Chapter 13:


Aether: Sin

My friend Dante once said,

“The duality of man lies in our desires.”

We all have them. And yet some are worse off than others.

So in choosing between good and bad, it seems impossible to decipher.

Especially as good or bad can be subjective.

In truth, the only things holding our decisions are the laws in which the gods placed upon us.


Who are the gods to tell us what to do?...

If they were not even willing to listen to the rules themselves…

Kato grabs Aurelia and walks away quickly from the main hall, searching frantically for an elder Flare Aid.

“Has Aurelia done something wrong, Mr. Izana?”

Kato turns and sees Beatrice, the leader of Daradriel’s Flare Aids, staring at them confused. Beatrice glances at Aurelia’s horrified look, and begins to panic.

“Aurelia! Aurelia?! What’s the matter?!”

Kato: “The men in the main hall. The men outside. Even those not surrounding the temple…they’re all after her.”

Beatrice glances at Kato in confusion, before looking at Aurelia once more. Like everyone, Beatrice knows just how beautiful Aurelia is…but this is still only Aurelia’s first day here.

Beatrice: “Aurelia…what did you do?”

Aurelia’s horrified expression now turns into panic.

Beatrice: “Aurelia…you are to stay in the temple unless given permission by Lady Daradriel to leave! We went over this in the morning! Or did you forget that, already?!”

Aurelia: “...I wasn’t…”

Beatrice: “You weren't what?”

Aurelia: “...listening…”

Beatrice becomes even more ticked off.

Kato: “We don’t have time for this,”

Kato looks at Beatrice: “She was seen earlier during the parade for the Foxtrot Division, and made quite the impression.”

Aurelia snaps at Kato: “Hey!!”

Beatrice: “Aurelia!!”

Kato: “It seems her impression left many looking for more, and that must be why there has been an insurgence of men since the morning. Some are more desperate than others.”

Aurelia tries to punch Kato, but Kato easily catches her fist in his hands. Kato looks down, and sees Aurelia’s eyes darken, as tears begin to fall from her frustrated eyes..

Aurelia: “...I’m sorry…I’m so sorry….I just wanted to see the parade…”

Kato says nothing. Beatrice says nothing. In that moment, they both felt genuine concern for Aurelia’s wellbeing, albeit disappointed by her actions.

Aurelia falls to her knees. Her hands were still placed comfortably in Kato’s palm.

Aurelia: “It’s all my fault…I was warned not to do it…and yet, I still did…”

Those words immediately resonated with Kato, due to the situation with his father. He then sighs, and softly bends down in order to lift Aurelia up from the ground.

Kato: “Defiance isn’t always such a bad thing…”

Kato holds Aurelia in his arms, as she looks up towards him. For the first time…Aurelia witnesses Kato’s soft smile.

“ long as your reasoning is sound.”

Kato stands quietly in the main hall of the temple. After handing Aurelia to the other Flare Aids, he reviews the information about the situation brewing before him, given to him by Beatrice.

“Aurelia Yuki. One of the newest Flare Aids for the Priestess of Sol. 18 years old.”

Kato turns to the two Beta Squad soldiers, who are still left tied up but dumbfounded by Aurelia’s beauty.

“Apparently arrived in Floritian only this morning, before causing a great commotion in the center street’s parade. Claims she wanted to see the parade, as it is her first time in Floritian.”

Kato kneels down and grabs the daggers strapped to his ankle.

“18 men tied up inside the temple. No threat. Tens of men clamored outside the temple. Low threat. Hundreds of men living within the capital city, as the news spreads around like wildfire. Low to high threat.”

Kato scowls.

“Huncho. The elusive mob boss that has continued to escape the Beta and Delta squads for the past two years…very high threat.”

“You called?”

Kato turns and sees his friend Dante walking towards him, eating a popsicle.

“Man, it’s always so hot in here. They need some air conditioning or something.”

“Yes. The temple of the sun god…needs air conditioning…”

Dante laughs.

“Fair enough. So what did you need me for? It’s supposed to be my day off, you know.”

Kato looks towards the two Beta Squad soldiers that are tied up.

“Those two. They are in the same squadron as myself. And yet, they were caught sneaking into the temple, forsaking their duties in order to capture one of the newest Flare Aids.”

Dante turns and walks over to the two soldiers. He then crouches down and begins to inspect them.

“They look as though they’ve had a traumatic experience. What did you do to them, Kato?”

“I did nothing.”

Dante notices the burn marks of a high pedigree taser, and slight rope burns that the other 16 men tied up didn’t have. He then smirks.

“Of course, of course. Be sure not to leave any evidence next time though, all right.”

“That isn’t what I’m speaking of. They were fine until they saw the girl they were trying to abduct. They have been unable to talk, and have both been staring at the ground ever since.”

Dante sharply stands up and turns towards Kato.

“Wait…are you talking about the woman we saw earlier at the parade?”


“...I see. So the people outside, the people here, and the reason you brought me here, is because they are all after her. In different ways, I’m assuming.”


“The people outside are either admirers looking to see her once more, or looking to bear witness of her for the first time.”


“The people here wanted more than just to bear witness. They conspired to take hold of the woman for themselves, or rather for someone else.”


“And the person who is responsible for this commotion, aside from the woman in question…is none other than Huncho.”

Kato: “As expected of Dante Jamaerah. With the Jamaerah clan being adept at utilizing their onyx ability of body heat manipulation, he constantly circulates a large portion of it within his head, meaning his brain activity works ten times faster than that of others.”

Kato: “...Yes.”

Dante walks beside Kato and stands across from him.

“You want to get this task over with as soon as possible, and are even willing to ask for my help for once. You must either really want to get back to helping Quinn and the others…or feel a great obligation to protect this woman?”

Dante deviously glares at Kato.

“Which is it, Kato?”

Kato says nothing. He then stares up at the golden ceiling, with a dragon shaped chandelier holding up balls of light for the night time hours soon to come. He thinks of the words Aurelia said before he handed her away, and the state of anguish she was in the whole way through. He then looks towards his daggers, and thinks of his father who taught him how to utilize them since he was a child.

“...I guess both...”