Second Chance

Chapter 11

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/07/27


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There was silence as Aiolos finally stood and faced the woman who was his goddess.

"What are we to do now, Athena?" He asked quietly. Saori paused, then gave a curt nod.

"Follow me," she said and walked past all of them. Her Saint followed as she lead them deeper into the ruins, and at last reached an area that wasn't as devastated by the fire. Here several men were standing guard. They bowed when they saw Saori, then bowed again when they recognized him as the man in the golden armor. It amused Aiolos slightly when he caught them trying not to stare as he walked by. Kido hadn't informed his underlings of his 'grandson's' true identity. It still amused Aiolos when he thought of how shocked they had been when Saori had been declared Kido's heir over him. What Aiolos hadn't found amusing were the people who seemed to think that he should be jealous and trying to control his 'younger sister'. Those people had seem to think it should be his duty to be petty and try to gain control of what was supposedly 'his'. It had him gladder than ever than he had been born to be a Saint. He could never understand the preoccupation these people had with money, putting it over everything, even their own families.

As he was thinking, Saori had located a key pad on the wall. What ever code she entered caused a door to slide open. Athena turned to her Saints.

"When Grandfather built the coliseum, he had a command room added in. It connected with all the information gathering branches of the Graude Foundation. From here, we can gather information about Sanctuary and Saga." Aiolos doubted that they would be able to find out anything but it was still worth trying. He eyed the width of the door way and estimated the wingspan of his Cloth. Aiolos sighed, then willed his Cloth off. Saori turned at the clank his Cloth made when it returned to its presentational form. Aiolos gave her a small smile.

"My Cloth will never fit through there. If something happens I'll have to come up here to deal with it anyway, so I don't see the point in dragging my rather bulky Cloth through a very narrow opening." Saori chuckled, then went through the door. As Aiolos followed his goddess down, he heard Hyoga mutter something, then heard a clank. He glanced back as the Bronze Saints entered, noting that Hyoga and Seiya had copied his example and left their Cloths outside.

Eventually the narrow entrance way widened out into a steel lined hallway. At the end of that hallway they entered the main control room. Aiolos had known that Kido had built something like this, but he hadn't bothered to find out much about it. Now standing in the room, Aiolos couldn't help but be impressed by the sheer amount of technology that was in the room, even if he had no clue how to use any of the machines. The Bronze Saints seemed to be impressed as well and wandered around the room for a few minuets before Seiya spoke up and suggested that they attack Sanctuary. Alarm ripped through the Sagittarius Saint.

"Wait!" He half shouted before he was even aware of what he was doing. When all the Saints and Athena looked in his direction, the Sagittarius Saint was forced to think very fast. "You have to think this through," he said firmly. "Charging into Sanctuary without a plan would be nothing more than suicide. Saga is the most powerful of all of Athena's Saints and he has all the other Saints under his thumb. You will be killed before you get near him."

"Then what are we supposed to do?" Seiya demanded. "I don't want to sit around and wait for them to attack us." The boys thoughts echoed his and Aiolos smiled.

"I understand Seiya, but we can't do this without a plan." Not that I haven't wanted to just teleport and challenge Saga countless times, but Athena's safety was in my hands. I couldn't do anything to compromise her safety.

"Then why don't we make a plan? I hate waiting around!"

"We need to know more about our enemy," Athena said abruptly. "Ni-cha...Aiolos, do you think you could find out anymore from your...contact?" Aiolos sighed.

"I might be able to, Lady Athena but I'm not sure how relevant it would be. He...hadn't been to Sanctuary recently. I doubt he would know if Saga was preparing to attack us. From what I could infer I don't think he was trusted very much."

"I see." Saori sighed. She looked up at all the Saints. "We need more current information about Sanctuary and our satellites can't seem to pick up an images from inside that area."

"We could do a reconnaissance run." Seiya suddenly suggested brightly. "Me, Shun, Shiryu, and Akir...err...Aiolos-san could go and see if we can find anything out."

"I can't go to Sanctuary." Aiolos said cutting of Seiya. He smiled at the younger Saint. "I'm a traitor remember? A Gold Saint's Cosmo is different from that of a Bronze Saint, and there are at least one or two Gold Saints who remember what my Cosmo feels like.." Shura and Aioria...you two would know the moment I set foot in Sanctuary. And I cannot imagine Shura doing anything else than coming out to challenge me directly. The Capricorn Saint never left anything unfinished. If Shura ever figured out that he was still alive...

"But Seiya has the right idea. I think we need to know more about what is going on at Sanctuary." Aiolos hadn't even recognized the names of the Silver Saints that they had fought, and he knew it wasn't just because Gold and Silver Saints didn't mix socially. He would have been an idiot to not realize time wasn't going to stand still after he left. Saints were still being trained and older Saints would either retire or be killed. He doubted he would know anyone aside from Aioria or a few other Gold Saints. And that lack of knowledge could prove deadly. He hadn't asked Mu about much of what had happened with the other Saints. He had been more concerned with direct threats and he hadn't really been thinking about anything else. Now he regretted that.

Sending the Bronze Saints to scout was a very risky idea, but what choice did they have? Seiya was right, they had to stop reacting to things. Aiolos should have been relieved that he didn't have to wait anymore, but all he could think about was how this could go wrong.

"Great! Shun, Shiryu, let's go!" Seiya said happily.

"Hey...Seiya..." Ikki said slowly.

"What about us?" Hyoga asked plaintively. Both sounded confused. Aiolos was as well, he couldn't tell why Seiya had named the other two Saints but left Ikki and Hyoga out. The Sagittarius Saint decided not to think too much about Pegasus's motives and instead be grateful the boy had already split the other Saints.

"You're staying here." Aiolos told the other two firmly. They looked at him in surprise.

"Saga will know I'm alive now," he said by way of explanation. "Only someone who's attuned to a Gold Cloth is capable of calling their Cloth to them. He'll know that, and I wouldn't be surprised if he recognized my Cosmo as well." Aiolos took a deep breath, stopping because he didn't want the emotions he felt to linger in his voice. He didn't want any of the emotions he felt coloring his voice, didn't want any of the Bronze Saints asking him about Saga.

"I'm not sure if he'll try to attack again now that he knows that I'm with you, or if he'll pull back to Sanctuary because he knows that I'll go there. But if he does decide to attack..." Aiolos looked at Ikki and Hyoga, "I don't want to have just me protecting Athena."

"Alright!" Seiya cried, then paused. "Ummm... Aki, I mean Aiolos-san...I know I trained in Sanctuary and everything but I don't know where the Pope lives." Pegasus rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment, and Aiolos couldn't help but smile.

"You wouldn't. Trainees aren't told about it. But Seiya..." Aiolos face turned grim. "Don't go near him. Saga is too strong for you. Besides, he's in the main temple of Athena. In order to get there you'll have to pass through the twelve Zodiac temples and each one of them is guarded by a Gold Saint."

"Then what are we supposed to be looking for?"

"Any information could be of use to us." Aiolos meet the eyes of the three Saints. "You will have to be careful. Saga will be looking for me, and probably won't be paying attention to you anymore but don't count on it. Security is likely to be beefed up so don't take an unnecessary risks." Seiya grinned.

"Don't worry, Ak...Aiolos-san, we will be fine." Aiolos chuckled.

"You can call me Akira or Aiolos." He told Pegasus. "I've used Akira for so long that I no longer care which name you call me by."

"So we're agreed?" Athena interrupted "Seiya, Shun, and Shiryu will go to scout Sanctuary, while Ikki, Hyoga and Ni..Aiolos stay here?" Nods from all around. "Very well. From what Aiolos has said we don't have any time to waste. Let's go now."

"Right!"

* * *

The send off for the three Bronze Saints actually went smoother than Aiolos thought it would. The plane Saori called ahead for was ready when they reached the airport, and there was no sign of any enemies.

"We'll return as soon as we can!" Shiryu called as he and the others boarded the plane.

"Be careful!" Saori yelled, and although Seiya did wave cheerfully at them, Aiolos had no clue if they had actually heard what she had said.

The ride back was a rather uncomfortable one. Saori hadn't said a word directly to him since she had found out that he was the Sagittarius Saint. A part of him was relived that she hadn't said anything yet, but he was worried that her silence meant she really was mad at him for lying to for all these years.

"Let's head back to headquarters." Saori said suddenly. "I want to be there in case anything happens." There was a mutter of agreement from everyone in the car, and then the driver turned back toward the ruins of the coliseum.

Inside the new headquarters, they waited for news about Seiya's group. Even though it could take hours for them to reach their destination, none of them wanted to miss it if anything happened. Tatsumi managed to persuade Saori to take a seat at least. Aiolos stood behind her watching, making sure she wasn't pushing herself. Perhaps it was because she was Athena or perhaps it was just her personality, but Saori had a bad habit of hiding how she felt and pushing herself hard. It had worried him in the past, but now that she knew who she really was Aiolos was very worried she might forget about her own wellbeing.

Ikki had began to worry about his brother and while Hyoga was trying to reassure him that they would be alright, a call came and announced that they had lost track of the plane. There was a pause and then Hyoga went toward the computers and managed to ask where the plane had gone down. That it went down in the ocean so close to Sanctuary could not be a coincidence, not after what happened last time. They have to have some one watching us. I don't think they've managed to get a spy into Graude Foundation itself, they didn't know we even had the my Cloth here until recently and haven't had enough time to get someone into place... Saori was on her feet in shock and Ikki was already starting to run toward the door.

"Wait!" Aiolos yelled at the retreating Phoenix's back. Ikki stopped but only turned to glare at him.

"I'm going to help my brother!" The younger Saints snapped.

"Wait! You can't just leave! We have to protect Athena."

"You want me to ignore the fact that my brothers are in danger!?" A tiny portion of Aiolos mind wonder what Ikki had said 'brothers' even though he only had one but the Sagittarius Saint shoved to the back of his mind.

"You have your duty here, if Sanctuary attacks..." Aiolos began.

"They already have!" Ikki shouted cutting him off. "And I am not going to sit here and wait to see if Shun survives. Come on Hyoga."

"Right." Cygnus nodded, and took off after the other Saint. Aiolos started after them but a small hand on his elbow stopped them.

"Let them go." Saori said quietly. Aiolos tensed the forced himself to relax. "We'll have to send another plane after the others anyway. Let them go."

"All right." Saori nodded then went back to her seat.

"Tatsumi, arrange for a car for them." She ordered.

"Yes, Ojou-san!" The man said and ran off. Aiolos sighed. It was then that the Sagittarius Saint realized that he was alone with Saori. She didn't even look at him at all. It was somewhat disquieting to Aiolos. He had been expecting her to hate him, to ignore him, to do something to him. This almost complete non-reaction threw him. No matter how he had imagined telling her, this was one reaction he had never thought about.

After several minutes of silence, Aiolos couldn't help but speak up.

"My lady?" He said softly not knowing exactly what he was going to say, but knowing that he had to say something, to find out what she was thinking.

"How dare they!" Tatsumi's outraged voice cut across the room and drowned out whatever Saori might have started to say to him.

"What's wrong Tatsumi?" Saori asked.

"I told those children to wait for a driver. I said that one would be here shortly but they wouldn't listen to me..."

"What happened?" Saori asked, this time with a firmer undertone. Tatsumi composed himself.

"It's Ikki and Hyoga, Ojou-san. They've taken the car themselves."

"What?" Saori blinked. "But they're underage..." "That's what I told them, Ojou-san but they took the car without listening to me." Tatsumi sounded so outraged that Aiolos could help but find it funny despite the circumstance. He snickered quietly to himself.

"It's fine, Tatsumi." Saori sighed.

"Ojou-san...?"

"There was no harm done. Besides..." Athena looked up at the screens. "We have much more important things to worry about." Neither of the men said anything, and instead went back to watching the monitors with their goddess.

After a while one of the men on the computers spoke up.

"We've managed to find the exact location where the plane went down," he said. Saori stood up.

"Really?" she said relived. "Good! Send the coordinates to the plane that's already left and tell them to hurry to that location!"

"Yes Ojou-san!"

The following few hours were some of the longest that Aiolos had lived through. The waiting...and the fact that he still hadn't had the chance to apologize to Saori--no Athena...he had to remember that now--weighed on him. Tatsumi was calmer, but then again he had no real emotional ties to the young Saints. The only reason he was worried was because of Saori and her attachment to them. Athena herself looked calm on the surface but to Aiolos, who had watched her grow from a child to young woman, her anxiety was plain. The way her eyes shifted from one workstation to the next, the tension in her shoulders and face, and the way she clenched her hands on the fabric of her dress all showed how clearly upset she was.

One of the men stood.

"The plane has reached the island! They've recovered the Saints." There was sudden relaxation of Saori's shoulders.

"Are they alright?" she asked. Aiolos didn't hear what the person on the radio said, but he really didn't need to. The look on the operators face told the story.

"They're all alive...but Dragon was badly wounded in the battle. He's bleeding heavily and needs to be taken to a hospital as soon as possible."

"Arrange for an ambulance to meet them when the plane lands!" Saori ordered. She turned to Tatsumi. "Bring the car around. I'm going to meet them at the airport." Tatsumi answered with another 'Yes Ojou-san!" Saori turned to him. "Are you coming?" she asked uncertainly.

"Of course," Aiolos answered without hesitation. He had helped train the boys, and still felt some responsibility toward them after all. He wondered why Saori had even considered that he wouldn't want to come...unless she hadn't wanted him to. The thought left him feeling cold and hurt. But could he really blame her? He of all people should know what a blow it was to be lied to by someone you trusted.

He followed Saori until they reached the underground garage that had been built here. Tatsumi had gone to get a car for them. Aiolos sighed and broke the silence that surrounded them.

"I'm sorry for deceiving you, Athena," he said quietly. Saori turned to him, a surprised expression on her face.

"Why are you apologizing?" she asked. Aiolos blinked confused.

"I've been lying to you for years..." he stammered.

"You also saved my life," she said firmly. "When you told me who you where...I was hurt a little. But, I understand why you did it. Even if you had told me who I was when I was younger I doubt I would have understood..." She shook her head. "No, I know I wouldn't have been able to understand what you were telling me. You lied to keep me safe, and I could never blame you or Grandfather for doing that."

"Thank you," were the only words that Aiolos could say. Forgiveness was another one of the few reactions he hadn't been prepared to deal with. Although I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. She is Athena after all, a goddess of justice. A goddess of light. Saori interrupted his train of thought.

"But...did you pretend to be Akira because it was your duty to protect me?" There was a hint of uncertainty in her eyes.

"In the beginning yes," he admitted. "But after a while...I just enjoyed being your older brother." She was silent for a minute or so and Aiolos began to get worried.

"Athena?" he said softly.

"If it's alright with you..." She said softly. "May I still call you Ni-chan when you're not wearing your Cloth?" A sudden surge of affection and emotion swamped Aiolos. He blinked back tears...

"Of course," he said, his voice heavy. "Of course..." The car pulled up then, and Aiolos was grateful that he was able to turn away for a moment and wipe his eyes.

* * *

The journey to the airport went faster than Aiolos thought it would. They arrived before the plane touched down and were left waiting again. After over a decade of waiting for Saori to grow up, Aiolos was used to it. That didn't mean he had to like it.

When the plane finally touched down, a sense of relief filled him. It was shattered when Hyoga and Seiya appeared...supporting a blood drenched Shiryu between them. Saori gasped and ran toward the plane. Aiolos passed her and reached the plane in time to help ease Dragon down the stairs and onto the ground. His face was caked with blood.

"What happened?" Saori asked urgently as she reached them.

"We were fighting against a Saint who could turn people to stone with his shield." Shun answered. "He managed to get Seiya and me, but Shiryu...he managed to defeat him after blinding himself." The description sounded familiar to Aiolos but he didn't have time to stop and ponder it.

"Shiryu, can you take off your Cloth?" he asked the boy. Shiryu must have recognized his voice because the Dragon Saint nodded, a few second later the Cloth had returned to its presentational form. The medical team had made it over to them, and they pushed the other Saints out of the way as the swarmed around Shiryu.

"Could someone get...?" he started to ask.

"I've got it." Seiya said firmly, and bent over to retrieve Shiryu's Cloth. By this time the medical team had loaded Shiryu onto an ambulance that was headed toward the hospital.

"Come on." Saori turned and gestured toward the car before walking to it. Her Saints followed her.

The drive to the hospital was tense, and then they were forced to wait as Shiryu was wheeled into surgery. They were waiting outside the surgery, no one wanting to leave when Aiolos remembered something.

"You were fighting the Perseus Saint, weren't you?" he asked. Shun blinked.

"Yes. But how did you...?" But he sounded bemused. The younger Saint hadn't had time to describe the rest of the fight yet, but Aiolos had remembered something from his time in Sanctuary.

"There were rumors about the Perseus Cloth, but since there wasn't a Perseus Saint when I was still at Sanctuary, I didn't know if they were true or not." No one said anything after Aiolos had finished. Even though his mind knew that he had no way of knowing that they would be confronted by the Perseus Saint, he still felt as if he should have told them about the rumors. No point in worrying about it now though. We'll have to wait and see what the doctors say. It was almost ironic to Aiolos that even though he had agreed that it was time to stop reacting to things, he was still spending most of his time waiting. My time will come. This just shows that Sanctuary knows what we're up to. Saga is not going to wait around, he's going to come after us soon, maybe even send the Gold Saints. If that's true, then maybe our only chance is to take the fight to him. Going directly to Sanctuary was the last thing Aiolos wanted to do, but it might actually be their last and final chance.

The doors to the operating room swung open and Saori and everyone rushed forward. As they gathered around the Dragon's bed, Saori went to speak with the doctor. Everyone was relieved when the doctor said that Shiryu would survive and recover...but that relief was short lived. Although they had saved Shiryu's life, even the medical team at the Graude Foundation was unable to save Shiryu's eyes.

"What!? Isn't there anything you can do!? Aren't you a doctor!? You have to save his eyes!" Seiya sounded desperate but the doctor shook his head.

"I'm sorry, but there is nothing we can do."

"There has to be something...there has to be..." Seiya said softly.

"That's enough Seiya," Saori ordered. Seiya went silent but it looked as if there was much more that he wanted to say. They all drew back as they wheeled Shiryu away, and Saori thanked the doctors. Aiolos didn't need to see the looks of pain on the faces of the other Saints. One of their own had been hurt.

They Bronze Saints choose to wait and stay by Shiryu until he woke up Aiolos had gone back with Saori to the base. She wanted to send a helicopter to try and gather information about Sanctuary, and despite his warnings that it wouldn't work, sent one anyway. He couldn't blame her for making that decision. Of all people, he knew what it was like to be unable to do anything. This was her way of trying to help and he couldn't begrudge her it.

Two hours later, when Aiolos was beginning to think about trying to persuade Saori to get some rest, Tatsumi returned from speaking on the phone with the doctors.

"Shiryu is awake, Ojou-san," he said.

"He is? Thank Goodness." Saori stood. "Let's go see him, Ni-chan." Aiolos nodded, then offered his arm to her. Tatsumi went ahead of him to get the car.

When they reached Shiryu's hospital room, Aiolos wasn't surprised to see the Bronze Saints there nor was he surprised about Kiki who seemed to have developed a liking toward the Dragon Saint, but he was surprised to see a Chinese girl there as well. It took him a moment to recognize her as the girl that had been with Shiryu during the Galaxian Tournament. She bowed when they walked in.

"What..?"

"Roshi sent me." The girl said softly. "He said that Shiryu was in trouble and...and..."

"Shunrei.." Shiryu said gently. The girl went quiet and went to him. Shunrei, hmmm... Aiolos remembered her, but he didn't think they had ever really met.

"How are you, Shiryu?" Saori asked gently.

"As well as I can be," the Dragon Saint answered.

"Your eyes..." Saori began, but Shiryu shook his head.

"I know. I was prepared for the consequences when I took my own sight." The Dragon Saint seemed calm, and Aiolos had to respect him for that, and for the sacrifice he had made. He was also proud of Shiryu, for being willing to give so much for his friends.

"Yeah but that doesn't mean you have to leave!" Seiya complained. The way he said those words made Aiolos think that it was a conversation that had been going on for a while.

"Leave? What do you mean?" Aiolos asked. The Dragon Saint turned his head toward him.

"I'm going to back the Five Peaks," he said firmly.

"What?" Saori was one who said it, but it was what Aiolos had been thinking.

"Roshi knew something had happened," Shiryu explained. "And I think that I might be able to recover better if I go back to Rozan. Besides..." The Dragon Saint sighed. "I'm not much use to you this way."

"But you're one of us..." Shun began. Shiryu shook his head.

"I can't fight anymore! Roshi might know of some way to help me recover my sight faster. At the very least, it will give Sanctuary one less target if I'm not here."

"But Shiryu..." Saori said uncertainly.

"Let him go." Ikki, who had been leaning against the wall silently up until the point, spoke up. "It's not like there's much you can do to stop him. It's his decision anyway."

"Yeah, but..."

"Are you sure this is what you want to do?" Saori asked. Shiryu gave a nod and the goddess sighed. "Very well. I suppose there isn't much point in making you stay here against your will anyway."

"But Saori-san...!" Seiya said. "It's Shiryu's choice," she reminded Pegasus. He nodded but he didn't look too happy about it. "When are you planning on leaving?" Saori directed the last question toward the dragon Saint.

"Tomorrow," Shiryu said firmly. "I want to talk to Roshi as soon as possible."

"Very well. I'll have a plane ready for you."

"Thank you, Saori-san."

A short while after that they left, this time heading toward the temporary residence despite Saori's protests. She needed rest, whether she would admit that she did or not. The Bronze Saints arrived back at the house a little over an hour after they did. The hospital had kicked them out, and although Seiya didn't exactly looked thrilled with Shiryu's decisions, he seemed to have come to terms with it.

The next morning they all went to see Shiryu off. Kiki and Shunrei were there ahead of them, and Aiolos found himself wondering if they had even left. Shiryu seemed to be learning to cope without his eyesight fairly well. He knew there were six of them when they walked in. He listened to the other Saints bid their friend goodbye. Shun seemed to be blaming himself for having Shiryu take his sight.

"I'll watch out for them." Aiolos promised the Dragon Saint. Shiryu smiled. "And Shiryu..." Aiolos added. "You're a true Saint."

"Thank you, Aiolos-san." After that they guided Shiryu out of the car that was waiting for him. As they waved goodbye, Aiolos allowed himself to worry. They were now short one warrior, and he was sure that by now Saga knew it. It could prove to be a very big disadvantage in this war.

As they were standing watching the car drive away, Ikki came to stand next to him.

"Maybe it's better if we're not all in one place." Phoenix said so softly Aiolos was sure no one else had heard. He turned to ask the younger Saint what he had meant, but Ikki had walked over to say something to Shun, and Aiolos was left puzzled.

* * *

After they had seen Shiryu off, the group returned to the underground headquarters. Saori immediately took a seat at one of the control panels. She showed the Bronze Saints the limited footage that the helicopter had managed to take before it was shot down near Sanctuary. Aiolos wasn't at all surprised that she hadn't been able to get any footage.

"There's a veil of sorts that protects Sanctuary from the rest of the world," he said out loud. "It prevents any electronic signals from getting through."

"Really?" Seiya said surprised. "I didn't know that."

"Didn't you ever wonder how Sanctuary had been able to hide from the world?" Aiolos said stunned.

"Not really." Seiya shrugged and Aiolos sighed. "But that doesn't matter! If we can't find out what is up at Sanctuary we have to go there!"

Hyoga tried to talk Seiya out of going to Sanctuary, but Aiolos could tell that Pegasus was still upset about Shiryu's wounds and wanted to do something about it now. The Sagittarius Saint didn't join in the conversation himself. He was still undecided and had already gone through the arguments they were using. Going to Sanctuary was dangerous but it might be the only chance they had to regaining the moment so that they weren't faced only to react anymore. But now that Shiryu was out of commission they were one fighter short when they couldn't afford to be. Going now would be even more serious.

Ikki got tired to Seiya's tirad and spoke up, condemning the Pegasus Saint's behavior. Aiolos didn't agree with the way Ikki said it, but he too had been thinking about what would happen if Shiryu didn't recover. Seiya took offense to it though and before Aiolos even realized what was happening, the Phoenix had actually struck Seiya...then said that he was leaving in the group. There was an outburst from everyone in the room. Aiolos had began to move, and he managed to grab the Phoenix Saints arm as before he had started up the stairs.

"What are you doing!?" He hissed at Ikki. "You know how serious this is! We need every able body fighter we have if we want to defeat Sanctuary."

"Even with me here, the odds aren't going to change." Ikki glared at Aiolos hand but the Sagittarius Saint just tightened his grip.

"You are a Saint of Athena. It's your duty to protect her!"

"Not all of us can be you!" Ikki snapped and shook him off. "Remember what I said earlier?" Aiolos froze as Ikki's words echoed through his mind. 'Maybe it's better if we're not all in one place'... What are you planning, Ikki?

Aiolos watched Ikki make his way up the stairs, ignore everything, Saori's orders, even Shun's words. He left, promising he wouldn't go against them, but Aiolos couldn't help but wonder what the Phoenix was up to. They stayed in the headquarters for a while, but eventually Saori stood and made her way toward the stairs. Aiolos started to follow her but Saori shook her head.

"I want to be alone," she said.

"But Saori...it's not safe." She tried to smile.

"Please Ni-chan. I need to be alone for a little while. I'll be fine, I promise." Aiolos looked at her then sighed and backed down.

"Alright, but I will be there if anything strange happens."

"Thank you, Ni-chan," she said and left.

Aiolos and the Bronze Saints stayed in the room for several minutes after she left, but then, feeling useless in the face of all that technology, they went to the room Saori had had their Cloths taken to. They were waiting there, with the Bronze Saints talking about Ikki when they all felt the appearance of a dark powerful Cosmo from outside.

Aiolos was moving immediately. He was barely even aware of the Bronze Saints right behind him as he ran, his heart hammering in this throat. I shouldn't have let her go alone. No matter what she said I shouldn't have let her be out here exposed like this. I knew Saga wants her dead, but I still let her go alone. You're an idiot, Aiolos! He reached the top of the stairs he had felt Saori's Cosmo at to find a scene that was lifted out a dream, or more actually a nightmare. Dozens of crows where busy lifting an unconscious Saori into the night sky.

The End of Chapter 11 -- Continued in Chapter 12


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