Star Ocean (All Series) Fan Fiction ❯ Phantom Of Time ❯ Fire Folk ( Chapter 12 )

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

Phantom Of Time
Chapter Twelve: Fire Folk
By: Demon Priestess Saturn
Albel wondered into the Mosel Dunes. He was headed to the ruins so he could speak with King Arzei. He tramped through the dunes wearing his aqua veil so he wouldn't dehydrate, taking out any monsters in his way. As he crossed the stretch of desert he could see some men stationed just outside the ruins. With a slight smirk Albel headed towards them. When they became of his presence they immediately pulled their swords, just like he trained them to do.
“Who are you?” One of the guards squinted his eyes while trying to get a better look at the approaching swordsman.
“I see that you're not lacking in your skills today.” Albel rested his clawed arm on his hip as he stopped just a few feet in front of them.
“Commander!” The two guards straightened up and saluted to him.
“I need to speak to his majesty.” Albel eyed them.
“Right away sir, I shall inform him or your arrival.” One of the guards bowed before turning and entering the ruins.
“Did Count Woltar make it here?” Albel looked at the other guard.
“Yes sir and the men that are still back at the facility are holding up. It hasn't been overrun sir.” The guard replied.
“Good.” Albel almost smiled.
“Commander…” The other guard returned. “The King is waiting for you in the conference room.”
“Thank you.” Albel walked past him. As he entered the stone entrance hall he was greeted by many of his soldiers. He pasted by them barely acknowledging them. He had more important things on his mind. He head down the long hallways making his way to the conference room at the south end of the ruins. He calmly walked through the door entering the conference room where King Arzei and Count Woltar sat waiting.
“Albel.” Arzei stood and walked over to him giving him a slight hug. “I was afraid we had lost you when you were shot with that arrow.”
“Apparently it takes more than and arrow to get to our black brigade commander.” Woltar smiled.
“Why have you come all the way here?” Arzei looked at him.
“I wanted to make sure you had both gotten here safely.” Albel said calmly.
“Surely that couldn't be the only reason.” Woltar raised a brow. “Is something troubling you?”
“Yes.” Albel nodded. “I have something important I need to ask you both.” Woltar and Arzei looked at each other almost in shock. Albel never admitted something was wrong.
“This must be a serious matter.” Arzei said as he sat back down at the table. Woltar rested his arms on the large round stone table as Albel walked over and pulled back one of the chairs. He sat down and remained silent for a few minutes as he formulated his question.
“Who is Ariel?” Albel looked at Arzei searching for an answer.
“Ariel?” Arzei looked confused.
“She was a woman with strawberry blonde hair that was often seen with my father.” Albel looked to Woltar who suddenly sat back in his chair.
“Ariel.” Woltar said almost to himself. “Why are you inquiring about her?”
“Because I need to find her.” Albel said quickly.
“I have not see Ariel in twelve years. She disappeared after you father's funeral.” Woltar replied.
“You mean that beautiful courtier Glou used to talk to?” Arzei finally remembered her.
“Yes the one that wasn't his wife but he flirted with her all the time. They had been friends for as long as I can remember.” Woltar commented. “Why are you looking for her?”
“I have my reasons.” Was all Albel said.
“I see.” Woltar leaded forward. “So you aren't going to tell us why you want to find her.”
“It's personal.” Albel narrowed his eyes. Woltar was always so damn nosy. “I need to ask her some questions.”
“I'm afraid we can't help you locate her.” Arzei looked down at the table. “We unfortunately don't know where she disappeared to.”
“Do you know anyone who might know?” Albel looked at him.
“Other than Duke Vox, no one.” Arzei looked at him seriously. Albel sighed in frustration and leaned back in his chair.
“She was a mysterious woman.” Woltar said. “She did not live in Airyglyph but she came often. So I assume she didn't live too far away.” The three were silent for a moment. Albel stared down at the table not knowing what to do. Woltar and Arzei looked at him. They both seemed to sense the importance for finding Ariel.
“I would say ask Vox but...” Arzei said calmly.
“He's gotten away with the information and he's on the enemies' side.” Albel stood up looking a little mad.
“Albel…” Woltar looked at him seriously. Albel looked at the old man with a dead stare in his eyes, one that Woltar hadn't seen in a long time. “Is there anything we can do to help?”
“No.” Albel shook his head. “I'm just going to have to keep looking.”
“Are you sure?” Woltar asked.
“Yes.” Albel nodded. “Thanks for the information you were able to give me. I must be going now.” Albel turned and walked out of the room without saying another word. Woltar and Arzei looked at each other.
“He's very sad.” Woltar said. “This obviously means a lot to him.”
“Well she was the closest person to Glou. He must want answers about his father.” Arzei said calmly.
“To tell you the truth the way Glou acted around that woman. I think he was in love with her.” Woltar sat back in his chair. “When he married Marietta he seemed to be doing it just because.”
“Yes I know what you mean. I wonder why he didn't marry Ariel.” Arzei said calmly.
“I remember Glou telling me once that he wished he could have. But he said there was some kind of family problem and that was why.” Woltar said.
“Then why would he marry Marietta and have Albel if he wasn't in love with her?” Arzei looked confused.
“Glou was just as much of a mystery as Ariel. I knew him very well but I got the feeling he was keeping things from me as well.” Woltar looked at the table.
“I wonder why Albel suddenly remembered her.” Arzei looked at the door.
“Yes… I wonder as well.”
Albel wandered back outside the Mosel Ruins. He had no idea where to look next. He had hit a dead end. As he stood looking out along the desert he had this feeling of loss. What was he going to do now? How was he going to find a woman who disappeared from the world twelve years ago?
“What do I do?” Albel thought to himself as he looked down at the ground.
“Follow your heart.” Albel looked up suddenly hearing a faint voice. He glanced around but he could see no one accept the two guards.
“Did you two say anything?” Albel asked the two guards.
“No sir.” The guards both replied.
“Albel.” Albel turned around to see Woltar walking out of the ruins.
“What is it old man?” Albel narrowed his eyes slightly.
“How much do you remember about Ariel?” Woltar asked.
“Not much. Why?”
“Well is there anything you remember that might give you a hint where she is?” Woltar asked. Albel thought about this for a moment. He remembered seeing her in a vision at Airyglyph. Then he saw her in a cave somewhere. Any other time he remembered her she was in the background.
“That's if you can catch me.”
~End Flashback~
Albel looked up as something red caught his attention. He could see a humanoid with large fire wings flying above him and Woltar. It landed on top of the Mosel Ruins and watched him and Woltar carefully.
“Albel?” Woltar looked at him strangely.
“Huh?” Albel looked at him.
“What are you looking at?” Woltar asked.
“Nothing.” Albel said quickly. “I was just thinking to myself.”
“You didn't answer my question.” Woltar looked concerned.
“I don't remember anything.” Albel commented but glanced behind Woltar as the humanoid landed right behind him.
“Are you sure you are feeling well?” Woltar asked.
“I'm fine.” Albel said without a flinch. “Just go back inside before you roast.”
“Alright fine.” Woltar turned and walked past the humanoid and went into the ruins. The humanoid watched him as he walked off before glancing back at Albel. The humanoid met Albel's icy stare for a moment before it realized that Albel was in fact looking at it.
“You can see me.” It backed away in fear.
“You two scout the area.” Albel snapped at the guards suddenly.
“Yes sir.” The two scattered and quickly ran off. When they were out of sight Albel looked back at the creature.
“Yes I can.” Albel said calmly.
“No human can see us accept for the descendents of the ancients.” The creature walked up to him.
“Yes but only if you don't want them too.” Albel commented. “If you in human form humans can see you perfectly fine.”
“Yes but I'm not in human form.” The creature responded.
“My father was Glou Nox. Does that explain anything?” Albel eyed it for a moment.
“The Nox family? I see…” The creature looked interested. “So you are a descendent.”
“Why are you here? Doesn't your kind hover around the Urssa Caves?” Albel rested his hand on his hip.
“I came to see what the earth spirits looked like.” The creature replied. “Are you afraid to tell the human's you can see us?”
“My father told me never to tell anyone that I could. So I have been pretending my whole life that you spirits don't exist.” Albel replied.
“You are interesting.” The creature jumped up on top of the ruins once again.
“She had the same wings as you.” Albel looked at the large fire wings.
“Ariel.” Albel looked at it.
“Ariel!” The creature's eyes went wide. “How do you know about Ariel?”
“She used to come to Airyglyph and talk with my father. She was his friend.” Albel said. “Do you know her?”
“Who doesn't?” The creature jumped down in front of him.
“Where is she? Is she still alive?” Albel stared into the creature's eyes.
“She is alive yes.” The creature eyed him some more.
“Where is she?” Albel repeated his question.
“The spirits of the universe never tell their secrets.” The creature shook its finger at him.
“You have to tell me. I need to talk to her.” Albel took a step forward.
“Why do you need to talk to her so?” The creature questioned.
“Because… I need to know something about my father and she was the last one to talk to him before he died.” Albel was starting to get desperate.
“Ariel… Talked to Glou before he died…” The creature seemed surprised. “Ariel does not associate with the humans. She is the princess of my kind. She is not allowed.”
“What?” Albel tilted his head. “What do you mean?”
“None of us are supposed to talk with humans it is forbidden, but you surprised me.” The creature smirked and jumped back up on the wall.
“The same is true for the humans. The people that claimed you existed and said they could see you were charged with heresy. They were tried, convicted, and executed.” Albel said.
“So that is why you don't want them to know. You know it isn't allowed.” The creature knelt down on the wall.
“Well the same goes for you.” Albel said calmly.
“True…” The creature put it hand to its chin.
“We're already breaking the rules. So why not tell me how I can find Ariel. Nobody hast to know. I won't tell them you told me.” Albel tried to make a deal.
“You are persistent.” The creature seemed to think about it for a moment. “Our people live in the Urssa Caverns. But I'm sure you could guess that. We fly around it all the time.”
“Thanks.” Albel smirked.
“You are not a bad human… Though you have a strange scent.” The creature jumped into the air suddenly and flew away.
“The Urssa Caves… I always knew I hated the place for some reason.”
When Albel finally reached Arias he was exhausted. He walked into the city wearing his veil and taking special care to not be noticed. It was getting late so he walked into the inn to get a room so he could rest for the night. As he entered the inn he could see a blonde arguing with a Vendeen soldier at the counter.
“That is your problem.” Seraphina glared. “You should have been paying more attention.”
“I told you already. If Vox hadn't screwed up we would have had them.” General Nighthawk yelled.
“Don't you dare blame duke Vox. We aren't the ones with the space ships.” Seraphina snapped.
“Seraphina calm down.” Albel narrowed his eyes as he recognized the voice of a man he hated with every inch of his soul.
“Duke Vox.” Seraphina bowed slightly. Albel resisted the urge to pull his sword and kill him right on the spot.
“So I take it they escaped?” Vox looked at the Vendeen general.
“They had another ship.” The shark-like-being snapped harshly.
“How unfortunate.” Vox said sarcastically.
“What about Airyglyph?” Seraphina looked at Vox.
“Albel and his friends took it back.” Vox shrugged.
“How could you let him do that? Wait… He's not dead.” Seraphina looked mad.
“No. He's not.” Vox replied. “He's a cockroach.”
“Obviously.” Seraphina looked in the direction of the door. Albel sat down at a table keeping his back to them so Seraphina wouldn't recognize him.
“Where were they heading?” Vox asked.
“We aren't sure yet but once we figure it out we are going after them.” General Nighthawk said.
“So they did leave.” Albel said to himself.
“Do you still have the other ship?” Vox asked.
“At the moment.” The general replied.
“Good. Let's take back Airyglyph while we have the chance. They didn't leave much protection there.” Vox said calmly.
“Oh no you don't.” Albel muttered as he glanced back over his shoulder at them.
“It's not that easy.” General Nighthawk replied.
“Why not?” Vox looked at him.
“Whoever is guarding the place has a technology level close to ours. Not to mention a real thrill for beating people up. The commander thinks Fittir is guarding the castle.” Nighthawk replied.
“Do I have to do everything?” Seraphina rolled her eyes. “Fine. I will leave for Airyglyph tomorrow morning. I should get there in two to three days. I will take care of the problem.”
“Are you sure?” Vox looked at her.
“I play the best sniper here.” Seraphina replied. “I kill the ring leader.”
“If it is Fittir we need him brought back alive.” The general eyed her.
“Fine. If it's that stupid Klausian I'll bring him back alive.” Seraphina walked out of the inn.
“I don't trust her.” Nighthawk looked at Vox.
“Don't worry neither do I. That is why I am going to follow her.” Vox put his cloak on and walked out the door.
“Two to three days…” Albel thought to himself. “First I will talk to Ariel then I will cut through the mountains and get to Airyglyph before them.” Albel smirked. “Idiots.”
The next morning Albel got up bright and early. He quickly left for the Urssa Caves before anyone was awake enough to notice his presence. He didn't have much time if he was going to talk to Ariel and foil Vox's plan at the same time. He walked up the mountain path watching the spirits movements. He made sure he was following them as he went up since he had no idea where their caves were. He didn't acknowledge them even though they kept staring at him strangely as he climbed the mountain. After about an hour he noticed they were getting a little restless, which meant he must've been getting close to his destination. As he rounded the mountain he noticed a set of caves in the mountainside. Some of the spirits were hiding in them. Many of them once they noticed were watching him carefully. Finally one spirit caught his eye. He stood tall and wore fancy clothes. He looked strangely like Arzei with his short dark hair, bread, and mustache. His fire wings were much larger than the others and his eyes glow a soft red. He had a golden crown upon his head and a long gold cape wrapped around his shoulders. He shifted into a more human looking form after a few spirits whispered in his ear. He took a step forward and looked down at Albel, who continued to pretend not to notice.
“It's dangerous up here you know.” He said in a bold voice. Albel decided now was the time to acknowledge him.
“So what.” Albel put his hand on his hip.
“I suggest you turn around and go back down the mountain.” He said in his strong voice.
“Give me one good reason why.” Albel smirked. That's when he saw her. Ariel came out of one of the caves and stopped a few feet away from the spirit he was addressing. Albel's attention quickly went to her. They met eyes for a long moment and she seemed to come to the realization he could see her. The man Albel was talking to had also noticed and was glancing back and forth between Ariel and Albel.
“Ariel. I came to speak with you.” Albel said suddenly scaring all the spirits. They started whispering to one another and looked at the man, who was obviously the leader, and Ariel.
“So you can see us.” The man glared down at Albel. “Who are you?”
“Albel Nox.” Albel smirked. “I'm the son of Glou Nox.”
“Glou.” The man raised his head high.
“That's right and I have a few unanswered questions.” Albel looked back at Ariel who covered her mouth slightly.
“What is going on Ariel?” The man looked at her.
“Father. This only concerns me. I shall take care of it.” Ariel looked at her father as she flew down to Albel's side.
“I think I know why you are here.” Ariel looked at Albel. “Please everyone leave. I must speak with him alone.” All the spirits retreated to the caverns including Ariel's father.
“So you know why I am here.” Albel looked at her curiously.
“A friend of mine said a man who looked like Glou was coming up the mountain so I came to see.” Ariel smiled. “You look just like your father did at your age. But… You have your mother's eyes.”
“Marietta's? Or Yours?” Albel said suddenly. Ariel's eyes went wide as she suddenly realized he had come for more then she expected.
End Chapter Twelve