Disclaimer: I do not own Persona or Atlus, and everything I wrote here just for the entertainer.
Author Note: And I'm baaaaaaaaaaack!!! Sorry for another long delay…or perhaps it's just my update pace? Oh well :P This chapter, filled with several surprise and another conversation chapter, and romance between MinaAi, RyuShou, and AriKa, as promised. Curious? Well, just read on and enjoy!
Chapter 13: Summer Surprise
"Tenshi-san, are you feeling better?"
"Y-yeah…I'll…ask for your help if I do want to throw up again…"
"Oh damn! I lose! What kind of trick did you use, Shou?!"
"Something called as 'intelligence' and 'tactic'."
"Yeehaw! Go, Shou-chan! Beat him for another round!"
"Guys…can you please be quieter? There's someone sleeping here…"
"It's okay, Karen-kun. It's not like I can sleep pretty well these days…"
Minato looked at his surroundings. They were currently in an airplane, on the trip to Hawaii for their summer vacation. He could see the airsick Tenshi, sat with Aigis who loyally served him. The three college students—Arisu, Ryuto, and Shou—were playing cards to kill time while they unable to move freely in there. He himself, along with Karen, tried to rest but failed, due to the noises—not including the trio merry laughter that, in fact, disturb the rest of the passengers.
He positioned himself so he could relax more. He then started to recall why they having this luxurious vacation in the first place. He glanced over at the redheaded who sat next to him. Then he remembered. It was because of HIM he was stuck in this plane from the start.
Ever since Karen's identity revealed to the wide world, countless gifts and valuables were sent to the condominium, special for the executive redheaded, from many rich and beautiful women all over the world. They were trying to steal his heart with those stuffs, but as usual, it was failed miserably, because, sadly, our redheaded wasn't interested to engage any love-relationship with anyone right now.
However, those gifts keep coming, hence, piled up in the lounge. Having tired with the deliveries, Karen stated his request to escape from this fate. And as if replying his plea, seven tickets specially reserved for the group came all the way from London. Yes, it was come from none other than Maou, Tenshi's twin brother. He invited them to come to Hawaii, spending their summer vacation together. The group, obviously, accepting the invitation with much grateful that they know they won't have any business with those presents any longer.
Minato was snapped out of his chain of thought as he found out that he had been absent-minded again. He looked up and noticed that Aigis stood beside him with concerned look. The rest of the groups had got up from their seats and now carrying their luggage along with the rest of the passengers.
"We had arrived to Hawaii," the blonde android informed. "Do you need to help to carry your belongings?"
"No…I'm okay," the stony guy rose to his feet and pulled out his traveling bag from the baggage before following the rest of them came out of the airplane.
As they entered the airport, they saw many tourists from many different countries such as American, Australian, German and many else. Karen finished their administrations, and once they were done, Tenshi led the group to the exit. Arisu was gasped in surprise to see the sea from where they stood. Despite the noise from all chattering on the streets and vehicle motors, the teens could hear the sound of waves of the fierce ocean roared while the sun shone bright over the whole island. The waves churning, the seagulls soaring overhead, people going for swimming or sunbathing in the beach, and palm trees swaying in the wind. They felt like they were in a tropical island.
Everyone turned their attention and found the twin brother of Tenshi, Maou, approached them with light steps. He wore summer shirt and shorts, and his grey eyes weren't covered with sunglasses like those that he did back then when he returned from England. His childish smirk bloomed as he hugged his younger brother.
"You came! Finally I'm not alone here!" he cackled.
"Don't lie to me. I know you invite ladies to our lodge every year," Tenshi grunted as he tried to get away from his brother's death strangle.
"Ara…that's a different matter," Maou laughed nervously as he let go of his twin. He looked up and shot a smile to the rest of them. "I'm glad you can come too. At least I won't hearing Tenshi's lectures if you came with him."
Aigis chuckled slightly. "You never change, Maou-san."
"Thank you for taking us up from the airport, by the way," Shou returned the smile.
"No need to thank me. It's just proper, because you had helped me a lot when I visited Japan," the older brunette shook his head. "Well, let's not chatting here. You came to Hawaii not to talk anyway. C'mon, I'll bring you to the lodge."
Everyone nodded as they followed Maou to his limousine. Arisu felt excited as she saw the sea through the opened window. Ryuto teased Karen to wear a bikini, because the redheaded still looks like a woman though he had cut down his long wavy hair. Aigis, Maou, and Tenshi exchanging stories about what happened in Amada's Manor over these months. Shou smiled as she watched the trio talking like a true siblings.
"It's so good to see them in good terms, isn't it?" she commented to none-in-particular.
"Indeed," Minato complied. "Speak of which, how about your brothers?"
The turquoise haired girl giggled. "They still oppose me for staying in the same place with you, though I've told them many times that there are other girls who stayed with me," she sighed before continuing in depressed tone. "I wonder why they don't like you, while they accept Ryuto-kun easily."
The leader of the group shrugged. Shou sighed once again before joining the tease that now including Arisu and Aigis. Minato smiled away and said his reply in whispery voice. "Perhaps they sense the threat I bring to people around me…"
"Huh? Did you say something, Minato-kun?" asked Tenshi, frowned slightly.
The car finally stopped and they arrived in a very large bungalow that was owned by Amada family. It served a purpose as a lodge for the family whenever they feel like to visit Hawaii and spend their times there. Both Ken and Akiko rarely came to the island, due to that they were too busy with their businesses, and Tenshi hardly going to any foreign country except for close countries like China or Korea. So, Maou was the only member of the family who often use the place as a rest place.
"I hired some people to clean this place yesterday, so as you can see, it looks pretty much neat," Maou explained.
"This is cool…I always dreamed to have a lodge as big as this one!" Ryuto muttered under his breath.
"Maou and me will have the rooms in the first floor, while you guys can choose any vacant rooms that you like on the second floor," Tenshi commanded. "After unpacking your clothes, we can go to the beach together."
"Aye, aye, sir!" Arisu chimed. She grabbed Shou and Aigis' hands and dragged them all the way to the second floor, intending to have the same room again, as they did in the condominium.
"Huh? You don't go with them?" the older of the twin eyed a certain redheaded.
"Don't be a fool, you know from the first time we met that I'm a man," Karen shot him a wry look before he walked away to find a room that suitable for him. He stopped in front of a room and pushed the door. However, before he entered the cabin, he turned his head slightly and glared at Maou. "Fool."
And he slammed the door shut. Maou smirked as Tenshi sighed. Ryuto laughed and started searching for his own room. Minato let out a deep sigh before following the suit and finally everyone could put their luggage in their respective chambers.
Soon after they packed out their belongings, the group emerged from their rooms, wearing summer shirts and the likes. As promised, they went to the beach, which located right before their lodge. Amada owned the beach privately, of course. The tourists had flooded the beach area, which is offered for general people, and luckily that this one beach was completely free from any of those foreigners.
"Yay! Finally I can swim!!!" the black haired doctor cheered, put off her white hooded tank top and revealing herself wearing a light green swimming suit. "C'mon, Shou-chan! Let's go swimming for awhile!"
"Hey, have you warmed up first hand first?" the redheaded executive reprimanded. He was still clad in his summer shirt and knee-length swimming shorts.
"We have! In the room! C'mon!"
"Oh well, if you insist…" Shou threw her blouse and revealing herself wearing a blue swimsuit, before entering the water with Arisu.
"Can you go to the water too, Aigis?" asked the black haired boxer, curious. He had garbed himself in a black swimming short, as the one Karen's had.
"I do. I'm waterproof," the android smiled, before joining the girls with her white and blue-stripes swimsuit.
"Well, then! Let's not just standing around here! Let's go!" Maou pulled his brother to go into the water along with him. Soon, the twins had playing splash water with the girls.
"Oh well…" Minato stretched himself before glancing at the remaining two males. "How about having a race? It's a good for measuring my swimming ability after all these years I didn't enter the water…"
Ryuto smirked. "Are you sure, zombie? I might be defeat you flat-ahead. Though I'll gladly accept any challenge in any circumstances."
"Well, a Kirijo can't pass a challenge so easily…" Karen mused.
"So then, is it decided?"
The question was answered by a firm nod from the three. They entered the water and took a position for the start point. Minato pointed at a coral, far off from the coastal area, and said, "Anyone that return to this place once they touch the coral, shall be the winner."
"And what prize do we have?" the tallest of the three asked.
"One free day with a girl that you like," the navy haired one answered nonchalantly. Karen and Ryuto quickly looked at him with startled look. However, before they could ask the truth of his words, Minato had announced the start of their race. "Ready? Go!"
The leader started first. Karen and Ryuto were still shocked slightly, but seeing that Minato had swimming so fast, away from the start point, they had no choice but to follow the game. The three raced to reach the coral. The rest of the groups, who witnessed the race, stopped splashing water at each other and started cheering for their favorite guy.
"Go, Karen-kun! Prove yourself as a true man!!!" cheered Arisu, still with a hint of joke in her voice.
"Minato-sama! Let them see your talents!" Aigis clasped her hands.
"C'mon, Ryuto-kun! Don't fail me!!!" Shou's loud cheer added the merriness.
"Why did they decided to have a race all of sudden?" asked Tenshi, puzzled.
"Something about 'a day with a girl you like'," replied Maou matter-of-factly.
"Ah, look! Karen-kun reached the coral first!" the pigtailed girl announced. "And he started to return to the coast! Yeehaw! Go for it, Karen-kun!!!"
"I can see that Minato-sama and Ryuto-san touched the coral at the same time and now they're trying to catch up with Karen-sama to go back to the coast," the humanoid informed what she saw from afar.
"Well, each of them still has a chance! C'mon guys! Just a little more!!" the battle-maiden's cheer became louder.
Minato smiled as he forced his body to dash forward. He had not expected for Karen to rush ahead and touching the coral first, and for Ryuto to be able to match his speed. It seemed that he had put his guard down…or was it because his skill at swimming had decreased due to the fact that he never able to get into a swimming pool? Whatever the reason is, now he was able to catch up with the redheaded and the black haired guy was following just a little behind him.
The three of them swam toward the coastal area with incredible speed; each didn't want to lose to another. The girls cheered as they came closer and closer. Tenshi and Maou used their shirts to become a goal flag and hoisted it as the winner arrived. Once the three returned, they panted heavily because they gave it all they have to win this race.
"So…who win this race?" asked Karen, still trying to catch up with his breaths.
"I don't know. I'm too concentrated to reach the coast that I don't care who's ahead and who's behind me," Ryuto said, desperately sucking fresh air to relieve his poor lungs.
"Aigis, you recorded the scene with your sight, right?" Minato looked at his servant. "What did you see?"
"Let's see…" Aigis closed his eyes. She scanned through everything that her cyan irises had witnessed and recorded in her virtual memories. She recalled the moments just for seconds ago, and looked through it carefully, seeking who the true winner is. "…It's…Ryuto-san."
"YESSSSSSSS!" the boxer jumped in joy, as he knew that he had won another challenge that thrown at him.
"Congratulation, Ryuto-kun! I know you can do it," Shou shot one warm smile at him.
"Oh darn…I thought I can do it…" Karen sighed heavily.
"Well then, I suppose because you win this race…" the navy haired guy looked at his black haired comrade, "…you also win the prize. Go on."
Both older males startled. They looked at each other before returning their gaze at Minato. "So you're serious?" Ryuto asked, and replied with a single nod from the questioned man. "I-I thought you were just kidding!"
"No…it just that…I know both of you wishes to be with yours…" Minato paused for a while, searching for suitable words. But instead, he glanced at Shou and Arisu, who were teasing the twins right now, and smiled away. "…girl of dream, even just for awhile. I think you can have it, since you guys had worked very hard lately."
Karen and Ryuto were stupefied, didn't know how to respond it. Sighing heavily, the black haired one rose to his feet and turned away. "Shou..."
"Yes?" the called girl looked at her boy friend.
He reached out his hand toward Shou, and continued, "Let's take a walk for awhile…together."
Arisu stopped playing around and wanted to claim a protest at Ryuto for taking her playmate away, but Karen grabbed her hand and hushed at her, made the black haired girl silence. Shou, thought confused by his sudden change, nodded and agreed to go with him. Both walked away from the coastal area, heading to a small harbor located not too far from where they were.
"Uh…what's wrong with Ryuto-kun?" asked the doctor as her eyes fixated to the walking away couple.
"I think it's best if we're not interfering with their affair," Karen smirked.
"Well, if you say so…" Maou shrugged. He picked a volleyball, which he brought along with them and tossed it to the air slightly. "Say, let's have a little game! Whoever loses the game, they have to buy the lunch for the winners! Deal?"
"Sure thing!" Arisu chimed. "I'll team up with Karen-kun! How about you, Minacchi? Aigis? Ten-chan?"
"I'll go with Minato-sama, of course," Aigis smiled.
"Then I'm with them," Tenshi said, gathered with the servant and her master.
"Okay! I'll go with Iori-san and Kirijo-san!" the older brunette smirked naughtily as he approached his chosen team. "Ready?"
"Anytime you want," Minato replied, taking a position.
"Hey…don't you think it became very lively over there?" asked Shou as she glanced over her shoulder, looking back at their gathering spot. She could hear all the cheers and yells, and more profoundly, her girl friend's shouts.
"Really? Well, they maybe making another race or something…" replied Ryuto casually.
"So, why are we here? It'll be more fun if we join them in their games, right?"
That statement took him back. He couldn't possibly tell her the truth, could he? That he actually wished for some private time with her, and probably a right chance to confess his true feelings toward that surprisingly oblivious girl. Being a guy who hardly able to act gentle he was, Ryuto found it was difficult for him to say it all. Above all, he feared that he will be rejected, and he can no longer be around her.
The black haired male snapped out of his thoughts. It seemed he was thinking too hard about it. "I just want to have some times together with you, because…you know, we hardly have time to relax together, due to all the studies and the trainings," he said groggily. "I just…want to spend time with you. Together."
Shou blinked before let out a brief chuckle. "If you say so. Then…let's start swimming!" she said as she entered the water and leaving the shore.
Ryuto laughed to himself before joining her. As they swam, they could see some motorboats passed by, driven by several foreigners who tried to enjoy their times above the sun, in middle of the blue sea. Some pervert men who rode on those boats whistled and made Shou blushed. Fortunately, they went away when they found out that Ryuto had sent a glare that saying 'I'm-going-to-kill-you-guys'.
Once they had fun swimming and felt rather tired, they decided to dry their body. Shou wore her blouse again to cover her soaked swimsuit. Ryuto hardly could restrain himself seeing the clothes looks very tight to her skin, almost transparent. The girl walked toward an unused pier that was their former destination as the guy followed from behind. As they arrived to the spot, she sat on the edge and watched the sea.
"Haiz…it's feels good to relax like this," Shou commented.
"Well…we hardly have time to relax, what's with the lessons and this damned Shadows problems," added Ryuto, sat next to her.
"You're right. You know what? Talking with you like this, it makes me remember the times when I just acquainted with you, when both of us still freshmen."
"Heh…yeah, we used to hang out together, playing in game centers, watching martial art tournaments…" the black haired boxer smirked away. "It's been two years since we became friends, huh?"
"Yes. I remember all those days. It was only two years, but…thanks to all times we shared together, it seemed like we've been friends for years. I even know about all your bad habits and your taste in almost everything," the tomboyish girl nodded slightly. "Oh, speak of bad habits...I realize that you had been zoning out very much lately."
A black eyebrow lifted. "I did?"
"Yep. I think it started since we came to Tenshi-kun's manor…you will stop and then ramblings to none. I hope you quit that, because it creep me out. It seems like…you're not you."
"It's okay. It's just that…if you have problems, then you should tell me. Maybe I can help you, I mean... I've practiced how to console people lot of times during Counseling Class!"
Ryuto looked up at her. Shou shot her a warm smile. He looked down again. Should he tell her about his wish to be stronger? Should he tell her about the weird voices that he kept hearing lately?
Meanwhile, the tournament was still going on. Both side refused to admit their lose and forced their exhausted body to fight back. The dueling spirit could be seen burned from the eyes of the twins, causing the heat of their battle gradually increased. The elders could only follow and tried their best to assist and win the game.
"Here I go again!"
Arisu jumped and intended to send a strong smash at her foes. Aigis moved and blocked the ball, passed it to Tenshi that quickly sent a counterattack. Karen blocked the shot, passed the ball to the black haired girl, where she once again launched a powerful smash at the opposing team. The gynoid, read through the move, quickly ran toward the landing spot, intending to save her team from losing. However, as she deflected the smash, she stumbled backwards and accidentally fell on Minato, who was stood behind her.
"Ouch!" he yelped.
"Oh! I'm sorry!" Aigis turned around, feeling slightly embarrassed for losing balance at such a time. Moreover, she fell on top her master. All she can do was apologizing to him.
Minato smiled, seeing the panic that building in her cyan irises. "It's okay."
"Hey, hey! You two! There's no time for romance!" Maou shouted as he jumped, welcoming the pass from Arisu. "This is the power of Hod! Dead-mark Shoot!"
The ball was shot fast and strong toward the ground, causing the sand burned slightly. Tenshi stunned, seeing the wonderful technique mastered only by his brother. Arisu cheered and hugged her teammates, causing Karen's face reddened. Minato could only sigh and helped Aigis stood on her feet while the younger of the twin pouted, forced to accept his lose.
"So…we have to buy the lunches?" asked the navy haired guy.
"Yep!" Maou chimed. "There's a beach café nearby. I'm sure you'll find almost everything in there."
"Don't forget to buy some ice creams!" added Arisu.
"Okay, okay," Tenshi harrumphed as he followed Minato and Aigis in their errands together.
As they watched the three went, Maou sat on the mat and do a little sunbathing. The doctorate student looked around and quickly felt bored with nothing to do. Despite she hadn't seen Shou only for several hours; she already missed the tomboyish girl's presence.
"Hey, Karen-kun…will you accompany me to fetch Shou-chan and Ryuto-kun? I'm sure they're hungry by now," Arisu requested, grabbing the redheaded's hand so he will go with her.
"W-what? Oh… sure…" Karen nodded, complied with her request. For some reason, he couldn't resist anything she want, and that guy still don't know why.
At the pier itself, Ryuto and Shou still sat side-by-side. The girl waited as it seemed her friend busy arranging the right words to explain about his problems. The black haired guy scratched his un-itchy hair, weighing the options he had on the palm of his hands. Telling her about the voice that he heard maybe can make him relieved and easier to choose. But what if explaining that matter to her didn't change anything?
In the end, he decided to speak about it with her.
"About that zoning out…actually, I heard voices talking to me…"
Her eyebrow was lifted slightly. "Voices? Talking to you?" she thought about it for a while. "Are you sure it's not because you're tired or something?"
"No, definitely not," Ryuto shook his head. "Those voices…I heard it in my head, and he gave me an offer…"
"An offer? What offer?"
Ryuto gasped. He heard it again, and it was clearer than before. Suddenly, he felt a terrible headache. The boxer grabbed his head, trying to ease the pain but it didn't fade away. Shou, noticed something strange with him, became very worried.
"Ryuto-kun?" she called out. "Ryuto-kun? Are you alright?"
Ryuto didn't reply. He was too hurt to hear or to answer her concerned words. The pain felt like he was stabbed with a sword in the head. Something definitely goes wrong with him. As he pained, those voices spoke again.
"Do not tell her about my existence."
"But why?!" he yelled to none in particular. "Why I can't? If you really want to lend your power to me, then I should at least ask her, because I'm gonna use it to protect her!"
"…Foolish mortal. I wonder if your foolishness shall vanquish someday."
"Shut up and tell me already!"
Shou arched her eyebrows. Ryuto suddenly felt a painful headache, and now he talked to himself? She became very worried and wished to help him. But what she can do? It wasn't as if she's a skilled doctor like Arisu or a very knowledgeable person like Minato. She knew little about medical treatment, and if she recklessly tried to heal him, it maybe turns into a chaotic one, considering her talent at domestic duties.
The turquoise haired girl gasped. She heard a voice just now. A very familiar voice. Her Persona's voice. "Freya?" she called out. "Freya, is that you?"
Milady, please get away from that place at once.
"And leave Ryuto-kun alone?! I can't do that!"
I beg you. I sense a great danger threaten your life in the future. Please, get away! You can worry about your boy friend later!
Before Shou could make any choice, a firm hand held her. Ryuto's hand. It seemed that the headache has gone, but there was something different about him. He said nothing and still grabbing the girl's arm. Eventually, he lifted his head and stared at her eyes.
A sudden shiver came down through her spine for no certain reason. When her turquoise eyes gazed back at those black ones, she felt like her body stabbed with an icicle. Those dark eyes were very cold, emotionless and very different with the usual Ryuto. Also, Shou felt like she was about to be consumed by those obscures.
Shou frowned. Why did Ryuto calling for her Persona's name? And his voice when he pronounced that…it felt very heinous. She also sensed that her second-self was shaken slightly inside her.
Milady…please, tries to break loose from him. We must run!
"B-but…" the turquoise haired girl tried to get her caught arm free from Ryuto's strong grasp. "It's no use! He's too strong and—aaaaaaaah!!!"
Ryuto pushed Shou and caused her to land on her back. She winced slightly, and that was when she noticed that he had hovered over her, positioned herself on top of her. Her face turned deep crimson as she felt their skin met. She was very embarrassed and wished to kick him away from her, but she can do nothing in that position.
"Ryuto-kun! Let go of me!" she cried out.
A vicious grin appeared on his lips. His other hand touched her cheek softly as his smirk grew wider. "Your vessel maybe looks beautiful, but none can match your beauty, my dear Valfreya," he whispered.
"What the—I'm not Freya!"
"Indeed you are not. I speak not to you, poor vessel. I speak to my lovely Valfreya, who reside within you," he pointed his finger to her bosom. "Come, my love. Why you refuse to speak with me? I long for this day we meet, I long to hear your melodious voice when you call my name. I demand to see you, my dear, can't you feel my heart?"
In instance, Valfreya's conscience replaced Shou's. However, unlike the other case when she did that, Shou remained awake and witnessed the current event through the mind eye. She could see that her Persona talked to Ryuto, with her usual cold, commanding tone.
"Let go off me," she started. "You will gain nothing by this."
"Ah, you finally emerge, my love!" Ryuto exclaimed, loosened his grip slightly as to not make her hurt. "Why don't you appear sooner? I miss you so much that you don't know how many times I shed tears, thinking when you shall return to me."
"I will not soon, and will never return to you," Freya chided. "I have met my Lord, Odin the Mighty, and I shall never leave his side unless he hereby my presence."
The boxer expression turned grim. It was scarier than when he was mad that it made Shou shivered inside. "Bleh, the Lord has betrayed you and you still serve him? You are mine, Freya. Leave this body and we shall be united for the rest of eternity. Gods like us do not care about mortals' fate. Let them walk on their miserable path that lead them to their own destruction, our love will never fade."
"Unfortunately, I'm more stubborn than anyone. You, as my dear husband, supposed to know that habit of me all too well," a mysterious smirk curved on her lips. "Beside, I've made a pact in the past, along with our fellow comrade, long time ago. A vow called as 'friendship', that will never break and none can betray it."
Ryuto lifted his head and found Arisu and Karen stoned near the pier. The black haired girl's face was pale, as did her redheaded fella. However, they soon regained their composure and their sense of justice emerged. The young executive rushed toward them and sent a strong blow at the boxer's face while the skilled nurse checked on her pinned-on-the-floor friend. Valfreya had returned to her place, and Shou regained her body control once again.
"Shou-chan, are you alright?" inquired Arisu, concerned.
"Y-yeah…I'm okay," Shou said, touching her ache neck.
"What the—why did you hit me?" Ryuto grunted, caressing his reddened cheek, thanks to Karen's powerful blow.
"Why? You asked why? You should ask yourself!" the redheaded scolded. "What do you think you're doing? You hurt her!"
The black haired guy blinked his eyes twice before glancing at the girls, who gazed at him with strange and cautious looks. He tried to recall what he was doing, but all he could remember was that he was talking to Shou when everything became dark, and then Karen hit him, hard. The battle-maiden, know that her boy friend was completely oblivious to what was happened to him, tugged at Arisu's supporting arms and said,
"It's okay…I'm alright…" she muttered, "Don't worry too much."
The doctorate student furrowed her eyebrows. "Don't worry?! Shou-chan, you know what was about to happen, didn't you? You almost get ra—"
"Hey, what was happening?"
The four turned their attention and found Aigis, Minato, Maou and Tenshi ran to their way. They seemed concerned. They were coming right away to the pier because they heard Arisu's scream, but all they could witness were Ryuto with reddened cheek, the grim looks on Karen's face, and Arisu and Shou that seemed slightly terrified. Something must be had happened, there's no mistaking.
"Uh…we were coming because we heard your screaming, Arisu-san. What's wrong?" Maou inquired.
Arisu was about to tell what was happening to them aloud, when Shou covered her mouth with her hands and shook her head slightly. "It's nothing. There was a crab and it was bite Arisu-chan's leg so she was screaming for help, but then she accidentally hit Ryuto's face hard and well…that's all," the turquoise-headed one lied.
The twins were sighed in relief; however, Aigis and Minato were too experienced that they quickly detected falsehood in Shou's words. "Well then…it's lunch time. Let's return to the coastal area and have the refreshments," the navy haired leader said.
Everyone nodded, agreeing. Ryuto, though still unsure what was happened to him, followed the brunettes to their gathering spot to enjoy their lunches. Shou soon followed once she was successfully convincing Arisu that she was okay. Then, before Karen could catch up with the rest of them, Minato grabbed his hand, looking at him with stern look.
"Tell me, what was happen just now? She lied, wasn't she?"
The executive sighed. "Yes…she was," he said, feeling the grasp around his arm loosened. "I don't know what was happening, but it seems Ryuto-kun was trying to…harm Shou-san. But then again, when I hit him, it seemed he back to his sense and, strangely, didn't remember what he had done to her. It was almost like…he was a different person."
Minato was taken aback with that explanation. He let go off Karen's arm and told him to return to the group, leaving him alone with Aigis. Both were silence for a while, accompanied with the rustling sound of the shimmering waves and the cooling breeze of the wind. Then, the humanoid decided to ask him first.
"Do you know what's happen to Ryuto-san?"
The stoic guy folded his arms. He turned around, facing the blue sea. His blue locks blown by the soft wind. His countenance was serious. "I'm not sure yet…let me talk to them for awhile. I didn't dare to say anything right now, because there were still some missing pieces I need."
"I understand, but…" Aigis approached him, gave the guy a concerned look. "Don't do everything alone. Aside from our mission to protect those kids, I'd tasked myself to protect you, like before."
His eyes widened. He didn't expect her to say something like that. He thought that she had sweep away that feeling after all these years, but she remember still. Minato smiled peacefully. It always nice to know there's people who care about you… "Thank you, Aigis…I appreciate your concern," he said.
The gynoid nodded. "It's nothing…" she complied. True, it was nothing. It was her fault from the beginning so that he had to bear such burden, and she had promised to protect him. She will do anything, anything at all to make him happy.
"Well then…shall we have a lunch?"
The night had fallen and everyone returned to their lodges, as did the group of youths. Aigis, as usual, was cooking for their dinner in the kitchen. While waiting for the dishes finished, the twins were playing cards and occasionally asked the others to join their game, but always ended up rejected. The situation wasn't quite right to play any game, mainly because the accident that noon.
Shou stayed in her room all day, saying that she's not feeling well. Arisu accompanied her, since they shared a room. Ryuto fixed his eyes on the television, watching the news in foreign languages, but his mind wandered to somewhere. Karen decided to stay quiet all the time, only giving small responds if needed. Minato, though still put his suspicion at the black haired male, hid it very well that none notice its change in expression.
"The dinner's ready," the humanoid announced clearly.
Tenshi and Maou quickly ran to the dining room, ready to enjoy the delicacies their loyal servant served for them. Ryuto sighed heavily as he turned of the television and followed the younger males. Karen silently headed to the dining room, though before he went inside; he looked to the second floor, gave Minato a meaningful look, and finally joined the rest of them.
The navy haired guy needn't to be explained what the redheaded gaze is meant. He entered the dining room, only to be greeted with a tray filled with single portion of tonight's dinners. Aigis smiled as she handed over the tray to the stunned guy.
"Please give it to Shou-san. I'm sure she doesn't want to join us tonight," she said simply.
Minato returned the smile in same favor before nodding and turned around, heading to where the girls' stayed. He knocked the door while holding the tray with one hand, before the door opened by the cheery looking girl.
"Oh, is it the dinnertime already?" Arisu looked at her wristwatch, "Indeed it is. Well…I think I should chow down something. Shou-chan, you sure don't want to come out?"
The turquoise haired girl, who sat down on her bed and clad in her sky blue pajamas, shook her head lightly. Her best friend sighed before returning her gaze at Minato. "Sorry, but could you please accompany her until I'm finished eating?" she asked pleadingly.
"Of course," the silent guy agreed.
After that, Arisu came out of the room, went downstairs to the dining room, and joined everyone. Minato entered, closing the door and approached Shou. He placed the tray next to her and said, "Your dinner. You should eat it, or else Aigis will feel bad."
The girl smiled and started eating. Minato seated himself on a chair in that room and watched her as she chewed the grilled meat. At least she still want to eat something, he thanked.
There was another reason as to why he agreed to stay with Shou here, aside from fulfilling Arisu's request. He had an urgent business with her—no, not her to be precise. He had to talk with her Persona, Valfreya, about today's incident. She's the key to open the locked mystery that had happened lately. He had to make her say anything she knew, because he had a hunch that she knew the main reason behind these chains of tragedies.
Minato startled. He had been deep in his thought that he didn't realize that Shou had finished her meals and now staring at him. "Yes?" he asked as he regained his composure.
"Uh…you wish to talk with Freya, am I right?" she continued.
That was unexpected. He hadn't thought that she would figure out that matter. Nevertheless, he nodded, admitting that he do wish to converse with that girl's inner-self. Shou shrugged. She closed her eyes, and at once, the aura that surrounded her changed. Valfreya had possessed her master's body once again.
"What do you want?" she inquired in her usual cold, harsh tone.
"You know what I want to know," the stony guy retorted.
She let out a brief chuckle. "Very astute of you. Very well, I only have to tell you anything that I know, right? Though in fact, I didn't know much better than what you know," she folded her arms, "However, firstly I have to ask you, whether you know about my real identity or not."
Minato nodded. "You are Valfreya, the Queen of Valkyrie…ah; no…should I say instead…the previous life of Suzuka Shou who incarnated as traces memories of Freya, Goddess of Love and Fertility from Norse?"
"You know about me then," Freya smiled, none better than her usual mirth. "Indeed, I am the remnants of Freya, who existed within Shou. I'm supposed to stay dormant, unharmed. However, I sensed destruction approaching the world, trying to consume it with darkness, like what happened in my time of glories. Henceforth, I decided to awake and shaped myself to be her Persona, aiding her in her battles against my old enemies."
"Did she know about it?"
"Nope. Though I give her clues about it, she remained dubious. All she knew is that I'm her second-self, her Persona, the manifestation of her own prowess that shall aid her through many hardships."
The guy sighed. She is really an easy-going Goddess…but he dares not to say that aloud. "Continue, please."
"You may have figured out about it, but I'm not the only one reincarnated as a human. There were other Gods and Goddesses who decides to reborn as humans, tries to understand the mortals' sufferings. Those children, whose life and safety depended on your actions, are my friends too, and unlike me, they decided not to awake to their conscience and merely lending half of their prowess to their new vessels."
"All five of them?"
"Yes…I was rather surprised to be able to see their incarnations altogether. But no, that Ryuto wasn't awakened to his conscience as well. That person who controlled his body, as what that Karen informed you, was another godly being like us. In fact, he is a very close relative to me."
"…Let me guess, it was your husband, Odd, wasn't it?"
Freya blinked. "How did you know? I didn't expect a mere human know about my marriage with him. The records were erased and I was stated as…what do mortals nowadays call it? Oh yes…'goer'."
"Well, I'm Odin, after all. I share small portions of his previous life."
"I see…well, that is not a matter. I'm just saying…that he is the culprit behind this. He was actually a good man…however…it seemed that he had enchanted to Nyx that he obeyed her request to destroy this world. As his previous wife, I feel very ashamed to know about this fact and I wish to continue this battle, so I can confront him myself and bring him back to sense."
Minato bemused a smirk. "I see…so was all this just a matrimonial fight?"
"It was not," Freya hissed. "Now he was out of control…Loki and Surt had planted evil ideas in his mind that he started to demand this world to be under his dominance. We have to stop them, and I need your help. Some of them were used to be pledging their service to you, am I right? I am sure you have the power to possess them once again."
"I'm not guarantying anything, but I'll do my best. I don't return to this world only to see this world destructed again."
"Yes…I guess the time is over. You know all I know, and…keep watch on that Ryuto, because…he's the potent vessel for Odd, despite he had been owned by another God."
Freya showed her last smile before returning to her realm, let Shou regained the control of her body once again. She felt a little dizzy because of the sudden replacement. "Ouch…my head is heavy…were you talking a lot?" she asked.
"Yes…she's very talkative," Minato chuckled. He took the tray and rose to his feet, intending to return it to the kitchen. However, before he came out, he turned around and said, "Oh that's right…this maybe hard for you but…please don't talk closely to Ryuto-kun for some while, considering his…unstable condition right now."
The turquoise haired girl looked down and nodded reluctantly. "I guess I have no choice…though I didn't promise I can keep it up for a long time."
"One month is enough…if he behaves well in a full month, then I guess he's harmless…"
"I see…okay then."
The navy haired guy smiled and nodded. "Take it easy and get some rest, okay? I'll tell Arisu-chan to accompany you again," he said before closing the door and went downstairs.
Everyone had finished his or her dinners. Arisu quickly got up from her seat and ran to her room. It seemed she waited until he came out because she knew that he had to talk with Valfreya too. Minato handed over the tray to Aigis, who was washing the plates and glasses in the kitchen, before enjoying the rest of males watching the television together. While they watched the comedy show, Ryuto seated himself next to their leader.
"How is she?" he inquired.
The blue haired guy grinned slightly. "She's fine…she's just feeling a little tired, I guess."
The boxer let out a relieved sigh. "Thanks God," he muttered. "Um…she…didn't say she hate me, did she?"
"Well…because no matter how hard I tried to remember what was I did to her back then…I couldn't. All I remember was that I talked to her, and then everything blacked out," he explained in low voice, as to not let anyone hear but Minato. "If…if I, by any chance hurt her then…I couldn't forgive myself!"
The younger-in-appearance male astonished. Ryuto truly cares for Shou. Perhaps that's why Odd possessed him? Because they have strong connections, as did he and his wife back then when they were still alive? Only he knew why.
"It's okay," Minato said, patted the black haired one's shoulder lightly. "I'm sure, no matter what you do, she can't hate you. Though if she did, she will forgive you."
Ryuto smiled as he heard the supporting words. "I know…thank you, Minato."
Author's Notes: Argh! I'm sorry, that's the best I could make about this romance-flavored chappie! I'm suck at this kind of story…-sigh- Oh well, it turns out to be another conversation chapter, and the plot become thicker and more twisted LOL So yeah…I'm surprised that I could finish it in some hours! Beside, I'm just finishing my exams too! XD Okay, so please review…gives me some comments, criticism, or whatever, I will appreciate it :P REVIEW!