It’s May now and the exams are getting nearer! Sorry for the break – I had been busy for some stuff and I just couldn’t focus on multiple thinsg for the time being. However, I am still writing the chapters and will post it when I am free.
Speaking of which, I bought a ticket to watch Mary Poppins! I can’t wait to watch it! It’s performed by the professionals in our school and I just can’t wait to watch it. I believe it’s going to be awesome!
Back to the exams, I need study tips (not that I need it but my sister does) so if you have some useful tips, write it down on the comment box thingy.
3 – Meeting someone you’ve never heard of
Pedestrians watched Vega with intrigued eyes as they walk down the sidewalk; children whimpered, oldies attempted on calling the security and mothers hurried off in frightened steps, but animals seemed to be attracted to the boy bathed in black. The oversized sunglasses kept on slipping off his nose bridge; the large cloak made him trip with every step he took and worst of all, it was boiling under the layers of black cloths.
Earlier, Armada and Celestia had left him to sit at the park bench whilst they set out to manage some things with someone they knew in the grand city of Euphemia. He couldn’t believe he’s sitting on a blue-painted metal park bench in a very luxurious city he had only heard on T.V. – he couldn’t even remember how on Earth had he manage to get out into broad daylight!
Everything whizzed past him so fast he couldn’t make out a word the two scientists – or so they called themselves – said when they literally wrapped Vega up in “completely normal” clothing, though he did know one thing: they wanted him to meet someone.
Unlike the lively colours of Euphemia, he was wearing long sleeved shirt and simple pants, accompanied with boots, a sunhat, gloves, absurdly large sunglasses, surgical mask and Armada’s old blazer… and all of these were in black (except for the surgical mask).
The area around his mount became damp with perspiration; he felt sweat trailing off every inch of his body. He squirmed in his seat time to time but he didn’t dare leave his place, since Armada had threatened to lock him up in the storage room in the caravan for the rest of the journey if he did. So, maybe Armada was a tough guy after all…
“What should I do…” Vega said to himself, battling against the heat inside the cocoon, “I think I might die. But what if Armada beat me up in the afterlife?! Oh, god – please safe me!”
Like an apostle – no, a guardian angel – a little girl trotted over to Vega, a large bottle of fresh mineral water cradled in her arms. “Mister, aren’t you sweating?” Vega watched the little girl gently place the bottle next to Vega. “Here you go, mister. It’s summer; winter was in December.”
Vega watched the girl with grateful intentions, his eyes nearly tearing up. “… Thank you, miss,” he choked.
“No biggies!” The little girl skipped back to her mother. The two of them smiled and bowed – Vega gave a slight bow back. As Vega drank the refreshing water, he was confused on whether the lady and her daughter knew that he was an Innocent Soul. At least it tells him that not everyone hates Innocent Souls.
He drank about a quarter of the bottle and saved the rest for later. A few hours felt like years of endless summer to him, and the time when his water supply finishes had come. Vega could feel his head getting lighter and lighter and lighter every second; the lush green grasses and swaying trees seemed to spiral, distorting the place – of course, this was only his mind playing tricks. This was how Vega spent the whole eight hours on the park bench.
Celestia, Armada… come back soon… I think I’m going to die…
* * *
“Looks like no one really talks to that woman,” Celestia said as Armada and she walked out of the antique store – after questioning the ancient shopkeeper. “It makes sense, though; she doesn’t really interact with the citizens.”
Celestia and Armada had been going around the city to get information on how to get in touch with Imogen Sia, the woman they needed to find. According to their findings – from before they met Vega – Sia lives somewhere in Euphemia, though she was rarely seen, and most of the citizens have no idea who the woman was.
Imogen Sia was the daughter of an important person, the person who had discovered the secrets of Innocent Souls. It was rumoured that she was her father’s first experiment subject; because the experiment was still undeveloped, Sia became what we call a “Corrupted Being”.
No one really knows how she looks like but judging from passer byes’ accounts, they had seen a woman in shades, wearing expensive dark-coloured clothing. Some say they’ve seen her face – she was beautiful, they commented, with heart-shaped face, pale skin and long wavy dark hair that flowed freely down her back. But the trait that sparked the curiosity in their brain was that some say her eyes were hollow.
Darker than the night sky, but with a hint of hidden feelings mainly loneliness and hope, said the art student who had claimed to asked her to model for him. He also said that she might be seeing the art exhibition on Sunday if she has the time but he doubted that she does. The art student was so far the only one who knew about her eyes, since the other people they’ve interviewed answered that she was seen with her sunglasses all the time.
Taking the art student’s words to consideration, they’ve decided to check the exhibition on Sunday to see if she visits. For some odd reasons, thinking about meeting her made both Armada and Celestia fidget throughout the trip back to Vega.
The sky was clear in Euphemia, unlike in the old town Lamia where the Professor lived. They could see the faint outlines of the hexagons patterns of Omnia’s sky. After the End of Humanity, the land had been pulled together to form one big area of Earth crust, and the luxurious city of Omnia had emerged from the centre of the vast horizon. It may not look special from the outside but you must not judge a book by its cover – Omnia was a gigantic geodesic dome with luminous hexagons that reflects the country’s heavenly features beyond the thick glass walls. As scientists speculated, it may be as big as Russia moulded into a round piece of land. Ever since its appearance, people had been curious on how the Innocent Souls have inhabited the country before it even appeared; religious persons insisted the idea of hidden world under the Earth, while scientists deny this harshly – ironically, scientists don’t even have the slightest idea of how this could happen.
Outside Omnia, the world was a different story. It was not what it used to be – it was complete chaos. Ruins of cities decorated the land like dust on a table; there were no sign of life… except for the traces of unknown species lurking behind the wasteland…
Though Armada was not very sure about the unknown creatures, the missions outside Omnia had proven that there might be live outside the dome. “You’re spacing out,” Celestia’s words were bland and she kept her head up ahead.
“Just thinking about some things,” Armada replied, “like outside the dome…”
“Ah, yes – that. I do think there’s something outside but we need to have the defences and equipments. I heard that there’re giants and some hideous things – those geezers said there were also humans still living among the rubbles, but they’re almost inhuman, anyway.”
“Where do you think they come from?” Armada shielded his eyes as he looked up the sky, “They weren’t there before, they didn’t exist – they just appear magically one day. Probably some mad scientist made them or something. If they were some mutated creations, who would make them?”
“… The Puppeteers…”
Celestia’s voice was low but hard-rock certain. Armada gave her a face.
“You’re pretty religious, aren’t you?” he sighed.
“I’ve warned you,” Celestia chuckled.
“Seriously who would believe in things like the Puppeteers nowadays? There’s just like Santa Claus, or Easter Rabbits, or Ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses.”
“Hey, the Innocent Souls brought it up first. Besides, they’ve shown us some ‘evidence’.”
“Like what, the dome? Sure, only a supreme being could make it!” Armada sarcastically said, rolling his eyes and waving his hands about.
“Well, not everyone believes in the Puppeteers,” Celestia said, “You’re what old times call a Christian and you pray on Sundays in churches. Those who believe in the Puppeteers – like me – are called Marionettes and they just go with the flow; everything that happens is fate and it can never be changed. Have you heard of Pierrot? He’s the one who watches over us, and I believe he does.”
“How do you know?”
“Because,” Celestia stared down the concrete pavement, melancholy clearly expressed in her soft eyes, “he saved me before, lots of times…”
Armada stared at Celestia as if she was an alien.
“Your way of thinking is just too… You’re hoping too much.”
“Call me whatever you want but I still believe that Pierrot’s watching over me.”
Not everyone believed in the Puppeteers but because Celestia’s childhood had been a hopeless one, “Pierrot” was just a being she – and the Marionettes – believed to be watching over them. They believed that amidst the hardship and hatred, there’s someone who is watching over them, protecting them even if it’s just a little bit – because without someone protecting them they would feel helpless.
Armada once had that thought too, but it irked him to no end to remember the days when he was very foolish…
He suppressed the rising disagreement and looked away from the hazel-eyed woman, afraid she might read his ugly expression.
“You’re just a simpleton,” he said faintly.
“It’s okay,” Celestia replied, “I’m happy.”
… She’s going to fall soon…
It’s not that Armada is wicked, wishing for her doom and all; it’s just that he was seeing his past-self in her – the naive little boy who couldn’t differentiate truth and lies. Disgusting, weak, useless – those were the words that immediately popped up.
We do not need any weaklings, Armada thought. And I’ll make sure that rule is kept alive.
“By the way,” Celestia suddenly stopped, “I just have the feeling that we’re making an error or some sort…”
“What? What are you talking about? When?” That’s odd; Armada would always double check that everything was done perfectly.
“No, I mean, Vega’s clothing…”
“What about them?”
“They’re black, right?”
“Yes, they are. So what’s the –” A lightning struck Armada’s head, his eyes wide at the sudden realisation, “Oh, that…”
“Yeah, I have a bad feeling about it,” Celestia chewed her bottom lip nervously.
“Let’s hurry up, then!” And the two raced the wind to get to the blue bench
It had been a very long time since Armada had felt so ashamed at his carelessness – not that he always does it. The ginger-haired woman and the fair man stood awkwardly in front of the glaring raven-haired teen, the man rubbing his nape awkwardly and the woman fiddling with her delicate fingers, avoiding the burning white orbs that were piercing with anger.
When they had reached the park bench, Armada and Celestia had found Vega unconscious on the blue bench, his arm dangling lifelessly and a dog licking his face, trying to conceal his face. As suspected, he fainted from heat-stroke.
They had him taken back to the caravan, where the air was much cooler and there were more water supplies. Luckily, Celestia had the I.V. drop she used to carry around – because she used to be extremely oblivious to her health that she nearly turned into a walking dead. Armada had Vega washed with a damp cloth – though he hated it, he still felt (kind of) guilty for his mistake – and changed his clothes to a thin t-shirt and khaki pants. It soothed the boy effectively; the clothes were two-or-three sizes bigger but it’ll manage.
They surrounded him with fans of all sizes and smothered him with mountains of ice packs. As soon as Vega had regained consciousness, the two scientists didn’t expect the result of enraging a kitty-cat.
Magically – yes, it seemed that way – Vega had managed to strip them both of their pride and made them listen to his rambling, making them bow their head in submission and inject shame into their bloodstream. If you were to measure the time it took for Vega to finish his lecture, it’ll be somewhere between one and two hours (only if you were dying from boredom and ear hazard).
“I mean, seriously? Black?” Vega scoffed, emphasizing the word, “Who would wear, moreover, buy black clothes in the middle of summer? And what’s with the layers? You’re trying to kill me?”
“Well, it was just some little mistake and all…” Celestia murmured, still not believing that fact that she was being scolded by some teen.
“It’s common sense! How many people have you seen wearing that kind of clothing in summer? Seriously…” Vega massaged his temples, calming down, “Whatever… Just be careful next time. Be very careful, ‘kay?” He fell back onto the soft bed, murmuring his thought, “Now I know why it’s a bad thing to go outside…”
“Moving on,” Armada butted in, “we have some clues on how Imogen Sia may look like.”
Vega sat up at the mention of the peculiar name, “Who’s that?”
“The person we’re looking for,” explained Armada, “She’s also the key on finding our destination but unlike you,” he directed his gaze at Vega, “she’s very hard to find, let alone to describe. The only thing we do know is that she’s frequently seen along the Harmonia Street or in places like the theatre or art exhibitions; we also know that she has long dark hair, wears sunglasses and is ‘pretty’, in one way or another,” judging from how he said it, Armada doubted the descriptions given by the strangers, “We just have to look out for women with sunglasses and long dark hair; the only problem is how to find her without raising suspicion.”
“We could check security cameras,” suggested Celestia, “but then it would be a big hassle, explaining things to the security department and such.”
A switch was turned on in Vega’s head, “Survey!”
Armada and Celestia looked at Vega, blank expressions. This was taken by Vega as a signal to go on.
“I watched it on T.V. once,” he explained enthusiastically, “Like, you make people answer questions and give some of their info to the surveyors and stuff. Once, this guy made this survey on if more men or women commit ‘adultery’. What does that mean anyway?”
The two scientists looked at Vega but with a “face palmed” expression plastered on their face. With one look between each other, the two agreed on not letting him know what it means – it would seriously ruin the fun in seeing the innocent boy getting all clueless in midst of a conversation.
Finally, Celestia decided to smooth things out with a little white lie, “It means being an adult, you know, being mature.”
“Oh, okay. That makes more sense.”
Oh, the way Vega trusted others so easily was amazing!
“And so, do you have any plan on what the survey could be about?” Armada asked.
Vega dipped his head in thought; the other two followed. What could make people take off their sunglasses? No, that would be considered suspicious. Then what about writing their name down? But no one would give out their personal information that easily… or will they?
Being the daughter of a once famous scientist, known for the discovery of hidden truth about Innocent Souls and their origin, Imogen Sia must not be underestimated. If she were to find out their plan, it would be hard to pull out the backups – she would have seen through it by then. From what they know, Imogen Sia gives out information as little as possible so making a survey about things like eye colour or other personal things would be a daring decision. On the other hand, they were pretty sure she would not waste her time on minor questions.
Art was one thing they know she was interested in. Maybe they could make some kind of survey about the art? If so, how would they persuade her to go along with their little play?
“Guys,” Celestia stood up, “I think the art exhibition might help us.”
“What? We’re going to steal?” Armada joked, though the look in his eyes told that he knew what’s going to come next.
“No,” Celestia smiled, “We’re going to participate.”