Hi guys! I originally wanted to post this during Christmas but the internet was not available -_- it's still the Christmas Eve so it's a "late Christmas and early New Year's" present from me. yay! I work really hard on this. This is the chapter you all have been looking forward to! Read on! Enjoy! (I swear, I was fangirling during the whole process!)
Disclaimer: 07 Ghost no mine, just the writing!
Fort Hohburg- Corridor
Fort Hohburg, the largest structure within the 1st District, placed at the heart of the district, the pride of the Empire. Night has taken place, making the district's streetlights glimmers like stars. Within Fort Hohburg's Military Fortress corridor, 3 military generals were in the middle of their conversation before hearing footsteps coming their way. Instantly they line up and saluted towards the group which passes them: the ever fearful Black Hawks.
"Ayanami-sama, you have a meeting with General Oak at 9 PM and a Court-Martial at 10 PM." The tall, lanky man with a mole under his mouth informs Ayanami as they walk. "Also, starting tomorrow, the inauguration for the new Begleiters is scheduled to begin." He continues as he read on his notes.
"Good work, Colonel Katsuragi." Ayanami quoths coldly, although his words are sincere. "You've done well."
"Ah, your words flatter me sir. It's an honor just to be of your service." Katsuragi replies. The other three Black Hawks member, ones with the blond, blue and pink hair follows not too far behind. Just by watching one can know how much the Black Hawks respect Ayanami. But the same can't be said for the 3 generals.
"That damn Ayanami! Such intolerable brat!"
"He's merely a descendent of the lowest class of aristocrats!"
"Wasn't his bloodline discarded by the Imperial family?
Before the can continue rambling, a sudden 'clink' was heard from behind them, revealing a yawning, sleepy looking Black Hawks member wearing a black pair of glasses. While walking casually passing through the 3 generals, he had his left hand on his katana, leaving the generals to their own speculations.
"Did he hear us?"
"I didn't say a thing!"
Before they knew it, their pants slipped from their waist, leading them to frantic.
Ayanami knew that most generals within the Military harbors resentment towards him, for his Warsfeil descent. But those comments are unimportant to him. He had a much larger goal, and it's only a matter of time before he achieves it.
"Ayanami-kun" a voice suddenly interrupts his thought, who is none other than Chairman Miroku. Followed by a man whose eyes are bandaged: his Begleiter behind him.
"How is the matter regarding the deserter, Tiera Klein proceeding?" he inquires Ayanami.
"I swear that I will capture her for you, Miroku-sama." Ayanami in response, plight to the older man. Although at the back of his mind, he doesn't see the girl's worth. As if reading his mind, Chairman Miroku chuckles.
"That girl is strong." He says to him. "After all, she's the best pupil I've ever taught." Finally he walks away with his Begleiter, leaving the Black Hawks to themselves in the corridor.
"Ah, one more thing Ayanami-sama." The earlier man, Colonel Katsuragi calls. "The preparations for Mikage have finished, as you requested."
In fact, capturing her will be a matter of time… Ayanami smirks, his plans are slowly falling into action.
I didn't remember much what happened after "that incident" last night. I can only assume that I felt right asleep, since I found myself waking up to another morning in my room, in Barsburg Church. It's been 2 days…
"Hmm?" I felt something sort of like a paper under my hand. I pick it up, turns out it's a note from Castor-san. How did I know? It has his name on it.
If you're feeling better, how about meeting us near the fountain? We'll be waiting for you.
I guess there's no harm for me to go… I got up from my bed and start to walk outside. I wonder if Castor-san wanted to talk about something, probably about last night.
Last night… Come to think of it, what is actually going on last night? I remember about the old man, the Kor, Mikage's illusion…What is the reality behind it? I don't know.
Not only that, aside from my life in the Academy, I don't have a clue of the outside world. So many things I have yet to discover. For first time, the sunlight felt slightly brighter…
And, more dazzling…
As I step outside, the sunlight reveals a scene of nuns laundering the clothes and fabric of the Church, some hanging them in the air to dry. They did whole-heartedly, like it wasn't a chore at all. They express such cheerfulness, such peacefulness, that my heart felt it just by looking at them. Truly, does this world offer more than just pain and deceit?
"Oh, my! Tia-san good morning!" Sister Libelle greets me right away. She called my name…Castor-san must've told her.
"We just mended and washed your coat!" Sister Athena shows me my coat in her hands, all cleaned and repaired.
"Good morning! But really, you don't have to trouble your-"
Before I could say any further, the two sisters had their eyes over my head. Wondering what they're looking at, I turn around to see as well. I thought it was one of the bishops or something, but I never thought I would be stunned at the sight of flying clothes!
"EEH?" and it was too late to dodge, some of the garments have landed themselves on my head.
"Aah, I'm so sorry!" Sister Rosalie whined, still on the floor after she slips herself and dropped all of the laundry.
"Oh my, Rosalie!" Sister Libelle sighs at her clumsiness while helping her up, as Sister Athena helps to take the clothes still hanging on my head.
"Sorry about that" Sister Athena apologizes in Sister Rosalie's stead.
"N-No, it's fine." I assure her. "Have you seen Castor-san?"
"Castor-sama?" Sister Athena returned the question. "No, we haven't seen him."
"Is that so?" I must be early then… "Well thanks anyway!" As I was about to turn around and look for Castor-san, I bumped into something hard and fell on my back. Ow… Instantly I rubbed my nose to ease the pain.
"Oops, sorry about that! You're so tiny I didn't see you there!" Wait, this voice-!
"What did you say you damn Bishop?!" Instantly I shot up and yell at him. I swear, wherever I go why do I always run into this guy? Strangely instead of denying what I just called him, Frau simply looks at me like he's…relieved?
"What?" I ask him, trying to make him speak out.
"I'm just glad to see that you're up and about." He answers. But why would he be "glad" about my condition? Suddenly he grabs my head and starts ruffling my hair roughly. "I don't get why you want to leave, but you'll never get anywhere if you're not feeling well!"
"Hey! Let go of me!" I struggle free from his handling. Wait, that's not right. Just yesterday, he had saved me from that Kor thing. Besides, he does seem like he's a bit worried. So what I should say is…
My words apparently caught him off guard, obvious from his incredulous look. The next thing he says though, were really unexpected.
"Of course, kiddies are supposed to be up and about! If they don't get enough exercise, they'll stay short for eternity! We don't want that, wouldn't we?"
Very, very unexpected. He just used the two words I hate the most!
"Why you…" I can feel a vein popped, as I growl at him. "YOU'RE DAMNED FOR SURE!"
In anger I immediately punch him, only managing to punch air in the end. Again I try to punch his face, but he dodges it easily. This time I try to kick him the face but again he moves away easily, laughing at my attempts.
"Heh, what's this? Looks like the brat's angry!"
"Stop calling me a brat!" with a final shout I managed to kick his guts. Yes! Take that! My next move is to stand tall and laugh at him, before I realize it takes a while for me to foot down.
"Ah! That's the deep end over there!"
Deep end…? I look down on my feet, finally realizing that I was hovering above the waters. I could've easily maneuvered myself back of dry land, but unfortunately the chains on my limbs are too heavy that turning around in midair is already impossible. To my horror, I see a dark shadow looming in the waters as if waiting for me to drop.
"AH!" I yelped as I come into contact with the cold water. I drown with a huge 'splash' as my eyes are closed. Suddenly I felt a cold pair of hands on my cheeks. Somehow these pair of hands are also slippery and…webbed?
Who is-? Instantly I snap my eyes open to see. Even though I'm underwater, I can clearly see the face in front of me. Oh, it's my face. Wait, go back- My face?!
"WHAT THE HELL?! A DOPPELGANGER!"
I knew it, I just lost myself.
"This girl is Razette, she is the Church's organist."
Thankfully, Castor-san had just arrived and he explains everything. After getting myself dry and a change of dry clothes, he introduced me to Razette: a Noel Mermaid. He tells me that Noel Mermaids have an ability to alter their faces to someone else's, which explains how I had seen my own face when I definitely don't have a mirror in my possession. Just as so, Razette reverts back to her original face: a beautiful girl with pink eyes and a long hair to match, as she shows me a kind smile.
Whoa, her face changes! I found myself lost for words due to amazement. I never thought that mermaids would exist. I guess the Academy must've dismissed such subjects as "irrelevant", since we were trained to become soldiers, not scientists. Razette then reaches out her arms to me as she gives me a friendly hug, humming a sweet melody as she does. Castor-san quickly becomes surprised, as if what Razette did is a rare sight.
"Looks like she took a liking to you." He tells me smiling. "Normally, she's afraid of strangers."
"Really now…" I look down at Razette who's still smiling. Her manner reminds me of a child, looking so happy and gleeful. Suddenly her face shifts into that guy's (Frau), complete with his stupid looking grin. I don't think it's funny though, I mean, it's Frau. I found myself sweat-dropping.
"Ah, you should tell her that it's a bad thing to turn into that face." Castor-san tells me casually despite knowing that face is right behind him looking murderously irritated. "You might catch his germs too."
"Are you trying to pick a fight?!"
Eventually Frau gives up from trying to attack Castor-san with a mop, so he goes elsewhere with his "precious collections". Castor-san and I sat down on the fountain's edge, while Razette takes a dip in the fountain itself. I was about to ask Castor-san of the note, until he points out towards the Church's entrance. From afar I see the old man from yesterday, looking like himself again. This time, he's hugging a young boy, with the boy's parents smiling proudly. Could it be that they're his family? But seeing the old man's happy face, I was convinced.
"Looks like he had a home to return to after all." Castor-san tells me. It seems he overheard my conversation with Frau the other day. Everything turns out okay in the end.
"Thank goodness…" I sigh in relief, giving a small smile of my own. We continue to watch the family as they return to their homes. Now then, should I ask Castor-san about the events the other day?
"Castor-san…?" I called out to him nervously. "About yesterday…" Okay…here goes "Kor…just what are they?"
The gleam on his glasses hides Castor-san true expression. He might've predicted that I would ask about the incident sooner or later. In the end, he averts from me as he looked up to the sky.
"When a person is granted a life by the Chief of Heaven…" he began. "He tells them: Because you will be given a human life, you may have three dreams to enjoy in that life." Three dreams…? "Now tell me the three dreams that you wish to spend your life on. It is believed that when all of your dreams have made come true by the Chief of Heaven, your soul shall once again be called back by the Him, and the two of you shall be reunited."
"Naturally, no one remembers what those dreams are when they're born. But discovering them is part of what makes life so fun and wondrous." Castor-san takes out a jar he has with him and from the jar he takes one of these long object wrapped up with colorful wraps.
"Would you like a candy?" he offers me one.
"Candy?" I see Razette is munching one of these candies happily, so I took one and muttered a "thanks". I unwrapped the candy and took a small bite, and chew. It's good!
"However, there are evil beings who want to interfere with that." Castor-san continues, his tone becomes grimmer.
"Is it that…Kor?"
"Indeed." He answers. "Kor draws people into the darkness by granting the wishes, therefore eating their dreams away."
"It eats dreams?"
"Let's see…" Castor-san ponders, trying to find the easiest of explanation. "The first time a Kor grants a wish, you lose sight of what you're supposed to do. Your heart felt unsatisfied, no matter what you do."
Just like that time… I thought to myself. That moment I made my wish to that Kor, I felt a certain desperation in my heart. Is that how unsatisfaction feels? I used to think unsatisfactory is similar to power: the more you get the more you desire it. I guess it's something you can know only after you've experienced it.
"The second time a wish is granted, you suffer unquenchable hunger and thirst. Like an addiction symptom." He continues. "And when the third wish is granted…"
"When the third wish is granted…?"
"Your soul will be indulged in too much darkness, that you can never return to the Chief's side again."
"…" And I almost got lured by that Kor…
"The Kor then takes that body, and tries to lure more souls into their realm, increasing their numbers, as they await for the return of their Master: Verloren."
The Death God, Verloren. If this "Verloren" can do that much when he is sealed, then what would happen if for some reason he sets foot on the human world?
"That is why it is the Church's job to protect people from the Kor." Castor-san said, his eyes show a very strong determination. "But…"
But? Castor-san suddenly stands up and leans towards me, the gleam on his glasses once again hide his true face. He whispers in my ear softly, yet dares me to defy his words.
"Please keep what happened last night a secret." Last night? Does he mean about Frau and the scythe? About his abilities? Without an explanation, Castor-san walks off as I only turn to watch him. A sudden wind suddenly blows before it turns into a soft breeze, blowing the drying cloths softly as if they were dancing in the wind. The chirping birds, became the accompaniment of the dance.
"Oh yes, Tia-kun!" Castor-san stops in his steps before turning to call me, Frau also nearby. "What is your dream?"
Both Castor-san and Frau gazes into my eyes, smiling behind the dancing white cloths. Even though a gleam still appears on one of his eye, Castor-san other eye shows me a look of thoughtfulness, which suits his role as a Bishop. On the other hand, even though I still can't believe Frau is a Bishop, even his gaze shows a glint of playfulness, it was nevertheless kind. For that second, the two of them looked dazzling. But that wasn't what's on my mind that time. What is though, is Castor-san's question.
"What is…my dream?" that question leaves me speechless. Because I'd never thought about my dream, I never wonder about it. As I ponder, I walk through the hanging white articles, swaying with the breeze.
I always believe that I had to do whatever the Military told me. But that was only during those dark times when I was alone.
The thought of loneliness stops me in my tracks, was I alone though?
No, I'm not alone anymore! Because Mikage…I met you!
The fact that I have met Mikage is proof that I am not some lifeless tool at the Military's disposal. His 'light' has leaded me to try and make decisions for myself. I want to protect that light! I wanted to protect that smile! If it's in vain I wanted to at least try!
Just like how Mikage tried to protect me with all he had!
"Mikage…" I don't need three dreams, as I have only one: which is to never betray those who're important to me. "I'll never abandon you!"
Fort Hohburg- Chief of Staff's private study
Chief of Staff's private study: not only it is the personal quarter where Chief of Staff Ayanami performs his written duties, it is often the space where the infamous Black Hawks often held one of their meetings. The afternoon is one of those times, with a certain Major pondering aloud, his fingers placed below his chin.
"What's wrong, Major Hyuuga?" a blond-haired Begleiter asks his higher ranking officer. Major Hyuuga, who wears a pair of black glasses notices and turns to him playfully, as if he wasn't thinking at all, just pretending to be. He already had it figured out.
"Hmm, normally when a criminal tries to escape, the Military guards set up a shield within a 5,000 meter parameter. Since that's as far as a Hawkzile can fly." He explains expertly, even though the young Begleiter's aware of that. "That way, no one can escape."
"And yet, Tiera Klein managed to fly all the way to the 7th District without anyone noticing him."
"Ah…" the pink haired member voices out (awake this time).
"Disgraceful." Ayanami suddenly voices out, a tint of death in his cold tone. As such, everyone in the room tenses, but Major Hyuuga also sweat-dropped a bit thinking he's in trouble.
"I am having all the guards undergo a thorough review." Colonel Kasturagi informs them, unknown if it's to make them feel more at ease.
"Well that aside, you know we received reports stating that a Wendy had a tough time navigating through that inlet." Major Hyuuga reminds Ayanami. "It was a monster big enough that it threatened to destroy our best aerial troop, let alone a little Hawkzile." The Hawkzile he mentioned of course, is the one rode by Tiera Klein.
"And you're saying that Tiera Klein flew through that?" the pink-haired member asks again, receiving grin and a chuckle in return.
"So the girl has spunk." Ayanami comments, impressed by Tia's achievement. Spunk… Major Hyuuga sweat-dropped, it's not every day Ayanami says that.
"So? What should we do, Aya-tan?"
"No matter" Ayanami says. "Tiera Klein's already as good as ours." Since she will return willingly into our hands…
It's been hours since morning, and it's now noon.
For personal reasons, I've become all self-depressed. All I've done since breakfast is sitting at the fountain with the Silver Rose in hand sighing. It's a good thing people don't mind though.
My mind keeps going around in circles of one person, and wandering if that person is still alright, if the Military has shown him mercy in some way for letting me escape. Maybe I'm trying to make myself feel better but…who wouldn't?
"Heave…Ho!" a chant suddenly snaps me from my own thoughts. I turn my head to the entryway, where I see the 3 sisters carrying a sack full of grains and a large chest. Impressively, Sister Rosalie carries the chest all by herself. But still, why is nobody helping them? Quickly I left my seat and goes after them.
"Should I give you a hand?" I ask the three. Sister Libelle turns her head and when she realizes it was me, she smiles.
"It's okay, this is our job after all!" she assures.
"But it looks heavy…" Sister Rosalie giggles, as if my concern is a bit funny.
"We're used to it!" she says.
"Besides, Rosalie is super strong!" Sister Athena remarks.
"Yep!" Sister Rosalie demonstrates by lifting the chest up above her head. Again impressive, but risky.
"Besides, Tia-san." Sister Athena speaks again. "Our duties are our precious gifts from God. So we have to do our best!" she smiles. "I'm sure that someday you'll find your duty too!"
"Right!" Sister Rosalie agrees. "And tonight, I'm going to make dinner to show my gratitude. I hope you'll look forward to it!" she proclaims before the three goes to wherever.
Having some time to kill, I decided to walk around. But eventually, I ended up staring at my own reflection above the waters. I wanted to help out everyone with their chores, but they only said it's fine and instead asks if I need anything. I'm no guest, I'm just some freeloader.
Why is everyone here so nice to me? That's the question. Most of all, I'm just a sklave. I don't deserve this kind of treatment. Is it pity?
A sudden splash emerges from the water, reveals to be none other than Razette. I mean, who else would swim at these times but Razette. As usual, she smiles at my presence and starts singing. More like humming than singing though, but I couldn't get the message she was trying to say.
"Yes?" I inquire. She suddenly pouts and shakes her head impatiently before transforming into Frau again. Okaaay, it's still not funny.
"I don't get what you mean." I sigh, hands on my hips. Razette sighs dramatically as if saying 'why don't you get it?' before reverting back to her face. She signs with her hand to make me follow her, pointing to her right.
"You want me to go over there?" I ask her and she smiles in return. Well, I should just do what she asks me too… I walk towards the direction she pointed, but I realize that she pointed towards the sanctuary.
"Why would you want me to go to the sanctuary?" I turn around for a second before continue walking. Isn't the afternoon prayers are taking place right now? I continue to walk anyway before a twitching pain strikes my head. The pain only lasts a moment, but my vision becomes blurry again. This time though, it's easier for me to see. I went to lean towards the sanctuary's arch, and the memories starts to flow back again.
"Tia, I'm going to say this once, so listen carefully."
The man before me took the red stone embedded on his necklace and took my hand. He places the stone over my hand, and it lets out a scarlet glow.
"Listen well, my daughter. The Eye of Michael holds all of Raggs' history within it." he says to me. "And someday, you shall inherit it."
"I will?" my younger self asks innocently.
"That is your destiny." He replies. "That is why, you must never fall into the Imperial Army's hands."
The inheritor of Raggs' history…is me? I thought over the memory. Quickly I left the sanctuary where Razette were waiting eagerly. I'm still contemplating over the fact that I was the inheritor to Raggs Kingdom.
If it's true, then it's natural for the Empire to see me as a threat… I thought as I set my eyes on the Silver Rose again, walking to wherever my feet leads me. There's no way the Imperial Army would let me survive if they realize than I am the heir to Raggs… With that in thought I came to a sudden realization. What if the whole Church knew that I was from Raggs from the beginning? Alarmed I looked around my surroundings, where the nuns are doing their chores. I mean, it would make sense that they treat me so nicely, like they are aware that I could make or break them. Razette then approach me at the nearest water and hums sweetly again, as if asking 'did you find it? did you get it?' at least, that's what I thought.
Going back to that last topic...knowing a part of my identity, I would become a heavier burden if I continue to stay here. I try to remind myself. I will trouble the Church, the Sisters, Castor-san, Labrador-san, even that guy… a sudden image of Frau grinning stupidly with a porn magazine in his hand pops into my mind. …On second thought, scratch the last one.
The thought of leaving comes back into my mind again. It wouldn't hurt to try again, I mean the day is still bright and the gate is still wide open, and lots of people are going home from the afternoon prayer. It would be better to leave now, before I endanger everyone. So now, even though I don't get my hopes so high, once again I try to leave the Church. I hope no one sees me.
"Such heavy burden on those frail shoulders…" Labrador commented at Tia's petite figure. The three Bishops has been watching Tia since breakfast, with Frau constantly mumbling that kids shouldn't sulk all day and should go play, etc. More importantly, they're keeping an eye in case anything happens to her again.
"She's just being a handful." Frau grunts. Castor took notice of Frau's cognition towards the girl and smirks.
"I'm surprised to see you care so much about her, Frau!" he says playfully.
"Shut up!" Frau retorts. Labrador didn't share the same interaction as they, looking grimly at the flower bushes again.
"The flowers are anxious again…" he says, surprising the two. "Someone is going to come for her soon, and he shall destroy her world…"
Castor and Frau knew that Labrador often makes premonition like these, and they should take it seriously. Frau looks back towards where Tia was, realizing she was gone. He curses her silently, fully aware that she knew leaving is futile, but does so anyway.
I've been walking for a while and now I'm at the bridge towards the gates. So far so good, no one has come to fetch me back. There aren't a lot of people, but enough to keep me concealed.
Knowing half of the situation, leaving the Church's ground seems more advantageous. I'll go back to the Academy to rescue Mikage, and distract the Military from targeting the Church that helped me. It's killing two birds with one stone. But why do I feel slightly uneasy? By chance, the Silver Rose in my hand slipped away, as if the wind hand snatched it away. It flew a few feet ahead of me, landing at the foot of a hooded person. Quickly I gave a chase and bend down to get it.
"Sorry, that belongs to-!" the person bends down and grabs the flower before I do. As he tilts his head up, his hood slipped off. This person's eyes, a man's gaze into my own surprised ones. These brilliant topaz eyes, can only belong to one person.
"Tia?" Mikage's voice breaks a little, as if he couldn't belief it's me. I was left speechless, unable to say his name.
"Tia!" Mikage jumps towards me, wrapping his arms around my shoulders in joy. Both of us tumble to the ground, his arms never left his embrace.
'Mi-Mikage…?" my voice hoarse, having it hard to believe. "Is it…really you?"
"What are you talking about, Tia?" Mikage loosen his embrace to look at my face, his voice a bit broken. "Of course it's me!"
He's okay… I thought in relief, feeling the tears ready to flow. He's really okay...!
"Tia…" his warm voice calls out my name, as his face slowly comes close to mine, trying to close the gap between us. But before anything happen, he lost his consciousness.
"Mikage? Mikage, are you okay?! Stay with me!" I quickly ask in frantic. Now I realize, he looks more tired than usual. I call out for help, not thinking of anything else. But the last thing on my mind was…
His hands…are cold.
He's back! YAY! Mikage's back! But most of you probably won't like how in ended XD don't worry I'll make it up with more fluff on the next chapter! ;)
Suzalulu1200-san: I don't think she's aiming to be a bishop or a nun, she just needs the Bishop's pass but I'll keep that in mind!
PrincessWindNight-san: gotcha! Thanks for voting!
Yu Kohaku-san: Yeah, it's for the sake of plot and comedy XD thanks so much! That's a HUGE HUGE compliment!
StarTime101-san: Thank you! Actually I think it's about the same though but good point
hiyomi-san: Me too! Yeah, it'll be exciting to see but let's wait for the results!
Kanari-san: Thank you! I' still creating the out come of the story so please look forward to it!
It seems most of you are still confused with the poll. Don't worry, I'll count the votes from this chapter, so you still have time up the the Bishop's Examination Arc. So once again:
Would you like Tia to disguise herself as a boy for the Bishops Exam?
Don't forget to vote guys! Via PM or REVIEW! Merry Christmas! See you next chapter!