Chapter 20: Another Nuisance Delivered (The Chronicles of Time)
“How could such a kind person…die?”
He turned his head slightly in her direction. “What do you think?”
“...I don’t even want to imagine it.” Natsumi lowered her gaze. There were multiple answers to her question. One: the saintess’s attitude and words changed over time and she lost favor. Two: the saintess was killed because of asassination. Three: the saintess was killed by the people that she wanted to protect.
Natsumi closed her eyes at the last answer and then abandoned the question. There were too many answers, and none of them were positive. The thought of a person like the saintess dying in the end shook her worldview.
Natsumi finally brought herself to ask, her eyes on the three legends in front of her. “Yuu…are you ‘Cassius’?”
He nodded his head. “That was the past ‘me’.”
She looked at him whose eyes were also focused on the other three people. No–he was looking at the saintess specifically. Unexpectedly, Natsumi felt her heart tighten. His eyes were soft and his expression was filled with a mixture of sadness and–no doubt–it was…love. Natsumi couldn’t help but scold herself inwardly.
The saintess was beautiful, compassionate, and powerful. Yuu, who used to be Cassius, stayed beside her for who knows how long. How could he not develop feelings for her?
She suddenly didn’t want to look anymore. It felt like a stab to her heart, but…it couldn’t be that she liked Yuu. So then why did she feel so awful? She had no chance. No chance…
Natsumi clapped her hands lightly on her cheeks, mentally, calming herself down. As much as she wanted to stay and admire the saintess and her friends, her first priority should be to find a way to escape. She couldn’t stay trapped in this space forever. Her hands broke free from Yuu’s grasp and she gestured towards the door to go. His warmth slipped away.
Surprisingly, getting out of the room wasn’t as complicated as she thought it would be.
Yuu pushed the door open and they walked through it. It made her look like a fool for overthinking it before. She found herself standing in the middle of the same white hallway. She didn’t know where they were going and just blindly followed Yuu, trusting that she was in good hands. However, Yuu started to talk.
“You know, that saintess you just saw…”
He paused then said, “She…she was loved. She was loved by the people. If there was anything that was to be named priceless, it would be her.”
A subtle smile crawled onto his face. The more he talked about the saintess mindlessly, the more Natsumi’s heart ached. His pensive expression accompanied with a scoop of happiness didn’t help at all. It made her more discomposed, her thoughts more unruly. But he seemed to be so happy talking about her, even if all he really did was insult her mostly. Their relationship must’ve been incredibly close…
But…why did the stories he told sound so…familiar?
Her body glowed, but she kept staring at her hands as if it was about to pierce a hole through them. Beside her, Yuu felt her mana stirring, stopped his stories and instantly faced her only to be thrown back out of nowhere.
A trail of blood seeped from the corner of his lips as he crashed into the wall, destroying the mirage of the temple into thousands of pieces.
She was once again, surrounded in darkness.
Two vague shadows leaped through the lush verdant forest at a blinding speed. They effortlessly jumped around, using the branches as a launchpad to propel their speed even more. One golden, and one white blurr. Akira–who had long stripped away his mortal clothes–fought to catch up with the figure in front of him. Their robes flew behind them, making it seem like they had wings. The crisp sound of his bell rang as he moved.
“Right, what is it that I should address you, elder?” Akira asked, his pace not dropping.
The other stayed in silent contemplation until finally replying, “Just call me Takuma-san, for now. You may continue to call me ‘elder’ if you wish.”
It wasn’t long until they landed lightly on top of the mahogany eaves of the roof of Natsumi’s house. Takuma-san closed his eyes for a good minute then opened them.
“You’re right,” he said as he stooped down, his feet an inch away from falling. “This vermin is indeed powerful.”
“Are we going to break in?” Akira asked. He stood patiently behind him, waiting for an answer.
However, Takuma-san shot him a ‘are-you-serious?!’ look. “What? Like those grave robbers, entering and robbing as they please? No!”
After hearing that sharp response, Akira scrutinized over his words then said with an ‘oh’. It was his house. Why would he need to break into it? Not only that, the way he phrased it made them look like thieves targeting a house which stained the god’s image. After all, what kind of god breaks into a mortal's house? His dignity would crumble and scatter like dust! He waved those thoughts away.
“My apologies. Then how should we approach?”
“...It seems that he’s occupied with something…” he widened the range of his detection and then closed his fingers into his palm. “Currently, there’s two presences in the house. I think it's safe to use a power-canceling spell. As long as we’re careful and keep our powers tucked away, he won’t be able to sense us–especially when his hands are full.”
The two concealed their remaining powers and cautiously jumped through an open window. They arrived in an empty room. One look at the desk revealed the owner’s identity. Anime figurines stood on top of the desk surface, captured in glass displays. The poses were eccentric. Some of them held swords and their bodies were twisted into a backflip, others floated in mid-air in the form of a spin, etc. Other than that, there were books tucked away neatly into the bookshelves. Upon a closer inspection, they would find some mangas camouflaging amongst the textbooks and novels.
Sora had truly made the room his own.
The two walked to the door and crept into the hallway. Their footsteps were light, and they put a lot of attention in staying quiet. Akira’s heart pounded, looking at Takuma-san’s serious face.
‘So this is what working with a god is like!’
He had always wanted to see a god up close. Even just talking with them was fine, or even a single glance! He knew that it was for business, but he never expected that he would be sneaking into his own house with a god! It was so exciting!!
Takuma-san also shared his excitement, but he didn’t show it. He was going to meet the cutest member in his family yet! Who knows how long he was holed up underneath his mountain, his old bones rotting away. His only connection to the outside world was a cup of water that could conjure up reflections. Upon seeing Natsumi one day, he immediately fell in love. He was so lucky to have such a cute descendant! He remembered that time when he saw Natsumi chewing on a dango, peering into a koi pond. His heart never stopped throbbing at the sight of her afterwards. Such plump cheeks! Such round eyes!
He had truly become a devoted fan.
Something seized him and he paused. He could feel a sinister magic at the end of the hallway. Akira’s ears stood up as tall as spikes. They had never felt this kind of sensation before but they knew that it was nothing good.
“Prepare yourself,” he commanded somberly. He didn’t even need to say anything, Akira had already lit up two bluebell flames from his hands.
The house was cold, and the flames made the temperature around them drop even more. Hellfire flames were like icicles–but alive. It resembled real fire and danced around like it too.
Takuma-san gave a nod of approval.
‘Not bad! To be able to control such a deadly fire at a young age…impressive.’ He couldn’t help but applaud the pup in his head. The number of individuals that could deploy the hellfire to their use were a scarce amount; a pinchful.
Redirecting his focus back to the task at hand, he decided to think about the matter later on. It was not the right situation nor setting to think about such a thing. Whatever monster that laid behind that door, he had to get rid of it at all cost. For Natsumi’s sake!
“We’ll enter quietly, got it?” He transferred the message telepathically. “Wait until I give you the signal to attack.”
Suddenly, they froze. A muddled voice could be heard. They unrooted themselves from their spot and slowly approached. The more they moved, the clearer they could hear the words the voice was saying: “Natsumi!? Hey! Damn it! I can’t enter her soul!”
Before Takuma-san could even say anything, Akira ran past him and smashed the door open.
“What. Are. You. Doing. To. Master’s soul?!” He shouted in outrage.
Takuma-san facepalmed himself, dragging his face down. ‘Why can’t he listen to such simple directions?!’
Since their cover was already blown, he barged into the room as well.
But it wasn’t a monster he found. It was a handsome black haired boy.
Confused, he blurted inadvertently, “Where’s that ‘despicable monster magician’ you told me about? All I see is a pretty boy??”
The flames on Akira’s hands grew even bigger. “That’s him, elder!”
His eyes almost popped out from their sockets. He recalled all the harsh words the boy had used to describe the magician before while they were discussing how to get rid of the vermin. Convinced that he must’ve been a no-good man with, not only a horrible personality, but also a horrible face as well, he steeled his resolve to kill him. After all, even if you were evil, as long as you had beauty you were of some worth in his book. But now that he had seen the perpetrator with his very eyes…“ugly” should be on the blacklist of all the words that could be used to characterize him. “Him?! You said he was ugly! Horrendous! Unsightly to the point where it’ll make you vomit!”
Akira tilted his head offhandedly, and he raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t he?”
WHAT THE FUCK?! The pup must be fucking blind! He was so astonished and baffled that he almost let a few curses slip! Since he was also the god of luxury, how could he call such a beautiful jewel ugly?!
Yuu observed the intruders with a flippant attitude then turned back to Natsumi. He didn’t have time to deal with their pointless bickering. He had just woken up after he was blasted out of her soul’s consciousness. For what reason? His mind was jumbled up to the point where he couldn’t help but let out an irritated groan. It couldn’t be that something else invaded her soul.
He was about to re-enter her consciousness again when a hand grasped onto his wrist.
“Let go of me.”
“What do you think you’re doing?” Takuma-san growled. In the midst of his argument–one-sided scolding–with Akira, his eyes were drawn to that golden orb hovering on top of the body that should be Natsumi’s.
Yuu’s eyes lit up with an egregious glow, fraught with warning. “Release. My. Hand.”
He had never heard anyone dare to speak to him so improperly before. And with such malice! But…for some reason, why did he seem so familiar? “Watch your tone. I’m your elder, show some respect.”
“And I’m trying to save a person.” Yuu countered. “I don’t have time for such useless perfunctory.”
Yuu forcefully broke his hand free, leaving Takuma-san surprised. He couldn’t even get a minute to breathe before another distraction blocked him from even reaching Natsumi. Blue flames obstructed his view. He tried to swat it away but found a scorch mark blemishing the side of his hand.
“What is it that you’re trying to do?” His body radiated with explosive energy. The other two were suddenly put on their guard.
Before they could even exchange attacks, the whole room was painted white by a blinding light. Forced to shut their eyes, the three gritted their teeth. When they recovered their sight, their bellicose spirit was temporarily curbed. Natsumi’s soul’s light flickered faintly, looking aggrieved.
Seeing this, all three of them lowered their hands and rushed to her side, psyched out. Since they were all on the same side anyway, there was no point for them to fight at such a critical moment!
“What’s going on?” Takuma-san demanded. Grudgingly, Akira put away his flames, comprehending that it was not the right time to fight.
Yuu’s gaze scattered around her body. “I, I entered her soul’s consciousness to try and bring her back–to try and get her back into her body. I, somehow, was kicked out.”
“How did she–ah! Nevermind!” He dismissed his questions. Saving her was more important! “Demon pup!”
“Y-yes, elder!” Akira kneeled on one knee, his eyes blazing as he waited for instructions.
“Can you try to inject your spiritual power into her soul and lead it back to her cor–I mean, body?” He almost let the word “corpse” slip out of his tongue.
“Wait.” Yuu rummaged through his pocket then tossed something at Akira who caught it. “Here.”
Akira’s red eyes widened. “Why…why do you have this?”
“No time to explain,” Yuu said flatly, eyeing the declining frequency of the orb’s brightness. It was slowly losing its light; in other words–it’s will to remain in the world.
Biting down on his teeth, and swearing that he would elicit the answer out of him afterwards, Akira looked down in his hands and casted a spell. He then, very carefully, placed the stone in Natsumi’s lifeless hands, and closed them. Then he stretched out his fingers and white rivulets of spiritual power were produced from the tips and entered the soul. The soul flickered at once when it detected the outside force entering it.
“Good!” Takuma-san applauded. “Very good!”