Another two weeks has passed by without any word. Kiyro knew that they could not stay up in the treehouse any longer. They needed to search for food or they would die. From his guess they had only about a week left of food. Kiyro ate less and less, giving his servings towards Eve and Alex. He knew that they needed more than him. He only ate a meal or two a day, trying his best to conserve as much energy as best as he could do. He took the initiative to go out and search for food, while the rest stay up in the treehouse. He promised them that he would be back, but Isabel was crying professedly asking him not to leave. She was scared that he would disappear like Diana and never come back. It took a good while, before he could leave.
Stomach grumbling, he waited patiently in the bushes. A small horned rabbit passed by grazing in the thick forest. Raising his bow up quietly, he aimed and shot. A loud squeal was heard. He felt bad that the horned rabbit had to die. It reminded him of his pet horned rabbit that he had for a moment before it was taken away by Michael’s goon. He knew from Diana’s teaching that they were edible, he even had his backpack filled to the brim with edible plants that he had gathered. He remembered Diana’s teaching and made sure to remember them well.
Walking over, he made his way towards the fallen horned rabbit. This was his third kill. The first was difficult to shoot, but he made his resolution to feed his small family. He could not leave them starving. Picking up the pierced rabbit, he pulled out the arrow and placed the rabbit on the side of the bag where two other dead horned rabbit were. Satisfied with his kill, he quickly walked back home where everyone was waiting diligently.
“Kiyro’s here!” Jack yelled pointing from the lookout. Will and Isabel cheered for Kiyro’s return. Alan smiled with relief.
Walking up the wooden stairs, he made it up towards the safety of the treehouse. Will pulled down the lever for the
stairs allowing them to collapse to keep them safe from possible predators.
“Did you find anything?” Will asked hopefully. He noticed Kiyro brought back with bountiful harvest. “Horned Rabbits.” He replied thrilled and took help him took it off of Kiyro’s back.
“Rabbit Stew!” Isabel and Alan jumped around thrilled that they were going to have meat for the longest. They had not been able to have any type of meat for three weeks now.
“Yes yes.” Kiyro walked over to the table to empty his bags. Large variety of different colored types of plants were splayed out. From his guess they would be able to live off the food that he had harvested for another week before he had to go out for another run.
“Will, do mind washing those for me?”
“Sure.” Will picked up the plants and walked towards the natural running sink. He already knew how to skin an animal just like Kiyro. Out of the rest of the group, Will was considered the second most knowledgeable person to be able to take care of everyone.
Finally at home, he had begun to cook a simple meal for his family. Out of everything that he had been taught, the food that he was pretty decent in cooking was porridge. Finishing cooking, he poured the porridge into a bowls and brought it over to the table.
Will and Jack both helped set up the table and got everyone sitting on a chair ready to eat. Even Alex and Eve was put in a baby chair.
With the food set, they digged in on the food. Alan and Isabel was trying their best not to spill food all over themselves, while Will and Kiyro were feeding both Alex and Eve. As both of the boys were the oldest in the group, they naturally took on the heavy burden, especially Kiyro who had two siblings that he had to look out for.
“What are we going to do?” Jack asked. He was taking a bite out of his porridge. “Are we going to stay here the whole time?”
“It would be best that we do. Diana said to wait here.” Kiyro replied, wiping away Eve mouth.
“But we don’t know when our mom and dad’s are going to come back. It’s been over a year. Now Diana is missing,” said Jack frustrated at the predicament they were in. “I’m scared.” He whispered.
Kiyro caught his words, and understood. He was worried for their future too. They did not know what to do next. Should they leave and go search for their parents or stay here till Diana came back. He knew something happened to both Diana and Steve. Their mind link that he was so proud to have was silent. No, the right words were that it felt broken. Since the day Diana drew the Deviants further away, he felt silence in his mind, but what really made it more difficult was two days later, the connection between him and Diana went dead. He felt a sharp pain where his heart tugged and felt like it dropped down to his stomach.
No other words could explain it. A hollow feeling of being completely alone. He also felt the connection break even with Steve. It was three months from when they last left.
“I know,” Kiyro replied. “What do you all want to do.” He knew this was a decision that he could not make on his own. He took a bite out of his own food and then continued to feed Eve.
“We’ll take a majority decision. Who wants to stay here or we could go out and search for our parents?”
“I want to go.” Isabel squealed with delight just thinking about meeting her mom and dad.
“Me too.” Alan replied.
“I need to know if they are alive,” whispered Jack. “I don’t think I can stay here any longer.
“I believe it would be best to stay here. The Deviants are still roaming out there in the woods. How do we know that they all died? It wasn’t till a few weeks ago that they were still alive and they almost killed us,” replied Will.
“Don’t you want to see your mom?” Jack couldn’t believe what Will was saying. It surprised him that he would resort to staying here than being able to find their parents again.
“But it’s safer here. I don’t want to die before I see them.”
Kiyro understood everyone’s predicament. He too wanted to see Diana and Steve badly. It was difficult keeping a facade of being the strongest and the wisest. He could feel the burden and weight of the lives of his family. The moment when he came back from his hunt, the weight tripled. Everyone now look up at him with a different eyes. He could tell without them speaking any words.
“What do you think Kiyro?” Jack asked. Everyone’s attention went towards Kiyro who was still contemplating on what they should do. Should they go and put his family lives at risk or stay here and slowly die from starvation. Both ways they were going to end up in a deep hole.
Then it struck him. He remembered something that Steve had said about the Deviants. They were once people like them. That meant that there are people outside the tall mountains. Steve and Diana could of found more people and probably needed help to come back and help them fight off the long war of the Deviant that invaded their homes.
Such thought made him excited for possibly new communication, but his heart fell in an instant. The question came down to was how were he going to find anyone in this large world. He didn’t know what was beyond the mountains.
“We’ll stay here for a couple more weeks. If nobody come back we’ll go looking for them okay?”
“Yes!” Jack squealed with excitement. He almost hopped out of the chair. Even Isabel and Alan followed. Will on the other hand did not like the thought of leaving their safe haven.
“I’m not so sure that’s a good idea,” Will was not too pleased with where this was going. “We have everything here. Why not stay longer?”
“Our food is running out. This could be our one chance to find our parents. We can always come back here. How about this we’ll make a seven day journey and come back. We’ll go back home to see if they are there. If not we’ll travel a little further and find others. Okay?”
Will thought it over for a moment, “Okay.”
Getting off the chair, they all had begun to help each other clean after themselves. They had a long day tomorrow to get ready for the trip.
For the next three days, everyone was diligently packing for their trip. They were all hyped that they were going out to search for their parents. Kiyro and Will made the basic list of necessary things for the trip. The wagon was still intact even though it was slightly rusty. They did not have much to put except clothes, blankets, ropes, medical kit, basic tools, daggers, and a couple small guns.
They used the lift system to lower the items. Kiyro, Jack, and Will were the ones that were carrying small backpacks that they could carry. It took her awhile for them to move things into the lift, because they could not bring the lift back up. With the final bag in place, Kyro lowered the wooden lift allowing majority of them to be on the ground. They moved everything into the wagon. Everyone was ready to go. Kiyro had taken the Philia from the stall and brought him down.
Kiyro personally made a quick run around the treehouse to see if there were any Deviants nearby. So far Jack and him did not see them off in the distance nor did they find any near by. He wasn’t to sure how to holster the Philia to the wagon, but eventually he got the Philia in place.
“Why does birdy not have a name?” Isabel asked curiously. She was looking up towards the large ostrich looking bird.
“Well. I’m not sure. I never asked,” Kiyro replied. He thought Diana had already given the Philia a name but he never ever once heard of it before. “Why don’t you give him a name.”
Isabel brightened at the thought of giving the philia a name. “Star.” She quickly replied. “He has a small star patch on his chest.” Pointing out towards the lower half of the Philia near the chest area, Kiyro saw a black patch of feathers that did have a small birthmark that did look like a starpatch.
“Okay. I like that. Star it is.” Kiyro smiled.
Isabel brightened up brilliantly. “Star!” She glomped onto Star and put her head in Star’s soft feathers. Star turned towards Isabel and squaked. For a second Kiyro thought the Star would peck her, but he did not. Instead he stood still and demanded for a treat. Already Star was putting his beak into Kiyro’s pocket.
“Alright. Alright.” Kiyro replied. He had found some treats that Star liked in his hunt. Handing it out to Star, Star quickly snapped it away from Kiyro’s outstretched arms. Star let out a satisfied squall and waited patiently to leave. “Everyone ready?” He turned and called out to his small group.
“Yea.” Will replied. He was putting the last small box into the wagon.
“Let’s go Isabel.” Kiyro gently pulled Isabel off from Star. Isabel silently protested, but stopped short when she saw Kiyro’s stern look. She was picked up and helped up into the back of the wagon where everyone was sitting.
It didn’t take long for Kiyro to get comfortable and for the wagon to move forward. The wagon jolted with a rickety start, and moved through the uneven terrain. Time passed as they all silently journeyed towards the direction of their home. Kiyro vaguely remembered the direction of the way they needed to go. He was so tired that he needed a short nap while they were on their journey towards their home.
“Jack. I’m going to take a small nap. Just keep going straight okay?” Kiyro got up and went to the back of the wagon. He pulled up a blanket from the bag and wrapped himself. He had overworked himself and need a short nap.
“Don’t worry. I’ll wake you up when something is up.” Jack happily replied taking the seat that Kiyro was sitting. Will moved over allowing Jack to sit next to him more comfortably.
Kiyro laid down to rest. They had a long day today and he needed every bit of strength he could muster. As sleep washed over him, he began to dream. It was not like any other dreams he had before. The world became black, and he opened his eyes. Warm sunlight trickled in a room. He woke up from the unusual bright sunlight thinking it was already morning.
“Drezel. Sweetheart wake up.” A young beautiful lady with dazzling eyes that caught Kiyro’s attention. Her white hair that seem to move like white flames that covered half her body. She was lying next to him in his arms in an beautiful white nightgown. Kiyro couldn’t help but blush completely red. If anyone saw him right now he would probably look like a red apple.
Where am I? Kiyro thought. Whose Drezel? Who is she? The last thing he remembered was falling asleep in the wagon. He did not know how he got there and who this lady was.
“Drezel. Come on. You promised to go out hunting with me. It has been a long time since we flew together.” The young lady pouted making her beautiful face scrunch up.
“I’m sorry Sonia. Just a few more minutes.” Kiyro heard himself speak. No better yet it was Drezel that spoke and he was just a watcher. In actuality, he felt like he was some kind of peeping tom from watching everything unfold before him. Drezel covered himself with the blanket. Kiyro was shocked at what he just said, and realized that he was inside the body of this Drezel person but he could not control or speak the man’s action at all.
“Drezel!” Sonia pulled back the covers and instead rolled the cover all over her own body so Drezel would be cold.
Drezel groaned and sighed. “Okay. Okay. I’m up. I’m up. Damn it woman, you make my life difficult.” He rolled over to see Sonia stuffed in the blanket like a sushi. He couldn’t help but smile at her cute behavior.
Even Kiyro was dazzled at the beautiful Sonia but was ashamed that he was looking at another man’s woman.
“Are we going to hunt a deer today? They taste really good.” Sonia was trying her best to untangle herself but seem to miserably fail.
“No. Let’s go for something much more difficult.” Drazel yawned and stretched. He pulled over a shirt.
“Aren’t you going to get ready?” Drezel chuckled watching Sonia struggled in the tangle mess of a blanket. It was funny to see her face contorted as she struggled to get out.
“I am. I’m changing. See.” Sonia finally got herself out of the blanket and she was already in a white shirt and pants. Drezel couldn’t help but be shocked at her odd ninja like skills in changing into her clothes. He was only on his pants and she was already full garbed ready to go. Sometimes this woman amazed him.
“I don’t understand you at all. Whenever I try to get you to change it takes an hour, but when you get excited over things like this you’re changed in seconds.”
“Kuhuhuhu,” Sonia chuckled a sinister smile. She slinked over with a mischievous grin. “I’m just good like that.”
“Ahya, Sonia. You’re going to be the death of me one day.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Sonia batted her eyes as if nothing happened. Even Kiyro couldn’t help but swoon from this lady sweet act.
“Love is evil.” Drezel shook his head in defeat.
“If you say so sweetheart.” Sonia rose up and snatched a kiss from Drezel’s lip. Kiyro felt for the first time the warmth of a kiss. His head spun confused, everything around him swirled out of control as he woke up in a start. He was breathing heavily in complete shock. The dream was so vivid and real. He couldn’t help but still be completely red from the unusual dream. His first kiss felt like it was stolen by that sly fox of a woman.
Looking around to see where he was, he remembered that he was still in the back of the wagon. How long has it been since he had a nap. To him it only felt like a moment, but he could already see the sun was starting to set. Did he really sleep so long? The last time the sun was above them when they left.
Wait, the sun was setting? Kiyro got up in a bolt. Something was not right. They should’ve made it to their home. Scrambling towards Jack and Will, he pulled on Will’s shoulder. “Where are we headed?”
“Huh? We’re going straight like you said.” Will said confused at what Kiyro was saying.
“Did we take any detours? We should be home by now.”
“Detours? I went straight-” Will had to think about it for a moment. “Oh there was that one time when we had to go around a large number of fallen tree. It took a bit of times before we could make it completely around. Then we went straight.”
Kiyro slapped his face and groaned. He knew they were lost. Slumping onto the floor, his head made a small thud on the wooden wagon.
“Why what’s wrong?” Will asked. He was confused at Kiyro’s reaction.
Kiyro couldn’t tell them they were lost. He didn’t want to break their hope of going home. What was worse was that he didn’t even know where they were. All he could see were trees from all sides. They could not aimlessly keep driving with no direction.
“Stop the wagon,” said Kiyro. The wagon came to a halt. Jumping out of the wagon, he pulled out the pocket knife and went to the nearest tree. Carving into the tree, he engraved a star symbol marking where they were. He knew it was to late but this was the only noticeable mark that he could think of that could help them find their way back home. He was in a dilemma where he either had to tell them the truth stating that they were lost and go back or just keep moving forward. This was already a difficult decision to make.
“Kiyro why did we stop? Are we already there?” Jack asked. He was looking over Kiyro’s shoulder wondering what he was doing.
“No.” Kiyro took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. Things were already going far left from their usual plan. At this rate, they would be completely lost. “Stay in the wagon. I’m going to do a quick check around us.”
“If you say so,” Jack whistled, his hands against the back of his head. He walked back towards the wagon in high tunes.
Right now, the best course of action was to go back the way they came from, but the chances of them going towards the direction of the problem where they diverge were low. Soon the visibility would become low and Will and Jack did not have as high of an intelligence in remembering things as he did. Even though Kiyro heard from his parents they were the second generation of genetically modified human, their intelligence just barely started to kick in. Just a couple or two months ago they had begun to show signs of high intelligent evolving at a rapid rate.
It was a fifty-fifty chance of them returning back towards the way they came. Either way the longer they prolonged the stay, the lower the chance of them finding their way back. Right now, the best option was to scout around the wagon to make sure nothing was around.
Finished with the embedding a sign, he decided to look around for food and possible hints towards the direction of their home.
“Will! Jack! I need you to watch the wagon for me. Give me until the sun sets. I’m going to do a quick run around us. We’ll be camping here for tonight.” Kiyro called out towards them.
“Okay Kiyro. We’ll set up camp and wait for your return.” Will replied. He was already taking command of their small group.
Kiyro knew he could trust Will to take care of the rest of the group. Even when he was gone, Will would do a fine job of
making sure everyone was okay. He could tell that Will had the ability to become a natural leader.
With his mind a bit at ease, he had begun to walk out. Marking his path at each turn that he made. He did not want to get lost nor leave too far away from his group. If the Deviants were close by he wanted to make sure he got back in time to take them away. Just the thought of meeting another Deviant terrified him, he was no fighter. His body was to small to even handle a sword or even a gun.
In actuality he wished that he grew up faster into an adult so he could protect his family. Just like Diana and Steve, they were his ideal and his goal. He promised himself that he would be stronger than both of them and repay them for their kindness. As a young child he knew that Diana and Steve were not his real parents. At first it bothered him that he did not have a real father or a mother, but that quickly changed as year went by. They have turned into his real parents.
Something caught Kiyro’s eyes, walking towards the broken branches of the trees he noticed that they were more than just one. He knew that animals do not clumsily break branches. This could only mean a couple of things: the Deviants or they were close to their home.
Kiyro was on edge. Quickly scanning around, he slinked around carefully trying not to create more sounds. Stepping in further through the woods, there were more broken branches. Trees were completely obliterated areas or scorched. He was completely shocked on what could cause so much destruction. They were even combat battle suits that were scattered on the ground. There weren’t just one, but many. These were the people from his village that had went out to combat the Deviants, but the question was where was the bodies. Only the armor remained empty as if they just disappeared into thin air.
Confused Kiyro searched a bit more, trying to find an answer. From the looks of it, he saw thousands of rampaging footprints, craters the size of a pool, and even pieces of Deviants that had not completely rotted away. A large black claw hand that seem to rot not to far away from him. The smell was obnoxiously disgusting that it made Kiyro queasy. He thought they would naturally disappear like the one’s that died underneath the treehouse, but something about these Deviants that seem to not rot as fast as the normal Deviants confused him. He did noticed that the Deviant Type I took three times longer to completely disappear.
The only thought that would make sense was that this Deviant was even stronger than a Type I. This worried Kiyro immensely, he hoped that there were no such Deviants roaming around the proximity. From the look of the overgrown plants from the fallen trees and branches, he knew that this was an old battle. Already he could tell that they was a
fierce battle between the Deviants and the soldiers that came here to fight.
What made him even more curious was the empty shells of the battle suit. How was it that there were no bones or remaining traces of any remains. Kiyro bent over to check the battle suits that were lying around on the ground. Every single one of them were empty and unusable.
Kiyro sighed. There weren’t much clues except that it was a terrible battle. He already counted over two hundred empty battle suits, but so far not a single one was Steve’s suit. Hope filled his heart to notice that Steve’s battlesuit was nowhere to be seen. There was a chance that he could still be alive possibly still fighting somewhere out there in the world.
Walking around a bit more, he saw a large pathway that had a huge gaping hole. Only small grass and shrubs covered the once devastation of a battle that took place. In the middle of the battle was one battle suit locked arm in arm with a rotting creature that died in battle. The creature was three times bigger than the battle suit and was completely charred black. It was like a final momentum battle between two beings in their last life and death struggle. Kiyro felt a sharp pang in his heart. He remembered that specific battle suit. There were no other battle suit like it but one: Steve’s. Kiyro felt his heart drop and fell rock bottom.
“No. No. No!” Kiyro ran up as fast as he could towards the battle suit. Already tears were forming in his eye’s making it hard for Kiyro to see and the world around him seem to slow down. It felt like an eternity desperately running towards the battle suit, hoping, wishing that Steve was still in there just sleeping.
“This is a lie. A lie!” Kiyro wailed. When he finally went up to the battle suit, he knew the answer to his self illusion lie. Shakily reaching his hands up towards the battle suit, he gently touched the cold metal. In that moment, the battle suit let out a hot steam and shrunk back into its small watch like form.
Kiyro dropped to his knees, shocked, distraught, and even lost. He found the answer to his question that he had been harboring in his heart. The shattering of telepathic connection between Steve and him that he felt has become a definite truth.