T.G.I.S.

Hello,

The title means Thank God It’s Summer! Well, it’s not that I like summer – I prefer autumn and winter – it’s just that summer holiday is the longest out of all the other holidays, so it’s also my favourite because it’s the longest time I could be away from school. Otherwise, summer is my worst enemy (next to school).

And so, the finals are over and I’m expecting my reports around 20 June or something and I’ll be travelling back to my home country after that. Truthfully, I don’t think I can stand for more than a week because there will be no internet whatsoever. Plus, there will be bugs and eerie beings at night… and I hate being watched when I’m sleeping.

Since I got all ‘A’s (not including Drama and P.E.) my dad will be getting me Nokia Lumia 710! I don’t know what it does but my brother – A.K.A. technology and vehicle geek – said that it’s awesome! I can’t wait to see it!

So here’s chapter 9 before I go on another hiatus over the summer and hopefully, I might be able to go to an internet cafe and post something about my summer holiday. Enjoy and see you soon!

9 – That moment when you’re ambushed

The floor was colder than he had expected. The little girl at the park had said that it was summer so, why was it so cold around the mansion? Did Imogen turn on the AC on full blast? It could be.

Right, he hadn’t been in the mansion for long and had no idea of where things were, but there was one thing he was pretty sure of: no one was awake yet.

He couldn’t hear any chattering in any rooms, nor could he hear any footsteps. He was alone. That was a good thing but it could also mean a bad thing. Why?

He was lost.

He didn’t know where to go, how to go back and he wasn’t even sure of his destination. The only time he had crossed halls and walk through corridors was when he was going to the backyard, and Imogen was guiding him through the maze. He tried to follow the path that was taken yesterday but he would end up in a completely different place. So that proved that Vega had no sense of direction.

There were at least hundreds of rooms across the mansion and Vega had popped his head into every single room he had encountered, making sure no sound was produced and being as secretive as possible. He made two discoveries: Celestia’s room was right beside the bathroom and the library was huge. The temptation to browse through the shelves had hit him but he had restricted himself from doing so – looking for the telephone was his first priority.

Where could a telephone be? The telephone in the Professor’s house was stuck on the wall in the kitchen, and there was one sitting quietly at an end table in the living room –

The living room!

That’s it! He just needed to find the living room. It couldn’t that hard to distinguish a living room, right? There should be a T.V., a coffee table, a couple of seats and some small decorations like snow globes and painted wood carvings. He would just need to tour around the house and see if any room fits the description. But the furniture Imogen was… odd.

Chairs and loveseats were made of wood, lavishly carved and propped with soft leather cushions. The clocks had lines that resembled “X” and “I” instead of numbers, making it illegible for Vega. Doors were needed to be pulled or pushed in order to open or close – this also applied to the windows but not all windows were automatic, since the automatic once had higher-quality glass than the normal windows. In other words, the mansion was very old. The things that kept it up-to-date were the curtain-holograms and the automatic lights that respond telepathically.

Time went by pretty fast and the rooms were beginning to enlighten. The few rooms he had inspected were insignificant but at last, he had found the living room.

The T.V. was a vintage, the ones with frames around the screen. The sofas were also antique and frivolous, not to mention the fireplace and some other decorations, as well as potted plants in expensive terracotta pots. Propped in front of a lamp, the telephone could camouflage itself to look like an old metal box. The black body was lined with golden strips outlining the edges and the circular golden buttons stood out against the ebony background. As expected, the phone was out-dated.

Without hesitation, Vega picked up the phone and dialled the Professor’s house. He carefully punched the arrangement of numbers in and waited until someone picks up from the other line. The first try was a failure with no one noticing the call. Vega tried once more, finger tapping on the base of the phone with anticipation.

The line picked up. A familiar voice answered the phone, voice fresh and proper, “Hello, this is the Xylon household. Who is this?”

Vega stayed silent. What should he say? He had never made a phone call before, and he had memorised the phone number from the Professor’s sticky notes on the refrigerator. There was an uncomfortable silence, with no one daring to make a first move. The Professor gave a weary sigh.

“If you are not going to answer then I am going to hang up –”

“Professor, it’s me – Vega,” Vega blurted out. The Professor went quiet, taking his time to let the words sink in before answering.

“Vega? Is that you?” the Professor asked cautiously.

“Yes, it’s me. I’m in Imogen’s house with Celestia and Armada.”

Vega could heat the Professor let out a relieved chuckle, “It’s good to hear that you’re safe and sound. Must be a tough trip, eh?”

“Yeah but it was worth it,” Vega smiled, “How are you, Professor?”

“My arm’s still healing but the other things are taken care of. Do you want to talk about anything? You must be quiet confused on why you’re in your current situation right now – but I have the feeling that your travel buddies have told you some things, right?”

“Imogen told me about Avalon, the Filters and the ‘thing’ inside me. Oh, she said I’m not supposed to say its name or hear someone say it; Imogen said something about name trigger,” Vega quickly added.

“Ah, I see… So you fully understand the situation you are in, correct?”

“Yeah,” Vega nodded to himself, “but Professor, there’s one thing I want to make sure of…”

“What is it?”

“When you took me in years ago… why did you do it? You could’ve just given me to the organisation so, why bother?”

There was the familiar awkward silence but it was shorter this time, “It’s an old story, Vega. You don’t need to know –”

“But I do! I need to know!” Vega persisted, “I’m in this thing too, remember? If I don’t know anything, how am I supposed to get the things correct?” Vega could feel the hesitation in the other end. “Professor,” Vega said in a straight voice.

The Professor finally gave in, “Armada… Celestia, Imogen and I were childhood friends; Imogen was the daughter of the owner of the orphanage we Armada, Celestia and I lived in. We would often play together and from time to time, Imogen would bring her little brother with her. There was also another person – Rian Jay, but that name is kind of taboo, especially to Armada.

“Imogen’s little brother – I can’t really remember his name – was a sweet little boy who we had seen as our own brother, and Rian was Armada’s crush. A big crush, it was. But Armada just didn’t have the courage to confess so he would always watch over her, but would never step in a express his feelings openly – even if it was complicated, it was alright, as long as everyone could still be together. The owner, Ernst Sia, and his wife, Beatrice, were very kind people who took care of every child in the orphanage like their own. Everything was ideal… until a visit from someone.”

“And that’s the thing inside me, right?” Vega had never been so serious in his life.

“Yes, it was,” the Professor admitted, “He was one of the Puppeteers, going to Omnia with the purpose of ‘keeping an eye for the Innocent Souls and Ernst Sia’. He didn’t trust Ernst Sia that much for the experiment he was conducting and his unhealthy obsession of Avalon. People had long thought that Avalon was a legendary place but after he made a public announcement that it was true – he was begged by Ernst to tell the world that it was true – certain people grew an interest in Avalon, and Ernst Sia’s researches and experiment, which they had once ridiculed.

He agreed to help Ernst Sia on his experiment but only on one condition: he would want a tribute, a body offering for him. And so along the way, the experiment went awry; the Filters invaded and ruined everything, taking researches and things that would help them in reaching Avalon. Something also ticked him off and so he started to kill everyone around, including Imogen’s brother and Rian – Ernst Sia had offered himself as a tribute and perished into the abyss, stuck in neither hell nor heaven but in the pit of darkness. The tragedy was dubbed as the Sia Massacre.

“Things took a bad turn for the Sia household, with Beatrice going insane and Imogen being more reserved and distant. As for Armada… he was heartbroken, as Rian had been the most cherished thing he ever had. And so he had come to resent anything that has a connection with Avalon.”

“Wait a sec,” Vega said, “if he hates things that are connected with Avalon, why did he decide to do the mission?”

“No one knows,” the Professor sighed, “It’s best to not push him; he gets really pissed off when he’s angry and Lord knows when he’ll settle down.”

“Oh, I see…” Vega dipped his hand into his pocket. His fingers brushed the paper folded neatly inside it. He took it out and watched it curiously. “What’s this?” he thought. He unfolded the papers to reveal a set of music notes written neatly on bar lines, with some words – lyrics, perhaps – written underneath each bar. A sudden realisation struck him. “Oh! Professor! You’re still there?”

“Yes, still listening.”

“I have something for you. I wrote it down days ago – remember when I went out of the house? It was actually to get it back because the wind blew it away.”

“Okay, so what is it?”

“Umm… a song, I guess,” Vega bashfully said.

“For me? Why?” the Professor chuckled.

“For some kind of thank-you gift, you know. You’ve taken care of me since I could remember so I just want to do something good in return. I’ve made some changes to it back when I was still at your house because it sounded so cheesy at first, but I think it’s fine, now.”

“Why, thank you,” the Professor didn’t really know what to say. Admittedly, no one, except for Imogen and the others, had given presents for nothing in particular. Well, it wasn’t really ‘nothing’ but it wasn’t significant either. “So, are you going to sing it or –?”

“Oh, yeah. I will. But if it sounds bad, don’t laugh,” Vega warned playfully.

“Okay, I promise,” the Professor muffled out his urge to laugh, taking the warning not so seriously.

Vega inhaled and exhaled, and started reading, stumbling across some words in embarrassment, “K-kau es mi surja, kau es mi d-dunja. Kau sa es beate eterna.” After a while, he began to get comfortable with singing the song, even though he knew it didn’t change the fact that the lyrics were so tacky. “Qi dunja es in frusta, Ai na kau sa es ave mi. Ai crire kau do samu fa mi –

“Vega, how do you know this song?” the Professor’s voice, though Vega had expected it to sound more cheerful, it sounded grim and pale, a very greyish colour. Vega was more confused on what the Professor just said. Vega wrote the song himself, he clearly said that before. What did the Professor meant?

“I-I wrote it myself. Didn’t I tell you?”

“No, Vega, it’s not. The song is in old Omnian and I haven’t taught you that; it’s a very old language that no one speaks with nowadays.” Vega was even more confused. “Moreover, this song… I’ve heard it before. It’s when he… yeah, that must be it!” By THEn, the Professor was practically talking to himself.

“Umm, Professor? I have no idea on what you’re talking about,” Vega deadpanned.

“That song you just sang? It’s actually a spell.”

“A… spell?” Vega asked.

“A spell,” the Professor repeated, “It’s for… I don’t know, but he had used it before, but I can’t seem to remember what it was for… Maybe you’ll find it useful when you get to Avalon.”

“Ah, okay.” Something in the background beeped. He heard the Professor move and pick up something – it sounded like an emergency, judging from the way the Professor held back a curse.

“Sorry, Vega. I got called in and I guess our conversation will have to end now,” the Professor said in a disappointed tone.

“Oh, okay. Good luck on whatever you’re doing,” Vega said encouragingly.

“You too. And Vega?” the Professor added quickly.

“Yeah?”

“… Take care.” Those two words spread warmth across Vega’s body. So this is how it feels to have someone that cares about you, Vega thought.

“Yeah. I promise I’ll be home before supper.” And it was certainly a promise.

“Great. Bye, then.”

“Bye.”

A series of beeping was heard after a click.

Vega placed the phone back and rested his head onto the arm of the sofa next to him. That was great refreshment as well as a bitter pill to start the day with – he wasn’t sure on whether to get enthusiastic about the mission or worry about his… guardian? Father? Vega had always wanted to call him “father”; he thought it suited him. But he never got to say it as he found it cheesy and a tad bit weird, to just call someone “father” even though you have no blood relation, whatsoever.

Then again, it shouldn’t be weird because Vega had lived with him for, what, ten years? It had been a long time that Vega couldn’t even keep track of it. He had watched in some dramas on T.V. that you need adoption papers and permission from the social worker. Maybe it was different for Innocent Souls? Now that he thought about it, where did he come from, anyway?

He had never met another Innocent Soul in his live, and had grew up watching them shot by snipers or stabbed mercilessly in a narrow alley, sometimes another human corpse lying somewhere near or a pile of sinful ashes.

According to the Professor, Innocent Souls don’t mate; in fact, they reproduce in a place called the Tree of Life. Then again, it was only a theory, since new Innocent Souls – in the form of kids around five to seven years-old – kept on coming from the east, beyond the gates. How did they even go through the security systems? And where was the location of the Tree of Life? Many people had asked Innocent Souls about their origin but the only thing they all said was “Pierrot gave us life.”

There would only be two things that would make sense: one was that the Innocent Souls were born with no knowledge of how they could walk or even talk, that they were designed to be “innocent”. The second would be the possibility of brainwashing, hypnosis, whatever they call it.

Vega replayed the events of the night when he met the Professor. Yes, it was still as clear as day…

Well, it was on a stormy night, ironically.

He stumbled down the dimly lit streets, clutching his side to prevent blood loss. Doors were locked and curtains were drawn, unwilling to share him some of the homely feeling he needed. His soles felt like they had been skinned and his legs were threatening to give away. His vision was getting foggy from fatigue, his stomach rumbling complaints, and his head spinning from receiving a blow from behind – seriously, who did that? He was lucky he had quick feet and managed to slip away safely. But then he couldn’t think straight for a moment because of the head thing and because of the jerky movements. Or just because of the extreme pain searing throughout his body.

So basically, he was hurting everywhere.

Not very nice, but it was what he was in that time.

Every door he had checked was chained. He had tried to knock on some but there would be no answer. Perhaps they were afraid of the storm. Perhaps they were afraid of him. To whoever controlled Omnia’s weather, why did you install storm?

Back to wandering aimlessly, he was finally getting tired of trudging down the cold, wet pavement. He wanted to sit. He wanted to sleep. But not in this weather, no. He had tried settling down in an alley but ghostly whispers and midnight glares kept him away.

On and on he dragged his own body down the empty street. For what purpose he didn’t know, he walked on towards the moon until the number of houses was depleting and the surroundings resembled more of an abandoned countryside. Maybe the neighbouring town would at least be so kind to give him a proper burial when they find his body. He glanced up the sky and admired the blue lines of the hexagonal patterns making up the dome, giving the picture of a large electric fence. Even among the dark grey clouds they shone brightly as if trying to remind everyone that they were protected, even in a life-threatening situation.

What he wanted was to feel the feeling of knowing he was safe, like how the dome was supposed to make him feel.

And that was when he saw it; a little white block – house – in the midst of a sea of green, though in the storm it took a stormy shade of blue, just like everything else. The satellite dishes perched on the roof gazed up to the sky, as if searching for a sign of life beyond the dome. The windows emitted light through the yellowy fabric behind the rain-stained glass, while the stainless steel door kept its guard up.

Feeling his body giving up, he decided to give his last try on the house before he would see the next world. Tiredly, he strode across the front lawn, ignoring the possibilities of security lasers scattered around the area and catching him right-handed – at least wherever they’ll take him would have a bed and provide three meals a day.

Gathering up all his strength he pounded on the door. Nothing. He searched for a bell switch and gave a series of chimes as soon as he caught sight of it. Not long after, shuffling was heard somewhere inside the house. Great, at least someone was willing to get the door.

But this someone was taking his time because before the door opened, he had collapsed in front of the door. He was tired. Really tired. And so he closed his eyes to find a moment of peace.

He heard the door sliding open and felt a foot on his face, which was withdrawn as quickly as it landed. A gasp was let out, and he could imagine the man’s sympathy on his face and feel it very clearly in his voice, “What the – Hey, are you okay?” A warm hand lifted his head gently and gently inspected the part where it was searing with pain. “You’ve probably lost a lot of blood, and we need to get your wound treated before it gets infected. And just when I thought human experiments had been halted completely…”

Human experiment? Ah, maybe that’s what he was. Perhaps it was why no one was willing to open their doors for him.

The man lifted him off gingerly and carried him inside, where he was bathed in white light and heavenly warmth for the first time since as long as he could remember.

Sooner after that, Vega found out that he was actually an Innocent Soul, not a human experiment. Years later, Vega found out that he was a special Innocent Soul with a being residing him. To add to the weirdness, the thing inside him was a Puppeteer, a god among the Omnians. And he was to reach Avalon to save itself from power-hungry humans.

Crazy, but he must have been born for adventures.

Imogen walked briskly towards her bedroom with Armada following closely behind. She opened the door quietly, stepped aside to let Armada in and closed the door as gently and quickly as she could.

Above her desk hung an abstract painting, big enough to hide the safe behind it. Setting the painting aside, Imogen punched in the lock combination. The metal door gave a shuddering breath and released all of the other locks in a series of click-clacks. Inside was a collection of top-grade armaments of many classes; guns, blades, and other bits that seemed dangerous enough.

Imogen chose a simple handgun and handed it to Armada, while choosing a colourful assortment of blades and special combat gloves for herself. “You only need the gun; I need these because I’m not comfortable with guns,” she explained.

“Should we tell the others? Well, namely Celestia?” Armada suggested.

“I think we can get this sorted out before anyone notices, and I don’t think barging into Celty’s room early in the morning isn’t a very good idea,” Imogen said as she fastened her gloves.

“It’s the morning issues, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, the morning issues,” Imogen agreed, “Moving on, the fact that they’re in the garden means that they have passed through the shield I’ve put up around the hill; they’ve the power to penetrate – or even disable – the shield, which is possible considering that they’re from Filters. And it also means they have a really harmful weapon that could turn the whole mansion into smithereens.”

“Any ideas on what it might be?” Armada asked.

“Probably CH-5802 or CH-6290.” Armada gave her a how-did-you-know-look, seemingly unconvinced. “Trust me, I made those; the Filters stole the blueprints and mass-produced them for their own purposes.”

“Well, how does a gun and some tiny metal shards going to do any good? What, we’re going to throw at them until they magically explode?”

“Like I said, I made those things; I know its weaknesses like the back of my hand. Just follow my lead and everything’s going to be okay!” Imogen said casually.

“Right, we’re going to be fighting against giant fighting robots with a gun and blades,” Armada said incredulously.

“Hello? Blueprint?” Imogen waved her gloved hand.

“Okay, so you have your brute strength and that eccentric brain of yours but I still don’t see how that’s going to help.”

“Relax, I know what I’m doing. Now, we’ll have to attack them first and bring them to a place away from the mansion before they –”

“Get in?”

Imogen turned around so fast she heard her neck crack, but was in time to notice the man in the Filter uniform – a black jumpsuit with Filters’ logo (FILTERS in capitalised bold white font overlapping sapphire hexagons with white outlines), matching boots and gloves, and navy blue utility belt, as well as the signature full-face black motorcycle helmet with black visor decorated with blue-outlined hexagons and the appearance of blue hexagons scattered randomly among the others.

He was holding a communication device in one hand, close to his face, while the other hand was securely holding a CL-0900. By instinct, Armada aimed the gun at him and Imogen was ready to strike his head but they were too late, as he had voiced a command to the device, “Activate.”

Within seconds, an enormous explosion resounded throughout the mansion, sending bricks and splinters and other pieces flying in all directions. To add to the deafening explosion, a low groaning was heard not far off, and Armada and Imogen could’ve sworn they saw an iron giant inching closer every second.

The room shook furiously. Photo frames, paintings, potted plants, coffee tables, sofas and armchairs jumped in alarm in time with the symphony of chaos. The chandelier swayed uncontrollably, dropping glass droplets in all direction. Deafening booms and bangs filled the world, or in Vega’s case, violent greys, browns and reds.

Thin vines were forming on the once spotless walls, travelling from the base and up to the high ceiling. Chips and bits rained down and the floor looked like trap doors, like mine field – one step and you’ll plunge to the deepest abyss.

He couldn’t escape. Vega didn’t even know what was happening. Everything started to shake spontaneously, without any warning whatsoever. His head was filled with all sorts of emotions and he couldn’t focus on escaping. He panicked.

And so his head became blank, and so did the world.

Bandersnatch searched the vast property, looking for any sign of Vega or Imogen or anyone else. It was awakened by the rumbling of the building and some scary earthquake-explosion; Vega was gone and its imagination went wild to the possibilities of what could happen to him in such situation.

Imogen’s room was the farthest from any other rooms – it was located at the last corridor in the mansion, accessible only by a hidden elevator behind a row of bookcases. Its first priority was to find Vega and then return immediately to Imogen’s side, but it doubt that she needed any assistance in eliminating the intruders. Unless…

It was snapped out of its thought when it bumped into a person – a woman – exiting a room in its right. Bandersnatch was about to launch itself onto whoever it was but halted when he noticed the familiar brown-orange mop of hair and Jay Gatsby. “Celestia!” it exclaimed in relief.

Celestia lowered her gun when she realised that it was Imogen’s pet… thing? “Bandersnatch?” she asked, unsure, “What happened to you?” Bandersnatch was a mixture of animals, with the body of a dog, hare ears, fox head and slithering snake tongue.

“I can shape shift; it’s a long story, but I just morph into the things that could help us in this kind of situation,” it explained.

“Right. Where are the others?”

“I was looking for Vega. He was nowhere when I woke up and I worry so much as to what might have happened to him.”

“Ok, then. We have to find Vega and then find the others. The question is, where did Vega go?” Celestia said half to herself. She then turned to Bandersnatch. “Can you smell him?”

“I’ll try…” Bandersnatch’s head morphed into that of a Basset Hound and began sniffing through the corridors. It had memorised Vega’s scent, and his scent was a strong and almost familiar one, a mixture of his master’s and a smell similar to Imogen’s; Mountain Laurel, to be exact. He did go to the garden.

Bandersnatch followed scent trails Vega had left, Celestia covering his back for any attack. The scent flew to the library, to a few closets, some guest rooms and finally, the living room, where the scent was at the strongest. Bandersnatch and Celestia raced to the battered door, hoping for the best.

The two skidded to a halt when they saw a lump of dead weight near the telephone. Without a second thought, Bandersnatch leapt to Vega’s side and turned into a young girl, laying Vega on his back while it placed its ear on his chest. A steady beat was there, calm like he was just sleeping. Bandersnatch let out a gush of breath it didn’t know it was holding. It looked up to Celestia, who had a more controlled expression and was lifting Vega up gingerly. “He was in a panic,” she mumbled to herself.

Bandersnatch morphed into a slightly smaller version of its original form, “Let me carry him; it’ll be easier for us, since I can manage his weight.”

“Thanks, Bandersnatch,” Celestia said softly and laid Vega on his stomach upon Bandersnatch’s broad back. “Well? Any ideas on where Imogen?”

“Actually, I caught Armada’s scent with Imogen when we were looking for Vega; they’re at Imogen’s room. And they’re not alone…” Bandersnatch added grimly.

“Who?” Celestia asked cautiously.

“I don’t know. That someone’s scent was mouldy wood and cigarette, with a slight hint of cloves.”

At the mention of cloves, Celestia knew immediately who it was, “Devon.”

Kleido might be dangerous but Devon was another story; the story goes back to the days when Celestia was a child, and she could remember every detail as if it was yesterday. The scarlet flames engulfing everything in its way, the bodies that were wither burned, stabbed by darts, ripped unceremoniously or crushed by falling debris. But most importantly, the figure of the boy behind the raging flame, and the cold stare emanating from the ice-blue eyes, emotionless and merciless. The aura of death and grudging glare haunted her even after ten years.

Not to mention the cloves that he would love to chew.

“Bandersnatch,” Celestia snapped, already jogging out of the room with Bandersnatch following close, “where is Imogen’s room?”

Recovering from the sudden attack, Armada stood up abruptly, the handgun firm in his hand. Imogen was already taking position not far from him, forming fists that were ready to be implanted onto the man’s body.

Unlike the two of them, the man was unscathed and made no movements. His hand holding the communication device has by his side; he just stood in the door way like a mannequin in a clothing shop, idle and lifeless. Suddenly he began to talk, “Kleido should be here any moment now,” he said, “Want to do something while we’re at it?”

“Who are you and what is your business here?” Armada snarled.

“Honestly, I am not a big fan of blood and gore, although I do it in only the worst of cases.”

“And it looks like we’re one of those cases,” Imogen said.

“You have not answered my question,” Armada glared through the visor, index finger touching the trigger just slightly.

“We don’t have to do this,” the man said, “Just give us the boy and then we’re settled – your lives will be spared and we’ll leave peacefully.”

“Except the outcome of your plan would not be as peaceful,” Imogen stated.

“It could be if you submit your will to us,” the man retorted, “We cannot possibly be ruled by some race of alien. Humans have dominated the Earth for millions of years, and it’s just the right thing to do to raise ourselves back to the top of the social hierarchy.” The man placed his gun back to its holder on the utility belt. “Don’t you feel stupid, to be ruled by an anonymous man and living under the rules of foreign beings, acting as a side show while the inexperienced actors play the main parts? We are just simply putting the Innocent Souls into their rightful place, a myth known as the ‘mole people’.”

Imogen tightened her fist, “You are having delusions of grandeur, my man.”

“I do not think so. I am merely stating the truth, of what many people believed in. And I am sure that you two would think the same if you were to, I don’t know, see the world in our angle, I guess?”

“It looks like the angle you’re on isn’t obviously drawn with a straight line,” Imogen spat.

“Oh, sweet Maggie. You and your clever tongue,” the man cooed. The statement seemed to jog Imogen’s memory, as her ebony eyes widened in surprise.

“And you with your mad fantasies…” she whispered. This seemed to make Armada realise something too, and his muscles loosened and his gun lowered slightly.

“Guys, you guys are being immature,” Armada reminisced the old times, the times when Imogen would argue about reality versus ideals, how we shouldn’t hope for the impossible and live our lives as it is with facts.

Imogen and Armada were rooted on their spot, dumbfounded. The man in the Filters uniform was no other than their old friend from their days back when the observatory was their hideout, when everything was much simpler, when everything looked peaceful despite the things that happened beyond the forest. It was Devon.

-rookieMANGAKA

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