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October 16, 2012
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Chapter 10: Decision of Despair

Jayna put on her brown pants, made of preserved animal hides, and her shirt made of animal fur. She preferred these clothes over the tight-fitting uniform of Aquasphe any day! She put on her boots, then walked outside of her cabin.

Her first thought was of Zanner: how was he doing? He had nearly bled to death the other day,  but luckily Salea had managed to stop it.

But that reminded her of the Curer's teases. Jayna had been raised by the woman, alongside another girl, so they were somewhat like mother and daughter. So of course, Salea had noticed Jayna's interest in Zanner…and she had been teasing her about it for days.

She tried to shrug the embarrassment away, and headed towards the forest, making a point to look calm. Even if there were nobody around to see her. She trekked through the somewhat-thinner brush in the forest and emerged on the other side, immediately spotting Minson and Salea talking. The two had left the cabin center and headed towards the forest a bit, obviously to get away from others without causing alarm. (If they had met in his house or hers, the other villagers would have seen and suspected something was up.)

Jayna walked over to them, and as she did, she overheard Salea speaking:

"I don't really understand it. Nothing I've given him should be making him feel worse! He was acting sick last night, too."

"Hm…perhaps those Biodome people did something to him." Minson suggested as Jayna neared them. Then he turned to face her, nodded a greeting, and turned back to the Curer. "Serel said it's common for them to mistreat people like him."

They both dropped the subject and turned to Jayna as she stopped close to them. "What are you talking about? Zanner?"

Salea nodded. "He woke up yesterday morning not feeling well, and he hasn't really improved."

Jayna opened her mouth to talk, but just as she did, she saw a silver clothed man walk past the house they were standing behind.

Minson and Salea noticed her staring at the man, and turned to look. "What in the world is he doing?" the Curer sounded bewildered. "I told him to stay in bed!"

"Perhaps he wishes to speak with Jayna?" The Elder suggested, turning to look at her.

Jayna felt herself blushing. "I doubt that…" She said, lowering her head embarrassedly.

"He is headed towards your house." Salea pointed out. "Regardless, maybe it would help for you to talk to him? He seems closer to you than anyone else here."

Jayna was feeling frustrated now. Why did it have to be her? Trying not to show her anger, she turned around and walked off, not towards Zanner, but towards the path in the woods.

When she came out of the brush on the other side, she looked around for the man, and spotted him walking as if he were about to pass her house. She hurried over to him, calling his name.

Zanner stopped walking and turned towards her. He must not be feeling TOO bad, she noted; he smiled at her. "Hello."

"Where are you going? There's nothing but wilderness beyond my house."

"Not feeling well…so I decided to take a walk." He answered with a chuckle.

His feinted happiness was easy to see through; he wasn't ill, she could tell, he was upset. "You may have the Power of Sight, but that doesn't mean I'm blind to what is hidden. What's troubling you?"

His smile faded, and he turned away. After a moment, he began to walk again, in the direction he had originally been headed.

She glanced back at the forest to see that Salea had followed. 'Ugh…is she going to bring this up later?' Jayna thought disgustedly, before turning and hurrying after the man.

As she caught up, she heard him speak. "You come…from a biodome city, right?"

"…Yes?" She was taken aback by his question.

Zanner stopped walking, but he didn't turn to face her. He kept his head lowered as he spoke again. "Your life there…was it good?" His voice was…unusually cold and unfeeling.

"N-No…I…was what they called a Parentless. The city despised me…but I accidentally warped out of there when I was ten." She hesitated. "…Why do you ask?"

There was a moment of silence. "Did they…teach you about the old world in school?"

She shook her head, though he couldn't see her do so. "I didn't go to school. Parentless are forbidden from doing so."

"When I was seven…in First School…they began my learning experience like they did all children—teaching us of our world's history. It…was taught to us in a negative light. Their intention was to engrave it into every child's brain that biodome living is the best way to live."

There was a pause, and then he chuckled. "Funny how something they intended to use to impact me negatively actually did quite the opposite. They filled the simulation with things that could actually physically harm me, and things that were supposed to be annoying or scary. But it amazed me. It filled me with the desire to see that world—for real."

She blinked. Where was he going with this? Certainly childhood memories wasn't what was upsetting him?

He sighed, and his head lowered a bit more. "Jayna…I know where the three orbs are located now…but the thing is…will we truly be justified in taking them? Blazepoint, Aquasphe and your village have thrived off of the Orbs' power for generations…your villagers will understand, but the Biodome Folk will not."

He turned to face her, his light blue eyes filled with despair. "To them, we will be the evil ones—infiltrating the city, attacking the government officials, and taking the Orb which their city has been built around. We have to hurt people—we have to take their happiness. Is…that truly right?"

She thought carefully about her answer. He was clearly upset; he looked like he was about to start crying, though he had somehow managed to force it from his voice. She had to say something to cheer him up…but what could she say? After a second, she realized she shouldn't make him wait too long for her answer, or he might guess her answer. "I don't think…they're truly happy, Zanner."

The man turned away. "Zeler was…that's why he wanted to go back."

"Zeler is just a child—or rather, a youth. He wasn't ready to live independently from his mother yet. And honestly…I can't blame him for not liking this world of half-light. But if the world was restored, he might not want to stay in the biodomes after all."

There was a long moment of silence between them.

"You don't have to worry about this village." Jayna said, forcing her voice to be cheerful. "The Land Orb only livens the land on a yearly bases through the Celebration of Life. There's a full year until it will be needed again. And…and now that the villagers know about my ability, I don't think they'll argue with us if we take it."

"No—the Land Orb must be taken last." Zanner said, shaking his head. "Plants require sun and water to grow. The Water Orb produces a lot of water…it needs sunlight to evaporate the water so that it doesn't flood the landscape. We first need the Sky Orb…"

There was a moment of silence, then he turned to face her. His blue eyes displayed fear, his expressions solemn. Then he spoke in a tone that voiced his despair. "The Sky Orb…is in Blazepoint."

She blinked at him, not understanding his feelings for a moment.

Then she remembered his mother's worried words: "You'll be executed if they find out you're in Blazepoint!"

Zanner sighed and looked downward. "I…I want the world to be better…but I've lost the motivation. Is it really worth it? Is it really worth my life? Is it really worth destroying the world as people know it?"

"Yes!" She answered without any hesitation, stepping towards him. "The world can't go on like this forever, Zanner!  Just look-" she pointed beyond him, to the barren terrain that could be seen in the distant darkness. "That whole area used to be full of plant life! Every ten years, we lose a foot of growth."

Zanner calmly turned to look towards the barren land. He gazed upon it for a long moment, before turning back to her with a composed expression. Though he looked her in the eye thoughtfully, something told her that his thoughts were not of the barren soil that had once been fertile. No…he was gazing at her irises again—one of very few things that appeared to him in color.

Then he chuckled. "I wonder how we got these powers." He said, his tone light. "Are they in our genetics? Or are they something else entirely?"

She blinked at him. That was quite a random topic change…

"Your eyes are what display in color to me, but Lai's color was in his hair. I wonder why that is." He laughed.

She…couldn't help but to smile in return. It felt stupid to smile about something like that, but his charming smile was contagious. "I'm not sure…surely it's not just the embodiment of the power you see? I'd have thought mine would be in my hands!" she giggled.

"And mine would be in the eyes." He added, laughing.

After their moment of light-heartedness had ended, Zanner looked out beyond Jayna. "Right…I suppose Salea might would be getting worried about me by now…"

"Yes…she should be."

"Then I'll go back." He began to walk past her, and stopped to place a hand on her shoulder. "Thank you…" he said with his endearing smile, before taking his hand off of her and walking away.

Her heart had fluttered the few seconds he had touched her, but she hadn't realized it until after he had begun to walk away. For a minute she allowed herself to think about how happy a life she and the former biodome-dwelling man could lead here together…

Then she shut it all off as she shook her head to clear it. There was no time for that! She turned and hurried after him.

That night, she had an unusual dream. One that, when she woke the next morning, she realized was absolutely absurd. She had dreamed of the World of Light—though she had never seen it. It was a shame that the dream world was never seen in full color. Perhaps then she could see what had inspired Zanner so much that he dedicated his life to finding out more about it.

Of course, that might not have even been what the world of light looked like at all. A blue sky, a bright light source, entire plains covered in grass…how strange! She wondered how in the world she had dreamed of it.

She had also dreamed of a woman with dark brown hair…but that wasn't the first time the mysterious woman had showed up in her dreams. Salea had suggested that perhaps it was Jayna's body remembering her mother. As if. Salea had some of the weirdest things coming out of her mouth sometimes. Like how Mountain Fever was caused not by the mountains but the clouds. Jayna had climbed a mountain a long time ago, trying to get Mountain Fever for a silly, childish reason. Those clouds were nowhere near the mountains!

She laid back and thought about the plot of her dream. Of course, like most dreams, it tended to jump about randomly. She had started coming out of her house and found herself in the World of Light. She wandered around the grass-covered plains a bit before finding the odd dark brown-haired woman. Somehow the woman had known her name, which was a first. That had not been what dream Jayna had wanted to find—she had been looking for the village!

What an odd experience that would have been—to suddenly find herself in the World of Light. It would be like the event that happened in her childhood all over again! She had been walking through a building door, dreaming of what he world had been like on the other side, and wound up here, in the village.

She remembered Zanner's question, about how the biodome folk would feel about this world of light. Yes, she did recall thinking that it was the weirdest thing she had ever seen: ground that was carpeted with thin stalks of material that were actually alive. People eating fruits, vegetables and even (on occasions) the meat of an animal.

…Yet…she was glad for it now. Though she hadn't understood back then, and had been reluctant to adjust to the new setting, she knew it was the best thing to ever happen to her.

Perhaps…the biodome folk would be like that as well. At first they'd hate their new world—one of light and life—but eventually they would realize that they had grown fond of it. Yes, that's how it would be. She would have to tell Zanner in the morning.
Previous Chapter

Zanner continues questioning the true reason behind his desires. This is a short chapter and covers very little of the actual day it occurred on. Wait until the next one. :P
p-o-c-k-e-t Oct 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
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