Panzer Dragoon X

Chapter 4

That was the day that Dash and Roc met Azrael, the drone-prototype with emotions unimaginable to anyone Dash had ever met. Azrael and his interaction with the environment was unnatural. He treated the even simplest things with great reverence. Perhaps it was the fact that Azrael was fascinated by these things that he had never seen outside his home continent. Perhaps Azrael found respect for other living things of superior intelligence. Perhaps it is impossible to get inside the head of an advanced being like Azrael.

Dash put the diary down for a moment. Azrael was nowhere to be seen. Dash had been reminiscing for so long, the drone had actually wandered off without even being noticed. Dash turned to Roc.

“Stay here,” he said.

Roc gave a lethargic nod and lay his head down to rest. Dash ambled down the spiraling hill, which they came up. The humid warmth of the dusk air, and the fresh aroma of the wilderness around him smacked Dash in the face, reminding him of the time he spent in the forests as a young boy. Fond memories of summers he spent with his adoptive father and mentor, Ohru, who was a great hunter and hero of the village of which they lived, all came back to him as if he were a child again.

The churning crash of the ocean waves on the beach’s rocky shoreline and the crowing of the mutant gulls in the air combined to give this small island an exotic feeling that to Dash was somewhat relaxing. His stay at this island so far, was although short, a nice place to bring back the times of bliss from one’s life, especially after so much has happened. Dash could spend the rest of his life here if he wanted.

Another wave crashed into the rocks, this time splashing foamy salt water on Dash’s uniform, which was now faded from the mud-brown color he received it in, to a more tan color with small rips in it in some parts after the time he spent in battle. The suds surged back towards the sea only to return to the rocks in a routine that would last until the end of time.

Dash scanned the area, avoiding sharp rocks that he may step on as he walked. There was still no sign of Azrael.

He couldn’t of gotten far. Not without Xavier. Besides, he wouldn’t just abandon his dragon without saying a word. That would be unlike Azrael.

The scent of salt in Dash’s nostrils got thicker. The water here must be full of minerals. Dash thought that perhaps the Final Being was able to draw minerals from the water and become stronger. That would be a logical reason to manifest the Third Tower on this particular island.

The young man looked out to sea, taking the time to admire the colors it received during sundown. A kaleidoscopic rainbow luminated the seemingly endless body of liquid. Abruptly, he perceived a medium sized pale figure coming closer to the shore quickly. Before Dash could get a picture of what it was it had gone under the water then in an instant, surfaced. It was Azrael.

His jet-black hair, now considerably wet, hung down the front of his face, dripping. Azrael moved his hair out of his face, and pulled himself from the stones. He walked over to Dash, a serious look on his face. Dash looked puzzled.

“I… didn’t know that drones took an interest in swimming. Or even knew how,” he commented. Azrael chuckled.

“I do, although that was the first time I had ever swam before,” he responded. Dash didn’t even bother to ask where he could of possibly learned how to swim that fast with no experience. He merely assumed that it was instinct. Azrael was, after all, the prototype for the Final Being.

As the two hiked back to the area where they had left their dragons, Dash questioned Azrael on many things, ranging from his everyday life to his favorite color.

“So, why did you decide to go swim anyway?”

“I felt it would be refreshing.”

“But how would you know if you have never swam before?”

“It looked like it would be an interesting experience, I suppose.”

“That’s the only reason?”

“No, I felt that it would be a nice thing to do in case….”

They stopped walking. Dash suddenly got a bad feeling in his stomach. He faced Azrael, who kept his head down. “In case what?” he asked.

“In case he does not return.”

Dash knew that voice. It was Roc. Roc knew something about this. And even though Dash would never know, Roc had known it the whole time.