Phoenix had never seen a plane before, and it amazed him that such a wonder existed in this time. He stood in an empty airport lobby; Charlton sat wearily in a seat, seemingly tired of having to drive people back and forward between home and the airport. The night sky was blank, and heavily clouded as Phoenix laid a hand on the cool glass of the window. He had also never seen windows before, oddly enough, though as he stayed in the future longer he wondered why his tiny village never had any.
“Probably because glass was something I had specifically tried to create myself.” Dehxi spoke to him, quietly. Phoenix perked up a little, intrigued. He glanced at the tired butler slumped over his knees sitting exhausted in a lobby chair. He felt it was safe to speak, but only if he were quiet.
“Really?” He whispered.
“Yes. It was...a challenge I set upon myself.” Dehxi chuckled lightly. “Though, now that you and I are linked, I don’t doubt we could try for it ourselves.” The god said. The very idea excited Phoenix, he tapped his finger against the window, as if trying to get a feel for the material.
“That would be fun.” He said. “Maybe I could bring some of the glass back with me.” Phoenix couldn’t see the god, of course, but he could feel a shift in temperament.
“Young one...You don’t actually think that....”
Phoenix’s brow furrowed. “I know. I was just...I hoped that I could go back. But, I understand, it might not be-”
“Stop muttering, Mr. Phoenix. Please, it’s a little concerning now.” Charlton spoke up from his seat.
Phoenix jumped at his voice, and blushed slightly embarrassed. “S-sorry.” He said. “Is...is Eris back yet?”
“No. They’re not back yet. Roland is still...discussing stuff...with them.” Charlton sighed, and rolled his head back. Phoenix shuffled his feet awkwardly, looking away.
“Why don’t you check on him, Fexi. I am...worried for him.”
Phoenix cleared his throat, and breathed in deeply. “A...are you okay, Charlton?” Phoenix asked him, looking at him concerned. The butler glanced at him, almost surprised he had even spoke again.
“Um...yeah. I’m fine. I must look terrible right now, though.” He said, chuckling. “I just...I’m just a bit tired, you know?”
“From all of the driving?” Phoenix asked. He wasn’t exactly sure how cars functioned, but it looked like a lot of work to him.
“No, it’s not...Look, driving you guys around isn’t the problem at all.” Charlton spoke informally. It was odd hearing him speak casually, especially to someone he only just met like Phoenix. “It’s this...trip. Seattle. God, I never thought I’d even set foot in that city again.”
“Seattle is a safe place, no?” Phoenix said.
“It is, it’s just...I can’t really talk about it right now, Phoenix. It’s personal.”
“I am still worried...we will watch and see. Maybe he will feel better with time.” Dexhi spoke.
Phoenix let the issue drop, and decided to take a seat next to him. The two of them sat there, again, in silence just waiting for Eris to come back out with Roland. They had been gone for about fifteen minutes now. The plane hadn’t arrived, it was one of those late arrivals that Charlton hated so much. People milled about further along in the airport, but they were so far away, they might as well not be there at all. Phoenix tapped his finger gently across the soft, felt covering of the office chairs provided in the lobby. He wondered silently what Seattle would be like.
“It’s a big city, not like Provence at all.” Dexhi said. “[i]There are towers larger than any you will have ever seen, Phoenix.”[i]
That sounded wonderful to him. He wanted to say something, but Charlton was sitting next to him, and he already told him off for muttering.
“So...where exactly are you...from, Phoenix?” Charlton asked him. Phoenix didn’t jump this time from his voice.
“I am from an island. It’s gone now, though.” He said. He then thought about taking back what he said, from the horrified look Charlton gave him.
“Gone…? What do you mean?” He asked, hushed.
Phoenix gulped. “Well, I...my home was destroyed, a long time ago.”
Charlton shook his head. “I heard that part, it’s just-which island? I haven’t heard anything about that on the news, or anything.”
“That’s because it was before this time. A long time ago.” Phoenix reitirated.
“It was way before your time, Charlton.” Roland and Eris finally returned from wherever they were hiding. “I would explain, but we don’t have a lot of time. The plane’s supposed to be arriving any minute now.”
“Seattle is gonna be awhile, so let’s just sit for a bit.” Eris said. They slumped in the seat next to Phoenix, and Phoenix noticed they still wore that horrible costume.
“Perhaps they just like bright colors, Phoenix. Though...I wonder how one could possibly fit those colors into a proper Paradox uniform.” Dexhi laughed, lightly.
“What are planes like?” Phoenix asked them. Eris shrugged.
“Meh. They’re like...a bus, or a car. Except with lots of other people in them. And in the air.” They said. “Roland already told me about...whatever is going on with you. Time travel, huh?”
Phoenix balked. Roland, or rather Daraeya, must have told them. She was still keeping a hold of her identity though. Roland glared at him, which was enough to let Phoenix know he should keep quiet about the whole Daraeya/Roland thing. Charlton sat up straighter in his chair.
“You’re a time traveler?” He asked, astounded. Phoenix was somewhat familiar with this term since he joined Paradox. Crow, a friend of his at HQ, had used the phrase to refer to his situation. Phoenix just nodded, feeling slightly uncomfortable with all of the sudden attention.
“I guess that explains...just about everything. The weird accent, and odd clothes.” Eris said, and Phoenix felt insulted that they would call his clothing odd, when they were constantly dressed like...that.
“I take it you don’t like pastels, huh Phoenix?” Dexhi asked. Phoenix didn’t know what a “Pastel” was, but if Eris’ clothing was anything to go off of-
“The plane is here.” Roland announced, and the three of them got up to enter the terminal. Charlton stayed where he was seated, and Eris looked back at him, concerned.
“Charlton, are you sure you want to come?” They asked. Charlton breathed in deeply, and looked up at them.
“I...Yes. I have to, Eris.” He said, standing up. “I’d have to face him eventually, anyway.”
Eris held their hand out to him, and the two of them linked arms. Phoenix trailed behind, but Roland prodded him in the back. Or rather, Daraeya did. “We have to go now. Someone is following us.”
Phoenix fought the urge to ask who, and just walked briskly to the plane’s gang way.
The plane ride was surprisingly calm. Phoenix garnered a few odd looks from the other passengers, but none were inherently malicious glares like the ones Roland/Daraeya kept shooting him from across the aisle. Eris and Charlton sat next to each other a seat behind him, and he couldn’t hear anything back there, so he assumed everything must be going fine. There were children on the plane, which surprised Phoenix as he thought putting kids of all people thousands of feet in the air was just about the worst idea ever, but none of them seemed over all scared. Except for maybe a few, the plane was an oddly serene place to be.
He laid his head back, minding the old woman next to him reading a fashion catalouge one of the stewards had provided. Soon, they took off, and Phoenix barely felt anything as the plane rose. With time, they reached the skies, and while Phoenix wasn’t graced with having a window seat, he could still see the night sky out of the window next to the old woman. She was snoring peacefully now, Phoenix noted. He himself began to feel a bit drowsy, even tired. He closed his eyes, maybe when he woke up, they’d already be in the magnificent city of Seattle, where towers were as tall as the clouds.
“Phoenix! Stay awake!” Dexhi’s voice was a distant memory in his ears. He could barely hear him at all. “It’s a trick! Someone is putting you to sleep! Xal, wake up already!” Hearing rolun, even if it was an offensive curse, jostled him awake but only a little. He looked around the plane, his vision blurred with sleep. He couldn’t hear anyone talking, not even in hushed tones. Roland lay, slumped forward in his seat, though every once in awhile, he would jolt and jerk every which way. Daraeya must be fighting whatever was lulling them all to sleep. A sharp, but quick pain, stabbed Phoenix behind his eyes, and suddenly he was able to think and see clearly.
The plane was alseep, no one moved or spoke. Phoenix could hear Eris and Charlton snoring quietly behind him. “What’s going on…?” He asked, quietly.
“It’s Dexarte. She’s found us. Or rather, she’s found me.” Dexhi said.
“Right you are, old friend!” A voice from the plane spoke. It held a deep, feminine baritone and she had an odd accent that Phoenix had never heard before. “So you’re Dexhi’s new host?”
“Who...who are you?” Phoenix asked. He stood up, slight fearful.
“Relax. I am a friend, not an enemy. Like your dear Dexhi.” She said.
Phoenix looked all around the plane, but he couldn’t see her. “Could you...show yourself? Please?” He asked. Dexarte chuckled.
“Of course. My apologies. I’m a little new to planes myself.” A snap of fingers could be heard, and suddenly she stood a few steps away from Phoenix in the aisle. She had dark skin, and cream colored dress with bows and moths littered on the hem. Her hair was gray, and it fell down her back in a poofy trail. She looked at him cheerfully with unusual gold eyes, rimmed with-
“You have Tala marks!” Phoenix said, and he felt a rush of remembrance of his home. His own sister had Tala marks all along her arms, she said they were for good luck and wealth.
“Ah, it feels nice for someone to recognize my marks as what they are!” Dexarte said, smiling. “Though, I did not come here to talk about Tala. I am here to help you.”
“She could have done it with a bit more tact…” Dexhi grumbled. Dexarte laughed.
“You always were a jumpy one, Dexhi.” She said. “I understand we’re looking for-”
“You wretch!” Roland, or rather, Daraeya was now awake. “You come hunting us down like lost dogs, and have the audacity to-!”
“Oh. It’s you, Daraeya.” Dexarte said, deflated. “I had not noticed you among the mortals.”
Daraeya was shocked silent for a minute, her mouth hanging open. “How-how dare you! I am the God of these Skies and you will-”
“So we’re looking for Tul, right?” Dexarte ignored Daraeya completely, and the latter seethed in her seat, angry.
“Yes. He is Darius Winter’s murderer.” Dexhi said. Dexarte looked down at her bare feet, saddened.
“So it is true then...he really is gone…” She said.
“You knew?” Phoenix asked. She nodded.
“I tracked your friend, Mindy Diasco, for answers on where to find you two. She...told me Darius had passed some time ago.”
“Yes, yes, it’s all well and sad, but what about the god that was residing in him? Who cares about the mortal-” Daraeya began, but Dexarte shot her an angry look.
“I cared for the mortal, Daraeya. Look, we both lost someone, so let us work together and catch their murderer.” She said. “Tul killed them, but...why?”
“Tul...he is a god...I have heard his name before.” Phoenix said.
“But of course you would. He was worshipped in temples on the island. The God of Nothing, remember?” Dexhi said.
“God of Nothing” did sound somewhat familiar to him. “Why would he do something like that? Aren’t you all...the same?” Phoenix asked.
“Humans kill other humans, don’t they?” Daraeya said, cynically.
“We are not so different, sometimes.” Dexarte spoke. Daraeya scoffed.
“I guess it’s not impossible for a God to...travel so far, so fast. He is thousands of miles away.”
Daraeya nodded. “Though he is God of Nothing, he is not without power. A God who owns nothing, owns everything.”
Seattle was not looking to be a promising place to visit.
I’ve never been to seattle, but oh boy are we gearing up for something fun, huh? also, Phoenix is so close to dragging Eris into a department store.
if you hate kpop or league of legends then don't click on tonight's atmosphere, this song is literally all I've been listening to for about a week now, I'm sorry but not really.