1845. An age when the uncovered treasures of Egypt made all the fervor in the papers and every man of wealth longed for a sight of the pyramids. It was in Cairo that Carlisle made an accidental encounter with a boy, whom he chased across the sands until he stood before a god, now fallen but once shone as bright as the sun.
Carlisle found more questions than answers, for this was not the first god, nor the last god, only a relic of a different millennia, when many of his kind ruled from above, praised, worshiped, the blood of ten thousand sacrifices. It was a time before hiding, but that time was also now hidden.
The first Isis had long left, as did the second and third. Osiris returned once and never more. Set had his reign and fall. Ra's glory rose and ended. Who was their father, who was their mother, who began them all depended on the speaker of the tale, fragments of the puzzle buried deep in mythology.
After all, if it is truth Carlisle sought, the truth laid not in the past, but in the future.
Sakura rubs her eyes. In the seat next to her, Lee is asleep, the curtains to the window closed. She cracks it open a peek and is greeted by her reflection against the unobstructed night sky.
Quietly, she turns the next page of the journal in her hands, trying to decrypt the writing and diagrams.
"Hey." Edward stands before her, a glass of lemonade as offering.
With a smile, she accepts the glass, as he slips into the seat across the aisle of the jet.
"Pretty crazy, huh." Edward gestures to the journal.
"I see a man... revitalized. Apparent ingredients of cure include bird, cup, fish, and circle." With a chuckle, she throws the journal aside in favor of the lemonade. "I admit my need of translation."
"Long story short, let's just say there are these kings, these pharaohs, that would sometimes face certain fatal diseases like polio, or tuberculosis, or smallpox. And the ancestors of another coven of ours would perform miracle healing on them in exchange for, say, certain favors. And eternal servitude." Edward paused. "That was a while back."
Sakura raised an eyebrow. "And I assume they healed them by transferring own self-regeneration to patient."
"... Something like that, yes."
"We are on time constraint, Edward. Do you think you can master same technique? With these?" Sakura beckons at the stack of Carlisle's journals.
"I mean, I've never done it. But... I think I can."
Sakura looks at him, waiting.
Edward drops his shoulders. "Okay, I have to honest with you, Sakura. There's something you probably need to know. The whole vampire species thing, we aren't really... what I mean to say is, we have this ability to-"
His explanation is interrupted by a shake of the jet.
Sakura tenses, her eyes sharp. "We arrive."
"What, no. Sit down, Sakura, it's just turbulence."
There is more shaking that snaps Lee awake and has Sakura bolting to the cockpit. Edward runs after her. "There's no way we're there already," he says, holding onto a ledge. "It'll take at least two or three more hours before we're anywhere near Japan-"
There is a violent tumble that sends items flying. He collides into the restroom door. Latching onto a seat, Sakura sends him a sheepish grin.
"I said in direction of Japan. I never say my destination is Japan." With that, she dashes onwards.
All radios and signals have long stopped functioning, as the pilot flips through the switches.
"One hundred more kilo at thirty degrees, then dive. The gate is below," Sakura instructs.
Edward could not believe what he is seeing. In the break of dawn, the air has turned as chromatic as the aurora, billowing past like layers of noctilucent clouds. A strain of unnatural blue swirls and bends as the plane passes by and dips through the clouds, down near the ocean.
"What is this..."
"This is chakra barrier. I sense it, and it senses me."
Before Edward can ask what kind of freaky Buddha mojo is she spewing, the plane shakes violently. One neck-breaking thrust later, Edward feels plunged head first into outer space. Meanwhile, Sakura is lifting her head out of the water, finally doused awake. She can breathe, she can think, and she can move.
The light is filtering into the world, and in the distance is land.
Forks High School does not offer Geography. Edward knows this. But he does not need Geography to know Japan is not in the shape of that. And should it be Japan, their entire economy would be sustainable from tourism alone, because the water is sparkling, the mountain ranges prominent, the lagoons a color unreal. The entire land looks to be a paradise untouched by mankind, with a sun blinding from the east, set against a deep passion of blue.
Suddenly, there is a clank of metal. Edward peeks at the window to see five sets of wire grappling onto the plane, with five people in winged devices pulling themselves towards the aircraft.
"Who the hell are they!" Edward demands.
"Border control," Sakura waves the issue off. "This is foreign vehicle, and we trespass."
"Relax, I have passport."
In a blast of air, five guards, all in identical uniforms of cloth masks, flak jackets, shalwar pants over scandals, flicker inside. The captain steps up. "You have ten seconds to identify yourselves before we detonate this aircraft."
Sakura and Lee present themselves, and the captain stops her pen.
"Hey, didn't recognize you with that hair there!" the captain says. "You're Naruto's girl!"
On instinct, Sakura covers her flushing face. "Um, actually, that didn't really work out."
The captain raises an eyebrow. "No way! You chose psycho boy after all!"
Now Sakura has much empathy for Hinata, as she feels her face burn redder. "That also... didn't... work. Wait, sorry, do I know you?"
The captain pulls down her mask and shakes free her wild hair.
"Amaru-san?" Sakura gasps.
"The one and only!" The captain laughs, spreading her arms wide.
"Holy! Wow, I thought you went to become a doctor. When did you sign up for border control?"
"Several daimyo were getting worrying reports of foreign aircrafts around or above the borders, and my countrymen got involved because we had a high level of aerial technology. It's a pretty good gig, really, and we get to see all the exotic imports. Get this. Cool rock, huh?"
Edward watches the girl converse excitedly with Sakura over a cassette player, before Lee jumps in and chats with them. By now, Edward is beyond confused, guessing that the girl is southern Asian, perhaps Cambodian, from her structure, skin and hair. And yet, her eyes are bright blue. This is contrasted with the Eurasian features of Sakura and the Chinese style of Lee. And the guards behind him look Arabic and... what is that, Polynesian? Yet, they all speak in one language.
Soon, their attentions turn to him. The captain mumbles, pointing at him, her expression morphing into colorful emotions, before Sakura says something that has her laughing uncontrollably. They giggle together, before the captain gestures at Edward.
Sakura turns to him. "Edward, please extend your hand."
Edward does as told and finds a metal bracelet clicked around his wrist. "What-"
"Do not worry. It is only security measure."
Sakura speaks to the captain and gets a nod of consent. "You are cleared, Edward. We arrive soon, please ready."
"We're landing? Here?"
Below, the different terrains have been dominated by forest, a brilliant foliage of green upon green unaffected by winter.
"Oh no, aircrafts are not permitted to land," Sakura explains. "Pilot flies to Japan, as scheduled."
Edward does not like where this was going. In a poof of houdini smoke, the captain pulls two sets of winged contraptions out of thin air. "Sakura-san, you should have no problems? Lee-san?"
"Does it require ninjutsu?" Lee asks, doubtful.
"Nah, just basic chakra. If you've mastered water-walking, you're good," the captain says, throwing him the machinery.
Lee beams and straps the machine on, as does Sakura. That leaves Edward, who has his hands up. "Whoa, I'm lost here. Sakura, what's going on. What are those?"
Sakura strokes her chin, looking for the correct English terminology. She smiles and unbolts the aircraft door. "Jet packs," she says, ignoring his gawking."Now we jump."
Before Edward could get another word in, she pushes him out the door. Hair whipping through the air, Sakura gestures good-bye to the captain. "Good seeing you again!"
"Good luck! Also, if Naruto-kun ever gets single again, tell him to owl me!" the captain says with a wink.
A laugh later, Sakura accompanies Lee. "Will do!"
In free fall, Sakura closes her eyes and inhales, feeling the force of gravity. Her panic is gone, her heart rate is calm. This is her world and everything is clear, time ticking in countable seconds, her vision no longer blurred. She stretches her arms and feels for her chakra, limited but vibrant and active again.
The jet pack latches onto her back and propels to life. She dives straight for the source of yelling and catches one hyperventilating Edward right before he can make collision with the trees.
"What do you worry for? You cannot die from fall, Edward," Sakura teases.
Edward controls his panic and swallows. "I have never questioned my immortality until I met you."
In Sakura's arms, Edward tries to absorb this world and fails miserably. He comes prepared to face ancient Shinto temples and karate ninjas in black suits. He is not ready for motherflipping Atlantis.
Had he known he would have at least brought a camera or something, as they glide past the waterfalls, above the forests with trees taller than the sequoia, snakes coil larger than the thickest python. A hawk the size of a dragon dives past them, and Edward catches a feather large enough to be worthy of swordplay.
Sakura uses her freedom to laugh and spin. Edward expects to see a trail of exhaust smoke. Instead, there is a wisp of something invisible that catches the light.
"Sakura-san." Lee nods in a direction, and Edward can feel the Sakura's elation in his mind. In a crater, bordered by a cliff, is human civilization.
It is not the skyscrapers of the New World. There is little break from the village and the surrounding forest, merged and integrated into the earth. People come into view, those on the streets below with baskets of vegetables, those leaping from one rooftop to the next.
And then, there is one orange dot.
"SAKURA-CHAN!" One really, really big orange dot.
Before Edward knows it, there is a human chain catapulting towards them, and he finds his face sandwiched between Sakura and a jumpsuit.
"YOU'RE BACK, YOU'RE BACK!" screams the orange jumpsuit, straddling them all the way to their landing. The human chain poofs away link by link, clone by clone, until Sakura's feet touches the ground and there remains one Naruto squeezing her blue.
"I missed you!" he cries, and only after fifty other maudlin exclamations, half of which include nudge-nudge hint-hint suggestions for a quick bite at Ichiraku, does he notice the blanched fellow with her.
Now, any average guy who has just been exposed to the amount of raw sensory stimulus Edward has within the past thirty minutes would probably be a bubbling mass on the floor, his brain undergoing traumatic overload. But Edward is not an average guy. He is handsome, he is cultured, he is as smooth as a baby's bottom, and if Sakura can transition into the U.S. of A without problems, then he will be equally dignified in his transition into Shangri La. Starting with a manly handshake.
"Hello, my name is Edward," he says before Sakura can respond. She raises an eyebrow, pleasantly surprised by his fluency.
Naruto grabs his hand. "Uzumaki Naruto, remember it."
Edward strengthens his grip. "I am from America, and I am pleased to greet you."
Naruto applies more pressure as well. "Great, welcome."
"My pants grow pumpkins in mad water."
Naruto blinks once, before his lips pull into a grin. "Well, I can grow eggplants. From dirt."
Sakura facepalms. It appears she has overestimated Edward's language competency and underestimated Naruto's... Naruto. To compound her headache, just then and there, a series of explosion sets in distant tower, the sky turns blood red, a ten story giant howls a battle cry, and a swarm of cursed puppets fly out of some magical voodoo box, all occurring not yet two minutes into her homecoming. It appears she has also underestimated her village in general.
Meanwhile, the two men beside her continue their eudicot introductions in the foreground, because Edward has already conceded that if he can handle Atlantis and Shangri La, he can equally handle Lord of the Rings coupled with Marvel/DC superheroes, starting with some masters of shapeshifting, invisibility, gravitation, shadow mimicry, entomopathy, weather manipulation, reality sketching, x-ray vision, pyro blasts, chlorokinesis, mind control, and whatever power that includes a flaming skeletal god thing in the sky.
Besides, he has mind reading. He practically fits right in.
On cue, a spiritual purple catfish swims by, much to Sakura's dismay.
Yup, fits right in.