Looking Down from the Heavens.
Lise had always stood at the cliff, looking down from the heavens for as long as since she could remember. It was her favorite spot to come and meditate on many things. She would come here to watch the blue horizon, to feel the mountain breeze caressing against her blonde hair and light skin, to see the world down below, a world that stood below the wind kingdom, her kingdom, Rolante. She would never look at it the same way again, however, as it was a world that she, and five other strangers, who she now considered her closest friends, helped saved from the grip of three evil groups, who swore to destroy the Mana Goddess and take the Sword of Mana for their own agendas. She never predicted that the abduction of her young brother, Elliot, from the Navarre Ninjas would also result in her saving the world, but she fought with everything she had to save him from the dark prince and bring him back home safely. Lise had fought the good fight and won, but at a grave cost. Lise still mourned the death of her father and the death of many others during her quest. Though Navarre and Rolante were finally at good terms, Lise could not truly forgive the ninjas for what they had done to her kingdom. She knew well that it was not of King Flamekhan's will or anyone else's to invade Rolante, as Jagan and Bigieu, servants to the underworld, were the ones who manipulated Navarre and schemed to destroy her kingdom. She had a lot of conflicted feelings with the desert ninjas, especially against Hawk. Lise, however, knew that he was a close friend, a person who had fought beside her to the end. Though he was a member of Navarre, Hawk had gone out of his way, swearing not only to save the world, but to help Lise find her brother. It had meant more than words to her when he resolved to help her rescue Elliot. However, she knew that Hawk did it to save Jessica, the daughter of King Flamekhan, from Bigieu's curse. Lise hardely knew the girl, but she knew that the relationship between her and Hawk was more than mutual. She would not admit her feelings, however, no matter what anyone tried to say. She knew she had to remain strong for her brother and her kingdom, for her father's sake.
"So, this is where you've been."
Lise caught a familiar voice behind her, a voice she had hoped not to hear. She brushed her blonde, braided hair back, standing stoically, not wanting to turn around to face the person who had appeared.
"I come here often. It's a place no one knows of. "
"I figure I'm the first then, aren't I?" the person said, chuckling.
She finally found the courage to turn and face the ninja, to see his strong, arrogant and enthusiastic face.
"I never would have guessed, though," Hawk said, relaxing a hand on his side. "You just suddenly upped and vanished. And here, I was afraid you were abducted, just like your brother was, and I would have to get our friends to go on another wild goose chase to find you."
Lise gave a half smile, but it was the only thing she could do to hide her feelings. She turned back to face the view of the cliff again.
"It's been more than a week now since Elliot's returned, and since the dark prince's defeat. It's also been a long time since I've been home. I just figured I come here and think to myself."
"What's there to think about?" Hawk asked, walking up beside her to look out over the cliff. "You have your friends to talk about it, right?"
Lise lowered her head. "It's just… it's going to be hard to rebuild, knowing that the power of mana has vanished."
"I don't think we should be too concerned," Hawk said confidently. "Forcena is well on its way recovering from Altena's attack, and Altena can survive any cold winter without its magic. The priest of light is doing better, now that the dark lich is also gone. The Beast kingdom promised to help out Wendel and Forcena. And hey, Navarre promised to help you guys rebuild your kingdom as well. That's why I'm here now."
Lise gave a quick glance at Hawk, before turning her attention back to the horizon. "How is your Flamekhan, by the way?"
"He's doing much better now. Our guys are glad to have him as ruler again instead of Bigieu. Nikita even found a rare herbal medicine native to the desert that should help him fully recover. We might even try to give it to the priest in Wendel."
"Your friend is quite reliable, isn't he?" Lise remarked.
"Of course he is," Hawk said. "I did tell you that he helped me escape when Bigieu took over Navarre. Remember?"
"I see," Lise said quietly. "I'm sorry I don't remember. It's been more than a year since all of this has happened. Forgive me."
"There's nothing to forgive," Hawk chuckled. "You apologize for the smallest things, but that's what I like about you."
Lise admired Hawk's optimism. She was rather jealous of him, too. She couldn't understand how he was able to have such a personality. Lise had always been silent and reserved, not wanting to show emotion, especially in front of him.
"I hope Jessica is doing fine, too," Lise said, trying to change the subject.
"She'll be okay," Hawk said. Lise noticed a saddened tone in his voice. "She's still mourning after Eagle, as well as I am..."
Lise sympathized for him and the girl. She understood from Jessica's point of view how much brothers meant.
"But Eagle wouldn't want me to dwell on that," Hawk grinned widely, resuming his carefree attitude. Lise saw this as a means of hiding his feelings, but she knew Hawk was quick to move on from his sadness. "We all now know the truth. And in the end, we still won."
Hawk's optimism was starting to rub off on her. She smiled, still greatly admiring Hawk's personality. And then her smile started to fade as she resumed to her thoughts.
"I just wished so many didn't have to be sacrificed," Lise said. "Everyone had lost someone dear to them."
"Yeah," Hawk agreed. "Poor Faerie... she was annoying, but she was very helpful. But she will return. It's just a shame we won't be around to see her when she comes back."
"Yes," Lise agreed.
"You know, your father would've been proud of you," Hawk added, grinning at her. Lise glanced at him, returning a small smile before returning her attention to the horizon.
They stood in silence for a few moments, looking down at the earth, before Hawk finally broke the silence with a heavy sigh.
"Lise," he began. She could tell in his voice that there was hesitation. She had a clue of what he was going to say, but she didn't want to admit it. Of course, he was quite unpredictable at times.
"Lise… I just wanted to say that… I promised to help Jessica and the Flamekhan in reestablishing peace. I told her I would be there for her, so I'm a man of my word."
Lise only nodded her head. "If that is what you must do. Jessica needs someone who is as witty and courageous like you. She trusts you, as well as Eagle did, and I'm sure things will work out."
Hawk nodded, but it was as if something was bothering him.
"After this, I probably won't be seeing much of the world again. I won't get to see Kevin becoming a king, or cute Carlie growing up. I won't see how Duran and Angela will rip each other's throats out."
Lise forced herself to remain silent. She felt all too awkward to know what Hawk was trying to say.
"And as for you," Hawk continued. "Well… you becoming queen, and all…"
Lise's heart became too heavy. She had tried to avoid it for the longest time, fearing what would happen if such a moment like this one had arisen. She had hidden her feelings all too well.
"So," Hawk said, deciding what he would do next, when he sighed again. "I guess… this is goodbye. Until we meet again, your highness…"
And then Hawk left her side. Lise closed her eyes as she listened to his footsteps walking away. It was all too much for her to bear, and she knew she couldn't hold her reserved nature forever.
"Wait," Lise suddenly called to Hawk, still facing away from him. She heard his footsteps stop. "I… Hawk…"
"Yes, my lady?" Hawk asked, addressing her as that name the first time they had met. Lise had never forgotten it. She tried her best to tell him her thoughts, her heart, but instead, she cowered back into her usual stature.
"Take care of Navarre…"
Silence. Lise did not dare to move or turn around, for she feared she might finally lose herself if she faced him. She felt defeated.
"Lise," Hawk finally said. "You have always had trouble saying what was on your mind. I've known you long enough to know how much you hold back. I'm the kind of guy who wouldn't hesitate to do a thing though. It might make me a jerk, but it's just who I am. I'm not going to change myself, and I won't ask you to change yourself."
The Amazon closed her eyes, focusing on Hawk's words. Her breathing started to become heavier, and she felt her hands and knees trembling.
"Lise," Hawk continued. "You and I both know… and I admit, I have hesitated to tell you, and I know you were, too. But if I may hear it from your own mouth, then it'll let me know where I stand, where we stand. More importantly, it'll let me know what to tell Jessica. I know that you know that my feelings towards her have changed since our journey. I may be doing this out of Eagle's honor, but that's not what this is about…"
Hawk became silent again, and it made her feel sick to her stomach. Lise tried hard to remain in her usual posture, but it became too much to bear.
"Tell me, Lise… are we more than just friends?"
And the moment had come, plunging into Lise's thoughts. She knew that the battles they both struggled through were tough, and now there was a battle against herself, against him, to see if she would hold back like she always did.
And then she finally found the courage to utter her response in a soft, quiet whisper, all while continuing to face the cliff, her backside to the ninja.
"No, Hawk. There never was anything between us. We are just friends. Nothing more…"
Silence again. Lise still dared not to turn.
"I see…" Hawk finally responded. His voice was not enthusiastic like before. "Then, thank you, my lady. Elliot will grow up into a handsome young man, wouldn't you say?"
Lise only remained silent. She waited for Hawk to make his next move. But she had forgotten her own words, that Hawk was unpredictable. She never heard him move a step, and felt as if he was standing right behind her, closely. But as she finally turned around, she saw only the mountains in the distance, feeling the wind blowing against the earth and the sky; no one was there behind her anymore. Lise finally let go of her composure, slowly falling onto her knees and letting out all of her emotions on that cliff that looked down from the heavens.
I don't write much romance or sad stories, but damn, I had to write this one down or else I would strangle myself. It was something that I thought that might have happened after Hawk's and Lise's ending. It would be nice to see these two be together, and I think that they are perfect. But what of Jessica? I could write something about Hawk/Lise relationship developing and why Hawk would choose her over Jessica, but I'll leave that up to you guys. Until next time, take care.