The great skyscrapers of the city came into view as the chariot hovered above the grassy floor of the forest. The chariot, shaped like a bird-of-prey, easily weaved around the trees as its driver swerved past them at neck-breaking speeds, the passenger feeling the pangs of first anxiety, then nervous, and finally the first twinges of fear began to form. "Uhm, Krystal, hadn't you better slow down?!" the passenger asked, raising his voice over the din of the humming chariot and the constant breaking of branches. The driver, a cerulean vixen of nineteen, kept her focus on the spires ahead.
"But we're nearly there, father! Just hold on for a few more moments!" she replied, a broad grin on her face as she steered the chromed-silver vehicle that was being mercilessly dented and scarred. Her father, the leader of the Sun Tribe Xetulu, almost felt himself cringe as he saw, and felt, branches whizzing past him.
"I'm not going to be alive in the next few moments!" he replied, but Krystal made no inclination that she heard him as she kept her focus on the road, a road that only she could see apparently, ahead.
The guard stood watch over the large wall surrounding the city, looking and feeling rather bored at the slow pace. Barely a year went by since the downfall, and death, of the tyrant Kendall and his son, and that was the most exciting thing to happen in Cerinia and it wasn't even near here! As he looked behind him, he could see the people going on with their daily lives and the visitors from the stars going to and fro, the sight of aliens already commonplace even for a guard on the wall. He heard a faint sound, and turned around to see some of the branches moving violently towards the entrance of the city. He held his staff ready and alerted his comrade as the sound grew louder and the movement got closer. At the edge of the wood-line, a silvery shape leaped from the branches and sped towards the gates. The chariot, already abused and punished through the forest, sped nearly uncontrollably towards the entrance. Krystal applied the brake as hard as she could and swerved the cruiser so its side was lined up with the wall. Gradually it slowed, until it stopped just an inch from the gate. The guards watched in fascination as the driver got out of the chariot first, and the passenger nearly fell out onto his knees and seemed to be heaving on the ground. "Oh, thank the gods!" he cried into the sky. Both guards looked at one another, then back at the scene as Xetulu turned to stare at his daughter. "You're mother was right; I should never have let you learn to drive!" Krystal looked at her father with an innocent look and a slight smile as her hands were behind her back.
"You were the one who taught me," she replied in a sing-song tone. Xetulu grumbled and rapped on the gate's porthole. It opened to reveal a set of eyes in a scraggly face. "Xetulu and Krystal here," he said simply. The guard nodded and closed the port. The large gate opened gradually and the pair could see the grand sight behind; Great skyscrapers pierced into the clouds as hover-chariots flew in between them like birds in a forest canopy, while the people went to and fro in their daily routines as non-Cerinians did the same with various guides, or on business themselves. Krystal looked round eagerly, seeing the capital city of Cerinia for the first time. She had often heard of it, and seen off-worlders come to her village before, but never so many in one place, especially a large city as this. And the city, Emeldanna, acted as the main space-port for arrivals, and departures. Which is why Krystal was here in the first place. Ever since a dear friend left their village, Krystal felt a longing in her heart. A longing to follow after him and see the cosmos and what it had to offer, and maybe, just maybe, run into him again. Her father wanted her to know more about the world around her, and maybe a little more than that, and supported her decision when she wanted to leave Cerinia. Her mother on the other hand was against it, adamantly. Even after she said her farewells to her, they still had to leave early so she wouldn't try to stop them from going. Everything she felt she needed was already packed away and her way to the stars was being prepped. First she'd stopped by the closest system known as Lylat, to help her get started on where she wanted to go. And from then on, who knows? She couldn't sleep the entire night as she got ready for what seemed like a whole new adventure. Her mind whirled with ideas and imaginings on what she would see on her journey, what she would experience, what she would find in the endless reaches of the cosmos. Even now her excitement hasn't gone away as her eyes went to the place that she sought; the docks where the ships bearing both aliens and Cerinians inbound and out either went in or left. Her father got out her pack and bag and handed it to Krystal, who took it graciously and both headed for the docks.
At the edge of the city were the docks. Several large ports with various crafts of different shapes and sizes were moored at them, taking and discharging passengers and cargo alike. As the vixen looked around in awe and curiosity at the ships, Xetulu looked around for one ship in particular. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned around, coming face to face with a scraggly-faced middle-aged Cerinian with a friendly smile. "You Xetulu?" he asked.
"Yes," he replied, uncertain.
"Your ship is this way," he replied, gesturing for him to follow.
"Oh good. Krystal!" The vixen looked back at her father and followed him and the other Cerinian to a ship directly in front of them. It was angular in shape, with a chromed finish, like most Cerinian ships, with small wings on the side where the engines are, just behind the cockpit and cargo hold. It was somewhat smaller than most of the other ships, but had a sort of elegant look to it. The other Cerinian had sense of pride as he lead them to it.
"This is the finest ship you'll ever find. Fast, reliable, can take a pounding and ask for more while still looking pretty, you'll find none nicer than her," he stated proudly. "Obviously I had to uhm…modify her in some places," the pilot said sheepishly that made Xetulu look at him questioningly, "But it's all perfectly legal, perfectly legal of course. Just, you know, times were changing and had to adjust in my days as a space-farer. Ah, but those days are gone and I find myself getting on in years, but my ship needs to fly." All the while, Krystal walked around the ship as the two talked, looking it up and down as her path to the stars seemed even closer. "So, does she have a valid license?"
"She got hers just last week." Xetulu replied, remembering when she brought her here a couple of weeks ago and let her test to get her pilot's license, which she got on her first try(and apparently gave her testers the fright of their life, telling by the looks on tier faces), and he talked to the old space-farer about getting his ship. He still couldn't believe he was doing this, but he had a strong feeling that this was all ordained. The vision that Krystal told him and her mother kept creeping into his mind, especially when she told him that she wanted to see more of space, to actually go out into the stars. He wanted to hold her back on Cerinia, but his own experience with the Trial of Spirit told him otherwise.
"Oh, excellent. And uh, the matter of payment," the space-farer held out a hand discreetly. Xetulu sighed and produced a pouch from behind, and placed it in the other's hand. He opened it and took one of the contents out, holding a diamond in his other hand as his face lit up.
"Can we see the inside of the ship?" he asked, the space-farer looking at the gem. He grunted and gestured to the opening. Both Xetulu and Krystal walked into the ship, seeing that the interior was kept neat, much like the outside of the ship, a labor of love. The control console looks polished to a bright finish, every switch and lever carefully cleaned and micromanaged to near perfection. Krystal's hand glided over the seat, the fabric felt as though it were made of felt, and soft as a cloud. She sat in it, getting comfortable, looking up at the blue sky with white streaks of clouds covering it. She felt a smile creep across her face as she let her imagination ran away with her.
In another universe apart from Krystal's, on another world few can imagine, and fewer still have seen, two beings of near divinity stood in a green field, just outside the shimmering, shining city that is their home. One looked young, of about nineteen years of age, with light blonde hair and ice-blue eyes, wearing a tan tunic and breeches with sand-brown boots and a belt, while a dark brown cloak was hung over his shoulders. The other looked infinitely older; He had wrinkles in his face that looked like canyons were carved into his face, and his hair and beard were white as clouds, his eyes were the same as the others. He was wearing a white robe that covered his body, supporting himself on a cane. The oldster looked up at the blue sky, a soft smile on his face. "Hmm,"
"Something wrong, Mentor?" one of them asked.
"Oh? Nothing wrong," he replied with a smile. "It seems your old friend is about to start on her journey, Zenith."
"Old friend?" Mentor turned to face him.
"Have you already forgotten?" he asked.
"No, I haven't. But, how much time would have passed?" he asked.
"Oh, only a few months."
"A few months! But, I've been here almost at least that long!" Mentor walked across the field as Zenith joined him. "You know the time difference alters greatly between universes in the Cross Roads, so why is it different now?"
"What happened then was…an anomaly. Sometimes the flow of time either speeds up, or slows down drastically. That was what happened last time." Mentor knows the reason why Zenith is shocked and confused. Last time he returned to Cerinia from the Land of Light, almost a year had went by when he was gone for only two days. Normally the change is not that drastic, not even coming from so far from this universe. However, there is the occasional flux of the time stream that upsets the balance every now and then, either slowing down or speeding up time in certain realms. "But now, I'm certain that time is now normal."
"But why tell me this now?"
"Because you are to head down there,"
"There is a disturbance in that realm, something there that does not belong. And your friend is at the heart of it."
"But, Krystal wouldn't,"
"I know she wouldn't cause it, but she is involved with it. You are to go the that realm, and ascertain and deal with it. But be warned; There is more at stake here than you realize. If something isn't done, it could prove disastrous to that realm, and many others. Do you understand?"
"Good. First, you must find Krystal. She is the key to all of this. Find her, and find the source of the disturbance."
"I will." Zenith looked up into the sky, his body glowing a bright red as he shifted forms. His body became a bright silver with streaks of crimson, his head and face turned to that of a mask-like visage with yellow oval orbs for eyes, a fin going through the center of his face. The new being looked up, and took off like a rocket through the sky.
The ship glided through the star-specked reaches of space, a lonely vessel in a sea of emptiness. Its sole occupant, a Cerinian noblewoman, was asleep at the helm as the ship guided itself towards the Lylat System. Suddenly, a beeping sound followed by a flashing red on the console awoke the occupant from her sleep. Krystal yawned and looked at her console, seeing the red flash and pressed the switch. A holographic HUD appeared in front of her, and a message scrolled across. It was an SOS, coming from a planet that was coming up just now, at the edge of the system. She knew that she must head for Corneria, but curiosity and her compassion won her over, and angled her ship towards the planet the people here call Sauria, the Dinosaur Planet.