Carpathia III: Episode 137: Conversations


The Outlands

Adell and Artemis

Adell: If we manage to get out there, do you think you could operate that thing?

Artemis rubbed his face.

Artemis: If it were just me, no way. I hope with Toma's help that we can. We have to study it first. There's no sense in using it if there's a possibility of splattering us all into the middle of a star.

Adell recoiled and shivered.

Adell: Brr. There's a nice thought.

Artemis shrugged and held out his hand before returning it to his cheek.

Artemis: On the bright side, it would be over so fast, you wouldn't even realize what happened.

Adell: Yes, that makes me feel so much better.

Artemis: Don't worry. We have Phobos and Deimos to help us too, right?

Usually perky and confident, these attributes were not on display when they responded to Artemis this time.

Phobos: We'll do our best, but...

Deimos: Our database on wormholes is very limited.

Adell grimaced and looked to Artemis for reassurance.

Artemis: Well, if we figure it out, then we figure it out. We just have to go there and see what we find.

At that moment, Artemis hopped a bit from his seated position on the porch. Adell was about to ask what was eating him, when he soon discovered that something was, in fact, nibbling his bum. The small, squirrel-like creature evidently found nothing tasty by Artemis's pants and scampered up his back, taking position perched on his shoulder.

Artemis: You know, I do hope we can go back to Carpathia, where they have lab-grown meat. I'm half nekomi, so I need the animal protein, but I'm finding it really hard to go on eating dead animals.

The little creature on Artemis's shoulder nuzzled his chin a few times and then curled up by his neck. In short order, it was asleep.

Adell: I don't blame you at all for that.

Adell cleared his throat conspicuously and turned to Azrael, silently sitting nearby.

Adell: I suppose there's no need to ask if you're coming with us, Azrael.

Azrael: Indeed not.

_______________

Jaze and Toma

With Toma and Kagurain sitting nearby, Jaze mused aloud about the meaning of the monument in the book.

Jaze: What do you think, Toma? As far as I know, there's nothing in nekomi history about tokki and nekomi knowing each other before recently.

Toma stroked his ear thoughtfully for a moment.

Toma: It never came up in any history classes.

Jaze flipped through the pages regarding the wormhole structure several times, skimming the text as he had done many times already.

Jaze: I hope we can get there. It's a long way and Nita's grandmother wrote here that she couldn't get near it.

Jaze then read from the book.

Jaze: "In the distance was a monumental structure, at least as tall as many of the mountains we passed. As though someone turned a whirlpool upside down and placed it in the sky, the clouds swirled around it menacingly. I had hoped to investigate, for this was the most remarkable thing we'd seen yet, but alas, the ground beneath our feet undulated constantly like the flow of a swift stream. It felt profoundly unwise to go nearer."

Toma: We can hope that Adell's ability will be able to get us through.

Jaze: If we actually pull this off, you will get to see your parents again, Kagurain. What do you think of that?

Contrary to Jaze's expectations, Kagurain's ears sagged on his head and his tail drooped when confronted with the notion.

Kagurain: I don't know... I'm kinda scared. What if Mom and Dad don't remember me?

With barely even a second to mull a response to Kagurain, Jaze found himself tackled and laying on the ground with an excitable bat on top of him.

Roose: Jaze!

As soon as Jaze saw Roose's face, the tension drained from his body quickly, now accustomed to his unusual personality.

Jaze: Hi, Roose.

Toma: That was pretty good. I didn't even hear you coming.

Roose's ears twitched excitedly on his head.

Roose: I hear you're going back to... uh... to... what is it again?

Jaze: Carpathia. That's what we're hoping.

Roose: Take me with you!

Jaze's eyes grew wide and, sensing a discussion forthcoming, gave Roose a little push on his shoulders. Taking the hint, Roose scooted backward and allowed Jaze to sit up.

Jaze: There's no guarantee we'll be able to go back. Why do you want to come with us, anyway?

Roose spread his wings wide and pointed at the one on his left.

Roose: You said that Carpathia has great technology. Do you think they can fix my wing? I want to fly again!

Jaze paused for a moment and glanced at Toma, not having considered that Carpathia could do such a thing, but he couldn't see why not.

Jaze: I'd say that between Carpathia and Tokkastra, there's a good chance of it.

Roose smiled heartily, twitching his ears again.

Roose: Then I'm coming!

Jaze didn't see any problem with that, but before he could respond, he caught sight of Jacob coming down the road behind Roose with Aten and Oliver in tow. Both boys seemed nervous, with Oliver pointedly avoiding eye contact by scanning the ground in front of him and Aten tightly clutching his little straw hat close to his chest.

Jacob: I reckon you guys are gonna go check out that keyhole thing. Hopefully, it can take you home. If you are going, I wonder if you'd consider taking these two with you.

While Aten sniffled, Oliver wrenched his arm from Jacob's grip.

Oliver: What if they send me back to Earth? I don't want to go there!

Oliver tried to run away, but Jacob caught his arm again and pulled him close.

Jacob: Jaze, Carpathia won't send him back, right?

Jaze: They won't. It's Carpathia's policy that nobody from Earth can return once they've seen our technology. We don't want it falling into their hands.

Though Oliver still resisted Jacob's grasp, his efforts subsided significantly. At the very least, he seemed less keen on running away.

Oliver: So... I can stay there?

Jaze nodded.

Jaze: And I'm sure my parents will help you out. Mom likes new people.

Jacob kept his grip on Oliver's arm while smiling at him reassuringly.

Jacob: There, you see? You'll be fine and you can get the help you need.

Jaze: What about you, Jacob? Are you coming?

Jacob frowned and adjusted his headband.

Jacob: Nah, I'm gonna stay here. Lotsa work to do, right? All these boys to sort out. Honestly, I don't even know if I'm from New Carpathia or Earth, but I do know that I'm happy here. Oliver needs your Carpathian medicine and Aten...

As soon as his name was mentioned, Aten wrapped his arms around Jacob's leg.

Jacob: He hasn't been here that long and we know he's from Carpathia. I'm sure he must have family waiting for him there.

Aten sniffled and gripped Jacob's leg even more tightly.

Aten: Jacob, I don't want to leave you.

Jacob released Oliver's arm. After hesitating for a moment to make sure Oliver wasn't going to try to run away again, Jacob kneeled on the ground and held Aten gently by his shoulders.

Jacob: Aten, do you remember your mom and dad? Think hard.

Aten put his finger to his mouth while Jacob waited patiently to for him to think.

Aten: Um... Mommy is a kittycat and Daddy is a hairless monkey.

Jacob smiled, as did the others, at Aten's adorable description of his parents.

Jacob: And wouldn't you like to see them again?

Aten sniffled again.

Aten: Yes.

Jaze sat down beside Aten.

Jaze: Don't worry. We'll take care of you on the journey.

_______________

Ryuu

Ryuu sat on the ground cuddled with Zet while Blue sat pensively nearby.

Ryuu: So what do you think, Zet?

Zet massaged Ryuu's ear.

Zet: Since you're going, I will to. Sounds like it might be interesting, at least. I wonder what Kaoru is going to do. I'd like for us all to go together.

Ryuu giggled happily.

Ryuu: Hee hee. I think it's likely that his little family will come.

Ryuu turned his gaze to Blue, who did not appear to have noticed their conversation.

Ryuu: Hey, Blue! When we get back, the other dragons are going to be...

Blue: I'm not going.

Several moments of dead silence passed before a stunned Ryuu could muster the ability to speak.

Ryuu: What? Why?

Blue breathed heavily and hung his head low.

Blue: I'm old, Ryuu, and I used so much energy just getting here and then fighting Wishmaster. I'm not up for another long journey. Besides, these are good people and I think I can help them. There's just one thing I want you to do for me.

Ryuu: Anything!

Blue: I know you're young and that might make this difficult for you, but I want you to take as much of my memory as you can. Share it with the other dragons.

Without a word, Ryuu began his transformation. Within a few seconds, he was again his little fuzzy self, surrounded by the clothes he was wearing.

Ryuu: I'm ready!

_______________

Kaoru

Kaoru sat on the ground with the rest of his family, Quilyon, Reuli, and Wolfram, circled around him.

Kaoru: Honestly, I wouldn't mind going back to the Unassumed Lands to live. I like it there.

Quilyon shifted uncomfortably in the dirt.

Quilyon: The others seem intent on going. What is waiting for you in Carpathia? You said your parents don't pay much attention to you, right?

Kaoru: No, they definitely do not. Besides you guys, I consider Jaze my family now.

Quilyon: Well, that's a point for family, then. What do you think?

Wolfram: I think Zet and Kagurain are going. I don't want to stay if they're going.

Reuli: Even Roose might go.

Quilyon nodded as the more they chatted, the less of a debate there seemed to be.

Quilyon: If we could live a peaceful life, staying wouldn't be so bad, but Wishmaster is still around and so is the King of Zhail. I don't want to raise our baby in a place like that.

Kaoru: There's one more thing. On Carpathia, Artemis's dad can make a new arm for me.

Quilyon, Reuli, and Wolfram all reacted in shock.

Reuli: That's great!

Quilyon: Are you serious?

Kaoru nodded.

Kaoru: Yup.

Quilyon stood and gazed at each of them in turn.

Quilyon: Then that settles it. We're going!


Commissioned art in this episode from:
Miyumon
Atomic Clover
Catnappe143
Jenova87
Thatwildmary
Ensoul
Mountainlaurelarts
Kurama-chan
Kay Jay97
Pokeguin
Iniphineas

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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