Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Festival Murder ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

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Obsolete Garden

By: Revamp

Chapter 2: Festival Murder

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“Touch her and I’ll castrate you with a rusty knife,”
Venetia glared down the rose god. Her uncovered eye pierced through
him with intensity and chill.

“Touchy, touchy,” Rosario waved in dismissal with a
nervous smile on his face. While he wasn’t afraid of her, he knew
that she wasn’t screwing around with him, either. She was a foe to
be considered.

“This party is wonderful. It seems as though we’ll have
another successful year.” Through the masses of celebration
and soft music, a familiar voice could be heard.

It belonged to a woman dressed in a tight, short, black dress with
a mass of feathers that protruded through the neck hole. The
garment lacked sleeves, and from them jutted two black wings. Her
legs were orange and rough, adorned with black heels. Atop her head
was a huge bird’s nest with three baby birds that had open mouths.
Her black, short hair was molded to her head and long bangs covered
one of her red eyes, decorated with dark eye shadow. A black bird
tail trailed behind her.

She was a mature woman, and a good friend to the goddess.

“Ah, Samala,” Cambria called her by name.

Red lips curved into a smile, “I see you’re having fun, my
goddess.”

“Can you call that fun?” Venetia inquired with
an irritated expression and jerked a thumb towards the Rose God. He
was hardly the best person to be around, and he was far from
something she’d call fun.

Samala sighed a little and shook her head lightly, “It’s the
same as ever with you, isn’t it Venetia?”

“You’re in the deities’ court. You should feel the same
way,” Venetia knew that the crow had to put up with Rosario
just as much as she did.

“I’m but a simple ambassador for Natsuhama. Besides, we have
a treaty with Flora…do we not? So, Rosario is always more
than welcomed here. Our worlds help each other. We’ve been close
for eons,” Samala didn’t want to do anything to upset that
balance. Rosario might have been a pervert, but she knew that was a
minor offense considering the cost it would be to be at war with
him. He was a powerful god, more than most. Surely, she could
understand that.

“Even so, I’ve heard things about the Rose Gods,”
Venetia wasn’t just talking out of her ass. There were a lot of
things that were sketchy at least with the deities of flowers.

“Are you referring to the old text?” Samala had to
wonder if it was the same things that they all had grievances
with.

“Olden text?” The goat demon was unsure of what exactly
she was referring to.

“The ones from Pangea,” Samala clarified.

“It’s the Rose God’s fault that the gods are in different
worlds,” Venetia had pretty good knowledge of the old Pangea
texts. They were pretty much common knowledge at that point,
especially when it came to the misdeeds of the Rose God at the
time.

“Is it?” Samala placed a wing to her mouth in thought.
“I thought it was the Summer Goddess’ fault for being tempted
by her devil.” That was also a factor in why the gods went
their own separate ways. She thought that Venetia was being just a
little too spiteful on the matter.

“When Roseus left, the foliage died,” Venetia knew that
much about the old texts. It was enough in her opinion. The Rose
God was the reason that everyone left, because they had no other
choice.

“Sorry can drive people to do things,” Samala couldn’t
say that she wouldn’t have done the same in that situation. She
didn’t think it was right for anyone to really judge the situation
like they were doing. There must have been a lot on Rosario’s
shoulders because of it, but she was certain that he had a good
reason behind it.

“Sometimes, I wonder if it would have been better if Pangea
hadn’t fallen to ruin. Things seemed better back then,”
Venetia had heard the olden tales of what a paradise it was. A
plain where all of the gods ruled together and the world prospered.
It seemed like heaven to her, and she couldn’t help but wonder what
kind of lives everyone led before he decided to strip the world of
its life.

“I couldn’t tell you,” Samala responded. “That
was many years ago, before I was even a thought in this
world.”

“Ah, so we’re talking about that subject again,”
Rosario popped in between the two women, which caused them both to
reel back in shock.

“Huh?” Cambria caught wind of the conversation from a
few feet away and turned her attention to the three of them.

“You lived in Pangea…didn’t you, Rosario?” Samala
turned to the Rose God. Surely, someone like him would have answers
to what life was like back then.

“He may not have those memories,” Venetia
warned. She knew as well as they did that Rosario had lost a part
of who he was from back then. There were certain things that he
more than likely didn’t remember as a result.

“I have some of them. I still think about certain
memories all of the time,” a smile crossed his face at the
thought of the few things he found to be comforts of the olden
days. Rosario did have happy memories, despite his departure. They
were memories that he wished he could keep always.

“What exactly was Pangea? I know it was another world, but I
never got to live there,” Cambria had always been curious
about it. Pangea was something that had only been spoken of lightly
in conversations. It wasn’t anything people spoke of in depth. Not
even her fathers who have lived there spoke of it much.

“Pangea was the original world of the gods. We all created it
together,” Rosario explained the land’s existence to the
young goddess.

“So, how did you all rule? Were you on a polytheistic
system?” Samala was curious. The only world that she had
known was one that was ruled by a single god. How did a world work
where all of the gods were present? Did they ever fight over who
had absolute rule or was it merely understood? Was anyone above
anyone else? She had a lot of inquiries.

“We all had our own roles to play. As long as we knew our
place we could co-exist,” the rose god placed a finger to his
chin in thought. “From what I remember, it was very peaceful
and happy. We had many subjects and very few wars. Haa, the good
old days. Even though my memories are limited, I enjoy
them.”

He couldn’t help but smile as he remembered what visions of life he
still had. The days of Pangea were definitely good ones and he
loved to recall the happier times of his life. The times where all
of the gods were together, jesting and laughing with each other as
they basked in the glory of their successful civilization.

“Then why?” Venetia didn’t feel like she was getting
the entire story.

The Rose God made it out to be some beautiful paradise, but if that
was the case then why did he leave it? He was the one who left it
first, before anything bad had even happened to it that she knew
of. Why would a god leave a perfect paradise if there was nothing
wrong with it? What happened to make him want to leave?

“Why did my other half and I leave? I’m a little foggy on the
subject myself. I was told it was because I was sad about the
Summer Goddess,” Rosario’s tone became more serious as he
continued to think about that time in his life. There were only
fragments of memories, but nothing cohesive or all that coherent.
It was irritating that he couldn’t recall them clearly, but maybe
he wasn’t meant to as well. Maybe that’s how his other half wanted
things to be.

“The Summer Goddess before me?” Cambria questioned. She
had only heard tales about that being, but she didn’t know too much
about her. As far as she knew, the past Summer Goddess was a
wonderful person, someone she wanted to live up to in reputation,
but that was all she knew.

“Yes, she was a wonderful person. She’d be proud of your
rule.” That was something that Rosario was certain of. He
knew the Summer Goddess more than most people did. In fact, he
could say that he knew her the best.

“Really? You think so?” Cambria looked up to the taller
deity with sparkling, yellow eyes. She wanted to hear more about
the fabled goddess, and how she used to be.

“Of course,” Rosario smiled warmly at the girl,
“her rule is why I can come here. Well, come here so freely.
Gods are pretty picky about who they let come to their worlds. It’s
not exactly common that we visit each other, save our
meetings…and some we can’t see at all.” Rosario was
pretty knowledgeable about traveling to other worlds, an ability
that the gods had called `world hopping’.

“But what about god meetings?” Cambria was a little
confused. Didn’t all of the gods see each other then?

“Those are on Pangea, right?” Venetia wanted
clarification on that. She had never been to a god meeting, nor had
she ever step foot in Pangea. That land was merely a decaying dream
to her.

“In the one part of Pangea that’s still accessible. The rest
of the world is highly unstable, riddled with disease and
decay,” Rosario had been one of the few to see the true fall
of a place he once considered utopia. It was in shambles now, such
a sad, disgusting world it had become. The only thing beautiful in
it was the glowing garden of blue flowers that sparkled in the dim
light.

“Wait, all of the people the gods ruled over-“ A
horrifying vision shot through Cambria’s head. Hundreds of dead
bodies, people festering on the streets and dying of disease. Did
the gods truly leave their civilization to rot to such a cruel
fate? Terror and shock crossed her face to even be led to think
such a thought.

“Who knows what happened to them,” Rosario shrugged.
“The one person who does know, we can’t really talk
to.”

He had no idea what happened after he left that world. Rosario
wanted to be far away from it and all that reminded him of his
precious daughter. Pangea was her birth place, the place that held
his happiness and a world so full of his beautiful vegetation. It
was a world of love, peace and many people that he had such
wonderful bonds with.

However, it all crumbled that day.

The day she was taken away from him.

“Are you implying there is another god that only you know
of?” That was the one topic that really stuck out to Samala.
She was aware of most of the gods, so who was this mysterious
entity. Even more important, why did Rosario know of them and no
one else?

“There is,” he confirmed her assumptions.

“Why is it that you know this?” Venetia was getting
skeptical.

“He was my husband…Well, Rosalina and I,” Rosario
mentioned the god’s importance in his own life. This god was very
close to him.

“Husband?” Samala was caught off guard by the
revelation. “Wait…you had a-“

The thought of the Rose God being in a committed relationship was
something that was beyond her comprehension. The thought of him
being faithful was even more so.

“I did,” he knew it was hard to believe but it was the
truth.

“What kind of god was he?” Cambria was interested in
the mystery deity. She really wanted to know more about him. This
was a god that she knew nothing about and she wasn’t even sure that
others have heard of him. It felt special that Rosario would trust
her with such information.

“He was a powerful god, the most ruthless man I’ve ever met.
One would think he was more a devil than a god,” Rosario
began to explain his mate the best way he knew how to. He wanted to
pay homage to all of his wonderful glory.

“He sounds unpleasant,” Samala frowned. That was
definitely a man she didn’t want to meet any time soon. Maybe it
was better that she didn’t know about this god.

“He’s kind of a corrupt fellow, but I understood him. He
could at times be very loving. He was also kink as fuck,” a
sly grin crossed the Rose God’s face as his pink eyes sparkled in
perversion. “A real dominating kinda man. Cute too. Oh, how I
want him to shackle me up and-“

Before he could go any further, Venetia clamped her hand over his
mouth. She knew where his little story was going, and her goddess
didn’t need to be tainted by his disgusting words. “We didn’t
ask for extra information.”

“Uh…” Cambria blushed at his words. Rosario was
giving her mental images that she didn’t really want. Picturing the
Rose God moaning in shackles was the last thing she wanted on her
mind.

“I sort of got carried away there,” Rosario took her
hand away from his face and fanned himself with his hand. “He
still manages to make me hot and bothered even after all these
eons.”

That man truly had an effect on him, more than he would have liked
to admit. Oh, what he wouldn’t give to play those kinky games that
they did.

“Sounds like you still love him.” It was strange to see
Rosario gush about someone like he did this man. Samala found it so
odd to see him acting like a little school girl about the very
mention of him. It wasn’t really like a playboy who slept around to
have an affinity for someone.

“Of course I do,”Rosario’s tone sounded like he was on
cloud nine. Just the thought of his mysterious god made him feel
like he was on top of the world. He truly was a wonderful man.

“But you sleep with so many people,” Venetia wondered
how his partner felt about something like that.

“Fukatsu never minded. He has always been my favorite. The
one who knows everything about me. The one I’d bear the child of.
The happiest day of my life was when she was born,” Rosario
stared wistfully into the great, blue sky as memories filled his
mind – of him, of her…of them.

“It’s hard to believe that you love someone, but when I
listen to you talk about him…I can really tell you mean
it,” Venetia was almost fascinated with his psychology behind
it all. She had never heard him refer to someone with such
endearment as he had this man. What was so special about him that
caused him to capture the Rose God’s heart?

He spoke about the other man with such love in his voice. Rosario
often spoke to people in general with a sultry or purring tone, but
this was different. There was no perverse intent in his tone, it
was all pure emotion. Rosario spoke of him fondly,
romantically.

“It must be sad to know you can’t see him anymore,”
Cambria’s visage fell. She could only imagine the depth of sorrow
he must feel, and the amount of loneliness that he felt because he
couldn’t be around the other god.

“One day I’ll see him again. I know he’s thinking of me as
well. I mean, how could he not? I’m fabulous,” Rosario
flashed his most perfect smile and struck a pose. There was no
denying with good looks and a figure like his, he was charming in
the eyes of even the harshest of critics.

“What about Rosalina?” Samala was a little curious on
how she took such a relationship. Weren’t the two of them
together?

“She is my other half, the co-developer of Flora,”
Rosario explained her position. While it had nothing to do with her
standing as his true `other half’, she was in every meaning of the
word. She was always by his side, the one who helped him develop
and give life to everyone that lived there.

“Everyone on Flora is-“ Samala began to speak, but she
was cut off.

“They’re all related to me,” Rosario spoke those words
proudly. In all reality, he was glad that there was a planet
composed of all of his beautiful creations. Flora was a world of
beauty, so why not have a world full of his beautiful children?
Even his angels were the pinnacle of beauty and they were more
created than born of the gods.

“Again, gross,” Venetia wrinkled her face at the
thought of it. “The last thing that came out of you was
probably the Summer Goddess.” In fact, the only thing
that came out of him that was good was the Summer Goddess. She
doubted that he could produce anything else worth anything.

“I love her…so much,” Rosario closed his eyes as
he thought fondly of his daughter. Oh, how he wished he could see
her again. He hadn’t in ages. He really should visit her again.

“Do you miss your life on Pangea?”Cambria didn’t know
if that question was a little too personal. She was just really
fascinated with that world, and she wanted to know about the way
things used to be. It really seemed like it must have been so nice
to live there.

“That’s behind me now,” the Rose God ruffled her hair.
“There isn’t a need to talk about such affairs at a happy
setting. We should be happy and not think about sad
things.”

It was bad enough that he felt the guilt that he did. Must she
shove things in his face like this? Rosario knew that Cambria
wasn’t aware of what she was doing, but it didn’t make it any less
painful for him, and it didn’t make him feel any less guilty that
people blamed the fall of Pangea on him leaving it. This was a
party; it was the last thing he wanted to hear guilt tripping at.
Rosario just wanted to have fun.

“Sorry! I didn’t mean to bring it up! I was just
curious.” There was panic in Cambria’s voice. She didn’t mean
to bring up such sensitive things about the other god.

“No harm done! No harm done! But, if you wanted to comfort me
I wouldn’t be opposed,” Rosario smiled kindly at the smaller
god, before a sly, perverse expression crossed his face. There was
nothing like a little fertilization at a fertilization festival.
Cambria and he could make such beautiful children together, and he
wouldn’t mind seeing her carry his child.

“Lord Rosario!” Samala scolded the Rose God. She knew
that her words would do no good, but at the same time she was
caught off guard that he would make such an advance at her
goddess.

Venetia, however, had enough of his shit. She pulled out a large,
black hammer that was tied to her back. She could feel the anger
boiling through her as she drew her weapon back and brought it down
with all of her strength. Rosario barely managed to move out of the
way as it hit the ground and shaking it. The ground gave way under
her strong blow, caving in and making a crater.

“I said enough!” Her voice was cold and commanding as
everyone scattered in confusion and fear.

“Touchy! Maybe you can comfort me instead,” Rosario
didn’t know when to quit. Actually, he just liked testing her.
There was something cute about angry people.

“Not a chance,” the goat demon’s words were as cold as
ice. Someone like him hardly interested her.

“Was that really necessary?” Cambria held a hand to her
chest. Venetia’s violent outburst really scared her. She was lucky
that she didn’t get caught up in the goat demon’s wrath. She held
Venetia very dear to her heart, but there were times that she could
be more than frightening. It was one of the reasons that she made
Venetia her right hand woman.

“Sorry my lady,” Venetia closed her eyes and frowned,
straightening herself up. “I just didn’t want this lecherous
pervert defiling your image.” She wouldn’t know what she’d do
if the Rose God put his disgusting hands all over her precious
goddess. Her job was to protect her and she would, even if it meant
protecting her against the other gods.

“Venetia, please! He’s a god.” That was no way to treat
him. Rosario was Cambria’s special guest. She didn’t need to try
and kill him.

“Oh, there’s a party. It seems I’ve been sleeping through all
of the fun,” a familiar voice was heard through the
chattering of the party guests.

It belonged to a scorpion who was light blue in coloration. He had
long hair, braided down past his butt and tied with a lavender bow
at the top and bottom. Long, shoulder-length tendrils hung over his
shoulders and straight bangs covered his eyebrows, giving his
piercing blue eyes a menacing appearance.

This scorpion was a nice dresser, wearing a sky blue coat that was
slightly darker than his hair with an open coat and vest of the
same color. He wore a white dress shirt and navy blue tie. His dark
blue dress shoes were shined to perfection, as was the odd object
he carried with him – an axe.

The blade of the axe was as sharp as the point on his venomous
tail. Why he brought such an object to a party was beyond everyone
there. He looked more than shady carrying around such a weapon, but
at the same time, that weapon never seemed to leave his hands.

“Thanatos…” Iliya could recognize that voice
anywhere. He didn’t even need to turn around to know who it
belonged to.

The moth turned around with a frown on his face that only deepened
to see that Thanatos brought his little…friend with
him to the party. This man was face palm levels of irritating.

“You look so disappointed to see me,” Thanatos sounded
more amused than hurt.

“Scorpion…” Iliya narrowed his eyes. That was
even more of a reason not to want to even associate himself with
him. Scorpions ate moths. He would rather not.

Thanatos winked playfully at the knight, “I haven’t eaten you
yet.”

“If you did, you’d be in trouble. It’s not like you have the
best reputation,” Iliya felt the need to remind him that
there were repercussions for his actions. Thanatos couldn’t go
around, just doing whatever he wanted and killing whomever he
pleased.

The scorpion merely laughed at his words, as if he were telling
some kind of funny joke. “The things that crawl around in the
dark are the most interesting. That is something moths should
know.”

“Aren’t you nocturnal? You should go back to sleep,”
Iliya shot back. It would be more than a relief if Thanatos removed
himself from the party and slept…for a thousand years. He
couldn’t stand that guy. Everything about Thanatos made his skin
scrawl.

“Thanatos…” Ophir finally realized that he was
there. He really wished he hadn’t.

“Oh, you’re awake, too,” Thanatos found it more than
amusing that both of them were there. The three of them usually
were more active at night. It was rather odd and coincidental that
they happened to all be awake today.

“I don’t want to be,” Ophir sighed before his eyes went
to the axe the other male had swung over his shoulder. “Why
did you bring an axe to the party?” What the hell was wrong
with him?

“He’s my friend. I take him everywhere. It’d be wrong if he
didn’t join the fun,” Thanatos smiled. He never went anywhere
without his weapon. He did more than have reasons for doing such
things. People could call it a precaution of sorts.

“You’d better not cause trouble for Lady Cambria,”
Ophir’s eyebrows wrinkled and a scowl crossed his face. If he
intended on using that axe, he’d be sure to take him out.

“Relax,” Thanatos waved and turned his head to the side
and closed his eyes, waving him away, “you worry too
much.”

“I don’t need you to tell me that,” Ophir argued
the point. Of all people, Thanatos had room to talk the
least about his position in anything.

The carefree scorpion laughed again before his eyes wandered over
to one of the nearby tables that was adorned with copious bottles
of expensive liquor and a large bowl of punch. “Is that
liquor?” Thanatos was more than excited to see spirits at the
party. He might as well stay just because of that. There was
nothing wrong with drinking a little.

“Hey, drink with me,” Rosario called to him, holding up
a bottle of hard booze.

“Hell yeah!” Thanatos was more than happy to oblige and
walked over to him to choose his spirit from the assortment.

“The last thing anyone needs is the two of you drinking
together,” Ophir already had a bad feeling about the both of
them being at the party, much less the both of them being drunk
together. He could smell the bad influences from a mile away.

“The grasshopper is no fun! No fun! No fun!” A slightly
drunken Rosario chanted in a teasing manner as he waved his bottle
around.

“I’m a cricket,” Ophir corrected him, irritation
prevalent in his voice. Not only was he growing sick of Rosario’s
voice, he was growing sick of being called something he wasn’t. He
swore to Cambria if one more person called him a grasshopper, he
was going to lose his shit.

There were differences between crickets and grasshoppers. For one,
crickets sung, they also had longer antennae, and they only came in
two colors: black and brown. They might have been in the same
species classification, but they were not the same at all. It was
always irritating that people confused him for the other.

“No fun!” Rosario continued to chant.

“Ugh,” the cricket sighed and drug a hand down his
face.

“I second that,” Lestat said, standing beside of
him.

Ophir turned to the nephalim, regarding his presence. Then again,
how could one not? Whenever Lestat was around, there was a certain
chill in the air. He had an odd presence about him, something
otherworldly. Ophir couldn’t help but notice that he was truly
special in that regard. He wondered if Cambria felt such things
when she was around him? Maybe that was why she stuck around him so
much and made him her body guard.

“I’m glad these parties only come once a year,” Ophir
said as he rested his arms at his sides and frowned.

“Mmm…” Lestat didn’t seem to have much to say on
the issue.

“I suppose I should be glad, but…” Ophir trailed
off and looked dejected. It wasn’t as if he didn’t want to have
fun, and he knew that he really should, but he just felt an
overbearing wave of sorrow. It was so hard just to get out of bed,
much less attend an affair where everyone was happy. He didn’t want
to upset his goddess, but he just couldn’t feel jovial even in a
setting that he should be in.

“I know,” Lestat understood his reasoning, maybe more
than most others. Around him, the cricket didn’t have to explain
himself.

“It’s too peaceful,” and it bothered Ophir. He didn’t
like moments like this. It made him feel worse that he couldn’t
enjoy peace, but there was something about this kind of setting
that unnerved him. He wasn’t sure if it was his depression, not
wanting him to be happy or if it was something else. He couldn’t
tell anymore.

“She’s happy,” Lestat looked over to the goddess, who
was talking and looking as if she was generally having a fun time
with her subjects. It made him feel a sense of peace to be able to
see his goddess enjoying herself among the others.

“Huh?” Ophir looked to the nephalim in question.

“As long as she’s happy, I’m fine with that.” Nothing
made him content as much as it did to see Cambria smile.

“I once felt the same way. I can relate.” Although the
memories were painful for Ophir, he was still happy that he was
able to have them.

Lestat glanced over to see Thanatos and Rosario, who were both piss
drunk with their arms around each other. They were laughing with
flushed faces, their free hand holding a liquor bottle. They looked
as if they were both having fun.

“These are peaceful times. The world is how she wants
it.” How long it would stay that way, Lestat could never be
too sure. However, he would help her protect it in any way that he
possibly could.

“So it is…” Ophir closed his eyes, trying to let
the happy atmosphere sink into himself. He wanted to feel the same
sense of peace as the others.

“I’m so happy that everyone is having fun,” Cambria
smiled up at Iliya, who held a glass of wine that he had been
gingerly sipping on. She was having fun seeing all of her friends
celebrating the good times. It was nice to be in a moment like
this, and she felt it was a good idea after all.

“It’s nice, isn’t it?” Iliya smile a little at his
goddess. So far, there was nothing wrong with what was going on.
Perhaps it would be better if he relaxed a little and had some fun.
He couldn’t be serious all of the time, even if there were people
like Rosario and Thanatos at the party.

“I never want it to end. I truly love this world and everyone
in it. Seeing them so happy fills me with joy.” It was true
that most of the beings there weren’t her creation, but it didn’t
mean that the goddess didn’t love them any less. Cambria truly
cared about Natsuhama and its inhabitants. Their well-being was her
prime concern.

“Compared to the other worlds, I’ve heard ours was
peaceful,” Iliya turned, glancing over the many people who
were celebrating happy times. He didn’t know if what he said was
correct, but he felt as if the world he came from was an
oddity.

“I’ve only been to Flora and Solara, so I don’t know,”
Cambria placed a finger to her lips in thought. “I’m sure
Lord Rosario would know. I think he’s been to other
worlds.”

She knew for a fact that he had been to Pangea, and he could travel
to Natsuhama. If she remembered correctly, he could go to a lot of
different worlds and often did. She couldn’t think of anyone that
he was on bad terms with. Even Fate seemed to tolerate him.

“Lord Rosario can world hop?” Iliya glanced back to his
goddess, arching a fluffy eyebrow.

“I believe so, yes. I think most of the gods can.”
Unless it was something she was missing, Cambria was certain that
was a simple things that all of the gods could do. She didn’t have
much knowledge of their personal affairs or who could visit whom,
but she was certain she was right about that at the very least.

“What about you?” Iliya knew she traveled around, but
he wondered where all she had gone.

“I’ve never tried to go to worlds beyond Solara and Flora. I
don’t know the other gods and devils at all,” Cambria had
heard things about them from Rosario, Beelzebub and Penumbra, but
she didn’t know them personally nor had she even really seen them
aside from god meetings.

“I wonder what they’re like,” Iliya looked thoughtful
as he sipped his wine. Given what he knew about the one god that
Rosario described, he had his doubts.

“I do, too. I bet they’re really interesting,” Cambria
beamed, looking excited over the subject matter. Her imagination
ran wild when it came to the other gods and goddesses. They all
always looked so regal and beautiful, and she was always curious to
know what kind of gods they were. Were they peaceful or chaotic?
Did they share her ideals of how to rule? Did they all have devils?
What were their relationships with them? How did they feel about
their creations? These were all things that she never asked, but
she would like to.

“I don’t know…” Iliya’s doubts were doing more
than showing in this case.

“What do you mean?” Why would the moth say that?
Cambria thought all of the gods and devils seemed really
interesting. Did he know something she didn’t?

“If they’re anything like that Fukatsu guy, they sound
intimidating. The way that Lord Rosario talked about him made me
uneasy. He sounds downright sinister,” Iliya couldn’t get
Rosario’s description of the god out of his head. Even if Rosario
was a scum bag, he didn’t really lie about this kind of thing, and
the way he spoke of him with such affection, despite Fukatsu being
a terrible man was…unnerving.

“He loved Lord Rosario, so he can’t be that bad,”
Cambria wanted to think that there was some kind of positivity to
this dark god. Perhaps he had a reason for being the way he was.
She had always stayed true to the fact that there was good in all
things, this mysterious evil god in question applied as well.

“You try too hard to see the good in people,” Iliya
sighed. Sometimes his goddess could be a little too positive when
it came to her views on others. She wanted to see the good in
everything, and while he couldn’t fault her for it, he also saw the
error in that way of thinking.

“Not everyone is all bad,” Cambria knew this far more
than anyone should. Even the most evil of hearts have a little
amount of kindness and good will. People just had to find it and
dig deeply. Everyone was capable of being liked. Everyone was put
on this world with a purpose.

“I don’t know about that,” Iliya argued her point. With
people like Thanatos around, her point was hard to prove.

-X-

`This party has a bigger outcome than imagined. It seemed
everyone feels god’s protective light shining on them today.’

Those thoughts ran through the scorpion’s head as he turned from
the table of spirits with a full glass of wine.

Such a party had a truly happy setting. It was sickeningly nice to
see everyone getting along so well. Peace was such a
pathetic notion to him. No world was perfect, not this perfect. The
aspect of such peace only made him want to drink even more. In his
opinion, he thought the previous Summer Goddess would be slightly
disappointed at such a world, considering how she was now.

Then again, that wasn’t any of his business, and she hadn’t seen
this world in eons. What a pity.

Suddenly, he felt himself jerk forward. His hand twitched and the
wine that he had just got spilled everywhere as he stumbled forward
in an attempt to keep his footing. Well, this was getting
interesting. Thanatos wondered if this would be the perfect
opportunity to get into a drunken fight.

He turned around to see who had bumped into him and met with the
maroon eye of the goat demon.

“Pardon me,” she said curtly.

“You should watch who you run into. The next person you bump
might not be so kind.” It was just a little warning. Then
again, if an altercation did happen, at least something
worthwhile would take place at this little shindig.

“You spilled your liquor. I can get you more,” Venetia
glanced to his wine glass that had only a small amount of liquid in
it.

“No worries.” It wasn’t really worth her time. He
hadn’t walked that far away from the spirits table, and it wasn’t
as if he had anything else to do.

“How clumsy of me,” Venetia was irritated. She should
have known better and stepped with more grace. She was the right
hand woman to the goddess! What a neophyte mistake. To run into
Thanatos of all people didn’t make things any better.

“You’re the right hand woman of our goddess, aren’t
you?” Thanatos brought up her position as a topic.

“Venetia, personal body guard and adviser to goddess
Cambria,” the goat demon bowed and introduced herself.

“You’re so serious,” Thanatos noted and poured himself
some wine. It was a party and she still couldn’t get away from that
rigid personality of hers. She truly did take everything as
business.

“This is my job. I’m here to protect her from harm.”
Even though it was a party, anything could happen and it was best
that she stayed on her toes. For Venetia, there was no rest.

“Sometimes, it’s best to make yourself happy first and
foremost,” Thanatos closed his eyes and sat his glass on the
table. “People falter, you know.”

“My end will have meaning,” Venetia knew this to be
true. She didn’t need a scorpion telling her to be selfish to
determine that.

“Will it?” Thanatos turned to pour himself more
wine.

“If you’ll excuse me, I have matters to attend to,” she
didn’t have time to shoot the breeze with someone who let his axe
do the talking. Venetia had something important to do, anyway.
Thanatos was just trying to be a road block.

High above them, a girl with transparent insect wings fluttered
around and checked the lights in several trees to make sure that
they were all operating to full capacity. She was dressed in a
purple party dress and had hair of the same color, cropped into a
bob cut. The entire length of the party she had been making sure
that everything was in perfect working order.

She wasn’t about to let her goddess down. After all, Lady Cambria
deserved the best experience with her people and she would give it
to her. The female insect fluttered about, occasionally moving the
lights and checking their bulbs. To her this wasn’t a party, it was
a job.

“I always have to fix the lighting. You’d think there’d be a
better way to go about this,” she fluttered back and wiped
the sweat from her brow.

Down below, Thanatos was covered by a shadow and glanced up to see
her flying above him. He took his wine glass and sipped from it as
he watched her go to another tree. `Oh look, it’s Madam
Lafayette. I was hoping she’d attend…I’m glad she
did.’

Lafayette pulled back from another tree where she had finished
adjusting the lights once more. She sighed heavily to herself.
“Phew, this is hard work. I don’t want to drop this light or
the crowd below will go into a panic.”

She lifted the glass, flower-shaped done carefully and adjusted it
onto a tree branch. Lafayette didn’t want the wind to knock it out
and shatter the blown glass. It was very delicate, and she was sure
that her goddess would be disappointed if such a thing were to
happen.

“You should be careful. I wouldn’t want you to
accidentally fall.”

She heard a deep voice intone as she stood on a nearby tree branch
and glanced around. “What? Who’s that?”

“There are always unforeseen events in time, in which the
slightest infraction can cause a series of unfortunate events. Time
can’t be recovered.”

-X-

“What do you mean?” Iliya looked to Lestat with a grave
expression on his face. Did the nephalim really say what he thought
he had?

“Murders,” Lestat repeated his word.

“Murders?” Iliya could feel himself tense up at the
very word. That kind of thing was rare for a place like Natsuhama,
especially in the day time.

“I’ve been checking on them recently. I came here to keep an
eye out for more. They’ve been happening infrequently. I don’t want
anything to happen at this party.” Both Lestat and Venetia
had been keeping their eyes out for anyone suspicious or anyone
that they thought would want to cause harm to his goddess of anyone
there.

“Did you tell Cambria?” Iliya thought that was
important. If there was something bad happening, then she needed to
know what it was.

“No, but she may already know. Still…” Lestat was
certain that she was aware of the situation. She was god, after
all.

“Do you know who’s causing them?” The moth knew that
question could potentially come off as stupid, but he wanted to
know if they at least had any clues.

“No,” Lestat shook his head, “No one does. All I
know is that they kill with some kind of weapon that tears
flesh.”

“Do you have any leads? How long has this been going
on?” Iliya had no clue any of these things were even an
issue. Why didn’t they tell him about this?

“It’s hard to track them due to the lack of evidence.
However, we believe it’s someone close to Lady Cambria. The murders
have been happening for a month now. I haven’t spoken of them to my
goddess. I don’t want to destroy her perception of this
world.” He knew it was wrong to protect her, but Lestat truly
loved her innocence. It was his job as a body guard to preserve
that. More than anything, he wanted her to be happy.

“Just who are we dealing with?” The more Iliya thought
about it, the more dangerous this person could be, especially if he
were to target Lady Cambria. He didn’t want to think of the type of
power that a god slayer could have. “I hope you find out
who’s behind this. Lestat, do you think they’d kill someone at a
big party like this?”

“I don’t know. I’m here to make sure that they don’t,”
Lestat didn’t want to miss an opportunity. His luck, the moment he
did, the killer would strike.

“Where is Lafayette?” Iliya actually hadn’t seen her
around. Admittedly, he hadn’t paid much attention, either but he
wanted to check on her at the very least.

“There was a problem with the lighting. She went to fix
it,” the reserved nephalim was certain that she was alright.
He had seen her not too long ago.

“I hope she returns safely. I’m a little on edge now,”
the moth could feel the anxiety rising within him. Now that he knew
there was something nefarious about, he would be sure to stay on
his guard.

-X-

“Lights are pristine and beautiful. However, pristine
things fade out and become tainted over time.”

“What do you mean?” Lafayette paused and glanced up
from straightening one of the many lights.

“Tonight will be a night of bloodstained
glory.”

“What?” Her eyes went wide with horror and her heart
slammed in her chest as she took a shaky step back.

“I wish to pain the white flowers red…with the color
of your blood.”

A loud scream was heard piercing into the moth’s sensitive ears. He
dropped his wine glass and quickly turned, only to be met with the
hanging body of Lafayette. Her wings had been bound so she couldn’t
fly and around her neck a noose had been fashioned tightly, cutting
into her skin. Blood dripped from her mouth and her glazed over
eyes were cast to the heavens.

Several people in the crowd of partiers screams and began crying. A
commotion up roared as people nearly ran each other over to quickly
clear out. There was nothing but a mess of glasses and plates
behind. Some of them even left their purses and most cherished
belongings out of fright.

“What’s this?” Iliya’s voice was shaky as he took a
step back. Wide black eyes with white irises could only stare at
the horror before him.

“Lafayette!” Lestat called out from beside of him with
a serious expression.

“Could it be?” The moth questioned, still in shock.

“Lafayette!” Cambria cried with tears in her eyes as
she ran up to the suspended limp body of someone she once
considered a dear friend. She tried frantically to get her down,
but she couldn’t seem to undo the ropes.

Suddenly, she felt someone’s hands on her shoulders, pulling her
back. Yellow eyes widened as they stayed transfixed on the insect’s
body. She couldn’t believe that her friend was dead. Tears
continued to stream down her face and her heart sank in her chest
as Lestat stepped in front of her protectively.

“Stay back, my goddess.” The killer was around here
somewhere, and Lestat wasn’t going to let her fall victim to their
trap. Right now, they made their move and it was dangerous to leave
her alone.

“But-“ She tried to protest.

“They’re here at this party,” Lestat’s voice was dead
calm, like a cold killer as he scanned the now empty party area.
Well, empty except for a select few who stuck around.

“Who is?” Cambria was confused. What were they talking
about?

“The killer…” The nephalim made the situation
aware to her. He didn’t have a choice in the matter. Now he was
forced to reveal that something was amidst. He didn’t want to risk
her innocence, but he had no choice now. Her life was far more
important.

“I’m going to look around and see what I can find,”
Iliya was still trying to get over his shock, but it was better
that he walk away from that hanging body and try to get his head on
straight. A knight was of no use if he couldn’t do his job.

“Right,” Lestat nodded in agreement.

In another area of the party, Venetia ran around wildly looking
through the chaos to see if there were any clues that could lead to
the killer. Now that he had acted, she was out for blood. She had
to catch him for the sake of the safety of her goddess. More than
anything, she didn’t want to let her down.

After running into nothing but garbage from the party, she finally
found a few splotches of blood in the grass. It was down a shaded
path that was closer to a large forest that was referred to as the
Black Woods. The more she walked, the stronger the blood was in her
senses,

Venetia tensed up as she continued to follow the path. The woods
were very quiet, not even the birds sang. The more she walked, the
darker the forest seemed to become. All around her, the trees
became more twisted and mangled looking, shadows of their former
selves.

Soon the smell of blood was replaced by that of necrotic bodies as
she stumbled upon corpses. Stopping in her tracks, the goat demon
glanced around to see that there were quite a few dead bodies. They
were all dressed in party clothes, but how did they get so far away
from the site of the party?

Blood was strewn everywhere. It spattered the leaves of bushes,
tree trunks and the grass. On each corpse, there was a blow from
some kind of blade, or a weapon that made deep gashes.

Upon coming back from the path, she saw the drunken Rose God
sitting underneath a tree with liquor bottles all around him. His
face was flushed and he held a bottle of liquor in his hand
laughing to himself. Her eyes narrowed at the sight of him.

He was the only one happy about any of this.

In fact, he was just palm-to-face worthy levels of irritating at
this rate. Not that he wasn’t before.

“What a wild party. I’ve heard of knocking them dead, but in
this case, it was literal,” the Rose God made light of the
situation, nearly laughing at his own joke.

“Could you at least take this seriously? There’s a killer on
the loose,” Venetia placed a hand on her hip and stared him
down with harsh disapproval.

“A murder mystery!” Rosario cheered in drunken
happiness. “That’s a great addition! I didn’t know you wanted
to spice things up this year.”

“This isn’t a joke, you idiot,” Venetia tried to make
him see the severity of the situation.

Rosario merely began to laugh uncontrollably, slapping one knee as
he did so. It was as if he was watching some kind of dramatic
comedy play out. He had to admit, watching them scurry around like
field mice was something to behold.

“You old drunk,” Venetia scowled before she went back
to the scene of the crime.

“Did you find anything?” Iliya glanced over his
shoulder as he saw Venetia nearing him.

“Just Rosario, drunk off of his ass,” she vented her
frustrations.

“I’m going to search some more,” Iliya decided that
double-checking things wouldn’t be bad. Maybe he could pick up on
things that she missed, considering his senses were stronger than
hers. It didn’t hurt to retrace their steps.

“I’ll come with you.” If Iliya did find anything,
Venetia wanted to be there in case he needed someone to back him
up. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust his abilities; she just wanted
to make sure he didn’t come across someone stronger than he
was.

The two headed off back towards the forest path that Venetia had
found before. It was better that she had Iliya with her if they
were going to go even deeper and follow the trail of the dead any
more than what she had before.

They continued to walk into the now twisted and macabre forest. The
trees looked like black silhouettes against a blood red sky with an
eerie-looking sun beating down on the two of them. The more they
walked down the path, the more bodies that they came across, and
the more blood that had been splattered across the foliage in
artistic display.

The area smelled vile of vicera and necrosis. It was stronger than
usual in Iliya’s senses, and he placed his hand on the hilt of his
sword so he could prepare himself. It felt like something was going
to jump out at any time and grab them, or like they were playing
some kind of twisted survival horror game. His senses and awareness
was crystal clear. Even the slightest sound caused him to snap his
head in response. Fuzzy antennae felt around in the air, trying to
sense any odd vibrations.

Soon, the two of them came to a large streak of blood that dragged
across the grass. They stopped and looked at each other with
serious expressions.

“There’s a blood trail,” Venetia stated the
obvious.

“Should we keep going?” Iliya asked.

“It’s now or never,” the goat demon’s visage hardened
as she nodded to her companion.

“Right,” he nodded back as they continued to walk.

As they did, more and more bodies showed up. They weren’t like the
bodies of the guests, and some of them were a little rotted as if
they had been killed at an earlier time. They all had gashes on
them. Some of them lacked a head or limbs, or some combination of
both.

“This is making me really uneasy…” Iliya spoke up
after the silence between them had lasted a good twenty
minutes.

“A trail of death,” Venetia’s words were haunting in
his ears.

“Who do you think did this?” Iliya asked lowly.

“It had to be someone at the party,” Venetia could at
least deduct it to that. The only way that someone could strike
Lafayette like that was if they had attended. It only confirmed her
fears that it was someone that she had known, or at the very least
that Cambria had known.

This was getting dangerous.

“But who? Who would do this to our goddess?” Iliya
didn’t want to think of such a person. If someone like that had
been in their midst, pretending to be close to the goddess just to
eventually kill her then she needed to be heavily guarded.

He wanted to deal with the problem as quickly as possible and bring
the killer to justice.

“Surely it’s not someone so stupid to think they can kill a
god,” Venetia thought such ideals were blasphemy. No one she
knew even had the power to come close to assaulting Lady
Cambria…and no one ever would on her watch.

“That’s insanity,” Iliya agreed. He didn’t want to
think of such a thing, either.

“Is it?” Venetia glanced to him in question.
“I’ve heard a long time ago that the gods had to come
together to stop one of their own from killing them all.”

It was an old tale that was so famous it went down in history.
Everyone on Natsuhama could readily read it from a book. She was
shocked that Iliya hadn’t heard of such a thing. She was happy that
it wasn’t an incident that took place on Natsuhama. It sounded like
a horrible battle.

“Do you think someone here would try that?” Iliya was a
little skeptical of that whole scenario. The one who went against
the other gods was a god themelf. Surely no one would want to go
after a god, or even have the audacity to go after another god
except another god.

“Who’s to say? I don’t want to think of the
consequences,” Venetia closed her eyes as a sense of dread
crossed her mind. Surely, nothing like that would happen. If it
did, then she was going to be in for more than she bargained
for.

Even taking Iliya along might not help her now.

…To Be Continued

Natsuhama