Chapter 4

© 2008 by Aurea Freniere

This page was last modified: 2009/01/04

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Kanon had overslept.

He woke up in his room still with his clothes on, sprawled on the bed.

Death Mask was standing on the edge of the bed, looking like hell, with bags under his eyes and a cigarrette hanging from his lips.

"Hello, Sleeping Beauty" He said, while Kanon was still trying to focus his eyes that were still providing blurry images. His body still felt heavy and his feet hurt like hell. He was pretty sure he would have slept straight till noon if Death Mask hadn't awoken him.

"What's up, Death Mask?" Kanon asked dryly while he tried to get off the bed and drag himself to the bathroom to clean himself up a bit before he started his day.

"I just came from Athens."

"From Athens?" Kanon asked almost shouting as Death Mask's voice was being muffled by the running water of his sink. He had hoped he would have gotten the report from him in the afternoon. At least he would have gotten a chance to rest and disconect himself from all this mess. Of course he should have known better as Death Mask was mostly efficient when he was told to go on an errand to find information.

"Yes, from Athens, " Death Mask answered leaning on the frame of the bathroom door. Kanon lifted his head and encountered Death Mask's reflection in his mirror.

"Fuck me, Zeus! If you want I can wait for you outside." He offered, pointing to the door that lead outside.

"So what did you find?" Kanon asked moving on, while washing up his arm pits.

"Well, not much. Except that the villagers pretty much hate us now. You should've seen the look on their faces the minute I told them I was there on behalf of Athena. They freaking flipped and started yelling at me. The fuckers."

Kanon laughed and turned around leaning on the sink "Well, I wouldn't be so surprised. It's not like you are Mother Theresa..."

"Ha, ha, ha. Very Funny," Death Mask answered between drags. "I'm serious Kanon. It's not looking good. Right before I asked them about Milo about you know... things out of place and weird sick revenge customs, people started yelling at me, because one motherfucker pointed at me right in the middle of the Plaka Market, saying that we were killers and shit. You should have seen the motherfucker. He was completely out of his fucking mind!"

"Well, you at least, are a killer." He answered turning around with his back to Death Mask. He could see in the mirror how pissed his friend was getting on account of his mockery. Nevertheless Kanon wouldn't miss this oportunity to scorn him. After all it was very rare to see Death Mask shocked by a situation like this. More over to see him complaining about a task he was being appointed to do.

"Yeah well," Death Mask answered lifting his eyebrows with an amused expresion on his face "But that's not the point. I mean the villagers are now blaming the Sanctuary for their missing people. One old lady even yelled at me, demanding that we should leave their children alone or something like that. As if we would care for two missing bums and a peasant girl."

"Well, the missing trainee lived at the Plaka Market before he was chosen to enroll. "He said while shaving "I bet you this has to do with that. You can't blame them for being mad at us. People are always ready to place the blame on anyone but themselves."

"Probably," Death Mask answered putting out his cigarrette on the wall "But I swear I didn't like it. It's just ominous, this whole thing, even if this is just a desperate attempt of trying to pin us every little tragedy because they can't blame their corrupt police force for their crime wave."

Kanon nodded. Even when he wanted to dimsiss the whole thing as something unrelated to Milo's murder, the timing of the upheaval at the town couldn't have been more perfect. He wouldn't go as far as to call the situation "ominous" but it sure was unsettling.

He leaned then across the room and took a brush that was on top of the toilet tank and started brushing his hair while going out of the bathroom towards his closet.

"So anyway. Did you find anything besides the Sanctuary being unpopular among Athenians?"

"Not exactly..."

"What was it?" Kanon pressed on between gasps, while putting deodorant on his chest.

"I went to this bar that was located on the outskirts of Athens. Very near the Plaka market, and..." Death Mask made a pause - And saw three guys hammered chanting about a dead Saint. They were signing in Katoitaliotika"

At this moment he stopped putting his shirt on and turned around to face Death Mask. It had been a while since he had heard the mention of the ancient dialect spoken by the people who lived in the Magna Grecia, otherwise known as southern Italy and Sicily, where most of Greece's monuments were at nowadays. It wasn't common to hear that at all. At least not on the main land.

"Anyway" Death mask continued " I couldn't hear at first what they were singing about, only bits, as I sat far away from curious eyes on account of what had happened early at the Market. But then there was something that just made me turn around and pay attention. There was a man shouting on top a table that he had 'killed the pig'. That he had done it and that it had been very easy."

"And?" Kanon pressed on, gesturing with his hand to invite him to continue with the tale.

"I went towards them and got very close to the table." His brother's friend continued
"Now, I don't understand much of the dialect, since I came here when I was very little and never got fully acquainted with it, but I'm pretty sure there were celebrating over something."

"Were they?" He pressed on again. Harder this time, as if by doing this he would unveil all the mystery that had been clouding his life this past days.

"I don't know," Death Mask answered and Kanon felt all his recent find animosity going away. "I mean, I didn't have a chance find out. Athena entered the bar accompanied by the Kyoko and they got me out of there, before I could do anything about it."

"Damn it."

"Yes," the other one agreed "But I did find the owner of the pig. He didn't care to find out who the thief was. He just wanted me to leave him alone. "

Kanon nodded "It's just as well. Although I don't know if you told Athena about what you heard at the bar..."

"Oh yes I did, but she didn't care. Not much anyway. She said things needed to get moved along."

To this he couldn't help but frown. It was odd that after almost three days of search Athena would suddenly stop all the inquiry. It was not like her to do something like this.

"O.k then. So I guess you can go to sleep," Kanon said, heading for the door "I'll pass Athena our report in the afternoon."

"Actually, "Death Mask hesitated for a moment, looking to the ceiling. "I came here to fetch you."

He stopped then and turned around to see him "Is it because of the Funeral?"

There was a pinch of hope in his voice. If Athena had stopped the search for Milo's killer not even caring about that last bit of precious information that Death Mask had found, it had to be on account of the upcoming memorial services. And if there was a funeral, that only meant that the madness was over. This was just perfect.

"I'm guessing you don't know because you were sleeping all morning, but uhm... Athena is having an urgent meeting in her chambers."

Then hope faded "What for?"

"Well," Death Mask began with a crooked smile on his face as if he was enjoying all this "All the other saints have been pressuring her to send someone to Hades to bring Milo back to life and she wants all of us to vote on it."

Kanon felt a slight pang of headache at the back of his head.
He thought he would be rid of Milo once he was dead. But ironically enough it turned out to be that his death was rapidly becoming Kanon's personal quest, which was no where near the end.

They both went upstairs and they talked about other trivialities that had come to pass around the premises. Kanon couldn't keep his mind away from what the Cancer Saint had told him. There existed the slight possibility that what he had overheard was just a missunderstanding. With the sacred holidays coming up, the drunken man could have been taking about the immolation of a pig to the Gods. Even though the mentioning of the murdered Saint was out of place. Very suspicious indeed.
But then again their little chant could have been a relfection of what Death Mask had mentioned early to him. People hated the Sanctuary now and no matter how discretely they had handled Milo's death, word could have spread outside the premises.
It was a possibility.
But either way, it all led them to a dead end, because the outcome of all this, was that Milo had been killed over a personal vendetta and even if his body showed the signs of a fight, Athena would not have the right to bring him back.

Twenty minutes later he and Death Mask sat in the Zodiac Chamber, an extra room that had been built recently for closed meetings, where all summoned Saints voted on important matters that would affect the entire premises.

This time however, the situation was a tad more delicate than latter issues- such as water supply or montly allowance- because it had to do with someone else's life. Something that Kanon felt incredibly uncomfortable voting on.

"Athena," He began to say when he finally could find a gap between all the yelling "I don't mean to be disrespectful, but why don't you send someone to the Hades and be done with it. I don't see why we should all vote on it."

Athena, who remained standing up during the whole meeting, walked towards him.

There was something that Kanon couldn't quite pin point about the reeincarnation of the Goddess. But nevertheless it always caused him the same effect: it took his breath away.
The way she walked and addressed everyone, made Kanon want -without no reason- to kneel in front of her and weep. She made him feel like repenting. Like comitting only to her. It was all in one, an overwhelming sensation that pierced his body, making him vulnerable to a 16 year old teenager.
It was ridiculous, but it was also the truth.

Kanon wondered if she had the same effect on everyone else. Or maybe it was only on him, the once traitor who Athena kept subdued by her powers, just like a loyal dog would be laying next to its master's feet.

"Have you ever lost someone Kanon?"

Kanon blinked at the question and everybody laughed making him feel uncomfortable all of the sudden. The only person he had ever lost that he cared about was Saga as their parents had passed away leaving them alone when they were only toddlers.
Later on, when Saga had died they hadn't been in good terms. In fact Kanon had heard about Saga's death months after his passing, when Poseidon returned to the earth. And even then, he didn't weep a single tear for his brother.

"No, My lady," He answered quickly not even looking at her.

"What about Saga?" She asked with the kindest tone of voice while placing one of her small hands on his shoulder.

"I don't think he counts, My Lady," Kanon said, trying to sound casual, when in fact the whole question was making him sweat. But he knew he couldn't lie to her. He just couldn't. "Saga and I weren't too close back then, as you already know."

"I know Kanon. But wouldn't you would vote in favor of Saga had he been found in the ditch instead."

"I would," He lied not even sure how he had done it, but he had said it anyway. "But I don't know if everyone would agree with me on that matter. We are not precisely the most popular saints around."

He turned around to see Camus, who evidently took the coment personal, and who rolled his eyes as a response. But Kanon knew he was right. Had it been their lifes on the table, nobody would want to go to Hades to fetch them. He could already picture all of the saints sitting here, dancing and chanting on top of his grave had he been the one murdered.

However he understood that Athena's intention lay on being fair with the Order. It had been proven that Gods lately didn't know better, with all the wars that had almost led humanity to disaster. Still, nothing good would come out of this, because even if Gods were unfair most of the times, humans were very stupid.

"But even so," Athena kept on."Would't you have liked to have a choice over the matter?"

Kanon stared down at the table "Yes, I think so"

"I think so too," Athena said. "If I had the chance when my grand father died I would have done anything possible to be heard by the gods. So it's only fair that I hear your fellow saints out because as you know I don't have the power to bring the Scorpio Saint back."

"I undestand but..." Kanon protested, but he couldn't get further on his opinion as Camus stood up and banged his fist angrily against the surface of the table.

"Shut up Kanon!" He said, walking then to Kanon and making Athena step back a few centimeters "I can understand that you didn't like our friend but you owe to him. You owe him big."

Kanon smiled while leaning back on his chair. It was unbelievable how easy it was to make the Aquarius Saint loose all his composure.
He remembered how Camus among all was very against Kanon being in the Order. It was more amazing how he never held a grudge against Saga even when he was at fault for the Twelve Temple battle that ultimately had killed him and his student.

"Wow," He said almost in a whisper so that only Camus could hear him. He was already standing next to him, making Mu, who was sitting beside him scoot over in an effort to be away from the fight. "I gotta tell you. I always heard the rumors about you and Milo, but I never believed them. I always thought you had better taste."

"Milo was my friend!" and he stressed the word friend in such a wat that it seemed to Kanon he would bite off his tongue in an effort to stress the point enough. "Don't expect me to stay here and do nothing while he was killed out of no reason."

"But there was a reason," Kanon corrected him, enjoying to see the Aquarius Saint flip for a treacherous leech like his so called friend. "Besides we all die. We are warriors and if you can accept that then...."

"I was dead, remember?" Camus interrupted him. "And you wouldn't be sitting next to us if Milo hadn't voted for you. Or shall I remind you that nobody wanted you here Kanon?"

"That's enough."

Both Saints turned around to see Aioros, who had witnessed the whole meeting without saying a word. Athena nodded at him and the tension that Kanon felt dangling in the air was gone.
Camus apologized as it was expected of him, but Kanon didn't. He wasn't going to apologize for something that was so obvious that even a blind man could grasp its meaning with a simple touch. Milo had died because he had done something wrong. Because he had lead a life of excess and at the end the excesses had claimed his life. More over he was not going to cave in to Camus's last words. Sure Milo had forgiven him last, acknowledging that he was as valuable as any other saint during the Hades War, but even without Milo's aproval, he would have died the same for the Goddess. Therefore he owed him nothing.
Unless Camus meant the neverending hours Kanon had to endure of Milo being a ass to him during the his first days at the Sanctuary.

Kanon laid back to his chair and said nothing the next 45 minutes. If they wanted to vote on favor to Milo's return, he would let them have his way with things. It seemed it was better this way.

"Well," The Kyoko spoke. "I think we have made a desicion. We will send someone to the Hades to appeal the case to the God of the Underworld."

Without a second thought Kanon stood up and stepped up for the task.

"I'll go."

Everyone turned around to see him.

"Why do you want to go?" Aioria asked, recieving a very stern look from his big brother who, as far as Kanon could tell, was really fed up with all the discussion.

"Because I'd rather go over there and bring Milo myself, than be here for another two hours with your never ending whining. That's why."

Kanon was expecting to be scolded for the comment, but instead the Kyoko just smiled along with Athena who nodded giving her approval for the trip to come.

There were of course protests from the other saints who claimed were more suitable to go on the trip, but at the end Athena convinced them that such a task required diplomacy and presense that Kanon, as the Gold Saint in chief, had all the qualities to carry it out. She added as well that this trip could be good for him, that he needed a time alone to ponder things.
Kanon wasn't very sure as to what she meant by that. But she at least understood that his duty was above all personal feelings and that he was the most cool headed about this issue and would be able to deliver a convincing case for Hades. If Hades asked about the details, he was going to be able to give him some and hopefully he would return with good news for all the mourners of the Scorpio Saint in the days to come.

"Are you sure you want to do this, Kanon?" Athena asked placing a hand on his cheek. He closed his eyes, smelling the aroma coming out from her skin which was delicate and alluring, almost made him lean against her touch.

"Yes, My Lady," He answered, bowing respectfully afterwards to her "I'm sure I can deliver a convincing case to Hades on your behalf."

"I'm sure you will Kanon. I'm sure you will," She said and gave him a closed letter that had her seal on the lid "I just hope this won't be too hard on you. I wish you the best."

Kanon bowed again and left the premises and went to his temple hoping that the trip would be the end of all the mess.

The End of Chapter 4 -- Continued in Chapter 5

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