I don't know what these warriors were made of, but I was definitely not like them. Sir Arthur had another recruit he was taking care of; a strange man called Jecra. He was a Star Warrior too, and he already earned himself the title of 'Sir' after many battles he had won. He treated me like a kid when Sir Arthur had his back turned. I'll admit I was still pretty young for my kind, but it didn't permit him to talk to me like this! We were on the same level, both under Sir Arthur's wing, yet I was still many miles under him…
In battles, it was even worse. Even though it felt somewhat familiar to hold a sword, to feel the cold metal of the handle on my stubby little hand, this Star Warrior, this sorry excuse for a 'chivalrous knight', had no mercy for me.
"Wait, wait, wait! Stop it!" Sir Arthur cried out, stopping us both. We were dueling, and Jecra had almost killed me. Again. "Jecra," he began, turning to him with his arms crossed, "you're way too harsh in your moves; it prevents you from moving as freely as you should." He turned to me. "Meta-" Again. He gave me this name a few days ago. He got tired of calling me 'Hey!'. "Try to hold your sword a bit more tightly, you almost dropped it three times in five minutes. In a real battle, such an error could cost your life. Also, can you not control those wings of yours? They seem to get in your way."
He was right. More than once I tripped over my overgrown wings, which touched the ground they were so big. It wasn't my fault; I didn't even know why I had them. They were just in my way. Sir Arthur let us take a break and I immediately went to the other side of the room, to sit in a corner. I didn't want to stay near this blonde man… His words were like swords whenever he would address me. These swords planted deep into my back and he knew it, I was sure.
To set my panicking mind to rest, I took out the book Sir Arthur gave me; he wanted me to learn quickly how to read, saying it was always of great use. I would learn to write later, he told me. The book seemed strange at first; the title was "The Chronicles of the Forgotten Warrior". But it was good. Very good, even. It spoke of a man without a name, going out to the world and trying to find a way to his destiny through trials and great tasks. What would people call a typical story was in fact a great lesson: I was told the man who wrote this was a great strategist; he was on this ship! I needed to find him. He was called… I took a look at the cover. Ah! S.D. Great, that helped me… They were probably a thousand of S.D. here in this ship!
"Oh well," I told myself. "I'll ask Sir Arthur later. Now where was I…? Ah! He… dis… coverrred… that he…"
My reading continued for ten more minutes, then I looked up when my master called me; oh no! Jecra was looking at me with those eyes! He probably found a new way to torture me during training…
I couldn't sleep. I just couldn't. My body was still sore from today's training and I resisted the urge to go see Sir Arthur; I found him very calming, probably since he was the only one I knew here. Oh yeah, there was this little guy that called himself Sailor Waddle Dee, but he was surely sleeping at this hour. I hoisted myself out of bed and went outside. The hallway was cold and silent, and all the lights were closed. Only the faint rumbling of the engines could be heard. Sighing, I ventured out to explore, hoping to find some comfort somewhere. I went to the main room, where the fountain had stopped flowing for the nighttime. I marveled at the sight of space and it's infinity, outside the big dome-like window. I sat down at the bench near the fountain and took out my book. I had to know what happened next to that hero…
It wasn't long for a strange noise to disturb me. I heard a loud thud! and a grunt soon followed, along with muttered curses. I stood up and looked around. No one. Other thuds came up to my ears and I followed them. They were just behind the fountain, where I saw a man crouched down in a small shaft filled with electric cords. The man was of my kind, a dark crimson, almost purple, with brown hair tied up in a ponytail. He put his working glasses up on his head and scratched his skull, puzzled. He took notice of my presence and turned to face me, surprised.
"Ah!" he exclaimed. "It's just you… I thought it was someone else… So, what brings you here?"
I remained silent and observed him. He wasn't wearing a mask, and his eyes were golden, a little narrowed. I didn't like to talk, and my reasons remained unknown, even to me. The man stared, muttered a:
"Creepy stare from creepy kid…"
And got back to work. For a few more minutes I remained standing there, not saying anything, just observing. Was he repairing the fountain? I looked up at it, and the man spoke:
"You still there? I see… I don't mind the company, really. There's not really anyone at night, when I work… Got a name, kid?"
I softly cleared my throat, finally finding the guts to answer this night owl.
The man turned around; his dark yellow eyes scanned me quickly.
"Ah!" he exclaimed. "I heard about you. That newcomer that was found in some woods, heh?"
I nodded, not sure if it was a good thing or not. The man shook his head, and then took notice of my eyes going up to the fountain.
"You like it?" he asked me without turning from the door. "I made it. My most precious piece of work."
My jaw dropped.
"You made it?!"
He chuckled lightly and stood up, staring up at the piece of art.
"Yes. Out of Dark Diamond, the hardest mineral on my home planet."
"Dark?" I repeated. But the fountain was pure white…
"Yes, dark. When you melt it, it takes on a white color. They say this type of mineral purifies the mind, or something like that… On this ship, where death and war rage and live on, I thought it would be perfect. Took me two years to make it."
I looked up and awed at it in wonder. Even during war, this one man took the time to build something so precious, so beautiful… Well, not all Star Warriors are obsessed with war, after all. The man looked down at me and noticed my book. He gestured toward it, and, guessing he wanted to see, I handed it to him. He took his time observing it, then softly chuckled; he put it back down on my open palms.
"Nice choice of author. His first book, you know."
"You know who wrote it?"
He nodded. My jaw dropped. Finally, someone would tell me! I resisted the urge to glomp him and stayed in place, a wide smile across my face.
"Please, tell me! I need to meet him, I just love his book! And Sir Arthur told me he is a strategist, even!"
"Was a strategist," he interrupted. He was looking up thoughtfully at the fountain. "Now, all he does of his days is working on metal scraps and junk, and creating during the night. And guess what? He's the one to thank for the new engine of this ship, and what next? Nobody even knows of this detail, as important as it may be…"
He sighed and put down the wires he had been holding on to, then sat down on the fountain, his shoulders seeming so heavy. I awed at him. Could he be…? He had to be, otherwise how could he know of all this? I took a step toward him.
"Hum… Sir? Can you tell me your name?"
He looked up at me, surprised. He remained silent a moment, then smiled and held out his oil soaked glove to me, which I shook eagerly.
"Name's Dragato. Now, you better get to bed, kid. I don't think Sir Arthur will be gentle with you tomorrow in your training, no?"
I gasped. The training! Again, tomorrow! I gasped a goodnight and quickly ran out of the main room, barely noticing that this name was placing itself in my mind. Dragato… S.D. … Sir Dragato…
It was an accident… I swear it was an accident! Six months had passed since my arrival here, and my training was going well. I had went to Sir Arthur's office, to ask him when I would go on my first mission, when I heard those voices inside…
"Arthur, you must be joking! You can't possibly imagine such a thing!"
"Dragato… Please, don't push me deeper…"
He sounded so tired, so sad… I had never heard him talk like that.
"But you are making a terrible mistake! He is not your son! He is not Meta, nor will he replace your wife. You cannot love her through him! One day, he'll have to leave this base and go make his own life, somewhere far from war! Keeping a little kid like him here is torture… Don't you understand?"
"I didn't say… that I loved her throu-"
"She won't come back."
Silence ensued, with only my beating heart sounding in my ears. What were they talking about…?
"Plus, that kid is a demon-beast…"
"Meta is not a demon-beast!"
I gasped. They were talking about me! What did they mean by a demon? Was I really…? I heard some footsteps inside.
"I'll let you think of this. Don't think I'm against you, I just want you to understand these important matters."
The doorknob turned, and me as well. I ran down the hallway, barely hearing Sir Dragato saying my name in surprise. I didn't care. They all thought I was a demon-beast! That's why most of the soldiers always cast murder glares at me! I ran and ran until my breath caught up to me, and I collapsed in the training room, exhausted. I was a demon… A monster… Those wings… So that's where they were from. But… I didn't remember anything…
"Open your mind, boy… Let the truth flow…"
I looked around, panicking. Who just spoke? That voice was so dark… so terrible… My whole body started to tremble, without my mind realizing it. I was so scared… A laugh echoed in my mind, and I held my head in pain.
Then, a soft glove touched my back. I whirled around, opening my wings in defense, pushing a tall blonde man back. Jecra… I really didn't need him right now! He looked confused, with… worry on his face? Why was he worried for me?
"Are you okay?" he asked me softly. "I heard you scream, and I came here, and you were convulsing… You're awfully pale…"
I didn't answer. My vision went dark, and I fell at his feet.