The Trails of Moonlight

Chapter III Aid's Epilogue: Differences

Oct 20, 430 AR. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Oct 20, 430 AR. 7:00pm

It was a clear, breezy night. Perfect for an evening walk, to clear his head from all the confusion. Strangers hidden within friend, in a different land. It was different. TOO different. For once, he wanted something …familiar.
After half an hour, he decided to stop by the bank near the Starlit River. He makes a long distance call to a friend.

Back at Kingsfall, Brindtsong, someone picks up a phone from a stack of papers. 

"Oh hey, Aid! Haven't heard from you in a while! What's up?"

-———————————————————————————————————

"…so that's what happened," the researcher discussed the events that happened for the last three days.

"Pffft.." the cheery female voice struggled to hold her laughter. 
"Oi. What are you laughing at, Nemesie?" Aid leered at his phone as his senior gave in.

At the other end of the line, a young master researcher with green hair and hazel eyes laughed in her seat. "Sorry, sorry!" she apologized as she stood up and took a kettle from the old coffee maker. "Just like old times, huh, Aid? You always had a knack for attracting all sorts of trouble, eh?" she teased as she poured a cup.

"Its not as if I invited a co-worker with a split personality or an identity thief with avenger's complex on board, did I?" he complained, then started drinking the bottle of sweet cider he had bought in town.
"Mhm… But I bet trouble isn't the only thing you keep attracting, Aid. So remind me, how many damsels in distress have you tried saving already?"
"Hk-!"
He spat out the contents of his mouth. He heard his senior giggling over the phone.
"What the heck are you trying to bring up?" he sneered at his phone as he wiped his mouth.
"I know I told you that 'girls like strong men who can protect them,'  but I didn't know you'd be so active like this. And not just any girls, too! You sure aim high, silly Dreadchase boy~"
Aid rolled his eyes as he listened to her mock him. "I'm not a kid anymore, lady. Sheesh… Its already bad enough I had to hear it from you back then, but now I hear it constantly from Clarisse, too. And will you please quit painting my good nature in a depreciating light?"

He took off his boots and decided to sit on the sandy riverbank, letting the cool, glowing water touch his feet.

"But enough about me, Nemesie. Heard you got your Mastery License for the idea of Recycling Ethermass as an Energy Resource. Congrats. I guess the time I spent helping you paid off, after all."
"It wasn't fancy enough to be worthy of a Blanchemete Prize without a working technological application at the time, but it'll do, I guess. Well worth that ticket to The Dreamers: Photon Fantasy concert, eh" the Master Arcbiologist took a sip from her cup. "I'm leaving that part of the research to YOU, Aid. So, how's the tech?"

The young man took out his gunslash. He smiled at the sight of the reactor's glow and began to eagerly report his findings. "Its doing pretty well, actually. I haven't tested out the plasma blade function quite yet, but the Ethermass ARC reactor provided more than enough power for the rails. Using resolute steel alloy was a good call, too. It didn't bend when I used it as a mace, and the magnetic-"

"And the other?" her tone had more concern as she interrupted him.

It took him a moment to gather his wits and take a deep breath.

"I haven't had a need to rely on it for now. Nor do I intend to," he declared with a steely voice. A sigh came from over the line.

"You're not still beating yourself up over 'that,' are you? " she asked, resting her chin on her palm.

"Look… Aid," she took a sip of coffee before continuing. "That mistake was not yours alone to bear. Perillous bit off more than we can chew, 'tis all… Besides… I'm sure the rest of the team was simply as shocked as I am with what you did. Or what you can do, that is." 

"No matter what I do from now on won't erase the look of terror in your eyes that day in my memory. I turned into a freak… in some of their eyes, a monster… And if I keep down that path… I'd only lose myself as I chase the shadow of another's legacy," his grip on the gun handle tightened… and relaxed within seconds. "Speaking of which, Nemesie… have they found any leads regarding that incident?"

"Nuh-uh.. Besides… with tensions rising here in Aleria, I know Commander is putting Kingsfall's security as top priority. I doubt that the Castlewatch can provide anyone for investigations," she reclined in her seat.

"Rising tensions in Aleria? Of all times… just when I had to be away…"
"For once, I would've said it was better that you were away, but then judging from all that you've told me, it seems like its not much different there in Corseria, isn't it?" she lamented as she took off her glasses. Covered in fog from the steam rising off the mug, she proceeded to wipe the lenses clean. " A group of insurgents has been causing unrest among the nations of Aleria. They haven't named themselves yet, but be prepared just in case they are actually connected to these 'CLF' shenanigans you were talking about."

He nodded to his senior's advice. "Understood. But are you sure you don't need one more hand keeping Kingsfall secure? Or at least help you with your research at Dragon's Descent?"
She smirked. "Don't you have a bunch of kids you should worry about more, you leyline monkey?"

"Erm…" he couldn't reply.

She giggled. "We'll be fine. The Castlewatch can handle it. And Perillous is still in active duty even though we were disbanned. We'll be fine, so you take care of yourself, Clarent," she assured him.

He sighed. "As weird as those callsigns may be, they do bring back memories, don't they… Curtana?"

Clarent… haven't heard that in a while….

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Chuunichi

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