… The soldiers took aim with their rifles, and as soon as the order was given, they fired incessantly at the enemy troops. The monsters clawed their way towards them, overwhelming in numbers… they were everywhere, from all corners… a sudden explosion detonated, shattering, rumbling, BOOM….

Keith awoke from the strangest dream he ever had. It was all too real – the fighting, the Arzankans, and his friends – in a battle that determined the fate of Generon. Did it happen? They all seemed to happen just a while ago, and frightened him so much that he might have staled his pants, from the stank emanating from below.

Then again, from his stank he saw himself wearing pyjama trousers. It was just a nightmare, he inferred. It was all just a dream, and his friends might be out there laughing if they had known of his unsightly micturition.

But then again, in front of his sleeping bed was a large mirror, large enough to reflect clearly, to his utmost astonishment, an image of a very young boy, of dark hair, brown eyes. That young urchin, was it him?

“Gary! Come down now this instant, or you’ll be late!”

The shouts of his mother. Yes, he remembered now that he was Gary, elementary scholar of Koxlet Junior High. How on earth would he think that he was Keith, the character in his dreams?

Too much video cartoons, perhaps, that let his imaginations run wild. Young boys often fantasised being heroes depicted in movies, however, this imagination ran rather too far overboard. Nevertheless, he washed and dressed, and went downstairs.

His breakfast taken, his back packed, and his shoes snug onto his feet. He was all ready to head for school, and not forgetting that old faithful Tammy – his dog – was waiting to walk him there. He closed the gates after Tammy went through, and looked at that old mutt for a while.

Strange… somehow I am familiar with this particular dog, not that he was our old Tammy, but I just know him too well….

He walked Tammy along the kerb, and the old dog seemed happy, yapping all the way it was trotting along. Tammy was a little frisky that morning, frolicking and prancing around, chasing his own tail, trying to get his master’s attention. Gary was too sleepy to take notice of Tammy’s demeanour, not until the terrier’s unusually persistent yaps brought him realise something was amiss.

“Master! Master!”

Gary thought he heard someone calling him, but nobody around that area had a rationale to address him as master. He turned to his dog. To his utter shock, intertwined between those periodic yaps he could hear Tammy talking to him!

“Master! Do you hear me?”

Gary, taken aback by surprise, stared at the terrier with a sceptical frown, “are you talking to me, old Tammy?”

“Yes! Yes! It’s me talking to you! Don’t you remember who am I, Mr. Gunter?”

Gunter, the name that struck the chord! Gary stood frozen in his steps. Though not actually conversing with his dog (which might look odd to bystanders), it was his mind telepathising the words.

“I must’ve been dreaming again. You can’t talk, Tammy.”

“No! I’m not Tammy. And you’re not Gary! You’re Keith, remember? You’re Keith Gunter, that’s your name! Or should you recall yourself better as Illian Greyor? I’m Gard, the old Gard you saved from Elix. Have you forgotten everything? Oh heavens!”

He was at first startled by this totally ridiculous encounter. What was this dog trying to say? But, after some deep contemplation, he could start recalling the past; that all that had happened was not merely a dream.

“Gard… is it really you?”

“You remembered me, Keith! Thank Generon you haven’t forgotten about me, or I’d be very lonely!”

“What… what happened? Why are we here?”

“Don’t tell me you forgot that too? That we went on a very long and perilous journey to prevent Generon from being devastated by plague? That you defeated Kaz and his legion of Azerons?”

“I do remember, yes I do. But what happened after that? Where are we? Where are the others? Why am I a boy by the name of Gary, and talking to a dog?”

“Ahh… questions, questions. It would take a while to answer them. But perhaps we should continue walking, lest people think you’re really talking to a dog!”

Gard did have a point, and so Keith, or Gary, resumed his journey while Tammy strolled along. Their path cut through a memorial garden, which at the centre erected a huge monument – a very gigantic sculptor of a very great man – and beneath it a plague read:

In memory of Shiion Legas ea Karl Smithson… Justice Vindicator, Harbinger of Peace… may he rest in peace as his glory shines forever, throughout Generon and under the brane….

Keith immediately recognised the person. Karl Smithson really lived up to his expectations, that he had become a great figure upheld as the Father of Peace (as his title suggested, Shiion Legas meaning Harmonious Crusade) in his endeavour that had since changed the statutes of the world.

“He’s a great man,” said Gard, waiting for his master who stood mesmerised in the enormous figurine.

“Yes he is, and his valour was never once forgotten nor wane with the erosion of time. It must have been a very long time since his passing, to be revered in such eminence by people. Has it been a long time, Gard?” he asked, as he beckoned Tammy to follow him along.

“Time? Time does not have any significance to us the ones who had violated it in the first place.”

“How so?” Keith was bewildered.

“The Ultimate Weapon of Destruction – the Kashykan – has disrupted them all! Its power, so immense that it did not only destroyed the Eurushar, the stars, the planets and all matter, but it went on obliterating space and time, crushing and distorting the dimensional planes. Everyone knows of the fundamental law of the universe, that the universe exists as a whole and cannot be punched a hole in it: that when you destroy matter, you get space; and when you create matter, you fill up the space, terminating it. The Kashykan’s power shook the fundamentals of the world, and thus the universe ends there; the river of time at that instance ends there, and forks out into two rivulets of parallel timeframes. In other words, the universe has split into two, and we’re merely living in one of those alternate worlds.”

“If it’s so,” said Keith, “if everything was destroyed, then why are we still here?”

“The paradox, the irony – whatever you call it, I can’t explain myself. Somehow not one of us is willing to die, or for some reason the Kashykan spared us. We’re all reduced into free-moving spirons, floating around in the dark. To continue our existence, we’ve travelled a very long distance in search of a suitable host for our spirons to adhere with, and the host must be innocent, immaculate and simple in his or her thoughts in any ways so that the spirons can comfortably fuse themselves and unite with the soul. It works the same way like you and Illian Greyor did, but this time it involves a totally separate candidate, and naturally it has to be a child.”

“And you?”

“It doesn’t matter for me if I’m a dog, as long as I can remain faithful by your side and serve, just like how I served Master Palov.”

They had been sitting down on a bench in the park gazing at the skies that were as blue as those at home. There was no difference in this planet compared to his hometown, as everything looked familiar with a Terran style. For once there was only bliss, nothing dangerous, no turmoil. Peace, like he always wished for.

He was now in fact a coalescence of three: Keith Gunter, Illian Greyor, and Gary; they would need some adjustments to fit in three persons of different memories, unique experiences, distinctive mindsets. It was too far-fetched too even describe this phenomenon to the common folk, but as long as he knew this, it was always interesting to relate to an enlightened one.

His friends were scattered in the vast space, each of them having found themselves a host to live on. It would take some time to track down each of them, and would be nice if they were to meet again, especially Crystal, whom he loved so dear.

It was a promise between him and her: that he would become a little boy, and she a little girl; and when both grow up, let destiny once again meet them, let the strings of the universe tie them, let them fulfil their dreams of being together in the closest proximity ever, after so many hardships that matured the eternal love. Someday, perhaps, someday….


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