Bubblekins1010: Don't own, admit it. No sue…
Anna's eyes were heavy with fatigue, and impeding death. Zelos was beside her with his two year old baby brother in his arms. All three of them ended up looking almost half dead, after falling down the cliff.
"Mommy, stay awake! Daddy will come take care of you soon!" he said, struggling to keep hold of the crying two year old.
She did as told, if only to keep Zelos strong until Kratos was able to find them. "Zelos, I love you so much… You and Lloyd… You're such a sweet little boy, and so strong… Promise me you will never lose any of that, ok?"
"I-I promise…" he said, tears welling in his eyes as he realized his mother wasn't going to make it.
"Ok… Now… I need you… To be… A big boy… And do something for mommy."
She pulled out two crystals, and dropped them in his hand. "You were born with yours in your hand… The other is from me to Lloyd… I… Want you… To-to run… The dark blue one is Lloyds… The bright red one is yours… Run to the east… L-like you were always taught… That way your daddy can… find you…"
"But, mommy; what about you?!"
"I'm too weak… Now go…" Her breathing increased as she pushed the sobbing seven year old up. "Go on Zelos… Be a big boy for mommy. And take care of Lloyd."
"B-" Before he could object, she gave him a push and he ran, ran as fast as possible, which was remarkably fast considering he had 25 pounds weighing him down. He found himself at a river; he had been looking at the maps, and knew that a dwarf lived upstream. Unfortunately Lloyd was getting upset about not having his mother or father around. Zelos gripped him tighter as he walked up the stream, he knew that it wasn't far to the dwarf's house, and at this point it was his only hope to get help for his mother. He just hoped he got there in time.
Kratos's wings appeared with a flash of mana, and he used them to balance as he slid down the cliff side. He found Anna at the bottom, alone and near death, her cruxis crystal gone. He dropped to his knees in despair, using first aid a few times, and then lifting her gently into his arms, he went east, like the boys had always been told if anything like this happened. He found a stream, and followed it, knowing that Zelos would have been smart enough to head for the nearest shelter – the home of the dwarf who lived near the head of the stream. Finally he found a cabin, and found himself mobbed by two boys, and a protozoan. The dwarf was by the door to the cabin, and he looked over the family. Finally he waved them inside…
About 10 years later…
It was midnight, and Kratos had been waiting for nearly three hours before Dirk left the house and walked over to him.
"Hello Dirk," he said.
"Ay, hello Kratos. What've ya got fer me, ya said t'was urgent," the dwarf said keeping an eye on Lloyd's room to make sure he didn't eavesdrop.
"I'm sure you remember the blue exphere, am I correct?"
"Got it up on top o' meh cabinet, so Lloyd can' get ter it."
"Alright… I had this made for it…" Kratos said, handing over a mount for it. "It's about time he equips it, and begins to learn with it. That crystal is special though… And so, because of that, it will affect him differently than you might expect, so I'm going to have to explain it all, sit down please…"
A couple days later…
"Lloyd!" Dirk called. "Get yer butt moving! Yer brain won't teach itself!"
"'M getting uuup!" he mumbled.
"I don' hear it!" There was a thud and Dirk walked away from the stairs, knowing he was actually awake. Several minutes later Lloyd stampeded down jumping three steps to the landing and then jumping the last two.
"Good morning," he said, letting himself release a small yawn.
"Good mornin' Lloyd; I've got somethin' fer ya."
"You do? What is it?"
Dirk stood up and went to his cabinet; he brought down a red jacket with a high collar, and set it on the table. "Its yer' 12th birthday today and I think yer old enough ter handle it, so…Happy birthday son."
"Thanks," Lloyd said, grabbing the jacket and putting it on. It was the perfect size for him, and when it was buttoned up, it came up to just below his chin. "I love it!"
"I have somethin' else fer ya too…" He said reaching to the top of the cabinet; finally he grabbed a step ladder and was able to grab the exphere, and the mount. "This here exsphere was yer mothers… And it's about time yeh received it." He said.
"Really, it… Was my mom's?" He asked.
"T'was, so I kept it there until yeh were old enough ter use it properly. Would yeh like meh ter help yeh equip it?"
Dirk took a minute to show Lloyd how to properly mount the gem and equip it in the hollow of his throat. Lloyd winced as the gem seemed to latch on, but shrugged it off.
"Now, this here exsphere is a special exsphere, so don' go showing it off to yer friends. Ya hear me?"
"That high collar should hide it well enough," Dirk commented, stepping back to take a look at it. "Alright, button yer jacket back up." Lloyd did as told, and the exsphere and mount were hidden well enough that unless someone was actually looking for it, they wouldn't be able to notice it. Lloyd was happy…Until he looked at the clock…
"Oh my gosh, I'm gonna be late!" he yelled running out the door, and forgetting his lunch. Luckily he was already in his shoes, or he probably would have forgotten those too. Dirk shook his head.
"I'll take 'im his lunch later…" he said, wondering when the crystal would affect the young boy.
"I'm going to ride Noishe!"
"Noishe, I need you to take me to school today; I don't want to be late!" In answer Noishe got down lower so Lloyd could climb onto his back. Once the child was securely attached to his fur, he started running; he didn't want his friend to face the professor's wrath either. After about ten minutes of running they made it to the village gates, and Lloyd quickly dismounted and hit the ground running. He wove through the people of the village, going around, under, and even, in one case, over people and objects, trying to get there at least on time. Otherwise he risked being attacked with chalk, and chalk board erasers…
He slid into the class room exactly five minutes early and honestly shocked everyone. Colette squeaked and fell out of her chair, and somehow managed not to bump anything.
"Lloyd Irving, you're… Five minutes early…" Raine said, looking between him and the clock for several seconds as he sat down. Finally everyone got over their shock, and went on with their lives.
Lloyd looked around slowly. Is it really that big of a deal…?
Ten minutes later…
"Lloyd! Have you heard a word of what I've been saying?!" Raine yelled.
"Y-yes! You said the summon spirits- uh… I know I heard summon spirits somewhere in there…" he mumbled, thinking over it. Then… he recited what Raine had said perfectly. Once again, everyone was very surprised. "I uh… Guess I was only half asleep…?" he murmured, trying to figure out how he remembered it; he wanted all of them to stop staring.
"I… Let's go on with our lesson…" she said.
Recess and thus lunch came shortly after, and with it came Dirk, Lloyd's lunch in hand.
"Hello Miss Sage," he said politely.
"Good afternoon Dirk," she said.
"Lloyd rushed out the door so fast he fergot 'is lunch," he said.
"Thank you, just put it on his desk and he'll find it," Raine said.
"Thank ya," Dirk said, entering the school, and leaving the lunch out on his son's desk. "Well, I'd best be off home."
"Alright Dirk, see you around," she replied. He waved and walked off, out of the village, and towards his home.
Lloyd got home and felt different… for some reason his eyes seemed to be better?
"Whoa… That's new; I never realized that small symbol was up there… Weird…" He went up to his room, Dirk being out in the forest for a little while. He dropped the six inch stack of homework on his workdesk and sighed, flopping back on his bed. Raine had given him all of his old assignments he didn't do, and all of his current assignments…
One hour later…
He sighed… "What is it with the professor and insane amounts of homework…?" he grumbled. He'd only gotten about a quarter of his history done so far, less than a half inch portion of his original six. "Grr! I'll never get this done!" He banged his head on his desk denting it slightly with the force… Of course he had a head of steel so… It really did nothing to him. "Ugh, I need some air…" He looked around the forest, and found the house strangely quiet…Then he realized Noishe was gone. "He's probably out to find dad… Or something like that."
Two hours Later…
Dirk got home and found Lloyd studying, it was about six in the evening, and he was surprised to see him study so much.
"Lloyd, Noishe is waitin' for ya in the woods, he wanted to give ya somethin' I think." he said, patting the young boy on the back.
"YAY! I can get up! I'm free from cursed schoolwork!"
"Only until you get back though," Dirk warned.
"Aww…Alright, well it'll be a break…" he said standing up. Dirk led him out of the house and into the woods, and when he made it to a small clearing Noishe knocked into him, knocking him to the ground and licking his face. Suddenly the protozoan got off, Raine, Colette, and Genis filling his newly enlarged view.
"SURPRISE!" they all yelled, crowding him as Genis used fireball light the lanterns strung all over the trees.
"Happy birthday Lloyd!" Colette said smiling happily. Genis came over and helped his best friend up from the ground.
"Are you surprised?" he asked.
"Heh, heh, heh, very," Lloyd replied grinning.
"You don't sound super surprised," Collette said.
"I'm sorry. I kind of saw you..."
"B-but how, we chose the darkest place in the forest so we could, and even had Noishe distract you!" Genis said.
"It's fine Lloyd. So don't start apologizing," Raine said.
"Anyways, we got lots of stuff for the party, like food fresh from the village and Colette and I got you presents!" The seven-year-old boy said, helping Colette drag him towards the blanket that had been laid out earlier. The now-twelve-year-old just let them do as they wanted, while Raine and Dirk stood back and talked while keeping an eye on the children.
Kratos resisted the urge to groan, Noishe was so busy partying that he had to get closer to the Protozoan so he would sense him, but if he got closer it would also make it possible for other Mana sensitive beings – like the two elf-blooded siblings below – to notice him…
Zelos sat up, stretching a bit with a yawn. He dragged himself out of bed, and got dressed in his usual clothes when he realized what day it was…
"I'm gonna be late!" he said urgently, rushing down the stairs, nearly flying past the maids, and his butler.
"Master Zelos, you should not rush, it is only nine in the morning."
"I know but I don't want to be late, Noishe, Uncle Yuan, and Dad will only be able to be out in the open for so long before they have to leave." He said.
"Very well… If you wish to leave immediately, I will accompany you."
"Great! Let's go!" he said, taking the basket of food one of the maids provided for him and leaving the mansion.
"I'm here!" Zelos shouted as he slid to a stop, his butler having stopped a distance back so as to watch for any unwelcome company.
"You're late," Yuan said, raising an eyebrow.
"S-sorry. I overslept," he panted, only to be slobbered on less than ten seconds later. "Noishe, no; not the hair!" Kratos rubbed his temples, still not getting why his son cared so much about his hair… Or wore pink and black…
"Point is we've lost some time to discuss the plan," Kratos said.
"And Kratos and Noishe were late too…" Yuan sighed.
"Noishe was too busy partying to notice my Mana signature…"
"Well, whatever. We have some news on the restoration of the world."
"Really?" the redhead asked.
"Yes," Kratos said quietly. "Last night I went to see Dirk… I gave him a key crest for the Cruxis crystal, Lloyd should begin feeling the effects of it this evening, his senses will begin to get sharper, and he might manifest some of the abilities the three of us have."
"In doing so, we've set a plan many years in the making in motion. We will allow the chosen to make it to the tower, after that we the Renegades will 'kidnap' them, and take them to our base, I'm already making the system so I can deactivate the firewall for ten minutes, they can get into it with relatively little difficulty, and get the location of the way between worlds, and get some rheairds."
"At which point they will get to Tethe'alla and most likely they will head your way, this is the crucial part where you're going to come in Zelos. Up until the tower I will guide the Chosen, and feed information to Yggdrasill, all the while giving Yuan information he needs to make his part of the plan work."
"Once they make it to Meltokio, you will become our new triple agent; you'll be feeding Yggdrasill information, while you give me and the group information…"
"So I've just got to take care of them until it comes time to restore the world to the way it was before, starting from Meltokio?"
"Yes. But there's one more thing," Kratos said, barely hiding his emotions. "Lloyd is going to be with them. We've made sure of that, since he has the Cruxis crystal, he's going to become an angel, so it's only natural that the village would want him to go with the Chosen of Regeneration... So… When you meet him, you are fully allowed to tell him he's your brother, and instruct him in the use of his Cruxis crystal, as I've instructed you. But you can't tell him anything else, he has to be kept in the dark for the most part, otherwise it's possible some tiny misstep could mess our entire plan up."
"We'll give you instructions on where to take them, and direct them as you go."
Zelos grinned. He had always enjoyed being a big brother, and now it seemed he was going to get the chance again.
"We'll send you a picture of him after he's been in my base since I'll be able to take some good pictures with my security cameras. And all the while, it will seem to Yggdrasill you're both being loyal," Yuan finished.
"Not that he would actually kill dad, I mean, he wouldn't risk the seal… But he might make him disappear… And that wouldn't work very well for our plan, and well… I think I might kill him if he did that."
"True… But by that point he'll have figured out about Lloyd, and that would mean, another to fulfill the title of chosen, so to Yggdrasill that would make you disposable."
"Right… Well… That just means you've got to keep an extra close eye on him, and make sure he doesn't get suspicious," Zelos said. "Don't worry, I trust you, you'll keep him happy, he'll hear what he wants to hear, and won't notice our scheme until we've pulled it off, right under his nose! It'll serve him right after all he's done."
"I believe I have to agree with you," Yuan said. "So Zelos, I'm curious… Have you finally figured out how to fly?"
Zelos turned a shade of red that was akin to tomatoes, causing Kratos to feel the need to back away. Not that he moved, since they would probably never let him live it down if he did, but still…
"I haven't… I've been working on it, but it's not very easy, even in Tethe'alla with the high Mana levels."
"Would you like some lessons now?" Kratos asked.
"We do have a few hours left; we can work on some details during lunch… Until then we can… teach you how to fly…" Yuan mused, smirking.
Zelos groaned knowing that bad things happened when Yuan smirked… It meant he was plotting. Uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into?
It was a very short time later that Yuan could be seen grinning like the cat that got the canary, several hundred feet above the ground. Zelos screamed very much like a girl as he fell, while Kratos hovered just above the ground below him. He was slightly jolted as his son hit his arms.
"It was a good try… Except next time, Yuan, you should allow him time to pull out his wings so he can actually try to fly…" Kratos said putting Zelos down.
Yuan was still chuckling when he landed. "Aw, but it's so entertaining to hear him scream… And kid, you scream like a girl." Zelos's eye twitched in annoyance, making Yuan laugh even more. They were so much alike.
Lloyd was still doing homework when three a.m. came around. Dirk was sleeping muttering "Hammer… Key Crest… LLOYD!", and the house was still, or it would seem, in truth, to Lloyd, it wasn't. Everything he saw was so sharp and clear, he even saw the movement of a fly.
"Maybe I should go to bed…" he sighed, groaning at the accursed stack of work still on his desk. "… Yeah, definitely going to bed now…"
"I hope we get to see each other again soon…"
"In another month you will be able to see them again, Master Zelos," his butler said.
Zelos sighed. Sebastian was the only one in all of Meltokio he had trusted with the secret of Cruxis' reality. "No…We've had to change it so visits are six months apart now, we have to start being more… 'loyal' to Yggdrasill… Though, they might be able to sneak little visits in if they're in the area," he said, deeply annoyed by the fact.
"I just hope they find the time, and that everything goes according to plan…"
"Yes… I do too."
Lloyd sat up and rubbed his eyes, trying to figure out what day it was… He realized it was finally Undineday, and he could sleep in…But then he had the unfortunate luck to look at the large amount of schoolwork left in his bag, and the comparatively small stack of completed papers on his desk, and knew that if he didn't get working, he wouldn't be able to finish it by next Sylphday…
"I guess I had better get working…" he groaned, flopping into his chair… Until he saw a fly buzzing merrily around his room… He promptly killed it in order to keep the annoying buzzing noise from driving him insane.
Bubblekins1010: Hey all! How are you? Yes, I'm BAAAA-AAACK- and I have another ToS story!
Rini-Tsukino: Hey all and well met! I'm gonna keep this short because I'm in the middle of a boss fight on Skyward Sword. This is one of the various collabs that Bubblekins and I are doing; and the first to be posted.
Bubblekins1010: Yup! That's right! It's a real treat for you isn't it! Anyways I wrote most of this chapter with Rini helping me edit, and putting in the final scene. I've been busy with NaNoWriMo so this is the first update since either Oct. 31st, or Nov. 1st! We hope you enjoyed!