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Flowers of Elysium

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Chapter 1: Seeds Sown

Vandham's grave is another reminder that Mythra shouldn't exist at all. When she closes her eyes, she can see the graves of countless others within the darkness. Bright lights extinguished forever. Most were created by Malos, some by the sins of humanity, and the rest — it was all her.

How many more have to die before she could?

And now her stupid Driver has the gall to ask her about her power? This power should've never been awakened again. It can only bring destruction and pain. Nothing more.

"Why?" Mythra asks, striding towards Rex. He's shorter than her, she realizes; he is much younger than Addam. Why did someone so young, so foolish, so naive decides that she should come back when the world is safer without her around? Even Milton...even he knew that she is just an arrogant, dangerous, out-of-control weapon.

"I didn't want to come back! I left everything to her so I'd never have to use that power again! But then you woke me up!"

Mythra knows she is not being fair to Rex, but life is never fair to anyone. He needs to learn before it is too late — oh, who is she kidding, it is already too late — and this will continue to happen if he doesn't understand what she is capable of!

"If you hadn't been so useless, none of this would have happened! Didn't you listen to that Vandham guy? He told you to hold back!"

She knows how it's hypocrisy that a weapon that can never hold back is scolding her Driver for not doing so. But Rex...he's still just an innocent boy with no blood on his hands yet. He can't be allowed to make the same mistakes she made.

"He told you to run! But you just had to push yourself. Idiot. Look where it's got us now! You really messed up!"

"You don't have to tell me that! I know, all right? I knew I was being an idiot." Rex snaps, and for a moment, she worries she might have gone too far.

Rex keeps his eyes on Mythra, unwilling to take his gaze off her, as if the moment he does so, she'd disappear. That golden hue draws her attention in spite of herself. So similar to Addam's yet it's completely different. There's something within them that she cannot understand.

It made her realize — how long has she spoken to someone like this?

"But I just…" Rex continues, "I couldn't hand you over to them. I wanted to keep you safe."

"Wh-wha…?" Mythra is speechless. Keep her safe? That's not how this works at all. She isn't the one that needs to be — he and the others need to be protected from her!

"A-at any rate! If you've got questions, you can ask her!"

And Mythra runs away again. She only wants Rex and the others to be safe; that's all. Pyra is better at comforting him than she will ever be. The only thing she can do is fight, and if Malos shows his face around again, she'll be sure to be there to stop him again.

For his and their sake.

It seems some things never change, even five hundred years later.

Mythra can't believe that she still continues to sleepwalk! She's such a dork, an idiot, a failure of an Aegis! How could she even do it when Pyra was the one in control of her body before sleeping? It doesn't make sense at all!

And that Rex! Even if she is the most beautiful girl around, he didn't have to stare so much! It's totally embarrassing. It's not like she doesn't know how much Rex is enamored by Pyra — even if Pyra rarely notices — but it's a different story when he does it to her too!

That starstruck look in his gaze, it's different from the others. It doesn't quite scream like "wow, it's the legendary Aegis", but it is definitely something that makes her want to...explore it more. Mythra doesn't know. It isn't a bad feeling, she supposes, but couldn't he be a bit more subtle about it?

That'll probably never happen. Rex wears his enormous heart on his sleeves, and she can see it more clearly now that she is paying more attention to him. Why else would he go through the trouble to help out kids who stole Roc's core crystal from him? He is as big of a goody-two shoes Addam was. Not like that's a bad thing.

The world is brighter with people like Rex.

Once again, Pyra has to apologize to Rex for Mythra's anger and mistakes. Mythra needs to...needs to be more careful. Again. Losing her cool never results in anything good. She should know better by now.

She didn't hurt Rex too bad, did she? She already knew the answer to that though. Both Pyra and her feel the throbbing ache on their forehead.

Their bond is something she could never foresee or conceive of. Whatever he feels, she feels, and vice versa. Yet Rex never grumbles about it at all. She finds that she doesn't mind it either. She originally saw it as a weakness, but now? It gives her the strength, the drive to do better. If she doesn't, then Rex will hurt.

Mythra doesn't want that at all.

The first hot spring bath in five hundred years is something Mythra really needs for herself. Sorry Pyra. Next time Mythra will let her enjoy it.

Mor Ardain is the same as always: drab, metallic, and militarized. She isn't sure what to expect when they'll reach Indol, but she cannot hide behind Pyra this time. She needs to regain her bearings back.

Nia's secret is something she didn't expect, but it's not like Nia is wrong for hiding it from them. After all, she can hardly judge when she still has secrets of her own to keep from Rex, despite how much he blindly trusts in Pyra and her.

Mor Ardain is as hot as always — perhaps even hotter than before, a gloom sign of an aging Titan — but explosions are not what she expected to hear or feel. She decides it's a good time for Rex to get used to her presence and...her power. Rex is a fast learner, but he needs more experience. Just like what she needed back then.

"I don't mind at all," Rex smiles, and his enthusiasm is just so refreshing for some reason. "I'd like to learn more about you, too."

Is...that so? It's not like she's that much different from Pyra, right?

Rex rubs the back of his head sheepishly. "I mean, you're a lot more intense than Pyra sometime."

"It can't be helped, alright? It's just how I am." Mythra retorts, crossing her arms.

"See what I mean?" Rex points out, laughing.

"What's with that smirk on your face?" Mythra grumbles.

"No, I just's been fun lately," Rex explains. "A lot has happened since meeting Pyra. And now I've met you too."

How could he say it has been fun when he's been through a lot just meeting her? If it wasn't for her, he wouldn't have been killed by Jin, he wouldn't be hounded by people who sought her power, and Vandham wouldn't have died. So why? Why can he smile like that at her? She...doesn't deserve it.

"Is it that weird? Even rough patches can be valuable experiences."

It's foolhardy optimism, but could she look back at her past like that? Her sins of destroying three Titans... killing hundred of thousands of people...can that be considered a valuable experience? How can he just move on?

Can she smile just as carefree as he does once again?

Another explosion interrupts their conversation. No time to simmer through her dark thoughts.

Turns out they are caused by another artificial blade, Lila, Poppi's "older sister"; a prototype supposedly created by Tora's grandfather and father. Mythra is amazed at how far humanity has developed, to the point that artificial Blades could actually exist now.

Artificial or not, the bond between Tora and Poppi is strong — perhaps stronger than what she has with Rex right now. She can't let them out-do Rex and her, right? The Aegis and her Driver should be at the top.

It's amazing how Rex fights with her Foresight and then switches to Pyra to attack Bridgid and the Special Inquisitor. As if, he trusts in their power completely. It reminds her of how Jin and Lora fought. She...she could get used to this.

They decide to return back to the inn to determine what steps they should do for tomorrow. However, Rex calls for the others to return back without him, and he asks for Mythra to come with him.

Slightly confused, Mythra shrugs and follows him. He takes them through the route into the shopping district of Alba Cavanich. The slight night air and the garrulous crowd, it's a bit overwhelming, but it's a nice reprieve from the heat of battle.

"Hey Rex, where are we…" Mythra stops as they find themselves before a stand, Hanoon Fishmongers. She can't believe it — there's a familiar, most mouthwatering smell that she never expected to find here.

Rex pulls out his wallet. "Hey, can I get two orders of Cloud Sea Crab Sticks?"

"Sure, that'll be 240 gold." The shopkeeper passes him two trays of the most heavenly food ever to be created.

"Thanks!" Rex turns to her and offers her one. "Here."

Mythra is bewildered. "How did you know?"

"Oh, uh. I talked with Gramps about you, and I, uh, wanted to apologize to you since we started off badly, and I know this isn't much, but I heard you really love them, and so," Rex rambles on, shuffling his feet around.

"I do, but…" Mythra didn't know where to begin. "You didn't need to apologize...I'm the one who should be apologizing to you."

"You sound a lot like Pyra just now," Rex smiles, but he shakes his head. There he goes again with that resolute look in his eyes. "No, it's not like you were wrong, and you said all those things because you really care, right? You're really kind, Mythra. That's why I want to be a better Driver for you and Pyra, so that you won't get hurt or feel sad. I promised that I'll take you both to Elysium, and I'll do it no matter what. Salvager's honor, you know?"

For once, Mythra finally begins to believe in his words, his optimism, his light — they are far more delicious, more wonderful than even her beloved Cloud Sea Crab Sticks.

They return to the inn and find the others waiting for them. Tora fusses over how late they were, and Rex placates him with some spicy sausage and other snacks he bought for the others. Nia gives her this amused look on her face, and Mythra does not like what she is implying. It isn't like that at all. Really. Maybe.

Before turning in for the night, Mythra washes up in the restroom and sees herself in the mirror. He would go so far for someone like them? He's such a dork...but he's their dork.

A sudden fit of coughing erupts from her throat, and she covers her mouth with her hand. Is she getting sick? But that's impossible — how could a Blade, let alone the Aegis get sick?

It is a day full of events and things she never expected, but what lies within her hand surprises her the most: a white flower pedal, tinged with red and green hues.