Chapter thirty-four: the ruins and the Lost boy
After catching the fish, Keith went by Shiro who was looking at the direction of his sword.
“Hey, Shiro, you seem to be thinking about something as always!”
The mood itself had long set the light from the sword was brighter than of moonlight. But it was inconsistent, however as Shiro was keen and he put the sword back in its sheath and said. “I just about the quintessence Crystal, I mean we don’t know what it is or why Zarkon wants it”.
“I’m sure we’ll figure it out,” Keith said, without even having to think about it.
“I suppose you’re right but still, we don’t know anything about the Galra plans,” Shiro said, his spine being rattled again, and felt his mindset into the light.
“Hey don’t worry about it, as long as we have each other, we will be fine!” Keith said with some of his former fierceness.
Shiro swallowed hard and nodded at him, he was right. One thing have to each other, they would be fine and now they have new allies or friends to help.
Just then, the sound of footsteps interrupted them. Shiro turned to see Lance and Hunk approaching with Pidge, who was promising that if she remembered anything more about the Galra, she would tell them.
Shiro nodded politely to Pidge. he knew her well because he and Keith encounter her species before, the Kitsune. She was still in her Kitsune form. But still helpful as always.
Shiro was relieved to find more friends to help him on his journey.
Later, like a complicated diagram in three dimensions at once to swing around back, round, and round further like a bee dancing it’s a message to the hive. Shiro watched it calmly coming and then it clear, he let dance on until it was certain It’s just like Keith said.
There’s a company of Galra guarding the station and they got wires. Electric ones all found it. Made sure that they don’t really expect to say, however...
Shiro woke up realizing that he must have fallen asleep, plus it was night time already. And Keith and the gang had camped up and sat around at the campfire.
“So many stars. I wonder which is more!?” Hunk said.
“Oh, the number of stars is h10 billion galaxies in the observable universe!” Shiro said, explain the number of stars in a galaxy varies, but assuming an average of 100 billion stars per galaxy means that there are about 1 billion trillion stars in the observable universe!
“Really,” Hunk said, mind-blowing.
“Oh please, I don’t know that many stars dance around Altea”. Keith said. “That’s ridiculous”
“Oh come on you’re not the only one that knows about astronomy,” Shiro said.
“What’s astronomy” Lance wonder.
“Oh, the branch of science which deals with celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole,” Shiro explains.
“Really, I really wanted to learn more!” Pidge pointed out, “it will only I can figure out how to transform back!”
“Maybe you could headbutt again,” Keith said, joke out.
“No thanks,” Pidge said, pushing back her hair bangs. Showing the bump on the forehead that she got from Keith.
“I’m sure you’ll figure it out again!” Shiro said.
“You think so,” Pidge said.
“I don’t think, I know!” Shiro said.
After the fire went out and everyone went to sleep, Shiro was the only one who tried to sleep. He’d stared at the ceiling tiles above his bag, willing his eyes to close. he’d even considered trying to look at the stars, but he couldn’t quiet his mind. As a last resort, he’d tried counting sheep. Nothing worked. he couldn’t relax thinking about the dream
Shiro was the type to know about patience but why was it hard now. Why was it frustrating to followed his advice even now.
Then suddenly, a light shines in the distance, alarming Shiro, curious, he decides to go towards it.
And wandered to the next valley, finding a village by a lake where the folk is troubled by a ghost. Shiro shook his head impatiently and thought. But he continued onward.
In the middle of the village stood a wooden shack with a sealed door. Before he touched the lock, the door opened.
He searched to see who had spoken his name. “Hello?” No one responded. Not even Keith. Where had he gone?
At the end of the village, a strange boy stared at him. He hadn’t taken more than a few steps toward him before everything around him whirled. Dizzy, he tumbled, sideways, into a wall that for some reason suddenly become a metal floor.
Into the metal stabbed a blade of silver light. Then the skies clouded and darkened. Rain poured and sixty men with rifles, and with a couple of large guns, sort of cannons and fire throwers too. And... wolves.
The recipient of these men, leading them was unknown, Shiro couldn’t see his face. But he could hear his scream.
Frightened, Shiro got up. Five warriors, swathed in silver armor, advanced on him. Shiro tried to run. Tripping again, he glimpsed fire in the night, a village in flames.
When he turned, the warriors were gone. In their place stood another cloaked figure and an Altean. The figures pass on a small Crystal to the Altean.
“The crystal must be in safe hands?” A voice said.
“The crystal will not fall into his hands!” Another voice said.
Like the five warriors, this scene also vanished. In the blink of an eye. He was kneeling in a forest. Snow blanketed the ground and the limits of trees. He never thought that he would see snow again.
He stood, shivering. Deep in the forest, he heard the sounds of war. The ping of the gun. The clash of swords. Death.
Something spoke behind him. Calm kind and oddly familiar. “Wake up, Shiro?”
He peered into the darkness between the trees. “Where are you?”
“Wake up, Wake up, Wake up?” Shiro did not want the owner of the voice to come back. He wanted the speaker to stay. “I’m awake! I’m right here! Where are you?”
As in his dreams, he heard on reply. He continued to dash through the forest, not giving up in his search.
A man in a metal mask, cloaked in black, strode out in front of him, the hilt of a sword in his hand. The cold stare of his face stopped his dead in his tracks. Not one to scream, that’s exactly what Shiro did as he falls.
Snow didn’t cushion his fall. The ground he hit was made of dirt, aching, he sat up. He was once again at the campsite.
“Hey, you’re awake!” Keith was next to him.
His hand still spinning, Shiro could barely get out the words. “What... happened?”
Keith glanced at him, “I don’t know, you look like you were having a nightmare.”
Shiro felt shaken, “just a dream, it felt so real, were you trying to wake me up.”
“Yeah, I was,” Keith said. Shiro gave him a slight look. “Don’t look at me, like that I wasn’t worried about you or like you?”
“Yeah, I’m sure you were!” Shiro chuckled. He was grateful that he got a good night’s sleep, well sort of.
After getting breakfast. The group said out again. To the village of the daemon explorers.
“Are you sure this is the way!” Keith said, as the group travel in a dark forest.
“Of course, I know the way to my own home for the back of my head” Hunk told him.
“Shaddup! Just find them!” Keith said.
“Keith are you going to fight them for answers”. Shiro said.
“No, of course not, I’m not stupid”
Keith told him.
“Hopefully, you won’t be slain first”. Lance said
“I’ll say! Your people are supposed to be pros? But I’m curious, too, about how the quintessence Crystal came to be. It said that the quintessence Crystal first appeared in your province, that’s right?” Shiro said.
Then suddenly, A gust of wind blows, alarm the group.
“What is it...? This ominous wind...” Pidge asked.
“I don’t know, but look!” Keith said as a black smoke cloud flies across the sky above them.
Hunk and Pidge gasp, “What is this awful feeling? This is really weird!” Lance said.
“He’s right... I’m starting to feel worse and worse”. Shiro said.
“War is in the air! Something got attacked!” Keith shouted as he started to run.
“Let’s go after him!” Shiro said, to Lance, Hunk and Pidge and started to run after Keith.
After running along a mountain path. They arrived at the fort where the daemon Explorers made their home...but upon arriving there, they knew that something wasn’t right.
“...A fort?” Shiro asked.
“So...that means our enemies were after this place, weren’t they?” Pidge asked, worriedly.
“Yeah,” Keith replied, “and that’s not all... you can smell freshly Metal inside.” That’s when he noticed the large opening in the fort walls. “There! That’s how they got in!”
“Mom!” Hunk said, looking at the fort in horror as the gang entering.
As soon as they entered...the group gasped in horror at the sight that lay before them. Everywhere they looked, there was nothing but Metal robots everywhere, The smell of fire was thick in the air, forcing them all to cover their mouths.
“That’s...!” Lance said.
“The village!” Hunk said as he could hardly believe his eyes as he rushed into the ruins of the village. The village was almost completely destroyed. Broken houses and farmland were strewn about, plaster crumbled from the walls and ceiling, and there was a robotic part in the middle of the village.
“What happened?” Hunk asked frantically. “Mom, Layla, Roy, Marlena, Cal!” He shouted as he was looking through the ruins.
“How this happened!” Pidge said. “The village never experienced an attack before”.
Shiro picks up a piece of a robot to discover the symbol on its chest. It was the same symbol as the galra.
“What’s the matter, Shiro?” Keith said.
Shiro remembered the anger he’d felt as he saw the robots, revealing that the Galra empire was here and invaded this village with these words. “The Galra attacked here!”
“I see, Meaning...we’re too late?” Keith said.
“If we go after them now, we can catch up!” Pidge pointed out.
“No, they’re long gone by now!” Shiro said. Let’s find if there are any survivors here?”
“You’re right.” Keith said as he stepped forward, “Hunk, do you know there any people hiding?”
“In the workshop near the village” Hunk said grudgingly. he shot Keith a worried look. Shiro signaled to others and they filed out of the area, headed for the workshop. Hunk followed them, he was determined to find now his family was all right.
The Deamon explorers’ workshop was a low, squat building located just behind the main area. They often went there to work as a factory for weapons and armor from the skins and bones of the demons that were slain. Hunk fully expected that tonight would be no different. When the group open the doors of the workshop, they’d hope to find a group of survivors including Hunk’s family
Instead, the workshop was empty. The lights were on, and there were tools and machine parts scattered around, but there was no sign of people.
Pidge and Lance stood with Hunk as they inspected the room. Shiro and Keith joined the search, but in the end, the result was the same. The people were nowhere to be found.
At last, Shiro stepped forward. “Hunk, no one’s here!” Then suddenly, Kiaion growls in the background. “What is it, boy?” Pidge said.
Hunk reeled in disbelief. “I-I don’t understand,” he stammered. “There must be an explanation.” Lance placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. Keith and Shiro walked over to the two of them. It was clear they’d been right about the villagers, but they weren’t happy to see Hunk upset. “I’m so sorry hunk”. Keith said softly. turned away, unable to look Keith in the eye.
“What was that?” Shiro asked as Kiaion pointed out the door, transforming into a much larger size, biting someone in its mouth.
“Let me go!” A feminine voice shouted.
After a moment, Shiro opened his eyes and look at the person that encounters with. “Romelle!” he announced. Recognizing the appearance of pointed ears and symbols on her face.
“What are you doing here!” Shiro said. “Should you be back at Aurs.”
“I was looking for the place of the Daemon Explorers. For generations, the people of this village have trained and worked to get rid of daemons”. Romelle explained. “But it looks like, it’s already been destroyed and the people captured”.
Hunk pause for the moment. He moves closer to Romelle and asks her. “The people, tell me what’s my family with them!”
Romelle bit her lower lip, troubled. “I couldn’t see, but I did know they were loading up the people and taking them somewhere”
“I see, so my family is alive! That all that matters” Hunk held her gaze a moment, his eyes steady.
Romelle considered his words and took a deep breath. After a minute, she answered. “I’m sorry, I wish I could do more,” she said, brushing a tear from the corner of her eye.
“Well then, they must’ve been hated by the daemons and the Galra”. Keith said.
“But, to be attacked like this at all times. A number of the warriors had been summoned to a castle and this village was left with few to protect it. I have this bad feeling. I wonder if those who went to the castle are safe?” Romelle considered.
“I doubt it, both me and Hunk we’re at the castle! And we didn’t see anyone else” Pidge pointed out.
“And Keith, Lance, and I were in the castle and couldn’t find anyone from the village,” Shiro said.
“Yeah, it was almost like they disappeared!” Lance said.
“I see, anyway we should get rid of the remains!” Romelle said.
“Suppose you’re right!” Shiro said “How unfortunate… I had so many questions to ask the villagers.”
When everybody starts to get to work gathering the robotic remains of the galra army.
Elsewhere, out of the village of Daemon Explores, Keith and Shiro started to pulling a cart. The rest walks with him.
“The crater where the crystal was created?” Keith said.
“Yes, We are headed now to the outskirts of the village to the limestone crater.” Hunk said.
When the gang reaches a crater. Keith and Shiro throw the gunnysacks on the cart into the crater where the unused portions were disposed of in this crater.
Hence, this limestone crater is filled with the remains of daemons. And it seems that deep inside the crater was once full of carcasses of daemons.
When after throws the gunnysacks in the crater, they hope that’s where the quintessence Crystal was…?
“And that’s is the story that has been passed down in this region,” Romelle told Keith and Shiro.
“I see, Good works, Romelle”. Shiro said.
“Thank you for the compliment! I did my best in the hope that it would be of help to you”. Romelle said, dramatic.
“I’m sure you do, but I am sure that Coran knows that you’re here!” Shiro said.
“No.,” Romelle said, “that doesn’t matter, I’m here now and it’s clear that you need some help!”
“Shall we go in?” Keith said.
“All right…let’s go,” Shiro said as they walk towards the crater.
“Just a minute, Keith”. Romelle shouted but it was too late, A barrier appears at the entrance, and Keith is shocked as he tries to walk in. He yells and is thrown off.
“A strong barrier has been placed at the entrance and one cannot just walk in”. Romelle told Keith.
“Well, you could have told me sooner”. Keith grabbed, Romelle sighed heavily in response.
Then Shiro turns his detention to Hunk and said, “Hunk, do you know where there’s another way in!”
Looking away, Hunk said, “Sorry only my father or one of the elders knows”.
“Looks like we’re knocking anywhere in tonight!” Lance said.
“We’ll start again tomorrow,” Romelle said.
As the group dispersed from the crater and back into the village as the sun was setting over the land when Pidge, Lance, and Hunk set out to look for survivors including Hunk’s family, still holding on to the hope that some people manage to escape capture.
Where Keith, Shiro, and Romelle were thinking about their next plan. While Shiro had enlisted to continue the help of Lance and the others to continue with the quintessence Crystal. But Keith on the other hand assisted them to find the base where the people are captured.
“It’s hopeless!” Keith said. “There’s no way into the cave and everyone who could’ve talked to us has been captured”.
“Well not everyone!” Shiro said, “The more skilled explorers are still out there”.
“That’s right! If those men had been in the village, they would easily have turned back an attack by the daemons”. Romelle considered.
“All right… Let’s go to find those men and talk to them about the quintessence Crystal and find out how to get into that crater…easy! Now then, let’s get started”. Keith said.
When the three came to the house, their hope debated, Shiro got a chance and spoke to Hunk.
“Hunk, have you traveling this way before?” He said.
“Once, when I need to get away”, he said in that defeated voice. “Also, there’s a village near here?”
“Over the ridge”, he said, looking up through the sparse trees and the wall.
“Is it far?” Shiro said.
“For you or me?” Hunk said.
“For me, for us”. He said.
“Too far. Not at all far for me”. Hunk said, “for the very least not for Kiaion here? He should be back here three times by next moonrise why.”
“Because we’re hoping we can find your father and the group he’s with!” Shiro said.
“I don’t know if you can’t,” Hunk said in a muffled voice. he climbed slowly turned around. It was clear from his expression that he wasn’t fine. Dried tear tracks streaked his face.
“Hunk” Shiro asked gently. “I know you’ve been through a lot, but there’s any chance to find your father, is us finding out if your father is still alive! So I need you to trust this with that”.
Hunk took a deep breath, “all right, Kiaion, take him what he needs to go!”
Keith and Romelle huddled up next to Shiro, just like a players’ huddle before the next match. They were repaired this year was whatever it is they come next.
It was dark by the time Hunk walked Kiaion into the stone courtyard at the base of the village. Shiro and Keith were already waiting for her, and when she arrived, Romelle let out a whoop of excitement. “Get ready, because we are going out”. She declared. At Romelle’s enthusiastic words, Stats joined them.
Pidge gave Shiro a strip of dried meat to chew and with Stats as a small as a mouse inside Keith’s pockets, Shiro and the others scrambled onto Kiaion’s back in a tangle of elbows and knees. Gripping his fur with their hands and his narrow muscular back between his knees. His fur wonderfully thick but soft like a cat’s body but the sense of immense power that felt was overwhelming.
As if they weighed nothing at all, he turned and loped away in a long swinging run-up toward the ridge and into the low trees, away from the village.
It took some time before Shiro was used to the movement and then he felt a wild exhilaration. He was riding a lion! And the stars were swaying above them in silver lights and straight lines and all around was the forest land and the immense sound of the forest.
Kiaion’s paws made hardly any sound as they padded forward through the brown ground. The trees were thin and stunted here, for they were on the edge of the unknown, but there were bramble and snagged bushes in the path. The lion ripped through them as if they were cobwebs.
They climbed the low ridge, among outcrops of Gray rock and we’re soon out of sight of the village behind them. Shiro walked to Keith or Romelle about the dreams he’s been getting, he would already be on familiar terms with them or the friends that he’s made; but everything was so strange and wild and cold that he was shy, almost for the first time in his life. So as he loped along, that’s like Kiaion’s great legs swinging tirelessly, so he sat with the movement and said nothing.
Finally, Kiaion stopped and sniff the ground, “looks like, he found something” Romelle said.
“There’s a village over there!” Keith said, “Maybe we’ll get our answers there!” Shiro’s eyes widened. Maybe this was the village in his dreams.
They were looking down a broken, rugged slope toward a cluster of wooden buildings beside a wide stretch of muddy dirt as flat as could be, which Shiro took to be the Black lake. A wooden jetty showed him that his dreams were right. They were no more than five minutes from the place.
“What do you want to do?” Keith said.
Shiro slipped off Kiaion’s back and found it hard to stand. His face was stiff with cold and his legs were shaky, but he clung to his fur and stamped until he felt stronger.
“There’s a person from the village down in that village,” he thought, “or maybe near it, I don’t know for certain. I want to go and find him or her and bring them back to Hunk and the others if I can, just like my dreams are telling me”.
“Are you sure that Kiaion it’s in the right direction?” Romelle said.
“Hunk told me to trust him!” Keith told her. “If he is outside, he had better have some shelter”.
“I don’t think he’s dead", said Shiro, but he was far from sure, the dreams had indicated something uncanny and unnatural, which was alarming; but who was he? The samurai. And who was under his command? Stubborn teenagers. How could he possibly show any fear?
“Let’s just go and look”, he said.
He and the others clambered on his back again, and he set off down the broken slope, walking steadily and not pacing anymore. The dogs of the village smelled or heard or sensed them coming and began to howl frightfully; and the horses in their enclosing moved about nervously, their hooves classing like racing through a highway.
In still air, every movement could be heard for a long way. As they reached the first of the houses, Shiro, Keith, and Romelle looked to the right and left, peering hard into the dimness, for the dark was surrounding them and the moon still far from rising. Here and there a light flickered under a dusted-thick roof, and Shiro thought he saw pale faces behind some of the windowpanes and imagined their astonishment to see people riding a great yellow lion.
At the center of the little village, there was an open space next to the jetty, where boats had been drawn up, mounds under the dirt. The noise of the dogs was deafening and just as Shiro thought it must have wakened everyone, a door opened and a man comes out holding a rifle. His wolverine deamon leaped onto the Woodstack beside the door, scattering dirt.
Shiro slipped down at once and between him and Kiaion, conscious that he had told the lion there was no need for the attack.
The man spoke, “what are you doing here you devils” he said.
“We’re not devils, but we are here looking for something for friends!” Shiro said.
As soon as Shiro had said that, the man pointed to the right, indicating someplace further off, and spoke quickly.
He said, “if you’re here to get rid of the daemon for the explorers. Good luck trying, we tried to drive it away, but it keeps coming back”.
“Don’t worry, we will take it with us, but you were very bad to treat it like that. Where is it?” Shiro explains.
The man explained, gesticulating furiously, Shiro was afraid that he’d fire his rifle by mistake, but as soon as he’d spoken he hastened inside his house and shut the door. Keith, Romelle, and Shiro could see faces at every window.
“What was he talking about, a Daemon” Keith and. “I thought we were looking for someone from the village!”
“I think we are?” Shiro said softly.
“I think he was pointing in there, in that fish house”, Romelle said.
Shiro followed, he was horribly nervous. Kiaion was making for a narrow wooden shed, raising his head to sniff this way and that and when he reached the door he stopped, it was clearly in there.
Shiro’s heart was beating as fast he could hardly breathe. Keith raised his hand to knock at the door and then, feeling that was ridiculous, took a deep breath to call out, but realized that he didn’t know what to say.
Plus it was so dark now! They should have bought a lantern...
But there was no choice at the moment and anyway, Shiro didn’t want anyone especially Keith to see him being afraid. He hasn’t been the type to be afraid. But everything was just like his dreams. He lifted the strap that binding the door shut. It opened with a snap. He had to throw away the wooden boards that kept the door still closed. Before he and his friends could do anything and Stats was no help, running back and forth in his ermine shape, a light shadow over the ground, uttering little frightened sounds.
“Stats, for God’s sake!” Shiro said. “Be quiet for once. Go and look for us...”
“Quiet” Keith wonder as Shiro wouldn’t do that and he wouldn’t speak either. He had never seen him like this except once when he and Keith were dealing with the thunder siblings and their armies. He was even more frightened than Shiro was, as for Keith and Romelle, they were staring in the distance, watching him in silence.
“Come out”. Shiro said as long as he dared. “Come out!” Not a sound came in answer. Shiro pulled the door a little wider and Keith put his hands on Shiro’s shoulder and said. “Are you all right, you seemed a bit scared!”
Trying to calm down, Shiro was aware of Keith turning away and see a figure hastening down the track from the village, carrying a lantern. When he came close enough to speak, he raised the lantern and held it to show his face: an old man with a broad, lined face and eyes nearly lost in a thousand wrinkles. His Daemon was an Arctic fox.
He spoke, “I bought that I only see those types of children in the forest, sometimes I thought they won’t last long but this one is tough, I think. But it would be better for him if he dies”.
“Don’t worry, we’re will be gone before you know it” Keith said.
“I see, May I give you my lantern!” The man spoke and handed it to Shiro at once, nodding vigorously, Shiro realized that he’d come down to bring it to him and thanked him and he nodded again and stood back, away from him and the hut and away from the lion.
Shiro thought suddenly: what if the person is one of the Daemon explorers? And he praying with all his force that it wouldn’t be. Stats was clinging to him, his little flappy hands hooked deep in his jacket.
With Keith and Romelle, he lifted the lantern high and took a step into the shed and he saw what it was that the Galra empire was doing and what was the nature of the sacrifice the humans were having to make.
The little boy was handled against the wood drying rack where hung now upon row of gutted fish, all as stiff as boards. He was clutching a piece of fish as was clutching Stats with his left hand, hard, against his heart; but that was he had, a piece of dried fish; because he had no Daemon at all the Galra had cut it away. That was intercession and this was a severed child.
Upon seeing this, Romelle’s first impulse was to turn and run, or to be sick. she’s already seen or heard of daemons, but this was an all another level, it was like someone without a face or with their ribs laid open and their heart was torn out: something unnatural and uncanny that belonged to the world of nightmares, not the waking world of sense.
So Romelle clung to Shiro and Keith and her head swam and her gorge rose and cold as the night was, a sickly sweat moistened her flesh with something colder still.
“Ratter,” said the boy. “You got my Ratter?”
“No,” Shiro said in a voice as deep, frail, and frightened as he felt then “what’s your name?”
“Roy,” he said. “Where’s Ratter?”
“I don’t know...” Shiro began and swallowed hard to govern his nausea. “The Galra...” But he couldn’t finish. He had to go out of the shed and sit down by himself, but he was never by himself, because Stats, Keith, and Romelle were always there. Oh, to be cut from him as this little boy had been parted from his Ratter!
The worst thing in the world! He found himself sobbing and Stats was whimpering too, and in both of them, there was a passionate pity and sorrow for the half-boy.
Then he got to his feet again.
“Come on”, he called in a trembling voice. “Roy, come out, we’re taking you back to the village so you can be safe.”
There was a stir of movement in the fish house and he appeared at the door, still clutching his dried fish. He was dressed in a generic grey bodysuit underneath a shredded purple shirt. In the wider light outside that came from the faint trails of the stars and the bright sky seems lost to him and more piteous even than he had at first, crouching in the lantern light by the fish racks.
The villager who’d brought the lantern had retreated a few yards and called down to them.
“Hey, you need to pay for that” he shouted in the distance.
Keith felt like attacking him for the way that he and all the other villagers treated the little poor boy, but he said, “We’re taking the child away from you, I’m sure you can afford to one fish to pay for that”.
The man muttered, but didn’t argue, Shiro set the lantern down in the ground and took the half boys hand to guide him to the lion. He came helplessly, showing no surprise and no fear at the lion standing so close, and when Shiro helping him to sit on Kiaion’s back, all he and was:
“I dunno where my Ratter is”. he said
“No, nor do we, Roy”, Keith said. “But we’ll... we’ll punish the Galra, we’ll make sure of that”
And soon Kiaion sagged under the weight of the four. The lion roar in the complaint. Shiro inched forward to make more room for the others behind him while he scrambled up behind Roy and made him cling to the long stiff fur, and Stats sat close to the boy in full of pity and an impulse to cuddle of course.
The rose through the village and up to toward the ridge and the villagers’ faces were open with horror a kind of fear but a shame that the child has to suffer in their care, but they were relieved at seeing that boy taken away by a group of young people and a great deamon lion.
In Shiro’s heart, revulsion struggling with compassion and compassion won. He put his arms around the skinny little from to hold him safe. The journey back to the deamon explorer village was colder and harder and darker, but it seemed to pass more quickly for all that. Kiaion was tireless and Shiro and everyone else’s riding because automatic, so no one was at risk of falling off. The cold body in Shiro’s arms was so light that in one way he was easy to manage, but he was inert; he sat stiffly without moving as the lion moved, so in another way, he was difficult too.
From time to time the half-boy spoke.
“What’s that you said?” Asked Shiro.
“I say is she gonna know where I ?” he said.
“Yeah, she’ll know, she’ll find you and we’ll find her. Hold on tight now, Roy. The village isn’t too far from here...”
Kiaion loped onwards. Shiro had no idea how tired he was until they arrived at the village where Hunk, Lance, and Pidge, all lunging forward to help and then falling back silent as they saw the other figure with Shiro, a figure that Hunk knew all too well.
“Roy! Is that him?” He said, lunging forward to help and then falling back silent as they saw the other figure with Shiro, Keith, and Romelle. It was clear that was his nephew.
“Where’s Ratter? Where’s his daemon?” Pidge said as she held back, fearful; but hunk spoke, to Shiro’s weary amazement, chiding them.
“I don’t know, but I think this is what the Galra do, they cut his deamon away” he said
Hunk looked on in horror, while Pidge move back away. “Don’t stand there help me! Take him inside. Get him warm”. Lance appeared in the doorway. he wrapped a comforting arm around Hunk’s shoulders and led him and the child inside.
Hunk sobs all the way
“Best leave them to it”. Pidge told them. “Trust me when I tell you that they love you, but this. They might not want you in there or any of us!”
“He was... The kid without his daemon, like a ghost”. Shiro said as he stayed behind. “This is...I was warning about”
“This is what they do, Shiro,” Romelle told him, “they take the one thing that’s important to them until there is nothing left!”
“You’re right, but the one thing I think they’ll have is control,” Shiro said, “cuz if you remove someone’s soul, you can do anything”.
Keith growls and leaves the scene with Kiaion who he thanked for taking him and his friends there and back again.
After that day, it was as close to daylight as it was ever going to get. The sky was pale in the southeast, and the air was suffused with a gray mist, through which the village was covered like bulky ghosts of a forgotten world.
Shiro and the others saw it all from the house where Hunk’s family lives inside which they lay under tatami like beds. Stats and Kiaion were fully awake before everyone else was.
But the only one that wasn’t asleep was Hunk who’s spending the entire night comforting his nephew as well as being busy preparing the village and as soon as he saw Kiaion emerge, he limped across to wake everyone property.
“Hey guys,” Hunk said. Lance saw him coming and sat up to speak.
“Hunk, how’s Roy?” Lance said, placing a hand on Hunk’s shoulders.
“He died an hour ago. He couldn’t settle...he couldn’t stay in one place” Hunk said, tears flowing down his face. “He kept asking me where his daemon... So I told him to wait for her... she will come back for you... So keep holding on...until...Until... He passed away!” Hunk turned away, sobbing quietly.
Shiro shook his head, saddened. Hunk has been through so much pain—it was heartbreaking, he went to comfort him
“Are you planning to bury him?” Lance said as he already knew the answer.
“Can we see him!” Romelle said.
He couldn’t refuse anyone that, for they’d seen worse than a dead body, and it might calm down especially after everything they’ve been through. So with Stats and Kiaion bounding delicately at everyone’s side, they trudged like a silent funeral where Hunk was digging a grave with a hoe.
The boy’s body lay under a checkered blanket beside the path. Shiro knelt and lifted the blanket in his strong hands.
Keith crept close as Shiro looked down on the poor wasted face. He slipped his hand out to close his eyes, they were marble-cold, poor little Roy was no different from any other human whose Daemon had departed in death. Oh, if they took Keith from him! He swept him up and hugged him as if he meant to press him right into his heart. And all little Roy still had his pitiful piece of fish.
Although Keith was surprised about the hug, he understood, this boy died at the hands of the galra. So with others, they watch the little half-child laid in his grave and bowed their heads and closed their eyes for Lance’s prayers; and then Hunk buried his nephew and the fish inside the ruined village.
Once they were he was safely buried, they continue to preparing The village, it was a ghostly endeavor. The sunrise continues to rise a golden color and soon the world was reduced to the white clouds of the sky.
But after the funeral, Shiro was left in thought, is this what the Galra were capable of, cutting away a human’s Amina daemon to use for their own evil purposes. Like experimentation. Only one way to find out.
“Are you sure you’re okay, Shiro?” Keith said.
“Yes, Keith, I’m fine.” Shiro said.
By now, Keith and Shiro were walking through the village, about to head to Hunk’s home, however, Keith couldn’t help noticing that Shiro seemed to stagger every now and then while carrying Stats in his arms.
“Are you absolutely sure you’re all right, Shiro?” Keith asked. “You shouldn’t push yourself on account of us.”
“Stats” Stats added.
“I’m all right,” Shiro assured. “Really.”
“...Maybe we’ll rest in a little bit,” Keith replied. “Besides, I’m actually starting to get a little hungry, myself.”
“Stats” Stats added.
Shiro said. “Fine. I guess I could use a rest...thanks for trying to look out for me, Keith.”
“Well...someone has to,” Keith muttered, trying to turn his face away to hide the blush forming on his cheeks, which made Shiro giggle inwardly. However, all of a sudden, Stats gasped as he looked up, a jolt going down his spine.
“What is it, boy?” Shiro said.
“Stats!” He said
“What, there’s someone outside the village! Are you sure”. Shiro said, running and into the opening of the wall.
And to his surprise, a mysterious hooded figure awaits him. then, a voice calls out: “Takashi!”
Shiro tenses at that voice, but his curiosity blooms for less than a minute, ”how did that person know my name, unless" the part of it left with him with crushing guilt as the person removed his hood.
Suddenly, it’s all clicks. “Adam? Is it really you” he said as he thought that he was left behind on Earth.
But it was no illusion, it was Adam’s face, and the sound of his given name knocks the breath from him. Wide-eyed recognition, his surprise wanes quickly as the circumstances of their reunion soak through his skin like a cold rain.
He shivers. “Adam, I-,”
“Don’t say anything! I’m just grateful that you’re all right!” Adam said, but his gaze tortured as he looked at Shiro’s right arm. “What happened to you?” he said.
“Well, what happened to you!” Shiro said as he sees the scar on his face and soon Shiro’s head swarm with solemn memories, both good, bad, and ugly. “But so much and back, I don’t know where to start!”
“Well, you can start! By coming with me and my new friends.” He said. Looking over the distance.
And in the distance was someone unexpected. “Good to see you again, Shiro!”
Shiro tenses, the pronounced menace in that voice lancing him as ruthlessly as an assassin’s blade. A figure, tall and hulking, leans out from the rear cabin. If his booming voice weren’t a large enough clue as to his identity, then the giant, detachable, clawed monstrosity of an arm would have dwarfed it.
But before he could say anything, someone appeared on the back of his head knocked him out cold. “Keith,” he said. Before images fade away as he slips into consciousness and blackness in the world.