Falling Towards the Sky
"I love you!" William cried. "Ada, please!"
Adalais Orion couldn't take it. She turned and ran through the forest, far away from her boyfriend of 3 years. William watched her go, the hand holding the ring falling limply to his side.
Oh Will… She thought, fighting against the torrent of emotions that poured through her. How can I explain my heart to you? Even I don't understand why I feel as I do. I know you are not the one. It feels wrong. Everything about my life has always felt wrong and I don’t know why. Running isn’t the answer so why do I feel like I’ve done nothing but run since before I can remember?
Ada could never shake the feeling. None of the boys who were captivated by her striking brown eyes, none of the friends who were drawn to her caring, yet feisty attitude could fill the void she had held in her heart for so long.
Anna skidded to a halt in front of a giant tree, the largest tree in all the forest. It was this spot alone that gave her comfort and let her escape her loneliness. She called it the Giant Kharlan Tree from her favorite video game, Tales of Symphonia. The name suited the tree perfectly.
"Ada!" She flinched. Will was looking for her.
I can’t do this. I can’t face him. I need to get away, I need to get far away and find out why I feel so empty. I need to get out of here!
She felt a warmth rise in her chest as she looked up at the tree…her tree. Suddenly, there was a bright flash of white light and Ada felt herself being pulled through the air, the light burning against her closed lids.
Then she was falling.
Kratos Aurion was trying his best to ignore the mindless ramblings round him. Once Lloyd and Colette got talking, they could go on for hours about the most meaningless subjects. The young half-elf, Genis, would occasionally take part, but even that child was too intelligent. Raine read, though Kratos suspected that was to prevent herself from twitching every time Lloyd said something ridiculous, which was quite often. Sheena half listened, half shied away. She knows things are hazy as far as her place in the group goes. I suppose she'll prove useful when we invade the ranch.
Lloyd was asking Genis what a geyser was as Genis rolled his eyes. He's your son, Anna. Kratos thought, wryly. Inwardly he flinched as the painful memories and emotions welled up inside of him. How could fate be so cruel as to deal him this hand? He had at long last found his so, the son who had so long been lost to him, only to have to betray him in the end. There would be no second chance once they reached the Tower. Lloyd would never forgive him and Kratos has never and would never forgive himself.
At least he's alive , argued Kratos's sensible self. Though if he and Colette do not stop talking about puppies, he might not be much longer. Anna…if only you were alive as well….
"Kratos?" Kratos turned to half look at Lloyd, who was looking up at him. "Are you ok? You looked annoyed about something."
Kratos turned away. "It is of no importance." Lies…more lies…
A faint sound reached his overly sensitive ears. He focused his angelic hearing…there…it was someone screaming. He looked around and saw no one and was momentarily confused. After a moment he finally realize: it was coming from above, from the sky. What the…?
"Kratos what is it?" Lloyd asked. Kratos did not respond but looked up, as did the others.
"Look!" Colette said, pointing to the azure sky. "Something's falling from the sky!"
"Is that a…person?" Raine gasped in horror.
“She’s going to hit the ground!” Lloyd said, taking a step forward as though he was going to stop it. “We have to do something.
Kratos was already off. He wasn’t sure how a person falling from the sky came to be, but he also wasn’t heartless enough to make everyone watch as they hit the ground. Putting on a burst of speed that he probably should not have been able to achieve, he closed the distance between himself and the falling person and threw out his arms, catching them just before they hit the ground.
He staggered for a moment and then straightened, looking at the bundle in his arms….and then looking some more…and some more…because what he was seeing could not possibly have been real.
It was a woman, trembling in his arms with her eyes scrunched shut in fear. Her tousled brown hair fluttered around her shoulders and she held up her hands as though shielding herself. Everything about her should not have existed: the familiar hair, the familiar heart shaped face, those high cheekbones and slender frame. It couldn’t be and yet, there was no mistaking her as she opened her brown eyes and paled as she met Kratos's cold, dead gaze.
"Kratos…" she whispered.
"This can't be," he said, his shock overriding his sense. He put her on her feet and started at her hard.
"You’re not…you can’t be…” She tilted her head to one side and he thought his heart skipped a beat. "Anna?"
"Anna?" she said, confused. "No. I'm Ada—er, well Adalais. Most people call me Ada though." She gave a nervous laugh and then hesitated, looking unsure as Kratos was still staring her in horror. "Kratos,” she said gently. “Anna is…dead."
Kratos blinked and his senses reengaged. He tightened his grip on his angelic powers and scanned her mana signature, confirming her words. It wasn't Anna, no matter how much this girl Adalais looked like her. Still her mana signature was strange: constantly in motion as though it were growing or changing.
"Kratos!" Lloyd ran up, closely followed by the others. They all stared at Ada, who blushed.
"Why are you looking at me like that—oh my gosh!" She gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. "This is real isn’t it? You’re really Lloyd Irving aren’t you?!"
Lloyd instantly went into his heroic pose. "Give me your name and I shall give you mine." To everyone's confusion, Ada squealed and clapped her hands.
"It is you!" She twirled in an excited circle. "Please don't let me be dreaming."
"Well...you seem to be awake so you're probably not dreaming," said Colette, looking more confused than usual.
"You're Colette Brunel!" Ada said, pointing at Collette and giggling excitedly. "Which means you’re Genis Sage, and she's your sister Raine Sage, and you’re Sheena Fujibayashi and ...eek!"
Ada broke off. Kratos pressed the tip of his sword to her neck, which was jarring for him as she looked so like Anna. "How do you know our names?" he demanded. Ada raised her hands in surrender, her eyes wide with fear.
"Who exactly are you?" Raine demanded, hefting her staff threateningly.
"Well…"Ada said, swallowing nervously, “my name is Adalais Orion." Kratos twitched. The names were so similar— Adalais Orion, Anna Aurion—but he did not lower his sword. “I’m from…well let’s just say I am not from Sylvarant."
"Wait,” Sheena said, "are you from—?"
"No, not from Tethe—I mean…"she looked pointedly at Sheena and said "not from the moon, either."
She knows of Tethe'alla then…who is she? Kratos glared. "Then where are you from? Quit stalling."
Ada took a deep breath, or as deep as she could with Kratos’s sword at her neck. "I'm from a place called Earth…in…another dimension. I guess. I'm not too sure actually. I mean, how the hell did I end up here, this isn't even a place!" Kratos scowled and Anna gulped. "But I guess you could say I know of you because the story of this journey, and what will come to pass in this journey, is famous in my world. You all are famous in my world."
"So that means...you're from the future?" Lloyd said. "Awesome! And also really impossible."
"Yes it is," Raine said. "But you didn't say future, you said an alternate dimension. That's more…plausible."
"How?" Genis demanded
"Well…"Sheena began, but Adalais shook her head, causing Kratos sword to nick her throat slightly, but she ignored it.
"I don't know how to prove it," Ada said honestly. “Aside from…well I mean, my clothes look kinda weird compared to yours.” She looked down at her outfit—jeans, boots, and a leather jacket over a plain blue T-shirt—and shrugged, thinking that she was actually the normally dressed one here. She patted down her pockets, looking for more proof and grinned. “Oh and there’s this!” Ada held up a small digital camera that she always had with her in the forest. She and Sei would take walks in the forest and she would take pictures of the trees and wildlife. Sei…
“What is that?” Raine asked, elbowing her way past as Ada booted up the camera.
Ada, sensing the danger in Raine’s glowing eyes, quickly stowed the camera. “It’s technology from my world that I’d rather you not break.” Genis suppressed a laugh.
"That aside," Kratos said, bringing them all back to the topic at hand, "You know far too much. Why should we allow you to continue on your way?"
Ada looked back at him for a moment and smiled chillingly. She pushed Kratos’s sword away from her throat and said gently, “Because I know your futures and I also know your pasts. All of you. Think about it.”
Kratos was so taken aback that he lowered his sword in shock, though his face did not betray him. She knows everything…she knows Lloyd is my son.
“Is that a threat?” Raine asked coolly.
Ada shook her head. “I don’t want to reveal what I know and mess up the timeline. Plus, I want to help, I know I can help. I know things about this world that you have yet to discover. For example…” she cast a look around and tried to picture the landscape in terms of the familiar pixels she knew. It was tricky but she was confident of her guess. “Are you on your way to do something involving…a human ranch nearby?"
"How do you know that?!" Lloyd exclaimed.
Ada looked around. "If memory serves…” Memory? She thought. What memory, you’re guessing from a bloody video game! “We're near Asgard. You're going to save the people of Luin…which has been destroyed…" Ada's face fell and she clenched a fist. She looked up and held Lloyd's eyes with her own. "Let me come with you. Decide what you would do with me after.”
“I don’t like this,” Raine said immediately.
“She knows things though,” Lloyd pointed out. “She can be helpful. Let her prove that she isn’t dangerous to us."
“Lloyd scares me when he uses his brain,” Genis muttered. Ada laughed at that, giving Kratos another jolt. Even her laugh was familiar.
“So what exactly can you help us with?” Raine asked doubtfully.
Ada looked at Sheena. "Well…Sheena here has a Desian outfit."
Sheena’s eye widened in surprise. “It’s true,” she said, looking uncomfortable.
Ada looked at Lloyd expectantly, hoping he would catch on. “So…”
"So we get more and pose as Desians to infiltrate the ranch!" Lloyd said. He turned to the group. "We’re bringing her with us."
“I have no objections," Kratos said. “It is the best way to keep an eye on her given that she knows more than we would like her too.
"Let’s do it!" Colette and Genis added in unison.
"I suppose," Sheena said uncertainly.
"I have my doubts, but I can see no other alternative," Raine sighed. "Let us go, shall we?"
"Welcome to the group Ada!" Colette said with a little bow.
"Yes!" Ada punched a fist triumphantly in the air. Everyone stared as she gave a nervous laugh and dropped to the rear of the group as they set off toward Asgard.
They had not gone far when a rustling noise came from the trees on their left. They all stopped drawing their weapons and Ada wished she had a sword or two. Like you could even handle one, let alone to. Snap out of it. She tensed as they waited and just when she thought maybe they were in the clear, a large assortment of bandits dashed out of the trees, followed by five warlocks
"This looks like a dangerous situation," Ada heard Kratos mutter. She had to bit her lip to keep from squealing with fan girl pleasure. "Chosen, you and the ninja take on the sorcerer’s. Raine, focus on healing! Genis, guard Adalais!" He lashed out with his sword as Lloyd hacked at the bandits' scant armor. Sheena and Colette went for the sorcerers.
Ada clenched her teeth as two bandits stabbed wildly at Kratos, only to die on the angel's sword. I wish I could do something!
"Ada, lookout!" Genis shoved her away as two bodies flew through the air, landing at her feet. Genis turned and began chanting. Raine was occupied with another bandit, as were Kratos, Lloyd, Colette, and Sheena. There are way too many. If I could get a weapon…
She looked down at the thin blades in the dead bandits' hands. Don't be silly! You know nothing about weapons or fighting. She was still debating when her choice was made for her. There was a roar as a huge dragon erupted from the trees, scattering the bandits. No time like the present to learn! She wrenched a blade from a dead man's hand as the group rushed forward, intent on the dragon. She paused and grabbed a second as well. There was an oddly confident feeling in her as she gripped the hilts. It feels familiar…like I've done this before. A roar snapped her back to the present as the dragon turned to her. No one would reach her in time as the beast bore down on her, but something in her knew what to do.
Wait for it. The dragon was nearly on her, his neck stretching, his jaws opening. "NOW!" She dove under the dragon's belly and slid, turning in a puff of dust as he passed over her head. She leaped in the air, and before it could turn around—
"RISING FALCON!" She streaked through the air, straight toward the dragon's neck, both swords pointed forward. She felt the blades sink into flesh and she ripped them free, splattering grass with blood as she landed lightly on her feet.
"Beast!" a powerful blow from Lloyd sent the dragon flying. It crashed to the ground, where it lay motionless.
Ada turned and wiped the blades on the grass. "Ugh, messy! Is it always this messy?" Everyone stared at her. She could practically see the anime bubble with the ellipses over each of their heads. "What?"
"Have never used a sword before?" Lloyd asked. Ada shook her head.
"This is…"Genis trailed off.
"Impossible!" Raine finished for him.
"That was AMAZING Ada!" Colette cried, clapping enthusiastically.
"It sure was," Lloyd said, clapping her on the back.
"Impressive for certain," Sheena agreed.
"But if she's never used a sword—!" Raine cried.
"We don't have time for this debate," Kratos cut in. "We must get to Asgard."
Despite the strangeness of what just occurred, they recognized the wisdom in Kratos’s words and set off again. This time however, Ada walked with Lloyd, Colette, Genis, and even Sheena, who was trying a bit harder to be sociable.
Raine looked at Kratos. "I can't begin to fathom this girl. Who is she, really?"
"Indeed," Kratos muttered, lost in thought.
"Kratos?" Raine asked. He looked at her, not liking the accusation in her eyes. "Do you know her?"
Do I? "No more than you do."
"I see," Raine said, slightly disbelieving before staring off into the distance, biting her lip in contemplation.
She's not Anna, Kratos thought as he watched Adalais talk and laugh with his son. But why does she look so much like her? And how in the world did she come to be here?