Not Moved By The Flowers
rating: +10+x

He stared at the flowers. The grounds here were covered with them.

Cobalt blue with a yellow, inner circle. Seven sharp petals stuck out from the core, forming a hexagon. One of nature’s many mysteries.

The landscape before him kept going for approximately two point six metres, before cutting off into a steep drop. He estimated the height of the cliff they were standing on to be at least hundred metres above the sea level. The rest of Laerad was visible from here, the capital sharply contrasting the barren landscape with it’s tall spires.

Most would have experienced a sense of vertigo when peering down at the landscape below, but he was no human.

A harsh click as the hatch of the ship sealed shut told him he wasn’t alone anymore. Two sets of footsteps confirmed this, and he slowly turned around to see Magna and Halden walking towards the cliff edge. Halden stopped, showing a rare flicker of emotion as he appeared to have frozen in place, his gaze fixed on the capital in the distance. A low rumble could be heard. The one that always seemed to exist within these cities. The humans couldn’t hear it.

“I can’t remember the last time I saw this place.” Magna spoke up, her voice quieter than usual. It was an odd contrast from how confident she sounded when in combat. He found her facial expression difficult to read as she gazed over at Halden, the latter now staring at the flowers with a look he could best describe as sad. Yet, there was a subtle nuance. He turned away.

“Yeah. Feels like it’s been centuries.” Halden replied after a short pause.

He didn’t know what to say, and remained silent as the two seemed to be lost in thought. They appeared to be conflicted regarding this place. Magna knelt down, carefully picking up a flower.

There was silence. He did nothing to break it.

“Oh, I assume you haven’t been here before?” Magna seemed to notice him standing there now. He shook his head. She stood up, walking closer to the cliff edge. Halden stayed behind.

He was fifty point three centimetres behind her which meant that he would be perfectly able to pull her up if she fell. Then again, he wasn’t concerned. He was merely calculating the facts.

“We used to call it Vándrheimr, although I’m not sure if that’s changed. It’s been a long time after all.” Magna began. She looked out over the horizon. The hum from the city was steadily increasing in volume.

“I suppose that’s only natural.” He tilted his head. A habit he had acquired from travelling with the humans.

“I guess.” Magna gave a sad smile. “Either way, it doesn’t matter now. The place’s been overrun by drones for decades, and I’d be surprised if anyone was still alive.” She took a few steps back from the edge. His shoulders felt less tense now. He ignored the change.

A few seconds of silence passed. He had never been good at talking. There had been no need for it in the wasteland.

“So.. What about you?” Magna asked. He turned his head again, a bit jerkier than he’d like.

“Me? What about it?” He asked. There wasn’t much to think about. The beginning was a blur, and his earliest memory he would rather forget.

The sound of the winds was something that would stay with him for a long time.

“Do you remember anything about your creators at all?” Magna had that facial expression again. One of the many he couldn’t quite place.

He remembered the rainstorm and the blue flashes of lighting all too well. It was the first thing he ever saw.

He shifted his weight from one leg to another. Another human habit.

It meant nothing.

The sky had slowly darkened, until all that remained was a colourless void. He realized he was lying on his back. The drops bounced off him with sharp, uneven pings, converging into small rivers beneath him. He wanted the noise to stop. God, why couldn’t he move-?

“No.” He replied. Magna rose an eyebrow but didn’t say anything. He was… thankful for that. He shook his head at the realisation.

“I see. I won’t pry then.” She nodded. “We all have our stories. Halden in particular happens to have a bunch of them.” She added in what could be described as a joking manner.

He glanced at Halden for a brief second. The soldier was sitting on a rock, seemingly out of earshot until he gave an annoyed “hey”, and tried to explain why his obviously exaggerated tales were real.

Magna let out a genuine laugh at that. He couldn’t help but wonder how long they had known each other for. During the time they had travelled together, he couldn’t help but respect the strength of the bond between the two.

Magna shrugged and went back to gazing at the landscape below. She was still holding the flower she picked, her expression a tiny bit lighter. They appeared to only grow in this region according to Halden. He had spent a while listening to the latter talk about these flowers as they approached this place, and learned that Halden was quite fond of plants.

He knelt down and picked up a flower as well, mostly out of curiosity. It was the size of his palm, and the blue stood out from the grey tones of his hand as he held it. This one also had seven petals. They always had. It seemed like an arbitrary number, but then again, who was he to question? He was distinctly aware of Magna watching him as he tried to put the flower back in it’s original spot. It didn’t work of course.

“You know you’re allowed to show emotions, right?” Magna asked. Despite the phrasing of the question, her tone and expression told him she wasn’t mocking him.

He blinked. Had he really? He had no idea what she was talking about.

”…That came out wrong.” Magna paused. She appeared to think for a second, perhaps to find an alternate way of wording it. “What I meant was, it seems like you’re, for a lack of better words, holding yourself back?”

He wasn’t. He didn’t get why people kept saying that. He wasn’t a human like them.

He had lost count of how much time he had spent walking. The sun was scorching, yet he couldn’t feel it. He clutched his damaged arm, his gaze firmly fixed on the horizon.

“I’m not.” He clenched his hands out of instinct. An expected reaction. He tried to relax his posture again, but to no avail.

The monotone landscape of the wasteland seemed to go on forever. The beige and orange was only ever broken by the occasional ruin. Eventually, what looked like a settlement loomed in front of him. The gates were torn down, and it was silent. Whoever had lived here was long gone.

As he walked through the sand-covered streets, it soon became evident that a disaster had struck. Doors were wide open, what was left of the buildings had several holes in it. Robots in varying stages of decay were strewn about, all of them armed.

An eerie realisation began to surface, and he pushed it away. He could do the thinking later.

He picked up a slab of metal. The image was faded and barely recognizable. Four people, all smiling. The one to the right was telling a joke to the the one at the far left, to the annoyance of the remaining two.

He tossed it away and continued walking, slowly making his way out of the town.

“You definitely are. In fact, you’re doing it right now.” Magna pointed out.

Damn it. Humans and their infectious habits.

This conversation might have worked on a human. He however, wasn’t a human, and he definitely didn’t do friendships. He didn’t have anyone back in the wastelands and he didn’t see why it would be different now. They were merely travelling together due to their goals overlapping. It was a coincidence.

That was all.

He had cursed the heavens until he realized no one was listening.

The rain was back, and stronger this time. The clouds were gathering in the distance and he knew he didn’t have much time. One never had once the clouds turned grey.

He kept walking, pulling the faded cloak closer to his body. His arm still ached, but it would have to do for now.

“Look, I get it. I really do.” Magna gently placed a hand on his shoulder. He moved away before she could do so. “I used to do the same as you a long time ago.” She continued, unaffected by the gesture.

He was silent, not because he wanted to be silent, but because he at a loss for words.

For once.

“I guess I’m trying to say that whatever it is, you can trust us.” Magna said. “I know it’s hard to believe, hell, I didn’t believe it either back then, but I do mean it.” She sounded… sincere. He wasn’t sure how to respond.

There was silence. He couldn’t break it. Halden didn’t say anything, but his expression told him that Magna was right.

“There’s something I have to do.” He turned around and walked away. He didn’t know where. Any place away from here would do. He ignored Magna’s apologizing as he walked past the ship.

Most would have been bothered by the peculiar circumstances he found himself in. He, however, was not a human.

He tossed the flower he had been holding back into the field. There were plenty of those anyway. Two thousand, seven hundred and ninety eight to be precise.

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