Second Chance

Chapter 5

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/04/05

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The next day Aiolos once again took his place in the observation box that had been put aside for him and Saori. Although Aiolos had wanted to find Seiya last night, he had realized that it would be better to see how strong the boy had become. The Pegasus Saint was fighting today, against Geki. Although Bear Geki wasn't the strongest of all the orphans, he was strong enough that Seiya would be forced to show at least some of his strength.

The announcer began to explain the rules, but Aiolos tuned the noise out as the two combatants entered the ring. Geki was taller and more massive than Seiya was, and was far more muscular but Aiolos wasn't fooled. It wasn't just physical strength that held the power of the Saints, it was their Cosmo that really determined how powerful a fighter they were. Geki, Aiolos was sad to say, did not seem to have much in the way of cosmo. He also apparently didn't even know how to gauge an opponent's strength. Aiolos watched the Bear Saint pull he slightly burned hand away from Seiya's shoulder and sighed. Geki might be larger than Seiya, but Aiolos doubted that this fight would last very long. Bear Geki hadn't even noticed that Seiya's cosmo was already burning when he stepped into the ring.

Seiya was the first one to launch an attack, a solid kick that made Aiolos smile. Despite earning his Cloth it appeared that Seiya was still as impulsive as ever. The Sagittarius Saint hoped that meant he hadn't changed as much as Aiolos had feared he had. Perhaps he would be able to convince the Pegasus Saint of the truth after all.

Geki charged at the smaller Saint...only to have Seiya stop him. Aiolos let out another sigh of disappointment, he didn't known how Geki had managed to earn his cloth when he only seemed to rely on brute strength, when the Bear revealed his true ploy. He grabbed Seiya around the neck and lifted Pegasus off the ground as he began to squeeze. The audience gasped and screamed as the announcer shouted. Aiolos ignored all of it as he stared at Geki. Never in his life had Aiolos ever heard of a Saint attacking an opponent like that. Aiolos hadn't heard of Geki's master before and was beginning to see why the man had never been made a Saint. An attack like that was of no might work against animals but against a Saint of equal power it would be useless. Worse, it left you wide open for attack. The Sagittarius Saint waited for Seiya to make a move, to kick the Bear Saint's head , to do something...but instead Pegasus struggled feebly...then fell unconscious. The crowd cheered as Aiolos shook his head, then leaned back in his chair. If that was all it took to deal with one of the Bronze Saints... It worried Aiolos considering what he knew Sanctuary would throw at them when things came to light. If Geki was able to defeat Seiya or worse if Jabu was really the strongest out of all the Bronze Saint then none of them would survive.

Before Aiolos could complete his thoughts a sudden surge of Cosmo from the ring pulled his attention back to the fight. He leaned forward, intent on the match. Although Seiya was still in Geki's grip, his cosmo was still climbing and he had his hands of the arm guards of the Bear Cloth. Is he trying to break them? Aiolos wondered. It was possible but only if Seiya's cosmo was powerful enough. Our cloths are made of a metal that's stronger than steel, but our Cosmo adds to their strength. If Seiya's cosmo is stronger than Geki's he might be able to break free. A sudden snap echoed around the stadium and the audience gasped, while Aiolos smiled. In the ring the confident smile on Geki's face turned to a look of complete and utter surprise as his arm guards shattered. The Pegasus Saint pushed Geki's arms apart and then attacked the taller Saint with a barrage of kicks. Aiolos, a Gold Saint who could use light speed, saw every one. He wasn't surprised when Seiya was named winner and the Bear cloth shattered. And from the looks faces of the other Bronze Saints gathered by the right, they hadn't been either.

Very good Seiya. You're much stronger than I had thought you would be. He watched the Pegasus Saint exit the ring. I just hope you're on our side.

* * *

Kido mansion had been under unusually tight security since the Galaxian Tournament had began. Aiolos had managed to arrange for that much at least. He had told Tatsumi that with all the Saints that would be fighting in the tournament staying here, the paparazzi would be trying to get closer for interviews or just to spy. Thankfully the older man had actually agreed with him for once, and hired extra security guards.

Internally Aiolos argued with himself. Truthfully, those guards were there to help him feel better. Although he knew that those men would stand no chance against anyone sent from Sanctuary, at least they might be able to give some warning if an assassin showed up. Normally Aiolos wouldn't have dragged people who had no connection to Sanctuary into this fight, but right now he needed all the help he could get. Right now, he wasn't sure he could even count on the loyalty of everyone in the mansion.

Aiolos was sure that Jabu would stand by Saori now matter what happened. His loyalty was born more out of love and Aiolos trusted Jabu's intentions if not his abilities. So far the only other Saint that Aiolos was sure of was Shun. He thought the boy would stand with them, if only because he didn't think Shun would be willing to raise a hand against the other orphans he had grown up with. Shun was also trusting and Aiolos knew that the boy would believe him. As for the others... Aiolos believed he could trust most of them, but he wasn't absolutely sure. Nachi, Geki, Jabu, Ichi... he had never meet the men who had trained them, and thus couldn't judge how much these men had told them or what loyalties those men had held. And he wouldn't tell them about Athena until he was absolutely sure they wouldn't go over to Saga.

Thankfully none of the Bronze Saints had ever even seen Sanctuary. The Pope was someone their masters talked about, a distant figure that had nothing to do with them. Normally, when a Saint earned their cloth, they would go and present themselves to the Pope. The Saints that had been sent out by Kido had all returned to Japan right after they had earned their cloth.

That was why the only two he was wary of were Shiryu and Seiya. Seiya had been trained in Sanctuary itself and had seen Pope Saga regularly and even been given his cloth by him. Aiolos didn't know how loyal Seiya was to the Pope or even if he had been sent here by Saga. The fact that he arrived later then most of the others made the Sagittarius Saint nervous. As much as he didn't want to believe it, Aiolos knew there was a possibility that Seiya might be one of Sanctuary's agents sent to punish those who had chosen to take part in this tournament. Aiolos shook his head. That's why I need to talk to Seiya! I don't know where he is now though! I wish I had paid more attention to where the boys had come from when Kido had brought them to me...

The other Saint that Aiolos was unsure of was Shiryu. The Dragon was aloof from his fellow Saints and far more mature. He had also been the hardest one to get information out of. Shiryu had seemed to know what he was doing, although the Dragon Saint didn't seem to know why he was gathering information. Aiolos wasn't afraid that Shiryu would help Saga, he was afraid the Dragon Saint would leave. The Sagittarius Saint still wasn't sure why Roshi hadn't said anything when Saga had taken over Sanctuary. Because he didn't know Roshi's reasons, Aiolos would watch his student closely.

* * *

The third day of the Galaxian Tournament dawned. Today was the day that Saori would actually address everyone. Aiolos had already seen the speech she was going to give, and there was nothing in there that you couldn't find out by talking to one of the old priests that lived in Athens. There was nothing that would give him or Saori away. She had asked him, more out of courtesy than anything else, if he wanted to be part of this late opening ceremony but he had declined, just like she knew he would. He had never liked the social functions that Kido had thrown and avoid them as much as he could. Partially because he didn't want anyone to find out who he really was, (or at least that was the excuse he had given Kido) but it was mostly because he didn't know what to do while there. Polite conversation and social skills weren't taught at Sanctuary and these parties made Aiolos uncomfortable. He wasn't used to dealing with so many people at one time.

At least his excuse held up better under the present circumstances. This was being shown world-wide and, even though it was almost impossible, if some one who had known him from when he was in Sanctuary would see it. Not long after that, Saga would find out. Smart as he was it would take him less than a minuet for him to put Aiolos together with the purpled haired baby that had turned into the purpled haired young woman. Saga would send assassins after them, and right now they were not prepared to deal with them.

At least Aiolos watched as Saori, though a clever use of pulleys, projectors and other special affects that he didn't understand, seemed to 'float' out over the heads of the crowd. He didn't bother to pay attention to her speech. He had learned what it said at Sanctuary any way. Instead he focused on the Saints that had gathered in the ring once the spot lights came on. He studied them, hoping for something that would show him if he could trust them or not. Saori finished her speech and was yanked away. After that the bronze saints began to exit the ring. He was watching them, noticing that Jabu and Seiya were talking, when abruptly, a shout rang out.

Aiolos, along with everyone else, turned and watched as a figure dressed in white and blue leapt in to the ring. For a second the Sagittarius Saint froze, then when he proclaimed he was here to win the gold cloth, Aiolos relaxed a fraction.

Hyoga... So he had managed to return after all. He had forgotten that the Cygnus cloth was in Siberia. Almost immodestly the start of the fight between Cygnus and Hydra was announced as Ichi climbed into the ring.

After the first few minuets of the fights, Aiolos was puzzled. So far Ichi had managed to land a few hits and although they were solid ones, they weren't that strong and shouldn't have caused that much damage. Yet for some reason, Hyoga hadn't even tried to land a punch yet. It wasn't because he couldn't but for whatever reason he didn't seem to want to attack. Biding his time? Aiolos wondered. That had to be the reason. The boy looked far to calm for it to be anything else.

Suddenly Ichi's moments changed. They were now highly exaggerated, and extremely slow. Even a child could have blocked them. Who taught him to fight like that? Aiolos thought irritated. It looks intimating but even the greenest trainee would be able to block those! Down in the arena, Hyoga casually blocked a punch...and Ichi laughed. Aiolos watched as the Cygnus cloth was pieced by the claws that sprang out of the Hydra cloth. He was impressed, until Ichi gleefully told Hyoga that they were poisoned.

Aiolos had never liked those Saints who used poison or illusions to fight. Although he knew that he shouldn't judge them biased on their attacks because a Saint's attacks were usually determined by their constellation, and the Saints themselves were probably nice people, he still didn't like to deal with these. Using poison or illusion to weaken an opponent had always seem very cowardly to him, as if they were afraid to face their opponent in a fair fight. Shura had agreed with him, but he and Saga had gotten into good natured arguments about it all the time...he blinked away tears and tried to focus back on the fight.

Although the years had dulled the pain and sorrow he felt at the betrayal of his friends, they hadn't erased it. And sometimes when he remembered the good time they had shared before everything had happened, it still hurt.

In the ring, Hydra had begun to attack Cygnus furiously. Aiolos didn't think it was because the poison had paralyzed him, he seemed to calm for that. Instead it was also as if Hyoga didn't care that he was being hit. As if Ichi's punches weren't hurting him at all.

The Hydra Saint must have sensed the same thing. He was growing angrier at each blow, Aiolos could feel it in his cosmo. At last a taunt from Hyoga touched a nerve. Hydra's fangs sprang out once again, burying themselves in the chest of plate of the Cygnus cloth. Hyoga just laughed. Then he reached out and grabbed Ichi arm, and his cosmo flared.

The feel of Hyoga's cosmo startled Aiolos. It had changed drastically in the years since he had last seen the boy. Now the cosmo was cold and unyielding, and for some reason it remind Aiolos a cosmo he had felt a long time ago. He couldn't place it, though he knew he had felt something very similar to Hyoga's before. Who was it...

The temperature in the arena was dropping rapidly, and a memory stirred in the back of Aiolos's mind. Cold...what was it about the cold? Suddenly Hydra screamed and pulled back from Hyoga, he slapped his arms as bits of iced flaked off. He froze his arm... Flashes of memory raced across Aiolos mind. Vague images of snow falling in summer and someone with long black hair flickered through is mind, then disappeared.

* * *

Below Ichi let out a scream of rage and jumped up, come down to knee Hyoga in the face...only to have another set of his poisons fangs strike the Cygnus Saint. Hyoga was still calm, and in moments proved why. The fangs stuck in his helmet turned to ice and fell as he informed Ichi that none of his attacks had actually touched him. Ice crystals began to form around the combatants as Hyoga's cosmo began to burn. Aiolos frowned. He had seen those ice crystals before, around another saint...around...around...

"Aquarius Vanyel!" He whispered as he realized who he been thinking of. Aquarius Vanyel had been a tall man with tall black hair and sharp silvery-grey eyes. Aiolos had meet him right after he had attained his cloth. It was one of the few times he had actually seen the Aquarius Saint in Sanctuary and had asked him why he was gone so often.

"I'm a Saint of Ice, as were all Aquarius Saints before me. I prefer spending time in Siberia because I like the cold, and besides..." Vanyel smiled down at him. "I like it there Aiolos. It was my home before I came to Sanctuary after all."

Down below Cygnus' cosmo reached it's peak and he unleashed his attack. "Diamond Dust!" The Hydra cloth turned to ice and shattered, as Ichi fell to the ground unconscious. Aiolos watched Hyoga closely as the boy exited the ring.

Hyoga was trained in Siberia. I wonder if he was trained by the current Aquarius Saint? I remember that Vanyel had two disciples, and that one of them had earned the Aquarius cloth, although I don't remember which one it was. And Hyoga does have the same type of Cosmo that Vanyel had. The Aquarius Gold Saint...he would have to be Saga's puppet by now. I wonder, Hyoga...are you one as well?

* * *

Today was the fourth day of the tournament and the day of the fight between Pegasus and Dragon. Aiolos watched the fight with some interest. He had expected Shiryu to be strong, the Dragon Saint had been trained by Roshi after all, but he hadn't been expecting Seiya to be this stubborn. Pegasus had already managed to stand after taking two blows that would have knocked a weaker Saint unconscious. Both fighters' Cosmos were burning and they had been forced to use their strongest attacks. Seiya's Pegasus Ryuu Sei Ken had been stopped by Shiryu's shield though, and while the Dragon was unharmed, Seiya was bleeding rather heavily. Yet the younger boy wasn't giving up.

Shiryu's punch had shattered Seiya's arm guard, but Aiolos could tell that he wasn't finished yet. You're even more stubborn than you where back then, Seiya. Once you deicide to do something, you never give up until you achieve your goal. That's the spirit that made you a Saint. That is the same spirit that will let you win this, if you can figure out how. Aiolos had already figure out how Shiryu's strongest fist and strongest shield could be defeated, but he didn't know if Seiya had seen the path to victory yet. Suddenly the Pegasus Saint ran toward his opponent, and in that split second Aiolos realized that Seiya had seen victory. While everyone else was exclaiming and trying to figure out how Seiya had managed to shatter the Dragon cloth, Aiolos was staring at the Pegasus Saint. You did it, Seiya. Now all that's left is for you to win. The helmet for the Pegasus cloth was shattered, and Seiya was bleeding rather heavily, but Aiolos was sure he could still win. He knew from experience that it was possible for a Saint to fight with worse injuries.

As if in response to his thoughts, Seiya stood. Off to the side Aiolos heard Tatsumi begging Saori to stop the fight. When she didn't say anything, he spoke up instead.

"Let them fight." He looked back at the arena, ignoring Tatsumi's stammered portests. Even if they tried to stop the fight, he didn't think that the two Saints would listen to them. This had become a test of strength for the two of them, one he doubted they would stop for anything.

Shiryu suddenly dismissed his cloth, followed closely by Seiya. Shun ran out to stop them, but they ignored their fellow Saint. Aiolos realized that he was gripping the arms of his seat hard enough to crack them. Slowly he forced himself to relax, even as a feeling of dread grew in his heart. Saints might have abilities and strength that surpassed that of a normal human, but their bodies were just as vulnerable as anyone else. Without their armor, one of those two would die. Even though Aiolos had suspected that it would come to this from the moment they began to us their attacks, he had hoped it wouldn't come to this. He didn't want either of the two boys to die.

Although each Saint threw a few attacks at each other, but all of them were dodged. The two were forced to break off, and nothing happened as they studied each other. At last Seiya broke the stalemate and launched a Ryuu Sei Ken at the Dragon Saint. But Shiryu had been trained by Roshi, and he wasn't a fool. He only blocked a few of the punches, then tried to dodge the rest of them. But one got through and actually managed to hit the Dragon Saint. Yet from the way he was acting... Doesn't he know he's been hit? That attack was faster than the last one though... Seiya's cosmo is greater as well. Doesn't he sense it? The pain caught up with Shiryu as he attempted to launch a counter-attack, and it was then that Aiolos realized that the Dragon Saint hadn't seen the punch.

Why didn't he see it? Was it because he was overconfident or because he didn't notice that the attack speed had increased? Aiolos was watching Seiya now. Was Seiya holding back before? Or is this because he's been pushed to his limit? The Pegasus Saint launched another attack, and Shiryu tried to dodge the attack, but Aiolos saw another punch hit him. Seiya's attacks are defiantly getting faster.

Although Aiolos knew that he should be nervous and that Seiya was a potential enemy, he was still pleased that he had managed to get this far in one battle. Cosmo was limitless, and it was only the will-power of the Saint that determined how powerful you could become. That had been one of the first lessons that Aiolos had been taught by his master. He was glad that Seiya seemed to have learned the same lessons, even if he was only a bronze Saint.

Down below Seiya told the Dragon that he had discovered the weak point in his attack and Aiolos smiled. The Sagittarius Saint had noticed the weak point the first time Shiryu had used that attack, but didn't know Seiya has seen it as well.

When the Dragon Saint attacked, Seiya jumped to meet him. Both attacks connected, but it was Shiryu who was thrown out of the ring. Aiolos heard the announcer name Seiya the winner, but he didn't pay attention to that. Shiryu's cosmo was fading, and Seiya's was dangerously weak. Both of them were dying. That was why he wasn't surprised when Seiya collapsed, he was just startled that none of the other Bronze Saints had noticed how weak he was. Dimly he heard Saori ordering Tatsumi to take Seiya to the hospital, even as the emergency teams that had been waiting outside if like this happened, rushed in. Aiolos watched as the rushed over the fallen Seiya.

He watched anxiously as the medical teams surrounded the two warriors. Tatsumi had left the room earlier to summon an ambulance. One of the medical teams lifted Seiya onto a stretcher, even as a doctor stepped away from the prone form of Shiryu. Don't tell me... Tatsumi returned, a grim expression on his face.

"Shiryu's heart has stopped." He informed them. Saori paled.

"Dragon Shiryu is dead." She said simply, but Aiolos did not stay to see what else she had to say. He ran out of the room, cursing the fact that that he was so far from the ring. Shiryu's heart had stopped but he could still feel the Dragon Saints Cosmo. It might have been fading, but it proved to him at least that Shiryu was still alive. Gold Saints had limited healing abilities, and even if Aiolos didn't use them often, he was sure that he would be able to restart Shiryu's heart. All he had to do was get there in time. Wait for me, Dragon! I will not allow a Saint that shows as much promise as you do to die!

As he made his way to the ring, he heard a mutter roar that he soon realized was the noise of the crowed shouting something. As he neared the entrance that lead out of the ring he realized what they were saying.

"SEIYA, SEIYA, SEIYA.." The crowd was chanting it. Most of the Bronze Saints were gathered around the entrance. Aiolos grabbed Ichi's shoulder to get his attention. The Hydra saint had been so focused on the events in front of them that the touch startled the younger man and he jumped. The others turned to see what had happened.

"Akira-san." Geki said surprised.

"What's going on?" Aiolos snapped.

"Seiya's trying to save Shiryu's life." Jabu was the one the answered. Aiolos gazed past the other Saints to where Hyoga was supporting a only half conscious Seiya. He's so injured, he can't be... Aiolos wanted to charge out and stop everything. He knew that he could save Shiryu's life, Seiya didn't have to risk his to! But there was something in Seiya's cosmo that stopped Aiolos. There was such much determination in it. Seiya's cosmo was also raising again. Aiolos studied him, then stayed where he was. Some part of him believed that Seiya could do this. Even as Shiryu's cosmo was fading into death, so part of Aiolos stopped worrying and started believing that Pegasus could save him.

Aiolos watched as Seiya struggled to his feet and sent a single bright meteor at Shiryu's heart. Aiolos relaxed immediately as he felt Shiryu's cosmo stop fading, the sign that he punch had worked. Everyone else waited until Shun gave the word that the Dragon was alright.

As everyone rushed toward Seiya, Aiolos hung back. Although he had no proof, something in his heart, a voice he had long learned to trust, was telling him that Seiya hadn't been corrupted by Saga's evil. Anyone who had been poisoned by his lies wouldn't be willing to risk their own life for a friend's. I only hope that I'm right, Seiya. He thought as he watched the scene in front of him. Let me be right this time, let me be right.

The End of Chapter 5 -- Continued in Chapter 6

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