It Takes Two - Chapter Three: Stalemate

It Takes Two - Chapter Three: Stalemate

A Chapter by Jofer Serapio
"

Hello? Operator?

"


At Kerie Beach, south of Serdin castle, two men were walking side by side, making sure the area was free of annoying harpies. It was public service, their mission from Shinsengumi and for the continent of Bermesiah. They seem to have different emotions about being stationed in the area. One looked happy, smiling as they went, as the other carried too much boredom in his wake. Both were agents of the aforementioned guild and looked to be of the same class: Dragon Knights.

"Geez... Well this is boring..." lamented the one whose outfit was dominated by crimson. He had a blue ponytail on and gray eyes. "Why aren't we stationed somewhere else? Somewhere exciting? Like the Forsaken Barrows or even Gaikoz' smelly castle?!"

The other, who walked alongside him, had his uniform decked out in the shade of emerald. He had short ruffled hair in black and eyes of the same color as his outfit. "Just relax, Steven. Kerie Beach is not so bad."

"Easy for you to say... You love staring at women in bikinis."

"And you don't?" chuckled the man in green.

Steven stopped and pointed at his companion in such a way that would utter disrespect for two complete strangers. "I said no such thing! You, Yohei, are a pervert!"

Just then, as the two men started bickering, another warrior came out from the nearest alley. Unlike what most people have come to know, Kerie Beach is not just a beach per se. Across the length of the shore are the streets, littered with stores and shops that travelers once flocked to. Recently, thanks to harpy attacks, people feared visiting this area. Fortunately, with the help of a few guilds such as Rampage and Exempt, the economy has started to resume mediocrity once more. That's not bad for a continent currently under attack by an evil entity of pure malice. 

With his aubergine armor glinting in the Bermesian sun, the third Dragon Knight approached both Yohei and Steven slowly. He had only noticed them after a few steps, say 4 or 5. "Hey! Shinsengumi!"

Yohei, who stood still after Steven prompted to start a debate, had his back turned to the newcomer. He had to turn around to see who was it who called them. The man in red, however, was the first one who noticed the latter.

"Hey, Adrian! Wassup?" Yohei called with a grin.

"Hey, Yohei! Wassup?" replied Adrian, much to Steven's dismay.

The former two continued raving about how cool their job was, being around so many females at a given time, that Steven was left sighing a few inches from them. This is why he hated this place. No, he had no problems with the Forgotten Legends' member. It was more of the improper chivalry that made him nauseous.

"Oh, crap..." The Dragon Knight with the ponytail, ignored and unhappy, grumbled in his place. "Two men with the same obsession for lolita... When will it all end..."

Steven stared at the heavens and cursed it with all his might. "Curse you, Itoshiki!"

-----

4 years ago, cherry blossoms adorn the path to Trial Forest, a road less traveled by vagabonds. The forest serves as an initiation rite for squires of the kingdom and of the distinguished guilds in the continent. Few rarely return to this place, mostly because they lack any motivation to do so. The monsters are pretty weak, intimidating only for beginners, and are only violent once stirred. Like I said, the whole forest is only open for initiation.

For those who take the time to relish in memories, it's the perfect fortress of solitude. Of course, one can never be to sure on terms of privacy so making your own secret base is a grand idea. It is, to that statement, that some men find complications in revealing their innermost desires, their emotions. Perchance, they should learn a thing or two from the Kyokucho himself. Or from his bride to be. Nothing can stop a man, or woman, when determined.

"You came." A much younger Annaliese smiled at the approaching stranger. She was sitting against the hard bulk of a cherry tree, facing the horizon which was, at that point in time, savoring the gentle kiss of the affectionate golden provider. "Isn't it beautiful?"

Although blue dominated most of the hues in the sky, it wasn't difficult to spot fiery streaks of orange littering the pristine display of heavenly freedom. It was a welcomed respite from the constant chaos that inhabits the lives of those bound by swords and spears. There are some, however, who loathe it, condemning the sight as a tease to their already forsaken state. In the end, after one loses his unruly temper, he'll come to realize how lucky he still is to be given an opportunity to gaze upon her sweet smile.

"Of course, I would. Why wouldn't I?" Itoshiki, also younger in appearance, slowly made his way next to Annaliese. Heaving a sigh without any effort, he sat crossing his legs and losing himself in her beauty. If there was ever a time in his life when happiness was a mere cheek away, this was it.

Annaliese felt the weight of Itoshiki's arm around her. As quickly as he had taken his seat, his right arm had taken its position behind her neck. Although the future Kyokucho seemed to focus more on the skies than his companion, his heart was beating fast as his face burned crimson, signifying that he was indeed thinking of her and of his next move. Love could be a game of chess, each attempt a pawn while the king signifies the heart. Whoever captures the heart of the other, whether directly or indirectly, wins by technicality. Fortunately, no one ever keeps score. Unlike chess, this game never ends. Until expiration is duly met, of course.

With a delighted smile, Annaliese rested her head on the Dark Assassin's strong shoulder. He looked flimsy but that was just the mantra his kind followed. Looks can be deceiving and using deceit to your advantage will usually give you victory in the shortest span of time. With a little stretch, deceit can be reworded to strategy or wisdom. A lipstick on a pig can not change the fact that it still is a pig.

Itoshiki was thinking too much again, his heart beating faster than before. Both of them were yet to publicly announce their affection for one another. Reasons vary from pride, to self-preservation and even to lack of certainty. What could the future hold for both of them? Itoshiki was the cousin of the current Kyokucho of Shinsengumi and Momo was a recent acquisition. People would point fingers, call it a lapse of judgment, impulsive and weak. What was he to do? What should he choose?

-----

Present Annaliese continued to work, wiping dust off of rubble and searching the grounds for footprints. Itoshiki, on the other hand, continued to watch Annaliese. He was standing still, slouching, one hand inside his pocket and the other on his hair. Sitting on her heels, the Saviour picked up a foreign fragment and studied it under her watch. She had her eyebrows furrowed, meeting, both eyeballs fixed on the tiny object.

"This isn't like anything I've ever seen before, Ito." Annaliese began, oblivious to the awkward guild master. She stood up, spun around and walked towards him to share her findings.

Thankfully, Annaliese's voice had Itoshiki snap out of his dreary procrastination. "Eh? Oh, you mean something other than me."

"Huh? What do you mean?" She stopped, a little confused on his words.

To protect himself and his pride, Itoshiki marched towards her and took her hand. Although Annaliese blushed, she had the wrong idea. The guild master brought her captive, the fragment, towards his line of sight, trying to provide a healthy working space for his subordinate.

"Uh-huh... I see what you mean..." He said, forcing his disinterest to fade quickly and his attention to stick to the inanimate object for the time being. "What do you infer, Annaliese?"

Hesitant, more skeptical about his sudden concern over her catch to be precise, she looked him in the eye to explain. "Well, I would surmise that this is truly strange."

Annaliese couldn't help but smirk as she pointed the obvious. Itoshiki narrowed her eyes in disbelief, annoyed at being lulled into a comic set up. Before he could spend enough time in her light blue eyes, enough to be caught lost in its delight, he quickly turned his head and avoided any lengthy contact. He had hope that he could have made do with pleasantries but it clearly wasn't going well. In fact, he couldn't even start anything that made sense. This was going to be a big problem, if not a hurdle that he could just crash through.

"Lighten up, Kei. You're taking things too seriously. What ever happened to that fun, easygoing lover of mine?" She continued to joke, albeit it stung her a bit.

The Dark Assassin, garbed in his trademark red, turned his back to his companion. He looked towards the horizon, searching for either Skyes or Neku. It was clear that he wasn't ready to handle the situation. But to let it escalate further was his sole mistake. Facing a monster alone is either brave or stupid, the latter especially true when you're unarmed and inexperienced with the whole thing.

Annaliese, more commonly and lovingly called as Momo, followed him with her eyes. They had been like this for weeks now. There was no decisive talk, no figuring each other out as both found it unnecessary to fix anything. It wasn't like there was anything to fix. So they were lovers a long time ago, big deal. How can one be certain on what's the right track anyways?

"4 years can change people, Momo..."

The Savior slowly walked right beside him. "It was your decision to change."

"It's not like I had a choice. I had to choose what's best for the guilds men..." His words tasted bitter. As soon as he spoke them, he regretted his incapacity to hold his ground against his emotions. To show power, men weaken their attachments. Much can be said about that but both sides will never win against each other.

She shook her head, disbelief in her tone. "Was that it? Or were you just too afraid to commit?"

"I..."

"As far as I know, I'm not important in your life. We're not equals, right, Kei?" Momo looked to her right, disgusted at what she had dug up.

"Where would you get such a lie?" Kei turned to her, held her in his arms with the Savior unable to resist.

"Who would you rather be with? Nauko? Nile? Hotaru? Eumer?"

Itoshiki twitched at Momo's words, then he thought to himself. "Hotaru? Eumer? What the fu-"

Eumer, as established beforehand, was a Nova, third in command and a man. Hotaru, however, is a girl. But unlike Annaliese who was like a wife to Itoshiki, the former was like a sister to him. To Eumer, Yohei and Steven, Hotaru's a good reason to usurp the rule. But since Shinsengumi has been astoundingly positive in performance under Kei Itoshiki, there was no reason to impeach him really. Everyone respected him, adored him, in such a way that following his every wish was a way of life. As long as they do not override each of the guilds men's personal motives, that is.

Momo could feel the warmth of Kei's beating heart. It had been beating faster before but now that they were close to each other, a whisper's kiss from her breath, it had succumbed to her own rhythm. If you'd want to hear how two hearts could beat as one, this would be the opportune moment. Kei, on the other hand, could smell her sweet fragrance. He basked in her warmth as well, relishing how they used to do this every Saturday at their secret base.

"I'm with you now, aren't I?" He said, both eyes closed and himself lost in her soul.

-----

Back to Skyes and Neku, the two warriors resumed their duties. They stood proud over toppled remains of a by-gone era. Skyes was staring around him, trying to make something of the strange premise. Neku was sitting on his heels when he came to a startling reminder.

"Hey, Hasu!" He shouted at the other warrior who was meters from him. "Isn't it Vale's birthday today?"

"Hmm? Oh, yeah." The Xenocider rummaged his memories for support. "I remember Adrian saying something about it a while back..."

"Want to shout 'cake' at him?"

Skyes grinned as Neku started to dial Vale's number. They waited for a while before the lines were finally connected.

"Happy birthday, Tiny Tim!" The two shouted in unison.

"...sorry, the number you have dialed is out of coverage area... Sorry, the number you have dialed is out of cove-" Neku quickly canceled the call, annoyed at the programmed voice who mocked him.

"That was stupid." 
 



© 2009 Jofer Serapio


Author's Note

Jofer Serapio
Disclaimer: The following story is a work of pure fiction. The characters, the events and the sensual innuendos are all fictitious. Any relation to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The guild name Shinsengumi belongs to their respective owners as do the aliases, the in game usernames and the forum usernames. Grand Chase and all related terms belong to KOG. The titles Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, Daten no Tsuki, Kara no Kyoukai/Rakkyo and Subarashiki Konosekai all belong to their respective creators and publishers.

Jofer Serapio ([email protected]) reserves this work as licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

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Added on January 15, 2009
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Jofer Serapio
Jofer Serapio

Paranaque City, Metro Manila, and Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines



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