CHAPTER 6: BLOWN AWAY FROM ME

The sensation was as if their hearts imploded. The Angeliques fell down to their knees, hands on the chest, where it hurts. Rosalia could only hug Limoges and offer her a handkerchief. Rachel did the same, and when Collet regained her strength and was able to make to the nearby chair, she left promising she would go to the Institute and come back as fast as she could, with good news. The other Aide promptly ordered the maids to bring some tea and watched over the other girls. Meanwhile, there was a commotion in the throne hall… 

- She was blown into pieces?!

- I-I'm feeling sick…

Oscar reached Marcel before he fainted and gave a sharp look at Randy, who closed his mouth shut. At this moment Rachel entered the room.

- I'm going to the Institute, Ernst, you come with me! … What happened to Marcel??

- He fainted… - Mel was sheepishly by his side on the floor

- Listen, everyone. – Julious started to give orders again – Rachel, Ernst and I are going to the Institute. Oscar, you take care of Marcel. Randy, go bring him salt and water. The remaining… Just stay here until the Queen says otherwise!

 The chaos around Marcel ended and each went after his assignment. The trio left to the Institute, Randy ran to the Royal Palace's kitchen and Oscar improvised a pillow with his cape, putting it under the fainted boy's head.

- Mel, help me and keep his legs high.

The draconian sat on his knees and put Marcel's legs on his lap. Oscar proceeded to check on his pulse. It was accelerated, he was a bit cold and sweated. Probably the pressure went down too fast due to the shock. Lumiale came closer with Clavis following him and Olivie was almost freaking out:

- No, no, no… This can't be happening… Please, darlings, tell me it's not happening!

- It is happening, and you won't help a bit if you have one of your fits. – Oscar hissed – If you want to do something useful, go help Randy bring water for everybody and a sliced tomato or something like that!

- A tomato?! How a tomato can be useful??  

- Just do it!

Olive obeyed and went after Randy, partially too lost to think for himself, partially wanting to get fresh air. Everybody else looked at Oscar confused. Mel spoke for them:

- Uhn… I kind of agree with Olivie, what we will do with a tomato?

- Being a soldier is not only fighting and fencing. You have to keep an eye on the troop and know how to take care of the ones who faint after hours of march under a blazing sun. The tomato itself doesn't help a bit, but we put salt on it to give to the fainted. He recovers faster that way than eating pure salt or water with salt.

- Ooohhh… I understand now.

Lumiale put the back of his hand over Mercel's cheek and shivered:

- He's cold! Is he going to be OK? Perhaps I should use my Sacrea of healing?

- There's no need. I think his consciousness is returning right now.

- Mmm… Heart… pounding…… Can't breathe…….. Water…

- Calm down, Marcel. Are you hearing me? Randy is coming with your water, now just breath. In… and out… In… out.

He closed his eyes again and breathed heavily following Oscar's voice. It became regular and his heartbeat followed, slowing down to its normal rhythm.

Randy had brought a chair and there Marcel sat, feeling much better.

- Hum… Thank you, Randy-sama, thank you, Oscar-sama. I'm sorry for being so much trouble…

- That's OK, it was a bit of a shock even to myself…

- I'm glad you are better, Marcel!

Randy messed with Marcel's hair and then gave one of his laughs, the green guardian just giggled in return. That's when they heard a commotion outside and Luva and Zephel came in, with the latter ordering:

- Come on, Luva! You can release me now, we already are in the Holy Palace!

Everybody turned and looked at the two. The platinum-haired boy was trying to pry himself away from the other guardian, who grabbed him even stronger. Luva looked like… hell. His hat even threatened to fall, and then there were all those cuts and bruises, leaves and other stuff in his clothes. Above all things, he looked rather pale and shaky.

- Oh, my! What happened to you? Look at poor Luva's state!

Olivie had just started to remove the branches and flowers when Luva, still leaning against Zephel, brushed him off and muttered:

- I'm fine, really… It doesn't bother me…

- But it bothers ME! What you have in your head to come here stand right in front of the Queen with such poor figure?

Zephel almost smile while thinking of the only thing he had in his head: a hat. When Luva loosened the grip to ponder about what Olivie had just said, he waltzed away from him and took a peek at Marcel:

- You OK?

- Just a bit shocked about everything.

- Uh? 'Everything'? Ah, hey, where's everybody? Ange, Rosalia, et al?

This time Randy interrupted, approaching with a scowl in his face:

- They are already gone, you were too LATE. Of course you don't know what's happening!

- So… - Zephel wasn't interested in an arguing, soon enough he would reveal how he saved the Floating Island and Randy would be grateful and stop picking on him – Just fill me in, 'key?

- You never change! Doesn't have any responsibility or shame! -  Randy shook his head in disapproval – Well then! The Queen had told us about the ball of flame…

- You mean the meteorite, right? – He stuffed his chest proudly – Well, as you can see, I've already taken care of it.

- YOU HAVE DONE WHAT???

Both boys jumped in surprise. The voice came from the door and was, unmistakably, Julious'. He left Ernst and Rachel behind, walked forward Zephel and everybody else gave way to him. He was wearing that peculiar homicidal expression of his.

- I blew it up! Saved the whole Island! Isn't that something good?

- Oh, no… Don't tell me… you really…

Marcel's voice disappeared inside his throat as he felt more drained. Everybody else looked surprised or concerned, except for Luva, who was just confused, and Clavis. Julious stood in front o Zephel, regaining his control before he spoke:

- The fact is that was no meteorite. It was a PERSON called by the Queen herself to aide us, which, by the way, was the meeting's subject. Do you realize what your uncalled acts have brought?

- WHAT?? Don't tell me I just shot on someone! Hell!

- This is EXACTLY what I meant.

Zephel wanted to kill himself, he didn't care anymore of the other's gaze or Julious himself. Inside his mind, just some words echoed: 'Murderer, murderer… You are a killer… Imagine the poor human being blown up, pieces scattering everywhere…' He clenched his fists in his hair and shook his head violently.

- No! NO! NOOO!

His defense mechanism tried to erase this new information, but he couldn't. A commanding voice ended his altered status:

- All the Guardians, behave in front of the Queen. Her Majesty has important news.

Everybody went to their places. Zephel though of running away, he couldn't face Angelique after that. She was probably going to fire him or give a worse punishment. Well, he wanted to leave this place and go home, but not like this, like an outcast. Like a murderer outcast. He felt a reassuring pat at his back and looked: It was Randy. Was he mocking him? Did he wanted to say goodbyes, like 'Oh, it was nice having you with us'? What a hypocrite. Zephel pushed him away and straightened himself, but when he looked at the serious Queen, his heart fell again and he couldn't help but look away at his feet. Then, he listened to what she spoke:

- She is still alive.

Murmurs. That was quite unbelievable, but if Angelique said so… Rachel explained:

- As the Queen said before, she has her own powers to protect herself. Apparently, the same power that kept her from turning into ashes while entering our atmosphere protected her from the energy shot. But, according to the Institute readings, the course was changed due to the explosion. The Sacrea waved off, leaving just a faint trail, what was enough to trace her landing place. It is somewhere in the Southwest continent of the Main Planet.   

 Zephel sighted, lifting a huge weight from his shoulders. But it came down back on him when he heard Julious say:

- Still, the Guardian of Ingenuity-Bringing needs to be punished accordingly. His acts were reckless and could have ended worse.

- I think he had already learned with everything that happened… - Luva tried to defend him, but he backed his words after a Julious' glance - …Or maybe not.

Rosalia, Rachel and Collet turned to Limoges. She was pondering and simply said:

- I'll think of a proper way.

The tension was broke with shouts just outside the doors. The guards were discussing with someone, whose voice sounded very familiar:

- I must see the Queen, now!

- Excuse me, sir, but Her Majesty is right in the middle of an important meeting with the Guardians. You should know that entrance is forbidden now.

- Yes, and I ALSO know that, being an Instructor, I have the right to attend in such meetings!

- B-but, the Instructorship ended long ago, and…

Limoges gestured to Olivie to open the door. He did it and was almost run over by and angered Sei-Lan, who entered and turned to the guards:

- See? You made a GUARDIAN open the door because you just couldn't do it!

- W-we apologize.

The guards bowed before Sei-Lan and do the Queen. They closed the door afterwards.

- I'm sorry for the intromission.

The Instructor bowed too before walking forward carrying a lump in his arms. Clavis whispered softly to Lumiale:

- Now you don't need to worry anymore…

Lumiale was still confused by his friend's odd behavior, but tried to smile. In the other side, Oscar smirked when Sei-Lan got close enough for him to see what was in his arms.

- Oooh, what a cute baby you have…

- She's not mine, you baka. – He cleaned his throat before talking to Angelique – Your Majesty, as you already know, my profession demands me to move from place to place quite frequently to pick new ideas and inspirations… - She agreed and he continued – This time I was in the Main Planet, when I saw something unusual in the sky. What happened next was very quick and I only know that in the next minute I was holding this child who fell right behind my mountain cabin. Knowing that a 'Starchild' should have something to do with the Queens, I came right away…

- You did well, Sei-Lan-sama. Hand her to me.

She looked over the baby. Her black silky hair was hold into a high pigtail with a rose lace. She was so chubby that Angelique wanted to pinch her cheek, if only she wasn't sleeping so soundly like a small angel. In exchange, she caressed her hair and kissed her forehead. Collet was right at her side:

- Yes, I feel it's her. But… She wasn't supposed to be a baby, was she?

- No…

Sei-Lan interrupted the two again:

- Besides her sudden showdown, there were more interesting things.

- Like what?

- She has been sleeping all the time. As if the impact didn't disturb her even a little. – Lumi looked at Clavis who returned the glance with soft eyes – And I found this.

He handed over a crystal-like piece to Rosalia, and Ernst examined it:

- It seems to be a shard of what was actually blown up and shattered into pieces. W-wait! Rosalia-sama, did you see it?

- What? – She turned the shard and gasped – Impossible! There are… images inside it!

- Ernst, Rosalia… I saw it too, and since they portrait various experiences she had been through, I think it is a memory shard.

- Oh… - Luva started talking after Sei-Lan – I think I've already read about it…

Everybody looked at Luva who turned red and started babbling:

- Oh, hum, you see… In many planets there is this common belief; a belief, nothing proved yet; that within a living being there's a crystal incrusted in the soul that holds all its memories. And, hm, if it's broken, the person will lose his memories until they pieces are put together again. That's it. But I've never heard of such side effect as turning into a baby…

- I guess I know what happened.

Zephel, wasn't in the mood to be the center of attention again, but if he messed things up so badly, he would help to fix it.

- When I was building O-0Bv1.0... – Nobody seemed to understand – Well, the weapon thing, OK?? So, when I build it and tested with low energy, a spark hit my hand and it was very strange… Was as if the energy blow strengthened the Steel Sacrea and made it unstable. Everything I touched turned into steel. It was just for one minute. So, if you say she had some type of Sacrea, if it is related to life, growth or something, the blow could have triggered the side effect of aging back or forwards…      

- Oh no, then she had turned into a baby with amnesia… - Collet wasn't very happy with all the info.

- It will eventually lose effect – Zephel though a little – H-hey! But O-0Bv1.0 was at full potency, so… It may last for weeks or months!

- Great – Julious seemed very displeased – Then your punishment shall last for weeks or months.

- That wasn't my…! – Zephel shut his mouth. It WAS his fault.

Angelique picked up the shard from Rosalia and sighted. She hoped that everything would be alright soon, there so many planets in need of them this very second… Months later would be terribly late. With that though, the crystal began to glow. It pulsed warmly and she felt some of her Sacrea going to it, reacting with it. After one last strong-red glow, it melted with the baby and she got bigger and bigger and reached the size of a 6-year-old child.

- Uff! She's heavy!

Julious took the sleeping girl in his arms for the Queen's sake. Ernst palmtop started to beep.

- The reading says that the Queen Sacrea reacted to an unknown energy field that evolved the shard. Residual energy from Zephel's weapon, maybe?

- Good! Now we can use the weapon to undo it!

- Your Majesty! That would be dangerous!

Julious didn't like the idea not even a little, and Sei-Lan got a different view of what happened.

- I think it was the mix of the Sacrea, Energy and Memory that made her grow up.

- You think like a poet. – Ernst trusted only what science could explain – But it's true that I didn't saw any images in the shard with her older than now.

- Me neither. So, that's why I think the memory had place in it.

Limoges looked around. It was past midnight and the only ones who were still focused and interested were Julious, Ernst and Sei-Lan. Oscar, Rachel and Collet still paid attention, but the looked very tired. And so did everyone else. While the two blue-haired men discussed, she wondered what to do. Julious was right, that would be dangerous to use the weapon. The best thing to do was collecting all the shards and using them on the girl. That could be discussed afterwards. About Zephel's punishment…

- I had decided.

Sei-Lan and Ernst stopped talking and listened to the Queen:

- We will fetch all the shards to 'cure' her… But who, when and how we will decide later. It's late and everybody needs sleep to work properly tomorrow. We will meet again at the Royal Institute at 10 am. Until then, there will be enough resting hours. And, Zephel, come here.

He gulped and went to Sei-Lan's side.

- You will be now in charge of her. You will take care and be responsible of every action she takes.

- W-what? No way I'm babysitting…

- Do you think it is a good idea? Isn't it dangerous to leave a child under Zephel's wing?

- No, Julious. He feels guilty enough to don't let anything happen to her again, and he might was well learn some responsibility. And Luva…

- Yes?

- If any word of you taking care of her reaches mine or Julious' ears, all your paperwork will be sent to Zephel. It is his duty and punishment now, and he is the one to handle it.

- Understood.

- Everyone is dismissed.

Oscar had convinced Julious to leave the girl with him that he would deliver her to Zephel's house. The way he was, the head guardian would probably say things that would upset the boy, what wasn't a good idea. Zephel was slowly riding his bicicle at his side, sometimes ahead of him, sometimes waiting for Oscar to reach him. Both of them were awfully silence all the way to the house. He looked at the girl in his arms. She wasn't chubby anymore, but the round face was still cute and the hair was still black and short. She was wearing blue Bermuda shorts and a matching blue and white T-shirt with some kind of bunny picture. The way she dresses hinted a very active girl, otherwise she would be wearing skirts, dresses, and all kind of romantic and fluff girly clothes.

He looked and Zephel and smirked. That would be fun to watch him running after her, while up until now it was Luva that ran after him. The future looks very funny indeed.       

  **********

So, I've decided. I will put my Baldur's character waaaaaay in the future. I decided to put a clone of myself in the story =p

That would be more interesting for me to have someone from modern days. The Medieval way of the Forgotten Realms wouldn't fit in the way I want. I want CDs! Cell phones! All the cool stuff! ^_^'

And, yes, the future looks very funny indeed.