Aftermath Chapter 2
By Kawaii Kitty
There was no release from the pain he felt, the deep soul clenching pain that wracked his body and mind every moment of his pitiful life. Blood was the only liberation; the pure red liquid dulled the pain. If only for a second, the release was sweet and he thirst for more. He hungered for battle, the only path to blood and his eternal discharge. He lived for the moment his sword plunged into the chest of the enemy, spilling their lifeblood at his feet. His soul would be free for a moment longer. But it is nothing more than an illusion the blood at his feet, on his hands, on his sword it was all so useless. His soul was dead so why did he free it? A man with no soul becomes a machine, a deadly killing machine. No past and no future apart from the endless rivers of blood he washes his already tainted hands in.
Dias dropped his sword to the ground satisfied at the soft splash that followed. Another man dead, another soul at peace, one less like him. He stared into the glazed unseeing eyes of the man at his feet, once so full of soul and life, now another victim to his hunger. That man had cried, most of them did and he had cried and struggled and become very boring. He had asked for death or release, but neither seemed to appeal to Dias, he wanted pain. Wanted to watch as the blood seeped out of that man leaving him dry and dead. Maybe then that man would know pain, but he also had release. That was what Dias craved, a release from the pain, from the endless field of bodies, from the dark rivers of blood. That was why he fought. Not for glory or fame, but for blood and release. It was simple.
Dias blinked and in that one simple action the world came back into focus. He was dragged kicking and screaming out of his gothic world of blood and hate and pain and back to the world where the light blinded him and the screaming of the crowd deafened him. So many faces made up that crowd, so many pointless lives gone to waste. He didnt want to be here, among the smiles and the cheers. Why did they cheer, did they want the blood as much as he did? Did they relish in the pain and the hate and the darkness that enshrouded him every day and night? There was no one like him, no one that had gone knocking on hells gate pleading with the devil himself to admit him. He was alone, a machine, a ghost, a phantom. He was put here to grieve and kill.
Winner for the fifth year in a row, Dias Flac!!!
Dias sighed and picked up his blood drenched sword. He absently cleaned it on the hem of his cloak, moving his gaze from the wildly screaming crowd to the man at his feet. One less like him. He shook his head slowly and rhythmically and removed from his pocket a small crimson flower. The noisy crowd was muted as he once again slipped into his gothic world. Peonies, they had been Ceciles favourite. Representing beauty, she had been beautiful. But the beauty was gone now, leaving nothing but blood.
He had heard a story when he was younger, the legend behind the beautiful blood red flowers. When they fell from the bush, so perfectly without stem nor leaf, just the lovely beheaded flower. It was an omen of death. Cecile had died. She had made a wreath of peonies and sat it upon her crown, and she had died. He never often listened to such nonsense it was mostly balderdash. But she had died and that wreath of peonies had floated on the edge of his memory. He carried them with him now, if the peonies could take something as lovely as his sister, surely they could take something as tainted as he. But as every year passed and the peony bushes bloomed and died, he lived and killed. And they took his family, his victims and his darling lovely sister. But they couldnt take him.
He moved closer to the unknown mans body dropping the peony and watching it float and land just above his shoulder blades. One day though, he would find a man who would kill him and drop peonies on his neck. And he would laugh and smile and the black gothic world would disappear forever. And though he would not see his darling sister as she resided in heaven with the angels, he would be rid of the blood and the blackness and he would see the world in all its colour and beauty as she had once. But for now the blood and the pain and the dark gothic world were all that kept him from impaling himself on is own sword.
She would not have wanted that, she wanted him to live and to thrive and to smile. But she was gone and he had accomplished only one of her wishes. He didnt deserve to die and finally be released from this pain. He fought for her, he lived for her and he would die for her. But it would all mean nothing in the end because she, who is capable of no hate, would turn her pretty face away from him and tell him she didnt want to look at him. He was too tainted to touch her and too old to see her, he had lived a million lifetimes in just one. He kept going though, there was nothing else to do, death evaded him and life had left him. He just was.
Mr. Dias Sir, if you would please Dias turned to the young boy that was tugging softly on his cloak, Its time for the interview with the Lacour Times reporter.
Dias nodded half-heartedly and allowed the boy to lead him out of the ring. He wondered idly why he bothered to compete in this tournament. As far as his knowledge went he was the strongest fighter in the land, it was a nuisance. Every year it was the same he would destroy his opponents, there was a small bit of relief as he watched their life drain from them. After that it was all interviews and horribly out of proportion news reports. He didnt need the money the king or his sponsor gave him, nor was any of it much of a challenge. Yet every year he hoped that this would be the time he would finally meet his match, would finally find the one man strong enough to shed his blood.
Oh no not you again Dias lifted his gaze from his feet and stared into a pair of bright red eyes. It was the reporter from the previous year. He couldnt remember her name or much of what she wrote. What he did remember, however, was none too flattering. The woman sighed and placed the pen she was holding on her scarlet lips, her matching eyes rolling around in their sockets, Right then I suppose we should get this over and done with. Name?
Dias blinked and cocked his hear to the side slightly. This woman-- her ears. He hadnt noticed the year before, they were just like Renas. Rena, the beloved sister of her dear Cecile. He had believed for the shortest time that he had had two lovely younger sisters. But once Cecile had died everything had crumbled and Rena became another ghost in his nightmares. He had seen her not too long ago, she had grown as Cecile never will. She was beautiful, but he was too tainted to see. That boy that had been with her, he had been strong, with time he could have been the perfect rival. Maybe the swordsman he had been searching for. But he hadnt heard or seen them since that day on the front lines. He had forgotten like he should have, and now this woman was bringing up ghosts of the past that he did not want to face.
Well whats your name? Look I dont want this anymore than you do so if you just answer me and get it over with we can both be happy.
Dias, He mumbled in reply glad that she had started talking and distracted him from the memories, Dias Flac.
How do you feel about winning Mr. Flac? Happy, elated, annoyed?
I dont feel anything. He replied simply receiving an exasperated sigh from the reporter woman
Look dont get smart with me, just answer the question. What will you do now?
Dias was thoroughly confused but he answered the next question anyway, I dont know.
How am I supposed to work with this man? Listen pal I know youre the world champion and everything but that is no reason to start getting all cocky. If you just co-operate than this will be a lot less painful for both you and me.
Dias sighed and averted his gaze from the woman. He didnt understand her one bit, he answered her questions truthfully and she still had something to complain about.
What will you do with your prize money? She asked quickly as if trying to avoid the question.
Give it to charity. He replied sarcastically. But she didnt seem to notice the sarcasm in his voice. Her eyes lit up and her rich red lips turned into a grateful smile.
Finally something I can work with. World Champion has Soft Heart, I can see it now. Thank you Mr. Flac that will be all. And with those ominous words she left him alone and once again utterly confused.
Noel loved the quiet life. He loved the trees and the grass and the animals. He loved waking with the sun and watching each individual drop of dew on each individual blade of grass twinkle with joy like a heavenly sea of green stars. He loved hearing the birds sing their sweet melodies with the rustling leaves as their music and the cicadas as their chorus. He loved beauty in any form, from the flowers that danced and sang in the breeze to the stars that twinkled in the far off sky. He could live contently to the end of his days surrounded by the splendour of nature. However, he also wished for something more. Since he had met them, the aliens, he had hungered for something more than his life of blissful solitude. They had shown him things, had given him another reason to break down the walls of isolation and once again open himself up to the world.
He wasnt sure, though, if it was the best thing for him. He liked life back on Nede, it was peaceful and serene and uninterrupted. He didnt want change he disliked and avoided it like a disease. Yet things constantly changed around him as if trying to make him see the errors of his way. Things happened to him, things he would never have ever planned or wanted to do. Yet he found himself thinking almost longingly of the things he could be doing. Thinking of the gang, of Nede, of Lover.
The past never usually troubled him as much as it had been recently. He believed in thinking of the future and leaving the past where it belonged, in the past. But images, faces, places kept popping up at the most unexpected and unwanted times leaving him feeling nostalgic. Now, for instance, the past had unearthed itself and was playing its familiar scenes in his head. It wasnt that it was all unwanted, some parts he relished yet others he tried with all his will power to avoid. Noel liked the quiet undisturbed untroubled life, and what these scenes showed was certainly troubling him. Showing him things he would never again have, places he would never again see and people he would never again meet.
Lover was one particular memory that was often unwanted yet most frequently unearthed. She was beauty in human form. She had been everything Noel had ever wanted in another person, had loved him and respected him and had a passion for beauty and beasts. They were soul mates, inseparable, manqué. They were star crossed lovers destined for heartache and pain. She had come into his life like a tornado and turned everything upside down. Had changed things beyond repair and led him down a path he would have rather stayed clear off.
Lover and Chandler master of beasts. She told him they could be great, told him they could have fame and riches. Didnt she realise he wanted only peace and her. He had followed her regardlessly. He obeyed them, the Ten, for her. He had sent out his beasts for her. Yet when the time came for him to destroy her he refused.
The Ten had told him only one way to achieve greatness was to murder the one he loved more than anything else. Didnt they know he wasnt following them? He was following her, his Lover. He realised then what a mistake he had made, what a fool he had been. And that the love he felt for her had been unrequited. She didnt love him as she admitted every night, she wanted nothing more than his beasts, his beasts. He had tried so hard to convince himself otherwise but once he had taken his rose coloured glasses off the world had a new shade of black. He had left her then, returned to his peace and his trees and his beasts. But the past never left him, would pry itself out of its chamber in the back of his head and display itself so unceremoniously for him. He would never have forgotten her, not for another million lifetimes. But he could let go.
He did let go, in fact, he never forgot but he forgave her. In his eyes she was great, she was a queen, a goddess. In her eyes though, she was nothing. She sought greatness and fame and glory and riches. They had offered her that, and she had become another porn in their game. He could forgive her for that, he could let her go, knowing that was what she sought. That was until, of course, the aliens came. They, like her, had come in and destroyed the quiet life he had so long tried to maintain. They pulled him from his house on a quest to save the universe. And he had seen her again, only a shadow of her real beauty and only a fragment of her real self. He knew then what he had to do and he didnt falter or flinch as they destroyed her, his Lover.
He didnt grieve for her, he didnt shed a tear. But the memory haunts him to this day. Even here, on this alien planet full of strange and exotic plants and beasts he cant forget. She follows him everywhere and the memories are more painful now than they had ever been. He didnt like to blame people for things yet he found himself continuously cursing Claude for bringing him here. He would rather have perished happily in his home on Nede with his beasts and plants and happy memories of his love. But change was a constant thing for him and it was high time to start getting used to it. Even in this secluded part of the forest people were bound to find him. Maybe if he went looking for adventure he would get the quiet life he longed for.
Noels thoughts were most unpleasantly interrupted by a knock on his cabin door. He sighed and craned his neck to look at the ceiling.
Maybe, he thought ruefully, maybe if I just ignore them theyll go away. Much to Noels displeasure, however, the person at the door did not go away as he had planned.
Noel, darling, if you do not open this door in the next few second I will be obliged to blow it up.
A smile slowly crept to Noels lips, who else could possibly threaten to blow down someones door so politely? He stood up and walked mechanically across the room. Just as he had guessed from her voice, when he swung the door open in its wake stood a smirking Celine in the most bizarre outfit he had seen on her yet. Maybe company wasnt all that bad.
Celine loved her town, it was possibly the most beautiful place she had been in her life, and she had been to a number of places. She loved being there and loved being with the people there. Yet lately she had been avoiding the town and its people for one very good reason. Darien, he was the reason she crept, cloaked and invisible, through the deserted streets in the dead of the night. He was the reason she hadnt seen her parents for over two years, or was it more? He was a plague on her town, an impostor, he didnt belong there and she certainly did not belong to him. She had pondered weather or not she should confront her parents and him, yet every time she attempted to take action she would lose her nerve.
Celine loved her parents, she would do anything to make them happy and proud of her, but marrying a man she had known for only minuets was just too much to ask. Celine was an independent woman, and though she could rightly understand her parents wanting her to settle down and get married and have children, she just couldnt bring her self to do it. She had not found love, she had not found peace and she craved adventure and treasure and things. She couldnt settle down when her spirit was so restless. She hadnt yet found what she was looking for and until she did she would not be able to settle down. Unfortunately though, they didnt seem to understand that.
Celine if you do not settle down and find a husband soon it will be too late, her mother had told her, Men want young skin Celine dear, they do not want an old woman.
Celine stopped outside the front door of her house. It was dark, much darker than it should be at the breaking of dawn as thick dark clouds prevented the sun from shining its heavenly light down upon them. She loved her parents, but at that moment as she stared at the closed front door, she wondered if they truly did love her. Wasnt understanding part of love? Wasnt acceptance part of love? If they loved her as she loved them surely they could at least try to understand her situation. She stared harder and harder at the door, at the symbol carved on the door. Did they even notice she was gone? She screwed up her pretty young face and did something that they would have immensely disliked.
She had seen Bowman do this before, it was absolutely disgusting but it seemed to fit at the moment. She hacked up ever last bit of mucus from inside her mouth and spat it at the happiness symbol carved in the wooden door. She quickly turned away blushing crimson in what little light had penetrated the clouds. She couldnt believe she had done that, she couldnt even bring herself to look at it. She closed her eyes and, suppressing a smile, ran towards the heraldic woods. She had to tell Noel. She was too far away from Linga to tell Bowman, so Noel would have to do.
She ran flat out all the way through the forest towards the small cabin the Noel inhabited. She couldnt quite fathom why Noel would want to live in such an out of the way place, but every man to his own she guessed. She stopped just outside the door panting and gasping for breath. It was, after all, quite a long run from the village to here. Once she had composed her self, fixed her hair and brushed down her clothing she raised her hand and knocked in the thick wooden door. She wasnt too worried about Noel not being awake, she had stayed here once and he had got her out of bed and walked her up a huge hill to watch the sunrise over the trees. If he wasnt so queer it would have been quite romantic.
She impatiently knocked again, she knew he was here. He didnt really have anywhere else to go and he rarely, if ever, went into the town and it was too cloudy to see a proper sunrise so he would be watching it. She knocked once again this time harder. She could hear her knocks echo in the seemingly empty house. Maybe Noel was sick, or maybe he was dead. Celine had a very active imagination, especially as a child, and it had once again got the better of her. She started to panic.
Noel darling, She called pleasantly hoping beyond anything that he would answer the door, If you do not open this door in the next few second I will be obliged to blow it up.
That had got the reaction she had hoped for. She could hear his feet on the wooden floor and seconds later the door handle rattled and the door swung open revealing a tired, but alive, Noel.
Celine, how nice to see you, He said smiling coyly
How nice to see me? Noel darling I was so worried, why didnt you answer the door? I thought you were dead! Celine said barging past him and into the cabin. Noel just smiled in reply, Noel darling you dont look well, what wrong?
Oh no Im fine thank you Celine, just tired, Ive had a lot of work to do.
Celine could tell he was lying, Noel was never very good at lying, and he didnt have any work to do. She just nodded and pretended to look sympathetic, she had too much to say to get into an argument about his poor lying skills. In fact she was almost bursting at the seams to tell him what she had just done, but she waited.
Would you like some tea? He asked simply making his way to his makeshift kitchen before she had a chance to reply
So what have you been doing lately Noel? she asked in the hope that he would ask the same question back
Nothing much really, He replied setting the kettle over an open fire stove and pulling out two chipped mugs, You?
A satisfied smile spread over Celines lips, Ooh you would not believe what I just did, She said excitedly, I was walking past my parents house and I got so mad that I spat on their door!
Noel dropped the mugs.
What!? He spluttered ducking down behind the kitchen counter to pick up the broken mugs, You spat on their door?
Well they deserved it. Celine replied smugly folding her arms across her chest.
Surely you can believe that Celine, theyre your parents. Noel tried helplessly setting the broken remains of the mugs on the counter and staring intently at Celine
Oh Noel it wasnt as if I burned down their house or anything, stop being such a worrywart.
But still Celine, Noel said, It was very childish of you, I never expected you would do something like that.
I guess Ive been spending too much time with Bowman, Celine shrugged laughing slightly at the lost expression on Noels face
You confuse me Celine. He said shaking his head slightly and peering at her as if he had never seen her before
She confused herself sometimes. It wasnt like her to go spitting on peoples doors but it had seemed like a good idea at the time. She watched Noel as he rummaged in the cupboard for some more mugs. He would have made a nice husband, he was a bit strange and she was absolutely sure her parents would not approve of him, but unlike most men she had met he was kind. Most men she knew would never have talked to her if it werent for her body. They were simple and uncomplicated, they wanted only one thing. Yet Noel still seemed to baffle her. She knew for a fact that it wasnt merely because he was Nedian, she had come across her fair share of obnoxious Nedian men while she had been there.
She was distracted from her thoughts when Noel made his way over to the table. He placed a chipped mug in front of her and filled it with tea then did the same for himself. But by this time neither of them seemed to want to drink it. She just stared at Noel and he stared gloomily into his tea. He would have made the perfect husband, but he was too much of a friend to be a husband. Also they had almost nothing in common. He liked the boring quite life, tucked away in this secluded part of the world with his animals and trees. Whereas she loved action, she loved treasure and adventure and exploring. She wouldnt be able to survive out here in the middle of no where with just him and animals as company. Though he would have made a better husband than Darien, he wasnt what she was looking for.
Celine Noel started sighing heavily and dipping his finger into his tea
What's wrong Noel? Celine asked, noticing for the first time his depressed demeanour
Celine I miss things He admitted, and though Celine wasnt quite sure exactly what he meant by things she was sympathetic
What kind of things?
Things, Celine, He repeated looking up into her eyes, I miss adventure and.. things, I just miss things
Youre getting bored? She helped
No.. I dont know, Celine I miss her. He replied vaguely lowering his gaze back to the tea
Okay, Celine said slowly, she didnt know who she was or still what things he was referring to, Well it might help if you told me who She was darling.
You want a lover?
No, I miss Lover,
Noel darling stop being so vague.
Lover, you fought her, in The Field of Love, I miss her Celine.
Lover, the Field of Love? She could see a theme here. Was he trying to crack on to her? No, Noel didnt crack onto people.
Lover She mused. Lover! Yes she remembered now, Lover was that woman with the whip. She remembered her now, but what did sweet kind Noel have to do with a woman like that? And why did he miss her?
She and I we were
Lovers Celine finished for him everything finally making sense, Well Noel there is only one thing you can do to forget, Celine said happily
What's that? Noel asked, once again raising his eyes from the tea to meet hers
Well you can come with me, nothing is better than a good adventure to forget your troubles.
But Celine Noel said straightening in his chair and staring at her in disbelief
No butts Noel, we leave tomorrow. She replied happily picking up her mug of lukewarm tea and taking a large swig.
Claude please come back with me, I know you think this is the best place for you but trust me its not!
Cherry what right do you have to decide what is best for me or not?
Well isnt it obvious! Because you cant seem to do it yourself!
I am perfectly capable of deciding what I want out of life and what I want to do and neither you nor my father can change my mind!
But youre so young! Youre far too young to be married and settling down on some unadvanced planet. Dont you want to see the universe with me? Claude please tell me youre joking, please!
Im not joking Cherry, this is what I want.
But but think of everything youre missing out on, think of TV and McDonalds, for gods sake Claude think of me!
Think of you! Cherry I have been thinking of other people my whole life, give me a chance to think about myself for once.
Rena removed her ear from the door that led to the spare room. She knew she shouldnt be eavesdropping but they were talking so very loud and this Cherry girl was trying to take her husband away from her. She reasoned that that was a perfectly good reason to eavesdrop. Cherry had only been here for two weeks and already she had overstayed her welcome by far. Every night for the last two weeks she and Claude would have this same argument and every night Claude would end up in a very bad mood.
But that wasnt the only reason Cherry was disliked by Rena, in fact Cherry had to be the most dislikeable person Rena had ever known. She constantly complained about everything, she didnt even try to pretend to be polite as Rena had been doing, and she was extremely obnoxious. To top it all off she was also trying to steal her husband away from her. Rena had quite a few reasons to dislike the girl but Claude insisted she stay. He said it was the least he could do considering she did come all the way out here to save his life. Yet, despite all of Claudes pleads she couldnt seem to see any part of the girl that she could possibly like.
She heard a loud bang come from the room followed by Cherrys hysterical giggles. She didnt want to know what had just happened because she was sure it would take a lot of explaining (and lying) that she did not want to hear. She didnt know how much longer she could cope with this girl in their house nosing through her stuff and generally just being annoying and rude. That was when an idea struck her, an idea she wasnt one hundred percent sure was going to work but definitely had to be attempted. That girl, what did she say her name was? Precis, she knew about macheens therefore she may be able to fix Cherrys ship and they could finally be rid of the girl.
Rena smiled to herself, a grim satisfied smile. She would soon be rid of the girl and things could finally go back to normal. They would set out the next day, they had to go to Linga anyway, Leon was to sit the scholarship and entrance exam for the Linga Academy for Gifted Children. It was the perfect alibi, a few quick words with that Precis girl and the ship was as good as fixed. Finally then they may be able to get some long awaited peace.
Big sister Rena, I cant sleep. What's Big brother Claude and that lady doing? Leon had managed to pad up the stairs and across the all without Rena noticing.
Ill go in there and tell them to be quiet okay Leon, you just go back downstairs and try get some sleep. Well be leaving for Linga tomorrow and I want to get an early start so make sure you get lots of sleep okay.
But I thought we werent leaving for another week, we dont have to be there this early do we? Leon questioned his eyes opening wider than usual.
Theres been a change of plans, Big sister Rena has some things to do in Linga that cant wait.
But Leon seemed very reluctant to leave so soon, Rena couldnt understand why, he was always complaining how behind everyone in this town was. Then again Linga wasnt much different.
No butts, now go and get some rest. Rena ushered him over to the stairs and he grudgingly descended them shooting Rena a questionable look.
As soon as Leon had vanished below her she turned to face the door of the room. There was nothing stopping her, she would just go in there and tell Claude that they were leaving tomorrow. It would be a week at most and they would finally be rid of the annoying girl. Unfortunately it didnt quite go the way Rena had planned. In fact it went right until she opened the door that was when things started to go downhill. She didnt bother knocking because she didnt really suspect Claude would be up to anything with this girl. She trusted him and he told her again and again that Cherry was just a childhood friend and nothing more. Alas, if only that had been the truth.
When she opened the door the first thing she saw was Claude on the floor, with his trousers off and Cherry leaning over him. She couldnt exactly see what Cherry was doing because Claude was blocking her view but whatever it was it certainly was unnatural. Claude never took his trousers off for anybody but her. Not even childhood friends.
Claude! She shrieked causing both of them to turn around and Claudes face to blush a bright crimson.
Hullo Rena. Cherry chirped happily standing up and offering Claude a hand.
How dare you, HOW DARE YOU! Rena screamed marching over to Claude and yanking him up off the ground, Of all the things Claude I never expected
Rena its not what it looks like. Claude tried to reason grabbing his pants off the bed and hastily trying to pull them over his boxer shorts
It looks like youre having sex with this this scarlet woman over here! Rena shrieked pointing to Cherry
Hey that's Cherry to you. Cherry replied tartly folding her arms under her small breasts and puffing her chest out
How dare you! Rena howled lunging for the smaller girl who expertly jumped to safety on one of the beds
Rena.. Claude said pulling Rena away from Cherry and out of the room, Rena listen to me, its not what it looks like, we werent having sex. How many times do I have to tell you Cherry is just a friend, I would never ever dream of leaving you for her.
I wish I could believe you Claude I really do, but what would you do if you were in my situation? Rena replied almost in tears
Look Claude said after some time, She was just she was she was kissing my knee better.
What? Rena said shaking her head. That had to be the lamest excuse she had heard yet
Look, Claude rolled up the left leg of his trousers and sure enough there was a large purple bruise forming just below his kneecap, I fell over and whacked it on the bed.
Rena didnt really know what to think. His story made sense enough and she knew she could trust Claude, it was Cherry she didnt trust.
Claude I want to get rid of her, I cant stand her being here anymore, Rena said grabbing Claudes hands and squeezing them, She's rude and annoying and she's ever so obnoxious. Claude I just dont know how much more I can take.
But what are we supposed to do? Claude tried to reason with her, We cant fix her ship you just dont have the technology here. Theres no other way.
Oh yes there is, Rena said her eyes lighting up, In Linga, there is a girl that knows about macheens and I just know if you went and talked to her you could get her to come here and fix her ship so we could finally get some peace.
Oh well well be going to Linga soon anyway Leon has to sit his exam, Ill go talk to her then, what did you say her name was?
No Claude, were leaving tomorrow, I cant stand it anymore. Rena pleaded squeezing Claudes' hands herder than before.
Oh alright, well leave first thing tomorrow.
Star Ocean 2 Fanfic