Disclaimer: Suikoden Series belongs to Konami
THE WANDERER (a.k.a "Everybody's mad")
(WARNING: NO SERIOUS PLOT, just a series scenes of wanderer; plus typos, grammar errors, ect..)
note: from now on, this is going to be much simpler-narrow minded just for fun thingy- and lack of details.
I kind of lazy and lost my interest on this one anyway, and this project started with a "not serious plot".
[Chapter XIV: "There It Begins..."]
That is why... I ... I haven't done anything good.
My father... Ted... everyone...Gremio that almost gone too...
/Nothing has changed./
The war is still going on.
/It's endless circle./
I live and keep living in endless misery.
/With greater and greater sin./
/Can someone feel this pain?/
I kind of understand why Luc probably did that.
Who am I to say?
Didn't I tell him wise words before?
/...I...I am loosing my self.../
"TIR ! GET A HOLD ON YOURSELF! STOP THIS NONSENSE!" Tir shouted purposely. He inhaled air. Then he exhaled it forcefully. "I'M DONE WITH THIS CRAP!" He punched himself in the face. "Wow, that hurts! "
He smiled. "Tsk... I almost gone crazy... well... there's no use thinking like that. No, I will never fall into that state anymore." He smiled.
"...Ahh man... where are you, Ryu? I don't think I could always keep my sanity. " Tir McDohl said lightly. He resumed his fishing to ease his mind.
The ship was far from luxury. Not that it's comfortable. It was just a small basic ship Radat Town provided; the one common merchants used to deliver goods for trading. Sierra didn't think she'd travel with such vessel when she said yes to that man. Not to mention how far they had walked before reached Radat. That man had already spent all of his remaining potches for goods in the trading post in Radat; now he had no money left in him, or at least that's what he claimed. A matter of confident, miscalculation, reckless, or simply like to play with risks and gambling opportunities. What a man he was... and he said he was a strategist. Fortunately, the journey would end soon. This long tiresome journey would end soon.
"Such a long journey, isn't it ? I thought I would get a better hospitality from an important man like you,"
The man who had made her suffer through this journey and made her left her friends was standing there calmly, gazing into the lake, with a small notebook covered with leather in his hands. He was unaware of surrounding, deep in his own thought.
The word made him aware of her presence. "Sst... You did it again. Call me Ted for now, Miss Lilac.. and we are from Toto village, looking for your long lost father." Her reaction shifted to annoy, thus he said, "For now."
Hmph, you make me remember Lord Ryu. "What's with the make up story? I don't think I can actually trust you now, my dear childhood friend."
Gareth smirked, "What is it? Is that trader over there with his unpleasant smelly fish bothering you that much? Lady, just ease your mind. I too, hate to be in this ragged clothes, wearing this eye patch that tainted my beauty, and live with that story. It's not my taste at all. But, you know that my last name is too much attracting people. Many want my head too." Ah, and that was not the actual case. Gareth was unsure at first, whether he'd come back to Muse or leave Dunan. But now he had made his mind. "and this journey has been fun, hasn't it? It's good to break out the routines. Besides, we could learn to know each other better. And with those skills of yours, Miss..., well I think traveling with you confirms my safety."
"...and that is good enough for you to hide behind a woman?" an ordinary girl would likely pout childishly saying that, but she just stated that calmly with a questioning tone, that usual expressionless face, and alluring red eyes.
"I am an intellectual person; I don't like barbaric ways to defend myself. An important man like me always has at least an escort. Don't you ever hear? A famous Falena Prince always hid behind a pretty young girl's back. If a hero -who should be a king but fail- like him could, why a strategist like me should feel ashamed of that tiny fact?" He ended his sentence with an over-confident smile.
"...Just see if what you said is true."
"It is. Oh, once we arrive at Defenian, which is...not so long anymore with this current speed, I'll meet with my acquaintance and declare myself. Thus you'll get the most luxurious ship Defenian has, and my men will escort us from Radat with good hospitality. "
"...I don't see why it must be so secretive."
"I need to gather information unnoticed. Tinto apparently has not yet fallen completely... and I must know what the citizens think about the war. Hey...what's about that expression? You'll understand that I am indeed unpredictable once you live with me. Oh, and basic concept to survive is...accept luxury, still go on and live without one, fight when needed, avoid when it's useless, move on when no hope, sustain, and live."
Are you trying my qualities? Nash, see... there is someone who is full of himself beside you. He talks about survival, with me? I've lived long enough base on that word. Too long. What a weird guy. "... Are you really 27 years old and just bear that rune for ten years?"
He smiled. A very charming yet kind and innocent smile, "Of course. Keep that secret I've told you in our journey here. Consider you're lucky. Do not ever mention about it either."
"I think...I haven't heard all of your stories."
"Ha ha... we've just met despite the long journey. Once we know each other better, I'll tell you everything...It'd be no lies between us, hm? If you're doubt, just unboard this ship, abort your journey, we'll be enemies then, after all...our long conversation had been too long..."
Her red eyes flickered. She was a bit annoyed, but unsure. Did he just threaten her? This man should be easy to handle...not even a worthy opponent.
"You have a good sense, Mistress...Much better than average. You should know. It's not a make up story, isn't it?"
"You haven't shown it to me directly. I don't know which one."
He was still smiling. "I'll show you in our wedding day. Ah, it's Defenian! We've arrived!"
The wind blew. The lake was so pretty. The gentle wind played with her long silver streaks now. Where would this wind bring her, Sierra thought.
Finally. Defenian... once was known as Dunan Liberation Castle to the folks; the name Lord Ryu gave... Sierra already forgotten the word. The memories during that war looming back though. She sighed. Hmm... I wonder if I step here once again with you, Hans... my poor.. poor...Lord Ryu...
Gareth had already hopped down the ship, with two sacks full of his tradeable items there too. Now, he was offering his hand down there, waiting Sierra to hop down, unboard the ship.
"If we part our ways here, we'll be enemies then?", she asked.
He smiled widely. "Yes." Still, the smile didn't look sarcastic. It's just a warning? Or simply honesty?
Sierra smiled in return, welcoming his hand, as she jumped down from the ship. It'd be a bit interesting to see...She didn't trust whole story, but she'd like to see...and she'd like to know him more; after all, what harm could a 27 year old do to her, the Coven Mistress? Nash, let me play for awhile, will you?
"...castle.", she whispered among the crowds.
"I am going to the trading post first. Then from here...- Miss Lilac? Hm... She's gone,huh?"
Oh, so 'she' was Sierra. Then, Gareth made his way to obtain his money.
Right, and became rich in an instant.
He explored every tiny bits of this place. Yes, the place once used of a legendary hero as his so called headquarters during the famous war. It had grown to be a town, although small. It was said that long ago, its size was so small that just consisted of a huge castle: the main castle; and several houses and shops surrounding it. Could be perfect for home base of a very odd army, but not sufficient to be called a town, nor it provided what it's needed for civilization. But look at it now! It had been grown as its size expanded during last century, to be a beautiful small town, quite popular across Dunan, good for business; a busy town that also selling tourism. Yes, tourism, with its historical site (that huge castle), a famous 'Bath House' that claimed as the first hot bath ever built in Dunan, famous restaurant that served best cuisine in the world (or so it called), the famous art building where theatrical, art, music, and dance events always held frequently, the famous library that held important and rare books although much smaller than Greenhill's, well-known armories and blacksmith legacy, the busy marketplace, and the beautiful lake. The lake was not just about scenery. The old part of it still kept as a mini port where the ships dock, and fishing was permitted. A packet of tourism, huh? What a waste... How would the famous 'Lord Ryu' think when seeing his headquarters became this kind of joke? The citizens seemed living happily in prosperity though. Hmm, I wonder if the taxes here are high...
The government must quite value this place as one of their important source of income. Even, as absurd as it could be, the landlord had built his own knights, much like old Knights of Matilda in ancient times. It's the old treaty which said that this region received a slight different political compensation. They could rule the land as they wanted to some degree of liberty; almost like a small state governed by independent lord inside a republic; while the state itself was an official district of this Dunan Republic. The citizens were still Dunan citizens that led by, and elected the President of Dunan, sang Dunan National Anthem, paid taxes to the government, raised Dunan flags high, protected by Dunan National Army, and did everything a Dunan citizens supposed to did, had their rights as Dunan citizens as well. A loose end... Isn't it too dangerous? Rumour said that the landlord also has his own soldiers... Shouldn't it be stopped before revolts appear?
Gareth was noticing every part of this small town.
Hmmm... but no wonder those Dunan founders picked this as their base... This place could be a strategic place if the war broke... Well let's see... This could be... Mm... Right and that one...
He examined the town, while looking at the map he bought at the marketplace. And there is small port behind the castle... And the forest outskirt the town...
I can never keep up with my own shadow.
I feel like useless and ashamed now.
I am just a shell of my past.
I don't have any confidence to face it.
I am no longer Chris Ligthfellow that everybody looked upon.
Chris Lightfellow was sighing, she was still sitting in a very beautiful garden in Holy Kingdom Harmonia. She couldn't get information about outside world. This made her frustrated. She felt helpless and useless. But she wouldn't just sit doing nothing, right? She had always known, that once she decided to follow his father's step in pure innocence and then started to pursue and hold tight her own beliefs and ideals, she unknowingly had chosen the path to become a strong and dependable person she'd become now. She knew it also meant that she had long lost the rights to become a typical woman who could cry upon silly matters and always had another person to take care of her. That beauty of a weak girl who could be either a pure innocent one that begged to be loved, taken care, and protected, or the one who would shamelessly exposing her beauty to manipulate the world, she had lost that luxury.
At least, she could be Lady Chris, right? Shame on her if she regretted.
Finally, the main castle.
"Halt!", a guard stopped his steps.
"What is this? I am going to see your Lord.", Gareth Silverberg commanded, instead of saying it politely.
"The castle is closed for time being, due to some circumstances. No one permitted to enter."
"I say I am going to see Lord Frederic. Is he inside, in one of the rooms in this huge castle? If I can't enter, then bring him here."
"HEY! Who are you to say that!"
"*Clear throat* I believe you need to make appointment first to see him, Sir. But Lord Frederic has refused to meet anybody in these times. Pardon us if we are a bit rude, Sir.", another guard approached him. "And the castle is...uh- under reconstruction."
"Just say my name: Gareth Silverberg."
"G- Gareth Silverberg?"
Then both of them discussed. One insisted that a suspicious guy like him couldn't be trusted, especially judging at his appearance that didn't look like the famous Silverberg. Silverberg was supposedly in Muse or still trapped in Tinto siege anyway. And that cocky arrogant young man in front of him couldn't be a Silverberg. The other guard said their head could be at stake if the man was really a Silverberg and suggested to let the Lord knew first.
"But the Lord can't be disturbed now! and we just low rank guards! Should we tell Mr..."
Gareth bored to see that conversation, thus he went back to the port. Rumour said that there was an unused old passage that connected the port to the castle. He loved puzzles, and he did love adventure. No need to spend much times, now Gareth had already stood in front of a sealed entrance, with just a lame small wooden sign "Forbidden", and rocks that blocked the way. Do they really intend to forbid this passage? It doesn't even challenge an amateur thief...
A sleepy useless guard.
A cigarette was thrown within the garbage and the woods near the dock.
"Hey, calm down!Look this is lake, OK?!you have water everywhere!hahaha"
- "arrgh! No!quick!"- "Sir Guards!This port is all about wood!"-"No, it'll spread! Here, like this! Get away!Let me handle this, now move!"
A weak wind spell from the scroll.
"?! What is it?STORM?! At time like this?But this is lake, not sea! This lake has never...!"
A true wind spell from his rune to unblock his passage.A loud noise heard when the wooden sign and rocks shattered into pieces, but not that the people would care and hear anyway, with that little fire accident, panicking mass , and the wild wind mistaken as sign of storm that shook the calm lake and ships on it.
"Whew. What an incident! Haha... such a relief, eh? The God must be protecting this land no matter what... That wind almost give us severe panic attack that the flame became bigger. Who would think that it also extinguished the flame with the water from the lake? Ha ha... odd but funny! Funny we have fooled ourselves! Attention! No one injured, right? Get lost everybody! Back to our jobs!Dismiss! Dismiss! Hahaha... ...ah... ...I think I should report this incident to my senior first. Hmm... oh, the wind also destroy this, huh?", the sleepy guard squatted down to pick remaining pieces of the "Forbidden" sign. He smiled, 'this could be a project', he thought. He'd probably get a good commission to fix this thing.
Meanwhile, Gareth had already walked inside the castle and explored it. A good one... don't tell me the legend really lived here... Did he even deserve this? But the castle had been too quiet. Is there nobody here? It is well maintained, but where are the maids, soldiers, and the officers here? Isn't it odd? Does Frederic hide something?
He found a strange big stone stood with names written on it. 108 stars of destiny, huh? So it wasn't just a mere legend..
Sierra then walked in, unnoticed.
"Stone Tablet! You find it to your liking, then..."
"Hey, where have you been? I was looking for you."
"The graveyard. Take your time, I am going to the rose garden first. I wonder if it's still there..."
"You've been here?!"
She has left. What an eerie lady.
A beautiful young lady with fair skin, big eyes, fore fringe, long dark brown hair, and innocent feature was trembling. She had bruises in her body that she had just ended a big war. But the bruises and fatigue couldn't compare to how broken her heart was. Empty feeling, and confused. Alright, she had almost always been confused, but this time, she was confused for real. Her heart raced madly as she ran to her best. She was scared. She was sad. Extremely sad. It was blurry and fuzzy that she couldn't even recall clearly why she was here, except for her one desperate wish. Out of sudden, she just arrived here crying. But then, she's just being a target of lots of soldiers pursuing her, with strange style of clothing...
*pant* *pant* huff...huff...
The castle, was different somehow. The familiar faces were gone too. But this was it. She had just realized it several minutes ago, that almost made her heart broken more. But the layout... here and there...
She ran and ran...
There was that room, that hardly called a room, but whatever, that place was almost like her home which she often missed for. She wanted to come to that place, if this was really that castle. A place where she could help her kind Lord every time he needed, where she always greeted him with her best smile. She had never left the place unless her lord asked her too. And she would patiently wait for him, who was (probably) her only friend in this huge castle, to come home. Her lord often brought him in every journey he took. But she'd wait; he would always stand there then, guarding his precious stone. They both loved to stand, didn't they? She knew how cold he was toward her, despite how much efforts she took to befriend with him. Always rude words came out from his mouth. She knew his staff was much cool to see, his robe much look nicer than hers, his rune much stronger than hers, he was a brain-type person while she was too brainless. She knew, she knew it, so please... please... she promised she wouldn't dare to disturb him ever... just be there, please...
Just like old times, guarding that precious stone of him. She wouldn't bother, she would just look at him quietly. Please. She wouldn't whine, she wouldn't cry, she wouldn't giggle or desperately try initiating talks if those were bothering him that much. She promised she wouldn't mumble odd words like waffu or whatever during her sleeps. She would be a very very very nice girl, so please just be there, standing like a stone guarding your precious stone!
She didn't want to believe his death. She didn't want to believe what people of that cold castle said that he was a villain or something. Sure, she liked lady Chris, Master Geddoe, and Hugo, but they just... They just misunderstood! That cold castle never been her home! This castle had always been her true home as far as she remembered. And- and- and they forced her to be a part of his death! No, she knew he was a nice person; the nicest person could be in this world. Naïve; and behind his cold attitude, he cared people much more than others, in different scale that average people would think and do; hard worker; believed in himself and his own ideals. He was suffering, but she was too dumb too understood that he had been suffered that much. She didn't want to believe she had been an important part of his death.
It was just a tragic dream, wasn't it?
Or...those happy moments just silly dreams of her.
She'd deny it forever.
Yes, she would just wake up this time in some beautiful land like usually, with her usual cheerful self and warm smiles, to experience a new story of her, where she could find the one who needed her. And this time, it would be happy moments end with a happy ending. Yes. She would wake up after a big hang over. She would smile. She knew. Everything else was just dreams... dreams. Not real.
Meanwhile, Gareth was still looking at the stone of tablet. He was amazed. He concluded Ryu had a true rune. He was deep in thinking for a second.
Tenkai... hm... a tenkai. Dead already? The rune... could it be Toto's sealing tales were true? If this person is still alive...
...! Could this be ...him? How to bait this person out from his hiding? ...
"Sierra" ? So, her name is here...
Hmm... there are several names with darker color... Nanami...Kiba...
This is just like...-
[*Young lady's POV*]
"STOP!", the guards yelled.
"Nooo...H-Help me... Luc! LUC!"
Who..who is there? L—L Luc? He's not dead, right? Oh, maybe this is...past time? That time? Then she could warn him about the outcome. But no, he'd hate her forever.
No... it's someone else..., Of course. Her heart sank and the tears was even worse.
"No! I am not! This place...this place had always been..-"
She jumped and hugged the red mahogany hair man who's standing there next to the stone she treasured much like that person had treasured it in past time, crying, scared and desperate. She really wished it was him, not this stranger.
[*back to Gareth POV*]
"HEY,YOU!", Gareth yelled. Intruder? She said no.... He was the intruder, right?
"...ah, probably my end is here.", she sobbed and forced a sad smile. She was not willing to fight back those guard, huh?
"Who are you? Identify yourself, boy! You teamed up with this girl?! Explain yourself."
Crap! Hey, what is she trying to do? It's not even a knife.The confused lady now busy scratching a name in the stone tablet with her staff, ignoring the fact that she was being pursued and now cornered by those castle guards. She almost like a depressed girl who had ready to give up her life. Gareth noticed that now the tenkan star had no readable name, and the lady now was busy erasing the name "Viki" with her staff. Gareth caught this and thought for awhile. She sobbed. She was about to sneeze. Gareth had already held her mouth. "Rose garden, where is it? I don't like to kill those innocent guards, you know...", Gareth whispered.
In a beautiful small garden with flowers, Sierra was standing in the corner, a perfect place to observe without being noticed. She felt the wind; so soothing, gentle, and refreshing. The scent of fresh roses was nice. Green leaves were just the perfect match for various colors of roses, with several other types of flowers in between. Although very unlikely, she had loved this place. It had not been changed that much. The gentle strategist often invited her to have nice cups of tea together here. Now, two snobbish women in nice dresses were sitting there instead, drinking their expensive tea.
"Seriously...what is he thinking, Mother? We're not nobles, this is a republic! I can not help but think of the Burrows Family of Falena..."
"I don't think he dares... Just ease your worries."
"The way we live is odd enough. I mean, aren't mayors in other cities being elected? But this land has always been in care of our family since-"
"-And you're not grateful with that? Finish your tea and be a good little girl."
"I am a lady now. I feel this is not right-the way we live."
"Then stop asking so much questions, just like a lady."
"He hides something! He'll do revolts!"
"Silence! Be careful of what you're saying, dear!"
Sierra pictured both of them there. She smiled a lot between scent of teas and simple-minded chats; what a pleasant relaxing times during the war. Klaus...was it his name? Well, Sierra had had a nice thought, how it would be wonderful if Nash did that instead. That man, Mr. Spy who wandering almost all the time, was really a helpless guy who worshiped his Harmonian business more than anything after all. Nash, Lord Ryu... Well, that was probably the happiest time she had in her life.
"AH! I think- I saw- I saw something, Mother! Someone hears our con-"
Did I surprise the girl? It was funny, she's usually expert in being undetected, and she really took pride in it.
"Mmmf!" And she was the one who surprised right now.
Suddenly, she was grabbed forcefully from behind, and her mouth was muffled tightly by a hand.
KIDNAP??How dare!...! No! It's...
"Sst! It's me."
"...The castle is almost empty. What are you going to do now? Will we meet your friend, Lord Fredric now?" For a person who claims to be weak, he's quite fast.
"You obtain the name, huh? No, since I've found a better method. We'll just leave unnoticed then. I left Muse without telling anybody anyway. Gareth Silverberg couldn't be found here, right?"
Gareth then introduced her to his new companion, a beautiful lady with fore fringe, with a soaked and reddened eyes.
"VIKI!Oh, it's really you!", Sierra exclaimed happily.
"I don't know you!", the girl yelled.
"You... haven't met me? Well, I am Sierra Mikain. I've met the other version of you."
"I—I..." She cried.
"Enough! You make her scared.. You, teleport us from this place. Muse. You know it,right? Muse."
"I- I can't. I won't do it anymore."
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?!", he lost his cool. What a gentleman he claimed himself, that he grabbed the lady forcefully and shook her body in annoyance.
Steps of soldiers heard. The rich family were being asked politely, while the three of them were hiding behind brushes.
"Hey, stop it!", Sierra hissed. "...and it looks like she's wounded. Did the soldiers do this?"
And Viki collapsed in his arms.
"Oh, well... Fine. Hold her. We need my name, after all. Tsk! This will take long... " He undid his eyepatch, made sure his hair look good, and rearrange his clothes. He stepped out. "Ahem. What are you looking for? Bring me directly to Lord Frederic. I am Gareth Silverberg. He'll understand when he sees me. And one false move, you'll not only lose your position, but your head also. So, shall we?" he smiled.
=Royal Castle of New Highland Kingdom=
It was a luxurious and well-decorated and beautiful big-size room. Everything looked expensive. The king size bed, artistic paints on the walls, smooth vases, shining black marble floor, white comfortable furry carpets, tall crafted windows, and soft cushions, were just a rough description of how cozy the room was. The theme was scarlet red and elegance brown, with hints of gold. There was a desk made of fine wood with bookshelves full of books stood next to it in the corner, while in the opposite side there was a round medium-sized table made of glass, with grapes, apples and various fruits, completed with a set of tea set on its surface. The atmosphere was nice, not too hot nor too cold. 04.00 a.m.; and sound of water flowing was heard from the bathroom. Someone was humming inside. The hot steam leaked out but soon vanished into thin air as the bathroom door opened, revealing a young man in brand new tailored royal clothes. He had spent several minutes inside the bathroom just to fixed himself to be presentable as his current name. He had seriously taken care of his privacies these days and almost took every precaution needed. He stepped out from the bathroom already dressed in his chosen outfit: fine blue Highland clothes,with grey and gold accent which design he had picked himself and somehow ended resembling old Culgan's outfit. Funny though, that old loyal soldier probably caught his attention in his younger days that time, that his outfit was what he could remember of old Highland Kingdom. "I am Vincent Goldenline... , right." He continued humming.
Vincent, young man with unruly messy blond hair that just his shoulder length, a pair of glasses that covered cold eyes altered with wicked ones, who always carried a sword although just for showing purpose. He barely could wield the sword, and everyone knew it. That was the truth years ago, but now he could really wield that sword that his appearance also slightly differ by a more unruly hair and a slight linear tiny scars along his left cheekbone. It was a joke at first, a short-and-simple minded unplanned acts, the name and everything, but now he had come to this.
"Damn it! Living in luxury is a bliss! Ha ha..." He cleared his throat, "ahem, better get some composure and act as the real Vincent... ", he picked the grapes on the table. "taste good...
Eh? Tea? Not coffee? Next time I'll ask some coffee..."
It's so peaceful here... maybe going back here is not a bad idea... This is heaven! Well, although looks like I lost my ol' bro because he had changed to be that too damn serious and worry-rat King, this is good! "my... might eat much then! I need to grow my hair after all! this fake one would attract trouble later, haha... ah this one is delicious too... And they respect me not to have any maids in my room!I like this!" ...Alberto, he just worry too much, doesn't he? It looks like a very peaceful land for me, and Tinto is not a threat, Dunan... Well,they wouldn't want to reclaim this land. He's just worrying too much...
Ah, a taste of heaven!
It was a boy, no, a young man in all black suit. The same red bandana was there around his head, circling his copper color hair. He was sitting, leaning by a brick wall of supposedly prison-like wall, barely lit by just a small torch nearby. Everything else was dark though. His left leg was straight, while his other leg bend slightly to his knee, where his chin resided just above his left hand. What a shadow it was, formed by the torch, almost clearly whispering the gloomy air. Such an ignorant gesture; except for those eyes. Those sad yet piercing blue eyes were still cold and threatening, didn't show any fear. The spirits on those eyes might be dead though.
"So, what are you going to do with me now?", those eyes asked, despite the clear ignorance. The boy knew. The boy was mocking. The boy didn't care.
"Will you...forget?", the boy asked him.
The boy was expressionless, yet waiting for the answer.
Then the boy was about to smile in arrogance -just perfectly when he stole that smile instead. Now, he was the one that smiling in arrogance. "...you're just disgusting. Incapable. Weak. It's me who smiles. And I will. Just begone!I am tired of you already."
"...Look at you now...how you've become a low person." Cold. Calm tone, low voice, but cold.
"Who do you think you are?!"
"...That should be my question."
"What about those damn eyes! I declare now: I am going to abandon you, who are helpless. I am just helping you to mend everything you're incapable of. Don't worry, my plan is good. You'll understand this someday."
He started to laugh like a maniac mad man; but true joy was there.
The serious boy who almost never smiled in his entire life flash a brief smile in oddity; the smile faded as he asked coldly, "Will she forgive?"
It pierced right through the wound. He shouted furiously, frustrated; in defeat.
"YOU! I despise your presence!" he shouted as he threw small knives to the boy.
(those cold eyes reacted spontaneously)
-when those knives just hit the stony wall instead and fell; one was caught between the boy's finger.
"...'despise'?'Incapable?' 'Weak'? That's not how you talk in the past."
"Ha ha... I am going to be the King."
" ?!ARRGH! YOU!" Now he charged the boy with his sword at full speed.
"You forget who I am.", the boy succeeded in evading the sudden attack. The sword fell. "...you are just a strategist, aren't you?"
"...Ha ha ha...it's funny, really...You're just- so serious! Damn, it! Can you just enjoy the moments you're living? Ha ha ha... What a pitiful person you are."
The boy ignored him. That face was still expressionless. He stopped his laughter, hilarious feeling shifted to anger just in an instant. Thus, he grabbed the boy by the collar, "Realize! Arrrgh! Just realize! You- why won't you realize?! REALIZE! SEE!LISTEN!SPEAK UP YOUR MIND!" He shook the boy's shoulder. "Open your eyes! Damn it!Open your eyes!"
The same cold yet calm tone spoke, "...You ruined everything I did." Sacrifices. Tears. Lives. Probabaly loves.
Realizing that he was a bit carried out, he said calmly, "Ah. This is just a game. I just need to have fun. That's all."
" 'Fun' ? Are you sure what you always want is that word? Isn't it 'peace' what you've been seeking for?"
".. and... I like to play hero. Don't you like to play hero? You did."
"So this is what happens...I regret everything. If I knew this would be like this...I- I always thought I'd sacrifice anything. No single soul should bear this burden. No, the last victim should be me. And I was arrogant enough to think that I could protect lots of innocent people if I kept it for myself that I had taken an oath not to ever give up, how cruel it could be."
"That is...noble. Haha... You're so serious. Just bury your precious old idealism! The thing what I most hate from you is that. It's always about people; others; how about you? Do you really want to sacrifice yourself forever? For eternity? For them, who don't even need or want your presence? No single soul cares about you. "
"What is your true intention?"
"Joy. Simple, right? I didn't say happiness."
"You lit fires for your own hell."
"I'm just trying to end up this misery."
"Then...May I suggest something, Sir?"
The boy walked closer to him, holding his sword.
"Suicide.", the boy whispered right to his ear. The husky, cold voice -which lacks of hope but full of courage in the same time- heard as the moist and warm air reached his ear.
Sound of iron blade hit the cold floor filled the air as the sword fell and reached their feet.
"Commit suicide, Gareth."
Gareth Silverberg inhaled air deeply and breathed out his anger. He was sweating. He hated when these times came.
=One month later, Royal Castle of New Highland Kingdom=
Someone was knocking on the door.
"I believe I requested my privacy undisturbed.", Vincent said lazily to the uninvited man, still holding green apples at hand.
"My apology, Sir, but.., Oh! Your Majesty!"
"It's alright. Dismiss." Unclear chatter and some noises heard, then the wooden door cracked opened, revealing none other than King Hawk I in his regalia, standing at the door. No single guards were there.
"What's up big brother?", Vincent smiled widely like a happy-go-lucky teenager as he made a polite gesture with his hand to invite the king inside. Ok, that was just childish. But fun.
"Stop it. Your fake innocence doesn't suit my taste. ...I see you have found this environment and hospitality totally amusing."
"You don't look happy. What is it?"
"Vincent, you didn't come to those meetings. I require your presence now. And, this is the last time. I warn you, stop fooling around!"
"...you're really grown up to be a drifter old man who doesn't know how to smile, huh? I don't know ... being a King is that depressing? It's not like you at all. You were much fun to hang with."
"...Be prepared. Sasarai and his convoy will arrive this evening. Someone will pick you by then."
"what?! Why is it so sudden?"
...no, I will not meet him. No way I let my cover blown or easily caught by him.
Gareth Silverberg was in his study in his private room, back in Muse City in Dunan Republic. He had left Tinto and after came back from his travel to Defenian, he just made a shocking move to ask for Highland alliance inTinto problem. It's just a matter of time those idiot who ruled this Dunan would completely fall to his plan.
"Fu...fu... ha...ha... hmm... well, it's just a matter of time Dunan will have a reason to attack Highland."
But truthfully, he didn't feel as happy as he seemed. All had tasted his bad mood: maids, soldiers, generals, politicians, leaders, the Supreme Council Members; and they had agreed to blame on the situation in Tinto for that. Gareth Silverberg was always a problematic hard-to-deal arrogant asshole anyway. It was just because of his talent he wasn't removed from his position. But they had been wrong. His temper was a bit off lately because of other matters.
'Commit suicide, Gareth.', there it goes again. It hunted him forever. "Argh! Damn it!" he gazed through the tall windows now. "Where is Sierra all of this time, anyway?"
"...She's sleeping. Gareth... Silverberg, huh? " A boy, in all grey robe, with white strips, wearing a ninja mask that covered his face greeted him.
"What did you- ?!Huh, so she fell to your trick."
What a taste of clothing... Disgusting.Didn't he know a black ninja mask didn't suit at all with grey magician robe? Looking at his sandy brown hair, he must had that pale skin behind that mask. And arrogant and cold green eyes,huh? His arms crossed and he showed off how cocky he was. Hmm...
"Your hair... Your eyes... You have it. But, I don't think Ceasar lineage existed. You're Albert's? ...You're certainly not."
"Interesting. What is a boy who unconfident with his pitiful appearance doing here, in my private room? What's your name, weird magician? and what do you want?"
"You're not that great...your ambition... It lacks somehow."
"Ambition? Ha ha... The funniest thing I hear this day! I've never taken it too seriously. But, do you think you can leave safely after saying those words?"
"Well, you think I don't know you. Listen, I could leak out everything."
"...Are you threatening me right now?"
"It's up to you."
"Who are you? What do you want?"
... Oh? Ha ha. What do you plan? I am immune. What a reckless person you are.
?! I can't use it, for real!
"Who are you! You're not just a common magician!", he shouted, BUT apparently his voice didn't come out.
"I'm just an observer for now. A sword? You're really a fool if you kill me now. I won't give my identity. Call me whatever you like. How about this? I won't interfere with your business if you can kill a certain person. You'll love to kill him anyway. We are in the same boat."
"Can? Are you looking down on me?", he shouted in his MIND.
"If he still existed, your game wouldn't be smooth either. He's controlling the world. You're probably just an unimportant insect for Hikuusak."
"...Hikuusak?! That name again?! Wait- You've been spying on me! You know that I plan to annihilate his legacy!", he shouted, again, in his mind only.
"In return, I can provide my help to your cause if you like. Things...a person like you couldn't do alone."
The boy murmured something.
"...I like your guts. But you know you can be killed by me whenever I like." Apparently now he COULD speak up his mind.
"Say what you like. Now answer."
"What's your purpose?"
"Silence. I undid the spell just to hear your answer. You better be silenced apparently."
"But I warn you, I am not working for you. I don't plan to be loyal to you, and certainly: you can't instruct me, order me in any possible ways. I am the one who contact you, and I just come and leave whenever I like. And our meeting will always be a secret. Not even your woman will know."
"You are dumb if you think you can use me as one of your pawns. You can not control me. But, you can use my offer. It's your choice. Consider yourself lucky. "
And that boy vanished from his room. Who does he think he is? Gareth Silverberg had never been this excited. Interesting. He wouldn't be bored after all.
"I accept your offer, Grey. But once I get more power... You'll be dead!"
Oh, just try if you can, Gareth...
Then he was actually gone this time.
=back to New Highland Kingdom=
Vincent was in a tavern, sitting quietly with too much thoughts in his mind. He had not ordered anything except a glass of water. He succeeded in ditching that important meeting with Sasarai and left unnoticed here, sitting quietly in an old tavern in marginal region of Highland Capital City. He had spent last night here in this tavern, with lots of booze and he had been drunk because of that. How could he do that? Time then passed quickly. After a big hang over, he had finally come to his sense and surprisingly, still found himself in this tavern. Looking at the glass...well, just a glass of water for now. Alberto would be angry, but he'd deal with him later. He didn't care at the moment, for he was being Ryu right now. Honestly despite the fake appearance. What was that which had driven him feel so depressed that he drank too much? He didn't remember a thing. He had not any rights to feel depressed, right? No reason. No reason, with everything he had been blessed.
Inspiration. What was that?
Self defense comes from insecurity. Like puzzles being assembled; brick walls of a stronghold. When it blurts out uncontrolled, could you differ it from blazing flames? Wild. Ashes. Ashes. Ashes all remains.
But without it, none would survive, and the label is freaky freak dumb geek- the servant of the world.
The point is: do you really need to think every bit of your precious times and unexpected warnings, just to kill your spontaneous instinct?
Do we have to offend others just to survive?
Oh, what kind of world is that... Crap, I've said it.
Ryu played his fingers on the wooden table and just stared at his empty glass. Just a glass of water. The bartender was a bit furious now and he might kick him if Ryu didn't order anything beside that.
"Oh, how about if I treat you oneshot?"
Ryu turned his head just to see him with a smile.
"I give you one gold chance. ", he said then he ordered something with unfamiliar name to the bartender, something with 'not too light nor too strong'. "to end your misery."
The order was dropped on the table.
"What you always want."
"And why are you here?!" He narrowed his eyes thus the bishop corrected his sentence, "-wanted. I guarantee you'll live, Ryu."
This is Sasarai anyway. He would come to see me if he wanted. But he knows that Vincent is me? "..." but why does he come now? Not years ago?
"...,Peacefully. Normally. The rest of your life will be completely yours to lead."
"Forget it. You're not going to bribe me to jump directly into your trap."
"Trap? I am just being nice. I thought I was kind of overboard lately.", he smiled. "If you willingly give it away, then I shouldn't use the hard way. It's not bribing, I call this.. discussion between friends? I want to help you."
"...Chris, isn't it? What did Chris ask you? Aren't you become softer right now? Shame on you, I heard you're somewhat arrogant, rude, and heartless nowadays."
"Chris? Hmm, this has nothing to do with her."
What a liar. But if it's true, then it added more suspicion.
"...Just take hers then. Why mine?"
"She doesn't need to be helped. If you're not willing to live like that anymore, just give it up. You're the one who's sober, leads a purposeless life-"
"-SO WHAT?! It's mine, whether it's purposeless or no!"
"While disturbing others and interfere with global issue since you somehow always make your appearance and bring influence anywhere? I know your history, and look at where you stand now."
"...Tsk! Now you're going to save this future villain then? Huh." Ryu was furious but bitter laugh was what let out instead. Ryu was mocking him, so why did it sounded bitter instead? Thanks, but I don't need your pity, sympathy, and no thanks, I'm absolutely not being bitter.
"Well, just take it into consideration." He stood up and paid the bartender. "I'll take my leave then. Just take your time, because I am leaving for Harmonia now. It will be quite long for our next meeting."
...Probably this oneshot is a worth try; the answer to all my desperate questions so far. Just right here in front of me. But I just... I grabbed the glass and drank this treat in one breath.
God, I think the thing that had always been a burden to me, has completely become a part of me; a piece of my confidence. Whether I like it or not, it's the truth. Can I bear it when I lose it? Define me! Define me, please.
"you sure are cursing so much, these days."
Eh? "who?" who is that? Am I hearing things?
He felt tired, he'd just have an early sleep this night. He then walked back to his room in the royal castle. It had already midnight, and the halls of the castle was quiet when he arrived. Vincent Goldenline was shocked when he opened the door and stepped inside his room, it was already occupied. What a de ja vu.
"Didn't you say you left already?! S-Sasarai?! You! You're following me here? How?! I said no!"
But that Sasarai gave away a loathing glare instead. And damn,it was totally chills. Vincent Goldenline was replied by a weak wind spell that surprisingly strong instead as that figure whispered, "The Shredding."
"Right,Vincent, what about Sasarai? the figure flashed a cold smile. "Can't you just live peacefully unnoticed?"
He didn't fight back, and of course he couldn't evade magic attack. "Why? Why do you want to kill me that bad?"
"Didn't I warn you before? How disappointing..."
Strong spells. He indeed aimed for Vincent's life.
"Luc! Is it you, right? Stop! I- I might kill you otherwise! I am a bit dizzy right now!I don't know if I can't control it and you'll die without I realize-"
"What an arrogant. Why don't you use your weapon on me? You're a fighter that just happened to have the rune."
"I will not wield my own weapon on my own comrade. And Luc! So, you are alive!"
"...Prepare to die, then. You don't need to interfere in this war. What you did in Zexen... well, I pretend nothing happened, but now..."
He's fast! He was really slow and easily beaten in old times...
"We need to talk, seriously, Luc."
...He doesn't hold back...he's serious to aim for my life.
So be it...
"Silence." Luc murmured as he also picked Vincent's sword.
Vincent wondered if this man really could end his misery. He might had become stronger since laaaaaaaaaaaaast time and had already mastered new tricks. Vincent didn't care. He couldn't stand if Sasarai took his pride anyway. This rune which he hated so much had already become an essential part of his confidence anyway. He wouldn't bear live without it, while living with it also predictably driving him insane. Vincent felt his arm was stabbed.
"Hey,you should stab here! In the chest!here, like this!", Vincent grabbed the sword and aimed for his own chest. The wind blew stronger and he lost his grip.
"Are you drunk?!" Luc now was cursing.
Drunk? What word is that? How was it feel to be drunk? Well, at least he would make his best smile to embrace this fate. He waited.
Mumbles and coherent sentences but couldn't be processed in his cloudy mind. "just keep yourself low for a bit. Don't disturb the balance." That was what Vincent could get. "I'll be watching."
A gentle wind. God, how he missed that, it felt like old times.
The wind blew stronger as Luc left the place.
One month later...
=New Highland Kingdom=
"What's with that expression? You know that our border with Dunan had been attacked."
"while you're playing around. You've lost your touch, haven't you?"
"but Sasarai! You don't even discuss this matter with me first! You are willing to sell your kingdom to him?!Are you really walking yourself in to fit in his plan? Alberto?! He just come anytime and you accept his offer?"
"It's me who contacted Harmonia."
Highland was attacked. Ok, he might be quite unaware of situation, but he just felt anger right now. " ...I see..., So you don't need me, Great Almighty King?!"
"THIS IS BECAUSE YOU TURNED DOWN THE OFFER DUNAN ASKED TO HELP TINTO!", the King shouted.
Vincent thought that he might be a little reckless. But, as 'Hans', he had been thinking about his friends there in Tinto, his companions in Zexen side.
"Why? Care to explain to me now?"
"You really ..forget how we fought hard to liberate ourselves from Dunan, huh, Your Majesty?", Vincent asked instead, still in disappointment.
"It's never mentioned to be surrender. We just have to form a good alliance with Dunan."
"Alliance? To attack Tinto? Is this a world war or something?"
"Make a use of yourself. I indeed wrote the letter to Sasarai."
"without even telling me- asking me first?"
"I am the King. We're not even comrades like old time, Vincent. "
"You hire me now,... as your strategist I believe. If you just pity me for my wandering uncertain and poor life while you bath yourself in luxury like now, then you don't have to worry. We were brothers. We took bloody oath for that. But I could take care of myself. And our younger days have passed. "
"Drop the subject. Stop being childish, we are old now. I forgive you for not coming when Sasarai visited us. Don't you know how important he is in Harmonia? In Harmonia, his power is almost absolute and can compare to a king right now. Show some respects. Sasarai...he will help us."
"might be, with a price."
"that's why you're here as my strategist."
=Holy Kingdom of Harmonia, Garden at Crystal Palace=
"Frans! At last! Where is Sasarai? I haven't seen him for quite long time."
"...Lady Chris, pardon me, but His Highness is not here at the moment."
"...Hasn't he just arrived back from Highland ? Why must he himself visiting places, investigating those incidents?...You too, I haven't seen you for awhile."
"We've been facing quite problems- ahem- I mean indeed this is a really busy time we're going through. Lord Sasarai now is busy handling matters in...-"
'Does this Lady know that five of our generals had died recently? Assassination cases of several important priests? And there are uprisings in several cities? Even borderline backwater town like L buque now is going on uprising...
Harmonia is in chaos.', Frans thought. 'does she know? Did someone leak out this information?'
"Is there a serious matter, Frans? What's happening?"
Why would she want to know? She's just outsider. Or is it sincere? "...Nothing. Oh, well..., in fact, now I am here under His Highness Bishop Sasarai himself to evacuate you.", he smiled to make him a bit polite.
"We must evacuate."
"...because I am an outsider? So nobody gives information to me."
"...I think it is not my place to talk, Lady Chris.", he murmured. "Now, shall we?"
"Where is Sasarai?"
Because somehow this lady could be trusted, Frans bothered to answer, "Lord Sasarai is now currently doing his duty."
'He might even just go directly to the meeting with the Senate after dealing with the uprising. Too much uprising, here and there... I wonder if there will any act of revolts, not just uprising that lead to separatism... Lord Sasarai believe that Howling Guild is the culprit behind. Of course, who else? I am going to investigate more... With One Assemble, His Highness Sasarai become much powerless. I am worry. Now that our prediction become reality, that behind the mask of normalcy, our beloved Harmonia had been divided into two:pro Bishop and Temple, the loyal one that cherish our conservative Harmonia;, and New Harmonia supporters. This cold war have a potential to explode into a real internal war, or simply reformation of Harmonia. When they really declare themselves,wouldn't it be...chaos? May God guide your day as always, Your Highness...I really wish you don't do any mistake right now.', Frans thought.
=One Assembly Grand Halls=
The meeting had been taken a long time. Every factions had their own interest, thus they kept arguing each other even for simple matters. Harmonia had entered a political instability; that what Sasarai concluded in his mind. Behind his ever innocent and confident smiles like always, Sasarai had taken extra precaution, and he kept wondering who to trust among those important figures. After all, Frans had warned him before, about the situation he's actually facing, beyond everything that ran as if as smooth as always.
He felt uneasy. He knew what those aristocrats saying behind his back.
And yes, he knew it, what those bald men actually had in their mind right now.
Three persons were actually murmuring their thoughtless yet offensive thoughts in this meeting, where people used to had manners.
Shameless temple factions who weak enough to be manipulated... Double-face sneaky Howling voice guild's men, and those opportunist people factions.
And the citizen... right, rumor had spread among citizen that Harmonia had become weaken these days... Sasarai remembered his visit to marketplace lately, where the people gossiping, the newspapers roaring bad stories, and paper stuck on the walls of public places with their controversial writings on it.They... they start to doubt the temple, huh? Doubt me?They're challenging me, huh? Fine.
But Sasarai knew, as the highest figure, the High Priest, with the absence of His Holiness Hikusaak, he might as well appear proffessional and fulfill his duty listening to these "aspirations": the people's voice. Harmonian's voices were spoken through this newly formed One Assambly after all, right? Thus, Sasarai was obligated to hear them.
Silence. Meeting had come to a closing session apparently.
Sasarai smiled and his voice broke up the silence, "Well, before this meeting ends. I have one announcement. About the matters on New Highland Kingdom, I propose that we should send away our help. " 'Propose', right. He used that word as basic manner, but actually everyone would know that if he said it, it meant order. No one would deny him.
"Well, this ends our meeting, gentlemen."
"But, My Lordship! I believe that has nothing to do with us. We don't have any advantage in doing so.", a man from people faction said, forgetting his manners.
"Objections?", Sasarai asked, still calmly, not even standing.
Everyone just need to be assured, that there is nothing wrong with current Harmonia, yes, our beloved Holy Kingdom of Harmonia is still the .Glorious. Prosperous. We don't need any reformations or whatsoever. People of Harmonia must have faith, and those not Harmonian just need to be assured.
"I object!", an aristocrat stood. Giov, a member of one important noble family of Harmonia. All eyes were on him then. Noises then heard. Apparently these noblemen and intellectuals were murmuring their opinions.
"Excuse me, Lord Giov?", Sasarai asked in disbelief. He expected Howling Voice to make some problems, but a nobleman like him?
"Pardon me, but we can not afford to waste our resources to a unnecessary cause, and we certainly don't need to face risks being involved with Dunan Republic."
"Are you saying we 're too afraid? Isn't this just a simple matter? I highly dissappoint to hear such doubts and insults from a fine man like you, Lord Giov."
Hm. He dares to object... but how about Azazer and his fellow Howling Voices? Why don't they?
"Heh.", Lord Giov dropped his manner completely. "Anyone else with me?"
Murmurs then heard. Really, this wasn't like meeting of the elites.
"Why don't we take votes, then?", Giov demanded more.
"..." Sasarai didn't answer, while a man from temple faction said, "We don't do any voting here. And upon simple matters like that..."
Hm...so, they start to think that with One Assembly, the temple had lost our superiority? They're wrong. The structure still states that the Temple and the Priests hold the most power of all. This is Holy kingdom of Harmonia, after all.. Do you think this is Toran Republic?
"I see. I am leaving.", Giov stood up and walked out.
No single person spoke a word. They had never seen such a rude manner, and not to mention in front of the High Priest Sasarai. Several men murmuring how despicable, rude, and childish behavior it was, from such a fine man like Giov. Nevertheless, this court was a chaotic one.
To Sasarai surprise, several men then followed Giov and walked out from the court.
"Pardon me, my Lordship, what to do now? They're leaving... Should we delay the meeting?"
"Are you saying we should cancel the meeting because of them? Let's just continue.."
Sasarai smiled. Who did they think they were anyway? He continued to lead the meeting with remaining men there, and finally he said, "Let's just deploy our troops tomorrow morning. General BlackBlade, I am counting on your hard work."
"...I understand, My Lord. I shall take this mission to my best."
Sasarai nodded. "I conclude our meeting here. May God guides our days."
Sasarai wasn't bothered a bit by Giov's actions and his followers. True, he might become a problem later, and his act was quite disgraced Sasarai. Moreover, what a shame, this could be a sign that Harmonia would break into two. But Sasarai would deal with it later. What made him feel itch was the fact that Howling Voice Guild was still stood by his side. What an irony.
[end of chapter]
(And special thanks for reviewer)