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The Recollection Of Meira

Chapter 12


I woke up in the morning from a pretty shaky night's sleep. I didn't sleep well, because I couldn't stop thinking of Randon, and having the opportunity to search for him in the Ruins. It was, however, this day, when I would enter the Ruins for the first time, that would ultimately lead me to the predicament that I'm currently in, as I am writing this now. It's just as well though, because I suppose that this means that others will be warned of the horrible truth that is behind that which is in the Ruins.

After I officially considered myself awake, I promptly got up, and got ready to go. I stepped out into my living room where Zeirom was waiting. "Are we ready to go, Zeirom?" I asked.

Zeirom nodded. "After discussing it with Dux, however, there's been a slight change in plans. We're going to meet in the Viridia section, as this is where Randon left from. Dux wants to try to retrace his footsteps."

At first, I felt like I should be disappointed, because I was growing rather fond of the Purplenum section, but then it occurred to me that he was right. If we are to find Randon, then we need to start where he started. So, after staring at him for a moment thinking about it, I finally replied, "I suppose you're right. So what're we waiting for? Let's get going!"

"I'll contact Dux and Dragoon while we walk," said Zeirom, as he stood and warmed his motors. From there, we went ahead and walked out the door. I haven't been back to my apartment ever since then.

I rode on Zeirom's shoulder again, as I indeed seemed to have been developing a habit of. One day, I'll ride on his shoulder again. I thought about Zeirom as we traveled, and the day we met. He seemed so out going, really. But then I thought about the chest plate that had fallen out of his bag. "Zeirom, you're building a RAcaseal, right?" I asked.

"Yes, that would be Rosey 2000's designation," he replied.

"And a RAcaseal is female, right?"

"Yes, that's right."

"But you're supposed to be male."

"Yeah."

"So, how do you know what's supposed to go where, and how everything is supposed to fit?"

"Well, I'll tell you what, Meira..." he said, "The research has gotten me slapped on more than one occasion."

The exact meaning of this puzzled me, but I decided I didn't want to go into it any further. I may have learned something that I didn't necessarily want to know.

Before long, we were on the Viridia deck, waiting for Dux and Dragoon. It wasn't long before they showed up, though they did show up individually. Not to be one that isn't punctual, Dux was the first to show up. He appeared first with his usual blank stare that on his face, somehow hinted at an underlying provoking thought. Upon his arrival, he emerged from the Hunters' Guild, and we exchanged our usual greetings, before he continued on to the check room to procure his mag and a weapon that would suit him.

After doing so, he approached me and asked, "Are you sure that you're ready for this, Meira?"

I nodded and said, "Yes, I believe I am. It's been months since I've seen Randon, and I absolutely have to find out what happened to him. I need to know if he's really dead or not."

Dux nodded. "Very well, then. So long as you have something you're working toward, I'll help you out." He paused here, but then continued, "Heh, perhaps in helping you, I can find some meaning to my own continued existence as well."

It was about that time, right after Dux said that, that we heard the clanking. It was coming from the edge of the deck, so we looked down the side of the building, just as Dragoon flailed his arm over the side and pulled himself up. "Sometimes!!!" Dragoon exclaimed wildly, as he pulled himself over the edge and stood up, "The conventional way, just is not MY way!!" We all looked at him as though he were insane for a moment, though I suppose that there's nothing really wrong with that, because "insane" just might be the best word to describe the particular derangement of his personality.

Dragoon posed dramatically and informed us all, "I am ready to shed the blood of mortals infected with the darkness."

"Aren't you going to get your mag from the check room, Dragoon?" I asked.

Dragoon broke his pose to look at me and said, "Nah, I picked it up in the Redria section. I climbed up here from there."

Given that we blinked at him, and with cheers of, "Let's go!" and other variants on the phrase and its relatives, we proceeded to the teleporter.

The teleporter put us down in the Ruins. At first, I didn't feel anything, but I suppose that could've just been the air from the ship still wafting away from us to mix with the native atmosphere. The walls were perhaps a little rusty here and there, but there seemed to be the use of stone as well as metal. The technology, as a matter of fact, seemed to be strikingly similar to ours.

Once we left this entry room, and entered the hallway, however, is when I started to feel it. This immense feeling of oppression. This ambient feeling of hate and anger that travels through the Ruins like the stench of rotting foods travels through a building. It was a truly intense feeling which kept me on edge. Though, as I began to cringe, Dux placed his hand on my shoulder. "Don't worry, you're not the only one that feels it," he said. "Before long, you'll learn to ignore it. Well..." Another one of Dux's creepy pauses. "That's assuming of course, that you don't allow it to consume you. But I'm sure that you're stronger than that. Just remember Randon, and why you're here, and you'll do fine."

Dux's words were assuring, though at the same time, vaguely discouraging. He was right though. I was there for a purpose, and I couldn't allow this to hold me back. My voice cracked and I realized that I was crying, as I replied to him, "Thanks Dux."

We ran into the first area, and immediately, Dragoon began to run around the perimeter of the room. A large, peculiar creature faded into existence. It was cone shaped, more or less, with short, stubby, hoofed legs, and its arms were very long, though appeared to be separated at the elbows. From what Lynn had described to me, I understood that this was a Dark Belra; as opposed to a Normal Belra, I suppose? I don't know, I've never seen any kind of Belra other than a Dark Belra. Sometimes the name makes me laugh.

It raised its arms at Dux, Zeirom and I. Zeirom and Dux went running in either direction, but I just kinda stood there, not realizing what it would do. But when I realized that its arm was shooting toward me, I promptly made some sort of eek noise, and dropped to the floor, narrowly avoiding it.

As I stood back up, I saw Dragoon hanging from the other arm, trying to remove it, when suddenly a flash of light overtook the beast. When I looked over at Dux, I saw that he was casting a technique, which could only have been Grants, the technique of Light. He looked quite gallant indeed, with the energy of this technique flowing around him, then vanishing into a potent blast that tore through the Dark Belra like running water on an ice cube.

With the Dark Belra taken down, we then faced the ultimate mutation of the Boomas seen in the forest-- Dimenians. Dimenians come in three varieties. First you have your regular Dimenians, then there's La Dimenians, and finally, there's So Dimenians. I have no idea what each designation means, but they do get progressively bigger in that fashion, and each has different levels of resistance to certain elements. They're ugly, too. While they are tougher than Boomas and Sharks, their style of attack was rather familiar, and I was able to tear through them without much problem.

The wave of attackers didn't stop there, however. Mixed in with the Dark Belra and the Dimenians, was several groups of creatures that would float in the air. They are called Claws, and while they're shaped somewhat like a worm of some sort, at front, they have what appears to be two arm-like things and a pointy head, but it's actually more like a three-pincered claw; hence, the name of this particular breed. They move slowly though, and aren't much of a threat, so long as you keep your wits about you. Claws are the weakest of all the creatures in the Ruins, though that's not to say that they won't eat you alive more quickly than many things you'll find in the other areas of Ragol.

It didn't take us very long to clear the room, but after the last Dimenian fell, I couldn't hold myself in anymore. Through the battle, I only felt this horrible feeling getting stronger and stronger, and when my strength suddenly wasn't required of me so much, I caved in, and dropped to my knees. I dropped my daggers on the ground, and sobbed into my hands. This feeling was far too much, and somehow, it was incredibly discouraging.

Dux ran to me, and kneeled down beside me, putting an arm around me. "It's okay," he consoled me, "Everything will be fine, Meira. It's only an ambient vibe produced down here. Nothing more."

Though I truly appreciate his efforts from the bottom of my heart, his empathy couldn't penetrate my grief. I was getting scared, and there really was only one person who I ever felt truly secure with. Distraught, I felt my mind slipping from reality, and did the only thing I could think to do. I called for him. I called for he who made me feel secure. I looked up at the ceiling, and shut my eyes as the tears gushed from them, then at the top of my lungs, I screamed, "RANDON!!"

I did this two, three, heck, maybe even four times, before I couldn't anymore, and all I could do was topple over into Dux's arms and sob. I had called for Randon, even though I knew that he would never reply. Then, something happened, though. It was strange, and I can only explain it as being like a ray of light in the darkness, or a breeze of fresh air in a stuffy room. In the middle of all the anguish that flooded this wretched place, I felt a fine beam of care that seemed quite alien to this place. I suddenly opened my eyes, and slowly stood up. Zeirom and Dux just watched me, and as I realized this, I said it, "Randon... Randon is calling to me..."

Softly at first, but as it repeated, it got louder and more clear, like a vague radio signal becoming sharper out of the noise. In my head, I heard Randon's voice, "Meira... I'm here, Meira..." but that is all I could make out.

A new strength inspired me, now. I knew that Randon was still alive, and that he was somewhere to be found. A great smile came over my face, and I ran ahead of the group to face the next room, where Dragoon was already fighting. Nothing could stop me. I was going to find Randon.

The next room had several waves of Claws and Dimenians. No difficulties here. We tore through them, and moved on. From this point forward, I was typically at the head of the group entering into the next room each time, which also meant that Dux had to cast Anti on me several times, because I would get too close to the poison spitters commonly found in many of the corridors in the Ruins. It wasn't long, however, before I encountered my first Delsaber.

Lynn had told me much of the Delsabers. They are a breed of Dark creature that fights like a Hunter, having a sword on one arm, and a shield on the other. It stood on the other side of the room, and we all looked at it.

"I can peg it off, Meira," Zeirom said.

Dragoon proclaimed, "I can grind it up!"

Dux just said, "I think you guys can handle it. I'll just stay back here and back you up."

As I watched it watch us, I put my arm out to stop Dragoon from rushing in. "No... This one is mine. I want to take this one on."

They nodded. Zeirom assured me, "If things get too rough, I'll intervene."

With that, I took a deep breathe, and ran out to into the room, daggers blazing. I was going to hold nothing back. It leaped high into the air, and quickly came down at me with its bladed arm.

I observed that the blade of it's arm was a photon blade, curiously enough. That is, it was edged with a photon blade. Nonetheless, it came down on me with its blade, and with one dagger, I parried its slash of to the side, then took the other blade at its throat in a quick jabbing motion.

Its throat was incredibly thin, though, seeming to have very little substance to it, though I also observed its apparent lack of a mouth. Before it tried to do anything else, I rammed my foot into its chest to knock it back, and came back in with great speed. I didn't go high, and I didn't go low, even though both are great strategies. I would overpower this thing if I had to, but I was not going to hold anything back.

I went straight into it, and it blocked my first slash, but my second slash came so quick that it didn't have time to react. My dagger connected with its chest, and I came back around, intending to take advantage of its surprise, and nail it again with the other dagger, but much to my dismay, the shock of being hit didn't stun it at all. It kept its cool, and blocked my other dagger with its blade. I realized at this point, that it was mindless. While it would make an effort to avoid falling victim to an attack, in the event that it did get hit, it wouldn't stop to flinch or acknowledge a sense of pain.

Realizing that, I backed off, for a moment, just in time to avoid it slashing at me with the spiked end of its shield, which actually doubles rather effectively as a claw. I moved away, and it followed me. I figured that if I was going to be able to land any serious damage on this thing, then I needed to get to it from behind or something. It was obviously able to keep up with my speed however.

Having no better ideas, I tried to circle around it, but it moved with me, and we circled each other for a moment, before I suddenly dashed at it. If I couldn't attack it from behind, I would attack it from the side. Luckily, I was able to manage to take it off guard, abruptly breaking from this circle routine, and moving in very quickly. Three slashes with each dagger later, the Delsaber had fallen.

I jumped with my success, and looked at my friends, running in from the door. "I did it!" I yelled. They congratulated me, and I received pats on the back, but soon a number of claws and Dimenians emerged into the room, and it was back to battle.

In the heat of things, I got distracted. On the other side of the room, I saw a door open. Behind it stood Lynn. She just stood there looking at me, and soon lifted her hand to curl a finger, beckoning at me to come with her. I wasn't thinking about how Dux had replaced Lynn on the trip, though I did find it odd that Lynn was there.

I slapped a Claw or two out of my way, and ran to her. "Lynn?" I questioned as I walked through the door. She said nothing, but she looked at me with a smile, then pressed a couple of devices, which in turn, locked the door behind us. "Lynn? What are you doing here?"

She led me into another room. "I just thought..." she said slowly, "That you might like to see Randon."

Before I acknowledged the contents of the room, I grabbed her. "You found Randon??" I exclaimed. She only nodded, and smiled back to me. "You must show me where he is! I must see him!" I yelled with great excitement.

She removed my hands from her, and turned away. "You need only follow me," she said as she started to continue walking through this small, cubic room.

We continued onward, strangely, not encountering any monsters at all. She led me through a slightly longer hallway, and we soon came to a very large room, containing a massive crater, and a couple of fairly pleasant looking waterfalls. Then she suddenly stopped, and turned to me. "Wait just a moment, and I will show you Randon," she said.

Without a word, I nodded and complied. My heart was racing. I would soon see Randon again, and I knew that he had to have been alive. He had called to me, after all.

Lynn walked toward the center of the room, opened her arms to the ceiling, and looked up. After a moment, a large sack-like object lowered down before her. She turned back to me and said, "Come, Meira. Come and see Randon."

My heart jumped into my throat, as I approached. As I came toward the sack, which was still hanging from the ceiling by some sort of tendril, the sack pushed forward the solid portion of its contents, and I could see what was in it.

Tears welled in my eyes as I came upon it. It was Randon to be sure, but there was something... cold about him. The sack opened, and Randon's head and chest stuck out, though his arms were still well inside. He coughed for a moment, and his lungs ejected some the goo that was in the sack. Slowly, he opened his eyes and looked at me.

He tried to breathe with great difficulty, but soon had it under control, and he looked at me longingly, as more goo dripped from his dark grey hair. I looked into his eyes, and they were not the dark green that I had remembered. They had become blackened, and his face had grown to a ghastly pale color.

His lips parted, and he strained to speak to me. "M...Mmm.... Meir...a..." he said. When he said that, I couldn't hold back my tears. I had come this far, and here he was. I had finally found him, and maybe now I could even bring him back.

"Randon!" I said between gasps for breath. "I will get you out of here! I'll take you home!" I couldn't resist the urge to wrap my arms around his neck, even if it did get some of that goo on me. I didn't care. I knew he wanted to hug me back, but his arms were withheld in the sack, and I could tell that he didn't have the strength. It was strange, to see him so weak; he'd always been so strong for me in the past.

Then I heard Lynn's voice again. "I'm sorry, Meira." she said. When I heard that, I looked toward her, and slowly let go of Randon. She continued, "I'm sorry, but you can't take him home."

I looked at her with tears in my eyes. "What?" I said quietly at first. Then I got louder. "What?? Why not??"

"It will kill him," she said. "He's already far advanced into a mutation process. He cannot leave that sack." With that, she approached Randon and I.

"Mutation?" I asked. "Wha... what kind of mutation? How is... What will he become?"

She lowered her arms in front of her, and held her left wrist with her right hand. "He will become," she said slowly, as I heard a faint ripping sound, "Like me." As soon as she said that, her eyes became dark, and a pair of bat-like wings emerged from her back. I choked as I saw this, and took a few steps back. As she saw this, she grinned, and I could see that her teeth were now like the fangs of a serpent.

"You can be with him however, if you so desire," she said, slowly approaching me. "You can be like me, as well."

I was scared, and I backed away further. I stuttered, "How... er... Wha... What would I..."

Lynn grabbed my shoulder, and gently pulled me to her, and whispered into my ear, "For those who volunteer, it is but a simple pledge to Dark Falz..." she whispered. "And, it will only cost you... Your immortal soul."

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