The last thing Aline wanted was to meet Hao in the café she was working at, mostly thanks to her brother who had decided that having a brawl and upsetting the staff was a good idea. Despite reverting back to being a boy before leaving the house in order to remain in hiding, just being near Hao had left her unsettled thanks to the last encounters she had with him.
"Please leave sir, we don't serve troublemakers" Aline said in a frosty blunt tone with her head held high in order to show that he would not get to her, despite feeling his conflicted guilt bubbling Aline remained emotionless. She was done playing sympathetic and to prove it her twin dealt with Hao if he sleepwalked. Thalim who had been wiping cups froze and turned a shaky eye to the pair, this was NOT going to end well.
"What is he doing?! He's going to cause Hao to get angry and kill us even with the rules put in place! At this rate Arin's going to get fired for scaring and angering customers" Thalim muttered as he started to sweat in fear.
"I was hoping to talk to you-" Hao began to speak in a polite tone but was cut off as she turned her head in disgust.
"No, I am working and even if I was free I would still say no" Aline snapped while she turned her head before walking away to clean the machine "oh and tell your lackeys to stop spying on me, it's unsettling" Aline commented. Mentally she grew annoyed as he sat down at the nearest chair by the counter near her. Didn't he have anyone else to torment? His brother for instance since he wanted his 'other piece' back so badly? Why even bother her?
"Well you did say the X-Laws wanted to kill you, so why should I give them the opportunity to strike my partner down?" Hao replied with a small smile as she turned to give him a blithe look despite wanting to scream her head off at him. In fact the one thing she did want was to boot him out the café but knew Thalim was already on edge thanks to the git. "I'd like an expresso if you please" Hao said as he smiled while placing money on the table, this... felt familiar to him somehow. Almost as if he had been in this situation but where was the situation.
"I'd have assumed you would want a mug containing the blood of a virgin" she said snidely but didn't take the money as she remained giving him a very vexed expression after placing her towel back on the counter, raising a brow Hao tried not to snort at the quick insult. He spotted a disguised Matamune give him a cold look before looking back at Aline, the feline slowly walked towards Aline and stood by her side just in case Hao tried anything.
"I'm pretty sure I would find that useless" he commented which made her laugh in a sarcastic manner for a few seconds.
"Please, you have the Spirit of Fire eat souls so you can be even more powerful so what would be difference if you drank their blood?" she asked coldly while folding her arms, Hao frowned before noticing the semi long sweatband just resting below her wrist. As he saw it his stomach soured leaving him berating himself for hurting the 'boy' like that, for losing control when the 'boy' gave him hurtful opinions. Why had he not shrugged them off? Why did he act like he had been wronged? They had been just words and... the words had hurt him deeply. Why did the 'boy's' words affect him? It was almost as if… he had been waiting to be punished? To have someone speak about how much of a failure he was for multiple reasons, compared to the others who praised him out of fear or because they were just sadistic. It was true some people came for selfless purposes while a few acted like bullies and brutes, however despite knowing about most of their desires and how they acted Hao refused to let himself be beaten. He will aim for the top, he will become Shaman king no matter what. Regardless of praise he also had been scorned and called foul things, so it was in a way refreshing to not only encounter someone who's mind he couldn't read but hearing their honest opinions towards him... that was IF this 'boy' was being honest. Only as he looked at the boy now, he saw bitterness, resentment and fatigue. He looked dare Hao admit it- looked defeated?
Sensing that he was trying to suss her out Aline who had turned her back to him, sensing him as he tried to poke into her mind she twitched in anger before hearing him wince. Hao bit the inside of his cheek as his head suffered a slight migraine from trying to read her mind, in a way it was almost as if Arin had blocked and injured him mentally which left an even more intrigued Hao more puzzled at how much control the 'boy' had over blocking people. How long had this child had this ability?
"And another thing Hao, the whole world doesn't revolve around you. So drop the you're God's gift to the world and clear off because your ideals are anything but pure, as I agreed I will see you at the battlefield. Not outside it of it!" she added coldly as she turned her nose, Hao's ears were then greeted by a furious hissing to his right. Turning to look Hao spotted a disguised Purrlia spit and scowl at him before moving towards Aline with her right hand on her hip. Just seeing the feline moving Hao surprised at how much hate could be seen in an animal that he was fond of, even if the feline looked unusual. He watched silently as her tail swished slowly but in a violent manner that should leave Hao unsettled but the guilt he had inside outweighed too much for him to care, after all this hadn't been the first time he offended a female and it had been solely his fault. For sure his mother would have slapped him a new one if she were here given his list of misdeeds to women.
"I see..." Hao smiled, neither cared that Thalim was now on edge thanks to the tense atmosphere as Thalim tightly gripped a round tray, Aline heard the man trembling even though it was silent and sighed as Thalim now cracked under the pressure.
"C-Can I get you anything?" Thalim stuttered with a shaky smile as he placed his hands together in a nervous manner after putting the tray down.
"Don't you dare" Aline silenced Hao causing Thalim to go pale knowing that Hao was not to be messed with, Thalim turned shakily to look at Hao who remained smiling calmly despite the slap her words inflicted and they did hurt!
"I'm quite fine for the moment" Hao replied politely as he leaned on the counter while relaxing his arms on top.
"Heh" she released a sarcastic noise "better prepare the mug of dirt or the virgin's blood, he's getting excited" Aline added darkly causing Thalim to swallow acid due to fear, at this rate this boy was going to get fired. Doesn't he know that this Shaman is dangerous? Purrlia as she heard this tried not to snort while Matamune who had been really good at masking his expressions twitched at the sarcastic comment but did not release a single noise in order to avoid being caught out.
"I am partnered with him Thalim in case you've forgotten and if I do get fired then how will you get the money I owe you?" Aline asked with half lidded eyes that made Thalim stammer from the sultry look she was giving without knowing or meaning to thanks to her posture and expression, despite looking like a bot however… it caused unwanted reactions from both males near her. Hao as this was happening started feeling his face go hot and it made his mind go straight to a very angry Yumi who would no doubt would vocally rip him to shreds the moment he had something wrong, but only when he had REALLY messed up. Which in turn was not very good for many reasons and he could list how many times he angered her, one of the things to his shame was their wedding night and it was thanks to that he swore never to touch sake again.
"Excuse me" Hao said not looking at them as he slammed the notes on the table and left quickly surprising Matamune, an unimpressed Purrlia who didn't batter an eyelash at him and a stunned Thalim. Aline however narrowed her eyes before eyeing the money.
"Pervert" she muttered before looking at Thalim who was still left speechless "well? Got the money so take it because I don't want what is probably stolen money" Aline said in a huff as she went back to work, Thalim eyed the money weakly before turning an eye to look at her.
"He could have he you killed" Thalim said weakly, looking at him blankly she lifted her recovering arm which was still covered by the sweatband.
"He was close, but he doesn't have the stones. If he does he'll be out like everyone else" Aline replied before resuming work while trying push the encounter out of her mind.
"Does... does it hurt?" Thalim asked only to hiss with shocked eyes as Aline showed him the injury after undoing the bandages and slipping the sweatband off slowly, both not seeing who was entering the shop as they were too focused on her injury.
"Answer your question?" she asked blandly before noticing a shocked Yoh and a horrified Manta, who looked as if he was going to act like a mother hen to her much to her dismay.
"This is going to be fun explaining to Manta, Yoh however..." averting her eyes she resumed work not once looking at the pair, noticing the customers Thalim went to greet them as they suddenly became regulars after finding out she worked in the café.
"How can I help you-?" Thalim was immediately cut off by Manta who started freaking out.
"A-Arin what happened?" Manta cried as he rushed towards Aline to other males' surprise. Aline sensing that Manta had almost slipped up with her name but had used the stuttering as a means to help make the others thing that the stuttering itself was part of the shock. Taking Aline's arm he inspected it before Aline took her bandages and began wrapping up the ugly nail marks, once done did she slowly put the sweat band on.
"Did the X-Laws do this?" Yoh asked looking concerned even as he heard a mock chuckle coming from her lips, folding her arms she frowned at him.
"You wish" she said dryly to his confusion "note to the wise, fire boy hates brutal honesty so watch what you say with him" Aline added causing them to become sick, even Thalim was left sick as he now realised why the 'boy' was acting like this. This was abuse and the fact that it wasn't reported shocked him deeply and he was a Patch Official. Yoh at the same time felt sick and upset from her words, of course this would add to another thing 'Arin' would hate Asakuras for. Something he had hoped would be avoided.
"Did you disinfect it?" Manta asked as he observed Aline who kept quiet while she cleaned.
"Of course, I did it once I got home" Aline replied in a matter of fact tone that made Manta almost blush from the comment, that and remembering who he was speaking to left him mentally hitting himself for thinking she wouldn't. She was a doctor so of course she wouldn't leave this injury unattended to. Aline hearing this pursed her lips.
"I will speak to you later" Aline whispered to Manta who tensed up at how low her tone was, her tone wasn't scary to say the least it was the fact she wanted to speak alone with him caused him to remember how her twin warned him about her finding out quickly.
"R-Right" Manta said with a weak smile, Purrlia titled her head while her tails swished slightly as she heard Aline's words. Did that mean this boy knew? But how? Matamune didn't speak nor did she or Ritchie and Silva knew how important it was to keep her identity safe so that meant... Purrlia slapped her forehead weakly confusing Matamune who eyed her oddly.
"(Of course he would blab... he's too honest, ugh twins!)" Purrlia told Matamune telepathically due to their link, startled on who she meant Matamune flashed her a surprised look.
"You can't be serious…" Matamune replied but her look said it all.
"What happened? I heard you both clashed a lot during the last week" Yoh asked causing Aline to eye him coldly, she then stared at Thalim sternly in hopes he got the message. Seeing this Thalim started whistling and went into the kitchen after taking the hint that this was private, once alone Aline stared at Manta because she trusted herself to speak around him then Yoh. Seeing this Yoh sat down while masking the sadness since the 'boy' still didn't trust nor like him. Then again it did make sense... even if the shiner still hurt even after a week had passed, right now it still looked slightly grey but had some plum colours on the edges.
"Man... Arin can really throw a punch" Yoh muttered weakly almost causing Aline to snort since her brother had been practicing with not only weapons but with his body to.
"Told him some hard truths about his first wife, mother and adopted daughter. He didn't take the second and last bit well and lashed out. He should really cut his nails from time to time or at least make them blunt, he's not a cat" Aline said dryly. Manta's eyes went wide from shock, that for sure was not a wise thing to do. Yoh however felt uneasy from the explanation.
"You mean Sakura right?" the four paused and looked at him quickly. "His adopted daughter who he keeps looking for is called Sakura right?" Yoh asked with a hesitant look, standing on the counter beside Aline Purrlia nuzzles her friend's hand as she stroked Purrlia's head lightly.
"He wasn't being possessed" Yoh pointed out to Manta's surprise as Yoh kept speaking despite the blank look on Aline's face "you were lying about it to stop others from finding out that he was sleepwalking, weren't you?" Yoh asked now dreading the answer. Just hearing Arin lie about how Hao was being possessed left Yoh suspicious if not baffled so he had went to the library for answers. Seeing nothing that would help provide answers, he then went to ask Faust privately who then confirmed that Hao was showing signs of sleepwalking. It had surprised Yoh at how easily Arin would lie and try to cover for Hao despite how bad things were between them. Then again after finding out Raiju had been a student of Hao left Yoh with more questions involving 'Arin' who remained tight lipped about it.
"Would you tell if that was true?" Aline asked as she looked at Purrlia and Matamune who had stood beside her with a sad look on his face as he remained concealed behind the counter. Yoh's mouth parted in shock and his eyes showed disbelief. Manta gasped also showing his shock as well since Aline wouldn't part with information that crucial that easily, but hearing this also was huge. It would cause a lot of unwanted issues and problems for Hao if anyone knew about this.
"But why is he doing that?" Manta asked as Aline focused on scratching the back of Purrlia's ear.
"He's searching for her subconsciously, he did it before with his wife after her death only this time he's gotten worse" Aline replied confusing them "He's no longer walking around in one place, he's walking all over the area and he could get killed in his vulnerable state" the pair went cold while throwing anxious looks at each other.
"But there should be a way to stop this right?" Manta asked weakly earning him a heavy sigh "right?"
"The bells Sakura supposedly made were suppose to snap him out the sleepwalking if he was about to leave his room, but it's thanks to the fact they are imbued with her powers. The items themselves have made his soul more desperate to find her. The power left in the bells has left his sub consciousness thinking she is close by not realising that it's just her bells that are creating that affect because of her powers" Aline explained calmly while she had a semi far away look on her face.
"Oh man... that is really cruel, to think that she is close but is not really there" Yoh winced at the fact this would no doubt leave Hao in distress from the inside, his mind went back to how bad Hao looked that night and how frantic he was looking for Sakura to the point that the sleeping male had even believed that 'Arin' was Sakura when 'he' pretended to be Hao's daughter in order to get him back to his sleeping area.
"Maybe that is why he punishes himself, believing she is there but refuses to see the truth. He lived in denial after Yumi was murdered and tried searching for her even though he was there when she had died. It was then his feline friend helped lure him back in hopes of thinking Hao would assume Yumi was back in their room... he never even left that room which would remain a horrible reminder that she was no longer there, but he couldn't find it in himself to leave. Something that worried a lot of people including his old teacher who had took in Yumi after he found her" Aline explained not caring if she spoke too much, in truth she was too tired when it came to all these secrets. Plus since Yoh and Hao were twins, she did secretly hope Yoh would knock some sense into the git and realise how much pain he was causing.
Yoh bit his lip as he listened carefully, this was a lot to take in and yes he should be suspicious with how much 'Arin' knew but shrugged it off as Raiju could have easily told the boy given how the spirit stayed close to the younger 'male'. His mind soon went to how much agony Hao was most likely keeping inside, in a way Hao's body and unconsciousness was screaming for help and to find Sakura at all costs. But every time he was left with more anguish at how he could not find her.
"So we can't take the bells off him because they were needed to stop him from sleepwalking. Then how can we stop him?" Yoh asks as he looked at his hands.
"There's no we, I've given up" the pair looked at her in shock.
"But why?" Manta asked before noticing the sweatband, of course. It would be the straw that broke the camel's back. Even Aline had her limits. "Oh..." the corners of Aline's mouth twitched as she looked away.
"There's no point helping someone who is just going to not learn his lesson" Aline explained plainly.
"But he needs help" Yoh said causing her brow to go up.
"Then you help him, I'm too tired and I am not his nanny. I'm his unwilling partner in this tournament and I have limits" Aline replied bluntly as she went back to cleaning. Manta as he looked at Aline then blinked, quickly he observed Yoh now realising something odd.
"It's weird" the pair looked at Manta slightly.
"What is?" Yoh asked looking curious.
"You two look like twins despite your age" Manta said with a weak smile, surprised Yoh looked at 'Arin' for a bit.
"Hey you're right" Yoh chuckled softly to Aline's displeasure, her mouth twisted in anger at the comment.
The pair tensed up as Aline slammed her hands causing some plates and cutlery to rattle violently, immediately Manta realised his blunder and swallowed heavily knowing that he had unwillingly upset his friend.
"Please leave" Aline said calmly as anger continued to fill her at the fact she was being compared to Yoh of all people.
"Hey it's only a compliment" Yoh said weakly growing anxious from the outburst.
"I said get out!" Aline yelled causing Yoh to recoil while Manta winced from how he had hurt her deeply.
Quietly the pair left without a word leaving her with her feline companions, once alone she sighed until the door to the kitchen opened.
"You know that you won't gain many friends if you act like that" Thalim said softly before tensing up from her hate filled glare.
"I have you know that when things went south Yoh tossed me away like trash. So do not go there with me Thalim, you might be my boss here but you will not tell me who to be friends with is that clear?" Aline asked darkly as she resumed work. As she touched the surface of the counter in front of her an image flashed into mind, her mouth parted in shock, her eyes went wide and her hands shook in disbelief from what she had seen. Not believing what she saw her heart plummeted in despair from what will happen.
"No… way, but Hao said he-" Aline ripped off her apron and threw it at Thalim, anger filled her at how Hao's supporters would still try to break the rules and a Patch was even encouraging this for the sake of getting even. It sickened her deeply at how some low people would become in terms of revenge, after all it would never undo what has happened. It would never bring the fallen back and the ones who did the deed would have to suffer for what they did. It was not up to the ones who wanted revenge, no it was up to the creator on what to do with the souls and now Aline as she tried to rush after her soon to be fallen cousin she could sense that his time was slipping away rapidly.
"H-Hey what are you doing? We still have work" Thalim cried, taking the hint the felines followed after her sensing that something was wrong but didn't question on it as the air started to become unsteady for their liking.
"Going out, report to Goldva that there's going to be a murder!" Aline yelled as she glanced at a now pale Thalim before leaving the café. Startled Thalim activated his Oracle Bell and rang Goldva straight away.
"But wait… she didn't tell me where and how she knew?" Thalim muttered before Goldva's voice could be heard and she sounded very annoyed to his dismay.
Aline as she ran through the streets rushed past Hao who quickly took notice at how urgent she appeared.
"What's going on?" Hao stared before slowly following after her, something told him that something bad was about to happen and it left him unsettled.
"Matamune, Purrlia… no matter what stay together" Aline said confusing her feline friends who ran along side her.
"(What do you mean?)" Purrlia asked not truly understanding what was going on.
"Purrlia, Matamune spirit forms now" Aline said as she was close to where the incident would take place, worried the pair turned into spirit balls and flew towards her hand. "Fusion!" Aline yelled before changing into her half spirit feline half human form. Using her new found powers she jumped and landed right in front of Ren who was about to be injured by a panda spirit, Using her clawed hands she blocked a bald man who had a thin beard from getting close to them. He was shirtless but wore a pair of black trousers and Chinese shoes, his large belly had a tattoo which filled most of his stomach.
"What are you doing?" Ren yelled as Aline used her hands to grab the Oversoul with sweat running down her brow due to how hasty she was with the fusion to the point that she had not given herself time to adjust to the change completely, turning to look at him she smiled softly which left him uneasy.
"Why that brat!" a Patch official clothes hissed darkly who she recognised was Nichrom who was angry at her interference. Aline frowned briefly at how the Patch was so willing to commit murder and let the ones get away with it and for the sake of revenge, this in itself was bad even for the Patch who were suppose to be neutral.
"What are cousins for?" Aline smiled as she mouthed the words to Ren, stunned Ren watched as Aline pushed the oversoul weapon upwards and began to attack with her claws before freezing in mid air. Air quickly left her lungs from the sudden sharp pains that touched her in various places causing her to cough sharply, blood slowly dribbled down her lips from coughing while she felt the places that burned become unpleasant. Aline soon felt her stomach, chest and neck grow warm as liquid touched her arms and legs. As her mind became blank she didn't notice the shocked looks that came from various people and one of them was the last person she wanted to have see this.
"No…" Aline slowly regained the ability to think and turned her eyes to see Hao who was left stunned at what he was seeing. His mind then suddenly went to Yumi who laid dead in his arms and Sakura who laid dead on the floor after she fell from the roof, her body had twisted in a horrible angle as caused from the fall that it made Hao at that time want to howl in agony. Now to Hao's shock his body almost trembled in horror not believing that 'Arin' had put himself in danger and for a Tao of all people. Not only that but the boy had now suffered mortal blows that he would not recover from, Hao's heart immediately started to beat rapidly before silent fury and strangely grief consumed him. But why? Arin didn't mean much to him except he remained a stepping stone for him to become Shaman king and yet… he strangely became fond of the 'boy', it was strange in itself and it left his mind wondering to Sakura and how old she would have been, what she would have been like if she was around 'his' age? But now… he had been unable to stop 'Arin' being murdered just like he had been unable to stop the other murders that took place before him and it left him feeling as if he had lost something again. Images of Yumi, his mother, Sakura and now Arin started to form and appear inside his head causing him to release muffled screams, he wanted to flee and wail but he also wanted to go to 'Arin'. To resurrect the boy before he truly crossed over but his body refused to move to his dismay.
"Why can't I move? I could save him but why?" Hao mentally screamed but nothing he could do helped him move.
"Wait um guys… isn't that Master Hao's partner?" the bald man asked now growing worried as he recognised Aline's appearance thanks to Spirit Fusion. Ren who had jumped and grabbed Aline's body as she fell but cared not that her blood was soaking him as they went to the ground. Instead he saw two spirits leave her body revealing a tear stained Purrlia who looked broken by what she had endured, the other was Matamune who was left frozen and horrified by what he had not only seen but felt as well.
"(Get up!)" Purrlia screamed as she shook Aline's now lifeless form, the disguised girl's eyes remained lifeless while her face remained stunned. "(Don't you dare die! How will I live now that you've left me like Aya?!)" Purrlia screamed even more, Yoh who had rushed into the area with Manta the moment he heard the fight between Ren, Horo Horo and Chocolove. Manta as soon as he saw her ran towards her not caring who saw.
"NOOO! A-" Manta gritted his teeth, he couldn't tell anyone he knew her name otherwise it would spark questions from Yoh. "No what is-? Ren what happened?" Manta asked a stunned Ren who looked down at Aline's body, his ears caught the sound of Purrlia broken wailing. Matamune remained silent as tears ran down his face; he could not comfort Purrlia, not after this.
"To think he was careless to not notice the Grand Phantasma was hiding in the water, did he think that he was safe?" the man wearing Arabian clothes asked looking worried as he sensed this would not end well for their master.
"The attack pierced so many parts of his body… but that means if he's dead won't Hao get disqualified because we killed the boy?" the pair went pale before looking at two of the Patch Officials who were watching with equal fearful looks knowing that they were in trouble.
"Arin has a substitute, he's partner will carry on if he is gone" Nichrom said bluntly.
"But that substitute wasn't registered at least to us" Magna replied causing Nichrom to go silent.
"What's happening to you?" Yoh asked as he approached Ren and the felines, Purrlia looked at her paws too stunned to speak as she started to become see-through.
"(Her heart… it's stopped)" Purrlia looked at Matamune with a sad broken smile that left him unable to cope as he realised Aline's medium for Purrlia was no longer working which meant Purrlia would vanish now. He had failed to protect Aline, he had promised and he couldn't do it. But how- why did this have to happen?
"She's… dead?" Manta croaked not caring that Yoh could hear.
"She?" Yoh asked looking surprised before seeing Purrlia vanish completely, Hao as he saw this from where he stood remembered something when Sakura had been alive.
"So what was your medium?" Amaya asked looking interested. Aline smirked while Hao observed her.
"Me no telling!" Aline winked as she tutted with a grin, at the same time Purrlia smirked while swishing her tail. Hao observed her for a bit then remembered what Purrlia had said. He looked at Matamune who nodded.
"Do you think about changing mediums?" Hao asked as he began to worry given how this could damage the girl if anything happened.
"Nah! Besides it's in a place where I will always treasure her" Aline replied with a wide smile.
"Just be careful Sakura" Hao said. She nodded as she knew that he had an idea where her medium was.
"Just like Sakura she-" Hao felt water run down his face, his heart started to weep without him knowing why and at that moment he felt as if something had died within him. But how could that be possible? He watched the group silently, promising himself to punish the ones responsible… severely.
Ren handed Aline's body to Matamune gently and grabbed his sword, before his friends could stop him he stood up and glared.
"You idiots don't even know what you've done?!" Ren yelled before charging after them not caring if he was hurt in the processes, dodging the panda spirit's attacks he slashed blindly as his mind went to Aline. From when they first met Aline had been weary of him but kind, like Yoh she had showed him to respect his opponents even if it did take him some time to do so. Then came her fake death and the truth about her family which in turn left him feeling as if a noose had tied itself around his neck. Feeling that he was trapped in the spiral of loss like her, it was then that he vowed to train harder to keep her and his family safe despite his own ambitions of being Shaman king. The last thing he wanted was for his family to suffer again no matter who was connected to him.
"That fool" the bald man muttered before his ally used the Grand Phantasma technique once more.
"REN!" Yoh, Horo Horo, Manta and Chocolove yelled as Ren was struck and had been sent to the floor bleeding.
"I… I hope I see you soon Aline" Ren muttered before feeling his soul being pulled away to the afterlife.
"Let's get out of here Hang, The last thing we need is to be disqualified because of this" the man wearing Arabian clothes muttered.
"Good Idea, I don't want to get caught" the bald man muttered in reply and left.
Aline was soon placed on a hospital bed while wearing a white dress that went up to her ankles, Shortly after arriving Silva took the body from Yoh who had been left in shock by what he had witnessed.
"Arin, I'm so sorry" Silva said as Thalim stood next to him and Kalim with a guilty looks on their faces.
"Shut up… why did no one react fast enough?" Arin turned to glare at them with hatred fuelling his body, first the attack at their grandfather's home now this! "Not only is she dead but Ren is as well! Explain that to me?" Arin snapped causing them to recoil.
"We did our best" Thalim replied meekly before Arin's glare silenced him.
"I can't even sense her spirit nor can I channel her, so I don't even know what she's doing" Arin muttered as Matamune stood beside him with a broken look. "You did your best, you're not invincible" Arin's words startled Matamune enough to look at him before breaking down silently, placing his hand on the feline's head Arin went quiet. Tears ran down his face causing him to rub his eyes and face weakly.
What was going on with his sister?
Was she in hell?
The mere thought made him feel sick given what they went through.
Aline as she opened her eyes blinked and yawned.
"That was painful, but… where am… I?" Aline looked round to see that she was in a greeny area. "Am… I in hell?" Aline asked while tilting her head slightly earning her a loud laugh to her surprise, looking to her left she saw to her shock Yumi standing with a smile on her face.
"If that's what I'm going to get every time you show up here then I must be a really bad decorator" Yumi commented with an amused look causing Aline to blink.
"Um… where am I?" Aline asked as she got up and brushed imaginary dirt off of her.
"In heaven" Yumi replied with a smile but Aline remained blank faced "you died" Yumi replied bluntly as she gave her a dry look, it was then that Aline's eyes went wide.
"HAH?!" Aline cried out in alarm while Yumi continued to give her a dry look.
"You heard... honestly, what is going with our family and having to go through sharp objects?" Yumi asked wearily as she placed a hand to her forehead.
"Are you sure I'm not in hell?" Aline asked weakly.
"No darling you're in heaven" Yumi droned as she tried to push the spirit migraine she was getting from how Aline was reacting.
"Hey pal welcome" a demon who was holding a large red book greeted Ren who was looking round the vast space in confusion.
"Have you seen a girl with black hair and brown eyes?" Ren asked as he eyed the demon with suspicion.
"Hmmm, you'd have to narrow it down for me, what's her name?" the demon asked as he eyed Ren back.
"Aline" the demon remained passive which meant Ren had to elaborate more. "Ikahir" blinking the demon began opening it's book and began flipping through the pages leaving Ren in silence for a while.
"Nope, no Aline Ikahir here" the demon said as he slammed the book shut.
"Then where is she? I saw her die" Ren asked looking more worried.
"Well there is only one place besides Purgatory that she could have gone to" the demon shrugged "Oh and welcome to Hell Ren Tao" he added before walking away.
"Hey wait!" Ren cried as he tried to figure out what was going on, sadly the demon just kept walking before vanishing completely leaving Ren stranded.
"Wait a minute... did he say I'm in hell?!" Ren asked sharply as he looked round in shock.
"Are you sure I'm not in hell?" Aline asked with a frown as she followed Yumi to a modern sized home.
"For the last time Aline no! No you are not in hell" Yumi cried weakly wanting nothing more than to leave her descendant behind and lock the door to her home. "What makes you think that you are in hell?" Yumi asked wearily as she opened the door but didn't hold it out for Aline, instead she allowed Aline to grab the door and follow inside after the woman. Looking round she saw a decorated entrance containing pictures of various family members, some she recognised as Hao, her mother and other family she did or didn't know. Following Yumi's example she took her shoes off and walked on the soft sky blue carpet after Yumi which led to a hallway that had soft white colours while the bottom parts of the walls were sky blue.
"Because it's too bright and nice" Aline replied bluntly, pausing Yumi flashed her a look and waited for the girl to elaborate "when something is too nice then it's too good to be true" Aline explained leaving Yumi silent, after what seemed like a long time Yumi sighed and nodded faintly before carrying on.
"You have a point but sadly for you, this is not hell and I would be horrified if you had sent yourself there" Yumi said blandly before opening the brown doors leading to a modern sized room.
"Can't complain, but you never know if someone wants to mess with your head" Aline commented.
"You're dead Aline! How can someone mess with you if you have crossed over? It's not even Purgatory otherwise why would I be here? I didn't even visit that idiot when he started cutting himself after I died" Yumi added dryly.
"Still want to divorce him?" Aline asked as she walked inside and spotted a kitchen.
"Of course and no stiff drink will change it" Yumi said dryly as she took her glass from the counter, filled it with water and drained a third of it before looking at it bitterly.
"Hi mother!" a voice who Aline recognised to be Haola greeted with a peppy smile.
"Hmmmm" Yumi looked at her glass still even after Aline took a seat at one of the high chairs that sat near a high table. Aline soon spotted a woman with long black hair that reached up to her knees enter the room, a baby blue bead rested near the end of her hair keeping the bottom third of her hair together, she wore a white yukata with blue butterflies on the sleeves, stomach and dress part of the yukata. Once the woman saw Aline she blinked rapidly.
"Why are you dead?" the woman asked looking at her with owlish eyes.
"Manners Haola" Yumi said bluntly causing Haola to wince.
"S-sorry but how and why did you die?" Haola asked looking completely perplexed by the situation.
"A Hao supporter tried to kill a friend so I tried to protect him and stop them before getting skewered a few times" Aline replied bluntly which caused Haola's face to look sour.
"Seriously...? Dad again?! Ugh that moron" she muttered darkly.
"Haola Sen Asakura watch your mouth, only your grandmother and I can speak badly of him" Yumi scolded sharply as she kept staring at her glass, Haola stared at her in shock.
"But mum!" Haola whined.
"Why are you whining now Haola?" a voice similar to Haola groaned. A woman wearing the same clothes entered, her eyes slightly browner than her sister Haola who had purplish brown eyes, instead of a blue bead in her hair she had a purple one. "Oh! Hello Aline why are you here?" she asked with a concerned look.
"Got skewered" Haola said dryly shocking her sister.
"I'm sorry?" The woman said almost laughing despite the look of disbelief she had on her face.
"Haola what did I say about cutting people off?" Yumi asked sternly as she now drained the rest of her glass before looking up at her daughter who had now winced from being told off.
"Sorry mother... sorry Aline" Haola said with a weak smile, blinking her twin blinked.
"So who killed you and why?" the woman asked still looking perplexed.
"Well Haomi, my husband's band of lunatics tried to kill Ren Tao and she got killed, sadly instead of taking the hint Ren is now dead and in hell" Yumi said dryly not bothering to react as she saw Haomi's face go pale.
"T-Tao?" Haomi was left speechless given her history with Taos, this was not going to end well when given that she plans to speak to her husband later on.
"Is there no way to see Ren?" Aline asked causing Yumi to glare foully.
"As much as I don't want my daughter's line to go sour, Ren is having a time out before I will see him" Yumi said bluntly to Haomi's dismay.
"But... but he's my descendent" Haomi croaked weakly as she had seen what had become of the Taos, regardless they carried a part of her and it hurt her deeply to act like they had over the years.
"And you were Shaman Queen" Aline added to Yumi's displeasure.
"Waita bring that up" Yumi placed the now clean glass back "Okay! Here's what's going to happen, I will revive you and Ren on one condition" Aline looked at Yumi with an expectant look that showed she was listening, looking at their mother the twins remained silent.
"Given how under levelled and under skilled you are when it comes to that idiotic husband who I will be kicking out of the Great Spirit faster then he would have entered" the twins including Aline snorted at the comment causing Yumi to smirk slightly "I have spoken to my mother in law and we decided to teach you to on how to handle him, AND we want you to be stronger especially since you didn't give the free pass I gave you" Yumi added to her daughters' surprise.
"Wait you didn't?" Haomi asked looking amazed, Aline meanwhile looked away shyly.
"You know no other Shaman King or Queen has ever done this before? You have no idea of how many rules I had to bend to give you this since this is Hao we're talking about" that all the females nodded and grumbled about, soon soft footfalls entered their ears.
"Are you talking about Asaha?" Asanoha asked softy as she entered the room.
"Grandma!" the twins cried with joy as they ran towards their smiling grandmother with open arms. Asanoha began chatting to the twins with a calm but happy smile.
"I'm surprised to see you here, when Yumi told me that my son's supporters had killed you..." Asanoha looked down with guilt, smiling softy Aline got off the chair and went to hug Asanoha who hugged her tightly.
"You have done nothing wrong grandma, it was him. He's not the same as he was before but he still sleep walks" Aline said bluntly to Asanoha's surprise, Yumi meanwhile huffed as she looked away bitterly.
"Good! Getting caught will teach him a lesson or two about being aware of people who have problems" Yumi muttered.
"But won't he get worse now that Aline's dead?" Haomi asked with a curious look which made Yumi paused.
"Good for him" Aline and Yumi muttered darkly before looking at the other with frowns on their faces.
"Can we train today? My twin needs me to come back and..." Aline looked away weakly "I have people who need me" she admitted as her mind went to Manta who no doubt was crushed about her death. Observing Aline Yumi nodded slowly.
"We will start tomorrow, best settle in now as it will take a while and before we start... we need to talk to you about a few things" Yumi said with a brooding look, seeing this surprised Aline.
"Like what?" Aline tilted her head.
"About who you are" Yumi explained, realising what Yumi was about to say Asanoha swallowed as sadness filled her given what she had heard from Yumi.
"But I know who I am, My name is Aline Ikahir and I'm thirteen years old" Aline replied as she felt her grandmother like figure tense up thanks to the fact she was holding hands.
"What I mean is... who you were before, why you are so attuned to death, why you can create spirit fusion so effortlessly from nothing" Yumi explained.
"But it was an idea I thought of years ago, it took me years to do" Aline defended.
"And you still could do it while others could not" Yumi countered causing Aline to pause.
"Aline... you" Yumi paused as she looked firmly at a confused Aline "you had a life before this" Aline froze in shock.
"That's a joke right?" Aline asked with a weak smile before her expression became more worried as Yumi shook her head.
"The reason you can do this and more, the reason why I want you to be the next Shaman Queen is because..."
"What's going on Manta? Why did you call Arin a she?" Yoh asked as Anna, Ryu, Horo Horo, Chocolove and Faust sat with Manta in a room. So far the group remained in shock by the sudden incident, confusion as to why Arin would save Ren before they both died still hit their minds.
Manta however still looked down at his hands while grief and sorrow filled his eyes, in a way this reminded Yoh of when they found out Aline had been found dead in her home only worse which left Yoh baffled at how quickly Manta had gotten attached to Arin. As much as Manta wanted to keep this a secret, the fact that Aline was dead left him without anymore reason to keep the secret for much longer given what happened.
"Arin has a twin sister..."Manta began slowly as he tried to wrap his mind around it himself, in truth it was still hard to believe it was all true and Arin himself had prevented no one from seeing her body made Manta more upset.
"I thought that Arin had a brother" Yoh commented looking confused, Manta shook his head not meeting Yoh's eyes to the taller boy's confusion.
"Arin's sister looks like him and made herself look like him thanks to her powers... Yoh... Aline was disguising herself as Arin to hide from the ones who wanted her killed" Manta finally looked up at Yoh and Anna who were now stunned by the news.
"Good one Manta, you had me there" Horo Horo laughed with a nervous look only to see Yoh and Anna weren't smiling, instead their faces showed complete disbelief.
"But that's impossible" Ryu said with a shake of his head.
"It's true, you can tell by their eyes. Aline's eyes were soft brown while his were reddish brown. She hates guns because of her past but he uses them and ended up pointing one at me when I tried to catch up to her, Ren... he knew but was made to promise not to tell anyone" Manta explained "I know it's far fetched but it was her, she was alive and was made to work alongside Hao but now... she's gone" Manta said before Anna took her beads out. After whispering a few words she frowned.
"I still can't channel her spirit" Anna said with a sigh as she looked at the beads.
"It's like Yumi, her family can only channel her" Manta commented as he remembered something Arin said to Ren.
"What do you mean?" Ryu asked looking confused until Yoh blinked as he realised why.
"In order to stop others who could have bad intentions, the conditions were set" Yoh placed a hand to his face "of course she would be put in the same category" Yoh berated himself.
"Wait, you're not mad at me?" Manta asked looking startled by how Yoh was taking this, Yoh paused before looking at him.
"Given how I treated her... I can realise why she didn't want anything to do with me" Yoh said with a sad smile.
"We all played a part" Anna said bluntly surprising them "for now let's see how her brother is doing" she said while standing up.
"Is that a good idea?" Chocolove asked with a worried look.
"She helped Yoh numerous times, I think that it's about time we pay our respects" Anna said without showing emotions.
"I wonder what this would mean for Hao since his own supporters killed her" Horo Horo said weakly to their dismay.
"Why is there a barrier around her body?" Silva asked just as the doctors were about to clean up her body so she could be buried, Arin stood next to Matamune with a hard look.
"I think our ancestor wants to keep the body preserved" it was then Arin looked at Matamune with a hopeful smile that shocked them "Aline is coming back!" Arin declared causing the group to go quiet.
"If that is the case, we will move her to a hidden location until it is time for her awakening" Goldva said with an expressionless look.
"If it's true then Purrlia will come back as well but Matamune... how come you didn't vanish as you are tied to Aline?" Arin asked with a confused look.
"Because she left some Furyoku for me in the pendent she wears around her neck" Matamune said while looking down. "At this rate how can I look Aline, Master Hao, your mother or Yumi in the face for my folly?"
"You are not all powerful" Matamune tensed up as he saw Yoh and the others, his body remained frozen to the point he didn't wipe away his tears. As Yoh got close his eyes softened while looking at the feline. "To be honest, I didn't recognise you... you look so different Matamune" Yoh admitted with a sad smile. Sighing Matamune turned to look at Yoh properly.
"Then you must have figured it out, where Aline went after she was found dead..." Matamune looked at Arin who frowned at Yoh "if I had been any later Aline would have been murdered in her own home for sure. But changing the body's appearance was not my doing"
"It was hers" Yoh nodded shocking his friends.
"She was too stunned when she saw him dead, she had only just turned around and he was about to shoot her" Matamune explained to their surprise.
Aline wiped her tears once she arrived at her home.
"Enough is enough! I will not be treated like this anymore. I should have never trusted an Asakura, they're all the same" Aline muttered darkly as she went up the stairs to her room and began to pack frantically. As she did so a person had broken into her home but thanks to the noise she was making she did not hear it, finally after she was done she zipped up the bag before turning to face the door. It was then that she gasped in fear before the blond haired man who had entered the room, to her horror he was close enough to shoot her only he suddenly gurgled in pain. Looking at his chest where his heart was a sword could be seen sticking out. He then glared at her before raising his gun up to fire, only his energy had been sapped after the sword had been pulled out of his body. As that happened he slowly landed dead on the floor dead causing Aline to see who attacked him, her eyes went wide as she saw a panting Matamune with a katana in his hand.
"Are you okay? Did he hurt you?" Matamune asked as he approached her, stunned Aline's legs buckled causing her long hair to fall down behind her. Looking at the body with dread.
"They... they found me somehow... but how? Did Yoh do this?" Aline's voice trembled causing him to move towards her.
"Yoh would never do that, you should know this" he said before hearing a bitter chuckle.
"Don't you know? He chucked me away after his fight with Faust the eighth" Matamune tensed up "he's finally showing his true colours just like the rest of them, I should never have trusted him" Aline said as she touched the dead man's hand.
"And in the end I was found" Aline said with a numb expression, slowly the man's appearance began to change until he looked exactly like Aline. Seeing the note she left she reached for it and placed it in his left hand, soon she then took a knife from the draw and stared at him with an emotionless look and stabbed her look a like's chest. Silently Matamune's tails and ears went down from guilt.
"Matamune... I just want to go home, but it's all gone. So where? Where can I go now?" she said meekly as she stood up only before they could process what was happening a bluish purple portal appeared beneath Aline's feet to her shock, just as he was about to reach for her she was pulled in while Purrlia rushed inside the room in order to grab her.
"Don't follow" Matamune froze as he recognised the voice who stopped him from entering the closing portal "I need her to help me with something so be patient until she gets back okay?"
"Yumi had tasked her with helping Master Hao but she couldn't truly save him... we all tried but his soul only became darker over time" Matamune admitted to the troubled group.
"So Aline... was Sakura the whole time?" Manta asked as Yoh remained silent, to their dismay the feline nodded.
"All the rites Hao had back then, he had passed them all to her whether he knew her true name or not. She was the daughter he never had and they had been truly close, close to the point it made some envious and jealous by how they were since they weren't related. Or to them it seemed that way. She was his relief and like I his source of comfort when things were going bad. Some students even now remain loyal to him but not in a way that you would think" Matamune explained softly.
"They were loyal to both her and Hao" Arin commented earning him a calm look from the cat.
"She was his true successor and if that was leaked to anyone then the Asakuras would lose their hold over the household" Matamune explained leaving them more surprised "the scroll she took contained evidence of their dishonesty and she had been clever, she passed the rites to Haomi her ancestor knowing that because the twins Hao had but he did not know that they survived thanks to Lady Yumi. The twins themselves would be hard to tell apart given how identical they looked. By giving the rites to Haomi Aline was sure the rites would travel back to her, it was a gamble on her part but it paid off as she was born with the rites in the end" Matamune explained.
"That's a smart move!" Anna said softly "she manipulated time to keep the rites close knowing that we wouldn't have much power but only a fragment given that Haola and Haomi were twins" Yoh blinked.
"There are five main lines" Matamune explained confusing Yoh and Anna as they assumed it was two lines, "Haola two children and Haomi's twins and second daughter. Her son was sent back to her husband's family as a way of apologising for the death of her husband who was a Tao, as for the second daughter she left to be away from the conflict" the group tensed up.
"Wait... did you say Tao?" Horo Horo said to Matamune's amusement.
"They did inherit some of Yumi's temper" Matamune explained causing Horo Horo to gulp.
"Explains why Ren's so moody" Horo Horo muttered before they stared at him blankly "hey you can't deny it"
"Still one question bothers me" Matamune said catching their attention "where is her cousin's daughter? Why did the X-laws capture her when she was just born?" Yoh went pale while a few tensed up.
"They... they did what?" Arin gave Matamune a furious look as the feline looked away.
"Your cousin's wife had twins, on the day he was taking part in a surgery because he was a doctor an X-Law member who had snuck in as a midwife took the daughter and fled. In the end no one believed the wife and she was sent to a mental hospital after going insane enough to try and boil her son alive, blaming him for her daughter's disappearance and claimed that he devoured her. Once she was admitted she killed herself with a dirty needle she stole from the nurses while leaving a message that she wasn't crazy and that she had a daughter named Isabella who was take from her. We have tried to find her but I fear they used a method to cloak her" Matamune explained looking sombre leaving Yoh more sadder than ever.
"I'm sorry... you had to go through all this" Yoh said causing the feline to smile wryly from the comment.
"It was a joy seeing them grow regardless of how they died. I even met your family Master Arin, each time I met you both filled me with a warm feeling that I would not replace or change for anything" Matamune said with a smile that left Arin feeling emotional, as a result he looked away.
"We just need to wait for them to wake up now, but how will you resurrect Ren?" Arin asked them, Yoh released a sad smile which left Arin confused.
"There is someone who could help. I will see them today" Arin bristled as he saw Yoh's mind.
"If you can find out about Isabella I would be grateful, we did vow to put her mother's soul to rest" Matamune bowed slightly.
"I'll try" Yoh nodded before leaving, once outside Yoh's smile vanished and instead was replaced with a pained look.
"Aline... I'm sorry, I'll make things right before you come back. Once you do, I have some things I need to make right" he said softly before his mind went to Hao and his sleepwalking. For Aline he would make sure Hao was kept safe at night.
A teenage boy entered Aline's room once she was placed in an isolated ward for her safety, seeing that no one was there in the room with her made he sighed heavily. As he approached her body which still inside a barrier he placed his hand on it causing the barrier to shatter and turn into Sakura petals before sitting at the chair closet to her.
"..." The male sighed once more before holding her hand.
"This isn't how I expected us to meet after all this time Anberine" he said softly as she started to glow, instead of looking like her twin her form reverted back to normal causing her hair to grow back to being up to her waist. Just seeing her female form made his heart ache at how she was not breathing nor moving.
"You've gone through so much, much more than when you were alive before... I'm sorry I wasn't there" he said while pushing his black hair from his face revealing pitch black eyes.
"I hope to see you when you awaken, please wait for me" he said softly before getting up, slowly he bent over and kissed her forehead slowly before reluctantly slipping his hand out of hers. A soft glow appeared in his hand before he placed a single Sakura blossom branch containing white blossoms which were still growing. Smiling softly he turned to leave but not without looking back and then- he vanished.
"Aline, I have a request" Asanoha said to Aline who was enjoying the daylight sky, turning Aline smiled at her softly.
"What is it?" Aline asked kindly as she looked at her grandmother figure with patient eyes, both remain seated on the grass and observed the sky.
"If... If Asaha- my son ever does go through another cycle, could you please look after him?" Asanoha asked surprising Aline, instead of reacting Aline remained passive as she processed the woman's words "Asaha... during these lifetimes suffered a lot of misfortune and some yes were his fault, but I feel that he has never been given a chance to live his life as a normal happy child. For that I feel responsible" Asanoha admitted with a sad look, looking at the woman from the corner of her eye Aline looked up.
"It's fine" Asanoha's eyes went wide from how quickly Aline was agreeing to this "better to have a stern mother who would kick him in line, but will also allow him to be happy compared to one who wants him not only dead but also wants to scorn and put him down" Aline said with a wry smile.
"Unfortunately it will take time as I don't see myself getting married anytime soon" Aline added with a humorous smile that left Asanoha giggling softly.
"True, that and he's still alive" Asanoha agreed.
"The irony... your own adopted child slash apprentice and descendent now becomes your mother, that's going to end well for his sanity" Aline added causing them to laugh, Yumi as she heard this sighed from her door and looked away. Would it work though? Would Asaha finally be happy being with Aline especially?
"Stay positive Yumi, otherwise how can we cope?" Aline's words cut into Yumi's line of thought.
"Okay time for training" Yumi called as she clapped her hands twice, Aline smirked softly at Asanoha before getting up.
"Fine..." Aline said with a smile.
"Nice to recap on lost arts anyways" Aline mused with a smile as she followed Yumi.
Once Arin appeared in the next fight some people were left speechless as news had spread of Arin's death had hit a lot of people both in a good, neutral and bad way. Even Hao was left baffled until he saw Arin's reddish brown eyes.
"I thought you were dead" Hao said before seeing Arin's grip on his scabbard strap tightened catching Hao's attention.
"Let's just get this over with" Arin said bluntly, his eyes narrowed from seeing more X-Law members who were their opponents. Soon a smirk formed on his face knowing that he could blow off some steam, however seeing Arin's expression left some people uneasy given how cold his expression was.
"So who wants to get smacked around first?" Arin asked as he took his sword out and allowed Matamune who was still disguised into the sword as he remained close to the twin's side. Hao raised a brow before getting ready himself. The X-Law members now grew uneasy from the look Arin had.
This time the fight was more gruesome than anyone would have liked, some went pale at how cruel Arin had been to the members that Hao was left stunned at the brutality. One X-Law member had their arm sliced off and laid bleeding on the floor, another had both their legs chopped off from the upper knees leaving a few sick to their stomach. Taking his sword he walked towards the pair while Hao was left rooted to the spot not believing what he was seeing.
"Think that it's funny going after my sister?" Arin spat crossly as he sent his sword on one of their fingers causing the one who had lost his legs to scream more loudly in agony, Hao mentally winced as he witnessed the scene while watching Arin deal with their opponents. "Your friends sent someone to stalk and then kill her when she was vulnerable, did you not think you wouldn't be caught out?" Arin hissed as he leaned closer to the scared member who was pleading for mercy with his eyes, only Arin scoffed.
"You want mercy? Did you give my sister mercy when you attacked her adoptive family home? Did you listen when they told you that there was no child of Hao in their home before you ripped them to pieces and set the house on fire with her in it? Did you know she was only six?" the injured man's eyes widened in horror while some spectators stared looking stunned, angry and sick at how cruel they were.
"If you were on a holy quest then why steal our cousin's daughter? Did you think that using her against us and Hao was a good idea?" Arin jabbed venomously shocking more people except Marco who narrowed his eyes from the comment, Hao's brows both went up in surprise not believing what he was hearing.
"That's enough Arin" Silva said sternly feeling more unsettled as he knew Arin was losing it, Arin soon laughed causing shivers to run down their spines.
"When will it ever be enough?" Arin asked dryly "if it's not X-Laws then it's the Asakuras who want to kill us Silva, what part of that don't you get? Now she's dead because of them. And they still don't change" Arin said as tears ran down his face, Hao swallowed as he heard everyone's overwhelming thoughts and feelings which left him feeling unable to breath.
"They did what?!" one screamed in horror.
"Murderers the lot of them" another said bitterly.
"Do you not think it pains me to see my sister hiding who she is because she worried about who was coming after her?" Arin asked "so why? Why do they think what their doing is justifiable? Explain this to me?" Arin's voice trembled before seeing Ren who had just been revived stare at him with a pained look. Looking at Silva he nodded before taking his sword and walked towards Ren, not once did be look at Hao who remained expressionless.
"This whole time..." Hao left the stadium but through another way in order to be alone.
After finding out where Arin's twin was being placed Hao discretely entered the isolated wing and followed the directions of where body was being laid to rest.
As he entered his body became numb while his heart twisted at what he was seeing. Memories of seeing Sakura's dead body laying on the stone floor haunted him deeply to the point he had assumed he was going to go insane, dread filled Hao as he approached Aline and felt her hand. As expected it was cold and pale which made more tears run his face, just feeling her hand he was so sure that this was Sakura despite the fact she was older.
"All this time... you came back?" Hao's voice shook as he spoke. "Why did you not find me? Do you know how long I was searching for you? I couldn't contact you or summon you? Just… how is this possible?" he said with a lost look on his face. Seeing the bandaged arm caused him to shudder in guilt. "How were you able to be reborn? Did you use the technique I wrote in my book?" Hao pondered as he gripped her hand tightly as his emotions started to overwhelm him once more leaving him at a loss of what to do.
"I'm sorry, I am so sorry I did this to you... now it's too late" Hao whimpered but cared not as he was alone. "Why didn't you find me when you came back? Didn't you know I would have kept you safe?" he asked as he gripped her hand still, he stared at the branch and slipped it out of her hand. Spotting a medium sized vase he placed it inside and got up to give it water. His shoulders slumped in sadness while he kept an eye on the water, once it was almost full of water he placed it on her bedside.
"Are they going to bury you soon?" Hao asked softy as he resumed holding her cold hand. "If I had known Sakura... I wouldn't have allowed this to happen. I would have kept you safe" Hao murmured as he grazed her cheek lightly with his fingers. Sighing he began to focus on a spell, slowly Aline's form started glowing sapphire blue. Suddenly the light that surrounded her rebounded and threw a surprised Hao backwards causing him to wince from the sudden impact. The back of his head and top part of his back stung from the unexpected rebound.
"But...why? Why can't I revive you?" Hao gritted his teeth "why won't you come back?" he cried while on his hands and knees, slowly due to the pain he moved towards her and got back on the chair. He blinked as he saw a barrier was surrounding her which could have been the reason for his tumble.
"But why?" Hao looked down bitterly at his hands not knowing what to do. His mind then went to his group and the Patch official responsible for her death which only caused anger to fill him.
"They are going to pay dearly for taking her away from me" he hissed with a furious look. Getting up he left the room not noticing that one of the flowers on the branch had started to bloom.
"I am surprised that you're taking the news about your previous life rather well" Asanoha said softly causing Aline who was still calm smiled warmly at her grandmother like figure as they sat at the porch which observed the garden. Aline's eyes softened as she saw the child who died when he had tried to give his energy to the Asakuras who were losing their powers after Haola's grandson had been born.
"Yeaaah... I would normally say that you should treasure these moments while you can, because they could go within a blink of an eye and to be honest. I'm not upset nor do I feel bad... I just feel calm" Aline commented leaving Asanoha interested to hear more. "... Until it's time for me to go back and everything I'm sure would go back to normal" Aline added not sounding upset but her eyes showed she was not happy.
"And are you nervous going back?" Asanoha asked with a curious look.
"Going back? To be honest I am not looking forward to it one it" Aline said bluntly "I would rather stay here but alas I have things to do but once I am queen I will be moving in and out with the Great Spirit, after all" she suddenly smiles widely as Asanoha observed the calm girl.
"It has been my job to ferry souls since the day I was born" she added causing the woman to blink at how Aline's eyed twinkled with mirth, this was definitely a side of Aline she never knew. "Something tells me your son would just butcher my poor job if he takes it... heavens knows I would not rest easy if he does" Aline mutters before getting up and pats the imaginary dirt off her trousers "well time resume training" Aline said softly before going back to her training spot. Asanoha slowly started to smile at how eager Aline was being.
"I wish you luck... please be careful" Asanoha said softly.
"Always do, who knew sparing against dead family members would be fun!" Aline said with a wave.