Minutes before sunrise the next day, a figure was sneaking outside into the empty streets, carrying a bundle on his/her back. Stepping out from the shadows of the buildings, it was Lilan in a purple outfit with a black cloak over her shoulders. She was heading towards the edge of Manan Town without looking back at her home. She had stayed up all night coming to her final decision.

'My destiny... Mother... I'm coming!'

She could see the town gates up ahead, and there waiting just outside was the one who would guide her to her destiny, "Jaden-san!"

"So, you came after all," the woman smiled.

She nodded, looking away in deep thought. "The other day... you said... that I was a goddess," she began and looked worriedly at Jaden, "Does that mean... my papa isn't..."


Goddess Romance

created & written by K-chan

Episode Two: Divine Beauty


Two hours later, after arriving to the next town by carriage, Lilan stood relieved on the roadway while Jaden paid the driver. The girl wore a content smile after Jaden told her what she feared the most, and how strange it was that Jaden knew so much about her yet only said things that were necessary. But she was happy to know her father was still her real father while her mother was truly a goddess, which meant she was half-mortal and half...

"Oh yes," Jaden broke Lilan out of her thoughts, "I almost forgot to give you this." She reached into her pouch and took out a silver necklace with a sparkling blue gem. "This is for you," she said, giving it to the girl, "It will protect you when there is trouble."

"Thank you." Without a hesitation, she put it on and admired its simple beauty.

"But you shouldn't always rely on such items to protect you. The journey to Azgard will be long and filled with dangers, and I might not always be with you..."

"What?! Jaden-san, you're not coming with me?!"

"Not necessarily. I... Well, you never know what the future holds, but it is better if we prepare ourselves, right? Do not worry, I will teach you magic."

"Magic? Really?!"

"Yes," she nodded, "But it shouldn't be hard for you to learn. Being half-goddess, it should come naturally."

"Are we there yet?!" came a small voice. Lilan looked around, wondering who spoke since it was only the two of them there, but neither lips moved. It was then she realized the male voice came from Jaden's cloak, and she freaked out when the blue mouse popped out and spoke, "If we're there, then I would like a good meal to eat and nothing from the wild!"

"Waaai, he talked!! A mouse talked!!"

"Yeah, so?" he snarled at her.

Jaden giggled, "I forgot to mention about Clover. He's a magical wind-mouse and will be accompanying you from now on."

"WHAT?!!" Lilan and Clover shouted simultaneously, but the latter was more upset than surprised. "Whadaya mean?!" the creature continued, "You said NOTHING about this!! Why should I accompany a mortal?!"

"Be she's not any ordinary mortal," Jaden pointed out.

"Yeah yeah, I know, but... No way! I'm not doing it! I'm not babysitting anyone!!"

"Clover," she said a bit harshly, glaring at the disobedient mouse.

"Umm," Lilan interrupted, feeling awkward at being stuck in the middle, "it's okay if he doesn't wa--"

Jaden looked at her, "No, he will accompany you no matter what. That is the final decision. Now let us find a place to rest and eat." Clover pouted and disappeared into Jaden's cloak pocket, leaving Lilan to feel guilty at having dragged him into her journey against his own will. She remained quietly and followed the woman into what she finally realized was a big city with stoned gates all the way around. Stepping through the gates, she was amazed at its huge size and greatest.

At the center of the city was a large fortress that she would've mistaken as the castle of the kingdom if Jaden hadn't corrected her. This journey would be an eye opener since she had never left her hometown before, and just thinking about that, she wondered how her father was doing, like how he would react to the letter she left behind. It was painful to know that her father would be lonely in that empty house, but she wanted to find the truth, the truth to her existence. Maybe it was selfish... Yes, it was selfish, but if she remained in her town, then she would've lived a restless life without ever knowing what could've been.

Lilan's eyes finally caught something interesting, and she wandered over to the small stand selling children's toys. There were many colorful kites of butterflies, birds and other creatures. She reached for a dragon one and held up to the skies, smiling happily, "Hee, Liam would love this!"

The woman behind the booth smiled, watching the girl glide the kite through the air testing the tail streamers. "My, what a pretty girl," she remarked.

"Oh, thank you," she bowed. "How much is this?"

"For a pretty girl like you, one silver coin."

"Really?! Thank you so much!" She reached into her purse for the said amount and paid the woman.

"You must be new here, am I correct?"

"Yes, this is my first time from home. I'm traveling to Azgard with my mentor."

"Azgard? What a long trip for a pretty girl. But for now, enjoy your stay in 'Hero City'!"

"Why is it called 'Hero City'?" Lilan asked.

"Over two centuries ago, a young knight bravely fought against a Dark Lord to save this kingdom and defeated him by sacrificing his own life. So this city was named aptly so because this was where he was from," she explained, and Lilan could express her amazement in her awed face. "And Azar Fortress over there," she pointed, "is where the young men of the kingdom come and train to become knights."

"Lilan?!" Jaden called her.

"Oh! Aah, I must be going. Thanks again!" she said and rushed off after her mentor in the distance. Just after her departure, some kids ran by the booth, and one of them grabbed a kite and continued running. The woman noticed it too late and yelled angrily after the boy. The little thief turned back, making a face at her, but he didn't see where he was going and bumped into someone. He looked up and saw a young man with dark-brown hair looking down at him.

The man picked up the kid in one hand and the kite in the other, and the woman caught up to them. "You kids are such trouble makers!" she complained, accepting the returned kite, "Thank you, Amaris. He would've gotten away if it wasn't for you."

"Ha, I'm glad to be of help," he smiled and set the impatient kid on his feet again. He knelt down to him and said, "If you want the toy so badly, why don't you just work hard for it?" The kid just ran off, leaving the adults to their own assessment.

"Kids these days," the woman sighed, walking back to her booth with Amaris. "So how was training today?"

"Not too bad, but Blake came in late again," he laughed.

"That boy. He'll never learn. I'm surprised they haven't kicked him out yet."

"He's a strong guy, and they know that." She nodded, rearranging the mess the kids made, while Amaris noticed something different, "Say, where's that dragon kite I made? Did you sell it already?"

"Oh yes, to a very pretty girl. She has a good eye for beauty. Hmm, if only you came a little sooner, you could've met her. Very well-mannered too. A one of kind girl."

"Oh auntie, you make her sound like a goddess!" he laughed.

"Perhaps she is!"


Even though they continued their walk towards an inn, Lilan was still distracted by the many side shoppes along the way. Clover was getting impatient, but Jaden stood from afar and watched the girl go about shopping and chatting with the citizens. This didn't bother her as much as the many young men eying Lilan, who seemed to take no notice of them. Jaden walked over to her and said, "Lilan, you seem to be enjoying yourself, so I'll meet you at the inn later then."

"Oh! I'm sorry, Jaden-san. I didn't realize I was sidetracking us like this."

"It's all right. I have to do something myself, so whenever you're done shopping, come to Hanabi Inn. It's in the eastern section of the city."

"Okay. I won't be long then."

Jaden then took an irritated Clover from her pocket and put him in the front chest pocket of Lilan's dress. "Now stay on the clear path and don't wander off onto narrow roads," she warned and walked away.

"'Clear paths'? 'Narrow roads'?" she repeated, "What is she talking about?"

Clover squirmed a bit in his new space, poking his head back out, and whispered, "Just stick to what you're doing... like that bakery over there!" He pointed to the store uphead that was selling delicious pastries in the window display. "Since I'm stuck with you, I might as well make the most of it."

Lilan giggled and nodded, "It's the least I can do." She made her way to the bakery that soon drew attention from the nearby men who noticed her immediately. Some tagged after as long as they could up to the bakery entrance because the small store could occupy so many persons. After ordering a few fruit-filled pastries for Clover, she turned towards the doorway and realized the young men suddenly turning their attention elsewhere and made a pathway for her to leave. She slowly walked by them, wondering why they kept glancing in her direction, which reminded her a lot of the incident in her town the other day.

When she was out of the store, she remarked to her companion quietly, "Those guys were sure acting weird."

Clover popped out of the bag, munching on a pastry. "You don't know? You're a goddess," he said, "What mortal man can resist the beauty of a goddess? But in YOUR case, they are acting weirder than normal."

Lilan sweatdropped, "You think so?" She tried to ignore it, but she really wasn't used to the attention from such people. Have they not seen prettier girls than she before? But maybe all mortal men were like this? Well, except for her father; he was different. "Well, there's no need to think about it," she nodded.

"Huh? Think about what?" Clover inquired.

"Oh nothing," she replied, reaching for a delicious pastry. She ate as she walked, coming across another road, and took that one because she saw a sign that sold artworks. "Oh, I wonder if they have papa's work in here?"

"Whadaya mean?"

"My papa is a painter!" she chirped happily. "But he's not famous one... It might be a little selfish, but I don't want him to be. If everyone knows about him, then they would come to our home and ask him to paint this and that, and then he won't have any peace and quiet. So, to see at least one here would be nice though!"

"You know, you talk too much."

"Really? I guess I'm just happy." Before either could say anything else, a loud commotion came from farther down the street, where a carriage being pulled by two horses were heading right for Lilan. She was paralyzed to move out of the way, and as the vehicle drew closer, she thought she would be eating dirt soon, but the next thing she knew, something threw her to the ground, out of harm's way. She felt a heartbeat and someone's arms around her. She peeked up and saw a rugged, tall man cushioning her fall.

"Hey, are you okay?" he asked her as they both sat up. She could only nod in reply. "That's good," he grinned, helping her up, "I'd hate to see a gorgeous babe like you hurt."

"Thank you, sir," she said, but then she realized her newly bought kite was broken during the incident, "Oh no! My kite! And I wanted so much for Liam to fly this..."

"No problem," the man said, "We'll just get the jerk to pay for the damage. What moron rides this fast in the city?!" He turned his fiery eyes to the carriage that had stopped in front of the art shoppe.

With teary eyes, Lilan tugged on his arms, shaking her head, "No, please don't. It's really my fault. If I had moved away sooner..."

"But..."

"Really, it's okay," she smiled warmly.

"Okay, but I'm still gonna tell him a thing or two about the city speed limit." He stomped up to the carriage with Lilan trying to convince him not to do it when the door opened and a young man in elegant clothing stepped out. Lilan was awestruck by his beauty. His long, wavy hair draped on his shoulders made him look like he was of royalty. "Oh, so it's you, Niroku."

"Hmm?" he looked at the tall man, "And what do I have the pleasure of seeing Sir Blake here?"

"I'll have you know, you almost killed an innocent girl with your damn carriage!" he shouted, but Niroku turned to the girl next to Blake and was speechless as she was.

Lilan blushed and looked somewhere else like the ground to avoid his haunting, violet eyes. "It's okay... I'm fine, so we can just forget about it," she told them.

"But I can't forget about it! Stupid Niroku jerk," Blake continued to fume.

Niroku stepped over to Lilan and reached his hand out to her and lifted her face up to him. There was something in his eyes as he stared at her that frightened her. She pulled away from him, and Blake cut in between them. "You're not harm, are you, Miss?" he asked her, ignoring the third person.

"Umm, no."

"Thanks to me!" Blake said, waving his arms.

It felt weird staying there, so she bowed to them, "I really must be going. Bye!" And off, she went, leaving the two men to stare speechlessly after her, while her mind was still on the broken kite. What terrible luck she had.

"This is not my lucky day," Clover mirrored her thoughts aloud. He was clinging onto her hair as she ran since he had fallen out of the pastry bag when she fell back, but luckily, he was able to grasp onto her hair and held on ever since.


That evening, Niroku walked into a dark room and closed the door after him. With a wave of his hand, the room filled up with light from the burning candles throughout the place. Everything seemed lifeless and empty with the white covers thrown over the furniture and wall decoration, but there was one large piece that he stood before, trance-like. He reached out to the white cloth and pulled it away, revealing a large painting of a beautiful, young woman sitting by a lake. Her radiating figure was the center-piece of the blue-hued background that seem to bring out a sort of divine beauty about her.

Niroku brushed his finger across the woman's face as if she was real and smiled, "My dream princess... You have finally appeared before me..." His eyes seem to light up dangerously as he laughed psychotically. A dark aura appeared from his body, taking shape into a shadow form above him with the same sinister laughter that night.


"Are you really serious, Jaden-san?!" Lilan sighed, staring at the stack of books on the table. Clover was already curiously looking through one while the woman stood behind Lilan with crossed arms over her chest.

"Yes, I am," she said, "Before you learn any magic, you should know about the basics of it."

"But so many books!"

"It'll be all right. We're staying here for a few more days. I have something I haven't quite finished with yet, so while I'm doing that, you can stay here and read the books."

"That doesn't sound exciting," she complained.

"Ha ha, life's like that." Jaden picked up Clover and headed towards the doorway, "Now don't stay up too late reading them. Good night, Lilan."

"Good night," she sighed, and Jaden closed the bedroom door. She looked at the books again and then decided to go sleep instead. She would just start tomorrow, if ever.

Meanwhile outside Lilan's room, Jaden leaned against the door with Clover on her shoulder, waiting until the light in the girl's room went out. "Were you going to tell me anytime soon?" Clover inquired, "Why we stopped in this city when our next destination is only a few hours away? We could go there instead."

"There's a darkness over this city..."

"Darkness?"


TO BE CONTINUED...


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I started out with just the opening with nothing planned 'cept for the fact that Amaris and Blake were to be introduced and ended up typing as I went along. I'm pretty satisfied with it, but I'm sorrie it's gonna be in two parts. Anyway, I doubt anyone's reading this... Okay, maybe one person. Ha... thanks, Dark Angemon!!