Everything written here is under the direct ownership of Emerald Sonata and the DIVINE ULTIMATRIUM.
Any non-original subjects will be tagged with '*' next to it and will be given a proper sourcing.

[Inspired by AIR, both anime and manga]


SUMMER AGYLES
The Angel's Gatekeeper
{Chapter 2}

"Uwah, what a pretty summer sun!" squealed Fiona in excitement.

"Better enjoy it while it lasts. Before you know it, it's back to rehearsals again," chuckled Riley.

Fiona, a 16 year old girl with lively orange hair and a cute round face, pouted her lips, "Oh…the Summer Festival is going to start in a few more days…do you think the stage manager will push us even harder than before?"

Riley, a 17 year old boy with medium-length auburn hair, returned a curt and care-free nod. Together, they both walked down the quiet sidewalks, passing a gate of the town's ferry terminal. Fiona fanned herself with a small hand to ward off the warm air from her face.

"No doubt about it…" replied Riley. Fiona groaned as she lightly kicked her feet at the ground, with Riley shaking his head. The two came to a short stopped and turned to look behind them, "What do you think, Julio?"

"Hm? What was that?"

Julio came to a halt behind his two friends and blankly gazed at them. He was 18 years old, with short curly blond hair, a handsome yet shy complexion, and had blazing emerald eyes. He wore a clean white and ruffled dress-shirt with unbutton cuffs and a pair of black dress pants. His feet were donned with a pair of slim and comfortable shoes, ones that were meant to dance at a professional level. Julio nervously chuckled as Fiona and Riley gave them a mischievous look.

"Day dreaming again, Julio?" wondered Riley.

"N-no of course not," waved off Julio.

"Eh~? Aren't you at least worried about our performance for the Summer Festival? Besides, you're our star," grinned Fiona, "Who knows, maybe Sally might focus the slave-driving on you." Julio's smile crippled. He tried to laugh it off, but his shaky tone betrayed him.

"Ab-Absurd! The stage manager will never do something like that…right?"

Fiona and Riley leaned in as close as possible towards Julio, a frightening smirk on their faces as Julio staggered back, "As if!" A shiver went up Julio's spine at the thought of working overtime.

"Ha-ha…maybe my talent shouldn't have been dancing in the first place," he anxiously chuckled.

"Out of the way! Coming through!"

Together, Julio, Fiona, and Riley broke off from their conversation and turned. To their surprise, they saw a young boy with brown hair and strange dull-blue eyes racing down the steps. A frantic look could be seen on his face as he leapt over multiple steps in several bounds.

Julio blinked, "Wonder what's his hurry?"

Nexus came to the last flight of stairs and began to make his final descent. At the last minute, his feet tripped over each other. Losing his balance, he toppled over with a cry.

"UWAH!"

"AH! WA-WATCH—" Too late. Julio shut his eyes from the following event, flinching each time a voice crashed onto every step.

"OW! ACK! GAH! TOH! EEK!…WHOA!"

Without a chance to avoid, Nexus crashed into Julio and they both were sent sprawling into the ground with a loud thud. Riley winced as Fiona screeched. After a dazing moment, Julio was lying across his back with a blank and wide-awake look, while Nexus was sprawled face-first across the concrete. Fiona and Riley dashed to Julio's side, with the girl yanking him up by the collar of his shirt and roughly shook him awake.

"Julio! Julio! Wake up! You got to wake up!" she shrieked.

"I am awake…" breathed Julio. Fiona halted her shaking, her eyes on the verge of exaggerated tears. She stared right at Julio's opened eyes, as he gave her an awkward look, "I'm fine." Fiona instantly dropped him back onto the ground with a soft plop and nervously giggled.

"Well, that's good to know! Sally will have my head if she found out her star performer is out for the count," jittered Fiona, gulping with sweat-like-rain rolling down her forehead, "literally."

"I feel touched by your concern, Fiona. I thank you…" Julio turned his head to stare at Nexus, still lying face down, "Riley, how is he?" Before Riley could even step over to check, Nexus sprung awake with miraculous recovery. Julio bolted sitting up, with Fiona tightly hugging him in shear fear, "F-Fiona! Not so tight!"

"Sorry about that!" called back Nexus, scrambling to his feet, "I have to find what I'm looking for before I lose it. If I meet with you again, I will offer my sincerest apologies. Good-bye!" Nexus broke off into a speedy dash and disappeared into the town.

Fiona and Riley blankly blinked, unsure of what to say next. Julio felt a deep sense of curiosity from Nexus as he slowly stood up with Fiona's help, "Riley…did you get what he just said?"

Riley shrugged, "Not a word. He was speaking so fast, I was impressed that he didn't trip over his tongue in doing so…"

[******]

The Girl at the beach kept her seat on the metal railing. She looked around, taking interest in her active surroundings. She continued to sing the beautiful song with the wind.

QUONIAM CUM PROBATUS FUERIT*
ACCIPIET CORONAM VITAE*
[For when proved he shall
receive the crown of life]

She then saw a pair of children running through a group of teenagers. Together they dashed with each other, hand-in-hand, as they laughed in innocence. A dreamy smile grew on her tender lips as she watched them pass. Her pale hands lightly folded over one another and softly gripped them. The Girl raised her voice higher through the wind, as if to let her song reach out to the heavenly blue skies.

KYRIE, IGNIS DIVINE, ELEISON*
[Lord, Divine Fire, have mercy]

[******]

"Where are you? Who are you?" Nexus screeched down the sidewalk of the town, dodging left and right through gaps between pedestrians. Determined to find the source of the song, he skidded around a corner and bolted into a tireless sprint, "Are you my answer? E-eh? GAH!" He suddenly realized that he was heading straight towards something: a barricade of furniture surrounded by a group of movers.

Nexus instantly steeled himself and increased his speed. With a leap, he cleared right over the entire obstacle. Men nearby were taken aback by his sudden feat, but Nexus did not linger to gain their attention and continued on. Soon, his next obstacle came into full view.

Down his path was a busy and lively grand-opening of a small store. The mayor of the town gave a toothy smile to every camera around him, as he still held both his golden scissors and an un-cut ribbon. Nexus' eyes rolled, "Oh, come on!" Without the crowd's notice, he skidded to a halt behind them and zipped off into a nearby alleyway.

At the end of that alleyway, a pair of high school girls in uniform huddled closely to each other in dreaded fear. A pair of bulky shadows loomed over them as they whimpered under their breaths. Two thuggish men stood before them, one rubbing his hands with a smirk while the other played with a small chain. They started to move in on their helpless prey.

"Heads up!"

The two men perked their heads up and turned to the sudden voice. Coming straight at them was Nexus, his speed increasing even faster than normal. He vaulted straight into the air, right over the two thugs.

CRACK! SMACK!

His foot firmly stomped onto their faces like stepping stones and he cleared them without much effort. The two thugs collapsed onto the ground, a footprint on each of their unconscious faces. Nexus did not stop and ran right by the girls. They stood up, a wave of relief overcoming them.

"Thank you!" they waved. Nexus took a moment to glance over his shoulder and wave back.

"Next time be careful, okay?"

O QUAM SANCTA, QUAM SERENA*
[O how holy, how serene]

Nexus appeared out of the alley and onto a different part of the city. He whirled around, listening for the direction of the voice. Instead, his ears picked up frantic ringing of bicycle-bells. He turned to them. Without warning, three cyclists were astonished by his sudden appearance from the alleyway. Their bikes failed in skidding to a safe halt. Unfazed, Nexus stepped to one side, letting the cyclists zip harmlessly right by him. Ignoring the series of crashes behind him, he ran off after the voice.

"Please…wait for me! Wait for me!"

QUAM BENIGNA, QUAM AMOENA*
[How benevolent, how comforting]

The eyes of Nexus' brightened as he finally spotted the source from where the song was coming from: the beach. A smile of every ounce of hope shone across his eager face.

[******]

O CASTITATIS LIL—*
[O Lily of Chas—]

A beach ball bounced off the top of the Girl's head, interrupting her altogether in surprise. She lightly rubbed the top of her forehead as she searched for the object. She found the beach ball bobbing on the spot, rolling back and forth. With curiosity she stared at the round and inflated orb with an air of intrigue, reaching out a hand to touch its colourful surface. Before her fingers could made contact, another pair of hands appeared and grasped at the ball.

The Girl looked up to see a young woman in a bathing suit, wearing an overlarge t-shirt on top. The woman turned, without any word of apology, and bumped the beach ball back to her friends. As if the Girl had never existed before the woman's eyes, she returned to the side of her companions. The Girl rubbed the top of her head and brightened with a forgiving smile.

"NO, WAIT!"

The Girl sprang up in her seat and turned to the voice to her left. Before she could get a good look at the voice's owner, a young boy tripped over his feet and crashed straight onto the ground. Face-first, he painfully skidded to a halt very close to where she sat. In silence, she stared down at the strange boy. He sprung up to his hands and knees and turned to sit up, his back turned to the Girl. Concerned, she reached out a hand towards him. Before her fingers could touch the back of his neck, he had leaned forward and stood back up. She withdrew her hand, gave the boy a quiet and worried look, and then slowly turned back to gaze at the ocean horizon.

Nexus spun around and slapped the dust off his body with a groan, "Darn it…I was so close to finding her!" With a long and deep sigh, he plopped himself backwards to balance against the metal railing, "Wonder who could she be…And how in the world did she know that song…" A quiet look crossed his face, his voice whispering, "A song…only I know…" His shoulders sagged and he turned his head to look around.

His eyes caught a glimpse of the Girl, silent and resign, before he looked away. He paused, however, and hesitantly did a double take. He stared at the Girl, somehow feeling drawn to her. It was like…he had met her somewhere before…but where and when? He scoured all the memory he had at hand…every one drawing a blank reference. Oh well, he shrugged, doubt he could even figure it out anytime soon. After a minute to gather his wits, he dared himself to ask his question.

"Uh…Excuse me, have you heard a girl sing—"

Clouds of black smoke filled the air around him, choking Nexus completely off-guard. The Girl too sniffed the air and choked from the sickening fumes. They violently coughed as the smoke continued to swell around them. For a moment, Nexus glanced through his watering eyes at the source. It spewed out from a crumbled exhaust of a beat-up delivery scooter. Its rider was completely oblivious as he strapped on his helmet and gloves, revving the engine to get it started. Unable to bear it, Nexus turned away from the scooter and struggled for air.

The Girl frantically bolted up to her feet, but suddenly lost her balance across the railing and she slipped forward with a surprised squeak.

The scooter finally revved off across the street, shortly fading into the distance with a blood-curdling bang from its engine. Nexus waved off the remnants of the smoke. Once the smoke cleared, he let out a tired sigh. He turned back to finish his question, but froze.

The Girl was no longer sitting across the metal railing. Nexus turned around, searching for any traces of her. None could be found. Again, Nexus's shoulder sagged in defeat, but shortly straightened out. With a light tap of his fingers across the railing, he glanced out at the blazing ocean horizon as he made his way off, to continue his search from scratch. A whisper of silent confidence flickered in the air.

"Whoever you are…I'll find you…I promise…"

[******]

The Girl coughed as she was lying upside down across the sand. She had fallen off her seat, her legs against the side of the metal railing. Pushing herself sitting back up, all with a frown, as she combed the sand out of her hair. What stopped her was a weak and frantic chirping sound that made her ears twitch.

Close by, a group of children surrounding a small creature. It was a Magpie, with an injured wing. The children innocently ganged up on it, poking the tiny being with sticks and half-burying it with trickles of sand. The bird was practically defenceless against these giant younglings.

As if God sought mercy for it, a parent called out to the children for snacks. Forgetting what they were doing in the first-place, they left the Magpie alone.

The bird shook its body to shuffle off the sands from its feathers, single-winged-ly flapping the rest off. It peeped a series of crestfallen chirps…until a rather large shadow veiled over it. A little worried, it hesitantly looked up to the blocked-out sky.

An ogre of shadows towered it, faceless under the darkness.

The Magpie bolted, hopping feebly without the support of its wings. The ogre pursued and the miniature creature picked up its pace with panicking chirps, hopping like a mad human. Hands snatched out at it, but it quickly leapt out of its reach. It felt the monster was coming closer and closer. As if psychic, the creature quickly bounced up into the air as the ogre dove for it, who now had driven itself into the ground. The Magpie plopped down onto the ogre's head, sliding down a strange golden-blonde slide of silk, before bouncing itself across its white spine. It finally leapt off at the field of white and made tracks for its life.

It stopped, though, when it heard a faint whimpering sound. When did ogres whimper? Slowly, it jumped about on the spot.

The Girl popped her face out from the sands, spitting, coughing, and slapping all of it off her face. She shook her head to ruffle the dust out of her hair, before she looked around for the Magpie she was trying to catch.

When she turned around, the two creatures of God made eye-contact.

The Magpie gave a soft chirp, head tilted in curiosity. The Girl blinked, her head cocked to one side with a perplexed look.

They just stared at each in silence, ignoring life as if went around them.

The stillness was broke with a gasp, causing the Magpie to jump. The Girl went down on all fours, bringing her face closer to inspect its broken wing. The bird glimpsed at it itself, before back at the girl. It saw a pain expression painted across her soft complexion; like as if it was her own arm that was the broken one.

Without saying anything, she tore off a strip of her dress and picked up a pair of small pieces of bark. Together she made a makeshift, yet sturdy, splint for the Magpie's wing. It stared at it for a while before gratefully turning to the Girl with a delighted chirp. Relief waltz over her happy expression, a small giggle escaping her lips.

She folded her hands together, to form a human-cup, and lowered it before the Magpie. No longer intimidated by her huge scale, the Magpie hopped into her palms without a single qualm.

The Girl stood back up to her feet, with the Magpie in her hand, and began to look around her surroundings for something. The Magpie called out, catching her attention. It gave a series of chirping, as to tell her something important.

Understanding completely, the Girl nodded with a smile.

[******]

The Magpie nervously twittered as it sat across the top of the Girl's head. She struggled to climb up a tree that was raised along the sidewalks. Her hands and feet tightly gripped at the thin, yet strong, bark as she rose her way upwards. Her footing would slip from time to time, but she persevered and dug her toes deeper into any possible depression in the tree's trunk.

The Girl finally reached a pair of branches and in between she glimpsed at a nest. With every ounce of strength she had, she balanced herself against the tree and took the Magpie into her one hand. Gently, she set the small creature back into its nest. The Magpie gladly peeped and a shaky smile of relief crossed her face.

Suddenly, her foot slipped. Ultimately, her entire body lost its hold and she fell back down to the concrete earth with a surprised squeak; followed by a dull and thick thud.

Dazed, the Girl sat back up and rubbed the side of her hip. She tried to stand, but flinched at a surge of pain from her knee. Her eyes lowered and stared right over a painful scrape across her knee-cap. Her fingers lightly touched it, causing her to wince. A crestfallen look came over her saddening face and she was on the verge of tears. That was when the Magpie called down to bring up her eyes.

The Magpie chirped again and disappeared behind its nest for a moment. Confused, all the Girl could do was blink and tilt her head. Before she knew it something was dropped from the air and into her lap, causing her to jump, clasp her face shut, and gave a short 'eep'. Silence followed and nothing else happening. The Girl peeked through her fingers, one bare eye glimpsing left and right before down. The next moment, her hands peeled away with an look of astonishment brightening on her face.

A bright, twinkling, and oh-so lovely diamond ring sat across her lap! She was utterly captivated by it as she picked it up into her fingers, examining it as if it were a brand-new toy. She hugged it close to her chest, like a cherished possession.

The Magpie gave a happy chirp, before it straightened is tiny body to give a gracious and humble bow.

The Girl happily shared a giggle with the creature, holding the diamond ring close to her chest in complete gratitude. A thankful smile danced across her lips, as bright as the morning sun.

[ =+= Continued On =+= ]


The song used in this story is called 'Lilum', the opening theme for the anime Elfen Lied.
Lyrics found from Anime-Lyrics(dot)com.

[By the heart of: ~Emerald Sonata~]