The light protecting her body felt warm and tender letting in a pleasant sensation of safety and inner peace to sooth her heart. Her whole being was relaxed. Alys wanted this moment to never cease. Floating ten feet off the ground she slept peacefully wrapped in a shimmery field of energy soft as a bubble.
Streams of energy were irrigating her arms and legs to make her wounds heal faster. But the most painful and the harder to heal was the hole in her chest, a hole made of despair and loneliness. Her throat tightened. Her whole body ached so violently that she could hardly restrain herself from crying again. Tears kept flowing on her cheeks though her eyes were definitely dry. As far as her eyes could see in the mist there was only nothingness everywhere. The glow around her body extended to prevent her from falling. Loving arms tightened her chest into their warm, caring embrace picking her at the edge of the abyss.
“Can you hear me Alys?”
Her heart skipped a beat, hearing someone calling her name out. She was too far from the border to hear words clearly.
“I wanted to tell you I’m sorry for all the trouble you must have gone through because of my lack of responsibility and I will only cause you more pain by saying you goodbye from today on. I don’t know what more to say at the very last. Just go on, look forward to your future life without living forever in the past. Lessons have to be learned from our mistakes but after a while you have to go on your own and live the life of your choice. I will be watching over you from afar. Do not think it is causing me no pain to make such a decision. We have gone through so many obstacles together and with everyone else. Damn someone who wants to become hero saving the world from destruction should not cry openly like a child, right? Sincerely I am. It is tearing my heart apart to leave you behind without saying properly goodbye but I have to depart from this world without turning back. Otherwise I would not wield the strength necessary to hang on any longer. I can as easily end my life as I’m speaking now because I have the power of controlling life and death but I promised myself to never use it. Go on. Stop crying. All that matters, fulfil your dreams and you’ll become yourself.”
Arms that were wrapping her tightly let go of her chest. A harsh coldness took over her heart. She was alone. Again. Her eyes opened wide as though she awoke after a very long slumber. At the edge of her eyesight she caught glimpse of fluffy angel wings flapping in the air. Her field of sight narrowed while a disturbing sleepiness took over her senses. A silent blow swallowed her last splinters of consciousness. The world collapsed. She was fading away in the light when her brother’s voice cut through the water begging her to wake up. He threw his arms around her shoulders pulling her to the surface:
- Alys, please wake up!
She felt the sweet touch of sun hovering over her skin.
She blinked and looked up. Above her the sky was clear, coloured with a vivid flawless blue. Mikael was leaned over her, his face brightened by a caring smile. She thought it was the first time she saw him smiling.
- We are back.
She looked around. The sea was calm, only perturbed by the dance of a fleet of seagulls.
Her inner wounds had healed however still she missed the reassuring presence of Hitori by her side. Despite the happiness and the relief of coming back she just wanted to cry, to lose hold of her emotion.
Mikael wrapped her inside his arms trying to be comforting:
- Be brave and everything will go fine. Just pass through.
- If only I could.
- Don’t cry.
They stayed embraced for a while feeling soothed and relieved by each other’s presence, then Mikael set her free and guided her by hand to the top of the dune where Alys met again with everyone. A sweet breeze played with her hair revealing a blue seal tattoed on her nape. The city beneath shimmered like a spark of hope in the sunlight as to celebrate the adventure’s successful outcome.
- Welcome back Alys, Ashley commented giving her hand to help her reach the dune’s peak and so she offered to Mikael.
Just standing there together under the sky without thinking twice about the next attack or the better strategy to win the war was so nice.
The atmosphere was so warm.
The weather was awesome.
The moment was magical.
Yet a tear fell along Alys’ cheek.
Peace had been achieved, but at such a price.
Isha unlocked the main door of her house with hesitation. More than the loneliness the silence was the worst. Now that everyone had left it felt so empty. Night was about to fall She switched on the lighting and leaned back on her sofa wearily. She lit a perfumed candle but the wild rose scent reminded her of Hitori’s clothes If things happened differently maybe today they were married and ready to raise their family like they had vowed to each other long time ago. Her throat tightened remembering once again the day they argued over their unfulfilled promise of marriage.
A blast of wind from the sea kept blowing playing with the trees’ leaves.
The sweet warmth, the newly born flowers with their colourful shades transformed the garden into a little heaven. The twilight sparkled magically on the golden sand.
But even such lovely and peaceful scenery could not make Isha feel happy.
- I can’t marry you.
Those words echoed painfully beneath her head.
- Not now. Someday, if until then we stay together.
- I still don’t understand. I don’t get the point of waiting the right moment to get married. There is no right moment there is the moment. We have lived together for quite a while now and it is enough to prove we are ready to give birth to our family.
- We are already somehow engaged by the oath I pledged to you, freely engaged.
- This is not the same matter as a proposal. I really want to live with you meaning getting married, buying a house, raising children things that we can only achieve together and that give a sense to life.
- I promise we will in the near future.
Hitori wanted to embrace her but she slipped out his arms and turned her back to him:
- We always make promises just like old teenagers. I wish we could have become adults together.
Hitori walked to her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders:
- The hero is fairly capable to cross storms and fire only to find you whenever you’re lost and the man loves you dearly,ready to lay down his life for your sake. Isn’t it already enough?
- I can’t tell.
He let go of her chest and swirled to face her:
- What more do you want from me?
- Whatever I’ll say you’ll manage to do it as a proof of your love for me. Imagine I’d ask you to renounce to your position of Lonesome leader, would you do it?
She knew where to hit to make him react. He sighed and rubbed his nose edges:
- Everything else but not that. I hold too much grief towards Official people to just go on and let it pass like casualties.
- If your feelings were stronger you would have answered yes.
- You don’t get it. I still love you but I can’t betray my beliefs and my comrades.
- Being a revolutionary means the government considers you as an outlaw. Outlaws are never welcome in authoritarian regimes. I’m scared at the thought you can either be thrown in jail or killed at any occasion without warning.
- It won’t happen.
- Are you sure?
- Then the marriage… ?
- Not yet, not when Hellmet Pitsbulk still holds the leadership of the country. I won’t forgive it to myself if you or our future children were put in danger.
He pressed his fist against his heart:
- I would even sacrifice my flesh for any of you.
Isha smiled and kissed him on the cheek
- I value sincerity and hold a boundless respect for sincere people. All that matters for me is to know you alive and safe. You’d made me only suffer and worry for you by your foolhardiness to fight them at the cost of your life. I never told you but your oath really touched me. None of my boyfriends from before would have had the bravery to come apologize to me on bended knee.
She wrapped an arm around his neck and let him rest his head against the curve of her shoulder. They stayed embraced for a while. Then Hitori looked up and kissed his future wife on the forehead:
- I promise I will bring peace to the country so that everyone will find again hope and freedom. It will be a long and exhausting fight but until then I’m ready to endure it just to offer happiness to all those who miss it.
- You’ll always find me to support you and stand by your side, whether you succeed or not.
Isha gazed at the crescent moon leaned over the balcony pensively. Between her fingers the candle shined and warmed up her hands, frozen by the temperature drop of the beginning fall. She let it burn slowly looking ahead at the stars almost wrapping the city benath in a magical atmosphere. Rather than a mere candle fading in the night the little flame she protected from the wind might be as well Hitori’s heart, his heart he offered to her long ago at the same time so strong and so fragile like it was going to fade away as a stray of candle smoke in the air. Freshly healed the wound inside the left side of her chest seemed reopened leaving a hole, a hole of regrets and guiltiness.
She had to go through however. The sacrifice of Hitori had given the start to the revolution. Soon the world was going to change. A new balance was to be found there in people’s will for change. Only if they wanted to no one could force them.
New presidential elections were going to occur soon but it felt somehow unfair.
Hellmet Pitsbulk was sufficiently influent to tip irreversibly the result and keep the leadership of the country.
The defusing had only prevented the world from collapsing. But now more people were aware of the upcoming political crisis real scale. New, independent but small opposition movements were brought to life the percentage of protesters over the total population was still so tiny. Although a trial was going to be held by a special justice court mandated by the United Countries Committee to condemn the regime of Hellmet Pitsbulk for war slaughter with heavy circumstances protesters were still scared of retaliation from the transitive government mostly composed of his followers.
Democracy was possible, not yet, maybe in the near future. People had just begun to manifest in the streets more often but the new government addressed closed ears at their rededications establishing a social pattern especially tense.
The sea sparkled in spite of the ambient darkness illuminated by the shining moon. Alys dressed in her night suit and sat near the window to admire the night. It has been long since the last time she stared at a beautiful clear night sky.
Finally Mikael and herself were back to Earth and to the home of their childhood.
But it happened that she had regrets reminding the good moments she had lived in Society. Not everything was bad about her life there: she had met great people like Hitori and Isha and if they had not been there, most likely she would not have gained the strength to continue living without the ones she loved. She had always considered Hitori as a second father back then.
Hid in a corner of the playground Alys was crying. Life at the orphanage felt painful like an everyday burden, the weight of loneliness because she had lost hope in waiting for anyone to take her back home. Her fingers clawed into the ball she was holding into her hands like a treasure: it was a gift she had received for her birthday from Moto Rorola that woman who saved her life. After the Evacuation ended, she had left her to the care of the shelter’s employees. By dint of playing with the ball it slipped out her fingers and slid on the ground on the direction of the gatekeeper’s cat that was roaming around casually. He found a new toy to twist playfully between his paws.
- Give it back! Alys yelled.
The animal growled clawing jealously his paws into the ball.
- Let go - !
She was stopped in the middle of her pace by a hand that picked up the ball for her.
- Is it yours? Here take it.
The words were pronounced softly not like when the cook or the cleaning lady yelled at her when she was late for dinner or bedtime. She looked up. A young man approximately thirty years old, good looking, addressed to her a warm smile. He bent down and placed the ball between her palms:
- You are Alys, aren’t you?
He seemed strange but acted friendly: why was he using her real name to address her? Usually everyone called her Sam Suung and it was more convenient that way so that she could live in peace without worrying about the scary men who were said to be searching for her. Nonetheless she nodded, the kindness in his smile and the warmth of his presence were reassuring, proving his intentions were harmless. She had been always told not to give too easily her trust to strangers but somehow he was not the average guy to fool a little girl.
He looked at her in the eyes, arms opened:
- Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long, I’m here to take you home. I promise you will never be put in danger under my protection from now on.
He was the very first person to feel consideration and compassion for her. It was comforting to be sheltered in his arms that were strong and protective.
Mikael found his sister asleep over the balcony cheeks moist of tears and smiled with affection. He knew what she was feeling but had to keep secret the circumstances that led the Lonesome to win the battle. He stepped forward under the moonlight:
- I’m sorry Alys.
The young woman awoke with a start, turning back on her brother:
- Oh it’s you Mik, I was not expecting you to be awake.
- I’m glad to know you alive and safe.
- Why is everyone hiding the truth from my knowledge?
- I was indebted by a contract to the Judge for giving me protection whenever I was put in danger, thus I assume that the Judgment of Time has been activated at last.
- He thought it would be better for you to forget until you were able to hear all the truth, thus why your memories of the battle were erased. Till the end he truly wished your happiness and made me promise to always protect you by giving me the charge of Juror which delegates to me the status of Judge on earth while he travels across the space-time continuum.
- So it was not a dream?
- What do you mean?
Alys turned around to face her big brother, looking up at him with brilliant eyes:
- I might not remember anything but I take for granted that I have had a near death experience. I’m thankful to whoever saved my life just in time.
- Be assured that a guardian angel watches over you from afar.
His arms wrapped her shoulders with comfort, pulling her into their warmth to sooth the stirring pain living inside her heart. “I’m glad you’ve grown up into a fine woman”, he whispered while his fingers touched the blue seal drawn iin the curve of her neck. A crowd of reminiscent memories emerged from oblivion, revealing her the end of the story about the defusing of the most powerful nuclear bomb ever created over history.
A new resolve birthed in their hearts, although they were yet unable to take on the fight left unachieved in legacy to the world’s will for change by Hitori. A great victory had been achieved but a long waited revolution for freedom was about to begin.