Elseron stood outside the adjoining door between Phaedos's room and his and Atlas, Phaedos was seeing to Atlas so he had decided to make his regenerated self useful and check of the rest of their small army. Dante and Melody were curled up in bed together in the furthest room; Dante had healed every wound on their way to finding the SUV on the distant mountain side road. The room next to them was empty, the room next to that one was Phaedos's, the room beside his was Arisa's but it currently sat empty as she had come to stand guard with Elseron, folding her tiny arms and standing close by his side. Now the small girl sat at his feet, fast asleep and snoring softly. Laughing quietly he bent down and picked her up, being careful to support her head and held her in his arms. He had done this so often with Atlas when she was Arisa's age it opened the flood gates to his memories. Walking over to her empty bed Elseron positioned himself to put her down when the door to Atlas's room opened.
Phaedos stood in the doorway bathed in the bright white light that flooded from the en-suite bathroom, whose doors were still flung open and his blood still staining the pristine white tiles giving them a hot pinkie hue. Stepping into the room Phaedos noticed the sleeping Arisa and gave her a half smile. 'Atlas is awake, she's asking for you.' said the Demi-god his chiselled face neutral to any emotion.
'Thank you Phaedos.' Elseron said putting Arisa into her bed, her arms immediately sought the comfort of the soft pillows and she pulled the covers over herself subconsciously.
'I'll leave you to talk.'
'Wait,' grabbing Phaedos's wrist Elseron stopped him in his tracks, staring dead ahead he sighed closing his eyes for a moment. 'Phaedos I am afraid I misjudged you, you have proved a fine warrior and a guard as loyal as any I have ever seen.'
'Thank you sir.' a small part of the Grecian’s voice seemed happy and pleased at the words he was hearing, Elseron felt less pleased about saying them. I hate being wrong.
'And you saved Atlas's life...for that you have my never ending and undying gratitude.' Phaedos moved to speak again but Elseron wouldn't let him get the sentence out. 'I have known Atlas's feelings for you since the moment she laid eyes on you, pursue your relationship with her all you will...but understand this,' turning Elseron found those sapphire eyes, gems meets ice as the two warriors stared at each other. 'You break her heart, there will be no hole deep enough for you to hide in, no army large enough to defend you, I will track you down and kill you with my bare hands even if that means braving the deepest darkest pits of Hades I will do it.' for a sharp second Phaedos's face froze in fear but he quickly covered it up. 'Am I clear?'
'Yes sir!' he answered with a soft smile, he recognised the blessing for what it was, even if it was sugar-coated with a harsh and truthful threat.
'Good. Now see that Melody and Arisa feed when they awaken, it has been a few days.' With that Phaedos bowed to leave, when his foot was just about to leave the threshold of Arisa's room to enter his own Elseron said, 'Phaedos!' The half-breed stopped and turned. 'I will put your offer to Atlas soon, after tonight it is quite evident to me that we need all the help we can get.' Phaedos let a smile touch his lips before nodding wordlessly and leaving, shutting the door behind him. Arisa kicked out in her dream as Elseron ran a hand through his long silver locks, his hair had grown several inches in the past weeks. Arisa had even offered to plat it several times, which was the warning that he really needed it cutting. Straightening the shirt Dante and Melody had bought for the two of them at a local shopping mall Elseron moved off and opened the door to Atlas's bedroom. She was sitting on the edge of the bed looking towards him, her warm honey eyes immediately finding his ice blue.
'Leave the door open Els, in case Arisa wakes up looking for her Knight in shining armour.' Atlas smiled cheekily as he propped the door open half an inch and moved to sit on the windowsill, his armour sat in the corner, its scratches and dents so evident in the moonlight. Those won't just buff out. He thought staring at the gleaming pearlescent metal.
I know, it will take a great deal more than polish. Said Atlas's voice inside his skull. The soft ring to her words seeming to echo, as if being said at the bottom of a deep well or chasm. Her smile broadened as did Elseron's. 'Are you ever going to tell me how we can suddenly converse as the spirits do?'
'I have only theories,'
'They're better than nothing.' she said sitting back onto her arms.
'I believe when I linked with you in order to pull you from your coma, a small piece of my subconscious was planted into your mind by accident. A side effect if you will, the reverse happened with me. That is the only logical explanation I can find.'
'Sounds as good as anything I had come up with, a unique side effect of magic though, I’ve never heard of such things happening before.'
'Me neither my Princess, but old magic is a fickle thing at the best of times. Its influences can never truly be comprehended until after the flow of magic stops.' he smiled and looked to her. 'Enough of this, how are you feeling? You have never used your full inheritance before, are there any side effects? Headaches, heart palpitations, loss of hearing of vision...'
'If you'd let me get a word in Els I'd tell you that I'm stiff, sore, tired, dehydrated but fine!' she said between small fits of giggles. Smiling he moved to sit next to her as she say up right.
'I'm sorry, you know I worry.' he admitted.
'I know, and you worry! You didn't see me when you were fighting those monsters, I was a wreck. I didn't talk to anyone I just sat their staring in the mirror looking back for you.' she smiled and placed her hand in his, he squeezed hard, the link between them flaring at her touch. 'Els...even for the Lord Commander of the Royal Knights, that was one of the single bravest things I've ever seen. Don't interrupt!' she smiled noting his expression with a soft chuckle. 'Despite what people may think back home you are a mortal man, you can be killed...but the strength and conviction you showed back there...it made me incredibly proud to have spent so many years around you Els, even prouder to know that no one knows you better than me.' A gentle tear rolled down her cheek, following the line of her face until Elseron wiped it away with a swipe of his finger. She hugged him then. They must have been there for five or six minutes, just holding each other, letting actions speak for a thousand words and thoughts that couldn't be expressed any other way. Elseron prayed to the spirits and his axe as he held her, just giving his thanks to them for keeping her alive and safe.
When they finally broke apart Atlas's had to wipe away a dozen or so more tears and regain her composure. 'It was brave, but ever do anything like that again I'll kill you!' the pair laughed heartily for a long moment.
'I'm sure you would My Little Princess.'
'Phaedos told me he kept Elve alive...' the feeling in the room suddenly shifted and Elseron looked to the floor. I shouldn't feel guilty, I did my job.
'I delivered her a swift death. That was more than she deserved.' his coldness startled Atlas at first but then she noted his feelings through the link.
'Oh my Guardian...I'm sorry, I place such burdens on you at times I...' cutting her off midsentence Elseron placed a finger on her lips.
'That is the second time you have said such things to me, and I want to make something absolutely clear. The only time, you have ever, ever been a burden to me was when you were thirty and insisted on climbing the roof of the palace and making me clamber after you,' she burst out laughing, remembering how she would skip so elegantly from roof to slanted roof and he had to jump after her, once putting his foot through the ceiling entirely into the study of some prudish Scribe. 'Atlas,' he whispered when the laughing subsided. 'Guarding and raising you has been the single greatest achievement of my life, when we're young we all dream of songs of glory on the battlefield. I got that, but when I am gone the songs will soon be forgotten. But you Atlas...you are my greatest legacy, the best I can ever hope to leave on this world. And that is never a burden.' her face was a vacant mask for a long minute before it fell into tears. Her arms firing around him once again, her head burying into his neck. They must have stayed like that for hours, she let all her pent up emotions be released that night, because with the link in their mind their emotions were forever on show to them now.
As the night wore on and her emotions levelled out once again she quickly and almost instantly fell asleep on his shoulder. Elseron didn't have the heart to move her and risk waking her up, so he stayed stock still, sitting on the edge of the bed until sunup when she finally woke, and asked why she had fallen asleep on him.