Riena quietly walked around town. In the short time Zeran left her and her family, Riena decided to make something more of her life. People still don't know her as the thief from before. They all think she's an angel who desended from heaven. She's always on her best behavior around everyone, and the entire town loves her. But everyday, she's been silently hoping to see Zeran again. It's been more than a month already yet no word of his whereabouts has ever reached Riena's ears. That bastard promised me he'd be back, Riena thought bitterly. What in the world happened to you... Zeran nii-chan...
"Oh Riena-chan," the grocer's wife called out to her.
"What's wrong?" Riena obediently walked over.
"I ran out of forest mushrooms for some soup," the lady sighed. "Would you mind getting some for me? I'll pay you with some money and some of my famous broth!"
"YEA!" Riena nodded happily. The grocer's wife's broth is good enough to die for.
So this was how Riena's day began. It was no different from the other days she did favors for the other villagers and recieved payment to help her and her family survive. Ever since she changed her way of life, it's been a lot better than when she was stealing.
"Ri-" A voice called out out of nowhere.
Riena looked around. Am I imagining things?
"-ena" the voice finished. Something is calling me... Riena looked around but saw nobody. Is it coming from the forest? She picked up the pace towards the forest. It seemed more eerie than ever, but Riena was more focused on the voice which called her. What was it and where did it come from were some of the questions on her mind. After near 3 hours of searching without finding the source of the voice (or any mushrooms for that matter) she decided to headback, dejected and tired. Suddenly the voice came again, only clearer.
"Riena" that single word was all that was said.
As if like magic, Riena suddenly knew where the voice came from. She rushed through the part of the forest she hadn't looked through and saw a huge tree.
Chained to the tree was a bloodied angel.
Riena screamed her head off.
The angel had 6 wings, 3 black on his right and 3 white on his left. The angel's entire body was covered with blood and 6 giant stakes nailed his wings to the tree. But the wings glowed and did not bleed. The angel's glowing silver hair covered his face, and it was clearly a beautiful creature. The chains strapped his arms to the branches, and locked his arms and legs to the trunk of the tree. Staring at this angel was another girl besides Riena. She had smooth silky black hair down to her shoulders and a gentle expression on her face which made her look very pretty.
"Oh?" the girl turned to look at Riena. "Good evening. How are you?"
"What..." Riena opened her mouth. "What is this?"
"It's a poor boy," the girl smiled sadly while looking back at the angel. "His heart is as you see. It's all beaten and bloodied, and it can't fly anymore. All it can do is just watch on from that position."
"Why?" Riena asked. "Surely this person can't be all that bad?"
"Humans all do bad things without realizing it. It's one of our greatest weaknesses," the girl said quietly. "This boy lacked the strength to control his actions and he wound up hurting a great deal of people. He can never forgive himself nor can he expect others to forgive him for it. So he chained himself up like this."
Riena paused trying to take this all in.
"It's true humans are like that," Riena began. "But while we hurt sometimes, we also manage to bring happiness as well. It's what somebody taught me. He taught em that I couldn't simply live my life by making others unhappy. I had to work to make everyone smile."
"It's good you believe that," the girl smiled gently. "Are you by any chance, Riena?"
"Huh?" Riena blinked. "Yea I am... How do you know my name?"
"This boy," the girl pointed. "Who drowns himself in his sins, unable to truly connect with anyone for fear of losing them, and tries his very best to repent for his past mistakes, is the one who told me."
"How would he know me?" Riena said slowly... Unless! Riena rushed to the tree and took a closer look at the angel. It was Zeran's face. But how? Riena wondered. Zeran doesn't have wings nor silver hair. What's going on?
Riena turned to the girl. "This person is Zeran nii-san."
"Nii-san?" the girl laughed. "I guess that does suit him in a way. He tried so hard to protect me when we were little. But that's all in the past." In the past? Riena wondered. She knew Zeran nii-san from before?
"Riena," the girl looked at her in the eyes. "From now on, I want you to take good care of Zeran for me."
"Eh?" Riena blinked.
"This poor boy," the girl sighed. "No matter how much he acts independent or cool, in the end he always needs somebody to stand by him no matter what. Otherwise, his heart will remain chained up forever."
"Why can't you do it?" Riena asked.
"Because I already long ceased to exist in this world," the girl smiled sadly and began to fade.
"WAIT!" Riena called out. "How do I save Zeran nii-san?"
"Simply free his heart from the tree he is bound to," the girl said before vanishing.
Zeran nii-san, Riena glanced up at him. What in the world happened to you?
Riena climbed the tree and tried pulling down each stake for every wing. Every time she pulled down a stake the wing would disappear. One by one she pulled it out with all her strength. When there was one reamaining...
"RAHHHH" Riena yelled as she pulled it out, and slipped. She grabbed onto the chains binding Zeran and sighed. Suddenly the chains shattered and she was thrown to the ground.
"Owwwww...." Riena groaned. "What the hell was that?"
Zeran's hiar slowly turned from silver to black again and fell from the tree straight onto the ground.
"Nii-san!" Riena yelled and tried to catch him, but her body was too small and he simply landed on top of her.
Riena looked closely at Zeran's body which was covered in blood. She couldn't hold back a tear as she saw his badly beaten face covered in blood. The same face who was smiling at her less than 2 months ago. This same face now devoide of life. She gently stroked his hair and gained a newfound strength. She got out from under him and ran into the village for help.
"EVERYONE!" Riena shouted at the top of her lungs. "I FOUND A HEAVILY WOUNDED BOY LOST IN THE WOODS! PLEASE HELP ME TAKE HIM BACK TO AN INN AND TREAT HIM!"
People immediately came out to Riena's cry and followed her into the forest. When they discovered the injured Zeran, the viallgers cooperated to bring him back safe and sound. At the inn, the doctor gave Zeran a full check up and then proceedded to treat his wounds.
"It'll take him at least a month to heal these wounds," the doctor shook his head.
"No way..." Riena gasped.
"Don't worry," the doctor tried to cheer her up. "A month will pass by quickly."
Riena nodded and asked to stay next to him while he recovered.
"Zeran nii-san," Riena whispered. "You're probably not going to tell me what happened to you, nor are you going to tell me who that girl I met was. I hate it! I hate you not telling me anything! I want you to trust me..." Tears silently rolled down her cheek, and she slowly drifted off to sleep.
Zeran opened his eyes.
I thought I heard... Shia? Zeran groggily looked around. Where am I? I was fighting that Noah... But I did my best to hold 'him' back. Shit, that girl really wanted to kill me. Next time, I think I'll break my rule of holding back when fighting females and teach her a lesson, just once. Zeran touched his lips. Ugh... Kised by a Noah... Sick... She needs a huge spanking the next time I see her.
Zeran tried to get up but his body hurt and it felt heavy. Eh? Zeran took a better look and saw Riena sleeping on top of his body. I fulfilled my promise after all... He gently stroked Riena's hair. You're a lot different than when I first left you. You've become quite pretty. Zeran quietly wriggled his way out and looked around for his stuff.
"Zeran nii-san..." Riena mumbled in her sleep. "Don't go..." Can I really stay here? Zeran touched his right eye. Will I...? An image of a town completly engulfed in flames and Riena's mangled body on the ground flashed through Zeran's head. NO! NEVER! Even if it comes me my very soul, I swear I'll never kill somebody precious to me again. But if I leave her alone, she may get killed by an Akuma... then it'll be my fault... What should I do?
The next morning, Riena found herself asleep in a comfortable bed. Eh? Wasn't I with Zeran nii-san? How did I get here? She got up in a complete surprise. "This is Zeran nii-san's bed! Where did he go?" Don't tell me... This is goodbye?
Would Zeran nii-san really leave me? Riena clutched her chest. Then... I'll never see him again? She threw off her covers and ran outside. I don't believe it... Zeran nii-san wouldn't just leave. He can't! I won't forgive him! She looked all over town and asked every villager, but they all had no clue where he went, especially in his condition.
She ran to the last place she hadn't thought of, the forest, and tried looking for him, but found no traces. He isn't... here? Riena's legs gave way. You've left after all... I knew... I was a burden to you... But... No note... no sign to show you were saying good-bye. It's too cruel... She slowly stood up and walked, not knowing or caring where her legs took her. Zeran nii-san was a very mean person, Riena thought. There's no reason I should be upset. He'd always keep to himself as if he was afraid that giving anything about himself away would mean the end of the world. That cocky grin he always had... It ticks me off! There's all these bad things... But why is it? Why is it when I think of him, my heart feels so much brighter. He is the only person to be able to see through me after all... Even if he can't see through himself, he saw through the exterior I tried so hard to make. I... Riena came to a clearing and saw a bright sparkling lake.
"There was a lake here?" Riena gasped. "It's so beautiful."
She took a seat with her knees pointed upwards and crossed her arms over it and continued thinking. I'm just a nuisance to him anyways. Maybe he and I were supposed to end it like this after all. Yea... It's for the best... She laid her head down on her knees. "Zeran nii-san... Never existed..."
A splash of water was heard far off. Riena stood up. What could that be? An Akuma? Riena quietlly snuck around (*hums Mission Impossible theme*) and hid behind a bush. Somebody was taking a bath in the lake. Akumas don't take baths. Who could that be? Riena inched closer for a better look at the person taking a bath. She gasped as she inched closer. Zeran with a bandage around his right eye was silently washing himself, and Riena found it almost intoxicating.
"Enjoying the view?" Zeran called out from where he ws standing in the lake. Eh? Riena blinked. Did he just...
"Come on out Riena," Zeran said. "You suck at hiding yourself."
Riena covered her eyes and walked towards him.
"Now you cover your eyes," Zeran sighed. "My sexy body isn't free for viewing you know."
"EH?!?!" Riena shouted while still not looking. "I wasn't looking... I was just... passing by!"
"You're worse at lying than you are at hiding yourself," Zeran sighed. "As a punishment, I demand you get in here with me."
"WHAT?!?!?!" Riena gasped and removed her hand. "YOU PERVERT!"
"Oh and I'm the one peeking on somebody else taking a bath?" Zeran grinned. "There's towels over there on the grass. I'm wearing one right now. Go ahead, I promise, I won't peek." Zeran faced the other direction and waited. Why am I going along with this? Riena obediently stripped and put on a towel. Is it because I'm relieved he didn't leave? She got into the cool clear water of the lake and lined her back against Zeran's.
"Okay I'm in..." Riena said grudingly.
"Good girl," Zeran smiled. "Now it's time for a little fun."
Zeran grabbed Riena and forcefully washed her hair.
"Ow! What are you doing!" Riena whined.
"If you calm down it'll hurt a lot less," Zeran said.
Riena silently obeyed and true to his word, it became like a gentle scrubbing. If a casual observer saw these two, he would conclude they were very close siblings. Soon Zeran finished up, sighed, and turned back.
"Why are you here?" Riena said. "Aren't your wounds serious?"
"Don't 'Meh' me!"
"I'll 'meh' you as much as I want to lil midget."
"You are so insensitive."
"You promised you'd be back, and I waited for so long."
"I'm here now."
"You come back all bloodied up, how do you think I feel?"
"........" Zeran remained silent. "Can you do me a favor?"
"What is it?" Riena asked curiously.
"Forget about me."
"You'll be safer if you do.
"A girl asked me to stay by you no matter what."
"A pretty girl who was very slim and looked very kind."
"She did, huh?"
"Yup" Damn you... Shia, Zeran thought bitterly
Zeran turned around and wrapped his arms around Riena's shoulders. "If you don't forget me... Many tragic things will happen to you and this town. Is that alright with you?" Is that alright with me? Riena wondered. Would I risk the death of all my friends and my parents just so I won't forget? No... I'mnot alright, but I know Zeran nii-san will definetly protect me so "Yes it is alright with me," Riena said firmly and gently touched Zeran's arm. "If you can promise to be here when I need you, then I'm alright with it." So charm doens't work on this girl after all, Zeran thought. "I'm getting out now," Zeran said and released his arms. "Otherwise, my skin will look wrinkly."
"Eh wait I'm coming out too," Riena said and stumbled over a small pebble in the bottom of the lake. She fell over backwards into the water.
"Idiot," Zeran muttered. When Riena didn't resurface for a few minutes, he began to get worried. "Don't tell me that idiot can't swim..." Zeran groaned. He took a deep breath and looked underwater. He quickly located the unconsious Riena whose towel had fallen off. (ZOMG LOLICON) Zeran choked and quickly gasped for air. "WHAT THE HELL!" he yelledand went back in. He quickly picked up Riena's body, closed his eyes, and held her body close. Finally Zeran reached the shore and gently set her body down. He draped a fresh towel over her and sighed. What a predicament, Zeran thought as he dressed himself. How can I wake her up? Zeran checked her pulse. It was faint and she wouldn't move. CPR it is then, Zeran groaned. He pinched her nose and blew into her mouth. He kept repeating until Riena coughed up water in his face.
"How did I get here?" Riena groaned. "Hey this is a fresh towel!" Riena immediately glared at Zeran. "What happened to my old one?"
"It's some where at the bottom of the lake," Zeran said.
"You looked didn't you?" Riena accused. "It'd be impossible for you not to."
Zeran remained silent. "Sorry..."
"Don't think I'll let you get away for that!" Riena yelled.
"I'm not just apologizing for looking at you," Zeran said quietly. "If it wasn't for my childish desire to make you do something you didn't want to... You almost died..."
Riena quieted down.
"More misfortune will befall you if I stay," Zeran said ominously. "That's why I have to leave." He reached into his pocket and pulled out the pistol of False Innocence which Eny gave him. "You can use this to stun Akuma while you run."
"NO!" Riena shouted and hugged Zeran tightly. "If you weren't here... I don't know what I would do. Plus that girl asked me to stay by you. I'll definetly stay with you no matter what."
"Baka..." Zeran shed a tear and held Riena tightly. "Foolish sentiments get you nowhere."
The water is up to Riena's neck and Zeran's chest. which explains why she can drown underwater if she's not careful. This chapter is soooooooooo sappy and it nearly brought a tear to my eyes... Hope you enjoy the OP and ED songs. This chapter is soooo short! ah well... I'll make it longer next time... PEACE!
A lovely chapter. LOVE LOVE LOVE it.
The end of part 5 - "Zeran nii-san... Never existed..." - it almost made me cry.
So sad TAT.
The bath scene is on the one hand funny but one the other lovely yet sad. Very good combination. Ha, I knew the girl was Shia even before you told us. But I have to admit, I didn't know that the angel was Zeran before you said so ^_^". Well, it was kinda unexpected after all.
Hehe, I totally knew it was Shia-chan! I feel smart. Okay, it wasn't that hurt. Don't hurt my self-esteem! Whoa, focus...! The bath scene was both funny and cute, I really like Riena-chan. =3 I liked your little notes about the nosebleediness and emotasticness. Okay, I'm going to stop making up words now. I think that asprin's getting to me... xDDD
Bah, he gave Riena the pistol. There goes my plot idea with that thing. Wait... I could make that work! Nevermind, nevermind. -devious-
Nice chapter. =) Hey! The opening theme was Shippuden's! <3 I love that song.