|Courtship of a Phoenix
Author: Second PM
One Last God Kubera Fanfic. "So you had two billion, eight hundred million years to fall in love and you just had to chose now. Good lord, Garuda, please don't tell me you steal Vinata's feathers and keep them in your pocket."Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 27 - Words: 82,333 - Reviews: 89 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 02-20-13 - Published: 05-03-12 - id: 8083927
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Last one for today even though I have the next two planned out. Hopefully they'll be up tomorrow and if not then at least by the end of this week.
And this is not even near the end of the story. I still need a few chapters for Vinata to explain what he (soon to be she) has been doing, and a lot more chapters for them to bond, for Maruna to be born, for Yuta to come, for Kalavinka to be born, for the siblings to be separated and finally for the disaster of N0. My estimation is that this is going to reach somewhere around 70000 words by the end.
The prologue, the little thing about Maruna and floor at the very beginning is kind of an inside joke. If anyone ever tried to google translate Maruna written in Korean, they would get "floor or" (apparently maru = floor) which is okay concerning short text but in absolutely annoying in huge chunks of text.
Disclaimer: There are many things in this world that do not belong to me. Kubera is one of them.
Courtship of a Phoenix
Garuda turned back for a split second after the yell. Visnu's green figure was still continually becoming smaller and smaller. Even with his vigilant eyes he could only barely manage to make out a green mop of hair and a few distinctive limbs. He wondered if he should go back and ask Visnu to repeat the last thing he said.
What was it again?
Naruna? Varuna? Maruna…?
He furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. Floor…?
Chapter Thirteen: Lightning Strikes
N0 - approx. 60000 years
From a distance away, Professor Rahiro watched as his pupil inanely put herself in imminent danger. The white haired man had yet to attack her, which was a good sign. The professor had his staff raised should the giant creature make a move for his sword.
Pity he used up his Hoti Vayu quota for the day.
The only thing saving Rina from disaster was the man being a Half—or that was what Professor Rahiro hoped: a Half searching for another Half, which was relatively harmless. But then they didn't really know if he was searching for another Half. His portrait was absolutely horrible. For all the professor knew, the white haired man could be looking for a Nastika parent, which could pose as a little bit of a problem. Or, worst case scenario, it could actually be a Nastika looking for another Nastika, in which case Carte would really be in a huge fix.
But generally speaking, if Nastikas were looking for other Nastikas, they would have no business being on a human planet and Halfs weren't dangerous unless they were Vritra Halfs. This man was not a Vritra Half. Any simpleton would be able to deduct that from a glance. He had no horns or sharp blades on his body, just a mask.
In the quiet of the afternoon, he could hear Rina chirp out questions like she usually did when she met someone new. That kid was way too curious for her own good. Someday, she would annoy the hell out of a Superior Sura and get maimed as a result.
He heard Rina ask the man for his name.
"Ga—" the man began before freezing, immediately putting the professor on alert. Ga? Ga—what? He appeared to lower his head slightly, although at that distance the professor couldn't tell because Rina had taken the binoculars with her. "Garuda Clan, Maruna. My name is Maruna."
Garuda Clan… Not Garuda Clan Half. The professor's eyes widened as he began sprinting down the hill.
N0 – approx. 60000 years
"Oh! A Garuda Half!" the grey haired woman—Garuda hadn't bothered to remember her name—exclaimed. "That's so cool! You know, I'm dating a Garuda Half!"
I said I'm from the Garuda Clan. I never said that I'm a Half, he thought, disgruntled.
"I didn't think that you'd be of Garuda Clan heritage though. I mean, you don't look like a Garuda Half at all! You don't even have a coat of feathers or anything. My boyfriend has these red and orange feathers that are just gorgeous."
"Picture!" demanded Garuda assertively in a half growl. At this point, anything orange and red was as good as a sighting of Vinata.
Rina was evidently taken back by his assertiveness. "Okay…" she squeaked, shooting him a look that made Garuda want to blow her into pieces. Nevertheless, he waited and she pulled out a photo from her wallet. "Here you go. Here's my boyfriend."
Garuda frowned at the picture. This was not Vinata… He had skin the colour of porcelain, unlike Vinata's rich caramel, and the dark brown hair didn't hold a candle to Vinata's beautiful strands of oranges, golds, and reds. It would seem that the woman's boyfriend was actually a Half. Shaking his head, Garuda handed the picture back.
"I didn't think he'd be the one you were looking for," Rina harrumphed, wiping her dear picture protectively of Garuda's fingerprints. "His name is Kite."
"Vinata. I'm looking for Vinata."
"Another Half?" she asked. "That picture you had earlier didn't look like a normal human. Is he a friend of yours?"
He is so much more than that… But Garuda was afraid he would give too much away if he mentioned a lover of the same gender. He was pretty sure that there were homosexual relationships between individuals of a fixed gender; it was just that he never heard of any. In any case, if he wasn't careful, she'd realize that she was actually talking to a Nastika and from that, deduct that he was also looking for a Nastika. Once she caught wind of that, he might as well just leave Carte. Extracting any more information from her was as likely as him eating a curry mushroom.
"He's…" Garuda sighed wistfully at the sky. "He's a very dear friend."
Rina was clearly touched by the tale, so much so that upon seeing her face, Garuda twitched. He sighed exasperatingly to himself. What was the case with these humans? Visnu made them so much more emotional than he needed to. Granted, most Nastikas weren't like those of the Vritra Clan, but at least they had enough sense to not tear up at every touching story they hear.
"Maruna-ssi," sobbed Rina.
Garuda didn't respond.
Oh, he finally realized after she unblinkingly stared at him for ten whole seconds. Right… Maruna, that's me. He almost shook his head at his stupidity. Earlier, he had let a measly human put him on the spot. Garuda knew very well that he couldn't reveal his real name to a magician. While most humans did not know names of Nastikas—especially Nastikas that didn't often mix with the tiny people—they were undoubtedly educated about the origins of the names of each of the eight clans.
But really, how could he just lose his composure like that and blurt out the first thing that came to mind? Even worse was that it was some weird word that Visnu most likely made up on the spot. The Original God was probably laughing himself to death somewhere back home. Maruna was a horrible name that Garuda would never even consider for one of his kids, let alone himself.
"… Maruna-ssi, would you like a curry mushroom? They're really rare and delicious!"
Garuda glanced down at the bit of orange food held up before his face. While he was not a Sura that would get seizures from simply eating a vegetable, it was something akin to a human being offered a bug or worm. Even his patience had limits.
Garuda took the curry mushroom and crushed it in his hands while smiling ominously. "Human, would you like to die?"
Suddenly, a blur of blue swept in front of him, alarming them both. On instinct, a ball of white energy formed in Garuda's hand and he swung his arm forward to smash it at the figure.
"Hoti Brahma! Quick, Rina, a Transcendency seal!"
The response was a little delayed and barely made it in time. Garuda's Transcendency smothered atoms before the collision, but it didn't stop his fist from flying into the shield and shattering it with mere force.
The blue haired man from the top of the mountain, the more experienced magician of the two clutched his staff so tightly that his knuckles were white. He had an extremely disheveled appearance and was holding the holy item out protectively in front of him. Garuda recognized it at once as one of Indra's artifacts. That alone had him on edge.
"You're lucky you used a spell of Asvins's." His eyes flashed dangerously. "Had you used Visnu's, I would blow you into pieces no matter what it takes."
"Professor?" Rina asked with wide eyes. She was crouched on the floor behind the blue man, a little stunned from his sudden grab and the calculations it took to perform the Transcendency seal.
She froze at his command. Never in her life had she heard her professor speak in such a demanding voice. But then again, never in her life had she seen his back shaking as violently as it had been that very moment. She looked at the white haired man. He was frowning, but there was something different this time. He now had wings, six humongous white wings coming out of his back. She had never seen such huge Sura parts in her life. Sure there had been very rare accounts of Garuda Halfs who had wings, but those wings were barely large enough to keep their bodies afloat and they certainly did not have multiple ones.
"Good gods, Rina," the triple Indra magician growled, "you really are a genius, approaching a Nastika so defenselessly. You're lucky that all your innards are still in place."
"A-a Nastika?" It felt like someone suddenly dumped the weight of a celestial body on her head. Rina's face quickly morphed into one of terror and dumbfound. She trembled even more violently than her professor. What had she done? How could she have attracted the attention of a Nastika? And now, neither of them had any Hoti Vayu spells left for the day. Tears welled up in her eyes, tears that would have spilled everywhere had she not been too terrified to cry.
"Humans," Garuda remarked amusedly. "So small and insignificant. Does it really scare you that much to have a Nastika on your planet? I'm almost certain that there has been one before, only you've never noticed."
"…" The professor gripped his staff tighter. Rina just continued to fall apart.
"Why are you threatened by my presence?" Garuda asked, turning his head over slightly to the two figures. Even a little gesture like that made them jerk and swarm like little bugs. "You look like you're in line for execution. Just because I'm a Nastika on a human planet doesn't mean that I have plans to destroy it."
He sighed and closed his eyes, realizing that it wasn't going to be of any use. How in the world did female Vinata ever date one of these puny creatures? Did she spend years stalking him and trying to convince him that she wasn't a threat?
Garuda's eyes snapped open. "Don't finish that spell. I'm looking for a friend here. You can give up now and we'll all walk away in peace or you can bring disaster to your own people."
"Indra," the blue haired man gritted through his teeth.
In a flash, he flew a hundred metres back before violently slamming his head on the rough terrain. When he opened his eyes, he was staring into a mask that encompassed another set of infuriated grey ones. Garuda had a sword to his neck and a foot that pressed down on his ribs so hard the bones shattered.
"I could kill you," the Nastika hissed. "If I hadn't promised Visnu not to hurt any humans unnecessarily, I would kill you now. If Indra actually answered your call, you'd be dead in a second. Consider yourself lucky—"
He was interrupted by a violent clash of deafening thunder striking the exact halfway spot between the professor and his pupil. Garuda turned for a second, but a second was all it took for the blue haired man to disappear underneath his foot and reappear by Rina's side, where she immediately performed Hoti Asvins on him.
Guarding them was a blindfolded man with silvery blue hair. He wore a black hoodie that opened in a V shape down to his waist and tightly fitted pants of matching colour. His arms were extended and lightning was cackling around his fingers. Although he was blindfolded, he appeared to know exactly where Garuda was standing.
"I was surprised to be summoned to Carte," Indra remarked in a very low and scratchy auto. "It's usually a peaceful, pleasant planet. I thought I'd be asked to do something insignificant like holding the barrier of my city for some fifty years. Imagine my surprise to find you here of all people."
The god took a step forward and the cackling sound of lightning increased twofold. "I never thought that you of all kings would be the first to bully humans. Is this a new kind of low?"
"King?" Garuda barely heard the female human whisper incredulously.
He ignored her. "I am not bullying humans."
"Then why are you on Carte and why have I been summoned to face you? It couldn't have been for any trivial reason. You pose as a threat to the population of this planet. Pity, too. Did you know that your good friend Visnu gave the gods a list of Nastikas with little to no interest in harming the human race? He came to us under the pretense of mediation and asked us to avoid fighting with these Nastikas whenever we could. In actuality, it was just a badly disguised attempt to protect his personal friends. You were one of the first people he mentioned. I wonder what kind of face he would make after hearing of your betrayal."
Garuda knew it was part of Indra's plan to provoke him, but he couldn't believe that the Astika king was actually succeeding. He could take personal insults to his character or even his method of ruling—nothing could be worse than what Vinata had already said, after all—but to have a god insult a close friend was another thing completely. It took him unprecedented strength to control his anger as he retorted, "that won't be the case. Visnu told me to come to Carte."
Indra smiled. "I wonder…" And Garuda felt disgusted that a god was actually acting like he knew Visnu better than himself. "In any case, it's a pity that you have to leave now for the safety of Carte's people."
"Have I killed anyone yet? I have no intension of hurting humans. I am here to find a friend. Any battle that takes place on this planet will be initiated by you. Can you risk entire cities of people just to get me out? I thought gods were supposed to have good rapports with humans because of your mutual hate for the Suras. Can you live with yourself knowing that you took the lives of the very people you're supposed to protect?"
But Indra was still smiling and the blades of lightning continued to cackle around his arms. In fact, they cackled louder than ever, as if they were excited to escape the confines of the god and strike down their enemy. Indra raised one hand and temporarily lifted the blindfold off his left eye. Garuda stiffened but did not freeze. Looking into Indra's flashing eyes would be terrifying for most entities; he probably would have frozen had he not already looked into Visnu's countless times.
"That may be so, Garuda," he replied confidently, "but if there's one thing that I've learned since the creation of the universe, it is that Nastikas are untrustworthy."
At the same time the last syllable left his lips, a blade of lightning stuck down exactly where Garuda was standing. By the time it hit, however, Garuda was no longer there. His movements were not visible to the human eye, but then again, neither were Indra's. Only occasionally would people see their battle from cities away as two blades of thunder colliding head on and producing more thunder that rained down on the land.
At the actual battleground, the clashes were absolutely deafening. At any point, Rina was shaking while creating multiple shields with stuttered Hoti Brahma spells. Her professor was no longer trembling now that the Nastika had met his match, but he was still vary and he knew that he could easily become a target for the Garuda Clan King.
"Professor, let's run," squeaked Rina. "At this rate, we won't even hold up one hit from them."
"We should be able to survive one," he reasoned with gritted teeth. "Indra will know to lead him away from us. There's too much at stake here. If I die, he won't be able to continue the fight easily and the Nastika would be left to do as he pleases with this planet. If we run now, there's no guarantee that we'll make it to the sky city alive. Even if we do, there's no guarantee that they'll let us in willingly in this condition."
He surveyed the sky for patches of blue. There were none. Grey thunderclouds obstructed the entire area stretching from the eastern to the western horizon. Literally half of Carte was covered with them. It was so dark that the flashes of lightning were the only things illuminating their faces.
If he ever survived this, Professor Rahiro vowed to write a book about the experience. The lightning blinded him and he daren't look, but in the split second after the clash, he could sometimes discern two figures from the cloudy sky.
The six winged bird, Garuda, had his sword drawn. It was cackling with lightning, not unlike Indra's arms that were also held out protectively. With blades of electricity cackling around his hands, they were almost like swords themselves. It was hard to tell which of the two was faster or stronger in their current state.
"You're at a disadvantage," Garuda said as the blade of his sword collided with one of the lightning blades surrounding Indra's arm. "There's no way you can defeat me easily while wielding the same element as I do."
"I don't need to. I just need to chase you out."
A blade of lightning shot forth from his other hand, only narrowing missing Garuda. The king jumped back, only to realize that a good chunk of his hair had been chopped off on the right side.
"Don't forget that you're also at a disadvantage."
"On the contrary, I am not." With his sword, he chopped off another chunk of hair on the left so that Shuri and Gandharva had no excuse to give him an involuntary haircut later, with emphasis on the involuntary. "You forget that I wield two elements."
Because his most convenient light Transcendency had been sealed earlier, Garuda used a stronger one. A beam emerged from the tips of his fingers before spiraling towards Indra. The unique trait of this Transcendency was its accelerating speed and its tendency to follow the target. When humans could still borrow powers from the Suras, it had been somewhat of a favourite for annihilating Maras. However, it was not as effective against stronger opponents because it could only shoot forward and was thus easily avoidable.
Indra flew higher and higher, as did the beam. As they had fought before in several battles, the lightning god already knew all of Garuda's tricks and how to avoid them. At the last second, he dove, passing the beam and propelling in Garuda's direction.
Garuda drew back his arm to gain momentum before swinging his sword forward with huge vigor. Another clash of thunder rang out, this time louder than all others. When their attacks met, the thunder divided into ten different beams, all shooting off into different directions.
Again, the two figures sprung apart, uninjured but temporarily spent. In the time that it took for them to recover, something else remarkable happened.
The sky turned red.
I actually love battle scenes involving elemental powers and magic. There'll be more than a few of those in this fic.
Thank you for reading! Please leave a review!