Rise of Glie Chapter 17
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FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 17: Bawling and Screaming
"Aware," Stanley says in a deadly serious tone, "What else do you know about these Toga?"
"You probably know more than I, Master," he says, "You've been in Glie thirty-three years, myself only seven. I have no memories from before the battle that are relevant to our current situation ... I mean, unless they have whatever bomb wiped out the city that I see in the dream."
"I did not know they could open the gates," Stanley grumbles, "The Haibane of the old city should have locked them when they had the chance!"
"I really know very little about them," Aware says, then decides to play his wild card, "The one I've seen up close does not want his presence known."
"You've seen them up close?" Stanley asks.
"Only the one, and he's saying they come on Tuesdays, at seven in the morning, when they can," Aware says, "I guess for twenty-three years they haven't been able to."
"I remember my mother bawling," Stanley says, "I was only ten, and I insisted to know why. She said it was so unfair, that she was feeling abandoned, that all those without wings were being abandoned by God, and by the Haibane."
Aware knows this isn't his usual cocoon-dream like tale as when he once described why he hated haibane. The memories of his first week in Glie seven years before are distant, but still vivid. Aware is hoping it isn't why he hates Toga.
"<<The Toga are gone,>> she said, <<and the city is under siege.>>" Stanley pauses, searching the memories, and trying to separate facts and emotions welded together, "<<Yesterday was a Day of Flight like no other...>> Aware, I forget the exact number, but I'm sure she gave me one in the hundreds, she said it was all of the haibane children, every one under twelve years of age."
"I know of it," Aware says, "The oldest was Ashfeather Bird, an aviary veterinarian who looked after the crows and sparrows."
"My mother thought we were doomed, and that the Toga were never coming back even if," Stanley sobs, "we went out to get them." Stanley looks up at Aware, "There is no such talk today, we can't even secure the area inside the wall now, but back then ... We had thousands of people. Toga had farms outside to help feed us. We had no idea defeat was only hours away. During the evacuation, I remember there was something significant about the number six, like it was the name of some hero who was our final hope."
"Well, I guess we really might ask," Aware says, "What do we need? ... and ... What do we have to offer?"
"I don't know," Stanley says, "Twenty-three years ago was an apocalypse, the end of our world. We were almost completely destroyed. There is nothing left of that world within these walls. We have nothing to offer."
"Then for now, we should just exchange news," Aware says. "I want to tell you this so it isn't a big surprise, but part of the reason why we locked down the Temple, and not even the Haibane of Old Home are allowed in its doors right now, is because Shiden opened-" Aware suddenly stops.
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that," Stanley says, with more patience than Aware had expected.
"Before he Flew, that is, Shiden got the door into the wall opened," Aware says slowly, "I went in there and I found this man, the same night Janice and others had this dream. I think the uniform they're making is for him, not me. That he is a Toga Communicator perhaps born in a cocoon secretly hidden somewhere within the wall."
"What did he say?" Stanley asks.
"Nothing," Aware says. The grip of the prophetic voice loosens within him. Why would the Saviour lie? As Aware grapples with the troubling thought, it is answered, Shiden is not the Communicator, yet. Aware again lets the voice of the Saviour take his lips, "The Communicator is only able to speak to the Toga using his hands in the special language given to them for our protection, to confuse..." Aware refuses to utter the final, terrifying words the Saviour would have him utter. The enemy.
"That's swell," Stanley says, apparently not the slightest bit interested in the final two words, "From everything I know, the Toga were never very talkative, even with their hands."
"I look forward to meeting him, Haibane Aware," Janice says from the door of the house, holding a bundle, "The uniform is ready," she announces.
"Oh, good," Aware says after a sip of water. He stands, and looks thankfully into her eyes, "I'll bring him tomorrow, if he's willing."
"What about his mask?" Janice asks, "I know from the dream that we are not to see his face, and I haven't made the mask for this uniform yet. I was waiting for you to-"
"He has one," Aware assures her, "he took apart one he found in the wall and uses only its outer cover. It works very well, but I don't know how he can see in that thing. Also," he reaches for his bag, "I was on my way to give it to you when Stanley pulled me over to tell me about the Great Gate opening last week." Janice holds it for a moment, staring at it. Aware can tell that it has triggered many memories, both fond and tragic, in the respected tailor's mind.
"It was your daughter and those telescopic eyes of hers, from the Old Home tower all the way across the lake," Stanley says.
"Oh, was she playing hookie again?" Janice grumbles, "I think that new Fushoku kid's a bad influence. I caught her dissolving a quarter kilo of salt on the stove, trying to grow the biggest, squarest salt crystal possible. I've heard of hitting on someone's name, but this is rediculous." She leaves the uniform on the counter and wanders off.
"Name?" Aware asks.
"Crystal," Stanley clarifies.
"Oh, yes, I've heard," Aware says, "I'm glad she isn't named Silicon."
"Aware ... I, uh, don't follow," Stanley says.
"Oh," Aware says, "Crystal was the catalyst to unravel Fushoku's cocoon dream. It turns out he's an expert in the manufacture of semiconductor electronics; we even changed his kanji. Apparently, big silicon crystals are involved."
"Only one more day," the old man grumbles, "and ... I can't move in this thing ... I didn't know you couldn't even get out of it without wings."
Finding his way to the back of the Temple, Aware greets, "Washi, I'm glad to see you're as cheerful as usual," The Communicator lies helplessly on the ground in the armor robe, thrashing his arms for a second or two.
"I guess I'm not going to meet the Toga this week after all," Shiden sighs, "I'm stuck and need your help to get out of this thing."
"What's the problem?" Aware asks.
"There's something like a waistbelt" he explains, "and you need haibane wings to loosen it up enough to let go of you. Reach in under the hood here," he indicates over his back, "and lift it from my back."
Aware kneels in front of Shiden and gets ready to follow the instruction.
"One second," Shiden's voice purrs almost like a big cat, "I just want to warn you that they still hurt, and I might do some bawling and screaming."
"Nothing, I haven't heard before, Master," Aware assures him, then moves like he wants to get it over with.
A few seconds and a modest amount of bawling and screaming later, Shiden kneels near the feet of the Defender robe he just escaped from, panting.
"I think I have something more comfortable," Aware says, "the uniform Janice made."
"What?" Shiden gasps as Aware unfolds it, letting it hang from his hands. Shiden stands and examines it. "Wing ports," he grumbles, "'cus they designed it for you."
"Not for me, for you," Aware assures him. Once Shiden is holding it, he takes out his bag the wings that go with it. They droop at a sad angle, as though Jabez somehow knew how a Communicator is supposed to feel. "The wing ports are for these, Master." Aware clips them into the uniform.
"How much did you tell them about me?" Shiden asks.
"I told them that I found a Toga, speculated that he was born in a special cocoon hidden inside the wall," Aware answers.
"All Glie would be that cocoon, my friend," Shiden says warmly, then grins, "I'm sure they'll never find it."
"The Saviour took me and said that the Communicator has said nothing to me, and that the Toga only speak with their hands," Aware explains, "I didn't finish saying why."
"Good," Shiden says, "It was Kasei's dying wish that Glie would never have to see the hellspawn who dwell on the rest of this miserable planet." He holds up his arms, crossed, and starts waving his fingers, "Let's see how much of this Toganese I can ... remember?"
"You know it?" Aware asks.
"Not this well," Shiden looks at his hands, then starts waving his fingers again, "I never had to use it much. Roku picked it up fast, but I don't think the Saviour taught her in just the way he's taught me right now."
"Roku?" Aware asks, "As in the number six? Stanley mentioned something about a hero named Six."
"That would be her," Shiden says, "She knew the weapons like she was born holding them and could should so straight ... some thought she was the Final Soldier ... but now I realize, Kasei won't get his dying wish."
"The enemy will return, Master?" Aware asks, "The hellspawn you referred to?"
"Yes," Shiden says softly, "but I pray ... that it will not be until after the Final Soldier returns. She had wings big enough to fly, and was a thorn to our enemy for eleven long years. We never found out what happened to her, but she was probably killed in action, and if she comes back with," Shiden softly pets Aware's feathers, "our wings, she will almost certainly adopt the same name."
Aware looks into Shiden's eyes for the answer.
"Tatakai," he whispers, "Battle. She has a knack for being just where all hell is about to break loose. Won't be for a while, yet, I'm sure." [For those familiar with Doom 3, she replaces the Marine that you play in the story FHD Remix: Three Worlds In One. For those who aren't, Doom 3 depicts all hell literally breaking loose through the UAC teleportals the Marine must then destroy.]
Once dressed in his new uniform, Shiden says, "Master Aware, it is more comfortable. Give Janice and Jabez my thanks."
"Do that yourself, Communicator," Shiden offers, "Come to the camp, see Fushoku and the others at Old Home. He's just figured out that in his previous life he was an electronics maker. The human child Crystal is helping him."
"You fixed his kanji, I hope," Shiden says, "Fushoku doesn't mean Corrode you know."
"Yes," Aware says with a happy nod.
"Oh," Shiden says, "I hope it isn't too hard on them when her hormones kick in while his do not."
"I don't get it," Aware says.
"Of course you don't, you're a haibane," Shiden says from behind the mask, "Once they grow up, the human men and women get together and have children, each according to his kind. Haibane are not the same kind."
"Now, I get it," Aware says.
"I doubt it," Shiden says, "Kabocha got it, but he Flew a couple weeks before you were born, so he's not around to explain it. Tell me what you do get."
"Crystal will probably want to have kids with Fushoku, get married and such, but Fushoku won't have the slightest inclination towards such things," Aware says.
"Yeah, you get it well enough," Shiden says, "I guess that makes me the wise guy in the Temple for you little whipper-snappers."
"Oh," Aware groans in mock pain, "Like I need another one of those."
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 18: