"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!" I shrieked as I darted away from the monstrosity and hid behind the Hunter, my fingers clutching his shoulders so hard my knuckles were white. "DO SOMETHING!"
"Like what?! What do you expect me to do?!" he shouted back, probably just as panicked as I was.
"I don't know! You're the Hunter, you figure it out!"
"I don't think I'm authorized to—WHOA!" We just barely managed to dodge a huge hand swatting at us. The rest of the Hunters quickly scattered in all directions, leaving us there to get swatted again and set flying back into the rock wall. Of course, it was my dumb luck that I got full blast of it and slammed into the rocks first, followed by the Hunter, which basically knocked the breath out of me. "It looks like we just became temporary allies," he huffed.
"Yeah… great…" I coughed again, tying to pull more air into my lungs. "Lose some weight while you're at it," I looked at the Angelic letters on his neck, "Aaron."
"Yeah, funny," he replied, but then, "WATCH IT!" Before I knew what was happening, he grabbed me around the waist and quickly darted downward, just missing getting smashed into the wall by a massive fist. We both hovered there as the other hunters rejoined us, and all over us just stayed there, gaping up at the huge… gigantic… pissed off as hell monstrosity that we'd woken up that was now roaring angrily and readying itself to crush us into paper dolls. I could just see the name of this guy popping up at the bottom of the screen like in Zelda: TWILIGHT MONSTER: Pissed off Mutant that's been here for who knows how long!
"…meep," I squeaked.
"Great! Now what the hell do we do?!" one of the Hunters yelled.
"Easy! Stay our ass's alive!"
"But we're in a forbidden zone! That thing is here for a reason!"
"Who cares! I'd much rather not go home in a coffee can!"
"All of you shut up!" Aaron yelled, but before he could finish, we all had to scatter before another huge fist almost had our names on it. I completely ignored the fact that my shoulder felt as though there was a scolding hot iron on it and frantically looked for a way out. But before I could find one, Aaron suddenly snatched my arm.
"You go back to the surface!" he ordered.
"What?! Why?! What about you!?"
"Even if you're a wanted felon, you're still just an ordinary citizen and it's my job to protect you! Now quit asking questions and GO!"
"We have to calm this guy down and make sure he doesn't destroy anything that might be holding the entire palace of Azad up!" he answered before I could ask.
"…I don't know where the exit is!" I saw only a flash of the 'oh-you've-GOT-to-be-kidding-me' look before he dove at me to dodge the monster's huge hand gain. After a quick recovery, I looked up to see the other Hunters darting around in the air, slashing at the beast mercilessly with their weapons. Unfortunately for them, it looked like their efforts were only making it mad. I looked back to Aaron, who was probably trying to figure out if he should waste anymore time on me or go help his men.
"Hey, how about I just go hide out while you guys clean up here?" I suggested, with a cowardly grin to match. But before he could answer, I heard a loud yelp as one of the Hunters was smacked and came flying in our direction. Aaron and I scattered, but while he ran off to help his comrades, I went to find a nice place to hide. Of course, that place just happened to be a rather large bolder off in a corner.
From my hiding place, I watched the Hunters try their hardest to subdue the ridiculously huge giant monster. Well, ok, I couldn't really see the Hunters, or the monster. All I really saw was the light from the flashlights on their chests and the monster's silhouette, but it was only obvious that the now thoroughly pissed off whatever it was was whopping their butts. But I just sighed and tried very hard to ignore the constant yelling of 'What is this thing and why won't it DIE?!' and 'Oh God! My organs!' and 'My sword! Where the hell is my sword?!'
I also suddenly noticed that the whole time I'd been running from them, my shoulder had been burning like it never had. Cringing, I brushed my fingertips against it, hoping it would stop soon. Ever since that weird ass dream, it had been getting worse and more frequent. I don't know what this thing is, but will someone please get it off?!
"Naomi!" I quickly looked up to see a certain familiar shadow, vaguely illuminated by torchlight running towards me. It didn't take me long to recognize him, either.
"Prince! How did you get down here?" He embraced me tightly.
"Never mind that. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine… but," I stopped. I had about a million questions for him and they were all trying to come out at once.
"… Darkly… where'd he go?" I questioned, curiously eyeing the small torch in his hand. The Prince only pointed to his temple in response.
"Apparently he knew you were in trouble before I did. I only regained control a few minutes ago." There was a moment of very awkward silence as my mind wandered back to our fight earlier. I'm almost certain he was thinking the same thing. But luckily enough, he decided that now wasn't the time and took my hand. "Come on, there's a path leading back to the surface. Let's get out of here while those Hunter's are distracted!" I just looked at him, then over to the Hunters, whom were still struggling and failing to win their battle. Everything they did was useless against the beast and by the looks of things, they were running low on manpower. I kinda felt a little bad for them…
"Naomi! Let's hurry!" the Prince pulled my arm a little to get my attention. I looked back to him. I could leave right now with him… I had the chance to run away and hide again… I could leave those Hunter's for dead and find another hole to crawl into… Now was the time. What was holding me back?! "Naomi, what is it? Come on, hurry!" It was then that I caught sight of something glimmering on the Prince's tunic. Upon closer inspection, it looked like a stain. …No… Could it be…? Oh my God, it is.
"…Blood." I murmured quietly. He'd done it. The Dark Prince had stayed behind to fight the commanding officer of those Hunters. And he'd won. Apparently, Sora had no idea. My gaze fell to the ground as something clicked in my head. Even if they were after me, those Hunters… they were still just men. Like me. I was just a girl with wings and some special powers. I could think, I could be swayed, and most importantly, I could die. I felt pain. I bled. I bruised. I was just as mortal as a human being. And so were they.
"Naomi? What's wrong? There's no time!" the Prince coaxed, anxious to leave. I just shook my head.
"No," I said simply, my eyes never leaving the ground.
"This is wrong."
"What are you talking about? We have to leave now before—"
"I have to help them!" Before even I knew what I was doing, I broke out of the Prince's grip and burst into flight. Not a single though crossed my mind except that I had to help Aaron and his pals as best I could. Even if it meant dying in the process. I was just… the right thing to do. I didn't hear the Prince yelling at me, nor did I recognize the danger of the situation. I just flew full speed towards to monsters head, drew back my fist, and then… "HEY, STUPID!"
I'm not sure what happened then, but I know that when the monster recovered from my punch, there was a large glowing hole right smack in the middle of his forehead. The colossus roared in pain, flailing its arms around, trying to ease the pain I had dealt. The entire structure of the old ruins seemed to shake from the noise, but that didn't stop me. I darted downwards and dealt another devastating blow to the ancient creature, then another, then another. The whole time, my heart was racing. All I could think about was how I had to stop this thing from hurting anyone else.
After a good few blows, I flew back up to the things head and stared into its red eyes. Oh, I'd pissed it off all right. It didn't matter. It was nothing but a killing machine, put there to brutally murder anyone or anything that tried to pass. I had to put an end to that. I had to…
My arms were outstretched. My resolve was firm. And my whole being was strangely calm. I felt good. Better than I had in months. I took a deep breath, and then… blackness.
Everything was blurry when I opened my eyes again, but after a few blinks, things came back into focus and I quickly recognized the faces of the Prince of Persia and Aaron. I opened my mouth to speak, but closed it again when I couldn't think of anything to say.
"Are you… all right?" the Prince asked slowly with a strange tone of voice. I took in a very deep breath.
"I… I think." I shifted a little to test how far my limbs were willing to move. " Where'd that train go?" Aaron just stared at me.
"I can't believe you're making jokes after… after that!" he exclaimed. "What the hell was that?!"
"What was what?"
"That… I don't even know how to describe it!" As my brain came more and more back online, I noticed that he seemed a bit… unnerved. I slowly sat up and rubbed my temples and the Prince came and sat next to me.
"Naomi… do you even remember what happened?" he asked slowly. I thought for a moment.
"No?!" Aaron exclaimed loudly in disbelief, "How can you not remember it?! You only took out that huge monster like it was nothing!" I blinked.
"I… I did what?"
"Nay, you really don't remember that? It was… incredible." The Prince seemed speechless. Well, that's definitely a first!
"No, it wasn't incredible! It was… I don't know… there is no word to describe that!"
"Aaron, calm down. Your yelling is not helping my headache any," I grumbled. He just looked at me, then sighed.
"You know," he began, kneeling next to me, "I think I finally know why they want you so badly."
"Huh? Who?" I replied.
"The Council. You at the top of their hit list, you know. Now I think I know why. With the kind of power you just displayed…" He shook his head. "No doubt they'll really start worrying now that you've managed to take out that… thing."
"Hey, that reminds me," I interjected, quickly changing the subject, "Why was that thing down here anyway?"
"This is a forbidden zone," the Hunter replied.
"Forbidden?" the Prince inquired curiously.
"Well, that explains the feeling of 'get-out-or-I-eat-your-face.'" I said jokingly.
"These old catacombs are the ruins underneath Azad," Aaron continued, "That monster was put here to guard something deep within these old rocks. I don't know what, but I've got my guys looking right now." Then, as if on cue, another voice chimed in.
"Hey, Aaron! I think we found something!" one of the Hunters shouted. The three of us just looked at one another before Aaron stood up to see what they'd found. But there was no way in hell I was going to just let him run off on his own! No, I'd gotten this far, may as well see what was down here while I'm at it!
"Hey! I'm coming too!" I declared, jumping to my feet and hurrying after him.
"Hey!" I heard the Prince cry in protest, "What about me?! I can't fly like you can!" I turned to him.
"What, you wanna come too?"
"Yes!" I rolled my eyes and maneuvered behind him and after a great deal of effort I got both of us in the air. Believe me, I was sorely tempted to accuse him of too much comfortable palace living.
Moments later, we touched ground again with everyone else. Though there was an uneasy silence when they saw me, Aaron quickly broke the ice.
"What is it? What'd you all find?"
"There's a door here," one of them replied, " can't open it, though. It's sealed shut."
"Sealed shut? There must be something really important in there, then," Aaron mused. "Best we just leave it alone if that's the case." I couldn't help but get a sense of deja vu as I examined the door in question. I'd definitely seen it somewhere before. But where? Come on, brain, get with the program already!
"You know what it looks like to me?" one of the Hunters said, "It kinda looks like one of those old tomb entrances they use for dead Council members."
"But why would they put a tomb down here in this godforsaken place with a thirty story high monster to guard it?"
"I dunno, but something tells me we've seen more than enough and we should probably get the hell out of here!" Then it hit me. I let out a loud gasp and ran to the door.
"Naomi, what is it?"
"Now I remember!" I exclaimed, "This door… I've seen it before!"
"What? Where?!" Aaron demanded.
"In that book!"
"Never mind the book, what the hell is it?"
"This door," I started, "It's the Tomb of Apollo!" Then the fireworks.
"It actually exists?!"
"What's it doing down here, anyway?!" Then Aaron's voice cut in.
"Now I know I've seen too much! I say we get the hell out of here!" But then, before we could all agree, in came the ever curious and naïve voice of the Prince.
"What's all the bickering about? It's just a tomb," he said loudly so everyone could hear him. Of course, that only cause even more chitchat, this time centered around the Prince's ignorance.
"All right, boys, be nice!" I interrupted them, returning to my lover's side. "He's human. He doesn't know anything about our world, so cut him a break, ok?" I looked at him.
"It's an old story up in the Heavens. According to the legend, Apollo was one the High Councilor and one of the greatest who ever lived," I explained. Then Aaron interrupted.
"Until one day, for whatever reason, he went mad with power. They say it took the rest of the Council to take him down. And when they did, they hid his body in a secret location and threw away the key."
"That's the myth," I finished, and looked back to the door. "But I thought it as just a child's fairytale. I never thought it actually existed!"
"I think we should keep this quiet," Aaron said, smoothing out his red hair, "Now that there's no guard here, anyone could come here. Best if we keep this between us."
"Yeah, good idea," I agreed and so did the others.
"Good. Now that that's cleared up, we have another issue to address," and he looked directly at me as he said that. "Naomi." I just stared blankly. I'd kinda hoped he'd forgot about that.
"Y-yes?" I latched onto the Prince's arm and began to slowly move behind him.
"You're a wanted woman."
"And us being Hunters, well,"
"Er…" By now the Prince was giving him a death glare, but went ignored.
"But that's just it… After what happened… I can't bring myself to arrest you." I poked my head out from behind the Prince.
"It's my job, but knowing that you just saved our lives," he looked off to the side. Smiling, I lifted up the Prince's arm and ducked under it so I could stand in front of him.
"So then… how about you just let us go and that's that?" I happily suggested, hoping that he would just let us go about our merry way to a new hiding place. But sadly, that was not going to happen. I came to that conclusion when Aaron sighed heavily, as if at a loss for what to do.
"I can't do that, either. We found you, a wanted criminal, chased you into a forbidden zone and watched you destroy that tomb's guardian. If we went back empty handed after all that's happened, well," he left it at that.
"Oh, well, I guess that is a problem." There was a long silence as we both tried to think up some alternative that wouldn't end up with one of us in hot water. But suddenly, out of nowhere…
"I'll go with you," the Prince said to Aaron with a firm tone. Both Aaron and I looked at him like he'd lost his mind.
"What?" I said stupidly. He just stepped up beside me.
"Naomi has been through enough hell as it is, between running for her life and losing a child. All of that is my fault." Aaron didn't say anything, and I was pretty speechless myself. He continued, "I was the one who pressured her to break that law in the first place. I was the one who hid her all this time… everything that's happen can all be credited to me. Not to mention I also murdered your commander." He paused to push me back behind him. "Arrest me in her place."
"Prince…" I said softly, in complete disbelief. Aaron considered this a moment, but after seeing the Prince's firm resolve, he motioned to the other Hunters.
"You heard him, boys." They seemed reluctant, but came over. The Prince turned back to me.
"Sora…" I said quietly, but he put his finger to my lips to silence me. unters quick
"Don't worry about me. I've been stuck in a prison before. I'll be fine." I was at an utter loss for words, and I was on the verge of crying. He was actually, willingly, going to go to prison in my place. Even after that huge fight we'd had earlier about Edan… In the end, I threw myself into his embrace and squeezed the life outta him.
"I'm sorry," I whispered pitifully. "I'm sorry I called you a man-whore." He chuckled.
"I'm sorry too… for everything."
"It's alright… So what if you ruined my life? I love you."
"And I love you."
"Oh, this is so romantic that I just want to throw up!" I immediately yelled in surprise and jumped back about five feet.
"What? What is it?!" The Prince exclaimed.
"I heard him!"
"Darkly! I heard him just now!" He looked at me a moment.
"He… says you're bluffing."
"I don't know what you two are going on about, but we really have to go," Aaron interrupted. The Prince and I just looked at each other, but finally decided it was time to leave. I just looked away when they arrested the Prince. I didn't want to watch. But that was when I got my final surprise for the day.
"Aren't you coming, Aaron?" one of the Hunters asked.
"No, you guys go on up to the surface. I'll catch up."
"Oh, wait! Red, throw me that extra set of wings, will ya?"
"Sure thing." I sighed when I heard wings, knowing they were taking the love of my life off to when may as well be his death.
"Naomi," Aaron said, and sat next to me. I only made a noise, since my thoughts were still on the Prince. "Listen, I… I am sorry for all of this." I didn't reply. "…I know I shouldn't do this, but I'm going to help you."
"How?" I grumbled.
"Well, being a Hunter, I do have to keep tabs on certain places. Azad is no longer a safe place for you, and neither is Babylon."
"And what do you suggest?"
"…India." I looked over at him.
"India? Why India?"
"I think you should be able to hide there, at least for a while. And according to some gossip I've heard, there are some job positions open in the palace. If you could land one of them, it would definitely help more than hurt."
"Okay. But with my crap sense of direction, I'll get there in about… eighty years."
"Don't be ridiculous. You're an Angel, what do you need a sense of direction for?" At this, I stared at him like he'd grown an extra head.
"Are you kidding me?" I cried, "I can't fly! They'll catch me in two seconds!" But he only smirked.
"Maybe so, with wings like those." He then produced a tarnished looking Angel Charm. "But with these, I think you'll have a better chance. Keep this safe for me, will you?" He dropped it in my hand while I searched my brain frantically for something to say that wouldn't come out like a bunch of meaningless babble. "Now come on, let's get back to the surface."
And so one again I found myself on the road, running for dear life, but this time incognito as a Hunter Angel. As I followed Aaron back to the surface, I thought back on the nine months or so I'd spent at Azad. All the trouble I'd gone through in Babylon. Everything. My only choice now was to go to India like Aaron had said and wait things out. Maybe come up with some kind of plan. But this time, I was in it alone.
Kiri: Well, this one was definitely a pain in the ass to get out, but what can I say. I SUCK AT BATTLE SCENES!
Dark Prince: Obviously.
Kiri: Shut up, you! you're in jail with Princey! No talking!
Dark Prince: ...
Kiri: That's better.
Naomi: Well, great! Now that you have killed off my son, and pretty much everyone else around me, what will you do to further make my life miserable?
Kiri: Ah! I haven't killed the Prince, have I? Or your mom! Or Jericho! Or the King! Or Gabby! Or-
Naomi: ALRIGHT! enough!
Kiri: Spoil sport. Anyway, part four of this lovely tale of love and loss is on the way. I still don't have the entire chronology in order yet, but I've got my top technicians working around the clock!
(cue voices heard in background: "Holy crap, its on fire!" "Put it out! Put it OUT!" "OH GOD It's trying to eat me! HELP!" "I don't get paid enough for this!")
Kiri: That's the spirit, boys! Also, I can't think of a good title... does anyone have any suggestions? I've got a few, so I'll probably put up a poll in my profile or something... and I believe that's about all for now. Well, Well, (singing) So long, farewell, until we meet again...!