Far away from where Ryan was flying back to Japan, inside the Celestial Hall that was concealed in the lowest level of Chronos Arizona Base One, the Twelve Supreme Lords had convened after their latest battle. Rienzi and Waferdanos briefed Alkanphel and the others on what had transpired at the now-destroyed Los Angeles facility. Edward Caerleon was, of course, also taking the opportunity to inform the other Chronos Supreme Lords of his own findings. Ingriam, however, wasnt speaking; instead, the youngest of Chronos Zoalord Council was trembling slightly as he looked over at his father.

-Dad? Did you hear what I helped do for Chronos? Did- did I make you proud of me, Dad?-

Imakarum, several seats down, didnt answer. Instead, he turned away from his son and faced the three Zoalords making their report. What he had to do was hard enough, Imakarum knew; looking at Ingriam would have made it impossible.

-Dad?- Ingriam called again, starting to visibly tremble. -Daddy?-

Tuaha De Galenos, sitting in his place next to Ingriam at the large, circular Council table where eleven of the Twelve Zoalords were sitting, reached out and clasped the Ninth Zoalords left hand. Waferdanos had been correct about him: the young one really was too emotionally fragile for his own mental health. Such were the risks of subjecting such a young, damaged boy to processing as a Zoalord, and then instating him as one of the Nine Overlords before he had been given a chance to recover and mature.

Galenos could not understand why Lord Alkanphel had even considered the boys reprocessing in the first place. And more than that, to make him the new Ninth Zoalord? He could understand their Supreme Overlords desire to reward the boyhe had displayed exceptional loyalty to Chronos as a whole, and the Council in particularbut there had most assuredly been a better way for their Lord to demonstrate his considerable gratitude, never mind more suitable candidates for the then-vacant Ninth Zoalord position. However, the facts remained what they were; the boy remained what he was; and there was no point in dwelling on things that could not be changed.

"I suppose I made something of a miscalculation when I suggested that we not annihilate the Anti Chronos Task Force when we had the chance. I apologize for that oversight."

"No need, Imakarum," Edward Caerleon said with his usual calm. "We knew previously that this Anti Chronos Task Force was powerful, but we are now aware of their limits, as well. They were almost overwhelmed by a small force of Hyper Zoanoids, not to mention the damage that we four Zoalords were able to cause to their forces." He paused for a moment. "I would venture that even with the Fourth Guyvers allegiance, the Anti Chronos Task Force will not present a significant obstacle to our plans. They will not be able to prevent X-Day."

"Still," Waferdanos interjected, "it troubles me that both Aptom and the Fifth Guyver have joined forces with the Anti Chronos Task Force."

"Yes, the Fifth Guyver is far more dangerous than the Fourth. Still, even if he were somehow able to train the Fourth Guyver to be as formidable an adversary as he himself is, they would still be only two Guyvers. What are two Guyvers, or even four, when compared to the sheer might of our forces?" Khans thoughts on the matter were clear.

Still, though the two groups were at odds, Tuaha found these humans worthy of at least a modicum of respect; it was a sentiment that he doubted would be shared by the rest of the Council.

XxXxX

Alkanphel, while he was carefully considering the reports that his children had been giving him, found himself slightly distracted by the confusion and mental pain he could feel radiating from Kenji. The way the youngest of his children was feeling reminded Alkanphel uncomfortably of his own abandonment at the hands of the Advents. Still, Kenji had the advantage of his presence: he would not have to endure the same crushing loneliness that he himself had been forced to endure.

-Kenji, can you maintain your composure for a few minutes longer?-

-Alkanphel? Do you- do you think Dad hates me? Is that why he wont talk to me anymore?-

-Kenji, I know for a fact that Masaki doesnt hate you. I will speak to him again, but in the meantime you must endure for a little while longer. Can you trust me, and do that?-

-I- I think I can do that,- Kenji said, sounding small and timid and uncertain.

Gently manipulating the nerves on the back of Kenjis neck and the top and back of his head, Alkanphel made him feel as if his hair was being softly stroked. It always seemed to calm him down when Masaki did it, and it served the same purpose this time. It seemed to help that Tuaha was sitting next to him, holding his hand; and Masaki would have to give a good account of himself if he wanted to avoid Alkanphels displeasure.

"Lord Alkanphel, would it not be prudent to initiate X-Day with all speed, now that we know the full extent of the Anti Chronos Task Forces capabilities?"

Alkanphel, who had turned to regard Kenji during their telepathic exchange the boy being too bereft by the loss of contact with Masaki to respond to anything considered more impersonal turned his gaze on Shin as his Fourth Zoalord spoke. "Yes," he said firmly, satisfied with all of the information that his children had gathered about the most recently discovered enemies of Chronos. "This farce ends tomorrow."

End Meeting Places
The saga continues in
Days of Fire and Thunder