The clock strikes midnight, the tale is over.
(Thanks for reading. Two more special chapters left, but the main plot is over.)
“Ya should ge'out while ya can, this place is gunna crumble,” said the man after opening the lock to his cell. He's clearly hurt, but chose to do this instead of taking care of himself.
“Thanks, but I can't afford that. Not alone, I mean,” Solon leaned the man over his shoulder, to help him walk.
“Tha' reminds me, ya were right, Isaac'za nice guy, even if awkward,” Bat laughs. That wolf's blast doesn't kill or destroy, it uses one of white's specialty: bouncing. In other words, he was blown away, not injured in any way. When he figured he was gonna fall from a kilometer-high height straight into frozen water, the otherworld vanished to protect him.
“I wouldn't ever lie to you.”
“Yeah,” Bat started thinking. During that battle, he realized the ones he truly treasured were Isaac and Solon. He wanted to make up for his mistake, even if it was too late. “Ah, which reminds me. My name is Lucian.”
“...No way,” Solon stopped walking, his eyes wide open.
“I... figur'd ya were the frien's I wanted all along, so the least I can do is-”
“No, no, not that. You said an entire sentence that sounded okay to my ears. Also, that name doesn't fit you, it's too cool.”
“...Ye,” Lucian sighed, figuring he was the fool for thinking Solon would read the mood even once.
After that, the two got out of the facility and Solon helped Lucian get to his car. A small pickup truck, but a cargo area was exactly what he needed. He could see the buildings quaking as the gods fought on the sky, so he had to help everyone out, to ensure their safety. First he carried the albino twins, which were the lightest. Then Ares, who wasn't that heavy, but she had a serious wound, he needed to carry her carefully. He doesn't know Alice, but considering she was holding onto the unconscious Ares, he figured she was a friend.
The next person he carried was Clay, who he also didn't know, and only judged by her being close to Lui. He needed a moment with Lui. He kept asking himself 'why is he blue?' but seeing as there was nobody to answer, he just went and picked him up. The Lui that destroyed the concrete floor, the Lui that Ares and Alice together couldn't lift from the ground. That same Lui got a piggyback ride from Solon and was placed on Lucian's car.
“That's all of them, you can go now.”
“Ya sure ya gunna stay? Look at that!” Lucian pointed to Amaterasu aiming the bus-sized ball of light at Magna.
“Yeah, just take them somewhere safe. And don't drive recklessly, the girl on the passenger seat is very injured! Also don't lay your hands on anyone, you sick pervert,” Solon acknowledged that as pretty bad, but wasn't scared. It's the least he'd expect from the absolute goddess.
“...As if,” the man waved and drove away. The truck was weighed down by Lui and couldn't go very fast, but it steadily distanced itself from the battle anyway.
Solon waited for it to reach a safe distance, if anything were to get close to harming it, he wanted to ensure he'd be prepared to protect it. On that brief period of time, he could see the goddess vanish and Magna scream. 'Wow, to think he'd be that upset to have his life saved,' he raised an eyebrow. 'There should be a limit to masochism.'
“Is it fine to assume you've remembered everything about yourself?” Zearth asked. He watched as Solon didn't even hesitate to pick up the two-hundred-kilos-heavy Lui, that made it clear to him, but he still needed to ask.
“Did I ever even forget?”
Reality unraveled around Solon, allowing Shino to enter the world. Because of Magna and Amaterasu's fight, Yomi became even weaker, Shino could just open the door and close it behind her without any trouble. He jumped on top of her and the two flew upwards, closely watching Magna's movements. After he shot to the sky, he figured he needed to pursue as fast as possible. The moment they got to a height which equaled the building's rooftop level, Sirin came running straight for them. He wasn't sure if she'd make it with her jump, so he positioned Shino beneath her.
It might have sounded like he was cool-headed while at it, but what actually happened was something along the lines of 'What is she-? Goddammit, Shino fly over there quick, she's gonna kill herself like this!' and then they had a small conversation and she asked him to fly after Magna.
Above the clouds, there should be more sky, three layers of atmosphere, then space. But what they find upon crossing them is a path made of light. Space certainly is there if they keep going, but the path of light is what they are looking for. The light is layered over the clouds, almost as if they were actually solid enough for something to lean on, but considering it's light that stands above it, perhaps this sight is physically possible, despite being very absurd.
They followed the path, flying at Shino's top flight speed. 'This isn't as fast as Charl but... perhaps because that wasn't the real world?' Sirin asks. As they follow the path, reality seems to distort around them. The clouds become golden-colored, there are particles of light floating around the air in solid form.
“This space... is probably something beyond spirit and human and everything. It's like... This is just a wild guess, but my instincts tell me this is where core come from,” Solon feels a strange familiarity when looking at those lights, something tells him he has seen those before.
“He said the throne of god would be here, it might as well be related to something beyond spirit and human,” Sirin nods. Since Shino has been flying too fast, she's holding onto Solon while they fly, so she doesn't get blown away.
“Hahaha, to think that you'd actually come!” That thunderous voice echoes, a tone more convinced and bothersome than usual. 'His true feelings, huh,' Sirin is a little disappointed on him, for being like this, and on herself, for not seeing through him. “And borrowing Zearth's useless power of all things!”
Space shatters in front of them, Shino stops her flight the moment she senses something coming. The first thing to appear is a red-colored dragon man. He has six arms, each holding a flaming golden weapon. Two swords, two axes, two hammers. And then the rest comes out, but it's almost that rope trick of some magicians, no matter how much comes out, it's never the end. The lower half of the man is a serpent which extends endlessly.
This is the ultimate form of the fake. Magna filtered every thought and idea which made it not sound threatening, leaving only the fears of those who believed it was a world-eating monster. Resulting on a phantasm ultimate, the supreme representation of Asura. The golden aura arounds it makes it clear for the three that it is an ultimate, and its appearance also does a great job selling how powerful it is. 'Magna wouldn't call for something weak, would he?' Sirin sighs.
“Sirin, jump onto the road of light, I'll take it on,” Solon lowers Shino's altitude so Sirin can get off.
“Uh? You mean, for real? That guy is strong!”
“...And you plan on helping me fight it how? You'd only make it harder for me. Plus, dealing with small fry is not your mission, you're going for the boss,” Solon winks. 'Ah,' Sirin says, jumping onto the path of light.
Before she can even take a step forward, Shino dives against Asura, using all her strength to drag him through the clouds. Once they've gone through the first layer of light, it's like they return to the human world, Asura falls down, taken in by gravity's pull. It lands on a lake, and despite how hard it fell, it wasn't injured. The water didn't get blown away as well, Asura absorbed all of it into his ultimate aura.
“So he can devour matter? That's pretty dangerous a monster to leave on the planet, isn't it?” Solon flies down. He has no plan, he has no tactic to fight, but he knows he must engage it.
Sirin follows the path long path ahead of her. She can see a bright light shining on the distant, a light unlike the others around her, but no matter how much she walks, it never seems to get any closer. She can't make her body run, so she merely continues walking, aware that Magna is gazing at her from somewhere.
“Let's at least do some small talk here, isn't that fine?” She asks, feeling it's too awkward to be watched in silence. There's no reply, but she expected him to not talk unless given a subject. “So, what's your plan once you become the true god of everything?”
“I'll turn the world into something fitting to my interests, obviously. I'll finally be free from answering to others...” 'Ah, was Magna a teenager all along? Damn, I didn't notice that either,' she thinks.
“And by that you mean a world where only the strong survive, right? To create the ultimate fighters, give them a chance, no, the obligation to fight you, just so you get those cheap thrills you need.”
“Ah, to think the day you'd mock me would ever come,” the dragon's laughter echoes around her. Just like when feeling his gaze, it seems to be everywhere.
“Well, it's a famou concept, you just missed the timing, we're really far away from the end of the century,” she shrugs.
“Resorting to humor to look brave? Your sense of humor might not be good enough to attempt that, I fear.”
“Okay, let me try something more up your alley. Uh, 'do you what happened to the last person that I saw on the street?' 'No, what?' 'I punched them for existing.'”
She waits. While their exchanging of pleasantries was going pretty well, his sudden silence is too weird. 'Ah, did I get someone offended?' she shows the spirits which appear around her tongue. It's all she can do, after all. They're all dragons in armor, holding swords, guns and spears. The bright side is that there's only three of them, the bad side is that they've surrounded her.
She can't even try a run for it, her body is ruined. She can't surrender now, she can't fight back. So she waits. It has spoken again, her sixth sense has manifested. 'Stand still and wait,' it says. And that's what she'll, since it asked so politely. One of the dragons points its gun to her, aiming for the shoulder. As per Magna's order, it won't shoot the heart or head, giving her a fast death would be a crime.
But as it prepared to deliver a slow death, it got served a fast one. Slashed into two in an instant. The other two try to react, but they are minced and killed in instants, not a second after the first one goes down. The girl doesn't react to the bloodshed around her, she only waits for that being to end it and, when it approaches, she bows her head and thanks it.
“Don't think I'm doing it out of goodness of my heart,” Galvados says, picking up the girl and mounting her on itself. “There's someone down there who wouldn't let me hear the end of it if you got hurt.”
“...I'll thank both you and Ares, then,” the girl holds its back as it gallops away, slashing every other spirit that gets on the way. Some of them aren't even true small fry, but when in front of the god of death, it's hard to stand a chance.
By using both Shino's winds and some magic, Solon can bind it momentarily. But once it activates that aura, even the wind is devoured and becomes its energy. The land it stands on has dried, the vegetation has rotten, animals have died and decomposed instantly. That being is the definition of blight, a cancer to the world.
“Solon... I feel personally offended by that being,” Zearth speaks up.
“Alright, I guess. Not that I can't understand, but-”
Zearth appears on the human world as well, manifesting out of thin air. He leaps across the air, using bursts of wind to carry himself. He jumps straight against Asura, grappling his upper half with his arms. The golden aura spreads, preparing to convert Zearth into its energy.
“What are you doing?!” Solon can't grasp why it would do that, considering he had witnessed how that being interacts with nature.
“If it will continue eating, I'll continue feeding it! Until one of us dies, I won't let go!” Zearth roars, his voice not coming out properly due to the pain it feels from being absorbed.
Zearth creates life. Asura absorbs life. What happens when the unstoppable spear pierces the impregnable shield? He's betting his life on it. Betting that there is a limit to how much energy it can absorb until not being able to handle it. The original wouldn't sink, but, even if turned ultimate, a phantasm certainly has a limit. Solon nods and turns his back to Zearth, flying Shino back into the clouds.
“But Solon...! Won't you stay there to ensure that-” Shino is shocked at how cold-hearted Solon is acting.
“He didn't do that to look cool in front of me. I believe he will do it, thus I'm returning to Sirin.” He sounds distant, what he said is both an explanation to her and an attempt to convince himself. 'I'll prioritize the mission, not my personal feelings...'
Magna sent out another ultimate, some armored dragon without a name or distinguishing features. Galvados didn't want to lose a lot of time engaging it, so it uses a spell. Within its hand, a balance appears. It shoves its bear hand down its throat, a pretty gruesome scene, and pulls out a small and pale ball of energy. It puts it on one of the scales, which weighs it down. The ultimate is compressed by its aura, until its size is the same of that ball which Galvados put on the balance.
The orb made out of an ultimate flies towards the other scale, and the balance is evened out, the two orbs on the scales vanish simultaneously. By sacrificing a soul which belongs to him, an ultimate or a spirit will be killed to balance it out. It makes Galvados sad, as his collection decreases in size, but it's a small tribute when he considers Ares might stop liking it if Sirin loses this.
The two finally reach that light which seemed to be so distant, and it turns out to be a room with a sun shining within it. It doesn't have the heat of a sun, nor the light which blinds the eyes of anyone who stares at it for too long, but it is certainly a star of pure energy, a powerful presence can be felt just by being close to it. In front of that sun stands Magna, the one is to blame for this situation getting to this point.
Sirin gets off Galvados and walks towards Magna. Not afraid, not nervous, not feeling anything particular emotion. But she does admit being very tired, she wants to rest as fast as possible, her body can't handle this for much longer. Magna watches her as she comes close, his arms crossed, but his eyes trying to carve holes on her with hatred alone.
“Not only Zearth, but Galvados as well? I admit it has strength, but you made it sound like you'd do something, instead of just standing around as others do the fighting for you,” Magna mocks her.
“It was just my ride, I'm tired, thanks to a certain dragon with complexes. Also, you sure sent the large welcoming party for me, huh? Your friends?”
“As if,” they're all dragons which were indebted to Magna, he no longer has any friends.
“Figured as much. I have one question before ending this: Would you say that a world of might-means-survival is your dream?”
“Yes. A system which breeds only the strongest and-”
“Okay, whatever, I didn't ask for an explanation,” Sirin opens her hands and reaches out for Magna. When they met, she offered it to him for a handshake. 'To think it would all get like this...' she shakes her head, but opens her eyes, showing Magna a burning gaze, so potent it could outshine the solid light around them. “Dream Bubble.”
“Wha-” Magna is enveloped by a white bubble. He strikes it countless times, but it doesn't burst, it doesn't even budge. Almost like striking rubber, his fist bounces back and it retains its form. “How did you!? I removed your magic, your powers, everything!”
“Maybe you weren't there so you didn't hear her say it, but...” Sirin points to her lips, slightly flustered. “When Rafil said a kiss can teach magic, she wasn't just being rotten.”
“What!!?” Magna continues to go berserk within the bubble, but it remains unnaffected.
“I told her about the facility, and she taught me this one spell.”
“After the battle with her?! How did you even keep that hidden from me, I was in total control!”
“Well... You probably saw it, but thought it was just gibberish and ignored it. And what was gibberish for you, was just one-three-three-seven to me. So I could read it,” Sirin's expression isn't the happiest she's ever shown, but she's trying to smile. “Friendship won, Magna.”
“What are you going on about all of a sudden?!” He's going crazy, he can't handle any of this.
“Solon brought me here... Ares sent her friend to protect me, Erika gave me the trump card to defeat you. Friendship saved the day. Someone like you, who forgot about friends and only looked for chances to show your might... You were doomed to lose.”
“You just admitted you couldn't defeat me alone, how could that be something to be proud?!” He's worse than someone who gets jailed, he can't even reach out between any bars, the bubble is perfectly closed, his attempts to break it are for nothing.
“But. Since it was friendship who won this match, I'll let it end with friendship. You won't be killed, I won't destroy you. I'll let you see the world you want, sleep eternally and dream of fighting for as long as you live,” Magna's body becomes heavy. He can't raise his fists anymore. He falls to one knee and closes his eyes, fast asleep. “Because you were my friend, I'll let you see a happy dream.”
“...Is that fine with you?” Galvados asks. He admires her choice, but wonders if that truly is correct.
“This is what Erika wanted me to do. I guess she knew how'd I feel about killing someone, even if it was Magna,” Sirin shrugs, feeling a weird pain on her chest.
She looks around. Other than her and Galvados, there's the supposed throne and nothing else. 'Should I just... walk back now?' She asks herself. But her sixth sense tells her it's not over, there's something else she must do. So she chooses to wait. Galvados doesn't rush her either, it probably has a lot on its mind as well.
“The goddess is gone...” A male voice resounds around them.
“And the gods are gone as well,” a female one follows it. Lolo and Antarc emerge from the 'throne' and walk towards the two. “What do you think will happen now?”
“Well... I didn't think that far, obviously. But wait, isn't Galvados here?”
“Galvados doesn't count. It has no interest at all on owning the world or anything like that. Even if it were to be destroyed because it lacks a guardian deity, Galvados would just shrug,” the boy sighs, shaking his head in disappointment.
“Every family has a black sheep,” it chuckles.
“I'll skip the long dialogue meant to convince you, I know you're tired. Are you up to it?” The boy turns to Sirin, absolutely serious.
“Up to it? A-as in, up to...” She nervously shifts her eyes between the throne and Lolo.
“Yes, to become the new goddess.”
“...That's a little sudden, don't you think?” She looks at Antarc, hoping she'll say something, but she's as serious as Lolo. 'I guess this is no time to play the fool, maybe,' she slaps her face. “Will I end up being forgotten by the entire world or something if I take it?”
“Will I have to make really important decisions?”
“Will it be all work? You know me, I can't resist to fool around sometimes.”
“The god by your side spent countless years going to a night club every night, it won't be that tough.”
“I see... Galvados, you're pretty irresponsible sometimes, aren't you?”
“Look who's talking,” it looks at Sirin with disbelief, she only got that piece information because she wanted to slack off and now she's acting all pompous.
“And I'll get all those cool god powers?”
“You will be a full-fledged goddess.”
“...So I'll continue being myself, except I'll be a goddess.”
“Well, for a shut-in without a future, goddess is pretty hot, isn't it?” She asks Galvados, showing it a thumbs up.
“When you put it that way, yeah,” it nods.
“I'll take it then. Do I just... sit on that small star there?”
“There is one small condition before that,” Antarc steps forward. “You need to be acknowledged by spirit and human alike. You can't become a goddess of both worlds without a representative of each side saying they're fine with that.”
“Ah, oddly democratic. Wait, just one of each? Isn't that a little...?”
“The throne believes humans and spirits would only agree to it if it was best for both of worlds, it's a system beyond us,” the boy hasn't seen that many gods being crowned, but he has talked to the throne, that's why he knows.
“Hm, does my vote count?” Sirin tilts her head, 'just when I was getting excited...'
“I'll acknowledge you, Sirin Almaz!” Solon enters the throne room dramatically. Shino is nowhere to be seen, 'he probably left her behind to make him look cooler,' Sirin assumes.
“And as for a spirit...” She slowly turns to Galvados, pretending what's in her mind isn't obvious.
“I have a condition.”
“...Go on,” she gulps, scared of what could a devil possibly ask for.
“I want to still be the ruler of Hell.”
“...That's a pretty odd request, considering you're such a slacker. Or is it because your sadism surpasses your laziness?” She feels very comfortable talking when to Galvados, it's like she is thinks she can go all out because it is a devil. Similar to being on the some places of the internet, she just knows it's impossible to offend it.
“It's for your sake. I couldn't bear having such a cute goddess to-be having to deal with Hell. Let me dirty my hands with that place, you only need to tread the path which light shines on.”
“...” 'Damn, that sounded cool,' Sirin thinks to herself, she can't even respond. “Is it fine, though? Wasn't a single goddess a problem before?”
“That particular goddess was the problem, I believe. And you're not alone, are you? Friendship is what got you here, I'm sure you'll continue that way. A gentle and kind person, but not so obsessed with purity that your gentleness will destroy the world,” Lolo takes her hand, smiling.
Antarc takes her other hand and the three walk to sun on the middle of the room. She takes a deep breath and jumps forward. Light overflows, blinding everyone within the room. The girl is surrounded by a world of liquid light, sinking, or perhaps floating, she can't tell. She closes her eyes and opens a smile. She's filled with warm feelings, she feels extremely comfortable. 'This is better than my chair back home...'
Since that day, two months have passed...
“You were on the cover of magazines again. 'What happened to the favorite heir??' or something like that,” the boy with long white hair says.
“Wow, they sure are hot on that scoop, huh?” The dark-haired girl answers.
After learning of the truth, Erika decided she'd abandon the Leondall name, feeling she finally had found a decent reason to abandon that life. Even if Edmont, didn't say anything and just let her go away, it obviously wouldn't go down that easily media-wise, the commotion never ended, people keep looking for her and talking about her, 'the girl which abandoned the richest family on the world for no disclosed reason' is a modern mystery.
She didn't take back the Deimos last name, since she also doesn't feel worth of it yet, she's walking one step at a time. She lives together with her brother now, at an apartment owned by the two. She took some of her fortune along with her, but she has it sealed, she used it to get the apartment and only plans on using it again in case of emergencies. She works as a bartender at a night club, they didn't ask many questions about her and she showed a fake ID which said she was already over eighteen and not called Erika Leondall. Sometimes clients do ask if she isn't 'that girl who's on the news often,' but she always replies, 'you've clearly had too much, miss/mister, can't you see my eyes and hair are a different color?' and that is enough to convince them.
“I'm surprised they still haven't found you. Hard to believe your eyes and hair changing was all it took, were they really that much of a trademark?”
“I guess they were. Rafil's last gift truly came in handy...” She puts her hand over her hair, smiling.
“Could you please not kill me off?” A long-haired blonde woman enters the conversation. The three are having lunch together, she was there all along, she has been there since they started living there, she can't understand why she'd say something like that.
“Ah, that means you plan on giving me more gifts? My bir- I mean, our birthday is coming up, you know?” She opens a coy smile.
After the battle ended, Rafil became a real human. It's as much of a mystery to her as it is to everyone, but she accepted it gladly. She works as an office lady, which is very different from being the goddess of love, but it's all within her power, she is fine with whatever comes at her. She decided she'll take this second chance of sorts and try to enjoy her new life to its fullest.
As for Isaac, he's working as a producer/manager of an idol group. Solon had been advertising him to the agency for the longest time, when he decided he needed a job, the soil was already prepared him to enter. He expected to work with Solon, but what he got was 'What? A sensation like me working with a rookie? No way, you wouldn't handle the pressure, once you become a professional I might give you a chance,' which was very surprising, but then he realized he should have expected that much from Solon.
The three live happily, working hard and sharing good times together. The battle which happened feels like a dream, the conflicts from those days are distant, even if just barely two months away. Someone knocks on the door, but before they even need to answer, it opens. A pair of women enter their house, Bartory and Alice.
“She was... standing by the door, playing with her fingers and acting all cute, so I said she could come in, she didn't seem like a stranger,” For someone who works with security, Bartory lets her guard down easy, they all think. 'Or maybe it's exactly because she works with security that she knows?'
“...Between Alice, mom and Rafil, isn't there a lot of long-haired blonde women here?” Isaac asks, alternatively looking at the three with a smile on his face.
“No, what is Alice even doing here?” Erika is very confused.
“Isaac hadn't been replying to my messages, I got lonely!” She pouts, pretending to be very upset. Before saying anything, the twins turn to Rafil and wait. She's shivering, trying to hold it in, they can tell.
“Hey, he's still underaged, you know? Do you wanna go to jail?” Bartory makes the implication before Rafil does, she sighs in relief, feeling she was saved.
“It's nothing like that, she just likes saying that sort of thing,”Isaac tries to clear the misunderstanding, but Bartory doesn't seem to bite into it.
“Ah, how cold! After all those long lessons I gave you...” She opens a mischievous smile. After she says that, Rafil's vibrations can be measured on the Richter Scale.
“Lessons on how to handle people....” Isaac sighs. He was awkward for his entire life and suddenly had to work with four different pre-teen girls he didn't know. He figured he had to improve his social skills and that's when Alice came in. Literally, as he started to wonder what to do with this situation, she started messaging him tips and they started talking. He told Erika about that, but never before she visited them.
“Also, how did she learn of our address, did you ever tell her?” Erika can feel he hasn't done that, the reason she was so nervous was because she found out through dirty means and feared being seen as creepy.
“Now that you mention it...”
“...Was she actually a dangerous person?” 'It's not possible that I've become rusted, is it?' Bartory would like to believe she's still at her prime, if her eye for people starts to miss, she might lose her job one day.
“Don't be like that everyone, aren't we friends?” Alice smiles, putting her all into trying to make them ignore her stalking habits.
“...I guess,” Erika lowers her gaze, her tension drops to the floor all of a sudden.
“...” Rafil can tell what she's thinking about, but there's nothing she can say. She gives Erika a hug, that's all she can offer right now.
The boy enters a hospital, flowers on his hand. She tells the receptionist that he's there for the same person as always, and she nods, smiling a little. He resumes walking, the third room to the left on the second floor... He has an easy time remembering that, for some reason. The first thing he planned on doing was changing the old flowers for new ones while doing some small talk, but what he actually does is drop the flowers to the ground the very moment he walks in.
The woman standing by the window turns to him and opens a wide grin. Ever since Lancelot stabbed her, she had been unable to walk. The sword didn't strike exactly on her spine, but close enough to damage her control over her legs. She had been bound to a wheelchair during these two months, this is the first time she sees her stand on her own since the battle ended.
During these two months, he visited her every day. There was never any change for her paralysis, nor any news of how long it'd take for her to heal, but she never gave up and kept giving her best on the rehabilitation exercises. And now she's walking again. She can't run or go too far away, but she can walk around the room without any problem. These months felt very long, but now that she's standing again, he realizes it went by really fast.
“Did you get anything new from Clay?” After celebrating for a while without making much of an uproar, both because she can't exert herself too much and because it's an hospital, she laid on her bed again and he sat down by her side.
“Some pictures, she's in Egypt right now. Pyramids, a sphinx, camels. On every picture, she has a really pretty smile on her face. Not one of someone smiling for a picture, but a picture being taken while she was genuinely smiling, I feel.”
“And did she ever tell you why Leondall is funding her entire trip across the world?”
“Hm, she'll write a book, put some pictures on it. 'The moving story of an orphan who traveled the world' will make people cry everytime and he'll get some good money from it. Also, he probably wants to make up for his mistakes, I think,” the two laugh, that awkward and roundabout way to do anything is exactly like him. “Did he ever come visit you?”
“No, not even once. I guess he still hasn't talked to Erika. I feel bad for him, I might go visit him when they let me out of this place.”
“That'd be good,” he smiles. They go silent for a while, his mind travels far away for a moment. He returns to reality because of Ares' finger poking the scar on his left eye.
“And how are you doing?” She asks. They always talk about her, Clay and everyone else, it seems like he's actively avoiding talking about himself.
“Hm, everything at our apartment is fine, and-”
“You, I asked.”
“...I'm fine. Sometimes I feel really hollow, I admit, but after getting that heavy, it's natural that you feel weird when you're suddenly light again, I think.”
“When you feel hollow, what do you do?”
“If I'm not doing anything, I'll watch some of your shows. If I'm busy, I'll focus into working.”
“Good. Can I ask another thing?”
“After I'm healed, what do you plan on doing? You said the original project was for you and Clay to do these travels, but you stayed around because of me, didn't you? So when I'm fine, what will you do?” She's a little flustered, she finds the question very embarassing.
“...Are you dense? How long will it take for you to understand I want to be with you forever, idiot.”
“Whoa, you really have been watching my shows, I almost had a heart attack here.”
“...I mean most of it, though.”
“Excuse me, but visiting time has ended, we ask for all of you to let the patients rest now,” a nurse walks in and warns everyone. Lui arrived late, he missed out on getting to spend a nice hour with her. Feeling a little guilty about that, he hugs her tight and leaves.
That night, she had a very odd dream. She was lost on a maze, but she could hear chuckling coming from somewhere. She kept following that sound, it kept turning louder and louder, at times a 'oooooooh' sound would echo as well. As weird as she ought to find it, she figured that was good, because those sounds were guiding her outside of the maze.
When she got to the end of the maze, there was a devil. It continued to laugh, jumping around her, making those odd sounds. While she found them to be her guide while on the maze, now she felt terribly embarassed by them. Like she was being mocked on her own home.
“Is that all you want!?” She screamed, sick of that devil fooling around.
“Congratulations on the boyfriend, hahahaha,” it didn't stop that act, even if she asked for it to. After a while, it threw up fireworks and set the entire landscape on fire, all while laughing.
“Is that really all you want?” She watched everything quietly.
“Yeah, pretty much,” the devil said, disappointed that she's not embarassed anymore.
“He didn't even say anything like that.”
“Look, he might as well have.”
“What do you even know.”
“Have you ever had someone?”
“No, what about you?”
“Don't change the subject! Also, how are you even aware of it, are you stalking me?”
“We're best friends, of course I have someone look out for you!” The devil laughed.
“Is it a spirit or a human? If it's a spirit, I swear to god, I'll kill it and mail the corpse to you.”
“I believe you should be swearing to goddess, you know?”
“...What are you talking about?”
“Nevermind,” the devil chuckled once more. And that was the end of her dream. She wakes up feeling very silly, but then remembers to look around the room for anything out of ordinary. 'I must find that spy,' she clutches her hand, determined.
An orphanage he hasn't ever been to, but he heard Lui used to live there. 'How interesting fate is,' he thinks, entering it. He talks to some of the adults, asking for some information about a certain child. They sound thrilled to have someone be asking about her, they say she appeared little over a month ago and hasn't said anything, just walked around the orphanage quietly.
'Are you her relative?' they ask, but, as sad as it is, he has to shake his head in denial. 'I'm just an acquaintance. I've been looking for her, would you mind if I could chat with her for a while? I'd like to take her somewhere nice for a change, would that be a problem?' Normally it would have been, but he's a famous face, they can't get themselves to doubt him. And if he does something, it'll be all over the news, they figure he knows he wouldn't get away with it.
“Hello there,” he approaches the girl, trying to sound as nice as possible, he fears that she might get scared otherwise.
“A-ah... I'm sorry...!” She is scared anyway. She knows what she did to him, so she figures he's there to get revenge on her.
“No, don't be scared! Come on, don't make it look weird for us, it's fine, you didn't do anything, technically!” He looks around, he can tell if any of those guys from before saw that, they'd jump on his neck.
“I just want to have a chat, would you come with me? There's a cake store nearby, I'll buy you one or two.”
“...'Cake'?” the girl has a puzzled expression on her face.
“...I'll buy you a few, I feel you're missing out on something big.”
The girl was still nervous, but followed him. He told the people responsible that he'd take her to eat some cake on the store a block away, just to make sure they wouldn't worry too much. While they walk there, he asks what went on with her during this time and she explains it with very few details.
After waking up again on that building, she was alone. She searched for Sirin, but she wasn't anywhere to be found. Needless to say, Karen despaired. An unknown world, she didn't know anyone and feared that someone would try to get back at her for what she did while possessed. In a matter of days of walking around while tearing up, still looking for Sirin, the one person she knew was on her side for sure, she ended up picked up as a lost child and sent to this orphanage. She felt a little safer in there, but she was still completely unaware of what any and everything around her was. She was a stranger to this world, she had never seen so many humans at the same time.
“I see... that was tough on you. But I'm glad you were found, as that allowed me to find you too,” Solon drinks a cup of tea. He bought the girl three cakes, a lemon flavored one, a chocolate one and a cheesecake. She doesn't know where to start eating it from, she doesn't even know what it is. He encourages her, but she's clearly still very nervous.
“Did you really... not come after me for revenge?”
“...A request, I'd say. I was asked to find you, so I did.”
“...Who'd ask for that?”
“My goddess would.”
“Your god-” The third seat of their table is pulled and a girl with long brown hair sits down. She wasn't anywhere within the store until a second ago, she truly materialized out of thin air.
“It's been a long time, sorry for forgetting about you. Things were hectic for a while and then you weren't where I last saw you, and that's how things ended up like this.” the girl apologizes, lowering her head to Karen. As someone who was both once possessed by Amaterasu and born on the spirit world, Karen can feel the power residing on that girl with ease. And yet, that almighty girl is lowering her head before her.
“N-no, don't... It was my...” She's scared again. While her body has aged, her mind has been stale from that day when she was five, she couldn't develop much on that sense. “W-what did you want me for?”
“Hm? Isn't it obvious? To keep my promise to you,” Sirin tilts her head, wondering if Karen forgot about it because she took too long.
“You'll meet your parents again, I said.”
“Ah...” The girl quakes, tears welling up on her eyes. She hadn't forgetten per se, she just wasn't aware it was a promise.
“Solon, after this... You'll probably be branded a pedo kidnapper, you know?”
“Don't worry, it's not a problem,” he smiles.
“Then... We're going, okay?”
“See ya,” he waves. The two girls vanish on the blink of an eye, the cakes along with them. 'She really pays attention to everything,' he sighs. Since he paid for it, he wanted to eat one, but that might have been for the best. He gets out of his seat and walks away, without any destination in mind. 'Maybe I'll go see Zearth's grave or something, I heard lots of flowers have been blooming there... It probably will be a good place to rest.'
She arrives home, more exhausted than ever. When depressed, even the simplest of works becomes terribly tiring. She normally would check her room or find her waiting on the kitchen, if not asleep on the kitchen because she was actually really tired. But now there's no one, there's no hope of anyone being there. No one who'll say 'welcome home' if she yells 'I'm back.'
Delphine walks to the kitchen, hoping to sit down and cry for a while, just as she has been doing most nights. But what she finds on the kitchen is a folded paper on top of a plate. 'Just like we used to...' but there is no sense in that being there. Her daughter wouldn't come home to leave a note, nobody would play that prank as there was nobody who could know. She picks up the note, truly puzzled by it.
'Hey, sorry for taking a while to write this. Things were hectic and then I was too scared to say anything, since... you know, I did something really awful to you,' there's no mistaking it, it's her daughter's handwriting. 'But it wasn't me, I swear. Have you been doing well? I hope you have. As for me, I became the goddess that rules over the world, would you believe that?'
“Not at all,” she answers, tears streaming down her face already.
'I'm gonna bet you just said not at all, like the cynical woman you are. If you want to directly tell it to me, if you pray at night, I'll certainly hear it. Since I'm a goddess now. You still don't believe me? When you finish reading this, there'll be a toast which has my name and a heart on it, just wait.”
“What a foolish daughter...” She says, taking a bite out of the toast which appeared on the plate. After seeing those dragons and now this, she can't deny she'll have to become a little more accepting. “And I'll send you a prayer for sure... You won't hear the end of it if you don't act like a proper goddess. What a pointless miracle is making toast appear, give me money!”
For the first time in a long time, Delphine smiles. She spent two months without any information on Sirin. She asked Erika if she knew anything, but she also didn't know. Erika asked everyone about it, and nobody said anything as well. She couldn't ask Solon because he vanished, pretty much. He appeared once to have to talk about Isaac about his job, then nobody could reach him again, but she planned on asking him about it whenever she sees him again. Delphine has finally obtained some peace, she doesn't need to wait for that uncertain day anymore. She obviously isn't satisfied with a single letter, but she would expect that a rookie goddess wouldn't get herself some free time that easily.
“Hoooraaay!” Charl blows a horn, Adol plays a set of drums. Everyone has gathered at the island, they're doing a nighttime barbecue. The reason is none other than, after a long decade, Karen has finally returned.
“She's still so small! Shouldn't she be a teen by now?” Alexander asks, picking her up and spinning her around. While Sirin finds that pretty dangerous, Karen is hugging Alex's hand and giggling very happily, she can't get herself to intervene.
“Time moves differently between worlds, it seems. What year did you say it was, uh, I'm sorry, I forgot,” Ellian laughs apologetically.
“Sirin. And it's 2015, it has been sixty years since you left.”
“...Did anything change?”
“I wasn't alive sixty years ago to say for sure, but I guess a lot.”
“Did humans start worrying about the environment and the resources?” It's the one thing he occasionally thought about, so he figures he might as well ask.
“Hm, some people do, but I think that, in general, nobody cares.”
“I see,” he sighs. 'The future refused to change... figures, honestly.' He doesn't even feel upset, and that surprises him. He truly has moved away from the human world, he can't feel any lingering feelings for it.
“Hmm, but to think you're the new goddess...” Yow approaches Sirin from behind and embraces her, pressing her slender body against Sirin's back. She could feel her approaching, but she chose not to dodge it. “It's good to hold you on a more casual situation, hohoho.”
“There are children watching, contain yourself,” Sirin simpers. She feels this is the least she can do to show she's thankful for their help back when she was on Karen's mind.
“Um, excuse me, but... Karen said she wanted to play with the dragon, but he's all the way over there looking really sad... Since I don't know him, I don't know what to do, could you...?” Sarah approaches nervously, she doesn't know if it's fine for her to ask the goddess to do something.
“Ah, sure, don't worry,” Sirin taps the vampire's arms, asking to be released. Yow frowns, but lets her go. 'I could just teleport, but let's not abuse our new powers, okay?' she talks to herself, heading towards the dragon. “What's the problem, why are you sad all of a sudden?”
“...” He doesn't say anything, only looks at her with sad eyes.
“Open up, come on,” she grins.
“...I tried petting the dog and he screamed at me,” Maxi says, very upset.
“He's a man, not a dog. You brought this one on yourself, I'm sorry,” she's used to Kerry's quirk now, even if she was the same before. “The cute girl wants to play with you, give her a chance. And there's also lots of food.”
“...The food is appealing, but is it fine for me to eat? I'm a stranger here. Everyone is celebrating that girl being back, but I didn't even know she was gone.”
“This is the fulfillment of two promises, one of them was giving you a buffet. So go ahead, everyone here likes strangers, it seems.”
“O-okay!” The dragon nods and awkwardly returns to the crowd. Before he can even say anything, Karen runs to him and asks for him to pick her up. After some time on the spirit world, Sirin found out Maxi is a teenager, in human years, he would be around sixteen, which was very surprising to her, considering how strong he is.
Charl and Adol have finished their musical performance and started a show. Charl spends five minutes building an entire city out of sand, a very amazing talent even if, of course, done through psychokinesis. After she's done, Adol walks around the city, crashing on some buildings and trying to roar, but its voice clearly isn't made for that. Then a Golem Pentan appears and engages Adol, but the two end up destroying the city even more. After the entire city is mostly destroyed, the golem grabs Adol and drags him into the sea, which is very surprising to everyone, because a legitimate rocket appeared on its back for that move, nobody expected it to do that.
Ten minutes after that, the two pentans return back to Charl and the three do a silly pose. 'Mecha-Pentanzilla vs Pentanzilla,' they say. Karen and Maxi give them a standing ovation, Alexander laughs at how elaborate all of that was, the rest can't even move, they're too amazed at everything that just happened, the delivery was too perfect.
“Golem Pentan is a Kerry creation, buy yours at-”
“I made it just for you, I'm not selling any!” Kerry interrupts her before she finishes the advertisement.
“Oh, is that so?” Charl smiles, a mischievous smug expression on her face. Kerry realizes he walked straight onto that one, ten years time made her pretty clever.
Their partying continues, many other people put up shows. Some are just displays of strength, like Alexander doing six attacks at once with Assault. He says it tires his shoulders, so he doesn't do it during real battles, but he just wanted to show them he can. Maxi is cheered into doing something, but he says he has no talent. The crowd insists, so he splits the sea into two with a punch. Seeing the paralyzed crowd, he apologizes, saying 'Ah, this is pretty much all I can do, sorry...'
Nobody knows what to comment, they have to let it pass without saying anything. It would take days for anyone to even speak of that again, that's how long it'd take for it to sink on them. Yow follows after him, singing an opera. She gets an ovation as well, but she knows nothing will have the same impact of that punch, in many ways.
Sirin watches over it, not out of any obligation, but because she wanted to see them together. She is unrelated to it, but she wanted to be there. She had all eternity to work, nobody would complain about her having a good time among some spirits on the spirit world.
“You seem pretty happy, but isn't there somewhere else you wanted to be? Or rather, with someone else?” Lolo appears by her side. Even if she's a goddess now, he seems to be a being even above that, he manages to sneak up on her no matter when or where she is.
“...There's a lot of places I'd need to be, but it's too weird to enter the human world again. Is that why you never returned after all these years?”
“Yeah, humans don't really want gods, so the world itself rejects us. But you have somewhere else don't you? That place without a name, where it all happened...” The boy looks away, reverting into his cryptic old man mode.
“Can I do that? Is it fine to do that?”
“Who'll scold you? You're a goddess now, do what you want,” he giggles.
“You're weird, you seem totally fine with my reckless way of being.”
“You're reckless in a good way, I believe.”
“Okay...” Lolo disappears. She still isn't sure she wants to do it, but seeing Karen and her friends, she gets very motivated. She wants to experience that for a while. “Gate Open... Reunite.”
Sirin disappears from the spirit world. Karen sees her disappearing, but the light she shines with before going away is a light Karen recognizes, so she feels Sirin decided to take care of something important. She wanted to play with Sirin too, but if she decided to take care of some personal business, Karen will wait.
A garden of flowers, she couldn't make up any other place she'd want to be at. She didn't consciously create those, but the flowers around her are very interesting. Roses, marigolds, bluebells, wisteria and daisies. She only realizes she didn't think of anything to say when she's already there, she considers undoing that so she can think better.
She opens her mouth, and before even a single phoneme comes out, she's tackled by the girl with black hair, being embraced by her and knocked down. She tries to say something again, but the tears running down the girl's face make her hesitate. She caresses her head, and the black hair is quite the surprise, even more so because it doesn't seem to have been dyed black. But no matter what color her hair becomes, she'd never mistake that girl.
The purple-haired woman comes next and kneels besides the two. With a wide smile on her face, she pulls Sirin's cheek. Hard, twisting it. Sirin realizes that smile wasn't as pure as it seemed previously, a vein is popping on the woman's forehead and it seems she doesn't plan on stopping twisting it for a while. Sirin sees that the boy with a scar on his eyes is looking at it without saying anything and asks for him to save her, but he doesn't move. Instead, he looks away and pretends that he hasn't seen anything.
She turns to the other boy, the one with pink eyes. He's laughing. A lot, like she never saw him laugh before. 'What's going on, I thought he didn't know how to do that,' she wants to comment on it later, when there's less people on top of her or twisting her cheeks. Behind the two boys, a blonde woman drools, her face twisting in joy.
'Hey, the least you could do for me after I turned you into a human would be giving me a hand here,' she thinks, but she doesn't want to announce she did that. It was a very casual decision, she found Rafil lost between the rift of two worlds and figured she could give her a hand. But since she was assuming the role of goddess, there was need to keep her as a god of love. 'And wasn't she the most normal of all the six freaks? I can just make her human, she'll probably live with Erika and that'll be nice,' was what Sirin thought at the time. Galvados was with her, and said 'If anyone deserves that reward, it's Rafil, I approve.' And that's how she turned into a human.
Erika is yelling some stuff while she cries, but between her sobs and her face being really close to Sirin's chest, what she's saying is impossible to understand. Ares feels she has punished Sirin enough and her smile turns into one of true happiness. Lui and Isaac still smile from a distance, they don't want to break into that moment they are having. Rafil finds the two to be quite stupid and pushes their backs, forcing them into the mess.
“I just wanted to say I miss all of you, don't be like this, what did I do wrong?!” The goddess yells.
“Who goes rogue for two months and still thinks she did nothing wrong? Repent! Apologize to everyone!” Erika finally detaches her face from Sirin. Her face is completely red, she still hasn't stopped crying.
“Well... Things have been hectic... I'm a goddess now and all that business, the burocr-”
“I didn't ask! Why aren't you apologizing?! I'll clean my snot on your shirt!” She's serious, Sirin can tell. Not that she can't make it vanish, but it's still pretty nasty.
“Sorry! Forgive me, Erika! Sorry, Ares! Pardon me, Lui! I humbly beseech thee for forgival, Isaac! Rafil doesn't matter right, I mean she-”
“Apologize to Rafil!”
“I'm very sorry, Rafil!”
Ares laughs. She missed this. The beautiful otherworld, the antics of a weird young girl. She barely got to meet Sirin, but she knows she is precious to Erika, so she always had an interest. The day they met was also the day she disappeared, and Ares was pretty upset by that. 'Not that whatever I feel can rival what Erika might have felt,' she sighs.
Even if she has become a goddess, the fact she is the team's baby doesn't change. Not meaning that she can't do anything, but meaning that she's the one everyone pampers. In many ways, she ended up being very similar to Karen, but the only person who is able to see all the similarities between the two is Sirin alone.
And that leads us to the closing this tale. Sirin is happy, gathered with her friends once more, even if for a brief moment. One day she hopes to reunite with her mother, once she hears from her through prayers. Karen has finally returned to her world, to her home, together with her true family, which isn't just her parents, but all the spirits which share their happiness with them.
Stromhyde has vanished from both worlds, he sent the twins back to the human world and returned to the rift, turning himself into a barrier that would protect Rafil from being devoured by the void. Zearth died along with Asura, but he won the match between creation and destroyal of life, as even after both passed away, he continued to create life, resulting on the garden that Solon rests on.
As for Magna... Even now, he still dreams. A long dream, an endless dream, from which he will never wake up from. But at the last moments, after hearing that he lost because he abandoned his friends... Could it be that he changed his mind on what he wanted to see? At this moment, does he dream of a world where he is an almighty god? Or does he dream of a world where he didn't break away from morality and continued to bond as he battled people?
The snake wasn't destroyed, it can never be destroyed. But Lolo can and always will thwart its plans. Both are immortals, both will forever get on the way of the other. As for Amaterasu, after dying for a second time, the old goddess lost her will to return to the spirit world. And even if she wanted to, her request would be ignored, 'The reverse galaxy has a one-wish-only policy, I'm sorry,' the snake would tell her, if she ever requested anything.
If their battle didn't happen, what fate would have stored for them? A homeless girl without drive to reach for her greedy wishes. An orphan which could never seal away the negativity within his heart. A girl locked within a birdcage, distant from reality, forever unaware of the meaning of true love. A lonely boy who would keep everyone away from his heart and not let his true feelings ever come out. A shut-in without any power to change her fate.
Even if there was suffering, was the product of that pain positive or negative? Did it open possibilities or shut them down? The answer is obvious to see. The pain polished the dirt and darkness from their hearts, allowing their crystals to truly shine. Even if it was all an accident, even if it was all because of an accident... the importance of its meaning doesn't change.