"Yes, I'm certain." Kratos smiled fondly as he settled a hand on his son's shoulder. "Someone needs to pilot Derris Kharlan away from the planet. Yuan chose to exhile himself, that leaves me. After all, we can't just leave the crystals to dispose of themselves now, can we?"
He smirked when Lloyd shook his head. "Fine. You'dbetter use the sword to send me up there. Goodbye, my son."
They held one another's gaze until Kratos vanished totally into tiny motes of light.
Alone now on the asteroid, Kratos knelt in the tiny shrine that he had built years before. In front of him lay a few precious items, all that he had allowed himself to take in remembrance of friends. There was the broken pan pipes that Mithos used to play sitting alongside Genis' first kendama and the silk ribbon that Martel used to wear. Lloyd's training swords lay in a heap with Collette's chakram and an old axe that Presea used in her woodcutting days.
Leather greaves were next, followed by an ancient pot and a spellcard. Regal, Raine, and Sheena. The last item on the list was a simple clay pot with a handful of dirt from Anna's grave. On top of it lay the lock of hair that he had carried close to his heart after her death at his hands. This would be his room of memories.
Standing up abruptly, the angel removed his sword and armor and set them alongside the other objects. "Heh, I suppose it really is fitting that they should stay here. Not like I'll find any monsters wandering the halls of Derris Kharlan."
Turning around the corner, he headed further into the maze of corridors. Since he wasn't present, he failed to notice the glowing motes of light that formed a few moments later.
They gathered in a circle near the remains of the tower. The guardians of the world, the summon spirits who drew their life from the life of the world. All were present, save the new spirits, that of the mana tree and the summonspiritof heart.
Also present for this meeting was the summoner who had called them. Sheena glanced around the circle, looking at each spirit in turn. From Origin, to Volt, to Undine. Each had allowed her to complete her journey with strength, and from the darkness of the failed beginnings, had become part of a glorious future. They looked so strong now, the world being joined back together and the sprouting of the tree of mana giving them life that had been lacking before.
Unfortunately, she wouldn't be there to enjoy the future with them. She had another destiny, one that was dictated by her heart.
"I called you all here today to thank you for lending me your strength. Without your help, we would not have been able to fix the world. Your part in the fighting is over now, at least the part that includes being summoned by me. As of today, you have fulfilled your part of the pact. I therefore release you from your oaths, save Origin."
"Man, what's up with the stuffy language?" Gnome grumbled in the background.
Sheena raised an eyebrow and stared at that particular spirit. "Maybe you should work on updating the wording yourself then. I'm sure you can find somebody to work on it with you."
"Fine, fine. But what's up with keeping Origin? I mean, come on! The big guy may be powerful, but he's got no personality."
Sighing, Sheena turned to regard the king of the summon spirits. "My reason for keeping the pact with Origin is that I have need of his power one last time before I release him from his oath. My heart is calling to me and I need to follow it. Unfortunately, without Origin, I have no hope of reaching Derris Kharlan."
Gnome blinked, while the Sylphs tittered quietly in the background. "Er, okay."
Raine chose that moment to make an appearance, charging up into the circle. The professor was panting as she finally came to a halt beside the summoner. "Trying to leave me behind, were you?"
"So did he tell you not to come with him?" Raine was busy stuffing a few precious books into a travel bag as she asked the question. Sheena shook her head in response, prompting the other woman to continue. "Well, with Kratos that's almost like getting an engraved invitation. Especially with as close as the two of you seem to have gotten these past few days."
"By the way, just how close is close?"
Sheena blushed and covered her mouth with her hand. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to shout." Curiousity prompted her next question, as she eyed the stack of clothing on the bed. "So, why are you packing? I thought you would be glad to stay in one place for a while."
The half-elf just winked at her. "Oh, I'm going to stay in one place for a while - Derris Kharlan."
"I considered it." Sheena supressed a grin at Raine's irritated glance. "I thought you'd be here earlier."
Raine straightened up to face her friend before crossing her arms and assuming a dignified air. "I had a few things to finish up properly, and I thought that you might want a few moments alone with these fine spirits before we departed. Of course, if I had thought that you would abandon a friend that easily..."
"Children." Origin's voice rumbled in the suddenly still air. "Are you ready?"
"Yes." Both women nodded resolutely.
"Then let it be done."
With a flash of light, those set on departure vanished from the ground and found themselves aboard the meteorite that was slowly moving away from the planet.
"It is done."
As they materialised on the asteroid, Sheena and Raine looked at their surroundings. To their right was a small room that seemed to have been converted into a shrine of sorts. The girls looked more closely, noting the Gold Armor and the sword especially. Sheena sighed.
"Looks like he's resigned himself to his fate."
Raine nodded in agreement as she surveyed the rest of the display. "I would say so."
"Shall we find the hopeless angel before he drives himself insane?"
Raine just laughed, an honest to goodness laugh. She was still giggling when they finally found their way to the bridge. Sheena burst into the place filled with strange computers and halted, stunned.
Kratos turned around. "Hm. Well, since you're here, we can proceed."
Sheena blinked. "You were expecting us?"
"Yes. Didn't Yuan tell you to meet me at the ruins this morning? Lloyd and I waited for some time before I had to come up here to supervise things."
Back on the planet...
Yuan started at the sudden chill running down his spine. "Why do I feel like I forgot something important yesterday?"
"...I had to do a lot of things yesterday, so I asked him to pass the word along to you. Perhaps he forgot, in the multitude of silence that he so suddenly found himself in."
Kratos moved smoothly between consoles, typing in information and confirming it before finally stepping back. His short explanation finished at about the same time, and as he touched the final keys, there was a slight shift in the floor.
"Awesome!" Raine's eyes were bright and she ran back and forth to every corner of the room. "I shall have to examine it all!"
"Maybe you should find the library first. There is still a lot of information that I'm trying to go through there." Kratos' voice was dry as he tried to dissuade the Professor from fooling with the equipment, at least until she knew what she was doing.
"A library? Which way is it?" When he pointed, Raine took off. In a few moments, silence returned. Sheena sidled up and wrapped her arms around her angel.
"So are you done now?" At his confirming nod, Sheena pulled him down for a kiss. "Then I think we're overdue for some serious alone time."
When he came up for air, Kratos nodded sagely. "I think I know just the place."
So saying, the two vanished from the bridge in motes of light to reappear in a somewhat smaller and more private room. "Now, where were we?" Sheena pulled him down on the bed and into another kiss...
And in the multitude of space, Derris Kharlan sailed into the void. What new adventure might await, who can say?
But as in all things, love finds a way.
AN: Well, Sheena and Kratos are getting very close to one another right now. I hope that this satisfies all you readers out there. I know that I for one have a warm and fuzzy feeling at the end of this story. It's really taken a lot out of me, but it was a lot of fun to write - not counting all the headaches, of course!
Thanks go out to all my reviewers, signed and unsigned. You all are the reason that I've managed to get this far on the story.
All of you readers who didn't review - I know you're out there, but only cause I can see it on my "Story Stats". Thanks for reading.
If you'd like to see some kind of sequel or continuation, please drop me a line or leave it at the end of your review. With enough support, it might happen. (Also, if you want side stories or other info, just drop me a line and ask. Never know until I reply!)
Kratos: "It might happen anyway, regardless."
(Hush you! You'll give it away!)
Ahem. Again, thanks to you all. You've made this author very happy.