Author's Notes: Finally, I've decided to update this story, and bring it back from hiatus. If you find my writing strange, weird, or peculiar in anyway, it's most probably because I have not been writing much for the past few months. Life's tedious, with a new change in studying environment and stuff, and alot of growing up has been demanded of me. Anyway, here's the new chapter. And yep, I've changed the rating of this story from K to T.
Hope you enjoy this chapter. Please R and R. Sorry for releasing this late! -
Chapter 7 -- Many Things We Never Forget
A lone figure stood erected against the strong gusts of wind that howled across the plains of heaven. This was the edge, the boundaries of the paradise the Lord had created. Shortly past this land, was a straight steep cliff that separated heaven from earth.
The lone man had three elegant white wings sprouting from the back of his shoulder blades. The sheer weight of these wings would have proven his authority and place in heaven. The sole Seraphim Knight turned his head and drew one last long look at heaven.
The gathering of dust in the horizon. Someone is on his way.
The Seraphim Knight squinted his eyes and stared out at the horizon. It was another man, riding on a war carriage which was led by a blessed unicorn.
The man was a dot at first, but it swiftly grew bigger as he drew nearer.
"Dante." The Seraphim Knight whispered and stepped forth to welcome the rider of the carriage.
"Ichiro. The Lord told me you would be here." The man grasped at the Seraphim Knight's shoulders. He drew a quick glance at the cliff. "Ichiro. You are leaving?"
Ichiro nodded silently.
Ichiro smiled but kept mum. He quietly unfolded his wings and motioned that he was about to make his move.
"Is it because of her?" Dante blurted suddenly.
"I am tired. I do not wish to be involved in these affairs any further. My brother, I think that you should be with her …. Not me …."
"But – but you are the one she loves … and Lucifer …. He …."
Ichiro laughed dryly. "If I were to leave – which I am, you would have a greater chance to be with her than Lucifer himself. There is nothing more I wish for than to have my brother, you, be happy. I am glad that you are here to send me off, Dante."
"Where are you leaving for?"
"The mortal realm. It is in chaos, after the pollution of the intruders on their minds. I have been sent on a mission to cleanse them. I am to be their King."
"So you'd not be returning for …"
"For a century at most. Before I must stage my death as a mortal. Then I will linger for a while more before I return to heaven – during this time in which I will travel the lands and see for myself what we angels have been protecting for millenniums."
Dante's arms slipped around Ichiro and pulled him into a tight hug. "I will miss you, brother …" He mumbled between tears. The two were born of the same sphere, thus the kinship between them were thicker than blood itself.
"I have to go." Ichiro whispered. There was the strong longing to stay in heavens, yet he knew his presence would stir even greater chaos in heaven.
It had been almost a year since Ichiro left the heaven gates. And yet … and yet Lucifer was having his way in heaven. From dawn to dusk, Lucifer loitered about in the Northern Palace, in which he shared with Aeris. And whenever Dante attempted to pay Aeris a visit, the guards at the entrance would keep him out.
"Lord Dante," the guard held his chin high aloofly and looked down upon the wingless Seraphim Knight. "my Lord has given orders to not have any stranger to trespass this grounds today."
Dante frowned in frustration. The guard caught onto his response and spat. "Are you unhappy with my Lord's decisions? If so, confront me, wingless one."
Dante cringed. He had the authority to punish, to bestow judgment upon this lowly angel, yet without his wings, without his angelic powers, he could not garner respect from others and was practically powerless against them.
"But – but …." Dante started, ignoring the guard's earlier statements. "I … I intend to visit Sister Aeris, not … not Brother Lucifer."
"Brother? Brother?" The guard planted a boot squarely upon Dante's chest. "You are unfit to refer to my Lord with that word."
Dante stumbled to the ground before the gates but quickly recovered his composure. He turned his gaze to his own men for help but the half a dozen angels merely stood a great distance away, as if … as if they hadn't noticed their Lord in peril.
If it wasn't the orders of god to bestow upon Dante the title of a Seraphim Knight and their assignment to serve this wingless Seraphim, they would currently be serving one of the other Lords – a definitely stronger one at that. These angels … they found it a shame to be Dante's subordinates.
"My Lord, please, we must return now."
Dante looked to them … pleading … before he gave up and nodded.
Dante, lay upon his bed, leaning against the cold walls in his chambers. As always, he was alone. His men were lazing around elsewhere in the Southern Palace. In the past, Ichiro would visit him from time to time. Yet, now, without his presence, Dante felt more … alone.
The loneliness. The empty walls. They forced Dante to think … to wonder about his existence. And its meaning. He wondered … how as a Seraphim Knight, why …. he was … different from his siblings.
He didn't understand … as well … were … were wings … powers … that … why …. were they so highly regarded in heaven?
He hadn't been down to the mortal realm even once. Yet, from Ichiro … he had heard that the mortals … they thought that heaven …. it was a place of paradise … of bliss ….
What was this?
Dante closed his eyes and hugged his knees closer.
Why is this happening to me?
He didn't get it.
Abruptly, Dante widened his eyes. He looked up … his jaws dropped agape. Across the lands of heaven, each and every angel received one same message from a Seraphim Knight's telepathic broadcast.
Aeris cried out "Sa-Save me …. I – I am in … in my pa-apalace … Lu-Lucifer … get – get away!!"
Screams. That of a girl … a woman … Aeris …. his beloved …
Dante was held in a daze for moments more before he shook himself free of the shock. Aeris was in danger. But … Lucifer … how could he harm her? Especially when they were in heaven? Dante closed his eyes once more to grasp a hold upon the churning sea of feelings within himself. He was scared … ashamed … of returning to the Northern Palace … yet there was the huge urge to confront his big brother, Lucifer, to … to …
Dante clenched his fists and threw himself out of bed and onto his feet.
He was leaving for the Palace, nevertheless … if not for himself …. It was for Ichiro, at least. It was his duty, his responsibility, to look after his brother's lover, the one he himself loved dearly, in his brother's absence.
Dante strode quickly to his chariots. The henchmen were lazing about by a boulder and when Dante drew nearer, they merely looked up to acknowledge his presence before nodding back off to sleep.
"Ahem." Dante put his clenched fist to his lips as he cleared his throat to garner attention.
Yet to no avail.
"Ahem." He repeated once more, only to have the same response as before.
The Seraphim Knight sighed as he fell to his knees. "I, Lord Dante, christened by the God himself, plead … beg … and ask of you Cherubs to bring me to the Northern Palace …" Dante swallowed his ego and lowered his eyes to the ground as he did so.
"Lord … Lord? You are Dante … not Lord Dante …. You can't even – even FLY to the Palace … what … what do you have …. For you to be our Lord?"
"Please … please …" Tears were welling in Dante's eyes. "Can't – can't you tell that Lady Aeris is in trouble? She – she needs help …" The safety and well-being of Aeris was worth much more than his ego.
"You – you? What can you do to save her? Even we, mere cherubs, cannot stand against Lord Lucifer."
"Please. I beg of you …" Dante repeated.
"Have I not made myself –" The cherub was about to continue on his teasing when the other held him back by the shoulder.
"Enough, Benedict. Our Lord has already lowered himself to his knees before us. We should not deny the request of he whom God has christened our Seraphim Knight. Let us bring him there, if not for Lord Dante, then for God's grace."
The journey to the Northern Palace was long. Yet, however impatient Dante was, this was the best he could get his hands upon. He had … had offered whatever self-esteem he had in exchange for this ride to the Palace.
And when Dante finally reached the Gates of the Northern Palace, the other Seraphim Knights were already present. They raised their chin high upon Dante's arrival.
"Oh – my …. My … our little brother is here." Shadow sniffed loudly while the others looked to Dante in amazement – amazed that he would actually make his way here to the Northern Palace.
Dante leapt off the chariot steps and sprinted to the gates.
"Why." Dante asked. "Why do you, my brothers, not enter the Palace to save Sister Aeris?"
"Why?" Shadow laughed. "You asked us why?"
Dante swallowed dryly. He had a gut feeling that things were about to dip for the worse.
Chris folded his arms as he leaned back against a tree trunk. "Big Brother Lucifer is having his fun ….why … why interfere? Is this not a better … a more worthwhile question to ask?"
Dante's mouth widened agape, both in horror and in shock.
"But – but Sister …"
A gloved hand found its way to his throat. It was Shadow. "It is already a lot that you have asked for … that you have us answered your question … filth. Now shut your mouth up and return home."
The grip about his neck tightened for a second or two more, before Dante was released and kicked away with a boot to his chest. Dante landed onto the ground upon his two knees and winced away tears from his eyes. He coughed and sputtered noisily before getting onto his feet once again.
The screams and cries of agony from Aeris were louder and more frustrating now. Each utter for help was weaker than before … each plead for someone to save her …. hammered its way into Dante's heart.
Dante's chin hung lowly, his head tilted to the ground, hair drooped before and concealing his eyes. His eyes … if any could see them … were burning of fury.
A lot of questions were unanswered … he demanded answers … yet no one would acknowledge his existence sufficiently for them to pay attention to his questions.
Dante cried out suddenly, unleashing whatever fury, sorrow and hurt that he had concealed ever since birth. Fists clenched tightly, he spread his arms out to the sky as he roared. He cried out, he cried out to the world that had never once seen him as the Eighth and Last Seraphim Knight.
And as if finally answering his cry. The lands of heaven shook. Heaven trembled, and the air rippled and tore with wave after wave of the congregation of aether about Dante.
"This phenomenon …." The silent Feng who rarely spoke finally parted his lips. "This rare phenomenon has only occurred once in my lifetime …. And that was when God was extremely angry over the intrusion of the Others … Is … Is God angry? Has he awoken?"
Shadow shook his head. "No. No, Feng. It is impossible that God has awoken. I would know if he has." Shadow looked to the sky. It had turned a deep red. "This phenomenon … is only due to the enormous huge and sudden summoning of aether. And the summoner … now … is …"
All Seraphim Knights present focused their gaze upon Dante.
Dante could no longer hear his thoughts anymore, for the pain surging within him was drowning them out. Seizure after seizure, the aether spiraling about him tore into his soul and deposited themselves into his essence.
Aeris' voice, her voice that had been pleading for help had suddenly fell silent. All the while, Dante had been focusing upon her cries, despite whatever commotion there was. Yet, it had abruptly vanished.
Was … she … dead?
Dante's eyes were bloodshot with pain and anger now. The world about him grew softer as he turned deaf to it. All he could think of … all he could hear …. was the absence of Aeris' screams.
Dante raised a shivering left arm, moist from sweat, and pointed his finger to the gates of the Northern Palace.
"Nothing shall stand in my way." Dante roared, his voice brimming with hatred and pain. And as his words echoed and reverberated across the lands of heaven, the gates of the Northern Palace crumbled into dust.
Dante took a step forth. And then another. And another …. He broke into a jog and then a run and he sprinted into the Northern Palace. Each foot that he planted onto the ground exploded into a mirage of horrendous pain within his small frame.
Too slow … too – too slow ….
Dante bit his lips as a sudden bulge in his back at the shoulder blades swell and tore apart his flesh and skin. And what ensued … what grew and displayed itself magnificently above Dante's body …. were three pair of white wings too sparkling to direct a full gaze at.
It was all happening subconsciously within Dante's thoughts. Whatever consciousness Dante could afford to offer, above the churning, boiling sea of pain as the aether continued to amass within Dante's frame, Dante spent it upon worrying about Aeris' well-being.
Fly … fly …
His six wings flapped simultaneously all of a sudden, whipping and cutting through the air so sharply that it incurred a huge clap of thunder that echoed through heaven and earth.
And Dante rose to sky, above the angels beneath him that stared up in wonder and awe.
Dante wheezed and panted, each breath he took in filling his lungs with torturous pain. Yet, he ignored the screaming within his body and willed himself forth.
Nothing …. Nothing … will ever stand in my path …. AGAIN.
The ground before him abruptly burst into a wall and sea of flame and fiery fire, as if – as if to welcome his eventual initiation as the Eighth and final Seraphim Knight. Dante circled about the air for a moment or two before diving into the fire and making his way to Lucifer's chambers.
To where Aeris resided.
Now that he was bestowed and blessed with aether, he could easily pinpoint her location.