Chapter 2 - Arrival
The town was blocked off. It had a sign above it, Kata-no Village. The wall she was facing appeared to be a large pixel wall, but as she put her hand on it, her hand stopped when it hit the wall. She felt the wall.
"Please give identity," a the wall said. It scanned her. "Box from VOICE detected," it said after a second. "Admission granted." The wall in front of her powered down. She walked into the village. Just then, a blond girl materialized next to her. She was hugging a fluffy white puppy that looked like Boo. Except the fact that it was white.
A taxi drove into the town. A black-haired girl got out just as a lime green-haired boy smashed into it. The smashed taxi drove off. The girl stumbled and ran after the taxi. It disappeared before she could get to it. They were all wearing clothes similar to mine. The girls were wearing dresses, the one who came by taxi wore blue with embroidered raindrops and the other wore red embroidered with fire. The boy had a green tunic with leaves embroidered onto it.
Another boy walked into the square. He was in all white with silver airy swirls on his tunic. He had black hair that flowed down to his shoulders. They all walked toward the center. They recognized that they were here for the same reason.
They stood in awkward silence for a moment. Trina put her hand out. “I’m Trina. It’s nice to meet you all.” We all shook hands. The one in red introduced herself as Katrina. Trina noticed how pretty she was.
“Has anyone told you before how gorgeous you are?” Trina asked her. She shook her head numbly.
“No… I’m ugly. That’s what I’ve always been told.”
“Uh… then what everyone’s been telling you is a lie.” Trina said. “Some girls get that way. They were probably jealous.”
“Oh. Well then, thank you for telling me.” she said. Trina nodded and smiled.
The others then introduced themselves. The other girl was Hachirou. The two boys were Kura and Rezi. She thought about what Voice had told her.
One of these people is a traitor, she thought. But which one?
She ruled out Katrina. The girl had arrived just after her and seemed too sweet to be a spy or traitor. Kura just seemed a bit… clumsy, but she didn’t sense any malice. That left Hachirou or Rezi. Hachirou obviously was skilled at hiding feelings, but that’s where Trina’s empathy came in. She could actually sense what others were feeling. Hachirou was nervous and uncomfortable. Rezi was calm and collected, but there was something else she couldn’t put her finger on.
Rezi had arrived last, but who knew what conversations had gone on in the taxi between Hachirou and whomever else in there? Who knew what hid behind those glasses?
I’ll keep an eye on the two, she finally decided.
“Trina?” Katrina said. She shook herself, bringing her back to the present.
“Sorry. Just thinking. I do a lot of that.”
She noticed Hachirou trying to walk away. She ran after her. “Where are you going?”
Hachirou replied, without turning around,”It’s obvious I’m not supposed to be here. I’m nothing like the rest of you.”
Trina stopped. Hachirou’s logic made no sense. “If you aren’t meant to be here,” she called,” then why are you wearing those clothes? Us three, me, Katrina, and you, are the only ones here wearing this style!” She saw Hachirou looking down at the dress in surprise. She obviously hadn’t noticed it.
The others walked towards them. Hachirou sighed. “I guess I can stay… but if anything happens to prove I’m not meant to be here, I’m leaving.”
“You don’t understand, Hachirou,” Trina told her.”We can’t leave. We’re not in our own time.”
“What?” she gasped. “Then what time are we in?”
“From what I’ve gathered, 1,002,017.” Hachirou gaped at her, but quickly composed herself.
“Well, how do we get back, then?”
“We do whatever we were sent here to do. And to do that, we need you. You’re a part of the team, Hachirou, whether you like it or not.”
She sighed. “Alright, but at the first sign that I don’t belong here I’m leaving.”
“You said that already. But ok.” Trina said. “We’ll just try to prove to you that you do belong here.”
The two walked back toward the main group. They stood there, waiting. Trina walked toward them.
“VOICE!” she called. “We are all together now. What do we do now?”
They heard a rush of wind.
“Hello again, Trina,” called the Voice on the Wind. “Ahhh. You are with the others. You are…”
“Welcome, then, all of you, to 1,002,017. I trust Trina has told you that you are in the future?”
“Yes,” Hachirou told her. Everyone else gaped and looked at her in surprise. “Well, she did tell me!”
“We just got here, Voice,” Trina told her. “I haven’t had time to explain everything!”
“Well then, you are in 1,002,017. You all came from 2017, and were called here for a reason. C.P., the notorious president of the world in this time, is intent on extending her reign through all of time. To do that, she needed to kill 5 people from 1,000,000 years ago. You are those five. You each came here in some technological way. It might have seemed like magic, but technology is that highly advanced now. But to rule time, C.P. needs to rely on ancient, evil magics. No one has ever succeeded in making it work, but that was because they had no proper way of bringing people forward in time. People always died before they made it, rendering the magic ineffectual. But now with the proper technology, C.P. has brought you to the future. She is closer than anyone else to actually completing the spell. And with her intellect and the technology she has on hand, it is very likely she will succeed, unless we find a way to stop her. I have devised a way.”
In accordance with her words, a scroll came rushing down on the wind, unfurling as it came. It rested between the five of them, floating on an unseen table.
Trina stared at the map. “The whole world is a single continent now?” she asked.
“To people from this time, it happened hundreds of years ago, but yes, the world is a single continent. The official title is Serena Lahana, but most call it Higher Earth. Because of the collision of the continents, much land was lost, and that resulted in tidal waves that knocked off even more land. The remaining continent is about the size of your North America, Asia, and Africa put together.”
After a minute, letting us get used to the idea, she spoke again, saying,”I bet you are wondering what this has to do with your task. Map, show your true colors.”
The map lit up. Color spread from the lower right hand corner to the top. What had previously been just a black-and-white map was now flooded with color. In that flood, five glowing points appeared. They looked like flower buds at first, but opened up and looked like open lilies. The style was the same but they were all different in coloring.
One was a vibrant red that faded to orange and then yellow, like a flame. Another was deep blue with turquoise and teal hints, suggesting the ocean. The third was shades of green with some brown thrown in there, very earthy. The fourth was silver and white, like clouds blocking the sun.
But it was the last one that truly drew her attention. The flower was a true golden color with a burst of light yellow at the bottom. Coursing through the petals every few seconds was a bright burst of neon yellow. The instant it hit the bottom, it disappeared.
It looked dangerous and powerful, but was also the most gorgeous flower she’d ever seen. She looked around at the rest of the group. They seemed to be having the same reaction about other flowers. Katrina could not look away from the red one. Hachirou was seemingly mesmerised by the calm blue of the ocean-toned flower. Kura was hardly keeping himself from touching the green one. Rezi just looked at the airy one, but she could sense his longing for it.
“Voice, why are there flowers on the map?”
“They are my plan for stopping C.P. These flowers are connected to you now. You each felt longing for a specific flower, did you not?” The five of them nodded. “That is because you gained power from the one that draws you. Katrina, you are now immune to lava, fire, and any other form of heat that would kill a normal human. You could fly to the sun and live there if you wished. Hachirou, you can breathe underwater and manipulate the tides. Kura can speak with plants and animals. Rezi, you can manipulate the wind.”
After a minute had past to let the four digest what she had just said, she began again,”And now we come to Trina. Your flower is the most powerful and now so are you. You can harness the energy and power of others. You have felt its effect before now, correct?” Trina nodded. “You can also borrow the powers of your team members in times of dire need. You can give others energy. You are basically an endless power source. And you are immune to lightning. When you get your flower, you will be able to command lightning.”
The five gaped at the air.
“Trina, another thing. You will lead this group. You are the youngest, yes, but your optimism, kindness, wisdom, and seriousness when the need arises give you an air of leadership. You are the best choice to lead them. Also, I am certain you are not the traitor.”
“Traitor?” the other four said instantaneously.
“Unfortunately, yes. There is a traitor in your midst. I am quite certain, as I said before, that it is not Trina, but the rest of you I am still unsure of. And back to the topic at hand, Trina, you are to lead them.”
“Me? I’ve always been the random nerdy kid in the corner hiding behind a book, even if I’m somewhat good at running!”
“But you have a good sized group of friends, do you not? Trust me, Trina, you’re the right person for the job.”
“I do, but I’m not one of the ‘popular girls’ who have people who follow them everywhere.”
“That is another reason I chose you. ‘Popular girls’ tend to have a big ego and think way too highly of themselves. You think that you’re loved and you try to improve in areas where you’re lacking. Meanwhile, ‘popular girls’ tend to act like they’re perfect and don’t pay attention to anything except boys and hairstyles and how good their friends look. I’m not saying they all act like that, but that’s how it tends to be.”
“Trina, I think you’d make a wonderful leader,” Katrina said. “I agree you’re young, but I’m around the same age as you. And as Voice said, your strength and determination makes you a person people want to lead them.” Hachirou nodded with agreement. Kura, boy that he was, gave a huge thumbs up and a smile and returned to looking at Hachirou. Rezi just looked at her. He clearly wasn’t one to express his emotions.
“Well then, where’s the closest flower? To here, I mean.”
“Yours, the Lightningflower, is here, in this province, but it’s on the peak of Mount Fulmen over to your right. You can only get it when the other four are present. There’s a pixel wall I set up there, and it shoots down any flying object that’s not completely living. I can’t take it down now.”
“Well then, what’s the next closest?” Rezi asked.
“Katrina’s flower, the Fireflower, is nearest. But it is deep inside the active volcano Mount Kiajuana, for it can only thrive in that kind of heat. Katrina can live in that heat, but she’ll need help.”
“I can help!” Trina said immediately.
“So can I!” Kura said a second later.
“Unfortunately, only one of you can help, as we only have one lava suit. Trina, which of you two do you think should go?”
“It’s Katrina’s flower. I say it’s her choice.”
“Excellent decision. You make a better leader than you think, because you also need to allow others to make decisions. Now, Katrina, who do you want to go with you? Trina or Kura?”
“No offence to you, Kura, but I trust Trina slightly more.” she said quietly.
“None taken!” Kura said cheerfully. He then returned to staring at Hachirou.
“Katrina, can we call you Kat to avoid mix-ups between the two of us?” Trina asked.
“Of course! That’s a good idea, Trina.”
“Good choice. Now, you’ll need a new name and disguises for the trip there. Any ideas for yourselves?”
“Taylor,” Trina said almost immediately.
“Kate,” said Katrina right afterwards.
“Hope.” Hachirou said cooly, triggering giggles from Trina and Kura. “What’s so funny?!?”
“You… might… need… to act… a… bit more… optimistic… for people… to believe... that’s your... name.” Kura said in between laughs.
Hachirou shrugged. “If you can come up with a better name I’ll use it.”
“How about Hailey?” Trina said.
“Or Hazel!” Kura said.
“Good point. I’ll use Hazel.” Hachirou said. Kura blushed after she chose his suggestion.
“I’ll use Kaden.” Kura said after some thought. “I can’t come up with anything else.”
“I have no idea,” Rezi admitted,”except for Robbie. You four have any ideas?”
“How about Reginald?” Trina suggested.
“On second thought, I should probably just use Robbie.” he responded. Everyone else laughed.
“Now, onto the next step. We need disguises.” Katrina said.
“We should probably just dress casual. Do people here still wear jeans? If so, are they considered casual?” Trina asked.
“As a matter of fact, they do! Also, they are still considered casual.”
Trina took out her box and pulled out five pairs of jeans, two for boys and three for girls. She found a pair that would fit her and folded it neatly. She pulled out a light yellow polo and folded it, then started walking to the nearest restroom to change.
“You guys can choose whatever you want to wear so long as it isn’t inappropriate,” Trina called as she made her way into the restroom. She went into a stall to change. She put on the polo and the jeans and removed the lightning charms from her necklace and earrings. She pulled her hair back and went outside again.
Katrina was the only other one done. She, like Trina, had opted for the more professional look. She wore almost exactly what Trina wore, except her polo was red and she wasn’t wearing any jewelry.
Kura came next. He wore a green t-shirt with the words “Bow before me, for I am root” emblazoned on it. It was a programming-ish joke, as Trina well knew, but it was what his powers were based on, too, so it made it that much more funny.
Hachirou was more business-like. She had exchanged the jeans for a knee-length black skirt and wore a white blouse with an ocean-blue tie. She had one of those professional black jackets on over the shirt, and her sunglasses were librarian-style on the bridge of her nose. She looked like a teenaged boss.
Rezi was last. He had swapped the jeans for black pants and wore a white polo shirt with it.
“Oh, Trina, I almost forgot. Here is your FireSuit. You’re probably going to need it.” Voice called.
“How in the world do I use it?” All Trina saw was a mess of wires. And a big red button. She fiddled with the wires, but nothing happened.
She was about to press the button when Voice went, “Don’t use it now! It only has enough power for a single use. You would waste it! Press the button when you’re about to go into the volcano. By my calculations, you should be able to get it in the three day power limit on that thing.”
“Sounds simple. We have disguises… false names… There’s something I’m forgetting.”
“Oh! A map!” Kura said quickly.
“Yes! I couldn’t quite remember what we needed, so thank you, Kura. Ok then, can we have a map?” Trina asked.
The map they had used earlier rolled itself neatly into a scroll and flew into Hachirou hand.
“She’s the best with maps and such. She will be your navigator.” Voice explained.
“Well then, what direction do we go?” Kura asked. “We need to get there, fast! I don’t want to die by being buried alive or something! I don’t like dirt!”
“East.” Hachirou replied. “And I don’t like water, but I guess I can breathe underwater now, so that’s a bit better.”
“Off to the volcano!” Trina cried. The five walked off, ready for an adventure.
President C.P. spun around to face the man behind her. “They are going for the five flowers? The fire, water, lightning and such?”
“Yes, Madam President. That was the last we heard from our spy, Madam President. But I believe they are going for the Fireflower first, Madam President. What should we do?”
“Enough with the ‘Madam President’ing. You are my equal. I lead in peace. You lead in war. Right now we are not in civil war, but you are still my equal, Billy Bob Joe. So-”
“I’ll call you Penny if you call me Joseph, okay?”
“Deal. Now back to the task at hand. You are absolutely sure they are going for the flowers?”
“Yes, Mad-I mean, Penny.”
“Thank you, Joseph. Send men to take them all except our spy. In my eyes, they already did my work for me.”
At the start, Trina and Kat started singing journey songs. Kura joined in soon afterward. Hachirou just smiled, but Rezi was completely expressionless, his face devoid of emotion.
“...the wonderful wizard of OZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!” they finished. Hachirou was laughing, and soon so were Trina, Katrina, and Kura. Rezi was still silent.
If Trina knew no better, she’d say Rezi was the strong, silent type, but she DID know better. Her over-the-top empathic abilities showed her his feelings. As of right now, there was a mixture. Guilt. Anger. Fear. Shame.
Strong, silent types used their silence to make them stronger and helped make them able to bear their burdens more easily. But there was not that much of those emotions. There was always a silent resolution with them as well. She was feeling nothing of the sort coming from Rezi.
“Um… Rezi, are you ok? Your emotions are kind of out of whack.”
“What?” he said, startled. “Oh. I’m fine.”
“Rezi, that does absolutely nothing to convince me. I can feel your emotions, you know. I’m feeling a lot of guilt and shame and fear, not to mention anger. That’s not normal.”
“Oh. I’m mad at the person who dragged us from our homes to a time a million years in the future. Scared of her, too.”
“And the guilt and shame?” Trina asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh. That…” he said, trailing off.
ANND one point for Rezi as traitor, Trina thought. Hachirou’s just… more reserved, it seems. And with the right motivation, she can really be friendly.
She looked at Katrina. Their eyes seemed to say the same thing.
We’re going to need to keep an eye on him.