The Third Pillar

“I want a do-over.”
The small polyhedron floated over an ancient, rusted-out bus, squinting as he scanned it for any trace of organic matter.
“A deal’s a deal, Ghost.”
The Warlock scraped his thumb across the side of the bus, trying to read the old writing covered by a layer of dust. The ghost turned to face him.
“I must stress how degrading it is to be treated like a floating vault, as though you don’t have more than enough space for your things.”
The Warlock was about to retort, when a loud crashing sound startled the ghost, and it turned to face the source.
“You’ve sworn to carry our burdens. Wouldn’t want to be known as a liar, right?”
The Titan cast the warped door aside and entered the bus, searching for anything of value.
“Yes, but, it’s technically not midday yet, right?”
He turned to the Warlock, who nodded slowly. The ghost was sure that denying a Titan’s happiness through the power of technicality was a great moment of amusement for the scholar, which would be far more satisfying if he hadn’t been the one who came up with the bet in the first place.
The Titan emerged from the bus empty-handed, something that the group had gotten used to.
“You know,” the ghost observed, “I’m starting to feel like your insistence on scavenging every single house, vehicle, and container is probably a deliberate attempt to sabotage my search.”
The Titan paused for a moment.
“… No…”
The ghost sighed. They’d been searching almost nonstop for weeks. The pair wanted him to find a Hunter, the quick, sneaky counterpart to the brutish Titan, and while he would have initially been happy enough to find any Guardian amongst the ruins of the old world, he was starting to dread finding another Titan. One was enough.

As the group followed the road, they came upon a large ravine. A common sight on this planet, especially when you were this close to what would have been a densely populated area of the old world. Whatever had hit humanity during the Golden Age centuries ago, it had torn the very ground apart beneath their feet. The rows and rows of abandoned (and often not abandoned) vehicles were a testament to the desperation with which the people attempted to escape whatever it was. The ghost chose these areas for his search, since the odds of finding a Guardian were surely much higher in these areas, although they were far more dangerous, as well, which is why he agreed to team up with the two Guardians. The sooner he found his own Guardian, the sooner he could stop carrying their gear.

As they came up to the edge of the ravine, his sensor picked something up; a faint trace of Light.
“Time’s about up, little guy.”
The Titan pointed upwards at the looming sun.
“I’ve got something here.”
The ghost came upon a car teetering on the edge of the precipice, it seemed to have been launched off the side of the road during the collapse, but had managed to keep from falling into the ravine somehow. His joy turned to confusion as soon as he looked inside. The reading was definitely here, but the vehicle was clearly empty.
“Are you sure this is it?”
The Warlock ran his hand across the top of the car.
“I’m positive.”
The ghost said, scanning again. The Warlock gestured towards the vehicle, and the Titan grabbed the trunk and lifted it, causing it to lean towards the drop, but old foliage held it in place. Under the vehicle was an old rifle encased in the roots. The Titan perked up.
“Is that a Khvostov?”
He let go of the car and began to pull the old rifle up from the roots.
“I dismantled one I had ages ago. This thing’s a collectable!”
The ghost sighed again, knowing that he was destined to haul that around for who knows how long. But when the Titan finally freed the rifle from the roots, the ghost noticed something else half buried in the dust: the remains of a skeleton’s hand, with traces of what had to have been an armored glove. The ghost lit up, and surged light at the remains. Small rocks began to lift off the ground as the remains reacted to the Light. The body began to levitate out of the dust as it regenerated. At last! He finally found a Guardian, and one that had appeared to be a soldier, to boot. The bones were covered with muscle, then a radiant blue skin (an Awoken!), which the ghost made sure to protect with some makeshift armor pieces that he was storing. Fully regenerated, the figure slumped to the ground, gasping in her first breaths in centuries.
“Well, looks like you’ve finally won, for once.”
The Warlock grinned behind his mask, as the Titan sighed. The ghost kept his eye trained on the Guardian on the ground, not wanting to look away from the dream come true.
“Eyes up, Guardian.”
The ghost proudly beamed. The figure stopped breathing for a moment, and looked up, her shining blue eyes peering through loose strands of her purple hair. The ghost was taken aback, and the Titan turned to the Warlock as he cocked his head to the side. She couldn’t have been a soldier, could she? The Titan looked down at the rifle in his hands. This couldn’t be right. It was a Guardian, technically, the Light proved that… but she was practically still a child.
After a brief pause as she scanned each of them carefully, the Warlock held up his hands, and reached into his cloak. Her eyes quickly trained on the knife that he drew out, holding it by the blade. He nodded and tossed it her way. As she caught it, a spark flickered from her fingertips, and a flame coated the blade.
“Well, she’s a Hunter.”
The Warlock turned to the Titan, who was clearly disheartened.
“I’m still keeping the Khvostov.”
The Hunter frowned at the Titan, but the Warlock had already drawn a new weapon. An intricately embroidered revolver, gold-plated and heavy-looking.
“Your ghost here is a bit speechless, it seems.”
She looked over at the ghost, who was struggling to get a single word of his carefully prepared speech out.
“But long story short, you’re what’s called a Guardian. Now, I’m not saying that you don’t look like you can fend for yourself, but this is a pretty dangerous part of the world, so you’re probably better off with a group. If you come with us, I’ll let you have this hand cannon. Otherwise, my friend here will give you your gun back. What do you say?”
He walked over and handed the weapon to her, which also caught fire as she held it in her hands. She thought for a moment, then smiled, stored the weapon, and leaned against the car as she crossed her arms, speaking her first words.
“Alright, y’all got yourselves a deal!”
Some quick snapping sounds were followed by a short rumble, before a long scream faded into an echo as the car, with Hunter in tow, disappeared into the abyss.
“Well, that seems about right. We gonna go get her?”
The Titan asked as he draped the rifle over his shoulder. The ghost frowned and turned to him, transmatting the rifle into his storage.
“I want a do-over.”

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