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[Lore & Novel] Mortals (Chapter 18)

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Post time 2019-10-24 03:52 PM | Show all posts |Read mode

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Edited by Halbikx at 2019-10-24 03:54 PM


Chapter 18: The Forgotten Gift III

The rendezvous point is the mountain cliff at the edge of the eastern forest. Everyone in the team including Rooney, Alpha, Saber, Diggie, Chou, Lolita and Bruno are waiting for something's arrival. Only Layla is not to be seen around them. Not much of a surprise really, as this is the real gift that Rooney has been yapping about ever since Layla's birthday was brought up.

The cliff itself was covered in green grass, full of lush trees overgrown over the path that connects the city of Antoinerei to the edge of this location. Opposite of the lush vegetation was a misty canyon. Despite it being the afternoon, the deep maw still has hints of a cold morning fog. Hence its well known name as the 'Cockcrow Canyon', befitting for its state of time that is eternally stuck at dawn.

Just from standing next to the already bottomless-pit canyon, it feels like time has slowed to a crawl. Only a fraction of the sunlight has penetrated through the thick fog that covers the area. Not to mention, the fog is considerably weaker at the top of the canyon compared to the area deeper down.

Not many adventurers have ever went in the canyon and came back alive. Those who had came back suffered from weird side effects caused by the entrancing fog. Its mystical hue -- almost like a gate to a fantasy world -- would suck in the attention of those brave enough to enter the deadly canyon. Those side effects range from amnesia, alzheimers, all the way to paralyzation of certain limbs. Though, the one pattern that could be seen in all those side effects are that they affect the brain in a certain way.

Nonetheless, the crew was bewildered when Rooney told them that this is where Layla's secret gift will be revealed. However, just to be safe, Rooney wanted the gift only to arrive at midnight -- the moment when a new day breaks, which is the day of Layla's birthday. Rooney thought that the risk of someone discovering this mighty object is too high, despite already being conjured inside a well-hidden part of the forest.

"Dr. Rooney, I'm just wondering... What's this 'gift' that you want to give to Layla? This seems a bit.. extra.. for a birthday present.."

Diggie asked the question from behind, prompting Rooney to turn to him. After a brief pause that felt like forever, Rooney opened his mouth and explained thoroughly why he had chosen this place as the area where Layla's gift will be revealed, and what type of gift it will be. After all, it was an item of gratitude that Rooney and his now deceased friend worked on for so long and was supposed to be given to Layla ten years ago. Needless to say, it was well over its due date.

"This gift will be something enormous, bigger than anything you'd imagine. There's nowhere except here that can fit its size. For now, I have to keep it secret as the risk of it being leaked is too high. As for why I'm holding so much security for this one gift, think of it as an apology to Layla that I don't want ruined. A very late one at that."

Rooney explained all that in quite a solemn manner, which caused the response of the whole crew to be silent. Though, the eerie silence was short-lived as the continuation of Rooney's explanation resounded once more.

"There is a reason why I've called all of you here. As you can see from your surroundings, this area is not suitable for revealing Layla's gift. Overgrown weeds, thick vegetation, poorly maintained paves and many more among the likes of these impurities will hinder Layla's surprise. Although I do not want this place to have a direct path leading to it right from Antoinerei as of now, I request all of you to cooperate with me to build a new platform."

Hearing Rooney's request, everyone seemed dumbfounded as to how big of a project this is going to be. Despite the tight schedule of two and a half days left along with harsh surroundings that make the project seem impossible to finish, Rooney's convincing words made everyone motivated enough to carry out the work.

Naturally, a team of seven will not be enough to finish this project on time. That's why, Rooney called around thirty-or-so men in the city's workforce to help build the platform. Those men suddenly popped out from behind them carrying toolboxes, materials and accomodations, as if they were already aware of the plans Rooney has set for them.

Everyone turned around to face the shifting sounds of the shrubbery which only let their gazes meet those of the workers. Tall, muscular men with varying characteristics start pouring out one by one seemingly out of nowhere.



Diggie and Lolita gasped out in amazement as Saber and Alpha sighed at the neverending surprises that Rooney always seems to pull off.

"That's Rooney for ya'," Bruno exclaimed while slapping Rooney's back with the palm of his right hand. Nobody even noticed Bruno approaching the man. Rooney himself coughed a little after being slapped in the back by Bruno, looking like he used a bit too much strength, although Bruno held back a lot already. It's just that Rooney's getting old.

A few minutes after everyone gathered, a small makeshift table was plopped to the side of the construction area where the main crew could be seen crowding around it. Behind them is where the platform will be built and it seems like the workers have already started to work on it with an amazing amount of teamwork.

The sounds of hammers hitting down the nails onto the wooden planks, power drills resounding loud, continuous noises and even the sound of sweeping could be heard among them. Of course, they have immesurable teamwork as they are veterans at building, being in the workforce for Antoinerei for well over decades by now.

Ignoring the loud reverberations, Rooney plopped down a blueprint on th makeshift table after taking it out from his pocket and unrolling it right in front of everyone's eyes to pique their interests. As the drawings started to sink into their eyes, Alpha, Saber, Diggie, Chou, Lolita and Bruno looked up to Rooney in unison, as if they were expecting an explanation from him.

Rooney pointed his right index finger on the scale drawing and slowly explained each part in great detail.

To get the gist down, it was a semi-circle with a radius of around twenty one meters in length, with the flat part right up at the edge of the cliff. Railings would be added near the sides exposed to the cliff, leaving out a two and a half meter wide gap near the middle of the platform, just etched to the side by around half a meter. Actually, there were two openings at the same size parallel to each other, with that tiny gap separating the two. The openings will be where a gate will be placed, one for an entrance path and one for an exit.

Confused, everyone scratched their heads thinking that Rooney is trying to build something along the lines of an amusement park ride. However, their confusion ceased when Lolita pointed out that it looked like a landing platform for airships. Snap, went Rooney's fingers, signalling that Lolita's on the right track of what type of gift it will be. She seemed to let out a small smug after reacting to Rooney's gesture.

After some more brief explanations, everyone immediately went off to work.

Using the incredible strength given by the robotic bodies of Alpha and Saber, they easily lifted the tree logs that needed to be sliced down into planks. Meanwhile, Chou with his fast fingers helped in laying out the framework of the platform. Lolita and Diggie were off sweeping and cleaning the area to give space for the enourmous project, while Bruno hopped around everywhere to help in the bits and pieces.

Rooney, being the director of the project, gave instructions to everyone in quick successions as they worked tiredlessly. Under the terrific leadership of the project director along with the immense cooperation from everyone participating, around fifty percent of the work is already complete. Aside from the decorations, all the flooring and railings are already in place. The only things missing now are the path leading up to this area and the gift itself.

The wooden platform was very sturdy due to the incredible handiwork of the workers and the crew; not even a single creak could be heard when walking on the platform. Now that most of the things are done, Rooney is now giving instructions on the next part of the plan which will be continued tomorrow. Not even three hours have passed since they've started and they have already come this far.

After a long day of hardwork, everyone packed up their belongings under the reddish sky caused by the sunset over the horizon. The shimmering fog of the canyon was also dyed in a faint orange as twilight slowly descended upon the land. Rooney and his crew looked back at their handiwork for one last time before setting off to Antoinerei. The simple yet charming semi-circular platform accompanied by the velvet sunset made everyone smile with satisfaction.

"I feel like I can cry."

"Oh, shut up."

Diggie spurted out as his eyes were locked on to the platform, only to be head-chopped by Saber trying not to cringe. At last, everyone returned back to the yet again brightly lit up Antoinerei.

"Our work's not done yet -- we still have a lot to do for tomorrow and the day following that."

"Mhm, and I'm so excited for what's going to come!"

"Me too!"


Rooney addressed everyone as there are still more to be done until Layla's big day arrives, only to have Diggie respond euphoricly, followed by the agreeing replies made by Lolita and Bruno. The rest nodded with a smile on their faces.

Everyone returned to their homes -- mostly Rooney's lab, the bucket-shaped flat roof concrete building with parts of it being covered with metallic sheets. The large double door opened after Rooney twisted the key inside the lock, only to reveal Layla soundly snoozing off on the monochrome-colored gray couch. She looked so vulnerable sleeping casually on Rooney's long couch. It looked as if she was waiting for their return, only to doze off after waiting for too long.

After closing the door with a slight creaking sound in the hinges, Layla's eyes twitched as she fumbled around the couch. She rubbed her eyes as her lenses inside tried to focus on the group standing in front of her, waiting for her to wake up. She looked around, only to realize that everyone has returned. She called out Rooney's name in a slightly clumsy voice before readjusting the goggles on her head.

"We're back, sleepy-head!"

Diggie called out to Layla with a flap of his wings. Layla seemed to be knocked back into the world after hearing those words, causing her to jump off the couch and stand straight up in front of everyone. She greeted everyone joyfully and asked them about their day. Needless to say, that night lasted almost forever.

Morning came the next day and everyone is prepared to leave into the forest once more. Layla, still in the blank of their secret project, sleeps peacefully in her home as Chou and Lolita finally arrive at Rooney's house's front lawn to meet up with everyone. Rooney counted everyone one by one and nodded after confirming that the whole crew excluding Layla is here. He locked the gates and set off into the forest.

Seemingly, there were already people there working in the early hours. Of course, they were the workers that Rooney personally hired to help make the project come into fruition. One of the workers noticed Rooney leading the crew and waved at him, prompting the other workers to look up at their direction, temporarily halting their work.

"Morning, Rooney! We've already started on the next part of the project."

"Great work, Wayne. Keep up the pace and we'll finish by noon."

"Sure thing, boss."

Wayne, the worker who started waving at Rooney, gave him a quick report on what they've been doing before his arrival. Rooney's charismatic reply seemed to motivate everyone and made them work more efficiently.

Once again arriving at the makeshift table that's now right above the completed platform, Rooney plopped down a new blueprint with a more fleshed-out design of the project. He could've just shown us this at the very start, thought some of the crew members.

The blueprint was a scale drawing for the next section of the whole project. Aside from the already-built main platform, a cobblestone path with smoothly-cut stone lining cover the outer edge of both sides of the path, running through the thick forest and connecting to an exposed path leading into Antoinerei.

Although the blueprint says to have it connect all the way into Antoinerei, Rooney said to only build it three quarters of the way there for now, as the newly-built path will lead people right to where the surprise will be. As flawed as Rooney's plan sounded, there was no better solution. He said to finish the path after Layla' gift is revealed. With a swift hush from Rooney, everyone rushed to work once more.

Slowly but surely, the long path was built after a long morning. Everyone took a break at noon on the previously finished platform. Amid the exhausted workers and the crew members happily eating lunch, Saber brought up a question to Rooney who was eating as well.

"Rooney, if you don't mind, can I ask you something?"

"Go ahead."

"Is the platform also part of the gift?"

"Technically so, but in actuality, this platform is for everyone, including you, the whole crew, and even the citizens for Antoinerei. The supposed actual 'gift' is mainly for Layla, though it can also be turned to a gift for all of us. For all of you hardwork these past few months, and for everyone living harmoniously in this city. A special gift not only for Layla, but for everyone she cares for and loves."

Rooney's surprisingly long answer caught Saber a bit off guard, but it is to be expected of him. His vague and truthful reply seemed to struck somewhere deep inside Saber's robotic heart. Their conversation stopped their as they ate their food under the blazing sun at its highest position above everyone's head.

Everything is almost set in stone. The only things left now are the decorations for the platform and the path leading up to it, as well as the preperations in the city. Although Layla is the best when it comes to decorating, everyone tried their best at making the platform look pretty.

Ribbons haging in between each support of the railing with a flower-shaped pin at every apex of the ribbon to hold the ribbons up, ranging in a multitude of colors. A large overhead arch was added with its legs planted at the far ends of the two gates at the edge of the platform, decorated to more ribbons, colorful lights and individual letters spelling out "Happy Birthday Layla!".

A portion of the ground had red carpet laid on top, connecting with the long piece of carpet that lined the path from Antoinerei to the platform. Balloons and more colorful light were attached and hung respectively on the poles leading up to the platform at the side of the path. As if it weren't enough, confetti cannons were hidden behind the bushes near the entrance to the platform where it met with the path, ready to be activated when the special person has arrived.

Colorful flowers lined the ourskirts of the platform, creating a truly festive vibe at the place. Some even almost forgot that right off the cliff is the dangerous Cockcrow Canyon where a lot of lives were taken. The fog from the canyon added to the festivity of the platform, making it look mysterious and nerve wracking. After everything seemed to be finished, the day was called off and the preperations for the gifting process were complete. Now, only the city needed decorating in order to honor Layla's big day.

Meanwhile, at three-quarters past eleven on the day before the main event, an enourmous airship could be seen flying nearer and nearer to the platform. Only Rooney and the crew were there spectating as the flying object slowly closed in on them. The mystifying fog made the lading of the airship even more grandiose.

"A-An airship?! That's really Layla's gift?!"

"I was right on the mark, wasn't I?"

Diggie's jaw opened wide as he marveled at the large ship, while Lolita patted her left hand's palm with a clenched fist with the right, signifying that she has successfully guessed what Layla's gift was.

"It's been so long since I've seen this... Welcome back, Angel Ark."

Rooney welcomed the airship seemingly by its name -- Angel Ark. Tears started to form on Rooney's eyelids as he quickly wiped them off.

The airship, the size of a large football stadium, was golden in colour. A large golden-colored depiction of a shark was high above the airship, giving it a menacing look. What's more scary is that there were a pair of two long, sharp golden wings protruding out from the base of the ship, having a resemblance to the fins of a shark. Two large propellers were stationed at the back of the ship, one right at the back of the golden shark high above the ship and one connected to a white tail with blue stipes at the back of the base part of the ship.

Adding on the the shark design, while sails were added in the front, making it feel like the shark's sharp, menacing teeth. The last unique characteristic of the ship is the long potruding spike at the forefront of the ship's base, golden in color and sharper than a lance's tip. It instilled fear into anyone that dares attack its body.

With this large revelation, all preperations were complete and Layla's birthday party is set in motion.

Angel Ark (Source: MLBB)

Angel Ark (Source: MLBB)
Post time 2019-10-25 04:22 AM | Show all posts
Who’s Rooney? Nice story though
 Author| Post time 2019-10-25 10:02 AM | Show all posts
Kathey replied at 2019-10-25 04:22 AM
Who’s Rooney? Nice story though

If you've read the lores of Alpha, Saber, Bruno, Lolita and some others, then Rooney is one of the characters that have popped up a lot
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