They spent the night in the safe spot and while Antares quickly fell asleep, Kian waited for the darkness to set in and looked for the ANTARES in the skies. He focused on Sheera’s mind and sent her another message;
“ We’re safe. DON’T LAND ON THE MOUNTAIN! Find another place! We still have a final confrontation! Your presence would help us. I LOVE YOU!”
He curled up near his friend and soon, he also fell asleep. On the spaceship above, The fiery young woman rushed to the Commander to share the message they were expecting anxiously. A new, proper landing place was detected and the descent of the starship was set in motion. Sean stood with Sheera, watching the image of the new planet slowly closing. They were both worried about Kian…
As the sun rose above the horizon, Kian and Antares woke up, eat something and proceeded towards their final goal: The Council of Elders. Kian took the holographic message of the long departed Commander of the Night Flyers to show it to the Council. It was the message meant to end all animosity between them and help start building a better future.
-I’ve never told you but oddly, you have the same name as our starship-said Kian, flying along with his friend. It’s the name of a star and it’s…beautiful. We, humans, wings or no wings, seem to share a common history that is yet to be known.
Antares became thoughtful for a moment.
-You know, I often wondered if we were the only ones around but I have never expected to find out so soon and in such adventurous conditions…-he added chuckling.
-Neither did I-laughed Kian and they both plunged in the depth of the morning chill.
Soon they reached the border of the Forbidden Continent. They stopped at the cavern and took some rest. They discussed some strategies and dangers involved by their return. Still, Antares was unable to talk about the risks involved by the ritual he had performed in order to save Kian’s life. He could feel his body changing, despite the very short time…but he still hoped that it was due to the Power of Nova acting upon him via Kian.
They looked at each other, smiled and crossed the safety border. The final act was about to unfold.
Sagitarius was pacing up and down the Council Room; he was angry since young Antares helped the prisoner to escape, yet there was a nagging feeling inside him about a slim chance for a ray of light in their lives. This constant fear that marked the history and existence of his people was taking away the pleasure and happiness of living on a beautiful planet. They were able to defend themselves but the seeds of fear and hatred were so deeply rooted that it was almost impossible to ignore them. It was not only deeply annoying but it was degrading. Sagitarius fought hard these overwhelming fears, now that the Angel had escaped. He wanted to believe in his story, but he was worried about the safety of his people.
As the last of the children with direct ascend to the first Night Flyers, he was burdened with more vivid memories of the sufferance and misery endured by those who had been rejected by the Angels simply because they were different and misunderstood. What if he was wrong and that youth was a good liar? Was his people’s safety worth the life of one stranger who knew nothing about them? How much could he trust that Angel?
Beyond his powerful appearance, Sagitarius was only a troubled human being, a hurt and unhappy one. He had no family of his own; he has dedicated his whole life and energy in watching over his people. There was no place for warmth or love in his life….but old age proved to be a bitter and lonely one, after the fuel of youth had burned out.
A guard knocked at the door and announced him that the two fugitives had been spotted and that they were heading to the Council Room. Sagitarius ordered a Council meeting and asked for the most prominent members of the community to show up to witness a possible confrontation. They gathered in less than half an hour, some people gathering outside, waiting for the result of this unusual meeting. After all, curiosity is a basic human trait. The guards were instructed to let the two young men in but to watch the entrance.
Antares and Kian descended and took their way towards the Council Room under the scrutiny of the Night Flyers gathered all around. The massive door opened in front of them and they both proceeded until they stopped in front of The High Council. Sagitarius rose from his place and faced them. He could sense a strong hold between the two youth and a subtle change in their personal aura. Something new. Hmmm…he decided to grab the initiative.
-So-he said in his deep, coarse voice-you’ve decided to return the prisoner to us, young Antares? Guards, take him away!
-Stop!!!-Antares’ voice filled the room. You can’t! He’s protected; I have claimed him and I am a member of this community.
There was a sudden uproar around and even Sagitarius took two steps back.
-You did what?!-he asked incredulously, his face paler than usual.
-I claimed him and performed the ritual; he is mine, and I belong to him. We are one.
Antares spoke in a firm and clear voice though he was shaking from inside. Both their lives were at stakes here.
-You fool…murmured the old man, turning away for a moment. I could order the guards to kill you both since you put our people at risk. But I am willing to give you a chance and let the Council to listen to you.
-That is very generous of you, Elder of The Night Flyers. Last time when we met you weren’t ready to listen.
Kian took the word and a deep silence fell around. He stepped forward facing Sagitarius.
-I have learned a lot about the history of your sufferance in the past, though I can’t pretend that I know all about it. But I know for sure now that you and I, we are members of the same race! YOU ALL here around are my only kin left in the whole Universe! I don’t want to lose this! I have been left behind with an empty planet and no answers. I’m not going to let this chance slip away because of old fears and hurts I am not responsible for!
The Night Flyers listened in awe and in shock to Kian’s words; could it be true that the one they feared was one of them after all? Could this stranger reveal their history? Sagitarius turned his back on him to hide his own confusion; he wasn’t ready to give up.
– Nice try but you cannot prove these allegations! They are no better than your previous lies!
– I came with the proofs, Sagitarius but I’m not sure that you’re ready to face them. I can understand your bitterness and I respect it. But we all need to face our past in order to heal the wounds and have a fresh start. Let me show you what we have found inside the Mount of the Memories and we could talk after that.
The noise in the room was growing in intensity…
“ They were in the ForbiddenLand! Blasphemy! No, they came back safe! Listen to them! Punish them! No, we need to know! We want to know!”
Kian slapped the holographic cube on the large table, making the Elders to jump from their sits and back from it. The image of the late Commander filled the room and his voice restarted the story of the Night Flyers. People around watched and listened in deadly silence. The two young men held close to each other protectively. Kian silently wondered about what Antares’ statement about the two of them really meant, about being…one. He had a sudden feeling that his friend has given in more than he could understand for now.
As the minutes passed by, the Angel looked around scrutinizing the faces; most of them were tense but truly amazed. He spotted Antares’ uncle listening with a stiff and dark face; he was clearly angry and displeased by something. He met Kian’s gaze and he became even darker; his hatred towards the Angel was unmistakable.
The young Night Flyer followed his friends’ gaze and took the full blow of the anger coming from his kin. He shook under the coldness of the stare and averted his eyes, grabbing instinctively Kian’s hand. Kian put a reassuring arm around his shoulder and shielded him, opening his wings.
-I’m here, don’t worry. We are one-he whispered.
Antares swallowed hard; his uncle’s attitude shook him deeply. Suddenly, the world around him seemed to collapse; he leaned against Kian for support and closed his eyes.
The storytelling was coming to its end and people were becoming more and more agitated about all they have heard. Sagitarius himself was sunk in conflicting thoughts; suddenly a guard burst in the room, shouting:
-Your Highness, Sagitarius! The spaceship of the humans has just landed!
Everybody turned towards him for a moment …and then they all rushed out to…watch.
-Seize these two before they escape again!-sneered the old man to the guards but he was a bit late.
Grabbing his friend, Kian disappeared from them and landed safely next to the spaceship. The door opened with a hiss and Sheera came out running, followed by Sean and Gavin. Commander Soren followed them closely, guarded by crew members. The three friends embraced the Angel and they turned towards the confused young Night Flyer. In a split of a moment Sheera noticed the pain and despair in the deep-black eyes, the deep sense of loss coming from the handsome young man. She quickly approached him and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
-I’m Sheera and you must be Kian’s friend. Come inside; let these noisy punks squeeze him for a while. We’ll meet them later.
Like in a dream, Antares let her guide him inside the shining starship; it was very much like the other one buried inside the mountain, yet different. There were also all kind of different beings walking up and down. The complexity of intelligent life opened in front of his incredulous eyes. He felt dizzy and almost stumbled. Luckily they arrived at Kian and Sheera’s personal headquarters and she sat him down on a sofa and handed him a glass of cold drink.
-I have a feeling that this would help; it’s a fruit juice, you can drink it. Kian will be here in a moment. You haven’t told me your name…
She smiled encouragingly at him, her light-green eyes sparkling. For her this young stranger was an instant like; he reminded her of her little brother on Deneb so she decided to take him under her…protection. He looked utterly confused.
-Antares…-came the muffled answer. My name is Antares.
-I see that you rescued him; thank you, my love! Kian’s voice was full of warmth and love; he kissed her and turned to his friend.
-She’s my fiancée and this is our own place. You should stay with us; you’re my family and I’m not sure how things are working outside. Our Commander is talking with the members of the Council. We are safe here, my friend.
Unable to say anything, Antares nodded affirmatively. He sighed, trying to put himself together. Kian sat next to him. Sheera smiled.
-I’ll go find something for you to eat; after that you have to tell me all that happened since you’ve met. I’ve had my share of anxiety up here; I deserve at least a good story.
She left them and Kian turned to Antares.
-We have won the first round but we still need to convince some of them. You are not alone in this.
Antares looked aside.
-But you gonna leave this planet, sooner or later…more probably sooner…
Kian grabbed him by the shoulders.
-I. AM. NOT. I didn’t come here to find my kin and leave. This is my home. You are my family. The planet I have left behind is …empty.
-What about your fiancée? Would she be at home here?
-She has left her planet, Deneb and her own race, the “Cat-people” to share my destiny. We are one…just in a slightly different way-said Kian with a smile.
-I guess you’re right; I worry too much. Have you seen the look on my uncle’s face?
-Yessss…I think that he’s concerned about you. We owe him an explanation. But let’s eat something and have a rest. This was a busy day and tomorrow looks the same.
We have to share something from our quest with Sheera or she’ll let us starve!
They laughed and followed the girl in the kitchen.