Chapter Two

The nights that came were horrendous. He could not sleep. He could not think properly, even throughout the day when he was awake. In fact, all he ever thought about was her.

He looked at his white cape, clean from the blood stain. His act gone but the seed of regret bloomed in his chest. He wanted to see her but he doubted she wanted to see him.


He turned his head to the sound of a loud voice. It came from the entrance, followed by the rising surge of cosmos. He rose on his feet, took a last glance at his cape and left the room he was in. He entered the barren room from a side, watching the ox behind the pillars.

Aldebaran had his eyes closed and arms crossed over his chest. He concentrated on his cosmos until the comforting feeling faded away into a small speck of unnoticeable power. He then opened his eyes and turned his head where the Leo laid.

Tall, with a bulky frame, the man gave a charming smile. His waist-length hair swayed with each step. He wore his helmet, squishing the top of his hair to frame his face.

"Regulus, would you like to join me to the village?"

Regulus forced a smile and nodded his head.

Aldebaran continued to smile. "Well, then, let's be on our way."

He followed behind the ox, mindful of being one step behind him. Aldebaran took a glance behind, watching as the Leo remained quiet during their short trip. He cleared his throat and began to speak.

"You appear lost in thought."

Regulus chuckled. "Is that your way of saying that you're worried about me?"

Aldebaran blushed and sputtered, "Don't be foolish, boy. I'm just trying to make small talk."

Regulus grinned. "Well, you're horrible at it."

Hands behind his head, he descended down the steps toward the Cancer Temple. Manigoldo greeted them with a wave. Shirtless, with his golden armor covering his legs, he rolled his shoulders, relaxing his muscles.

"Oi, grab me something to eat."

Aldebaran greeted him with an impassive stare. "You can easily grab your meal yourself."

Manigoldo frowned. "Jerk."—he leaned forward a bit with his hands on hips—"Next time you need help with women—"

"Idiot! You said we would never discuss this again!" Aldebaran stammered as a tint of red dashed his cheeks.

The Cancer laughed at his embarrassment. Aldebaran moved forward and ignored Regulus's curiosity. He knew Manigoldo meant no harm in his words but he did enjoy watching the ox lose his composure. Even Regulus smiled at the thought that Aldebaran got embarrassed.

Through the Gemini Temple and into the Aries Temple, Aldebaran did not slow his pace. Regulus grew amused as the Leo could only comprehend the ox's actions as one fleeing from battle—or in this case the Cancer Temple.

When they drew near Rodorio Village, Aldebaran halted in his steps.

"Regulus, do you regret being a Saint?"

Regulus blinked, unsure of where the question came from. He waited for the ox to face him but he refused to turn. Perhaps, it was for the best. He cocked his head, and placed his hands on his hips, pondering on how to answer.

"No, I don't."

It was the truth. He did not regret being a saint. He bore the Gold Cloth of Leo with pride, feeling a familiar presence coil against his chest. Instinctively he brought a hand to his chest, wondering how many months it had been since his father's death. He did not want to dwell in the past. He lowered his hand and lifted up his head.

Aldebaran watched him under his powerful gaze. It took Regulus a moment to see the sorrow behind his cool face. Regulus grinned and moved forward.

"Come on. We have a crab to feed."

Aldebaran did not respond and followed after the Leo.

The village always held a jubilance of life. He heard the music strumming nearby, watching a few civilians dancing under the happy tune. He focused his attention ahead and noticed the cobblestones cleared of leaves. The flow of water caught his attention, coming from a fountain that stood in the middle of cottages homes and businesses.

He headed toward the busy district, the music disappearing behind the shouts of venders.

Against one wall, boxes of produce and jewelry stood, while the other held bread and fish. Many other things rest among what he saw but he noticed the red apples and loaves of bread first. He grabbed an apple, knowing Kardia might appreciate a few.

Aldebaran had disappeared into the crowd, grabbing what he needed. As he paid for the apples, he carried the box on top of his shoulder and looked around to see what else his comrades might need. It was then he heard her; her sweet voice stood out against the masculinity and powerful voices.

He listened with his ears, following after her voice.

"Fresh flowers!"

Her voice sweet like honey drifted through the air. He zoned out the sounds around him and concentrated heavily on her voice. A woman brushed against him. He ignored her. A man hit his shoulder against his. He hardly felt it.

The only sensation he felt was the drumming of his heart when he finally saw her.

At a corner, near the alleyway, a stand of flowers resided, with the girl he never thought he would see again. She smiled sweetly at the woman in front of her, handing her a couple of different colored flowers before she bowed her head and placed the silver in her pouch.

She clapped her hands, wanting crowd's attention. Hardly anyone turned to face her. He felt overjoyed, not at the thought that the people did not want to buy from her, but rather because he had her all to himself.

He stood frozen for a second. His thoughts scared him sometimes. Pushing that feeling away, he placed the crate on the floor and stood straight to face the now frighten girl.

"I would like a flower." He hardly recognized his timid voice.

"Which ones would you like?"

He looked at the flowers she held in her possession. White. Orange. Blue. The flowers came in a variety of colors; it even carried a different shape. He lingered on the orange lily and pulled the flower by its stem. Twirling it in his hand, he touched the petals with his finger, amazed on how soft the petals were.

"I want this one."

She gave a soft smile. "Is that all?"

Regulus looked away from the flower and met her green eyes. "No," he said aloud, absorbed by the beauty of her eyes. "I'm not satisfied yet."

She blinked, hesitant to respond. With a shaky tone, she asked, "What else do you need?"

"Your hand in marriage." He never thought he held a calm disposition. Usually, he goofed around and smiled. But in front of her he lost his silliness and became serious. He wanted, at least from what he understood from himself, to act serious, to give her a sense of ease that he could provide for her—even though marriage was the last thing on his mind.

But it was too late to return back his words. He meant what he said.

She stood flabbergasted, mouth agape.

Finally, she forced her voice to escape from her dry throat. "What?" she choked. She cleared her throat and tried again. "What did you say?"

He kept his eyes on her, never looking away. "I want to marry you."

She looked away, not wanting others to hear their conversation. Luckily, everyone gathered around a certain vendor, too absorbed to pay attention to a gold saint and a village girl.

"You do not know what you say."

Regulus softened his expression, whispering, "I know what I'm saying."

"If this has anything to do with what happened…"

He shook his head, a boyish grin on his face. "It does and it does not. I want to marry you for my own reasons."

"You don't know me."

"I want to get to know you."

She shook her head. "My father won't allow this."

He stood his resolve. "Let me convince him."

"I don't want to get married."

He leaned forward, taking in the sweet smell of citrus. "Let me change your mind." She held another reason to throw at him but he silenced her with, "Give me a chance."

She did not reply. Placing the flower on top of the crate, he pulled out the silver and placed it on the palm of her hand. She gasped at the amount but kept from questioning him.

"I'll see you again…"

She noticed that he did not know her name. "Agasha."

He saved her name in memory. "I'll see you again, Agasha."

Agasha met his eyes and said, "I know you will, Gold Saint of Leo, Regulus."

Regulus pulled away from her and placed the crate back on his shoulder. He did not want to tear his eyes away from her but he must. He heard his name being called in the crowd, no doubt it was Aldebaran.

Following his voice, he looked back once more, taking in the girl behind the flower stand.