Chapter 11: Garian Laboratory
Me and Dawn had stopped walking. It had seemed like we had been walking for hours, though exactly how like it had been I didn’t know. There had been an uncomfortable silence growing between us. It was the unspoken secret that Dawn was keeping from me. Whatever her destiny was it seemed to be driving us apart.
Now we had come to a stop and were raising our heads. “It looks like we are where you are supposed to go.” Dawn was looking at the same thing that I was. The meadow still stretched on in all directions around us for as we could see but right in front of us was an enormous tree.
I checked with the Destiny Clock and sure enough, this tree was where the Green hand was pointing. I even tried walking around the tree but the hand still pointed unerringly at the tree. “But... This is just a tree, isn’t it.” I asked nobody in particular. Maybe the universe thought it would be a great cosmic joke to make a tree one of my hands, yah that would be funny.
“Well, it does look like one, but Appearances can be deceiving. I think more unusual is that this tree is the only different thing in this entire meadow. The tree must be more then it seems.” Dawn was giving me the advice that I was already thinking but it was good to have my logic confirmed by another person.
“It is still sort of surprising that one of my hands is a tree, or at least looks like one.” I got closer to the tree and looked up into it’s branches. It was a big tree maybe an Oak, but I wasn’t very good with tree types so I could have been wrong. The branches seemed unusually still but I still thought I heard a rustling sound.
Eventually I reached out and placed my hand on the rough bark of the tree. The tree was warm, much warmer then a tree should be. As I held my hand on the trunk of the tree I felt a strange feeling come over me.
You are here, I have been waiting.
Those thoughts rose out of my mind. It was like I could feel the thoughts of this tree and it was speaking to me through them. “You’ve been waiting... why?” Why was this tree waiting for me in this dreamlike like land.
There was a rustle of leaves an branches almost like the tree was laughing. ‘I guess you are too young to remember.’ The thoughts rose from my mind one again, ‘Come around the side and look at my trunk.’ I followed the tree’s directions and walked around the side of the tree and looked. There seemed to be something scratched into the bark of the tree.
Scratched there is faintly squiggly letters was written, ‘Ema’s Tree’. I rubbed my fingers over the scratches before saying, “This, when did I write this.”
‘It was many seasons ago, I think it was five winters ago. You came and played in my branches. You came here off an on for half a moon before finally giving me your autograph and then leaving.’
I looked at the scribble on the bark, “This is an autograph... Don’t have have too be like famous or something to give autographs. Besides can you give trees autographs? Are you even a tree.”
‘Trees don’t normally think do they. However I used to be just a normal tree until only a few moons after you felt. That is why I feel you are famous, because of you everything changed the way it did and I became like I am now. That is why I call it an autograph. I’m proud of it but I always feel that the grass is jealous of me.’
“What, can the grass think too? And that do you know about my part in the Great Change, I don’t even know how much I’m involved in it.” It was getting progressively weird talking to a tree and getting answers back from it.
‘Oh Dear No, grass doesn’t think, that would be very strange indeed’ I tried giving the talking tree a level stare, it was the last thing to talk about being strange. ‘It was a joke, I thought humans like them. Hmm, I thought about that one for so long too, I guess I just don’t understand human humor very well.’ There was a pause in the thoughts, ‘You wanted to know how I knew you are involved, I have been here thinking for a long time and I have heard a lot of things while waiting. Given that much time it wasn’t hard to me to figure things out. It wasn’t like I have a lot of other things to do.’
Great, not only was I talking with a tree, I was talking with a tree that thought it has a sense of humor. I turned to Dawn and asked her, “I don’t suppose you’re hearing any of this, it would make me feel a whole lot saner.”
“No, but that is mainly because it isn’t using sound to communicate. However if you are asking if I can make-out what it is trying to tell you then yes, however I don’t think that it is as clear for me as it is for you. I am really struggling to make out what it is trying to say.”
‘Oh, so the other one can hear me too. She must be the other one like you.’ The tree seemed to creak in thought. ‘That must be why she was able to come here with you, I thought it was unusual for there to be someone else here.’
“Since you seem to know, where are we. We both remember falling unconscious and then waking up here, however we have no idea where here is.”
‘That is easy to answer. I can’t tell you exactly where this place is because I don’t know. However I first came here no long after I awakened. They were going to demolish the lab and I was in the way so they would have had to chop me down. I didn’t like that idea so I escaped to here. Then I have been waiting here all these years. Recently I felt your presence nearby so I called out to you and brought you here. I must have accidentally brought the other one here too.’
That explanation wasn’t very helpful. An immovable tree somehow managed to escape to here before it got cut down and also somehow managed to bring me and Dawn here when it felt me... “Wait, Lab? What lab are you talking about?” That little fact had almost slipped past me but now that I had noticed it I was sure it was important.
‘You don’t remember? I used to grow near Garian Laboratory, wasn’t the reason you came to visit me the fact that you were at Garian Laboratory for some human reason. If you don’t remember Garian Laboratory then...’ The tree stopped and then remained silent. I looked at it questioningly, I remembered that Garian Memorial Park was the name of the park that the Tower of Nothing had been in. If there used to be a Garian Laboratory then it must have been destroyed to make way for Garian Memorial Park around five years ago. The fact that the Tower of Nothing now stood nearby where the Garian Laboratory once stood did not escape my notice. Eventually the tree continued, ‘It would be better if you remember for yourself. My explaination wouldn’t be adequate.’
I looked over my shoulder and Dawn and asked her, “Do you know about Garian Laboratory?” Dawn only nodded slightly and then turned her head away from mine. I guess it was just another thing that she couldn’t tell me. However that confirmed my suspicions that it was related to the Tower of Nothing and own Destiny.
“So Tree, since you have now found me and brought me here what are you planning to do now. I hope you have some way of sending me back from where you brought me because I can’t really say here forever.” There as also the question that if this tree as the Green Hand then how would I bring it back with me... or be at all useful. Maybe I could use the Tree as a spy, nobody would suspect it.
‘No need to call me Tree, you can call me Lobatae. Now you don’t need to worry about getting back, now that you are here I can easily bring you back from I brought you. However it would be inconvenient to come with you as I now am. To do that I need you to bring out that watch I saw you carrying and place it on my trunk.’
I started to grumble about how it was impossible for Lobatae to see because it didn’t have any eyes but decided it wasn’t worth it to argue with a tree. I drew the Destiny Clock out of my pocket and gently placed it on the trunk of the tree. “Like this?”
Light began to glow around the watch and my hand and began to envelop the entire tree. Soon the entire tree was glowing a soft white color. Then I could see the upper branches beginning to retreat, pulling back into the trunk. The entire tree began to shrink, getting smaller and smaller. Once the form was about the same size as me it stopped shrinking and the roots began to pull themselves out of the ground. Two of the remaining branches began lowering and taking the form of arms. The roots began wrapping together into feet.
When the glow finally began to fade I was finally able to see what Lobatae had become. Lobatae was now just a little bit taller then me and now in the form of a young man. His hair was green and looked a lot like leaves. He seemed to wearing clothes that had the same reddish brown cloth that his bark had. His skin was very similar but was a slightly lighter color. His eyes were also a leaf-green and hands were tinted slightly green too.
Dawn let out a little twitter of laughter, “Wow, that was quite cool, I usually try to avoid large changes like that. On the plus side he is like your own personal frog prince Ema.” I shot her an annoyed glare which just made her giggle a bit more. I decided that Dawn acted a lot like the older sister I never had.
Lobatae however teetered a little bit trying to stabilize but eventually collapsed onto the ground. He opened his mouth to speak and no sound came out. His face formed some weird expression and his arms move in some strange ways before he eventually managed to touch me, his thoughts began to come to the surface of my mind again, ‘This is a lot harder then it looks. I don’t know how you human manage.’ This time I joined Dawn in her giggling. Somehow seeing the mighty tree being unable to walk or speak was very amusing.
“So why is it that you look like such a young person when you were such a big and imposing tree.” I asked. Even if Lobatae only pretended to understand humor didn’t make his current humorous situation any less funny, perhaps is was funnier because he didn’t really understand why he was funny.
He spoke again in my mind because he still seemed unable to use his voice,’But I am young. Trees tends to live longer then humans so when that age is converted into human time I would look fairly young.’ That made sense, it was like the opposite of converting years to cat years, which was something like seven cat years per human year. Tina always hated it when I made jokes about her age in cat years.
“It looks like you two are getting along fairly well, I’m glad.” Dawn was smiling at us however the smile looked different then most of her others. It was the smile of someone saying goodbye forever to somebody else. She pulled her own Destiny Clock and flipped it open. She glanced at it in the same way one looks at a normal clock to tell the time. She then shut the lid of the Destiny Clock and looked back at us. “It looks like it is about time for me to go, I’d wish you all the luck in the world but the next time we see each other it will be as enemies.”
I could only look at Dawn, I didn’t know how she was planning on leaving but since she said it I was certain she had a way. When I saw her face I wanted desperately to stop her from leaving and that if she left something horrible would begin to happen. However I wasn’t certain what I could do even if I tried to stop her, if she was determined to go through with her fate would I be able to stop her.
“Ema, I want you to carefully watch what I am about to do because it will be useful to you in the future. I also have a a couple of things to tell you before I leave. The first is that just like you I have a title, I am the Scion of Time, Anchor of Life, Destiny of Doom. The second is to beware the Beast of Ruin and it’s children.” She grasped her Destiny Clock tightly in her hand. “I’m Sorry, Goodbye Ema”
Dawn’s hand began to glow in the same white light that my Destiny Clock had glowed when I had pressed it against Lobatae’s trunk. I could hear the clicking sound that was characteristic of the Destiny Clock, however hers sounded different then mine. I hadn’t realized I could recognize the sound of my Destiny Clock until I heard the distinctly different sound of hers.
The glow spread around Dawn until her entire body was covered in white. The light grew brighter and then brighter. Then the light was gone and with it Dawn. I was now alone in the Meadow with Lobatae. Dawn was now gone, and I missed her somewhat, partially because I knew we would probably never be able to be friendly like that again. It was a lonely feeling knowing that.
“Lobatae, it is probably time for us to go too. I’ve probably been here long enough and my other friends are probably worried about me. Do you have a way to leave or do you suggest I try to do what Dawn just did?” Because he probably still wasn’t able to speak correctly I reached out my hand for him to touch.
‘No, I have a way back. Just grab onto me.’ I nodded and grabbed onto his hand. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but I waited with held breath. I almost thought that nothing was going to happen when the horizon began to rise. It seemed like we were being engulfed by the landscape. The entire meadow seemed to be surrounding us. The everything began to twist like it was in a wringer. It felt like I was on one of those spinning rides at a theme park.
It was somewhere along the ride that I fainted again. At least I think I did, I remember that same white light completely surrounding me. There was the familiar ticking, the ticking of the Destiny Clock. I thought I heard a voice.... “I’m sorry Ema.” That voice, it was Dawn’s voice. The light seemed to be clearing, in front of me was a building. It was really big, bigger then it should be. In fact everything looked smaller then it should be.
However what was really strange was that in front of me I saw myself, except it was a younger me, maybe six years younger. The other me was holding a broken doll and was staring to cry. There was another little girl near the other me, it was a younger version of Dawn. I had no memories of meeting Dawn in my past so was this another memory I didn’t remember or if this was just a creation of my own mind.
The younger Dawn was comforting the younger me. Eventually I stopped crying, and sniffed, “Dawn, its alright, I don’t really need that doll. You being my friend is more important then this doll.” The two of them seemed to be getting along, even if the doll was broke. I looked around, there was a large building nearby and a sign that said, “ Garian Laboratory”. It looked nice and clean, not as scary as I might have imagined.
Farther away there was a large tree that I could tell was Lobatae. So this really was Garian Laboratory, or at least my imagination of it. I still had no way to tell if this was a real memory or not, though the fact that it felt like I was a disembodied person watching the scene made it likely that it wasn’t really.
“It is real, as real as anything can be. This is our memory after all, even if it didn’t happen it is still real to us and that is all that matters.” I turned my head, realizing that I did so that I wasn’t as disembodied as I thought. My body however was much smaller then I was used to, maybe I too was in a younger body. I looked at the speaker and my suspicion that this was just my own delusion increase. There was another younger me standing there. I turned to my side and there was still the younger me being comforted by Dawn.
“Younger Me, when things like this happen your argument seems less sound.”
“Is that really what you believe?” Asked the younger version of me. “If that is true then this is just a delusion of yours. It would be better to describe this scene as a dramatization of the past. While it might not be exactly what happens this scene was created from my memories.”
“What do you mean your memories, aren’t you me. Wouldn’t that mean that this is my memory too.”
“In a way, it is something that happened to us but you don’t remember it and I do. You see, I’m the you that remembers everything. Because it was for the best you don’t remember everything that happened. If you did it would pollute our judgement of what is to come.”
“You mean I deliberately agreed to have my memories changed. Why would I do that?” That did I mean when I spoke about polluting my judgement. It must be like how Dawn felt, that knowing the future bound you by the chains of fate because you couldn’t find a better future, “Did I have my memory changed so that I would be able to choose a better future?”
The younger me nodded, “Yes, to avoid the darkest future we had to remove our own memory.” The younger me paused, “I don’t have much time to speak with you. You need to look back at the scene, there is something that you should see. I am showing this to you because there is something you need to know.”
I looked back at the scene. There seemed to be a couple of people coming out of the Laboratory. The first was easily recognizable as Bix. He didn’t have the patchwork look that he did in the present. This was the Bix before the Great Change. As he came out the younger Dawn stood up and waved at Bix, “Dad, we are over here.” Bix and the other person began to come over.
I was finally able to see the face of the woman walking with Bix. She was wearing a lab coat too which made her easily recognizable. It was Krien who was walking with Bix. She looked almost the same as she did when I saw her earlier today. She looked a little bit less crazy then she did in the present. “Come on you two, its time for another experiment.”
The younger me with Dawn looked sad and said, “I don’t want to, it is boring and I’d rather be playing with Dawn.”
Krien smiled at the younger me and lifted me up gently. “Its for the betterment of the of the entire world. Don’t you want to help everyone. I’ll also tried to make it more interesting this time, would that be better.” Krien looked down and saw the broken doll. She smiled a knowing smile and continued, “If you do it then I’ll get you a new doll too, wouldn’t you like that.”
The younger me smiled back at Krien and wiped her tears away, “Really, you’ll get me a new doll.” Krien patted the younger me on my head and lead me back into the lab. Dawn came with us with Bix. When the doors of the lab finally closed the other younger me finally started to speak again. “ Garian Laboratory, the start of everything and the end of everything. To save the world they were forced to create something which should never have existed.”
The entire scene began fading out. Everything began to become white. The other me began to speak once again, “I don’t have much time left because the connection between our memories is limited. There is something I still need to tell you. You and Dawn are here to protect everything even if you are destined come into conflict. The utmost darkness, the Beast of Chaos has begun to appear. It won’t be long now until you will be forced into action. The only way to stop the Beast of Chaos is to enter the Tower of Nothing.”
Everything was now completely white. Even the other me was now beginning to fade. “Wait, is there anything else you can tell me. If Krien was there why is she not telling me anything and why doesn’t she see the Tower of Nothing or is she just lying to me.” The whitening form of my younger self seemed to mouth something at me but I wasn’t able to hear it. “Wait, don’t leave, tell me more.” I tried reaching out to grab the vanishing form. It reached out toward me too and for a second our hands were connected. Then...
“Ema, Ema, Wake Up.” A voice, that was Tina’s voice. I began to feeling things around me. While everything seemed bright I could tell that my eyes were closed. I also felt cold and wet. I slowly opened my eyes and found I was laying on the grass by the side of the lake where the Tower of Nothing stood, dark and looming.