Inside a a small, damp room, a candle's flame flickered as the winds blew through the window cut out of the solid wooden wall. Outside, chimes sung a soft tune, and as raindrops fell on them, they glistened in the moonlight. There were scratching noises as ink met paper, and the hushed pitter-pat of the rain outside. Inside, a girl was writing. On her shoulder rested a golden butterfly, with only fragile wings, known as the Lumyna. As the sun set, the rain stopped. Soon the quiet drip-drops of the rain were heard no more.
A fire crackled not a mile away from Caprin Base, where the girl was writing. The Renegade was heating some game he had caught during daylight. In his hand he held a metal ball about the width of an apple. He ran his fingers through his dark, black hair with the other hand.
"Come on Dankon... Come out. I fixed your holo-recorder, you won't miss any more battles. You'll be fine."
Just then a bright blue light came out of the sphere and it somehow transformed into an android.
"I'm sorry, I'm so so so sorry!" the android whimpered. His tear shaped head shook and he made crying sounds.
"Aw, you know androids can't cry. Stop it..."
"I missed your last battle though... My job is to record them and analyze them... I FAILED!" Dankon whimpered again.
"Look, buddy, it's okay, it was only their common bugs..."
"I said to use the technical terms. They are Naturias. Regular Types."
"Explain them to me again? I always forget."
"In my programming system, I have labeled all Elementals into different types," Dankon said with a matter-of-factly essence. "There are main different types: A, B, C and D, and they all correspond with a different basic element: Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. There are also Newtypes, which are modified Regular Types that have special powers corresponding with their abilities. The last two types are Type X and Type Y. I am Type Y, the only one in existence, and you remember that the droids can't see me right? I have an Invisi-chip inside, and it allows me to walk right in front of Elementals without them seeing me. Type X is the last type that I know to exist... He is the commander of the Elementals. Some people say there are multiple Type X's."
"Okay... Well! I think I remembered half of that. Let's get moving Dankon. The Elementals won't stop looking for us until – well, you know what I mean."
The two traveled through the jungle with a hastened pace. Although they were on the run, Dankon often stopped to collect data samples from the plants he encountered, and the Renegade popped jokes about how Dankon was a "walking encyclopedia."
"Hey! If I weren't here, you'd probably be in an Elemental prisoner convoy!" shouted Dankon.
"Uh... I guess that's true, but can't you take a joke? Even in war times, you gotta have humor."
After walking for what seemed to be forever, the duo could smell smoke in the distance.
"Can you smell that Dankon? It smells like burning wood! Are you overheating again?"
"How many times must I tell you? You know I can't smell. And I am NOT overheating. I do detect some traces of ash and smoke in the air. We should go and see if someone's in trouble."
"Alright Dankon. You're going to have to collapse into your spherical form again. It's too dangerous for you to walk around. And using your Invisi-chip would use up all of your energy. Save it up for the battle if there is one."
The Renegade began to sprint through the lush jungle, careful of the roots that so often tripped him, eyes peeled for any signs of fire in the jungle. He knew that if there was a fire in the jungle, he would have to find cover fast – the best cover being a lake, or a river. The jungles on this planet, the planet Valerna, were so dense that fire spread quickly and would not stop until it had devoured every last living leaf it could find.
After searching for a while, the Renegade finally came to a cleared area covered heavily by smoke. There were the ruins of what seemed to be a military city sitting in the valley. The Renegade pulled out Dankon and told him,
"I want an area scan. NOW."
"Mhm, well who made YOU the boss?" Dankon muttered. He surveyed the area, and soon became quiet.
"What happened here? There are no life signs or remains of humans. The only dead thing I see is that bird over there."
"Can you scan for any EM wave readings? You should know which frequency they emit, right?" the Renegade asked.
"Sure," Dankon said, "I'll begin scanning."
Just then they both heard a rustling sound. The Renegade quickly unsheathed his electro-blade.
"You keep scanning, I'll guard you," he said.
They sat in silence as the Renegade randomly glanced in different directions. He was certain that whatever was in the bush was not a creature from the forest. He couldn't tell if it was a friend or a foe.
After a few minutes, an Elemental climbed out of the canopy. It was bright red, and its teardrop-shaped head swerved left and right, it's single eye illuminating the darkness with its bright white beam.
"I think he's scanning for us," the Renegade concluded.
"And you think I don't know that?" Dankon said. "I'm 94.6% sure he's the only one left. The rest have gone. He must have a defective circuit."
The Elemental continued to search in the dark, and began to walk around.
"What type is he? I need to know. NOW."
"Hey, don't be pushy, these things take time. Besides, I need to conserve my energy."
Dankon started to walk towards the Elemental. He stopped next to it and began to shine a blue beam of light up and down the Elemental's outer shell. The Renegade steadied his sword, and crouched behind cover. He kept his eye on Dankon, in case the Invisi-chip somehow malfunctioned and the Elemental somehow saw him.
Dankon's beam suddenly stopped. He began to shake violently.
He ran towards the Renegade. Luckily, since the Invisi-chip was still operational, the Elemental couldn't see him, and more luckily, the Elemental couldn't hear him.
"Shhhhhh! You never know if your chip will malfunction again!" the Renegade almost shrieked. "Tone it down! What's the matter anyways?"
"I-I-It's a N-Newtype!"
"I've classified it under Type B, Fire Elements."
"I get it, I get it. Cut to the chase. What's it do?"
"It fires explosive grenades. I believe that the Elementals have destroyed this base by shooting grenades on it."
"Wait, a base? How did you know that?"
"Caprin Base, one of the bigger rebel bases. I hacked into the android's memory. They never put enough protection on their transmission files."
"And what does that have to do with us?"
"Well, if you haven't noticed, you're a rebel. I'm 87.5% certain they were going to help us."
"Look, stop with the percentage thing. And I think we should go search the base. But we need to take out the Elemental first."
The Renegade readied his blade and began to approach the Elemental.
"Setting up holo-recorder now."
The Renegade dashed towards the Elemental.
This'll be a piece of cake, he thought.
Apparently the Elemental thought other wise.
The Renegade swung at the Elemental and missed. The Elemental has somehow moved behind him. He could hear the scraping of metal behind him.
Is he broken? He thought. Or is he just built that way?
The Renegade moved quickly to the left and swung again. He missed.
Darn it! How am I missing?
Just then the Elemental readied itself to attack. It stood still and its arm began to glow.
A red cylinder flew in the air. The Elemental's aiming system must have been compromised, and the grenade landed near Dankon, who for some reason, Dankon was observing another plant.
"Dankon! Watch out!"
Dankon continued collecting the sample.
Dankon finally looked up. The grenade – or whatever it was – began blinking rapidly.
"RUN!" was all the Renegade could shout as Dankon scrambled to his feet.
In the midst of all of that chaos, the Renegade had forgotten that the Elemental was still alive and moving. It had snuck up behind him and loaded again. The Renegade had noticed something though, in the middle of all that: When the Elemental stopped to fire, that was when it was the weakest.
The Renegade sheathed his sword and grabbed his electro-crossbow from his back. He had just acquired the crossbow and this Elemental would be good target practice. He focused the crossbow on the Elemental. He was behind cover, and the only way for the Elemental to reach him was by shooting a grenade. And by the time the Elemental had shot his grenade, he would be missing a piece of his processor. The Renegade began to power up the crossbow and watched the Elemental, taking in every detail. The Elemental paused, looked around, and stood still. It started to charge his launcher. His finger already on the release button, the Renegade pressed it.
The arrow flew through the air with great speed.
The pure bolt of energy shot out of the crossbow and pierced it right through its core.
"Yeah! Haha! Renegade: One, Elemental: Zero," the Renegade chided.
"You know what? You deserve a nickname. I'll call you an Exploisa. Yeah, that fits."
As he celebrated victory, the Renegade looked around for Dankon. He was nowhere to be seen.
"Dankon? Dankon, where are you buddy? C'mon, don't play these games. Seriously. Don't," the Renegade said with worry in his voice.
"I'm over here! In the barracks. Or what used to be the barracks!" said a familiar robotic voice.
"I've found something! Come and see!"
The Renegade hurried over to a half collapsed building. Dankon was sitting on a chair, half-covered in soot from his waist down.
"Hehe, sorry, I was having a little fun," he said as he brushed at the ashes.
"I found this," he said, as he handed the Renegade a letter.
"Is this a letter or something?" the Renegade remarked as he began to read the mysterious piece of paper.
Sycron has told me of the recent arrival of the new rebel within the vicinity of our base. We are not sure whether we should help him or not. We are afraid that the Elementals will discover us, and the rebel may be a valuable ally. The Advisory Council has said that we must wait. And that it all depends on the way he enters our base – it will show if he is a friend or not. I have suggested gifting him with a Lumyna, one with a bond that will be even stronger than the one that Sycron and I have. Sycron and I are to embark tomorrow to find a suitable Lumyna, but the journey will not be easy...
Scout Division Leader
"Hey, uh, Dankon?" the Renegade asked.
"What in the world are Lumynas?"
"I believe that the Lumynas, as they call them, are the golden butterfly-like creatures we saw earlier," he replied.
"Oh, those pesky little things that kept landing on my shoulder... Are they even animals? They keep whispering like they were ghosts or something."
"We must find that girl. She was supposed to be out looking for this 'Lumyna' for us, and she may know what happened to the people here. She's our only chance of finding out why the Elementals attacked this place. And she might be able to help you too..."
"I bet the Elementals just took everyone prisoner. I mean, isn't that what the bad guys do? You know, 'Mwahahahaha I've got some people to interrogate now.' They're probably questioning them as we speak," the Renegade said.
"Whatever they are doing, we need to find this scout. She will be a valuable asset. They would not have made her a division leader for nothing," said Dankon in his matter-of-factly tone again.
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go."
Dankon jumped up and transformed into his spherical shape as the Renegade grabbed him. The Renegade then began to search for Tallika.
"Make sure you search for humans while you're scanning for like, Dankon," reminded the Renegade.
"It will make it easier to find her."
They searched for what again seemed like hours. The sun rose again, and the jungle became quiet for a moment, as if all the creatures in the jungle were stopping to admire its brilliance.
"Wait! Stop! I'm picking up EM readings, and they match those of the Elementals. And I'm picking up a life signal, one of a human," Dankon reported.
"That's got to be her!" the Renegade exclaimed.
"Come on, we need to rescue her."
"Have you forgotten that you are the one carrying me?" Dankon retorted.
The two continued joking and arguing as they approached where the EM signals were coming from. When they neared the site, they quieted down. They began to scout the area and looked for any pieces of evidence that the Elementals were actually there. Dankon transformed back into his android form, and began to go towards the EM signals. The Renegade began to sneak towards where Tallika was supposed to be, hand on his blade.
"Argh! Why won't you die, you stupid robots!" an enraged voice shouted.
The Renegade could hear the sounds of laser bolts firing, followed by the sound of heavy breathing and a single retaliation shot.
"Dankon, we need to help her! Set up your holo-recorder! Be careful, there will probably be stray fire too."
The Renegade rushed towards the battlefield, and unsheathed his blade. He stopped at the edge of the trees to survey the area. The battlefield was a big clearing with tall grass in it. There appeared to be a girl fighting several flying versions of Elementals. The Renegade had previously named their kind the Atmoses, the flying ones, given their ability to fly high. Their only disadvantage was that if their engines were shot down, they would be stranded like fish on a beach. The Renegade had to disable them.
As he ran onto the battlefield, he shouted,
"Shoot for the engines! That's the only way to get 'em!"
The girl turned to look at him.
"If you haven't noticed, that's what I've been TRYING to do. These laser pistols don't exactly have the best aim."
Discontent was clearly written across her face.
"Here," said the Renegade, "Take this."
He tossed her his crossbow.
"Don't use it too much, or it will overheat! Make every shot count."
The Renegade took his blade and climbed onto the nearest branch.
"Toss me your pistol! I'll use it to get them."
The girl threw her pistol to the Renegade as she focused on her first target.
The energy bolt missed its mark.
"Ugh! I missed!" she exclaimed.
"Don't worry, you can hit it. Try a little harder!"
"Sycron, I want you to go to the other side of the battlefield. Focus on my target. Got it?"
The little golden Lumyna buzzed in some sort of language as he leapt off of the Tallika's shoulder. He flew towards a tree on the opposite end and perched there.
Tallika put her fingers to her temple and closed her eyes. Then she opened them. She looked at her target, blinked once, and shot.
The energy bolt hit its mark, right on the dot. It went through two of them. At once.
The Renegade raised his eyebrows in disbelief.
"How did you do that?" he asked.
"It's why we're going to get you a Lumyna," she shouted.
"That way you can see both sides of the field."
The Renegade began his assault on the Atmoses. He left from branch to branch, jumped, and sliced the first Atmos in half. The Atmoses were now focused on him. He left up and grabbed another branch.
Another of Tallika's bolts pierced through another Atmos' armor.
2 left, the Renegade thought.
He vaulted off a tree trunk and quickly shot out the engines of both. The Atmoses fell quite far away from where they were. One fell near Tallika, the other near Sycron.
"Tallika! Watch out!" the Renegade ran to save her. Both Atmoses were charging their blasters.
"Hey.. Wait, what? How do you know my name?"
The Renegade grabbed her by the leg and knocked her down. The Atmoses both shot. The first shot missed them. The second one, however, was not aiming for them. It was aiming for Sycron.
"Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!" a shriek as loud as a hyena's was heard.
The laser had shot Sycron, and consequentially killed him.
"No!" Tallika lurched and grabbed her chest. A tear ran down her cheek.
"Why? Why did you have to die? Why?"
She ran over to his golden wings, all misshapen and dirty, and scooped him up in her cupped hands. She knelt down in the grass and began to weep.
"No! NO! Why, why, why? AAAAAAAAAAH!" She dropped Sycron and grabbed her head.
"Wait, what's happening? Are you okay?"
Worry was written all over the Renegade's face.
"My-my head! It hurts!"
She started to stand up, woozy and unstable.
"When-when a person's Lumyna dies, their chest and head start to throb," she stuttered, "because the connection made between them is severed. It-It is more painful depending on how-how long you have known your Lumyna. I am lucky that I have known Sycron for only a y-year. I have seen some people being carried away in stretchers."
"Weren't you trying to find me one of those guys?" the Renegade asked.
"Yes I – Wait, how did you know that?"
"We found your letter or note or whatever it was at the remains of the base," Dankon said.
"The remains? Does that mean the base is destroyed? Oh no – The base is DESTROYED?"
"Whoa whoa whoa, hold your horses. We'll explain everything on the way to wherever we're supposed to go. You lead the way."
Tallika began to walk slowly. The trio started towards the area in the jungle where the most Lumynas were found. The Renegade and Dankon took turned telling Tallika what had happened. They stopped at night, made camp, and rested for a few hours. Dankon decided to charge himself while he kept watch at camp.
In the morning, they began to make their way towards the spot again. By the time they arrived at the spot it was early morning. They could see the faint glows of the Lumynas everywhere.
"Whoa... This is amazing... Look at all of these Lumynas," marveled the Renegade.
"These plant samples are extraordinary! Look at these plants! Their bio-luminescence is amazing. They glow so brightly."
Dankon began to take plant samples.
"The Advisory Council called this place the Point of Glows. This place used to be restricted to everyone but the Council. I came here once, to get Sycron."
Tallika's eyes grew teary again.
"Look we have to find you a new Lumyna. And I need to find one too," he said.
"So how exactly do we 'connect' with these things? Do we just pick one?"
"'You do not pick from one among them. The one who you are to be with will pick you.' That is an old saying. The people from Caprin Base were not always militant, We were forced to be that way, after the Elemental Occupation," Tallika replied.
"Alright then, I'll sit here and wait," the Renegade said.
Soon enough, the Renegade nodded off. When he woke up, Tallika was standing over him with a new Lumyna perched on her shoulder. It was a medium-sized one with two silver streaks on each of its wings edges.
"His name is Tyvir. He is pretty, is he not?" she smiled.
"And I see that your Lumyna has picked you."
The Renegade looked around.
"I don't see it. Where is it?"
Tallika giggled and pointed at his head.
"Oh," he said, as he reached for his head.
His fingertips brushed the edge of his Lumynas wing. It must have been asleep too, as it stirred and then purred softly.
Hello, someone in his mind said.
It is I, your Lumyna. My name is Mezia.
"Come down, let me look at you. I want to see what you look like," the Renegade said.
The Lumyna hopped down and fluttered to his hand.
"Wow," he said, "Wow."
Mezia was a silver Lumyna with dark metallic gray marks on each wing, and they looked like streaks of charcoal.
"Well," Tallika said, "She is your new Lumyna. You must take good care of her. Do not let her die like I did to mine."
"I won't, I won't," the Renegade said.
"Hello? Has anyone remembered I'm here?"
Dankon walked out of a little cave behind a waterfall. He was covered in what looked like moss.
"Dankon, you're cleaning that off, you know. It's not my job," the Renegade told him.
"And you? What are you going to do?"
The Renegade turned to Tallika. She stood still for a moment and thought.
"I was thinking of staying with you guys. I have no place to return to. No home. Besides, you guys sound like you are desperate for company."
"Are you sure? The life I'm running is no cake walk. I look around every corner expecting an Elemental attack at any second. They already have a ransom on me," the Renegade said, as he inspected his electro-blade.
"Yes, I am sure. I am ready for this. But if I am to join you, I would like to ask one thing: That we must stop by Port Loequi. I have some business there," she said.
"Then we have a deal, Ms. Londe. We will depart for the Port at sunrise. I suggest you get some rest."
The Renegade walked away towards the cave that Dankon was in, and settled down for a nap with his new companion, Mezia.