He groaned as his body slumped in the ground while the youth with the cloud-white skin and jet-black hair chuckled while sitting just beside his figure. The sun shining brightly in the sky sent waves of heat, but it seemed that the latter was not affected in the slightest, proven by how he was not sweating. While he, who surpasses even Olympic athletes, was sweating heavily, barely having the energy to stand up.
"Damn it... still undefeatable... I ended up embarrassing myself..."
He complained between ragged breathes. The unnmaned youth chuckled even more, the sight of this refreshing gaze would've attracted both genders because of his androgyny, but Godou was not a person who can simply be stunned by a beautiful face... the only one that proved to have an effect on him was a divine beast with the height of fifty metres.
"Hohoho, thou shouldst not feel embarassment. Thou art able to make me sweat even if a bit... unlike them." the youth pointed out at the few males (age ranging from 15 to 20's) who were sleeping under a tree, completely exhausted from a simple game of football with the two of them.
"Even if it's like that..."
Nevertheless, he didn't feel any better from the youth's praise. Not even once did he scored a point from him, he was so close, but the youth's inhuman body still outmatched his. He even surpassed him in terms of speed, it should be noted that he was very proud of his speed. It has became a legend in his school in how he can outrun even delinquents that were in a car. The time where he carried a certain miko in his arms, the latter almost fainted from the astounding speed that he used that time. Heh. He couldn't help but chuckle upon remembering the certain event.
"Ah. Today was fun boy." the nameless youth muttered as he stood from his sitting position. "Nevertheless, everything must come to an end."
"Are you taking your leave now?" he asked, rosing from his lying position.
"Indeed." the youth nodded. "I hath some matters to attend to. Besides, thou hath no time to worriest about me. An angry company will arrive shortly for thee." the youth said in a mysterious manner, giving a smile of pity at him.
"Huh?" he titlted his head, watching the figure of the nameless youth as he started to walk away from him.
"Thou art a fun fellow. I wouldst like to have a competition with thee again. However, the time for me to finish what I started hath come. The next time we meet... I fearest that it will be different." for some reason, the youth smiled sadly. "The Stone of Theft... useth it shouldst the time cometh. In time, thou will understand what I mean." saying those weird words, the youth left, leaving no sound with his footsteps.
He didn't bother calling him to know the details. He had a feeling that the two of them will meet again sooner than he expected. He doesn't know why, but he was sure that it was bound to happen. He stayed in the same position for a few minutes. Still recovering his breathe from the intense two hours match with the mentioned youth under the blazing sun.
"Hey idiot! How dare you!" Kusanagi Godou's eyes was drawn behind when they heard a feminine voice (that sounded angry. Very angry.) calling. The color of reddish yellow hair was the first thing he noted from afar.
The figure wearing a red shirt and cargo pants was a girl of the same age as him. She has glamorous blonde hair and sapphire blue eyes (that was practically screaming murder!) was running towards him at a notable speed. The face of the girl was strangely, glaring at him.
"Where did you go?!" yelled the girl named Erica. "I said return when morning comes! But instead, you were gone for a day! A FREAKING DAY!" the anger in her voice cannot be mistaken. But he was clueless on why she was venting it on him.
She grabbed him by the collar (this was getting normal for him) and pulled him with her enormous strength so that their eyes could meet. Half opened lethargic black eyes met with an angered and stressed (?) blue ones. Erica was gritting her teeth, her eyes as ferocious as a lioness.
"...Uh, I'm innocent?"
The moment he seem to hear the sound of a glass being broken, he was judo tossed harshly in the ground. On top of that, Erica even stomped his back a few times. Meanwhile, he was still clueless on why she was angered on the first place.
The beating continued for another good minutes before the blonde stopped and turn her back on him. He noted that the males, that played with him and the youth earlier, was directing their eyes full of sympathy, admiration, and pity at him. What's up with those people?
"Uh... have you eaten lunch?" it was a clumsy way to start a conversation, but he still said it nonetheless.
It took a few moments before the blonde replied to his question. "No... I was too busy finding you." her voice sounded reluctant, but he could swear that there's also a hint of delight. As if she was pleased for some reason.
Now, why would this girl, who pointed a sword at him so that she could kick him out, was finding him? Did she regretted her actions? But that doesn't seem right. From his perspective, Erica was the girl who did not regretted her actions.
A few minutes of silence passed. Erica still has her back turned on him while he... was looking at the males mentioned earlier, trying to discern what they were doing. Perhaps playing charades with him? That's ridiculous, he doesn't know any Italian. Are they idiots?
After another minute of silence, Erica finally turned around and grabbed the collar of his shirt once again. "Aren't you gonna invite me to lunch, idiot?!" she yelled with an enraged expression.
This girl has an anger management issues.
"Why should I do that?" he asked, baffled. "I already ate lunch y'know? If you you're hungry, then I suggest the restaurant in the seventh blo-" he didn't manage to finish his words when an uppercut came unexpectedly, making him dizzy. "Oh... um? Do you want to eat lunch?"
"Seriously! Is there something wrong with your head?!" shaking him, Erica yelled, even if she already knows the answer.
Facing this attitude, he only sighed. Remembering about his violent little sister (who always hurts him) he decided to do something that always manages to calm down his sister. In some cases... even some of his enraged (female) classmates.
He raised his right hand and cupped Erica's chin. This prompted the female to freeze, staring at him with great surprise. Without saying anything, he only stared directly in her blue eyes, feigning a serious expression for the first time.
The girl couldn't believe what was going on, one moment she was tempted to beat him to death, then the next thing she knows is that he was staring at her with such a resolute expression. Her body froze as if she were sent into a world of ice. Her chest felt constricted, she couldn't tore away her gaze from those eyes resembling a warrior. It was a strange yet pleasant feeling.
But, nothing lasts forever. This moment was destroyed by his next words.
"So... want to have lunch?"
She sighed. The temptation to beat him... again, was in the table... again. "...yes."
Godou smirked as he winked and patted Erica's head. "Now, was that so hard to say?"
The expression he made with those sharp eyes and fearless smile made her face feel hot for some reason. Since when did this idiot looked so dashing?
"You went and play with this boy for a whole day because he invited you to?" Erica asked with an exasparated tone and she stared at him sternly. "And you forgot about me- what I said that night? Just because of that?"
He only nodded to her question, eating the second lunch that day. Erica had led him in a high class restaurant, and naturallly all was her treat. He wasn't a fool to let this chance go away, so even though he already ate lunch earlier, he still took foods that fascinated him.
"That's about it." he replied without much thought.
Another sigh and another glare was sent on his way, but he didn't spared her a response as he ate the delicious food before him with gusto. This prompted the girl in front of him to throw a glass of water to him. Surprisingly, he reacted faster and deflected the glass cup, making Erica growl.
"Anyway, what do you care about?" Erica momentarily froze at the question.
Why? Why would she, Erica Blandelli, would be so curious and annoyed on whatever this nameless idiot would do without her knowledge? She doesn't really need to know what he did, because for all she cares, he was old enough... and besides, why does she feel so irritated? Erica Blandelli was a person who could tolerate even the Italy's campione (for a limited time), so why would she lose her composure around this not so ordinary boy?
There is an answer in this question, however, she was not sure if it was the right one.
"...it's because you made me wait. That's all." suppressing a sigh, she replied with closed eyes. The male sitting opposite of her showed his doubt, but didn't pursue. He did however, momentarily stopped ignoring her and eating.
He looked like he wanted to say something but stopped himself, shrugging as if he lost interest in the matter.
She noticed this odd behavior and thought that maybe he was opening up even if it was a little. The other day, he won't even spare something like like time to listen to her words. Either he had a weird way of being thankful for free food or he has finally acknowledged her to some degree.
"Hey, this time. Isn't this a good time to finally go to the place where that what's-her-face was living?" he proposed.
Her heart stopped beating for a second. He was suggesting to go to Lucretia Zola's house, that means that he wanted to erase his memories soon. He will then leave Sardinia without any memories of what happened. The rude first meeting, the Boar, the island, everything. These flashed in her head in just the span of a few seconds.
The unfamiliar feeling rose in her chest again. But this time, she didn't did anything but suppress it.
"Indeed it is."
Noticing the strangeness occurring to her, he turned his attention to her. "What's wrong?"
"...nothing." she said while turning her head the other way. However, he still noticed the expression in her face.
The same betrayed expression she showed that night.
Dorgali was a little town at the foot of a mountain.
It had valleys near the sea, as well as steep river valleys around it. Dorgali is surrounded by abundant natural resources, and has been designated as a national park. This was Godou and Erica's destination, it was only an hour away from Oliena.
Getting off the main road where the bus stop was simply marked by a sign, there were only a few shops and a police station. Godou and Erica first noticed the unnatural drought and the extreme brightness of the sun. It was already 5PM yet it was still this bright... this wasn't normal.
"Great. It's another one of them, huh?" voicing him complaint, the nameless brunette grumbled to himself, annoyed for his luck.
On the other hand, the blonde knight also cursed their luck. This adds as another reason for the youth beside her to reinforce his motive to erase his memories. Just when she was thinking of spending the last days in peace, this incident happens out of the blue.
Naturally, as a knight, her sense of obligation was provoked.
"Be careful." she turned her head towards the brunette with a bewildered expression, while the male just sighed and rolled his eyes. "You're gonna investigate it. I'm just being considerate you know? ... hey what's with that expression, is there something in my face? I knew it! Those guys from earlier were trying to say something!"
She ignored his mumblings. In fact, she was so surprised about the male's surprisingly sharp side. He already knew that she will go towards the scene as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. She actually imagine him not giving a damn and shooing her away, but to actually bid her his blessings... what the hell was going on?
Because of this, she blinked her eyes repeatedly, wondering if either the male was sick or was in a good mood. The turn of events that happened today keeps getting weirder. Regardless, she still has a mission to do.
"Hmph, I don't need your concern. I can take care of myself." folding her arms under sher chest, she turned her face sharply.
"Mmm, okay. I guess I take that back. It's you after all?"
Somehow she felt offended by that statement. "How exactly do you see me?"
"The kind of woman that's when slapped in the left cheek, would smile and slap the right cheek, then left, right, left, right, left, right, left, left, left, right, then an uppercut, a kick, a stab, spoon, then you would finish it with a Wolverine combo."
"..." what is this guy seriously saying?
"Regardless, I've witnessed what those over-fed animals can do. So if you die, at least I had given you my sympathy." so he was actually hoping her to die! Just when she was about to do the exact things he said earlier, the male scowled. "Anyway, be careful."
A warm feeling spread in her chest. "Tsk. I guess I can only accept your concern. Don't worry, if I'm gonna die here, I'll be sure to include you as well." with seriousness in her voice, she said. "That's for making me angry all the time."
In truth, she was just being sarcastic, however, her words made the male grin at her. It was a pure smile that he expressed for the first time, not including the teasing smirk and the wry smile he always shows. Her opinion of him was revised by a little, at the same time, she had discovered how to converse at him after those days.
"I'm not joking." she added and the male's grin only grew wider. Astonished by the reaction, she also revealed a smile.
"Fu. Don't push your luck, Blandelli." for the second time, he called her by her surname. It's not that important, but it was an achievement, especially since this male was the topic.
Summoning her beloved sword, she left the male and headed at the scene with the ever elegant smile in her face.
The moment the blonde knight left, he felt something cold in the pit of his stomach. Something about this left an impression at him as if something hard to describe was going to happen. A part of it was concern about the female, but the main reason was because of his instincts, practically screaming at him that whatever beast resides in this town, the knight would not be able to escape it alive. He was baffled by this emotion, even if he haven't notice it, the female already ascended to the point where he no longer ignores her, most of the time.
Unconsciously, he let out a sigh. It was not included in his plans to get close to someone. Emotions would only make him hesitate about forgetting his memories.
Until now, he still wanted to forget everything and live in the illusion like he once had. But a part of him actually scolds him for thinking in such a way. It was cowardly, but he hated reality, he couldn't make a choice on what to do, especially since he already became a little close towards that woman. The only one aside from his sister and the Mariya siblings that actually made him smile. In his mind, the knight was already close enough to be called an acquaintance.
Would he be able to forget an acquaintance, when he could count all of his acquaintance with his hand? More importantly, can he forget all of the things that he experienced in this foreign land?
He couldn't answer it... it was the only question that he couldn't answer with logic.
Facing this problem, his scowl became even more prominent than before. Exactly at this moment, he saw a pillar of fire erupting at a distance. There's no doubt that Blandelli had already arrived there, confronting whatever beats was lurking.
He will forget her anyway, it was foolish to go there unarmed. It would be a smart move to abandon her and head off at the place where the witch was residing. However, could I really do something that despicable?
Facing this trouble, he ran.
She screamed in pain as an ember touched her. The beast in front of her was an incarnation of a god, it was something that she can't face head on. The chances of her succeeding and surviving was so slim, that even she was not sure about it.
Normally, Erica Blandelli would've retreated right now. However, she couldn't do it because she was protecting an unconscious child with her bare body. Her shield along with her sword had melted under the sheer heat from the incarnation, White Stallion.
She could just run and escape, but she would rather die than leaving an innocent child behind.
The despicable thought did not even crossed her mind when facing the stellar flames that were being directed at her.
Burned, she could only endure the pain, praying that a miracle would happen that would be able to save the child. Her own safety was not even her main concern.
"For the sake of maintaining order in Rome, the Senate decreed the suspension of imperium! O Steel of the Lion, layest thyself down as the foundation!" using the last resort to buy more time, she incantation her strongest defensive technique.
In response, the magic sword of the lion, Cuore di Leone, suddenly appeared in her hand. At the same time, it transformed into a chain with ten links, shining with silver luster. The chain's head and tail ends joined together to form a "circular chain."
These ten chain links encircled her, forming a protective barrier against the pillars of flames.
"Senatus consultum ultimum, let this decree be heard!"
Senatus consultum ultimum, the ultimate protective barrier that she can use. It is equivalent to a castle in durability. However, the spellcaster cannot take a single step out of its confines. In other words, she can only wait inside it, not escape.
However, protecting them from flames was the only thing it could do, it could not disperse the heat coming from the white flames. She gritted her teeth as she coughed up an unhealthy amount of blood. She had exerted so much magic so quick that it damaged her own body.
Noticing that she was still not burned into ashes, the Stallion neighed in rage. Its white mane swaying around, it prepared to fire another breathe of flames. This time, she was not so confident if she can defend.
Collapsing in one knee, she stared as the Stallion prepared to end her life.
In that instant, her prayers were answered.
Descending from the sky, black lightning struck the massive body of the Stallion. The air was filled with painful screams, however, the lightning wasn't powerful enough to kill the Stallion. At best it only managed to wound the incarnation.
Just when she thought of it, this moment, blue flames spewed.
The flames surrounded the strong and vigorous body of the Stallion, successfully devouring it. After burning for ten odd seconds, it completely disappeared from existence, along with the blue flames that appeared out of nowhere.
Almost automatically, she turned towards the direction where she felt the magic. Her eyes widened as she realized that the miracle she hoped for, came in the form of a brunette.
Holding a stone tablet between his outstretched hands, the black haired oriental stood. His eyes hardened and his teeth gritted. The stone tablet was glowing with intense magical power, it was most likely burning, the brunette however, did not let go of it.
Finally releasing the spell of Senatus, she was down in all fours. She heard the male's footsteps coming closer to her. She looked up and saw that the nameless male gazed with her with relief in his eyes. He then turned his eyes at the child behind her. For a moment, she saw his eyes narrow, before closing.
"It's too late. This child simply could not take the heat." he muttered with a blank voice, turning his back towards her.
Her eyes widened as she turned back towards the child. It was foolish of her to think that the child was simply unconcious. Unlike her, normal humans did not have resistance. Even if the child seemed unconscious, the truth is that the young girl was already dead, either from suffocation or from being affected by the divine presence of the Stallion. In the end, she was not able to save her, and innocent child.
She could only collapse in the dirty ground in frustration and exhaustion.
Even if she wanted to pay respect at the child and bury her, she wasn't able to do so.
Magic associations will need to take care of this mess, and she cannot do anything side from leaving the corpse. The male however, had enough concern to put the body of the child in the place where there's no flame threatening to consume it. The sight of his hands trembling a little did not escaped her.
The two of them sat with their backs leaning against each other. Right now, rain was pouring from the sky, most likely another divine beast was a few kilometres from them. However, she did not have the will nor the energy to pursue.
Only protected by a tree that miraculously survived the flames, her only source of warmth was the male that had remain silent since arriving, letting her rest and do anything she wants without interfering.
Most likely, he too, had a hard time accepting the death of the child before him. He might be hardheaded and careless, but he was still human, like her. Emotions cannot be suppressed, she knows it now. Despair was the only thing that she felt.
She was not able to save the child. She even almost died.
Had it not been for the male, she would not even be sitting here right now.
"Thank you..." she whispered loud enough for the male to hear. "You saved me earlier."
The truth is, she was still surprised that he was able to use the grimoire. Only a day ago, he was not even aware that he was carrying a magical artifact. To use it in battle for the first time and making it work, he was really lucky.
"Rest, you need it." he stated, his voice carried an air of gentleness on it. "If you need something, let me know. Consider this my sympathy for your horrible experience." he lacked his usual cheeky attitude.
"Heh, you're speaking as if you didn't experienced it as well." what an idiot, is this his way of trying to comfort her? He, surprisingly, had a gentle side to him. Just like the time when they were in that island.
"Probably not as hard as you did." the teen replied. She leaned on his back even more, trying to get as much warmth as she can. "Unlike you, my brain is already damaged to the level where I can keep my calm, you however..."
"Am not prepared for that kind of thing..." she finished the sentence for him. True, she had trained her mentality to be able to act calm whenever these things happen. However, the training was nothing like the real thing... "I guess, you're right..."
"Took you so long to figure it out?" even with the frustration in her chest, she smiled, because he won't be able to see it.
It amazed her how calm the teen remained even after facing an incarnation of a deity. When did this guy became like this? She felt a sense of solace as the silence remained. Her aching body was slowly bein healed as she wait.
The comfortable warmth was enough to make her relax, so when the teen stood up, she was a little mournful.
"We can't stay here." he pointed at the dark clouds still forming in the sky. "If I travel in the next town, it'll take an hour, carrying you."
He knelt with his back facing her. Probably he was saying that he will carry her in a piggy back. Strange, normally she would feel offended for being treated as a weak girl this time however, she was grateful for the fact that the male was considerate.
It was almost midnight yet she remained awake.
No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't just sleep in this cold night. A sense of uncomfort was in her chest. While the memories from earlier were still clear in her mind, she had already convinced herself that nothing would change even if she sulked in a corner.
Her companion was staying in the next room. This was the first time that they were separated by walls even thought they were in the same establishment.
"Is he still awake?" she asked no one in particular. "Well, might as well find out." if he was asleep, then waking him up and annoying him was only a bonus.
She got up from her bed and went out of her room. She took a few steps in the candlelit corridor. Then, after hesitating for a few dozen seconds in front of the door, she knocked twice. Her mind still hazy, she didn't really knew the reason why she was outside of his room, knocking.
The door opened, revealing the male, hair still wet from most likely a bath, his clothes consisted of a white shirt and cargo shorts. Half closed eyes met her.
He let out a sigh and fully opened the door, gesturing her to enter. Without a word, she entered and sat on the bed without his permission. The male only shook his head and stared at her with his lazy eyes.
"Can't sleep?" she only nodded in response. The male closed his eyes. "You need rest. You were injured and exhausted earlier, even I can guess that you need rest that badly... however, if you need company, I guess I can fill it for an hour." there it is again, his gentle side.
She had noticed this: he was normally cheeky and aside from his face, everything about him was regretful. However, at times, he will show this gentle and considerate side. He would even go in danger just to save her. He was a complicated man.
"I'm not really the one for chat. If you like, you can just talk and I'll just listen... that is if I don't fell asleep." so his cheekiness was still there. Oh well, it's not like she expected him to turn into a complete gentleman all of a sudden.
However, she did not talk, neither did the male.
The time passed and only silence remain in the room. As if they already understood that no conversation was needed. Their presence alone was enough.
He sat just beside her, leaning his head in the wooden pillar. Although his eyes were closed, she knew that he was awake, listening even if she did not want to talk. She actually find this part of him charming.
Without any thought, she rested her head on his lap. He seemed annoyed by this action but that's what made it more fun.
They just spent the whole night in silence, although she was rather disturbed at how intimate she acted around him.
The girl, Blandelli, spelt comfortably on his lap.
He was annoyed, no words are needed to be said. However, he will allow her to do what she wants only for now. He knew that she needed comfort, so he will give it to her. She needed help, and he will halp her.
This was because he had already choose that path he wants to take.
For once, he will stand, facing the ugliness of the world. He wouldn't run away this, especially now since he have a reason to meddle with this.
He will make sure that he won't regret it. That's why...
"Be strong for those who are not."
She opened her eyes from the blank dream that she had. A sense of refreshment overcame her as she snuggled at the thing serving as her pillow. The things yesterday assaulted her mind, but she needed to be strong. 'Be strong for those who are not.' she remembered the words that the teen, serving as her pillow, muttered in the depth of the night.
"About time you wake up." a familiar voice greeted her, full of annoyance yet at the same time, amused.
"Shut up, a woman needs her rest." she noticed the small grin that formed on the male's face.
Still in his room, she slowly stood to stretch her body. The male was still sitting, and it didn't seem like he actually moved from his position.
"I feel better now. I guess I should thank you, even if you did nothing." she said, turning her back at him. Her body already recovered, and a good sleep really helped her mind recover. A part of her was so embarrased about how she acted yesterday, majority however, was content on how the male did respond to her distress.
"That's good. Seeing you like that, I don't know if I can hold my laughter any longer." smirking, the male also stood up. "Besides, I was really tempted to throw you out of my room for using me as a pillow."
A kick made its way into his stomach.
"So you were thinking something rude about me huh?" the coldness of her smile reminded him of Mariya when she's pissed at him. "And to think my opinion of you was slightly revised..."
"No thanks. I don't need a girl having a good opinion about me."
"Who said that anyone will have a good opinion of you?" this time, she realized that she was actually having fun bantering with the male. Only a day ago, she would be annoyed, but now... it's just weird. "You're an idiot on the same level as Sir Salvatore: only fools would see you as an interesting man."
"Whatever." he seems to be focusing on something, which was strange. "Hey do you still remember the pony yesterday?"
Pony? This man was calling a great Stallion a Pony? Well, she could say that she was not been expecting this...
"What about it..."
For a moment, the teen's eyes turned sharp, just like the other day.
"I know the location of its owner." the tone he used indicated that he was... annoyed? "It's not far from here."
He turned to her, his expression hardened, just like a warrior. No words were needed to be said.
One stood, facing the destruction that one had caused in order to retrieve a piece of oneself. The 'Sun' had already been captured, most likely, by that boy who had the smell of a King or a Warrior. One wasn't wrong, the fellow was indeed, someone worth his attention.
One was almost complete. Nine of one's forms were already retrieved, it was time to face the enemy, the Divine King!
One chuckled as one felt the familiar presence.
Looking down behind one, the fellow stood, staring up to him. Unlike the past days, his eyes showed his resolve, not the hesitation in the middle of a crossroad.
On his hands, the stone of theft was being held.
Accompanied by a woman with blonde hair, the human only stared at him. On his face, a sense of resignation can be seen.
"Ah, thou hath sensed me." one spokest, smiling at the human.
"...So this is what you mean back then, about the stone..." direct to the point, it was quite refreshing to see the human taking things seriously.
He only nodded, no words art needed to be spoken. Mutual understanding hath already taken place. Their lives hath been bounded by fate itself. The human hath already understood it, just recently.
"Boy, comest with me. Together, let us travel and seek opponents to battle."
"I refuse." quite the fast answer. No doubt, the human hath already made his choice.
One let out a sigh. The human was very rare, one dost not wanteth to kill such an amusing fellow. One hath no choice but to use force.
"Obeyest one, mortal." these words are speaken with one's power as a hero.
Immediately, one's orders were received and the two humans were down in their knees. One sent a look of disdain towards the female human, she was the reason why the male hath been thinking twice.
The said female tried to resist. Futile, one's words art law itself.
Adding a pinch of magic power, the female was once again forced in her knees, forcefully.
Until this time, one hath no idea that this action wouldst be one's undoing.
Because in that moment, one felt a killing intent that can only be produce by fellow gods... or godslayers.