He lunged, all hundred and twenty pounds of muscle coming down hard on the man. A sickening crunch was heard and the pain quickly turned into slow, burning agony. Chase gripped the fallen dragon by the throat, pushed him further into the dirt and squeezed.

"Raimundo!"

A tail slipped back into the shadows.

Despite the lightning, despite the rain, she came running. And despite the danger of it all, she attacked the reptile with a flaming blast that swallowed him whole. A sharp pain from a kick sent him flying and where Chase slammed into dirt ground, a crater was formed. The reptile regained human form.

"Rai," Kimiko dropped to his side, almost afraid to touch him. She took in his injuries – a slashed cheek, a dislocated arm, a broken rib. "Oh god…"

"I'm okay." he insisted. "I'm okay, help me up." She did, but much of his weight was clearly supported by her form. And whilst all this was happening, his eyes never left the heylin lord, still rising from his crater.

In the midst of the silent night, there came a rustle from the bushes behind; loud and clear. It could've been a wild animal, maybe even a horde of insects – but she didn't care. Kimiko blasted the bush with flames raging from her fist, her panic evident from how jumpy she had become. And it was that one short second that he needed in order to finish them both. Chase struck.

She was knocked over, lions prancing over her to pin her down while Raimundo crashed to the ground as she pushed him aside. "Kim!"

"Oh she's not the one you should be worried about." He towered over Raimundo's fallen form as the Shoku frantically sought a knife, a rock, anything – but what he found was nothing. Just big handfuls of useless, harmless dirt.

And with that, the dagger began its descent.


He snapped out of it quickly. It was abrupt, but he was glad. Five seconds and sweat had already begun to form, five seconds and his limbs were already gone. Raimundo barely noted himself stumbling back a step or two, and when he opened his mouth to speak, nothing came out. Not one pathetic peep of a sound.

He had pressed one finger to cold, lifeless skin and found himself shaking. What a wuss he turned out to be.

There was muttering from seemingly far away. The voices blurred by the others already cramming up in his head. Something about the Chronos Clock, something about death, and something about fate. God, he didn't want to piece it together. If he did, it would be the same as accepting it, admitting it was real. This whole future… he didn't want it. He didn't want this, it wasn't real. It couldn't be.

The stale air went violent. One strong ring of wind erupted from his form and Omi had to shield his face with an arm.

Why was this happening? What was he supposed to do? He couldn't breathe. Somebody save him, he couldn't breathe, so he bolted, faster than anyone could've seen. The winds boosted his retreat.

He wanted to run, keep running. He didn't care how far, or where he stopped, just wanted to keep going. Everything made too much sense. He couldn't deny it, couldn't twist it. So all he could do was hate.

Dashi… Dashi please, tell me what to do. He wanted someone to appear before him; to tell him, tell him that everything was okay. Tell him that he wasn't about to die.

And from where he stood atop the temple roof, he screamed.

"TELL ME!"

He wanted an answer.

Please… Tell me what to do! I don't know what to do…

Then he dropped to his knees, the bricks digging painfully into them, and he waited. And waited. And waited...

Silence was his answer.


He hadn't known how long he'd slept, or how he fell asleep in the first place. All he knew was that he awoke to the calm of someone gently stroking his hair. It was soothing, almost lulling him back to sleep. But as he pushed all thoughts of rest aside, Raimundo only grew angry at the sight of deep blue eyes starring almost expectantly at him.

"Go away, Kimiko." Begrudgingly, he smacked the hand away. But the voice he heard next was not one that he had expected.

"I-I'm sorry mister, I…"

Wait… Mister? There was just so many things wrong with that one sentence starting with the fact that Kimiko sounded like a six year old. Raimundo quickly blinked away the drowsiness that came with sleep to realise that no mistake about it, it was Kimiko. Just younger, a lot younger, and looking as though she might actually flinch from his hostility.

"I saw you crying," she mumbled. "Mommy always does that when we cry." Raimundo brought a hand up to his cheek and found his fingertips wet. Not dripping wet, but damp with almost dried tears. And to think he hadn't even noticed. He quickly wiped all traces of evidence away with his sleeve.

The girl was real cute, but would it kill for the universe to give him just two seconds of peace? He just wanted to be alone, was that so much to ask?

"What's your name, kid?"

"Mirai."

"Pedrosa?"

She nodded.

"Mirai..." He wanted to hear the name from his own lips. Sounded a whole lot like something Kimiko would've named her little girl.

He took another glance at her. And yeah, she did look like her mother. She looked nothing like him in the least.

"It's late. What are you doing here?"

"I'm looking for daddy."

"Looking for your dad?" he asked. "On the roof?"

"No," she shook her head, then pointed toward the night sky. "Up there."

Raimundo followed her gaze and tilted his head back to look. The sky never ceased to amaze. As bleak as the future seemed, at least something hadn't changed, still glistening and shining in the night sky. Stars.

"Uncle Clay said that daddy became a star so we cannot see him."

Is this what he had to leave behind someday?

"But I can see the stars," she said. "I can see them, so one of them must be daddy."

A lonely girl, and a broken family.

"Then suppose you find him," Raimundo said, "what would you tell him?"

"I will tell daddy to come home," she replied. "Don't go away. I don't want daddy to be a star anymore."

He hadn't turned to see the expression on her face, so he couldn't tell – was she crying? Was she smiling? He really couldn't tell.

Sorry. I'm really sorry.

He didn't know who it was that he apologized to. But at this point, it didn't matter anymore.

It really didn't matter.


Man, I finally get to update something! I've so busy since the new school year started. Things have been absolutely crazy! Hope you guys enjoyed the chapter. In the next one, they'll be back in the present and stuff would've happened while they were gone so look forward to it;)