A Remedy for Anger
Chapter 1: Fury of the Dioscuri
Yet, despite the grave moral implications and the survivors' struggle with their new burden, Chaldea pushed on, eventually finding a new home for themselves in the Wandering Sea base. The mages within were willing to set aside space for the organisation to use, but would not lend any help beyond that, metaphorically deaf as they were to the concerns of the outside world. Still, a home was a home, and the survivors of Chaldea's purge had done their best to make it their own.
The most useful asset the Wandering Sea provided by far, though, was a copy of the security organisation's very own FATE Summoning System, created by Sion Eltnam Sokaris, a magus from the Atlas Institute who had foreseen the oncoming crisis with the Lostbelts and fled to the Wandering Sea to prepare. Her efforts had given the organisation new hope and a lift to their spirits, as her system allowed them to gradually re-summon all the Servants they had amassed prior to the Mages Association's investigation and the attack on the observatory.
Some reunions had been tearful, others relatively subdued, especially the 'new arrivals', as most of the 'veteran' Servants referred to the Heroic Spirits first met within the Lostbelts (with the exception of Anastasia herself, who had been summoned prior to the crisis beginning). Despite that, they were welcomed into the fold, with a celebratory party being thrown to honour the rebirth of the Chaldea Security Organisation. Despite the rather harrowing events of the Atlantis Lostbelt, it was generally agreed that their success should be celebrated, and the newest arrivals welcomed fully into their new home, even if it had already been a month and half since then.
Yet, there was one Heroic Spirit who did not partake in any of this revelry, merely watched from the sidelines. He preferred the quiet of isolation over the noise of human interaction, especially with how happy everyone seemed to be lately, the sheer volume of positivity and upbeat attitudes made him want to throw up rather violently.
Still, as long as he stayed away from the party, he could probably find something to amuse himself wi-
A loud screech followed by a metallic clang drew the Heroic Spirit's attention over to the door leading into the main cafeteria, currently converted into a ballroom for the celebration, where a blonde young man had just wrenched the door closed with enough force to leave dents in the door. He then stormed off, angrily snarling and 'muttering' to himself in a register more than loud enough for it to reverberate around the corridor.
"That filthy, no-good ningen!! He should just die alread-!" He'd wandered out of sight by then, but the Heroic Spirit observing him was intrigued now. He had a fair idea of whom the newcomer's rants referred to, but he wanted to investigate further, anything beat just standing around on his own without only his own thoughts for company.
Sticking his hands in what passed for pockets in his outfit, the Heroic Spirit began to follow the enraged blonde, sloppily whistling a merry yet off-key ditty all the while.
Castor was livid.
Now, Castor being angry was not in itself unusual. In fact, it was practically his default state ever since he had been summoned, courtesy of two particular pieces of context.
1.) He was an Avenger Heroic Spirit, a Class defined purely by vengeful rage towards one thing or another, the most common target being the Human race as a whole for some reason or other.
2.) His Master and summoner, Ritsuka Fujimaru, was a human himself.
Ever since he and Pollux, his dear sister, had manifested within this place, Castor had held nothing but scorn and contempt for the pitiful little Human who had DARED to call upon them for aid. He despised that weakling, that ungrateful wretch who thought he could just pluck the Dioscuri from the Throne and force them to serve his whims. Naturally, he had told their new Master to just drop dead on the spot, for the crime of being Human.
Pollux had just ignored him, and pledged both of them to the human's service without a shred of animosity or doubt.
That was so like her, his angelic and generously accepting sibling. The human might have offered congratulations here and there for their service, but in Castor's mind they (especially Pollux) deserved far more praise and reward, simply for forcing themselves to remain in this place, among so many humans, for so long.
Of course, such relentless hostility towards Humanity's last Master had the unfortunate side-effect of alienating the duo from the majority of the Servants currently summoned by Chaldea. As it turned out, showing nothing but scorn and hate towards someone who went out of their way to befriend and connect with every Servant they managed to summon, even Avengers like Castor himself, meant that those Servants very quickly began to throw that same hate and scorn right back.
Though any enmity was almost always directed solely at Castor, Pollux did occasionally receive a little of the flak for sticking by her brother so much, even if she tried her best to reign him in as often as possible. For Castor, however, seeing his beloved sibling receiving even the tiniest hint of disdain from the other Heroic Spirits only caused his anger to intensify further. The end result of which was a vicious cycle of alienation and anger that the man himself either could not or would not acknowledge.
But as bad as their initial summoning and integration into Chaldea had been, it could, and inevitably did, get worse. In fact, it got worse twice.
It had happened when Castor had insisted on browsing through the files and data collected from the past Singularities and Lostbelts Chaldea had already dealt with. He wanted to see for himself the kind of threats his new Master had faced off against, just to see if they could really be considered worthy of even the slightest respect, despite being a Human. After… 'persuading' a member of staff (which Pollux had reprimanded him for when she found out) to allow him access to the files, Castor had gone searching.
As loath as Castor had been to admit it, some of the Master's achievements were genuinely impressive, especially the fact that they had already faced off against, and even beaten, not one, not two, but a full four of the Beasts.
The great Cancer of Humanity, represented by seven malignant Saint Graphs that stood against all life on the planet, for one reason or another. For a mere Human, even with the aid of Servants summoned by his fellow staff at Chaldea, to have triumphed over half of them (since the Third Beast had split itself in two, and had refused to reform into the whole) was...a praiseworthy feat indeed.
For the briefest of moments, Castor had been reconsidering his attitude towards his summoner. Perhaps he needn't be quite so harsh, even if they were human, they had been doing a decent job thus far.
And then he reached the data regarding the Lostbelts. Specifically, the most recently denied cosmos, The Ancestral Sea of The Great Gods: Atlantis. The report detailed a summary of the events that had occurred, the allied Servant losses incurred along the way, the enemy Servants and other forces arrayed against Chaldea, as well as some more information about each of the 'major players' in the Lostbelt, this included the Olympians still active and the Crypter assigned to the Lostbelt, Kirschtaria Wodime.
It hadn't taken Castor long to reach the piece of the report detailing the magus, what background they had on him, his time at Chaldea, his ideals and status as Animusphere's designated heir… and his so-called 'Godbreaking Plan'. His plan to have the Titan Atlas harness all the energy within his Fantasy Tree, Magellan, to create a new World Texture and transform the entire Human race into a new hybrid of mortal and Divine.
Castor...hadn't reacted well to that last part.
"YOU BASTARD HUMAAANN!" Castor roared, struggling with his might to inch his way closer to the Master, whose eyes were wide with shock. "HOW DARE YOU!"
"Brother, stop it!" Pollux cried from behind her sibling, her arms snaking around his at the shoulder joints to restrain him, as the Demigoddess attempted to wrest her homicidal sibling away from her Master before he did any harm. "Please calm down!"
"NO! We could have been Gods again, sister! GODS! We could have regained the Divinity those filthy Humans stole from us, if not or HIM!" Castor stabbed a finger in Ritsuka's direction, practically frothing at the mouth with rage.
"I know you're angry Castor, but that's no reason to hurt our Master." Europa soothed from her position on Tauros, the cybernetic bull having taken up a guard position by Ritsuka's right side, where it pawed gently at the ground while glaring at the Avenger Servant, preparing to attack Castor should he make a move against Ritsuka. "What happened to your home was horrible, but you can't blame poor Fujimaru for that."
"Yeah! You can't blame him, it wasn't even his fault!" Charlotte Corday agreed, the Assassin standing at Ritsuka's left, her knife at the ready and also levelling a steady glare at Castor. Though she would likely be no match for the Ancient Greek Hero in any sort of direct fight, Charlotte wasn't just going to let him hurt their Master without a fight.
Behind them, however, stood the significantly more imposing forms of Orion and Romulus-Quirinus, both former Grand Servants had heard the commotion from Castor's rather loud roars of anger and were quick to step in. Orion didn't seem to be paying much attention, but anyone who looked close enough could see his hands gripping his club and bow firmly, fully prepared to send his weapon straight into the belligerent Avenger's face at the first sign that Pollux was losing her grip.
Quirinus, by contrast, had his arms folded and charged with his signature red energy, waiting for Castor to try anything. Much like the others, he was levelling a steady glare at his fellow Servant, as if daring him to try attacking Ritsuka while he was present...a glare that Castor himself had utterly ignored in his rage.
"I KNEW I shouldn't have put any faith in some filthy, backstabbing Human trash like you!" Castor snarled. "You aren't worthy of being a Master at all! You're just pathetic!"
"OI, stop blaming him you bastard!" Barked a newly arrived Caenis, who went and stood directly in front of their Master, materialising her spear and shield and levelling an angry glare at Castor. "It's not his fault you're not a god again, so stop whining that everything's his fault!"
"And what would you know about anything?" Castor sneered, with that air of derision that only inflamed the Lostbelt Lancer's temper even more. Caenis ground her teeth and tightened her grip on her equipment, trying to hold back the urge to just take her shield to Castor's very punchable face.
"I was there the whole time, that's how I know." She replied, unnaturally calm. "I was there as Master killed the Gods, I was there as he faced down my old Master, I was there long after you and your sister bit the dust, blondie, so believe me when I tell you it isn't. His. FAULT." Caenis snapped off the last words, her blue pupils burning red in her own anger. "You wanna lash out? Wanna whine like a little kid? Why not get pissed at that redheaded blacksmith, that Emissary who killed Atlas? HE'S the one who stopped everyone becoming Gods and he woulda done it even if Master hadn't shown up to ruin the Lostbelt. GOT THAT?"
"Why are you defending that Human!?" Castor snarled back, utterly ignoring Caenis' attempt to explain. "You're a Divine Spirit! You're so far above him, so why serve them like some dog? Why serve the Human that helped destroy your home and kill your old Master, WHY?!"
"...because he's earned it." The Lancer admitted honestly, briefly turning back to lock eyes with her stunned Master. "I thought he was just some softhearted, naive fool who's too trusting for his own good, who keeps prying into my issues when I didn't want him to." A small smile crossed Caenis' face as she continued, the tone of her voice audibly softening. "And yeah, he's all that...but he also never gives up, always moves forward and isn't gonna stop fighting to get what he wants, just like my old Master. Heh."
"Besides, he killed that shitty sea god for me, and all those other Olympians. I'd say anyone that can do that is strong enough to be my Master!" The Lancer finished, flashing a satisfied grin. "So, you wanna get at Master? Better be prepared to go through ME, brat." Again, her azure orbs flashed a deep red in anticipation.
"Brother! Sto-" Pollux tried again, but unfortunately for her, the girl had allowed her grip to slacken somewhat while listening to the others trying to reason with her brother. Thus, Castor was able to tear himself free from Pollux's grip before she could react properly, charging full force at Caenis and Ritsuka.
Then Tauros headbutted him. Followed by Caenis' shield bash catching him in the stomach. Followed again by a lightning bolt from Europa's lyre, then Orion's club being launched into his throat and knocking all the air from him, while Quirinus' energy-charged fist smashed into his face.
In the end, Pollux had needed to subdue her brother by force via choking him into unconsciousness, all while the apologies for Castor's behaviour had come a mile a minute. Even if Fujimaru himself had been beyond patient and understanding, waving off the younger Dioscuri's apologies with a smile and encouragement to "Keep doing your best", Pollux had been downright ashamed of her sibling. She had even been giving him a slight cold shoulder for the past few days, she still talked with and spent time with her brother, but kept on insisting that he should apologise to Fujimaru.
Far from convincing the Avenger Servant to calm down, Pollux' repeated prodding for him to apologise out of disappointment in him had only made him even angrier. The all-consuming hate of Humanity that clouded his mind, courtesy of Oblivion Correction, had led Castor to the conclusion that their Master had turned Pollux against him deliberately, out of spite at their earlier confrontation. He continued believing this no matter how much the girl herself or the many, many other Servants who had actually interacted with Fujimaru insisted otherwise.
As it turned out, not even his fellow Avengers were very pleased with him for pulling a stunt like threatening their Master. Hessian Lobo made a point to stick close to Fujimaru several times when Castor was nearby, growling and snapping at the blonde to warn him away.
Both The Cavern King and Avenger of Music had approached him in a more private setting for a little 'chat' about what might happen if he pulled a stunt like that again, while Jeanne Alter had practically dared him to give it another go, not-so-subtly fingering the hilt of her blade and dragging a thumb across her throat as she did so.
Ishtar Astoreth, Oda Nobunaga and even Medusa Gorgon (who would never openly admit just how much she'd softened up while at Chaldea, especially since her siblings were there already to 'help' prod her along) had all cut out the middleman and decided to just threaten Castor's life directly. The former two had even manifested all three iterations of their Saint Graph at once just to get the point across, weapons drawn and pointed squarely at him the entire time. Gorgon, meanwhile, had simply ambushed him in a corridor, using Cybele at just a high enough power level to prevent her fellow Avenger from escaping while whispering silkily in his ear, promising to fill him to the brim with her poisons and watch him die in agony with a smile on her face.
That left only one of the group unaccounted for, but Castor barely gave him much thought anyway. He'd seen that over glorified shadow fight, who would ever be afraid of that utter weakling of a man who could barely swing his so-called 'weapon' properly?
Nevertheless, the combined threat from all of his 'peers' had convinced Castor to keep his distance for a while, because there was absolutely no way he was going to apologise to a human in a hurry. Hopefully, they would forget about what he did given enough time, but until then all he'd needed to do was wait.
He'd been a week or so into that wait when he'd encountered the second problem. Specifically, how Ritsuka and Pollux interacted when he wasn't around.
It had started off small, with his sibling's precious smiles coming more easily when she was with the Master. She even laughed more often in a few conversations with him than Castor had ever heard her laugh since they'd been summoned.
She kept hanging around Fujimaru, even when most other Servants were busy, following him around with a skip in her step and a hum on her lips. Whenever Ritsuka had wanted to reward her for her efforts, she had requested that he pat her head to do so. And all the while, her cheeks had been dusted slightly pink.
Castor, to put it mildly, was not at all happy about this.
The breaking point had been a mere few hours ago, when the Avenger had forced himself to attend the dance party that was being put on in the cafeteria-turned-ballroom. It was a celebration put on by the Servants both as a way of blowing off some steam and thanking the Chaldea Staff for all their efforts, especially considering they were persevering even after going through a hostile takeover of their old HQ. It might have been a little sudden, but the Heroic Spirits had agreed amongst themselves that their Human supporters, especially the Master, deserved having something organised for them for a change, as opposed to another Servant-focused celebration.
When Castor had finally dragged himself into the converted cafeteria, there was plenty of activity that caught his eye, but only one thing that caught his attention properly.
There, in amongst all the dancing Servants and Staff, was his sister, arm in arm with Fujimaru and clearly having a lot of fun with their slow dance.
Just when Castor had thought his blood pressure couldn't get any higher, or that his fingers couldn't cut more deeply into his palm than they already were, the current song and accompanying dance ended and Pollux, in full view of just about everyone, leaned up to gently kiss Fujimaru on the cheek.
That was the last straw. Castor had marched over there with an angry yell, demanding to know what his sister was thinking.
However, Pollux hadn't looked shocked or the least bit apologetic as she saw Castor approaching. She'd simply stepped in front of Ritsuka and confronted her brother head on, her face twisting into an emotion Castor had almost never seen on her face.
The ensuing argument over who Pollux was and was not allowed to associate herself with had ended with her dragging Castor out of the ballroom, giving him a rather blunt reminder of which of the duo retained even some their Divinity, and physically ejecting him. Castor responded by slamming the steel door noisily in everyone's faces and storming away.
"That filthy, no-good human! He should just die already!"
And yet, the image of his sister's angry, upset and disappointed face, all directed solely at him, burned itself into the Avenger's mind all the while.
Which brought us to right now.
Castor was currently secluded away in one of the quieter and smaller corridors within the Wandering Sea facility. He was curled into a ball against the wall, his knees up to his head, stewing in his anger in the while.
He was still angry at Fujimaru, a small part of himself was even angry at Pollux...but most importantly, he was a little angry at himself as well. His sister's words, spoken as she'd been dragging him towards the door to the ballroom were still ringing in his ears.
"I've never apologised for your behaviour as much as I have since arriving here, nor have I ever been more ashamed of your behaviour, brother!"
Perhaps he'd been a little...overzealous at times, but it was still that human's fault for-
"Huh, never thought I'd find you here." A new voice interrupted, prompting Castor to look up at the new arrival. On seeing who exactly it was that found him, his eyes narrowed and he curled an eyebrow.
"Oh...it's just you."
The human-shaped silhouette in front of him blinked, then a mass of teeth appeared from his face as he cracked a smile.
"Yep! It's me...the weakest ever Heroic Spirit, Anra Mainiiu, at your service!" Anra offered an exaggerated bow to punctuate his declaration. "So, what are you doing all the way over here, why aren't you glued to that sister of yours like always?"
"I have nothing to say and no interest in interacting with a weakling Human like you. Go away." Castor spat out, glaring at Anra.
The latter, however, completely ignored his fellow Avenger's hostility towards him, cheerfully sauntering closer and flopping down onto the floor in front of Castor without a care in the world.
"Mmmm….nah! I'm bored and didn't wanna go to that party, all those virtuous Heroes and 'Allies of Justice' there makes my skin crawl and stomach turn, you know?"
"Then why bother me like this? Go and pester someone else if you must. I have more than enough of my own problems without you adding to them."
"Oh yeah, pretty sure half the guys in this place just heard all about your problems when you were screaming about them in the next room, why d'you think I'm here?!" Anra cackled. "I needed entertainment and what do ya know? There you go providing some! Man, I should've badgered Master into summoning you guys much sooner if this was how you were gonna behave!"
It had been a mere minute since this conversation's beginning and Castor was already at boiling point with his fellow Heroic Spirit, his teeth grinding together out of irritation and anger as he spoke, voice thick with sarcasm and hostility. "I'm so glad that you're enjoying my misery, weakling."
"You bet I am!" The first Avenger chirped, that infuriating grin still plastered onto his shadowed face. "Though really, it's only your misery that's funny. After all, even a guy like me feels kinda bad for that sister of yours, having to put up with your surly, human-hating ass all the time."
"...what was that, bastard?" Castor's hand was now firmly gripping the hilt of his blade, his pupils narrowed to pinpricks as he sized Anra up, trying to determine the best way to torture the mortal in front of him for his impudence.
"I mean, it's pretty shitty of you to sing your sister's praises all the time, and then turn around and make her life here miserable." The shadowed man ploughed on, either oblivious to Castor's hostility, or uncaring. "If you don't actually care about her all that much, just come out and say it, you know? Don't just lie about-"
"I would NEVER lie about how important Pollux is to me, human!" Castor snarled, pushing himself up off the floor and getting right up in his fellow Avenger's face. To his credit, Anra didn't lose his smile, nor did he flinch or back away, standing his ground defiantly and even leaning in to whisper into Castor's ear.
"...coulda fooled me, buddy. If anything, I'd say you were makin' her miserable on purpose. After all, she's kept some of those God genes from your dad, while you've gotta make do with being a normal human."
"DIE." In an instant, Castor's sword was free of its sheath and heading straight for Anra's heart, a murderous snarl affixed to the young man's face-
-only for the sword to be casually swatted aside by the original Avenger with his...blade claws? Even worse, Anra barely seemed to react to Castor's attempted murder, chatting on and on without a care in the world.
"Heh. Guess I touched a nerve there. I'm good at doing that, ya know? So, you really hate your sister, then, huh?"
"SHUT UP, how DARE you accuse me of hating my beloved sister! She is all I have left after you bastards stole my Divinity from me!" Castor drove his blade at Anra yet again only to be parried, with an almost casual ease that only fed his rage even more. It infuriated him that this...this utter weakling could block and dodge him so easily.
While Castor's dismissal of the original Avenger's offensive capabilities were backed by the experience of seeing him fight a few times...or try to, anyway, he had never seen Anra fight defensively before. Had he, the male Gemini Twin might have been far more restrained and less physical with venting his anger. For what the so-called "Weakest Servant" lacked in offensive skill, he more than made up for in defensive talent.
Quite a few Servants could attest to that, in fact, having tested their skill against All The World's Evil in the simulator time and again. Anra possessed the truly fascinating ability to deflect, counter or avoid almost any number of attacks aimed against him, no matter where they came from and how many enemies assailed him at once. The ultimate test for him had been when Gilgamesh, incensed that some 'faker' like him dared to be summoned into the same facility as the King of Heroes, had attacked him in the middle of his Simulator training.
They had drawn quite the crowd that day, especially since Gilgamesh was not known for his volume control at the best of times, and his utter inability to land even one hit on Anra had only led him to bellow louder in ever-growing fury. His pride was on the line, after all. What sort of Heroic Spirit would he be if he could not even defeat the self-proclaimed "Weakest Servant"?
Luckily for Chaldea, Enkidu and Gilgamesh's own Caster alternate had been present to restrain and subdue the First Hero once he'd attempted to draw out Ea, frothing at the mouth and snarling that he would "show the filthy mongrel his place".
Since that showing, Arna had often been entrusted with the task of safeguarding Ritsuka himself when the Master of Chaldea was journeying through any sub-singularities or events the team encountered. He and Mash complimented one another surprisingly well (aside from the teasing comments he threw her way sometimes), with the Shielder Demi-Servant fending off the more wide-area attacks that All The World's Evil simply could not deflect or avoid and Anra handling the more direct incoming attacks, often stalling any flanking attackers that broke through until Mash could fend them off for him.
But of course, Castor himself had not been there for any of these developments or events, for he refused to participate in Chaldean daily life most of the time and even when he did, the Gemini Twin would rarely even interact with anyone who was not his beloved sister. They were simply filthy humans, after all. Or they were Gods who were sympathetic and helpful to those ungrateful monkeys, which was utterly disgusting for Castor. He would have vanished back to the Throne if not for Pollux's plea for him to trust in her and her own faith in Chaldea and her new Master's cause.
Thus, the Avenger was blindsided by Anra's defensive mastery, while his opponent was skilled enough that he could easily make conversation while also fending off Castor.
"If she's all you got left, then why are you being such a rubbish brother, huh blondie?" He asked, sounding genuinely curious even as he blocked another flurry of slashes. "I mean c'mon! Where's the effort for her sake? Why are you forcing her to deal with you all hours of the day, eh?
"Who do you think you are, lecturing me like this!?" Castor snarled, trying to push Anra's taunts out of his mind, even as some small part of him questioned if that was really what was happening…was he really making his sibling unhappy? The weakling was probably lying, but still…
"Me? Just a guy who thinks you're giving the class a bad name." His opponent replied, raising Tawrich and Zarich to parry an overhead slice, while leaning to the side and allowing Castor's incoming prana-charged foot to pass harmlessly by. Ignoring the fresh snarl of rage from the Gemini, Anra decided to continue. "See, I'm all for vengeance, me. It's in the class name, after all! But only if it's directed at the right people."
"What? You presume to judge my desire for vengeance, weakling?" Despite his continued hostility, Castor made no move to attack. Even in his state of near-constant anger and offense towards humanity, he realised that trying to attack the original Avenger was futile, since every attack he'd tried to make thus far was blocked, avoided or deflected to one side.
"'Course I do! If anything, I'm one of the most qualified to judge you, don't you think? After all, we're the same class and we've both got a bone to pick with Humanity for getting screwed over by them in the past, right?" Anra chuckled.
"Get to the point then, what do you mean 'the right people'?" Castor questioned, narrowing his eyes and huffing in impatience.
"Alrighty then, let's start with a question, how long ago did you and your sis live, exactly? Just in general?"
"We lived during the Age of Gods, fool, a time when magic saturated the lands, seas and skies and our Divinity was still intact. Before your people got involved!"
Ignoring the outburst, Anra continued. "Right, so a few thousand years ago at the least, yeah? Well, there's my point. As I'm pretty sure you've noticed, the modern day ain't exactly the Ancient Greece you remember."
"And what does that have to do with my vengeance?"
"Well, it's obvious to me, isn't it." Anra chuckled, prompting Castor's eye to twitch in irritation. "Your legend's been misinterpreted by Human historians, sure, but I bet that happened a long time ago...well before any of these people's time."
"And you think that absolves them of responsibility?"
"Not entirely, 'course not, but it's not like these guys know any better about your legend. They're working with a faulty interpretation here, after all, so how could they know what the truth about you and your sis is? All they've got to go on are the ramblings and scribbles of the guys who misinterpreted your legend in the first place. It's more out of ignorance than anything."
"And your point is?"
"My point is, if you wanna blame anyone. If you wanna lash out at anyone, then lash out at those guys. Lash out at the assholes from the ancient times who thought it'd be funny to turn you into a squishy human and your sister into a Demigod, but don't take it out on these people. They've got nothing to do with your grudge."
For a while, silence descended over the corridor. Castor seemed to be process Anra's words, so the original Avenger turned, preparing to go and try to snag some food from the party and feeling satisfied with having given some advice that his fellow was willing to listen to. Perhaps he'd reward himself by-
"Why do you care?"
"Hmmm?" Turning back, Anra found the Gemini sibling staring back at him. For once, there was no hate burning in his eyes, not even aggression or disdain, only curiosity and confusion.
"Why do you care about them? You were slighted by those humans, as I was. Your life was also ruined by human selfishness and stupidity, so why do you try to dissuade me? Why advocate for them?! Why, I DON'T UNDERSTAND!" By the end, the aggression had seeped back into Castor's voice and the Avenger Servant was close to yelling right in Anra's face. The latter, for his part, stood his ground with nothing more than a small smile as a reply.
"Alright, I'll tell ya. C'mon." The shadowed man wandered over to the wall and slumped down into a sitting position, motioning for Castor to join him. Raising an eyebrow and tilting his head, the Gemini complied nonetheless.
"Right, I'm not gonna lie and say that I'm doin' this for wholly good reasons. Don't get me wrong….I AM concerned that the fuss you're kicking up will affect everyone here, and right now I don't think Master can afford to put up with you with everything they've got on their shoulders already, but that's not the only reason. A person like me would never do something like this for just that reason, you know?"
"Then what is the other reason?" Castor questioned.
"Having you running around and screeching your head off about how much you hate everyone and everything is really, really irritating for me. You're just making everyone, including me, pissed off and fed up with it. If you stop, then I can start enjoying myself again, you know?" Anra chuckled. "See, told you I'm not all heart."
"Fine. But I have a question of my own."
"Why did you just….decide to stop pursuing revenge? You don't act like the rest of us, you don't seem to act on your hate at all, why? Why go to that trouble?"
"...because I didn't wanna live like that. Not anymore."
Anra's voice was quiet, lacking his usual gusto or confidence, but Castor could hear every word loud and clear.
Anra cast an almost tired look at his fellow Avenger.
"Alright Gemini kid, what have you been doing since you got here?"
"Sometimes I train, other times I browse the archives in this place to understand what has happened before I arrived, and I accompany my dear sister almost everywhere of course!"
"You used to accompany her, you mean." Anra replied, his usual light tone gone as he got directly to the point.
"...yes. I used to." Castor glowered, his already grim mood souring further at the mention of his recent estrangement. "It is simply a temporary break from one another, there is nothing to worry about."
"Yeah, it's not temporary, buddy. As long as you keep this up, she's gonna keep avoiding you. Your little 'I hate all humans' act has gotten so unbearable that even your own sister can't put up with it anymore." Anra commented bluntly, his tone surprisingly forceful as he attempted to put his point across to his fellow Avenger.
"How dare yo-" Castor began, his temper spiking once more, only for the shadowed man to cut him off.
"You can try and deny it if you like, but it's the truth. Don't like it? Go ask your sis, she'll tell you the same thing." Anra shot the Gemini a deadpan stare. "The longer you keep doing this, the more isolated you're gonna be….and the more miserable you'll stay. You are miserable right now, aren't ya?"
Castor said nothing in reply, but the mere fact that his eyes narrowed and his jaw tightened was all the confirmation Anra needed. All the latter offered was a melancholy smile in understanding.
"Yeah...that's the curse of our class, you know. All we've got inside is anger. Doesn't matter if it's at a person, a concept or a whole race, it's still there. It won't stop or fade no matter what we do...even all those Simulator runs you've done haven't helped you, have they?"
"How do you know about that?" Castor hissed. He'd made sure to only use the Simulator in the middle of the night, when most of the more fight happy or martially disciplined Servants had already been through their usual training regimens, as he had no desire to interact with anyone other than his sister in this place.
"Well, I've stumbled on you a few times already...you just didn't notice. I'm not exactly the most memorable person here, after all, sometimes even Master forgets I exist. Don't blame 'em though, it's just like when I was alive." A soft chuckle rang through the corridor. "Plus, you're nowhere near as subtle as you think you are. Geez, it's a wonder you don't wake up half the staff here with your constant hollering about killing 'those filthy humans'."
Castor growled, but was forced to concede the man's point. He DID use the simulator to take out his rage on days where he wasn't brought along on missions with the Master...and given that almost no one other than his dear sister could stand to be around him for the length of an average conversation, he was left behind much more often than not. Not that it had bothered him much, of course. The less time spent around all the humans in this facility, the better. "Hmph. Where are you going with this, Fake God?"
"Oh? What happened to 'Weakling'?"
"Your ramblings about our...mutual anger at the world intrigues me, but if you would prefer-" Castor shot a glare at Anra as he spoke. "-I could start calling you Weakling all over again."
"Nah, Fake God's alright, much better than weakling by any stretch." Anra grinned. "Then again, since I got within a hair's breadth of ending the world that one time, maybe you should call me a Fake Be-"
"Enough ramblings, Fake God! Explain to me what you mean by 'not wanting to live this way', now."
"Heh, well we had to get to it eventually, so I'll put it as plainly as I can, kay?"
"Just get on with it." Castor snapped, tapping his foot in impatience.
"I didn't wanna be a slave to my anger anymore, I didn't want to just go through my life being pissed off and everything and everyone. That might be fine with you, but not for me. Course, it's not really your fault our Class is so unfair, is it? You can thank our 'gift' of Oblivion Correction for that one."
Off of Castor's raised eyebrow and tilted head, Anra cleared his throat and continued, expression turning serious and focused.
"You can feel it too, can't you? That flame inside...sometimes it recedes, sometimes it flares, but it always burns, always. Can't get rid of it no matter how hard we try, we can't forget no matter how hard we try, because that's not what this class is about, is it? We're all about getting revenge, no matter who we trample on to get to it….and for people like you and me, who started hating everyone in the world, we'd gladly trample over just about everyone if it meant feeling satisfied for just a moment.
"Where does that leave us? Perpetually miserable, pissed off and alone. No one wants to interact with us because of our whole 'Kill all those filthy humans' rhetoric or we can't stand to be near them. As for me? I'm just forgettable, no one remembers to talk to me. And that just gives us more grudges against everyone here for our Class Skill to amplify and feed our hate even further. It's a vicious cycle none of us can really get out of…..well, almost none of us, anyway."
"And….you did, did you?" Castor questioned, one-part incredulous and one-part mildly intrigued.
"Oh yeah. Wasn't easy, lemme tell you that, but I'd like to think I've moved past being a raging lunatic 24/7. And if you like, I could give you a little help, if you want."
"And why would I accept your help?"
"Same reason you've stuck around this long to hear me out, Gemini Kid, because you care about that sister of yours, right?"
Castor could not suppress the flinch, or the way his head jerked in Anra's direction, eyes widening.
"It's like I said earlier...you keep going the way you're going, you're gonna lose her. If there's anything you shoulda learnt in these last few days, it's that everyone, even that angelic sis of yours, has a limit to how much of your crap they can take.
"So, I'm gonna start walking away now, which means you've got a choice to make: either stop me and get some help to try and get your anger under some form of control, so you can actually interact with people without blowing your fuse and insulting them, or you let me walk and things between you two keep getting worse because you just won't be able to help yourself.
Anra levered himself up, and began to stretch a few times to get rid of the kinks and knots in his back, sitting and chatting for so long like that was murder on his back, especially with his pathetic E-Rank Strength and Endurance stats. Turning back to the still seated Castor, Anra decided to dispense once last piece of advice, his expression melancholic and serious.
"I'd really think about taking this if I were you, kid. For people like us, hate is easy, that rage is always gonna be there with you and it'll ruin your second chance if you let it...but feelings like gratitude? Affection? Love? Those are much harder to feel. That's why...when we find someone you actually care about, we should hold on to that person as long as you can, because once they go, we're not gonna get them back." A wistful look passed across Anra's face as he spoke and Castor could swear his fellow Avenger was reliving a memory of some sort.
"You're really lucky you've got that sister of yours who'll stick with you through thick and thin, aren't you? You sure you wanna lose her just because you were too much of a stubborn hardass to get some help?"
Having said his piece, the original Avenger laced his hands behind his head and began to stroll off, whistling a merry tune.
As he approached the first junction in the corridor, the false God found himself to be a tad disappointed that Castor seemed not to care. That whole inspiring speech that he'd prepared for a good few hours, wasted! Did he have any idea how hard it was for an Avenger like him to try and inspire anyone, much less a fellow Avenger?! Especially with him dredging up his memories of her in the process. What an ungrateful-
"Wait." A hand clamped down firmly on the shadowed man's shoulder. Allowing a smile to blossom on his face, Anra turned back to see Castor staring back at him, looking the most serious he'd ever been since arriving here.
"This….this 'help' you claim you can offer, what would I need to do?"
The smile transforming into a victorious smirk, Anra clapped his own hand onto Castor's shoulder as he turned to face his fellow Avenger.
"I was hoping you'd ask that. Well, follow me then."
Tugging on the Gemini's arm, Anra began to pull him along, a renewed sense of purpose in his steps.
"Hold on a moment, where are we going?!"
"The simulator, we're gonna need some privacy for this coping strategy o' mine…"
Pollux was concerned.
The emotion itself was not unfamiliar to the younger Gemini sibling, especially since she and her brother had arrived in Chaldea. The majority of the time, her concerns were turned squarely towards what it was her brother was getting up to on the occasions he was not glued to her side, secluded within their room or hogging the simulator for himself...and how long it would be before she needed to smooth over tensions from the latest incident he was involved in.
It wasn't that Pollux didn't love her dear elder brother, she did! However, he had gotten to be rather...difficult to deal with since their summoning. His aggression toward just about anyone, but especially the few baseline human staff members of the facility, that interacted with either of them for any length of time was very concerning and rather disturbing for Pollux to witness. It seemed like just about anything would cause her dear brother to lose his temper and lash out, with only Pollux herself capable of calming him if he ever got that angry.
At first, she had wondered just what it was that made him act like this, until she had been approached by two men, who referred to themselves as 'The Cavern King' and 'The Man in Grey', who had some answers to her questions. They were not pleasant ones.
Apparently, her dear brother had taken the loss of his Divinity to Human error and misconception so personally that he had been deeply warped as a person, the damage being bad enough to affect their Class and Spirit Origins. While the Geminis resulting dual Class of Saber and Avenger offered them unique access to the strengths and passive Skills of both, it came at the cost of her brother nursing an unquenchable grudge against all of Humanity for their crime of 'stealing' his Divinity...including their new Master, Fujimaru Ritsuka.
Pollux couldn't help a smile as her thoughts turned to him. He was, she gathered, the last Master of Chaldea available to defend Human history and despite the immense pressure on the young man's shoulders, he had not allowed himself to break or falter. Pollux could only find such persistence and indomitable will very admirable and she was apparently not the only one, judging by how her fellow Argonauts (even Jason) and the great hero Odysseus had all taken quick liking to him, joining the rest of Chaldea's already-summoned Servants offering their support and mentorship when Ritsuka needed it.
Said support was a two way street as well, as Pollux had already lost count of the number of stories she'd heard from various Servants about Ritsuka lending them his ear or what talent he'd amassed as a Master to help with their problems. From what she'd heard from the staff and her fellow Argonauts, most Magi would have treated Heroic Spirits like them as disposable tools to achieve their goals….yet Ritsuka treated them as comrades in arms, even friends. No wonder so many of them softened up around him and were willing to return his kindness.
Sadly, her brother was not one of those Servants. In fact, he'd only seemed to get more antagonistic towards Ritsuka as time went on...in sharp contrast to Pollux's own reaction, the younger Gemini finding herself spending more and more time around their Master when nothing was happening. It was...very nice, being around him. Well, nice when her brother didn't interrupt them or cause trouble with the other Servants, anyway.
Unfortunately, both her brother's problems and her own closeness to their Master had all come to a head, in one of the worst possible ways.
It had been a spur of the moment decision really, to kiss his cheek during that dance, it was her way of starting to repay all of the kindness he had shown her and the patience he had shown her brother despite all the problems he'd caused, including nearly attacking him in the Summoning chamber once! Pollux had rarely felt as embarrassed and ashamed as she had that day, even when she was alive.
And then, with only a yell of anger to alert her to his presence, her dear brother was there, angrily advancing on both her and their Master, snarling about his audacity and demanding to know why she was 'cavorting with a filthy human', as if he was somehow allowed to dictate who she associated herself with.
Now, Pollux had really tried to keep calm, she honestly had tried….but even her patience and understanding had limits.
The younger Gemini had found herself pouring out all her built-up frustrations in the resulting argument (well, assuming it could be called that when said 'argument' amounted to a full five minutes of Pollux yelling at her brother and him being too stunned to offer much of a reply), her distress regarding his new Class, her concerns regarding the stress their Master placed upon himself...and her exasperation and embarrassment regarding his behaviour since their summoning.
Pollux could not remember the last time she'd wound up getting so angry or yelled so loud, let alone physically manhandled her elder brother like that. All it took was him threatening Ritsuka for "thinking a filthy human could be worthy of her attention" and the younger Gemini had seen red. It seemed that all her brother understood anymore was the logic of force and if that truly was the case, then Pollux would provide it if it would convince him to exercise some restraint.
However, her current concern came from the fact that, after the stormy confrontation with her fellow Gemini during the welcoming party for the new Servants, Pollux had not seen hide nor hair of Castor for the past month. Given that he typically never left her side, or alternatively their room, his sudden absence was quite distressing. Had she been a little too harsh in her critiques of his behaviour? Perhaps she should have been more empathetic to his situation, considering that it wasn't really his fault he was like this, but rather the fault of his Class and all the Skills that came with it.
Returning to the present, Pollux took a deep breath and knocked on her Master's door.
It didn't take long for the door to open and the teenager to appear, rubbing at his face and trying to stifle a yawn.
"Oh Pollux, is everything alright?" He asked.
"Ah, Master! I'm sorry if I interrupted your sleep." Pollux blushed as embarrassment shot through her. "Should I come back later?"
"Ah, it's fine...I was just taking a short nap anyway. How can I help?"
"Well, it's about my brother."
At this, Ritsuka's eyebrows drew together and he sighed in understanding, the Last Master rubbing at his neck.
"Still no sign of him, eh?"
"Yes and it's becoming very worrying. I've never known my elder brother to leave for this long without at least telling me where he's going!" Pollux shuffled nervously. "I-I'm afraid something might have happened to him, a-and since he barely socialises with anyone, that no one will know where he is and that he's just lying alone somewhere-"
A gentle hand on her shoulder stilled the younger Gemini's ramblings. Ritsuka offered her an understanding smile as he squeezed reassuringly.
"Hey, I get it, you're worried about him. Is there anything I can do?"
"Yes, I-I know there's a certain risk attached but...I'd like for you to summon my brother with a Command Spell, just to see if he's alright! And I swear I'll make sure he doesn't try to harm you! I'm sure my fellow Argonauts would be willing to lend a hand!"
"Alright, I'll stay here and you can go get anyone who's willing to help?"
There they all were, ready and waiting.
Pollux looked nervous, while Medea Lily was trying to reassure her. The girl had even offered her fellow Argonaut some of the young Princess' special "Infinite Pancakes", which the Gemini sibling had tentatively turned down upon being told exactly what the 'secret ingredient' was. A little put out, Medea Lily had simply decided to ready her Pain Breaker, just in case Castor turned violent again at the impromptu summons and had to be calmed down. While all the other Argonauts were confident that they could subdue the Avenger by force, none of them were all that enthusiastic about fighting a friend.
Atalante and her Altered self stood to attention, the Huntresses focusing their attention solely on Fujimaru himself, just in case they needed to spring into action to defend him from their former crewmate. Both had heard from the Neo-Argonauts and other Atlantis Servants about Castor's hostility towards their Master over a month ago and they could not help but be concerned, especially since the women had grow quite….fond of Fujimaru for the kindness, patience and understanding he extended to all his Servants, especially the children.
Asclepius leant against the wall, medical tools and potions at the ready. He could be heard grumbling about how much he was going to let his former teammate have it for skipping out on his medical checkups, but aside from that he eschewed interacting with anyone else, as he always did when 'on the clock'.
Heracles, the Greatest Hero of Greece, stood as silently as he always did. The Berserker had been among the first to respond to Pollux's request for help, especially since it involved a possible threat to his Master, even if the source was one of his former Argonaut teammates. Of course, anyone who truly knew Heracles could tell that, even with Madness Enhancement clouding his mind, the Demigod was still concerned about Castor and his well being, despite the latter's less than stellar current attitude. He had taken a position near Ritsuka, one arm by his side, the other pressed gently against the shoulder of none other than Jason.
For his part, the Captain of the Argo had done little else but whine and grumble about being dragged along, insisting that it wasn't a Captain's place to be so close to the front lines like this. In the end, Pollux had gently but firmly ushered him along to meet the others. Initially, he had tried resisting, but all his protests and struggles had ceased when Medea had fallen into step alongside them, with Jason practically fainting on the spot at the look his ex had shot him.
The Witch of Betrayal had taken the spot nearest the door, her shielding Runes at the ready. Like Atalante, Medea had taken a certain shine to her new Master, since he was so very unlike Jason. He treated her well, kept her out of unnecessary danger and had even stood up for her a few times when she and her ex had the misfortune of encountering one another, which inevitably led to a loud argument, how could she not come to like him after all that?
"So." Ritsuka addressed the assembled Argonauts. "Are we all ready?"
"Yes Master!" Came the chorus of replies from the group, with Heracles offering a low growl of agreement.
With that, Ritsuka turned back to the empty portion of his room, raised his right hand, and began the command.
"Castor of the Dioscuri, with the power of this Command Spell I order you, return to my side at once!"
As the outer portions of the Command Spell's sigil began to flash bright red and fade, the room was filled with a bright light that had almost everyone, save for Heracles, covering their eyes and cringing away from the intensity. As the light settled down and the Argonauts were blinking away the remaining spots in their eyes, a figure made itself clear.
There was Castor, sitting cross legged in the centre of the room, eyes closed and expression neutral.
"So...what is he doing?" Atalanta finally asked the assembled Argonauts.
"He looks to be meditating to calm himself." Her Alter self replied.
"Castor, meditating? Hah, pull the other- urrk!" Jason started to scoff, before having his mouth slammed shut by the elder Medea.
"That is a relief, I was getting very concerned for his blood pressure as it was, thank goodness he's finally doing something about that atrocious temper." Asclepius commented, the Medicine God turning his attention to the new arrival.
"Big brother!" Pollux cried out, lunging forward to scoop up Castor into a tight hug. "I was so worried that something had happened to you! Where were you all this time?! Why didn't you at least check in with me or with Master, why-"
"Calm down sister, I'll explain as best I can." Castor put her off surprisingly gently, as he returned her hug.
Most everyone else in the room couldn't help but boggle at Castor, of all people, telling someone else to calm down.
Once he'd disentangled himself from Pollux, Castor glanced around the room, eyes widening a little as he took in the forms of most of his crewmates from the Argo.
"I must say...I wasn't quite expecting all of you to be here."
"We were worried about you!" Medea Lily cried.
"Yes, indeed." Her adult self joined in. "Though I must admit, most of us are also here for Master's safety and peace of mind given….how your last few encounters with him ended."
"Ah." Castor actually looked somewhat apologetic, which was so at odds with his behaviour since his summoning that it caused a brief double take from the Argonauts. "Yes, that...that is understandable, yes."
"Are you...are you alright, brother?" Pollux asked, eyebrows knitting together as she appraised him.
"And why wouldn't I be, sister?"
"Well, you've spent your entire time here antagonising just about anyone and everyone, then you vanish for a month on end, and when you finally get brought back you're suddenly all polite and calm again, what's going on here?!" Leave it to Jason to simply cut right to the point with no tact whatsoever.
Castor's eye twitched briefly, the only hint to his buried annoyance at Jason before he took a breath and sighed.
"I suppose I should explain, I at least owe my sister that much. Let me begin..."
Well, nice to see everything working out.
Admittedly, Anra had been confused and then panicked a little when Castor had suddenly been snatched from their latest session in the simulator, but now that he'd made it here and could hear what was going on inside...yes, he was more at ease now.
As it stood now, his newest 'pupil' seemed to be acclimating steadily to his little improvised 'training regimen'. Hopefully it would only take a few more months of this unorthodox treatment to turn Castor into a semi-social Heroic Spirit. At the very least, into one who wasn't going to just fly off the handle at anything or anybody with little provocation.
Guess my job's done for-
"Oi!" A rough yet distinctly feminine voice called out to him, prompting the original Avenger to pause mid-step.
Turning on his heel Anra caught sight of Caenis, the Lancer from the latest Lostbelt and one of the newest arrivals at Chaldea, striding towards him with eyes narrowed and head tilted. "I need to talk to you a minute."
"Yeah? What's up?" He opted for a casual greeting, the more combat-averse part of his mind hoping that this 'chat' wouldn't escalate into violence. His worthless Strength and Endurance Stats would mean a quick doom for him, even with resurrection always on the table.
"Just wanted to confirm something that's been bugging me about blondie in there." Caenis jerked a thumb towards the room that currently contained the Argonauts and her Master. "You have anything to do with his new attitude?"
"Huh?" Well...he'd not been expecting something like that. "What makes you think I've got anything to do with it? I'm not the most social of Servants, y'know?"
"Well, I caught you dragging him off to the Simulator a few times and I got a bit curious. Besides, Pollux was begging me to keep an eye out for him… with those damn puppy dog eyes of hers, couldn't say no, could I?" The Lancer grumbled a little, a light blush staining her cheeks. Anra simply grinned in reply, confusing and irritating her.
"Heh, so you've grown a heart hanging around these people too, huh?"
"Oi, not a word to anyone about it, alright!" The blush got slightly worse, accompanied by waving her trident threateningly in Anra's direction.
"Alright, alright. My lips are sealed, no worries there. And to answer your question, yes, I like to think I have improved 'blondie's' mood a bit." Anra allowed his chest to puff up a little in pride at his accomplishment.
"And how'd you manage that, you get him to meditate with you or something?" Caenis smirked at the image in her mind, of the perpetually pissed off and aggressive Castor trying his hand at meditation.
"Well, yeah." That caught her off guard. He really did that?!
"Yeah, just needed to get him to focus, is all."
"On what? Happy thoughts to block out all the anger?"
"Oh, on the contrary, I got him to focus on the anger...drown in it, in fact." Anra explained, utterly nonchalantly. Caenis, meanwhile, was thrown for a loop.
"Hey wait a sec!" He'd begun to turn away, so the Lancer snagged him by the arm to keep him from leaving. "What do you mean 'drown in it'? You realise that needs a bit more explaining, right?!"
"Yeah yeah, I got it…." Anra sighed. "Alright, see, here's the thing...it was the only way he was gonna get better."
"And how'd you know that?" The Greek questioned.
"Because it worked for me." The Avenger replied. "Believe me, I've got plenty of experience feeling nothing but hate...it's more effective therapy than you'd think."
"Explain then." She demanded, clearly not convinced.
"Alright then…" Anra strolled over to the wall and slid down into a sitting position, motioning for Caenis to join him. After a moment or two, she complied with a raised eyebrow.
"See, the thing about us Avengers is that, while hate's always gonna be with us, normally we're gonna fight it. Oh sure, we'll say that all we've got is vengeance and anger but really, we're all inevitably gonna try and feel other things as well...happiness, sadness, shock, fear, you name it. And as long as you keep doing that, the anger will always feel fresh. You'll never start getting used to it, is what I'm saying."
"Huh…...that's your trick? Really? To kick the anger, you just get angrier?" Caenis barked out a laugh at the sheer absurdity.
"Getting angrier isn't the point here, the point is to focus on your anger, to focus on it until it's all you can feel. Until it's saturated your mind...until all you can think about is how much you want to get your vengeance. Don't let anything else get in the way, that's important." Anra's voice had gotten softer as he spoke, the shadowed man staring straight ahead. By now, Caenis' disbelief had given way to genuine intrigue, the Lancer's attention fully on the Avenger at her side.
"And you need to keep at it, you keep doing it for several hours a day, everyday. It'll be tough, it'll be really tough, trying to function normally like that, trying to keep that anger in when you're not alone, trying to talk to other people without letting every little thing they do get to you. But eventually, one day, you'll just wake up and...you'll have gotten used to it. The rage. The desire for revenge. It'll just...be a part of you now, just something you live with and don't pay much mind any more.
"You'll be so used to the anger that comes with this class that, in the end, you won't even notice it anymore. You'll be able to function again, you can actually go out and hold a civil conversation without screaming about how much you hate Humanity, or whoever it is you hate, simply because you've gotten bored with being mad for so long and you'd rather be something else instead.
"But most importantly, you're now capable of focusing on other emotions, of feeling them more easily, because the anger won't be noticeable to you anymore…..like I said, you've gotten so used to it by now that it might as well not even be there. So you can focus on what matters, of making the most of your second chance with anyone who can find it in them to care about you. Sure, you can still get mad when it really matters, but at least now you won't just be pissed because this shitty Class Skill of yours makes you pissed. It's freedom, really...the freedom to choose to feel what you want to feel, not what your Class or your legend wants you to feel, and God knows it took me a lot of effort to get there...but I think that's more than worth working for, don't you?"
Shaken out of her own reverie as his explanation came to an end, Caenis blinked a few times to re-adjust. "Ye...yeah. Yeah, it is." She muttered quietly, though Anra still picked it up loud and clear, offering a smile as he clapped her on the shoulder.
"Well, happy to clear some things up for ya. I'd love to sit and chat more, but if it's all the same to you, the Cafe's putting on this great roast spread for today and I don't wanna-"
The weakest Heroic Spirit's musings were cut off as the door nearest to them exploded outward.
"BASTARD! HOW DARE YOU INSULT ME LIKE THAT!" The unmistakable roars of Castor thundered through the corridor, while none other than Jason came speeding out of the room, terror in his eyes.
"Waitwaitwaitwaitwait!" The Argo Captain tried to reason with his former teammate one last time. "C-c-c-can't we just talk about this!? All I said was that I never thought someone so volatile would ever learn to control his temper the way you di-eeek!" With surprising skill, he evaded another flurry of sword swipes.
"DIE!" With that, Jason took off down the corridor, with an enraged Castor hot on his heels, himself swiftly followed by Rituska, Pollux and the rest of the Argonauts.
"Brother, please calm down! You were doing so well before!"
"Castor, I fully understand why you want to hurt that scum of a man, but please restrain yourself!"
"I WILL shoot you if that's what it takes to calm you down!"
Caenis and Anra watched all of this happen with surprised and bemused expressions of their faces. Once everyone else had left the corridor, the original Avenger turned to leave once more, only for Caenis to call out.
"Thought you said you'd fixed him." The smirk was evident in her tone.
"I said it was a work in progress, he's...getting there, kept a lid on it for longer than he's ever done in any of our sessions, so that's progress at least. 'Sides, you know what they say, 'Rome wasn't built in a day', right? You wouldn't BELIEVE how many sessions it took me to get that Gorgon woman or that Wolf settled in."
"Huh, you helped the others too?"
"Only the ones who need it, the others can keep a lid on it and function just fine without needing my help. Now, if you'll excuse me...dinner's calling."
Nodding to himself, Anra hopped up and stretched a little before he turned and began to make his way to the cafe at last.
"Yeah?" He turned his head back again, fixing his gaze on an uncharacteristically hesitant Caenis.
"Since Master likes prying into our personal lives, and I've some...issues with that bastard sea God-" her eyes flashed red and her fists clenched, just for a moment. "-you think that there's room in your schedule to fit me in? It'd...it'd be really shitty if I got out of control and hurt Master, you know?"
Anra couldn't help but flash her a smile.
"I'll see if I can pencil you in sometime. After all, everyone needs a little help with their anger sometime, right?"
With that, Caenis clambered to her feet and fell into step beside him, some of her old confidence returning as they made their way to the cafeteria. All the while, there was a contented smile plastered on the original Avenger's face.
His entire existence might revolve around hatred, but he couldn't deny one thing.
Sometimes, it felt good to lend a hand.