There was much more to the dome than Zade realized.
After leaving the archive room, we headed back to the main hall, which now had a receptionist behind an elevated glass desk. The woman must have been thirty something, with pretty blonde hair, and oval face, and sparkling eyes.
"Good day, Colonel," She said sweetly, "How are you doing today?"
"I'm fine, thank you, Amelia" Colonel said, "Just taking Zade here to the training facility."
"Oh, my!" She said, looking Zade up and down, "What a handsome boy. Look at those lovely chocolate brown hair. They must be so smooth. And those dark eyes. I just want to keep staring into them." She sighed.
Zade felt a bit flustered, and he felt his face flush, just as Stanley cleared his throat.
"Zade, this here is Amelia Coulson. She's the caretaker of all the, uh...kids, who stay here." He said, staggering on the word kids.
"They are such sweethearts," Amelia said, "It's a pleasure looking after them. They are so well behaved."
"Amelia, please open the doors to the Training facility." Stanley said.
"Okay, colonel." She typed in a bunch of different commands on the desk panels, and the door on the center of the wall slid open.
"Proceed, please." She said with a smile.
Stanley nodded, and so did Zade. She smiled back, and then, Stanley walked towards the now opened door, and Zade followed.
"She seems a bit too nice" He spoke softly, even though they were far away from the lady.
"Better too nice than cruel" He replied, and Zade was pretty sure that he was thinking about his dead son, and about Thanatos.
Thanatos...Zade found that name creepy. Intriguing and powerful, yes, but creepy. According to Stanley, he was a killing machine of sorts. But something about him struck Zade as peculiar....something about-
"You said Thanatos controlled ice, right?" Zade asked.
"Yeah...and not just any form. His specialty was dark ice. They were shadows within ice, making it lethal on contact. You know, after a long time, I saw those crystals, when-"
"When you found me near the Siauhu?" Zade completed his sentence.
"That's what I was wondering." He said, and Zade could detect the doubt in his voice. "Why would they show up over there? Everyone knows that Siauhu are spirits of snow, but dark ice?”
At that point, Zade remembered something. Something that sent a chill up his spine.
Could it be related? Sword. Dark Ice. He wanted to tell Stanley about the idea that was going inside my head, but until he could regain his memory completely, Zade thought it best to keep it to himself. However, an idea had started forming in his head, about something related to Thanatos.
Before he realized, they had emerged into a huge arena, probably sixty meters in diameter. The ceiling was very high, almost too much, around twenty meters. It was sky blue in color, and was decorated with beautiful patterns. The arena itself was magnificent. There were walls, with a seating arrangement around the perimeter of the circular field. On the other end of the arena, Zade could see a couple of people, sitting on big comfortable levitating chairs, while they watched two guys spar with swords.
They walked towards them, and as they did, the two guys stopped, and watched for Zade and Stanley to approach them. As Zade went closer, he recognized one of the people who had been sitting.
“Dr. Sycamore.” He greeted.
“Hello, Zade. How are you?” He stood up, walked towards Zade, and shook his hand. Behind him, two girls were sitting. They got up to join the two guys who had been sparing.
“Good evening, Colonel.” All of them said, with the guys saluting him.
“Good evening,” Stanley replied, and gave a salute to the two guys.
Zade analyzed all of them. The first girl was extremely pretty, with flowing chocolate brown hair, sea green eyes, a good height and an athletic build. She had a very beautiful smile, one of those smiles which make your heart melt. She must have been close to seventeen years of age. She was wearing blue jeans and a simple green shirt.
The second girl was more tomboyish, with short blonde hair, a bandana on her head, and a wicked looking scythe attached on her back. She was tall, but not as tall as Zade was. She glared at him, her hazel eyes scanning him up and down, as though trying to decide whether to cut his head off, or stab him in the gut. Looking at her, Zade felt a bit intimidated. She wore the clothes that the soldiers had been wearing.
The first guy had a stocky build, with close-cropped red hair, crimson colored eyes and a scar on his face. His arms were covered with various scars, and he wore a sleeveless T-shirt with cargo pants. He held his sword in his hands.
The last guy looked feeble in comparison with the first one. He was shorter, and appeared to be quite skinny. He had brown hair with small, squinty indigo eyes. He too had a sword, but held it in such a manner that I thought he was gonna drop it any moment, and then, drop down himself. He wore a skin-tight shirt and jeans.
“Everyone, this is Zade.” Stanley announced. Then, he turned to Zade. Pointing to the first girl, he said, “This is Gia.” Then the second girl, “This is Elizabeth.”
He turned to the two guys. “Cameron and Tyson.” He said, pointing to the first and second guys respectively.
"Where's he from, Colonel?" The girl named Gia asked. She had a gentle voice.
Stanley turned towards Zade, as if to say 'Go on, you do the explaining."
Zade shifted uncomfortably, feeling awkward.
“You’re a Valdorian?” Elizabeth asked impatiently
“I don’t remember.” I replied.
“What do you mean, you don’t remember?” Tyson asked. .
“Zade has amnesia” Stanley interjected. “He doesn’t remember anything from his past. But he will train here with you.”
Cameron and Tyson looked at each other, then at me.
"That...sounds a bit suspicious, don't you think?" Tyson questioned.
"Uh....well, it is, but then again, I have nowhere else to go.
"How do we know you're not a Valdorian spy?" Tyson questioned again. For a guy who looked so frail, he certainly had a lot of confidence.
"I'm getting tired of saying this, but I don't know." Zade sighed.
Gia and Cameron seemed convinced.
"Well, let's hope remember over time." Cameron slapped his back.
Elizabeth cut in between. She again scrutinized Zade, before saying, "You better not be lying," before making her hand burst into flames.
Zade was about to let out a sigh of relief as Elizabeth walked pass him, before Tyson came and stood next to him. His eyes bore into Zade's, making the latter feel uncomfortable.
"You..." Tyson whispered, "You're hiding something. I know you are."
"I'm going to give you the benefit of doubt."
"Alright?" Zade felt silly, being intimidated by a such a weak looking guy. It almost made him angry.
Tyson followed Elizabeth and the rest as they proceeded to continue training.
"That went, uh...well, I guess." Zade muttered as Stanley and Sycamore were the only two people left with him.
"Don't worry." Sycamore said, "They're apprehensive of anything connected to Valdore, their old home, so they come of as a little rough sometimes, especially Tyson and Elizabeth, but they're good kids."
"Now, then." Colonel Stanley slapped his back, a confident smirk lighting up his face. "You need to get started with training."
"Can I rest first?" Zade yawned. It had been a long day, what with the battle with the Valdorians and his extensive briefing session with Stanley.
"Well, okay, don't train today. But for at least an hour, stick around and observe the other people train." Stanley ordered.
"Alright," Zade muttered, annoyed at the fact that he couldn't get to sleep right away. He felt he was about to drop down any moment.
Stanley turned to Sycamore, and put his hand forward to shake that of the latter.
"Well, good day then, Dr. Sycamore. I need to leave."
"Alright, Colonel. But before you leave, there's something urgent I need to discuss. It won't take much time."
Stanley zipped up his black jacket. "Follow me to the exit, and we can talk on the way."
He turned to face Zade. "I'll see you later, Zade."
"Okay, Colonel." He replied. Zade could still see a fleck of doubt in Stanley's eyes.
A bit suspicious.
Tyson had said what the Colonel was avoiding to say. It had certainly struck a nerve.
I need to get on their good side, Zade thought. It isn't going to be easy surviving here otherwise.
With no one else around, he had only one place to go: The training area.
Just as Zade walked into the area, Cameron jumped in front of him, and leaped away as quickly, as a column of fire shot up where he had been standing a second ago, charring the front of Zade's jacket as the heat wave blew back his hair.
He too, was blown back several meters.
When he landed, his entire face felt like it was on fire. His body ached badly.
"Whoa!" Cameron shouted, as he rushed to Zade. "Elizabeth, calm down."
"Me?" Zade heard Elizabeth speak loudly as she too walked towards him. "It's not my fault that he barged right inside without taking permission. Its not my fault either that you jumped in front of him. You knew I was targeting you."
"Is he alright?" Gia ran, accompanied by Tyson, who shook his head. "I don't think anybody would be okay after being exposed to such a high temperature so closely."
"Wait, then why was no one worried about me getting hurt?" Cameron's question went unanswered as Tyson pulled out a strange orb, a pure white sphere with a red cross on the flat surface on its top. He clicked a few soft keys on it, after which, the top portion opened into a large, hollow tubule.
Tyson brought it closer to Zade's face, and on giving the command "Burn Heal", the tubule shot out sprays of ice cold water, which were mixed with a certain chemical that Zade couldn't recognize. A few seconds later, his face stopped hurting, and even his body cooled down.
Tyson yet again typed in a few commands, and instead of a tube, a needle shot out. He thrust it into Zade's arm, and as the chemical started activating, shivers ran through Zade's body.
He lay there for a few minutes, with the others standing around him.
Zade unwillingly got up, and was surprised when he realized that he felt much better. Even more energetic than he had been before.
"What was that chemical?" Zade questioned as he removed his jacket. It was not in a very good condition. He would have to get a new one.
Tyson closed up the sphere, tossed into the air once before putting it inside his pocket.
"It was HMC-88, the newest HMC drug available. It came as a part of the M4-HMC capsule that is to be launched next year. I got one because I helped in making it."
"You made this?"
Tyson nodded. "I've been an apprentice of Dr. Sycamore since I was fourteen. That was four years ago."
"I recommend that you go ahead and rest, Zade." Elizabeth stepped in. "And I apologize."
"No worries," Zade muttered in response. Of course, he didn't express his anger, but unless he wanted to be deep fried, Zade wasn't in the mind-frame to pick a fight with Elizabeth.
"I'll lead him to his room." Cameron sheathed his sword and threw the scabbard into a corner. "Come on."
Zade hesitantly followed Cameron out of the training area, where they emerged back into the lobby. Cameron turned left and approached a locked door. He went in front of what Zade assumed to be a scanner, as a a beam of light locked onto Cameron's forehead. A second later, the lock vaporized, only to come back the next instant, but now it appeared to be unlocked.
The corridor that Cameron led Zade into was dark, with almost no lights. Cameron took out a card from his pocket and swiped it in front of a screen. The door slid opened, and Zade walked right in. He didn't even take out time to notice the details of the room as he threw down his jacket and hopped onto the bed. Cameron simply smiled as he shut the door behind him as he went back.
The cold ambiance of the room was comforting, as Zade closed his eyes and passed out quickly.