“Hey there, pretty girl. You goin’ my way?”
SaRa wiped the sleepy haze from her eyes at the sound of the voice. She peered up from the covers of her bed, straight into the face of–
“Zento!” the gasp made her chest ache.
The winged man chuckled quietly as the concern drained out of his expression.
“Is it…” SaRa’s mind cycled in groggy excitement. One hand reached out towards his face. “Brother… is it really you?”
“Yeah, I’m here,” he closed his hand around hers gently, pulling it up to touch his cheek. A soft, longing smile curved his lips. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Zento!” SaRa reached out threw her arms around her brother’s neck.
“SaaaaRaaaaa!” He jested as he lifted her in his arms, “Does this mean that you’re actually happy, or do you just want to strangle the life out of me?”
“What if I said a little bit of both?” SaRa touched her nose to his with a smirk, “You big dumb rhawn-brain!”
He simply chortled back at her, as he always did. Then, silence born of overwhelming emotion fell over them, both of their faces mirroring stupefied grins. Words could not touch the feeling of reunion, of finding something that was lost for so long.
“I didn’t know if I’d see you again,” SaRa finally breathed.
“Of course! I told you I was working on Zemi’s big project. I promised I’d call for you when the time was right,” Zento frowned.
“I know… It’s just been so long. I sent a message ahead of us, but I wondered if you were really still out there.”
“Naturally. The world can’t get rid of ZenToYa that easily, now can it?” he grinned broadly.
“I suppose not,” she smiled, finally releasing her brother from the death-grip-of-love. “I only knew sparingly of Ceiswyr.”
“I know. And I’m sorry,” he apologized. “It was too dangerous to allow that sort of information out, even to you. If the Council realized that you knew my whereabouts, it could have been dangerous for you.”
“I guess that’s true,” she looked down with a pause, “Yet, you never called for us.”
“It wasn’t time for SoYa or TsuYa to come here. I still don’t think it is. They haven’t Awakened yet.” A grim look crossed his face, “And now, I’m not sure what’s going to happen to them.”
SaRa clutched his sleeve in concern, “Oh… dear… Tsu…”
“Zemi is working on it,” Zento frowned slowly. “Tsu’s in the best hands there can be right now.”
“Zemi,” she blinked. “So that really was him?”
“That’s right… you don’t know!” A silly grin broke over Zento’s face, “By the Light, you should see him, SaRa! He’s actually taken on an Earthian form!”
She shook her head, “How can that be?”
“I’m not too sure. He’s been here in the city, as Earthian-looking as can be, ever since AsaHi brought him to the Gates.” He eyed her suspiciously, “Was that part of some sort of plan on your side?”
“Plan? Me? Noooo… of course not! I was just trying to get AsaHi out of Nefol before the Council acted against her. I had no idea that Zemi was in the physical world,” SaRa shook her head. “How in the name of the Seven Universes did he manage that?”
“It’s all about AsaHi,” Zento answered.
“AsaHi? You don’t mean…” SaRa peered over with a frown.
He gave a quirky look in response, “I think there’s something going on there.”
“Zento,” her tone grew quickly disapproving. “You do know that AsaHi is SoYa’s Promised, yes?”
The winged man paused and heaved a long sigh, “Yeah. That’s a problem.”
“Do you actually think that Zemi could be…”
“Hey. Zemi’s a guy. What’s to stop him from thinking like one?” Zento spread his hands.
“Light forbid! And here I thought he had a bit more sense in his head than to go falling for someone else’s Promised!” she grated.
“Well,” Zento lowered his voice. “I don’t think he quite understands what he’s feeling, if you know what I mean?”
“Truth,” she leveled a finger at his nose.
Zento snapped at it with his teeth playfully, “Okay. Truth.”
“But what are you going to do about it?” SaRa asked, crossing her arms.
“Do about what?” he furrowed a brow.
“Zemi and AsaHi. I mean, it would break poor SoYa’s heart if…”
“I know, SaRa. I’m not sure what to do.” He ran one hand through his hair, “How can you tell Lord Dragon that he can’t fall in love with whoever he wants to? Feelings come as they do. You can’t always control that sort of thing.”
SaRa began to slip on her sandals. “Well, if you’re too chicken, I’m not.”
“Oh, reaaaally? You don’t know what you’re up against.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she frowned at him, crossing her arms.
“He’s practically three times your size, SaRa,” Zento teased. “I’d like to see you try to take him on.”
“Well, I guess I’ll just have to get a step ladder.”
SaRa brushed down her robes and made a purposeful march towards the door. “You heard me, Zento. I’m going to have a talking with that Dreigiau one way or another. So you might as well fess up on where he is.”
“I think he’s still in Tsu’s quarters, but I’m not sure.”
She grabbed a hold of her brother’s shirt-front and began to tug him along through the halls, “Show me.”
“Now, just wa-wait a sec!” he stammered. “Shouldn’t you think about this a little bit before you burst in there demanding to see Zemi about–”
“Eh!” SaRa pulled up short as the shadows at her feet loomed large. She took a step back, running into Zento.
“Ommph!” his mouth opened in complaint only to close as realization dawned. His eyes darted up at the towering silhouette in front of them.
“See me about what?” a voice rumbled from within the shadow.
“About… about…” SaRa suddenly found her mind devoid of word or thought.
One step. Then another. Slowly, the tall Arweinydd strode into the lighted area of the hall, his features becoming clear as he drew closer. With a droll, fangy smirk, he stuck his nose straight down into SaRa’s face. It was obvious by the chortle in his voice that he was having the time of his life.
“I gotcha, didn’t I?” he rocked backwards in a huge barking laugh.
“ZEMI DREIGIAU!” SaRa could hardly contain herself.
At the sound of his laughter, she didn’t even try. Instead, she tackled the Arweinydd around his waist, hugging him like a little girl. For the first time in many years, they were all together again. And despite their struggles, it felt as if for a single moment in time, everything was as it should have been.