Chapter 17:


Face of Eternity : The Star and the Rose

As I wandered around, I discovered I was in a massive cathedral tower connected to the main building by a bridge. Dang, this place was huge! An elephant family could live here!

This bridge was the uppermost bridge of three. I just had to stop and take in the view.

I was gazing off the side, watching the hundreds, maybe thousands of people pass by on the streets below. They were doing whatever they needed to just to keep the city lively and busy. It kinda reminded me of this ant farm I had for a little while. Uncle told me I wasn’t allowed to keep ants in my room.

Even though I was so high up, I could hear horns honking, indiscernible chatter, and much more. It was such a contrast from the quietness of being in the middle of a secluded valley.

“Excuse me?” A finger tapped on my shoulder.

I turned around to see a pretty woman with bleach blond hair smiling at me. Her hair was so light, it almost looked as white as mine in the overcast light.

She was in a suit with a skirt. That probably meant she wasn’t part of the church, since everyone here was wearing robes.

“Hello.” I waved.

“Enjoying the view?” She leaned on the railing next to me. “When I was little, I used to sneak out of mass to come up here too. My parents never even noticed.”

That was interesting, but I didn’t know who she was or what she was talking about.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Oh my apologies. My name is Emily Wolfstone.” She did a curtsy bow. “I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself. With how much your father told me about you, I felt so familiar.”

She knew daddy too? Everyone around here seemed to know him.

“How do you know my dad?” I asked with a hopeful face. Maybe he sent her to find me?

“You could say he’s my employer.” She pulled out a little business card and politely handed it to me.

It stated that she was some sort of independent contractor. But what did that mean?

“Did he ask you to find me?

“Not quite.” She kneeled down to get eye level with me. “However, he did pay me a lot of money to take special care of you, Mistress Yalda. Consider me a servant, if you’d like.” She winked and gave me a quick finger gun.

A servant, eh? I wonder what kind of stuff I could ask her to do. Maybe she was like those side characters in video games that go out and get you rare items for a fee.

“What kind of stuff do you do?”

“It would be easier to say the things I can’t do. I can cook, collect things, tailor…heck, I’ll even tuck you in at night if you’d like. Anything your little heart desires.” She tapped on my crystal heart.

Clearly she was well informed to realize my heart was actually the crystal in my chest. She had to have known daddy then.

Well…what should I ask her for?

I noticed I wasn’t wearing any clothes. Not that it was indecent or anything, since my armour skin looked like an undersuit, but I’d probably want something to cover up with if I wanted to blend in better.

“Can you make me some new clothes? Oh! Can you make it like super cool armour and stuff?”

I imagined myself wearing knight armour. I don’t know if that would actually blend in or not, but I’m sure she could figure out something that looked nice.

“Mmm…” She gave me a quick look from head to toe, then snapped her finger. “Absolutely!” she nodded with confidence.

Oh boy! I couldn’t wait to try on whatever she made for me! If dad trusted her skills, no doubt she'd come up with something awesome!

“Give me two hours, and I’ll have something nice for you.”

Two hours to make armour? Wow, how good was she?

You know, in some games the rare item traders were on par with that sort of timing. So maybe I should be grateful that I wouldn’t need to wait too long for gear.

“Oh, before you get lost…” she turned me in the direction of the hallway behind us, pointing to the left corridor, “take those stairs down to the chapel. Your friends are down there waiting for you.”

Yay! I’d get to see everyone again! Finally, some familiar faces. It probably wouldn’t be Indena, but at least Marek and Yamin would be there. Maybe we’d be able to go and find her.


“Yalda!” Yamin called out to me, then gave me a hug. “Oh, it's so good to see you! I’m glad you’re okay!”

Seeing them here was a huge relief. We haven't known each other for long, but we'd gone through a lot together.

“It’s good to see you are alright.” Marek put his right hand on his heart and bowed his head. “We were worried about you.”

I was worried about them too. But it seemed like they were all healed up and right as rain.

“Thank you, both of you."

The fact that Indena wasn't here made this reunion just a bit sour.

"I hope Indena is okay."

“Actually, your Uncle is out there looking for her right now.” Yamin said. “We were told that he showed up and left about twenty minutes ago, just before we were allowed to leave the hospital.”

So, Uncle was here! I couldn’t wait to see him, I knew he’d eventually meet back up with me. Too bad Marek and Yamin didn't get to see Uncle though, but at least he was around.

It was a good idea to go out and find Indena, because that girl could definitely get into trouble if she wanted to.

Marek suggested we leave and go look for her too. I had a little time before Ms. Emily would show up with new clothing, so leaving for a little while sounded okay to me.

As we were about to step through the doorway, Danial the inquisitor jumped in the way to block us.

“Where do you think your going, little angel?” He chuckled. “Trying to get some fresh air, are we? He he hee…”

He definitely had chaotic energy coming off of him.

“I have to go find my friend. She could be in trouble.”

“Ahh…The fire witch? Surely you realize she fraternizes with the enemy.”

Yamin was giving Inquisitor Danial a suspicious face. Her shoulders were stiff and her fists were clenched tightly.

I shook my head at Danial’s accusation. “No. The fire mage was helping protect me while I’m on the surface world. I need to make sure she’s okay.”

“I wouldn’t trust that one.” His eyes shifted around, then he leaned close to me. “She might be trying to trick you into working for…the devil…"

“I’m not here to judge who’s evil. I’m here to protect everyone. I need her to do that, so please let me go and find her.”

Danial the inquisitor seemed taken aback by my words, so much that he took a deep sigh and held his chin in his hand.

“The Lord is wiser than me…so perhaps he sees something in that one? Very well. But please return when you have finished, would you? Cardinal Azori will be upset with me if you were hurt because I let you go outside.”

“What are you, her keeper?” Yamin commented.

“Yes.” Danial nodded with an innocent smile. “She’s too little to be on her own as she is, and somebody needs to protect her.”

That was why I needed to go find Indena and Uncle! Geez. these people, I swear. At least he was letting me outside.

Once we were out, it dawned on me that I was in a real human city.

Hundreds of people, so close to me now, were walking up and down the street, cars were passing by, louder than when I was on the bridge. My sensors were overwhelmed with how many people they were picking up on. I saw all their heartbeats, name tags filled in with question marks and even their physical descriptions.

All that made me take a moment to calibrate my sensors so that they wouldn’t be so overwhelmed. I’d have to do this on the fly, since I didn’t know what to expect going forward into a crowd. For now I turned the sensitivity way down.

“You okay, sweetheart?” Yamin rubbed my back while I sat down on the church steps.

“Yeah…there’s a lot of people here.”

It also smelled really funky. Like, not good. Maybe I was used to fragrant flower fields, but this was like tinkle and car exhaust.

“You’ve never been to a city, have you?” Marek figured. “They’re full of people, all with a duty to keep the wheel of society spinning.”

“That was poetic, Marek.” Yamin smiled.

“Thank you.” He bowed like he was in a theater play. “Once Yalda is ready, we should go and find Indena, no?”

It took me a few moments, but after that we got on the streets to start looking.



It was like someone was calling heavenly words to me. I instinctually found myself moving toward a big wooden stand with a mustached man behind it. The sweet smell of chocolate filled my nose, battling away the wretched odor of the city streets.

“Can I have one hot chocolate, please?” I asked the man.

“Sure.” He smiled and handed me a mug. “That’ll be two pence.”

Uh-oh…I didn’t have money. I had to give the hot chocolate back.

“Here you go.” Yamin pulled out two little coins, but looked at one of them annoyed. “Oh darn it…Not another Pier Token…” She put one of the coins back into her purse and pulled out a different one.

The man accepted her money, then he looked at me with a raised brow. “Hey, kid…Why aren’t you wearing a coat?”

“This suit keeps me warm.” I said, not wanting to explain my armour skin to a stranger.

“No no…” The man reached under the counter and pulled out a small jacket. “This’s been in our lost and found forever. It’s yours now.”

It was a pink jacket with a frilly skirt. It had some wear and tear, but it would cover me up nicely.

“Can’t have a kid walking like that in the cold.” He smiled under his poofy mustache. “Get on outta’ here before I give you more free stuff.”

“Thank you.” Yamin smiled, then nudged me to thank the man.

“Thank you, mister.”

“Bless your heart, kid.” He tipped his white hat and started to serve hot chocolate to the next kid in line.

He was really nice. If only the rest of the city smelled as nice as he was, then this place wouldn’t be so bad.

“That’s a cute jacket.” Yamin said.

It wasn’t my thing. Not that I didn’t like pink…I loved pink, but I loved blue way more. If this were blue, I’d be super happy about that. But it was comfy and cozy, so that was all that mattered. Plus, the man gave me it out of kindness, which made it even nicer.

“Here.” Marek pulled out two coins to hand to Yamin. “You shouldn’t have to pay when I can.”

“Marek…how many times do I have to tell you I’m not poor? I can pay myself.” She gave him a silly smile.

“This has nothing to do with being poor. I just want to give from my excess.”

Even after insisting, Yamin still didn’t take his money. But she did say he could just pay for food later.

The hot coco was really tasty. It was perfect for this cold day. I sipped it a little at a time just to savour it.

After a little while of searching, we still didn’t find Uncle or Indena. It was getting around the time Ms. Emily said she’d have clothing for me, so we’d need to head back to the church.

As we made our way back, we saw two garbage bags shivering on the street.

“What the…?” I poked one.

“Yeep!” It squealed.

A head popped out of the bag. It was a girl my age. She looked all scruffy and dirty.

Another head popped out of the bag next to her, it was a little boy. He looked sick.

My sensors diagnosed the boy with something called rickets.

There was a walking cane next to him, he was clinging to it like a stuffed animal, even though they were both sitting on the curb.

“Please…” The girl looked up to Marek. “Please sir, may we have some money?”

“Time to give from your excess, Marek.” Yamin pleaded with sad eyes.

Marek handed over a few pence to the children, and they thanked him. But those coins weren’t going to cure the boy’s rickets, or keep him warm.

Let’s see…according to my encyclopedia of illnesses, rickets was a disease that happened because of vitamin D deficiency. So this kid needs some milk.

There was milk in my hot coco, and I hadn’t finished it yet.

“Here you go.” I handed the boy the drink.

“What is this?” He took a sniff. “Hot coco?”

I explained his condition to him. This wouldn’t help much, but it would be a start. He was grateful.

Unlike his sister though, he was warm enough to keep from shivering too badly. His sister on the other hand looked like her skin was eczema ridden and she was cold as ice.

I gave her my jacket. I didn’t need it, so I figured she’d get more use out of it anyways.

“Thank you.” She slowly stopped shivering. My body heat really warmed it up for her.

If only I had ointment or something…could healing magic fix eczema? I gave it a try.

“Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. I’ll heal you up as fast as I can.”

Light shot out of me and radiated into the girl. She felt a warm sensation and suddenly her skin cleared up nicely.

Once Yamin noticed I was doing healing magic, she used her body to shield others from seeing.

“The burning stopped!” She cried out. “Thank you!”

“Can you fix my legs too?” The boy asked.

“Please, fix Timmy’s legs!” Excitement shot over her face. “They don’t work like they used to.”

I tried the spell on him, but it didn’t work. Maybe I needed to be stronger or something. Or maybe this spell didn’t work on illnesses.

“Oh well. Thank you for all you’ve done.” The girl said, holding her brother Timmy close.

“No problem.” I smiled. Yamin rubbed my shoulder, and Marek patted my head.

“What’s your name?” The girl asked me.

“I’m Yalda. What’s yours?”

Her name was Alice. She wanted to be friends and I said we could. We’d have to have a playdate or something soon. She said she didn’t have a house, so they were using an old basement as a home. Not a great place for a playdate.

Uncle might let me take her back to The Hive though, then we could play all we wanted. We could even treat her brothers’ condition there. I wonder what playing in The Hive with a friend would be like.

Huh, my first real friend since coming here. The excitement was thrilling! I would have played with her then, but we had to get back to the cathedral.

When we got back, Ms. Emily was waiting there for us inside. She had this nicely folded outfit in her arms, and a little box next to her in the seat.

I introduced her to the other two, and then we took a look at the outfit…

Wow, it looked like a mix of a nice dress and a battle suit. There was this steel chest plate that came up my chest, stopping a little under my heart. Then my forearms got some light armour platting too, and I got a pair of metal gauntlets as well. They framed my arm crystal hearts nicely. She was really good.

It was so cool! I loved it.

“Why does it look like…” Yamin took a look up at a painting of an angel battling a demon. His armour looked a lot like what I was wearing.

“I took a little inspiration off that, and an old picture her father showed me once.”

It was perfect. I bet I was going to wear it everywhere I went. The funny thing about it was that all the armour pieces attached to my body. It was like clipping on an accessory to a toy, that’s how easy it was to put them on.

“How’d you figure out how to do that?” I pointed to the armour pieces.

“I have my ways.” She smiled. “We contractors get a lot of work, so I have a lot of experience.”

She probably had a lot of different odd jobs, so this wasn’t too hard for her I bet. But she didn’t even take my measurements. She must have been really good at eyeing details.

“Madam, your work is as beautiful as you are.” Marek began with a flirty look on his face.

Ms. Emily blushed and smiled.


Then she slapped him really hard! “You’re such a charmer!” She giggled.

Marek’s face turned bright red, he almost teared up from how much it stung.

“Of course…” He winced out, trying to hold a smile. “I aim to please…”

I didn’t take him for the Casanova type. I just kinda’ assumed he and Yamin were already together, even though they said they weren’t. I don’t know. I’m no expert with love.

When we all finished complementing her work, she had to leave to take care of other things, but she handed me a slip of paper with a phone number on it and said to call whenever I needed her.


We continued around the city for a while, keeping an eye out for any trace of Indena or Uncle. A few people gave us tips on seeing a Kanai girl running around. None of them were Indena.

We followed as many of the leads as we could, even broadening them to someone who might just look out of place.

For at least an hour, we were all over looking for them, but there wasn’t any sign of her or Uncle. It was getting colder and darker too, so Yamin and Marek didn’t want to be out too much longer.

“What exactly does your Uncle look like again?”

“Think of that mafia boss from the Mob Brothers 2, but younger.”

Yamin nodded her head. “You mean, he looks like Guido Capone?”

“Yeah. He dresses like him too.” It was a major coincidence that the two of them happened to look alike, since both were made completely separate from each other. Plus, Uncle’s fashion sense had Mr.Capone beat by a few thousand years.

“I haven’t seen that movie.” Marek shrugged.

“Have you seen the Hanzai video game?” I asked. That was a crime and justice game that took place in an eastern country.

Oui.” He nodded.

“He also looks a little like the main character there.”

I’m glad that they got these references, otherwise it would be really hard to explain things. The Hive collected a lot of different data and information about the surface world, and I was able to crack into that storage and watch and play those movies and games. Uncle for sure knows about it, but he hasn’t stopped me from doing it.

I spotted a man in a gray fedora, the kind Uncle likes to wear. But he was turning a corner and I couldn’t see his face. When we got around the corner, he was nowhere in sight.

“He’s gone.” Yamin sighed out in disappointment.

“Oh well,” Marek shrugged. “Hey, does anyone know where we are?”

“What?” Yamin looked at him, shocked. “Marek, I thought you were leading!”

While we were wandering, we must have lost our way. This city wasn’t small, and it was layed out a bit complicated. The church was still in sight, but getting to it was the tricky part.

Yamin saw a small kiosk set up across the street, the woman manning it was starting to pack it up for the night.

“I’ll see if she has a map or something.”

Oh! Wait! Map? I had one of those!

I pulled up my LOCATION tab and checked it out. How did I not think to look at it before?

For good measure, I projected my map from my eyes and let the others see it too.

“She is making a map…from her eyes…” Marek seemed horrified. “She is a robot, no?”

“I’m not a robot.” I answered. “I’m a person.”

So, I had a lot of good news. First things first was that we wouldn’t get lost, since the map was filling out the entire city. I set a waypoint at the cathedral.

Second thing was that I saw Indena’s icon, but it was on the other side of the city.

Third thing, Uncle was right behind me…

“There you are, Young Mistress.” Uncle patted my head. “Making good use of your map, I see?”

“Uncle!” I turned and leapt at him for a hug! Oh it was so good to see him! “Uncle, Uncle! You’ll never believe the crazy stuff we’d gone through!”

“I’m sure. I apologize that it took me so long to find you, but the portal network had to be shut down to prevent any more anomalies.”

I shook my head. “No. Those two managed to portal jump after the network shut down.”

He had no idea how that happened and he was confused as to why Yamin had a Manona Crest. A decorative one, at that.

Uncle explained that, apparently, the portal networks were being hijacked and used by other entities. The reason for this was that it was impossible for us to control them all, since millions came in and out of existence at any given time. Wherever mana flowed through the planet, there was a potential portal network.

It’s like highways vs roads. We controlled the bigger mana highways, whereas the roads were a bit harder to police, since there were so many. Some of those roads might intersect with the highways, and then you’ll have complications. For the most part this was kept in check by our bees, but ever since the incident from last year, it seems that someone has found a way around that.

That no good hacker god must be behind this! Man, I couldn’t wait to deck that guy!

“For the time being, Young Mistress, I’d like to halt any further use of the portals until the problem is solved.”

“Okay.” I nodded. “But how are we going to get to daddy?”

“That is why we need to find Indena. She is the only one who knows his current location.”

“Can’t you figure it out?”

Uncle said he had a map like me, but mine was more complex and recently updated. His didn’t have as many details to it and dad was too far away for him to find.

“Isn’t there some kind of satellite GPS we could link to?” I asked.

“Those were disabled long ago to prevent any interference with human development.” He stroked his chin, curiously considering an idea. “However, it wouldn’t be impossible to reactivate them…regardless, they aren’t available at this time.”

The other two were scratching their heads, most likely because they were completely at a loss for what we were talking about.

I reaffirmed that our main objective was to find Indena, then have her take us back to where dad was. Then we could…

“Hey, Uncle, why does dad want to see me now?”

I just assumed it was because we hadn’t seen each other in years, and he wanted to see me again. But I had a feeling something much bigger was going on around here.

“It is likely that Master Asamo has concluded that a global catastrophe is nigh, and you are needed to prevent it.”

So, this had to do with my prime directive.

I mentioned before that there are Three Commandments that all of dad’s creations have to follow, actually four, but I’ll get to that.

Above those Three Commandments, I have a prime directive to protect humanity from darkness. To defeat an enemy so evil, that they’d want to eradicate all life. Last year, Anima said that the enemy was supposed to be God, but I have my doubts about that. Especially now with this prophecy that I was supposed to defeat the Devil.

All of dads creations were required to put my life above all else. The hidden Fourth Commandment was :

4. Thou must protect Yalda Asamo, she must not come to harm.

But was I really this prophesied hero angel, this so-called; Eighth Star of Heaven who would kill the Devil? The pieces sure did seem to align. Although, I most certainly am not a real angel.

“Uncle, do you think that the darkness is coming to destroy humanity?”

“Wait…” Yamin looked worried. No doubt she was familiar with that, since she was probably affiliated with the church. “What are you talking about?”

The temperature suddenly dropped a good twenty degrees. Yamin and Marek were well underdressed to combat this sudden change in climate. It also got really dark, but the sun wasn’t going to set for another hour.

The strangest part was that people didn’t seem to notice the issue here. They just kept going about their evening like it was any other day. This frosty air wouldn’t be good for them at all.

A sickening feeling churned my stomach. Nothing but dread filled my heart.

I took Uncle’s hand, then shivered. Not because I was cold, but because I knew this situation all too well. It was the same anomaly that happened in the valley…

“The Reaper’s back.”

Mario Nakano 64
Taylor J
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