Before you read:
- -I use a different font for one part in this chapter [Boopee]. If you are unable to display it on your computer, PLEASE let me know straight away and I’ll fix it asap.
- From here on out, any errors in grammar on Nexus' part are intentional. Please don't touch that.
In the white of the woods beneath a black sky, wildlife stirred about. Winged creatures flew above white trees while slender game wove through below them. A blue-horned animal came trotting from behind, making its way toward a small stream and bowing its head to have its first taste of the Ecorian Rest. The creature was none the wiser to a crouched figure behind it, hiding themselves in a thicket of white bushes speckled with black fruits. The crouched figure glanced to the side, checking for something. Behind a nearby tree was its companion, hiding and clutching a bow to their breast. The figure behind the bushes nodded, and the one behind the tree slowly stepped out, cautious to avoid any sudden movements or sounds. They aimed their bow at the blue-horned creature, ready to strike. The animal raised its head in alarm, but before it could react further, an arrow was fired at its torso, aimed for the heart. The being was stricken, although not killed.
It roared in pain and became enraged. From behind the bushes, a slim-figured humanoid creature with long snowy hair and ebony skin jumped out. She raised her pointed ears with alertness as she landed before the creature. In her hand, there was a knife. The horned creature roared at this Ecorian individual before it, stomping its hooves on the ground in anger. The being began to stalk about, still alert and poised for action. The beast raised its front leg and attempted to strike the lifeform, but they swiftly jumped backward. Once they were on their feet, the lifeform lunged at the beast and struck its leg. The creature scampered in pain, attempting to get away, but before it could do so, one of the lifeforms raised their hand and thrust it towards the beast. They took hold of its mind and kept it from running while the other being struck once more, in the heart this time so that it would surely die.
The horned creature collapsed before her, and the lifeform’s companion lowered her hand. The female figure stepped out and smiled.
“You’ve got it, Aeie!” she remarked happily, putting away her bow. She knelt down and removed the arrow from the creature. “We should take it to the Royal house for the servants to prepare next Wake.”
Aeie tilted her head.
“I thought we could give the meat to the villagers,” she suggested. “We have more than enough foodstuff at home.”
“You don’t wish to keep your prize at the very least?” Aeie’s companion inquired. She stored the arrow she had pulled out of the horned creature away. “You are very kind.”
Aeie giggled and tucked a loose strand of her long hair behind her ear. She knelt down to put her hands over the beast’s wounds and healed them so that its blood would not attract anything more dangerous.
“You know me, Nexus.”
These young Ecorian girls were Nexus and Aeie. Aeie was a Princess- the daughter of their gracious Queen Ze’ena and the next in line for the throne. She was very kind and loyal, but also very frivolous and free-spirited. She always knew what she wanted, but she was not spoiled. Aeie grew up without a father figure, as he died In battle shortly after she had been born. But instead, she had an uncle, Qis, who was a close guard to her mother and happened to be the father of Nexus. Nexus was Aeie’s closest cousin, and they’d been together since they were little. The two seldom referred to each other as cousins, however, and saw each other more as close friends. They spent most of their time together, hunting, shopping, training and participating in Wakely lessons. While both of the girls had their fair share of silly personality, Nexus always had more of the responsibility of looking after her friend, the Princess. As such, she was more cautious and sensible than her comrade.
Nexus took the creature in her arms and threw it over her shoulder.
“Shall we go, then?” She asked the Princess. “If we’re not back before the Rest is half over at most, we won’t get any sleep for our lesson tomorrow.”
“Oh, I don’t care,” Aeie replied, rising and hopping away from Nexus. She knelt down by the ravine and cupped her hands into it, bringing some water to her lips to drink.
“You should,” Nexus said, turning. “If you’re going to be the next Queen, don’t you think your lessons are important? If you don’t rest, you won’t be able to learn well.”
“I do, very much so in fact,” Aeie admitted. “But lessons are so very boring! I’d much rather spend my time with you or Echel, even if I don’t sleep.”
“Ah, your husband,” Nexus grinned. “You talk about him all the time, I know.”
“I guess getting to sleep beside him every Rest is something I do look forward to,” she swooned.
“Princess,” Nexus called, chuckling. “My shoulder is getting quite tired! We should probably get home.”
“Oh, alright, Nexus,” Aeie sighed. “I suppose anything I’d prefer to do is not worth angering my mother for, now is it?”
The two young Ecorians made their way through the forest and into their village, where not many of their kind were walking. Most Ecorians slept during every Rest, while some did not. Hunters, guards, soldiers and some merchants stayed up each Rest for various reasons. As the girls walked, they saw guards standing at bay here and there, watching over the streets. Aeie and Nexus arrived at a popular butcher’s shop with their haul. They gave the horned creature to the man in charge, and he accepted it with much gratitude.
“Always a pleasure to have the Princess and her friend in our stead, presenting us with such contributions!” He said.
The two Ecorian girls then strolled along a white pathway towards their home- the royal house.
They were greeted by a few soldiers guarding the area, who then opened the palace doors for them. When they stepped inside, they were greeted by a woman at her throne, who had just been speaking with a soldier. Her hair was down; long and flowing, and her ears and wrists were decorated lightly with silver jewelry. The woman raised her hand at the soldier, and the white bracelets on her wrists clinked together. The soldier bowed at her and stepped back. Once he was gone, the woman- Queen Ze’ena walked forward and smiled at the girls.
“Now where were you this time, Aeie?” She questioned lightly. Aeie shifted her eyes.
“We were out hunting, mother,” she admitted, scratching her cheek. “I just wanted to have some fun with Nexus, is all.”
The woman laughed.
“I’m not mad,” she reassured her child. “You’re actually early this time.”
Aeie glanced at her cousin and puffed up her cheeks in annoyance. Nexus shrugged.
“I thought we were late!” She whispered to her. “Sorry!”
“All the better,” Ze’ena chuckled, kissing her daughter’s forehead. “You should rest up at some point later. You girls have a lesson tomorrow, do you not?”
“Yes,” Aeie exhaled. “I’ll be sure to.”
“That’s a good girl,” Ze’ena smiled. She smiled. “You know, Echel’s returned this Rest. He came back not too long ago from his shift. Perhaps you’d like to spend some time with him?”
“Oh, has he?” Aeie chirped, her face bright with hope. “It’s been a while since I’ve been able to see him, I’ve been so busy!”
She turned to Nexus and eagerly bit her lip.
“Well go on!” Nexus urged, laughing. “We can hang around tomorrow after our lesson!”
Aeie bowed her head.
She ran off and turned into a corridor.
“Don’t run so fast!” Ze’ena called after her. She sighed. “That girl is so cumbersome sometimes! But I suppose she does deserve some freedom. Once she takes my position, she won’t have much time at all for fun and games.”
“My father says she reminds him of you when you were younger,” she said. Ze’ena smirked.
“Qis would know me best,” she chuckled, raising a hand to her lips with frivolity. “I used to bother him so much growing up! I do still tease him now and again. He’s gotten so serious over time, although I can understand why.”
“But he’s still the same person,” Nexus pointed out. “My father still knows how to laugh. He just doesn’t do it often.”
“I do wish he would,” Ze’ena mused. “But I’m just glad he’s here. And that I have you as well, my niece.”
She pet Nexus’ head.
“How was your hunt, anyway?”
“Aerie and I caught an Eicqer this Rest,” Her niece responded cheerfully. “Although she decided it would be better to give it to the others in the village. They can always use fresh meat.”
“How very kind of her,” Ze’ena grinned. “I do feel terribly for the Workers. They don’t always catch enough. And then sometimes they’ll be robbed be Lesser Common! I do wish I could do something to keep those people in line. They’re so tricky that even our guards can’t stop them sometimes.”
“Have you arrested any of them as of late?”
“Only a few. For being so boorish and lazy, they’re surprisingly hard to catch. I just hope that their children will move on to be Greater Common in the future. Or perhaps Workers.”
“Everyone has to start somewhere, my Queen,” Nexus pointed out. She perked her ears up and smiled gleefully.
“Much like Cale.”
“Cale is such a sprightly boy, isn’t he?” she agreed. “I never much expected him to be my closest assistant when he came to the royal house asking for work all those cycles ago. I would have refused, but he was so smart and so collected for what he started as! Why, he was only a child then, too, was he not?”
“Yes,” Nexus nodded. “He spent so much time by himself though! I didn’t even get to see him until you let him work more closely with you.”
Ze’ena smiled and put a hand on her niece’s cheek.
“Now why don’t you run off, Nexus?” she suggested. “I have some things to tend to this Rest. I don’t suppose I’ll be sleeping anytime soon.”
“Until then,” Nexus bowed lightly as Ze’ena walked away. She looked around the atrium and up through the glass ceiling into the sky above her. She always loved those glass ceilings, as seeing their moon and their sky every Wake and Rest made her feel free. At times, It was the only thing she could concentrate on when she was cooped up in the royal house doing one thing or another.
Before long, Nexus brought her head back down and retreated through a different hallway into the library. There, as she usually did, Nexus found a young man hunched over his books at a nearby table. Nexus smiled to herself. Cale, a personal worker to Queen Ze’ena who had come to the palace starting out as a mere servant was always busy or focused on one thing or another- but he always had time for her. He’d always spend his time in the library when he wasn’t tending to any duties. Nexus would see him whenever she came to the library, and Cale would always find himself gazing at her when she was there. They eventually began to talk to each other, which later led to love. Since then, they always tried to meet with each other when they were not busy.
Nexus sat down across from him and grinned.
“Good Rest, Cale,” she greeted cheerfully. Cale shook his head and blinked then, being shaken from his concentration. He perked his head up at Nexus and beamed.
“Good Rest,” he greeted. “How have you been since I last saw you? Have you done anything new?”
“Fine,” his companion responded. “I’ve been busy with my studying and fighting. Although I’ve spent quite some time with Aeie these past few wakes with lessons and hunting. We caught a wild Eicqer not too long ago, in fact. Though we gave it to a village butcher under Aeie’s suggestion just shortly after!”
“Our Princess is ever gracious,” Cale chuckled. “Where is she now?”
“Spending time with her husband,” Nexus answered. “She hasn’t seen him in quite some time. He’s been busy patrolling and what have you. I feel sorry for her sometimes!”
“She gets so lovesick, doesn’t she?” Cale mused, turning a page.
“That she does,” Nexus chuckled. “Now, what have you been up to as of late, my darling?”
“I’ve been working for Queen Ze’ena,” her other half replied. “I had to help lead a few new servants into the house and then I’d spent some time training. Your father helped me, in fact.”
“Yes. I find him to be an excellent instructor, among all others I’ve met with! Although our Queen says she doesn’t need me to overwork myself for her sake since she has plenty of soldiers and guards, I still want to be able to be strong enough to protect her if ever I must. She is my close friend, after all, among being my Queen and caretaker.”
“And yet you have no interest in actually being a soldier yourself?”
“I do not. I much prefer a good book, although you know more than anyone. It’s almost embarrassing how often I spend my time here when I could be doing other things, especially training. But I would very much like to be able to protect the Queen, although I don’t suppose I’d be cut out for a soldier’s life even if I truly wanted to be one.”
“I believe you could,” Nexus smiled. “You have the will.”
Nexus tilted her head at him and leaned in.
“What are you studying now, Cale?” She proclaimed. Cale handed her the book he had been reading.
“It’s a passage on ethical philosophy,” he explained. Nexus leaned in to examine the text.
“I’ve been reading many different philosophies from since late in the Wake until now! Things about the stars and the future, language…Even some philosophies on our very home. I’ve found them very interesting.”
“They sound intriguing,” Nexus agreed, tilting her head as she continued to skim through the passage. “Is Philosophy something you prefer above all other subjects?”
“It is the one I find the most fascinating,” Cale admitted. “So many Ecorian people have much knowledge to offer, much insight, and there’s always something new to discover.”
“Your determination and curiosity are so admirable,” she said.
Cale shifted his gaze to Nexus with adoration as she turned the page. She raised her head and met his gaze, smiling back at him when she did so.
“Cale,” she flustered, looking away. “Don’t look at me like that, it’s too much!”
Her companion chuckled as he leaned in and kissed her forehead.
“There’s no reason to be so nervous around me, Nexus,” he chirped, taking hold of her hand. Nexus closed her eyes and smiled as he kissed her cheek.
“I don’t bite.”
“Cale, you’re such a fool,” Nexus laughed. She beamed. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The two leaned in to share a kiss before being interrupted by a soldier who called for him. The both of them turned their head to see a soldier standing erect before them.
“Father?” Nexus called, surprised to see him. Her father, Qis, stood before the two and shook his head.
“I apologize for interrupting,” he began, “But Queen Ze’ena has requested Cale to meet with her in her quarters. She has something to discuss with you.”
“Concerning what matter?” Cale inquired.
“She did not say.”
“Must I go now?”
Qis nodded, and Cale sighed. He rose and turned to Nexus.
“Another time, my dear,” He told her, kissing her on the cheek again. “I have to take care of some matter, I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Nexus assured him, touching his hand. “I’ll see you soon.”
Cale began to walk off, and Qis turned to his daughter.
“When are you two getting married, anyway?” he urged, crossing his arms. Nexus looked away, embarrassed.
“We promised not to get married so hastily,” Nexus reminded him. “We decided to wait until we felt ready.”
Qis approached his daughter and raised her chin with his hand.
“My child, I admire that you are patient,” he said. “But your cousin is already married. And I’d like to live to see grandchildren, of course.”
“Father,” Nexus groaned. “This isn’t the time for that!”
“Aye, alright,” Qis shook his head. “Don’t get too upset, Nexus. I just want the best for you, is all.”
“I know,” his daughter exhaled. “I just don’t see a reason to move so hastily. When we marry, we marry.”
“Of course,” Qis responded. “Now, you should get some rest, my child. The next Wake is going to be busy for all of us.”
In another larger room, Queen Ze’ena stood before a huge window, her hands behind her back and her face plastered with seriousness. From behind her, Cale quietly entered the room and stood firm.
“You wanted to see me, my Queen?” He called. Ze’ena tilted her head down but did not turn to face him.
“Queen Ze’ena?” Cale called again, this time with concern. He took a step toward her before she turned her head toward him.
“Cale, I trust you more than anyone,” Ze’ena began. “You know this, don’t you?”
“Yes, my Queen.”
Ze’ena turned her whole body this time to face her assistant.
“My dear boy, I cannot bear this false act of elation any longer. I have something to confess. Something I fear.”
Cale widened his eyes a bit and leaned in.
“What is it, my Queen?”
Ze’ena looked down.
“We may come under attack soon,” she expressed gravely. “And I fear that we may not be able to stop this threat.”
“What?” Cale gasped. “My Queen, of whom do you speak?”
“The terrible race that we have heard rumors and stories of,” Ze’ena spoke. “The race that has brought down many other species since their new King came to rule.”
Cale widened his eyes. He knew exactly who she was talking about, and his heart jumped at the mere thought of them.
“The Ia’lmun….” He whispered. He knew all too well about their kind. They were ravenous, unforgiving and cruel. Red, snake-like beasts who showed no remorse for others they considered weak. They had never bothered other races before, but since their king was assassinated by a barbaric tyrant named Xyocres and taken over under his rule, things severely changed. He pillaged other lands and killed off any of those who defied him. Their race was unnaturally powerful, and none have ever succeeded in destroying them. Many had tried to save their kind from King Xyocres’ wrath, but none survived.
“But…how did they…”
“Xyocres approached me recently,” Ze’ena interrupted, her voice cold. She narrowed her eyes.
“He travelled here to see me and kindly asked for trade- Xyocres wanted our metal to use for their armor. But I knew all too well how impudent he was. I knew that as soon as he set foot in my kingdom, we were doomed. I refused him. I told him what everyone knew but was afraid to say; He is no king. He is a barbarian. A disgrace to his kind. It didn’t matter whether I had given in or not- I knew we were all going to die.”
Cale held his head.
“My Queen…” he began, almost hushed. “What can we do? There has to be a way to protect ourselves. We could-“
“-There is no way,” Ze’ena interrupted. There was fear in her voice. “This is a battle we cannot win. Our people, our kingdom…we will all be destroyed.”
“Do you expect us to just sit here and die then?!” Cale shot back. “Do you expect us to just give up?!”
“No,” Ze’ena muttered. “We will fight. I will fight. I refuse to let him see us cower in fear as he expects. But even with our tremendous powers and our weapons, we cannot succeed.”
“Is all hope lost, then….?” Cale quietly proclaimed. “Is there no way to save anyone?”
Ze’ena closed her eyes.
“There is,” she said. “I’ve had ships prepared for my family to escape to another planet that they will be able to survive on. Nexus, Echel, Aeie and you will escape together.”
“But my Queen, what about you?”
Ze’ena hung her head.
“I will die with my people.”
Cale shook his head in disbelief.
“No, my Queen, you can’t do that!” He shouted. “We cannot let you die!”
“This is my home, Cale,” Ze’ena quietly responded. Opening her eyes. “I will not leave her.”
She turned her back towards her friend.
“Get some rest,” she ordered. “You will surely need it.”
Cale tried to respond, but Ze’ena held up her hand to stop him. Without another word, her assistant dragged his feet out of the room and closed the doors behind him. As soon as they were shut, Cale slid his back down the door and held his head in distress. He shut his eyes as he felt an immense pressure weld up inside of his chest. However, he did not scream, and instead began to sob, letting the realization of what was sure to come sink in.
As soon as the next Wake began, Nexus felt that something was wrong. She retreated from her room and found the royal house seemingly void of life. She went to the room she typically did for her lessons to be greeted by Aeie, who apparently had been there for a little while without the teacher ever showing up.
“Where is everyone?” Nexus inquired. “Shouldn’t our tutor be here by now? Even the halls are empty!”
“I don’t know,” Aeie shook her head. “Even Echel was gone when I woke. None of the guards are here. Do you think something’s happening?”
“Perhaps we should see your mother,” Nexus suggested. The two girls made their way to the atrium where Queen Ze’ena was standing patiently. Beside her was Qis, holding his weapon tightly. Nexus began to worry.
“Mother…?” Aeie called out. “…Where is everyone?”
Ze’ena turned to her child with surprise.
“Aeie?” she gasped. “Nexus? Why are you both still here?”
“What do you mean?” Aeie questioned, shocked. “Is…something wrong…?”
“All of my guards and soldiers are out in the village,” she explained. “They are fighting off a threat that came in earlier in the Wake.”
Aeie’s eyes widened.
Ze’ena turned to her child with weak eyes.
“The Ia’lmun,” she said, “Are attacking us.”
Aeie brought her hands to her lips and gasped. Nexus’ eyes grew wide with disbelief.
“I sent Echel to find you, Nexus and Cale,” Ze’ena went on. “I wanted him to take you to the launching area, to leave this place in ships and find somewhere safe before the Ia’lmun reached the royal house. But he hasn’t done what I asked of him, and I fear that perhaps they have already entered, and that he….”
She trailed off, not wanting to say it. Aeie shook her head and backed away.
“No, you’re wrong!” she cried. “This isn’t true!”
She began to run off to search for her husband. Nexus stayed behind and looked to her Queen for a response, but received none. Qis turned to his daughter and spoke.
“Get out of here, Nexus,” he ordered sternly. “Find everyone and get them to the ships. Save yourselves.”
Nexus’ heart grew heavy, but she obeyed her father and left to catch up with Aeie. She ran down the halls, calling for her, but received no answer. Within a while, she found her in another hallway, hunched over a dead body and sobbing. Nexus gasped at the sight- Aeie’s husband Echel had been brutally and repeatedly stabbed in the chest. The walls were scratched and painted with two colors of blood- one of which did not belong to their kind- indicating that he had been fighting someone.
“Aeie…” Nexus called quietly. She reached out to touch her friend’s shoulder, but Aeie did not move and instead continued to sob with her dead husband in her arms. She touched his face and let her tears spill onto his bloody chest.
“He was on his way to find me...” She wept. “He was...looking for me.”
She picked her head up and looked straight at Nexus with broken eyes.
“Why did this happen? Why do they hate us?”
“They do not,” Nexus replied weakly. She hung her head. “It is their King. Ruthless and stubborn.”
She then gasped after coming to a realization.
Cale! She thought.
“Aeie, we must go, right now!” She exclaimed. “We need to get everyone to the ships so we can escape!”
“No!” Aeie cried, tightening her grip on her husband’s body. “I’m not leaving Echel!”
“I ORDER you to leave me be!”
Nexus shook her head.
“No, Aeie, you must come with me!” she asserted. “You have to be kept safe!”
“I refuse!” Aeie shot back. “Go without me. I’m staying here!”
“Aeie, this is not what your mother wanted!”
“I don’t care! I am not leaving his side! Now go! Go save yourselves! There is nothing left for me now.”
She turned to Nexus.
“I love you so much, my dear cousin...my friend,” she sobbed. “I want only what is best for you. Please, escape with him. Survive.”
Nexus knew she could not dissuade her. She gave one final look at Aeie who smiled back at her weakly.
“Is this truly what you want?” Nexus demanded.
“It is my last wish,” Aeie answered solemnly. “Please, my friend….go. And travel well.”
Nexus hesitantly followed her friend’s order and went to look for Cale. She frantically searched all the bedrooms and the library, but she found not a soul. Eventually, she headed toward the atrium where she found a horrifying sight. Her father had just been slain by the hand of an Ia’lmun soldier, and the Queen looked weak from fighting. She was hunched over and gasping. Nexus his behind the corner, not wanting to be seen and could do no more than watch as the barbaric King Xyocres approached Queen Ze’ena. He stepped his long, scaly red body slowly around the Queen, wielding a scimitar in his left claw. Ze’ena kept gasping in pain, holding her stomach.
“Your kind is weak,” Xyocres practically spat in her face. His voice was deep and demonic, and every word he uttered made Nexus shiver with fear.
“You are an absolute worthless piece of tripe,” the barbaric King went on. His soldiers stood behind him, tightly gripping their weapons.
“Tell me, why did you bother to fight when you knew that your kind was doomed to perish by my hand?”
“Because we are not weak!” Ze’ena shot back with anger. She stood up straight and balled her free hand into a fist. “We are above you and your tyrannical ways. We are willing to fight you until the bitter end!”
King Xyocres narrowed his eyes and bared his fangs at the woman, insulted.
“Are you really?” Xyocres hissed. He summoned a soldier who threw two dead bodies before the Queen. Both she and Nexus gasped when they realized that it was Aeie and Echel. Ze’ena wanted to break down, but she did not and instead held her head high.
Nexus suddenly felt a hand clamp over her mouth, and she feared that she had been caught. However, she was relieved to turn and see Cale. He held a finger to his lips to keep his companion hushed. Cale then dropped his hand over hers and clutched it tightly.
“This way,” he whispered, tugging on her arm. Nexus did not want to leave her Queen, but she obeyed and let Cale guide her through the royal house until they reached an area with various ships. Many of them had been destroyed, but a few smaller vessels remained.
“Cale, where were you?” Nexus demanded. “I was so worried!”
“I stayed behind with Queen Ze’ena,” Cale told her. He opened one of the vessels and began to configure the control set.
“I wanted to fight, but she reprimanded me and told me to find everyone and bring them here to escape. I had found Echel first, and he had encountered one of the Ia’lmun soldiers that had managed to infiltrate the royal house. He tried to fight them. I did what I could to aid the Prince but we were no match. The soldier struck him several times in the chest and tried to kill me too, but I absconded. I managed to escape the creature, but I still had to come find you and Aeie.”
He looked down.
“But by the time I caught up with Aeie….she had been killed as well. And then I became afraid. I didn’t want to lose you too.”
He finished the configuration and turned to put his hand on Nexus’ cheek. Tears began to stream down her face.
“We need to get you out of here, somewhere safe,” Cale explained. “I want you to live.”
“What about you?” Nexus gasped. “She wanted us all to-“
“There’s no room for me,” Cale interrupted, shaking his head. “I love you, Nexus, so very much, but you’ll have to go without me.”
Nexus shook her head.
“No, please no!”
“Nexus, I’m sorry,” Cale leaned his head against Nexus’. “I need you to be safe. If the Ia’lmun see you taking off, they just might come after you. I don’t want you to get caught. I don’ care if I die, Nexus. As long as you are safe and far away from this, I will be happy.”
“Cale, please don’t do this to me!” Nexus cried. “Don’t leave me alone!”
Her companion kissed her warmly and held her close to him. When he pulled away, he smiled.
“I have to,” he stated. “I could not save anyone, and I may not be able to save myself…but I refuse to let you stay here.”
He urged Nexus into the vessel. She looked at him hesitantly, but eventually obeyed. When the door was shut, Cale put his hand on the glass and called to her.
“This will take you to the nearest planet that you can survive on,” He explained. “Please, don’t forget us, okay?”
Nexus nodded weakly, still with tears streaming down her cheeks. She put her hands on the glass and cried.
“I’ll miss you so much, Cale.”
Her companion laid his head on the glass and closed his eyes.
“And I, you,” he murmured. “Goodbye.”
The vessel was launched, and Cale ran back to his Queen to keep the Ia’lmun busy. Nexus turned in her vessel to look out of the windows. As she ascended, she caught an aerial view of the village, only now noticing that the battle was still raging. There was blood, fire and death everywhere she looked, and it made her sick. The Ia’lmun violently slaughtered her kind without a second thought, causing Nexus to feel weak. As she passed over her home, she could only watch through the glass as her Queen and her only love were slaughtered mercilessly by King Xyocres. The barbaric king grabbed hold of her Queen’s neck and raised her. As she struggled to breathe, he took his scimitar and slashed her torso with it, managing to strike her heart. Cale had arrived to draw his attention before he could see the ship in the sky, and King Xyocres ordered his soldiers to take care of him. He was slaughtered alongside his queen, his body thrown to the ground without a second thought. When the deed was done, Nexus curled up in her vessel and felt nothing but emptiness. Before long, she found herself growing weak and soon succumbed to sleep.
When Nexus awoke, she found herself in a broken vessel, surrounded by a green landscape and a blue sky. She cautiously pushed her way out of the wreckage and found that the greenery was full of life and mana for her to absorb and restore her strength. She breathed it in and immediately felt refreshed. Once Nexus was replenished, she bent down to examine this strange ground. It felt and looked much like what was back on her home, only colored strangely. In fact, a lot of things were quite similar. There were trees and buildings, a sea and a sky. And yet while it was similar, it was all still so very strange to her. Nexus examined the field around her, bright and healthy. There was a forest nearby, although she didn’t think it wise to venture there just yet. To her left was a sandy terrain followed by a large body of water, and further along the field were some buildings- although they appeared to be crumbling. It looked very much like an old village, except in a design that Nexus was unfamiliar with.
After examining her surroundings, she remembered what she had seen and been through. Her home was now gone, and it seemed that this was where she was left to live. Nexus crossed her arms and held herself. She couldn’t help but feel guilty for what had happened. Perhaps if she had taken Aeie away by force and taken Cale with her, she wouldn’t have been so alone. But now everything was gone, and all that was left of the Ecorian people was herself.
Just then, Nexus began to wonder- Was this planet uninhabited? Did anyone live here? As if to answer her question, a roar was heard in the forest, and Nexus turned to see a large unknown beast charging toward her. It had bucked teeth, whiskers and a long tail. Nexus didn’t have a weapon, so she had no choice but to fight with her powers. Nexus lifted her hands and first attempted to get into the beast’s mind, but because it was so unfamiliar to her, she could not, and instead was struck by the creature. She fell over and noticed her arm beginning to bleed. Nexus quickly came back to and tried again, this time mustering a strong gust of wind to blow the enemy away. She threw it against a large nearby rock, and the creature fell to the ground; battered, but not dead. Nexus again attacked, this time with a sort of surge of pure energy. She struck the creature with her attack, and again the creature fell down. It had not been defeated, but the beast did abscond back into the forest, as it had been severely hurt. Nexus returned from a fighting stance to a relaxed one. From the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of another creature- a smaller, passive one this time.
Not all the creatures are the same? She wondered, making her way toward the village. There, Nexus discovered that there were no lifeforms there- however there were plenty of rooms and places for her to rest if she so chose to. Some of the buildings in the village even had libraries and food, even running water that came from an odd apparatus that she’d never been familiar with. This place was ever so strange!
Interested in what the books contained, Nexus took one in her hands and opened it. The letters were very strange to her- unlike anything she’d ever read or seen. They were angular, yet rounded. All pushed together, as well. She’d read many books before, but this place was clearly unknown to her universe, as none had ever written about a language or world like this. Nexus flipped through the book’s pages and caught sight of some pictures of odd little creatures with wings that were petite and had pointed ears like her kind. There was a name for these creatures printed underneath the pictures:
F A I R I E S.
She did not understand the letters in the least which frustrated her. Of course, since she was alone aside from those creatures, perhaps she could attempt to learn this language? Nexus closed the book and laid it back on the shelf from which she grabbed it. She decided to further explore her home and see if she could collect every book she found and put it into one place as her sort of own personal library. What Nexus found, was a plethora of them. It was quite a discovery!
Cale would have loved this, Nexus thought to herself, smiling weakly at the memory of him.
Soon, the young Ecorian girl had collected a massive stack of books. Although she felt overwhelmed, she realized that there wasn’t much else to do otherwise, so perhaps it would be best to learn what she could about this world and their people through such books.
For the first year, Nexus had a very hard time. She only had pictures to guide her, but she soon was able to pick out what some words meant as they had a connection to a specific thing. She learned the names of a few animals, although nothing in those books mentioned the horrible beasts that she began to encounter. In fact, she didn’t think they belonged on that world at all, and began to wonder if they were the reason this world was void of life.
Not all animals, she found, were like the beasts, and those were the ones she was able to kill and eat. She drank water from the strange apparatuses in every home, as the water in the sea was too salty. Every so often, one of those beasts would come into the village, and Nexus would have to go scare it off so that she could protect her new home. Her powers became a little more developed, and she was soon able to control a few of the animals’ minds for a short period of time. Nexus was also able to draw the water from the sea to help her in battle a few times, as some creatures would occasionally rise up from the water to threaten her.
On her second year, Nexus had learned how to keep track of time and learned basic conversational skills, although could only speak it brokenly as she had much trouble pronouncing many of the consonants. She felt that she could do better, but at the same time proud at her miraculous improvement. While there was much she still did not understand, Nexus finally learned a bit about the lifeforms on this planet- they were called humans, and they were very pale creatures compared to her. They had a lot of color to them as well, and they came in many different shapes and sizes. She found that there were many different places that humans lived in their world-apparently called Earth, and that each region had their own fair share of colorful people with different cultures and backgrounds and histories. It was all very fascinating to Nexus, who found herself very much intrigued by this world. But one mystery that arose in the back of her mind was what exactly had happened to the humans. As far as she knew, there were none around, even though they clearly once lived here. Had they gone to another “country”? Had they disappeared? Did those creatures have anything to do with it?
What a mystery it was!
Although Nexus found herself lonely most of the time, she also enjoyed learning and growing in this new world. Their Wakes and Rests were half the size compared to those on her own planet, which allowed her to stay up twice as long and learn much more!
Nexus never slept in the same bed, either. She liked to try out all of the different beds in each home and room. Some were comfortable, but others were too loud or too stiff.
It seemed to her that she’d never really have anything more to look forward than this. Every Rest [which she found was called a “Night”!], Nexus would lay on her bed and think about the past. She thought about her home, her father her Queen and her friend. And she always replayed old memories of Cale; the times she spent with him, laughed with him, loved him so. He’d always be the last thing on her mind when she fell asleep. Unfortunately, whenever she woke, she’d always forget momentarily where she was and expect to see her old room. But this was not the case.
Nexus was heartbroken at the loss of her kind, her civilization and family. However, she did not let it stop her from living. She missed everyone, and she was so angry at those responsible, but what could she have done? All that was left to do was survive, and that she intended to do. Nexus’ plan was to traverse this world in hopes of finding human life once she had learned enough about them. She wanted nothing more than to see a face, even if it wasn’t familiar to her. Anything was better than being alone forever.
One day, Nexus had decided to take a break from her studying and walk along the sandy terrain near the village. The sea before her calmly waved back and forth in a rhythmic motion. The crashing of the waves were surprisingly soothing to her. She’d never heard a sound much like it before, as the bodies of water back on her planet Ecoria were very serene and tranquil. It had not been long before Nexus stopped where she was and perked her pointed ears up. Had she heard something?
She turned her head in different directions, listening closely. However, whatever she thought she heard, she did not hear again and so she continued to walk. But within a minute, she heard it once more-closer, this time. It sounded like shouting and roaring. Like a struggle of some sort.
What is going on? She wondered. Nexus followed the sounds of struggle over a hill and eventually saw a sight that she’d never expected to see in all the time she’d been on this planet. There were three large beasts, much like the ones she had seen before, but there were other creatures too- four of them, fighting the large monsters with weapons and unusual powers. Nexus saw that they were in need of assistance. She was cautious to lend her help, but she wanted to know just who these humanoid beings were, so she decided to step in with her own powers and help these four beings destroy the monsters. To say the least, they were very surprised. As soon as they laid their eyes on Nexus, they immediately stopped what they were doing. Nexus, however, did not. She summoned a blast of energy and shot it out at one of the large beasts. It yelped in pain, but as always, it did not die. She jumped backward and blew a gust of wind at the other two creatures to stop them from harming the four lifeforms.
“Are they…helping us?” One of the smaller lifeforms spoke with confusion.
Nexus sprayed some mist into the air to confuse the creatures, and then quickly attacked them with a surge of energy. Again, they didn’t die.
“Well they’re never gonna get rid of them that way!” A second lifeform spoke. They summoned an arrow seemingly from thin air and attacked one of the creatures with it. Much to Nexus’ surprise, the creature was defeated this time. But instead of falling over dead, the creature disappeared, while two separate ones- a smaller harmless version of the beast and a jelly-like creature appeared in its place. Another one of the group attacked the jelly-like creature with her bell while the others turned to the remaining two beasts. Nexus turned to the other lifeforms who, as if giving her a nod of approval, jumped into action along with her. One of the lifeforms jumped over the second beast and attacked them with lightning. Another, carrying a whip, lashed out at the final beast. The lifeform with the arrow shot the jelly-like creatures that arose from their bodies and then withdrew her weapon. So too did the others.
Nexus stared at the beings before her. They all seemed to have animal’s parts protruding from their heads or backs, and they all were colored differently. One predominantly yellow and onyx, one blue and white, one yellow and orange, and the last, pink and a very dark blue. When she really looked at them, she realized that they were indeed human…but somehow so very different than what she had read about.
*"Ieuqer eus ay’nn qo’uo cqyeu?” she questioned. “ia’ze?”
However Nexus received no answer, only puzzled looks. She realized that she had spoken her own language by mistake, not quite in the habit of trying to speak the other language regularly just yet. She corrected herself this time, although with trouble.
Realizing that she might have some knowledge of their language, the lifeforms tried to interact with her.
“Who are you?” The pink-haired lifeform spoke. Nexus had never had much practice at speaking, hearing or learning the words in their language verbally, so she didn’t quite understand her all too well. However, she did try to speak back. But all she could manage was
“Enexuh???” The lifeform with wings repeated poorly. “Is that a…a name or something?”
“I…” Nexus tried to recollect what she had learned. “Nay..ehm…”
“This is no good, we can’t understand her!” The sunny colored mew sighed. “What should we do?”
They can’t understand what I’m trying to say! Nexus thought. She bit her lip in thought and soon came up with an Idea. She waved her hand towards the direction of the village she had been staying at and began to walk. Nexus turned to see if they would follow, but they simply stood there in confusion.
“Fo…” Nexus tried again. “Foh….fohloh?”
“I…think she’s trying to say ‘follow’?” The electric being supposed. “She wants us to follow her?”
“What’s going on?”
Nexus looked around, surprised to hear a voice different in pitch- almost male. But she didn’t know where it came from. She watched as the other four beings spoke as though he were there- like an imaginary man.
“Akio, there’s this…alien or something here,” the pink haired being spoke. “She helped us fight off some Chimera anima but now she wants us to follow her? What should we do?”
“Hm…” the voice pondered, and Nexus blinked in confusion. “If she’s not going to hurt you, I don’t see why you shouldn’t go with her. Just be on your guard.”
“Can do, ace,” The being spoke back. The other girls nodded at Nexus, letting her know that they would follow. She understood this and guided the group to the village she had been staying at. She took them into the house that she had collected all of her books and writing material. There, Nexus pulled out an empty booklet and a writing apparatus and began to write out what she intended to say. Although she was not well versed in the language, she knew how to read and write it in a way that they might be able to understand.
Nexus’ handwriting was sloppy, but legible. She scribbled the word
N E X U S
Onto the paper.
“Nexus?” the winged girl questioned, turning to the alien. “Is that your name?”
Nexus handed the girl the writing apparatus, and she took it with bewilderment.
“I think she wants us to communicate through writing,” The sunny girl spoke.“ Here, let me try.
N A M E ?
Nexus nodded and smiled.
The other girls thought it best to write their names as well, and Nexus found out who they were: Niji, Hikari, Chrysalis and Hotaru. And apparently, the male voice she heard was named Akio!
Nexus had one question to ask:
A R E T H E R E O T H E R S
To which Niji simply wrote
Y E S.
When Nexus asked “Where”, the girls pointed up, as if to say in the sky. At first, Nexus did not understand the gesture, until she realized that perhaps they meant in the stars- in space.
C A N I G O
The girls then looked at each other with worry.
“Akio,” Niji called. “Nexus, the alien is requesting to come with us to our colony. Should we let her?”
Akio was silent for a moment. However, he soon responded with a simple
“That will be fine.”
Niji wrote in the notebook:
Y E S
And Nexus beamed. She was excited to see actual humans after so long of being alone, and finally getting to see how they live thrilled her further. The girls led her to their craft and motioned for her to board it. Nexus examined the ship, which although it was slightly different, looked much like the ships back on her home. Nexus had brought along the journal and writing apparatus in the case that she might need it. Her heard began to pound as they ascended and she caught sight of the human’s Earth. It was much larger than any planet she’d seen in books back home.
“This is really crazy,” Chrysalis exhaled, crossing her arms. “One alien is enough. But two?”
“Oh relax,” Niji responded. “She doesn’t seem like she wants to hurt us at all.”
“She looks excited, actually,” Hikari noted, gazing at Nexus. “I…think. I can’t tell with those glowing eyes of hers…I wonder where she’s from.”
“Probably somewhere far away!” Hotaru giggled. “Like in another galaxy!”
“Is that even possible?”
“Yeah, my sister used to watch a whole buncha sciency shows and they said that there were lotsa universes and galaxies out there!”
“I wonder what else is out there in that case!” Hikari shivered. “There could be tons of dangerous species!”
“There’s always gonna be danger,” Chrysalis scoffed. “You just have to know when not to let the fear get to you but also know when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.”
Hikari pouted at her teammate. She hated being reminded of her fear.
“Well, I doubt we’ll have to worry much about this one,” Niji said. “And if she does pull anything, we’ll be ready.”
The group soon landed back on the colony and departed their craft. They were greeted by Akio. His heart nearly stopped when he caught sight of Nexus.
“Goodness, she’s very…” he began, but trailed off. Akio shook his head.
“I’m sorry, I’ve just never seen anything like that before!”
“It’s okay, we were pretty surprised too,” Niji admitted. “So, what should we do with her?”
“Well, we should probably get her back to the lab,” Akio suggested. “Quickly, so that nobody sees.”
“You didn’t tell the captain about this?” Chrysalis questioned. Akio chuckled nervously.
“No…I didn’t…really want to tell him right away,” he admitted. “I wanted to meet this alien beforehand and get to know more about them before blabbing to the captain.”
“You know that could get you in trouble, right?” Hikari reminded him, putting her hands on her hips
“Oh relax, he’ll be fine,” Niji replied. “Besides, I do want to get to know more about her myself! Don’t you?”
None of the girls could disagree.
“So it’s settled, let’s get her into a room at the lab,” Niji went on. Akio led the group quickly into the laboratory, where the girls made their way through some hallways and eventually into a large room Full of old equipment. The young man locked the door and stood against it.
“I don’t think anyone saw us,” he mused. “So we should be fine.”
He pushed forward and walked around to a table in the middle of the room. There was a clipboard with a list of stock in the room they were in which he pushed aside to make room. The other girls crowded the table as Nexus sat across from him. Akio bent to the side and dug through some old gear to pull out a mid-sized flat device.
“What’s that?” Hotaru questioned, tilting her head.
“It’s an old laptop,” Akio answered, opening the apparatus. “None of the lab workers have used these in a long time since they upgraded to more efficient computers, so the ones they had were stored here. Have none of you ever used one before?”
“Not really,” Hotaru shrugged. “My parents thought I was too young for computers yet.”
“And my grandma never had a lot of tech in the house,” Hikari added.
“I had the latest stuff, so I never used those things,” Chrysalis mentioned.
“I used one when I was a kid,” Niji shrugged. “Why’d you pull it out, anyway?”
“For Nexus to type on,” Akio answered. “It’s much faster and easier to read than writing, isn’t it?”
“Good idea!” Hotaru admired.
Once Akio started the computer up, he opened a program to type in, typed some text, and turned the device toward Nexus, She squinted her eyes to read it:
Y O U C A N W R I T E I N H E R E W I T H T H E L E T T E R E D K E Y S
C A N Y O U T E L L U S A B O U T Y O U R S E L F ?
Nexus took a look at the keyboard before her, read the text and soon began to type. When she finished, she turned the computer around. The mews leaned in beside Akio to read her message.
I A M N E X U S
I A M A E C O R I A N.
M Y P E O P L E A R E D E A D.
I W A S S E N T O F F I N S H I P
T O F I N D P L A N E T T O S U R V I V E ON.
The mews gasped in surprise, while Akio remained grave. He realized that this was the being that had crashed onto their planet some years ago. Not Ehne.
T E L L M E M O R E
For the rest of the day, Nexus spent her time conversing on the laptop with the others, telling them about her home and her family, her past, how she lost her home and how she got to Earth. She told them what she knew, about her powers and what she had learned over the two years she’d been living in their world. The Mews were amazed at what she had to say, and Akio deeply fascinated. When Nexus finished with her story, the Mews each shared theirs. They explained the tragedy that had befallen the human race, how they were forced to survive on colony ships in space, and about the Mew Project that Akio had created to fight off the threat.
Nexus was astonished at how much the humans were fighting to protect their world, and she only wished that she had been able to do the same for hers. However, she did not look down. She kept her head up and refused to show weakness. She wanted to keep strong as her family had been even in their last moments.
Akio then took notes on Nexus- everything he had learned about her and everything he noticed He offered to teach Nexus their language, which she happily agreed to. The captain was notified of the situation, and although he at first intended to have her tested and confined, Akio convinced him otherwise and was given permission to keep after her, which he did. It took months, but Nexus got a proper teacher and was able to pick up the language much better. Because she had to translate her own language as well, Akio even got to learn a few words and phrases from hers. Nexus always smiled to herself when he showed such childish interest in learning as much as he could. It reminded her very much of Cale, and she felt as though if ever there were a human equivalent to him, it would be Akio.
Now and again, The Mews [whose titles Nexus had also learned over time], would visit the two and help Nexus practice her speaking skills, while also learning more about her old life on Ecoria.
Along with learning their language, Nexus showcase her abilities to the others. She could control wind, mist and spiritual energy that she explained came from the mana of living things of which her kind harmlessly drew. The other mews found her abilities impressive.
Within a few months, Nexus was well versed in their language and could communicate with her new friends without too much trouble. Some words still escaped her, but for the most part, she was easy to understand.
One day, Akio approached Nexus with a wrapped box- A present, Nexus figured.
“What is it?” She questioned, taking the item from him.
“Open it and find out,” Akio laughed. The Mews were there beside him, smiling and giggling.
Nexus opened the present and found two black and blue castanets. She picked them up and examined them with interest.
“What are these for?” She proclaimed curiously.
“They’re weapons for you to use!” Hotaru bounced. “Akio made them for you and we helped!”
“Well, we wrapped the present, anyway,” Chrysalis chuckled, putting a hand on her hip.
“Why are you giving this to me?” Nexus asked, confused.
“Because,” Akio began, smiling. “We want you to join our team.”
“Well, yeah, of course!” Niji chimed. “You’re a great fighter, and we could use someone like you on our team.”
“These would be your Blinding Castanets,” Akio explained. “They’ll help you channel and amplify your powers. I made them myself with your DNA and some genetic altering. It took quite some time to match sequences, since your code is much different than ours or what we’re used to. But though you have not undergone the Mew transformation process, you can still use them as the mews do. You can summon them, dismiss them and use them to actually be able to defeat the Chimera anima as you couldn’t before because you were not then genetically altered to do so.”
“You…did this for me?” Nexus asked with astonishment. “You really want me to help?”
“Well, we’d like you to,” Hikari responded, smiling. “But it’s your choice. I know you’ve been through a lot, so we’d understand if you’re not in the position to.”
Nexus hung her head. She thought of how both she and they had lost their homes. But they still had a chance to survive. She realized that she didn’t want her new friends and their race to experience the same loss of their species because of a tyrant. She picked her head up and smiled.
“Thank you,” she gratified. “I’ll do it. I’ll join your team… as I don’t want you all to have to go through the same pains that I have.”
Akio put a hand on her shoulder.
“Is it really what you want?” He questioned.
“Yes,” Nexus assured him. “I will help you take back your planet from the other lifeforms that have invaded it.”
“Sooo…it’s official?” Hotaru questioned.
“Yup,” Chrysalis chuckled. “You’re a Mew now, Nexus. Welcome to the team.”
“Oh ,yay!” Hikari giggled, lightly bouncing up and down. Niji grinned at her new teammate.
“I know you don’t need an alias to protect your identity,” she started, “But you aren’t a mew until you got a mew name!”
“Ooh,ooh, how about Mew Galaxia!” Hotaru excitedly suggested.
“Nah, we’ve already got Mew Spectral Galaxy,” Hikari shook her head.
“Mm..Mew Moon?” Niji pondered.
“Uh, hey, I’ve already got the lunar thing goin’ here,” Chrysalis pouted.
“How about Mew Nebula?” Akio inquired. Everyone turned to Nexus for a response, and she simply smiled and nodded.
“Mew Nebula it is!” Niji giggled. “Welcome to the team!”
“It’s gonna be sooo cool working with an alien!” Hotaru gleefully exclaimed. “Ehne won’t know what hit her!”
Nexus chuckled at first, but she soon tilted her head and lowered her ears.
“But what of other humans?” She proclaimed, cupping her hands. “Are they not to be made known of who I am? What will they think of me?”
Chrysalis shook her head and crossed her arms.
“Nexus, trust me, people are gonna love you,” She assured her new friend. “You’re like this super powered alien who’s fighting for us instead of against us. How could they not?”
“I suppose.” Nexus closed her eyes. “But in my experience, I’ve met with other races before and have experienced my fair share of….decsripation?”
“Discrimination,’ Niji corrected.
“Yes, thank you,” Nexus nodded, opening her eyes again. She dropped one hand to her side and bit her other thumb. “Not all beings in all species have been so kind as you.”
“Hey, don’t worry about that!” Hotaru spoke up. “Everyone’s got something to say, but you know what, forget ‘em! You’re way cool!”
She punched the air.
“And if anyone’s got a problem with you, they’ll have to answer to all of us!”
The alien girl giggled.
“Thank you, my friends. I very much apprecate it.”
“You mean appreciate!”
The Ecorian girl was then put before a camera to be broadcast to the other colonies. She was nervous, to say the least, but still managed to smile and show the other humans that she only meant well. Everyone was very much surprised to see her- black skin, glowing eyes, pointed ears and all. But when she spoke to them about her people and told her story, they couldn’t help but sympathize with her and feel happy that they had her on their side. When the broadcast was over, Nexus walked with Akio who intended to guide her to the Mews’ cabin. But on the way, they ran into some children who stopped them. Having been awestruck by what they just saw, they crowded the young alien girl with amusement and wonder.
“Your hair is really pretty!”
“Can you shoot stuff out of your hands?”
“Where are you from?”
And Nexus couldn’t help but laugh. She felt assuaged that the humans were not so afraid of or deterred by her presence and hoped that she would do her best to protect them, along with her new friends.
After a while of spending time with the children, she continued on with Akio.
“They really seem to love you,” He noted. “Were you scared?”
“I was worried,” Nexus admitted. “I did not know what to expect but…knowing that I am not seen as scary or as bad person by them makes me happy.”
The duo eventually reached the cabin where the other mews were already waiting.
“Hey, what took you so long?” Hikari inquired. “Did you get lost?”
“We ran into some kids who wanted to talk to her,” Akio responded. He turned to Nexus and motioned his hand as if presenting something.
“Well, this is it,” he said. “I really hope you’ll be comfortable here.”
“Thank you,” Nexus smiled. She looked around the room at all of her friends, gathered together and grinning at their new teammate. While she did not have her old home anymore, she knew that this place and these people were her new home and family, and she’d do anything to protect them and their kind so that they may not have to face the same fate as her people. Right there and then, Nexus felt at peace. She now had a life with a new family to look forward to. She would live, as her lover, her mother, father and cousin wanted her to.
*Ieuqer eus ay’nn qo’uo cqyeu? ---> You are the inhabitants of this planet?
(ee-eh-ker ∙ ey ∙ ahn∙ ko-eh∙ skeh)
ia’ze? ---> Right?
Created by AnnikaDoll