Epilogue: The Spirit of Rain

Amy Lambrick stared out of her bedroom window, her cheek pressed to the glass. She watched the rain pelt the window, the steady tap-tap-tap staccato trying to calm her edgy nerves. It was a depressing day, made even more depressing by the date. It was the last week of harvesting season. It was seven years ago to the day when her beloved older sister abandoned her for Lelouch's contest before getting married out in another country. And she never came back home.

Her tiny fists curled into balls. She growled, trying to fight back tears. It was stupid to be crying over something that happened so long ago. It wasn't like they were actual sisters, and she didn't remember much about her, anyway. Amy was perfectly happy with her current life with the duke. In fact, she thought with forced scorn, his house was much better than anything her sister had provided her with. She had her own room, with a real bed and glass windows, her own closet full of clothes, good food...

A small whine reached her ears. Amy looked down to her feet, her anger melting a little as Slap, ancient and graying, lifted his head and licked her ankle. "Awah," she cooed, leaning down and scratching him behind his ears. "You're such a good dog, boy." Slap made a happy growling noise, rolling over to let her rub his stomach. She rubbed compliantly, praising the small animal.

After a few minutes of rubbing, Slap's ears pricked up. He wriggled on the floor, trying to stand upright. Amy helped him up, watching with interest as he began to run in circles beneath the window, whining and jumping up as if he wanted to see out. "You silly thing," she teased, easily picking him up and setting him down on the large windowsill. "Did you hear a mouse? Did you boy? Or was it a..." She stopped her baby talk when she bothered to look out of the window as well.

The rain was glowing outside of her window, lighting up the night sky like a shower of falling stars. Amy gasped, set Slap down with an ungraceful thump on her bed, and bolted out of her room. "Ri!" she gasped, bursting into another door. "Did you look outside? The rain is-" The words died in her throat as she saw Ri, her best friend in the world, frozen in place by her own window. She was a pale white, like marble, and was carefully balanced on one foot, as if she had been taking a step when she was petrified. A curious expression was chiseled into her stone features.

Amy screamed.

She ran into the kitchen, screaming again as she saw more stone figures; one was chopping carrots, and another pouring a now-frozen liquid into a soup pot. Even the flies in the kitchen, she noted, had been stilled. They hung in the air like bubbles in clear wax. Horrified, Amy stumbled outside, praying that someone else was outside to help. But as soon as she stepped onto the streets, those hopes were shattered. Everywhere she looked, there were only stone figures. Some were walking, some were talking, and someone else looked like they had been sneezing when they had been petrified. She shrieked as a glowing raindrop splashed onto her hand. She tried to wipe it off, but it just left a luminescent stain on the back of her hand.

"Ah, Amy. There you are." She whirled around, staring up at the enormous figure of the smiling duke filling the doorway behind her. Slap trotted up behind him, woofing lazily. "I was just looking for you."

She backed away from him. "W-wh-what's-" she stammered, shrieking as more silver rain splattered onto her hair.

"Ah, don't worry. It's not poisonous." The duke stretched a hand into the rain, letting the silver liquid pool in his hand. "And the glow's only temporary. It will go away once the time-stop is lifted."

Amy balked. "Time stop?" she repeated. "Is that why-this-" She stared at the frozen statues on the street. "Am I still dreaming?"

"Of course not. It's just a time stop. It's not like it's magic or-oh... well, actually, it is. But, it's higher magic than what you're used to, so I suppose your surprise is only natural." He scratched his enormous head. "But I told you it would be like this, right? They have to stop time, or else the whole place would be in a bustle." He stopped again. "Well, actually, we could have gone to meet them elsewhere, but that again causes suspicion, and they really didn't want to trouble you-"

"Wait!" Amy interrupted, panicking again. "What are you talking about? You never told me about anything like this! What's going on? Who's coming here?" She would have burst into tears if Slap hadn't trotted up to her and flopped onto her feet, demanding another belly rub with a loud doggy groan. She hesitated, then bent down to pet the dog.

The duke looked positively baffled. "You mean I didn't tell you they were coming?"

"Who's coming?" she repeated hysterically, just as a soft tinkling sound, like a set of bells, rang out behind her, accompanied by a quick flash of light. She whirled around, shielding her eyes against the two pillars of light behind her.

"Ah, Lelouch," an awfully familiar voice sang from the left pilliar, soft and sweet. "You can let go now."

"Hm? Oh, yes, yes," a boy's voice followed, just as soft but light and playful. "I forgot." The two pillars of light disappeared just as quickly as they came.

Amy tried to blink the spots away from her eyes. "Uh... hello?" she mumbled to thin air, her knees beginning to shake.

"Oh, Amy!" Two light arms embraced her, jarring her out of her shock. "I've missed you so much! Oh, I'm so, so happy to see you again!" Amy gasped as the arms lifted her up into the air as if she were a doll, much too strong for any human girl. "You've grown into such a wonderful young lady!" she continued happily, twirling Amy around blissfully.

The boy's voice coughed. The girl stopped, quickly setting Amy back onto the ground. "Oops," she said, her happy voice slightly embarrassed. "I'm sorry! I haven't been around many humans lately."

Amy forced herself to breathe, dizzy again. "Who-what-" she spluttered, finally looking up at the girl towering over her. "Who are you?" She certainly didn't look familiar. Amy would have remembered meeting someone as beautiful as her. Honey-colored hair and wide hazel eyes, a small, delicate nose above blushing pink lips, and a small but stunning figure... There was no way this incredible person could know her.

And if she thought the girl was beautiful... The boy was right behind her, tall, dark, and gorgeous. Amy felt herself blush without knowing why, gazing at his sky blue eyes and light auburn hair. He must have noticed her staring, because he suddenly grinned at her with an impossibly white set of teeth. "I'm afraid that I'm taken, sorry," he confessed with a laugh. "Your sister gets jealous quite easily. Hey!" He dodged a playful kick from the girl and hid safely behind Amy, still smiling.

"Oh, you're such a dog, Lelouch," the girl scoffed without malice.

Amy, who had been trying to keep herself sane, nearly fell over. "Lelouch?" She gaped at the boy towering over her with new interest. This was... Lelouch? The Wind Spirit? Oh, vix! They were both Spirits! Was she supposed to bow or something? "I... uh... don't have anything for an offering right now..." she said stupidly, blinking through the glowing rain.

"An offering is not necessary, but I thank you for your consideration," he said pleasantly. "My festival has already passed, anyway. You should save up for Tayu-she will be having her official title announced soon."

"Who's..." Amy could hear the gears in her brain finally beginning to grind together. She looked up, very slowly, at the second beaming Spirit above her.

"Do you remember me now, you silly goose?" she chided gently, hugging her again.

Amy couldn't reply; she was too busy crying into her sister's shoulder, hugging her back with seven years worth of 'I miss you' to catch up on.