Angelique had finally done it- she had completed her time in the Holy Grounds, praying for everyone in Arcadia. She was overjoyed to finally return home to Arcadia, to see her friends. But the thought hit her like a lightning bolt as she remembered Rune's sullen words: "Once you return from the Holy Grounds, nobody you know will be alive."
Angelique shook her head. "How can I possibly live without them? All of them, Rayne, J.D, Hyuuga, Nyx, Bernard nii-san and Roche, they all mean so much to me," She stared down at the beautiful landmass she hovered above, her wings slowly flapping to descend. "But I will always treasure them. All of my memories. They will never fade. If they do I shall never forgive myself."
She looked up at the blue light that accompanied her in the Holy Grounds, her cat- or what used to be her cat, Erwin.
"Your time has come to descend back to Arcadia. You have done well." Erwin said.
Angelique nodded. "Thank you for everything. I'm glad I'm able to do this for everyone, seeing everyone happy is what makes me happy."
"I know," Erwin chuckled lightheartedly. "Now. Your people need you, My Queen."
"Yes, I know. Thank you again! I hope we will meet again!" Angelique felt a pang of depression as she said those words, reminding her of the time she left everyone… even her brother, to leave for the Holy Grounds. If only it were possible to have brought them with me, she thought, it would have been so much easier. I would have been overjoyed.
Angelique's heart was as bright as the sun, burning with the will to see her home. As she descended down to the Holy Capital, she could just make out the thousands of people awaiting her return. She could hear cheering and applause. Just the sight of it made her tear up with happiness.
By how close she was now, she could make out what they were cheering.
"It's the Queen!"…"The Queen has returned!"…"Rune-sama told us all about Her!"… "I can't believe she's finally here!"
A mob of overjoyed supporters surrounded Angelique, but not long after did the Knights of the Silver Tree pushed the crowd back. A man from the Knights, similar looking to Mathias, stepped forward and bowed. His silvery- green hair just touched the high tips of his shoulders and had a center part. In the back was a small ponytail that wasn't very long.
"Greetings, Queen Angelique," He took Angelique's hand into his and placed a kiss upon it. "it is such an honor to have you in my presence."
"O-oh my," Angelique stuttered, feeling her cheeks turn the slightest pink. "thank you for such a kind welcome. May I ask your name?" She looked at the young man, listing the many similarities between him and Mathias. They both had silvery- green hair and that long face. His thin eyes were intriguing and his voice was as deep as Mathias'. He was lean yet toned like him, and had that way of angling one side forward whenever he spoke. It was almost… scary they had so much in common.
The man smiled. "I see you are examining me. Do I remind you of anyone? My name is Hartwell, and I am the Holy Knight."
Angelique smiled at Hartwell. "It is such a pleasure to meet you. I'm Angelique. Do you mind if I ask you something?"
"Not at all."
"Are you somehow related to the previous Head of the Order, Mathias?" Angelique looked at him desperately, hoping for an answer.
Hartwell looked sort of embarrassed that she mentioned that name, for she recalled that he was revealed as the 'fake' Head of the Order, for the real one had not been born yet.
"Well, I guess you could say that. I am… let's see… about the fourth generation after him. He had a sister who lived back in his hometown, which had borne two sons. The eldest son had gotten married to a woman from Pharian and she bore another son. And you could guess what happened after that," he gestured to himself. "I was brought to the world. Somehow, I also made my way to the Holy City of Celestizam as a recognized Knight."
Angelique was overjoyed. "Thank you! I now have someone to relate to!" She took Hartwell's hand and squeezed it. "You see, I knew Mathias! He was a very close friend of mine, along with Rune-san too."
Hartwell smiled gratefully; most likely to the fact he had just discovered he has distant roots of a possible friendship with the Queen. "Don't you mean, Rune-sama?"
Angelique shook her head. "No. We were very close I think this came above my expectations," she smiled as she looked among the crowds. "I couldn't be any happier. Well, maybe I could if a few people could have lived a hundred more years." She and Hartwell laughed heartily as he escorted her into the Palace. But they didn't notice as a person wearing a heavy cloak slipped away from the crowd, and ran with four others waiting back to a cottage in the woods.
(A hundred years EARLIER)
After many years of researching a way to reach Angelique, after many years of try and try again, he finally came up with a way to reach the friend he longed to meet again- no, the person he loved. Angelique, he loved Angelique.
"Rayne, are you positive this will work?" J.D pointed to something looking like the forbidden Artifact chip. But its properties were anything but of the Artifact chip.
Rayne nodded. "Yes, I'm positive. I made enough copies for all of us, even Roche and Bernard. This chip will lengthen our lifespan, enabling us to live long enough to be reunited with Angelique." A warm and longing smile crept up onto his face.
"Angelique-sama..." Hyuuga said under his breath as if to mourn for all of their losses.
"You idiot!" Roche stepped in. "Angelique isn't dead, Hyuuga! She's only prayin' in the Holy Grounds!"
Hyuuga only shooed him off. He stood up and looked out the window of the Foundation. "I of course know that," he turned to look at Roche. "and I am no idiot."
"Look at mister intimidating here..." Roche teased.
"All of you, please calm down. The chip's installation won't work on tensed nerves." Rayne had a serious look on his face as he held out four chips.
J.D looked at the chips. "There's enough for all of us, hey, but what about yours? We need a fifth!"
"That's because I already installed mine." He pointed to a tiny bulge behind his shoulder.
"So I see," Hyuuga said monotonously. "and tell me, how exactly did you create these chips?"
Rayne shook his finger. "Secret of the Foundation. I don't trust him," he pointed at Roche, "he might spill information, knowing the fact he is a well known reporter. All of us in fact are well known. So from now on, we will all reside in the cottage overlooking the ruins of the Sunlit Mansion. It's the only way we won't cause any disruptions." All of them nodded. There was a knock on the door and Bernard stepped in.
"Am I late?" He said. The room became quiet for a split second as Bernard found his place among them. "You said that Rayne found a way to enable us to see Angelique when she returns?"
Hyuuga nodded. "Indeed. He created a new kind of Artifact chip that doesn't inflict pain, but lengthens our life span."
Rayne continued. "It's the same method that Erbos used, except we don't take away lives of others. It's like we put a pause on our own personal time, but not everyone else's."
Everyone agreed. "For Angelique." J.D said triumphantly.
(Back to present time)
"My, Hartwell, the Royal Quarters here are a splendor!" Angelique marveled at the colored stained glass windows, casting dancing rays of light all over the room. The drapes had green and yellow tassels at the ends that just brushed the aged woolen rug beneath it, intricate designs woven with care. It was so carefully done it seemed at the design was somehow alive. The furniture looked old fashioned and a little uncomfortable, but when Angelique sat down on the sofa, it was like she was sitting on a pile of soft fabric.
Hartwell looked happy to see that the Queen liked the room. "I'm glad you find this place pleasing, Queen Angelique."
She smiled and took in the comfy atmosphere. "Ah, if only my friends were here to see this! It almost looks like my quarters at the Sunlit Mansion," her tone deepened, "before Erbos burned the whole structure down to the earth."
Hartwell nodded. "I remember a story my parents used to tell me. It was about your mansion, coming from Mathias. I'm sorry for your loss."
She shook it off. "No, no. Don't say it like that," she said with a plastered smile on her face, "it was only a mere doing of Erbos. He's gone now. And Arcadia is safe from the Thanatos. So the need to reminisce over a tragic event is unneeded."
Hartwell stared for a while and then nodded. "Ah, I see. Is there anything else I can do to serve you while I can?"
Angelique looked at Hartwell. "No, thank you. I'm fine. May you show me the way to the Silver Tree? I would like to visit it. It's been such a long time since I've seen it."
He nodded and escorted her down many passageways decorated with many ornate paintings of all the previous Heads of the Order. Many of the frames were decorated with the leaves of the Silver Tree. As Angelique spotted Rune's and Mathias' paintings, she paused and stared at them in awe. Rune, I bet you did a wonderful job ruling Arcadia while I was gone... She thought. ...And Mathias, you were never a replacement, nor a last resort. You were unique in your own way and were an essential contribution to the Holy City of Celestizam, and a great tutor and friend to Rune. He relied on you many a time-
"Angelique-sama? Are you ok?" Hartwell's words disrupted her thoughts and she recollected her surroundings.
"Oh my, I'm sorry. I was lost in my thoughts, thinking about Rune-sama and Mathias-sama. You can continue to show me the way." They continued down hallway when they reached a gravel path. Hartwell stopped and nodded in that direction.
"The Silver Tree is that way," He began to walk away. "I presume you know your way back?"
"Yes. Thank you for everything."
"Not at all. I must leave for my duties now. I will see you tonight!" He ran down the hallway to possibly the training quarters.
After a few minutes of Hartwell's departure, Angelique slowly made her way to the Silver Tree. The leaves shone, and one fell from the lowest branch to the palm of her right hand as if to say, 'Welcome Home.'
She smiled at the tree and said, "Thank you." During the time being, she sat down at the foot of one of many roots and rested. It had such a busy day that already she was worn out. "My, what a happy yet tiring day. I guess praying until my heart aches, doesn't have effects on me in heaven than on land..." Angelique dozed off under the Silver Tree as the wind slowly rustled the leaves as if to sing the Queen a lullaby.
Angelique was fast asleep by the time Hartwell got back.
"Oh, poor thing," He whispered. "she must be worn out from praying." He looked up at the Silver Tree and said to it, "Take good care of her. Keep her well rested. I heard rumors she has important visitors tomorrow." He then turned and made his way back to the throne room, leaving Angelique to sleep.
(OH MY GOD! I finally completed my first chapter! I'm so excited to complete the story! So far Angelique has returned to Arcadia and you found out Rayne and the others are still alive! There's more to come, I'll try to finish each chapter as soon as possible! Please leave me reviews if you like it and if you find any mistakes- I need to keep an eye out for them... they can be anywhere...ANYWHERE...)