Arc-en-Ciel: Ashes unto Dust

Chapter 1 – Turning a Page in History

Rune Juril was ripped from her sleep by a blaring alarm set at a nearly ear-piercing volume. She cursed loudly and incoherently until the alarm stopped, she groaned in misery, her thrashings entangling her in her bed sheets. With sluggish work Rune untangled herself and sat on the edge of her bed, pinching her temples and giving them a rough massage. Rune was someone many would politely peg as pretty or beautiful, and then secretly start to envy her or mentally undress her and begin fantasizing. Uniquely silver hair left unbraided but (usually) straight with a rogue bang obscuring the left half of her youthful face, heterochromatic eyes of a left blue and a right silver, slightly taller then average with a slim, buxomous figure and pale complexion. Currently clad in just a white tanktop and matching panties, she was hardly any decent.

With a beep a flat screen popped into existence in front of her face, Rune cracked an eye open and gave a tired smile to the screen.

"And what have I done to deserve that rude awakening Malon?"

Malon Eine was Rune's childhood sweetheart. At least that is what Rune likes to say. Actually she was just her dear childhood friend and someone who constantly declined to date her, to Rune's dismay. Bright red hair with a few curls about, and equally bright blue eyes, the younger girl practically oozed youthful energy; Malon smiled on the screen.

"Oh you haven't done anything that bad…" Malon paused a moment, "Well except spread rumors about me. Again. But actually it was because of some very important news!"

"… You woke me for news?" groaned Rune, "I'm going back to bed…"

"This is important Rune!" scolded the redhead, "If you go to sleep you'll get paperwork!" the threat of paperwork made Rune pay half attention, "Get dressed, in uniform, and I'll explain when I get over."

"Wear something sexy for me then?" cooed Rune

Malon stuck her tongue out and the screen vanished with a beep. Juril chuckled and hopped out of bed to fetch her uniform.

About twenty minutes later Rune was dressed in uniform, that of an Enforcer. A brown jacket, underneath a form-fitting black shirt, and in place of the traditional skirt and leggings for women was simply brown pants. An electronic beep alerted her to Malon's arrival, Rune waved and smiled as her friend walked in. The redhead was also dressed in an Enforcer's uniform, only she wore the skirt and black leggings. Now Malon was no stranger to the mess that was Rune's room but she couldn't help groaning every time she stepped in it. The small kitchen was littered with dirty dishes and empty bottles and all over the bedroom floor was random articles of clothing.

"Do you ever clean up after yourself?" Malon sighed, "Don't answer. I'll just clean this later…"

"How about I take you out to dinner in thanks?" flirted Rune fetching a pack of cigarettes and stuffing them in her jacket's breast pocket

"I'll pass thanks. Now get Crea and come along, this is a big day!" then she quickly added when she saw that twinkle in Rune's eye, "No you aren't getting lucky. A big day in history not your love life."

"It never seems to be."

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As it turned out something big had happened. About a week ago the TSAB had made contact with another magical civilization that called itself the Varista Empire. In true TSAB fashion they were quick to make diplomatic relations and to see if this new civilization would abide by their regulations. Malon didn't know how negotiations went but things looked good, the big event was a Varistan diplomat was coming along with some others and someone got Rune tickets to be among the first in line. Rune suspected it was her friend, Fate T. Harlaown of the famed Aces. The blonde friend was always trying to make her work more. Personally Juril would just prefer dinner but Fate, like Malon, was just one of those hopeless dreams, but the ones still worth chasing. Still she wasn't sure if Fate was behind this… She didn't see her in the room Rune was waiting in. Actually aside from Malon sitting to her left, she didn't recognize anyone here, but they certainly looked important. Particularly that bluish-black haired Navy officer. Suddenly there was a beep and all heads turned to the door. Quickly everyone, about ten including Rune and Malon, rose to their feet as a man strode in flanked by two pairs of red and black armored guards. After him a few TSAB personal came in, one was recognized as Fate. A blonde haired and black-clad girl was speaking to the diplomat, but Rune wasn't really paying attention to that.

Rather she was fixated on the sole female of what she assumed were guards. The other three had weapons resembling rifles and wore helmets; the female did not appear armed nor wore a helmet. Her hair was a deep, dark red like thick blood, a left eye of green and the right a mysterious gold, and she had Rune's complexion but was a bit taller. And appeared to be more buxom as well. Something about that woman just sent chills down her spine. Suddenly their eyes met and Rune nearly shuddered under her gaze. Everyone began to file out, Malon had started to speak to Fate, but Rune somehow ended up near the imposing woman.

"And what might your name be?" spoke the woman suddenly as the group traveled to another room

Great now the 'alien' woman was asking her name. She had the idea of pretending she didn't hear but that might offend her and land her in trouble with the nearby powers that be.

She replied flatly instead, "Rune."

"An interesting and unique name, for an equally interesting and unique female," Rune felt she could just hear a lick of lips and feel a caress, instead she felt a hand feeling strands of her hair, Juril resisted the urge to shiver and pull away, "Such unique hair… I would love to see if this natural…" purred the blood-haired woman softly, "Perhaps you'll let me find out when this is all done kitten?"

"I don't think so. Ma'am." retorted Juril tartly, lightly brushing the woman's hand away

The group reached a set of double doors, everyone filed in… Except Rune and the woman, curse her luck. Juril moved to leave but was stopped by a rough grab on her hand.

"I don't remember saying you could leave." Her tone was now as menacing as acid, "I'm curious as to how you'll sound when I have my fun…"

"I'm afraid I must really be going ma'am." Replied Rune through gritted teeth as she freed her hand and quickly began to walk away sending a mental note to Malon

"We'll meet again Rune Juril," Rune nearly froze as the woman said her full name and faltered mid-step before hurrying out, "Very soon."

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Rune had immediately returned to her room, Malon said she'd be back late to clean up and scold her, but that didn't matter; Juril was much more concerned with trying to push that Varista woman out of her mind. Which is what she was doing when Malon returned. Rune Juril was sitting cross-legged on her bed focusing on the computer in front of her, on her nightstand was an ashtray with a few crushed butts and a fresh cigarette was in her mouth. She had shed her uniform, just adding to the bedroom litter, and replaced it with a tanktop and jeans. Malon let out an exaggerated sigh as she took off her heels and went to tackle the dirty dishes infestation.

"If you want to walk out in the middle of a big meeting you could at least pretend it was for a good reason Rune."

"She looked like she was going to tie me up and lock me in the nearest vacant room." Replied Rune taking a drag from the smoke stick

"Uh huh. I put up with looks like that and them some from you on a daily basis." Retorted Malon matter of factly

"Ah but I give them to you out of love and compassion! She on the other hand was eyeing me like I was dinner."

"You're just paranoid." Malon finished cleansing the kitchen and started to clean the bedroom floor, "Probably just afraid of meeting someone with a greater libido then yours."

"Keep telling yourself that but trust me," Rune cast a glance at her friend's behind as she bent to pick up some clothes, "That woman is some seriously bad news."

"One of your infamous 'bad feelings'?"

"And you know how those turn out."

"I know, I know." Malon came out of the laundry room and curiously started to peer at Rune's computer screen, "Just what are you – " then she immediately blushed and looked away in embarrassment, "You just had to get those… those… THINGS from Earth didn't you?! Pervert, pervert, PERVERT!"

"Didn't you already know that?" teased Rune as she gestured at the screen, "She isn't nearly as cute as you Malon! Although she certainly is bust – "and then her brain caught up with her mouth telling her she just crossed one of Malon's few lines

"What. Did. You. Say?" said Malon curtly biting off each word as she peered out of the laundry room as Rune was quietly making her retreat

"I said I was just going out… Don't wait for me of course!" Juril ducked as a shoe was thrown and hastily got her coat and shoes, "And she's busty unlike you!" teased Rune as she closed the door and heard a thud, "Phew. Clo – "then a glowing arrow tip poked through and she ran like hell