Second Chance

Chapter 4

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/03/29

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At last it was time for the boys to return from their training camps. If it wasn't for the Galaxian Tournament and worry that accompanies it, Aiolos would have been happy. It was a pleasant surprise that so many had returned. The boys, now Saints, had returned from all corners of the world. Unicorn Jabu, Wolf Nachi, Lionet Ban, Bear Geki, Dragon Shiryu... Aiolos couldn't help but feel a surge of pride when he saw them. The boys had returned as young men. Even Shun and Ichi, the two he had thought wouldn't make it, had returned with the Andromeda and Hydra cloths. Seven Saints to guard Athena...they were only Bronze but at least it gave Aiolos some relief that he wasn't the only Saint in Japan anymore.

Sadly three, Ikki, Seiya and Hyoga hadn't come back. The loss of Ikki saddened Aiolos but in truth, he wasn't really that surprised. Although he had spoken the truth to all those years ago, there was very little chance that even Ikki would have been able to survive. He had already accepted it, but he didn't' think Shun really had. The new Andromeda Saint had told Aiolos that he had made a promise with his brother before they left, and that was what enabled him to earn his cloth. Aiolos didn't want to tell him his brother wasn't coming back.

He was disappointed that Seiya hadn't earned a cloth though. He had placed high hopes on that boy, he was focused and had a reason to earn a Sloth. Aiolos knew about the promise that Kido had made with him, and had hoped that would return with a cloth. Perhaps it was better this way though. Somehow Aiolos didn't think Seiya would have been too happy to find out they had not idea where his sister was now.

There was another reason, more pressing reason Aiolos had wanted Seiya to come back. The boy had been sent to Sanctuary. Aiolos had managed to question all of the young Saints about who had trained with and how the had been trained. Although they though it was just curiosity on his part, it severed a very valuable purpose: their answers told him how far Saga's influence had spread. Most of the new Saints didn't really know what was going on in Sanctuary. The only things they knew were whatever it was their masters had left slip. They themselves didn't know about traitors or whatever plans Saga, or Sanctuary had. Although it was frustrating not knowing what was going on, Aiolos knew it was better this way. It meant that hadn't been poisoned yet and would still be willing to listen to him when the time came to tell them the truth about Athena.

He also tried to get a measure of the boys Masters, and see if he could figure out how many would follow Saga when they the truth was revealed. The hard part would be figuring out who would listen when he called for Saga to show his face. So far he doubted many of the masters would listen to him. They all beloved in the Pope and would never go against him. Aiolos had realized from the start that it would always be a traitors word against the Pope but for some reason hearing what these new Saints had heard their master say was harder than he would have thought.

The only Saint he wasn't sure about was Roshi. Getting information out of Shiryu had been extremely hard. The new Dragon Saint had been suspicious about Aiolos's questions and didn't seem to want to answer them. Eventually though Aiolos had managed to get some answers, and they had only severed to create even more questions. It almost seemed as if they Libra Saint knew what Saga had done. Although Shiryu couldn't know what some of the things had master said seemed to hint at, it alarmed Aiolos. If Roshi knew what had happened, why hadn't he done anything? Perhaps the word of a traitor wouldn't carry any weight, but the word of the person who was not the oldest living Saint would! Everyone knew that Roshi and Shion had been close friends and they would listen if he spoke up! Now Aiolos wished he knew more about the Libra Dohko. He had only meet him once, when Shion had requested that he deliver something to the old man. Aiolos hadn't known what he message had said, or why Shion had Aiolos deliver a physical message, but he could have sworn that for a brief second alarm had flashed across Roshi's face before he had thanked Aiolos and sent him on his way. Aiolos wished now that he had stayed and at least talked with Roshi. At least then perhaps he knew what to expect.

Aiolos had hoped Seiya would return because he had trained in Sanctuary and would know what was going on. Aiolos wouldn't have had a to rely on rumors or bits of information to try and form a strategy.

There were also personal reason he didn't want to admit to buried deep in his heart. He wanted Seiya to come back because he had actually liked the boy, and had wanted him to succeed. Perhaps him being a Sagittarius as well had something to do with it, but for whatever reason he had believed the boy would earn a cloth, and the fact that he apparently hadn't weighted heavily upon him. Also, a part of him had hoped that Seiya might have heard news of Aioria. If his little brother had become the Leo Saint, he would have been one of the most high ranked Saint in Sanctuary, and surly Seiya would have at least heard of him. Aioria wouldn't have left the Sanctuary, of that Aiolos was certain. Sanctuary had been the only home his younger brother had ever known, he would not leave it.

If Seiya had come back Aiolos would have been able to put at least one of his fears to rest. But the others wouldn't go away so easily. As the Leo Saint, Aoria would be expected to defend the Pope and Sanctuary with this life. If things went the way that Aiolos feared they would, then he would be trapped in a nightmare. He might have to face his younger brother on the battle field. And whether he would admit of not, deep down Aiolos knew that was one of his greatest fears.

* * *

The Galaxian tournament had finally started. The first match was between Lionet Ban and Unicorn Jabu. A few seconds into the fight Aiolos already knew it's outcome. Ban wasn't as fast or accurate as Jabu. He was also weaker, and could barely dodge keep away from the Unicorns punches.

Aiolos had never really spent much time around the lower ranked Saints, so he hadn't realized the gap in the abilities between Bronze and Gold or even Bronze and Silver, until he watched this fight. He had known how large it was intellectually, but knowing and seeing were too very different things. There was such a different in fighting strength, that his plan to use these few Saints to return Athena to her proper place seemed impossible now. Before he had thought they would stand a chance but now it all seemed so impossible. Not that it hadn't seemed impossible before, but at least he had thought they would stand a chance. He watched as Jabu knocked out Ban and winced. If Jabu was really the strongest of the Bronze Saints they had here, then unless some of the Silver Saints choose to believe him, it would take a miracle for this to work.

Suddenly he realized what had just been running through his mind and he bit his lip to keep from laughing and ruining the somber mood in the box. Here he was praying for a miracle when he had his living goddess right in front of him. Hadn't he been saved by a miracle that the same goddess had preformed? He shouldn't be doubting powers her now!

Aiolos allowed himself a small smile. Perhaps things weren't so impossible after all.

* * *

A day after the first fight, Aiolos wandered into one of the smaller sitting rooms and found Shun looking out a window. The Andromeda Saint looked up at the sound of the door and smiled when he saw who it was.

"Akira-san." He said in greeting.

"Hello Shun." Aiolos said in, then went to stand by the younger man. "Something interesting out there?"

"Not really." Shun turned away from the window and sighed.

"Is something the matter?" Although Aiolos knew these Saints were no longer the boys he had sent out, he was still concerned about them. After all they were the ones who would protect Athena. Shun looked at him.

"I'm really don't want to fight in this tournament." The Andromeda Saint confessed. "It all seems so pointless." Aiolos chuckled and Shun looked at him curiously.

"It's the same thing I told Saori." He explained to the younger man. "But she has her set on this and won't listen to me."

"Saori-san doesn't listen to you?" Shun seemed surprised.

"Not about this. The Galaxian Tournament was Grandfather's last request. She doesn't see why I don't want to fulfill it as much as she does."

"Why don't you?" Shun asked puzzled. "Wasn't he your Grandfather too?" Aiolos looked at he younger man. He was planning on telling them about and Athena and what their real mission was, but he hadn't decided when or how he was going to do so. Perhaps it would be better to tell them one on one like this. At the very least, he had a feeling that Shun wouldn't betray Saori. It just wasn't in the Andromeda saints personality to do something like that.

"Well..." Before Aiolos could fully decide, a sudden surge of Cosmo from the front of house distracted both of them. It wasn't the most powerful one Aiolos had ever felt, but it was full of anger and hostility, but worst of all he could Saori's weaker cosmos near it. Fear gripped the Sagittarius Saint. He had moved to the door of the room before he was even aware of it. An assassin? Did Sanctuary find us already? [ Panicked thoughts races through is find before he took a deep breath forced him self to calm down. He couldn't afford to loose his calm. Then he realized that it was Jabu's Cosmo...but that another had responded to it. This one also had an aura of anger and hostility too...and although it felt familiar to him, Aiolos just couldn't place it.

He opened the door to the hall and quickly made his way toward the room, Shun following. Before he could reach the entrance hall, both Cosmos relaxed and he felt one leaving the mansion. He and Shun entered the room to find a angry Jabu standing by a hole in the wall, a Cloth box standing the middle of the area, and Tatsumi shouting at someone as the left the mansion. Saori seemed to the be the only calm one. Aiolos took it all in then turned to his goddess.

"What just happened? Are alright Saori?"

"I'm fine, Ni-chan." The young woman answered. "And this was nothing more than a disagreement between Seiya and Jabu."

"Seiya's back?" Aiolos said startled, then smiled. "That's good..."

"No it's not!" Jabu snapped. Aiolos looked over at him. "He was rude to Saori-Sama, refused to participate in the tournament, then refused to leave the Cloth even though its' suppose to belong to the Graude Foundation now!" The Sagittarius Saint bit his lip to keep from say anything. Although Athena might be the current head the Foundation the Cloths to her, they did not belong to the Foundation. That had been Kido's idea, and one that Aiolos hadn't been able to do anything about before he had passed it on to Saori. The Cloths rightfully belong only to Athena and the Saints that wore them. He wouldn't have minded if Saori had come up with the idea, they did belong to her after all, but this was something Kido had done. The old man had wanted them to belong to the Graude Foundation as a whole, not just to his granddaughter. They were holy artifacts, not objects that were suppose to be owned or owed to someone. It debased the Cloth to say it 'should' belong to the Graude Foundation and made Aiolos furious.

Only Saori wouldn't listen to him and he couldn't explain fully without breaking his promise. And although it was nice to know that Jabu would fight to the death for Saori, he knew better than to say anything about his thoughts in the Unicorn's Saints presence. At least Seiya seemed to know better and he silently applauded him. Except...why was the Pegasus cloth here?

"Jabu, are you alright?" Shun's voice snapped Aiolos out of his thoughts and he realized the green haired boy was making his way over to Jabu. The Unicorn Saint was rubbing his shoulder, obviously in pain.

"Let me see..." Shun reached out to help but Jabu pushed the smaller Andromeda Saint away.

"I'm fine!" He growled. Aiolos sighed, then walked over to the two of them.

"No you are not." The Sagittarius Saint told the younger man. "But it's not serious. Get it looked at and you should be fine." Aiolos looked at the wall. "Your lucky. It would have been worse if Seiya had actually been aiming for you." Now that he wasn't worrying about assassins and danger he realized that neither of the boys had actually expanded their cosmos enough for a normal fight. It had been a test of wills for both of them. It also reminded Aiolos he was dealing with two Saints and there was very important question about the rest of the story.

"If Seiya didn't want to leave his cloth, why is it here?"

"I broke the straps." Jabu told him proudly. "I couldn't let him walk away with it after insulting Saori-Sama like that. The Pegasus Cloth belongs to Saori-Sama and the Graude foundation."

"But if he's not participating in the tournament..." Aiolos began. Part of him tired to ignore the small voice that was saying Seiya didn't deserve to be a Saint. No Saint he knew of would ever just leave their cloth behind, or retreat from a challenge like that.

"He is." Aiolos turned to look at Saori. "I promised that we would help him find his sister if he won the tournament." Purple eyes bore into his. "You knew about Grandfather's promise, didn't you Ni-chan?"

"Yes, but there wasn't any point in tell you after we got word that his sister had run away." He told her.

"There's not point now." Everyone turned to Jabu. "I'm the one that's going to win the Gold Cloth! I'm the one will be come the champion of the Galaxian Tournament!"

You won't. Aiolos couldn't help but add mentally. Because even if you prove yourself against the other Bronze Saints you still won't be strong enough to wear my cloth. Then the Sagittarius Saint turned to look at the doors that Tatsumi was now closing. He couldn't help but wonder why Seiya had refused to participate, and worried that if might have something to with Sanctuary and Saga.

I'll talk with him later. Aiolos decided. And if he does prove to be a puppet of Saga's...then much as it pains me to do so, I will prove that even a weakened Gold Saint is more than a match for a mere Bronze Saint.

The End of Chapter 4 -- Continued in Chapter 5

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