Chapter 1

Fateful Meeting

Leaves crunched under a certain indigo-haired boy's weight. The boy wore a beige scarf as well as a trench coat over his white dress shirt and black pants. He had his hands in his pockets to protect them from the harsh cold of winter.

He looked up. It hadn't even began snowing yet and it was already this cold, what more if it did?

The boy continued walking around town, a smile made its way onto the boy's hidden lips. Children were laughing as they were playing around, the square was bustling with vendors and clients, and the atmosphere gave off a home-y feel.

Bells rang as he pushed the door of a certain blacksmith's door open. It was warm inside, most likely because of the fireplace. The boy helped himself to a chair as he waited for the owner.

A man in his mid-twenties came out from a door on the right. HE grinned at the sight of his customer. "Hey Leon! What brings you here on this cold day?

Leonardo grinned back. "The warmth of your fireplace." Both of them laughed. "Nah, I was just on a walk around town, so I thought I'd drop by."

"Why take a walk in this weather?" The blacksmith pointed out the window with his thumb.

The teenager shrugged. "All Rebecca and Rol do lately is make kissy-kissy faces at each other, it gets very annoying."

The elder one gasped in mock horror. "And you didn't even think to rescue Celestia from that toture!? What kind of student are you!?"

The younger gasped in mock realization. "You're right! How could I forget about her? Oh yeah, she's in the forest killing off lions and bears. And wolves. Probably foxes. And a ton of other animals!"

Bert glared at the boy. "Animal hater."

"Am not! I just can't let her kill that damned couple… Wait…"

The blacksmith's eyes widened in fear. "No. Don't even think about it."

Leonardo frowned. "But you just made me think about it." He then stood up and turned for the door. "I'm gonna go continue my walk, bye!" The boy gave a two-fingered wave.

Bert waved back. "Bye. And don't be out too late."

"I won't." With that, he was out the door and into the freezing reality of the outside world. Literally.

The boy stuffed his hands back into his pockets. He was kidding when he said that his master was out in the forest killing animals. She was merely in her room, sitting on the window frame, and staring off into a distance.

He sighed sadly at the thought. If it weren't for him, Celestia would probably still be alive.

Leonardo stopped thinking then. He shouldn't refer to her as dead, she was still alive after all. But dead. His mentor was alive but dead. And it was all his fault. If he'd moved out of the way, if he hadn't been frozen in place by stupid fear, if he had been strong enough then she would probably have walked ahead of them on their way home with a triumphant smirk on her lips. She would've probably been genuinely happy about her victory. He ruined everything.

Leonardo sat down on a nearby bench with his head on the backrest. The crowds of people were beginning to disperse and the sky was starting to darken then. He gave off a humourless laugh at the symbolism of it all.

7 years had passed since that fateful battle, and yet all the guilt and regret remained heavy on his chest. With each passing day, all he could see when he looked at Celestia was the effect of him having been there. Rebecca had been right. He shouldn't have insisted to come with them.

It had begun raining then, but the boy didn't move fro his spot. He liked the rain. It washed the pain away, even for a bit.

He was crying. He couldn't cry back then, though. Not a drop. According to the others, he was nothing more but a zombie for the first week. In the middle of the second one, he started to talk again. It was stupid, really. But he was crying now. He had been wanting to cry for so long, and now he had. That should ease the guilt a bit.

"Hello." Someone said. Leonardo ignored them as he continued sobbing. It was a girl. She sat down next to him and put an umbrella over them. "My name is Irene." She introduced herself, not really expecting a response.

Several minutes later, just as the girl was growing tired of waiting, Leonardo stopped crying.

"Leonardo." He said.

The girl's head snapped to the boy who was now staring at her intently. "H-huh?"

The boy sat up straight. "My name is Leonardo, but I'm usually called Leon by my friends." Ho observed her features. The girl, Irene, had dark read hair that ended in cute curls and was tied into pigtails. She was wearing a brown scarf over a beige-colored double breasted coat and a pair of jeans. Irene also looked about his age, but those features weren't what caught his attention. It was her her eyes. One was partially covered by her bangs, but he could see the other one very clearly, and they were the same amber color as Celestia's

"Say, what time is it?" He asked, tearing his gaze away from her face.

Irene took out a pocket watch. "Uh… Half past eleven, why?"

Leonardo did a double take. "That late!?" Irene nodded at him. "I've gotta go." The boy stood up to leave, but turned to the girl and kissed her hand first. "'Till we meet again…" With that, he ran off.

Irene dropped her umbrella in shock. Her face reddened in embarrassment as she stared at her hand. She certainly hadn't been expecting that.

From the shadows, a figured emerged. He was clapping. "Well done! Well done!" He put a thumb to the girl's chin and raised her head for his eyes to meet hers. "My lovely Irene, you are a wonderful actress."

Irene slapped the man's hand away and glared at him. "I'm only doing this because you have my parents, Francisco. Don't think too much of it."

Francisco smirked. "We'll see…"

{ ~ * * * ~ }

Leonardo tried to creep stealthily into the house. Keyword: tried. The moment he got in, he was cornered by three angry adults.

"Where have you been?" A woman with short, dark-brown hair asked as she tapped her foot against the floor.

"Did you even consider how worried we were?" A tall, blonde man crossed his arms.

"And don't you even try to lie to us." Another man warned, his black hair a mess.

Leonardo laughed nervously. "I… uh…"

"Why on Exodus are you soaked!?" Rebecca shrieked which only made the situation more awkward for Leonardo.

The boy sighed as he slid down to the ground. "I was out with a girl."

That was technically true.

Immediately, the two men fist-bumped. "Who exactly is this girl, Leon?"

"Spill, bro! Spill!"

The woman sighed as she shook her head. Men…

She got up the stairs and went to her room, but not without checking on a very vital member of the group. Rebecca opened the door to the room and it revealed a girl with very long green hair and amber eyes sitting on the window frame with her legs up. She stared at the sky with an empty look. The woman almost looked like a statue of a beautiful goddess, so still and so dead…

Rebecca frowned as she closed the door and proceeded to her own room.

They had to do something. Fast.