Shun turned downwards as his feet stood within the red blood ring before looking up. Back when he was under the influence of the Oracle during his last test, he remembered Guilty taking pleasure in using them in order to watch people fight to the death, using the blood of the defeated to create another red ring to fight to the death with another.
To him, the idea of a red ring was horrible, terrible tradition to give an excuse to kill someone. He knew people used them, but he never imagined his beloved Master would do such a thing, to him no less. He watched as his teacher took a piece of his own trainer that he tore from his leg, before he tied it over his hand that he cut like a bandage. "Why doesn't he use his Golden Touch?" Shun thought as he watched the cloth soak up all the blood and drip freely.
"You choose your Brother, good, let us begin." The Master spoke as he snapped his blade to shake his blood from it before tensing his body in preparation.
But Shun narrowed his eyes. "Master, I didn't choose just my Brother. I can't choose between either of you. I'll… I'll... stop you… and knock you out…" Shun watched his teacher drop his stance in bewilderment. Shun doesn't blame him, if he was at the Master's level he wouldn't believe him either. He raised his chains and looked up. "… but I won't kill you."
"Shun, I told you, you can't have both." The Master placed his hand on his hip. Even if by some miracle you did knock me out, there is still only one mask. If you leave the mask on me, you will be turned to stone, and if you use it, I will die."
Shun bit his lip as he saw the face of Medusa high above, her dried stretched face and lips were still curled in a twisted smile. He turned away, feeling sad by obscene rules placed on them before turning back to his teacher. He wished he wasn't wearing a mask. In fact, the mask itself looked uncomfortable. Unlike Amazon Masks which are customized for their faces, this one clearly didn't fit properly over his face with the eye slots clearly being too small and off centered. In fact, if the mask was for protection from the sunlight hitting through the face of Medusa, then he didn't really need to wear it for this fight. He remembered his Master talking about how people would put bags over people's heads in order to make it easier to kill someone because they can't see the person's face. Was his teacher wearing a mask so it would be easier for himself to kill him? "Master, I don't want to this and I know you don't want to either. You are too kind and I know you would never kill someone…"
The Master took his sword and chucked it straight into Shun's chest, silencing the boy.
Shun gasped as he turned downwards. He gazed at the blood all over his trainer as the hilt that formed three sides of the cross. He turned his head and gazed at the bloody blade sticking out on the other side. It was so surreal that he almost hesitated to touch the weapon sticking through him. He felt his knees grow weak before he fell down upon them. He reached for the cross and attempted to pull the sword out only for another blade to pin his hand into the right side of his chest and another onto his thigh before he fell to his side.
Love You, Kill Me
Part Six: The Two Kings
Chapter 42: Shun, You Are Not Alone
Shun opened his eyes before pushing the blanket from his face. He took a breath and watched a small cloud appear; signifying that it was late at night and freezing temperatures of the island had taken hold. He wrapped himself in the blanket. "What a weird dream. " He thought before he turned downwards and gasped at his blood stained trainer. He reached for the blade sized hole in the center of his shirt and poked his finger through, only to find solid skin behind it.
He looked up ahead and could see the glowing Cloth of Cepheus sitting there on the other side of the blood ring. Shun was used to seeing his teacher walk around at night in his Cloth and thought the effect of cosmos radiating on it was rather beautiful and made Shun see why people would mistake Saints for Angels in the night.
However with the mask on, the Cloth of Cepheus looked a bit scarier like it was more of a walking ghost than anything else. For a minute, as he saw the gleaming edge his Master's weapon in his hand, he felt a bit frightened, especially after getting impaled once. But Shun turned to the blanket. The temperature drop on the island was so bad that a person could freeze to death without having sufficient protection against the elements, not to mention his wounds were healed up. How they were done so quickly, that was another mystery. "Master, you kept me alive?" he asked as he looked up.
The Saint of Cepheus stood up. "I would have stained the honor of my Cloth if I told the world I killed anyone in a duel through the element of surprise. However, a point that needed to be made, and if it meant waiting a couple of hours for you to wake up, so be it." He held his hand out to the side, the star or the spiky ball as it was nicknamed, and chain hung loosely around his arm before he began to spin it in an easy manner, almost as if he was just toying around. Suddenly, his hand twitched.
Shun immediately recognized that twitch and raised his chains to deflect the blow. The metal sparked and deflected off the top and struck inside Shun's shoulder right where one of his major veins was. He gritted in pain for a moment before the cross end struck him again right in the center where his heart was. Shun looked up as his teacher took several links of his chain and threw at least twenty of them striking every critical organ or vein in his chest. Shun blinked his eyes trying to stay conscious. "Master, I… it's so hard… to see," he muttered as his Master became a large blur. He attempted to move his arms but as before, it was just too hard. His hand reached for the blade hilt.
"You can always step outside the ring. It's right there. If you wish to die by turning into a statue then go ahead and do so."
Shun shook his head. "No… I won't do that… but….Master… this isn't you…"
The Saint of Cepheus, still holding one side of his chains raised his head. "Thunder Wave."
The world blacked out once more as He felt his body jerk from the burst of electricity that struck his heart.
Shun opened his eyes a bit and looked down. The blades were no longer on his trainer, yet the holes from each one remained as well as the blood. He didn't feel like he was dead, but was shocked that he wasn't yet despite each one of his teacher's strikes being fatal in their own right he felt perfectly fine. In fact, every time he was knocked out, it seemed like he came out of a pleasant nap. The boy looked up and could see his teacher kneeling down in front of a familiar book in his hands. Shun couldn't remember where the book was from, but he's seen it several times.
Shun looked down at the blanket wrapped around him. What was going on? He could see his teacher telling him once that he was going to give him another chance at fighting, but two in a row? Besides, his teacher was known for his clean style in battle and efficiency. If he wanted to kill someone, he would do it in one hit and quickly.
His teacher always seemed to turn away any form of prolonging a person's death, calling it torture. It seemed that the only time when his teacher did something he didn't want to do, was because he was forced to. He could even feel traces' of his teacher's cosmos where his wounds were. He's even thrown him a blanket, twice. Was his Master forced to try and kill him… and not?
Shun laid there trying to think of something to do. He could use his Pink Swirly Power or Nebula Ultimate Tornado, or whatever name he's decided on. If he could just control it, the force would definitely knock his teacher out. However, there was too much of a risk that he'd kill him in one shot even with him wearing his Cloth, and he won't do anything that could endanger his Master's life. He was also running out of time. If the sun comes up, he'll be turned to stone and he won't be able to honor his Brother's promise. He began to raise his head up, pushing the blanket to the side.
Before he could turn to him, his teacher had already hid all remnants of the book he was looking at, donned his mask and returned to his standing position that he was at earlier before everything went black. If Shun hadn't pretended to still be knocked out, he wouldn't have realized time had passed. Shun looked up and asked him the most obvious question. "Why am I still alive?" Shun spoke as he touched his chest. In fact, thanks to the two naps, he felt better than ever due to a lack of sleep from his boat trip to find the wooden sword.
"You were just defending, not fighting. We all know nothing counts until that first blow is struck." The Saint of Cepheus spoke as he held his hands in front. He tilted his head, "do you need a reason to kill me?" he questioned.
Shun shook his head, "no, because a person shouldn't kill someone they love." If he could just talk some sense into him, maybe he could stop this death match somehow. "When I was separated from my Brother, I thought I lost the only one who cared about my feelings, who wanted me to at least try and help me grow strong, who accepted me for who I am, but then I came here. Just like him, when things grow dark, as long as I knew he was there, I'd be okay when I woke up." Shun gestured a hand toward the blanket, "even now."
The Master silently sighed. He didn't want Shun to lose any limbs due to hypothermia. "Shun, while it is kind of you to compare me to the one you hold dearest to you, the problem is… your brother never tried to kill you."
Shun gasped as he heard the last two words. "Kill me? But Master, when did you try to kill me?" He hoped at that moment that he misheard him, but once his teacher pulled out a gold dagger from underneath his gauntlet, such hopes diminished.
The King twisted it for a bit before flicking it into the floor. "Shun, after you signed your Blood Contract, I gave you a wooden sword and told you that if you handed it back to me, I would allow you to leave the island. The truth is, I lied… or rather I bent the truth. Just as your Blood Contract stated, you will either become a Saint, a soldier, or you will die trying. The False Freedom Test required that before your exams or if you lose too many times in a row during training, I would take you to my office and ask you three times if you wish to quit. If you handed it over, I would kill you immediately, using that," the Saint of Cepheus pointed downward toward the gold sacrificial dagger. "I told you that you would leave the island… but I never said you would do so alive. I'm sure you know something of the False Freedom Test. After all, when you and Leda were alone and June was earning her Bronze Cloth, you were digging through my file cabinet that had my records of those of the deceased."
Shun swallowed hard as he recalled the moment he and Leda were inside there their teacher's office. He didn't even mean to see them, they were on the floor and he wanted to pick them up. But for some reason, seeing the cause of Death being the False Freedom Test for twelve trainees, stuck out in his memory. "You… killed them?" Shun gasped his eyes widened as he watched the Saint of Cepheus nod firmly. "That's…. so cruel," Shun cried while placing his hands on his face while going to one knee.
"Yes… I am a cruel man…aren't I?"
Shun raised his chin and shook his head. "No Master, I wasn't talking about you. I meant that test. I can't believe there was a test that forces you to lie to your students and kill them if they fell for it." Shun smiled, "No wonder Saint Semele said that you would act different in your office." All the pieces were falling into place. No wonder he was so discouraging during certain times.
The Master took his chain, transformed it into a sword and swung at the air. A dimensional tear appeared next to him before he stuck it through.
Shun felt a sharp prick from behind before seeing the other side of the sword poking through, feeling the cold air of the dimensional tear behind him. He looked down as the blade pulled out before it appeared again, this time through his heart.
The King pulled the blade back, "I've killed twelve people through the False Freedom Test," he pushed it back in but in a different spot, before repeating the ritual several times, "do you think killing a thirteenth will affect me?"
Shun heaved as his limp arms hung loosely before he looked down at the blade sticking out. It was difficult to speak again. Apparently he's dying again, but if he focused he can still say a few words. "You… threw the wooden sword so far away… like you hated it…"
"Thunder Wave," the King spoke.
For another moment, there was darkness, again. Shun was having a little more trouble opening his eyes this time around. Maybe the Master actually killed him this time? He did strike over thirty one-hit-kill moves against him and was bound to get lucky sometime. Although strangely enough, none of the strikes really hurt, they just kill off his body… he thinks. He's actually felt more pain from June slapping him in the face than a perfect strike to his heart.
His eyes felt so heavy this time around.
That was when; he felt a warm cosmos on his chest. It was the same cosmos that he would feel when he was knocked out longer during practice. It had to be the Master's.
After a few minutes he opened his eyes to see himself lying on the ground once more. There was no blanket on him per say, but he could see bits of white lint on his arm, suggesting it was on him while he was unconscious/dying.
The King stood there on the far end of the red ring. "Shun, right now, it is four thirty, the sun rises at six. If you don't get the mask, you will not be able to get out of here alive and you will break your Brother's promise."
Shun stood up, feeling fairly well rested after three good naps. However, he could hear his teacher's strained voiced. It seemed like he was exhausted. He was a bit surprised since he was sure that his teacher didn't have trouble staying up all night. His teacher must have used an extraordinarily amount of cosmos at once, trying to heal his fatal wounds, but if they were in spots like his heart or his major veins and organs, how was he able to heal them in hours when he was told that serious wounds would take days of careful focus, especially when he's done it three times? It didn't matter. If he only had an hour and a half, he needed to figure out to get his teacher to stop. "Master, if you wanted to kill me, you would've chopped my head off a long time ago."
The King shook his head, "you've yet to attack. I won't let you die until you fight me."
The boy gritted his teeth. He wasn't sure what to do. If he didn't fight, not only will he turn into stone and break his Brother's promise, but now he'll force his teacher to go through giving the False Freedom Test to another trainee. "I'll fight," he spoke but he turned to his chains, "but like I said, I won't kill you." Shun spoke as he began to move along the edge of the blood ring. He took a deep breath as he stared at the Saint of Cepheus. If his cosmos didn't erupt into an unstoppable storm, that would be perfect, but it was just too risky and lacked enough control. "He looks tired, maybe I have a chance to get his kneecaps?" He thought as he slid his foot a bit in preparation only to see his teacher spread his feet farther and moved his hand down to a position that looked as if it protected his knees and would catch his chain.
Shun bit his lip before he changed his strategy and began to bend down for a jump, only for the Master to adjust again by crouching and tilting his body. "Okay, a jumping attack won't work," Shun thought. He raised one index finger up and gasped when his teacher shifted to a side stance with his right leg back. "Maybe I can fake him out?" Shun tilted his head slightly, causing his Master to turn around and reversing his stance. "Or… change it at the last minute?" Shun raised a thumb before the King moved his right arm up in front of his head.
"Shun, the body has two hundred and six bones, over six hundred muscles and millions upon millions of nerves making it the greatest weapon anyone can ever own. However, because everything must work in unison, the body can become predictable to those who understand how it and the mind that wields it function." He watched Shun move his elbow before he twisted his arm slightly, "unless you have something special."
Shun swallowed hard. He shifted into a different stance and watched his teacher move into another that would counter it. He knew his teacher had a reputation of being able to nullify any attack and manipulating any weapon and hoped it was just an exaggeration. But with each change of his position, the King moved into one that would soundly defeat it. It was scary how he was able to do it, and the two had yet to exchange one punch. The only hope he had was if he had a partner to knock out his teacher from behind, but not only would that never happen, but it was also dishonorable.
That was when the Saint of Cepheus dropped his guard completely and held out his hands. "Shun, time is growing short. I'll tell you what, since you never chose to give me a pot shot when you first started training, I'll allow you to perform one now. "
"That's dishonorable!" cried Shun.
"No it's not. All Masters do it as a form of humility for their students. It is not only honorable, but it is a gesture of kindness." He spoke as he reached for front chest place, tapped the sides and pulled it off to reveal his bare chest underneath.
Shun gazed at his triangle end and at his teacher. He sighed as he debated where to hit him. "One strike, if that's all I have, I will make it count," Shun muttered as he stared at the masked man before he began to charge forward. He watched his teacher stand perfectly still.
Shun grasped his triangle end, the symbol of his right to train under his teacher, tightly around his fingers and like a dagger thrusts forward at his teacher's heart.
The moment the Saint of Cepheus felt contact, at the speed of light, took his sword and countered stabbing Shun over thirty times before grabbing the boy's collar and slamming him to the ground, before he could fall out of bounds of the red ring.
Shun laid there unconscious on his side once more.
The King took a deep breath before he looked down to see how close Shun got him. He then gasped as he looked toward his heart. He thought that'd allow the boy to scratch him, but that was not the case. He replayed the events and realized what had happened. Shun knew his focus was high and his concentration great. A fake out would not work, but instead, Shun did strike him, he cut himself with his own triangle end and the only thing that made contact with his skin, was a thick drop of Shun's blood, causing him to follow up with his planned strike.
Shun had struck him, not with a sword, but something greater, stronger with the capacity of leaving impressions and scars for all eternity, a symbol that Shun would rather die than hurt those he loved.
Albiore pulled his mask up and walked over to his student. "Shun," he whispered as he picked up the boy before raising his hand and hovering it over where he had struck, "Shun, wake up," he spoke trying to stir the boy while healing him at the same time.
The boy slowly opened his eyes and looked down, "Oh Master, did you change your mind on killing me again?" he spoke as he began to feel sensation return to his lifeless body.
He looked down, "Shun, there is something I have to tell you, that I couldn't before due to the test's rules."
Once Shun was able to sit up, he gazed at his teacher, "you never wanted to kill me?"
"Yes," Albiore turned his head, partly out of shame, "and no" he thought. He took his chain and sent it over the red ring and into the corner where his Cloth box was. He brought it close and opened the top, revealing the book he had earlier. "The False Freedom Test and the Court of King Cepheus are connected. For every time I gave you the False Freedom Test in the past, I would have to attempt a fatal-worthy strike here in the Court of King Cepheus."
Shun couldn't believe it. "A fatal strike, each time you asked?"
Albiore nodded. "It has to be a strike that was at least life threatening to avoid counting simple scratches and cuts."
"How many fatal strikes did other Cepheus Saints give to Andromeda Trainees?"
The Master shifted his eyes before closing them to think. "One for when they arrive on the island, one for each test prior, a few if they had a fifteen day losing streak, I'd say between four and six."
Shun looked down, "How many times did I have the False Freedom Test?"
"Oh!" Shun was shocked. No wonder the Master was looking in his book, he was probably double checking his numbers to avoid over-kill. Shun looked down at his chest. "At least none of it was painful. I thought a sword stab would hurt a lot more."
Albiore took his cross and chain and formed it into a sword. "There was a reason I didn't go hand to hand."
Shun watched as his teacher stuck the sword right through it, flinching for a moment until he realized the blade was as thin in the center and the usual thickness on the handle and the end where it stuck through.
"I did stab you, but not as badly as you thought. As mentioned before, I know the human body quite well. Every strike was precise, touching certain nerves and avoiding anything important. I used the sword to generate a current of electricity to numb your body and made you think you were dying and to knock you out a little quicker, since the Golden Touch works more efficiently when applied as soon as possible." If he did fight hand to hand, Shun would be smashed to pieces within the first strike and he would be so injured it would take years for him to heal. At least with a sword, he could make careful cuts that met the requirements and Shun would still be able to make it through.
Shun smiled. "I knew there was something going on. If you wanted to kill me, you would've chopped my head off!" After hearing his teacher, it almost seemed like he was struck by a fancy form of acupuncture.
"Yes," he reached over for his mask and pulled it taking a moment to stare at the King's face. "As part of the test, for surviving my attacks, you may take this." He turned away and placed it in Shun's hand watching his face was saddened .He took a deep breath, told himself that Shun should expected this, "as the original King was turned to granite, so shall I. Congratulations Shun, you've won."
But Shun pulled his hand away, feeling the conversation they were having turn bitterly sour. "You can't die!" He heaved as he gazed at his teacher's sad eyes. "How is this winning? I told you, I won't kill you! Master, what do you not understand?" Shun gasped as he placed his hands firmly on the ground to show he wouldn't grab it.
"One mask, two people." Albiore never expected Shun to go through all seventy two strikes, while maintaining his promise. Even after telling himself if Shun could do that, he still had strong doubts about entrusting the future of mankind in one child. "Don't worry, I heard the process is quick, painless and unlike the Shield of Medusa, final." He placed the mask down on Shun's lap and looked at Shun's reddening face as anger filled it. He could tell him about the Silver Star Pendent Mission and him being the next vessel of Hades, but knowing Shun, he'd probably kill himself. It would solve his struggle on what to do with him, but as he turned to his chest where Shun's blood struck, he turned those thoughts aside. "Shun, think of it this way, you'll live to be united with your brother, and I will die… to be reunited with my Father, my Mother and my Sisters once more."
He avoided his gaze from Shun's as he reached over and pushed the mask closer. "Shun, one of us must die anyways."
Shun slapped the mask to the side and stood up, gazing at the red ring around them before heading to the Cepheus Cloth box. There wasn't really a lot of blood in the water. If he could find more water, he could dilute it until it was clear. He grabbed the water satchel, pulled the top, "I'll make it disappear!" Shun muttered as he turned the bottle over only to feel his hope being dashed as a single solitary drop slide down the opening and fell into the pool, without making ever so much a dent. Shun turned toward his teacher as he sat there, listlessly, like a prisoner awaiting his execution. He bit his lip and felt like he was about to cry.
Suddenly, the front side of the Cepheus Box fell forward before a tiny box came bouncing out and landing at Shun's feet. Shun gasped as he reached over and opened it up and saw several pearls of red that the Master used earlier on him. Shun felt his eyes lit up! "Master, I got it! These red things that burned my skin, maybe it will burn you blood too!"
Albiore sighed as he continued to look away. If only Shun realized that what he was holding wasn't a chemical but Athena's crystallized blood. "Shun, it won't do no-" Before he could finish Shun opened the container and dumped all the crystallized beads into the circle. His eyes widened as steam followed by a light sizzle. "-what?" He immediately got up and placed his hand over his face from the sickening scent. "-what's going on? This can't be?" The red color faded leaving nothing but clean water behind.
Shun beamed as he gestured toward the pool. "Master, look! The red ring is gone! We don't have to fight to the death anymore!" He merrily jumped back and forth in the circle and outside it before he stopped, getting sick from the fumes.
"That was my blood?" Albiore gasped once more. He thought he was sure that Shun was the vessel for Hades, but this changed everything. Athena's blood should only affect the vessel; he even saw it with his own eyes. But somehow it evaporated his. Questions filled his head. Did it do that because he was in contact with Shun for the past five years? They both had A Type blood. Was the blood contaminated for being in that little box and not the actual container that The Great Bodyguard gave and became unstable? he thought as he knelt down a bit, sickened by the overload of thoughts as well as the sickening fumes from the ring around them.
Shun watched his teacher sitting there, deep in thought. "Master, what's wrong?" Wasn't he happy they didn't have the red ring to deal with?
Albiore placed a hand on his forehead, "I was just thinking," he pulled his hand over his face. Athena's blood was supposed to be the be-all-end-all sign. Thinking back, the timing of this test, his last minute thought to bring the blood, the way his box came open, the Red Ring that he placed to ensure Shun would fight to the death only for it to be undone by the thing that started all of this. It almost felt like it was a sign from Athena, to keep him from doing the biggest mistake in his life. He had been asking her for a sign for months now.
Shun watched and could see a familiar look in his eyes. It was the same gaze he had when he was cursed, as if he was ready to die. He turned to the mask and stared at it. He took a deep breath, feeling nervous as his breath no longer clouded up. With the air warming up, it meant that dawn wasn't too far away. He looked down at it and ran his finger down the center before he took the mask and with a touch of his cosmos, fortified with Love, slammed it on his knee breaking it in two.
The sound of it cracking echoed in the room. Albiore darted his head up as Shun held the two pieces up. "Shun, what have you done?" He asked while wondering how Shun managed to pull off the focus and cosmos to snap a Silver-leveled Cloth piece like a twig.
Shun held out one half to him. "Master, neither of us has to die. If we share the mask where I wear one side and you wear the other… and we are laying down, I'm sure we'll be okay!" He spoke as hope filled his voice. He offered the mask half, beckoning for his teacher to take it.
Albiore shook his head. "Shun, you don't know if it will have the same effect. If this doesn't work, both of us will be turned to stone!"
"I'll take that risk, for the one I love." Shun refused to give up.
He turned away. Shun had been stuck in an orphanage for so long, he didn't understand what having a family was like. "Shun, a true Father would never hurt his children or ever think of doing so. I've tried to kill you over seventy times." He paused as he made a hard stare at him, "Seventy! Does a man who attempted to kill you over seventy times deserve the right to be your Father?" Albiore gazed at Shun.
A vague answer would be if someone said they didn't care about the attempts at killing.
An unbelievable answer would be for someone to say that they forgave him.
A sappy answer would be for someone to say they just simply loved them.
But Shun, being Shun, gives an answer that did all three. He simply shrugged, "nobody's perfect."
The boy came up to his teacher. "Master, you told me at the beginning of this that I had to choose between my brother and you. I've spent half of my life with my brother and half my life with you, I can't- I refuse to make that choice, because if I can earn the Andromeda Cloth and you can be my symbolic Father; in a way, Ikki's father too, and nothing would make me happier than to have both and have an actual family." He held the mask out as to him. "Please Master!"
Albiore gazed up at him. "Shun," he whispered, trying to hold back his emotions. "You don't need to earn the Cloth, for you to call me Father," he spoke. He reached over, took the mask and gave Shun a big hug after having to fend off the boy for so long. He felt tears on his shoulders, "Shun, why are you crying?"
Shun smiled as he wiped his face. "I'm so happy. I've been wishing for this, and I never gave up. Now that you can be my Daddy, since Ikki is my brother, he has a Daddy too!"
"Does that make June, your sister as well?" Albiore joked with him.
Shun's eyes widened at it. "No… not… uh…" he bumbled, the thought never crossing his mind.
Albiore smiled and ruffled Shun's head. He would mention the thing about Shun becoming a son-in-law, but that conversation would lead to another that he was not quite ready to cross into yet. "Come on, the sun will rise soon and we need to get into position."
Shun nodded as he lay on the ground on his side, placing the mask on his right half of the face. It was quite large but at least it would be guaranteed to cover more area. He watched as Albiore went beside him and placed the mask on his left before lying beside him. Shun, fearing that a gap would cause his Father to turn to stone came closer until he tilted his forehead over to touch his Father's. He smiled a bit as his Father took his arm and wrapped it protectively around his back.
Albiore's blue eyes shifted toward the face of Medusa, watching as the sun began to rise while it's dried eyes turned an eerie red, showing that even hundreds of years later, its head was deadly as ever. He could hear the door to the room slowly open, unfortunately, to go now with half a mask would be suicide. "It looks like it's working," Albiore spoke. "But we'll have to wait here until sunset before we can get out of here."
Shun gave a slight nod, taking care not to move the mask halves. "Master, what are you thinking about?"
"Oh, just a few things," after seeing his blood strangely burn, other old questions began to follow. Why did Seika only appear in front of him and Shun, but not anyone else? Why did he get an apology from that Judge and what caused his sickness from earlier. However he turned his thoughts away as he looked at the boy. He could see Shun still smiling, but it seemed like it was something different. "What's on your mind, Shun?"
Shun shifted his eyes up to his, "I think you'll really like Ikki. He acts a lot like you. He's strong, kind and honorable."
Albiore met his eyes. "Well, to be honest, ever since you came here, I've always felt like you reminded me of when I was child."
"Really?" asked Shun.
"Yes," Albiore smiled back. "In fact, my entire family, on my Father's side, always believed in many of the things you do, about being kind to others, love everyone, even your enemies."
Shun gasped, "really?" It seemed so rare to meet anyone like himself. "Could you tell me more about them?"
Albiore nodded. "We have all the time in the world. I guess I should start with my ancestors since everything seemed to stem from that. He was a Catholic missionary who came to Argentina before it became a country. In fact, my family even has a tradition where we named the first son, after him."
"Was, his name, Albiore Esposito?" Asked Shun.
"Close. Back then, if a child is an orphan in Italy, they would give them the last name, Esposito which meant orphan. He was stuck with that. His first name wasn't quite Albiore. For a while it was Albione due to it being changed when he got there. But his real name was…"
You think you know a story, but you only know how it ends. To get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beginning.
O|==========================200 Years Ago==========================|O
"Miss Saori, how are you feeling? You aren't still dizzy, are you?"Andromeda Shun asked as he turned to Athena, dressed in her God Cloth.
The Goddess, leaning against her Nike Staff smiled while pulling her hand away from her forehead. "I'm fine Shun. I was just trying to think of what needs to be done before we head back to our own time. I feel there is something we must do."
Andromeda Shun placed his hands on his hips. He was fairly sure they got everything done. They've removed the cursing ability of Hades' Sword so that Seiya would simply receive a cut rather than a curse without changing the future too much; they have restored Saori to her rightful age, stopped the False Pope before his plans to undermine the Army of Athena while the surviving Gold Saints and Tenma went to stop the Holy War in the east.
Athena raised her hand, "Shun, your Japanese Puzzle box is in your Cloth box, yes? Please go fetch them."
Shun nodded. "Why would you need the Himitsu Bako, Miss Saori?"
The Goddess of Wisdom and War smiled as her answer. She lightly chuckled as Shun gave a puzzled look to her before he took his Nebula Chain and sent the triangle end through temporal dimensions, before retrieving his Pandora's Box that she desired. She turned to the east. It was time to ensure things happen the way she needs them to. "Come, we must leave for Italy. Everything will be clear soon enough."
Alone took his painting pallet and finished the side of the wall. He turned around toward Pandora as she sat there against the side of the wall. "Pandora, look, it's just like the sea outside of here. We don't need a window!" the boy exclaimed as he pointed toward his masterpiece. Pandora seemed so sad since they've been taken prisoner and he wanted to do his best to cheer her up.
The woman smiled slightly. "It is nice. It is a pity that we will not have long to enjoy it." Pandora spoke as she held her hands.
Alone shifted his blue eyes. The sound of the berating cries of the last of the foot soldiers was growing louder outside of their temporary prison. He knelt down. "I'm sure they will let us go. People shouldn't hang women and they saw that Athena threw her blood on me."
Pandora turned her head. "They see me not as a woman, but as a catalyst and one deserving the tight grasp of a rope around her tiny neck. Besides, the blood of Athena cannot completely purify all of Hades a part of him will forever be within you and any future sons, not like you'll survive for something to happen." She closed her eyes and turned her head away solemnly. "Please, do not waste your energy on my happiness, for my hands are those that have condemned you to this fate. Do not mourn my death when the reaper calls."
Alone walked over and sat next to her. "Why should I hate you? You've treated me very kindly, with tea and sandwiches." Even though she tried to turn him into the instrument for Armageddon, he knew she was capable of good as well. "Everyone deserves a second chance." He said as he held her hands, watching her smile, the sound of the shouting for blood growing even louder. "Tenma is dead and I don't think I can stay here. Maybe we can find somewhere private to be together?"
Pandora, touched by his words nodded. "That sounds nice."
The door shot open as four royal guards came inside. Pandora shrieked as two of the guards grabbed her.
Shion, dressed in his Pope's robes, mask and helmet stood there as he stared at Izo's pupil, Shigane, the future Capricorn Saint, sitting on a chair, polishing the blade of a sword in preparation for the execution. A local artist also waited patiently, making sure to record the moment of the death of the latest vessel of Hades.
He was going to do this in his Aries Cloth and say he was the representative of the Pope, but his face was so reddened with tears and endless mourning of his fallen brothers that he didn't want to show his face.
The Lemurian watched as the first prisoner was pulled from their cell. Pandora struggled like mad, managing to even cause one of the soldiers to jerk forward. The deaths of Hades last vessel and his right hand will at least be a start to the healing and rebuilding of Sanctuary. Suddenly a two streams of a white and pink light appeared in the sky and twinkled for a bit.
Athena, her cosmos encircling her God Cloth raised her chin, "Stop! What is the meaning of this?" she commanded.
"Goddess Athena?" Shion cried as he and everyone else immediately he went down on knee as everyone else did the same. His eyes shifted toward the brave Andromeda Saint before he turned downwards. "Goddess, we were preparing the execution for Pandora and the vessel of Hades for all the death and destruction that they have caused."
"Why? Why would you do that? The War is over!" Andromeda Shun cried as he stepped forward to see the execution block and at Pandora as she was panting hard from exhaustion. Shun bit his lip. "Let her go!" he commanded toward the two soldiers.
The two men, not wishing to defy the orders of the great and powerful Saint who stood by Athena's side immediately did as they were told.
Shun hurried to her side and helped her up.
Pandora would normally scoff at such an effort by a Saint, but yet she felt the familiar presence. "Thank you." She muttered as she rubbed her sore wrists.
"Goddess Athena, may I be permitted to speak my peace?" asked Shion as he stayed on one knee. He watched her hand gesture for him to stand up, before he did so. "This woman and the vessel inside are responsible for the deaths of most of our Army as well as innocent people."
"And this is your reason why you have sentenced them to die?" Athena questioned him as he nodded. She closed her eyes, her mind shifting through multiple possibilities before coming up to one. "You are the Pope and the one whom I trust you to make the right decision. If that is what you decree, so be it."
"Miss-Athena! You can't let her or the vessel just die." Shun gasped, making sure not to tell them her real name. Had she forgotten how much she defended him from Shaka when he tried to kill him as Hades.
Saori shifted her eyes toward the Andromeda Saint. She knew well that he would not take it well. "Great Bodyguard, I passed the decision to Pope. Please address him over this matter."
Shun bit his lip as he turned to Shion as well as everyone else. "Your Holiness, you can't just do this. Pandora and the Vessel can't harm anyone anymore nor will it bring anyone back. Besides, Hades' way dictates people should die for their crime, while Athena's follows the way of believing in forgiveness. If Athena's ways and the survival of those we love is to continue, no matter how powerful we become we must always use our cosmos with mercy in our hearts for our friends, our people, and even our enemies for if all must live, that includes our enemies. Please Your Holiness, don't do this?" He spoke as he held Pandora. He had failed to save his sister from Thanatos and Hypnos, but he won't do so this time.
The Pope felt his cheeks redden in anger. "You speak of mercy, Great Bodyguard. You may be willing to forgive," nothing was more painful for Shion than to watch friend after friend, die under the cruel hand of the Specters. He owed the Great Bodyguard much, even if this act was testing his Lemurian patience. "However, you are correct in that we need to maintain the ideas that we have sworn under." He turned to Trainee Shigane. "Remove the execution block; we will not need it today."
Shun sighed in relief as he watched it being taken away. He looked up at Miss Saori as she gave a slick smile. "Thank you, your Holiness."
Shion held a finger. "You are welcome; however, while I grant life, I desire that they be separated from one another."
Pandora gasped. "What do you mean?"
"You heard me. You will be sent to the Golden Line Villa near Cape Town; there you will be under our watch."
"I don't have blond hair!" she cried.
A soldier merely began to escort her. "That's okay, we'll dye it." He laughed as he began to cart her off.
Pandora continued to jerk at the guard's hands. "If you think you can separate me from my King, you have another thing coming! Someday I will find him! I will find my King and we'll be together!" she screamed as the men took her away.
"Not while I'm in charge," thought Shion.
"Thank you, for your kindness. I know it was hard, but you did the right thing."
Shion turned around as Shun stood there in front of him smiling. "Yes, it was hard, but I owe you and Tenma, rest his soul, for all that you have done. If it weren't for you, we would still be under a False Pope and I fear the Goddess would have been killed. I am sorry for not believing you."
Shun looked down, "well, you had ever right to question it. You didn't have an Andromeda Saint until two hundred years later," he spoke to him through his cosmos. Shun felt awkward saying that. His eyes shifted as an artist was standing there, drawing him. "Your Holiness, is that man going to record me?" He spoke nervously through his cosmos.
"Don't worry, I'll make sure to tell him to blur your face and draw a shawl over your Cloth so it doesn't cause problems in the future," spoke Shion before the door opened up once more.
"Sir, what about this one?" asked the royal guard as he held the arm of a blond haired boy with blue eyes.
Shion narrowed his eyes. "I'll speak with him later," he commanded. "Put him in his cell until then."
Shun felt his jaw drop as he saw the boy, dressed in catholic robes standing there quietly. He reached into his pocket and pulled a paper copy of an old family photo that was given to him after he passed his test in the Court of King Cepheus. Shun gazed at it, shifting his eyes back and forth between the two as the two soldiers pulled the child back into the building.
Shion looked down. "Shun, is there something wrong?" He asked as he could see the slight wet gleam in his eye.
"I…" Shun muttered. "I was just thinking of my Fa… Master Albiore... that's all." He took his sleeve as he wiped his eyes. Even after several months, it was still difficult for him to accept that he was gone.
The Lemurian grew curious. "Master Albiore?" He asked. The Andromeda Cloth was the hardest to give out due to its many deadly tests and the requirements needed for it. In fact, most will honestly declare that it was harder to pass than a Gold Cloth. "Could you tell me more about him?"
Shun was more than happy too. "Master Albiore was the greatest teacher in Sanctuary. He was very strong and knew every form of martial arts, weaponry, in a fair fight, he was undefeatable! But he was always kind, even when forced to do things that go against his conscious. He was Argentinean, loved to learn, carve. He would listen to others and help them when he could but he did love to talk for hours. especially about history and Diego Maradona."
"Wait a minute!" Shion gasped. "Where is this mythical Argentina? Who is this legendary Maradona that you speak of?"
Shun's eyes lit up. "Argentina, it is a wonderful land filled with wonderful food, the greatest authors, where people are free to have a mullet without fear that the eighties are over. There, it has the greatest soccer team, at least in his opinion, of all time. Soccer is so revered; it has its own religion there. Since every religion needs a God, the God of soccer is Diego Maradona!" Shun clamored repeating the words that were endowed in him in his quest to prove to everyone that he was better than Pelé.
Shion absorbed every word from the child, even though he had no idea where Argentina could be still. "I see. I will always keep that in mind, if I happen to meet this Albiore."
Shun smiled. It was so nice to talk about his teacher. He turned around to the building. "What are you going to do about that boy? You aren't going to kill him are you?"
Shion sighed. "No, however, even though I will spare him, I will make sure I will never have to see his presence again. He will be sent out far far away to that Río de la Plata area in the Americas. I suppose since he seems very devoted to Catholicism, we can easily have him be a missionary and let him do that, just as long as I don't have to deal with his presence ever again."
"Excuse me Pope; may I see you for a moment?" Spoke Athena as she interrupted the two. Shun had passed the tidbits of knowledge just as she foresaw. He spoke just enough for Shion to be intrigued and will later send people to save Albiore's life, but not enough for him to suspect. Now she must complete the last move before she and Shun must return to the future. "Great Bodyguard, why don't you attend to the prisoner in the cell while I speak to the Pope."
Shun looked toward the building. "Okay!"
Miss Saori raised her metal gloved hand. "Great Bodyguard, before you go, please hand over your Himitsu Bako to me. You won't get it back, but it is very important."
Shun nodded as he opened his Pandora's Box and handed it to her. "Miss Athena, do you need the instructions for the first nine hundred moves?" But before he could finish, he gasped as she instantly began to solve it, demonstrating her Goddess like wisdom.
She raised her hand, "I do not need them, I will however take them for the future," she shifted her eyes to Shigane, gazing at the zodiac sign on his trainer, "Capricorn Saint, the most loyalist Zodiac sign amongst the Gold Saints. Great Bodyguard ,go!" She commanded. If everything goes right, she will create a new future, where Seiya will not only survive but the Gold Saints will not have to sacrifice themselves.
Shun hurried to the building. It felt odd seeing the future Gift of Alone orphanage in its original state. The corridors were so well painted; it almost felt like he was entering a new world. He can't believe that Alone could do all of this in the short amount of time he was there. Then again, his art skills were so good that it was almost supernatural. He turned the corner where two guards were at before he asked to enter.
The blond haired boy sat against the wall before looking up and began to approach him. The boy smiled as he reached for Shun's hand. "Thank you, I heard from the guards that you were the one who saved Pandora's life as well as my own!" He looked at the Andromeda's Saint's face. "Everyone said you came from the sky with the goddess. Are you an angel?" he asked.
Shun shook his head. "No of course not!" he replied bashfully.
Alone raised an eyebrow, "I don't know, you just seem so kind to be human and powerful too… just like an angel!" His face saddened, "you're the first person I've ever met who seemed truly kind… and is actually respected. Everywhere I go, people keep telling me I'll be taken advantage like I'm too gullible," Alone sighed before looking up, "sorry for trailing off."
Shun shook his head. "No it's okay!" He touched his heart, "I know exactly how you feel. Once upon a time, people told me the same things! You should always try to follow the peaceful path, no matter how hard it becomes. Even if wrongs are committed, Justice will always prevail in the end… somehow."
Alone brightened up, "that's very good advice. But while I want to continue treating others nicely, I don't like it when people take advantage of me. What if someone came over and put another evil God in me?"
Shun gasped."Well, if you are smart, they can't do that. Learning is very important and you should take advantage of it wherever you will go." Shun wished he had his Father when he and Ikki were growing up, and maybe he wouldn't be seen as naïve as he was now. "Always remember that!"
Alone nodded as he clutched his hands, "yes, of course! Is there anything else?"
Shun placed his hands on his hips. He can't believe he's giving advice to the ancestor of his teacher. This was very important. What else could he tell him? Shun snapped his fingers, "Oh… make sure… you have at least one son every generation… it is very important!"
"Sons?" gasped Alone nervously. "But, I-that would require doing gross stuff. Celibacy is so nice and clean! Jesus believed in celibacy too!"
Shun looked down at his hands as he noticed his hand grow a little transparent. "Well, you need to! Especially on the son part!" Shun quickly spoke as he hid his hand.
Alone sighed reluctantly, at his new task in life, "uh, okay, but only if I'm married. But what if I get all girls?"
"Try, try and try! Never give up!" Shun cried as he touched his hand from behind, feeling it grow solid once more. That was a close one.
Alone nodded. If he was forced to have a son, he kind of wished that Pandora wouldn't be so far away. She did promise to find him. He's sure she will honor it, and maybe she could be the one he can try, try and try on, "anything else?"
Shun looked up at the paintings around the room. "Well, I guess in terms of painting, you shouldn't do that either."
Alone gasped, "no more painting? But I love art!" He headed to the wall, "I know that painting living things will kill them but, as long as I don't complete the pictures, nothing happens and nothing dies!" He spoke as he pointed to the faceless man in the boat that he painted on the wall for Pandora.
"Yes, but it makes people uncomfortable. If you're forced to paint or color, either do it in pencil or only do the outline, just don't complete anything!" Shun was being serious. If the ability to paint things to death carried over time, one of Master's ancestors could be in big trouble. "You should take up a different hobby!"
"Great Bodyguard! Where are you?"
Shun turned his head as he heard Miss Saori's voice. It must be time for them to go back to the future. "I have to go now!"
Alone took a step forward, "can I watch you?" he asked earnestly.
Shun nodded. "Okay!" he said as he grabbed his hand. It felt so odd being around Alone. It was almost like his Master had shrunk to his age. He watched as guards followed them as they left the colorful building and went outside.
Athena watched the two as they gave one last hug. She smiled before she reached out and grabbed Shun's hand watching him gaze lovingly at the blonde Catholic boy surrounded by the two guards. She raised her Nike staff, signaling to Chronos she was ready to return, while looking forward to his reaction of how they managed to succeed despite the odds.
"Bye Alone!" cried Shun as he and Athena floated for a moment while the wild winds of time began to surround them.
Alone gasped as he watched them soar into the sky and disappear. "Goodbye Great Bodyguard." He wiped a slight tear at his eye. "I know it may not be possible, but I hope we meet again."
Final Author's Notes
When I first began this story, Lost Canvas was still going on. Based on the Lost Canvas version and with there being the existence of Sui, I thought, why not make a story where Shun was not Alone (yes, the title of this story gave out the twist along with the last chapter ;) but rather his teacher. I thought, well Daidalos was a great artist in Greek times, he came from Argentina where it is primarily Catholic and had many Italian immigrants, plus he's blonde and has blue eyes.
My idea was that since the two were alike, what if something happened and the Master, rather than continue to be a pacifist, changed and choose violence? Their lives would parallel where as Shun grew up, the Master grew down.
But I wasn't sure if people would like that since there were so many that felt Alone was Shun's descendent. In fact, in Sana said there were like three people that were a dead ringer for Shun and I was like, no, Alone =/= Shun but I couldn't say anything or else it gives away the story ending.
In the first half the story, I left a number of plot ties, where the Master could be Erechtheus (The Alchemist who created the Andromeda Cloth that was mentioned in the end of the first chapter) just so I could have that escape. When Lost Canvas began to have Alone acting psychotic and people were really feeling he couldn't be descended from Shun that was when I started adding more ties to Albiore. I admit that the weird stuff during the Demon Palace arc made me dislike Alone, but it did help me as far as this story is concerned.
Many of the conversations, especially between Albiore/Pandora and Valentine came dangerously close to revealing this story's final twist in this arc that I was worried that it would be given out before I reached this chapter. In fact, in chapter 4F, I even had Valentine say to Daidalos "Yes, my King," and in the last one refer to the possibility of Albiore leaving Sainthood and becoming a ceremonial King with Shun.
I know I keep mentioning Lost Canvas Alone and not Next Dimension Alone, but the problem is that ND Alone doesn't have any development. I hope the ending doesn't make anyone upset. I needed someway to make the story memorable since we know neither the Shun or the Master would die in the last test.
I can't tell you how surreal it is to be done with this story. I'll probably go back and correct old grammar mistakes, refine certain chapters (namely the ones in the Second Part since my worst writing happened during that time when my Grandfather died and my Mother landed in the Emergency room with severe burns) and I may make a much more condensed version of this story since it is close to 800,000 words and I had a request about making it shorter on Deviant Art.
I'm not sure what to do next after. I'm definitely taking a break from doing long stories, and perhaps work on a few one shots or even a few extra stories from this one that I couldn't fit in before starting another long project. Now that I am free, if there is any requests, I'll be happy to take them. Even Saint Seiya Omega. So far, other than the weird jewel transformations and the cheap animation, they haven't butchered my childhood. I'm even subscribing to Crunchyroll just so I can see the episodes with English subs and help contribute to the anime industry.
I hope you all enjoyed my little two year project. Thank you for all the support throughout that time, especially those who were there from the beginning.