Second Chance

Chapter 6

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/04/19


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As Seiya was carried out by his fellow Saints, Aiolos allowed a small smile to play over his lips. Although he knew that nothing had been solved, that Sanctuary was still a threat, that the only thing this Galaxies War had done was to endanger the lives of two very promising young Saints...none of that seemed to matter at the moment. Both Pegasus and Dragon were fine, and both would make a full recovery, and Aiolos couldn't help but feel as elated as everyone here. Then something, a faint whisper of hostile Cosmo, brushed across Aiolos senses. The Sagittarius Saint whipped around, but he saw no one and the cosmo itself had disappeared. He cast a swift eye over the area, but he could see anything out of place. Then he noticed that Shun was gazing in the same direction he was, a frown on his face.

"Shun?" He walked over and touched the Andromeda Saint on the shoulder. The green haired Saint looked up at him. "What's the matter?" Shun looked back his chain, the shook his head.

"Nothing." The boy said, then reeled the Nebula Chain back in. "The chain was acting weird for a second but that's it. It probably wasn't anything." Shun went to join the others, leaving Aiolos staring in the direction that he had felt that brief surge of hostile cosmo, staring at his Cloth box. The Sagittarius Saint had heard rumors of the Andromeda Cloth when he had been in training, and most the most prominent of those stories had been the one about the Cloths ability to detect danger with it's chains. Shun might not think, it was nothing, but Aiolos instincts were telling him that it was a warning, and a very important one. Some how the golden box seemed rather ominous as it winked at him out of the shadows, almost as if the object knew something he didn't. Aiolos gave himself a mental shake and tired to rid himself of the ridiculous idea as went over to help the medics load the unconscious Shiryu into a stretcher.

* * *

Aiolos had wanted to check on Seiya the day after his fight, but that Cosmo he had felt had bothered him too much. He knew it could mean that Saori was in danger, and had deiced to go to the match with her instead. Today was a fight between Jabu and Shun, something that Aiolos was mildly curious about. He didn't think Shun would win, the Andromeda Saint did not want to fight and Jabu would never loose in front of Saori, but he though it would still be interesting. Shun had one of the few cloths that permitted him to use weapons and Aiolos wanted to know how he would employ the chains in battle.

It had been suggested by one of the men that had been hired to publicize the Galaxian Tournament , that the Saints should make flashier entrances. Aiolos had though it was ridiculous, but Saori had deiced she liked the idea. As the Sagittarius Saint watched both of the Saints make a show of donning their Cloth, he wondered how Saori had gotten them to agree to the spectacle. Jabu was sure wouldn't have put up a fight. The Unicorn Saint would have done whatever Saori wanted him to no matter what the cost was to his dignity and pride. Shun on the other hand...Aiolos wondered how he had been convinced to do something like that.

The fight began and Aiolos shoved his questions to the back of his mind. The Sagittarius Saint was surprised by the first few blows. Shun managed to dodge Jabu's initial assault, then used his chains for form a pattern on the ground. Aiolos recognized the nebula shape, but had no clue what it was for until Jabu charged into it. As the chains pierced his armor and hurled the Unicorn Saint to the ground, Aiolos had to admit it was an affective defense. Really, it's an attack and a defense in one. He watched as Jabu jumped into the air in an effort to bypass the Nebula Chains, only to be slammed back into the earth when the chains meet him in midair. The last had been an attack, a more powerful one than expected from Shun. But then the Andromeda Saint did something rather strange. He turned his back on his opponent. Aiolos frowned, it was very stupid thing to do, even if your opponent down and you were protected. But then the Sagittarius Saint noticed the Nebula Chain and realized that Shun was not controlling its' movements. The Nebula Chain detects the enemies of it's wielder...

Suddenly a menacing aura began to fill the arena. Aiolos gripped the sides of his seat and opened his mind, trying to pinpoint the source of it. This was what he had sensed last night, only far more powerful than it had been. The Sagittarius began cursing himself for not paying more attention to what he had sensed.

Down below, the message the chain was trying to give was interrupted when Jabu grabbed a hold of it. Aiolos felt a surge of annoyance at the Unicorn Saint. Did he feel the aura? This wasn't about him or the little game he was playing anymore. This was a real, solid threat that was more on a danger to him than anything Shun would do. The chains crackled and a burst of cosmos hurled Jabu away from them. Immediately the chains began to jump and clatter, reacting to the aura that had filled the arena. The Bronze Saints that had been watching the fight had already jumped into the ring. Aiolos was sure that they too had sense the raising menace. This wasn't part of the Galaxian tournament, this was a threat, to all of them.

The Nebula Chains twisted into a new shape and ended up pointing straight at the Gold Cloth. Almost as soon as that happened, the spot light that had been the only source of illumination in the arena flickered out. The crowed below began to panic, as sparks of cosmo jumped over the Gold Box. Then lights seemed to spill from within as the lid slid off of it, and someone rose from the inside.

"Ni-chan?" Saori's startled voice reached his ears, and the Sagittarius Saint realized he was on his feet now but he didn't answer her. He was too focused on the intruder. At last the regular lights came on, illuminating their enemies. He heard some say it was Phoenix. Aiolos felt something inside of him jump as the announced called for applause for the Phoenix Saint who had returned. He wanted to strangle that announcer. Couldn't the feel the hatred and rage pouring off this man? Even though they weren't Saints, you would have though their self preservation instincts would have told them that something as wrong with him. That they would have wanted to get away from Phoenix Ikki.

If Aiolos hadn't known who it was suppose to be, he doubted he would have recognized Ikki's cosmo. It was so different from the way it had felt when he had left Japan, now it was a twisted mass of hatred, anger an vengeance. Never before had Aiolos felt such a dark and twisted cosmo. No, that's not right. Something in the back of his mind whispered. There was one whose Cosmo was worse... The Sagittarius pushed any thoughts of Saga and the monster he had become to the back of his mind and focused once more on the Phoenix.

Thankfully the Bronze Saints weren't fooled anymore than he was. And the Nebula Chain was still reacting to Ikki's hostile cosmo, and was now straining to attack him. Shun gave up the fight at last and used the chains to attack.

"Shun, don't you remember? Phoenix is Ikki!" The shout came from the back of the arena, and Aiolos took a quick look. Seiya and Shiryu were standing there and, after a brief moment of surprise, Aiolos turned back to the fight. It had been too late for Shun to actually stop the attack but there wasn't any need. Phoenix had the chain wrapped around his wrist, and was smirking. Shun called out to his brother, but Phoenix didn't say anything. Instead Aiolos felt his cosmo surge suddenly. Alarm ripped through the Sagittarius Saint, but there was not way to warn Shun as Ikki launched his attack. It slammed into the younger Saint and completely shattered his shoulder guard as it sent him to his knees. Aiolos began to get very worried. That attack been far above Bronze level, it had almost been on the same level as that of a Silver Saint's. Ikki's cosmo was also far stronger than that of all the other's here...except for Aiolos. Although the Sagittarius Saint knew that physically he was only as strong as, if not weaker than, the Phoenix Saint, but he had attained the Seventh Sense. His cosmo was still of a much higher level than Ikki's.

Aiolos was torn. He wanted to be down there with the Bronze Saints. Even if Ikki's challenged him to a fight, he still had his cloth, and his experience. A mere Bronze Saint would never be able to defeat him, even in his current condition. But... Aiolos started at the reflection of his goddess in the glass. Saori was still here. If Ikki was here at Saga's beset, then he might come after Saori as well. Although Aiolos was sure Tatsumi would be able to protect her from most threats, he was good at that at least, the man would be no match for a Saint. Aiolos knew that he could leave, not when Saori could be in danger.

Down in the ring Shun had been shouting, trying to deny that the figure on top of the box was his brother. Phoenix smirked, then pushed up half mask that had been hiding his eyes.

Phoenix cried out a threat before launching himself at this younger brother. He landed several vicious kicks that tossed Shun across the ring. He heard the crowed gasp. Even though they knew nothing of fighting or of Cosmo, even the spectators were beginning to feel uneasy about this new Saint. Jabu stepped up and tried to stop Ikki, claiming that he was the one who was suppose to be fighting. Aiolos wanted to scream at the younger man. Jabu had been down there, in the ring itself, he had seen Ikki's power first had. The Unicorn hadn't even managed to scratch Shun, what made him think he even would even be able to stand a chance against Phoenix? Ikki had apparently gotten bored with Jabu and punched the shorter Saint. Jabu tried to dodge, but Ikki was just to fast. Unicorn didn't even know he had been hit until his shoulder guard shattered. From the looks on the faces of the other Bronze Saints, they hadn't seen it either.

No wonder. Aiolos thought as he gazed down at the proud Phoenix. I though the Phoenix Cloth was only a Bronze Cloth, but Ikki's strength and speed are at Silver Level.

Suddenly the Ikki turned and stared straight at the top box.

"Ojou-sama." Tatsumi whispered urgently. Almost as if in reply to the older man's whispered words, Ikki spoke up from down below.

"Saori Ojou-sama." Aiolos stepped in front of his Goddess. Anyone with half an ear could hear the threat buried in Phoenix voice. "Akira-san." Ikki's eyes meet the older Saint's. Even though he had been expecting it, the hatred in those eyes shocked the Sagittarius Saint. " I'll never forgive you, nor your bastard grandfather!"

"Ignorant fool!" The indignant shout from behind him caused Aiolos to break away from Ikki's gaze and star at the other man in absolute disbelief. "How dare you threaten the lady!" After al he's seen...

"What in the hell are you doing!?" Aiolos hissed at him. Ikki could kill the man without breaking a sweat, and he was provoking him!? Before Tatsumi could reply Ikki caught sight of him.

"Tatsumi!" Aiolos could almost hear venom that coated the name. "I'm going to make you pay for

everything you did to me in the past! I'm going to send you to hell!"

"I can't believe he came back from Death Queen Island alive!" Tatsumi whispered. Although the man seemed to be talking to himself, Aiolos felt a rush of anger. It was almost as if the older man had wanted Ikki to die! I can see now why you were so loyal to Kido, your just like him! Tatsumi seemed to care about only two things in this world: Saori, and his own pride. He put up with Aiolos, but even before he had known about the Sagittarius Saint's true identity, he had rarely if ever listened to 'the young master'. Now that he knew who Aiolos really was, he had made it clear that he barely tolerated the younger man. Only because the Sagittarius Saint had saved Saori's life, and the fact that Tatsumi was scared of Aiolos power, kept Tatsumi from treating him with the same blatant disrespect he showed anyone.

A flash of light caught his eye and he nearly groaned when he realized it was coming from the Wolf Cloth Box.

"Nachi you idiot!" He said, mostly himself. If he can take down two Saints so easily, what makes you think you have a chance!? Your weaker than Jabu, and he was taken down in one hit The idiotic announcer had declared that this would count as the match between Phoenix and Wolf. As the lights faded to be replaced by the spotlight on the ring, Aiolos wondered what idiot had hired the man. Probably Tatsumi. Even the crowed was beginning to realize how serious this was. Even as the cheered, you could see the apprehensive looks on their faces.

"Ni-chan?" The question voice made him glance back at the purple haired girl. "Why are you standing there...?" He leveled a look at his Goddess. There was a note of uncertainty in her voice, as if she was finally figuring out how serious this was.

"Because Ikki is dangerous." He told her firmly. "He's half-mad with hatred and lashing out at anything he can. I will make sure that your safe Saori, I swore I would."

He turned back to the fight just as Ikki got tired of the announcer. As the Phoenix Saint shouted that he wasn't here for the tournament, but to kill all the other Saints, Aiolos nodded. It had never even occurred to him that Ikki had come for the Galaxian tournament, although from Saori and Tatsumi's faces, it was a shock.

Down below, Nachi said something to Ikki and he felt he Phoenix's cosmo raise in annoyance. Wolf froze, then Ikki raised his fist. Although Aiolos didn't see anything, he felt the rush of Cosmo that accompanied the attack. Nachi jerked and then stiffened. Several seconds went by as Nachi just stood there, and Aiolos felt his Cosmo twisting, swelling with fear, until it seemed to disappeared. Aiolos stiffened, afraid at first that the Wolf saint was dead, until he felt Nachi's cosmo and realized the boy was still alive.

Ikki turned and, with one finger, pushed the Wolf Nachi over. As he watched the unconscious Saint crash to the ground, the Sagittarius Saint wondered what had been done to him. A psychic attack? I know some Saint use them, although I haven't encountered an attack like that myself.

The chime that proclaimed Ikki the winner interrupted Aiolos' thoughts, and he wanted to shout in frustration. Couldn't the idiot announcing this thing see that this wasn't about the tournament anymore? Couldn't he see that the Phoenix Saint was taking out anyone who got in his way? He had already knocked out three Saints, and yet whoever was announcing seem to be trying to run things as if everything was normal!

Seiya had jumped into the ring and was shaking the Wolf Saint, but Nachi was still unresponsive. Ikki turned around, and his Cosmos erupted, burning. Aiolos took a step back, toward Saori as the Phoenix Saint yelled out Tatsumi name in anger and sent a burst of Cosmo straight through the glass. The man was tossed into the back wall, but since he was on his feet seconds later Aiolos assumed he was fine. The Sagittarius Saint also ignored Ikki's rants at the older man, and tried ignore Tatsumi's whispering about how he didn't think that Ikki would return alive. The Gold Saint wondered what on Earth Tatsumi had done to Ikki to make the Phoenix Saint hate him so much. Suddenly Aiolos felt multiple Cosmos enter the arena. The Gold Saint couldn't see any enemies, but those hostile cosmos were definitely there.

Down below, Ikki had apparently had enough. He lasted out at the other Bronze Saints, and knocked them down with so little effort it was frightening. Ikki was about to strike out at Shun again, but stopped as a shout rang out. The strange Cosmo's that Aiolos had been searching began to burn as these new enemies stepped into the light. Black copies of the Phoenix cloth reflected the spot light and puzzled the Sagittarius Saint, until he heard one of the figures call himself a 'Black Saint.'

There had been rumors of them, back when Aiolos had still been a trainee. Black Saints weren't really Saints at all, but men who had tried to earn one of the cloths, then failed or been exiled for crimes before their training was complete. Bitter and feeling that they deserved better, they had banned together and, wearing armor that looked liked a holy Cloth but really wasn't, became criminals that murdered, stole and general tired to give a bad name to Saints. Most people had dismissed the rumors out of hand and since there hadn't been any evidence that black Saints existed, even Aiolos had decided they didn't exist. Now with he wished he had paid more attention to those rumors. The cloths they men wore were obviously styled after the Phoenix Cloth, and even though the men didn't have much in the way of Cosmo, they were a lot of them. Although he thought all of them were out there if Ikki had been sent by Sanctuary there could be more of them waiting to come after Saori.

"Tatsumi!" He yelled. "Guard the door!" He didn't look to see if Tatsumi had elected to obey him this time. The Black Saints had jumped into the ring and were guarding each still conscious Bronze Saint...so that he could interfere with Ikki's plan. Aiolos had realized what that plan was the moment he saw the Black Saint surrounding the Cloth Box. Surrounding his Cloth box. And at that moment rage and fury had filled him. He's trying to take it, take my cloth!

It had taken Aiolos years to earn the Sagittarius cloth. Countless days and hours of training, pain, sweat and suffering. It was the symbol of his devotion to Athena and one of the reasons why he was here. It was the only thing he had left to remind him of Sanctuary, the place where he had been born, the place that he had called home for the first half of his life. The mere thought that these Black Saints, there fake, cardboard cuts out that dared to corrupted the name Saint, were trying to take away something that he had rightfully earned was enough to make his blood boil. He barely noticed the lights flicker out, he was so furious. It wasn't until Saori dashed past him and pressed herself against he glass as she asked for someone to something that he was snapped back to reality.

The duty of a Saint is to protect and serve the Goddess Athena. Words from one of his Masters lectures echoed through Aiolos's mind. We must fulfill that duty not matter what the cost weather it be our pride or our lives.

Aiolos realized that his cloth didn't matter. As much as it pained him, he had to make sure Saori was safe, and right now that meant staying by her side. Running down to try and stop this would only result in Athena being left with only Tatsumi as a protector. He couldn't risk that, not when there might be more enemies waiting for them. As he watched the Black Saints make off with the Cloth he had worked so hard to earn, he repeated those words to himself. A Saints duty is to protect Athena. A Saints duty is to protect Athena, a Saints duty...

* * *

After he was sure that all traces of hostile cosmo were gone from the building, Aiolos had managed to convince Saori that it would be safer to head back to the mansion right away. After leaving orders to have the wounded Bronze Saints taken to the hospital, they had left.

"We should call the police right away!" Tatsumi had raged while they were in the limo.

"No."

"What!?" Tatsumi shouted as Saori turned to look at Aiolos in surprise.

"Seiya and the others have already gone after Ikki." The Sagittarius Saint had explained. "If they can't catch him, then I doubt he police will be able too."

"And what makes you think those brats will be able to stop him!? If Ikki manages to use the power of the Gold Cloth." Aiolos sighed in annoyance. No matter what he had said to Kido, the old man had firmly believed that all of Aiolos power came from the Gold Cloth. No matter how much he had explained much had explained about seventh sense and cosmo, Kido had never seemed to understand it. The old man wasn't stupid, It was probably because he wasn't a Saint or a fighter of any kind. Maybe was easier for him to believe in mystical artifacts than anything else. Either way it wouldn't have bothered Aiolos, but somehow the old man had managed to pass along that belief to Saori. Tatsumi hadn't help, he believed that Kido could do no wrong.

"They are Saints." Aiolos said after a few seconds. "Warriors of hope. Trust them."

"Very well." Saori's words startled him, but he gave her a grateful look. "Well wait to until the return. Then, if they haven't succeeded, we'll call in the police."

"But Ojou-sama!" Tatsumi protested. Saori silenced him with a look, as Aiolos struggled not to grin.

* * *

After they had returned to the mansion, Tatsumi had apparently decided that he didn't want to wait. He had called the police on Ikki...only to have the helicopter shot down by one of Ikki's attacks. Two men were dead and truthfully, Aiolos wasn't at all surprised. He doubted an ordinary person like Tatsumi could truly understand the power a Saint could wield when they choose to. That was all that help him back from loosing his tempter with the older man at times.

Saori had been upset by the news, and had asked to be left alone. Aiolos had agreed, but stayed near the room she was in, while Tatsumi had stomped off to call the head of security for the Galaxies Tournament and reprimand him. The Sagittarius Saint felt sorry for the man, particularly since Tatsumi was in a bad temper and was using him as a legitimate way to vent. Aiolos himself couldn't really blame the man. Even he, a Gold Saint, hadn't noticed the Phoenix Saint until he had chosen to appear!

And that's one more piece to the puzzle. He knew certain Saints were very good at hiding their Cosmo, so he had an explanation for that phenomenon. What he didn't have one for were Ikki's actions.

He was sure the Phoenix Saint had been sent from Sanctuary. Only someone from there would have the authority to send Ikki to retrieve the Sagittarius Cloth. Yet, for some reason he hadn't done anything else. Aiolos would have though that some sent from Sanctuary would also have orders to kill the Bronze Saint for using their powers selfishly. Yet, although he had attacked them, he had actually killed them. Even Tatsumi, some a Saint of Ikki's power wouldn't even break a sweat killing, was still alive.

Everyone seemed to think that Ikki had stolen it for his own use. Aiolos wasn't worried because not only did Ikki not have the Seventh Sense, the Phoenix Saint also wasn't a Sagittarius. When the boys had first arrived at the mansion, all those years ago, Aiolos himself had checked their birthdays. Of all of them, only Seiya had been born a Sagittarius. Even if he had the seventh sense, Ikki wouldn't be able to use the Gold Cloth.

Aiolos wasn't even that concerned about him having the Cloth anymore. Now that he wasn't seething with outrage, he had remembered that no matter where it was, he could call his cloth too him. It was a temptation he was having trouble ignoring. Aiolos didn't want to think of his cloth in enemies hand and known that he could have it back at anytime made it hard for him to leave it there.

He didn't dare call it back yet, because he wasn't sure that Ikki was the only Saint Sanctuary had sent. The Phoenix Saint had attacked him or Saori, and had referred to him by the name Kido had given him, which Aiolos took to mean that Phoenix didn't know who he really was. However, Saga wasn't dumb. Once he realized that the Sagittarius Cloth was still bound to some, he would realize Aiolos at least was alive. Once that happened he would send Gold Saints after them.

Yet if he called his Cloth now it would come to him. The burst of cosmo would attracted the attention of anyone who could sense it, and even those who couldn't would see the Cloth flying to him. He would lead an potential assassins right to them. But he didn't dare leave the mansion. Not when he wasn't sure if there were any other assassins out there. Aiolos shook his head. I'll just have to do what I told Tatsumi to do, trust in the Bronze Saints.

The End of Chapter 6 -- Continued in Chapter 7


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