Jewel of Life


Mia looked up to the night sky and tears streamed down her cheeks.

Talpa was dead. The Ronin Warriors saved the world from devastation,
just as the legend predicted. She had done her job; she had led them
to their armors and each other. Her mission is now complete; the world
is save once again.

But what does that leave her?

Nothing. Nothing to celebrate. All was rage and torment for her.

People she loved were dead.

Mia stood on the balcony, wearing only a simple black dress over her
extremely pale skin. The tears bled into the fabric unnoticed, just
like depth of her grief was unnoticed by her friends.

Her mask of cheerfulness fooled them all. She was even able to convince
the ever so sensitive Sage and Cye that she was just as happy and content
as the rest of them. She laughed, joked, fooled around with the rest of
them; she kept it all inside her, ignoring the feeling that she was going
to burst with all the grief.

Tonight, it finally exploded, overwhelming her like a vengeance.

She didn't want to stop crying; she couldn't. Tears blinded her eyes; the
world swirled around her. She couldn't see anything but her tears, couldn't
hear anything but her own sobs; couldn't think of anything but one name…


It was the worst thing. The fact that she couldn't bring herself to forget
him, or at the very least, forget her love toward him, although they never
actually crossed that boundary beyond friendship. In the past she had feared
him, hated him, and distrusted him. But those feelings were long gone. Then,
when they lived together in her house trying to find a way to help the Ronin
Warriors, another feeling toward him developed, expended until even her
stubborn mind can not deny its presence. She wished it would die out like her
previous negative feelings toward him, but it insisted to stay in her heart,
even after his life came to an abrupt ending.

The love refused to go away.

Mia choked the tears in. Slowly she rubbed her eyes with her sleeves, and
turned her gaze toward the small table beside her. On it, two objects shone
in the moonlight.

A glass of water, A bottle of sleeping pills. Together, enough to claim a life.

She sniffled as new tears welled up in her eyes. She picked up the bottle,
absent-minded, her numb fingers found their way around the cap and twisted
it open. Deathly white pills spilled onto her ivory palm with a strange grace.

She stared down at them for a long time, as if they were the most fascinating
things she had ever seen. Briefly she wondered how the guys would react when
they return from party, to find her in her eternal sleep, gone without an

But then, that's what people did to her. Her parents, her grandfather, him.
He had left her without even a goodbye. One minute he was there and the next,
he fell of the bridge, gone. His last words were for his successor, not her.
He just… left.

So then, maybe, it's her time to leave now. It's the easy way out, isn't it?

She picked up the glass and glance into the forest, briefly wondering if the
world would be any different without her.

Then it happened.

She saw fireflies dancing in the dark. In the same instance, the Jewel of Life
around her neck starts to glow.

For a full three minutes, Mia could only stand there, transfixed, as the lights
emitted by the jewel enveloped her, as the lights of the fireflies reflected in
her eyes.

A scene from not long ago was triggered, and played itself in her mind…


"You shouldn't be out here alone Mia, who knows when or where the Dynasty
soldiers would appear."

"If they come, I'll just scream." Turning her head slightly, she greeted
the slender form with a smile: "Anubis."

He sat down beside her, frowning disapprovingly: "I may not be able to hear
you in time."

She laughed a little: "Oh believe me I scream loud, real loud. I'm having plenty
of practice lately."

He smiled and murmured: "You don't sound very thrilled."

"No, I guess not." She turned her gaze back at the starry sky; a slight frown of
distress crossed her delicate feature. "You know, I wish I can fight like you
people, or at least be able to protect myself, instead of screaming for help all
the time, like some witless, brainless… damsel in distress."

"Witless and brainless? I don't think those descriptions quick suits you, Mia."
Anubis coughed with a sound of amusement, then turned serious, "Believe me, you
are not a liability. You are the one who helped us gather the information we
needed to fight against Talpa. Without you the Ronins didn't stand a chance in
the first place. Besides, no one expected you to fight six feet tall undead
soldiers, much less Warlords, without the proper equipment."

"Still, I wish I could do more for them but… Thanks, Anubis." Mia was rather
pleasantly surprised by the former warlord's words. Even after he switched to
heir side he always seemed so distant and all-business. She never expected such
encouragement from him.

He nodded and asked gently: "Do you wish to go back inside now?"

"No, I'd like to stay here a while longer, if that's okay." She said softly,
"It's been a long time since I last did this, laying on the grass, watching the
stars and fireflies."

He cocked his head to one side thoughtfully: "When I was a boy, they used to say
that the fireflies' lights are guides for the spirits…"

She looked at him curiously: "You still remember? I, I don't mean to be rude,
but… hmm… aren't you…"

"Yeah, I'm actually over four hundred years old." He waved her apologies off,
"No, I don't mind, really. As for my memories… Some things don't go away, Mia,
they stick to you forever."

"Yeah, I suppose…" She muttered, and decided to venture a little more, "So, do
you remember your family?'

"Somewhat. I can remember my mother's face clearly. She had red hair just like
me, and she loved flowers…" He sighed, "When I was under Talpa's control those
things didn't mean much to me, but now… I know it doesn't change anything, but
for what it's worth, I'm sorry for all the loss me and other warlords caused

Mia's expression was momentarily hardened by the nightmarish encounters in the
past and the death of her grandfather, but then she sighed, her eyes softened:
"I don't blame you, or the other Warlords. I understand you were under Talpa's
control and I don't hold you responsible for your actions then."

Impulsively she reached out a hand to him: "Don't be too hard on yourself,
Anubis. I'm sure you are doing your ancestors proud."

"I hope so." He admitted, looking up at the night sky, "Sometimes I feel like I
can not go on, but then I would tell myself that my parents are watching me from
above, or maybe… maybe they are even at my side, led to me by the fireflies.
Then I know I have to go on, try my best and… and just live."

He looked at her straight in the eyes, holding her gaze for a long time as if
longing to tell her something, but he only sighed at the end, and stood up,
offering his hand to her: "We should go back to the house. Take a good night
rest Mia, and tomorrow we'll see what we can find to help the Ronins. I have a
feeling we are getting somewhere."

"Hai." She gave him a tiny nod and let him pull her up, walked back to the
house side by side.


Stepping out of her brief trance, Mia lowered her gaze to the Jewel of Life
around her neck, which is still glowing softly.

"…Are you trying to tell me something? That I should live on?" She muttered,
"Are you watching me from out there Anubis?"

The jewel flashed once.

Glass dropped to the floor and shattered, water spilled on the stone floor and
pills rolled in like crystal tears. Mia clasped both hands around the jewel and
whispered: "Alright, if you say so…"

Her words are soft, almost inaudible, and choked by tears. But the resolution
is there.

"I understand now…"

To live on, to continue going, to walk this earth for those who can't, is a
reward in the disguise of a burden. He had died defending the mortal realm; it
is only right for her to live on, for both him and herself, and try to enjoy the
peace granted to her, the peace that he gave his life for.

The pain is there, but so is the love. Let the memory of him stay in her heart,
become a part of her…

Let him become a part of her.

To walk this world, to breathe, to sleep, to watch, listen, smell, laugh, cry,
and dance… With him always living in her heart…

That, is the true "jewel of life."

The glow around the Jewel of Life quietly disappeared. Mia smiled through tears.
She gazed up and sent a whisper to the one in her heart.

"Please know I love you; till the end. And that I'm looking at the stars."


Anubis lowered his head from the glittering lights in the eternal, infinite
space and gazed back at the shining, golden reflection on the magical lake,
where the image of his love is shown. She is sleeping peacefully on her bed.
The tears had dried and she will be all right.

Anubis fixed his eyes on her tired, delicate face. His expression saddened.
Slowly he put two fingers on his lips, knelt down and then gently reached for
her lips. Where his fingers touched the water, small ripples formed and spread
out, the image was distorted momentarily. Sighing, he got up and looked to the
heavens. A silent echo escaped from him:

Please know I love you; till the end. And that I'm looking at the stars.