The longtime friends

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Alexandre laughed alone. People's ability to slander a person who came out of normalcy didn't surprise him, as if he had known that ...

He realized how he felt empty. Since he had opened his eyes in this forest, a part of him was missing, and without this, he felt himself unable to having opinions.

It was as if what constituted him as a person was incomplete.

For ten years on Earth, he had been content to let himself go, to follow the movement, to obey. He hadn't even really reacted at Meinmet's crazy story of back home. The pillar of light had just surprised him.

He seemed not to feel the fear ...

But what exactly did he feel? Perhaps nothing, apart from the tenacious feelings of "deja vu" that he had know since his arrival on Gaea.
He often thought about the man to whom he resembled, this Folken, and searched points in common with him, except the physical, but all was in vain ...

The encounter with that wolf-man of whom he had been so much talked about would perhaps be a deliverance. But, lucid, Alexandre had also considered the possibility of being declared monster and then purely and simply executed.
And even faced with this eventuality, he remained calm. Even the desire to live, he didn't have it ...

Finally, the thing he wanted was that comedy ended. Faced with a Meinmet overflowing with enthusiasm despite his age, he found his existence useless, so the alternative between finding a meaning of this live and die seemed to him the right one.


One valley ended, another followed. The transition between the two wasa plain on which meandered a river. To keep this strategic point,at the top of a hill, stood a small fortified town, dominated by arather imposing citadel : Metel.
The night was falling, the convoy had arrived in time.
First part ofthe journey ended without problems, theoretically, the troubles wouldstart here.

The great door of Metel opened. The guard towers which surrounded it were all empty and the mechanism of the door had some failures ...
Concerning the overall state of the city, it was deplorable: the houses were damaged, the roads paved broken, and the dominant castle had a tower which seemed to stand up only by miracle.

Feeling undoubtedly in a hot seat, the governor, a little chubby, who concealed his baldness under a colorful turban, came to greet the travelers with all the condescension he was capable of.

"My lords, I am very honored to receive you in my humble fortress." He said, bowing to the ground.
"Humble fortress" isn't the word I would use?" Mayek replied, going down from the horse. "I would choose instead the term "ruin"."

This time, no doubt, the plump man was going to live a very bad time.

"We're all here for the night, as you know. Tomorrow, a part of the convoy will leave to join Arzas. As for you and I, we shall have time to discuss about the condition of your fortress. I look forward to hearing your arguments to justify this disaster!"

Unable to answer, Metel's chief almost trembled. It was obvious that a good meal would not solve his problem.

Nevertheless, to make the best of a bad job, the governor showed himself syrupy with his guest, who, for his part, remained insensitive to all flattery, much more attentive to all the breaches which he observed.

Yiris had this lapidary sentence:
"For once, I agree with Mayek"

Those words further panicked the soldiers of the fortress.

The members of the convoy were now quiet. They were finally going to see a good correcting.

Given the seriousness of the situation, Mayek probably wouldn't ask them to repair, in order to give a good lesson to the local garrison.


At Fanelia, Hitomi was thinking. She had get up in the middle of thenight and remained motionless looking out of the window. Not feelingher presence by turning into the bed, Van awoke and saw her companionpensive in front of the moonlight.

"Something is wrong?"
"I don't know, I have a strange feeling ... I am sure something willhappen, something important, but I am unable to say what ..."
"I understand ... Exactly the kind of situation you didn't want to liveagain ..."
"Yes, from the moment I met Alexandre, I think I knew where I wasgoing ... Our destiny is not all written, but I now thinking that somesituations are imposed hardships."
"And it's up to us to make the better decisions, right?"
"Exactly! Except that there, I only can suffer, what I sense is ratherblurred. Since I arrived, I have confused and fuzzy feelings ... I hadonly one clear vision, but from the past ..."
"Ah? Of the past ... And of whom?"
"Folken and Yiris, I saw that they had briefly met in the ruins ofFanelia, and that the sword which she possessed was that of yourbrother. Meinmet had told me about, but I don't know why, thissword ... There is something it symbolizes, but I cannot identify what."
"Yiris attached a great importance to this story. She, who is cold andnot impressionable, supports with force to have seen the body of mybrother come to life and smile to her ... She is still trembling whenshespeak about it, so I believe her to be sincere."
"It's impossible, at least in theory. Afterwards on Gaea ..."
"... nothing is surprising, is that? "
"Yes! And what do you think about this sword?"
"Yiris never uses it. I don't even know if she knows how to handle ablade. And she kept it as it was, broken ..."
"She watches over something ... As if keeping this sword, she kept thememory of Folken ..."
"Perhaps ... But what role could this sword play in this?"
"Unfortunately, I don't know ..." Hitomi sighed.

Van got up and took her in his arms. He was assailed by doubt too, heexpected much from the confrontation of Alexandre and Ruhm, but hefeared it just too.
So, the question of Hitomi put him in trouble.

"And what do you plan to do with Alexandre after all this?"
"I don't know, I'm totally conditioned to what Ruhm will say. He knewmy brother better than anyone. However, at the same time, I'm afraidthat he can ot give us concrete answers.
What is certain is that inthe present state of things, I'm dealing with a potential enemy, andhis familiar face must not prevent vigilance, contrariwise."

Hitomi didn't answer. Van was not wrong. So, she was more worried aboutAlexandre's fate.

She, who understood well the people, hadn't feltobscure things emanating from him, just a resigned sadness ...


For his part, Alexandre didn't sleep either. He thought only to thenext day, his meeting with Ruhm, and what would follow.
Sitting on theedge of the window of his room, beside Yiris, not disposed to sleeptoo, he watched the spectacle of the soldiers of Metel who had toperform repairs and maintenance, even if it was night.
Mayek had already given a pleiad of orders and no respite to executethem ...

The other members of the convoy, meanwhile, slept soundly, even if thenext day's journey promised to be stressful.
The forest of dragons was obscure, with its gigantic trees, in someplaces, their foliage completely obscured the sky ...

But this road was the only one allowing access to Arzas with a heavyload, impossible to take the narrow gorges with an entire army.

Besides, in spite of the immense gain of time, the soldiers avoidedthis route because of the dizzying void that surrounded it. Only thewolves, accustomed to such an environment, traversed it without fear.

At sunrise, the men of Yiris prepared for the last part of theexpedition.
Before letting her go, Mayek wanted to speak with her aboutfew final remarks.

"So, ready to test your technique? Do you really believe in it?"
"Yes, I will already send a group ahead. Each one has a horn of fog,they can quickly give the alarm. And then, in case of problem, I haveyour big troop to face the danger! In my mind, not be caught off guardwill be an advantage ... However, the ideal would obviously be to not haveto face an attack!"

In ordinary times, the general wouldn't have missed the opportunity tomake a cynical remark to his colleague, but here, things weredifferent. He was also afraid of the mysterious commandos who had not yet leftany witnesses.

"It only remains for me to wish you a good journey! Hoping also thatyou have answers with your mystery man."
"Thank you! I'll need it ..."

With these words, Yiris proceeded to the convoy and mounted a horse toput herself in the head.

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