Chapter Three: The Safe Haven
The massive statues of Dark Space stood quiet, as they had been for ages. The air held no heat or cold, and Gaia's stern face remained in a sleepy, emotionless state. Two statues flanked her. To the left, the awe-inspiring statue of a knight, near 10 feet tall from base to top. A gleaming sword reflected the stars around them, and his head was held high with pride. To the right, another statue only a few inches smaller. This one was a swirling mass of stone flames, within which a lithe, sprite-like being hid.
Gaia's looming head watched into the nothingness of the portal which, in ancient times, would let the knights of darkness and light pass through to speak with her. Since the defeat of her younger sister, however, it now remained a silent gateway. Or so Gaia had thought.
"Sister, sister." A wicked voice sung. Like a newly rotten peach, the voice was sickeningly sweet. Gaia's slumber was abruptly stopped when she heard the familiar voice.
"Dark Gaia..." She said with a sharp grimace.
"Oh, don't call me that. We're both Gaia, practically the same person." She purred, "But soon," her voice became low and malicious, "I'll be the only Gaia." She said, as though tired of it.
"You've said that many a time, sister." Gaia's matured face scanned Dark Space momentarily. Good. It was telepathic. Dark Gaia hadn't found her sister's safe haven yet. They were both equally strong, and if Dark Gaia were to find her here, she, with enough great magical effort, could put harm to the older goddess, "And for each time you have said it, the Earth's warriors have stopped you. You must learn that we govern together. Chaos and Order."
Gaia could hear Dark's tantrum starting, "And it will change!" She calmed again, "Your little knights, you mean? Granted, they have been troublesome in the past..." She said with a sigh, "But, look at them. Your strongest warriors are rocks, and let us not even hold out our hopes on the young ones. The have no concern, nay, memory of you!"
"Sister. Do not start this quarrel again."
"Do not start this quarrel again," Dark mocked with a sneer, "Teehee, well, you old hag, this time will be different."
Gaia had quickly tired of this argument , "Be at peace where you are," She said forcefully, "and govern the world's chaos. I ask nothing more of you."
Dark became flustered at once at her sister's lack of interest in her plans, "You are not even the slightest bit worried about what I may have in store? You almost didn't make it through that last little scheme of mine. My baby comet gave you a run for your money." She giggled, trying to gain control, "Perhaps, you would like to know what will cause your downfall?"
"Dark Gaia, leave me be and do your job. I have no interest in your plans. If the need arises, I will deal with your plots when the time comes."
Dark growled, "Really, now?" she hissed quietly, "I have some friends helping me. some friends you might know... and are deathly afraid of." Gaia stayed stone silent, "My new company, they're not a terribly impressive bunch, but they will do for dealing with my foolish older sister. I do believe you know of the High Mage, Calian?"
Gaia became immediately alerted, "Calian was not to be released from his tomb, sister! By agreement of both chaos and order!" The noise of the argument was stirring the two warriors beside Gaia, slowly letting them hear in on the conversation.
"That was before you became an ornery old bitch, and before I got the little idea in my head that you were doing nothing but wasting about in a heap. You need warriors? I did most of my work by my own hand, sister, while you had to call on people to stop it. Isn't it supposed to be the children suckling off the mother? Not the other way around?" She laughed, a sharp, hideous noise that could drive dogs out of their minds, "And Calian isn't my only surprise, sissy."
"You are disobeying all that even we are supposed to obey!" Gaia barked back.
"And you are to weak to stop me!" It felt as though Dark was right by her sister's head, leaning into her ear for a cruel taunt, "Look at yourself. With such little power left, it should take no time at all for Calian to hunt you out. And when he does, your little shit-hole in space is mine."
Gaia was not one to be startled easily. She had maintained composure throughout all her previous trails; the first attack of Calian, a mage who tried to control Gaia, the chaos comet, and even this new onslaught of technology that even she was a little unprepared for. Calian was a mage who would have a personal hatred towards her, as she was the one to have sealed him up by her own hand in a tomb in Dao, but having been trapped for so long would've greatly depleted his power.
"And once I get there, the little sylphdine is easily mine, born of my own little comet and all. That cute blondie knight may prove a slight problem, but he'll eventually fall, too!" She sniggered, "Then you."
"Not even Calian has the power to find me. He's far too weak still from being imprisoned."
"We'll see about that." Then the voice was gone. Gaia stayed quiet a while longer, before finally addressing the two knights.
"You two have heard." She said, a little mournfully, "Wherever Dark Gaia acquired the power to wander past her safe haven again, she has it now, and undoubtedly is going to try to take power of our balance again."
Freedan was the first to speak, "My goddess... what can we do? I'm prepared to do anything to save you."
"You cannot save me. Not alone. Neither can you Shadow." Shadow remained quiet, "But I am afraid Dark Gaia might find me here."
"Then we will protect you here!" Freedan's voice boomed across the vast space, "Let her come!" Gaia only shook her head feebly.
"Freedan. I understand your rage, but you and Shadow are far more vulnerable than me to the influence of my sister, and far more valuable to the immediate safety of Earth. You know well what would happen if my sister gained control of you two with one of her spells. It would only give her two more on her side." Freedan hushed and his statue began to animate again, thrusting his head about with a heavy motion to stare away from her, half in realization of the truth, half in denial, "You two cannot protect me like this. I need you for another task."
"Goddess?" Shadow chirped quietly, awaiting her request.
"Find Will and Kara, and all of their friends. Apparently, their job as knights is not yet over." She turned to face them, "Dark Gaia will go after them first, with every creature at her disposal. She knows that you all pose threat to her. Find them, protect them, and please, stop Dark Gaia on your own."
"But, if she finds you and we are not here..." Shadow turned to look at her again, rampant stone flames dying down to a transparent ribbon of blue mist that curled about him lazily. Freedan began to become his normal self as well, color restored and the sound of breathing coming from his mouth.
"I will be fine." She smiled softly, "Only she alone can enter Dark Space, and only she alone can attack me. We are both equal, and I will fight her will as long as I can. Now go. I will leave you near him, with enough to keep you out of view. I sense my sister already has something in store for them."
Will heard Freedan tell the story with a saddened look on his face, "Why are we so important? We're just teenagers..." He was leading them back to his apartment. Grandpa Bill should already be out jogging, and Grandma Lola would've been shopping. It was the only place to keep them safe and out of view. Will figured that's what they were going for, anyway. Besides, it'd be hard to do anything with people calling the police because of crazy cosplayers overrunning California.
"In a past life, one that you do not recall, you were a hero." Shadow spoke, still clutching the cloak about him self-consciously. Freedan had his hood drawn back, but it was obvious that he was wearing armor. People around them in this part of the city were only now figuring something had going wrong downtown, probably evident from the dozens of fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars zooming past, "You, and Kara here, are the latest in the line of the Knights of Darkness and Light. When you completed you battle against the chaos comet, you both lost your memories, and were placed here to live as normal children."
"Man, you guys get cool past lives..." Lance said, finally warming up to the idea that it was true.
"Ah, but you were there, too. All of you were, and more. He couldn't have gotten as far as he did without all of you." Freedan waved to a woman as he watered her window plants, causing her to abruptly drop her watering can and duck back inside. Will shrunk into his shoulders.
"Did I get laid?" Lance brightly bounced up to the knight, "Please tell me I at least got laid back then..."
"Laid? Well, I wasn't a firsthand witness to any of that, but you had a girlfriend with blue hair."
"Freaking awesome." Lance cackled giddily. Will tittered before looking to Freedan.
"Why did our memories get erased?" He asked as they neared the apartment building, "Why not let us keep them? Or just leave the world as is?"
"The comet was gone. It's influence over the world was gone, and therefore, the world regained balance. And Gaia wanted for you to not be burdened with such a tiring journey on your minds, so she made you have all the memories of a normal childhood." Shadow looked from Will to Kara from under the cloak, "Right before you and Kara transformed into me for the last time, you two promised to find each other, even without memory. Of course, she fated you two to meet again. It was all very sweet."
Kara blushed profusely, and turned away from Will to smile to herself, as well as Seth and Eric, who smirked upon seeing it. Will blushed as well, "We... were... in love?" He looked to Kara, but the minute she looked back at him, he looked back to the two guardians in wild embarrassment, "Wait, did you say... transform?" He looked up.
"That was your power. You were telekinetic and could transform in to me, or Shadow." Freedan opened the door upon receiving confirmation of it from Will, "There were many odd powers back there, and more monsters. You're were unique to you, though."
Freedan continued to retell stories of their adventures in strange lands, and all the weird things they had seen, all the people they had met, and sometimes saved, as they all climbed the stairs up to Will's apartment. Questions bombarded the two guardians relentlessly, like 'What was the old world like?' or 'Did we look the same?', and Eric even spoke up to ask, "Why did Dark Gaia come back? I thought you said she had been defeated."
"Not eradicated, however. She is necessary to retain balance in the world., but every once in a while, she comes back to try and become the top dog. It's never been this fast, though. Technically, it hasn't even really been a year since her last vanquishing. She must have someone else helping her and giving her power..."
"For now, let's try and figure everything out. And make you guys a little less... noticeable." He noted for Kara and Eric to take Shadow, and for Freedan to follow the other three into Bill's room. Maybe Will's grandfather would still have some clothes from his younger days...
Sand Fanger whimpered pathetically as it felt around the ground of the ruins tentatively, "So this is where you found them?" The baby sand fangers had since hatched, and were now huddled to their parent's exoskeleton. Sand Fanger only lifted it's still wounded head up to look at the source of the voice.
A relatively tiny, thin woman with dark, earthy skin and long straight locks of pearly, light hair appeared behind the insect. Her hair was braided into countless tiny braids from behind the front bangs, back into a long ponytail, and that hung down like rope waterfalls. One, upon closer inspection, could find that woven into the braids were withered rose stems, thorns large and visible against her light blonde hair but petals long gone. Excusing the large black rose poking it's bloom out of the top of her ponytail. She wore a long, dark gold dress with scarves of bright sandy silk sewn into it. Her plump lips curled into a smile as she pet the Sand Fanger's head affectionately, "Don't worry, sweetie." She cooed innocently, "Those little pests won't be bothering us too much longer..." She giggled, as she picked up Will's baseball cap, and looked at it shortly before putting it on herself, "Hm, I don' see what Sissy doesn't get about this world. I love these new fashions. Time for some shopping, my dear?"
Oh noes, Dark the evil air head is going shopping, but don't worry, you won't have to read through all of that (might make a good mini-fic, though). Anywho, for those wondering, a sylphdine (made up word) is a cross between an undine (water energy elemental) and a sylph (wind energy elemental). I could not freaking find a better way to describe or generic term to use in reference to Shadow. Look those two things up on google.images or something. 3
Anyhow, chapter 4 will come up eventually, and hopefully things will move faster. Dankuu for reading!