The ride back to the capital was as cold, bleak and depressing as it could possibly get . Like all missions that ended in failure and the loss of ones close companions, ones family. Pyrrha knew that feeling too much for her own liking after letting go of her team she had been drafted into many temporary high unit missions and she experienced loss too much.
The heartache of loosing a brother and sister in arm's left a greater wound than any weapon she could think of.
She could see the familiar look of horror, rage, confusion and even brokenness in the crown princess who taken to seating away on her at the end of the Specters common room leaving her alone to brood without unwanted company.
The city of prime was always mystifying under the afternoon sun rays but now in Pyrrha's opinion the gorgeous view of the thriving metropolitan city almost felt like it was mocking her for her failure of protecting her teammates. It felt like a cruel joke by the universe to finally dangle some possible friends before her like Mulengu, Ursa and even Chris but to then take them away like this.
"It isn't fair " she hadn't even fixed anything with Chris, she might have been invited by him to the team but Pyrrha recognised forced pity when she saw it, she had seen it a million times before.
"Aeris Troy" Siegfried approached her his face stone cold, who was things down while his leader was in her self imposed isolation.
"Yes sir" she replicated his calm professional behaviour thanks to years of having to hold it in when she had to.
"When we land you are to go to the sun tower. Imparetor Paladin Ulster wish's to speak to you" .
"But sir what of my report?" It was standard procedure for a report to be given over such instance by team leaders, and the only member of her team present was her, so it was her duty.
"We have already contacted Prime command, it has been decided that just team Atlas will suffice, your mother insisted on it. Am i clear Aeris Troy" he took moment to rub his eyes like a worn out man though maybe it was just all buried stress from what just happened finally beginning to wear at him.
"Yes Argentum Nibelungenlied" she saluted him before he left her alone to sit watching the beauty of the day mock her furiously without rest.
The rest of the ride was the same, lifeless and void of any feelings of warmth. They landed back in the same aircraft bay and Pyrrha left it heavy with shame as she went to the gold plastered tower which glowed under direct sunlight giving it, it's name of the sun tower.
The trip took longer than it should have as she dreaded meeting her mother again after so long and with this giant failure weighing her down to boot.
She found her mother waiting near the sun towers entrance with a facial expression of foreboding something. She hadn't changed much since Pyrrha last saw her, well except that she lacked Alfie, her old great sword that had been from her fathers side of the family.
"Mother" she mustered up the courage and will to greet her only remaining parent, though her feet got heavy with each step and more air was pumped in and out of her lungs as she breathed more than usual from the panic slowly building up inside of her.
Her mother remained silent for some seconds before she firmly pulled her daughter into a hug " With others i get used to it...but with you, Cuchulain and Paris... I can't, i just can't".
"The fear of losing us" Pyrrha acknowledged that fear long ago but their mother hadn't "It's okay, i am not the one you should be worrying about".
Her mother instantly turned from sobbing and being vulnerable for one few times Pyrrha saw side of her, into a burning inferno of rage that could be more of demon than Pyrrha and her brother's own Alpha-spell's.
"Zodiac... those bastards" the grinding of elvish teeth filled the immediate area " I have to go attend a council meeting over this mess, please guard the avatar of Sophia while i am gone. I will back soon and then we can really talk".
Her mother gave her a kiss on the forehead like she always did or used to do before the whole nearly killing a prince thing drove them apart.
Her mother left her the directions to a large room that could only be accessed after passing four hundred knights, a thousand soldiers and twelve over sixty meter thick vault doors that needed a special access card's like the one her mother gave her for each door.
"With all this security why i am i even needed" she arrived at her destination after wiping the thoughts from her mind, mentally preparing
She entered a large room that had a large amount of books packed in the corner in the most disorganized manner she had ever seen. A small bed with a table and a few chairs sat in the middle of a room where a small girl sat eating toast bread and what smelled like coffee.
"Greets friend" the girl said that as if she was reading notes of a social interactions instruction manual before waved at her very enthusiastically.
"Did she just say greets friend" Pyrrha was hoping that she had just heard wrong.
" Thor, come out here, we have a new friend" the girl called before she devoured her toast in a single bite.
That's when Pyrrha figured out who or what she was looking at " So this is the famous avatar of Sophia, Chris spoke about".
The information about who they collected during the breach mission was classified and had Chris not blurted it out to Mulengu and Ursa when he thought she wasn't near, she would have never known.
"No need to rush me Hana i was just checking for a drink" a deep male voice answered from another other room.
"Greetings i am..".
"Pyrrha Ulster" the girl, Hana cut her off before she could properly introduce herself " You look like your mother and she wouldn't stop talking about you".
"Of course i am.." she was again cutoff by the sound of feet thumping the floor as Thor descended into the room.
"Pyrrha Ulster or Troy...i am sorry i never got your last name from Chris" Thor StormCloud arrived within the room.
He seemed normal enough, until she saw the large abomination of a hammer in his hand. She had seen some frankly ridiculous weapons before that thing was just too big for a proper melee weapon.
"Where are the others?" he asked her confused as he looked around left and right wondering if Chris and Mulengu would jump him from behind while Ursa scolded them as usual.
"You don't know" she felt herself flinch when he grabbed her shoulders with a strong grip.
"Don't know what?" Anxiousness plagued his face as his eyes darted across her own trying to understand what she meant.
"I am sorry, something happened during the mission and they vanis..." She tried as much as she could but her voice broke as Thor's facial features lowered an sunk.
Thor let her go his body posture hunched over in defeat and with a mighty roar he grabbed a near by metal table and threw into the nearest wall, leaving a noticeable dent.
"Calm down" the avatar of Sophia spoke softly caressing the back of the sobbing man with the type of closeness she knew was reserved by good friend's " It's okay, they are still alive".
"What?" Pyrrha was hoping to things to turn out optimistically and this was the voice of Sophia herself and that meant she was right.
"My vision may be limited but my lady Sophia has shown me that they yet live on. I can see them in a place made of dreams".
"Then let's tell the king and queen so that we can find them" Thor jumped up and down excited like a child ready to go find his friends.
"I am afraid they have figured it out already and my vision stops after that" she apologized and she seemed sad enough about it.
"This girl's eyes they are so unnerving" Pyrrha had seen her mother's special magic eyes like her own but there was something off about this girl's eyes "They look like they can see to core of my very soul".
She sighed and sat down thinking of what the hell got her here "Damn, kid me would hate me for not even being a Argentum knight by now.... instead i failed to babysit stupid Christian and validated everything he thinks about me".
".....just can't sit here..." Thor's voice declared in the background but she was too engrossed in her thoughts to follow or care.
The thought of how her younger self would look upon her if she knew about how she nearly killed one of her oldest childhood friends, that left her feeling hollow.
The intercom was what drew her out of her thoughts " Aeris Troy your brother's are here to see you, come to the meeting room immediately".
"I am sorry to cut this meeting short but i have to go" she bowed respectfully to Thor and Hana who continued to argue on Thor's future plans to find his friends.
The meeting room was a room outside the room were the avatar of Sophia resided. It was large and appeared like an old lunch room with long tables coloured with sickly grey shade that didn't help her feelings of despair.
"You know this room needs more colour in it" a male voice echoed from one of the seats to her left.
Sitting upon them were a male elf was waiting. He was clearly in his mid twenties .
He had wild red mane, he was built well with strong toned muscles. His armour was a deep shade of purple and she recognized it as the one their great ancestor Tri made legendary.
Upon his back was a long silver spear with runic symbols curved into the shaft. Besides her brother was a great round shield with a green hound imprinted upon it.
"Hello little sister " he got up and walked towards her with a cocky smile pasted across his face and a confident stride in his step.
"Cuchulain" Pyrrha hadn't seen her older brother in years but he honestly hadn't changed a bit with sole exception being his hair and horns had grown more.
"Wow kid, talk about a lukewarm reception" he looked hurt but since this was her brother she couldn't tell if he was messing with her by the sudden grin on his face.
"I am sorry it's just i haven't seen you since..." since the day he told how much she disappointed him and he walked out of her life or did she walk away from his life, that day was blur now.
The man many named the greatest spearman since her mother sighed rubbing his face as moved back and fell upon a bench " I know... and i am sorry... i... i was just so angry and... stupid".
"I understand" she sat besides him " We both did some stupid things and i guess mom hates me".
"She doesn't hate you, she never did" her brother sounded more calm and collected than the hot head she knew all those years ago, time really did change people" Trust me, she was pretty angry with all of us... especially dad after you know....".
Her father Neptune O'Dayne was a black spot upon their family. He hadn't been anything special or bad for a father or maybe she wasn't remembering properly like every thing in her past.
All she remembered from then was playing with Christian for a play date and his mother forcefully shoving dark energy into his body before she was tackled out of the old palace by her mother.
Soon she was in a hospital while she watched her mother and best friend slip into coma while her brother Cuchulain just smashed his fist into a wall in anger muttering about how their dad had bailed on them and how it was all a set up.
"Do you visit..." like many of dark Natalia's surviving supporters her father was in the Domain, a prison in its own dimension from which no escape was possible.
She never visited her father once but she wondered if Cuchulain had, after all he was the most brash and impulsive amongst them and it wasn't so hard to imagine him facing their father just to why he did it.
"Once..." there was a look of slowly building disdain in Cuchulain voice, probably from the thought of their father.
"What did he say?" She was curious to know the answer to the question that haunted her.
"That he regretted nothing..." her big brother coughed trying to hold back a sob before wiping some tears from his blood red eyes "...what a prick ha".
"Well enough about that guy" Pyrrha didn't need anymore of this depressing atmosphere with everything that was going on " Tell me about how you guys are you doing?".
Her brother smiled " i am doing fine. I just got bumped up to Argentum second class and it ain't bad. Life has been doing me well, the only thing i complain about is that the Ammos lands are too hot and the Serpents fort is too far from is somehow hotter " he said with a sigh.
",Is it the heat, or is it the fact that you are not where close to the city of Ozminia. The girls there are far easier than the ones at the serpent fort, your fellow knight's see through your game" she said feeling a smile as one appeared upon her brothers.
"You know me all too well sister. I love a hard game but not an impossible one" he answered as he chuckled.
"And Paris?" She asked.
Paris was her youngest sibling, he was adopted by her mother at the age of two years. just as much as she loved them, though she never remembered her father's stance on him.
He stood out in the Ulster family as a purple haired bowman rather than lover of the spear though he inherited his new families deadly martial prowess, her mother would have it no other way.
"The kids at kingsorder, they say his as good as we were. His got a couple of friends now and that's good but he misses you".
"I will try and visit him" she thought for a moment about the person she always saw but now barley knew now " What about mom?".
"Mom's good now. She started a bakery on the side surprisingly".
"Is it any good?" in the past it was no secret that Morigan Ulster and cooking canceled each other out harder than two magnets of the same pole but now Pyrrha wasn't sure.
"Surprisingly it doesn't taste like salt mixed with pepper and wet flour" this gained a few laughs from the two as they remembered all of the culinary disasters of the past " Oh yeah, mom's also kind of seeing someone".
"Who?" the thought of her mother moving on was actually nice.
Pyrrha remembered Fionn McCool the man she had called uncle and as her mother affectionately called him Blondie was a family friend even before her and her siblings were born.
"What about you?" her brother became serious and his voice was smaller as he asked "...h...how are you after the whole...".
The weight of what had just happened to her team returned to her like a cold wave. But it still didn't match up to trying to not remember the day she disgraced her family.
"Why are you asking?" the question felt very personal. Not the type that Pyrrha was interested in answering now of all days.
"I know that you aren't particularly close but Christian was one of best friends...".
"If the roles were reversed he wouldn't care " she gave a small laugh of defeat at the thought of Chris throwing a celebration at finally being rid of her " And would you blame him for it?".
"Things still rocky?".
"More like absolutely broken" Pyrrha took in a deep sigh " I might be on his team but he still hates me, hell he doesn't want me there. I can see it in how he looks and talks to me, he didn't take me out of forgiveness...it was just pity".
"Hey don't so hard on yourself, he will come around someday".
"Will he" she didn't like arguing with her brother but he was wrong, she had seen the venom in Chris, it was too much " The fact that he speaks to the woman that nearly killed him and bullied him is a miracle in of itself".
"We have all done some stupid stuff in our time but eventually we move on ".
"Not like me you haven't" she whispered head hung low " I wish i was like you and mom. You two remained strong and focused no matter what happened with dad and the dark aspect... while me, i just tormented a sick kid who had just suffered like me and nearly destroyed our family name...it's why i don't deserve it".
"Is that you go around calling yourself Troy " he more or less stated than asked.
"Yes..i dishonoured our name, i don't deserve it".
"You know mom and i also acted out after dad...its just that you never saw it".
"What" she didn't remember any type of overreacting from her mother, in fact her mother was soon focused on protecting Avalon via her work on the security council while Cuchulain was training to be the best knight harder and better than ever "But you guys handled your grief perfectly".
"Mom become cold and distant, focused in her work and i grew so obsessed at getting the old man that i ignored everything and everyone around me, even if they needed me as a brother, a friend and a son..." she never thought of it or honestly remembered or maybe she did but she just chose to ignore it "... You know i blew you off before you explained why the whole nearly killing the prince thing went down".
"You really want to know that?".
"Colour me morbidly curious. Besides wouldn't it be better to finally explain to someone who isn't ready to behead you like Ishtar was when she found out".
There was a pretty good reason why Ishtar Ddraig was the living embodiment of her nightmares.
"Fine" she knew her brother wouldn't let it go so she gave in, it was better than giving drunken rants to total strangers who were generally the only people she could speak to " It was after classes at kingsorder and i was having some late afternoon studying before hitting the gym alone when i found...Deus he was so different then, skinner, more sickly with stringy hair and those black veins, they were everywhere...anyway, then there was his inability to go for long times before getting tired...his sword work was sloppy and i don't...it sorta pissed me off, for him to think that he was like us when he was her blood...i should have just walked away and left him but i just had to rub it in..".
The memories of Chris fallen body after she knocked his sword away easily after she offered to spar and teach him a trick or two bringing a smile back to her old friends face she turned that happy face into one soaked in tears soon after she began to tear him down verbally as was her usual routine with him.
"...I thought it was funny...i told him that he would never amount to anything, that he would always be a burden to others and himself...i was such a garbage person and...and then he said it".
"Said what?" Her brother looked more than a little curious about what words could have possibly set her off like this.
"I know that he was angry and frustrated after all of the humiliation.... He just wanted to stand up for himself for once but i was angry and stupid. He said he would be a great knight like his father and his mother".
"I don't remember what happened much. I just simply pushed him back before i just left".
"Then cue two days later and our entire family mansion is leveled by the goddess of war" her brother finished it for her in his usual goofy smile that proved itself infectious.
"Yeah, something like that".
"Well tomorrow is a new day and..." the alarms flared wailing wildly with a blinding red light coming to life.
From the door leading to outside a military official entered with many knights and soldiers clearly under their command.
"I want the beast cage raised. We hold this bastards out at all costs understood" the order was quickly followed by well trained and coordinated soldiers and knights jumping into action.
"Imparetor, what's going on?" her brother asked the man barking out order's.
"We are under attack son".
"No..the whole city".
TO BE CONTINUED.....
Support "Phantom Ddraig"
I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.
I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos