When Hyuga met Yui

[10.26.00] » by Chad 'Graeystone' Harger

Author's note: This is sort of the unofficial, official prequel to a previous story called 'The Real Ricdeu.' It is not required reading so you don't have to read that one to understand this one. Although it would be nice if you did so, it would give me a big ego boost. Age wise Hyuga and Yui are in their early twenties at the beginning of the story. Its just a rough guess cause I don't feel like doing the math :P. I'll shut up now.


She lays on the floor with her back to leaning against the wall. How she got to this house she does not know. She only knows she felt drawn to this place, as if it was familiar in some way.

She is slowly dying. For three days she is slowly bleeding to death, her body slowly going numb. What the worse thing is the coldness of this house. She hated the cold with a passion. Normally she would have used Ether to heal her wounds, but if she did, those who are after her would find her very quickly. She thinks about her life and how odd that she would never know the touch of a man.

She hears a door being opened and sees a shadow come toward her. She hopes the person who owns this place is compassionate. Slowly she lifts her head and whimpers as a tear rolls down her cheek. Before her stands the one who had wrought this. He inhales sharply and draws his weapon. She closes her eyes awaiting for death to come. She curses herself for crying uncontrollably. It is not fair to die like this, to die in a strange land while all alone. She feels sharp cold metal against her neck. She takes one last slow breath and

Yui woke up and stared into the dark room. It was the third time she had the dream this week. She knew it was not a regular dream but a vision from her prophetic abilities. Ever since her abilities first manifested themselves and she discovered she could sometimes have glimpses of the future. Whenever a dream would repeat itself three times in exact detail, Yui knew it was a sign of things to come. She had hoped and prayed that she would never see her own death. Here it was anyway, the way she would die. Alone in a strange land with her killer before her.

"Lights low," muttered Yui. Her darkened room lit up with a soft light. Slowly Yui got up and started to pace. She noticed in her reflection the full length mirror she got on her eighteenth birthday from Queen Zephyr. Yui looked at her naked reflection in the mirror. The low light caused the sweat on her body shine. Yui placed her arms around her mid-section to hold herself. Closing her eyes she imagined a man coming up behind her and embracing her, not in a sexual way, but in way that took away the loneliness and darkness she felt about herself. She felt as though a warm light was shining upon her. In her fantasy she smiled and heard her lover say, "I love you Yui," and, "We will always be together," and "Yui please report to the Queen's Office, Yui please report to the Queen's Office."

Yui snapped out of her fantasy and her face warmed up with embarrassment. She noticed the sun shining through her window and wondered how long she stood in front of the mirror. She became suddenly afraid that she was losing it. All of her life she was alone, from being an orphan on the surface to not being able to find a man to spend her life with.


In the Elements private headquarters Hyuga stood outside on the building's third floor balcony. It was night and Hyuga stared at the stars. It was always what he did when he just wanted to be alone. He felt comfortable in the night. It was like an intimate lover who did not have to ask him what was bothering him.

What was bothering him was enough to make him give up this life he had chosen for himself. What should have been a simple spy mission ended up more complicated on the emotional level. What the others did not know was that he is the Guardian Angel to Emperor Cain. He was ordered to keep an eye on the other Elements because they were wildcards to the Gazel Ministry and Emperor Cain. He fought and bled beside them and forged a bond with them and at the same time he had to keep the others at arm's length. What would happen if he was ordered to assassinate one of them?

Then there was this feeling he was having lately. Hyuga felt as though someone was calling or reaching out to him. In a way he felt helpless about it. It was like listening to someone through a communications device who needs help but not knowing to talk back to them. Hyuga finally chalked it up to stress. If and when this mission ended he was going to ask Emperor Cain for a vacation.

Hyuga took a sip of the drink he held in his hand and wish he had not. It was a typical Jessie drink. Hyuga swallowed hard and was left with the feeling of drinking Gear fuel. Hyuga had been through fifty types of hell in his life but Jessie's drinks had to be one of the worst.

Hyuga turned his attention to the stars. Lost in thought he did not hear footsteps behind him. "That is a good imitation of wallflower," said Miang.

Hyuga turned to her and frowned. For some reason when he was near her he stopped thinking. Although he did not know it, it was his unique Ether ability trying to protect his mind from mental intrusion. What he did know was what the Emperor told him about Miang. "Out of all of them, she is the one I trust the least." When Hyuga did his initial investigations of the others he was forced to agree. While everything about Miang looked real there was something about her that was fake. Hyuga was tempted to tell her about these strange feelings but decided not to. The Emperor was right. She was not to be trusted. Why that was he had yet to find out.

Hyuga took another sip of Jessie's concoction and slightly grimaced. "You need something?" he asked.

Miang took a drink from her glass. It was water, noted Hyuga, not one of Jessie's drinks. That was another thing about Miang. She never drank alcohol. None of her medical records stated she had any health problems with it nor was she a recovering alcoholic. Neither did her behavior show that she was some kind of prude. Another sign that she was somehow fake. Miang smiled. "Sigurd passed out after the first drink and Kahr and Jessie are too plastered to think straight. I saw you out here alone and thought you needed some company."

"Thank you," said Hyuga. "Just thinking about things."

"Like what?" asked Miang.

Hyuga hesitated then decided to talk about it. Even if it was with this woman the Emperor did not trust. The last thing he wanted was to think he was growing paranoid. "Did you ever get the feeling that someone is well. . .reaching or calling out to you even though you cannot see that someone?"

Hyuga expected Miang to laugh at his foolishness. He was surprised instead that the permanent smile she had on her face outside of battle had faltered. He saw a glimpse of fear and hatred in her eyes that quickly vanished. After a moment of silence she said, "Well maybe it was me who reached out to you."

"I am flattered Miang," said Hyuga trying not to be disgusted by her flirting. Wether Kahr knew it or not Miang was dangerous in a way because she was almost always flirting with men whenever Kahr was not with her. "Maybe I'm just a little tired. If we ever get some quiet time I think I will find a deserted island on the surface and spend some time there."

Hyuga thought Miang looked hurt by his rejection. She did not say anything though and Hyuga was glad. "I am sorry Miang," he said. "I am just not good company tonight."

"Well I guess I'll take Kahr home," said Miang. "No use having our leader doing something foolish in a drunken stupor." Miang laughed which caused chills to go down Hyuga back.

Hyuga turned his attention back to the cold stars. The sun was starting to rise and the stars started to fade in the morning light. As the bright light made the starlight fade Hyuga thought to himself, 'What is happening to me? Am I going paranoid? Worse yet is my own Dark Side trying to devour me? If that happens will anyone be able to stop me?'


After showering and changing Yui went to the throne room of Shevat. There as usual sat Queen Zephyr the ruler of the floating city. To Yui, Queen Zephyr seemed to be the saddest person in the world. Although Queen Zephyr did tell Yui about herself and the history of Shevat, there was much she did not tell her like the betrayal of Sophia. Queen Zephyr smiled her sad smile and asked, "How are you this morning Yui?"

Yui bowed her head slightly and answered, "I am fine your Highness and how are you this day?"

Zephyr got up from the throne and started to walk. Contrary to what many people believed Zephyr spent more time walking around than sitting. Walking over to Yui, Zephyr placed her hand on Yui's arm like a mother comforting her daughter. "Yui, child, I know what you are feeling. Because your abilities, both Ether and non-Ether, you may feel things differently than other people correct?"

"Yes," answered Yui. "My emotions are more enhanced than other people I suppose. I remember when a close friend of mine died. I was crying so hard people thought I would need drugs to keep me from going into a depression. It was not the case. To me that level of mourning was the same as anyone else would feel in the same circumstances except on a different level."

Zephyr squeezed Yui's hand gently. "Exactly," she said. "Now tell me what it is that you feel now."

"It is nothing really," said Yui.

Zephyr laughed. "You remind so much of me when I was younger. I promise you I will tell nobody. This will be just between us girls, ok?"

Yui laughed for first time in days. Zephyr's choice of words made her lighter in spirit. "It is because I am alone," replied Yui. "I crave the touch of a man yet I can find no one. The wanting of that is so great it almost consumes me."

Zephyr smiled gently. "Yes, young love or the wanting of it," she said. "I know you have at least attempted to find a man correct?"

"Yes," answered Yui. "Those who I have dated do not understand that I feel things on a different level. They feel that I am too emotional for even a woman and that is what drives them away."

"It is hard," said Queen Zephyr. "When I undertook the life extending treatments I knew I would never be able to marry. You on the other hand are not bound like I am. You still have your short lifetime to find someone. I cannot believe you are the only who is unique. I am sure that somewhere out there is someone who is waiting for you. Remember what I told you that always prevails?"

Yui smiled. "Faith prevails no matter what," she answered. "And hope is in all of us that we should never give up."

"Now come," said Zephyr. "There is much we need to talk about. Your skills are needed once again and by skills I do not mean culinary."

Yui breathed deeply then exhaled. Another mission that dealt with her real job. While many people believed she was just the royal chef only a handful knew her real purpose in the court. She was also the best spy of the Shevat Intelligence Agency.


Three days had pass as Yui prepared for her mission. In the meantime Hyuga was also preparing for his mission. He stood before Emperor Cain awaiting for his orders. Emperor Cain, like Queen Zephyr, knew when one of his people was bothered by something. "Before we begin," said Emperor Cain. "I want to know how you are feeling."

Hyuga looked at Emperor Cain. Already the signs of decay were upon this clone. Hyuga knew that this particular clone had lived for two hundred fifty years. This Emperor Cain's skin was starting to turn yellow. The skin around Cain's face was starting sink giving his face a more skull like look. Last week his legs were amputated less gangrene set in. "Are you going to answer me?" asked the Emperor.

"I am sorry Emperor Cain," said Hyuga. "Lately I have been. . .distracted."

"I know you have grown close to the other Elements," said Emperor Cain. "Do not be alarmed about it. Deep down they are good people if only a little misguided. If Kahr actually believed what he says then I would gladly hand over the reigns of power to him. But alas it can not be."

Hyuga was taken aback by the Emperor's words. He wondered if this was a test of some kind. Gathering courage Hyuga said, "Sir, I am confused. Only you can be Emperor for no other is strong as you."

"Am I?" asked the Emperor. "What is strength without being able to do to is right Hyuga? It does not matter for now. I was just merely curious. Even though you have lied to me."

Hyuga swallowed hard. "I-I apologize Emperor Cain."

"I am not the Gazel Ministry my friend," said Emperor Cain. "The question is always unfair because I am the one who asks it. It matters not wether the answer to that question is right or wrong. The truth is I am stuck as Emperor. Enough brooding on my part Hyuga. It seems that you are the one who has more weight on your shoulder than needs be. . .and please answer truthfully."

"I do not know," answered Hyuga with a sigh of relief. He must be losing it if he lied to the Emperor. Something that would be anyone else's last mistake. "I feel as though I am losing myself. I have inadvertently become friends with the Elements. Lately I feel as though someone is reaching out to me. I am also afraid that my own Dark Side is consuming me."

Cain nearly jumped out of his throne. "Did you say you feel as though someone is reaching out to you? Stand still and do not move Hyuga!" Hyuga did what he was told and he was then enveloped by the Emperor's own Ether. Hyuga felt the Emperor's power wash through him. Then as soon as it started Cain's invasion stopped. Hyuga knew he was one of the most powerful people on the planet because of his abilities, although he did not know why, but still even the tiniest use of the Emperor's power made his own look like a breeze.

"I'm sorry," apologized Emperor Cain. "There is so much in this world that you do not know yet. There is a . . . force that would destroy us all. I know I can trust you Hyuga but it is not yet time to share such secrets with you. You have been through so much this past year and now I must add to that burden."

Hyuga became all business. "As you wish Emperor Cain. I assume there is a mission?"

"The SIA. . .meaning ours," said Emperor Cain with a smile. The intelligence organizations for both Solaris and Shevat shared the same abbreviation. The running joke was that when someone mentioned SIA the reply was always, "Which one?"

"Have they been infiltrated?" asked Hyuga. There were things kept in the SIA computers that if were to ever see the light of day would spell Solaris' downfall. Things that Hyuga himself had done if that were ever revealed would make his own death slow and painful.

"Not yet," answered Emperor Cain. "Our own spies in Shevat have reported that their best agent is preparing to infiltrate Shevat."

Hyuga's eyes widened in surprise. "The Shadow Wraith," he whispered. Ever since that particular agent's appearance in Solaris he or she had quite easily put the Solaris agency to shame. The only time people were able to see the mysterious Shadow Wraith ended up dead as he or she made their way through Solaris. Hyuga always wondered what type of person the Shadow Wraith was to be able to do what they did so easily. Hyuga always wondered if this mysterious person would be his equal in battle. "What are we going to do?" asked Hyuga.

"We are going to try and capture this person," answered Emperor Cain. "I arranged certain information to be planting into the SIA's computers. False information saying that a full scaled assault on Elru is being planned."

"That seems too easy," said Hyuga. "I doubt the Shadow Wraith will be easily fooled."

"Don't worry," said Emperor Cain. "We arranged enough security to make it not too easy. What we will try to do is chase this spy into the sewer systems. There you and ten of my personal guards will lay in wait for this Shadow Wraith."

"And then?" asked Hyuga.

"You know as well as I do the body count this person has made for themselves," answered Emperor Cain. "You may be in the fight for your life Hyuga."

"I understand," said Hyuga. He bowed then left the throne room. Emperor Cain looked upon the live video feeds from the Data Crystals strewn throughout the world and thought, 'Hyuga, what will you do if this Shadow Wraith is a woman? I saw your eyes light up when you realized your target. Will you fight to the death or being equals will you both destroy each other? If this person is a woman then will she be the one who will cure you of your curse of your Dark Side or will this battle be the one were it consumes you? I wish there was some other way. . .to be able to see into the future for such a small insignificant event. You my Guardian Angel. . .will you be one of the people who will help save the people of this world or destroy it?'


"This is not my weapon!" snapped Yui. She threw the metallic staff to ground. It bounced on the ground and the echo filled the narrow hallway in Solaris' capital. She moved around in the Solaris dress that First Class female citizens wore. Underneath her dress she wore a tight black outfit used by Shevat Intelligence for covert operations.

Her contact in Solaris, code named the Collector, made a hushing sound. "Keep it down will you? I'm sorry Yui but this is the best I can do. I think the SIA is on to me."

"You always say that every time you mess up!" retorted Yui. "You're job is to find our intelligence people the equipment while we are here! Don't tell me you are starting to slip!"

The Collector's face turned red."I'm not sure," he said. "I think Solaris is on to us. A few hours ago I got a piece of news from an informant. She said that SIA is expecting the Shadow Wraith. That is why everything was thrown together in a rush."

"Damn!" said Yui. "How bad does it seem? Do they know?"

"I dunno," answered the Collector. "I just get the stuff together. All I can say is be carful. There may or may not be a trap somewhere along the line."

Yui flashed a cold smile. She picked up the metal staff weapon and tried a few practice moves. "They have tried before," said Yui. "A staff can be as deadly as a sword. Solaris can send their best for all I care they will find that I'm not so easily defeated."

The Collector took a step back. He knew enough to argue with Yui when she was in this type of mood. "To continue," he said. "The retrieval point will be at cargo-bay 02. Don't forget that once you retrieve the data you will only have a hour to get back. Any questions?"

"Just one," said Yui. She stared right at the Collector. "You screwed up Collector. You never do that. If you betrayed Shevat and I, you had better be very far away if I find out." Yui pressed a button on the staff. It retracted into a small cylinder which she placed in a small pouch inside her tunic along with small data crystals and ID that would let her get past the security checks.

The Collector swallowed and got out of Yui's way. "No problem, ok?" he said. Yui ignored him and walked into the level three sector of Solaris and into a false Heaven.


Hyuga scanned the meeting room. Ten of Emperor's Personal Guards were here. "Your orders are to capture the Shevat spy known as the Shadow Wraith," said Hyuga.

"Isn't the Shadow Wraith a spy?" asked one of the guards.

"Yes," answered Hyuga. "We do not know who the Shadow Wraith is. All we know is that Shevat is sending this person to get some information from SIA's computer. What we will do is provide some false information. When we track the signal to the location we will then spring our trap. First we will try to chase the Shadow Wraith into the sewer systems."

A grown went around the room. "Come on Hyuga," said one of the guards. "You have got to be kidding. The sewers?"

Hyuga smiled. He had been down there once before and that was enough. Nortune's sewer system smelled like sweet flowers by comparison. "Sorry people," he said. "This is the only way to keep this operation quiet. Now some advice. Above all use caution. We are not to engage the Shadow Wraith until he or she is down in the sewers. You all have read the reports concerning the Shadow Wraith. This person is not to be underestimated."

"Is this a capture or kill operation?" asked another guard.

"We want to try to capture this person first," answered Hyuga. "But if any of you are backed into a corner use any means to survive. Any other questions?"

"What are our chances of a capture?" someone asked.

"Many traps have been laid out for the Shadow Wraith," said Hyuga. "All of them failed. This person is so good that we cannot even get a blood sample." Hyuga became grim. "I do not expect all of us to survive this mission."

No one objected or said anything else. They were part of the Emperor's elite guard. The only thing they feared was the Emperor himself, not even the Gazel Ministry or Krelian could give them orders.


Yui made her way through SIA's Headquarters after sneaking in through an unused service elevator. Using an experimental jamming device she was unseen by the monitors and senors. Although that was a plus Yui still did not push her luck. Twice she was almost seen by guards. With the guards she had to be very careful. She stuck with the shadows until she found what she was looking for. Using an electronic lock-pick Yui unlocked the cleaning storage room. Quickly changing into a custodian's work clothes, Yui grabbed some cleaning equipment and left the storage room.

Taking her time as a custodian normally would Yui made her way to the central computers. She hoped that the ID card that Collector gave her would work. Saying a short prayer to a God that may or may not exist Yui swiped the ID Card through the scanner. Relief flowed through her as the door opened.

Yui shivered as a blast of cold air hit her. The computers were so powerful that a liquid nitrogen generator kept the computers from overheating. She made her way to a work station and took data disks from the pocket of the custodian's outfit. She placed the disks into the drive and started to type the access codes that Collector gave her. She watched the data on the screen as it was being copied to the disks. It took five minutes for one of the passwords to work and another ten to find the right files.

Yui frowned when the data was collected. The data collecting missions were either too easy or too hard. This was the first time such a mission was 'just right'. A just right type of mission never happened unless someone made it happen. Yui placed the disks in her pocket. She gathered the cleaning equipment when out of nowhere she heard a familiar voice say, "Behind you!"

Yui ducked as the guard tried to hit her from behind. Yui turned and got up, she delivered a kick to the side of guard's head. The guard dropped and tried to get up and raised his gun. Yui grimaced and kicked the gun out the guard's hand. She got behind him and grabbed his head. Yui inhaled and twisted with all her might snapping the guard's neck. Yui picked up the gun and exited the computer room.

Yui composed herself and calmly as possible made her way toward the nearest exit. It was odd that she did not encounter anymore guards which could only mean a trap. Yui's features became grim and determined. With her enhanced emotions she looked like an avenging angel with a purpose of death.

Yui exited the building and was shot at. Snipers in the surrounding building fired at her but purposely trying not hit her but instead confuse her. The tactic worked and in her confusion she looked for the nearest escape route which happened to be an open manhole cover. Yui ran to the manhole and the sharpshooters gave her incentive to move quicker. She yelled in pain as she slipped on the ladder and nearly twisted her ankle.

Yui cursed knowing they had herded her into the sewer system. Solaris' sewer system were as bad at Shevat's. Yui grimaced trying to not be sick. She focused on the job at hand which was survival. She gritted her teeth knowing the game was over. Yui had another game she played with Solaris Intelligence, a game more deadly than the one they tried with her. Yui took the staff and extended it. She took the gun and pitched into the sewage, she was never that good with such weapons. She chose a direction and walked while promising that she would show Solaris how to play the spy game.


"Shadow Wraith is a woman," said the communication technician.

Hyuga looked over the technician's shoulder. "You sure?" he asked to be sure.

"Yes sir," replied the technician. He pointed to another monitor. "Here you can see the planted files being copied."

Hyuga looked the woman on the monitor. She seemed real familiar. "Try to get a match of her identity," ordered Hyuga.

The technician typed in a search command and waited. A few seconds later he got his match. "Uh. . .sir," he said. "I. . .think our files might be wrong."

"Explain," said Hyuga.

The technician swallowed hard thinking the information was wrong. He knew that the higher someone was in the government, the less forgiving they were of mistakes. He had heard so many rumors about Hyuga's temper and none of them were nice. "Well. . .sir she is Shevat's Royal Chef."

"Good job," said Hyuga.

The technician looked at the Hyuga with shock. "You mean. . ." he said, his voice trailing off.

"Yes, she is the Queen's personal chef. I do not remember her name off hand though. I wonder if she a good cook as she is a spy," chuckled Hyuga.

"I wouldn't know sir," said the technician. The technician looked another monitor that was tied outside of the computer room. "Damn!" he yelled.

Hyuga came close to swearing as he saw on another monitor a guard about to go into the computer room. His temper started to raise as he felt darkness start to rise within him. He watched the guard enter and spotted the woman. There was supposed to be no one there! The guard crept up behind Yui and tried to hit her with the butt of his gun. Hyuga tried his best not to be consumed by his Dark Side. He took controlling breaths and for some reason that was beyond him he thought, "Behind you!"

Moments later the technician said, "Sir, she killed the guard. Sir?"

Hyuga wiped the sweat from his forehead and saw the technician look at him with concern. "I'm fine," he said with a air of calm with he did not feel. "I've just been. . .a little under weather lately. Do not worry, I will be aright."

The technician knew better than to press the issue. "She's heading toward the nearest exit just like we predicted."

Hyuga gripped the back of the technician's chair and took his final calming breaths. Regaining control of himself, Hyuga said, "Remind the snipers to herd her the right way," he said. Some of his darkness still lingered when he said, "If any of the snipers get fortunate they will explain to me personally why such fortune should shine on them."

Hyuga left and the technician turned to watch him leave. The technician noticed where Hyuga had gripped the back of the chair. The technician swallowed seeing the dented metal in a three inch steel chair. Given Hyuga's and Shadow Wraith's track record the technician knew if they encountered each other anything less than a hard fought bloody battle would be a surprise.


Yui made her way down the sewer system. She did not even bother stick in the shadows. The sewers were too well lit. 'At least there are no sentry drones,' she thought without much humor.

Halfway down the tunnel she heard footsteps. She waited for whoever it was to come around the corner. She mentally reached out with the part her brain that allowed the usage of Ether and waited for her target. The Emperor's Guard came around the corner ready to fire, gun raised and finger on the trigger. He came around the corner laying out a strafing fire.

Yui raised her arm, fingers outstretched. "Air Razor," she whispered when the guard got in the right position. The air shimmered, became solid and vibrated with a hum in front of Yui's fingers. Air made daggers flew forward and pierced the guard's armor and knocked him backwards into the wall with such force that the wall cracked.

Yui started to move when she heard someone yell, "What the hell happened to him!"

Yui swore and went over the side corridor wall and stood against the wall as flat as possible. She closed her eyes and concentrated on her most unique Ether ability. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the Ether around her. The air closest to her shimmered and made Yui take a different form. She clenched her teeth as the Ether created illusion made her look like the wall.

Two more guards, one with a scanner cautiously walked around the corner. "Where is she?" asked the first guard.

"According to the scanner she should be right in front of us," answered the second guard with confusion.

The first guard tapped his scanner and moved closer to the wall. That close to the wall and he could see the illusion shimmer. "Damn," he hissed. He raised his gun and Yui moved. She grabbed the guard's arm and twisted it. The other guard fired at the same time and Yui forced the guard in her grip in front of her. The lasers struck the guard killing him. Yui raised the dead guard's gun arm and fired the gun at the other guard killing him.

Yui dropped the dead guard and took his gun. She never used guns that much preferring up close and personal battles. Yui knew she had no choice in the matter but to use it.

Yui rubbed her temples. The side effect of using too much Ether which can leave a person weak. Yui took the vial of Omegasol the Collector gave her and drank it. She felt her headache go away and the part of her mind that controlled Ether recharged.

Yui continued on her way making her way in and out of shadows of the dimly lit sewer system. She killed without regret or mercy, the guards's screams or expressions of horror did not move Yui at all. Yui fought the last guard. With surprising strength of one her size she picked up the guard and brought him down across her knee breaking the guard's back paralyzing him. She tried to put the guard out of his misery when someone said, "Impressive."


Hyuga left the hidden observation room in the sewers and followed the Shadow Wraith's trail. He shook his head seeing the Emperor's dead guards. Hyuga did not know how the Emperor would react when he found out.

Hyuga ran finally catching up with the woman. He caught up to her when he saw her break the last guard's back. "Impressive," he said meaning it. She turned to him and Hyuga saw an attractive woman, a woman who had been through battle as much as he did judging by her semi-haunted expression. Hyuga looked at her inquisitively having the feeling he knew her somehow. First he thought it was from the records like the one the communication technician showed him but it was not that. Her blond hair was a sign that she was of true Shevat blood.

Yui turned and looked at Hyuga. A tall attractive man with a long black hair tied in a single ponytail. His clothes were simple in design marking him as either a first or second class. The only thing marking him as anything but a lower class citizen was the sword on his belt. Yui felt something familar about this man. She tried to remember where thinking he was with some Solaris agency. He said she was impressive and it took a moment for Yui to realize he meant it. "Thank you," she said carefully.

"I'd ask for your surrender. I doubt you would," said Hyuga.

"No," replied Yui. She raised the gun she had picked up from one of the guards. "I doubt you'd forget I was ever here."

"Sorry," said Hyuga. "We were ordered to capture you one way or another."

Hyuga walked toward Yui and she raised her gun and fired. The laser just missed Hyuga's head. "I've killed enough this day. I don't want to kill anyone else," said Yui.

Hyuga dared a glance at Yui's hand. It was not shaking. She would kill him on the spot. What the woman did not know was that Hyuga used Senkei, an Ether ability that permitted him to move so fast he looked like a blur. Hyuga called Yui's bluff and moved toward her. Yui shook her head fired. Yui mouth open with surprise as the laser went passed were Hyuga stood.

Hyuga leaned against the wall. Smiling, he said in a matter of fact voice, "You missed."

"Son of a-" muttered Yui. She set the gun on rapid fire and tried again.

Hyuga became a blur dodging the blasts. He stopped at the same spot where he began when the gun ran out of power. "There is no way you can beat me," said Hyuga.

Yui glared at Hyuga then smiled. She tapped her left shoulder. Hyuga looked at Yui with confusion. Automatically his right hand raised and touched his left shoulder feeling a hole in the shirt. He looked at the hole then at Yui. "A first time for everything. I guess. I better start taking you seriously."

Yui became angry then calmed down realizing that this man was using psychological tactics. "Must be why I leave SIA agents dead all over the place. Now you people start taking me serious? I don't if I should be insulted."

"Words that cut," smiled Hyuga. "Those are not the only things that can cut." Hyuga drew his sword and pointed the end at Yui. "For the last time surrender. You do not want to face me in battle."

Yui was impressed by the man's bravery. "Words cannot only cut they also can bludgeon." Yui took the cylinder from the her inside breast pocket. She pressed the button and with the sound of compressed air escaping, metal extended forming a metal staff. Yui pointed one end of the staff at Hyuga. "Strange I was going to give you same warning."

Hyuga stood in a fighting stance. "No surrender?"

Yui moved into her own fighting stance. "No retreat?"

"You'll have to kill me," said Yui.

"Same with me," challenged Hyuga.

Man and woman, day and night, dawn and dusk, light and darkness, Solaris and Shevat. Different sides of the same coin. Hyuga and Yui waited patently for the other to make the first move. Even if Armageddon was upon them neither of them would even flinch. Moments turned into minutes and after the fifth minute Hyuga gave Yui a knowing look. Yui returned the looked with her own. Neither warriors yelled a battle cry in fear of disturbing what they both felt was the most perfect of silence. They ran toward each other with their weapons raised. The next sound was metal against metal echoing down the sewers like the sounds of the Gates of Hell being hit.


Unknown to Hyuga and Yui a private audience watched the whole scene play out. Those who ruled the world while waiting for the right time for the resurrection of Deus watched the best Solaris and Shevat had to offer prepare for battle. They knew that Yui would make quick work of Emperor Cain's Royal Guards. No one said anything until Hyuga and Yui ran into each other.

"What is he doing?" asked one of facets of the Gazel.

"He should have attacked by now," added another facet.

"Hyuga is no one's fool," said Miang. "Considering she actually connected with that gun is a surprise."

"Hyuga has been injured in battle before," said the facet that wondered why Hyuga was stalling.

"I have seen him in one on one situations just like that," explained Miang. "He was never hit. None of the blasts even came close."

"That does not answer the question of why he did not attack right away," said the main facet of the Gazel.

A second viewing screen appeared and Emperor's Cain face filled the screen. "Because his orders were to try to capture her first," said Emperor Cain with anger. "He also has a sense of honor that is beyond our understanding!"

Everyone turned to the Emperor. "Cain," said Krelian.

"Cain!?" asked the Emperor. "Since when were we on first name basis Krelian!"

"Gentlemen," said Miang. "This is not-

"Silence woman!" ordered Cain. "Lest I order the death of every woman on this planet! You fools with your stupid schemes and plots! Did you not think I would find out them out? You may believe you control my people but I still have some who are loyal to me!" Cain's image panned back and he held up the decapitated head of the communication technician. "Those who obey me are honored by me and those who betray me will die! One of the technicians in the palace recording the events in the sewers noticed a stray signal! The technician examined the stray signal he discovered a component in the cameras that were not in the original schematics! Much to my surprise. . .well not really surprising at all with all of you back stabbers that the signal was sent to you!"

Cain took a rasping breath. An Ether aura formed around the Emperor. "I am not a vengeful ruler," he said. "Yet there is one thing that I cannot forgive and that is betrayal. You all better pray that Hyuga loses because if he doesn't I am tempted send him after the lot of you!" Cain's aura became brighter. "It was agreed that we would not interfere with each others Guardian Angels unless it was absolutely necessary!"

"We are not interfering," said Krelian. "When we found out about the mission we were worried about Hyuga. This woman is not to be underestimated. Look at what she did to your guards."

Emperor Cain laughed. "Whoever said they were 'my' guards? I said traitors would be killed." Cain turned to the person who tempted the corrupt guards. "Isn't that right Grahf?"

"It is a good policy," said Grahf with just a twinge of anger.

"The power of this woman is incredible," said a facet of the Gazel Ministry hoping to change the subject.

"I feel that she does have unique powers," added Miang. "She might be the one we are looking for."

"Uh-huh," said Emperor Cain. "My body my be rotting but my mind is not! You do make a good point though. This woman might possibly be Miang's better half or an Anima."

"What if Hyuga kills her?" asked the main facet of the Gazel Ministry.

"Then we are wrong. Only the chosen can kill each other. That is not genetics or myth, it is fact," said Krelian.

"I doubt she a Mother," said Cain. "She does not resemblance Sophia," he purposely said just to spite Grahf and Krelian.

Grahf hissed and Krelian roped in his rage before it showed. "I suggest," said Krelian dryly. "That we watch and observe."

"You are correct," said Emperor Cain. "This is the final warning. If I ever hear of another deception again I will kill the originator without a second thought! If one of you dies then so be it! Anyone here planning on interfering with the battle better not follow through with it!"

No one replied knowing the Emperor meant it. While they each had their suspicions about this clone, Cain had used such threats before. Silently they return to watching the battle except for Miang who claimed she had an engagement with Kahr and could not watch.


Two hours passed and the two combatants were getting nowhere. They were too evenly matched and they moved so quickly that neither gave the other the chance to use Deathblows or Ether.

Halfway through the third hour they started to injure each other. Hyuga struck first piercing Yui's elbow cutting the vein enough to cause her to bleed. Minutes later Hyuga brought his sword over his head and swung it downward. Yui lifted her staff blocking the sword. Before Hyuga could move, Yui slid the staff down the blade and struck Hyuga in the head with such force that two small pieces of his skull broke and pierced his brain. Hyuga was fortunate that his strange abilities kept him from dying while Yui's superhuman will kept her arm from going limp.

The next hour passed without either making gaining the advantage over the other. Near the beginning of the fourth hour both started to make mistakes that would nearly cost them their lives. Yui managed to back Hyuga against a wall and he attempted to jump over her. Yui raised her staff and hit Hyuga in the left knee shattering it. Hyuga refused yell when he landed. Instead he twisted around and before Yui could turn, Hyuga cut her horizontally along her back. Yui felt her legs tingle after the blow. She hoped and prayed paralyzation would not set in. Stumbling, Yui tried to hit Hyuga with her staff using her injured arm. Hyuga managed a fortunate blow cutting her wrist when she had the staff raised.

In the final hour they both moved slowly. In years to come during his trial, Hyuga would say that he and Yui fought for six hours straight. Both were in shock in that final hour and Hyuga did honestly believe they fought hard. The truth was they both were swinging wild. More time than not they were not even facing each other. Yui managed the only blow. Hyuga had slipped on Yui's blood that soaked the floor. Trying to regain his balance he fell forward. In a moment of clarity Yui swung her staff hitting Hyuga in the ribs breaking three of them and causing the ribs to pierce his lungs.

Near the end of the battle Hyuga was on one knee and Yui laid against the wall. Two warriors looked at each other and knew the truth. They were dying. Neither of them wanted to lose and neither would surrender.

Hyuga looked at the woman who he admitted was his equal. It was such a pity they had meet in such a way. Yui had the same thoughts about the man before her. Hyuga looked at Yui with a warrior's look. Yui nodded and knew what came next.

Slowly and with the last of their strength and will, Yui and Hyuga stood up. They ignored the pain that would have killed a lesser person. They stared at each other and through unspoken agreement, which was actually the seed of the unique bond between them, they both prepared their most deadly Deathblow.

Hyuga inhaled deeply ignoring the fire that tore through his punctured lung. Taking what might be his last breath he focused Ether into his sword and when he was ready he charged Yui. He did not even get a chance to draw his sword when Yui, who had her staff in front of her, let go of it and it hovered vertically in midair. 'Flair Flash!' she thought.

The staff became bright as the sun and Hyuga scream as his eyes burned. His sword slipped out of his hand and he fell to the ground screaming and holding his face.

Yui never heard such screams and it nearly caused her cry. Stumbling away in shock Yui made her way out of the sewers. The screams bringing up images of past missions and battles that were violent.


"What happened?" asked Krelian. They all watched in silence the epic battle. Near the end they all wondered what kind of people Hyuga and Yui truly were to last so long with such injuries. They watched up to final moment where Yui had released her most powerful Deathblow. The light was so bright that the camera's digital imaging system could not handle the brightness and overloaded.

"The battle is over," said Emperor Cain. "I'm sending in a medical team to tend the wounded. Krelian, you to tend to the survivors. The medical people will stay with you until everyone is healed. Do not disappoint me Krelian."

Krelian knew what the Emperor really meant. Whatever plans he had for Hyuga and the woman were ruined. Krelian bowed slightly. "I understand Emperor," he said.


Yui attempted to use her healing Ether that she had dubbed Heart's Whisper. While the Ether did energize her and did bring some clarity to her mind and some of the bleeding did stop for now she was still in trouble.

Pain tore through her back as she climbed a ladder leading into the streets. It took three minutes to push the manhole cover out of the way. She had to use her good arm and somehow dragged herself out of the sewers. She forgot about her pain for a moment when she saw the stars in the sky. 'How long were we fighting?'

She thought of the saying about time flying while having fun. The ironic thought caused her to laugh. Her laughter became uncontrollable. When she finally got control she noticed she was somewhere else. She looked around the streets and knew she was in the First Class living areas. She tried to figure out how she got her. She could not remember at all and figured shock and fatigue caused the lapse.

Yui looked at the houses and wondered if someone would help her but she knew better. By now Solaris Military had to be looking for her. She spotted a house and for some reason was drawn to it. Without reason Yui stumbled to the house. She examined the windows and noticed one was slightly open to let fresh air in. Yui attempted to slide the window with her good arm but could not. She slid her staff underneath the window and pushed it. The window slid up giving Yui enough room to crawl through. Yui's wounded back scraped the wood around the window as she crawled though she did not to scream.

Yui crawled to a corner and leaned against it. She felt her eyes starting to close and fear shot through her. Yui forced her eyes to remain and tears fell down her face. Her greatest fears came true. Images of her parents protecting her while trying to get her to the shuttle to Shevat passed through her mind. Dying alone and while coldness was her only companion. Yui let go of her despair and cried.


The medics found Hyuga by following the echos of his screams. They tried to hold him down, finding it nearly impossible. "Damn it!" yelled a medic. The medics had to injected enough Morphint to put a demi-human out. "He should be out by now!"

"Then give him more," ordered Krelian.

"You can't be serious," said the medic. "Anymore could kill him!"

"If he dies then the Emperor will not be happy," said Krelian.

Fear came over the medic that had nothing to do with the Limiter. The medic shook her head. "If he dies then my report will state that I was ordered by a superior officer giving me a direct order to inject more drugs into the patient."

"If you save him, the Emperor will reward you," said Krelian.

"Lets see if we can save him first," said the medic. She took another syringe and filled it with Morphint and injected it into Hyuga's arm. It took three more doses to finally put him out.

At Krelian's lab, which he ordered cleared of any proof of his traitorous acts before he left for the sewers, the medic team placed Hyuga in Krelian's most powerful nano-reactor. The medic stretched and went over to a desk and sat down.

Krelian walked over to the medic. "You are done here," said Krelian. "You may leave."

"Sorry sir," said the medic. "I was ordered by the Emperor to stay here until Hyuga is healed up." The medic got up and walked over to the tank that held Hyuga. She checked the machine's scanners and whistled. "How long where they fighting?" she asked.

"That's classified," answered Krelian.

"Whatever," said the medic. "Then when did he get this injury?" she asked, pointed to the scan of Hyuga's head.

Krelian raised an eyebrow, the only display of surprise he would show. "That was early on in the battle. His attacker struck him in the head. Must have chipped his skull and punctured his brain."

"You think?" asked the medic in a sardonic tone. "By rights he should have been killed or in a coma."

Krelian ignored the woman. They all underestimated Hyuga's talents except maybe for Emperor Cain.

"Uh oh," said the medic. She pointed to another display. "The damage to his eyes, was that caused by Ether?"

"We're not sure," lied Krelian.

The medic shook her head. "If it is then he's going to have vision problems for the rest of his life."

"Explain," ordered Krelian. While he was a genius with genetics and nanomachines, he was no healer.

"Ether is known to play havoc on sensitive organs like the eyes. I'm guessing his eyes was exposed to an Ether induced bright light. If it was normal light we could repair the eyes no problem." The medic zoomed the screen in closer so they could actually see the nanomachines work. "Here the nanomachines try to repair the eyes but the Ether residue just cause the wounds to reappear."

"Will he go blind?" asked Krelian.

"Fortunately no," said the medic. "From what I've read about his medical records, Hyuga's Ether abilities should repair some of the damage. It will just leave him nearsighted. Just before he awakes I'm going to do a scan of his eyes to get him the proper prescription lenses."

"Fine," said Krelian without much enthusiasm. "When will he awake?"

"Factoring in Hyuga's own Ether ability and your nanomachines, three days," answered the medic.

Krelian looked at Hyuga. 'Who are you that you have such unique abilities? Who are you that cannot have a Limiter? What man and woman gave birth to you?' Those were questions he would never find out. Not in this life or when he died and went to be with God.


Hyuga floated in darkness for two days. On the third day he had the strange feeling of someone calling out to him. "Help me! I don't want to die. Cold. . .so cold!"

"Where are you?" asked Hyuga. "I have always wanted to help but I cannot unless you tell me where you are."

"Help me! Please don't let me die!" cried the voice in Hyuga's mind.

"No!" yelled Hyuga. "I won't let you die! Just talk to me!" Hyuga's body shook in the tank.

His heart rate increased and the medic saw it. A red light flashed indicating the patient was fully cured. She went over to a wall communicator. "Krelian," she said. "He's coming around."

"I'm coming," he said. "Please start the shutdown procedures."

"Yes sir," she said. She drained the tank of liquid and nanomachines. The glass tank rose and she helped Hyuga up.

"H-have to help her," he muttered.

"Don't struggle sir," ordered the medic while supporting him. "I have your clothes with me. They were repaired also."

"Where am I?" asked Hyuga while putting on his clothes.

"In my lab," said Krelian. "It was my equipment that saved you."

Hyuga's lip curled in anger. "If you think I'm in your debt then forget it."

"Emperor Cain ordered it," said Krelian with just a hint of displeasure.

"It must burn you up inside knowing you were ordered to save me," said Hyuga. While in public the two men had to put on the appearances of cooperation in private they did not like each other.

"My feelings do not matter," said Krelian. "The Emperor must care for you."

"My relation with the Emperor is none of your business," replied Hyuga. To the medic he said, "I think I can stand now."

The medic let go of Hyuga and he stretched and walked a little bit to regain his balance. It was then he noticed everything faraway was a blur. "My eyes," he whispered.

"I'm sorry sir," said the medic. "You were hit by a blinding light caused by Ether. The Ether residue in your eyes prevented healing by nanomachines."

Krelian walked over with a small case. "Try these on," he said.

Hyuga looked the medic for confirmation. Being around Krelian, paranoia was not a bad thing. She nodded and Hyuga took the case. He opened it and put the glasses on. He felt his eyeballs being sucked back into his head. He raised his hand to use Sazanami but the medic stopped him. "Sorry sir, I can't recommend that. You have to bear the pain until yours eyes adjust."

Hyuga sighed. At least the glasses were a perfect fit. "You look more like a scholar than a warrior," said an deep oily voice behind him.

The medic looked and gasped and Hyuga turned. "You," he hissed. Hyuga felt his Dark Side immediately rise within him. "What the hell are you doing here."

"I was curious to see what damage the woman did to you," said Grahf. "Guardian Angel Hyuga brought down by a woman. . .a chef of all things."

Hyuga tried to reign himself in. Hyuga was honest with himself, he did not like the killing and assassinations. He had nightmares almost every night. Grahf on the other hand was a pure killer. A psychopath who got off on killing. The first and last time the two worked together they almost got into a fight in Elru when they were ordered to assassinate a traitor. Grahf wanted to kill not only the traitor but the traitor's family. That was were Hyuga drew the line. He nearly killed a scientist's child and after that he swore he would never allow the innocent to be caught up in politics and grand schemes again.

"Jealous?" asked Hyuga. "If you were with me in the sewers the target would take one look at your horrid face and run away in terror."

Grahf hissed through his mask. "You do not know your place worm," he said. "You are strong but you have not been touched by-

"Grahf!" snapped Krelian. In a rare moment Krelian became angry. "Unless you are here for reason please leave! Hyuga is my patient and he does not need any stress!"

Hyuga knew Krelian stopped Grahf from finishing whatever it was he was going to say. Krelian was more interested in keeping secrets than Hyuga's well being.

Grahf shook his head. "As I said, I wanted to see Hyuga. . .nice glasses for the Emperor's pet." Grahf turned and left the lab.

"What did he mean by touched?" asked Hyuga.

"I don't know. Who knows what goes through his mind," said Krelian. Krelian walked over to a safe. He opened it and took Hyuga's sword. He handed it over and said, "The Emperor asked me to give it to you."

Hyuga took the sword and clipped it to his belt. "I need to contact the Emperor," he said.

"There is a computer on the desk," said Krelian. "You can use it to get a visual line to the Emperor."

Hyuga did not thank him and walked over to the desk. He sat down and typed in his private code to Emperor Cain. Emperor Cain's face appeared on the monitor. "Hyuga," said Emperor Cain.

Hyuga looked at Emperor Cain with guilt. For the first time in his service he failed Emperor Cain. "I failed Sir," he said with genuine guilt.

"Failed how?" asked Cain. "In capturing Shadow Wraith or for not getting yourself killed."

Hyuga became confused. "I do not understand."

"You are not the only one who is at fault," said Cain. "We all underestimated her. It was better for her to escape than for you to die. I do not throw my people's lives away."

"Thank you," said Hyuga. "You said she escaped."

"Even though she lost a lot of blood she still managed to escape," said the Emperor. "You may not realize it but your fight lasted six hours."

Hyuga's mouth hung open. "Six. . .hours!?" he finally said.

"Indeed," said Cain. "I have never seen such a battle. Go home and rest until further notice. You have earned it." Emperor Cain's voice became grim. "One other thing you need to know Hyuga."

Hyuga swallowed hard. Judging from the Emperor's sudden change it was bad news. Bad news from the Emperor usually the worst news possible. "Did something happened in past few days?" he asked.

Cain was able to form a smile. "Just wanted to say that your glasses make you look more dignified," he said with light humor. "Go home and rest my friend."

Hyuga smiled knowing the Emperor tried to cheer him up. He got up walked toward the exit of Krelian's lab. He stopped by a window and the light was enough to allow him to see his reflection. He looked closer and adjusted his glasses. 'The Emperor is correct. I do look more dignified.'


The distance from Krelian's Lab to Hyuga's house was long but Hyuga did not mind. Nearly dying gave Hyuga a lot to think about. Long lost guilt formed in his stomach as he remembered the people he killed on Solaris' behalf. It was afternoon and the sun shone down on the flying city. Hyuga tried to enjoy it but found his mind wondering elsewhere.

He started to think about the woman who quite bluntly kicked his ass. Hyuga knew he was one of the most powerful people in the world although he did not know the complete truth behind it. Hyuga thought back to the battle. For as violent and bloody as it was he never felt so honored. They did not fight each other as enemies but as equals.

Hyuga reached the door of his house. He wished he could have met the woman under different circumstances just to learn her name. Hyuga sighed knowing better. "If fishes were wishes the oceans would be empty," he mumbled under his breath.

He opened the door and walked into his house. He did not get to far when he noticed something odd about the rug. He looked at the spots on the carpet and saw dried blood. Hyuga frowned and quietly went through his house. The trail led to his private office. Opening the door he inhaled sharply. Against the wall is the woman who nearly killed him. Anger takes over and whatever desires he had in wanting to meet this woman are dashed. Hyuga drew his sword and walked over to her. He placed the tip of the sword against her neck.

Yui hears a door being opened and sees a shadow come toward her. She hopes the person who owns this place is compassionate. Slowly she lifts her head and whimpers as a tear rolls down her cheek. Before her stands the one who had wrought this. He inhales sharply and draws his weapon. She closes her eyes awaiting for death to come. She curses herself for crying uncontrollably. It is not fair to die like this, to die in a strange land while all alone. She feels sharp cold metal against her neck. She takes one last slow breath and waits for the blow that will kill her but nothing happens.

Hyuga looks at his hand and wonders why it is betraying him. He musters all his will and strength to force the sword to move. Hyuga switches hands and tries to stab her and again he cannot.

Yui looks up at Hyuga and whispers, "Please help me."

Hyuga's sword slipped out of his hand. He backed away eyes wide in shock recognizing the words. It was her all along! All this time she was the one the was reaching out to him! "You," he whispers. "Who. . .who are you?!"

Yui tries to answer but is unable to. Hyuga sees her eyes close. Inside he is embroiled by conflict. She is an enemy of Solaris and on the other hand he is drawn to her. Hyuga's body starts to shake. If he does nothing than she dies and he will never know her name. If he saves her then he might be branded a traitor.

Hyuga eyes close and tries to think. A decision has to be made. One that will affect him for the rest of his life. He opens his eyes and looks at the woman. Again he thinks of her as his equal. Hyuga makes his decision not fearing the consequences.

Hyuga goes over to the woman. He see her skin deathly pale from the loss of blood. Hyuga took a risk and used Sazanami. Yui's body stiffened and Hyuga was afraid he might have killed her. "No," he whispered. Hyuga started to cry and did not know the reason. "Don't die. Not until I learn your name!"

Yui heard him and managed to open her eyes. Looking at him she heard what he said. "My name," she rasped. "My name is. . .Yui." Finally she gave into the darkness.

Hyuga checks for a pulse afraid he is too late. Relief flows through him as he feels her pulse. Carefully he picked her up and carried her to his bedroom. He gently places her on his bed. Hyuga runs to his bathroom and takes a couple of Omegasol vials. He goes back to Yui sits her up. He pours some of the healing medicine and tilts her head back. He gently massages her neck so the liquid goes down her throat. Hyuga sees how soft her skin is. His face reddens in embarrassment at the thought. He watches Yui eyes open and she looks at him in horror. "Its alright," said Hyuga.

"Why?" whispered Yui.

"I don't know," said Hyuga. "Just because. . .I guess."

Yui laughed bitterly. "Just because."

"Conserve your strength," whispered Hyuga. "Let me take care of you." He holds her close and bathes her in Sazanami.


Yui awoke after two days. She wondered where and how she got here. Examining her surroundings she knew she was not in a hospital and knew she was not in Shevat. She recalled the fight and somehow getting to this house. There was something else. A man helping her who looked like the man she fought. Yui decided it was not the man she fought that had rescued her but a hallucination brought on by shock. She figured that the Collector or some other Shevat agent brought her to a safe house until her wounds healed.

Her clothes were on a chair. She got up changed. Yui grimaced, her mouth tasting horrible. She quietly left the room in search for some water. Entering the livingroom she sees someone sleeping on the couch with a blanket covering their head. She did not want to wake her rescuer but they needed to know she was up. "Excuse me," she said.

The person on the couch woke up. "You are awake," he said. "That's good. I was worried for awhile." He got up and faced Yui.

"You!" yelled Yui. Instantly she got into her fighting pose.

Hyuga held up his hands signaling he did not wish to fight. "Calm down," he said. "Let me get you some water. Restorative Ether is no substitute for water. You must be hungry also."

"What asinine scheme are you and SIA up to!" demanded Yui.

"No tricks," said Hyuga. "I rescued you remember? Then again maybe not. You were in deep shock when I found you on my carpet."

"This is your house?" asked Yui in desbelief.

"Yes," answered Hyuga. He went to the kitchen and returned with a glass of water. He sees Yui trying to unlock the front door. "I would not go out there," he said. "SIA does not know if you escaped or are still in Solaris. Your identity has been uncovered and everyone is looking for you. Best to stay here for now."

Yui looked at Hyuga with suspicion. "Why should I believe you?"

"You believe this water to be drugged," answered Hyuga. "A standard precaution." Hyuga drank half the water. "See, no drugs."

Yui still did not trust the man but she was thirsty. She grabbed the glass and slowly drank it. She held out the empty glass. "More," she said.

Hyuga smiled and took the glass. He went back into the kitchen and Yui followed still did not trusting him. She finished her third glass and asked, "Why didn't you kill me?"

"For many reasons," said Hyuga. "First it would not have been honorable to do so."

Yui laughed. "Honor? What does a Solaris spy know about the concept?"

"And what is your body count Shadow Wraith?" he challenged. "Besides the bodies you leave behind when we tried to capture you. I'm sure you have had some assassination missions yourself."

"Point taken," muttered Yui. Like Hyuga, she had enough blood on her hands also that had nothing to do with self-defense. "So what other reasons are there?"

Hyuga's face turned red. "Have you ever had a feeling?" he asked. "The feeling of reaching out into the world for someone. Someone to help you when you need it the most. Someone to take away the cold and loneliness."

Yui nearly dropped the glass. "I-I've had such feelings," she said. "Always searching and wanting companionship. To know. . .to know, I'm sorry, I can't." Yui turned and ran from Hyuga.

Hyuga chased after her. Again she tried to leave his house. "I will let you leave if you want," said Hyuga. "If that is what you truly wish then I will let you go." Hyuga smiled ruefully. "You were never here and I never rescued you."

Yui looked at Hyuga. She wanted him be lying through his teeth. The seed of a bond they would some day discover between them showed that he was sincere. "I'll stay until this all blows over," she finally said.

"Thank you," said Hyuga with a smile. "I have lunch should be almost ready. . .have to warn you my cooking has been compared to the most toxic poisons."

Yui laughed thinking he was trying to cheer her up. "No one's cooking is that bad." She ended up eating her own words along with Hyuga's cooking. After lunch she said in a drool voice, "Be glad I'm Queen Zephyr's cook for a reason." From then on Yui became the cook.


Things went slowly between Yui and Hyuga. They both considered each other friends in a week yet they both knew when Yui left and returned to Shevat they would be enemies once again.

Two weeks passed and Hyuga returned home from a meeting with the Elements. He came in and Yui saw a man who nearly lost everything. "Its over," he said sitting on the couch.

"They didn't find out about me?" asked Yui.

"No, thank goodness," answered Hyuga. "As I told you a few days ago I used to be with the Elements."

"You said 'used' Hyuga," said Yui. "What happened."

"We disbanded," explained Hyuga. He got up and started to pace. "In a way it's a good thing this happened. The alternative was worse."

Yui was shocked when Hyuga said he was affiliated with the Elements. That group had been a pain to Shevat causing more trouble than Solaris' Gears. "That still doesn't explain the break up," said Yui.

Hyuga looked at Yui and wanted to admit the truth about the Elements. People who were too dangerous to Solaris but powerful enough to still benefit the country. "The Elements were formed by Kahr Ramsus," explained Hyuga. "While the general public believed the Elements were a covert group, Kahr actually set up the Elements to try to take over Solaris."

Yui knew Hyuga would not betray his government without a good reason. "Would you have gone along with it? What about the Limiter in his head?" asked Yui.

Hyuga stopped pacing and stared at Yui. "You know about the Limiters?" he asked carefully.

Yui gritted her teeth. She just gave out one Shevat's most kept secret. "Yeah," she said. "What do you know about Limiters? Not even your SIA knows about that."

"Rumor," lied Hyuga.

"I'm not sure how but I know you are lying," said Yui.

"What do you mean you are not sure how you know I'm lying?" he asked.

"I don't know," said Yui. "Its just this feeling I have whenever I'm around you." Yui gave Hyuga a dirty look. "Please don't change the subject. Whatever is said between us will be kept secret. Deal?"

Hyuga sat down beside her and thought about the deal. Finally he stuck his hand out. "Deal. Although we both should have the right not to talk about certain things if we choose not to."

Yui shook Hyuga's hand. "Fine," she said. "Do you feel like telling the truth about what you know about Limiters?"

"I know what you know most likely. We are sure Shevat knows how to remove them. I'm actually high up in the government," answered Hyuga.

"How high is that?" asked Yui.

"Just as you are close to Queen Zephyr so am I close to Emperor Cain. The Emperor and I are friends, or close as we can allow," he answered.

"The Emperor has friends," laughed Yui. "That's strange." Yui stopped and started to think of the rumors from her own country. A rumor about someone high up in Solaris who was basically an extension of Emperor Cain the Gazel Ministry. "Oh my god," whispered Yui. "You're, you're his Guardian something or rather."

"Guardian Angel," clarified Hyuga. "Yes the rumors are true. I am Guardian Angel to Emperor Cain while Krelian is the Gazel Minstry's Guardian."

Yui got up and started to pace. "No wonder I nearly got killed," she said. "I thought I was the best."

"I guess we both are," said Hyuga. A smile formed on his face. "Even the Emperor admitted we had underestimated you."

"I don't wether to take that as a compliment or a insult," said Yui in a drool voice.

"Would it make a difference if I said the Gazel Ministry wants you atomized?" he asked.

Yui laughter filled the room. "That stupid machine? They are so paranoid they have to use Limiters to protect themselves." A dark dangerous thought came to Yui and Hyuga felt it.

"Don't even think about it," warned Hyuga. "Granted no one would really care if the Gazel was destroyed once and for all. The Gazel have other kinds of protection who are not as. . .nice as I am," he said referring to Grahf.

A beeping sound came from the kitchen. "Supper is ready," said Yui. Yui went into the kitchen and returned with plates of hot food. "Here you go," she said handing him a plate.

The food's aroma reached Hyuga's nose and he frowned. "Is this. . .meat?" he asked.

"Yes," said Yui. "I found some in the back of your freezer."

She tried to take a bite but Hyuga reached over and grabbed her wrist. "Don't!" he yelled, his face white. "I don't allow meat in the house. I thought I got rid of it all."

Yui looked at him wondering what he was going on about. She recalled the reports from Shevat's spies about drugged food. "Ah, sorry," she said. "I forgot your government drugged the meat to keep the populace mind's dulled. I can make something else."

"That's alright," whispered Hyuga. Yui looked at him and saw someone who just woke up from a nasty nightmare. "I'm going for a walk. I lost my appetite."

"Hyuga?" she asked. "Is there something else I should know about the meat?"

"Remember what we agreed to. Never ask me that again," he said. "No meat is allowed in this house and I mean it." Yui watched Hyuga walk out the door. The way his shoulders were slumped and through the budding bond between them she knew there was a terrible secret that weighed on his mind. She agreed to the deal about secrets and would never ask again. She would not find out the awful truth until the eve before Hyuga's trial many years later.


Days later and the incident with the meat forgotten they continued their routine. Yui was starting to feel cabin fever and home sickness but would not admit to it. She was free to leave and knew Hyuga would help her escape.

One morning their relation took a strange if not humorous twist. The lack of missions and the break up of the Elements kept Hyuga desk bound. Working late one night and getting very little sleep he awoke up drowsy. Getting up from the couch (being a good host he let Yui have his bed), Hyuga put on his glasses and walked naked into his bathroom. Steam hit his face but did not fog over his glasses. Krelian had crafted the lenses out of a fog proof glass.

Still half awake Hyuga opened the shower door. "Hyuga!" screamed Yui.

Hyuga snapped awake and saw Yui naked in her shower. While Solarians were not very modest and normally it would not cause a reaction in a man, Hyuga still did react in more ways in one. He looked at Yui with his mouth wide open. Yui's arms covered her private areas. Her long silky hair sticking to her body. He stared at the most clean pure sight he ever saw.

Yui looked at Hyuga in anger. She noticed his other reaction and yelled, "Get out of here!"

Hyuga snapped out of it and left. Yui calmed down and tried to push the image of the naked man out of her mind but failed. She was surprised she was thinking how built he was. There was no fat on the man. Very unusual for a Solarian to be in excellent shape. Then again he did work in the field like her but still. Yui felt a warmth that had nothing to with the hot shower. The image of his other 'reaction' crossed her mind. She chuckled and said, "Good thing I didn't hit you there in the sewers."

Sometimes Yui's prophetic ability would be a full blown vision and what she saw made her more hot. "Oh my. . ." she said.


At the end of the week the incident made them embarrassed. Even though they are adults the incident made them evade each other out of awkwardness. Two weeks later and one night Hyuga stood out on the balcony in thought. It was something he did every month. He went into a fugue state and needed to look at the stars to bring him out of it.

This night he thought about the woman in his house. He wondered about Yui and the feeling he had for her. The mess with the shower gave him more to ponder. She was a fighter like him. She was also alone, they both were that. Yui had a courage and conviction that Hyuga never seen in anyone else. 'Then again this is Solaris,' he thought bitterly. That was the problem that weighed heavily on his mind. How would people react? He knew the Gazel Ministry would brand him a traitor. That he did not care about. What worried him was the Emperor's reaction. The Emperor was very fair and at the same time unforgiving. He knew of only one time he let a betrayal slide because the betrayer was being blackmailed. Yui was smart and beautiful. She brought light to his existence in ways he could not understand. When he was around her even his Dark Side did not exist.

"No matter where in the world you stand the stars are always beautiful," she said behind Hyuga. Yui walked up to Hyuga. "You've been here since dusk. You ok?"

"I'm fine," said Hyuga. "Something I do every month. Just need to let my mind wonder."

"Don't let it go far," teased Yui. "The mind is a pain in the ass to find if it wonders off for along time."

Hyuga smiled weakly, he tried to look happy but was not able to look it. He looked at Yui and saw an ethereal spirit wrapped in moonlight. "About the shower, I am sorry," he said. "I was drowsy and forgot about you."

Yui walked over beside him. "Forgive and forget," she said.

Hyuga saw something different about her. Gathering courage he said, "You look nice tonight."

"Thank you," she replied. She looked at Hyuga and saw someone strong and at the same time weak. She knew he was missing some important thing. As if he was looking for some void to fill. Yui discovered she might be the one to fill that void. Yui turned her attention to the stars. She pointed at one of the constellations. "The Eternal Lovers," she said.

Hyuga looked and smiled. "Do you know the story behind the Eternal Lovers?" he asked.

Yui shook her head and Hyuga explained. "The legend is that the Eternal Lovers fell to this world. Forever separate yet bonded. They were always drawn to each other throughout history. When they met they would fall in love. Their love would last only a brief time for disaster would always keep them apart. In each era they would try again and again until they finally would at last be together without being torn apart."

"That's sad," said Yui. "If you met the Lovers would you help them?"

Hyuga thought about it. "Yeah I guess I would."

Yui moved closer to Hyuga. "Who knows, we may be the Eternal Lovers."

Hyuga realized they were holding hands. Her wanted her so bad yet his greatest fear appeared in his mind. He would rather be cursed like the Eternal Lovers than allow Yui to be consumed by darkness. Hyuga let go and backed away from her. "I am sorry," he said. "I cannot."

Once again she knew what he felt even though he tried to hide it. "What are you afraid of?"

"It is something inside me," explained Hyuga. "Its my Dark Side."

"Everyone has a darkness to them. To me that darkness is every sin we commit. The more temptation we give into the bigger the darkness," said Yui.

"That description I will agree with. My Dark Side is not that. It is something else. During extreme battle and stress my Dark Side tries to take over. It is state which I cannot put into words. After it wears off I can remember what happened. Anyone who stands in my way, wether friend or enemy could end up dead," said Hyuga. His face paled remembering the rare times his Dark Side took over.

Yui took hold of Hyuga's hand again with a firm grip refusing to let go. "Did your Dark Side try to take over in the sewers?"

"No," said Hyuga. "I don't think you even gave it a chance. The way we were fighting we couldn't even use Deathblows or Ether until the end. Its just I don't want you caught up in it. I would never harm you on purpose."

Silence lingered between them as they remembered the fight. Finally Yui said, "I care for you and I know you care for me. We have reached out to each other over great distances. It would be foolish to back out now."

Hyuga protested and Yui stopped him. "I told you I sometimes can see the future. Only once will you make me bleed. I will bear that moment of pain because of the pleasure that will ensue."

"Yui!" gasped Hyuga.

Yui stepped closer and put her arms around him. Smiling she said, "I think you know what I mean."

Hyuga's mind reeled and he tried to think straight. He looked at her and never knew such beauty. Hyuga swallowed finally realizing what she meant. He finally admitted to himself what was between them. Looking at her he smiled. He returned her embraced with his own and said the words one day he always hoped to say. "I love you."

Yui smiled and her eyes became bright as the stars. "I love you," she said.

Under the clear night they kissed for the longest time. When they stopped they looked at the Eternal Lovers. The stars that made up the constellation brightened as if giving approval.


Near dawn the two lovers held each other while asleep in Hyuga's bed. Hyuga awoke and looked at Yui. He blinked as his eyes adjusted to the strange sight. "Yui," he whispered. "Yui wake up."

Yui came out of her own sleep. She smiled and said in a seductive voice, "In the mood again?"

"I think you are glowing," said Hyuga.

Yui smiled at him. "Well you know what they say about a woman's glow."

Hyuga held Yui's hand and held it up to her. "You are literally glowing."

Yui sat up in the bed. She looked and her glowing hands. She looked at Hyuga and gasped. "Uh, Hyuga, you're glowing also."

Hyuga looked at his own hands then at Yui. 'What does this mean?' he thought.

"I don't know what it means. I thought you would have an explanation," said Yui.

"I did not say anything," said Hyuga.

"Yes you did," said Yui. "I heard you clearly."

Hyuga shook his head. "That was a thought."

'This is. . .confusing,' thought Yui.

"Yes it is confusing," agreed Hyuga.

"Ok!" said Yui a little bit louder than she should have. "Lets take this one step at a time. Lets start with the glow."

"Its not a normal Ether Aura," said Hyuga. He looked himself over then Yui. "Strange the glow is similar for both of us."

"Wait," said Yui. "You know those strange feelings we've always had between us? Like how I reached out to you and never knew it was you. Maybe this is an Ether manifestation."

"You mean like a. . .bond?" said Hyuga.

"Probably," said Yui. "I mean we've been searching for each other for a long time. Maybe this glow is a sign of our bond."

"What about our thoughts?" said Hyuga. "I know sometimes I could actually feel what you were feeling even though you were not near me. I guess for a brief moment we could actually read each other's minds."

"Mentally speaking I can see the future sometimes," said Yui. "As far as telepathic abilities goes, I'm basically ESP blind."

"Same with me," said Hyuga. "I just have unusual mental shielding."

"I want to try something," said Yui. She embraced Hyuga and held him tight. Through the bond she sent all her warmth and love to him.

"Yui," gasped Hyuga. "I've never felt such wonderful sensations." He smiled and returned his own feelings. "Is it wonderful?" he asked.

They held each other communicating through their bond. Between them they shared their love and hope. They communicated with thoughts then images. Through practice their bond became so strong that words were no longer needed when they shared times of intimacy through the bond.

That week Hyuga would ask through words and the bond the most important question of his life. "Yui, will you marry me?"


Hyuga and Yui were married in secret. A renegade Ethos Priest preformed the marriage on the condition Hyuga would not turn him in. Three months passed since the fight in the sewers. The hunt for Yui ended and she was able to travel the First Class Citizen's Block as long as she was careful.

One day something happened that affected the world and signaled a great change. Those who had no Ether ability did not feel anything. People who had just a little bit felt a chill pass through them. The majority of people who had average abilities had a feeling of someone stepping on their grave. The worst affected where the small percent who had great power like Yui and Hyuga.

They were sitting at home eating when Yui was hit by a sudden vision. The floating capital of Solaris hovered peacefully in the air. The wind howls and a red Gear flies toward the capital. Seconds later one of the support pylons explode, then another. In slow motion the city falls and explodes crashing into the ground exploding like a nuclear bomb.

Hyuga did not need the bond to know something was wrong. "Yui!" he said.

Yui looked at him with her mouth open. A single tear fell down her cheek. "Hyuga?" she asked not sure of where she is. Her eyes roll up and she faints.

"Yui!" yells Hyuga. He gets up and make it halfway around the table when nausea hits him. He feels his stomach tighten and he looks at Yui. He looks around in a panic and see a garbage can. He runs to it and throws up.

Shaking, he gets up and goes over to Yui. He checks her pulse and takes a breath. He reaches through the bond hoping to get a sense of her. He senses darkness and hopes its just because she passed out. Picking her up he carries her to the bed. He tries to use Sazanami. Instead of the smooth visual effect of Ether, the light blinks, makes a snapping sound like electrical equipment shorting out then vanishes.

Hyuga tries again and the same thing happens. He gets up to get a vial of Omegasol. Before he reaches the medical cabinet his computer starts making sounds signaling an important message. Although tempted to swear, he does not. He goes to his computer and reads the message and frowns when he is done.

He goes back to Yui and see she is awake. "Hyuga what happened?" she asked.

"I do not know," answered Hyuga. "Soon after you passed out I became sick. I tried waking you with Ether ability but for some reason it shorted out. Its as if my abilities blew a fuse."

"I think I had a vision," said Yui. "It appeared so quickly it didn't register in my mind. All I know it was a vision of something terrible. Hyuga what happened to us?"

"I just got a priority one message from the palace," answered Hyuga. "It appears most of the world was affected."

Yui sat up in the bed. "What could cause something like this?"

"That's what I hope to find out," answered Hyuga. "Will you be alright?"

"Sure, I'll just take a nap," answered Yui. "Get going you don't to be too late and end up raising someone's suspicion."

Hyuga nodded and started to walk out. He stopped and turned to her. He reached out to her through the bond. He sensed her feelings were the same as his. Their time together was now limited.


Hyuga risked sending a private message to his house. Through the bond he urged Yui to go to his computer. She turned it on and read the message. Hyuga's message stated that he had to leave and did not know when he would return. He wrote that the court was in a uproar and for once he could swear he saw fear in the Emperor's eyes. He told Yui to be carful and that he loved her unconditionally. His only other instruction was unusual. He asked that she would not reach out to him through the bond until he returned.

Yui was tempted to reach out to him anyway but resisted the temptation. A month passed and Yui felt as though he had abandoned him.

One day while cleaning she felt him through the bond. Yui never felt such sadness and despair. He returned in the evening and barely recognized him when he entered. His hair was a mess and he had not shaved for days. His eyes were red from the lack of sleep.

Yui went to him and embraced him. She sent her strength to him through the bond. He smile was weak as he said, "Thank you."

They sat on the couch holding each other. "What happened?" she asked.

Hyuga did not answer. He took papers out of a briefcase he carried. He handed them to Yui. "You need to return to Shevat," he said, his voice tired.

Yui read the reports. She handed them back not sure what to say. She looked at Hyuga and thought the same thing he did. The cold hard reality passed between them. They were from separate countries that were enemies.

Days later after Hyuga rested up they talked about what happened. "Elru was destroyed by the most powerful Ether explosion recent history," said Hyuga.

"What kind of weapon could cause that?" asked Yui.

"There is none," answered Hyuga. "While I was at Elru, Emperor Cain did his own personal investigation. When I returned he said he talked with the Gazel Ministry. He did not find anything out but is sure they know something. He said he found some proof that might be the cause but did not share it with me. . .there is one other thing. Kahr was there. He was gravely injured."

"Oh Hyuga," whispered Yui. "I'm so sorry." Tactfully she asked, "Did the explosion cause the Ether backlash we felt last month?"

"Yes," answered Hyuga. "As I said back then the whole world was affected." An ironic smile form on Hyuga. "The more powerful the person the worse they were effected by the backlash."

"What does that have to do with me going home?" asked Yui.

"Don't tell me you've forgotten about the political ramifications," replied Hyuga in disbelief.

Yui sent an unpleasant thought through the bond. Hyuga face reddened. "I haven't forgotten," said Yui. "I just thought that maybe." Yui stopped considering what to say next. She had thought about it a couple of times when while Hyuga was away. "Hyuga," she finally said. "Why don't we run away?"

Hyuga looked at her with confusion.

Yui stood up. "Why not? Lets find somewhere to go. Frankly I'm sick of this political crap. Queen Zephyr is a good friend but she keeps too many damn secrets. Secrets I feel that are not only harmful to Shevat but the world in general."

"Emperor Cain is the same way," said Hyuga. "There are times he would talk about something, stop, then change the subject. You'd think he had a Limiter himself."

"Let them destroy each other," said Yui bitterly. "I've found happiness and I'll be damned if they destroy it. I'm sick of the sneaking and hiding."

Hyuga felt something else through the bond. A fear that nearly washed over him. "Is there something else?"

Yui choked back her tears. It was her enhanced emotions at work. She had told him about that and he understood. Yui sat back down and embraced Hyuga hard. Forcing the tears back she said, "What if we go to war? I-I don't want to face you in battle again."

"I don't think it will come to that," he said. "Aveh and Kislev are already at war. Emperor Cain said he would not under any circumstances sanction a war between Solaris and Shevat."

"What about the Gazel Ministry?" asked Yui.

Hyuga smiled at her. "If you'd like I can talk to Emperor. Believe it or not he does consider my advice some worth. I still think you should return to Shevat."

"Why?" asked Yui again.

"You said you are the Queen's friend. I know through our bond you did not mean what you said about her. We both know that our rulers have very few true friends," explained Hyuga. "Like Emperor Cain, she has few people who she can talk with not as advisors or strategists but as a friend. Cain said he was fortunate that he has one person who he could talk to. He wondered if Queen Zephyr had someone like that and hoped she did."

Yui knew he was right and she was being selfish. "I'll go back," she finally said. "How will I leave?"

Hyuga winked at her. "I think I can come up with something."


Four days later Hyuga and Yui paced back and forth waiting for the people who were going to them get Yui out of Solaris. Finally the doorbell rang. Yui went to the bedroom while Hyuga went to the door monitor and turned it on checking to see if it was really them. He smiled at the image on the monitor. He opened the door and let them in.

"Where you just going to let us stand there?" complained Jesiah Black.

"Hello Hyuga!" said Siguard who stood behind Jesiah.

"Come in," said Hyuga. It had been too long since he saw them last. Emotions passed through him, mostly guilt at what he had done to them by lying about Kahr's plans. Although Emperor Cain told him he was correct in telling the others that, Hyuga would feel the guilt for the rest of his life.

"So what's so important you have to drag me up from the surface?" demanded Jesiah.

Hyuga looked at Jesiah. Frankly he looked older than he should. He also looked like he been through the bottle one too many times. "I have a favor to ask," he said.

"What is it?" asked Sigurd.

"First I need to introduce someone," said Hyuga. "Come one out," he said to Yui.

Yui came out of the bedroom. "Damn!" said Jesiah. "Where have you been hiding her?"

Yui laughed and Hyuga looked at his friend in shock. He never behaved like that. Before he met Jesse's wife he was the most anal person he ever met. After they got married he did loosen up a lot after his children were born. His current behavior was a total shock. "Uh," said Hyuga. "This is Yui. Yui this is Jesiah and Sigurd."

Jesiah nearly shook her arm off. "Just call me Jesse," he said while Sigurd bowed politely.

"So what is the favor?" asked Sigurd.

"Before we get to that," said Hyuga. "Did something happen to you Jesse?"

Jesiah frowned at Hyuga and Sigurd looked at Hyuga with surprise. "You didn't hear?" asked Jesiah.

"No," said Hyuga.

Jesiah plopped down on the couch. "My wife was killed a few weeks ago," he said.

"Oh god," said Hyuga. He liked his wife. She was one of the rare kind citizens of Solaris. She was one of the few the saw people as individuals, not as classes. "What happened?"

"Damn Wels," muttered Jesiah. "When we moved to Aquvey Islands we found out there was an infestation of the monsters. Her heart went out to the orphans. She made plans to turn the house into an orphanage. She didn't get a chance to see her dream come true. Wels broke into the house and killed her. The kids were saved by Father Stone."

Hyuga felt sadness from Yui. "Are you alright?" he asked.

"It reminds me of my own family," she said. "They were killed when I was very young."

"I do have my suspicions who caused my wife to be killed," said Jesiah. He hesitated than said, "Anyway enough waxing the past. You were saying Hyuga?"

"I need to get Yui out of Solaris without raising suspicion," he said. "I know Sigurd has been smuggling weapons and equipment from Solaris."

Sigurd looked at his friend in shock. "Hyuga," he said very carefully.

"Don't worry," said Hyuga. "We haven't been ordered to do anything about it. If you'd like I can arrange for certain files to be altered." Hyuga picked up a data tablet from the small table in front of the couch. "As a sign of trust these are the current passwords to and from each level of Solaris. These will guarantee you free passage in and out of the weapon supply depots. The passwords are good for a month."

Sigurd's eyes lit up. He took the tablet and looked over the codes. "You have a deal," he whispered. He figured his plans for Aveh's Crown Prince might be moved ahead of schedule.

"So we are we taking her?" asked Jesse.

"To Shevat," answered Yui.

"Why there?" asked Sigurd.

"It is where I live," answered Yui.

Jesse frowned and looked at Hyuga and Yui. "Yeah right!" he said. "She has spy written all over her!"

"Jesse!" snapped Hyuga.

"Its alright Hyuga," said Yui. "It is true I am a spy."

"I'm sorry," said Sigurd. "Jesse and I are no longer with Solaris."

Yui smiled and said, "You misunderstand. I'm a Shevat's spy."

Jesse's hand moved slowly toward his trench coat where he kept his rifle hidden. "You're lying," he said.

"No she's not," said Sigurd with shock.

The three men knew about Sigurd's slight empathic ability. "You have got to be kidding me," said Jesse.

"No," said Hyuga. "Remember the reports about the Shadow Wraith?"

"She's the Shadow Wraith?!" exclaimed Sigurd. He turned to Jesse and said, "You have your flask? I need a drink."

Jesse pulled out the flask and dranked half of it. "Forget it, you're flying. Goddamn! What next? You two saying you got married or something?!"

Yui and Hyuga looked at each other then at the two men with a smile. This time Jesse handed Sigurd the flask. Sigurd took a light sip and that was enough to give him same buzz that Jesse had.

Jesse started to pace back and forth. "Ok," he said. "I guess I can see why you want to get her home. Why now?"

"Did either of you experience anything strange about a month ago?" asked Yui.

"Not really," said Jesse. "I did have the feeling someone stepped on my grave though."

"My Ether abilities went strange for a few moments," said Sigurd. "I was training someone to use Ether when the visual affect was messed up."

"It was not just you two but the whole world that was affected," explained Hyuga.

"What would cause that?" asked Jesse.

"An Ether explosion of unknown origin," answered Hyuga. His voice became grim. "An explosion that destroyed Elru."

Jesse took another swig from his flask. "I heard rumors of something nasty happening there," he said.

"I have to return because the Queen may need me," said Yui.

"Alright," said Sigurd. "I've been meaning to go there on business."

""If she returns home and Solaris and Shevat go to war you know what that means," said Jesse

Hyuga or Yui did not reply neither of them wanting to dwell on the unwanted possibility. Yui was tempted to try to use her prophetic ability but was afraid of what she might see.


The four of them left Hyuga's house in the middle of the night. They were making good time until they reached the supply docks in the Third Class living quarters. Hyuga and Sigurd hung back while Jesse and Yui went to Sigurd's ship. Hyuga and Sigurd waited for Jesse's signal.

While they waited Hyuga said, "There is something else you need to know about Elru."

"What's that?" asked Sigurd.

"Kahr was there when it was destroyed," said Hyuga.

Sigurd looked at his friend in disbelief. "Was he killed?" he said in a weak voice.

"He was gravely injured. His injuries were worse than what Yui did to me when we fought," answered Hyuga.

Sigurd blinked and said, "Wait a moment Hyu. You two fought to the death, fell in love and got married?"

"Basically," said Hyuga in a matter of fact tone of voice.

"Bizarre," said Sigurd. Suddenly he stiffened. "Someone is coming," he said. "I can sense them. Whoever they are, they're angry."

"Act casual," said Hyuga. "Just be ready for anything."

The figure came toward them both men paled. "I-I thought you said he was nearly killed," whispered Sigurd.

Hyuga watched his former comrade walk toward them. He had visited him briefly just before he left for Elru to find out what happened. His whole body had been crushed and burned with little chance of survival. He looked at the man who almost had everything but had it yanked away because of Hyuga's betrayal. "Hello Kahr," said Hyuga very carefully.


Yui adjusted the dark suit she wore. Because it was designed for a man the suit did not fit right. Hyuga dared not requisition a female suit because it would attract too much attention. The thing was rubbing against her breasts. Hyuga told her that for easy movement she should not wear a bra. To take her mind off the suit she looked at Sigurd's ship. It looked unimpressive but Yui had seen smuggler ships before. The more unimpressive the ship the deadlier it was.

Jesse checked his guns for the fifth time. "This is taking too long," said Jesse.

Yui silently agreed with him. She looked at Jesse again and was surprised at what had to be a transformation of some type. While at the house he seemed like a drunk and trouble maker he was now all business.

"Wait another five minutes," suggested Yui. "Then we go back." The plan was that Jesse and Yui would leave the house fifteen ahead minutes ahead of Hyuga and Sigurd. They would take two separate routes to the ship with Jesse and Yui waiting for the others.

"While we're waiting," said Yui. "I'd like to ask you a question."

"Go ahead," said Jesse.

"Have you ever seen Hyuga's Dark Side?" she asked.

Jesse looked at her and was tempted to deny it. He knew Hyuga never talked about that. It seemed it was something he would not even talk to his wife about. "Yes I have," said Jesse in a low voice. "I only seen it once and that was enough. I'm sure he told you how in that state he can't tell friend from foe."

Yui nodded. "Yes but I felt he was holding something back."

"I'm sure he told you about the Elements, of course that's a moot point nowadays," sighed Jesse. "Anyway we were going up against this Doomsday Cult. The cult had some sonic weapons we didn't know about they knocked us senseless. We were captured and out of spite they tortured us in hopes to make a point. They worked over Sigurd first right in front of us. He had. . .some terrible trauma in the past we knew about. Anyway we were all screaming at them and challenging them except for Hyuga. I remember looking at that haunted expression on his face. Just by looking at his face I knew he was fighting something within himself. Then during the middle of Sigurd's torture Hyuga seemed to pass out. The cult saw Hyuga passed out and saw that as weakness."

"I'm sure he was faking it," said Yui.

"I don't know about that," said Jesse. He paused, rubbed his chin remembering. "A couple of cult member untied him and that was their fatal mistake. The next thing I saw was Hyuga eyes open. We all knew he was fast but until moment we never knew how fast he could really move. He was like some force of nature. Without making a sound he killed the cult members in the room. The scariest part was he was shot in the stomach up close. We all thought he was dead but he got back up as if he was never shot. He did not scream or cry out."

Yui remembered her fight with Hyuga. She remember how he fought back the pain she caused him. Of course she did not yell out either. "Not a sound?" she asked mostly to herself. She tried picture his expression getting shot and shuddered. Jesse snapped her out of her thoughts when he asked if she wanted to hear the rest. "Yes," she answered.

Jesse took a breath and continued. "Hyuga picked up a gun and killed a cultist who came in the door. Kahr called Hyuga and that almost got our leader killed. Hyuga turned the gun on Kahr and was about to shoot him. We all heard rumors about Hyuga's Dark Side and up to that point didn't believe them. We realized what was going on and thought Kahr was a dead man. Luckily Sigurd regained some of his senses and tried to stun Hyuga with one of the cultists's sonic weapons. Sigurd had to hit Hyuga six times before he finally passed out."

Yui was not sure what to say. She took it all in believing every word. Hyuga stands over her. She is on the ground holding a child close to her. She calls out to him but he does listen for he is consumed by his Dark Side.

Jesse noticed Yui's blank stare and mouth slightly open. "Hey!" he snapped "You alright?"

Yui blinked and looked at the older man with confusion. "Sorry."

Jesse grunted and turned back to looking at the ship. His eyes widen and his hands instantly goes for his guns. "Damn," he whispered.

Yui extended her staff and stared that the Solarian Guards starting to surround the ship. Through the bond she sent a feeling of urgency.


"You look well," was all Hyuga could say. He had seen Kahr's body crushed. By rights Kahr should not even be whole.

"I'd say thank you but I don't think you mean it," said Kahr in a low voice.

Sigurd and Hyuga looked at their former friend in horror as he called them traitors. (See the Sigurd, Hyuga, Kahr flashback in the game.) They talked back and forth with mostly Hyuga and Sigurd defending themselves while Kahr threw accusations at them.

During the argument Hyuga felt a wave of urgency coming from Yui. Hyuga made a motion to Sigurd indicating they had better move. Sigurd nodded and Hyuga turned and left the two men alone. He hoped they would not get into a fight.

Moments later Sigurd caught up with Hyuga. They continued walking toward the direction of Sigurd's ship. "I'm worried about him," said Sigurd about Kahr.

"How so?" asked Hyuga.

"He did not seem. . .stable," said Sigurd. "While his physical wounds are healed his mental ones aren't."

"I hope he can get over it," said Hyuga. A chill passed through him. He did not know if he somehow shared his wife's prophetic ability but he got the feeling that Kahr would not be truly healed as long as Miang was with him.

The two men got close to the docking bay when they heard a familiar sound of thunder. "That's Jesse's gun!" said Sigurd.

Without saying a word Sigurd unhooked his whip and Hyuga drew his sword. The two men were no longer Elements but that did not mean they stopped being warriors.


At first Jesse thought Yui and Hyuga betrayed them. That somehow they had fooled Sigurd's empathic ability. Jesse was about to shoot Yui when he saw her expression. Jesse did not know that Yui felt emotions on a whole different level. He never saw such a rage on a person's face. Not even Kahr looked that pissed when he found out the Elements were breaking up. Jesse was glad Yui was directing her anger at the soldiers and not him.

Jesse clicked the safeties off on his guns. "Do you have a plan?" he asked.

Yui extended her staff. "For them it's a bad day to die." Without warning she attacked them.

Jesse frowned at the woman's impudence. He started laying cover fire. Watching her fight he discovered why Hyuga fell in love with her. Jesse's frown changed into a smile. 'Who says Solaris is boring?'


"How in the world!" demanded Hyuga. It was impossible. He and Sigurd arrived only to see his wife and Jesse in a firefight.

"I don't know!" said Jesse above the blasts of his guns. "Now what?" he asked.

"Somehow they knew we were here," said Sigurd. "Damn!"

"Calm down," ordered Hyuga.

"Since when are you in charge?" said Jesse in a low voice.

"Since we are no longer in the Elements and this is my idea and I'm responsible," shot back Hyuga.

Sigurd was always the voice of reason among them. "Our first concern should be Yui," he said.

Hyuga focused on the bond. He felt her rage but no pain. "She's fought worse. The new plan is this," he said quickly before anyone could interrupt. "You two are getting out of here while Yui and I hold them off."

"Just a damn min-, started Jesse.

"Shut up!" said Hyuga. "I don't like it anymore but you two are no longer part of Solaris! Sigurd is doing something important on the surface and you are looking for your wife's killers. What the two of you are doing are more important than getting Yui back home."

Hyuga held up his sword and charged into the battle. He cut down three soldiers and found himself fighting alongside his wife. The two were nature unbound. Yui with her heighten emotions caused fear in her enemies as she struck them with her staff while Hyuga was cold and without mercy and as precise as a computer.

"What happened?" demanded Yui after she knocked a guard senseless.

"I have no idea," replied Hyuga. "Jesse and Sigurd should be on the ship by now. When they get on then its your turn!"

Bond or no bond Yui knew what Hyuga really meant. "The hell I will! If you're going to get yourself killed I want to be with you to the end!"

"I have to stay," said Hyuga. "There is only one way for all of us to survive!"

Yui felt Hyuga's fear in the bond. The one thing he truly feared. "Hyuga."

"It's the only way," said Hyuga. "My Dark Side is starting to eat at me. There are too many soldiers and I don't know how long I'll last. Now go!"

Yui held back her despair. "We will meet again!" she said. "That's not prophecy but a promise."

Hyuga smiled. "I know."

Yui started to fight her way toward the ship when she stopped. "Hyuga!" she yelled.

Hyuga cut down a soldier and turned. He saw two military Gears coming at them. Someone on Sigurd's ship used the ship's cannons, most likely Jesse, to shoot down one of the Gears. The smuggler ship rose and came toward him and Yui. Hyuga waved them off urging them to leave. "Hold on Hyuga!" said Sigurd through the ship's external speakers.

"Forget about us and escape!" screamed Hyuga. The ship hovered for a second. A blast hit the ship shaking it but the hull still held. The ship slowly turned flew off making its escape.

Hyuga ran to his wife. All around them the dead littered the docking bay. More soldiers came into the docking bay and the Gear hovered before them. "Hyuga?" asked Yui.

He wanted to fight to the death. To allow his Dark Side to consume him and take his enemies with him to the grave. His wife was here and he would never allow her to be caught up in what he originally had planned. Hyuga choked down his Dark Side. He sheathed his sword and said, "We surrender."

Yui looked at Hyuga with shock then understanding. She contracted the staff and for the first time in her life she became a prisoner.


Yui expected to be placed in some dark cell or worse in one of the rumored hi-tech torture rooms where the torture was not physical but mental. She shuddered recalling the times caught Shevat spies would be dumped on Shevat's front door. The unfortunate souls had no physical wounds but their minds were shattered.

To her surprise she ended up being held down by a gravity field on a medical scanner bed. The soldiers had her arms and legs chained so escape was impossible. They placed a collar around her neck that cut off her link to Ether and worse the bond with Hyuga. Time passed as her whole body was paralyzed as the machine scanned her body. Finally the scanning stopped and Yui found she could at least move her head.

Yui saw a man enter the room. Her eyes narrowed at him. "The mighty Krelian," she said with contempt. He was attractive but that did not impress her. She heard the stories of what the monster did. "Not too impressive up close."

"What are physical looks compared to ones actions?" he asked her. "You are fortunate. Those of us who know of you Shadow Wraith are very impressed."

Yui knew some of the story how this man betrayed Shevat so long ago. Like Queen Zephyr, Krelian extended his life span. "I don't take compliments from traitors."

Yui expected some outburst but Krelian's only reaction was a brief narrowing of his eyes which quickly vanished. He looked at the bed's scanner. He then walked away. Yui's trained eyes showed something had surprised him. "Solarian and Shevat," he muttered. She wondered what he found out.

He returned pushing a cart. Yui looked at the device that was considered outdated even on the surface. Krelian lifted Yui's shirt. "Hey!" she demanded. "Don't you touch me you bastard!" Fear of violation at this monster's hand came over her.

Krelian ignored her protests and turned the field back up totally paralyzing her. Krelian rubbed a gel on her stomach and ran a device over her stomach. He finished and left Yui alone. She pushed the violation out of her mind knowing that bastards like Krelian would get theirs one way or another. 'That was an ultrasound. Why would he do something as archaic as an ultrasound.' The truth finally came to Yui after thinking the problem through. 'Oh my god. . .'


Pain! Incredible pain tore through Hyuga. Nothing touched him physically but mentally the pain seemed real. He laid on the floor in the Gazel Ministry's chamber. He always believed they were helpless. Through the visual images of the VR mask he discovered how deadly they could be. The Gazel Ministry sent images of violence and death through the VR mask. Although the Gazel Ministry did not know his fears they knew how to stimulate the pain and fear centers of the brain through the mask and to make the images so real. Hyuga yelled as he saw his wife being killed by him because his Dark Side consumed him. He saw Kahr and the other Elements slowly kill him because they found out he was the traitor that caused them to breakup and go their separate ways.

Finally the images abated but the torture did not. The mask was removed and the Gazel Ministry called him names like 'Betrayer', 'Back Stabber', 'Judas', and other words marking him a traitor to Solaris. They told him the woman who was with him was really a whore sent to seduce him. At that Hyuga became angry and not caring tried to give in to his Dark Side but as long as the collar was around his neck he could not even access what he believed to be Ether.

Hyuga curled up in fetal position and tried to shut out the Gazel's voices. He felt his sanity slip and started to sink into despair from which he might not ever return.


Krelian returned to Yui and was not happy. Five of Emperor Cain's most loyal guards and a technician followed him. They entered the examination room where he kept Yui. "You have no right," he said with controlled anger.

The guards ignored him and went to Yui. "She fits the description," said the Captain. "Release her," he said to the technician.

The technician went over to the bed. Krelian went to interfere. The Captain placed a hand on his gun holster. "Don't."

Krelian started to protest but changed his mind. He knew these guards could not be threatened even with the Limiters in their heads. At this stage in his life Krelian was not yet a full nanomachine colony and dared not take any risks.

Krelian stood back and hoped the woman would go into a rage and kill the guards. His wish was dashed when the Captain said, "Release her slowly. Do not give her any leg movement just yet."

The technician obeyed and Yui sat up. "Who are you?" she asked.

"I'm Emperor Cain's Captain of the Guard. He ordered me to bring you and Guardian Angel Hyuga to him," he said.

"She would be better off with me," said Krelian. "The Emperor is not known for being merciful."

The captain nodded in agreement. "You are correct Guardian Angel Krelian. In fact Emperor Cain ordered us to defend ourselves at any costs in case there were any. . .complications in retrieving the woman."

Krelian's teeth grinded holding back want he wanted to say. His plans for the woman were crumbling and then turned to dust when the technician said, "Captain, the computer virus is deleting all information dealing with the woman."

"That information is important for Solaris!" cried Krelian. He ran to the computer and pushed the technician out of the way.

"Krelian!" yelled the Captain foregoing the proper use of the man's title. "Let the virus run its course! Any attempts to destroy it will cause the backup virus to activate. That one will spread through your computers and you will have nothing at all. Once the main virus runs its course both viruses will be deleted."

Krelian was on the verge of losing his temper. He walked out of the room before anyone could see the emotions he was about to display. He underestimated Emperor Cain and vowed this would the last time it would happen.

The Captain turned his attention back to Yui. "I have read up on you Shadow Wraith. We are merely here to escort you to somewhere you can rest before meeting with Emperor Cain."

Yui wanted to tear through them. To find Hyuga and have both of them escape Solaris leaving a bloody path behind them. Yui closed her eyes and rubbed her stomach. For now she had to do as they say. "Ok," she said.

The technician released Yui. She walked a little bit getting the feeling back into her legs. When she was ready to go she left with the guards. On the way to their destination she asked, "Where is Hyuga?"

The Captain of the Guard looked at Yui with sadness. "He was brought to the Gazel Ministry. Another team was dispatched to retrieve him." He shook his head then said, "Pray that they are not too late."


Hyuga did his best to hold onto his sanity. Unable to draw on Ether and his own mental shielding broken he felt himself falling into a pit he would never climb out of. He felt his mind collapse on itself as he thought he heard a familiar voice. "Emperor Cain?" he whimpered.

"You have betrayed Emperor Cain and he has abandoned you," said one of the facets of the Gazel Ministry.

"I have abandoned no one and Hyuga's so called betrayal has yet to be proven!" yelled Emperor Cain, his voice echoing through the Gazel's chamber.

A facet of the Gazel Ministry started to speak and that was the last time he ever did. Raw power came through the screen striking the SOL-9000. The facet yelled in pain and the monitor that showed his face exploded. "You can't do this!" said another facet.

"I can do as I please!" said Emperor Cain. "You disobeyed me! Didn't I order you not to interfere with my Guardian Angel! Did you think I did not know what he had done? You are fortunate I'm held back but that means I cannot cut your numbers!"

Hyuga watched through blurred vision as Emperor Cain's Ether aura become so large and bright that Cain looked small in the center of such power. A small part of Hyuga was vindicated as the Emperor released the power. The SOL-9000 emitted electricity. Circuits, conduits, and monitors exploded. When the carnage was over the Gazel Ministry was weakened by one-third. The monitors showing the surviving facets flickered and blinked and would continue to do so until Krelian repaired the giant computer.

"Guardian Angel Hyuga," said the Emperor. "Close your eyes and let my power heal some of the mental wounds the Gazel Ministry caused you." Hyuga closed his eyes as the Emperor's power covered his mind like a blanket and fell into a deep sleep.


Yui paced back and forth in the room she was given in Solaris' Royal Palace. She was treated almost as well as if she were Queen Zephyr. They had taken off the collar as long as she did not try to escape. She gave her word she would not attempt to escape. She waited day and night for news on Hyuga. She even tried their bond but felt nothing. She refused to believe he was gone.

On the fifth afternoon Yui stood by a window looking at the sky thinking how peaceful it was when someone knocked on the door. "Enter," she said without much enthusiasm.

The door opened and someone entered. Without turning around Yui said, "If its lunch then just set it on the table."

"I thought you said I was forbidden to even enter a kitchen," said Hyuga.

Yui turned and saw Hyuga standing in the doorway. She ran to him and hugged him tight. She started to cry. "I thought you were never coming back."

"I'm sorry it took so long," he said. "The Gazel Ministry are masters at causing emotional pain."

Yui backed away and looked at Citan. He looked liked he aged a couple of years. "Will you be alright?" she asked.

"Yeah," said Hyuga. "Solaris is almost as good with dealing with mental trauma as they are physical."

"What about our bond?" she asked.

"I still had to wear the collar," he said. He showed the collar to Yui. "Let's sit down."

They sat on the couch. "Once I take this off we should feel the bond again," said Hyuga. He removed the collar and dropped it on the floor.

"Nothing," said Yui.

Hyuga embraced Yui. "I must still have some mental trauma. Just hold me and eventually the bond will come back."

Slowly they felt each other through the bond. Hyuga knew the healers repaired most of his mental wounds. With the bond and Yui's strength even the scars would disappear.

Later in the day as they still held each other both physically and through the bond. Someone knocked on the door interrupting them. "Come in," said Hyuga.

The Captain of the Guard entered the room. "I'm here to escort you both to Emperor Cain."

Hyuga inhaled sharply. "I. . .see," he said. "Yui does not know our protocols."

"You can explain on the way," said the Captain.

Hyuga was tempted to try to pull rank but figured whatever pull he had in the government was destroyed like Elru. "Ok," he said.

Yui and Hyuga got up and went over to the Captain. The Captain gave something to Hyuga that belonged to him. "My sword," said Hyuga.

"Protocol," said the Captain.

Hyuga nodded in understanding. He clipped sword on his belt then followed the Captain with Yui beside him.

Along the way Hyuga explained how she should act in front of Emperor Cain. "First off all he prefers to be addressed as Emperor Cain or Sir. He does not like being called Lord or just Emperor."

"Most rulers usually prefers the opposite," replied Yui.

"At one time I think he did also," explained Hyuga. "For some reason he changed. Anyway back to the lesson. Next do not lie. The Emperor hates two things with a passion. Lying and betrayal. In recent history there was only one reason he did not kill someone for betraying him. If you lie and he punishes you, you end up wishing he had killed you instead. It is better not to answer at all than to lie to him. If you are silent in your answer and he wants an answer than you better do it. As long as you are tell the truth nothing bad will come of it."

Yui felt Hyuga through the bond. His nervousness washed over her. Like him, she wondered how they were going to get out of this one. Hyuga basically betrayed Emperor Cain when he kept her hidden. Not wanting to dwell on it she asked, "What do I do when I meet him?" she asked.

"Bow on one knee with both arms out and palms open facing upward," answered Hyuga. "It show that you will not try to harm him."

"Harm him?!" asked Yui in surprise. "Even Shevat know the old saying, 'Only Cain can kill Cain'."

"It just means you are not going to try anything foolish and that you are unarmed," said Hyuga.

"What happens if you are foolish and do not bow in the proper way?" she asked.

Hyuga surprised Yui when he laughed. "The last person who did that ended up with their clothes torn off by the Emperor's power. The fool broke quite a few non-Ether speed records when he ran back to his home."

Yui laughed at the thought and decided the Emperor might not be that bad. Then again what Queen Zephyr said of Emperor Cain's past did not make Yui lower her guard.


Yui entered the throne room holding Hyuga's hand and gasped. Cain was not there yet but the monitors where on. She saw images being played from around the world. She counted three images were from Shevat. "How?" she asked.

"The Data Crystals in Shevat if you are wondering how I am receiving data from there," said Emperor Cain. Hyuga and Yui watched the center dias. The Emperor sat in a chair that rose from the dias.

Hyuga bowed and tugged on Yui's dress to get her to do the same. She bowed in the proper way and waited. "Rise," said Emperor Cain.

Yui stood but Hyuga stayed in the same position. "Did the Gazel Ministry deafen you Hyuga? I said you could stand," ordered Emperor Cain.

Hyuga unlipped his sword and held it out with both hands. "I have betrayed you Emperor Cain," he said. "I am ready for the consequences."

"Hyuga!" said Yui. She turned to Emperor Cain and paused. She had seen pictures of him through the various stages of the clone's life. From handsome young man to rotting corpse. She knew know it was not his great command of Ether that allowed him to rule Solaris but his presence. In each stage of the clone's life Yui knew that with or without Limiter only a fool would not be impressed by such presence. 'So I'm a fool.' "No Sir,"she said. "All this time he has been under my control. I have been drugging him without his know-

"Do not lie to me!" snapped the Emperor. "I'm sure Hyuga told you I will not tolerate lies! Do it again and you will never tell another lie or the truth again!"

Yui swallowed hard and felt Hyuga's panic. Yui lowered her head and said, "Sorry Emperor Cain."

"Better," said Emperor Cain. He turned his attention back to Hyuga. "What makes you think you betrayed me or Solaris?"

"I gave comfort and shelter to the enemy. I have told her state secrets," answered Hyuga.

"Comfort and shelter," repeated the Emperor. "Is Solaris and Shevat at war again? If so then no one has bothered to tell me. The mission was to trap the Shadow Wraith using false information. If she had gotten actual secrets then there would be a problem." Emperor Cain leaned forward. "As for what you told her, what secrets were those?"

"She knows I'm your Guardian Angel and she knows about Elru," he answered.

"Your position is not really a state secret," said Emperor Cain. "Granted your time with the Elements did warrant secrecy but no longer. As for Elru, I'm surprised the whole world does not about that. Are there other leaks I should know about?"

"No Sir," answered Hyuga.

"Then stand before you loose your legs like I have," said Emperor Cain.

Hyuga placed his sword on the floor, a common sense action in front of someone who could kill him with a thought He stood up and shook his leg to get the circulation back. "Thank you," he said.

Emperor Cain turned to Yui. "Shadow Wraith, or should I call you Yui? You have caused a lot of trouble for SIA."

Yui was tempted to reply using the running gag but decided against it. She thought hard for an answer. "Yui is fine and I was just doing my duty."

"You did it well," said Emperor Cain. "SIA and my own people talk about you with respect. Even I have respect for your skills. Would you like to work directly with me?"

Yui did not know how to answer. If she said yes then Cain would think she had betrayed Shevat and his feelings about traitors would make her look like one. She could not even tell what his reaction would be if she said no. She did the only thing she could do and she answered with silence.

"Very good," said Emperor Cain. "I will not force you to answer. I believe you do have a question for me."

Yui almost said no but stopped herself. Emperor Cain saw the fear in her eyes. "As long as you do not ask if I can still perform certain functions then I will not be offended."

Hyuga looked at Emperor with surprise and Yui laughed in spite of herself. "Sorry," she said. Getting control herself she said, "Hyuga told me you wanted me alive. I always figured everyone here wanted me dead. I'm just wondered why you wanted me alive."

"To do what we are doing now," said Emperor Cain. "I knew you had to be high up in Shevat's Court just like Hyuga is here."

"What would you ask her?" asked Hyuga his mind reeling.

The Emperor sighed and shifted in his throne. "Mainly to see how Queen Zephyr is doing. To see how the people many consider lost sheep are faring," he said with a hint of regret.

Hyuga and Yui looked at the Emperor with confusion. "What would have happened to me afterwards?" asked Yui.

"I would have done then what I'm going to now," he said. Cain pressed a button on the arm of the throne. The doors behind Yui and Hyuga opened and the Royal Guards came in lining up along the wall.

Yui felt Hyuga take hold of her hand. This was it and the man he loved would never know. A part of her wanted to close her eyes. She saw Hyuga look at the guards. She drew strength from him and felt the courage to do the same. Together they looked at death and not blink.

"You have been away from home too long Yui," said Emperor Cain. "It is time for you to return."

Yui and Hyuga looked at the Emperor. "You should be honored that the Royal Guard will be escorting you back to Shevat," explained the Emperor.

"Why?" asked Yui.

"Dark times are coming and Queen Zephyr needs all of her people to support her," answered Emperor Cain. "They will escort you to a ship and fly you to Shevat."

"Yes Sir," said Yui. She smiled knowing she was finally going home. She wondered how surprised everyone would be she showed up. Three to four months had gone by and everyone had to thought she was dead. She squeezed Hyuga's hand then looked at him. He was not going with her. "Hyuga. . ."

"This is a blessing," he said. "It is better this way." He squeezed her hand gently and sent his love to her. "We will always have that," he whispered.

Yui wanted to tell him right here and now but it would be to much to bear. "I don't what the future holds and I do not want to look. I know we will be together again."

Yui let go of Hyuga's hand walked to the exit of the throne room. "Wait," ordered Emperor Cain. "One last question that must be answered honestly. Do you love each other?"

"He is zi Twiel," she answered.

Hyuga never felt such happiness in that moment. "Thank you zi Yullic."

"Heart and soul," said Emperor Cain. "Brought together by strife and united even through great distances."

"Thank you Emperor Cain," said Yui knowing his words were genuine. Krelian and another man stand before Emperor Cain. Yui is sure she knows the man with Krelian from somewhere. The man she does not know raises a sword and the impossible happens as he strikes Emperor Cain dead! Yui looked at Emperor Cain and a single tear fell down her cheek.

"What's wrong?" asked Hyuga.

"I felt an unusual power from her," said Emperor Cain. "I know you are of pure Shevat blood. Do you have any other gifts?"

"I-I can sometimes see the future."

"Impressive," said Emperor Cain. "What did it show you?"

Yui answered in silence. This was too big to share with so many people in the room. "I do have some telepathic ability although I rarely ever use it. Close your eyes and show me," said Emperor Cain.

Yui wanted to refuse but dared not. She cleared her mind and focused on the vision. Seconds passed and Cain seemed to slump in the chair. "I see. Have your visions ever been wrong before?" he asked.

Yui looked at Hyuga. Her other vision of him approaching her while he was consumed by his Dark Side had yet to come pass. "I'm sorry," she said.

Hyuga became all business. "As Guardian Angel to Emperor Cain, I demand to know what she saw. As your protector I have the right to know to prepare against any threats."

"You cannot be everywhere," said Emperor Cain. "I'm sure Yui does not know the day and times of when her visions come true. You both may be dead at that junction in time. When her vision comes to pass then I will not show fear. It is better to go that route than the one. . ."

"Sir?" asked Hyuga.

"Sorry," said Emperor Cain as if just waking up. "There are things I still cannot share." He turned to Yui. "Go home child," he said. Through telepathy he sent, "Thank you for the single tear. When the time comes I know at least one person shall mourn for me even though I do not deserve that."

Hyuga felt a message pass between them but did not say anything. "Goodbye Yui," he said instead.

"Never goodbye," she said. She quickly walked out of the throne room before either men could see her tears. After the guards left to escort Yui home, Hyuga and Cain were left alone.

"I wish you would tell me what she saw," he said.

"If I tell you that then your future might be affected," said Emperor Cain.

"I don't understand Sir," said Citan.

"Do you remember when I said there where certain secrets you were not ready for?" asked Emperor Cain.


"You are now ready. You were about to betray Solaris not for yourself but for the woman you love. For a long time I have waited for this moment. With what I have to tell you, you may never forgive me and I will understand. But first go back to your room and rest. You need to be at full strength when I reveal the truth to you. I will summon you when I feel you are ready."


Hyuga entered the throne room two days later. He recognized the images of Elru on the screens. Images of Elru before and after its destruction. The Emperor watched the images in no particular order. Hyuga bowed in the traditional manner. "Rise," ordered Emperor Cain. "This is not how I wished the Elru problem to be resolved."

"I agree," said Hyuga. "At least they won't be throwing in with Shevat."

"Those are harsh words even for you," said Emperor Cain.

"Sorry, I have a lot on my mind."

"Like what?" asked Emperor Cain.

Hyuga did not answer out loud. He knew the Emperor required him to have a clear mind. No matter what he did that past couple of days he could not get Yui out of his mind.

"Hyuga," said the Emperor. "From now on you do not have to keep your answers in check. If an answer offends me then so be it, I will not do anything. The love you have for her is strong. Almost as strong, if not stronger than another couple I have seen . . ."

"Sir?" asked Hyuga. Once again this strange behavior from Emperor Cain. He found it odd that his voice would trail off as if he was unable to say something important.

The Emperor sighed. "We have much to discuss and a lot to plan. You will find out much about yourself and this world."

All viewing monitors went blank except for one. On it medical information appeared. "What do you make of it?" asked Emperor Cain.

Hyuga read over the report. This was a medical impossibility. "Sir, if this is true then there is someone out there who is immune to the Limiter. This may be a danger to you."

"We have taken steps Hyuga. Do not worry," said Emperor Cain. "Please read the rest of report."

Hyuga obeyed and finished watching. His face paled when saw the threat. "Me?" he whispered.

"Indeed," said Emperor Cain. "Many times we have attempted to place a Limiter in you. From the food you ate to every physical examination. Even after your fight with Yui, I suspect Krelian tried to place a Limiter in you while your wounds healed."

"You lied to me," said Hyuga. His Dark Side took advantage of the situation. "You hypocrite. You hate lies and betrayals, yet you have done both to me." Hyuga stopped and realized who he was talking to. "I'm sorry."

"No. Its my place to apologize. You are correct, I have done two things I hate the most. For that no words or deeds can make up for what I have kept from you."

Hyuga knew the Emperor was being sincere. "Thank you," said Hyuga. "The Gazel Ministry and Krelian knew of this I'm sure."

"Yes they did. I would advice against any thoughts of revenge against them," said Emperor Cain. "Killing them would only delay the inevitable."

"The inevitable?" asked Hyuga. "The way you say it makes it seem the world is grave danger."

"Because it is and has always been," said Emperor Cain. "We will talk about that later. First we must deal with you. There is one other thing I must tell you about yourself which may explain why you immune to the Limiters. When I told you about your immunity did you want to strike at me with Ether?"

Hyuga swallowed. Of course he wanted to. His Dark Side had jumped at him but he forced it back. "Yes Emperor Cain. I wanted to."

"I would have permitted you to do so if I wasn't afraid that you might actually harm me," replied Emperor Cain.

"That's impossible," said Hyuga. He stumbled backwards as he thought of Yui's vision concerning Emperor Cain. He did know the details but their behavior showed that something terrible would happen to the Emperor. "I wouldn't do it. She, she was wrong!"

"You mean Yui's vision?" inquired Emperor Cain. "You are not the one to perform the act. The reason I was worried is because your Ether ability is different. This is a fact that has nothing to with you being a pure Solarian."

Hyuga knew he was stronger than most of the world when it came to Ether. "How different is my ability?"

Emperor Cain pressed a button and a guard entered the room. He walked up to the throne and kneeled. "Yes Emperor Cain?"

"Rise," ordered Emperor Cain. To Hyuga he asked, "Do you know what Elinger's Light is?"

"It's a special lighting system Professor Elinger created," answered Hyuga. "She created it for gauging one's Ether ability and strength."

"I had the throne room lined with the lights she created. Both of you tap into Ether so the lights will work," ordered Cain.

Hyuga and the guard said they were ready. Emperor Cain reached out to Ether then activated Elinger's Light. The normal lights in the room dimmed and an impossible color of purple filled the room. The Ether around the Emperor glowed a bright silver. The guard's Ether was just a pale sick white. Hyuga's light caused the guard to gasp. "Guardian Hyuga!"

Hyuga held up his arm and saw something incredible. Instead of a typical shade of white he expected his light glowed with bright colors. He turned his arm then looked at himself. Finally he looked at Emperor Cain wanting to ask how this was possible but could not find the right words.

Emperor Cain turned off the lights and returned the throne room's lighting to normal. He dismissed the guard ordering him never to talk to anyone about this. The guard bowed and left. "Do you want to know how this is possible?" Emperor Cain asked after the guard left.


"So would everyone who knows about it," explained Emperor Cain. "All we know for sure is that you not only draw your ability from Ether but also from nature. Your unusual ability has been code named Arcane. For lack of a better word what you posses what could be called magic."

Hyuga laughed. "Arcane," he said. "How fitting."

"We can talk about the matter at hand if you wish or can rest and think about what I have told you," said Emperor Cain.

"I'd like to rest. There is one thing I need to ask," said Hyuga. "What about my Dark Side?"

"Again we do not know," answered Emperor Cain. "One theory is that a conflict that is caused by you drawing on both Ether and nature. You are indeed strong with or without Arcane but you are still human. Maybe your mind cannot handle the power and the stress at the same time."

"If that's true then I would have gave in a long time ago," said Hyuga.

"You may also have a buried memory. Something so traumatic you have forgotten it. If that is true then someday you may remember. When that days comes I hope you can handle it with the courage and conviction you are know for. Now go and rest Hyuga there is much we still need to plan."

Hyuga returned to his room. He tried to see if he indeed have any holes in his memory. The Emperor had hinted at that much. Memories of his past flashed through his mind. He discovered that there were no holes or at least any he could detect. He wondered if on some mission he was captured, tortured, and had his memory erased. "Damn," he said in frustration. It was one of the rare times he would swear that was not the cause of his Dark Side.

Giving up he tapped his unusual ability. 'Ether, no, Arcane now. Could I be the next step in evolution? No, evolution is false. There are too many holes in the theory. I have examined that theory inside and out.' For the first time in his life Hyuga questioned his existence. "Who am I?"


The next day Hyuga and Emperor Cain continued their talk. "Watch the cause of Elru's destruction," said Emperor Cain. He activated a screen and Hyuga watched in horror as a red Gear he never saw before tear through once proud city. Building were turned into rubble and people screamed as they were evaporated by the blast. None were spared in the Gear's wrath.

"How could. . .I mean could you even withstand such power Sir?" asked Hyuga in weak voice. For the first time in his life he knew genuine fear.

"No," said Emperor Cain. "Even I am not immune to such a threat. Even if the planet was truly a living thing it could not survive such a being."

"How could this come about?" asked Hyuga after collecting himself. "Who could have such power that is greater than yours?"

"Watch and behold," answered Emperor Cain. The scene changed and they watched Kahr and small military division try to stop the cause of Elru's destruction. They watched the impossible as the pilot stood his ground destroyed military Gears as if they were made out of toothpicks. Hyuga felt sick as the pilot got into his Gear and stepped on his former commander.

"Who was that?" asked Hyuga.

"The Contact," answered Emperor Cain. "The Slayer of God."

"The Slayer of-," said Hyuga then stopped. He dared not say the last word out of fear of being struck down.

"A child," continued Emperor Cain. "A child who was twisted inside and out. A child who in a sense has. . ." Emperor Cain stopped and strained as if being held back. "Who. . .has. . .who has. . .existed for as long as. . .the Gazel Ministry and I." The Emperor slumped forward and nearly fell out of the throne.

"Emperor Cain!" yelled Hyuga. He ran to the Emperor and helped him back into a sitting position.

"Thank you," wheezed the Emperor. "The majority of the world are not the only ones who are bound."

Hyuga knew what the Emperor meant. 'The Emperor has a Limiter?' "Will you be ok?"

"Yes," said Emperor Cain. "It just causes a drain on me. I will be fine. I think I am strong enough to talk about certain other things. To begin with the origins of humanity on this planet. The truth is that we are not from this world."

"Where are we from?" asked Hyuga. This was so much truth to take in.

"A world that may or may not still exist. The Ark that came to this planet crashed when our God awoke in anger," answered Emperor Cain. "Our God crashed to the planet along with the ship and was greatly damaged. To preserve itself, our God created the Gazel Ministry and myself. A Mother. . .was. . .also. . .created." Emperor Cain managed to shake his head and fought off the interference of his own Limiter. "The people of this planet are more than less the Gazel's decedents. I was created to be the head shepherd until we would all return to God and become his flesh. The Omnigears I once told you about are also part of God."

"Emperor Cain if you want we can stop for now," said Hyuga. The strain on the Emperor was becoming great. Hyuga wondered what kind of power could do this to someone who is invincible.

"I'm nearly finished with what I can tell you," said Emperor Cain. He relaxed then continued. "Besides the Mother which was created by God, there were two other human survivors. A woman believed to be split from the Mother. We have called her the Anti-Type. The other was a small boy who was touched by another power greater than our God. He became to be called the Contact because he survived his meeting with the other force. Neither I nor the Gazel Ministry know what this other force is but we know it is beyond our own comprehension. Throughout history I have seen the Contact and Anti-Type."

"It sounds almost like the legend of the Eternal Lovers," said Hyuga.

The Emperor agreed with him. "Now to present matter. All of my existence I have been bound by God's will but no more! The shackles have been weakened and now I can act!"

Hyuga never heard such determination from the Emperor but first he had to know something about the Contact. "How did he get this way?"

Emperor Cain zoomed the picture of the Contact destroying Solaris Gears. The pictured moved in toward a hill were a figure stood at the top. Hyuga had to choke back his Dark Side. "Grahf!"

"He did not work alone in twisting the boy," said Emperor Cain.

"Krelian and the Gazel Ministry," hissed Hyuga. "I should kill them immediately. They put not only Solaris at risk but the world!"

"It would not matter," said Emperor Cain. "The plan I have in mind is very dangerous. The God I talked about is not a true God but a Devil. Even if we get rid of the others the Devil still remains. Even though it is wounded it would still find a way and not only would the world be destroyed but quite possibly the Universe. I'm hoping the others who are hoping for a resurrection will destroy each other in the process."

"Did humans created that thing?" asked Hyuga referring to the 'God'.

"Yes," answered Emperor Cain. "They dared to play God many millennia ago. Their creation rebelled and this is the results."

"What can we do now?" asked Hyuga.

"Remember that the Contact is also the Slayer. He must face the false god and destroy it," said Emperor Cain.

"I doubt that will be possible," Hyuga pointed out. "I've seen the results of Krelian's . . .experiments. Sigurd barely had any sanity left."

"I know," said Cain. "At some risk I was able to obtain some video at what Krelian did to the boy. Now for the plan. In the long term we must allow God to be awaken and at enough power so the Contact and confront it. That way the Contact can destroy God without any risk of God's escape."

"That is very dangerous," said Hyuga. "Will this Contact be strong enough to face this God?"

"Even in his current state he could but his power would go unchecked and destroy the world in the process. I dare not confront Krelian with what we know because he will bolt and take the boy with him. I have sent feelers out to try to locate the boy. Your job will require you to become something else than what you are."

"What is that Emperor?"

"You always were a fast learner. You must now become a healer, a doctor. After you finish your training you will wait for me to contact you once I find the boy. You will help the boy through his trauma then hopefully we can end this once and for all. When I contact you then it will be near the beginning of the Gospel. The Gospel is the beginning of the return of this False God."

"Where can I train at?" asked Hyuga. "Solaris is too much of a risk and the surface does not have the equipment we'd need for my training. Especially for something like this."

"I have taken that into consideration," answered Emperor Cain. A new picture appeared on a monitor and Hyuga inhaled as the image showed Shevat flying gently in the air.

"I'll will prepare to depart immediately," said Hyuga trying to hold in his excitement.

"Not just yet," said Cain. "You will receive some training here. This knowledge should give you enough to pass as a doctor from the surface. Once you are on the surface I'll have our agents in Shevat find some information regarding any upcoming retrievals via the Tower of Babel. You will then go to Shevat and offer your services to them and to finish your training."

Hyuga could hardly contain his excitement. He was going to meet Yui! A sudden thought came to him. "What if I run into Yui?" he asked.

"Tell her I wish her well," said Emperor Cain. "If you choose to you can even tell Queen Zephyr what we have planned. If we can arrange some type of truce then that might make things easier."

"I understand," said Hyuga wishing he did not. It was all to clear. So much at stake and Hyuga could not even comprehend it. He felt so small and insignificant and that frightened him almost as much as seeing Elru destroyed by a child.


Yui was given a small shuttle by the her escort. They said flying into Shevat's airspace would not be a wise move. Yui agreed. She separated from the main ship and flew towards Shevat. She entered the floating city's airspace and sure enough she was contacted. "Unidentified craft, you are entering restricted airspace. Either back off or identify yourself."

Yui forced her hands to stop trembling. "This is Yui," she said. "Landing clearance 2343."

"By the Diablos!" yelled the air controller after the code was confirmed. "I've cleared the area around Shevat. Fly around the city until your escort meets you. They will escort you to the docking bay. . .and welcome home Yui!"

"Thank you," said Yui holding back her tears. She was only gone for a few months but she missed her home so much.

She landed the shuttle and exited the craft. She stopped halfway down the ship's platform. She smiled when saw half of SIA waiting for her. They clapped and cheered welcoming her home. She ran down the ramp, shook hands and embraced her friends.

"Break it up!" said loud voice.

The crowd silenced and they all stood at attention. Two of the Three Wise Men and Queen Zephyr walked toward Yui. Yui and Zephyr looked at each other. Finally the queen walked over to her. Yui could see the tears forming in her eyes. Yui fell to one knee and hugged the queen. "Don't ever make me worry like that!" said Queen Zephyr.

"I'm so sorry," said Yui.

Queen Zephyr let go of her and stood back. "I know this is short notice but we have to debrief you right away."

"I understand," said Yui.

They walked away from the crowd when Yui stopped. "Could you please excuse me for just a moment? I have to say hi to someone."

Yui walked toward someone she saw hanging back near the shadows. The Collector saw her approaching and swallowed. Yui smiled and spread her arms. "Collector! I'd like to thank you for all you done! Why if it wasn't for you I'd never have gotten out of Solaris!"

Yui hugged the Collector tightly, nearly breaking his back. "Listen up you son of a bitch," she whispered into his ear. "You better be gone by dawn. I know you had to be the one who sold Hyuga and I out when he tried to get me out of Solaris. You go back to the Gazel Ministry or whoever it is you're working for and tell them that they failed. You also tell them if anything happens to Hyuga, I will make their pain worse than the hell the Gazel put Hyuga through. If I ever see you again you're meat. Squeeze me gently if you understand."

The Collector understood perfectly. After squeezing Yui, she let go of him. By morning he vanished without a trace and returned to his master in Solaris. His master, Krelian, punished the Collector for his mistake by mutating him into a demi-human. Hyuga in later years would meet the Collector in Kislev's D-Block. By then the Collector went by a new name: Hammer.


Yui gritted her teeth in anger. This was not a debriefing but an interrogation. "For the last time a First Class Citizen hid me from SIA!" she answered barely able to control her temper.

One of the council members shook his head. "Do you expect us to believe a First Class Citizen to have compassion?"

Yui smiled thinking of Hyuga. "At least he did not ask the same question over and over. We respected each other's privacy. Its also wrong to judge an individual on what the majority has done."

"She's right," said Gasper. "Could we please move on?"

"Fine," said a woman member. "What about this second escape attempt?"

"When we found about Elru we decided it would be in my best interest to return home," she answered.

People muttered to each other about Elru. It was a disaster that would effect them for a long time even after Deus was destroyed. "What happened?" asked the council member.

"We were setup," said Yui. "The plan was to get me out of Solaris. He has a friend who is also a smuggler. It all fell apart when soldiers attacked us before we even got the ship. He and I stayed behind while the ship escaped." Yui swallowed hard and continued. "We were captured. He was tortured by the Gazel Ministry while Krelian. . .examined me."

"What did Krelian want with you?"

Yui clenched her teeth. "I don't know," she said sarcastically. "Maybe he wanted to ask me out on a date. It could also be I'm also one of the last remaining pureblooded Shevat citizens who is also a spy that raised quite a bit of Hell in Solaris!"

"Indeed," said someone else Yui did not recognize. "I can see hiding with a First Class Citizen for the last few months. But how did you did escape Krelian?"

"We were released," said Yui. She looked at every council member directly in the eye. "By Emperor Cain."

The Wise Men and Queen Zephyr looked at her with open mouths. The rest of the council erupted calling Yui a traitor or saying she had been brainwashed. Yui stood patiently thinking of Hyuga until control was regained. One of the council members said, "We should consider Yui a threat until we discover the truth we should place her in one of the cells."

"Absolutely not!" interrupted Queen Zephyr. She walked over to Yui and stood beside her. "I betrayed someone a long time ago and I will not do that a second time! Any of you, wether Council Member or Wise Man, harm even a hair on Yui's head will answer to me!" The first time in five hundred years Queen Zephyr accessed Ether. A blinding golden aura surrounded her. "Do not think me unable to carry out such a threat!" The room looked at Queen Zephyr with respect and fear. "Lets go Yui. I believed that the people in this room were better than the Gazel Ministry, I was wrong."


The Royal Kitchen and Dining Room was empty. Yui had cooked some food for her and Queen Zephyr. After they ate they talked about Yui's experience with Solaris. "The Emperor," said Queen Zephyr. "What did you think of him?"

"I was surprised," answered Yui. "I thought he was a petty tyrant like the Gazel Ministry. He told me he was impressed with my abilities."

"Indeed," said Zephyr. "You did not do anything foolish while talking to him did you?"

"I. . .lied," said Yui. "Hyuga, the man who helped me, also worked for Solaris' Court. He felt he betrayed Emperor Cain and was awaiting his punishment. I jumped to his defense saying I had him under my control."

"The Emperor was not happy," said Zephyr in a matter of fact way.

"He more than less threatened to cut my tongue out," said Yui. "Its strange, he is nothing like I heard."

"It means he is almost free," said Zephyr. "Please do not ask what that means. Cain and I are rulers and prisoners at the same time. We are bond by forces beyond our control. The war that happened five hundred years ago was the most horrific thing ever yet at the same time the best thing that happened to Emperor Cain."

Yui knew that the Gazel Ministry had lost their bodies and that Krelian stuck their minds in a computer. "To bad the Gazel and Krelian did not obtain such wisdom," said Yui in a low voice.

"The Gazel are now free yet they still insist on the power and Krelian is doing what he is doing because of a dangerous path he chose for himself long ago. What caused Krelian to walk that dangerous path will always cause me guilt for I was not blameless at what happened."

Yui was surprised at Queen Zephyr's confession. "What could you have done?" she asked.

"Nothing, nor can I do anything now," answered Zephyr. "Now tell me about, Hyuga, is that his name? Tell about the man you have fallen in love with."

Yui's face reddened. "How do you know?"

"Five hundred years of observation skills," answered Zephyr. "I know you better than you think."

"Ah," said Yui. "As strange as it may seem he is my equal. We met under strange circumstances and later we fell in love."

Zephyr looked at Yui but did not inquire any further. "You have been through a lot the past few months Yui. You need to take a nice long vacation. About eight or nine months, maybe longer."

Yui swallowed hard knowing what she meant. "I can still preform my kitchen duties," she said.

"Do you think you will see him again?" asked Zephyr.

"Yes," said Yui. "The question is when I will meet him." Yui felt like reaching to Hyuga through the bond but thought better of it. It would put to much pressure on both of them.


Time passed and a month went by. Yui continued her duty in the kitchens and Hyuga continued his basic training in the healing arts.

Yui was finishing cooking supper when she was summoned by Queen Zephyr. "There are refugees from the Kislev/Aveh War coming up through the Roost," said Queen Zephyr. "They should arrive at the top in a few hours."

The Roost was another name for the Tower of Babel. "Is that thing still safe?" asked Yui. She had seen it before and thought it could fall at any moment.

"The exterior is not what it used to be but the inside is still good. Hopefully our distraction squad can keep the Ethos and Wels busy while we get the refugees inside," said Zephyr. "There is a gun for hire we contacted who promised he would help the distraction squad."

"Merc," muttered Yui in disgust. "How much is he going to bleed us for?"

"He said he do it for free as long as he got the chance to make the Ethos' and Wels' lives miserable," answered Zephyr. "For an grizzled old man he seemed adamant about it. I'm just glad he didn't ask for what was left our alcohol supply."

"A grizzled old man," said Yui to herself. The mercenary's description and behavior seemed familiar. Yui smiled and took a wild guess. "His name wouldn't happen to be Jesse?"

"How did you know?" asked Queen Zephyr.

"He was one of the men who helped me in that botched escape." Yui shook her head. The world seemed that much smaller. "It fits I suppose. His wife was murdered according to him at Aquavy Islands. I guess he figures the Ethos had a hand in it."

"I hope he is a good as he claims to be," said Queen Zephyr.

Yui thought of the ill fated fight at the landing bay. That among the chaos and carnage Jesse did not miss a single shot. "Even if he did demand payment we would be getting our money's worth." Yui bowed and excused herself and returned to the kitchen preparing food for people caught up in the conflicts of people they had no knowledge of.


Yui handed meals that where in special boxes that kept the food warm and fresh until they were ready to be opened. The last of the people came through. A mother and her daughter. Yui tried to hand the child a small box filled with sweets she made especially for the children. The child clung to her mother's dress. Yui kneeled in front of the child. "Its alright," said Yui. "I won't hurt you."

The child looked at her mother and the mother nodded. "Go ahead," she said. To Yui she said, "She lost her father near the Tower. A group of Wels where nesting nearby. My husband sacrificed himself to save us. If it wasn't for that white haired man none of us would have made it."

"I'm sure he would be happy to hear that," said Yui. He handed the box of sweets to the little girl. "You share with that your mother, ok?"

The little girl nodded. "She seems a little better," said the mother. "We were lucky a healer was with us. He helped my daughter and others through their trauma. He also helped many of the wounded. I haven't seen him around though. If you see him could you please thank him? He is just a little bit taller than you and has long black hair tie and wears glasses. Really distinctive for a doctor."

"Y-yes," said Yui hoping she hid her surprise well enough at the description.

The woman and daughter exited and went to their new home. "You are good with children," said the last person in line.

Yui felt a lump in her throat. She looked at the man approaching her. The woman she just talked with described him correctly. "H-h-hyuga. . ."

Yui stumbled toward him. "Are alright?" he asked. "You seem to be in distress."

Yui stopped. He acted like he did not know her. She reached through the bond to sense him but felt nothing. The reports about people having doubles seemed true. Look a likes who were physically similar but genetically different. "I'm sorry," said Yui. "You just reminded me of someone."

"Its alright," said the double. He held out his hand. "I'm Citan Uzuki."

Yui do not shake his hand. She turned and walked away and went home. She laid on her couch and her enhanced emotions caused her to cry for the longest time.


The man known as Hyuga Ricdeau no longer existed. In his place was Citan Uzuki. He felt miserable at what he just did to Yui. He knew he would make it up to her later. He rubbed his neck, the collar he wore blocked most of his Arcane ability. It was an unwanted thing he had to wear. For now he did not want Yui to know who he was.

Citan wanted so much to tear the damn thing off and go find his wife to share the bond between them. Business came first he had to integrate himself with the people who could help finish his medical training.

Citan exited the hanger. He walked to where the wounded were being taken care of. A guard stopped and asked who he was. "I'm a doctor," said Citan.

A spokesman for the refugees who stood near the entrance said, "Ol' Citan is fine. He saved quite a few people."

Citan smiled. "Thank you. My skills are most likely meager in comparison to Shevat's resources."

The guard let Citan in and he went to work. He was right in saying his skills were meager in terms of Shevat's or even Solaris' medical skills. What he did to help the refugees was the equivalent of what a medic does in a middle of a battlefield. Hours later Citan felt drained. "You did pretty good," said one of the healers.

"Thank you," said Citan. "I only wish I had more skills. There is so much that I do not know."

The healer smiled and said, "Well if your schedule is clear for the next two or four years we can help finish your education."

Citan's mouth opened. "Two or four years!?"

"That's right," said the healer. "Unlike other professions doctors and healers still learn the old fashion way. We do not rely on flash or hypnotic techniques because they are very poor substitutes for hands on training. Even Solaris does it the old fashion way."

Citan shook his head. No wonder the Emperor was in no hurry. "I'll consider it," he finally said.

"Don't take too long," said the healer. "In Shevat you pull your weight. Not to sound like Solaris, but we really can't afford slackers. You have a good mind for learning Citan. That much I've seen."

"Thank you," said Citan. "By the way I want to ask a favor. The woman who was handing out food helped a widow and her daughter. I wanted to thank her for what she did for them and the other refugees. You know where I can find her?"

"You must mean Yui," said the healer. He gave him instructions to her apartment.

Citan looked over his patients and then left. He had to keep from breaking into a run because he was afraid he would draw attention to himself. He arrived at Yui's apartment and after removing the collar he rang the doorbell.

Citan's heart sank when she opened it. She had been crying. She looked at him and said, "Oh."

"Hello again," he said. He then reached to her through their bond.

"It is you," said Yui. She called him by his old name and Citan placed a hand over her mouth. Before she could react, he gently pushed her inside and closed the door behind him.

"You must never call me that name again," said Citan after removing his hand from her mouth. "From now on I am Citan Uzuki."

He let go and Yui wondered what he was talking about. She hesitated then wrapped her arms around him. She kissed him hard and Citan returned the kiss.

Citan knew the questions that weighed on her mind could wait. For now they shared each other through their bodies and their bond.

Later in bed Yui punched Citan in the arm. "Why the hell did you do that to me at the hanger?" she demanded.

Citan rubbed his arm. "I'm sorry. It was necessary to the mission."

Yui's frown deepened. "Mission? Espionage or. . ." Yui could not even consider the other word.

"Neither," said Citan. "It is very complicated. The Emperor said I could talk to you about it and you could share it with it with Queen Zephyr if you choose. The Emperor found out the cause of Elru's destruction."

"Hyu- I mean Citan. There is something you should know first," said Yui. She took Hyuga's hand and placed it on her stomach. "Close you eyes and feel."

Citan closed his eyes and did what Yui asked. Seconds passed then he felt something move against her stomach. He looked at Yui and smiled. "My darling, zi Yullic. . .but when?" Citan smiled. A father, never in his life did he thought he would be one.

"Most likely after we were married," replied Yui. "When we surrendered I found out when Krelian preformed an ultrasound," said Yui with disgust.

Citan was so furious at Krelian he could not find the right names to call him. Nothing seemed to fit. Calming down he asked, "How come you did not say anything in Solaris?"

"Because of what might've happened. When Krelian found out I was pregnant he said, "Solaris and Shevat." Citan is there any records you know of that deals with children who are of pure Solarian and Shevat heritage?"

"No," he said. "Maybe our child will just be a normal child without any abilities Ether or otherwise."

"I hope so," said Yui. "So much has changed even here. My debriefing was more like an interrogation. Queen Zephyr even compared Shevat's Council to the Gazel Ministry."

"This might not be good," said Citan. "I better tell you why I am here. Why this mission will be the most important thing I will ever do. Emperor Cain had hoped that something between our countries could be worked out."

"What about Krelian and the Gazel Ministry?" asked Yui.

"They are the root cause of what happened to Elru," answered Citan. He then explained everything to Yui what the Emperor told him.

Yui did not sleep that night and felt miserable in the morning. Citan was worried about her and the life within her. He had learned on the surface that stress factors played an important part of a fetus' development. Yui's enhanced emotions might not help matters. Citan surprised her when her asked the same question he asked not too long ago. "Will you marry me?"

Yui laughed believing he was trying to make her feel better. "Why should we do again what we already did in Solaris?"

"Because that was between you, me, the priest, and the walls," said Citan. "I want the world, or at least Shevat, to know that I love you."

Yui stood up. "Then yes I will marry you again," she said. Concern came over her. "What happens if the Gazel or Krelian find out?"

"What can they do?" said Citan. "The Gazel can stick it up their heat sinks and blow it out their monitors for all I care."

Yui doubled over in laughter. "I never knew you had such a sense twisted sense of humor."

"I rarely ever use it," said Citan smiling.

"And Krelian?" asked Yui.

Citan frowned and the room darkened. "If he tries anything toward you or our child, he had best dig the deepest hole possible and bury himself in it."

Yui felt Citan's anger and knew this was not the time for such a discussion. "First thing we have to do get married again." Yui smiled mischievously. "As far as everyone else is concerned we met yesterday. I'll bet the Council is going to drop a brick when they hear about this. They'll wonder what's going on."

Citan laughed. "Let them wonder. If they cannot figure it out then. . .oh well," he said with a shrug.


Two weeks passed after much controversy that was caused by Shevat's Council about Yui and Citan's relationship. They tried to prevent the wedding but were stopped by the Shevat citizens who cared too much for Yui and by the refugees who held Citan close to their hearts because he became, much to his surprise, their representative. Queen Zephyr also sided with the couple when she punched a hole in a wall of Council chamber without the use of Ether quelling any further arguments.

Citan wore an old dark suit that gave him a semi-military look. To his regret the outfit was a little tight and it showed off his muscular build more than he would have liked. From the moment he walked into the chapel till the end of the reception, he drew come hither looks from just about every woman attending. He also had his sword he was known for in Solaris. When people asked he said it was a family heirloom.

Yui wore a wedding dress given to her by one of her female friends. When she entered Citan saw her and his breath was taken away. Never in his life had ever saw such beauty. The way she moved made the dress look like part of her. The dress was not over frilly, just enough to heighten Yui's beauty.

Rings were not used. Instead Citan and Yui tied each other's hair using Wedding Ribbons. Always to be worn except when taking a shower or washing the Ribbon.

Vows were not traded. Citan and Yui had to give each other something they both held dear and the reasons why. Yui gave Citan her first set of cooking utensils. "I do not know what the future holds," she said. "But I know if I should leave this mortal coil before you, I know you will be able to take care of yourself." Citan tried not to burst out laughing. Yui looked at him in confusion. Her face turned red because she forgot Citan could not cook to save his life.

Citan gave Yui his sword. "This sword represents the darkness within me. I give you both along with the promise that I will never touch either again." Yui choked back her tears not at what he was giving up but what was yet to come.

"The promises have been made and by judging by how they look at each other the love they share is stronger than any foe or Gear," said the preacher. "Let their love be tied like the Ribbons in their hair with an unbreakable knot. Let this knot be tied with a simple kiss."

Yui and Citan looked at each other. At that moment their love was greater than any force in the world. They kissed for seconds and for an eternity. Someone gasped and the couple broke the kiss and wondered what was going on. The preacher was looking at them with his mouth wide open. The couple looked at each other and laughed. Their emotions were so strong that it caused the bond between them to manifest itself through Ether.

"The Eternal Lovers?" asked Gasper in awe.

"No," said Queen Zephyr who sat beside him. "A bond. A bond that might be stronger than what the Eternal Lovers share."


The next few months were not easy for the new, new, newlyweds. During the fifth month of Yui's pregnancy she started to gain weight at an incredible speed. Because of Deus' recreating humans on the planet, women would gain two hundred to three hundred pounds of weight during pregnancy. Yui had to wear what she called 'window curtains'. Her enhanced emotions did make things any easier. To often Citan was the receiving end of Yui's tempter and on a couple of times things she had thrown things at him even though he did nothing wrong. The worse thing was the Collar Yui had to wear. She had to wear it because she was too strong in Ether and it was best that she was cut off from Ether to prevent any harm to the fetus.

Through the hectic months Citan was surprised at how well he handled Yui's outbursts. In the final month peace finally came to the tortured soul of Citan. He looked back on his life before he met Yui and shuddered at the thought at how to often he skated along the edge of destruction.

In the final month of the pregnancy, Citan was making a sandwich for Yui. It was the only thing she would permit him to make in the kitchen. "Hyuga, my water broke!" yelled Yui.

Citan was about to remind her not to call him by that name when the rest of what she said registered in his mind. He ran to the computer calling the hospital telling them it was time.

In Shevat's hospital delivery ward, Citan held Yui's hand. Every time a contraction hit, Citan felt as though she was going to break his hand when she squeezed. At one point she said, "How do like the pain mister!?"

Citan swallowed and said nothing knowing it was a natural reaction. Yui then started cursing in a combination of Shevat, Solaris, and Surface languages. Everyone in the operating room was beginning to fear her. Any nurse that was in view of Yui would receive a dirty look heightened by her enhanced emotions.

The baby started to come out when the doctor said, "Damn it! We have to do a cesarian right now!" The doctor looked closer at the problem. He shook his head and ordered one of the nurses to escort Citan out.

Citan was gently escorted out, he looked and Yui and her expression was the same as his: sheer terror of something happening to their child.


Citan never felt so helpless in his life. He had fought wars and battle and paved a bloody road. He always believed he was fighting for something bigger and better. The good fight as it was always called. All of his work and currents plans with the Emperor meant nothing if something happened to his wife and child.

Citan wandered around the building aimlessly. He stopped and looked at the endless sky. "I don't know if there is a real God," he said. "I never really thought about it much. Religion was not an important part of my life. Now I wonder if there is a God and I'm being punished. I've torn families apart when I killed. Is this my punishment? To loose my child?"

"What will you do if God does not answer?" asked Queen Zephyr. She walked up to Citan and took hold of his hand.

Citan gripped her hand gently afraid he might break it. He knew she had punched a hole in the council wall but she still looked fragile. "I figure the answer is out there somewhere, somehow. I know little about God but I know enough to know that sometimes you have to look for the answers God provides."

Zephyr sighed as five hundred years of regret and guilt passed through her. "If only you could have told someone that a long time ago. Maybe the path we are on now would be different."

Citan did not ask what she meant. Yui had told him when she introduced him to her at the wedding reception that what she said sometimes was very cryptic and asking her what she meant would be futile. "Even if it costs me life," said Citan after a long silence. "I just want them to be safe and healthy."

"I had just arrived when I heard about the complications," said Queen Zephyr. "They said they will be operating most of the night. They asked if I saw you that you should go home and rest."

Citan let go of her hand. "I can't leave them," he said. "Not now. . .not ever!"

Zephyr frowned and her voice became official. "Don't ever say ever, not in that context," she said. "What can you do? Go in and try to help? Do you have the skills yet to save your wife and child? I know very little about the healing arts, but I know it is unethical and dangerous for a doctor or healer to operate on a family member. The best thing you can do for them is be rested physically and mentally to help them through the crisis. Remember that faith prevails and that hope is in all of us, never give up."

A ray of hope entered Citan. "You said 'them'. They are alright?" asked Citan.

"The doctor said Yui is stable. As for the child he did not tell me," said Zephyr. "You can ask in the morning."

Citan hesitated in obeying Queen Zephyr. Zephyr used her tone of voice that she reserved for unruly council members and people who generally pissed her off. "That is an order from the Queen of Shevat! Go home and rest!"

Citan knew better than to disobey. "Disobeying Queen Zephyr is as bad as disobeying me," the Emperor had told him before he left for Shevat. Citan bowed slightly and went home.


Citan returned home and tried to get some sleep but could not. He decided to study some before trying to sleep again. As read he heard a beeping sound. He became alert at recognizing the sound. 'Not now!' he thought in despair.

He went to the bedroom pulled a laptop computer from the stuff he brought with him. He turned on the laptop and entered his password. Emperor Cain's face appeared on the screen. There was no formality from the Emperor. "Hyuga, no even now it is best to call you Citan. I've just heard about your child I'm sorry," he said.

Citan was fully alert now. "How did you?" asked Citan. He and Yui were carful in avoiding the Data Crystals.

"I have my ways of finding out information that does not include Data Crystals," said Emperor Cain. "I think you can figure that one out. First, any news from the doctors?"

"Nothing yet," answered Citan. "Yui is fine but I have yet to hear anything about the child."

"I see," said Emperor Cain. "You are fortunate at least and I envy you."

Citan tried his best to hide his anger. 'At what? Losing my child?' Out loud he said, "I do not understand."

"Remember what I told you about the Mother of Humanity. The Gazel Ministry is the Father of Humanity. Notice I'm not in that particular equation."

"You. . .are," said Citan but could not finish without fear of offending the Emperor.

"I'm sterile," said Emperor Cain. "There is no shame except never knowing the feeling of holding my own child. I wish this was the only reason I was contacting you but I do have news that I need to share concerning our mission."

"News," said Citan halfheartedly. He wished he could be with Yui right now, holding her and comforting her.

Emperor Cain became angry not at Citan's behavior but at what he uncovered. "I have discovered a missing piece of data from the Data Crystals. A Data Crystal that I had no knowledge of. Considering who we are up against I shouldn't be surprised. I am sending you the clip now."

Citan waited for the file to download to his laptop. He watched the video of a house somewhere on the surface. A man, woman, and child were in the front of the house. Citan's own anger rose as he saw the image of a fourth figure. "Grahf," he hissed. Citan continued watching. Horror came over him as the child released an uncontrolled burst of Ether of which the likes he never saw before. Citan watched one of the Ether blasts come at the child and at the last moment the woman jumped in front of the boy taking the hit. The man and Grahf squared off and they attacked each other. There was another Ether explosion that struck the Data Crystal destroying it.

"The boy," said Citan after a long silence. "The boy is the Contact."

"Yes, I have managed to discover the father's name also," said Emperor Cain. "His name is Khan Wong. . .a Shevat military officer."

"Shevat?" asked Citan in disbelief. "I pretty much know everyone here. I haven't seen anyone who looked like that."

"I tried my source at Shevat before contacting you. They said that Khan moved to the surface after his son was born. Unfortunately my contact still does not know the identity of Khan's son. Even though he lived on the surface Khan still worked for Shevat," explained the Emperor. He hesitated than asked, "In the video did you noticed anything about the mother?"

Citan pictured the mother's face. There was something strange about her. Citan blinked, "Her eyes. They were cruel. . .no contempt. Contempt for her son, Khan, and Grahf."

"That is because she is the Mother of Humanity," said Cain. "The Mother is one of the people I'm sure of that twisted the unfortunate boy."

"What kind of. . .woman would allow that to happen!?" demanded Citan.

"Madness and revenge," said the Emperor. His voice dropped to a barely audible whisper. "When the Gazel, the Mother and I were created, she did not become the Mother of Humanity by. . .choice."

Citan face twisted with anger at both Emperor and Gazel. "Citan," said Emperor Cain. "I have never admitted that to any other human. Not even Krelian knows about it. I will not make excuses for what happened ten thousand years ago. I was at much at fault for standing by and doing nothing as is the Gazel Ministry for what they did to her."

"Even though the crime was committed in the dusts of the past, how can I trust you in the present?" asked Citan.

"I cannot ask for your trust nor will I demand your obedience. Not after what I just admitted to you," said Emperor Cain. "For what it is worth I do have a warning. The Mother of Humanity can appear in any woman once her current host dies. If your child survives, and I hope he or she does, then guard your child carefully. Your child is of an unheard of unique heritage of Solaris and Shevat. I'm sure Krelian found out Yui was pregnant before I got her out of his lab. If anytime in the future Yui displays any behavior that is not like her than be watchful of her."

Citan hoped his bond will be a good enough early warning system in case this Mother tried to take Yui over. "Is there anything else?" asked Citan flatly.

"For now concentrate on your family," said Emperor Cain. "If you wish continue to the mission than contact me, if not. . .then I'll understand."

Without further word the laptop's screen darkened. Citan put the laptop and sat down in his chair. To his surprise he fell asleep and woke up the next afternoon.


Citan walked into Yui's room. He looked at her sleeping peacefully and smiled. The doctor had removed her collar and already her body and Ether got rid of most of the excess weight she gained. Queen Zephyr was also in the room sitting by the bed. In her hand she had a data pad.

Queen Zephyr got up and offered Citan the chair. "I've been keeping your seat warm," said the Queen.

Hyuga sat down took hold of Yui's hand. Gently he established contact with the bond. He felt fear and sadness coming from her. His reaching out to her caused her to wake. "Hyuga," she said.

Citan smiled. "What did I say about that name," he said in teasing voice.

"Sorry," said Yui, her voice weak. "Must be the drugs they pumped into me."

"The doctor said when you are better you will be able to see your child," said Queen Zephyr. "Go back to sleep and let the drugs do their work. Later you should be ready." The Queen said to Citan, "Let her rest and come with me."

Citan heard the official tone in her voice and followed her outside of the hospital. They walked to a spot in Shevat that Queen Zephyr always went to when she needed to think. "Citan," she said. "You must hate Cain for what happened so long ago."

"You are," said Citan in surprise.

Zephyr nodded. "I'm Cain's main source of information in Shevat just as he my source in Solaris. Don't worry, I have not betrayed Shevat nor has he betrayed Solaris. Although certain people would not be happy if they found out. For Emperor Cain to admit to such a crime shows that is able to feel guilt. Remember what I said about he and I being bond by forces beyond our control. I'm bound by a crime of centuries past and at the time Emperor Cain was bound by the cruel hand of God."

"I understand," said Citan. A chill passed through him wondering what other crimes Emperor Cain committed in his long existence. Citan became even colder when it dawned on him that everything he did was out of freewill. 'Oh no. . .'

Queen Zephyr shook her head. "Khan. . .why did you not see the signs?" she asked after a long silence.

"Excuse me?" asked Citan wondering what she meant.

"Cain told me Khan's wife was taken over by the Mother. When Khan was in Shevat, he would tell me that his son would talk about abuse at his mother's hand. I would inquire further and Khan would say it was just his son making up stories."

"What is his son's name?" asked Citan.

"Fei Fong Wong," answered Queen Zephyr. "He is Shalek tel Dwe'el."

"A second advent," said Citan wondering what she meant.

"The Eternal Lovers," explained Zephyr. "The Contact and the Anti-Type. Cain is sure he knows who the Anti-Type is. That is something he said will not share with anyone including us. If the Anti-Type and Mother were to meet than all will be lost even if God was not resurrected. He said it is best for the Anti-Type to live her life away from the conflict that is to come."

Citan saw the doubt in Zephyr's face. "You don't believe that."

"No I don't," said the Queen. "Knowing what I know now, five hundred years ago the Contact and Anti-Type met. In a tragedy the Anti-Type died by my hand. The Contact could not bear the pain and went insane. The Contact searched for a Power that is unknown to me and a legend to those who know about it. He touched that Power and became a destructive force that rivals Fei's."

Understanding came to Citan. He knew of only one person impossible as it may seem fit that description. Part of the puzzle came together. "The previous Contact," said Citan. "Its Grahf, correct?"

"When he became Grahf, we asked how it had happened because we wanted to help him. Grahf said that he had met the true Mother and she showed him the way," explained Queen Zephyr. She handed data pad to Citan. "This is a recording of a five hundred year old record after the war. It shows the Contact and the Mother."

Citan took the pad and watched. The sound quality was gone so Citan could not hear what they were saying. The old images zoomed in on the Mother and the pad fell out of Citan's hands. "Out of all of them, she is the one I trust the least." All of this time he wondered what the Emperor meant by those words. All this time he wondered why he was so careful around her. "Miang," whispered Citan. He shook his head. "Incredible." He looked at Queen Zephyr and something welled up inside of him. A grim determination to protect his family and his Dark Side. "Is there anyway to kill her?" he asked.

Queen Zephyr saw that look on Yui's face all too often. "Don't consider it," she said. "Even if you kill the body the mind lives on. She will just appear in another body. Would you risk Yui's existence? The Emperor told me that the surest way to kill her is the total disruption of the body she inhabits at the atomic level."

"We would have to drop a nuclear bomb on her head," said Citan. "This 'God' sure thought of everything."

"As long as the Mother and Anti-Type are kept apart then we have nothing to worry about," said Zephyr. "Our current goal is to help this current Contact."

Citan frowned and crossed his arms across his chest. An expression he used to show displeasure at recruits back in Solaris when he was an instructor at Jugend for a short while. "I am still not sure I still want to follow through with the plan. When I am sure Yui and my child are well and my training is finished I will consider if I still want to help. Until then please do not ask for my help."

"I understand," said Queen Zephyr. "Neither I or Cain will push you into making a decision."

"Thank you." Citan checked his watch. "Yui should be coming around and I want to be with her."


Citan pushed Yui's wheelchair to the ICU ward. The doctor guided them to a nano-reactor where their child floated gently. Yui screamed in denial and Citan felt sick. Their child was hideously disfigured. The child's left eye was higher, almost to the top of the head and the right eye was covered by flesh. The nose was one whole nostril. The lips were fused together except for a barely visible hole in the center. The right arm was a boneless sack of flesh that move back and forth as the nanomachine soup churned back and forth keeping the child alive. The child's left arm was impossibly jointed the wrong way and the fingers were one knuckle in length. The child's legs were like the mouth, fused together.

The shock that passed through the bond caused Citan and Yui to almost pass out. After getting over their shock they talked with the doctor. "The only thing keeping her alive is the nanoreactor," he said. "The left lung collapsed and her heart is barely functioning."

"Our daughter," said Yui. Yui and Citan looked at each other. Their bond let them move past the trauma. To them it did not matter what she looked like. "Our daughter," she said again.

"What can be done?" asked Citan.

"I'm sorry," said the doctor. "We do not have the skills or the equipment. The best thing we could is let her go."

"Absolutely not!" yelled Citan. "I will not permit the murder of a child not matter what!"

"Citan," said the doctor. "To let her live will be cruel. Can you honestly place your own emotions above what is best for her?"

Neither parents could answer but someone else did. "Typical!" snarled someone who entered the ICU ward. "Because the child is not perfect you want to throw her life away!"

Everyone looked at the person who entered. Taura walked over to Yui and she smiled at him. "Hello uncle," she said.

"Aw," he said. "You're to old to call me that." Taura walked over to Citan and looked him over. "Uh-huh," he said. Then he went over to the child. "Did you wear a Collar?" he asked Yui.

"At the beginning of the fifth month," answered Yui.

Taura nodded as much as he could. He looked at the doctor and said, "You! You're done here, I'm taking over!"

"You can't do that!" demanded the doctor.

"Yes I can!" shot back Taura. "Unlike you I want to save the child. Get out of here before I have you escorted off of Shevat the hard way!"

The doctor shook his head and left. "You're Citan right?" asked Taura.

"Yes sir."

"Just call me Taura," he muttered. "You're pretty fit for a Solarian. First Class Citizen right?"

"How did you?"

Taura laughed. "Even though you try to hide it, you still have that 'holier than the rest of the planet' feel about you. Don't worry I won't say anything."

"Thank you," said Citan with relief. "Can you help her?"

"Krelian tried to kill me a long time ago cause I refused to teach him anymore about nanomachines. He might have messed up my body but I'm still kicking." Citan did not say anything. Krelian had told him that awhile back in one of the rare times they worked together.

Taura went over to a scanner and checked the child's vitals. "What's her name?" he asked.

"We haven't given her a name," said Yui. "With everything that happened it is sort of low priority."

"Just as well," said Taura. "What I'm going to do is flood the tube with nanomachines after I reprogram them."

"Hold on," said Citan. "That's dangerous. You have to keep the liquid and nanomachines at a level amount."

"Normally yes," said Taura. "What I have in mind is completely different." Taura looked at the young couple. "Queen Zephyr told me you are both good with keeping secrets. What I'm about to tell you must never be revealed to anyone. Not even to the queen."

Yui and Citan agreed. "Good," said Taura. "I'm the only one on the planet who can use nanomachines in ways that are considered theoretical by the rest of the planet. . .think lead into gold."

"Transmutation," said Yui.

Citan looked at his wife in surprise. She gave him a dirty look. "I'm quite smart," she said.

Citan smiled and squeezed her hand. Taura laughed. "Indeed you are little niece," he said. "For the procedure." Taura took a breath and thought how to explain it to them. "Its like this. The nanomachines will break down her body except for the brain and undamaged parts of her spinal cord. Luckily the brain is whole. After the molecular machines go through their programing of seeing what genes and traits are damaged and not damaged, they will then reform the body. Your daughter who look as she should have when she was born."

"I hear a but coming," said Citan.

"Indeed," said Taura. "I figure the procedure might take two or three months. When I said she will look like she should've when she was born I literally meant it. The brain will be kept active by other nanomachines during the procedure but will inhibit any growth. In a sense the brain will be kept in stasis. Don't worry there will be no long term effects. After the procedure she will have some nanomachines still in her body. I hope you have a good sized supply of diapers."

Citan's face turned bright red and Yui laughed. "Am I missing something?" asked Taura.

"I was in a nanomachine reactor not to long ago," said Citan. "I felt I had Bearcow Flu afterwards. . .it was not a pleasant experience."

Taura shrugged as well as he could. "Sorry, that is still one mystery about nanomachines that I can't even solve."

"Taura, there is one thing I need to know before I agree to this," said Citan. "I know the history between you and Krelian. How he poisoned your body with nanomachines when you refused to teach him anymore about them and that is why you look like you do now. I'm wondering why you never healed yourself like you are going to do my daughter."

Yui wanted to punch Citan for asking such a personal question. "Its alright Yui," said Taura. "You both deserve an answer. This body is a constant reminder that there is some knowledge that humans should never know. Any other questions?"

'Why is it that you are the only man in the world Grahf refuses to kill?' thought Citan. Aloud he said, "No."

"Then you two should go home," instructed Taura. "Because the procedure needs to be secret for obvious reasons, I'm have her moved to a private room. Only the three of us will permitted in and out of the room."


Yui and Citan found themselves continuing their daily routines. They were both proud and happy that everyone wished them well. When they got home they both went to the hospital to check on their child. To protect his secrets, Taura had used quite a bit of nanomachines to darken the glass. Only one monitor showed what was going on within the reactor and that was turned off when Yui and Citan visited.

At the beginning of the second month of their child's healing, Citan made a decision he had been brooding over for a long time. "We need to be tested," he said.

"Tested for what?" asked Yui.

Citan hesitated not wanting to say the words but he knew for their future they both had to be sure. "I've checked every known genetic defect on record and nothing matches what has happened to our daughter."

"You know we can't keep calling her 'child' and 'our daughter'," said Yui. "She needs a name."

"I really don't know what name to give her," admitted Citan.

"I've been thinking about that," Yui smiled. "How about Midori?"

"Midori," said Citan rolling the name on his tongue. "Midori Ukuzi." A smile formed on his face. "That's good Yui. Our daughter, Midori."

"Now that a name has been chosen, what about these tests," said Yui.

"At first I thought it was because of our heritage but I do not, no, will not believe that," said Citan. "Yet I still think that one of us has something. . .wrong," he finished letting the last word hang in the air.

"I see,"sighed Yui. "If it is me then will you-

"Of course not!" yelled Citan. He felt her anguish through the bond, the possibility of rejection. "No matter what is wrong I will never leave your side. I could no more do that to than I could allow Midori life be taken away when the doctors said that would've been the best thing for her."


Citan leaned forward in his chair rocking back and forth. His face in his hands crying. The medical report laid on the floor. Yui kneeled beside him, her arm across his back comforting him. She was crying also. They cried for themselves and each other, for the children they would never have. She had hoped it was her with the problem and was sure Citan hoped he was the one with the problem. Citan preformed the tests and got the results back. "Damaged sperm," the report read. "Most likely from overexposure to some unknown radiation."

Citan knew what the cause really was. "The price of Arcane," he said crying in the chair. "God punishing me for the families I've torn apart."

No matter what Yui said she could not comfort him. "We have Midori," said Yui through her tears. "That will be enough." Yui took a breath and said with false hope, "Even if it happens again we can have Taura fix it."

"No," said Citan. "The difficult birth almost killed you. This. . .this is the only way. I even asked Taura and he said my mind is too aware. If he attempted what he is doing to Midori on me then my brain might register the realization of what is happening and the shock might kill me."

Yui could not find any words to say or feelings to convoy through the bond. She just held her husband and drew his grief from him making it her own.

Citan had the operation preformed right away. He wanted it done with and put behind him. No matter how strong he seemed, and between Midori's condition and his own shame, it would take a while for the psychological affects to go away. A small rift appeared between Yui and himself.


Halfway through the second month of Midori's healing, Citan slept on the couch. His shame was too great and he felt unworthy of sharing the same bed with Yui. He was awaken by a message from the computer in the den. Hyuga snapped awake and went over to the computer. Citan had not shaved in the pass month. He scratched his chin the hairs causing the itch. He still wore the Wedding Ribbon but it felt like a piece of cloth with no meaning. An message from Taura telling him and Yui to get to the hospital right away.

"I felt something wrong," said Yui behind him.

Citan was not able to look at her. "Taura wants us at hospital," he said.

Yui felt the fear and shame emanating from her husband. Most of the time he walked around in a fugue state. Not even looking at the stars at night helped him. He still had too much guilt and shame believing that this was all his fault. Yui was relieved that he at least was talking to her. It would take a while for him to back to his usual self. It would be hard at times but she would be strong and would share that strength with him. "We'd better go," said Yui.

Citan hesitated his emotions boiling over. Yui took hold of his hand. "Midori is not my child, nor is she your child. She is our child."

To Yui's regret Citan did not say anything on their way to the hospital. He walked a few steps behind her. Yui took his willingness to go with her a small victory.

They entered Taura's makeshift laboratory at the hospital. The nanoreactor was empty and Taura was in the middle of the room standing, his eyes closed. "Uncle," said Yui. "Wake up."

Taura shook and opened his eyes. "Humph! Must have dozed off." He looked at Yui then at Citan who stood by the door. "Come with me," he ordered.

They followed Taura to the maternity ward. Taura gave a nurse on duty at the ward instructions. Citan and Yui walked to the window and watched the nurse stand by one of the cribs and nurse pointed to Midori. Yui blinked back her tears. "She's beautiful."

Citan slowly brought his hand up and touched the window. "M-Midori," he whispered.

Yui wanted to hold Citan's hand at that moment but the emotions he showed through the bond told Yui it was not yet time.

"Is she whole?" asked Yui.

Taura said, "The monomachines that are still in her body are just about done connecting all the nerve ends. The process will be done tomorrow." Taura hesitated then said, "I'd would wait until the nanomachines leave her body. The rest of this hospital still has to contribute something and it might as well be that."

Yui smiled. "That's alright Uncle. If that's the price we have to pay for her well being than it will be worth it. Isn't that right Citan?" Yui turned to her husband expecting a reaction of any type. He just stood there looking at Midori quietly repeating her name. Yui shook her head. 'I will be glad when both prices will be paid in full. '

The next day Midori finally went home with her parents. Yui had about enough of Citan's self pity and promised herself to chew him out when they got home. He had refused to hold Midori and that made her furious. Zephyr had warned Yui that with her enhanced emotions she had to be carful around Midori.

They reached their home and Citan opened the door. Before Yui could enter, Citan stopped her. Yui was surprised when he picked her up and carried Yui and Midori across the threshold. "Old custom," he simply said.

Yui smiled feeling some of his love returning through the bond. The victory was short lived when Citan looked at Midori and the guilt returned. Wordlessly he went to his chair and sat down looking at the sky.

Yui became furious but quickly held it back. She went over to Citan holding Midori. "Citan," she said in a low voice that Citan dared not ignore. "She is your daughter and you have to hold her sometime. If you keep this up she will wonder in future years why you are afraid of her." Yui hesitated not wanting to say what she wanted to say but she could find no other solution. "Hyuga," she said purposely. "I'm only going to make this offer once. I want you to hold our daughter," she said putting the emphases on the word our.

Citan's fear washed over Yui. The fear of dropping Midori, the fear that his Dark Side would destroy her daughter. "Citan, nothing will happen to her. Just hold her once and if you choose never to hold her again than so be it."

Citan's expression did not change. He just nodded and held out his shaking hands and looked at Yui helplessly. Yui sent strength through the bond and his hands stopped shaking. Yui handed Midori over to Citan. His hands started to shake again but he willed himself to stop. He gently touched Midori's forehead feeling her warmth. Midori looked at her father. Citan expected hatred at him because of what he did but instead found innocence in those eyes. Seeing those eyes caused the depression and fear that weighed down on Citan to evaporate. Citan smiled for the first time in the past few months. He looked at Yui and smiled. "My daughter, our daughter. Midori, so beautiful."

"I'll be in the kitchen," said Yui. Citan nodded knowing Yui wanted to give Citan and Midori some time together. She stopped at the entrance to the kitchen. She turned and watched Citan lift Midori in the air. Not since their wedding in Solaris and Shevat did she see him so happy.

A sudden chill went through Yui. The vision concerning Hyuga's Dark Side appeared once again. She knew know who the little girl was in the vision. It was Midori.


Yui knew her jealously was unwarranted but it was hard on her. Five months passed since Citan reconciled himself with Midori and he spent all of his free time her. She was happy that Citan got over his problem with Midori but the other problem still needed fixing. Yui stood in the Royal Kitchen cutting vegetables. She did not notice how hard she was cutting the food until she heard a cracking sound. She struck the cutting board so hard it broke. "Damn it!"

She went looking for another cutting board and returned to see Queen Zephyr waiting for her."Come with me," said Queen Zephyr. Yui obeyed and followed her.

They went to the throne room, the most private area in Shevat. "You've been acting strange," said the Queen.

"I have been preoccupied," muttered Yui.

"Frustrated would be a better word," said Zephyr.

"Its-its just that he won't share with me," said Yui. "I know Citan still carries his shame about. . .certain parts of himself. I feel jealous because he spends so much time with Midori and that make me guilty. I don't know what to do."

"Imagine if you were the one with the problem," said Zephyr. "What do you think would be happening right now. The two of you are more alike than you both believe."

Yui nodded in agreement. She and Citan were very similar. If it was her that had the damaged eggs instead she probably have done everything that Citan did, even the current behavior. "What can I do?" asked Yui.

Queen Zephyr smiled. "Take the initiative." Zephyr smiled and winked at Yui. "You and Citan asked me to be Midori's Protector, her guardian if anything ever happened to you and Citan. As Protector, I would like to spend some time with her."

Yui's own smile almost reached her ears. "You might be taking care of Midori for a few days."

Zephyr shrugged in her throne. "Its been awhile since I've enjoyed the company of a child," she said.


Citan returned home from his training. 'Three more years of this,' he thought ruefully. He never knew how complex the human body and mind was. At heart he was a learner and a good one so he did not mind.

He went to Midori's and stopped before entering. He chucked remembering that Queen Zephyr as Midori's Protector, demanded she spend some time with Midori. For the pass three days Midori was with Queen Zephyr. Citan almost refused but knew the Queen was in her right and it would be a sign of distrust between parent and Protector if Citan refused.

"Citan is that you?" yelled Yui from the bathroom.

"Yeah," said Citan half heartedly.

"I need your help!" she said. "I think one of the pipes broke!"

Citan ran into the bathroom and was hit by so much steam he could barely see in front of him. "Over here," said Yui.

Citan made his way to the shower and stopped. His mouth fell open and his mind reeled. Yui stood in the shower her body lathered with soap. "W-where is the pipe?" asked Citan dumbly.

Yui smiled and looked Citan over. Her voice was soft and seductive. "Maybe the pipe I'm talking about isn't broken after all."

Citan looked down and saw what she was talking about. He mind was in conflict. He wanted her so badly but the guilt and shame covered his mind.

Yui sent the feeling what they shared between them through the bond. A reminder of their times of love. Those feeling evaporated Citan's shame and guilt like the Sun cutting through fog. Yui smiled and said, "The last time this happened I yelled at you. Now I quietly invite you."

A smile slowly formed on Citan. He walked toward Yui as if it was the first time. He stepped in the shower and Yui helped him take his clothes off.

Later in bed Citan felt clean mentally, physically, and spiritually. They held each other tight after they exhausted each other. They shared through their bond which caused and Ether manifestation. They silently looked at each other not needing words. Yui broke the silence when she laughed.

"What's so funny?" asked Citan.

"Just thinking if I was the one with the problem and you were standing in the shower trying to help," she said while laughing.

"You think that's funny?!" demanded Citan half seriously.

"For some reason I just can't picture a man being able to that," she said.

Citan got out of the bed. "Oh really!" he said his voice serious.

"I'm just teasing," said Yui hoping she did not push to hard to soon.

Citan got out of the bed. "Fifteen minutes and we will see if its funny!" He left the room and Yui continued laughing at thought of Citan taking this so seriously.

Yui entered the bathroom and Citan stood the same way Yui did. "Well?" he asked.

Yui laughed again. "I'm so sorry but its so funny!"

Citan stepped out of the shower. "If you like laughing then I can make you do it a long time." He crouched low and he smiled nastily. He wiggled his fingers and approached Yui.

Yui backed to the door. She was very ticklish and Citan knew it. Her eyes widen. "Oh no you don't!"

"Better run," teased Citan.

He chased her through the house. He finally caught her and followed through on his threat. Then they made love where he caught her.


Years passed and Citan was almost finished with his training. His problems were nothing but a sore memory that was all but forgotten. He noted that even Yui changed in the passed three years. It was if she became the most peaceful person on the planet. His only concern was Midori. She was four years old and still had to say a word. He managed to contact Taura and asked if anything could have happened while he was healing her. He said no and to worry. It was not unusual for pure Shevat children to be like that. Citan was still worried but followed his advice. He could wait another year and if Midori still not speak, then he would try to find out why.

Then there was the unexpected news he got from Emperor Cain. A message stating there was a fight between Fei, Khan, and Grahf. All three vanished after the fight. Scorched land and bits and pieces of charred clothes and pieces of Grahf's armor were the only remains. Citan thought about the two the Contacts, who were basically insane, fighting against each other, both leaving the world in ruins. He shuddered at the thought and hoped it was finally over. He doubted it because their was remains of footprints leaving the battle toward who knows where. For now he concentrated on the present.

Citan slumped in his chair and groaned. "Yui, I am begging here!" he cried out.

"It is a good idea," replied Yui. "The man who rescued the last remaining Chu-Chus from Krelian will be bringing them to Shevat tomorrow."

"I understand and wanting to help them. Knowing what we know about humans and this planet, the Chu-Chus are the true inhabitants of this planet," said Citan. "I mean we do have a responsibility toward them and all. . .but. . .but," he stammered trying to say anything to get out of what Yui asked him to do.

"They induce cavities just by looking at them," finished Yui in a drool voice. She walked over and mussed Citan's hair. "From what I read, the Chu-Chus are almost childlike themselves. With most of the refugees leaving for parts unknown there are very few children Midori's age she can be with."

"I know," said Citan. "Why can't Zephyr take Midori?"

"She claimed some important prior engagement," said Yui in a low voice.

Citan looked at his wife and laughed. "She's using that as an excuse!?"

"Your excuse is going be that you're in traction!" yelled Yui.

Citan stopped laughing and knew he had better start taking this seriously. "You win," said Citan in between breaths. His own eyes narrowed. "You owe me big time."

"Don't worry," she whispered in his ear. "I think I can come up with a way to repay you."

Citan's face turned red. "Oh my," he said stupidly.


"Go ahead," said Citan with a forced smile. When he and Yui told Midori about the Chu-Chus, she was ecstatic. Father and daughter stood before a newly build building created for the Chu-Chus. Some of the furry creatures were outside the building talking. "Just go over to them," instructed Citan. "They will not harm you."

Midori looked up at her father. He nodded giving her permission to go. Hesitant at first, Midori looked at them first then slowly went over to them. Citan's smile became genuine when Midori started playing with him. 'Oh please, oh please don't ask to take one of them home!' He laughed at the thought.

He continued watching when a white colored Chu-Chu came out of the building. Citan felt sudden pity for him, or her, whichever the case may be. Even when he was stuck healing the wounded it was hard to tell gender. Citan watched what appeared to be a really old Chu-Chu, most likely the leader. The Chu-Chu that walked out had many patches of fur missing from the body. The Chu-Chu was bald with a scar that ran around the scalp. Citan gritted his teeth, another reason to despise Krelian.

Citan watched the old Chu-Chu walk over to Midori. Citan tried to listen but was to far back. He saw the Chu-Chu say something to Midori and she would either shake her head yes or no. The Chu-Chu finished talking to Midori than hobbled over to Citan. "Can I help you?" asked Citan.

"Chu her father?" asked the creature whose hi-pitched voice caused Citan to squint.

"Yes," he said sharply. "Why do you want to know that?"

If the Chu-Chu was offended by Citan's behavior, it did not show it. "She talks without moving her mouth," said the Chu-Chu.

"Midori has not spoken since she was born," said Citan in a low voice. He knew the Chu-Chu did not meaning any insult but it still rubbed Citan the wrong way.

"She speaks with pictures of the mind!" exclaimed the Chu-Chu.

"Picture?" repeated Citan. "What do you mean . ." Citan's eyes widen in surprise and he felt pale realizing what the Chu-Chu meant. Citan swallowed and concentrated on his daughter. "Midori?" he thought with his mind. "Midori, can you hear me?"

Midori stopped playing at looked at her father. "Of course daddy," she sent back.

Citan had to fight to regain his balance. His daughter's voice filled his head. He smiled at hearing her daughter's voice in his mind. It sounded like peaceful spring day filled with innocence. His smile faded as he carefully thought of the ramifications. After Midori was healed by Taura, tests using Elinger's Lights were used to gauge Midori's Ether strength. Citan was relieved that her daughter had very little ability. This was something else entirely. 'Arcane, Yui's prophetic abilities. Krelian had said, "Solaris and Shevat." I doubt he would be able to control emotions at this.'

"Papa are you alright?" asked Midori in his mind.

"I'm alright," said Citan out loud. He turned to the Chu-Chu he was talking about. "I want you to do me a favor. Please do not speak to anyone about how Midori 'speaks'. I would rather this be kept a secret."

The Chu-Chu nodded and agreed. Citan watch the creature go back to Midori. A father's fear came to Citan. The fear of people like Krelian getting to his daughter.


Later Citan talked to Yui at home. "I had always hoped Midori would be a normal girl," said Yui. She was stunned at the revelation. "Wait till Zephyr-

"No!" interrupted Citan. "We do not tell her this."

"But Citan," said Yui.

"We tell no one Yui!" said Citan in a voice that would brook no argument. "Not with the world the way it is. I still do not know if Midori's telepathy is her brain making up for the lack of Ether or because of us being pure Shevat and Solaris. No one must find out. If they do, we will deny it. . .at the most." Citan looked at his wife and another shadow passed over him.

Yui swallowed feeling what Citan's emotions through the bond. He regretted the assassinations and killing. In this case anyone who would try to take his child from him would regret it. She knew that she felt the same way. "Alright," she said. "We keep it a secret. What I want to know is why she never talked to us that way."

"I asked her that," said Citan. He sighed and shook his head with regret. "Lets face it Yui, you and I are not nice people. We have both killed a lot of people, sometimes in self-defense and other times because we were ordered to."

"She must've saw our memories when trying to speak to us," reasoned Yui. "I'm surprised she will even come near us."

"Midori knows we would never harm her," said Citan with relief. "Midori knows we love her."

Yui hesitated then finally asked, "Does she know about her. . .birth?"

"I don't know," answered Citan. "If she knows then she does not understand."

"We have to instruct her how to use her abilities," said Yui. "Neither of us are telepaths."

Citan smiled and touched Yui through the bond with a feeling of warmth. "We have that," he said. "It should be good enough."

Yui returned Citan's warmth with her own. "Indeed we do," she said.


It was a day off for Citan and Yui and both needed the rest. It was a rest that did not last. The afternoon approached and the couple had unexpected guests.

Yui opened the door and saw two Shevat Council Members, Julius and Tarion, and a couple of Shevat soldiers behind them. Her first thought was something happened to the Queen. "Is Zephyr alright?" she asked.

"The Queen is fine," said Tarion. "We are here on other business."

A chill went through Yui. If they found out about Citan. "What is the problem?" she asked calmly as possible.

"We heard rumors concerning your daughter," answered Tarion.

"What rumors might those be?" asked Citan who appeared out of nowhere. His eyes narrowed at the mentioning of Midori.

"We heard rumors. . .that Midori is unique," said Julius. "We just want to find out if those rumors are true or not."

"And what are the rumors?" demanded Yui still trying be as calm as possible.

"That she has unique abilities, much like Yui," said Tarion.

"If you bothered to check Midori's medical records, you would know that her Ether rating is very low almost to the point of being nil," explained Citan.

"The abilities I'm talking about are non-Ether," Tarion.

"Excuse me a second," said Yui. She left leaving Citan the job of blocking the Councilmen from entering the house. Yui returned with her own sword. A heavy claymore two handed type sword she hefted with ease. Even Citan was impressed by the way she used it when they practiced together. "Let them through Citan," she said. "If they want to see Midori they have to get pass me."

Citan smiled and moved away, he gestured inviting them into the house. "Its rude for a host to keep the visitor from entering."

The guards took a cautious step back and the expressions on the Councilmen were a cross between fear and anger. "This isn't over," said Tarion.

"It was over when you tried to take Midori away from us," whispered Yui, her voice low and dangerous.

"There are laws that Shevat, Solaris, and the Surface do share," said Julius. The two Councilmen turned and left.

Citan closed the door and waited for Yui to put her sword back. She returned and said, "Damnit! How could this have happened?"

"The furball," growled Citan. He went over to the couch and sat down. "I told it to keep it a secret."

Yui shook her head and joined him. "You told a Chu-Chu to keep the secret. Midori was playing with the others."

Citan smacked a fist in his other hand. "Damn!"

Yui took a step back. She knew of only one reason Citan would swear. "Citan," she said carefully.

Citan smiled to reassure her. "Do not worry. Even I have to swear sometimes even though its rare that I do."

"What I'm worried about is what they said about laws," said Yui.

Citan adjusted himself on the couch. What Yui had called 'the thinking man's position'. "We both know all the laws. The ones we have to concentrate are the ones concerning children." Citan's eyes went from left to right in rapid movement. He was reading books he had read in his mind. At incredible speeds the laws flashed across his mind's eye. He finally stopped and blink. "They would not dare!"

Yui felt his panic and dread through the bond and asked what was wrong. "The child abuse laws," whispered Citan.

Yui felt sick. Zephyr was right years ago. Shevat Council was no better than the Gazel Ministry. "They wouldn't dare. Everyone knows us better than that."

Citan shook his head. "It does not matter. The moment Midori's telepathy gets out it will be late."

Yui gripped Citan's hand hard. "What can we do?"

Citan smiled and said, "Remember what you suggested after Elru was destroyed?"

Yui nodded in understanding. "Run away. Where can we go? Back then it was just the two of us. We have to consider Midori. How will we even escape?" Yui stopped looked at Citan. "Did I just say escape?"


Yui shook her head in despair. "Is this what our world has come to? At what point did Shevat become Solaris?"

That was one question Citan could not answer. Instead he said, "I have a plan as ironic as it may seem."

"Having a plan is ironic?" asked Yui.

"Maybe this time we can escape without trouble," answered Citan. He went over to his computer and used a secure line to contact someone he had not seen for nearly four years.


"And history repeats," muttered Jesse, his voice low.

"Hush!" ordered Sigurd.

The two men waited about Sigurd's smuggler ship. Sigurd did not even know their old friend was in Shevat. When he was contacted and told the reason Sigurd was flabbergasted.

Jesse looked out the ship's window and said, "Here they come."

It was the middle of the night and Sigurd could barely make out the dark figures walking toward the ship. When the figures reached the ship, Sigurd lowered the platform to let them in. "Go back and check on them," said Sigurd.

Jesse nodded and went back to the ship's passenger area. After Sigurd flew far enough away from Shevat he set the ship's autopilot and joined everyone else in the back.

"Thank you all for helping," said Yui.

"No problem," said Jesse. He looked at Midori and all he could see was Primeria. The grizzled old man smiled at Midori and said, "I have a daughter who's about your age."

Midori smiled lightly picking up Jesiah's mental images of his daughter but did not say anything. Jesse looked at Citan and frowned. "She doesn't say much, does she Hyuga?"

Citan frowned slightly. "There is a reason for that. . .and my new name is Citan Uzuki."

Jesse and Sigurd looked at each other. "Things have changed since we last met," said Sigurd.

"Yes it has," said Citan. "Like the eyepatch you are wearing. I hope it is a disguise."

"Don't I wish," said Sigurd. "I lost the eye in an explosion."

Citan closed his eyes. If there was one person he never wished to be harmed it was Sigurd. He had been through so much pain in his life. "Sigurd, I'm sorry."

Sigurd laughed. "Its nothing," he said. "All in the price of freedom. Anyway where we going?"

Citan pulled a data chip from his vest pocket. "These are the coordinates to an abandoned village. Most of the houses are no good but I think I can rebuild one of them."

Jesse rubbed his chin in thought. "It seems you two are trying to get away from it all."

"For awhile," said Yui. "Shevat is becoming too much like Solaris." Yui looked down at Midori and smiled. "I think Jesse knows there are some things still worth fighting for. For now we have to keep her safe."

Jesse thought of Prim and Billy and smiled. "That is something I can get behind of."


Jesse and Sigurd stayed with Citan and his family until they got one of the houses fixed up using the equipment Sigurd brought with him. In the meantime Yui started her own garden to grow vegetables. Near the end of fixing the house Yui and Citan chose, Jesse became attached to Midori. On the last day together Jesse said to Midori, "I promise one of these days you are going to meet my daughter."

"I'd like that," said Midori smiling as bright as the afternoon sun.

Jesse choked back his tears. "Don't go making me cry kid. I have a reputation to maintain," he said.

"As a barroom brawler," said Citan with a huge smile.

Jesse looked at Citan with a mock glare. "Shall I tell your wife and kid about the first and last time you got drunk?"

Citan's face reddened and Yui and Midori picked up on his sudden embarrassment. Sigurd's face also turned red. The smuggler turned pirate grabbed Jesse by the shoulder. "I think we better leave," he said a little too loud.

Yui and Midori laughed and Citan shook his head watching them leave. After the ship took off, Midori looked at Citan and asked, "Why did you paint your stomach?" she asked.

Citan's mouth opened. "Midori, what did I tell you about using your telepathy around other people?"

"Tried to block image, you were to loud," explained Midori.

"She's right," said Yui. "The way your embarrassment showed through bond, I thought your head was going to explode." Yui then said to Midori, "Honey, why don't you show mommy what you saw from daddy's mind."

Before Citan could object, Midori showed Yui the image. Yui fell to ground laughing. "Oh god that's funny!" she said in between her breaths. "Citan you should've turn that into a comedy routine and taken it on the road!"

"So you like to laugh!" said Citan. "And you Midori, you are in trouble!" Citan held out his hand and wiggled his fingers.

"You-you wouldn't!" said Yui trying to control herself.

Midori tried to run but Citan caught her. He brought her over to Yui while tickling Midori. "You both like to laugh so much," said Citan. "How about if I help?"


Eventually they lost track of time. They did not know if four months or a year had passed. If someone came to them and offered them news of the world they left behind, the couple would refuse. They had each other and no longer cared about anyone else. Many would see that as selfishness, they would not know of the peace Citan and Yui finally found with each other and Midori. The peace that should have lasted a long time but did not.

Yui was washing dishes while keeping an eye on Midori who was playing outside with the wild chickens they had tamed. Citan was in the workshop he built trying to repair an ancient music box he discovered in what was the old village's idea of a museum.

Yui continued watching Midori when Midori fell to her knees and clenched the side of her head. "MOMMA! PAPPA!" The house shuddered and a familiar sound of a Gear could be heard.

Yui's head felt like it was about to burst. "Midori!" she cried out. Through the bond she reached out to Citan.

She ran toward the front door when she heard Citan behind him. "I saw the Gear!" he said. "Get our weapons and I will get Midori!"

Yui swallowed feeling Citan's struggle with his Dark Side. Yui nodded and grabbed her sword. She saw Citan's sword and paused. The Wedding Promise. "Now's not the time!" she muttered. Her hand shaking she grabbed Citan's sword and ran out of the house. She gasped when she made it outside. A Gear unlike any she had ever seen. The way it stood with its arms crossed gave it a look of power and arrogance.

"She's unconscious!" yelled Citan. He checked Midori's pulse to make sure she was still alive.

Yui made it halfway to them when an invisible hand clenched them all. They yelled as red Ether became visible around them. "H-How!" yelled Yui in between her screams. She felt as though a Gear was slowly crushing her.

"G-Grahf!" yelled Citan. He gritted his teeth trying to ignore the pain and his Dark Side. "Show yourself you son of a bitch!"

Two figures stepped out behind of the Gear and into view. One was Grahf and the other was someone Citan had only heard rumors of. "E-Executioner," he whispered in awe.

"Indeed," said the masked woman. To Grahf she said, "Get the brat and lets go."

"Never," hissed Yui. "Even if I have to come back from death itself you will never harm my child!"

The Executioner hesitated. Beneath the mask Miang felt a presence of Motherhood unbound. "It is to late," she said. "She is mine as are all of you."

"Hyuga," said Grahf. "You always felt yourself powerful, but you are an insignificant flea to be itched. Feel the Power as you are slowly crushed into the nothingness you are." Grahf added to the Executioner's power and Citan yelled as he felt his ribs crack. He felt his stomach squeeze and blood came out of his nose.

"Citan!" yelled Yui. She managed to turn her head and look at Citan's sword. The vision concerning him and his Dark Side came to her once again. Yui now knew what had to be done to survive even if it cost them later. "Citan!" she yelled. Tears started to fall down her face at what she was about to ask of him. "I give it back to you Citan! I give you back the darkness and your sword!"

Citan looked at his wife in shock at what she just asked of him. He strained his eyes to look at the Executioner walk toward Midori like some demon from the lowest pits of Hell. Inside his emotions conflicted. Do nothing and they all die and Midori might end up like the Contact. A living near unstoppable weapon. It was the only choice. He sent out his love through the bond. The Ether tightened around him ready to crush him into paste. Citan sighed and let loose the Dark Side, the Executioner gripped Citan tighter and his heart stopped.

"Citan!" yelled Yui. She reached to him through the bond but felt nothing. It was a blank void. "No," she whispered.

"He's dead," said Grahf. "Overrated. A flea that desired to be itched. After too long it has finally been scratched."

"A pity," said the Executioner. She was about to break the grip when she felt something of him resist. "The sewers. I forgot he was hard to kill." She tightened the grip and to her surprise he still resisted.

Hope entered Yui and she reached through the bond. There was still nothing but the void. Yui understood why he feared his own Dark Side. "Oh Citan," she whispered.


The last thing Citan heard before his heart stopped was Yui calling his name then nothing. His Dark Side ascended. When people asked about his Dark Side, Citan said he could not put it into words and that was the truth. There was nothing! No sense of past, present, or future. No remembering friends or foes. No sense of personal self. No conscience or subconscience. No good or evil, morality or immorality. There was no sensation of feelings like love, joy, sadness, or pain. An all consuming void of the mind except for one thing. A will, an indomitable will to survive and that will in the blackness of the void awoke and man who was once Hyuga and is now Citan became one of the deadliest people on the planet.

"Why won't he die?" said the Executioner with both admiration and disbelief.

"His power is nothing!" said Grahf adding even more power to the crushing grip.

Still Citan resisted. His heart slowly beat like a the most precise clock on the planet. He strained against the field. The field trapped slammed him to the ground. He did not cry nor did his impassive expression change. His Dark Side reached further within and around him. Tapping into Ether and nature, the Dark Side multiplied the Arcane ability and released it. The red Ether that gripped him expanded then contracted, finally causing a feedback which caused a blinding light. Yui inhaled sharply as her own prison vanished. The Executer grunted and took a step back. Grahf stood there watching.

They watched as the dirt and dust settled around Citan. He laid on the ground for a moment. Slowly and with robotic precision Citan got up. His face was caked with dirt and blood. His right eye swelled and closed. His clothes ripped. The only thing that did not change was his impassive expression. He raised his head and open his good eye. A black Ether aura surrounded him.

"Its his Dark Side," hissed the Executioner.

"He is still nothing," said Grahf. "Just a flea, no a cockroach with a hard shell."

"I've seen his Dark Side," said the Executioner. "Once was enough!"

"Silence woman!" hissed Grahf. "I shall tear the flea's legs from him!"

"Well your flea is coming at you, you bastard!" yelled Yui.

She grabbed her sword and ran toward Midori. The Executioner saw her and went to intercept. One of the greatest battles was about to be engaged and it would never make any history books.


Yui and the Executioner ran toward the unconscious Midori. "Back away from her!" demanded Yui. She summoned Air Razor. The Executor blocked two of the invisible daggers with her staff and shattered the last shattered when she caught it in her hand. Yui did not even expect the Executioner to be hurt. She was slowed down and that was all that mattered to Yui. She made it to Midori and that was all that mattered at the moment.

"Your child is of me as is of the people of the world," said the Executioner.

"The Mother," hissed Yui. Fear and determination shot through Yui. She lifted her sword and readied it.

"I sense your fear," said the Executioner. "I can also predict your moves!"

"That's why you want Midori," said Yui, her voice low.

"Indeed," said the Executioner. "She is either a resource or a burden. It does not matter to me as long as she is no longer a wild card. I really pains me to do this." The Executioner raised her staff ready for attack.

"I'm no telepath," said Yui. "But I know you're lying! No Mother would allow the travesty that has happened to the world! You're no Mother but an Abuser of Children!"

Yui charged the Executioner and she easily dodged the attack. The Executioner slammed Yui's back as she passed. Her breath escaped her and she fell. Yui tried to bring her sword up and once again her moves were predicted. The Executioner knocked the sword out of Yui's hand.

"You have a rare courage," said the Executioner. "No wonder you survived the sewers. Do not feel bad Yui, you tried your best even though it is futile."

The Executioner placed the staff at Yui's throat. Yui hoped everything read about the theories of telepathy were true. She focused all of her hate, fear, doubt, and other negative emotions and send them to the Executioner.

The Executioner laughed as she felt the attempted onslaught of negative emotions. "Do not believe all those stories you've read. It takes more than negative emotions from a non-telepath to effect a true telepath." The Executioner pressed the staff harder against Yui's neck. Stars appeared before Yui and she started to choke. She heard her daughter's soft voice in her mind. "M-Mommy?"

Midori awoke in confusion and saw her mother being hurt. A fear and hatred she did not understand welled inside of her. She felt it building up inside of her and she knew what she had to do. She focused that raw emotion and sent it to the Executioner. For ten-thousand years the Mother of Humanity was the only true telepath of the world. She never bothered to perfect her own mental shielding. "LEAVE MY MOMMY ALONE!" The Executioner screamed, her head feeling as though it was going to explode as Midori's words echoed through the Executioner's mind. For the first time the Mother was on the receiving end and knew what it was like to be turned inside out from within.

Yui gasped for air. Slowly she got up and stumbled to the Executioner. She saw Midori come toward her. She tried to speak but her throat was too sore. "Go and hide!" she sent to her daughter. She watched Midori turn and run away.

Yui stumbled toward the Executioner. Her hatred soared to new heights that she believed was never possible. The Executioner was on her hands and knees trying to get up and Yui kicked her in the stomach. The Executioner was lifted up and fell on her back. Yui straddled the Executioner, pinning her to the ground by setting her knees on the Executioner's shoulders. Yui tried to choke her hated enemy but the mask was to thick. Yui clawed at it ripping the mask off exposing the Executioner's neck and head.

Yui hesitated, she knew this person. Citan had told her about the Mother of Humanity but she did not see the recording that Queen Zephyr showed Citan. Still she knew this person, Miang a former Element. Yui's surprise wore off and the hatred returned. Yui wrapped her hands around the unconscious woman and squeezed. Miang gasped and Yui squeezed harder.

"Don't Mommy! She's making you do this!" Midori's voice pierced the hatred like light through darkness. Yui blinked and looked down at her hands. She let go of the Executioner and got off of her. Yui shook at the what Miang almost made her do. If she squeezed the life out of her than she would appear in some other unfortunate woman's body. Yui felt sick at the thought of herself or Midori being possessed by such a creature.

"I'm just that," said Miang. "A creature, a tool more bound than Cain or the Gazel. It would have been better for your child. Better to die than become the flesh of God."

"No," said Yui. "That will never happen. My husband and I will stop this 'God'."

Miang laughed bitterly. "Is that prophecy? Oh yes I read about that in your mind."

Yui looked at her husband fighting and held her daughter close. "No, it's the truth."


Even while his Dark Side was in possession, Citan was still knew of his sword in some way. He had picked it up and drew it. He did not get into any fighting pose. He held the sword to his side like an extension.

"The Dark Side versus the Power," said Grahf. "The Power is dominant and you shall know death." Grahf jumped in the air and fired his deadly Chi projectiles. The projectiles flew toward Citan. Barely bending his legs, Citan jumped into the air to same height as Grahf. Grahf managed to aim a projectile to intercept Citan. Citan raised his sword and cut the projectile in half.

Both men landed and it was Citan's turn to attack. He sheathed his sword and brought his right arm back. It charged with Ether and he brought his arm forward. The Ether lightening flew forward. Grahf raised his right arm. The lightening curved around him striking the ground behind him.

Grahf growled and focused on his own Power. He punched the ground and it shook. The ground around Citan crumbled and he fell into a pit. Grahf made a sweeping gesture and the ground became as it was. As soon as Grahf believed it over it was not. Citan's sword and arm broke through the ground. Beams of black light followed destroying the ground. The hole reappeared and Citan jumped out. "Why won't you die!?" demanded Grahf.

Citan replied by charging Grahf. He held his sword to his side with blade pointing at Grahf. Grahf caught the blade between his hands before it could penetrate his armor. Both men struggled for the advantage, neither letting go. Grahf lifted the blade and picked up Citan off the ground. Citan used the sword's hilt to swing around to kick Grahf in the face.

Grahf did not feel it and when Hyuga landed. Grahf was ready for him and hit Citan in face with such force it knocked the doctor down. Grahf walked over to Citan and attempted to step on his face. Citan rolled to the side and got back up.

Citan jumped over Grahf. Grahf turned and Citan thrust his sword backwards. This time the sword did penetrate. Blood flew from Grahf's body in globs, some mysteriously taking the shape of sakura petals from a tree that came from a world who's name is not known even by Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry. Citan turned expecting to his foe dead. Grahf stood before him with his hand over the wound. "Not good enough," said Grahf. Grahf used healing Ether and the wound closed.

The two men started hitting each other. Grahf with his most powerful blows while Citan used weak attacks. Grahf thought Citan was weakening. "The cockroach's shell is finally cracking," he hissed.

Citan answered by jumping back. Crouching low a Deathblow aura appeared faster than normal. Grahf realized too late what Citan had done. Very few people were masters of Deathblow Combos and Grahf knew Citan was one of them. Citan hit him twice with Zanretsu then once with Yako and finally with Myogetsu. Grahf laid on the ground smoke rising from his armor. Citan approached Grahf to finish him off.

"I will not be defeated!" yelled Grahf. If Citan was in his normal state he would have heard Grahf say, "Again." Grahf erupted with Power. He got up only to hit by Citan's sword hilt six times. Citan jumped back. The sword glowed with light purple Ether. Grahf tried to move to side. Citan anticipated the move and stuck. A tapestry of strange characters and background appeared. An alien moon glowed in the background. Above Grahf's screams of being launched into the air a wolf creature howled somewhere in the distance.

A smoking pile that is Grahf landed on the ground. He sent out a signal to his Omnigear. His Omnigear awoke and sent out a beam that lifted Grahf out of harm's way. The Omnigear did the same for the Executioner. After both were safe in the Omnigear, it activated its jets and flew off.

Citan watched the Omnigear fly off. He started to walk after them when he heard a sound behind him. He turned and saw his new targets. Citan's Dark Side could not tell friend from foe.


The fight was over when the Executioner and Grahf retreated. Midori broke away from Yui and walked toward her father. Citan turned and saw his family. Because of the Dark Side he did not know who they were. He raised his sword and walked toward them.

Yui grabbed Midori and pulled her close. "I-I can't feel daddy," said Midori.

"I know honey," said Yui. She did not know how to get out of this one. She watched her husband being buried alive and coming back. 'How do I fight that!?' she wondered.

"I'll try to reach him," whispered Midori. She tried touching Citan's mind and she cried out. "To dark!"

Yui grabbed her daughter to keep her from falling. They kept backing up and Yui tripped over something bringing Midori down with her. She felt her ankle twist and looked at the Executioner's mask that made her fall.

She tried getting up but her leg was to sore. "Midori," said Yui. "Run as fast as you can!"

Midori held her mother tighter. "I won't leave you," she whispered trying not to cry.

Yui smiled. Her daughter was so brave. To her husband she said, "Please don't let it end like this. Not after everything we went through."

Citan heard the words but they had no impact on him. He raised his sword over his head and approached them. Yui became desperate and tried the bond. She sent feelings of recognition. To her surprise Citan blinked. She knew she reached through the darkness. "Midori," said Yui. "I know that darkness is scary but you have to try. Send your love to him to pierce that darkness."

Midori nodded and mother and daughter sent feelings and images of memories. Images of their past together both the good and bad times. The two women had to be brave in the face of overwhelming darkness. Citan stumbled but still came forward. His eye blinked once again and his mouth opened. His sword slipped from his had and he fell to the ground. "Yui, Midori?" he asked. He looked at them and his eye rolled into the back of his head.

Yui ran to him not caring if it was a trap. She checked his body. Bruises and cuts started to appear on his body. Yui figured that his Dark Side had kept the wounds in check. Now that he was in a normal state of mind, the wounds would appear. "Watch over him," she ordered Midori.

Yui returned with a vial of Omegasol. She poured the liquid into Citan's mouth. Then she held him gently and bathed him in Heart's Whisper. Now it was Yui's turn to save his life.


Weeks passed and Citan fully recovered. He was not happy with what he had to do but he knew it was necessary in order to survive. Willingly giving into the Dark Side to save his family also made him realize something else. "We have to go back," he said after dinner.

"Why?" asked Yui.

"Because they will come back," said Citan. "One way or another we will not be safe until it is said and done. The Contacts, Krelian, this 'God'. If there is to be a future for Midori and the other children of this world, we have to do something."

"The plan you and Emperor Cain talked about," said Yui.

"Correct," replied Citan. "He said that Grahf, Khan, and Fei vanished after their fight. Grahf attacking us is sign that Fei might be alive."

"When do we leave," said Yui.

"In a week," said Citan. "I would like to enjoy one last week together."


Their journey took a month. First they had to board passage on the Thames, then they had to climb up the Tower of Babel with another group of refugees while fighting Wels and the fanatic Ethos. When they returned to Shevat they discovered it had changed. Shevat was smaller than before. A Solaris agent tried to sabotage Shevat's Gate generator and that was a sign that Solaris decided after five hundred years to treat Shevat as a genuine threat. To be more mobile, Queen Zephyr ordered parts of the city to be detached. With Shevat being smaller in size, the group that Citan and his family would be one of the last group of refugees to enter Shevat.

Citan and Yui went to Queen Zephyr. She knew about the events that caused them to leave Shevat. The couple also said that of Grahf was still alive and that it was possible that Fei also lived. The Queen knew about it from what Cain told her. Finally they told her the most important news that Citan was going to finish his training and help the Contact.

Citan became a doctor six months after returning. Then he reported to Emperor Cain with his decision. He contacted Emperor Cain a week after his graduation telling him that he would go ahead with the plan. To move the plan forward required Citan, Yui, and Midori to go to Solaris. The Emperor's order had an edge to it making it an order that had to be obeyed. Yui protested but Citan promised that everything would be fine.

After being snuck into Solaris, Citan and his family were brought to Emperor Cain. Midori stayed in the room provided by the Emperor. "Its good to see you both again," said Emperor Cain after ordering them to stand.

"Thank you Sir," said Yui.

"Please call me Cain," ordered the Emperor.

Citan and Yui looked at the Emperor in shock. "I am only Emperor in title only," he said. "To move our plans forward I had to give up some power to both Krelian and the Gazel Ministry."

"Is that wise?" asked Citan.

"In the short term, no. But for now they have to believe they are in control. As long as they know I am not breathing down their backs they will continue unhindered. This part of the plan will be the most dangerous. Citan and I must act as though we are supporting Krelian and the Gazel Ministry."

Hatred passed through Citan and Yui felt it. "Cain," she said. "Given what they did to Citan, they may suspect something."

Emperor Cain leaned forward in the throne. "And that is the problem. Citan, I know how you feel about Krelian and the Gazel Ministry and what they did to the both of you. You must learn to control your emotions as you do your Dark Side."

Citan nodded. "I understand," he said halfheartedly.

Cain did not comment on Citan's behavior. Instead he said, "There is one other thing. I know about Grahf's and the Executioner's attack on your family even if I do not know why. Is there an explanation for this?"

"I'm sorry," said Citan. "That is one question I can never answer even if it costs me my life. All I will say is that there are things about my family that I will never talk about. That includes you and Queen Zephyr."

"I understand," said Cain. If he suspected something was different about Midori or Citan's rude answer, he would never say.

"That brings up another problem," said Cain. "I have made an error. As Krelian and his cohorts make their plans they are wondering who knows what. They are afraid that you may know too much as it is."

"To bad for them," said Yui. "What can they do that they haven't already tried to do to us?"

"You've seen the results of certain Shevat spies," answered Emperor Cain.

Yui and Citan both swallowed hard. "What can we do?" asked Citan.

"As you both know the Mother is a telepath. If she were to find out about what you know she would fry your brains in order to keep their plans a secret," said Cain. "There is way, albeit dangerous. The neural memory inhibitor."

Citan felt weak at the mentioning of such a device. "The inhibitor. Cain please do not tell me you are in possession of one of those."

Yui looked at Cain and Citan with confusion. "What is this device? Something that erases memories?"

"You could say that," answered Citan. "It was a device that was used to create agents who were to be moles. There was a side effect though. The agent's new identity was so thorough that their real identities were destroyed. Not even a telepath like Miang can tell the difference." Citan said to Emperor Cain, "Are the risks so great we have to loose our own identities?"

"There will be no need for new identities. Just the suppressing of the memories concerning the past of this world. You will know that Fei is the Contact and that we are not of this world. As far as the other information it will seem like a long forgotten memory of no importance."

"I understand," said Citan.

"Well I don't!" interrupted Yui. "How dare you ask us to make such a sacrifice! We have suffered enough through the past few years. Now you want us to forget all that has happened!"

Cain was about to interrupt but Citan spoke first. "Yui, I know you are afraid but this is bigger than both of us. You know what I know about this world. We are soldiers and we both know that sometimes to win a battle or even a war a sacrifice must be made. If it costs a few memories then so be it."

"I'm afraid," admitted Yui. "I'm afraid that I would forget about you and Midori."

Cain's voice became compassionate. "Yui, child, I promise you will not loose those memories. The memories that have to be removed are the ones that put you and your daughter at risk. I've figured Grahf and Miang attacked you and your family because of Midori. I will not ask again why she is special. I will only ask this, is your daughter's life more important than a handful of memories?"

Yui sighed in surrender. "No," she said.

Citan took hold of her hand. "Besides, the truth always comes out sooner or later. What we are doing and the events behind them are to big for the world to ignore. My intuition tells me that the Contact is the center of the truth." He saw that she was still afraid. He sent courage and strength through the bond. "I'm afraid also. I would be a liar if I said otherwise. We will be with each other through the process."

Yui shook her head. "All of that knowledge. . .gone." She looked at Citan and said, "Lets get it over with before I change my mind."

"What Citan said is true," said Cain. "The truth always come out. Be the courageous woman you are known for. Now go and prepare. I have to make sure the device is ready."

Citan and Yui bowed slighty and started to leave. Yui stopped and said, "Citan, I need to talk to Cain for a moment in private."

Citan looked at her and frowned. "Is something wrong?"

"No," she said. "It'll just take a moment."

"Cain?" asked Citan.

"Go and wait for her," ordered Cain.

Citan shrugged knowing he was not needed. He sighed and left the throne room. Yui looked the Emperor, her head lowered and a shadow formed around her. "Cain, I know that you have changed and this does not make things easier. I rarely ever tell people what my visions show let alone talk about it."

"My death," said Cain.

"Yes," said Yui. "When I see a vision three times it means it is going to come true."

Cain sighed and shifted in his throne. "I have lived ten thousands years. Although you will forget that fact soon enough. I do not regret finally dying. My previous. . .others might not have been happy about that fact but I'm free, or as free as I can be. I do not know if doing good will actually save my soul, if I have one, but at least I can try."

"You are going to remove the vision from my mind?" asked Yui.

"Yes," answered Cain. "It is better this way. Do not be sadden. I have discovered a long time ago that nothing lasts forever."


Citan and Yui sat in the chairs wearing nothing but their underwear. Soundproof earplugs and a dark visor made them deaf and dumb. They were injected with a drug that paralyzed their bodies and dulled their minds. The device was activated and they felt their memories of the truth of the world fading. The only complication was when they both resisted the memory of their fight with Grahf and the Executioner. Cain ordered that they should keep that memory.

The couple swam in darkness as the memories became irrelevant in their minds. A piece of stupid trivia not worth mentioning. Even the process of erasing their minds was replaced by a different memory. That memory was of them having a casual conversation with Cain. As they swam through the darkness of their mind a point of light appeared. They were drawn toward the light and it became bigger and brighter. The light became all consuming as they reached out to each other through the bond. All of the sudden they felt themselves being yanked apart. They called out to each other-

-and awoke in bed in the guest suite provided by Cain.

Citan blinked and wiped his eyes. He looked at Yui and said, "Must have been some night."

"Yeah," said Yui. "I felt as though I ran from Aveh to Nortune." She laughed. "Who'd thought being with the Emperor would be so draining."

"He likes to talk with guests as much as possible. Even though he can pretty much take care of himself, protocol requires him to be in the castle all the time," said Citan.

"The Emperor," said Yui mostly to herself. She thought about him, there was something worth saying.

"Is something wrong?" asked Citan.

Yui shrugged and said, "Eh, nothing. Whatever it was must not have been important." Yui looked at the clock on the dresser. "Hell! You're running late Citan!"

Citan swore and got out of bed. His wife was giving him a dirty look. "What?" he asked innocently.

"I wish you wouldn't do that," she said. "There are only two times you swear and every time I think your Dark Side is trying to ascend."

Citan laughed. "Sorry," he said. "I know I rarely ever swear. This time I think it was warranted."

"Just hurry," said Yui. "I wish I could go with you."

Citan finished putting his clothes and shoes. "I know, but what is going on this requires the upmost secrecy. Remember what Fei did to Elru. This is our chance to help him. The Emperor told me why I was learning to be a healer the past four years. I'm to help that boy through his trauma."

"As if we don't know who the cause of the boy's trauma is," growled Yui.

"We don't have proof," said Citan. "Now I have to go."

Citan kissed his wife as if it was for the last time and left to meet with the man who used to rule Solaris.


"Absolutely not!" said Cain and Citan at the same time. They had found the Contact in a small village in the middle of nowhere. The village of Lahan was one of the more recently built villages. The Gazel Ministry wanted to wipe Lahan from the face of the world.

"He is a threat to the Gospel," said a facet of the Gazel Ministry.

"I don't know about that," said Citan. "The only thing I can tell is a pattern of mental and physical abuse. As Emperor Cain's physician, I recommend we do nothing until I have had a chance to look the boy over."

"Since when you are a doctor?" asked Krelian.

"Since he returned from Shevat upon completion of his training to be my personal physician," answered Cain.

Krelian gritted his teeth. "I believed I was your personal physician."

Cain managed to laugh. It was not a pleasant sound even to Citan. It sounded like death. "You have more important duties then to worry about than my tired old body. That is why I asked Citan to learn in Shevat."

"Why didn't he learn here?" asked one of facets.

"Because if word got out I needed a doctor to take care of me, it would be a sign of weakness," said Cain. "While at one time people trying to assassinate me might have broken the boredom of immortality." Cain brought the floating viewer close to him. His face filled the viewer on the Gazel Ministry and Krelian's end. "These days," said Cain in a low voice, "I would find such attempts. . .irritating."

Cain panned the viewer back to normal. "To continue," said Citan hoping to prevent the already tense situation from getting any worse. "I'd like to go to Lahan and keep an eye on the boy-

"So you can see if he would make a good weapon?" asked Krelian.

It was Citan's turn to grit his teeth. "No," he said trying quell his own temper. "It is clear that the boy was in a particularly nasty fight. It also appears he has no memory of his past. I want to confirm that when I go to Lahan. If he is not a threat I will watch over him." Citan eyed the Gazel Ministry and Krelian. Even though he could no longer access the memories, it not take much to deduce who was responsible for the boy's condition even though he had no proof. "If he was not twisted inside out, none of this would have happened."

"Are you suggesting one of us did something to the boy?" asked Krelian.

"No," said Citan. "What I'm saying is that if the boy was left alone Elru and a lot of people would still be with us."

"That is the past, this is the present," said a facet of the Gazel. "We must treat the boy as a threat."

"And I'm doing as such," said Citan. "Do not forget I would also be doing my duties as Emperor Cain's Guardian Angel. As long as the boy lives a normal life he will be a threat to no one. That is what I am intending to do. Not all threats require someone being killed."

"Can you be trusted Hyuga?" asked the same facet. "You who have slept with a Shevat woman and produced a child. What are your motives Hyuga."

"That is uncalled for!" snapped Cain.

"Its alright," said Citan. "I wish to answer."

Cain looked at Citan and nodded. They both discussed earlier if the subject of Citan's family came up, how they would handle that. "I have betrayed no one," said Citan. "I love my wife but that does not interfere with by oaths to Solaris or Emperor Cain. My loyalties are clear." Citan laughed bitterly. "Its not like I have kept certain secrets from people. For example that maybe someone is immune to Limiters or that their Ether power is so unique it was given another name."

Krelian's skin paled and the Gazel Ministry made a sound in inhaling like they were in shock. "I had plenty of times to betray Solaris and Emperor Cain," continued Citan. "With Kahr or when I was told the truth about my uniqueness." Citan's voice became bitter with anger and looked at Krelian. He knew Grahf and the Executioner did not work alone when the two of them attacked him and his family a few months back. He thought about what happened soon after and felt like hell remembering what he did to Nicolai and his daugher. "I made a promise to myself," said Citan. "To never involve the innocent in politics. So far I have kept that promise. I also made to a promise to protect those close to me no matter what. That includes my family and Emperor Cain! It will be cold day in hell before I allow anyone to harm those close to me. So do you still think I have betrayed anyone?"

"No," said Krelian very carefully. Even Emperor Cain looked at Citan with caution. Citan swore and they all knew he would never do that unless under certain circumstances. Citan tapped his leg showing Emperor Cain everything was fine. Citan looked out of the corner of his eye and saw the Emperor nod. He understood that Citan was still in control, but the Emperor was not about to let Krelian and the Gazel Ministry know that.

"I agree with Hyuga," said Emperor Cain. "He will leave for Lahan at the earliest possible time."

"Will he be taking his. . .family?" asked one of the facets.

Citan ignored the implied insult. "Yes I will," he said. Citan shifted into what Jesse called, 'The arrogant knowledgeable know it all' mode. "It is common knowledge that small surface villages like that are closed communities. They distrust outsiders and a lone person walking in on them will be distrusted. I believe the only reason the boy is still there is because the villagers took pity on him. If I go there with my family it make things easier. They will treat someone who has a family with more respect than a loner who just walks in out of the blue," said Citan with the air of superiority.

"Then it has been decided," said Cain trying not to rush things. "I will make sure the timing is right for Hyuga's departure."

Citan looked at Cain. "Just one more thing," he said.

"Yes, Hyuga," said Cain.

Citan turned his attention back to Krelian and the Gazel Ministry. "Please do not tell Grahf what we are doing," he said. "I know Grahf was there when the boy disappeared. If he decides to show up in Lahan, I might take it upon myself to protect the villagers and the boy. Remember we are making sure the boy is living a peaceful life."

Krelian and the Gazel Ministry heard the implied threat and understood perfectly. It was one of the reasons why they never wanted Citan to find out about his immunity to Limiters and Arcane.

"I have to talk to Hyuga in private," said Emperor Cain. "This meeting is over."

The screen darkened and Citan took a deep breath and exhaled. He placed a hand on the back of the throne. "That was not fun," he said.

"Of course not," said Cain. "Why do you think I look like I do? Don't think its because of my body decaying."

Citan looked at Cain then laughed. He knew better but still could not help it. After he stopped laughing Cain said, "I wish you did not make that threat about Grahf."

"I do not understand," said Citan. "We both know he cannot be permitted to get near the boy."

"I know. What happened to you and your family a few months back was regrettable. There is something I still have to tell you about this mission," said Cain. "For you to be integrated with the villagers you must be appear to be a simple Land Dweller. You know what that means."

Citan swallowed hard. "I have to have much of my Arcane ability locked down as possible. Because of my immunity to Limiters, you may be the only one who can do that." Citan walked up to Cain and held out his hand. "I am ready," he said.

Cain's hand shook as he took it. "Citan, I'm sorry this has to happen. Do not worry, it will not be permanent. If you need to, just practice your skills and they will return to you." Cain's Ether aura surrounded them both and Citan yelled once before passing out.


Citan awoke in the bed in the guest room. "You alright?" asked Yui, her voice full of concern. "I felt a flash of pain from you then nothing."

Shaking, Citan sat up in the bed. He felt very weak. "I had to do something to ensure the success of the mission." He looked at his wife and smiled weakly. "Because of my immunity to Limiters, Cain had to lock down my abilities the hard way."

Yui held him tight. "Why did you have to do something that foolish?"

"So we can earn Lahan's trust. If I appear to powerful, they will have doubts about me," said Citan.

"I'm pretty strong myself," said Yui. "Shouldn't I do the same thing?"

Citan coughed nervously and his face turned red. "I studied what little we had on Lahan. . .and well, erm, uh. . ."

Yui's eyes narrowed. "Citan, what are you not telling me?"

Citan sighed trying to think of the best way to tell her about Lahan. "Well. . .the villagers, they well, consider women. . .not be strong like the men."

Yui punched Citan in the arm. He yelled out in pain. It felt as though she broke it. "Be carful," he whimpered.

"He must have really drained you," said Yui with concern. "That doesn't matter though. I still don't like the idea I have to be. . .submissive."

"There is more," said Citan. "One part of the mission I just do not like. Cain was right though. If Fei's power gets out of hand, I have been ordered to. . .kill him."

For that Yui could not say anything. "I doubt that will happen," she said.

"Prophecy?" asked Citan.

"No," said Yui. "It's the truth."


It was the middle of the night weeks later when Citan got the message from Cain. The window of opportunity had opened for them to depart for Lahan. The town was hit by a flu epidemic and they did not have any doctors or healers to help. Citan woke his family and went to the Emperor's personal landing bay. They left by stealth ship and by morning they reached Lahan's end of the Blackmoon Forest.

From the ship they were escorted to about half a mile away from Lahan. They walked the rest of the way by foot and were stopped thirty feet from Lahan. "I'm sorry," said the guard. "We are having problems and can't let anyone enter."

"What's the problem?"asked Yui with feigned ignorance.

"We think it's a flu of some kind. Hasn't killed anyone yet," answered the guard.

"I'm a doctor," said Citan. He held up his black bag common among healers and doctors on the surface.

The guard was not sure what to do. "Well, this is a decision the Elder has to make. Wait here and do not enter," ordered the guard.

They obeyed and waited. Minutes passed and a bald headed man walked toward them. "I'm the village Chief. Everyone calls me Chief Lee," he said. "You a doctor?"

"Yes sir," said Citan bowing. "This is Yui and Midori."

Lee looked Yui over and said, "That's a pretty sister you have."

"Thank you," said Citan trying to laugh. "She's my wife though."

"Oh," said Lee. Yui looked at him with daggers in her eyes. Lee ignored the look and said, "If you are indeed a healer or doctor than come with me."

Lee showed them the way to his house with Citan behind him and Yui and Midori behind Citan a safe distance from the Elder. Citan mainly wanted Yui behind him so she would not deck Chief Lee.

As they neared the house, Midori said, "Mom, what do you mean by a 'horny, dirty old man?'"

Yui looked at her daughter in shock. Sometimes Yui forgot to keep her thoughts close to her mind so Midori would not pick them up. "Midori!" she hissed.

Citan laughed then composed himself. "Keep it down you two. Midori, what did I tell you about that. Yui please keep yourself reigned in. We are basically strangers in a strange land and we have to be mindful of how we act."

"Yes daddy," said Midori.

"Sorry," muttered Yui. "Just keep that old pervert away from me."

Citan sighed and hoped at least they could make it through the day. This was not going to be as easy as he thought. They entered Chief Lee's house and saw people laying on the floor on make shift mattresses. Immediately Citan went over and started checking one them. "An advanced form of Sand Flu," he said to Lee when he walked over.

"Is there anything we can do?" asked Lee who was all business.

"How much fruit drink do you have in the village?" asked Citan.

"Not much at the moment," answered Lee. "We can always make some if need be."

"Good," said Citan. "Start making it immediately. Make sure there is no sugar or preservatives either. The juice has to be made straight. If you have oranges, then make orange juice for the more serious cases. Stay away from any fruits that causes diarrhea. The fruit juice will also provide any vitamins and electrolytes that are lost."

"I'll get right on it," said the Chief. Lee started to leave than stopped. "By the way there maybe someone stopping by later. His name is Fei Fong Wong. The short story was I found him on my door stop gravely injured. We took care of most of injuries but with a real doctor maybe you can give him the once over. He also has no memory of his past."

Citan was amazed he was able to control himself. "I understand," he said. "Thank you."


Later Citan went to visit his family. They were staying at one of the neighbor's houses while he was with his patients. He left the Chief's house and nearly ran into someone. Citan inhaled sharply when he saw who it was. It was Fei, the Contact. His right leg and arm were in a cast and a bandage went around his head covering his left eye. By the way he was breathing, Citan knew Fei's ribs were wrapped tight and were either broken or bruised.

"Sorry about that," said Fei. "Wasn't watching where I was going."

"Its alright," said Citan. Faking ignorance he asked, "What happened to you?"

"I don't know," answered Fei. "Only thing I remember was waking up in the Elder's house. Only thing I can think of is that I'm either a soldier of either Aveh or Nortune."

'Thank god he believes his past is something like that,' thought Citan. "Well I'm your doctor now," said Citan. "After I make sure this flu has passed, I will look at your wounds."

Fei smiled and said, "Well you're the doctor, Doc."

Citan laughed. "Doc, I like that. Now if you will excuse me, I want to visit my family."

Fei stiffened at the word family. "Is something wrong?" asked Citan.

"I don't know," said Fei. "I absolutely no memories of my past. I can't even remember my parents. Doc, er, Citan, do you mind if I ask a personal question?"

"Go ahead," answered Citan.

"Do you love them? Your family?"

"Unconditionally," answered Citan.

"Then take care of them," said Fei. Without another word he walked into the house and checked on the friends who would be killed by Id.


Citan walked into the house where his family was. Yui was in the kitchen cooking and Midori was with a girl about Fei's age.

"Cooking supper?" asked Citan.

"Chief Lee came and told us what you told him," answered Yui. "I'm helping making the fruit juice. Midori is in the living room with Alice. She the niece of the people who own the house."

Citan looked around to make sure no one could eavesdrop. "Yui. . .I met the Contact," he said.

Yui swallowed hard. She gestured Citan over so he could try a sample of her cooking and also so she could whisper to him. "How is he?"

"That fight we got into with Grahf and the Executioner was nothing to what must have happened to him," whispered Citan. "He was beat up worse than I was. He also has no memory of what happened to him. He believes he might be a soldier in the Aveh/Nortune war."

"Small comfort," said Yui. "What will you do now?"

"I found out there is an old single outpost at the top of the mountain," said Citan. "Its big enough we can move into if we can get permission."

"I had a vision concerning this vil-

"No," said Citan. He took hold of Yui's hand. "Never say what that vision is. This mission is too close to what I had to go through with the Elements. These are good decent people and I know I will become friends and maybe even respected as a doctor. I would rather have the false illusion of nothing bad happening than rather having to worry about the final fate of this village and its people."

"I understand," said Yui. "You better go back to your patients."

"Out of sight, out of mind," Citan said mostly to himself in regard to Yui's vision.


With Citan's care, the people of the village suffered no casualties from the flu. Citan talked to Chief Lee about saying. The Chief agreed and Citan said he and his family would move to the house at the top of the hill. When asked why he wanted to move there, Citan answered, "A bird's eye view to make sure everyone is healthy."

Everyone laughed at the joke even though Citan did not mean it to be. Sometimes the truth was enough. After making repairs to the house, Citan and his family moved in. Much to his surprise and happiness there was even an old workshop so Citan could practice his first love, engineering. He even managed to get the music box from the abandoned village shipped to his house so he could work on it.

A year passed without incident and Citan really did feel at peace. Even Yui radiated a calm that was multiplied by her enhanced emotions.

Citan kept an eye on Fei as was his duty. He reported that the physical wounds were gone and the only thing that was missing was Fei's memories. Citan hoped Fei would never remember his past, but as Citan so often said, "The truth always come out."

One night Citan was looking at the stars through the telescope left behind by whichever army in the near forgotten past. Yui came up through the ladder and said, "Midori just went to bed." She smiled at her husband. "You haven't star gazed in a long time. Is something wrong?"

Citan looked at his wife and smiled. "Nothing, nothing at all," he answered. "Just wondering what it would be like to live a simple life like this. Away from the strife and bloodshed."

"We would become bored within the first five years," said Yui. "If it is one thing I've learned about my prophetic ability is that to dwell on the future will only mess up the present."

"Do not worry about the past because there is nothing you can do about it," said Citan. "Do not worry about the future because it is basically a closed book. Instead worry about the present, because if you do not, then you will trip in the crack in the road you walk."

"Exactly," said Yui. "Its getting cold and it would look bad for the village doctor to catch cold."

Citan laughed. "And you got your medical degree where?"

"I'm not the doctor but the boss," said Yui. "You want me to show you why?"

Yui went back inside and Citan put the telescope in its resting position. He climbed down the ladder and went back inside.

The End


Afterwards: Anyone read, write a good book lately? Good grief! I promised myself a long time ago that if I wrote something this long I'd demand to get paid for it. Of course I know its never going to happen. I think I took some liberties with a couple of characters. Mainly Hammer and Queen Zephyr. I know little was said about Hammer's past and but I'm sort of sure he was born a demi-human like Rico. I was thinking about the Collector and Citan and Yui's botched escape and thought, 'what the heck.' As much as I can remember, I don't think Zephyr had that much Ether ability but for dramatic sakes I gave her some. I've called this fiction the 'unofficial official prequel to The Real Ricdeu for a reason. I knew certain things stated in that story would be somewhat different in this one. My only wish in this fiction is that I could have made the Citan/Grahf fight a little bit longer. But I knew that if both men meet it would be short and nasty. I was also thinking about Citan talking to Yui after Lahan was destroyed and couple of other events in the game that dealt with the couple but decided against it. This fiction is long enough as it is and I decided to end it a year after they moved into Lahan.

If you wondering how big this monster is I included the file stats. All stats are based on 800x600 resolution:

Characters: 216,228

Words: 48,521

Sentences: 4,882

Lines: 2,834

Paragraphs: 1,533

Pages: 81

As usual any constructive compliments or complaints will be welcome and flames will be ignored. . .and no dead people please.

This story is not to be copied onto any hard drive, floppy, CD, or zip drive nor is it to be printed. If you would like to post my story on your site, then just e-mail me a request and please include your URL.

Xenogears and all related characters are ©1988 Squaresoft


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