Time for a change in the subject.
"Well, I was able to find out what's going on with the rest of the Dragon Tribes while I was at the hanger," R.D. mentioned.
"What's going on, then?"
"Apparently Ziatoch and the remaining Beasts are at open war with each other," R.D. said. "Gouki's laid siege to Shayol Ghul, so when the Dragon Tribes left Antarctica after I defeated Sheena, they had to take the long way around to get to Japan."
He explained that somewhere in Japan was a location called the Gray Mountain, where some extremely powerful and extremely gutsy warriors lived, and that the dragons planned on making an alliance with them, since Juno's old army had been decimated in Antarctica. "Things are made further complicated, though, by the fact that Juno's gone missing. They have no idea where he went, so Relayia sent another dragon out to Kattelox, because one of the Pillars of Dawn is there."
"So what does that mean for us?" Matt asked.
"Well, I don't know if you remember what Aisha told us about the Pillars, but I do," R.D. said. "If even one of those gets broken, this whole world will get burnt to a cinder."
Edited by RisingDragon on July 16, 2009 at 19:16:10.
"That's stupid! Don't they have a failsafe for that or something?"
"Yeah, Matt, they do: The Daughters," R.D. said, looking at Matt as if he should know this already. Which, really, he should. "They're the ones who make sure that the Pillars don't get destroyed. But you know how cheap the bastards here are. Remember Bruno?"
Matt leaned back. "Ah, yes. That asshole. I just hope we don't run into another guy like that."
"We can only hope," R.D. nodded in agreement.
"Who's Bruno?" Ileyna asked, cocking her head to the side. Her beret inevitably slipped.
"The only enemy minion we couldn't kill," R.D. muttered irritably.
Matt folded his arms, snug in his jacket. "I still feel we got cheated there. I mean, I was pulling out all the stops, but the jerk kept one-upping me. It got stupid."
"Once Lumiya finishes repairing, I'll be able to beat him if he shows up," R.D. assured him. "I was a lot more stronger than I was when we fought him."
"How can you be sure he won't stay away?" Ileyna asked. She had already straightened her beret.
"We just need to stay away from Japan or Shayol Ghul," R.D. said. "That way we won't run into Bruno and we won't have to drag Alasea out of a fight with Cora."
"That could be hot," Matt said.
"Matt!" Hugo cut in, glaring at him.
"What? She'll live," Matt said, and he tipped his head towards Ileyna.
"That, uh, wasn't why Hugo was yelling at you, Matt," R.D. suddenly said. He sounded strange.
R.D. pointed a thumb at the door. Standing in the doorframe was Alasea, and she did not look amused.
"I really hope this isn't what you guys talk about when me or Helena isn't around," she said.
"And with a nine-year-old in the room, no less!" Matt chirped.
Yeah, he got caught. Might as well shoot the shit some more.
"You guys are incorrigible," Alasea muttered, shaking her head. Her hair fluttered slightly with the movement. Moving over, she sat down on her own bunk. "So where's Helena at now, anyway?"
"I took her back up to the hanger to meet up with the dragons," replied R.D.. "She should still be training with them."
"How long is that going to take?" Hugo asked.
"It'll probably be a good bit," Matt said. Of course, he didn't know. Maybe this was super special instant ramen training. He wasn't a dragon, how could he tell?
Alasea looked over at R.D., expecting an answer.
"Don't look at me," he said defensively. "I just harbor the soul of one, that doesn't make me an instant expert on their entire species."
"Maybe we should go check up on her in a little bit then," Ileyna suggested as she sat down on the edge of Matt's bunk, next to him.
"We will," Matt said.
Several hours later, the group made their way to the mess hall as the dinner hour rang. Along the way, they ran into Helena, whom had apparently been sent back for the moment by the dragons.
"Wow, Helena," R.D. commented. "You look like hell."
She did look like hell. Surprisingly, her clothing was mostly intact, though it was singed in various places. But Matt could tell she was shit tired-her hair was uneven and she regarded them with half of a serious glance.
"Don't want to talk," she muttered.
"How hard is it?" Hugo asked. "Tough?" Helena nodded. "Well, keep it up. You can do it."
"Come on, Helena," Alasea said kindly, taking the girl by the hand. "Let's go get you something to eat."
"Maybe one of us should go back with you," Matt said, as they walked her to the mess hall. "You know, to give you encouragement."
"If you want," Helena managed. "I don't know if the dragons'll let you, though."
"We'll ask them later," R.D. said. "I don't think they'd mind, so long as we stay out of their way."
They arrived at the mess hall and waited in line along with other weary-looking soldiers as they got their meal for the night. Once they had their food, they retreated to their usual table, where they were soon joined by Razgriz Squadron.
"So, now you kids got a taste of the crap we deal with every day," Rodeo said, sitting down across from Alasea and Helena. "Think you can handle it?"
Matt bared his teeth and squinted his eyes, trying to imitate one of those tough badass cops you saw on TV. "I was born ready," he said, in the most gravelly voice he could manage.
"Ya look it," Leon said, gesturing to Matt's clothing. "Have you looked at yourself, kid? You're a mess."
"That's my fault," Alasea said, giving a brief glance to Matt's bloodstained clothing. His coat was more red than white.
"Your fault? How'd you pull that off?" Leon asked.
"Please don't tell me it has something to do with your--ow!" Rodeo cut off, rubbing the back of his head where Raven had smacked him upside the head in passing as he went to his seat. "What?"
"You know what," Raven said quietly. "She is more powerful than you."
Alasea, in the meantime, was red-faced with embarrassment and indignation of Rodeo's insinuation.
Edited by RisingDragon on July 17, 2009 at 20:12:18.
"Rodeo, I'm fairly sure women do not work like that," Matt said. He looked at Helena. "Y-you don't work like that, do you?"
She was slowly working on their simple food. "No."
"See? What'd I tell ya."
Ashley and Maria were both giving Rodeo similar looks of disgust.
"How does your mind come up with crap like that?" Maria demanded. "Actually, no, you know what? Don't tell me. I really don't want to know."
"Come on, Maria, lighten up," Rodeo said when the Dylandys began snickering. "Its all in good fun!"
"There's a kid at the table, you nitwit!" Maria nearly shouted. Rodeo, at least, looked slightly ashamed at that.