Sherry walked around her room, fascinated by all the trappings. Granted, it was no different from Sparkster's room, but she didn't mind (although she wondered how he would feel if he knew she had been snooping in his room. She had no idea how they had ended up in the future other than the fact that it had to do with Axle's machine... but it was too late to ask him what it was; he was missing and she didn't wish to go out looking for him in the dead of night. Slowly, she slipped off her dirtied dress and put on a nightgown, walking out to a rocking chair on a balcony. She looked out at the sea, soon falling asleep from the relaxing motion of the chair and the washing sound of the waves.
"Chispa, do you think this is what your old advisor told you about? The prophecy that the hero of the past would save the future?" Xeres questioned her somewhat drowsy husband.
"What...?" Chispa said, half-asleep. "Oh, the prophecy. Yes, this is probably it, I wouldn't doubt it. But it's too late to think, let's talk tomorrow. Please come to bed before you worry about it too much." He said, yawning. He slipped into the large bed and immediately dozed off. Xeres sat for a while, thinking. Slowly, she rose up and walked out of the room, treading quietly so she wouldn't wake Chispa. She paced up and down the hall, thinking.
Axle Gear twisted around to avoid Sparkster's parry and lashed out with his fist. Sparkster caught it and twisted, then jetted away with a burst of flame. Axle bit his lip till it bled, then began a fast sequence of rapier thrusts with his sword. Sparkster flipped over them and came down with a spinning slash. Axle felt blood run down his arm as it was cut to the bone by Sparkster's brutal attack. With one last burst of energy, he tossed his blade at his enemy before falling unconscious. Sparkster attempted to dodge, but misjudged the speed of Axle's toss and felt the cloth robe he was wearing tear in half, gashing his chest. He fell to his knees, taking the ripped robe and wrapping it around his chest as a bandage...
A cloth robe?
Sparkster sat up. He was in his room. A dream? He sighed.
"What was that? And why was I..." He looked at himself. He was clothed in the tunic, habit, and belt Chispa had given him the night before. And, other than his flight goggles, his armor was missing. Leaping off the bed, he began to search the entire room. His yellow hair flopped between his eyes.
"Where could it be!? If Chispa did this, he's going to be getting a surprise... boy will he get one..." Sparkster muttered as he poked his head in a closet. "Nope, not there either..." Sparkster ran a hand through his hair. While it was certainly liberating not to be in a large set of hot, stuffy, metal armor, he felt somewhat naked without it. The armor was his life; he had forged it himself, along with his sword and his flight goggles. He just hoped that Sherry didn't see him like this, although since he couldn't stay inside his room all day, she was bound to see him before long. Sighing, he ran his hand through his hair again and slipped the habit's hood up. At least someone might not recognize him now. He slipped outside and looked through a window. It was still dark, although the moon was low in the sky.
"Good... I still have some time." He slipped quietly through the halls, peeking into a doorway every once in a while. "Most of the rooms here are bedrooms..." Sparkster poked his head into the doorway at the end of the hallway opposite the one he had come from. The room was almost exactly like his and was relatively empty, except for Sherry, who was asleep in a chair on the balcony. Blushing, he tiptoed in and looked around. "I bet that whoever took it hid it in here just to spite me!" Rummaging through the room, he heard shuffling and a snicker behind him and stood stock still. He turned around slowly and saw the queen chuckling quietly at him.
"What are you doing in there, Rocket Knight?" She asked. Sparkster didn't move his feet, and tried to motion the queen to leave, unsuccessfully. She kept chuckling and left, beckoning him. "Come with me, hero. I think it would be good if we talked." Curious, Sparkster left the room and followed her out to a wide balcony behind the throne room. She sat on a comfortable-looking cushion, staring out at the seaside and drinking tea.
"Alright, what's the matter?" Sparkster asked as he walked out onto the balcony. Xeres pointed to a cushion next to her. Sparkster kept standing, and she sighed in annoyance. "We don't stand on ceremony nowadays quite as much as you do from your time, not that it was all that long ago. I know you'll get uncomfortable standing all night, so you may as well sit down." Sparkster sat, a sheepish grin on his face. "So what's up?" He asked.
"You're just like Chispa when he was younger. He never wanted anybody to see what he looked like under all his Rocket Knight armor. You're quite like him, in fact, but different somehow. Chispa is a bit more... I don't know. Wiser, maybe, but that's only due to his age and experience. You... something about you is strikingly familiar." She set down her teacup. "Tell me about your time, please. We have a little time before the Captain wakes up and begins the morning drills, and I'd love to hear about it."
* * *
A tiny ray of sunlight landed on Sherry's face, and her eyes fluttered. Yawning, she curled up in her chair and tried to block out the light, to no avail. She felt a small gust of wind pass her by, and she opened her eyes wearily. She saw a suit of purple armor on the edge of the balcony and blinked. "A...xel?" She rubbed her eyes, and the figure was gone. "Must have just been a dream..." She mused. She sat up in the rocking chair and heard a 'plink' at her feet. She picked up the small, golden bead lying on the ground. She picked it up, and the small streak of sunshine reflected off of it. Slipping it into the pocket of her nightgown, she went into her room to get dressed. She was just slipping on her travel dress from the day before when she heard a low BOOM! from outside. Rushing out, she saw what looked like a sea of smoke rising into the air, then parting into multiple paths. She ran out the door and sped through the hallway until she saw Sparkster and the Queen.
"Sparkster! Queen Xeres! Thank Zebulos I found you! There's something going on outside and it looks like trouble!" Sherry ran into Sparkster and caused them both to crumple onto the ground. Xeres shook her head, tut-tutting.
"Miss Sherry, you have nothing to worry about. That's just Captain Gear and the recruits doing the morning exercises. Pay it no mind. In fact, why don't you and Sparkster go and join them? I'm sure they wouldn't mind." Sparkster's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. "Join them in the middle of a training session, while endangering the princess!? Are you insane!?" Sherry whipped around, face scrunched.
"Sparkster! We can join them! I'll be fine!" Sparkster took up a defensive stance at the door leading away from the balcony. "No, Sherry. You could get hurt, or worse! I'm not gonna allow it. Not this time." Xeres smiled and walked over to a wall. Pressing a brick, the wall folded open to reveal a compartment of rocket packs. Sherry jumped in happiness and ran over, grabbing one, much to Sparkster's horror.
"Sherry! What are you doing!?" Sparkster had no more time to argue, as Sherry had strapped on her rocket pack and leapt off the balcony. Sparkster just stood there, dumbfounded. Xeres walked up and strapped a rocket pack on him, shocking him out of his stupor. "You'd better get rocketing, Sparkster. She'll have too much of a head start otherwise!" Shaking his head, Sparkster charged his pack and zoomed after Sherry.
* * *
Qassan checked his rocket's valve as he sped across the valley, performing some loops. "Pressure... check." He looked forward at his goggles and saw the neon blue heads-up display inside the lenses. "Goggles... check." He reached towards his back and drew his sword. It was nothing fancy, a simple steel blade with a bronze hilt, but he had made it himself and he was proud of it. He admired the blade for a while, then put it away and looked in front of him.
"Wha-" Qassan ducked just in time as a green blur sped past him. He set his jetpack to hovermode and stared at the odd sight. "That looked like that girl we found yesterday... but..." He suddenly felt a whoosh above his head, and saw Sparkster rushing away in the same direction. "Wait... Sparkster's chasing... that means that was... the Princess!" His eyes widened and he jetted after Sparkster.
* * *
"Son, I'm sorry, but you can't join us during our training, and that's final! Go back to the castle and wake up your mother." Captain Gear tried to speak soothingly, but it ended up sounding more like he had a sore throat than anything else. The little opossum in front of him stuck his tongue out at his reflection in his father's dark violet armor.
"Bleh! You and the other Rocket Knights can't tell me what to do!" The little opossum stomped away unhappily. Captain Gear sighed. "Bevel, when will you ever learn?" Looking out, he noticed three smoke trails heading in his direction. "What are they doing? That's not part of the morning routine." Jumping up and slowly jetting out, he moved in front of the three figures.
"Hold steady there! Set your jetpacks to hovermode and stay there!" Captain Gear yelled and held out his hands in a defensive pose. As he saw the figures get closer, his hand withdrew to his sword.
Sherry and the Captain collided, with Sherry laughing wildly and the Captain hanging onto her rocket pack. "Miss, what on earth are you doing!? Rocketpacks are for trainees and knights only!" Sherry looked back and stared. Captain Gear felt a foot clang into his armor, and saw Sherry wince in pain. "If I may give you a tip, since you won't listen to me otherwise?" Sherry nodded. "Shift your weight around and use the boost grips on the sides of your pack. You'll move better." Captain Gear then let go and jetted past her. Not wanting to be outdone, Sherry boosted her pack and sped after the Captain. Sparkster, noticing the jet of speed Sherry had put on, sighed in defeat and headed back to the castle.
* * *
"You did well out there, miss Sherry. With a little training, you could probably be a good Rocket Knight!" Sherry shook here head, smiling. "I don't think so. It's much too dangerous for my liking. This was just a jab at my friend for being too overbearing. I hope he didn't take it too out of context." Sherry cradled her chin in her hand, deep in thought. "You know, I never caught your name." Captain Gear smiled. "Captain Axle Gear of the Zebulosian Rocket Knights, at your service. I prefer being called Axle, however." He frowned at the look of shock in the girl's face. Had he done something wrong? "Miss?" He shook his hand in front of her face. Tenderly grasping her hand, he tugged slightly to shake her out of her stupor.
It worked. Sherry whipped her hand out of his and sprinted the rest of the way into the throne room. "Sparkster, Your Majesty! What have you done!?" She ran breathless into Sparkster's chest, knocking the wind from him. His arms instinctively closed upon Sherry. She looked at Chispa. "Your captain of the Rocket Knights just told me that his name is Axle Gear!" Sparkster tensed. Axle? Captain? "Sherry, are you sure? This old geezer can't possibly be Axle Gear." Captain Gear let out a loud bark of laughter at Sparkster's statement and didn't stop until he was wheezing on the ground. "Not... hoo-hoo... not much foahahahaha... for manners, are you, kid? Old geezer... pffffhahahahahahahahahaha!" Captain Gear broke out into a second bout of laughter, and both Chispa and Xeres couldn't help smiling. Qassan emitted a lough cough, which earned him a slightly miffed look from Sparkster.
Sparkster was frustrated. He couldn't see why anybody was laughing; if this really was Axle Gear, then a wanted criminal was in this room. "If you're really Axle Gear, then answer me this. Have you ever killed before?" The laughter abruptly stopped, and the smiles were gone from all the faces. Axle picked himself up off the floor and stared straight into Sparkster's eyes. "Why not ask yourself the same question." Axle stepped into a fighting stance. "You look like a Rocket Knight, but I've never seen the likes of you before." Chispa picked up a small wooden cane near his throne and slammed down on the floor twice, creating a loud boom. "Silence! Axle, be courteous to our guest." Sparkster smirked, but it was a brief victory. "And Sparkster, I can personally attest that this is Axle Gear and I can personally guarantee that he is not here to cause trouble!" The sternness in his voice was obvious. "Axle, I'm certain you know of Sparkster and Princess Sherry. It is a long story, but they have somehow warped through time to our age." The tension dissolved as Chispa took charge. "Now, down to business. Captain, you are dismissed." Axle bowed low and left the room. "Qassan, would you notify the scientists that I will be visiting them later today?" Qassan made an elegant leg, and left the room as well. Xeres turned to Sparkster and Sherry.
"Chispa and I think it would be a good idea for you to get your bearings and explore the capital city. You've warped through time and things have likely changed, so it would be a good idea to know your surroundings." She handed Sherry a pouch of small red jewels. "I must warn you that we have had some troubles as of late. A rogue knight has been causing trouble, and there have been some riots in the shadier parts of the city." She chanced a look at Sparkster. "However, I'm sure that you'll be able to protect her in case of trouble, yes?" Sparkster nodded. Chispa cleared his throat. "Sparkster, I'm sure you're wondering where your armor is. I have it being retouched and remade right now, and the same goes for your sword. When I meet with the science team this afternoon, I will ask them if it has finished. It may not be, seeing as I have most of them trying to figure out a way to send you back home." Sparkster nodded. "That is all. You are dismissed!" And with that, Sparkster and Sherry found themselves in the front courtyard of the castle. Sherry smiled.
"C'mon! Let's see what the future is like!" She dashed past him, full of enthusiasm. Sparkster sighed and chased after her.
Been a while since I've uploaded to this, hasn't it? I lost my inspiration for a while due to increasing homework and schoolwork, but now I'm back.
Sorry about the large amount of filler so far, but I think the next chapter will be a bit more action-y.