Warnings: Spoilers, some violence, schadenfreude. Cara/Grantes in that Cara and Grantes are a couple during this, but not in that anything actually romantic takes place.
Disclaimer: If I owned Legend of Legaia, Gala/Songi would be canon and I wouldn't be writing fanfiction. It's not, and I am. Therefore, I don't own it.
A/N: I probably should not have had fun writing this, although I did.
The Mist was gone. The Seru were gone. And for most people, the disappearance of the Seru wasn't as important as it seemed. True, for all of known history, mankind had used Seru, but for the last ten or so years, Seru had been more of a danger anyway. Living off one's own strength didn't seem so bad, not when people had been doing it for so long now, and if there were no more Seru then hey, that was one less threat out there.. It was regrettable that things couldn't just go back to the way they'd always been, but who would trust the Seru now, anyway? Doing without was hard, but they'd already been doing without And there was the righteous feeling that something was being sacrificed, that they were being noble in moving forward without it, without the loss of giving up something they actually wanted. The change was something most people could learn to live with, if not appreciate as a change for the better.
But the Soren have never been like most people.
It happened over the course of a few days. A Seru would be attached, working just fine, and then it would be nothing more than disconnected and stony. And then moments later, it would crumble into dust. Some people believed there was an essence, a soul to a Seru, that the Seru were dying. But death had long been a reality, and most people considered parting with the Seru a good riddance. And the people with a much-beloved Seru to remember would picture it waiting for them in the Naoru Valley.
Who knows whether this was true? The thing was, one second a pair of wings were flapping, and then the next second, they disintegrated.
One moment, a Soren would be gliding through the sky, feeling the breeze on his face. It would be like every other day, every other flight, or maybe it would be special for some personal reason unique to the Soren, some individual joy or drama or heartbreak. No sign that anything was wrong. Then he'd feel something strange. It might be hard for him to place the feeling at first—plenty of Soren practiced diving downward and then picking their wings up in a glide, like birds do, but it wasn't so common to lose control and to fall. If he'd never had a crash landing, it would be better—he wouldn't know what was coming until the very end, if ever. But he'd know something was wrong. He'd realize that what he was doing now could no longer be considered flying, and even if the word "falling" didn't come to mind, it was terrifying. He was going to die. He'd feel for his wings, find nothing (or maybe if he was quick enough, he'd feel a stone, or something like grains of sand blowing away), maybe he'd register it, maybe he'd feel that jolt in his chest that there was nothing he could do, and all the while the ground would be coming closer and closer and closer and…
Bystanders, if there were any, would hear a loud crunching noise.
There had been plenty of sightings of fallen Soren over those couple of days. It used to be an incredible sight to look up and see flying people make their way across the sky. The first people to see the falling ones were shocked- the Soren was just a speck in the clouds like any other Soren, and then it got larger and larger until it was definitely a person, definitely falling, and before they could understand what was happening and why, it didn't look much like a person anymore. It was all they could do to close their eyes and look away at the critical moment.
It didn't take very long after the shock wore off to piece together the whats and whys, and word travelled quickly on the ground. Word barely travelled at all for the Soren, who maintained few channels of communication with the surface-dwellers. More Soren fell on the second day than the first. When the numbers finally began to drop, it wasn't because more Soren knew not to fly. It was because there were less Soren out there to fall. But it only took a few days until all the Seru had disappeared, so perhaps the numbers were meaningless.
Details began to come in as the Soren came down from the mountains. The first couple of days, they were dirty and terrified, but healthy. As time went on, they grew thinner, weaker- these were the Soren trapped at the tops of mountains, who'd flown to get there but had no wings for the return trip. The last few were like walking skeletons, ribs, cheekbones sticking out. After these, no more survivors were found. Some of them talked about other Soren trapped up in the colony, unable to get back down. But there wasn't anything people could do to help them, and by the time the surface-dwellers knew about it, it was probably too late.
But for the lucky Soren, the ones able to get down… well, once they were down, they didn't know what to do. They'd been living in the sky away from the surface dwellers, and suddenly they were surface dwellers, part of a world that until then, they'd chosen to ignore. Part of a world that they no longer could. Eventually, beggars with Soren tattoos became a common sight. People pitied them. There was no way they could have known this was going to happen. They had done nothing to deserve this. Their entire world had been founded on the use of Seru, and now… unlike everyone else, they hadn't had ten or so years to adapt.
Most people felt sorry for them. But then again, Cara and Grantes weren't like most people.
They started looking out the window when they heard the news. First Cara, then Grantes, then Cara again, and both of them together.
"I'm worried about them," Grantes said. But he said it with a smile that he couldn't completely hide, and he didn't look her in the eyes. They'd refused to let take in his beloved, they'd left him with the impossible choice of whether to lose Cara or to lose the only life he had ever known. It wasn't that they deserved what was coming to them, it was just that for the moment, he was happy to see them suffer.
"Me too," Cara replied. "I mean, hey, they're your friends out there, right? Your family?" But her voice wasn't quite properly miserable. Had she meant the friends and family that had cast him away? That had left him for dead in some shitty bar while she robbed graves in order to pay off his tab? She wanted to see them on the surface world they hated so much, forced to go about as outsiders with those horrible land folk like her. (And even as she thought this, she realized Grantes had become much less of an outsider than he used to be, even if he'd taken his time to get there.) There would come a time to feel sad, to grieve. But that time hadn't yet come.
They looked away from each other, staring out the window, waiting for the high and mighty to fall. But they must have known somehow how the other felt, because she moved in closer to him, and he put his arm around her waist.