If you missed the last episode, you can find it [url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/224287050/0/0]here[/url], or if you need to find a previous episode, you can find them all in the [url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/220441594/0/0]Master Post[/url]. Please give a bump, upvote, or leave comment if you enjoy this and any other chapter!
The cold metal of the ketch feels strange, almost alien compared to the humid jungles of Venus.
[i]But[/i] this [i]is my home[/i], I can’t help but think as I pause my routine for a moment to wipe the sweat from my brow. [i]So why does it feel so foreign now?[/i]
I refocus my concentration back to the moment, breathing deeply the ether being pumped into the training space. I level my shock blades close to my upper arms, holding my body rigid, disciplined, as I’ve been taught. In a blur, I release the stored energy in a whirl, the lights overhead glinting off my twin blades as I whip them through the air, their edges singing murderously as I perform the practiced moves –
But while I keep my body in a disciplined focus, my mind races through a chaotic jumble of all that’s come to pass in such a short time:
[i]Dra Ge’s conquest of the Houses has begun, though the Sha’Ir already know it and have begun fighting against it, meaning that the Queen must have informed them.
So the Awoken and the Tower have struck an alliance…
And that’s nothing compared to the mystery we encountered on Venus, with the strange Exo…[/i]
But the greatest mystery of all, the true source of the conflict inside my mind, remains Anixias, and my own misgivings, newly born from my experiences on Venus…
[i]My father sent me, his own daughter, to this fate.
My uncle used me, his niece, a princess, to fight in his mad wars.
Only Anixias wanted me to live.
Anixias, who believed in Dra Ge as much as I, but who believed in me even more.
My blades slash through the air, halting at the end of the form – breathing heavily from the exertion, I draw the sweet ether in, feeling its power coursing through me. I try to focus back on my form, but as I begin practicing again, more memories bombard my mind –
* Anixias, I’m sorry, I’m so, so – *
[i]But Anixias closed the distance between us, silencing me as she pulled me forcefully into a tight hug.[/i]
* You forgive me?! *
* I was afraid you wouldn’t forgive me, but I saw that thing, and I was so scared it was going to – that it would… *
I bring my blades down forcefully, clanging them against the deck of the ketch as I snarl and growl, conflicted.
[i]You’ll always be in my heart, Anixias told me[/i], I think as I force myself back to my form, spinning and rolling as the blades sing through the air. [i]Did she really mean…[/i]
I slam the blades agains the deck of the ketch again, shoulders heaving as the truth slowly begins to dawn on me.
[i]She cares for me[/i], I think, my heart thundering into my throat. [i]But more than that, she…
And how do I….[/i]
I growl and snarl again out of frustration, an anger at Anixias growing.
[i]Why’d she have to throw something like this into everything?[/i] I think savagely as I start my form again, blades whipping around my body. [i]As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with Dra Ge and the Sha’Ir and the Reef –[/i]
My foot slips from where it’s supposed to be and I throw the blades violently to the deck out of frustration. One of them skids across the cold metal, skittering to a halt in front of the training arena’s door, which opens to admit Anixias.
For a heartbeat, we simply look at one another in silence, and then she picks up the blade and tosses it back to me. Without a word, she draws her own shock blades and begins circling me, and I immediately fall into the dance, circling around and holding my own weapons up.
[i]If it wasn’t for Anixias,[/i] I find a part of me thinking, [i]we could have earned our glory forever in service to Dra Ge.
But if it wasn’t for her,[/i] another part answers quickly, [i]you’d be dead and forgotten. Would Skolas really elevate your name as he did his own?[/i]
I attack, my frustration and internal conflict focusing itself on Anixias – but she won’t let my pin it all on her. She spins and ducks out of the way, sliding around quickly to attack me from the side – I meet her attack, and quickly use a free arm to punch at her stomach – sensing the sneak attack, she spins again, falling backward to put some distance between us.
* [i]Sneaky,[/i] * she says finally, grinning from the thrill of the fight.
* [i]You’re the one that taught me,[/i] * I snarl back, afraid of what I might show if I don’t maintain my aggressive facade.
* [i]Meaning you’re only as good as what I’ve shown you,[/i] * she grins wider as she suddenly flings one of her blades directly at my head – I dodge it just in time, but in the moment’s distraction she closes the distance between us and sweeps my legs out from under me – in a heartbeat, I feel my body slam against the floor, Anixias’ remaining blade at my throat.
* [i]Only means you’re overconfident,[/i] * I retort brusquely, pulling my shock pistol from its holster and firing – Anixias rolls away to safety, laughing.
* [i]Good![/i] * she grins.
* [i]Stop that![/i] * I retort, rushing to my feet and baring my teeth at her. * [i]I’m not your student anymore! We’re equals – *
* And do you keep saying that for my benefit or yours?[/i] * she counters quickly. * [i]You’re a princess and above me when it suits you, and you’re my equal when it suits you. No matter what you say, you still act just like a princess![/i] *
I roar as I charge forward, swinging wildly, my emotions mixing with the ether in my veins to course through my muscles. Anixias easily parries and dodges my attack, dancing away.
* [i]Hit a nerve, did I? *
* Stop screwing with me!!![/i] * I scream as I throw my blades to the ground in frustration. * [i]What do you want me to mean to you?[/i] *
Anixias calmly sheathes her blades as she meets my eyes.
* [i]I could ask you the same thing. *
* I didn’t want you to save me from the Sha’Ir,[/i] * I growl. * [i]I mean, I did, just like I wanted you to save me from the Lun, but I didn’t, I –[/i] *
Anixias closes the distance between us and tries to hug me again, but I push her away.
* [i]No! I…I don’t….know[/i] * I stammer, conflicted again. Anixias simply stands still, watching me closely. After a moment, she quietly asks:
* [i]What do you want me to mean to you?[/i] *
The question reverberates through my mind.
[i]But there’s so much happening, so much chaos and confusion – the whole universe seems to be coming apart at the seams, so how is it fair to focus on myself at a time like this?
Dra Ge needs me, my people need me, my father needs me….
…but what do I need?[/i]
Anixias cautiously takes a step closer to me.
[i]What do I want to be?
Who do I want to be?[/i]
Anixias takes another step closer, but I remain still.
[i]And who do I want to be there with me?[/i]
I meet Anixias’ eyes as she takes another step, and with a rush I close the gap between us. Anixias hugs me tightly as I fight the tears welling in my eyes.
* [i]What do I mean to you?[/i] * I ask her, voice quavering.
She gingerly kisses my cheek as she hugs me tighter.
* [i]Everything,[/i] * she answers. * [i]For as long as I’ve known you, nothing and no one means more to me than you.[/i] *
Hours later, I wake in my own bed, Anixias’ arm draped over me. A light seems to be shining through the darkness, but in my grogginess I can’t tell from where.
After a moment, the light turns off, and I drift back to sleep.
By the next morning, I’ve forgotten all about it as I wake to see Anixias’ smiling face looking down at me.
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