A/N: A bit of background on the story.

Takes place 15 years after the events of "cleaved"

The world is a nuclear wasteland.

It will follow mostly three characters, Mariposa, Meteora, and an OC, Jenkins.

Set in A/U where an "E.D.F. or Earth defense force" existed.

Other things will be revealed as the story goes along.

2nd A/N: I just rewrote the first chapter, I felt like it could have used more. I hope I made it better than before, and not worse.

The Tale of Three

Chapter 1

15 years later

There it was. She finally saw it. After tracking it for who knows how many hours. She had following it up mountains, through countless deserted ruins, and now, she finally had it in her sights.

It was a simple lizard. It was no larger than 3 feet, but nowadays, things like that were more precious than anything else in the entire world. Well, what was left of the world.

But, she had no time to dwell on the world. She grabbed her knife. This had to be perfect. If she missed the throw, then it was all over. The countless hours of tracking and constant exhaustion would have been for nothing. They didn't have much food left, besides a few expired protein bars. Those would last them no more than a day or two. So there were no second chances. There were never any second chances. Especially not now.

She steadied her arm and concentrated...and… threw it with every bit of force that she had. It flew through the air, almost in slow motion, as if time seemed to slow down in that single moment.

Luckily, it hit its mark. Meteora breathed a sigh of relief. All the throwing lessons that she had learned had paid off. And in the best possible way too.

She went over to get the creature. It was still alive, but just barely. She grabbed the knife, pulled it out and shook the blood off of it. She then grabbed the lizard by the tail and started walking back to the camp. It suffered the whole way there, still twitching. She didn't put it out of its suffering though, killing it too early might spoil it. She didn't feel much regret though. But she wasn't sure if that was because she simply didn't have empathy for it, or simply because she was forcing herself to.

And she didn't really want to find out.

When she got back to the camp, only Mariposa was there, throwing rocks at nothing out of boredom.. Not uncommon. At random times, Jenkins just left at completely random intervals to do his own thing.

Mariposa looked up and saw Meteora and smiled. "You're finally back. And you got that lizard. Nice Job."

Meteora replied back to her.. "Thanks, but there definitely aren't anymore in this area. And if there are, then they're incredibly well hidden. So were probably gonna have to leave soon. And I think Jenkins wants to keep moving anyway."

Mariposa sighed. " Ugh. you know, we just got to this place la few days ago. I wish we could stay here at least a little longer."

"No you don't. Your're bored out of your mind and you know it.'

"Yup. I am. Anyways, do you know where Jenkins is? I saw him leave a while ago. I assumed he was out hunting that lizard. After your numerous failed attempts." She pointed at the now expired lizard that Meteora was holding.

"No. He's not looking for this. I passed him. He said he was just going through some ruins that he saw. Looking for anything useful, I guess."

Mariposa rolled her eyes. "I doubt he's gonna find anything at all. Much less anything useful. The last time we found something in any ruins was when you found that knife. And that was weeks ago. How ruined cities have we been through since then? How many towns? At this rate our only hope will be finding someone else, but the odds are usually against us when it comes to other people. They either attack us for our food, or want nothing to do with us. Seriously, how we managed to survive this long confounds me. Remember that time we had no water for 9 days? How did we even make it through that? I don't think that's humanly possible."

"I'm...not a human." Meteora said.

"But you get my point though, right? Or that time Jenkins was so weak he couldn't walk, yet we still somehow managed to carry him 50 miles to that so called safe zone, which was then destroyed by a bunch of Septarians a day later, and we barely escaped with our lives. We have the power of luck on our side! That's the only explanation I can come up with!"

Meteora interrupted her. "Okay, I get it, we shouldn't be alive. But that doesn't mean we've gotten out of every situation so easily. All of us nearly died when we were attacked by that group of scavengers."

Mariposa stared at her. "You're gonna have to be a little more specific."

"The one where I got scars from?"

"...Still gonna have to be a little more specific."

Meteora sighed. "Nevermind. But we shouldn't act like we have the power of luck on our side and expect to get out of every problem that comes our way."

They heard a voice behind them. "She's right you know. Out here, we can only depend on each other." They both turned. It was Jenkins. Same black coat. Same weird hand tattoo. Same expression that looked like he was constantly annoyed. He had a bag in one hand and tossed it on the ground.

He spoke. "Alright, I got good news, and I have bad news. Which one do you want to hear first?"

Mariposa looked at the bag. Maybe he had found something. "Give us the good news first."

"Alright. Good news is that I found a pillow." The pair looked at him, expecting more. "That's it." He said.

Mariposa frowned. "Please tell me you have more good news."

Jenkins laughed, which was a rare occurrence. "Seriously? You know we have to take what we can get, even if it isn't that much. However, the bad news is, everything that way is blocked off by a mountain range, and the only way up the mountain is a sheer cliff." He pointed in the direction that he came from. "So we're gonna have to find a way around it. And if my knowledge of this area is still correct, the only way that is still accessible is through the territory of the BL's."

Meteora was confused. "The BL's? Who are they?"

Jenkins gave her a slightly disappointed look. These two forgot things so easily. He had told them this yesterday. "It's short for the Black priests. A bunch of magic wannabes that are convinced that some dark magic survived the apocalypse. Led by some crazy lady, don't know who she is. But they shouldn't be too dangerous. All they will really do is attempt to convert us to their little cult. If we stay hidden and don't make any sound, then we should be fine."

Meteora struggled to remember the last time they came upon an organized group of survivors. It didn't go well for anybody, as they lost most of their food, and Jenkins was heavily injured. And there were only 5 of them that time. If these "Black priests" turned hostile, they might not make it out alive. Who knew how many of them there were.

Jenkins looked at the lizard that Meteora caught. "Hm. Nice job. Finally got the little bastard, didn't you? Well I'm starving and I'm sure you guys are too. Mariposa, if you start a fire, you can get the first pickings."

A few minutes later a fire had been started, and the sky was beginning to darken.

Jenkins was confused. "What? It's night already?" He looked at his watch and growled. "Great. Watch has stopped. I don't have any idea how to fix it." He opened his bag and threw the watch in it. He paused, then rummaged around in the bag, grabbed the pillow he had found earlier, then threw it at Meteora, who caught it. "Alright Meteora, since you killed that lizard, you get first dibs on that pillow. Tomorrow Mariposa will get it, and then you again. Don't say anything about me getting it, I've moved beyond having somewhere comfortable to sleep. But then again, we're all basically used to that, aren't we?"

Meteora made a "tch" sound and grabbed the lizard, put it the knife and started slowly roasting it. A long silence occurred in which they all just stared at it.

Jenkins looked at them. For the hundredth time in a thousand days, he reflected in what brought him to this point. His service. The offer of a "top secret agency" dealing with "Magical threats." His rise up the ranks. His leadership. Then meeting her. That annoying butterfly. Which resulted in a story that could fill up fifty books. Then the merge. Then Seth. Then the end and somehow taking possession of the two sitting next to him. Then 15 years of surviving a world that was mostly desert and death. Then he just got deeper into his thoughts, and became oblivious of all surroundings.

Mariposa attempted to talk to him. "Hey Jenkins. Jenkins?" She snapped her fingers in front of his face, to no response.

Meteora laughed. "Don't bother Mari, he's reflecting on his past again. That should only take a few years." She laughed. "I don't blame him though. He probably has a lot to think about. As do we." She looked towards the sky. She got a sad, depressed look on her face. Mariposa knew that look. She braced herself for the question Meteora was about to ask. "Hey, do you think we will ever find our parents again?"

Mariposa looked at the ground. "Jenkins promised to us that he would find them one day and that we would be there. He's never not delivered on a promise before, so yes, I think we will find them.

Meteora spoke, but fast and frantically. "I know. But what if's it too late? What if they're dead? What will we do if Jenkins dies? Only he really knows where we're going! And what if we get attacked and we-"

Mariposa grabbed Meteora by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes. Meteora occasionally had fits like this. They were not fun to witness and Mariposa liked to stop them as soon as she could. "Listen. Don't think about that. Don't think about what might happen. Think about what is happening. That is what's important. Nothing else."

Meteora leaned forward and hugged her. "Okay. Can you promise me that you'll always stick with me, no matter what?"

Mariposa hugged her back. She had already promised her that several times before, but another time couldn't hurt. "I promise."

They let go of each other. "Anyways.." Meteora said. "I think that lizard should be done." She took it out of the fire and tore off a piece.

"Hey." Mariposa day. "Jenkins said I get first pickings."

Meteora smiled. "Well, I caught the thing."

"Yeah but I started the fire!"

They continued squabbling like this for a while until Jenkins snapped back to reality. He had made his decision. But were they ready? How would they react? What would they want to do next? Unfortunately, there was only one way to find out.

He really wasn't looking forward to this.

End chapter 1.

A/N: First chapter to this story. I hope it was a good starting point. Thank you for reading the first chapter and please PM or leave a review if you have any questions or comments.