"At last, a little down time!" thought Mila DeVinci as she sat down on a flat rock, watching the lifestyle of the Hollow go by her. Luckily, it seemed as though this portion of the Hollow had managed to escape the flooding caused by the sinking of Jacinto, so life could carry on here.
Mila had been here for quite some time, yet she still couldn't quite believe it. One minute she was on the surface battling the Locust Hordes alongside her fellow Gears, next thing she knew she was now living alongside them, having befriended the leader of this particular circle of Locust.
The most prominent member of the circle to her was the de-facto leader, a Kantus Priest named Centron. Funnily enough, he was leading the squad of Locust that attacked her platoon and captured her. Why he didn't just kill her there and then, was a bit of a mystery.
Just as she had been thinking about him, she looked over to her right and saw that Centron was approaching her. He stood out from most Kantus due to his blood red armour with black ribbons, along with his slightly greyer shade of skin and the scars he had along his face: old war wounds.
The reason for his choice of armour colour was an important to him, the red represented the blood of the loved ones he lost in the war, while the black ribbons represented their souls, which were still attached to him. Mila couldn't believe a Locust could be so caring and loving… but Centron was living proof.
Centron walked over to Mila with a toothy grin that showed off those razor sharp Kantus teeth of his. Tagging along with him was Ortrich, a sniper drone and a close friend of Centron. You couldn't spot Ortrich out from a crowd, he looked like almost any other sniper drone out there.
"Ah Mila!" Centron smiled. "How are you doing?"
"Good, it's nice to get some quiet time!" Mila replied, also with a smile. "I had heard about the lifestyles of exiles, but I never would have guessed how rare breathers were!"
"We would have plenty of breathers if you ran along back to your Cog friends!" Ortrich joked, but with quite a venomous tone. Mila and Centron glared at him in disapproval.
"Oh come now! It was only my sense of humour!" Ortrich protested. "That's something else about you humans! You dish out cruel jokes, but cannot take them yourselves!"
Centron just shook his head, a little puzzled. Ortrich was normally quite laid back, and while he did show some unease around Mila, he had gotten used to her by now. Perhaps the feeling of being an exile was poking him a little too hard.
"If you ask me, we are better off being exiles! I'd rather die than spend another moment listening to Gurten bark orders and rant about 'the glorious Queen' and whatever!"
Mila laughed heartily, if anyone could bring levity back to a situation, it would be Centron. The Kantus sensed he had made Mila happy and responded with a happy smile.
"And if Gurten and his thugs find us?" Ortrich asked.
"He won't, we're far smarter than him." Centron assured. "Should he muster up his forces, I'd say we could defeat them. Need I remind you of Mila's skills with a Longshot! She almost rivals you!"
Ortrich shrugged casually "Well, as long as you have things under control!"
Ortrich turned around and wandered off, not too far though. He only sat on the ground and pondered for a bit.
"I'm sorry about Ortrich, I think he just wants some stability in our lifestyle." Centron stated.
"Ah, I'm used to him!" Mila joked. "I've dealt with worse back in the Cog!"
The pair of them smirked and the scene went silent. Centron looked at Mila with affection, deep affection in fact. He couldn't explain it, but he had grown to care a lot about Mila, you could say he… loved her.
Which was funny, if one thought about it. When Mila was first captured by Centron, they were at each other's throats, even after he saved her from a rampaging Corpser mother. Hostility filled the air non-stop when the two of them were together. Though could they blamed? They saw each other's species as violent, barbaric, bloodthirsty bullies.
"Though at least Locust don't brag!" Centron always thought to himself with smugness.
Though time passed and the two found they eased up on each other, Mila began to see what Centron had lost throughout the war; countless friends and his entire family, all slain by the war. Mila herself, having lost her siblings by what she had believed to be a Locust attack, found she could relate to Centron's losses. After that, a friendship blossomed… which quickly turned to what one might call love.
Centron reached into a pocket into his shorts and pulled out a beautiful, bright blue coloured necklace in the shape of a star. The Kantus priest gulped as examined it a little more. It was the necklace worn by his deceased wife, Seagure. Though Centron wanted to give it to Mila, to show her how much he truly cared for her. Seagure would want Centron to be happy… wouldn't she?
The thoughts were cut short, as a Theron Guard with armour bleached white by surface exploration, rushed over to Centron.
"High Priest Centron! A wanderer has made their way to our camp!" The Theron announced.
"Are they a threat?" Centron asked, he could see Mila was already preparing her Snub Pistol.
"No, she doesn't seem to be hostile." The Theron replied.
Centron raised his hand to Mila in a symbol that meant "false alarm" or "no worry".
"Okay, bring her to me." Centron ordered. The Theron nodded and hastily went back to fetch whoever this was.
Centron sat down on a rock alongside Mila and patiently tapped his knees, waiting for this newcomer. Mila wondered if Centron was a little bit on the edge, so she placed her hand on Centron's left knee. The Kantus smiled at her.
The Theron returned with the visitor, a Kantus Priestess which seemed to catch the eyes of all. When Centron saw her, he almost couldn't believe it.
The Priestess's armour and robes were coloured dark blue and had tints of gold, instead of the usual brown/bronze colouring. She wore a necklace, which appeared to be a small rock or stone or sorts that glow a bright light blue colour. She also had various wounds on her body, and her feet were bloodied from previous wounds.
The Priestess looked straight ahead and saw Centron, she smiled at him, recognizing him immediately. Centron could also see who she was.
"Well, I'll be… Nokada!" Centron smiled.
"It has been a while hasn't it Centron?" Nokada replied happily. "It is good to see you again!"
"I see you are still a fighter!" Centron joked.
Nokada was about to reply when she spotted Mila, hanging out behind Centron. The Priestess didn't show hostility, just surprise.
"You have a human ally?" Nokada asked.
Centron swiftly turned around and spotted Mila as well.
"Yes, this is Mila! She is one of us now!" Centron proudly announced. "We're somewhat exiles like you now!"
Nokada approached Mila and bowed her head, Mila felt a little strange, Nokada looked to be of importance, yet she was bowing before her?
"Greetings Mila! I'm sorry if I came across as disapproving, but any friend of Centron will be a friend of mine!" Nokada said.
"Thank… you?" Mila replied. "Sorry, it's a little weird… you two know each other?"
"From quite some time ago! Nokada leads her own band of exiles, rebelling against the Queen." Centron explained. "I had heard of The Lost and, secretly, I supported them. It didn't seem right that they were hunted down and labelled as heretics just because of there beliefs."
Nokada smiled at Centron, he hadn't changed much since they last met.
"So, Locust Rebels? I guess Centron isn't the first after all!" Mila joked.
"My group, The Lost have been around since Emergence Day." Nokada replied. "We believe T'Chark, the worm goddess, was right that going to war with your kind was wrong! That it would lead to the extinction of our species!"
"She wasn't wrong there…" Centron sighed, looking around.
Nokada turned to her right and noticed that the sniper Ortrich was eyeing her up with a cheeky smile. Although it was hard to notice, he was trying to catch a few looks at her chest.
"May I help you?" Nokada asked sourly.
"Just enjoying the view, not often we get Kantus Priestesses around here." Ortrich giggled.
Centron placed his face into the palms of his clawed hands and sighed in embarrassment. A Female that wasn't a Berserker turns up… and the young get excited.
"Right, right…" Ortrich replied. "Come along Mila, Kantus prefer privacy when talking!"
Centron was about to protest, but Mila seemed okay with it. She reassuring petted Centron on his shoulders and gave him a little wink.
"It's fine, from the sound of it, you two have some catching up to do!" She laughed.
Centron nervously smirked back and watched as Mila and Ortrich left the scene. As they walked away, Ortrich turned to Mila.
"See, why couldn't he have found a nice Priestess, like her?" he joked.
Mila scoffed and gave Ortrich a quick slap to the back of his head.
"Sorry about that, a lot of these exiles and still young and… have urges." Centron blushed.
"I understand, I had a similar problem amongst The Lost, which lead to a… well, I'll tell you later." Nokada replied.
The two Kantus sat down on some rocks and faced each other, Nokada gave Centron a warm smile as she struck up the conversation.
"So, Mila says you are exiles now?" Nokada asked.
"Yes, it's a complicated story but… well, me and Mila being friends was what got us exiled by Gurten. Not that I care anyway… if being with Mila is wrong, I don't want to be right!" Centron explained.
Nokada nodded and watched as Centron was rather nervously rubbing his clawed hands together.
"You care for her?" Nokada pointed out.
Centron looked at Nokada, first with surprise, but then back to his normal look. Nokada would understand.
"Is it strange that I do?" Centron gulped. "I cannot explain it. At first we were at each other's throats, but then we began to warm to each other. Before I knew it, I felt an… affection for her. One I haven't felt since Seagure…"
Centron stopped when he announced her name, he drooped down and went into a depressed slump. It took Nokada a minute to realise what he meant. When she did catch it, she put her hand over her mouth in shock.
"Oh, no!" Nokada gasped. "I'm sorry, I didn't'…"
"It's okay, why should you feel bad for not knowing?" Centron sighed. "It's been so long since the flooding, but it feels like only yesterday that I saw them for the last time…"
Centron pulled out a scroll from his other short pocket and unravelled it to show Nokada. It was a drawing of Centron's family. Right in the centre was Seagure, clad in her Theron Elite armour which showed off her fierce authority, yet she had a smile that would melt the hearts of most. She was standing in between their children: Their Daughter Zombarai and their Son Luthrax.
Something caught Nokada's attention though, on Seagure's back was a little figure, a baby, peeking over.
"I haven't seen that one before… you two had another baby?" Nokada smiled like a little girl.
"Nedith" Centron smirked back. "He was blessing, he rarely acted up or gave us trouble. Seagure never went anywhere without him. She would always take him to bed and cuddle up with him all night."
Centron put away the picture and his smile faded away.
"It isn't all bad, these ribbons I wear remind me that their souls will always with me." He added, pointing to his ribbons.
"T'Chark protects them." Nokada chimed in, Centron smiled back at her.
"Mila brings you happiness though, right?" Nokada asked.
"Yes, but… I am worried about something." Centron replied, clenching one of his ribbons. "Seagure would want me to be happy… wouldn't she?"
Nokada gently grabbed Centron's hands and raised them up, Centron looked up as well.
"Of course she would!" Nokada assured. "Seagure would hate for you to be miserable. If Mila brings you happiness in this new world, then Seagure will be happy!"
Centron thought about it, Mila did remind him of Seagure quite a bit. Sometimes when he closed his eyes and heard Mila speaking, he could swear to himself that it was Seagure. Centron still had a lot of thinking to do. He pulled out Seagure's necklace and showed it to Nokada.
"Are you planning on giving it to Mila?" Nokada asked.
"… Not yet, but yes." Centron replied. "I just need a little time, that's all."
Nokada nodded and smiled.
"Actually, may I do something while I am here? Do you have a building I can work in?" Nokada requested.
Centron agreed and pointed out a small house nearby, Nokada walked over to the house, but was stopped by Centron calling her. She turned around and saw the Kantus Priest was smiling.
"Thank you… for the support." Centron said.
A little later, Nokada had finished whatever she was doing and met Centron, Mila and Ortrich by the gates of their camp. She was ready to leave now.
"Will you be okay?" Mila asked.
"Don't worry about me, my Lost have found sanctuary not too far from here." Nokada reassured. "You are all welcome to come with us?"
"Thank you, but for now, we need to get our own strength up." Centron replied. "Though do come back and find us, we need all the allies we can get!"
Nokada chuckled and got closer to Centron, she placed a little scroll in his hands and nodded at him.
"You will like it." she winked.
With that said, Nokada left the camp and off to parts unknown.
Alone outside, Centron sat down on a rock and looked at the scroll Nokada had given to him. He unravelled it and was surprised at what he saw.
It was a hand drawing of him and Mila, standing side by side, both smiling each other with unquestionable affection for each other. In the background, Centron could make out Seagure's face, happy that someone, even a human, had made Centron as happy as she had made him.
Centron happily stared at the picture for hours, doubt had been kicked aside in favour of reassurance… and the feeling of being the luckiest Locust alive.