Carpathia III: Episode 15 - Holy

Rising Falls

Neither Adell nor Artemis thought much of the crystal the old man let them hold in the days afterwards. Adell returned to building his pool. Artemis was thankful that he brought his tools and parts for his mini androids as he continued working trying to fix Phobos and finish Deimos. Deimos was coming along nicely, he felt, but Phobos was becoming frustrating. No matter what alterations he made to the software, Phobos continued to demonstrate a stronger and stronger will of his own, until he finally disobeyed Artemis's instructions altogether and ceased exploring the cliff behind the waterfall. Artemis decided to leave him to his own devices and finish Deimos. He would erase Phobos later.

Eventually, Adell discovered something new to keep him occupied. One day, while he was searching for suitable stones for the embankment he was building, he leaned forward to pick up a large, flat stone. As he reached for it, it scooted away from him. Puzzled, he slowly reached for it again and it scooted across the pebbles a little more. Adell stopped and thought for several moments, unsure of what to do next. He thought, briefly, that the stone itself may be alive, but that seemed unlikely, no matter how alien the world seemed. He wondered if something could be living within or under it. However, he knew that was not so. He didn't understand why, but the feeling inside him said that the force was coming from within himself. He reached forward again, this time with one hand, his palm pointed towards the stone, and concentrated on it. Amazed, he watched it slowly scoot another two feet across the ground.

Building his pool became a much easier task after that. In the days that followed, he devoted himself to practice. He found that he could levitate smaller stones and place them in the embankment he was building. Over the days, he could lift slightly larger and larger stones, but progress was slow. At least he could still push the larger stones into position in the embankment. When he showed his new talent to the old man, he beamed proudly and gave Adell a pat on the back. When Adell inquired if the crystal had something to do with it, the old man nodded. He pointed to the crystal and then spread his arms wide to Adell. Eventually, he came to understand that the old man was telling him that the crystal gave him power over rocks and soil.

Artemis was jealous. He remembered that when he touched the crystal, it had turned green and he asked the old man what sort of power he gained. The old man simply shrugged and Artemis returned to his work, dejected, but hopeful. Days passed he watched enviously as Adell practiced manipulating the rocks and soil while Artemis showed no signs of having any power whatsoever. Since the crystal turned brown when Adell held it and he had power over rocks and soil, he guessed that he likely had power over trees and nature. However, no matter how hard he concentrated on the trees and bushes, nothing happened. Perhaps, he wondered, he didn't receive any powers after all.

Adell stood by his now completed pool in total concentration. He no longer noticed the roar of the falls nor the stifling humidity. The only thing he could see was the stone in front of him between, hovering before his eyes between his outstretched hands. Slowly, he moved his hands between himself and the stone, taking great care to keep it hovering before him. With a yell, he reached out with his mind and gave the stone the strongest push he could muster.

Adell: HA!

The stone rocketed away from him and hit the water with a resounding splash. Every time, he was able to throw the stone slightly farther than the last and he was pleased that the latest one was no different. Wasting no time, he chose another stone and concentrated on it. Slowly, it arose with a wobble from the ground until it was at eye level. He then began to concentrate on stabilizing it. When he was in his deepest concentration, he felt a tug on his pant leg.

Adell: Gah!

The stone dropped, landing on his foot with a thud. Adell dropped to one knee, clutching his foot in pain while, behind him, he could hear the familiar voice of maniacal laughter.

Adell: Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!

Artemis: Haaaa ha ha ha ha!

Adell turned to face his nemesis.

Adell: Dammit, Artemis! What did you do this time?

Artemis: Not me. Her.

Artemis pointed to the ground by Adell. He looked down to see a two-foot tall android standing before him. It wasn't Phobos this time. This android was female, with green hair, a long tail, and ears that resembled pieces of a satellite dish.

Deimos: Greetings, Master Adell. My name is Deimos.

Adell looked back to Artemis in disbelief.

Adell: The hell it was her. You're the one giving her orders.

Artemis: Pfft. Like it matters.

Adell ignored him and checked his foot again. The pain was quickly subsiding and it seemed that he would escape the mishap with only a bruise at most. He stood up again, hoping to resume practice, but the crunch of footsteps growing louder behind him was clear proof that Artemis had no intention of leaving him alone just yet.

Adell: Artemis, go away. I have to concentrate.

Artemis: Oh, am I disturbing you, Mr. Wizard? Well, go ahead and practice. I'll just stand here and watch!

They glared at each other for several moments. Apprehensively, he turned away from him and found another stone with which to practice, deliberately picking a much smaller one in case Artemis tried something again. He focused on it carefully, holding his arms out. The stone rose up just as the others and once again, he suspended it between his hands. When the wobble subsided, he slowly moved his hands between himself and the stone and prepared to give it a shove with his mind.

Artemis: DON'T DROP IT!!!

The stone suddenly flew towards Adell's face. Adell turned his head quickly, but it was not quick enough to dodge. The stone grazed his cheek and landed somewhere in the bushes behind him.

Artemis: Haaaa ha ha ha!

Adell whirled around and faced Artemis again, furious.

Adell: Of all the living things in the universe, I have to be stuck on this piece of dirt with you!

Adell was preparing every curse in his vocabulary to fling at him when he felt something warm slide down the side of his head. He reached up and touched it lightly and looked at his fingers. It was blood. Just then, he felt a sharp pain where the rock grazed his cheek.

Adell: See what you did!

Artemis's expression changed to one of concern, whether genuine or mock concern, Adell could not guess. He remained wary as Artemis approached, mumbling half-hearted apologies..

Artemis: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Let me take a look at it. Deimos, go search the island for anything that can be used to make an antiseptic.

Deimos: Yes, Master Artemis!

Deimos sprinted into the bushes as Artemis continued to approach. Adell began to step backwards.

Adell: Hey, fool me twice, shame on me, but I don't think that expression covers a third time.

Artemis stopped and held up his hands in front of his chest.

Artemis: I just want to take a look. Honest.

Adell wanted the old man to look instead, but he did not know where he was and he didn't want to search the entire island for him with a wound in his head. Hesitantly, he allowed Artemis to approach, ready to react at any instant if he tried something. Artemis held up his hands and brushed Adell's hair away from the wound and checked it carefully. Adell kept a careful eye on Artemis the entire time.

Artemis: It doesn't seem too bad. The scratch is not too deep. We just need to make sure it's clean.

Suddenly, a soft green light emanated from Artemis's hands. As soon as Adell saw it, he leapt away from him immediately.

Adell: Now what are you trying to do?

Adell was shocked to see that, this time at least, Artemis looked genuinely puzzled. He held up his hands and looked at them. They still emitted the same soft, green glow, but it was fading quickly.

Artemis: I... I... I don't know.

Adell suddenly noticed that he had no pain at all anymore. He reached up and lightly touched his head. Nothing. He touched it again more heavily. Again, nothing. He rushed to the edge of the shoreline and scooped up some water. Splashing it on the side of his head, he washed the blood off and felt again. There was no longer a wound on his cheek.

Adell: It's gone. Completely. I don't have a cut here anymore.

Artemis paid no attention to him, still focusing on his own hands.

Artemis: This is the same color... the exact same color the crystal changed to when I touched it.

Like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle sliding neatly into place, Adell suddenly understood the entire picture.

Adell: You have holy power!

Artemis looked up from his hands, his face contorted. He was even more puzzled than before.

Artemis: Holy?

Adell: It's like that game I have! Final Fantasy 56! The old man has the power of fire, and the crystal was red before it gave it to us. Red is fire. When I touched it, it turned brown. Brown is earth power. Light green is holy power in the game, and that's what color it changed to when you touched it.

Artemis: Isn't holy supposed to be white?

Adell shook his head.

Adell: There is no white in the game. Green is the power for healing.

Artemis's face began to shift from puzzlement to disbelief.

Artemis: I got holy power? I don't believe this. I don't fucking believe this!

Adell took a step backwards as Artemis began to shake with rage.

Artemis: Holy?! I can't believe I got holy!!! Of all the things I could get, I got HOLY!!! It could have been fire or electricity... hell, even water would have been better! That stupid old man did this on purpose! I oughta rip off his nuts and shove them down his throat!

Adell: Whoa!

Artemis: DAMMIT!!!

Adell: Erm... You know, if it makes you feel better, the highest level green spells in Final Fantasy 56 are the most powerful in the game, like "divine judgement."

Adell knew he now had Artemis's undivided attention. As soon as he heard "Divine Judgement," his ears flicked straight up on his head and faced forward while his tail suddenly became ramrod straight.

Artemis: Divine judgement? Tell me more!

Adell: In the game, there are three holy attack spells. Divine Judgement, Heaven's Wrath, and Angel Fury. They cost a lot of magic points, but they're very strong.

Artemis: Oo, now those sound like my kind of spells! How do you get to that level?

Adell: Practice, I guess. You have to keep using spells until you build up the experience and learn better ones.

Adell suddenly thought he'd said too much as he watched Artemis smile broadly and quiver with delight.

Artemis: Hee hee hee hee. Haaaaaa ha ha ha ha! MWA HA HA HA HA!!! That's excellent!

Artemis suddenly thrust his arms outwards, hitting Adell in the chest. Adell tumbled backwards, landing hard on the rocks behind him.

Adell: Jerk! What was that for?!

Adell froze when he saw Artemis coming closer to him with a crazed look on his face.

Artemis: Are you hurt? Any cuts? Scratches?

Adell scooted backwards as quickly as he could.

Adell: You stay the hell away from me!

Artemis: I'll have you fixed right up!

Adell turned himself over and stood as quickly as he could. He slipped a little on the loose stones as he started to run, but quickly gained traction and ran as fast as he could with Artemis close behind.

Adell: Get away from me!

Artemis: Wait! I can heal you!

As they ran off down the path, the old man trotted up behind them and stopped, watching them disappear behind the trees. He'd heard Artemis shouting about his holy magic and the old man had a smile of utter delight on his face as he listened to their shouts fading in the distance. He pulled a small knife from his pocket and held it up to the palm of his hand. Slowly and carefully, he drew the blade across his palm. A trickle of blood dribbled down his hand and dripped to the ground. He then ran towards where he last saw Adell and Artemis, cheerfully waving his wounded hand.

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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