Chapter Eleven: Galra in the swamp
Something more pressing and urgent. And that was... a shower and a good meal. He really wanted to take one. So combing his black and white hair in a hurry, went downstairs into the lobby, where Lian, Liem, Romelle, and Stats were waiting there.
"Good morning, Shiro," Romelle said, dressed in a pink Pyjama, with Stats bow his head with respect.
"Good morning, Romelle," Shiro said back to her, "and good morning to you, Stats", everything started in a very good mood for the day.
"So who's hungry" Liem talking to them.
"Sure, Liem," Shiro tells him.
"Very good, to the kitchen," Lian said.
On command, Shiro, Romelle, and Stats went into the kitchen when Lian started cooking three meals at once: buttered toast for (a simple but oh-so-satisfying breakfast), bacon, and a caramelized onion and goat cheese omelets. Lian worked his cook knife with practiced precision across the cutting board, putting a fine dice on the red onions and he had enough faded scars on his fingertips to remind him to keep them tucked as he sliced the basil into a chiffonade.
Multitasking around the kitchen, separating the bacon and portioned them into three separate plates, and folded each omelet effortlessly in the skillet. "Not bad for a Tuesday". Shiro thought
Now came the favorite part: Lian washed his knife in the sink and air-dried it by twirling the blade between his fingers.
"That looks amazing," Shiro said, amazed at Lian's cooking ability.
"Thanks, Unless you have a crazy mom who sleeps all day, crazy-long hours and you've gotten totally sick of eating PB and J alone every night, even if you have an allergy to it".
Once he had spun every last drop of moisture off its surface, Lian holstered the knife in the knife block, plated the omelets, and place it on everybody's plate.
"Digging in," Lian asks, Shiro and Romelle timidly began eating the amazing food put upon them and was simply amazing.
"How's the food"
Shiro and Romelle began savoring each morsel of breakfast they had.
"I'll take it as a yes" Lian said, and soon more people begin to follow-up, ready for the morning come.
People from all kinds of life turn the place as rowdy and rough as any lobby Shiro had had ever frequented. As the many tables were getting sat, some begin to get behind the counter where Lian work.
"Hey Lian," a human man said, dressed in a chef's outfit, arrived along with a squirrel.
"So what am I working with"
Lian held out Shiro's plate, and Billy eagerly snatched it, inhaling deeply. "Ah," Billy sighed. "Balsamic mushrooms, meat-chunky-sun-dried tomatoes . . ." The squirrel looks amazing as he rolled his tongue inside his mouth, trying to place that last flavor he was smelling. "And cardamom," said. "Ooh, taking a chance there, Chef" Billy replied.
Lian smiled. "Of course, Billy, ever since the rebels struggles to take back the sigma quadrant, we've only got enough supplies to give to everyone here"
"That's true but what's life without a little adventure?" joked Lian as he hopped again onto his cycle of cooking. Billy did the same and the guys around them started their way.
After his plate was returned, Shiro continues to eat his fill of breakfast, correcting the best breakfast ever but Romelle gorged, he watched the slender girl scarf down anything that was given to her as if it might be taken away at a moment's notice.
Taste and appearance did not factor into what she crammed in her mouth. Getting food into his stomach seemed to be her primary goal, what had she been eating on Arus, or perhaps more accurately, what hadn't he been eating?
"What," Romelle said between mouthfuls.
Shiro gestured at Stats, and then look at the empty chair, where Keith was supposed to sit with them.
"where's Keith" Romelle asked
"Still asleep" Shiro added.
Then suddenly, a squirrel leaned closer to the food, about to look like to eat it, "Hey, don't touch that" Shiro shouted as he grabs the squirrel.
"Ugh" Billy shouted as fell into the ground like he was in pain.
"Billy," Lian said in horror, the squirrel luckily escape Shiro's grasp.
"Don't touch me!" The squirrel yelled. The great hall because so quiet Shiro could've heard a worm move.
"What you say," he said in surprise.
"She said don't touch her" Liem explains "She is Billy's daemon".
"What..I didn't know, I'm sorry". Shiro whispered, guess he still doesn't know much about this world.
"That's okay, you didn't know" Billy rose, "Jana can be a bit mischievous but she is not interested in eating your friend's food."
"Yeah but next time do not do that again!" Jana the squirrel said, "is taboo to do that".
"Is true, its Taboo to harm a daemon" Romelle explain.
Of course-maybe that is the reason that Keith having a hard time respecting him because he felt violated like when he touched Jana so abruptly, like a man getting rid of a pest in an old house.
His glare becomes shocked and shame, combined with limited knowledge of the past of this world.
Shiro stop eating, "don't be sad," Lian said, "not everybody knows the tale"
"The tale, what you mean," Shiro asked.
Lian smiled, then let out a breath of fresh air, "a long time ago, Altea was once a separate land, humans, and Daemons so the distance from one another that they unaware of their existence, but then alone human came to one of the villages where the daemons live, at first there was once astonishment but eventually we begin to know each other and twine".
That was everything Romelle know, she had heard this story over and over again.
"And then that happened!"
"One human, a girl manifest some form of creature, an animal but it was no ordinary animal it wasn't animal at all, it was a daemon and can do magic, at first the humans bought that was strange, but soon more humans begin to develop more daemons of their own and learn all kind of magic, fire, water, earth, air, and balance".
Shiro looked stunned. "I did not know that, but I bought there were only three types of daemons, or at least what Keith told me."
"Yes are three types of daemons, your friend Romelle is a light daemon, our great leader Sokka is a dark daemon and our little friend here Jana is an anima daemon."
Lian shook his head and his smile turned to sadness, "but peace did not last between our worlds, one species of daemon- the Galra, led by emperor Zarkon declare war on both sides, Lian's mind seemed so fast at the recollection. "Many species, both human and daemon bought back against them and still they'd do to this very day"
Shiro's head was so confused right now, everything wasn't suited for him, right now, despite this, Lian's story wasn't finished yet.
"But according to Sokka, the samurai, the defenders of peace, could stop them but when the world needed the most, they just vanished. Some say they do walk away from it all".
"Whoa, that story was epic", Shiro said, collapsing on his seat as he pictured everything that had happened. "Wow I did not know any of that"
"Well, you do now," Romelle said, "we are going to stop them because Shiro is the samurai."
What" Shiro hopped off the repair seat, looking dazed. "No I'm not the samurai why does everyone keep thinking that", swamps' daemons again, going home-abruptly the surrounding seemed to close in on him, the formerly intriguing furnishings and alien artifacts now just a mite frightening.
He looked around wildly, trying to avoid the piercing gaze of everyone around.
"I'm no hero, what can I do", Shiro found himself muttering thickly. "I need some air!". Shiro got out of his seat and ran, up the lobby, through the hallway, getting away from everybody, never stopping.
Alter escaping, Shiro finally stopped running, deep somewhere in this sub-terrain City that no one could find him. He didn't know why he had been running for so long; he had just felt the need, now all he felt was exhaustion.
A shadow went behind him, Shiro blinked to see Sokka again, was he seeing things again? Had he started to follow him all that way?
"What are you doing here!" The old man chirped a question of his own.
"Sokka, I uh, didn't mean to intrude. Um, I just needed to get some air".
"Well, About time you got here. Come on now, there's no time to waste. Let's get going"
"Go where" Shiro wondered as he wanted to know where he intended they go together.
"You'll see" Things seemed to be looking up, but instead he was led to a spring, a hot spring. "This is where everybody often bathes themselves after a mission or someplace relaxing"
"It... does look relaxing." He said as it almost looked like Japan's bathhouses. On top of that, today had been a cloudless, windy day. The wind chill was quite low. Not to mention this place was just a spring, so there was nothing to obstruct prying eyes.
Shiro examined the water, the stream was so clear that the steam was undisturbed the freshness, it seems as though their reflection were painted on the bottom of it.
And when he did, he perceived how his appearance was, his clothes were now tattered and torn, "is it just me, I'm covered in blood, I'm covered in mud, but I'm not going to be able to stand staying this way!" he thought as suddenly wanted a soak in some hot water. When he was at home, he would often take a shower in the Garrison when he has done working out.
But he didn't need any of that right now if it has hot water. That would be enough. "Whatever, I'm getting in!" Shiro had made up his mind. If he couldn't get any hot showers in this place, everything was fine. he didn't care if it was cold or chilly or if there was a danger of someone seeing him...
"I see, I understand," Sokka said, assisting him. First, heading back to the plaza to inform everybody he said, "Shiro is going to be purifying himself. It is for the sake of strengthening his spiritual power. If an outsider were to see him, a terrible punishment from the heavens will befall you, you and you" his face taking on a chillingly eerie expression.
He also brought out a new outfit for a change of clothes. It seemed to have originally been someone's and so that Shiro wouldn't catch a cold once he got out of the pool, he started a fire on the bank.
"Ok, Shiro, that should do now.
"Thank you." he used the shade of a rock near the shore in place of a changing room and swiftly removed his uniform and undergarments. With a brisk movement, he jumped completely into the water.
"Hot hot!" he instinctively wanted to jump out of the water due to the burning flesh, but somehow he managed to bear it and submerged himself in the current.
"do not push yourself" called from beside a warm-looking fire on the shore. Shiro would bear it with all his all might.
"You don't have to worry about me!" Shiro said, ignoring him.
After a while, his body got used to it, It gave him some time to look around. The pool was full of beautiful, pristine water, the bright sunlight streamed straight to the bottom of the clear water, making shining patterns of light on the river bottom, he could see the rocks on the bottom, along with green water plants swaying as though they were waving.
But it was hardly possible to imagine this being the same place as the one in his world, as that one had much less water, and it was murky and polluted...
Shiro bounced along the bottom of the river on his tiptoes. The water was deeper here, so he slowly swam around his body that had been soiled by the touch of Mistress Centipeetle and Sendak felt like it was being purified by the clear water.
He suddenly remembered he'd been bitten by Mistress Centipeetle and looked at his side, he could still see a faint scar on his new arm, but it had practically already healed.
"I wonder why, given that I was bitten so badly? Is it really because I'm Allura's reincarnation or Takashi's?" Shiro said to himself.
Elsewhere, Romelle had no doubt anymore that Shiro was the samurai's reincarnation. Even although his skills are great, he has a lot to learn before he's ready to save anyone. But she believes that Shiro can save the world.
"I wanna call a truce," Keith said, causing Romelle's eyes to go wide before she turned to face him, completely.
"Am I hearing this, right?" she asked.
"Look, my patience has been tested enough, okay?" Keith asked before he held out his hand. "So...do we have a deal?"
Romelle looked down at Keith's hand, then back at his face, which held this almost unusual expression of seriousness...if not, reluctance. Still, it seemed that he was willing to at least try and take this seriously. Maybe this could work out to their benefit.
Besides, what did she have to lose?
"Deal," said Romelle as she shook hands with the half-daemon.
"Good," said Keith before he turned and walked away.
"Just saying," Keith said. "Anyway, I go find Shiro." On that, he leaped back up onto a perch, leaving Romelle standing on the ground in stunned silence.
"Where's Shiro" Keith asked. "I have no idea where he is!"
"Oh, he is having a purification ceremony," Romelle told him
"What, I'm confused," Keith said
It's true, Sokka told us". Billy chimes in.
"He said, it to increase powers," Liem said.
Keith looked at Liem, he wouldn't meet his gaze. He stood, holstered his dagger, and walking away from this group of Chefs. "Thanks for telling me but I better get going".
"I know Ulaz chose me for a reason. If Sokka knows something about me, about the dreams I've been getting, he needs to tell me!"
"I'm supposed to join forces with Keith, but he hates me for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with me... things that happened between him and Allura in the past... and with Takashi " There was no way they'd be able to protect the quintessence Crystal together if he kept up his loner attitude.
"...Well...I mean..." Keith stammered at him like he had no idea what he was talking about. "You thought...I was peeping? Heck no,...I was just searching for you I didn't know that showing up your beautiful body of yours".
"...Takashi..." he thought.
The woman called Ine's face was pale. "My daughter back home... Kiyo suddenly collapsed!"
What? Kiyo?!, I see, let's head back" Sokka rose quickly. It seemed that he wasn't just a rebel leader, but acted as a doctor as well.
With those parting words, he left with Ine.
"That's got nothin' to do with it, ok." Keith turned and faced away, making a forceful grunt. He might say it had nothing to do with it, but just looking at him made it obvious that it had everything to do with it.
"Oh please I have seen plenty of kids who are more mature than you"
Even the kids at the city probably wouldn't act this immaturely... Shiro conceded a little and decided to try more casual conversation as they did before in the swamp. "Look, I don't want to do this either, ok, but we got to work together, Remember you said you want to make a truce with me!"
However, It didn't appear that Keith had the slightest interest in making conversation. "Fine by me. I'll find the way back without you if I have to!"
"Here, take it," he said with a sharp voice as he throws the crystal to him, Keith's face turned shocked.
"Collapsed without warning"
"yes, she was fine just this morning..." Ine explained as she opened the door. In the cramped room, Kiyo was lying down with her eyes closed, her face pale.
"Let me see..." Sokka came close to examine her but took an unexpected breath, he could tell just with her one eye. Kiyo had no ordinary condition.
"Someone or something has captured her soul...?"
Someone. Yes, there was no doubt it was the work of someone evil...
"Ine, get down!" As though prompted by Sokka's voice, Kiyo's blank eyes opened, glowing the color purple and not just that, but her body limply hung in the air.
"What's wrong, Kiyo!" Ine called to her daughter in a distraught voice. But Kiyo gave a response and say "victory or death". Her daughter had always laughed, cried, and made all sorts of faces, but now her face showed no sign of vitality or emotion. Like she was just a doll... Like some puppet being manipulated by a puppeteer, Kiyo hung in the air with both arms spread wide.
"Uh!" Sokka was appalled. She could see many thin strands attached to Kiyo's arms and legs. "Are these the threads controlling her?!" They weren't something that could be seen just by looking carefully. They would merely vanish and reappear, only faintly visible.
But there was no doubt. Countless long, thin black strings were manipulating Kiyo's body like puppet strings.
A knife was lying discarded on the dirt floor. It suddenly floated into the air, he could see that it was being manipulated by strands of strange attached to it, just like Kiyo.
The knife flew towards Kiyo. The fingers on Kiyo's right hand opened and caught the knife, gripping it firmly.
"Oh no!" backed off in a panic. However, Kiyo swung down the knife a moment earlier. Without any hesitation, she aimed straight for Sokka...
Peeking inside, Shiro hesitated.
From his bed was the samurai sword, the same one that he uses to kill the Bunyip, looking at it now, the sword almost like the same one from his dreams.
Now that he thought of it, Allura had mentioned before. Sokka had also said the same thing: "the samurai were the peacekeepers of the planet", he had also said, "before the dark times"
Doubt and fear ran down Shiro's heart. When he looked closer, direct at the sword, it was indeed in fact the sword from his dreams.
"No, it can't be..." Shiro's memory had wakes brief visions within in his mind, Altea, armies fighting and Keith shouting Takashi.
The visions subside, and Shiro grips his head.
"What is this? What's happening to me?"
Seized by fear, Shiro stood up and dropped the sword from hands, "I don't know what to do, I don't want any part of this!" But when he did, a sharp pain ran along his cheek. "Ah!" When he touched it, he found that it was bleeding.
he looked around again in astonishment. Many thin threads were spread along that side. When the sunlight reflected on them, they looked like a spiderweb for trapping prey.
"What's going on, are these threads" It was some sort of special threads strong enough to be a weapon and when it had touched Shiro's cheek, it had cut it. And it wasn't just his cheek. When he looked, the sleeves of his outfit had also been cut in several places at the same time.
"To be capable of this, it has to be a Daemon or rather a galra...!" Vigilantly, he looked around again, "I have to find Romelle" running off from his room, carrying the samurai sword in tow.
He turned around, careful not to alert his presence, and saw the owner of the voice. A girl?!
She looked maybe two or three years younger than Shiro... if she was on Earth, she'd probably be in high school but she looks like a galra.
Her hair was cut in a bob style and she wore a red headband in her hair like a crown. She was wearing a purple jumpsuit with an oddly sexualized black leather kimono that was open wide in the chest and hardly covered half her thighs. She had large eyes and violet skin, her lips red like cherries. She could easily be said to be an idol or a model.
Unlike Mistress Centipeetle and Sendak, is she a daemon and Galra!?
"So rebels, here to deliver the galra" the girl saying "I'm surprised that none of you were unable to see my Kushi no Kago".
Shiro examined the scene that was put upon him, the woman was treated like they were criminals on a train.
"Who are you?" Lian asked.
"Commander Twyla" she revealed, giving a bewitching smile. "But you don't have to remember it. Since this is the end for you," she declared calmly as she quickly moved the fingers of her right hand. The strands surrounding her glistened as if given a life of its own, wriggling around Lian like some kind of animal.
"Come, Stats" Romelle called out.
The shockwave hurled Romelle off her feet and all of a sudden she covered by dust, she tried to dust herself and lifted Shiro off the ground. Through the partially collapsed door, she glimpsed the soldiers screaming overhead, pointing their guns at them.
She looked over at Shiro who shielded her from the unexpected attack, he lay on the back, trying to get up. He was telling the truth, the Galra didn't attack by Mercy, in fact to them mercy was a weakness, only victory or death is the only thing that they believe in.
"There you are" the woman known as Twyla, arrive in front of their faces with a look like a comforting mother.
Examined here, Shiro felt the fear and paranoia within himself. Despise this, he was still determined to save this place and the people within it.
"You better take your men and leave this place now!" Shiro said in a brave face but Twyla had other plans as she targets him with her treads, Shiro tried to instinctively cover his face, but Twyla's aim wasn't Shiro's body. A single strand moved quickly and slipped into Shiro's chest, taking hold of the charm bag that once containing the quintessence Crystal.
Ah!" By the time he'd noticed, the charm bag was already in her's hand.
"What", she took a peek into the charm bag, but, "Oh my, what happened to the quintessence Crystal, where is it or shall I be cross" She had a look of astonishment as she scrutinized the bag
"I got rid of it" Shiro shouted forcefully.
It doesn't matter, I'll look for it." Twyla calmly put the bag in her suit to the bag, then smirked. "Guards."
Falling her command the soldiers rushed at Shiro and Romelle who repairing an attack.
Twyla drew back reflexively. "Take care of them, I have to finish my unfinished business!"
Twyla rushes off to ensure that everyone was captured and finished off, she went back for her strings. Naturally, there was a strand of hair tied around her fingers, manipulate them like they were an extension of her body
However, something was strange. She never felt anything hit. "Hm?!"
She looked at one of her fingers with the strand was moving.
Twyla stood on the edge and petered. "That's odd!"
She had no clue. That young man had to have been the reincarnated priestess who carried the quintessence Crystal that Twyla had learned about from Emperor Zarkon. Even though he was human, to be able to see Twyla's "Kushi no Kago", he had to have considerable magical powers.
"Well, none of my business anymore." Twyla shrugged her shoulders. she needed to find the quintessence Crystal so she can get it to Lord Zarkon. So who cared where that man went anymore. There was no reason to let it preoccupy him.
"All that's left is that deal with the leader the traitor called Sokka. I'll have to take his head for myself." With a swoosh, Twyla gathered all of the threads surrounding her into her. This was starting to become interesting and fun