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Harmony of the Sky

Chapter 15

Fly

He petted the flowers that grew on the clouds he was sitting on. A warm and loving smile adorned his expression. He released a soft sigh of happiness, slowly lying his head down on the pillow of clouds that he had formed earlier as his head rest. He couldn't wait until the next day in which the Queen promised him access to the Fountain of Eye. He didn't know why he would have to wait for two days, but he didn't voice his question, thinking that proper arrangements were needed.

His silky wings of lightest blue curled up around him.

He took in a contented breath then, flying off to go see Olette about the Ceremony of the Rain. He might be able to help with something.

The Kingdom of Rain.

---------------------------------------------0---------------------------------------0--------------------------------------------

He could feel the terror striking into his system by the second he stood in front of his so called father. The vigor of the man he remembered was no more. The man who used to be so kind and valiant, the person that he looked up to, but at the same time loathed to no end. He looked at the distorted dark wall at the side, having no intention to look at the condition of his father. No wonder the underlings were trying to rebel. No wonder...

He swallowed.

How dare they tried to rebel? Didn't they swear their eternal loyalty to his old man? Didn't they bow before him, lick at his foot, say all those nice, praises before him? He witnessed it all when he was merely a young boy. The kindness that showed through the eyes of those lowly beings, the loyalty emitted from their very actions. Everything was apparent. Everything was so obvious from his eyes a long time ago.

Was it all faux? Disguise and pretense to please the King? To gain His attention?

And now that the King was no longer the man he used to be, they all decided to rebel and send him to his doom and concurrently take over the throne? How naïve he was to believe that his people actually cared for the well being of the Underworld.

He should have figured out from the beginning that the Underworlders were merely greedy, lowly creations of God, failed creations that should have perished since the beginning of time.

Seeing his father in such condition broke his previously uncaring thoughts. It pierced deep into the very core of his ignorance. His body, mind, and soul screamed at him to do something—anything to bring back the man that he once looked up to. And so, his memories buried deep within his head came springing up like no tomorrow, assaulting him, reminding him of his past... the past that he had been trying his best to put behind.

And now, he was facing his so called past, haunted, and breathing inside it once more.

"My Sons..."

A loud ringing and a low, deep, dark voice filled Axel's head. It rang continuously. What happened to the gentle voice he used to love and listen to? What happened to the kindness and gentleness that always showed in the man's action? The man couldn't even move—sitting on his crimson colored throne, dark rotten bone covered in disgusting stench and maggots filled flesh. The sight was sickening.

The Prince wondered how his brother could stay calm in such sight.

"Kneel down, Axel. Show your respect before the King," Reno snarled, giving a nasty glare at Axel's direction.

"What kind of sick joke is this?" Axel mumbled in denial.

"This is the result of what you've done, Axel."

"What?"

Axel frowned, obviously annoyed at his brother's accuse. He had done nothing in his life that would cause such mortal peril. No matter how much hatred he bore for his world, he would never do anything that would harm them.

"You are old enough to take responsibilities for your own action, Axel. Kneel down."

The Prince, obviously, was not happy with his brother's treatment. He felt as if he was a prisoner, forced to face the judgment that he didn't deserve, accused of a crime that he never remembered ever committed.

Licking his dried lips, thinking that there was no use for him to argue much further, he knelt on one of his knees, mimicking Reno, bowing down humbly. "Axel, my precious child… you have returned to me."

"Yes, father."

"The Underworld has suffered greatly ever since your absence in your journey to the human world. We have always awaited your return with great confidence."

Axel could almost laugh at the sheer humor in his father's speech. They had awaited his return? What a joke. The Underworld was first to banish him, deeming him not deserving to be one of them. And now, they wanted him to come back? Treating him as if he was a hero in the past, making him feel guilty by telling him that the Underworld needed him in their grave situation?

"Axel, my son. Have you come back to correct everything?"

"What is happening? W-What happened to you?" Axel asked, not even once laying eyes on the King.

"Look at me, Axel."

Axel hesitated before doing what his father said.

"Look at my state. There is nothing I can do now. It is almost time for me to forever perish from this world and return to the stream. Axel, please. Without a capable King, the Underworld would surely fall under the hands of those treacherous servants. You must take over my title and sit on the throne. Come back to us and show your loyalty to the land in which you were born."

Axel shook his head. "What are you talking about, old man? Surely, Reno is more than capable of taking your title and becoming the next king."

"No, Reno is worthless."

At that, Axel frowned, shifting his attention to his brother. He could see Reno visibly tensed, obviously injured by their father's words. However, he chose to not speak a word about it.

"Unless someone explains everything that had happened and convince me as to why I am more capable than Reno, I won't take over. After all these years, do you honestly believe that I care about this rotten world?"

"Impudent child!" the King roared. "Tell me. How does falling in love with an angel of any benefit to you?!"

Axel narrowed his eyes, knitting his brows. "You spied on me?!" he replied in absolute distaste. So, all along, he was watched? His every single move?

"Silence, Axel." Reno snapped. "It is only right for the King to have knowledge about his subjects."

Axel couldn't understand his brother's change of attitude. That wasn't the Reno he knew. "You can't force me to take over. I don't care how rotten you've all become. I have been banished and I will stay in that current state. Even if the Underworld fall before my very eyes, I wouldn't shed any emotion," Axel responded coldly. He stood up then.

However, before he could take another step out of the room, he could feel his legs becoming heavy and bounded to the ground. Hands colored the darkest shade of black pierced out through the distorted floor and began yanking at his legs, gripping so tightly, sure to leave marks. Axel growled and hissed in annoyance, trying to struggle free, but soon found that it was of no use.

"If you disagree, I would use any means possible to seek down that angel of yours. And trust me, Axel. You will suffer more agony than you have ever felt before." His father's voice was dark and cruel, almost merciless. "Please, son. I do not wish you threaten you. However, I need a successor in order for my Underworld to stay in place."

"Let. Me. Go!" Axel roared, summoning the rage of fire and immediately burning the eerie hands binding him together. He took in a breath before dashing at the bones of his father, summoning his chakrams, attempting to crush the bones into pieces.

"It's no use. I am no longer alive, Axel."

"Don't you dare do anything to Roxas. I will take down the Underworld using my hands if need to!" Axel swore.

"Fool!"

Before Axel could attempt another act, he could feel a sharp hit on his back. He quickly swerved, finding Reno behind him. He was unsuccessful in parrying the assault of attacks launched upon him.

And the last thing he remembered was Reno's ghostly smirk and those… gorgeous dark feathers…

--

The Kingdom of Rain stood before him. He could see the rainbows and the Goddesses of Rain playing cheerfully in that beautiful seven colored phenomenal. It was fantastical to his eyes. The Goddesses were all bathing happily in the rain.

It wasn't called the Kingdom of Rain for nothing. All year long, the Kingdom was blessed with pure, refreshing water that came naturally from the clouds, raining down the waterfall.

The beautiful waterfall was clouded in gorgeous mist. It was heaven.

Roxas chuckled when he heard the happy giggles of the Goddesses playing over the rainbow. He shyly stepped on the cold, stone pavement that led to the Kingdom, trying his very best not to let his curiosity got the best of him. It had been quite a time since he laid foot on the breathtaking kingdom. He missed it immensely.

He couldn't find any excuses as to why he had forgotten about its existence if not for Olette paying him a visit. Perhaps, he was too selfish—too engrossed in his own issues that he didn't care about others. He silently slapped himself inside for being so uncaring. He and Olette were good friends; he should have paid the Goddess a visit. And he felt even guiltier that he never learnt of the news about Olette joining the ranks of the Goddesses until Olette paid him a visit.

The guards bowed before him politely, knowing that he was the son of God whose singing was so superior, completely incomparable to anything in the world. Roxas appreciated the politeness and bowed back to the guards. The guards were perplexed, but they exchanged smile with the angel—something that they had never thought would happen.

The guards gladly gave him the direction to Olette's room without any hesitation.

Muttering his thanks, Roxas flew over to the Goddess' room.

--

Upon waking up from his unconsciousness, Axel found himself back in his room. He sat up frailly, pressing his palm flat against his head, trying his hardest to remember back what had happened. Taking in a deep breath, he was able to comprehend the events. To his surprise, he wasn't chained down or anything—he was simply back in his room as if nothing had happened. He even began to wonder if it was merely his imagination.

He decided to walk out of his room.

A few steps out of his room, he could hear a loud roar coming from somewhere near where he was standing. From what he recall correctly, it was Reno's room… and those noises—it was of no doubt that his brother was in some sort of unimaginable pain. Concern filled his heart and he immediately rushed to the other Prince's room.

Contrary to what he thought, the door wasn't locked. He entered, finding dark colored feathers fluttering all about, scattered all across the room. His eyes went wide in shock as he stood to stare the figure of the being he had known as his brother. Blood of crimson violet stained the room, smeared along the walls with such beauty. More blood splattered about as Reno's screams of pain and agony continued.

"Reno!" Axel called out, running over to his brother's side, kneeling down, and trying his best to stop his brother's attempt to rip the wings off his head.

Reno didn't stop. His eyes were dark, filled with void, as if dead. Wings began growing painfully out of his back. The bone crunching noises was sickening, echoing throughout the hollow of the room. More dark feathers spewed about, as if determined to mark the territory as their own.

"What the hell are you doing, Reno?!" Axel shouted, taking his brother's hand, hoping to stop the man from hurting himself.

"Must… these wings…"

"Re!"

Axel's efforts soon became futile as the older of the redhead roared, clawing at Axel's arms. Axel hissed in pain before jumping away as blood began to ease out of the wounds. It thundered outside, signaling the oncoming rain.

That was odd. Axel thought that the rain could never reach the Underworld. How could there be thunder or even rain?

"These wings…" Reno muttered deeply, desperately clutching at the wings on his head and tearing them off, making dirty messes of blood. However, the wings began growing back again and again no matter how many times he tore them off his head.

Unable to watch anymore of Reno's actions, Axel summoned his chakrams, dashing off to knock his brother unconscious.

It didn't take a lot to knock the other Prince off.

Axel frowned, going over to scoop his brother up and laid Reno's head gently on his lap. The blood began seeping into the black pants Axel wore, blending in, forming an elegant mixture of colors.

The Prince took in a deep breath, watching the calm breathing of his brother. He craned his neck up to look out the window behind him. And for that one time, Axel witnessed the crying sky of the Underworld.

"What the hell happened to you and father, Reno?" he whispered, letting out a dejected sigh. Concern filled his heart. First his father… now Reno was trying to tear off his own wings.

Was it really all his fault?

--

Under the withering tree that provided no shade, the two brothers sat. Their faces were painted with grins of happiness. The silent and eerie wind blew briskly against them as if whispering silently. And another blow of wind, bringing silent shrieks. The dead tree was as if waving good bye to the darkness of the sky, saying its goodbye.

The taller red haired child stood there, with wings darker than the shades of the sky.

"Those are beautiful!" A small redhead grinned at the sight of the other, slightly taller redhead with wings so dark before him.

"This is weird, yo…" the other redhead child with wings pouted.

"You think so?" Axel frowned, knitting his brows together, still admiring those wings that grew from his brother's back.

"Of course. Nobody except the Lilims have something like…these, Axel."

"Maybe you're a Lilim?" Axel wondered childishly, grinning ever so slightly.

"No way, Axel. If I am, then you are too, yo."Reno laughed at his brother's naivety."Besides, Lilims are girls, yo! Are you girls?" he laughed, amused, gently thwacking Axel's head with the palm of his hand.

"Ow, Reno!!!" Axel groaned. But then, he grinned again. "But don't you think that would be awesome? I'd kill to have those!" the child pointed.

"You'll have a lot of chance to kill soon, Axel. Once you begin your training as a prince, you'll have to kill and snatch away the life of those lowly souls undeserving of their existence in the world."

"Kill…" Axel parted his lips, staring at the palms of his hands as if they were the most miraculous objects he had ever laid his eyes on. He let out a breath.

"Don't be scared, yo. I'll be there to watch you. And if things get tough, I can always help you, Axel."

"I can handle it by myself!"

Reno grinned. Then, he contemplated on Axel's previous comment, sticking out his bottom lip. "You really think so, yo? That having wings is nice?"

"Of course!" Axel nodded without a single delay.

"Good! Axel doesn't have wings~" Reno teased in a cheerful manner, running across the brown colored sandy ground.

"Hey! I'll grow a pair soon!" Axel protested, chasing after his brother.

"See if you can catch me!"

--

"Hey Reno, maybe you can fly!"

--

"Oh, Roxas! What brings you here?!" Olette exclaimed in joy, running over to greet her very best friend.

Suddenly, Roxas was struck with the question. He began wondering what he was doing there himself. Wouldn't it be really awkward to say that he was actually interested in Olette's idea and that he was there maybe to rid his mind off the wait that he had to endure in order to be able to see his favorite redhead again?

"Please, state your mind honestly, Roxas. We don't want a lying angel now, do we?" Olette giggled, knowing just the right way to get that friend of hers to talk.

"Yes, Goddess," Roxas replied humbly, yet at the same time playfully.

"Sit down and make yourself at home, Roxas. What would you like? Rainbow treats? Tea of Seven Colors? Snowy candies made of crystallized pure rain water?"

"Wow… those sound really…bizarre. And delicious!" Roxas grinned.

"They are! You have to try them all out. I'm sure you'll love them! If you don't mind waiting, that is."

"Of course I don't. I don't think I'd mind waiting forever for those."

"Well then. I'll go and see if I can get my hands on those quickly."

Roxas nodded. "Should I help in anything?" he offered.

"No, please sit there and wait."

Roxas agreed, watching as the Goddess disappeared from sight. He tapped his fingers against the table covered in silky smooth linen silently. Olette's room was a wonder to behold, graced with various ornaments and antiques alike. The angel was sure that he wouldn't get bored no matter how many times he stared at Olette's room.

The Goddess' bed was covered in the most beautiful bed cover. A material of clothes, he guessed, that could cause lights to diffract and eventually caused the natural effects of diffraction, shaping multiple glorious colors on the white colored covers. Water was raining down, forming a thin shield at all walls, providing the soothing sounds of travelling water.

The room smelt of nature and forest.

And he could feel the chill, but at the same time warmth that the sunlight provided.

He felt at bliss, completely fortunate and honored to be able to even sit in there.

He wondered if there was a scheduled rain for the day. If there was, then he would be holding Olette from doing her duty. He shouldn't even be at the Kingdom of Rain in the first place. He had a daily duty to sing in the garden and entertain the angels. However, being a little rebellious, out of his own accord, he decided to skip his duty for the day, hoping to his very best that God wouldn't punish him for his slacking off.

He felt extremely guilty over his actions and he had promised himself that as soon as he headed back, he would face God and apologize sincerely.

However, his worries were soon erased when Olette came back with a tray of goodies. Treats layered with sugary cream texture, colored with every bright color possible.

--

"Would you like to assist me with the Rain Dance today, Roxas?" Olette suddenly questioned amidst their conversation with a smile attached on her face.

"Assist you with the…?" Roxas choked.

"Rain Dance," Olette confirmed. "It'd be fun! I had always dreamed of working together with you once I've become a Goddess."

Roxas grinned so brightly, nodding eagerly. "If I could be of any help, yes."

"You are unusually beaming and absolutely happy today, Roxas. May I inquire… what is up?" Olette laughed.

Roxas blushed. "It's nothing…" he shook his head.

Olette released a small giggle, noticing her friend's shyness. She didn't press on. The two friends chatted animatedly, telling one another their jokes and concerns.

--

The chime of a bell marked the start of the Rain Ceremony. A strum of the harp and Olette took a step forward. The other goddesses gathered in the center of room behind Olette. Everyone was putting their heart together in order to bring rain to the human world, giving the humans joy of escaping the dry summer.

Roxas was nervous, standing where he was. Somehow, at some weird turn of event, he had agreed to lead the singing of the hymns of the Rain. He always knew how to sing the old Celestian songs without any difficulty. It was as if a knowledge embedded inside his very soul.

At the more rapid strum of the harps and the start of the soothing sounds of flutes, Roxas took in a deep breath and let his voice out.

His wonderful voice filled the air.

And Olette and the other Goddesses began to dance, swerving to the side slowly, and spinning around. Their robes graced their elegant figure, swaying along, following their movements. The curtains over at the side stirred, blown by the gentle wind.

There, at the top of the Kingdom of Rain, the Rain Ceremony was performed.

Roxas' voice was strong. It was as if a prayer. A prayer for the God's to send the rain down to the human world.

And the sky roared, signaling the beginning of rain.

The rain grew harder as the clouds far and beyond shifted color into the darker shades of black.

Roxas slightly wondered what it would feel like to be able to dance, instead of singing. But then, dancing was the job of a girl, was it not? He was a boy, he shouldn't be dancing, right?

Then, he wondered what Axel would think. He wondered if it rained over at Axel's house. If Axel experienced the rain he had assisted in bringing. He smiled and then sang some more.

He sang and sang with the voice of his heart, not even caring if the ceremony had ended.

Thinking about his favorite human all the while.

He couldn't figure out why, but somehow… he could sense the unease in his own heart.

--

His heart fluttered as the Queen told him that he was finally permitted to the Fountain of Eye.

Returning from the Kingdom of Rain yesterday, he braved himself to apologize to God for not performing his duty. However, God, instead, commended him for having assisted the Goddesses and encouraged him to do more bidding for the Kingdom in the future. Roxas smiled cheerfully, his smile warmer than the sunlight, thanking God.

And now, he was standing in front of the entrance to the Fountain of Eye.

Somehow, it felt so surreal to him. Everything had been going unexpectedly well and everyone had been treating him so well… In the previous years, he felt nothing but agony. The heaviness in his heart was always present when doing his duties out of obligation. But now, he was willing to do anything he was requested to gladly with his heart, putting his soul into it.

Taking in a deep breath, he nodded to the Watchers, who opened the huge metal double door for him. The metal creaked together, filling in the silence. The Watchers bowed to let him in. The same Watchers, he remembered, who threw him out of the Fountain and banished him from there.

Not one to hold any grudge, Roxas gave the Watchers a warm smile before stepping into the dark.

The green hues emanating from the Fountain shone upon him. And he stared at the pure water of the fountain. He was slightly perplexed as to why the Fountain was radiating with hues of green and black. He frowned slightly before stepping over and kneeling down slowly, watching the Fountain carefully.

And soon, there it was. The image of his beloved redhead.

He reached out to touch the pale face of Axel. But he soon drew back as the tips of his fingers touched the cold water.

The smile on his face tore apart when he saw the anguish on Axel's face.

Where…

Was that really Axel?

Roxas observed more closely. Where was he?

That was certainly not the beauty of the human world that Roxas had grown familiar of.

"Axel…" he called out, whispering.

He jumped back in terror once he made out that it was crimson blood smeared all around Axel's surrounding.

Fear filled his soul when he saw another redhead, injured immensely, bleeding without end. And the dark feathers all around… those were… the color of the wings of the banished angels? How…

Did… did Axel commit murder?

Was Axel the one to inflict such horrible injuries to that other redhead?

Roxas shook his head in disbelieve, covering his mouth with both of his hands, breathing out shakily.

--

It has always been my dream… to be able to fly—to roam the sky freely.

But…as time passed, I have forgotten…

That dream of mine...

--