A Little Flame Under the Ice

Chapter Three: Friendship

© 2001 by Seiiruika

This page was last modified: 2001/07/29

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The weather was nice. The sun was shining brightly again, after about three rainy days that cleaned up rocks, buildings and statues of the Sanctuary and put the shine back to the vegetation of the place. The clouds had disappeared during the night and a light mist had invaded the Sacred Place in the early hours. It rose up bit by bit in the air. The highest temples still flooded in this so unreal blanket that they seemed to float on a Sea of clouds. Then, the sun that rose up in the air tore the mist to shreds, helped by the light breeze that left a cold sensation in the beginning of the day.

However the beauty of this show was more than often broken by some trainees' shouts. Only few people enjoyed this peaceful sight. Only Athena's statues, erected here and there, were surveying it. Maybe others were doing the same, but they were certainly not numerous. Everybody was working hard and they did not give a slightest look around.

In an isolated place, a little group was training too. A blue steel haired man, his arms folded across his chest and standing firm, watched the two children who were fighting. His cold face expressed nothing. Nothing moved, only his hair streamed and his deep blue tunic crossed on his chest fluttered in the wind. He looked like a dressed statue if his amber eyes did not follow every movement of the children who fought about ten meters away. He neither needed to protect himself nor moved to stare at the children fighting. They were too young and too inexperienced and they were not able to use all space they had to fight. The border granted by the two fighters had been decided by a mutual and silent consent, and it was an about ten meters long diameter circle.

The two children were exchanging blows and strikes while they try to avoid the other's ones. Both were not aged more than four years old and both had the same height. The two boys had blue hair, but the one at the left side had short blue, near green hair while the one at the right side had wavy long pure and deep blue hair. They were soaked in sweat and their breath was short. But they continued fighting under the inscrutable and demanding look of the one who was watching them. The way they fought was different. One had more controlled gestures while the other fought instinctively and did too unnecessary gestures. Moreover, the first one attacked more often than the second who seemed to only want to protect himself.

Suddenly, the one at the left side jumped and hit the stomach of the other with the outside of his foot. The hurt child was winded. He fell flat on his back without being able to shout. The winner landed on his feet and looked at his opponent. No emotion crossed his features and eyes. He stayed still, his breath short, waiting for the other to pick himself up.

The wavy and blue haired boy grimaced with pain and he put his hand on his stomach. He moaned. He opened one eye and tried to see his adversary through his bangs. He caught sight of him. He tried to stand up with the help of his hand. He only succeeded in kneeling. "You didn't have to hit me so hard, Camus" he said between two inspirations.

"It is a fight, Tsakalatos" replied the boy called Camus who felt no guilt.

"Tsakalatos" called the man who was watching them. "Catch your breath and then you will fight again!"

"But he's going to kill me, Serge!"

"You are equally strong. Why do you only protect yourself?" Tsakalatos pressed his hand a little more on his stomach and he closed one eye when pain crossed his body. "Why don't you fight with all your might?"

"I don't want to hurt Camus."

"Camus is not made in glass, Tsakalatos! I want you to fight him."

"But I can't!" exclaimed Tsakalatos. "I can't" he murmured. "Not him. Not against him."

"Yet, he doesn't put back his blows" noticed the man who unfolded his arms and came to the children.

"He is my friend. I don't want to hurt him" answered the boy looking at Camus who was staring at Serge. The Grus Saint stopped near them and Camus looked at him closely.

It was now three weeks the Saint was training Tsakalatos and him. It was hard. No one taught him how to behave with someone else. He always ran away from the others. He was unable to do something with Saul and it had been a real handicap for him. It had been his first lesson and Tsakalatos had helped him a lot to overcome his problem. Then, Serge forced them to fight everyday and he obeyed. Another problem cropped up then. Tsakalatos did not want to fight against him and it was the same scene that played on the battlefield every day.

Serge bent over Tsakalatos but he did not help him to his feet. No. He helped no one. He did his duty. He obeyed the Pope. He had to train them until they had the required age and a master. He looked at him. Neither he did nor he said anything.

On top of his lack of sociability, Camus was disconcerted by the new Saint's personality he discovered. He was not the kind and considerate Saint he knew, but someone cold who trained them. All emotion disappeared from the Saint's heart during the training. A hard, demanding but patient master. Camus knew two Serge since three weeks and he preferred the one he had encountered from the strict teacher. But he obeyed him because it was what he should do. Today Serge was much harder with them and he wondered why he was so determined to force Tsakalatos to fight against him.

"I don't want to hurt him" repeated Tsakalatos who looked into the Saint's eyes. They darkened and hardened.

"Maybe Camus is your friend, but you should know that nothing is certain in this world. Your friend can become your enemy. You must be ready to fight and put all your feelings aside. Let your feeling invade your heart and soul, and you will die, for sure."

"Camus will never betray me. I'm sure of this."

"Tsakalatos. I don't order you to kill him but to fight with full knowledge of facts and with all you might and heart. Learn to mate your emotion and feelings. Learn to put them aside. Act as Camus do."

Tsakalatos glanced at the French boy. 'But who can assure me that he feels something for me?'

"When you decided to become a Saint you knew it would be hard. There it is the sad truth! It is the sad reality of the Saint's existence. A Saint must kill to protect the world in name of Athena."

Tsakalatos bent his head and heard the Saint going away quietly. "Pick yourself up and fight!" he ordered. Tsakalatos moaned. He did not understand the Saint's determination toward him. He looked up to have a glimpse of the sky and saw a hand held to him, asking him to take it. He did so and looked into his friend's indigo eyes. He saw nothing. They expressed nothing. They were cold. 'Camus, why are you so cold and so distant since I'm here?' he wondered. But he knew that the French boy would never answer him. It was why he never asked it.

"I want you to show me what you are able to do, Tsakalatos! Go now!"

The two children fell upon each other, grabbed their hands trying to make lose the balance to the other. After few minutes of tries, they gave up and lost their grip. They tried to find another one before exchanging blows. Serge went back to his impassive position and his look hardened. He should teach them all basis and he would do this even if they had to suffer. Even if he too had to suffer. He wondered since when he was suffering. His heart hurt him while he had already taught the basis to few other new candidates before them. But never had his heart been so heavy. He tensed up imperceptibly when Tsakalatos punched Camus' face and stomach several times in a row.

'Goddess. Why? Why?' He saw Camus responding to Tsakalatos' blows unblinkingly and the Greek child fell flat on his back again. "Pick yourself up!" Serge shouted to Tsakalatos in a cold voice. The child stood up and without much conviction, he took up the fight again. 'Camus. What have you done to me? What has become to me?' He saw Camus falling on the ground and he felt deeply upset.

'You have become too indulgent last times.' This sentence that Ornytos said him, haunted him and did not leave him anymore since three weeks. He woke up in a sweat sometimes during the night, and he was not able to remember what had pushed him into waking up and only this sentence rang in his mind. So he was afraid of going to sleep some nights and he spent most part of them reading or trying to do so.

He saw the two children rolling on the stony ground. He did nothing for them to stop. All the blows were accepted. 'Ornytos was able to read through me so easily! It's so true. I'm so weak face this four years old child... I should not have brought him here. No, I shouldn't have done this. Camus, when did you take my heart, when did you steal it, my child...'

The two children stood up and took a fight position. Serge took a glimpse of the sun in the sky. It was time to stop the training for this morning. "That's enough! Have a rest a moment then you'll come and study." He saw Camus looking at him in a way that only he could do. His indigo eyes seemed to express nothing according most of people, but he saw love, respect, gratitude but also curiosity, sadness and questions about life, existence and himself. If people took the time to pass through the invisible barrier he had erected between the world and he, they would notice that Camus was everything but a cold and indifferent child. Serge said nothing and hoped his look did not express any feelings, especially at this moment. He should keep the cold master's role or he could not have any control over Camus and his over own feelings. He turned his back to them and walked away, thoughtfully.

Camus watched Serge walking away and his heart hurt. He had said nothing and had not complimented him while he endeavored to obey him and to do his utmost. Serge was cold and indifferent it hurt. He did not like this Serge. Even if he knew that after the training and lessons Serge was the one he knew again, he was hurt because the Grus Saint was the Master almost all day long. His lips shook and he looked down. 'What did I do? Why are you so hard and demanding with me?' Although the Saint was demanding with Tsakalatos too, Camus could not help thinking that he was less demanding than to him.

The French boy heard the panting Greek one collapsed on the ground. He turned to him and saw him laying down, holding his arms out on either side of the body, taking deep breath, his eyes closed.

"You didn't pull your punches, Camus" he said him opening one eye. He watched his friend catch his breath too.

Camus sat near Tsakalatos but he replied nothing. They stayed silent during few minutes, listening to the thud of the Sanctuary. Few shouts broke this moment of peace sometimes. Tsakalatos opened his eyes and watched Camus stare into space. He saw his friend's tense back and especially the curve of his shoulders which expressed sadness. His tiredness forgotten for a moment, he sat up and found himself close to the French boy who had not moved. "What's wrong, Camus?" he asked him.

"Nothing, Tsakalatos. Nothing is wrong."

"Stop answering me this, Camus! I know something is wrong with you and I want to know what it is!"

"Why do you mind my own businesses?! If I tell you there is nothing, it's because there is nothing or it doesn't concern you!"

"It concerns me!"

"Don't be ridiculous, Tsakalatos."

"It concerns me because you are sad and you're not yourself."

"I'm fine. Leave me alone" demanded Camus who stood up.

"It's Serge, isn't it?"

Camus was taken aback and swiftly turned to Tsakalatos who looked up at him. His pure turquoise blue eyes were serious and no tracks of mischief, either could mockery be found. He could not believe it. How did he guess what bothered him? He stared at Tsakalatos saying nothing, too stunned to be able to do or say something.

"There's no point in managing to find an excuse. It's what bothers you" simply said Tsakalatos without tearing his gaze away from the French boy. "People should be blind to not notice this." He stood up and came near Camus. "You think he is different and you wonder what you could have done so that he is not the same anymore. Am I right?"


"Camus" interrupted Tsakalatos raising his hand. "Serge is our Master for the moment. He has a duty to fulfil, and he must put his feelings aside when he teaches us something. Have you heard what he told us earlier?" Camus bent his head feeling ashamed to have let his feelings take the upper hand but also stupid to have not thought about this. He raised his head and saw Tsakalatos staring at him.

"I didn't think about this."

An amused light lit Tsakalatos' eyes up. "It's odd to think that you're in the Sanctuary more than one year." He folded his arms behind his head and walked away. "It's odd to think that Serge think you are a fount of knowledge..."

"At least, I admit to not have thought about this!"

"At least, you're not infallible. But please, don't hit me so hard..."

"You only must take the training seriously" retorted Camus who joined him.

"But it's hard to fight against you. I don't want to hurt you."

"That's your biggest error, Tsakalatos. Stop thinking about me and fight."

"Oh! You're not going to give me a talking-to! Serge already gives me some too much."

"You wanted to become a Saint at all costs. Why don't you go all the way?"

Tsakalatos did not reply and continued walking to the house where Serge was certainly waiting for them. "Hurry up Camus. We must wash before joining our Master. You know how much particular he can be."

"Are you avoiding my question?"

"Don't you often avoid mine?" replied Tsakalatos who turned to him and sent him a wink. Then he rushed toward the watering place.

A little smile played on Camus' lips during few seconds. Tsakalatos had the skill to cheer him up and to help him without being aware. 'Maybe he is aware of, who knows?' He caught up with his companion who was splashing his face with water.

* * *

Serge left the children. He knew he could leave them alone few hours, even if he was not so sure as far as Tsakalatos alone was concerned. He should let them get their breath back. They were only four years old children and they needed time for them so that they relaxed, so they did not forget they were still children. The moment they would be with their respective or common master would be soon here and then, the time of innocence and childhood would be over. Forever.

It was hard to train them! It was very difficult. Firstly because of Camus. He did not have any detachment toward the child. Secondly because of Tsakalatos. He was too unruly. Serge realised that he had more and more difficulty to be firm with the two children. He knew who was the responsible of his unexpected weakness. This little blue-green haired boy he had met far from here a winter day. 'This should have never happened...'

"Grus Saint?" someone called.

Serge raised his head and saw Ornytos staring at him. He stopped and waited for the chief of the soldiers of the Sanctuary to come nearer. He had the feeling that Ornytos was studying him since a moment but he kept a cold expression on his face.

"You are lost in your thoughts once more..." he said, a smile on his lips while he approached him. "Besides, you are always in you thoughts and this since we were younger. But this characteristic becomes apparent more the years pass."

"You are very happy today. What is happening?"

"Oh nothing important. Oh I nearly forgot. The Pope wants to see you."

"To see me? Is it why you are so happy?"

"How can you think such a thing? In any case, he wants to see you. At once, if possible. Your pupils can be alone few moments, can't they?" asked Ornytos who looked into Serge's eyes.

"It's break time. All right, I'm going."

"I go with you. I must tell the Pope my report. Anyway we did not see each other a lot lately."

Serge shrugged and walked to the sacred hill followed by Ornytos. They did not speak during few minutes and they passed several trainees who were training hard. Ornytos did not bother him. They knew each other since a long time, but their friendship was not a definite relationship. They appreciated and respected each other, but there was really no more among them.

"How the children are doing?" asked suddenly Ornytos without glancing to the Saint.

"They are fine."

"The training?"

"More or less well. It depends days, their mood and their will." Serge stopped talking and said nothing else. It was right the two children seemed to be equally strong, but they were opposite in everything. Camus was conscientious, he understood quickly what was expecting from him and did not wander. He would be the perfect pupil that every master wanted to have if an important thing was not missing: enthusiasm. Camus was not enthusiastic. He did things because they had to be done, that was all. And what worried him the most was that Camus did not seem to believe in Athena. The Saint hid this fact for a while, but for how long? Tsakalatos was the contrary. He fought instinctively and it was right that the numerous fights he had taken part in at Rodario explained this instinct. But he wandered. He was not able to concentrate on lessons and let himself get distracted. But he had enthusiasm and faith in Athena. Those two children were opposite in everything but complementary. 'Too much' Serge thought. 'Far too much' he concluded.

"You are the one who judge them" simply declared Ornytos knowing perfectly well that Serge would tell him nothing about his thoughts. "They are too young, far too much young."

"They are, but they have a light cosmo and I will do everything so that it develops. They have possibility to become great Saints, and I don't want to throw away such an opportunity."

"You will not have the time to develop it enough. They will soon have a Master who will teach them."

"I know..." Serge sighed. He stopped talking. He perfectly knew that what he was teaching them was only the basis even if he wanted to teach them more. But he could not help thinking that he could be the one who would give them the keys of their future tremendous power. He did not question Ornytos about the Pope's choice of the master or masters. The chief of the soldiers would not answer him. He would know this in time and it was better to know nothing and concentrated on his task. He looked up to the sun and he sighed silently. But this uncertainty wore him down. He forced himself to not read Ornytos' thoughts and he quickened his steps.

* * *

Camus followed Tsakalatos with a heavy heart. He was tired and he would have preferred to stay somewhere sitting and contemplating the sky or a column, or reading. But it was not the case. The Greek child had taken him by the arm and took him in a part of the Sanctuary he did not know. Tsakalatos was a child who was never tired or bored. He was unable to remain still or motionless more than five minutes. He needed to move and this exasperated Serge during the Greek, history and philosophy lessons. This annoyed Camus because he was unable to concentrate on the lessons and he had to make a real effort to not give vent to his exasperation in front of Serge and Tsakalatos.

Tsakalatos jumped onto a rock then onto another before turning to Camus and encouraging him to follow him. Then he disappeared behind a huge rock. Camus, resigned, sighed and told himself that soon it would be the evening training time, so they would be forced to come back home. He hoped that Serge would not be late, as he was this morning. The Grus Saint told them nothing. Why would he have told them things that only concerned him? The only thing Camus had noticed that Serge's features were harder than usually, even harder than when he was the Master. He did not know what have happened but knowing the Saint as he did, he perfectly guessed that Serge would not tell him anything.

The French boy followed Tsakalatos. "Tsakalatos. Stop playing now. We're going to be late!" Tsa..." He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw that children twice as aged as Tsakalatos surrounding his companion. 'What is happening here?' he asked for himself. He screwed his eyes and he frowned. His instinct told him that something was wrong but at the distance he was, he heard nothing. He saw Tsakalatos gesticulating and shouting really angry. Before he could think more, he saw few boys rushing to the Greek child who avoided the charge. He stopped a blow, but he could not avoid the one that came at his right.

Camus did not have to be asked twice. Without any warning, he jumped down the rock and rushed toward the group, knocking down a boy in his way. "Leave him alone!" he shouted, his eyes throwing lights of hate. "He is alone! Leave him alone!"

"Mind your own business, little idiot!" shouted one of the boys.

"Don't touch him or I..."

"Or you will do what, scum?" asked ironically another boy.

"He shouldn't have come in our territory!" started a green haired one.

"The sanctuary is for everybody who live in" shouted Camus who balled his fists. He noticed that two boys were coming closer to Tsakalatos who stood up with difficulty.

"Leave him alone! You're only cowards!" Camus got punched on his right cheek and it sent him flying few meters away.

"Camuuuuuuuus!!!!!!" screamed Tsakalatos beside himself. He wanted to rush over his friend when a hand grabbed his tunic collar and picked him up.

"Don't forget us! I didn't forget you." He hit the Greek child's face but he lost his balance when someone charged at him and hit his legs. The boy saw Camus standing up with difficulty and standing in front of Tsakalatos, protecting him. He hit him once. Camus did not shout. A second blow hit him, he did not blinked and his look hardened, defying the boy.

"Camus..." Tsakalatos murmured.

"You won't touch him!" Camus said who continued staring at his opponent unblinkingly, treating the pain with disdain.

"It's my businesses, Camus" shouted Tsakalatos who could not put up with Camus being in danger.

"No way" Camus answered. He was thrown on the ground again. He did not have time to stand up. Two boys rushed to him and hit him. The French boy did not moan and through the curtains of blows, he tried to see Tsakalatos who was beating too. Camus bit his lips to not scream his helplessness and his suffering. The blows stopped suddenly and Camus heard one of the boys speaking to the others.

"They're done for. For heaven's sake! Brats want to lay down the law here?!" They moved away laughing.

Camus felt the world spun around him and everything went black. Emptiness. He was falling into a bottomless pit without hope to stop his fall in this dark hole. Then he lost notion of space. He did not know where were the top and the bottom, the right and the left. He was spinning around as he was a wheel. A murmur reached him with difficulty.


No. He had imagined this.


Someone was calling him. Someone he knew but he could not remember who he was. He did not know who was this person.

"CAMUS!!" shouted a worried voice.

Camus felt someone shook him, and he opened his eyes slowly. The feeling of falling stopped but everything spun in front of his eyes. Nevertheless, he could make out blue hair, in spite of the swaying.

"Camus?! Are you all right?" He blinked and tried to stand up. "No!" said the person who was supporting him. He prevented him to move. "You lost consciousness during a minute or so" the worried voice told him.

"I'm fine" he said in a breath. "I'm fine" he repeated trying to persuade himself that it was true.

"All right then. Slowly, OK?" Camus nodded and wished he had not done this gesture. All spun around again. He sat up, helped by the blue haired boy. "Are you sure you're fine?" the worried boy asked.

"Yes, I will be fine. And you?" he asked remembering what have happened.

"I am stronger than everybody thinks. My brothers often beat when I did not obey them. Often then. I'm used to blows." The furtive smile he wore he when said this disappeared and he frowned. He ran his fingers on Camus' forehead and lifted his bangs. "Fool" he murmured. "This only concerned me. Why did you rush headlong into my business?"

"Why do you always mind my own business?" asked Camus who grimaced with pain.

"Fool. Prize idiot."

"Why did they bear a grudge against you?" asked Camus. He palpated his body in order to see if something was broken.

"They told me I was in their territory. Then they made laugh of my name. So I insulted them." Camus shook his head carefully. "Why did you come and help me, Camus?"

"They were about to slaughter you."

"Thank you" murmured Tsakalatos.

"But I couldn't help you..." admitted Camus.

"It's not important." Suddenly he frowned and he took Camus' right hand. "You're bleeding!" he shouted looking at the index finger which bled.

Camus looked down and noticed his wound. "It's not a serious wound. It was certainly cut by a stone." Without saying a word, Tsakalatos took Camus' finger and raised it to his lips. "But... But what are you doing?" exclaimed Camus totally lost. He felt warmth spread throughout his finger than his hand.

"Like this you will heal quicker. You were wounded because of me."


Tsakalatos took the finger away from his mouth and smiled. "Now we are bound together." Seeing the look of incomprehension that Camus gave him, he shook his head in a helpless way. "I drank your blood. I have a part of you in me, from now on."

"I don't understand."

"Camus we are now bound by blood."

"You mean that you forced me to be close to you?"

"Yes, you are now bound to me..."


"Camus. I want to be your friend more than anything else. I told you that I consider you as one, that I love you as one, plenty of time. I often said that you are my friend, but never you tell me if I would be one for you. Never did you do. You don't trust me, and you try to be distant with me..."

Camus bent his head. He remembered Serge and Pope's explanations about friendship and he raised his head. He met Tsakalatos' look which was so frank and sincere. A look that never judged him. A look that considered him as what he was and nothing more. Why did he try to protect him, to prevent him to come to the Sanctuary?

'It is an affection we have for someone, a lacking in second thought and irrational feeling.' The Pope's words rang in his mind. 'Do I feel friendship to Tsakalatos?' Camus stared at Tsakalatos then he noticed a trickle of blood on the Greek child's left cheek. With one finger of his left hand, he collected few drops of blood and stared at them. Tsakalatos' turquoise eyes followed every Camus' movement. The French boy brought his hand to his mouth and then tasted the blood. It was warm and seemed to quiver on his tongue. A strange taste which reminded him things he did not understand, things he knew instinctively, like distant and buried memories.

Tsakalatos looked at Camus and smiled. "We are really bound together now." He took Camus' wounded finger and put it on his own wound. Their blood mixed up. "Now we are brothers bind by blood."

Camus arched his eyebrows but said nothing. He got the feeling it was a rite and that it was as important for Tsakalatos as it was for him.

"Camus. I swear I will always protect you, be near you when you'll need me. I swear to never betray you... Athena, I swear this." He looked at Camus. "Camus... Swear that nothing will part us. Swear that whatever will happen we will be friend forever."

Camus did not say anything and Tsakalatos was afraid that he had the same answer he had from the French boy once. He did not want to swear a thing that he did not know the implications and outcome. Now, making this promise was more than risky. But he hoped it, nevertheless.

"I swear that nothing will part us, Tsakalatos. Whatever will happen in the future we will still be friend. We're now bound and close. Nothing will destroy this bind, not even the Gods."

"Till death do part us, Camus" said Tsakalatos.

"Till death do part us, Tsakalatos" echoed Camus shaking his friend's hand.

Tsakalatos' eyes shone with joy and flung himself around Camus' neck. "Thank you, Camus. Thank you..."

"About what?"


Camus did not understand Tsakalatos' answer and he tried to free himself from Tsakalatos' hug. "Serge must wait for us."

"I totally forgot this" shouted Tsakalatos. He jumped on his feet. He held his hand to Camus. He took it without hesitation. "You know what, Camus?" The French boy shook his head. "I feel like thanking those little idiots." He burst out of laughing and Camus smiled before pushing him so that they could join Serge. But Tsakalatos stopped and bending a bit, tore the bottom part of his tunic. He made a little strip of it. Then, still without a word, it took Camus' index finger and wrapped the little piece of clothes around the wound. He tied it and dropped Camus' hand. "It's annoying a wound on a finger. It bleeds a lot." He swept his left cheek and smiled. "Let's go."

"Why do you do all those things for me?" asked Camus.

"Because I like you very much, you are my friend and you are the one I trust in the most."


"I don't know. I trust in my heart."

"But Serge said..."

"He said we must control our feelings when we fight. But I don't think that we can always control our emotions." Tsakalatos turned to Camus. "Serge himself is unable to control his feelings all the time."

Camus opened his eyes wider. "Why do you follow your heart?"

"Why, why, why! Stop with this word! Why are you always looking for a reason or an answer?"

"I don't know" said Camus who bent his head. "Maybe I want to know who I am and what the future holds for me."

Tsakalatos said nothing during a moment. Camus by this simple sentence had opened more than before. "You think too much" he told him. "You think too much and you enjoy nothing." Tsakalatos sighed. "But it may be the reason why I like you, Camus."


"We must hurry." Tsakalatos quickened his paces and he heard Camus asking him what he meant by the last remark, but the Greek boy refused to explain further while Camus pressed him to answer.

* * *

Serge was worried. It was late and the two children were not here yet. With Tsakalatos there were always lot of problems and he always worried about the both. The Greek boy had the knack of finding or attracting troubles. As Camus was more composed, he did not worry a lot about him and did not mind to leave him alone in the Sanctuary. It was not the case for Tsakalatos. But he was not worried over the Greek boy but over his 'protégé' as lot of people called the French boy in the Sacred Place. He heard voices and he turned. He saw the two children discussing animatedly. He was surprised to see Camus so communicative, but he did not let show his surprise on his features and in his look. The latter hardened and he folded his arms. "You are late" he said in a cold voice.

Camus and Tsakalatos stopped speaking and turned toward the Saint. "Sorry" apologised Camus.

It was at this moment that Serge saw traces of blows and blood on the torn clothes and his protégé's bandaged finger. His eyes flashed dangerously. "Where do you come from? What have you done so that you're in this state?"

Camus was about to answer, but Tsakalatos nudged him slightly and prevented him in doing so. "We began the training without you" replied the Greek child smiling. Camus' eyes widened a little, but he did or he said anything to contradict Tsakalatos.

Serge noticed Camus' involuntary movement and his suspicion were corroborated. Tsakalatos took Camus with him in a fight. "Why can't I believe in what you're saying me?"

"It's up to you to decide" Tsakalatos answered standing firm, defying the Saint.

"You're going to run fifty laps on the track I drew, then we'll decide later. Go on! What are you waiting for?"

The two children rushed to the track and Serge's eyes followed them. He was reassured they were fine and above all, he was glad to have seen this light of joy in Camus' indigo eyes. For the very first time, Camus really smiled, even if it was only a shy one. Really Tsakalatos was at the same time different as chalk and cheese. He was the only one who had really succeeded in breaking the ice and indifferent wall that Camus had erected between him and people. He sighed relieved. Camus was now ready to become a real Saint as he thought it best.

* * *

The blue-green haired boy looked around him and sighed pleased when he found he was alone. He climbed on the piece of the column fallen on the ground by no one knew which strength. He sat comfortably and faced the landscape surrounding by the mountains and especially the more or less steep slope that began at the foot of the piece of marble on which he was sat. He sighed once more. He was alone at last. It was not that he did not appreciate Tsakalatos' company, but sometimes he needed solitude to be able to stand his exuberant friend and companion. He never lived with someone so living and talkative and this bothered him. Tsakalatos was a tornado which swept everything away on its way, and Camus tried to be himself with great difficulty. He also tried to go out of the whirlwind, but the only solution he had found was to be a moment off into the eye of the cyclone. That was why he appreciated those moments of peace more than anything else.

He knew he would have few moments of freedom and peace, one hour, a bit more if he were lucky enough. Sometimes, he was ready to thank Aiolia to keep Tsakalatos occupy. He did not know why he did not it off with Aiolia who was less unruly than Tsakalatos. He still had reticence about getting closer to him. It was no good his asking the question, he could not find the answer. Well, since Tsakalatos and Aiolia got along and stayed a moment together, this did not bother him.

He stopped thinking about Sagittarius Gold Saint's brother. He opened the book Serge gave him few days ago and he started to read, forgetting the world around him. Serge did not stop repeating him as a joke that he was insatiable intellectually. Camus did not feel insulted, on the contrary. All this because it was Serge. It was a game, a sign of affection. He was sure that if someone else told him this he would think he was insulted. He bent over the book a bit more as he wanted to immerse himself by the flood of words typed on the pages, as the book aspirated him into it.

A long moment after Camus frowned and put the book on his lap. What he had just read disturbed him. Why Mankind was so complicated? He started to wonder what was a human in reality? Were emotions and feelings characteristic of Humanity or were they only illusion to deceive the Other? Why did Serge lend him this book so that he read it? This book did not give him any answer but other questions without answers instead.

'You're really insatiable, Camus.'

Serge's favorite expression toward him. It was true. He wanted to know everything, he wanted to understand everything, to have every answer to every question he had in mind. But more he ventured on this field, more he had the feeling to stray from the source of the universal and personal answers. His eyebrows frowned a bit more and he stared at the book as it was near to give him all the answers he was expecting. A long moment after, he closed his indigo eyes. He was so concentrated in his quest that he did not hear someone stopping near him.

* * *

A little lavender haired boy around Camus' age stared at the boy quietly. His violet eyes did not leave the boy. He stayed there during few minutes, then he made two paces toward the boy sat on the leaning piece of marble and his attention was attracted by the book leaning on the boy's lap. "What is bothering you?" he asked.

"Tsa..." began Camus in a moan of annoyance. He opened wide eyes when he realised that it was not the blue haired Greek boy who have just spoken. He turned to his right and he saw a boy around his age. His violet eyes were beautiful and they seemed to contain knowledge that Camus could not imagine. He noticed two strange purple points that replaced eyebrows and the lavender hair which cascaded over his shoulder-blades.

Surprised by the appearance of the stranger, Camus slightly screwed up his eyes a bit distrustful at first, but quickly his curiosity gave way of his withdrawal. He stared at the strange boy and noticed he had a confident bearing, an authority and a knowledge he did not know, that came out of him.

The two boys continued staring at each other and the lavender haired one gave him a shy smile. "What is bothering you?" he asked again now that he had the boy's attention.

"Why are you sure that something is bothering me?"

"Just a feeling" answered without hesitation the stranger.

'So self confident' thought Camus.

"You seemed so lost in your thoughts..."

"I was just thinking" revealed Camus surprised to hear himself answering the boy without hesitation.

"About what is said in this book?" asked the stranger and in the process, he showed the book put on Camus' lap. The latter's eyes hardened. "Sorry. I did not want to annoy you." The boy bent his head guilty. "You know..." he began, "philosophy is a subject that affects us a lot. No one can have the same thought about the same subject or question. Mankind is no unique, and the different ideas of life he can have, is different from a man to another one. It is what make humans so unique and particular in the eyes of Gods..." The lavender haired boy looked at Camus then sat near him when he saw that he did not refuse. "My name is Mu" he simply said.

Camus stared at him few seconds. "Camus" he told him.

"Pleased to meet you. I did not know that there would be people about my age in the Sanctuary. My master did not say me anything about this, only that I will be a bit lost."

Camus listened to Mu. "Who is your master?"

"No one knows his name. Even me I don't know it. He is know as the Master."

Camus frowned. 'The Master?' He did not know anyone called as the Master in the Sanctuary. "When did you arrive at the Sanctuary?"

"Yesterday. It's so strange..." Intrigued, Camus arched his eyebrows. "Yes, here it's hot and the mountains are less high than in my country."

"Your country?"

"I come from Tibet. And you?"

Camus looked down and let out a sigh. "From France."

Mu opened slightly wider his eyes but he said nothing. His instinct told him that it would better to not dwell on this topic of conversation. It seemed to be a sensitive subject for Camus, even if this latter tried to conceal it behind an appearance of indifference. He looked in front of him and did not say anything.

Camus said nothing too and the silence set in between the two boys, each lost in their respective thoughts. "Why do you want to become a Saint?" asked suddenly Camus turning to the Tibetan.

Mu stared at him back and his violet eyes darkened slightly. "Because it is my destiny" simply replied Mu without tearing his eyes from Camus' look.

"Destiny?" murmured Camus. "You believe in destiny?" asked Camus remembering after he had asked the question that he had given the same reason to Serge before leaving the park this famous day. But he did not believe in destiny, he could not succeed in, as he still did not succeed in believing in Athena.

"Destiny..." murmured Mu. "We all believe in the country I come from. It is said that we are born on Earth to fulfil things already determined by Gods. It's the destiny..."

Camus raised slightly his head when he felt that Mu owned a heavy secret linked to this notion of destiny, but he did not asked for further explanation. "You speak about people you know, your people. But and you, what do you think?"

Mu looked like he was surprised. He watched Camus more carefully and realised that the French boy was really wisdom and clever. But it was not this which had surprised him the most, but the two words he had said 'your people'. There were so much means and so much truths in those two words at the same time. 'How could he...' He cut off his thoughts and he thought about the answer he could give to Camus without betraying his real identity. "I've been brought up with this idea, in the respect of my religion. I just believe in" he revealed.

Camus said nothing and laid down his hand on the book. 'Education is it essential so that a human is a human? It's so strange...'

A long moment passed. The two children did not talk respecting the silence of the other. It was not an embarrassed silence which had been established, but a mutual respect. Suddenly the quiet was broken by a call. Startled, the two boys looked at each other.

"Camuuuuuuuus!!" shouted someone.

Mu and Camus turned around and they saw a wavy blue haired boy rushing to them very quickly. Camus let out a sigh and Mu gave him a puzzled glance. The French boy looked at Tsakalatos who came to them very fast. He was always amazed to see how quickly the Greek child could run. He was quicker than he was, much more.

"Camus!!" Tsakalatos shouted out of breath. "Help me!! Please!!"

Camus just rolled his eyes to the sky briefly, resigned and exasperated at the same time.

"I assume it is not the first time" Mu commented on.

Camus simply shrugged while Tsakalatos rushed to him and surrounded the French boy's neck with his arms.

"Help me! Please!"

"What did you do again?" Camus asked in a resigned tone that confirmed Mu's statement.

"It's Aiolia!"

"Again..." Camus breathed in exasperation.

At Camus' left side, a little laugh caught Tsakalatos' attention. He saw a lavender haired boy who was watching them, an amused light shining his violet eyes. Surprise could be read on Tsakalatos' face but then a frank smile appeared on his lips. "Hi!" he simply said to the stranger. He suddenly looked behind him, his instinct urging him to act as the danger was approaching. The Greek boy jumped on the piece of the column and let him slide down the other side of the column. He found himself sitting between Camus and the stranger's legs and he huddled up so that Aiolia would not see him. "Please Camus, help me. He's really dangerous" he breathed.

"You always get yourself into impossible situations, Tsakalatos" Camus gave him a talking-about. "I am tempted to not help you this time..."

Tsakalatos looked up at Camus and saw that he was serious. But it was not a real indication about Camus' real intentions because he was always serious. "Please..." breathed the Greek child.

"Camuuuus!!" someone else shouted.

The French boy did not need to turn to know that it was Aiolia. Nevertheless he did it and saw Aiolos' brother stopping near him. Camus arched one eyebrow in wonder. He was curious to know what Tsakalatos had invented this time.

"Have you seen this fool? I mean Tsakalatos!"

"What did he do again?" Camus asked in a breath while he felt an arm surrounding his left leg.

"Because of him I have ants all over my body!!" Camus frowned. "With a stick he put ants in my tunic and they ran on my back. Then he pushed me on the ground where there were a lot!!!!" Aiolia shivered at the memory. "He's going to pay a hundred times over! I swear this! And don't protect him this time!" Aiolia turned and noticed the strange lavender haired boy. "You are new?" he asked, his anger forgotten for a moment.

"My name is Mu. I've just arrived at the Sanctuary."

"My name is Aiolia." He turned to Camus once more and as this latter did not say anything, he ran away into the opposite direction he took initially. "Just wait Tsakalatos!! You'll be had! And then you will know my anger!!"

Mu and Camus looked at each other and exchanged a look of complicity. Together they looked down and saw Tsakalatos who was hiding and gripping Camus' leg. Tsakalatos feeling a look opened his eyes and saw the stranger and Camus staring at him. Camus' eyes hardened. "He left?" asked the Greek child.

Camus did not give him an answer. "Now tell me what have happened!"

"But nothing!"

"Aiolia was really angry."

"It's not my fault if Aiolia fell in an ant hill."

"Why do I have this strange feeling that I'm not convinced by what you've just said me?"

Tsakalatos put his arms behind his back, looked up and started to whistle in an innocent way.

"Haven't you by any chance helped him?"

"He stumbled all by himself. It's not my fault if he's clumsy!"

"Tsakalatos...." told off Camus. "He gave us a different version from yours."

"Maybe I have helped him a bit. But only a little bit..." he admitted showing a very little space between his thumb and index finger.

"You are impossible Tsakalatos..." sighed Camus.

"So you are the much talked-about Tsakalatos" said Mu tilting his head to his right slightly.

"And you are?" asked the Greek boy more or less suspicious.

"My name is Mu."

"How do you know my name?"

"Camus called you Tsakalatos, didn't he?"

Tsakalatos turned toward Camus. "What did you tell him?"

"Camus told me absolutely nothing. Moreover Aiolia was looking for you..." Mu gave him a little smile. "Your reputation had got first..."

"How that my reputation?" Camus only rolled his eyes to the sky.

"Your 'achievements' out and in the Sanctuary" explained Mu.

"My achievements?" asked Tsakalatos arching his eyebrows.

"Like the one you have just done." The Greek child turned to Camus again. "In other words your stupid things!"

"I don't do stupid things, Camus!" shouted Tsakalatos who jumped on his friend and caught hold of his neck. He gripped his embrace and turned toward Mu. "You're right! I'm Tsakalatos! Don't make fun of my name!" Mu only shrugged. "Here is Camus! The house intellectual!" he said while he tightened his embrace around Camus' neck. "And he is my best friend."

"There is no need to be a clever man to see this" Mu noticed. His eyes shone and he gave a smile to the two boys.

"I'm not the house intellectual, Tsakalatos! Let go of me!" Camus blushed.

Tsakalatos burst out of laughing but did not loosen his embrace. "By the way, thank you for your help! At least I can always count on you!"

Camus went red with renewed vigour and Mu suppressed a chuckle. "Tsakalatos! Stop that immediately or I'll be cross."

"You? Getting angry?! Come on Camus! I only see you being angry once, if that!! You are unable to be angry."

"You're going to make me regret to have helped you...." grumbled the French boy who tried to free himself from his friend's embrace.

"You wouldn't do this to your brother of heart and blood, would you?" shouted Tsakalatos deceptively scared. "You wouldn't leave me alone with this ferocious animal that is Aiolia? You would be heartless! But I know you're not like this..."

"Who is a ferocious animal?" a voice asked behind the Greek child.

Tsakalatos opened wide eyes and tightened his grip around Camus' neck before freeing it nervously. He slowly turned around with a little smile. "Ah... Aiolia... You were there..."

Aiolia gave Tsakalatos a black look. He folded his arms and began to stamp his foot the stony ground impatiently, waiting for an answer to his question.

"You... you were saying something?"

Aiolia's eyes threw lightening of anger. He turned to Camus and pointed an accusing finger at the French boy. "You helped him once more!! Why have you helped him?"

"And why would he have not helped me?" Tsakalatos came out with. He came in front of Camus and put his hands on his hips.

"It's unfair! You do everything to annoy me and then you run away and ask Camus' help!!!" retorted Aiolia.

"Camus is my friend!"

"Everybody knows this..." grumbled Aiolia. "But you always take refuge with him!"

"And you with your older brother! He has something much more important to do than to help you to sort out your problems!"

"Say that again!!!"

"At least I choose someone of my age!"

"Just wait!"

"That's enough you two" Camus said in a firm voice without necessarily raising it. It had the wanted effect and the two boys stopped dead in their tracks. They turned to Camus who was staring at them. "If you want to fight, do it, but leave me out of you stupid and puerile arguments."

The two Greek children looked at each other then shrugged before bursting out of laughing. Resigned Camus shook his head while Mu tilted lightly his one to the right side. "Well, why do you always fight?" the Tibetan child asked.

The two Greek children pointing at the other and said in unison. "It's his fault!" Mu screwed up his eyes a little. "No it's yours!" they shouted at the same time. "It's not true!!"

"At least they agree about something" ascertained Camus turning to Mu.

"We don't!" said the two Greek boys who turned to Camus in a perfect synchronised way, then glared at each other.

Mu burst out of laughing and agreed with Camus. "This must happen often, mustn't it."

"Every time. They are out to get each other, they get it and it ends this way...."

"But they are friends, aren't they?"

"I think they are" replied Camus a long moment after while he looked at the both boys chasing each other. "But it's a very strange friendship" murmured Camus.

Mu arched his 'eyebrows' in wonder but he did not comment the last sentence. He too watched the two boys who were running and were provoking each other. A sad light crossed his violet eyes and he turned to Camus. "I did not know there would be children around my age here..."

"It seems we are not numerous there. Ornytos was very annoyed when he saw me coming so young in the Sanctuary. It was the same for Tsakalatos. But at this moment, the soldiers' chief had a good reason to bear a grudge against Tsakalatos."

"How that?" but Camus did not answer him. He took his book and jumped down the laying column. "I have to go now. Someone is waiting for me. I'm pleased to meet you, Mu." he turned to Tsakalatos. "Stop playing. We're going to be late."

Tsakalatos stopped dead in his tracks and Aiolia who was just behind bumped into his back. "Already?"

"Already. And you know how Serge is when we are late."

Mu turned his head to Camus, surprise utterly written on his face. "Serge?" he repeated.

"He trains Camus and I" Tsakalatos told him with a big smile. "We're expecting for a master."

Camus walked away without saying a word and Tsakalatos rushed behind him.

"Eh!! Wait for me! I must join my brother!" Aiolia shouted rushing behind Tsakalatos. "See you Mu!!" he shouted waving his hand.

Mu smiled at him. His smile vanished when he stared at Camus' back. He was walking with dignity between the two boys who were still quarrelling. But the little French boy was acting as they were not around him. "Serge's pupil..." He looked up at the sky then he went to another direction.

'You speak about people you know, your people. But and you, what do you think?'

Camus' sentences rang in his head again. He slightly screwed his eyes. 'Being Serge's pupil, this should not surprise me he knows this...'

"You met the Sanctuary's three prodigies?" a voice said at his left.

Mu turned to his right swiftly and saw a man wrapped in huge cloak and with its hood pulled up. The mask that the man wore did not make possible to see his features. "Master, will they be future Saints?"

"If they succeed their tests they will."

"They are so different the ones from the others and yet..."

The man chuckled. "They aren't, not that much. Rodario's tearaway and Sagittarius Gold Saint's brother are alike, more than you can imagine. As for Serge's 'petit protégé'...He is an enigma all by himself."

"I don't think so, Master..." confessed Mu who did not explain further his idea.

"I have time, so let's use it to work your concentration when you use telekinesis."

"As you want Master..." Mu followed the man wearing a mask. He wondered why he sent for him into the Sanctuary while he could have continued his training in Tibet. But for an unknown reason, he demanded that he came at his sides at the Sanctuary.

* * *

Serge caught sight of his two pupils coming and he hove a sigh of impatience. Camus did not look at him. He went to a stone and put his book on it.

"Serge! There is a new one here!" said a very thrilled Tsakalatos.

"A new one?"

"Yes! A boy about our age! His name is Mu and he is strange!"

"Certainly less than you are" said Camus who joined his friend on the battlefield.

"What do you mean by this?" Camus did not reply and he witnessed Serge frowning and deep in his thoughts.

'So Mu is here... Why did he send for him? Strange...' He felt an intent look and he looked down. He saw Camus examining him intensively. He roused himself from his thoughts and made a wide gesture with his arms to enjoin the two children to begin the training. The both said nothing and started to run under the intent look of their master.

* * *

A conversation about predestination could be heard in the shade of a grove of olive trees which foliage was protecting from the blazing rays of sun Mu and Camus.

"It's totally absurd" denied Camus.

"I don't know why you are saying this?" retorted Mu.

"Why, you don't understand. If stars govern our life, so how can they govern several people's life at the same time?"

"I still don't see where is the problem..."

"On Earth several babies are born at the same time. This means they have the same destiny?"

"No, every time stars' positions are different, so are the destinies...."

"Sorry, but it's beyond me! How can you claim that life is predestined?"

"The belief is the foundation of our religion, Camus, our belief in stars and destiny."

"Your people's one?"

"Yes among others. You don't believe in anything?" Camus only shrugged by way of answer. Mu did not insist. "After all, everyone is free to believe in what he wants" concluded Mu. The Tibetan boy turned his head and saw Tsakalatos coming. He noticed that he had a serious face. "Tsakalatos seems to have some problems" noted Mu.

Camus turned his head and saw his friend coming toward them then this one raised his head. His turquoise eyes met Camus' indigo ones who frowned slightly. But he said nothing and he waited for the Greek boy to come close to him.

"Why haven't you told me?" accused Tsakalatos pointing his finger at Camus.

"What are you talking about?"

"You could have told me!"

"If you said me what you are alluding to, so I will tell you."


"What about Serge?" asked Camus completely lost.

"You know he has powers! Why haven't you told me?!"

"He has powers as every Saint. What is the problem?"

"Really? So everybody can read people?"

"Reading people? Well, what are you talking about?"

"I heard some trainees saying that Serge is able to read people's thoughts!"

"Don't be stupid! It's impossible" said Camus shaking his head.

"Camus" called Mu. "Why are you so sceptic? Why do you persist in not believing that few people are able to do things that most of humans can't?"

"But! How would it be possible?"

"Life and Human contain strange mysteries that lot of people ignore or want to be unaware of those."

"You say this as you are concerned..."

"Camus! Tell me! Is it true?" cut him off Tsakalatos. He had enough about this discussion which did not lead somewhere.

"I don't know! He told me nothing about this..." Camus frowned when he remembered every time Serge had answered him questions that he did not dare to ask me. 'And if it is true. But then... It's a liar! A liar!! All the things he did for me were liars!' Mu's voice roused the French boy from his thoughts.

"Tsakalatos, Serge can read people as you say."

"How do you know this?"

"My master told me about this. It is one of the reasons which makes him be so respected by the other Saints."


"If you don't believe me, go and ask Serge about this directly." Mu stood up and dusted his burgundy tunic. "My master is waiting for me, and I think yours too." Saying that, he gave them a smile and walked away.

"Come on Camus! Let's go and ask Serge."

"Why do you really want to know this?"

"Because I want to. Why did not he tell us this if it's true?"

"Do you tell him everything?"

"No but why will I tell him things if he is able to read people?" He walked way without waiting for Camus. The latter stood up and followed him, not knowing if he really wanted to know the truth or not.

* * *

Serge saw them coming together and he noticed Tsakalatos' determined face. He was surprised to see them on time but he was even more when he saw the Greek boy's serious face. It was not like him. He said nothing and waited for the children to join him. "I see that you're on time for once. All right, tonight you're going to run, jump and lift those stones" he told them showing the two little rocks.

Tsakalatos stood in front of and folded his arms.

Serge looked down at Tsakalatos and stared at him few minutes. "Something is wrong Tsakalatos?" The Greek child did not answer him and continued staring at the Grus Saint. Serge arched his eyebrows and looked for Camus' eyes. But this latter was looking away. "Well, what is happening here? What have you done, now?"

"Is it true you can read people?" Tsakalatos asked suddenly.

"Reading people? How that?" asked Serge surprised.

"Read people" repeated the Greek boy impatiently. "Is it true you can read their thoughts?"

Serge looked at Tsakalatos and then at Camus who was staring at him strangely. A light of mistrust was shining in his indigo eyes. He sighed. "I can, in a way " he confessed.

"What do you mean by in a way?" Camus had asked the question this time.

"I can't read people's thoughts a hundred per cent. Some are more skill than I am. For me it is easier to sound people's thoughts out when they are weak, as humans who are unable to develop their cosmo. On the other hand, it is very hard for me to sound a Gold Saint's thoughts out. They are very powerful and they protect themselves naturally. Moreover what I'm able to read are only emotions in fact. I only have a limited telepathy. Sometimes a picture or a dominant emotion can reach my brain and I see more if I really concentrate. But that's no reason to read people, there is a big step..."

"Are you able to read us?" asked Tsakalatos.

Serge smiled. "Sometimes, But I avoid using this power." He folded his arms across his chest. "Furthermore, no one need telepathic or another gift to read people's soul or heart sometimes."

"How that?"

"Often emotions we feel, show on our face or in our gestures. The one who can manage to interpret those emotions can read the person. The heart is the base of emotions and feelings in numerous civilizations. Learn to read your adversaries' heart and soul then you will have a definite psychological influence. Then you will know how to defeat them. But you must learn to remain impassive in front of them, to be indifferent. You must because if you show them the slightest emotion or thoughts, you will be defeated for sure. You always have to control your most deepest feelings and thoughts."

"So, we're only people who kill others?"

"In a way. Only the ones who know themselves and can control, surpass their emotions can reach the Seventh Sense. They can aspire to become the most powerful Saints."

"The Seventh Sense?" asked Camus, curiosity taking the upper hand to his suspicion.

"Tell me the humans' sense."

"The eyesight, the sense of smell..." Tsakalatos began.

"The touch, the hearing and the taste." Camus finished

Serge nodded silently. "Right. We must concentrate on our senses in order to use our cosmo. But with time, you won't need to concentrate, it would be natural. Thanks to them we can fight. But it is not necessary to get all your five Senses." The children, very puzzled, looked at him. "Let me explain and you will understand. In addition to the Five Senses, there is a Sixth one. Few common humans have got this Sense and it is more or less developed. The Sixth Sense, generally called intuition."

"And the Seventh Sense?"

"The one which includes the other six Senses. It's your Self. Look for it and find it. Develop it and you will become more powerful. The Seventh Sense is the source of your cosmo... It is why if one of your senses misses, the Seventh Sense can replace it, but you must acquire it by developing your other senses."

"Saga told me once that we must be in keeping with ourselves and listen to our heart. The answers to our questions are in our heart. To believe in us and to follow our heart, to do so that it remains pure will make our cosmo more powerful and it will shine as a star.

"He is right."

"And you Serge, do you have the Seventh Sense?"

"I have it, Tsakalatos. You will acquire it only if you train. Understand? Go!"

Both children looked at the Saint and they rushed on the track without another word. "I will find it me too" said in a breath Tsakalatos to Camus. The French boy did not reply and concentrated on the training not without giving Serge a suspicious look. No matter what he said, he had difficulty to believe that the Silver Saint seldom used his powers. He continued running and he wondered if he too wanted to acquire this Seventh Sense. He did not find the answer for the time being.

* * *

Serge watched the children fighting. He despaired of seeing Tsakalatos giving all the strength he was able to when he struck Camus. He still was just as reluctant to fight against his friend, unable to forget his feeling to him, a thing Camus managed to do very well. The education the French boy had got when he was in France helped him certainly. And yet, he knew that Tsakalatos could defeat Camus if he really wanted it. His admiration for Camus prevented him to react as he should do. 'A waste...' thought the Silver Saint.

Serge heard a noise close to him and he felt a familiar presence. He slightly turned his head to Ornytos who was watching the children. He turned his head and his eyes of different colours met Serge's amber ones. The Silver Saint only nodded. "That's enough for the moment! Take a rest!" He stood firmer keeping his attention on the children during few seconds. "The Pope asks for me, doesn't he?" he breathed while he kept an eye on Camus who was staring at him.

"He does."

"All right. In this case... So, it's time..." He tore his eyes from the children and turned to Ornytos. "Can I ask you a favor?"

Ornytos widened his eyes before narrowing them. Serge had never asked him anything. He never asked anything to anyone. The only person Serge asked something was the Pope. He glanced at the children who were speaking and he had the feeling to know the help the Saint wanted to ask him.

Serge noticed the reaction of the soldiers' chief but he said nothing, waiting for his answer. Finally Ornytos nodded, enjoining him to go on. "The Sanctuary is dangerous for children of their age. Could you keep an eye on them, please?"

"Why would I do this?" retorted Ornytos, his arms folded across his chest. He walked away.

Serge followed him. "Let's not speak about it anymore. I will ask the Pope."

"I don't understand why they would be in danger here. They are under your protection. Who will be crazy enough to incur your anger and the Pope's one at the same time?"

"Precisely, there are crazy people, in particular among the trainees. Tsakalatos is too unruly and he could hurt few people's sensibility without thinking bad. If it were only Camus, I would not have asked you this."

"Yes, as you did the last time. He is too mature and grown up to act as a child." A knowing smile appeared on Serge's lips and Ornytos gave him one of his own. "Would not it be better he becomes the future Grus Saint? He has this strange power..."

"No, he won't be the next Grus Saint, because he can't. He doesn't have what will make him my successor."

"You're the only judge for this."

"Serge did not answer and continued his ascent toward the Pope's palace through the secret way. The both climbed quickly and Serge who knew this way by heart went deep in his thoughts. He had stopped counting the time he had taken this way since the age of reason, a long time from now. He was preoccupied by the mission the Pope was going to send him to do. It was now few weeks he expected to receive the order to accomplish it at any time. The representative of Athena on Earth was only waiting for little further information, before giving him the authorisation to leave.

But this time he did not want to leave. The parting he had suffered, as had Camus, the last time, had affected him more than he had first admitted. Even if he seemed colder in his attitude and at first sight when he was in presence of Camus, he had difficulty to control himself. Ornytos had made him noticed this. He had become too much sensitive and indulgent with Camus. How many times did he stop himself from stopping the training, from rushing at Camus' side, from taking him in his arms? More he fought more he suffered and more he got close to the inevitable: his betrayal, his future broken promise. But he just could not help it. The little boy had stolen all his affection and he was his prisoner since then. And the worst was that he did nothing to free himself.

This time he really did not want to go and do his mission. He unconsciously feared that the Pope appointed a master or two to the children while he would be in mission. And if they had to leave, he would not been able to say them good-bye. Especially Camus. His Camus. But he could not disobey the one he owed everything.

They came out in the blinding light of the sun at its zenith and Serge protected his eyes. Before him, a huge flight of stairs that led to the pope's palace. He did not stop to get used to the change of light and ahead of Ornytos, he climbed quickly the stairs. It was better to end this quickly before his will vanished. He only stopped in front at the huge wooden door at the end of the long hall lined with columns.

Ornytos joined him and slightly nodded to the guardians whom moved away while the chief of the soldiers opened the heavy door. He made Serge come inside and followed him. He closed the door behind him and went to the balcony. "Serge is here..." he said kneeling on one knee.

"You may go Ornytos. If I need you, I will send for you."

"As you wish your highness..." he answered bending his head. He walked out of the room not without glancing at Serge, a look which told the Saint that he could count on him.

Serge who had knelt too, stood up and came to the representative of Athena who was watching the perfect pure sky of Greece. He said nothing for few moments. "The information you have received are bad, aren't they?"

"No, you are right. Until now, I've never been able to catch you out as far as problems are concerned" answered the masked man without turning to him.

"So I must leave as soon as possible, mustn't I?"

The Pope nodded. "I'd like you go at once, but it's impossible... I want you to leave the Sanctuary tomorrow in the morning, the soonest you can."

"As you wish..."

"I let you time to put your things in order."

"The children, no?" asked Serge. "Saul will look after them."

"Ornytos too will keep an eye on them." He turned to Serge. "Unless you already asked him. Moreover Saga and Aiolos will be there to help them."

"I don't know how to thank you."

"It's a tricky mission. I want you to have a clear mind. I don't want you to be worried. I reassure you, they will still be there when you will come back."

"What are the last news?" asked Serge who had the feeling to be on a dangerous ground. He wanted to change the topic.

The Pope showed him few pages put on a little desk in part hidden by a wall-hanging. Serge came to the piece of furniture and picked up the pages. He read them and more he went into his reading more he frowned. He read the recent news again and he turned to the Pope, worried.

"You now understand why I want you to leave the Sanctuary the sooner and that you complete your mission successfully as soon as possible." The Pope turned to Serge. "Be careful.... Someone here would not forgive me if something happened to you. Me too besides."

"I will succeed" said Serge confident. He looked at the Pope for a long moment then he turned his back and walked out of the room. The representative of Athena stared at the door that closed, and sighed. "Be very careful, Serge."

* * *

Camus saw Ornytos speaking to Serge. He watched them and saw his mentor nodding dryly. He did not like what was going on. It would happen something and he did not like this. Ornytos' look seemed to say a lot. He felt a pang and he shuddered. No, he definitely did not like this.

"So, Camus" said Tsakalatos, "now that we are free sooner than expected, what do you want to do?"

"Nothing. I just want to relax a bit."

"You want to see Mu?"

Camus shook his head. "He must train at this time."

"In a way it means you'd like to finish this discussion which is really boring." Camus did not answer. He had had this idea before Ornytos came, but now he did not want to go and see Mu. "So, in this case I go and see Aiolia. Later, Camus." He ran away and shouted. "He and you have really boring conversations!"

Camus saw them walking away quickly and the feeling since he had seen Ornytos became heavier. He dusted his dark blue tunic and walked toward the well to wash and refreshing himself. He wondered what the chief of the soldiers and the Silver Saint had talked about. It is no good his racking his mind he did not find the answer.

After having drawn water from the well, he put the bucket on the ground and washed his face, his arms and hands. He looked at the water a moment and suddenly he plunged his head into the cold water. He stayed sill for a minute or so, holding his breath, his eyes closed. Lacking of air and feeling he could not stand this, he took his head out of the bucket in a sudden movement. His wet hair spouted little jets of water then droplets fell around him. He dried his face with the towel which was always on the rim. He shook his head and looked up at the sky, contemplating it.

'I hope it is nothing serious' thought Camus. 'Why would it be? Serge is our Master' The child let out a derisive sigh. He put the towel at its place and walked toward the olive tree and the little shade that it could give out at this moment of the day. He did not have the heart to go and see Mu today, not after having seen Ornytos with Serge. He sat and kept watching the path that led to Serge's house, waiting for his return. Oddly enough, he had the feeling to go back to his past, at the precise moment he was waiting for his mother's return. But this time, every thing was different. Today it was hot and it was the beginning of the summer while he had waiting for his mother in winter. Here he was not alone, In France he had been alone. Here he knew the warmth of the feelings, in France he was not aware of feelings' existence except the coldness of his mother's ones. He sighed and let the quietness invade his body and mind. Slowly but surely, his eyelids closed and he fell asleep.

* * *

A light breeze woke Camus up and he blinked. He had not noticed he had fallen asleep. He looked at the house, but he saw nothing unusual. He raised his head and looked at the sun. He noticed he had slept about two hours. He screwed slightly his eyes. Usually, Serge was teaching them theories and different subjects at this hour.

This worried the French boy who got up and walked toward the house. This change of habit meant only one thing. Serge had not come back yet and therefore was still with Ornytos. The feeling of oppression resumed again and he stopped in front of the door, wondering what he should do. He listened to the noise coming from inside, but he heard nothing.

Camus opened silently the door and peeked inside. He was surprised to see Serge there. He came in and closed the door as silently as he had opened it. He leant back against the door and watched the Grus Saint who did not notice his presence. The man was deep in his contemplation of a little statue he held in his hands respectfully. He knew it. He had already seen it when he was in France several times. Athena. The little boy bit his lips and his eyes stung. It was useless to ask why Ornytos had come and interrupted the training. He knew why now. It happened the same thing last time.

* * *

"Why do you have Athena's little statue?" asked Camus while Serge was dusting the little objet Camus was talking about.

Serge gave him a smile. "I always take it with me."

"Even in the Sanctuary?"

"No, only when I am outside. Only when I have a mission to accomplish."

"A mission?" asked Camus opening wide eyes. "You're going in a mission?"

"Yes. But I won't stay long away from you."

"You were talking about this with Ornytos, weren't you?"

"I was."

* * *

He watched the Saint without saying a word. He peered at Serge's face. Piety was lightening his features. He noticed how gentle and love he looked the statue. He wondered if Serge had looked at him this way only once. From his point of view never, and he was jealous toward this goddess. He clenched his fists, then slowly and silently he came close to Serge. He stopped few paces of the Saint.

Serge did not notice the child's presence at first, then he slowly turned to his 'petit protégé' who was staring at him. He put the little statue on the table with caution and smiled at Camus. "Something's wrong, Camus?"

Camus did not answer immediately. He looked into the Saint's eyes looking for this adoration he had seen few seconds ago. He did not find it and he bit his tongue. They stared at each other without a word for few minutes, trying to read what the other thought about. "You're leaving," asked Camus. But it was more a statement than a question.

Serge noticed that Camus' look had hardened. He nodded. "Yes, I must leave."


"Tomorrow, in the morning."

"For how long?"

"Not for a long time."

"It was what you said the last time" accused Camus who frowned disapproving of Serge's answer.

The Saint was taken aback by Camus' reproach but he said nothing. "My mission won't be long. I promise you it, Camus" he said crouching in front of the child and putting a hand on his shoulder.

Camus rolled his shoulder, forcing the saint to take his hand away of it. Serge's hand fell on his thigh. "Why? You're our master. The Pope can send someone else, can't he? Why not Josué? You don't have the right, Serge. You don't have it."

Serge sighed. "I only obey the orders of Athena's representative on Earth. I am a saint and I must obey him and more than anybody else here." A light of curiosity flashed in Camus' indigo eyes, but Serge did not give him time to ask the question. "When I became a Saint I pledged my allegiance to Athena. You too belong to Athena. The Pope has all the rights, even the rights over life and death over everyone in the Sanctuary and others training camps. Moreover, I'm not your master."

"But it's unfair!" shouted Camus.

"Camus. What's the matter with you?" asked Serge trying to read through the child's light cosmo and further more in his thoughts. But he came up against a wall of emotions. He took Camus by his shoulders. Nothing. He could not read anything apart from confusion that dominated his cosmo. No thought came out of this wall of emotions. "You did not react this way, last time. Moreover you are not alone. Saul, Tsakalatos, Mu, Aiolia are there, without counting Saga with whom you spend most of your time lately. Ornytos will be here too, in case something wrong would happen."

"I don't want you to leave! Why?!" The child freed himself from Serge's grip and gave him a black look. Then he ran away as fast as he could without saying a word, leaving the stunned Saint. His eyes stung. Serge was about to leave once more, and he did not want him to. He was going to suffer once more. He already suffered. He ran toward his favorite place, but by doing this, he had to see Athena's statue. Through his tears, he saw the marble statue which was surveying her estate haughtily. He looked daggers at it. "I hate you" he hurled under his breath. "I hate you! You take everything away of me!"

He arrived among the columns and he hid behind one of them in order to not look at the cruel statue. He bit his lips while he held back his tears. A trickle of blood rolled on his chin. "Cruel goddess! Why? Why do you steal my joy from me?" His back slid slowly against the column and he flopped onto the ground. He buried his head in his raised knees. "Maman was more gentle than you are" he murmured bitterly. 'I have enough to suffer. I want to go back in France...' He tightened his grip around his knees.

* * *

The night had fallen and Camus looked at the stars. Serge was going to lecture him because he did not go to the evening training. But he considered that it was not important. He had wanted to be alone and even now he still wanted to be. He did not want to come back home. He did not want to face the Saint, but he did not have any choice. Slowly, the boy got up again and walked toward Serge's house. His head bent, he walked along the path he knew too well and he sighed time to time. He stopped and he saw that the door of the house was opened and someone was waiting for him at the entrance. As the light came from behind the person, he only saw a shadow, but he recognized it immediately.

The shadow rushed to him shouting his name. "Camus!!" Few seconds after his neck was taken in a strong grip but Camus did not react. "Where were you? You missed the training. I was very worried..." Camus did not give an explanation and freed himself from his embrace. "Camus! Serge has to say us something, tonight..."

Camus knew perfectly well what Serge was about to tell them. His imminent departure. But why did he seem to wait his presence while he already knew this. The French boy did not understand and did not want to. He was tired. Moreover, the only thought about Serge's departure annoyed and saddened him and he expected no one knew how much attached he was to the Grus Saint.

Tsakalatos was dumbfounded for few seconds. Camus was acting strangely tonight and this, since he had left him at the beginning of the afternoon. He had been sure to see Camus with Mu speaking about annoying things, but the Tibetan told him that he had not seen him all day long. He was surprised, then he was much more when Camus did not show up at the training field. He had felt Serge very annoyed and deceived. And now Camus did not speak to him and avoided him obviously. 'What has happened?' He caught up with his friend and they came inside together.

Serge raised his head when he heard Camus coming in and tried to plunge his look into the child's eyes. But the latter avoided it and said nothing. Serge told him nothing. He should have reprimanded but he did not have the will to do so. He did not want Camus to have a wrong image of him before he left.

Saul, silent and understanding his master's deep thoughts said nothing and got up again to serve food. Camus settled down at his usual place, between Saul and Serge and facing Tsakalatos. He ate half-heartedly and the lump he had, stopped him from swallowing his soup. He put down his spoon and stared at a point right in front of him, a bit above Tsakalatos' head.

The Greek child glanced at him questionably before turning his look to Serge then to Saul. He turned his attention to Camus again and he frowned. Something was really wrong tonight. Something was bothering his friend. He noticed the inscrutable face, but nothing said him what was the reason of Camus' so strange behavior. He finished his meal in silence and he watched Serge who seemed to behave as usually.. 'Who seems...'

Serge finished his meal without glancing at the people who were at the table with him. He felt the intent and inquiring Tsakalatos' look. After the last swallow, he pushed his plate away and he settled in his chair. He went around the table with his eyes, glancing at the present ones' expression. He saw comprehension into Saul's eyes, questioning in Tsakalatos' ones and then he stopped on Camus who was obstinately staring at a point on the opposite wall. He had thought that the child would have calmed down, but it was not the case obviously.

Tsakalatos fidgeted a bit on his chair attracting Serge's look. "Since tomorrow morning, Camus and you will train all by yourselves." Tsakalatos arched his eyebrows surprised and incomprehension was utterly written on his face. Serge continued without answering the silent question of the boy. "Ornytos will supervise your training time to time. Saul will be there too. Moreover, Saga and Aiolos promised me to look after you if it is necessary. You will repeat again and again all the exercises we did until now. I will leave it to Ornytos to give you others if my journey is longer than expected. I remind you that you are in the Sanctuary and that you have to behave as responsible children. Especially you, Tsakalatos."

"Why me?" asked innocently the boy.

"You already know the answer. Saul will help you in your reading lessons." Serge got up again meaning that the conversation was over. "It's all. Go to bed now."

Saul collected the plates and Camus, in a furious gesture, got up again and passed Serge and his friend without saying a word.

"Camus" called Serge. The child stopped but he did not turn to him. "I count on you and your maturity" he simply said before coming into his room. The door closed and Camus gave a furious look at the wooden door. Then, he walked with a heavy step to his bed and he laid down.

"Tsakalatos. What are you doing here?"

The Greek child raised his face to Saul and walked to his bed. He perfectly felt that something was wrong. Camus was not in his normal state and this worried him a lot. It seemed withdrawn, more than before and he could not help thinking that all the efforts he had done before had been swept away without any reason. He only had a part of the answer but this did not explain anything. He bit his lower lip glancing furtively at Camus who had snuggled up in the sheets.

* * *

Camus listened to the noises of the house. He heard Saul finishing clearing the table and doing the washing up. He heard the owls hooting somewhere in the Sanctuary and the cicadas shrilling. It could have been an evening, a night as the previous ones, but Athena had spoiled everything.

The French boy noticed that Saul had blown out the tempest lamps and candles and everything was in the dark. Only the faint light of the stars made it possible to distinguish the outlines of the objects and more if the eyes got used to the darkness. 'Why? Why have you to give in to the Pope's every whim? Your loyalty toward the Sanctuary doesn't explain this, Serge! How can you love a so selfish being who does not exist? Athena did not exist! How you, can you believe in her?'

He swallowed with difficulty. 'I don't want you to leave! And if it would happen something bad to you?!' He had the urge to cry but he did not do it. He closed his eyes but he refrained from falling asleep. He was afraid that Serge left in the middle of the night. He was simply afraid. Suddenly he felt that someone had slipped into his bed silently, surprising him. There was only one person whom did this. Tsakalatos. Camus tensed up but he did not turn to him.

* * *

Tsakalatos looked at the direction of Camus' bed and screwing up his eyes, he saw the shape of his friend's body totally shrouded in the darkness. He moved and try to do the less noise it was possible to do still keeping his look on the motionless figure. After having thought about what was occurring, he understood his friend's cold attitude. Serge was about to leave and this saddened Camus. He remembered having felt this feeling of abandonment and solitude when his father left his family for his business. And even if he was only a little boy, he felt that Camus was miserable. He did not know his friend's past but Camus did not seem to accept the Grus Saint's departure. They were very close, and Tsakalatos envied the bond between the two French people sometimes.

The Greek boy listened to the noises and heard nothing coming from Serge's room. Only a faint snore coming from Saul's bed broke the shrill of the first cicadas. Tsakalatos sighed silently and slid out of his bed. He came near Camus' one and stayed few minutes in looking the huddled up shape of his friend, his head turned to the wall. He noticed that the boy's breathing was difficult but he heard nothing else.

Tsakalatos slid into the sheets and slipped to Camus who did not move. He propped himself up on his left elbow and tried to see his friend's face. He was into darkness but his instinct informed him that he had tensed up. "Camus" he said in a breath near his ear.

Camus did not say anything and do any gesture.

"I know you aren't sleeping" continued in a murmur Tsakalatos. Still the silence. Tsakalatos sighed and put his arms around his friend's waist. "I'm not going to leave you...." he murmured putting his head in the curve of Camus' shoulder. "Never..." he said in a breath.

Camus who felt arms put around his waist opened his eyes that he kept closed obstinately but he did not turn to Tsakalatos. He said nothing but he relaxed.

"You're sad..." noticed Tsakalatos. Camus remained silent. "You're sad because Serge is leaving..." He sighed. "I don't know which tie binds you together, but you shouldn't be sad. Serge told us that he won't be away a long time..."

"He's lying..." said in a breath Camus who was appalled by the feeling of sadness which invaded him.

"Why are you so worried about him? Nothing would happen to him. What could happen to him?! He is a Silver Saint, one of the most powerful. He is practically as powerful as a Gold Saint. Who could defeat him? Even the Gold Saints won't attempt to fight against him!"

"I know, but I'm afraid..." admitted Camus.

"You're afraid for Serge? You shouldn't..." Camus said nothing and Tsakalatos respected his silence. He simply tightened his embrace around his friend's waist. "Will you be worried about me if one day I have to leave?" asked suddenly the Greek boy.

Camus, surprised by this question, opened wide eyes and turned to Tsakalatos. He met the turquoise eyes which were darkened by the shadows of the night. Tsakalatos was really serious. His eyes were asking for an answer in a sad way. "Of course I would..." murmured Camus. "And you know this perfectly well..."

"No, precisely, I don't. Sometimes I have difficulty to understand you, to know what you are really thinking about..."

"Fool" said in a breath Camus putting his head on his friend's shoulder. 'You are the only one with Serge that I show such a weakness... I trust you, and even more when you are serious...' thought the French boy. Camus felt fingers running through his hair. He was surprised but he did nothing to put the hand away. Only Serge was allowed to stroke his hair, but tonight he let Tsakalatos do this.

"I know I'm one" said Tsakalatos a long moment after. "I have the feeling that we've never been so close..."

"What do you mean?"

"Usually you're more withdrawn and you refuse that someone touches you... Maybe you let me do this tonight because you're sad.... Mummy always stroked my hair and hugged me to her chest when I was sad or when I was crying... I liked that..."

"Your mother..." murmured Camus his eyes filling with tears. The fleeting memory of his mother appeared in his mind. Never did she have the slightest kind gesture toward him. Never. The recall vanished as quickly it had appeared.

"Your mother did not do this?"

Camus said nothing and imperceptibly came closer to his friend.

Tsakalatos waited a long moment. Once more, Camus would not reveal a part of his past. He always evaded it by asking a question, changing subject or saying nothing. Without knowing why, the Greek boy understood that if Camus did not reveal his past it was because he had lived a traumatic past or that he did not remember it. He tightened his embrace around Camus and continued stroking his hair. His friend's past was not important. He liked him even without knowing it. This did not change his feelings for him. It would not change them. 'Maybe Camus will tell me about it by himself.' He heard Camus sighing. "It's not important..." he said more for himself than for Camus.

"Don't you miss your family?" asked suddenly Camus.

Tsakalatos shrugged and disturbed Camus whom had found comfort. "Sometimes. But I'd rather be here than at home. Here I felt at home. And, every time I'm sad, you're here to help me..."

"To help you? I've never seen you sad..."

"Because I don't want you to be worried and that you give me this 'I told you' look or a 'I warned you' one.

Camus said nothing and the silence settled. Tsakalatos continued stroking Camus' hair and the French boy felt appeased. He was surprised to notice how mature Tsakalatos could be when he wanted. Camus was sure about one thing. His friend had the skill to dispel his dark thoughts. He was more mature than he was, as far as the feelings were concerned. He was the only one who expressed them freely without being embarrassed by the others' regard. Serge hid a part of his feelings. Saul only expressed his admiration for Serge. Saga was a complex teenager, and even if he could express his feelings sometimes, but there was some restraint, an invisible fear hidden in his heart. As for Mu, he had difficulty to be himself in society, preferring solitude as he did. Everyone he had passed one day was cold and distant. Only Tsakalatos was the exception apart from Serge but the Grus Saint represented something else to him. The warmth of the Greek boy's heart was real and warmed everyone and everything around him, even the coldest heart.

Feeling his lids heavy, he blinked trying to stay awake and to feel his friend's hand which continued stroking his hair tirelessly. "You're not stupid, Tsakalatos" revealed Camus in a breath closing his eyes, unable to keep them open.

"What?" the rhythmic movement of his hand stopped and he looked down at Camus who had closed his eyes. Slowly he resumed stroking his friend's hair, a smile playing on his lips. 'Never had Camus been more opened than tonight.' Tsakalatos noticed this, but he did not take the advantage of asking his friend for his past. He was too afraid of scaring Camus. He could withdraw again. He felt Camus snuggled up against him and the vision of a hurt animal needing comfort and nestling against another one crossed Tsakalatos mind. 'He is really a hurt and lost being' he thought remembering few scenes and the lack of confidence and spontaneity from his friend toward the others. It reminded him the time his father had brought a little dog which had never been among its kinds and was afraid of them and did anything because it did not know how to behave. Camus reminded him this dog. Why had not he been able to notice that before? Maybe because Camus was enough strong to not show this to the others. 'Never will I leave you. Never.' He listened to the noises of the house but he did not hear any different noises from the other nights. Only Camus' breathing near him was stronger and peaceful.

Camus snuggled up into his arms unconsciously before murmuring something in a language Tsakalatos did not know. 'In French language' thought the Greek boy. He pressed himself against his friend and closed his eyes, but he refrained from falling asleep. He wanted to watch over his friend's sleep.

A long moment after, he heard that Camus' breath being more regular. His friend's head became heavier and Tsakalatos dared to raise himself up a bit to verify if Camus was definitely asleep. He saw the appeased features of his friend and he sighed pleased. At least, Camus would be calmed just for a night. He dropped on the mattress and put his head on his friend's one. "Nothing will separate us Camus. No one and nothing..." he said in a murmur before closing his eyes and letting the sleep overcome him.

* * *

Serge woke up and looked at the last stars that faded at the East. The sun would rise in about one hour but the dark and thick veil of the night had torn to give place to a light and more shimmering veil. The dark blue turned into gray pearl and soon, the clouds which lazed in the sky would be colored in gold, green and mauve. He hoped the clouds would not change into red which would be indisputably sign of rain in the day.

The Silver Saint tore himself from the sight and finished his preparations of his journey. Everything was ready but he preferred to check his bag again. He walked toward the little alcove dug into the wall in which was holding the little statue of Athena. Respectfully he took it and contemplated it. It was Athena Parthenos, the one which dominated the Sanctuary. The statue overhung the Sacred Estate and was in front of Athena's temple, behind the Pope's Palace.

"Please, Athena, watch over Camus and Tsakalatos." He sighed and he wrapped the sculpture around a piece of silk and put it inside his bag. He raised his head and he looked around his room. On the nightstand, there were about ten books that Saul would lend to Camus when he would be away. He hoped that it would be enough. Everything was tidy. There was only one thing left and it was certainly the most difficult. Camus. He hoped the boy had calmed down and would accept to see him leaving. He had to understand that he had to obey Athena and her representative on Earth.

He came out of his room and closed the door silently. His look fell onto Tsakalatos' bed. He was certain to see him his arms holding out on either side of the body, the head at the foot of the bed, deeply asleep, as always. He blinked. The Greek boy was not in his bed. This surprised him a lot because knowing Tsakalatos, he was a late riser. He always had difficulty to wake up Tsakalatos. Only Camus seemed to succeed in waking him up without difficulty. Since then, Tsakalatos' waking was the task given for the French boy. 'Those two...' sighed Serge.

He looked at Camus' bed and there his surprise was complete. The two boys were sleeping in each other's arms. Looking at the scene closely, Serge saw that it was Camus who was sleeping in Tsakalatos' arms and the latter seemed to protect him, even in his sleep. Camus was looking for Tsakalatos' warmth instinctively. Before, he only had suspicions, but now he had conviction. Camus really liked his friend. The arm he had wrapped around the Greek child's waist was more than an indication. He knew Tsakalatos liked Camus very much. The child had never hid this fact, but he liked him too much, but Serge was far from thinking that he was able to be a guardian angel to the French boy. But he had not noticed how much Camus liked Tsakalatos, how Tsakalatos was important for Camus. 'At least, Camus is less unsociable and more opened....' he thought.

Serge looked at them a long moment being aware how the boys became dependent to each other. This would be a problem later. He knew this but he did not want to separate them, to make Camus suffer. But Camus would suffer from the separation one day, if there were a separation. But he too would suffer, and this separation was planed, for sure. He too had become dependent of Camus. 'Too much...' He tore himself from the sight of the two children sleeping peacefully and came out to look at the end of the night.

* * *

Camus felt a pain in his shoulder and without waking up, he moved it to ease the numbing. He slid closer to Tsakalatos and tightened his embrace around his friend's waist, burying his face in the Greek child's neck at the same time. Camus felt an answer. Someone was holding tight his shoulders, and he smiled unconsciously.

Few minutes passed and suddenly the blue-green haired boy opened his eyes. He tried to know where he was, then the events of the day before came back to him. He turned his head slightly and looked up. He saw Tsakalatos deeply asleep and holding him firmly. Camus sighed. "Thank you" he murmured knowing perfectly well that his friend would not hear him.

He turned slowly and with caution, and he looked through the window. The night ended and he blinked. Serge was about to leave, if he had not already left. Camus wondered if the Saint would have left without telling them good bye. Perhaps. He was now sure of nothing, but Tsakalatos' friendship for him. He got up with caution to not wake Tsakalatos up and got dressed. He looked at his friend and covered him, knowing that the last hours of the night as the first of the day were the coldest.

The French boy walked to the door and opened it silently. He wanted to go out and take fresh air. He wanted to collect his wits after the weakness he had shown to Tsakalatos. He felt embarrassed and he was glad that Serge did not see him in this embarrassing position.

He took a deep breath and listened to the appeasing silence of the Sanctuary at this hour of the day. He scanned the place and it was at this moment that he caught sight of Serge's familiar silhouette who was contemplating the last stars still in the sky at the West. He felt a pang. He did not feel ready to see the Grus Saint. He was now aware that Serge had seen him in Tsakalatos' arms and he bit his lips. He stayed at the same place to look at the Saint then he decided to join him. He stopped near him and at the same moment the first rays of sun set the sky ablaze.

"It's splendid, isn't it Camus?" he asked. The little boy only nodded unable to find his voice. "I thought you would sleep more."

"I don't feel like sleeping anymore."

"Did you finish sulking?"

"I did not sulk. And I'm not a little boy" protested volubly Camus offended.

Serge smiled. "It's the impression you made on me, yesterday night. Moreover, you're still a four years old boy."

Camus decided to not respond to the Saint and the silence settled. Few minutes passed and Camus furtively glanced at the Grus Saint. "What about this mission?"

"I can't tell you anything about this subject, Camus."

"You will stay long away without training us?"

"No, I won't stay long away, Camus. My mission must be the most very-term than possible. It is why I say I will not stay away long out of the Sanctuary. I think it would only take three-four weeks, at the very most. And in case there will have problems with it, Ornytos will supervise your training time to time."

Camus said nothing. What could he do? He was too young, too weak to obtain what he wanted. "You should go now" Camus advised him. "Faster you will do what the Pope's told you, faster you will be back."

"I certainly will" answered the Saint running his fingers through Camus' hair. "But first, I go and wake Tsakalatos up so that you can train." Camus arched his eyebrows before this change of habits, but he said nothing. The Saint let his hand on Camus' neck for few seconds then he put it away and walked toward the house. Camus stayed at the same place. His heart was bleeding.

Long minutes passed and Serge, a little bag on his shoulder, came out of the house. Tsakalatos followed him and he was rubbing his eyes which were still sleepy. "Did you understand well, Tsakalatos?" The Greek boy yawned and nodded. They joined Camus who was still at the same place.

"Hi Camus!" Camus only nodded giving back Tsakalatos' greeting.

"All right. Go and train now. I will be back soon. And not stupid things, understand?" He ran his fingers into Tsakalatos' wavy hair. The boy grimaced in pain when Serge's fingers were stopped by knots into the hair. "You should comb it more often. When you train you should tie it, tearaway. You would not suffer..."

"It doesn't keep still, Serge. Every time the piece of clothes that ties it fells" complained Tsakalatos.

"If you don't move as you do and if you don't do useless gestures during the training, it will stay in your hair. Learn to control yourself and your gestures, and you will see." Serge turned to Camus and did the same gesture than Tsakalatos. "I count on you, Camus." He put his little bag on his shoulder and he walked away without saying another word or looking behind. He knew that if he turned around now, he would not have the will to leave. The look that Camus had just given him entreated him to stay.

'You have become too indulgent last times.' Ornytos' remark haunted him again. He shook his head mentally. 'Not too indulgent' he corrected, 'too weak' he admitted to himself. 'Too much' he concluded with a sigh.

* * *

Camus, as for him, stayed and watched the Saint appear and disappear at the bends in the path which led him at the entrance of the Sanctuary. His eyes did not tear from Serge's outline. And even when he was not in view anymore, he stayed to look at the place he had seen him the last time.

"He will come back" murmured Tsakalatos to Camus.

"I know" he said in barely audible voice. The fleeting vision of his mother disappearing among the passers-by in the park came in his mind. He had a lump in his throat and he held back his tears. He looked up and saw one of Athena's statues. His eyes hardened. 'Are you happy? He left for you leaving me alone! Cruel goddess!' He looked away angrily and walked to the training field following by Tsakalatos who was scratching his head, yawning and grumbling he would like go back to bed.

End of Chapter 3 -- Chapter 4: Lost Hearts

Seii's speaking:

This chapter is dedicated to all people who wrote me and encouraged me in keeping writing. Thanks a lot everybody ^_^

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