"SALVATION – I'm Happy"
"Look, I don't care what you do with yourself," Dist chimed and wrapped the last bandage around Arietta's arm, "But you should know this: That brat risked his neck for you. He has the scars and scratches to prove it. For you to still want to go through with something like this...Well, it just isn't logical."
The Reaper's words haunted Arietta. She couldn't shake the image out of her mind; Sync sprawled out across some crates in the cramped cargo area, sound asleep. Patches of bloody, serrated flesh and torn cloth littered his dark uniform. She hadn't the gall nor courage to wake him or even thank him. There was another matter that required her blind, ardent devotion.
It was time for her to join Ion and her Mother.
Luke and his friends were a tough lot and Arietta was well aware that their strength far outmatched her own. Even if she fought with all of her friends and allies, it wouldn't be enough. All of the Oracle Knights combined could do nothing to stop them because their cause was an unjust one. It was true that Arietta despised the Score just as much as her fellow God Generals, but killing innocent people just to prove a point? The very thought made her queasy.
So, she helped the replica and his comrades to the best of her ability. Now she would die an honorable death like a good soldier. All in the name of vengeance and penitence.
"Having second thoughts?" Largo inquired as he trod alongside her. He offered to go with the girl because of her fragile resolve. If he was there, then at least someone would witness her final glory in the heat of battle and mourn her passing afterwards.
"It's not suicide," Arietta reminded herself, "I'm just doing what any faithful daughter and guardian should..."
Largo's giant hand caught her by the shoulder and halted her stride. His face was awash with confusion and concern as he asked again, "Is this what you truly want, Arietta? Your thoughts seem elsewhere."
She gently pulled away from him and answered with a slight sigh, "I'll be fine." Largo wasn't entirely satisfied with her reply, but decided against any further strife. The odd pair continued their long, arduous trek through the forest. Memories called out to them around every corner, from behind every shrub and tree. Tears fell from Arietta's bright eyes as they neared the clearing, the place where her Mother was slain.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
A gasp escaped Arietta as she jerked her head upwards and glanced across the thicket. "S-Sync...?"
"Dist informed me of your little venture," The Storm Seeker rasped and folded his arms over his chest, "I went to the trouble of hauling your sorry ass back to HQ and this is how you repay me? By trying to commit suicide for that loser Ion?!"
Arietta took a step back and looked to Largo for support. But the man was as silent and stony as a statue in a cemetery. Her heart leaped and her body went rigid with fear as Sync started to approach her. Instinct said that if he came any nearer, her plans would be ruined. She shook her head and sped off in the opposite direction.
"Return to HQ. I'll handle this." Sync affirmed as he strode past the Black Lion. The older man acknowledged him with a respectful nod and watched him race down the path. What was he supposed to tell the Commandant upon his return?
He muttered before taking off himself, "Children..."
Vivid shades of green and yellow whizzed by as Arietta ran through the forest at an alarming speed. It was too late to call for one of her friends or her brother. All she could do now was rely on her own strength, regardless of how little she possessed. One false step was all it took to topple her weak resolve and send her tumbling down a steep hillside. Sharp, jagged rocks awaited her at the bottom and she braced herself for the worst.
"You are such an idiot."
Sync caught her with flawless technique and swept her small form against his white armor in one fluid motion. Arietta opened her mouth to protest and he took that as his cue to begin his own lecture.
"First of all, Ion is dead," he started in a low voice and strolled through the thick grove of trees, "and he wasn't even the real thing. You knew that and yet you still wanted to die for him?"
His partner's face twisted with anger. "You wouldn't understand!"
"Enlighten me, then."
Arietta ceased her thrashing suddenly, catching Sync off-guard. Her voice was hollow as she spoke, "I c-can't follow the Commandant anymore..." Silence was all that answered. Terrified of her superior's reaction, Arietta grasped his jacket and buried her face within its warm confines. "I don't like the Score any more than you, but what we're doing is wrong...All of those people..."
"I don't give a damn about the people," Sync interrupted her with a yawn. Arietta pulled away from his jacket and caught a glimpse of his crooked grin. "But I do want to ditch the burden of having to take orders from Van. The bastard's gotten way too high and mighty for my tastes."
Hope radiated from Sync's words and reached Arietta like a comforting melody. Did they just agree on something? Heat rose into Arietta's face and she heard her 'Master' chuckle.
"Your face is all red."
Sync almost had the wind knocked out of him as his tiny partner gasped and yanked him forward, hiding her shameful blush inside of his jacket. She really was his now. Any thoughts or memories of the former Fon Master perished within that instant. All previous devotions, bonds and restraints vanished. It was just the two of them, alone in the world.
"So, tell me Arietta," Sync lifted her out of his embrace and held her high in the air, "Just how far are you willing to go for 'Master?'"
Hesitation still remained with the girl. "W-What do you mean?"
"You do want to get away from Van, don't you?" Sync's grin widened as he brought her body into his and cupped her chin with a gloved hand. He leaned in close, so close that their breaths intertwined. The blush on Arietta's face, the way she wrung her hands and the cute, tight expression stretched across her face...No reward could have been greater. Her eyes narrowed as she answered him in a shaky voice,
Sync pressed his forehead against hers and whispered, "Then we can commit suicide together."
Notes: I apologize for Sync's cryptic answer and ending this with a cliffhanger! How does he plan on getting away from Van? What is this 'deal' he made with Dist? Find out in the last chapter! Look forward to it! :)