For how long have I existed?
Why am I still here?
I'm not even needed. . .
Two Celestrians hover over the nice little village of Angel Falls, where children run around giggling over things only they could know.
The taller Celestrian, who is also bald as hell, looks at his smaller companion, who has shoulder-length light blonde hair, a smile that never leaves her face, and black wings.
"You've done well, Alice. Even though I had my doubts about you taking over my post, I must admit that you've been doing a remarkable job. You've bloomed ever since Apus Major advised you to be a guardian, and you have earned your title of Guardian of Angel Falls."
Alice's smile grows a bit bigger,"Thanks, Aquila."
Aquila quickly looks away, and sees off in the distance that two of the village's inhabitants walking towards the village. Alice turns to see what he's looking at, and notices that it's the faithful Erinn and her grandfather, on their way back from their walk. She also sees that two slimes and a cruelcumber pop out of a bush, and hide behind a rock, readying a sneak attack on the two.
"Those monsters must not touch members of your flock, Alice. Come, let's go fulfill our duty as Celestrians." The two fly off, and land right before the monsters, who instantly freak out and attack.
Alice takes her sword out of its' sheath and slashes one of the slimes right down the middle with a critical hit, and sees Aquila take out the cruelcumber with one slash on his sword. The remaining slime aims for Alice, who seems weaker. Aquila sees this going on, and kills it before Alice can notice. Alice does, however, see thirteen coins lying on the ground, and crouches down to look at them.
What would monsters even need money for? Alice wonders, before pocketing the money. After all, they're not going to need it, right?
Erinn and her grandfather approach the two (although they don't notice), and stop to stare at the sign right before them.
Erinn turns to her grandfather,"See? There's the village!"
"Ahh, I didn't think I'd ever get to see home again, but here we are." Erinn rolls her eyes.
"Don't be so melodramatic, Grandpa! Not only did we only go for a walk, but the village Guardian was watching over us the whole time! There was nothing to worry about." Erinn closes her eyes, and squeezes her hands together in prayer.
"Dear Alice, thank you ever so much for protecting us over our journey." Erinn's body glowed a wonderful shade of blue and a glowing crystal flew out of her body, landing in Alice's hands, before the two of them walked into the village.
"Look, Alice. It is benevolessence, the crystallized symbol of mortals' gratitude towards we who watch and protect them. As Celestrians, our most important duty is to offer up the sacred Benevolessence unto mighty Yggdrasil. Now, let us return to the observatory."
The two Celestrians flap their wings, and take off for home. They fly upwards for a long time, before the observatory finally comes into view. They fly right up through the star-shaped portal, landing on their feet skillfully.
Aquila turns to Alice,"Now, as a Guardian you must report to Apus Major the second you return. You will always be able to find him in the Great Hall, which, as you remember, is in the floor above. I must go speak to Columba, excuse me."
Aquila walks away, and Alice becomes instantly aware of all the stares she is receiving from the fellow Celestrians around her. There's nothing she can do about it though, she's just too different from the rest of them.
Alice walks upstairs, and goes directly to the library, which is where Columba is stationed at. She runs into Columba's apprentice, Hope, right at the entrance. Hope's eyes widen, but she tries to remain calm.
"Oh, Alice! Aquila is inside, speaking to Columba. They have always been close, have they not? Even though they fight often, they have always been friendly for as long as anyone can remember. This is true, right?" Alice nods, and peeks inside the room.
Just as Alice expected, Aquila is inside, talking calmly with Columba. She was about to leave the two alone, when she catches a part of their conversation.
They seemed to have been talking about something that they disagreed on (as usual), and it was resorting to Aquila speaking of the forbidden.
"Do you forget the incident of Corvus so soon?" Columba is surprised, and shushes him.
"No, of course not. But we are not to speak of that, what if Alice hears you? You know that not only is it forbidden, but that you'll make Alice upset. Last time you did this, she disappeared for weeks."
Aquila sighs,"...You're right."
Alice stands there, unnoticed, and closes the door quietly before marching up the steps to Apus Major.
As Aquila said, Apus Major sits in that stupid throne between two wing statues, and smiles as Alice approaches. Alice kneels before her superior, but he hastily makes her stand up.
"Nice to see you again, Alice, apprentice of Aquila. Congratulations on successfully accomplishing your first task as a Guardian. You have performed your duties well, although it was under Aquila's hawk-like watch."
Alice shuffles around, embarrassed by the praise. She doesn't get it very often anymore, and it's even more unsettling that he's speaking so loud. She can feel the stares of several eyes boring into the back of her head.
"However, I think the time has come for you spread your wings." The older Celestrian laughs at his own bad joke. "What about you? Do you think this is a good idea?"
Alice speaks quickly,"Yes, I agree. That would be great. Then, Aquila can work elsewhere with mortals, and the amount of benevolessence will pile up sooner."
"Ahahaha! I see that you not only have confidence, but you think for the sake of your fellow Celestrians. Very good, you will no doubt bring us great things. Anyhow, we now come to the next step of your duties. You have acquired a crystal of benevolessence, have you not? You must now give it up to Yggdrasil, who protects us from the top of the Observatory. Soon, she will bear fruit. Go now."
Alice bows, and rushes out of the room, before climbing up the many steps to the checkpoint. At the checkpoint is a taller, brown-haired Celestrian. The man stares down at Alice, and his voice booms.
"Nobody is allowed past this point, child." Alice's smile doesn't waver.
"No problem~ Apus Major wants me to give my benevolessence to Yggdrasil." Alice pulls out her benevolessence, before putting it back. Knowing her circumstances, the others would probably take it from her.
The man's eyes become a tad friendlier. "Oh, is that so? You may pass, then. Good work."
Alice briskly walks past him before he changes his mind, and is stopped at the top of the stairs by a slightly taller young blonde boy.
"Are you offering benevolessence up to Yggdrasil? She will soon bear fruit, and then we Celestrians will be able to return to the Realm of the Almighty." Then, the boy realizes who he's speaking to, and lets her go on her way.
Alice climbs three more staircases before she spots the Great Tree on top of the final staircase. The Great Tree sways gently in the wind, and Alice stops to appreciate the beauty of it before walking up to it.
She kneels before it, before offering up the benevolessence.
"Oh great Yggdrasil, please accept this offering of benevolessence, so that we may return to where we belong in the stars."
The benevolessence glows brighter, and flies up into the tree, which then sparkles a bright white. Alice grins at it.
"Behold, Alice." Aquila's voice shocks Alice, she had thought she was alone.
"We have been offering benevolessence unto Yggdrasil for many a century. It is the greatest duty a Guardian is charged with. I trust that you will do your best to hasten the return."
He stops speaking for a moment, and looks at his childish apprentice.
"You know, Alice, Guardian of Angel Falls... it's incredibly inconvenient to call you by your title all the time. There's no need for it, since you're practically like a sister to me. Therefore, you will let me only address you as Alice."
Alice giggles,"Of course, Aquila."
"Good. As you know, it is forbidden for a Celestrian to oppose their superiors. Now, go tell Apus Major of your accomplishment."
Is this really an accomplishment? All I did was do my duty.
Alice does not speak her mind, and instead complies with Aquila's command.
"She was glowing fiercely? Ohoho! The day where we go to the Realm of the Almighty may be sooner than we had thought!" He laughs again. "Now, go back down to the Protectorate and continue to gather benevolessence... without Aquila. When you're ready, go down to the great portal down below."
Usually, there is a guard lady who guards the portal, but, of course, she avoids the portal whenever Alice is coming.
Alice jumps into the portal, and lands on the spot in the middle of the village. She stares at the two troublemakers of the town, Ivor and Hugo. They're just standing near Erinn's house... nothing suspicious about that.
"You know..." Alice hears Ivor's oh-so-pleasant voice pipe up, "It's really weird..."
"What? Are you talking about the name plate thingy on the statue again, Ivor?"
"Well, duh! Of course I mean the name plate, Hugo, you moron! I'm positive that it said 'Aqu-' something, but now it says 'Alice'."
"Are you sure? It's been 'Alice' for as long as I can remember." Ivor smacks Hugo on the head.
"And how long ago was that, exactly? Do you even remember reading it before?"
Hugo laughs sheepishly, and rubs the back of his neck. "No, I-I can't say I do."
"See?! Everyone in this town is strange. It just changed, but everyone thinks it's always been like that!"
"Ah...Ha! It must be the work of the village Guardian, then!" Ivor sighs, and makes a bunch of hand gestures.
"Don't be so stupid! There's no such thing as Guardians. Besides, it's mostly Erinn who believes in that garbage." And then Ivor gets into a long tirade about Erinn.
He could not be any more obvious. All Ivor ever talks about is Erinn this, and Erinn that. Alice shakes her head, before wandering around.
Shortly after, Alice runs into the village dog, who gives her a friendly bark. No idea why, but animals are able to see Celestrians.
"Hey there, little guy." Alice scratches his ears, and he runs off a few steps away, before turning around and barking, almost as if he wants Alice to follow him.
Alice walks over towards him, and spots a golden ring on the ground. She picks it up, and gives the dog a good scratching for his good work.
"Good boy, you were trying to help me out, weren't you?" The dog nuzzles against her hand.
Alice soon bids farewell to the dog, and walks over to the horse stable. The man inside, Old Man Howard, is always trying to get his wife to agree to him buying another horse.
He works so hard, too. Alice watches Howard sleep on the floor in the stable. He must have been in the middle of cleaning, because there is horse shit everywhere.
"I guess I can help him out this one time." Alice ever-present smile turns nicer, and she grabs the bucket he uses to clean.
. . . . .
Right after she finishes, Old Man Howard conveniently wakes up with a start. "Oh no! I fell asleep again! Now my wife won't let me get another horse-"
He stops, and stares at the clean stable. "Wha- How did it get so clean? I hadn't even started cleaning yet!...Oh! It must have been Alice, tryin' to help me get another horse!"
He looks up at the roof, smiling. "Thank you, Alice! I'll work twice as hard now, I promise! I'll have another horse in no time, just you wait!"
Alice laughs, the villagers are always so humble and nice. Howard glows that nice bluish glow, and the crystal of benevolessence comes out of his body. Alice gets it, and decides to check out the church. The ring looked important, and if she had lost it, she'd be praying to the Almighty to help her find it.
Exactly as she had expected, there was a nice old lady in the pews.
"Please, Guardian Alice! Help me find my husband's ring..." The old woman shed a few tears, and Alice quickly slipped the ring into her pocket.
Apparently, old ladies have the power to sense the slightest change in weight.
"Hm? My coat suddenly feels a tiny bit heavier." She fishes into her pocket, and takes out the ring.
"Oh, thank the Lord Almighty! It's my Bruce's ring!...I just don't understand. I searched everywhere for it, and I couldn't find it anywhere." The lady looks around, before stopping.
"It must have been Alice. We're so lucky to have a Guardian who takes such good care of us. Thank you! Thank you, Alice!" The lady glows the bluish glow, and then the benevolessence comes out.
When Alice walks outside, it's already become night time. Alice, thinking she heard something, turns to her left. She is shocked to see Aquila hovering in the middle of the village, and she makes her way towards him.
"Aquila, what are you doing here?" Aquila freezes, and turns to Alice.
"Oh, Alice!" The fact that you can't see Alice's eyes was very stressing. You'd have no idea if she was angry or not, because she keeps them closed upwards in her permanent smile.
"Were you following me around all day?" Aquila thinks he hears a hint of annoyance in her voice, but shrugs it off as him imagining it. After all, it's nearly impossible to make Alice angry.
He looks away, feeling slightly guilty. "...Now it is my duty to roam over the Protectorate, so even though you guard it well, sometimes I must return to Angel Falls."
Aquila turns around to see that Alice is nowhere in sight. He turns around in all directions, and finds her talking to a ghost up ahead. Alarmed, he rushes up to them. This ghost has a viking-like helmet on, and the ones like him are usually violent. Even though she's a Celestrian, Alice is still a small child.
Before he could even do anything, however, the spirit thanked her, and ascended up to the heavens, leaving a brighter piece of benevolessence. Alice waved goodbye at him, and put the benevolessence in her pouch with the others.
"Alice! Are you ok?!" Aquila turns her around, and looks her up and down.
"What? Yes, I'm fine. He just wanted to know why everybody was ignoring him. He was a nice guy." Alice smiles, and spins in circles.
"So? Can I return to the Observatory now?"
"Yes, you can go, but I must stay behind and look around some mor-Hm?" Aquila and Alice turn their heads up to see a glowing train zoom across the sky.
"...The Starflight Express has been unusually active recently... I changed my mind. I will accompany you back to the Observatory after all, Alice." Aquila grabs Alice's arm, and the two of them fly up back home.
As soon as they got back, Aquila excused himself to go... somewhere. Not really important, so Alice went upstairs, about to report to Apus Major, like Aquila told her to earlier, but he wasn't there. Then, she decided to just fuck it and go up to Yggdrasil.
Of course, that is exactly where Aquila and Apus Major were the entire time.
They turn to her when they hear her footsteps, since Alice is the only one who walks around in the Observatory.
Aquila speaks first,"You have the best timing, Alice. Yggdrasil is almost ready to burst with all the benevolessence we have offered unto Her. She is but a hair's breath away from bearing fruit."
Apus Major recites some weird old timers' story, it's really boring, and Alice has heard this a thousand times, literally. Even more boring is that Aquila joins in at the end, and then they advise her to give up her benevolessence to Yggdrasil.
As soon as Alice does so, the sacred tree glows yellow in several places, suddenly bearing fyggs. The Starlight Express turns around sharply, and approaches the boundary of the Observatory, but it blasted with a dark purple light. Several rays of the light blow throw the Observatory, and Aquila turns to Alice to tell her to go back inside, but right then, a spiral of the purple light hits her dead on, sending her over the edge, and she loses consciousness as her body hurls down to the Protectorate.