A/N: There are so many things in my real life trying to prevent this chapter of being finished, but here it is. I hope you like it, Happy belated Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!
As if the world had been frozen, no sound could be heard in the background, including the usual birds' chirp and monsters' step. Like the world itself had fallen into an abyss of silence. The two people, both definitely out of place, a strange pair, proceeded somewhat awkwardly to the village of Iselia. Two people, both deep in thoughts.
Yuan followed Lloyd's uncertain steps with a set of firm step of his own. His suspicion for Lloyd has yet to cease, but he knew better than to underestimate any of Kratos' relatives. Despite the innocent look, perhaps the boy had something up to his sleeve. Still, the mind boggling question bugged him out of everything. Being an expert magician he was, and a pride that he knew almost everything related to magitechnology, for he had studied it his whole life (Four thousand years! Who else had lived that long aside of the three of them?) , he couldn't think even a single satisfying answer on how Kratos managed to hide his trace for the whole fourteen years. Hiding in the term of completely vanishing, since neither him nor Mithos doubted the fact he was dead. Maybe, in the tiniest chance, they had grown careless of their certainty, but it was almost impossible to be unseen by anyone in Cruxis. Fourteen years were not a short time, and he managed to trick everyone.
Yeah, he was succeeded in escaping with Anna for the full two years before they managed to corner him in that fateful day, but the journey wasn't without trouble. They faced Desians along their way, and not rarely he himself or even Mithos. The idea that he could fake his own death, hiding from them while raising the secret twin all these time screamed one word in his head. Impossible!
He scratched his head out of habit, trying to solve the mystical equation.
The auburn haired boy in front of him had no less complicated problem in his mind. They would soon reach Iselia, and he began to doubt his actions. There was high probability that what they had planned would be completely useless once Yuan interfered. He wouldn't leave Kratos that easily, given that in his perception they had something amiss. Going to another place wasn't certainly an option. Yuan was glaring daggers right now, and Lloyd was surprised that the trees didn't wither right away.
If only he could buy them some time… he sighed. Unable to pull on his thoughts anymore, he scratched the back of his head, deciding to divert his mind instead. He imagined Colette, her smile, and that she definitely say if she was there. A 'don't worry, you can do it, Lloyd!' made its way to him, and he found himself automatically smiled.
Funny thing about the world, he made a mental note, it could turn upside down any second, and Lloyd couldn't help but think that he was perhaps, the world's favorite toy. Okay, this was not his world. Or rather, dimension? Raine would probably scold him for his inability to differentiate between the two. But she wasn't here, and Lloyd didn't care about such trivial thing right now.
Then there was Genis. He wondered what they were doing, and how was his world's condition? Origin hasn't said a thing. Maybe he was too eager. All he had done was a dimension (he preferred it over 'world') and he was already homesick. Couldn't be blamed, he assured his mind. After all, I spent a year there and it's quite a long time…wait…
He was snapped back to reality. The shock was so great that he lost his concentration and stumbled upon a random pile of stones. Yuan was still preoccupied. Had he not he should be able to sense something was wrong.
Did it mean he had left his friends for a year? Did all dimensions go through the same time flow? Then-what happened to his world now? Last time he saw it, Aselia could barely hold to another day. Stupid! And now he planned another year in this dimension.
His blood raced. How could he forget such important part? Professor Raine always said he was too simple minded, but the words now no longer joke in his head. Raine always said he never be too much a thinker. As right as she always be, this was a disaster. Come to think about it, before they could calculate how much time they had, they shouldn't waste too much. He had messed up the whole journey. Unconsciously, he walked faster, almost running, desperate to ask his companion's opinion.
Kratos said a year. Hell, change in plan! They obviously couldn't use one extra year in this world!
They need something to move faster, to enable them to visit Origin's Tablet while maintaining the communication at the same time. He glanced to his side, noticing a certain blue haired half elf. Yuan. Renegades. Rheairds. Of course!
Now he need to know who is in charge of the Renegades . Yuan replaced Kratos in the World regeneration journey. Is there any chance he does the double agent? He decided the crisis of time was worth the risk to find out. Summoning his usual confidence to cover his discomfort, he tried to sound like they were engaging in light conversation, hoping that Yuan wouldn't be offended too much.
"You're the one accompanying the Chosen on her journey, correct?"
Yuan raised his eyebrows. Okay, that wasn't a good starter. A lame one, in fact.
"Do you have anything towards that?"
Lloyd swore he would rather choose to save the world one more time than dealing with information digging process. He could felt his impression of Raine, Sheena, and Kratos increased tenfold. He was somehow regretting for not getting enough practice of this certain subject during his journey.
Since he didn't know one bit about the trade of diplomacy, he decided that doing it his own way would be better, and save him from unnecessary silence, like this one.
Okay, here goes.
"Who is the leader of Renegades?"
Blurting it out right wasn't his brightest idea, but it certainly worth a shot. He need not to pursue the question in circling conversation nor blowing himself in the process. That simple sentence was enough to give him drastic change on expression.
Mere second ago he was his usual calm, cold face. Now it went from reddish black of confusion and anger to speckled darkness of fury. A bit of 'how could you' could be recognized from the pattern, as well as worries. It was amusing if only the situation was not that worse. The growing silence was full of pressure, and the heavy air was filled with the intention to kill. His hand moved to his Swallow just in time Lloyd pulled his own swords in anticipation.
Yuan, however, had passed his sudden explode of emotions and managed to chill down. Still, his stance didn't budge and he made sure his seriousness was known to Lloyd.
"I suppose talking to you is more important now. Let's go to the base. With you talking like that I assume you've already know where it is. Doing that kind of conversation here is risky, but after we reach the base I'll make you tell everything."
Now he was positive that Yuan played double agent. Perhaps he could use the information in the near future. Ignoring the deadly glare towards him, he trekked on, finally getting the excitement of his plan.
Quickly making a mental note for the act he about to play, he followed Yuan without further question.
Meanwhile in Iselia, Kratos had just finished with the ritual and was on his way back to the Chosen's house. He thought about Origin's absence and 'his' death fourteen years prior. There were oddities that nudge for his concern, but he couldn't figure what they were. After making sure the Chosen had been home safely he walked to the village's outskirts, trying to find better place to gather his mind.
One thing he realized: if Mithos received any report about his sightings in Iselia, no one could guess what he would do. After all, he was needed in the most crucial part of his plan. The problem had become more complex than what he expected at the first place. Closing his eyes, he let his mind rest, piecing together what he had learnt so far.
The trees rustled at the sudden change of wind. The branch he leaned on was shaking softly, producing a subtle thumping sound as the fruits hit one another.
That was the time he noticed trails of a Rheaird up in the sky.
He found himself an inch from the tip of the Swallow, and being cornered to the wall of Yuan's office. He wasted no time once he fixed their position. They had entered the base in a rather destructive manner, gaining attention from the other Renegades all the way. He was half dragged by Yuan for the last one third of their journey.
"There's no time to lose, so let's go right to the point. Whose side you're on? Is Kratos still with Cruxis? That'll explain how he managed to escape for years." His cold, icy eyes scanned Lloyd thoroughly and Lloyd began to pray he wouldn't mess that on. He wasn't a very good liar to begin with.
"Are you crazy? After all that happened with mom?" he stressed every word with cynical expression that earned him some good nonverbal reaction from Yuan. The said half elf finally let out his stress in a sigh, now staring aimlessly to the sky while loosening his grip. His actions the past hour were almost un-Yuan-ish, but from his face Lloyd vaguely wondered of what had possibly happened in Cruxis. This Yuan seemed to be more frustrated than he ever seen in his world. Now that he mentioned it, he could see dust piled on his desk, and his books were collecting even more dust. His cape was wrinkled, and his hair was a bit messy.
"I…see. Still, that didn't stop me wondering of why he started his rebellion without contacting me. He's the one with the idea of Renegade, and now he left me alone. How irresponsible."
"Wait…what do you say?"
Kratos was the one founding Renegade?
KatNote: Our chapter today comes from Dark Melodia! Thanks Dark Melodia! :D