Star Ocean (All Series) Fan Fiction ❯ Phantom Of Time ❯ Ghost Traces ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Phantom Of Time
Chapter Six: Ghost Traces
By: Demon Priestess Saturn
As the four headed towards the training facility Albel swayed a little as he walked. He didn't feel right. In fact he felt terrible, aside from his body being beaten he felt that his mind was drifting away from reality. That and he couldn't get Fayt out of his mind. The dream seemed so real to him. It was like he was there but he wasn't at the same time. His head was throbbing and his eyes seemed to be blurring in and out of focus. He felt strangely out of place at he fell to the back of the group. Nel was at the head of the group with Mirage walking next to her. They were having a quiet conversation while Cliff walked behind them with his arms behind his head. It was strange that he could even see what was going on let alone hear what they were saying. Albel smirked to himself, oh how it easy it would be to attack him right now. When his senses were weak and his mind was distracted. It would be an easy win for anyone who considered it. What was he thinking of? Anyone had an easy win against him if they tried hard enough. Everyone just thinks he's tough when in fact all he was, was a weak child waiting to be slaughtered without mercy. In fact that wasn't even the case. Everything was torturing him to death slowly. He was doomed to be lost and alone for the rest of his pitiful existence. Hopefully it would be short at this point because nobody cared about him. And yet the thing mostly on his mind was Fayt. What had happened to him? Was his dream possibly seeing the future? Or was he just afraid? In any case he wasn't thinking straight. His mind ventured further into darkness and then a voice reached his ears.
“Albel?” The voice said calmly and he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“What?” Albel snapped out of his daze and looked weakly back into Cliff's sapphire eyes.
“Are you okay?” Cliff asked as Nel and Mirage stopped and suddenly turned around.
“What's up?” Nel said as she realized how far back Cliff and Albel were.
“What's wrong?” Cliff asked again but Albel seemed to not be registering what he was saying.
“Albel” Nel was now standing in front of him. She reached out her hand and gently touched his forehead.
“What are you doing Zelpher.” Albel snapped and slapped her hand away.
“He has a fever.” Nel said to Cliff.
“Damn it. We told you not to push yourself too much.” Cliff seemed irritated. Nel sat Albel down and looked back at Cliff.
“Cliff could you find me some wood so I can start a fire?” Nel asked calmly.
“Sure thing sweetness. I'll do anything you ask.” Cliff smiled and walked off to find some wood. Nel rolled her eyes and started attending to Albel.
“Will you leave me alone.” Albel grumbled.
“Look I need to take care of you. You have a fever.” Nel glared. Mirage pulled off her backpack and started digging though it.
“We need to get to the facility. I need to get Arzei away from there.” Albel argued.
“Arzei can wait. You need help. And stop arguing with me.” Nel snapped.
“I don't need…” Albel's vision blurred and he found himself lying on his back. He opened his eyes and found himself staring at a stone ceiling. He pushed himself slowly off the ground and looked around. This place seemed familiar. Then it hit him. He bolted down the corridor and opened the door to the large square room. “Fayt!” He shouted out. He heard a slight movement and began walking in that direction. Then he stepped on something. He knelt down and picked up a round indented object. One side was coarse and the other was soft and smooth. Albel flipped it over in his hand and tried to figure out what it was but it was hard given the lighting. Albel heard a quiet voice a few feet away and his mind drifted back to his goal. He quickly walked in the direction and spotted Fayt. “Fayt.” Albel knelt down beside him.
“Who's there?” Fayt's voice was barely audible.
“It's me.” Albel said as he reached down to touch him. Albel almost jumped as his hand pasted through Fayt like his arm reaching into mud. Fayt shivered slightly and opened his eyes. “What the hell?” Albel looked at his hand and then back at Fayt. For some reason he could see Fayt more clearly than he had before but as far as Albel was concerned that shouldn't have been happening. Fayt moved his head slightly to look up. He squinted his eyes and stared curiously back at Albel.
“Albel?” Fayt almost whispered.
“Hey.” Albel could see a cut on Fayt's face. He could also see that Fayt was paler than him. He also looked worse than him. Albel leaned forward resting his hands on the stone floor, which for some reason felt a little strange. Albel looked at the floor and noticed a pool of blood. He lifted his hands to see that it stained his pale skin red. “Oh my god.”
“Why are you here?” Fayt asked with curiosity.
“I need to get you out of here.” Albel looked down at him and tried to touch Fayt again. When his hand pasted though him once again Albel pulled his hand back. Fayt smiled sadly and closed his eyes.
“You can't.” Fayt said calmly.
“Why can't I? I don't understand why I can't touch you.” Albel raised his voice in frustration. He reach down again and was shocked as his hand hit the metal chains surrounding Fayt.
“What are you doing? You're making me cold.” Fayt said as he looked back at him again. Albel blinked several times as he tried to touch Fayt but found his hand pasted through him. But he could touch the chains that were holding him to the ground.
“What is going on?” Albel looked confused. “Why can't I touch you?”
“Because your not here anymore.” Fayt said weakly.
“What are you talking about? I am here. I can touch those chains that are holding you.” Albel pointed out.
“What chains?” Fayt looked confused.
“You can't see them? Do you feel them?” Albel was a little shocked.
“I'm not chained. I just can't move.” Fayt said calmly. Albel stared down at him. Why did he not see what he was seeing? And how come he couldn't touch him? How did he even get there at all? He was seriously confused.
“You can't move because there's chains around you.” Albel said as he looked at what should have been the locks. “No key holes?”
“I guess that explains it.” Fayt whispered. “She is a ghost. I guess it's only natural she would chain my spirit. I guess that's explains why I can't move or see them.”
“Then why can I see them?” Albel looked at Fayt. Fayt looked at him and smiled sadly.
“Cos your dead. I killed you. She said I did. You're glowing a little. That's how I know. Your here in spirit.” Fayt said as he looked away.
“What? That's ridiculous I've been here twice now. I'm not dead and you certainly didn't kill me.” Albel said defensively.
“Then why are you a ghost right now?” Fayt asked.
“I...” Albel thought about this. It was a dream the first time he was here. Or was it? And the last thing he remembered was Nel fretting over his wounds. She said he had a fever. Was he delusional? “Fayt. I know I am not dead and I am getting you out of here. You need help.”
“You can't help me. Nobody can.” Fayt whispered.
“Don't say that I am getting you out of here.” Albel grabbed onto on of the shackles on Fayt's wrist and went to pull it apart. It opened easily much to his surprise. “These aren't locked.”
“They don't need to be. I told you they aren't something I can get off because I'm alive.” Fayt said.
“Alright then. I'm going to take these off of you and I want you to run out of this place. You hear me. I'm coming to get you.” Albel said as he reached for the other shackle.
“You don't understand you can't.” Fayt said as he closed his eyes.
“Fayt I don't want you to loose hope. The last thing you want to do...” Albel jumped as he realized he suddenly could touch Fayt.
“Fayt...” Albel placed his hands on Fayt's shoulders. “Fayt.”
“Huh.” Fayt opened his eyes and Albel fell forward.
“What the hell?” Albel pushed himself back up.
“Stop trying to touch me. I told you it makes me feel cold.” Fayt said calmly.
“Albel!” Someone yelled. He felt a slight shake on his shoulders. He opened his eyes and stared up at Nel's pale face. “Oh thank god.”
“Where's Fayt?” Albel asked.
“What?” Nel said as she stared down at him with a worried expression. Albel glanced around. He could see Cliff on the other side of him looking worried. As he looked to his other side he could see a fire. Mirage sighed with relief as she walked back over with something in her hands.
“You need to drink this.” Mirage said as she handed him a bottle of some liquid. As Albel tried to get up he fell back down. Nel reached over and helped him up slowly.
“I'm confused. What happened?” Albel asked as he drank the liquid.
“You had a fever and you became delirious. You weren't responding to us. You stopped breathing and your body went cold.” Mirage said as she knelt down in front of him.
“I thought we had lost you.” Nel sounded scared.
“Yeah.” Cliff looked just as pale as Nel.
“Are you saying I died?” Albel looked at the three.
“We weren't sure.” Mirage said calmly.
“It seemed like you had and then you woke up.” Nel said calmly staring at him.
“You must have been have been in that state for a good ten minutes.” Cliff shook his head.
“Wait. If that's true then I did this twice tonight.” Albel said calmly. Nel looked at Cliff and Cliff looked at her.
“What do you mean?” Cliff asked.
“You remember how I jumped awake earlier?” Albel asked.
“Yeah.” Cliff nodded.
“I woke up because I thought I had a dream about Fayt. But I think I didn't have a dream about Fayt. I think I went there in spirit. I was just there before you woke me up.” Albel looked at Nel.
“You saw Fayt?” Mirage looked confused.
“He's in trouble. And if it's true that I just died right now. That means that Fayt almost did a few minutes ago. We need to get to him or we're going to loose him.” Albel looked back at Cliff.
“Are you sure about this?” Cliff asked.
“Of course I am you fool! Why would I make this up? He's in trouble I saw him! I tried to touch him and I went though him. The only time I touched him was for a brief second a few minutes ago. And if it's true that I just died then that means Fayt had just died and then woke up like me. Besides he's seriously injured. He was in a pool of his blood in that temple he's in.” Albel wasn't sure if he sounded crazy or not. Though Nel and Cliff both looked at each other and then back at Mirage. “I am not making this up.”
“Well he did have a fever so it is possible that when his body went cold that he left it.” Mirage said calmly.
“Either that or he was more delusional then we thought.” Nel said and shook her head. Albel glared in annoyance. They obviously didn't believe him but of course who would given the circumstances.
“Never mind.” Albel stood up.
“Where are you going?” Nel jumped up.
“I have a king to get to.” Albel continued walking down the path.
“God damn him.” Nel glared and put her hands on her hips. Cliff stood up and placed his hand on her shoulder.
“Calm down sweetie. It's going to do us no good to fight with him. He's as stubborn as a donkey.” Cliff said as he smiled contently.
“Cliff!” Nel turned and slapped him hard. “Stop touching my ass!”
“But it was there I couldn't help it.” Cliff whined but still had the grin on his face.
“Idiot.” Nel grumbled as she walked down the path after Albel.
“You know Cliff she's going to kill you one of these days.” Mirage shook her head as she purred water on the fire.
“Hey Mirage… Do you think Albel was telling the truth?” Cliff looked over at her.
“I think we should let him calm down and ask him again. He seemed a little hysterical about what was going on. He wasn't explaining the situation correctly.” Mirage picked up her bag and tossed it over her shoulder. She looked back at Cliff who smiled softly.
“Yeah you're right. We should have him explain it better. But what if it true and we still can't get to Fayt?” Cliff frowned.
“I don't want to think about it.” Mirage frowned and turned and started following after Nel and Albel. “Coming?”
“Yeah.” Cliff ran after her.
“Albel! Wait!” Nel ran up to him as he rounded the mountain. Albel stopped walking and stared at the training facility in the distance. Nel stopped next to him breathing hard and also looked. “What's up?”
“Are you sure you want to go in there?” Albel looked at her.
“Yeah why?” Nel asked. Albel stared at her with an expressionless face. “I came here looking for you just before we came to Airyglyph to save you.”
“What's the matter?” Cliff said as he and Mirage came around the corner. They both stopped walking and looked at the two. Albel looked back and the facility with a sad expression on his face. Nel looked back at Mirage and Cliff. Albel closed his eyes; he could hear noises in the distance. It sounded like a fleet of horses heading in the opposite direction. He could hear people talking though he couldn't make out what they were saying.
“Albel are you alright?” Nel's voice seemed louder than usual. He jumped slightly and opened his eyes. He looked over at her.
“I'm fine.” He said as he suddenly continued walking towards the facility.
“I think you scared him.” Cliff said calmly.
“I wasn't even trying to scare him.” Nel stared strangely in Albel's direction and then followed. As they approached the large closed doors soldiers from above the door shouted down to them.
“Who's there!” A soldier yelled down barely seeing them.
“Albel Nox! I need to talk with Woltar and Arzei.” Albel yelled back. He could hear the soldier whispering to another soldier and they started arguing. Albel glared and was starting to loose what little patience he had.
“Listen worms! Quite fighting and open the damn door before I come up there and take off you heads!” Albel snapped coldly. It seemed to work because the soldiers were scrambling. “Maggots.”
“If they don't think it's you they're being stupid after that comment.” Nel said as she stopped next to him.
“They'll always be idiots.” Albel muttered. The door suddenly opened a soldier with a lantern walked up to them. Some other soldiers were behind him guarding the entrance.
“Lady Nel?” The soldier said recognizing her.
“Sorry to come so abruptly.” Nel apologized. The soldier then looked at Cliff who waved back at him.
“Master Fayt isn't with you?” The soldier asked.
“No he's not unfortunately.” Cliff frowned.
“Who's the blonde?” The soldier rested his eyes on Mirage.
“I'm Mirage Koas. I'm Cliff's partner.” Mirage said calmly. The soldier then looked at Albel.
“The soldiers up top seemed to think one of you was Albel.” The soldier said calmly.
“That's me. Idiot.” Albel snapped.
“What?” The soldier looked more closely at Albel. Albel glared back at him. How could this fool not recognize him? “Sir… I apologize.” The soldier bowed. “I have never seen you with your hair down.” The soldier apologized. Albel raised his hand and pulled a strand of his hair over his shoulder.
“Oh…” Albel said as he suddenly realized he hadn't put his hair back.
“It is Lord Albel, Lady Nel, and Master Cliff.” The soldier said back to the other men who rested their guard. “Come. Count Woltar and his highness would be happy to see you all.”
“How's this place holding up?” Albel asked as they walked through the giant hall.
“It's been holding up well. But I'm afraid they might penetrate our defenses soon.” The soldier replied.
“That's what I was afraid of.” Albel narrowed his cat like red eyes. They walked down quite a few halls and past several doorways with round golden archways. The stonewalls were just as Albel remembered. He hadn't been here in two years. But they still had large stained glass windows with long red tapestries on the walls next to them. The tapestries were long rectangular red cloth with a triangle point at the end. They had gold trimming and had a large gold symbol of Airyglyph sewn in the middle. At the center of some of the long halls still stood the giant angel statues. Each one held swords that faced downward to the ground. They symbolized justice for this was the place where they executed many Aquarians as an example to the world. As they walked through one Archway they came to a wooden staircase. They walked up the stairs and down a hall. As they rounded the corner the soldier stopped at a door and gave a slight knock. They could hear something on the other side of the door. Slowly the door opened and Woltar looked out seeming to be half asleep.
“What is it?” He said in a groggy voice.
“Sorry for the intrusion sir. But I thought you might what to know about this now sir.” The soldier gestured to Albel. Woltar squinted his eyes as he looked over at Albel and blinked a few times. Woltar's eyes went wide and stepped out of his room and walked over to Albel.
“Oh dear Lord.” Woltar said as he hugged Albel. “I thought for sure you had been killed.” Woltar pulled away from him and looked at him.
“It takes more than an invasion of Airyglyph to kill me old man. You should know that by now.” Albel said calmly.
“Yes I should.” Woltar nodded.
“Where is Arzei? And why did you bring him here? It's too dangerous to have him here.” Albel inquired.
“I figured that one was coming.” Woltar smiled and shook his head. “It was the safest place at the time.” Woltar said calmly. Albel stared like a cat back and him and folded his arms. “Don't worry this old man did know what he was doing. Ah Cliff. How nice to see you again.”
“Yo.” Cliff waved.
“Where is Fayt?” Woltar asked with a frown.
“He was unable to come.” Cliff answered.
“I see. How unfortunate. So you wish to speak with Arzei?” Woltar looked back at Albel who nodded softly. “Then come with me.” Woltar dismissed the soldier and continued to lead them down the hall. He turned the next corner a walked over to the door. He knocked on the door and smiled back at the group.
“Come in.” They heard a muffled voice from inside the room. Woltar opened the door and walked in.
“I see you are still awake.” Woltar smiled. Arzei looked over and him and smiled slightly.
“It's hard to sleep with all this chaos around.” Arzei said calmly. “Lady Nel… You have returned.”
“Yes your highness.” Nel bowed slightly.
“Hello Cliff. Mirage.” Arzei nodded to the two blondes. Slowly his attention drifted to Albel. “Albel.”
“He came to speak with you.” Woltar smiled. “And to tell me how much of an idiot I was being.”
“Knock it off old man.” Albel glared at him. “If you had taken him somewhere safer I wouldn't be here right now.”
“You all saved him?” Arzei looked over at Nel, Cliff, and Mirage.
“Yes.” Nel nodded politely. Arzei smiled.
“Thank you.” Arzei nodded.
“Ah it was no problem.” Cliff rubbed the back of his head and closed his eyes.
“Cliff.” Nel glared.
“Sorry.” Cliff shrugged.
“Anyway… Vox is thinking about taking down the facility. I need to take you somewhere else and Woltar needs to take some of the men away from here.” Albel looked at Arzei calmly.
“I think I am going to have to agree with you.” Arzei stood up. “When Airyglyph was about to be taken down I refused to believe you when you told me of the news. I apologize for my mistakes and mistrust of you Albel. So where do you think we should go?” Arzei asked. Albel walked over to the door and shut it. He turned back to them and walked back over.
“Just between all of us because I don't trust our soldiers. I want to move some of us to the place they wont even consider attacking.” Albel said calmly.
“And where would this be?” Arzei sat down on his bed.
“The place where the gods come and go. The Mosel Ruins.”
End Chapter Six