The Red Moon

When the government kills off their parents, they have only one place left to hide. Fate played so that lovers and family are separated. Will they come back together? Will a miracle come about, so that death and life can live together?

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1. That Night

On the planet Nexus in the land of Tearigch, a middle-aged man narrowed his eyes to take in his surroundings. He was in a forest a little way from the road, the red moon was shining a bright glow through the breeze-blown leaves. He could see a bush a few feet away bearing luminous red ripe berries of a mysterious sort. He stuffed a few into his pocket before looking towards the moonlight. His eyes were dull grey, lips thin, and nose sharp. From far away could be heard the faint sound of a owl's hoot. He had an anxious note in his eyes as they darted from left to right, scanning around once more. His brow creased with worry as he hurried back.

He entered a small wooden house and greeted a woman cuddling in a corner near the fire. Soon, he was by her side, smiling with relief as she uncovered a child by her side. The child looked like she hadn't gone into teen years, her dark brown hair tied up into a ponytail. The man hugged the woman tight once and placed the berries in her hand. The little girl had blinked a few times and was stretching her small hand to her father. Her pretty face curled upwards into a smile as he hugged her and planted a kiss on her forehead.

The door flew open with a bang and a young boy came running in. He hugged his parents and took his little sister's hand. The father took a few thin blankets and wrapped them around brother and sister before rushing them towards the door. He grabbed a bag filled with breads and a piece of paper and slung it across the boy's shoulder before abruptly pushing them out the door. The door slammed shut and silence once again reigned the night. The boy whispered a soft goodbye towards the door, closed his eyes, and in a bright greenish-white light, disappeared with his sister from the scene.

Armed men in uniforms marched toward the small house. If one would look closer they would see a wooden dagger in each of their hands, made from the branches of the baobab tree to be exact. They neared the house and stopped to listen for noises. With a signal, two of the men kicked down the door before cautiously entering. A few more followed the formers lead and they began searching the house for Snakes.

In the forest land of Tearigch, there were two types of people: the normal humans and the super-humans. There were two types of super-humans too: offensive and defensive. The difference between offensive super-humans and defensive ones was that offensive super-humans had weaknesses. Now, to explain this weakness. I wouldn't exactly say it was one. It was actually a power that exploded when the super-humans triggered it. He will go poisoned whether he accidentally triggered it or not The term 'poisoned' was used to describe this reaction. When one was poisoned, he wouldn't think properly and it would be like having a second brain that powers him to kill people randomly. That's how they came to be Snakes, branded outlaws guilty with the crime of being an offensive super-human. The punishment was not too harsh, so the government had said. Those who turned themselves in would be stuck in a small room with a bed, a chair, and a desk. Their necessities would be taken care of, everything will be as they want, so long as they don't leave the room. Snakes who escape their room shall be punished with death. Snakes who run from the start will also be punished with death. In other words, Snakes were fated with the life of bondage.

The defensive super-humans never went poisoned but their powers were always much weaker. Their powers were always one of the standard: Fire, freeze, or healing. They were also persecuted...that is...until they began helping to fight the Snakes...

****

  “Stay here a while, Wisteria. I'll be back soon,” the boy whispered. His family wasn't the only one that needed saving.

“Are pa and ma alright?” the little girl whispered.

The boy forced a smile and untied the blanket, “OF COURSE they're alright.” and with that he closed his eyes and disappeared once more into that light.

“Francis, wait...,” she screamed. She was alone and being in a dark forest was scary. She never left the house before except once and it was when the sun was out. “Papa, mama, where are you?” and she started to cry. “No, I can't cry. Papa said I shouldn't cry,” she said wiping the tears from her eyes. “He said I should look for him,” and she said taking a quilt. “He said I should hide if people came. He said I should only be scared of people. 'A little dark never hurt anyone that's what he said,” and she went walking away in the red light of the moon.

****

“Phoenix, Phoenix, are you there?” Francis whispered into a dark house.

A sniff was sounded from below and a girl emerged from a secret door under the cupboard.

“Francis! I've been waiting for you. I knew you'd come. They....they killed.... they killed... m.... my parents....” she managed between sobs. “I saw everything. They killed without a second thought. But, they never did anything wrong. They never hurt anyone. They were so gentle.”

Francis stroked Phoenix's long dark blue hair. “Mine too,” he whispered. “But we have no time for crying now. We have to hurry. I still have others to save. They've gotten to a few places. You know they won't just stop at adults. They'll go for the kids if they find them. So, let's go now.”

She nodded and took his hand into hers before squeezing her eyes shut and teleporting through the brightness. If she had looked at him then, she could have seen the tears streaming down his face.

****

Later on in the wee hours of the morning, Francis led the last child to the group of kids he had saved from death. He would go poisoned soon if he didn't stop and rest.

“Ok, listen everybody, we have to rest now. We'll be alright but we can't go home anymore.”

The group murmured acquiesces. There were twenty-four children and now they were all under his charge. It was his responsibility to make sure everyone survived. They soon found their respective spots and curled into their various positions to fall asleep.

Apparently, Phoenix wasn't the only one who saw her parents' death. Many of the children woke up screaming with nightmares fresh in memory. Francis even had to hold some of their hands as they fell asleep.

“Looks like you'll never get any rest at this rate.”

Francis turned to see Phoenix. Her long straight hair had been tied into a lazy ponytail, and there were no traces of tears in her light green eyes.

But he had no choice, he was a seventeen-year old taking care of twenty-five, no twenty-four, kids. “Are you going to help me?” he asked holding his hand up playfully.

Phoenix took his hand and helped him to his feet. It was a cold night, a night to remember, a night of many deaths, innocent deaths at that. Francis collapsed on a patch of grass in the shadows of the cluster of trees nearby. Everything came back to him in a crash and he felt a terrible pain in his heart.

“Phoenix, it hurts so much,” he cried, and this time she was the one to comfort him. “Why? Why is Fate toying with us? Does Fate enjoy watching us suffer?”

“It hurts me too. It does,” she whispered patting his back, the tears gathering at the corner of her eyes. The tears fell freely but neither made a sound. The tear in their hearts... The feeling of being lonely though there were so many others around.... The feeling of losing one's parents.... It was too painful.

There the two of them fell asleep both their backs to the tree and her head on his shoulder, his head on hers.

****

“So, have you gotten rid of all the Snakes?”

“No, sir. But I have killed the adults.”

“Not one escaped?”

“No, it seems none of the adults had the teleporting power and the baobab dagger has not failed in delivering the death blow.”

“So you did not get the children?”

“I did kill some all those in the orphanages but only some from their hou.....”

CLING ling tring (throws glass at his feet)

Do you not understand that children are troublesome! They will take up space in the Barrier and Snake orphanages. They will make a mess and may one day return to destroy us! Do you not understand that Snakes' offspring are much more powerful than their parents?! Every generation is getting more powerful! You have to wipe them out totally!”

Yes, sir. I will go once more and wipe them out.”

No, send Fire. He never fails me.”

But sir, he isn't well-rested...”

Just send him!” (throws another glass)

Yes, sir.” (turns to walk away then adds) “Eh, sir, there was a kid with the teleporting power. His power seemed pretty strong... He just needed to close his eyes and he'd disappear with anything he was touching with his fingers. He escaped with many of the children.”

Is that so? His powers are weakened by working so hard, maybe, just maybe, we can get him before he goes poisoned.”

****

Wisteria awakened to the sound of birds chirping. She felt half-frozen, like there were springs in her fingers and toes. It was a pretty feeling. She stretched and looked around lazily before picking up her blanket. Soon, she continued on her happy walk, frequently taking detours to sample berries, smell flowers and chase pigeons. She danced and skipped in the forest with not a single care or worry in the world. That was the life of an innocent little twelve year old.

Back before that night, she used to stay alone in her room a lot. She would come out and cook sometimes or just make a berry sandwich but she always had to make her own lunch. Which was a good thing or she would be starving right then. Though running around in the forest might have been kind of scary, it was better than staying in her room always either reading or studying something. It was a good break from everything. Then again, she had never been far from her mom. She missed her, a lot, almost too much to bear... But no, it was still bearable, soon she'd see them again. But, she didn't understand the feeling that she had... The one that hurts down inside.... The one that hurts when one feels they lost something precious....

It's nothing. Papa and mama are super-humans, they escaped so many times. They'll be okay. That's why they sent me with Francis, because... because....” and she broke down crying. “Their alive! Who said they weren't!”

But, she felt deep down inside that they were dead. From then on, Wisteria lost her happy mood, took less detours and was more conscious of her surroundings as the sun left her to the cruel gaze of the red moon.

****

They're coming! I can feel them!” a boy shouted.

What? Who is, Quinn?” Francis asked.

I don't know. But, I have a bad feeling about this.”

From where? How far are they from here?”

From all directions! They knew we were here. They're still quite a few kilometers but what do we do now?”

Ok, this is bad. My powers are already low. I'm about to be poisoned soon and this problem has to show up out of nowhere,” Francis muttered. “I need all of you to do as I say. First, I need to know your powers.....”

He brought them to a side and organized them by age. Those below three, he left out. He didn't want them to get hurt. Then he asked them their powers and they had to show what they could do. A few had the same powers of yellow Fire. It wasn't strong so he checked them to be one of the first few to teleport.

Phoenix shoots acid from hands, you stay and guard the kids on the other side. Wrennyn... You grow daggers from your hands and elbows?! I think you'll stay till one of the last, 'cos we might need you in front. Cheryth you can go with the kids. Help them with healing if they need it. Severus, you stay with us since you can go invisible you'll be as safe here as anywhere else....” Francis continued blabbering on until he had mentioned each one of them and they all were ready.

His plan seemed decent, but he didn't know he was getting himself into trouble. He didn't consider how he would get away with everyone's heads still attached when they really came and he wasn't done teleporting.

Twenty-four? I'm pretty sure....” Francis muttered.

What's wrong? Are we going to get going?” Phoenix asked.

No...Oh No! Where's Wisteria? Is she there? Did you see her anywhere?”

Who? Oh, your little sister. I never saw her before. I thought she couldn't escape that night and thought it might have been too hard on you so I didn't ask....”

No she's alive! Wisteria! You can't be dead. I promised... I promised mom and dad! Where are you?”

Francis, you have to calm down, if you do this now, your power will reduce drastically you can't let your adrenaline run too much. She is safe from those coming to kill us now so we should at least get everyone away safely...” she tried to reassure him, but in truth, she didn't really believe she could have survived.

But you don't know how much she means to me. I can't live without her. My parents, I promised them...”

Just calm down. We'll find her.”

Really? Phoenix, you have to find her. I can't believe I left her like that. I'm so sorry, I am,” he said catching her hand. “I can't lose her like this.”

She looked into his eyes and said “I promise.” There was a moment of silence and Francis dropped a tear.

Ok, I'm going now,” he said averting his eyes to the floor and letting her hand loose. He picked a little girl up from where she sat on the floor, held Phoenix's hand, and closed his eyes. He kept going until he had brought a little less than half of the kids over to the new place about fifteen kilometers away

****

Quinn, how far are they from here now?”

They seemed to have rested a while at one point so they were a bit slow but they're inside a three kilometer radius now,” he replied.

Ok, I think I can rest a while, my powers cut suddenly once already.”

What happened to the rest?” Severus asked.

Four of them started running away with Phoenix. I trust her to protect them so... And the next four started off with Cheryth, she seems capable so I just told her to take them some place she thought was safe.”

Cheryth?! You mean the one who lived a few houses from mine?” a boy asked.

Yeah, why? Do you know her, Finch?” Wrennyn scowled.

It's...it's nothing....”

At a time like this, it'd be safer if we go separate ways. And it'd be much safer if we stop the quarreling,” Francis said. “I gotta go now. I don't want to see the results of another fight when I get back.”

When Francis left, silence fell like a cloud over them all. The tension in the air was high. Francis should have known better than to leave enemies together...

Wrennyn and Finch were actually best friends since they were four. Their parents were very close, but back then they stayed very far away so the two of them could only meet once a month. One day, the visits just cut. Though he was only four, Wrennyn felt desperately lonely afterwards. He turned his attention to the girl in his neighborhood. Her name was Cheryth she was really pretty but always did weird hairstyles that made her look less so. He noticed that she was always there whenever he felt down. Wrennyn felt that she was the only one in the world he could trust. Then suddenly, after eight years of waiting, his dream of coming back together with Finch was coming true. Finch told him that he was going to move in nearby. It had been so long but he somehow remembered those happy times. Wrennyn was overjoyed and was running to tell Cheryth when he saw her.... with him. Wrennyn had forgotten what Finch looked like but he just knew it was Finch...He saw Finch teasing her, and though she was reacting with hits, Wrennyn knew she was thoroughly enjoying it. Wrennyn was torn in two. That day, Wrennyn knew he had to choose.... So, he chose the better friend.... the one who stayed with him since the day that the other left him crying under the oak tree. He chose Cheryth... but Cheryth's choice was Finch....Why.... It hurt so much that the tears couldn't flow and he just had to smile... Of course! She wouldn't choose someone like himself. It cut so deep but all he could do was tell her it was fine. It burned his heart to a fragment but he told her that she really needed someone stronger than himself. Every time she was in sight, his heart would beat faster. It was that day that he realized that all he really wanted was her; that he loved her. But, she would never know, she was gone...

I hate these powers of mine. I could have gone with her,” Wrennyn muttered.

What did you say?” Finch asked.

Hey, sometimes you should keep your ears to yourself, dumpster.”

Oh, yeah, you were probably grouching about how she chose me over you,” Finch retorted.

Hmmm, that's true. But this too, is true. I don't know what I will do to you if you continue. I won't just stop 'cos you're her precious. In fact, I might go harder instead. So you better keep your five senses to yourself.”

Oh, is that so... I thought you always cried on her shoulder, what made you so high and mighty now? I could crush you with my little finger if I wanted to. I've been keeping one of my five senses to myself because of her. You should thank her really. She's your hero after all.”

Well now, shall we find out who she'll end up being the hero to?”

Sure thing, we both know who it is.”

Oh I don't think so.”

Wait, I didn't count you as someone, you seem very much like a cat. Haha!”

Seriously, I'll kill you someday,” Wrennyn whispered to himself.

Then the silence reigned once again.

****

Francis put the little child carefully on the ground. She sure was heavy... or was he getting weaker really?

Ok, you guys can start running off. Kira, I trust you to lead them well. Do you think you can handle four kids? If not, you'll have to back out now.”

Francis, I can handle them... You don't have to baby every single one of us... I'm already fifteen,” Kira said quietly. “I worry about you. You don't seem too well.”

Oh, but I have to keep going. It's not that I don't trust you, I don't want you to over-exert yourself like I am. Or we will fall,” Francis said. “I want to keep as many of us alive as possible. Show the world that we're not worthless animals...Oh, hehe I went too far... It's an unrealistic dream of mine.”

But, sometimes, dreams come true.”

Yeah. I get that you're trying to comfort....”

No, I really want that too. You might be the same age as me, but you've become my hero,” Kira said catching Francis's hand then shyly letting go. “Your miracle.... will happen one day. It won't end with just you. I want you to know that, Francis. I'll leave a mark wherever I go. Come find me later on... Goodbye.” Kira called the kids together and they all followed him. The last Francis saw of him was his back and the little girl in his arms, his little sister.

Seeing them both, he wished Wisteria was near. He was missing her terribly, it was like he lost his whole family in less than a week. “Wisteria,” he whispered clutching at his heart, “oh... it hurts, where are you now? How can I face pa and ma?” He shook his head to let the thoughts out, he couldn't be distracted now. He had to save them all and then find her before he could ever say what he wanted to say to his loved ones.

He closed his eyes but the light didn't come...He was on the brink of going poisoned.

****

They're close by. But they didn't come all at the same time. We can start running,” Quinn whispered. “How many more kids did Francis leave behind with us.”

About half of us is all here! How are we going to do this. We have to leave some behind.”

No, Minsoaz, you're young but you must learn that you can never leave any one behind. I'll stay behind even if it means my life. Francis saved me and he trusted me with every life of us here I won't let him down. No.... I can't.”

You're right, Severus. I should have known better.” And Minsoaz walked away. (Minsoaz had only one friend and it was Severus. He might seem polite but he trusted no one else. Severus had known Minsoaz when Minsoaz was in the orphanage near to Severus's house. On that night, Severus actually begged Francis to save him too. So the one who actually saved Minsoaz was Severus.)

They began heading the kids to the place Quinn was pointing them to. There were fifteen of them in all, still left behind to the mercy of mercenaries. No, it wasn't mercy, it was doom. Those mercenaries had a heart of metal and would never let anyone stay alive. The thirteen of them were stuck in the ring of Death.

They approached another cave that Quinn said happened to be approximately in the middle of the group coming after them. The smaller ones were left inside together with Severus and Minsoaz; they would be the last resort. There were eight left outside: Oasias, Wrennyn, Finch, Quinn, Agapios, Dimitrios, Glykeria, Pelagi. They should be good enough but they were young. They'd go poisoned in no time.

They heard a rustle nearby. “They're here,” Quinn whispered. He unsheathed his daggers. (Quinn's powers weren't very offensive so he had trained with daggers and throwing shurikens) Oasias, Wrennyn, Finch, Agapios, Pelagia, and Dimitrios moved forward. They were stronger than Quinn and Glykeria. Hearts beating, eyes alert, fear ingrained in each one; they were not ready.

Pelagi turned to her older sister Glykeria with a worried look. Pelagia was a defensive super-human, her power was that she could produce Fire, her sister was offensive and her original power was quite weak. It was only to control Fire. Pelagia came because she wanted to protect her sister and there her sister was in danger again. Glykeria just forced a smile and nodded. I'll be fine, she mouthed. Pelagia smiled back, there was nothing else she could do.

Time passed, their hearts beat faster and harder, still no one came. “Are they still here?” Minsoaz asked from inside the cave. Quinn nodded his head. He took a shuriken and sent it spinning into the bushes. Someone cried out. Then again silence reigned.

Suddenly, Quinn ran and pushed Pelagia to the floor, but it was too late. The small throwing knife was in her before he nailed it right through. “Pelagia!” her sister shrieked jumping to her side. All at once they started pouring from all sides. With two down, it was easier to catch the children off guard. A mercenary had sneaked up behind Agapios and was going to end him there when Quinn ended his first with a slice across his ribs. “Agapios, you should be more alert!” he shouted before turning to block a mercenary's blow from the right. Agapios closed his eyes and put his hands together for a few seconds before tearing them apart again with a pale blue light, revealing sharpened diamond knuckles.

Thanks, Quinn,” he said punching the mercenary under whose sword Quinn was. “I'll be more alert.”

The two of them worked well together and kept their side of the mercenaries on check for quite a while. Finn burned the life out of a few of them but he was not fast enough and a mercenary sliced bits of his hand off before Finn could get rid of him.

Glykeria snapped out of her daze. Her sister, the one who had given up her good life for her, was dying. Something triggered. She glared at the next mercenary coming around. “Die...” she whispered. “Die!” she screamed. A white light shone brightly as she touched the mercenary with a mysteriously frosted yet warm hand. She killed so many of them but they just kept coming.

Oasis was supposed to be doing quite well in the sky. They threw baobab daggers and waved them at him but he could dodge almost every one. He only got hurt when he was diving to attack an unsuspecting mercenary. He didn't feel anything until he was up in the sky again. By then, he was dripping blood. He felt the pain surge through his body as the dagger in his stomach cut a bit lower every time he started to dive. “Guys, I'm sorry,” he said weakly. He felt faint, the world was spinning around and he couldn't see a thing. He felt like he was floating but he was falling....falling to his death among the many blood-thirsty mercenaries eagerly waiting below. He fell, onto a bed of swords. It wasn't enough for them. Three more daggers were in his flesh before he even touched the ground. Two down.

Dimitrios and Wrennyn were working together. They were back to back, Wrennyn had two swords of tungsten in his hands, and Dimitrios had sparks on his fingertips. Both were Fired up and ready for anything.

Severus, don't you think we should go and help?” Minsoaz asked. “Severus?”


 

Severus! Help me protect my sister!” Glykeria screamed.

No, sis. I'm better now. Are you ready?”

Pelagia...” Glykeria began, turning to look at her sister.

Watch out! Turn around...” Pelagia exclaimed. But, nothing struck her beloved sister. Severus was there, blocking the blow. The blood dripped from an invisible being. “Severus...”

Are you going to keep me bleeding here?” he asked.

Evilness! Get away from him!” a ball of whirling fury came and killed the mercenary in a flash of yellow. “I hate you, evilness. How could you do this to him!?” Minsoaz continued shredding the deceased person. “Go To HELL!” he screamed with one last shred across the stomach.

Minsoaz?!” the two girls screamed in unison. “You blew our cover! Now they know there's more in there!”

The mercenaries poured in. “No!” Quinn yelled. He turned into a ball of Fire.

Glykeria! Do your thing!” Pelagia shouted. Glykeria began manipulating the Fire, or rather, Quinn. It went flying through mercenaries burning holes through them. Then, Quinn went unconscious. He dropped...in the midst of the blood-thirsty band. They fell upon him. Three down. Four....Five...Six.

Minsoaz, you gotta do something about that... Don't worry, I'll go with you,” Severus said.

Click....crack-cick..... crong silence

Minsoaz, you look... different. You... you're a dragon....”

He's gone poisoned. He feels super-guilty right now,” Severus explained.

The small dragon went into the cave, breathing Fire and shredding people from side to side. There were two kids left when he arrived, Alas and Bonbon. The dragon put the basket with baby Bonbon around his neck and put Alas on his back before flinging Quinn roughly across his back and charging back out.

Run!!” someone shouted and they ran blindly, following the dragon Minsoaz. (Severus was carrying Pelagia)

Hey guys... Going somewhere?” a voice said.

Who said that? Is it Francis?”

Oo hohoh, my name is Fire... By the way, this Francis, who is he? Is he perhaps, the one I know? The one who teleports?”

You know him?” Agapios asked relieved.

Oh yes, yes,” he chuckled.

Don't let your guard down,” Severus whispered.

I know where he is. Shall I take you there?” he asked.

I'll go. First... before them.”

You are?”

I'm Severus. Francis's best friend.”

Oh, you are....”

I'll bring Minsoaz along too if you don't mind, Francis would love to see him.”

Of course, take anybody!” he said then whispered slyly, “I think it's better everyone stay together, it's safer that way isn't it.”

I'm sorry but...Agapios, now!” punch “Run everyone! I'll keep him at bay!”

Are you crazy, Severus. To think I'd live with the guilt of not being by your side when you died.... DIE, Fire!!!!” shred

You bunch of nasty bastards! I should have known better!” Fire yelled holding his eye.

Yup, you should have known better than to mess with Se....ouch that was hot but is that all you got?”

Minsoaz, you should get his other eye too.”

I'm sent sprawling to the floor while defending you and that's all you say?”

Hey, are you going to keep me holding him or what! Hurry and get yourself up! It's starting to get troublesome....”

Coming,” Minsoaz replied, going to strike once again. The others he was carrying were left on the ground.

Suddenly, the tables turned, to Fire's advantage. Before they could see anything much, Fire was holding a sword of Fire to Pelagia's neck, holding her hostage. The group was totally scared they knew the relationship between the sisters. If one died, the other would commit suicide. None of them dared to move. Glykeria gasped. Once again, she had put her sister in danger. Her younger sister at that! Pelagia struggled against the grip around her neck but she was too weak. As a last resort, Pelagia burst into flames and Glykeria kept it burning higher.

“Come on, drop her...” Glykeria muttered through clenched teeth. The flame kept increasing, so much that it seemed like they would beat Fire so it was a shock when it went out completely.

“I've stabbed her with a baobab dagger,” Fire explained triumphantly. “Baobab daggers are the only thing that kills a Snake. So, you should learn, no matter how cunning you are as a Snake, I will find you and kill you. Anyway, I like to have fun, unlike crazy mercenaries. I'll give you two choices. Die by my hands now, or run and die by torture when I catch you. I'll give you three years to live, to run to the ends of the world... before you die....But, you must tell me before you die. Tell me what you live for.”

“We'll run. Bye now!” Agapios said. “But first, I gotta smash your face once more!” punch

“Snakes! No wonder they gave you this name. I'll kill you! I will!” he screamed at their backs.

****

I'll try once more, Francis thought. He closed his eyes and the greenish white light appeared. He was safe!

Francis arrived at the scene. The stench of blood was getting to his head and he covered his nose to keep himself sane. The tears welled up at his eyelids threatening to fall. There Oasias was. The blood still oozing out through his wounds. He shut his eyes to keep out the sight and a tear fell to the earth. He followed the trails of the fallen mercenaries and entered the cave. There were guts scattered on the floor. Francis stepped carefully over each body laying in his path. Terror-filled eyes were staring up at him and guilt flooded over him. These humans who could never understand them were killed. They were scared too. “Why am I crying? They killed them first. They had to protect themselves from these humans.” When he had reached the end he covered his mouth. There lay two dead children. Their bodies totally distorted. Blood was everywhere, even if he stepped over their bodies, there wasn't a spot that the blood didn't cover. He reached his hand out and touched one of the child's face. One eye was on the floor and the bones of her ribcage were exposed. The heart that had beaten with fear when her parents died had already beaten her last. Her white-blonde hair had been dyed a blood-red. Francis stepped back in horror and felt something lumpy under his leg. A child's leg. The guilt, the sadness, it overcame him. He turned and ran out of the cave that Death have gone through before.

“Oasias, I'll revive you. As long as you have blood and a good healer, you can live. I'll make you live,” he said carrying him on his back.

“Insolent animals!” Francis froze. “Just let them come back and they'll never get to see the morning,” someone grumbled. Francis dropped to the floor, playing dead. He was already coated in Oasias's blood so it wasn't hard. The person muttered some more words that Francis couldn't make out. His heart was beating terribly hard and he hoped he wouldn't have a heart attack just then.

“At least, I got one of them,” the grumpy person said out loud. “It's just my luck they turned right to my direction. But father's going to kill me anyway.”

He got one of them, that means more escaped, he thought, I'll go check who's that, I might be able to save him/her. And totally forgetting that he had to stay hidden, he stood up.

****

“Ok, guys, we gotta get dinner ready! Silvanos could you gather whatever edible food you can find? The twins are too young to do that kind of thing,” Phoenix said. She tried to keep her group cheery but her heart was aching. She really missed Francis. He said he'd find me again, she thought, I'll wait patiently 'til then.

 

 

“Of course, Phoenix, I'd already picked everything on the way. Here, remember the bird I shot? I cleaned and washed it while you rested. It's fit to eat.

“Ok, then, thanks,” she said absent-mindedly, “I really need you now. I..... I just....it's nothing.” Phoenix's cheeks flushed slightly pink and she turned away from Silvanos. She said it all wrong, He might misunderstand, she thought.

Silvanos stared at her, the one he had met during this catastrophe, the one he had fallen in love with, the one he had to flee with, she had told him she needed him. Was it a coincidence? Fate has brought us together, I love Destiny's choice, he thought to himself.

The two others in their group, twin three-year old sisters, ate a happy meal and settled down to sleep. They were left alone in the night. One saw it as the night filled with stars, those that shine only when one is in love, the others saw only the Red Moon, the Moon which laughs as blood spills.

“So, do you miss them?” he asked

“Yes, I miss.... wait, who?” she spun suddenly. Her hair twirled in the air and her eyes shone with surprise. Everything about her looked so lovely and perfect, even those tears....

****

“Now then, I won't hurt you now, little teleporter. I'm just holding this girl here. It's really your choice,” Fire chuckled.

Francis was silent. The blood was pouring, going to waste, fleeing the dead body of Pelagia. He couldn't let her life waste away like that.... but then again..... how would the others survive without him.

“You're just making selfish excuses, everyone is surviving without you already!” one side of him screamed. “No, aren't you the one who saved them? You deserve a long life! Besides, how will you explain your sister?!” the other side echoed in his head. “Live!” “Sacrifice!” the turmoil built within his imagination.

“I don't care for your play, Fire, she's already dead,” he lied.

“Of course, you would never give yourself as a sacrifice!” Fire laughed triumphantly.

“I'm worth more than a dead body.....”

“Yes, because you will have six weeks plus a dead body. You'll fly everywhere you want, but I'll definitely find you in six weeks! Now fly!”

****

“Ah! If it isn't Fire! See Houlton, how dependable my son is.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Come, then, Fire. We shall discuss your next mission.”

“Sir, I have something to discuss,” Fire said. At the word 'sir', the man's face hardened.

“Come into the room first,” he said hoarsely.

When they were within the privacy of the room, the man turned on Fire and punched him in the stomach hard. “Do you feel that? Is it not hard enough for you?” he spat at Fire curled on the floor gasping for breath. “Answer me, Snake!” the man screamed kicking Fire at his back. “You embarassed me.....” he screamed kicking Fire again. “This isn't the first time,” he whispered, catching his breath.

“Master...forgive......forgive me....” Fire gasped. “They.....They killed all....all the mercenar....mercenaries you sent.”

“If you are worth less than those mercenaries, than you shouldn't be here!” the man screamed punching Fire's face. “You are really worthless! Like all other Snakes! You are a disgrace to the world! All will hate you if they find out your true identity!”

 

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