Disclaimer: I don't own anthything!
After nearly a year of being hunted mercilessly by both the Ark of Destiny and bounty hunters, a sudden reprieve raises both hope and questions. Has the world finally found the truth or is this the calm before the storm?
AN: I posted this chapter a few days ago but took it down. I changed it up and have decided on a new direction for the story.
Virginia Maxwell giggled as she watched the tall Baskar begin another argument with the younger white haired Drifter. They always argued, it seemed, more so now than ever. Maybe it was the stress but she thought that Gallows enjoyed fighting with Jet. His relationship with his grandmother suggested that, for both of them, fighting was their way of affection. The twenty-five year liked to act very childishly and one of his favorite pastimes was to hit on women. Jet Enduro on the other hand liked solitude, and didn't like to express his emotions openly, only his opinions, which were almost always negative. Jet's indifference and sarcastic demeanor was the cause of most arguments between the two.
She smiled as she leaned back against the massive rock formation that they had decided to camp under. The dusty yellow stone provided cover from prying eyes and monsters that roamed Filgaia. The horses milled beside the camp, grateful for the reprieve. A small fire burned brightly, offering warmth in the cooling desert air. The setting sun was the only reason they had camped, none of them willing to push their luck in the darkness.
"Damn it, kid! Would it kill you to say anything nice! Out of all of us, your hair is the most recognizable. If you think that all of us traveling together is a mistake, then by all means leave! The beacon of head of yours will probably keep the bounty hunters off of our trail!" Gallows' loud voice boomed across the desert.
It used to be that, like Gallows Carradine, Virginia herself fought with Jet on his behavior. When she learned that he had no memories of his childhood and later, that he had been modeled after the deceased son of one of the scientists that created him, her feelings would not permit her to fight with him... Much. He really could make her furious with just a few words or actions, though! She didn't know his exact age, but he had been alive for eleven years, created with both the mind and body of an adolescent, only lacking memories. She believed his body to be about the same age as her, maybe a year or two difference?
She didn't feel pity for Jet, he would hate that, but she forced herself to understand how he would feel. The bitterness, anger and distrust he would have, and knew that trying to force him to show his feelings left him uncomfortable and angry. Unlike Gallows, she would try and see what he really meant under his cool exterior and sarcasm. She had promised to help him find his lost memories, and now that she knew he didn't actually have any, would try her hardest to make ones filled with happiness.
"Whatever!" Came Jet's trademark reply as he stalked off, fuming.
"Whatever!" Mocked Gallows as he walked of in the opposite direction. "A wall has more personality than that kid..." His grumbles of annoyance carried across the plains.
"It seems those two have too much energy to spare." An amused voice commented from behind her.
"Yup," Virginia couldn't help another giggle, "But don't worry! Its nothing another few hours under the scorching sun can't cure!"
"And this makes you happy?" Clive Winslett, the thirty-one year old sniper questioned, settling down beside her.
"Not that! We're alive, safe and on our way to a place where we won't be treated like outlaws and sleep on a real bed! Why shouldn't we be happy when we've been living in the desert for so long?"
"I cannot be thankful enough that we have not been attacked in quite some time, I have really missed both Kaitlyn and Catherine. It's been almost a month since I've seen them last." He sighed longingly. Catherine was Clive's wife, and Kaitlyn their daughter. Virginia looked up to Clive like a father and knew that even though life as a Drifter did not allow him the chance to see his family often, he was a devoted father and husband. His wife understood the passion her husband had for acquiring knowledge of Filgaia and the need to stop the plans set in motion by their various foes a year prior. To make the future safer for both of them, Clive had become hunted by the world he had saved, all four of their group had, in fact.
Virginia felt guilt over what had transpired, being the leader, but knew that it wasn't her fault. Though she had led, her comrades had chosen to follow. They had to remind her of that fact sometimes, when her thoughts burdened her shoulders with guilt.
"...But it seems suspicious, doesn't it?" Virginia began. At first the lull in the hunt seemed like a godsend but the longer it progressed, the more anxious she and her teammates became. "We're usually attacked by the Ark or bounty hunters at least once or twice a week. We usually see patrols every other day! Now its been three weeks and we haven't seen hide nor hair of anyone? It doesn't feel right."
"I feel the same, as do Jet and Gallows I presume, as they seem to fight more than ever. But even so, we might as well use this time to visit our friends and family." He smiled and continued, "We haven't been in town for quite some time, maybe Humphrey's Peak will have some answers on any new developments with the Ark of Destiny? Catherine always keeps her ears open for anything of interest for us."
"I can't help but say it but maybe the Ark has found out the truth and are no longer after us?"
"Even I am not that optimistic. We have tried for nearly a year to plead our innocence to every pursuer, none have believed us. How can anyone obtain proof that a dream demon, who the Ark believed was a saint, killed their founder?"
"I can't help but hope, though... The alternatives are all worse, they're planning something big if we haven't seen them in so long."
"Why don't we head to Baskar and then Boot Hill next? If something is going on we should see our families, for it may be our last time to do so. We must be on guard though, we should never doubt the ingenuity of people with money or revenge on the line." With that they both fell silent.
Since the incident at Baskar Colony a month ago things had been quiet. The incident itself had been caused by an increase in the bounty for their capture. From 221 500 gella to 355 000, a frenzy of men and women began the search anew. By coincidence a large group of drifters had gathered near Baskar Colony as Virginia and her team had been about to leave. They would not have been recognized had not someone called out Virginia's name. Outnumbered, she and her comrades had resorted to fleeing on horseback, their treasured teleport orb left in the hands of another. Luckily, their mounts had been left at Baskar since besting Lombardia.
The metal dragon, Lombardia, had retired back to Dragon's Nest after the final battle with Beatrice. All she wanted was peace, not wanting to be a weapon any longer. Virginia sincerely hoped that nothing would disturb the dragon, though she would miss being able to soar across Filgaia as Lombardia's dragoon.
Roykman the traveling merchant, who they had encountered a few days after fleeing Baskar, had told them that the Ark had hired men to patrol in almost all the towns. The Ark was getting desperate, searching everyone who tried to enter or leave. Roykman suggested that only thing to do was to wait them out, hoping they ran out of gella. Unanimous in the decision, the group had bought enough supplies to last a month and then galloped deep into the desert.
With the help of Tony from the train station, who had let them and their horses on the train, their little group was now headed toward Humphrey's Peak. It was the first town they would enter since the close call at Baskar.
"Well then, I am quite exhausted this evening, and shall head for bed. I think I'll need my energy against Kaitlyn tomorrow." Clive stood up laying a comforting hand on her shoulder before heading for his bedroll. While Virginia waited for Jet and Gallows, the sniper fell asleep to the sounds of the desert.
Virginia listened to the wind whistle across the barren landscape. The world had been changing, yes, but slowly. Clive had said that before the greenery could return, the foundation for its survival had to be laid. The ground had to become fertile and more rain had to fall before plants could grow. The rejuvenation of the planet from Jet's memories was happening and Clive hoped that, before he died, he could see the planet as the green and blue world it once was. The hints of change were there, flowers sprouting where they once never could and rain had been falling more frequently. As the moon rose higher, Virginia also wished that she would live long enough to see the world as it once was... Safe, with her family and the three that helped make it happen.
This is my first Fanfic! Review?