Chapter 1 - Earth

Remi closed his eyes and let the world disappear. The melody in his ear carried him slowly from existence. He could feel his spirit leaving his body. Until a not so gentle tap in the head brought him back to the Computer Room, where his homework laid innocently in front of him. The physic questions were answered, but he did not remember when or how.

He looked around to see Xian getting another eraser to throw. "Xian," Remi groaned, "Would you not disturb me in my work." The computer room welcomed him back like only a home could. The garish purple and pink tables were void of the mess that was usually on it. Being the days before the holidays, most of the students have already left.

Xian threw the other eraser. Remi swat it aside in mid flight. "You were sleeping."

"I was recharging."

Xian sighed and rubbed his forehead. Remi could guess what he thought. After a year of sharing anime, ideas, and conversations, it was an easy feat. "Alright, alright," Remi said, getting up from his seat, "I'll go to sleep. I have the morning period off anyway. 'Night"

"Goodnight," Xian said, returning to his anime.

Remi trudged through the hallways of the boarding house, and climbed up the stairs to the top floor. His room was located in the far corner of the boy's block, the farthest away from the two staircases of the block. He once laughed at the room number he got. 4-4, four being the unlucky number, the number of death, and currently Remi would not hesitate to kill whoever had decided to put him in that room.

He opened the door, and instantly the air from the room assaulted him with various chemicals that attacked his sensitive nose. He staggered backward, but braved the wall of odor. He could already hear the explosions and screams originating from his roommate's Xbox 360. Akhmad screamed loudly as some cops chased him across the screen.

Remi was a patient person. He often slept in the midst of loud conversation and blaring music, constraining himself from lashing out and breaking their rather expensive speakers and game system. That day, he cracked.

Down in the computer room, even Xian heard the noise. There was first an outraged cry. Then a sound of shattering glass. He could not help but smile when he heard the scream "GET HIM AWAY FROM THE WINDOW!"

The rain poured gently, perfect for a couple sharing an umbrella. The forest was quiet, almost silent, in anticipation. The woods creaked as if they were leaning in for a better look. A dragonfly danced above the lake, weaving in and out of reeds. It was the last thing that the girl saw.

The sword is raised. Remi ran, trying to stop the blade. But he knew that he could not do it. It was too late. A faint whisper reached his ears. "Thank you. For once you chose me." The blade fell. Remi stared in horror as the girl's head bounced on the ground. He collapsed to his knees, shaking violently. The whisper continued in his head.

"Thank you."

"Thank you."

"Thank you."

Remi woke up panting. His chest felt squeezed by an unknown force, driving him into a fit of coughing. He raised his hand, puzzled. His hands shook beyond his control. He knew he had a nightmare, but already the details were slipping from his mind. He took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself.

He decided that trying to sleep again was useless, grabbed his uniform, a white polo shirt and a pair of black paints, and went to the bathroom to get ready for school.

The stale air of the room nearly suffocated him, as usual. A room shared by four boys never has good ventilation. His roommates were still dead from what looked like a clubbing experience. Remi smirked.

The Xbox 360 lay there innocently, slightly scratched from last night. Remi nudged it with his foot. Go to hell you worthless piece of junk. You're just an inanimate object, you have no rights to screw up my sleeping pattern.

Having the freedom of a boarding house, while attending one of the toughest schools in the country, was never healthy for anyone. Most of the people coped by spending their free time drinking, smoking, and clubbing. For Remi it was a day in the Computer Room laughing it all off with his friends or watching his collection of anime.

Maybe it was the anime. Maybe it was proof of his own insanity. But when he opened the bathroom door and saw an attractive girl wearing outlandish clothes, he could not help but groan. "You gotta be joking. I just finished downloading Air."

The girl stared at him. She looked around the room, clearly confused. She had short gray-white hair that barely reached her shoulders. Her red eyes perfectly contrasted her pale skin, creating an almost ghostly look. Her hand rested on the hilt of a sheathed sword attached to her black leather belt. She was dressed in a tight gray shirt and pants. Over the shirt she wore black armor of a material that seemed similar to steel, which covered the top part of her torso. Fingerless gloves covered her hands.

"What are you do-" Remi started before quickly silencing himself. The girl drew her sword. Remi backed away slowly. There was not much room to swing a sword in the narrow bathroom, but a simple stab would have done the job just as nicely.

The girl thrust the sword forward. Without thinking, Remi side stepped and let the sword glide through the air just next to his chest. Before the girl could withdraw the blade, Remi grabbed onto the hilt of the sword and wrenched it out of her hands. It was surprisingly easy.

It was then that Remi realized that the girl was breathing heavily and her legs were shaking. He looked at her face, now only inches apart from his. She glared at him, her red eyes full of anger and resentment.

Remi looked into her red eyes and suddenly felt a grip on him. It was not a romantic or lustful grip, but a grip of pure power. He could not move. He could not breathe. Fear held him in place, but underneath something blazed, something he had not felt for a long time. Excitement. Power. He did not know where it came from, but he could feel it. Took you long enough.

The girl closed her eyes, breaking her hold on him. She swayed and lost her balance. Before she could hit the floor, Remi caught her. The armor she was wearing was surprisingly light. Her body was covered in sweat and was overheating.

Remi stared down at the girl. Without the sword, and ignoring the armor, she could have easily passed as a student in the school. There were currently no logical reasons for the girl to just show up, unless his friends were extremely bored and had lots of money. He glanced at the sword. Lots and lots of money.

He lifted the girl up and carried her into his part of the room, struggling slightly. With any luck, his roommates would go about their daily routine without looking into his part of the room, like they always did. He lowered her onto his bed. Then he quickly ran to the bathroom, grabbed a towel, and dampened it.

He went back to the girl and put the wet towel on her forehead. Remi looked at her clothes and sighed. Throwing all his embarrassment away, he reached in to take off the girl's armor. A light giggle surprised him.

"There is no need for that," the girl said.

The armor melded together as if it were made of putty and someone were mushing it together. It slowly disappeared into her shirt. Then the long sleeve of the shirt and the hems of her pants shortened. Her shoes dropped from her feet.

Remi jumped back, startled. Then he remembered something. "Don't talk until my roommates are out of the room, I would rather not explain to them why I have a girl on my bed," he said quietly.

"How long would that be?" she whispered.

"Around thirty minutes from now," he said, "so rest for a bit."

The girl sighed and rolled onto her side, facing away from Remi. She squeezed the pillow as tears came from her eyes. After awhile she drifted into a heavy sleep. He pulled up a chair and took a book from his bookshelves. He sat down and started reading. Air will have to wait.

Enshrine woke up, staring at an unfamiliar white ceiling. The wall next to her was covered with posters of drawings. She was sure that's what they were. Drawings of people. The sound of light breathing drew her attention to the person sitting on the chair.

He was dressed very casually, with a very light and flexible shirt and shorts. The clothes makes sense in this environment. It was hot and humid, and the least weight on the shirt the better. He did not seem to be the soldier type, he did not even look like much of a fighter, but he managed to dodge her thrust. It was nothing compared to the speed if she was healthy, but not many soldiers could have done that. Then again he could look at her in the eyes.

She remembered the feeling. It's been so long since someone looked into her eyes and did not cower in terror. It almost felt like he welcomed it. So welcoming, so warm. She blushed slightly from the feeling.

"You know this is very amusing," a voice echoed into her ears, making her jump.

"Jinx?" she whispered.

"You forgot that the nano-suit we gave you have active cams, speakers, and mics," Jinx's voice retorted, "not to mention body sensors. And this has been a very good girl drama. Some of the girls among the crew is already pairing the two of you up."

Enshrine sighed. Why does this always happen? She went to disable the battleship chasing after them and risked her life with an experimental teleporter for them. What did she get? Jeers. "I will kill you for that, Jinx," she whispered hotly.

"Oh dear," Jinx's voice said, "really? Well you might want to grab the nearest N-Drive capable spaceship, because we're almost three hundred pings away."

Enshrine groaned. She couldn't believe she had teleported for such a long distance. "So when will you reach here?"

"We're currently getting the bearing for the N-Drive. It should take us two days. You're in the Geese arm of the Spiral Galaxy AF, by the way. Last time I checked that was hostile environment, but the solar system you're in is unexplored," Jinx said, "You should not have any problems just yet. The energy signal spread from your teleportation will take a day to spread over a planet, and at least a week to reach out of the solar system, so we should have gotten you out by then."

"So there is nothing I can do?" Enshrine asked.

"No. You can go around the city with him though," Jinx said, "take a break. You've needed one for a long long time now. A couple of years at least."

Enshrine closed her eyes and let the annoyance flow out of her. "N-suit, terminate microphone, camera, and speaker functions," she said. Silence once again returned to the room, disturbed only by the gentle noise of the fan and the quiet breathing near her. She wrapped the blanket around her and snuggled into her pillow. If she have to wait for her ship, then she will follow Jinx's advice, and relax.

When Remi woke up, he found the girl sitting up on the bed, looking at his anime posters. She smiled at the pictures. "Which world is this?" she asked, startling him. She no longer seemed confused. The aura of shock that she had when she first arrived had disappeared.

"This is Earth," Remi said, "The third planet of the solar system Sol."

"Earth?" the girl asked.

Remi steeled himself and once again looked into the powerful presence. His chest felt squeezed, almost to the point of pain. His senses felt as if they had become ten times more sensitive, sending unintelligible signals to his brain. His hands trembled from trying to contain the energy. For just a moment he contained the overwhelming experience. "Yes," he said, breathless, "Earth."

What do you see,

He asked her,

A world of darkness

Burning with the light

She answered

Next time on Core Series: Song of the Ancients:


Author's Space:As some of you would have noticed this Chapter 1 is quite different from the other. After a day of thinking, I thought that Enshrine was way too soft in the original version. Plus this way it's longer (which doesn't say much about the story quality, but at least it makes me feel better)

Virage: Thanks for the reviews. Some of the things that inspired me to start writing this story is Stardust Paradise, so thank you for that too. I hope you continue to enjoy this story.