The Animal Keeper

The Animal Keeper

By: Theodore Leung

Author's Notes

Due to the massive amount of Star Ocean: The Second Story endings, it is hard to actually write a FanFic about the aftermath. I decided to write about what I believe would be the only person who's ending wouldn't change…

* * * * * *

Noel stood on the porch of the log cabin in the middle of Heraldry Forest. The cabin had been used to keep the children of Mars locked up until the ransom was paid. Rena and Dias rescued them. Birds chirped as wild life buzzed around the dense trees in the forest. The name "Rena" struck memories of Energy Nede, the planet he lived on before the Crest of Annihilation. His pointy, Nedian ears twitched as the cool forest breeze blew through the surrounding area. Noel's dog lied lazily on the porch, taking his daily nap. Noel smiled as he watched the dog's body go up and down with its breathing. He looked at the trees above. Blue sky and shining sunlight tried to break the barriers of tree leaves and branches; yet, the thoughts of Nede stayed clearly in his mind, no matter what he did to try to clear it.

"Nede," Noel said silently as he continued to gaze at the crystal clear sky. Life went on for the Nedian who witnessed the death of his planet. Many died, sacrificed to save the universe from the 'Big Crunch'; yet, it seemed like Nede and its inhabitants were sentenced to this fate long before the Ten Wise Men came back.

"Is it because we couldn't evolve anymore?!" Noel yelled out angrily, his echo ringing through the forest. The right ear of the dog raised at the sudden noise, then dropped back down, continuing his sleep. Bitter wind returned Noel's reply, slapping him in the face for his outbreak. Noel turned around, placing his back towards the breeze. "Were we destined to die?!"

"Perhaps," a female voice answered behind him, surprising Noel. Noel turned and found one of the other Nedian's who survived behind him. She was smiling as she looked at the animal protector.

"Chiasto," Noel said. "What are you doing here?" Chiasto's smile dissipated.

"Is that ALL you have to say?!" she snapped back, angrily. "It's been, what, three years since we saw each other, and that's ALL you have to say?! Ugh!" The last remark set off a chord in Noel's mind.

"Has it…really been…three years?" Noel asked, staggering at the time. Aside from Celine who visited him from time to time since she lived in Mars, the village outside of Heraldry Forest; he really hadn't seen his friends for the last three years. The winds quickly turned cold as he realized what he has done.

"Of course!!" Chiasto exclaimed. "Have you lost your sense of time?!" she asked, half jokingly.

"Uh…yes," Noel responded. Chiasto sighed, realizing something is wrong with her comrade. "Why don't you come in?" Noel suggested.

"Sure!" Chiasto exclaimed, jumping at the chance to catch up with her Nedian friend.

* * * * * *

The once blue skies were covered in darkness as black clouds sailed over the east coast of the continent. Thunderclaps were heard over the cottage as Noel stood by the window, staring out towards the darkness. The howling wind blew increased in power as the land continued to get darker and darker. Chiasto sat on a table in the center of the small house, sipping her tea. She was concerned about Noel. The interior of the cottage was not very welcoming. All of the log walls were bare. A stove and sink sat in northeast the corner of the one room cottage as a bed lay on the northwest. A small night table lay beside the bed. A shelf with five drawers sat beside the other end of the bed. A fireplace with burning wood sat on the east wall. Noel's dog slept under the table, unfazed by the sound of roaring thunder.

"Noel, why don't you sit down?" Chiasto suggested. Noel turned and nodded his head after a brief moment of thought. He walked over to the table, placed his cup of tea on it, and then sat down. "Is something on your mind?" Chiasto questioned, trying to act as reassuring as possible. Noel remained silent. "Come on Noel, what is it?" Chiasto continued to question, concern growing on her voice. Noel continued to be mute as drops of rain began to fall onto the land. "Is it the Synard?" Chiasto continued, her frustration beginning to build. Noel continued his silence, as the drops of water became a pouring rain. "DAMN IT!!" Chiasto exclaimed, releasing her frustration and slamming her fists into the table, shaking it and its content. The dog underneath still lay there, unfazed by the outburst. "What the hell is wrong with you?!" Noel still remained wordless as he stood up and walked towards window. Thunder cracked in the dark sky above.

"Nede," Noel responded softly, no emotion in his voice.

"Nede is gone, Noel," Chiasto responded, calming down.

"I know," Noel said. "The Ten Wise Men caused all of it."

"Why?" Chiasto asked, questioning the remark. "We Nedians were also the cause of the destruction too."

"3.7 billion years ago, the Ten Wise Men unleashed their wrath against Nede," Noel answered. "Though they were defeated, it made us realize that we were too powerful. We were forced to move…"

"I know, I know," Chiasto responded, a hint of sarcasm within. "The history of Nede is quite clear in my head." Noel sighed.

"If the Ten Wise Men didn't show up, we wouldn't need to be relocated to a 'artificial world'," Noel said, angrily. "When they show up again, though defeated, Nede ceased to exist."

"It's not all the Ten Wise Men's fault," Chiasto replied, attempting to calm her friend down. "If Nede hadn't developed such technology, then the Ten Wise Men probably wouldn't exist. Nedians have some blame as well." The silence between the two Nedians was only fazed by the sound of pouring rain.

"If the Ten Wise Men didn't show up, Nede would still exist," Noel said softly.

"It's fate," Chiasto responded calmly. "Nothing can live forever."

"Nothing…" Noel said silently. Thoughts of the Synard came to his mind. The last Synard on Nede was used to help defeat the Ten Wise Men. The Synard race was finally coming to an end at that moment. It was fate for the Synard to disappear. "But Nede can Time/Space shift. We could've just Time/Space shifted the energy…" Noel said, desperate for another answer.

"Stop it," Chiasto said, her frustration beginning to build again. "You're just trying to deny the truth of Nede," Chiasto responded. "Just as you denied the truth of Chermes feelings for you." Something snapped in the mind of Noel. He ran back towards the table and pounced over the table and on top of Chiasto. She fell backwards as her head banged against the hard wooden floor. Noel pinned her to the floor.

"Don't you DARE say that!" Noel snarled. "She didn't have any feelings for me."

"Maybe you were to ignorant to realize that," Chiasto responded, bitterness in her voice. Noel calmed down, then slowly began to get to his feet.

"She didn't…" Noel whimpered. He stretched his hand out. Chiasto grabbed it and Noel pulled her up.

"She did!" Chiasto exclaimed, continuing her onslaught of words. "She loved you and you didn't realize that! She helped you out! She took care of your house while you where away, she made dinner for you! Hell, she was like a maid, and you know what you did?! You shunned her! You never saw her feelings for you! You could've given her some of that back! No, you where to ignorant to realize that!"

"I…I…" Noel stammered, unable to comprehend what the Nedian told him. There was silence between the two as sunlight shined through the window. Black clouds continued to roll east, passing past Mars.

"You denied the truth," Chiasto said, almost evilly. She exited the cabin, leaving Noel speechless and shocked.

* * * * * *

A week passed since the Chiasto came to Heraldry Forest. Noel stood outside of the cabin, sitting on the stairs of his porch. He held a beautiful rose in his hand as his head was bowed down.

"Chermes, please forgive me," he said softly. "For my ignorance to see your feelings was a fault of mines and now it is to late to see you again." A moment of silence came from Noel as birds chirped in the morning sun. Noel said a silent prayer, then went back in side his dwelling. He placed the rose in a vase. Noel gazed at the rose for a minute then left the cabin. He headed towards Mars village in hopes to see all his friends once again.