Disclaimer: Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas will never be mine.
Setting: Months before the fateful night of meeting Youma.
Notes: Cornelius and Caius are made up names for the characters found in the Lost Canvas Manga where Aspros defends his brother from getting whipped.
The sky grew dark with the stars glistening the night. Aspros found the night sky marvelous, different from the morning sun and the blistering heat. The stars were like an endless abyss compared to his endless devotion of being somebody in the world with his brother, Defteros, by his side. His younger brother, born seconds later, cursed to wear a mask for being the lesser one, deserved recognition.
His brother was a unique individual like him.
The Gemini temple was quiet upon his entrance. By now, his brother would appear out of the shadows, greeting him softly, and inquiring the details of his training of the parts he couldn't see. But Defteros never appeared, causing him to grow worried for a moment. His younger brother, perhaps, was resting in their bedroom, tired from the amount of strength he needed throughout the day of watching Aspros train in secret.
He raced toward his bedroom, hoping to chat with him. However, the room was empty, not a trace of a living soul found. The beds were not used for the sheets were not wrinkled. The candles were lit, but the wax was melting close to its metal bin. Defteros would have blown the fire out if it appeared dying.
Aspros inspected the room, every inch of every corner, but he found his younger brother nowhere as if he never came to the room. The next probable choice of finding his brother's location would be the maids. They knew of Defteros's existence and made an oath of never telling the world of the future Gemini's twin. A small part was because his master forbade them from speaking, the other, the larger part, was because Defteros was the outcast, the sinner, and the most probable to turn against the Sanctuary.
The less people know of his birth the better.
The higher officials such as the Gold Saints and their replacements and the Pope were aware of his existence as well. Athena would surely be notified, and Aspros hoped that she would be the one to remove the mask off his brother's face and give him an identity. For now, his brother would be seen as the second, following in the shadows of the first, with the chaotic star looming over his head.
He slipped past his master's bedroom and ran across the halls to where the chambermaids work. He found them disposing food, washing plates, and cleaning floors before they went to their chambers. Seeing the eldest of the group drying and stacking plates, he went toward her in desperation.
Appearing around her late-twenties, she looked at him with her bright blue eyes, her braid falling over her shoulder, as she nipped her rosy lips as if she wanted to tell him something, but restrained from telling him.
"Lord Aspros." She bowed her head, hands placed in front of her white, draped dress. He didn't offer her a greeting. His brother's disappearance was beginning to anger him.
Quickly, he pinned her toward the wall, his slightly lighter complexion contrasting against her pale white. The other maids scurried to their feet, afraid that he may hurt the eldest, but neither spoke nor made a move to call his master. They valued their lives more than anything else.
"Where is my brother?" Malice dripped from his voice, and the maid was fully aware of the danger she was in. Frantic, she looked around, hoping for the others to help her, but none dare move.
"Where is my brother?" His eyes darkened.
Finally, her silence could not withhold and she spitted out the truth, "Taken!"
Stunned for a moment, he inquired for more information in haste. "By whom?"
"Master Cornelius took him! I do not know where, however!" He let her go in an instant. She threw out her hands and saved herself from the fall. Aspros took in her words, knowing that his master would dispose of him in haste. He had little time to act.
Departing from her side in desperation to look for his missing brother, she continued, "He doesn't want you to have any distractions. Your brother needed to disappear."
Aspros turned, hatred coursing through his eyes. "Defteros is my brother. He is no distraction."
She shivered in fear and bowed her head. There was nothing left to say. Time was being wasted as he rapidly turned, pondering on the many places his brother could be held. An image of Defteros reaching out for him, calling to him for help, caused his heart to race in fear. He ran from their sight, barging into his master's bedroom, but he found him nowhere. He raced out of the temple, thinking once more of where his master might take his brother.
Nothing came to mind. He needed to find a clue of some sort. Rodorio Village was his only lead. Surely, a drunk, a peasant, or a commoner must have seen his twin brother. Though the night may have ascended, he knew there was always someone lurking in the dark.
Into the darkest of nights, he knew his brother will not survive, not when the rain will fall from the sky. The gray clouds loomed from the distant, approaching the Sanctuary. He estimated that in four hours the heavy rain will fall upon them. He descended toward the other temples. Aldebaran appeared exhausted, and was hardly aware of his existence, until he saw him and beseeched where he was heading. Aspros answered naught and continued with his search.
The first temple was empty. The future Saint of Aries was training in Jamir. He slipped past the temple with ease, heading toward the training ground below and past the huts. Passing the columns of pillars, and broken walls left from the rigorous training by the Saints, he hid behind one, hearing the sounds of footsteps approach.
"Aspros would be upset."
He knew that voice. It was his master's subordinate, Caius.
"Defteros was a distraction. He had to be disposed of," his master, Cornelius, answered. He peeked from behind the wall and found his master firmly holding his whip, his cape billowing behind his every step. "His presence will no longer be a concern for Aspros, and soon he will forget about the second. The chaotic star will surely fall from the sky tonight."
"But leaving him there in that waterwell, surely you must have remorse."
"Is that compassion I hear? You know fairly well that Defteros was not meant to be born." There was a pause. "Soon the rain will come, and our problem will be no more. Let us forget of tonight."
Their voices had fallen into a hush whisper that his ears could no longer pick up their speech and movement. The sound of his racing heart, however, pounded heavily against his chest. Withholding his anger, he kept silent, waiting to compose himself to rationally think.
He lingered behind the wall for a moment longer, not wanting Cornelius to discover his presence. Taking the silent air, he bolted toward the village, seeking for someone who knew of the whereabouts of his brother.
Aspros pondered in which waterwell his brother could be in. There were two in the village that he was aware of: one near the church and another in the middle of the village. However, he knew the chances of his brother being there were slim. His master would surely pick a more secluded area where his brother's life would not be spared. That left him with the probability that there was an abandon waterwell near the village, but he did not know where.
The village was quiet when he arrived. He looked for a mere commoner, or a peasant, to locate the prison his brother was held in. Instead, he found a man, raggedy and reeking of alcohol, singing in a high pitch voice in front of a pub he was moments in. The light of the pub descended upon his back, giving him an eerily glow. Unafraid, Aspros crouched before him, taking in the smell of booze and urine.
The man squint his eyes and pointed a dirty finger at him. "I know you." He messed with his beard. "Aren't you that kid with that mask?" He gave a lopsided grin. "Yeah, you're that kid with that guy with a whip." Leaning closer, he inspected Aspros's face, his stench was stronger than before. "What happened to your mask?"
Aspros sighed in relief, glad that the first person he met was the one who would be able to give him information about the whereabouts of Defteros.
"Tell me, where did you see you that boy with the mask?"
"Boy with the mask? You mean you?"
Aspros did not like the start of his interrogation. "No, the boy with the mask—he's my brother. Where did you last see him?"
The drunk laughed, unable to comprehend a single word that he said. Aspros knew his attempt was futile as he cursed under his breath. Quickly, he needed to find someone else.
"The boy was taken south from here." When he heard a different voice answer him, he looked up and met an older man, lacking hair, and lighting the lanterns outside.
"I hear there is a waterwell nearby," Aspros told him.
The man nodded his head and blew out the match. "It's near the entrance of the forest, 30 kilometers to the south. There's a bunch of rubble there. You can't miss it." He pondered on a moment before he entered the pub and returned to hand him an unlit lantern, a tinderbox, and a match. "Take this. You will need it."
The older twin thanked him and got to his feet. Before Aspros took the chance to leave, the man continued, "The rain is coming. You better hurry and find your brother."
He took his words and departed into the night.
Running past cottages after cottages, dogs barking, drunken men, and women offering their bodies, he exited the village and ran into a meadow. The meadow was vast, the flowers rubbed against his training garments. His arms yearned to rest, but he could not stop, not without finding his younger brother.
He found the rubble, deserted on the open plain. A few pillars stood, the Greek carving of Athena's name were found on some when he lit the lantern, disposing the match under his foot. He looked for a waterwell, calling out his brother's name, but he heard only the sound of crickets chirping nearby.
Alas, he found the waterwell, and found deep below, his unconscious brother covered in mud in a tight space. He shouted his name, but he heard nothing in return. His brother's mask was still tied to his face. Setting the lantern near his feet, he leaned forward, inspecting a way to pull him out until the first drop of rain landed on his head followed by another.
The heavy rain had arrived. It started off slow before it picked up the pace, dampening his locks and clothes. The droplets falling on his protective gear emitted a tapping sound that continued in a rhythm. As for the lantern by his feet, the fire evaporated, leaving him in the dark.
He could hear the rain make a small puddle in the well, hearing the droplets plop. With his brother unconscious, and time running out, his mind was blank, overpowered by the inability to save his own brother.
Then he felt it, the small shimmer of hope looming above. It appeared from behind, trailing past his shoulders, and entered into his vision as a crystallized snowflake.
"If you are going to save your second half, I would suggest you do it now." He turned but found no one there. Their gentle cosmos was the only indication that a man's presence was nearby. "Hmm… A star is born."
He ignored his cryptic words and punched through the ground. It was the only way he knew, using his physical strength, his unique gift of utilizing his cosmos, to save his brother from the tight spot he was placed in. The ground cracked below him, the lantern was lost upon the rubble he created. He leapt toward his brother, scooped him in his arms, and jumped out of the crater he created.
He held his brother tight, ripping his mask and kissing his face, while saying his name in a lovely adoration. The stranger lingered still. He knew because he can still feel his cosmos cutting through the heavy rain and providing him comfort.
"Thank you," he said in a high voice.
"For what?" The man sounded amused, and old, perhaps as old as Pope Sage. "I merely provided you a moment to make your decision."
Aspros wanted to say more, but he knew not of what to say. He realized that his cosmos exceeded past his own, and the air grew chilly with his presence nearby. He heard of the rumors of a man creating ice known as the Aquarius Saint, and pondered if the man was him. He never had the chance to ask him. In a second, his cosmos disappeared. He knew the man had left without bidding farewell.
Aspros continued to let the rain fall upon his brother and him before he departed from the area. The mask was forgotten, carelessly left in the rain as if it never existed. He knew his brother would be given another one, but he didn't want to think about that, not when he cared more for his brother's safety.
When he arrived at the Sanctuary, his master frowned at the sight of the lesser twin.
He said not a word, and Aspros did not seek for one. He entered his bedroom, laying his brother on his bed, and watching him stir.
"Aspros?" he croaked.
His voice was carried through the dim room to where his brother stood near the flame of the candle. And just by a single movement, the flame evaporated, a single waft of smoke lifted into the air as did his silent oath.
Aspros vowed to give Defteros the life he deserved.