BTW I just read gigantomachia, a very nice novel in which at least Athena is not in need to be saved but I sorely dissapointed Mei is not really like I thought! He is a very kind boy~ so unselfish and bla bla bla which is why he is willing to go with other half-brothers of his to saint training~
Anyway this is my story and universe so I will not follow gigantomachia! No way! DeathMask have a boy he has to corrupt! XDDD seeing how much Mei respected DM it's a wonder how he turned out like how he is in gigantomachia! Maybe DM in original series has redeeming quality in him actually!
Chapter 9: Sacrilege
Crying children in orphanage was daily occurrence that would be taken care of in a blink of the eye by their caretaker. However Sister Alicia found what happened before her very eyes today was not one of those daily occurrence. Their little angels were not hungry; it was just 1PM after all. Diapers? No… definitely not the case for children who had long passed their toddler age. It was not a fight either, no screaming and punching for today.
And the reason for their angels to cry their eyes out?
"I am really… really sorry Sister Alicia…" Seika looked down, red from embarrassment.
Alicia smiled to comfort the young girl, "It's not your fault Seika-chan." It was not on purpose in Seika's part but Alicia had to wonder why Seika of all things…
It began with Seika's annual visit on the weekend, and it was also a tradition for Seika to be storyteller of the day. She was children's favorite storyteller, because other caretaker usually read them story from books or bible that according to their charge was boring. Seika in the other hand was a talented storyteller with imagination to back it up, sometimes they joked if Seika was Hans Christian Andersen in her previous life.
Her stories were original and no 'Once upon a time' and sheer excitement the story brought could nail even their most active child on the spot. Alicia loved Seika's story, but today she couldn't help but wonder why Seika didn't end it with happy ending so they didn't have to deal with this mess.
"Hwaaa! So cruel!" Cried a five-year-old girl in ponytail.
"Poor her…" Sobbed a younger boy.
Seika winced, "It's a bit too late for me to change the ending…" She guessed, since there was no way her brother and sisters would pay attention anymore.
"It's a great story…" Alicia assured the curly haired girl, "Though…" She smiled sadly, "It's really a heart wrenching story, even for an adult like me…"
In a dried land, namely, at the ends of a red scorching hell
There was a mansion made from ice.
That mansion was cursed because of the ice.
Inside the mansion, a girl of ice was locked in one of its room.
Her eyes shone like an aquamarine, her slender body sculpted without scar from ice and her hair was made of icicles. In that cold and isolated room…
She was… completely alone.
One day, by pure chance a boy was traveling. Enchanted by curiosity when his eyes laid its sight on the cursed mansion.
He opened the door to her room. And he met her…
the girl of ice whose face froze with sadness.
As his eyes locked to hers, it reflected the sad expression of hers.
He wanted to help her, to make her happy.
Unknown to him, the girl was overjoyed just by his mere presence by her side.
"I am glad you that you have talked to me." But her frozen lips couldn't utter a word.
She rejoiced even though her icy face couldn't smile, "I am so happy you are here for me…"
The boy couldn't bear to see her pained face, thus he embraced her with warmth without care of coldness that touched his skin. But since her body was made of ice, his warmth melted her body to water.
Then, the water soared as if it had wings, and returned to the heavens, became rain then returned to the land.
In a dried land, namely, at the ends of a red scorching hell.
The voices of joy resounded, as rain poured over mother earth quenching her thirst.
It was a great… blessing.
The boy realized she had become the rain and departed the joyful village, in search of his girl's heart… completely alone.
Unknown to him, she was overjoyed to be the rain, to be a blessing for him.
The girl thought, "I am very glad that you have talked to me..."
Though her watery lips couldn't speak.
For the sake of her boy, the girl was glad to become the rain, and downpour over the land.
"Thank you for loving me so much." And she smiled for the first time.
The frozen heart of the girl did turned into water when she felt warmth. Because the tears the boy shed for her were very warm.
Since then, whenever she rain over the land the boy let his body soaked by the rain. So she could feel his warmth she loved.
"Seika-neesan…" Saori called her sister who still had that guilty look on the way home. "Are you… okay?"
Seika smiled sheepishly, "I am… I have just messed up big time today, ha ha ha…"
Saori scoffed, "Nee-san, it's' not your fault if they have not developed enough aesthetic sense to appreciate such a beautiful story." The reincarnated Goddess stated haughtily, "Children with simple mind only can be amused with happily ever after fairytales."
The older girl couldn't resist to point out, "Saori… you are seven."
"And I am nine years old." She added, " We are children." She pointed out the obvious.
"But not with mind of one." Saori argued.
Seika sighed, her sister had come a long way from a spoiled ojou-sama but she was still ojou-sama after all. Sure they were unlike most children; circumstances forced them to mature beyond their years so Saori's argument was not really wrong. "Saori-chan… you also cried like everyone else." Albeit not outright bawling, it was a choked sob accompanied with praise for such an original story with trembling voice.
She blushed deep red, "The story is really touching! I can't help myself but cried as appreciation!"
Seika sighed at Saori's defense her sister was really stubborn. "Saori… I am sure you would prefer it to have good ending, such as the girl become normal girl then marry the boy." A twitch on Saori's eyes clearly said she didn't like to be grouped with other children.
"Onee-san too! You will prefer a happy ending too!" Saori blushed deep red, glaring at Seika who smiled sheepishly.
"I do… I am a little girl after all, and proud of it unlike a certain ojou-sama… I love being young. Thank you very much…" She joked which turned Saori's ears pink, "But if you ask why this story ended sad… it's just I can't get the moral of this story across then…"
Saori turned a curious green eyes to her, "I doubt anyone get it with that bawling and crying…"
Seika sweat-dropped at that, "Ah… so true."
Her cheeks turned redder as mumbled, "And neither I do."
"I will tell you when you are older." Seika quipped.
"Nee-san!" Never tell Saori that phrase because she was sick of it, there are many questions she asked answered that way and being a curious girl, Saori was not happy about it. "Tell me!"
"Please… pretty please,"
That puppy look would never work on Seika since it was pulled against her for many times to the point she was immune. "Hm… figure it out yourself, Saori-chan…"
"Meanie!" Saori whined.
The said girl looked up to Mitsumas Kido, "Jii-san, what is it?"
"This old man is curious…"
Seika sighed, go figures Saori would hole up in library to find what moral the story hold and their ojii-san will be worried about her then confront Seika to do something about it. "About story I told her this afternoon in orphanage?"
He nodded, "Yes… I do have vague guess what you want to say through this story."
The young lady narrowed his eyes, sadness painted her face grimly. "Many times… people says I want my beloved to be happy, but in the end… do we know what will make them happy?" Seika asked to no one, "The girl of ice who melted and become the rain, she was happy but the boy is not… in the end both of them were so selfish… "
"Seika…" He wondered if she knew his secret, about Athena and sons he sacrificed for the world. But somehow he felt the one Seika wanted to hear this story the most was him. This story was telling him that he had no right to think what he had done was for the best, that he was still human who prone to make mistakes.
"I leave out the last part though… where the girl was happy because she thought she became blessing for many people including her boy. That she made him happy…" She looked down with a sad smile, "And in the end the boy was also happy for her because… if became the rain means her freedom..." She closed her eyes, "Can you say they are really happy?"
Two hundred and thirty seven years, a very long time that if he looked back passed in a blink of an eye compared to few years of holy war he had been through. Libra Dohko had been granted gold saint status when he was fifteen years old, he remembered the old man of Jamir brought him to sanctuary together with Aries candidate. That was the second time he met Shion, when their first meeting was when they were ten and still a green trainee. At first Dohko was not really in the same mood as Shion when he was granted the gold cloth, he was proud of himself but not satisfied. He envied Shion whose master was there to congratulate him though Hakurei still called Shion as ungrateful brat all the time, and deep down only wanted to annoy Shion. Dohko in the other hand had just lost his master.
Shion had been there to comfort him, though that eased him a little the wound never healed fully because the loss was so great. He and Shion was close because they were the youngest gold saint by that time, and they came from Asia so it was not easy to adapt with other gold saint whose origin was Europe right away. Virgo Asmita who came from India was not very sociable person and very unnerving, he was polite but kept everyone in arm length, not a type a newbie like them would choose to start befriend with.
Libra Dohko in the end of his first year as gold saint found someone that until today was person he treasured the most just like Shion for him. When he thought of it again Dohko knew he was used by fate to bring the boy back to his goddess. That founding the boy trying to break mountain of stones in that rainy day was never a coincidence.
The Libra saint wondered if the Pegasus saint had reincarnated again somewhere, but wherever he was the Pegasus saint would be always by her side. The thought they had no idea where Athena was after that night of tragedy was unsettling, the thought of Tenma might be somewhere near and protecting her was the only thing that eased his worries. Or maybe the boy was already in training to be a saint, Dohko was not worried about that though as Tenma had managed to finish his training in two years when he started it when he was thirteen. Something prodigious that when he thought of it now might be something to do with how Pegasus saint's soul felt the urgency of coming holy war. No matter, Tenma would be there when Athena needed him. It was more assuring for Dohko rather than twelve gold saints by her side.
This musing had been plagued his mind since seven years ago, it might be because he knew Tenma and Athena were born in that year. His musing was interrupted when he felt three cosmos signature appeared suddenly near the forest. He could tell two of it belongs to silver saints and one was bronze saint. He opened his eyes then looked at his disciple and adopter daughter who sat near the edge of river, Shiryu was still busy glaring at the water surface that only whirled weakly around his hand, frustrated at the slow progress when Shunrei was making a flower ring.
He laughed as he called Shiryu, "Dear me… don't be frustrated Shiryu, and it's not helping you."
Shiryu blushed deep red as he pulled his hands from the river, "But Roushi… how can I be stronger at this rate! I want to be strong!"
The old Libra saint sighed, Shiryu was nothing like Tenma. It would be very unfair to expect Shiryu to be like Tenma who completed his training in two years with breeze. But the old Libra couldn't help but noted when Tenma was hot-headed, cheerful and sociable, his current pupil Shiryu was very calm, not too sociable, and most of the time trying his hardest to appear mature. Dohko thought Shiryu was so alike with Shion when he was young, at least on the inside.
"Shiryu… I have guests today, so how if you bring Shunrei with you and continue training somewhere else?" He suggested kindly, "I heard from Shunrei you found a beautiful riverside few days ago?"
Shiryu nodded, "Yes Roushi… " Then turned to the Chinese girl who had the flower ring on her hair, smiling shyly at Shiryu. "Come Shunrei… "Then turned back to his master, "We will be there if you need us, Roushi."
"Yes… have fun you two…" And when the two children had disappeared to the depth of forest the old Libra saint stood up and turned back to greet his fellow saints. "Hello… it such a beautiful day, isn't it?"
The bronze saint, Dohko could tell was a fresh saint, looked very nervous and seemed having a hard time to not hiding behind his master. The silver saints were blond and Dohko had met both of them couple of times, Daidalos and Noesis were popular among saint rank for their intelligence and power. Noesis might be average in term of strength but his technique was essential in team, Dohko had heard the silver saint adopted a Chinese orphan boy to be his disciple so it must be the new bronze saint.
Daidalos in the other hand was formidable silver saint whose power considered in the same level as gold saints, but he was polite and friendly. Dohko had heard in the past Daidalos was a little brash and prone to get pulled in trouble by his best friend Cassiopeia Senel, in which one of the troubles landed him in charge of Andromeda Island for teaching duty. But it seemed years teaching had matured Daidalos and now he was one of few saints who in charge of talented trainees not for one but four cloths at once.
"Good day… Roushi, I am Cepheus Daidalos… Triangle Noesis…" He said as turned to the shorthaired silver saint by his side, "And Lynx Retsu." The bronze saint bowed hastily with his hands clasped, which soon the bronze saint realized was not a way to greet a fellow saint.
Noesis chuckled softly when Retsu stammering an apology to the old Libra, "Forgive my disciple… he is the new saint of Lynx, Retsu… "
Dohko laughed good-naturedly, "It's fine… he is a Chinese and so am I, it's so polite of such a young boy. And… he still remember his homeland tradition after years in Greece." After the boy stammered a polite thanks Dohko turned to Daidalos who was the team leader, "Daidalos… I am sure this is not a social visit but rather… one concerning current situation that I heard not really peaceful."
The lower ranked saints kneeled at once, Daidalos closed his eyes briefly as he began his report. "Cepheus Daidalos is here to report, since few days ago our information network has received information of a suspicious phenomena in China or precisely in the depth of forest near Guang Yuan town, Sichuan province…"
The old Libra frowned, "And why sanctuary act now?"
It was Noesis who answered and his voice was grim. "Because… our people who dispatched to the forest to investigate, no one returned to report…"
Daidalos nodded in agreement, "Since no information that returned to sanctuary, Lord Aldebaran decided to arrange saints for other country with similar phenomena to Lord Milo and Lord Aiolia first…" He paused, "Lord Aldebaran didn't wish to send us in blind mission, when his subordinate's whereabouts is unknown."
Noesis continued, "But in the end, in second day people around the forest began to notice the villagers who went to forest didn't return, and by the third day they intend to call law officers to search for the missing peoples…"
Dohko's eyes widened at that, the situation was almost out of control. Aldebaran must have requested the team to Aiolia or Milo with heavy heart to do this mission; holy war was near so sanctuary in the past few years was very careful with their human resource. "What sanctuary has done to control the damage?"
"We managed to secure the forest perimeter, and we have requested the government to send out warning so no citizen allowed to enter the forest before we finished this mission." Daidalos reported with the sternest voice.
The old Libra sighed wearily, it seemed peace never lasted for long. "Very well…"
All eyes widened when they felt someone's cosmos suddenly appeared near them, a sign of someone teleported. Much to the silver saint's surprise it was Aries Mu who appeared from the thin air, dressed in gold cloth though what he brought with him didn't fit with the cloth. It was two round bamboo bun steamers, and it was still steaming. Nevertheless when all eyes landed on Mu and then to the steaming bun basket, it was so awkward. It was if they had caught the gold saint in inappropriate time.
Mu blinked in confusion, he didn't expect Roushi to have guests so early in the morning. "Ah… good morning, is there any urgent news Roushi?" He asked as looked up to the old Libra who stood on the high pier.
Roushi laughed at the awkwardness the lower ranked saints felt at their presence, Mu seemed not concerned how unlike gold saint he appeared. "Good morning Mu, no urgent news for us. But these three just passing by before going to their mission."
The Libra saint caught Mu was looking at the group with some kind of longing; he understood what the Aries saint was thinking. It had been years since Mu went to a mission with his fellow saints, when Mu travels quite often to search for cloth that had been missing he was always alone.
Mu nodded, "I see…"
Retsu was looking at Mu with awe; he had met few gold saints in person because his training ground was the closest with sanctuary. He had met Aldebaran who came checking all training grounds every year and Milo who supposed to be in charge of Milos Island but leaving the duty to Noesis since he had more important duty in sanctuary. Retsu noted that Aries Mu looked so different compared to Aldebaran or Milo, there was certain ancient and mystic air around him. When Retsu felt overwhelming power from both Aldebaran and Milo, Aries Mu's cosmos was very calm, even calmer than his master's.
"Mu…" The old Libra saint called, "Would you like to help them?"
Daidalos and Noesis was shocked at that, "Roushi?"
The Aries saint's eyes widened, "I would like to…" He answered honestly; he had longed to go on mission with his fellow saints. "But is it alright with you?" He asked the silver saints.
The Cepheus saint was startled at how willing the Aries saint to help them, he sounded so sincere about it too. "Of course… it's an honor to work with you milord." He answered without thinking twice and Noesis nodded in agreement, equally flabbergasted at the turn of event.
Mu smiled at them, "Thank you…" Then he walked past them then handed the basket to Roushi, "This steamed bun is delicious, I bought them this morning in Jamir." Said Mu then continued telepathically, /There is nothing I could find from my people, Master Fenrir only said what Shaka and Camus are up to is ending holy war forever and nothing else… which explain why they are so worked up in increasing power of our army/
/Is that so? Very ambitious of them! I never think of that myself when I was their age. Very well Mu… keep an eye for new information and report back to me after you finished this mission/ Roushi laughed in grandfatherly way, "Ho ho ho… you remember it's mine and Shunrei's favorite!"
"Yes Roushi…" Mu nodded as bowed gracefully. Then he turned to the rest of saints, "Shall we go now?" He asked as smiled warmly at them, in which they could only nod before bid the old saint farewell then disappeared in a flash of light.
The old Libra in the other hand eyed the steaming steamer then decided to have breakfast with Shunrei and Shiryu in the riverside, yes… it was a good day.
Siberia training ground
Camus to be honest had no idea how to ask Hyoga more about Kido Mitsumasa and his granddaughter they suspected was actually their missing goddess. Hyoga was so emotional the last time they talked about it in Rodorio, but then again could he blame Hyoga? He is an eight years old boy who lost his mother, then his father who was the reason they got into the accident turn a blind eye then shipped him and his ninety nine brothers to saint training.
The thought that kind of man had custody of their goddess was very unsettling, he and Shaka was so concerned in how this man raised young Athena. Goddess or not she was reincarnated as mortal and was a baby; they doubted her godhood matter in this case. She was just as pure and innocent and like other mortal child would grow influenced by how she was raised.
He had to agree with Shaka about questioning their devotion to Athena, he didn't want to forsake his master's teaching but when face by a question would you be loyal to a goddess you only ever heard of blindly? Camus wanted his devotion to be rational, he wanted to follow Athena who just like his master said, righteous goddess who represent the disciplined, strategic side of war.
"Master Camus…" Hyoga looked up from his cup, "Your tea is cold now." He pointed out.
Crystal went shopping to the nearest village for supply with Isaac. Hyoga wanted to go with them but Camus requested the boy to stay so they could talk in private. "Hyoga… may I ask more about Kido?" He asked.
The half-Russian boy tensed a little but relaxed soon enough, "Yes, Master Camus…" He nodded, "Go ahead."
"It's about his granddaughter…" Camus trailed off, wondering if it would be suspicious asking about the girl. "What kind of girl she is?"
Hyoga blinked, he didn't expect Camus would ask about that girl. But he didn't question his master; there must be a reason. "About Saori-ojousan? Hm…" Camus noted there was a sarcastic tone when Hyoga spelled the honorific, which Camus recognized in Japanese meant lady. "Two words… which, first forgive for the use of inappropriate language, Master Camus."
The ice saint raised an eyebrow, "What?"
"Unfortunately two words could describe her well and I didn't know what else to call her, in two words… she is a spoiled brat…" Hyoga huffed with crossed arms.
"…" Camus was at lost of word, and knowing Hyoga the boy was serious and not exaggerating. Their goddess had grown to be a what?!
"Master Camus?" Hyoga looked warily at him.
Camus shook his head, "Hyoga… why you think so?"
The ice saint could see Hyoga almost rolled his eyes at the question then answered in deadpan manner, "That girl when she first saw us… she thought we are some kind of toy her grandfather bought for her from a shop, whenever we are having a break from training it's the same as time to let her play us not with which consist of her playing horsy on us, forcing us playing dolls with her, and sometimes…"
Camus gaped a little as Hyoga's list of how Saori treated them like her toy grew longer and longer, the though Athena would play horsy with them and using real horsewhip was one he couldn't comprehend. What kind of education Kido gave to Athena?!
"Hyoga…" The boy was ranting and Camus could understand they boy was piling up his frustration for the girl's treatment at them, and Hyoga had been spilling everything at why Saori was 'Spoiled Brat' like a broken dam. "She is really allowed to do all of that to you and your brothers?"
The boy nodded, "Yes… it as if she is a goddess for Kido to the point he let her do everything she wanted."
Hyoga might didn't mean his statement that for Kido, Saori was a goddess. Which for Camus explained a lot of as in why Kido did this. The man thought Saori was Athena, the boys even though his sons were her future saints. That man thought it was fine she treated them as she wished because they were her future saints! What that man was thinking? Saints were not Athena's slaves!
He had a headache, thinking of what their goddess had become in Kido's hand, "Hyoga… is this Saori have no positive side at all? Is this how Kido raised his granddaughter?"
Hyoga raised an eyebrow, "Other than she is smart? I may sounded biased but about her being smart, I heard it from Kido…" Which meant Hyoga knew almost nothing about Athena but for a child like Hyoga to extremely disliking Saori… How his comrades would react at this news? He could imagine Aphrodite laughed his head off; DeathMask would try to revoke his sainthood because no way he will serve a brat, and Shura might hang his head. That was absurd thought but…
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
Crystal opened the wooden door with a creaking sound, "Master… I am back, we are having mashed potato today!" He said cheerfully.
Isaac entered the hut, equally cheerful. "They are having sales for potato in the village, it's cheaper than usual!" He licked his lips then turned to Hyoga, "It's your favorite, Hyoga!"
Crystal blinked at the sight of his master, holding his head with weary expression. "Master Camus?"
"I have a headache…" Camus muttered under his breath, and then he stood up abruptly, "Hyoga, thank you… "Then turned to his other disciples. "Crystal… I am going back to sanctuary for a few days. Take care of Hyoga and Isaac."
The silver saint blinked again, "Uhm… sure Master." What happened in 60 minutes he left the hut? He never saw Camus looked like Holy war came earlier than they expected.
China, forest near Guang Yuan town
Forest ofGuang Yuan used to be a beautiful place, friendly nature that fed its habitants and human who lived near. The citizen loved the forest so they never take more than needed, and nature had kindly gave its blessing. But one day the forest turned grim, as many men who went to the forest for food and wooddidn't return. Women wept as their husband and sons didn't come backand their fate were unknown, law officers that stationed in the town didn't go to search their missing family instead forbid them from looking.
Mu, Daidalos, Noesis and Retsu had took one look at the scene of weeping family who wept and begged the police to let them looking, the sight was so sad and that urged them to save the missing peoples faster. On the back of their mind they knew it was undoubtedly there were anyone that could be saved after days in the forest.
Rustling sound of tall grass filled the silence as no one in mood to talk after what they saw in the entrance of the forest. Much to their surprise it was Mu who began a conversation, "So… what information Aldebaran have received?"
Noesis shook his head, "None sir, in this mission we are as blind as a bat."
The Cepheus saint nodded in agreement, "According to Dante and Asterion, it probably a creature from myth… they have encountered harpies in Italy, I myself have seen Cetus attacking my training ground."
Mu's eyes widened, so it's Andromeda Island that got attacked first. "Cetus? Hm… is everything alright in Andromeda Island."
Daidalos smiled at concern the Aries saint shown, "Yes, I have my disciples evacuated first then we fought with Cetus…" He paused, "Ah… another information I heard, it's strongly suspected these creatures actually already dead."
"Huh?" Mu blinked, "Are you saying that… they are living corpse?"
"Yes…" Noesis nodded, "Our enemy most likely a witch who mastered ancient sorcery." He explained loftily, "But the motive for this necromancy is unknown…" He paused, "Sanctuary decided to refer to this unknown culprit as 'The Witch' since this is all we know about her identity."
"How fitting…" The lilac haired saint pursed his lips, "Hm… as far as I see, these creatures endangered innocent lives and invoke panic." Mu concluded grimly, "I might sound selfish to say this… but to exhaust our force before holy war is not a good news for us."
Daidalos nodded in agreement, from the corner of his eyes he could see Noesis and Retsu tensed a little at what Mu was implying. The Cepheus saint knew there was always a risk in all mission, and one where they were in the dark like this mission ended up with someone dying or worse… "Yes… but in the same time we couldn't let this slip, we might as well count this as training before holy war…" Then winked to Noesis, "Right? This would be no big… remember, all of us are still young!"
Noesis chuckled at that, "Daidalos… always positive."
Mu also smiled at Daidalos, silently chided himself for unable to keep his comrade's moral high. He knew that out of all gold saints he might be the one with the worse leadership skill. "That's good…" Then he turned to the youngest saint in-group, "Retsu…" He called solemnly.
Retsu almost jumped in fright, then stammered. "Yes? Lord Mu?"
It was weird to be addressed by this boy as Lord when Mu was only one or two years older, but then again he was still Retsu's superior. "This is your first mission, remember… don't panic and stay calm when danger approach."
Noesis curved up a smile before his attention was drawn by a change of air, which noticed by all of them. "It's near…"
The Aries saint closed his eyes, trying to perceive sign of nearest cosmos. There was one that so big, it couldn't be an animal but in the same time it felt vicious, hostile and cruel. "Half a mile to the east…" He muttered and the rest of the team nodded in agreement.
Sanctuary, Leo temple
Milo looked up from where he sat at Camus who had just arrived; they were celebrating read 'mocking' DeathMask for his new status as master. The Cancer saint had been too quiet, ignoring Milo's taunt at 'how mature he had become now that he could teach a kid' and Aiolia's snickering. Aphrodite was shaking his head as talking with Tenma about something, probably asking for an opinion about his latest rosy product. The Scorpio saint stopped trying to taunt DeathMask to see Camus looked more exhausted than ever, as if sky had crumbled and fell on his head.
"Camus? You know what? Big news! Our Masky get a disciple!" Milo cheered to his best friend.
The ice saint was not in mood for a joke, especially one about DeathMask. "Who in their right mind will let him teaching a child?" He asked coldly.
Milo knew Camus was irritated for some reason, but the news was a happy one that they had to share. "Here…" He shoved the profile paper to Camus, "What a cute child, right? His name is Mei!"
He blinked at the photo of dark haired child, obviously a Japanese thus one of 100 Kido's sons. "This is not a joke?"
"Of course not." Milo huffed.
Camus turned to Milo then to Aiolia, "Whatever… but DeathMask." He called and the Cancer saint rolled his eyes to him, "Are you sure? You don't have much patience to deal with children." The ice saint pointed out.
DeathMask huffed, agreeing wholeheartedly with Camus because its inevitability that Camus always right. "It's not like I have another choice! Thanks to Dante for being incompetent that I am the only one that left to train this child!" He paused then took a deep breath, "And also to certain Aries saint for being busybody that he had to unearth that Coma Berenices cloth out from Mount Etna!"
All eyes stared at DeathMask in disbelief; Shaka was the first to recover. "What did you say?!" He almost shouted worrying of what Mu was doing in Sicily.
The Cancer saint raised an eyebrow, "Eh? Oh… yeah I forgot reporting that…" He scratched the back of his head, "Damn Dante… why he didn't send a formal report instead of directly reporting it to me and never bother checking?" He wondered out loud.
Aphrodite groaned, "DeathMask! Don't blame Dante, it's you who forgot!" He huffed as crossing his arms, "So what is this about Mu and Coma Berenices cloth?"
"Ah…" He grumbled, "Half a year ago Mu came to Sicily, according to Dante he came because a cloth was calling him." The Italian saint explained, "We always know Coma Berenices cloth was down there…" He pointed down to the ground, tapping his foot. "Waiting for an owner, I thought the cloth was collecting dust on underground cave but turned out it was damaged so badly in gigantomachia so Mu had to use his psychokinesis to bring it to the surface and fix it."
Shaka and Camus understood the circumstances; Mu in the last few years had put an extra effort to revive cloth that perished in holy war. The Virgo saint sighed, there was no need to be freaked out that Mu trying to fish out information and getting himself in trouble. "Then?"
"It took months to fix it…" DeathMask rolled his eyes; "It never landed on Lemurian workshop so Mu had no guide of how to fix it, and he told Dante that the cloth is an extremely fine work and it's really tasking to fix it. Especially the…" He mumbled as trying to recall the report, "The hair?" He wondered out loud.
All eyebrows rose at that, "Hair?"
"Not really hair… this cloth just like its name have weapon on it…" He said as pointing at his left fingers, "Wires of orichalcum as fine as hair are installed on the finger parts… a very tricky parts that almost came off before fixed."
Aiolia stared at him, "Then why you only said that Berenice cloth was a weird cloth that have no owner and collecting dust in Sicily before if you know so much?" He asked incredulously.
"Nobody ask…" He sneered.
"…" Aphrodite sighed, "DeathMask… you really…"
The Sicilian huffed, "But I am not too happy at the prospect of teaching! Beside I doubt this kid is tough enough to endure my tortu… I mean training!" He corrected the last part hastily.
Camus shook his head, "The training even haven't started yet I already pity this child… he has Kido for a father and ended up with DeathMask as his master."
Aphrodite nodded in agreement, "His future prospect is really~ grim." He concluded wryly.
"Hey! It's not like I am happy with this either!" He growled angrily. "What's the fun of teaching this kid anyway?"
"You even haven't met him!" Aphrodite reminded. "And yet…"
"It's already looks suck just from his face!" DeathMask argued as he eyed the photo, "This kid looks like a goody two-shoes… I don't like this kind of brat." He scoffed, "And Dante is so stupid thinking that writing this child is smart, dedicated, polite and kind will appeal for gold saint to teach him! If this boy is that Shun brat's brother, they might as well become halo brothers with wings and all!" DeathMask roared, "Someone would be happier to take this Mei as their disciple! Maybe Shura! Or Aldebaran! But NOT me!" He ranted like a broken dam.
Tenma who had been silent since Camus came laughed out loud at the Cancer saint, "Ha ha ha Masky, if you don't like how Mei is now… why don't you try to corrupt him then? He will be a mini-you!" He suggested jokingly.
DeathMask looked thoughtful for a moment, if he didn't like the brat why didn't he mold this Japanese brat to his liking? Even Aphrodite had his own mini-silver (Misty) so why wouldn't he? He grinned evilly at Tenma, "Good idea Tenma!"
Tenma beamed innocently, "Really?" Blissfully unaware of glares directed at him.
"It's too bad I didn't manage to corrupt you heh?" DeathMask sneered at him, "Well, I get my own brat to corrupt now!"
Tenma laughed, "Ha ha ha… corrupting me?" The Pegasus saint repeated, then waving his hand in dismissive gesture. "No way I am not that easy! And because Shura will kill you for that!" He reminded the Cancer saint, "But luckily you have Mei now right?"
"Yeah! Genius idea Myo hwa ha hA HA!" He laughed evilly as rubbed his palms together, "Well then! I am going back to my temple for preparing my visit to Sicily!" Then he raised his hand at the rest of the occupants of the room, grinning wide. "See you! I am going to fetch my disciple! I have a brat to corrupt!" DeathMask's laughter echoed in the air as he exited the room and ran back to his temple, happier than ever.
Tenma turned back; to find all of his brothers was glaring at him menacingly. He gulped, "Err…"
"Yes?" He blinked innocently.
"YOU DID IT AGAIN!" They yelled furiously in chorus.
He flinched, "What did I do?" Tenma moaned, wondering what upsetting them so.
Aphrodite groaned at the youngest saint, "Why you said that to him! Have you no pity to Mei?! He is Shun's older brother!"
The Pegasus saint raised an eyebrow, "So? Being DeathMask's disciple is not that bad… Dite, you know when Masky seems careless about other people, he cares a great deal for those he is close with."
Aphrodite groaned, "It's not about DeathMask will care or not about his new disciple! I know he will, but corrupting this child?!" Aphrodite huffed indignantly, "No way!"
Tenma shrugged, "Hello… we are talking about Masky, I said it out loud to him or not he will do it anyway…" That silenced them, especially they could see DeathMask indeed would try to corrupt Mei regardless someone suggested it beforehand or not to him. "And craziness prone to be infectious… at least Masky's one is." He shook his head, "I was trying to cheer Masky up about the prospect of teaching someone." A pause, "It's inevitable to happen anyway… so better let him happy earlier about it, right?"
"Right…" Aphrodite couldn't help but agree then he paused. "No! It's not right!"
Sometimes Tenma was frighteningly knowledgeable about them that it was not so funny and cute. They could only pray for Mei's soul, hoping the boy could come out sane from DeathMask's teaching. Sanctuary couldn't afford two DeathMasks. And somewhere in Sicily training ground Amamiya Mei aka Kido Mei shuddered when he was training. The future Coma Berinices saint had no idea what his future held, which already predicted by gold saints in sanctuary.
One word, insanity…
Shun was downhearted when he heard Daidalos would be away for a mission, so did the rest of his fellow Andromeda's trainees. Triangle Noesis and his disciple had came bearing the news of sanctuary alerted all saints to prepare themselves for mission, and almost all senior saints like Daidalos would be out for mission leaving saints with less experience or oldest trainee in charge of training. Andromeda's trainees were close in age thus they would be given a junior saint to continue their training, Shun was happy when he saw Tenma came to their island, grinning as announcing himself as their teacher for today.
Other trainees were happy to see Tenma because he was familiar with them and also…
"Tenma~ please… give us a more exciting training! I am bored of crushing rock!" Leda whined at the Pegasus saint who was supervising them in training of breaking atom with cosmos. They were standing in front of big flat rock that they used as table, it was big so they could use it together. And Tenma was sitting on it in lotus position. June in the other hand was working on more advanced training, because she had been trainee for two years when Leda and Spica had spent around one year and Shun only few months.
Because Tenma wasn't older than them and approachable, Leda and co weren't scared trying to convince the young saint to train them in something else, piling rocks and crushing it was boring and tire them so fast. "I wish I could… but Daidalos already wrote a timetable, so I can't do that…"
Spica moaned at that, "But we already did it!"
"That's not enough." Tenma pointed out, "You did use cosmos to crush it but… " He trailed off as looking at rocks they had crushed to debris, "What you have achieved can't be considered complete this training." Then he approached the tall rock that two times his size, his fist glowed in light blue color then demolished it to pieces then he picked a palm sized debris. "You are still using physical power when you crush the rock, this training is complete once you can do this." The debris on his hand was crushed but not to smaller pebbles but dust.
Leda's eyebrow twitched, "But that's…"
"You crush it as if it's tofu!" June exclaimed,
"In comparison… "Tenma trailed off tiredly, "Leda! Spica! You still use physical power, whether you notice it or not. June… " Tenma called the girl who was busy using a whip to crush a rock, the whip looked battered and looked like would snap anytime. "June, distribute the quantity of cosmos evenly… you are tearing your weapon!" Shun almost jumped when Tenma's eyes landed on him, "To be honest you are quite 'did it' but…" He rolled his eyes to tiny debris which were left over of rock Shun crushed, a very fine job in Tenma's book considering Shun just started his training. "Shun, when your friends have crushed ten palm sized rocks so far… you only managed three…"
"Shun… I did say for a start you could squeeze the rock…" The green haired boy blushed deep red, "But… ten minutes for each rock is a bit too much, you are wasting too much time to built your cosmos." Tenma muttered with a sigh. "Okay… all of you start crushing the rock with your fist!" Tenma ordered as motioned them to gather more rocks, "The theory is the same but this time did it once you manage to gather cosmos that big enough to crush it."
Leda and Spica looked at their rock, "Uhm…" In Andromeda Island, the rock was much harder than other training ground because their land is rich with metal substance.
Tenma rolled his eyes as he felt their hesitation, "Move it! If you broke your fingers, it's your fault! One or two bones will not going to stop you from completing this training, seriously! It's no big!"
"I will heal it right away, so shut it Leda!" Tenma huffed, "At least you are not going to heal it yourself like I did when I was four!"
"Doesn't mean it's not going to hurt like hell!" Spica shouted in annoyed tone. "And I know mending broken bone with cosmos is hurt!" The blue haired boy was interested in healing skill so had picked up few theories Daidalos could teach him.
The Pegasus saint rolled his eyes again, "Hello… grow up! No pain no gain~ and if you don't shut up and work on it, you two will have meditation session instead of sparing after this." Tenma threatened which Leda and Spica responded with hasty nod, anything but meditation! "Good! And at night… after dinner, it would be history lesson." In which Shun was the only one who looked excited when the rest were groaning. "I know… it's suck." Tenma admitted with a nod, mythology was fun to learn but history of war was very depressing.
"Then WHY?!" Spica moaned.
"History for saints is compilation of real history, strategy, and moral lesson…" Tenma explained which from the look on their face was the same thing Daidalos had said, "We can't have saint who is blind of history, brawn without brain saint or… immoral saint." He shook his head, "Seriously! This is one of main reason why many trainees failed to achieve their sainthood to the point it's ridiculous and really frustrating!" And the fact some saints were blind about these also drive gold saints insane in daily basis. Living up to their name as warrior of hope that chosen by goddess of wisdom was really not easy.
Jamian was the recent prime example, harpies surrounded him but in panic instead of teleporting somewhere safe was trying to flee with the help of his crows. In the process Jamian also lost two disciples of his, harpies devoured them. The crow saint barely managed to escape with his limbs intact. Milo was about to throw a fit at Jamian for losing his disciples and being incompetent in that mission. Fortunately Aphrodite told Milo to save it until Jamian was out of hospital.
"Anyway… continue, no complain…" Tenma narrowed his eyes and both Leda and Spica scampered away to pile rock for exercise. Then Tenma turned to Shun, "Ah… Shun, I learned Japanese a little in my spare time."
Shun beamed at that, "Really?"
"Yes…" He nodded, "No idea why but for some reason, I need to learn speaking Japanese fluently as soon as possible." He shrugged, "I am not complaining, beside… I stopped learning Latin and French for now so I could focus on Japanese." It was weird but Camus and Shaka insisted he had to learn Japanese when he was halfway in learning Latin and French, Tenma was more than happy to oblige.
Tenma grinned then whispered, "Don't tell Daidalos or other kids, but I am planning to cut history lesson tonight short so you can help me with Japanese." He winked with a wide grin, and Shun cheered as he scampered to his fellow trainees.
Phantasos munched on his biscuit, recalling what his conversation with Medea few hours ago. He asked Medea what she wanted from this chaos, not that he was really interested. Medea explained to him a bit too gleefully about what she wanted, though he could only get the gist Medea want an access to some awesome plane called…
"What people might want with the root?" Phantasos wondered out loud.
His fellow dream gods raised an eyebrow when his father and uncle sucked in their breath, their lips paused on their cup. Morpheus quirked an eyebrow at him, "Why… medicine? Food? Some plant's root can be used that way…"
The effeminate god shook his head, "No no no… I mean The Root as in a plane of existence." Hypnos and Thanatos spit out their tea, thankfully all God of dreams were paying rapt attention to Phantasos so they didn't see it. "Some yada-yada place witches and wizards believe as their ultimate dream or what?" He shook his head, "I am God of dream and yet I don't get that dream of theirs…"
"Where did you hear that from?!" Phantasos jumped when he saw his father hovered before him with murderous eyes followed by his uncle. "Answer me!"
Phantasos thought he was about to be killed, his father was never this angry, not even when the previous Capricorn saint killed him temporarily. He stuttered in horror. "Medea! The niece… of Circe and… descendant of Helios, the… the… all knowing sun!"
The dream gods watched the twin blanched at the name, and their eyes were bloodshot. Then suddenly Hypnos turned to Morpheus, "Kill her." It was a simple order but Morpheus could feel the weight from his father's voice that was dripping with ice.
"As you wish milord." Morpheus said as he disappeared to the thin air.
Phantasos looked ready to broke down when Hypnos turned to his direction, "Next time… choose your toy carefully Phantasos, if this problem have become bigger than expected it would be your head I have to present to our lord."
"Yes milord!" He kneeled in fear, begging for forgiveness. "I will do anything to atone for this mistake!"
Gallery of sculpture in hell would be a title that fitting the scenery they saw in front of massive cave in the depth of Guang Yuan forest. Beautiful forest citizens of Guang Yuan hailed as sacred place where goddess of tree dwell had turned to a hellhole. A glimpse of gold peeked from behind a tree, and soon swallowed by the shadow.
Mu turned to the rest of the team, taking a deep breath. "This is a disaster…" He muttered grimly.
Daidalos gulped at the sight of stoned citizens, their stoned face were grim with horror. "Lord Mu… is there any chance they are still alive?" He asked hopefully, "Argol's shield of medusa… "He trailed off, "The victim according to record could return back if the shield broke or the owner of the cloth is dead."
The Aries saint understood why Daidalos asked; he was an expert of cloth after all. Mu shook his head regretfully, "No Daidalos… Perseus' shield does have the same ability, but that's nothing but mere imitation my ancestors recreate to be faithful to design of constellation." Then he turned to the row of petrified humans, standing still as if time had frozen. "But this… probably a work of mystical creature, and even I didn't feel even a speck of cosmos left on the victims."
Retsu's lips quivered, tears almost pooled on his eyes but he wiped it hastily. "How terrible! How could The Witch did this to innocents?"
Noesis put his hand on Retsu's shoulder to comfort his disciple, unaware of Mu's emerald eyes that looking at them with sad nostalgia. "Retsu… brace yourself, we are here to stop this. We will end this…" He reminded his disciple, to be honest Noesis didn't want this kind of mission to be the first one Retsu had. But circumstance called and they never could choose who need their help as a saint.
"Yes Master…" The Lynx saint said as straightened his back.
Daidalos nodded at then turned to Mu who automatically had become their team leader, replacing the Cepheus saint due to his rank. "Lord Mu… this creature, is it…" Daidalos trailed off knowing the answer though deep down hoped he was mistaken.
Mu nodded, "Yes… only one creature is capable of this…" He began, and sound of slithering body suddenly broke the silence and all saints were on their guard. "The very same creature, one that defeated by Perseus in the age of myth." Mu continues as if blissfully unaware of menacing hissing that echoed from the depth of cave, louder and louder by each passing second. "Gorgos…terrible, the very personification of this word. Gorgon… sister of Medusa was sleeping in the depth of this forest and have been awaken from her deep slumber."
"Tenma… " The said Pegasus saint rubbed the bridge of his nose in exasperation, he prided himself for putting up with his brother's antic in daily basis however he was but a human. "I am worried about master Daidalos."
Shun had been repeating this sentences for the past few hours and nothing Tenma said ceased Shun's worry. "I am sorry if I am annoying but it's just…"
"You are thinking too much." Tenma said with a huff, "Daidalos is a competent silver saint and he is in a team mission. It's not like he is doing this alone."
The worry was understandable though, since this was the first time Daidalos left the island for a probably long period. He was a master thus rarely called for mission but at the emergency time like this he had to be on the frontline. As a senior he should assure them Daidalos would return safely, or something along that line.
"But I am just… have this…" That illegal puppy look again, they might as well turned it to a weapon and who knows it would be effective against specter. "Bad feeling and it won't go away."
Tenma sighed exasperatedly, "That's why I said…"
Tenma and Shun jumped in fright when they heard the scream that belonged to June and sprinted to the source as fast as they could. Tenma cursed as he felt dark cosmos looking ahead, how the hell such a rotten cosmos could pass his detection? He had let them went to fetch water in nearby spring; still within their camp area thus it should be safe. He had let his guard down and that was inexcuseable!
The sight that greeted them made Tenma pale and Shun trembled in fear and shock. Part of the island was shrouded in darkness and littered with living skeletons with the skull of bull and holding dagger made of bones. Tenma and Shun gasped when they saw three of the skeleton monsters were holding Leda, Jun and Spica and the sharp blade was pointed at their throat.
"Let them go!" Tenma yelled but stopped when he saw them didn't move at all, it was if they didn't hear him. It was not rare for saints to face non-human foot soldier, however even low intelligence creature would react if someone was yelling at them unless…
Shun gripped the chain he had on his hand, ready to fight the scary monsters before him but Tenma stopped him. "Tenma?" He muttered as looked back and forth from the hand that blocked his path and the saint's face.
"Don't Shun… these monsters are just puppet." Tenma said as his eyes narrowed at the enemy. "June! Leda! Spica! Don't move! They are puppets! They have no will on their own and only act on their master's command! Don't do anything stupid and wait!"
The trainees gulped as they struggled to not look back, but it was hard to ignore the cold and hard bone that pressed against their body. They could only nod slowly at Tenma's order. Tenma gritted his teeth as seconds passed. They were outnumbered but it wasn't really a concern since they were definitely week, however he definitely won't act rashly with them holding hostages. But still… why did they just caught those three hostage and having a staring showdown with him? What the master wanted?
He took a deep breath, "Wherever you are! Come out and tell me what you want!" He yelled as loud as he could. "You can't just have your goons holding three trainees without a consequences you know! You are going to answer to me! Pegasus Tenma before Athena punished you!"
Okay… that was a bit childish and lame but hopefully with egging the master, it would make the culprit come out and underestimating him too. But hey, kid should get every advantage they could in battlefield.
"Tenma…" Shun called him in a whisper, "That's… sounds childish…" He whispered shyly, no doubt the Andromeda trainee was embarrassed to hear his boasting.
Tenma rolled his eyes, "I know…" And judging from scandalized face on the hostage trio, they were thinking the same. "That's not the concern here you know?" But at least they were not panicking anymore. Kids had the strangest mind ever like Shaka said in regards to him.
"My… my… what a child." A woman shrouded in darkness stepped out from the shadow, she was clothed in purple garment and hood that hid most of her face. Everything about her was screaming 'A WITCH' and Tenma couldn't help but wondered what this menace wanted from this island or them.
"What do you want?" Tenma asked in the calm voice he could muster. In front of your enemies never show anything but calmness, never ever let them to think you are in disadvantaging position, said Camus years ago to him. "I doubt you come here just to abduct children, if you are the culprit of recent incidents I doubt you want anything from them… but from me I guess?"
Morpheus scowled as he ransacked the atelier of Medea, the witch could be hiding somewhere in this lair! Whatever this witch had done, it was enough to bring wrath of twin Gods upon her who was a demi-god and for that he shall destroyed this place. For a magic user the most important place was their atelier and knowledge within, and even if she had fled Morpheus at least would destroy her atelier.
Her life would soon be taken too.
"I want you… both of you…" She cooed in almost childish voice.
Shun and Tenma tensed, but Tenma quickly schooled his face back to stoic and stepped forward as if his small body could hide Shun from the witch. "That's sounds very criminal, I never know the fairytale of witch kidnapping children have some truth in them."
Medea titled her head to the side, "Aren't you so cute Pegasus?" She licked her lips and Tenma suppressed an urge to step backward, that gesture couldn't be anything but good for sure!
He was about to open his mouth to response but he stopped when a loud yell coming from the almost forgotten hostages. Unexpectedly June, Leda and Spica smashed the skeleton soldiers with their fist, and the pawn crumbled to dust. It seemed he overestimated the skeletons and underestimated the trio, Tenma thought gleefully.
"Get your hands off of them! Pedophile!" June growled as she unleashed her whip.
"Yeah! Don't you dare to touch Tenma and Shun!" Leda and Spica shouted as they too holding their chains, and prepared to attack the witch.
Tenma's eyes widened in shock, why did they do such a reckless stunt?! Can't they see this witch was about to let her guard down, knowing she had advantage over them?!
"Idiot…" He hissed, their concern was touching though. His eyes widened when he saw Medea took out a pouch made of leather; the worse thing an opponent would do when situation turned against them was trying to turn it over again!
The warning was too late as he pounced on the witch but whatever content she had on the pouch was already thrown to the islander's direction, spreading sickly hue of red fog upon them and at once they fell on their knees. Tenma gritted his teeth as his small body pinned hers with greater force one could imagine in that small body. The force when he knocked her down was enough to unveil her hood, revealing a woman with pale skin, lilac hair with eyes in deeper shade. She was beautiful but in the same time Tenma could tell it was just the outside and inside was as vile as poison.
"June! Spica! Leda!" Shun shouted in horror as ran to their direction.
The Pegasus saint however stopped him from going to their friends, "Don't go to them unprotected! Cloak your body with cosmos and drag them out of there!"
Shun nodded then quickly cloaked his body with cosmos, "Hai!"
Tenma hissed threateningly, "Whatever you did, undo it at once… witch!" From the corner of his eyes he could see Shun dragged three unmoving body out of the fog.
"Or what?" She retorted, "You'll kill me?" Medea laughed softly as her hands gently placed upon Tenma's, which was holding her throat.
He tensed but Tenma did nothing to stop the witch because he knew one wrong move he'll end up killing the witch. She was well aware Tenma needed her alive to cure her victim and for that…
"I will undo the vile poison I unleashed on them…" Tenma shivered when he felt the tips of her cold finger traced his arm, it felt disgusting! Her body was so cold and if not for the pulse he felt on his hands he would think this woman was an undead. "In exchange… both of you shall come with me."
Tenma gripped her throat harder and she flinched as her hand lost hold of Tenma's, "I can't accept such condition… never mind me but Shun is my responsibility and I can't allow him to be in any danger."
"Like you have any choice?" She wondered demurely, "If not it would be those three who suffered, they would die in less than an hour without the antidote…"
The Pegasus saint smirked at that, "And what stopped me from purifying the poison with my cosmos or try to find the antidote from your body after I killed you?"
Medea smirked, "Do I look foolish enough to use a poison that could be purified by cosmos? Or if you even know where I keep the antidote with me or which is the correct one?" She pointed out with a gleam on her eyes.
"You know your trick…" Tenma admitted with a hiss, "What do you want from us? I may be a saint but I can't think any reason for a witch to come after me and a trainee like Shun."
She cooed, "How cute you even never aware of who you are Pegasus… but it's fine so what's your answer to my invitation?"
Tenma narrowed his eyes, "It's still a NO unless you can guarantee you won't fool me and give them the correct antidote…" He was not amused, to think he had to give in to this witch… "I think we are in stalemate now since I can just snap your neck and bring them to physician of sanctuary. It's a gamble but better than losing battle I'll have here…"
"There is no telling how much time they need to figure out the antidote" Medea said hoarsely. "So how if both of us take an Absolute Troth?"
Tenma's eyes widened and he gritted his teeth in anger. It was an old costume back in the age of myth, it was simple oath that once take shouldn't be broken at all cost but the costume had been lost since magic was needed. Cosmos was alike with magic but it couldn't do what magic could while it had more raw power than magic. Once the troth taken you wouldn't be able to broke it and if you did it was not just your life but your soul would be ripped apart and lost. Myth still surrounded the oath as cloak of mystery; Medea was still in advantage since she knew more about how this work unlike him.
"Very well… however since you know how the Absolute Troth work better than me it's just fair if I decide the Troth. State your wish and I'll phrase it."
"Very well…" Medea said as he felt Tenma's hold loosed but still tight enough for her to not break free. "I want both Pegasus Tenma and Amamiya Shun to come with me, and you… especially you… to not harm me in duration of your stay with me."
"You also have to promise not to harm Shun." Tenma added with a hiss.
"I will not harm any of you." She promised and for some reason she sounded sincere.
Tenma sighed at that, "Very well… I, Pegasus Tenma and Trainee Amamiya Shun will be coming with you. Pegasus Tenma is forbidden from harming… "
"I am Medea… "
The Pegasus's eyes widened, Medea… the descendant of Helios and niece of Circe known as the witch of betrayal. What the hell this demigod would want from him and Shun?
"Forbidden from harming Medea the witch… and neither she could harm Pegasus Tenma or Amamiya Shun." Tenma continued, "As long as Medea hand over the antidote of poison that plaguing his comrades." He took a deep breath, "That's good enough to you?"
Medea nodded in satisfaction, "Yes… just repeat it once again and let…" Medea once again grabbed hold of his arm and her nails dug into the skin and drawing blood. Tenma didn't wince, as he felt foreign cosmos or was it magic? It was trying to intrude his body; he tensed a little but let her knowing this was one of the procedure and magic tended to involve blood. He repeated the oath, eyes never left the witch as she finished to chant the spell and bide them in the said oath.
As he watched her lift her hand off of his bloodied one, he stood up then went to Shun. This was not a good situation but he would get them out of this, whatever the witch wanted from even if not harming them couldn't be good. What he would do next might be not saint like but as Aphrodite said, be flexible when you needed it.
"Shun… we need to talk."
Noesis and the rest of them couldn't think but sweating at the image of monster on the cave. Gorgon was a terrible creature that only three of them ever walked on the earth. They were confident they could take on this creature especially with a gold saint with them, but the problem was they couldn't and should not look at the face of this creature. There were so few things cloth couldn't protect saint from and Gorgon's eyes were one of it.
The Triangle saint smirked nervously, "We can't look at its face then…"
Mu shook his head, "Except from reflection… but we have two choices." He pointed out as turned to them, holding two fingers. "First, we draw the gorgon out of the cave… it will give us bigger space to fight it. But in the same time we run a risk of looking at gorgon's face." He paused, "And the other is invading her cave… it's pretty dark so we will not be able to see her face, but the terrain is unknown and we have to rely on cosmos to track each other." Another pause, "Unless… How good you are in using cosmos as replacement for sight?"
This skill was high-level cosmos mastery, in which you shut down your sight and relied on other four senses to give picture in your mind. Mu knew Shaka did this all the time, and no one would be able to match Shaka who even could read without his eyes. Sight was the sense that dominated around 80% of human's senses, which was why it was not easy to willingly shut it down for a long period.
Retsu fidgeted nervously, "Nonexistence…" He muttered as blushing a deep red.
Noesis smiled at his disciple, it was no surprise since it was rare even for a silver to develop this skill. "I… used it a couple of times, but not too good."
Daidalos suppressed an urge to say so-so when it was a fact of how good he was in this skill, "Decent enough Milord…"
Okay that's not really promising for them to fight in the dark and risked attacking someone they didn't want to in a place as narrow as a cave ahead of them. So they better fought in the open, and devised better plan to deal with the petrifaction of Gorgon. "Okay… which mean we better fight in the outside…" Mu concluded which the Aries saint could see from the corner of his eyes responded with a sigh of relief by Retsu. He must be not comfortable at the prospect of being a hindrance in his first mission because of lack of skill. "First of all we have to deal with her face first… this place is not too far from town so leading it to a goose chase is not an option, especially because we didn't know the terrain of this forest well."
Daidalos and Noesis nodded, as expected of a gold saint to be a visionary person. They knew Mu was not a frontline fighter due to his irreplaceable position as blacksmith but Mu didn't neglect his leadership skill, "Yes, milord…" Then Daidalos turned to Noesis, "Both of us have skill to restrain enemies… and Retsu is very agile."
Retsu beamed, "Yes, leave it to me… Lord Mu."
Mu smiled at them, "Well then… " He cleared his throat, "Daidalos, Noesis… restrain this creature once it's out of the cave, and Retsu… attack with everything you have and aim for vital area." He paused, "And I will be the one who will be the bait."
Their eyes widened in shock, "But Lord Mu! You shouldn't!" Noesis argued, "Daidalos alone is enough to restrain it, let me be the bait to lead this creature out!"
The Aries saint refused, "No! We need all help we could get to restrain it." He stated sternly, "Daidalos would be the one who bind the eyes with his chain, but the snake-like body is not enough to be restrained by Cepheus' chain alone so we need you too Noesis." Then his eyes turned to the youngest saint, "How good you can hold this creature down is essential, slightest mistake and this creature manage to break free…" His eyes rolled to the youngest saint and Noesis clamped his mouth shut, as he understood it would be Retsu who in danger if that happened.
They nodded, "Then it's settled…" Mu concluded in serious tone, "I will go first… Get ready in your position once I am out of your sight." The Aries saint ordered then slipped past them then stepped in a flash through the row of statues and disappeared on the darkness of Gorgon's cave.
Medea was once called the witch of betrayal, one would say that because she betrayed her family and country for a man. Considering the circumstance whereas Aphrodite involved in the said betrayal, no one could really say it was a complete betrayal in Medea's part. The reason was her devotion for her husband, which went too deep to a horrifying degree, it backfired on her, when her husband and father of her children betrayed her for another woman and status.
The witch of course didn't take well to be betrayed by husband she had sacrificed so many things for, and went to mad rampage. On the mythology it was told Medea was never one to do things halfheartedly especially when it involved homicide. Medea killed the princess of Corinth with her wedding dress, which also killed the King. Her children with Jason weren't spared either; she killed them beforehand and fled with their body.
In short she was a psycho with revenge streak…
There was no telling what she wanted from them, extracting revenge to Athena maybe? Her second husband that deserted her was the King of Athens after all… but that guy was dead in a horrible misunderstanding, Tenma recalled, so it couldn't be because of that…
At least she fulfilled her job to cure June, Leda and Spica so they were no longer in danger. He was not pleased she suddenly snatched both him and Shun away and teleported, leaving their friends screaming for them as the witch took them away.
Everything went according to her plan, or so she thought when in last second Shun suddenly burned his cosmos as much as he could and disrupted the flow of teleportation. Medea screamed in agony as the cosmos was burning her arm and she lost hold of both of them. Tenma was ready to grab Shun and teleported them out of the rift between dimension however, even the best plan could fail in execution.
Tenma's eyes widened when he saw the rift became violent and separated them and Medea apart and if not for his quick reflex to hold Shun's arm he would've lost the future Andromeda saint too. Tenma could tell Shun was scared but he still did what Tenma asked, it was a gamble but they had to take it. Shun was never asked to not harm Medea, knowing the boy's pacifist nature and Tenma wouldn't force Shun to do that either. However Tenma just wanted Shun to disrupt the teleportation, the harm that came to Medea was merely a side effect and not intentional.
"Tenma… where are we?" Shun asked in panic as he looked around at the static space.
Tenma suppressed a groan, "Rift between dimension." Great, the plan suppose to have Medea teleported alone after Shun disrupt her spell but who knows they would end up here? He was no good in teleportation and now they were stuck in here of all places?
"I will teleported us out of here, so no worries." He just had no idea where they'll end up. He should try to sense familiar cosmos of his comrade to use as beacon then teleported there, the problem was who and could he pull it off. "Wait a sec Shun, let me concentrate."
The twelve temples for some reason felt so far to his senses so his brothers would be out of option to be used as beacon. He needed someone close with high enough cosmos to use as beacon, but it also had to be familiar to increase the success rate. There was one felt familiar but it was dormant as if this person let his cosmos to be in deep slumber, no… no one could tell what would happen if he used dormant cosmos as beacon. Tenma tried to search a bit further and found one, no… two and three! One of it was Daidalos another… one... Noesis! Bingo! Wait… whose was the largest? A gold saint at least?
Could it be? They are on mission? Oh shit! He shouldn't pop up there!
"Tenma!" Shun's yelp snapped Tenma out of his thought and he couldn't blame Shun since the rift grew more violent and they'd be in danger here. Staying any longer would risk them to be torn apart!
"Che!" He grunted, "Okay! It's emergency, so who cares!" Hopefully no one there would mind the abrupt emergency landing.
"Nebula Chain!" The Cepheus saint shouted as the chain moved to bind the eyes of gorgon tighter while Noesis used his Tritos Spharagisma on its serpent body.
Both silver saints gasped as the felt monstrous power of Gorgon tried to resist their technique, "What power…" At this rate forget binding this monster for a long period, Noesis doubted his Tritos Spharagisma could last more than five minutes.
"Stardust Revolution!" Mu shouted as he executed his offensive move, one that landed perfectly on its vital area it seemed since the serpent considerably weakened and howled in pain. Ritsu moved to land the finishing blow, but before his fist could be connected to the gaping wound Mu's attack left the serpent let out a high pitched cry that sent painful wave through their eardrums.
Mu and the silver saints quickly raised a barrier to protect themselves but the damage had been inflicted. Daidalos had been fortunate his chain had its own will this it stayed in place even though its owner lost concentration, Noesis had no such luxury as his technique came undone. The one who received the worse was Retsu, the Bronze saint's ears were bleeding and holding it in pain.
Noesis paled at the sight, "RETSU!"
Mu moved to save the bronze saint when he saw the Gorgon started trashing its serpentine body around to break free of Daidalos chain. At this rate the Gorgon's gigantic scaly body would crush Retsu.
Mu instinctively looked up where he heard the voice came from and the next thing he knew something fell or rather crashed on the Gorgon's head and killed it in the process. The Aries saint had no idea what crashed on it, but it looked like a small meteor enveloped in cosmos. Mu quickly turned his attention to Retsu who had sat up and holding his bleeding ears, it seemed other than a number of bruises and shattered eardrums the Bronze saint was mostly fine. Noesis rushed to his disciple's side and tried to talk with the boy, which of course was unheard by the boy because of his shattered eardrums.
The boy looked upset and confused but perked up instantly when he picked up telepathy message from his master. It seemed they would be okay, Mu felt a wave of nostalgia watching the master and disciple.
"Lord Mu… I need to get my disciple to a healer." Noesis said.
Mu nodded, "Very well… "And with that Noesis teleported from the scene.
"What the… " Mu heard Daidalos' panicked voice, "Shun! Tenma!"
There was a groan of pain and Mu quickly rushed to Daidalos and found the silver saint in company of two young boys, one with green hair was unconscious. His eyes widened when he saw the other boy had a pure white cloth, a bronze saint! Mu didn't know why but he instinctively placed himself in the young saint's blind spot. It was a petty attempt to hide himself but he had a feeling he shouldn't draw the boy's attention now.
"Tenma, what are you doing here?" Daidalos asked with concerned voice as he cradled his disciple on his arms.
The boy whose name was revealed as Tenma rubbed the back of his head, "I used your cosmos as the beacon to get myself and Shun out of dimension rift." Daidalos opened his mouth but Tenma cut him off, "As for why I and Shun ended up there… it's not voluntary. Have you heard about the culprit of recent attack by mystical beast is probably a witch?" Daidalos nodded. "Not a probably anymore… that witch came uninvited to Andromeda Island."
"WHAT?! Then, what happened to my disciples?" Daidalos asked in panic.
"They're fine… that witch didn't harm them in exchange of me and Shun agreed to go with her." He assured the older saint.
Daidalos blanched. "And you agreed?!" He asked incredulously.
"I will explain the detail later okay?!" Tenma almost snapped, "The good news is… I tricked her, and if we're lucky she would never get out of that dimension rift …"
Daidalos sighed in relieve, "But what he wanted from you and Shun? If only you I can understand…" After all Tenma was a future gold saint, he was young and inexperienced thus a likely target but Shun?
Tenma shrugged, "Who knows? Apparently this witch's real identity is Medea of Colchis." Mu and other higher ranked saint gasped at the famed witch of betrayal. "She introduced herself as such and as we all know…" Tenma flinched when as he recalled the recent unpleasant memory in company of the witch of betrayal. "Medea is not the sanest figure known from mythology… " She was living incarnate of woman scorned. "I can't imagine what she would have wanted from me and Shun."
Daidalos sighed then he stood up, Shun shifted in his sleep but the young boy seemed content on comfort of his master's arms. "Nevertheless… both of you are safe… " Then he flinched, "Lord Shaka and other gold saints would be displeased with me though, you're suppose to be safe in my island…"
Tenma rolled his eyes, "They should know… trying to keep me safe is bound to fail, I am a trouble magnet after all…" Tenma waved his arm in negative gesture, "No need to be worried about me not safe in your island as they hoped. I am a saint after all… I would be a sorry excuse of future gold saint if they have to fret over my safety all the time… " Daidalos disagreed, because in short time he knew the Pegasus saint, the young boy had gotten himself into trouble more often than not. It was no wonder his brother in arms were worried about the boy.
"Well said… " Mu couldn't help but said in response.
Tenma turned his attention to the source of the voice and blinked owlishly, "Ah… you're… "
Daidalos couldn't help but noticed from there was unfamiliarity on Tenma's eyes, the bronze saint was looking at Mu as if he was a stranger. "Tenma… ?"
"I am Mu… the Aries saint." Mu introduced himself. "Nice to meet you."
"… " Tenma frowned and Daidalos tensed at the sight. Unexpectedly Tenma suddenly smiled at Mu, "Nice to meet you too!" Mu was caught off guard when Tenma suddenly took hold of his right hand and shook it with vigor. "Let's talk over there for a bit!" Mu made no effort to resist as he let the younger saint dragged him to the forest, leaving the dumbfounded Daidalos in the clearing.
Sanctuary, Temple of Virgo
"Tenma? In China?!" Aphrodite almost yelled at the news he heard from Camus who was examining injured disciple of Noesis through telepathy, "There's a reason we tried to get him as far as possible from there!" By right Central and North part of Asia was off limits for Tenma since he risked running to Dohko or Mu.
Shaka rubbed his temple, "Don't yell Aphrodite." The blond saint chided the older gold saint, "I will pick him up now and make sure to get him out of whatever mess he got himself into." It's not like there was a big chance for Tenma to run to either Mu or Dohko.
The Pisces saint scoffed, "Make sure you do... Shaka, God knows what Tenma got himself into in the past when he accidentally teleported himself… I don't want a repeat of fiasco with komodo and that archipelago."
The Indian flinched at that, "Ah… " That was not even the most pleasant example of escapade Tenma had gotten himself into in the past.
"Shaka… Aphrodite… " Camus called them through telepathy. "Apparently Noesis group ran to Mu and he offered his assistance. We should know... Tenma is just that much of trouble magnet. He added with a sigh.
Shaka blanched, "I am going now!" This was not the right time yet, if whereabouts of Tenma made known to Mu and automatically Dohko... The Libra saint won't hesitate to swoop down the sanctuary in fear the fake pope was trying to control Pegasus saint. That would be a civil war in their hands, the last thing they wanted to happen.
Mu stared at Tenma and the Pegasus saint returned the stare with equal intensity. The Aries saint wondered if this boy was really the one Soma was talking about. He was already a saint and Mu could tell the boy was strong, not as strong as a gold saint but one that almost touched the tip the seventh sense. It was not much stretch of imagination the fake Pope wanted to mold an obedient Sagitarius saint from young age.
"You're the one who fix cloth if they're damaged?" Tenma began cheerfully.
Mu looked at the younger saint, he looked so innocent and behaved much like a child his age. "Yes… I am." So unlike he and other gold saint when they were as young as the boy. "I've heard of you from Soma... I believe I've never meet you before..."
Tenma raised an eyebrow at the Aries saint, wondering how he could have met Shaka's servant. "We would have if you go home to 12 temples once in a while…" He pointed out with a grin.
Mu inwardly cringed, "Maybe… but nevertheless it's been a while since I heard anything from Sanctuary."
The Pegasus saint blinked owlishly, "Eh… why?" That's weird, he heard Aldebaran visited Mu quite often.
The Aries saint looked at Tenma calmly but inside he was raging storm, there were so much question to ask and he didn't know where to begin with. And so he started with one question that had plaguing his mind. "Who are you?"
Long time no update but at least I did at last... Please support this story even if I won't update as often. ^^ Hopefully next update would be faster. One more chap and we will start from canon timeline Galaxy war XDDD YAY!