Hope that Glimmers like Starlight
The doors opened to a silent hall. The only noise was whatever was coming in from outside. Other than that, the room was filled by nothing more than the bodies of so many fallen lizards and some of the resistors who’d fought them.
“What a massacre,” Dhruv commented as they stepped cautiously out of the lift.
Mannarius scoffed. “Don’t sympathize with those foul reptiles. They deserve what they’re getting after all the havoc they’ve wrecked on the galaxy.”
Citlally looked to him, but didn’t say anything. It hurt her to hear him speak with such hate, but she dared not contradict him. They’d all been through too much suffering to sympathize now.
“There are still plenty more of them out there,” Jalingan added as they walked on. “Vaharrish the Glorious has been overpopulated for a long time; I don’t know how they’ve survived like this for so long.”
“Well, that explains why everything looks so run down,” Citlally commented.
“They’ve consumed pretty much everything this planet has to offer,” Jalingan told her. He looked down at the woman in his arms, who clung to him as he walked. “And they thought that taking from her would restore it all…”
As they approached the doors, Mannarius grew even more wary. Most of the glass had been shattered, and it crunched under his boots as he walked. Just outside, the guards who’d stopped them earlier laid on the ground in puddles of their own blood. The night air was cold, and darkness clung to everything.
“They can’t raise the lights in all the chaos,” Mannarius noted.
Jalingan caught a glimpse of a fighter jet racing over the city and added, “Our forces have probably been able to take out a lot of their infrastructure.”
Dhruv and his captain stared outside for a couple of minutes, watching foreign ships race by. Various alien species occupied the streets, taking down any K’zzyrch who did not surrender to them. Sytherrinz was a mess of damaged buildings and fallen lizards.
Fortunately, not much was happening near the central tower, and they were able to make their way through the shattered glass into the open air. Once outside, Jalingan walked past the others and turned around, searching the sky for the moon. Once he found it, he stared up at it.
“We’re here,” he whispered to the woman in his arms.
She stirred slowly, taking her time in turning her head to gaze up at it. She seemed astounded by the sight of it. Perhaps she even disbelieved that she was looking at it at all. Citlally came up beside them and laid a hand on her shoulder.
“It has been so many years since I have seen it,” she finally said.
Citlally looked at her and nodded. “They should never have kept you locked away like that.”
“You’re free now,” Jalingan assured her. “This battle can’t go on much longer, and we’ll get you off of this planet to somewhere safer safe.”
“The stars…” she breathed, as though looking at every one of them. “They have changed so much…”
Jalingan nodded. “I guess if you haven’t seen them for a while, they would look different.”
“But their warmth is just as beautiful,” she added.
“How long did we plan to just stand out here?” Mannarius cut in when he grew bored of watching their stargazing. “Do you have some other directive to finish up before we get off of this rock?”
Jalingan looked to his cousin. He was just opening his mouth to give him a snarky retort when he heard a voice behind him.
“You have no right to be out here.”
It was a deep voice, full of doom and demand. Jalingan glanced over his shoulder to see a line of robed figures walking in unison down the road towards them.
“We should have gotten a move on sooner,” Mannarius grumbled. He checked the setting on his gun and let it charge up. “Oh well; I can take down at least one of you.”
“If it is death that you want,” the first Dark Apostate told him, “I can give you your own.”
“Mannarius!” a voice from down another road screamed. “Get down!”
The captain moved just in time to avoid being grabbed by the robed figure. He turned and saw Yatzerrin down the road, two weapons in his hands. The Gliesian fired shot after shot at the Dark Apostates, screaming at them words that nobody quite made out. Many of the shots missed and the Apostates as they moved, breaking apart their group so that one of them could take care of him while the rest took care of Jalingan and his friends.
“Get out of here, Jalingan!” Yatzerrin screamed as one of the Apostates rushed towards him. He put everything he had into taking down his assailant.
The figure pulled a blade from under his robe and stood directly in front of Yatzerrin. “We have no need of you,” the figure told him. He plunged his blade into the Gliesian’s chest and stepped back, watching him fall to his knees before he collapsed onto the ground.
“We need only her,” the robed figure intoned as he turned back towards Jalingan and his friends.
Citlally clung to her husband, trembling from the sight of Yatzerrin being so easily murdered. She told herself to keep in control, remembering there everyone knew that there would be many losses on both sides.
“You still don’t get it?” Jalingan asked. “You cannot improve your species through her. Nothing you could do would do you any good. Face it: the glory of the K’zzyrch is over!”
Dhruv and Endan stepped between Jalingan and the Dark Apostates, their weapons ready. Mannarius scoffed, shook his head, and fired. His shot went through the first figure’s shoulder, and he slowed down, grabbing his wound as the blood began to pour.
“We need to –” Mannarius stopped mid-sentence, his mouth agape.
The woman they’d rescued from the prison was glowing. Her entire body was alight in Jalingan’s arms. In the next moment, she began to float. Jalingan knew better than to try holding her back. He simply watched as she rose above all of them. Even the Dark Apostates were too surprised to move any further.
“You fools!” the wounded one shouted. “You have no idea what she is capable of doing!”
“Clearly you do,” Jalingan seethed, glaring back at him. “You spent all these years thinking that raping her would get your people some of the same abilities.”
“They what?!” Mannarius screeched, looking to his cousin. “Oh, those filthy bastards… they’re even worse than I thought!” He growled and took several more shots at the robed figures.
The Dark Apostates kept walking, moving to form a circle around Jalingan and the others. They watched the woman ascend, the glow around her brightening.
“You have damned all of us,” one of the figures said.
“She was difficult enough to capture the first time,” another one added.
Then a third said, “I remember it. She killed one of our own.”
The light surrounding the strange woman expanded, taking shape as it moved. Her hair floated and swirled around her, the blood and filth that had once matted it down falling away. Her pale skin took on a more lustrous color, and the scratches that had littered it closed, healing without even a scar.
“The light…” Citlally whispered as she watched.
The light was collecting at her back, shining just like the moonlight. It coalesced into the shape of two wings, expansive, as dark as the blanket of the æther. She stretched her newly-formed wings as the light subsided, leaving behind countless black feathers, and flapped them a couple of times before glaring down at the Dark Apostates.
“I am Kellimarythe, born of starlight, gifted with the ætherial wings of my people” she announced, her voice commanding and powerful. Her eyes glowed red as she looked at each robed figure in turn. “My kind exists to promote love and knowledge, yet you dare to possess my power for your own hatred and greed.”
“She’s pretty upset with you,” Jalingan added. They only glared at him in return.
“We sought to restore the glory of our empire!” one of the Dark Apostates called to her.
“Do you not see how you have caused the turmoil that your people have suffered through for so long?” Kellimarythe asked him. “I know that they have begged you to stop. The six of you refused to give up, even when all the rest of your people insisted upon it.”
“Could this be what the K’zzyrch were talking about before?” Citlally whispered to her husband. “All of that wanting to break free from the Dark Apostates…”
Endan gave her a look that meant ‘possibly,’ and then focused on what the winged woman was saying.
“You have driven your people mad with your endeavors,” Kellimarythe went on. “How many prime lords have you killed by now? K’verrtig, Izan… so many others. You do not even mourn them. You just go on spreading your hurtful ways, hardly giving the victims of the K’zzyrch time to mourn before you lash out again.”
“If you had only given us what we wanted,” one of the Apostates said.
She scowled at him. “My kind do not bear the children of the hateful and the vile!”
She raised one arm into the air, summoning light into the space before her palm. After a few moments, it became a glowing lance, made of some sort of metal that Citlally could not have so much as guessed the nature of. It was pure and shimmering, and it looked it looked incredibly sharp. When Kellimarythe lowered her hand, the lance fell at a terrible speed, piercing through the Apostate’s body.
The others gasped, wondering aloud what they ought to do. Kellimarythe did not look impressed.
“These people have gathered here to stop your tormenting,” she intoned. “They have heard my call, and they have come for me. No more shall you hurt their loved ones and their children.”
She descended then, floating down to the ground. Her feet touched down close beside Jalingan. She laid he hands on his crossbow and guided his aim towards one of the Apostates. He did not resist her in the least.
“You should never have had to live like this, dear prince,” she told him. “Fire, and let the galaxy know that you will not tolerate those so filled with horror.”
Jalingan nodded and obeyed. His bolt stayed true to its target, and another robed figure fell to the ground.
Two of the Dark Apostates decided that they should make their egress from the situation. Kellimarythe stepped over to Endan and laid her hands on his broadsword. “Yours is not the only fatherhood that they stole,” she said as the blade glowed. “Put an end to this terror.”
Just as Jalingan had, Endan chose one of the Apostates and rushed towards him. His sword fell easily into the back of one of the ones who’d tried to escape.
Next, the black-winged woman went to Citlally. Their eyes locked together for a long moment. “They took from you the very life that they had wanted to spark within me. I cannot imagine the pain that your heart felt when you lost that which is most precious and delicate. “Her finger ran down Citlally’s spear, which took on a new character all its own. “Don’t let them harm any other mother.”
This time, Citlally took down two of the Dark Apostates. Her spear slew the first one easily, and she pulled it back, turning swiftly to plunge it onto the figure who was trying to come up from behind her. She screamed all the while, a terrible Aztec cry, full of the force of her heart.
“I wanted that baby!” she told them as they fell. “All the havoc that you have caused took it from me, and I nearly lost my own life along with it!”
She stood there, breathing hard, wanting to scream out all of her rage. Endan hurried to her, wrapping his arms around her, whispering into her ear.
Meanwhile, Kellimarythe had gone to Mannarius. She stared into his eyes, her hands on his cheeks as she spoke to him. Dhruv watched, nervous as to what she planned to do to him.
“You think that I shall fall as easily as my brethren,” the last Apostate declared. “But you have no idea what I am capable of!”
The robed figure raised up his arms, his sleeves falling away to reveal how scrawny he’d become, how mottled and sick-looking his skin was. He held something in each hand. Citlally could not be sure, but she thought that they were some sort of explosive devices.
“…take back the pain of your past,” Kellimarythe was telling the captain.
Mannarius wasted no time. He charged at the last Dark Apostate, knocking him to the ground even as he let out a powerful roar. Jalingan kicked the explosives away as they fell out of the creature’s hands, any they bounced far enough off that they didn’t hurt any of his friends. When he turned back around, his cousin was giving the Apostate the beating of his lifetime.
“She was supposed to be with me forever!” he was shouting. He went on and on about Rozariz, the robed figure struggling beneath him, refusing to take a beating without fighting back.
They rolled in the street, screaming at one another for several minutes, each one trying to gain an advantage over the other.
“You need to put an end to this, Mannarius!” Jalingan told him as soon as several fighter jets whizzed overhead. He looked up and saw them turning to fly back towards where the group stood. “This doesn’t look good.”
Citlally looked up, too, and could just scarcely make out a small black ship pursuing them. She knew that they would all be too busy flying to worry at all about who was on the ground. The pilots would be expecting everyone on the ground to get out of the way if there was trouble overhead.
Mannarius growled again. He had torn opened the Apostate’s robe, and was grappling to take hold of the knife at his side. Overhead, the fighter jets had opened fire, aiming to take down a nearby control tower in hopes that it would collapse on the invaders. The black ship was aiming at them, but it was alone in its attempt to stop the K’zzyrch vessels.
“End it!” Jalingan shouted as he watched. He gestured for the others to get moving. “Run! Get to the fields where the ships set down. Even if the Lionstar has been damaged, somebody will get you passage off of Vaharrish.”
Citlally nodded. “You hurry, too, Jalingan!”
As Endan and Citlally headed off, Jalingan looked to Dhruv. “Just go.”
Dhruv shook his head. “Not without my captain.”
Jalingan let out an exasperated sound and rallied Mannarius on. Finally, the Lion was able to get a grip on the dagger, and he screamed as he plunged it into the last of the Dark Apostates.
“Perhaps now the K’zzyrch will focus on healing their home-world,” Kellimarythe remarked.
“I don’t care,” Jalingan remarked as he pulled Mannarius to his feet. “They can all die off for all I care, as long as they leave the rest of us alone. Now let’s go!”
Mannarius hurried down the road, Dhruv at his side and Kellimarythe flying above them. Jalingan was not far behind him, turning now and then to watch as the tower began to come down. An explosion shook the ground – who had set it off, they had no idea – causing cracks to form like spiderwebs all over the road. Jalingan’s boot caught on one of them, and his chest hit the ground with an unexpected oomph.
It took Jalingan only a moment to catch his breath and move to get right back up, but that moment was all it took for gravity to bring chunks of metal scaffolding and shattered concrete down on top of him. He cried out as the weight of it all slammed onto him, cracking several bones and pinning him down.
“Jalingan!” Dhruv called, stopping when he heard the rubble fall, realizing that the half-lion was no longer with them. He turned around and headed back towards him.
Above them, one of the K’zzyrch vessels fell in several crumbled, burning pieces. The others turned away to flee, and the black ship chasing turned the other way, descending towards the road where the Dark Apostates had just been slain.
Mannarius hesitated, grumbling as he slowed down. He stopped and watched his co-pilot rushing back towards the half lion. “You’re going to get yourself killed, Dhruv!”
“Jalingan’s been hurt,” Dhruv called back.
“We have to get out of here – now!” Mannarius sounded exasperated, his sense of urgency growing as the black ship landed on the other side of all the rubble.
Citlally and Endan stopped, too, as soon as they heard Dhruv yelling. They looked to each other, saw that there was no further danger coming from the sky, and headed towards where Jalingan laid helpless.
“Not after all this,” Citlally panted, running as hard as she could. “We were almost out of here…”
Citlally fell to her knees beside Jalingan, her vision blurring as her hands came near his body. She stopped herself, afraid that if she touched him, she would only cause more harm.
“Oh no…” she whispered, her voice trembling. She looked up and saw the black ship depressurizing. She peered closer at it, gasped, then told Jalingan, “It’s the Shadow Feather!”
Jalingan could only groan. His eyes opened and closed. He had one arm free, and he used it to take Citlally’s hand.
“We’re going to help you,” she assured him. “Don’t try to move.”
She looked back to the Shadow Feather to see that the main hatch had opened up. The darkly-suited pilot was climbing out hurriedly. He dropped to the ground and rushed over to the scattered rubble. In just a handful of moments, Citlally and Jalingan were surrounded by their friends; even Kellimarythe stood nearby, giving the half-lion a worried look.
“Jalingan!” the pilot of the Shadow Feather was shouting. He was closing the distance between them at top speed, shouting his name the entire time. “Jalingan!”
Citlally looked up to see the pilot leaping and bounding over the rubble, barreling down one piece that was loose enough to give way under him. He was practically on all fours by the time he got to Jalingan’s side.
“No,” he cried, his voice unsteady. “No, Jalingan, no, no no!”
He pulled off his gloves and let his blue hands touch the half-lion’s cheeks. “No… you were supposed to run away.”
“I…” Jalingan croaked, unable to get anything more out.
“He was running,” Citlally assured the pilot.
An explosion went off in another part of the city just as the pilot pulled off his helmet. Xingfei crouched low, covering Jalingan protectively. When the explosion subsided, he looked over his friend’s body.
“Jalingan,” he said in a quavering voice, shaking his head. “Hang on, Jalingan. We’re going to… we’re going… to…”
He couldn’t speak anymore. Citlally could see the tears streaming down his face, drop after drop, like flooding rivers. She wanted to reach out and comfort him, but she was just as afraid for Jalingan’s life as Xingfei was.
“Citlally…” Mannarius said after another explosion went off. He spoke slowly, as if reluctant to interrupt. “This place is going to fall apart…”
“We can’t leave them,” she insisted, looking up at him.
“We don’t have a choice, do we?”
Citlally stared at him in disbelief, too appalled to say anything to him.
Mannarius just shook his head, grabbed Dhruv by the arm, and turned to walk back towards his ship. “Let’s go.”
Dhruv pull his arm away and stood his ground. “I’m not leaving him like this.”
Xingfei was wailing now, unable to control himself.
“You don’t get it, do you?” Mannarius asked his co-pilot. “Jalingan is finally making amends for everything that happened years ago. Now let’s leave before any other buildings fall down.”
Mannarius was only able to take a few steps before Dhruv charged after him. His fist met with the side of his captain’s head, and he stood in front of him, scowling.
“No, captain!” Dhruv growled. “You don’t get it! Jalingan has made everything up till now possible. He came here so that he could make it possible for us to follow. He compromised himself –”
“As he should have.”
“Don’t interrupt me, captain,” Dhruv told him, his voice stronger than Citlally had ever heard it. “The Dark Apostates are dead, the – Kellimarythe, whatever she is, is free, and pretty soon the K’zzyrch are going to surrender under pretty much any terms. It’s over, and Jalingan doesn’t need to sacrifice his life just to satisfy you.”
Mannarius stared at his co-pilot for a long time, not saying anything. He rubbed the side of his head as he tried to wrap his mind around the fact that Dhruv had actually hit him. Then he looked over at Xingfei, who was trying to inspect the rubble that pinned Jalingan down, desperately looking for a place to begin digging him out. He was shouting, hardly intelligible, begging for help.
“We have to get him out from under all of this,” Citlally turned to shout at the others, “before the damage gets even worse.”
“Get the medics over here – now!” Xingfei cried. “We need their help in dealing with his injuries.”
“You’re not leaving him for dead, Mannarius” Dhruv went on. “I’m going to find a crew to help us. I won’t be able to stop you from leaving, but I can make damn sure you understand that if you leave us now, I won’t be going aboard the Lionstar ever again.”
Dhruv gave the captain one last stare before running off down the road. He yelled out for a medical team as he went, going further and further, until they couldn’t hear him anymore.
Mannarius looked over at Endan.
The human looked back at him, his expression serious. “He’s right; I think ye know that. Givin’ Jalingan the cold shoulder now won’t bring Rozariz back, the same as it won’t put my baby back in Citlally. The man is yer family, and he’s made up fer his mistake as best he can.”
“Come on!” Xingfei shouted as he started trying to push a chunk of concrete away. Citlally hurried over to help him.
“And wasn’t that what it was?” Endan added after glancing over at his wife. “Just a mistake? He didn’t mean for any of it tae happen.”
Then he turned away from Mannarius and ran over to help the other two get the rock out of the way. Kellimarythe soon joined them, and together they were able to get it to move, which freed up space to get another chunk off of Jalingan.
Mannarius looked down at his cousin, whose eyes could hardly stay open. When the half-lion looked up at him, his gaze desperate for help, Mannarius could only shake his head.
“Careless bastard,” he grumbled before going to Xingfei’s side to see what they planned to do next.
The medical team arrived before they could figure out which piece to move next. Dhruv looked relieved to see that Mannarius was ready to help.
“It’s the gold-lined uniform!” one of the medics called out as he knelt down beside Jalingan. “Radio the doctor – hurry!”
Another medic pulled a communicator from his pocket and began talking over it. He got a reply back quickly, then turned to looked at the mess that was pinning Jalingan down. Two other medics had laid down a stretcher near him, and were unfolding a specialized piece of equipment – rather like an inflatable blanket, but far more technological – and placing it over the stretcher in preparation for when the man was freed.
There was a lot of chatter about crush injuries and the need to prevent Jalingan from spending too much time under the rubble, all while Xingfei spurned them on. He and Kellimarythe had confirmed that an especially large piece of concrete was ready to be moved, but they needed a lot more help to get it to budge.
“It’s going to worsen the injury to his leg if we just pull on this piece,” one of the medics told him.
“Better his leg that his life! We have no other way to move it,” Xingfei replied, looking ready to pounce him. “Let’s get it off of him!”
The medic looked down at Jalingan. “It’s going to shatter your tibia, the way we’re going to move it,” he warned the half-lion.
“Do it,” Jalingan said with a nod, his words hardly more than a gasp.
The medics organized two groups, giving speedy orders so that they didn’t make Jalingan wait for too long. Still, they had to be ready to move the metal scaffolding aside as soon as the concrete was out of the way in order to get him on the stretcher and stabilized as quickly as possible.
The concrete chunk took the most muscle power to even budge. Kellimarythe had to provide extra leverage from above in order to make it happen, but once it was in motion, nobody let go until it was completely out of the way. Jalingan screamed in pain as his leg broke in several more places, and Xingfei leaped to his side as soon as he was able to.
“You’re almost free,” the blue pilot assured him, taking his hand. His long braid fell over his shoulder, and he tossed it back again. “You’ll be in a med-bay before you know it.”
Jalingan squeezed Xingfei’s hand and looked up into his eyes. “Don’t…” he croaked.
Xingfei wiped several tears from his cheeks. “I can’t help it.”
Jalingan pulled him closer and whispered hoarsely into his ear.
“I can’t stand to see you in pain, either,” Xingfei replied, hardly able to get the words out.
He turned his head to watch the second group pulling the fallen metal away. A small concrete rock rolled away, and Jalingan’s eyes closed as he let out a weary groan. Xingfei went into a panic, yelling for the medics to get the stretcher into place while he hooked his armed under the half-lion’s shoulders.
“Now!” one of the medics called.
Xingfei pulled with all his strength, dragging Jalingan’s body away from the rubble. He dragged it all the way onto the stretcher, trying not to think about the line of blood that was left behind. He could hardly see it through his tears anyway. One of the medics laid one layer of the blanket over his body and then activated it, which caused it to inflate and press against him.
“This will keep him stable until we get back to the ship,” the medic assured Xingfei. “Just be careful not to jostle him.”
Xingfei nodded. When he looked around, he could see a new figure joining them, a blond man in a long white lab coat.
“Doctor!” the blue-skinned alien cried. Xingfei dashed towards the doctor, leaping onto him and clinging to him as though for dear life. “The tower fell, doctor. The tower fell, and – and –”
“We’ll take care of him,” the doctor assured the sobbing A’untoren. Then he looked to the medics. “I don’t suppose I need to specifically say this, but humor me. He needs a team carry. Be fast but steady.”
“Of course, Doctor Linnaeus,” one of the medics replied with a nod. “We’ll take good care of him.”
“Be sure that you do just that,” the doctor replied. “He’s my only son, you know.”
Six medics shared the load of the stretcher, and were very soon marching down the road, hurrying as steadily as they could towards the wide field where the ships waited.
Doctor Linnaeus turned to Mannarius and the others once the medics were out of sight. Xingfei still clung to him, crying harder than Citlally had imagined he could cry.
“So you took out the Dark Apostates,” Linnaeus noted.
“Yeah,” Mannarius confirmed. “Have the rest of the K’zzyrch surrendered?”
“More or less,” the doctor told him. “From what I heard, there is one last Prime Lord left alive, and he has requested to talk with our designated team. They know just what they have to do, what terms they need the K’zzyrch to agree to.”
As he spoke, Kellimarythe floated back to the earth and walked over to the doctor. She looked at the way Xingfei was crying, a worried look crossing her face. Ever so slowly, she reached out a hand to touch him. He fingers touched his jacket at first, and then his hair. When he did not pull away or strike at her, she moved her hand to the top of his head, caressing him slowly.
“It looks like you made a new ally,” Linnaeus noted as he looked to the winged woman. “She’s not one of our crew.”
Citlally shook her head. “She was a captive of the Apostates.”
Kellimarythe hummed soothingly as she caressed Xingfei. His crying quieted down slowly, and he turned he head to look at her. She looked back at him, and for a while it was as though their eyes said everything that they needed to say to one another. Her fingers wiped the last few tears from his cheeks, and he let her hand linger there.
“What are you?” Xingfei asked at last, his voice a hoarse whisper after the way he had strained his throat from shouting and wailing. “You like like an angel, but your wings are black.”
“It is because I have known such terrible suffering,” she explained, leaning in to kiss his forehead.
“So have I…” he told her.
Kellimarythe nodded. “I know. So has everyone here. But you were so strong, so brave when your beloved was in danger.”
“My…” he began, but then he changed to a different question. “I still don’t know what you are.”
“I am many things to many species,” Kellimarythe told him. “I thrive on starlight and drink the moonlight. Don’t worry about it too much, though; just focus on your beloved.”
“I should get him to the ship,” Doctor Linnaeus said. “I need to be at my son’s side, and I think Xingfei will want to be, too.”
“What’s all that nonsense she’s talking about lovers?” Mannarius scoffed.
“It’s not that hard to see,” Citlally told him.
“I think they’re way past the point of just sharing a bed together, captain,” Dhruv added. Then he gave his captain a serious look. “Don’t try to interfere with what they’re starting.”
Mannarius made a face and turned away.
Doctor Linnaeus ignored him and kept his eyes on Dhruv. “Can you pilot the Shadow Feather? I need Xingfei to stay with me. He’s not in a state of mind to fly anyhow.”
“Of course,” Dhruv agreed with a nod.
“Great. Rendezvous with us once we’re out of K’zzyrch airspace and you can dock with Allanah’s vessel.”
“Got it,” Dhruv said. He turned and patted his captain on the back. “I’ll meet up with you soon.” He was in Xingfei’s ship in only a few minutes, loading up the lift-off systems and preparing to leave the planet’s atmosphere.
“Careless sympathizer,” Mannarius grumbled.
“Just get yourself safely off of this planet,” Linnaeus told him. “After that, I don’t care if you leave and go on avoiding my son.”
The the doctor turned away, Xingfei in his arms, and headed down the road. Mannarius hadn’t noticed before, but a large group of fighters had taken position around the area. They surrounded Linnaeus as he walked on, keeping watch over him. Citlally and Endan joined them, along with Kellimarythe, glad for the extra cover.
Mannarius watched them walking for several minutes, until another explosion reminded him that he needed to get back to the Lionstar.