The little blonde stared at her father's sad face, her vice-like grip on the hem of his shirt. "You'll be coming back very soon...won't you, daddy?" She asked in an eerie almost threatening tone.
"Of course daddy will be coming back." The aging man sighed and ruffled his daughter's light blond hair, "After the war is over and daddy's done kicking some Black Mage's commander's ass, I will return."
There was silence. And then, the eleven-year-old stifled on a sob, knowing very well that the fact he would return was a lie, "Please don't go, daddy. It's dangerous! I might…never see you again!"
"I don't want to part with you either, Mina," He said flatly. The girl's eyes lit up but returned to their depressed state as he continued, "But this is something I have to do. I, as commander of the Light, have to serve my part."
That was it. The poor girl began crying her heart out there and then. Her loving father embraced her one last time and stood at the door. She already knew it. She already had a feeling that she wouldn't be seeing her father again.
He stood by the door, sunlight shining upon him. He looked almost like a hero. "This is goodbye, my love." He managed to blurt in a cracking voice, "If I don't return, I will send someone to take care of you. Just know that…you'll always be my favourite daughter." And with that, he ran off into the forest.
The broken girl screamed as tears endlessly flowed down her pale cheeks.
Commander Juno Connors stormed into the Resistance Headquarters, dragging his heavy boots as he walked. A cloud of depression hung above his head. Everyone who was busy at work there stood up straight and saluted once they noticed him. "Good day to you all as well. Ready to fight and WIN?" The commander boomed.
"YES, SIR." Everyone cheered in unison and grabbed their weapons and shields. "That's the spirit, " The slightly satisfied blond man smirked, "TO THE VERNE MINES!"
The men charged towards the mines at the outskirts of Edelstein, led by their commander. The man stayed silent throughout the whole journey as thoughts of his lovely daughter he was once so proud of floated into his mind. He couldn't help but frown.
Just then, a young fourteen-year-old ran up to his side to walk with him. "Good morning, Sir." The boy greeted politely, trying to put on the most cheerful look he could. Though it was obvious he was as nervous and afraid as the rest of them.
"Good morning, Zaku." The commander greeted back, playing along as well, putting on the most cheerful look he could.
"So…Sir…do you think we'll be able to beat Arkarium?" Zaku asked, nervousness dripping from every word he uttered.
"It's hard, but possible." Was all the commander replied. He didn't want to think about dying. He didn't want to think about leaving his daughter behind.
"Okay." Zaku mumbled.
The rest of the journey was filled with silence. The soldiers were too nervous and terrified to speak. They finally reached the entrance of the mines in 20 minutes. All of them hid behind trees and eyed the bunny in the Black Wings hat, the caretaker of the mines.
"I'll take care of him." One of the soldiers whispered. The said man quietly knelt onto the ground and brought out a gun from his holster. It took him 3 short seconds to aim the weapon at the bunny and shoot him dead.
"Good job, Gerald." Another soldier commented and patted the Corsair on the back.
"I'll give us all another 10 minutes to sit here and rest." The commander said and everyone nodded in agreement. The soldiers sat about by the trees, spread out with death written on their faces. Zaku sat next to his commander.
"Are you scared, Zaku?" The commander asked in a gentle voice. "N-Not at all, Sir." The young Battle Mage denied.
"You know…you'll feel better if you let out your fear." The man sighed and looked at the boy again.
"I-I'm…not…scared." Zaku denied yet again.
The man hardened his stare on the boy, "MUCH better."
The boy looked up at his commander with teary eyes, "O-Okay. I'm scared. I'm very scared."
"There. I just wanted you to let it out and feel less nervous." The commander said, "Well do you?"
Zaku ignored his question and came up with a question of his own. "Do you think we'll be able to make it out alive, Sir?" He gulped.
"You will, but I'm not so sure about myself."
"…W-Why?" Zaku stared at the blond man in disbelief, "Don't tell me…you're going to do something extremely risky!"
"No. If something goes wrong, I'll get the soldiers to get you out of the mines." The commander said, "But I will stay. I will stay to fight until the end, whether he defeats me or I defeat him."
"But…you might DIE, Sir!" The boy cried out, tears streaming down his face.
"That very day I joined the Resistance, I had agreed to this."
"COMMANDER!" The soldiers shrieked in shock as they watched the leader they had been loyal to since the beginning drop to the ground, a fatal slash wound across his abdomen. Arkarium cackled loudly at his achievement and snarled in a booming voice, "NONE OF YOU HERE SHALL DEFEAT ME."
"SIR! SIR! COMMANDER CONNORS!" Zaku cried out as she rushed to his commander's side. "Z…Zaku…you have been…a great soldier." The commander struggled upon his words. "Commander! You can't…you can't do this to me!" Zaku widened his teary eyes in shock, "You were like a father to me! Ever since my parents passed away! Father!"
"That's a…good boy." The dying man said as he coughed up blood. Blood oozed out from his wound and formed a red puddle around his limp body.
"N-No…" Zaku mumbled, "Y-You're not going to die, Sir…not now…not anytime soon. A-A Bishop's going to come and heal you!"
"Silly child…there is NO Bishop in the Resistance." The commander smiled a sad dying smile. Zaku's hopes were crushed when he realized that his commander was right.
He was about to blabber further when a loud roar came from behind his back. He turned around only to find Arkarium a few feet away from him, a bolt of lightning in his hands, ready to strike at him and his commander.
Without thinking, the boy stood up on his shaking legs and gripped his Blue Marine staff tightly. He was about to attack the wretched Black Mage's Commander when he heard his own commander yell, "BRING THE BOY TO SAFETY! ALL OF YOU, ESCAPE THE MINES!"
The boy turned to stare at the blond man in horror when a soldier ran towards him and carried his small form over his shoulder. "LET GO OF ME!" Zaku screamed, "I WANT TO SAVE THE COMMANDER! LET GO!"
The soldiers ran towards the exit of the mines and disappeared through the portal one by one. As Zaku and the soldier carrying him were about to be engulfed by the light of the portal, he could see the confident smile on his commander's face as he uttered to the Battle Mage his last words, "Take care of Mina…"
And with that, they disappeared. Zaku's eyes were wide with trauma. He opened his mouth to say something but all that came out was a croak. He dropped to the ground on his knees and started playing with the sand like a psychopath.
First, there was silence and panting. Then, there was an explosion. The soldiers stared at the mines with sad eyes. They knew their commander was gone. One by one, they all stood up straight, facing the mines, and saluted.
Zaku, the one who was most affected, stood up as well and swayed on his feet. He then raised a shaky hand to his head and formed a small salute. 'Goodbye, Commander.' He said in his head before tears spilled out from his eyes.
The soldiers gathered back at the Resistance Headquarters in silence. "How did it go?" Checky asked them, but only received silence as a reply. He then realized that Commander Connors was nowhere to be seen. He understood full well what had happened and lowered his head in loss.
The rest of the soldiers were pretty much over the incident already and were talking normally to each other. Only Zaku stayed fearful and shaking in a corner. Checky walked towards the poor boy and put an arm on his shoulder. "I'm sorry for your loss." The man said.
Zaku only nodded and continued shaking terribly, his eyes wide as ever. The man in the bear hat sat down next to the Battle Mage to endure the pain with him. After a while, the boy could finally speak. "H-H-He…asked me to…protect…M-Mina…" Zaku stammered, "A-And…I will do…a-anything h-he…asked me to…I will…will fulfil…his w-wishes."
Checky looked at the boy, "He must trust you a lot to let you take care of his precious daughter." "H-His…daughter…" Zaku repeated after the Mechanic job instructor and started nodding his head.
"I know you're sad, but you have to move on." Checky urged the boy. He continued nodding.
"And since…he trusts you so much…I think you're the one he wants to make the new commander." Checky said out loud, making the soldier turn to look at him in surprise. The job instructor stood up and saluted to the young boy,
"COMMANDER ZAKU KUDOS."
There was silence for a few seconds, Zaku could almost hear a pin drop. He stared up at the man, even more surprised than the other soldiers. He had stopped shaking and froze instead. One by one, the soldier stood up to salute him, just as they did at the mines. "SIR." All of them said in unison.
Slowly, Zaku stood up and saluted them back. "For the commander…I will do anything."
"We're sorry, Miss Mina, but…" Checky gulped and couldn't bring himself to tell the eleven-year-old what exactly happened to her father.
"But WHAT?!" Mina cried out, cupping her cheeks with her small pale hands, "BUT WHAT? Just…tell me what happened to my father!"
"Y-Your father…" Checky tried again, and again failed miserably.
"I'm sorry for your loss." Zaku stepped forward next to the job instructor and told the girl straight in her face.
She gasped and dropped to the ground on her knees, soiling her pretty pink dress. "N-No…y-you're lying…daddy isn't dead…daddy won't die…he promised me…he would come back…" Mina sobbed quietly and tugged at her blond locks, "Daddy wouldn't…daddy wouldn't…DADDY WOULDN'T!"
Her quiet sobs turned into loud cries and manic screams. "HE WOULDN'T! DO THIS! TO ME!" She screamed and hit her fists against the floor until they bled.
Sweat and tears covered her once clean and beautiful face. "You HAVE to move on." Zaku told her sternly, but that made no change to her current state. She continued wailing and crying.
"He has ordered me to look after you. So from now on, I'm your bodyguard." The Battle Mage said again, but the girl obviously wasn't listening. She cried and screamed and wailed, until all her energy was drained and she fainted.
Zaku knelt down to carry her in his arms.
'I will not fail you, Commander. I will carry out your every order.'
There ya go. First chapter…IS A FAILURE! Sorry if it's kind of short or if it doesn't make much sense or anything. Basically, this is the beginning of a romance/adventure story. The first chapter is about the past and how it all came to be (that's why the whole chapter's in italics). R&R…please?