-pokes- Short, but it gets the point across. And I used a line I've been waiting to use for ages. And this prequel-thing is now officially over.


"You're not meant to win here, Cyrus. You're the villain of this story."

What had happened?

"It's very simple…"

No it wasn't. It was far, far more convoluted than this not-Kalia could ever know.

"You're crying, Palkia. Gods don't cry…"

But what if they did? Tears were far preferable to this glassy stare that spoke of no heart.

"Checkmate."

But it was an empty win, for the queen had been lost.

"You seem troubled."

He wanted to scream, to cry that the loss of his beloved Trainer had shocked and terrified and troubled him, but he could not. She would hear it with the ears that had heard the tortured roars of a god and respond with the same dead voice she had used then. So he turned slowly, wincing when his ghostly eyes of crimson and saffron met her cold, emotionless eyes of grey.

"What bothers you?"

It's not your voice.

Mystil didn't know how to tell this not-Kalia the truth. It would be baring his soul to a stranger.

It's not you.

You didn't catch me in the forest.

You didn't train me for the battle with Fantina.

You didn't share a moment of hushed laughter with me after meeting the Footprint Man.

His eyes flicked to the pendant around not-Kalia's neck; a pearl luminous even in the shadows of night, two pewter wings sprouting from behind.

The wings of a god. For the sake of the god, three spirits were stolen; for the sake of the spirits, a mission was given; for the sake of the mission, a soul was lost.

For the sake of the god, one priceless soul was lost.

"You're an enigma, you know."

The soft murmur snapped Mystil from his reverie.

"After all this time, if it was not for you…I would be a puppet through and through. As soulless as I seem to be now. But this way…is far, far better."

The thundering question from Mystil burst from him in a great wave of anguished thought.

The not-Kalia blinked and turned her head to gaze at him with those empty, empty eyes.

"Why?"

The ghost nodded weakly.

His not-Trainer's lips curved into a faint, blank smile. "Because I can win the game my way now."

There was a long silence. With a shuddering intake of breath, Mystil reached towards Kalia with the tips of his cloak-body and wrapped them around her torso in a tentative hug. The girl made no movement to return it, but instead reached one hand up to the tips of his hatlike head and stroked them distractedly.

"Little non sequitur…" she whispered softly, vaguely.

And the night fell cold and silent around them.