Disclaimer: I do not own Angelique or any of the characters within...although if I did that would kick major tucus. All characters created by me are copyright to me. No stealy unless you ask permission from myself to use them in a fan fiction or whatnot. Thank you and have a nice day!
How long had it been since she's been to the main planet? A year? It didn't seem like it. That was partly due to the difference in the passage of time at the Sanctuary. Time moved so much more slowly there than it did everywhere else. She had tried to reconcile herself with that fact before she came. It has been about 7 years there! And besides we're going to the capital which you've only seen a few times, the tiny logical voice in her mind had said. Don't expect to see anything familiar.
At least that was what she had told herself. But saying and seeing were two different things. Her mind was having a slight problem trying to grasp the scene that lay before her as she looked out the window of the hover car Victor-sama had borrowed. The capital city of the Main Planet had been large and bustling when she had visited it before...but now! Now it was colossal! Huge skyscrapers literally touched the clouds as they loomed over the streets. Buildings lined the main thorough-way, smashed up next to each other like too close dominoes. People packed the side-walks and darted in and out of traffic, a few narrowly missing being hit. Men, women, and children of all ages crowded the downtown, looking in store windows, shopping at the retail stores, or eating at the restaurants that dotted the streets. It all made Ange feel very, very small...and a little afraid.
Trying to calm the sudden feeling of claustrophobia she tore her gaze away from the window and settled back against the comfy interior of the car. Looking ahead she grinned a little at Victor-sama's frowning visage as he tried to navigate the congested highway. Oscar-sama was sitting in the front seat of the vehicle with a map in his hands. He was attempting to give Victor-sama directions. Attempting being the main word in this case. By the puzzled look on his face he was just as lost as she was at this point. With a slight huff, Oscar-sama folded the map up and stowed it away in the glove compartment. He looked back at Ange and gave her a slight wink when he saw she was watching them.
"Exciting isn't it, Ange-chan?" he said in his normal flirtatious tone his ice blue eyes sparkling.
"Hai, Oscar-sama. I've never seen so many people all in one place before," she said truthfully daring one more glance out the window. He nodded also glancing briefly out the window.
"Quite a few people and quite easy to get lost," Oscar-sama said fixing her with a semi-stern stare, "Please stay close to us when we get out." She nodded and he turned back around in his seat to once again tackle the navigation duty. Ange smiled. Oscar-sama came off to be more of a playboy than anything else. Some might even say he was lackadaisical but those who knew him as well as she did knew he was a kind and caring person. It was little moments like this that reminded her of that fact. Sighing lightly Ange tilted her head back and let it rest on the seat as she let her mind wander back to the whole reason they had come on this excursion.
Queen Angelique Limoges sat down hard on her throne as she tried to grasp the scope of what she had just been told. She looked at the people gathered around her. To her left on a special seat, brought in for the occasion, sat Queen Collet whose face reflected the disbelief that shone on her own face. Both of the Queens Aides, Rachel Hart and Rosalia Cartegenia, stood at the sides of their Queens as well. Rosalia-san's expression was restrained but the fear in her eyes was quite evident. Rachel-san merely looked flabbergasted which mirrored the faces of the guardians of both Cosmos and Ange-chan who stood before them. Sighing she sat up straighter and cleared her throat gently. Attention turned to her.
"Ernst-san," she began trying to choose her words carefully, "I don't think I quite understand. You said that an entire planet has disappeared?"
Ernst nodded, "Hai, Your Majesty. It is not known how this occurred but according to the inter cosmological data the Institute is gathering, the planet Vistanos, in the border regions between the two Cosmos, is no longer visible." His voice was slightly exasperated as he spoke. Queen Limoges could definitely see why. Ernst always got this way when the answer to an important question alluded him.
"But how can an entire planet just up and vanish!?" Heuye-san blurted out drawing a frown from the Divine Bird Cosmos Guardian of Light, Julious-sama.
"Where did it go?" Marcel-sama whispered in despair.
"We...well...we don't know," Ernst murmured his frustration growing more and more evident. Silence once again descended on the group assembled. Everyone's minds asked the question that Heuye-san had just asked.
"Is it possible," Queen Limoges's voice broke the silence, "that the planet is still there. That it is merely covered? Almost like someone has wrapped it in a barrier of some sort?"
Ernst thought about this then nodded, "Yes that is possible. But the power needed to do what you say would have to be exceedingly strong. Most likely it would have to equal that of your power, Your Majesty, if not greater. And with that much power it would be cumbersome to control."
"But it is possible?" Rosalia-san queried.
"In theory, yes," Ernst answered then straightened, "I shall contact the Research Institute and investigate the matter of whether or not the source of the phenomenon can be pin-pointed. Hopefully, once the source is located we may discern a path to take to remove the 'shroud'."
"But what do we do in the meantime?" Queen Collet said suddenly, "What should we do to keep this from happening to the other planets in the Cosmos?" No one answered. The question posed was certainly a daunting one. Queen Limoges paused. Deciding to follow her instincts she turned to the girl standing at the front with the guardians.
The girl jumped slightly turning wide eyes to her Queen, "H-hai, Your Majesty!"
"What do you think should be done?" the Queen asked sending her a calming smile.
"A-ano," Ange-chan fidgeted under the gazes of the people congregated, "This...'shroud'...had to have had a beginning. Did it just appear all at once?"
"The precise time it took to appear was 8.5 days. The border region possesses a time flow similar to our own here at the Sanctuary," Ernst supplied adjusting his glasses.
"How exactly did it form?" Ange-chan asked a slight idea forming in her mind.
Ernst cleared his throat slightly before launching into the explanation, "Approximately 8.5 days ago, a large gathering of energy started showing on our scanners. However, instead of one conglomerated energy source, the power was distributed sparsely over the planet emanating from several points in particular. As time elapsed, these pockets of power grew in number and began to populate most of the planet's terrain area. Exactly 15 minutes ago the power seemed to reach a high velocity explosion and spread rapidly over the planet's surface. Precisely 10 minutes from its origin time, the planet became invisible to our equipment."
"So it could mean that the power needed to make the shroud had to first spread all over the planet before it could begin to form," Luva-sama, the Divine Guardian of Earth, spoke his soft voice just loud enough to be heard by those gathered around.
Ange-chan nodded, "Which means it had to have come from somewhere else and had to have time and power to spread. Could the visual logs of the planet from before the 'shroud' formed show where it came from? And if you could see where it came from then you could see where it went after that."
"Hai! I'll contact the Research Institute and see what they come up with." Ernst-san nodded hastily and pulled out the communication device to contact the Institute. Guardian of Water, Lumiale-sama placed a gentle hand on Ange-chan's shoulder.
"That was wonderful deduction, Ange-chan," he said smiling serenely down at her. The other guardian's agreed saying several other endearments until Queen Limoges was sure that Ange-chan's face was as red as a radish. The praise was interrupted by Ernst-san as he finished his conversation with the Institute. Turning to Queen Limoges he began his report.
"The power source has been located on the visual monitors approximately 10 days before the 'shroud' formed. It was streaming from an unknown region of space near the center of the border region. Exactly 1 day after the 'shroud' finished forming, the power source evacuated the main planet leaving the barrier still intact. However, very shortly thereafter, it's exact location was...lost. We are not aware of where it's next destination will be."
"Meaning we don't know what planet will be hit next," Zephel-sama growled crossing his arms.
"Were you able to see how the power was spread throughout the planet?" Queen Collet asked hopefully.
"Hai, Your Majesty. The power although spread rapidly, was being emitted from a single kinetic point of unknown origin," Ernst answered.
"Which means?" Olivie-sama asked with an impatient tap of his slipper.
"It means that the power was coming from a very fast moving person or thing," Victor-sama supplied helpfully. Queen Limoges mulled this information over for a minute before replying.
"And if it is one person or thing, it could be way-laid or possibly stopped."
"It seems so, Your Majesty," Oscar-sama said brushing a few strands of fiery red hair from his eyes, "However, I think I speak for myself and all of the guardians when I say that, yourself and Queen Collet should not confront a situation this dangerous. And judging by the lack of knowledge about this entity we are ill-prepared to face a threat like this." All those assembled nodded in agreement. Queen Limoges leaned back in her seat and smiled cheerfully at Oscar-sama.
"I know that, silly," she stated causing Oscar-sama to sweat-drop, "That just means that we must find those who are prepared. A group trained to combat this type of enemy."
"It sounds like you already have someone in mind, Your Majesty," Rosalia-san said with a slight grin.
Queen Limoges nodded smiling widely, "I do."
"The Mikelos Clan..." Ange-chan murmured the name of the people the Queen had mentioned. The Mikelos Clan, as it turned out, was a warrior family, one of many originally from a remote planet in the Cosmos of the Divine Bird. Trained in combat of all kinds, they sought out the best teachers for their members and the result was a family whose loyalty was pined for by many individuals. Each member was said to have their own weapon specialty and to have mastered it with perfect accuracy. Another aspect, besides their fighting skills, was their magical abilities. Each member of the clan was watched over and granted power by one of their four animal guardians; the gryphon, the phoenix, the unicorn, and the dragon. Anyone who could gain the loyalty and trust of a Mikelos Clan member would gain an exceedingly powerful ally.
Ange shook her head and grinned ruefully. How the Queen had gained information regarding a family of such origin was beyond her. And quite frankly she didn't think she wanted to know...
After another 15 minutes of trying to circumnavigate the street, Victor-sama pulled off into a small downtown parking lot. The guard at the gate waved them through with a nervous smile and a wave. The Queen definitely had authority. Ange couldn't argue with that. She smiled to herself when she remembered the hug and the 'good lucks' that the ruler had given them before they had left. Queen Limoges was always like that. Kind and sweet.
Soon the hover car was parked and Oscar-sama was helping her out of the vehicle with a roguish grin. She thanked him and smoothed out her skirt.
"We need to go to the capital building first to speak with General Winthrop. We'll run a few errands there, for the Queen, and then ask him about the Mikelos Clan. He will probably know where and how to contact them," Victor-sama's deep and slightly rough voice said as he locked up the vehicle. Oscar-sama nodded then offered Ange his arm, which she took. All right, she thought, here we go.
The next half hour had them diving in and out of throngs of people trying to push themselves up the street. Ange-chan had to cling to Oscar-sama's arm to keep from getting knocked about by the busy passerby. She noted that this fact did not allude Oscar-sama's attention...and neither did the fact that Oscar-sama was now grinning escape hers. After several narrow squeezes, the trio arrived in front of a tall brick building. The building must have been at least 10 stories tall, Ange mused as she leaned her head back to try and see it in its entirety. Victor-sama opened one of the glass doors for them and they rushed inside, grateful for the reprieve from the busy streets. Inside Ange found a room much resembling a bank lobby. The floor was made of bluish-gray marble, as were the counter tops which covered much of the wall space. Workers sat behind the counters ruffling through papers and typing at computers. Victor-sama walked up to the main counter on the far end of the room while Ange surveyed the rest of her surroundings. When he returned both she and Oscar-sama looked at him expectantly.
"General Winthrop is on the top floor. The receptionist said that we could go up and meet him in his upstairs office," he stated nodding at the marble staircase with the wrought iron banister.
"All right," Oscar-sama nodded then looked warily at the stair case. He turned his attention to Ange, "We have to take care of a few details here first. It won't take very long though, so why don't you wait down here for us, Ange-chan."
"Sure," she answered not really wanting to attempt the daunting 10 floor climb. Looking around her she spotted a group of overstuffed chairs in a far corner. "I'll wait over there for you," she pointed to the waiting area and he nodded in confirmation.
"We'll be down shortly," Victor-sama smiled and turned to go up the stairs with Oscar-sama right behind him. Ange watched them until the next floor obscured them from view and then wandered over to the waiting area and plopped down into one of the red chairs.
30 Minutes Later:
Ange sighed as she checked her watch for what seemed like the millionth time. Standing she decided to stretch out her legs. She wandered with no general purpose throughout the room looking up at the molding that edged the ceiling of the room. If I had known it would take this long I would have gone up with them, stairs or no, she thought dryly. A low rumbling caught her attention. It was coming from the stair case. It didn't take long for her to discern what it was as no sooner than she had stilled to listen did a rush of people storm down the stair case and veer to the right for the front door. There was only one thing wrong with their trajectory...Ange was right in their path. She leaped sideways trying not to get caught up in the flow of people but it was too late. The mass of people caught her up and pulled her out the front door with them. She struggled to get out of the flow but the people didn't listen to her cries. They were too busy chattering in and amongst themselves and checking their watches and pushing Ange further and further away from the capital building. The main mass split up and just when Ange thought that she would be able to free herself from the teaming group, the second split caught her up again and pushed her still onward. Finally, after pushing her way out of the people she flung herself up against a building and pressed herself close to it trying to avoid the people's feet. The people passed and Ange stood still catching her breath.
"Well," she exclaimed straightening her clothes, "that was an adventure." She inclined her head to examine her surroundings and froze. None of the buildings around her looked the slightest bit familiar. Stealing herself she thought it out logically, Alright, calm down. I'll be able to find the capital if I go back the way I came! She turned and went around the corner she assumed she had come down only to be met with an equally unfamiliar sight. But...which way is that? With a flutter of panic Ange came to her final conclusion...she was hopelessly lost.