Dragon Raja and the Core Tokens: Grief

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A Bittersweet reunion

It’s September 17th, 2000 In Chicago, The sun hit dead in the sky to signal around noon, most students were in class at this time.

At the other side of the college laid an empty classroom, lined with history books, stacked neatly on the left side of the wall. Pictures were hung of all sorts, some of the students, some of the professor, some silly inspirational quotes, things like that.

In the back of the room, a framed photo was placed engraved in the frame was a date “02.28.1978” It had members of Black Swan, It was an old, frostbitten photo with a brown tint to it, due to age. It was a photo of the Festival Khorkina had created, and the group to show everyone’s memories. It was cared for and looked well dusted and polished.

A woman was adjusting some papers on her desk. The woman had long, fluffy blonde hair that was tied up, even then it still reached down her back. She wore a Purple and black uniform that associated with the school’s colors, with golden buttons, She had a heart birthmark on the right side of her cheek, that matched her pink eyes, older Eyes, with the faintest of wrinkles that were hidden well with her glasses. The glasses were thin and had a beaded chain to keep them from falling off her face, A plaque on her desk read ”Professor H. Jane, World History”

The woman continued to sift through papers, grading quietly before the lights in her room flickered, and Eva appeared before her. The older woman offered a kind smile and set the papers down

“Hello Eva, What do I owe the pleasure?” Her voice laced with a faint Russian accent, clearly more Americanized now.

“Good Morning Holly, Principal Anjou Requests your presence immediately” She explained

The teacher pushed her glasses up before standing, offering a teasing eye roll “What has the old man fallen and can't get up” She joked, Eva blinks quizzically at the woman, it was almost like crickets could be heard,

“Principal Anjou has not fallen-” Eva explained

“I know- Eva--” She laughed awkwardly

“He requests you regarding a student who you may be aware of-” she goes on to explain

“Really now? Good thing this is my break period then-” She speaks as she puts away her papers, ready to pick up her things

“He requests you urgently, the student, Asen Romanova is in crisis” Eva explains calmly, hands behind her back

Professor Jane suddenly drops her things, as if she wasn’t aware she was holding them, all color in her face fell as she turned back to the hologram

“What did you say?” She questioned
“The student Asen Romanova is in Crisis” Eva explained again,

Without a second beat she rushes out the door, Eva in tow, not aware of the situation currently

“Where are they?” Jane pressured

“In the Main office, Inside the Nurses Office, Room 103” Eva directed

The Professor then rushed across campus, as fast as a grown woman could run, her thoughts were running as fast as her steps took her, there was no way, no possible way. She ran faster and faster, desperation creeping through her as she scanned her ID on the faculty door, a green light flickered before she yanked the door open inside, as she rushed through the halls, Absolutely no way, she thought

Meanwhile, Asen and Anjou were in the Nurse’s room, silently writing to each other, despite Asen’s fright, he had calmed a bit, Anjou was patient and kind, offering him all the time he needed as the two waited for her, Asen was unaware of who exactly was coming, but he found comfort in Anjou, it wasn’t familiar, but he had a natural kindness to him.

Suddenly, the Nurses door bursts open, startling Asen. The two turned to see the noise,

“Asen..?” She called, That’s when Asen’s heart sank.

It was HJ, Holly Jane. Ivan’s old friend, His old friend. She was older and different, but her eyes, still colored like fresh cranberries, the Birthmark still visible, Her eyes filled with tears as she stared Asen up and down, He looked...Exactly the same, as if no time had passed, he still looked, like a kid, as if her photo came to life, the two stared at each other across the room in silence, as if time stopped.

HJ ran up to him as if nothing else mattered, Asen felt everything in his body stand to meet her, HJ nearly knocked him over from how tight she grabbed him, Asen clung onto that sliver of familiarity and let out a frail whimper, his legs trembled as he clung to his friend even tighter. HJ’s tears graced the floor as she held him, hushing the young boy, reassuring him that he was safe, and she was ok, they were okay.

Anjou stood up and walked to the door, giving a small nod to The professor before leaving them alone to reunite.

The two cried for a while, holding each other so tight that if either one were to let go, that they’ll never see one another again. HJ eventually parted, cupping Asen’s cheeks and gazed upon him quietly,
“I-It’s like you haven’t changed...” She whispered out

Asen looks her up and down and parted his lips to speak before wincing, shutting his lips again. HJ tilted her head a little

"Chto proizoshlo..?" She asked, Asen lifted a hand to point to the notebook which had written scribbles of Russian. HJ slowly let him go to pick up the notebook, flipping through the pages, Asen shakily grabbed his pencil, writing in it on the corner as she held it,

"Can't talk" It said, HJ softened before sitting down, patting the seat beside her for Asen, which he did sit in.

"I see...T-That's okay...You must be so frightened" She muttered. He simply nodded, He grabs the book from her, flipping to a new page before scribbling down more Russian words

"You look different." It wrote

"What are you calling me old?" She teased lightly, getting a weak snicker from Asen, Like no time had passed, the two were acting like before,

"You on the other hand...You haven't changed a bit...I mean- How..?" She questioned

He wrote something down before showing it to her, "In Ice"

HJ softened as she processed what he said, "D-Do you mean-? You've been trapped in Ice all this time...?" She asked worriedly. Asen simply nodded. HJ teared up a little as she sat in silence. It took her a minute before she spoke again

"S-So, it's still- like yesterday for you, isn't it?" Jane then said. Asen meekly nods again

"So much has happened Asen- I-I don't even know where to begin-" She stammered. Asen hesitated before placing a hand on hers sympathetically. She turned back to him, despite his fear, and his grief, he offered her sympathy, Which made her tear up more

"That night...So many died...The next morning, I found so many bodies..." She hesitated, Asen frantically turned to his book, scribbling down more Russian words.

"Tell Me," He wrote

HJ softened before straightening herself

"We'll...After the Banquet Ivan and I went to bed, we were awakened by the explosion...We met up with each other- There was fire, I was scared... Ivan rushed everyone out of the cabins. He looked at me and said 'Get everyone into the forest, Go as far as you can' I argued with him, but a Jet landed in front of us, Men came out and began shooting, Everyone split up, The last words I ever hear from Ivan was 'We'll meet up at the forest, Wait for us'..." HJ paused to tear up

"Kyndall and I ran the trail, he, Vera, and Khorkina took the forest, Gunman chased us, shooting, they got Kyndall. I couldn't stop, I was so scared, I regret leaving her, but at that moment I ran, I ran up the mountain before I was shot too...That's the last thing I remember..." Holly teared up and held her hands shakily. Asen softened and looked down silently.

The woman recollected herself before speaking again, "I woke up the next day, covered in blood, but somehow I was fine, I realized then, my extra skill was Two Hearts...I had a second chance at life-... I went back and saw everyone dead, Vera...Khorkina, Ivan.." She stopped, finding herself crying at the thought. Asen hugged her gently as she wept, trying to manage out her story again

"He was so peaceful in the snow like he accepted his fate, It broke me...I never loved again," She confessed.

Asen softened, thinking back to His and Ivan's conversation back in the hallway back when.

"I buried them, Everyone...Well- Almost everyone, there were some people I never found, Kizana, Kyndall...You- Z, And your sister..." She confessed. Asen perked up, frantically scribbling on his notepad again

"So she could be out there??" He wrote

Holly hesitated before speaking "Maybe...but It's unlikely Asen, after all these years you're the only one found-" She confessed. Asen softened and looked down sadly

"There was one other survivor- Solace, She was okay, she survived. The two of us made buried everyone and lasted through the supplies but,...it was too much to take for her, she couldn't last with everything that happened, she-...she jumped" Holly confessed in a shaky breath

Asen froze in horror, looking down to his feet as he thought about her, another one went from his memory

"Eventually I was found by Cassell College, I moved to America, was under Norma's wing, the two of us did so many adventures together, but...she passed away a few years ago, due to an accident...Her memory was transferred into our AI's system, Eva" She points to the computer.

"I eventually became a student here, graduated, applied to be a teacher, got the job, and I've been here ever since..." Holly explained

Asen stood up and walked over to the computer, looking at it curiously, as if it would give him answers. HJ stood too, following beside him. "Asen I want to give you something- Follow Me-" She takes his hand and the two walk out the Main Office and through the campus. Asen looked around at the strange architecture, it was so green, not an ounce of snow, it was warm, everywhere, everything looked so nice and gentle, nothing like the bitter cold he was used to. As the two walked, they make it back to her classroom, she walks to a cabinet and unlocks it, pulling out an old and withered cardboard box. Asen watches from a distance as she places it on a desk, rummaging through it. Eventually, she pulls out an old trinket. Asen's eyes widen at the sight.

It was the thumb piano he had gifted Vera a long time ago

"I took some things with me, so I wouldn't forget...I know how much you loved Vera...I loved her too, but, She never stopped talking about you, we'd always girl talk about you...I want you to have something from there, it's...it's a part of us...we should never forget it, no matter how painful it is-" She explained, handing it to Asen.

The brunette carefully took the instrument, memories flooding his mind as he remembered that morning, where they played music together and it was peaceful. Tears collected on the top of the Kalimba as he carefully pushed his thumb on one of the keys. It played an off-key note. He took a shaky breath before hugging HJ tightly, She smiled sadly before patting his head

"You've missed so much..." She whispered to him, offering a comforting touch as the two grieved together in the empty classroom.

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