ave across the beach. Time no longer had meaning as I floated within the turbulence of nothingness. My thoughts began to wander as I cradled my legs within my arms. Where was I? What did it matter? How long had I been here? Was this death? How long does this last before I just…

A voice. Ever so faint in the distance. I trained my ears on the sounds… They seemed foreign to me now. They sounded… Other.

”%@346*^ 7#$% ~) ”

”What? ” I tried to say, but no sounds came forth from my lips.

”5#_*( 8 ”

”I don understand you! Okay?! ” I shouted mutedly and uncurled from my fetal position, searching my surroundings for this strangely distant voice. Nothing, just as it had always been. Seconds turned into minutes as quietude took over once more. I began to protectively curl myself back up when I heard it again.

”48)*&eth @~^e up! ”

I froze still as I realized that this time, the noises almost sounded like words. Could this be it? After an eon of waiting, was I finally going to…

”Wake up! ”


Slowly my eyes peaked open to find a blurry, but brilliant blue sky. Fresh air wafted into my nostrils and the sun tickled and warmed my skin.

”My lady. I believe that he is waking. ” A strange voice said lazily to my right.

”Eeeee! I think you
e right! ” Another answered.

A fog wafted over my thoughts as I turned to inspect the source of these mysterious voices and soft green grass shifted under my hair as I did so. The first figure I saw was a man sitting before a small makeshift campfire that had been reduced to mere embers. Their scorched coals stinging my nose as I peered on.

He wore his grey hair tied up tightly in a ponytail with loose bangs down both sides of his face. A thick, coarsely cut beard clung to his jaw while his radiant hazel eyes pierced through the remaining blurriness of my sight, slicing through the fog and bringing the world into focus around me. It was no longer hard to see, and I noticed foremost that he wore a long blood red robe with a black sash and a strange blemished white fur tied over his left shoulder and breast.

Lastly was the strangest part of his appearance. A single medium sized gourd strapped to his waist with several ornaments of animal feathers, Japanese style sealing paper, and a single samurai hilt out the top.

”What are you staring at, boy? The middle aged man growled.

”Iros! You stop that this instant! ” The other voice, a female, badgered.

I had to crane my neck to see the other figure and as soon as I did the breath left my body. I had to blink several times just to be sure that my eyes were not playing tricks on me, because I knew what I was seeing had to be impossible..

Yet there she sat, comfortably on the other side of the smoldering embers, with a contagious smile that pulled the corners of mine heavenward. She was exactly as I remembered as a boy. Long flowing brunette hair tucked messily behind one ear, big brown eyes that beamed with love and kindness.

”M-mom? ” Was all I managed to say as my chest began to overflow with a multitude of emotions.

”Kyaaaaaa! I knew it! It is you! ” The small petite woman screeched and leapt on top of me, hugging me tightly with the warmest and most uncomfortable hug I had received in a long, long time.

”C-can breath… ” I struggled to say as her large and oblique metal pauldron cut into my neck and sternum painfully.

”Oh my, sorry-sorry. ” she apologized, sitting upright with a swiftness that I did not expect.

”You need to be more careful, Lucy. The seer said that he would have body fatigue for several hours after the ritual was completed. ” The man named Iros explained.

”Sorry! Im just so excited it worked! I got my baby boy back! ” Her voice cracked as she held back not only her tears, but also her visible urge to pounce and hug me some more.

”W-what are you guys talking about? ” I asked hoarsely, attempting -and failing- to sit myself up.

”Welcome to Erobos, my little Ken. ” Her smile was sweet and full of motherly love. I had no idea what had happened, or why, but if this was real… And somehow I knew that it had to be…

My mom was back!

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