The Archives of the Heroes: Series One - Foundation.

This is the story of two brothers growing up in our Universe. They manage to find themselves all kinds of trouble and adventures while travelling from galaxy to galaxy with their father.
Or, in some cases, by themselves.

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2. Season One: Five and Eight to Seven and Ten....Episode One: The Roaring Fire

 

Sunset was the most beautiful part of the Zraiatormmaein day - this was a generally accepted belief. The Zraiatormmaein sun set slowly, turning the sky pink, orange, and even purple. The water - ever present in some parts of Zraiatormma and rare in some - reflected the light, and would send green and blue rays into the mix. 

                This part of Zraiatormma was known as Yohin, or Dove. It was one of those countries on the fair planet where water was plentiful. There were numerous waterfalls and various oceans, which occasionally flooded the thin bridge of land to Graeda, the country which made up the bulk of Zraiatormma.

                The strange rays of light had a glorious effect on the faces of many people, making them shine like angelic beings. It was during this time of the day that private tutors often had the hardest time retaining their student's attention, as well as their own.

                'Liart!' The man cried, possibly for the fifth time.

                The young boy instantly turned away from the window to face his tutor, his eyes filled with guilt and a twinge of fear.

                'How many times do I have to tell you to pay attention during sunset?' He frowned at his student again, prompting him to turn his face completely away. Liart did so hesitantly.

                His eyes were curious shades of blue, green, aqua, and grey, changing as his moods did. In the rays of the Zraiatormmaein sunset, they looked to be red, purple, and even pink. His skin, which was neither pale nor tanned, looked to be green, as it basked in the light reflected from the water. His fascination was understandable. But his tutor had strict orders to distract him from his distraction.

                'What do you say, boy?' The tutor prompted.

                Liart looked at his hands shamefully. 'Yes, Ahkah.'

                'Speak clearly, or you seem to say Ahkee.' Here Strongh, also in the pleasant class room, giggled. 'And we all know I am Sir, not Ma’am.’  He smiled a little, and his worn face light up ever so slightly. Liart smiled a little too, in appreciation of his teacher's firm but kind manner.

                'I'm sorry.' He continued. 'It's just - as soon as the rays appear I forget everything I've been told. I'm just - enchanted.' His voice trailed off, and he stared dreamily out the window once more.

                His older brother, Strongh, snickered. 'I don't get enchanted. Don't you know what happens if you are?'

                The teacher glanced at his watch and frowned. 'Boys, I'm afraid I have to go now. I'll see you tomorrow, same time as usual.'

                'Goodbye, Ahkah.' Liart said timidly, his eyes full of admiration for the man.

                'Can we do something interesting tomorrow?' Strongh asked, his eyes full of self-confidence, as always.

                The teacher smiled. 'Was today's lesson boring?'

                'Oh, I did not think so!' Liart cried, his blue eyes turning a merry sky blue. 'I love learning about poets and writers. Literature is wonderful!'

                Strongh choked distastefully. 'Yuck! Literature is the most boring thing in the universe. I prefer learning about wars and soldiers!'

                'Well...' Liart said thoughtfully, 'I suppose history is interesting too.'

                'Yes, Liart, it certainly is.' The teacher cut in. 'But I do not suppose that is what your brother means.' He smiled knowingly at Strongh, who nodded eagerly, his gold-blond hair falling over his ice-blue eyes. This made the teacher pause for a moment. His two students were so entirely different.

                Strongh was very confident, and struggled to heed direction in any field but war. He was determined to be a fighter one-day, and took to the skill naturally. At the age of eight he was already stocky, though short as well, with a square jaw and sharp, determined nose.

                Liart was more insecure and dreamy than his brother. He was bright and intelligent, though with a decidedly imaginative spin on nearly everything. At the age of five, he was drawn powerfully to literature and reasoning. He had difficulty concentrating at times, and would often burst out with somewhat ridiculous possibilities. In stark contrast to his brother, he did not take well to war and weapons, and seemed to possess no skill whatsoever. Knowledge was his thing, and it was likely strength simply never could be. He was tall for his age - nearly the same height as Strongh - and lanky, with very little likelihood of ever building muscle.

                The teacher often wondered which was his preferred student, though he could never answer. It was probably just as well too, for Strongh was confident enough as it was, and Liart was always paranoid about being rejected.

                'Work hard at your studies tonight, okay?' The teacher pleaded, leaving the room slowly. 'And thank you for being so good today.'

                Liart smiled and Strongh turned around so that he was sitting backwards on his seat.

                'And every day.' The eight year replied, smiling his wide, arrogant and cheeky smile.

                His teacher did not object, though he did laugh cynically as he left.

                As soon as the teacher had left the room, Liart turned to catch a glimpse of the final rays of light before darkness fell. When he did, Strongh snickered.

                'Wanna know why I don't stare at sunset all day?'

                Liart turned his delicate face to his brother's fierce one. 'Because the sun only sets at evening?' He replied quickly.

                Strongh frowned - his little brother's smart remarks always bothered him. 'No, fool. You know what I mean.'

                'I suppose so. Why? How could you not look - it is magnificent.'

                Strongh smiled delightedly and held his brother's gaze powerfully. 'It's dangerous.'

                Liart gazed into his brother's eyes for a long time before remarking, 'you're lying.'

                'I wouldn't lie, brother. You are the liar.'

                Liart's eyes flashed, turning from a sea-blue to an ice-cold blue. 'You lie just as often as I do, if not more.'

                'I'm not the one who nobody believes.'

                'Then why do you keep asking me to cover for you!?'

                Strongh smiled cheekily. 'Because for some reason they always believe what you tell them about me.'

                Liart frowned in dismay, as he realised that was perfectly true. 'But only,' he added miserably, 'if I say good things about you.'

                Strongh laughed, extremely pleased by this fact. 'Exactly, brother, you have seen the truth. But now, may I explain to you why the rays are dangerous?'

                Liart nodded hesitantly. 'Okay... but how is it that no-one has ever told me this before?'

                Strongh shrugged and seriously replied, 'perhaps because they don't care that your life is at risk.'

                'No!' His younger brother objected, his face filling with animation. 'Of course they care! You're a liar!'

                Strongh shrugged again. 'Maybe they just don't know.'

                'Then how can you know?'

                'Because it happened to one of my friends - Harr.'

                Liart's face fell. 'The boy who died last week?'

                Strongh nodded. 'Yes! He did minutes after staring at the rays - they say it only takes a couple of times before it gets you.'

                'They? Who are they?'

                'The doctors and scientists, of course. They haven't told anyone yet, just in case they're wrong, and they don't want to scare anyone. But I know they're right. Because two days after him, his brother died.'

                'Parem?'

                'Yes, you heard about that too, didn't you?'

                'They said he died of asthma, like his brother.'

                'No, no, no, that was all just a cover-up. It was the sunset, I assure you!'

                'B-but... how does that even work?'

                'Does it need to make sense? It just does!'

                'But it has to make sense!'

                Strongh sighed. 'Okay, I don't know for sure, but I think they aren't really light rays. They're actually rays from Quixas.'

                Liart gasped. 'The evil-est planet in the Scatorian Universe! But how do they make it so far, from the Black Galaxy to ours?'

                'Um...well, I think they're from Quixas, but sent from Skull.'

                'Oh, that would make sense. That's in the Galaxy next door.'

                'One of four, yes. Anyway, they can't kill people who don't make contact with them.'

'Is that why you sit in the shadows!?' Liart cried, his brow creasing in terror.

Strongh nodded. 'Yes, that's exactly why. Now will you stop looking at the sunset?'

Liart nodded earnestly, and his brother nodded, pleased with himself. 'Good. Come now, let's play.'

'But we have homework.' Liart objected, still a little shaken by his revelation.

'Forget about it! Here, I'll do it with you tomorrow, before teacher arrives again.'

'But it won't be very good if...'

'Don't you want to play, Liart?'

'No, of course I want to play.'

'Then come! I have a brilliant activity for us to do today!'

'Are you going to get me in trouble again?'

Strongh laughed. 'No, don't be so paranoid. Come on, let's go, before father gets home.'

The boy jumped out of his seat and strode confidently to the door.

'Go where?' Liart cried, suspecting his brother did not mean 'exit the classroom'.

Strongh paused, and turned around mysteriously. Then, slowly, he said, 'to a place of wonderment.'

With this, he walked out the door, leaving behind his rather concerned little brother. Then, in a fit of curiosity, Liart jumped up, knocking his chair over, and screeched, 'Strongh! Strongh, wait for me! Strongh!'

His brother, just down the hall, shook his head. 'Stop whining, or I'll call you Liarti.'

'I'm not a girl, and I need my shoes.' Liart returned, unsure as to whether or not he had time to run and get them.

Strongh frowned, stopped walking, and folded his arms over his chest. 'You're meant to wear your shoes during our lessons.'

'I didn't want to. They're new, they hurt.'

'You told teacher you were wearing them.'

'So? He couldn't even see my feet. Why do we have to wear them anyway?'

'I'm going to tell father on you.'

'No!' Liart cried, panicking. 'Please, don't tell him. And please wait for me - I'll be really quick, I promise.'

'Okay, fine, but be quick.'

Liart ran off quickly, and Strongh waited rather impatiently. Eventually though, his brother returned, with his new leather shoes on his feet and a strange, ragged toy in his hand.

Strongh sighed. 'Liart, you're too old for toys. And dolls are for girls.'

'It's not a doll!' Liart squealed defiantly.

'Hmm.... no one knows what on earth it is.'

'It's a blue and green panda, and what is earth?'

'It's a planet, silly, in the Milky Way. That's another Galaxy next door to ours. The Earthlings are oblivious though - they have no idea there are twelve other galaxies in their universe. Silly fools - I hope I never meet one.'

'So why do you say 'what on earth?''

'Oh, well it turns out it's a saying from earth, actually. Come on, follow me, and I'll explain it to you.'

Liart nodded, and followed his older brother faithfully. When they reached the large, wooden front door, Strongh quickly lifted him up to the handle, which he turned with a little difficulty. Then, bravely on Strongh's part and warily on Liart's, the two began walking through the green fields of Yohin.

'Now,' Strongh said eventually, picking up from where he left, 'the earthlings are so silly they hardly know what is on their own planet yet alone in their galaxy. So they say 'what on earth!?' when something is peculiar, or if they don't know what something is.'

'Oh I see. But isn't it possible that we don't know everything on our planet?'

Strongh shrugged. 'I don't imagine so. I mean, where could such a thing be hiding?'

'In the desert.' Liart reasoned. 'Or underground. Maybe even in the sky!'

Strongh screwed up his nose and shook his head. 'Nah, I don't reckon.'

There was a cool wind, and it blew Strongh's rather long hair out of his eyes. Liart's dark hair was neatly parted, and only the front - already gently brushed back - blew in the wind.

As they progressed the evening grew darker, until it became difficult to see. Liart clung tighter to his ragged blue and green panda as his eyes grew wider and wider in fright.

'Strongh,' he whimpered eventually, 'don't you think we should go home?'

Strongh shook his head, quite sure of himself. 'No, that wouldn't be any fun. You're not scared are you?'

'No.' Liart lied, as he nearly tripped over a rock. 'Where are we going?'

'If I tell you it will spoil the surprise.'

'You're going to get me in trouble again, aren't you?'

'No, Liart, I won't this time.'

'But we've never stayed out this late before. And we're meant to be studying...'

'Liart!'

Liart bit his lip and silently followed his brother.

They soon entered a forest, which was dark and foreboding. Even Strongh's confidence dwindled as they entered the eerie habitat.

'Strongh...' Liart moaned, his eyes moistening.

'Ssh!' Strongh snapped, though he finally looked disconcerted himself. 'Don't be a baby!'

'But father will be worried!'

'If you don't hush I'll throw Leo up to the trees!'

Liart instantly clutched his now dirty teddy even tighter, though he did mutter under his breath, 'his name is Galileo.'

Strongh caught his remark, however, and approached his brother threateningly. 'Did you speak again?'

Liart quickly shook his head, afraid to speak again.

Strongh did not believe his brother for a minute, but chose to let his brother keep his favoured toy. 'I don't know why you called him that.' He taunted instead. 'Galileo was far behind the times.'

'No he wasn't. You obviously haven't been paying attention in class. No-one entered space until after Galileo...'

Strongh glared at his brother furiously, and the boy immediately backed down. 'Sorry.' He whispered, gulping a little.

Strongh turned away, finally satisfied that is brother would remain silent, and ventured further into the forest. Liart remained silent while following his brother, and contented himself by holding tightly onto his beloved Galileo.

Suddenly, Strongh stopped walking, and Liart crashed into him.

'Ssh!' Strongh warned, more gently. 'We must be quiet!'

Liart wanted to ask why, but quickly decided it would be wiser not to ask.

There was a rustle from a nearby bush, and Liart's spirits sunk.

They were hunting.   

'Strongh,' he hissed, much more boldly than before, 'why are we hunting? We need to go home. Why did I even have to come? I'm tired, Strongh.'

'Ssh!' Strongh warned again. 'This is very important.'

'Brother, please tell me what we are hunting.'

'You wouldn't understand even if I told you.'

'Could you at least try me?'

Strongh obviously wasn't about to explain himself, and continued moving slowly, slightly, towards the bush. Liart remained frozen where he was.

Strongh tried to move very quietly, but it had grown dark. He all too easily made the mistake of stepping on a dry twig.

Liart jumped - the sound seemed like the loudest on earth. Then, to his horror, his brother froze in terror.

There was a roar, and out of the bushes lept a huge Zraiatormmaein Lion - the fiercest and most easily provoked creature in the entire Scatorian Universe.

Liart froze, completely unable to process the information he was receiving, and Strongh was very much the same. The creature moved slowly, leisurely, and his step- besides their own heart beats - was the only sound either of the boys could hear.

Liart cried silent tears of terror, as the monster circled his beloved brother, and eventually him. Strongh remained frozen in complete shock until finally the creature held his gaze.

Strongh screamed at the top of his lungs.

The lion roared - terror was what it had been waiting for. Raising a paw it extended its sharp, massive claws.

'We are so dead.' Liart finally muttered, beginning to sob uncontrollably. Filling with such terror as he'd never experienced before, he hid his face, and prayed to a Being he had once heard called God to save them.

There was a flash of light, and a bang. The lion roared in terror, and Strongh's scream turned to one of aggression instead of fear. Daring to look up again, Liart found that the beast was now on fire.

'W-what....?' he stammered, turning back and forth between his brother and the lion.

'Die, lion! Die!' Strongh screamed, tears streaming down his face.

'Stop!' Liart began pleading, unsure as to why. 'Please, don't kill it!'

'I have to. It has to die!'

Sobbing, Liart again asked, 'why did you bring me, Strongh? Why did I have to come?'

'Because.' His brother finally explained. 'You were the motivation.'

This answer confused Liart - he honestly couldn't work out what his brother meant. He watched as the grand creature slowly burned, roaring and rolling in pain and agony. Strongh looked on, his eyes full of anger, hatred, sorrow, and tears.

The poor creature collapsed to the ground, where it moaned for a while longer before dying altogether. Then, as the beast continued burning, Strongh turned back to his brother, brushed tears away from his eyes, and said, 'let's go home'.

Liart was confused, but he eagerly followed his brother.

The two walked home in silence, with the exception of the occasional sniffle, and the trip seemed much longer than the journey away from home. Eventually, though, they reached the house, where Strongh walked fearlessly through the front door and fled to his room. Liart snuck in after him, and attempted to close the door noiselessly.

'Where were you?' A pleasant voice suddenly came.

Liart froze, though after coming face to face with a lion he could hardly say he froze in terror. Turning around to face his father he replied, 'out.'

His father frowned - his eyes full of extreme range - and locked the door. 'I can tell. Where were you is what I asked. Tell me exactly where you went - and no lying.'

Liart gulped. 'At the forest.' He answered truthfully.

His father raised an eyebrow. 'The forest? At this time of night? What on earth were you doing there?'

There it was again - that odd saying.

'Have you ever been to earth?' The boy asked quietly.

'Yes.' His father replied. 'Once or twice. They're a rather secluded bunch of people, who think they're so grand for landing on their own moon. I proposed to the Universe that we leave them be, and everyone agreed. Why do you ask?'

'I don't think I'd ever heard of it until today, when Strongh used it.'

'How odd. Anyhow, you haven't answered my question. What were you doing?'

'I... I don't know exactly.' He hung his head and stared sadly at his feet as he realised Strongh had done it again. He was going to get all the blame for this episode, and Strongh would never even be found out.

'We killed a lion.' Strongh suddenly replied.

His father turned to his elder son in surprise and his eyes immediately filled with alarm. Strongh's face was a mess, worse than Liart's, tear-stained and burnt from the intense heat of the burning lion.

'You did what?' The father asked, in shock.

'I killed a lion.' Strongh said again, this time excluding Liart. Liart's spirits lifted a little at this. It was nice to finally not be blamed for something.

Unlike Liart, Jaliq seemed to have some idea what was going on. 'Oh.' He replied, concerned. 'Why did you take Liart?'

'He was the motivation. I want him to be safe.'

Jaliq sighed, and rubbed his temple. 'Strongh,' he said softly, 'I understand, but you can't simply kill creatures...'

'I didn't give that creature anything it didn't deserve.'

Liart felt certain he wasn't needed any more, and looked curiously up at his father.

'You may go.' Jaliq kindly dismissed him.

The boy sighed with relief, and ran to his bed before his father could change his mind.

He was uncertain of what the day’s events had been about, but he was relieved not to be in any trouble. He hoped Strongh didn't get in to much either, though he figured he didn't have to worry too much about that. Strongh generally didn't get into any trouble.

 

Liart couldn't fall asleep that night. He could hear his father's soothing voice in the lounge room, no doubt rebuking Strongh, but his fears were still not calmed.

What if there was a lion under his bed? They were so silent, until they attacked. Those teeth - terrible teeth - bigger than his legs, he was certain. And those terrible claws! Whenever he closed his eyes he saw them, dripping in blood. And Strongh... there was Strongh. Only this time he hadn't killed the lion. The lion had killed him. And now, on fire, the lion was coming, burning, towards him, to kill him too.

Liart awoke, wet with tears and cold perspiration. When had he even drifted off?

The house was dark aside from the light in the hall. That meant father was still up. Liart knew he turned it off when he went to bed, as he thought the children would be asleep.

There were footsteps, and Liart tensed. He listened carefully, and felt relief course through his veins when he realised it was just his father. The man turned off the light and went to his room.

Silence fell. Then, a roar. Liart's heart skipped a beat in terror. The roar stopped, and, sighing, the boy realised it was just the sound of the shower.

He couldn't sleep. He knew that much. But he didn't want to get out of bed, just in case there was a lion under his bed.

Five minutes passed, and Liart began to cry in frustration. In the end, he held on tightly to Galileo and hoped for the best.

He threw his pillow down first, just to make sure. Then, when nothing happened, he jumped out of bed and ran next door to Strongh's room, where he turned on the light.

Strongh sat up instantly - he obviously hadn't been sleeping either.

'Liart!' He cried. 'What are you doing!?'

'I can't sleep.'

'Try going to bed, that might help.'

For a moment, all was quiet. Then Liart asked, 'did you get in much trouble?'

Strongh looked away. 'I... I'm not sure. Not really, I suppose. But in another way, yes. I got in a lot of trouble.'

'Oh. I'm sorry.'

'What for, Liart? You didn't do anything.' There was another paused, which Strongh ended. 'What are you going to do now, Liart?'

Liart hesitated. 'Can I sleep with you?' He asked, afraid lest his brother said no.

Strongh sighed, but didn't really seem too bothered. 'Okay. Crawl in.'

Liart beamed, and crawled in next to his brother.

'Are you going to turn the light off?' Strongh asked, bothered.

Liart's eyes only widened in horror and terror, so, after rolling his eyes, Strongh did so himself.

'Hey!' Strongh cried, upon finding his brother curled up against the wall, 'how come I have to sleep on the edge?'

Liart eyed the edge of the bed warily and replied, 'because you can kill lions. I can't.'

'What lions, silly?'

'The lions under the bed?'

Strongh sighed. 'I know you don't seriously believe that.'

Liart agreed to a certain extent, but it was clear to the both of them that he wasn't one hundred percent sure. So, with an amount of annoyance, Strongh slipped into his bed and tried not to fall off the edge. Liart tried to help by pressing himself against the wall as much as was possible.

Strongh stared at the roof for what seemed like an eternity, until he actually forgot his brother was in the bed. Then, abruptly, his thoughts were shattered by a small, 'thank you, Strongh.'

Strongh turned to his head to see his brother curled up in a ridiculously tight ball with his bear as close as it could possibly get to his chest. He smiled lovingly, grateful that his brother was next to him, for he couldn't sleep either. Rolling over in his brother's direction, he slipped his head onto his shoulder and curled up to his brother, until it was impossible for the two to be any closer.

 

School passed slowly the next day - far too slowly for Strongh's liking. He avoided his schoolmates like the plague, and especially his brother, which was no small feat. Liart was amusing in that way - he always whined to Strongh how he hated being bossed around and dragged into trouble, but he clung to his brother like a... well, like a flu, Strongh figured. At least this one day he was like a flu.

The day eventually came towards its end, and Strongh went to pick up his little brother, as was his errand and custom. The boy's eyes lit up instantly when he beheld his older brother, and Strongh smiled warmly.

Ready to go?' He asked, checking his brother's feet. 'Where are your shoes?'

Liart pointed to the door, and replied, 'over there. They still hurt, Strongh.'

Strongh smiled a little. 'If you wore them more often they wouldn't hurt so much.'

'That's not true.' Liart reasoned, pulling on his shiny shoes. 'They'd hurt just as much, only for a lesser amount of time.'

Strongh rolled his eyes. 'I wish you wouldn't always dish out smart remarks. They're annoying.'

Liart either did not hear this remark or chose to ignore it, for the next minute he jumped up and cried, 'we can go now!'

The two boys walked out the door and began the fifteen minute walk home.

Liart walked close to Strongh - he always did. Strongh never minded this. He liked being close to people too, something which generally bothered everyone but Liart. Liart usually didn't bother people, however, as he sub-consciously managed to keep a reasonable distance between himself and the person next to him. Strongh wondered how he managed to achieve this.

Strongh looked down at his little brother, whose face shone in the lowering sun, and found himself deep in thought.

Liart watched his step carefully rather than looking the world in the eyes, as Strongh usually did. The small boy's walk was confident, yet at the same time insecure, and his face was set with a determination, though even Strongh did not know what of. Perhaps he was determined to reach his goal. Perhaps he was simply a determined character.

The boy had many quirks, such has his closet-love for his blue and green panda, Galileo. Strongh wasn't even sure how Liart had come to have the toy, but he loved it with a deep childish passion, though he was quite determined that no-one but his father and beloved brother should know about that. He insisted that the toy was washed often, and was very particular about the soap it was washed in. Strongh knew why, even if their father hadn't worked it out yet: Liart loved sweet scents.

'Are you smelling me?' Strongh asked, a strange idea possessing him. 'Is that why you walk close?'

'Not too close?' Liart returned questioningly.

'No!' Strongh replied reassuringly. 'Not at all. But are you?'

'Smelling you?'

'Yes.'

'No. If I were doing that I'd come up and...' he smiled, and sniffed his brother's arm. Strongh laughed, and waited for his brother to continue. 'But I can smell you.' Came the conclusion. 'And I like the way you smell.' He smiled his angelic smile at his older brother, who returned it with one of his own. Then, overcome with a wave of love, Strongh took his little brother's hand, and the two walked hand in hand for the remainder of the way home.

The boys did not have much time to prepare for their private lessons with their tutor, but were always sitting at their seats by the time he arrived. Strongh felt a twinge of guilt as Liart moved his desk from the light side of the room to the shadowy side, with an extreme amount of difficulty.

'Good evening, boys!' The teacher suddenly cried, entering the room.

Liart's eyes filled with panic as did Strongh's. The two turned to face each other, and then glanced nervously at their tutor.

'Did you finish all your work last night?' He asked, sitting at the front desk.

Strongh kept his head low, as he had all day, and Liart felt obliged to reply. In all honesty, he didn't even know what last night's homework was on.

'Not all of it.'

'So you have some questions then?' Liart nodded. 'Strongh, what about you?'

'Same as Liart.'

The teacher seemed surprised by this. 'You actually studied last night?'

The teacher did not notice that Strongh blushed ever so slightly, but Liart did. Quickly, he said, 'he had to. To help me with mine.'

'Why?' The tutor asked, beginning to wonder what was going on. 'Why would you need Strongh's help in literature?'

'I couldn't spell half the words, or read the harder ones.'

'Which ones in particular?'

Liart said the first thing that came to mind. 'Ghatiyulur.'

The tutor laughed. 'Ah, yes. Many students have difficulty with the author's last name. It's funny though, you usually don't struggle so.'

'I... suppose I was tired yesterday.'

The teacher obviously wasn't buying Liart's story - he could see that clearly. He didn't expect Strongh to come to his rescue, however, and it was already too late for him to even try. Strongh could never pick up on the warning signs, and didn't know Liart wasn't believed until it was too late.

'Well, you're not tired today are you, Liart?' The tutor pushed.

'No.' Liart answered quickly. 'What are we learning today?'

'I thought we might do maths.'

The two boys groaned, and the teacher began a nearly untranslatable monologue on things such as subtraction of five sums at once, and how it was possible to check the answer by adding numerous figures up. Eventually, as he shifted to avoid a ray of sunlight, Liart asked,

'Sir, it doesn't make any sense. Why not just add each up one at a time?'

The teacher shook his head disappointedly. 'That's not the point, Liart. We do it this way because...'

'We can.' Strongh finished. He was staring at his piece of paper, covered not in notes, but scribbles, and looked flat and depressed.

'But it's so much harder!' Liart persisted, making his teacher smiled.

'You'll understand when you're older.' He promised, though Liart didn't exactly believe him.

Putting on his glasses, the teacher walked over to Strongh and held up his notebook.

'Are these your notes?' He asked, being facetious.

Strongh nodded sadly, and the teacher lowered his glasses. 'Strongh, what's wrong?'

'Nothing.'

There was a sudden crash, and the two turned to face Liart. The small boy quickly picked himself off the floor, smiled, and began pushing his desk further into the dark.

'Liart...'

'Just fell off my seat, sir.' Liart explained. 'No need to worry.'

'You what...? Why?'

'Because. I'm trying not to look at the sunlight.'

'Oh. Well, I didn't mean for you to take it to such extreme measures.'

'That doesn't matter sir,' Liart returned, sitting back on his seat. He didn't wish to confess that he was scared of the sunlight.

The teacher turned slowly - knowingly - to Strongh, and was surprised when the boy instantly sighed, 'I just got sick of him. It worked didn't it?'

'Strongh, what did you tell him?'

'I told him they were dangerous - the light rays.'

The tutor sighed and turned to Liart. 'Don't worry, Liart. The sunlight can't hurt you, Strongh was lying. Strongh, apologise if you would.'

Liart was confused. 'But he didn't look like he was lying. It didn't sound like it either. He had evidence!'

Strongh's eyes widened, and he seemed to panic.

'Evidence?' The teacher asked. 'What evidence?'

'Harr died, and...'

The tutor's eyes widened, and he paused. 'Ah.' Was all he managed to breathe. Everything seemed to make sense now! Turning to Strongh, he asked, 'what were you doing last night?'

Strongh answered despondently. 'I killed a lion.'

Yes, he had definitely worked things out. 'Would that be the one that was found burnt to death in the forest this morning?'

'Yes.'

He nodded slowly. 'I see. Does your father know?'

Strongh nodded.

'That's quite an impressive feat. But you shouldn't have dragged Liart into it.'

'I know. I'm sorry.'

'Perhaps you should apologise to Liart.'

Turning to Liart, Strongh muttered, 'I'm sorry.'

Liart was confused. 'What does this have to do with anything? How did I give us away?'

Standing up straight and walking back to his desk, the tutor explained. 'Harr and his brother were not killed by sunlight, Liart. They were killed by a lion. Now, as you know, we don't generally get lions in this part of Yohin, so this was a sort of freak accident. Everyone was worried, and no-one was brave enough to hunt the creature down.' Here he turned to Strongh. 'I understand your motivation, boy, but learn to get over feelings such as those. You cannot always have revenge, and avenging deaths is not always wise. This was not wise either.'

Liart finally understood now, though there was one thing that was still not clear to him. 'Strongh said I was the motivation. Strongh, what did you mean?'

Sighing, Strongh explained himself. 'Like I said. I wanted you to be safe. I don't want you to be killed by a lion like they were.'

'But I could have been killed last night!'

Strongh did not look up, but he seemed ashamed of himself. 'Well I didn't think that far, did I?'

Sighing, the tutor took his seat again and stretched out his legs. He eyed the two brothers thoughtfully and marvelled at their differences yet again.

'Strongh,' he said eventually, 'is there anything you would like to discuss?'

Strongh shook his head.

He turned to Liart. 'What about you?'

Liart frowned thoughtfully. 'Well,' he began, 'I'd like to learn about earth. And what is a god. I hear people cry that word out sometimes, and I don't know what it means. Does each person have their own god? Because they often cry out that they do.'

The teacher smiled, slight wrinkles appearing at the edges of his eyes. 'Yes, Liart. Everyone has their own god. The issue is whether or not it is the true god.'

'You mean there are fake ones?'

'Of course. There has to be. They can't all be real!'

'I don't see why not.' Strongh muttered.

'They contradict one another.' The teacher explained. 'Different religions say there's only one god, and others say there are many. You know,' he said, standing up as he did when he became excited, 'when the settlers of the Scatorian Universe settled on various planets, many hoped religion would die out. What they find today, however, is that we are just as religiously colourful as our home planet -earth.'

'Wait,' Liart interrupted, 'we're from earth?'

'Oh yes, if you go back far enough. Earth has been the only planet (as far as we know today) that has ever been able to produce life. It is not, however, the only planet that is able to sustain life.' As he finished speaking he began handing out more homework, including fresh copies of yesterday's.

'What do you mean?' Strongh asked, a little of his arrogance returning. 'We can produce life.'

'Yes, we can now. But our planet first had to be populated by Earthlings.' Here he checked his watch.

'You mean they're people like us?' Liart asked.

'Y-yes. But that depends what you mean. There are many different breeds of people.'

'There are?'

'Yes. For example, the Ai look nothing like you or I.'

'Is it like dogs then?' Strongh asked, equally curious now. 'Could you have a mixed breed?'

The teacher smiled. 'I don't know. No-one I know's ever tried it.'

'But if they look so different,' Strongh persisted, 'how do we know they're even people?'

The teacher's eyes lit up mysteriously. 'That is a question I cannot answer for you. Unfortunately there is no real scientific answer, and all the philosophers in the Universe squabble over it. Perhaps one day you may be able to answer it.'

With this, the teacher collected his things and left the room.

 

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