Rise of Glie Chapter 16
Previous: Rise of Glie Chapter 15: Gone Forever
FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 16: Something to Trade
"Crystal?" the blonde little haibane asks his dark haired human friend at recess.
"Oh, yes, haibane Fushoku," she answers sweetly. She occasionally slips out of class to hang out with the haibane children in Old Home and their Teacher Shoukai, (照会 - Query) a young man who seemed to know everything. Crystal was a bright young lass who got cum laude marks in her human school despite her truancy.
"What's a crystal?" he asks.
"Oh," she says surprised, "It's an English word meaning when the grain of a substance ... the uh, way the molecules organize themselves line up like little soldiers," she draws little asterixes on a page to show them, "make a formation big enough for us to see with our eyes." She grabs a salt shaker and taps it. "These are small ones," she says.
"That's okay, I need to start small," he says as she gets one stuck on her finger and holds it up for him to see.
"See how it's a perfect cube?" she asks, "That's because the little molecules like to stand that way. There must be trillions, all standing in little rows and columns to make this perfect shape." The haibane boy stares at it, and she misunderstands, "Oh, yeah, your weak eyes, you probably can't."
The boy's fingers tighten on her hand, and he says, "It's not a perfect cube, but it has damage, impurity ... like it once was ... or wants to be a perfect cube ... like the teacher who lined all those little molecules up for roll call forgot his list of names."
"You can see all that?" she asks innocently.
"Yes," the boy cries in fascination, "My eyes are strong up close."
"This close?" she pushes her face up right against his, "You can see my eyes?" The two twelve year olds (apparent in the case of Haibane Fushoku) are nearly touching noses.
"Oh, yes," he says, "They are golden green and pretty," he describes.
"Really?" she pulls away, her innocent accent sounding disappointed, "That is way too close for me to see, it's all fuzzy."
"So, Crystal," he says, "you can see far away?"
"Yes," she says, "I would go up into the clock tower," she points up at the empty East Tower at the south end of Old Home's East Wing, at the top of which is an open gazebo where it looks like there should be a clock. "I could see Master Shiden and his crew as they went around the lake. I can see the trees withering to the north right up near the wall like they don't like it any more."
He lowers his eyes to the edge of the table and stares at his little salt granules. "I can see the small up close," he says, "Each of these salt crystals is different. I wonder if there are boys and girls, human and haibane in that little shaker?" His eyes narrow a bit, "Uh, no ... enn ... and pee."
"n and p?" Crystal asks, "Do you mean the English letters?"
"I don't know," he says, "I don't see it in my dreams, but in my dreams I see crystals," he waves his arms, "huge crystals two metres long and this big around," he holds his hands to form two opposing parts of a 30cm circle, "and we cut them into tiny slices, and then, me and my friends in the dream fiddle with the slices."
"What does this have to do with n and p?" Crystal asks.
"In my dream, I understand that we change the crystal into places called n and p," he explains, "an n place has more little particles that flit between the little molecules like messengers, while a p place has fewer ... little openings for them in fact, where they might rest a moment, and the openings flow the other way."
"Teacher's coming," Crystal warns, "He'll think you're crazy."
Sure enough, the door opens, almost as though on the perceptive human girl's cue, "Feather Fushoku, I never taught you about that."
"Teacher Shoukai," he says hastily.
"Is that what your dream is really about, Ashfeather Corrode?" the brown-haired man, whose name is Question, asks.
"No, Teacher," the boy says, pulling his hair back from his eyes to show his sincerity, "It is something that I understood in the dream, like it was taught to me as knowledge that I use."
"What do you use it for?" Shoukai asks, "I mean, in the dream of course."
"I don't know," the boy says.
"Let me try to guess, and maybe it will come out," says the man patiently, "Do you somehow, maybe you don't do this yourself, but there's some sort of equipment, you know, like Bahitsu's oven, but do you set a design, and shine a light on a slice on this crystal?"
"Huh?" Fushoku seems to have no idea what he's talking about.
"Then, do to the crystal into something that changes it," the teacher asks earnestly, looking into the young haibane's eyes, "to make these p places and these n places?"
"Uh, I..." the boy closes his eyes for a monent, but when he opens them, the teacher sees the glint of epiphany, "Yes!" he gasps.
The teacher shrinks back, "Ashfeather Corrode," he says almost reverently, "Haibane Fushoku. You don't take things away, as you thought when you came out of the cocoon. You create, using the deadly acids you saw in your dream to sculpt, like a scraper in our clay class, remember?"
"What did I make, Teacher?" he asks as Shoukai writes something on a piece of paper.
Crystal stares, excitedly eavesdropping on this uniquely haibane moment, a moment she would learn later would help define the new city. A moment she never forgot.
"Electronics," the teacher answers, shocking the boy. The gentle words of the teacher each hit like a hammer blow, and seem to melt poor Haibane Fushoku into a sobbing puddle, "Silicon, germanium, semiconductors, microchips, transistors-"
"Stop it!" he cries, his halo somehow growing brighter as he lifts his head.
"If the dream were real, do you think you could build something again?" Shoukai asks.
"I don't know, I-" Fushoku closes his eyes, "Yes."
"Then get yourself a new nametag, Ashfeather Implant," Shoukai hands him the piece of paper. On it are these characters:
"Fushoku," the boy sounds out
It is a sad groan, "When returning, you must keep both doors closed for a minimum of sixty minutes after closing the outer door," Shiden reads from a sign in the room at the lowest point in the passage he found beyond the door he cut open with a saw. "I remember that," he sobs. He hangs his head, "God, maybe I shouldn't have come here, the wall means nothing but death, this armor," he gestures to the robes hanging from hooks on the wall, "nothing but war."
"Master!" he hears a desperate voice call from the top of the stairs ahead, "Are you down there?"
"God, is it really morning?" Shiden grumbles.
"I'm coming down," Aware says, "only as far as you might have fallen."
Shiden finds himself looking up at a very worried Aware who sighs with relief, "Are you alright, Master?"
"Yes, brother," he grunts, "If by <<alright>> you mean no worse than I was yesterday." He can't raise his hands enough to grasp the railing, although he does gain his feet, "Those armor robes were worn by the Defenders of Haibi," he explains, "They will obviously have to wait."
The younger haibane helps the wingless old man back up the steps and into the garden.
Once they are seated, and Aware has served rice, he says, "I've got some, er ... bad news."
"Oh, great," Shiden grumbles, coughs, and says, "Is it something I care about?"
"Yes," Aware sighs, "Janice saw you in her dreams, saw..."
"You didn't tell them about me?" Shiden gasps.
"No, no ... I," Aware's on the edge of tears, "It is an easy secret to keep, Master ... so sad and painful I can't bear to tell it. I'm turning into an asshole over it."
"That's just 'cus you call me Master too much, brother Aware," Shiden grumbles.
"Sorry, Master," Aware says with a chuckle, "Come on, you deserve it. Janice drew what she saw, and feels that there is someone who will wear this." Aware slips him a piece of paper with the Communicator robe, brown, with wooden wings. "She remembers how the Toga respect anonymity as a first principle, and she thinks that it is meant to hide whether the Communicator standing before the Toga is haibane or human."
Shiden stares at the picture, it has the same mask as the old Defender's armor.
"Jabez is cutting the wings on his bandsaw, while Janice and her tailors have already cut patterns for it," Aware says.
Shiden echoes the haibane's surprise in a gasp.
"They've asked me to come here to get a mask for them so they can copy it for this new uh ... uniform," Aware rubs his eyes, "Actually, they think it's for me."
"Why does it have to be me?" Shiden says.
Aware locks eyes onto the old man's, gently grips his hands and says, in a far lower, and deadly serious, but soft, tone "Because I need them to see me ... Someone who knows how I've suffered for them and someone who has suffered for them, brother. I asked this of you, and you volunteered."
"Thank you, Aware," Shiden gasps with wide eyes.
Aware suddenly recoils, so distraught that he falls over backwards in his chair. "Master, that wasn't me," he squeaks hastily, "He had something to say, he ... he ... loves you, Master."
The new Communicator has kneeled beside the ignominous haibane, who has decided it best to simply lie in his ignominous position for a moment.
"Thank you, Aware," Shiden repeats, "for being the Saviour's prophet ... for letting him use you to speak and confirm to me what he has told me."
"He loves you, Shiden," Aware sobs as he puts his hand on the old man's cheek, "Before, I thought I was your only friend, but he loves you so much that to feel that love flowing through me ... it felt like I was your enemy."
"Brother, you haven't felt it flowing through you for the last two weeks?" Shiden sobs, "The one who sat with me two days while my wings fell off ... while you had your aqueduct waiting to enter service?" Shiden slides his arms around his friend and during the embrace, preens a few of his secondaries, "Thank you, Saviour-spawn."
Aware returns the embrace slowly, "Master, it doesn't seem like mu-"
"AAAAAAHHHHH!" Shiden screams, recoiling from Aware's hug, "Watch the sores!" Shiden pants a few times, observing the horrified look on his friend's face, then he starts chuckling. Laughing.
Aware almost can't help but join in, and soon the two are guffawing in the dirt, rolling around and playfully throwing weeds at each other.
After a few minutes of that, Shiden then asks a question that, as the mediator between Glie and the Toga, suddenly seems obvious, "I uh, wonder ... What are we going to have for the Toga, that they want to trade for?"
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 17: Bawling and Screaming