chapter7

  Childhood memories of Ishtar the Eldus were nothing but blood, tears and lingering fear.


  Ishtar was not born on the planet of the Eldus, but on an extreme planet —— Poor resources, extreme weather, a variety of threatening species. Every day their kind was struggling for survival in the harsh environment. The life expectancy of them was mostly only 30 years.


  In order to continue the lifeblood of the kind, all were bound to accept rigorous combat training when children knew how to walk. Many died in the practice. Ishtar was no better, a few times at the edge of death. But with the blessing of luck, what didn't kill her made her stronger.


  Such ugly and humble living made Ishtar think it was the nature of life, but she proved herself wrong that day she saw the Eldus descending from the sky. 


  It turns out that life could be so beautiful and noble.


  “My fellow of the universe, fear not. We're the Eldus of Akkad planet. Your planet will soon be wrecked to extinction by meteorites. We serve to protect the life of species, therefore we are willing to help you move into a safe and livable planet.” The Eldus announced in a friendly manner.


  When the excited Ishtar was about to go forward, her chief and adults raised their weapons to roar ferociously. “You evil creatures, stop the lies! Get out of here now or we show you no mercy!”


  The Eldus did not waver because of their hostility. “If you change your mind, find us on the hill. We will be staying until tomorrow morning.”


  The Eldus then triggered a spell to fly towards the mountain in a flash. Showing no interest, the chief and adults were all back to continue their living. However, Ishtar was the only exception. Despite her utter disappointment, she was unable to act against the will of the clan, leaving her no choice but to return to the slum.


  But something happened at night. Saint the young Eldus brought some fruit and tools, saying these were meant to be given to the clan as a gesture of sincerity. But it turns out he was rejected and attacked by stones. Saint could not help but put them on the ground and left.


  “He's head is bleeding!” Hiding in the corner, Ishtar was worried about Saint's injury. So she sneaked into the chief's room to steal some precious remedies and ran to find Saint, who was cleaning the dirt by the lake.


  Ishtar took a deep breath to pluck up her  courage and come to him. “For, for you —— Ouch!” She closed her eyes to hand over the medicine.


  Too nervous, she bit her tongue accidentally with tears in pain. At the moment, a breath of warmth was sent. When she opened her eyes, she saw Saint use a spell to cover her with gentle light. Miraculously, the pain had totally gone.


  “You're good now.” Saint looked at Ishtar gently, who did not know the wound on his forehead had already recovered until now. “What was that?” Ishtar asked curiously.


  “A recovery spell.”


  “Spell? That glowy thingy?”


  “Right. It has many purposes in addition to healing. Look.” Saint drew a spell and activated; a dazzling beam was unleashed to crush a big stone on the other side of the lake.


  Stunned, Ishtar spoke after a moment of silence. “...Why didn't you fight back at that time? You should be able to defend our attacks.”


  “Yes, but that would add fuel onto the tension, wouldn't it?” The eyes of Saint were filled with love and benevolence. Under his watch, Ishtar felt salvation.


  “If it can make you feel at ease, I'm willing to suffer; if I can protect you all, I'm willing to exchange it with my own blood.” Saint used his gentle voice to express tolerance and forgiveness.


  For Ishtar who only struggled for survival, Saint's words were like cold spring in the scorching fire, oasis in the desert, which subverted all her cognitions. Gazing at him, she was eager to listen more, but it was interrupted by a shout nearby.


  “Ishtar! Show yourself! I know you're here! How dare you steal the precious medicine! Do you have any idea how furious the chief is! Come out now and I'll plead for leniency.”


  “It’s mother...No, I don't wanna go back to that ugly and suffering life...I hate it!” Ishtar  curled up with fear; a thought then flashed in her mind.


  She grabbed Saint's arm tight with determination. “Please, take me...out of here.”


  Saint held back her shaky hands to answer determinedly, “fear not. We Eldus take the responsibility of preaching the truth of the universe. Your wish is heard.”


  Then, Saint brought Ishtar back to the hill, waiting together till dawn. As a result, none of her clan came; the Eldus set off with heavy moods.


  With the spell of protection, Ishtar left safely, and witnessed how the meteorites destroyed her homeland. The brilliance of explosion had been imprinted in her mind, magnificent enough to make her tear.


  As Ishtar was alone, the Eldus did not move her into the other planet, but kept her as one of them. She was assigned to study in an institution where Saint was. Ishtar had been putting lots of effort to study and catch up, which was proved worthy in her excellent result.


  Every Eldus of the same age had also been nice to Ishtar as a newcomer. Yet for the survival instinct she learnt from the home planet, Ishtar knew their kindness was more apparent than real. The truth behind their smiles was merely an unseen estrangement. Only when she was with Saint, she could feel the genuineness in everyone’s eyes.


  “If Saint were not here, I would be nothing. Everyone treats me as a family simply because of Saint.” Somehow this thought had deeply implanted into her mind, and all she did was solely for Saint.


  This twisted value made her an excellent Eldus. The outstanding Saint was also regarded as the leader of the younger generation. Both were chosen by the elder to handle alien's invasions into other planets. Under Saint's leadership, the first fight was a victory, successfully banishing the aliens.


  But the issue was not settled yet. The aliens were back again. In order to defend the planet, Saint was assigned to the mission. At the observatory, he took the staff that Ishtar handed over and put his hand on her shoulder.


  “During my absence, I'm counting on you to protect everyone here, Ishtar.”


  “Sure. Consider it done.”


  Ishtar and the young Eldus watched Saint leave. As his figure was gone and she turned to speak to the young ones, she found none of them was looking at her, as if she was nothing. This embarrassing feeling made Ishtar give up the talk and went back to her room.


  “Without Saint, I'm not even one of the Eldus...” Ishtar fell asleep slowly after pondering painfully in the bed, but woke up when she heard noises outside.


  “Battle!” 


  The experienced Ishtar knew it was a battle, so she took her weapon to go out and found a bunch of Eldus surrounding a grinning alien male.


  When she was trying to help, two heavily-injured Eldus were falling down with speed, moaning in pain. The alien then wore a taunting smile at her.


  “This guy...is horrible...I can feel it...the experience of death...” Ishtar was occupied with fear, unable to stop trembling.


  “No...Run...I gotta run...” This reminded her of the painful past, running away to the indoor just as then.


  “What can I do? Do I have to fight that guy...No...I can't win...There is only death for me...But this also means I’m breaking my promise with Saint...Darn it!”


  “Poor thing, maybe I can help you.” A man's voice sounded behind; and Ishtar immediately turned around to guard——The vital aura and the despair in the eyes of the male alien crept her out.


  “Don't be nervous. I mean no harm...Well, not exactly true though. It's me who brings Laplace...Oh, that guy outside, into your planet.” The alien Vorvadoss talked relaxedly, as if he was chit chatting with Ishtar.


  “Alright then. Let me help you take down that guy, sounds good?” 


  “...Why? Isn't he your fellow?”


  “It's because I want to be his number one.” Vorvadoss smiled, “same like you wanna be one of the Eldus.”


  “You! What are you talking about!” His words made Ishtar mad to retort, with a tight grip on her weapon.


  “Correct? You know better than me. And you have no choice. Accept the defeat or bet on my words.”


  Ishtar bit her lips. Vorvadoss was right. She had no choice.


  “...Tell me what to do.”


  Everything was for her to continue to be Eldus, the identity she had always been longing for...

chapter7