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Will backed up so quickly, he ran into the table by the window, knocking over the vase of flowers. As it crashed to the ground, water spilling out, he turned to look at the decorative set of poles wobbling from their urn being bumped by the table legs. His eyes widened, focusing on the medium-length pole he knew was made of iron, painted in silver.

Are you okay?” Phyte asked, both his arms up, as he stepped around the foot of the bed to approach Will.

Will didn't look at him. He darted his hand forward, grabbed the silver pole, turned it in his right hand on the center weight, pushed it forward and caught the short end with his left hand down by his ribs. Holding it firm, he pushed it straight out like a spear until it pressed against the center of Phyte's bare chest. “Get, back.” Will ordered in a firm voice, but even he could feel it quivering in his throat.

Phyte's concerned look turned to a sad smile. “Hey, I just wanted to see if you're okay.” Will didn't say anything, trying to keep a stern look in his eye. “Aren't we friends?

“We aren't.” Will corrected, trying to sound relaxed and not like he was lecturing Phyte. Phyte's smile faltered, and then it became wider. “We aren't friends, Phyte.”

What? But, sure we are. You're friends with most everyone I protect.” Phyte tried, taking a half-step closer, pushing the pole back. Will's arms shook with the force, prompting him to bring his elbows in tight to his form to steady the pole holding Phyte back several feet. “Crow's even my best friend.

“I'm not your friend. And I really don't think Crow is.”

Phyte dropped his arms a bit, his eyes going down to look at the light shining in the pole's metal. The four short horns in his hair became easier for Will to spot as his hair fluttered down. “I just… I came to ask for help.” His tone of voice started to sound defeated, like a young man being kicked in the gut about to collapse.

Help? No – wait. This is probably a ploy. I've got no Seal on me right now, so he could do that – I can't let him touch me again!

“You need to leave, Phyte.” Will stated, trying to push back slightly against the pole so it'd hopefully apply more pressure to the center of Phyte's chest. “I can't help you.”

Phyte lifted his eyes up to look at Will, just his eyes– his green eyes, taking on the shimmer of light like emerald gemstones. Will tensed his jaw, halfway wondering if he should grit his teeth and be prepared to move. All of the muscles from his wrist to his knees were beginning to tense up, and simultaneously ache from suddenly being used.

I thought you were my friend!” Phyte shouted. “You're so cruel!” Phyte swung his left arm forward to swat at Will's face. Will instinctively ducked his head back so Phyte missed, and the god shouted at him, “I came to ask you for your help! I need your help! I can't do this alone!

A bang on the bedroom door sounded immediately catching Will's attention. As soon as his blue eyes darted over to look at the door, it burst open with Crow behind it. He'd apparently rammed it with his shoulder. Crow corrected his posture, and immediately caught his weight under himself as he looked into the room and saw Phyte. He was dressed in his pajama pants, no shirt, and bare feet. Will saw the anger in Crow's eyes as they turned from cobalt to gold in an instant.

At the same moment Crow shouted and lunged at Phyte, pulling Invictus from his ear, turning into its sword form, Phyte turned to see him, then grabbed the end of the pole. Phyte yanked at the pole, spinning it around so Will yelped as his balance was knocked off, being pulled forward. In an instant, Phyte had one hand on the pole holding Will's arms tight against his chest, Will's body between him and Crow, and his other hand holding Will's right arm. The pole pushed against both his wrists and Will's throat, causing him to wince and gasp for air.

Crow swung his sword forward vertically, swiping at Phyte's left shoulder. Phyte's yanked and pushed Will to the right to step with him to avoid. As Crow looked up to swing his sword horizontally at Phyte, their eyes met. Phyte's eyes glowed a brief sharp lime color and a harsh ping sound rang out in Crow's ears.

Will peeked open his eyes, trying to see what was happening. Crow was standing there, his arm holding the sword limp but still armed, confused. He shook his head, pushing his left hand against his temple as he glared up to Phyte. As soon as Crow took another step forward, the glow from Phyte's eyes happened and the ping sounded. Crow froze, shutting his eyes and shaking his head.

He ground out with frustration, “Argh– stop it, stop it!”

God of amnesia – he's blanking Crow's mind so he doesn't know what he's doing here. Will realized, trying to look up to his left at Phyte's face. Although the god was just slightly shorter than him, Will was being held awkwardly that his knees were being forced to be bent in a painful way. He grit his teeth and struggled to push back against the pole.

Llet go!” Will grumbled, trying to plant his bare feet on the ground in such a way that he could get free.

I said I need your help!” Phyte shouted, glaring down to Will's face. As soon as Crow got his bearings again, he looked up to Phyte, seeing tears rushing down the god's face. It surprised him, but anger filled him right back up when he saw that Phyte was still holding Will hostage.

Phyte! Let him go!” Crow shouted. Instantly hearing Crow speak, Phyte's eyes darted over and the ping sounded. Crow winced, shutting his eyes, gripping at his temple in frustration as he leaned over trying to figure out what just happened, for the third time.

I – I can't help you.” Will said with difficulty, trying to lower his middle so he could slip out from under the pole and spin around.

If you won't help your friend then you're just a monster!” Phyte shouted at him. Will's eyes went wide hearing that, his body freezing. “You're a monster!” Phyte shouted louder, anger filling him.

I'm… a monster? Is … that it? Is that why I'm so confused on my path in life? Is this the answer I've been seeking?

Crow shook his head weakly, looking up just in time to see Phyte lift his left hand up, yanking the pole out of Will's. With his right hand, Phyte took hold of Will's right shoulder before shoving him down onto the ground.

Crow's face went slack, turning white. “No! Don't!” Crow shouted, starting to run toward Phyte in full panic, forgetting that he even had a sword in his hand.

Shrouded in mystery, there is a world we fail to see, to acknowledge. We veil it as death, but it is where your soul of life and death exist together. If you are ever both, you are a monster. That… must be what I am.

Phyte tossed the pole at Crow's ankles, making him trip over it and tumble down. As soon as his hand was free, Phyte, without any pause to his fluid motions, shoved it down into the middle of Will's back. Going in. A spread of swirls much like a bunch of leaves rippled out from the impact on Will's back, being encased in a circle to create a magical glyph. The lines were colored black and dark red, and only lasted an instant.

Will lifted his head up in surprise, a silent scream coming out of his mouth. Crow got up onto his knees to see Will's terrified expression on his face. Phyte lifted his hand out of Will's back as a fist, glowing blue and silver. Will's head fell to the cold floor while his eyes stayed open, glazing over and his body went instantly still. Phyte relaxed back up onto his haunches, letting go of Will as he opened his left hand. In the palm of it danced a very tiny white flame with a blue halo.

Crow stared, completely unable to move. The sound that rung out in his ears now was a constant chime sound, soft and low, deafening himself to the world. Will didn't move, yet there was no sign of pain on his face, now limp, and nothing that looked like blood or a direct wound to his physical body on his back. His gold eyes lifted up to look at the simple little light in Phyte's palm.

If you won't help me, then I'll just eat you.” Phyte said to the flame. “I couldn't figure you out anyway.” He spoke rather softly with a callous tone. He lifted his hand, and motioning like a catapult, tossed the flame to his open mouth.

That is quiet enough.” Interrupted a young man's voice, clear and smooth.

The room shook the instant the flame left Phyte's palm. Crow felt himself get up with Invictus and rush at Phyte, but nothing like what he planned happened. Phyte and Crow both yelped as they were each suddenly surrounded by a glass sphere with no seams. Each were in their own little bubble floating above the floor.

Crow's golden eyes glowed a radiant tangerine, and he swung the sword against the glass. The sphere shrank, making him fall to his knees and Invictus fall from his hand. The sword passed through the material of the sphere, landing on the floor, and instantly turned back into a harmless earring. Crow looked up, seeing a tall young man standing near Will, but between the two spheres.

He was dressed in long dramatic robes similar to what Matéas wore, but they were white and cream with black trim. His hair was as white as snow, skin tan like well tilled earth, with eyes as pale blue as hyancinth flowers.

Immediately pissed another god appeared, Crow channeled Tengyi's powers into his hands, his eyes glowing once more that bright tangerine. The young man noticed, immediately looking to Crow with a playful smile on his face. “I wouldn't use Tengyi's powers in there unless you want to be flambéed.” Right away, Crow relaxed and the focus of the fire vanished, his eyes turning back to blue. “There's a high concentration of oxygen molecules in there.

Why?” Crow asked without skipping a beat.

The man tapped his left temple with his index finger. “To jump start the brain so you can think.

Hey! Let me out of here right now!” Phyte shouted, slamming his fists against the sphere. The god looked over to him with a smile. Without prompting, the sphere shrunk small enough that Phyte yelped, being forced to curl into a little ball. “Hey– stop that! I just was trying to get help!

You'd be better off shutting up for a while, Neo.” The god replied in a kind tone. Phyte grimaced at him, but didn't say anything back. “Now then,” the god looked down at Will, putting his hands on his hips. “You got it in time, right, Levi?

That's Arluin.” came another voice from the other side of the room.

Right, right.” The young man chuckled, waving his arms up so his robes rippled around him. “Arluin.


Will opened his eyes slowly.

He looked around. Everything was white. He realized he was floating in the air, surrounded by literally nothing. It felt cold. Curious, Will looked to his knees, which he just then noticed were pressed to his chest.

I'm naked? Oh. He thought, looking around as he hugged his legs tighter to his body. Of course I'm naked. That's normal.


Why is that normal?

Why do I think it wouldn't be?

I feel like I should be cold, but at the same time I don't feel any cold.

His head dropped so his face pushed into his knees. He let out a soft sigh.

Strange. I can't remember what happened.

I can't remember who am I. Why am I here?

Then a strange voice echoed around him. “Where is your heart?” it asked. Something in Will told him this voice shouldn't surprise him, so he didn't even flinch when he heard it. But then it asked again once more. “Where is your heart?”

Is it not with me? Do I not have it? Should I need to look for it? But if I haven't had it all this time, then I don't need it.

All this time? What time? How much time has passed? How long have I been here? Is even here a place to be?


Will shut his eyes, rubbing his forehead against his knees, answering his own question. This is no place to be. This is a place to not be. And to not be, is to be not alive or dead.

What? Not be alive?

But, I need a reason to be alive. Right?

After a moment, Will shifted his left arm out from holding his right leg. He tilted his head to the side, peeking his blue eyes open to look past the skin of his knee to the palm of his hand as he flexed his fingers slowly.

Where is your heart?” the voice asked again.

I don't have it. Not it, and not the will to be alive. Here in this quiet space, I can just be. Not alive, not dead.

I don't even need to know who I am here.

As Will's eyes began to fall shut once more, he noticed a fleck of pink in his palm. Focusing his eyes on it, Will slightly flexed his palm to see what the pink fleck would do. It remained stationary as if it were just a light from a stained glass window dancing on his skin. It kept Will's attention, however.

That's – my hair color. But why would it be a sparkle on my hand? Wait. Someone gave it back to me. Someone important.



Arluin?!” Crow looked over to see Arluin, draped in a mix of long and short robes colored teal, blue, cobalt and sapphire, with thin delicate designs of cyan. He was sitting balanced on his knees with something in his hands clutched at his stomach, hovering even with a thick white belt around his waist. For a second, Crow gawked at the insane crazy outfit he was wearing. Only gods magically appear in such lavish– “You're a fucking god, too?!”

The god nearer Crow started laughing, having to cover his mouth to quiet himself. Arluin stood up, walking over to Will's body, passing a glare at Crow as his cheeks tinted pink. “That is not an adjective.

Crow pushed his hands against the sphere, shouting at him, “Hey, then you lied! You're on their side!”

I'm on Will's side!” Arluin snapped at him. Crow backed up. The stern cold look in Arluin's eyes, his face framed by his dark hair, the peek of navy poking through on the left, he looked deadly serious.

Anyway,” choked the other through repressed giggles. “Did you get it in time?

Yes,” Arluin lifted his right hand off his left to show the little white flame cupped in his palm.

Crow darted forward so fast his hands didn't have time to get into fists as his whole arm to his elbow slammed against the glass sphere. “That's Will's!”

Soul. Yes.” The god nodded, smiling at Crow. “Too bad I couldn't grab it. I'm sure it's nice and warm.” Arluin cradled it closer to his heart protectively, setting a glare on the other. “Not like I would. Relax already.” The god chuckled, swinging his hand dismissively at Arluin playfully. Crow looked between the two, then watched as Arluin knelt down over Will's still body. “Only two people here can put Will's soul back into him.” He explained to Crow as he folded his arms at his middle. There has to be trust, trust on an unparalleled level.

Huh?” Crow asked, looking to the god in cream and white. His face was painted with obvious confusion as to what this crazy god was talking about.

The god didn't look to him, his smile only widening. “I'm talking about a form of love. If there isn't trust, then it can't be done, between the one giving the soul and the one receiving the soul. If there isn't trust, the soul will not be accepted back into the body and he'll end up a ghoul. Will trusts Arluin, so it's okay.” Then he paused, lifting his hand to his chin as he took a second to ponder it. “Well, probably.”

Worried, Crow's blue eyes snapped back to look at Arluin as he eased his hand over Will's back. He rested the back of his hand against the fabric of Will's shirt, then gingerly turned his hand so the flame slipped off and onto the fabric. It took half a second for the flame to flutter there briefly, then it went down and into Will. Crow held his breath, terrified.

Arluin shifted back, giving the body room. Will's hands twitched. Then he blinked his eyes a few times, his face now looking tired. Will furrowed his brows, steadily moving his hands underneath him, and pushed himself up.

With a foggy look in his blue eyes, Will looked ahead to the god in cream and white, then to his left and right at Phyte and Crow trapped in the glass spheres off of the floor. All he could make out were colored blobs. One with sweet navy hair that gave him a sense of familiarity he wanted to keep, one of dark crimson hair that he wanted away, and a cream and white person standing at the center –Someone I don't recognize.

Crow's mouth hung open in disbelief. Holy fuck – Did I just see Will's fucking soul go back into his body and now he's back? No fucking way. No way, no how. I just saw Phyte rip out his soul!

Will exhaled, gathering his legs underneath him, and before straightening up, he took ahold of the earring off the floor. Invictus immediately transformed for him into what first looked like the handle and hilt of the familiar sword in the palm of his left hand, but it extended. The sword turned into a spear, the butt of its weight braced against the middle of Will's forearm, while the blade stopped just at the lip of the other god's collar.

The god's smile widened, but he didn't move other than folding his arms at his middle. “Good to see you woke up.

Spare me.” Will said in a very dark tone. His eyes still looked tired, his brow furrowed and heavy. He blinked a few times, as if struggling to focus on what he was seeing. It was blurry, but enough that Will could see this was an unfamiliar god. His voice was hoarse and crisp, lacking any normal sweet softness and formality it normally had; It made Crow's blood run cold. “Release the idiot to my right now.”

Don't you care to know who I am?” the god asked, tilting his head to the side, still smiling.

Will extended the pole's length with his imagination and will, causing the blade to press against the skin of the god's neck without him having to take a step. “No.” Will replied in a gravely tone. “I don't.”

Oooh,” the god mused. He straightened his head, then whistled appreciatively at Will. “You're so serious.” Will didn't move, the frown still on his face, only blinking his eyes to clear away any fog as he focused on the god's pale blue eyes.

A sound like rain started as the glass surrounding Crow vanished. A thunk happened when Crow's feet suddenly hit the ground.

Hurriedly Crow stepped up to Will's side. “You okay?” He asked softly. Will didn't look at him or change expression. Wow. Will's… angry. “Will?”

Leave. Now. And take that moron with you.” Will ordered the god. The god made a mused sound in his throat, but didn't move at all.

He just saved your life.” Arluin said, stepping over to stand next to the sphere Phyte was in. He wanted to get a clear look at Will's face.

I said to leave.” Will reiterated, pushing the blade in. Crow looked over to the god, seeing a drop of red blood pool out from the puncture wound Will was creating on the god's neck with Invictus.

Hm, fine.” the god nodded, then waved to Arluin. “We'll speak later. C'mon, Phyte.

The god turned and left out of the door Crow had burst in through. Following after him stepped Arluin slowly while just at his side floated the bubble carrying Phyte out. The two watched them leave quietly, neither one moving.

Will.” Crow said to him. He looked back at Will's pissed expression, sighed, then he turned and wrapped his arms around Will's form. His right arm went up over Will's left holding the spear and cradled around his neck, while Crow put his chin on Will's right shoulder and his right arm went around his ribs, gently touching the small of his back. “It's okay. I'm not hurt.”

Now being that close to Will's form, Crow heard a soft sound in Will's throat like he released air suddenly in surprise. Crow felt Will's left arm drop as the spear clanked against the floor, then it slid, making a terrible scratching noise. Then it stopped. Invictus went in on itself back to the palm of Will's hand instantly, then as Will's grip relaxed, the earring fell out of his palm and landed on the ground next to them. Another soft sound, this one like a whimper, came into Crow's ears. He turned his head to look at Will, who's face had relaxed. Will was looking him in the eye, tears starting to form in his lashes.

It's okay.” Crow comforted, giving a few pats to Will's shoulder. Immediately Will shut his eyes and cried, grabbing ahold of Crow's ribs as he wrapped his arms under Crow's, around his middle. “H–Hey– don't knock me over!”

Will didn't listen, constantly adjusting his grip around Crow's ribs while his own knees gave way. The force caused Crow to yelp, stepping backwards toward the bed. He was barely able to make it to the edge of the bed in time as simultaneously with his left hand Crow was forced to grab the comforter on his way down, with his right he tried to pry Will off of him by grabbing the collar of his shirt. All while Will collapsed onto the floor between Crow's legs, landing on his stomach, while Crow had attempted to halt the fall with grabbing onto the edge of the bed for support.

I was so scared!” Will whimpered out in a weak, cracking voice, pushing his face into the center of Crow's chest. “I thought– they were– I couldn't let them–”

“Hey now–” Crow tried to soothe Will, but all that was coming to his mind was how freaked out he'd been himself moments ago. Shit. I really fucking thought Will was dead. “It's okay. A little thing like that can't kill me.” Will didn't seem phased by the words, his sobs not stopping, and his grip from holding onto Crow's middle didn't relax. Frowning at him with worry, Crow spoke gently to him, his words going hoarse. “It might not've sunk in yet, Will, but… you were dead.”

At that, Will nodded his head a bit, his pink hair brushing against Crow's bare midriff. He made a sound like he understood, then said softly. “I – I felt it. A white place, being alone – The longer I was there, the less I had a desire to leave.” He paused briefly, then started to wail and cry again. “It was so frightening!”

Crow sighed, relaxing his chest. He shifted his weight around so that he could arc his arm around better. He released the collar of Will's shirt and went to gently running his fingers through the fluffy hair. I can't believe Phyte actually ripped his soul out. Fuck. He was going to eat it. No questions asked. He scanned his eyes over Will's hair, feeling the body ontop of him trembling as the other cried out of fear and shock.

Crow?” Will asked after a moment of silence. His voice sounded like a poor frog croaking.

Curious, Crow stopped petting Will's head in case he wanted to move it to speak clearer. “Yeah?”

Do you have a reason to be alive?” Will asked this question without moving, not his face up, or relaxing his grip.

It's almost like he's too shy or afraid to move, to look at me, when he asked that. Shit. What do I even answer? Uh fuck. What is my reason to be alive? Uuuhhhhh. Crow scrambled around for a few seconds, trying to think of a reasonable answer. This is no joke! – Oh! “Remember what I said? I'll be there in the darkness to chase away the nightmares. Will,” Crow used his hand to brush down to where Will's chin was. It took a bit of finagling, but he was able to pry Will's face up off of his torso so he could look into those fearful blue eyes. “Take my life. Take the very blood of my body. You're the reason I'm here.” He paused, a smile growing onto his face as he noticed Will's expression not change in the slightest. “Without you, I'd not be the man I am today. And if you left, I'd still live because you loved being alive.”

I… do?” Will asked hesitantly. His eyes lifted up a bit to make proper eye-contact with Crow's now.

Mm, yep.” Crow nodded. He widened the smile to reassure Will.

Will sniffled, backing up from Crow a bit. Crow relaxed his grip, letting Will sit back onto his legs, a distance formed between the two of them. I love life? True. I like the smell of rain, the taste of cakes, the sound of Crow's laughter. Wait – what kind of reasoning is that – Crow's laughter. That's not – well it is – but it shouldn't... Will focused his eyes from being in thought staring absently in Crow's direction to now meeting his. Noticing the change, Crow smirked at him. He! –Even right now he's amused by this!

It took a moment, but then realized that just thinking that insanity over, he felt calmer. The cold, empty feeling of the whitened area wasn't around him anymore. He was sitting next to Crow, a little freaked out still, but overall feeling better.

Huh. Did having him paraphrase the oath again make me feel better? Is Crow my own reason to be alive? “Were… Were you scared?”

Shitless.” Crow answered without missing a beat.

Surprised at the lack of pause, Will blinked his eyes at him. Then he lifted his hand to his chin slowly, musing his finger's edge against the base of his bottom lip. While he did so, his hand brushed against Crow's warm skin. Worry came over Will that Crow could see as not a moment later, Will's frown returned. Then he pushed his face back down into Crow's stomach.

He'll probably be freaked for a while. Now he's got a reason to fear Phyte. Wait until Hydros finds out. Crow grimaced at the thought of that particular god learning the news.

For a bit, the two were quiet. Just when Crow was thinking they should get up and at least sit on the bed while Will calmed down, Will made a soft sound in his throat to prompt that he was about to talk.

“Crow?” Will asked, his voice a weak croak once more.


“People without hearts, what are they?”

Confused, Crow tilted his head to the side. “Monsters, I guess.” What brought this up?

“Thought so.” Will replied softly. Crow felt Will's lashes brush against his torso in a tickling sensation as he shut his eyes. Then, nothing else was said.

To think that Arluin was a god all this time. But that one in cream, that one freaked me out... And why were they arguing with Phyte? Something must not be going right for Phyte somehow. While thinking, Crow made sure to continue stroking Will's hair with care. Shit. I hate that the Threshold and the gods have their own stupid opera going on! I can't even get info out of Akiio since he's not here.

Crow eyed Will's face cautiously, checking to see if the other was awake. He could feel Will trembling against him, but his breathing was starting to calm down finally, and his grip was loosening. “Will?” Crow asked in a gentle tone. Will moved his head a bit, then lazily, he lifted it to look up to Crow. “I know you're tired, but we probably should talk to them.”

Do we have to?”

Don't wanna deal with Phyte?”

Will focused his eyes from Crow's face back to his torso, thinking it over. “I... don't want to deal with any god right now.”

“I'll go then, and you can get some sleep.”

“No.” Will shifted up. He brushed the backs of his fingers against his nose while sniffing. “I can go.”

Crow nodded, and waited for Will to get up. It took a second; Will at first was just sitting there, absent-mindedly staring ahead. Will brushed his hands against his face, pushing them back over his forehead and through his hair, back down his neck as he sighed again. After, he eased himself up, and then yawned.

“You sure you don' wanna sleep?” Crow asked, pulling his legs under him. He got up using the edge of the bed to assist, shuffling his feet around a bit once standing. Will looked at him sleepily, then nodded.


Will you let me out now?” Phyte whined at the two. His arms were crossed as he pouted, still trapped inside the odd bubble.

The trio had moved down the hall, and were standing next to a window and a large vase. None of the guards, the King's Knights or otherwise, took note of them. One did glance at Arluin briefly, but the other two might as well be invisible.

“No,” the god in cream snapped at him.

Although Crow looked at Will with a worried expression, he walked back over to the door. He pulled it open, peeking out into the hall. He spotted the gods, clicked his tongue, and then whispered out. “Yo, we'll chat now.”

Arluin lead the two back into the room quietly, then shut the door behind them once they were all in. Will sat on the edge of the bed, Crow stood next to him by the foot. The god dressed in cream stood next to Arluin a fair distance from the foot, but away from the door they'd entered. That left the bubble Phyte was trapped in to be floating by the door.

Ahh,” the god sighed happily looking over both Will and Crow's faces. Crow glared over to him immediately, but the god just bowed his head at him. “Nice to see that it's coming along smoothly. The will to protect is far better than the will to survive. Eh, Levi?

Crow thinned his eyes, watching the god testingly. What does he mean 'it'? It what? That kind of phrasing I've only heard when Phyte's talking about messing with someone's head…

Arluin.” Arluin corrected, crossing his arms as he glared over to him with a rather unamused look on his face.

Will sniffled. His albeit sleepy-looking eyes looked over to Arluin, and then the god. “Levi?”

Phyte rolled his eyes. “You mean this dorky man is Levi?

Yes~!” The god dressed in cream clapped his hands together, snapped his fingers, and then pointed at Will enthusiastically while he bent his knees in a dramatic manner. He was obviously ignoring Phyte. “Levi he is!” Noticing that he was being blatantly ignored, Phyte grimaced.

Will blinked some tears out of his eyes, lifting his hand to brush them away so he could look clearly. This tired sensation coming over me must've been prompted by the fact that I… died. He looked from the god and then back to Arluin. “Levi…?”

Arluin sighed, turning his head so he glared over to the other. “You know this is really your fault.”

Oh, don't be mad.” The god laughed, straightening his back up. “It's not my fault you haven't revealed yourself to a human in over two hundred years.

For good reason.” Arluin sighed. He frowned, looking back to Will and Crow. He cleared his throat, then said in a soft, shy voice like he was a kid caught trying to steal a lollipop and tell the truth about it now. “I'm Leviathan.”

Crow's face slackened, his mouth hanging open as he gawked. “W–wait. Like Leviathan Leviathan?”

The other god walked over, swinging his arm over Arluin's shoulders, and smiled at him. “And here he's in sweet adorable love with the cute human child of my lovely friend Lae'ri~”

Can I talk now?” Phyte asked, irritation dripping off his every word.

The god glared, turning so his left hand slammed against the glass bubble with a thunk. “Shut up, you whiny brat!

But Matéas is–” Phyte argued back.

What happened to Matéas?” Will asked, his curiosity instantly piqued.

Oh!” Phyte glared at him. “Now that you've died, now you'll listen to me? Annoying little brat!

Hey!” Arluin and Crow snapped.

The other god turned to face Phyte in the sphere. “I'm afraid to squish you into a little dot if you keep blabbering like an idiot when you and I both know that fairy's body will be crushed under that kind of force.

Don't threaten him.” Will said standing up. He got up and walked over, smacking the god's shoulder so he stepped away from the sphere. Surprise painted the god's face as he moved back. Will looked from him to Phyte, his eyes squinting as he struggled to keep them in focus. “Tell me about what happened to Matéas.”

Phyte hugged his torso with his arms tighter, crossing his legs too. He was trying to pout in what little space he was afforded. “The council is attacking him right now. Trying to burn down his garden, and everything.

Why?” Arluin asked, looking to the other god for clarity.

Hm,” he folded his arms, putting his left hand to cup his chin. “Well, it must be the ones against the negotiations.” He paused, thinking something, then spoke. “Matéas is weak after you stabbed him,” he eyed Phyte clearly before continuing, “so it's given the rest the opportunity to attack him. Matéas hasn't ever died, so it would take him a while to recollect himself in Gardenia, and during that time, the vote count of the council wouldn't be dead locked anymore.

It's even?” Arluin raised a brow.

Without you, yes.” He nodded. “And Tengyi is obviously opposed to it. That creates the tension. If they can snuff out one of those for it, the numbers become uneven again, and they'll vote to–”

Even with my vote, without Matéas there to make it uneven again, they'll just target someone else.” Arluin cut in. He looked to Phyte, “Where's his garden?”

Phyte's face lit up. He immediately opened his arms, planting the palms of his hands against the edge of sphere in excitement. “You'll help?

Will nodded. “Of course. Matéas is my friend.”

The sphere surrounding Phyte vanished, and he fell to the ground with a thud. He winced, rubbing his butt as he shifted his legs around on the ground to be comfortable. “Ow.” He groaned. “He's at the west area.

That dense forest.” The god clapped his hands together. “A perfect place to hide his garden.

Can we come?” Will asked the god.

The god raised a brow, stepping back so he stood next to Arluin. “Hm, as much as I'd love to see how your will grows and changes, this might be too dangerous. The Threshold isn't exactly welcoming to those not under a Seal. Will tilted his head, looking at him confused.

Who are you anyway?” Crow butted in.

Oh,” the god bowed his head with a smile on his face suddenly. “I'm Amau.” Immediately he was elbowed by Arluin in the gut. He coughed in response, giving him a look, then said, “Gravitas. But call me, Amau.

Gravitas? Like… gravity? A god of… A god of gravity? Will's eyes went wide as he thought over the name. He looked to his side to see the surprised look on Crow's face, apparently coming to the same conclusion as him.

Phyte stood up, brushing his knees off and then started to uncrinkle his wilted wings that had been smacked around from the fall. Arluin caught Phyte's eyes briefly. Then, at the same time, both pointed over to the center of the room away from the bed. Still kind of in shock, Will and Crow followed their fingers over see a single door standing there.

That should take you to Matéas's.” Phyte said uneasily.

Crow looked back at the gods, “Wait, you aren't coming?”

On the contrary,” Amau waved his left hand up. He smirked at Crow, “We're going first.” He turned on his heel, and went straight for the door that had manifested. He pulled it open, and went through it, disappearing into the blackness.

So dramatic.” Arluin shook his head. He waved at Will, “Be safe, okay? I don't want to find out you died after I just saved you.” Then he stepped through the door after Amau.

Phyte sighed, looking at the door and then to Will and Crow. In a quiet voice Phyte told them, “That will take you to a dark forest where Akiio is.” He pointed over Crow's shoulder to manifest a door. “He can find you a door to Matéas's. Tell him Isaac's in danger and he should come.

Oh,” Will nodded.

Crow crossed his arms. “Wait, so you gave us a shitty door? Just to pick up Akiio?”

Phyte frowned at him, “If you're my best friend then you will get Akiio.” Before Crow could counter and feel insulted about being called Phyte's best friend, the god turned and stepped through the door Arluin and Amau had gone through. As soon as he did, the door shut behind him and vanished.

Well.” Crow groaned, looking over his shoulder to the door. It was white and plain, not attached to the wall or anything. He looked down to Will, tilting his head to the side. Will was staring at the white door with a plain look on his face.

Will was lost in complete thought. We're still stuck doing a god's work. But, what did Amau mean when he said he was friends with Lae'ri? Why did he say stuff about will to survive versus will to protect? Did he… Did he do something to me? Or her?

Still pissed off?”

Huh?” Will blinked, looking to Crow as his eyes refocused. “N–no. Just… worried about Amau.”

Me, too.” Crow admitted, leaning down to pick up Invictus from the floor. He walked around Will's bed, heading for the door to the hallway. “I'm getting dressed first before I go anywhere.”

Oh, right. Good idea.” Will nodded. He carefully stepped off the edge of the bed, easing up to then follow Crow.

As soon as Will was close enough, Crow put his hand on his shoulder to stop him. “Actually, you aren't coming.”

Will felt his eyes go wide. The dim room suddenly seemed empty, painted white, with a chilled air hanging over him. “What?”

You need to stay here. Adell and Rhys are both missing.” Crow explained. He didn't have a sad expression on his face, but he looked conflicted, like he was trying to hide it. “I'll be back soon.” He opened the door and went out into the hall.

But–” Will tried to speak, stepping after Crow.

Immediately Crow caught Will by holding up his hand so it impacted against his chest. When Will looked up to meet his eyes, he saw them turn to brilliant gold. “You. Are. Staying.”

Will grit his teeth and pursed his lips as Crow turned and went down the hall. While he was gone, Will went over and sat on the edge of the bed. After a few moments of silence, he lifted just his blue eyes to examine the door.

I know he's right, and I should stay. But, I don't want him going alone either.

He looked over to where the door Phyte and the other's had gone through once stood. Then, curious, he looked back over his shoulder to see the door to the hall open ajar.

Maybe I can just go on ahead.

Suddenly Will slipped off the edge of the bed and took several swift steps to the door Phyte had made. He took in a breath through his nose, blinking his eyes a few times to try and remain focused. I feel faint. Although he was beginning to feel dizzy, Will lifted his hand to the door knob. He gave it a gentle tug, pulling it open.

Crow's hand caught the edge of the door as his chuckle spread like a beamed minim to Will's ears. Surprise painted Will's face as he turned to look at him. Without a chance to stop it, Will was suddenly given a gentle kiss by Crow.

I said you aren't goin'.” Crow said with a smirk as soon as he pulled from the kiss. He promptly wrapped his right arm around Will's middle and with firm consistent pressure, he pulled Will back to the edge of the bed. With his left hand, he turned Will around and then guided him to sit down. It happened too fast for Will to make any form of protest. “I'll be back. I promise~” Crow grinned at him. He gave Will's left a brief squeeze, then turned and went through the door. As he disappeared, Crow used his hand on the door knob to pull it shut after him.

Will watched completely stunned as the door shut, and then vanished. His throat went dry. “Liar,” he whispered out, dropping his gaze to the floor. “You won't be back.”

:faint: and that's after i chopped it into 82 and 83. whoa!
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February 12, 2017
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