8 Months Later; Modern Day
I turned slowly, afraid of what I would see and knowing it would be the same.
The man in the scarlet robe stood there in front of me, his arms wide open, beckoning me to come. It was always the same. I could just barely see his eyes behind his goggles, but I could still feel the incredible, unfathomable love emanating from his core.
“Please, come back to me. Come home.”
I could feel his love for me, and I knew it was real, but I couldn’t return that love. I wouldn’t.
“You’re a fool to think me so naïve.” I spat. “My brother is dead and gone because of you. He believed you could help us, but you abandoned him.”
I could see the pain in his eyes, and I hated it.
“I love you, Emery. Your brother is safe.”
Tears were running down my face, and I lurched toward him with my knife in hand, but then he was gone.
I jumped bolt upright in bed, panting and sobbing. I cradled my head in my hands and sat there for a few minutes, forcing myself to get a handle on my emotions.
It was just a dream, Emery.
I wiped the tears off my face with the sleeve of my nightgown, and looked around the little shack I called home. I had pieced it together with old airship parts, as well as any other scraps I could find down there; having spent most of my cogs on bribing Larry into keeping my whereabouts a secret. I rolled my eyes, recalling our first encounter. It had taken quite a bit to keep that blabbermouth quiet. Part of the deal was helping Rose, particularly regarding the maintenance of the Lower Decks. At first I had trouble finding a place to sleep, constantly being awakened by angry goats. I eventually learned that the silly things could only see a few feet in front of them, and they would only attack if they saw a person. After that, it was easier to get around, knowing that I could hide behind a crate and not be detected. I built my shack at a dead end that had a stack of crates on one side, and the end on the ship floor on the other two. That way, I only had to build a wall on one side so that the goats wouldn’t disturb me.
I stood up and walked over to one corner of the little shack, and dressed into my simple Aviator Getup. I had made a few modifications to the original design, making sure there were plenty of hidden pockets, as well as a few plasma globes sewn delicately into the sleeve, should the need arise. I had learned the hard way that by cracking a plasma globe and directing the energy into a person, you could stun them for a short period of time. Just long enough for a quick getaway.
I slipped an especially hard umbrella cane into one of my long brown boots, and then peered out the makeshift piece of cloth serving as a door. The first thing to do was check up on Rose, and grab a few homing balloons in case I salvaged something especially worthwhile.
Not a goat in sight.
Huh. They’re usually coming by in their rounds at this point.
I slipped through the cloth carefully, and kept low to the ground. Something was amiss. It could have been that Lily came down and directed her frustration into taking out a few, but it didn’t hurt to be cautious. I peeked out from behind the stack of crates just in time to see a masked figure dealing the last blow to an unfortunate goat. I quickly ducked back behind the crates, knowing the figure either saw me, or he would in a few seconds. I pulled out my brand-new ice pistols from pockets on either side of my outfit. I smiled slightly, relishing the hope that I might be able to use them very soon. I saw a small tag stuck to the trigger; ‘Warning, may cause brain freeze.’
Well, that’s the idea.
I pressed my back against the crates, preparing myself to jump out and confront the man, who was hopefully a criminal. If not, I would likely be in a lot of trouble. My face broke into a full-fledged grin.
Well, that’s the idea.
I could hear his footsteps coming closer.
It’s now or never.
I jumped out from behind the crates, about to pull the trigger, but I stopped, seeing the glinting metal wings on his back.
I noticed he hadn’t even flinched when I’d jumped out from behind the crates, but he had his wrist gauntlet pointed at me. It irked me slightly that I couldn’t read his expression through the mask.
“Give me one good reason not to shoot you.” I said. In truth, if he had been an average customer, I would have frozen him to the planks, but I could tell he was a professional…. of some sort.
“I have several. The first that comes to mind would be the fact that you would not likely survive a blade through the chest.” He replied evenly.
I eyed his gauntlets carefully, and realized for the first time that they must have been modified. They had green veins of color running across them in certain places with exposed machinery. I smirked.
“That’s a pretty good reason. Why are you here?”
I almost lowered my weapons, but decided there was something about this man that was not to be trusted.
“In short, I’ve come looking for you.” He paused. “Though I didn’t know you had wings.” I narrowed my eyes, expecting a witty insult to follow.
“They will prove to be useful, especially if you agree to join my…. Cause, if you will.”
I raised an eyebrow, slightly surprised that he did not look down on me. Then again, he had wings, of a sort, as well. I was also extremely intrigued, and I found it difficult to hide. I had been dying to go on a real mission, to fight real enemies for so long, that I would have to be careful whom I fought for.
“And what is this ‘cause’?”
He hesitated, as if he were hiding something. I cocked my head and raised an eyebrow, wondering what his answer would be.
“To put it simply, I am preparing an attack on the wynged of the Old Mount.”
There are MORE winged people?!
I laughed slightly, looking at him incredulously. “Is this some sort of joke?”
“No, I assure you, it is not.” He replied flatly.
For once in my life, I wasn’t sure what to make of this man. He walks up to me, explains that he wants to attack a bunch of people on a mountain with wings, and he wants my help. On top of all that, he has metal wings himself, and is equipped with multiple weapons that show signs of enhanced fog tech. I shook my head, smirking.
“Listen, buddy. I’d really love to—“ He cut me off.
“I came to you in the hope that you would understand me.” He stopped. “After all, from what I’ve heard, we are somewhat of… kindred spirits.”
I instantly stiffened, and glared at him steadily.
I liked this guy—he certainly had guts, and I was bored out of my wits searching for scraps on this piece of junk. Besides, if it turned out I didn’t like him; I would easily be able to cover his disappearance. I smiled, and lowered the pistols carefully, still prepared to shoot him if the need did arise. “Looks like you’ve got yourself a deal.”