as if air had been knocked out of someone, and I recognized the sound of his voice, walking inside, not expecting him to still be in bed, let alone have the children sitting on him, all laughing. Looking over to where I stood, he tried to move the children off of him as he greeted me, Back to work finally? I shrugged, feeling no need to give him an answer, it was obvious. I watched as he tried, without success, to untangle the arms and legs flung all over him, resisting the urge to haul them off of him I stood there, intent on keeping my feet firmly planted to the floor. He finally managed to come to his feet, with one child dangling from his arm and the other hanging on his back he managed to walk to the opening. Turning towards me, you coming?

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Pushing away from the wall I had unconsciously leaned against I followed behind, thanking the stars it wasn't me they were clinging to. I had yet to say a word to him, there was no reason to, he didn't look as if he wanted help and there was no need to step in, it wasn't as if they were carrying sticks around and intent on damaging him. Although that might not have been a bad thing, he may have learned his lesson if they had. We were not five steps from his building when the other children, capable of walking, came running up. Hanging on him, sitting on his feet, dangling from the other arm. None of it seemed to bother him, he only stopped, long enough to laugh out an alright. Before he began wobbling around, unbalanced with the extra appendages he had acquired. Another five steps and they seemed to work as a hive when they let go, running off after another victim. One of the Aragons, who saw the troop heading his way, who managed to turn and run a ways before they tackled him to the ground. Do you ever laugh? Even smile? Kelshoro looked at me. Yes. Was my only answer. Cocking my head to the side and looking at him. When? When something humorous happens. And when does that happen, in your terms? When I'm not working. When aren't you working? While I sleep. I was purposely being obnoxious, hoping

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he would give up this line of questioning quick. So when you sleep you find things funny even though you cannot see them? He persisted. I sleep with one eye open. Your impossible. He said shaking his head, walking towards the relief station. Can I go in by myself, or are you going to follow me? I'll be outside. Shaking his head again he went in, moving the cloth briefly to enter and letting it fall back into place. Coming back out he found me still standing where I had been when he entered, ignoring me he continued to find his way to the hall where he grabbed a red, round shaped fruit, tossing it my direction before grabbing another and biting into it. Do you eat? When I'm not working. I answered. So when you sleep with one eye open, you sleep with your mouth open as well? Apparently. I told him, taking a bite of the apple. Are you sleeping now, with both eyes open? Yes. So you only laugh when you sleep, you sleep with one eye open and mouth as well, and you eat while you sleep because you are not working, and yet, you are working, while sleeping and eating with both eyes open at this moment? He questioned me.

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Yes. Enough! He said forcefully. I smiled, knowing it would irritate him further. You smiled! He pointed his finger at me. No I didn't. I told him, continuing to smile. He made no further comment, just began walking towards the education center, I followed behind. Taking note of the city growing around me, people were working, talking, sharing stories with one another, joking with one another. When we got to the education center I noticed a few of the village men, a couple of the women as well, standing there with one of the librarians and one of the builders. The builder started talking once they quieted down, We're going to implement growing plants into this environment, instead of continually scavenging for the food we use each night, we'll grow it in one central place. He stepped outside the education center, using the dirt at his feet he drew in the ground, explaining as he went, we'll create two kinds of rows, one row here, he drew a line, where the side begins, will be irrigation, water flow. Then the next row, here he drew another line, will be a row of vegetables or fruits. The next will be a water flow again, and then a row of vegetation, it will continue back and forth. At the top here, he pointed it out, and the bottom here, pointing again, will also be water, it's what will feed the rows of water. Since it does not get to a severe cold point here, we will be able to grow all through the year, the water will warm with the sun during the day and provide enough warmth through the nights when the air cools down. The librarian explained.

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And we will all work the field, the children can help plant and pick the vegetables and fruits. The men and woman, of all kinds, will do most of the work though, overseeing the children planting and picking, as well as the carrying and tending of it. The prince added in. Where are we going to do this? One of the men from the village asked. We have trees all around us, bush growing all around us, there is not a clear enough space for a large area such as you have explained. Actually, there is. We take some of the bush down, use it towards making other things. The prince explained, the trees, we plant around, they can provide shade so the plants do not get burnt by the sun. We've already began work on clearing an area, some of the Aragons, as well as a few of us have started it from the rear in, by days end they should have cleared the area up to near the city's end. The builder offered. Tomorrow, we will put in the water ways, creating a larger water way from one of the fresh water streams that run through this island, that flow will be redirected towards the vegetation as well as be allowed to flow on to where it normally would. The prince explained that the natural flow of the water would continue as well as provide the water for the growing of the plants. What do you want us to do? One of the women asked. Nothing for now, unless you would like to try and learn to center your energy and use it to help put in the water ways or clear the bush in the area. The prince looked at her. I would like to learn to do what you do, but I do not

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understand it. She said, as if speaking for the rest present as well as herself. That's what the historians are here for, they will teach you about your past, hopefully awake something in you, and anyone of us can help to teach you how to control your energy when your ready. The prince smiled at her, if you want to begin now there are a few of the historians inside here, they can start by explaining your history to you, after they do so, either they or any one of us can help to teach you to focus your energies and control them. The 4 villagers that were present proceeded on inside, intent on learning what they could so they would be able to share it with the others of the village. The prince followed behind them, as well as the librarian to oversee the telling of the history of the peoples of Earth. The builder grabbed a sack he had and headed towards where they were clearing the land. I of course, followed behind the prince.

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Chapter Thirteen

The historian had been listening in on the conversation, so he wasted no time asking why we had come in, he began reciting more from memory, but also acknowledging that it was written on the walls as well, the history of this planet. Many, many years ago. More years then can be counted and marked for, there was a gathering of several kinds of peoples. They gathered to discuss the creation of a living library, where species, or races, of peoples would live on long after they died out in their own homes. Along with the creation of this living library, there would be created a communication device, one that would be living as well who could, in essence, commune from one species to another if the need arose. This species, would be ones who would be a part of each race here, it would have something similar to tie it to the others present. This species, is yourself, humans, you walk up right, you have hair, but not fur, you speak many different tongues in different places. Back when you were created, your blood was made so that it could function on a level beyond what you do now, you were made to function as we do, your life spans closely related our own. This creation in your blood, is still present but it is now, as your memories of all that was, blocked from being used. When we moved into these bodies, this blood was activated, allowing us to be able to use it at the level intended. You, yourselves, can activate it once again, and function at the level you were made to act on. How was it removed from us, or blocked from being used as you said? One of the men broke in.

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A long time ago, our ancestors were here, living with you. Along with another race who stood outside of our friendships with others. For a while, there was peace, as I had said. This other race became hungry for power, control over others. As this was not our planet, even though we had created it, it was not our land to decide the fate of, we left. Promising no matter the outcome, that we would return again. We watched, and did nothing to stop what happened. The other race, began to war with this planet and all of the species, races present on it. In the end after many days, enough lives were lost that they cannot be counted, we stood by and watched as the remaining species on Earth alive were changed. This other race, took the living communication device that had been created and changed their blood, removing the ability to communicate with other species, removing any memories that may be carried on through parentage. They recreated a species that could suit them. You were recreated to be less then what you are. But, they forgot to completely remove the blood that allowed you to do this, leaving it sleeping inside of you, which allows for reactivation of it giving the right situation, and someone to show you how to do this. The historian continued. How can blood hold so much and it not be able to be used? Asked one of the women. Blood, is smaller then what you see. You see the red color it is when it flows from your bodies. But, that red water, is made up of many small stones that you cannot see because of how small they are. These stones carry the abilities, those that are awake and those that are asleep inside. You know how a wild animal sleeps for long periods of time, this is what some of those abilities are doing, they are sleeping for a long period of time, once awake, they can be passed on through teachings and we hope parentage, meaning that we hope your children and the children of your children will have no need to relearn them, but instead be born with them. The historian explained. How can it be that this

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happened? It would take me many years to explain it and show you the process in which it goes to get any direction, or path, it is enough to say that it can be fixed. That is why we have come back here now, to help start the process, so that someday you can be all that you were meant to be. That was the extent of the explanation giving to them, they seemed satisfied with it, and more then willing to relearn what they had lost. I left with the prince as the librarian and the historian began to try and teach them how to access that blood which was sleeping, there was nothing I could do to teach them as I did not completely understand it myself, science was not something I studied, I had no desire to learn how each individual cell of a body functioned, I was only concerned with the fact that it did function when needed. The prince made his way around to where the training facility was, you going to learn something? I asked him. Just going to watch and make sure the children are staying out of the way. He told me. Might not hurt to refresh your memory as to how to use a weapon. I told him. Why? I have you, what need do I have a weapon? He looked at me, following behind him only a step or two. For the day I am busy and the children decide to eat you. He made no comment, just stopping as he stepped through the opening to the training center, watching what was going on in front of him. It was Taki, Kie, and Sakie all debating on some thing, I couldn't make out what they were saying completely, but they were up to something. It took them a few moments to notice

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us standing there, watching them. Here we are, Taki motioned towards me, a chance to prove just what you were saying. Aye, if you insist on speaking of a challenge, make it to the one you talk of. Kie added in. Not liking the sound of this I began to turn and walk off. I didn't get far before the prince turned where are you going? Away. I told him, stopping to answer him. I caught enough of what they were talking of to know you may be interested. He told me, waving for me to come back. Why? I asked as I walked back the few steps to where the prince was. He walked inside, I followed behind him. Now, explain what it is that needs challenged, I caught enough to understand it involves Nesenty and Sakie, what else is there to it? Sakie has been away a long time, Taki offered the explanation, he needs a refreshing. I do not. Sakie butted in. Yes, you do, or you would not have said such a few moments ago. Kie said. Slow down, who said what? The prince, acting as a bridge between all present. Practicing his ability to cool a group down.

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Sakie mentioned that if he had not been tied to the table he could have taken Nesenty without difficulty. I reminded him of the last visit to our home he made when he landed flat on his back on the stone of our floors. Taki explained. And I reminded him that it has been a many years of training and honing of skills she has endured since then, that if he landed flat before he would do so again. Kie interjected. May I remind you, that we have all trained and honed skills since then. Sakie offered. I rolled my eyes, knowing what the prince was thinking as he smiled at the idea he had. Be there then, a challenge, which will settle a debate. The prince offered before I had chance to disagree or agree to such. It will also provide learning opportunity to the villagers, it will show them how they can function on a level beyond what they know, and also that they can learn what you all have trained for. By this point, I was rubbing my own forehead and ready to gouge a sharp branch into my own eyes. It was not my intent to teach the humans of this world, and even though Sakie needed reminding, it was not on my to do list at present. Do you accept? Kelshoro looked at Sakie. Of course. He answered without falter. And you? The prince looked at me. I was still weighing my chances of getting out of this and just hitting someone over the head.

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Nesenty, do you accept? The prince pushed. If he needs a beaten, yes I will give it to him. I said finally. It is settled then. Rest for a while, gain your wits, I will send word to the workers clearing the areas about, and gather the ones near. When everyone is near, you may begin. The prince stated it as he walked off to leave and do as such.

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Chapter Fourteen

I glared at his back as he left the building. Giving up I turned back to the others, What started this? Well, I was telling Kie about what we did to Sakie and one thing led to another. Explained Taki. Did it ever occur to any of you to ask me about this first? I asked, to anyone willing to answer. None had a thing to say so I went on. The last time we tried this, you complained for 2 suns that your back hurt, do you really want to go through this again? I've brushed up on what I know and learned a few things I didn't know then. Sakie offered in his own defense. Yes, but she still ranks as one of the top five from where we come from. Taki told him. And as much of a youngster she may be, she still outranks some of our elders. Offered Kie, chuckling at his own memories. And I am one of the top from my home, it should be a fair match. Sakie informed us of his new position. Fine. I said, walking towards the far wall to relax my mind and let it slip what it did not need out of it. I could hear them talking amongst themselves, not listening to hear them, they were just a noise in the room.

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A little while later the prince returned, everyone is here. He told us. I'm ready. Said Sakie. I simply held my hand up, backing out of where I had gone in my own mind. The prince motioned for everyone still standing outside to go to the side where it was just pillars and informed them to stand back a ways, hold the children and waited with Taki and Kie. When I stood up the prince started speaking again, To settle a dispute between some, they have agreed to a challenge with one another. It will end when one is in a position that no longer allows for action to be taken. The event, you may take as entertainment provided, or as a learning opportunity. He stood next to his father, where his sister and mother were I wasn't sure, but it didn't matter. Walking to the middle of the room I waited for Sakie to come to me. Inclining my head I smiled at him. He only followed the gesture with an inclination of his head, he returned no smile, which only made my own grow. I backed up slightly, raising my hands in front of me with my palms facing towards him, he did the same. You ready? I asked. Not waiting for him to respond I pushed my hands forward. Sending energy past where they stopped in front of me. The energy hit him square in the chest pushing him backwards, gaining his balance before he fell over. When he looked back up I was in front of him, my fist going into his side, turning slightly I brought my elbow into his stomach. He brought his knee into my side while

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wrapping an arm around me, intent on throwing me over backwards. Which he did do. Bending my arms so my palms touched the floor above my head I used the motion of my body to throw me back upright, just as he was bringing his fist into contact with my face. I brought my arm up, putting as much force behind my elbow as I could as I brought it into contact with his temple. He moved backwards enough to allow himself room to bring his hands up, pushing energy towards me which threw me into the wall a few feet behind me. He was closer to the wall which held the training weapons, grabbing a long wooden stick he jumped towards me. Moving my hands outwards from my sides I mentally brought two short wooden sticks into my hands just in enough time to cross them over my head as he brought his down, making contact they made a cracking sound. Bringing the one that was underneath the x formed by them, I brought it around slamming it into his side I could hear his bones crack under the force it struck him with. He moved to his side slightly, allowing me to bring the other around to his other side, striking him in his leg. He brought the other leg up in a wide arc, bending backwards it allowed for his leg to clear over my head. I turned my body, moving my arms around my chest which brought it in a motion to completely turn as he brought his wood down to where my body had been. Landing on my feet as he swung it sidewards, making contact with my side hard enough to knock the air out of me as I felt the ribs in my side crack with the pressure forced into them by the stick. I moved quick enough to avoid the next blow he brought, I brought the two I carried up and around my body bringing them down making contact first with the left into his shoulder and then with the right into his hips. Jumping backwards before he could bring himself into bodily contact with me. I went towards him swinging the two at him, he raised his using both hands to block contact from me in front of him. As the two I carried made contact with the one he held, his snapped in two. He dropped the pieces putting the full force of his strength into the palm of his hand as he moved it to land a blow at the base of my chest, sending me off balance as I went backwards, he

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brought his leg up following with his foot into the same position which landed me face first onto the stone floor. I threw the two I was holding aside as I stood up, arcing my leg towards him as he crouched down to avoid being kicked in the head. We went back and forth like this for a while, a few making contact with the other. Backing up I quickly brought a hand upwards, concentrating the energy on him as he rose from his feet, slamming my hand back down towards the ground he fell with it, the force of his body left a crack in the stone he hit. Bending his arms over his head to touch the stone he flipped backwards, his legs going over his head until he was in a standing position, throwing energy towards me where I stood when he was standing again. I moved, but not before one of the energy spirals hit my arm. Mentally moving one of the knives from the wall into my hand I threw it towards him, he bent over backwards just before it came in contact with his face, passing him and landing itself into the wall. I moved another from its place into my own hand. He followed suit by bringing another into his hand. In quick succession we had the same idea, bringing ourselves into reach of the other we held the knives to the others throats, it was a stand still to see who would continue the motion to draw more blood from the other then had already been spilled or who would back down. Truce? He offered first. So you say. I told him, acting as if I was agreeing to it without committing myself. When he dropped his, I dropped mine and brought my elbow up into the side of his head, knocking him over. Standing over him I looked down, but not before he swung his leg around knocking my own out from under me so that we were both laying on the floor. We laid there, blood coming from our various open wounds, pain throbbing in the ones that were not bleeding.

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The prince walked over, looking down at us both, have you come to an agreement? he asked. We both just looked at him. He gave up on getting an answer and walked off. They have decided to end it here. I hope you enjoyed the entertainment for the day. He said as he laughed to the crowd that had gathered. Taki and Kie walked over, smiling down at us. Again we just stared back. Who wants to make a trip to the healing center? Kie asked as he burst out laughing. I'll go. Sakie said as he lifted his hand to Kie in a gesture made to someone when wanting help to stand up. As Kie helped him up, he asked, You got her? Yeah, I got her. Taki responded as Kie went to help his limping friend to out of the training center and to the healing center where he could receive treatment. Good exercise, Sakie called back to me. You too. I called after him while I remained laying there, catching my breath. You wanna get up or just lay there and bleed all over the floor? Taki asked me, not the least bit amused. You can heal me just as easily as any of the medical team, I'm going to the ocean, you can come with. I told him, fully intent on letting the salt water clean the wounds out before they were healed shut. He helped me to my feet and down to the shore.

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Chapter Fifteen

Once down at the shore, I untied the wraps around my chest and waist, handing them to Taki and letting him hang onto them for me, wadding into the water. As the salt water started to hit the open wounds in various places on my body, it stung as if someone was digging around in the wounds. My face must have scrunched up with the strain to keep from complaining of the pain as they were washed out, because Taki came in the water to where I was. You ok? He asked stopping beside me. I'm fine, just didn't think it would hurt like it does to clean them out. I told him. Well you can be sure Sakie feels just like you do, they are keeping a bucket of the ocean water in the healing center for cleaning wounds before closing them up. He smiled. You got a couple cuts on your face. He said as he reached down bringing water up to them to clean them out. This will be faster. I said taking a breath and holding it as I dove under the waves. When I came back up he was making his way back to the shore line, giving up on helping me clean the wounds since I found it faster just to submerge my entire body into the water. After I was convinced the wounds were clean enough I stood up, walking towards the shore and to where Taki was sitting on a rock watching me. What are you looking at? I asked him

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when I was close enough to say it without yelling. Your wounds are still bleeding. He told me. You'll fix that, you can heal them shut which will take care of the bleeding. I informed him of what he was going to do, along with taking care of the broken ribs I have and any other internal damage I can't see, even though I can feel the bruises starting everywhere. With the way you two went about it, I'm surprised either of you could walk after it was done. Was not my idea, want to blame someone you can blame the prince, it was his idea to entertain the village as well as settle who was better, neither of which I think happened well. I paused, sitting down next to him with my wraps in my lap. I think we frightened the villagers more then entertained them, and it was called at a tie so now one proved anything. You entertained the children, they were laughing and yelling the entire time, bouncing in their parents arms. He joked, even though he was probably right, they were probably entertained by people hitting each other. The parents may never trust us around them again, we may influence them to act as we do. I laughed, perfectly content with that outcome. He was healing the bruises on my legs at the moment, pulling one into his lap and running his hands above them a few inches, the pain disappearing as his hand moved over the area. Completing the first leg from the foot up to where my thigh met my hip, he moved the leg off his lap and picked up the other and set it in his lap to begin working on it next. From the ankle again

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up to where my leg connected with my hip. My legs felt whole again, not as if some part of them was missing. He moved so that he was sitting sideways, one of his legs in front of me and the other behind me. Keeping the distance between his hands and my body, he moved them so that one was behind me near my backside and the other was in front of me above my hips. Moving them upwards slowly, I could feel his energy as it heated up and dissolved the pain I was feeling, closing the open wounds as his hands passed over them. He would move his hands down and in circles, making sure to cover every inch that may have some injury to it, including my arms in his sweeps over my body. From where he had left off with my legs up to my neck and jaw. At this point he stopped, turn sideways like I am so your facing me that way I can get to the open wounds on your face as well as any damage to the brain. I did so and he continued to work his way up from my neck and jaw to the top of my head and back down. The pain had almost entirely subsided from my body when he stopped. Opening his eyes he saw one that he had missed, a cut that was on the side of my face near my temple. Placing his hand over it he let it touch the wound, sealing it shut under his hand. He left his hand there, looking at me, I stared back trying to get into his mind to see what he was thinking, it was useless. We had been taught to block our minds when we wanted to and he obviously did right now. His hand slid down the side of my face and he smiled at me. All healed. He told me. Moving back and turning away from me to let me replace the wraps on my body with a little privacy.

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Nothing you haven't seen before. I laughed at his actions of courtesy. Yes, but there was always other people around when you decided to get naked. He told me, glancing over his shoulder. All covered. I told him. He turned back around slowly to make sure I was entirely and not just trying to annoy him. I could see that far off look in his eyes, and I knew just what he was thinking about, because honestly, I was replaying the time in my mind. The way it felt, the sound of the water, the rough stone that was around us, the feel of the sand between our toes. It was a very long time ago, we were both young, we had just begun our training. He had touched me much in a similar way as he just had, sliding his hand down the side of my face and watching me. Now was not the time to think of this, no one needed to think of this. You know, there is no sense thinking about that. It was a long time ago. I sent him through a mental connection. Doesn't mean I can't think about it once in a while and remember there was a time when you were nicer. He sent back. Me being nice and me using you for my own reasons are two completely separate things. No they aren't because normally one leads to the other, they are connected. Even so, new body, not happening. I told him, glaring at him to make the point go further.

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I can understand that. He gave in, letting the subject drop from both mental and verbal communication. But by the stars, if he hadn't planted the seed of curiosity in me that would now fester until near explosion. I rolled my eyes and slugged him as he walked past me for the planting of that seed. He laughed at me and walked back to the village, leaving me to follow behind him. Arriving back at the village I noticed Sakie coming out of the healing center. All fixed up? I called to him. Yes, he called back, do you realize how many bones you broke on my being? Probably about as many as you broke on me. I smiled at him. Your smiling! The prince exclaimed at me. Yes I am. I answered. Pain makes you smile, he turned to Kie who was standing next to him, remind me to carry a large branch around with me to hit her with every now and then. Kie only nodded, refusing to get in the middle of this. She submerged herself in the salt water just to prove how much she likes pain as well. Taki added. Sakie winched at the thought of that. She likes pain more than I do. Want to go again? I asked him.

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Maybe another day, I think my ego took a little bruising that no healer can fix. He laughed. Maybe you will remember this the next time around, instead of forgetting like you did the last time. I will try. He promised. And then I noticed Kie wondering off towards one of the women of the village. I watched him while the others talked amongst themselves. He walked over to her and started whispering in her ear, and then she started smiling and burst into laughter. The man was a strange one, and this only added to things that he did that made him strange. Thinking no more on it I turned back to the group talking behind me. What are the plans for the rest of the day? I asked the prince. I'll be staying in the village, helping to teach some of the children in the education center. He told me. Mind if I not watch over you? I asked. Fine by me, you'll just scare them anyway. I'll find someone else to scare for the remainder of the day. I'll see you at the hall this night. I waved as I walked off for one of the buildings, the one where I knew the woman I had gotten the cloth from was. I intended on gaining information from her that I was unable to gain from the body in exchange for trying to teach her to mentally make cloth with available materials around herself. I had a list of questions, I figured I would offer to start teaching her, and

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while she was working on trying her hand at the first task begin asking the questions. Taking care of two things at the same time, if it was possible for them to do two things at once, maybe she would raise my hopes for this people. I found her working on a new piece of cloth when I walked in. Taking note of how she was currently doing it. On both ends there was a decent sized branch, which hundreds, possibly thousands of strings were tied to at both ends. In her hand was a small sized twig, with another string tied to the end of it, which she was weaving in and out of the strings that were tied to the branches. Looking at it, I wasn't quite sure where the strings came from, what they were made of, or how someone did not go blind doing such work. It looked harder then what I had thought it was. Good day. I said to her, hoping not to mess up her mindset for the work she was doing. Good day, she looked up, an expression of slight concern on her face, how are you feeling since... She stopped, trying to find the right word to finish her question. She didn't have to find a word to finish the question though, I knew what she was referring to. I'm good, so is Sakie. We had the ailments we received from practice healed. I am happy to hear you are both ok. That was quite a show. She commented, still paused in her work. We find that training in an environment where we could actually, and most of the time are harmed, prepares us better for the time we may actually have to do those things and be harmed, so that we are prepared to continue through pain. Ah... did you need more cloths, wraps, blankets or

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something? She asked. No, actually I came to try and help you with your work, I told her of what I would do for her first, and I had some questions I was hoping you could answer. She seemed to think about this for a moment or two, then looked to me, I will answer your questions if you answer mine. And I will accept any help that is offered for making these. She smiled. Works for me. Let us start with trying to make this project go faster for you. I said as I sat down next to her. You have the materials here that you are using to make the cloth with, what I wanted to try and teach you was to do it mentally, which would hopefully make it go faster and it would be less work for you. If you close your eyes, I watched and waited for her to do so, and visualized the strings weaving in and out as if you were doing it by hand. You want your energy to turn that visualization into action, what you visualize in your mind will happen in the physical. I had no sooner explained it to her and out of the corner of my eye I saw the small twig begin to shift on the ground. It moved, just slightly, but it moved. Your doing it, I encouraged, now visualize it being complete. Everything is energy, energy can be manipulated. And within a few seconds, she had a complete blanket. You did it! I almost jumped, hardly expecting that she would be able to do it, and being more then excited that she did! By the sun! She exclaimed, literally jumping up from sitting, her hands on her mouth. I did it! She looked from me to the blanket and back again. Yes you did! You did it! She grabbed my hands, pulling me up to my feet before

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throwing her arms around me, nearly knocking me over with her excitement that had her jumping up and down while she hung onto me. Just at that moment, I realized I had never even asked her name. This may not be the best moment, but what is your name? I asked, partly because I wanted to know, partly to get her to calm down a little. Oh, my name? It's Aree. She resumed her hoping just as soon as she gave me her name. Well Aree, you have just completed something I didn't know if you would be able to or not, and you did it faster then I thought you would, if you could. I told her. Can we do another? She asked. As many as you want. I told her. She began untying the blanket from the branches and moving to tie more string to the branches, I put my hands on top of her hands, You don't have to go through that work, just visualize it being done, get it started and then visualize it being finished. Ok! She answered excitedly. And she sat back down, closed her eyes, and within seconds the string was stringing itself to the branches, the small twig was weaving in and out and with a shimmering to it, the blanket was finished. Well done! I told her. I got it! I really got it!

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Yes, you do. I was smiling at her, excited at the first promise I had seen from the human kind since I had arrived. I am going to do a lot more tonight, but we can do the questions now if that's ok with you? She said it as a statement, but also as a question. Yes, that works fine by me, you go ahead and start with the first one. I told her, knowing she probably had a thousand questions or more. Ok... She paused, chewing on her bottom lip, Do you... do you always look this way? I mean, where you come from? Not the question I was expecting, but alright, No, we only took this form to meet you for the first time, we didn't want to scare you. You know how Aragons look? They look different, right? She nodded. Where we come from, our bodies look slightly different then yours do too. Your turn. She smiled. How come you live by yourself? Not with your parents or a mate? I figured I might as well ask something personal about her, get to know her a little. My mother died when I was born. My father, well, he disappeared a few seasons ago and no one knows what happened to him. I have not chosen a mate yet, or more, he has not found me and I have not found him. She paused, then asked her question, will you always look like this, as you do now until you pass on into the next life, or will you resume your body? As long as I am in this body, it will heal, and after I leave this body the proper owner of it will resume it and if they wish to

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continually have ailments healed, it will last as long as they want. It will age, but at a slower rate then yours does. At some point, when I go home, I will give this body up and be sent home and placed back into my own. She watched me, memorizing what I said it seemed, How old are you? I am 17 and almost a half seasons. How old are you? This body, or how old am I myself? I asked for clarification. I know how old she was, she was 26 seasons. How old are you? I am older then the oldest woman in the village, probably twice her age. I told her, hoping it would settle her mind some.

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Chapter Sixteen

And your next question? She asked me, reminding me it was my turn. Do you know how your people got here, to this island? I was curious as to how they had wound up on a chunk of land out in the middle of nowhere. And how that chunk of land, by the scans I had seen of the island, seemed to float almost, but still be stationary. I am not sure. There are stories, none of which I know by heart, but the truth in how we came to be here on this land, I am not sure. Do you have a mate? I almost laughed at the question, but then remembered these people tend to mate and make family groups. Not in the terms that your people have mates, no. Then in what terms? Surely for your age, you must have a companion or some sort. She prodded, not satisfied with my answer. Where we come from, we live for so long, we do not mate for life. We are raised in something close to your family groups, we have parentage, two who have donated blood to make us, but are raised by the entire population for most, live with the ones who donated parentage. It is acceptable to have more then one mate in ones entire life, several in fact. I tried to explain it in terms she might understand. Before she could question any more into it, I

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asked, what do you make candles out of? Candles are made from wax from plants, from several different kinds of plants. We use a vine to burn. We always keep one fire going somewhere, so as to light other fires or candles from. What else can you do? With making things or doing things with your mind? We can do a lot, so can you. Move objects, manipulate the energy of something to have it finish quicker, as you've done. We can also create fire, from concentration. A great number of things, all of which you can learn to do yourself with time. Why do your people sometimes kill the animals around you and consume them? I asked her, since being here, we had only eaten fruits and vegetables, but I had seen some of the villagers carrying bodies back and cooking them. Why wouldn't we, they are food. She genuinely thought that. Because they are your brothers, your sisters. All children of your mother, the planet. Earth. You should live with them, and not off of their bodies. I explained to her. You mean, they are related to us? She asked, looking almost horrified. Yes, they were created when your kind was created. Your kind was created to communicate with them on this planet, to live with them. They can talk? She questioned further. Yes, all living things can speak. The Earth speaks to you daily, the plant life is the Earth's way of providing for you. If you

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listen carefully, you can hear the animals speaking to you. Just as they do where we are from, and everywhere else. The animals here are samples of what is on other planets, some of which you may live to see visit here, larger versions of the small animals throughout the bush and trees here. Oh my... She gasped, I'm so sorry! That makes me feel bad, I... she paused. It's ok, you didn't know. But you will have noticed none of my kind or the Aragons have eaten meat. It was not meant to be consumed, taking the life of another being is only to be done in protection, not to eat off of. If you find something dead already, it is ok to use what it has to offer, but you should leave it for others, some of the animals will eat dead meat because they need it to survive with. Humans do not. I patted her on her back as she seemed to need consoling. Really, its ok. You will just have to be more conscious about what you consume and if you can talk to the others of your kind. Maybe even try sitting in the bush and listening to what the animals, and the Earth mother have to say. I can teach you to listen if you want? I would like that. Can we do that on the marrow? She asked, looking at me a little excited again. Yes, we can. I'll make arrangements to take you out and show you what your world has to offer. I smiled at her, letting her know it was ok. Thanks to you! She leaned over and hugged me, it is almost time for the sun to go beyond the ocean. We should go to the hall. Yes, it is getting close to that time, I agree. I stood up, reaching down to help her up.

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We made our way over to the hall where everyone was already gathered, just sitting down with food. Can you show me what to eat to make sure my body gets everything it needs without meat? She asked as we walked up the steps. Yes. I told her, stopping just before we entered. You should eat a variety of vegetation. Color foods, each has there own nutrients which will keep the body functioning at the level it needs to. Just as an idea to keep in mind, eat something of eat color, and something different in each color if there are different things available, at different times of the day. Is there specific vegetation I will eat at times? No, just always remember to bless the food, asking it to meet with your own needs before consuming it. Thanks be to you. She told me, I will speak with you again on the marrow? Yes, we will speak again on the marrow. With that, I left her to her own thoughts and proceeded over to where I saw the prince. How did you this after noon? He asked when he saw me. The humans have more potential then I had expected. I told him, sitting down next to him. How so? The girl I was with, I looked in her direction, she has began to mentally prepare cloths without physical labor. I looked

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back at him. Really? Passing your approval? Yes, passing my approval. She caught on rather quickly actually. I informed him. And it was you to instruct her? He sounded doubtful. No, 'twas the faeries. I gave him an indignant look. Seeing things now are we? He smiled, things that are small and buzz around ones head, whispering in ones ear? Of course, I see many a things, as you know. I gave him a knowing look. Things you will keep silent of. He glared at me, knowing just what I was referring to. You have my word. I told him. Good to hear, I may have need of your tongue if I did not. He joked with me. Only if you believed you could take it. And just to annoy him, I stuck out my tongue for a brief moment before smiling. Tell me more about this girl. He prompted me to tell him about the girl I had spent my after noon with. She's 17 and her name is Aree. Both parents have made the trip to the next life, she lives by herself, not chosen a mate because they have not found one another. I summed her up into a few sentences.

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And her ability to catch on so quickly, what do you lay it to? She's young, has had things vanish from her life, spends enough time by herself to sense that which is around her even if she does not see it, she understands it is there. I told him the conclusion I had come to. Quite possible... He stopped eating and looked at me, does she have any potential at being a healer, or a seer? I have not encouraged her to do such, or tried to test her any. She may. It would be a good move to place one of their own in a position with us, doing as we do, it may help them to accept the changes that will come as more arrive. He concluded, leaving it up to me to test her abilities further. Stay in the village tomorrow, or take Taki with you if you go. I want to take her out into the bush and trees when the sun arises over the sea in the morn. I told him, letting him know I wouldn't be standing over, in the chance he fall into a pit and be eaten by the children. He caught onto my thought, I will not fall into a pit, nor be eaten by the small cannibals. But I will take Taki with me if I leave just to ease your worries. He sent mentally to me. Watch him to be sure he does not fall into a pit as well. I sent back. I will. He gave me a knowing look but blocked his mind from me.

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I think I am going to take this, I held up my bowl, and go to the barracks before I have need to remove your tongue. Picking up my bowl which held some of the local fruit I walked out of the hall and into the barracks, picking at it the entire way. Once inside the barracks I began to look the bowl over, as it was not one of our making. It looked as if someone had taken the time to carve it out of the wood of a tree. I could pick out the scrape marks inside of it, probably made by a stone, the outside had been smoothed, probably by the sand either from the beach shore or maybe even from the sea floor. The way these people did things seemed so slow, it seemed they would take so long and didn't seem as a very efficient way to do anything. I had heard the historians talk at home, read the stories, of when my people were still young, when our world was still new, that they had done things in a similar way. That we had been different then, but I never believed it could have ever been a different way. We were an old people, and so advanced compared with the peoples of Earth, at least the ones I had met, it still didn't seem possible that we had once been as they were. Hearing a noise outside of the barracks, unable to place the sound, I grabbed my sword and left the building, following along the wall. Stopping to let my eyes adjust to the setting light of the sun, I scanned the immediate area, without sign of an intruder. I made my way back towards the hall, keeping still to the shadows cast by the buildings, hanging tight to the sword. I scanned as far as I could see as I went. Hearing the thudding noise again, wait, it wasn't thudding as if something was striking the ground, it sounded more like... marching, the sound an army would make when proceeding in order of rank to a battle. Rounding the last building that lay across from the hall, I looked towards the direction of the sound. And there was a group, single file, heading towards the hall

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on the side where a wall was between them and the occupants who were still making too much noise for someone to pick up on what was coming towards them. Sending a mental note to Taki who was always open to me for the most part, Take arms. That was all I would need to tell him, he would know what it meant. Intent on ceasing the band marching towards the hall, I brought my sword up to my side, held by both hands ready to strike down the first in line. Moving out of the shadows and between them and the hall full of people. I heard Taki begin to gather the others inside, sending the villagers to the back side. I stopped in the center of the path which the band coming this direction would have to take, looking above me there was a branch to a tree, jumping up, grabbing onto the branch and swinging my body over it, I brought my feet up under me, hanging tight to the sword, waiting. When the first was directly under me, I dropped from the branch, bringing the sword down before me. The leader had obviously sensed me as they brought up their own, blocking mine from completing contact with their skull. Before I could act they had brought a leg upwards, turning slightly and planting a foot into my stomach, sending me backwards. It wasn't until then that I took note of the mark they carried on their right arm, they were federation. I stood up, standing straight. I did not notice your mark. I told the leader. I would not have attacked had I known who you were. At least you are vigilant in your duties. Came the response. The voice sounded, almost feminine. Looking, actually looking for the first time, I took note of the clothes they were

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wearing. They looked... liked, our own kind. Who are you? I asked, not trusting my own eyesight. Nesenty... I transferred your consciousness, I was there when you first came to. She said. Sighing, San, forgive me. I did not know you were coming. I had recognized her voice finally placing it. We had not sent word we were, she looked past me, I see you had enough time to raise your own group. Looking behind me I saw Taki, Kie, and a few of the others, along with some of the Aragons coming. I sent a message to Taki before I knew who you were. Turning around I put a hand up, It is San, and some others. I called at them. They slowed their pace some. Come, I am sure the king will want to know you have come down. I waved her on a head. I am sure he will be glad to know we all still own our heads. Her voice held amusement in it, not the least bit angry with me for trying to separate her head from her body. Taki! She opened her arms up as he walked towards us. I am glad to see, you too are taking heed in a new land. She hugged him as he walked up. It is good to see you as well, he looked at me, intact as it may be. Yes, at least one is on guard at all times. She joked. And our most cautious of them all. He laughed, the stories I could tell you.

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You can do that with the sun tomorrow, tonight we announce ourselves to our king and retire. She patted his shoulder as she walked past him. Trying to eliminate a threat are you? He nudged me as I came up beside him. I did not see the mark, and it was not until I looked at them really did I notice the clothing they wore, or who they were. I pushed him away from me. You will be taken the heads of many of our friends before our time here is done if you are as jumpy all the time. He joked with me, even though I knew he was serious. And you will lose your head if you are not careful on watching around yourself. I told him, being serious, as it could happen. We will trade off on days then, one day I will be jumping at a snapping of a branch while you are relaxing yourself, and the next you may jump while I relax. He wrapped an arm around my shoulders. Then you have a number of days coming to jump at, because since we have been here, you have relaxed most of them. I tried to shrug his arm off of me. Leaning over, he whispered, you must relax or you will wear on this body and harm it before its time. I am going to harm you if you do not remove your arm from its current position. I glared at him.

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Chapter Seventeen

Taki looked down at me, as if to decide if I was serious or not, then removed his arm from around my shoulders. Better? Yes. Now lets catch up with the others before they begin to make stories of why we are behind. I told him, pulling on his arm as I started to walk off. Why not give them something to talk of? He stood still. Come. I instructed him. This time he did not stand while I tugged, he came along. Once we caught up, it was but a few steps to the hall. San and the group that had come with her were the first to enter, followed by the group Taki had brought with him when he came out. Taki and I stopped, standing between the pillars that were at the front of the hall, watching the reactions of the natives as they again, were presented with beings that did not look entirely like themselves. The reaction was predictable, they backed away, watched intently to see how we reacted to the new comers. And then their leader noticed the mark they carried on their arms, and visibly relaxed, still standing aside and watching though. San! The king called, Tis good to see you here. What news you bring us? He extended his hand in greeting, San took it, placing her hand to his elbow as he did her. Is news I am happy to report. Another ship has arrived,

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they will be coming down within the next days. Tis the Syrians. I was beginning to wonder when they would show. He looked around himself, are you hungry? No we ate before coming. Then she smiled, looking behind her to where Taki and I stood, is good company you keep who stays at the ready. And she laughed. The king looked back at us, nodding towards us. What did you do now? The prince spoke up, chuckling as he did so. She did nothing that was not expected, and what she did she should have done. San told the prince, greeting him in the manner she did the king. Of course. He smiled at her. You will require rest before the rise of the sun, we will meet tomorrow and hear what news you have brought us. The king told San and her group. Yes. She agreed, looking to the natives standing near by, but first I believe introductions should be made. She turned around, to face the locals, My name is San, I am a Pleiadian, such as those who have taken on your forms. These others with me, are also Pleiadian. They are our kind, from where we come. The king explained. This is our natural form. It is a good day when we welcome more friends. The leader stepped forward, greeting San and the others. You are

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welcome to our home. Thanks to you, San spoke for all of the group, we will speak more with the rise of the sun on the marrow. Of course, is late and we are all in need of rest. The leader said, turning to his people, I believe we will call a good night to our friends and retire. The villagers needed no more encouragement as they began leaving, going to their homes for the night. Every now and then looking back to see what we were doing. The leader said his good byes and retired as well from the hall. Kie and the others will show you to the barracks, there is room enough for all there, if we find need of another building when the Syrians arrive we will construct another building. The king told San, as well as anyone standing near by. Rest well my king. San told him before turning and following Kie and the others to the barracks. I hung back, waiting to make my apologies to the king, Taki waited with me, seeming to ensure that I did not remove heads from anyone who may be about. When the hall was nearly empty, I approached him, I apologize for my rash actions, I did not realize they were coming. I told the king. None of us knew they were coming, you acted on little information and acted accordingly. He told me, placing a hand on my shoulder, I would rather have you ready to engage a friend that you do not recognize, then miss the signs of an intruder who may not be a friend. I inclined my head, acknowledging what he had to say

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before turning around to be escorted to the barracks. Taki seemed as if he did not dare leave me alone, I slugged him as I walked past him. He just rubbed his arm where I had struck him as he followed behind me. Will we sleep tonight or am I to expect waking if you hear noise? He ducked as I turned around, expecting to be struck again. You would sleep through ship landing on your head. You have no worries for being woke if I hear the ship land on you. I told him, turning back around and heading for the barracks, intending on sleeping through the ship landing upon his head. We walked in, finding our bunks and crawling in them for the night. We now had the ones we had come with, who slept in here with us, the Aragons, and our own kind, the Pleiadians bunking with us. I knew when the Syrians arrived, we would have need of another building, they tended to travel in packs, and not small packs at that. As the sun began to just crest over the tree tops, I was crawling out of the bunk. As were the others, ready for another day. I could hear the voices of some of the natives already outside, readying for work. Stretching the body, I yawned, knowing it would be a long day. First a meeting being held, and taking Aree out to teach her to feel consciously, and at some point the Syrians would show. Hopefully they would not form packs like a hunting party, no matter the mark they carried, they would frighten the people who did not know them. Even as big as they were, and even if they appeared violent, and looked like a hunting party most of the time, they were gentle and kind beings unless provoked. Making my way out of the building and over to the hall where I knew the meeting would be, it was not long before others

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were doing the same. The king, his wife, and both of their children were already at the hall waiting for the rest to arrive. The leader of the village was just entering when I began the steps up, followed by a few of the elders in the village. Although it was not much of a village any longer, it resembled more a city now. No more where the huts, but buildings of smoothed stone, and with the luck I had with Aree, soon more would be fashioning items mentally rather then by hand. Finding a place to sit against the wall, I watched as most of the Aragons, and my own kind came into the hall, a few standing outside, most sitting somewhere on the floor, waiting for the talk to begin. And a handful of the natives had arrived, they were sitting as well as standing by. Aree was one of them, as her work was made easier she had more time to do other things, including attending our meeting. I waved towards her, motioning for her to come sit by me as she looked a little lost. When she approached she greeted me, good morn. As the sun shows it is a good day. I patted the floor next to me. Sit, you are welcome here as are all of your people. I was not sure if I was allowed to come or not. She stated as she seated herself, leaning against the wall behind her. We hide nothing from you, any may attend the meetings. I informed her, so she would relax some. What is the meeting about? She asked me. San will no doubt have more information, other then more of our friends, and your future friends, arrival. May be on other ships that are coming and the time she expects them from the last time she heard from them, may be on weather scans of your planet

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that are heading in this direction. Any number of things could be discussed. I looked over at her, she looked a little disappointed, no worries, if it seems to take a long time, we will leave and I will take you out just as I promised to do on yester day. So, that is what you look like where you are from? She asked, pointing to one of the group who had arrived last night. Yes. I nodded my head. And you took our form because your kind feared we may react bad to what you look like? Yes, we did not want to frighten you should you be met with beings of another race. I told her, again nodding my head, while I watched her pick at the floor a little. Is there other on your mind? Just excited by the days events that are expected. She looked up, I speak of the arrival of others, and what you say you will teach me, what may be talked of in this meeting, and what is to come. She admitted. First, I must tell you. Those who are coming, may look frightening and act in a manner that could frighten those around, but they are gentle beings. There is no reason to be frightened of them. I patted her knee, and what do you mean, what is to come? I dream sometimes, of things that will happen. She looked at me, as if to judge if I would think she had a loss of sanity or not, when she found the expression on my face to be interested, she continued. Sometimes it comes quick, in a few days. Other times, it does not come for a set of suns.

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What was the dream about? I asked her, encouraging her to talk more of it. It was of here, there were more buildings, a lot of different looking peoples. Some looked like felines who walked upright on hind legs, others looked similar to my people, and even some looked like the canines who roam around in the trees, big teeth and hands, and they walked both upright on hinds, and on all fours. She looked at her hands which were now resting on her legs. Ah, I breathed easy, Yes, that may come to pass. We expect quite a few of our friends to come and there are some who look as you say. All of which, will do no harm to you. I tried not to laugh, but a smiled slipped through. She returned the smile before the king began to speak.

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Chapter Eighteen

Today, the Syrians will be arriving. Many of you have either met some of them or heard of them, but for some of you, this will be the first time either has happened. You have met two races in recent days, the Aragons, who come from Argos. You have noticed that they are a very calm and gentle people even though they may look different then you. And you have met us, Pleiadians, while a few of us have assumed your form, you met others on the previous night, who are in our true form. Within the day, the Syrians will be making their way here and into the city. They are friends and are a very good people, even though they look different, they will not harm you. He looked around the hall, mostly at the natives to make sure his message got through to them before continuing, now, San, whom arrived on the previous night, would like to update us all of the happenings and messages sent since we have been here. He stepped aside, letting San step up in front of everyone. Good morn, it has been an exciting time, for everyone involved. Many look forward to hearing reports of how things are going here and how they have been since our first arrival. There is not much to report on, but that other than the Syrians, there are more close by who should arrive within a few weeks, one or two sets of suns. Others have sent word that they are just embarking on the trip to visit and help in any way that they can. But most of all they have been asking how things are going. How the land is. How the people are. If there had been any problems arising. We have been keeping an eye on the clouds and movements of others around your planet, at this moment there seems to be a storm

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building over the oceans around you. I am sure everyone here has been through a storm before, so I will not bore anyone with a list of rules to follow. For those native to this land, you have gone through storms I am sure, but there will be a difference this time, our buildings will provide more shelter and a safer place to stay in while the storm is over head. If you would like, everyone can gather in one building, either another building can be erected, or we can use the hall if it is large enough. The storm should arrive within 2 suns, there is expected to be winds which could shake the trees and bush around, as well as destroy anything left outside. It is expected that it will bring with it rains that will turn paths into rivers. So, I will be asking that by the setting of the sun on the marrow, everyone remain inside the buildings, either all of us gathered into one place or in our separate sleeping areas. Take food and fresh water with you to last through the coming storm. She looked back at the king after having finished what she wanted to say. Thanks to you San we are well warned of what is to come. Now, in preparation for the arrival of the Syrians, I would like two volunteers to remain on post to watch for them. When they are spotted, would one of you go to them and lead them back here, and would the other come ahead and let us know how far out they are. As he did not continue talking, it was apparent the meeting was over. You ready to leave? I asked Aree. Is that all? She seemed confused by the direct and short meeting. Yes that is it. If there was more he would have said such. I smiled at her, she always seemed to be slightly concerned and deep in thought over something.

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Where are we going? She asked, the curiosity showing in her face. Out behind the hall, into the bush and trees, hopefully we will come upon a spot that is clear enough to sit down. When can we go? Right now if you want to. She didn't bother giving me an answer verbally, she just stood up and waited for me to get up before almost sprinting out and down the steps. I almost had to jog to catch up to her as she rounded the corner heading out towards the back of the hall. Slow down, we have all the time of the sun, and into the night if needed. We can do this many times. I called to her. She slowed down and stopped, Sorry, I am just... Excited. I finished for her, I can tell. You are overflowing with it. Your energy is excited as well, which is good, the energy around you will sense that, be attracted to it. It may make it faster to teach you since your energy will attract other energies. What do you mean, my energy? She asked as I caught up and we continued walking in a slower fashion deeper into the bush. Your body, I touched her arm, that is flesh and blood, it is just a vessel, what is inside, your consciousness, your spirit, is pure energy and it overflows outside of the body. And everything has this energy? She was curious to learn everything she could.

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Yes, from the smallest stone under your feet, to the tallest tree you can see. Everything has an energy, the plants, the ground, the sky, the animals, other people. A lot of this energy is good, it creates good things, does good things. But some of this energy, as in some people, are not good people. They crave, they want, they destroy to get things that do not belong to them. They have bad energy, which can make you feel bad. You will learn to block those energies from affecting you, you will learn to let the good in and keep the bad out, not right away, but it will come over time. I stopped, having found the perfect setting to begin her lessons at. It had a line of bushes around a grassy area, and around the bush were trees. You could hear the sound of the animals around, hear the faint sound of water in the distance, hear voices that sounded like whispers in the trees. It would be a good spot, to learn to listen to what is around you as well as silence it to hear what is not visible. Aree had stopped when she noticed I stopped. She was standing there with her eyes closed, breathing deeply. I could tell just from her posture that she could sense the calm, feel the peace that was here. She was a promising example of what this species could be, surprisingly to me, but she alone had convinced me that this species had something that they still hung onto from the past. Even if only a few possessed the abilities of old, it was enough to pass it on to future generations, it wasn't completely beyond them to reach it again. She was willing to learn to enhance what she naturally had an ability for, that also provided promise for her and for her people in my mind.

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Chapter Nineteen

You ready? I asked her after giving her a few minutes to relax. What first? She was getting excited again, hopefully that excitement would last beyond the first few lessons so she would work on it more. Sit down. I sat down, showing her how to sit, cross your legs like this and put your hands upon your knees like this. She followed instruction well, doing just as I said and showed. Now close your eyes. What is this? She asked. It is a way to quiet ones mind. We do this with each rise of the sun at home, I have not done it since I have been here, not in this way at least. Do you have a name for it? She was interested in every detail. We call it sanghai. What does that mean? It means be quiet. She was starting to irritate me with all the questions, it was easier when she relaxed and went with doing as she was told. Now, close your eyes. Breath in deep and let it

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exit your body slowly. Do this for a three count, and let your thoughts exit with each breath that leaves so that your mind is empty. I peeked, making sure her eyes were closed and she was doing as she was told. Do not think, feel. Feel the air around you, feel the ground below you, feel the sun above you. We sat this way for a time, mostly for her as it was I could sense what was around me without doing this, but it was a good practice to have. It allowed for a fresh start each sun rise, I would have to begin doing it again. Maybe employ it at the learning center if we had luck here. Now hear the wind in the trees, in the bush. Remember, do not think, only feel and now hear. I explained to her. Letting her do this for a moment or so before I moved on. Now hear the animals, feel their energy, this is sensing their presence. I stopped again, giving her a moment, now tell me, what animal is near by? Do not look, sense it. I knew there was a long eared wild animal near by, small as it was, it was in the bush to my right, watching. I had a vision of it in my mind, I could see it sitting there, see it as it moved it's ears, if she could sense it, she could mentally see it, describe it to me. I don't know. She started, I feel like I am watched, not by you but by another, but I do not know what it is. Let your mind go for a second, do not hang onto it. See if your mind will see what you feel. I told her, trying to sound encouraging but it came across more of an order then encouragement. I was now watching her in my mind, her face crunched up a bit, as if trying to concentrate too hard. Relax yourself and do not try so hard, let it come to you. She visibly relaxed, I could still see her in my mind, and then it came to her, I knew because she jumped, both eyes coming open and looking around herself. You are fine. What you see in your mind, is what

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is around you. I told her, keeping my eyes shut, I saw her looking at me. You are watching me? She asked. Yes, I can see your movements even though my eyes are shut. I told her. How? The same way you just saw that animal to my right. I smiled, keeping my eyes closed, now tell me, what did it look like? It was small, covered in fur, big ears, small nose and tail. She explained. Yes. I opened my eyes and looked at her through them. Why did it frighten you? The animal did not frighten me, it was the seeing. Why did the seeing frighten you? I persisted on getting an answer. It was like my eyes left my body, they were watching the animal. I thought it was a dream until I looked where the animal watched and saw myself sitting, and you across from me as you are. Then it felt like something hit my body, I jumped. That something hitting your body, was yourself. You let your spirit wonder, and were not prepared when it returned. I watched her, making sure she accepted what I was saying before continuing. If you learn to do this well, your spirit will not thud you so, and you may use it to see other worlds without ship to

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travel. You may use it to scout even, bring information to your people before anyone can see it nearing them, faster then a man can run the information. Think of it as dreaming awake, you are a seer in your dreams when you sleep, do it while awake also. A seer? She was curious again. A seer is a person who can see what will happen before it begins. They are also people who can see while awake, either what will happen or what is happening in another place. I explained to her, hoping she would understand it. It can also be used to help locate a person who is lost. I tried using her fathers loss against her, even if it hurt her, it would push her to do it. Like, your father. You say he was lost a few seasons before, if he is living, you can find him in your mind, take note of the area and it will narrow down where to look. If you are good enough, you can trace where he is, back to your body. She looked on the verge of watering from her eyes, then she seemed to suck it up as I was not showing any mercy for her or humor in what I had said. You mean, if he is somewhere, I can go get him? No, you can find him. I told her, not willing to let the most promising of the species thus far run off. If you find him and trace his location back to yourself, you can tell me, I will go for him. Almost biting on my own tongue I wanted to let Sakie hit me with a stick again. You would do that? She looked ready to begin watering again. You have my word. I told her, again promising myself I would have Sakie hit me again.

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Before I knew it, or even sensed it, she was practically on top of me, her arms around my neck, she was watering on my shoulder. I rolled my eyes, moving a hand to pat her back before pushing her off me. You ready to go back? Will you continue to try this? I watched her stop the watering. Yes, I will do it when I am not working. And I am ready to go back. She sniffed. Dry yourself before we do, I smiled at her, we don't want your people believing I beat on you. This had her bursting into laughter as she wiped her face with the back of her hand. I stood up, helping her to stand. Walking back to the city, there was silence between us, she was sensing the world around her as if for the first time. She had unlocked the ability, now she was adjusting to the new sensations. We had been gone only a while, but returning it was as if we had only just left. The people were about their business, the prince was standing with his father on the steps of the hall with the leader of this place. I had yet to learn his name, maybe I should, although leader was good enough in my mind for now. Stepping up onto the steps I sensed something was coming. They are here? I asked to either the king or his son. They are coming, a scout brought word to us a few minutes ago. The king answered. Should you not prepare the natives? I wondered if they would run if they did not know.

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They were told. The king answered simply again. Turning around I sat down on the steps to wait, Aree had been quiet during this exchange, but she sat next to me. What do they look like? She asked once seated beside me. You will see when they arrive, they will be here soon. I told her. She accepted my answer, and we waited, watching to our left the trees and bush in which they would be coming from. It wasn't long before we heard the cracking of branches, the movement. I watched as one sat on a branch in one of the trees. Our scout running the ground into the city, straight to us as the one sitting the branch let out a howl. Some may see it as a war cry, but I knew better, as did those standing near me, he was calling the others to hurry up before he went back for them. One by one you saw the entire group drop from the trees with a thud as their feet hit the ground. Shaking my head, I stood up, they were never ones for a quiet entrance, it amazed me they could sneak around as well as they did when they wanted to. They actually walked to us, rather then jumping from branch to branch or building to building, or branch to building. They planted their feet on the ground and were actually walking quietly towards us and the others around us, almost seeming as if they did not want to frighten people. Stopping at the foot of the steps, they looked more like the hunting party I had expected then the gentle beings they were who took a moment to consider the fear they could put into the people around us. Who, by the way, were all standing still as if they thought these beings saw by movement and if they did not move, they would not be pounced on. Your here. Was the kings only statement. But anyone near

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could feel his annoyance at how they entered. Yes, we are. The one in front, the leader of this pack responded. His name I knew, it was Salus. Why do you insist on scaring people? The prince asked. It is how we travel, they will get used to it. He responded with a look of pride. And they will all run in the other direction when you move. I told him, feeling the need to assert a little authority. At this he began to laugh, what one could consider a laugh from them, They will come around. Where is the welcome party? The warm hugs from old friends, the kind words of welcome? Lost on beings with a more quiet way of traveling. I told him, going down to him to look him in the eyes. Giving him a hard stare before I patted his shoulder overly hard. Welcome. I told him before laughing, and walking off. I heard him start laughing as well as I walked away.

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Chapter Twenty

As his laughter died out, I heard him call, nice to see you as well! I waved my hand over my shoulder and headed for the barracks. Walking in I found Taki and Kie talking in a corner, it did not require one be a scientist to recognize that they were conspiring over something. What did you do now? I yelled at them. Both turned around to see me standing in the opening, they looked guilty. I leaned against the wall next to me, crossing my arms over my chest and giving them both a hard stare. Almost visibly squirming under scrutiny, neither one approached speaking, and both blocked their minds from me. If you tell me easily, I will not hurt you, and I may help you. If I must bleed it from you, I will not heal you and I will not help you. I gave them their options, knowing I might be out numbered, but they both knew I would follow through on a threat, they had learned that the hard way. Taki came towards me, Kie was looking a little uncomfortable. His face had embarrassment written all over it. Taki stopped in front of me, staring down at me. I can not tell you, it is not my worry. Either you can tell me, I looked at Kie, or you can Taki.

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Either way, one of you will tell me, if it is simply done or if you both bleed until you tell me. I wasn't backing down, if they looked any guiltier they would puddle onto the floor, whatever they were hiding had to be good. Taki moved to my side, If I tell you, I must stand behind you so he does not harm me. He sent to my mind. Stand behind me then. I returned, stepping away from the wall and dropping my arms to my side. Taki moved behind me, leaned closer so his mouth was near my ear, took a deep breath and grabbed my arms. Pulling them behind my back so that the elbows touched one another. Grab her legs man! He yelled at Kie, who stood still, watching it go down. I threw my head back trying to nail Taki in the face with the back of my head as Kie stepped away from his position. I began to struggle, wrenching my arms to try and loosen them from Taki's grip. He had me at an awkward angle in a strange position that had taken me off guard as I did not expect it. I felt his hands move around behind me, positioning both my wrists into one of his hands, I threw my head backwards again while I thought he was distracted. He swung his arm around my neck as Kie came up, bending forward to grab my legs. I brought my knee into his face, causing him to stand once again, then brought my foot to his stomach knocking the wind out of him. Taki threw himself backwards into the wall, taking me with him just enough to get my feet up from the ground. Kie took the opportunity to grab my legs, wrapping his arms around them. Taki had my back leaning against his chest, my head held to his shoulder while Kie kept my feet tucked under one of his arms and his other arm wrapped around as well, holding my legs still between his arms and his body. They carried me out the opening and down the path that lead to the ocean. I struggled the entire way, not trusting either of them at this

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point, they were blocking their minds from me, and had me restrained in their grip. As they walked into the water, I began to wonder if something had possessed them, was controlling them somehow. And then as I felt their bodies relax a little, they threw me into the water. My rear making contact with the sand under the water, as water rushed over the top of me with a wave coming in. I stood up, bracing for the next wave as they walked towards the shore. Just what do you think you are doing!? I yelled towards them. What does it look like? Taki stopped, turning his head to see over his shoulder and look at me, walking back to the beach. I saw Kie begin to laugh. And what is with the dumping of me into the ocean!? I yelled as I made my way towards them. They were standing still. A laugh for Kie. He needed such. Taki answered. Why? I asked as I walked up to them, bracing against each wave that broke at my back. We will tell you, you may help with this matter. Taki turned around. I stopped a few steps from them, waiting for the next wave to come. When it did I threw myself with it at the both of them, bodily hitting Taki and then Kie, taking them both down into the water with the wave. Sitting up, I looked at them both, and how do you like games? They spit the salty water out of their mouths, as neither of them had closed them on the way down. Now, would someone tell me why we must throw one another into the water? I asked.

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Taki didn't answer, and neither did Kie, they just looked at each other. And then Kie sighed, looking back at me, I have female trouble. I stared at him, wondering just what he was speaking of. You are male, you will not have cycles. I finally blurted out. Standing up and walking towards the shore, the few steps it was. He means he needs assistance with the wooing of one. Taki put in as he stood up. These people do not function as we do. Where we would bed one another without second thought, they do not. She struck him when he tried to advance on her. Looking back to Kie who was still sitting in the water, I almost laughed. He should have known better. It did not occur to me at the moment of the thought. Kie said to anyone who was listening as he stood up. The woman I saw you talking to a few suns ago? I asked, remembering the woman he was whispering in the ear of. Yes. He admitted, her name is Meka. And she is one violent specimen of a female. Taki stopped, looked at me, then corrected himself, for this kind. Did it occur to you to ask Meka if she wanted to mate with you? Not just advance on her? I looked at Kie, then back to Taki, neither had a thing to say. Obviously not since you can not answer the question. No, I did not ask her. Kie answered finally as he sat down on the sand of the beach.

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I was trying to give him instruction when you came in. Taki looked at me, as if for some back up. At this, I began laughing until my eyes watered. After taking a few breaths to be able to speak again, And you believe you have knowledge of this? I looked at Taki again and again began to laugh. And you have more knowledge then I do? Taki took offense. Would the two of you stop the bickering with one another! Kie yelled at us, I am the one having female troubles and the both of you act as if you are the ones discussing the proper way to go about coupling with one another. We both stared at Kie, my laughing had ceased and Taki could not think of words to respond. If neither of you will assist me, I will assist myself! Bring her a gift. Taki put in as if a muse had struck him. Take her somewhere alone, bring food with and talk to her. Nigh, I have tried gifts. And after she struck me I have doubts she would go with me anywhere. Kie explained. Ask another female how to go about this. I put in, at which they both looked at me, I did not say me, I meant a female of their kind. Which brought me to the next problem, is it even possible for our kind and theirs to... to mate. I stammered out. We are in their kinds bodies. Taki interjected. It should be physically compatible. Do either of you even know how this kind mates? I asked, trying to discourage this action.

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There is only a single way to find out. Taki argued, and their parts, at least that I have seen, look close to our own. He smiled at me. Do not even consider it. I pointed my finger at him. First we are not finding out. Second, their bodies may be close to what ours are, but this does not mean they go about it in the same manner. As Kie has found out, it is not just talk, take the other to bedding, and then proceed as normal. It was just a suggestion to find out. Taki told me. Kie began laughing and fell onto his back laying on the sand. What? Taki and I both said at the same time. The two of you. He laughed a few more times and coughed out a few breaths of air. Everyone knows, just so you know. And even if they did not, the way you argue it would be only matter of time before it happened. And yes, it could work as such, talk, bed, proceed as normal if she could understand the process. Shush! I yelled at him. And no, it could not work as such. From what I know, when they mate, they mate for a lifetime. And they form family groups, children come from the mating, grow in the female, and her screams bring it forth. Unless one plans to switch to their beliefs it will not work. She could switch to ours. Kie mumbled. She could, they all could. But it is not likely to happen. I told him. And if it does, that is their choice. You cannot push her choice.

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I wonder where they put this subject into the mission statement. Taki stated as he sat down. If they put it there or in the briefing, I missed it as well. I admitted, even though it was unlikely it had been in either. I will talk to Aree, see of the proper actions one must take to achieve the interest of another. And ask of the procedure it is to... to do the mating. I choked out, nearly swallowing my own tongue. You will? Kie sat back up, looking to me hopefully. If it is possible, I will not hear more of this... I looked down at him, then to Taki, from either of you! I left them sitting on the beach with each other, walking the path back to the barracks to plant my head into a stone before I offered myself for any others needs as I had done with Aree and Kie.

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Chapter Twenty-one

All the way back to the barracks I was debating whether Aree would know anything about this and if I could ask her or if I needed to find a more experienced woman. Shaking my head as I walked into the barracks, I turned, and laid my head against the stone of the wall. Blocking the world out around me so I could have the tiniest bit of peace before rejoining the living world. The Aragons were here, the Syrians had presented themselves in the usual fashion, the natives were human and lacking what they were made for, and my own people were debating the possibilities of mating with another species. Never in my years had I expected to witness the likes or be in this situation. If I had known before, I would have declined the mission given the chance, one could only hope that by the stars this would improve. How long had I been here already? Three sets, or was it four sets of suns, weeks? Was it more? My days have begun to run together, at some point I would need to stop and count when we came til now, figure out how long we have been here before I lost all sanity and sense of time. This city needed a way to track their days, weeks, months, years, suns, moons... Once I figured out where we were in time, I would provide them such. Leaving my head lay against the cold stone of the wall I pulled my palms up to rest next to it, letting it cool me from the outside in. I didn't hear anyone come in while cooling myself until he spoke, that was quite a welcome from you. I turned around to find Salus standing in the entry way. What did you expect when you act like you do?

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At least a hello, tis nice to see you once again. He leaned against the side. When you present yourselves in a fashion less barbaric I may give you greeting that can be seen as less barbaric. I stood my ground, he may be twice my size, a far cry from hairless, and look frightening, but this species was far less harmful then they looked. Why do you insist on lack of civility? He stared at me, as if expecting me to come to my mind and have something civil about myself. I do not need it. I leaned my back against the cold stone. I am as I am, and it is a functioning fine. You could use some though. He stepped forward, might help you make a few friends. He looked down at me as he walked by. Who else came? Quite a few, some are in the natives bodies as I am, others are in natural form either here or on our ship. I told him, not about to run down a list of names for him. And have they, the natives, seen the ships as of yet? He stopped at the table, running his hand over it as if checking for smoothness. No, not as of yet. Although soon they may have little choice as more are expected to be presenting in short time. I was watching him, wondering why he was here. You could have found all this and more by asking the king, or even the prince whom I know you spent time with before coming here. I did learn some from them but they seemed... He paused,

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as if trying to find the right word, otherwise occupied with the locals. As are a few others. I said, remembering the recent bout with Kie and Taki. What do you think of them? What have you observed? He turned back around, sitting on the edge of the table. They are primitive. Far from what the stories say about them. I moved away from the wall a little, I have found one whom shows promise. She is a seer, as well as has completed tasks of fashioning mentally without the need of physical labor. They are further away from what they were then we suspected then? He asked, even though he stated it more as a comment. Yes, but the genetics are still there, they can still be passed on to future generations whom may be able to once again use it. I had asked myself the same question he just asked many times, and always came to the same conclusion. It was still possible. They can be trained... he paused, watching my reaction, or taught to use it again I suppose. Twill take time, but tis possible. He walked towards me, trying again unsuccessfully to intimidate me, I kept eye contact as he slowly backed out of the building. Turning, he headed off, probably to regain his pack into some order before they decided whether to sleep in the woods as animals do or to occupy a barracks as 'civil' beings would do.

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Chapter Twenty-two

Before I could decide whether to go find Aree or not to ask her about the women, she showed up in the entry way to the barracks, standing there as if unsure if she could come in or not. You can come in. I told her. She still looked a little unsure, everything is open to your people, we hide nothing. I had a feeling I should find you. She said, finally stepping across that invisible line she was debating over. Do you know why? I asked, sitting on the table. Just got a feeling that you wanted to talk. She was holding her hands together in front of her, she may not be the one I should ask, she seemed timid. I am not sure you would welcome what I want to ask. I patted the table next to me, trying to get her to sit down and relax some. It may make you uncomfortable. If I can help, it does not matter. She finally looked at me as she moved towards the table. I was wondering about your peoples culture, I started as she sat next to me, and how the mating works. Oh. She looked as shocked as if someone had just told her they had a third eye. I am not sure what help I will be.

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If you know the process, and the requirements of it, then you can help. I hoped she did, having this conversation with another of the native women would be harder then having it with her, whom I knew somewhat. What do you mean? She actually looked confused by my statement. Smiling so I did not laugh, I tried to explain to her the situation. I have friend, who has interest in mating. He does not know the customs of your people. I agreed to ask someone for him, and we want to know the following. I took a breath, still trying not to laugh as I shook my head, when you want to gain someones friendship in that way, is there a certain way one must go about it? Any commitments required beforehand? Do you, as I believe, mate for life with one another? And if it goes to the point of bedding, how do you... I choked on the last part of the questions. How do we couple? Now she was looked as if she was the one holding back on laughing. Yes. I laughed this time. To the first, it is a process. One must be friends and care for another. To the second, no there is not commitment required, only that it is done at the will of each other. Most do mate for life, yes, there are a few who do not, it is not seen as a requirement but it is recommended. And is it not obvious how it is done? She tried to keep a straight face through answering, I saw her cheeks become red and watched as she tried to keep from laughing. You forget, we are from a different land, the process in which two people come together may be different. I closed my eyes, trying to pretend I was not having this conversation.

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At this she laughed, which made the conversation seem less uncomfortable. From what I know, which is not much, the male parts go into the female parts, there is touching before and it goes slowly. Her cheeks were bright red by this point, which as bad as it is, made me feel better. I understand, it is not that different. It was just best to find out first. I told her, thanks to you, I believe I have answers for him. Who is it? She was curious, one of the things I did like about her, her curiosity of everything. Kie. He has found interest in Meka I believe her name is. I waited to see her reaction. She began to laugh, laying back on the table until her eyes watered. Meka will act as if she is not interested but believe when I say she is. I have seen her speaking with Kie. As I hear, she struck him. I told her. As he deserved, she said sitting up, he went about it wrong. From speaking to her to putting his mouth to hers. That is not how you go about it? I asked, just for clearification. Tis how you go about it, but not where others can see. She looked at me as if I had grown a second head, it is a thing to be done when alone. And it was not expected by her, she did not know how to react. She's never... I let it trail off, I was sure she would get the idea.

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No. And one must be, gentle with such, proceed slowly, not unexpected and not in view of others. I understand, I will tell him such. I looked at her and smiled, and give him a good striking before I send him off with his answers. She burst into laughter at the idea as she stood up, obviously through with the conversation between us. I will go, I want to practice what you taught me before it is time to bed down until the sun rises again. Ok, thanks to you again, if you need help come get me. I told her as she made her way towards the entry way again. As she was walking through it Kie and Taki were coming in, she looked at Kie and began laughing again as she looked away from him. He looked towards me with a look of irritation written across his face, which only made me laugh. I laid back on the table trying to hide my face in my hands as I laughed hard making my eyes water and sides ache.

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Chapter Twenty-three

What does she know? Kie asked, not sounding the least bit amused. Everything. I said between breaths I was taking to try and stop the laughter. What is everything? He stood over me with Taki standing behind him. You, Meka, the confusion of mating. I started laughing all over again as his face crumpled up. You told her all? Taki asked from behind Kie. She knew. I reasoned, she did not know what I wanted to talk of, but once we were speaking and I told her twas you she put it together. I looked up at Kie who looked as if his head would explode, Meka likes you as well, relax some. Aree told you this? They have talked? Kie's face lightened a little. Yes to both, and she said you deserved to be struck. Tis not something you do in front of others. Is done when alone, and you do not go from speaking to placing your mouth on hers, you must go slow. I stood up, slapping my hand along the side of his head, she has never done such with another, so you must go slow with her.

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And what else? He wanted anything else I had learned. It is done as we do it. Some do mate for life and tis recommended but not required. I watched his face relax as he took a deep breath. Taki slapped him on his back, see, is no female troubles, just misunderstanding. He looked to me, now, about us... Do not even think such! I cut him off. Was just thinking we should provide him insight into all aspects. He smiled, knowing he was irritating me with his persistent references, for the sake of others. He will learn on his own, wont you? I looked at Kie. Would be more humor in witnessing the bickering after is done between you two, He laughed as I swung at his head again, but yes, I will learn on my own. T'will never happen. I glared at him. Go now, see to your needs. I pushed against his back, moving him forward out of the building. But what do I say? He tried to stop himself from being pushed out. Tell her you misunderstood before but now you have learned better of yourself. I told him, accept blame for your actions. Begin again! Yes, we are always in wrong. Taki called after him as I pushed him out the entry way.

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And you! I pointed my finger at him from the entry way. What did I do? He tried to look innocent. There will be no more talk of such matters that pertain to the two of us. I instructed him. He walked over to where I was, staring down at me, as you wish. He whispered, planting his lips against my cheek before I could swing at him and running off. He was a child still, always into things, and doing things he should not be doing. I closed my eyes, shaking my head at the idea that I had been friends with him for the last 100 and more years. At the current rate, I would never be rid of him, maybe t'was time I began to play his way, confusion was a tool best used when trying to send another into fits of sanity loss and disabling them from acting coherently. I made my decision as I walked out of the barracks intending to go to the hall for the feast tonight, it could be the last one before the storm came. I stopped when I came across an older woman trying her hand at bowl making. May I help? I asked her, squatting down to where she sat. She looked up at me for a moment before handing me the unfinished bowl and stone she was using for the scrapping of the inside. Not saying a thing to me, just waiting to see if I would help as I had offered. I smiled at her as I waved my hand over the unfinished bowl, handing it back to her finished and smooth on the inside as well as out. She watched me as I stood up and walked off, I could feel her eyes on me for a good set of steps. Walking a few more paces before watching an elderly man

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trying to balance himself on a branch. He showed obvious signs of having injured his lower leg. Stopping again, I knelt down beside him, resting his hand on my shoulder he used me for support. I was going to healing center to see if they could help. He told me. No need to. I told him as I wrapped my hands around his leg, running them down until I sensed a change in the energy his body was putting out above his foot. I closed my eyes and envisioned his body healing itself. Your hands, they are hot. He told me. Always when healing. I replied, concentrating on his ankle until he put weight onto it. Tis healed! He exclaimed. Thanks be to you. Any one of us can do such, as you can do as well. I told him standing back up. Spend time in the learning center and be gentle to yourself. I added in as I walked off. I was almost to the hall when I noticed Kie talking to Meka between buildings. Stopping to watch what happened, seeing if he would be struck again. I watched as he raised his hands up as if to say he was at fault, and even if I could not hear them and he was mentally blocking anyone who may eavesdrop, I could tell she accepted his apology. She hugged him, which he returned. He must have sensed me there because he looked my direction and when I closed my eyes briefly in acknowledgment he smiled. Moving on the few steps to the hall I caught sight of Taki standing near the prince, and just as I was about to set foot onto the steps of the building I heard the Syrians coming. Salus was standing at the tree line and the others were dropping out of the trees as leaves fall off

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in cooler times. Shaking my head I made my way up the steps, past the prince and Taki, only glancing at them, and into the hall itself.

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Chapter Twenty-four

Once inside the hall I found a bowl and filled it with fruits and vegetables, finding a place to sit against a wall. I was debating when and how to begin the games, only picking at my food, I watched the people around me. A family sharing contents of a bowl, the man looked young and so did the woman, they had two children. This was the woman who had recently bore a child. The elder of the children looked to be a few seasons old, in the fathers lap picking through the food in the bowl. The baby in the womans arms to breast, suckling while her mother ate this and that. And then there was the older woman whom I had helped with the bowl just coming in, followed by the elderly man I healed. The Aragons were spread out amongst the natives, along with us Pleiadians. Coming into the hall right now were the Syrians, Salus stopping to talk to the king. Storms about an hour out. The others will not be coming tonight. He looked around at the people, people need to shelter, it will be a hard one. Let them finish eating, then we will send provisions with them. The king said, looking Salus in the eyes to make sure the order was clear. Salus shrugged and walked off, gathering bits of food as he walked. The Syrians were not ones to use bowls as others did, they picked at more of their food and held it, yet they found themselves to be civilized, I chuckled, they were civil and very organized for what they were.

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I watched as the prince stopped next to his father, they were speaking quietly to one another. And Taki, he gathered vegetation and placed it into a bowl, looking at me I waved him over, smiling at him. He looked at me, scrunching his eyebrows together for a moment before taking the offer and coming over, sitting down next to me. Are you feeling a'right? He asked, looking me up and down as if some visible sign would give away what I was about. Feeling good. I leaned against his arm, which made him jump slightly before relaxing back and eating at his food. You sure? He said between bites. Am sure. I told him, smiling at him. I looked up to see Kie and Meka walking in. They make a nice pair. Who? Taki looked up from his bowl. Kie and Meka. I nudged him, pointing towards them. In this form he looks a match for her. At this he physically turned his upper body to face me, has something come over you? Why must something come over me to voice a notice? I looked at him, cocking my head to the side. Because this is not you. He looked at me, slight confusion on his face, I have known you all your life and not once have you made comment on mates of any around us. Never tis to late to start. I smiled at him, popping a berry into my mouth.

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You need to visit the healing center, I do believe you are ill. He stared at me, not touching his food. I only smiled back at him. The more I smiled, the more uneasy he became, squirming in his seat and moving slightly away from me. Whats wrong? I finally asked. You inform me. He said as he went to stand up. I placed my hand on his arm, everything tis good. I told him. Everything is not good, it is strange. He finished standing up. I will see you in the barracks. And he walked off, glancing back over his shoulder now and then as if I would jump on him as an animal does it's prey. Smiling to myself, I went back to watching the rest of the people in the building. Waiting for the announcement of the storm to come, anticipating everyone's reactions. It wasn't long before the announcement came, the king stood in front of the people, drawing their attention just by looking at them. The storm that was spoke of by San is approaching and should reach the city soon. It will be a hard storm, may last a sun or more. I am recommending you retire to your bedding's and remain there until it passes. We will be bringing provisions before the sun sets completely, enough to last two suns of water and vegetation. Take what you have in your bowls and go, we will be along shortly. He looked around to those of us who were not natives, counting on us to gather the provisions he was promising and deliver them to each building. He sent a mental note to all of us, you know what to do. As the natives started to gather up their belongings and

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families, exciting the hall and returning to their homes. The rest of us began to gather vegetation into blankets, water was already in large stone containers that had been fashioned earlier in the day. Some moved a hand over the containers, moving them out from the hall, and I knew they would be moving them into the buildings. The rest of us filled the blankets, carrying three or four of them filled with food to the buildings. I made a point in stopping where Aree was, as she lived on her own, I wished to make sure she was set. Would you want to stay in the barracks with us? I asked her, handing her a blanket of food. Tis alright, I will use this time to practice and will work to better the skills. She smiled at me. If you are sure. I told her. I am. Thanks be to you for the offer. She stated as she backed into her home. The homes were made of stone, without doors. But fashioned so that the entry way was a hall that split into two directions at the end of 5 paces, making gusts of wind hard to pass into it, and since the stone had been smoothed into one solid piece, it would not be torn down by bad weather. The homes were safe, as were all the buildings. I moved on, delivering the other two blankets of food to the next home to Aree's. It was the home of a family group, a woman and man with one child. The water had already been brought to them. You will be safe here. I told them handing the blankets to them. Thanks be to you for the delivery of this. If the storm is as

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your leader says, it will be good to have with us. The man said as the woman took their child in one arm, picking up one of the blankets and moving back into the building. Be safe. I told him as I walked off. Heading for the barracks, watching the deliveries be made all around. The Syrians were entering the barracks they had been giving, most of the natives had already retired to their buildings, some of the Aragons and Pleiadians had already entered our barracks, the rest were just now coming. I stood outside of the entry way, watching as the prince, with his father and mother and sister, entered the building they occupied. Always on the watch? Taki asked as he stopped to stand beside me. Always must be. I told him, waiting until I was satisfied that they had entered their building I turned and walked into our barracks. Feeling more of yourself? Taki asked, following behind me. I was myself before, and still am. I told him, not giving hint otherwise. If you say such. His voice was not as sure as he would have me believe, I caught the faulter in it. Looking around I didn't see Kie, where is Kie bedding through this? But I did not require an answer, I knew already. With Meka in the building where the single kind are staying. Taki chuckled, his excuse was to see that all were safe

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and proper. I doubt that tis the reason. I looked at him, trying to keep my face straight. But tis a good excuse. He said, not trying to hide his amusement. How bad do you suspect this will get? I asked for his opinion. Is expected to bring with hail in the winds, swirling of the ocean. Twill be bad. He said. I let the subject as well as all speech go, looking around to see most of the occupants of the barracks were seasoned warriors, trained to survive. It would be a simple task to last through an Earth storm after the training we had all survived. It was the natives I was concerned for, how they had survived as long as they had was a mystery. The huts we had seen when we had arrived were not something that would survive a small storm, not to mention a bad storm as the one that was coming. Maybe they fled into the trees and bush, it would provide slightly more protection then the huts they had been living in. It would be something to speak with Aree about once this passed over. For now, I was going to take peace in the sound of the rains as they came with the ocean waves creating a sound all there own in the distance. It would make a good sound to sleep to, I crawled into my bunk, laying on my back with my hands behind my head, eyes closed, listening to the sounds outside. Taking comfort in them as I always did at home.

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Chapter Twenty-five

In the middle of the night, I woke to the sound of hail striking the building and surrounding ground. The wind was howling, one could imagine the strength it was blowing with, it sounded as thunder overhead. The storm was close, anyone could tell that, but one could also sense it. The energy in the air had changed, it was not a change of good energy into bad, but of the feel it brought with it. A change in how you can feel the air around you change, from a warm to a cool air. I laid there, listening to it with my eyes closed. Feeling it blow slightly into the building. We were on the outskirts of the storm, it had not moved completely over the city yet. We would know as it did, the energy would become thicker, the wind would blow with more strength, the hail would come harder. And then as it was directly overhead, if it continued inland, everything would still, the energy would be almost physical, you wouldn't hear any sound for a time. Then it would pick up again as it passed through, and when it was over, everything would return to normal. This, storm before the storm, could last all night and into the marrow, depending on the size of the storm. The center of the storm could stay overhead for sometime, not as long as the precursors or the after effects though, the center would be quick compared to them. And then when the storm passed and the after effects set in, they could last a good set of days, blocking out the sun, the moon, the stars until it cleared. You sense it too? Taki leaned over, his bunk was above mine so he had to look over the side to see down to me, and if I didn't move closer to the edge of mine he still wouldn't see me.

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Tis coming close, stil some paces out, but tis coming fast. I told him, leaning my head over to the edge to look at him. It will be a bad one. It will. And others that follow will get worse. I agreed. Will be some time before they reach their peek and begin to die down again. He commented on the increase in storm activity that would happen over the following years. Humans and the other species have survived such before, this will be no different. I said it as much to myself as to him. Twill be different this time. We are here once again, they will not have to persist alone as they have in past times. He was talking about all those years ago, when the Earth was still new and our ancestors were here with Earths population as well as others from the federation, and even some not from the federation. Earth had cycled through more than once then, with all present. Then we left, and Earth continued to go through many more cycles, all of which the humans and other species had survived. It would be another hundred or so years before Earth would come to the peek of her cycle, and then it would die down again. We would be here for that, along with many others. Hm... was the only reply I afforded him. I was not in a mood to talk, I just wanted to listen to the coming storm outside. He seemed to understand as he rolled back into his bunk completely. I closed my eyes, listening to the sounds outside that were warning of the storm following close behind it. Without the sun, it was hard to tell what time it was, but the body didn't seem to want to rest any longer. Getting down I stretched and looked around. There were a few of the Aragons and

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our people sitting at the table, some others had found a few pebbles to play a game with over on the other side of the barracks. I could still hear the coming of the storm outside, curiosity got the better of me when I walked over to the entryway, standing half in half out, watching the sky with rolling clouds and freezing rain coming from it. The wind was strong, it would easily pick up a person, take them away. Standing there, I just watched, silently waiting for what I knew was coming. You know, you shouldn't stand out in this. Sakie was standing behind me. You know me. I shrugged. Aye, I do. Which is why I remind you, you should not stand in this. I could hear the humor in his voice, he wanted to see just as I had but didn't dare set foot out the entry. Not that I could blame him, I wouldn't set foot out there in this. Want to trade positions? I asked him, knowing he would take the offer. I looked back in time to see him nod his head, stepping back I let him by me. He was as fascinated with watching the sky as I had been, he stood there, back rigid as if bracing himself against the wind, just watching, waiting. Want to go swim? I smiled. No. He looked back at me catching the joke. Shrugging I turned and walked back inside. Standing there, looking around myself, I could see how one could lose sanity if left in a room for too long. I was already getting anxious, there was little to do that did not involve trouble, the outside was blocked off by the approaching storm, and I could sleep no more. The others seemed to have an easier time of it, outwardly if nothing else, they seemed content to sit it out.

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Chapter Twenty-six

Giving up, I went over to the table and sat down, watching everyone around me, listening to the storm move in. Deciding that the best thing to do would be to watch the storm come in, I got up and went to the side wall. Sitting down I closed my eyes, rested my hands on my knees and let myself begin to roam in the between. I looked around myself, seeing what the people I had seen before closing my eyes, doing their thing. Moving back towards the entry way, I looked back once more just to see if anyone else had the same idea I did, not a one of them seemed to be interested in watching the storm. I walked out the entry way and out, looking up to see the dark clouds rolling as they rained cold water and ice down. The wind had picked up, I watched as a tree not to far from the barracks shook and heard the cracking noise it's base made as it first leaned and then broke, fallen to the ground with a thud that shook the dirt under my feet. I walked from where I was standing near the barracks down to the path that would lead to the sea and made my way down to the ocean. The waves were gaining force and size, becoming unruly. Looking further out I saw what was coming. The lightening surrounding it, the thunder announcing its approach, the dark clouds rolling in every direction around it. It was a hurricane, and it was huge. Covering what appeared to be half the sea as it twisted and turned, water gushed away from it creating the waves hitting the shore now, and it pulled water to it and up into it. MAMA! I heard the scream, not being able to pinpoint if

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I heard it from where I was or where my body was, I moved back. Running back up the path into the city, screeching to a halt when I saw the little girl I had scared that first day standing in between two buildings. Looking around I didn't see her parents or anyone else, she had probably wondered off and out of her home. I looked back behind me, it would be a matter of minutes before that storm hit and ate up anything and anyone outside. My eyes came open back in the barracks, standing and sprinted towards the entry way. Where are you going? The storm is coming in! Taki grabbed my arm before I made it outside. I know, I have been watching it. There is a little girl out there! I told him, pulling my arm loose from his hand and going out the entry way, blocking my eyes with my arm from the dust and dirt blowing around. There she is! Taki was right behind me, pointing towards the girl who was now huddled up against a wall. We went towards her, Taki reached for her as we heard the crack of lightening, followed by the thunder immediately. Turning around we saw the tree it had struck, smoking from the base up as it begin to tip down, falling towards us. Instinct told me to move, but training told me to create a break between the tree and myself, putting up an invisible wall of energy preventing it from crushing us. Looking behind me I saw the little girl in Taki's arms, he nodded at me before he made the jump from the ground to the top of the building next to us. Moving backwards, I let the wall come with me, lowering the tree to the ground. Once it was down I made the jump to follow Taki, from roof to roof until we reached the girl's home, dropping down from the roof to the ground near the entry way we almost took out her parents who were coming out.

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Get back inside. I told them as I motioned for them to move. Taki followed us inside with the little girl still in his arms. We were soaked from head to toe, dripping water down onto their floors. I could tell the mother had been weeping and the father looked distraught. You need to keep her inside. Taki handed the little girl over. The storm will be here soon. Thanks be to you. The mother croaked out as she took her daughter in her arms. The father only nodded at us, his eyes said enough. Just make sure you stay inside, against the back wall preferably. Taki instructed them as I turned to walk back outside. I heard the father mumble something to him, and then he was standing next to me. Ready to go back out? I smiled at him, knowing he didn't want to. He just pushed me out first. Want to go down to where I was watching it come in? Not on your life. He told me, shaking his head as we started walking back towards the barracks. I don't know if it was the sound of the thunder so close again, the light as it struck the tree, or being pushed down as Taki wrapped his arms around me that got my attention more. I was crunched under him as he knelt behind me with his arms around me, his head against the back of my head. He had put up a wall of energy between us and the tree that came crashing down. Get out. He grumbled to me.

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Moving forward on my hands and knees, I looked back before standing up, watching as he pushed the energy from his back up into the tree, tossing it back and off of him. Moving at a quicker pace and not wasting time talking and dawdling around we moved inside the entry way of the barracks just as the storm began to hit full force into the island. Anyone got a cloth to wipe off with? I called, not to anyone particular. And a few wraps? Taki seconded my thoughts, dry off and change. Out playing again? One of our own brought what we had asked for. Of course, Taki replied sarcastically, you should know we can't miss a chance at nearly being flattened to the ground. And, we love to get wet. I laughed. The one who had brought us the stuff just shook his head, turned and walked away, I could picture him rolling his eyes as he did so. We stripped in a hurry, dried, and wrapped the dry cloths around ourselves before coming into the barracks completely. Laying the wet cloths out on the floor to dry before sitting down against a wall, Taki was sitting next to me this time.

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Chapter Twenty-seven

Storms going to get bad. He commented, leaning his head back against the wall. Yeah, probably worse then they are used to. I responded, thinking about the little girl. Should get some sleep, Taki looked at me, we both could use some time to let our bodies re-energize. I knew he was right, we had used a lot of the energy contained inside these bodies, they should be allowed to rest. I could watch the storm from a dream state. Yes. Was the only response I gave him, knowing him, he probably picked up on my thoughts. I pushed to my feet and headed for my bunk, crawling into it and collapsing into it. No sooner closing my eyes and finding myself standing in the barracks, watching the others. That body was definitely tired as fast as it slept and as easy as it was to come out of. Looking behind me I looked at the body I was occupying, it was not sorely built, it could use more muscle on it though. I turned back to face the center of the barracks in time to see Taki getting ready to get into his bunk, he must have sensed me there because he stopped before walking through me and seemed to look at me. I moved slightly to the side and watched as he smiled slightly, moving forward and up into his bunk. I walked back towards the entry way, intending on going back out to watch the storm come in.

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You call this resting? I heard come from behind me, it was Taki, he had assumed the dream state as well. Yes, the body is resting. I looked back at him, stopping briefly, no one said you had to come. What? And leave you unattended, all by yourself, unsupervised... I heard him call as I walked back outside. That is the worst plan ever. Its not a plan, if your going to complain all the time we are out here you can stop and go back now. I told him, not willing to argue with him. You are the most... He began. The most what? I turned towards him, glaring at him. The most sweet flower there ever was. He smiled, knowing it would bother me. Don't! I pointed my finger at him. You are no fun Nesenty. He shook his head, even in the dream state you do not relax. What happened to the little girl I grew up with? Who laughed as she beat on me? Who knew how to just be? She grew up, as you should have. I looked at him, turned, and thought of the beach, as I knew it looked. With its sun bleached white sand, its green-blue waters rolling in, the storm clouds moving in. When I opened my eyes again I was standing at the waters edge. He had been right, I was different. He could remember me

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when I had been sweeter, nicer. It had changed over the years, we had all changed some over the years. Where he held onto his child like happiness, I had hardened mine out, locked it away. I understood the danger of letting emotions pass, it created a liability that could be used against you. He would do good to learn and lock them away as well. I saw the clouds, they were rolling as the water was, turning under one another, growing in size. The rain was coming down in blankets of water and ice. The sounds of animals had completely dissipated, they had found shelter no doubt from the approaching storm. I heard a soft hum, and looked beside me, Taki had decided on the shorter route as well. Took you long enough. I scolded him. I needed break from you before I came down. He looked out over the ocean, a few breaths of peace and relaxation before I put myself in your presence again. I let the discussion come to an end, looking back out over the water. It was beginning to swell into walls of water, more chance than not it would feel as if a wall fell on you when it struck. Further out you could see the cone which would bring the most destruction with it. Its winds were already affecting the change in the waters, as well as the environment around us. It would come upon the city in no time, hopefully there would be no more people outside, they would be safe inside as long as they remained there.

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Chapter Twenty-eight

Standing there, watching the storm come, I couldn't help but enjoy the show. There is a difference between destruction of nature by nature, and a destruction of nature by outside forces. They both harm beings, but where one destroys nature beyond recovery, the other simply clears it where new can begin. What was coming, would destroy itself, but in the aftermath new life would begin. New plants, a new look on the world around you. I couldn't help but think of what I knew about this planet, the history. What had come before was worse then this storm, it destroyed what this planet once was. It was a storm in it's own way, a storm that still left citizens of this planet feeling the after effects. Picking up on my tension and thoughts, Taki laid his hand on my shoulder, you know it will get better. He told me. I just shrugged, not commenting on what he had said. I knew what he was thinking, what he felt, it was the same as I. The only difference in what we thought and felt was that he had hope, he believed it would get better in time, that everything would return to what it once was. Whereas I, questioned if it would happen, and believed there was only one way of it to come about. The one who destroyed the library, burning the history through the ages, would have to be eliminated and even then things may never be what they once were again.

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The storm would pass, and over the next few days we would help rebuild areas of the island. The children, under the prince's guidance seemed to be picking up on what we did and how it was done. About a week after the storm I caught one of the children moving stones with his mind, not far mind you, but he was doing it. Over the next few weeks I would come across more and more children in the city moving things with their mind, from stones to planks of wood. In the month since the storm, more ships had arrived. More representatives were present, I could count at least twenty different star systems present. Another two barracks had gone up, the area that food had been planted in was coming to life, the children had moved from moving things with their minds on their own to a teachings center. They were in groups, being taught to work together, combine their energies to accomplish a goal. Some of the adults had even began using the abilities that came naturally to them. One day, as the sun was setting, a group of us were down at the beach watching the waves come in. Taki of course was next to me, when wasn't he watching over me. I elbowed him in the ribs. What was that for? He asked rubbing his hand over his side. Because I can. I sent him mentally and smiled. Really? Was what he sent back. What's wrong with Kie? I sent him, figuring he might know since they were always plotting something. What do you mean? He asked aloud, glancing at Kie a few steps from us.

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He looks... I paused, looking Kie over to try and describe what I saw, I do not know, just not at ease. Kie! Taki called him to, waving at him to come over by us. What is on your mind? I asked when he was not a step from us. Sakie had managed his way down to the beach just then as well and came over. I have a situation. Kie kicked some of the sand and dug his toes into it. I stared blankly at him, expecting him to continue without prompting. When he failed to do so I asked, and what situation may it be this time? Be nice. Sakie patted my head, moving his hand just before I struck it. Lets hear it. Taki added. Kie sat down in front of us, looking at his feet, then at the sand. On with it. I was regretting ever pointing it out, I did not enjoy pulling information that I had a feeling I did not care to know anyway. Yes, tell us what ails you so we may help. Sakie sat down nudging Kie as he did so. You all know of the villager I was, he cleared his throat and I got an image in my head of the two of them arguing, she tells me... He stopped.

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You didn't! I scolded him. Who didn't what? Sakie asked, obviously feeling as if he had missed something. Taki remained quiet. Kie looked at his hands and I knew he had done it. You should have known better! I had picked up on the situation from the image of them arguing in my mind. I did not think... He started. That is it, you did not think! I pointed a finger at him. You knew these bodies were different, they are not evolved like ours. What tis going on!? Sakie interrupted my scolding. He is expecting child. Taki calmly said, glancing from Sakie to Kie, as if for confirmation. Tis true. Kie looked down again. Sakie's mouth looked as if it would fall off, Taki simply shrugged. And you did not realize you could cross? You are in their bodies, it is logic that it could combine. I continued to scold him in a softer tone of voice. She said much the same. Kie admitted. And you argued with her for what reason? I asked, wanting to know what was said in the image I had gotten. Because I did not think at the moment. T'was a surprise. He tried to defend himself.

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Do not start. I stared at him until he could not look me in the eyes any longer. You knew it was a possibility. Even if it was a surprise tis not a reason to argue with her. How did it start? When the storm came through... He began. No, not that, I do not want to know that, I stopped him before he could go any further, and do not think of it because I do not want a mental picture. The argument, how did the argument begin? Taki was sitting next to me chuckling because he realized how uneasy the mere thought of what happens with these bodies disturbed me. I went to see her, much as I do most days. She told me a child was growing inside her. When I failed to say words her eyes began a watering. I asked her who helped in this, to that she struck me... Before he could go on I reached over and slapped him along the side of his head. You deserve such! He rubbed the side of his head and continued, she told me I had lost my sense of mind. I asked why. She told me I was only one she was seeing in any way. I then said, its mine? An honest question. She struck me again and began looking angry. Her eyes halted there watering and she began yelling at me. I tried to explain I was not understanding her and she insisted I leave. You have no brain! I yelled at him. Nesenty, Taki looked at me, it could have been you in his place.

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I glared at Taki, no, I couldn't, I would not mate, and if I did I would not question my own loss of mind when something came of it. Then a celebration is in order? Sakie asked to anyone willing to answer. After Sakie's question we were all silent for a while. After a few moments Taki spoke up, Before any celebration I think Kie should work on his situation. He paused as if thinking of a way Kie could fix it. Should you try making her happy again? That may help her not to strike me again. Kie commented. And see the medical team to make sure the child is ok. Sakie added. When we all looked at him, he looked at us as if we should know why but went on, to make sure the mating of the two of you will not be a problem. T'would be a smart idea. Taki agreed. No advice from you? Kie directed his question to me. You've remained silent since finishing with the scolding. Your female, you should know how to fix the disagreement with his mate. Sakie looked at me, and soon the others were as well. What are you looking at me for? I looked at each of them. Do not expect me to be able to tell you how to fix that which you should not have done to begin with. You do not know how to fix it? Taki teased, shouldering me slightly.

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I could if I had the want to fix it, I pushed him, but I do not want to fix what is not my problem. By now Kie was smiling a little, obviously finding it entertaining that his problem had caused bickering to resume once again. Not even to help a friend? Who say you are a friend? I glared at him. He started to laugh, well I am your friend even if you are not mine. So will you give us what you think would help the problem? You to keep body organs wrapped tightly against your own. I stared at him. Now we have discovered this is not possible, what of the current situation? Kie smiled at me. Not to do it again. I raised my eyebrows at him. I will consider this, but what of my mate being angry with me? He persisted. Closing ones mouth may help with that. Do what you are told to do. I stood up, brushing the sand off my bottom. You will need to figure out what she wants and do such. I walked off and headed towards the path that lead back up into the city without saying more.

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Chapter Twenty-nine

I went to the barracks to sharpen the blade on my sword, shine it a little, most of all relax in the quiet. I was just placing my sword back up when Taki walked in, I could tell by the smile on his face I wanted nothing to do with what he was thinking. No. I answered before he could ask anything. You can't say no until you hear the question. He stopped next to me. Turning and looking up at him I put my hands on my hips, yes I can and even if I hear the question the response is still no. Just hear me out... No. I cut him off. What ever it may be, the answer is no. You are smiling, which means trouble for all involved because you have been planning with the other two. One of which does not know when to shut ones mouth and the other has placed himself in a situation which he cannot correct easy. So the answer is no. He looked down at me, as if he was trying to convince me otherwise with his eyes that were shining as the stars do while trying to fain a look of sadness. By the stars I will be paying for this. I shook my head, knowing what was about to leave my lips would be something I would regret. What?

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Well it's actually two parts. He smiled at me as I closed my eyes wishing I could take back what I had just asked. The first is, could you talk to Kie's mate or another female and see what he could do to right this? I looked around him and saw both Kie and Sakie looking through the entryway. Why can he not fix this himself or find out how to fix it? Taki went to say something but I held my hand up to silence him, he got himself into this, he should be the one to fix it. And if he cannot fix this, I know what will make his mate feel better. I pulled a knife out from under where I slept. Taki looked at it, then at me, what are you planning to do with that? Now it was my turn to smile, I am going to give it to his mate. She can relieve him of the affliction that has caused such situation and rid herself of the burden which he is. Taki put the tip of his finger on the blade of the knife and pushed it down gently, maybe a less painful... he paused and looked at me, and less bloody way, of handling the situation is more acceptable. He can be staked out and fire set to him. My face was blank, my mind was blocked. Taki must have thought I was serious because he backed up a step, maybe someone else can assist us. Do you think such? I cocked my head to the side, fiddling with the knife in my hands. Yes. He swallowed, watching me as he backed up another step, someone with more patience and one who can understand.

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That is a good idea. I agreed with his comment. As for your second part of questions? Another time perhaps. He backed up another step before turning and leaving the barracks. Once I was sure they were all well away I started to laugh, placing the knife back under where I slept I began laughing harder. I laughed until my eyes watered and my sides ached. Sitting down on the floor next to the bunks I relaxed, closing my eyes and just was for a time.

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Chapter Thirty

As I sat there, eyes closed, I began to let my mind wonder. Remembering my home. The way the land looked, the buildings, the people. How the grass was so soft, and was different then the grass here. The grass here was green, a wide range of greens, whereas the grass back home had a slightly blue tint to it. The tree's, such a variety both back home and here. But the ones that stood out to me at home were always the ones that seemed to be a mix of the trees here on Earth. They were similar to Earth's Willow's, they hung, but they were not as full either, you could see light through the hanging limbs. And they grew a fruit, that tasted so sweet, shaped similar to a pear that grew here, they had a smell of vanilla that filled the airs. The buildings were smooth, cool to the touch, firm. Reaching out a hand in my mind I could touch the stone, feel it. What are you doing here? I heard the voice from behind me. Turning around I saw one of our people, tall, having to look down slightly at me as I had to look upwards at them. Bringing my hand up I noticed that my spirit form had changed to take on the resemblance of the physical form I occupied. What are you doing here? They repeated. Visiting... apparently. I told him. Make it quick, your not supposed to be here. He said,

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giving me a stern look before he walked off. I decided to take a quick look back at my former body, see how it was holding up. Making my way down the hall and turning into another I walked to where I knew my body would be being held in stasis. Walking into the chamber where they kept the bodies I looked at them as I passed, stopping when I came in front of my own. I looked at her, from her feet up to her face. Seemingly floating in the stasis chamber, but I knew she was froze in that position and would remain that way until she was defrosted when I returned. Reaching my hand out I touched the glass around her, it was cold. Before I had a chance to do anything else I felt a hand on my shoulder and the faint sound of someone's voice, Nesenty.... I looked to my right where the hand was, there was a momentary blur of both worlds together, I saw myself in the stasis chamber, but I also saw the prince standing next to me. I closed my eyes for a second and when I opened them again I was back on Earth. Nesenty. He said again. When I looked at him he looked worried. Whats wrong? I asked as I came to my feet. There is a small disagreement taking place, nothing overly urgent. Where were you just now? He was curious. I was back home. I told him. You went back? Yes... well, not intentionally, it was more of an accident

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then on purpose. I will have to try that later. He acknowledged. But for now, perhaps you should come with me. You know, do your job. He smiled. It is not my problem if you want to be eaten by the miniature cannibals. I told him, knowing he spent most of his time trying to teach the children here. Yes, it is. He arched his eyebrow, daring me almost to disobey the orders I had been giving when I took the job of watching over him. When I failed to respond to him, he continued, I want you to come with because you might be able to settle the disagreement, besides I might want you to stand in front of me if I try to settle it. What is it about? I wanted to know before I went. One of your friends is under attack. He looked at me, amusement showing in his face. Which one is it this time? I had a pretty good idea. He smiled, Taki and Kie. Meka is going at them. I didn't phrase it as a question but as a comment as I headed for the entry way of the barracks. Middle of the city, in front of the hall. The prince followed behind me. What did they do to her? You assume they did something? The prince was

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obviously not in on the situation. Don't you? I asked, trying not to give it away just yet. I see no reason why they would. At that statement I began to laugh as I walked. What is it you find funny? The prince prodded for more information. I shook my head and he pushed harder for the information. I will make it an order if I must, but I would prefer you just tell me of your own. She is with child, I glanced at him, seeing the look of confusion, Tis Kie's. He made her eyes water this morn, now he try's to fix the situation he has gotten himself into. And if she is attacking, it means he failed at doing so, and since Taki is involved, he tried to help and failed miserably as well. I... I did not know. The prince stammered out as he realized he was caught off guard by the news. I walked around the corner of one of the buildings to see Kie and Taki trying to block the stones and vegetation being thrown at them while Meka yelled. Stopping I shook my head and closed my eyes, sighing at the thought of them trying to fix anything. Well... The prince nudged me, fix this. As you say my prince. I smiled at him, inclining my head slightly before I turned and walked over to where they were. I brought my hand up, striking Kie in the back of his head first and then repeating the process with Taki. Walking between them and going towards Meka I smiled at her. Her eyes were watering again,

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out of anger this time, I could feel it as it radiated off her. Come. I motioned for her to come with me. As she came near I turned back to Kie and Taki, Stay! I walked with Meka a ways before I said anything, feeling her energy change from one of anger to sadness. What did he do? I asked her, gently trying to avoid more watering of the eyes. She sniffed, he says... she began blubbering through sniff's and her eyes began watering again. If the situation is to be fixed, I must know what the situation is. I pretended not to know so she would more easily talk to me. After a few moments she began again, from the beginning. A time ago he showed interest in mating, at first he did not seem to know our customs. Then he seemed to understand some of what our customs were, so I allowed it to happen. Over a short time he visited more and became more... She paused as if looking for the right words, ...like us. But when I told him we would have a child he seemed to question if t'was his child, as if it was my child alone. Then he comes back with his friend and his friend tried to tell me Kie did not understand what he was doing, that he was not thinking farther then the moments he visited. Kie then tried to tell me that he would help raise the child as he knew how. I told him it would be of both our worlds so it must be raised as both. He stared at me as if I had spoken falsely. That is when I became angry with him because he does not understand still. He is a man, no? I began trying to explain to her. Men do not think beyond what they know, they do not try to understand unless made to. I stopped walking, here, sit. What is there to understand, tis my child and his, it must

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be raised with both customs. She argued as she sat down. But... I began, sitting down next to her, our customs are far different from your peoples. Where we come from, we very rarely mate for life. A child is raised by an entire village, an entire people, even if it has two parents, they are seen more as contributors then parents. And we do not have children as you have children. I looked at her, watching the shock come over her face. Your customs are more of a permanent kind. You mate for life, you create and carry child inside your bodies, you form groups of parents and children. I... She sniffed again, I did not realize it was so different. And he did not realize, and probably still does not. I told her. If you are to both raise this child you are right that it must be of both worlds. But your own actions may require that you ignore him but at the same time understand him. As he learns he will understand your customs more and he may come around to your peoples beliefs, but t'will take time. What should I do? She asked. Maybe do nothing, continue with carrying your child and let him come to you. But have patience with him as he is not of your people and he must be made to learn. How do I make him learn? By letting him come to you, ignore his lack of understanding, and teach him when he does not realize he is being taught. I smiled at her, watching her waters stop flowing. When he comes to you, set him to work as you work, talk to him of your day of his day, of what you did of the child that comes. He will

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learn, even if he does not realize it. I understand. She reached her arms around me, I could feel a calm energy coming off her. Patting her on the back I tried to ignore the emotion she had coming in her energy. Remember, he is male it may take forever for him to fully learn. Meka sat back and put her hand on her stomach. How much longer do you have until... I pointed at her stomach. She smiled, getting the idea of what I was asking. Will be some time, many moons until the child comes. So you have time to teach him. I smiled at her, I will inflict some teaching of my own on him for you, make it a suggestion that he spends time with you and is there when the child comes. No more was said between us. She seemed to relax some against the tree behind her, closing her eyes and breathing the air in. I watched her as her face relaxed. As the sun began to leave the sky I stood up, we should return to the city. So you may see our healers, to check on the child. And I may inflict my own teaching on Kie... I felt annoyance come over me, and Taki for their behavior. You will? She looked at me as she got off the ground. I am in need of someone to teach. I smiled at her, knowing she did not realize what I planned to do to them.

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Walking back into the city the prince looked at us from the steps of the hall, I nodded at him before he got up and walked inside of the hall. Taki and Kie were sitting outside the barracks as we walked by, standing as we walked in front of them. I motioned with my hand for them to sit back down and continued to walk her to the medical center. Will you be okay on your own from here? I asked her, stopping in front of the center. Yes. She smiled, thanks be to you for today. Tis not a problem. Go on, I motioned for her to go in, you and the child will be fine. After I saw her walk into the building I turned, walking back the way we had come, going to the barracks where I knew Taki and Kie were. Blocking my mind from those around me, most of all the two perpetrators who needed schooling. I stopped ten steps from them, glaring at them both as they came to their feet.

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Chapter Thirty-one

We didn't... Began Kie. Do not... I interrupted him. give me excuses for your actions. But... Taki tried. You either. Both of you need to remain quiet. I walked towards them, pushing them both towards the entry way of the barracks. Go inside. Is she mad? Kie asked, a worried look coming over his face. Tis none of your concern. I told him. It is his concern, this is his situation. Taki tried to explain. That is correct. It is his concern, of which you involved yourself. I looked at him. But he needs help. Argued Taki. No, he does not. Least of all from us. He is in the current predicament because he got himself into it. He needs to fix it, not you, nor I. I tried to explain to him. We need to remain out of the situation.

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Then what am I to do? Asked Kie. Nothing. You want to remain in our customs. If you are to remain in our customs, you will stay away from Meka. I glared at him to intensify what I was saying. But... Kie began. No but. She is with child, she needs calm, happy people around her. People who are willing to listen to what she speaks, help when she needs it. Not someone who does not try to help her, does not try to listen. 'Tis my child too! Kie was beginning to lose what patience he had. You do not act as such, and if one can not accept it to begin with, one does not deserve to claim it. I slapped the palm of my hand against his cheek leaving a red mark. Until you are ready to accept what you do and create, you need to keep bodily extensions to yourself. But what of Meka? Asked Taki. Meka will be fine. She has her people, I looked at Kie, to help her, to listen, to speak with her without trying to change her. And the child? Taki continued. The child will be raised her way. However she decides to. It is her child. I told him. NO! 'Tis not only her child. It is mine as well. Yelled Kie. You are not helping. He headed for the entry way.

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Where are you off to at this time? I shouted at him. To find Meka. He yelled back as he stormed out of the barracks. Nice start to fixing a situation. Stated Taki. T'will do for a start. I smiled at him, resisting the urge to laugh. Why do you smile? Because... I looked at him, neither of you caught on. I started to laugh. Caught on to what? He looked confused. If you can not figure such out, then I do not need to tell you. Will only confuse you more. I patted the side of his cheek. You will tell me what it is you speak of... began Taki. Or what? I stopped laughing, glaring at him. Or... Or I will be forced to do something. He stammered trying to return my glare. I remained silent and in my position, my arms crossing over my chest, glaring at him. His face looked on the verge of explosion as his fists balled up at his sides. We stood as such for a good amount of time, then the voice came from the entry way. Whoa... what is all the ruffled fur over? asked Sakie to anyone willing to answer.

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I second the question. Added the prince. We didn't move, we only stared at one another, frozen in our positions. A few moments of time passed before Saki spoke again, how long do you think they will be like this? I do not know, but if they remain in such a heated stare no one will want to enter this building. Stated the prince. Sakie and the prince watched us for a few more moments. Taki threw his arms in the air and made a growling sound before turning away and pushing past them and out of the entry way. I moved my head to watch him leave, only to face the others righting themselves from almost being knocked over with the force with which he left. What was it this time? Asked the prince. I didn't say a word to him, just glared at him. They've been in this same position before? Inquired Sakie, looking towards him. More then once have I caught them trying to back the other down with looks alone. It has lasted two moons at one time, no one would go into the room they were occupying. Explained the prince. I remember when last I visited your home, Sakie got a look of remembrance in his eyes, they were engaged in an argument for an entire sun, and then did not speak for a set of suns. He laughed, after they brawled out the frustrations in the training center they were friends again.

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The prince began to laugh, I remember that. One of our new trainees came running to me, stating that there was a fight going on, that the two had struck the commanding officer as he tried to break up the fight. Aye, they did. As well as several other people who tried to pull them apart. Laughed Sakie. I had heard enough, my memory of the argument was already beginning to take hold of my mind. Turning, I dropped my arms and shoved my way between them, walking outside before I could hear more of the conversation. Warn people to leave them... I caught the beginning of the prince's order before I was too far to hear it.

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Chapter Thirty-two

My blood was boiling as I walked towards the path that would lead me to the ocean, but I thought Taki's mood would be worse than my own. I almost laughed at the sight in my mind, replaying the moment he walked out all over again. His face crinkled up in anger, his growling tone, his hands flying into the air as he stared down at me before turning and leaving. His back had been stiff, rigid when I watched him go. Another wave of memories washing over me as the water washed over the shore, another time, another place, but almost the exact reaction from him that had taken place moments before. We had been caught standing in the garden back home, watching one another, momentarily forgetting who we were. Another from our class had come out to find us, what are you doing? He had asked, we both looked. Taki's reaction was to glare at the man for interrupting us, my reaction was to smile and play innocent. Nothing. Had been my answer. I felt a wave of surprise and heat wash over me as Taki had looked at me. The look he had held in his eyes was confusion. Are you of certain? The other had asked, it sure looked more than nothing when I stepped out. T'was nothing, I was leaving. I looked at him briefly and then back at Taki who was fuming.

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The commander wants you both present... He had started. Fine! Taki had growled out through his clenched teeth. Turning and stomping off, leaving me standing there with a confused trainee. His back had held a hard tone to it, his fists in balls at his side. He had only just stepped inside when I heard the crash of pottery. Walking inside I stopped at the entry way and watched as he walked down the hall, things rumbling and exploding as he passed them if he did not knock them off physically. What's his concern? The trainee had come to stand next to me. Leave him be. I warned him, knowing it was safer for Taki to be alone. Opening my eyes back up, the laughter began to bubble to the surface, remembering glimpses of the other times he had stormed off destroying things as he went. It had become a normal reaction to expect from him, and each time was just as funny as the time before. Looking around me at the beach I spotted Taki sitting half in the water, half out of the water. Containing my laughter I walked over to him. Calmer? I asked once I was standing behind him. Glancing over his shoulder he looked up at me. What do you think? He sent over the mental connection. I took a moment to sense his energy, feeling his emotions, the anger had subsided only to be replaced by something else.

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You are not angry with me. Therefor you are calmer. He began laughing and laid back in the sand. His laughter began to quiet down some, no, I am not angry with you. Turning slightly and pushing up onto his elbow, frustrated, but not angry. I sat down next to him, looking him over. His eyes looked distant, but were gleaming. You are up to something. I am not. I am amused, but not up to anything. Smiling at me he shook his head. Why are you amused? He was blocking his mind from me. Because you are oblivious. His smile grew until he was almost laughing. You are.... you are exactly what they want and hoped for when they trained us. And you aren't? Not at the level you are. Sighing he took a deep breath. You have managed to put into place all of their lessons, perfecting the skills they want us to have. You allow for no liabilities for yourself. Sometimes I wonder if you feel at all. Of course I feel. I smiled at him, I happen to think your outbursts are very funny. I mean beyond humor.... real feelings. Pain, anger, sadness, caring for someone. Those are emotions that we cannot afford. I got serious, those emotions can lead to disabilities when you least expect them.

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Disabilities? Laughing again. Yes, I tried to explain, if you can feel pain, you can be tortured into admission. If you can feel anger, you can be twisted. If you can feel sadness, it can be used against you. If you care for someone, then that person can be taken from you and used against you as a weapon. Those are disabilities, liabilities that cannot be afforded to those of us who could at some point be in a position where danger is present. I motioned my hand towards the ocean, they are out there, the danger is real. They do not even know we are here. Glancing at the sand below him he looked sad. Time can stand still for a few moments, where everything and everyone can cease to exist besides yourself. The danger can be forgotten. I closed my eyes, remembering the memories that had been transferred to us. Just pieces of what had happened. The waters that ran red with the blood, the evil that had washed over the land, the sneer that he had held as his hands dripped with the blood of those he had killed. They are not as far away as we may want to believe. I opened my eyes back up looking at Taki who was watching me, probably invading my thoughts. But for a moment in time they can be forgotten. Placing his hand on the side of my head soothingly, he tried to bring back other memories. Memories of when time stood still. Closing my eyes I let him transfer his memories to me, bringing my own to the surface. The moons were bright in the dark sky, the trees only a silhouette in the background, the sounds of the animals had died out and the sound of the water falling was distant. As the memories

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continued to surface I felt his hand move from the side of my head to my shoulder, I opened my eyes to see him watching me intently, the first signs of a smile beginning to surface on his face. See? That was a different place, a different time. I told him harshly, trying to erase the memories from my mind. 'Tis no different, we are still us. Time can be stopped. Trying to convince me. No. I yelled at him, pushing his hand away from me as I stood up. Nesenty, standing up and walking behind me as I headed for the tree line, you know what I say is true. It cannot be stopped here. Maybe there, it seemed as it stopped, but here it cannot. Grabbing my arm he tightened his hold, bringing me to a stop just short of the trees. Your like a disease you know that? What? I let him turn me around to face him. You... your a disease. You rot everything you touch. Play games with no one knowing the rules, twist them up so they do not know if they are coming to you or being driven away from you. Grabbing both of my arms as he glared down at me, confusion is not a game I like to play. You... opening my mouth to yell at him, he silenced all sound as he pressed his mouth against mine. Bringing my arms around in between us I moved them upwards, bending at the elbow

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and ramming them into his arms breaking his grip. Pushing him away from me just before slapping him, causing his head to go to the side. Don't ever! Beginning to laugh, he rubbed the side of his face. That had a sting to it. It will hurt worse if you persist in the current line of action. Glaring at him I refused to back down. Really? He took a step closer to me, half smiling, almost daring me to attack him. When I failed to strike him again he took another step towards me, reaching his hand out to where my arm was as I turned to grab his wrist with my hand. Moving with me he wrapped an arm around my shoulders as I brought my elbow up into his nose. Tightening his grip, he pulled me into his arms, holding me so I could not strike him again. That is enough. He looked down at me as blood began to trickle from his nose. Not about to succumb to the overwhelming feelings building inside I shoved myself further into him, knocking both of us to the ground. You happy now? Laughing he put his hands on the sides of my legs. I continued to glare at him, trying to push my energy onto him and show him what I felt. The annoyance, the humor of the situation, the tolerance I showed. No longer laughing he stared at me, pushing up into a sitting position under me. Wrapping his arms around my back, don't fight me.

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He moved his lips against mine again, loosening his arms long enough to let me untangle my own. I wrapped them around his neck and bit down on his lip, feeling the smile come over his face. His energy felt warm, heating everything around it so that when a breeze blew it left you feeling chills running down your body. The sound of the waves breaking against the sand brought me out of my sleep to what was around me. The sun had set, the stars shone, the moon a bright white color in the clear sky. Taki was laying next to me, watching the different stars, looking for our home. He was at peace, no longer a mess of several energies but of one calm steady flow. I looked towards him, about to ask him if he thought we had been away long enough when the hum of a ship buzzed the trees near us as it flew by. Looking up we saw the side of it, recognizing it as a scout ship. It should not be this close to the city, they were not supposed to start bringing them in til next week. Taki said as he jumped to his feet, reaching his hand down to help me up. Think there is something wrong? I asked as I let him pull me to my feet. We have to go back. He went into the tree line, taking the path through the trees back into the city. I followed behind him. Not fifty paces into the trip he stopped, closing his eyes, he listened to the vibrations around us before sprinting into a run. I felt the wave of energy come off of him, the sense that something was wrong. Breaking through the bush line around the city we came to a stop, watching as the ship hovered lower in front of the hall, slowly bringing itself down until it sat on the ground. The

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door slide open and two of the Aragons stepped from the door way, standing to either side of the opening as another brought one of the others out, restrained, head down. Margol walked up to them, a feeling of displeasure settling over those gathered. Why do you come in like this? We found him, the one who held the prisoner glanced down at the other, on the opposite side of the island. Margol looked the other over, placing a hand under his chin he lifted his head so the other would look him in the face, why are you here? Our king, as well as Kelshoro approached them, watching and listening but not interrupting. The villagers had gathered as well as the rest of us. The other stared, hard and cold, at Margol, but did not speak. Tie him to a tree. The officer took him, with the other two Aragons who stood near by following, to the tree line, lashing him to the tree first by his hands around it, then at his feet, and finally in his middle. Before turning their attention back to their commander who was now whispering in our king's ear. Glancing at Taki next to me, I slapped the palm of my hand against the back of his head. What is that for? He rubbed his head. I told you. Walking off I went to the prince, standing near enough to him if he should require assistance. I watched as Taki went to where Kie stood, smiling at me as if I amused him.

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Book Two
Peace

Book Two: Peace

Chapter One

Everyone need clear of the area. Speaking loudly, our King made his orders clear to the crowd that had gathered. I knew he didn't mean his own people, he wanted the villagers gone before the other was made to talk. Margol went to a few of his militants, including Sakie. Then he approached Kie and Taki, I watched as they nodded their heads, turning and running off towards the training center. What do you think will happen? Asked the prince. We're going to force information from him. I glanced to my side at him, watching his face turn from curiosity to one appearing he was sorry for asking. If you prefer not to stay, you may go. Said the king as he came to where we stood. I would not look down upon you for it, but tis something you must acquaint yourself with. He looked his son over, giving him the chance to leave. Nesenty, I want you present. What would you have me do? I awaited my orders. I want you to go inside his mind, make him speak. If he blocks you, one of the others will bleed him, distract him. Explained the king. As you say. I walked towards the man tied to the tree,

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leaving father and son alone to talk in private. The other looked at me with disdain, he looked down on me as if I was a parasite, feeding off of those at my mercy. Stopping a few steps from him, I looked him over, from his feet, over his legs and torso, finally looking him in the eyes. Those cold, dead eyes that looked as if they had been slit through, watching them as the second eyelid slid over and back. He wasn't royalty, he was a pawn, a lower class citizen in the eyes of his lord. But how loyal was he? Would he die before he broke? He hissed, almost as a rabid being would do, sneering at me. Akasha. I told him, smiling at him, knowing he would understand me. Your kind... he spoke slowly, growling the words out, do not belong here. Ni, essa lo prata. I spoke his language, informing him that his kind were not welcome. He watched me, his tongue flicking out now and then as it drew in the taste in the air, the scent that was carried on the winds. He looked away from me, behind me, I could feel Taki and Kie returning and coming to where I was. They dropped the cloth they carried on the ground near the prisoner. Does he require encouragement? asked Kie. We wait until Margol and Nucuranda are here. I told him, glancing at Taki. Will you two remain on terms, Kie looked from Taki to me, or do I need to separate you.

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Who needs separating? asked Sakie as he walked up. No one. Taki answered, refusing to meet my stare. Are we prepared? Margol asked. We are sir. Sakie answered his commander. Nesenty, you have your orders. Nucuranda signaled me to begin. Closing my eyes I concentrated on the eyes I had seen, the separate lids, the slits that were the pupils. Seeing them in front of me as I moved, not physically, but in my mind towards the other. Moving myself so close I could hear his breath coming, the beat of his heart, as if he had one. Closing the remaining distance between us, merging my mind into his body. I saw the black pit of his soul, heard the screams of those he had met, felt the burning fire inside of him. ...there is increasssed acti-vity in the seeass... scout... report... I heard the orders in pieces that were given to him, catching flashes of his memory of who gave them to him. I saw one of the others sitting in a chair made of smooth bone white stone. He had a robe draped over him, his chair, flowing onto the floor. His scales shown white against the gold color of the robe. His eyes were pitch black, colder than this ones. ...all of you... remain in contact... if one iss found, oth-erss find the ones respon sible, des-stroy any who are... All of a sudden I was thrown out of his mind, opening my eyes again I saw him thrashing against the tree, growling as he threw his head back. Stopping long enough to look at me before throwing his body forward, hearing the tree making a cracking sound as he did so. The tree splintered down its trunk as he pushed

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himself away from it again. Kill him. I told anyone willing to listen. Are you sure? asked my King who was standing behind me. He is not alone, I looked back at him, they are connected mentally. Draconus sent them and they will report back. Nucuranda motioned to the others standing near by. I watched as Sakie went behind the tree, wrapping first an arm around the tree and the prisoners throat, then placing his hand over the others mouth. I watched as Taki covered its eyes and held its torso still just as Kie took the jagged edged knife that was as long as his forearm and sliced above where Sakies arm was, removing its head. Behind me I heard a retching sound, turning I caught the sight of Kelshoro, bent over in half as his guts heaved out of his mouth. I looked to our king who had closed his eyes as Margol patted him on the back. I caught the feeling of disbelief at his son's actions coming from him. Moving away from where I stood I grabbed Kelshoro by the back of his neck, forcing him upright as I physically hauled him off. Let go of me. attempting to squirm out of my grip he ordered. Unhand me. If you must empty your bile because of actions, you do not do such in front of those in command. I let him go with a shove. You are to inherit the thrown, act as such.

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He stood there, his mouth closed tightly, straightening his stance. Glaring at me as I backed away, turning and returning to my post to catch the others wrapping the body in one cloth and the head in another. Carrying the body between them into the trees, towards the water's of the sea. Sakie held the head, wrapped in the cloth, nodded at his commander before running in the opposite direction. My king turned towards me, did you find out where Draconus is? No sir. I only accessed fragments of his orders, I looked at him, watching as he glanced behind me at his son who was now returning, but the mental connection ensures all of them know we are here. They were ordered to destroy what they found, but my guess is they will return to their lord and report to him. Then we can expect he will come personally at some time. Margol pitched in. I agree. I looked to my side where Kelshoro had come to stand, I suggest we be prepared at all times. Leaves guards on duty with each of you. You will work in shifts. Nucuranda said as he moved towards his son, placing his hand on his shoulder, you are still young. His eyes softened as he looked at him again.

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Chapter Two

You are younger then I. Looking at me the prince stated the obvious. Yes. I acknowledged him. That... he pointed towards the tree where the prisoner had been, did not bother you? No. Quickly glancing back to the tree and then back at him. I have spent many years training and have been given others memories, I was prepared. You, have led a life that is sheltered, by your own choice. He didn't care for my answer, it was visible in the way he looked at me and the way he stood. Giving up, I walked off, leaving him where he was. I would go to the steps of the hall, give him time to think over what I had said, keeping him within a safe distance from me. I watched the way he held himself, uptight, strong, the appearance of a leader slowly fading til his shoulders had slumped down, his hands dangling at his sides. The facade he put on, the appearance he put on was just that. He was not the leader he would be yet, he was still young and naive. Slowly he turned around, momentarily glancing up to see where I was before returning his gaze downwards again. Stopping near where I sat, you coming? He looked over at me for a second before walking off again, heading to where he slept.

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I stood up, following a few steps behind him until we were passing the barracks. I need to grab some stuff. Stay here. I told him as I jogged off into the barracks, grabbing my sword and a few knifes, and heading back out to where Kelshoro stood. All ready. I smiled at him, trying to lighten his mood with the fact that I now had various weapons on me. Sure you did not forget anything? He looked me over, if he was amused he did not show it. Mentally counting the knifes as I pointed as each of them, yes, I am sure. And if I fail to have enough, I am sure I will find some with your sister. What do you mean? Asked the prince, taking offense to the tone in which I had stated the previous comment. I mean, she is always armed. I smiled at him, unlike others. He grumbled under his breath as he turned and walked towards where he was staying. Smiling to myself I realized I may had just pushed him to the point that he would arm himself, then I would not only be worrying of others harming him I would have to watch him from himself as well.

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Chapter Three

You coming? He glanced over his shoulder at me as he continued to walk towards the building he bunked in. Right away. I smiled. Walking towards where he was going. Entering the building I followed him to a break in the hall way, to the left was his room. I waited until he had gone in and sat on the edge of his bunk before looking around the room. All walls were solid, no point of entry from the outside other then the door way. Satisfied I moved back to the door way, leaning my sword against the wall near me and sitting in the opening with legs crossed, my hands in my lap fiddling with one of the knives I had. You going to sit there all night? Asked the prince. Yes. Will you sleep? No. Do you want a cloth to wrap around yourself so as not to get cold? No. Fine. I heard him grumble as he shifted behind me, laying

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back and preparing to sleep. I remained in my position throughout the night, until another came to relieve me just before the sun began its rise. He's still asleep, I looked back, he will probably remain that way for a time to come. Makes the job easier. Said my replacement as he moved into the door way. I moved my stuff out of the building along with myself, back into the barracks. Crawling into my bunk it wasn't long before Taki poked his head over the side. What do you want? I glared at him. You are not in a pleasant mood. He smiled. Shush. I told him as I turned to face the back of the wall, leaving my back exposed to the rest of the room. Waking to silence in the room, I rolled back over looking around the room. It was empty, devoid of all occupants. Leaving the barracks the sun was high in the sky, the noise of the city was loud enough to wake the dead. No one seemed to be bothered by the activities that had taken place the night before, though everyone was sent away they must have known something happened. It would only be a matter of time now until the others came. Through that next month I worked the night shifts, staying with the prince while he slept and sleeping until the sun was in the middle of the sky. A month since the first other showed themselves is when the first sign of them showed again. By now we had defenses set into place, guards at every entry to the city as well as

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others in the trees around the perimeter. The sun was coming close to setting when the commotion started, I sensed one of the others behind me, turning I saw one being escorted into the center of the city and to the hall by one of our guards and one of the Syrians. Ignoring my first instinct to take its head off I hollered for the others near by. He was a brave one to come right to the city. Kie stood next to me. Or he was blind and walked into it. Taki chuckled. Or the most probable reason is he brings a message. I pointed to the two guards, see they are not restraining him, which means he is coming on his own. I glanced at Taki and Kie. Just then Sakie walked up, the hall is being cleared of the humans, except for the leader. The commanders are all heading there to hear what he has to say. Just as Sakie finished catching us up on what was going on a scout ship buzzed over our heads, turning slightly to land between the hall and the tree line. It hovered for a moment before lowering down to settle on the ground, dust being turned up from underneath it. As the entry slid open, the three commanders who had stayed on their ships came out, immediately walking into the hall just as the other passed us. Leaning against one of the pillars I watched as the other was taken in front of them and left standing there as the guards backed away some steps. Inside the hall every member of the council was present, the oldest of them all sat in the middle of the line. Why have you come to us? The oldest council member asked.

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Tis it not obviouss? The other snarled out. Draconus sends a message. He wishes to meet with the council. He could have come on his own. said Margol. He will not come in your sity. He wantss you to come to him. He motioned his hands out the hall. Why? asked Nucuranda. To discusss your retreat. His tail moved, almost slithering from one side to the other as he spoke. Tell him we are not leaving. And if he wants to remain intact he will leave the island. The eldest spoke again. You will be des-stroyed. stated the other as he turned his back to the council. Walking towards us at the entry way, leaving the hall, he stopped momentarily, looking behind him. My lord comes now. He proceeded out between the pillars and out of the city the way he had come. A commotion had set up in the hall, the council members were discussing what they would do. I looked at them for a moment before returning my eyes to the other, watching him as he left. See the humans moved into the barracks. said the eldest as he moved from his seat to address everyone at once, place guards with them, inside and out. The Syrians and Delas will position in the trees and bush. Those who have assignments will position themselves with those assignments. The rest will be throughout the city. If Draconus wants to engage he will fall once and for all, do not engage them until they make the choice though. He may just come to speak. We will remain here.

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Chapter Four

Moving away from the pillar I went towards where I had spotted the prince standing, before I got two steps away I felt a hand on my arm. Watch yourself. I turned my head to see Taki, watching me almost as if he expected me to spit fire. I'm proficient, you said it yourself. Exactly. Do not start a war by picking his men off as they come into the city. Show some restraint. Taki glared at me. Shaking his hand off my arm I moved forward, glancing back long enough to give him a small smile, which he caught. I glimpsed him laying his head against the pillar before I moved my attention back to in front of me. You. I pointed at the prince who was picking up a stick. In your room. He looked at me like a child trying to defy their parent. You are not my mother, nor my father. No. But as long as I sit you, you will listen when tis in your best interest. I stopped in front of him. I could help, I should be here. And what would you do?

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I do not know. In your room where I only have one entry point to watch and three walls around you. I went to move, noticing that he failed to move. What? Give me a weapon, I can help. Stated Kelshoro, with as much seriousness as he could put onto his face. I burst into laughter to the point my eyes were watering. When I straightened back upright I looked at him, having to contain another spout of laughter when I saw his face. His eyebrows were furrowed together, he squinted, and his lips had almost turned blue from the pressure he was exerting pursing them together. Come, we will find you something. I chuckled finally able to breath some and speak less. The one time you smile. He elbowed my arm, is at my expense and when trouble comes. I find little funny, glancing to my side at him, but you, the look you held when you asked for a weapon, after our previous discussion, was... simply funny. You think I have never held blade? He looked at me. I have known you many years, and have yet to see you with any more sharp then a knife to slice the fruit. I tried to restrain my laughter. Kelshoro looked at me, stopping in his steps. Come, do not make me carry you. Fool would you look

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slung over my shoulder carried off as a disobedient child. I motioned for him to go in front of me. Tis not your concern. He moved forward. Oh but it is. If you lose thy head, I will lose mine. I smiled at him, and I have become fond of this head, even the strings that tend to grow from it. I thought I noticed it was braided. Been entertaining oneself? And if you tell such to others, I will be forced to place flowers on your head. He chuckled at my comment, obviously feeling slightly better. I handed him one of the knives I carried, one with a short blade should he stab himself it would not create internal damage to him that would require healing. This is puny. He held it up by the blade between his fingers. And tis sharp. I grabbed the handle, gently easing it out from between his fingers and turning it so that he could grab the handle. Should be held by the handle, not the blade, unless you want to cause yourself to bleed. I know that, he grinned sheepishly, I... I was testing you. If you say such. I shook my head, doubting he even understood the words flowing from my mouth, or his. Why is the... began the prince.

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Come... we must hurry. I nodded for him to look in front of us. There in front of us was none other than Draconus and his pack of blood thirsty lizards. He wore a gold colored draped wrap. It hung over his left shoulder and hung almost to the ground in the front and wrapped around his back over the front of him. He seemed to have a permanent snarl on his face, carrying himself with purpose, almost as if he had pride. He stood tall, he had to be twice my size in height, his build was a lean muscle though, almost thin but I knew he was stronger then he looked. Akita. I moved in front of the prince as I told him now, knowing he would know what I meant. We were a set of paces from the entry to where his room was, if we moved now I could have him inside before Draconus spotted the prince. Holding my sword to my side I stepped back, pushing my back against the princes chest, trying to make him move as he seemed to be frozen to his spot. If you do not move now, I will harm you. A... I... Yeah. He stammered out as he turned and began walking quickly the last few paces for the entry way. I stood in the door way and watched as Draconus and his pack marched by, he looked over once sneering in acknowledgment at me, a few of his warriors looked over as they passed. I stood in my spot, continuing to watch them as they continued through the city, meeting others of the federation standing near buildings, watching them also. When I was sure the last of them had been flanked by well and none were straggling behind I moved back, inside where I walked to the prince's room. Assuming my position in his door way I looked at him, watching as he looked over the knife I had given him. He had no idea what to do with it, it was obvious in the way he handled it, shaking my head I turned my attention back to the outside of his room.

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Chapter Five

As I stood in the doorway I closed my eyes, knowing they were heading to the hall to meet with the council. Concentrating on the hall I sent my mind there to watch the transaction that would take place, so I would be prepared for what could happen. I stood by the wall, near where the council was, watching as they stood as Draconus walked in. You look like your father. Said Nucuranda as Draco came to stand in front of the council. Why have you come? Draco looked around at those gathered in the hall, weighing his options visibly. You do not be-long heres. Neither do you. One of the council members stated. I have been here... ssinse your kind a-band-doned thisss planet. It be-longs to me. What would your father have said if he knew what you had done? One of the members questioned. My father is-sa dead, yous forget, I killed him, ass-suming control of the legionss. Draco began. He sat on the council at one time, you disgraced him by the actions you have taken on this world. My king stated. He was-sa weak. He bowed to your wishess. I will not.

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Then why are you here? You are seeking approval from us, or war? Neither. Draco sneered at the comment, if I want you dead, you will bees. I want a bar-gain. What type of bargain could we ever have with you, you vile scaly excuse for a... the Syrian blurted out. Enough! He ordered as he slammed his fist into the table. My king looked at everyone before he spoke, we will not engage in such antics. What could we gain from a bargain with you? Or more so, what do you have to gain? 'Tis best to keep yours petz under control. Draco snickered as the hall's occupants grew restless. I am willing to leave yous bee. You s-stay on thiss island, do not grow crystals or teach them of these pasts. Or you do, and I wipe the island clean. You for-get, thiss world, be-longs to me. The small one, who was the highest ranking member of the council finally spoke, he had been quiet all through the meeting until now. This world, belongs to the entire universe. It was created as the library of all who have existed before. Their potential is worth the lives of many. If your father was still alive, he would see you thrown in a prison of your own creation for trying to control this world, and I am tempted to do the same. But I agree with the actions we took many years ago to let them fight for themselves... for now, he looked at Draco to make his point stick, we will remain on this island, you still stay off of it. If any of your kind set foot here again, we will fight for them. Draconus shook slightly, whether it was from rage or a chill no one could know. Be it then... th-iss way. He turned and walked from the hall, followed by his guards.

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I stayed for a moment, watching the council as they sat back down, quietly, thinking to themselves. Sending myself back to the body I occupied I opened my eyes in time to hear the prince behind me. What did they say? He is leaving, the island is ours. I turned to look at him, watching the relief go over his face. Someday you might have to defend yourself, you may want to take some lessons. He glared at me, but said nothing, just sat there, looking towards the wall.

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Chapter Six

A week after Draconus came to the island I was watching practice go down at the training center. A number of children had gathered while our own were training and the instructor thought it was okay to begin teaching the children. Watching them move unevenly, falling over from loss of balance, not moving together it seemed like a lost cause. Shaking my head I turned to walk away only to come to near collision with the prince. "What tis going on?" Kelshoro asked. "Look for yourself." I nodded behind me. He peeked around me into the training center, "looks like play time." "It looks like an uncontrollable mess." I ground out between my teeth. "Would you..." he began as I started to walk off. "Would you teach me?" "Teach you what?" I looked at him as he came closer. "Train me." He almost whispered it out. Watching him I almost laughed at the idea. He looked so serious it was a bit unnerving to think of him with a weapon in his hand. "What kind of training?" I finally managed to asked.

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"To fight. To not get sick at the sight of someone dying." "You need more help than I could offer." I began walking off again. "But, you could begin it." He jogged to catch up. "Fine." I stopped, turning towards him, watching the looks on his face wash from one to another. "Come to the training center tonight after everyone goes to sleep. I want no eyes to see you harmed." He stepped back at the last statement, "okay, tonight it'is." He walked off without saying another word to me. Shaking my head I couldn't believe I had just agreed to train him, although it gave me the opportunity to inflict some much needed aggression onto him without others seeing I had done it. As the sun began to disappear and people returned to where they slept I walked out of the barracks and to the training center. Sitting on the steps, watching the sky lose the color and stars come into sight, waiting for the prince if he would show. His figure came from where he stayed, looking around him as if to make sure he was not being watched he walked quickly to where I sat. "Are you sure?" I asked him, giving him one final chance to change his mind. "About you training me or possibly inflicting pain on me?" He tried to smile. "Both." I smiled at him, standing up and moving inside the building with him following closely behind me. Swinging my arm back I stopped inches from his face, "lesson one, never follow

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close enough for someone to get you off guard." He looked as if I had struck him. "You could have hit me!" He accused. "Yes, I could have, and you would have stood there while I did so. Do you have no instinct to duck? Move before you are struck?" I watched him move out from behind me, as if his ego had been bruised. "We will begin with what I first learned, to block out the pain and move the energy around you." "Alright." He agreed. "Stand with your back straight." I told him as I reached for a training staff, a long firm wooden stick. "Move your hands in front of you, form a pyramid with your hands. Thumb to thumb, finger to finger. In front of your chest. Legs slightly apart forming another pyramid between them." As he did so I struck him in the back of his thigh. As he yelped "pain reminds you that you are still breathing. Breathe out and move your hands forward. Feel the energy in front of you. Bend your knee slightly," I tapped him on the right leg, "release your hands so the palms face one another and move over the top of the knee. Move the other direction, bending the knee as you move your hands over it. Placing all of your weight on that leg but not moving the other." I hit him in the back, "back straight at all times, do not unbalance yourself. Bring your hands down, palms towards the ground, eyes forward. Turn your palms upwards, both knees bent, weight centered between them, raise up using only your leg muscles and bring your hands up pulling the energy with them." Bringing the staff against his stomach so that it made a thwarting sound as it struck him, "suck it in and do not lean forward. Breathe through the movement, in through the nose, a deep long breath. When you move into yourself, you breathe in. When you push energy away from you, you breathe out through your mouth, forcefully. Do not breathe out

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when you are hit." I struck him again in the chest as he breathed in, showing him that he could hold his breath when he was hit. "Is all the hitting of me really necessary?" He asked, beginning to move out of the pose he was holding. "Yes, it teaches you pain can be blocked. Pain does not exist unless you give it the power to hurt you." I hit him again across his back, hard enough that I was sure there would be a welt there when the sun rose. "Do not move until you are told, remain in this position, arms outstretched to the sky, palms together above your head, knees bent so your thigh" I slapped the staff against his thigh, "is even with the floor, shin is straight up and down." "My legs are hurting." He complained. "Block it out, it is supposed to hurt until you do not give it the power to do so." I walked in a circle around him til I was standing in front of him. "Now, straightening your legs, lift your body with your legs, so they form again the pyramid. Move your hands to your right as you bend the knee, to the left, to the middle forming a pyramid with your hands. Breath out from your mouth as you push the energy away from your body, moving again to the right, left, down, up." I repeated it over and over again as he did it, moving faster with each rotation. Striking him in the back, the stomach, the chest until he stopped groaning and losing his breath when struck. Pretty soon he was doing the rotations without me having to remind him of what came next, he was no longer feeling the staff strike him, moving through the motions as if it was only him there, no one else, nothing else around him. Blocking the world out around him, not thinking, just acting. Rotation after rotation, strike after strike. When he looked as if he would fall over from tiredness, I stopped, standing in front of him leaning on the staff, "you can stop."

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"How long have we been doing this?" He asked as he tried to stand upright, failing at doing so he sat on the floor. "By the sky's outside the night is almost over, a third of it remains." I watched him sitting there, obviously beginning to feel the pain again. We were done for the night, there was no reason for him not to feel it now, but I was not about to heal him, the pain would be a good reminder for him. "You should go to bed, try to sleep before your head begins pounding." "My head?" "Your head. T'will be pounding when the sun returns. Will feel as if you have been struck by a falling wall. Your body will ache, you will have bruised flesh covering your limbs and torso." I put the staff up, turning back towards him, "but do not see a healer." "Why wouldn't I?" He asked, sounding confused. "The pain will remind you that you are alive. It will be there until you learn to ignore it. And until you learn to ignore it, you are not to be healed. Some pain is good, you will feel it throughout your life, a healer cannot always fix it. You must learn to go about your day with it, work with it, block most of it out and work with the remnants that are left." Watching him as he stood up he seemed unstable, much like the children here yester day. He moved as if he had no legs left to stand on for the entry way, glancing back at me I could feel the rage coming off him. But his rage would push him to do just as I had said, he would not like being seen as a failure, his rage wouldn't let that happen. He left, balling his fists up, limping almost as he crossed the streets to where he stayed.

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I remembered the first time I had done this. I had signed up less than a week before for the training. The instructor took pupils one at a time, one day at a time. I had heard the yelps and the whimpers in the training center, seen them walk out after a day of this, the bruises, the body marks, the limping, the look on their faces, much the same as the one I suspected he had. When my day came, I had reacted much to my own protection, moving my body away from the blows which only landed me harder, firmer ones. I would have swore the instructor had broken every bone in my body by midmorn. It didn't stop, my only hope was to block the pain from my mind, learn that it did not exist, breath through the blows and movements. I walked out of there ready to rip his head off of his shoulders as he laughed at the limping walk I had. The only thing that kept me from turning around was the fact that I knew he could stop me. I slept for hours, never once waking to eat or drink, and when I finally woke my body was screaming. My head felt as if I had put it through a stone wall. I couldn't move my limbs without a throbbing pain going up my body and sending my head spinning. I got nauseous and emptied my stomach acids onto my feet, falling forwards so my face was planted into the stone floor of my room. Crawled to the chair that was in there and pulled myself to my feet. After I was upright and the room spun around me a good number of times I began to breath through the worst of the pain, the rage I had felt for the instructor had made it possible to fight through the day. It got me through the day, remembering what my instructor had said, "if one cannot function, one is useless. Pain will remind you that you can function, that you can breath through it." It was as right then as it was now, the princes rage would get him through tomorrow and back here tomorrow night, if for nothing else then a belief that he could someday take me on, the way I had taken my instruction on in the final training. The prince would survive if for nothing else then the hope to see me in a face plant on the floor. I went back to the barracks for what little sleep I could get.

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As I was crawling into my bunk Taki leaned over the side of his and asked accusingly "what were you doing?" "Beating Kelshoro." I answered as I laid back. "Ha... no really, what were you out there doing?" "Just what I said. I'm going to sleep." I responded as I turned over to face the wall, putting my back towards the bunks opening to make sure he knew the conversation was over. As the sun rose into the sky again I was washing my face in a bucket of water we kept in the barracks. Relaxing a little before the rest of the city began to wake. "What did you do?!" Taki came back inside, looking at me. "What do you mean?" I looked up at him, leaning with my hands on either side of the bucket. "I mean the prince is in his room bent over with his head between his legs and looks as if he has been attacked." I started laughing, "I told you last night what I did." "You are in so much trouble." He took a step towards me, "you do realize that you are supposed to protect him, not harm him. His father has called for one of the healers..." Before he could finish what he was saying I ran out of the barracks and to the building the prince was. Pushing a few of the people standing in the entry way out of the way and forcing my way to his room. When I got there I saw the healer just coming from the other direction, the king standing over his son, his mother and sister in the hall.

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"Stop!" I ordered. The king looked at me, the queen and the princess watching me along with the rest of the people gathered. "Do not heal him." I stated as the healer tried to get by me. "And why should I not?" She demanded. "Because, he needs to feel it. He must get through the day with the pain, the bruises will fade, the pain he will block out." "What are you talking about?" Asked the king, sounding displeased with my response. "I did this to him." I looked at the prince and then at his father. "He wanted to be trained, I began with what was taught to me first. This day will be painful on him, but after it, he will function better." "You did what?!?" The king yelled at me. "She's true." The prince murmured out as he tried to stand, leaning against his father. "I asked her to. She did what I told her to do." "Why in the world would you ask for it?" The king demanded of his son as he helped to hold him upright. "Because I am useless..." he whispered out "...as I am now. I have no training, no skills. She will train me, she is..." he coughed and winched as the pain was sent up his side to his head, "She is protecting me by teaching me to protect myself." "What will you have me do?" The healer questioned, to anyone willing to answer as the prince bent in half and threw up on his father, the floor, anything near him.

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"Leave him." His father said as he looked down at his son. "He brought this on himself." Kelshoro's mother was shaking her head, closing her eyes as his younger sister laughed uncontrollably. The healer turned and left the building, throwing her hands into the air as she did so. "You, stay with him." The king pointed at me as he left his sons room, his wife following behind him. "You sure did a job on him." His sister leaned against the doorway as I moved in to sit the prince in his bunk. "Never did I think I would see such, by your hand no less." She began laughing again. "He needs to learn. As do you." I glared at her as her face paled at the thought before she left the building as well. "The nausea will pass. Your head will split open in agony and your body will adjust to the feeling of pain. You will be fine by tonight's lesson." He moved his head to look at me only to have pain shoot up his entire body bringing another wave of sickness to himself. After he was able to sit up without looking like he was going to fall over he looked at me, "what do you mean tonight? What could you possibly do to me after the night before." I smiled at him, "you just wait, you will see. Relax until the room stops spinning around you, then eat, drink, learn to go about your day without concentrating on the pain." "Where are you going?" He asked as I went to leave. "Back to the world outside," I smiled again, not able to

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control the humor I found in the situation, "I have my own duties and training to do. You are not my life." "Like..." he began, again bending forward as the sickness rose with the rage building inside him. I left him there, head bent over, stomach acids on the floor, the room spinning around him. Walking back outside only to make it a few paces as Taki cut me off, along with Kie and Sakie. "You beat him!" Taki accused me, which only brought a smile to my face again. "And she enjoyed it and the after effects." Kie put it. "Tis nothing any of us has not been through. She knew what t'would do to him." Sakie fought back laughter as he attempted to defend my actions. "He will survive, I did not strike hard enough to damage organ." I looked at Taki, smiling at him, knowing he was laughing inside. "The pain will subside as he blocks it out, the bruises will heal. The bones will mend themselves." "And what'will you do to him this night? Another round? More rotations? Or do you plan to follow our training?" Kie asked, no longer able to keep the smile off his own face. "I will follow our training. He will be sore tonight, and even more so in the morn to come." I told them as I walked around Taki who seemed to think by standing there he would stop me. "I wish I could have seen last night." Kie stated as he followed behind me. "Maybe all kings and their heirs should be put through it, so they understand what they require of those under

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their command. T'would make better leaders, stronger stomached ones." "We are to protect them, not harm them." Taki told me, as well as Kie. "Tis protecting them by teaching them to ignore outside forces." Sakie started explaining. "To ignore outside forces makes them better able to handle themselves should we not be present." He was an Aragon, by all accounts, his personality fit their race even. Thinkers, planners, laughers, fighters... all wrapped in a package that looked to be arrogant, no one suspected them of any ill deed. There was silence all the way to the training center, I had my own skills to refresh, preferably without the speech that I suspected was coming. As we walked into the training center, we found it empty of other occupants, the instructor was no where to be seen. "Where is he?" I asked those with me. "He felt it better to take the youngsters to the beach, softer for them if they fell." Sakie leaned against his shoulder against the wall. "Still trying to train the raft of ill disciplined humans." I joked as I walked to the center of the room. Taki and Kie walked with me. "Not joining us today?" "I will watch, I have kept up on my end of doing this, and I do not favor being beat like you did your prince." He smiled at the thought of what he knew happened on the previous night. Taki had walked to the wall that held the training weapons,

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throwing a sword to Kie and a set of them to me. "Maybe we will teach her not to harm her job again." He looked at Kie, who shook his head in agreement, lifting his shoulders slightly. "If you think you could do it." I smiled at him. Swinging them around at my sides, they looked like a fan going around even though it was movement in both directions from my wrists. Kie and Taki moved around me, never both in front, but always one on either side, or one in front and one in back of me. Closing my eyes, feeling where they were and where they would be before they moved. Kie came from behind, bringing his sword down as I moved, ducking as Taki came at me. Swinging a leg around Kie thumped against the floor as Taki brought his sword against my back, creating a thud sound that echoed off the walls. We fought each other, two on one, switching offenses and defenses from each other, working off the partners thoughts for most of the morning. When we were done Sakie was seated against the wall, having watched the entire thing without joining in. I had thought he fell asleep at his post of babysitting us, but he moved before he could be struck by Kie's leg. "Serves you right!" Sakie laughed when Kie winched at the pain of shin meeting stone. "Are we done here? Because I could use some nourishment." "Yes, we are done." Taki answered, retrieving the training weapons from Kie and myself, putting them up where they belonged.

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Chapter Seven

After the sun had set in the sky I had my doubts whether the prince would come to the training center or not, he was not used to being uncomfortable, the mere fact that he had turned the healer away was surprising. But he did return, I watched as his shadowy figure left his building, again checking around him as he made his way towards me. "I did not think you would come." I told him as I stood up. "You think so little of me." He stopped a few feet away. Shrugging my shoulders I turned and walked inside. "We will begin the same as we did the night before. You will begin each training session with these movements. Sensing the energy. If you fail to keep composure, I will strike you, so you must watch yourself." "I don't know if I can do that again." He sounded off his opinion. "My body still aches from the last time." "And it will continue to ache until you become accustomed to it, until you are familiar with it. To do that, you must repeat it, over and over. Block the discomfort out." "And watch my composure or you will beat me again. I got it." He moved into the beginning pose without my telling him to do so, moving through the rotations, breathing, maintaining that important balance.

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I let him do a dozen rotations before stopping him. "This," I held the staff in front of him, "is a staff, apparent enough. Made of firm, solid wood. It is a training weapon as it can harm your partner, or yourself, but it will not kill or cause loss of limb." I smiled, watching him try to refrain from quieting me. "When it is in your hand, it is an extension of your body. It is part of you, you drop it, you might as well have dropped your arm." "But..." He interrupted. "No. It IS part of you. It IS your arm, your hand, your defense. You drop it, you die." Well, maybe not die, but he did not need to know such. His weapon needed to become that important to him that it meant life or death, as it very well could be the very thing between life and death. I handed him the staff, retrieving another from its place. "Move it, feel it in your hand and feel it as it moves, as if it was your hand moving through the air." I showed him basics to moving it, up, down, side to side, around. "As it moves, let your wrist begin to bend with it, the movement of the staff moves your hand, your wrist. Working its way up your arm to your elbow. Your elbow moves with it, it is one fluid movement of your arm. Up to your shoulder, as your arm moves, the staff moves, it is your arm. Your body begins to move with it." I explained each step as I showed him, going slow enough for him to follow instruction. "As you bring your arm up this time, bring it around your head." I showed him how to swing it above his head. As he followed my instruction and did as I did, his staff bent with his wrist and plopped against the top of his head. Rubbing his head he stopped moving, looking at me as if I had done it on purpose. "You knew that was going to happen?" "No, not for sure." I laughed, "but when you moved it, you let your wrist bend when it should have been your shoulder and elbow. When your wrist bent, your staff lost its balance and one

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end came down and..." I gestured towards his head, smiling at him. "Again. This time without me to show you." I walked him through the movements verbally this time, taking hold of his arm and showing him how to move it with the extension. Stepping back and verbally walking him through it again without helping him. On the third rotation he did it himself, slipping here and there in the pattern he was following. By the time he had done it the 5th time, he had it down. Side to side in front of him, around as his wrist turned, down, up, over his head and around, down in front of him. I watched him go through it a few more times. "Now, you will have one in both hands." I took the longer staff away and handed him two short ones. "Again, it is in the wrist, the elbow, the shoulder, your body now has extended into your weapons. Do not drop them as they are your life line." I stood 10 paces in front of him, assuming the pyramid position, arms dropped to my sides, weapons inches above the floor. "Follow my movements, do not stop to think... you do not have to think to do this, it will become how you move, it will be you." Moving my arms front to back as if I was playing, I let the weapons pass a breath away from my legs, back and forth. Sure he was following my movements. I brought one in front of me and one behind me, moving them in much the same fashion as I had at my sides. Beginning to move them so one would swing in back, along my side, behind me, and the other would do the opposite I turned to make sure he was doing it, now facing him. He kept clunking himself in the legs. "Do not just dangle them, they are your body, control them." I shook my head as he hit himself in his shin, he did not complain though, he began again. I began turning my wrists as I kept up the movements, causing the weapons to appear to be spinning. "When I step

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forward, you step back, do not stop the motion, be aware of your body, where it is, where it is going." Stepping towards him with my left leg, I spun the right arm around in front of me. Stepping back with his right leg, he spun the left arm around in front of him. I stepped with the right, spinning the left side around. He stepped back with his left, spinning the right in front of him. As I began to back up, he followed by coming towards me. "Bring them both up in the next step, above your head." I showed him by raising my arms, "as you take the next step bring them down," stepping with my left leg I brought them down to the right. "Back up." Raising my arms before I moved again, stepping with my right, I brought them down to the left. "Alternating the sides, always bringing your weapon down on the opposite side allows for two actions. The first being that you do not strike yourself, the second being the force behind your movement. Striking in the opposite direction as your lower body allows for the force of your upper body to be pulled into it, thus resulting in a stronger movement." I looked over my shoulder, watching him try to get the movements down without fail. It took him a few paces to learn it, but once he had it, he had it and I doubted he would forget it after tonight. "Now, do this movement to the other side of the building," I stopped moving, intending on watching him, "when you get there, step with your right foot, bring them down to the left but instead of towards the ground bring them to your side." I showed him by imitating the motion I wanted, taking a step with my right, I brought the weapons down to the left until my left arm was stretched out to the side and my right thumb touched my ribs. "As you bring them around like this, turn your hips, the movement of your arms are momentum, they will help to turn you. Your right foot will pivot as will your left." Showing him what I meant, he watched closely. "Then walk back again in the same fashion."

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I stood back, watching him do as I had instructed. When he got back to where he was standing in front of me, "again" I told him. Having him do it until he did it without hesitation, without thinking about it. I could tell when he thought about it by the hesitation in his movements, he would break for a split second before moving. He needed to move without that, for this to become how he walked, how he talked, how he breathed. In as he brought the weapons up, out as he brought them down and stepped. The sun was beginning to rise when I finally stopped him. "You are done." I told him as I placed the wooden staffs I held back on the wall. "I think I will be thinking about that the rest of the day." He put his next to mine. "Good." I looked at him, his posture looked tired, weary. "You will not forget it then. It is engrained on the back of your eyelids by now, with any luck." "You are evil." He smiled as he looked over his arm at me. "You requested it." I raised an eyebrow. "I was not thinking clearly at the time." He turned, intending to leave before I threw any other offenses at him. "Maybe sleep would do you good, if you return after the sun sets again I will know it is hopeless." I called after him, laughing as I made my way out after he had left. "At it again?" Taki announced as I walked into the barracks. "I did not have to hit him this night." I answered as I dropped my head into the bucket of water inside the entry way.

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"I should hope not." Said Taki as my head came above the water again. "He is learning. Do what I say, or be beat for disobedience." I smiled as I made my way to my bunk. "May the sky fall down on anyone who does such." He laughed, leaning against the side of my bunk as I crawled into it. "He will be asleep in his room, if you should feel the need to check on him." "And you will be here I assume?" "Of course." I turned over, ending the conversation. Listening with my eyes closed as he chuckled and left the building. When the sounds died off in the building, and the sounds began outside I fell asleep, intending on sleeping as long as my job was in his room sleeping.

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Chapter Eight

I woke in the barracks to the sound of Kie and Taki arguing. "...T'was your fault!" Kie finished. "Was not." Taki answered him with a chuckle. "Was to. If not for you, I would have been clean still!" "Would the two of you cease the noise!" I yelled at them as I rolled out of my bunk. "Who did what does not matter. The fact that you smell as horrid as a rotten corpse does however matter. You need to bathe." I looked at Kie, he was covered in the bile of who knows what and moving towards the bucket of water. "No!" I moved towards him. "You are not bathing in that. Go to the beach, both of you!" I looked Taki over, he had some of the same vile contents on him. "Why don't you come with? You haven't bathed in days. You are beginning to wreak." Taki pushed me towards the entry way. "I was planning on it, but the two of you need it worse than I do." I walked out into the bright sun. It would be time to eat soon, and the sun would follow shortly after by setting over the horizon. "Race you." I glanced at them before sprinting into a run down the path that lead to the beach. Running into the water and diving under just as they came down. The water was refreshing. It was cool, but not cold.

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Swimming out until I could no longer touch the floor of the sea, I floated on my back, waiting for them to catch up. The life in the ocean did not fear us, they would swim right up to you and bump against you. There was a variety of sea going animals everywhere you looked, a rainbow of colors swimming under the waters surface. Swimming for a time, I decided it was time to get out before I wasted what energy I had, that I would need for tonight when I met Kelshoro at the training center again. He had been doing well the past few months, improving nightly in his skills. He had just passed the test last night, where I had blindfolded him and made him work off of the energy around him, the vibrational changes in the air that signaled someone approaching him. Tonight would be his test, whether he was ready or not, tonight he would get his chance at taking myself on. I had slept most of my days away these past few cycles, working at night, relying on the others to watch him during the day. He no longer complained when he got hurt or struck, he seemed happier as well. Walking back up to the shore line I laid down on the sand, watching the sky, listening to what was around me. Sitting up and watching Kie and Taki in the ocean, still arguing over who was at fault. "Kie!" Someone screamed, looking around we spotted who had yelled, some young boy from the city was running down to the beach where we were. Kie stepped out of the water, wrapping a cloth around his waist, impatiently waiting for the boy to come to him. "You in trouble?" Taki asked as he went to stand next to Kie.

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"Not as far as I know." Kie shrugged his shoulders, watching as the boy took the last few steps to reach where we were. "You must have done something." I voiced my opinion of the situation from where I sat on the sand. The boy came to a screeching halt not a pace away from Kie, leaning over with his hands on his knees, breathing as if there was not enough oxygen in the air. "Well? What is it?" Kie prodded. "She... she is having pains." The boy stammered out. Kie's eyebrows creased, not understanding what the boy was talking about. Sighing deeply he dropped his arms from their crossed position down to his sides. "Who?" "Meka!" The boy screamed as he stood straight up, looking at Kie as if he should have known. "She is having pains. She will have the child, she sent for you!" I watched as Kie's face turned white, he looked as if he would fall over any second. Oblivious to the situation occurring, unmoving, his mouth hung open as he stared at the boy. "Looks like your going to meet the child you made." Taki slapped him on the back knocking Kie off balance. "I... ah... " Kie stammered as he stumbled forward, catching his footing from the blow Taki had landed him. "Where?" Again the boy looked at Kie as if he had grown a second head. "In your home! You must hurry, she says t'will not be long."

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I remembered Kie had moved with her into a building they shared not long ago, she had insisted they have a home with walls and roof and both be inside of it. He had tried to persuade her it was not needed, to which he was struck over the head, he agreed soon after that t'was the safest choice. As content as I was watching Kie look as if the world had suddenly turned upside down, his standing around looking helpless was beginning to annoy me.

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Chapter Nine

"Should you not see to your mate." I commented to anyone who still had ears to hear with. "But..." Kie began, not knowing were to go from there. "Go, we will be along shortly." Taki pushed at him, laughing, "you must be brave. She cannot do much damage to you if she is in pain." Kie shot a look at Taki that pleaded for help and held a tone of annoyance in it before he walked behind the boy who had come running down not a moment before. Finally moving into a jog behind the boy as he sprinted back up the beach towards the city. "You think we should go?" I asked Taki. "He thinks we are." He smiled at me, obviously amused at how gullible Kie was at the present moment. "I think you should as well." Standing up and brushing my backside off. "T'would be good for you." "And you?" "What about me?" "Would it not be beneficial to you as well?" He nudged my arm with his elbow.

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"I will never be in that position, I see no need to be present." I shoved back, hard enough to push him away from me. "Neither will I. I am not one who carries child." "No, but you enjoy the company of those who do. You may need to understand your position in the birthing of children." I watched his face go from humor to irritation. "I will go with, but only because I believe she will need someone to hold Kie down as she beats on him. You, are going so you understand the results of your actions." Kie had gotten there a good time before us and was already seeming to assist in the bearing of his child as we walked into the home. He was on his knees, his eyes watering and hand turning white under the pressure that Meka was squeezing it. He looked to be in a great deal of pain as he held his arm with his free hand. "Already made her angry I see." I resisted the urge to laugh at the situation, and was glad I did so when Meka glared at me. The woman did not appear to be in pain, but looked to be quite angry. As her facial expression returned to a more normal state she let go of Kie's hand. He did not wait to hold it to his stomach, protecting it from her. Her breathing steadied and she laid back against a soft pillow that had been made out of cloth and feathers. Seeming to relax for a moment. "Do you not wish to go to the healing center?" Taki asked her, or anyone else present who may answer. "No!" She glared at him. "The baby will be born here!" "I already suggested such." Kie spoke softly. "She wishes to

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do this with friends and her sister. She does not want the healers here to assist..." He did not get to finish as her face scrunched into one of anger again as she grabbed at his shoulder, bringing him forwards, she moaned as her stomach looked to tighten. Nails on her fingers were digging into Kie's shoulder blade as he yelped and blood seemed to trickle out a little from under her nails. Looking around, anywhere but at the scene in front of me, I spotted Meka's sister moving about, gather clean cloths, stopping to stir a bucket of water sitting over a fire. Nearby was the boy who had run down to the beach to get Kie, recognizing him now as the sister's child, he looked frightened to be in the same quarters as Meka. "Your watering!" Kie ground out from between his teeth. I looked back and his eyes seemed as if someone had pulled them wide open, he was staring at Meka's legs. Following his stare I saw what he was talking about, she seemed to have water running from between her legs as a cloth was becoming damp. "'Tis nothing." Meka's sister walked over. "The pouch that the baby is in is filled with water. Must break before the baby is born." "I think I'll wait outside." Taki tried to turn and leave. "I don't think so. Your staying if I'm staying." I grabbed a hold of his arm. "You both... are... staying!" Meka had turned her glare on us as her face once again returned to normal and she let go of Kie. "If you will," the sister motioned to Kie, "sit on the stool,

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you will help support her." "What do you think I was just doing?" The words fell out of his mouth as he turned his head to look at his shoulder. "No. You will sit, help hold her up. Support her weight." The sister persisted, moving the stool around for Kie to sit on, pointing at it as she stared at him. Sitting down on the stool he grumbled something in our own language, too soft for me to catch. And I again found myself resisting the urge to laugh at him. The sister helped Meka to her feet and into a squatting position between Kie's legs, moving his arms so they were under her arms, supporting her. "You." She pointed at Taki, "come, kneel here." She pointed to Meka's left side, "she will need someone to hold onto." "No." Taki argued, "I did not do this." "You will sit down!" Meka yelled at him as her face twisted with pain. He did as he was told, looking fearful for the first time as he lowered himself next to her, yelping in pain as she grabbed his arm. Her sister was on her right side, stroking her arm, "breath." She coached Meka, gently smiling at her. She seemed to be the only one present not disturbed by the situation. "Relax and breath with the pains. You will feel the baby's head and know to push... will help the baby come faster." I looked at Kie who was behind her, he looked dreadfully panicked. Sweat was beginning to bead on his forehead as he looked down to what was in front of him, his eyebrows crushed together as if in deep thought. Never had I seen a man look so

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distraught and confused as this moment. Taki was no better, he looked downright scared of the situation. Meka's nephew was huddled in a corner of the home, sitting with his eyes closed. Meka's scream brought my attention back to the situation at hand. It was blood curdling and unnatural. "Its... baby... coming." She cried. "Nesenty!" Her sister hollered at me. "Catch." "What!?" I stared blankly at her. "The baby... 'tis coming. You must catch it so it does not hit the ground. Be gentle." She watched me stand there, unmoving, I assumed my face was as pale as those already drawn into assisting. "Move!" Moving slowly over to stand in front of Meka I looked at her sister, "what do you want me to do?" Fighting the urge to retch at the idea of a child coming out of a too small hole, mixed with the liquid blood dripping. "Kneel down in front of her. Put your hands under her body and when the baby's head shows, cradle it, place another hand under it's back as it comes out." She instructed, looking at me as if she was encouraging me. "DO IT!" Meka screamed at me as her stomach seemed to tighten again. Dropping to my knees I closed my eyes as I reached my hands between her legs, fighting the nausea back down my throat. I opened my eyes again to see something white protruding out of her. I felt my eyes begin to jut out of my skull, looking at her sister she just smiled at me and shook her head in a positive motion. I let

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my hand cradle the top of the white colored hair showing, and as Meka groaned the baby slid out of her. Resting my other hand against its back I looked in the opposite direction as a gush of bloody liquid came out after the baby. The tension in the room stilled for a moment, as I looked back at Meka she relaxed onto Kie's legs, letting go of her sister and Taki. Kie seemed stunned, mortified in his position, he did not blink, he did not move, he did not seem to breath. Taki on the other hand, moved as fast as he could in the close quarters, going around me, out the entry way and I heard the sound of him emptying his stomach. The baby began to squirm slightly, making a whining sound. Meka's sister moved around to my side, lifting the baby out of my hands and placing it on top of Meka's stomach, right below her breasts. "You did good." She ran her fingers across her sisters cheek, smiling at her. As the shock wore off I felt the bile begin to rise in my throat again. Moving outside I barely made it out of the entry way as it came out. Throwing up on top of Taki's feet, he had been standing in the same position just moments before doing the same thing I was now doing. I looked at my hands, covered in slippery, slimy, sticky chunks of blood and other bodily fluids and retched again. "Do you mind?" Taki asked hoarsely as he looked down at me. "Never again." I mumbled out as I wiped my mouth on the cloth wrapped around my torso. "Never again what?" The voice of the prince penetrated my thoughts.

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"Meka just had her baby." Taki offered. "Boy or girl?" The prince asked, watching us closely. "I did not look." I answered him. "It was horrible! Did not look human!" I tried not to sound mean. "I will never, attend a birth again. Some things should not be witnessed." The prince laughed as he walked off. I watched him walk away, back towards the hall. I looked at Taki who was beginning to get some of his color back, he looked at me as if almost afraid to talk to me. And then he smiled at me, that quirky sideways smile he always got before he said something without thought. "At least I did not have to catch." Reaching over I slapped him along the side of his head. "You..." "You two can return!" The sister's head poked around the wall. "Come on. It can not be that bad... now. The worst must be over." Taki encourage me to follow him back inside. Walking back inside, Meka's sister handed me a cloth to wipe my hands off with. When I looked to where we had just been, I saw Kie leaning against a wall, sitting with an arm around Meka's shoulders, her head rested against his shoulder as he looked down. Barely touching the baby she held, now wrapped in a cloth, clean, looking like a small version of a human. "Tis a boy!" He exclaimed, looking up at us. He was smiling, it was a wide turn of the pain that shown on his face moments before.

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Meka looked up at us, smiling, a feeling of thanks radiating off of her. She did not say anything, her eyes returning to look at the baby in her arms. As I went closer, I noticed the baby watching them. He was looking at his parents, noticing what was around him. His hair was as white as the sand near the ocean, his eyes the color of water. A greenish blue, sparkling, twinkling. I couldn't help but smile at him. "Would you like to hold him?" Meka looked at me, watched me as I watched her baby. She moved slightly, moving her arms so the child was held out away from her. Reaching a hand behind his head, mimicking the position she had held him in with my other hand under his back and his body along my arm. He squirmed a little and settled down, staring up at me it was as if he could see right through me. I watched him as he watched me, his eyes were so clear and looked so much like water I almost got lost in them. He began wiggling in my arms, not sure what to do I looked at Meka's sister, "what's he doing?" "He is moving." She looked at me like I should know, "getting comfortable." "You going to have one?" Kie chuckled, looking at me. "No. No, no, no." I handed him back to Meka, stepping back. "I don't think so." "Me either." Taki added his thoughts, glancing at me as he added, "we will watch over you and yours." "Thanks be to you he is here." Meka rocked the baby in her arms, as he began to nuzzle at her she moved slightly, putting him

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to her breast as he suckled and his eyes began to close as he settled in to her warmth. "I would agree to help anytime, but I do not think I could stomach that again." I smiled at her. She started laughing, leaning her head back against Kie's shoulder. Falling asleep not long after, Kie never once took his eyes off of her or the baby, watching them almost as if they would disappear if he looked anywhere else. Leaving them there, I followed Taki out of their building as her sister seemed to console her boy. He must have been traumatized by the scene he had witnessed, but no doubt he would be in Kie's place at some point.

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Chapter Ten

The birthing was over, the meal had been served in the hall already, and the sun had already begun its descent in the sky. It was time for the prince's final lesson. Showing Kelshoro how to use the blade without removing his own limbs was a task I was not looking forward to. He understood the basics and did fine through practice, only harming himself a handful of times. But there was only so much that could be taught through training weapons, he needed to understand how sharp a blade could be, and be able to use it without fear of harming hismelf. To be confident in his actions so he would not faulter when he needed his training and instincts the most. Handing him the sword I caught myself watching his every breath, every twitch of his body. He had come a long way since we started, but this moment would prove whether he retained the ability or not, one wrong move and he could sevar his own limb from his body. "You ready?" I asked him, taking hold of my own sword. "I believe so." Responding with a slight doubt in his voice. "Do what I do..." I looked at him to make sure he did not run, "it is in the wrist, as the wrist moves so does your blade." I started slow in front of my body, moving my wrist in circles, back and forth. "The sword is an extension of your own body, it moves with you, it does not resist." As he began doing it, I sped the pace up until he was able to follow in front of his body. "Adding in the function of the elbow, wider moves can be made. Keep in mind the

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sword is your arm, its joint is your hand where you grip it." I moved my sword in wide circles, quick so it seemed to spin in a circle in front of me, watching him as he followed suit, doing what I did. Stepping forward with my left leg I brought my sword around from the front to the side, never stopping the motion of my arm. Stepping with the right foot as I brought it over my head, reaching up with my left hand which had been against my body's chest to grip the handle with both hands, slicing downwards. Pulling my arm back, forcing it fowards, slicing the blade sideways and back up. Watching the prince follow me move for move. As he continued to spin the sword again I began turning my entire body with the movements of my arm, the sword my extension. Going low, upwards and over my head, in front of me, behind me, beside me as I dropped to my knees and let myself slide slightly, both hands on the handle as I brought it sideways above my knee. Standing as it swung upwards, I turned to face him, to see if he was truly ready or not. Moving towards him he didn't see me, but he felt me coming at him. He reacted quick enough to keep his shoulder in one piece. As I brought the sword up from the bottom he blocked it. Backing away from me, he did not try to back me down, which was what I was looking for. One swing, one slice through the air after another, he continued to block it, the anger inside of him showing in his facial expressions but he was still backing from me. "Attack!" I yelled at him. "If you do not attack me, I will kill you." His eyebrows squeezed together as the last of his anger made it all the way up into his arms. He came at me, matching blow for blow with his sword until mine was locked with his in a struggle of pure strength against one another. He pushed forward, pushing me backwards. Dropping down I let go of the sword and swung a leg around, catching him off guard as he hit the floor.

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Reaching his arms near his head, he pushed himself upwards, coming at me with his fists. He fought with everything that had been building up these past few months. Finally he pushed everything that was inside of him outwards, throwing me into the wall, my back slammed into solid stone. Throwing my top half forwards as I put my hands down when my knees hit the floor. I looked up to see him coming at me still, his eyes bloodshot from the anger inside, turning to the side I rolled away before his foot was flat against the wall where my head had been. I moved behind him, wrapping an arm around his neck as I brought his right arm behind his back, twisting upwards until I felt the bone begin to crack. "Your done." I told him calmly, holding him until he stopped fighting against me. He steadied his breath and relaxed in my grip. "I don't know what came over me." "It was your anger, your hatred for being beat on the last few months." I smiled as I let him go, "We all react that way when we get our chance. 'Tis good, shows you can use it to fuel yourself." "It felt like I had lost control of myself." He described. "As you should when you fight... you should lose control of senses, feelings besides what fuels you. No concern for yourself or others, just reaction. But always remember, you use it, you do not let it use you. There is a difference, and as fine a line it 'tis in the sand, you must be wary never to cross it."

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Chapter Eleven

"How will I know if I cross it?" Kelshoro asked, watching me. "It is not something you know so much as something you feel." Pausing, I tried to think of the best way to explain it to him. "You can describe to me how you felt. You say you felt as if you lost control, yes?" He nodded. "You could feel that you were not in control, you realized you no longer felt anything but that anger. Tis when you cannot recognize, when you can no longer feel that loss of control that you have crossed the line." "That does not make sense, tis not logical to know when you lose control but are in control and when you lose control and are not in control." He shook his head not understanding me. "Try looking at it this way. If the tides of the ocean bring a storm, that storm is not in control of where it goes, it just goes. It is not controlled by anything, anyone. If the tides of the ocean rise and fall, building great strength with each rotation they make as the moon cycles through, controlling the sea's of all living things through the vibrational changes. The moon is in control of those rises and falls in the tides. Yes?" He nodded. "When you feel that you can control the direction you go, decide left or right, this person or that person, you are in control even if it feels you are not. If you ever cross the line, you will not make decisions, you will go right or left, not of your choice, you will kill all, not pick and chose between people, that is when you have completely lost control." I stopped, waiting for him to understand, when he failed to

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acknowledge it, I continued. "When I pinned you, you made the choice to stop fighting, you were in control even though you felt out of control. Had you let the anger control you, you would not have stopped." "I get it... I think." He chuckled, shaking his head tiredly. "I believe I have been too long without a good rest." "As have we all." I agreed, letting my neck rest by dropping my head in front of me. "What will you do now?" "What do you mean?" I looked up at him without moving my head. "I mean, now that you have trained me, you do not have to watch me every second. What will you do with your time?" He tilted his head to the side. "I will probably still watch you, only more closely as you may now harm yourself." Smiling as I told him that. "HA! So this was a test, to see if you had to watch me more closely or not." "But of course. You cannot be trusted by yourself, more so now than ever." "You... are evil." He pointed his finger at me. "Really though, I do not know what I will do." Sighing, "you do not have to be watched every second as you should be able to defend yourself until help arrives. I will still watch over you, always have my mind open if you are in need. But to pass my time,

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I do not know." "Sleep?" Laughing as he said it. "Perhaps. Become lazy, do not but sleep and eat." "Would be a sight. You never sit still long enough to sleep with your eyes closed, least not that I have seen when you are standing over me." He watched me crease my brows at his comment. "I mean to say, you do realize you sleep standing up with your eyes open, do you not?" "Just to convince you I do such so you do not try to sneak out from under my nose." I watched him debate with himself over the meaning of my speech for a moment. "But you will never know. Tis time for sleep now. Return to your chambers, crawl into your bunk and stay put until someone can follow you around. I will be in the barracks." I got up and walked out before he could try to continue the conversation with me. Rubbing my temple as I walked, I stretched out my back. Trying to work the knots out of it as I made my way across to the building. A lot had happened since arriving here, many races had presented themselves, ships came into the city daily, I had even caught a Syrian courting a human. Kie's child would only be the first of many half breeds I thought to myself, and even though his was not technically a half breed, it did carry both the downgraded genetics of it's mother and the advanced genetics of Kie. Human, but seemly more human than the humans present at this time. Shaking my head at my own thoughts I walked into the barracks, splashed water on my face and crawled up into my bunk, closing my eyes and falling asleep without interruption.

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Chapter Twelve

I slept for a short time, forcing myself to wake when the others began to stir. I needed to straighten out my suns from my moons, adjust my body back to waking during the day and sleeping at night. The only way to do it was to force myself awake until the sun set again. But Kelshoro's question came back to my mind, "what will you do now?", it was a very good question because not even I was sure of what I was going to do. My first opportunity to do something else came as Taki's legs swung over the side of my bunk from his, I poked my finger into the back of his knee. "Watch it." He grumbled hopping down. "Or what?" I gave him a dirty look. "Or nothing, just knock it off." He stretched out his arms above his head, bending his back to stretch the bones and muscles. "What are you doing today?" I asked, as he always did things besides following a job around. "Why?" He looked down at me. "Because I need something to do." "I do not know, maybe check on Kie. Make sure he still lives." Laughing, I slung my legs out, pushing him out of the way

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as I stood up. "I believe he was more afraid for his own safety than worried about the birth of his child." "I think we were all afraid for our own safety." A serious look came across his face, "who would have thought it was so life threatening to bring a child into the world... tis not that hard to create life, from what I have heard. Happens by accident when you do not think about it." "She did look angry. Must have been painful." "Could you imagine going through that, I couldn't... wouldn't want to be in Kie's position either, it seemed more dangerous than the birthing of a baby." I followed behind him as he rinsed his face in the bucket of water. "What t'will you do after checking on him?" "You going to follow me around all day?" He looked at me, scrunching his face up again. "Maybe." "I don't know what I am going to do until I do it. It may be a boring day, it may be one that gets me in trouble, I do not plan it out before." "Well you are not useful." I told him. "What do you want me to do?" Shaking his head, "I mean, what do you want to do?" "I do not know, that is why I asked you what you did." "Do you not have any exercises or things to do that bring

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you pleasure in doing them? Something for you to occupy yourself with? Something you did back home, that you could do here as well?" He stood with his hands on his hips, leaning his weight onto one foot, watching me think over my routine back home. "No, no not really. I train and meditate, I work, I eat, I sleep and begin again with the next sun." I had nothing I did back home that I had done here, or could do here. "You are in need of something exciting." He threw his arms in the air as he turned, walking out of the barracks. "You got something in mind?" I followed behind him, almost walking into him as he came to a halt just outside of our building. "No." He turned, looking down at me. "Maybe you should go check with the Syrians, I am sure they would be willing to teach you to swing from tree limbs like a wild animal. Or the Aragons, they may teach you to have a sense of humor. Or the Elik, I am sure they have something for you to learn, build a ship, a hyperdrive, something. Or maybe the human friends, if you have any, might be able to teach you to work with your hands instead of your mind." He prodded my head with a finger. "Use your brain, there is plenty around to do, you just have to look for it." Turning, he walked off leaving me standing there with nothing to do. I stood there, trying to think of something to do. After a good time I was still empty handed and decided to go about a normal day. I walked to the prince's chambers, standing beside his bed, watching him sleep, waiting for him to sense me there and wake up. "OH!" Came the startled voice as his face assumed a less than calm expression. "By the stars! Nesenty! What are you doing

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here?" "Doing what I normally do. Watching you." I told him as calmly as I could, trying not to laugh at the expression on his face. "And here I believed I would wake to something other than your face for the first time." He sat up, his feet on the floor, rubbing his face. "But to my surprise, what do I find? You... again, you... standing over me as if I might stop breathing." "Tis my job." "You take your job too seriously. You need to relax." Cracking the bones in his back to release some of the ache in them he stood up. "You going to follow me around all day?" "Maybe." "Maybe?" He looked confused. "I might find something to do along the way and leave you be, until then, I am your shadow." "May the sun help me. You need to find something to do." He gripped my shoulders, turning me to face the door way, and pushed me out. "Go, before I have you escorted out of the building." When I looked at him, he simply waved his hand, "shoo, go, find something to do. Preferably, something you enjoy that does not involve standing over me."

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Chapter Thirteen

After being shunned out of the prince's chambers, I proceeded outside the building. Sitting down on the steps, elbows on my knees, I rested my chin on the palms of my hands. I watched the city, actually stopping to look at the city and the people for the first time in a few cycles. The buildings shown white, the siding on the buildings were smooth, solid stone with a sand white color to them. The pillars in each of the entry ways large enough to be two humans tall, or more, and would take at least two, maybe three arm to arm to wrap around them. The market where food was brought into for bartering over with the growers was made of four pillars, one in each corner, a thatched back and two sides, the front of it wide open, with a thatched roof that let sunlight through but kept rain out. The streets were still dirt, but instead of having dust flying everywhere, it had been smoothed down to a solid ground, in some places stones had been placed to create a stone walk way. People were busy everywhere you looked, making wheels, carts by hand or through using their minds, or sometimes both. Cloths being made, dyed, hung to dry in the sun. Every now and then you'd hear the hum of a ship fly overhead, watching over everyone. Children still played, crawling around, screaming in excitement. You had wild animals that would now walk right into the city, play with the children, leave. Birds chirping, people exchanging good days and talk of something they had heard. It was maddening, everything was so unexciting to watch and listen to, it was enough to drive someone to jump off the side of a cliff somewhere.

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Shaking my head, I stood, walking out of the city, finding the noise of nature to be a lot more comfortable to listen to. The jungles were still there, thinned in places by moving of the plants themselves, but it was still there. The waterway for the garden, out to the ocean, for boats to travel through were now like canals. From the garden the canals ran the borders of the city, around and out towards the ocean on the other side of the city. Filtered as the water was, it came from a fresh stream deep in the jungle, was run through filters to clean it of the muck and create safe drinking water, constantly moving, flowing. What was not used was run out into the ocean, replacing what we had taken at any given time, nothing effected the cycle of life here. It was built with the cycle in mind, in oneness with what was around us, a lot like home. Engineers from my home, along with other engineers from many other planets had argued tirelessly over how to do the construction so that it suited everyone. Spending a set of suns and moons in the hall, arguing over plans, debating what would go where and how it would blend with the island and the other construction. Even a few humans got in on the debating, after listening to our engineers they learned how to function. Humans were quick learners when they wanted to be, many of them had picked up traits and worked alongside us non-Earthlings now. The humans here were advancing, much faster then I had expected, both in their intellect and abilities, once they were introduced to it and shown how to do it, through practice they engrained it into their minds, their bodies. I walked without watching where I was going, with no destination in mind. In front of me was the garden, it was huge, much larger then I had thought it was. And it was a lush green color, every kind of plant and flower you could imagine shown there, it was a rainbow of colors flowing with each other as the ocean tides flowed together.

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The garden was north of the city, the city was south of the garden, the sun rose each morning on my left, in the west, and set each night on my right, in the east. And if I went to my right, a ways inside of the jungle would be that waterfall that I had used to still my mind, still this body and learn what it had to share. The memory of it still fresh in my mind. The water flowing down into a gentle pool of water, the few outcroppings of stone near the pond, the tall green grasses and vines, moss growing everywhere, the huge trees, the clean calming scent there. I could almost feel the water washing over me again. Turning south again, I headed back towards the city. Crossing one of the many bridges that went over the canal, stopping and looking down. It was a good 50 paces wide, with clay sides, it had been blown out, dug down, smoothed, and a natural clay had been laid over the sides to help prevent loss of water but also to allow the water to seep out slowly into the ground. Continuing on into the city, it was much as I had left it earlier, the sun was passing the middle of the sky but people were still busy, children still played, chattering still surrounded you. Looking over my shoulder I caught sight of the Syrian wooing his potential mate. Just the idea of how that would happen had me almost gagging and laughing at the same time. The Syrians were a hairy bunch, much like gigantic dogs that walked upright, almost like the beasts that did both upright and on all fours. The idea of a human mating with one of them was not a mental image I needed, I did not really care to find out what the offspring would be either. If the birth of Kie's child was any indication, the birth of a half Syrian from one of the humans, small in comparison to them, would be deadly for anyone near by. Walking by one of the buildings that was set up for doing body markings, I watched as a human learned the trade. Using a laser to mark the teachers body, marking in circles, intertwining

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with each other. He was carefully monitoring his thoughts as the technology could pick up on it, changing colors, flowing from one to another. In the other direction there was an Aragon arguing with one of the Elik and a Lyran over the proper way to construct a machine based off of energy of the user. I watched as a human child, no more then 7 or 8 seasons walked up between them unnoticed, hit the machine with a stick, pounding one of the outsides closed and watched as it started to hum to life, spouting colors every which way. The three of them were in a panic at first, ready to chase the child off until the machine began working correctly, the girl looked up at them and I heard her say "see!" And then she walked off, leaving the three of them speechless. Laughing I continued down the street, stopping at the market to grab a few pieces of fruit as I made my way to Aree's. I hadn't seen her in a while, I found myself curious as to how she was doing, what she was doing. Walking to her home I found her grinding plants, flowers mainly, in a bowl to make dyes for the cloths she made. "Good day." I said as I leaned against a pillar. "Good day be to you." She smiled at me, continuing to grind the vegetation into a powder. "Hungry?" I offered her one of the fruits I had. "Yes, starving actually." She took a bite, "I have not stopped to eat as of yet this day." "You realize you could make that powder the same as you make the cloths, using your mind?"

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"Oh yes, I just prefer to do some things the way I used to." She took another bite, "kind of makes me feel more normal, more like my old self." "Just making sure." I watched her squat back down, setting her fruit beside her and beginning to grind away again. "I hear you delivered child." She stated it as a comment, but with a question somewhere in it. "I was..." I did not know how to put it gently to her, "caught in the position of being able to help." She laughed, stopping her actions momentarily as her head tilted back and she had a good throaty laugh. "I hear you did a good job. At least you did not drop the child." "Meka may have killed me if I had." I shrugged, trying to contain the bubbling of the laughter inside, "she looked as if she was ready to kill already. Tis best not to try and anger someone who is already on the verge of beheading your comrade." "Oh yes," she chuckled, "I heard about Kie's reaction as well. They say he acted as a baby, crying and whimpering when she took hold of him." "He did do that." I agreed with her. "She nearly had Taki's eyes watering as well. And she shouted orders you did not dare disobey." "I have heard sometimes, you create a new speech while you are having those pains. Lucky you still understood her." She smiled again, her eyes crinkling at the sides. "I hope to never find out." I was honest with her.

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"You do not want children?" She stopped, looking up at me as I sat down in front of her. "Not if I must go through that... even if the opportunity to harm someone without reason was to present itself." I laughed, "we do not bear our children in that way where we come from. Tis not something I would wish to experience. What of you, will you have children?" She sat back on her heels, obviously thinking of what she should say. It was a moment or two before she spoke, "I think I might like 2 of them. A boy and a girl. But before that, I need to find a mate that I can withstand being around." She smiled again, joking. "There seem to be plenty of eligible human males, as well as some..." I paused, trying to resist laughing again as I remembered the Syrian and his human partner, "...not so human ones." "Yes, but finding one you can bare longer than a few cycles is the trick. If you can not stand the sight nor smell of him for more than a few suns, you should not have children with him." She stated as she went back to grinding. "I suppose your right. Tis a not a necessary where I am from, but it may be useful to consider should I ever have a lapse in judgment and want child." I tried not to gag at the thought. "What about Taki?" She blurted out as she looked at me. My mouth must have hit the ground as I shuddered as if a chill had struck me. "Ah... I..." I stammered trying to find the words.

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"You two seem to know each other well enough, can spend time together." She prodded for me to talk, smiling the entire time. "We grew up together. He is..." I tried to think of the right usage of words to describe him. "...he is... up for debate in friendship, but I am not looking for a mate." "If you say so." She went back to moving the stone around in the bowl, "but if you ask me, you two may make a fine child someday. Imagine the kind of person that child would be with his humor and your... what shall we call it, ability at denial?" She looked up raising an eyebrow. "Be careful where you speak." I gave her a warning glance. "You can deny it, you can look the other way, but you will remember what I said." She spoke as if she had already seen how things would be. "I will see you tonight at the hall?" I asked as I stood up, a little uneasy. "You will. Blessed day." "You as well." I walked out of there as fast as I could. Stopping to breathe as I watched the people beginning picking up the days work. Setting it aside for another day, talking with each other more, spending time again with each other without work between them. The sun was moving more to the west, beginning to make it's descent, allowing for the moon to ascend into the sky. The colors shown on the clouds above were a mix of pinks, purples, blues, oranges, yellows, reds... the normally clear blue sky itself was beginning to take on other colors as well, a lighter coloring as the

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sun marched its way down.

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Chapter Fourteen

Sitting in the hall, waiting for the feast to begin, watching the people come in. At the back wall, there was a table that had been erected, again out of stone, smoothed and polished. It served for gatherings of the council as well as holding the food that was brought in. The people of the city had stopped eating meat, for the most part. They still ate some, but it was mainly the Syrians and Lyrians that ate meat now, they hunted, it was who they were. But the difference showed when they killed, instead of killing out of spite or anger, or injuring the animal and leaving it to die, they killed immediately, thanking the life that had been given. Behind the stone table there was an alter, steps that rose up slightly to a pedistle. I had heard the rumors of what they were going to put on it. A crystal was being grown in one of the labs on board a ship, the idea brought a smile to my face because I knew they were doing just what Draconus told them not to. The crystal would inevitably hold the collective memories of the people here, it would take on the memories as someone past, leaving them behind for others to view. It would also control an immense energy, giving our technology, as well as every living thing on the island an upper hand. It would extend the lives of those living here, changing the vibrations in their bodies. As it was now, we, even in their bodies, would outlive them. Taking on their bodies had adjusted their genetics, waking the sleeping genes up, activating their full capabilities. Where they had 10 years of aging, we would have one. This body was young, and by the time some of the people I knew here died, the body

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would still appear young. The half-breeds, like Kie's son, would age at a slower rate than his mother, but his life would not be as long as Kie's either because he did carry those genes that were still sleeping, even though he was more advanced. If I lived 200 of their years in this body, the body would only age approximately 20. For all intense and purposes the body was still a child, when they were in their final days of old age, the body would still be young. I knew I would send more people to the next life before this body began to die from the inside out, it was not something I looked forward to. "...Nesenty?" Taki had been talking to me and I had been so deep in my own thoughts I had not heard him. Looking up at him standing over me, he repeated himself. "Where were you all day?" "Walking." "And where were you just now?" He sat down by me, handing me a bowl of fruits and vegetables. "Inside. Thinking." "What about?" He popped a piece of fruit into his mouth. "How we would outlive them, even in their bodies." I glanced at the humans around me. "That is a pleasant thought." He glanced at me, giving me an uncomfortable look. "How was Kie, still breathing?" "Surprisingly yes. He says the babe woke numerous times through the night, would scream as if to wake the entire city, and every time it did so he was jumping up as if a war had begun while he slept." Laughing he shook his head.

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"And the mother?" "Meka is fine, she spends her time coddling the child and trying to calm Kie down, trying to convince him there is nothing wrong." "He will get used to it." I shrugged as I ate my food. "He may no longer hear afterwords though, and worst of all if a war did start while he slept he would more than likely sleep through it." He chuckled. "I doubt that, he will learn to determine between his child and the cries of war." I was not completely sure of the statement myself, but I could hope. Looking up I saw Meka standing with the baby in her arms, some of the humans were looking the child over, obviously taking in that it had a full head of hair that was as white as his fathers, not something that occurred everyday around here. Kie was coming back to where she stood with the food, setting the bowls down and taking the baby from her while she sat down. I watched as he shook his head as the baby started crying, he looked tired, his head beginning to hang in dispare as he couldn't quiet the child. Meka did not seem phased at all, she just smiled at him as he tried to move the child into a different position. Finally he started walking in circles and the baby started cuing as well as kicking the cloth wrapped around it off, flaring its arms around, nearly knocking Kie in the face a couple of times. It seemed to be violent but I was almost positive that this was normal. He walked towards where Taki and I sat, stopping a step in front of us. "Would you like to sit the baby?" He looked from Taki to me.

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Laughing, Taki looked at him and shook his head. "No. Tis not my duty." He glanced over at me, "but she may, she has nothing to do, has not had such all day." "Can not be much harder than sitting the prince, at least this one can not sneak off." I stood up, brushing my hands on the cloth around my hips and moving towards Kie. I felt sorry for him, even though he had done this to himself, he still looked as if he had not slept in days and it had only been one night. As he handed the baby to me I asked, "Have you given him a name?" "No," he laid the baby in my arms, it stopped cuing and wiggling momentarily as it looked me over, "she says we must wait 3 days before giving him name." "Why?" I asked as the baby began to kick again. "Something about time to feel him, know him. I do not know, tis a confusing custom but I dare not argue with her." He shook his head, "bring him back when he begins to cry, he is normally hungry, or so she says when he does that. If you feel something wet, do not worry, tis just body fluids emptying out, he seems to leak periodically without warning." He turned away from me, head hung and walked back to where Meka was. He looked as if he would fall over any moment. The idea of the baby leaking on me was slightly disturbing, I looked at Taki who just shrugged and refused to meet my look. Then I felt a hand on my chin, looking down the baby had placed one of his hands on my chin, barely covering it, he was tiny. Staring at me with those eyes that seemed to look through me, he was not kicking or swinging his arms around, but seemed to be getting red in the face. My eyebrows creased as I looked at him, wondering what was wrong, if I had broke him by touching him, his mouth opened and out of it came a scream that had me wanting

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to cover my ears. "What did you do to him?" Kelshoro stopped in front of me. "I didn't do anything." I glared at him as the baby screamed in my arms. "He is crying, you must have done something." He accused me. Looking down Taki was ignoring it, I felt the urge to kick him where he sat but did not dare do such as I may drop the child. "Try walking around, rock him in your arms." The prince told me, watching me as I looked at him as if he had lost what mind he had. "My sister, when she was but a baby, she would stop crying when my mother or father did it. Tis worth a try to quiet the piercing squall he is making." Sighing I started moving my arms in a bouncing type of movement which just seemed to aggravate the baby as his fists balled up and he began to kick the air, turning another shade of red as he screeched. "No, no. Rock, not bounce." The prince handed his bowl to Taki and extended his arms, I gave the baby to him without regret. As he took the baby and rocked his arms from side to side the the child stopped screeching and began to cu at Kelshoro. "See, tis not horrid. She just does not understand you." He began talking to the baby in a low, almost squeaky pitched voice. "Yes, that'is it. Happy faces, look at that smile..." He put his face near the babies and kept the rocking motion up as he walked away. "Looks like someone knows more than you." Laughing

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Taki nudged my leg. "It is foolishness. The baby is laughing at him." "But he is no longer screaming and shattering the ears of anyone in the building." He raised an eyebrow at me. Giving up I sat back down and finished eating. Watching the prince as he walked around the building several times, rocking the baby, making imitations of it's facial expressions and vocal noises. The baby would remain quiet while he made the noises or faces and when he stopped jerk its arms and legs out cuing, never looking away from him, twisting it's little face up into all sorts of forms and waiting for the prince to copy him.

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Chapter Fifteen

Watching Kie and Meka, it seemed as if she was watching the prince with their son, Kie on the other hand, seemed to be sleeping against the wall. Mouth hung open, eyes closed, bowl in his lap, head leaned against the wall behind him. I watched as Meka elbowed him awake, he opened his eyes with a jerk and looked around. She looked at him, said something, and he got up off the floor and came towards Taki and myself. Where is the baby? He glared down at me. The prince has him. I almost laughed because he had not seen the humor that had taken place. Over there. Taki pointed in the direction where Kelshoro was with the baby. Kie looked over and chuckled, maybe I should have him come over, watch them while I sleep. The prince was sitting on the table where the food was, rocking his torso back and forth, watching the baby who was still and quiet. May be a good idea, the baby seems to like him. I commented. Oh he likes you just fine. Kie looked at me smiling, you just do not do what he wants.

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Already taking after his mother? Taki questioned, chuckling. Yes, very much so. You do as he wants or he screams and tries to strike you or kick you. Kie explained. He stood there as we got up, watching as Meka shook her head looking to where we were, walking towards the prince. They exchanged pleasantries and Kelshoro handed the baby over, who nuzzled against his mother. She walked over to where we were standing and smiled at us, she seemed to be very happy, always smiling at someone or smiling for no reason. Then she turned her focus on Kie and glared at him, he moved back slightly. I guess we are going home. He looked from Taki to me. You will have to come check on me in them morning. he added in a softer tone as Meka walked away, turning and walking after her. I do believe he has dug a hole and buried himself up to his head in it. Taki commented, watching as Kie followed Meka out of the hall. He did it to himself. I told Taki, watching Kie also. That he did. Taki agreed. What will you do tonight? Since you have no lessons to give the prince and your job does not require you to stand over him while he sleeps. He looked down at me. I plan on sleeping through the night, finally again having my days straight from my nights. I pushed on his arm, moving him out of my way as I began walking away. Don't want to take some lessons from him on how to

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soothe a baby? Taki followed me. No need to. I am not having one of them. I glared over my shoulder at him. Does not hurt to learn though. He argued. Yes it would. It would damage my mind. How so? It would probably involve sitting Kie's offspring, which from what you said and what it did when it was handed to me, means my head would explode by morning from the noise it makes. Hm... pausing a moment before he went on, never thought of that. That is the problem. Males do not think, before you know it you will have yourself in a hole with Kie. No I wont, I learn from others actions. That's why I must continue hitting you repeatedly, you aggravate me over and over and you must be struck over and over. I said 'others' actions, not my own. He smiled as he pushed me slightly off balanced as he walked passed me. He ran ahead to the barracks while I took my time walking there. I wanted nothing more than to lay down and sleep until I could sleep no longer. It had been a busy few months, between training Kelshoro, sleeping part of the day and rising to watch over

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him part of the day, then the birth of Kie's child and having to change my sleeping routine around. By the time I got to the barracks, washed my face, and began to crawl into my bunk Taki was already snoring in his bunk. I felt the sudden urge to hit him, if for no other reason then to make a point. But I lacked the energy to do such actions and decided on just turning over and going to sleep. Closing my eyes I listened to the silence, that oh so pleasant silence that came at night, even the animals outside became quiet. You could not even hear the ocean tides hitting the shores of the beach from here. It was the perfect sound to fall asleep to.

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Chapter Sixteen

...you going to get up? The voice penetrated my sleep. Taking a deep breath I rolled over and there was Taki, staring at me much the same way I had been staring at the prince the previous morning. I said, are you going to get up? Eventually. I snuggled into my bunk much like a cat would. You slept through dawn. He looked me over from head to toe, you feel fine? Yes I feel fine. I just needed the sleep. Good, because your coming with me today. He smiled from ear to ear, and with a few of the others. We're taking some of the children out to teach them to swim, I thought it may be something to keep you busy. Why are we teaching them to swim? I asked as I got out of my bunk. Technically, we're not. He shrugged, but someones got to be able to understand the Orcea. Your taking them to be taught by a pod of fish how to swim? I was sure he was in jest. The pods leader offered, he saw the children near the

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water the other day. Thought t'would be good for them to learn to swim. We are taking a boat out. He motioned outside as if I was not hurrying fast enough. I will meet you at the beach in a minute. I called after him as he walked out the entry way, stretching my body. Walking down to the beach I could already hear the children, either they had gathered a good raft of them or they found the loudest of them to round up. My question was soon answered as I came around the bend in the path, there was at least 20 of them, anywhere from what seemed to be 3 or 4 seasons up to around 10, 11 seasons. Must have been from the entire city, all of them, in one spot. Not one to skirt work or something to do, I did not let myself stop and turn around like I wanted to. I walked the rest of the way down to where Taki, as well as some of the Aragons were standing with the children. The Syrians and Lyrians did not want to get wet. Laughed one of the Aragons as I approached. If I wore that much fur, I would not want to get wet either, do you know how long it would take to dry? I pointed out the obvious. Jak is bringing the boat around. Taki informed me. Jak was a Pleiadian ship pilot, who better to manage a boat, at least if we got lost he could get us home by the stars. Just then the boat came around the side of the island that had cliff drop offs, the boat looked well made. It was much the same shape as the crescent moon, with a bar across from tip to tip and a netting in the middle. A large cloth held up by a pole caught the air and helped move it along the tides as he steered using what appeared to be a barbaric piece of wood stuck down into the water.

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The mere idea that he had agreed to pilot something so... so simple was absurd, he had to have been bribed with something. Sailing the boat up near the beaches as far as he could he jumped out and down into the waters, hanging onto a rope tied to boat. Waving at us as he called come on, they are waiting. Taki and the others picked up the smallest children, carrying them across and tossing them onto the boats netting, turning and doing the same with the older ones who had walked as far as they could into the water. You coming? Taki called to me, I was still lost in my own thoughts, watching this twig float through the waters, carrying a group of noisy children on it. Of course I am, I paused, looking once more at what I had agreed to and wishing I could take it back, I was just taking in the scene. Sure you were, Jak laughed as I climbed up onto the pillar of wood that went from tip to tip of the moon, your regretting it much as I am. If they had told me t'would be a piece of wood floating on water, with children caught in its nets I would never have agreed to it. But they had me agreeing and on the boat before they informed me of what was going on. Ha... I woke to Taki standing over me. I believe you got wrangled into this in a much more pleasant way. I told him loud enough so Taki would hear, he sent a glaring look my direction which had me smiling.

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Chapter Seventeen

Going out into the ocean a ways, we stopped as we began to see the rise and fall of the Orcea's back. They were circling the boat, going under it, under the netting and bumping the children. Who were laughing every time they did so, trying to reach their hands through and touch them. These are your friends, your family. We call them Orcea, they live in the waters but if you listen they will talk to you. Explained Taki. He dove into the water and was under for a good amount of time before coming back up with one of the Orcea beside him. He was talking to it, mentally of course, but every now and then it would make a sound like a chirp, bobbing its head up and down. This is Salik, he is the leader of this group. We call the groups pods, mostly they are a family group but outsiders are brought in or two pods come together when they pick mates. Taki ran his hand over his back. This here, is part of their body, it will not harm you, but it will give you something to hang onto. He held onto the Orcea's fin that protruded from its back. I listened carefully as the Orcea began speaking again. We will begin with the eldest of the offspring. Show them how to hold on, we will make connection through touch after doing so. Salik explained to all those listening as a group of ten others bobbed their heads above the water.

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Who here has seen the most seasons? I looked around for who I thought had, their bodies grew as they aged, so the biggest one had to be the oldest. To my surprise a small, thin boy stepped forward, he was tall, but he had no build to his body. I am the oldest. He rolled his hands around in front of him. You are going in first. One of the Pleiadian's, Shavi, took hold of him under his arms. She was being gentle but firm about the action and that he would go first, as his body language was nervous. She handed him down to Taki who wrapped an arm around his middle. Put your arm over his back, and your hand on the front of his fin here, he explained to the boy how to hold on, and your other hand on top of it, holding on with both hands. Salik will speak to you through the physical connection, soon you will be able to hear him without having to touch him. Do as he says, he will teach you to swim. Trust him. Taki let go of the boy as Salik began swimming slowly around the boat. While this was happening a few of the others had dove into the water and began taking children to their Orcea partners. Jak, Shavi and myself were on the boat with a handful of smaller children, trying to keep them on the boat. Pretty soon the eldest boy was hanging on with one hand, and then letting go and swimming, going under the water from time to time, as Salik would go under with him and help him back up. In a short time he was swimming on his own, laughing and splashing the water at Salik who would splash him back by bobbing his nose under the water and tossing it back up. The same happened with the other children as well. Throw the younger ones in. Salik said as he came

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alongside the boat, they will have more of instinct to swim, and hear us, will not be as hard as with older ones. Younger they are, more of connection they still hold to others. Shrugging my shoulders I grabbed one of the children crawling around my legs and tossed it overboard. The little boy kicked his legs and flapped his arms as he flew through the sky before he hit the water. Salik was right there waiting, as his head bobbed above the waters surface so did the child's, laughing as it was. He was kicking his legs and keeping himself above the waters surface as he played with Salik, who swam around the boat, enticing the boy to follow him. Me, me! A little girl tugged on the cloth around my hips, jumping up and down. She seemed younger, maybe a single season by her size. Here comes another. I sent mentally out to the Orcea. Picking her up and throwing her into the water as she laughed. Jak and Shavi did the same to the remaining children. Salik had been right, the younger ones took to the water and communication with them faster than the older ones had, they were swimming in half the time it took the older ones to get it. The children were all playing in the waters now, the Orcea swimming circles around them, going under them and tossing them into the air. The Pleiadian's were swimming around as well, playing with the children. Taki splashed water up from behind me, you going to come in? I dove into the water, giving him my answer in doing so. Swimming down deeper than the depth the dive gave me. Moving my legs as if they were a fin, forcing the energy they created to

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push me under further. Opening my eyes under the water resulted in an immediate sting that settled once my eyes had adjusted to the salt in the water. Stopping and looking up I saw the children's legs splashing in the water, the Orcea's swimming under and around them, the feet of the people who had been in with them above me. But I wasn't able to distinguish who was who from where I was, the water got darker the deeper someone went. My chest was beginning to hurt from the lack of oxygen, so there was only one choice of what to do, go back to the surface. As I popped my head out of the water Taki felt need to make comment, thought you had struck your head and drowned, oh well. He smiled, shrugging his shoulders at me and going under the water. I tried to watch where he went but my eyes were adjusting to the warm air again instead of the salt water. I felt something between my legs as he forced his way up directly under me, tossing me into the air momentarily before I hit the waters top, unprepared it made a slapping sound as I went under. Was that necessary? I asked when I spit the water out. Necessary, no... enjoyable, yes. He laughed at me. Placing my heads on his head and pushing him under the waters surface, I used all my weight to hold him down as two of the Orcea came over. He does not have gills, he can not breathe under the waters. One of them felt the need to inform me. If he cannot breathe, he cannot speak. I smiled at it, to which it splashed water at me, knocking me off balance so I could no longer hold him down. Would you like to go down? The other asked as she swam

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near me. Yes. I told her as I took a hold of her fin. I caught sight of Taki taking hold of the others fin. Diving under the water they swam faster than I had done, reaching the point where I had turned and came back up long before I did. Swimming down under the darkness of the ocean bottom was beginning to block out the light from the higher sea level. I again found myself having to adjust my eyes, not to the salt in the water this time, but to the darkness so I could see more of what was below. How far can you go? I asked my partner. As far as you can hold your breath. It responded, swimming faster. Looking to my right I saw Taki and his partner following along as well, we kept going deeper. The deeper we got the more colorful the fish and environment seemed to get, some of the fish were even glowing. They tend to be non-friendly, they do not like to associate with others whose skin does not glow in the dark as if they have been electrified. My partner made the comment as a joke as she knew who I was looking at. I tried not to laugh as it would result in loss of oxygen. This is as deep as we take you. So we can make surface before you begin to inhale water. Taki's partner told us as he came alongside my partner and me. Looking around at the life under the surface was amazing, it gave the above life a run for its life when it came to the varies differences in builds, colors... There were fish that seemed to glow, fish that seemed to have legs instead of fins, fish that had tentacles,

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others you could see through, all the colors of the rainbows above water and then some colors I could not even begin to name. Beautiful... Was the mental acknowledgment from Taki. That is. His partner bobbed his head. We need to go back up before they leave though. I told them as I sensed the others were loading the children back onto the boat. Hold on. My partner commented as she turned and sped towards the surface. The life under the water disappeared into the black darkness of the deep, the water gushed by at an alarmingly harsh rate, things blurred for a moment before we reached the surface. Popping out of the water with our partners. Thank you. I told my partner as I kissed her head, rubbing her fin slightly in case I may have hurt her. We will never be far away. She bobbed her head before going back under the water. Breathing in the warm air that was blowing by before I started swimming towards the boat. All the children had been loaded onto it, and were being blocked by Jak and Shavi from escaping back into the water as the others pulled themselves onto the boat as well. The children seemed to love the water now, wanting in it at all times. I grabbed one of the smaller children that had jumped in as I swam by her, tossing her back onto the netting as I pulled myself up out of the water. You two took long enough. Could have used some help

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rounding them up. Ti said as he blocked another child from escaping. You know, not everyday you get to see the life under the water. I smiled at him as I grabbed a child who was in mid jump, heading off the boat, dropping it back in the middle of the net and giving it a look that told it to stay put. It did stay put, sitting and pouting slightly as the others began to stay put as well. With Taki on board, those of us not steering the ship, so everyone but Jak, stood guard around the edges of the ship, sitting on the edge arms length apart with our feet dangling in the water as we made our way back to the beach. When we could see the ocean floor a few feet under the boat we hopped off the side, pulling it ashore as we did so. The children became uneasy again and started scrambling for the edge of the boat which they jumped from. Hitting the bottom that was below the water, some of them not even able to stand with heads above water when they touched bottom. On the shore were the parents, the city people had gathered since we had taken their children so long. I assume quietness was not something they were used to. But they looked happy watching the children splash in the water, jump, dive, swim, run and get struck by the waves only to come up laughing when their heads came above the waters again. It would be hard to keep the children from the water now, it was impossible to pull them out of it. But they were near the beach now, they would tire eventually and collapse, then the parents could carry them home.

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Chapter Eighteen

Over the next few weeks I began getting more involved with the daily lives of the people here. The variety of things I discovered there was to do was something I had never stopped to think about, let alone take part in. Learning to do things the way they did them was at times aggravating, it was easier to manipulate the energies around me with my mind, but some things they insisted on doing by hand and teaching you to do it by hand. One example of that being physically carrying baskets of food, and the creation of those baskets. They insisted that it was good to carry heavy objects around that were unbalanced. They insisted it was good to sit and weave a basket, that it allowed you to relax. What they found to be relaxing, I found to be something that I wanted to throw. Gritting my teeth and grinding them so as not to throw the object only made it more fun for those around me. Spending less and less time standing over the prince, and more time working alongside not only races from other planets, but the humans of this planet. I found myself out in the garden, checking on the crops, in the streets playing with the children, walking through the jungles without a single thought in my head. If anything, this planet was having an effect on me, making me think less, I did not know if it was a good thing or a bad thing. Over two months had past from the birth of Kie's son. They had named him after Kie's genetic donor, Ator. He had grown, if anything he had gotten more controlling. His mother, Meka, did not seem to mind at all, but Kie swore if he even breathed wrong the child would turn red and glare at him.

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Tonight they would be bringing the crystal in, it had grown and been activated. After having been activated, it was transformed into the shape of a human body. It held a huge amount of energy, giving and receiving at all times. It had been transformed into a human body because that was the reason for it's creation. The city's entire population had gathered in the hall tonight, instead of coming and going on their own, they came and stayed, waiting. The council had gathered, a complete show of every race out there, there highest ranking and most commonly the eldest of their race sat on the council. The leader of the humans, who we had first encountered now sat on the council as well, his position had gone from village leader to council member over the time we had been here. The hum of the ship setting down outside of the hall signaled the arrival of the crystal. It was brought in on a slab of marble, carried on wood placed underneath it, which was held onto by 7 different races, a Pleiadian, a Syrian, a Lyrian, an Elik, a Joca, a Meti, and two humans. It glowed, the light dancing off of it from the setting sun was not the cause of the glowing, but the crystals energy caused the glowing. Kneeling down on one knee in front of the council while they set the crystal before them they bowed their heads, offering the crystal to them. It would be the power source, the source of all the lives and memories of the people present on Atlantis, it would be protected and respected. The form was neither male nor female, but more a mix of the two or lack there of the two, it was hard to tell. It was a human form, but not quite both either. The council stood up from their seats, looking the form over as 13 members of the federation brought in smaller crystals, smaller forms. Heads that had been grown also, they were carried on golden plates. The federation members handing these 13 heads to 13 humans who carried them forward and stood behind the

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statue. As the council members transferred the statue to its pedestal behind them they were brought around and set around it in a circle. As the last skull was set down they all began glowing, they transferred light, energy into the statue in the center, which shot up a line of light straight into the ceiling, into the sky above. These crystals, will contain all the information we have to give to your world. They will be where your memories are stored, where you knowledge is stored. Where our memories, our knowledge is stored. It is accessible though contact with any of the skulls, or the statue. They will communicate with one another as they will communicate to those who access the information. No matter where they be in the world, whether here or somewhere else, or another planet, they will remain in contact with one another at all times, new memories, new information will be automatically transferred to them through the connection they will hold to all life. The eldest of the council members spoke, explaining to everyone present the ability of the crystals. As the crystals continued to glow, you could hear voices in the building when no one talked. Whispers from those past, the history of the worlds, the wisdom of the universe. An eery sound where it was all jumbled together as the eyes on not only the statue but on each of the skulls became brighter. And as the eyes of the crystals began to dull down, the voices began to silence themselves out, dimming down with the glowing of the eyes. You can communicate with one, or all. The voices will stand quiet unless accessed, and if accessed will only be heard by those in contact. It will not continually be speaking to all present. You must make contact, physical contact with the crystals to access the information. When the eyes glow, you know you have accessed it with a question or thought and it will answer. As long as all 14

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crystals remain in contact with one another, they will glow into the night sky. Should a day come where we must separate them, the beacon of light they make will cease, but they will remain in contact with one another. The eldest explained further, they are alive, they see, they hear, they understand, they remember. The entire hall was quiet, for the first time that I could remember, even children were quiet, staring at the light that shot up and the glowing around the crystals. Watching as it vibrated with energy, almost like ripples in the water, it adjusted, moved, flowed.

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Chapter Nineteen

The crystals would become the beacon of Atlantis, they became the source of all life. Actually extending the life of those on the island, giving warmth, giving health and ease. They became the life force of Atlantis. Smaller crystals were grown, attached to tiny ropes that were braided by hand and activated along with the smaller crystals. Passed out among the citizens of Atlantis, giving them a constant link to the statue and skulls that were in the hall. Not the ability to connect to the information so much as a link to the life, an improving health and extending their lives even more than just the presence of the larger crystals. They were giving to babies, hung near where they slept, worn around the necks of the older children and adults. Each person either carried one or wore one, no matter their race. Sitting outside the hall, watching people walk by, talk, see to their everyday duties. I saw Kie come out of his home, face in his hands as if his head was going to explode. Taki walked over to him, they talked and Taki began to laugh hysterically, bending in half holding onto his sides. They walked towards the hall, Kie hung his head and looked at the ground as Taki continued to laugh all the way to where I sat. What happened? I asked, sensing Kie had done something. Taki tried to contort his face to appear serious but failed

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miserably at doing so as he burst out laughing again, slapping Kie on the back. He... he is... Taki could not bring himself to speak through his own laughter. Meka is with child. Kie blurted out, glaring at Taki who could not stop laughing. Again? Did you not learn? I rolled my eyes. Apparently not. Taki stated as he began another round of laughter. You heard? Sakie walked over to where we were, I take it by your laughter, and your he looked at me, silence you just heard what Kie did. He tried not to smile, even biting on his own lip to prevent himself from smiling. I am glad you all believe this is funny. Kie glared at us. I'm not laughing. Sakie tried to hold it in but failed and began to laugh along with Taki. Should you not try self control? I looked at him, beginning to be affected by all of the laughter around me and feeling it bubble to the surface. I hear Ma-ti is expecting one of his own. Kie tried to change the subject by bringing up the Syrian who I knew had taken that human woman as a mate. You sure there will not be more than one? I asked, not having heard such and knowing they normally birthed three or four at a time. One of the healers ran a scan of his mate, there is only

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one, growing rapidly. Kie filled us in. Apparently the offspring of any species take after the mother's side as far as the carrying of a child goes. She says the most a human should carry at once is two. Luckily both you and Meka are human, in form, Taki choked back another bout of laughter, should you continue to not restrain yourself, the most you can expect is two. Ha ha. I cannot imagine what another like my son would be like. Kie tried to smile. You know what he did last night? He decided that I looked better in the fire. I began to laugh at the mental image I got of Kie sitting in the dwindling fire of his home, his cloth burning beneath his bottom as his son laughed and tried to straighten the pot of water that had almost fell over. Sakie turned serious as he looked at Kie, what makes you believe this? I was trying to tell him of the danger of flames as he kept going towards it... moving along the floor on his bottom towards the fire. He decided to grab my leg as I tried to step in front of him, the little man is strong, he caught me just right to cause loss of balance and into the flames I went. He thought it was the funniest action to take place. He literally fell over backwards laughing. How's your bottom? Did the cloth get scorched to it? Sakie asked, having got the mental image I had. Very funny my friend. He glared at us, Meka decided saving the pot of water was not as important and as stopping the flames that were creeping up me. She dumped the water on me.

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As I got the full mental image of what had happened the night before my eyes began to water as the laughter began to ache in my sides. It became hard to breath through the bouts that would bubbled up through me as I laid against the steps of the hall. Sakie and Taki were hanging onto each other to hold one another upright. How can you call yourselves my friends! Kie exclaimed. You do not but laugh at me! Because you, Sakie pointed at him, were outdone by a wee baby! Which brought another round of laughter from everyone present, except Kie. Tis not a baby, he is a beast I tell you! He does not listen, he does not take care of those around him. He tried to hang the feline that was twice his size who came to visit. It was screaming for someone to help while he sat on it placing cloth around its head. And that t'was not the worst of it. He was laughing as he swung a stick at one of the other children who walked by him, almost knocking the poor child to the ground! I couldn't help the water that came from my eyes or the pain that went up my sides as I slapped my hand on to the stone step laughing until I could barely breath. It was all the more reason to avoid mating, the offspring that resulted from it were tyrants in small form. You know what? Just stay here then, do not help with the situation. Kie turned and began to walk away, throwing his arms in the air in a motion that signaled he was giving up. We do not have to help... Sakie laughed as he called after Kie, we did not do this to you! I could no longer see for the watering of my eyes, but the

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blur of Kie walking away was slightly sobering. Can you image? I managed to mumble out. He needs more help than any of us can give. Taki stated as he sat down on the steps next to me.

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Chapter Twenty

Over the next few months, you saw more and more humans crossing with others not of their race. Couples of two different species courting one another, or hearing of taking mates. It was not only those of us who had taken human bodies, but of others like the Syrians. Some of the families from other planets had come to join their mates, or life partners on Earth as well, bringing with them their children who played alongside the children already here. The Orcea came to the shores of the island, taking the children of all the races out into the ocean and teaching them to swim or showing them the life in the seas. It was an afternoon, the sun was beginning to set as I sat on the beach that Sakie came down, laughing as he made his way down. I watched him stop to breath a few times as if keeping up the pace at which he was walking and laughing at the same time was the hardest of actions. What tis so funny? I asked him when he was within hearing distance. Ma-ti, you remember the one who mated with the human woman? He said as he sat down by me. Mm-hm... I nodded. He has been thrown out of his home. Apparently her personality, he looked to me to make sure I understood, is changing every few moments. One minute she was smiling and the

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next, when he tried to help clean up in the home, she was yelling at him. It could be heard from the streets, and then you saw him being chased from the home by her. She was holding a bucket and throwing it's contents at him. What did he do, besides try to clean the home? I asked, sure there was more to it. He swears he did nothing but pick up a piece of cloth that was laying on the bed they share. Hm... was all I could manage, it made no sense to me. The last I had seen her she was growing big in the stomach, looking like Meka had before she birthed their first child. He was sitting on the steps of the hall talking to a few of the others, confused at what had brought on her anger. A healer told him t'was more then likely due to the nearing of her time, that the chemicals in a woman's body grow uncontrollable when it nears time for the birth of a child. I thought it over for a moment, did Meka not take almost a season to go from the point of creation to birth? I believe so, yes. Sakie agreed. Then why is the Syrians mate taking so little time? I asked the obvious. She had grown fast from the time we had heard about it until now. I knew the Syrians only incubated for a short period of time, but if they were crossed with a human, it should take the human's time of incubation, or so I thought. The healer says it takes into account the genetics of both races, the Syrian and the human, and levels out somewhere in between the two. She may only carry one or two child at a time

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because that is how her body is made, but the incubation period is of both combined. Ah... I didn't quite understand it, but it made sense. I stood up, brushing my backside off as I did so to make my way back to the barracks. Where are you going? Sakie stood next to me, looking me up and down. To hide. I creased my eyebrows in thought as to if the barracks were the best option available. The last time a half-breed was born, I was drug into it. I intend to hide until this one is born. Sakie seemed to chew on the idea before he made further comment, t'would be a good idea. I believe I will do so as well. From what I have heard, Meka about tore Kie and Taki apart. I do not wish to be on the receiving end of such anger. We went in separate directions, he headed down the shore at a fast pace while I went back up the path, heading for the barracks. I had attended one birth, I did not intend to be caught in another, was none of my business nor did I care to assist in another birth. The first had been enough to convince me it was best left to those responsible for being in the position in the first place. Coming up from the beach I saw the Syrian being belittled in the streets by the woman, he appeared to shrink as she came towards him. He looked as if he feared being struck by her as her body tensed, stopping to catch her breath as she went towards him. I recognized the signs of what was happening, she was beginning the pains of birthing, he had more to fear than he thought as she walked the last few paces towards him and talked to him. His stance changed from one of fear to one of worry as he looked around them, picking her up and carrying her the last way to the

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healing center. His facial expression seemed to be one of panic. Kie would be a help to Ma-ti if he was available, he had been through this once already, and would soon go through it again. But I was not going to look for Kie to tell him to go help, I was going to hide inside the barracks, in my bunk and pretend to be asleep should any one come looking. Heading to the barracks faster than I had made my way up the path from the beach, I hurried inside and crawled into my bunk, feeling it was the safest place to be at this time.

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Chapter Twenty-one

Over the next season I had not found anything better to do, nothing that interested me more than learning the history of this world that had been recorded through all the races in the federation and transferred to the crystals that now stood in the hall. Learning how it was created, why it was created and the history of what had happened since then, it would take more than a lifetime to learn it all. But I learned what I could every day over the next year. Sitting on the floor, with my right hand on top of one of the skulls I watched as it's eyes began to glow, it was hypnotizing. It almost sparkled, you could see the shocks of energy as it came out, surrounding me, pulling me into it. I felt my consciousness being pulled out of the physical body I occupied, it was pulling me inside of it as it circled around me. I was standing in another world it seemed, looking around me I saw the dirt and sand that covered it, no water in sight, a solid piece of rock that was covered in dirt. As I watched around me, looking for something, anything, I watched as ships filled the sky, droplets from the ships fell to the ground. Energy splashing against the ground and sparkling as it flew into the sky, bouncing off the ground almost. Blurs past around me, vegetation grew and water sprung up in places creating lakes and rivers, everything blurring as it grew from the ground up, creating greens and reds, blues and yellows. The ships had gone from the sky and it was filled with clouds, thundering, dark clouds and then it would become clear and white clouds would show. Everything speeding past as some vegetation died, and others grew. The sky changed from blues and

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whites, to grays and blacks, rain fell sometimes and other times the sun dried the land around me. Night seeped into day, day into night, over and over again quickly. Then I saw the ships, again filling the sky around me. Federation members I did not recognize on the ground, all around, working in temporary buildings with tubes and energy technology. Growing things, growing life inside. Combining genetics from several different races, leaving a version of the race alone and combining others in an electrical environment, where you could actually see the DNA of the things they were creating before it took physical form. Colored lines and balls and cells of energy represented by electrical impulses in the device, than created inside the buildings, taking physical form, grown to different stages of life and released into the environment around the buildings. The question came to mind before I even had a chance to finish wondering. Why was this done? Suddenly, as if hitting a button, everything stopped moving, stopped growing. The blurriness of what was happening around me stopped and I was standing in a temple. Looking around I recognized it as the temple of the high council, I had only seen it once in my life but I recognized it, all of the writing on the wall representing every species in the universe. In a flash the seats around were filled with beings, talking was going on, something was being discussed in a universal language of thought. I tried to catch what they were saying but it was too quick, too fast for me to understand. Thinking slow down everything, all the voices slowed, I could understand what was being said. Our people are dying out, we have reached our evolutionary brink, we can go no further.

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It is happening to more than one of us, we do not have the capability to keep evolving, this is as far as it can go. Is there not a way to leave a piece of our race behind? A seed that will begin over again? More than just the written history of our race? The discussion went on for a long time, finally someone said something that clicked in my mind. A library. Plant seeds of all races represented here and even those that are not. Grow a planet, grow life on it that will begin from the beginning and evolve once again from the start. It will take billions, trillions of years for them to reach a point of an evolutionary brink again, they will remember where they came from, who we were. They will be us. The debate went on again as to which solar system which planet. Finally settling on a system thousands of light years away, they brought the system up in the middle of the temple. It was the beginning of a solar system, a star was reaching it's brink, growing, expanding, bursting at the seams. Exploding, sending waves of vibrational energy through the stars surrounding it. It now had 13 planets revolving around it, it had grown into a sun with planets that circled it. Here. It has just begun, will take us a few years to gather the genetic samples from the entire universe, and then many more years to implement it into this star system. The picture above me singled in on a single planet, it was a brown color, nothing on it, this planet, is the perfect distance away to suit most life forms represented here, and those that do not can be slightly altered to the point where this planet can suit their needs. It will not be too warm or too hot for most, it is a temperate place, a perfect distance from the sun. And when we have gathered all of the genetic samples, it will be ready to sustain life.

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They had decided on Earth, to create a living library of the entire universe. They had collected the genetics of the dying races and the living races and transported them to this new system, this new home. The seeds of those who had long ago died out now lived here. A flashing light burst again, and again I was surrounded by the beings working on Earth to create the library, advancing some species and slowing others down, combining them, separating the genetics they had carried. They were creating the library before my eyes, the images blurred again at a dizzying pace and spun around me until I was thrown out of the memories, the history. I was back in my physical body watching as the energy left me, receding back into the skull who seemed to understand my brain could take no more at the moment. I felt the energy around me disappear, evaporate into the air, it was no longer holding me up as it had been. My hand fell from the skull and I hit the stone floors of the hall. My eyes closed and I passed out from the splitting pain of my head, as if my skull had been cracked open, either from the information in it now or from hitting the floor I did not know.

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Chapter Twenty-two

I heard voices before I could force my eyes open. ...the human brain is not meant to have billions of years of information crammed into it all at once. She is lucky she's not dead. The crystals were supposed to limit the information at any given time, small amounts, not let this happen. I recognized the voice as Nucuranda, my king's voice. It probably sensed her advanced genetics, giving her more because she wanted more. It stopped before it killed her. I was forcing my eyes open slightly and noticed the people around me, blurry. The fall against the floor she took did the rest of the damage, she has a bruise on her brain from striking the floor, we can heal that, but it will take time for her mind to adjust to the information. If she does it again she needs to watch how much information she takes on at once. You can not blame the crystals. From my research, they sense what the being using them can handle, only allowing so much information to pass between them. It sounded like one of the scientists. She is more advanced than the humans, it gave her what her mind could deal with, as she wanted information it gave it. She did not even have to think of what she wanted to know and it gave it to her, it sensed when the mind needed to rest, to absorb the information and process it before it could continue. It let her go, she struck the floors which is what did most of the damage to her.

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Arg... I heard my king give up in trying to understand the complete process of it, as long as it was safe enough for the healers and scientists to be happy he did not care. ...wa...ter... I mumbled out, feeling as if my tongue had doubled, drying out. The blurry images of the people seemed to turn and look at me, looking downward I was obviously laying on one of the tables. She's awake! The sound of Taki's voice rang through my head as if it was a bell being struck. I grabbed Taki by the arm, pulling him down towards me, using all the strength I felt I had, be... quiet. I told him firmly. Using what energy I had in me to yank him towards me and whisper it at him, my eyes closed and I fell back asleep. When I woke up again the throbbing in my head had ceased and I could see without things blurring in my vision. When I looked to my left I saw Kelshoro, sitting in a chair, feet propped on the table I was laying on, sleeping with his arms crossed over his chest. I had to resist the urge to thump him as I tried to sit up, forcing my legs over the side of the table the room began to spin around me. Whoa there... The prince was standing, holding my shoulders. You need not move yet. The bruise you took on your brain is healed, but it is still very active from the information, tis still processing. I noticed the monitors around me, the lasers that had been tracking the activity in my brain. My mouth felt as if I had a mouth full of sand, the tongue felt huge in my mouth, placing my hand on his shoulder I looked him as straight in the eyes as I could,

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water! Yes? He seemed confused at being given an order. Give me... water! I tried telling him again. Oh... he didn't seem to get it for a moment, and then it visibly clicked, showing on his face, oh, yes, yes... lay back down, I'll get it. He pushed against my shoulders laying me back so the scans could resume running, monitoring. I watched the machines track the activity in my head, a 3 dimensional view of my brain, lighting up in sections while it dulled in others, different areas in different colors. I tried to think of nothing, to cause my mind to go blank and it did nothing to stop the flows of color and lights. The prince came back with a glass of water, helping me to sit up slightly, enough to sip the water. Getting rid of the gritty feel of my mouth. What happened? I asked as he helped lay me back. Ha... you tried to kill yourself. He smiled, thinking that he was being funny. I did not but glare at him. He seemed to cough before he went on, your brain was overloaded with information, you fell over, cracked your head on solid stone, wound up here. Huh... was all I had to say as the memory of placing my hand on the crystal came back, the images I had seen while I was inside of it, the pain of hitting ones head against something harder. I rubbed my head, as if to make sure it was still intact. I remember now. Gave my father quite a scare did you... He looked around himself, making sure no one was watching or listening, ...had Taki in a panic as well. T'was him who found you, well not found you,

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but brought you here. A human saw you hit the floor, found him outside, he brought you here. Had a whole room of lab technicians going over the crystals, a scientist or two in here with the healers who were trying to determine what damage was from what. He shrugged, not seeming too bothered by it all. Nice to know you care. I chuckled, knowing he would not be sitting me if he did not, but he was pretending not to. Can't have you going and dying on me now can I? He smiled. After so many years of waking up to your face watching me breath it would be hard to find a replacement. I mean, can you imagine trying to get used to someone else? Uh huh. I told him as I closed my eyes to relax a while longer. I couldn't get up yet and I was not about to get into a conversation with the prince over the fact that he needed to be monitored all the time given the antics he pulled. He would have just turned the situation around on me, as to why I was laying here.

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Chapter Twenty-three

I spent a week in the healing center, continuously being monitored for brain wave activity. Once my brain waves had returned to normal I was allowed to leave. The activity in your brain caused by the immense information you took on has adjusted and processed the information. Li explained. I can go? I asked, looking him over as I saw doubt and thought stream across his face. You can go, but do not take on so much information again. You do understand that the human brain is not made, even at it's most advanced, to handle that much information at once, right? So I have been told, over and over since I came in here. I closed my eyes and sighed at the repeat instructions I knew were coming. Do not let it overload, control the amount of information that you get. Go with one question, let it give you the answers and chose to back out. Your mind can handle more than the humans who were here before us, but it cannot handle all the information at once. If you do it again you will be right back here. Leaning my head back and closing my eyes, I blocked out the rest of the speech I had gotten on several occasions already. Do not put a million years of information in at once, do not try to learn

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it all in one session, to not slam my head against a stone floor, talk talk talk. ...you even listening? His voice came back into hearing range. Yes. I looked at him, annoyance written all over his face. What did I just say? He wanted me to repeat the speech he had just given me. Seriously? I stared at him a moment, when his facial expression didn't change I ran down the list of do not's others had given me. Do not dive head first into a rock, do not fall on my head, do not inflict damage upon my own body, do not blow up anything, do not break the crystals, do not cram a million or more years of information into my head at once but spread it out, do not try to learn billions of years of history and knowledge at once. And... He began. And do not stick poisonous plants in my mouth. I smiled at him, knowing that was not what he was going to say but figured it would work as well for scolding a child. I get it. Can I go now? Do not come back. He sounded almost angry with me, but I knew he'd miss me. Laughing to myself as I hopped off the table and left the healing center. Breathing a deep breath as I stepped out into the fresh air, I stretched my arms above my head and cracked my back which relieved some of the knots in it. The city was just as busy as it had been before I found myself in the healing center, people hurrying this way and that. Children running up and down the streets.

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Heading back towards the hall, I planned on learning more, and possibly aggravating a few people at the same time. Stopping at the market on my way I grabbed a red, round fruit that grew on some of the trees and ate it as I walked towards the hall. Watching the citizens of the city scurry about their days, their duties. Going up the steps of the hall, I was passing the pillars as the voice drowned out any plans I had. Going to try and kill yourself again? Taki called after me. I stopped, leaning my head back again and closing my eyes. With everyone's voices scratching the insides of my brain every time I turn, tis not a bad idea. I turned around to look at him. He came up the steps, watching me closely, looking me up and down. Did the healers say you could go? Would I be here if they did not? Do you want me to answer that? He tilted his head to the side as he stepped into the shade of the pillar, when I simply stared at him he went on. Because knowing you, the way I do. Yes... yes you would be here if they did not release you. You would sneak out and leave them standing on their heads looking for you. You have such faith in me. No... no I do not. I know you, you are evil when it comes to playing head games with people, you do not have rules you follow and no one else knows the rules that you do have at any given time. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, he calmed himself and continued, Did they release you or not? Yes. Li released me just moments ago. I closed my eyes, leaning against the pillar behind me.

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And your going back for more, just moments after being let out of the healing center? He looked at me as if I had fallen from the sky. As truth be told, yes I was. I want to know more, I can learn it inside, not out here speaking with you over what I am doing and whether I have permission to do it or not... Are you trying to kill yourself? He interrupted me and when I went to respond he held his hand up, do you not realize the scare you gave everyone? You had scientists and lab technicians afraid they had messed up in programming and activating the crystals, you had healers scrambling to find a way to reverse any potential damage they might find... lucky for you it was only a bruise on that muscle you call a brain, and time for that brain to process the information. The prince was scared he was going to lose the one person he believes could stop am armada of the enemies army and save the sun if it should fall to them, let alone the fact that he does not want to wake up to another person standing over him as if he would die in his sleep. He was paranoid he would have to get used to someone new. You had the king and his wife terrified because they consider you one of the family. Not to mention your friends, although I do not understand why they are your friends, worried that you would not wake up. The human that found you nearly had heart failure seeing you, one of the federation, an advanced being, fall over from being near the crystals. And you... I stopped him, screaming in my ear until my head felt as if it would explode really helped that along now didn't you. You opened your eyes and yelled at me, you were just fine. He was turning red in the face now, anger bubbling over, blood boiling to the surface.

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And I am yelling at you now as well! I will be fine! If it happens again do not expect me to sit you until I can no longer see straight! I didn't expect it to begin with! I had not realized he had sat me for such a deal of time. He did not care to continue the conversation, not in the direction it was going, he turned, trudging down the steps of the hall, hair practically standing on end as the waves of energy vibrated off of him. He was angry, but not with me, he was angry it happened and no one had been warned that it could happen, that one of us found out the hard way that it could and would happen. He was angry at a lot of things, but none of it was my fault. I could sense it as the waves reverberated off of him. He stomped off down the streets, making the turn to go around the entrance of the barracks, nearly colliding with one of the others coming from that direction as he did so. Moving away from the pillar, I turned, heading inside. I was going to learn more, asking one question at a time, controlling the amount of information, giving my head time to process it. Hopefully, by controlling the information, learning bits every day, the brain would be able to process it while I slept, allowing for this journey to go faster. Walking over to the crystals and sitting in front of one, I smiled at it, feeling it almost smile back at me. A sense of welcome came over me as I moved my hand towards it, it was sorry for the problem it had caused, it sensed that it had hurt me and it was welcoming me back, glad I was alive and sorry for the hurt it had caused. It would be different, I knew it would, the crystals had learned, and so had I.

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I placed my hand on the top of the skull, watching as the energy danced out of its eyes, surrounding me, pulling me from the physical body back inside of it. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I was standing back in the forests that were springing to life, where I had left the time before, it was picking up where I left off.

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Chapter Twenty-four

I watched as they continued to make the library, life was growing all around me, some species I had never seen were now walking around. The scientists made no secret about what they were doing, they taught the beings they created language, history, the reason for why they were made, and what this world was. The images, memories, history, sped forward again and a flash of light brought me back to the temple of the high council. Is it done? Yes. All representatives have been created, both male and female counterparts. They will reproduce. We have separated it into 6 different locations, in each location there is a representative, and a counterpart for them. We have remained on the planet and are overseeing the breeding program, ensuring that all who have lived, will live on long past their deaths. A man stood in the middle of the temple, before all of the council members, addressing them, explaining what had happened and how it was going. He looked somewhat like a hologram, as if he was giving a visible message without actually being there. I knew we had the technology to do it, but had it really been around that long? Your team has succeeded where we feared you would fail. Ensure they survive to populate the planet. They will be granted free will, as all of us have, but let them set their own rules, their own laws. Give them room to grow. I looked at the tiny alien form, one I had never seen before who was speaking now, he

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looked to be a hologram too. They all did, they all took part in this meeting without physically being here. I turned and looked at the man in the middle of the room, he dropped to one knee, crossing his arm over and placing his fist over his chest. We will ensure they survive. And then he disappeared. Flashing light brought me back to Earth again, not on the planet this time, I was above the planet on a ship, looking down. To my left was a screen that showed the 6 locations they had started life in, where they hoped breeding would take over the rest. It did not look like the Earth of Atlantis's time. The land, was closer together, slowly drifting away from one another, separating, but still close enough you could visit each other if you wanted. Looking out the window at the planet, water had come over the planet, instead of a brown color it was now a green, blue color. If they do not breed, we will have to begin again. I heard a voice behind me, turning to watch as the man who was obviously the commander of this ship spoke to another, she wore the markings of the captain of a ship. They will. She argued, genetic modification has ensured the beings on that planet will have cycles that will cause them to want to breed, to populate. They will cross, and cross again. You have nothing to fear. Looking at the commander, I recognized him as the man who had stood before the council just moments ago, only older. Some of them have already begun. I trust it will continue. Others are making their way here to help oversee. The federation as a whole has taken a lot of trust in allowing us to create the life on this world from their genetics. They are coming to see how it is doing, I suspect they will remain for a time. He stopped for a

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moment, visibly looking slightly sad, somber. It is my only regret that it could not be completed soon enough for those races that were dying when it began, and who have since died out, could see. They are responsible for starting this, and they did not get the chance to see the end result. I stood at the window in his ship, looking out over the planet and the many ships he commanded as time sped past again, possibly years had gone by. Ships began dropping out of hyperspace, ships that bore the markings and trade of many different planets, races. They had all come to Earth before, they were here to make sure that this planet and the life on it survived no matter what. Closing my eyes for a moment, just blinking, and when I opened them again I was back on the planet. The beings that had been created had begun to populate the Earth, several times over in some cases, only a few times in other cases. The federation was interacting with them on a daily basis, teaching them all they knew from the writings they carried aboard ships, from memories they personally had. One species stood out though, it was slightly more advanced than the others. Where others held their primitive form of animal characteristics, one species had been advanced beyond the others. Given they all had been grown to begin with, and I watched some be advanced through technology while they let others of the same species begin from the very beginning of evolution. It was the same with this species, they had advanced a set of 12 of them to the point they were now, leaving others of the same species less advanced, more on an evolutionary journey than the ones I was looking at now. You are the conduits between all that is here, and the rest of the universe. A scientist stood in the center of a circle, all 12 of

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the genetically manipulated versions of the human species had been brought to one place to hear this scientist speak. My fathers father was responsible for creating you, advancing you a head of the others like you. It took him years to perfect the genetics and technology. You were being grown inside one of these, he held hand device that created holographic images, and when he pressed a button on it, it showed a gigantic incubator, It took many years to grow you to the stages of life that were suitable for introduction into the environment you see around you now. When my fathers father died, my father took over his work, spending his life advancing you, giving you the ability to communicate with all, from wherever you are on the planets surface. Giving you as many memories of the life that came before you as he could. He is still alive today, but is on my home planet, resting during his final years. I have taken over in teaching you. Now, as I was saying, you are the conduits, you will be able to communicate with all the life of this planet as we can communicate with it now, but where you are different, is the fact that you can communicate outside of your planet. You can contact anyone, anywhere simply by using your mind. Your genetic makeup is from several different races, there is a little bit of everyone inside of you. Your DNA carries 12 strands of DNA, they look like this, he pressed another button, showing the DNA, the blood, that ran through their bodies. Each time you breed, the offspring will carry 6 strands of DNA from each of you, creating another 12 stranded being. We expect you to breed, he laughed, creases showing near his eyes and mouth as he watched their reactions, which were nothing short of finding the situation funny. We want you to reproduce, so that your children can go on to have children, and so on. We want you to survive to continue to be those conduits. Inside of you, as I had stated, you carry a piece of everyone, from you we could always create other beings by removing their genetics from you and beginning over. You are important in the fact that you need to survive, more than the others here do, you have a library of genetics inside of you. Genetics we still have bits of, stored in a stasis chamber, but we dare not use as

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if we used it all, there would be nothing left. He explained to them every detail of their genetic makeup, every detail of what was expected of them. He spent hours explaining the world and other worlds to them. When he was done, they were sent by a planetary travel device back to where they were from. It was a simple structure, built of crystal technology that almost instantaneous transportation across the planet. I had seen such devices before, we had them on our planet, both for planetary travel and inter-planetary travel, slightly different in the way they were made, but they did the same thing. I chose to back out of the information for now, back out of the memories. I felt myself being let go, felt the crystal skull releasing my body, swearing I could see it in front of me smiling for a moment before I was back in my physical body again. I ran my hand over the side of it, giving it a vibration of thanks before I opened my eyes. Standing around me was Taki, Kelshoro, Kie, Sakie, Meka, Aree, one of the healers, a scientist and a few of the humans. It was as if they were watching me to see if I would fall over again, the scientist was walking around the crystals, monitoring their energy and vibrational fields as the others waited for me to fall. I shook my head, standing up and walking out of the building, leaving them standing there without saying a word to them. It was ridiculous that they felt the need to monitor me, or the crystals like they did, even if it was slightly entertaining to watch them look so distraught, it was not worth them standing over me.

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Chapter Twenty-five

The following day, I resumed my position sitting in front of the crystal, placing a hand on top of it. Being pulled back into it and found myself standing in a world that had buildings and several generations of each life form on it. Again there seemed to be a meeting going on in the center of the town. As I walked to where the meeting was being held, I noticed the many, possibly 100s of federation present, ships that had landed in the middle of the town practically. ...There is a storm coming. From our predictions it will be one that will occur every so many 1000s of years, we have yet to predict how far apart it will happen. But when it happens, it will cause a shift in your planet. The magnetic poles, what keeps your planet turning like it should, will shift and change. You can already see some of the storm beginning to build, the winds, the seas, the weather around you is telling you its coming. Explained a man who stood in front of everyone. Why is it happening? Someone in the audience asked. Your planets star system is made up of 13 planets, one sun, several moons. It has always been this way. The 13th planet, the one farthest out, takes many 1000s of years to make one cycle around your sun. It comes close to the sun and close to the other planets at certain times, it causes vibrational and electromagnetic changes in each of them at that time. That is what is going to cause this storm and shift the poles of your planet. He explained it, seeming to understand a lot of how planets and magnetism

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worked, he must have been a scientist. Now, some of the federation has set up a camp, basically moved onto the planet that will cause this. They are trying to find a way to shift the planets course slightly so that it does not cause as drastic of a problem as it could. Their leader has come here to speak to you today. I will be handing the attention to him should you have any questions as to how they are trying to shift the planets course slightly. Going up in front of everyone was a man who looked like an older version of Draconus. He had white scales and a tail. He looked, happy though, he seemed to be a completely different person, but he looked so much like Draco that I could almost swear it was him. Hello everyone, my name is Elicanomus. He smiled at the beings gathered around. We first settled on the planet that is now affecting your planet when we learned of its orbital path and how it could effect other planets and stars around it some 100-200 years ago. Since then we have worked to try and alter its path, as Sai told you, to adjust it slightly so that it would not cause as much damage as it could. We are still working on solving that problem, it may not be one that can be solved. But we will not stop trying. The current prediction of its orbital path gives us an estimated 100 years to solve the trajectory problem before it begins to really effect this planet. You are seeing the beginning of the changes that it can cause already, and it will get worse as time passes. It takes, from our estimation, approximately 20,000 to 30,000 of your Earth years to make one complete orbit around the sun. So even if we can't fix it before this round, we may have a chance at fixing it before the next. What happens if you do not fix it this time, will you live to fix it before the next? Someone asked, obviously curious about his life span.

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Well... Elicanomus chuckled, ...I do not plan on dying anytime soon. Our life spans allow us to live many, many 1000's of your years. But should I die, for whatever reason, he smiled again, really trying not to consider anything else, my son, he reached his arm out as a smaller version of him walked over by him, a little boy who looked like his father, walked like him, seemed slightly shy, Draconus, will take over where I left off. He smiled down at the boy, hugging him to his side. Time sped forward, I watched around me as the 13th planet crossed in the sky and the land rumbled, shifting under me. Trees blew apart, water overflowed covering the land, the sky turned gray and black. And then it was over, it had passed and I watched as people came up from underground, as others came out of ships that had taken them up. Time continued to speed forward as around me people rebuilt, life began to continue as normal. As Draconus, growing up played with human children and animal children alongside other federation children. As his father gave speeches and talked to him, making him part of the on-goings here on Earth. Than time stopped speeding by, I was standing in a house made of stone. Draco and his father were sitting at a table. ...but I do not understand why this planet is so important. Races die out, it is not meant to be carried on through genetic manipulation. Draco argued with his father. It is important because of that. This planet must survive all of us, outlive the entire universe so that someday, those races that died out long ago can return to their home planet, can return to their star systems and begin again. Elicanomus sighed, bowing his head. How would you feel if it was our race that was dying and the only hope for us to continue, someday returning to our home, was to create a library of us, our genetics, evolve again and be reborn?

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That wont happen because we will not make the same stupid mistakes others have! Draco slammed his fist into the table, breaking it in half. Time again began to speed forward, I watched as the 13th planet passed several times. As Draco grew cold, manipulative, lost the compassion he had as a child. He began to work with others of like mind, avoiding the humans and other beings on this planet, avoiding his father. He was planning something, working things out on paper, working things out with others. The 13th planet passed by again, it had to have passed by a dozen times, maybe two dozen, I lost count of how many times the Earth was almost ripped apart. Elicanomus was growing old, it had been over 100,000 Earth years for him that he lived, and even though he was growing old, he still had many more years of life left. Time slowed, and I was again standing in a house of stone, Elicanomus and his son, Draconus, were arguing in the middle of the room. Draco took hold of a knife and slashed at his arm, cutting the mark of the federation from his body, blood ran down his arm. This will be no more. I refuse to bow down to them! He yelled at his father. Draconus! His father yelled back, You cannot forsake years of trust, years of peace over your ignorance. You are betraying our entire race by doing such! You, someday, will take my place, and I would expect no less from you than to follow in my footsteps. Bring honor to our family, to our race, to our home star system! When is the last time you saw home father? I barely even remember it! We have been living on that retched, freezing planet for how long, 100's, 1000s of its years, trying to fix a problem that

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may not be fixable, all for the sake of what? These beings? This planet? They would be better off as slaves, bowing at our feet along with the rest of the federation! Do not begin with this again! Elicanomus waved his hand at his son, having had this conversation several times. They ARE the universe, they are the federation. We cannot turn our backs on trying to save them! Someday you will understand, you will help them or I will see you sent home and never allowed in this star system again! He threatened his son. No father. Is you who will return home, you will hand over the legions to me, and you will leave, now. Draconus was growing angry, frustraited. It would be over my dead body that I would leave the legions to your control with the mindset you have now! His father stared at him, daring him to insist on it again. I do not mind it that way. Draco said softly as he walked towards his father who was confused at his sons statement. Draco still had the knife in his hand, I wanted to yell, to scream for Elicanomus to move, to run, to knock his son down, but I couldn't. I couldn't make the words come out of my mouth not that they would have heard me anyway. I watched as Draco walked to stand in front of his father, matching him in height, staring at him with those angry, dead eyes. I watched as his father looked down, Draco had shoved the knife up, under the skeletal system, right into Elicanomus's heart, twisting it further in as the blood ran down the knife and over his hand. The father placed his hand on his sons shoulder, held on for a moment before crumpling to the ground. The look on his face was devastation, fear, anger but most of all sadness. As he fell to the ground, first hitting his knees and then falling backwards Draco pulled the knife from his fathers

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chest, grabbing the horns that protruded from his fathers head, yanking his head backwards. Over your dead body, I inherit the legions, I inherit the Earth! Draconus said it through clenched teeth as he sliced the head of his father off, separating it from his body. He left the building with Elicanomus's head in his hand, dangling down as he held the knife in his other hand. He carried to the center of town, holding it up as he growled. The people around stunned, unmoving, weeping. He boarded a ship and left the planet, leaving his fathers head in the center of town. Federation members scrambled, trying to shoot the ship down but the shields were too advanced, their weapons fire did not penetrate it. They returned to Earth, building a wooden stand, taking Elicanomus's head back to his body. Wrapping him in a white silk cloth. Laid him on top of the stand in the center of town, everyone, from all over the planet and every member of the federation showed up. Standing, crying, hugging each other as they watched his body burn. As they said goodbye to him. He had been a leader, a king, a friend to everyone on Earth, loosing him was heartbreaking to them. His body and the stand burned the entire day, and night, and never once did the people present break the vigil over his body until there was nothing but dust left.

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Chapter Twenty-six

When I came away from the crystal this time, I did not have an audience standing over me, the sun had already set during the time that I had been inside, watching history as it unfolded. I now knew how the library had been made and why, which I had known the basics to as it was written on our temple walls back home. But watching it happen in front of me gives a completely different understanding to it, rather than simply reading about it, I was able to watch it happen. I walked out of there, thinking about everything. More questions rising that had been answered. Settling into my bunk for the night, I was determined to play catch up with the worlds history again tomorrow. Upon waking from a restful sleep, I grabbed some fruit as I passed the market, eating as I walked. Finishing the food as I went up the steps to the hall. I caught Taki, out of the corner of my eye, watching me. Choosing to ignore him I continued inside, resuming my seat before the skulls and placing my hand on top of it, letting it draw me inside. I had settled on one question for today, now that I knew how Draconus had come to power, assuming control of the legions his father had commanded, I wanted to know how he took over the Earth, how the humans had fallen from their seat of power. I was standing in the temple of the high council again, different members seated around the building.

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We cannot do anything. As long as they live, that is all that matters. They may fight for their freedom, but we cannot come between them and their right to fight for it. One man stated. If we do nothing, Draco may wipe them out! They were given free will. We have taught them. They have to fight for their freedom, the same way each of us has. Draco forsaked the federation, he made every citizen under his command cut the mark from their bodies, he slaughtered those who stood against him. The legions are under his command, whether loyal to him or not does not matter. He plans to make slaves of the people of Earth, he cannot do such if he wipes them out! The debate continued through the temple, the only thing they could agree on was the fact that maybe some of the library would be left. If he wanted slaves, he could not wipe the entire planet out. The images and people began speeding past me, becoming a blur as it brought me to the war that was waged. I was once again standing on Earth, watching the world fall. Draconus had brought every legion with him, from his home planet to the 13th planet in the Earth's solar system, planned and waited for the pass. Launching ships from the planet as it left the Earth in upheaval. Attacking the citizens of Earth when they were at their weakest point, having to rebuild what they had not taken underground with them. Watching as the bloody massacre happened, it must have been a war that lasted years, but I was able to watch it as if it only took minutes. Every citizen of Earth had fought along side one another, animals, fish, birds, canines, felines, reptiles, humans. Fighting with every natural force, with weapons, with their bare hands.

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Entire cities were wiped out by bombs that were dropped, turning sand to glass. Setting fire to the plant life, driving those who sought refuge hiding in them out. The citizens who were left alive were caged, lined up and moved into groups. Those who tried to resist were hung in front of the others and left there until their bodies decomposed as examples of what fighting did. The world that had been, was no more, still retaining the abilities that came natural to them, but the war was lost. The world was Draco's now. I do not care. Take 3 men from each group, the ones who show the lowest brain wave activity, and 6 women from each group who also show the lowest brain wave activity. Breed them, if the child shows a lower brain wave activity than normal keep it, and breed them again. Draco argued with one his scientists. But my lord, a low brain wave activity does not solve the problem you are trying to solve. You cannot breed the genetics out of the humans. It must be blocked. Yes, and while you try to figure a way out to block the genetics, take them down, breed them, the lower the activity in the brain the less the offspring will have, resulting in a more controllable being until you can block the abilities they have. And what would you have us do with the rest of them? The scientist asked, looking almost afraid of the answer. For now... Draco sighed, leaning on the table in front of him, let them continue to reproduce at a controlled rate. When you can solve the genetic problem, implement it and any that are not needed or it cannot be solved in, kill them. The images and voices again sped past me in a blur. The labs, the cages, the people, the animals... everything went by so fast it was hard to catch it. But it came to a halt, back in the

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chamber where Draco had argued with his scientist. My lord, we have solved the problem. We can now block the genetics. The scientist rushed in the entry way to where Draco sat in a chair, leaning his chin on his hand as his elbow rested on the arm of the chair. Good, implement it. There is one small problem. What? He growled out. Anyone over a certain age it will be useless on. They will have had their abilities and genetics far too long to cut them off. The scientist wrung his hands in front of him. Then kill them. My lord? You heard me, kill them if they cannot be blocked. He began smiling, coming up out of his chair, after it is done, when they have been blocked. I want you to take the strongest two, one male, one female, who work the hardest, the longest, are the strongest, and wipe their memories. We are going to be Gods. Leave the rest of the people who have had their genetics blocked out in the desert and other areas to continue working for us. But take these two, after their minds have been wiped, to a nice forest or jungle area. Lots of green vegetation. Water. Plants, animals they will not be able to communicate with. Forgive me my lord, but why? The scientist now looked confused.

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Because, from them, we will build the perfect workers, a controllable race. We will be their Gods and they will not disobey. We will create a... service breed, one that are hard workers, good listeners, and ones that obey every command. Yes my lord. The scientist bowed his head and backed away slightly before turning and leaving the room.

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Chapter Twenty-seven

The history blurred again until I was standing in the middle of a field. Grass, two feet high swayed with the breeze, there were trees spread out, a river, a cliff, birds chirping. I almost thought I had been sent back in history. I watched as a ship beamed a lifeless body to the ground, a man, naked, passed out. Days blurred past me and a woman was set down much the same way while the man was asleep. Again blurring by at a dizzying pace until I was standing in Draco's lair again. ...woman is beginning to remember. She is fighting the clearing of her mind. What would you have me do? The same scientist stood before Draco again. Take her, place her with the other slaves. Banish her from the garden. Find another, a younger one who will not argue, not fight nor resist. One more controllable. Draco sat in his chair again, relaxing it seemed as he sat his throne. Yes my lord. The scientist backed out again, head bowed. Again I was back in the garden, watching as the male being slept and the woman was taken, another replacing her. As images flew past me I caught glimpses of the woman and man, living peacefully, being left alone for the most part. Every now and then it seemed that the man, or woman, would look upwards and speak to the sky. They began to mate, breeding several children that ran around the garden as well. The offspring

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appeared just as strong, just as docile and controllable as the two parents. They left the garden with their children, venturing out into the world around them one day. Images blurred past me again, the world began to spin around as the 13th planet passed again. Almost wiping the world out, covering it in water in most places. It seemed even as slaves the humans had retained some of the memories, some went underground, a few others, very few, were taken aboard a ship. It was almost as if Draco wanted to let the world be wiped out, only saving a few that he took onto his ship. But the others had remembered to take shelter underground. The planet passed, the people rebuilt, the world seemed peaceful for the most part. There were wars now and then it seemed, but the world had survived Draco's coming of power. He controlled it now, but the library still lived. Backing out of the crystals memories I thanked it for sharing it with me. Leaving the hall and heading to the barracks, the sun had again set. I had a million questions I wanted to ask, but I didn't know where to begin tomorrow. Falling asleep as Taki leaned over his bunk, looking down at me like he was making sure I was okay. The following morning I did not stop to eat, feeling no need to I went straight to the hall. Intending to figure out another question and learn more. I sat, running over my questions in my mind. Why were we here now? What had the orders from the high council actually read? When was the 13th planet due to come again? What was Draco doing now, or in recent times?

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I was more curious about this world and it's history than my own, my own history I knew. I had grown up hearing it talked about, knowing what had occurred on our planets before we came here. I had been given memories of those who came before me, the genetic memories of those ancestors who had helped to bring an end to our wars, ensuring our membership in the federation. Settling on knowing what Draco was up to as of late, that was known and recorded into the crystals I sat down in front of one. Placing my hand on it, asking the question, what is Draconus doing now? The crystal pulled me in and left me standing in a science lab. All around me, there were cages, at least 5 on each of the 3 walls. Inside of them were human women, but in one there was a human male. I heard footsteps coming into the room and turned to see the general of Draco's army listening to a scientist rattle on about a project. ...we have not figured out if our race can cross with the humans or not. There is only one real way to see if it is possible. Samples of the genetic bloodlines from Earth have been collected, I took a male as well to run some tests on. Your lord wants to see results. Collecting living samples is not results. I will give you 5 of my best soldiers to assist in the project. The general's posture and tone of voice showed his annoyance and impatience. Thank you. If I may ask, what is the reason for this project? I mean why does Draco want to know if the races can be crossed? The scientist asked sheepishly. He would like his bloodline carried on in the human race, basically giving him a loyal army that can live among the people

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without frightening them. The general appeared to think over how much he should actually tell the scientist. He would like offspring that look human, sound human, but are reptilian, can fit in as the village leaders and mages. Direct the humans how to function and what to do. He wants ground personnel that will not cause the humans to run, he wants them to listen without being in fear the entire time, hoping they will work harder, increase production. Since he is their God, can he not just tell them to do such? The scientist wanted to know more. He could, but he seems to grow tired of playing their God. He would like them to work under command of a reptilian bloodline, but believe they are working for themselves. Disowned by their God basically so they will want to favor him more. What about... The scientist began to probe for more information. Enough! The general lost his patience. Tis not your right to question your lord. I will have my military report shortly. I now stood in a crystal room. Walls made of smooth, clear crystal, a bright light shining in. What is your next question Nesenty? The voice came out of no where and had me jumping. You know we are alive, we know who you are. We have answered the question you came to us with, do you have any others? The crystal was talking to me, wanting to know if I had any other questions. I found myself looking around me, waiting for someone to come out from some wall. Be easy. We do not want to hurt you. We never intended to

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hurt you the first time. We are here to answer your questions, we are here to help you in your journey for knowledge. With nothing else to lose, I asked Can you tell the future? The future has yet to be written. No memories or knowledge has passed onto us from the outside. We cannot give you a future we do not know. I thought a moment before asking anything else. Finally, is there anything I should know? There is nothing you cannot see for yourself. You must find the question in yourself before you can ask it, you must ask it before we can answer it. Do you always talk to people who come to you? Yes. Those who come to us are looking for information, when we have answered a question without further questions, we bring them here. We wait until they decide if they would like to know more, or if they would like to leave. Oh... I could not think of a question if my life had depended on it. I got nothing. I was honest. Thank you though, for sharing with me what you do know. And I understand you never meant to harm me, I do not blame you. We will be here should you find something else you would like to know. I was sent out of the room and felt myself leaving the crystals, felt the physical body as I was let back into it. Opening my eyes and watching the skull in front of me for a moment before I got up and left the hall. Not knowing what to do from here, I sat

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on one of the steps, watching as people went by about their day.

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Chapter Twenty-eight

Some ten seasons had passed since I learned the history of the world. I stood, watching the ocean tides come in as night fell, wondering if I would ever go to my home planet again or not. Earth had become a second home to me. Kie had 5 children now, 3 boys and 2 girls and you might believe they could lead an army already. They were fighters, all of them, at times I swore the girls were more of tyrants than the boys. Aree had taken a mate, had children of her own now. I had attended their births, I still could not bring myself to understand why anyone would knowingly chose to go through that. Yes the world needed beings to do it and populate it, but it was not something I ever thought I would be willing to do. The Orcea were still teaching the children to swim. The latest rumor I had heard recently was that they would be building an inter-planetary gate, it would allow those here to return home almost instantaneously, as well as take their Earthling mates back to meet their family. It would also allow for the Earthlings to learn about our home worlds first hand, meet our people. I had not asked Kelshoro or his father about it, if it happened it happened, if it was simply talk then that was all it was. The humans here had advanced, way past what they were when we first arrived. They were all using the natural abilities granted them, given at times it was touch and go, they still held the capability. Draconus had not bothered us since he said we could have the island, t'was a good thing, I would not like to see what he

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would do if he found we had advanced the people. He was sadistic, cold hearted. I often found myself wondering, late at night laying in my bunk, what had made him so cold, why he had turned on his own father. I had come to the conclusion sometimes beings are just born evil, nothing causes a change, they just are. The crystals had not been able to tell me anything more recent as no one who knew what was happening had died within a proximity to them to be able to transfer their knowledge to them. A handful of people had died of natural causes, old age had set in with some of the oldest in the city. The body died from the inside out, organs shut down after being worked to the brink. We had burned their bodies, building stands of wood, crossing their arms over their chest, wrapping them in cloth and setting fire to them. Right here on this beach, each time someone would pass we would leave their bodies be for 3 days before, building the stands before preparing their bodies for the journey of their souls. Bringing them to the beach and allowing the wood and their bodies to burn to dust, letting the wind take it where it went. Some of them I knew personally, some of them I didn't. It was the cycle of life. Others grew older, looked older. Like Aree, she had visibly aged, she often commented on the fact that I still looked as I did years ago when I first showed her how to mend cloth with her mind. I knew one day in the future, I would be wrapping her body and sending her off. Probably as well as her children if I stayed long enough. Kie's children, along with others of us who had taken human bodies and human mates and had children with them, aged similar to the humans here. They grew like any other child in the village, growing taller, stronger by the day. But they retained the youth, looking years younger than those of the same age. The Syrian and his human mate had, had a brood. Once a year she was baring a child. And I thought Kie had problems with

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self restraint. I figure she did not have sets of three or four, so they made up for it by having one or two at a time. They looked like their father, hairy, it was shorter than his own though. But they were built like their mother, like a human, and had human eyes. The people who were originally here, and their own physical features seemed to be dying out. They were blending with the non-humans who had come in, you could no longer be sure when you looked at a child if it was human or a half breed, except for those you knew for sure as you knew who the parents were or they were here before. The island was a family. It was peaceful. The children we had first taken out to the ocean for the Ocrea to teach to swim had grown up, I could barely remember what they had looked like as children as there was a slight change in them by the day. They grew taller, stronger, grew personalities beyond what they had before. Became the understudies of our scientists, studied the history of this world as well as many other worlds, spoke many languages. They worked alongside our healers, our technicians, our scientists, they learned everything they could. What are you doing out here so late in the eve? Taki asked as he walked up behind me. Taki, the man followed me around like a lost babe. But he was always watching out for me, pulling me out of trouble when I found myself there, arguing with a plant or kicking a stone out of frustration. I am thinking. I told him as he put his hand on my shoulder, forcing me to acknowledge his presence. Aye, you are. I could hear the smile on his face. You are always thinking. You spend most of your days, as well as nights

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thinking. He paused, moving beside me, looking down at me. Do you ever stop thinking and just watch? Watch the world, the life, the air? Sometimes. I sighed. Sometimes I sit on the steps of the hall and just watch life pass by, watch people grow old, children grow tall. But it results in thinking. I smiled at him. And to think, at one time, you were a child too and people watched you grow tall. He seemed somber. Tis how all living things work. You are born, you grow, you die and move on to the next life. Sometimes, or so I have heard, you return to this life, to finish a task you did not get to in the last life. You take new body, new mind, new studies and you begin again. Who told you this? I looked at him, knowing he could not have come up with it himself. One of the crystals. He smiled at me, Seems I am ten years behind you in studying. Or ahead of me, I have never asked that question or gotten that answer. I learned the planets history and that was all I had interest in at the time. I wondered if he had heard the same rumors I had, about the gate. Have you heard about the inter-planetary gate they say may be built? I have. And? I nudged his arm, hoping he would tell me more. Tis true. I asked our king about it. He says they are

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growing the crystals even now that will power it. Wants to make it fit in with the world around though, so will cover the crystals in a stone appearance so that they blend in. He wave his hand in front of him as he rolled his eyes. Not as if anyone here has a problem with sticking out or anything, but we must blend it into the surroundings. He laughed at the idea, given that the Earthlings saw non-Earthlings every day, people no longer stuck out anywhere on the island. Hm... Sighing I leaned against him, just because he was there to use as a resting pole. Tired? He moved his head to look down at the top of mine, resting his chin on the top of my head. Yes, I closed my eyes, I believe I will sleep out here tonight, watch the stars. Maybe home is not so far away anymore. Once the crystals have been grown and the gate is up, we can return home for a short time. Maybe even Kie will bring his raft of children back, introduce him to his genetic donors. T'would be a sight to see their reaction. You just want to watch the scolding he gets for reproducing so many times over. Taki chuckled. Possibly, but you must admit, would be funny. Yes it would. He agreed. I also want to see my body, my first body. See if it is still being kept alive or if they have gotten lazy in all the years we have been gone, let us go. I smiled, knowing they would never do that, but figuring I could make Taki worry a little. Pushing away from him I sat down on the sand beneath me,

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laying back with my hands under my head, watching the stars as they shown bright. Brighter than you could see them in the city, there was always light somewhere that caused reflection in your eyes that lessened the stars glow. Mind if I stay? Taki asked, knowing sometimes I wish to be by myself. You may stay, but I warn you, if you make noise while you sleep, I will fill your nose with sand. I looked over at him while he laid down next to me. I will try to remember that while I sleep. I would prefer to keep my nostrils clear of sand. He closed his eyes. Watching the stars until I could no longer keep my eyes open, I listened to the waves as they broke against the shore. Such a soothing sound it made, it relaxed me into a deep sleep.

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Chapter Twenty-nine

Over the next year, I watched as scientists argued over where to build the gate. Surprisingly enough, their apprentice, who was human, suggested that it be built on the electrical grid of the Earth, where the lines crossed. It will increase the natural energy of the crystals with the energy of the Earth. He stated. The scientists looked at him for a moment before starting to laugh. You would have thought that we would have thought of this a long time ago. One of them commented. Would have saved many months of arguing had we thought of it. The other patted the human's back, good thing one of us is using our brain. There is only so much listening to the two of you bicker as old women do one can take. Sooner or later someone must say something. The boy smiled at them. I suppose you have mapped out the Earths electrical grid over the island? The first scientist questioned him. I have. The boy answered. Lets see the maps then. Urged the second scientist. I watched as the boy pulled out 3 rolled papers, spreading

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them out on the table near by, using rocks in the corners of them to keep them open. This first one here maps the lines running north to south. He pointed it out to them, letting them look it over before he pointed to the second. This one maps out the lines running west to east. Again letting them look it over closely before moving on to the last one. And this one maps them both, showing where they cross. I suggest here, he pointed to a spot close to the middle of the map, for the gate as most of the lines cross almost in the exact center of the island. It has the highest electrical field across the entire island. The scientists looked over the maps several times, silently taking in the work that the boy had done. Double checking it against the hand devices they carried, putting in information and watching it give back information. They spent hours going over the maps and checking them against the devices. The boy looked almost annoyed at the patience they were taking, he seemed so sure of the mapping he had done he would have thrown the gate onto it without a second thought, but the two scientists seemed to want to check every detail. He is right. The first finally commented. Everything does check out. The second looked at the boy, where did you learn to do this? A number of places. The boy's eyebrows creased together as lines formed on his forehead. First by watching the two of you monitor the electrical fields of the Earth, predicting where a storm may come from and where it would go. Second by watching some of the others determine the position of different buildings based on energy levels. Lastly I studied the information contained in the crystals pertaining to a planets natural energy and the electrical

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lines it has that contain a higher amount, and when two or more lines cross it raises the energy and electrical output. From there it was just a matter of finding them on the island and mapping them out using a ship's computer, which a pilot showed me how to do. The scientists looked surprised, their mouths hanging out as they looked at him, they could not even bring themselves to comment on his explanation. What? The boy asked, confused by their silence along with the looks on their faces. I was trying to keep myself from laughing watching as they were outsmarted by a human. Nothing... the first one finally muttered, we can tell the council we have found the place for the gate. You... the second pointed to someone standing nearby, go gather the council and bring them here. The child, maybe 11 seasons old ran from the building after nodding her head in an affirmative way. Within minutes the council had been gathered and were entering the building. I was content to sit back and watch it unfold. Our, ah... apprentice has brought to our attention the electrical fields of the island, suggesting an optimum place for the gate to be positioned. The first one began to explain. Finally! One of the council members threw his arms in the air, an expression of happiness crossing his face at the problem finally having been solved. You have been discussing this for a year, and you just now began to listen to your student? Another one laughed. He has been running around the city, collecting information, and speaking

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to people as well as crystals and borrowing ships for cycles now. You did not take notice? He was laughing. Well we did not expect him to do what we could not think of. The second one chuckled. But to our surprising, he did and we are very happy he did so. The crystals are almost ready, clear the land and prepare it. My king ordered. It will be built with no more waste of time on the matter. Over the next few weeks I followed the scientists around as they began clearing the land, preparing the ground, and finally having the crystals brought in by ship. I watched as they stood them up in a precise layout. First standing 12 crystals around in an almost complete circle, 6 on either side. Then standing 4 at one end, creating what looked like a doorway without a top. Than standing 4 others on the other side, much in the same manner but completing the circle. Then they laid a crystal atop of these standing ones, connecting each standing one to another. Moving inside they took 4 smaller crystals, creating a stand at the end where they had completed the circle. Laying a flat crystal atop the 4 that were upright. This flat crystal had inscriptions on it, it was the control crystal. Stepping back they envisioned the stone covering of the crystals, it appeared as if they had stood stones up. Finally, a ship was brought in that had been adjusted to activate the crystals, turning its beaming technology into an activation energy, covering the entire complex of the gate at once in the immense energy it hit it with. It took them approximately a week before they had completed the structure, building it from the crystals they had grown. Finally, after they were satisfied that it had been erected correctly and in the right position they asked that the feast of the

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night be moved to the surrounding area where they could activate the gate for the first time. Every person living on the island would either walk or be brought by ship to the site.

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Chapter Thirty

Once everyone had been gathered around the site, and the feast for the night had been eaten the leader of the city, who was surprisingly still alive for as old as he was, stood in front of the entryway to the gate. Raising his arms up the people quieted down, even children seemed to recognize the signal for silence. Our family has built a gate for travel here. This is what stands behind me. He looked behind him briefly, turning back around to face the crowd. Many of you have heard the stories of their homes that they had left behind to come here. Tonight, they plan to activate it for the first time, opening a doorway between one of their homes and here. From now on, you will be able to travel with them home, and to here. One of the scientists who had helped to build the gate turned towards the boy who had given them the idea of where to build it. Are you ready to see your work in action? I feel as if I will lose my dinner. The boy smiled at him nervously. The scientists walked with the boy between them into the circle of stones. Showing him how to work the control crystal as they input the information for my home world. They had been sent word through one of the ships that we would be building a gate and they would be receiving the first activation. The scientist put in the information pertaining to our home,

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looking at the boy, press the final inscription, it will activate the gate. His hand was shaking slightly as he moved it towards the bottom inscription, the activation button. Pressing it and closing his eyes, almost as if he expected it to blow up. The crystals, or stones as they appeared to be, begin to shake slightly, everyone sitting around could feel the energy building in them. Watching as the energy traveled around the top ring of the structure, a light began to swirl around coming down from the top to where the boy and the scientists stood. Surrounding them, swirling around them, and then they vanished. One second they had been standing there, looking at the lights and energy swirling around them and the next they were gone. The crowd gasped, and backed up slightly. The children laughed and giggled, clapping their hands as if it was a show. As the crowd began to talk amongst themselves the energy again began to travel around the top ring, and again the swirling light came down from the top and for a second you could see the 2 scientists and the boy, and see through them at the same time until they became physical again, no longer looking like a hologram. The boy was standing there with his eyes closed again, as the scientists stood beside him smiling. Nudging him he finally opened his eyes, seeing his home around him again. He stood for a second longer before falling over. The scientists looked at him as the crowd began to seem worried that this was not safe. A healer looked him over briefly before beginning to laugh, He simply fainted. Lost consciousness. I suspect he was overwhelmed by traveling, he is fine. Not a result of the gate. They carried him out and laid him on the ground outside of the gate before the scientists went on to explain how the gate

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worked. It conducts energy, centralizing it into one force. Opening a window between it and a destination gate, which you have input the information for on the control crystal inside of it. One began the explanation. The energy is not only centralized, but tis also preprogrammed to break down the physical bodies, at the most basic level of the being. You become energy as it surrounds you. Transporting you to the destination gate instantaneously. The second furthered the explanation. Once at the destination gate it puts you back together, you become a physical being again instead of existing as energy. The first finished the explanation. The crowd was silent as they watched the scientists, standing in front of the gate. They seemed weary of the technology, uneasy at the way it seemed to work. Looking from one to another, whispering between each other. I sat on the ground,waiting for someone to say something, anything. Excited by the idea of going home after so many years away on this planet. No one had a thing to say it seemed, at least not to anyone standing before them. Tomorrow, if you wish, we will begin sending some of our personnel home and you may go with. Nucuranda said finally, hoping to inspire others to speak. Still, no one said anything. I believe they were all on the verge of fainting as the boy had done. They had adjusted to us and our technology, adjusted to how we lived and our customs mixed with theirs. But this seemed slightly unbelievable for them to swallow in a single moment.

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The boy began to stir, the scientists knelt down beside him, helping him to sit up. How do you feel? One asked. That... that was... The boy began to stammer. How do you feel? The scientist insisted. I feel... he swallowed, fine. Tis good. I believe the people were worried that you were harmed. The scientist moved his hand, directing the boys attention to the crowd around, watching him. Oh... and then it seemed to hit him, he had passed out and worried those around him, jumping to his feet he said I am fine. The gate works perfectly. On the other side, there is another one, built slightly different than this one. You find yourself standing in what appears to be a garden with strange trees. Tis beautiful. The people finally began clapping, smiling and laughing. Sure that he was fine now and the gate had not caused his collapse they were finally happy with it. Talking more like the people I knew they were, interested and curious about everything we had to share. It took a while to convince them it was time to head back to the city and sleep for the night, if it was at all possible with all of the excitement that had taken place. Once back in the barracks, and in my own bunk, I reached around and tapped Taki's arm. Hm? He leaned over the side. You excited to go home? I asked him. Yes. He looked at me, smiling. Will you be able to wait

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until morning or must I tie you to your bunk? I will be able to wait, will be good to see it again. I want to show Aree what I have been telling her about for many seasons now. What would that be? He asked, humoring me even though he was visibly tired. The temple walls, I told her many seasons ago about the writing on them. She does not believe we have so much writing on the walls of temples. And the garden outside the castle, I have told her about the trees and fruit that grow on them. I cannot wait to have some of it again. I laughed, I wonder if they would let me bring a tree back here. Probably, rather than argue with you over it. He grinned. Would be smart not to argue with me. You are telling me, I have tried it and failed many times. But now I am going to sleep. He moved back into his bunk and rolled over, leaving me to fall asleep on my own. Finally unable to keep my eyes open any longer I fell asleep, facing the back of my bunk.

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Chapter Thirty-one

Over the next few years I would make several trips home, bringing back a tree seed and planting it in the garden along with some of the other plants from our home planet. People would come and go from several different planets, enlarging the city as they did so. Humans came and went from Earth and other planets, some staying on the other planets. Being here almost 80 years now, I looked no older, neither did any of the others who had taken human bodies. All around us people were aging, at a much slower rate now, but it still did not give them our lifespans. Even Kie's children were aging faster than he did, much slower than their mother, somewhere between the two life spans. Sitting beside the bed, I held Aree's hand, reminiscing with her about the times we had shared here, the times she had come to my home, met my people. You looked so peaceful. She commented on my original body that was held in stasis on my planet. The body is peaceful, should be getting a good rest. I smiled at her, squeezing her hand between mine. Yes... She breathed in, shaking slightly as she did so. You still sleep well, as well. I could feel the worry vibrating off of her. Her children had grown and taken mates,

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having children of their own. It was not for herself that she worried, but she worried about them, as she always had. I will watch over them always. I promised her. Watching her as her eyes closed, she smiled slightly. Gripping my hand tighter in her own. I found myself holding back the waters that wanted to come. Watching her carefully as she took her last breaths, the next one always more shallow than the one before it. The age of the body finally giving out, I had seen it many times in the years we had spent here. It was always the same, we may have extended their lives and giving them healthier lives, but sooner or later, the body would always age past a point that their genetics were unable to heal. Surrounded by people, friends, family the final days before they passed on in the healing center. Laughing, smiling with those who visited. The girl who I first taught to mend cloths with her mind, watching her grow up, take a mate, have children. Watching her body wither away into old age. I remembered her as a young woman, a wife and mother, sitting at the table with her and her family. Sitting next to her bed as she smiled at those around her one last time before closing her eyes. Holding her hand as her life in the physical slipped away, feeling for the first time emotion of losing someone. A tear rolled down the side of my cheek at the memories I had shared with her. And in front of me now, I watched as the wind carried the ashes out into the sea. We had built a stand of wood, placing dried brush under it, placing her body on top of it with her arms crossed over her chest, setting it on fire. The burning of her body, the last fare well anyone could give someone. Many had died since our arrival here, people we had watched grow up, take families, living their lives. We had been in these bodies for a long time now, many cycles had past over us, and yet the bodies we occupied only looked a few years older than the day we took them. Our consciousness and activation of the

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DNA in the bodies themselves had given them a slower rate of aging, as had the reactivation of the humans here. But our minds, our understanding had enabled us to outlive so many of them... their lives were short, even with the healers and technology to extend it, they still held shorter lives than they should. Watching one after another lost to old age, it was the ending of one chapter of their lives and the beginning of another. All of the years when we were there, I will always remember the times we shared, the laughter I shared with those people, the time of my life. A time of peace, something that always came to an end, nothing can last forever. Memories will come and go, but the smiles on those faces, I will never forget. We say goodbye, we hold on tight to memories that will never die and can never be taken from us. The flames of the fire that now gave her body to the winds would spark up, burning into the night on the beaches of Atlantis. Sparks flying into the night sky, joining the stars above. I knew she had gone on, gone to the next life, possibly back to the source from which we all came from, possibly waiting to reincarnate into another life here, or somewhere else out there. Her children and grandchildren watched, her mate whose body was failing him as well watched, saying their last goodbyes as she was sent on. Time would go on forever, memories would be carried through the genetics, through the passing of them between sentient beings. People would never forget, even if they thought they had, they would never forget the lives of those who went before them. Closing my eyes, remembering the words I had spoke as the fire was set, The crossroads of time bring you places you never thought you would see, beating wings carry you on the winds of eternity sharing the secrets of the universe with you, singing in the life around you. The wondering waves, always call you home in the end, others outlive you, pass their memories of you onto a new generation, time does not stop when the pounding

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sea has called you home and neither will the memories you have given to people. Turning away from the beach, I walked back to the barracks, having her smile showing in my mind, she would be with those she knew for the rest of time, as would everyone else who had passed on. Their memories, their wisdom, had been recorded onto the crystals, if the genetic memory of them was ever lost, they would live on in the crystals no matter where they went. Life would go on through the city, mending, creating, learning, discovery, it was all part of life. New life was beginning almost daily on the island, you would hear about the new birth of a child that happened moments ago through the mental connection everyone shared. You did not have to stand in front of one another to hold a conversation anymore, the people of this island had advanced to the point of being able to mentally communicate with anyone else on the island at any given time. News spread fast now when there was news to talk of. The leader of the village, who we had first met 80 seasons ago, had passed on and his daughter had inherited his seat on the council, she represented the humans and their voice, she was a good leader. She had been to many worlds, spoke many languages. Her people loved her. Many of the council members had returned to their homes, many personnel who had been some of the first to come here had exchanged places with others, working shifts on this planet and their own. Some brought their families to the island, others took their human mates to their planet to begin a family. Even some human families had chosen to move to other planets with friends. Atlantis was at peace, existing across the universe were stories of the first days here. The rough houses that seemed they

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would blow over with the first gust of wind, to the introduction of the crystal statue and skulls. Still, many beings insisted on doing things by hand, even I had grown fond of doing it from time to time. There was peace, the way life was meant to be here, once again after too many years of non-interaction with Earth, it had returned to how it was in the beginning.

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Book Three
The Fall

Book Three: The Fall

Chapter One

Over the next few years the council saw fit to order the island to be turned into one that was under the control of them, and not under the control of the Earth. Work had begun and was done everyday, divers would take to under the island, either clearing or installing technology. The technology used, was one that was environmental friendly, and yet did not rely on the environment for use. I do not understand half of what they did there, I was never a scientist. But I do know that they transformed the island into one that could be sunk at any time. It took a year to plan, and two years to complete. The leader of the city was no longer one person, it was the council. But the person who held the voice for the human race, the daughter of that first village leader we had met, was always somewhere around, watching over things. No. We cannot do that. She stood in the hall arguing with some of the council members. If we intend to keep Atlantis in one piece, how is sinking the city going to solve that problem? The waves will crush down on her and destroy her. At this time yes. Our king, Nucuranda agreed with her. But we are going to be placing shield generators around the island, should the city have to be sunk they will withstand the weight of the water. And if they fail? She stood with her hands posed on her hips, looking as if she was trying to find an argument.

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They will not fail. But if they do we will not have to have this conversation again. Nucuranda stared at her. Do you think we should not tell the people? Another council member put in, one of the Syrians, sitting perched on a table with a bowl of fruit in front of him. Both of the others turned and looked at him, missing his point. He plopped another berry into his mouth and sat up on the table, so they can prepare? Be given a choice to evacuate or stay on the island. We have all seen the signs that the storms are coming again, the 13th planet is close enough to start preparing, but you should also warn the people, give them choice where they want to go or if they want to stay. He rubbed his hands together as he walked around. He has a point. The human leader sighed. We assume we know what is best, but we do not ask those who we speak for. Tis our mistake. Nucuranda agreed. Storms in the seas, clouds overhead, the wind that could pick a beast up, the constant downpour that has left my fur unable to dry... the signs are there for anyone who cares to look. The Syrian shook as if to try and throw the wetness from his fur. I had not realized it was raining today, turning around I looked outside and seen that it was. It had been raining for weeks with not a break between. I guess I got used to it, it did not phase me anymore, it was normal now. Listening to them talk behind me, discussing when to tell the people and plan out evacuation plans should we have to sink the city. My head hurt just listening to them debate every little detail. Leaving the building I found the cold rain falling on me, soaking me from head to toe in a few moments. Looking up the sky was filled with dark rolling clouds, not a ray of the sun came

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through them. Moving away from the building I headed for the barracks where I could hide out from everyone. By the time I reached the building the cloths I wore were soaked through, unwrapping them so I could ring them, I laid them on the table as I looked for dry ones. First pulling one around my hips and wrapping it to keep it in place. I reached for the second one. You could just stay like that. Taki leaned against the wall, watching me. Or I could wrap your mouth shut. I felt like being mean, but it was not a mean mean, it was more of a funny mean. Oh but the things I could do if you left my mouth unwrapped. He smiled, pushing away from the wall. But think of the possibilities I would have if your mouth was closed. I tried my best to make a facial expression to go along with the comment, but the smile wondered onto my face regardless. Uh huh. He stood in front of me, looking down at me. I could feel the warmth radiating off of him. But it wouldn't be much fun. You remember what happened last time. I reminded him, scolding him by wiggling my finger at him. T'was worth it. His eyes sparkled as a smile came across his face. Rolling my eyes I turned around, wrapping the second cloth over the front of my chest, would you tie this in back? I held the ends back.

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Taki took hold of them, I don't know, I think it looks better on the floor. Been talking to Kie again huh? I brought up his coconspirator. Whenever the two of them talked it was as if Taki got a whole slew of new ideas. Aye, I have. Whats it to you? He finally tied the cloth together for me. Means nothing except that you have a head full of nonsense. You two should go home more often, remind yourselves that you do not act on the cycles of ones body. I turned around, watching him fidget with the bowl on the table. How is Meka? Grows tired, her hair has turned white like Kie's. Taki chuckled, trying to make light of the situation that would end in Kie lighting the fire that would send her on, as he would probably do with his children as well. She is weak, he tends to her, the home. I believe she will make the journey within the season. Hm... I watched him, looking kind of sad. What will Kie do after? Sighing, Taki told me about their conversation. Meka has told him to take another mate, be happy. He says one mate was more than enough to teach him that life partners is not an option for him. Told me that while he enjoyed her company and cared for her very much for these last years, tis not something he wishes to do again. I had no comment on it, I did not blame him for not wanting to go through it again. He would outlive any human he took as a mate, and the non-humans here did not mate for life so it was not an option there either. And what did he say that put you

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into your... I pretended to cough. He glared at me, smiling through the glare he gave me. Tis none of your concern. If you insist on bringing it to me when you... if you bring it to my attention when you get those feelings, it is my concern. So unless you wish to explain yourself each time, I suggest turning your attention onto someone else. I explained it to him the way I saw it, sitting on the table and swinging my legs back and forth. Would you not be angry if I turned my attentions to someone else? You... pretend, not to enjoy the attention when your body says different. Would it not bother you if I, you know, went and took friendship with someone else? HA! I broke out into laughter. Despite what this body says, I am sure. You take all the friends you want, this body will remain untouched for fear it might lead itself into problems and reproduce. I got serious, knowing it would frighten him, can you imagine, a tribe of little mes running around? Can you image what they would do to the world? His face turned to one of pure horror as he looked at me, actually thinking of what I had said. Maybe it is safest for all those concerned and even those not concerned that you do not reproduce. I will work on finding another friend. He turned and quickly left the building, leaving me in a fit of laughter.

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Chapter Two

I laughed until my eyes began watering and laid back on the table to try and still the pain rising in my sides. No longer laughing but trying to end the watering of my eyes as the pain subsided, I tried to just listen to the rain hitting the building. Are you okay? Sakie had come in and was standing by the end of the table, I hadn't noticed him come in. Sitting up I looked at him, he actually looked concerned. I am fine. He looked me over, you looked to be in a great deal of pain if your eyes were watering as profusely as they seemed to be, are you sure? Yes, I am sure. I sighed, hopping off the table. Was just humor that had my eyes watering, surely you can understand that. Knowing him well enough to know that he, as well as any of his kind, had bouts of watering eyes when they found something to be funny, which was often. For you, this is something of concern. He was looking closer at me, as if inspecting me for some ailment. You do not find much funny, and even less causes your eyes to water. So, I am here to assist. He sat down on the table, patting it next to him in a motion to ask me to sit by him. Ease your conscious and let it all flow out.

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Seeing the perfect opportunity to frighten yet another, I turned as serious as I could and said, what would you think of a small me? What is it you mean? He looked confused. A child, from me... I barely got the words out and his face was cringing in much the same manner Taki's had. With who? He tried to remain still instead of squirming under the pressure of the idea. Taki. I told him, trying to keep the smile off my face. Just for an example of course. One can hope the child would take after him, but tis unlikely. He looked like he was going to be sick. Do I want to know how this happened? How? I had no problem looking confused as it was not pretending to be confused any longer. He should know how that could happen. Have you forgotten, mating is what leads to offspring or are you just jesting me? No, I didn't mean how... I... I meant when? He stammered the correction out as fast as he could speak. It hasn't happened... I watched him take a huge sigh, tension being revealed from all over his body as he placed his hand over his chest. Oh by the stars you had me scared! He tried to laugh. So, your not with child? No, and you have loss of mind if you thought such! I

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scolded him, knowing it was my own fault for not correcting him to begin with. He began laughing, then I would have to say, I do not wish to live to see the day you pass yourself onto a child. Even if the parentage on the fathers side says the child could be docile, I do not wish to see the outcome if the child took after you. He stopped laughing and grew serious, thinking he had said something wrong and intending to mend it. Nesenty, you know I care for you, you are like family. You can be sweet, but tis not something that shows often. I would be frightened of a child, even a baby, that had your... He looked for the correct word as I stared at him, ...your talents. Whats wrong with my talents? I tried to stay serious, it was getting harder by the moment because of the looks that flashed across Sakie's face. Clearing his throat he tried to fix what he had said, there is nothing wrong with your talents... again clearing his throat. ...it's just... well... your talents are very talented if you want to harm someone. He was looking everywhere but at me. I couldn't hold it in any longer and began to laugh, watching as his body language changed to one of prey readying to flight. Stop... I am not with child, nor do I ever plan to be, first of all. Second, I know there is nothing wrong with my talents because I can still cause you a great deal of pain. I smiled at him and he got off the table and slowly inched around the side of it, putting space between us. And I was causing reason to laugh more by using you. You know, playing a joke, like you often do to others? Sure you were. He inched back a little further, is that why Taki almost ran from the building?

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No... he ran because I told him to make friends with someone else, that I would not risk reproduction, I pointed it out to him as you tried to point it out to me. I moved towards him as he inched back again. Hm... He watched me carefully. So I have nothing to fear? Of course not. I chuckled, you are as safe in my company as anyone else. Tis that, that bothers me so. No one is safe in your company if you have mind to give them failure of the heart! He looked around himself, looking for an escape. And failure of the heart is worse than failure of ones body which you deal in to others. Just relax would you, I said as I grew irritated, I am not going to harm you or cause failure of the heart. Take a deep breath and relax! I will once I am outside of the building again. Have a good day! He threw my direction as he ran out the entry way, not trusting me. Again I began to laugh, trying to relax after the excitement. I seemed to be growing a sense of humor, even if it was at others expenses, it just made it more funny when you could send people running. I sat down against the wall and closed my eyes, intending on taking a short rest before the hall was filled with people for the nightly feast.

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Chapter Three

That night the council members who could come gathered in the hall, waiting for everyone to arrive. It was still raining outside and had darkened earlier than normal because of the cloud cover. I sat towards the side of the room, watching the people in front of me, a few of the older ones had been here when we first came, but their bodies were betraying them. The ones we had took to the Orcea to first learn to swim, were now grown, had families of their own, some even had children with children. It was always a reminder, as I watched the people, of everything that had happened. The crystals still sat towards the back of the building, behind where the council sat. Looking the room over again I caught sight of Taki, talking to one of the human girls, laughing to myself I shook my head. Looking from him to Kie, who was helping Meka to sit down as their children's children played around them. Their oldest boy who had taken a mate a long time ago, now had 3 of his own running about. Would everyone take a seat, eat your food while you listen. The woman who spoke for the humans stood at the table they sat at, urging people to quiet down. As you could guess, the council only comes together when something of importance is to be spoken of. Tis no different this night. Honestly, I think the council gathered whenever it suited them, and I had a feeling others thought as much as well as it took people a while to settle down to listen. Was no different than any other day, we just had more people here, they were used to seeing the council around the city coming and going. Made no nevermind

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to them if they decided to dine with us or not. Everyone... Nucuranda stood up, raising his hands, please. He motioned for them to sit down. Now him, they seemed to listen slightly more than the human woman, probably because he outlived her father and would more than likely outlive her. He had sat on the council for a long time, as everyone here was aware of. Now... tis time for listening. He sat back down at the table, waving his hand at the human woman. Thank you. She nodded at our king before returning her glance to the people gathered in the hall. The council has gathered to talk of the plans, the way things are and will be. As many of you have noticed, it has not stopped raining for days now. She raised her hand for people to look at the ceiling, which was clear and you could watch the rain fall on it and run over it. The winds have increased. Storms in the ocean have increased. We all know the basic history to this planet, a 13th planet is passing through and is causing changes in our own planet, as well as the the others of our system. It has not happened for many generations, but it is happening now. It will get worse before it calms down as the 13th passes our planet. We have succeeded in transforming the island, it can be sunk at will should it need to be to protect her. We are also going to install shield generators around the island to prevent the worst of it from striking inside our boundaries, and if sinking the city is something that we must do, it will prevent the ocean from entering our city. Our king spoke to everyone, as they whispered amongst themselves. With any luck, we shall have the shield generators up within the next seasons and be able to use them. But until then the weather will strike at us, it will get to a point on someday's you will have to remain inside your homes. Also we would like each of you to think of what you

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would like to do in case the city does have to be sunk. Do you want to remain on the island, do you want to leave through the planetary gate, do you want to spread out to other parts of this planet. The choice will be left up to each individual and their family. The human woman explained to everyone. We cannot make that choice for you. You will need to think about it over the next year and file your request with the council so that tis on record. No more was said on the matter. People continued about their feast, some leaving before others while there was a break in the rain, or so it seemed. It was still pouring outside, the Syrians and Lyrians, their halfbreed offspring all growled and sneered at the idea of going back out into the rain, every time they did so it resulted in hours by a fire to dry their bodies. I watched as Kie covered Meka's head with a cloth and wrapped another around her shoulders, an attempt to keeping her dry as he took her home. Her hair had turned white with age, she now looked more like Kie, as far as hair coloring went. I looked towards Sakie who had avoided me all through the feast, he forced a smile to his face. I chuckled at the attempt he made at seeming normal. He came towards me, feeling uneasy and looking from me to Taki who was at the other side of the building. Does not bother you? He asked softly as he sat down by me. Not in the least. I looked at him. Tis is actually releaving, I do not have to harm him. Ha... He glanced at me, ...should I make friend to keep you from harming me? Does that rule go for all? You have not been turning your attentions towards me,

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does not apply to you... I glared at him, and do not think of starting such. Hm... well, you have a good night. I'll see you in the morn. He pushed himself up, moving away from the wall and leaving. Taki was still working on courting the young woman. He looked at me, for a moment looking uncomfortable, but as I shook my head smiling as I stood up he shrugged his shoulders and went back to the job at hand. I left the hall heading for the barracks, catching sight of the Prince standing outside his building. Was not likely he would let himself get soaked as such, but was not my problem at the moment. He could catch cold and learn his lesson the hard way if he must. I watched for a moment longer as he turned and went back inside. Making note to myself to ask him about his actions tomorrow, I continued to the barracks. Exchanging the cloths I wore for dry ones yet again, laying them out near the fire for them to dry. Crawling into my bunk and listening to the rain and sounds of the storm as I fell asleep.

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Chapter Four

I woke up just in time to catch Taki crawling into his bunk above mine. Smiling to myself, I couldn't resist giving him a hard time. You animal. I snickered. Huh? He leaned over the side to look at me. Just getting in. You spent the night being an animal. I smiled. Oh, uh... He knew he had been caught and wasn't sure how to react. Just admit it. I watched his cheeks turn a light color of red. That little girl you were talking to last night and you were hold up somewhere being friends. I don't think I should be having this conversation with you. He tried to roll back into his bunk but not before I grabbed his arm. Who else you going to have this conversation with? I raised an eyebrow at him, trying not to point out how his cheeks had gone red. You sleep above me, I'm going to catch you everytime you try to sneak in before everyone else gets up. It was your idea. He tried to blame me.

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That it was. And I'm glad I told you to do it, now fill me in. You owe me. I owe you nothing! He chuckled. Just because you told me to do it doesn't mean I owe you an explanation. Oh yes you do. I moved over so I could look up around the side easier, if I had not of told you do it, you would not be flushed right now, nor would you have had fun last night. You owe me Taki, now spill it. I have nothing to spill, regardless of if I owe you or not. Yes you do. I watched him sift under the pressure of being caught, you can start with her name, how old she is, and go on from there. I am not having this conversation... he sighed, right now. Meet me later when I can fill you in alone and I'll tell you then. But for now, let me get some sleep. Yeah, you get that sleep because I am sure this will not be the last time you sneak in at the break of dawn. I let go of his arm, letting him roll into his bunk as I got out of my own, shaking my head. Stretching I remembered I had someone else to pump for information, Kelshoro was next on my list. Walking towards the entry way of the barracks I stopped before stepping out, noting that it was still pouring outside. Running from the barracks over to his building I stopped as I got just inside the entryway, shaking like a dog to get most of the water off me. Reverting back to an unevolved being are we? The prince was standing in his doorway.

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Shush. I told him as I pushed him back inside his room. We're not talking about my manners here. What were you watching last night? What do you mean? He sat down in his bunk. Last night, after I left the hall, I saw you standing outside the building watching something, what was it? Nothing. Just watching the sky. He knew I didn't believe a word out of his mouth so he elaborated. The clouds looked so daunting, it was a little disturbing to think of it getting worse. I was also wondering when it would happen for sure, and how the weather would be afterwords you know. I know what you mean. I understood what he was talking about, the pole shifting given our position should not change the weather all that much. If anything it might make it hotter, if you can imagine that. I laughed. It's an island Nesenty, it's always going to be warm out, and wet. We're surrounded by water. He chuckled. It can get as hot as it wants, it's always going to be wet, an easy way to cool off... that is, unless the water begins to boil. I doubt that, there is too much of it. The rain may fall hot though. That it may. So, why do you think Draconus has left us to advance the island, not come knocking down the buildings? He had been wondering the same as I, we had definitely gone beyond his 'rules' for the deal we had and yet he had not thrown a fit over it, yet. Probably busy with his breeding program and terrorizing

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the rest of the planet. I remembered what the crystals had told me about his most recent actions. Ha! That he probably is doing. Makes me feel sorry for the rest of the planet. While we have it going well here and tis peaceful, the rest of the planet has to deal with him. Tis not a fare trade. No it'is not. I don't understand why the council didn't have him killed before, when they had the chance to do it. Was not their place to do so, they thought the Earthlings would take care of themselves, turns out they were wrong. Does not matter now. I suppose you already have an idea of how to correct the problem? He knew me too well, knowing I had a plan for every chance of anything happening in the ready before it happened. You know me... I smiled at him. Which is why I ask. What has that mind been doing? He's going to die. I glanced upwards at him, my head was bent downwards, but my eyes met his. I figured as much. He laughed, but how have you got it worked out? He's going to lose his head. As I suspected, but when, who? The next time I see him I will have his head in my hand. I

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was honest with my prince, I did not soften anything when I spoke to him, he had spent many years getting used to me, he knew to expect the brutal honesty from me. Should I warn the others to stay out of your way? Or will you avoid beheading them as you go after Draco? He chuckled, knowing I would not kill our own if I could help it, but if they happened in the wrong place at the wrong time, it would not be my fault. You can warn them if you want. I will not kill them unless they stick their necks in the way of my sword. You are such a sweet woman. He shook his head. I will warn those who will listen, tell them to stay inside if they see you and him within sight of one another. T'would solve the problem right out. Agreed. He shook his head in an affirmative motion. Hungry? You are reading my mind. He pushed to his feet. I wonder if there is anything dry to eat. Would be a surprise if there is. Even if it was dry to start with it would be wet from the rain by now. I joked. We walked to the hall where the food had been brought, finding a place to break fast before going about our day.

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Chapter Five

After breaking fast I headed back for the barracks, walking I took note of how silent it was in there, everyone had left. Except Taki who was still sound asleep in his bunk, figuring it was the perfect time for him to pay up I walked over to the side, poking him in the ribs to wake him up. What? He looked over, slightly annoyed at the way I woke him. Time to pay up. The barracks are empty, just you and me here. I smiled at him. Your relentless, you know that? He mumbled, swinging his legs out of his bunk and getting down. Did you at least bring me break fast? No, start talking. I sat on the table, waiting for him to finishing stretching out his muscles and to stop yawning. What do you want to know? He asked as he sat down next to me. Everything. Everything, everything? He smiled, getting that little bit of color back in his cheeks. If you can stomach sharing, yes.

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Her name is Shalic. She is 19 seasons, and has managed to live on her own for around 3 seasons. He offered without further prodding. And? I felt the need to push for more information, just to make him uncomfortable and make that color rise in his face more. And... he chuckled, looking down, refusing to meet my stare. ...she's not shy. What does that mean? I acted like the giddy little best friend who must know everything of their friend. I means it did not take much talk to be friends, she was very willing. He looked over at me, and she did not engage in harming me beforehand. He began laughing. Seems like you found the perfect friend, but I believe I will talk to her, let her know to hurt you before hand. I teased as he glared at me. I will not talk to her, you have my word. But continue... You best not talk to her. I don't need her taking lessons from you and turning into a viper. He shook his head at the idea. Afterwords she was willing to just talk to me, lay there and talk to me. She did not hit me, nor did she feel the need to push me away. I think you made a good choice in friendship. I smiled encouragingly at him, when do you meet her again? This day, later. I said I would take her swimming if the rains let up, if not we would find something do to. He had the look of someone up to no good on his face. You mean, you two would... how to put this without

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making you color any deeper red than you are... enjoy each others company. I elbowed him in the arm, should I expect you to be crawling in at the break of dawn again? You may. He made an affirmative nod. Why do you not just stay there, you say she lives alone. Tis not required. He shrugged. But you want to? I could see it in his posture. I may, one day chose to do such. You are like a little girl! I pushed him this time, almost knocking him off the table. You color, shy at telling me details, do not do what it tis you want. You are a little girl! I am not. He pushed back. I just have some... restraint. Uh huh, and I have walked on this planets moon. I nodded at him before laughing. You just keep thinking as you do. You are unbearable. He shook his head. Yes I am. And Shalic will be good for you, tis good you make friends. T'will benefit you greatly to go outside of the confines of those you know already. She holds the traditions we have brought from our home. He offered a little more information. Really?

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Yes, she does not want a life partner, just friends. Tis something I did not expect from a human, but is nice to see some of them embrace the different cultures here. Yes, yes it tis good. I couldn't help but ask, I knew it was wrong and was going to make him squirm, which is why I could not help it. And offspring? He glanced at me, eyes wide and face coloring. One day maybe, undecided at this point for both of us. Going to be another Kie, reproduce enough for the entire island? I joked, chuckling and elbowing him again. Who is going to be another me? Kie asked as he walked in. Our animal here. I offered, hopping off the table and patting Taki's head, we did a decent job raising him. He is trained well enough to be released into the population. I smiled at Taki as I left the barracks, leaving him and Kie alone.

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Chapter Six

Stepping outside of the barracks I looked up towards the sky, still covered in nothing but rolling dark clouds and pouring down a soaking rain. It was a chilly rain, not quite ice falling, but was close. No better time for a walk than now, heading towards the treeline at a slow pace, taking in every drop of rain that fell on me. It sent chills down my skin, igniting a fire every time it hit my body. The energy inside of it was so full, it was a mixture of life giving energy and also held the possibilities of destruction. Every drop set fire to the place it fell on, followed by a chill that followed its rain as it ran down and off of me. Stepping into the trees the downpour softened, hitting the tops of the trees first and running off of them in a gentle stream. Falling in some places and not in others, running off the leaves. It smelt so clean, so pure inside of the trees. The wetness soaking into the leaves and body of the trees created a smell that was so green, so alive. Closing my eyes I listened to the rain strike the tops of the trees, slide down them as the tree drunk its fill of each drop, gently rolling down their arms and fallen softly onto the bushes and grasses below. Everything spoke of life, every feeling that came from the vegetation around me sang a song of peace. The feel of the soil beneath my feet, squishing, wet, cool at first touch but warm beneath. You could feel the Earth breath, the rise and fall with each of her breaths, so even, so calming. She surrounded you in her love. My senses were at a heightened state, I heard everything, felt everything, smelled everything... tilting my head back and letting my mouth open I could taste the trees, the life on the drops of water that fell into my mouth. Sparking as the drops

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hit, feeling each burst of energy from them when they fell. I began to watch my surroundings, not with my eyes, but with my very being, with my other senses. The colors of the energy danced, the sparks of life showered everything, each time one hit my energy there was a dance of colored sparkles. The vibrations of the world were in waves, ripples everywhere, tides of overwhelming shocks. I ran my hands across the grass tops, and tops of the bushes as I opened my eyes. Along the tree's bodies as I passed them, walking through the jungle. I could feel them, they recognized me there as I recognized them. They were family, they were connected to me, to this body, we were one. I felt what they felt, heard the whispered words they spoke. I walked until I found the pool of water at the base of the waterfall I had spent part of that first cycle at, learning. Stripping the cloths from my body I waded into the pool of water, watched as the ripples moved away from me, seeing the dance of colored energy still sparkle and explode as it fell softly on the water. The vibrations rippling out and away from each drop that fell. Laying my head and body back, I kept my legs together and let my arms spread wide, heart to the canopy of trees, eyes closed, hair flowing with the water. Listening to every sound there was around me. The waterfall as it rolled gently off the rock outcropping, soothingly hitting the pools surface. The sounds of the rain drops hitting the top of the water. The birds who chirped a song so sweet from the trees. The other animals joining in. The sound of flowers growing, the whispers from the trees, the flow of a light breeze through the grass and bush. It was enough to almost put me to sleep, the sound of life, the song of peace. I stayed just like that as the waters began to turn cold around me, the rain came down harder, turning to ice as it fell. The birds began to sound panicked, the other animals voices died out, the trees stopped whispering. The crashing sound rang through the

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island, vibrating the Earth. I heard a burst, like something exploding. Bringing me straight up til I was swimming in the pool, I couldn't tell where it came from. But I could feel the Earth still shaking, the water rippling unevenly all around. Swimming to the edge, I got out of the water, wrapping the cloths around myself again and headed through the trees towards the city. I stopped when I broke out of the line of the jungle, separating domestication from wilderness. Looking around I saw the smoke rising from the north, where the garden was. I saw the trail of debris in the sky, the hazy color, the flames still in the sky. It looked as if it was raining fire. Running towards the garden, stopping when I reached the bridge over the canal. A meteor had struck, and the debris from passing through the atmosphere was still falling down on the island and the ocean surrounding us. Cutting through the Earth when it struck it left a trail behind it of burning ground. I ran towards the nearest spot, feeling the heat rise as I neared it. Stopping when I could no longer stand the heat on my skin, raising my hands I envisioned a canopy of energy bubbling over the area, cutting oxygen to the fires that burned. Slowly killing the flames as they had nothing to breathe. Opening my eyes I noticed others doing the same all along the trail it had left and in smaller areas where the larger debris had made it through the lower atmosphere without burning up. One struck in the city! I heard the voice in my head, it was Kelshoro. Turning to face the city I pulled the energy around me, bringing an arm down as I balled my hand into a fist and an arm behind me in the same manner as I pulled on the surrounding vibrations. Closing my eyes I knelt towards the ground. Feeling the pull on every part of my body, the energy was unstable, but it put me close to where I wanted. An empty part of the street that ran through the city. Opening my eyes and watching the remaining

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energy around me evaporate I looked around, looking for where it had struck in the city. I looked towards the hall, the buildings where families were, the market, and then I saw the building the prince was in with smoke rolling out of the entry way. A giant hole in the top front side of the building that had torn away part of the roof. Where are you? I sent the mental connection out to the prince. Inside, trying to put the flaming ball out. He sent back with a panicked feeling. Running down the street and skidding slightly as I tried to take too sharp of a turn, I hit the ground on my hands and knees as I turned towards the entry way. Going inside was never a choice, I had to go in, I had to find him. The smoke stung as it burned my eyes, the smell of sulfur in the air burned my nostrils as I breathed in. What room? There was a delay before he answered, The seating area. I turned to my right, trying to feel my way through the hall that led to the large room with table and chairs. Feeling along the walls as the stone of them grew hot to the touch. I closed my eyes against the stinging smoke. Coughing as I made my way into the room. I saw the ball of fire he was trying to put out and caught a glimpse of his shadow through the smoke. He was trying to put a force field over it as I had done with the fires on the trail, his concentration would not focus. He was coughing and gagging too much to focus on what he was doing. Get outside! I yelled at him. Moving closer to him. You need to get out, it will burn itself out, coughing I finished, tis a

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small one! And it was, I had seen larger, it was maybe 3 feet around and high. But the building! He argued, not thinking clearly. The building is made of stone, it will survive or it will not. I grabbed a hold of his arm, pulling him with me as I tried to find my way out. The stone floors were sizzling with heat, burning our feet, the walls had reached almost the same height of heat as well. Finding the hall I had come down I shoved him in front of me, pushing him forwards as I felt my way along the walls. I saw the smoke being pulled out of the building and figured it was the entry way, pushing him towards it and out of it as he fell to the ground. Dropping to my knees I crawled the rest of the way out of the building as someone dumped a bucket of water on us. My eyes watered profusely from the smoke that had invaded them, my nose was running uncontrollably from the sulfur that I had breathed in. I assumed Kelshoro was in much the same shape. Looking at my hands they were red, burned, my arms looked as if they had red blotches covering them, the cloth I wore around my hips was singed and blackened. Get wet cloths! I heard Kie's voice. Looking to where I heard his voice, I saw him pulling the prince away from the building. Feeling hands under my arms pulling me backwards, stay with us. I heard Taki's voice. Holding my eyes closed against the chilling air and rain that fell. The rain burned as it hit the sores on my body. The ground felt hard and rough as my back laid on it. Wheres Kelshoro? I mumbled out. He is fine, worry of yourself! Taki scolded me as he put a

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wet cloth over my face, stinging as it touched my skin it made it easier to breath and soothed the sores after it stopped burning. Get that building under a field! I heard my king yell the order to anyone standing by. I do not want it spreading to any other buildings! Listening to the people scramble around me, I felt the explosion as another piece of debris struck the Earth. Heard the shattering screams as people stood watching in the streets. I heard orders yelled rapidly in every language. A larger, wet cloth was thrown over my entire body, groaning as the pain was sent up me, all the way to my head which created a throbbing pain in my head. I heard Kelshoro as he groaned, assuming the same had been done to him. I did not dare move, every inch of my body hurt, the skin felt as if it would peel off at any moment.

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Chapter Seven

The longer I laid there, listening to the people around me, feeling the Earth shake each time it was hit, the rough ground would rub against the skin of my back, my neck, my legs. I began feeling as if it was being pulled from my muscles and the tissue underneath it. The longer I was unmoving the more intense the pain grew, bringing tears to my eyes, the stinging of the eyes increased as the watering of them ran more. Ah! Kelshoro screamed out in pain. Turning my head, I couldn't see because of the cloth covering my face, but I could see him in my mind, being lifted up and set back down after screaming again. The healers gave up trying to move him physically. Kie moved a hand over the top of him, lifting him with his mind and moving his other hand under his back. In my mind I could see Kie beginning to sweat from the energy it was taking to move the prince. And the prince tensed as the energy of Kie hit him, arching his back and grinding his teeth through the pain. Putting myself out of my physical body was the only escape from the pain it was in, I couldn't block it out, it was too much to block. Your going to be fine. I heard Taki speaking to me. Try and relax, try not feel anything. Turning my mind to watch what he was doing, he followed Kie's example, using his energy to make the physical body float between his hands. I was jolted back into the body as it began to tense, the

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muscles pulling tight, the bones cramping beneath them. My body was on fire, the skin tearing away from the tissue, my back arched throwing my head backwards and my legs down towards the ground. My arms bent downwards as my hands balled into fists. The rain again burned as it fell on my exposed body, tears ran down my face and burned every inch of the way. My nose ran without stop, a liquid so acidic it felt as if the skin was melting under it. My mouth came open, ah..., I heard the scream come out but it sounded foreign to my own ears. Forcing my eyes open, through the watering and burning of them I watched Taki as he set me on something solid. He looked tired, as if he had been in training all day, sweat beading on his forehead, eyelids hanging down... but most of all he looked concerned, worried, near tears himself as he stood over me, watching me. Get the chilled cloths! We need to get them cooled down before we can heal them! I saw one of the healers issuing orders to those standing in the room. My eyes closed against my own will, feeling as if they sealed shut. The feeling of the cloth being draped over my body, the freezing coolness of it set me to screaming again. It was as if I was hearing someone else scream, which I may have been hearing the prince scream as well, but I could feel my throat tightening in the force of the sound. I heard others too, other people being treated but I couldn't distinguish who they were, things were getting blurry in the way they sounded, inaudible. I felt my teeth bearing down on each other, almost cracking under the pressure my jaw was clamping down on them. The skin on my lips rubbed against them and felt as if they were bleeding. After a while I passed out, I don't know how long it was that it took the body to

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give out from the pain and shut down into a deep sleep. Waking up I saw the daylight coming in from the outside, it hurt my eyes to look towards it. Turning my head the other direction, where the light wasn't as bright, I saw the prince laying on a table not 5 feet from me. Asleep it looked like, his body was limp and his eyes closed, his breathing steady. He had been healed, and wrapped in cold cloths to prevent any further damage to the new skin. Looking down towards my feet I saw my arms and hands were wrapped as well as the rest of my body, like his was. Then I saw Sakie, Taki, Kie, and a few others sitting at the end of the room, leaning against a wall. Moving my eyes up a little I noticed Nucuranda standing, leaning against the same wall as the others. I heard others in the room, not only healers but others with injuries who were being treated. Talking with each other, about how the sky had been on fire two days ago and how some were still putting fires out around the island. Their voices all slumped together in one chaos of noise all around me. Closing my eyes and blocking them out I fell back asleep.

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Chapter Eight

I woke up again, this time to the sight of a healer checking the machines around me. When she looked down she smiled. Glad to have you awake. Hm. Was all I gave her in response, looking around. Your wrappings can come off today. Looking down at my arms and hands, they were still wrapped. Why did you wrap them? We had to wrap them to protect the new skin growing. She looked at me pitifully. You had serious burns, we had to put you out to treat you. We couldn't heal the burns, they were too deep and had caused too much damage. The best we could do was peel it off as it loosened up and heal the tissue underneath it, wrapping you so that you could grow new skin to cover the exposed tissue. Where's Kelshoro? I remembered he had been in there with me. He is still sleeping. His burns were slightly worse than yours, we kept him on until this morn where we had taken you off the sleep induction last night. She moved slightly, pointing, he's right over there. She's awake? I heard Sakie voice.

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Yes, she is. The healer told him. Good, move. He pushed the healer away from me and stood over me, glaring down at me. You know how stupid that was! Nice to see you as well. I felt like punching him. Where in the manual for that body did it specifically say 'please, by all means, run into a building where debris from a meteor has crashed and expose my bodily coverings to anything and everything that could potentially be in there'. If you read that, inform me of where? He stood over me, still glaring at me, infuriated. It's on page three. I told him, feeling the urge to strike him get larger. No it's not! And do not think you can convince me otherwise. Shush! I held a finger up, turning my head away from him as I rolled my eyes. Do not shush me! He moved around the table so that I had to look at him again. Would you rather I hit you? I watched as he shifted his weight from one foot to another. Shush. Arg! He growled out, waving his hands at me and leaving the building. Why did we burn like we did? I called to the healer.

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Turning around she came to stand next to the table again. We've had people coming in for a week with burns. Anyone within the vicinity of the debris or meteor, not as bad as yours and the princes though. You two got a severe burn because you were in a building with a piece of debris, an enclosed area. Between the extreme heat it gave off, there were trace readings of radiation and other atmospheric dangers. How long has it been? I asked, catching what she had said. Just over a week. You've kept us out for that long? When you first came in we tried to heal you, but it was not working because of the severity of the damage to not only your skin, but the tissue and muscle underneath it. We had to wait two days before we could begin peeling the dead skin from your bodies. Than the healers worked to heal the tissue underneath, repairing what damage they could. Wait for new skin to begin to grow and than we spent the last 4 days giving you treatments to hurry the growing skin along. You may still find a place here or there that is raw and has exposed tissue where the new skin is just now covering, but you can bandage them. She explained. The idea of being out for 8 days got to me. And you say you had to induce sleep during this time? Yes, from shortly after you were brought in, when we realized we couldn't heal you. Until just last night for you, and this morning for Kelshoro. Can I get up? The stone of the table on my back was beginning to make me uncomfortable.

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Yes, yes you can. She chuckled, setting her stuff down as she helped me into a sitting position. Try to take it easy for the next few days. Always. I smiled at her, sitting on the table for a moment with my eyes closed. And no dealing with the debris you may find laying around. We don't want to aggravate the already existing conditions. She picked her stuff back up and walked off, checking on the prince. He was laid out on a table much the same as I sat on now. His body still limp, eyes closed, breathing steady. His entire body was wrapped, his feet, shins, thighs, torso, hands and arms, his neck. Looking down I only had wrappings around my middle, on my legs and feet, my hands and arms. I had loose cloths wrapped around my hips and chest. I heard you were awake. Taki's voice came from the entry way. He was leaning against the side of it, smiling. Do I ever not wake? I joked. Gave us quite a scare, you two did. He pushed away from the wall, coming to stand in front of me. Sure you should not be laying down? She said I could get up. I am just taking my time doing so. Do you want help? Taki offered before he moved to put an arm around my back. If you wish to keep me from falling from being in a laying

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position for so long, by all means. I let him help me. He put the arm around my upper back to avoid the damaged skin below, his other arm he held slightly in front of me, not wanting to touch my arms where the wrappings were. Standing up, I had to close my eyes to keep the room from spinning. Being laying down leaves one light headed when they come upright for the first time in a while. You alright? He asked. Looking over at him, he was watching me, much like I used to watch the prince when he was younger. Yes, I am fine. Put a chair over by Kelshoro, I am going to sit there until he wakes so I may scold him. Yes, you are fine if you are up to scolding people. He moved his arms away from me and turned, stopping and looking back at me, Stay put until I come back. I waited, watching as he moved a chair over to beside the table the prince was on. Checking on him briefly before making his way back to where I stood. Took you long enough. I smiled at him. Well, you know, I have to take my time in everything I do. I do not wish to trip over my own foot. He moved his arm back behind my back and the other again in front of me. Once I was seated in the chair I began to unwrap one of the cloths around my left arm. You sure you should be doing that? He looked down at me.

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Tis not going to harm anything. The healer said they would come off today anyway, what tis the difference between them doing it and me doing it? The difference is they can gauge if the wrapping needs to go back on or not. You will just leave it off whether it needs there or not. And they can do another treatment if needed before you harm your new skin. He moved a hand over mine, kneeling down beside me. Let me do it. I have two good hands and can do it gentler than you will. Okay. I was not going to argue with him over it, he had a point. I watched as he gently unwrapped layers of cloth from my left arm and hand. Each layer he took off was done with what seemed like precision, he was trying not to pull skin that may be loose. He was down to the last layer when he looked up at me, you sure? I nodded at him to continue. He unwrapped it, it tugged slightly at the skin beneath it. Coming away, the skin looked clean. No cuts or scars, no damage to it, just smooth skin. But on my wrist there was a small red, raw area near my thumb. The skin there was still fresh, it was almost clear as it covered the tissue underneath. Best to keep this part wrapped. The healer was standing behind me. And any others you may find like that, just let the skin grow a bit more, we will do another treatment within a few days to advance it. You look like you healed well though. She turned and walked off. Here, Taki grabbed another piece of clean cloth, I'll wrap your wrist to keep it covered. Then we will unwrap the other

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places, and wrap anything that looks like this. He unwrapped my right arm and hand, no raw spots were visible. Kneeling in front of me, he began unwrapping my legs and feet, there were a few raw spots on the top of one foot and three or four of them on a shin which he wrapped back up. He stood up, bending over me, lean forward. Unwrapping my stomach and lower back, he did not find any raw areas on my back and I saw none on the front of me. Looks like I will be back to work in no time. I watched him drop the discarded bandages into a basket. No, you will take it easy for some time. Do not want to damage this pretty new skin of yours. He laughed. I will not damage it, yet. I smiled at him, go see Shalic. I am going to wait for the prince to rise. You sure? His forehead creased and eyebrows bunched. Yes, I am sure. Go. I encouraged him. I will be back later to check on you both. Do not disappear. He warned me before turning and leaving the building. Turning back to watch Kelshoro as he slept, looking over his body, he was wrapped a good 90%. Hardly anywhere that he was not wrapped, he even had a few pieces of cloth on his head. One seemed stuck to his cheek and the other on the side of his head. Shaking my head, I did not know what possessed him to try and calm the debris in the building in the first place. Sitting back in the chair, I relaxed into a somewhat comfortable position and watched him. I would stay until he woke, I would not leave him until I knew he would be fine.

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Chapter Nine

I sat in the same position, dosing off every now and then. Finally as the sun was setting Kelshoro began to stir, moving slightly before he opened his eyes. He looked over at me as I watched him. You again. He smiled weakly, remembering that for the longest time I was the first thing he saw when he woke up each morning. Me again. I agreed with him. Where are we? He tried to look around. The healing center. I jogged his memory for him by giving him the mental picture of the rock embedded into the floor of his building, the smoke. Don't remind me. He moved, stretching slightly. You asked, I figured as much you might not remember right away. I smiled at him as he gave me one of those looks. The one that says 'I may have asked, but I did not really want to know.' I'm wrapped up like a mummy. He commented as he looked down at his body. So you are. I nodded. Next you will find yourself in a box of stone with your organs yanked out of your body.

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Do not be gruesome. He glanced at me and then continued to inspect his body. Lifting a hand and looking it over, as well as the arm. How do you feel? As if someone has struck me over the head. We've been out for 8 days. Things will clear up in a few minutes. The shock on his face when he looked at me spoke for itself, they put us under. Had to peel our skin from our bodies and allow new to grow. And you thought I was gruesome. I smiled at him. So I have them to blame for your mind set? As good as anyone. The prince is awake. I heard the healer behind me, looking over the shoulder I saw his father, his mother. Thank you. Nucuranda touched the healers shoulder as he past by her. Looks like you have company. I looked back at the prince as his parents came over, standing behind me. How are you feeling? His mother asked as she went to stand by him. I am fine mother. He looked at her, smiling. My king put his hand on my shoulder, squeezing softly. You are relieved, you can go rest if you wish.

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I've slept for a week, I do not believe I need the rest. But I will go see of something to eat. I stood up, looking at him. Going to bring food back for me? The prince chimed in, trying his best to make a joke. Not on your life. I told him as I turned to walk away. You just see how well I look after you next time you wind up hurting yourself. He called after me, laughing. I waved a hand at him and left the building. The rain had finally stopped, clear sky above. The city looked in shambles in areas, collapsed stone and char marks on others. People were still cleaning up all around, the hall looked to be in one piece from where I stood. Walking over to it, I stopped to watch a ship hover over a building, beaming something up before moving on as people stood by watching it. Continuing all the way to the hall, I walked up the steps, even at this distance it seemed to have survived the fire rain. Your up. Kie said as I walked in, he was standing by one of the pillars. Of course I am. I glanced at him, would everyone stop acting as if we laid on our death beds. Technically you both were. He offered, the only reason you are alive is because they kept you alive. Sakie, Taki and I stayed in the healing center with you both for 2 days. It was touchy. Well we are fine. Tis time to stop the hovering. I watched him for a second, his slumped shoulders, poor posture, something was wrong. What happened?

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What do you mean? The meteor? He looked at me, avoiding answering my question. No, I remember that. What happened to have you visibly upset? Is it Meka, the children? I took a step towards him. He shrugged his shoulders, the children are fine, so are their children. He looked to choke back tears, Meka passed not three days after the fire rain. I am sorry. I put my bandaged hand on his arm. Tis fine, I knew it would happen. He tried to shrug off the feeling of loss. You spent many years with her, is normal to feel loss. I tried to console him. Humans just do not live as long as we do, is sad, but true. I know. He shrugged my hand off. I knew it when I met her that I would be the one to outlive her. How are your offspring taking it? They are... distraught, they understand but the loss of their mother was hard on them. Especially when debris hit so close to their homes. All are intact though? Yes. He looked everywhere but at me. I felt sad for him, he looked so torn down it was hard to watch him. Normally he was the one making jokes, doing things that ended in himself being harmed and laughing it off. Stepping

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closer I hugged him to me, feeling his back tighten under my hands. He choked back his sadness as he hugged me back. You will see her again. I told him softly, whispering in his ear, she will wait in the next life for you. Makes it no easier. He pulled away from me, holding me at arms length. But, we have you to beat us into forgetting still, tis a good day. He smiled, trying to joke with me. And best you not forget it or I will have to get a stick to pound you with. I watched him as he smiled, actually smiled again instead of forcing one onto his face. I would do good to remember it yes, and I will. But should I forget, you have my permission to strike me where it hurts the most, not that you ever needed permission to harm someone. He laughed. Never do I need permission. You and all others are merely at my mercy. I slugged him in the arm, hurting my own hand. Have you eaten yet? No, was watching the sun set. Had planned on it though, most everyone who is not repairing the city is inside already. He turned around to face the inner side of the hall, come on. He slung an arm around my shoulders, pulling me along with him.

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Chapter Ten

Walking into the hall, Kie's arm around my shoulders, me leaning against him just because he was there. People were seated all around, the hall was intact, nothing had struck it. Good to see the hall is intact, where would we eat if it was not? I make a joke, trying to make him smile. We would be reverting back to village life, eating out of the dust bowls. He smiled, chuckling as he tightened his grip. He needed someone to hold onto, he was a friend who was hurting. You are coddling. I laughed, feeling the overprotective energies come off of him. I will not lose another so close together. He brushed his lips over the top of my head. I can not die. Have we not covered this? I laughed. Not for lack of trying though. I cannot count the number of times you have tried to harm yourself to the point of no return. He couldn't bring himself to stop laughing, thinking over the numerous accidents I have had throughout my life. One day... I will succeed. I looked up at him as we stopped, sitting down with bowls of fruit in our laps. And to be fare, this last time was not of my own doing. T'was Kelshoro's fault, he is the one who stood in a building that had been struck by

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debris, he made me do work and go in to find him. Tis his fault. Ha! He would disagree no doubt. He elbowed my side. Owe! I groaned, pretending to be hurt. What? He almost dropped his bowl on the floor, turning towards me. Not a thing. I elbowed him back. Looking up I caught sight of Taki across the room, he looked infuriated. Tightening his grip on the bowl in his hands until it shattered across the floor. Waving his hand over it to clear the mess. What'is wrong with him? Kie asked. I do not know, but he need relax before he puts someones head between his hands. Will not be as easy a mess to clean up. You met the girl he befriended? Kie nudged my arm to get my attention. No introductions have been made. I have heard of her though. Was what you interrupted the other morning before the fire rain. I made him give me details. Ah... that is why he was colored when I walked in. Kie smiled at me, he gave me more details than he gave you. He did not! I glared at him. Yes, he did. I have a disturbingly detailed mental picture. He raised an eyebrow, still smiling.

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No fair! I pretended to have my feelings hurt. Tis different, talking man to man. He straightened his back and shoulders. Who are we talking about? I looked at him, scrunching my brows together, I must have missed that conversation because I thought I left two little girls alone to talk. You wound me! Ah! He leaned forward, pretending to be struck by harm. You are mean, pure and simple meanness comes from you. I try. I popped a berry into my mouth. I do not blame the prince for calling you forth to the building, he had right to try and let you fall ill! He snickered, tis what you deserve after such unloyality to your supposed friends. Who told you that you were a friend? Well fine then! He crossed his arms over his chest and tried to assume a pouting face. I had been laughing hysterically at him, he looked so much like the little girl I accused him of being it was unstoppable. Pretty soon he was trying to keep a smile from his face as it slipped through. Aha! I pointed at his face, I saw that! You did not see a thing. He went back to eating, stopping momentarily, you non friend you. Continuing to eat his fill. I finished my bowl off, standing and stretching as he turned the bowls into those who collected them each night and brought them out each morn.

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You want to stay at my home? He asked, closing his eyes when he realized what it had sounded like. Not, for those reasons. You are still healing, it may be easier to heal if you have something softer than stone to rest upon. There is a bed filled with feathers I have collected over the years there, is much softer than stone and even softer than the grass filled ones you sleep on in the barracks. Platonic? I raised my eyebrows, giving him a look. Over my dead body shall anything be attempted. He held his hand over his heart. Uh huh. I punched him in the arm, that is an example of what will happen should anything arise. I glanced down letting him know just what I was talking about and just where I would strike. I will take cloth and sleep on the other side of the room. He looked at me, trying not to smile. Does that suit you? Yes, I get the head rests as well. I walked off. I can have one right? He walked after me, One, right? I ignored him all the way to his building. Walking inside I noticed all the nicknacks he had crafted over the years, pitchers, glasses, wood dolls, wooden animals. You made all of these? I touched one of the animals feeling how smooth they were. Yes, I have had a lot of time to myself over the years. He chuckled. A lot of time with cloth on the other side of the room actually. No? I said sarcastically.

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Oh yes, many, many nights spent right over there. He pointed towards one side of the living area. My cloth is rolled and ready for use. You are a beast. No, I do what I am told. He shrugged, lighting the fire in the center of the room. Where is this bed of feathers you spoke of? I yawned, stretching my arms out. Over here... He walked a little ways in front of me before stopping mid-step. I get one head rest, right? Of course, is your home. I pushed him to let him know to keep walking. The bed is yours, you can stay as long as you like... He almost gagged on the last, ...within reason. I would like the bed I mended back at some point in time. We will see. I nodded, pushing him back out of the room it was in. The head... He didn't finish his statement before I threw the head rest at him, smacking him in the chest with it. He fumbled, catching it before it hit the floor. Thank you. He smiled. I will see you in the morn. I do hope this is as comfortable as you say, or you will be harmed. He stood at attention, yes ma'am. Bowing out before he turned, laughing, and left the room.

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Leaving me to crawl into the bed that sat slightly above the floor, cuddling down into it. It was so soft, it wrapped around you. It did not take me long before my eyes drifted closed and I was asleep.

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Chapter Eleven

You going to get up? I heard Kie's voice. Sometime this morn? Keeping my eyes closed I ignored him, the bed was so soft and comfortable, I didn't want to get up. Are you alright? He shook my shoulder. Opening my eyes finally I saw him kneeling beside me. I was until I woke up to you. You forget whose bed you are in. He laughed at me. He had gotten used to my personality a long time ago. It's mine. I moved slightly, settling deeper into the bed. No, it's not. He pointed a finger in my face, tis on loan. How much to trade for it? I sat up, looking him in the eyes, trying to back him down. More than you are willing to pay. Get up. He stood back up, the sun is almost mid-sky. You have slept long enough. People are asking questions. And what did you tell them? I did not say anything. He put his hands on his hips. Could you picture the idea they would get no doubt? Oh yes, she is sleeping in my bed. Slap, smack, punch, kick, did not take you long, by the stars she just came out of the healing center give her

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time to heal! Yes, I definitely told them where you were. Protecting my honor. I laughed, standing up. There is no honor you have to protect. He smiled at me, tis my honor I am protecting. You lost that many seasons ago. I said informing him if he did not know. And you lost yours many, many seasons ago... so long, I cannot remember when you had honor. He was being accusing. Where should I sneak out then, oh honored one? I looked around for a window, no windows? In the farthest room to the back. He turned around and began walking for the back room, stopping and looking at me over his shoulder, come on, I will not have you tarnishing my being. Where does it open to? I asked, falling in line behind him. Fully intending on keeping the talk down to none. A side street, not often used. We walked into the back room and he pointed to where the window was, it was covered with a cloth to keep the chilly breeze and rains out. You expect me to go out that? It looked too small. Yes. He stood his ground, making sure I at least gave it a go before turning it down. Fine. I walked over to it, moving the cloth slightly and

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bunching myself into the opening. Should I come in this direction too? Out you go! He pointed towards the window. What are you doing? I heard Kelshoro's voice. Falling out of the window and hitting the ground from the loss of balance at being caught sneaking out. He walked over and stood over me as Kie peeked out the window, trying to cover his laughter with a cough. I was... I looked at the prince who looked from me to Kie, ...checking the building for strength. Tis nice and strong. Held her in the frame of the window! Kie offered. Kelshoro looked at him and Kie and pulled the cloth back over the window. Your lying. The prince looked at me, laying flat on my back on the ground. No I'm not. I laid there, trying to keep from smiling. You going to get up and tell me the truth? He stared down at me with a hard glare. I think I will stay here, must make sure the building is... a... level along the side. I burst into a fit of laughter at the mindless answer I had given him. Tis none of my concern if you are... he swallowed, trying to cough back the word he was about to use, ...trying to, make Kie feel better. But sneaking around like a thief does not suit you, you are no good at it.

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I was really checking the stability of the building... should another fire storm strike. I looked up the side of the wall, Tis level on this side as well. I closed my eyes, forcing myself to wipe the smile from my face. When you are done damaging your brain I will speak to you. Until you are willing to be truthful with me, without me having to make it an order, do not speak to me. He stepped over me and walked down the street. No sooner had Kelshoro walked off and Kie poked his head out the window, holding the cloth to his chin so just his face shown. Is he gone? Yes. I glared at him. Did he believe you? What do you think? No. You are a bad liar. He gave me a funny look. Are you hurt? No but you will be if you make me use the window to the street no one uses again. I stared at him. Okay, have a full day. He yanked his head back inside and left me laying there. Not being able to hold it in any longer I began laughing, putting my hands over my eyes as I closed them. Laying in the same spot until I could contain the laughter.

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Chapter Twelve

After the laughter stilled I rolled to my side, pushing myself up and brushing the dust from my body. I walked down the street in the direction the prince had come from, intending to avoid confrontation with him by going the opposite direction he had gone. Until he forgot the incident I figured it was best to avoid him completely, I did not need to be interrogated over the stability of the building. Rounding the corner around the last building on the street I almost collided with Taki. 'Great, this is just what I need.' I thought to myself. Good day to you. He looked me over. To you as well. I told him, stepping sideways and proceeding to go around him. How was your feast the night before? He turned to face me. Was filling and yours? The image of the bowl shattering between his hands coming to my mind again. Not very filling. With luck this days fruits will be more filling. I tried again to walk away. Where did you come from?

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I was walking, stretching my legs. All night? He watched me closely. No. Just now. Which wasn't a lie, I was walking. Did you see fit to go back to the healing center? Is all right? His expression changed to one of concern. No... I mean yes, all is right and no I did not go back to the healing center. I knew where he was going with this so I thought t'was best to cut it short. I will see you later in this day. And I walked off before he could keep the conversation going. Glancing back as I walked off, Taki was standing in the same spot watching me. Looking back in front of me in time to avoid stepping into a basket of berries and tripping over another empty one. I grabbed a round, red fruit from the market as I made my way for the path that led to the beach. Hoping I would have some quiet finally this day, it had been a busy day so far and I had only been awake a small amount of time. I made my way down to the line of water rolling in, watching the waves roll into each other farther out. Sitting down, half in the water as the tide brought it up and half out of it when it pulled out, finishing the fruit in my hand. I closed my eyes, listening to the sounds, relaxing for the first time that day. Opening them again I decided that since the cloth I wore was already wet, there was no sense in not taking a swim. Wading into the water until my toes barely touched bottom and diving into the water. Swimming out until I could no longer see bottom and rolling onto my back, just floating and watching the sky. I could sleep like this, I thought to myself as I closed my eyes. The water rippled around me and the waves pushed me back towards the island.

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When I walked out of the water I had another run in that I did not need. Sakie was standing on the beach. Do you know what the reason was for the fire rain? I asked before he could begin the conversation and steer it in any direction under the sun. One of the ships in orbit that is monitoring the planet as it comes through says it hit an asteroid, breaking it into pieces and sent it on a collision course for Earth. he shrugged, they did not know where it would make land fall until it was too late to warn us. They thought it would overshoot the island. Lot of luck that did us. Next time they should warn us no matter the direction it goes. Would save trouble. I wrung the cloths out and wrapped them back around myself. How are the shield generators coming? As far as I hear they have just begun to build them. He glared at me. What is it? I assumed a defensive position. Not a thing, unless you have something to share. I have not to share. What tis on your mind? He shifted his weight from one foot to another, finally sitting down on the sand. I hear from Taki that you were not in the barracks last night? Tis so. I admitted. He was worried, questioned others of your whereabouts. Is none of my concern. I sat down near him, a few paces away.

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We looked over the city for you, found you no where. I am a big girl, I can tend to myself. Tis not a matter of tending to oneself but not disappearing so soon after harming oneself. He shook his head and dropped it, looking down at his feet. Then those around should not worry of me. I watched him. Is not of normal worry, but of one fearing you fell somewhere and could not get up. He glanced over at me, turning his head to the side. Well if I am missing again, do not fear, I will return at some point. I stood up, getting ready to walk away. Where were you? Sakie asked right out without stepping around it. It does not matter. I didn't look at him. Yes it does, so we know where to find the body. You will not need to search for a body unless it is of someone else. Were you... with someone? He asked as politely as he could. Not in the way you think, no. I was in one area, they in another. So your prince was right in his suspicions.

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What suspicions? I turned around to face him, he was watching my body language, looking for any clue he could find. Says he saw you fall out of Kie's window. He watched me, a smirk forming on his face. When did he say this? When I asked if he had seen you since night before. And what else did he say? Sakie's smile grew til it showed in his eyes, that you were testing the strength of the building and making sure it was level along the walls. And I was. I stuck to my story, no matter how ridiculous. Nesenty... He stood up, walking over to me, ...there is no need to lie. I am not lying, I checked the stability of the building by crawling on it and decided to check the walls and the quickest way to assume the position to do so was to fall onto my back. He burst into a full throaty laugh, placing his hands on his stomach as he tilted his head back. He finally choked it down and looked at me, still smiling. And I assume that is the only position you assumed? Or should I say, the only place you assumed such position? I had, had enough of this. Reaching out and slapping him clean across his face before he had time to duck. Enough! I glared at him, I did not of what you think. And if you continue to insinuate as such I will break your limbs in two like a twig. I

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stormed off back up the path before I did such anyway. Behind me I could hear him laughing, when I glanced back he was laying flat on his back laughing and rubbing his jaw where I had slapped him.

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Chapter Thirteen

I nearly ran Kie completely over when I came off the path, watching the ground I didn't see him coming down towards the path. Colliding with him, he lost his balance momentarily and almost fell completely over. I was just coming to find you. He stepped towards me, grabbing my arm and pulling me into trees behind some bushes to my right. Would you stop! I yanked my arm out of his grip. We need to talk. He looked guilty, and funny at the same time. He had a look on his face, and posture like we were going to be caught any second doing something we should not be doing. Looking around himself before he started whispering, Kelshoro just cornered me. Watching him I caught myself wondering when he was going to start chewing on his nails, he kept looking around. What? I had to ask, trying to keep from laughing at the picture he made standing there, looking as if he was guilty of something. I said, he stepped closer and talked a little softer, the prince, he just cornered me. What did he say? It was like pulling teeth trying to get the man to talk.

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He uh... looking around us again, even looking over my shoulder towards the path that ran between the beach and city, ...he wanted to know why you were falling out of my window. And you told him I was checking the building right? Yes. he nodded his head in a mixed fashion, first kind of up and down and then side to side and finally in a circle with a mix of the two. At first. What are you talking about, either you did or you did not. I couldn't keep the smile from creeping onto my face. It was like watching a poor animal who had eaten a bushel full of poisonous vegetables for the fun of it, he became something that could not hold still for longer than a second and kept looking about as if some ghoul would drop from the sky and fall on him. I mean, I told him the same story you had told him... Hold still! I grabbed his shoulders, no longer able to take it, the laughter was rising into my throat and I feared if he kept bobbing around like a piece of drift wood I would not be able to pay attention. Once he stilled, choking my laughter down I asked again, What did you tell him, what did he say, and please stay still. He confronted me, wanted to know why you were falling from my window like a bird without wings trying to fly. I told him the story you told him, he did not believe me and pressured me into telling him, even ordered me to. I told him you stayed in my bed. He rattled it off so fast I had to take a moment to dissect the words that had flown from his mouth as he began to bob around and look skittish. Okay... and...? I tried again to pull information from him.

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And he looked as if he would fall over. He grew green in the face and dunked his head into a bucket of water. And asked me to tell him no mating occurred. He rattled it again so fast the words slurred together. And you did? Yes, yes of course I did. His eyes were wide. Did he believe you because it'is the truth? I tried to keep eye contact with him which was impossible the way he kept darting about. Not exactly. He said I was telling him what he wanted to hear and again dunked his head. So he didn't believe you? No, no he didn't. He said he wanted to hear no more and not to send you out the window again because it was mean. I couldn't help it, I started laughing. Have you been eating fermented fruits? Not to my knowledge... he stopped to think, ...but one of the humans offered me a cup of a drink they had made. Said it was from the rotten fruit that could no longer be used, said it would make my day easier because he had seen the prince questioning me. The last comment he made sent me over the brink of sanity. I began laughing until my eyes watered, watching him darting around. Back home we had given up such drinks long before I was born for this very reason, it left one without the sanity of thought. Collapsing on the ground I continued to laugh.

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Are you okay? he reached down briefly, darting back and forth again, he couldn't even stand still long enough to help me to my feet or wait for my answer. Holding onto my sides I continued to laugh, water streaming down my face until I could no longer see. Someones come! He shrieked, pouncing almost as he bobbed up and down and round the trees. I had no time to react as I watched him duck behind a bush, peeking through the brances. Is everything okay? I heard Sakie behind me. I heard a woman scream. Either that or something died. I looked at him and began to laugh all over again, bending forwards and laying my head on the ground between my hands. It was becoming hard to breath. I heard the rustle of the bush and looked up, watching as Kie poked his head out. Oh, tis you! he shrieked again. Coming out of the bush and walking over to Sakie, putting his hands on Sakie's shoulders and glancing over him, I thought it was someone else. Sakie looked at him, looking towards me, what have you done to him? I... have done... nothing. I stammered out between giggles. T'was a human, gave him fermented fruit as a drink. By the stars! Sakie hollered, backing up a step until Kie was no longer touching him, but darting about the area again. How much?

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I... I do not know. But t'was enough. I pointed at Kie, now relieving himself on a tree. Kie! Sakie yelled at him, Kie! Look at me! Kie turned, spraying the ground around him. What? Stop! That is unsanitary! Sakie ordered him. Who did you think I was? The prince... the prince is mad! Kie said accusingly. You are one to talk. I managed to get out while gulping the air around me trying to breath. What did Kelshoro do? Sakie wanted the full story before he did anything or went any closer to Kie. He questioned me! He said it like he was so sure of himself and as a matter of fact. Okay. We're going back to the city and your going to lay down. Sakie grabbed a hold of Kie's shoulder's, pushing him towards the path and to the city. Looking down at me as he past, You coming? In a minute. I swallowed the laughter bubbling to the surface again as Kie bobbed around in front of Sakie, looking this way and that, behind him and Sakie and back in front of them.

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Chapter Fourteen

Getting him back to the city proved to be a challenge, he kept trying to turn and go the other direction. Reaching the city we stopped for a moment, trying to figure out the best way to go that would cause less of a commotion. Kie will be in regret as it is of his actions, we should not parade him through the main street. Sakie was pinning Kie in front of him. The back street, there is a window he can go through. I smiled as Sakie immediately looked at me with questions all over his face. Not now. I warned him. You lead the way. He told me, struggling to keep Kie in his grip. This way. I motioned for him to come along as I began walking down the back street that ran by Kie's. We had made it halfway there when Taki had heard the commotion and come to see what was going on. What are you doing to him? He took a step towards us as Kie's look seemed to plead with him. He has drank fermented fruits. I offered the explanation. He did what? Taki couldn't believe what was being said, he looked closer at Kie as he struggled with Sakie, who held him

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by the arms behind his back. Okay brother, come along. He tried to encourage Kie, and Sakie at the same time. The window is just over there. I pointed to it along the back side of Kie's home. Well let us hurry because he is going to run if he gets lose! Sakie commented on the fight Kie was giving him. Taki had taken a hold of one arm while Sakie held onto the other still, marching Kie down the back street. I will go in first, I offered as we came to the window, then you two push him through, I will make sure he does not strike his head. Sakie and Taki looked at me, neither one wanting to see the backside of their brother, let alone push upon it. I wanted to see it even less so I crawled through the window, standing on the other side. I am ready. Push him through then you two can come in. I instructed them. This has got to be one of the worst ways to spend ones day. Sakie commented as he lifted Kie up with Taki's help. Do not say that, it could always be worse. Taki offered up as he helped hold Kie up as his head poked through the window. Push! I ordered, they were chattering around like women taking their sweet time about getting Kie into his home. And did they ever push. Kie came through the window and landed right atop me. A goofy smile came across his face as he said, good day.

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What are you two doing? I heard the princes voice outside the window, as I saw Sakie and Taki's elbows as they leaned on the windowsill, blocking the view. Not a thing. I heard Sakie offer the answer as Taki chuckled. Get off me. I glared at Kie who still held the goofy grin across his face. What is going on? I order you to tell me. Kelshoro knew his rank allowed him to do such, but would he want to know once he found out was another matter. We... ah... Kie is ill, Nesenty is helping him. We were assisting. Taki mumbled out. Move. The prince ordered, peering through the window, quickly turning away. That I did not just see. You said she was helping him because he was ill, that is not helping! She broke his fall sir. Sakie tried to explain. We pushed him through the window and he fell, she was the landed pad. You are the worst bunch of liars I have seen! The prince accused, If you... the prince gagged, four are engaging in some... sexual rights you need just say so, not lead me to believe someone is ill and give me night terrors from the sight of it. Taki looked in, Nesenty! Get him off of you, we're coming in. He turned away shaking his head, come with us, you will see tis nothing of the sort. I heard the footsteps leave the window and turned my attention towards Kie, who still held the goofy grin on his face.

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You need move. Why? He arched his brows at me. Because if you do not I will be forced to hurt you, the sickness upon you or not. I glared at him. He looked at me for a moment before rolling onto his back next to me. Standing and brushing myself off, from the closeness that left an uncomfortable feeling. Looking down at him I shook my head, pointing a finger at him stay! Yes ma'am. He laughed. Have you sorted yourself? I heard the prince call before he came through the doorway. Yes, the beast is off. I said it before it struck me how it sounded. Closing my eyes and covering my face with my hands as the three of them came through the doorway. Would any of you care to give me an honest explanation? Kelshoro looked at us all. He says he drank of rotten fruit a human gave him, I offered, fermented. You know as well as I do the results of such intake. He has been jumpy since... Sakie looked at him and than smiled at me, ...well, he was until Nesenty, apparently, got the beast off. Taki slugged him in the arm. He needs rest my prince, he will feel awful within time depending on when he intook such of such toxins.

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Let us get him to bed and then I will make sure the humans know they are not to allow others to drink of the fermented fruits. Kelshoro took a step towards Kie. Come on, I may as well join in on this disaster now that I am present. Between the four of us we lifted Kie up and carried him to his bed, dropping him down onto it and watching as he snuggled into the bed of feathers. We stood there watching him as he fell into rest, finally acquiring the sleep he needed to rid himself of the sickness. He would have a splitting head when he awoke. Who is going to stay with him? I looked at the others. I am not, I have had my fill of his company for now. I would imagine you have. The prince looked at me. What is your problem? I spit out at him as Sakie and Taki backed away a step. I find you falling out that same window this day, giving me lies, none that I believe. Then I return to find the three of you, he wave his hand around at everyone present, doing deeds I do not wish to know the why of. And now you ask me, what my problem is? He laughed, is it not apparent? I told you, I was... He held his hand up and glared at me, Do not give me the story of checking stability of the building, I do not believe it. I do believe the sickness has come upon him, he looked at Kie, sound asleep, but the other things, I do not believe. I have three questions, and I want truthful answers. Fine! I shouted at him, crossing my arms over my chest.

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First, were you here last night? He assumed a less defensive stand. Yes, but t'was innocent. He slept in there, I pointed towards the living area, I was in here. Second, I did not stumble upon any rights that I do not wish to know the details of? He looked worried. I was half tempted to tell him he did! Just to watch him grow sick, but I answered truthfully, No. T'was as they said. He needed help, he fell through the window and I broke his fall. Last, why do the four of you always cause such problems? I have not this trouble with others, but the four of you are always doing something that could land any of us in a situation. I just stared at him, not knowing the answer he wanted. Sakie and Taki were no help, they stood there like trees, planted in the floor of the building. You have no need to answer. Sighed the prince, I do not wish to know. Tis just always something with the four of you. You, together, are trouble. Funny, he laughed, but trouble. He shook his head, I will go make it known not to give others, non-humans, the fermented, rotten fruits be they drink or eat. You three are punishable by standing over him and seeing that he is well. The prince left Kie's home, doing just as he said he would I assume. No more was said about the night before, all was quiet as we switched positions of sitting Kie and resting our eyes in the living area of the home. When he woke, he had a head that was paining him and regret written throughout his body at his actions of earlier.

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T'was not your fault. I told him as I ran a hand over his head, removing the pains, the human gave you a drink, did not tell you of what it was. It could have been any of us and you would have treated us the same. Makes not it easier to look them, or you, in the eyes. My behavior was inexcusable. He closed his eyes as the last of the head pains were removed. Thank you. His hand rested on top of mine. For watching of me since last night when I felt as if the world was crumbling. And for not harming me while I laid on you. He smiled, holding a laugh back long enough to make sure all was right. Was my pleasure. I laughed as I realized how it sounded. Nodding behind me, they helped as well. T'was there fault you were atop me, and they helped to move you here. Taki and Sakie stood behind me, nodding at him and trying not to laugh. I owe you all. Kie said as he sat up. But now we must make the prince feel foolish. Who is with me? We all laughed at his joke, Who wants to see how comfortable this bed is? I looked over my shoulder as I inched my way onto the bed. For sure. Taki offered as he plopped down on the bed. By the stars I will regret this... Sakie laughed as he closed his eyes and fell into the bed. We laid there laughing, waiting for the prince to return, he would regret walking in on such behavior.

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Chapter Fifteen

We were still laying on Kie's bed, talking about things less important than even the daily duties, sharing memories and remembering the times we had spent together. Kelshoro thought to check on us, bringing bowls of food into the home. We heard the footsteps but did not see the need to move from our positions. What under the... The bowls shattered on the floor, food splattering as the prince stared at us, mouth hung open in midsentence. You dropped something. Kie chimed in first as the rest of us tried to keep the smiles from our face. Throwing his arms into the air and turning, I do not want to know. He left the building, leaving the mess upon the floor and four of us laughing, nearly rolling off the bed. I will get it. Sakie stood up and walked over to the food and shattered pottery on the floor. Waving a hand over it he resembled the bowls and had the food back inside of them. Reaching down and picking them up two at a time, he handed the bowls to us and sat back in the bed with a bowl in his hand. I think we harmed his sanity. I commented to them. He will be having terrors nightly for a while to come. Taki added.

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Mhm. Sakie nodded as he chewed on the orange vegetable he held. We should make this a a routine. Kie added, you know. One of us partakes of toxins and the others cleans up after us, drag the prince into it as well. Keep him on his toes. We had hard time not choking on our food as the rounds of laughter began anew. As tempting as that'is. I swallowed, I do not believe he would live through another rotation of such actions. Then what would we do? Taki chuckled, we would be out of jobs and more than likely forfeit our heads to the king. I need to see to my own sanity. Sakie stood up, setting the empty bowl on the small table nearby. After this day, I believe I may have night terrors. He smiled as he walked towards the doorway. Tis good to see you are fine my brother. He turned and looked at Kie, who nodded at him. Try to behave for this night. After Sakie left we finished what was in our bowls and sat in the bed a while longer before Taki stood up, I have my own to see to as well. He looked at Kie and me, shaking his head, if I do not find you in your bunk come morning, I will know where you are at and will not be searching the city for you again. He looked at Kie, who nodded after a moment. They had shared something mentally before Taki turned and left. What t'was that about? I nudge Kie in the arm. What was what about? He pretended not to know of what I spoke. You and Taki. I watched him smile, you two shared a moment.

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Tis none of your concern, just regulations. If you say such, but let it be on record I do not believe you. I snuggled down into the softness of the bed, looking over my shoulder, out with you. Not happening. He pushed my back, almost dumping me onto the floor. You either share or you find the cloth rolled in the other room. Not on your life! I laughed at him. Head rests between us? He offered, putting one between us and turning his back to me. Stay on your side. I threatened as he laid down, his back to me. I will. He offered sleepily before dosing off. Laying there awake for a moment watching the room grow darker by the second. I closed my eyes and fell asleep myself.

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Chapter Sixteen

Waking up the following morn, Kie was already up and out of the bed, shuffling around the room. Rolling onto my back I watched him for a moment, what is it? Huh? He turned around, nothing. Just planning my day. Going to avoid the sickness today? Joking as I got out of the bed. I will try, unless others sneak it into me. I'm going to the barracks to gather clean cloths, I will see you later this day. I told him as I left the room, and then the building. Stepping out into the street and stretching the bones through my body, yawning as I watched the people about their day already. The sun was barely in the sky as they hurried about, gathering tools for the day and making their way through the streets. I watched as one pulled a cart he had fashioned, I had seen him working on making wheels not long ago, now he had two wheels and a box of wood, handles upon the front which he hung onto as he pulled it behind him. Would be easier with a ship, I thought, but if he wanted to do it the hard way, t'was not my place to correct him. Walking into the barracks finally I found it empty, except for Taki, who was still asleep in his bunk. Grabbing two clean cloths and heading back out, I made for the path that led to the ocean for a much needed bath.

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Finishing with the bathing, I waded out of the water and reached for the cloths laid upon the sand as a scouter flew past. It was flying at an extreme speed, lower than it should be, headed for the city. Wrapping and tying the cloths off, I grabbed the ones I had just washed and ran back up the path, stopping in the barracks to drop the wet ones off. Taki was still asleep, so I took the time to walk over to him, shaking his arm. Get up. I told him. Why? He turned his head to look at me. Scout ship came in, in a hurry. He jumped down from his bunk and wasted no time in going out the entry way with me close behind. Jogging to the hall, the ship had landed not ten paces from it. The pilot running up the steps and into the hall. Following we came to the top and stood between the pillars as he delivered the message to the human woman and our king. Nucuranda stood up, looking at those near by. A storm is headed our direction, should strike within the day. I looked back outside and there was not a cloud in the sky. Will be a storm of the sea, high winds and ice rain expected. Spread the word, clear the streets and take to your homes. The winds will be worse than we have seen before, with the planet nearing us it will increase the speed with which they blow and the duration of the worst of it. Distribute supplies, enough to last a week to each building. As he began talking to the pilot again, people scurried out of the building, stopping and talking to those they came in contact with. Taki and I stood near the pillars, waiting for instructions. Watching those outside spread the instructions they were given and began putting baskets of supplies together. Each basket would hold

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enough supplies for one person, for a week, buildings where there were more than one person would get a basket for each person inside. They held on the bottom a set of cloths, vegetables on top of that, fruit on top of that. And a pail of water to each person went with the baskets. Go with the pilot, oversee that everyone is brought in from outside the city. Nucuranda told Taki and myself. We nodded and followed the pilot back to the ship. Walking on board we stood near the door, watching him as he placed his hands onto the controls, mentally connecting with the ship and interfacing into the computer systems. Bringing it straight up into the air as it hovered a moment over the place it had been resting. Windows became see through on the sides of the ship to allow us to look out. Taki walked to the far side as I moved a step to the window closest to me. Scanning the ground for any people with our eyes as the pilot scanned with the ship's radar. There. I pointed out the window to three people walking away from the city. I got them. Yatik, the pilot answered, swinging the ship around. I'll put her down in front of them. He set the ship down without so much as a jostle. You need to head back to the city, get inside, storm is coming. If you see anyone on the way back tell them as well. I hollered at them from the doorway of the ship, they raised a hand in recognition, turned and headed back towards the city. Take her back up. I let him know as I closed the door. Scanning the rest of the island as we passed over it, stopping a time or two to have people head towards the city we had finished as the sky began to grow dark.

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We're going to check for fishers out in the ocean, I thought I had seen a couple when I came in. Yatik looked back at us for a moment, making sure we were paying attention. If need be I will drop you down and I can beam everyone aboard if the storm is too close for them to make it back. As we headed towards the ocean I watched the sky through the window in the front, watching it get darker the closer we got. The clouds were rolling and lightening was striking as the thunder made it's presence known. Spotting a small boat out in the water out in front of us, that looked like it was an insect floating on the surface. Taki pointed it out, he had seen it at the same time, as had the pilot who shook his head up and down. I can't set the ship down over the water. He said as the storm came into view, covering the horizon completely. No problem. Taki opened the doors to the ship and jumped, feet first into the water. Looking at the pilot I smiled as he shook his head again, closing his eyes. Diving towards the water, it felt like a brick wall when I hit it. Taki had waited where he had gone in, swimming with me over to the boat. We crawled into it and there was a man teaching his son to fish. Do you not see the storm? Taki stared at the man. I did, was about to head in. The man answered. No time. Taki took a hold of the mans arm as I took hold of the child's hand. Looking up the ship hovered overhead and beamed us aboard. The loss of the boat could be replaced, it would have to

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stay out there for the storm to devour. Sitting the man and child down in the back of the ship and pulling blankets from the storage unit we dried off as Yatik headed back for the city. Landing the ship near the hall again he broke the connection to the ship and turned around. Do you have any fear? He looked from Taki to me. No. Taki answered him, opening the door on the side of the ship. T'was fun, you should try it next time. I smiled at him as the man and his son walked out. I prefer to remain dry, thank you. Get off my ship. He laughed. You need to take cover, I need to get the ship up and out of the way of the storm. Be careful. Taki told him as we walked out. Watching the doors close behind us after we exited. The ship rose, hovering for a second, it rotated around, the front of the ship turning towards the sky as it did so. Flying straight up into the sky, it broke the clouds and continued for the outer atmosphere of the planet. You know... next time, we throw him into the water and I get to fly. I told Taki who was standing next to me. Tell you what, when that day comes, I'll jump with him in my arms because I do not want to be on a ship you are flying. Why not? I looked at him. You remember what happened to the last one they let you

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play with? He tried not to roll his eyes or laugh. Come on, we need get you back to the barracks. I am not staying in the barracks. Where you going? I elbowed him. Where do you think? He raised a brow. You want that nice bed of feathers don't you? As nice as the hardness of the barracks are, I prefer the softness of feathers. I walked with him, Just as you prefer the company of the human to the company of anxious military. You behave during the storm. I do not wish to find you stuck through the window with your head in the middle of it. He stopped in front of Kie's house. T'would be Kie whose head hangs from the window during the storm if he gives me trouble over who gets the bed. Tis his bed. Taki shrugged. Is mine now. I laughed, walking towards the doorway and watching as he walked down the street. Making sure the wind did not take him as it picked up quickly in the time from when we left until now.

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Chapter Seventeen

Didn't know you would be staying here. Commented Kie as I walked in. Where else would I be? I stopped, looking at him. You have the softest bed. Laughing at the last part he knelt down, getting the fire going. You have to share, you know that right? No I don't. I walked over to stand by the fire, warming my hands. Yes, you do. Tis my bed. He glanced up at me. I told you, is mine now. You will leave if you do not share. Standing up and looking me in the eyes. You would not put me out in the storm. I smiled at him, knowing he would do no such thing even if he threatened it. You will pay for it, trade for the use of the bed. Raising an eyebrow as he stared down at me, hands on his hips. I will do no such thing. I glared at him. Not that. He laughed, your going to fix the meals while

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you stay here. I do not cook. So you will learn. He walked into the other room, bringing a bowl of vegetables that needed cooking back to me. You may start with these. The stone bowl for cooking, is over there. He pointed to it sitting alongside a stone table that was knee high. Leaving me standing there, bowl of food in hand, fire going. He sent the mental message back, at least, tis not what you thought. Grumbling I had to agree with him, so I grabbed the stoneware and knelt down near the fire trying to figure out what to do first. Plopping a few of the vegetables in the stone bowl, I set it on a rock that was outlining the fire. Watching it for a moment, I decided it was good to go, it would cook itself from here. 'This is not so hard.' I thought to myself. I got up and walked into the other room where Kie was sitting. How do you know what I thought? I asked him about his comment before. I got a nice mental picture of what you thought. My face must have shown the shock because he began to laugh. Relax already, I would not ask you to trade in that way. And why not? I was being a pain, knowing full well why not but wanting to give him a hard time of it. He tilted his head and looked me over from head to toe, not that I do not find that, he nodded towards me, enticing. But I know you, you would sooner cut bodily parts from a male than bed them. I am not risking it, nor am I ruining my honor.

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Do you smell something? I asked, sniffing the air, it smelled like smoke. What are you cooking the vegetables in? He asked, standing up. In the stone bowl you pointed out. He hurried into the other room with me following behind. You really do not cook do you? He was inching the bowl off of the stone as smoke rolled off the top of it. I told you I didn't. It did not seem that hard once I got them into the bowl. I could not figure out what had gone wrong. You are supposed to put the vegetables in, as you did. He sat back on his heels, and then cover them in water, which you did not do. They cannot be that bad cooked the way I did it. I walked over to stand next to him. If you enjoy scorched foods, no, they will not be that bad. He stood up shaking his head and getting a cup of water from the barrel he had stored nearby, pouring it over the top as steam came up. The vegetables were indeed scorched, black as the stones that lined the bottom of the fire. Hm. I stood there. Tis fine. We will do it the easy way. He chuckled, waving a hand over the top of the bowl which reverted the food back to something which more resembled something which could be eaten. We ate the food he had corrected and prepared for bed.

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Again placing a head rest between us. You know, would not be a bad thing. He laid on his back, hands under his head. What wouldn't? I laid facing him. He glanced over and smiled, sending me a mental image of what he was thinking. Oh no... I do not think so. I rolled, turning my back towards him. You will not be saying such if you pass through a cycle here. He laughed at my response. Those waves of heat this species get are not controllable. Yes they are! I grumbled. And I have controlled mine for 40 years, I will not lose control of them now. But the seed of idea is now in your head. Just watch it grow until it takes over. Chuckling he teased. Stay on your side of the bed. I snuggled down into the bed a little further, pulling a cloth up and under my arms. Have a good night. I felt the bed move as he turned over, facing the other direction, laughing as he did so. Laying awake I was ready to sit up and began beating on him for the thoughts he had put into my head. He was just as bad as Taki was, planting those ideas in others heads and acting as if he were innocent. I fell asleep sometime in the middle of the night as the rain began to pour down in bursts and the thunder grew loud outside.

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Chapter Eighteen

My mind must have gotten tired of a dreamless sleep because soon after falling asleep I found myself standing outside of Kie's home. Looking up the clouds were foreboding in how they moved, rolling, rustling through the sky as they let lose a downpour that was uncontrollable. Lightening lit the sky and you could see how dark it was above, pitch black with different shades of gray throughout. Walking towards the hall, I stood on its steps watching the storm move in. I wondered how long it would last. Watching the trees shake with the violent force of the wind, bending nearly in half and almost snapping large trunks. In a split second a tree was ripped out of the ground, roots tore as it was pulled upwards by the winds beginning to blow in a circular motion, pulled straight into the air and thrown against the ground not ten paces away from where it was uprooted. It was a disturbing thought that it would only get worse in the months to come. Which brought my mind back to another disturbing idea, Kie and his mental image he had given me. Shivering not from the chill but from the idea, it reminded me of Taki's mental images he was always sending. Deciding to be a pain, I closed my eyes and thought of Taki, intending to check on him. Opening my eyes I was standing inside the woman's home. Taki was walking around lighting a candle made from natural substances around the place. I watched him as he walked here, and there. Kneeling down by the water and getting a cup out as the woman walked in the other room. He turned on his heels, looking directly at me. Nesenty, leave. He told me mentally.

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You can see me? I thought back. No, but I can sense you. You little boefa. He informed me. Referring to me as one of the insects of our home who are always flying around and seemingly propping themselves within watching distance of anything of interest to them. Fine. I did not want to watch anyway. I told him. Be safe. He sent as he stood up, walking out of the room. I sent my mind back to outside of Kie's home. Deciding to be a boefa with him, I would watch him sleep and see how long it took for him to wake up swinging at the sense of someone nearby. Walking inside and to the room of sleeping, I stopped alongside his side of the bed, staring down at him. He did indeed look innocent when he slept, he may not have been even if he always claimed to be, but he looked it in his sleep. He was out of practice, not noticing or sensing the energy of someone so close to him, standing over him. If I had been the enemy I would have his head by now. He slept sound, eyes gently closed, body relaxed, mouth shut. An attack was an option, even just a little one to pay him back for the mental image he had given me. 'What are you doing?' I asked myself, looking towards the ceiling. I was being a complete nuisance to all those around me, and here I was, debating on harming him in his sleep or not. I had been on this planet much too long that I was beginning to lose sleep over my own sanity. If I was back home, I would have been passed out, just as Kie was, given I would sense someone standing over me whether they be in the physical or not. Rolling my eyes I sent my mind back to the physical body, not risking any further loss of mind than I was already suffering from.

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Rolling onto my back, I looked at the ceiling and listened to the storm ragging outside. My hearts pace quickening as the storm picked up even more. I could smell the fresh air from outside being blown in. A thwacking sound on the side of the building sent me jumping in the bed, a small screech escaped my mouth as I jumped around on the bed, forgetting Kie was there. What in the world? He came straight up out of the bed. What are you doing? He glared at me. I don't know. I stopped jumping around and looked down at him. Did you drink of the rotten fruit before coming here? He looked at me, remembering his own bout with it. No! I shouted at him. Then what are you... He began. My heart was still racing as another thwack hit the side of the building, already being on edge I jumped. Coming clean off the bed and had hopped towards Kie. He had momentarily caught me as his reaction time was still intact, looking at me he let go, dropping me to the floor. Sit still! He looked down at me as he stepped over, walking into the other room. A moment later he returned with a braided rope. Standing up, I looked from the rope to him, what'is that for? Tis for you! He was wide awake and slightly irritated now. The next time you jump on me or jump on the bed, I will tie you to it!

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You wouldn't! I shouted at him. If you continue to act as such I will! By the stars Nesenty, calm yourself! He shouted back at me setting the rope next to his side of the bed and sitting down on the edge of it. The building will not fall down... remember, you checked the stability. T'was branches of a tree that struck the building! I do not know why I reacted the way I did. I confessed, not understanding the racing heart and jumpiness it seemed to cause. And I cannot swear it will not happen again. If it does, I will tie you to the wood posts of the bed! He laid back down, if you cannot prevent it, go in the other room. Hmph. I mumbled, walking around the room and setting for the other room, if for no other reason than to try and slow the heart before attempting to lay down again. Once my heart rate had been slowed I made for the room that was slept in again, Kie was fast asleep once again when I entered. Sitting on the edge of the bed, closing my eyes, I reminded myself of who I was, 'You are a bodyguard, you are trained, you do not jump around as if you have been struck by lightening in the bum. You are calm and relaxed at all times.' Thinking I had it covered, I laid back down and closed my eyes, folding my arms over my chest and forcing the body to relax back into sleep.

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Chapter Nineteen

Waking in the morn, I rolled over and found Kie watching me. Smiling as he said, are we through jumping around? I was through last night. Pulling the cloth farther up my body for the warmth. No, you were not. He looked tired. You spent the night tossing around and flopping around on your side of the bed. You did not sleep? Kind of hard to when the bed shakes every few seconds. My apologies. I chuckled as he smiled. What was wrong? I do not know, something... it just did not feel right and sounds got to me when I was awake. Will be sure to wear you out before rest this night, so I may sleep. For the next two weeks while everyone was cornered into their buildings not another eventful night took place. The storm ragged on for what seemed like forever, leaving people unhappy and cooped up for days too long and nights too cold. When we could finally leave the buildings again, the sky had cleared and was

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a brilliant shade of blue, not a cloud in the sky. The island was covered in destruction, trees broken in half, ripped from the ground... even rocks had been picked up and thrown through the storm. Water damage everywhere you looked as well. The hall's floor was covered in leaves, dirt, branches but it survived the worst of it, it still stood with the crystals intact. Ships came into the city to transport people around the island to help with the clean up, as well as to make the transportation of damage being cleared go faster. In the following months, storms struck once again which left us to clearing the destruction again. But good news came one night during the feast as the human woman who sat on the council stood up. My friends. Tis good tidings that has been brought to us this day. Smiling at the other council members present. The shield generators are ready to be put into place. Should another storm strike us shields will be activated and we will not be confined to buildings. There was a roar in the building that echoed off the stone walls. People were overjoyed that within the following week safety precautions would be in place to prevent damage from storms again. Through the next year three other storms would hit, but with the shields in place people were allowed to watch it pass over the city, scout ships could remain on land, and we did not have to take cover inside of buildings to avoid being swept up in the high winds, or drowned in the downpour of rain that fell with each storm. I had continued staying at Kie's, he still had bouts of sadness that overtook him. Some days he would sit in one spot and not move until the sun broke the horizon the following day. Taki was in and out of the barracks, some days he would sleep, others it

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would be nights he was in the barracks. Sakie made himself present anywhere there was something of interest happening, making a trip home and returning with friends of his. Kelshoro did his best to avoid us when we grouped together, I believe he was afraid of being caught in a situation of our own making again. Our king, queen, both returned home, resuming their own bodies and giving the human bodies back to the people whom they had to remove for first contact. The prince, his sister, Taki, Kie, myself all remained in the human bodies. The consciousness's of the humans who had occupied these bodies before us were given new ones grown in one of the labs. They did not mind, sitting and talking with them after having been in their first bodies for so long was an interesting conversation, sharing stories. The stories from them were ones we knew from the memories that remained intact, but the stories we told them of what these bodies had been through at times left them practically rolling on the floor in fits of laughter. The storms that struck the island continued to increase and grow in strength over the next ten seasons, years. Each one was worse than the one before it, and there was at least five a year that did hit this area. The shields remained intact throughout all of them. All request for personal plans should the city be sunk had been submitted and tonight the full council was present for the release of the plans. As all of you are aware, some seasons ago we requested that you submit your preferences should it come to the sinking of the city. Nucuranda spoke, he was the most well known of the council members here on the island, even though he now occupied his Pleiadian form. He spent most of his time on Atlantis, traveling back and forth from our home. A plan has been worked so that it will fit all present should it come to the last resort. Those of you who have chosen to relocate to other planets will go through the

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inter-planetary gate, ships will be present to transport you from your location to the gate saving on time. Those of you who have chosen to stay on the island, will have not to do, you will go about your day and say your farewells to those leaving. Lastly, those of you who have chosen to evacuate the island for other places on this planet, will be allowed to do so in groups. We have decided that 13 groups will dispatch, using ship to bring you to the first location, after that you will be on your own. Each group will take a skull with them so that the information can be gathered into them for future generations and should be passed down from one generation to the next. The skulls will remain in contact with the last crystal which will remain on Atlantis. Many of you have requested that if you should have to evacuate the island in choice of other parts of the world that you be granted permission to rebuild the technology which you understand, using it at your disposal. The answer is of course you can, we would not prevent that. Teach what you have learned, pass it down, write it down for the future generations to find, rebuild whatever you see fit to rebuild. The only problem that may present itself is that of Draconus, he does control the rest of the world, it will not be as easy as it has been here. At some point you may come face to face with him and be required to fight for your rights. As long as everyone understands that, there is not a problem on this end. Ships will remain within Earth's orbit, traveling to and from Earth and Atlantis regularly. Another council member stood up. Our ships are capable of underwater function and can penetrate our shields coming to Atlantis. We will be sending beacons, a way of contact, with each of the groups, which you may reproduce. Should you want to contact us for reintegration into Atlantis or be transported off of the planet, you may contact us and we will send a ship. Are there any questions? The human woman stood up, she was growing old as were many of the others humans here.

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Their life spans had increased slightly again since the last generation sat the council, but it still was not as long as ours. Her son would sit the council next, as would his twin sister when their mother passed to the next life. What happens if Draco was to come into control of one of the crystals, or threaten it? Should it be destroyed? One of the humans in the hall asked. The skull cannot be destroyed. Nucuranda explained, not saying that it is not an option, but that it really cannot be destroyed. Crystals grown into a form, which are aware of themselves, are much stronger than those that you find around the Earth. He will not be able to gain information from them though, as I have said, they are aware of themselves as many of you have experienced through contact with them. They choose to share the information they contain with you, as will they continue to do throughout the rest of time. They do not share with all, if they deem you as worthy or are genetically capable of interfacing with them, they will share. But if they sense you are evil or are not capable of interfacing with them, they will prevent the sharing of information. When is the 13th planet due to pass in the sky? Another person asked for a time-line. With current adjustments to our ships computers and at the rate it is traveling, an Aragon who sat the council stood to explain, it should be within the year that it will be in prime position for creating the most destruction. It will last a year, in which time we will activate shields and you will not be able to leave the island except by ship if the pilot wants to risk his ship in transportation. So we chose to stay while the planet passes, or to leave now? The same person asked.

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It would be wise to do yes. But should it come to the sinking of the city during that year, the choice remains open to you. Either a pilot can choose to risk his ship, or we can transport you to another planet and have groups of you sent back aboard another ship after the planet passes and you may relocate on the Earth then. The Aragon informed everyone present. There was no more questions presented during the rest of the feast. People talked amongst themselves, finished eating and left the hall returning to their homes.

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Chapter Twenty

Over the next six cycles the storms increased in activity and strength, we had the shields up for entire months at a time as one storm after another hit. The planet had not yet reached the critical point where it would cause the most destruction. Visible in the sky night and day already, but still not in the prime position. Another two cycles passed and the shields were up indefinitely as one storm came after another, no break between them. We could not see the sky at all, ships stopped coming in, the ones already on Atlantis would be grounded until further notice. One night as I was walking from the hall to Kie's, it began. Looking up as I heard the shields energy fluctuating balls of fire rained down on top of it. Hitting the shield and exploding outwards, molten rock running down the sides. People were panicking on the street as the entire city was lit up, afraid the shields would fail. Standing not two paces outside of Kie's entry way, I watched it, as one after another hit the shield, sending vibrations and ripples through the energy field. What is it? He walked out, hearing the commotion. It has begun. I looked at him as he looked upwards. The clouds visibly rolling through the sky, as waves in the ocean roll into one another. Fire falling as asteroid belts and comets had been hit as the planet traveled through on its elliptical orbit around the sun. Ash began to rain down as volcanoes all over the planet erupted with the transition of the magnetic field of the

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Earth being strained. The molten core that spins in the Earth was increasing in speed, sending lava from the center of it upwards as an open wound would bleed profusely. It continued to rain ash and fire for months. Covering the cities shields day and night as onlookers watched from outside their homes when they were awake. People learned to sleep through the noise, always knowing there were teams on duty at all times, if the shields began to fail under the onslaught of what was happening, the city would be sunk. Inter-planetary travel was suspended for a long time, no being able to know for sure if the energy burst would disrupt the shields or get lost in the destruction of what was happening above. After months of being struck by fire, the ice began to fall. It would rain bolder sized ice down mixed with the ash that still fell from the upper atmosphere of the planet. Winds blew outside of the shield so bad it brought vegetation from other parts of the world colliding with it. Water storms, where the water would spin up into the sky crashed into us, waves washed over the sides and over the island. Lasting many cycles still, raining snow and ice mixed with ash. The planet had moved into a position directly inline with the Earth. I knew it the moment it happened as my heart felt as if it would stop beating, it was a feeling of having your heart in your throat instead of your chest. It felt as if your blood stopped flowing. Sitting straight up in bed I grabbed for Kie to wake him up, but found nothing but his head rest. Climbing out of bed I walked outside where he was standing. You feel it too. He commented, glancing at me as he watched the sky. How can anyone not. I looked up, watching the sky turn

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many shades of dark red, lightening striking the shields one after another, thunder clapping and vibrating anything and everything on the planet. The Earth's core has stopped spinning, it is effecting all living beings. He repeated what the scientists had said would happen as everyone, men, women, children, old and young came out of their homes to stand on the street watching. Animals came out of the trees and bushes, looking upwards. It feels as if we are dying. I finally found the words to describe the feeling I had. Yes. He agreed. Taki, Sakie, and Kelshoro came to stand nearby as well. Water stopped flowing on the island. Plants no longer spoke in whispers to you. Everything stilled. We stood there for hours, until the night had past into day again. Feeling a jolt of electricity run through our feet, up our legs and through our entire bodies. It was enough to make you shake slightly. The core of the planet began to spin again, sending her life through all living things as she did so. The water again began to run, the trees and plants began to whisper again. Animals returned to their homes, people hugged their families. T'will last a few more months as the storm begins to die down. The planet has passed the critical point. Kelshoro commented as breathing became easier. Life continued as if this was an everyday occurrence, people went about their days. Saw to their work, joked in the hall as they ate. The crystals of Atlantis glowed with understanding, giving a comforting energy to everyone on the island. Reaching

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out with vibrations of love, hugging the entire island at once.

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Chapter Twenty-one

Another seven cycles would pass before the storms began to decrease to where the sky once again cleared of clouds from time to time. The Earth had begun to rotate in the opposite direction, the sun now rose in the East sky and fell in the West at night, followed by the moon of the planet. Through the shields the sky looked bluer, clearer than it had before the storms had begun hitting one after another over a year ago. We had been storm free for an entire cycle, and a scout ship had been sent and returned stating there was no storm on approach before the shield was deactivated. Watching as the shield came down, the sky turned even bluer, the air was chilly. When a breeze blew it sent chills down your body, making you shiver as your body tried to warm itself against it. This was explained as one of the scientists stood on the steps of the hall. The chill is result of an ice age which occurs when the core of the Earth slows, or stops. Tis worse towards the northern pole, and less severe towards the middle, and worsens again towards southern magnetic pole of the planet. Initial scans of the planet are showing 75% of it is covered in ice, winds blowing from these areas will be cool. As the atmosphere returns to a more normal climatic state, the weather will return to a more stable climate. He tried to explain it in terms those of us not in the scientific field of study would understand. You are advised to mend cloths that will keep you warm, longer wraps and footwear as most loss of heat from the body exits through the feet, hands,

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and head. Why did the climate inside the shield remain stable? Someone standing in the street asked. The shield created a biological stability that could contain the heat given off by entities inside of it. It held the heat in which neutralized the coolness outside of the shield. What we breathed, was recycled through the vegetation on the island into oxygen, again creating energy that heated the inside of the shield. He tried to word it in the simplest of terms, and I was having a hard time keeping up with what he was saying and understanding it. He noticed the looks of confusion he received and tried to reword it again, basically, we created our own world inside of the shield. What we put out, worked in favor of the plants and against outside forces. What the plants put out, worked in our favor and against the forces outside of the shield. How long do you estimate it will be before the planet resumes a normal weather pattern? Asked another. It could be as soon as a few months from now, or it could be hundreds of years in some places. It depends on the severity of the difference and position of where you are on the planet. Some areas will remain under ice for thousands of years to come, while others will warm sooner. Atlantis avoided most of the effects, it will be a matter of months, maybe a year at most, before our weather returns to normal. You understanding what he is saying? Taki nudged me as he walked up. Not really. I laughed. Good. At least tis not just myself that is feeling as if I am

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going in circles. Nice to know I am not the only one either. I was beginning to think I needed to spend more time with the scientists and in labs. I joked. You would kill yourself before you spent a month with them. He chuckled, knowing full well I would never last long in their company. Or I would kill them and we would be out of the smart people. I smiled at him. That is more likely, you would want to take them out and assume their positions. He laughed, and then the world would really be in trouble. Laughing I nodded my head. Heard anything from what is occurring in other parts of the planet? I asked if he had heard anything because I was not sure what I was hearing could be trusted. Not from the council members or pilots monitoring the planet. They seem unwilling to talk. Want to help me tie one up and make them talk? I raised my brows and smiled. They would have your head for that. No I will wait until they want to share. I like my head thank you. Your no fun anymore. And you are pure evil. He shook his head.

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Chapter Twenty-two

It was now closing in on a hundred years on this planet since first setting foot on the beaches. The weather had returned to normal on the island, and was slowly returning to a stable weather patterns all over the world. Some areas of the planet became frigid and cold year around while others were warmer as their section of the planet faced the sun more and cooler as the planet rotated and they did not face the sun as much. Finally the council saw fit to catch the island up on the on going's around the planet. They called everyone to the hall who was on the island for a meeting. As the last few people entered the hall the meeting was called to beginning as my king stood up, It is time. Waving a hand at one of the elder council members present as he sat back down. As we have been monitoring activity across the planet we have discovered that a number of beings survived the destructive forces of the planet that passed through many years ago. Some survived underground and a few survived above ground, while some were taken in ship by Draconus. We surmised that he only took a dozen mother ships of people up, leaving the rest on the planet's surface. More than likely he was hoping those left behind would not survive and he would be able to begin anew with those on-board his ships. He has begun culling of those who did survive, slaughtering the elders who remember the planets passing in each village that has been rebuilt and leaving his halfbreeds to educate and raise the younger ones who do not remember it.

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He is also destroying any record that has been passed down in each village, covering it under the ground or destroying it by force. He is erasing your planets history, all proof of what has happened that existed. Added a Lyrian. As this does not effect us at this time directly we are taking no action against him. The elder began speaking again. But we will be bringing forth some of the elders from those villages who are still alive, ships have been sent to gather them and their families. In some cases we will bring in entire villages to the island. In those cases, the village leaders have been informed of what is taking place and informed their people, each person has made the decision to come here. I am requesting that you welcome them and help them to settle into life on this island. Many of them have never seen Draconus, heard stories of him they have, but have never seen him or his kind. They have never seen the technology on this island, and have not been advanced as the humans here have. It may take them several seasons to adjust, but I am hoping those of you here will be able to help with that adjustment. We are also requesting that you lend hands in helping to expand the garden as well as build new homes and buildings throughout the city and surrounding area to accommodate the new arrivals. Added the Syrian who sat on the council. You have lived in peace for many years with us, it is our hope that you will pass on your knowledge and capabilities to those who have not lived in communication with us, or lived as you have. Some of you for your entire lives, you know no other way of life. The Aragon stood up. The first wave of incomers will arrive within the week. Nucuranda finished for all of the input others had given. Asking of the entire population of the island, Do we have your support in this activity?

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There was a unanimous agreement from everyone present as they clapped and shouted in agreement. They seemed excited to welcome newcomers to the island. Many of the human population did not remember Draco personally, but they had heard the stories and watched through the skulls of the meeting that had taken place with him all those years ago. They also knew the history of the planet, it was no surprise that they were more than willing to take refuges in from other parts, taking them out Draco's grasp. It was a few days later when the council members, along with a few of their personal military stood watching as a mid-sized cargo ship came in, landing in a field not far from the city. A few of the humans had gathered as well to make the first sight of the island a slightly more normal one than the sight of the pilot and those not in human form provided. Coming out of the ship as the doors opened was first the pilot, along with an emissary who had assumed human form for contact with the villagers, followed by at least twenty humans. A handful of older men and women, some appearing to be middle-aged, and a group of children ranging in age from what looked to be a few months to ten or eleven seasons. They looked around at the people gathered, the ones not in human form and those in human form. Noticing that all of us carried the federation mark on our upper right arms, the same as the pilot and the emissary who had made contact with them. Worry seemed to slide off of their faces the same as the rain falls as some of the human children who had been present took flowers, as well as fruits and vegetables up to the people, smiling and grabbing the hands of the other children and pulling them off to play with the toys they had brought. Welcome to Atlantis. The elder of the council members present took a step towards one of the older men who looked to be the leader of this group.

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The leader had to look down at her, as she was approximately 3 feet tall, with thin build and a large head. He reached down slowly, cautiously and took hold of the hand that was offered. He nodded his head at the council member and watched her closely, not saying anything. This is Rinah. The emissary explained. She has been on the council of the federation longer than anyone else. Rinah, this is Malik, he is the village elder. Lived through the planets passing as a young man and rebuilt his village with his family. Tis a pleasure to meet you. Rinah's eyes sparkled as she turned towards the rest of us, these are some of our other council members and their personal guards. Waving a frail hand at us, and these are some of the humans who have lived here their entire lives. They will see you well acquainted with everyone. Rinah may have looked frail but she was anything but. Being old and wise, she did not do much, but she commanded several fleets, sat the council, and had been a brilliant scientist of her race. Getting into a disagreement with her left you with your skull cracking in half and she never even had to raise a hand to you. Over the next several weeks multiple buildings went up in preparation for the arrival of more refuges and as they began coming in, one or two ships at time full of people from all over the planet. Each time they were met by the council members on the island, some of the guards, and a handful of adult and children of the human race. Overall people's shock wore off within the first few hours of arriving on the island, some it took a little longer to win over, but they were happy to be away from Draconus and out of his reach. Integrating into our society it was becoming hard to tell

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which humans had been on Atlantis all their lives and who was new to the island unless it was someone you personally knew. Some were brought from the coldest parts of the world, others brought from areas where drought had spread and turned their home to a dry wasteland of sand and very little water. A year of refuges being brought to the island had expanded the living area to many miles surrounding the initial city, another water way was put in that and the garden expanded as well. After that year the ships stopped bringing people in as it had been reported that Draconus had discovered our activities and began slaughtering entire villages to prevent us from relocating them. He kept those he did not wipe out under close guard, putting his halfbreeds and shape-shifters into their villages to report if we showed ourselves inside of them. It was the safest action to halt all activity across the rest of the planet, to avoid a conflict with Draco and possibly the loss of those lives we saved from his reach.

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Chapter Twenty-three

Over the next few seasons, all refuges were completely integrated into our society. They no longer seemed shocked when they saw beings different then themselves, they no longer ate meats, they even traveled to a few other planets. They had adjusted completely and were one of us, having been given the federation mark on their right arms a while ago, they now understood it as well. Sitting on Kie's bed, Kie to my right and Taki to my left while Sakie was at our feet we talked over everything that had happened since we arrived here. I remember the day you came in. I told Sakie, your race always carries that... arrogant look to you, tall, straight shoulders, chin held high. What's wrong with how we carry ourselves? He gave me a dirty look. Tis funny, always makes me laugh. I smiled at him, especially the first time I see you after a long break between. Why you... He grabbed a hold of my ankles, jerking gently, pulling me until I was laying on my back. Tie her up! Ordering to Kie and Taki. Which they grabbed my wrists and Kie brought the braided rope he kept by the bed up, handing an end to Taki.

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What are you doing!? Kelshoro was in the doorway. The look on his face said it all, he wanted to know what was going on but was not positive he wanted to know. Shaking his head of any mental image he had gotten, stop. Everyone stopped, looking at him. Scout ship brought in one of the others who turned himself in to them. Says he brings word from Draconus. The guys stopped immediately, letting go of me as I sat up. Is he alone? Taki stood first. Pilot is on ship still. We have a team surrounding it, they have orders to kill anything that walks off of it. The prince informed us. And the other? Kie asked, still sitting on the edge of his bed. Four guards with him in the hall. Waiting on the council here to gather. Answered the prince. Sakie and I got off the bed, as did Kie. We followed the prince from Kie's home, walking across the street to the hall. Do I want to know what you four were doing in there? The prince tried to make talk, to ease the tension everyone had. T'was innocent... when you walked in. Sakie laughed. And it was going to change? I pushed him. Might have. You have been with Taki, we all know. He felt the need to make sure I knew he and everyone else knew. And you have been living with Kie for, how long? Tis only adding that brings me to the result of what has happened. And here I am, the only one left out, might have gotten it all taken care of if the prince

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had not walked in. My jaw almost hit the ground, not at what he had said, but the fact that he had said it so calmly, and with such a certainty in his tone of voice. Well I must be glad I did not enter later. Kelshoro made his opinion known. Would not wanted to have that image embedded into my head, the one I have is bad enough to give me night terrors. Kie nudged me, smiling at me. We had been friends, innocent friends the entire time I had stayed there, but he found it amusing that Sakie thought otherwise. Taki shrugged when I looked at him, avoiding giving me his opinion. Do not look so surprised Nesenty! Sakie stopped, foot on the step above him, looking at me. We are friends, no reason not to go forward. Naika, lo sa nami. I told him off as I walked past him. She does not seem interested. I heard the prince chuckle behind me as he talked to Sakie. Tis not good to be on her bad side. Taki added in, continuing up the steps. Neither one of you will be acting on aggravating her any further while she stays with me. Kie put a hand on Sakie's shoulder and one on the princes, Tis I that must deal with her after you light the anger in her.

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Chapter Twenty-four

The other stood there, hands clasped in front of him, looking around. He looked young, maybe a few hundred years old. He didn't seem like the others I had seen, he was calmer, and there was something else. Something in the energy he gave off, the way he watched us, in his eyes. He was gentle, Draconus chose him because he knew we would not kill him on sight. He was young enough to be molded into the kind of soldier Draco wanted, but too young to have committed as many heinous crimes as some of them, he didn't understand why we watched him like we did. He not once tried to block his mind from us, and he was confused. Back up. I ordered the four standing around him. He needs fresh air to breath not the janga flowing from your mouths as you breath down his neck. Nesenty, what are you doing? Taki grabbed my arm as I went towards them, and the other. Can't you see it? I looked at him and pulled my arm loose. He doesn't understand our reaction, he isn't like Draconus. Look at him, really look at him. Taki let me continue forward, standing back and watching closely. He put his hands out when Sakie and Kie came in and came forward as if they would pull me back too, stopping them and telling them what I had told him. I stopped a few inches from him, looking his face over,

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watching him watch me. His scales were smooth, not overly large, high cheeks and strong jaw. His horns had not even begun to bud yet, maybe he was younger than I had thought. But his eyes, they were the most different. Almost looking sad, a tinge of fear in them. He slouched slightly, his tail sliding back and forth slightly, his hands held tightly in front of him. What is your name? I asked him through a mental connection, speaking his own language. He took a moment to answer, he didn't expect me to make the connection or speak his language. Tiss, Si. He looked around us. How old are you? I was curious, because I could not begin to guess. Draco would have not entrusted a child to come by themselves, but he knew we might kill any soldier he sent, which is probably why the pilot came, to ensure Si made it here. 50. He looked down towards his feet, not wanting to look me in the eyes as he grew uncomfortable. He was just a baby! I was appalled at Draco's actions, he had no right to force one so young to do his bidding. Reaching a hand out, I took hold of his hands in front of him and smiled when he looked back up at me. Nesenty! Kelshoro took a step towards me. I held a hand up, signaling the prince to stay back and do nothing that would put his own people at risk. I felt the need to back it up with words as he moved his hand in a motion to wave the guards closer, No. This child will not harm us. But if you come any closer, I will harm you. I glared at him.

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He may have been the prince, the next heir back home, but I outranked him where the military was concerned and they would listen to my order before his. Taki and Kie took a few steps forward, stepping in front of the prince and the guards I had ordered away, blocking their way from me and Si. Sakie soon stood beside them, glancing at me a moment before he did so. Come with me? I looked back at Si, still holding his hand. Where? He looked around, almost afraid to move. They will not harm you. We are only going to sit down. I pointed towards where the crystals were, right over there. He came with, with no further argument, sitting down next to the crystals and looking at them, watching the light dance off of them. He was memorized just by the sight of them. You can touch them if you want, ask them questions. I let go of his hand as I stood up from kneeling down. I will be right over there, nothing will happen to you while I am here. When the council comes you may tell them what you are supposed to. He nodded at me as he reached a hand out slowly, gently touching one of the skulls with a finger. I walked back over towards where Taki and the others stood. The prince was glaring at me, and them. Issuing the order to not only them but the guards that had been here as well, see that no one goes near him, do not breath down his neck and give him space. And I mean no one, goes near him. I looked at the prince making sure he got the message clearly. His only response was to glare at me more, biting his tongue so he would not say anything.

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I left them standing there, the guards had assumed a position in the line with Taki, Kie, and Sakie. Effectively blocking the way to anyone who would try to pass. Si was safe, he would be entertained with the crystals for some time. I needed to find the council members before they came into the hall, and the best place to start looking for them would be in the building that Kelshoro resided in. Anyone from the council on the island stayed there, if they were not out with the others of the city. They needed to understand what they would be coming face to face with, as I was not told it was a child I was sure they were not either. They would be expecting one of Draco's soldiers.

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Chapter Twenty-five

Once outside of the hall, I spotted the council just now gathering in front of the market, getting ready to come here I assumed. Taking the steps two at a time down from the entry of the hall and walking over to where they were. You must know something before you go in there. I said, still a few paces away from them as they were turning to head to the hall. We already know there is an other among us. Nucuranda said, standing still as were the others. But what you don't know is he is a child. A babe still, Draco sent a baby to do his bidding. He is confused and does not understand the way he has been treated. I blurted it out, not at all caring if they took offense. He is not like the others we have met before, he is gentle. Draco did what?! The Aragon stepped forward. You heard what I said. I glared at him. He sent a child. I would venture a guess, because he knew we would not kill on sight if it was a child. Si is only 50 years old, he should still be in home with his parentage, not off parading around for that disturbingly sick bag of scales. What then, do you think we should do? Rinah spoke softely.

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I think we hear what message he brings, send the pilot back to Draco with a message. I answered. What would you have the message be? Rinah, being one of the eldest members had seniority over the others. If he sends a child to do his work, the child remains here, with us. I did not think that we should send Si back, Draco would twist him into his way of thinking or kill him for disobedience. Turning around, Rinah faced the rest of the council. I agree with Nesenty. She thought a moment, raising a finger to her large head. He is... coward for sending a mere child, he should have come himself unless he knows we would have his head for stepping on Atlantis once again. He is an other! The Syrian snarled at her, and at me. Rinah stepped towards the Syrian, looking up at him from her short perpestive. And you are nothing but a large animal that walks upright, swings from tree limbs and speaks when he should remain quiet. He stopped snarling and looked down at her, paws on his hips. Perhaps we should return you to the trees and forget you can speak, think of all your kind as a threat, tell our children stories of the wild beasts in the trees to make them fear going into them. My apologies Rinah. I understand. The Syrian backed down, Rinah had sent him a mental note while she spoke, putting him in his place. Nesenty, where is this... Si? Now? She turned back towards me. I have him sitting with the crystals, he liked the light as it

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danced off of them. I told her verbally, and added mentally, And I have guards standing near him, making sure no one goes near him, including Kelshoro who shows as much distaste for him as the Syrian. Let us be careful when hearing him speak, do not threaten him, we will listen and offer to let him stay. The choice be his. She looked at the others before walking past me. As the others past, most of them ignored me, the Syrian snarled at me as he went by though. I did the only thing I could do, I bared my teeth back at him. You do not back down to a dog that does not show you courtesy, you return what he gave you. The Syrian looked away quickly, not wanting to get into a tussle over pack leader at this time. Turning on my heel, I followed them back to the hall, up the steps and inside where Kelshoro immediately showed his displeasure. You know what she did father? He looked at me and then at his father, who stood there, watching and shaking his head, waiting for the outburst to start. She ordered them, he looked behind him, to protect that other. To stand between him and anyone, including myself. She outranks you son. They will do her bidding before they follow yours, your mother and I, along with a few others who do outrank her, are the only ones who may contradict her order and resemble forces under different ones. Nucuranda went over to Kelshoro, placing a hand on his shoulder and whispering in his ear, tis not the time or place, if you want to act as a child you need leave. The prince glared at me from next to his father. Shrugging Nucuranda's hand off he walked out of the hall and left. The boy had a lot to learn, not only could I teach him, I could harm him,

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and until he inherited his father's throne, I would outrank him and command those under me, not him. Rinah took the chance with everyone distracted by Kelshoro's outburst to find Si. Standing next to him as he sat on the floor she communicated mentally with him. Her entire height brought her to the same level as was he, sitting. She finally sat on the floor with him, talking to him and telling him stories about the crystals he was so fascinated with. Taki and the others remained where I had ordered them to stand, between Si and everyone else. They would not allow the other council members through, more then likely because Rinah had seconded my order, they could not follow anyone elses order now. After some time, Rinah stood back up, taking Si's hand in her own little hand and leading him out from behind the council's table. Si... she looked up at him, stretching her arm all the way as he stretched his down so they could reach one another. These are the council members currently present on Atlantis. Council, this is Si. He looked down at his feet, he almost seemed shy. Fidgeting with his foot, as his tail swung back and forth. Helloos. He spoke softly, respectively. He tells me he has something to share with us. She smiled at him. Tis okay, tell us what it is you would like to say. He looked up again, watching us around him, looking towards the men who stood between him and the rest of us. Draconus... he, he wants you to leave. He almost whispered it, afraid we would be mad at him for it. He says, tis not yours to be heres anymore. He says you be gone, or he will come.

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Si... Draconus does not tell us what to do. We do not answer to him. Rinah explained. I have a question for you now. Yes? He looked down at her. Would you like to stay with us? Here? She smiled, you are welcome to stay if you want to, tis up to you though. He was shocked at her offer, taking a moment before he spoke. Would not Draconus be angry with me, with yous if I did stays here? Tis not his choice, is your choice. If you want to stay, you may. Draconus does not make your choice for you. Rinah told him. I think... he looked back down at his feet, sifting them around. I would... I would likes to stay. Then we will send our message back with the pilot who brought you here. But first... she squeezed his hand, do you have any family from where you come? Would you think they might want to come here too? He looked sad again, his tail no longer swung back and forth and he just stood there. No... no family. Draconus does not let us live with families, we lives in camps. My parents, they tried to make him leaves me with them, but he kills them I heard. Friends? Rinah was hopeful there was more like him. What is friends? He looked at her, confused. A friend is... she looked around trying to find a way to explain it to him. Nesenty, come here. She ordered, as I came to

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stand in front of her she looked from him to me. This is friends. She took my hand and had me hold one of his hands, taking a hold of his other again and a hold of my other hand. Friends. You talk to them, they are kind to each other. No... is... we are told not to talk with each others untils we are in legions. No friends. He looked as if his eyes were about to begin leaking fluid. Now you do, you have friends and you can make all kinds of them here. I told him, I felt sorry for him. It made me angrier with Draco than I had been before, that he would do this kind of thing to his own kind. So.... I can stays? He looked at Rinah again. Yes Si, you can stay. She smiled at him, her head leaning back as she looked up at him. Why don't you go play with the crystals again? They are talking, they want to play with you again. He smiled, wasting no time he turned and went back over, sitting in front of the crystals again. Touching them and smiling as they seemed to play with him. Making the light they caught dance in different colors around him. I had seen them do it before, with children of the island. Instead of sharing information like they did with adults, they played games with lights, colors, energies.

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Chapter Twenty-six

Rinah stood in front of the rest of the council. He stays, make certain your people understand they are not to be mean with him. They are to be nice. We will introduce him tonight to the island during the feast. She turned back around to Taki and the others standing guard. Do not let anyone in here, stand between the pillars and block the way. I want him left alone, if he needs something, someone gets it. Understand? Yes. They answered unanimously. Nesenty, since it was your idea, you may run the message back to the pilot. Be sure he leaves, and return to us. We will be in the chambers. She gave me my orders, and let me know they would be in the buildings that Kelshoro resided in. I will. I nodded my head at her as I ran from the building. Hoping from the top of the steps and landing on my feet on the ground, running to the outskirts of the city on my left to reach the path that led to the beach. Once at the beach I looked for the ship and the guards who had been left with it, spotting them about 20 paces from where I was. Walking up to the guards as the pilot stood in the doorway. Now he was a soldier I thought to myself. He held himself like one, he was much older, he was more like those I had seen before. The council sends their response. I told the guards who stood in front of me. Hm. They mumbled, stepping aside and letting me approach the ship.

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You are to return to Draconus. Tell him, we do not follow his orders, we do not answer to him. If he sends another child to deliver a message, they will remain with us as will Si. I told the pilot. Growling at me he turned around, closing the doors as he did so. I backed up a step to give it room to launch from. Hovering a moment before it took off, straight across the ocean top. Where is the child? One of the guards asked. He is in the hall, he stays. He is one of us now. I informed them, making sure they got the picture that he was to be left alone. And the child's name, is Si. If you say so. They shrugged, not really caring one way or the other. I ran back up the path that led to the middle of the city, between the barracks and a few homes. Stopping when I saw some children who, technically, were around the same age as Si. They were between 10 and 12 seasons, a group of 3 of them. Would you like to make a new person feel welcome? I crouched down to their level. Is it a big person? The youngest looking one asked. He is tall, but he is a child. About your age. Why is he new? Where are his parents? Another one asked. He just came here, and his parents are in the next life.

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Can we bring some of the dolls that Kie carved? The little girl asked. I had known he carved dolls and animals, but I didn't know he had been handing them out. Yes, why don't you go get them real fast and I will wait here. I laughed, shaking my head as I stood up, at the idea of Kie handing carvings out. The children ran in several different directions. Not gone more then a moment, they came scampering back with a few toys in each of their arms. The boys had round balls, that were really just cloths wrapped around leaves. They also had a few carved animals. And the little girl had a couple dolls, a carving of a bird, and boat. I did not know if he would want to play with dolls or the other carvings I have. She looked up at me. Why don't we go ask him. I told her, taking a step forward as one of the boys ran in front of me. What tis his name? He asked excitedly. His name is Si. What does he look like, is he human? The other boy asked as he jogged alongside me. He is not human. He looks like a big lizard. Taller than me, but he is really young and seems very sweet. Like the lizards we talk to that live behind my house? The first boy asked. What lizards that live behind your house? I looked down

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at him. Oh they are little, have a family. Many brothers and sisters, and mommy and daddy. All different kinds of colors. He informed me, describing a normal lizard bunch. Well, he is bigger than me and he is green. I told them, there is no reason to be afraid of him though, okay? Okay. They nodded. And you have to be nice. We all ways are. The little girl stuck her chin out. I took them up the steps of the hall, coming face to face with Taki who tilted his head, looking from them to me. Thought t'would be good to give him someone his own age to meet. I explained. They are children... He began. So is he. I cut him off mid-sentence. You can take turns watching them play if it t'would make you feel better. Now move. He shook his head and stepped aside as I brought the human children inside. Where is he? They looked at me, not immediately seeing him behind the huge table. Si... come here. I called. He popped his head over the table, looking at me with the children. I brought some children to play with you. They brought toys.

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He stood up, coming around the table. What... what ares toys? These are! The little girl exclaimed, running towards him, she had no fear. She put her toys on the table and proceeded to climbing on top of it. Standing on it she looked him in the eyes, you sure got big eyes. Be nice. The older boy warned her as he walked up. I am being nice, he does have big eyes. She looked at the boy and then back at Si, can you see really good? Yes I cans see wells. He watched her turn around and dig through the toys on the table. Picking the boat up she turned back towards him, this is a boat! She could hardly contain her excitement. Grampa Kie made it for me! Turning again she picked up a ball and an animal carving the boys had taken over. These are my brothers toys. Grampa Kie made them too! Within a few minutes they were all on the floor playing together. The little girl was the youngest, and the most outspoken of them all. She was interested in everything Si had to say. Turning, I walked over to Kie. These are your children's children? I thought they were older? He laughed, looking at me and watching them play, Tis my children's, children's children. He pointed to the oldest, That is Liat, he is 12 seasons. The other boy, that is Shanti, he is 11 seasons. And the little fire ball you brought in, that is Meka. Named after my mate. She is 9 seasons. Into everything unlike her brothers who are calm.

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I didn't... I didn't know. I was shocked his line had continued on around me without me knowing it. Gets confusing when they all reproduce. He laughed. How do you keep it straight? I asked him, not completely sure I wanted to know the answer. Well... look closely, he took a hold of my shoulders, pointing towards their backs. See that blue mark? Yes. The blue marks mean they come from the oldest son of my oldest son. He smiled, thinking he was brilliant. You dye all of their backs? I looked at him. Tis the only way to keep them straight. He looked at me as if I should have known that. I have 5 children, they all had children. Reaching into, approximately 2 or 3 a piece, that makes 12 children under them. Each of them have grown and have begun having children of their own. Right now, I think there is roughly 10 of them and three more on the way. My mouth fell open as I looked at him. You... I don't want to know. I finally told him. You must forgive the old man. He shrugged, tis what they call me. I use it to my advantage to keep track of who is who, I tell them 'the old man needs to know who belongs to who so I know who to return them to when they begin to smell.' Works well, never once have they said no. He laughed. You do not mind them playing with Si? I wanted to make

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sure, had I known they were from his line I would have asked beforehand. I do not mind. I feel he is safe, and from what I hear, he needs friends. Who better than little ones like me? He smiled, his eyes lighting up. That is the frightening part. I gave him a funny look. Has not stopped you from trying to steal my bed. He shrugged. I must not be that bad. When you make me one, I will not have to try to steal yours. Not in this life. He leaned against the pillar, watching his line play with Si. They were actually really open to playing with him, the little girl had decided to use him as a chair and he did not seem to mind while he made the carved bird fly around. Looking at them closer I noticed they did kind of look like Kie, in a strange, disturbing kind of way.

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Chapter Twenty-seven

Over the next season Si became one of us in every way. He received the mark of the federation, as did all children and not one person on the island looked at him any different than they would have looked at anyone else. We heard not from Draconus over the seasons either, rumors made their way back to us from infiltrators that the federation had in place, that when the pilot returned without Si and gave Draco our message, he destroyed the room they were in. Rumors had also made it to our ears about his halfbreeds, not only walking amongst the Earthlings but becoming their village leaders and mages, getting themselves into a position of power and control. From time to time we would hear about how he was thinking of attacking, wiping us out, but decided not to for the time. Taki and Sakie eventually moved in with Kie, as had I done. The prince, overcoming his displeasure at the idea of me being able to pass orders that override his, would often make jokes about the four of us living together. He grew up in that year, watching Si interact with everyone and grow on his own, Kelshoro learned not all were the same. It took him almost that entire season to learn what it only took me moments to learn, but at least he learned. A family of mixed breeds took Si under their roof, bringing him into their family. The male was a Lyrian, the female a halfbreed of human and Syrian, three children already before taking Si. He lived with them, played with them, worked with them. He also trained in the training center, learning our ways and customs.

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One night, mid-summer, hot, sticky, and downright miserable was the weather outside. Gathered in the hall, our usual nightly activities going on around us. Taki, what you think of being here so long? Sakie asked, even though he had returned home now and then, he lived mainly on the island. What do I think about it? Taki sighed as he chewed the question around with his food, tis manageable. Manageable enough you would bring mate here from your home world? Sakie was up to something, it was right there in the tone of his voice. A better question would be... Kie laughed, ...would anyone be willing to mate with the likes of you? Was I talking to you? Sakie threw a berry at Kie, hitting him square between the eyes. Chuckling Taki answered his question, if there was someone, I would be comfortable bringing them here, if they were willing to come. If they did not want to leave our home, than she must deal with the fact that I live here, I will visit when I can, but my job requires me on this planet and I have come to like it. Are you joking? I finally was unable to hold the insults back, none of you would be lucky enough to find a mate that is willing to be your mate, let alone one willing to relocate for you. I looked at Taki, you have too many things run through your head and act on them, you cannot keep straight your words, that would drive any potential mate away. Looking at Kie I told him, you have too many in a downline from you, this island is covered in your offspring's offspring. Who would want that to carry with

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them? Finally I looked at Sakie, smiling, and you.... finally little old you. There is not wrong with me. He tried keeping a smile from creeping onto his face. Oh, but there is. I smiled, you are the worst of the three. You think everything be funny, never do you take something seriously. If you are going to laugh your way through life, a mate would run from you in fear that you would harm her mind. Look at who speaks. Taki laughed at me. What about me? I glared at him. The one who has never taken a mate, friends, yes, but not on this planet for any length of time. He raised an eyebrow, you who fears reproducing to the point that it prevents you from enjoying the company of another. All three of the guys burst into laughter. I do enjoy the company of another. They looked at me, wondering what I was talking about. I have the three of you. You misunderstand the comment. Kie put in. Taki means the mating kind of company. You know, those actions that require you to be physically intertwined with another. I know what he means. I slapped towards Kie, he ducked and laughed. I do not need that sort of company when I have the three of you always around, my company of others is at its brink. Almost overflowing. Smiling I believed they got the point. Jokes were told around as we finished in the hall. Standing up and returning our bowls to the crates that collected them, we

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headed outside. The moment we stepped just outside of the pillars something in the air felt different. All of us felt it now that we were not surrounded by beings every direction around us.

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Chapter Twenty-eight

I will go inform the council here that there is something amiss outside the walls of the hall. Sakie offered, turning and walking back inside. The rest of us remained just outside of the hall, at the top of the steps. A few of the other military present came out, stopping as they sensed it as well. By the time Sakie returned, a barricade had formed, a line of military along the open side of the hall. Council says that no one is to be alone tonight, we are to escort them to their homes and be sure that they are not alone in their homes if it means placing groups together inside one home. Sakie informed everyone standing outside. Inside, Nucuranda informed everyone present, our military will escort you home. If you live alone, decide on bunking with a group. Something has been sensed beyond these walls, we do not know what it is, until we do, we require that all are never alone. As one family, or a group came out of the halls, two military went with each of them. Escorting them to their homes, or the building where they would bunk for the night. Taki and I took Kelshoro and his sister, as well as a few of their friends back to the building they resided in, her bodyguard was with us as well. Stay inside until morning, I do not wish to find you strung, hanging from the hall in the morn. I told the prince as I left him inside his chambers.

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And if I find you in such a way? He gave me a look, knowing I would not remain inside as I had ordered him to do. Cut me down and burn the body. I told him, shrugging his concern off. I left him in his chambers, meeting Taki and the princesses bodyguard outside. Taki was currently issuing orders to El, Remain with them, make sure no one leaves. I will send another to help watch through the night. El only nodded in confirmation, acknowledging his orders and assuming his post just on the inside of the entryway to the building. What think you it is? I asked Taki. Not sure, but cannot be anything good. Would not have us all jumping if t'was anything good. He was as confused by the senses as I was. We met a group of military escorting the council to the same building we had just left the El guarding, no doubts some of them would stay there as well, so there was no worry of finding another to help El watch through the night. The council would not be left unguarded. Taking a few families back to their homes before we met back at Kie's, waiting outside for him and Sakie to get there. Everyone inside? Kie asked as they walked up. Everyone we escorted, yes. Taki answered. Same here. Sakie agreed.

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The question remains, do we want to wait inside or scout the grounds around here? I looked at them, knowing they were thinking the same thing. No one ordered us to stay inside. Taki added. Then let us grab the blades from inside and join the others already in the trees. Kie headed inside his home. Grabbing knives we left the home, splitting up in 4 different directions. Keep a mental connection. Sakie put the idea out there for us to stay connected through our minds. We checked the streets first, knowing where each of the other was checking, covering the entire city in a matter of minutes. City seems clear. I commented to them. Clear where I am at. Kie responded to us. Clear. Taki added. Clear here as well. Sakie responded. Work our way out towards the beach first, than we will join the others in the trees. I told them. Working through the tall bush and grass, the trees, we did not take the paths towards the beach, but made our way through the undomesticated vegetation. Keeping our sensing alert so that we could feel one another, almost as if it were a wall between us as we moved forward. We would sense anything between each other or around us. Coming to the beach we could see each other lined down the beach. Found nothing. I commented. The others returned the same answer, we had come across nothing from the city down to where the water washed ashore. Two each side of the city, work our way back up the sides, meet on the back of the city. I told them.

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Taki and Saki broke off to the right of the city as Kie and I went up the left. Keeping that wall between us to sense anything that should so much as breath between us. Being able to tell our own from something that did not belong. Finding nothing as we made our way to the back of the city we checked behind the city, working our way to the middle to meet. Sensed nothing but what is supposed to be in the bush. Sakie said as we met up. Aye, but something is still amiss. Kie could still sense something was wrong, the same as the rest of us. Tis almost morning. Taki commented on the sun, beginning to give the sky different shades as it seemed to rise over the East horizon now. The others would have gotten a hold of us if they had found anything. I knew there was more of us out in the trees of the surrounding area, checking as far as the garden in a perimeter. Ships would be scanning the rest of the island. May as well return to the building. Kie shrugged. If something presents itself someone will find us. Would not be a bad idea to rest while we can, if we can. Sakie agreed, knowing sleep may come hard given the difference we all sense around us. Does not make sense... I mumbled out as we made our way back towards Kie's. ...we would not all sense it if t'was not there, something is there, tis hiding from us. Taki finished for me.

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The sun broke the horizon just as we returned to Kie's entryway, the city would begin waking if any had slept through the night. If we could, we would sleep. Throwing out our rolls on the floor of the living space, none of us took to the bed. We intended to be as close to the entry way of the building as possible, for a fast exit if need be. Laying swords next to our rolls and letting our minds shut down, drifting into sleep. Rest may not be as simple as falling asleep, with the senses of the body heightened our minds may rest, as well as our bodies, but the senses would continue to run at full speed.

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Chapter Twenty-nine

When we woke the sun was in the middle of the sky, bearing down on the island. Moisture was in the air again, making it as sticky of a day as it was hot. The only cool thing about the day was the soft breeze that blew. The smell of the ocean came with it, the salt in the sea was on the air. The same feeling that was present when we laid down was still in the energy around us. Even children sensed it, remaining quiet outside, they played silently, whispering to each other, as if an instinct in them said to be quiet to avoid predators. The council was meeting that day in the hall to discuss what it could be, that everyone sensed but could not find. As we came into the hall, there was a human standing before the council. As if in some kind of trance, speaking the language of Atlantis. She was one of the few mystics that could peer into the possible futures, detect what others did not know. She was from Aree's line, she had the gift of sight the same as her great-grandmother. ...the storm approaches from the East with the rising sun. He will attack within a season with the full force of the legions he gathers from the three under him. Death will come to those who fight him, he will take Atlantis. She spoke as her eyes turned almost completely white, the energy swirled around her, lifting her white hair as if a wind blew it. He brings death to all those who argue against the action now. He will not stop until all are dead or under his control. Others have joined him, banished from the federation long ago for their experiments, they have joined forces with him to bring the federation to their knees. The storm will

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arrive with the next season. She collapsed on the floor in front of the council, bringing them all to their feet as a healer who stood near by rushed to her side. Placing a hand on her head and one on her chest she made the connection to the human, scanning her bodies vibration for what caused the collapse. Her mind is weak. She needs to rest. The healer looked at the council. I will take her to the healing center, you have your answers. The healer caused the woman to float, taking her to the healing center. What did she mean you have your answers? I asked, slightly offended they would use someone from Aree's line as they seemed to have done. We asked her if she could see what was happening. Nucuranda answered me. She has the gift of sight, if anyone would be able to tell us, t'would be her or someone from her line. Tis genetically superior in their line. Rinah watched me as I balled my fists at my side, biting my tongue to keep my mouth closed. She was inside of my head, she knew what I thought. She will be fine. She sent to me through the mental connection. Draconus gathers all the forces from his home, the 13th in this system, and from Earth. We figured as much, that at some point he would attack. We did not know when, or that he had joined with the ones who were banished from Rinah's world long ago. Nucuranda offered the explanation. The ones we banished have changed, still similar to me they are, but they have grown. They have also turned colder since being banished. Rinah offered.

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You mean your race? Taki asked, confused that the entire race had not been banished. No... not of my race. They were from another, but crossbreeding with our kind when we gave them refuge. The ones who did not experiment remained on my home, those who did support it and participate in it were sent to another. She looked us over. Was long before I sat the council that this happened, maybe ages ago when the library was first constructed. Now they are joining with Draco? Sakie asked, to make clear what he had heard the human woman say. Yes. My king answered, since both have been banished by the same, the federation, what better way to strike back at us than to join together. What was it we felt last night? Kie asked, wanting to know if they knew that. T'was a cloaked ship the others brought in, to scan the island into the ships computer system, create a map from. Rinah answered. One of our scouts detected the balance shift in the energy as the cloaked ship scanned the island. They now know our force, the layout of the island, and I assume will create a plan of attack around that. Nucuranda gave us his thoughts. Would be best we are always prepared. She says he will attack within the time it takes us to circle the sun again. If we would like to keep Atlantis from coming under his control as she predicts, we must be prepared and we must be ready to sink the city should he bring all forces as his disposal down upon us. She said he would take Atlantis. I commented on the fact that my king wanted to save Atlantis from him, and yet she had

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seen him take it. She saw the future that lay before us, in the event that we did not know of his attack beforehand. The future has now changed, we may still save Atlantis because we know about the coming attack. Rinah explained. The gift of sight is limited to the knowledge of what one knew before and the outcome that would happen if that knowledge was not changed. In changing the main factor in the fall of Atlantis, our knowledge of the attack and when, she has changed the future. Atlantis may be saved by precognition, whereas without that knowledge, it would fall to his control. I think I understand. I responded. Not entirely understanding but having a basis of what she meant. It makes the gift of sight a dangerous thing to have. One word would change the outcome of what will happen, one must always chose carefully what they wish to know. Rinah sent me through a mental message. Aree's line carries the sight, why does no one else? I was curious, but did not care to share with everyone. Because at some point, the line of parentage that preceded Aree part of the DNA changed, from the advanced being the humans once were, the DNA mutated, it passed down an ability to cross the path of time. To cross the bridge between this world and that of the next. Now and then, it shows in the offspring from that line, not in all, but it does spring up in a few. Rinah replied mentally, answering my question to the best of her knowledge.

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Chapter Thirty

I left the hall with the guys as the council continued to debate the actions they would take. Standing on the bottom steps of the hall, watching the people going about their day, there was an uneasy silence in the city. Should kill him now, be done with it. Sakie sat down. They should have killed him a long time ago. I watched as fresh food from the garden was brought in, past us and into the market. I'm going for a walk. I grumbled out as I stepped away from the hall, heading for the treeline. I walked through the trees, reaching the first bridge that took me over a canal and continuing over the second and third bridges. Walking without thinking until I found myself once again at the pool of water and the fall, silence that was not deafening. You could hear the trees whispering, feel the Earth as she breathed, there was sound in the silence there, unlike the city where the silence was silence. Laying down near the water's edge, ear to the ground beneath me, I listened to the heartbeat, the songs of the animals and plants around me, the soft vibration that the water gave off. I stayed there, laying on the ground until the sun began to set in the western sky, it grew darker and darker under the tree tops, the air grew cooler. Walking back to the city, it took me until the sun had fallen below the horizon, the stars had begun to show and the moon rose out of the East. A brilliant white to it, I knew, something inside said that it would not always be this way. I made my way back towards Kie's, where I found Taki standing outside.

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What are you doing? I asked him, stopping in front of him. Waiting for you. He tilted his head, in that way he did when he was curious or aggravated, or both. I was at the waterfall. I walked past him, going inside. Could have told us so we did not think you lost. He said, following me inside. I do not get lost. I laughed, knowing what would come out of his mouth next. Yes you do. Remember when we were kids? You decided you knew the way through the trees and that I was wrong. Led us around for two days before someone found us, turns out we went in circles the entire time. He reminded me. We were kids. I was purposely picking an argument with him now. What about the time we were on Sakie's planet? You decided you knew the grounds better than he... ended up on the other side of the area before someone in ship came to retrieve you. I was lucky enough to have brains enough to follow him back to the barracks. He proceeded to list off the times I had gotten lost in my life. How do you know that is not where I meant to go? I watched him as he grew flustered with my tone of voice. You were lost, admit it. He pointed his finger at me, controlling his frustration and walking away.

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Your back! Kie shouted as he came around the corner of the room. And refusing to admit she got lost. Taki offered the explanation. Again? Sakie chuckled, shaking his head. I t'was not lost. I knew where I was. I argued with them all now. You knew where you were, because you were there. But did you know where you came from? Kie interjected. Or where you were going? Sakie couldn't help but to laugh. Or how you got there? Taki commented, a smile coming across his face. If I had been lost, I would not have returned, so in answer to your questions. Yes. I crossed my arms over my chest. Did a ship bring her in? Sakie looked at Taki. Or did one of the scouts on foot bring her back? Kie asked the next plausible question. Neither, she came out of the tree line on her own. Taki answered for what he had seen. Told you I did not get lost. I found my way there and my way back. I uncrossed my arms, looking around the room as things had been gathered. What tis going on?

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The council saw fit to inform the island of what is going on tonight at the feast. Kie offered. Which you missed by the way if you did not notice the sun had set. Sakie added from where he sat on a chair, leaning back with his hands behind his head. We thought best to move back into the barracks, be where they can reach us with the others at all times. Taki informed me. So I get the house, and the bed to myself? I smiled at them. No, beds going with me. Kie informed me that I would not be allowed to keep the bed. And your going back to the barracks, we are giving the building to some of the families moving in from the outskirts of the city. Taki told me. Who gets the bed tonight? I asked, knowing it would be the last night in this building. We're sharing. Sakie felt the need to smile as he told me that. Kie on one side, Taki on another, you in the middle, and keep your legs pulled up people because I am sleeping below you. Everyone looked at him as if he had lost his mind. But t'was what happened, we all managed to fit into the bed together. Kie was on my right, rolled on his side, his back to me. I faced his back on my side, as Taki laid on my left, facing my back. Our legs pulled up in a fetal position almost, and Sakie sprawled himself along the foot of the bed. The blanket we shared covered our lower bodies as Sakie's feet stuck from one side of the blanket and his head from the other. A round of laughter put us to sleep that night,

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the idea of what someone would think if they walked in and found us as such was enough to send our eyes to watering.

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Chapter Thirty-one

Moving back into the hall the following morning, it was an ongoing joke among us that Sakie got kicked repeatedly and that is why he struck us during the night. Which could have happened in our sleep, but none of us knew for sure. All moved in? Kelshoro stood in the doorway to the barracks we had moved into. Yes. Taki answered him. All of you? In one? Kelshoro stepped inside completely. Yes. Kie chimed up. You will send everyone moving out. The prince shook his head. Will give us more room to argue in. Kie smiled as he grabbed a hold of Taki, beginning to rough around with him. Or give us peace to beat you in. Taki slung Kie over his shoulder, landing him flat on the floor. Want to move in? I asked the prince smiling at him. T'would be fun! Sakie added excitedly. Let me think about it... The prince fiend a look as if he

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was giving it deep thought. Ah... no! Why not? Kie jumped on Taki. Taki threw himself backwards, landing on top of Kie on the table in there. Moving upwards and his arm backwards, wrapping it around Kie's neck, locking his head between his arm and torso. Kie wrapped an arm around Taki's waist and tried to push him forwards as he leaned back. Because I prefer to keep my head attached to my body. Kelshoro said as he left the building. Kie and Taki were laughing up a storm in the position they were, which seemed to be contagious as Sakie and myself began to laugh. In the following weeks everyone grew used to our combative behavior towards each other. At first when we began to argue with one another they would try to break us up, which only resulted in swings been thrown at them as well as one another. They began to leave us to arguing and roughing it out rather than getting between us. By the end of the first cycle they began to either leave the building completely, or climb into their bunks giving us space to toss one another into things. T'was not as if we spent all of our time inside the barracks though, we attempted to drown one another in the ocean as well. Seemingly tied together, we were like a four headed being that could not get along with itself. Kie would often stop at his line's buildings, checking on them, bringing them new carvings for the children. Marking a child or two as they were a day or two old on the back to keep track of who was who and where it belonged.

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Taki spent time getting to know a new friend. Staying at her place a time or two in the next few cycles. Telling the rest of us stories of how this new one insisted on telling him what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Sakie lingered about everywhere. He seemed to get along with most everyone in the city, and made a point in making them either laugh or slap him. The children even seemed to attack when something foul escaped his mouth, even meant as a joke, it brought a rise from people. Which I was sure was the point of the exercise. Myself, I spent time in the trees and bush, at the waterfall. Committing my surroundings to memory if the island fell to Draconus. I wanted to remember it how it was, as I had spent the last one-hundred and forty-nine years here, with a week or two breaks here and there as I visited my own home. This island had become my home, something about it drew me back every time I left, and t'was not my job. There was something about the island itself, the life here that drew me to it. It was my home now. Thirteen cycles, one year had past since the woman from Aree's line had predicted Draco would attack, he had not attacked yet. But everyone was on alert, waiting for something that may not happen. Evacuation plans had been made, which ships would escort the 13 groups who chose to leave, each with one of the skulls, and what direction they would head into. Some to the north, some to the south, others to the west and east of the island. We had been given orders to resume our assignments, standing guard over those under us at all times, switching with others when one needed rest. The morning that marked one year to the day of the prediction, I woke with a sense of dread, and feeling of impending doom. Something was not right in the energies and vibrations of the Earth, I could not put my finger on what it was exactly, but I

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could feel it coming. Rising early, I went to the beach, I watched as the sun rose above the trees into the sky, as the stars disappeared one by one. Making my way from the beach to the city, I assumed my position with the prince, relieving the guard that had been on duty throughout the night. Hungry? He asked me as he came out from his chambers. Always. I smiled at him. Let us grab break fast than at the market, than make our way out into the gardens. He walked by me, I want to check on how they are doing. Whatever you say my prince. I teased him. You never do as I say, I do not believe a word that flows from that mouth of yours. He shook his head laughing. T'was true I hardly ever did as he said, but a walk was as good as anything else to do today. Stopping at the market we grabbed a few pieces of fruit, eating them as we walked a little ways towards the hall. He stopped, turning around and heading back towards the building he resided in. Forgot something. He shrugged as I followed him. I'll wait here. I called after him as he went inside, I stood waiting outside the building. Something is wrong. He came running out. I feel it too. I agreed with him. I could feel it, I couldn't place it, but I knew it was there.

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What I had sensed earlier was coming, and it was coming fast. He could feel it too, he knew something was happening. People all around stopped, children ran back to their parents, the eery silence had set over the city once again.

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Chapter Thirty-two

Standing there, I felt it coming, the energy surrounding me said to run but my training said to stand, to stay. Closing my eyes I concentrated on the unknown, concentrating on something that I knew was coming but was unknown as to what it was. In front of me were ships, traveling above the sea, barely inches above it, something that wouldn't be detected until it was too late because its energy field would mix with the energy of the earth. The earth, who was telling those on her to run, was the only one that could connect it. Turning towards him, I told him run, get on one of the ships, the city needed to be evacuated. He looked at me, sensing it too. I watched him run to his father, who was already issuing orders to evacuate those who wanted to. To prepare to sink the city, it was the only way to protect her. Once I was sure that the prince would be safe, that he would find his way home one way or another I ran to the barracks, grabbing my sword, strapping blade to my leg, closing my eyes once again and feeling myself leave the room. Opening them in time to see the last remnants of the energy field that had been around me, I watched the ocean waves come in. They had grown, they were washing over the entire beach. Disturbed by the energy and vibrations that traveled above them. I wasn't the only one there, looking around I saw every single one of the races that had come, even some of the humans we had trained, the animals were gathering as well, coming out of the trees and bush. Everyone was prepared to defend the city, everyone knew it had to last long

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enough to get those who chose to leave off the island, to get others on ships. And then we saw it, the armada just coming into eye sight, seemingly out of no where. Our own scout ships were beginning to hover above us and behind us, all around. Now was the time we knew would come, now was the time that we knew would determine the history of this world. We didn't fight before, but now we would, and depending on the outcome would lay the footing for the future generations, the history that would be passed down. Within a matter of minutes, the ships came up from the seas, pulling over our heads and engaging our ships. Transporting their foot army to the ground. Everywhere you looked, there they were. When one fell another one took his or her place. They fought without feeling, without emotion. They were like zombies, a physical carrier for something that wasn't alive. Blood ran down my sword and over my arm as his head fell to the ground, it felt thick and sticky against my skin. I felt the gush of blood run from my side before the burning began from the knife embedded in my ribs. Looking over my left shoulder, I saw him snicker briefly before his face made contact with my elbow. Reaching down, my hand wrapped around the handle of the knife, coming up and slashing across his face, leaving a bloody cut gaping open from his jaw to his temple, you could see the blood building beneath the skin and beginning to leak out, the bones of his cheeks and nose shown white. His skin began to heal itself, as if fusing itself together cell by cell, closing the wound and cutting off the blood loss as he came towards me again. Without hesitation, there was only one choice, remove his head from his body. In one quick forceful movement I brought the blade of my sword up from the right in front of me, making a clean cut from his left shoulder to his right ear. As his head fell from his body, and his body crumpled to the ground, you could see where the veins had run up, the throat opening, the liquid that sputtered

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out. Putting a field of energy around myself I moved in and out of the people, avoiding those fighting for survival and beheading any I could that were fighting to kill. Stopping a moment as the waves crashed over my legs, I watched briefly at the war around me. The animals from the island running, pouncing, ripping throats out and limbs from the body, tearing the others to shreds, blood running from their mouths as they dropped the bodily appendage they held in their jaws to the ground. The humans we had trained using what knowledge they had to fight on the same level as the others, with the energy they could control. Watching the federation present doing what we had been trained to do, to kill, to protect those who would escape, to fight until we died. Looking down at the water it was running red with the blood that had been spilled. And above me the ships had engaged in warfare above our heads, some crashing down into the ocean, others into the land, some just burning as weapons fire penetrated shields. I heard the panic in my head, the cry for help. Running to a small space, enough to engage the energy around me without disrupting anyone else, I jerked as I opened my eyes to see the prince. He was standing in front of a young child, knife in one hand, the other hand moving the child back. He was afraid, but not for himself, he was afraid for the child. He was protecting anothers life before his own, something I had never expected him to do. Jumping up to a building top I ran, from one to another until I felt I was in a position that would allow me between him and the other backing him down. Jumping from the building there was nothing but air around me for a split second before I hit the ground. Landing on my feet, bent over and my fist in the earth. I looked up at the other as he came towards the prince, the child, myself. Feeling the anger rise in my body before the earth began to shake, the prince wrapped his arms around the child and covered

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her from the wave of energy that came off of me. Blowing the other back a few paces. As the earths trembling began to lesson I stood up, looking to the prince who had the child in his arms, "take her to the ship now!" He ran, with her in his arms, never once looking back. When I looked back in front of me the other was standing up, he moved his hands, his legs. Assuming a defensive position as he gathered the energy between his hands, pushing them forwards, I felt the energy hit me in the chest, knocking my body, already covered in the blood of his kind and my own, back into the hard ground. The breath leaving my body, the life momentarily being knocked out. Standing back up right before he tackled me, rolling both of us several feet before he sat atop me, bringing his fist into contact with the side of my face as he reached behind him. Throwing my legs upwards I wrapped them around his middle, bringing him to the ground as I rolled on-top of him. My knife was against his throat as I felt the ripping of flesh on my back, years of instinct beat into me told me to severe his head but instinct of the body threw it backwards, arching against the pain that was being inflicted upon it. I felt the blood begin to trickle out of the wound, down my back, sticking to the cloth I wore, sticking to my hair. I dropped the knife I held as the back of my neck was grabbed, I was thrown off of him, catching the sight of Taki as he brought his sword down into the other, taking it's head off. The head rolled back from the body, leaving a trail of liquid as the body emptied the rest of the liquid it held from the severed neck. He turned back to me "will you be okay?" He reached down, helping me up. "Well, you know..." I smiled at him. "Yeah, well try not to jump the others like that again." He

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walked off, leaving me standing there in the street to adjust the bodies awareness and reaction to pain before I engaged anyone else. I watched as Taki walked off, his back had a cut down it, from his right shoulder down to his left hip, that was split open to the bone, I could see his ribs and his backbone, blood running down from it. His hands at his side, wrapped tightly around the handle of his sword, covered in blood. He looked to be a true warrior, not a kind hearted being, but one who had seen too much death and now had no heart or feeling left in him. He was in worse shape than myself. The hum of the ship swept over the buildings near by, followed by the hum of another in pursuit of it, watching as the first spun around and reversed, it opened fire on the second. The shields were fluctuating as the fire hit it, you could see the energy as it began to sputter out. It took another hit, the shield had failed and there was a burst of energy as the engine was taken out. The pilot knew the problem, and instead of wasting what time he had left firing a weapon that may or may not penetrate the others shields, he sent his ship forward, slamming into the first one, at the same time activating transportation of the others on-board. Both ships crashed to the ground in the trees, an explosion going up at least 100 feet into the air and sending a wave of energy that leveled the trees around at least 100 yards before the fire took to the rest of the vegetation. The screams of those around shattered the silence I had thought was around me. Our people were being backed into the city. Those who chose to stay were protecting the buildings, the last of those who chose to evacuate were being transported out of the city, it wouldn't be long until the city was sunk. I ran for the outskirts of the city, towards where I knew the

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beach was. Through the burning trees, the bushes covered in bodies. I came to a halt as I broke out of the tree line. The sand beneath my feet was red, as red as the water that was in the ocean. The bodies that lay on the ground, were of federation members, humans, animals, of the others...body parts severed, heads everywhere, blood still running out of some of them that were fresh kills. The smell that rose on the air held a stench to it, the smell of death, the smell of blood. I saw a ship land on the beach as a handful of federation ran up behind me. Another handful came out from another direction. I recognized them, they had been people I had met and trained with before the order came down to come to earth. They were personal military of the planets they came from. As the ship landed the doors slid open and Draconus came out from the inside, followed by his personal guards. He looked smug. He smiled at the blood covered island, the death that had occurred on both sides, the bodies that laid everywhere. Stepping over a body he snapped his fingers, setting fire to the sand beneath him. He had to die, I remember thinking, it was the only way this world would be safe, he had to die. Moving forward I tightened my grip on the sword in my right hand, as well as the knife in my left hand. My anger bubbling to the surface in a body that was boiling with heat, my blood ran profusely from my body as it boiled to the brink. The other of my comrades who had returned to the beach as well were moving in on him. Apparently we all had the same idea, there were 2 dozen of us moving in on him, a handful of federation standing behind us ready to take our places if we fell. His guards came at us, we killed without stopping to breathe between. Arms, legs, bodies sliced in half, heads rolling off the shoulders. Our own blood mixing with those who had already fallen. We were 5 steps from him when my kings voice echoed

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through the silence of death. "Leave him!" He had hollered. "The city is being sunk, get back within the limits of the shield generators." We stopped momentarily, which had been our mistake. Draco had moved back towards his ship, while others of his kind had been transported to the ground. "You do nott be long here...... if youu comess backk, I willl sseee you all azs my petzs beg-ging at my feet. All will die!" He backed into his ship as his people came at us. Some of us had run for the city, but some of us had stayed on the beaches. Killing anything that moved in front of us as the land beneath our feet began to shake, the waters began to rise rapidly. Creating voids, sucking those left on the ground into it. The salt of the water stung as it went up my legs, up and over my back as I swung the sword I held, taking the head of one other with me before I was pulled into the water completely. Sucked down with the water as it washed over the shields of the city. I watched, only for a second as the city was covered in water, the bubble around it would protect it, I knew it would. I closed my eyes, feeling the water as it gushed down my throat and into my lungs, up into my nostrils, the salt stung the insides of the body. Feeling it go down my throat, into my lungs, it hurt, burning from the inside out. I could feel the body suffocating from the liquids pushing the air from it. I could feel the blood run from the body as the salt water washed into the open wounds, cleaning the wounds as it stung, cleaning the bones that in places were exposed. Passing out either from the pain or the lack of oxygen, everything went black, there was nothing but an empty void. I felt nothing but cold, dead, darkness. As I opened my eyes, expecting to see the world around me from another plane of existence. I saw

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the shield in front of me, felt the cold liquid around my body. Trying to breath I sucked in the liquid of stasis, it was thick, cold. Moving slightly, I pounded on the shield in front of me, I screamed as the liquid started invading my mouth, my nose. Suddenly the shield gave way and the liquid dumped out onto the floor as did my lifeless body. Aching from head to toe as I hit the stone floors. Blacking out again. When I opened my eyes, I was in a medical room, on a stone table as scans were being done. "Sleep Nesenty. You are home." A medical personnel said in my own language as he learned over me and smiled. Closing my eyes, I relaxed into a deep sleep.

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This is the story of Atlantis. This is your history. This is what we have been fighting for. This is what we have been fighting to save. This is what we have given our lives and the lives of our people for... you

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Epilogue

Those memories, those friends, those people are why I chose to come back now. Their descendants who now live throughout the world, those who have the genetic memories of the people I once knew. Those who I had laughed with, smiled with, shared my life with once, their children who I watched grow up are the same as they were then. They were worth dying for then, and they are worth dying for to this day. Out of all the hatred and anger that has come over this world, out of all the evil present in this world today, there is hope that someday there will be freedom again, peace again because those faces are still present. Those lives are still ongoing. Its something that is hard to walk away from, the friends you make, the people you grow to care for. You want to protect the last shred of them, you want to honor them and their memory, you want those alive today to know them for who they once were. I will not forget the faces left behind, and I will not stop fighting for them. When the time comes, and I stand to be judged by the world with my brothers and sisters, I will stand before the people of Earth and hope they have awakened to who they are and stand ready to fight beside me against those who are in control. Those who have slaughtered them, those who care nothing for them. When that day comes, the end of what is now and the beginning of what will be, will be decided. The fate of this world will rest in the hands of those who are here now, the future of your kind belongs to you, and you must

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fight for it.

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