I told you in the beginning that I am not a man of many words.
But it seems that all I’ve done is talk.
How hypocritical of me.
I always wished that I was able to express myself in such a way.
But I just couldn’t be like her.
Plastering on a smile isn’t my style. I’d rather smile for real.
Now that I think about it…
Have I ever truly heard myself…laugh?
Kato opens his eyes. Tall trees surround his line of vision, as he stands deep in the heart of a large forest. He looks to his left, and sees trees as far as his eyes can see. No way out. He looks to his right. No good. He then turns behind, and sees a different tree in the distance. One in which he recognized…the Aether Tree. He runs directly to the tree, unsure of how it had gotten into the forest instead of remaining in the heart of Floritian like usual. But as he approaches the tree, and touches its bark, he becomes shocked by the scene…as the tree’s leaves all fall down instantaneously. Kato lets go of the tree. The sun’s rays then break through the heights of the taller trees, and peers a direct light towards the Aether tree. Kato is astonished…but not for long. The leaves that once belonged to the tree suddenly turn to mold, and cover the forest ground in a disgusting color. The color of the molded leaves was a strange purple, mixed with black, gold, and silver. The strange leaves begin to gather up in the area in front of him. Suddenly, the color of the leaves changed from its unappealing color to a beautiful silk white. The leaves begin to circle from the bottom of the ground upwards, revealing a small child, sporting the same silver hair as Kato. Unbeknownst to why, a black tear falls from Kato’s eyes, enshrouding his cheek bones with a strange complexion. As Kato looks up at the sun’s rays, shining towards the Aether Tree, he then realizes something is off. His head is missing. No. His head is on something. Yes. On something important. On something special. Kato then realizes his head…is now the crown of the child.
Kato wakes up, breathing heavily as he looks around his regal room within the Temple of Sol. He checks the nape of his neck, and realizes his head is still intact.
Kato: “...it happened again…”
Kato stands up, and tries to walk over to his door, but stumbles until he falls. He realizes he is too dizzy, as he has woken up much too early in the night.
Kato: “I don’t usually sleep for long. 5 hours at most. How long into my sleep did this dream occur? 2 hours? 3?”
Kato looks towards the clock in his room. With it being an analog clock rather than the digital ones in the barracks of the Militia, the golden rims of the clock still shone in the darkness…but the actual clock itself was not viewable from his distance.
Kato: “Right…I need to let in some light…”
Rather than opting for the candles in his room, Kato stumbles over to the door, with his upper body uncovered, and opens it. As he does, he manages to look towards the glistening half moon, and basks in the moonlight that scatters the floors of the hall.
Kato: “Wonderful as always…”
Kato turns to his left, and sees a woman dressed in a comfortable white linen cloth. His vision remained fuzzy, but for some reason, he knew exactly who it was.
Suddenly, Kato feels a sharp and severe sting in his head, and falls to his knees, grabbing the right side of his head.
Kato: “RIGHT!....I FORGOT ABOUT THE AFTER WAVES!...”
Aurelia rushes to Kato’s side. Even as she is concerned, Aurelia tries her best to keep her voice dow-
Aurelia still raises her voice regardless.
“…I’m…fine. It’s just something that happens after every dream I have.”
“Seriously? Why? Man, I would hate to be you at night.”
“Forget about me. Why are you out this late?!”
“Oh, I was feeling really hot upstairs for some reason. I thought I could come down and cool off-”
“What will it take for you to understand that you are in danger?! You can’t roam around as you please, Aurelia!”
“I was only-”
“I am your guard! You have to let me know these things before you end up putting yourself in danger again!”
“Please! Just don’t!”
Aurelia pauses, shocked by Kato’s irregular behavior. The pain in Kato’s head screeches once more, forcing him to duck down and clutch the right side of his head once again.
Kato’s breathing intensifies…but for a brief moment…it slows down.
“Please…don’t leave me…”
Aurelia’s eyes slowly well up in shock. Her breathing stops completely for a brief moment.
Aurelia: “...what did you just say?”
Suddenly, the pain in Kato’s mind slows down, and he manages to peer up towards Aurelia. His blue eyes lock tightly with Aurelia’s golden eyes, causing Kato to pause before recalling what he had said.
“I said don’t leave my side…”
Aurelia’s mind races. She doesn’t understand what is happening, but she can’t help but continue to stare at Kato.
“…because I’m your guard.”
“Was it just…what I wanted to hear him say?...”
Kato: “You can’t go off on your own, especially in the night. Faeries have no need for sleep, so I felt that I could let my guard down. But if you continue to be so free-spirited, then I have no choice but to stand guard 24/7.”
Aurelia pouts: “You sure do take your job, seriously, Kato. You can relax though, I wasn’t going outside or anything. I just wanted to grab a cold towel from the base.”
Kato: “Right…after being here for the past few weeks, I have an understanding of what she means. Majority of the temple is basked in heat in order to replicate the sun, but there are still cold towels and cloths down below for new Flare Aids that need help adjusting to the temperature.”
Kato: “I thought you said you were the only Flare Aid that never needed any of them. You were bragging about it for a full day.”
Aurelia’s face flushes with embarrassment. “Hm? Me? Nahhh…”
Kato tries to stand up, leading Aurelia to help him instinctively. As they stand up, Aurelia’s hand grazes over a barrage of wounds across Kato’s sides. Aurelia then inspects Kato’s body properly, and realizes how many cuts and wounds were covering his upper body, both front and back.
Kato then looks down and realizes that his upper body is exposed.
“Well, I am a sol-”
Kato pauses. He then smiles. “It’s a long story.”
“I have time.”
“No you don’t. Go to bed.”
Aurelia's smile emanates brightly in the moonlight. She tucks her hands behind her back, as she leans in towards Kato.
“Who needs sleep though, amiright? Besides, I don’t want to end up like you and those dreams of yours!”
“I don’t think that’s something you’d have to worry about,”
“Why not? I’m just as much a person in this world as you.”
Kato’s eyes slowly widen as he looks towards Aurelia, who points proudly to her chest.
“If it can happen to you, it can definitely happen to me, too.”
Kato freezes. His mind travels back to all the different titles he has been given throughout the years by his friends, foes, and family…but for the first time…things were different.
Aurelia points towards Kato, still smiling brightly as ever. Her voice, however, relaxes from a chipper tone to a relaxed one.
“Besides…you asked me not to leave your side, right?”
Kato continues to stare at the woman standing before him. He can barely manage to say the words he was looking for.
Aurelia then takes one full step to be right in front of Kato. Her hands tucked behind her back. Her eyes look up towards him. Her smile is relaxed, but genuine. Her cheeks blushing ever so slightly.
“For how long?”
“As long as you want.”
“...I’m not a man of many words, Aurelia.”
“Lies. You talk a lot more than you realize, Kato.”
“Even if you don’t have enough to say, don’t sweat it. I’ll cover for you.”
“Well, you, yourself, are a woman of many words.”
“Then it shouldn't be a problem then, right?”
Kato and Aurelia stare into each other’s eyes for a moment longer. Kato then looks over towards a nice area of the temple that they could converse in peace. He looks back at Aurelia, and smiles softly.