I couldn’t understand what to do next. It all kind of happened around me.
Vao was returned to his position. Chance eloquently delivered a speech to prevent the vote that would have removed his imperial power, and the resulting vote did not pass the bill.
Frost rejoined the Delta Force, who quickly gave her a cybernetic hand similar to my own, but with the metal brushed bright red. Quicksilver survived the battle, though he was badly wounded in the process. After the doctors managed to heal him, the duo returned to action, often pairing with Chance and me for missions. Chance and I even blood-bonded with her, so she could also transform into a dragon at will. She was a black dragon; I was a little jealous.
I clicked the heels of the laser skates and slid to the edge of the clifftop. I thought back on my whole story, from my experiences at Pulse, to my first transformation, to my acceptance into Delta, to the burning of the capital city. I remembered meeting Chance for the first time, and I especially remembered helping him rescue the Emperor. I flexed my metal hand painfully, recalling my small sacrifice. The memories flooded back. How much we were surprised to find our true identities as the last of our species, and how we found that we were even closer than that. When we finally lead our forces against the forces of evil…
And how Darwin…
I shivered. Darwin… What would I do now without him? My best friend, and for years, my only friend, was now dead. How does one move on from that?
Chance skated next to me, watching the sun set between the horizon and the clouds, which had just begun to gently send delicate snowflakes fluttering through the air.
Neither of us said anything. Fuzzball made a quiet chittering sound, as if to break the ice between us. Chance chuckled almost silently.
“So what now?” I finally asked.
Chance seemed to look even farther than the horizon, as if he saw something behind it, as if it were a curtain he could pull away to find some other fantasy. He finally looked at his feet. “I don’t know.”
We contemplated this for another moment, but I unexpectedly found him embracing me. “I really don’t know what your future holds, or mine, for that matter… but I know… it can hold us. Together.”
I put my arms around him tightly, and I could not let go.
“Okay, but you have to trust me.”
Why he had returned my falconry glove to me was yet a mystery. “I… I’m not sure about this…”
“Close your eyes. You trust me, don’t you?”
After I closed my eyes, something landed on my falconry glove. The feeling was heavier than I remembered, but it felt familiar nonetheless.
“Okay, you can open them. This is Albert.”
When I opened my eyes, on my glove was a large, black eagle patterned with white streaks on his face.
At first I didn’t understand. Chance immediately stopped my train of thought. “Now, I know that Darwin… meant a lot to you. I know I can never replace him, and I know for sure that Albert can’t, either. But… I wanted to do something for you, you know? I can’t imagine what it’d be like to lose Fuzzball. I wanted you to have a companion, a friend. We all did. I knew you were skilled in handling birds like him. We even named him after an Earth scientist, like Darwin.”
Albert was a beautiful, majestic-looking eagle, but when I looked into his eyes, I saw even more. I saw someone loyal, brave, and friendly. Those eyes reminded me of Darwin’s, but even more so of the dragon Stormwing’s from all those years ago.
And in that moment, I realized that they were both with me, and no arrow could strip that away.