It's been a year. A year since I've come here. I'll be honest, I'd almost forgotten about this story here. But I've recently read it again, from chapter one. All I can say is wow that story suck balls. It's hard for me to think I wrote this. I mean sure there are some good bits. But all in all, if I was to write this again, there's NOTHING I would do the same.
That being said, I realize I have done what I hated most about fanfic writer. I disappeared without a trace, without telling people if this was abandoned or not. And I'm sorry for that. I'm going to remove this story from ff in the near future. But before I do, I feel like the only justice I can do is to at least write here how I pictured this story to end. As an apology I suppose. So here:
Kenneth develops vision after being possessed by Baphomet, which allows him to decrypt the prophecy better, but still to no avail. He goes to Gonryun to be purged of this demonic energy in him, but he decides not to be purified, to be able to maybe do something about the prophecy. Mathias doesn't approve, but what can he do? Mathias has some bad times in the hole, that's pretty much it.
Verica reaches Juno with Meiji. They part ways. She goes to become a champion. She fails, obviously. She's not ready yet. She meets Meiji again at an inn. She asks to travel with him again. She needs to gain more experience. Plus Aeryn asked her to stay with him, she's curious why. Meiji doesn't give a shit and doesn't want to be with her. But when she tells him about Aeryn's request, he softens and accepts. Long story short, Meiji once tried to kill himself, before leaving the guild. Aeryn was the one to find him. She's scared the years of loneliness on the run will make him do something like this again.
Then there's a time skip where Verica is now 25 (she was 24 before). Kenneth is more and more obsessed with the prophecy, more than ever. We don't see much of him tho. We see him when mathias is visited by a girl named Lily, who comes from comodo. It is possible that she's mathias' daughter. Her mother and he had a relationship long ago, but she was a very busy person sexually. Lily is not sure who her father really is, but Mathias could be. She likes him, so she pretend he is and act like he is. This was to be used mainly to introduce Gwen, her mother, and the most important lover Mathias has ever had. The only woman he ever loved, but never had. She worked in a whore house. Those were not ideal condition for a happily ever after endstory. She's dead now, but he does enjoy pretending Lily really IS their daughter, even if he has no way of knowing.
Verica is still with Meiji. They are in Glast helm. Let's skip the details but they end up fleeing and they lose their supply. Meiji is very upset about this and want to go back to Geffen. Verica doesn't understand why they don't just continue to the next village instead of turning back. As they travel she notices that he's shaking. He has trouble walking straight, he's out of breath and seems to suffer. She confronts him. He tells her he's sick. That his medication was in his bag and now he has none. He needs to go back to Geffen and get meds before he dies. Realizing the gravity of the situation she makes sure they reach the town as soon as possible. He refuses her help to aid him walk, but eventually his body just doesn'T cooperate anymore and he accept her help.
Once in town he gives her a list of ingredients he needs for the meds. She goes to find them, but find the ingredients strange, as none of them are medicinal to her knowledge. When she tries to buy Nerium, the man selling it asks what she needs it for, and is perplexed about the med receipe. He tells her nerium is highly poisonous, and to him that recipe looks more like a numbing drug than medicine. She buys it anyway and go confront him again. He admits he's not sick. This a drug called the leash that the guild gives his assassin once they become members. It's highly addictive and has no other effect except a constant pain relief. That's what Aeryn gave him before parting ways at al de baran. The drug is a way to bind the assassin to the guild. It is a secret recipe only known by the members of the 3 families. IT is extremely hard to get outside the guild. Going too long without it would kill you supposedly, so assassins of the guild can never leave, if they don't want to die. When he first left the guild, Meiji tried to get rid of his addiction, but he was unable. Verica gives him a little speech about how he could break free from this. If he wants to break all ties to the guild and his father's leash, then he needs to get rid of this. Meiji doesn't want to hear it, and tries to inject the drug himself. But he's shaking too much. He needs verica's help. She refuses to help him. They fight, but Meiji is in no state to win.
Verica keeps the drug away and watches as Meiji lay in a ball on the bed for a week, trying his best to cope with the withdrawal. In more than one occasion he really seems to die, but she believes in him. She lays on the bed beside him each night. He has his back turned to her. She put her hands on his back every night, healing him. She doesn't know if it helps, but he doesn'T complain nor say anything for that matters. So she just do it, if anything, as a sign of solidarity. She takes care of him the best she can. Then after a week, one morning, she gets up and he's not on the bed anymore. He's outside on the balcony, looking at the sunrise. She goes to talk to him and he tells her he hasn't felt the wind or the sun's warmth of his skin like this since he was a child. The drug is a weak pain reliever, but taken periodically for such a long time, it had numbed his senses without him even noticing. Now with the drug out of his system everything seems more intense. His hands on the railing are shaking, just because he can actually feel how cold it is. He's shaken, almost emotional, as much as he can be anyway. He almost smiles as he thanks her. He had never been able to do this on his own. But now he was a little more free and it was thanks to her. When she smiles and put her hand on his back, telling him that she's proud of him, he shivers. He didn't remember the feeling of someone else's skin on his to be that appeasing and enjoyable.
While they stay in Geffen, she goes to the wizard academy. That's where Julian, Kenneth's dead wife, studied. She doesn'T really know what she hoped to find. There, a man asks her about the red cloth holding her hair. Turns out he's Julian's brother and wonders why this clothes is in her possession, as the last time he saw it, Kenneth had it. She tells him who she is and everything. The man seems pleased to know Kenneth has let go of this piece of cloth belonging to his sister. Said it was a good sign. Verica removes the cloth from her hair and give it back to the brother. She feels he should have it more than her. The man smiles and thank her. Tell her to say hello to Kenneth when she sees him again.
Now she has nothing to hold her hair which is inconvenient in a fight. Even here as she walks it gets in the face. When she meets with meiji and they are ready to leave, he notices. They walk through the marker and Meiji stops at a stand. He buys a brooch and tells Verica to turn around. He picks her hair and tie it up in a complex manner. She thinks she won't be able to do that on her own. He notices her stare and tell her he used to tie up the hair of his mother everyday, since she was blind. The information came much too easily, without Verica asking over and over and being insufferable. That's when she realize how much their relation had change because of the past week spent in the inn room. After meeting julian's brother, she asks meiji if they can go to laighthalzen, where Kenneth was born. He doesn't ask much question and accept.
Laighthalzen is divided in two. The rich and the poor. They get in the rich part and manage to sneak in the slums with the help of a man who generally do the opposite, helping people get out of the slums. Verica wants to go to the slums because that's where Kenneth lived as a kid. They meet the man's wife and their daughter. The wife's name is Debbie, the daughter Isabel. Verica speaks with them a bit. She's startled when, among the family pictures, she sees an old picture of a boy with bright blue eyes, black hair and a smile she can't not recognize. She asks about it and the woman tells her about her lost son. He fled the town many years ago. She thinks he left for Prontera to become a priest, but she wasn't sure. She had been a horrible mother back then and didn'T blame the boy for leaving. She just wished she could see him again and know that he was still alive and well, but she has never been able to find him. His name was Sean. Verica is sure it's Kenneth, even if the name don't match, he could have changed it. Verica asks about the father. Debbie tells her his father was a man she met only for a night. A monk. She tried to write to him to tell him of their son, but he never wrote back. That's when Verica realize the implication. She asks for the name of the monk. And of course it's Mathias. She very shaken by all this new information. She feels lied to. She didn't even know Kenneth's name and Mathias never told her he was his father. Why all those lies? AS she share her thoughts with Meiji he tells her that it doesn't really matters. Kenneth is still Kenneth, even if he was born under another name. Nobody even knows about his real name probably. As for Mathias, it's plausible to think nobody knows about this either, Kenneth included. "The world doesn't spin around just for you Verica. People do their own thing for their own reasons, and they don't always need to justify their actions to anyone but themselves."
Another time skip. She's 26. She goes to Juno again and succeed in becoming a champion. The process is exhausting and she passes out at the end. Meiji picks her up and rent a room at the inn for them. He lays her down in the bed and go back to the tavern to have a drink. He see Aeryn there. They talk, he asks why she's there. He knows its not a coincidence. She's here to tell him his father has been overthrown. From all her sources; his father his dead. She wanted him to know, so he could finally be free. Meiji tells her that even if his father is dead, the other houses will still try to have him killed. She tells him that she'll do everything she can so he can be left alone. The fight for power is not going as usual. Her own father and the head of the black family are making an agreement. The same Meiji's father made before. They want Aeryn and Anders, the son of the black family, to get married and reign together. All this is a cover to have mixed children of course, with both families powers. Meiji is not surprised. Aeryn doesn't like the idea, she hates Anders.
She asks Meiji for his help on the matter. He thinks she's going to ask him to help her kill Anders. Which he would have agreed on. Aeryn was a sister. He'd do almost anything for her. But that's not what she asks. She asks him to give her a child. Meiji is just pretty confused. She doesn't want to have a child with Anders. The original deal was between the red and white family. That's still what she wants. She asks him to give her a child and she will pretend it's Anders. Then kill him. Her family will have their mixed child and she wont have to bear this sadist's kid. It was the perfect plan for her. Meiji refuses of course. The last thing he wants is to have a child and make them go through what he went through as a kid, used by greedy adults who didn't give a shit about their children's safety or wellbeing. He's extremely angry at her, but the moment he tells her no, she doesn't insist. He finds it strange and doesn't understand, until he start to feel dizzy. He doesn't understand why. He looks at her with a confused expression and notice that she's looking at his beer. Then it clicks and he glares at her. "you fucking drugged me?"
She apologizes as she drinks the rest of her own beer. Tells him its for a greater cause. At this point Meiji can't do much. His body feels numb and his clothes feel too tight. It's like his blood is leaving his brain. Aeryn helps him up and lead him away without much resistance from him. He's barely aware that they're moving. The bartender asks if they're alright and she simply tell him that her friend had too many drink. She'll bring him to the bathroom and he'll be fine. Instead she brings him to a locked storage room. Meiji collapse on the floor as Aeryn let go of him. His whole body feels hot, his erection is painful and persistent no matter how he tries to forget it and his head feels like a carrousel. Aeryn apologize and keeps justifying her action as she sits him up and straddle him. Even as she lowers herself on him, she still apologize, saying how she doesn't have a choice and she hates this as much as him. She doesn't like the company of men in this matter after all. But we all must do sacrifices for the greater good. With the drug making his head spin it doesn't last long before meiji grabs her hips and comes inside her, out of breath and exhausted. She dresses herself and him before bringing him back to his room with Verica. She lays him down on the second bed, put a pill with a glass of water on the table and tells him to take it in the morning; otherwise he'll have a really shitty headache. She says she hopes he'll understand why she did this and forgive her someday. He manages to mumble that no, he won't. Tells her he never wants to see her again after this. She nods, understanding his anger. She puts some drug on the table but he tells her he doesn't need it anymore. She smiles and tell him she's proud. She looks at Verica who's asleep and tell him the girl is a good influence on him. He should acknowledge it. Maybe make her his wife or something, get a family and shit. Meiji tells her to the shut up and to get the fuck out of here before he regains the use of his muscles. She smiles sadly and leaves.
Meiji doesn't tell Verica about what happened. Deep down he understand Aeryn. He hates Anders too, always have. To imagine Aeryn having a child with that jerkface makes him want to puke. But it doesn't excuse what she did to him. To think that his own child would be used in the guild's politic also made him want to puke. He could only hope Aeryn would be a more caring parent than his own father was. Verica notice the change in his attitude, but he refuse to talk about it. He hides it, tell her they need to celebrate her becoming a champion. He propose to bring her to Comodo. Things get hot there with lots of alcohol. A bard is seducing Verica, Meiji doesn't like it, classical unnecessary jealousy episode. A fight starts in the bar, they flee, they are both dead drunk. They sit on the beach and talk. She talks about Kenneth, how she still think about him and how she really felt about him, how it was frown upon. He tells her about his own life, his mother, living in payon on a farm. His grandparents still live there. But couldn't go back as long as his father was looking for him. Now that he's dead he could go back. They talk about her being a virgin, love, religion, etc. He tells her his first experience was with a man and that really being with a man or a woman made no big difference to him. They go back to the inn, both barely able to walk. They laugh as they get in their room and Verica stumble, falling on the floor and bringing Meiji down with her. When their laugh subdue they look at each other and Meiji tells her she's pretty. She just laughs and blush, tells him he's not bad either. He asks her if she wants experience. Before going back to the man she loves. If she wants to try with him so that when the time comes, she won't be scared. Verica is offended at first, but the look of desire in his eyes make her think twice. It's not like she's never thought about it. Meiji is a handsome man, and now that he's opened up to her more, he's also quite charming. Kenneth really is at the back of her head right now. He's not here, Meiji is. Not that she's really thinking straight now anyway. And so she doesn't stop him when he kisses her. He picks her up and put her on the bed where he removes her shirt slowly, trailing kisses down her neck. Verica just closes her eyes, letting him run his hands over her as he kisses her breast. But they are both so drunk they just fall asleep, Verica lying on her back chest in the open and Meiji laying his head on her stomach, his body between her legs.
The next morning she wakes up first, panic, get away from under him and shower. When he wakes up he doesn't remember what happened. She leaves it at that, but she starts obsessing over him, wondering how it would have felt if things had continued. She asks him to go to payon, as he expressed his desire to go there during their discussion on the beach.
Meanwhile Kenneth still have dreams about Verica, mixed in with demons, hell and the prophecy. But he doesn't fight them anymore. He accepts them. Sure he wakes up with the most painful hard on in the morning each time, but to be able to relive his fantasy at least in this way is liberating. Lily comes to the abbey again. Offer him to send Verica a letter with her hawk. He accepts. The hawks leaves with the letter to find Verica. I dont know how… magic stuff ok. Verica gets the letter. It doesn't talk about what happened with baphomet or anything. Shes happy to hear from Kenneth and miss him a lot now since she had succeeded in somewhat forgetting about him by now. Now it's all coming back. Meiji doesn't seem to pay attention to it.
They arrive in Payon. They walk to his grandparents house which is far far away in the countryside. It's a small house in a big parcel of land used as a farm, cows and everything. As they approach the house Meiji starts to have second thought, But verica keep him going. At the house his gram'ma is putting clothes to dry outside. She sees them approaching and she get closer to the door cause she's suspicious of them. Meiji stops in front of the porch and get his scarf down as he looks at her. She recognize him instantly and drop her laundry basket. Cute little reunion because they haven't seen Meiji since he was taken by his father when he was 10. His gram'ma cries in happiness and everything, his grampa too. Verica is kind of taken aback by the display, she's never seen Meiji act so friendly, even in the last year of their adventures. Especially never seen him smile that much. They both stay at the house for a bit. An evening Meiji is sitting on a fence without his shirt, just looking at the farm. Verica comes join him, noticing again the tattoo covering his back that will always tie him to the assassin guild. She sits with him and he points toward the farm, saying that this is everything he's ever wanted since he left the guild. A land to tend for, a family to take care of, children and all. Now that his father is dead and that Aeryn will probably seize power, he could have this. She laughed at how simple his happiness could be found, but he says that for him, having this has never been simple.
They thank Meiji's grandparents for their hospitality and leave. Verica wonders why he leaves, since he could stay here now. But he says he has taken a liking to traveling with her, so if she's still willing, they can continue their adventure and learn together still. She gladly accept.
On the road back they are attacked by assassins. There'S too many of them and they are held down. As meiji is held down face to the ground he hears a familiar voice saying "after all these years you finally slipped up son." Meiji freeze as he look up to his father standing in front of him. Verica realize the situation they are in. the assassins make Meiji stand on his knees as he look up at his father in horror. His father faked his own death, taking advantage of the rebellion against him in the guild to at least get back his son. He knew Meiji would be more careless if he thought he was dead, so he came to see his dead wife's parents. It was a good bet. Meiji refuse to come peacefully of course. His father offers him to turn a blind eye on the last years on the run and forgive him. Take him back as his son, all privilege coming with it, and pretend none of this happened. Meiji still refuses. All along they discuss and he doesn't look at his father. He stare at the ground and Verica notes that she's never seen him like this, scared and dominated. His father sigh and turns his attention to Verica. "You know what my next card his son. I've been informed that this woman has been travelling with you for some time now. Seems like you got yourself an achilles heel". The assassin holding Verica hold a dagger to her neck. She reacts quickly and head but him, making him lose his grip and she tries to fight another, but she's held down again as Meiji's father laugh. He tells meiji to come with him peacefully, or harm will come to her. Meiji doesn't trust his word but his father tells him he doesn't have much leverage right now. Meiji reluctantly accept to follow him. "You'll come peacefully?" "yes…" "yes what?" "..." Meiji hesitate a long moment before bowing his head low "yes, sir…" Verica is disgusted at what's unfolding and plead Meiji not to go with him. He looks at her and thank her. For giving him a chance. For helping him. He had a great time with her. It was good for the time it lasted, but deep down he knew it wouldn't last forever. The assassin holding him down let go of him and Meiji gets up. His father smiles and put his hand on his shoulder prompting him to walk into a portal that will take them back to morroc. As he step close to the portal Meiji looks back at Verica with a frown "Let her go now". But his father doesn't reply. He knew he wouldn't keep his word. He's furious and turns around to go rip the head off of the two assassins holding Verica down but his father push him into the portal before he could do anything. Verica is about to be killed but Aeryn come save her. She apologize because she'S the one who told Meiji his father was dead. She truly believed it. Now they have to get him out of there.
At their hideout Meiji is held tied up to a chair in a closed up cell. His father wants him to impregnate as many women as possible to continue their lineage. He cant' have kids himself, Meiji is the only one he ever managed to have. He hope he can rebuild his family through Meiji. But since he didn't respect the deal with Verica, Meiji is furious and doesn'T cooperate. His father sends an assassin to him in his cell, she tries to seduce him, but Meiji is having none of it. He scares her off and she leaves. His father sends another, Aeryn's youngest sister who's trying to get favors from the white family because he place in line to reign over the red one is far far behind. She drugs him, probably the same drug Aeryn used. At this point Meiji is almost laughing at how ridiculous this is. Everyone trying to bang him like this, it would have been almost flattering in another situation. For now he was just working his brain out to find a way out of this. The girl work him up and he's having a hard time keeping it together with the drug. He manages to make her believe he's into it and convince her to untie him, to let him touch her. She stupidly accept, untie him and first thing he does is break her neck. He gets her off him, untie his feet and rubble through her belonging to find an antidote, because his heart is beating like crazy it hurts. He takes a moment to settle down and escape. He manages to almost leave their hideout but is captured in the end. Now his father is pissed. He will never consider him his son ever again, he doesn't belong to this family anymore. He has his blacksmith burn Meiji's tattoo. Meiji is tied down as they burn his back, he screams and pass out many times. By the time they're done, he passed out completely. His father then hires a soul linker in order to brainwash him. He's taken to another room where he's tied to a table and drugged and brainwashed everyday, until he becomes a mindless minion. It takes time, many weeks. Months. When his father sees him again, Meiji enters the room and put a knee on the ground, bowing to him. His eyes are expressionless and he stay still, awaiting for an order. His father is pleased with the result. Before he can order him anything, an assassin rushes in to tell him they have intruders. It's Aeryn and Verica. He tells Meiji to find the intruders and kill them. Meiji nods and leave.
Meiji find Aeryn and Verica. They try to reason with him but see what happened to him. They fight but they're trying not to hurt him. Aeryn is thrown to the other side of the room and pass out. Verica and Meiji fight for a long time, but in the end Meiji wins. He pierces her heart with his blade. Verica spit blood and clings to him, whispering his name in disbelief. She cup his face, looking into his eyes, trying to see a piece of him that's still lucid. Her fingers brush against his lips as she says his name again and fall on her back, desperately trying to breathe. Meiji looks down at her for a long moment. Aeryn wakes up and looks at them in disbelief. But as he look down at Verica he frowns. She's still looking at him, as if silently pleading for him to regain his senses. After a moment his eyes widen and he takes a deep sharp breath, as if he had just woken up from a nightmare. He panics, remembers what happened and kneel down beside Verica, holding her and holding her wound, apologizing, on the verge of tears. He keeps telling her to heal herself, but she's already too far gone. Aeryn arrives beside him and give him a butterfly wing, tell him to get her to a priest as soon as possible. She'll deal with his father. He complies.
Aeryn fight Meiji's father back at the hideout, but she's overpowered. She offers a deal to him. She tells him she's already pregnant with Meiji's child. If she and Meiji's father get married, they can pretend the child is his and they can take control over the guild again together. His father is intrigued and accepts the offer for now, since a white and red child is what he wanted all along anyway. (They get back the power of the guild, Aeryn gains Meiji's father's trust. Once everyone knows she's pregnant, supposedly with his child, she manages to kill him in his sleep. She takes control of the assassins remaining loyal to the white family and overthrow her own father, taking control of the red family as well. With this alliance they take the fight to the black family. After a long civil war that lasted many months and many casualties, they exterminate the black family and Aeryn is left on the throne. She put an end to the family system and bring in democracy again.)
Meiji goes to the church, plead for the priest there to help her, they take her to an isolated room and leave Meiji in the church, waiting. As he wait he finds himself looking at the big cross and he put his hand together as he closes his eyes "I dont know if you really listen to everyone, even people who dont believe in you. I sure as hell dont deserve any favors from you, whatever you are… But at this point it's worth a try. Please dont let her die, Oh God PLEASE dont have her die on me like this." And that's when he pretty much realize how much he cares about her and his feelings and like shit, maybe I really care about her more than I thought. Maybe I can't bear the thought of living without her. Maybe I love her.
After many hours the priest come back, telling Meiji they managed to resurrect Verica and that she'll be fine. She just needs to rest for a few days. When Verica comes out Meiji take her in his arms, apologizing profusely. Verica hug him back, telling him it wasn't his fault. They rent a room and things are very awkward. For many reason. Meiji killing Verica, what happened, Verica still thinking about what happened in comodo, not knowing what happened with Aeryn. When Verica sees Meiji's burn tattoo she come behind him and start to heal the burnt skin. It doesn't help much. They're sitting on the bed as she heals his back and he whispers how he thought he'd lost her. That he hate his father even more because of what he made him do to her. He apologize again. Verica is tired of hearing him apologize. She walk up in front of him and make a little speech about how this wasn't his fault, again. She's babbling and doesn'T let him apologize again. AS she's talking he put both of his hand on each side of her face. She stop talking. He just looks at her, as if it was the last time, which is kind of scary to Verica, but she doesn't dare move, waiting to see what's next. Acting on an impulse he kiss her. She kiss him back, secretly she'd been fantasizing about him doing this since comodo. He stops, look away and get up, apologizing again and leave, leaving her alone, confused, in the room.
When he gets back it's late at night. Verica is in bed, she fake to sleep. Meiji goes to his own bed and sleep too. During the night Verica can't sleep. She wants to talk about what happened with Meiji and make things clear between them. She walks up to him, ask if he's awake. He doesn't reply. She sit on the side of the bed, looking at him. She lower her face close to his, looking if he'll wake up. He doesn't. She kiss him lightly. Still he doesn't react. She kiss him again, curious, to see if it will feel like it did before. It does. When she feels his tongue on her lips she retreats quickly only to see his eyes are open. He wasn't really sleeping. She stutter an apology and try to leave but Meiji put his hand behind her head and stop her, bringing her into a kiss again. He apologize again, making Verica sigh. "I'm the one who should apologize. I'm sorry, I didn't mean… I don't know what- I mean I dont know why I-" She's searching for the right word to explain what she has to say. "In comodo… when we drank. Something happened. I didn't want to tell you but it's been obsessing me ever since." "I know what happened in comodo Verica. I told you I didn't remember because I didn't want things to change and I didn't want to discuss it with you..". Awkward x1000 hello. Now they don't have a choice but to discuss it. They say how they feel about each other, Verica tells him she's confused, Meiji tells her he cares A LOT about her. He asks her want she wants, she doesn't know. He kiss her again. They both end up in bed, they make love, Verica's first time. Super awkward but still enjoyable. In the end it means more to Meiji than Verica. In the morning Verica feels guilty, because all she can think about now is Kenneth. She doesn't lie. She tells Meiji. She apologize. She thank him for the wonderful night and for how much he cared for her. But she has to go back. She feels it in her guts. Its driving her mad. She feels bad for what they've done, not because of the nature of the act and the fact that it's forbidden to her, but because she made him believe there would be more between them than she could give. She also feels stupid for not staying with this man who would do everything for her only to go back to her oblivious teacher who doesn't even know about her feeling. Meiji doesn't let his emotion show much. He says he understand. Says he will escort her to the abbey and they'll part ways. He doesn'T want to talk more about it. It was a mistake apparently, for him to hope for more. They go back to the abbey.
So let's check the numbers. Here Verica is 26, Meiji is 29, Kenneth is 37. They go back to the Abbey. Kenneth is incredibly happy to see her. Both their heart skip a beat when they see each other. Verica has changed so much. She lost her pale skin, having gained a tan as she traveled the world. Many scars, more muscles, even longer hair tied in an fashionable manners. She's gorgeous. Kenneth looks pretty much the same, only more tired, a bit more wrinkles, darker circle under his eyes. Verica is starting to think he didn't tell her everything in his letter. He seems exhausted. But their reunion is awkward due to Meiji's presence. Of course Kenneth doesn't like Meiji. Here's what I had written some time ago about this reunion:
"Kenneth, this is Meiji, my companion." Verica said to Kenneth with a bright smile. Then she turned toward Meiji. "Meiji, this is Kenneth, my master."
"It's an honor. Verica spoke only good words about you." Meiji said as he bowed to Kenneth, who was a bit surprised by this display of politeness from an assassin.
"Well, I'm sure there weren't only good words." Kenneth replied with a smile and a small chuckle. Meiji simply stared at him with his lone exposed eye and didn't say anything. Kenneth coughed awkwardly and erased the smile from his face. "Hm, well, it's a pleasure to meet you too."
Verica let go of the breath she'd been holding. She didn't know why but the idea of Meiji and Kenneth talking together was something that stressed her a lot. But now it was done. She turned toward Meiji with a smile.
"Come Meiji! I'll make you visit!" She said cheerfully.
"No. Thank you, but I would rather leave right away."
"What? Don't be ridiculous. You can rest here as long as you want you know."
"I don't want to endanger your Abbey. I still don't know if Aeryn managed to accomplish what she wanted. No need to have the guild looking for me here. I should leave before they try."
"We can defend ourselves and we can defend you." Verica argued.
"I'm sure you can. No need to prove it, so I'll leave."
"Verica." Meiji stared down at the girl in front of him. She fell silent and sighed. She knew that stare. There was no point arguing.
Kenneth frowned at the exchange. Or rather the lack of words exchanged as they seemd to understand each other perfectly by eye contact alone. How close exactly were they?
"Alright then." Verica finally said. "But at least let me get you some food and supplies for your travel."
"That would be appreciated." Meiji replied. His voice betraying no hint of emotion and his eye giving nothing away of what he thought. It annoyed Kenneth to no end.
"I'll go to the sanctuary. It won't take long. Stay here, I'll be back in a moment." Verica said.
She left the two men and entered the sanctuary. Kenneth looked at Meiji from the corner of his eye. He hated the fact that his scarf hid half of his face and that one of his eye was covered by an eye patch. It made him impossible to read. He could have had no face at all and it wouldn't make a great difference.
"You..." Kenneth started. Meiji slightly turned his head toward him. "You took good care of my student, I hope."
Meiji locked his emotionless eye with Kenneth's as he joined his hands behind his back. "I would say it's her who took care of me."
"Hm, I have no trouble believing that." Kenneth replied as he looked away and chuckled. He hated to admit it, but this man was quite intimidating. His stare was hard to bear.
Meiji just kept staring at him intensely, which made Kenneth a little nervous and uneasy, but he ignored him until the assassin spoke again.
"You are a lucky man. I do hope you are aware of it." Meiji said as he looked away.
"What are you talking about?" Kenneth asked, still staring in front of him.
The assassin remained silent, as if he hadn't heard the question. Kenneth glanced back at Meiji with a confused look.
"What do you mean?" He repeated. Meiji looked at the champion in the eyes for a moment. Kenneth waited for him to say something, but he didn't. Instead he just snorted and looked away again. Kenneth couldn't help but lose his calm a little.
"Speak your mind, assassin." Kenneth spit, taking a step closer to the other man.
"I just said that you were lucky." Meiji repeated, not moving an inch despite the man invading his personal space. "Verica is a kind woman. You were fortunate to have her as a student. Even more to have her as...a close friend."
"Then that makes us both lucky." Kenneth replied with a fake smile, not moving his gaze from Meiji.
"No." Meiji said, plainly. He turned his head to look at the champion. "My luck ends where yours begin."
"What do you mean? Kenneth asked as he narrowed his eyes.
Meiji stayed silent, once again, but he kept eye contact with the other man. Kenneth forced himself to keep looking at his eye. He tried in vain to discern an emotion. A feeling. Something to help him understand this enigma in front of him. Unfortunately, he could see nothing. It really irritated him.
Kenneth chuckled a little and looked away. He crossed his arms and stared at the ground before speaking again.
"Tell me. What are you exactly to her?" He said, bluntly.
Meiji's eye narrowed for a second, before regaining his aloof and uninterested look. If his scarf had been down, Kenneth would have seen a small smile.
"What do you mean?" Meiji asked, throwing back Kenneth's earlier question at him.
"It means what it means." Kenneth simply replied.
"I don't know." Meiji said, turning his body to face Kenneth. In the process, they got closer. Kenneth was a bit smaller. He hated the fact that Meiji was bowing his head a little to look at him. "I am not her." He continued. "You should ask her, not me."
"Alright, fair enough." Kenneth replied with the same forced smile. "What is she to you then?"
The two men stared at each other for a moment. Then Meiji's eye drifted to the side and his head bowed even more.
"Ah, I'm sorry it took so long!" Verica said as she came back with a bag. "I gave you what I could."
Kenneth stepped away from Meiji the moment he heard her voice, but he kept staring at him intensely.
"It's more than sufficient." Meiji replied, taking the bag from her hands.
"Are you sure I can't change your mind. You could stay you know. Just for a bit."
"No. It's alright. I..." He hesitated a moment. "I believe everything that had to be said...has been said."
For a moment, Kenneth thought he could see an hint of sadness in his exposed eye. He turned toward Verica and saw the same sadness as she looked to the ground.
"Anyway." Meiji continued. "You are in good hands." he said, glancing briefly at Kenneth. "I leave my mind at peace, knowing that you're safe."
Verica smiled and nodded. Kenneth felt very awkward, standing there. He felt like he was not supposed to be there at all.
"I should go now." Meiji said.
"I'll accompany you to the gate." Verica replied. She turned toward Kenneth and waved at him before walking away. "I'll see you later, sensei."
"Yeah..." He replied.
Before following Verica, Meiji came closer to Kenneth. Their feet touched and it took Kenneth every ounce of control he had not to step away. Meiji bowed his head a little to whisper in his ear.
"What is she to me, you ask? Let me answer you like this" He whispered as Kenneth felt something cold and sharp on his stomach, just above his belt. "If anything happens to her, I'll personally come back here and kill you. If you are not here, I'll find you, where ever you're hiding, and end your life before you could even start to remember who I am." He finished, withdrawing his head from his ear to look at Kenneth's face.
Kenneth couldn't help but swallow hard. When did he get that dagger on him? He held his breath and forced himself to look at the assassin in the eye, brow furrowed and ignoring the pain on his abdomen.
"You think you could kill me so easily? You obviously never fought a champion." Kenneth spitted. It only made Meiji smile unsettlingly.
"I don't "fight". I kill." Meiji replied, removing the dagger from Kenneth's stomach and putting it back into its sheath. The way he looked at Kenneth then sent a most unpleasant shiver down his spine and he couldn't help but look away.
"Nothing will happen to her if I have my word to say about it. "Kenneth finally replied as he felt the blood slowly stream down his stomach and gather behind his belt.
"In that case, our path should not need to cross again." Meiji said as he turned around and took a step to follow Verica, who was already far ahead. "It was an honor to meet you, Kenneth."
The champion stayed behind as he let go of the breath he had been holding. He looked down at his stomach and quickly casted heal on himself to heal the small cut the assassin had made on his abdomen. He didn't like assassins. They were unpredictable and dangerous. He saw no reason to like "him" either.
He watched his student walking away with the gloomy man. Once they were far enough, he followed them from afar. He didn't understand his action, but he found himself not wanting to leave her alone with him. It was completely irrational since they had passed the last 5 years alone together. But it was too late now as they arrived at the gate. The two friends crossed the arch and stopped just outside. Kenneth stayed inside, hid and looked at them from afar. What he was doing was so very wrong, but strangely he didn't feel guilty doing it.
"I guess this is it." Meiji said as he lowered his scarf.
"Yes..." She whispered. She looked up at the man with pity. "Meiji...I'm so sorry-"
The assassin raised his hand in front of him to interrupt her.
"No need to apologize. You already apologized enough, don't you think?"
"Yes..." Verica said with a small nervous laugh. "But it's because I mean it."
"I know, but that is just how life works; you don't always get what you want." Meiji replied.
Verica sighed as she leaned on him for a hug. "Please don't say that." She said as she remembered saying something similar back when she'd seen Kenneth with Carly. She understood what it was to be in love with someone who's heart was somewhere else, even if in her case, things didn't turn out the way she thought. She hated to think she was making him live the same thing. She wished he hadn't fell for her...and she wished she didn't care so much about him either. Things would have been so much simpler.
Kenneth clenched and unclenched his fist as he watched them in their embrace. He couldn't hear them and it was maddening, but he didn't want to come too close. If Verica didn't notice him, Meiji surely would
Verica retreated from the hug and looked up at Meiji as a lone tear streamed down her cheek.
"I'm sorry for hurting you. I wish I could give you what you want but..." She trailed off, not able to actually express her thoughts. But Meiji had never been a man of words anyway. He could read her so easily, she didn't even need to talk. He knew what she meant.
He brushed her tear away with his thumb, cupping her cheek.
"I enjoyed every moment with you Verica. Even if the outcome is not what I wanted, I don't regret any of those moments."
"None of them?" Verica asked as she glanced up at him.
"None of them." He repeated in a whisper. "I would rather die a long and painful death than live eternally without meeting you, even if it was only for a short time and even if I'm to never see you again."
Verica couldn't help but laugh at his cheesy confession. How a man that could kill you in 100 different ways could say such things so easily was beyond her. Somehow it didn't fit.
"You are too sweet and too kind to be an assassin, you know that? She said with a smile.
"Yes. You told me often enough." He replied as he returned her smile and withdrew his hand from her cheek, leaving a sensation of coldness.
"You know..." Verica started as she came closer to him. "I don't regret anything that happened between us either. Nothing."
Meiji's eyes narrowed in incomprehension at first, but then he smiled warmly when he understood what she was referring to.
"I'm glad to hear it." He said as he felt this strange warmth pass through his stomach for a second when his mind wandered to the memory of the night they shared. But of course, he didn't let it show. But then his smile became sad as he bowed his head. "My only regret..."
He looked at the Abbey behind Verica. Kenneth's heart stopped a moment, but fortunately Meiji didn't see him.
"...My only regret is that I didn't meet you before him." He continued as he looked back at Verica with a wounded expression.
The woman looked down at the ground with shame, but Meiji lifted her chin at the same time with his finger to make her look at him. Their eyes met and Meiji's stomach turned upside down in a strangely enjoyable manner. She felt it too as he saw her lips part and felt her body tense. He didn't need more than that to feel this incomprehensible need to be close to her. A sensation he had so often repressed. But they were beyond that now. He bent down a little, stopping an inch away from her lips, letting her decide if this was appropriate or not. Apparently, she decided it was because she met his lips in a chaste goodbye kiss.
Meiji pulled away almost as soon, not wanting to wake any unwanted desire inside himself, but Verica followed his lips as they retreated. She pressed her tongue on his lips in a desperate plea to feel him one last time. She felt ashamed of herself, torturing him like that. But as much as she couldn't forget Kenneth, she couldn't deny the fact that she cared as much about Meiji and that his kisses and caresses never failed to make goosebumps rise on her arms. Maybe she loved them both, but if she had to choose, she could choose only one. It was a shame that her choice was the one completely oblivious to her though.
Meiji resigned as he parted his lips and rested his hands on her waist. Verica took his face between her hands as she deepened the kiss as much as it was possible. He pulled on her hips to pull her closer to him. He knew it wouldn't last and that soon, he would find himself alone again in the cold forest. But right now she was there and the way her tongue played with his was much too pleasant to deny. He would worry later about all the psychological consequences of this.
The kiss broke only to be followed by another one. Every time one tried to pull away, the other forced them into another kiss, trying to delay the departure time. As she stood there under the mesmerizing sensation of his lips, Verica felt an hint of doubt: a doubt about her decision. Was she really willing to give away THIS, for the sake of the probably lost cause that was her love toward her ex-teacher? Was it really worth it?
Kenneth's heart skipped a beat, nearly stopping, when he saw her closing the distance between their lips. He watched them, stunned completely. If he hadn't been so shocked, he would have just walked up to them and beat the crap out of that sneaky bastard, roaming his hands over her like he owned the damn thing...
But who was he to think like that? She didn't belong to him either...
Well, now he had the answer about what he was to her. But why wasn't she staying with him in that case? As much as Kenneth was happy she didn't, it still bugged him a little.
The two lovers pulled apart with hazed gazed in desperate need for air. They stared at each other as they felt each other's breath on their mouth. It was Meiji who recovered first and he released her from his grip with a sad smile. He looked at Verica one last time. She was smiling at him...with the most adorable smile he'd ever seen in his life and that only she could make. It made his heart melt every time. He didn't say that about a lot of people in his life, but she really was adorable.
But her beauty was not for him to admire and praise...
"Good luck Verica, with whatever you're going to do next."
"Good luck to you too Meiji." She said, her smile slowly fading from her lips. "But...we'll meet again, won't we?" She asked in a worry tone.
"Maybe." Meiji replied as he raised his hand again to brush a lock of hair behind her ear, letting his finger slide down her jaw to caress her chin. He smiled as he withdrew his hand to pull up his scarf. "You know I don't believe in God...but I will pray for you Verica. Everyday of my life." He said as he turned around to leave.
"I will pray for you too Meiji." She whispered, letting one last tear fall for him. She watched him walking away, until she couldn't see him anymore. Even then, she stayed where she was, like she didn't know what to do with herself now.
As Meiji walked away, feeling her gaze on him, he couldn't stop his hands from shaking. But he ignored it and kept walking, his chest heavy and his brain screaming that he was doing the worst mistake of his life. But he didn't listen. He simply pulled down his scarf again, for he was finding it hard to breath all of a sudden.
And thus they part ways. Verica and Kenneth catch up. Kenneth is super awkward, he avoids her because of his dreams. One night as he's shaving by the lake she comes talk to him. She tries to confront him about his behavior. He ignores her. As he's leaving she shout "Do I need to call you Sean for you to answer me". To that Kenneth freeze. He hasn't heard that name in ages. Verica tells him about his mother and his half sister, how his mother changed. Kenneth is angry that she pried into his life like this… but after a moment thank her and tell her he might go see them eventually. As days goes by Verica wants to tell him how she feels, no matter what comes next. She's no longer his student, she sees no reason for her feelings to stay hidden anymore. He's at the southern cliff, she goes to see him:
Kenneth sat cross-leg on the ground in front of the southern cliff, his hands on his knee and eyes closed. He took deep breath, concentrating on every one of them. The wind on his face was cold and made goosebumps rise on his arms. He relaxed and let his mind wander. The moment he was completely wrapped in his meditation, he felt this oh so familiar presence getting closer. This fresh feeling of a breeze caressing your skin on a particularly heated day.
He opened his eyes and looked to his left. Verica stopped and looked at him. She looked so confident and strong. He liked seeing her like this, but it was a little unsettling when her determined gaze was directed at him like this.
"Are you ok?" she asked him, not moving from her spot.
"Of course. Why?"
"I'm sorry for what I said the other day. I'm sorry for going to see your mother. It was not… entirely intentional. I shouldn't have-"
"It's alright Verica. My behavior on this matters has always been rather childish. It's been decades now. Your information is not unwelcomed. I should… give my mother a chance. Maybe she did change. I'm not mad at you." he replied, looking away from her. Her skin looked so pale in the moon light. She was like an apparition. It was almost like she was not really there. Maybe his mind was playing tricks on him again. But when he looked back at her, he realized she really was there, looking at him with that dark and sensual gaze of her...
"Alright… still. I'm sorry." she said absently. She still wasn't moving and it disturbed him a little. It was almost like she was scared to come closer.
"No, I should be apologizing" he says in a sigh. "I'm sorry if I'm acting strangely around you. It's been a long time. I suppose I just feel...a little confused. I mean, it's almost surreal to see you again right in front of me...for real."
"Yeah" she laugh a little. "It's true that It's been a long time. But you know, you haven't changed at all sensei."
"Well, maybe I have a few more wrinkles." he said touching his cheeks in a fake attempt to look like he actually cared. "Not as young as I used to be. Already started to grow senile."
"Hahaha, no, you definitely haven't changed." she replied giggling like a little girl. It warmed his heart to hear her laugh like this. Oh how he missed it...oh how he missed her. Suddenly, he felt the need to let her know...
"...I missed you, you know" he whispered, looking away, into the ocean.
"...I missed you too." she replied, finally moving closer to him. She stopped a few inches away from him, put she stayed standing. She looked at the ocean as well.
She'd almost forgot what his presence felt like. This static. Those little electric shock moving under her skin. She was so used to Meiji's presence now. To feel Kenneth's now was...even more exhilarating than it used to be.
Kenneth didn't dare look up at her now. He didn't understand why. He just knew that he wouldn't be able to bear her gaze. He stood up, avoiding looking at her directly in her eyes.
"Well, it's very late. You must be tired."
"Oh, I'm not tired. With Meiji, we used to go to bed only very late. I'm used to staying up all night now."
Kenneth's eyes raised up to meet hers when she said his name. Meiji. He hated him. It was completely irrational though. He'd protected Verica with his life for 5 years...he had no reason to hate him. And It wasn't like he was jealous.
"Hm, yeah, I'm sure it was...an interesting experience." he replied, slightly upset. She noticed it, but she didn't mention it.
"You know what would be fun sensei?" She ask with a bright smile.
"A little training session!"
"...You want to train? Now? In the middle of the night?"
"It's been so long! Beside, I'm a champion now! I wanna see how you'll handle me!"
...Handle her...she had to use those words...
"Verica, I'm not sure this is a good idea." Kenneth replied, scratching the back of his head.
"Come on sensei, you know you want it. Or maybe you're just too old. It's true that it's late. Old people go to bed early" She said, teasing him.
"Alright, alright. No need to insult me. Let's go to the training ground if you want to get your ass kicked so badly." Kenneth responded as he started to walk away.
Then he felt a disturbance in her spiritual energy. She was summoning spiritual spheres! He turned around just in time to see her throwing her spheres at him. He caught them and made them his own spheres before throwing them back at her. She bent and jumped, doing a few back flip to avoid the spheres. She looked up at him with a devilish smile.
"Always be ready for a fight." She said.
"Because enemies won't ask you if you're ready" He retorted, returning her smile.
Kenneth ran toward her and threw his punch at her. She dodged it with ease. Not wasting time, she immediately punched him back. He was caught off guard by her quick response and took a direct hit. He moved away from her as she rejoiced in her pride.
"You'll have to do better than that, s.e.n.s.e.i." She said, lingering on her last word.
"Yeah, I see that. I didn't want to hurt you, but if you insist".
At an amazing speed, he summoned his spirit spheres, entered fury state and ran toward her again. She prepared for him, but he disappeared midway using body relocation. She knew that trick though. She turned around and braced herself. But no one was behind her...
She felt a draft of wind above her. She looked up and saw Kenneth's fist, about to collapse with her face. She managed to dodged, but the punch hit her shoulder. She jumped away from him and whined in pain. That hit would have knocked her unconscious if it had hit her head.
"Not going easy on me I see"
"That's what you asked for, no?" He said with that same devilish smile Verica had earlier. He gestured her to come at him. She accepted the invitation after using fury herself. After a short exchange of punches, she managed to quickly hit him in the rib, on the chest and in the stomach. Three fast and powerful punch making him stagger a little. Just enough for her to use raging quadruple blow and raging thrust, making him fall on the ground.
She threw her fist at him again, but he rolled to his right to dodge her. He got up quickly and moved away from her, taking some time to catch his breath.
They circled around each other for a short time, panting and both in fury state. Verica moved first. She summoned spheres and threw them at her sensei. The moment he saw what she was doing, he used body relocation and appeared right beside her. She was still throwing her spheres and was completely vulnerable. She braced herself mentally for what was coming, for there was nothing else she could do.
Kenneth gave her a series of fast but very precise punch on her neck, on her shoulder and down her arm. Actually, it was not really punches. He simply poked her with his fingers. It was finished within a second. Then he moved back at watched her. She turned toward him and took her battle stance, not understanding what he had done to her.
But after 3 second, she felt it. An unbelievable pain spread through her arm and neck. She whined loudly as she stumble and fell to her knee, holding her arm. She hissed in pain and looked up at her sensei with a gaze filled with confusion.
"What the hell was that?"
"Mathias calls it 'gentle-touch'. It's an adaptation of the pressure point we use during the monk ceremony. You're not the only one who's been training." he said, proudly.
She stood up and took her battle stance again with a smile, although it was hard with this sharp pain in her arm. But she didn't care. She liked this too much. She didn't have the time to attack him though. He attacked first. She dodged the first blow and blocked the second. But she blocked it with the wrong arm. The pain resonated in her entire body as she hissed in pain and closed her eyes instinctively. Kenneth took the opportunity to punch her in the stomach. It was her turn to fall on her rear. Her sensei knelt down before her. He had no intention to fight anymore, but when Verica tried to kick him with that smile on her face, he understood that she wasn't done yet. He laughed as he blocked her foot and caught her fist that was trying to punch him. He trapped both of her wrist with his hands and pressed them on the ground above her head. She laughed heartily as she tried to kick him again, but it was more like a game now than a real fight. Kenneth positioned himself between her legs, the rest of his body directly above hers, so that her legs couldn't touch him anymore.
Finally she abandoned. Her feet stopped moving and just rested on the ground, her knees bent. She tried to remove her hands from Kenneth's grip, without success. She laughed again, along with Kenneth, as they looked at each other.
Seconds passed, and neither of them moved. Verica slowly became aware of her position, but especially HIS position. She felt very vulnerable at that moment...but it didn't bother her at all. She liked it, more than she feared it.
From the look on Kenneth's face, it seemed like he was aware of the situation too. He looked rather impassive, but his lips were slightly parted. It could be explained by the fact that he was panting but somehow she felt it was for other reasons. She looked at him in the eyes, but he didn't return her gaze. He was staring intensely at her lips. She licked them unconsciously as she continued to watch him. She felt his grip on her wrists tighten as his eyes trailed off her neck and stopped on her chest. He stared at her like he was seeing her for the first time. Her coat was open and her breast was clearly visible in her red shirt. His hungry gaze on her brought heat to her cheeks and made her nipples rose. They were probably quite evident under the fabric of her clothes.
A small, faint moan escaped her lips without her consent. It was so low, she barely heard it herself. But obviously Kenneth did as his eyes rose up again to look at her face. Their gaze met for the second time, both filled with confusion, but no desire to understand the situation. She tried to keep eye contact, but her gaze drifted to his lips that were still parted. He was still panting, but it had been too long since their fight for it to be from exhaustion. Kenneth stared down at her lips as well. All along, unknown to him, his head had lowered slowly. When his nose touched hers, he closed his eyes and instinctively pressed himself a little more firmly between her legs, making her tense and arched slightly under him. She looked at him with a hooded gaze and held her breath as her heart threaten to burst out of her chest. She felt his breath on her mouth and closed her eyes in anticipation.
A cat got out of the bushes a few meters away, surprising both of them. Kenneth pulled his head away in a second to look at what had made the noise. Verica turned her head as well, panting heavily. The cat ran off and disappeared behind another bush.
They both look at the bush for a few seconds. Finally, Kenneth looked down at Verica. His eyes widen as he let go of her wrist quickly, his cheek turning into a bright shade of red.
"I...I-I...hum..." He moved away from her and got up as he looked everywhere around him, anywhere as long as he wasn't looking at her. "T-that was a good fight...it's, hmm, you really...improved. I-I'm really, hm...happy for you. I-I mean...I'm happy of the result! Well, not the results but, just...I'm glad you learned something i-in your travel." He stuttered.
"...t-thank you." Verica replied as she raised on her elbow and looked at him.
"Wow, just...look at the time. It's really getting late, you know, for...an old man like me, eh." He continued, running his hand through his hair. "I-I should, hmm, go to bed. But i-it was good to fight again! Really, I-I-I really missed our sparring session. It was, hmm, very interesting...yeah, so, hm, good night."
He started to walk away. He passed Verica, who turned around in utter confusion to look at him leaving.
"I-I'll see you tomorrow..." He said without looking back at her.
Verica stayed where she was for a long moment without moving. She didn't know how she should feel about what happened. Actually she wasn't sure if she understood what happened. He almost kissed her. It was less than an inch away from a kiss. She didn't know if she should be happy about it, or simply angry that he backed off at the last second...
To be honest, she was both. She wanted an explanation! And she wanted it now!
She got up and ran after Kenneth, he wasn't going to ignore what happened and act as if nothing was going on!
Kenneth goes to the church , clear his head. He's mad at himself. Verica come to see him. They have a verbal fight, in the middle of the night, in front of the hotel of the church. They argue about pretty much everything, Kenneth confess his jealousy, about his dreams, about wanting to fuck her brains out ever since she came back. Verica tells him she loves him. That she came back for him and that she can just as well leave because of him again. She tells him she wants him as much as he want her. He says he doubt that. Their argument escalate until they aggressively pull at each other, kissing, tugging at clothes. He push her up on the hotel and the make love. If you can call it that. I'd say they bang out their frustration more than anything else. When it's all over Kenneth is immediately flooded with regrets, but not Verica. She tells him she loves him. That will never change. She wants an answer whether he can love her back or not. He can't answer. She leaves, telling him to get her shit together. What they dont know is that a young acolyte what studying in a room close by. He saw everything. He goes to tell the council.
They avoid each other for a few days. Kenneth is training with Mathias, they talk about Verica's return. Mathias notice something is strange. They finish their training, Mathias cough more than usual. Kenneth asks if he's okay. Mathias says yes. Kenneth doesn't see him hide the blood he just spat on the ground with sand. Mathias is persistent, he wants to know what happened with Verica. Kenneth tells him what happened. His master is surprised, but not that much. He sigh and tells him he's an idiot. Mathias tells him about Gwen, the love of his life. How he never had the guts to tell her how he felt, never settled down, and in the end she died, without a chance for them to be happy together. He tells Kenneth that if the only way for him to be at peace is to be with Verica, then he should. Screw taboo. As they talk someone come to fetch them. Kenneth is being summoned by the council. When he gets there with Mathias, Verica is already there. Moohae tells what the acolyte told him. Yolene turn toward them and ask the truth. Verica is about to explain but Kenneth confess. Refuse that Verica is to blame. Says she did it under his influence and he take the blame. Moohae asks if it happened before, while she was still his student. They both say no, insulted, but moohae says there' no way to know it'S truth. Yolene is rubbing her forehead, exasperated. She doesn't really care that much about what they did, but it's a bad example to give other monks… and if it happened while Kenneth was his teacher… well, this was particularly problematic.
AS they debate, another monk barge in, saying that Satan morroc as broken his seal in morroc. The army of the King has been defeated easily. The priests, crusaders and paladins of the pope didn'T come to help. Doesn't understand why. The king has sent for the monk to help. Yolene abort the debate about Kenneth and Verica. This takes priority. She send her orders and let everyone know to prepare for battle. Mathias is talking with Yolene about Morroc, how they failed to fulfill the prophecy. She says she believes in the strength of her monks and champion more than in prophecy. They talk about each other. Flirt a bit. Kenneth hears them. Decide he doesn't want verica and him to end up like this. Just before they leave for morroc, he take her aside. Try to tell her he loves her too, in a much awkward way. Verica understand. It's enough for now. They make love again, in complete silence so no one hears them. At the end Kenneth is crying. "Why are you crying". "I'm not crying. you're imagining things." then after a long silence he says "Thank you. For not giving up on me."
They go to battle against Satan morroc who wrecked the city. All in all, the monks are defeated. They discover that a few priest are actually helping Satan morroc. They say the pope ordered them. That it was for the greater good. Many casualties. Moohae, Tomoon, Bashu. They all die. Mathias make it out barely. Verica and Kenneth fight bravely and effectively. They almost bring the demon down. But it's not enough. Satan Morroc is weakened, but he manages to kill Kenneth before fleeing the city. Verica tries to heal Kenneth but she has no energy left from using asura strike so much. Nobody does. She cries her eyes out, Kenneth tells her not to cry. Mathias joins them in panic.
"Kenneth! Shit! Hang in there boy. We'll get you a priest who can patch you up-"
"Mathias…" Kenneth's voice came in a raspy whisper. "Let it go. I'm in the window already. I can't feel my lower half…"
"That's.." He tries to find something to say to that, but he can't.
"I'm sorry. I promised you I wouldn't die before you. Took you too long old man." Kenneth says as he tries to laugh but it hurt too much. He takes a moment to collect this thoughts before he continues. "Listen… I know you don't want to hear this but I AM going to die. So just… listen alright? I know I said this before but I'll say it again. I've never known my father, and I don't want to know him. To me, you were the only father I've ever had, and I wouldn't trade you for anything, no matter the argument we had." He reached for Mathias' hand slowly, gripping it tightly for an instant. "I love you old man. Thank you for everything."
"Kenneth…" Mathias has the words on the tip of his tongue. He wants to say it. Say "I AM your father". He can feel Verica's gaze on him. Somehow… he knows that she knows. He doesn't know how… but she knows. Again the words want to leave his lips. He looks down at Kenneth one more time before looking away and closing his eyes, letting go of Kenneth's hand. "I love you too son. I'm proud of you."
Mathias got up and turned around, cursing as he cried, his back to Verica and Kenneth. Verica is still trying to push all her energy into healing him, to no avail.
"This can't be true. I can't be losing you!" She repeated again and again. "It's not fair!" Her words… it reminded him of his dream.
"Verica." He forces her to stop her useless effort and to listen to him. "I'm sorry for being so dense. I'm sorry for not realizing sooner how I felt. I'm sorry for making you suffer, it was never intentional. I'm sorry for everything."
"Stop apologizing…" She manages to say between sobs.
"You came back to the abbey for me. I know for sure I didn't deserve such an act of devotion. You gave up your life of adventure. You gave up that assassin guy too. I'm not stupid. I know he meant a lot to you. And yet you came back. To me. You don't understand how much that means to me." His eyes are out of focus as a tears fall down his temple. He slowly reach to cup her cheek with his hand, his arm shaking in pain. He choke on his blood a little as he spit it on the side.
"Verica. Listen to me. The prophecy. I was all wrong. The army of justice. It was not the king's army. It was us. The missing soldier is the priest. If the priest had been here… it would have gone differently. Something is up with the pope, you gotta find out." He keep choking on his words. Verica plead for him to stop talking, but he refuse. "I don't know if the prophecy is ruined yet. But this. All this around us. This is familiar. This is my dream. I remember. You sitting above me, sands everywhere, your words. I don't know what it means, but the dream… it was all there from the start. If I dreamed of this, then maybe that's how it's supposed to turn out. You are stronger than me Verica. You're me, but better. You're my legacy. You can still defeat Satan Morroc. You have to. I'm sorry for asking this of you. I love you and I don't want harm to come to you. But above all this, we have a duty. And it's your duty to do what I couldn't. I'm asking as your former master, as a fellow monk, as a man who's head over heels in love with you, but also love this world. Please. You have to do what I couldn't do."
"Kenneth I-" She stopped midsentence, leaning in the touch of his hand on her cheek. "Yes. I'll find a way. Don't worry. Your death will mean something…"She whispered the rest of her sentence, but Mathias heard her anyway "Even if I have to slay God himself… I'll carry one for you."
Kenneth smiled at her words. They were the exact same words she said in his dreams. Maybe the prophecy wasn't all lost. He smiles as he pull on her head.
"Can I ask for one last thing?"
"Can you give your old sensei one last goodbye kiss?" He asked with a bloodied smile. Verica snorted ungracefully as she brushed his hair of his face and wiped the blood from his mouth.
"No… but I can give the man I love one last kiss." She said as she pressed her lips against his bloodied ones. She started crying again the moment they touched, as he did. His hand gripped her hair tightly, as tightly as he she gripped him. They kissed through the blood as they whisper "I love you" only for their ears, desperately, as if it would somehow stop him from dying. It didn't. Slowly his hand lost its grip on her hair and fell limply to the ground beside him. Verica pulled out of her kiss, her face a mess of tears, blood and sand. Kenneth stared back at her one last time as he smiled, and his heart stopped beating. Verica remained there a long time, crying, as Mathias cried on his knees a few feet away.
This is how it ends for Verica and Kenneth. Verica comes back to the abbey with the few remaining monks with a new determination. She WILL defeat Satan morroc no matter what. And "God" is not going to help her. She turns her back on the abbey and God. Mathias follow her, as well as Carly and Alek and a few others. They go to Gonryun talk with the Hermit. AS they leave through the portal, Yolene come to see them. Verica thinks she'S there to stop them, but no. yolene is defeated. Most of the monks are dead. She wont get in the way of Verica's plan. She simply came to talk to Mathias. She waits until everyone passed the portal before closing the distance between herself and Mathias, kissing him gently. Mathias leans in. when the kiss is over he simply whispers "i'm sorry"
"I know" yolene replies
"no...I...will you ever forgive me." He insists, a pleading look on his face. He doesn't need to say what he needs forgiven. She knows.
"I forgave you long ago Mathias. I've always loved you...even when I tried to convince myself otherwise. what happened between us I chose it. And don't regret it. But your heart was already somewhere else."
"Maybe it wasn't at the right place."
"Maybe , but it'S too late now." She says as she kiss him again. "for old time sake"
Mathias looks away, sad and filled with guilt. Yolene simply smiles as she makes fun of him. "No sassy remark or sexual allusion?"
"This is no time to joke."
"An old man once told me it was always time to joke."
"Proof that being old doesn't mean wise." Mathias replied with a fake smile, which make Yolene sigh as she caressed his face.
"You may be old, senile and full of regret, but you're not dead yet. The time you have left is enough to make up for your mistakes."
And with that Mathias leaves for gonryun with the other rebels.
The Hermit tells Verica about a way to become stronger. Tell her to go wee the white Lady. She can give her more power, but at a great cost. She says at this point there are no greater cost. Verica confront Mathias about being Kenneth's father. He admit he always knew Kenneth was his son. He received his mother's letter. Ignored it for some time. Then went to the prontera church and recognized the boy immediately, despite the name change. Kenneth always hated his real father for leaving him and his mother. As his master, he had a chance to be looked up to. To be appreciate. He didn't want to lose his respect by telling him he really was the father he hated. Mathias cries as he explains, then start to cough blood. He tells Verica he's sick. As been for some time now. He probably doesn't have much time left. All he wants now is to help her take revenge and kill Morroc. Nothing else matters.
They reach the white lady. She's a demon goddess, but she's neutral. She offer them powers. To become Suras, Gods of war. They would lose their humanity in return. Verica is quick to accept, but the white lady ask if she's sure. If she accept, she'll lose "him" and point toward her belly. She tells her she's pregnant. With Kenneth's son. She explain the prophecy to her. How the man was not Kenneth, but his son. By consuming their love, even if it was frowned upon, they created a being stronger. With Verica's teaching, he'll become their legacy and be impossible to defeat. She tells her that if she raises her son into a monk too and have him fight Satan Morroc, he'll kill him. But her son will die in the process too, after a life of suffering. Verica doesn't know if what she says is true. The white lady finds all this very cruel. How the gods play with the life of mortals for their own enjoyment. All those prophecies and what not. If the Gods wanted, they could come down here themselves and do their own dirty work. But no. They enjoy seeing their little creation work. Suffering. Enable to get away from the grasp of their destiny. If Verica choose to become a Sura, she will get away from the will of the gods. Her son will never see the light of day, but she might be able to defeat Morroc herself and prevent a life of suffering for her son, as well as decades of suffering for the whole world.
Verica takes some times to think about it. Mathias tells her to do it. The gods are asshole and he'd rather die than follow their plan for one more minute. Alek and Carly agree. They want revenge. Screw the church. Screw the gods. They would take matters into their own hands. They were no longer servant of God.
Mathias dies from his cancer before Verica accept the white lady's deal. They all accept. They become Sura. They lose their humanity, become emotionless, kill without mercy. They train for years to use their new power correctly before going to see the pope. Meanwhile Satan Morroc is still recovering, so they still have time to act before he's unleashed on the world.
She's 26 when she becomes a Sura. at 29, they go see the pope. The high clergy was possessed by demons too, but not the pope. She was being controlled. They kill everyone. The pope is shaken by their action, regarding them as heretics, but Verica is a brick wall. Unfazed, she tells the pope that if she doesn't want to help them defeat Satan morroc, she can sit in her ivory tower and watch the world burn as she wish. But they were not going to sit idle because their ways were "against the teaching of god". The pope agrees. Send Priest with them. They fight Morroc, defeat him.
Meiji hears about what happened with the monk. When he goes back to the abbey to check on her, she already left to gonryun. When he reaches gonryun, she already left too. He meet her again after the defeat of Satan Morroc. He's shocked by her change. She can't love anymore. She doesn't feel anything. Meiji refuses to leave her like this. He learns how she became like this. Goes to see the white lady and ask to reverse what she did to Verica.
"Is it possible to undo this change? turn her back into a human again?" Meiji asked to the white lady in front of him. He didn't dare to look at her in the eyes though. Who knows what could happen if he did?
"Maybe." The white lady replied calmly with a smile. "But if it was, she would be reborn as she was right before her transformation. She will lose all her powers and the life that had been blooming inside her will be reborn, as if it had never faded."
"Life blooming?" Meiji stared at the demon in utter confusion. The Lady simply stared back at him, offering no explanation for her words."Do you mean...she was pregnant?
Meiji's expression torn like he'd been stabbed in the chest. How was this possible? He was careful about that… they did it once he didn't even...
"But not from you."
His head snapped back up to look at the demon, realization dawning on him.
Kenneth. Of course. He mentally slapped himself for even thinking it was his.
"She carries the legacy of the chosen one." The white lady continued. "The man for whom she left you."
she abandoned her child? Meiji remained unmoved and impassive, while inside his heart shrink and screamed.
"If you loved her that much, why did you let her leave?"
"I..." Meiji took a moment to think before answering. "I wanted her to be happy. If she finds her happiness with another man, then so be it. As long as she's happy, I cant ask for more."
"So selfless." The lady said in a fake impressed tone. "But tell me, do you really love her so much?"
Meiji narrowed his eyes on the woman. "I don't know how I could love her more."
"It's one thing to sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of others. To accept your loneliness, in order to let her live her life with the man she loved." The White lady got up from her throne. In a second, she was beside Meiji, turning around him. "It's something else to be reminded of this fact everyday of your life."
"I don't see your point. I love her. Nothing can change that."
"Will you really be able to love her?"
"That's what I said." Meiji said irritated and not liking the way she was circling around him.
"Will you be able to love her despite what you know." She said as she stopped behind him, bringing her mouth to his ear to whisper. "Will you be able to look at her in the eyes and hear her say 'I love you', knowing perfectly well that those words were not meant to be said to you. Will you be able to love her, knowing that you're only the second choice. Will you be able to love her child, from the man who stole her from you and that she loved more than she loved you. Will you be able to do that, all for her sake?"
Meiji swallowed hard as his body tensed and his fists clenched. He closed his eyes and bowed his head. He pulled down his scarf, for he was starting to find it hard to breath. He ran his hand through his hair, removing the sweat from his forehead. He opened his eyes again and stared at the ground as the he felt a small breeze on his face.
Would he be able?
He loved her, he had no doubt about that. But he was not Kenneth, and he would never replace him. Would he be able to believe her when she says "I love you"? Will he be able to love her child like it was his own? Would she even want him, now?
"Well, assassin? Your hesitation speaks for itself, I believe."
The man remained silent before her.
"You're only human. Don't try to be more than what you can be. Humans are jealous and selfish, no matter how hard they try to prove me wrong. But don't blame yourself. You're no saint. Your reaction is perfectly understandable, and I think no less of you, nor will she, I'm sure." The white lady finished as she walked away from him, toward her throne.
Then she heard a whisper, but couldn't make out what it said. She turned around toward the man.
"What was that?"
Meiji looked up at the white lady with a determined look. He stared at her for a long moment before a long and tired sigh escaped his lips. Then he smiled at the woman and chuckle.
"I said, yes."
The white lady chuckled as well. "What a beautiful smile you have, human. A shame it is always hidden behind that scarf of yours." She sat back on her throne. "Do you mean it?"
"Yes." He repeated, his smile still in place.
"Why?" She asked, her own smile fading. "Why are you willing to oversee all those facts, that obviously hurt you, and pretend, just so she can be human again? Are you doing it for yourself? Do you need her that much that you don't care what she thinks or feel, and you simply want her beside you again?"
"No." He replied, his face a strange mix of emotions even she couldn't discern.
"Then what? What is your motivation?"
"if you're not human, you don't have emotions." Meiji said, looking at the lady in the eyes for the first time. "If you don't have emotion, you can't be happy." Then his smile widen and he chuckled again, ironically, like he was laughing at himself. "I want her to be happy."
The Woman stared down at the man before her with a very serious expression. "She is lucky to have you. I hope, for your sake, that she will realize it."
Meiji gives up what's most important to him in exchange for Verica's humanity. Which is his fertility. All he ever wanted was to have a family of his own. Have kids and raise them the way he would have wanted to be raised, away from the guild. He becomes barren and Verica gains her humanity again.
There's another time skip. Verica is 37. She's with her son at the abbey. He's talking to a grave, Kenneth's, while she talk with yolene. She tells him it'S time to go home and she takes him by the hand to walk through the portal to go home. She lives on a farm in Payon with Meiji and her son. She named him Mathias. She knew Kenneth would have agreed. She refused to have her son live in the abbey. Didn't want to influence his life choice. Her son knows Meiji is not his real father, but he calls her dad and act like he is is father nonetheless. Once Meiji and Mathias are outside and Mathias asks about Kenneth. He says his mother never want to talk about him much. Meiji tells him it's because it hurts her to think of him. Mathias asks if he knew him. Meiji says he met him once. That he was a very courageous man and a hero. He gave his life to protect the world and if it wasn'T for him, the world as we know it wouldn't exist anymore. "He was a great man, he loved your mother and he would have loved you a lot too. I like to think i love her as much as he did. And that i love you as much as he would have." Meiji says as he pick up the boy and put him on his shoulders, getting back inside for the dinner Verica prepared.
And that's how it would end. Verica and Meiji living on the dream farm of Meiji with Kenneth's son that Meiji raises as his own. Aeryn's child is a girl. Meiji go see her once in awhile. He hate that she's stuck in the guild system. But at least the family system is down, and Aeryn is a good mother. Annnddd that's how it end! Thanks for reading the end of this shitty story folks!