Third chapter today.
After many days of travelling, Raphael, Viola and Zwei were now in Rouen. In front of the Sorel mansion walls. They walked to the mansion and stopped in front of the door. But Raphael who was standing in front of the others, wasn't doing anything. Somehow he was ashamed to knock. So Zwei went to the door and vigourously knocked. Raphael was kind of annoyed by the gesture but he knew it had to be done. A servant opened the door and recognized Raphael and Viola.
-Oh! I shall go get the master right away! Oh please, you may enter… Mademoiselle Amy, Monsieur Raphael…
The servant didn't really know how to call Raphael. He was not his master anymore but he was a Sorel… yet he was a criminal… But since Raphael had wrote to Claude that they would come soon and Claude had told his servants to welcome him politely, it was okay to let him enter… Yet the servant was troubled. And who was that other man? He looked like a bum… The servant only nodded to him while calling him Monsieur. They then entered the entrance hall and Viola noticed her father still seemed troubled. She knew what he did to his brother and she also knew most of his life in here so she thought it was normal that he felt so nervous but she took his arm reassuringly without a word. Raphael felt better and smiled to Viola. Then moments later, Claude arrived with a lady by his side. Claude was smiling as he was walking to them while the lady stopped for a moment and then began to run to Raphael.
-Raphael! You're alive! Claude told me there was a surprise! Yelled the lady as she ran to him and took his hands.
-Mon Dieu, your hands are so cold!
-Euh yes… I… hum… stuttered Raphael wondering who was this lady adressing him so familiarly.
-Don't you recognize me? I'm Charlotte! Your sister!
-Oui, c'est moi! I did change a lot, yes! And you… haven't changed…
Charlotte knew they left on bad terms and she was still very young so it was normal he didn't recognize her now. After she had herself been disowned by her father, she understood and had more sympathy toward Raphael. She was happy to see him alive now since she thought he was dead, Claude never mentionned the times he met him and anyway they stopped talking together so…
Suddenly Charlotte observed him even more in details.
-How old are you? You barely look thirty-five! Aren't you supposed to be fifty?
-But you look pale… You should go outside more often… What happened to you? Someone told me it was the sun ray giving us wrinkles so you must not go outside very often you still look so young! Still spending your time in your library? But aren't you travelling or something? What did you do since you escaped the soldiers? You hid in a monastery?
-You didn't go in New-France to freeze, don't you? But it would have been a nice place to escape… I mean there is no one there but bears and snow… Quelques arpents de neige…
-With all the languages you know, you could even have been around the world! Even China! I remember you as you studied your Chinese lessons late at night after all the duties father entrusted to you while he…
Charlotte's face turned into a scorning expression as she remembered their father. She remembered how he disowned her when he learnt of her behaviour… Yes, she was having some affairs with some men, cheating on her spouse but he was doing the same thing, he was always cheating on their mother. Why could he and she couldn't?
-I won't talk about him! But you'll have to tell me what you did!
-Oh, come to the salon! We have chocolate!
Charlotte began to pull on his arm when she noticed Viola and Zwei standing silently behind.
-Who are you?
-She's… began Raphael.
Charlotte put her hands on her mouth in amazement.
-You have both white hair! It's beautiful! I once tried…
But this time it was not Charlotte interrupting but Raphael, pulling Viola toward him and hugging her. He was too proud, Charlotte had to know and not interrupt.
-She's my beloved daughter, Viola!
Claude looked at Raphael and Viola with a confused look. Wasn't it Amy? Raphael has two daughters? She was Amy last time… Viola noticed his confused air and told him:
-I changed name from Amy to Viola.
She didn't have time to say anything more, Charlotte spoke again.
-Your daughter? Oh! You got married! You have to tell me all the details! To who? When? Where? Is she dead? And your son looks like you!
Raphael was surprised by Charlotte assumption about Zwei.
-That's not my son!
-I'm Viola's fiance, said Zwei while looking at Raphael's expression. Somehow Raphael did not seem happy about it…
-Not… began the vampire before he was interrupted again.
-Oh and when will you marry? And have children? I'll be a aunt again! By the way, Raphael you never met your nephews and nieces from my side… You'll have to meet them soon! You have nine to meet!
-Yes, nine! But I have a set of twins in it… And you have two nephews in law to meet and two grand-nephews.
Raphael was surprised.
-What? Grand-nephews? I feel so old…
-Don't! You're not! You look so young! I can't understand how it is possible! How do you do? It seems almost magical!
-Well, you do look twenty-four… said Raphael, trying to deviate the conversation. If he remembered, Charlotte wasn't very old anyway, she must be in the end of her thirties.
-Oh merci! said Charlotte as she blushed. But we both are not so old, your grand-nephews are all babies! The oldest is one year and a half old.
She adressed Viola.
-How old are you?
-And you don't have any children yet?
Viola got embarrassed.
Charlotte suddenly realized something:
-Thirty-one? Wait! Raphael, you'll have to explain me something! How come she was born before you left? You were not married! And who was the mother?
-Hum… Why don't…? began Claude before Charlotte interrupted him.
-Has father ever learnt about your fatherhood?
-Charl… tried to says Claude again.
-When you escaped did you went to take your daughter or did you left her here and came back later?
As they went to the salon, Raphael asked Claude.
-Was she always like that? I don't remember her being so talkative… But then I wasn't as close to her as you were… and she was still a child… She was fifteen, I think? Fourteen? I don't remember…
-She worsened with time… She didn't want to speak to me for many years and she couldn't speak to you… I think she is catching up on the time we lost…
In the salon, they mostly listened to Charlotte speaking once more but they sometimes got some occasion to answer her questions. Claude noticed that Raphael seemed troubled and distant.
-What is it, Raphael? Asked his brother as Charlotte kept talking.
-Claude… May I speak to you a moment? Alone?
-… Of course.
Claude wondered what troubled Raphael and followed him in the gallery. Raphael then curtly told him:
-I was the one responsible for putting you in prison.
Claude stared at him with a surprised look. Raphael lowered his head in shame.
-I… I manipulated some people in France to accuse you of treason… I'm sorry. I regret it…
Raphael lifted his eyes to look at his brother's expression. Claude had a mix of surprise, sadness, hurt and bitterness in his expression. All this time spent in the dongeon in fear… Each time the guards came, he feared: He feared being beaten and interrogated again and mostly, he feared being executed. And when he began to cough and feel sick, he also feared some return of his tuberculosis. A prison really was not a good place to stay healthy… Rock had reassured him almost like a father when he was locked with him but since he wasn't accused of serious things, he had been freed before him… He promised he would come visit if he could but apparently, he couldn't… Then one day the guards came and told him he was free since his innocence was proved. Claude had tried to know who accused him wrongly but the guards said it was confidential and they could not tell.
Claude was disappointed. He would not be able to know if this person would accuse him another day for nothing… and what this person had against him… But he was glad to finally be freed. He was also glad to learn that even if it was not her action that freed him, yet maybe it played a part, his sister Charlotte, who refused to talk to him since their father disowned her, had tried talking to the King about this when Bangoo went to see her and told her of Claude's troubles. She had tried to plead for him… He was so glad to have reconciled with her… And aside from his children, Rock and Bangoo waited for him when he got out. They had become good friends. Then they went in the New World trying to find Rock's mother after Claude wished them good luck. And he didn't catch tuberculosis again… All finally ended well… Except he did not know who accused him… He had finally speculated it was the Savoie family who must have done it since he knew how they hated the Sorel family since the Raphael incident. He even heard that Marguerite and her brothers had especially tried to meet the King to ask for the death penalty for him once they 'learnt' he was in prison even if he was not the one who had killed their father… But so… it was Raphael? It was surprising and saddening. Looking sad, he asked his older brother:
-… You hate me that much?
-Non. I don't hate you. I'm truly sorry about what I did…
Raphael seemed really sad and repentant as he told him but Claude knew he hasn't always been good with Raphael either.
-I suppose I deserved it with how…
-Non, you didn't… I did many horrible things, to many people… that I did not hate… among them, you…
Raphael sighed and told him:
-I was Graf Dumas. I was Nightmare.
After a while, the younger brother said:
-… Nightmare… ?…You were Nightmare?
Raphael nodded while Claude gazed at him with surprise. He had heard those Graf Dumas stories. That the man was malfested and that some even said he was Nightmare… But now he was dead… Yet maybe not… After a long moment, Claude asked:
-But… you did it as Nightmare?
-Yes. Otherwise I would not have…
Those words reassured Claude who sighed in relief.
-Then you didn't do it. It was Nightmare. Nightmare is dead.
Yet Claude had some doubt that Raphael harboured some grudge against him to have somehow made Nightmare attack him specifically but he knew he haven't been always kind to his brother himself and the Soul Edge part probably exagerated this grudge… Raphael seemed to regret… Seeing Claude's forgiving expression, Raphael gazed at him with a surprised look.
-You're not angry?
-Well I don't like the fact I was put in prison and the treatment I received but I forgive you if it's what you wonder. It was not your will… It wasn't, wasn't it?
-Non. I do not want to hurt you.
Claude outlined a smile and hugged Raphael.
-Anyway I had been bad toward you in the past…
-Forget that past. I did worst…
-Forget it as well.
They went back to the salon where Charlotte was still speaking. Somehow both the brothers were troubled and not speaking, Raphael was still ashamed of what he did yet he knew he had to tell the truth to his brother and Claude still had difficulties to believe his brother had been Nightmare… First a vampire, then Nightmare… Viola was not speaking as well since it was not in her nature and she was somehow feeling the awkward feelings between the brothers even if it did not seem to be agressivity. Only Zwei sometime tried to say some words but Charlotte always interrupted him. Then Claude's children came. Only Marie-Clémence and Pierre since the oldest were still away but they recognized Viola and began to smile until they noticed their uncle and froze. Their aunt told them:
-What is it? Are you shy? Are you shy of your uncle Raphael? Don't worry, he won't bite!
Raphael got extremely embarrassed and backed away in his chair while Claude froze in embarrassement as well. He feared his children would say what Raphael was to their aunt. Viola quickly got up and went to the children while taking an unusual cheerful air.
-Oh, bonjour mes cousins! I'm so happy to see you! Why don't we go play outside together?
Zwei wondered what he should do. If the kids were afraid of Raphael, maybe they didn't feel more reassured with him… They didn't know he was a werewolf but he was a stranger, a not too kind looking stranger. Even if he was kind, he was dressed as a bum and may scare them at first. He barely saw them the time he came. He only knocked, asked about Viola, spoke some times with Claude and went away. So he stayed sitting in his armchair, as embarrassed as all the men.
Once outside, Viola looked at her cousins and asked them:
-You already know what your uncle is, right?
They both nodded without a word. They were still surprised to have seen him there. Viola continued.
-Well, you do know something that your aunt doesn't know. And please, could you keep the secret? It's very important. You, your father, me, my father of course and Zwei, the man sitting in the armchair, are the only ones to know aside from you so you are among a few minority and it's very important that you don't tell…
After a moment, Pierre said.
-Non. Madame la comtesse Valentine knows. And our older sister and brother know as well.
-Hum. Right but only them so don't tell your aunt, please.
-She's your aunt as well, said Marie-Clémence.
Viola had not realized before. She was part of that family, not only Raphael's daughter and they seemed to accept her. Somehow it pleased her to know that. After a moment, Pierre added:
-Euh… Aren't we supposed to play?
-Ah, yes. But you won't tell? It would hurt my father and even yours since it's a secret.
-Yes, I know. Our aunt is so talkative! She would tell everyone! And papa said that your father could be burn if people knew… So since I don't want you to lose your father and papa said our uncle was kind, we won't talk.
Viola hugged them both.
-Merci. I love you.
While in Viola's arms, Pierre came back with the same question.
-Aren't we supposed to play?
-Yes. What do you want to do?
-We could go near the river and throw rocks in it?
-And make boats! added with excitement the little girl.
And Viola went to play with them while the others were still in the salon.
Not feeling at ease with the brothers and sister, Zwei kept wondering if he should leave as well but didn't want to scare the children and didn't want to look impolite. Since he knew that Raphael was sometimes jealous maybe if he asked him if he could leave to see Viola, Raphael would get jealous. He then thought that by staying here maybe it was an occasion to talk with Raphael? Even if they traveled together from Germany to France, they didn't speak much together. Only some one word answers and casual questions like : Do you want more soup? Yes, thank you. So Zwei decided to stay and listen to Charlotte telling family stories. After a while, Charlotte let the other speak a little more and they all got along well. The awkward feeling between the brothers disappeared and Raphael tried to include Zwei in the conversation since as he told himself sometimes, he didn't hate him, Zwei was a good boy in fact.
At suppertime, Viola came back with the children but none of them spoke as they promised yet they both gazed at Raphael eating his meal very often even despite their father's silent warning to eat their food and stop staring. But Charlotte still put that on the fact they were shy. When the evening came, Charlotte bid everyone farewell and left in her carriage. Claude ordered some rooms to be prepared for his brother, niece and friend.
But Raphael had difficulties to sleep. He went walking in the galleries, remembering his life there or not remembering since he noticed that somehow many events were so far that he didn't feel them anymore. Yet he felt some sadness since he felt he did not belong there anymore, mostly when he noticed that all the portraits were he was on had been taken out. There was only one remaining, with all the family… That family he felt so far from now… Well maybe he was getting closer with his brother unless Claude didn't forgive him even if he said so and he maybe talked, or mostly listened, more to Charlotte than he ever did when he lived there. But he still let Henriette die and he still not remembered his parents with much fondness. Well, maybe his mother but the fact she abandonned him as he was in trouble still hurt him… And his father… All their constant arguing… He somehow still loved them but their memory hurt and saddened him. Wondering if he did well to come here, he sat on an armchair in a salon. After a while, his brother came.
-Are you feeling well, Raphael?
Raphael made a sad face, he was still feeling bad about what he did to Claude.
-Yes, and you?
-Yes. Hum… What were you doing?
Claude came toward him.
-You know, you can stay at the mansion for as long as you like. And you can come back whenever you like, Raphael. And Viola as well. I really got along well with her last time. You have a wonderful daughter. I am glad she regained her memory. I want to help you as much I can and I want to help her as well. If you wish, when it will be time, I can pay for her wedding to Zwei… And buy her a beautiful wedding dress…
-Who talked about a wedding?
-Nobody. But I figured…
-Non. Don't pay for that.
-? Ah bon? But… you don't have to feel embarrassed, Raphael. This money should belong to you.
But seeing Raphael's sullen expression, Claude suddenly understood.
-… You don't want Viola to get married, don't you?
-… Only when they are ready. In twenty years. Or never.
Claude looked at him with a confused air then began to laugh.
-Hahaha! When they are ready… Never! You're the one not ready for it!
As Raphael got upset, Claude added:
-I so understand you… Catherine is fifteen now… In some years, she will marry… and I will lose her… At least, I will let her choose who she loves… and try to see if he loves her back. I think that is all that matters…
Claude remembered how he felt alone when his mother forced him to marry someone he didn't love. His mother always took Anne's side and never understood his feelings. Or never cared. He had no one on his side. At least, he finally loved Anne but it was not always the case for other arranged mariages… Like Henriette… His children won't suffer such experience. Yet Raphael seemed much more protective than him since he seemed to have difficulties even letting go of his daughter.
-… I can't… I can accept Zwei but I can't accept to lose Viola… sadly said Raphael while looking at the dark fireplace since no fire was burning.
-… They won't disappear… They'll come back sometimes… Your daughter will always love you, Raphael…
-Please, don't talk about that anymore.
-Fine. Said Claude who felt a little intimidated by Raphael's tone.
Then Raphael continued.
-I don't think I will stay for very long… I don't feel at home anymore… Somehow it makes me feel sad to be here. Your children are afraid of me…
Even if he hid it, Raphael had noticed his nephew and niece's attitude and it pained him. Claude tried to comfort him.
-Non, they are not…
After some seconds, Claude added, knowing he wasn't a good liar:
-They'll get used to you.
-Used to… a vampire… I feel like a monster in front of them… I also remember the bad events that occurred here… I'm more sad than happy to be here…
-Hum. I understand.
Claude was silent before he added:
-But now that we get along, I don't want to lose contact with you and I want you to know my door will always be open for you. And if you need anything, you can also write to me.
Suddenly Claude thought about something.
-Hé, we could keep contact like this! Wherever you go, you write to me and sometimes tell me where you are so I can write back!
Raphael had to agree, the idea seemed great. He smiled to his brother.
-Indeed, we could do that…
This suggestion seemed to have lightened Raphael's mood. Noticing this, Claude took his card game and asked him:
-You want to play cards?
-You don't go to sleep?
-Non, I want to spend time with you.
-You like to lose? Said Raphael with a smile.
-Tss. I'm better than you at card games.
-Hahaha! What a joke!
And they played all night. The morning, as Viola and Zwei were ready to go, Raphael and Claude were totally sleepy. They made their farewells and Raphael slept in the carriage to Paris.
After many days, Raphael, Viola and Zwei arived to Istanbul in Turkey. After many hours searching through the big city, Raphael finally found back Setsuka' s house and went to knock at the door. This time, the children playing around didn't fear him, even thought they felt something strange about him, since he helped Neve and Emin last time. Turkish Amy, Sara, even smiled to him as she passed beside him while playing. Setsuka opened the door and smiled as she recognized Raphael who gallantly bowed to her. But then she looked at the woman beside him.
-Amy! You grew up!
-You recognized me?
-Yes. You have the same eyes! The same shy and gentle gaze!
Setsuka remembered that Raphael had also told her she could have white hair. Setsuka turned to Raphael while still smiling.
-You found her!
She then turned again to Viola and hugged her warmly. Viola froze in surprise. Everytime someone hugged her, the distant woman was surprised. Except when it was her father. She felt comfortable with him. And Zwei, even if she still felt sometimes a little shy. But she appreciated his embraces. But even if she knew and appreciated Setsuka, she didn't consider that she knew her enough to get so intimate.
-I am so glad to see you are fine! Your father worried so much! I was worried too!
She then gestured for them to enter.
-Oh but come inside, please! Do you want some tea?
As Zwei entered, Setsuka asked him :
-Konnichiwa, young man, you are a friend of Amy and Raphael?
-Yeah. I'm Viola's boyfriend. Huh …Viola is Amy.
Setsuka looked at him with widened eyes. The shy little girl now had a boyfriend!
-Children grow so fast… And indeed, Raphael told me Amy could be called Viola…
They then all sat down and Setsuka was about to make tea when she suddenly noticed that she didn't have any wood anymore.
-Oh. I forgot to get some supply.
She bowed to them.
-Sumimasen, I have to go search for wood before. The reserve is not far. Please, make yourself comfortable, I'll be back.
But Zwei gallantly offered to go search for the wood to do the fire and went away once Setsuka told him where it was. But then Setsuka noticed they didn't have enough water. She was embarrassed to look so improvident. As she blushed while telling Raphael and Viola that she had to go search for water now, Raphael told her:
-I shall go to the well, so you and Viola can talk together.
Setsuka thanked him as he went out.
As he was walking to the well, Raphael thought he needed time to think alone. Always about the same questions but he still didn't have any answers. About him, Viola, their malfested condition, his vampire condition which by the way, Setsuka still ignored… He thought he should not speak about it, the less people who knows, the better… He smiled as he thought Viola and Setsuka let him go alone without any surveillance because he did felt bad when he had to be watched over… He knew he could sometimes act in a beastly way for blood, mostly with the Soul Edge part of his soul… Kilik told him it would be harder to control himself… But Raphael didn't want to be looked like an uncontrollable beast. For now, Viola and Zwei always provided him the blood he needed, sometimes by taking it from people but they took it from brigands if possible and they were keeping the people alive, a thing he always failed to do since he escaped Osthreinsburg. He didn't like to live like this and have to rely on Viola and Zwei for supplies but they were more satisfied with this solution than him rampaging for blood and killing people… But even if they did not intend to make him feel bad, he hated the fact he felt like a monster who could not do everything alone. Sometimes it was great to walk alone without surveillance. Like a big boy. As he arrived to the well, Raphael sat on the edge, still thinking about many things. But after a moment of doing nothing, Raphael suddenly noticed from the corner of his eyes, someone coming toward the well. He thought: Hum. I'd better take the water and leave… I was here before that person. I don't want to wait after this person finishes taking water… Beside Amy and the others are waiting…
Raphael was now lifting the full water bucket. He had almost finished when he heard:
Surprised by the way he was called, Raphael straitened up and turned toward the man talking to him. His eyes widened as he recognized him: Patroklos!
Damn! This boy will pursue him everywhere! Raphael suddenly regretted not having brought his rapier just to go to the well. He stared at Patroklos for a time, saying nothing. Somehow Raphael felt tired and guilty of all he did. He wanted to forget that Graf Dumas/Nightmare part. And he didn't know if he would defend himself very well with his bare fists… Patroklos had his sword with him and unsheathed it… Raphael knew it would be useless to try to lie to him and pretend to not be Graf Dumas… His mask didn't hide him that good when he had it… His accent also was there… So Raphael asked Patroklos:
-You want to kill me?
Maybe a cursed creature such as him deserved to die… But to die at the hand of this murderer… Raphael felt that boy was as bad as him so why would he win? And Viola… What would become of her? Of course she would be alright but he could not resolve himself to leave her already… and she would be very sad, that he knew. He didn't move as the Greek boy began to move even closer toward him, he was waiting to defend himself with his bare fists. But as the Greek warrior walked toward him and Raphael waited, Patroklos' expression changed and softened. He told Raphael:
-With your bare fists, I don't think you would have much chance.
-How do you know? answered Raphael on a defiant tone while looking proud. But Patroklos replied something surprising.
-I don't want to fight you. I know you were possessed by Soul Edge. I know that even while possessed, you spared my sister and you have been kind to her.
Raphael gazed at the Greek boy with a surprised look. He then thought Patroklos was mistaking and didn't know if he should tell him it was Sophitia's spirit that made him act this way. If he did, maybe Patroklos would then not forgive him. Yet if he did, Patroklos could also know his mother was watching over them… Beside he didn't fear the boy. He then told Patroklos on a slightly sad tone:
-Your sister has been through a lot…
Patroklos seemed sad and remorseful.
-I know… And I have not been there for her… But you did… help her… You… Dumas… I thought you didn't care about her… but… I'm the one…
Patroklos looked very sad as he was speaking and Raphael thought he should tell him the truth.
-It was your mother who inclined me to act this way. She… came to me and… possessed me… She loved you both very much…
Patroklos was somehow surprised at what Raphael just said.
-Your mother loves you very much… said Raphael who felt stupid at repeating the possessed part.
Patroklos looked at Raphael with a sceptical look. Why would Dumas tell him such a story? He then saw Raphael's eyes and knew his former leader was telling the truth. Suddenly remembering very strongly his mother's kind gaze on him, Patroklos became very troubled and tried to hide it by turning his face away. Raphael then told him:
-…Don't worry… Your mother is always with you… as your father is…
Raphael never knew about Rothion's passing, he never even knew that man and thought: How do I know all these things? Is Sophitia still possessing me?
Patroklos was trying to calm himself.
-My aunt Cassandra… also told me that you met us years ago… and my mother always talked to her about the fact you stopped attacking when you saw me and my sister as we were running to her… Raphael Sorel. She really respected you, I think… So I can believe she choose you worthy enough to possess and tell me and my sister that message…
Raphael only gazed at him without a word: So the Greek boy was not angry at him? The fanatical rampaging murderer would not kill him? Patroklos looked at Raphael in the eyes and told him:
-I'm glad Graf Dumas, Nightmare, Soul Edge, Soul Calibur, whatever, are gone. I understood many things. You are not a bad person.
Standing before the well, his expression still slightly surprised, Raphael was stunned at the declaration. For a while, he didn't say anything as Patroklos continued.
-I can't blame my crimes on you… I was angry at you but it was my doing… and a bit of Soul Calibur.
Raphael knew Patroklos also regretted his actions so he gave a small smile to the boy he had been enemy with some times ago before he told him.
-You are not a bad person as well… Patroklos.
The boy seemed happy of Raphael's words and smiled sadly.
-Thank you. But I did kill many people… Innocent people… Human and malfested…
Then feeling embarrassed by this awkward moment and by the fact he never confessed his crimes before, Patroklos changed the subject and asked Raphael:
-What are you doing in Turkey?
-Visiting Setsuka, a friend.
-You know Neve?
Raphael didn't remember when the teenage boy who helped him with Emin mentionned Patroklos sometimes ago and was surprised that Patroklos knew Setsuka.
-Yes. She is a friend. And I went here to bring her water. …You know her?
-Of course! She is my sensei! Well then, I'll help you!
Just at this moment, Viola and Setsuka came running in. As she and Setsuka were talking, Viola had a vision of Patroklos coming toward her father and panicked. She told Setsuka that a man beeing hostile toward her father, wanted revenge on him and was coming to him so the blond woman quickly grabbed her umbrella and began to run toward the well to protect Raphael. Viola quickly followed her since she didn't know where the well was. Since they ran all the way, Viola and Setsuka looked tired and worried but when they saw the two men working together to get water, they both sighed in relief and Setsuka even began to smile. Viola only had the vision of her father before the well and Patroklos walking toward him so she really thought the Greek boy would kill Raphael.
After a small pause to take back her breath, Setsuka ran to Patroklos.
-Patroklos! You came back!
She looked at Raphael and the buckets of water and she added with a smile as she addressed her pupil:
-You learnt something did you? I'm so proud of you!
Patroklos gazed at her with a shameful expression.
-Yes, Neve. …And I still have a lot to learn…
-But you grew up, my student… In wisdom… and in height…
Meanwhile Viola went to her father and grabbed his hand.
-I'm so glad you are alright…
Raphael was still under the surprise as well to not being fighting Patroklos right now while Viola was still gazing at Patroklos with distrust but she decided to ignore him instead. Setsuka would keep him under control…
The blonde woman was now all excited to see all those people at her home and gestured for them to follow her. She didn't know why Patroklos wanted revenge on Raphael, yet she knew Raphael was malfested and she knew Patroklos' hate toward the malfested but they seemed not too violent toward each other now.
-Well, now. Let's all go back to my house! I will cook you something great!
Raphael and Patroklos gazed at each other in an awkward way.
-Hum… Merci beaucoup Setsuka-san but I think we shall go now… said Raphael, on a slightly embarrassed tone.
Patroklos then quickly interrupted.
-No, no! I am about to leave! Neve I am glad to have seen you but I have a lot of things to do…
Setsuka was looking at them with a surprised and disappointed gaze.
-But you can't all leave now! Patroklos, you just barely seen me! And you Raphael, Viola, you only arrived!
She quickly grabbed Patroklos and Viola's hand and pulled them. Patroklos gazed in an embarrassed way toward Viola with who he never got along but didn't resist his sensei while Viola tried to get out of her grip at first, not wanting to meet that annoying boy but unable to get out of Setsuka's strong and determined grip, she sighed and let her drag her home like her student.
-Please come. Said Setsuka on a soft tone as she kept holding on to them. She then turned her head and addressed Raphael who was making some steps toward Viola.
-You as well, Raphael-san.
Then once in the house, Setsuka asked all of them what happened between them. Viola had told her the man wanted revenge on Raphael when they ran to the well but she didn't tell why. She wondered if Raphael was the one who killed Patroklos' mother or if he was only a victim to Patroklos' fury toward the malfested. Now being asked the question about what happened, Raphael, Viola and Patroklos all got embarrased looks. None of them knew what to say exactly. They did not want to accuse the other…
-Huh… Well… Things… said Patroklos.
Setsuka knew her student was stubborn and would not speak so she gazed toward Raphael who looked as ashamed as Patroklos.
Sitting beside her father and on the opposite side of the room where Patroklos was, Viola interrupted.
-The past is dead.
-Indeed. Replied Setsuka. If you don't want to tell, it's fine with me. I was only asking out of curiosity but it's none of my business. Whatever it was, I am glad you made peace now.
Then Zwei came back. He stopped when he noticed Patroklos.
-I put the w-What the…?
Setsuka smiled to him and presented Patroklos.
-This is Patroklos, my student.
-Ah. Okay… Fine. Hi.
-Hi… replied Patroklos, still ashamed.
Noticing the awkward ambiance with Raphael, Viola and Patroklos beeing all ashamed, Zwei came and sat beside Patroklos like if they were best friends.
-So, how are you doin'?
-Huh… Fine. You?
Then Zwei told Setsuka:
-We once travelled together, so we know each other.
But he didn't add anything more about it. He suddenly asked some question about Setsuka's children making the proud sensei talk about them and Patroklos nodded in agreement most of the time since he knew them as well. Zwei had found a subject to take away the awkward feeling between everybody. Viola had nothing to say about it but she listened with some ease until Setsuka began to talk about their trip together. Viola didn't like to hear people talk about her yet it was what it took to awaken Raphael as well and he began to talk about Viola, telling how great she was and how she was kind and how he loved her… and many anecdotes from her childhood. But not embarrassing ones, only those where she looked great.
So after a while, even if they didn't become best friends, Patroklos was talking with them normally and now told them how Pyrrha was brought back home by his aunt and how his family was happy to see her again and that since she found her granddaughter, their grandmother Nike now never wanted to let Pyrrha go from her arms. A thing that didn't displease Pyrrha since she felt protected in her grandmother's arms and never wanted to leave them. She was still malfested but the more apparent part, the arm and eyes have been purified by her aunt, yet the rest was not possible to do since as they learnt later, Pyrrha was born malfested.
Yet even if he learnt that, Patroklos still didn't know he was malfested as well before he got possessed by Soul Calibur and Raphael didn't tell him. Now Patroklos was somehow like Siegfried while his sister was still malfested. But technically even if someone may feel some Soul Edge in her, Pyrrha didn't look like a malfested at all. The only bad thing, said Patroklos, was that strangely when she noticed some cookies that her uncle Lucius was doing in the bakery one day, she began to cry and didn't tell why. But Lucius noticed that Tira had bought those when she came and somehow since they knew Tira spend a lot of time with Pyrrha, it must have brought some bad memories. Yet Pyrrha didn't tell already what it was, added Patroklos with some sadness.
Raphael listened to the Pyrrha part but when the subject of his beloved daughter changed to that, he lost some interest but when it changed after that to the subject of the bakery as Patroklos was explaining some recipe to Setsuka, Raphael began to think about something else and got lost in his thoughts as the others were speaking together. Not interested in cooking, Zwei was half listening while petting the dog Setsuka found not long ago and Viola was looking by the window.
Raphael was looking at Patroklos and wondered about Kilik's explanations. Did he really died when Patroklos stabbed him with Soul Calibur? If so, technically this boy was the one who killed him and now forced him to live as malfested… Yet he also thought that it was like himself and Soul Edge… Soul Calibur pushed Patroklos… Yet Raphael already knew Patroklos before he grabbed Soul Calibur: He was already a fanatic but became worst with the Spirit sword and it was hard to know which action was his or Soul Calibur's… Whatever. He and Patroklos both made mistakes.
And with all that he lived, maybe it wasn't even that stabbing that killed him and forced him to live as a malfested. Kilik talked about the soul thing as well… And Raphael thought that maybe if he had been purified he would be fifty years old now… Now he could watch over Amy in good shape all the time… and protect her from anyone. Even from those that wished to have her orb since she was putting herself at risk with that… At least the orb was smaller than her previous one and was easily concealable. And not supposed to steal her memory… It was given by Zasalamel whom Raphael still distrusted but Kilik observed it carefully and said there was no danger. Kilik was reliable.
But since he was thinking about protecting Amy and the orb, Raphel also wondered if he had to protect Soul Edge from destruction if he wanted to remain young… But he wasn't sure. Would he die after some time? Or live as long as the sword would exist? He was now probably tied to Soul Edge forever unless he could find a way to get purified like Kilik said… Yet Amy… He was still wondering what was keeping him young… Ivy who was malfested since birth, had aged for many years… And she stopped suddenly… The swords were sealed and she didn't age… and before that, the swords were not sealed or for only a small time and she aged… Could it be that when the swords were sealed she didn't age and neither did he but if the swords were to be freed they would both age again? Yet Amy aged…She wasn't tied to the swords? How strange… After all this time, all those years, his vampire state, his malfested state was still a mystery to him…
Raphael gazed at his beloved daughter and feared the day she would die before him… Despite the sufferings he endured, those sixteen years in prison were nothing to him if he didn't age anymore but the years he lost with Amy were something that he will never have again. Amy was aging, he would never be able to catch up all those lost years… When Amy will no longer be there… How was he going to survive? Maybe then if his soul is still currupted, he could ask to be purified then he'll die human… Yet maybe Amy will stop aging like him one day… Raphael decided that it was too soon to think about this, it was something that only time would tell… Amy was not able to see his or her future so he would have to wait and see… But one thing he knew was that he will protect his daughter until the end. Now that they were reunited, he would never leave his daughter again.
Some days earlier, at night, Denevér's castle ground was peaceful with the remains of the war. Many corpses had been taken away and buried but some still remained. Those who had no one to care for them… Mostly many who had Soul Edge essence in it. But one night, this essence suddenly left all the bodies and floated like a red mist over a cemetary while it slowly went to a dead body lying in the ruins of Castle Denever. A purple and white haired woman suddenly opened her eyes as she woke up and gladly welcomed the warm and comforting Soul Edge energy in her body. The night was cold but that energy was giving her some heat. The energy was weak but powerful enough to revive her. Yet she was unable to remember what happened. She gazed at the ruins and at the many corpses while wondering what she was doing there. Some birds eating the eyes of some corpses not far, suddenly flapped their wings in some kind of happiness as they noticed the crazy malfested girl getting up and went flying toward her. She lifted her arms and greeted the birds.
-Oh, hello little birdies!
Still confused, she asked them.
-What happened to me? Who am I?
Some of the birds grabbed her ringblade and brought it to her.
-For me? Oh, thank you! You're so kind!
Those birds were very cute… It put her in a jolly mood. Holding her ringblade, she gamboled away from the battlefield, jumping over some corpses as her beloved birds followed her.
Well then, since I got sick I stayed home and found the time to finish my story. So it is done and I hope you were not too disappointed or think it looks quickly made. I may sometimes add some small stories that could have fit into that story, like for my little story, Negociations in Rouen but I am not sure. Yet it has been fun to write that. If you think I missed some parts and forget things, you can tell me.
I love you all and wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year once more!
I want to thank everyone who read or commented or favored or put me on alert list: Bloody-Funeral, Atrum Ferox, TheDemonicSylvia, l3largus, Ruby-Blade-Princess, DarkButterflyOfNight, darkwings13, nekuromansa000, Lost Guy, Iu, Vampuric Spider,Orika, Kris, 2 Lucky, Blue Harbinger, Matthew, epicwinston, Kiliklover13, Maedel II, DR2334, 2 Lucky, Akilla13, Amirat, Keyboardsaurus, 1wngdngl, Djmadsauce, Candlethorn, CodyGotKilld, Cristal Knight, Layagg, Skull2012Cat, sorry if I forget someone.