A/N: Welcome to my first Maple Story fanfic: Thunder, Ocean, and Flame. It's a Cygnus Knight story, staring Hawkeye and Oz. I started it a while ago and only got around to finishing it now, so I hope you all enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I do not own MapleStory.
It was the same dream every night. Ever since I had arrived at Ereve at age ten, ever since I had become the Chief Thunder Breaker, it had been the same dream. From the time I laid my head down on my way-too-fancy pillow, to the time I was jolted awake every night, drenched in cold sweat and trying not to scream, it had always been the same.
Tonight was no different.
I had always wanted to be a pirate. I spent all my time by the sea; all my time in Natalius Harbor. Bothering Kyrin was a favorite past time of mine. I couldn't wait until I turned ten so I could start my training. But then, on my tenth birthday, I had received a message from the empress of all of Maple World. It said I had been specially chosen to become a Knight of Cygnus. It said I was destined for greatness: to help defeat the Black Mage for good and protect the entire world from the forces of evil. It said I was destined to become the Chief Thunder Breaker, the master of Lightning. Everyone told me it was such an honor, to go away to Ereve to help Empress Cygnus. Before I left, everyone was treating me like royalty, even my own family. Sounds awesome, right?
That's what you would think, I bet, but I thought differently. I would never admit it, but I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to go to Ereve.
Because the letter said one more thing. It said I would never be able to leave Ereve unless it was beneficial in the fight against the Black Mage.
There's no ocean on Ereve. Sure, there's water. There are rivers and lakes and the most beautiful waterfalls you'll ever see. But they're no oceans. The waterfalls just fall away into nothingness, off the sides of the floating island. The water falls and falls until finally colliding with the sea, thousands of feet below.
The dream always had an ocean in it.
Always the same…
I can't take it anymore. I need to leave the island. I need to get away from Ereve. The sailors, Kiriru and Kiru, refuse to let me leave on the air ship. There's no other option.
I stand on the edge of the floating island I have grown up on. I will miss this place, but I do not regret my decision. I can hear Mihile yelling at me to get away from the edge. Oz is crying. I don't like to hear her cry, but I cannot go back now. Eckhart is quiet, as usual. I wonder if he would even mind if I left. He never really liked me, did he? Irena is trying her best to keep it together. She's using her control of wind to try to knock me away from the edge, but I refuse to move as I face the empty air. Goodbye, everyone.
I let myself fall over the edge, as I hear screams above me. I am plummeting downwards, gaining speed as I go. I close my eyes and let the wind whip around me as I continue to fall. I know this is the right choice. I know the ocean is below the floating island I have been living on. I know it will hurt like hell when I hit the water. I know I probably won't make it.
But that's ok. Anything to reunite with the sea I have missed so much.
I open my eyes and see the blue water that seems to stretch in all directions below me. It is getting closer and closer. I take a deep breath in, knowing for sure that this is the end.
Then I fall into the ocean. But it never, ever hurts. It feels like slowly wading into a pool: as if in slow motion, I can feel water slowly rising above me as I dive into the sea. I should probably be wondering why I'm still alive at this point, but I don't care. Because I've been reunited with the thing I love most, and that's all that matters.
Everything seems so happy as I swim through the water, but suddenly everything comes rushing back.
I'm a Thunder Breaker. I am the Chief of Lightning. I can never, ever escape my duty, no matter what I do.
Water and lightning don't mix.
I can't control it. I'm loosing control. Lightning suddenly erupts from my hands, making a loud cracking sound even under water. I watch, horrified. For a bizarre second, the ribbons of light and heat that are surrounding me merely seem to float in the water, like very bright seaweed.
Pain. Worlds and worlds of pain.
The last thing I see before I awake is Cygnus' face. She looks disappointed, almost angry. Which is scary, because she is never angry. Ever.
'I chose you for a reason, Hawkeye.'
And that's the part where I jolt upright I bed, letting out a strangled yell, panting heavily.
Like I said before, tonight was no different.
Tonight I hadn't been able to stop myself from crying out. I sat up, panting, grey eyes darting round my room. Cygnus' voice was still echoing in my head. I swallowed the lump that formed in my throat and tried to ignore the pain I was in. I should have been used to it by now.
Yeah, you heard me right. When you have a nightmare, it doesn't actually hurt you, right? When you wake up you're not actually hurt, right?
I take my weapons and armor off every night. I don't know how or why it happens. I don't know how it started or how to stop it. All I know is, at the point in my dream where I get electrocuted, I actually feel pain. When I wake up, everything aches. Not enough to kill, not even close. But it hurts, nonetheless.
I wondered if the same thing happens to the other four chiefs. Was it normal to accidentally hurt yourself in your sleep? I didn't know: I was too afraid to ask them. What would they think if I was the only one?
'I chose you for a reason, Hawkeye.'
I let out a sigh as I glanced around my room. I guess after six years of living here I should have gotten used to how damn fancy this place is. It's a huge chamber of a room. There's a fireplace, which was currently dark, my huge bed, a mantel with various treasures displayed on it, large decorative pillars, blue and yellow stone walls with various mini-statues carves into them, and lots and lots of paintings. The windows are large and elegant. But what really tops it off is the domed ceiling. The whole thing is made of glass, so I could see up into the sky. Right now it was dark and cloudy, so there weren't many stars to gaze at. Which was too bad, actually. Counting stars was a good way to get back to sleep. But I never got back to sleep. Every time the re-occurring dream returned, I stayed up for the last few hours of the night, lying awake in bed, thinking.
It was hard, but I got used to it.
I had just laid back down when I heard footsteps outside of my door. I wondered vaguely who it could be. This was a pretty big building: it contained the rooms of Neinheart and the other four chiefs. There was a huge sitting room, even though we spent most of our time outside, a giant kitchen containing every type of food imaginable, and a great dining hall that always seemed strangely empty, even with the five of us plus Neinheart sitting in it. The other hundreds of chairs never got filled. And, of course, there was Cygnus' room. Why would there not be a room for the empress, the goddess, of the entire Maple World? Her room is the biggest of all: right in the middle of the giant domed building. I've been in it before: it's probably the most fancy room you'll ever see. So it's a shame it's never used, because Cygnus sleeps outside every night. She never leaves Shinsoo's side. The sleeping holy beast is everything to her.
I forced my focus back to the footsteps outside. They paused outside of my door. Everything was silent as I waited. Then came a small, almost hesitant knock.
I propped myself up into a sitting position, cringing slightly. "Come on in." My voice sounded horse from the yelling.
The door opened a crack, and then slowly swung open all the way. In walked a small girl with flaming red, curly hair, and the greenest eyes you'll ever see. It was Oz, the Chief Blaze Wizard. I blushed. She looked so damn cute in her nightgown!
"Oz, what are you doing here?" I tried to make my voice sound upbeat, but it cracked halfway through my question. I hoped she didn't notice. I checked the clock. "It's four in the morning!"
As she strolled through the doorway, the fireplace was suddenly alive with a roaring flame. She seemed to hardly notice, though, being the Master of Fire. She stopped in the center of the room. She looked at me, head tilted slightly. "To answer you're question, I was looking for the bathroom." Her voice was light and airy, as usual. Her smile was big and bright.
I let out a nervous laugh. "After six years here, you still can't find the bathroom?"
A smile was still planted on her face as she shrugged, making her wavy hair, resting on her shoulders, bounce. She usually wore it up, but I guess nightwear was different.
She lightly danced around the room, twirling and humming, making her way towards my bed. Her shadow flickered on the walls, mirroring the way the fire flickered from the corner. I sat up straighter as she came closer. When she finally got to my bed, she giggled lightly as she plopped down at the end of it.
I raised an eyebrow at her, wiping my orange hair hastily off my sweaty forehead. "The bathroom's down the hall, last door to the right." After she said nothing, I said, "Ok, Oz, why are you really here?"
She stared into space for a moment, her expression blank and unreadable, and her gaze far away. "I heard you yell," she finally said.
Oh, crap. "Oh..."
"I'm not deaf, yeah know. My room is right next to yours; I hear you yell almost every night." She didn't sound angry, or worried, or anything like that. She sounded more… curious. From the light of the fire, I could see her face was still blank.
I could have shrugged it off. I could have just laughed like I always do, smiled and told everyone I was fine.
Maybe it was because I had never told anyone about my nightmares before. Maybe it was because this was Oz, who I had been close to ever since I got here. Whatever the cause, tonight I didn't deny what she said. I let out a sigh and brought a tan hand up to my still-throbbing forehead, slowly letting my eyes close. "Yeah."
The room was eerily silent. That's what I liked about Oz: she was chatty, loud, and hyper, but never forceful. She wouldn't ask if I wanted to talk about it like the others would. She would just wait to see if I wanted to, just as she was now.
I wanted to tell her everything. So I had to start somewhere. "Oz?"
She smiled. "Yeah, Hawkeye?"
"Have you ever wondered why Cygnus chose us?"
"Well, wasn't it because Cygnus needed help to defeat the Black Mage? Or something like that?"
"No, I mean, why she chose us specifically. Like, why is Mihile the Chief of light? Why not wind? Or fire? It can't only be because of his blond hair, can it? I mean, it's not like we auditioned for the part. We weren't even trained when she selected us, yeah know? Do you think it was just... random?" I realized I had been rambling, so I shut up and waited to see what she would say.
The Blaze Wizard looked thoughtful for a second. "Well… I defiantly don't think it was random. If it was random, we'd be dead by now, wouldn't we?"
"I mean, not every ten year-old could do what we did. They wouldn't have survived the training and all the work. I have lots of older sisters, and I know they wouldn't have been able to do what we did. So… doesn't it have something to do with destiny? Didn't Cygnus choose our jobs for a reason?"
'I chose you for a reason, Hawkeye.' Cygnus' words echoed in my head as I shivered slightly, remembering what the fragile Empress looked like when she was mad. Or, what I thought she would look like. I had never seen her mad outside of my dream before. "Destiny?"
She nodded, beaming as bright as the fireplace. "I believe that everything happens for a reason. Small decisions make up the larger world. Each and every decision ever made affects the bigger picture in some way. And I think Cygnus chose us to affect it in the most positive way she knew."
"You think so?"
"I know so."
I thought about that for a few minutes. She chose us because it was our destiny. Our fate. And it was in our destiny to succeed, and it was in our destiny to be masters of our element, and it was in our destiny to not throw ourselves off cliffs.
I looked at Oz. And I gave her a real smile.
"Thanks, Oz," I said. "I think I understand now."
Oz smiled airily at me again. "Well that's good, 'cause I sure as hell don't!"
We laughed together for a while at that, happy we had each other. Finally, I said, "I don't think I'll be waking you up anymore, Oz. Thank you."
She giggled. "No problem, Hawkeye! Happy to help!" And before I could reply, she hoped off the end of my bed, danced over to me, and planted a small kiss on my cheek. Then, giggling again, she skipped out of my room and closed the door behind her. The fire in the fireplace immediately went out.
I sat there for a while, dazed yet very happy, thinking over all that had happened. Then I suddenly felt very, very tired. So I lay back down, got under the covers, and fell back to sleep for the first time in six years. And it felt good.
'I chose you for a reason, Hawkeye.'
'I know, Cygnus, and I won't let you down.'
A/N: Ta da! Thanks so much for reading! Please review and tell me what you thought! Reviews are highly appreciated! :)