Tomorrow Is Another Day
"This is terrible!" Noah exclaimed as they drove into the ancient town of Sopia. This town was also in ruins, only slightly better than Bortevo. Odin turned off the landrover and they stepped up to the clean house in the center of the village. The old man inside looked slightly surprised to see them, but stood up to greet them. "This town is called Sopia. You are brave to penetrate the gas. I'm the head of this village." he told them.
Alis recited her usual speech of, "We're trying to defeat Lassic and restore Algol. Can you help us?"
He stroked his beard in thought. "Because of the cloud of gas, we are cut off from other towns. We are therefore very poor. Will you donate 400 mesetas?" he asked.
Alis turned to her companions. Noah looked out the small window and saw the destruction that made up the small village. She looked back at Alis and nodded. "Okay, we'll give the money," Alis said as she reached into her bag.
The old man graciously accepted the money and began to tell them what he knew. "According to our legends, the very shield Perseus used to overcome Medusa is buried on the small island in the middle of the lake."
"Overcome Medusa..." Odin trailed off.
"The shield is plated with a mirror and when the gorgon faces it, she can no longer turn you into stone, for she fears that the spell will be reflected in the shield and be turned against her. However, she still will not hesitate to attack by physical means. It will be a difficult battle, but it is said that she possesses a mystical axe."
Noah looked at Odin and noticed that although his eyes had widened considerably, they were darker than she had ever seen. For the first time, Odin stepped to the front of the group, thanked the old man, and led them out of the house.
"We must get that shield!" he said as they stepped out the door. "I won't stop until I'm holding the snake-covered head of Medusa in my bare hands!"
Alis merely nodded. "The lake isn't large at all, we should be able to reach the island in a few hours."
Odin almost stepped on it as they disembarked from the hovercraft. "Under a cactus...,' he muttered as he dug in the sand. "Wonders never cease." He picked up the shield and examined it. "This had better work," he told the group.
Alis looked at the setting sun. "This island seems relatively safe," she said. "We can stay here for the night and leave for Palma in the morning. Then we'll spend a night in Gothic and go after Medusa next day, okay?" They all nodded. "Good, let's get some rest."
* * * * *
Noah crawled across the sand to where Odin was sitting. He was carefully leaning against the cactus and examining the mirror shield. "The stars are beautiful tonight," he said without turning around.
She gently brushed the edge of the shield. "Just think," she said, "In a few days you'll have the Laconian axe." She paused. "And Medusa's head for your home in Scion."
He stared up at the sky. "I doubt I'd call it home, I haven't been there in so long. It was a simple structure on the edge of town, I stayed there when I needed to."
Noah looked up with him. "I don't have a home to call my own either. Sure, there are countless possibilities. I could settle in Casba, live with my uncle in Paseo, or even return to Nahru. But none of them seem right..." She sighed. "Some days I think that in all of Algol, there isn't a place for me. Like I don't belong here."
He kissed her forehead. "No place in the sun. I wouldn't mind going back to Scion because I know I wouldn't stay there. I'll always travel, searching, but for what, I don't know."
Noah looked back at the shield. Their faces were reflected in the cool, clear surface, but somehow they didn't seem as different. "Well, first let's search for the axe, I know you'll feel better once you hold it."
His expression changed. "The other week, when I saw you with the body of the Casba dragon, I didn't think you could be so bloodthirsty. That was because I had tucked away the memories of Medusa deep inside, where I didn't think they could escape. But when I heard the old ruler of Sopia speak of Perseus and this shield, those memories resurfaced. I need to see the gorgon's body before me, like you needed to kill the dragon. I have the same urge to see blood, to witness death. I want to see the lack of activity in the eyes, the lack of expression, the lack of life! And I will!"
His own eyes were black orbs, deep in their sockets. Noah stared right into them. "I know you will."
The expression changed again. "Of course you know. You know more than anyone else." He gestured toward the innocent faces of the sleeping Alis and Myau. "It doesn't matter how many battles we've fought, they don't really understand the significance of it all. They see the blood, but they don't comprehend it. The limbs may break, the heads may roll, but it doesn't mean as much. They won't truly understand it until we defeat Lassic."
"Until they see his blood..." Noah paused. "Then they will know why we've been fighting this whole time. Alis thinks she's fighting for her brother, but that's only a small fraction of the whole equation."
"She's really fighting for herself," they both said at the same time. Odin smiled at her. "Go to sleep," he said as he stroked the long blue hair.
"Tomorrow is another day," she told him, smiling broadly.
* * * * *
The blue-haired sorceress watched as Odin blocked another of the gorgon's attacks with the legendary mirror shield. Just getting to the top of the tower had been a laborious journey, and now they were faced with one of the most difficult battles they had ever encountered. Noah watched the warrior draw blood and wait for Medusa's death. Although the rest of the group wanted to assist him, he was the only one with ample protection.
Finally, the monster fell. Odin took his weapon that was already stained with blood and sliced off its head. He walked to the back of the room to search for his treasure. The Laconian axe lay in the back corner. He picked it up and turned it over in his hands, admiring the design and strength of the weapon.
Alis also came over and examined it. "An old man in Skure told me that we need four magical Laconian items: an axe, a sword, a shield, and a suit of armor. That one villager in Drasgow mentioned a tower on a 'forgotten island' that contains a mystical sword. Tomorrow we'll take the hovercraft out and look for it."
They obtained the Laconian sword from a dragon that resembled the one they met on their way to Casba. Although Noah knew that they needed to kill it to get the sword, she didn't feel that overpowering need for blood with this scaled creature. While they had found the Laconian weapons, they didn't know where to look for the defensive items.
"I've got an idea," Myau said. "The town of native Dezorians in the mountains. Maybe they can help us."
For the second time, Noah felt an exhilarating sensation when she stepped out onto the icy plains of Dezoris. Although she had been raised in the deserts of Motavia, somehow she felt comfortable in this world of snow.
Alis' words interrupted her thoughts. "There are supposed to be tunnels through some of the mountains. Let's see where they take us."
The tunnels were much darker than the one leading to Skure. Although they took a few wrong turns, the passages were fairly easy to navigate and after going through some of them, they found themselves on a wide, flat plain. They boarded the landrover and headed to the northeast. Eventually they arrived at a low, square building.
"It looks like Triada," Odin said. "Maybe we can obtain some information inside."
They entered the building and began to walk through the narrow hallways. Inevitably, they were soon attacked, but the creature didn't seem to be alive.
"Zombies," Odin said. "This must be the morgue we heard about." He shrugged. "They're not too difficult to defeat, let's see what's further in."
They made their way through the morgue, occasionally stopping to fight the undead. They turned a few corners and saw a door in the wall. But before they could go any further, Myau stopped them.
"Wait!" he cried.
Alis turned around. "What is it, Myau?"
The small cat made his way to where she was standing and sniffed at the floor. "There's a trap there," he simply said.
"How do you know?" Noah asked.
He shrugged. "That's just one of his special talents," Alis said. She turned to him. "What are you going to do?" she asked.
"I'm going to disarm it," he said. Focusing all his concentration on the spot before them, Myau cast the neutralizing spell he had taught himself. They crossed over to the door and Alis used her dungeon key to open it.
Inside the small room was a wooden chest. Alis opened it and smiled. "Look at this!" she exclaimed, as she lifted out the contents.
Odin looked over her shoulder and smiled as well. "The Laconian armor! We've found it!" He put it on, discarding his old Zirconian armor. "This is great! Now blow that flute and get us out of here!"
The incessant storm on the surface greeted them with the usual blast of ice across their faces. Boarding the landrover once more, Odin drove to the opposite side of the large plain. After traveling through another tunnel, they found a deeper cave on the opposite side of the mountains.
This cave had many levels, and went very far into the ground. It took the group almost half a day, but they were rewarded for their work with the fourth Laconian item.
"Fantastic!" Alis exclaimed. "We should begin our plans to defeat Lassic immediately, now that we have all the Laconian battle equipment!"
"Not so fast, Alis," Myau stopped her. "We've heard that Lassic's palace floats above the tower of Baya Malay. How do you propose to get there?"
"I...uh..." Alis looked upset. "There has to be a way, there just has to..."
"I'm sure we'll find the answer somewhere," Odin reassured her. "We can rest just inside this cave and continue our explorations in the morning."
* * * * *
This time, Noah almost heard the footsteps follow her out of the cave. "You'll catch your death of cold. And besides, you can barely see the stars with that storm," the shadows said.
She smiled and sat down on the frozen ground. "I don't know what it is, but I love this planet. It's like there's some force that draws me outside, into the wind and ice."
"A desert girl like you..." Odin shook his head. "I think I prefer Palma, there's nothing constantly flying at your face."
Noah smiled and brushed some of the snow off his cheeks. "It's totally predictable, almost like you."
"Me, predictable? I think not!" Noah giggled as Odin pretended to be indignant. "What do I have to do, drag you into another pool to prove myself?" He was going to add more, but was unexpectedly cut off as a snowball hit him in the face. "Now you're in trouble!" he laughed as he scooped up some snow in his large hand.
Noah mock-screamed as she was chased around the entrance of the cave. Ducking behind a tree, she packed another snowball and hurled it in his general direction. He ducked and went skidding across the ice. She ran over to him to see if he was okay, but he was stretched out on the ground, laughing. "I take it back, you are absolutely, totally unpredictable!"
He reached up and pulled her down next to him. "Predictable, unpredictable, I don't care," he said. The warrior rested his head in Noah's lap and looked up at her. "Personally, I don't mind a little stability." He tugged on some of the long blue hairs that were brushing against his face. "Although I've seen different sides of you, Noah, I know you won't change. I wouldn't call you predictable, just...I don't know, I can't think of the right word."
"Unchanging?" she teased.
"That could work." He looked past her long, pale face and stared up at the stars. "Do you really think we'll be able to defeat Lassic?" he asked, completely changing the subject.
Noah sighed. "I hope so. Even though I never really lived in the 'outside world' of Algol, I hate to see the rest of the population live under his control and destruction. But sometimes I wonder if we're really strong enough..."
"Hopefully, the Laconian items will help in our battle. That is, if we ever get up to Lassic's castle."
"I'm sure we'll find some way to get there eventually. We have to."
"And we will." Odin smiled. "We should get some rest. After all, tomorrow is another day, right?" he said, using the familiar phrase.
"Of course," she said to him. But she was thinking to herself, what if Lassic destroys our tomorrow?
* * * * *
The four travelers continued their explorations of the icy planet in hopes of finding information that would lead them to Lassic's palace. They thoroughly explored a warm tower that stood to the north of the cave they rested in and traded the Amber Eye from the Casba dragon for a sacred Dezorian Eclipse Torch. A few more mountain passes led them to a tunnel that resembled the one leading to Skure.
"Could this possibly be the town of native Dezorians?" Alis asked.
"There's only one way to find out!" Odin said as he stepped into the cave. They went down the passage and entered the town. "What is this, two towns?" he asked.
Alis moved in front of him and looked around. She shrugged and led the group to her right. "The neighboring village are all liars! Don't listen to them!" a Dezorian immediately warned them as they entered that part of the town. Alis shrugged again as the native stepped back into his house and she continued into the town.
Most of the information that the natives told them they already knew, but they were able to obtain a few new pieces. They learned of a device called an aeroprism that would supposedly let them see other worlds. "We should try to find it," Alis said. Unfortunately, they also learned that the native Dezorians hated the Palmans so they tried to move as quickly as possible. They purchased an ice digger in one of the shops, which would let them travel through some of the planet's mountains.
After the group thoroughly explored that side of the village, they crossed over to the opposite part. "The neighboring village are all liars! Don't listen to them!" another native told them.
"That's strange," Alis said. "Who should we believe?"
"Well," Myau began, "Some of the things we heard on the other side we already knew, so I'm guessing that they were telling the truth."
Alis nodded. "That sounds good. But let's just see what they have to say in this part of the village."
They made their way through the town, talking to all the natives they could find. What they heard was quite interesting. "Let's get out of here," Alis said. They went back through the tunnel to the surface and rested there for the night.