Ryo jolted up from his sleep and the only thing he could do was breathe heavily. He clearly memorized the figure of the lady as a shadow and exactly what she said.
"You are the one? Is she referring to me?" he asked himself in a naïve tone. Looking at the rays of the early sunrise fall on the wooden floor, Ryo examined the scenery of Diamant City beyond the window.
"I should go check up on Irene…" he trembled, remembering the mental state of the girl. He shook his head because he knew he had to protect her, as it was a swordsman's duty.
Walking over to the room where Irene stayed, he knocked on the door a couple of times but received no answer. He turned the handle slowly to know that it was unlocked, and then proceeded in where he found the violet haired girl deeply in her slumber.
He kneeled down beside her bed and saw no mark on her forehead, giving him more than a necessity to figure out what was going on.
"No mark, huh? Heh, well that must mean no red eyes!" he chuckled slightly. He sat on the bed beside the bed where Irene was lying. He looked for quite some time, but she didn't even dare open her eyes to the sunlight that shone through the window, hitting her face.
"That mark looked so familiar…" he thought to himself as he flashbacked to when it appeared on her forehead. Shaking the thought off, he examined her tranquil face as it expressed a serene demeanor, which Ryo thought was nice.
"…She looks pretty when she sleeps," Ryo thought to himself, staring at the strange beauty and slightly smiling. Suddenly, her eyes slowly opened up to show her golden eyes partially. Ryo was stupefied as he blushed lightly on his thought.
"Where am I?" the soft voice asked consciously, getting up slowly. Her eyes wandered around the room and then met up with Ryo's. She looked at him confusingly, but then a delightful smile came to her face.
"Ryo, is that you?" she inquired as he nodded puzzlingly in response. "I'm so happy to see you!" the violet haired girl softly cheeped.
"Huh?" the swordsman flinched in response, "Didn't we just meet…last night?" he trailed off.
"Certainly not, I was in Diamant at night." She grinned, getting out of the bed and straightening her Iris dress. "…unless I forgot…"
Ryo, even more surprised, stared at the strange girl in front of him who changed overnight. "Irene?" he called out to her, in which she raised an eyebrow at him and turned around to see who he was talking to.
"Who, me?" Ryfia inquired, "You forgot my name that easily? It's me, Ryfia" she said waving her hands in the air. Ryo widened his eyes and started to walk back away from the lass, tripping over the beds edge and falling on the floor. "Ugh!"
"Ryo! Are you alright," the fair Diva ran over to the fallen soldier in an attempt to aid him. "What's wrong, why are you so scared?" the diva inquired seeing his upset face.
"I swear that was not a dream! There is no way she changed like that!" Ryo thought to himself as Ryfia helped him stand on his feet. "But then why is she being so kind? Was she playing with me?"
"N-Nothing, I was just wondering…" Ryo looked away from her gaze.
"Well, I still have to thank you for saving me from that monster" Ryfia smiled.
"What?! She remembers that?" Ryo blinked in surprise.
"Yeah, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have been able to escape. And the wound has healed, too." She said pointing at her arm. "So thank you!" she cheerfully laughed, making the blonde haired lad finally smile.
"Well, it was nothing Ire- I mean, Ryfia," he smiled sheepishly, "damn It, she's screwed me over!"
"Hehe, well it was so nice seeing you. I have to get back to L'arc and Cecille, they must be worried about where I am…" the Diva nodded slightly to Ryo and turned around to walk out.
"Wait…" Ryo said to Ryfia, making her turn around, "can I come along? I have nothing else to do, so…. even though I do, I have to find out who you are…"
'Of course, I'd actually love that," She said folding her hands together, "let's go then" she led the swordsman out of the inn.
All changed into their regular clothes, with Larc in his Scarlet Fatigues and Cecille in her 'newly modified' Amethyst Dress, the duo met outside of Larc's house.
"She's not back yet…" Cecille said, getting impatient. "What has that girl got caught up in" Cecille looked over to Larc as he looked at the ground with one hand on his hip.
"I have a feeling that she'll come sometime right now…" he sniggered.
"You can hope all you want…" Cecille commented hopelessly, sitting down on a cut down log with her fists supporting her face.
A little while later, a violet haired lass and a blonde haired lad walked together towards Larc's house. As they walked through the entrance of the garden, they caught Cecille's eye as she jolted up and ran towards her friend. Larc turned around to see the commotion behind him.
"Ryfia!"Larc and Cecille cried in sync as Cecille ran up and hugged the girl with great force making the two ladies fall to the ground. Ryo watched in amazement of their friendship's strength, while Larc had a surprised look on his face.
"Where the hell were you?" Cecille screamed at Ryfia, making the latter confused, "you've been gone for so long!" Cecille cried hugging the girl. Larc walked towards his friends, happy to see Ryfia back in the team.
"See, I told you" Larc smirked, giving Cecille a wink. "There was no way that she won't come back. But, where were you anyway?"
"I was at the inn…" Ryfia assured Cecille, "there's nothing to worry about." She said putting her gentle hand on Cecille's shoulder.
"You should've atleast told us!" Cecille scolded Ryfia, getting off her and crossing her arms.
"Yeah we've been looking all over for you, Ryfia. Why'd you go there anyways?" Larc inquired worriedly.
"Well…I…I don't know…" Ryfia hesitantly replied, as she tried to remember, "How'd I get there?" she questioned herself. Ryo looked at her shockingly as he wondered if she was lying or not.
"Well, whatever, atleast you're back," Larc smiled decently.
"Yeah, we were really worried about you, especially Larc," Cecille pointed at Larc.
"Shut up!" Larc embarrassingly bellowed, crossing his arms. "Why don't you go change, Ryfia? Then we'll visit the castle." Larc said changing the topic. Ryfia nodded and headed inside Zamuel's school.
Larc and Cecille turned to each other until they noticed Ryo. Larc lifted his eyebrows up as he remembered his familiar face. The duo walked close to him in an attempt to recognize him.
"Ryo?" Larc inquired, "I didn't even notice you, there…" Larc tilted his head to one side.
"Well I just came along with Ryfia to drop her here…" Ryo laughed slightly.
"And who are you supposed to be?" Cecille bluntly questioned, putting her hands on her hips.
"Cecille, he's the guy that rescued Ryfia." Ryo nodded towards Cecille as she looked at him in a surprised way, "My name is Ryo"
"So you're that guy?! Wow, I've been waiting to thank you for your kind aid!" she laughed pinching his cheek, "nice to meet you, Ryo," Cecille cheeped as Ryo rubbed his cheek while smiling cowardly.
"Yeah, me too" Larc smiled at Ryo in proudness. "Thank you once again!"
"It was really nothing, as long as she's fine." Ryo innocently replied.
"So you and Ryfia met at the inn or was it some other reason?" Larc questioned curiously.
"No, actually I found her outside Diamant, in a nearby forest….she was talking to someone…" Ryo explained to the duo as they placed a shocked expression on their faces.
"WHAT?! B-but didn't she say she was at the inn the whole night?" Cecille choked on her words.
"But didn't she say that she didn't remember either?" Ryo assured them.
"True….you DO have a point there. Okay, what exactly happened?" Larc inquired the shaken swordsman.
"If I tell you, you probably won't believe me." The lad sighed.
"It's worth a shot, though," Cecille shrugged. Larc and Cecille got closer to Ryo.
"Well…"Ryo started but was interrupted with a peppy voice that joined in with his.
"What are you all talking about?" Ryfia tilted her head curiously. The trio shook their heads at her, letting her know it was nothing. Larc looked over to Ryo in curiosity, and then back at Ryfia.
"Nothing, let's go to Diamant Castle, shall we?" Larc smiled and gave a slight nod to the party. The group walked out of the garden over to the elevators. As they went up to the Upper Zone, Cecille started a conversation with Ryo.
"So Ryo, why exactly do you come to Diamant?" She asked. Cecille seeing the confused face of the swordsman, decided to change the question.
"I mean…are you here for a reason or….just because?"
"I….Well, I'm looking for someone, to be completely honest…" Ryo replied, looking at Ryfia to see if she reacted.
"And who would that be?" Ryfia raised her eyebrows in curiosity.
To Ryo's dismay, she didn't remember anything. He stared at her, flashbacking back to when he told her exactly what he told them now. The warrior then stepped up in front of the blonde lad and snapped her finger in front of his face, snapping him out of his thoughts.
"What are you waiting for?" Cecille demandingly inquired, "Answer the question!"
Larc found something strange about how Ryo was acting and began to think to himself. "What's up with him pausing after everything Ryfia asks him…?" Larc's head tilted to one side and shot a sharp look towards Ryo, startling the latter.
"Uh...I…" Ryo stuttered, trying to speak up after looking at Larc's intense gaze, wondering just what the brunette was thinking.
"Come on, Ryo," Larc walked over to the startled soldier and putting a gentle hand on his shoulder, "speak up…"
"Oh, I get it…." Cecille cried. Ryo looked at Cecille in a shocked way. "The person you are looking for is…" Cecille chuckled while making everyone curious to know.
"Is?" Ryfia and Larc asked in sync.
"A special someone, of course!" Cecille cheered happily, pinching Ryo's cheek. "Isn't that right, Ryo?" releasing the sigh out of everyone's breath.
"…I guess you could say that…." Ryo muttered under his breath, "She is special in a way."
"Hah! My sixth sense strikes again!" Cecille bellowed, swishing her purpled curly hair back. The party looked at her dumbfounded. "My love detector works fine and dandy, so I knew that Ryo was in love at the first sign!" Ryo's eyes widened and his mouth dropped open, astonished y her remark.
"L-Love detector…I'm not in love!" Ryo shouted in an attempt to justify himself.
"Oh please, don't deny it in front of me!" Cecille chirped.
"Wow, you still have that detection, Cecille? That's so cool!" Ryfia happily smiled at her grown friend in amazement. Ryo sent an evil look towards the diva, while wondering if she actually was in her senses.
"Before this conversation gets ANYMORE awkward, Diamant castle is right around the corner," Larc pointed out, in which Ryo was pleased to hear no more of that nonsense.
The group headed towards the entrance where a big door stood with guards standing in front of it. The doors were painted with a coat of snowy white paint with a flow of beautiful swirls and golden handles on each door. Both doors were decorated with forest green vines on the borders that gave it a sensational feeling. However, the pillars were the same as they were made.
"We'd like to meet the Emperor, please." Larc talked to one of the soldiers, booking an appointment with the emperor.
"Yes, of course. I'm sorry, but can you wait at the castle rooms for a while." The soldier kindly asked the group.
"How come though?" Larc questioned.
"Well, the emperor is quite busy at the moment but when he will be ready to see you, you will be noticed about it. It will only take a short while, so we suggest you stay at the castle rooms. My assistant will show you the way." The guard stated. Larc nodded his head in agreement, and followed the assistant.
"Wow, It's so beautiful from the inside!" Ryfia gazed in awe at the castles main hall.
"I had no idea that people are also allowed to stay in castle rooms." Larc wondered, looking at the intricate designs of the rooms. Windows were covered with beige curtains and shamrocks hung from every side of the room and the sun lit up the room with its vivid gold rays.
"Well, technically speaking, we only wait in castle rooms, not stay there. We cannot stay here overnight or spend the rest of the day here. That is only allowed for people with high status, such as nobles and dukes." Ryo stated.
"You are incredibly knowledgeable, Ryo." Ryfia remarked pleasantly, "I believe you are more knowledgeable than you let on." Ryo blushed at her comment and sheepishly smiled.
"Why thank you, dear Ryfia." Ryo replied in honor. Ryfia stared at him as she slightly blushed. Ryo became more and more open to the group, in which they all realized.
"Well well, what have we here? A fine gentleman..." Cecille smiled. "I wish Larc were a bit like you, though…" Cecille sighed.
"Hey! I heard that, and I am fine just the way I am," Larc retorted, even though the opinion made him ashamed of himself.
"Oh, but Larc is also very gentle, Cecille." Ryfia affirmed, "He's always so kind!"
"Well, I guess he does have his gentle side…" Cecille admitted, making Larc uncomfortable.
"Wow, Larc, I didn't know you were a ladies' man." Ryo grinned, seeing the provoked reaction of the brunette.
"I-I don't have any sort of characteristic!" Larc shouted at the swordsman, steaming with annoyance.
"Unfortunately, he's not one that actually enjoys the company of us ladies'…." Cecille said, shaking her head a she went on.
"Can we focus on my inner feelings less, please!" Larc demanded, as he hung at the edge of patience.
A soldier from outside knocked on the brass door and gently opened it, seeing the four facing him. He asked if he could enter, and after getting permission, he entered to deliver his message.
"Sorry to interrupt your conversation but the emperor has ordered me to inform you that he is ready to see you." Larc and the others nodded and the man led the group towards the main office where the emperor was.
The walls were dressed with photos of the previous emperors that ruled over the throne. Larc walked by each photo, trying to recognize them but none came to his mind at first sight, except one. A photo of a brunette with long hair and a garb hung on the wall.
"Weiss….brother…" Larc thought to himself in agony as the painful memories of his lost brother ran through his head. Heading to the next photo, a prince with sky blue eyes and lightly curled blonde hair stood there in his royal blue outfit. Underneath the photo was written the name of the prince, 'Emperor Alfonse Zena Meridia'.
"Alf…." Larc whispered, touching the photo of his long gone friend lightly, remembering his fond memories with him."Thank you…"
"Look Cecille!" a soft voice called out as she looked at the photos hung on the wall, her hazel eyes shimmering at that specific one. "That's Alf!"
"Yep, that sure is him. I bet this is all this happened because of him. He promised Larc that it'll be in good shape, didn't he?" Cecille looked over to see Larc's pained face.
"Well, he did a good job in keeping his promise…" Ryfia sighed happily. "Anyway, let's go talk to the emperor."
The party entered the room with great hopes for the emperor, who now ruled Diamant, to be a nice man. "Please, come in," the emperor kindly said to the group, pointing to the area in front of his desk.
The emperor wore a fashionable, green and blue garb with an array of silk hanging from both shoulders down his arms.. His blue eyes examined the group while his deep blonde hair was neatly put firmly into place with his waves flowing downward, touching his pale skin.
"May I ask of your name is, Sir?" Larc formally asked.
"Oh, so your travelers?" the emperor looked surprise. "I'm Lord Azale, Emperor of Diamant."
"We aren't exactly travelers, Emperor Azale Sir" Larc stated but got interrupted.
"Please, no need for the formalities, call me Azale…" the young gentlemen smiled.
"Azale, we are actually here to just simply meet you," Ryfia gently smiled, "My name is Ryfia" The emperor smiled at the cheery young lass.
"I'm Cecille, Azale," the hero waved her hand in the air.
"Ryo, Your Highness," Ryo introduced himself, bowing slightly in his presence, and retrieving a smiling nod from the emperor.
"And I am Larc," the brown haired swordsman said, shaking the emperor's hand.
"Larc? Larc Bright Lagoon?" the emperor added in question.
"Huh? How do you know his name?" Cecille asked, shocked by his keen perception.
"You were friends with Alfonse, were you not?" the emperor asked impatiently. Larc flinched on his question.
"Yes, but how do you know this, your highness?!" Larc questioned more impatiently, as he examined the emperor take out something from a casket that was locked tightly, and scanning the photos before him.
"He is supposedly related to me by Royal Blood. He is my great grandfather," Azale explained. "Well, of five generations, to be precise." Larc and the others stood quietly with a shocked expression, unable to say anything.
"Y-Your grandfather? He got married?" Larc asked himself.
"Excuse me, but can you all leave us alone for a few seconds?" The emperor kindly told the group. "Except you, Ryfia. You stay here." The group left the room, anguished and confused, while the two inside the office looked at each other in confusion as to what was going on.
"Larc, Child of Eesa," the emperor addressed him, startling the latter, "and Imaginal Diva, I presume…" he added, shocking the diva on her own state.
"How did you know that we-" Ryfia started as she was cut off her question.
"I wouldn't have known this until Larc told me his name…I merely forgot about you but that name stands out so much, it's spoken of so much in Fulhiem." the emperor explained. "The Child of Eesa has finally returned then…" Azale whispered under his breath as he nodded so only the two could hear.
"So far, you are the only one who recognizes me as the Child of Eesa" Larc stated.
"Of course, but only the emperor must know. It's our word." Azale explained.
"But why?" Ryfia questioned looking over to Larc and then back to Azale. "What's this vow that you've taken?"
"This letter and these pictures might explain everything to you." Azale smiled, handing over the photos.
"This is…" Ryfia held the pictures and brought them towards Larc's face to show him.
"Us? Our photos?" Larc scanned them skeptically looking over to Ryfia in question. "Why do you have them?
The emperor handed the letter over to Larc with confidence. "Reading this will answer all your questions." He assured the two, as Larc took hold of it and carefully opened it. Ryfia leaned in a bit towards Larc so that she could be able to read the writing as well.
I am providing this letter to you because I trust that you will keep it safe and show this letter to no one other than the ruler. I had worked all my life to maintain the balance of Diamant.
The truth is that I have done this only for the sake of a close friend of mine and at the same time, the savior of this planet. I have given up everything in my life for him. I even got married just so that I could uphold and carry on my promise that I made to him.
What you have with this letter are two photos, one is the Child of Eesa and the other of the Imaginal Diva. Larc Bright Lagoon, the Child of Eesa, is asleep but when he awakes, I can assure you that he will definitely come to you. Along with him will be the Imaginal Diva, Ryfia, who has helped him along the way. When he comes to you, I want you to address him as the Child of Eesa and tell him who you are.
However, do not do this in front of anyone else other than the Diva. When he awakens, that doesn't mean he'll be safe from any danger. There are people out there who believe that he is not real and will finish anyone who claim themselves as the one. There are also people who would ask him for proof if he is revealed. Therefore, no one should come to know of him other than you. And make sure he is informed of this by letting him read this letter.
Because of you being part of my royal bloodline, I expect that you maintain Diamant until he arrives. You must promise to keep this only to yourself. I entrust that you will do as I hope. Good luck.
Emperor Alfonse Zena Meridia
"Alf…" Ryfia and Larc sighed, after reading the letter.
"You did this all for me? Thank you, buddy…" Larc closed his eyes and smiled.
"Yes, so, L'arc, after reading the letter, you must know that you mustn't let on your name to anyone otherwise, understand?" the emperor raised his eyebrows in question.
"Yes Sir…" Larc nodded. "May I keep the casket, Azale?"
"Yes, of course. You have arrived anyway and I don't have any need for it." Azale nodded as he put the two photos and the letter inside the casket and locked it. "But you have to keep it somewhere safe." He handed over the casket to Larc.
"Thank you for everything, Emperor Azale." Ryfia brightly smiled.
"Take care now!" Azale replied. Ryfia and Larc walked out the room to see their friends not there. A guard told them that they were waiting in the castle room. The couple headed towards the same room they came from to find their friends there.
"So your back? It took you a while, why'd he keep you there?" Cecille asked, crossing her arms with a frown on her face.
"Oh, stuff about Alf and…you know" Larc said with a slight smile that shot towards the girl.
"But why couldn't he say it in front of us? And what's that casket for?" Cecille asked continuously.
"Questioning as always, Cecille?" Ryfia giggled.
"I'm sure it's no big deal, right? Let's just go back to Zamuel's school." Ryo suggested in which the group agreed and made their way back to the school. As they exited the castle, the soldier Larc met the night before showed up again.
"So…" the soldier said, making the party face him. "You're that dude and dudette from last night. Larc and Cecille made an angry face and tried to ignore him as they clenched their fists.
"Last night?" Ryfia innocently added, catching the new recruit's attention. He walked over to the violet haired lady.
"Don't worry about it, let's go!" Cecille shouted, avoiding the soldier.
"So you're that girl that this guy was looking for?" he smirked, looking at the Ryfia's left leg for the dragon gem. "Yup, you are!"
"Shut up, don't talk to us!" Cecille yelled, showing her fist to the soldier.
"I'm not talking to you! I'm talking to her," he replied bluntly as he pointed at the Diva. He got closer to Ryfia, making her uncomfortable.
"He was talking about your legs, and I told him I'm not a pervert…." He shrugged, making Larc grind his teeth and Ryfia wonder what was going on.
"But after looking at you babe, I think I should change my mind…" he seductively winked at her. Ryfia felt an unwanted vibe from the man.
"!" Ryfia switched her mood from confused to intense anger and slapped the man hard across the face, making him squeal.
"Get away!" Ryfia screeched, not knowing what she got herself into. The party looked at her with a surprised look with their mouths partly open.
"Ryfia?..." Larc looked at her, surprised. She turned around to face him but was suddenly warned of the guard's intentions.
"Bitch!" the soldier made his hand into a fist and thrusted it towards Ryfia's face, making her scream.
"Look out!" Larc shouted, pulling the diva backwards by the shoulders as someone grabbed the man's collar.
"Don't you dare come near her, or else…" Ryo threatened the soldier, sending a punch his way, making the guard fall on the ground in agony. "I'll tear you apart!" Ryo bellowed, making the guard look at the serious swordsman in horror.
"Ryo?" Larc said as he still held Ryfia who was dauntingly watching the blonde swordsman as he was ready to pierce through the guard. Ryo menacingly took his sword out and walked over to the fallen soldier who was severely injured. In the mean time, a group of other soldiers came and stopped Ryo.
"Hmph, wimp…" Ryo mumbled with a mischievous smile.
The group took away the fallen body of the soldier, as Ryo still stood there with his fists clenched tightly, but slowly began to loosen up. He turned around to see the worried Diva looking at him with her frozen hazel eyes.
"Are you okay?" Ryo asked the shaken girl as the rest of the party looked at him in shock.
Ryfia nodded slowly, "Ryo…I…" she started but the words were unable to come out.
"Let's go, we're done here," Ryo uttered and walked in the direction of the stairs as the party simply watched him.
"Ryfia, are you alright?" Cecille came up to her friend, holding her hand securely.
"That coward!" Larc angrily remarked, "What was up with him?"
"Do you think he was taking revenge?" Cecille asked.
"If that was his plan, then he should be ashamed!" Larc crossed his arms. "But wow, Ryfia. I had no idea you would actually slap someone like that!"
"He was being disgusting! He thought I was too innocent to take action. Plus, he was falsely accusing you, Larc." Ryfia smiled slightly but then her smile turned into a frown.
"What's the matter?" Larc asked worriedly.
"I'm concerned about Ryo," Ryfia stated in a sad tone, "why did he act like that all of a sudden?"
"He was worried about you. He protected you and didn't want that guy harassing you like that…" Cecille explained, seeing the sadness on her friend's face.
"Ryo…" Ryfia looked at the direction Ryo walked and made her way there, completely ignoring her two friends.
"…" Larc sighed quietly, looking at the distant Diva and then towards the ground, grimacing as he remembered the concern on her face for Ryo.
"Hey, Larc!" Cecille called out to the daydreaming brunette, making him flinch. "What are you thinking about?! We should get back to the school and rest up." Cecille suggested, walking away from Larc as he watched her.
"Why do I have this feeling of bitterness? Why do I feel bothered when she worries about him?" Larc asked himself in obscurity.