Second Chance

Chapter 15

© 2007 by Plantress

This page was last modified: 2007/12/01


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"SAORI!" He lunged forward and managed to catch her just as she started to fall. He lowered her to the ground gently hands shaking. His chest was so tight he could barely breath as he stared at the golden arrow that had sunk into her heart. He was so shocked that it took him a second to realize that she as barely bleed and that she was breathing normally. What? Exclamations from the other Saints showed that they had finally noticed what had happened.

Even as he lay dying the Stigga Saint explained that the arrow wouldn't kill her immediately. They had twelve hours to get to the top and make Saga remove it for her chest. At least she still alive. He thought as he picked her up gently.

"Akira-san!" Seiya said as the other Saints crowded around him. "Is she...?"

"She's alive." Aiolos assured him. "That guy was telling the truth." A glance back showed him the flames on the clock were burning brightly, a count down that could seen in all of Sanctuary.

"But she still only has twelve hours." Shiryu said. "If we don't manage to get through then Saori-san will.."

"We'll get through." Aiolos whispered then shifted his goddess in his arms and started up the stairs.

"What are you doing?" Hyoga said startled. "You can't take Saori-san near the battles!"

"I'm not going to!" Aiolos answered. "But I'm not leaver her undefended and helpless either. I'll leaver her with the Aries Saint. He'll protect her."

"Are you sure?" Seiya was still following him. The Sagittarius Saint noticed that the four younger Saint had all donned their cloths. "I mean...how do you know you can trust this guy?" Aiolos felt himself smile.

"Because he's already helped us out what once before." He told them.

"Really?" Seiya looked puzzled for a second. "We've meet the Aries Saint before? I don't remember ever meeting a Gold Saint."

"I'm not sure you've meet him before Seiya, but he has helped you. Cloths don't repair themselves after all." Aiolos watched as comprehension dawned on Seiya.

"It's Mu ." Aiolos was unsurprised when Shiryu spoke up. He wondered how long the Dragon had known. "He was helped my master against that other Gold saint at Rozan.."

"Wait, what?" Aiolos looked at Shiryu in surprised. "What do you mean." Shiryu started explaining about Deathmask appearance at Rozan and Mu's intervention. Aiolos tired to stop his hands from tightening on Saoir's body. That Saga was daring to move against Roshi showed that the former Gemini saint was already both more confident and had more support than he thought. To move against one of the oldest Saints in Sanctuary...what are you planning?

The were near Aries temple now. Aiolos slowed his steps a bit.

"MU!" He shouted and extended his cosmo to alert the Aries Saint to his presence. There was a pause, then the younger man appeared in the entrance.

"It took you longer than I would have though to get...here." Mu paused then walked down to meet them. "So this is her." He said softly.

"Yes." Was all Aiolos said in reply.

"I had Kiki waiting to tell me when you arrived. He told me what happened." The Aries Saint said.

"So then you already know that we have to get through the temples!" Siena burst out. "You can look after Saori-san and we can..."

"I can not let you pass that easily." Mu said and stepped toward the startled Saints. Aiolos tensed and reached out with his Cosmo.

Mu, what are you doing? He practically shouted through the telepathy they shared.

Don't worry. The Aries said replied. Just watch. And the Aries Saint reached out and touched Shiryu's shield. He sent the Dragon Saint with a controlled burst of power. The others cried out and rushed over to their companions side as Aiolos stared in disbelief. He wanted to trust Mu but he couldn't see a reason for the Saint to attack them even if it had been a mere drop of his power...

"Don't worry. Mu-sama has a good reason for this." The childish voice came out of nowhere and if he hadn't been holding Saori Aiolos was sure he would have jumped. He looked down to find a grinning Kiki staring up at him.

"A good reason to throw Shiryu into a wall?" He asked the boy. Kiki grinned.

"Yeah. Mu-sama said that they probably wouldn't listen to him unless he did that." The little boy said.

"What?" Before Aiolos could even think of anything else to say there was a several surprised gasps from the other Bronze Saints as the shield on the dragon cloth cracked...then broke. It didn't surprise Aiolos that a Gold Saint could shatter the Cloth of a bronze saint but was surprised at the ease with which Mu had done it. Even a Bronze Cloth should have been able to stand up that little amount of power.

Then Mu explained it however. Aiolos was a bit ashamed that he hadn't bothered to think about the amount of damage the Bronze Cloths had received in battle. Of course they were weakened by the cracks in them now, and he didn't need Kiki's abilities to realize this. Even the Gold Cloths would be damaged after many battle, although he doubted the damage would be anywhere near the level of the Bronze Cloths were showing now.

He realized what Mu wanted to do a moment before the Aries Saint said started explaining things to the Bronze Saints. He would understand what the other Gold Saint wanted to do but... Aiolos glanced down at the unconscious Saori. Did they have time for that? He had counted on having Saori there to show the other Gold Saints that Athena was with them, not up in the main temple. He had been confident that he would be able to convince a few of the Gold Saints besides Aioria that he had been telling the truth. Now he would have to go one without her, and he might not have time to sit and convince the other Gold Saints that they had been living a lie for over a decade. Aiolos didn't want to fight the same men he was suppose to be fighting alongside but with Saori's life in danger he didn't have a choice.

Mu had managed to convince the Bronze Saints to wait the hour it would take for him to repair their armor. Aiolos hesitated but followed them inside. He looked around, then sighed and laid her down in the by one of the pillars.

"Take care of her Mu?" He said as he stood.

"Aiolos-san?" Shun said uncertainly.

"I'm going ahead. Catch up to me after your Cloth is repaired." Aiolos started forward, only to find Mu right in front of him. "Let me pass Mu." He said shortly.

"No." The Aries Saint said firmly. "What are you trying to do? You can't expect to fight all the other Gold Saints."

"I don't want to, but I will if I have to." Aiolos clenched his hands. "I will try to convince them first but if that doesn't work then I'll fight. Athena doesn't have that much time."

"Do your really think you'll be able to convince anyone?" Mu demanded.

"Aioria..." The Sagittarius Saint started to say.

"Is your brother!" Mu cut him off. "He hero worshiped you. No matter what doubts the others have they will not listen to the man that has been treated as a traitor for the last thirteen years. What makes you think that you will be able make them listen?"

"I have to try!" Aiolos countered. "The last thing I want to do is fight my fellow Gold Saints! But if they choose to no listen to me." He raised his cosmos and glared at Mu challengingly. "Then I will get by, no matter what I have to do."

"So you'll fight them?" Mu asked, then suddenly rushed at him. Aiolos saw him coming, but the Aries said. He barely got his arms up in time to block the younger Saints blow. Aiolos slammed into a pillar and tasted blood as he slid to the ground.

"Damn it Mu! What are you trying to do!?" He asked as he climbed to his feet.

"Trying to make you come to your senses. It's been years since you been in a battle Aiolos. The men you are about to face have been seriously everyday. Do you really think your still a match for them?" The Aries Saint asked.

"I am still a Gold Saint." Aiolos said. "Even if my training hasn't been nearly as hard there I still kept it up. I'll be fine."

"Will you?" Mu asked him, staring intently. Then he attacked. Aiolos realized what the younger man was trying to do half a second after that but it was useless. He could no longer move fast enough to even dodge the light speed blow that slammed into his left arm. He screamed as pain shot up and the limp. It didn't responded the first time he tried to move it and he feared that the Aries Saint had broken his arm. Then his finger twitched and was able to actually lift his arm.

"Aiolos-san!" Shun rushed over to him. "What's wrong?"

"You knew that I was doing." Mu said as he walked up. "But you couldn't block it, could you?" Aiolos looked away.

"So?" He said quietly as he flexed his arm to make sure it he hadn't been wounded. "Just because I let you hit me..."

"Did you 'let' that arrow hit Athena?" Mu asked. Aiolos paled.

"Don't even joke like that!" He snapped. "I tired to stop it but I just wasn't..."

"Fast enough?" Mu finished for him. "I may not know all the details of what happened during your fight with Shura but I do know your were wounded badly enough to fool even him into thinking that you were dead. Even a Gold Saint can't walk away from something like that unscathed." Aiolos opened his moth to form a reply but something told him that Mu wouldn't by it. "You can't move at light speed anymore. You can't fight anymore, can you?"

"I can!" Aiolos growled. "And I'm going to too. I won't let you stop me!"

"Do you honestly think you wan win against any of the other Gold Saint as you are now?" Mu said calmly. "You could barley move you arm after I hit it. What I really had been your enemy? Do you really think I would have ignored such an obvious weakness?"

"That doesn't matter. Athena is in danger! She doesn't have time for me to worry about my own safety!" Aiolos tired to push past the Aries Saint but Mu grabbed his arm.

"So you'll challenge all the other Gold Saints. By yourself." Mu said. "What good will that do? There's a reason that no one has been able to get past all twelve Saints before. You'd be dead before you even go through the fourth temple. The way your body is I doubt you can defeat even one other Gold Saint!"

"I know that! But I still have to try! What else am I suppose to do?" Aiolos demanded.

"We'll go Akira-san!" Seiya suddenly chimed in. Both Gold Saints turned to look at Pegasus. "We'll fight. You've been protecting Saori-san for a long time, but you don't have to do it alone anymore!" Seiya smiled recklessly. "It's our turn to do something now."

"But..." Aiolos said.

"Trust us Aiolos-san." Shun said stepping up. "Please...we want to save Saori-san...Athena just as much as you do!"

"Yeah, so let us go up. We'll make Saga take that arrow out of her chest, you'll see!" Seiya smiled at him.

"Besides..." Hyoga said smiling crookedly. "You helped train Aiolos-san. We're Saints too. Let us fulfill our duty."

"But..." Aiolos said uncertainly. Mu chuckled.

"Listen to them Aiolos. You done all you can. Now's the time to let others shoulder the burden you've carried until now." The Aries Saint said gently.

"I just feel as if I could do more." The older Saint said. "I should be fighting for her..."

"You did." Mu said firmly. "Stay by her side now. I doubt Saga will just leave her alone, even with the arrow in her chest."

"You're probably right." The Sagittarius sighed.

"So you won't go charging up the steps toward your death?"

"I'll stay for now Mu." Aiolos said. "But if there is need of me then I am going, and I won't let you stop me."

"Fair enough." The Aries Saint sighed, then walked toward the Bronze Saints. He heard him asking them to take off their Cloths so he could repair them. Aiolos hesitated in the doorway, still wanting to run up. He forced himself to turn away and head back to where Saori was still lying on the ground. He reached down and smoothed back a lock of hair that had had gone astray, then looked up and studied the Bronze Saints. He felt apprehensive about letting them go up. It was because he doubted their hearts or courage but because he wasn't sure they had the strength to force their way thought the all the Gold Saints. They were only Bronze Saints for all they had done, and they had never had to face a Gold Saint in battle before. The battles the boys had experienced until now was nothing compared to what even a single Gold Saint was able to do. Rationally they had no way of winning but he couldn't believing in the boys. There was no reason behind this feeling but still...

It hurt though that he wasn't able to protect his goddess. Even he had stayed away from his injuries, he had though he would be of some use in the battle against Saga. But once again I'm stuck sitting and watching others as the fight battles I should be apart of. This isn't a nice feeling. The worst feeling in the word, Aiolos decided, feeling useless to those that were important to you.

* * *

The hour it took Mu to repair the Bronze Cloths seemed to take forever. Time seemed to slow. The Bronze Saint had grown restless and gone outside the temple toward the beginning. Aiolos had chosen to stay by Saori's side. They thought it was because he was worried about her. He didn't bother to correct them. He was too old to be unable able to say something civil to someone because he was jealous, yet here he was. To be so childish was shameful and he knew it, but he wanted to help Athena. He had almost been looking forward to actually fighting.

Then Mu finished and the younger Saints came to collect their cloths. Aiolos watched with some envy as they donned their repaired cloths and prepared for battle. Mu stopped them only long enough to explain about the Seventh sense to them. To the boys credit the never faltered. He stood and went to stand by Mu. Seiya smiled at him.

"Don't worry Akira-san. We can do this." Pegasus said. Aiolos nodded

"Hurry please. Saori doesn't have much time." He said.

"We will." Shun assured him, then all of them started running, heading toward the back of Aries and the second temple that lay beyond it. Aiolos sighed.

"Don't worry too much about them for now." Mu said smiling. "Aldebaran trusts me, and I think I have convinced him that what you are doing is right. He won't let the boys pass through his temple unchallenged but I doubt he'll be that hard on them either."

"Have you managed to convince anyone else?" He asked the Aries saint. Mu shook his head.

"I've tried but I didn't dare do anything that would draw Saga's attention. He knew better than to try and attack me while he was pretending to be my Master, but I didn't want to push things. Besides, I was unsure what had really happened."

"Do you think there's anyone that will be willing to help us?" Aiolos asked gazing in the direction of the other temples.

"Aside from Aldebaran and your brother I'm not sure. Most of them truly believe they are doing the right thing, although there are a few that wouldn't care even if Athena were with us." Mu said.

"What?" Aiolos looked shocked. "But she's our goddess...you can't ignore that! We protect her!"

"Deathmask and Aphrodite only follow who they think is the strongest. At this point that means the Pope to them."

"But that's not how Saints work." Aiolos protested.

"That's how those two do." Mu said. Aiolos frowned. It took him a moment to place the names of the two Saints that the Aries Saint had mentioned.

"Aphrodite is the Pisces Saint, right?" He muttered remember the strikingly pretty boy that had been in training for the cloth. That name had already been circulating all though it had started as more of a joke than anything else. He couldn't imagine why the boy had decided to take it as his actual name.

"Yes."

"But Deathmask...who is that?" He couldn't remember ever hearing that name before. It as possible that it was a new Gold Saint but surely Mu would have said something like that.

"The Cancer Saint." Mu said then chuckled. "I forgot that you were gone by the time he decided to use that name." Aiolos nodded, remembering the trainee who had been on the verge of gaining his cloth.

"You're sure that neither of them will ever join us?" Aiolos looked at Mu.

"I'm sure. Not with Athena as she is." The Aries Saint said. Then he paused and motioned toward Athena. "We should move her now."

"What why?" Aiolos said startled by the abrupt change in the conversation.

"Do you remember the shield that sits at the foot of the statute of Athena that is behind her temple?" Mu asked.

"Of course."

"My Master once told me that the shield to Athena was used to deflect any harm away from here and light from it could dispel any evil." The Aries Sainte explained.

"What does...you don't think that it can get rid of the arrow?" Aiolos said, realization dawning on him.

"I think that's really what is meant by Saga removing the arrow. He must know about the shield as well. But for that to happen the we have to get Athena to somewhere the light can actually reach."

"That's true." Aiolos said. "I just don't like leaving her out in the open."

"We'll be with her." Mu pointed out. Aiolos sighed.

"Fine. But let's wait until the Bronze Saints actually start to get near the top. I don't want her more exposed than she has to be."

"Alright." Mu said. The Sagittarius Saint looked at his goddess, trying to keep his gaze from being drawn toward the arrow that was in her chest. If he had just been faster... Mu laid a hand on his shoulder.

"Aiolos, remember that if you hadn't risked so much to save her then even this bit of hope we have right now would be gone."

"All I did was fulfill my duty as a Saint." Aiolos said gaze down at her. "Nothing more."

"That doesn't mean that what you didn't wasn't one of the selfless acts I have ever heard of." Mu said softly. Aiolos looked at him in surprise. "And now it's time for the younger Saints to share your burden Aiolos. Trust in them for now."

That was when a massive cosmo came from the second temple.

The End of Chapter 15 -- Continued in Chapter 16


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