Authors note: Here is the first of the redone chapters. Going over these again after getting some practice in I couldn't believe just how bad I was writing at the time. Though I've hopefully fixed the majority of the problems. I'm sure there are still a few small things I haven't noticed or picked up on, but I promises this is a lot better than it was before. Also If anyone wants to beta read for me or just point out flaws please feel free.

Fire, it was consuming everything and everyone. The flames stretched high above lapping away at the start light. People tried desperately to flee the flames and destruction only to be gunned down or crushed under the feet of the Solarian Gears. The night sky was ablaze with a horrid shade of orange. The roaring furry of the fires accompanied the cries of the injured and dying creating a tragic symphony in the night. Among these flames stood two great figures surveying the destruction they themselves had brought to this once great city. These two were the spearhead that led the slaughter.

A young girl, still alive watched in helpless fear of these imposing forms. One was brown like a clay figure, with massive wings that seemed to be those of a great bat. The other shone with a bright shade of red like blood freshly drawn. Cries of laughter and scorn could be heard over the red Gears intercom. The girls mind began to dull unable to grasp the gravity of the situation in which she found herself. Her mind emptied as shock took hold of her. She tried to raise herself to her feet but her hands slipped in something warm and wet. Again, she tried to raise herself up though successful she looked down and saw that her hand had slipped on a pool of blood. She looked beside her. Then she realized the blood was that of her parents, lying dead alongside her. Only her older brother still lived, desperately clutching the wound in his neck trying to keep himself alive but to no effect. She watched as the life drifted from his eyes. From behind her a sliver haired man, a Solarian officer approached her and placed single hand on her shoulder.

Then a young man shouted, "Ramsus! I'm going to tear your limbs from your body and suck the marrow of your bones!"

The young man stood before the officer, his green Military uniform torn and bloody. However, the blood was not his. It was that of his enemies, the Solarian Military. He charged the silver haired man with a large bayonet in each hand. The officer had barely the time to raise his sword. Despite blocking the attack with a strong defensive stance, the sheer force of the young man's blow broke his guard. The silver haired man quickly recovered and snapped his blade up, lunging into the young man. The two men suddenly stopped each held a blade to the others throat. Each was prepared to cut the other down. The silver haired man looked deep into the blood thirsty and enraged eyes of the young man. He saw there a strength and power he had never seen. The officer glanced over at the young girl now unconscious on the ground. He slowly removed his blade from the young man's neck.

"Lets' make a deal," he said as the sound of the flames grew louder and the light brighter until all was white, only to be consumed by a deep darkness.

"Sergeant Cherenkov," the helicopters flight engineer called tapping the still drowsy man, "Sergeant we'll be reaching the village in 20."

The sergeant lifted the brim of his Tilley hat that he wore with the sides turned up and nodded to the man. Cherenkov looked out the side of the helicopter. Off in the distance he could see the plains that lay beyond the mountains the aircraft exited the valley. The man leaned back and adjusted a weapon that was secured to his chest. It was a weapon resembling an AK-47 with a folding stock and short barrel.

Two years had passed. A mere two years since the great calamity called the Deus War had come to an epic conclusion. Much rebuilding had been done in that time. Many towns and villages had been restored through the blood a sweat of the survivors, although the only city that was fully restored was Nissan. A semblance of peace had come to the world. With the leaders of the worlds current nations all having fought side by side to win the war, conflicts between nations no longer seemed possible in the new world that was being born from the old. This man, this sergeant Cherenkov was one of the many who did what small things they could to keep this new world safe and peaceful. His olive drab uniform, a mark of his status as a soldier, filled him with pride. Always he carried himself with his head held high ever looking forward to the next day. He reached into a pouch on the front of his body armour that also doubled as a load-bearing vest. From it he acquired a pair of sunglasses which he placed over his eyes. As they cleared the mountains, Cherenkov could see a town in the distance. He moved forward in the cabin and tapped the pilot's shoulder.

"Drop me off about 5 clicks from the town."

"Roger." The pilot replied.

The flight engineer slid open the side door revealing the full view of the landscape below. Gently rolling hills covered in golden crop fields and tall grass stretched back out to the mountains. Nestled in the middle of the beautiful vista, near the base of the mountains was his destination, Lahan village. Slowly the helicopter made its decent. Once it was low enough, it settled into a hover a few feet off the ground. After tossing his backpack out the side of the aircraft, Cherenkov jumped out. Once he was off the aircraft, the helicopter increased the power to its rotor quickly raising it back into the air. While it left, it created a heavy down wash that swirled around him, forcing Cherenkov to hold his hat in place. Once the helicopter had left, he quickly put his pack on his back and started following the road that would lead him to Lahan.

The early summer sun beat down on the land filling the fields with life. Farmers worked their plots of land helped by friends and family, cattle grazed in the tall grass and a quite calm drifted over him. The road wound on through the fields and seemed to follow the most roundabout route possible to get to the village. For a moment, he considered simply cutting through the fields. However, he felt it better to refrain from doing so. Not incurring the anger of the local farmers was more important than cutting a few minutes off his travel time. Finally, he neared the out skirts of the village. From it, a busy murmur could be heard accompanied by the sounds of carpentry. Pausing at the entrance to the village Cherenkov scanned around him. The villagers wore happy smiles and hurried to prepare for some kind of event. Streamers were hung from homes, pots and vases filled with many brightly coloured flowers were being carefully positioned. Lastly, at the far end of the square, a stage was being erected. While he stood and watched the villagers work busily, it took no time at all for someone to notice him. A bespectacled man with long raven black hair approached him.

"Excuse me Sergeant," The man's name was Citan Uzuki one of the ones directly responsible for the destruction of Deus, Cherenkov recognised him from the Shevat hide out that was used as a staging ground for the war against Deus, though he had never spoken to him, "What brings you to our village," he inquired politely.

"I'm here to visit a friend," Cherenkov replied. He noticed Uzuki eye his weapon, anticipating what he might be thinking he removed the magazine from his weapon, cocked the action and ejected the round that was in the chamber. He then cycled the action two more times, locked the bolt back and showed it to Uzuki. After glancing into the chamber, he simply walked away.

"Oh yes, Sergeant please avoid causing any trouble."

Cherenkov felt annoyed as he picked the round up from the ground and placed it back into the magazine. This was part of the reason he had never spoken to Uzuki for some reason his mere presence irritated him. He was far too nice and kept much hidden under his smile. Striking the weapons cocking handle the bolt slammed forward. As he moved into the village, a sighed escaped his lips.

Finding the person he was looking for was proving to be a little more difficult than he had been expecting. The small sea of people scurrying about made it a trying process to locate one person. Looking up at one of the stone, two story houses, he was tempted to climb up onto the roof to get a better look. A familiar red sleeve suddenly brushed up against his shoulder. Turning to look, a man in a red jump suit with a very prominent chin apologized in an accent that was very unique.

"Oh, hey there sorry man, kind'a in a rush." The man did not stop he kept walking on towards the stage and began shouting instructions.

Cherenkov gave an exasperated sign slapped his face with his palm and as he drag his hand down the length of his face he mumbled, "Gah why is Joe here. Never should have pressed that damn button."

Cherenkov once again looked around the square he could easily have just asked one of the locals where he could find his friend but he felt that was too easy and no fun. Scratching the side of his face, he thought for a moment. His friend enjoyed soccer so there was a chance they may be in one of the fields around town playing. With that in mind, he decided to head back out into the out lining areas of the village. Once there he found a make shift soccer field just as he had suspected he would. Playing on the grassy field was a group of children, kicking around a homemade ball made of leather scraps and using simple sticks for goal posts. Cherenkov rested his hands on the butt of his rifle and watched the game unfold.

"Steven!" A young woman's voice shouted, "You're not supposed to touch the ball with your hands," Cherenkov immediately recognized the voice and with a quick swivel of his head he spotted his friend sitting on the edge of the field. She was tall, with golden brown skin, an athletic build and hair that was a bright and distinctive greenish blue like a tropical sea. She was the friend he was looking, Emeralda. She was wearing a pair of faded blue jeans and a deep red t-shirt that looked as weathered as here jeans. Cherenkov made his way over to her but without announcing his presence. He walked up behind her then sat down leaning his back against hers. Emeralda was startled for a brief moment before realizing who it was. When it dawned on her who it was, she smiled and leaned into his back.

"So how's our Rusalka doing? You seem taller than last time," he asked

"I wasn't expecting to see you so soon." She said pulling her knees to her chest, "I've been alright. I've been helping prepare for the wedding. It's going to be quite the event."

Cherenkov folded his arms across his chest and canted his head to one side, "I figured it was something like that, Fei and Elly right? Bout damn time." He looked over his shoulder at her, "So ya going to be one of the brides maids?"

"Yes I feel almost as excited as Elly must."

Cherenkov grinned as he responded, "Guess I'll have to stick around. I'd love to see you in a dress," she could feel her face redden from the serious tone he used, "Maybe something low cut?" she punched him in the shoulder, "I'm kidding, though it was true I'd love to see you in a dress," he repeated.

"It's good to see you again Sasha," she told him with a small smile. "But what brings you here? You didn't mention visiting in your last letter."

"Well I was kind'a forced into taking some leave. We've been so busy the past two years no one's been able to take a break, hell we're still swamped. Then two days ago our CO said enough was enough, we need some real leave and here I am," Cherenkov briefly stretched out his arms in front of him.

"Why come here then?"

"You're the only one who I haven't seen recently. That and I told you I'd come see Lahan when it was rebuilt."

"When we started I thought it would take a lot longer," Emeralda told him as she watched the children scurry about the soccer field kicking around the ball.

"So what do you plan to do now that the town's rebuilt?"

Emeralda stretched out her legs and stood up, "I've been reading the books in Citan's study for the past two years learning as much as I can to help me decide what I would do when I got to this point. I've had lots of time to think it over and I've made my choice," She turned to look at him, "I'm going to go to medical school and become a doctor."

"A doctor?" He asked getting to his feet, "Wasn't really expecting that."

"Why not? Both my parents were doctors and I think it would be worthwhile."

"To be honest I figured you'd do something different not sure what though."

"Maybe there is something different I could do but I want to try and bring hope to people like my parents wished I would. To me this seems the best way"

"I see well if that's what you think is the best thing to do, give'er." Cherenkov gave her a very over the top thumbs up to show his approval.

"Fei and Elly said the same thing. They both seemed excited that I wanted to be a doctor," Cherenkov noticed something when she mentioned Fei and Elly's names. Even after her body had matured during the war and she had acknowledged Kim and Elly were dead. She had still felt a little uneasy about her relation to their current incarnations. Now however that uncertainty was gone. She seemed to have accepted the idea that the current Fei and Elly were different from her parents yet in part still the same. It had been something he had noticed her struggle with for some time.

"So what field did you want to specialize in do you know?" Before Emeralda could reply to him, someone shouted at them.

"Cherenkov!" an overly cheery voice yelled.

Looking back towards the village the two could see four people wearing the same red and green uniforms that bared a small, simplified, similarity to Gebler uniforms. It was Kahran Ramsus and 3 of his elements, Dominia Yizkor, Kelvena, and Seraphita. They looked a little worn out as if they just got off an eighteen-hour shift. The pink haired Seraphita took no time in dashing up to where he and Emeralda were standing. She stopped directly in front of him raised herself up onto the tips of her toes in an attempt to bring herself up to his eye level and proceeded to shout in his face in her overly cheery manner.

"Long time no see Cherenkov," the pink haired girl greeted raising one hand high into the air.

Cherenkov let a mischievous grin crawl across his face, "Well if it isn't my favourite bobble head," Without the slightest warning, he promptly and effectively brought his head down smacking it into the top of hers, "Well your heads still made of concrete I see."

Seraphita held the spot where his head had impacted hers with both hands, "Ow! That hurt why'd you do that?" She begged to know looking up at him teary eyed from pain.

"Pay back for last time."

"Last time?" she questioned the pain in her head apparently completely gone.

Cherenkov sighed then smirked, "Like a bag of sand," he commented. Seraphita did not reply. She simply looked up at him still confused about why she had received a head butt.

"Mudak!" In the time it took Cherenkov to look up from her, Dominia had made her way right into his face and was insulting him in her native Elru tongue.

"Well now if it isn't the latrine element Dominia," he greeted.

Dominia looked ready to explode yet Cherenkov showed no intention of letting up, "You say one more word and I'll rip your arms from your sockets."

He shrugged at her, "Come on beshenaya sobaka, try it! Please, it would make my day."

It was apparent after hearing the two bicker and from his pointed ears, partially concealed by his hat, that he was from Elru just as Dominia. However, his accent was far thicker then hers. The tension in the air was getting more and more serious. Emeralda wanted to try to disarm the situation but she did not know what to do.

"Dominia calm down!" Ramsus ordered, "He's just trying to draw you into a fight." The sound of Ramsus' voice seemed to calm her slightly, however Cherenkov was not about to let up yet.

"So you going to run away just like Ramsus?"

That was it Cherenkov had crossed the line and then spat on it. Dominia's fist wound back. There was a loud distinctive smack and he was folded forward clasping the back of his head with one hand while those around them including Ramsus looked on in open-mouthed surprise. Emeralda had swatted the large man in the back of the head so hard she nearly knocked him over.

"Aren't professionals not supposed to pick fights needlessly!" she scolded him. She hesitated for a moment as what she had done dawned on her but chose to follow through rather then stop, "Dominia you need to stop getting so worked up every time someone insults Ramsus. Do you think that doesn't cause him extra problems?" They were all left speechless. Emeralda was a person of few words and to see her strike someone then strongly scold two people was dumb founding given her quite nature.

"That was perfect Emeralda." Kelvena praised with an approving smile, "Sometimes that really is the best way to get the likes of these two under control." She said joining everyone at the edge of the soccer field.

"Very well done Ms. Kasim," Ramsus's complement caused her to feel a little uncomfortable it was odd from her perspective to be praised for hitting someone then yelling at another, "Dominia you need to control yourself if you get angry every time someone speaks ill of me it will only make more trouble for you and me."

Dominia nodded in conformation not wanting to voice any kind of reasons for the time being.

Kelvena put a hand on Emeralda's shoulder, "I'm sorry for the trouble."

As Kelvena spoke, Emeralda tried not to look at the right sleeve of her tunic. Empty and neatly folded, it was pinned in place a few inches above where her elbow would have been. She had seen Kelvena many times before now and every time she saw her. She felt a slight tinge of guilt at her missing arm though she could not fully comprehend why. Kelvena was not the only one among them with war wounds, Seraphita was missing a large portion of her left ear and Dominia had a large scar on her neck. She looked down meekly as she gathered her unwanted thoughts and put them aside.

"So Captain," Cherenkov asked as he straitened himself up, "What brings you way out here to the sticks?"

"I would think that's obvious even for a fool like yourself," he answered.

"Wow so your party crashing that can't look good for a man trying to rebuild a country," Cherenkov placed his hands on his hips and shook his head.

"Only you would show your face here uninvited. After all you can't keep your composure unless paid to. I would not be surprised if your here simply to start a fight."

"Of course not I'm here to visit Emmy." The way the two men spoke was like a pair of bitter rivals trying to subtly draw the other into throwing the first punch. Strangely, at the same time, there seemed to be no actual air of hostility around them.

Kelvena tapped Ramsus' shoulder, "Sir we should make our way back into the village. You did say you wanted to speak with Fei before he becomes too busy."

"Yes your right but before that, Sergeant I would you like to ask you to again, won't you return to Elru?"

Cherenkov rested his hands on the butt of his rifle and dawned a serious expression, "We've been over this before Ramsus I'm not returning to the mother land not yet any way."

Kelvena stepped over to him and poked his chest, "Your being stubborn why not just accept the offer Sasha?"

"No thanks. I've told you already I have no intention of going back. I made my choices and I'm fully committed to them," He smiled, "That said though if you ever need extra muscle, drop me a line. I'll give ya a discount."

"Perhaps I will," Ramsus responded surrendering to the Sergeants stubbornness.

As the others left Cherenkov took Dominia aside, "Hey you tell em yet? The guys thick as concrete so you have to be direct," Dominia did not answer him, "You're kidding! It's been two fucking years just tell him."

"You're the last person who I should take advice from!"

"Just do it come on we all have to do our part to repopulate the world right?"

Dominia's face went red and she took a haphazard swing at him only to miss.

"Dominia," Emeralda said stepping into the conversation, "You really should tell him. Sasha may be an idiot but he is right. You'll be happier for it if you tell him I promise."

She turned around and just as she left to join her friends, she muttered to Emeralda, "I'll try," She said just low enough that Cherenkov could not hear what she said.

"Amazing Emmy," he put his hand on her head, "You certainly seem to have gotten over your shyness." He put his hands into his pockets.

"Sometimes you just have to jump head first; you're the one who taught me that."

"Glad to know I was of some use."

"Would you like to join me for a drink? We can catch up some more and I'd like to hear how the others are doing."

Cherenkov grinned and gave his simple reply, "Beer!"

"Sorry, no beer." She told him with a smile.

"Ale?" He continued. Emeralda shook her head, "Wisky? Scotch? Vodka?"

"Sorry all the alcohol in town is being saved for the wedding," Cherenkov gave an overly exaggerated sigh of disappointment, "Well we might be able to find something," she took his hand into hers and pulled him along.

"Something is better than nothing," he told her as he let himself get dragged along.

Cherenkov sat on a couch across from a coffee table with another couch across from it where Emeralda was sitting. They had been talking for several hours and the mix of drink and his fatigue from being awake for the past 20 hours had caused Cherenkov to fall asleep upright on the couch. Emeralda stood up and quietly cleared the table. As she took the dishes into the kitchen, it occurred to her that she would have to explain to Fei and Elly why there was a stranger asleep on their couch. However, she was confidant she could explain it without causing a miss understanding.

Early evening had begun to settle into the village but all of villagers still busily continued the preparations for the next day. The setting sun cast an orange hew all throughout the house giving it a warm sleepy glow. As she placed the glasses and a plate into the sink, there was a knock at the door.

"Just a moment," she called briskly making her way to the front door. Opening it, she found Kelvena standing in the doorway with a smile.

"Hello Emeralda."

"Kelvena? I didn't expect to see you again until tomorrow."

"Well I wanted the chance to talk with you. We get so few chances to, so I thought I would come by," Emeralda stepped aside and let her into the house, "Judging from our earlier encounter you seem like you're doing quite well."

"Yes, I've been trying to take Sasha's advice to heart," She closed the door behind her and led her to the living room.

"So you call him Sasha you really are quite familiar with Cherenkov aren't you," Kelvena drew a playful smile across her cheeks, "It's nice to see you getting along with him. I would very much like to hear the story of how you met him some time," Emeralda stopped at the entrance to the living room remembering that Cherenkov was still asleep on the couch. Kelvena peered around her.

"We should let him sleep we can talk in the kitchen." Emeralda told her.

"You know he's quite cute when he's sleeping. It's a little like watching a bear sleep," Kelvena commented with a chuckle.

In the kitchen, the two young women sat down at the table while a kettle of water warmed on the stove. As they waited, Kelvena started up a conversation, "Emmy There's something I would like to discuss with you."

"What?" She asked with slight unease.

"I recall you saying you wanted to become a doctor last time we met. What would you say to coming to Elru to study medicine?" Emeralda was surprised and unsure at how to answer, so she allowed Kelvena to continue, "Reconstruction has been moving ahead steadily and quickly so much so that the trades collage and Medical school are nearly finished. They could start accepting students within the next 3 months."

This was significant news. The war had greatly cost the world not in just loss of life but loss of skill. Millions had died and that of course include skilled trades men and doctors. To aid in the reconstruction priority had been given to training new individuals in these important tasks. However, facilities capable of providing the training needed were very scarce. In many areas merely living took much effort and no resources could be allotted to such facilities. The few facilities that still existed were over whelmed with a backlog of potential students. The existence of a new set of schools presented the possibility of easing this backlog. It also meant if one could apply before the schools were even finished one could avoid the potential waiting list that could leave one suspended in educational limbo for several years before receiving entrance.

"Emmy, I could have your name added to the list as soon as the day after tomorrow you'd be guaranteed a spot in the very first class," Kelvena could see the obvious spark of interest in Emeralda's face though she had yet to say anything. Kelvena reached across the table and placed her hand over hers. "You could come live with me while you go to school. So you wouldn't have to worry about accommodations, and after you graduate you could start a practice in Elru."

"But I wouldn't want to be in your way. I'm sure you're very busy," Emeralda commented with concern.

"Don't be silly you're like a little sister to me."

Emeralda drew a small nostalgic smile across her face. While she had been spending time in Solaris, Krelian performed many experiments on her and done many horrible things to extract the secrets of her body. However, between sessions it was Kelvena that was tasked with her care. At first, she was uneasy around the small child but she grew fond of her in fact she was the one who had given her the white scarf she was so attached to. The tea pot began to whistle and Emeralda briskly stood then took the kettle of the stove.

"I'll do it," she answered filling to cups with waiting tea bags. She brought the tea over to the table and returned to her seat. Kelvena did not answer she felt there was no need to add more since she had accepted the offer, instead she leaned forward across the table and tried to pear into the adjacent living room wondering if the pot had woken Cherenkov, "How did you meet Sasha?" Emeralda asked suddenly.

"Why are you interested?" She replayed with an uncharacteristically coy grin.

"I'm just curious." Emeralda sipped from her tea.

"He slept with me before I joined Jugend." The unexpectedness of her answer caused Emeralda to spit up a bit of her tea in a coughing fit. Kelvena laughed, this had always be a side of her that she could only show Emeralda. This playful mischievous part of her, hidden by the serious more professional nature she showed to others. After regaining herself, she gave Kelvena a disapproving look.

"There's more to the story than that right?" she asked slightly unsure if she wanted an answer.

"I originally lived in an orphanage run by the Ethos. Of course, it just happened to be one that would send children to Etrenank to be used as soldiers. Since my Ehter ability was so high, I was one of those sent away. I was taken from the other children, the only family I knew and put on a transport. I remember all the other children there were crying and begging for their families. I was no different," she stared into her tea thinking on how to word the next part of the story, "Some time into the flight several Elruians emerged from the food storage crates. Among them was Sasha. He was sixteen as I recall. His unit was on an infiltration mission. I still remember how furious he looked when he saw use huddled together like frightened animals. I couldn't understand what they were saying to each other at the time but for some reason he sat down next to me and offered me some food. After eating it I ended up falling asleep clinging to his arm," the fond smile on Kelvena's face made Emeralda feel a bit jealous, "When I woke up we had arrived and he was gone."

"So you've known him for eleven years?" Kelvena nodded.

"But we never were really friends even after meeting again. After all I was a Solarian Soldier with Gebler by the time we met again."

"Then you must have had to fight him?"

"Yes many times. Each time he would tell me it's nice to see you're still alive. Like we were old friends," she looked back towards the living room, "What about you how did you meet him."

Emeralda shifted in her chair and took a sip from her tea cup, "We met in the Shevat hide out not long after Merkava had crashed. I had gotten lost trying to find Fei when I heard singing coming from one of the outer rings. I followed it and found him and his squad alone in an isolated part of the hide out, happily drinking themselves silly around a small gas stove. They invited me over and taught me a few songs. Afterwards I would visit them whenever I could. After a while they started calling me Rusalka and treated me like one of their own."

"That means mermaid in his native tongue I believe," Emeralda nodded in response.

The sound of the front door opening caught their attention, "Emeralda?" a motherly voice called, "We're back." Elly and Fei had returned home.

"Would you like some tea?" Emeralda got up from her chair and moved to the cupboard anticipating that she would say yes.

"Yes please."

"I'll have some to please," Fei added as they entered the kitchen.

"Kelvena," Elly said with surprise seeing her old friend, "It's good to see you."

Kelvena stood up and gave Elly a hug as a greeting, "It's good to see you too Elly and congratulations."

Emeralda handed a cup to Fei and he promptly filled it himself then turned to Kelvena, "If you're here then Kahr must be too?"

"Of course you two did make a promise to each other that once you married Elly you'd face him as a martial artist."

"I'm looking forward to seeing him tomorrow." Fei wandered off towards the living room. Stopping when he saw Cherenkov asleep on the couch he called to Emeralda in a mildly displeased tone, "Who's this and why does he have a gun in my house," Fei was less bothered by that fact that he was a stranger then the fact he had a gun with him something Fei readily disliked.

"That's my friend Alexander Cherenkov." She answered gesturing to Fei to keep his voice down.

"You mean the man you've been writing letters to?" Elly went to go peer into the living room wanting to see the face of the man who seemed to be a close friend to Emeralda. "Is he Elruian?" She asked pointing out his ears to Fei.

"I think so," there was a great discomfort in his voice. Seeing his ears reminded him of what he had done to Elru as Id, "Until I saw them in the Shevat hide out I had genuinely believed I had," Fei could not continue his line of thought.

"Only their country was destroyed," Kelvena told him, "Elruians are very resilient, Sasha and Dominia are proof of that."

"I imagine it was the Solarian government that spread the, no survivor's story," Elly commented as she walked back to the Kitchen.

"That's right the ministry wanted to use Elru as an example. It made more sense for them to spread reports of no survivors," Kelvena moved towards the door, "I'm sorry but I need to be on my way now."

"Already?" Emeralda pleaded.

"I'm Sorry it's been a long day and I could use some sleep before tomorrow. We can catch up more after the ceremony."

"Take care," Elly told her with a smile. After she had left, Emeralda put away her cup.

"So then Emeralda" Elly walked up close to Emeralda, "Just how old is this Alexander Cherenkov."

"Twenty six"

Elly straitened her posture put one hand on her hip and pointed the other at her in a scolding gesture, "Don't you think he's just a little too old for you?" Emeralda could see right through Elly's attempt to rattle her with her false scolding.

"We aren't dating Elly, besides I'm over 4000 years old."

"Most of those years were spent asleep though." Elly pointed out.

"I agree with Elly," added Fei, "Elruians tend to be a bit aggressive we just don't want you to get hurt or forced into something."

"Sasha would never do anything like that!" snapped Emeralda, "I trust him. I know he would never harm me," The sincerity in her voice showed just how much faith she had in Cherenkov and left Fei unable to offer a rebuttal.

"It's alright Emmy I can see you have a lot of faith in him I'm just glad to see you have another friend you can rely on as much as Kelvena," Elly told her in her distinctive motherly tone.

The three of them finished their tea and after Fei and Elly had said goodnight Emeralda was left alone in the kitchen with her thoughts. It had been an eventful day. A surprises visit from a friend and an offer to move towards her goal from another. Elly's early comment made her think about Cherenkov's relationship with Kelvena. She seemed to harbour some feelings for him but wondered if he felt something similar. She thought on it for a time and in her head, she tried to picture the two as a couple and it made her giggle. Despite the funny image it painted in her head, she wanted to support Kelvena if her assumption was right. It was then that Cherenkov's words came back to her again, 'Sometimes you just have to jump head first.' She resolved to ask Kelvena how she felt and maybe even try to get the two together. She smiled brightly to herself as she wandered off to her room.