Gerahid glared at the other Titans. “Listen to me!” he roared, “I don't
care if I've broken the rules again! We are in DANGER. Allnian
has three Elites within her grasp. With those, she could free Lokrye, and then we would all be doomed!”
He looked around the metaphorical meeting room and couldn't believe that he had to explain this to them. Colleon, the head of the Pokemon Titans, was pacing back and forth, his eight, multi-colored tails waving back and forth slowly, and Tyfoner watched the eldest Titan intently. Inferno, as usual, was glaring at Gerahid. For some reason, the Water-type Pokemon Titan had never had very much affection for the Water-type Human Titan.
“How are we supposed to know if you are telling you the truth?” Inferno spat at him, the flames on his back burning in fury. “You have constantly shown a disregard for the Council's rules. You've gone to the Human Realm more times than I can keep track of.”
Gerahid rolled his eyes. “Look,” he said, “I know that you all disagree with my methods. But this is a REAL threat. We can't just ignore this threat!”
“We're not ignoring it.” the soft voice of Colleon cut into Gerahid's rant. “Believe me.” The wise one's lupine face turned towards the human, his silver fur rippling. “I know you too well to believe that you are making something up. But we cannot get involved. This is their matter.”
Gerahid stared at Colleon. “Their matter?” he demanded. “We will all DIE if we don't intervene! They don't have any hope of repelling this attack.”
Colleon's head drooped, and Tyfoner stepped forward to speak. “We know this, Gerahid,” the majestic water type's voice rang out loud and strong through the room, “But Allnian is a Protector, and she orchestrated this entire thing. You know as well as I do that we have a policy of non-interference.”
Gerahid sighed and scratched the back of his head frustratedly before replying to his Water-type Pokemon counterpart. “I know,” Gerahid hissed, “But we cannot ignore this. You know that. I tried to help, but only made matters worse. I wish that I had never gotten
Colleon opened his eyes, and looked at Gerahid with pity in his eyes. “We must all make difficult decisions,” he said slowly, “To try to protect what we hold dear. You did your best, but it was not enough.” He lowered his head, and laid down, staring at the floor. “Now I feel that I must make my own difficult decision.” The massive beast closed his eyes, bracing himself, then opened them and looked at Gerahid. “My friend, you know that the penalty for disobeying the council is exile.” Gerahid nodded, and looked the kind titan in the eyes, bracing himself for his punishment. “Therefore, it is my judgement that you shall be banished to Earth. If, however, you manage to defeat Allnian, then you shall have proved yourself worthy of returning to this council.”
Gerahid blinked, and it was only then that he noticed the twinkle in Colleon's eyes. “Go now from us, and do not return. Unless, of course, you manage to stop Allnian.”
Gertal looked up at the massive pinnacle of stone rising sharply up from the mountainous plateau, and smiled. “Sheer cliff,” he whispered. He glanced around. His men had taken defensive positions against the base of the cliff, and were waiting for Eltan. The Seviper would be along shortly, he was sure.
They were, after all, very close to the main Blizzard base. HIS base, Gertal reminded himself. After this battle, he would take it back. The alliance that he had made several hours earlier would guarantee him that.
He turned to look at one of his runners. “Report!” he barked. The uniform denoted the runner as someone from one of his scouting regiments.
“Sir, Eltan and the other Blizzards are coming in from the South. They're main body will be here in three hours, but they've sent ahead an advance force. That will be here in approximately twenty minutes.” the runner recited, standing stiff at attention.
Gertal nodded. “Understood. At ease, private. Go get something to eat, then report to the East Face. They're short a few men.”
The runner swallowed nervously, and nodded once more, then ran towards the North Face's mess tent. Gertal sighed, and picked up his radio. “Attention all units,” he said into it, “We have hostiles inbound. Activate Barriers and the X-205s, prepare for battle. Estimated engagement time is twenty minutes.”
Lorelei stared up at Allnian and swallowed. “What is the matter, Lorelei?” Allnian asked. “You traveled thousands of miles to see me, but now that I am in front of you, you have nothing to say?”
For some reason, Lorelei felt a bond with Allnian. Almost as if she could trust her with anything. Lorelei shook her head. She needed her head. She wasn't sure what was going on, but she was pretty sure that Allnian was responsible. “Is it true what they told me about you?” Lorelei asked, voicing the question that had she had wanted to scream from the moment that the Legendary Cats had told her about it. “About you being Lokrye's chief executioner?”
“No,” Allnian cooed, “It is absolutely not true. They, in fact, were the ones that were allied with Lokrye. I led the charge against Lokrye in the Great Battle.”
Lorelei closed her eyes and tried to think, but something wasn't letting her. She wasn't sure what it was, but it was as if something were interfering with her ability to form rational thoughts. Suddenly a thought popped into her mind. “Do you know where Falkner and my team are?” she asked.
Allnian smiled and ducked her head. “Why, of course, dear child. I brought them, along with the two young boys, here for their protection. They were nearly killed by Borealis and his kin. You DO know that they tried to kill them when they kidnapped you, don't you?”
Lorelei shook her head, trying to clear it. She needed to think, but something wasn't letting her. “Can I see them?” she heard herself ask.
“Why, of course!” Allnian said, and the majestic bird leaped into the air and lorelei could see Falkner, Lukas, his friend, and her team. She heaved a sigh of relief, then noticed something.
“Junior is healed,” she breathed, and sunk to her knees. Her team ran towards her, their faces a picture of joy. There was something wrong with this picture, Lorelei knew, in the back of her mind. Something was wrong. What was it?
Then she had it. Frocarin was happy. Frocarin was never happy, at least not in his short experiences with him. Frocarin was a loner, a grumpy, non-happy, non-joyful, grouch of a loner.
Lorelei's eyes narrowed and got to her feet. “What have you done to them?” she asked Allnian quietly. Suddenly, whatever had been clouding her mind was gone. She could think clearly. And her team stopped, halfway to her. Their faces changed, too. From one of joy to clearly mavelolent.
“So,” Allnian said in a casual tone. “You notice that they have changed. But that is because they have found their true god, Lont. My master. They know what he is like, and they have been transformed.”
“Lont is nothing more than that sniveling coward Lokrye, Allnian!” a familiar male voice jabbed out accusingly. It was painfully loud. “What'sthe matter? Can't he face me himself?”
Lorelei shook her head to clear out the last of the webs, and suddenly realized that the voice had come from directly behidn her. She whirled around, for the first time taking in the breathtaking spectacle that surrounded her. They were on top of Sheer Cliff, she realized. The very top. The blue sky was absolutely clear, without a single cloud. There was no wind. And it felt as if all of the world were waiting for what was about to come. What was coming, she wondered.
“Titan,” Allnian was saying, and she sounded surprised. “What are you doing here?”
“What I should have done a long time ago,” Gerahid was saying as Lorelei turned around to see him standing there, behind her. “Remember two hundred years ago, when you released Lokrye? I should have killed you then. Instead, I banished you from Alto. I should have done a
Allnian looked at him and laughed. ”I have to admit, Titan, that I was surprised when I saw you there, but you are out-matched. While in the Titan dimensions, you would be powerful beyond reckoning, here you are little more powerful than an Elite. And, in case you hadn't noticed, I have two. One I believe you know, but my Flying Elite is rather new.”
Gerahid glanced at
Allnian, her violet eyes twinkling, took a step towards the human, and looked down at him imperiously. “And, my arrogant little friend, what is that?”
Gerahid smiled, “There is another Elite here that is NOT within your grasp.” With that, he turned, and tackled Lorelei to the ground, his hands pressed against her head. Lorelei screamed as a sudden influx of knowledge seared through her mind. She knew things that she simply hadn't before.
She knew how every clump of snow had gotten where they were. She knew that somewhere, some kids were having a snowball fight. She knew that she was more powerful than she had ever been before. And she knew that Allnian was suddenly frightened.
“What have you done?” Allnian shrieked, throwing herself backwards, off of Sheer Cliff, and turning a somersault before she righted herself. “
Lorelei rose to her feet, subconsciously noting that she hadn't used any of her muscles to do so, and that she was now firmly coated in ice. She didn't know how, but she knew that she was somehow controlling the ice. She held out her hands, and a pole of ice materialized seemingly out of nowhere, but she knew that it actually camefrom water molecules in the air freezing to form the shape, and that it was made of Nevermeltice.
Lorelei swallowed, and willed the ice that coated her to turn her towards the flying-type gym leader. But he no logner looked human. Where he ahd once had arms, he now had feather-filled wings. His legs were shorter, and his feet were now hooked talons. For a moment, Lorelei felt shock, and more than a little fear.
“If I could win the Allnian tournament three years in a row,” she murmured to herself, “I should be able to defeat the thing that it was named after, and whatever it's done with Falkner.” with a yell, she hurled herself at Falkner, knowing that this could only end one way. If everyone in one of the groups were killed.
Gerahid didn't respond, but instead felt a deep sense of sadness well up within him, as he knew that he had to kill her. He had no choice. If he did not, then she would kill; him. He steeled himself, then darted forward. She jumped backwards, and her left hand came up. He immediately dropped to the ground. Just in time, too. A thick, gooey, purplish substance shot out of her hand, and impacted on stone near the edge of cliff, and melted several feet away in seconds.
He rolled away from her and leaped to his feet, swords once again at the ready, and once again launched himself at her, but she once again raised her hand and sent another stream of acid flying his way, which he barely avoided. He shook his head. This was gonna be impossible if he relied only on his swords.
He took a deep breath, and
Gerahid closed his eyes, and reminded himself that it was for the best. He turned to face Allnian, and picked up his swords. He looked over at Lorelei, and saw that Falkner was nowhere to be found around her. And Lorelei was staring in horror at something behind Gerahid. Lorelei brought up her hands, and Gerahid dropped to the ground.
A beam of ice left Lorelei's hands, and impacted solidly with the stream of acid that barely missed Gerahid. The Titan completed his roll and got to his feet, in time to see Falkner dropping
“Did you really think, Titan,” Allnian taunted him, “That I would let one of my star performers die so easily?”
Gerahid groaned, then dodged to the left as
“They're at the top of the cliff!” the temporal agent snapped into his microphone. “I can see them up there.” he peered through the scope of his sniper rifle at the battle that was unfolding at the top of the cliff. He looked up at the base of Sheer Cliff, and bit back yet another curse. “There's no way up. I'm sorry, Misty, but I'm afraid that we're too late once again.” He ran a hand through his spiky brown hair and closed his eyes. He couldn't believe that there was nothing he could do. At the speed that Lorelei and whoever else were fighting up there, there would be no way he could hit them with a bullet for a clean kill.
“Ash,” Misty Waterflower's surprised voice came through the radio, “The Great Destroyer is up there!” Ash Ketchum peered through his sniper rifle, and he could indeed see Allnian at the top of the cliff. He stiffened, and felt a chill run through him. It had been a long time since Allnian had been killed by Lorelei, the Dark Queen, but the sight of the legendary bird that had killed so many humans and Pokemon in the future made his blood run cold.
“Do you realize what this is?” Ash asked Misty, a chill running down his spine as he recognized the scene unfolding in front of him. “This is the start of the
Lorelei parried yet another attack from Falkner, and ducked down to avoid a blow, then stood to thrust her ice staff towards him, but instead felt something rip through her. Dimly, she saw blood spray out in front of her. She heard a high-pitched scream of outrage, but she wasn't paying attention.
Lorelei fell to her knees, and looked down. There was a growing stain of red growing from her chest. “That was my good shirt, too,” she groaned as she collaped to the snow. She lay there, waiting for Falkner to finish her off. All she heard was the sound of Devon and Gerahid fighting, and Allnian wailing.
It took some effort, but she pushed herself up and looked to where Falkner had been. He, too, was lying in the snow. He, however, was in much worse shape than she was. She looked way and vomited, trying not to notice that the snow that was blood-stained was rapidly expanding from both of them.
Then Lorelei began to get over the initial shock and heard Allnian wailing over the sounds of a battle beginning far below. “No! My glorious empire!” She turned and glared at Lorelei. “I would have overthrown Lokrye himself. If I ever find who did this, I will skin him alive!”
Ash looked up from his scope. He had done it. He had shot Lorelei. His future was changed. Now the future would not have to be the fearful place that it had been for him. He felt a strange sensation, and looked at his hands. He was fading. It was hard to explaining, but he was literally disappearing. He grabbed his radio. “It's done, Misty. The future has been changed. They're free to make it a better place than it was for us.”
Misty's soothign voice came back to him. “I know, Ash. I know. I don't know about you, but I'm dissappearing.” she sounded relieved. Ash was pretty sure that she was. If she was just gone, then she wouldn't have to live with the memories that they had carried with them for so long.
“Misty,” he said, noticing that the sniper rifle and the radios that they had brought from the future were dissapearing too, “I love you.”
“I know.” she replied. Ash smiled, and, just before he dissapeared, wondered what he would be like in this future. Certainly not the rebellios youth that single-handedly planned a successful rebellion, that was for certain. Those times...were over.
Gerahid dodged another stream of slime, then brought himself back around, and glanced over at Lorelei. He couldn't spare much attention to her, but he had to get over there and help her. He turned back to
The Tintian Titan, surprised, dropped his swords and barely managed to catch her before stumbling back and falling onto the ground. “
“Yeah.” Gerahid replied, and shoved her off of himself.
“Yup,” Gerahid said, getting to his feet and gathering his swords into his hands.
“We gotta kill it?”
“That's the general idea.” Gerahid glanced over at
“I KNEW you liked me!”
“They are dying!” Allnian wailed. “They are dying! I must waste no more time! Lokrye, hear me, before this hour is out, you shall be free once more!”
“Not if I have anythign to say about it!” Gerahid said, strepping forward confidently, his swords held at the ready.
Allnian's head turned towards them. “Really?” she asked, amused. “Well, fortunately, you don't have a say in it. I needed all four of you for th energy to pull Lokrye back into this dimension. Now that someone has shot Lorelei and Falkner, I will kill you all now.” Gerahid lunged towards the bird, but she jumped into the sky, and Gerahid tumbled into the snow.
Allnian alighted on a drift of snow, and began to sing. The cliff shuddered, and the snow shook off of the drift, to reveal a throne, on which Allnian was sitting on the back. “Lokrye, hear me,” the bird began, “I come before you with this offering. Four Elites. Take them, and drain them. With their energies, you may once again take your place as the ruler of this world!”
Allnian's cruel voice rang out among the mountains, and was drowned out by the sounds of battle below them. “The two forces,” Gerahid realized, thinking out loud, “they are engaged in a battle for control of this land. I saw them before I was exiled.”
Gertal brought his rifle around and fired off another shot. Another of the Doppelganger Blizzards fell. The main force of the Doppelgangers were now engaged with his comparatively tiny force. He did have the upper hand, however. He had gotten the most defensible location.
Still, he knew that there was no way that his men could hold out much longer. He fired off another shot, then glanced at his watch. Right about now, the cavalry would come. Sure enough, even as he was scanning the horizon, thousands upon thousands of men appeared, their Pokemon deployed in front of them.
Steven and Giovanni were right on time. Between them, they had the largest army in Nuschantz, and most of the men and women that had volunteered to come to Nuschantz to fight Eltan and his Doppelgangers. The Kantans, Johtans, and other trainers swept down like a flood, firing off shots into the vulnerable flanks of Eltan and Ghrenda's army.
The rear of the army collapsed, and there was a brief moment of confusion as the Doppelgangers hurried to regroup. Gertal smiled tightly. “Charge!” he shouted to his men and into his radio. This was their chance. The Doppelgangers were cauight between two forces, and, with them momentarily disorganized, it was the perfect time to launch an attack.
Somewhere, up above him, he heard screaming that was loud even over the cocaphanous sounds of battle. He tried to ignore it, and concentrate on the battle at hand. His men would let him know if it were anything dangerous. Right now, he had a battle to win.
Gerahid doubled over, screaming, and looked up at Allnian. The legendary had
once been one of the great protectors of Earth, but had been corrupted by the
Dark Titan, and had instead opted to betray her position and try to help Lokrye take over the world. He had almost stopped her from
releasing her old master from the prison dimension that he had been put into,
but now she was literaly draining his life energy so
that Lokrye would have the power to return to this
Gerahid gritted his teeth and got to his feet defiantly. He looked around dazedly, and spotted his swords. He took one stumbling step towards them, but something roared in from behind him and knocked him down, and the swords off of the side of the cliff. “You will pay for betraying your one true god, Lokrye,” Allnian informed him somberly, landing in front of him. “If you had decided to follow him, as I have, you would have survived the punishment he must deal the world. But, as it is, you and your girlfriend must die. What were you thinking, coming here? You don't even belong in this time!”
Gerahid closed his eyes, channeling the pain so that he could think. What had he been thinking? It had been extremely reckless of him. He forced himself not to listen to the screams of the other three Elites, and forced his eyes open. There! Past Allnian, all but forgotten. Lorelei's team, and the two children. Maybe they could do something.
“Forget about them, Titan,” Allnian snarled at him, “If they were to take so much as a step towards me, they would be dead instantly. They know this. THAT is why they do not come to your defense.” The bird almost looked like it was smirking at him. “What can you do, Gerahid? Behold, the portal is already forming!” Allnianleaped into the air, and Gerahid saw a blue-purple dimensional vortex begin to appear. To anyone that didn't know anything about dimensional vortexes, it would looke like bluish-purplish clouds swirling towards a central point like a whirlpool.
Gerahid closed his eyes. He had failed. He fell to his knees, the impact that normally wouldn't have affected him by such an action was magnified ten thousand times, and he cried out in pain. The pain brought a moment of sudden clarity.
He forced his tired bones to crawl over to
He grimaced and rolled onto his back, next to
It was this last part that Gerahid was going to take advantage of, and the former that made him sure that this would never happen again. Gritting his teeth against the pain, he raised his hands and began manipulating the vortex. Almost immediately, a searing flash of silver strobed through the partially complete vortex, and seared into his body. He screamed, but never stopped. He was willing to bet, that even in his sub-standard state, he would be able to hold off, because of the substantial power losses that were connected to non-vortex intra-dimensional energy transfers.
Another silver beam roared through the the vortex, and another. The attacks became more and more frequent, and Gerahid was pretty sure that that meant that the interspacial hole was closing up. He gritted his teeth, and suddenly he was in the clear. The pain that was wracking him was gone, but he knew that he would not be able to take on Allnian now. He himself had been nearly drained. He could only imagine what it had done to Lorelei, Falkner, and
“Insolent human fool!” Allnian screamed, now finally taking notice of him for the first time since she had left him before. “What have you done?”
Gerahid forced a grin onto his face as he looked up to look at the rapidly descending bird. His bones felt as if they were grinding each other to dust.. “What I should have done a long time ago.” he said. “I am killing you.”
Allnian laughed as she alighted just out of Gerahid's reach. “What do you mean, kill me? With your powers now, there is no way that you can take me.” Allnian straightened herself, and glared down at him imperiously. “I, however,” she said menacingly, “Can kill you easily.”
Gerahid grinned at her, one of his eyes closed. “If you try, you'll have to fight all the Menill behind you that seem to want to have a word with you.”
Allnian looked at him uncertainly, then looked over her shoulder. If the bird had had skin, Gerahid was sure that it would have paled. Menill, as almost every Altan believed, thought of themselves as the stewards of the shrines to Allnian that dotted the Altan landscape. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, Menill hated Allnian. Because Allnian had joined Lokrye, and had wiped out most of their race, after Lokrye was defeated, they swore that they would never let Allnian's memory be laid to rest until they had taken their revenge.
So they had created shrines around Alto, the birthplace of Allnian, that detailed, in Menill, the atrocities that Allnian had done, and described what they would do to her if they ever found her.
“What have you done?” Allnian screamed at Gerahid as the Psychic grabbed ahold of her with their six-fingered hands, and dragged her through the vortex.
Geraid stared after her as the vortex he had rerouted to modern-day Alto closed. “What I should have done a long time ago,” he murmured. “I have wiped your treachery from this world. No longer will we have to fear Lokrye's Executioner. Now the world can live free. Finally, it's over.”
Lorelei opened her eyes, and saw green fabric stretching up and away from her. She frowned, and tried to sit up, but a sudden searing pain in her chest fall back to the bed with a grunt against her pillow. “She's awake!” a familiar voiceexclaimed, and she heard someone running towards her.
“Lorelei, are you okay?” a concerned face framed by purple hair leaned into her line of sight. “Thank goodness,” he breathed. “Falkner woke up three hours ago, but we were worried about you.”
“What..” Lorelei groaned, and put a hand to her head. For some reason, it was hurting. “I'm gonna pound whoever did this to me,” she mumbled.
“Hey Lorelei,” came Falkner's voice from the opposite side of her bed than Bugsy. “Good to see you up.” Lorelei turned her head and saw that the room that the sterile room that she was in had a door on that side, and Falkner was just coming through in a wheelchair. “Er,” he amended, after a short pause, “Not exactly up, but...” He cleared his throat. “Anyway, Bugsy's certainly happy. He's been by your bed the entire time you've been out, they tell me.” Lorelei turned over to look at Bugsy, who blushed and looked away. “I think he's got a crush on you.” Falkner said playfully.
Bugsy mumbled something that Lorelei couldn't make out, and opened his mouth to say more, but his cell phone rang. He took it out and flipped it open. “Bugsy,” he said. He listened for a few minutes, then sighed. “It's the new Elite Four,” he said, “I've gotta go for an hour or so for a meeting.” He looked down at Lorelei. “It's good to see you again,” he said softly, then hurried out of the room, and Lorelei could see the back of his neck burning.
She turned to Falkner. “Johto doesn't have an Elite Four,” she said. “What is he talking about?”
Falkner grinned. “There's a lot to go over. It's been a month since...” he stopped and shuddered. “since it happened.”
Lorelei frowned. “What? What happened?”
Falkner gave her a weak smile. “Since your battle with Allnian,” came a strong, familiar voice to her left. She frowned and looked towards the voice. It was a man. For some reason, it seemed like she should know who he was, but she couldn't quite place his face. How had he gotten there? Just moments ago, she had looked there when Bugsy had been there, and this new man hadn't been there! “I'm sorry, but I took the liberty of suppressing your memories of what happened in Nuschantz until I could speak with you. I've already had this talk with Falkner, so he's got his memories back.” the man took a deep breath and reached out his hand and placed it on Lorelei's forehead.
For a few moments, nothing happened. Then, memories rushed through her mind. Her eyes widened, and she found herself screaming at what she remembered. By the time that the last of the memories flashed through her mind, she was little more than a little child whimpering in her bed. “Did—“ she stopped, and tried unsuccessfully to compose herself. “Did that really happen?”
The man that she remembered as Gerahid nodded. “I'm afraid so. Now, Lorelei, it is imperative that you speak of this to no one. If anyone knew that you were once an Elite, then the followers of Lont would be all over you.”
Lorelei nodded slowly, then frowned. “Once an Elite?” she asked hesitantly. “I'm confused. I mean, the Cats told me that I was an Elite, but you make it sound as if I weren't.”
Gerahid bowed his head, then looked straight into her eyes. “Lorelei, when Allnian drained you of your life energy, it nearly killed you. If you hadn't been an Elite, it would have. As it is, you are no longer an Elite, and your lifetime has been shortened by at least a decade. However, once again, if anyone ever knows that you WERE once an Elite, then you would be hunted down and destroyed, especially now that Lokrye's most powerful lieutenant in this world is dead.”
Lorelei nodded, not quite following, but pretty sure that she would sometime in the future. “Remember, Lorelei, that the followers of Lokrye are sometimes human, and that these humans are extremely dangerous. Use extreme caution, and, I have to remind you, don't tell ANYONE of anything about this. If you did, you would be hunted down and killed.” Lorelei nodded, and watched as he vanished before her very eyes, with a silvery flash.
Lorelei turned to Falkner, and tried to recapture some of what she had been. “Looks like I've got a lot of catching up to do.” Lorelei triedto smile, but the images of what had happened to her kept going through her mind. She closed her eyes and put her head down, and she began to cry.
Bugsy walked back to Lorelei's hospital room with a bit of a snap in his step. He had been asked to help organize the Johto's own Elite Four, due to the massive uprising of more than fifteen teams against Johto's central government and league, which he had been pivotal in putting down.
His victories had given him a confidence in every other region of his life. True, he had had a bit of trouble rooting out those Rockets from the
He opened the door to Lorelei's room to find her alone, and crying. He walked over to her. “Lorelei?” he asked. “What's wrong?”
She stared at him, with tears running down her face. “Everything, Bugsy. Everything's wrong.”
He smiled at her and tried to cheer her up. “Shh. It's all right. You're in a freed Johto now, and we're doing better than ever before. You're alive, and the doctors tell me that you're almost one hundred percent. Plus, your trip to Johot was a success.”
Lorelei stared at him. “What do you mean?” she asked.
He smiled. “Why, your Sneasel has his arm back. Didn't you know that?” Lorelei stared at him blankly for a moment, then threw herself at him, and enfolded him in a hug, and began crying again, but this time, they were tears of joy. Bugsy thought about the young woman that he was holding, and about how special she was. Maybe in the future, they could have some kind of relationship beyond simple friendship. He'd just have to see how that worked out. He smiled as she hugged him tighter still, and her tears continued to flow.
“Sh,” he said softly. “It's going to be all right.”