That morning, the sun was shining over the beautiful city of Skydris. Each of the Tiers floated up in the blue sky, the crystals that held them up, glowing as bright as ever.
On the First Tier, the students at the Reincarnate Institute were starting upon their usual pursuits for the day.
The Masters themselves started on their usual lessons. Just because they were part of Reincarnate teams, didn’t mean they could skip out on their studies.
The Mage Class meanwhile had their own private classes where the newer rebirths had a refresher on magic whilst the others continued to develop their art further.
The Knights were in the training yard as always, warming up for the day’s training.
Not far from where the Knight Class were, the Hunters were starting their own training on the archery range.
A forest had been planted round the school at its founding, allowing for the Beast class to run freely to work off their restlessness.
Indoors, the Sirens were studying as well. Learning old and new songs that they used within their particular brand of magic.
Whilst all the classes were at work, most of the Rogue Class were absent. As usual, they were missing, either out in the city or simply loafing about.
Over the recent cycles, the Class had been misbehaving more than usual.
The Firstborns were usually exempted from most classes and had far more freedom than the others. And as per usual, they were meeting at the gazebo by the lotus pond.
All except Rogue, who was still missing.
Godfrey was heading to the gazebo, a little late in waking that morning.
As of late, his sleep had been plagued with nightmares- a memory from one of his past lives.
He could still recall it vividly as he cried, his arms clutching…
That was the one thing he couldn’t recall.
Where a body should have been, there was nothing but thin air.
He could still remember the warm blood, the sharp pain in his chest as he sobbed.
He rubbed his forehead.
“Godfrey- are you okay?” Merlin asked, looking up.
He was yet again, trying to guide Beast into meditation. He did so in each life to help her control her animalistic side.
“I’m fine,” Godfrey said, “Just nightmares again.”
Siren looked up, plucking a lyre made of silver and gold. “A nightmare? Of what?” she asked, concerned.
Her voice was lilting and light.
“I don’t know,” Godfrey said honestly, “I’m quite sure it’s a memory- but it doesn’t come to me when I’m awake like my other memories do,” he explained, getting up to pour himself some lemonade.
Robin was doodling in his book.
It was another method they used to remember their past lives as they sometimes drew subconsciously from old memories.
“I’ve had some trouble like that too, actually,” he commented in an absent-minded manner.
“Same here,” Merlin admitted, “Though it seems to be only for certain memories.
Siren nodded, carefully setting the lyre aside.
“It’s not exactly… typical of our memories to behave this way though, is it?” she asked.
Beast sat there, saying nothing.
“But it doesn’t happen every night with you guys, right?” Godfrey asked.
“Well, no- just… rare occasions I guess,” Robin said, twirling the pencil around his fingers, “One of it was when I was talking to someone. We were… I don’t know- discussing bandits in Alowa or something. I remember what they were supposed to be saying and the fact that they were supposed to be standing there… but I was there, talking to thin air.”
Merlin frowned, rubbing his forehead, “That’s right- I had a few dreams like that but none of them nightmares.”
Usually, they did have dreams and could easily connect the dots later.
But these were jut bits and pieces that remained so.
Merlin was frowning for a moment before he could remember what it was. “Ah yes, that’s right,” he said at last, “I was speaking to you, Godfrey. You were there with someone else, holding their hand. Or at least you were supposed to be because- ugh, my head.”
Beast got to her feet and sat down next to Siren.
She was avoiding Robin since they had gotten into yet another argument the day before and was refusing to speak to him.
“Do you remember anything?” Siren asked her, offering her a biscuit.
Beast stuffed it into her mouth, “Yeah. So?” she asked, chewing.
“Beast, for Spirit sake, brush the crumbs off your shirt,” Robin told her.
She ignored him.
“Wait, wait,” Merlin said, “You remember?”
The Beast class were the most primal of all the classes. And because they were in touch with this primal side, they had the easiest time reconnecting with their past lives.
She shrugged but before she could speak, a call crystal that doubled as a light flickered.
“Ah, Saya,” Godfrey greeted, “Is anything the matter?”
“We have news from the city guards. Apparently they suspect one of the folk they arrested yesterday may be a Reincarnate,” Saya reported.
“Are you sure?” Merlin asked doubtfully, “Which class is it?
People constantly pretended to be Reincarnates to try and get themselves out of trouble.
“A Beast class, sir.”
That one was harder to fake.
Especially considering it was a full moon last night, the Reincarnate must have shifted and terrorised the holding cell.
Until they found their Masters, the Beast class would be forced to transform into their monstrous form every full moon. The only one who could help control their animalistic nature during the change was with Beast’s help.
The Firstborn nodded, “Right, I’ll grab Tulio and get to the station. Which Tier?” she asked.
“The Surface Tier, Firstborn Beast,” Saya replied.
There were five tiers to Skydris. The Surface Tier was… in short- the eyesore of the otherwise beautiful city.
Of course it was necessary. The city was beautiful and well kept for a reason. Someone had to do the building, cleaning and maintenance.
And those people needed a place to live.
“Tulio should still be in class,” Beast said, rubbing the back of her neck, “Are you guys coming?”
“Definitely. I’m going to go crazy if I don’t get out for a bit,” Godfrey said, “I’ll give the Masters a call.”
Siren seemed a bit more reluctant.
With each rebirth, they had to re-learn so much and in her current life, Siren’s parents had raised her in a gilded cage and the idea of going to such a place was worrying.
But Merlin was going so she wanted to follow.
“Could I have a moment to go change my clothes first?” she asked, “It seems a terrible idea to go down to the Surface dressed like this,” she pointed out, gesturing to her pretty and clearly expensive dress.
Merlin picked up his dark cloak, “Here, keep this on,” he told her, draping the warm cloak over her shoulders.
“Thank you,” Siren said shyly.
Beast scowled at them and they went to collect their masters.
A tall, dark haired woman was curled up on the cold bench with her head on her friend’s lap, in all appearance asleep.
“I can practically hear you scowling at me,” she commented.
“Yeah well, this is your fault you know,” Lis told Xiang.
“My fault?” Xiang repeated, opening her eyes with a scowl, “I told you to leave it to me, and you and the others just had to poke your nose into it. I wouldn’t be here in this cell if I hadn’t have to stop and try and save your sorry ass.”
“Well- what was I supposed to do? They were going to arrest you anyway!”
Xiang laughed, sitting up, “Not a chance- I would have gotten away,” she said arrogantly.
Lis scowled and sighed, “Maybe I should give them mum’s number. She’s bound to find me missing soon and I’m dead anyway. I don’t want her to end up thinking dad tried something again.”
Xiang meanwhile just grinned, “Well, you can do that if you want but I’m going to hang out in here a little longer until I think of a way out,” she said, standing up and doing a little twirl.
“And how long will that take?”
“Who knows? Got no rush.”
Xiang didn’t have any family in the city to concern herself over. She came to Skydris on her own a few years ago.
She had then proceeded to find ‘work’ and found a foothold in the city easily.
She had plenty of run ins with the guards before, whether the guards themselves realised it or not, due to the nature of her work. But this was the first time she had ever been arrested.
If they didn’t get out of there soon, they’d end up properly arrested. And the holding cells were a lot easier to break out of.
“Fine- be that way. Meanwhile, you kept me up all night because you kept talking in your sleep,” Lis said.
A strange expression flickered across Xiang’s face.
“Oh?” she asked in her usual light tone, “What did I say?”
“I dunno- I think you were saying someone’s name,” Lis said, leaning back, “It was a weird name. I can’t really remember it.”
Xiang relaxed, “Ah well,” she said, stretching again.
“Look, can you just get us out of here already?” Lis wanted to know.
“Now, now- no rush,” Xiang told her, going to pour herself a glass of water, “You can’t rush these things.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, this place is crawling with guards. When you escape from a place- it’s best there are no witnesses. And honestly- a massacre will only draw more attention on ourselves don’t you think?”
“Fine- so when do we make a break for it?”
Xiang shrugged, taking a gulp of the water, “No idea. We’ll know when the time comes. Until then, just sit tight.”
Lis scowled, annoyed and frustrated.
But still, people learnt quickly to trust Xiang.
Xiang meanwhile, sat down again, sipping her drink and looking quite languid- almost as though they were back in their little hideout or at the bar.
Lis meanwhile tried to curl up on the cold bench again to get some sleep but was startled when Xiang suddenly jumped to her feet as though electrocuted.
Her eyes were wide as she looked through the bars.
The guards were going out to greet someone.
“Shit,” she muttered.
Lis sat up, staring at her.
For the three years she had known Xiang, she had never seen that look of panic on her face before.
“What is it?”
“Okay, Lis- listen, we’re getting out now. But you have to listen to everything I tell you now or we’ll run the risk of getting caught again, got it?”
Lis nodded having learnt that lesson the day before.
Xiang glanced up at the security camera before backing away from the cell door.
She had thick curly hair she often kept tightly braided down her back.
At the moment, she removed the tie and shook out the thick braids.
They had removed her hairpins but she had been careful enough to hide the lock picks in the centre of the braid.
“Wha-? How did you get that passed them?” Lis wanted to know.
“With skill,” Xiang replied.
“What about the camera?”
“We’ll deal with that in a moment,” she replied, going to the door and glancing up and down the corridor in front of them.
They were the only ones being held there at the moment. There had been others, but they were moved to the other side of the building as a Beast class had gone berserk the night before and was thus placed in a stronger cell.
She picked the lock and pushed the door open before sticking the lock picks back in her pocket, “Okay, follow me. I need to deal with the camera footage and our records,” she told Lis.
“Because- they took our pictures and everything when we were arrested, you idiot. Now come on.”
“How are we going to do that?”
“I’m pretty good with computers. You should know.”
They got out but Xiang stopped Lis, “Wait here. Count to fifteen and come after me,”
Lis swallowed and nodded.
Xiang glanced at her before she disappeared past the door leaving her in the room, waiting fearfully.
Old fears were surging back to greet her but she tried to push them away.
It was fine.
Xiang wouldn’t leave her behind.
She heard one of the guards calling the others, informing them that the captain wanted them to obseve how the visitors handled the Beast Reincarnate.
Lis counted to fifteen and peered out to see that the guards were gone.
Xiang meanwhile was now peering into another room.
“Come on, the guard in here is asleep,” she said quietly, “I need to get into the system and delete ourselves.”
Lis nodded and hurried into that room, shutting the door.
“How did you get the guards to leave the corridor?” she asked, keeping her voice down so as to not wake the guard.
“Ventriloquism,” Xiang answered, “Keep a look out.”
Lis obeyed, staying by the door and looking out.
Xiang looked at the sleeping guard before moving him carefully. She found a pair of gloves in his pocket and retrieved them easily to use them instead.
She glanced at Lis who was still staring out the door.
With her preoccupied, Xiang looked down at the crystal system. A pale shimmer of violet light washed over her body as she started working furiously to find what she was looking for
She found both her and Lis’ photos and descriptions and managed to completely clear it out of the computer’s memory. As it was still under twenty four hours, they had not been submitted into the full system just yet.
That made things easier.
She also had to delete the footage from the security cameras.
It was simple enough.
Technology really had moved a long way but she remembered the lessons she had from Tooru, and managed to get into the main security system.
Once she had the security cameras disabled, the shimmer disappeared and she replaced the gloves in the man’s pocket.
“Okay, we’re done,” she told Lis, “We have five minutes to disappear before the cameras activate again. Come on, let’s get out of here.”
Lis looked relieved and followed her lead.
“Tasia, Ari? What are you two doing here?”
“Captain said he wants us to observe,” the guards said matter-of-factly, “Are those the Firstborns then?”
“They’re a little young aren’t they?”
“That’s cause they are. But they were just born recently. I think the oldest amongst ’em is twenty-one.”
Meanwhile, Beast was talking to the pale, frightened man.
After a moment, she sighed, “Yeah, he’s one of mine,” she told the guards, her arms crossed over her chest.
“Right, well- just send the details up to the institute. They’ll deal with it,” Merlin told the captain, “We’ll sign the release forms now.”
Tulio, Beast’s Master, helped the new Beast out with his things.
Robin went after Beast who had to sign the release form, “Do you think we can make it back to campus before lunch is over?” he asked his Master, Indah.
“Why? We can always just stop at Marick’s for lunch instead, can’t we?” Pierce pointed out with a grin.
Siren sighed at her irresponsible Master, “You have classes this afternoon, Pierce. We need to make it back in time.”
Tara, Godfrey’s timid shadow in this life, spoke up suddenly, “I don’t like Marick’s.”
Marick was loud and noisy so both Tara and Siren disliked it strongly.
“So what’s your name?” Tulio asked the new Beast.
“It’s Hiram,” he replied, looking exhausted and pale from his first and abrupt transformation in this life.
Saya caught up with them after putting away her call crystal, “Right- I called the institute and gave them a head’s up, Firstborns.”
“Thank you, Saya.”
They headed out to the corridor when Beast suddenly froze.
She sniffed the air with a frown.
“Come on girl? What is it?” Tulio said in a tone you would use with a puppy.
Beast shot him a glare, “For the last time, stop treating me like a dog,” she told him.
He grinned while Robin glared at him as well.
“What do you smell?” Siren prompted gently.
“I smell something familiar… or at least someone,” she said.
“There are loads of people here,” Pierce pointed out, glancing around the guards in the corridor.
But the other Firstborns knew what that meant.
Beast had been the first of her class and remembered the innate scents of others, no matter how long ago it was. The knowledge of it was passed throughout her many lives.
But for her to suddenly catch wind of it like that, it meant that whoever this Reincarnate was, it was someone she knew well enough to trigger a stronger reaction.
She bared her teeth in a snarl, her eyes turning yellow once more, “Send the kids back to the school. We have a chase,” she said.
“Well? Who is it?” Godfrey asked, feeling a strange sense of hope rising in his chest.