Author's Note: I do not own Soul Nomad or its characters or the song "Dido's Reply" by The Cruxshadows. As you might have guessed, this is the unofficial sequel to "Being Closer".
This is also piece that was supposed to be called "Yelda" until I found "Dido's Reply" and had to include it (now how is it relevant? I'll let you, the reader, guess). I apologize right now for the fact this chapter is slow but things will (hopefully) pick up in the next chapter and I apologize ahead of time if the romance department fails (since it's not my strong point).
Also, for those that might wonder after the first chapter Gig and Revya, definitely won't be the only SN characters appearing (though in this chapter they won't). Now those little annoying notes are out of the way, please enjoy.
Chapter 1: Simultaneous Meetings
"And if you find your Illium
And if you build your Troy
I hope you feel the pain I felt
Twice upon your sword
Aeneas on your noble hands
My life shall stain with blood
Let Dido's curse rest in the mind
A shade begot by love
Carthage shall this grudge recall
Upon your seven hills
And nothing less than misery
Will remind you of who you killed
And though with hate I suffer now
The truth is deeper still
For I love you with my dying breath
And know I always will
Beyond this world into the next
I know I always will..."
-Dido to Aeneas
That day, a strange sight was seen coming up the mountains. It was strange enough anyone was up there to begin with but the figure was twice as odd. Physically, it looked like a young woman with red hair and eyes but as it climbed higher and higher up the steep paths, something extremely odd about the being could be realized.
There were two voices, both distinctly male and female. The former was muttering curses every once and awhile while the latter seemed nice enough.
And they were both coming out of the body's mouth.
"Twice! Twice in two god damn days!" The male's grumbled. "We didn't even get anything to eat!"
"You're the one who was in a hurry to get moving though," said the female's patiently.
"Yeah, but you agreed to it. You could have argued more or something."
She rolled her eyes and kept climbing. It wasn't worth trying to win an argument with him. "It shouldn't be too bad once we get to the top. We should still have some left over supplies from yesterday."
"Tch, fine," he replied. "Let's just hurry it up already. The sooner we get up there, the sooner we can eat. And the sooner we eat, the sooner we can deal with that stupid jewel and break this stupid curse."
She nodded and felt the body move a bit quicker at his will. The two had shared a body over a year ago but back then, only one of them controlled the movements of the body. Now, after a year's separation, they were back together again, only this time, it worse. This time it involved the fusing of their bodies and souls so theyboth had control. This had led to a fair bit of panic and chaos as they tried to move their body the way they wanted only to have the other react differently. It had been fairly difficult at first but they were getting the hang of it. At least they weren't falling off peaks like last time they were here.
The two in question were a young girl named Revya and a reincarnated demi-god named Gig. Over a year ago, their souls had been (forcefully) fused together using Revya's body. Long story short, girl turns seventeen, world terror appears to wreck havoc on the world, girl gets handed a smartass-talking sword with real class A jerk that wants to take over her body and wreck even more havoc than the initial world terror, goes on a journey and with the help of friends, detours, and godly power manages to save the world. In the conflict, Gig's soul just disappeared after he sacrificed himself to help everyone else. Several months later (after his third death) he appeared in his own body, got slugged, then everything seemed right. World terror dealt with, cycle of life back to normal, the heroes had moved on with their lives, everything was just as good as life could be expected to be.
And then they had to go to the Yuga Mountains (looking for hotpods of all things) where they ended up attracting the attention of a Crimson Tear (who allegedly likes to pull 'tricks') and they ended up at their current situation. After receiving the guidance (and the mockery) of their friends, they found themselves returning to the mountains where supposedly, after a series of tests and display of true love, the curse would be lifted.
The key phrase being 'a display of true love'.
That was also the part Revya still felt anxious about, even as they continued the trek upwards.
"Hey, care to come back from dream land? You're dragging us down!" Cracked Gig's voice.
"Sorry," Revya shook her head. She'd think about it some other time.
One thing that Revya was thankful about this fused body for was the fact they had boots as opposed to the sandals she usually wore. By the time they were at the top for the second time in two days she felt worn down and wanted to collapse down somewhere and rest her feet. While she had traveled around a lot on her journey to 'save the world' this felt twice as tiring. Plus, the sun was already starting to go down.
"Phew,finally," exclaimed Gig. "That took forever!"
Revya felt the body twitch as they ended up settled on a rock, where Gig proceeded to dig into the left over hotpods like phynx to steak. Absently, she could help but notice this had been the same rock she settled on last night. And right after that was…well, their problem. It all started when Gig fiddled with that tombstone…
Waiting until Gig had finished up, Revya suddenly stood up and approached the tombstone. Before it had been dark so she couldn't get a decent glance at it. From what she could see it looked fairly well carved with a few chips and cracks from time's toll but it was twisted backwards (possibly deliberately) at an unnatural angle. But the thing that drew most of her attention was a deep red marker. Tentatively, she reached forward and inspected it. No name, simply a strange marking with an X crossed over it. Revya couldn't describe it but an extremely odd feeling ran through her as she held the marker.
Revya quickly let go of it. "So, what do you think we do?"
"I dunno," Gig shrugged. Speaking gleefully, he added. "I guess we can always try kicking the hell out of this stupid hunk of rock. That'd get that it's attention."
"I don't think that's work..."
"We could do it anyway."
"Jeez, you never let me have my fun!" He rolled his eyes. "Fine then, you have any ideas?"
"Not really," she admitted. She looked around the plateau. There really was nothing else there. Just rocks, rocks, the rock in front of them, and more rocks. There wasn't even a sign of life. All Grunzford told them was that the curse could be lifted through a series of tests and a display of true love: how they actually went about it was a mystery. "Too bad we didn't ask Grunzford more at the time…"
"So we're stuck up here, stuck in this state, and stuck without a friggin' clue," Gig grumbled, kicking a stray pebble. "What a pain…Though I guess it could be worse. I could have come up here with that stupid cow. Now thatwould have been hell."
In spite of herself, Revya smiled a little. Had Gig and Danette been in this situation, they probably would have killed themselves just to take the other down with them.
Still…what did that make the fact it had been her and him instead?
"The Crimson Tear should be around here, maybe we should try and find it?" Revya suggested.
"No, that won't do," Gig said dismissively. "It probably knows we're here already. Grubbing around isn't going to make much of difference. So…"
Gig angled his boot over the top of the top of the tombstone. Revya suddenly had a flash of apprehension. He couldn't be think-wait-this was Gig, of course he was probably thinking- "Uh, Gig? You aren't think of-"
"Hey, Crimson Tear! Listen up!" The former Master of Death bellowed. "We're here for the tests or whatever! Show yourself or something or else this hunk of rock's going to be a pile of dust before my smug boots! And maybe when we're done, we can use it as a footstool! How 'bout it? If that's not good enough for ya then-"
There was an odd, familiar sound in the air. It was just like the thrumming sound they had heard the night before. Something shifted in the air, making the hairs on the back of Revya's neck stand up on end.
"Heh, sound like we got her attention!" Gig said smugly.
Now the question was, was that a good or a bad thing?
There was another thrumming, followed by a faint glow from the marker of the tombstone. It was a mesmerizing red glow…it was pretty, in a melancholy way, just like…
"Hey, Kid? Kid!" Gig's voice cut into her thoughts too late.
Before Revya realized it she had gripped onto the red marker.
The last thing she remembered was hearing someone calling and a bright red light.
When she awoke, she remembered feeling very cold. It later registered to her that it was raining.
Revya groaned and pushed herself up into sitting position. What happened?
That's right…that light…
"Where am I?"
The redhead shakily stood up and looked around. She wasn't on that plateau anymore. Instead, she found herself stranded somewhere in the countryside and soaking wet. That was plain creepy….
And then she realized something.
What about Gig? She figured he'd have plenty to say right now.
"Gig?' She called. A pang of anxiety went through her. "Gig? Gig!? Say something!"
A cold feeling settled at the bottom of her stomach. She looked at herself. This was…her own body. She even had the onyx blade. The curse couldn't have been broken, could it?
Again that question ran through her mind. Just what happened?
Behind her she heard a gasp of surprise. "Oh my…are you all right!? What happened to you!?"
It was a petite woman with fairly cute features, the type that caused men to want to rush to help because they looked oh-so-frail. She had bright blue eyes and long light brown hair tied back in a loose ponytail. She stood staring at Revya with look of sheer shock.
"I'm…not quite sure," Revya truthfully answered. Her nose twitched and she sneezed.
"If you stay out in the rain dressed like that, you're going to catch a cold!" The woman exclaimed. "Don't you have anything on you? Is there anyone else?"
"Not really," the redhead said sheepishly. "There was this other guy I was with but I'm not sure where he is."
The woman's face was set in a worried expression. Tentatively she asked, "Uh, this probably sounds quite forward of me but…if you got no where else, would you like to come with me then? My home isn't far from here. It's not much but better than staying out here."
Revya frowned. "I'd like to but if my friend's around here-"
"I insist," the woman extended her hand. "If your friend's out here he'll have the sense to get of the rain too. Once it clears up you can go looking for him but until then, it isn't a good idea to be out here alone, what with bandits and monsters around. And assuming you avoid that, the worse case is you'll die of pneumonia and then you'll never find your friend."
Revya lightly fiddled her side strands, taking one final look around. The woman had a point but she still wanted to look for Gig and find out just what had happened. Unfortunately, her body seemed to disagree with her as it let out another series of sneezing.
"See?" The brunette said expectantly.
"All right, just until it stops raining," Revya relented. She reached forward and took the woman's hand and felt a squeeze of welcome. The woman smiled warmly and Revya couldn't help buy smile back. "Thank you for the offer."
"No problem, it's just… the right thing to do I guess," the woman led the way down the road. "By the way, my name is Reira. Yourself?"
"Revya…it's an unusual name, I don't think I've heard it before, " she glanced up at the sky. "Let's just got out of the rain. My packages will be soaked through at this rate."
As they walked, Revya took the occasional glance back.
Wherever Gig was, she hoped he was all right.
"Hah! I'm going to kick your asses so hard you'll have to shit the other way!"
"I think I-AAAARAAGH!"
"This-thus was supposed to be easy-"
"HAHAHAHAH! What's the matter? Can't you pansies do better than this? At leasttry to make me work!"
And so the former Master of Death seemed to be doing juuuuuust fine.
"It's really coming down hard," commented Reira. She sighed and muttered, "I hope my plants are okay…How're you doing?"
"All right," answered Revya, lightly pulling at the borrowed top. "Thanks again."
"Like I said, it's no problem," Reira said cheerfully. "Are you a traveler? I don't mean to offend but you didn't really look prepared for the weather and your clothes are a bit strange…"
"I guess you could say that," there wasn't much else she could say.
Reira cocked her head slightly and asked, "Where're you from then?"
"Just a small village," Revya explained. "Somewhere between Raide and Astec."
"Raide?" The other woman screwed her face. "I've never heard that name before."
"Really?" The redhead asked with a surprised look. Though the Kingdom of Raide was officially dead it had only been that way for about a year and half.
"Yes, but I've heard of Astec. It's a big trade city somewhere in the south. That's in Prodesto, isn't it?"
"Yeah…" Revya was suddenly having a sinking feeling about all this.
Reira's face suddenly lit in curiosity, "So, that means you're from Prodesto than? How'd you cross the boarder? It's been blocked off all year, what with Lord Median's death."
"Wait-what!?" Revya's eyes widened, firstly at the fact that this wasn't Prodesto, the second that Reira had mentioned Median's death. It had happened…a year ago?
Did I go back in time? Revya asked herself. She didn't think Crimson Tears had that ability but then again, a lot of things she didn't think possible had happened before.
Just what had that Crimson Tear done?
"Why do you look so surprised?" The brunette asked carefully "I would have thought it to be common knowledge if you're here."
"Where is here, exactly?" Revya asked, garnering another strange look.
"Wittenberg Republic of course. Well, ever since Lord Median's death at least…And you still look confused."
"Kind of." Actually, that was an understatement of how she actually felt. Reira looked suspicious and Revya wasn't sure what to say. She had no idea how she got there aside from the fact the Crimson Tear had done something. While Reira seemed like a nice person, Revya doubted she'd believe her. On the other hand, if she didn't say anything she might make things worse… "I've mostly been traveling around a lot lately so I'm a bit behind on current news…"
"Oh!" Reira said, as though everything made sense. "I guess I'd be a little confused too. That guy you mentioned too?"
"Yeah," the redhead continued, relaxing a little. Looks like it worked. "We just got separated."
Reira nodded to herself and disappeared to the stove to check up on the herbs she had brought in earlier. After awhile she reappeared and handed Revya a knife and a small bundle of the plants. "Since you're here, do you mind cutting these? I'll need them for tomorrow's work and with the rain I'm a little behind."
"Not at all," Revya answered.
For a while, all that could be heard was the sound of rain and the knife neatly knitting away at the herbs. Reira settled on the seat across from Revya, on occasion glancing back up at the redhead. Each time it looked like she wanted to say something but stopped herself every time. After about the fifth time, Revya returned the look and asked, "What is it?"
"Well, I'd like to ask but-well, it's not very polite," Reira replied, quickly glancing away. "It's just…never mind."
"I'm not sure if I could word it properly but…" Reira took a deep breath and asked, "You and that guy you mentioned. Are you two…involved?"
Revya blinked. "Involved?"
"Well, you know," the brunette blushed. "I suppose term would be…lovers?"
Revya nearly dropped the knife along with her jaw.
"It's just, when you mentioned you and some guy going around traveling together, it seems natural to assume, and my curiosity was killing me and… I'm really rambling on right now," Reira ducked her head. "Sorry, I shouldn't have asked. You don't have to answer if you don't want to. Just pretend I didn't say anything. It's just-"
"It's okay," Revya said, with a reassuring smile. "It's not like I'm offended or anything. I'm just surprised."
"Oh really? What a relief," Reira sighed happily. "So, are you two?"
"Not in that way," Revya replied after a moment.
"Then in what sense? Do you love each other or is it just companionship?"
Revya paused. She wasn't sure what to say. Her relationship with Gig…she wasn't sure. Any time before this trip she would have easily said 'friendship'. Now she was really starting to wonder. Her and Gig had come back to the Yuga Mountains to lift the curse after everyone pretty much said it would work and they 'made the perfect couple' but Revya wasn't sure how she felt about Gig counted as love.
To be honest, outside loving Virtuous as a mother and caring about friends she hadn't really thought about love that way. Living in the Hidden Village, most of her days had been spent training with Danette with the hope of being named town guardian. There really hadn't been any guys their age there and since they were forbidden from leaving town Revya never really had a reason to think about it. She had heard and watched enough of it (like Nei and Gadius back at the village or Levin's crush or Tricia or Euphoria and Endorph) but she hadn't really felt anything in that sense.
So Revya settled for the second best answer, "I don't really know. He's just…important I guess."
Upon that admittance, she was surprised to feel her face heat up a little.
"But in what way?" Reira pressed.
"I don't know," Revya answered, turning her attention back to the herbs.
From her seat, Reira laughed softly to herself. "I know that feeling all too well…" She cleared her throat and glanced back at the window, "The rain won't clear up till tomorrow so you're free to stay the night."
"You don't mind?"
"Of course not," the brunette shrugged and smiled slyly. "It's nice to have company. And who says it's for free? I need some help with my products, what with the big sale in a few days. You can pay me back by giving me a hand. And if you're friend's any where, he'll show up there. Sound fair enough?"
"I guess," Revya answered with her own smile. She didn't mind. She didn't know the region too well and having someone like Reira around would be a big help.
All the while, the rain kept pouring. As Reira had spoken it would not clear up till morning.
"Heh, easier than I thought," Gig said smugly to himself. "With or without the kid, the indestructible Gig is unbeatable!"
Gig scowled at the rain and muttered a string of curses as he clutched his 'borrowed' cloak, leaving twitching on the ground the group of bandits that had jumped him when he arrived.
As he walked, Gig recounted in his mind for the hundredth time how he was going to pay back that stupid Crimson Tear. While he was grateful enough to be in his own body he didn't appreciate being dumped in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the rain, and in the middle of a group of stereotypical bandits. If didn't know better, he'd say it planned the set up after the comment he made about breaking that tombstone. Meanwhile, he had no clue where the kid went.
Not that he was overly worried of course. Maybe he'd grab something to eat first. The kid could fend for herself. Hell, it might even be a relief to be away after getting stuck together again!
He paused a moment and rolled his eyes.
Buuuut just in case, he better find her before she got herself into trouble.
Or worse, she'd slug him for being gone too long like the last time.
Unfortunately, he didn't realize someone had crept up on him until he heard a rasp of steel and a cool voice say, "Might I ask what that was all about?"
Gig nearly jumped. Damn it! Just like the mute cleric this guy had just come out of nowhere!
Gig spun around and faced the man (and his incredibly sharp looking long sword) with his usual arrogant look. "Ain't it obvious? Those idiots jumped me first! They should have expected an ass kicking! And if you're one of their widdle friends, I can kick your ass too, just you don't feel left out."
The man seemed a bit taken aback at the bluntness of the reply. After a moment he asked, "If you are not a brigand would that make you a traveler?"
"You tell me."
The man rolled his green eyes and after a moment reluctantly sheathed his sword. "I'll take that as an affirmative. My name is Liam fa Toren, a knight of the realm. I was asked to stop these brigands' havoc and take them in for questioning. They have been roaming around causing trouble for travelers and citizens alike. While I had been fully prepared for a fight, I suppose you have already taken care of the first part of my task. You have my sincere thanks."
"Whatever," Gig replied dismissively. "It's not like I was doing it for such a 'noble-hearted' reason. They jumped me first, I needed something to whack, and they were there."
"Even so, it is only proper to give thanks," Liam nodded solemnly. "Is there anything else I could do for you to show my thanks?"
'Stop looking so stereotypically noble, kind, and heroic to the point I want to puke?' was what Gig would have liked to say (oddly enough, he felt tempted to say that to the Grand Cordon on several occasions too). Instead, he settled with the second foremost though in his mind.
"Weeeell, since you offered so nicely," Gig lightly scratched the back of his head. "Have you seen a red headed girl? Average height, too nice for her own good, mean right cross, and a black sword."
"I'm afraid not," Liam shook his head. He glanced up at the skies and commented, "But with the weather like this, I've scarcely seen anyone, aside from yourself and those 'gentlemen' back there. "
Gig frowned. While he wasn't expecting much he was surprised at his disappointment at the answer.
"You'd best check Mira," the knight suggested. "It's a town up in the north, about a days travel. If the girl you're looking for is going to be anywhere, it'll be there. It's one of the few spots for trade in Wittenberg so even if she isn't there someone is bound to have seen someone with that description."
"Mira," Gig repeated. Grudgingly he said, "Well, it's a start."
"One more thing…" Liam pulled out a small piece of paper and struggled to scribble something in the rain."…when you're in Mira, go to the head the head office and show them this. That'll give you the bounty for the assist in this case."
Gig counted it. "Thanks, I guess…"
"I only hope I may be of service," Liam returned. He turned back towards the still prone men. "Now, back to the reason I came here…perhaps you and I will see each other again in Mira?"
"I wouldn't count on it."
"Very well, good tidings with your search."
And the knight disappeared as quickly as he had appeared.
Meanwhile, Gig pulled tighter at the cloak and began trudging up the road.
Had he heard that from somewhere?
His stomach growled and he felt a stab of irritation. He should have seen if those pansies had any food he could 'borrow' as well. Oh well, too late for that now. He'd wing it.