"You need to get laid."
Zeno maybe, kinda, sorta, regretted praying for solution to his problem when the ones up there who could respond were no longer Gods or whoever it was who lived in heaven. Gods, if they were exist in the first place, had gone silent ever since he drank the blood of yellow dragon after all.
Of course, he'd expected his companions to be in heaven. They were good people, and he'd loved them dearly. Still do.
Sometimes he wished he couldn't hear them though.
"Guen, be serious."
"No, really. You really need to get laid. I don't agree often with Guen, but it'll solve your problem, guaranteed."
"Shuten, please don't jump in like that. And Abi, I know you're nodding, so please stop it."
Zeno groaned into his hands when he heard snickers next.
"... you guys won't ever stop, will you?"
"Of course not."
They answered at the same time, sounding amused and not unlike how they used to talk to him back when they're still together. Like they only knew how to tease him, mess with him, and ask him to fight.
(Maybe not the last one, but they ask to fight each other all the time and sometimes Zeno liked to pretend that he remembered them asking to fight with him instead of just threatening to stab him)
"It's payback time. You know that."
A bird landed on Zeno's shoulder, and nuzzled its head to his cheek. He smiled then and watched it fondly, imagining it having been blessed by Abi or something. It's similar to a bluebird that's always came to Abi.
"... yeah. I'm sorry."
"Sorry won't cut it, you weakling. I swore off liquor for couple decades because you promised liquor for me!"
"I spent a fortune building a mansion for you! And saved up liquors! Which I didn't get to drink!"
He laughed sheepishly and apologized to them.
Over and over.
When the bird flew to the heaven, he started to think that maybe their voices were only his imagination.
He couldn't stand staying in Kouka, not with the memories of his happy time with his King and surrogate brothers threatening to resurface and make him break down in tears with every kind of sensory input, so he went to different countries. He went to many places, and experienced many things.
He got hurt too, although he'd forgotten how. He'd forgotten where. He just remembered the pain lasting longer, and realizing somehow (maybe it's from the sun's position, but he's not sure) he stayed down longer.
Somehow, he's glad of it.
He stabbed himself repeatedly, to make sure it's not only his imagination, and went further and further. With every mile he went further from Kouka, the longer the pain last.
He found a place then, where he could heal at the rate of a normal human would.
He still wouldn't get sick, and he still wouldn't grow, but still, his rate of recovery was the longest there. He knew. He couldn't move for few months because of his broken leg, which he'd broken himself to test his recovery rate.
It was the most painful and frustrating months in his life.
And so, he was happy.
He forgot then.
He forgot why he found that foreign land comfortable, and the reason he liked to wander around. Why he never wanted to stay in one place for too long, and why he never wanted to get closer to the kind people he met on his journey.
When he realized it, he'd even stopped hurting himself.
When he realized it, he was staring down at a wrinkly old face which belonged to a woman he held dear, whom he'd let accompany him in his never ending journey, whom he'd accepted as his wife.
"... I'm sorry... Zeno... I'm so... sorry..."
Tears were flowing from her unseeing eyes, and then some things came back to him.
Guen asked him to visit.
Shuten asked him to bring liquor.
Zeno begged them to stay.
He hugged her and thanked her, it's enough, she didn't have to force herself anymore.
It didn't help her at all.
Even today, Zeno couldn't remember telling her the truth.
Did he, or did he not?
Maybe not. He only remembered those things when he saw her dying after all.
But, without a doubt, she'd realized. After all, Zeno couldn't get sick, and he couldn't grow older either. Somewhere along the line, she must have realized.
Even so, she stayed with him. She continued travelling with him. Even laughed with him as they sat around bonfire and Zeno wondering out loud why people they met thought she's his grandmother. Even though she's so pretty. He wondered then if they were blind.
He didn't realize it. The blind one was him.
He continued wandering the earth alone then, for quite some time couldn't even bring himself to enter towns or villages he'd passed.
He couldn't bear loving another person again.
He couldn't bear having to lose someone again.
He still couldn't remember everything.
He'd forgotten why he left his home country, for example. Or where it was. Or what it was called. Granted, hundreds of years had passed since he left, so it's natural. He couldn't be expected to remember everything, when normal people start losing their memories after few decades.
Still, he remembered some important things.
He was Zeno.
He drank dragon's blood.
He gained Ouryuu's power of immortality.
He'd been left behind by everyone.
That's why, he was surprised.
One day, in a forgotten place, he started hearing voices. At first, it was faint, but with each passing day, with each mile he'd walked towards the sun, it's getting louder.
It was curses.
Three different voices were cursing him.
"Idiot! Dummy! Moron!"
"Pea-brain! Half-wit! Bird-brain!"
At the last, for some reason he chose to quip in.
"Hey, that'd be Seiryuu."
The voices stopped, and somehow he felt gleeful. He laughed, louder than ever, in the rain.
"... welcome back."
The voice sounded miffed, but somehow Zeno could imagine him standing beside him. He could imagine him with his beautiful eyes and a bluebird on his shoulder.
"What the heck have you been doing?!"
He could imagine someone ruffling his hair with his strong hand.
"Going off-grid like that is foul play."
And... someone nudging him with the blunt side of his spear.
Who were they?
He tried to rack his brain, because he wanted to remember. They were his precious people, he knew. They were fellow dragon warriors, he knew.
Seiryuu had beautiful honest eyes.
Hakuryuu had strong gentle hand.
"You forgot, didn't you, you bastard..."
He laughed again and apologized.
"Ryokuryuu loved freedom, and could have flown high to the heaven, but he stayed. Ryokuryuu's kind. Zeno knows. Zeno remembers. Zeno just isn't that good of a poet to compliment your feet."
The voice grumbled, and for few moments he couldn't hear anything but the sound of falling rain.
"... but you have forgotten, haven't you, Zeno?"
"Zeno haven't forgotten anything important. Zeno is sure of that."
"It's alright. We're not mad you forget. We're glad you're back."
"Don't lie to yourself. It's a pain to listen."
"You can't even call us by names."
He could only apologize and beg them to remind him.
They said to not bother.
They did remind him of Kouka though, and Zeno hoped he could find their names in record somewhere in the country.
More than a thousand years had passed since he left, and everyone had forgotten.
About him, and about everyone.
Everyone had became legends.
Hakuryuu was the one with sharp claw that could tear through everything.
Seiryuu was the one with eyes that could see through across far distances.
Ryokuryuu was the one with leg powerful enough to jump as high as the heaven.
But they were not named.
They were believed as mere folk-tale.
Even about their King...
"He's not King Hiryuu's descendant, is he?"
"A coup happened."
Zeno just hummed in understanding.
He pretended not to feel guilty because he'd spoilt the Prince for his own satisfaction, causing him and perhaps his descendants to lack experience in dealing with war and rely more on lies like words of heaven dwellers instead.
"Oh, by the way guys, Zeno married."
"Huh. Good for you."
"Still not dead here. And you said Zeno needed to get laid..."
"That's because you're missing something."
"Like an offspring, you idiot. How can the power got transferred if there's no other vessel available for it?"
"Huh. Zeno didn't know that."
"Well, you would, if you visited back then and see why we died at forty."
"... you're not going to ever try to have child, are you?"
"Guess not. Zeno's not cruel enough to condemn someone to this fate. Besides, Zeno have you guys here in my head. Zeno is happy enough. By the way, how's King Hiryuu doing?"
"Oh he's doing fine, I suppose."
"What do you mean?"
"He's considering rebirth."
"More reason to not give away Zeno's power yet."
Somehow, one by one, they started to disappear. The voices, Zeno meant.
The first to go was Ryokuryuu.
He thought he'd gotten silent all of a sudden, and when he asked, Hakuryuu and Seiryuu answered that he sensed war and carnage and didn't want to miss the fun, so he decided to go ahead and be reincarnated.
Zeno knew he's just saying that though. Zeno had planned to go to Hiryuu after he'd been reborn too.
Hakuryuu was next, few year later. He told him to come to them this time, and if Zeno dare to ignore them, then he promised there'd be hell to pay later in his after life.
Zeno told him that there would be no after life for him, but he insisted that end of the world exist, and Zeno's going down sooner or later whether he liked it or not.
Zeno pretended to believe him.
Couple years later, he told Seiryuu that he didn't have to hold back on his account.
He conceded, and his parting words were 'see you later'.
Zeno wept days later, after he realized that he's alone again. Whether it's from joy that he could meet his brothers again, or from despair because he'd been left behind again, he didn't know.
They were there, he could feel them.
He'd known where they were since the day they were born. He could sense their soul like a thousand years ago. He'd seen them, and watched over them, and he'd realized that so little had changed.
Hiryuu was still caring. (Still wanting the best for her people)
Hakuryuu still thought of the others like family. (Still waiting for him)
Seiryuu was still brave. (Still pretending to be strong)
Ryokuryuu was still kind. (Still choosing to tie himself down)
His stomach rumbled.
With a smile, he decided that it's his sign to get a move on.
They found out one day, and he told them what he remembered.
At night, he dreamed of the past.