Beta'd by Meganical720D
After a long day of fruitless searching, Fei was back at the sakura tree with his friends. The sun was slowly sinking from the sky, signalling the coming of the end of the day.
"I'm sorry Fei." Tenma mumbled, not knowing what else to say as he, along with the other teenagers of his age, surrounded the depressed greenette.
The pale boy sat at the base of the sakura tree with Shiro resting against his leg and the soccer ball on his lap. "No, it's fine." Fei mumbled and dreadfully wished how true his words could be. "He probably left already. I was the one who chased him away after all."
"Hey, don't give up yet." The purple haired boy, Hikaru, smiled. "Why don't we try again? I'm sure the person you're looking for is here somewhere."
"There's no need." Fei whispered as he climbed onto his feet and looked up at the orange sky. "Time is something I don't have. Not anymore."
"Fei–" Tenma wanted to say something to cheer up his friend, but Fei cut him off with a smile.
"Thank you everyone, but that's enough. You guys already helped me more than you should have."
"Don't say that, Fei!" the shortest boy of the group shouted. "You sound like you're going to leave or something."
Fei glanced down at Shinsuke, then to the ball in his hand. "Have you guys heard of soccer?"
"Soccer?" Tenma glanced at the weird ball that Fei had been holding onto the entire time. "What's that?"
"It's a really fun game, I'll show you!" The greenette said, showing a sign of happiness for the first time that day. He then began showing all his friends the rules and how to play, just as Saryuu had taught him.
As the last ray of light vanished into the horizon, the priestess lit up the torches for all the people who had gathered to view the first sakura blossom of the year. It was a tradition for the village that every year they would come together to view the sakura like this. Every family would bring food they made at home to share. Whilst the women were going about spreading food to everyone, the men sat together, chatting and gulping down bottles after bottles of sake. Fei saw his father there as well, on a quieter side speaking lowly to the head of the Takuto family.
After the intense activity, the children were resting near the incense burner. All were completely out of breath and some were laughing at the enjoyable game that they had just played. Fei smiled as he watched his friends examine the strange ball in wonder. He glanced back at the sakura tree, then to the sky where the full moon shone brightly.
"Yo, Usami brat, the Mountain Deity came for you yet?" A passing man taunted before he headed to his companions who all barked out in laughter.
"What's with them?" Kariya frowned in disgust. "You'd think they'd be mature seeing as they're adults."
"It's fine." Fei laughed weakly with a wave of his hand. "It's nothing, I'm already used to it."
"That's because you never stand up to them." A boy whose pink hair was tied into pigtails responded in a disapproving tone. He gasped out when a sharp edged rock suddenly hit him in the shoulder.
"Kirino!" The gray haired boy hurried to his best friend and inspected the injury.
"I'm fine, Shindou. It's just a small scratch." Kirino replied as he glanced up along with the others to see three kids around the age of ten standing there with pebbles gathered in their arms.
"Hey! That was dangerous!" Shinsuke yelled at the kids, despite how they were much taller than him.
"What did you do that for?" Amagi demanded, but the snot-nosed kid, that was apparently the leader of the trio, stuck out his tongue at them.
"Shut up fatty! This doesn't involve you!" He said before he glanced over to Fei and smirked widely. "Get him!"
"Ah!" Fei quickly put his hands up as the rocks were flung towards him.
"Hey! Stop it!" Tenma shouted as he quickly moved over to Fei, shielding his friend from the attack.
"Tenma!" Fei's eyes widened when he saw a particularly large rock hit the brunette in the arm, causing him to recoil.
"Enough of this!" Kurama snapped before Sangoku, Hamano and Amagi quickly ran up to seize the kids. While Sangoku and Amagi succeeded, Hamano was having trouble due to the fact that he was left with was the leader of the trio who wouldn't stop struggling.
"Stay still– Ouch!" Hamano yelled, releasing his grip when the boy bit down at his hand. Taking this chance, the kid kicked the older boy in the stomach before he made a run for it. He wasn't able to get far though, as Shiro had dropped down from the middle of nowhere and slammed him face first into the ground. The boy tried to crawl up, but froze when the fox snarled angrily, showing off its sharp rows of teeth.
"Nice, Shiro!" Nishiki shouted as he hurried over and took hold of the boy.
The three captured children glanced at each other, exchanging short silent messages before they began screaming out their lungs. The music and the chatters stopped. All the villagers' attentions were now attracted by the cries of the three boys. It didn't take long until three pairs of angry looking parents were rushing their way.
"What are you doing to my boy?!" A purple haired woman screeched as she quickly tore her child from Nishiki's grip before the other parents followed her example.
"What the hell are you brats doing?" Another man with sea-green hair demanded, glaring daggers down at the boys.
"Your children were throwing rocks at us, sir." Shindou replied, standing up to the angry parents.
"We didn't throw any at you!" One of the little followers that attacked them said. "We were just aiming at the liar!"
Fei couldn't help but flinch when the adults' gazes shifted to him. They took in the scratches he had suffered before the young boy's mother snorted. "Then they did nothing wrong. You boys better apologize for your behaviour right now before I get your parents."
"Excuse me?" Kirino glared at the adults. "They aimed rocks at our friend and you say there's nothing wrong?"
"If you want someone to blame, then blame him." The bald man threw a nasty glare to the greenette. "Everyone knows what a liar is he. Our kids are only punishing him for his constant lies. They did nothing wrong."
"Yeah!" The snotty kid smirked at them. "Liars need to be punished!"
"How could you even say that?" Tenma gasped. "Fei didn't lie!"
"That's right!" Shinsuke quickly agreed.
"Are you stupid, boy? He claims to be the bride of the Mountain Deity! It's what he deserves after he soiled our deity's name!"
"I agree." A young woman from the crowd of bystanders that had gathered shouted out. "Just because he wanted attention doesn't mean that it's right for him to tell lies."
"It's about time somebody taught him a lesson." Another man joined in.
"He's just a spoiled heir of a rich man."
"No one likes a liar, why don't you just get out?"
"We've been putting up with you for a long time but enough is enough!"
"Go away, liar!"
The crowd began shouting as Fei slowly took a step back, pressured by all the angry gazes locked onto him. He wanted to tell them. He wanted to say that he wasn't a liar, but he couldn't. Not when he couldn't even trust himself anymore and even hoping for his memory to be nothing but a fragment of a child's dream.
"What's going on here?" A voice broke through the angry shouts. Recognizing the voice, Fei quickly turned to see his father walking over along with the family of his friends.
"Fei? What happened to your face?" Fei swallowed nervously as his father inspected the cut on his cheek
"Tenma! You too, what happened?" Tenma's mother gasped in worry as she hurried to her boy.
"Kyosuke, what happened?" Tsurugi's brother asked as he glanced at the other villagers, then back.
"Usami-san, we have had enough of your son's lies." The mother of the arrogant kid said firmly. "This has been going for eleven years and it has to stop! His lies are affecting the entire village and most of all, our children!"
"Is that what this is about?" Fei's father asked in a calm yet stern tone.
"You should all be ashamed of yourselves." Shindou's father said coldly after hearing the situation from his son. "Do you feel prideful ganging up on children?"
"They are sixteen, hardly children by standard." The tall moustached man, father of the snot-nosed kid, sneered. "It's time you should properly discipline your kid like you should have done years ago!"
"I–" Fei's gaze drifted to the ground. He knew he has to say something or else his father will take all the blames. "I'm sor–" Before he could choke out the burning word of apology, he father quickly put out a hand to stop him.
"Father?" Fei whispered as his father gazed down at him. He gave his son a small, encouraging smile before he turned back to the villagers with a stern look on his face.
"I want your sons to apologize to my son and his friends for the damage they have caused." He said firmly, glaring at the three troublemakers who shrunk back under his gaze.
"Apologize?" The violet haired mother shrieked. "My son did nothing wrong. If your son hadn't of lied–"
"My son would never tell lies." Fei looked up at his father in shock. "If he says he saw the deity, then I believe him."
"Heh, you hear that?" The bald man laughed as he turned to the audiences behind him. "The great Usami Asurei says he believes in his liar of a child!"
"So you're saying that you believe your son is betrothed to the Mountain Deity?" A younger man demanded.
"I never said that." Asurei replied flatly. The younger greenette felt the hope that he had just gained deflated a little.
"You just said you believed him!" Another protested.
"I do. I believe my son saw what we all know. However, it could be the dream of a child's fantasy or hallucination as it was a cold winter night. Whichever is the reason, Fei does not lie. He only speaks the truth of what he saw and I will not tolerate your attitudes towards my child."
"Father…" Fei felt touched at his father's speech. All this time, Fei had thought that his father thought of him the same as everyone else – a liar. But now he knew that his father trusted his words all along, even though he didn't exactly believe it be real, it was more than enough.
"Not tolerate our attitudes?" It was the snot-nosed kid's mother again, enraged by the man's speech. "Not only do you not properly teach your child, you're throwing the blame to us?"
"Maybe it's the father that taught his son to lie!" Another snapped, glaring daggers towards the unflinching man.
"How disgusting! To think the honourable house of the Usami is ruled by a person like that!"
"Birds of feathers really do flock together." Another spoke with a scowl directing to the others of Fei's friends.
"Don't speak ill of my father or my friends!" The greentte finally couldn't hold it anymore and shouted. He didn't mind if they insulted or hit him, but he couldn't just stand by and let them say what they want to the people he cared for. "They have nothing to do with any of this. I was the one who said I met the Mountain Deity."
"And where is that deity now?" An old man snorted. "Tonight's the night isn't it?"
"T-that's…" Fei stuttered, the confidence he felt in the rush of the moment deflated. When the crowd saw how the boy struggled on giving an answer, a smug look crossed all of their faces.
"See? You don't know, liar!"
"We told you that Fei doesn't lie!" Tenma cut in.
"That's right, you guys don't even know Fei! You have no rights to call him a liar!"
"Tenma… Shinsuke." Fei whispered as he stared at the two brunettes gratefully.
"And you call yourselves men?" Nishiki shouted.
"Before you call other people liars, look at yourself! Every time something happens you people always vent your frustration out on Fei. You were always using him as scapegoat for your own problems!" Kirino glared at the group.
"What?" Asurei gasped. His eyes fell onto his paled son. "Fei, was what Kirino said just now true?"
Fei swallowed, not knowing what he should say. Kirino had just burst out the secret he told them not to tell in the heat of the moment. Since his father has always locked himself in his room to devote himself to his work, he never really learnt of how he does in the world outside… And he had hoped to keep it that way.
"You brats! How dare you speak to your superiors in that tone!" The moustached man snarled.
"So now we're brats again?" Kariya laughed mockingly. "I thought that a certain somebody said that sixteen year olds are considered adults. Wonder who it was, huh?"
Just as the man was about to stomp forward and teach the disrespectful kid a lesson, the howls of wolves resonated through the air. The villagers quickly looked around in alarm, startled by how close the roars of the beasts sounded. It sounded almost like there were wolves in the village, and that brought great unease to everyone. As they tried to determine the direction of howls, the sakura blossoms began to emit a soft purple glow. Everyone momentarily forgot what they were doing as they stared at the sacred tree in both shock and awe.
"The flowers are… Glowing?" Tenma stared at the flowers in confusion, much like everyone else, unable to understand what was going on.
"My sixteenth year… Under the night of the first sakura." Fei gasped as he remembered the words spoken to him that day.
A violent breeze tore through the air and to everyone's surprise; the sakuras scattered into the wind, breaking down into millions of petals and leaving the tree bare.
The sea of pink twirled within the air and formed a giant globe before it burst apart. That was when Fei saw them, the people standing upon the carpet of pink petals floating within the air.
They looked all to be near his age, standing in straight rows of lines with their heads held high and hands folded behind their backs. They all wore different kimonos in different, unique styles. The clothes were made from extremely fine silk. Even from the distance, Fei could tell this from the vibrant colours sparkling under the soft light of the moon and illuminating petals. At the centre was a carriage, pulled by two horse sized wolves. One was pure white while the other had a mixture of pink in its fur. Both of them were glaring down at the beings beneath them and growling unpleasantly.
"W-what are they?" Hikaru whispered and jumped when all the people in the sky parted their eyes that were all glowing eerily, proving that none of them could possibly be human.
"What are you doing?" A cold voice echoed into the air, startling everyone as Fei's eyes drifted to the purple haired girl standing beside the white wolf. "You are in the presence of the Mountain Deity. Who gave you permission to raise your head?" She snapped her glare down at the villagers. With a sharp flick of her wrists, the people that were ganging up on them were forced to to their knees. Fei stared in shock when he saw that same purplish light outlining the sakura was now also on the villagers.
"What's going on?" Shinsuke gasped, but no one responded to his question. They all just stared at the villagers that were on their hands and knees. All of them were stunned into silence and some looked even frightened by what was occurring.
"Meia, that's enough." A strong, deep voice that radiated with power cut through the air. When Fei heard that voice, he couldn't help but shiver and felt goosebumps crawling over his skin. The voice was simply not human. It sounded like there were multiple voices speaking together in perfect sync. Fei immediately recognized the unique voice that matched perfectly with the one from his memory, the one he was never able to forget.
The girl glanced to the carriage before she looked back to the kneeling villagers. She retracted her hand as the outline over the villagers vanished; freeing them from the invisible binds.
Fei felt his heart stopp when the blinds of the carriage was pulled to the side, revealing a person in black kimono with the beautiful white design of spring printed over the fine silk. He stepped out of the carriage with a type of grace none of the others had. The greenette tried to get a glimpse of his face, but it was impossible as the man was wearing a pumpkin orange sheet over his head like a cloak to hide his head and face within the shadows. He stood up tall, seeming to survey the people for a moment before he suddenly vanished into a flash of blue. Fei quickly looked around. As he wondered where the person had gone to, darkness abruptly shrouded his sight.
"Fei!" Fei heard his father shout as he reached out and pulled away whatever that was obstructing his view. When he did, he was stunned to find that he was gripping onto the soft fabric of a black sleeve hung on a peach-orange shaded hand. The teen turned around and jumped when he found himself staring at the black kimonoed male whose face was still hidden by the orange sheet. He instantly tried to back away, but the person had a firm hold on his shoulder to prevent him from doing so. Hearing the call of his name from the distance, Fei looked back to see his father and friends who were all eyeing the mysterious being warily.
"I have come to see to the promise that had been made during the winter eleven years ago."
Fei felt his breath stop when the mysterious person confirmed his identity through that speech. The villagers all cringed back when they caught the set of narrowed eyes illuminating from the shadowed, hidden face of their god.
"I must say, I am disappointed with what I have witnessed tonight. Not only did some street brats inflict injuries on my bride, you even dare to accuse and verbally assault him." As the deity spoke the words, Fei couldn't help but quivered. He didn't know if it was his imagination, but the surrounding temperature seemed to be dropping rapidly.
The Mountain Deity slowly leaned down. With a hand gently taking Fei's chin, he turned the boy's head so that he could stare into the frightened looks of the villagers.
"Tell me, my bride. How would you like me to deal with them?"
Fei's eyes widened when he realized what the deity was asking of him.
The villagers immediately began to cry for mercy, but were silenced when the deity shot them another sharp look.
"I can ask for anything?" Fei asked slowly, his eyes never drifting away from the ones that had caused him pain for so many years.
"I will do anything you ask, Fei." The deity whispered into his ear, causing him to shiver for a different reason now.
"Then can you overlook this?" He requested.
"Overlook?" The figure asked, wanting to make sure he had not misheard.
"I don't blame them for not believing in me. I had no proof and I was only a kid. To be honest, if I was in one of their shoes… I might not have believed myself either." Fei explained slowly, trying his best to change his thoughts and feelings into words.
"They used you, Fei." The deity pointed out in a calm tone. "Every time misfortune occurred in their lives, they took it out on you because in their eyes, you are bad. They simply threw the blames and pain of their own lives onto you to make themselves feel better. No one has right to inflict pain on another. They have done nothing to deserve your mercy. Were they not also the ones who had forsaken your father when he was in need of help?"
The villagers blanched upon the deity's harsh words. One woman parted her mouth to protest, but was quickly cut off by her husband who didn't dare to risk angering the deity any more than they already had. Asurei was glancing back and forth from the villagers to the deity. His face was displaying a mixture of shock and anger as he took in the deity's words. He then turned his head, glancing at the nearest friend of Fei's for answer, which unfortunately happened to be Tenma. The poor brunette only gave the man a weak smile as he shied away from the demanding gaze.
"Your father is a worthy man who works to spread influence towards the other villages so that the people of this village will live a better life. However, those fools are blinded by the simple hatred of the difference in wealth and status that they failed to see what he was doing for them."
"I…" Fei looked over the shocked faces of the villagers who were all stunned by the news, then back to the deity. "You said it yourself. No one has the right to inflict pain on another, so what gives me that right? If I do it, then I'll be no different than any of them."
Some of the villagers flinched when the last sentence was directed at them. A few in the crowd looked away, feeling ashamed and a bit guilty as they thought back to how they had treated the liar for the first time in years.
"Hmph, how stupid." Fei looked up at the deity, but quickly realized it was not him that had spoken. When Fei looked down, he gasped when he saw Shiro walking him to them with his golden eyes shining brightly. "You're always too soft, Fei."
"S-Shiro?" Fei gasped when the fox had spoken.
"It's not Shiro." The fox corrected as a glow of white began to engulf his body. The fox began to morph, growing larger and larger. The fur outlining the figure began to vanish, together with the ears and tail. The front paws spread out into fingers as it began taking a human form. By the time the light faded away, Shiro was no more. Standing there was a golden eyed boy with messy white hair and dressed in a white and gold kimono with the design of a fox.
"W-what…?" Fei's mouth opened and closed, resembling a fish on land as he tried to take in what had just happened with his pet.
"Shiro transformed!" Nishiki exclaimed out from the side, causing Shiro to shoot the long haired boy a glare.
"Shall we depart? The night is growing short and we're running out of time." The white haired boy asked with a formal bow towards the deity who was gazing up at the night.
"Don't think you are safe from punishment. Although my bride has apparently forgiven you, I have not." The deity said in a cold promise towards the villagers. He then slipped his arm around Fei's waist and pulled him against his chest.
"Wait!" Fei looked up to see his father walking over, but was quickly stopped by the Shiro transformed teen.
"Fei…" Asurei stared at his son with a conflicted look on his face. He seemed to want to say something, but doesn't know where to start.
"You will see him again." The deity said. "That will be my promise to you. Everything between you and my bride can be sorted out then."
Fei didn't know what exactly happened after that, but by the time he had blinked, he found himself sitting on the deity's lap inside what seemed to be the carriage.
"FEI!" The greenette heard the voices of his friends. He gasped out when he saw how far they were from the ground. The petals supporting them began to scatter.
"Father, everyone–!" Fei wanted to reach out to them, but the arm around his waist tightened and pressed him back against the deity's chest.
Fei swallowed back some tears as he watched the petals close the last little gap of his sight on the people he had known for all these years. The blinds fell down, completely blocking off his view of the outside word the carriage began to move.
He stayed like that in the being's arms for a long while. In his mind, he kept wondering when they will arrive to their destination and couldn't help but feel a bit anxious. He was now officially the Mountain Deity's… Meaning that was all he would ever be in the future. He thought back to the time he spent with his friends and father and…
"Saru…" He whispered unconsciously and gasped when the arm around him tightened.
"Saru?" Fei's eyes widened in horror when he realized the mistake he had just made. "Who is Saru, Fei?"
"H-he's…" The greenette struggled on his words. "He's a son of a merchant who travelled to our village…"
"So he's a friend?" The deity pressed on, leaning so close that Fei could feel the other's breath caressing his cheek.
"Yes–" Fei tried to reply, but the deity chose that second to lean in and captured his lips. The boy's eyes flew wide at the contact. He nearly tried to fight against it when he remembered who it was kissing him. So he sat rigidly, allowing the deity to slowly pry open his lips as the soft appendage slipped in.
Rather than feeling disgust, Fei felt himself enjoying the contact. The way the tongue rubbed against him and the flavour of the lips greatly reminded him of Saryuu. It felt so much like the white haired boy that Fei couldn't help but slowly closed his eyes and imagined how it was him there, holding him instead of the deity. As he relived the short time he spent with Saryuu, tears began to roll down his cheeks.
"If he is simply a friend, why are you crying?" The deity whispered against his open lips.
"I-it's not like that!" Fei tried to pull away, but the other's hand had at one point slipped behind his head and locked him in place. He whimpered knowing that there was no way out.
"Don't lie to me. Tell me the truth, Fei." Fei parted his lips to respond, but his words never got out as the deity began kissing him in a rougher manner. After the kiss finally ended some agonizing minutes later, the greenette was left weak and struggling with his breathes.
"I…" Fei panted and slowly looked down. Panics were clearly displayed in his wet eyes. "I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to…I-I…!"
"So you do like him."
Fei felt more tears flow down his eyes as he tried to control himself. "It doesn't matter anymore…he's already gone."
"You are giving up?" Fei found the question of the deity strange, but he couldn't find himself to care with the pain eating away his inside. The word "give up" dealt a heavy damage to his heart and it only added salt to the wound when it was the deity himself who had asked. "Do you regret making that deal with me?"
"No!" Fei exclaimed. "I can never… I'm grateful for you, I've always have been, so I don't regret it."
"Then why do you continue to shed tears?"
"Please… Don't ask..." Fei begged, finally unable to take it anymore as he began to weep quietly against the warm body he was pressed against. "Just don't ask me anymore… I'm sorry… Just… No more…"
As he cried, the deity gently ran his fingers through the green locks to calm him. "I don't regret choosing you." He said as he leaned down and planted a tender kiss on the human's forehead. "I love you, Fei. I always have since the first time I met you."
Fei felt his heart stop when he heard that familiar line. His glanced into the face that was protected by dark shadows.
"W-what…did you just…?"
The deity didn't respond. He just sat there, simply staring back. Fei thought back to the way the deity caressed him when they kissed and how similar those gestures were to Saryuu's. They tasted the same and most importantly, those words just now were the exact same as the ones that Saryuu had said to him.
"It can't be…" He then remembered the way Shiro acted in the presence of Saryuu. Now that he knew Shiro wasn't a fox but actually one of the deity's followers, it would explain his dislike to people petting him. If he had allowed Saryuu to so easily touch him…
"S-Saru?" Fei whispered with a bit of hope in his voice. "Are you…Saru?"
He slowly reached out a shaky hand for the sheet blocking his view of the deity's face. He stopped just when his fingers brushed by the soft fabric. He waited for the hand that would come to stop him at any moment, but it never did. The being simply sat back in his seat, almost as though he was waiting for him to continue.
Swallowing the lump in his throat, Fei slowly grasped the cloth. With a deep breath, he pulled it off as spiky snow white hair came into view. Fei's hand fell to his side as the sheet slipped away from his limp fingers. His eyes were wide and staring into those lavender orbs he had fell in love in only a mere day.
"Sa–" Fei choked. He couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"Surprised, Fei?" The deity asked as his voice reverted back to the soft, crisp tone that could only belong to Saryuu. The white haired boy was thrown back when Fei pounced onto him with arms wrapped tightly around his neck.
Saryuu smiled at the other's enthusiasm, but his smile fell a little when he felt Fei's body trembled in his arms. It didn't take long for him to realize that the greenette was silently weeping against his shoulder with his black kimono sucking up his tears.
"Saru… Saru, Saru!" Fei repeated the name over and over, wanting to confirm that this was not a dream and indeed a reality.
Saryuu's eyes softened at the desperate call of his name. He tightened his hold and rested his face into the silky green hair. "I'm here." He whispered softly. "I'm here, Fei."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Fei sniffed. "Why did you lie about being a merchant's son?"
"I wanted you to see me as who I am, not as some Mountain Deity you are only forced to be together with." Saryuu replied as he began kissing the soft cheek. "You have no idea how long I've waited for this day."
Fei shivered as Saryuu's lips moved down his neck and nibbled at the dark hickey he had made yesterday.
"Fei..." Saryuu moved back up and breathed. Just when his teeth barely scratched Fei's soft earlobe, the carriage began shaking violently.
"Saru! Stop making out and get your ass here!" A voice roared from outside. Fei gasped when something had slammed into the side of the carriage, causing it to flip. He clutched onto Saryuu and closed his eyes out for the incoming impact. When he heard a loud crashing sound, he had expected to feel some sort of pain, but it never came. He hesitantly opened his eyes, but nothing could have prepared him for what he saw. Right before his eyes was one of the giant wolves that were pulling the carriage, snarling angrily at him.
"Fei, it's alright." Saryuu chuckled when Fei clutched onto him tightly. Despite how his neck was locked in a choking hold, Saru could barely feel it for that he was busy savouring their closeness. With one arm under the boy supporting all of his weight, he used his other to stroke the boy's back to reassure him that everything was alright.
"Garsha." When Saryuu turned back to the glaring wolf, the warmness in his eyes were gone, replaced by a hint of coldness. "You're scaring my bride."
"You…!" Fei jumped in Saryuu's grasp when the wolf actually spoke. It growled lowly and surely would have pounced if a silver haired boy didn't come over and grabbed the wolf by the loose flesh at its nape.
"Now, now, you were the one who volunteered to help our dear childhood friend here." The teen said calmly, though Fei noticed a very conflicted look on his face. He seemed to be struggling with something and his shoulders were trembling, almost as though he was…
"When I said I'd help pick up his bride I didn't mean this! Do I look like a horse– Vanfeny! Stop laughing!" The wolf howled, and the instant he did, the surrounding people all burst into a fit of laughter.
Fei slowly looked around, surprised by the sudden change of atmosphere. When he last saw them, they were all wearing the same stoic expression. None of them looked like they were capable of making any emotions, so this kind of development wasn't one that he had expected. He looked around the group before he spotted the carriage he was just on, lying on the side and pretty much trashed.
He immediately looked around at his surroundings, then back to the carriage. His eyes displayed the shock he felt as he wondered how they had even gotten out of the carriage and arrived here.
"That was priceless!" A boy with blue hair cackled as he slapped the back of his nearest companion – which happened to be the golden eyed boy transformed from Shiro. "I can't believe I'd live to see the day Garsha and Garo would end up pulling a carriage!"
"Yo, Garo! You were pretty cool back there!" Another laughed to a tall, white haired teen that was curled up under the shadow of a tree, ripping the grass from its roots and muttering a string of inaudible words. Fei began to sweat drop at the sight, not knowing what to say or if he should be saying anything at all.
"Saru." A purple haired girl said as she walked up to the deity. Fei instantly recognized her as the girl from before who had made all the villagers kneel. "The night is getting short. Isn't it time you…?"
The greenette blinked when the girl trailed off, giving him a look before turning back to Saryuu. There must have been some silent message exchanged, for that Saryuu responded with a short nod.
"Make sure no one disturbs us." As Saryuu said that, he turned and that was when Fei saw it. There, within the darkness was a silhouette of the largest building the greenette has ever seen in his life. Or was it a building? There were tall structures in the form of spikes enclosing over it, making it seem all the more monstrous. Feeling pressured under the presence of something so enormous, Fei couldn't help but feel a little frightened and pressed himself closer against the white haired boy.
Feeling his unease, Saryuu leaned to his ear, whispering small words of comfort before Fei's sight became dark. He looked around with a gasp, surprised that his surrounding has changed once again. He couldn't see much though, aside from the wide, rectangular hole in the wall that revealed the starry night sky.
"Saru, this is…?" Fei asked, but Saryuu didn't reply and simply headed for that opening. It was only when they came close enough did Fei realized that there was a barrier of some. It looked like ice, but it was much clearer than that.
"This is your present, Fei." Saryuu lowered the greenette to his feet. When Fei looked outside, he gasped at how high they were. He tried to back away, but Saryuu had placed his hand on his back to stop him. The white haired boy smiled at the nervousness displayed on the greenette.
"Don't worry, you won't fall." With a hard push, Fei stumbled forward with a yelp. His arms hit the transparent barrier. It was only after a few seconds did Fei realized that his fall has been stopped and looked up. He breathed heavily as he stared at the transparent wall supporting him. He glanced at it for a moment, giving it a little push but the thing didn't budge at all.
"It's called glass." Saryuu introduced as he slammed his palm hard against the see-through wall, making Fei jump in surprise. "It won't break, so you don't need to worry."
The white haired boy chuckled at the greenette's reaction, making Fei blush in embarrassment. He quickly tried to hide it by distracting himself and looking outside, wondering what Saryuu had meant by present. Unfortunately, it was too dark to make out anything other than the silhouettes of mountains. His eyes drifted over the land, wondering what it could be that Saryuu wanted him to see when he spotted a speck of light just below him. He looked down and was shocked to see bright yellow petals shining within the darkness just below him. The greenette's jaw dropped slightly. He was certain that the elegant tree wasn't there before.
As he observed, he was shocked when the colours began bleeding out from the darkness surrounding the tree. It was orange this time, but they weren't flowers. They were round and small, like fruits of some sort. The colours continued to spread, ranging from all kinds of different colours and revealing various type of plants, all of them Fei had never seen before. There was a willow-like tree with strange violet marking on the barks and baring a string of cottony white flowers. There was another tree with glowing fruits about the size of persimmons and another blossoming with lovely pink flowers.
By the time Fei realized, the entire land was shining with so many colours that the stars in the night sky were no longer visible, overpowered by the gorgeous lights.
"It's beautiful…" Fei whispered breathlessly as he took in the sight. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Everything was so surreal that it he briefly wondered if this was a dream.
"Saru, this is amazing!" He turned with a bright smile on his face, only to freeze when he realized how Saryuu was standing close behind him, their clothes brushing against each other's and their faces only an inch apart.
"I'm glad you enjoy it." Saryuu whispered. His eyes were half-lidded, glazed with an intense look that Fei couldn't identify, but was unable to help but blush under. They kept their eyes on each other's for a short while before Saryuu moved forward and pressed their lips together in a deep, passionate kiss. The force pushed Fei back, hitting the glass as their bodies pressed together. Saryuu moved his lips across Fei's sensually and drew out a long moan from the boy. As Fei shyly begin to respond, Saryuu's arms wrapped around the shorter boy, pulling them together tightly with the greenette's hands resting against Saryuu's chest.
Lost in the kiss, Fei didn't realize how Saryuu was slowly guiding him back towards the center of the room until he felt something hit his knees which caused him to tumble backward. The kiss was broken as Fei collapsed down onto something soft. When his body sank down, he thought for sure that whatever was supporting him was going to collapse, but instead he surprisingly sprang back up. He held his breath as the thing supporting onto him sprang a few more times before his movement finally stopped.
When Saryuu snapped his finger, the room suddenly lit up so brightly that Fei had to forced his eyes shut. As he took his time adjusting his sight, he never saw the glow being emitted from Saryuu's eyes as blinds slid over the window, blocking the view of the outside world.
After he finally managed to open his eyes, he was once again stunned by another unnatural sight.
The room that was dark now was lit brightly due to the lights coming from the ceiling. There weren't any candles, but round globes of things that resembled miniature suns. And the room… Nothing in the room was anything Fei had seen before. Even the floor! Floors are made with wood, that was common sense but the floor in this room was made out of perfect squares of some sort of smooth white stone. Looking down, Fei found himself sitting on a large, rectangular thing covered by a large sheet of beautifully made silk blanket.
"This is what we sleep on. We call it a bed." Saryuu said with a light smile, enjoying the utter look of shock displayed on the greenette.
"Bed?" Fei glanced down unsurely. "You mean a futon*?"
"Just bed." Saryuu chuckled. When he sat up, Fei instantly stilled when the bed beneath him moved again. This time, there were even creaking noises accompanying it. "S-Saru! It's going to collapse!"
"It's not going to collapse." Saryuu chuckled at how adorable the boy was being, although he was a bit offended of how the human was worried about the bed rather than of him. He pushed Fei back down and climbed onto his love, causing the bed to shake and Fei sinking down from their weights. The frightened greenette quickly grasped onto Saryuu out of reflex and only relaxed when the shaking finally stopped.
"Fei." Saryuu said sternly, causing Fei to flinch before he retracted himself from the other.
"Sorry!" He hurriedly apologized. "I was just surprised, I didn't mean to–"
"Fei."Fei quickly stopped blabbering as he stared up at the white haired boy whose face was just hovering over his. "Fei, do you love me?"
"W-why are you suddenly–?" Fei spluttered with a deep blush. His words were cut off when Saryuu pressed his index finger against his lips.
"The time you've had know me is short, whilst I have known you for a long time. I've always been waiting for the promised night so I can bring you back. However, you are a human, Fei. In order for you to live together with me in Feida, I need to change you. You need to be reborn into one of us."
"What do you mean by reborn?" Fei asked once Saryuu withdrew his hand.
"You saw Yuuchi, didn't you?"
"The white fox you called Shiro." Fei's eyes widened in realization when he remembered the white haired boy that his long-time friend had turned into. "Along with all my followers you have seen, they were once ordinary animals without any special powers."
"W-what?" Fei gasped at the news. "But… They were…"
"They are only able to take the form of human because I gave them a drop of my blood." Saryuu explained. "Human calls us deities, but in our own term, we're called the Second Stage Children."
"Second Stage Children?" Fei repeated softly, wondering exactly what that meant and why were deity calling themselves children.
"The name comes from the SSC gene we are born with. We stop aging shortly after entering our teenage years. With our abilities and our child-like appearance, we're called as such."
"Stop aging?" Fei stared at the other boy. "Does that mean you live on forever…?"
"No, I meant our appearance." Saryuu replied. "We still age, only much slower than human. But despite how many years pass, our look will never change. From the moment we stopped changing to the end of our lives, we will always be in the forms of children. That's why I needed to wait until you turned sixteen, Fei." His lavender eyes stared at the boy beneath him lovingly.
"When living beings are injected with a bit of my DNA, they are reborn as a Second Stage Child. The only difference between pure Second Stage Children and changed Second Stage Children is that the latter cannot age the instant they were changed, and their abilities purely rely on the one that sired them. That's why if we are to change someone or something, the condition is that they must be in the required age range, or the process won't work."
"Slower than human…?" Fei then realized where Saryuu was going, despite how some strange words were mixed in with his explanation that he couldn't quite understand. For the longest time, the story of the Mountain Deity had always been in their village. If that was the same Mountain Deity, meaning Saryuu, then that must have meant that he had lived for a long time.
"How long…have you lived for?" He asked softly.
"I don't remember." Saryuu shrugged casually. "I've lost count after two hundred years, though I'm still considered quite young."
"Two hundred…!" The greenette gasped in shock. "Then are you saying I will be like that too?"
"Yes." Saryuu said seriously as he dropped his playful smile. "Although your changing process will be much different than with the others, as you are to be my wife." Fei felt his cheeks heated at how Saryuu addressed him.
"Each of the Second Stage Children has a time where his or her power is at its highest. We perform the rituals during this time where the dominant – the stronger of the two Second Stage Children, will transfer a proportion of his power into their partner. This transfer can only be done once, that's why we do it during the time when we are the strongest, to assure that our partner receives the extra boost of power. I am of the element earth and the guardian of the mountains, meaning that the first blossom of spring – tonight, is the time where I'm at my strongest."
"Ritual?" The human looked up at Saryuu and noticed a bit of unease on his face. The second Stage Child didn't reply immediately. He looked off towards the side of the room, seeming to be sorting some things in his mind before he turned back to him.
"By ritual, I mean the marriage ritual." When Saryuu saw the still confused look in Fei's eyes, he let out a sigh. "It means taking your virginity."
The greenette understood with this explanation as his cheeks busted into various shades of red. It was fortunate that he did or Saryuu would have to go into details, not that deity mind.
"That is how I will transfer my power to you, and my sperm that carries my DNA will be what turns you into a Second Stage Child."
Right then and there, Fei wanted to faint. He nearly did with the way his brain had been overheating, if not for the sharp lavender eyes pinning onto his consciousness.
"That's why I want you to choose. Once you're changed, there is no turning back. You will never be human again and you shall live for a long time with your body remaining as it is, never growing old."
"That means that I will one day outlive my father and my friends." Fei whispered.
Saryuu's gaze saddened at his words. He knew the choice he was forcing onto Fei was too sudden, but there was no other way. Time was something neither of them had. He had already pushed the limit for Fei as he wanted him to spend more time in the human realm. If they waited longer, the greenette will never be able to become part of the Second Stage Children. He could push the date. The marriage ritual doesn't matter as long as Fei could make a choice that he wouldn't live to regret. Fei didn't need the boost of his power anyways, as he will always protect him. Even if he chooses to become human, that would be fine. Anything was alright as long as he is able to keep seeing him, even if it's only during the short years of a human's lifespans.
The deity was brought out of his inner world when he felt a hand brushed by his cheek. When he looked down, he was surprised by his own reflection in those mint green eyes. His own face in those stunning eyes was frowning back at him, eyebrow knitted together and jaw tightly clenched.
He looked weak. For the first time in his life, Saryuu looked weak. He had never exposed any weaknesses like this before… So why? Why at a time like this, in front of the least person he never wanted to show weakness to?
"Don't look like that, Saru." Fei said softly, unable to help but feel his heart break when Saryuu made that kind of miserable look. The white haired boy stared down at him before he overlapped his hand over Fei's that was resting against his cheek. He leaned against the warmth of the human, tilting his head to plant a small kiss onto his wrist.
Fei quivered at the electrical jolt that ran through his veins. He stared into those old and lonely eyes, finally finding his answer to both himself and Saryuu.
"You don't have to come up with a decision now, Fei." Saryuu finally spoke as he slowly pulled the pale hand off, only to have Fei unexpectedly sit up and throw his arms around him.
"No." Fei clutched onto Saryuu tightly and buried his face into the crook of deity's neck. "I want to be with you, Saru." He whispered softly, gaining the other's immediate attention.
"Fei…" Saryuu opened and closed his mouth. He frowned, wondering what could be the reason behind the sudden decision. "It's alright, there's no need to rush." He told the boy. "You don't need to decide now."
"Saru, please just listen to me." Fei begged, and smiled when Saryuu closed his mouth. Although his eyes were staring at something else, Fei knew the other was listening.
"It's true what you said about me not knowing you for long. I don't know your likes and dislikes… What you do in your free time or anything at all…" Saryuu dipped his head to look at the flustered face hiding against his neck. "But what I do know is that you're kind. You saved my father. You showed and taught me a lot of wonderful things. You were willing to listen to my problems and talk over them with me. You even made me laugh, something I wasn't able to do for a long time because of the pressure I was faced with every day. You saved me, Saru. In many ways, you saved me just by coming into my life. I finally found out what this feeling, this pain and emptiness was after I pushed you away."
Fei paused and took a breath to gather his courage for the next sentence to come.
"I love you, Saru. Please... Let me be with you."
Futon –means bedding. It's a quilted mattress rolled out on the floor where people sleeps on as bed.
Special thanks to Meganical720D who has kindly offered her time to beta this chapter!