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Author Topic: Re: The mask of soul//chapter 48/ 10/31  (Read 22082 times)

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 40/ 25/9
« Reply #160 on: October 04, 2013, 07:40:42 AM »
Eri T_T but Takagaki :D

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 41/ 8/10
« Reply #161 on: October 08, 2013, 08:57:48 PM »
darkacex99: Lol, I may not update as often as I did before, but I'm sill here  :lol: And thank you for your comment!

rndmnwierd: Had to keep the drama going on since Takagaki got back together~ Thanks for commenting!

And as always, thank you everyone for your interest! Ah, free time from school work!!! Though I still should be doing something else than this but nah~ Anyhow, here's the next chapter.

Here we go~



Chapter 41 – Underworld


Though Ai's wounds had been worse than the last time, she recovered amazingly fast. It was probably because she got the first aid sooner than in her last battle. Also, she had been given magic by the life giver which probably had made the healing many times more effective. After one week she was already allowed to go outside and walk around, but only under someone's eye.

And who else than her beautiful lover was the one who always looked after her. It was also the easiest way since the two spend so much time together anyways. When Lin Lin had announced this to the young leader, Ai had immediately grabbed her lover, who had been standing beside her bed, in one arm hug and held her close. The nurse didn't need to be told twice whom the leader wanted to be her caretaker and she had only nodded and exited the room, chuckling at the same time. But after they had gotten Ai out of the bed there was another person they had to worry about. Or actually, two.

Eri was still depressed and didn't take any contact with anyone. Reina was with her all the time and she in turn wouldn't let the turtle away from her eyes. She still talked and ate but when someone suggested that she should go outside for a while, the kitten always said no. Miki even once ordered her to do so, but Reina had only stood up, bowed deeply towards her captain and apologized that she simply couldn't obey. Miki had been furious for it was inexcusable to rebel against higher officers direct command no matter how politely you did it. At first the captain was about to carry Reina out of the room but when she had calculated the situation again in her head Miki just let her be. Not being in the mood to argue or fire one of her best warriors, the captain had only stated that the kitten should really rest and take care of herself.

It had been one week after that incident and Reina stopped eating. She still did it when the food was offered, but the amount she put in her mouth was ridiculously small. When she was told she should eat more, the kitten only growled something and just kept staring at her best friend in the bed. Lin Lin proposed not to provoke Reina to do something for she had started to felt something negative radiating from her. Of course they had to keep her in good condition, but Miki advised everyone helping or working under the nurse to be careful around Reina and Eri. When Ai and Risa heard this the atmosphere became even darker. It was like an instant counterattack just after they had gotten Ai healed. It seemed like the bad luck would follow them everywhere.

Ai and Risa were outside in the village and were spending their time at the market place. They were sitting on the bench were they had always spend their time with their gang. Risa was leaning on her lover's shoulder who in turn seemed to be deep in thoughts. She was leaning her chin on her hands and looked in one place, not caring about the passer-byes or such. It had been like this the whole morning and it started to bother Risa. What was in her lover's mind for she was way too quiet and spaced out way too much. Deciding to find out, the bean rose her head and craned her neck so that she could kiss Ai's cheek. It didn't take long when the monkey was back on earth and looking at her girlfriend beside her with a bewildered look. Risa only smiled and gave another quick peck on Ai's lips before taking her previous position.

“What are you thinking?” Risa asked. Ai didn't reply immediately. She only turned her look ahead and returned in her previous position.

“Nothing much...” She mumbled. But Risa wouldn't buy that because every time Ai said that, she was actually thinking something very deeply. It was just like her to keep the things that bothered her inside her and not to bug others with them. Risa snuggled a bit closer, sneaking her arm around Ai's waist and bringing her head closer to her lover's

“Come on. I know there's something in your mind you just don't want to tell it.” She cooed and kissed Ai's cheek again. This time the leader sighed deeply and scratched her head. Something was definitely bothering her and the bean would dig that up.

'I am not sure if this is a good idea...'

Ai mused. She suddenly felt how something tickled her side and soon after that warm lips attached under her ear and against her neck. The sudden rush of pleasure and the tickling made her jump up a bit. Risa laughed when she finally got her lover back on earth. If nothing else worked, tickling the oversensitive leader would always bring her back on earth.

“Quit spacing out and instead speak your mind out.” She whispered in Ai's ear. ”You know you can tell me anything.”

The tickling stopped and Risa waited till Ai would make her decision. It was silent for a while before there was another deep sigh from the leader. Then the younger one felt how an arm sneaked around her waist as well and brought her closer. In no time, she found herself in Ai's embrace and felt how her lover breathed in her ear.

“It's just... I am thinking how I could help Eri... I have something in my mind.”

Well, this didn't surprise Risa. Ai was known of worrying about others and especially her team. But the bean was also curious and hopeful for she really wanted their aho turtle friend back.

“What do you have in your mind?”

Ai pulled a bit away so she could see Risa's face. She was biting her lip and looked very nervous and the bean was sure there wasn't going to be any talking if she didn't encourage her a bit more. Leaning forwards, Risa kissed Ai's lips sweetly, catching her off guard again. After the kiss, she gave an encouraging smile to her lover and waited. Ai hesitated for a while but soon opened her mouth.

“I just... We could visit the underworld and...” She started but was soon cut of by her lover's questioning voice.

“Underworld?”

“Yes, Underworld.”

The bean looked at her girlfriend like she had grown another head. What the heck was she talking about?

“Mmm... What's Underworld?”

Now, it was Ai's turn to stare at her lover with wide eyes. She didn't know?

“Eh?! You don't know what... You don't know underworld?”

When the bean shook her head for an answer, Ai almost fell off the bench. Well this was something new. Everyone knew what place underworld was! And even though Risa had lived nearby the border, she should still know. It was just common knowledge in here and even in Heng's clan!

“Ano... You really don't know?”

Ai asked again. Maybe Risa just got some kind of a blackout or mixed underworld with some other place. It would be very very odd if she didn't know the place.

“No. If I knew, I wouldn't be asking you what the heck is that place....” Risa said. Well, there went Ai's chances to think that the bean knew underworld.

“Oh... I see...” Ai mumbled. ”Well, it's time for you to know this... Underworld is the place where everyone of us goes after we die...”

“What??!”

Risa exclaimed, interrupting her lover. Ai raised her hand up and signaled the younger one to shut up, for she wasn't finished yet. When she decided Risa was calm enough, the leader continued.

“Yes, it's exactly as it sounds. The soul never dies, so after our body passes away, our soul keeps on living. But it can't stay in this world without a body so it has to travel to underworld in order to keep on living.”

As she explained, Ai noticed how the bean's face was like she had seen a ghost. The younger one had never believed in ghosts or such, but now her resolution had been weakened totally. A place where souls could live? And everyone were destined to go there someday when their body would die? That sounded like a fairy tale adults would told to kids.

“Don't look like that.”

Ai's voice snapped Risa out of her thoughts. The older one didn't like to look at her lover's shocked face at all. The bean tried to say something, but nothing came out. This was indeed something new and she bet that even the wisest men in her village hadn't known about this. Or at least that was what she thought. Gathering herself, Risa coughed a bit and calmed down.

“But...” She started as she thought her next words carefully so she wouldn't start ranting nonsense. ”If it's a place for dead ones and souls, how can we... visit it?”

The idea of even seeing that kind of place made chills run through her body. It was like visiting a graveyard in the middle of night. Yes, she might not believe in ghosts, but it was still scary to visit a place where only dead resided.

“Well... Actually, living persons are not allowed to enter that place...”

“What??! Then how can we visit it then??!” Risa shouted.

“It sounds funny, but there's a rule made between the guardian of underground and the mortal ones.” The leader explained calmly, causing Risa to look at her suspiciously.

'Oh great, now even a guardian of that soul place...'

“Mortal creatures are allowed to visit underground for one hour. No longer. But it's recommended that a person should not stay longer than half a hour.”

“Why?”

Ai was quiet for a while, before she continued with a dark look on her face.

“After a half hour, your soul starts to escape from your body. It's still possible to stop then, but if you stay longer than an hour your soul will get off from your body and gets stuck in underground.”

As Risa listened her lover, the less she wanted to go to that soul place. It sounded dangerous and seeing someone who had passed away...

'Wait a second...'

“In other words...”

'Could I...'

“You die.”

“Ai.”

The leader turned to look at her lover who seemed to be deep in thoughts. When nothing happened in a while, Ai reached out and touched Risa's cheek gently. This caused her to snap back on earth and face her concerned lover.

“Yes?” Ai said, rising her brow a bit. Risa was silent for she had forgotten what she had wanted to ask. But as she looked in her lover's worried eyes, the flashback she had gotten seconds ago came back in her mind.

“I just... I was just thinking...” She stammered and was even a bit afraid to ask, but Ai's encouraging look ”You know You can tell me everything you ever desire to”, made Risa open her mouth.

“I was just thinking that would it be possible... That I could see my family... out there?”

Cold shivers run down Ai's spine as she heard the bean's words. Oh yes, there was that. She had totally forgotten that of course her own family would be there too. Seeing her mother would not be a problem, since she had died in illness when Ai had been a kid. But her father and sister... What would happen when she would see them? Last time she saw them she...

Suddenly as Ai turned her look back to Risa she saw something else than she expected. Her lover's face was in blood and an empty gaze looked back at her. She was not in the village anymore, but in her old home which was being destroyed by the flames right now. Scared by the scene, Ai pulled backwards and jumped on her feet. The picture changed immediately. She was back in the village's market place and Risa was sitting in front of her, unharmed. The leader just stood still, till she noticed that her breathing had gotten faster. Suddenly, she looked at her hands and when she saw them stained in blood once again she gasped loudly and took few steps backwards, shaking her hands furiously at the same time.

'Dammit! Go away!'

“Ai?”

Hearing her lover's voice, the leader snapped out of her flashbacks. Her hands weren't in blood anymore and everything was like it had been a while ago. But her breathing hadn't calmed down at all. Risa was looking at the older one with concerned eyes. There had been that damn pained look in her lover's eyes as she had spaced out and then out of nowhere, she had jumped up and yelped.

“Ai? Is everything alright...” Risa asked, as she got up and approached the leader.

“Did I hurt you?” Ai asked suddenly, still looking at her hands if there was something in them. The bean stopped walking and just looked at Ai questioningly.

“What?”

“Did I do any harm to you?” Ai repeated and raised her head, her tone desperate and demanding. She wanted to know if she had done something while having her flashbacks.

A bit confused of what her lover had meant the bean started to carefully walk closer. Ai was still looking at her with shocked face and even started to back away. She didn't want to hurt her lover and right now, Ai wasn't sure if she could control her mind. But when Risa reached her and took her face between her hands, the leader calmed down.

“Ai, whatever happened just a moment ago, you didn't hurt me at all.” Risa spoke slowly and gently, for it seemed like her lover had been scared by something. The leader took few deep breaths as she tried to calm herself down. Risa's close presence made it easier to cool down and soon, Ai felt like she had gained her body and mind control back. She placed one of her hands on top of Risa's and closed her eyes. She took few deep breaths as she pressed her head against the bean's palm.

“Good...”

“Ai, what happened?” Risa asked concerned as she stroked the older ones cheeks gently with her thumbs.

“I... I got a flashback...”

The stroking stopped and Ai knew why. Risa was confused and she knew she would soon be worried, even scared. The leader hadn't had any flashbacks earlier, but now she had gotten one and it had immediately affected her. There was still a lot of war left and now they were going to visit a place where surely some memories would return in her mind. It wasn't very good combination with Ai's flashbacks and when everyone knew how bad experiments and memories had affected her last time, they wanted to protect their leader and friend from them.

“Are you okay?” Risa soft voice spoke suddenly. It sounded like she was only worried about how Ai felt right now, but when the leader lifted her gaze up she could see how unsure and scared Risa in truth was. Her eyes said it to her and the shaking hands on her cheeks only proved it more.

“Yes, I am.” Ai convinced. When Risa started to look nervously around and her hands started to tremble even more, the leader knew what it was all about.

'She's afraid I'll change again...'

Just when the bean was about to pull away, Ai grabbed her arms and pulled her in embrace. At first Risa was tense and even tried to escape, but when her lover's hold only became more tight and she felt her hot breathing in her ear, the bean calmed down a bit.

“Don't worry... I am okay now and it was nothing serious...” Ai tried to assure her lover. “No matter what happens or where ever we will go,” Ai pulled a bit away, so she could see her lover's face.

“I will never change like that again...” Leaning in, Ai placed her lips on Risa's. She didn't care about the public right now for her main goal at the moment was to make Risa calm down and trust in her. It seemed to work. The bean's body started to relax and her arms found their way around Ai's midsection. Satisfied, the leader pulled away and pressed her forehead against Risa's.

“And I will never ever hurt you...” The leader continued as she sealed her lips with Risa once again.

-------------------------------------------

“NO! For the last time get out of here and leave us alone!!”

Shouting was heard at the nurse's place and it was soon followed by the sound of something hitting very hard on the door. A scared looking female assistant leaned against the door she had just closed after her. In front of her stood many other Lin Lin's assistant who seemed as scared as the one at the door. Ai and Risa had just arrived when their friend had shouted at the woman who had disturbed her. Immediately the squad leader was on the move and tried to reach the door in Reina's and Eri's room, but was soon stopped by the nurse's voice.

“It's nothing serious. Calm down.” Lin Lin said from the corned of the room where she was sitting in front of a table. Ai looked at the nurse with frown and as always, the young healer knew that she had to explain more of the situation.

“Reina refuses to get away from Eri. Also, she has started to act violent towards people who try to enter the room and see her or Eri.” The nurse said as she got up and walked to the two warriors. A sad expression washed over Ai's face as she heard how her friend was doing and Risa was not far behind. They wanted to help their friends, but if they both refused the offered help how could they do something for them? But Ai knew how they could help them.

'There's only one thing left...'

Ai thought as she turned around and briskly started to walk towards the room where Eri and Reina were. Risa followed after her which caused everyone to look them in disbelief. What the heck did those two think they were doing? That door would be open only for few seconds till the berserk warrior inside would start to shout something and throw the intruder with objects. The squad leader stopped for a moment when she had reached the closed door. She took few deep breaths before she slowly placed her hand on the door and slowly slid it open. A dead silence followed as everyone was holding their breaths. At first, nothing happened but when Ai stepped over the threshold, she could see how something moved in the darkness. Because the room was so dark, no one could see anything else than an approaching dark figure. In no time, fast footsteps were heard her and soon after that Reina's face came out of the darkness as she dashed towards Ai.

“Reina?!”

Risa gasped as the kitten lunged forwards, trying to get a hold of Ai's throat. But the older girl was prepared, as always. She jumped a bit backwards and easily put her arms in front of her and prevented her friend's attack. The way Reina looked right now made both Ai and Risa feel sick. She had dark circles under her eyes and there was a gaze filled with anger and agony. Reina's already petite body had become more slim and she was almost like a walking skeleton. Her hair was also in a mess and it had lost it's shine. Ai just held her friend in place and only when Reina stopped pushing forwards, did the leader lower her guard down. But she was still prepared because the way Reina was acting alarmed her fighter senses. It seemed like the kitten had realized who were the persons at the door, so she resigned from being violent towards them. But it still didn't mean she would just let them in and be all friendly to them.

“What do you want?” A hoarse voice asked as Reina backed away so that her face was not visible from the darkness of the room. All the two could see was a dark and slim figure standing in the darkness.

“Reina, we came to check you and Eri...” Ai started but was soon interrupted by Reina. “Get out... We don't need anyone in here...” The kitten hissed and Ai could see how she turned away. Risa was about to say something and dash after her, but her lover raised her arm in order to stop her. The leader knew how Reina was and there was only one thing she could do to help her friend right now.

“We are going to visit underground.”

Ai said firmly. A dead silence fell in the nurse's place after her words once again and everyone stared at the leader like she was crazy. Everyone expect Risa, who still didn't know much about the place her lover was talking about. The footsteps in the dark room stopped for a moment till they continued again. Soon, Risa was able to see half of Reina's face as she had come closer to her friends. She didn't want her friends to enter the room nor she would come out, but she would listen what her leader was about to say.

“We go to underground. I will seek help for you both from there.” Ai said after a moment as she stared deep in Reina's tired eyes. The kitten only stared back, but Risa could see how her expression started to soften. There was a sorrowful look on Reina's face for a while, till it seemed like she snapped back on earth and the violent look was back. She only nodded at Ai, who nodded back. Then, the younger warrior backed in the shadows again and walked to her previous spot beside Eri's bed. Ai looked after her friend with sorrow but soon but a mask on her face. She had to be strong now so she could help her friends and there was no room for weak emotions. Turning around, Ai slid the door close behind her and looked at all the people in front of her.

“Make sure she doesn't die in there. Otherwise, leave her alone.”

She commanded as she took Risa's hand and started to walk out of the nurse's place. On the way she met gazes with Lin Lin who only nodded at the young leader, knowing exactly what the other female wanted her to do.

'Take care of her.'

'You have my word.'

Outside, Ai didn't let go of Risa's hand but kept on pulling her behind her. This made the bean frown and finally when she tugged forcefully, Ai turned her attention to the bean. Giving her lover a look, the leader understood what the other one wanted. But her words made the bean very very surprised.

“Lets get the horses ready. We are going to leave for underground as soon as possible.”

--------------------------

NOTE: Underground is not purely my idea, but I took it from Final fantasy x/x-2. You will find it very similar to farplane which appears in the game. So I kind of borrowed it from the there. This just to note you guys that I don't claim the idea of farplane as my own, I just got inspired by it.


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline maikeatoot

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 41/ 8/10
« Reply #162 on: October 09, 2013, 02:16:24 AM »
 NYAHA ! IM JUST HERE TO COMMENT !!!

 I LOVE YOU AUTHOR-CHAN !!!

 LET'S GO TO UNDERWORLD !!

 OH I MEAN, ERI !!  :onioncheer: :on gay:

 NEXT CHAPTAAAAAAAAAAAH !!!  :on hypto:

 

Offline kawaii beam

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 41/ 8/10
« Reply #163 on: October 09, 2013, 05:44:29 AM »
I got so hyped and you just had to end there~~~D: hopefully you can update soon~;3; schools a pain huh? lol
please visit kawaii-chan's avie's and siggies!

Offline darkacex99

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 41/ 8/10
« Reply #164 on: October 09, 2013, 06:25:26 AM »
oh gawd reina snapped  :panic: i really really hope ai can help eri and reina :cry:

OMG AH LOVE FFx XD

nice update as always  :twothumbs

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 41/ 8/10
« Reply #165 on: October 15, 2013, 05:41:13 PM »
Aww, man, aww jeez. Reina and Eri, man, Reina and Eri. On to the Underworld.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 42/ 27/10
« Reply #166 on: October 26, 2013, 11:12:32 PM »
maikeatoot: Lol, so now you're my friend once again  :lol: I totally cracked when I read your comment. Hopefully/maybe you wont hate me so much after reading this chapter ;)

kawaii beam: I had to end it there because it was the best part to cut the story, sorry! XD And yes, school is a pain especially to a hard head like I am. Only 6 years to go anymore (or even more), though! I will survive! (Not)  :lol:

darkacex99: Yup, everyone loves FFX XD There are so many things I would like to take from there lol  :lol:

rndmnwierd: Muahaha I had to add some drama in this~ Though the drama is slowly killing me inside, lol...

Thank you everyone once again for reading, commenting etc! Really appreciate it~
I will leave for Italy with my sister after one week (FINALLY!!!), so my next update will be once again very uncertain. Depending on how much I will be left behind in my studies by this little trip, hehe  :nervous But all the ruins, history, culture and such are worth it all~

Anyways the next chapter!

Here we go~



Chapter 42 – Facing the ghosts of their pasts


The trip to the underground didn't take as long as Risa had thought and they arrived in their destination after two days traveling. Ai suggested that they would rest over the night and visit the place in the morning. Risa had accepted for she really didn't want to visit a place full of dead people in the middle of the night. So came the morning and the couple continued their journey. After one hour they arrived at a small cave. They left the horses outside, which had become quite nervous as they had approached the gave. Ai had explained that animals could sense more easily the presence of souls than humans and that made them always nervous. The reason for that she didn't know for sure.

After entering the cave they had to walk through a dark and a rocky path. It didn't last for long however and soon there was a huge open in front of them. In the middle of it were stairs which lead to a platform that was surrounded by a purple mist. Though the place's name was underground the stairs didn't go under the ground but more likely grew up to the heavens. Sighing deeply Ai stood still and stared in the mist. Her good friend was in there with her family and the leader felt very uneasy at the moment. Sensing how nervous her lover was, Risa took a hold of Ai's hand and squeezed it tightly. She was nervous too but since she didn't have a clue what was ahead of her, the bean didn't know if she should be afraid or curious. Her presence seemed to effect on the leader for Ai started to carefully move closer to the stairs, dragging Risa after her. As they reached the stairs and were about to climb them up Ai stopped and turned to look at the younger one.

“I almost forgot one thing...” She said and took a hold of Risa's shoulders, confusing the younger one.

“Now, whatever happens, no matter, what do not touch any of the spirits. Do you understand? Do not touch any of them.” Ai spoke in a very serious tone and at the same time squeezed Risa's shoulders firmly. This made the bean even more confused and a bit scared.

“Okay... Um, what happens if I touch one?” She asked a bit nervously. Ai was quiet and only looked deep in Risa's eyes. Then finally, she let go of the younger one and faced away.

“You die.”

“What?” Risa said in shock. Ai turned around again and took a hold of Risa's hands.

”Yes. We are not allowed to interact with the souls in the underground, cause we don't belong in here. Our soul will be ripped away from our bodies when we touch a ghost and there is no turning back then.” The leader spoke in a way calmer tone now, but it sill didn't make Risa feel any more comfortable. Noticing this, Ai smiled shortly and gave her lover a kiss on the lips.

“Don't worry. Just stay close to me and we will easily avoid touching the souls.”

“But what if one of them touches us?” Risa asked, still very confused.

“They wont.” I stated simply. ”Though they want company and even kill people, souls wont do that.”

”Why?”

”It's a rule and even though souls would try that, the guardian of the place will stop and punish them. However, if it's the other way around, meaning that a living creature would touch a soul in the underground, it's a whole different thing.” The leader explained, making the bean feel a bit more comfortable. But she was still very nervous no matter how Ai had tried to make her calm down. Smiling shortly, Ai kept a hold on Risa's hands as she pulled her closer to her. They climbed the rest of the way in silence and when they finally reached the end of the stairs the duo stopped and just looked in the entrance. It was just a mass of purple smoke, nothing else, and Risa even wondered if that was a passageway at all.

“Now, this might feel a bit funny when we enter. It's because your soul starts to immediately leave, or at least it tries, your body.” Ai said calmly as she looked at her lover with a gentle and encouraging smile. Risa nodded her head and gave the leader a look which told that she was ready and prepared for anything. Ai smiled shortly again before she pulled the younger one with her in the mist. For few seconds all was just purple mist but soon, the bean found herself on a meadow which had some kind of lights flying around. The sky was clear, but it was colored so that it looked like there was a lot of red clouds. It was like during a sunset.

As she looked forwards, Risa could recognize a stone ring about 100 meters ahead of them. Soon, she found herself walking towards that construction with Ai as the leader guided her through the meadow. As they walked on, Risa couldn't help but feel how light it felt to walk. It was probably the soul thing Ai had explained about. The bean looked around her and she couldn't help but find the place very beautiful and mysterious. It was so quiet in here that she could even hear a needle drop. Walking in a place like this made all Risa's fears fade away and she was suddenly more calm than she had been a while ago.  She didn't think anymore of all the death and such around her but how beautiful and mesmerizing this place was. As they arrived to the stone circle Ai stopped in the middle of it and stood still, as if she was waiting for something or someone. It didn't take long when the lights around them started to circle them. Risa gasped a bit and pressed herself closer to Ai. Suddenly she could feel how a cold wind would blow against her face. The leader was calmly standing beside her lover and took her in a tight one arm hug as they stood still.

“It's okay. The souls are just curious and want to know who has come to visit them." She explained calmly.

Hearing this, Risa relaxed a bit but made sure to stay close to the older female. Ai knew how things worked in here so she wouldn't be afraid with her. Concentrating on their task, the bean looked around her and tried to see if the lights around them had any kind of human forms.

“How do we find Sayu?” The bean asked.

“We don't need to find her. She will find us.”

“Eh?”

Ai looked the flying souls above and around them as she seemed to be searching for their friend as well. But soon, she lowered her gaze and looked forwards.

“Souls know when someone who wants to see them enters this place.”

And indeed after few minutes there was one soul which was approaching them by the ground, like she was a human being, not a light or even a see through ghost. Sayu walked towards her friends and it looked like she hadn't changed at all. By now, some other ghosts had descended as well and had human forms but as Risa compared her friend to the other ghosts, Sayu seemed more... Content?

“Why doesn't Sayu look like the other souls?” Risa asked confused.

“You mean she is less see-through?” Ai asked calmly.

“Yes, exactly.”

“She is so young a ghost. By time, ghosts lose their form and one day there is only their presence left.” Ai explained to her lover. This made Risa feel more uneasy. Just the idea that there were about lord knows how many ghosts around her and she couldn't see any of them made chills run through her body. As Sayu reached them, the two warriors couldn't help but smile at her. The bunny had her usual black warrior clothes, exactly the same ones that Ai and Risa were wearing at the moment, on and it seemed like she wasn't a ghost at all. Her black, long and silky hair was freely flowing against her back and the bunny looked very healthy. When she finally reached her friends, Sayu stopped few meters away from them and watched the duo with a confused look.

“Ai, Risa? What are you doing here?” She asked concern evident in her voice. There was always a reason when a living creature entered this place and usually the reason was something negative.

“We came to ask some help.” Ai answered. This caught Sayu by surprise. The bunny raised her eyebrows and watched her former leader with a questioning look.

“Oh? How can I help you then?”

Now that she thought about this, Risa was not sure herself how could a ghost help them. If they were ordered to stay in here then how would they affect the human world?

“It's about Eri.”

The surprised look on Sayu's face turned into a concerned one as she heard her still living lover's name.

“What's wrong with her?” The ghost of Sayu came closer and as she did so, Risa could feel like a cold wind would hit against her.

“She has been depressed after your death and so is Reina. She is in her bed and refuses to have any kind of contact with anyone. Reina in turn is watching over her and refuses to leave her side.” The squad leader explained. Sayu listened and after her friend had finished she shook her head and sat down on a nearby rock.

“Those idiots....” She mumbled and Risa was sure she heard at least words ”aho” and ”baka” few times from her friend's mouth. “What do you want me to do then?” Sayu asked looking up at the leader at the same time.

“Go see her.” Ai said bluntly, which caused Risa to look at her in surprise and Sayu to almost fall off the rock.

“GO SEE HER???!!” The bunny exclaimed as she tried to keep her balance. ”Are you freaking out of your mind Takahashi Ai? You know what that means??!” The ghost ranted. Ai however stood still and looked deeply in her friend's eyes. When Sayu finally realized that her friend had totally lost it and was serious about this, she sighed deeply and rubbed her temples with her hands very forcefully.

“You want me to wonder around that village forever?” She growled. This caused Ai to look down, a guilty expression visible on her face.

“I know it's a bit much, but I am asking this for Eri's and Reina's sake. They wont get through this without you. Eri needs you and Reina needs Eri. That's why, if you go to see Eri and get her better, that way we get also Reina back.” The leader explained. Sayu seemed to be deep in thoughts as she leaned her head against her hand.

“But you know, Eri is afraid of ghosts... I would scare her more than help her.” The bunny said, still thinking what she should do about this.

“Well you can go in her dreams?” Ai suggested. Sayu seemed to consider this proposal as she sat silently on the rock. Risa in turn was out of everything the two were talking about. Maybe Ai would explain everything later.

“That dream thing would work, but it still doesn't delete the fact that I would have to stay in the village or where ever Eri desires to go.” Sayu mumbled, still deep in thoughts.

“Ano...” Risa interrupted, which caused the two other females to turn their attention to her. ”Is there something bad if you stay in there?” She asked carefully.

“No, not for me, but for everyone else.” Sayu said as she stood up and came closer to the two. Immediately Risa could feel how cold air rushed against her face once again.

“Ghosts can be invisible for the most of the time but sometimes we have to show ourselves to the living world. Stupid rule but it can't be helped...”

“Oh...” Risa said.

“It's not hard to hide either, but just the fact that if I am noticed as a ghost it's not very good thing for the one who sees me....”

“What do you mean?” The bean asked confused. Sayu raised an eyebrow and looked at Ai with a questioning look on her face. The leader sighed and patted Risa's shoulder. She had totally forgotten that her lover wasn't very familiar with the underground, souls and such.

“Just explain. She doesn't know much of these things...” The leader said.

“Well I can see that...” Sayu said as she crossed her arms in front of her. ”Anyways, in here souls keep a very clean form for this is our home. But if we are to enter the human world and affect someones life, we change. First,” Sayu raised one of her fingers up. ”We have to follow the person we have affected and live in the place where she or he lives. Second, if we are seen in the human world, our soul looks like our body in our grave.”

The bunny lowered her hand and looked deeply in Risa's eyes. The way she was staring deeply at them made the bean and even Ai feel very nervous.

“In other words, we look like zombies out there.”

For a second Sayu's soul twitched a little bit, till it was back to normal. But in those few seconds Risa and Ai had been able to see how the bunny's corpse looked like in the grave at the moment. Risa backed away a bit with a gasp while Ai just made a face.

“Sorry, I just had to do that...” Sayu apologized. “But what comes to your request...” She sighed deeply and looked down the ground. This was a hard decision to make. This was her home because she was dead and going back to the living world wouldn't just be something you would do without thinking. Finally, she looked back up at Ai who was waiting for the answer.

“I think I have to save those two ahos before they will join me here. I definitely don't want to see them here yet..." Sayu said, smiling a bit at the same time.

A relieved expression washed over Ai's face as she heard Sayu's words.

“Thank you!” She exclaimed and moved a bit forwards, but stopped soon. The smile had turned into a sad one on Sayu's face as she sighed once again. Ai backed away and took her previous place beside Risa, looking sad as well.

“You're welcome.” Sayu said quietly, which Ai only answered with a nod. They stood silent for a while till Sayu started to back away a bit. However, she wasn't walking but floating in the air.

“I think I should go now. There's someone else who wants to see you...”

”EH? Sayu wait!! Don't go!” Ai shouted after her friend, who was already disappearing  in the air. After she was gone only a small light flew through the air and rose up to the sky. The leader looked after her friend with a sorrowful look. Risa was beside her looking after her friend as well. For a moment she had really imagined that Sayu would really be there in front of them, fine and unharmed. But as her friend had faded away and turned into a small light, the realization had hid the two again like a ton of bricks. But they didn't have much time to cry after their friend when they suddenly got an urge to look around. Or more likely Risa did. It was like someone was calling her though she couldn't hear a thing. When she finally turned around, the bean couldn't help but gasp loudly. Ai of course heard her and looked at her lover with a concerned look.

“Risa? What is it?”

Turning around as well Ai faced what her lover was looking at the moment. There were two females and one male standing in front of them a few feet away. They were looking at Risa with stern face but somehow Ai could see something else too. Was it sorrow? The bean in turn was speechless. She thought she could never ever see her family again but there they were, standing in front of her and looking just like they were before the day they died. Not noticing herself, Risa started to move forwards her family. She saw them smiling and opening their arms for her. She could even hear their voices! As soon as Risa started to move, Ai tried to stop her. She knew where this would lead if they weren't careful. But just when she was about to reach her lover's arm a voice made her stop.

'Ai.'

The squad leader froze for that sound was something she had wanted to hear for years now. Turning to look at her side, Ai found two figures standing there. There was also a third one, but it was less visible than the two others. There they were, her father, sister and mother. All looked the same as they were when Ai had seen them last time, though she didn't remember her mother so well. The ghosts presence had immediate effects on the young leader. Flashbacks started to rush back in her mind and the ghosts in front of her turned into bodies.

“No....” Ai gripped her head and tried to banish those horrible memories away. She noticed how she had come closer to the ghosts by now and that was a bad sign.

'You touch them and you can say good bye to the real world...'

It started to feel lighter and lighter to walk towards her family and Ai was sure she was going to lose her consciousness. Her vision blurred and she saw all kind of things. Her friends, dead family, war, home, anything she could remember. She tried to fight back but it felt so right to move closer to her family. So right, that she didn't want to stop at all. Just when the leader was about to give up and lose her mind something made her snap. It felt like a cold wind was pushing her away and the further it pushed the better Ai could see around her. Soon she found herself on her butt on the meadow and someone was standing in front of her holding a katana towards her.

“Father....”

Ai looked up and saw her father's stern face. The samurai legend didn't want her daughter to join them yet. None of the family wanted but some souls had less willpower than others and couldn't resist calling them. Ai's father had a lot of same look as her daughter had. It was only the difference that the squad leader was a female. Otherwise she was like a walking copy of her father. Heishiro had short black hair which was quite unique for samurais usually had long hair tied in a small ponytail in the back of their head. He also had his armor on without a helmet. Suddenly, the male samurai pointed her sword behind Ai. As the squad leader turned to watch she was met by a horrible scene. She had totally forgotten Risa and now her lover was only centimeters away from her death.

Risa had walked to her family and was just about to reach them. When Ai watched the trio in front of her lover she could see how they all looked at her, begging to save their daughter. Depending on who saw the ghosts, people saw different things. Risa was probably seeing how her family begged her to come closer while Ai saw how they tried to get their daughter away. Jumping on her feet the leader started to run after her lover, leaving the ghosts of her own family behind. Thanks to her father, her head was clean again and she could control her own mind. It felt heavy to move her legs but she had to make it or she would as well stay in here with Risa. The bean was already reaching her hand towards her family and Ai could see how her being started to waver. Her soul was about to leave the body.

'NO!!!'

Gathering all her energy, Ai run as fast as she could and just when Risa was about to touch the ghosts in front of her the leader roared so hard that she was sure it was heard back in their home village.

“RISA!!! DON'T TOUCH THEM!!”

Hearing Ai's voice, the bean turned around just when she was about to touch her family. It was enough for Ai, who forcefully grabbed her lover away from the ghosts. Risa gasped an tried to pry herself away from Ai's hold, but the leader would have none of it. Instead, she looked at the portal they had entered and started to run towards it. She took Risa in bridal style, so she couldn't protest so much. As she run, Ai felt how everything started to blur around her once again. She had minutes left before they would stay in here forever.

The portal came closer but the running turned heavier at the same time. It didn't help at all that Risa tried to get away from her lap in order to see her family. Letting out a blood curling roar, Ai dashed as fast as she could and just when she felt that she was about to pass away, she jumped forwards. She had no energy left to run anymore but she just had to get out of here. As she landed down painfully, Ai opened her eyes. To her relief she noticed that they were already in the purple mist. But they still had to get away from here, to the real world.

'Damn... I can't get up...'

Ai cursed as she tried to get on her feet. She didn't feel Risa in her arms anymore and that made her even more desperate to get up and find her. The bean had probably gotten away from her hold when the leader had fallen down and now Ai was very worried that she might have returned back to the underground. But no matter how she tried, Ai couldn't move her body anymore. It felt heavy and she couldn't even keep her eyes open. Feeling how all the energy drainer from her body, the squad leader's head fell down and she passed out.


-------------------------


Something was dragging her. She could feel how small rocks rolled under her, making an uncomfortable feeling travel through her body. Finally, something dropped her down and soon after that she was turned on her back and her head was laid on something soft. Wait. If she was feeling all this... Was she alive?

“Ai....”

Someone said between deep breaths. And that someone was her lover, Risa.

'Where am I?'

Slowly opening her eyes, the young leader started to register her surroundings. They were in the human's side. There was the huge gave which had the portal that lead to the underground which meant they indeed were in the human's side! Suddenly feeling very energized, Ai flapped her eyes few times before she shot up in a sitting position. They had made it in time? But how? Turning around, the leader could see her lover who was panting hardly in a sitting position beside her.

“Risa? RISA!!”

Suddenly alarmed by her lover's condition, Ai took a hold of the younger girls shoulders and tried to make her look at her. But it was easier said than done when the bean was trying to catch her breath and could barely speak.

“Ai.... Are you... Okay?” She asked as she looked up at the leader with concerned eyes.

“Yes. I am. Are you?” Ai said. Nodding, Risa coughed few times, before she pointed at the portal they had come out few minutes ago.

“We are never ever going to visit that place again...” She grumbled before another cough made her silent. Looking back Ai remembered how she had collapsed down and was unable to move. How did they made it here?

“How are we here?” She asked confused. Risa had to gather herself for a moment before she could speak. “I don't know what happened, but all I remember after seeing my parents is how they called me. Then I was in a memory hurricane and after that I found you collapsed in that purple smoke. I felt tired but somehow I managed to drag you out there...”

“Damn... That was close...” Ai mumbled as she calculated how much they had had time. Had it been only few minutes later Risa had gotten them out and it would have been too late.

“Just... what happened?” Risa asked confused.

“Some nasty things souls can do...” Ai said seriously as she slowly got up and helped the younger one on her feet as well. She took Risa in her arms as soon as the younger one was on her feet because the way the younger one was wobbling looked quite bad. And had Ai not taken hold of her, Risa was sure she would have fallen down in no time.

“Sometimes, the time doesn't feel the same as it does in here. When we saw our families, the time moved faster and we had been too long in there. It's also when the soul starts to embark from the body, you lose the sense of time.”

“So... We almost...”

“Died. Yes.”

Repeating all this in her head Risa felt suddenly very cold. Damn, she had been close to death but this kind of death just... Scared the hell out of her. A hand landed on her shoulder and soon the bean found herself in the warm embrace of her lover.

“We are safe now. Nothing is going to get us from here.” The leader whispered as she held her lover even tighter. She placed a soft kiss on top of the bean's head in order to calm her down. It helped. Risa had never ever felt so safe in Ai's arms and she didn't want to let go. Just the knowledge that they almost lost their lives made shivers run down her body.

'We are definitely never going to visit this place again...'


-----------------------------------------


They decided to rest over the night before they would continue back home, for both warriors were tired as hell. Almost losing a soul is not very easy thing to handle. As Ai and Risa laid on the ground in a nearby forest looking at the starry sky above them, neither was able to sleep. Ai had made a fast cover for them in case of rain but otherwise they didn't have much around or on them. The horses were a few meters away, sleeping on their feet and the other one keeping guard all the time. They had stayed like this for a moment now, till Ai got enough of the silence.

“You know...” She started not being sure what to say. She heard how Risa turned her head a bit to her side, listening to whatever her lover wanted to say.

“You... You look like your mother.”

Silence followed, as Risa tried to figure out why Ai had said this and the leader cursed how stupid she must have sounded.

“Oh..” Was all that the bean was able to say when the words finally sank in her head. Thanks to her tiredness, the bean wasn't thinking very sharply anymore and even simple phrases and words were hard to understand. Also she was still quite shocked of everything she had seen end experienced today so she was very speechless at the moment. Seeing her family felt so unreal when Risa had already accepted that they were dead. For a moment she had thought it was reality and that had almost cost he life.

“I mean....” Ai tried to somehow replace what she had said but done was done. The silence continued but this time it was Risa who broke it.

“Which one do you look like then?” The bean asked. “Huh?” Ai got up a bit as she looked at her lover who in turn was staring at the stars.

“Your mother and father. Which one do you resemble?”

Not answering immediately, the leader fell back on the ground with a deep sigh.

“I look a lot like my father.” She answered finally as she too continued looking at the stars.

“What happened?”

“Huh?”

This time, it was Risa who got up a bit. She turned to look at the older female who turned her head towards the bean.

“What happened when... When you... changed?” Risa asked quietly. She wasn't sure why she was asking this. Probably she was too tired to understand that this was something Ai didn't want to talk about and she should ask nothing. But for some reason the bean had gotten curious about this and now she was already speaking her mind out. Ai in turn was quiet and seemed to think something. When she turned her head away and sighed deeply, the bean decided to take her words back. But what was done was already done. She had blabbered something she shouldn't have and Ai wouldn't surely speak to her about this matter.

“You know... forget a....” Risa tried, knowing that the damage was already done. She should have kept her mouth shut in the first place! But then her lover surprised her:

“I was fifteen when it happened.” The leader's quiet voice interrupted. Risa shut up immediately and only listened to her lover. Ai was still for a moment, before she turned towards the bean on her side and opened her arms. Taking the cue, the younger one crawled a bit closer and was soon captured in her lover's arms who held her tightly. It was the first time Ai was going to reveal this story of hers to someone close to her and in order to keep herself calm, she needed someone beside her. And Risa was that someone she needed the most right now. The bean just let her lover hold her and she waited till she would be ready to continue.

“I am not sure if you have heard of the name Sayaka?” Ai asked and when she felt Risa nod against her chest, she kept on going.

“Now days, she works for Heng and is against us. When she still was in our side, she was one of my best friends.” The leader kept a pause as she held the bean closer to her, till she continued on: ”Sayaka was and still is a very skilled warrior. She joined the training at the same time as I did. We always practiced together and in time we became friends. But in time, we also noticed how different she was to us.”

“How was she then?” Risa asked quietly.

“Sayaka was quite a powerful person and she also didn't show much respect to others. I was the only one with the higher ranking samurais whom she showed some kind of a respect. However, towards my other friends Eri, Sayu and Reina she was very very rude. Naturally, they didn't like Sayaka but I refused to believe that she did it on purpose. Sayaka is an orphan so I thought it might have something to do with the rude side of her. Well, time went by and the situation didn't change much. One day, when she said something very rude to Eri I decided to talk with her. I took her to the side after training and asked why was she so hostile towards others. Then, she revealed her real face to me.”

The hold around Risa got a bit tighter as Ai continued on. This was going to be the start of the hard times in her past: “She asked me if I knew anything about the Heng's side. When I asked why, she said she wanted to join them. I was shocked of course and even more shocked when she explained why she wanted it. Heng prefers force to diplomacy which had fascinated Sayaka. She said the world would be better place to live, if Heng could influence this land, too. And then, she asked me to come with her. She explained how we could win wars and be rulers and bend others under our will. She said she had dreamed about it for years and in here it was impossible, since everyone was as soft as my other friends.

I refused of course and that shocked her. When I explained I didn't desire such power and I didn't want to hurt others, Sayaka didn't believe me at first. But when I told her that she should just leave this place if she desired to join Heng and not be with us. She got furious and asked if I had to choose between her and my friends, which one I would take. Without hesitation I answered my friends. That got Sayaka and when I told her to just get lost, she got pissed.”

There was a silence and the only thing Risa could hear was her lover's steady heart beating. But as Ai kept on talking, the beats got faster as well.

“I was very tired back then and should have chosen my words better. I regretted that I had been so rude to my friend and tried to make up with her. However I didn't see her at all that night and not in the next day either. That day, I also got in a fight with my father about something, which I don't remember well. All I remember is that I was sad because of Sayaka and I wanted to fix things with her. That evening, when I was on my way back home I didn't know my life would change. My home was nearby the main village and it was just few house's area. When I returned that evening, that place was under a fire sea.

I ran to there but nothing could be saved anymore. I heard screaming as people were trapped inside their buildings. When I somehow managed to reach our home there was nothing but fire out there. But then, I also noticed something on the ground. It was blood. I started to follow the trail which lead to a nearby hill. And there, I saw my father on the ground. I rushed to him and only to find him dead. As I looked around, I saw my younger sister only few meters away, lifeless as well. And then... I saw her. Sayaka was standing beside a nearby oak tree, holding a small dagger in her hand. I watched her in disbelief. Had she done this all? I couldn't believe it.

'This is what traitors get' She said to me. But what had I done wrong? Nothing! I just spoke my mind out to her earlier! Maybe I had been a bit frustrated and tired but sometimes people are like that.

'Had you not said what you said, this would not have happened.'

And with that, she came closer and attacked me. I would have easily blocked the attack, but I was so in shock that I couldn't do a thing. She kicked me in head, causing me to pass out. I woke up after a while and the first thing I was met with was my father's and sister's bodies. Sayaka had dragged my sister next to our father and there they were, staring lifelessly ahead.

I got up and tried to do something to help them. But there was just nothing to do. My father's throat had been sliced open and my sister had a lot of bruises and knife marks around her body. My hands got dirtied in their blood and the last thing before I snapped totally was the memory of my bloodstained hands and that fire sea on my home. And then, it all went fuzzy and unclear.”

The hold around Risa had gotten tighter moment by moment as Ai had told her her story. The bean could hear how the older girl's heart jumped rapidly in her chest and it didn't calm down even when Ai stopped speaking.

“And that's how it all happened... I was so crushed of what Sayaka did and blamed myself. And I still do...”

“Why?” Risa asked suddenly. This caused Ai only to gasp a bit and soon she found her lover looking at her questioningly.

“Well who else could I blame? Had I not done what I did, Father and Yui would still be alive.”

“And Sayaka does not have anything to do with this?”

Before Ai could answer she found herself pushed on her back and Risa straddle her waist.

“You did what you had to do and I think you did right.” Risa said firmly and just when Ai was about to protest, she only placed her finger in front of her lips. ”You didn't murder your family. Sayaka did. And I think it was very coward like to do something like that. Your family didn't even know about your fight and they didn't belong to it. You have nothing to blame yourself.”

“But...”

”Ai.”

Risa's calm voice caught the leader and she was once again speechless.

“You can't always blame someone and more than that, you can't always blame yourself. Sometimes, you just can't handle all the things that happen. And sometimes others mess your plans. In this, it's Sayaka you should blame, not yourself.”

Ai was silent as she listened to her lover. She always blamed herself and she never wanted to blame the others. But now as she thought about this, it was indeed Sayaka who had killed her family, not she. But no matter what Ai could never forget this thing and she always found herself thinking how she could have had saved them. She might forgive herself and stop blaming someone, but she would never forget this. Soon, warm hands took a hold of Ai's face and in no time she was facing her lover once again. Risa was smiling gently down at her and it made the leader melt.

“Now you have gotten this out of your heart and I truly hope it will never haunt you again like it has done before.” The bean whispered, as she leaned closer to Ai and pressed her lips gently on hers. The leader had to admit that it felt good to get this all out of her heart and now that Risa had said her own opinion about this, she felt somehow at ease. She didn't blame herself so much anymore and it made her feel good. Soon, Ai found her hands wandering in Risa's hair as she kissed her back. When they parted, the couple looked gently in each others eyes, till Ai pulled Risa closer and hugged her tightly.

“Thank you, love.”

She whispered. Risa only smiled as she snuggled closer to her lover. When Ai finally let go, the bean rolled on her side and off from on top of the leader. But Ai would not allow that. Instead, she rolled so that she was on top of Risa now. The bean looked at her lover with surprised expression and she got even more surprised, when she found Ai kissing her deeply.

But it didn't take long for Risa to catch up with the older one as she answered the kiss with the same amount of passion. Their hands started to wander around each others bodies and at some point, Ai started to undo Risa's jacket. And the bean didn't refuse. She only gasped, which caused them both to break their lip lock and look at each others. They were shocked how they had gotten carried away so easily in a situation like this. But then again, it felt like the only way to get all the stress and bad feelings out of them. Not hesitating at all Ai suddenly crashed her lips on Risa's as the bean desperately tangled her hands in the leader's short locks, trying to pull her as close as possible.

They didn't concentrate on each others mouth for a long time however, when they began to undo each others clothes. Even though they were very stressed, tired and even nervous, their movements were amazingly accurate and in no time, they both had gotten rid of their coats. But they didn't once again concentrate on one task for a long while when they collided their lips together. And just, when they were about to get rid of the rest of the clothes something was heard nearby.

Ai's head shot up instinctively as she protectively hovered over Risa, who had also shot up a bit in order to see her surroundings. At first, they saw nothing but then the bean noticed something move nearby. Turning sharply towards the figure, the two warriors caused their intruder to show. A sigh of relief was let out as they noticed what was the source of the voice: Fuego was standing a few feet away, eating some hay. It looked at the couple for a moment before it kept on eating. It had neighed a bit at some point when the other horse had come too close, but otherwise it was eating calmly. It usually kept guard if someone was nearby, but the stallion was acting very calmly right now so there was nothing to worry about.

But Ai and Risa hadn't calmed down at all. It was quite the opposite. All the stress was still piled up inside of them and now that they had gotten close to at least some kind of relieve, this happened. And now of course, the mood for such a thing was gone. Sighing deeply, Ai took the coats beside them and pulled them over herself and Risa. It was very chilly outside so sleeping without cover would be stupid. When she had pulled the covers over them, the leader pulled Risa as close as possible and snuggled up with her. It was good they weren't sleeping alone for the other ones body heat was very comfy right now.

They stayed quiet but awake for a long while, Ai stroking Risa's hair gently while the bean played with the dog tags in Ai's neck. They felt quite bothered right now and though they were tired as dead, the sleep just wouldn't come. Finally, Ai stopped her stroking and looked down at her lover. Like reading her mind, Risa looked up at the same time and their gazes met. Smiling shortly yet sadly, Ai leaned down and gave a feather like kiss on Risa's lips. They needed to rest or they wouldn't make it in time to the Castle and help their friends. All the energy was required for tomorrow and in order to gain that they had to get some sleep.

Rolling on her back, Ai took Risa with her so that the bean was now on top of her. She made sure that she had the coat on her, or it would be way too cold to sleep. The leader wrapped her arms protectively around her lover and made sure that her head was comfortably on her chest. When that was done the leader sneaked one more kiss on her lover's lips before she pressed her head on top of her.

“Good night, Risa....” Ai whispered. Soon, she felt hot breathing against her skin as her lover answered with a tired voice.

“Good night, Ai.”

---------------------------

And once again I remind everyone that the underground is not purely my own idea~ I hope you enjoyed this chapter  :lol:
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 04:34:07 PM by MsSmigge »


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline maikeatoot

  • ecchi
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  • 'KameShige'!!!
Re: The mask of soul//chapter 42/ 27/10
« Reply #167 on: October 29, 2013, 02:15:03 PM »
HAHA NICE CHAPTER BUT I DON'T THINK I LIKE YOUR IDEA OF SAYU BEING A GHOST IN TOWN ?
 
OR MAYBE I REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND THE CHAPTER VERY MUCH ?

 HAHAHA !

 NO TAKAGAKI RABURABU ?

 HAHA !
 

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 43/ 22/11
« Reply #168 on: November 22, 2013, 11:30:57 AM »
maikeatoot: Dang XD But sorry, she is going to be around as a ghost now  :lol: And Takagaki raburabu time is not yet... Maybe  ;) Thanks for commenting!

Once again thank you for your interest everyone!  :)

Here's the next chapter. Here we go~


Chapter 43 - A different kind of guardian angel


After the quite sleepless night Ai ans Risa headed back to home. Fortunately they didn't encounter any kind of troubles on their way and in few days they were back inside the village's walls. Nothing had really changed while they had been gone and the same gloomy atmosphere was still present in the village. Immediately after they had arrived the two warriors made their way to the nurse's place. When they got there, Lin Lin was already waiting for them. The young nurse only nodded to them and guided the two to the room which had not been entered after they had left. Some had tried but every single time an angry kitten would have scared them away. Reina would still try to bite everyone's head off if they dared to disturb her or Eri. Only Lin Lin had been able to control the kitten with her skills when she had needed to make sure that the two wouldn't starve in their room. Eri was still the same and her condition hadn't gotten any better nor worse. At first it might have sounded good but Lin Lin was a bit afraid that the turtle would stay like that if she didn't get help soon. But she hadn't panicked when she had foreseen that Ai and Risa were on their way back and with good news.

Ai made two firm knocks on the door, before she entered the room where her two friends were. When the door opened the trio stopped for a moment. When nothing happened they walked further in the dark room where they could see a figure sitting beside an occupied bed.

Reina had risen her head in order to see who was now disturbing her. But as she recognized the familiar footsteps of her leader, the kitten didn't bother to get up and start ranting how they should leave them alone. She knew why they were here and would allow their presence. Ai and Risa looked at their friend with sad eyes. The kitten had gotten even thinner though they had been away only few days. Even in the darkness of the room, the leader could recognize her subordinates messy hair and pathetic appearance. Reina looked more like a ghost from the underground than a human being at the moment.

“Reina.”

Ai finally called her friend softly. The leader had walked closer to the kitten with Risa, but they maintained some distance just in case. The two knew what Reina could do in her current state and being too careful at the moment wasn't a bad idea at all. The dark figure in front of them moved a bit. By moving her head to side Reina showed that she was listening. Ai was silent for a moment before she opened her mouth again.

“We saw Sayu.”

It didn't take long when the female in the bed started to move around. Eri was half awake by now and hearing her lover's name made always something happen in her head. They heard a weak squeal and how the bed cracked under the turtle's weight as she tossed around few times before calming down once again.

“And?”

Reina's hoarse voice asked. She didn't look at her leader but kept her eyes keenly on Eri. The raspy voice made Ai and Risa flinch. It was like they were talking with a dying man instead of a young and very highly skilled female warrior. But Ai couldn't concentrate on such issue for long. She had a message to deliver.

“She will appear in Eri's dreams.”

There was a silence which was soon broken by Reina as she suddenly stood up. Her actions were slow due to her bad condition and it seemed like she had aged during her stay in this room. The kitten even coughed few times before she turned towards her friends. As she did so Ai could now see her face better for her eyes had gotten used to the darkness. Even Reina's face which Ai could see a bit in the dim light was like she had aged with 3 decades. Dark circles were very visible under her eyes and the tired look in her usually sharp eyes made the leader feel very bad. The kitten took few steps closer and stopped few feet away from Ai, staring directly in her eyes with an empty look.

“You sure?” The raspy voice asked and was followed by few coughs. Ai only nodded. Reina looked at the two for a while, before she turned around and returned to her previous place. It grew silent before she spoke again.

“I hope... I hope, she will manage help Eri....” She whispered her tone a lot softer now. Yet, it still sounded like a dying man.

“So do we.” Ai whispered. There was nothing else to say, so the leader turned around and left the room with the nurse. Risa stayed a bit back as she watched her two friends with concern. Those two who were usually full of energy and joy were only human ruins at the moment. The bean truly hoped Sayu could help them and bring them back. As Risa kept looking her friends she noticed how Reina reached her hand out and held Eri's in hers. A sad smile appeared on the bean's lips. Oh, how she wished all this would turn to be okay. Hearing her lover call her name, the bean gave her friends one last look before she spun around and exited the room. But at the door, she glanced one last time behind her. The light from outside made her lose her ability to see well in the dark but Risa could still see the silhouettes of her friends. They were still in the same position as a moment ago and the bean was quite sure they would stay like that for a while.

'Everything will be okay... I truly hope so.'

------------------------------

It was pitch black as Eri opened her eyes. She was still in the same room she had been lord knows for how long. As she turned her head slowly to her side the turtle could see her kitten friend asleep on the bed. Reina was still sitting in the chair and only her head and half of the upper body was on the bed beside Eri. Guilt built up in the turtle as she looked at her dear friend who was downright exhausted. Reina had been there for her since Sayu's death and hadn't let Eri out of her sight for a moment.

At the same time, Eri was thankful but she also blamed herself because Reina was like this. Hadn't she been so fragile and weak her friend would be okay and she wouldn't waste her time beside the turtle. As Eri stayed awake in the bed she suddenly got an odd feeling. it felt like if someone was watching her from the corner of the room. Sitting up a bit the turtle scanned the whole room. There was nothing that was alarming her mind so she decided it was just her imagination which was doing tricks to her. But still, the odd feeling stayed. Just when she was about to fall back down a voice was heard:

'Eri.'

That voice. Eri knew that. She had known that voice for years and she would never forget it. Jumping into a sitting position the turtle scanned the room again. She was sure that someone was here with her and Reina and that someone was no one else than her dead lover. Eri felt scared. Whatever this was it was way too eerie for her liking. But she was also curious what was this. Gathering all her courage she finally opened her mouth.

“S-Sayu?”

Very, very hoarse voice escaped her lips as she spoke and Eri had to cough after her words. But she couldn't concentrate on that for a long while, when something caught her attention. There was a dim light at the end of her bed and when she looked closer, it started to took a form of a human being. The hair in her back rose up and cold shiver ran through her body.

'A ghost.'

Just when Eri was about to jump under the matters she heard the voice again:

'Eri, it's me.'

Afraid of seeing a true ghost, the turtle only pulled the cover over her head and stayed still. Damn, she hated ghosts and though this one was her loved one she was still afraid. What would she look like? A monster? A zombie maybe? Eri didn't know and she definitely didn't want to. Then, a soft chuckle was heard and the cover was pulled away from on top of the turtle. Being a bit slow, Eri couldn't catch the blanket which was taken away by the spirit.

'You think you can hide under that?'

Her lover's soft voice asked. Though Eri wanted to look away she just couldn't resist to look at the speaker. But what she saw was something else she had expected: Sayu was there, standing at the end of the bed and holding the blanket. And she looked just like when she had been alive. Her black long hair was let down and she had her usual warrior costume on. And the way she was smiling down at her looked very real. Unable to form coherent words, the only word Eri could utter away was her lover's name.

“S-S-Sayu....”

The bunny's smile grew wider as she heard Eri's voice. Throwing the blanket away, Sayu walked beside Reina and sat on the bed beside her. The kitten was still heavily asleep and it was like she didn't hear Sayu or Eri at all.

'The one and only.' Sayu chirped as she sat down on the bed. Eri stared at her with wide eyes and mouth open. How was this possible? “But... How?”

Again, the bunny only laughed at her aho turtle. She reached her hand out and patted the girl's head affectionately. This caused Eri to frown, for it indeed felt like Sayu was really patting her head. But she was dead and a ghost! She should go through her! The only way this was possible was... Eri's head shot up suddenly as she look up at her lover who still had her hand on the turtle's head.

“Wait... Is this a... dream?” Eri asked carefully.

'It is.' Sayu answered with a smile as she took her hand away. The frown on Eri's face only got deeper till it turned into a sad look.

“Then you... You're not alive?” Disappointment was evident in Eri's voice as she spoke and it seemed like all the shock was gone and there was only the same old depression.

'No, I am not alive.' Sayu said calmly. 'This is jut you dream. But dream or not, I have something to tell you, Eri.' This made the turtle look up at her lover, who by now had moved a bit closer to her. She wasn't afraid anymore but more likely sad. For a moment she had hoped that things would have changed but then the reality hit her back like a ton of bricks.

'Eri.' Sayu said as she took a hold of the turtle's hands. It felt so unreal but at the same time, the bunny's touch was like Eri had been awake. The touch didn't feel cold, but warm and so real.

'Eri, you have to move on.'

“What?” The turtle exclaimed as she turned to look in Sayu's eyes. The tactician's expression was very serious as she spoke to her lover. At first Eri was stunned, but soon she just lowered her head and looked away. She couldn't do as the younger girl asked her to.

“I can't... Not without you...”

'Yes you can!' Sayu's voice was firm and she almost yelled. This caused Reina to stir a bit, but she didn't wake up. Eri in turn jumped up a bit as she felt how Sayu's grip got stronger around her hands.

'Eri,' Sayu moved her hands up to the turtle's face and made her look deep in her eyes. 'as a warrior you know you have the huge risk of losing someone you love one day. The bad luck just chose us but no matter what, it shouldn't make you unable to move on and continue your life.' The turtle was about to open her mouth, but Sayu made her stop with a firm look. 'I know it's hard, and I would probably be the same. But I wont accept it that you're trying to follow me to the underground. No, I wont accept that.'

“But Sayu..!!” Eri tried to protest but once again she was silenced. 'Shush, let me speak.' The younger girl said firmly. But soon, her expression softened as she smiled gently at Eri.

'Eri, you still have your life ahead and you still have your other friends. Just look at Reina.' The bunny pointed at the sleeping warrior next to her, Eri following her gaze. Immediately, guilt started to built up inside of her.

'They are there for you and they worry for you. Reina is even ready to follow after you if you die. Don't let that happen.' Sayu continued. Only now did the turtle think how her friend had truly sacrificed herself when she had been so depressed. Lord, what had she done to her... Reina had been beside of her all this time, sacrificing her own health in order to watch after Eri. But at the same time, the turtle felt a bit angry. Why would the kitten do this? She should worry about more important things than her friend's well being! The turtle's thoughts were soon interrupted when she felt Sayu turn her head forwards.

'You have so much to experience in your life and your story is not going to end now. Eri,' Suddenly, Sayu pulled the older girl a bit closer as she looked deeply in her eyes. Eri gasped but didn't resist at all.

'For me, please. Carry on.' Silence fell in the room after Sayu's words. Eri only stared deep in her eyes, unable to form any words. She was so lost in her lover's brown orbs. How she had missed that face. That firm look which told her when she did something wrong and that gentle smile which Sayu gave only to her. But the more she thought about the request, the more it sank in Eri's head that this was only a dream. After she would wake up, Sayu would be gone and dead. Gently placing her hands on the bunny's, Eri pried them away from her face. As she did so she couldn't help but once again notice how real it felt. Like Sayu was really there...

“I don't know Sayu... It has been so hard when I know that you wont come back... And the way you died in my arms...” Tears started to fall down from her eyes and immediately that happen, Eri found herself embraced by her lover. She felt the bunny's body pressed against hers and for once after a long while, Eri felt she was safe. Yes, she had always been safe in Sayu's arms and it felt so real now. This indeed was one hell of a weird dream.

'I know love, I know.' The bunny whispered. They stayed like this for a moment, Sayu rocking Eri back and fort as the turtle quietly cried her heart out.

'But could you at least try?' Sayu said suddenly, interrupting Eri's mourning. Hearing this the turtle paused her crying for a while and looked up at the dark haired girl, who just smiled down at her. Amused how confused the turtle was and how much she reminded the tactician of her leader at the moment, Sayu couldn't help but chuckle a bit.

'Ne, how does that sound? I wont take you in underground before you promise to even try live in here without me. And I wont take you in there before you're at least 90 years old, lived a happy life and moved forward.'

Somehow, Sayu's words made Eri want to try. She also wanted to die and just be with her, but the way how her lover wanted her to move on, made her think twice. If this was something Sayu wanted, alive or not, Eri would at least try. If it made Sayu's ghost, spirit or whatever feel better, Eri would try. She would do it for her sake. Turning her head a bit to her side, the turtle looked at her other friend who was still sound asleep. Yes, she would do it also for her friend's sake. Turning her look back to Sayu, Eri slowly nodded her head. After that she wiped her tears away from her eyes and even tried to smile at her lover.

'That's my girl.' Sayu smiled as she leaned in a bit and placed her lips on Eri's forehead. This made the older one freeze as she felt the contact. It felt so funny how real it was. The turtle swore that she could even feel the moist that Sayu's lips had left on her forehead.

“Sayu...”

She whispered and when the bunny pulled back, she stayed quite close to Eri. Smiling, Sayu leaned in once again and brought her lips closer to Eri's. And then, they kissed. It felt like her lover was alive again and like nothing of these bad things had happened. The kiss was so real that Eri wasn't sure if this was a dream anymore. And even though it was, it was one very weird but very good dream at the same time.

'Please try. Carry on. We are all here for you. I am here for you.'

Eri could hear Sayu's words in her head. The bunny moved one hand to take a loose hold of Eri's and as they kissed the turtle suddenly felt how she was falling asleep again. But... she was already dreaming, right? Suddenly, the turtle opened her eyes and shot up from the bed. She looked around her, searching for her lover. But she was nowhere around. Sadness filled her heart immediately, but soon, Eri's attention was drawn by something else. As they had kissed, Sayu had held her hand and she could still feel the touch. But how?

Looking at her hand, Eri found herself looking at her kitten friend who was holding her hand loosely and sleeping soundly at the same time. Had it all been just a dream? It had felt so true though Sayu had said it was just Eri's dream. Suddenly, she remembered the last words she had heard before she had woken up.

'We are here for you. I am here for you.'

Though Eri didn't feel like moving on, she somehow felt how that was the only thing she could do now. And if nothing else would drive her forward, the least she could do was to do this for her lover's and friend's sake. She owned them that much for they must have sacrificed a huge amount of time for Eri. Not letting go of Reina's hand, the turtle settled back down in the matters and so that she was closer to the kitten. As she moved around, Reina suddenly shot her head up and looked around.

“Eri??”

She whispered but didn't continue when the older one looked at her with a confused look. At first, Reina was very stunned but when she realized that she was not asleep, she cleared her mind and looked at her friend closely.

“Are you okay?”

Eri tried to speak, but damn there was just no way she could use her voice. She hadn't spoken in times and all she had done was crying. It hadn't do very good to her vocal cords. Coughing a bit, the turtle ended up only to nod her head.

“Do you need something?” Reina asked alarmed. When not able to speak, Eri used her body language and only snuggled deeper in the matters, placing her hand under her head and trying to look like she was asleep. It took a while for Reina to realize what the turtle meant, but soon she understood what Eri wanted.

“Oh. Okay. I'll just move my chair a bit away and....” But when Reina tried to pull her hand away, Eri held it firmly. Shocked, the kitten looked at her friend who tried to say something but couldn't utter a word. Her mouth was moving but no sound came out.

“Is there something?” Reina asked, trying to help her friend out. Eri cursed her voice and tried again. Finally, after gathering all the power she had in her small body, she managed to perform a small wheeze.

“Stay....”

The kitten couldn't believe her ears at first. First of all it had been a long while since she had heard something else than whining from Eri's mouth. The second thing was the fact that Eri had asked her to stay. At first, Reina didn't know what to do but when she finally registered what Eri had said, she pulled the chair immediately closer to the bed and held her friend's hand with both hands.

“I will stay. I am not going anywhere.”

Though it was dark Reina could still see Eri's face. And then, she saw something she had missed on her turtle friend's face. She was smiling. It was a bit painful and sad smile, but it was still a smile. Not noticing herself, she let out a small, very hoarse laugh. Damn, she wanted to hug her friend but it was probably better if she only held her hand for now. Smiling back at her friend, Reina squeezed her hand firmly, showing her that she was there for her friend. Eri did the same. By squeezing her hand tightly, she told the kitten that she was there for her too.

She would come back and go on, just like her lover had asked her to. It would be hard, but she would do it. She had her friends with her to help her carry on. As the two fell back asleep, Reina a bit later as she watched over her loved one, a ghost figure which twitched a bit as it stood still, was smiling in the shadows. When Sayu was sure that the two had fallen asleep, she walked beside them. She gave a pat on Eri's head and kissed her on the forehead. It was a good thing that on this side touching living creatures wouldn't do any harm to them. The person would only feel something cold around her but nothing else would happen. Sayu then turned to Reina and leaned in to whisper in her ear.

'Take care of her, like you have already done.'

There was also a pat given to the kitten too, till the ghost stood up and walked away. As she exited the room through the wall she kept on fading away all the time.

'Well, now you will be prisoned with her for her life time then... But in the end, I'm not so sure if it's a punishment at all for leaving underground.'

The ghost Sayu thought as she kept on walking through walls and other obstacles, till she finally faded completely away. She would watch over her friends and lover and make sure that they would stay away from underground until it was their time to leave this world.

---------------------------------------

 “Why are we going to visit Lin Lin this early..." Ai grumbled as she walked after Risa who had about 10 minutes ago woken her up. The leader wasn't very happy for she had nothing to do today and now she had been woken up way too early. As Ai kept on whining behind her girlfriend who was briskly walking forwards on the street and dragging her lover behind her, the bean finally got enough and snapped at the older girl.

“Lin Lin sent out a message.”

“And?” Ai answered with irritated voice. They got messages all the time from there! It was probably just something Lin Lin's subordinates had overreacted about and...

“She said it's something about Eri and Reina.” Risa continued quickly. It didn't take long before the squad leader was fully awake and was running past her lover. The bean could feel how she was now the one dragged behind as Ai started to run through the streets as fast as possible. She almost knocked some people out of her way and even Risa had hard time following her.

“Why didn't you say it right away??!! Lets go!!” The leader yelled.

'Well I tried, but her highness sleepyhead didn't listen to me...' Risa grumbled in her mind but decided not to argue with her lover. It didn't take long to reach the nurse's place, thanks to Ai's fast feet. the leader ran inside and almost ripped the door off when she entered. But she didn't make it very far when she was met by someone at the door.

“Woah! Is there fire somewhere?”

Risa froze with her lover as they stared at their friend in front of them. Reina was standing with a food tray in her hands in the middle of the room and it seemed she was heading to the room where Eri stayed. The kitten had comped her hair and tied it in two tails in the back of her head. She had clean clothes on and though she still was skinny as hell and had those dark circles under eyes, the kitten looked more like herself now.

“Reina....” Ai whispered as she came closer. It was so relieving to see her friend back to herself. Or well, almost. But she wasn't violent at the moment and more than anything, she was outside of her and Eri's room! The kitten gave her leader a bit questioning look, before she remembered what she had been doing.

“Oh, I forgot... I hope it's not cold yet..." She mumbled and started to walk towards the room she had occupied for a while now. But before getting too far, she stopped, spun around and smiled at her two friends. "Come on. Eri wants her food and I bet she also wants to see you guys.”

“Eri?” Risa said at the same time with Ai. The surprise was evident in their voice, which caused the kitten only to laugh. but Then, she entered the room and it didn't take long when the two lover's followed her quickly. As they entered the room, they noticed immediately how the curtains were open and the room had more bright than before. Reina went beside the bed and put the tray on a nearby table. After doing that she gently poked the sleeping form in the bed in her side, trying to wake her up.

“Wake up. We have company.” The kitten said, causing the person in the bed to stir. Slowly moving around, Eri sat up and yawned a bit. She was skinny as hell, but at least she was not crying uncontrollably or being very distant with the others. Her face looked tired and her hair was messy but something had changed in her.

When the turtle noticed Ai and Risa by the door, a surprised look washed over her face. The two other warriors were the same, till the younger one of the two couldn't take it anymore. She walked briskly into the room and stopped only when she had reached Eri's bed. The bean had a very confused look on her face and it was also mirrored on Eri's face. The two friends stared at each others for a while, till Eri's confused look turned into a sad one. She dropped her head down and looked the matters with a guilty look. She was happy to see her friends but she couldn't help the guilt she felt at the moment. How much had she burdened those close to her? How much trouble had she been?  But such things were not in Risa's mind at the moment. She went closer to the bed, slowly sat down and took a gentle hold of Eri's face. When their eyes met, the bean smiled carefully as if she was afraid to smile too much and scare her turtle friend away.

“Eri...” She whispered quietly. In no time, the turtle found herself pulled into a gentle yet firm embrace as Risa scooped her in her arms. Eri was stunned for a while, till she rose her weak arms and hugged Risa back. The bean buried her head in her friend's hair and kept on repeating her name and how she was happy she was back with them. At first, Eri didn't do anything else than hug weakly back. However she soon felt how something hot started to travel down her cheeks and in no time she found herself crying against Risa's shoulder. But it wasn't same kind of cry as it had been for weeks now. It was relieved and happy crying. Relieved, she was accepted back even though she must have been a huge burden to her friends. Happy, for it felt so good to see her friends again.

By now, Ai had walked beside Reina and was watching the two with a smile. It seemed they had gotten Eri back and by the way Reina was acting, everything was going to be all right. At least for a while, but every small moment of joy was priceless and they would cherish it.

“I think one certain tactician might have been here last night...” Reina whispered as a sad smile spread on her face when she watched the two friends still hugging on the bed.

“You think?” The leader asked smiling. The kitten answered by nodding her head.

“Yeah. Just look at her. She is like a newborn from what she was. It got to be something Sayu has done.”

By now, Eri and Risa were chatting something, ore more likely the bean was asking her friend all kind of questions, for the turtle couldn't speak well yet. Then after a moment, she turned her gaze to Ai. Immediately the leader walked closer and leaned down to give her friend a tight hug. Yet, she was careful not to crush the turtle in her arms.

“Welcome back, you aho." She whispered. Eri responded the hug the best she could, but it was quite hard for her limbs were still very weak. After bear hugging her friend for a moment Ai pulled away and gave a small pat on Eri's head.

“Eat and rest now. We have missed you around our training and other things. After you have fully recovered, you may join us.” Ai smiled down at her subordinate. To everyone's surprised, Eri nodded her head, smiled and reached out for the food Reina had brought her. For a moment, Ai had thought should she say such things. Eri had been back only for few hours now and she was already asking her to return to her normal life. But the way the turtle had answered really showed them that something had happened during last night. It was so good to see her back and recovering. They knew it would take time to get Eri totally back, but this was a beginning to it. She would make it.

“Ai, Risa...” Reina said suddenly. She gestured them to go outside of the room and judging by her face, the kitten had something to say. At first, Eri started to question where were they going, but Reina only patted her shoulder gently and assured she would return soon. The turtle was suspicious for a moment but in the end let her friends go. Meanwhile she would enjoy her meal while those three would be away. The trio left the room and once outside, Reina made sure to close the door behind them. Just when Ai and Risa had turned around to face the kitten they found themselves bear hugged by her. Totally taken by surprise the two lovers only changed confused looks with each others as Reina kept on hugging them.

“Thank you gyus..." She finally whispered. Judging how her voice cracked, she was crying. "And... I am sorry...”

No words were needed for the two knew what their friend meant. And even though they wanted to correct her and say that there was nothing to apologize they only decided to hug the kitten back. That was enough for Reina to know that whatever horrible things she had done while being in bad condition with Eri she was forgiven by her friends. But more than anything, she was thankful how the two had saved them, having strength to carry on while she had given up and could only pray that everything would be okay. She was in dept for those two and someday she would make sure to pay them pack.

As the trio hugged each others Lin Lin was observing them from the corner of the room. She had entered the room just when Reina had hugged Ai and Risa and being curious she had decided to stay quiet and not reveal herself. For once, the nurse felt how positive energy radiated in the room. There was still lot to do in order to get Reina and Eri totally recovered, but the way Lin Lin felt at the moment assured her that everything would be just fine in time.

---------------------------------

That rest of the day was spend in the nurse's place with Eri and Reina. Ai and Risa also helped Lin Lin with her patients and tasks and every time they didn't have chores to do, they would go to see Eri. The turtle's voice was still a pathetic wheezing but she did her best o speak, though everyone told her to rest. However she had missed to speak with her friends so much that Eri didn't heed the warnings. She also wanted to gain her voice back and that would only happen if she talked.

The day went fast and quite early, the two patients felt tired. Ai and Risa decided to leave them rest and recover. They might have been in a better condition now but still, they needed a lot of rest at the moment. Before the two exited they asked Lin Lin to watch after the two. Like always, the nurse already knew what the two wanted and before Ai had even opened her mouth, the younger female was already on her way to check the two. She had only patted Ai's head gently and assured her that her friends would be in good hands.

The two left and headed to Ai's home. At some point as they were walking, Risa took a gentle hold of the older girl's hand. They didn't change any words during their walk, just held hands and enjoyed the feeling how everything seemed to be going alright. But at some point, Risa noticed that they weren't on the right way. As she started to wonder this the leader suddenly stopped and turned to the younger girl.

“What is it?” Risa asked confused. They were at the village's main gate where two guardians were keeping watch. There where at least three more, but they were hiding somewhere out of the enemy's sight. 

“Want to have a relaxing bath?” Ai asked suddenly grinning a bit at the same time. Risa looked at her girlfriend with a confused look.

“Bath? When? Where?”

The leader only smiled as she leaned closer and took a hold around her girlfriend's waist. It was very normal act and they had cuddled, kissed and done such in public before. But for some reason, Risa felt a bit shy at the moment. 

“Yes, bath, now and at the hot spring.” Ai said, chuckling at the same time how confused her lover looked at the same time.

“But isn't it outside the village's walls?” The bean asked confused.

“It may be but it's allowed.”

“But isn't it dangerous in times like this?”

Ai chuckled a bit and leaned closer to plant a kiss on Risa's forehead. The bean was still confused of her actions, because something wasn't just right. There was something different in Ai's actions though she wasn't actually doing anything new or special.

“If our enemy is lurking in here right now, it means our border guarding has failed totally and that our archers are sleeping in their guarding spots." The leader laughed and only gained Risa to push her away a bit. She gave her lover a glare which Ai only answered with a grin.

“Haha, very funny. Wouldn't be the first time someone makes a surprise attack.” The bean reminded her lover. But Ai only grinned even more and leaned once again closer to the younger girl.

“There has never been a such guarding as we have now. There's just no way enemy would have passed, even with good disguises.” She tried to assure the bean. The idea of relaxing bath was downright tempting but also the fact that enemy could lurk anywhere around made Risa doubt this idea.

“I don't know Ai...." Risa mumbled as she looked away.

“Come on, Risa. I know it would make you feel better.” Ai cooed as she leaned in to hug the younger one. Risa sighed a bit as she gently hugged the older one back. Suddenly, she felt how the leader planted her lips on her ear and whispered.

“You're so tense once again that hot spring would make miracles to you...”

The warm feeling spread through the bean's body as her lover kept on kissing her neck and ear, whining that they should go to take the bath. At first, Risa refused her desires. Ai definitely had something in her mind but she wasn't telling what it was. Also, the fact that it might have been dangerous made the bean fight back. But then, her lover took her triumph card and kissed the magical spot just below her ear and gave few licks on it. It was enough to weaken Risa's resolve and give in her lover's will.

“Mou... Fine! Lets go then, you big brat...” Risa finally grumbled. Smiling, or more likely smirking, Ai pulled away from Risa's neck and took her lover's hand. She started to guide her outside of the village and towards the hot springs which weren't very far away. It was the same place they had spend so much time with their friends and it held such good memories.

The guards at the gate questioned where they were about to go and when Ai explained how she needed to show one place to Risa and that there were some tasks to take care of at the nearby house, the were permitted to go. It was not forbidden to go outside of the village if there was a reason for exiting. Just walking around wasn't valid reason and only if there indeed was something the person needed to do, they were allowed to go. But they were always responsible of themselves whenever they left the village on their own.

Ai and Risa however had it easy, because they both were warriors and they could have had missions to do. Also, the fact that Ai was quite known of her skills and was high in ranks for her age didn't make the guardians doubt about her excuse to exit. Risa however made sure to remind her that she had actually lied to a fellow warrior, but Ai only smirked down at her and said it was fun to bend the rules from time to time. She just had to make sure to that the captain and the general wouldn't find out about this.
And even though it was dangerous to exit the village at times like this, they were only going to the hot spring which was literally beside the village. There was only some forest between the walls and the hot spring so they didn't go far away. And also there were guardians  around and outside the village as well. In the end, the nearby houses which didn't have the walls protection needed some guarding as well. So if an enemy would surprise them at the hot springs, Ai would totally sue the guardians for sleeping at their shift.

They started to walk along the wall and only when they entered the forest, the wall was left behind. It was quite dark for it was already evening, but the rising moon gave them enough light to move easily through the forest. As they walked, Risa could feel how Ai's palms got a bit moist and she was holding her hand more firm. Was she nervous? At some point, the bean squeezed the leader back, which caused her to stop. Giving a bit questioning look to her lover she tried to ask what was going on. But Ai only smiled at her and to Risa's surprised kissed her hand and cheek before she continued guiding her through the forest once again.

'She is definitely having something on her mind...'

Risa thought as they kept on walking through the forest and towards the hot springs. So many good memories was brought back to her mind and as the drew closer, Risa hoped she would be able to make more of them in here.

------------------------

Hope you enjoyed~


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline maikeatoot

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 43/ 22/11
« Reply #169 on: November 22, 2013, 11:57:46 AM »
Ahm well :))
I dunno if it makes me happy or what :)
But I still have my aigaki  here so :))
I am happy and thank you for th update :))
And I am dying to read he nex chapteeeeer !!!#
 :cow:

Offline darkacex99

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 43/ 22/11
« Reply #170 on: November 22, 2013, 01:19:10 PM »
POWWWW!! RIGHT IN THE FEELS!!! :on kimbo:

oh man!  :farofflook:im so glad sayu help them and they are getting better
oh mah kokoro :cathappy:

OUTSTANDING JJOB MSSMIGGIE!!! XD

Offline yunagi

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 43/ 22/11
« Reply #171 on: November 26, 2013, 04:43:25 AM »
I finished? o_O
XD
Took me a while but I so love how your chapters are so long and bittersweet and... and sdfishfdkag
Sayu~! I don't know whether to or be
At least there's still TakaGaki and a possible future TanaKame so I'm at peace right now.

I just had a though... wouldn't it be funny if after Sayu had proposed the 'try to live without me and the move forward' to add 'if you don't I'll come back to haunt you' and Eri will be like
lol don't mind me

Will be waiting for the next chapter!
._.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 44/ 12/14
« Reply #172 on: December 13, 2013, 10:50:36 PM »
maikeatoot: Well I can assure you that Aigaki will stay! XD Maybe, unless I get an urge to kill someone else, muahahah!  :twisted: Thank you for the comment~

darkacex99: Hehee, had to make some happy moments so this story wouldn't be too dark~ Thank you!

Yunagi: Lol, and welcome here XD  And Sayu is too nice/mature to threaten Eri like that. Though, it would be effective maybe~ And future Tanakame... Hmmm lets see  :lol: No lol I'm not easy to read or anything, ahem... XD Thanks for the comment!

And as always, thank you everyone for your comments, interest and thank yous. I really appreciate them all. And since it's Christmas time, I decided to post this chapter now though I should be doing something else once again. No, I am not skipping my schoolwork once again.

And unless I wont update before the year changes which I highly doubt, I wish you all merry Christmas and happy new year! :mon santa4: :mon santa2:

The next chapter:
--------------------

Click

------------------

I hope you will enjoy it~


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 44/ 12/14
« Reply #173 on: January 18, 2014, 09:11:02 AM »
Hello everyone and thank you for your interest and thank you posts on the last chapter. I appreciate them~

This is not an update. I simply haven't had time to write the next chapter, thanks to the university.  :err: Anyhow I am working on the next chapter, though I cannot help how ironic it will be if we think how one certain ex-momusu leader's current life situation is. You will find out what I mean after I have posted the next chapter  XD But I am still continuing this story, no matter what!  :cool1:

Anyhow, I hope everyone's year has started well :) See ya all!


Ps. No comments on the last chapter? Was it that bad/shocking that after reading it, everyone just simply thought "No comments... No words...."? XD Or is everyone still shocked because of one certain piece of new from December?


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline yunagi

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 44/ 12/14
« Reply #174 on: January 20, 2014, 04:37:57 PM »
No rush. The University thing is much more important so it’s only right that you prioritize it unlike what I did when I was still in college since I suck at prioritizing things. But I somehow found a way to get my shit together at the cost of my sleeping habit. I wouldn’t recommend it.

I’ll be waiting for the next update. :)

lol, I forgot to leave a comment for the previous chapter. xD

Naw man. That last one was pretty sweet and hot and sweaty and oh the teasing dragging on for a while : x
And damn, Ai’s demon getting the best of her. ;)
I wonder how long they’re going to go at it. :roll:
._.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 45/ 2/23
« Reply #175 on: February 23, 2014, 10:36:34 PM »
Yunagi: I think that though I try to prioritize university, I still get fails from the courses  :nervous Well, got to work harder. And I'm not even going to answer that "how long they're going to go at it"  XD

Thank you everyone for your interest, comments, thank you post and all. I finally got some time to post this chapter, though one of the reasons I didn't post it earlier was something else. You might get it when you read further.

Anyhow, without longer speeches lets get going.

The next chapter, here we go~


Chapter 45 – For the rest of our lives


Rays of the sun peeked inside the small cottage where two figures were soundly asleep on a bed. One was facing away from the other, the later one having her arms protectively wrapped around her lover's waist. There was a thin blanket covering over their bodies, for it was quite chilly out there.
Risa was the first one to wake up as she didn't have shelter from the light. Ai was behind her and had her head in Risa's hair so there was just no way that the light could find her eyes.

Slowly uttering her eyes open, the bean moved around a bit in order to stretch her jammed limbs. But it turned out to be a bad idea.
A yelp escaped her lips when she moved her legs and pain shot through her body. In no time she felt how the arms around her waist tightened and the leader beside her was awake, ready for action and to protect her lover.

“Risa what is it?”

She asked immediately as she looked worriedly around her and trying to locate the danger. Though she was still a bit uncomfortable and it hurt to move her legs, the bean just couldn't help but laugh at her lover: Ai had a very tired look on her face and her hair was a mess, making her look very hilarious. But the laugh soon turned into a frown as the bean's body protested against any kind of movement.

“Nothing. It's just... ouch, my body feels a bit sore...” Risa could literally see how something turned in Ai's head as she tried to figure out what her lover had meant. However, the older one didn't seem to understand what she had meant. Rolling her eyes, the bean hitched her leg up which ended up between Ai's legs. They both gasped as pain traveled once again through their bodies, a bit weaker one on the leader's part.

“Okay, okay, point taken...” Ai groaned and sighed as Risa lowered her leg. But the frown didn't last for a very long time when Ai suddenly smirked down at her lover. Even without words Risa knew exactly what was inside the older woman's mind and Ai only proved it all true, as she leaned down and captured the bean's lips in a brief and sweet kiss.

“Morning, honey.” The leader purred. It reminded Risa of a cat who had just gotten some attention from it's master and some milk with it. Ai knew the reason behind Risa's sore limbs and she took all pride from it.

“Ohayoo...”  Risa mumbled as she was kissed again by her lover. The kiss was sweet and slow as the leader took all her time in tasting the younger one's lips. As she pulled away after a while, Ai planted her lips on Risa's cheek, where she traveled down to her jaw and neck till she finally ended to her chest. She kissed the bean's flesh briefly before settling her head down on the chest in front of her and just listened the steady heart beat of her lover.

Smiling, Risa moved her hands up and traveled them gently through Ai's hair, making the leader moan in pleasure as her head was massaged. It felt so good to just stay like this, being close to the other one. As Risa ran her finger's through her hair, Ai closed her eyes and imagined how wonderful it would be if this happened every single morning for the rest of her life. That didn't sound bad at all. She would always wake up and be greeted by Risa's sleeping face. She would be there in front of her, close to her, where the leader could protect her. That sounded very good. She could actually see right now how that all would happen. She was there, holding the bean in her arms and watching her as she slept. Smiling, Ai would lean closer and place a kiss on her forehead. That of course caused Risa to wake up and...

Soon Ai noticed that she had very briefly fallen asleep. She jumped slightly as she woke up from her brief dream. Risa didn't seem to notice that, for she was still stroking the leader's hair and seemed to be deep in thoughts.

“Risa.”

keeping her hands in movement, the bean looked down at the older woman who was still listening her chest sounds.

“What is it?” Risa asked softly.

Not answering right away, Ai made a quick plan in her head what she would be saying next. At first she was just going to say that Risa should never mind what she was about to say, but something deep inside her prevented her from chickening out. Gathering all her courage Ai decided to try. She would never know if she never asked. “Would you like this to happen every morning?”

Confused by the question Risa's hands stopped as she frowned down at the monkey. Noticing this and being a bit disappointed how her massage had ended, Ai turned her head so that she could look in the bean's eyes. The confused look told her that she should explain her words to her lover.

“You mean being so sore, that there's just no way you could move you legs?” Risa asked, clearly not seeing Ai's point at all.

And now it was the leader's turn to be confused. Usually Risa was the one who caught all the hidden meanings of words, but now, for once it seemed she was doing something Eri and Reina always did. Chuckling, Ai started to travel her way back up, kissing the bean's skin all the way as she did so.

“No, silly.” She cooed as her head came closer to Risa's. “What I meant,”  The leader stopped her lips beneath Risa's jaw and gave few licks on her neck, before moving on. “Was that how would it feel, if,”

Her way continued pass the bean's cheek and neck, till Ai reached her ear. Chills ran through her body as Risa tried to calm herself down. Damn, her lover just sounded and felt so seductive as she was all the time kissing and licking her and speaking with her low voice. The bean had to admit herself that whenever Ai was talking with her calm and surprisingly low voice it made her calm down. Or in some situations, lose control of herself...

“we would wake up every single morning like this,” Ai's lips found Risa's earlobe and she bit gently in, causing the younger one to moan in surprise and quite loudly.

“AI..!!” Risa yelped, but she was soon silenced by Ai's words. “Together, for the rest of our lives.”

Suddenly, all the kissing stopped as the leader's last words echoed in the room. Risa's eyes widened as she recalled the words over and over again in her head. Even Ai had stopped, for she wanted to hear the answer

'What the heck is she asking...'

Risa thought. Then she slowly started to travel her hands from Ai's hair to her shoulders and gently pushed her a bit away. The leader didn't fight back at all, just did as her lover implied her to. The bean started the leader her mouth open and eyes wide, not believing what she had just heard. Noticing how this wouldn't move on, Ai smiled gently and leaned down to kiss Risa.

“What do you say?” She whispered between the kiss as her hands started to roam down on the bean's naked body at the same time. This caused the younger one to snap out of her thoughts and moan pleasantly.

“Mmm... Ai...” She started, but her words were caught as her lover's hand traveled against her sides, causing chills to run up the bean's spine.

“Come on Risa, say it.” Ai encouraged as she moved her lips on Risa's neck keeping up her hands movement.

“Ai, I...” Just when the bean got her thoughts organized and was ready to say something, someone else interrupted her. And for her and the leader's surprise and horror, it definitely wasn't Ai who cut her train of thoughts.

“TAKAHASHI! NIIGAKI!”

Both warriors froze as they heard the booming voice of no one else than their dear captain. Ai's head shot up as she looked at the door where a small cracking sound was coming. It soon turned into banging and it didn't take long before the leader realized what was going on.

“Oh shi... She's coming in...”

“What?”

Risa couldn't say more when the door suddenly burst open. In no time the bean was covered by blanket and Ai's body as the older one protectively tried to hide their naked forms.
Miki looked inside the cottage and like she wasn't noticing in what kind of position the two younger girls were, she marched in the middle of the room. Once there she stopped, crossed her arms in front of her chest and looked at the two with a very stern face. Ai was so sure that she was going to be yelled because of this. Risa in turn was embarrassed as hell and it didn't help that Ai's naked body was firmly pressed against hers.

“Well, well. Sleeping beauties are probably aware that there's a training in half hour?”

The way the captain was speaking made Ai rise her brows. Miki didn't sound angry at all, more likely mischievous. And now, as Ai turned to look at her, there was a small smirk playing on the older woman's lips. There was no sing of anger there, only a very annoying looking smirk.

'Oh, she is so enjoying this...' Ai thought as she pulled the blanket better over her and Risa.

“Yes, captain..” The leader mumbled embarrassed. Miki only smirked more as she turned around and stopped only at the door. She looked behind her and gave Ai a very devious smirk.

“Good, I'll give you 20 minutes to appear at the training place in full armor and with all your equipment.” She said as she exited the cottage, but her voice was soon heard again.

“Oh, and most importantly, pants on. You seem to have forgotten them at the hot spring. And don't be late. General Goto wont accept it.”

Risa blushed furiously as Ai only cursed how the captain just had had so bad timing. But soon, they had a bigger problem to worry about as they remembered their timeline. In a quick motion, Ai threw the blanket away and got up, cursing how it hurt to walk. As she helped Risa up, the leader had to support the younger one, for she was feeling even more sore at the moment.

“Can you walk?” Ai asked worriedly as she noticed how her lover made a face all the time.

“Yes... It will pass.” She grumbled as they started to make their way out of the cottage. After checking that no one was around and that Miki was gone too, Ai led them to their clothes, which were still in the same place they had left them. Minus Risa's underwear of course.

'Oh, just great... Well, I just have to survive without them then.'

They started to dress up, helping each others as they did so. When they finally had their clothes on, the couple started to move as fast as they could towards the training place. It was quite a hilarious sight as they wobbled on, but little by little the pain started to cease and they got used to it.

'I really hope Goto wont kill us...' Ai thought as they entered the villages gates and headed to the training place.

---------------------------------

And of course, the two turned out to be late. When they finally had gotten their armors on, which fortunately had been at the training place, and entered the training room, they were greeted by a very unhappy general and a bit less unhappy captain. The couple went closer and made a brief salute before they stood still, ready to hear some scolding. There was a deep silence as the general examined the two warriors in front of her. Ai and Risa felt like she was making small holes in them with her piercing and very scary looking face. Finally, the silence was broken by Goto who started to approach the two. She stopped few meters in front of them and kept a small pause before she spoke.

“Any explanations?” She asked sternly. Before Risa could react, Ai had already stepped forwards and caught the general's attention now.

“General, it's my fault.”

“What?” Risa tried to interrupt, but was only silenced by the older girl.

“It was my idea to go out there and stay at night at the hot springs.” 'And what a night it was..'

Goto listened, her face not showing any kind of emotions. She knew the young squad leader hadn't stopped yet. There would be more.

“So, if you want to punish someone, it would be me. Risa had nothing to do with this....”

”Excuse me there, but I think I was in this as much as you were!” Risa snapped in as she came beside her lover, glaring her. Ai tried to signalize her that she would take care of this all, but the bean wouldn't let her. Not, if all Ai was going to do was to blame herself. It took two in this kind of issues and she wouldn't let the older one blame only herself. The two kept on arguing which caused Goto to only shook her head. Finally, she decided that she had heard enough.

“Enough.” Goto boomed as she let her arm fall to her side. By now, Miki had come closer as well, still having that smirk on her face.

“I don't care ”whose fault this was”, but next time, make sure that you're in time. The training schelude is not for fun. Now, go join the others.”

And with that, the general walked pass them and left the room. Ai and Risa both stood stunned and watched after her. What was that? No more scolding? They were sure that Goto would at least want their heads for this! Suddenly, the couple felt how a hand landed on their shoulder and a very cheery voice of their captain spoke.

“Thought you were in a big trouble?” She teased as she gave Risa a pat on shoulder. But the squad leader soon found herself under Miki's hold as the captain circled her arm around the younger female's neck and ruffled her hair mercilessly. Ai was very confused. Why was the captain acting like this? And still, what was whit Goto being so "merciful"?

“Our little brat finally grew adult.” The captain leaned closer as she whispered in the monkey's ear. ”The reason why she is so grumpy is that she can't stand to watch you grow up. It's like you're growing apart from us by what you did last night.”

“YOU TOLD HER??!!” Ai hissed, but was soon silenced as Miki ruffled her hair again.

“Of course! There's no secrets between us about you! Now, off you go. I hope you can concentrate through the training!” And with that the captain let go of the younger girl, making sure to push her towards Risa as she did so. Ai felt tumbling against the bean, almost knocking them both down.

“Sorry...” She mumbled as she steadied herself by taking hold around the bean's waist. Risa didn't say a word. She was so embarrassed by what had just happened and she wasn't sure if she could live with this. Why did everyone just keep on interrupting them when they had some private time and Ai had even locked the door and all! It was just her luck.

As Ai stood straight and steadied herself, she noticed how the bean was blushing furiously and was looking at the ground, a deep red color decorating her face. Suddenly, all the teasing and such escaped Ai's mind and all she could see and think was Risa. How the younger girl looked so beautiful though she was clearly embarrassed and her hair was a bit in disorder and she was wearing a warrior uniform. But to Ai, Risa had never been as beautiful as she was now. She didn't know why, but after this morning she hadn't been able to get her lover out of her mind. All she kept on thinking was how they would be together and close to each others. And that didn't consider only present, but the future as well.

And then, the answer which had been interrupted by one certain captain, popped in Ai's mind. What would have Risa answered? Did she want to be together with the leader for the rest of their lives? Maybe it was still a bit early to think about something like that, but Ai knew that Risa was and would be the only person she would ever be in love with like she was now. So why not to spend the rest of her life with her since she loved the girl so deeply?

“Ano, Takahashi-san, Niigaki-san?”

Ai turned her face towards the sound and found no one else than her big admirer Mittsui staring at her and Risa with a bit bothered expression. The bean was also now back on earth as she heard the younger girl.

“Yes?” The couple said at the same time.

“Ano, the training is about to begin, so... Maybe you should join too?” Mittsui said shyly as she pointed at the training area. And indeed, everyone was ready to the training and Miki was also back with Goto. Slowly, very slowly, Ai nodded her head and let Risa go. But before they parted, she held the bean's hand for a moment and looked deeply in her eyes. The younger one frowned a bit but when she noticed the look in her lover's eyes, she could only gasp. There was something new in those chocolate eyes. Something that Ai had showed to her last night for the very first time.

But this time, Ai didn't keep on staring but let go of the younger one's hand and nodded her head, smiling at the same time. Without saying anything else they went to the training area where they noticed some surprise visitors. Usually, they would have had armors on but since they were ordered to rest it was reasonable they were in their casual clothes.

“Eri? Reina? What are you doing in here?”

Risa asked confused, which the kitten answered only by waving her hand and smiling at the same time.

“We decided to come check how things go here. In the end we are allowed to leave indoors now and I think it does only good for both of us. Ne, Eri?”

The turtle beside her looked up at her friend and nodded with a small smile.  Reina smiled back at her and looked at her two friends again.

”Lin Lin gave her some kind of a medicine so she is allowed to go outside now. However this turtle must move on wheels now...” Reina said and now that the couple looked more carefully, they noticed how Eri indeed was sitting in a wheelchair. She couldn't walk very well yet, but at least she had left the nurse's place. And more than anything, she was smiling. This melted both Ai's and Risa's minds as they looked at their friends. This indeed was a good sign for they were already outside the nurse's place and looking to feel well.

“It's good to see you here.”

The bean said quietly, before they were ordered to gather around the trainers. And so the training began. It was as intensive as before and the two higher ranking samurais were as demanding as before. Everything was like it had always been, but something was bothering one certain leader.  It was not the fact that she was not training with her now shattered team or that there were some people she didn't remember from former training. No, it was definitely something else.

All the time, her gaze wandered to one certain woman, who was concentrating on the training. Though she had her helmet on, Ai could still see her beautiful face she was so helplessly in love with. She had gotten better in everything; She was moving swiftly and her attacks didn't go to the same place anymore. Every match she began, she used her head before she attacked and when in trouble, she had a back up plan. She was...

“Oi, Takahashi.”

“Huh?”

Ai snapped as she felt something hit her head gently. As she turned around, the leader found the general who was holding a wooden sword above her head.

“Concentrate.” Goto said simply, before she continued to check the other warriors.

“Hai!” Ai said and did as she was ordered to. But it didn't take long when her mind started to wander again, every time ending to Risa. This time however, she didn't think how good the other woman had began, but all the other things.

The way she laughed, her manners and sweet and gentle nature. The way she could sometimes nag at her when the leader did something stupid or teased her but also the way how she could be gentle to her too. And little by little, Ai's mind wandered to the previous night and what had happened then. Immediately shivers ran through her body as she remembered the feeling when she had been close with Risa and done that. And soon, she was thinking once again the unanswered question.

'Would she like to be with me for the rest of her life?'

To Ai, the idea didn't sound bad at all. No, it sounded more likely perfect for her. She wouldn't mind to spend the rest of her life with Risa, no way! But, what would the younger girl say....

“TAKAHASHI!”

This time, something hit hard on Ai's head and the young squad leader cursed as she fell to her knees. She however looked up quite quickly and found no one else than her dear general glaring at her, once again.

“Where is your mind wandering?”

Ai stoop up very quickly as she bowed towards the general. The pain was throbbing in her head but she somehow managed to stay on her feet.

“My apologies! I will concentrate better.”

As she straightened her back, Ai could notice how everyone around her was looking at her with a confused look, even Risa. Only Miki was having a smirk on her face and then the captain decided to make the situation even worse.

“Ne, Ai-chan,”

'Ai-chan? She's up to something...' Ai thought immediately, for she was always called Takahasi by these two.

“Your commanding officer just asked you a question.”

The leader's eyes widened as she heard the captain. But luckily, Goto was not as happy and goofy as the other female. She turned around to glare at the captain, who only rose her hands up in defense and showed that she would be quiet. When Miki was taken care of, the general moved pass Ai, but paused and leaned in so that she could speak in the younger female's ear.

“As much I am interested what really moves in your head, I think, I really don't want to know...” The general was about to move again, but she stopped and turned back one more time. ”And try to concentrate, damn it. Clear your mind so you wont wander off like you have done the whole training.”

And with that she left and started to order the other warriors around, leaving Ai to stand alone. As Risa passed by, she looked with a concern in the leader's eyes. The older woman froze totally as she saw the bean's face.

“Are you okay?”” Risa asked worried. When she got nothing as an answer, she hit the older one in the shoulder in order to get her attention. Ai jumped a bit, but kept on staring at the other girl. Just when Risa was about to hit her again, Ai moved her hand so that she could grasp the bean's hitting one, stopping her. It was silent for a while, before the monkey spoke.

“I am... Yes, I am fine.” She said quietly, as she let go of Risa's hand. The bean however was still watching at her lover with a concern. Ai was still looking like she was pacing out badly and her words just didn't convince Risa.

“Okay, whatever you say. Try to concentrate, really.” The bean said finally and sighed deeply as she walked past the older one. But she didn't get far, when Ai stopped her once more. The leader grabbed her arm, making Risa to turn around a bit.

“Risa...”

She said quietly, causing the bean to frown. What was wrong with the older one? She was having that look all the time and it was like she wanted to say something but couldn't. And what even scared the bean a bit was the way Ai was holding her. Damn, she was sure that there was just no way she could get away on her own, for the older one was holding her like she would never let go. But Risa's ”rescue” came in a form of their captain, who hit Ai with a wooden practice sword in her head, causing the leader to yelp and let go of Risa.

“You didn't hear what the general said or what the heck is your problem, Takahashi?”

Miki asked with a smirk. Ai rubbed her head a bit as she looked at her captain with a frown. But she couldn't concentrate on Miki for a long time, because Risa was already moving towards the general who had started some practice duels by now. She just stared how Risa moved in the warrior growd, waiting for her turn to get in the ring. And this of course, didn't go unnoticed by Miki. She leaned on Ai's shoulder with her elbow and brought her mouth closer to her ear.

“As much I know and like that you're so in love with that beautiful lady out there, could you still get a grip of yourself.” Her voice was teasing and Ai could see how a smirk was plastered on the captain's face as she spoke. ”Clear your mind in the best way you find, but dammit Ai, do something for you're spacing out so badly.”

And with that, the captain patted her shoulder firmly and left for Goto, who was now following the duels keenly. Ai stood quiet for a while, before she joined the others. She however didn't take any duels because her mind was still a mess. Something like this had never happened and thought she tried to concentrate, it was no use. Risa just couldn't leave her mind and the question she had asked this morning...

'What would she have answered?'

“TAKAHAHSI!!”

Ai jumped for the hundredth time as she heard her general's voice. Goto was glaring at her and when she looked around, the leader noticed that she was standing alone in the middle of everyone. Oh boy, this wasn't good.

“Hai?” 'Damn how long I was spacing out??' She thought. Goto only shook her head and sighed deeply.

“You will fight with Niigaki.”

“EH??” That was all Ai could say and only now she noticed how the bean was standing aside from everyone else, ready to duel. She had her sword pulled out and she was ready for action. She only needed a sign and she would attack.

“You heard me, not get in the action. Hajime.” Goto said like there was nothing wrong and started to follow what would happen next.

“EH? WOW, WAIT!!” That was all Ai could say when her lover was already attacking her. The leader managed barely to dodge the bean's attacks and only about after 5 minutes she managed to pull her own sword out and steady her actions. Before that she had only ran away from her lover, who had mercilessly chased after her. But after Ai had gotten her sword, she was able to fight properly. She however was still a bit unsteady and spacing out, but at least she was not running away anymore.

Goto and Miki looked the duel quietly, the older one frowning all the time. It was not every day that her best student was acting like this. Ai was usually very strict when it came to training and she rarely let her emotions get the better of herself. But the general also knew the reason why it was like this, if anything the captain had told her was true.

'Dammit....' Goto growled in her mind as she kept on following the battle in front of her.

As th two lovers kept on their duel, Ai started to let her mind wander away once again. It cost her few small hits from Risa, but she could still keep on going. Once, they hit their swords together and drew close to each others.

“What the hell is wrong with you Ai?” Risa whispered furiously as she kept pushing against Ai's sword. But the answer the leader gave, confused the bean totally.

“Risa, what would you have answered me this morning?”

“EH?”

Risa almost fell as she heard the older one. They drew a bit away and stared at each others. By now, Ai didn't have that spaced look on her face, but she was even smiling. But there was still something behind those eyes, Risa couldn't put her finger on.

'She's planning something...'

Deciding to not give the leader too much time to plan, the bean attacked again, using all the teachings she had learned during her stay in here. But Ai was now in the battle again. She was with Risa in her every move, not falling behind at all. But for some reason, they often ended up in those close situations where they could share some words.

“Just answer my question.” The leader said.

“Are you out of your mind??” Risa hissed as she tried to hit the leader again, Ai only dodging the attack. The fought for a while, before they went close to each others again.

“Why do you have to know the answer now?” The bean whispered furiously.

“I just have to. You'll see it then.” Ai answered nonchalantly.

And then, there was that smile Risa had learnt to know last night. There was just something different when Ai was smiling like that. It made the bean feel warm inside and somehow even safe. What was that?

“Answer me Risa.”

The bean was snapped back on earth as she heard Ai's words. But her answer was only another attack as she tried to reach her lover's upper body, Ai dodging it easily once again. At some point, they both lost their helmets and face masks as they fought, or more likely, Risa blowing attacks and Ai dodging them. But that didn't slow them down at all. Risa would show her that this would not be an easy duel if her lover was going to act like that. But the bean decided to play at least a bit with her and every time the got closer, she gave her answer bit by bit. The others around them were watching the duel with a great interest. Even the two trainers were interested about how this would end and didn't want to interrupt this duel till the very end.

“If you so want to know...” Risa drew a bit away and hit Ai again. But this time, the leader made the situation so that every time the bean would attack, they would end up close, so it looked more like the bean was trying to get the leader to move, while the older one just kept on blocking her attacks and kept her stance.

“I have already showed and even said to you...” Risa hit again, this time aiming Ai's legs. The leader only led the sword upwards and in front of her face.

“That I love you dammit and...” The bean made another series of attacks, which Ai blocked all. She wanted to hear the answer so she tried as quickly as she could to stop the relentless assault and hear her lover. Soon, the opportunity came as the bean made the mistake to hit two times in the same place, her target being Ai's head now. The leader blocked the second blow easily, drawing the younger one closer to herself again.

“I will stay with you till the very end...”

“That being exactly?” Ai asked.

This time, Risa didn't pull away, but she only looked at the older one with a frown. It was like she didn't understand Ai at all and truth to be told, she didn't. The way Ai was acting at the moment made her very confused and more than anything, Risa wanted to know what moved inside her head.

“For the rest of our lives, baka...” The bean finally hissed.

'And that's all I need to know.'

This time, it was Ai who pulled away first. Risa frowning at this sudden change just stared at her lover like she was crazy. Frustrated by how the older one was so empty headed and having that annoying and mysterious smile on her face, Risa gathered all her energy and roared her war cry, as she attacked Ai again. This time, her attack was fast and it even surprised the bean herself and the two trainers. But then, happened something which surprised them even more: As Risa sent her blow away, it was soon blocked by Ai, who only rose her free hand up and took a hold of the Risa's swords edge, stopping the attack midway.

“Uso...”

All the three, Goto, Miki and Risa said at the same time. The audience gasped loudly and even Eri and Reina stared at the two with wide eyes. Risa couldn't believe her attack was so easily blocked, while the two trainers couldn't believe they could see this technique ever again. Though there was a small amount of blood trailing down from Ai's hand, thanks to the magic effects Goto and Miki had done, she was still keenly watching the bean in front of her. It was like she didn't even notice how the sword had cut her hand a bit.

“General...”

Miki whispered in disbelief. The frown Goto had had all the time was slowly turning into her stern mask once again. And then, she even smiled a bit. Ai might have had spaced out the whole training but then she suddenly showed her true skills and something, the general had managed to do only after a lot of practice. Catching sword like that was extremely difficult and everyone usually lost their hand in doing so. So far, the general had known only one person besides her who had done this trick.

'She indeed is his daughter...'

But Ai was not concerned about how she had finally managed to do the trick she had practiced for so long and now she did it without thinking. All she was focusing on right now was the girl in front of her. She had gotten her answer, which she liked very much.

“If that's the case...”

Ai said, referring to Risa's last words. Then she suddenly lifted her sword up and pointed it against the bean's throat. Realizing her defeat, Risa sighed deeply and pulled back in order to show that she had lost. But to her and everyone's surprise, Ai didn't let go. She was still keenly looking in Risa's eyes with that mysterious look on her face.

'What the heck is in her mind...'

“Risa...”

Ai said gently, keeping her position. When the bean stopped struggling and turned her attention to the leader, her lover finally spoke her mind out.

“Will you marry me?”

The whole room froze totally after Ai's words and it sounded like they stayed in the room, echoing endlessly. Everyone stared the two with wide eyes and mouth open, the two trainers being almost the same but a bit more composed, for they were the higher rankings in here for God's sake. Eri and Reina were also very shocked of what they had heard but most confused one was the person whom the question had been added to.

“....W-what?”

Risa said nervously as she looked in her lover's eyes. Ai was still looking her with that strange look, waiting for the answer. But inside, the leader was nervous, very nervous. She had taken quite a leap of faith as she had asked this question from her lover. But she knew, that this was the only way to get her mind calm and out of this strange state it had been for a long while now. And maybe it was a bit too fast, but so what? People got often married a lot sooner than what they had been already together and not to talk about the arranged marriages. Yes, this was the right decision she had done.

“A-Ai, what did you say?” Not believing what she had just heard, Risa didn't know what else she could say now. She was so sure that she was dreaming, this just couldn't be.

“I asked you to marry me.” Ai said, not changing her position at all. By now, Risa realized that there was a lot of audience around them which caused a blush to rise on her face. She got very nervous suddenly and it didn't help at all, that she still had to give her answer.

“Ai, the others... Can we talk somewhere else....”

“No, we can't. I want my answer now.”

Though Ai spoke with a stern voice, there was still some kind of a gentleness. She wanted her answer now, but at the same time she showed to her lover that she was still the same person she had been almost for a year now.

“Ai really, the others...”

“I don't care.” Suddenly, Ai pulled herself closer, still keeping the swords edge against Risa's neck. ”All I care about now is your answer, Risa. I don't give a damn what these people around us are thinking right now, even the general or captain. All that matters now is the answer of the love of my life and I want it now.”

Moving a bit closer, but still keeping her position, Ai looked deeply in Risa's eyes before she spoke again.

“I love you.”

The time and the place froze again as everyone stared at the two in the middle of the training area. Everyone had long forgotten why were they here and surprisingly, even Goto and Miki were waiting for what was going to happen next.

As she examined those chocolate eyes, Risa ran a lot of things through her mind. She was asked to get married by a person she loved and the person loved her as well. And the sincerity in the leader's eyes told her that if she said yes now, they would indeed stay together till the rest of their lives. But was it a bit too fast? And did she have to do the decision now, in front of anyone?

When it came to big things like this, Risa wanted some time to think and this had totally come as a surprise. Was she ready to this? If she now said yes, she would be a married person and it would change her social status and stuff. And they had to think about how to live and where and the future and all...

Before Risa continued this endless list of things they should think about, she stopped herself. Instead of all the worries, she thought what good would come of this. She would be with her lover, together, like she had always wanted since they confessed to each others their true feelings. She would offiaclly be hers and they would have a connection. Not that they didn't have it now, but marriage was just... It was like sealing all the love they had for each others.

As her mind and heart kept on fighting, Risa found that she had been lost in her lovers eyes quite a long while, Ai still waiting for her answer. Would it be okay to get married now?

'But, what bad would there be if I said yes now?'

Realizing, that if she didn't make her decision now, Risa would stay here for the rest of her life trying to decide what she should do.

'If you choose your next step too long, you will end up living your whole life on one foot.'

And then, the silence was broken in the training area as Risa gave her answer to the crowd around her, but most of all, to her lover who was still desperately waiting for her answer.

--------------

Muahahah, I will leave it here~ Maybe you now realized why I didn't want to post this a week ago. XD Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this chapter!


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline yunagi

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 45/ 2/23
« Reply #176 on: March 05, 2014, 04:26:29 AM »
And after reading that first part my reaction was sorta something like this:


Yay! Rokkies are, nearly, back in action!

MY GAH~ That cliff hanger!

... Where did you say you live again? *types in google earth*
._.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: The mask of soul//chapter 45/ 2/23
« Reply #177 on: June 29, 2014, 11:22:09 AM »
*Wipes the spider webs away* Is there still someone reading this?  :ph43r: If yes, I'm so so so so so so so so sorry for the delay everyone. But I have had a lot of studying, training and work to do so I haven't had much time for writing. But I haven't forgotten this story! It still goes on till the very end XD

Yunagi: Out of the Google Earth xD Otherwise I will leave more of these, ah so lovely cliffhangers and keep... 4 months breaks from writing xD

Okay, some notes: I have planned how this story is about to go and there are still about... 10 chapters left. Something like that, take or add 2-4 chapters. Also, no matter what the current situation in the hello project world is at the moment, this story goes on as I have planned it. Amen for that XD And, like I already said, I have a lot of things going on at the moment, so the next update might be quite far away. Unless I start procrastinating, which hopefully wont happen. It wont happen. I just decided so.

Anyhow! The next chapter, here we go~ (And I'm so sorry about the possible typos and confusions. I just wanted to get this quickly out so it would stop bothering me. If there is something that really bothers you/you don't understand something, just ask me.)


Chapter 46 - Trust them, keep on going


“Yes.”

The word had never sounded as beautiful as it did now. It took a moment for Ai to register what her lover had just said before it truly sank in her head that she wasn't dreaming. The leader had heard right. Risa had accepted her proposal.

But before Ai could do or say anything, someone else did. A squeal was heard as one certain Tanaka Reina jumped up and clapped her hands together. She had a stupid, although tired, grin on her face. She was about to say something when she finally realized that she had interrupted quite an important moment. Her face dropped when she realized that she had kind of stolen Ai's show.

“Oh, sorry... Please carry on.” She apologized and waved her hands sheepishly.

Smiling so much that it almost reached her ears, Ai turned back to Risa and finally dropped the sword she had been holding against the bean's neck for a long while now. As Ai saw the bean's smile, she got only more encouraged. The leader reached her hand behind Risa's head and smiled briefly at her. After that she pulled their heads close to each others and kissed her lover firmly. As soon as her lips pressed on Risa's, the whole training area exploded in a huge applause an cheers as everyone showed their enthusiasm for the new, soon to be married, couple.

As they kissed, Risa slowly encircled her own arms around Ai's middle section. She heard everyone around them but all she registered in her head was her loved one and only her. Ai was holding her tightly as kissed her lovingly at the same time. When she had said yes, Risa had been a bit scared. It was a huge decision and the bean preferred to plan something like this carefully before jumping in any kind of conclusions. There were so many issues she should think about and truth to be told, Risa hadn't even thought about getting married with Ai. That made the younger girl wonder if saying yes had been the right decision.
But as the leader was holding her and kissing her lovingly, the bean knew she didn't need to worry at all. She would be safe with this woman, no matter what, and most importantly, she would be loved as she was.

When they finally pulled apart, the two shared gentle smiles with each others. This all felt so unreal but at the same time, it felt amazingly good. It was like after all the hardship, struggling and pain they had finally found the golden middle road once again. It seemed like there was light at the end of the road once again and that everything would eventually be just all right.

Ai turned so that she could face the two leader's who surprise surprise didn't cheer and clap their hands together but stayed cool and calm like a perfect officer should do. However, the young leader could notice how Miki had a small smile on her face. It was almost invisible, but it was there, Ai was sure of it.

The captain and General had ordered Ai to clear her head and solve how she could concentrate on the training better but doing it this way... This was totally something the two hadn't been prepared for. But at the same time, the officers were rather proud: Their little brat had finally gotten adult and was moving forwards in her life. Just like the both higher ranking warriors had hoped when Ai had changed five years ago.

Goto was a bit different story than the captain. She was not smiling, neither was she looking angry or disappointed. She was just watching the young leader with her stern and usual face. Finally, she sighed deeply, nodded to Ai and turned around to leave the training area. Miki looked after Goto before she looked at Ai again, smiled and showed thumbs up for the younger female. Ai was confused at first, but soon her face melted into a warm smile. She nodded to the captain and then turned to her lover again, who was now accepting congrats from everyone around them.

“The training is over.” Miki's commanding voice suddenly boomed in the room. Everyone went silent and listened to her. ”Next one will be tomorrow. Rest today and get prepared for tomorrow. And,” The captain continued just as she was about to turn around and follow the general. She pointed the couple and smirked wickedly at the same time. ” you two. Don't be late.”

This caused both Ai and Risa to blush a bit, but soon they only laughed. They had more reason to celebrate what had happened a while ago than be embarrassed about what happened last night. Besides, only the general anc captain knew about this issue, no one else did.

“Tanaka, Kamei, make sure these two lovebirds will make it to the training in time.” Miki shouted over her shoulder as she made her exit from the training area. Both Reina and Kamei, who had by now come closer to their friends so they could congratulate them, snapped in attention, as well as they could, and saluted. ”Yes ma`m!”

“Good. Carry on.”

Miki's voice could be heard from the exit door and finally a small crack of the wooden door told everyone that she had finally left the area. As the captain was gone, Reina turned around and went to the couple who was once again lost in each others eyes and were just about to kiss.

“THIS IS SO GREAT GUYS!! CONGRATS!!”

She yelled and jumped so that she could take both her friends in a tight one arm hug. Suddenly, the kitten had gotten some extra energy and seemed to have forgotten that she should be recovering and not jumping around. But she could care less now. Her friends were going to get married and that should be celebrated!

“Reina...!!”

Ai squealed as Risa just yelped something. The kitten kept on hugging them and ranting about something, till she was finally pried away by Eri's gentle tucking in her sleeve. The turtle had managed to wheel herself closer to her friends. She had noticed how Reina was about to jump out of her pants, so the Eri had decided to calm her down. It was okay to be happy about this, but Reina should be recovering as well and running around like that wouldn't do any good for her condition.

“Now, now, calm down.”

Eri said in a whisper like tone, Reina obeying immediately what she said. She didn't want to force Eri to talk too much or look after her so she decided to calm down. But that didn't remove the grin she had on her face. The smile on Reina's face made both Ai and Risa feel uncomfortable. She was about to say something to tease the couple and knowing the kitten, she would go on, till someone would literally make her shut up.

“My my, didn't see that coming. Our leader is getting married and with who. Oh boy!”

“You know.... you're never going hear end of this teasing...”

Eri said as she smiled weakly at her two friends, who were now both rubbing their sore necks, thanks to Reina.

“Well, I don't know about Risa, but I wont mind that at all.” Ai said as she took a better hold of the bean, circling both her arms around her waist now. ”I am the luckiest person on the world right now.”

“Awww, what a charmer!”

Reina kept on making her stupid faces and such, till she was finally silenced by Eri, as the turtle slapped her shoulder gently.

“I think I wont mind that either.”

The bean said to her lover, as she leaned a bit in so she could place her head against Ai's chest.

“In the end, this is something we both have wanted”

Ai smiled down at her lover. Soon, she leaned her head lower and placed her lips once again on Risa's. Yes, they indeed wouldn't mind the teasing. They had better things to focus on and well, they already were used to Reina's teasing. Really, nothing could make them think about something else than their future together.

“Well, I think I will have something to tease you about.” Reina muttered, as her teasing were not heard. When no one seemed to notice her, the kitten shrugged and said like nothing was specific was happening around her. ”I just have to ask the captain and general.”

This caused both Risa and Ai to freeze. They kept their lips sealed as they turned their gazes to the now broadly grinning kitten. Oh yes, things like this spread like a black death inside the warrior order and she had finally gotten her much wanted attention.

“Reina....”

Eri mumbled as she knew very well what her kitten friend had meant. She felt a bit sorry for her friends, because they truly were never going to hear the end of this.

--------------------------

Goto walked slowly out of the training area and outside of the whole building. There, she headed to a one certain fenced area, which looked like it was ready to collapse at any moment. The general walked closer, stopping just in front of the gate. She looked inside the area, which now had grass wildly growing around. All kind of memories flashed through her mind as she remembered some old times. Old times, which would totally come to end soon.

“That was quite a surprise.”

The voice of Captain Fujimoto interrupted Goto's train of thoughts and she only nodded as an answer. Miki walked beside her, holding both her hands behind her back. The two officers stood in silence, looking inside of the small fenced area. Only a gentle breeze moved their clothes gently but otherwise the two warriors looked like statues. Miki too had many memories in here and she knew exactly what the general was thinking of. They stayed in silence, just looking inside the fenced area and listening the cheers that came from inside. Finally, Miki decided to break the silence.

“You knew this day would come.”

She said calmly. Once again, Goto only nodded her head as a response, not saying a word.

“Though, I have to admit that this came as a total surprise, but hey.” The captain paused. ”When do these things come as planned?”

The general only nodded once again as she kept her gaze on the fenced area. Miki kept a small pause. She knew that Goto was listening to her, though for a outsider it might have looked like the captain was talking to a brick wall.

'It feels so unreal how time flies so fast...'

Finally, the captain got enough of the silence. Or more likely, she got enough how her friend was spacing out so badly. It was very rare to see Goto staring in one place for a longer than 2 seconds, but at the moment, the general was looking inside the fenced area like she tried to order the grass to grow by her willpower or something.

Miki sighed and shook her head a bit. Yes, Ai was like an own child to her too, but the general seemed to take this step quite heavily. They had watched after that brat from since she joined the training and even before that and especially after Heishiro had died. Now, that Ai was getting married, it felt like they had to let go of the kid and that she had finally grown up. Or well, she was legally an adult for she was over twenty years old. But she had always been the same kid to the captain and general.

They both had known this for a long time now and yet it still hit them like a ton of bricks. It amused Miki a bit how they could kill a person without thinking twice, but when their student grew up and got more independent, they both went silent as if something serious had happened. Maybe they too had some kind of a soft spot under their hard shelters.

“You okay?” Miki finally asked, when Goto hadn't moved or talked at all in a while. The captain was really getting worried about her friend and she bet that she was just imagining things, but the grass actually looked a bit taller than a while ago.

“I am...” Goto finally grumbled. There was a silence again, but this time, it was broken by the general as Goto continued on. But still, she kept her gaze inside the fenced area.

“It just feels...” She started quietly, but so that Miki would catch her words. Without a word, the captain came a bit closer, giving all her attention to the general now. She knew this wasn't easy for her friend and though Goto didn't show it, she needed someone beside her at the moment. Only Miki knew it and no one would ever believe it even if she told someone. The captain waited silently, till she heard the general spoke again.

“Feels.. Feels, like I have failed...” Goto finally whispered.

“Failed?” Miki said, confused. How had the general failed?

“Yeah...” The general continued, still keeping her gaze in the same place as it had been for a long while now. ”I don't know why, but it just feels like that.”

“If you ask me, you have all but failed.” Miki said immediately after Goto had spoken. Her tone was very firm and it finally made the general snap out of her thoughts. Goto turned her face towards the captain beside her. At first, Miki looked at her like she was about to scold the other officer, which she probably never could do because she valued her life way too much, but then her face melted in a brief smile. One of the captain's hands found its way on Goto's shoulder, giving it a firm tap.

“Our order was not to prevent her from growing up, but to look after her. And that you have done perfectly.” Miki paused, before she continued on.

“Without you, that brat would have committed a suicide a long time ago or be a lot worse than what she was. But with your firm leading and ”caring”, her true self stayed there. And now,”

Miki pointed her other hand towards the training hall, which was still full of laughter and cheering. She kept her eyes all the time on Goto's face, making sure that the other officer would be listening to her. The general did for she was very interested to hear what her captain wanted to tell her.

“our brat is getting married to a person she hated at first. If you ask me, that needs a lot of  growing up and disciplined training, which you have given to Ai more than anyone else.”

All the time as Miki spoke, Goto's gaze was on the ground as she listened to her captain. Yes, she had taken care of the young leader, but for some reason seeing her grow up and move on her life felt like she had failed something. Or maybe it was just that she was quite sad that Ai was finally able to go on her own. Of course, she was happy too, but the general had gotten used to a life where she was always watching over Ai, making sure that the kid wouldn't kill herself. She had raised her just as Heishiro had asked her to, and yet she felt like she had failed.

“Hey,” Miki said as she squeezed Goto's shoulder and turned the general to face her. There was something in the captain's eyes that made Goto completely focus on what she was about to say next.

“You have fulfilled your order perfectly and there's nothing that you have failed. Ai will still be the same brat for us, even after the marriage, and she wont go anywhere.” Miki continued convincing the general and when it seemed like nothing was happening, the captain patted Goto's shoulder again, gaining her attention back.

”You know you can still order her around like you have done so far even though she is independent now?”

This finally seemed to hit the general. Looking up, Goto met with Miki's smiling face and she couldn't help but smile briefly too. Yes, Ai would always be the same kid she had grown fond to during these years, no matter what she would do or whom she would be with. And though Goto was going to let her grow up, she would also make sure to be the parent figure to the young leader, forever. But of course, she wouldn't tell that to anyone else than to her dear captain. Placing her only hand on top of one of Miki's, Goto looked up at her friend. At first, she just stared at her but then her lips turned into a very brief smile. The captain's own smile got wider when she noticed the change in her friend's face. It was good to get Goto understand that she indeed hadn't failed anything and that even after Ai would get married, they would still look after her. In the end, their command didn't tell when they should stop looking after Ai.

“Thank you.”

“No problem.” The captain answered, but her smile didn't leave her face as she noticed how the general soon had her usual scowl back on her face. Miki's smile more likely turned into a wide smirk when she realized what the other officer was thinking when she was looking at the training area.

“Want me to get them away from there and go celebrate somewhere else?” Miki asked amused and almost burst into laughing, when she saw Goto nodding with a serious face.

“Yes. The training place is not for celebrating but training. Order them to go somewhere else and remind them that they should rest.” Goto said in a very formal tone as she turned back to face the fenced area in front of them.

“I'll take care of that.” Miki said cheerfully as she patted the general's shoulder one more time and turned around to leave. As she walked she yelled over her shoulder:

“I also ordered Kamei and Tanaka to look after them so that they would not be late tomorrow.”

“Good.” Goto said sternly as she stayed in her place. After a few moments the general heard voices behind her as the cheering group of warriors exited the training area. She was silent for a moment but then sighed deeply before her commanding voice boomed through the yard. Even though Goto was facing away from the group, her voice sounded amazingly strong.

“Takahashi.”

The cheering and such stopped and soon Goto heard fast footsteps behind her and how someone stopped few feet behind her. A small thud was heard as heels were snapped together, the student standing exactly forty-five degrees to left behind her student. The general couldn't help but feel proud how the younger female was still doing these things just as she had taught her.

“General.”

A brief smile flashed on her face as she heard that familiar voice. It had changed during the years too, being more mature and deep now. It was not a little girl's voice anymore, but an adult's. As she turned to look at the younger warrior beside her, she didn't see a brat anymore. She saw an adult who was ready to take responsibilities and care of someone else beside herself.

'She looks so much like sensei when he was younger...'

Realizing that she had kept the squad leader standing in attention for quite a long while, the general decided to speak.

“Congratulations.”

It was brief as always and the general never liked to talk too much. But she didn't need to for the surprised look and smile after that on Ai's face told her that the younger one received her thoughts. Not showing her confusion for too long, Ai soon shook her head and did as she was taught in this kind of a situation, making the general feel even more proud.

“Arigatoo gozaimazu!”

Ai said as she bowed towards the general. When her face was down, Goto let a rare and warm smile spread on her lips. The smile vanished as soon as Ai got up and the stern mask was once again in its place. Nodding, Goto motioned to the younger one that she was dismissed. Ai smiled brightly, but just when she was about to leave, she stopped and turned back to the older woman. She hesitated for a moment, but finally decided to do what was on her mind.

“Ano, general?”

Turning her face towards Ai, Goto showed that she was listening. The squad leader hesitated more, before she smiled and looked at the general.

“Thank you, for everything.”

Not seeing this coming, Goto only kept stern face. She nodded shortly, before she turned her face away again, giving a hand signal to Ai that she should go. Smiling a bit, Ai walked closer to the older woman and gave a firm pat on her shoulder before running away to her friends.

The whole scene was seen by Miki who was leaning on the training area's door. She had her arms crossed in front of her and a warm smile was on her face. She watched how Ai ran back to Risa, scooping the younger one in her arms and spinning her around one round before she kissed her. After that they left with the rest of the team and other warriors and there was a silence in the training area.

Looking back at the general Miki decided to go inside and clean up the places. But before she turned around, she could see something glisten beside the general's cheek. Or more likely, on it. The captain shook her head and sighed deeply.

”What a killer are you, crying over a thing like this...”

The captain thought as she went quickly inside, wiping her own eyes before it would be too late to hide how she was feeling at the moment.

----------------------------

The nurse's place was very lively after the four friends had found their way in there. They had decided to go and see Lin Lin and tell her these news about Ai and Risa. But the nurse already knew, though she acted that she knew nothing about this so she wouldn't ruin the atmosphere her friends were having at the moment.

As everyone congratulated the freshly engaged couple, one person didn't join the others as much as she wanted. She stayed a bit away from her friends, a sad smile decorating her lips as she examined Ai and Risa.

'They look so happy...'

Eri thought and her smile grew a bit wider when Ai pulled Risa a bit closer so she could give her quick kiss on her lips. At the same time, Eri felt two emotions rush through her body: a huge joy for her friends and a sad feeling as she remembered that she too, had had that kind of moments with someone. And who knows, in the future she could have been in her friend's place with her loved one. But now, she would probably never ever experience something like that.

As Eri kept on looking at her friends, she suddenly noticed something to happen. The more she looked at the couple, the more one of them started to look like Sayu. At some point, the turtle was sure that the tactician was in front of her, smiling that knowing and warm smile of hers. But that couldn't be and as soon as Eri thought so, her dead lover disappeared and everything was like it had been. In front of her were Ai and Risa. No Sayu.

'I feel tired...'

Eri thought suddenly and slowly, she started to back away and move into the room which she had occupied for a long while recently. She went quietly, for she didn't want to rise too much attention. This was Risa's and Ai's day and they needed all the attention now. Plus, she didn't want to ruin the day by her own sad feeling. She had already caused enough trouble for them and she didn't want to burden them anymore.

Slowly walking to her bed, Eri sat down and looked out of the window. The room was silent, the only clear sound being the quiet talking of her friends outside the room. But even those voices started to evade and in no time, Eri was sure she didn't hear them anymore. It was just silence that surrounded her.

As she sat there, moment by moment Eri felt more tired and somehow heavy. It was like she was falling and everything around her started to spin slowly. She was alone in this and there was no one else beside her and this was how it would be forever. Her one and only support had gone under the ground and would never come back.

'I am doomed to be alone, without love...'

Closing her eyes, Eri let the heavy feeling take over her. She fell deeper in the darkness she was now in and it was like she was alone in the middle of black space with nothing else. As she kept falling deeper, she could feel someone's presence. Turning her head around, Eri tried to see around her, but no one was there. Yet, she was sure that there was someone else present in this darkness with her.

'You're forever alone, no one likes you... There's no love for you.'

A voice suddenly echoed in her head as she kept on flowing in the darkness the heavy feeling only getting worse and worse. She was all alone, and no one would never drag her out from here. Eri let her eyes close and as she did so, the feeling like something wrapped around her took over her. It felt cold, heavy and Eri wanted to get away. But she couldn't. The voice kept playing in her head, telling her to just give up. But then, another voice could be heard

”Eri.”

That voice, it was familiar. Was it Sayu? No, it was someone else she knew. The voice repeated her name again and again, every time becoming more concerned. And then, Eri opened her eyes and found concerned Reina crouching in front of her. The turtle had somehow fallen in some kind of unknown state as she had been sitting, but now she was awake, thanks to Reina. Eri sighed a bit. Maybe it was just a dream or then she just fainted or something. Her condition was still a bit unstable so it wasn't anything new if she suddenly fell asleep or fainted.

Eri looked around her a bit, but as she did so she noticed something that made her blood run cold. Her hands were surrounded by something dark and as she tried to lift them, it felt heavy. The turtle looked around her and little by little, the darkness started to appear all around her. She could feel this mysterious presence of someone or something around her once again and it started to make her feel uneasy.

“Eri, why are you here? Is something wrong?”

Reina asked as she placed her hands on Eri's knees. The older girl didn't react to the contact but just stared in front of her. She felt very scared. It was like she couldn't control her own body anymore but someone else was taking control of her. And what scared her most was that she wanted to push Reina away. She didn't know why, but it just felt like that. Hell, she wanted to get away from everyone around her! But at the same time, she wanted to push others away from her because she wasn't herself. This wasn't her, someone else was trying to take control of her body and she didn't want to hurt her friends.

'Go away...'

“Eri? What's wrong? Please, tell me.” Reina pleaded and soon, Eri heard how new voices joined them.

“What's going on?”

It was Ai's voice and if the leader was there then it meant that Risa was here too. Remembering suddenly why she had been so sad, Eri's eyes started to water slowly and the voice in her head was back.

'You're forever alone, there's no love for you....'

Suddenly, Eri felt how anger washed through her mind. She had no reason to be angry to her friends, but that was how she felt now. She really needed to get grib of herself or something horrible would happen. But she couldn't. She felt so tired of all of this. She just wanted to let go...

“No...”

Eri said quietly as she gripped her head. This caused an alarm to click in Reina's head and in no time, she was beside the older girl, holding one arm around her shoulder and shaking her gently. The kitten looked very worried and even scared as she tried to figure our what was going on with her friend. Though Eri looked like she was only crying, something told Reina that this was more serious.

“Eri?! What's wrong? Tell me!”

By now, Ai and Risa too recognized the way their friend was acting and rushed to her side. It looked like Eri was falling in depression again and they had to do something before it was too late. They had already gotten her to recover this far, so they couldn't let her fall back.

“Eri, please tell me what's wrong! Eri!”

Reina kept on pleading as she held tighter on the older girl. The voice kept on echoing in Eri's mind and she was sure that her head was about to explode. It hurt to hear her friend's worried voices and it didn't make the turtle feel safe at all. She needed to get them away from her, now. But at the same time, she didn't want them to go. She needed them beside her, but at this state, she would only hurt them.

“No... I don't want to...” Eri cried suddenly. She shook her head violently and everyone could see how her body shivered.

“What? What you don't want to?” Reina asked. She felt so helpless how she couldn't make anything for the turtle.

“Alone...” Eri sniffed, but the kitten didn't quite catch what she was saying.

“What? Eri, please talk to me....”

And then it happened. Eri had gotten enough of that voice, enough of this feeling and this state she was now in. She even felt that she had gotten enough of her friends around her and just wanted to get away from here. Somewhere far away, where she would be alone without others. Suddenly jumping on her feet and Eri ripped herself free from Reina's grasp and roared:

”I DON'T WANT TO BE ALONE!!”

The sudden outburst startled everyone around her, causing the three friends to jump back a bit. Ai even went as far as placing her hand on the sword handle on her hip. It made the leader scared, for this was her friend she was afraid of at the moment. But Eri's roar had been something so inhumane, that it made even Reina doubt if this was their lovely aho kame they had known for years now.

In a quick motion, Eri took a hold of a nearby chair. She lifted it easily with one hand and threw the object out of her way. The chair flew amazingly fast to a wall and shattered into small pieces. The way the furniture had broken made alarm click in the other's minds. The chair was in so small piece's that one could actually use the remains of it as tooth stick. Something was seriously wrong with their friend.

Eri was about to move on, but now her friend's realized that if they didn't stop her, someone would lose their lives. And even worse, they would lose Eri forever.

Jumping in front of the turtle, Ai took a hold of her sub leader's upper body. But as the leader did so, she was violently showed away by Eri. It felt like a shock wave had traveled through her chest and the leader had to take few steps back in order to steady herself.

'Hell, what's wrong with her??'

Ignoring the pain in her chest, Ai tried to took a hold of her friend again, but this time, she made sure that the others were attacking Eri at the same time. After seeing what had happened to Ai, Reina and Risa understood the situation as well. If they attacked alone, Eri would easily block their attacks. So the three went in at the same time: Ai taking a hold of the turtle's upper body when Risa attacked her legs. Reina was soon taking a hold of Eri's head and hands and with co-operation, they made the turtle fall down on the bed behind her and keep her there. It was not very easy job however. Though there were three of them, it felt like Eri would easily threw them all away if she wanted. But luckily, the turtle was so blinded by her own rage that she didn't think clearly. She kept roaring something and tossing her legs and arms around. The three warriors indeed had hard time keeping their friend in one place so they had to think quickly how to calm her down.

“Eri calm down!!”

Ai commanded, as she pressed her body on top of Eri's, so she could pin her down. It felt more likely wrestling with a bear than a young woman. Few times Ai almost lost her hold around Eri, but somehow she managed to hold on. Meanwhile, Risa made sure that the sub leader could not use her legs at all and Reina tried to keep a hold of the turtle's slashing arms and wildly turning head. The kitten covered her eyes with her hand and brought her own face near to Eri's. It didn't calm Eri down at all.

“Eri, please. Calm down!!”

Reina pleaded, but it had no effect. The only thing Eri was still hearing was the annoying voice that kept on telling how she would be forever alone, without love. No matter how much her friends tried to pull her out from the darkness, Eri could feel nothing else than anger and loneliness. She wanted to get away, to be alone from the others where she wouldn't be a burden. Yes, that was all she was, a burden. No one would love her and she would only cause trouble to others...

'Eri.'

A different voice cut Eri's train of thoughts suddenly. That voice, it was different to all the others. Suddenly, the turtle calmed down totally. This gave the other three an opportunity to took a better hold of her, but they had also noticed the change in their friend. They kept their hold, because they didn't know if Eri would continue fighting back in a while.

”Eri?” Reina called her friend, lifting her head up so she could look in the turtke's face. Though Eri could hear Reina's voice and see her face, the other voice was much stronger than the kitten's.

'Eri.'

Where was she? No matter what, the turtle could recognize that voice anywhere, anytime and among all the voices. But where was she? And then, Eri saw it. Behind Reina, another head appeared. It was blurry at first, but little by little it got sharper features. It was her.

“Sayu....”

Eri said quietly, causing all the three to gasp. What the heck was she talking about?

“Eri, Sayu is not here....” Reina said quietly, but the turtle was not listening. Instead of trying to struggle to get free, she smiled and kept on looking how Sayu's face got closer. It was like the tactician was about to kiss her and Eri welcomed the act more than willingly. But just when their faces were only few inches away from each other and their lips were about to touch, the turtle passed out.

---------------------

'I thought we had a deal about this...'

Sayu said with a disappointed voice. She was standing in the same room they had been for a while now and Eri was still laying on the bed. But there was no one else, just the two of them.

'Sayu...'

'What happened to your promise?'

The demanding and a bit angry voice of Sayu's made Eri's mind clear suddenly and she could remember that she indeed had done a promise to her dead girlfriend. The turtle sat up, the heavy feeling totally gone now. She looked at the dark haired girl in front of her. Sayu was wearing her usual warrior clothes, her hair was down and she had her arms folded in front of her chest. She didn't look pleased at all. Eri felt a bang of guilty wash over her as she met Sayu's eyes. Looking down, the turtle tried to hide from the tactician's piercing gaze as the younger one waited for her answer.

'Ano...'

'What I just saw was something I didn't want to see at all. Never ever again.' Sayu snapped a bit. Eri shivered at her words, but didn't look up. The bunny's expression softened a bit and a sigh escaped her lips. She then came closer and stopped just in front of the turtle. Eri looked up, only to meet the same hard gaze. Or well, it had softened a bit, but it was still sending the same message as a moment ago. Eri tried to be brave in front of Sayu. In the end, she was the only person who she could open up like this. The only one whom she could show her weaknesses and bad qualities, everything.

'I tried...' Eri said quietly. Tears started to fall down her cheeks as she spoke. When Sayu stayed quiet, she continued.

'But I feel so tired. Without you, it's so hard to keep on going... And when Ai proposed to Risa...' This time when the turtle lowered her head in her hands, the ghost in front of her sighed deeply again, her face softening. The hard gaze was replaced by an understanding expression as Sayu looked down at her turtle friend.

'No matter what, you still have to go on...'

'But I can't!!'

Eri almost shouted as she looked up at the younger girl. Sayu only sighed and shook her head. She then reached her hands out and took Eri's head in them gently. The touch felt so real, though Eri knew this wasn't real. It couldn't be, unless she had died.

'Dear, I know it's hard, but you just must try harder. Ne...'

The black haired sat down beside the other girl and took her in a tight hug, the turtle immediately burying her head in her lover's shoulder. Sayu held her, just letting the older one to cry her heart out. When Eri finally calmed down a bit, the tactician spoke again.

'Remember that no matter what, I'll be there watching over you. And you also have your friends with you. They give you strength to go on and they will help you, no matter what happens to you.'

She paused for a while. At the same time, Sayu kept moving her hands gently on Eri's back, making her calm down. When the turtle said nothing, she decided to continue.

'You cannot give up living just because you lost something precious. You got to keep going. You have so much to live and see and I don't want you to die yet.'

Pulling away, the bunny faced the older one. She had red eyes from crying and she looked so miserable. Smiling shortly, Sayu patted her head, the hand then traveling down on Eri's cheek, where it stayed.

'But it's so hard....' Eri whispered.

'I know it's hard. But you just have to trust me and your friends. Everything will be better. You just can't give up.'

Though she wanted to say she couldn't do this and she didn't want to, Eri stayed quiet. Her girlfriend had sacrificed her own ”ghost life” and was now stuck in here because of her girlfriend who suddenly had gotten some suicidal thoughts. She didn't want to her work to be in vain. She didn't want to be a burden to dead ones as well, though in a way she already was. But if she could make the burden any less, she would do that.

And her friends. How much they must have sacrificed their time in order to look after her. If she now gave in, it would all be in vain.
Eri didn't know how she suddenly got these thoughts in her head, but as she kept looking at Sayu's face, which now had a gentle and knowing smile, something made Eri feel that there indeed was still some hope in this world. Even though Sayu was dead, she was still here in some way. And she also had her friends. They would be with her, no matter what. If they had gone this far, there possibly wouldn't be anything worse they would have to go because of Eri. Maybe there indeed was hope after all.

Felling suddenly much lighter and better, Eri opened her mouth and the words she said came out without thinking. But it felt so right to promise something like this for her lover.

'I... I'll try..'

Hearing this, Sayu smiled wide and pulled the other one in a tight hug.

'That's my girl.'

As they hugged, the turtle felt how the world around her changed again. The heavy and dark feeling started lift off her and instead, she felt warm and light. The dark voice in her mind was gone, and it was replaced by something else. The voices became louder and louder, till Eri could hear them clearly. She was still in Sayu's arms, but little by little it felt like she was waking up. And then, everything was black again, but the voices kept on calling her. But for some reason, she could still feel Sayu's arms around her. Or, where they hers? The last thing Eri remembered, was Sayu's voice as she spoke to her:

'Remember that your friends are always there for you. Ai, Risa and Reina are always there for you.... There for you... Always... Ai... Risa... Reina... Reina...'

'Reina...'


---------------------------------

“ERI!!”

Reina almost yelled, as she held the older girl in her arms. She was sitting on on the bed's edge, the turtle cradled in her arms. Ai and Risa were standing nearby, looking their two friends worriedly. Lin Lin was already alarmed too and now the nurse was examining the young warrior. She was crouching in front of Reina and moving her hands on top of Eri's body.

The nurse had immediately known what was wrong, since the turtle send some kind of a dark aura. Lin Lin wasn't an expert with spirits and such, but thanks to her senses, she could feel and recognize them when they were close.

As the young nurse moved her hands on top of Eri's body, her face changed suddenly. First, she frowned and then suddenly she had a stern face. Then, she suddenly pulled her hands away and looked scared. Alarmed by that, Ai and Risa came a bit closer. The leader placed her hand on Lin Lin's shoulder in order to support the nurse who looked like she was about to fall on her butt.

“Lin Lin? You okay?” Ai asked as she looked at the nurse questioningly.

“She is with Spirit.” Lin Lin said. This caused everyone around them to gasp. Did she mean... Quickly Realizing what the others might have thought, the nurse quickly shook her head and put her hand back above Eri's face.

“No, she's not dead. She's only connecting with someone who doesn't belong to this world. And that someone is probably Sayu...”

The nurse explained, still a bit horrified what she had seen a while ago. When she had tried to connect with Eri's mind, she had seen Sayu's ghost in the form she would see it in this world. And it wasn't a pretty sight... The spirit had blocked her out and the nurse had a feeling that the bunny had wanted to deal with Eri alone. Knowing that the spirit was Sayu, Lin Lin wasn't too worried about the situation. Though, of course there was always the possibility that something might happen...

“I cannot contact her, because the spirit is blogging me out. But I think she should be fine otherwise...”

“Fine??”

A low growl was heard and everyone turned to look at the kitten holding her loved on in her arms. Reina had rather angry expression, and the scene reminded Risa of a tiger who was protecting its cup or something. The kitten was holding Eri very tightly and looked the trio in front of her like she wanted them to stay away.

“You think she is fine?”

Reina growled again as she glared at the nurse. Eri was definitely not fine. She was in a coma like state and she had been falling in depression just a while ago and now someone said she is fine. Besides, she was connecting with a spirit which might mean that she was dead!

But Lin Lin didn't take Reina as a threat. She had seen many times how someone lost control over her emotions when the question was about their loved ones. Also, Reina too had been in a bad condition for a while ago, so it was no wonder her state of mind had wavered when she had been alarmed by Eri.

“Calm down please.”

The nurse just said, but that only angered Reina more. The kitten growled once again and almost shot up, but luckily the two other warriors had seen where this was about to go. They launched themselves on Reina's arms and held her down, minding Eri all the time. But they didn't need to keep the kitten down for a long while. Someone else calmed her down.

“Reina....”

Everyone froze as they heard Eri's voice. Reina's face turned immediately to the turtle and when she noticed that she was slowly awakening, she forgot the others. She pulled her arms free from Ai and Risa and took the turtle in a tight hug, the two backing away a bit at the same time.

“Eri... You okay??”

She asked quietly as she held the other girl. Eri was quiet again. The meeting with Sayu was still fresh in her mind and the words she had said to her. But one word echoed more than the others in her head.

'Reina...'

“Reina...”

Hearing her name, the kitten pulled a bit away from the older girl so she could see her face. They both stared each others for a long while, not uttering a word. Reina didn't know what she should do. Eri had been calling her name and now she just stared at her with those tired eyes. After staring in each other eyes for a good while, a small smile formed on Eri's lips. Reina gasped in surprise, but soon she was panicking again as the turtle's head fell to her side and her eyes closed.

“Eri..!!”

Reina got worried, but then she heard Eri's voice again. The kitten held her friend in her arms and pressed her head closer to hers so she could hear better.

“I'm sorry... I'll try harder from now on...”

Not understanding a word what she was saying, the kitten only turned her head to stare at the girl in her arms. For a while nothing happened, but then the turtle opened her eyes and looked up at the younger one. She gave another short smile to her. Now also the others could see the smile she was giving to the kitten. They had seen Eri smile god knows how many times, but the smile she was giving to Reina at the moment. The turtle had given such warm smiles only to one person before.

“Thank you Reina... For always being out there.”

Slowly realizing that the other girl might have finally come back to them, smile spread on the kitten's lips. She slowly gathered Eri in her arms and hugged her closer. The younger warrior buried her face in Eri's soft hair and held her like she was never letting go.

“I'll always be there for you...”

She said as she hugged her. In a moment, she felt how Eri slowly raised her arms up and hugged her back. It was a weak hug, but it still was a hug. How worried she had been for fer friend. For a while, Reina had been sure that the turtle had lost it again, but now she knew that Eri was with them again. She just knew it, though there was a high possibility that the turtle could still snap and go berserk like she had done a while ago.

“She will be fine.”

Lin Lin said finally, smiling as well. She could sense the good aura that was radiating from the two on the bed and she knew Eri was with them again. Ai and Risa only looked at each other, but decided to trust the nurse. In the end she had the talent to see deeper in people's minds and souls than anyone else. And the scene in front of them also convinced them that Eri indeed would be fine. At the moment, they wished for it more than anything else.

As everyone were taking care of Eri, a small, dusty, cloud like thing moved away from the room. It walked through the wall and kept on going. Now that she was sure that Eri would keep her word and try again, Sayu could leave her from her eyes.

------------------------------

I hope you enjoyed this, if there's still someone reading this... xD


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline carzung

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
Re: The mask of soul//chapter 46/ 6/29
« Reply #178 on: July 03, 2014, 04:24:44 PM »
 :cow: You're UPDATE Yeah!!!!!!!

I'm still Reading it so Please continue the story.

I'm happy for TAKAGAKI  :twothumbs but so sad for Kame  :cry: and feel amuse for MakiMiki.  :D

Offline MsSmigge

  • ecchi
  • Member+
  • Posts: 200
  • TetteketeBean<3
Re: The mask of soul//chapter 46/ 6/29
« Reply #179 on: July 20, 2014, 03:31:35 PM »
carzung: So great to see that there is still someone reading this and even commenting! That makes me glad~ I will continue this story till the end, so don't worry XD

Thanks for your interest once again everyone ^^ I had too much time (which is a miracle) and ended up typing the next chapter. It feels weird to update so soon again XD

Anyhow, here's the next chapter.

Here we go~


Chapter 47 - The horse and the Eagle


After the incident with Eri, Ai and Risa thought it would be a good thing to leave her and Reina to be alone for a while. Lin Lin had also suggested that and so the two left the nurse's place. The turtle was with Reina now, so she would be okay. The kitten would surely look after her and besides Lin Lin was with them as well. Eri would be in good hands with those two.

The soon to be married couple decided to head to the town, for the leader had some issues she had to buy. To their surprise, the word had spread very fast and everyone was congratulating them. People would drop their tasks they were doing when they noticed the two and go see the. At some point, there were so many people around them, that Ai thought it would safer to keep a hold of her fiancee. Otherwise it felt like the crowd would come and snatch Risa away from her. And indeed, had she not linked their arms together, either of them would have been taken by the enthusiastic crowd.

“When's the ceremony?”

“Congrats! This is just so great!”

"Oh, I wish I was as lucky as you are...”

“When are you going to get kids?”

There were questions after questions and it seemed more like the couple was either a celebrity in the town or some spies in a fiery cross-examination. At some point, Ai got enough of the crowd and questions. It was great that people felt happy for them but at the moment the leader really wanted to spend some time with her lover. Alone. Quickly, Ai started to lead Risa away from the town square, the bean following her without resist. She too wanted to get away and was only happy that Ai had been able to get them away from the crowd.

When they finally got away from the enthusiastic people and reached Ai's home, they went immediately inside and made sure to lock the door and check that no one had followed them. Peeking out of the window, the leader could actually see that someone had followed them but after noticing how hurriedly the two had went inside, decided to leave them be. Luckily some people still had some sense in their heads. Leaving the window, Ai followed Risa inside and to the living room where both slouched down on the floor, sighing deeply.

“Man, I didn't know that getting married would be so tough...”

The bean said as she placed her hand against her forehead. Ai only nodded at her as she got up from the floor and walked to the kitchen. It didn't take long when the bean noticed her actions and soon she followed behind the leader.

“Want something?” Ai asked as she went through her food supplies.

“Uun, I'm fine...”

Risa said as she sat down on a nearby chair. The leader took something to drink and though the bean had said she was fine, the older one brought her a mug with something liquid in it. Smiling shortly, the bean took the container and emptied it in her mouth. Ai just knew that whenever Risa said she was fine, she wasn't. She wanted something but didn't dare to say that she wanted it. She was just always thinking others and though she and Ai had been dating for a long while now, she still felt like a quest in the leader's house. The older one had tried to tell her that she should be like at home in here too, but Risa just couldn't help it and act like she was a guest.

Emptying her own mug, the leader put the empty container away and went to the living room, the bean once again following after her. They both ended up on the couch, Ai sitting down first then Risa following after. She ended up in the older one's lap, though she had tried to sit in the empty space. But the leader had immediately scooped the bean in her arms and dragged RIsa in her lap. And of course, the bean didn't mind it at all.

They stayed quiet for a long while, the leader gently playing with the younger one's long hair, while Risa just leaned her head against her lover's chest and enjoyed the secure feeling she had in this woman's arms. Always when Ai was holding her like this, the bean felt that no one or nothing could hurt her. The squad leader would protect her, no matter what.

“When do you want to keep the wedding?”

Ai's sudden question startled the bean a little bit. She was way too relaxed at the moment to think such big issues, but then again she was rather excited about this at the same time. Risa was quiet for a while, before she turned around a bit and snuggled closer to her lover's chest.

“I don't know... What do you want?” She mumbled as she pressed her head against Ai's chest, listening her strong and steady heart beat.

“I want to marry you as soon as possible.”

This time, Risa pulled herself a bit away, so she could see the older one's face. Ai was calmly looking somewhere in the distance and only when she felt Risa's questioning stare at her, she turned to look at her.

“As soon as possible? Why?” Risa asked confused yet curious at the same time.

Smiling, the older one brought her arms so, that they were resting on the bean's shoulders. She tilted her head to the side a bit, examining her fiancee's face. Gosh, how she loved those beautiful features of hers. Even when she was angry, Risa could be breathtaking beautiful. At this moment, her slightly confused face was something that really made the leader's heart melt. The bean was the most cutest and beautiful thing to her on the earth at the moment. After examining her lover for a good while, Ai gave a playful smirk to the younger one.

“What? You don't want to?”

She asked playfully, causing Risa to blush. Well of course she wanted to marry Ai quickly! That was a stupid question, but she was just curious why the leader wanted to rush with this issue.

“Yes, I want, but....”

“But?”

Suddenly, the leader brought her face closer and startled the bean once again. Not being able to form any words, Risa ended up only opening her mouth. The smug smile on Ai's face didn't help the situation either and in the end Risa ended up only mumbling something very incoherent. Finally, deciding to end the mute theater in front of her, the leader only leaned in and peck Risa's lips quickly, before she pulled her back against her chest, ruffling her hair affectionately.

“Just teasing you.”

She cooed. Risa tried to stop the hands in her hair by taking a firm hold of Ai's wrists and making them still. After a small struggle, she finally managed to stop the older one's endearments.

Risa glared at the leader, but when she noticed that playful smirk, the bean couldn't help, but smile too. Letting go of the older one's hands, Risa took a better position in Ai's lap. She curled her legs up and used leader's chest as a pillow, while the older one brought her arms around her waist and held her closer.

“I just want to marry you while I can.”

Ai said. The words she had just heard, made the bean frown again. This time however, she didn't bother to get up, so she just sighed deeply, giving the older one a sign that she didn't quite understand her again.

“What do you mean by that?”

Risa could feel how Ai's tightened the hold around her. Soon, she she felt how the older one pressed her head against the bean's. The leader breathed deeply few times, taking in her lover's scent.

“Warrior's job is something where you can never know when you will die...”

“Don't say that...”

Before the leader could even finish, the bean interrupted her for she really didn't want to hear the rest of that sentence. And Ai knew why, but she was just being realistic, forgetting happily that if it had been Risa talking like that, her reaction would have been very much the same as her lover's a while ago.

“You will have your whole life time to get married to me...” The bean mumbled against Ai's chest. ”But I don't mind if we get married as soon as possible.” She continued after a small pause, causing the older one to smile brightly against her hair.

“Okay then.”

The leader said, before she craned her neck and gave a quick kiss on top of Risa's head. The silence fell between them again, as the two just sat still, thinking about their future.

“Ne...” Risa started a bit hesitantly.

“Hai?”

The leader looked down at her lover, who had just said something. Soon, she was greeted with that beautiful face she was so helplessly in love with as the bean rose once again, seemly deep in thoughts.

“What is it?”

“I was just wondering..." Risa started. "When we get married, where are we going to live?”

Turning her gaze to the monkey, the bean revealed the thing that had bothered her mind for a while now. But to Risa's surprise her lover already had an answer to this. Yes, she had indeed thought this all far in the future.

“Well, first of all, we will live in my place.” Ai started, as she freed her other arm from around the bean's waist and took her hand in hers, playing with the younger one fingers as she brought it closer to their face. The bean was a bit confused to hear how easily Ai answered her question. But instead of interrupting her, she stayed quiet and let the other one continue. She so wanted to hear this.

“Then, when this war is over, we are going to build or get our own house somewhere, where is very calm and peaceful. Countryside maybe.”

As she spoke, the squad leader examined Risa's hand and face, the bean following her actions and listening to the end what Ai had planned for their future.

“I thought about the village which used to be my home. It's in a nice place, though it's in ruins now, but we will rebuild it quickly. Then we will settle down in there, build a family and live happily.”

At the end of her words, Ai brought Risa's hand up to her mouth and gave a gentle kiss on it. Then she intertwined their fingers and brought them close to her chest, waiting for the bean's reaction. For a long moment, Risa was speechless till she finally realized that the leader probably wanted to hear what she thought about this.

“You have thought things so far?”

Risa asked confused after she had processed what Ai had just said in her head. She couldn't believe that the leader would have thought something like that among all the war things and such. But at the same time, Risa didn't mind it, but she was quite happy about it. It was a good thing that her lover's head could be filled with something else than just training and war.

“Yup.” Ai said proudly, pleased how she got her fiancee a bit confused.

“But, how is that all going to work?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, after the war, you will probably have a lot of work to do, so you wont have much time to build a house, neither a family.”

This time, the smile Ai got on her face was somehow different. It was something very warm and gentle and Risa felt like she could spend the rest of the night just by watching that amazing smile.

“I have a solution to that too.” The leader said warmly, her voice having such an enigmatic tone in it.

'Well she has done a lot of work for this...'

“When this war will be over, I will retire from the military.”

“You WHAT??!!”

The bean's mouth dropped wide open as she heard her lover. She just couldn't believe her ears. Had Ai just said that she will retire from the military? On her own? Didn't they just argue about how Ai could never ever leave the military? Noticing and having foreseen that something like this would happen, Ai only smiled wider, repeating her words.

“Yes, you heard right. I'll retire from the military.”

“Honey, did you hit your head?”

Risa asked concerned, as she guided her free hand to Ai's forehead to feel if she had fever, causing the older one only to chuckle and slap her hand playfully away. But the shock on Risa's face wouldn't just disappear. This just couldn't be true.

“What, it's not so wondrous, now is it?”

“From your mouth it is.”

Well, Risa could think what ever she wanted, but the leader was serious. She had thought about things and after this war, the retirement didn't sound bad at all. Especially, when she had a wife to live with, she would definitely keep on going without the military. Or well, it would probably be quite odd and even hard to live without the daily military routines, but Ai would get used to that kind of a life. For Risa, she would do anything like that.

“You'll see. I'll promise you that.”

Pulling the younger one closer, the leader embraced her in a tight hug. Risa didn't resist, but she was still very confused. This just couldn't be true. But she had her doubts too. A warrior like Ai who burned for new adventures and battles, couldn't just say it like ”Hey I'll retire after this is over”. And the way she had defensed her position back then. No, she wouldn't leave the military just like that. But Risa wouldn't argue back. She was happy Ai would at least consider about the retirement, but she also knew better.

“Mmm, I doubt that, but I must admit that sounds good...”

She mumbled, gaining only more chuckling from the older one.

“You'll wait and see.”

“Ai.”

Pulling away, the bean faced her lover again who still had that smile on her face.

“As much as I love to hear that you're going to retire so you could spend time with me and build our future, I just know that after the war, there will be something that will take your mind away from us. You wont retire so easily, I just know it.”

But the smile stayed on Ai's face as she leaned in an pecked Risa on he lips.

“I promise you I will retire after this all is over. I promise it to you, Risa.”

Though the bean still kept her mind and doubted Ai's words, there was still something in there that didn't leave her mind. Could it really be that the leader would do something like that just because of her? Whatever it was, the bean was happy that the older on had finally considered that there was something else than fighting too. Smiling, Risa leaned in and kissed Ai on the lips. They stayed like that for a long while, before the bean pulled slowly away so that she could see in her lover's eyes.

“Say whatever you say, but I just know that you will find something interesting after the war from the military. But I am more than glad to hear that you would do something like that you just said.”

Ai only smiled back as she kissed Risa again.

“You'll see.”

Se only said. Suddenly she started to get up, taking the bean in her arms bridal style. Risa was surprised once again, but she didn't fight back. Instead, she smiled brightly at her lover who started to carry her in her arms.

“Lets go to bed, ne?”

Ai said, the bean only nodding her head as she circled her arms around the leader's neck while she was carried upstairs to the bedroom. After getting up the stairs, Ai opened the door with her foot, before she carried her fiancee to the bed. She placed her gently down in the matters and then slowly crawled on top of her, giving a sweet kiss on Risa's lips. The bean smiled and answered the kiss, moving her hands up to Ai's short hair, while the older one brought her own hands to her face, gently stroking it. Risa could feel how rough fingertips caressed her skin, but no matter how Ai touched her, she was always so gentle and would never hurt the bean.

Their kiss turned out to last longer than they had intended and soon their hands were roaming around each other bodies. But before they would go too far away, they both stopped, only staring each others in eyes, not saying a word. Their roaming hands stilled and they just looked at the woman beside them.

“You're beautiful...”

Ai whispered after a while, as she gently placed a quick kiss on Risa's lips.

“I love you...”

She said after the kiss, which continued from Risa's lips to her jaw and neck, reaching all the way down to her collarbone. At first, the bean thought that Ai was only showing her some attention, but when her hands started to roam dangerously close to some certain places and her jacket was being untied, Risa realized what she was about to do.

“Hey, I thought you were tireeed!”

Risa let out a surprised yelp when the leader bit down in one very sensitive spot in her side. Soon, Risa was greeted with Ai's smirking face as the leader traveled back up to give her deep kiss on the lips.

“I said, lets go to bed. Not to sleep.”

And with that, the leader ripped the bean's coat all the way open, curious hand immediately starting to roam around her bare body. In no time, Risa also found how the rest of her clothes disappeared and how Ai had gotten rid of her own. Straddling her waist, the leader gave another smirk to the bean, which the younger one answered. In no time, their lips were connected again and hands roaming around as they kept on going were they had been left. That night was quite sleepless for both of them.

-----------------------------

Like it wasn't already great that she was getting married with the woman she loved more than anything on earth, Ai got her "as soon as possible wedding". Somehow, the situation with the enemy had calmed down a lot and there had been only few reports of them. This gave them a possibility to get married only after about three weeks after the proposal. The whole village was full of life again, as everyone was arranging the wedding. Ai was very known and because of that the wedding was going to be a big one. The leader had insisted at first that it was okay if the ceremony would be a bit smaller, but surprisingly Goto and Miki had both turned her down, regarding to that it was Ai's wedding, probably one of the biggest things in her life so it had to be a memorable one. When Risa had been okay with a bit bigger ceremony, the leader gave in too. What her fiancee wanted was the most important thing to her now.

So came the wedding day and Risa was more than nervous. Though Eri, whom she had chosen to be her maid of honor and Reina being Ai's, had tried to calm her down the best she could. The turtle had miraculously recovered faster than anyone had anticipated and even Lin Lin had been surprised. The nurse had given her permission for Eri to be as a maid of honor, since it seemed that her condition was strong enough. And so the turtle happily accepted the honorable task Risa had chosen her in.

But no matter what, calming down the bean was just no use. Risa couldn't calm down and it made it even worse that the wedding was quite traditional one in here; that included that the couple wasn't supposed to see each others before the ceremony and right now, Risa needed Ai more than anything else in her life. Only the leader could calm her down.

“Don't worry, I bet you can handle few hours without her.”

Eri had said to her as she had been leading the bean to her waiting room. The ceremony was about to begin in one hour which made her even more nervous. How could she get through this? There was just no way she could survive this without ruining something.

As she desperately trying to struggle against her fears, Risa didn't notice how the door she had passed slid open and arms shot out from there. A hand clasped over her mouth and in no time, the bean found herself from a small and dark room, probably a closet. Trying to yell something and kick and punch the kidnapper, Risa tried to get free. But her actions froze totally when the hand in front of her mouth was replaced by lips she was more than familiar with. Immediately stopping her struggle, the bean let her fiance kiss and hold her. When they finally pulled away, Risa was greeted with Ai's face as the leader smirked at her.

“Good to know you're still very prepared.”

The leader said as she loosened her hold a bit, so the bean could stand properly.

“Ai..”

Risa whispered. Somehow, all her stress and such had disappeared when she was with the leader. There was nothing worrying her anymore and she even felt quite relaxed. No more stress about the wedding or the whole ceremony which the whole village was going to follow.

Ai pulled a bit away as she examined her soon to be wife's dress. Risa was wearing a white dress which had black figures. Her collar and sleeve ends were black and she was also wearing a black obi around her waist. She could have worn her samurai dress since she was a warrior, but the bean had wanted to keep her wedding a bit more traditional. However, she had allowed Ai to wear her samurai suit, for she knew how important part of her life the military and such had been. So the squad leader was indeed having her warrior suit, but it was the kind she rarely used. She had her black wedding suit underneath it, which had white figures in the same place Risa had black ones. On top of the suit she had very dark brown armor and warrior suit with her swords on the belt. In the wedding it wasn't required to wear helmet and Ai had gladly left it away.

“You look beautiful.”

The leader whispered as she looked her lover from head to toe. She then reached her hand out and stroked Risa's hair behind her ears, placing something in there. As the bean felt it with her hands, she could feel a flower pedals. Smiling at the leader, she suddenly remembered that she had something to give to her.

Pushing Ai a bit more away, so she could reach the item, the bean rummaged through her pocket. When she felt the item in her fingertips she smiled and pulled it out, the leader following her actions curiously. After getting the item, Risa reached her arms out and tied something behind the leader's neck. When that was done Ai looked down and found something hanging just above her chest. She took the pendant in her hand in order to examine it closer and found out that it was an eagle which had spread it golden wings wide. Otherwise the pendant was metal grey.

“Eagles are symbol of loyalty and power.” The bean explained. ”You have loyally followed your dreams and never have you given in. You're determined to about what you do and your mind graves for new journeys where you could spread your wings and fly freely. Also, you're loyal to your team and take better than good care of them.”
The leader listened to her lover as she kept examining the small eagle. She couldn't help but be amazed. Where did Risa come up with all that? Noticing the surprised look on Ai's face the bean decided to explain her sudden description of the eagle symbol.

”My mother was very keen to describe how animals showed our inner power and such. Also,” Risa reached out to hold the pendant and took it away from Ai's hand. ”The Team Alfas insignia is an eagle, ne? I think it suits the leader quite well.”

Another hand joined hers, when Ai took a hold of Risa's in hers. She leaned in and kissed the bean's lips gently.

“Thank you. I have something for you too.”

She said and with her free hand reached in her pocket. In the dim light, the bean could see it was a chain which had something hanging on it. Had Ai also bought a pendant to her?

“I don't know what kind of coincidence this is, but I got you this...”

Doing the same as Risa did a while ago, Ai put the pendant around her neck. When Risa examined it more closely, she saw a horse which was running, it's neck strongly circled and golden hair flying freely.

“I don't know about those animal symbols, but I know how much you like horses and this is just like Fuego.”

Smiling, Risa pecked Ai's lips and murmured thank you, before she turned her eyes back to the running horse.

“Horse symbol is resilience, loyalty and kindness.”

She said simply. Ai was silent for a moment, before she smiled as she coiled her arms around Risa's waist.

“Well not many have traveled this far after losing everything they had in their life. You're also loyal to your friends and sometimes I think you're even too kind for your own good.”

Risa couldn't help but chuckle at her lover's words. Though she knew nothing about these things, the leader had done quite a good and sweet description about the horse symbol.

“It's funny how we ended up to buy these to each others...” Risa mumbled quietly.

“It must be faith.” The leader stated simply, as she took a hold of Risa's hand and examined it before giving it a gentle kiss.

“Faith? You really believe that?”

“Yes.” Ai stated simply, before she kissed Risa's hand again. She turned her eyes to her and moved her mouth next on the bean's lips. ”It just shows how perfect we are for each other.”

As she spoke, the leader moved her head slowly closer to Risa's ear. ”We are meant to be.”

Soon, Risa felt how soft lips kissed her earlobe. In no time, the kisses turned into bites and licks and the bean had hard time to hold back a moan. She had to clasp a hand in front of her mouth so she wouldn't have shouted her pleasure out loud while Ai kept on attacking her sweet spot under her ear. When the leader's hands started to crawl all over her body, Risa knew where this was going.

“Ai, no... We can't...”

As much as she needed the leader now too, they just couldn't do it now. Not in here. Anyone could just walk in and they could be late from the ceremony and...

“Your tone tells me a different story...”

Ai growled as she started to guide her hand down on Risa's legs. When she found the hem of her dress she hitched it upwards, revealing her lover's legs. She couldn't undress her totally, because they might have to do a quick escape if someone found them out.

“Ai, wait!”

Risa tried to stop her lover, but in truth she really wanted this too. The leader started to kiss her way down, trailing the bean's body with her hands and following them with her lips. Soon, she felt how Risa's hands shot out and started to undo her clothes. The couple get rid of each others clothes from where they would be in the way, but just when they were about to get in the real thing, they heard someone outside. And that someone, was Eri.

“Risa?! Risa, where are you?”

“Damn!”

Risa cursed, as she started to pull her dress back in it's place, Ai doing the same with her uniform.

“Risa? Are you in here?”

Eri's voice came from behind the door and just when Risa got her dress done, the door slit open and light filled the room.

'Oh shit...'

“There you are!” Eri exclaimed happily when she found her friend. But her happy expression soon turned into a frowning one and that wasn't a good sign to Risa.

“But why are you in here? And hey, what's that?”

Reaching her hand out, Eri touched the flower the bean had behind her ear. Didn't she question why Ai was in here?

“Ano... I just came in here to calm down and...”

“In here? Why did you come in here? In to an empty closet.”

“Well, you see, I was kind of dragged in here...”

“Dragged? By who?”

Risa looked Eri with a confused expression. Was that turtle really that aho? Couldn't she see Ai? Maybe she hadn't recovered so well as Lin Lin had said...

“Well just look and see...” The bean's sentence ended quickly when she looked over her shoulder and found no one there. Where in the hell was Ai?

“I think you really stress this wedding a bit too much, nee?” Eri teased, while Risa was still speechless. Ai had been here just a moment ago! Where was she?

“Come on now. We have only half a hour to go and Reina just informed me that she can find Ai nowhere. Lets just make sure that you're in the right place in right time.”

“Yes... I'll will be after you in a moment. I just need to... Calm down a bit more” 'No wonder Reina can't find her since I can't find her either and she was here a moment ago!'

Smiling, Eri saluted playfully at the bean before leaving. She knew that the bean needed some time alone and she would allow that to her. Also, she knew that Risa was so responsible that she wouldn't be late from her own wedding.

“Roger, but don't be late!”

“I wont.”

When Eri left the closet, it took only few seconds, when Risa heard sounds behind her. Rather quiet thud was heard and when she spun around, Ai was crouching behind her and dusting her clothes.

“Where in the hell did you go??!!” Risa hissed while Ai just smiled and pointed upwards.

“There was a good barrel, so I jumped over it. It was dark enough so Eri wouldn't see me. Worked quite good, ne?”

“Well indeed it did... Even I lost you!”

Smirking, Ai came closer and took the bean in her arms, kissing her deeply on lips.
“I think we have to continued where we were left a bit later.” Ai said.

”Mmm... We have all the night time and tomorrow's also our day off.”

“It is??!” The leader exclaimed and moved her head so she could look the bean in the eyes.

“Yes.” Risa chuckled as she saw Ai's deer in the headlights expression.. ”Miki and Goto gave it for us as a present.”

Running the thought in her mind for a while, a wide smirk spread on Ai's face once again.

“Oh, well that's nice from them...” The leader cooed as she kissed the bean again. She had intended it to be just a quick one but somehow she just got carried away. And Risa wasn't far behind. It didn't take long when they were both ripping each others clothes away again, but before they got any further, Ai stopped for a moment. She had the bean underneath her, leaning over a small table on her back, panting heavily.

“How much time did Eri give you again?” The leader whispered, as she attacked Risa's neck again with her lips.

“Ten minutes....”

“Well, that's enough but,”

A smirk spread on Ai's face as she moved her head lower and lower, kissing all the time the bean's body as she did so.

“I think you have to apologize Eri for being late...”

------------------------------------------------------

After their little session, Ai returned back to the place where she was supposed to meet with Reina. As she walked on, the leader had a smug smirk on her face. Yes, she indeed had needed some time with Risa alone.

As she entered to the room where Reina should be waiting for her, the leader tried to keep her face as neutral as possible, so she wouldn't be caught.

“THERE YOU ARE!!”

The kitten roared as she saw her leader, causing Ai to almost jump to the ceiling.

“Geez, relax. I'm only 5 minutes late...”

“11 minutes and half to be correct.”

Another voice interrupted. But no matter how Ai looked around she couldn't see anyone else beside Reina. But she knew that voice.

“General?”

And indeed, behind a small alcove came their dear general, Miki following keenly after her. As Ai looked at her kitten friend. Reina only gave her a grin, which she couldn't read. The sudden appearance of the two higher ups made Ai a bit doubtful and the way Miki was smirking meant that something was about to happen or had happened. But the young leader just had no clue what was it.

“What are you guys doing in here??”

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Hope you guys liked it~ Till next time!


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

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