Centurious the Azure presents an Ar tonelico Akane on shot...

Icy Salvation

The stench of fire and brimstone clouds the air, making the death choked air all the more suffocating. The crackling gets louder as the fire consumes everything, it's possibly only moments before the entire residence is gone. It's getting harder to breathe as the smoke obscures everything. The feeling that death is close an insane concept. It's both relieving and frightening. Troubles that caused many difficulties in life seem so far away in those final moments. Yet, it's those very same circumstances that make life more enjoyable. The thoughts and memories that made up a lifetime flash within the mind's eye. The fact that the experience may never continue ever again finally occurs to you. All those tiny things, people, and everything that was taken for granted seem so important now. The heat licks at your feet, you can see the flames rising. A cold sweat trickles down your brow like the icy fear engulfing your heart. You know what's coming next. This was the final sight... Hell is already here to claim its newest vistor.

You squeeze your eyes shut. Praying for some sort of salvation is the final option. There's way no way to avert what was coming. The sound of music floods your ears. A gentle voice whispers in your ears. A chorous of Her angels have come to direct you to the right place. Ciela's kingdom has come! The comforting embrace of the chill wraps around you. It's not the warming embrace you've heard of in the preacher's sermons, but anything is better in compairison to the hellfire.

"Are you copacetic?" You hear a gentle voice ask, it's evident concern is echoing in your ears. Your eyes flutter open. Everything is ice! All the flames in the room are snuffed out... It's a miracle! If your body wasn't so weak, you'd be celebrating. Dancing for joy even. You finally connect the face to the voice. It's hard to put into words how beautiful of a sight her face is. Those cool golden eyes sparkle with real concern for a moment. The ghost of a smile crosses her lips the leaves just as quick. "We've another survivor! Come tend to him!" She calls out, you realize the commanding presence she has in both the way she speaks and presents herself. To back it up, a squad of young women dressed in strangely revealing clothing suddenly materialize around you. You feel yourself being carried away, you look back at the young woman. Your eyes cross, the mask she carries falls for a moment, that same incredible smile strikes you directly in the heart. You've the feeling everything will be okay.

Another woman comes up to the blue haired girl, reporting to her that the district has been cleared of the enemy. The foul, nightmarish creatures that attaced your home suddenly come to mind. Another realization strikes like lightning, what was Clustania doing here? Fear once again grips you by the throat. What will be happening to you next?

"Geez! Stop wriggling around, will ya?" A deep voice demands, the angular face of what's perhaps a man crosses your vision. For it weren't for the Clustanian blue, you assume it was a man... Whatever it is scowls at you. "Don't worry about it... We're not into the Cleansing shit anymore. Let's just say there's been a change in management. General's pretty much ordered the destruction of every single Cleansing device in Clustania. There's been alot of political backlash over it... She don't care, though. Boss' doin' what she believes is right. It's gonna be a long road to mending relations, but she's in it for the long run. The age of "Her Divinity" is over. Period."

You look back at the 'General'... It's hard to believe such a beautiful, young girl is the leader of an entire nation. The pressures of such a job had to be enormous weight for her to carry. Yet, she handed out orders without flinching or without the look of second thoughts coming over her face. She was cool and calm in the face of such odds. From this distance, it was hard not to admire her. You feel your heart beating fast in your chest. Is this simple admiration or something else entirely?

"What's her name?" You finally choke out from your parched lips.

"Akane. She's the lady who saved your ass and the leader who'll be directing Clustania to a better place than this shithole we're livin' in. Yeah. I get the feeling, if we all put our differences aside, we'll all be sittin' pretty thanks to people like her."

"A new age... that sounds like a nice thought." You feel a genuine smile tug on your face. Maybe, if you ever meet again, you can thank her.