The Shining Prince and the Star Princess

Chapter 4: Glimpse of the Past, Shadows of the Future

Eva Wei - May 8th, 2085 - 11:25 am – Somewhere in Sector 35, Byrus

Aikka put all his emotions, all his energy, all of his focus into his transformation. His fangs were now dagger sharp and leaked saliva with his scales rising all over from his tanned body became just as sharp and turned deep blood red. He could feel his entire body changing, growing larger, and becoming stronger as his heart beat harder and harder. His hands and feet became paws and penetrated the ground beneath him getting a feel of it. Aikka's blue eyes shifted into a haunting icy color that displayed his fury.

Finally, he was ready.

Aikka's roar was so fierce and strong it caused an incredible shockwave knocking both of the big adult Crogs off of their feet and forced Eva and the boys to shield their ears with their hands. It was only the smaller beaten Crog who seemed untouched and unafraid as he looked up with wide yellow eyes of wonder at the beast before him.

Eva, Jordan, and Cameron still hiding in silence behind the bushes looked on at the unbelievable scene. She scanned the monster's menacing appearance following her warrior instinct. There was no possible way that they could defeat him and the Crogs stood even less of a chance. They would have to keep their hiding spot for now and only abandon it to run before they were discovered when the time was right. But somewhere deep at the back of Eva's mind she wondered to herself why would she want to defeat the creature anyway? He was just doing what she was about to except for him it would be even easier. And it was stranger still for Eva to admit to her own self that there was something oddly familiar about the beast. Something in his behavior that Eva had known; she could only be certain that it was something she knew but everything else was a blur. There was no way she had ever seen any creature like him before but she felt like she had in some way as if the two of them shared the strangest connection.

Finally the young Crog found the strength to stand up clutching his broken arm and limped to the monster that remained motionless but kept his icy gaze on the Crog as he approached. The impossible happened, for the first time in her life Eva couldn't read his face. All those years of learning and perfecting the skill that kept her alive seemed to fade out of existence now. At that moment she was only aware of the creature and nothing else.

No one made as a sound as the creature stared into the eyes of the young Crog. The two were face-to-face and like Eva, were aware of nothing else. The entire world around them had disappeared. Eva let go of her breath finally as the beast allowed the young Crog to limp behind him using him as a shield against his tormentors. Then the creature gave his young friend one glance back before setting his sights on the other Crogs and stomping a few earthshaking steps toward the Crogs as he snarled ferociously and protectively blocked the young Crog from view of his oppressors.

Aikka had already made up his mind. He was too far gone to even consider mercy. These monsters had plagued him all his life and they would pay for what they did to his friend and even more his people.

Both Crogs reluctantly flashed their sabers knowing they wouldn't stand a chance but still followed the last animalistic instinct of self-preservation and together they charged at the beast.

Aikka snarled even more as he flashed his teeth still leaking his saliva in the young Omerkai's own thirst for the blood of these malicious Crogs. He made an incredible jump toward them with fangs and claws bared.

The beast harshly pounced on the Crog who had punched down the smaller one and the both of them practically flew over the trio of hiding humans still using the bush as shelter and fell against the hard unforgiving forest floor. A struggle between the monsters began with every spectator already knowing the end victor.

The other bigger Crog followed after them and soon the two Crogs and the beast were locked in combat with the beast obviously winning as he had just savagely ripped the head off of one of the Crogs. His black body spurted blood and pulsed violently before finally giving in to gravity. His fangs and face were now stained with his victim's red liquid and he looked toward the only remaining Crog –his new prey.

Meanwhile, the unknown spectators watched on as the last Crog put up the fight of his life by trying to scare the beast back. But under that animal appearance was a cunning combatant who knew better and he swiped at the Crog once with his sharp claws knocking him down to the ground with blood spurting from his new gaping wound on his side. The violence of the fight sent a chill down Eva's back that succeeded in awaking her from her dreamy gaze. Now was the time to escape and she harshly shoved Jordan and Cameron out of the bushes to the dirt ground. The trio jumped up to their feet and fled from the scene.

Running was the only thing they knew. The world was gone. They only felt their feet continually contacting with the ground and the sweat that dripped down their foreheads. All of them too afraid to look back as their hearts were replaced with harsh beating drums.

Even tired and thoroughly exhausted Eva was still about her wits. Using the trail was a dead giveaway and if the creature was right behind them they wouldn't be able to outrun it. The best way was to use the trees as cover playing on the advantage that the beast was too large to navigate through the thick foliage of the forest. Her mind kept working as she kept running as fast. She began to fall behind Jordan and Cameron who on any other day, she could run circles around but the creature and the hooded man kept coming to mind. The whole situation didn't make any sense. Crogs that cried were best friends with werewolves?

She still had trouble believing it and it slowed her down even more.

It didn't matter; they were almost at the Base when Eva did the last thing any other warrior would have done in her position.

She stopped dead in her tracks and turned to look back at the direction she had just run from. Was it really right for her to just run? Should she try to follow the beast?

But what then? Would it try to kill her? He could easily do it. He was about the same size as one of those full grown mounts the Nourasians used as star-racers but twice as vicious. Would the young Crog even survive?

''EVA COME ON!'' Jordan yelled.

She shook her head trying to shake her head free of the thoughts at the same time and with a final leap over a fallen log she caught up with the boys who were huffing and puffing trying to catch their breath exhausted from the run as they leaned against a huge boulder.

Jordan removed his red bandanna and squished it with his bulky hands trying to squeeze out the sweat. He finally caught his breath enough to speak and he panted, ''what… the hell …was that?''

Cameron was scared silent as he let his body against a boulder behind him and his newly shaking legs were soon to follow as he sank into the dirt and tried to comb out the sweat from his hair with his hands while he panted.

''Tell me we did not just see th-that,'' Jordan looked to Eva with his hands on his knees as his body continued to deny him a single easy breath either from the exhaust of the run or his own fear.

'' We can't tell anybody. They'll think we're crazy. Hell, I think we're crazy! '' His voice trembled and became higher pitched than usual due to his distress. It wasn't helping that Eva kept her eyes focused on the direction they had come from and refused to answer him.

Jordan outraged ''that shit's not supposed to happen!''

Eva turned towards him sharply enough do that her long hair whipped the wind, annoyed at his weakness,'' Quit whining! We have to tell Rush what we saw,'' she said in her confident demanding tone ignoring the fact that beneath it all she was still afraid. But it wasn't in her nature to let her feelings control her.

Jordan wasn't the type to give up on any argument easily, ''TELL THEM WHAT? We just saw a werewolf in the middle of the day protect a cry-baby Crog against two other Crogs trying to kill him; who the hell is going to believe that?''

Eva walked up to him and she glared him in the eye, ''it doesn't matter what it sounds like. We saw it and it happened! We tell Rush; end of story.'' She walked past both of them heading back to Base.

Cameron watched her as she went and finally realizing she was leaving them he got up and ran after her.

Jordan followed clumsily, almost tripping in the process, compelled by the fact that he didn't want to be alone in the Forests after what he had just witnessed.

Eva walked up unafraid to the huge metal doors, glaring them down as if they were the beast itself. She then followed the entrance procedure of pressing in the entrance password into the 14 letter keyboard on the wall left of the doors, then removed her ID army-tag necklace and placed the small oval shaped silver tag against the scanner. The final test was to look inside the oval shaped eye scanner that popped out from its hidden hole.

The old Zargonon metal doors slid open to allow them entrance into Lexer Base.

Lexer was far from beauty. Save the outside defense walls, the entire Base was made from melted down metal scraps found on battlefields, old battleships, and whatever other pieces they could manage to find in the world outside. Though they had a decent supply of Zargonon Metal, the strongest metal in the galaxy and the reason the Crogs wanted Byrus so badly, they had to save it all for battle in the use of weapons and ship repairs. The Byrians had it pretty hard. Lights above flickered on and off at their limited energy supply. A few of them were dead and there was always one light that continued to spurt out occasional sparks that usually went unnoticed because they were too high to cause injury. But the Byrians were a strong resilient people. The Base was proof enough as even with their limited resources the dome-shaped Base was built 749 feet from its deep underground foundation to the top of the roof and another 522 feet in diameter. As for the lights, though they were poor in quality they were set to light for another century before they had to be replaced.

It was this unyielding attitude that made Eva certain the Byrians would eventually win the war against the Crogs; that one day they would free their precious planet and once the Crogs were gone they could start rebuilding their planet and their lives. They would wipe away all the damages the Crogs had done to them and free all of their imprisoned brethren. One day soon, for now it was just a dream that everyone prayed for. But that shared dream kept everyone going.

Byrian men, women and children intermingled with a few other aliens of different races trafficked through the building each of them with their own set course. One of them stopped as they saw the human trio.

It was a young teenage girl with her green dyed ponytail hair that perfectly matched her eyes. A few strands of her hair escaped her red bandanna that she always wore as a sentiment to her now deceased parents. Audrey's*** voice was friendly and optimistic as always, ''hey guys!'' She walked up to them wearing the standard uniform, navigating her way through the crowd to meet up with the trio and then follow them up the long metal stairs high above the traffic.

She always hugged Jordan first, ''I thought you guys weren't supposed to be back for another few hours.'' Cameron was second and she saved her best friend for last.

''Yeah, we were,'' Eva smiled trying to pretend she meant it.

Audrey's smile was too innocent to ignore,'' so what happened?'' she asked as they turned down through the not-so-congested hallways.

''Well…'' Eva turned her gaze downward as she thought of all the reasons she should and shouldn't tell her the truth. She made up her mind she was going to tell Rush and though Audrey would be the perfect practice she was still reluctant to tell her best friend. ''We kind of ran into trouble-''

Jordan interrupted from behind, ''you wouldn't believe us if we told you, Audrey.''

The girl smiled brighter clearly enthusiastic, ''Now I have to know! What happened?''

Cameron spoke nonchalantly with his hands on his head just as Eva opened her mouth to answer, ''we had to hide from these two big Crogs trying to kill this smaller crying one but he was saved by a werewolf.''

Audrey's face formed a scowl and she smacked him harshly. Cameron was like a magnet for beatings but still always whined.

The young gunner girl glared at the young boy who only rubbed his head at the attack, ''quit lying, Cameron.''

''It's the truth,'' Eva admitted without any emotion tied to her voice.

Audrey only giggled making Eva blush out of embarrassment. ''Oh I get it! You guys are hilarious!''

''It's no joke, Audrey.'' Jordan's voice was completely serious signaling to Audrey that he was being honest.

Audrey's smile and her laugh faded immediately, ''what the hell are you talking about?'' now her voice conveyed the same distress as Jordan's had right before they entered the Base.

Eva tried to explain but she was interrupted again. This time it was by Rush's voice on the intercom.

''Reminder to all soldiers, prep for tomorrow's attack. All soldiers will be required to report to the Inner Stadium tomorrow morning.''

The group stopped only for a moment to take in the situation before Eva took a step to her left and pressed the key for the elevator that led down the private quarters of the Base.

Audrey was still hysterical, ''what do you mean you saw a werewolf?''

Eva didn't bother to look her friend in the eye. ''Just drop it for now and we'll tell you more later, Audrey.''

The elevator doors opened revealing the last person Eva needed to see that day.

Her crimson eyes burned fiery at the Byrian teen before her. He looked like many Byrians his age burly and bulky with grey skin and white furry hairs on his arms, exposed chest and his head and face. His deep black eyes showed the true darkness of his heart that only made Eva that much angrier and made her feel that much more threatened.

''What's up Redhead?'' the young Byrian mocked her with a devious smirk.

''Go to hell, Baros***,'' Eva gave a low growl as she glared at the Byrian testing her patience.

Baros was the only Byrian who sincerely gave her a hard time. The truth was no secret.

When Eva first came to Lexer she was taken in by the kindest woman she had ever met, Rush's wife, Grace. Eva could still clearly see her in her mind. Grace was heavily built and loomed over Eva. Like most Byrians, she had beautiful pale white skin complemented by her long locks of shining orange hair she wore down her back in a braid; her eyes were beautiful lavender. Grace was a second mother to Eva, already accustomed to caring for other's children as she was the one to usually look after the orphans in Lexer, though having none of her own. She was the support Eva needed after both her imprisonment and her beatings at the boarding school before she was captured during Earth's invasion. Grace was the one who helped Eva back on her feet, trained her and virtually made her the woman she was today. But all of that was wiped out a month ago after Grace was killed in an air battle.

Eva caught the whole thing on the camera on her star-racer. It was one of the fiercest battles they had ever endured as they protected their discovered water resource tanks hidden in the deserts of Kax only a few miles off Lexer Base from a Crog invasion. They were outnumbered ten to one but in some strange miracle they managed to win, but there were always casualties. Grace was one of them.

Her on board camera clearly showed that she wasn't a victim of a Crog cruiser or even a Nourasian; Baros' father, Draal had shot her down while aiming for a beetle mount who managed to slip away to avoid the attack.

Instead of admitting his error, which even though had led to Grace's demise, he lied and spread rumors that Eva had shot her down instead. Soon enough, all of Lexer Base was split into a near civil war with half siding with Eva and half siding with Draal. Rush was determined not to let the death of Grace, who so supported peace in the base, break up the Rebels and after inspecting the video and showing it to the entirety of the Base it was unanimously decided Eva was innocent and Draal was to be exiled from the Base and his followers and their families along with him.

Baros was the only one of them who had stayed. He talked Rush into believing he was nothing like his father, or so he thought. Rush still carried guilt over Draal's expulsion from the Base and in an empty attempt to make up for it, he had allowed Baros to stay knowing fully well he was serving as a spy for his father.

''The hell do you want?'' Eva's husky voice surprised everyone around her and her own ears. But she didn't care anymore. All she wanted was to release her anger out on the traitor.

He grinned back at her, ''no fair, Redhead,'' then shrugged as he smirked sarcastically, ''I haven't even done anything to you… yet.''

He seemed to brush off her coldness which only pissed her off further. Baros showed his true colors as he glared back at Eva as if she were nothing more than dirt beneath him and said in low growl, ''every bitch has to learn her place. I guess I'm going to be the one to teach you, yours. You more than deserve it for your lies.'' He took a step closer, almost whispering with a cold smile, '' I'm sure you know about our Byrian tradition of dealing with women like yourselves. What was that old saying?'' he pretended to think about it, not fooling anyone and snapped his two of his fingers when it came to him, '' I remember,' a girl's womanhood is her greatest punishment,' ''

Eva felt sweat drip down her neck. Baros was telling the truth; the Byrians, though a kind people at heart, had many traditions that could convince otherwise. This one in particular concerned woman who were uncontrollable and did not live up to their place had to be punished. If she had dared so much as to shame someone, a male even worse, the Byrian man had every right to teach her, her place one way or another.

There was no way Eva would just take this all without a fight; it wasn't in her nature. She opened her mouth with a comeback but before she could get out the words, the muscular figure of Jordan stepped between her and the Byrian.

''Aw yeah?'' he mocked grinning; almost laughing at Baros though Eva could tell from the sweat on his dark brow that he was terrified of the Byrian. ''Bring it! I can take care of you myself!'' he balled his fists and shook one of them in front of Baros' face as he tried to snarl but couldn't quite.

Baros only threw his head back and laughed hysterically, ''yeah right, I'm in trouble now!'' He looked back at Eva with a chuckle but his dark eyes were completely serious as he used Jordan's heroism to further humiliate her, '' ya gotta hide behind Jordan, huh, Redhead?''

Eva now took less than a second to harshly brush Jordan aside and step close enough to Baros to get into his face and then further pulled him closer but grabbing his wooden medallion as if she were his master . She snarled, ''I don't need anyone to fight my battles for me!'' even though she was glaring at Baros, Jordan shrunk back an inch knowing her anger and the comment was also directed at him for his interference. ''You want to get your ass handed to you? Fine! Just try me and we'll see who the real bitch is!'' Eva pushed him away and back to his friends behind him.

Baros shrugged his shoulders brushing it off again as he grinned, ''whatever, Redhead.'' He and his taller, more brutish looking friends followed him out through the corridor Eva and the others had just come from.

Eva never took her eyes off of him for a second, even after he was gone from sight.

Jordan interrupted her yet again trying to apologize in a quiet voice,'' Eva, I-''

At the one moment it took every ounce of Eva's self-control to keep her from punching him in the face. Her fists trembled begging for the chance to let her anger loose.

She didn't think about what she was going to say or what she was saying and her anger consumed her and poured out of her like burning lava as her crimson eyes turned fiery and she growled with a great hatred in each word, '' I don't need anyone to fight my battles for me.'' She looked at him, there was shock written all over his face. Did he really not get how stupid that was of him? ''You made me look weak!''

Above all things, that was what Eva hated most. Above Crogs, above losing her friends, even above losing her family, she hated looking weak. She had been weak for so long, to actually look like it was an invitation to a beating; one that she could easily avoid by simply being strong. But Jordan had just taken that away from her.

''Now I look like an easy target! So thank you!'' she added sarcastically she said ignoring the gaping look she got from Jordan, Audrey and Cameron.

When her temper had cooled now her stupid brain plagued her with guilt at what she'd just done and Eva let her red dyed bangs shadow her face and folded her arms together as the others continued to stare.

Audrey was the first to speak up, ''Eva…we only-''

''Forget it,'' she said in a cold whisper. There was no emotion in Eva's voice as if she was putting on a mask that hid her from them all. She turned her back to their faces, unable to take much more of their innocent hurt she had just caused.

She thought to herself as she stared at nothing in the hallways, 'I guess this makes, me no better than the beast. 'Guess that's our special connection; we're both monsters.'

Cameron, Audrey, and Jordan all stared at their team captain as she left trying to figure out what they were supposed to do to console her, even if they should console her.

Eva finally thought it best to offer them some sort of make-up for her behavior knowing there was no good enough reason for her to treat her own friends so cruelly. She feigned a small smile as she turned her face enough so she could make eye contact with them without turning her body from facing the hallways, ''sorry… I'll see you guys tomorrow bright and early, okay?''

She walked off as silent as a ghost as her mind worked on loudly.

Audrey, Cameron, and Jordan were all too innocent. Before they had been captured from Earth they had easy average lives living with their average families in an average town. Before their capture they never had to fear for their lives. They didn't know the true definition of fear when they were so young. But every day of Eva's childhood before she was captured she had to fight back if she wanted to live to see another day. Just to survive she had to fight the world.

Where was the justice?

Probably dead right along with her mother, she thought.

But nonetheless she could still fight for it.

''Eva!'' the merry high pitched voice of a young child brought Eva back to reality. Running down the hallway at full speed toward her was the light of her day.

Now Eva could truly smile as she realized who the child was. ''Hey, Sonny***.''

The little Crog and human hybrid hopped into Eva's wide open arms and squealed as Eva lifted her up and spun her around. Then she cuddled Sonny close in her arms letting the small child's pudgy purple arms wrap around Eva's neck and squeeze as hard as she could. Eva held her tight as if just this moment could wipe away all of her fears and frustration and all the darkness. She was all that Eva needed to brighten her day no matter what happened. That was the reason for her name, Sonny.

'' I missed you, big sister!'' Sonny gave a big cheery smile displaying her teeth, two of which were missing after she had an incident with the stairs.

''And I missed you even more, little sis!'' Eva smiled and played with the five year-old's short shaggy black hair kept in two high pigtails. ''You've been good haven't you?''

''For the most part,'' an old woman approached the two from the hallway. It was an elderly Byrian woman wearing patchwork clothes of a simple blouse and long skirt with her white silk hair kept in a long ponytail that ran down her back. Her warm smile was a greeting.

''Hi Hana***,'' Eva replied to her while the woman hugged both her and Sonny still cradled in Eva's arms. ''I'm sorry if Sonny caused you any trouble.''

Hana was just as much a mother to Sonny as Grace was to Eva; always caring for the two girls giving them extra clothing and blankets and other necessities. Following Grace's death Hana stepped up even more by assuming the responsibility of Sonny's babysitter while her beloved 'big sister' was out fighting battles.

''Oh nonsense Sonny is always lively. She even makes me feel thirty years younger,'' Hana gave her report on the child's behavior, ''she couldn't stop talking about her big sister. Then she heard the announcement and she ran off to find you.''

There was a special meaning behind Sonny's nickname. Even though Eva had already gave her the tragic talk on what became of Sonny's birth family the girl still thought of Eva as her big sister making their bond that much stronger.

Hana gave a face that reminded Eva that she had other priorities.

Eva gave Sonny a bright smile and cuddled her face close to hers fighting back the tears that wanted to come. Even her voice was a sad whisper, ''…Sonny…you know that big sister has to go….''

Sonny held Eva even tighter, ''I don't want you to go,'' but Eva smiled as the little warrior in her wouldn't let her cry but her voice still trembled. Eva wiped away the sparkling drops of tears that had formed on Sonny's golden eyes.

''It won't be for too long. After I'm done kicking some bad guy butt you and me can hang out as long as you want, cutie.''

''Do you promise?'' Sonny's voice reminded Eva of herself when she was her age. How long ago? It was in another lifetime when she had her own family. When the world actually seemed like the perfect place. It was the last time she ever with her mother, just an hour before she died. Eva repeated history as she lift up her hand and said, ''I promise.'' Sonny repeated it along with her as she placed her hand in that of her big sister who in turn held it close and kissed Sonny on her forehead.

Late that night, Eva had been training in the gym long after her fellow Byrians had left to spend the rest of their free time with their families. She was always the last to leave since her training clothes consisted of a short t-shirt that exposed half of her scarred torso and her arms that were only adorned with her black fingerless gloves that had metal attached to the knuckles.

How many hours of running laps had she put in?

Had it been two?

How long had she been balancing on the beam and weightlifting?

Maybe three hours?

Four?

Here was where she could be truly free to unleash all of her anger by physically pushing herself. She was too busy exhausting all of the equipment to care about how much time she put in. To her the hours didn't matter, it was all about what she got out of it, and how any move she tried, learned, and perfected tonight would help her survive tomorrow.

She stretched her sweaty exposed and scarred arms high above her head deciding that she had had enough of weight lifting and the now broken weights had obviously had enough of her. Her crimson eyes turned to the pebble and meat filled punching bag hanging on an iron chain.

Eva crouched down in a running position with her hands to the floor and her focus on the bag. She imagined the icy blue eyes of the beast staring back at her; challenging her.

''I fight my own battles,'' she snarled to herself then took off toward the bag running even faster than she had that morning that she ran out of fear. Now she ran out of fury, blind anger….and…

Her left fist clenched tightly as she neared her target preparing to give it a merciless punch.

And…

Her arm flexed back ready to spring forward again only when it was at the perfect timing as she would send her fist flying.

And…

His voice was in her head, ''passion, my love'' and suddenly she saw his face phantom across the punching bag.

Eva came to a screeching halt. Not an inch of her body moved other than her chest as it panted harshly from Eva's workout. Sweat dripped down her forehead slipping down missing her wide crimson eyes. Her fist was less than inch away from the bag.

She collapsed to the wood floor below cradling her trembling guilty hands as if they had just committed murder. Eva looked up to the bag realizing she wasn't completely wrong. The punching bag was illuminated by the light of the stars outside from the window up on the wall behind Eva; the brightest of all of them in particular.

Eva turned to look at the window behind her as the light from the special star poured in and she stood in it allowing it make a gentle halo around her. The light itself was like the answer to a forgotten prayer. It was warm and comforting almost as if it were her Shining Prince himself. She dazed his strong arms around her protecting her from all darkness including that in her own self.

''…Star Princess…'' he called out for her.

Eva removed her bloodied gloves and placed them in her back pocket before she went to the elevator that directly up to the highest floor on the Base and from there she could reach the rooftop and her Shining Prince.

Prince Aikka – May 8th, 2085 – 11:59 pm – Etna Lake Base Sector 29, Byrus

In the privacy of his animal hide tent, Aikka sighed as he gave in to gravity and let his body fall down to his bed. His half naked overheated body cooled down at the cold touch of the sheets.

The day's events of moving the entire Nourasian knights out of the space station and down to another Crog encampment down on the planet Byrus had thoroughly worn out the young man. It was easier said than done. The worst part of the job was watching the separation of the Knights and their families that they were forced to leave behind on the station to the mercy of the malicious Crog guards known for their brutality. Aikka even once found a group of them trying to force themselves on a young maid he recognized as one who used to be one of his chambermaids in the Palace on Nourasia. In the end he left none of the savages standing but saving the young maid did nothing to help her own humiliation or stop her from taking her own life in order to rinse clean the honor of her family. It was an unnecessary sacrifice and one the monsters had caused. Even more recently their ruthlessness was directed at Tyrannus this morning, the only Crog the Prince would ever call brother.

The young Crog was nothing like the rest of his brutish kind. He was young and curious always wanting to learn more on nearly everything. Though it took a very long time for Aikka to finally learn to trust him ''Tye'', as he preferred to be called, showed that his loyalty lied with the Prince and the people of Nourasia. Aikka took it upon himself to teach Tye the ways of a Nourasian Knight and soon enough he was practically adopted by the other Knights and the imprisoned people as he in turn risked his life to sneak in supplies.

Saving him from those bastard Crogs this morning was a special treat to Aikka himself but there was a part of that rescue that seemed to stay with him. He felt an unexplainable presence near him that that morning and as the rest of the day progressed he felt that the presence became only closer, stronger.

Continuous questions of whom and why plagued him that entire day distracting him from his meditation even his training.

Aikka opened his royal blue eyes to see the night sky from out of the cut open flap of his tent that served as a sort of window and he gazed upon his special star, the brightest of all.

She called out to him, ''Shining Prince.''

''Beautiful Star Princess…'' he answered her soft voice. Even separated by an unknown distance he could still sense the frustration in her voice that mocked the same he had felt all day.

''You felt it too, my Prince?'' she asked him.

''Yes'' he thought hard looking for the words to describe the indescribable, ''I felt a presence this morning…I've never felt anything close to this before…''

''As did I, my love,'' she replied trying to hide her deep sense of worry. ''Could it have been a sign that we will meet each other soon?''

''I can only hope for that to pass…I could have sworn that I felt …'' he hesitated as the fullness of the realization hit him, '' that I felt you…Until then we must continue to wait…''

''I can wait for you forever…'' she promised him with all her heart. ''You, my Shining Prince, are the only man I'll ever love.''

''We will find each other long before that time my dear…You, my Star Princess, are the only woman who I will ever have me, body and soul,'' he promised her in turn.

And so ended the light of his day, when he truly felt alive in the world. His Star Princess was the last woman and the only woman who forever haunted his thoughts. Aikka climbed deep into the soft sheets of his cot. He that he needed all of his strength tonight to survive the battle tomorrow.

Author's note: Special thanks to the awesome Marine Panda who was generous enough to provide the name Etna for the Crog Base/ Prison! 1,000,000,000 thanks from LGALot to you for that! (: