The Day Ahead

Like Zack expected, Weston was really stunned to have heard that.

Or rather . . . perhaps too shocked? Because right after that, Weston became silent, even when Zack asked him whether he had a reason for popping up at his place so early in the morning – it was only eight o' clock at that time. It was like he'd become a statue for a minute before he finally choked out: “Astrid is the what?”

The third Core Gladiator,” said Zack. “Did you know?”

How the hell would I know?” Weston demanded, springing to his feet. “Wait, in fact – so all this time, she's – Astrid's been a Core Gladiator like you - all this time?”

I guess so. Seems like that.”

How did you find that out?” asked Weston.

Um – a dream,” said Zack. By the time he told Weston about his dream, meeting Sawyer in the same place and then how Astrid chatted to them casually like they weren't with an enemy, Weston's had gone wider.

Why does it sound like you guys got along really well?” was what he finally mumbled.

Don't blame me! And Astrid made it clear to not want any fights to start up, too.” Zack continued with his game.

But then you could have just gone and tried to confront your brother – but you didn't.”

I'll go in a moment, but I just thought that I shouldn't leave the games I'm playing with alone. I mean, I've been absent on this shooting game for a bit. Oh, and because of that dream, I couldn't sleep anymore, so this is what I've been doing the whole night.”

I feel sorry for you, but I'lm gonna go confront Sky right now,” Weston snorted, and sprang to his feet. “And Astrid, too, if we run into her.”

We'll definitely run into her,” said Zack. “Besides, she's on the first team of programmers that Madison runs. She'll be busy.”

Then what are you doing? Let's go and have a talk with them!” Weston started towards the door.

Zack huffed and got to his feet then closed his holotop.

The real reason he couldn't sleep was not because of the dream, but what Astrid had told him in the dream.

When standing in front of the Core, what that important thing she had told him and Sawyer was, it had been bothering him:

The Enemy is returning.”

Astrid had said that in a really calm tone.

Because of that, Zack had thought she still had more to say – until he thought back on her words again.

Wh-what? Enemy? But the enemy is . . .” He turned to look at Sawyer, then noticed that he was staring at Astrid in shock; clearly, he understood what she meant, and what this “Enemy” she was talking about is.

And he realized that this “Enemy” was a more different threat than the enemy that faced the Synchron Organization.

That had actually been the only thing that ended their conversation, because Sawyer took a step back and all of a sudden, lashed out, drawing Dragos and cutting the air in front of him. Astrid and Zack sprang out of the way of a wave of dark red electricity that almost caught them but passed through the Core easily.

What are you-” Zack started, but he cut himself off as Sawyer's sword came at him. Catching is breath, he dodged away, dropping to roll on the ground, and when he got to his feet, reached for Galadhar, staring at Sawyer with a glare.

Sawyer paid no attention to him, instead, turning to Astrid, who didn't seem bothered about his agressiveness.

The Enemy is dead,” he said. “What do you know about it?”

Astrid frowned. “Not much. But why? Did you know something about this Enemy?”

Sawyer glared at her, but said nothing. Finally, he lowered his sword and turned away, walking back towards the way they had come.

The End

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