Finn was utterly perplexed at Archon's words. "... How am I supposed to know where to punch without being able to see?"
Sure, he could use his ears to try and detect which direction the enemies are coming from, but that wouldn't work all the time — especially when he was surrounded. But Archon merely laughed.
"Kid. Ever play a shooter video game?"
Finn frowned from beneath the bandages covering his eyes. "Uh… yes? But what does that have to do with anything?"
"Then you must know that communication is key in battles," Archon replied. "Your teammates will let you know various pieces of information through voice chat, no? And the most key point of them all… is where the enemies are."
When Archon put it like this, Finn understood immediately. He was to be given a partner, who will tell him where the hostiles are so he can attack them accurately.
The deep male voice from earlier chuckled darkly. "You want to give him a 'teammate', huh?"
"For the time being, yes. He's not strong enough to work with us yet, so he'll need to train with someone else for now."
"H-Hold on, but who's gonna be his partner? Please don't say me," Octane interrupted, then turned to Finn sitting beside him and whispered. "Hey, no offense. It's nothing personal."
"Octane, Reaper, me, and you, Archon…" The dark male voice — Storm — muttered. "There's no one else. It has to be one of us… though I must say, I'm not exactly keen to start working with a newbie either."
[Request: I do not wish to be his training accomplice.] Reaper beeped, signaling his disapproval.
Archon sighed. "You all are forgetting someone, no?"
At this, Octane's eyes widened. "Wait, you don't mean… her?!"
Archon chuckled. "It's perfect, isn't it? Her legs may be crippled, but she has incredible vision. The Oculus Angelica, remember?"
"That is true, but…" Storm glanced away uncomfortably. "She's…"
"At least, it's worth a try," Archon shrugged. "None of us have ever gotten close to her before, but maybe… he can."
As all three pairs of eyes (and a sensor) focused on Finn, he was still lost in his thoughts.
'Zelestria. Is there a way to restore my vision?' He asked, completely ignorant of what was happening on the outside.
'If you can help me restore my power, yes.'
'How long will doing that take?'
'Hm... hard to say. If you're quick, a few months. If you're slow, a year or even more.'
'So I have no choice but to work together with someone else for the time being, huh?' Finn sighed in his mind, slightly disappointed.
He's never been much of a group worker. That was true even before the events of yesterday — hence why he was reluctant to accept Archon's idea of giving him a teammate to work with.
Still, he recognized that he was still extremely weak right now. Killing Ghosts solo in his current condition was just unrealistic and suicidal. That's why…
"… I understand. I'll give it a shot," Finn replied briskly to Archon's words.
Finn was led upstairs once more by the group, to a room that seemed to be right next to his own. He knew this since he counted the steps it took him to get downstairs earlier and saved the directions to memory.
Archon walked up to the locked door and gently knocked on it three times.
"Hey. I know you're there. It's fine if you're too shy or just don't want to talk to us, but… there's someone I'd like you to meet."
Archon nudged me in the ribs, signaling for me to say something.
'Fufu... cute,' Zelestria giggled unhelpfully from within Finn's head.
Finn ignored her jab, even though it was somewhat annoying. Still, his words received no response from whoever was inside, if they were even there at all.
Archon patted me on the shoulder and whispered into my ear. "Whether you can get her to open the door… it's up to you now."
Octane flashed Finn a thumbs-up he couldn't see, and Storm glanced at him once curiously before following the others back downstairs.
Finn was left alone with the mysterious person beyond this door, separated by nothing except a thin screen of wood.
He sat down on the cold floor, leaning his back against the door. And… nothing. He just sat there silently, waiting patiently for the door to be opened.
On the other side, a lone girl sitting in a bed looked towards the door in uneasiness. She didn't want to open it. She didn't want to meet this person that man wanted her to meet. She just wanted to forever cower behind her blanket, living isolated from the world.
But when minutes turned into hours, and she still heard no sign of movement from the door, she began to get curious.
'Was the person… still there?' She wondered.
Perhaps it would've been a wiser decision to just forget about the whole matter and go to sleep. Perhaps… it was better for her to not meet the boy known as Finn Thresher at all. But eventually, curiosity got the better of her, as it does to the best of us.
Who was this person, who had not moved a single inch from their spot, even after a few hours had passed? Were they that stubborn? Were they that eager to meet her?
Even the people downstairs, who had saved her life and brought her back here to live… none of them had the patience to sit behind a door doing nothing for such a long time.
The girl crawled onto her wheelchair with extreme difficulty and rowed it towards the door. For some reason, her heart was beating rapidly, in both nervousness and anticipation.
She placed her hand on the doorknob, unlocked it, and after a deep breath, gave it a good twist.
A boy with black hair, chest wrapped in white bandages, sat behind it. Slowly, he turned his head around. Despite the fact that he had similar bandages covering his eyes, it was as if their gazes met.
And from that moment on, both of their lives began to change — forever.
Finn twisted his head around after hearing the clicking sound of the door behind him being opened, forgetting that this action was useless since he was blind. He couldn't see anyone, but there obviously was someone standing there — the girl who had opened the door.
Hesitantly, Finn stood up. He reached forward with his hands, trying to feel the air in front of him, and hit something hard and wooden — the door.
Grabbing it, he opened it wider so that he could slip into the room. He smelled the faint fragrance of lilies inside, signifying purity. Whether it came from real flowers or the girl, he did not know.
Feeling the air in front of him, unafraid of being laughed at, Finn managed to find a chair in the room after bumping into several tables and bookshelves. All the while, the mysterious girl watched on silently, speechless.
After a while, Finn heard the sound of the door being closed once more. But weirdly enough, there were no sounds of footsteps that followed. Instead, he heard the rolling of… wheels?
"… Is that a wheelchair?" He couldn't help but ask, voice so quiet it was almost inaudible.
Naturally, the girl heard it. She stopped in her tracks and turned to Finn, eyes still wrapped in bandages.
"…" She bit her lip, unsure of what to say or what to do.
This boy… had just intruded into her room. Strangely, however, she was at a loss of whether to kick him out or let him stay. It may be because… he was also disabled.
The girl's legs may be crippled, but she wasn't stupid. Finn's movements showed he was blind, no matter how you looked at it. The bandages around his eyes practically had 'blind' written all over them as well.
Because of this… it was like the two shared some sort of unspoken connection.
Both were here because they knew about Ghosts — and both of them shared similar scars.
"… How did you know?" the girl mustered out at last. The first words she's spoken to someone in months. "You're…"
"I'm blind?" Finn finished her sentence for her. "Yes… I am. But I still have my other senses. Namely, my ears."
"… Who are you?" The girl blurted out before she could help herself.
Finn was unfazed. "Finn Thresher. You can call me Finn."
"…" The girl fell silent once more, but in her head, she repeated that name over and over again.
"And you?" Finn asked, snapping her out of her thoughts.
"I…" She trailed off, unsure of whether or not she could trust him. She hadn't even told her saviors her real name yet… was it really okay to be telling this to the boy she's meeting for the first time?
"I already told you my name. Don't you think you should tell me yours, to make it fair?"
The girl clenched her fists on her wheelchair, frustrated with the dilemma laid out before her.
Her name… it was somewhat special. She had a hidden identity, one that she hated yet could not abandon. She considered giving Finn a fake one, but that's what she had done all her life.
She was tired of hiding. Tired of being someone she was not.
When she looked at this boy, she saw something deep inside his heart resonating with her own. Perhaps this was her special power at work — the Oculus Angelica. It had a myriad of other uses, but among them was the ability to read one's soul.
Yet when she read Finn's soul, she could find nothing but a black mist of hatred for Ghosts. One that was as dense as her own.
Of course, she had read the souls of the people downstairs as well. They too shared deep anger towards those disgusting creatures, but they still had other emotions. Somewhere within the mist of darkness shrouding their hearts, a rainbow lay.
Finn, however, was different. His heart was pitch black, through and through. He had already lost all other emotions… just like this girl herself once had. That hatred was too strong, too pure to have ulterior motives. Finn only cared about killing Ghosts, and he wouldn't betray this girl for no reason. She knew that.
In all the years she's had this ability, not once has she seen someone else with the same darkness in their heart. Not once has she met someone who was emotionless enough to compete with her past self.
But Finn… he could.
Perhaps that was why she decided to open up to him — she saw a shadow of herself in this man, and wanted to slowly steer him back onto the right course... just like her guardian had once done for her.
Hesitantly, after scanning the room for any hidden surveillance equipment with her Oculus Angelica, the girl spoke.
"My name is Iris… Iris Sylvoir."