Portside's Outskirts | 5:06 AM | Summer It was dark in the small city of Portside and most of the villagers were still dozing off inside their homes. The dirt road that led to the next city was empty, and it was quiet outside, aside from the crowing of the roosters. The town looked peaceful, but it was anything but that. Recently, two villagers had disappeared into thin air and a strange shadowy apparition had attacked the bakery. It had been a month since the world eater's awakening and during the past few weeks, the creatures had begun to appear more and more. The city guards were working double time, and Ise would have been with them if not for the crystal. Beneath the shade of an oak tree, Ise paced around, her fingers wrapped tightly around a glowing blue shard. She looked nervous, while the boy beside her, he was grinning, talking away as if he didn't have a care in the world—as if the fate of the world did not rest on their young shoulders. "Ise, Ise, why do you look so nervous? Come and watch the sunrise with me. Lily thinks it's real pretty, don't you think it's pretty?" Giovanni was standing on his toes, a goofy grin stuck to his face, his hands cupped around his eyes as if they were binoculars. "Gio," her voice was stern, "this is important—wait, who's Lily?" She swiveled around, wondering if one of her commanding officers had decided to accompany them. There was no one there and she sighed. "Silly, Lily is the red heron," the young man beamed then pointed to a bird that was resting on one of the branches. "She thinks you look really funny pacing around like that," he paused to snicker, "y'know, she's right." Giovanni's snickering turned into laughter and he would have doubled over if not for the frightened look in Ise's eyes. Odd, she was usually so confident. "Hm? Why are you giving me that look?" He leaned in close and scrunched up his nose. "What look?" The soldier in training deadpanned. Giovanni let out an exasperated sigh, "that look...I don't like it." Before he could say more, Ise pushed him back, her eyebrows were drawn together and she muttered something beneath her breath. "This isn't a game. If we fail—" He cut her off, "the world's going to end. But we're not going to fail. Backup will be here at any minute, we'll get the crystal to Zul, and things will be okay." He was still grinning from ear to ear, but his eyes were serious. Ise didn't say anything, but she placed the crystal within it's designated box and placed it into her bag. "Maybe," she stood up and waited. They needed to leave soon, time was far too precious to waste. "So Ise? How do you help a cannibal?" He snickered but before he could say much more Ise had shoved him onto the grass. Giovanni closed his eyes and listened to the Heron's chirps. It was such a beautiful day, and he thought about how sad it would be if everything really did come to an end. "Lily, I really like sunrise, do you?" The bird chirped again and Giovanni laughed, "Right, I like starry evenings too."