Authors Note: To be honest, this was a really hard chapter to write, I guess that's why it's so short. I'm awfully sorry for disappointing you all. But, I know I left more than one cliffhanger. ;) Thank you all for the constant support and I'm so sorry for not updating in a reasonable time manner. Like I said, I had a difficult time writing this chapter.
And sleep I did, I supposed because the next thing I remembered, it was light outside. Bright light. I smelled the fresh morning air. Last I remembered, Leona and I were up playing cards, of course she won. Pilika was still asleep, and I removed my arm that was around her and sat up rubbing my eyes gently, adjusting myself to the light. Leona was already awake.
She smiled. "It was cute.." Leona said softly, looking out of the window. "You crawled to her a held her tight in your sleep, as if you truly were her Uncle." Her soft smile stayed present on her youthful face. "The world needs more people like you." She looked to me with a sparkling gleam in her eye that never seemed to fade, even in the darkest situations. More people like me... I'm not anything special, I just loved the ones around me. After all we had been through together... How could I not?
I looked down at the sleeping girl and wished all her fears would fall and that she could be happy. I feared though, that neither one of us would be happy again. "... When the war was over..." I began quietly, Leona looked back out of the carriage window, but listened intently. "I thought, that since I'd been through that, that nothing else would stand in my way of being happy.. Why does everything have to go wrong?" I sighed and thought instantly of Riou. "I have to stay strong for him. I wont let this get me down, we'll jump back into it... But why do I fear the worst?" He stopped. "When I was younger, I had no one. Not one person to call family. Riou changed everything for me, and finally gave me people in my life that I hadn't ever had previously. It breaks my heart, and I wish it was me out there."
Leona looked at me, that glint in her eye was still there, but sympathy had left her voice. "Highland and us... We'll never get along. Although this war had gone, it was only a matter of time before another one came up. Don't waste your time in fearing the inevitable, prepare and conquer. If I've learned anything from working with these hard-headed men, it's that." She said, simply. It was the only way to say it, after all, I was only a map-maker and I didn't fully understand the complexity of war and it's challanges. "Sometimes, life will get you down. Sometimes it will stomp on you, and it will hurt. But the beauty of life is getting back up and standing tall, because you'll get through it until you die. It's the only way to live, fulfilling life's potential for you, Templeton." She was right. While Riou's life was not my own, I wouldn't be fulfilling my life's potential without helping him here today. I have to keep positive thoughts throughout this thing to see it through. It's only a setback, I reminded myself and smiled, thanking her.
The carriages came to a stop, and I peered out into the distance. I saw Ryube Forest, and the small town that surrounded it. It was burnt down, but this time, it was different. I stood to get out of the vehicle, but Leona stopped me, she seemed serious, so I sat back down. "You are riding with Flik and our company because you need to be safe. Stay in until someone comes over." She said.
We could hear a loud commotion outside. But Fliks strong voice reigned through over everyone. "Don't worry. It's just a little setback. Viktor and his crew are fine!" He said, with hints of worry in his voice. "The command is to continue forward, they'll catch up..." He bellowed.
In fact... We weren't fine. And the news of what happened would devastate us all.
I'm not much of a planner, so why they listened to my stupid ideas, I'll never know. We were, of course ambushed. We should have left first, and this wouldn't have happened. Why didn't I think that carriages were faster and that we should have started sooner? I could have saved them all. They wouldn't have burnt in the forest fire. Damn it...
I saved as many of the 108 stars of destiny that I could, but I couldn't promise at the time that I could save them all. But I got stuck, caught in the backfire when everyone who was alive escaped, I stayed behind to search for any wounded men. People would call me a great leader for that, but I only called myself an idiot.
I sat to the ground against a tree, a tree that surprisingly was holding up very well in the smoke and the intense heat. "Viktor... Why... If you weren't only thinking of fighting... You could have come out alive..." I couldn't help but be down on myself. The smoke got thick, I heard no more screams, I heard nothing. The great Viktor, me, I'm dying... Can't anyone hear me? My mouth can no longer move to scream for help, I'm dying...
A great blinding flash appeared. All went blank for me. Did someone answer my prayers?
"Where are you taking us!?" I yelled as Rowd and his men walked us forward and into the bright streets of Harmonia. The people looked scared, but not one dared to come over to us and help. Don't they kn- No, it's in the past now, of course they don't know who I am. I glanced over at my friends and Jowy, they were solemn.
We walked along the streets, our ragged faces shown to the people that we were weak. I suddenly wished that people could see my rune and know of its power... My rune! I wonder if that would be enough to escape...
But I didn't have time to think about the 'What if's', Rowd began to speak. "You know, I've always liked you two, Joey, Riou... If only you pursued dreams like I had, we could have really made a team. But look at you, rivals being so chivalrous to one another. If I were you, I'd be burning with hatred for each other!" He laughed, but, it was strategy. He knew that the strength of us together was stronger than anything on this earth, and he tried to break us apart one by one. I loved my friends more than anything in this world, where they stand? It beats me.
"Rowd." I stated coldly, harshly... I spoke my mind freely as he continued to walk forward. "These people here mean more to me than the world itself, more to me than my own life. Nothing will change that. Jowy and I have made mistakes, but I will never betray him the way you have betrayed not only yourself, but your country and your world. I only hope that whatever God there is left will save you from the eternal damnation you deserve." Everyone looked, especially Jowy. I caught him out of the corner of my eye, confused.
Jowy, I will never hate you. And that's when I got hit with something heavy and blacked out.
Sorry for the cliffhangers, but I like to keep you all interested. ;) Please continue following me. I honestly suspect that there will only be 2 or 3 more chapters until this story is complete!