It's been so long since I have done any real writing. There's been quite a bit going on in my life recently. With college ending, I've been forced into searching for a job which has essentially been taking up all my time. When it hasn't, I've just not felt like writing. So, sorry that it has taken so long to get this chapter done. I want to try to continue writing as much as possible but I have no idea when I'll have time to do anything.


Chapter 2 - A Changed World

"So," Ensho started awkwardly, glancing at his two friends sat on the sofa across from him. "You going to tell me why you're here? I'm not going back to the Elementals."
Eesai and Kosoo looked at one another as if deciding which one of them would answer. Kosoo decided that she would be the one.
"We're not here to bring you back," she said. Ensho raised his eyebrows in doubt. "Honestly, it's the truth. We came looking for you because we were worried—"
"You were worried, Kosoo," Eesai interrupted. "I came along because I couldn't let you go alone."
Kosoo had spent plenty of time with Eesai so she knew when he was telling the truth or when he was lying to cover his own embarrassment. This was certainly one of the latter situations and it annoyed Kosoo that Eesai wouldn't just tell the truth.
"Sure it was," Kosoo replied, smirking slightly. "I didn't just spend the last three-plus cycles with you worrying daily whether Ensho was alright."
Eesai frowned, if Kosoo was trying to embarrass him, then he was going to do the same to her.
"Really, Kosoo? I remember things a bit differently. I could've sworn it was you who was worrying daily about 'your beloved En—'" Eesai was cut off by Kosoo as she stamped her heel into his foot.
Ensho looked at the pair of them and sighed.
Today is so grey. Why did they have to show up today?
"Listen, I'm not particularly in the mood for your silliness," Ensho said. "Can you just explain what you are doing here? You can't have come just because you were worried."
"We figured we would come to lend a hand!" Eesai replied quickly.
"Lend a hand?"
"We want to help you find Shinken," Kosoo explained. "You're still looking for him, right?"
Ensho's lips twitched at the mention of Shinken. He hated him with everything he had. His entire drive for the past three cycles had come from the desire to find Shinken and the continuous struggles of finding anything to do with him.
"Of course I am still looking for him," Ensho growled.
"Then let us help," Kosoo said.
"No," it was a short and simple response but it held all of Ensho's feelings on the subject. He had already lost Socan because of Shinken; he wasn't about to put two more people in danger because of him. It was bad enough that he still couldn't figure out why Socan's death afflicted him as it did. He wasn't sure he could deal with worrying about two more friends as well.
"Sorry, Ensho, we're not giving you a choice," Eesai said. "We haven't been wandering around for three cycles just for you to tell us to go back home and wait for news."
"We've been through our own struggles just to get here, we aren't turning back now," Kosoo added.
"You're so stubborn."

As you're all aware, three and a half cycles ago, three worlds merged together into one. Chaos filled the streets as the three species tried to come to terms with their situations. In the space of one day, three species made first contact with each other. The humans finally had the answer as to whether or not they were alone in the universe. The chashians tried to figure out how things fit into their beliefs now that two more species had appeared before them. The Fen'ToShi-ans did what they did best; they hid away and tried to figure out whether the humans and chashians were safe.

The three tried to avoid each other as much as they could, trying not to even look at someone of a different species. They were all unsure as to what they should do. But, when the population of three planets are suddenly thrown together, interaction is inevitable. The biggest difficulty was for the Fen'ToShi-ans who spoke an entirely different language than the humans and chashians. The other two found communication easy after they discovered their languages were almost identical. However, the similarities in language caused more problems. Humans, being as diverse as they are, had once struggled with racism; hating on each other for no other reason than their different ethnic origins. The chashians though, who are all very similar across the planet (and even then, they had very little interaction with each other), had never experienced such things. Some chashians looked at humans as if they were inferior while many humans—who were believed to have moved past such things—reacted similarly to the chashians. This was only magnified once the secret about chashian abilities was discovered. Many chashians were exposed to new elements when the worlds merged, awakening their latent abilities. As such, numerous incidents occurred where they accidentally used their abilities and caused trouble. The humans became jealous of this power and even more of a rift between the species occurred. The humans felt powerless against the versatility of the Fen'ToShi-ans and the pure science-bending power of the chashians. To say that things were difficult between the three species was something of an understatement.

High in the sky, Sanctuary still floated around. Some of the flying islands of FenTosh had fallen during the merging but Sanctuary's was one that had not. But, with the way Sakoni was storming around, it still might fall.

She slammed her fist into the door, her intent being to knock but her actions were more violent than even she expected. She hit the door again.
"Kotun, answer this door right now!" she shouted. Her face was full of rage as her eyes flashed with anger.
Once more she hit the door but this time Kotun narrowly opened it before her fist hit, resulting in the door being flung open.
"Ah, Sakoni," Kotun said with a wry smile. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"You know why I am here!" she snapped, electricity crackling off of her body and frying the air as she spoke. "You've put an illusion in my room, again!"
"Did I?" Kotun replied with the fakest innocent voice he could muster.
"You did," Sakoni growled. "Now, get rid of it or you'll be finding out the effects of high current electricity running through your body."
"Okay, okay. But first, you'll have to remind me of which illusion you mean?"
"The one where everything in my room is on fire!" she shouted.
"Ah, yes. Now I remember," he clicked his fingers. "It's gone."
"It better be or next time I won't be giving you a warning, I'll just fry your brain," Sakoni said, turning away to return to her room.
"You said that last time and the time before," Kotun muttered.
"Did you say something?"
"No, nothing," he replied. He then watched Sakoni's back as she disappeared around the curvature of the corridor. "You're just so easy to annoy," he said to himself, clicking his fingers again.

Hoson, in many ways, was glad things were quieter for him. Granted, he couldn't talk—a fact that made him smile whenever he thought about how quiet things were for him—but even then, things were quiet. He had watched Kenfu and Kosaken leave this morning after a request for help was sent out; they'd had an increasing number of requests lately and those two were the only ones who really went out to help. Kotun claimed to be busy but in reality, he was spending his time annoying Sakoni. At least twice a day you would be able to hear her storming around to go shout at Kotun. The only reason she stayed was she said she felt uncomfortable around new people which was fine but it was inhibiting the amount they could do. But, if they wanted to talk about inhibiting things, then there was Rakushi.

Things had been a little awkward when Ensho ran off but when Kosoo and Eesai followed after him, things got worse. He had already doubted his ability to lead the group after everything that happened with Shinken. But some harsh words from Kotun, while the others ignored him, had made things harder. Now, only Hoson went to visit him. There wasn't much of a conversation, with things only ever consisting of a few muttered words from Rakushi, but Hoson wanted to stay by Rakushi and support him. Recently though, even that had stopped. Rakushi just sat there, staring out into the distance with black bags under his eyes.

Today, Rakushi spoke a little bit more than usual when Hoson went to see him. Hoson settled down a mug of coffee—Rakushi had found he rather liked the hot beverage—and stood across him. From the other side of the desk, Rakushi sighed.
"That was Sakoni, wasn't it? The one who was storming around?" he asked.
Hoson nodded in reply causing Rakushi to sigh again.
"I wish Kotun would stop antagonising her. Where are the others?" Rakushi took a sip from his mug.
Scratching the back of his head, Hoson looked away from Rakushi, breaking their eye contact for the first time.
"I see. So, they're out helping someone. At least someone is still doing that." They're doing that because you taught them that was the right thing to do; to help others when they requested it. "I still don't know what I should do, Hoson. They don't even come to check on me anymore. They just go about their daily lives; you're the only one who comes to see me." Rakushi swivelled his seat around so his back was now facing Hoson.
Hoson looked at his friends back with sadness in his eyes. He too wasn't sure what to do. The Elementals were a family to him, the first people to care for him after he had his tongue cut out. He wanted to see them all happy. But Rakushi was so much more than that. He was special to Hoson and right now, he was in pain. He lifted his hand towards Rakushi's back before sighing and dropping it to his side once more. Right now, emotions wouldn't be able to help.
"I still worry about Ensho," Rakushi said. "I wish we could—I could—have done better for him. Now, all I can hope for is that Kosoo and Eesai can help him."
Hoson felt the same. He too wanted Kosoo and Eesai to be able to help Ensho but right now, all he wanted was for someone or something to be able to help Rakushi.

Kosoo stretched out in the bath. Ensho hadn't been happy with her and Eesai's appearance but he was at least being nice enough to let them stay for a while. Kosoo was just grateful for the bath. It was deep and the water had a perfect warmth that soaked into her skin. It was the first time she had been able to relax since she left Sanctuary. She had travelled around a changed world chasing after small rumours of anyone who could've been Ensho. The deserts of Chasha had shrunk down to covering a few places. The forests of FenTosh had taken over where there had once been sand. The technology and infrastructure of Earth had risen out of the ground. Everything was so different. It was understandable why everyone was in such a state.

Kosoo shook herself out of her thoughts as she heard a creaking outside the door.
"Ensho, is that you?" she asked.
"Yeah," he replied. "I found some clothes for you that are in a much better condition than the ones you were travelling in."
"Thanks," she said. She stayed quiet for a few seconds before speaking again. "Ensho, I know you're not happy that we came to find you. We really do care about you. Eesai won't admit it but we both cared; you left an impact on us, and we couldn't just leave you. You've chosen a difficult thing to do and don't have to do it alone. I guess it is a little selfish for us to try to force ourselves to join you, but that's what friends do. They put themselves in harm's way to help each other."
There was no response from Ensho.
"Ensho?"
Still nothing. Kosoo sighed.
"We really just want to help you Ensho."