Cloaked in an invisibility spell, the two goddesses watch the scene between Hibiki and Dita play out. "I always wondered what happened to them when he got back," muses Urd as the duo begins to walk away.
"This isn't one of your soap operas, dear sister," replies Belldandy with a touch of sarcasm and a smile.
The bronze goddess raises and eyebrow and returns the smile. "Why Belldandy! Doth my ear deceive me? Was that a joke?"
The blue eyed goddess winks at her sister and takes the lead as they begin to navigate the corridors. As they do so Urd's curiosity begins to war with itself. There were two questions she wanted answered. Finally, one wins out. "So, earlier, you mentioned that you were hopeful. What was that all about?"
Belldandy smiles and lets out what sounds like a happy sigh. "There are two reasons for this, one of which I will tell you, and one that I will show you."
Oh goody, a two for one! Urd looks at her sister expectedly. "And those are…?"
"The first is that Keiichi, my Keiichi, is near," replies Belldandy without missing a step. The joy in her voice is unmistakable.
Urd stares at her, dumbfounded. He had been lost to her sister for so long, she worried that this experience may break her. She rounds on Belldandy and stops her. "Bell, how can you be sure that it wasn't some fix you got from the past Keiichi's presence here?"
Belldandy fixes her blue eyes on Urd's purple ones. "His spirit came to me in a dream. I could tell it was him."
The silver haired goddess stares deeply into Belldandy's eyes, searching for anything that would indicate her sister is finally cracking under the strain. The last time this happened involved spoons and various desserts. It was not a pretty sight. But she can see nothing of the sort. Instead, Belldandy is resolute and steadfast.
"He showed me something wonderful," continues the blue eyed goddess as she points to something behind Urd. "And, it's right through those doors."
Urd stares at her sister, unable to discern if she is serious or if she has seriously lost it. In the end, the decision is made for her and Belldandy walks past and through the doors. She pauses, then shrugs, nothing else she can do but humor her and follow.
As the bronze goddess passes through the door, she finds herself in an immense chamber. Crystals hang from the ceiling like great stalagmites. The walkway she is on crosses over the top of an immense glowing ball. It pulses momentarily as she sees it. She then follows Belldandy, who is stopped halfway across, staring down at the immense orb.
"What is this?" she asks as she approaches.
Belldandy smiles and leans back, closing her eyes as if basking in the glow being produced from below. Tentatively, the bronze goddess opens herself up to it, and is nearly overwhelmed with what she feels. The sphere is alive, but not in the sense that it is living. More that it possesses the potential of all living things, past, present, and more importantly, future. She glances over to her sister who she can see is crying. Not in fear or sadness. Tears of joy.
This is no energy source, it's a huge seal! Urd opens herself further to it and gasps in surprise as the tendrils of an ancient consciousness reach out and touch her own.
In one of the many deserts on Taraak, a small house sits seemingly out in the middle of nowhere. The resident, who is referred to by locals and Jin the Hermit, is better known by Hibiki Tokia as Grandpa. Unbeknownst to everyone, save a select few in the ruling class, he is neither there by random happenstance or a hermit. He is the guardian for the first generation of colonists, who to this day, remain in cryostasis safely underground directly beneath his cottage.
As part of his job as caretaker of the many thousands of sleeping people, he is to check each one to ensure that they remain in deep sleep. In all the years he has been on the job, there had been only one failure; when the infant Hibiki mysteriously awakened fourteen years ago.
Today, like most days, he is underground, inspecting the tubes that contain their precious cargo. Over the years, he developed a system where he would check fifty containers a day. Doing so meant that it would take almost two years before he would complete his sweeps. Fortunately, the system was stable enough that increasing the frequency of the checks would be overkill.
On today's inspection, he stops at number forty-nine. He puzzles momentarily on where the last container was before he remembered. This one was special. He rounds the corner and steps up to a door with no window. Next to it, the station that would typically sit next to the cryo-tubes sits alone. He checks over the screen, noting to himself that everything is in the green, just as he expected. He then turns to the door. In the center is a sign.
No mirrors, terminal screens, or hot beverages beyond this point!
Regardless of the special nature of this person, he still must physically see that all the seals on the unit itself are undamaged. He has none of these objects in question, so he enters a code into the keypad. The locks on the door hiss as they disengage. The door slides open, revealing another corridor. Lights flicker on, illuminating the passageway leading to unit in question. When he arrives, he completes the final checks. He has always wondered why this person was set aside in this special location and why all the odd precautions were taken. As he did so many times in the past, he makes a mental note to ask the person when he wakes up. He leans in and looks through the stasis tube's portal and takes a look at the person within. Like all the others, he is sleeping, blissfully unaware of the world surrounding him.
Before he leaves, Jin glances below the portal at the name tag on the cover.
A/N: FINISHED! I want to pass many thanks to those of you who have suffered all the way through this. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any comments, suggestions, etc.
I do plan to do some revisions. The biggest things that I want to do is combine some of the chapters where it makes sense.
I want to send out a special shout out to Nena Camadera again, for suffering through my writting as my Beta reader. I also want to give a shout out to Davner. Have not actually spoke to the man, but reading his work is what inspired me to start writing. I channeled him somewhat in my story, as I sprinkled in all kinds of obscure movie references. Some day I may go back and actually count them all. I really hope he comes back and at least finishes Haleos.