Chapter One: The Betrayal
Two bird-like shadows skimmed across the land, over trees, hills, mountains, waters and cities. The transportation units hummed in the air as they flew in the sky, the wind whispering secrets as they soared. The Rheairds slid through the air like a hot knife through butter, so to speak.
A girl of sixteen held onto the blue rheaird as the wind whipped her blond tresses behind her, her blue eyes sparked of excitement and cheer. She wore clothing of white and blue, and pants of black. An intricate necklace of gold wound its way around her neck, and settled in the middle was a red jewel.
She loved riding the rheairds; they gave her a sense of flying-though she could fly just fine without it- and freedom. Her cheeks were blushed prettily as the cool air brushed against them. Everything was perfect.
She looked at the man riding beside her on the red rheaird and smiled more brightly.
"Yep, everything's perfect," she thought to herself upon meeting eyes with her companion.
Brown eyes that flashed with satisfaction caught hers, and he smiled back. His already unruly brown hair was blown into tangles as he did a spiral in midair with his rheaird to impress her. His suit of red and trousers of black matched his rheaird perfectly, showing off his attractive body.
Yes, the months of exsphere collecting had done them both very well.
They landed smoothly just outside of Iselia and jumped down from them. Not a word needed to be said to know what the other one was thinking as they entered the small village they grew up in. The chimneys spouted smoke and housewives were busy with their spring cleaning. Children were running about and men were fixing the damage the Winter had done.
"Do you think Genius and the Professor are here, Lloyd?" Colette Brunel asked.
Lloyd Irving was deep in thought and could not hear her, his eyes staring off in space.
"Lloyd?" she asked, confused.
"Huh?" he snapped out of his thoughts and turned to her.
"Colette!" a little girl ran up to her and gave her a big hug.
Lloyd and Colette often came back to Iselia for various reasons. They would get tired and rest here. Their families lived in or nearby Iselia, and they visited friends. Now that Sylvarant and Tethe'alla are one world, each taking up half of the Earth, Sheena, being the Ambassador of Peace, would come to Iselia often too. Zelos, Presea and Regal sometimes tagged along also.
"Hello Lily, and how are you?" she asked as she picked the little girl, with wide blue eyes and brown hair in ponytails, up.
"Been a good girl?" Lloyd asked cheerfully.
"Good to hear!" he exclaimed.
Colette let Lily down when they arrived at her house. All three said their salutations and went their separate ways. But before Lloyd disappeared from the road, he turned around and said with a lot of confidence, "Colette... I love you."
"I love you too, Lloyd."
When he was out of sight, Colette went into her childhood home and greeted, "Grandmother, Father, I'm home!"
"Oh, hello my dear. Sit, I've baked some cookies," Phaidra said as she set a plate of cookies on the table.
Colette took one and munched on it thoughtfully. Lately Lloyd's been different. He's been distant and yet he tries really hard to make her happy, more than usual anyways. Sometimes she would catch him making guilty looks towards her. He's hiding something. What that "something" was was unknown to her... and she's afraid to know.
Her unoccupied hand reached for the jewellery around her neck, and traced around the red gem. It was a special Key Crest called a Rune Crest made by Lloyd for her birthday. To her it was like a love token. While they hunted to get rid of exspheres, the group decided to leave theirs in place to battle out the remaining obstacles in their goals of a non-racist world. Though they didn't need to use them very often, only when dealing with over-powerful monsters in the wild.
Night came too fast for Colette as she kissed Frank, her father, and Phaidra, her grandmother, goodnight, and went upstairs to bed. Nothing exciting happened over the last few hours, she had hoped Lloyd would come to get her and spend some time with her besides exsphere hunting, or maybe Genius and Professor Raine had come to Iselia to rest from their own journey.
She lied there in her bed, covers drawn up to her chin and stared at the ceiling. She couldn't sleep, she realized after an hour of nothing. She then decided to close her eyes and force herself to sleep, but she only saw Lloyd, like the other times.
"Lloyd... I want to see you..."
Colette got out of bed without another thought, the moonlight casting her shadow across the floor boards, and made her way to her window. She silently willed her translucent wings of violet and magenta to appear, showering sparkles around her. She tugged her pink and white pajamas close to her as she jumped out of the window and floated up with her wings flapping and raining glowing dust.
She traveled towards Dirk's, Lloyd's adopted father's, home. The wind caressed the seraphim in a motherly manner, embracing the angel as one of her own, as the blond flew with a smile on her face. Oh, how she loved flying. She then spotted Lloyd's home and dropped slowly down. She moved swiftly along the wind and glided to a stop just outside of Lloyd's bedroom window.
Colette was about to enter his room when she noticed his room was alit. She hid in the shadows, retracting her wings, when she heard a familiar voices of her friends, all sitting around the room and conversing about something. Why didn't Lloyd tell her the others were here?
"Lloyd, you can't keep this from her forever," Genius Sage said, looking at his uncertain best friend.
"You have to tell her Lloyd," came Professor Raine Sage's wise voice while brushing her silver-white hair out of her face.
Genius and Raine were syblings, Genius being younger than Lloyd and Raine being much older than both of them. The syblings both had silvery-white hair that drew to sharp points, blue eyes, pointed ears and elven blood flowing along with human blood in them. Genuis wore blue and harnessed the power of a kendama, and Raine wore a brownish-orange coat and weilded a staff.
"I... I-I can't," Lloyd finally replied, pacing back and forth in his room. "I love her..."
"And yet you keep this sin of yours going," Regal Bryan said, his hands still bound together with shackles.
Lord Regal Bryan had long, pale blue hair bound together with brown string. He wore a white shirt and brown cotton pants. His hands were bound together to represent the crime he had done in his past: he had killed his lover. Because of his bound hands, he could only use his legs and feet as weapons.
Lloyd stayed silent.
"Obviously this is killing you man," Zelos Wilder said.
Zelos was the Chosen from Tethe'alla and a lady's man, always ready to flirt, seduce and often spy. His long red hair ending in curls was held back by a white bandana. His whole attire was of pink and white, with black boots, and pink and black gloves. An intricate sword hung from his waist as well as some daggers. He wore golden necklaces and he was often found in the presence of the King of Tethe'alla. One could tell that he was very fit and cheery.
"Colette will find out sooner or later. The chances of sooner is 85, of later is 15. Tell her sooner and you'll have a better chance of her forgiving you," Presea said, sitting beside Genius, always so precise.
The young child that was really the age of 23, but lost time due to her past, had long pink hair in two ponytails and large, almost unemotional eyes. She wore a black dress with gloves to protect her hands from handing a battle axe.
"This involves me!" Colette thought, stunned.
She wanted to leap through that window and face all of them. But something pulled her back. The Cruxis Crystal around her neck started to burn her throat, but not very painfully, mind you, and directed her head to look into the shadows of the night.
She saw nothing, but then heard a slight shuffling in the bush.
"What?" she thought in bewilderment.
And then she saw it, saw her.
Sheena Fujibayashi, with her dark ebony hair in the unique style of a bun and her beautiful dark brown eyes, were sneaking towards Lloyd's house. Her perfect body wrapped in dark purple, and light weight made her silent and invisible to anyone, but Colette's senses were heightented by her burning exsphere.
The seraphim hugged closer into the shadow as Sheena jumped into Lloyd's room through the window, not seeing Colette at all.
"Hi everyone!" Sheena greeted.
Everyone greeted back, but could not do as well as Lloyd's welcome as Colette saw, with her own two eyes, him embrace the assassin with a kiss!
Colette's hands lifted to her wide mouth and stiffled a cry of shock and pain, her large blue eyes swirling with tears she was holding back. The two of them in the room broke apart, as the group stared at the two, wondering how to think.
"Sheena, we have to talk..." Lloyd's voice trailed off.
"I was always there for him..."
"Oh," the other replied, crestfallen.
"I was always right beside him..."
"You have to understand, Sheena-baby, a certain angel of ours will die if she knew about you two," Zelos said, for once being serious.
"I was always there when he needed someone..."
"I love you Lloyd," Sheena confessed, not for the first time.
"I love you too Lloyd..."
Lloyd's determined face faltered as he stuttered, "I-I-I... Sheena w-w-we... Colette w-w-will..." He breathed in deep and tried again, but was interrupted with another kiss... a very good kiss that sent his mind blowing and sizzeling in its aftermath, and when it was all over, all he could say was, "I guess we don't have to break it off yet..."
"And you said that you loved me too Lloyd. You said that you love me! How could you do this to me... to us? How can you love me and be with another? HOW! WHY?"
Tears spilled down her porcelain cheeks, the moonlight creating prisms of colours on her face. The exsphere finally stopped burning and was fastly cooling around her neck. Her heart shattered into a million of unrepairable pieces.
She looked to the sky and asked, "Oh Goddess Martel, what have I done for you to put the evil eye upon me? What did I do for you to curse me so? What possible reason is there to cast me aside from your favour?"
She opened her wings and flew off into the night, no one knew she was gone.
The stars were winking at her in her blurry vision, taunting and mocking her. The moon's light, once comforted her, seemed chilled and unwanted. Even the wind shunned her and thought nothing of her anymore.
Colette wept as she flew, anguish knawed at her heart. She shuddered, shivered and shook. This can not be happening to her! Lloyd loved her! He would never be cheating behind her back!
"Everything was a lie!" she shouted into the night as she hit turbulance.
The air heaved and accelerated, beating against her transparent wings, steering her off-course. She screamed as she struggled to right herself and gain back control of her wings. The world spun around her in a whirl of colous as the night suddenly turned day and she hit ground... hard.
She dared to open her eyes, but all was unclear and fuzzy. Before she knew it, everything went black...