Panzer Dragoon X

Chapter 9

Perow, the Elder, had a hut on the far end of the village. Strangely, although he was the Chief his hut was much smaller than the other huts in the village. Eral walked us over to the front of the hut, and said, “Wait here.” She entered the hut and for the next few minutes all was quiet.

When Eral returned, she made a gesture that told me that it was time to go inside. When Xavier attempted to follow, Azrael held him back.

“Your friend and your dragons can wait in the huts that have been prepared for any visitors that we might receive,” she commented politely. I had hoped that they were large for the dragons’ sake. They commenced to walk away and then Eral as if she had forgotten something ran back over to me and whispered, “Whatever the Elder tells you, you’d better believe it and follow it. He’s extremely old, and has been with us since the beginning. I can’t think of a thing he does not know. Be honest to him, and receive the truth.”

I nodded and entered the miniature dwelling of the Elder. It was warm and a heavy aroma of incense and medicinal herbs almost elevated me. There were tiny niches in the sides of the hut that held candles burning away. In the center, an ancient bearded man sat cross-legged in heavenly meditation on a vermilion rug. I examined him closely. His skin was very tan, almost brown, and was just as scaly. His garment was different from that of the others. It was a long white robe made of silk that was clearly much to big for the old man. He wore no shoes and had many necklaces and bracelets (more than most of the villagers). I could not see his face, for he wore a clay mask that was shaped to resemble a creature that to me looked like a demon.

“Chosen One,” he chanted. I mumbled, “Mmm hmm” in response.

“You…are the Chosen One?”

“If what the Prophecy and my guardians say is correct, than my answer is ‘yes’,” I replied.

Perow’s throat gurgled and he let out a slight cough. He reached out his shaky, bony hand and touched my face.

“The Prophecy…. does not lie,” Perow chanted. He let out another cough. This time it sounded painful. His eyes opened, and I noticed the grey emptiness in them almost immediately. He was blind.

“Hold out your palms.”

I obeyed, and his cold palms touched my own. He felt over them with his fingertips and smiled.

“Yes, you have come, just as the Seer predicted that you would so long ago.”

There was hope in his voice.

“Are you going to take me to see the Seer?” I asked. He coughed.

“Yes. Come with me,” he said. He grabbed his cane (which looked like it was carved from ivory) and then with his free hand grabbed my arm and opened the curtains that were in the back of the hut to reveal an exit. We walked behind the hut to find ourselves in what I guessed was his personal garden.

The garden was home to an assortment of flowers of many colors. Red, white, yellow, violet, orange…Azrael would of loved to see this. Maybe Perow would let Azrael spend time in his garden. In the middle of the garden was a great stonewall with mysterious markings scribbled on it with what could have been chalk. There were two hand-shaped cavities in the stone’s center. They were about as big as my own hands.

Perow faced me.

“Here is where you meet the Seer. Go now. There is not much time left.”

Hoping I knew what to do, I stepped towards the stonewall and placed my hands into the twin crevices. It a perfect fit. Suddenly, the wind picked up and began to blow violently around me. The outline of my hands in the stone glowed a bright blue light. Then my hands began to burn. Sparks of cerulean light illuminated the area. The pain made me weaker, and I fell to yet another trance.

I can’t verify whether or not what I believed to have happened actually occurred, but it sure felt real. I was floating in space; my only surroundings were a black blanket lined with stars. It was quiet. My eyes adjusted and I saw a shimmering bronze light coming towards me, a circle of pink rotating around it.

It grew closer. Bigger. Soon the celestial entity was mere feet away from me. I really don’t know how accurate my description of it is, but it’s the best I can give. It was tall, at least ten feet high, not menacing really, but it did seem intimidating to a simple human. Its face resembled that of a woman, with silver, tentacle-like hairs that flowed elegantly down it’s back. Its limbs were somewhat similar to a human, except they appeared very thick and fat when compared to the slim, narrow mid-section it possessed. The eyes of this being were empty, black, and didn’t even appear to exist!

Then it spoke.

“Chosen One.” The soothing female voice echoed throughout the area. My mouth dropped open.

My Hues of Speech Shatter.

“If you can decipher my vocal code, then you are the one that I have been waiting so many years to meet. My identity is drone F0-X.”

I trembled. Stammering, I managed to croak, “My name is Dash.”

X turned Her head slightly. “Dash…” She chimed, Her voice echoing deep into the heavens. “The Final Being Shall Fall To A Warrior Named Dash.” Her bulbous hands softly touched my face. My head felt like it was sandwiched between two pillows. Twin thumbnails came near my eyes and stopped. She nearly gasped.

“They are different colors. A sign of purpose.”

At that moment I gazed into Her eyes and She gazed into mine. “Let me take you to a world lost long ago,” the words were lost almost instantly as the world in Her eyes grew, and I looked around. I was no longer in elevation anymore. I was on the ground. X was still there beside me. We were now in the middle of a treacherous storm within a desert plane. This was the South Continent many years ago. I was surprised that I figured it out that quickly. There was death in the air. I could smell it. Ash was blowing in the air, and black rubble of what was once a powerful city encircled me.

We began to walk down the corridor of demise, and the Seer spoke again.

“This is the Capital City exactly two days after the Final Being struck it. The storm continued for twelve years until it finally died down. By then the planet had rearranged completely. No humans on the South Continent survived the attack. Only drones.”

“How were you able to prophesize that I of all people would be the Chosen One?” I asked excitedly. The Seer looked at me, then pointed to Her right. I looked in that direction, and I found myself in yet another place. I was still in the desert, but now in a more remote area. The sands were blowing in heavily from behind us. In front of me was a never-ending line of grey, moving diagonally towards the sunset.

“The throng of figures you see now is a group of drones that are marching to find human civilization. The drones marched for sixty years, finding nothing but more drones to take part in the march. Soon, they discussed the idea of a creation of their own civilization, rather than be slaves to the humans. Many of these thought it was a good idea. They knew that drones were superior to humans and that they no longer held a grip over them. This group of drones began to see the Final Being as a leader, and lived their new free lives in its image. You could say that they almost worshiped it and its hate for humans. Others believed that the humans would rise again and crush us out of disobedience. They thought that some humans were good and deserved to be treated with decency. Soon the dispute turned into distrust, then hatred, and then war between the two sides.”

The heat rose up over my eyes, and the desert turned into flames, where a new scene was placed before me. Now I saw hundreds and hundreds of drones fighting under a grey sky. It began to rain, and the drones did not cease the bloodshed. Massive warships were killing off drones from the air. These warships were far superior to anything that the Empire possessed! X continued.

“By this time, the drones had traveled to what is the North Continent today. The group that supported the Final Being hid out in the forests, far from the other group of drones, which lived near the coast. Whenever they were to clash, it would be like this. Eventually, the drones had been fighting so hard that there were not many left to fight. I had already made the Prophecy years before and had been killed in battle. I was with the side that opposed the Final Being.”

I looked at Her strangely.

“Yes,” she said, pausing for a moment. “I am dead. I exist now only as a memory. I was hit with a concentrated laser by a warship’s turret. One of my comrades came to my side and carried me far from the battlefield. I was already dead by the time he could get any help. He was the one that built the mind-transport device that you activated to arrive here. I remember him well. He was my brother. My male counterpart. His identity was drone F0-Y. We were built during the last generation of drone production. It took many years to complete us and fulfill our creator’s expectations, but it was a success in the end. Our purpose was different from other drones. The creator’s constructed our memory cells in such a unique way in which we were able to accurately predict the near-future by organizing what we interpreted into a logical sequence. They thought that we could then be used to draw knowledge from the future to create the technology of days to come much faster than they would of been able to. They were eager to make the future the present, you see. The Final Being would not of been finished in the time it took them were it not for us. The humans were so anxious to finish their Super-Drone that they did not even bother to consider the deadly consequences, which I was aware of long before they unraveled.”

“Does this mean that you could have prevented all of this chaos?” I asked. She shook Her head.

“Had I warned them of their own demise they would not have listened. Mankind is a stubborn species overwhelmed by their own brilliance and greed.”

This was all too true. Still, I had many questions I needed answered.

“And what happened to F0-Y?”

“After my death he set off towards the mountains and built the transport device. Being my male counterpart, he was able to implant dominant chromosomes into the biological memory bank of the device, thus my knowledge, memory, and foretelling abilities now could be accessed by the one I knew would save us all from the Final Being. Because the chromosomes came straight from his body and not my own, the form of myself that you see now is not the true form, but rather a bastard copy instead. Although I may be held inside this device, I can still make simple predictions using a form of omniscient view similar to that of the Final Being.”

“Wait,” I interjected. “So the Final Being knows and sees all?” I asked stunned. She nodded.

“Yes. Only when out of hibernation. When in hibernation, that is when it is vulnerable. That is why you must strike now. But you won’t reach him in time. I already know that.”

“Then how am I to defeat the Final Being?” I was growing impatient.

“The Final Being cannot ever be truly defeated. I am sorry to bring this to your attention. No matter what, the Final Being cannot be destroyed. It was the Ancients of the Old Empire’s greatest achievement. They were able to create a god, who could alter time and space at his own will. You cannot destroy him. It is one hundred percent impossible. But you will try anyway, which is why you were selected as the Chosen One.”

My Question, After All This Time, Had Finally Been Answered.

“You show more perseverance than anyone I have ever seen. Not only that, but you show love and compassion necessary to bring a group together to complete their purpose. Although you will not destroy the Final Being, nothing will stop you from trying, even though you now know that you won’t succeed. I understand that you are traveling with a drone….”

“Yes?” I said.

“I see conflict in your near future between the two. One of you will face the Final Being and will not return. The drone…his name is Azrael, a prototype for the Final Being…. he will forfeit his own life for you. I know how this hurts you to hear this, but unless you do something radical to stop him from fighting Him, Azrael is going to die. I can however, offer you some insight on your next task in this mission.” Tears began to swell in my eyes as she told me everything. More than I could of ever wished to know. In a blink of an eye, I was once again in a different place.

It was cold. It was dark. The wavy reflections of dim light on the walls gave a hint that there was water nearby. Faint whispers and footsteps from below us echoed.

“These are the Grey Caverns, as they are called by nomads that have ventured here. A common tale surrounding these caverns is that it is inhabited by the angry ghosts of the Old Empire. That is a false conception. In reality, these caverns are the hideout for the remaining living drones of today’s age. They are the only resistance of the Final Being that still exists, and apart from your small party and a few Seeker villages they are the only ones aware that the Final Being is present in our world. The drones have formed an army like no other. Like their masters, they have been able to create superior weaponry and defense of unspeakable proportion. For years they have lain low here, waiting, waiting until the day the Final Being awakens once more. They believe that they might be able to stand a chance against Him. You, Chosen One, will befriend these drones shortly. Their leader, Anagos, will aid you in your quest. Do not look for him, for it will be he who finds you. All by chance.”

The scene changed again, and once more I was in the blackness of space, levitating.

“Tell me, what happened to F0-Y. Where is he now?” my voice almost a whisper. X was soundless.

“That is not my place to tell you, for I fear that doing so would change the future. In time you will know”…. She began to fade as she fell back into the night sky.

“Wait!” The words barely escaped my throat, and before I knew it, she was gone.

Then I woke up.