Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue!
(A.N.) Okay, so the thing about not updating until more reviewing happened was a lie. So sue me. (looks at disclaimer) ...Never mind. Anyways, this is the concluding chapter to Transformation, so read it! Then embrace it! Then review it!
The forest was quiet, devoid of the myriad sounds of human civilization. It was as if it was a world apart, ethereal and surreal. Birds chirped in their peppy way and the leaves of the great trees rustled in the wind. All was as it should be, simple and natural. There was nothing touched here by human interpretation and technology. The Alter Forest is. That's the only true way to describe it.
Twigs and leaf debris crunched under my tennis shoes as I made my way to the Cave. I had thought long and hard about what I was about to do, and I knew it for the best. If Ryuhou was conscious, he would agree with me.
The aftermath of the battle was chaotic. Ryuhou, Sheris, and many others had been rushed to hospitals in the City. Very few had yet to leave the Intensive Care Ward. I had instantly jumped at a small chance of redemption for the damage I'd done by offering my expertise as a doctor. In all honesty, I'd never preformed surgery on a living person, but I went into countless ER's, performing operation after operation. Being a genius has some benefits, I guess.
People had thanked me when it was over. Alters had thanked me for saving them from the bomb; families had thanked me for saving their loved ones. I couldn't bring myself to tell some of them that I had been the one to hurt so many. Kazuma and Ryuhou had beaten more than I, but I had done more serious damage to those I had fought. I still can't believe how quickly I'd lost control, how quickly I turned to killing.
I shook my head and willed myself to concentrate on where I was going. Smiling a little as I reached the spring Aunt Naria and I had stopped at. God, that memory seems an eternity away.
I continued past the spring, my thoughts returning to those in the hospital. Ryuhou was still in a coma. The final blows exchanged between him and Zigmar had been vicious and life threatening. Especially for Zigmar.
Zigmar had been one of my surgery patients and, honest to God, I did try to save him. I had been begged by countless HOLY soldiers to do so. They loved him as a leader, believed that everything he had done was for the good of everyone. They even said that he had given every soldier stationed at those platforms a small neuro-nutrilizer that would protect them from the pulse. They said he'd been a good man. And even though I thought they were wrong, I took those words to my heart as I tried to stabilize Zigmar's vitals. I worked for hours trying to repair his heart and lungs.
Time of death was 2:06 A.M.
He was the first I lost on the table that night. I lost eleven others. Death ran rampant in each hospital and the total fatality was fifty-six soldiers and thirteen Alter users. The majority had been people I had attacked. An overwhelming grief had settled over me, staying with me as I assigned myself Ryuhou's personal physician. I'd done everything I could for him and now it was only a matter of time.
Pulling from my memories, I examined the gray fissured stone of the Cave's entrance. It, like the rest of the Forest, looked the same. As if it hadn't found a way to use me as a killing tool.
Cautious, I stepped into the dark tunnel and made my way forward.
No sealing up the entrance, no being bombarded by small projectiles. It was as if it was just any old cave, silent and inanimate. Pulling my jacket tighter around my body, I continued forward. This needed to be done. This needed to be finished one and for all.
I'd done some research about the Cave, and I think I know how a construct of nature had become infused with Alter power. I hoped that I could lie this all to rest so that she could finally let go.
Finally entering the magnificent green crystal chamber, I examined everything carefully. Again, it was as it had been when I had been here just that short time ago. Had it been only a week? It seemed like so much longer.
You came back, healer, the Cave stated, a disbelieving note in its voice. No, not its. Hers.
"You've been dead for three years, Midori," I whispered. "Why have you lingered?"
Silence answered me.
Sighing, I waded through the warm water to the small island in the center. As I pulled myself onto the limestone, I said, "You were alone for such a long time. That loneliness turned to anger, didn't it? Anger at HOLY for what you thought was abandonment."
They left me here! They never even looked for me! That bastard Zigmar left me alone when he promised he would come back for me! He promised and he never came!
Her voice was anguished and stricken, as if she was crying. "You were gone, Midori. They did look for you, but you weren't where they had left you. Officers scoured the entire Forest, but you had come here and fallen into the water. Don't you remember?"
I silently reviewed what I had read in the personnel file. Midori Hikari, age 22, had been left in the Forest for survival training. Zigmar had been her supervising officer. At the time that she was supposed to be picked up, she couldn't be found. She had literally disappeared off the face of the earth. No one had even thought to look for her body this deep in the cave. That she might have fallen sick or gotten injured so badly that she wouldn't have the strength to keep her body from being complete submerged in the warm pool, never to come back up. She'd been a promising young woman, on her way to a successful career as a HOLY Alter user. Her death had been an accident, a tragic accident. I'd brought the reports from the search parties with me, not knowing if it would help.
I remember being alone. I remember not being able to breathe…, Midori's ghost whimpered, I remember that they didn't come back like they promised! I got so angry…
I sighed. I had been right. The loneliness and confusion of one woman's spirit had taken root in this place and had transformed into anger. That anger had transformed into a thirst for some type of revenge. She had seen that I had a connection to HOLY, and she had taken the chance to use it for her own ends. It was almost too sad.
"It's over now, Midori," I called to her, "Zigmar is dead. HOLY is in disarray. You can let go now. You won't be alone anymore. I'll take your body back to them. You've been found. The promise has been kept; it just took a long time to fulfill it."
I'm going home? she asked hopefully. It was like hearing a little child. Her voice was so full of that desire to just be with someone that cared about her. It's amazing that such a yearning of the human heart can be transformed so.
"Yes, Midori, you're going home." I got back into the water and began searching the bottom for her. Thank God the bottom was solid stone. Eventually, I found her bones and I carefully lifted each of them out of the water and placed them on the lip of stone surrounding the lake. I wrapped each bone in cloth and gently placed each one into the large bag I had brought with me. When the last piece of Midori Hikari's skeleton rested in my bag, I stood and carefully slung it on my shoulder.
For a moment, I could've sworn I saw her standing in front of me. Then her smiling image was gone and I was left in an empty and pretty chamber of stone that had acted as a tomb for almost three years. I left it with out looking back.
Once outside, my cell phone ran and I pulled it out of my jacket pocket wearily. Looking at the caller ID, I hoped that it was good news, but doubted it. Usually when the hospital's number was displayed on that tiny screen, another one of my patients had died. I flipped the phone open as said, "Dr. Kiryu."
"Mori! Mori, you won't believe it!" Aunt Naria's excited voice greeted. "He's awake, honey! Ryuhou's awake!"
"What?" I said, "Thank God…" Tears of happiness and relief welled up in my eyes. "I-I'll be right there!" I told her in a rush, hanging up with out a goodbye. I took off running, still mindful of the passenger in the bag.
A month ago, I wouldn't have thought this all possible. I'd been given an Alter, finally found a way through Ryuhou's walls, reunited with my aunt, fought for what I believed in, and even killed. Not all of it was pretty, but it had all happened. It had all contributed to who I was now, and who I would be years from now.
Everything that has happened has caused me to transform. I'm still myself, whatever that means, and I still hold onto that naïve belief that everyone is made to help another person. But I now know of a darker part of myself, the part that can kill and hurt. I don't know if these changes are for the better or not, but if Ryuhou and I can be together, I think we can figure it out.
After all, I'm a genius and I'm in love. What better combination could there be?
(A.N.) Thanks to all of you who read this through to the end and an extra thanks to reviewers. If you have any random questions about the story feel free to e-mail and such. Ja-ne!