Chapter Four – Skyworld

8 September 2011 at 17:11 (Dreamsong, Kid Icarus, Kid Liquorice, Random Randomness)

“She can’t be one of us.”

“No one here has hair that colour.”

“Give her room, will you!”

“Best be careful – she might be a spy.”

“She’s an angel: she can’t be a spy. And I said to give her room!”

Kiki struggled to consciousness. Whose voices were these? She lifted her head and looked up, bleary-eyed, at the purple-haired youth who’d just spoken.

“Are you Pit?”

The young man looked at her, his face an expression of concern.

“My name is Jayce. And yours?”

“Where’s Pit? I have to find Pit.”

“She’s an assassin,” someone piped up from the back of the small crowd who’d gathered around this mysterious newcomer. “I told you we should have taken her weapons.”

Kiki heaved herself up onto all fours. Her whole body ached and her wings felt heavy. It had taken 8 days of flying, plus various encounters with the deadly denizens of the sky to arrive here and she was worn out. Was this even the right place?

She looked at the faces of the angels gathered around her; all but the one calling himself Jayce looked hostile or wary. She looked up at him imploringly.

“Is this Skyworld?”

The voice from the back piped up again. “I told you she’s not one of us.”

Jayce shot him a scathing look. “Hold your tongue, Melanion. All of you return to your posts. I’ll handle this.”

No one moved.

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“I said return to your posts!”

Slowly the crowd dispersed. Melanion was the last to leave, although not without a Parthian shot. “I’ll let Her Highness know if you get killed.”

“Idiot.” Jayce turned back to Kiki. “Now are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

“My father – I need to find Pit – ”

“Your… father? Pit?” Jayce frowned. Was that even possible?

“I – please, I need to find Pit! My father is lost – ” Her head hurt and she felt dizzy. If they took too long it would be too late. She couldn’t hold her head up anymore. Why wouldn’t they take her to Pit? “Please – ”

“I’m not sure I understand.” Jayce couldn’t make any sense of what was happening. “I’ll take you to Palutena; she’ll know what to do, okay?”

“Who’s Palutena?”

Jayce gasped. “You don’t know?”

Kiki shook her head dumbly. Why did they keep talking? Her father needed help now.

“Come on, I’ll take you up to the Sky Palace now. You need a healer.” He started to pick up her things, but as he was about to pick up Callimachus’s bow, Kiki shot out a bruised hand and grabbed it. “That’s my father’s; don’t touch that.”

“But – ”

“That’s my father’s; you don’t touch it!”

“Fine, you carry it.” Jayce looked up at her, bewildered. How in the world could this young angel have a father? She must have been adopted by an Overworlder, something like that. Although he wasn’t aware of any baby angels going missing and even the Overworlders knew of Palutena. And that hair –

He leant down to pick her up, then stopped. Perhaps he’d do well to be cautious. She was back on the cloud, laying prone. He slipped her daggers out of her belt and slung her quiver and bow over his back. He tried to take the larger bow – the one she called her father’s – but she had an iron grip and he couldn’t get it free. No harm, it was too large for her to draw anyway. He looked at it closely. It certainly was a fine one. It had been a while since he saw one of such calibre, not since –

He wouldn’t think of that now.

He picked up the sleeping girl and, encumbered by so much baggage, slowly made his way to the Sky Palace.

He sighed. Why did kids weigh so much more when they were asleep?


“Where is she now?”

“Sleeping in the east chamber, Your Highness. She has a few superficial wounds, but it’s nothing serious. Lunara says she’ll be fine after a good rest and some food.”

Jayce was standing before Palutena in the throne room of the Sky Palace. She had agreed to take in the mysterious newcomer for the time being.

Now, she stood beside her throne, looking thoughtful. “Did you manage to find out anything else about the girl?”

Jayce shook his head. “Nothing, Your Highness. It’s all most mysterious. Where could she have come from?”

“The Overworld, most likely. Unless – ” Palutena frowned.

“You don’t suppose – ”

“Let’s not jump to conclusions. She is definitely an angel, you say?”

“Lunara said she’d stake her life on it. Yet it doesn’t make sense.”

“It doesn’t.”

Jayce rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “You’re sure no baby angels ever went missing?”

Palutena nodded. “Everyone is accounted for. Besides, I’d remember making anyone like her.”

“So we can discount her being taken by an Overworlder.” Jayce’s head began to hurt. “Then where in Angel Land is she from?”

Palutena suddenly turned pale. “Oh no – ”

“Him?”

She nodded. “This has his name all over it. Did she describe her father at all..?”

Jayce looked crestfallen. “No – I didn’t think to ask. I’m sorry for my shortcomings, Your Highness.”

“No harm, Jayce, you’ve done well so far. When she wakes, make sure to get as much information from her as you can.”

“Very good, Your Highness.”

“And it seems I’ll be having to pay my brother a visit.” She sat down dejectedly. She was not looking forward to it. “If he doesn’t know anything about this, I’ll – ” She looked about the room for inspiration. “I’ll eat Pit’s laurel wreath,” she said absently.

Jayce gasped.

Palutena looked up, as if she’d forgotten he was there. “Ah – you may depart.”

“Very good, Your Highness. Oh –” he started. “There’s one more thing. It seems trivial and yet – her chiton, it was made of the most peculiar fabric. Silvery, and yet – it was – no – like starlight – it was if it was made from the heavens themselves. And though the girl was in the most frightful state, her chiton looked like it had come fresh out of the laundry – not a mark on it to be seen. It was really strange.”

“Yes. Yes, it is very strange.”


Kiki rubbed her eyes and yawned. Under her was the most soft, silky – ah! Such a comfortable bed! She opened her eyes and looked at the opulence around her. Oh my! It was like something out of a fairy tale.

“Geewhizzicus!”

Then the reality of the situation gripped her heart and made her panic. Her father! She needed to find Pit! And where had all her things gone? Her father’s bow…

She sat up just as a the door opened.

“Ah, you’re awake.” It was the purple boy again, what was his name? Jayce.

“Is Pit here?” Kiki babbled. “My things – give them back. And please take me to Pit!”

Jayce eyed her warily. “How is it you’ve heard of Pit, but you’ve never heard of Palutena?”

Kiki scowled. “My father told me.”

Jayce continued to eye her steadily. Suddenly it was too much for the young girl. “My father’s going to die! Why won’t you help me?!” She yelled. “I need Pit to help me find him! Why won’t you take me to him? Why – ” She started to kick her feet and pound at the bed, as hot, angry tears streamed down her face. “Why – ”

“Miss,” Jayce said calmly. “We’ll help you, but to do that we need to know what’s going on. So start at the beginning and then we can work out what to do next, okay?”

Kiki sniffed. “Okay.” She noticed the table now, complete with a feast fit for a ravenous five-year-old. “I say, is that for me?”

“Go ahead and eat.” How much information would she give for a cherry pie, he thought absently. “So what’s your name?” he tried.

“Something,” she said, munching on a jam sandwich. “Properly it’s something, but I can’t remember. No one calls me that anyway. I’m just ‘Kiki’ mostly. It’s short for ‘I like liquorice’.”

“Uh…”

“My father is the best ever and super-clever – ”

Jayce thought he’d better steer the conversation back on track. “What’s his name, though?”

“His name?” Kiki frowned. “He doesn’t have a name. He’s just Father.”

“But what did other people call him?” Jayce persisted.

“What other people? The sheep?”

“No. People, friends.” Sheep?

“We didn’t have any friends. It was just us and the sheep. He was going to buy geese, but – Oh! Please find him! Please!”

Oh no. Jayce quickly turned to more pragmatic questions. “We will help you find him, Kiki, but we need more information. Where did you live?”

“Angel Island. It was our very own. It’s eight nights away in – umm – where I came from. That direction. He went in the boat to Sardonika, but he never came back.”

Angel Island. Jayce had never heard of such a place. Could it be there was an angel habitation in the Overworld that even Palutena didn’t know about?

“What did he look like, your father?”

“Black hair and lovely. Tall and… really old, and his clothes always needed mending. And…”

She sure liked to talk, thought Jayce. “But was he an angel, too?”

“Of course,” Kiki sniffed contemptuously.

This was too much for Jayce. Two angels unaccounted for. How had two angels managed to slip through the net? Maybe three–

“And your mother?”

“I don’t have one,” she said simply.

“If you have a father, you must have a mother?”

“No, that’s just for sheep. Angels don’t have to have parents, not all the time.”


Jayce found Pit in his room in the barracks. He was polishing his swords.

“It’s your week off. Don’t you ever take a break?”

“The day our enemies take a break from attacking us is the day I leave off being prepared for combat.”

Jayce cleared his throat. “We’ve got combat of a different nature, today.”

“Oh?”

Jayce quickly explained the situation. He was glad that fiery-tempered girl was no longer his responsibility, but – Pit! Of all people!

Pit thought so, too. “Are you in earnest?” He asked incredulously.

“Palutena’s orders. Sorry, Commander.”

“Why didn’t they get one of the women? This is something more suited to Maia.”

“The girl most specifically wanted you, Sir.”

Pit felt a surge of indignation. Captain of the Royal Guard – reduced to babysitting duties! It was – it was – it was scandalous! Wanted him, indeed! “Want must be her master.”

“Oh, it is.” Jayce smothered a grin. Maybe it was almost worth it.

“Palutena’s already gathering a search party. We’re guessing their home was on the Demon Isle.”

They were both silent a while. The Demon Isle – that was where they had defeated the Loknessos.

“Poor Callimachus,” whispered Jayce.

Pit nodded. The three of them had fought together in that battle. To have defeated such a formidable foe, only for him to fall to Medusa’s army. They had lost so many in that great war. So many.

“Let us think of the living,” Pit said, as he stood up. “Perhaps we can spare that child the pain of losing a loved one.”

Even so, what did he know about looking after kids?


“Try to remember, Kiki.”

Kiki scrunched her eyes tightly. “I only went to Serane once, and I didn’t really listen. I was looking at the rabbits.”

Palutena smiled encouragingly. “If we have a name, it’ll be easier for the search party to trace him. Try to remember.”

“Mmmmm…” Kiki sat down and closed her eyes again. “It began with a R… Rist… no… Aris – something.”

“Aristophenes?”

“No.”

“Aristotle?”

“No. Arista – Arista– ”

“Aristarchus?”

“Yes! That’s what the fish man called him. Arist – what you said.”

“Are you sure?”

“Utterly.”

Palutena frowned. There hadn’t been an Aristarchus in Skyworld for the best part of a century, and he had died an old man.

“Are you sure it was Aristarchus?”

“Yes, because I saw it on a receipt. But I didn’t know that was his name. I thought it just meant something like ‘carpenter’ in Serane language. They spoke weird there. Can I eat my liquorice stick now? Thanks.”

Aristarchus…

There was a knock on the door, and Jayce entered the throne room, followed by Pit. They bowed.

“Your Highness.”

Palutena nodded. “I’m sorry to call you in for duty on your week off, but…”

Kiki turned around and stared at the newcomer.

Jayce nodded. “Kiki, this is Pit.”

Kiki blinked. Somehow she’d expected someone older. He looked like… he looked that that cute dolly her father had once carved for her. She’d doted on that doll, until the day she’d forgotten it in her panic, out in the pasture when a storm had suddenly broken out. She’d never seen it again, and she always blamed Flossie for eating it, but –

She ran up to Pit and almost squeezed the breath out of him. He hadn’t been eaten by Flossie after all! He’d turned into a real life angel!

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“I’m so glad! I’ll never forget you in the rain again!”

Jayce chuckled.

Pit wondered what he’d let himself in for.

And Palutena wondered – who was the mysterious Aristarchus and where on earth did he get this girl?


Kiki’s eyes sparkled. “Do I really get to stay with you?” She gasped.

Pit had no idea how it had happened. Palutena had ordered him to keep a 24 hour watch over her for the time being. The consequence being she had to stay in his house. Despite his protests that he had only one bedroom – and counter-arguments from Jayce that Pit could always sleep on the couch until something more permanent could be arranged – he’d had no choice but to acquiesce. For the seventh time, he wondered why they just didn’t put her under the care of Maia at the Children’s House and be done with it.

“This is your room,” Pit said curtly, showing her to the small first floor bedroom. “There’s not much here, but…” Seriously! What did he know about minding kids?

Kiki beamed. “Hee hee. Thank you, Pit.”

“You’re not to mess about with anything. If there’s something you want, you need to ask me.” He looked out the window forlornly. “And don’t try to escape,” he added absently.

“As if I should,” Kiki replied indignantly. “My father said to go to you; I won’t leave until your friends have found him.”

Pit hoped it would be soon.

“What do I do?”

Pit was startled out of his reverie. “What?”

“What am I meant to do now?”

“I don’t know. Read, draw…”

“I’m good at weaving.”

“I haven’t anything for you to weave on.”

“Oh.”

Silence.

Kiki coughed.

“I think I’ll sit in my room and make a story in my head.”


It had been 5 days since Kiki had arrived in Skyworld. Pit’s holiday was over and he’d gratefully resumed his duties as captain of the Royal Guard. As a result, Kiki was often left alone in the small house. She’d noticed there were always two armed guards outside the house when Pit was out. She vaguely thought there was something wrong with that, but was more concerned with their lack of desire to play with her.

“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with C!”

Silence.

“C! It’s so easy! They’re all over the place!”

Most of the time, they wouldn’t even look at her.

“C! And it ends with D! And there are lots everywhere!”

She gave up. These people were stupid. Her father would have got it first go.

Why hadn’t they found him yet?

And when was Pit coming home? She wanted to see if he’d guess it correctly.


Pit was in a bad mood when he returned that evening. Palutena had relieved him of guarding the palace and told him to go back to guarding – her.

“She’s driving the guards mad, and it’s not fair to leave her alone all day.”

Again Pit suggested she’d be better off with Maia.

“She’s not ready for that yet.”

Of all the people, why him?

“It’s ‘cloud’, Pit. Even my sheep could have guessed that.”

Pit breathed deeply and tried to think of happier times.

“When are they going to get Father back?” She demanded.

For a moment, Pit didn’t wonder the mysterious Aristarchus had vanished. In his place, he thought grimly, he might consider it too.

No, that was mean.

“Soon, I hope.”

“Me too.”

They sat in silence for a while.

“Oh!” Kiki jumped up. “I made your dinner! Well, it’s just a cheese sandwich… and… um… here.”

“Uh – thanks.”

He ate silently. Kiki was unusually quiet for once. He knew he would probably regret asking, but – “What’s wrong, Kiki?”

She said nothing for a while. Then, “Supposing they don’t find him?” She said quietly.

“We’ve sent our best scouts.”

“He might be scared and all alone.” She started shaking. “Why did I let him go by himself?”

Pit awkwardly put his arm around her shoulder. “I don’t think – ”

“They think he’s dead, but I know he’s not. He’s out there all alone and he needs help. They must find him, they must.”

“Kiki – ” If she started crying, he didn’t know what he’d do.

She sniffed.

Quick, quick –

“Palutena’s going to contact some of the higher-ups, we’ll find him, don’t worry.” In truth, Palutena had been trying to contact Apollo every day since Kiki had arrived, with no luck.

They could guess what was occupying him

Kiki nodded. No more sniffs. It looked like he’d saved it this time.

“Hey – that chiton you had on the day you came…”

Her eyes lit up. “That’s my Magic Moonshine Chiton. Do you like it?”

“It’s very nice. Where did you get it?”

“Father made it. He has one, too. And we have the matching thread. I used to use them in my tapestries, but he wouldn’t let me sell them if it was so.”

That fabric was like nothing he’d seen in either Skyworld or the Overworld; it was more like something from Olympus. Clearly, there was much more to this child than met the eye. “Where did you get the fabric?” Perhaps now he’s get some clue.

Kiki shrugged. “We always had it.”

So much for that.


Pit resented having to give up his room and, more importantly, his bed. He tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable on the frugal couch. It should be Jayce lying awake right now, he thought.

He sat up. Wishing insomnia on Jayce wouldn’t help. He stood up and stretched. Maybe a drink of water…

He froze. There was a voice coming from – was it upstairs? No, it was too faint. He walked up the stairs to the small room Kiki was in – or was supposed to be in. The soft moonlight poured in through the open window. Oh no –

That voice. He heard it again. Not talking, as he’d though, but singing. Someone was singing. Outside –

He slipped back downstairs and out the back door. He froze when he saw her. She was up on the roof, her back to him, singing softly to herself.

The minds of the world sleep
While I weave their dreams…

Pit stood, mesmerised. Was that really Kiki? That voice: it was amazing. He’d heard nothing like it in one so young. It was – almost divine. It was like something from Olympus…

He stood, riveted, and his mind became quiet.


“Had enough of sleeping on the couch, Commander?” a voice laughed.

Pit opened his eyes to see Jayce smiling down at him and offering him a hand.

He took the proffered hand and pulled himself up. His back felt damp. What had he been doing in the back garden?

“You’d best go and tidy yourself up. Your men would find it hard to respect you if they saw you in your pyjamas and all of a mess.”

The last thing Pit remembered was listening to –

“Kiki!” He cried. “Oh, Palutena. Kiki!”

He dashed into the house and was so relieved to see her sitting at the kitchen table, drawing a picture, that he almost wanted to hug her.

“Oh!” She beamed at him. “There you are. You were already gone when I woke up so I just helped myself to breakfast.” She looked guiltily at the table. “I forgot to save any for you…”

It seemed to in contrast to what he remembered from last night that he laughed. Could this unsophisticated, messy child – who was even now chewing vehemently on a liquorice bootlace – really have sung so hauntingly? Besides, there had been two sentries covertly posted outside all night. She couldn’t have flown out without being noticed.

He’d never been known to sleep-walk before, but – well, his nerves were frazzled these days.

“You weren’t up on the roof last night, were you?”

She looked up at him, wide-eyed. “Me? What would I do up on the roof?”


Palutena knew it was a bad idea from the moment she saw him. Still, the security of Skyworld could be at risk.

“I knew you’d long for my company soon enough.”

Ugh! He was so –

She took a deep breath to calm herself. Losing her temper would only ruin this chance.

“I’m not here for a social visit. I need information.” He was such a blight on the landscape. Why did so many women fall for him?

“Information, hmm?”

“Don’t play games with me, brother.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Games, you say..?”

1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Deep breaths. Now was not the time to antagonise him.

“The girl, Kiki. What do you know about her?”

“This and that.”

“Are you her father?”

Apollo affected an expression of horror. “As if I could ever abandon my own flesh and blood!”

Yes, you could, thought Palutena. Very easily.

“She’s not your child?”

“No.”

“Then who’s her father?”

Apollo smiled. “It’ll cost you.”

“No.”

“You haven’t even heard what I want.”

“I don’t want to hear it. You disgust me.”

Apollo looked wounded. “You talk like I’m some kind of sleaze-bag,” he said.

Because you are.

“I won’t ask much,” he continued.

“No.”

“But – ”

“The angels are mine.”

Apollo sighed. “You’re such a spoil-sport.”

Deep breaths, 1, 2, 3…

Apollo sat up. “That Charis…”

“No.”

“She’s rather dejected these days.”

“No.”

Apollo could see it was useless. Uptight little –

“Fine. I won’t ask for anyone. Just pass on a message for me, won’t you?”

Palutena eyed him warily. “What message?”

“That’s more like it,” he grinned. “Just tell her: if she’s ever lonely, I’m here waiting for her. No questions asked.” He smiled. “That’s all.”

Palutena sighed. She wouldn’t get it any cheaper than that. And he never said she couldn’t append her own dire warnings to his message.

“Fine. Who’s Kiki’s father?”

There was a pause.

Apollo smiled.

“Aristarchus.”

No way. “No one from Skyworld with that name has gone missing,” she protested.

“Quite right.” Apollo was enjoying this.

“The girl is insistent her father was an angel.”

“So he was.”

“Then why the discrepancy?”

Apollo laughed. “Why indeed?”

Breathe in, one, two – screw it. She wouldn’t stand for any more of this nonsense.

“What in Angel Land is going on here?!”

“It’s pointless, sister. You’re too late.”

Palutena felt her heart go cold. “What do you mean?”

Apollo looked genuinely sad. “You’re too late. Palutena, he’s gone. He was a renegade angel who insulted Zeus and now he’s paid the price.”

Palutena’s eyes misted over. Apollo patted her on the shoulder. “Call your search party back; you won’t find him now.”


Pit was unsuccessfully trying to have a nap when there was a knock at the door. He groggily got up, wondering if he was ever going to get a proper sleep.

“Come in.”

Jayce walked in; Pit knew at once that he was bringing bad news.

“Palutena finally got hold of Apollo.”

“I see. What did he say?”

“We’re too late,” Jayce said quietly. “He’s gone.”

“No…”

Jayce nodded. “He said he’d insulted Zeus, and you know Zeus doesn’t take that kind of thing lying down…”

Pit closed his eyes. Another angel…

“Did Apollo say who he was?”

“A renegade angel called Aristarchus,” Jayce answered. “Although Palutena’s sure he knows more than he’s letting on.”

“I can’t think of anyone in Skyworld who would do such a thing. Insulting Zeus…”

“I don’t suppose we’ll ever get to the truth of the matter. In any case… Kiki needs to be told.”

Pit looked crestfallen.

Jayce smiled sadly. “Don’t worry, you big Jessie; I’ll do it. Where is she anyway?”

“Upstairs messing about with flowers. I’ll fetch her down.”


They were wrong. Her father wasn’t late, he couldn’t be. Kiki gripped the windowsill tightly as she looked out at the moon, her eyes burning.

Jayce had taken her hand that afternoon and told her that her father hadn’t survived, that he was so sorry. She wouldn’t believe him; she wouldn’t believe him.

“You’re wrong! You don’t know anything!”

She had turned to Pit, but he just nodded sadly.

“You’re both stupid!” She had yelled as she ran back upstairs and bolted the door. How could he be late? There was no way.

He’d spent a long time looking at the moon like this, too. Looking up, and crying, sometimes. Kiki wasn’t crying now, but her heart was.

“Father…”

He couldn’t be late, and yet she remembered what he’d said to that day, up on the clouds.

Even angels have to die sometime.

Had he known? All that talk of being independent, making her memorise those instructions.

“Father…”

Her heart felt so heavy, her mind ached. The person she loved more than anything.

She gripped the windowsill tighter.

“Please, Father…”

Someone knocked softly on the door.

“Kiki?”

Pit walked slowly into the room. “Kiki…”

It was too much. She went up to him and he hugged her tight as she sobbed her heart out.

“I’m so sorry, Kiki.”

It hurt so much. How could she – she would never see him again, hear his voice.

“My father – ”

“There, there.”

Finally, worn out, she stopped crying.

“What’s going to happen to me?” She whimpered.

“You can stay on here, I guess.”

Kiki shook her head. “But you have to look after the palace.”

“We’ll work out something.”

She nodded.

“Pit?”

“Yes?”

“I’m scared. I feel so sick. My father – I – ”

Pit’s heart broke. It wasn’t fair for one so young to feel such sorrow. “Losing someone you love is always so painful,” he started. “During the great war against the Underworld, we lost many, many people. One of my closest friends was killed and we couldn’t even retrieve his body for burial. That was especially hard to deal with.”

Kiki nodded.

“The important thing is to remember all the things you loved about that person, the precious memories you shared; to keep that person alive in your heart always.”

“Yes… I can do that.”

“Always be the best you can, Kiki, and make your father proud of you.”

Kiki closed her eyes. “Yes, I can do that. I’ll do that for you, my father.”


“Are there animals there, too?” Kiki chirped, as she skipped alongside Pit and Jayce. It had been settled that, pending her approval of course, that Kiki would go under the care of Maia at the Children’s House.

“Finally,” Pit had sighed. Although it had been touch-and-go for a moment.

“I don’t mind a foster family,” Kiki had considered during a meeting with Palutena. “Only it has to be Pit and Jayce.”

Palutena looked at her, wided-eyed.

“But I know they’re too busy with guarding and messengering to play with me always, so I don’t mind the Children’s House if I get to see my best friends a lot.” She nibbled on a bootlace. “And if they bring me sweets, too.”

Pit’s heart had sunk.

“What kind of animals?” Kiki now asked, tugging at Pit’s chiton.

“Oh! Umm… all sorts. Well, goats and chickens and puppies and so on.”

“Geese?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Sheep?”

“Very likely.” Gosh, did she ever stop talking?

Jayce was grinning to himself. He’s enjoying this, Pit thought. Let him mind her for a full two weeks and see if that grin is still there.

“Here we are,” Jayce said, opening the main gate.

Kiki pushed forward and gazed up in wonder. “Wow…”

It was so big. There was a huge garden too, and an archery field over there and – was that..?

“Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” A goose! An actual in fact goose! She ran after it, screaming in delight.

The goose promptly hissed and ran right back at her.

“Ah…”

Jayce had to come to her rescue. “Kiki, please behave,” he admonished as he put her back down. “You’re embarrassing Commander Pit.”

They shared a conspiratorial grin. Pit turned red.

“Ah. Here’s Maia.”

Kiki smiled. She liked the look of Maia.

“Maia’s going to be your mother now,” Jayce continued.

“Pleased to meet you, Kiki,” Maia smiled. “I hear you’re fond of animals.”

“Are there sheep?”

“Yes”.

That settled it.

“Okay, I’ll stay. But Pit and Jayce must visit me every day.”

“That will be fine,” Maia said. “In fact, it’s probably best if one of you stays with her for the rest of the day anyway.”

“I choose Pit.”

She would, wouldn’t she, thought Pit in dismay. Just when I thought I would be getting my life back.

She smiled up at him with such fondness that he immediately felt ashamed. She was a good kid really and if nothing else, she was always interesting – if exhausting – company.

She was muttering softly to herself now. “You always wanted me to have other kids to play with, and now I will. And I’ll learn all those things you tried to teach me, but I wouldn’t learn. And then maybe you’ll come back for me.”

“This way, Kiki; I’ll show you where your room is,” Maia said brightly.

Pit took Kiki’s hand as they followed the house-mother. And Jayce looked on as Kiki left for her new life and wondered if they would ever find out the truth about the mysterious pink-haired angel who appeared out of nowhere into Skyworld.

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