In the evening, she wandered off somewhere looking for her room. She had thought she already knew of most of the hallways in the church, but it looks like she was mistaken. It was lined with doors, and not really knowing what was behind each, she walked down the hallway. Kururu was nuzzling to her cheek in comfort. She petted the Fyulong gently. The day had been good to her. She had met Teito again, and it turned out, he was looking for his pet Fyulong. And it was coincidentally his best friend's reincarnation. She chuckled. She had somehow squeezed a little more information from Teito that she expected, and found out that his friend-though he refused to call him such- Frau had given him the Fyulong. When Teito had seen the Black-blue Fyulong on her shoulders, he had thought that it was her wings. She let out a chuckle; sometimes people are just so weird around these parts. They had found the Fyulong with Lazette. It seemed like Lazette had been playing with the now wet Fyulong. Halfway through the hall, she heard voices.
"The boy had entered the clergy exams. His reasons are pure, but I'm afraid he might fall… The flowers do not lie." An unknown voice said softly. If she wasn't used to eavesdropping on military meetings, she wouldn't be able to hear it. She thanked her upbringing a lot these past few days.
"Yeah. The damn brat has got to be the most troublesome kid in thi-" Whack. "What did you do that for, Glasses?" The voice exclaimed loudly. She let out a brief chuckle. People here are really interesting. Not like the ones at home.
"For not being subtle. But I guess to be expected of you." That was Castor. She could literally see him adjust his glasses while glaring at the other. What was she doing? This was a private conversation!
"But I still can't believe he's… from Raggs." Raggs. Raggs. Raggs. Her eyes dimmed; and if she wasn't wearing contacts, people would have noticed that her eye color shifted to a shade of blue. And said contacts dropped. 'Obliterate everything from Raggs.'
Castor was curious. Lazette only opened up to selected people and the people she usually wasn't shy around was him, Teito and Rose. Lazette had a little dislike for Frau, obviously. [The idiot couldn't last a day not touching his… reading materials. Castor had sworn to incinerate every single one of those horrid things.] Rose was the girl who had just recently sought for sanctuary. She was isolated, only her pet Fyulong accompanying her but she was surprisingly lively when talked to. A little eccentric, but all the people here had their eccentricities. Lance, for example, was wonderfully in love with himself. He never did consider Lance as him 'friend' per se. He never even bothers to look at 'non-glamorous people', and unfortunately, he dropped in the other category.
He had felt a regal aura surrounding the girl; however, it flickered from regal to childish curiosity. She seemed like she was raised in a sheltered environment; and her exposure to the everyday chores was minimal Maybe she was from the Maple Estate? She was Rose Maple right? But the Maple estate only had one child of this age, and he was male and currently in the military academy. He searched for her files, certificates and she never once appeared. Then he had his suspicions. She wasn't who she says he is.
Right now, they- Labrador, Frau, Lance and him- were talking about Teito. The boy was the only prince of the fallen kingdom of Raggs and the holder of the Eye of Mikhail. They need to be careful, and one of his 'Sisters'(dolls) was watching over him. Frau was annoyingly broadcasting the fact in the room. They knew no one wandered to this specific part of the church at this time of day, but what could a little caution do? After all, a little information leak would hurt. But with their abilities as Ghosts that wasn't a problem.
A few moments after Frau had muttered the phrase, an intense presence appeared by their door. They readied for an encounter. The door opened slowly and there stood a girl. Her eyes carried a completely different shade. It was blue. Blue eyes were common enough, but her eyes shouted danger to the bishops. Her eyes were blank, held no emotion, like a robot… prepared to kill. It couldn't be warsfeil, her presence was different. Frau started to call on his scythe, when they heard the girl speak.
"Find…" The girl's eye's regained their light and was filled with confusion, but the confusion disappeared as fast as it appeared. "Raggs… Obliterate…" She muttered darkly.
Obliterate? What was she…
Flashes of Zaiphon appeared and their forms flickered, showing their form as Ghosts. He looked at the girl incredulously. This can't be happening. Just… no. "Ghosts? What a nice surprise." The girl- no, being chuckled. What in God's name…
"Who are you?" Lance demanded, "To know about the Ghosts…" He readied his Bascule.
"Do you expect me to answer your question? Mikhail has already shown himself to you has he not?" Not!Rose chuckled.
"You're…!" Frau exclaimed. Castor was equally surprised. What was she doing here of all places? It was supposed
"No matter. Things are not what they used to be." Not!Rose said casually.
"What does this have to do with you unceremoniously entering our room, girl?" Lance retorted.
"I'm sure Fest and Profé has already figured this out." Rafail smirked.
"Why are you here? Aren't you supposed to be in the Fort?" Frau glared at the girl. She chuckled, ignoring the questions.
"Be grateful I'm not as resentful as Mikhail. If I was you would've been dead by now."
"Bu-" Lance was about to throw in another retort, but Labrador's upraised hand stopped him.
"Archangel Rafail. And… Roseamanelle Ouka Barsburg." Labrador stated calmly. Staring at the princess in front of him.
"What did you want to see us about? I have a reason to believe you are just here for mere pleasantries." Castor prompted. One of his dolls was beside Lance, hoping to stop another outburst. He noticed that Rafail's eyes were looking at the twirly-blonde bishop. Obviously amused.
"I can't believe all the Relicts are very… self loving." He said with a smile. But it was obvious to everyone in the room he was speaking to himself. Lance had the gall to look affronted. "I just request to see Mikhail." He said, Addressing the room's occupants once more.
"That can't be done. Teito has already met your vessel and it would be..." a pause. "Why do you want to see Mikhail?" Castor said, realization dawning on him, hadn't they been in a fight the last time? The last fight they had killed millions, buried Raggs in the pale blue snow that the kingdom cherished? Did he want revenge? If that was the case...
"It's none of your business, Ghost." He paused, like an argument was happening in his head. Which was the only reason he(Castor) could consider.
Castor was still tense, What if the Archangel really was here to delete Mikhail?
"Fine… I… need his help."" He said a little defeated. Castor was surprised. Labrador was calm, however there was a underlying tone of musings underneath. Help? Help in what? What if it was just a ruse?
Ouka's body flinched. He sighed. "I won't last very long in this state. I'll come back when it's needed. Farewell, lest we meet again."her eyes closed and she promptly lost consciousness. Her body nearly dropped to the floor, but Frau caught her in time.
"It seems like we have another lost lamb to look after." Labrador said with a chuckle.
"This is troublesome. If the Imperial family would catch their Princess here, it would have a very... unsatisfactory result." Castor rubbed his head. In an effort to lighten up the mood...
"Aww… Glasses is stressed." Frau said teasingly while looking at his… reading materials. Castor called unto one of his dolls, and it snatched away the books away. Frau fumbled and chased after the Doll. He watched in horror as the doll held the 'piece of literature' with a hand and a lighter in the other. Frau had a horrified look on his face.
"He never learns does he, Master Lab?" Lance whispering amusedly to Labrador who was setting the princess on a bed in the room. Labrador's smile never left his face. There was a loud "NOOOOO!" heard from the back of the room.
"I think he likes being hit." Labrador said with a chuckle. Frau was trying to run away from one of the Nun Dolls, he was failing miserably.
"I'll make sure to hunt down every single one of those, Frau." Castor said with a flat tone.
Ouka had found herself in a dark place, she didn't know what happened. Kururu was nowhere to be found. It just seemed like the world flickered in front of her eyes and it just changed to a different scenery. She was in a dark staircase. What was this place? There were so many tubes and machines around the area, there was beeping and mechanical sounds she couldn't comprehend. She walked up the steps slowly and she saw a young girl bound to a machine. She couldn't stand seeing someone hurt, even if it was someone she didn't know. She dashed to the little girl and gasped. It was her. Younger, yes, but still her. She removed the strings and tubes around the girl. She was breathing. And she noticed something that she failed to see earlier. Little-her was crying blood. She wiped little-her's face, and little-her's eyes fluttered open.
"I'm scared! I… I… but my orders are to… Kill… Exterminate… Raggs… I don't want to kill anyone anymore! Please no!" Little-her exclaimed, sobbing quietly. Beeping of several machines alerted her that the girl was in pain.
"Shh…" she hugged the little girl and patted her had gently. "Everything is going to be alright. I won't make you do anything. " The beeping slowed to a stop but she continued comforting the sobbing figure and after a few moments, the girl stopped sobbing.
"Really?" Her eyes turned hopeful. Ouka nodded, smiling brightly.
"It's a promise."
"What is this place?" she asked the little girl.
"This? It is your mind. "She said solemnly. Ouka was taken aback by the answer. She did not expect the little girl to have known.
"My mind? Does that mean I'm dead? They do say that people see flashes of their life when they die right?" Ouka asked, surprised.
"No!" The younger Ouka exclaimed, a little taken aback by the sudden turn of thoughts.
"Then why am I here?"
"You have to find yourself." The Young-Ouka smiled cryptically. "This whole place is a mess. A place filled with unnecessary things "
"It just means you have to help me. Remove these machines here. See? " Young-Ouka patted the side of the machine. "I need to get rid of it, but it seems I'm not strong enough to do so. So I need a friend to release this." Ouka contemplated it for a moment.
"Okay. That makes sense. But what do I call you? I can't keep calling you little me for the rest of my stay in which I am not sure when I can leave." Ouka said softly, smiling.
"Call me Rafail."
"Rafail… As in… the archangel…?" Ouka gave Rafail a confused look.
"Yes. This is not my real form." Rafail said sadly. "It is bound by the machines that reside in here. They aren't supposed to exist here, but the scientists of Barsburg found a way to enter this domain. I suspect Verloren to have a hand in this."
Ouka nodded, trying to absorb all the information.
"I never hated humans, but these interferences makes me want to reassess the nature of humans." Rafail said sadly. "I should have heeded Mikhail's warnings to not get too friendly with them"
Ouka placed her hand on the angel's shoulders reassuringly.
"Not all humans are despicable. I know that firsthand."
Rafail contemplated the answer and smiled ruefully. "I… said the same things to Mikhail back when we were in heaven…."
Ouka looked thoughtful for a moment, and an idea hit her head. "Hey! If you can meet Mikhail, will you be happier?"
Rafail looked slightly surprised at the suggestion. "Yes… Maybe… Also, I think.. he has the power to free me… and you from these binds."
"That is… Wonderful! Let's look for him now!"
Rafail agreed, smiling. A screen with Zaiphon borders appeared.
Castor and two others appeared.
"You can see what I'm using your body for in this screen." Rafail explained briefly.
"Oh?" Her interest was piqued.
The screen flickered and she noticed Rafail standing extending a hand out towards the screen, his palms facing the front. The screen showed a few black robed skeletons in place of the four bishops.
"Ghosts? What a nice surprise." Rafail said. The reaction around the room were a little hilarious.
"Do you expect me to answer your question? Mikhail has already shown himself to you has he not?"
"You're a mean bully Rafail." She chuckled lightly.
A few arguments passed back and forth, if it could be called that. Rafail was ignoring most of their words, and they were obviously annoyed. The way Profé said her name was surprising. She had not expected to be let out so soon.
"Why do you want to meet Mikhail?" The question was raised and she wanted to answer it. They might be able to help.
"It's none of your business, Ghost."
"No, Rafail. Tell them. They're Ghosts right? They can't be enemies. Furthermore, one of them is a friend." She interjected.
"No, Mistress. I am not to tell them." But Rafail stood firm.
"It'll make it easier for us. They'll doubt your intentions if you do not tell it to them directly." She said with a stern stare. "It will be troublesome of we were handed over to the Imperial family now. And tell it to them subtly. If you can't, I'll be the one to tell them. Let me take control of my body now."
"Fine... I need his help." Ouka flicked a finger to his forehead.
"You shouldn't have said it like that! You were being dishonest." She said in a scolding voice.
Rafail sighed. Why was he following a human's orders? He was supposed to be one of the highest ranked beings in the world!
"I won't last very long in this state. I'll come back when it's needed. Farewell, lest we meet again." The first part was directed to both the people in the 'real' world and Ouka. And the last part was solely to the ghosts. After the screen closed, They both dissolved to laughter.
"It was a nice experience. "
"It was, was it not?"
"Their dumbstruck expressions were amusing."
Then they laughed again.
After a few moments of the lighthearted mood, Ouka turned somber, her expression guarded.
"You are an Angel right? That means that I am… your vessel?" Ouka asked confusedly. "I thought they had yet to find a suitable vessel…"
And realization dawned on her. The reason they were performing experiments on her was because of the Eye of Rafail. But why do tests on her? It wasn't… Unless they had a bigger agenda than what she knew of. A few of the conversations that she overheard resurfaced in her memory…
"OR-0009 has made average results."
"OR- 0004 is having a malfunction! Dispose of it immediately!"
"The Princess? No! We must inform the Emperor immediately!"
"Let me present to you… OR-0007."
"You'll be Roseamanelle Ouka from now on."
She shut her eyes, willing the memories away. It would do no good to know of these. But if she was to become Empress, she would need to know the inner workings of these… things. It was unfortunate for the empire that she had to leave when she was going to turn Seventeen in a few months. They just lost their heir, and just two months before the coronation ceremony as well. But she found it relieving, but unsatisfying because she already figured out what was happening in the short and clipped memories…
They were making clones. To evoke the eye. In case she died. To become the next Empress in case… Ouka started to have her own stands and beliefs… to have enough courage to go against her father. She couldn't fathom why, but she thought she wasn't important to the eyes of her father, and now she knew. She had replacements. More than a few dozen of them. That was the reason she was ignored and valued less than display dolls. Because she merely was a display doll. Animated, but never given the realization that she was a clone. A Replica. She couldn't help the tears falling out of her eyes. She was easily replaceable to the eyes of her father. Why did it have to be her? Remembering her father's cold amethyst orbs glaring daggers through her… Maybe her father thought of her as a waste of valuable time and resources. That she was insignificant. Another bag of flesh in the thousands he had under.
She didn't want to go back. At least, here people acted genuinely caring for her. She knew trust and love didn't just appear out of thin air, it was nurtured, cared for, until it took root, being immovable and unshakeable. The nuns were friendly. It was not a ruse; not like what had been happening before. Everyone back at the capital stared at her like some idol. She was always placed above a notch the others, but not really having any value. Everyone made 'friends' with her but in the end… A memory surfaced in her head…
"Hello? Can I play with you?" A six year old Ouka was playing in the gardens of the Barsburg Home. The garden was a simple circular garden with two feet high hedges the served as a maze. She heard the voice and turned. She saw a blonde boy about her age, slightly taller than her. She looked unsure at first, but she looked at her guard and received nothing but a wordless nod. She took that a positive.
"Sure!" Ouka responded. She rarely had time to play with friends her age since she was always princess this, princess that.
"My name's Shuri Oak!" The boy- Shuri- introduced a little proudly, only adding "What's yours?" as an afterthought as if he wasn't interested at all, which was the case.
"My name's Ouka!" but little Ouka didn't notice.
"Okay, then, let's play!" Shuri said.
They played for the whole morning, running around the field, her dress became a little dirtied, but she didn't care! She had a friend!
The morning passed by too fast for little Ouka and she had to say goodbye.
The scene shifted.
"Ne, Gyokuran, can I go to the garden again?" Ouka asked the aquamarine haired girl.
"Of course! Only for a while though, we need to go somewhere."
"Kay!" On the way to the garden, she saw Shuri talking to one of his cousins.
"You know, Kuno, I played with the princess yesterday!"
"So what? That's nothing to brag about. Everyone knows the princess is friendly. You wouldn't have even stayed there had your mom not been glaring at you to keep the princess company." Ouka felt tears well up in her eyes. She didn't want to listen anymore!
She didn't want to go back. She loved it here in the church. She could love everyone without the underlying threats of betrayal and pretences.
"Do you want to help, Rose? Hanging the clothes is fun!" That was Sister Rosalie.
She hated her life. She wiped her tears away, and only then did she notice Rafail. How could she have forgotten he was there?
"You don't have to go back you know." Rafail sat down by the platform near the staircase, swinging his tiny legs back and forth. "To the Palace I mean."
"I left… because I was sick of the stuffy life I led."
"I was glad you decided to finally leave that place. And go here instead of anywhere else." Rafail said.
"Why?" Ouka asked confusedly. She stood, analyzing the place which was supposed to be her subconscious. The details were precise. A lot of machines littered the place. She hated to see this place. But the companionship of the archangel was more than enough to make up for the view. And she knew that she wasn't the only one benefiting from their talk.
"Because… Going here, strengthened my belief that this world of humans still has hope… And if I stayed there… I probably would have a way of thinking like Mikhail towards mortals."
"That's good then! I wish I'd done this sooner! Now I feel lighter than when I was back there!" Ouka said brightly, eyes still somewhat puffy.
"I too… would have appreciated it."
Ten pages in WORD! WOW! I thought I was mistaken! That was well longer than the past few chapters! And I'm going to change little things in the other chapters, mostly grammatical and spelling errors. Nothing significant. But you can reread it if you wish.
Side Note: I've edited stuff here again cause I felt that this story was moving at a pace that would be hard for reader if they didn't know the real happenings in 07-Ghost.
Another side note: To the people reading, Ouka's thoughts would somehow be influenced by the fact that she thinks she's just artificial. Reason? This time, Ea wasn't there to rekindle her existence and she still thinks she really is just a replacement for the real princess, one of many, meaning her self-value would deprecate harshly. She'll think she's easily replaceable. But of course she's not!
I changed my penname, if my past readers are reading this. I found my penname to be highly annoying and hard to pronounce, so i settled for something simpler. :)) I was formerly known as StrifeCloudxxxFF7. a mouthful, ne?
A review wouldn't last more than five minutes if you do review right?