Tea Leaves and Opal Necklaces

Great Beast

Match Twelve: Great Beast:

Feliciano walked up Heracles’ door. He was dropped into a world of shock when the centaur greeted him with a mug of beer in his hand. The two men stared at each other up and down for five seconds.

“Yo!” the horse man said, waving. The Italian man blinked.

“Uh… Is Heracles in?” he asked.

“Hang on,” the centaur said. He turned and walked into the house.

“Heracles!” he yelled. “You have a visitor!”

“I’ll be down in a second,” Heracles said. Feliciano blinked and tilted his head.

“Uh… who are you?” he asked. “My name’s Feliciano. I’m Italy.” The centaur narrowed his eyes, looking him up and down again.

“Which one are you again?” he asked.

“Northern,” Feliciano said.

“I see,” the centaur said. He stuck out his huge hand.

“I’m Dionysus,” he said. “But you can call me Dio.” The Italian man slowly shook his hand.

“Nice to meet you, I guess,” he said.

“Oh, hello there, Feliciano,” Heracles said when he reached the front door. “I see you’ve met Dio.” The centaur turned and looked at the Greek man’s hand.

“More beer, nice!” he said.

“So he’s the Great Beast from the stories?” Feliciano asked in the living room. Dio sat on the other side of the room finishing off his beer. He set aside his mug and looked around for an unopened can of beer he missed on the floor.

“That’s correct,” Heracles said. Dio perked up when he found another can of beer and opened it. The Italian man tilted his head.

“Dio sure drinks a lot, no?” he asked. The centaur downed his beer.

“I’m going down stairs to get more wine,” Dio said. Heracles and Feliciano watched as he got up and stumbled down the hall.

“Is he going to be okay?” the Italian man asked.

“Of course!” Dio shouted. “I can drink barrels of vine and be fine the next day!” He threw back his head, laughing as he disappeared down the hall.

“I’ve seen him do it,” Heracles said. Feliciano opened his mouth, but the doorbell rang.

“Excuse me,” the Greek man said. He got up and walked to the door. Dio walked back into the room with a keg in his arms. Feliciano stared at him with his confused, narrowed eyes.

“What?” Dio asked.

“How do you wear pants?” the Italian man asked.

“I don’t want any. I don’t believe in them.”

“How do you go to the bathroom?”

“I just go.”

“You just go?”

“That is what I said.”


“And what about you?”

The Italian man gave him a strange look. “Me?”

“How do you use the bathroom?” Dio asked. Feliciano gave him a blank stare. The centaur had such a serious look on his face too. The Italian man’s eyes shifted back and forth.

“Uh…” he began to say. Dio covered his mouth as he tried not to laugh. Feliciano looked at him in a strange way.

“Are you okay?” he asked. The centaur broke down into a hearty laugh for about ten minutes. Dio struggled to calm himself down as the Italian man looked even more confused.

“I’m just playing with you, man,” he said. “It was a joke.” The Italian man blinked as the centaur tried not to laugh again.

“Heh?” Feliciano asked, tilting his head.

Heracles opened the door to find Sadık standing outside. The Greek man frowned.

“Oh, it’s you,” he said.

“How’s it going?” the Turkish man asked.

“Dio’s really made himself at home,” Heracles said. Sadık squinted behind his mask.

“Dio?” he asked.

“It’s short for Dionysus,” the Greek man said. “Because he drinks all of the time. I’m about out of alcohol in my house.”

“But can you take his reigns yet?” Sadık asked.

“No,” Heracles admitted in a low voice.

“What do you mean you?” the Turkish man asked. “It’s been three weeks now. I mean, it would take you a while, but shouldn’t you have at least made a little progress?” The Greek man looked behind him in the house.

“Would you like to come in?” he mumbled. Sadık raised his eyebrow.

“Excuse me?” he asked.

“Get inside,” Heracles said with gritted teeth. “Don’t make me say it again.” His rival stared at him at first. The Greek man gritted his teeth.

“Move it already!” he hissed. Sadık shrugged his shoulders.

“Alright,” he said. The Turkish man pushed Heracles aside and walked into the house. The Greek man rolled his eyes and closed the door behind them.

All three men sat with Dio in the living room. The centaur held up another mug of beer.

“Anyone want booze?” he asked.

“No,” the three countries said. Dio shrugged and finished off his mug.

“Are you okay to be drinking that much?” Feliciano asked. The centaur threw back his head and laughed.

“It’s fine!” he said. “Alcohol doesn’t affect me like normal humans. At worst, I end having to go pee a lot.”

“Thanks for sharing,” Heracles said, frowning. Sadık looked the Great Beast up and down.

“How did you turn out like this?” he asked. Dio raised an eyebrow.

“How do you mean?” he asked.

“How did your end up as a centaur, if you don’t mind me asking?” the Turkish man asked. Heracles cut him a cold glare.

“Stop!” he mouthed at his rival.

“Ah, I take form into whatever the spirit of the one who summons me,” Dio answered like it was nothing. “The reason why I look like this is because of Heracles’ soul.”

“What were you before?” Feliciano asked.

“A phoenix,” the centaur said.

“I do remember saying what you looked like during the first time the Woman in Red roamed the earth,” Sadık said. He turned to the Greek man.

“Why couldn’t you have summoned something as pretty as that beast?” he asked.

“Shut up!” Heracles barked.

“How rude!” Dio said, folding his arms across his chest. “I still look good, thank you very much!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Sadık said, brushing him off.

“Your friend is quite rude,” Dio said to Heracles.

“We’re not friends!” the two men shouted. They folded their arms and turned away. Feliciano looked back and forth between the two.

“Uh…” was all he said. Heracles turned his head.

“Oh, what brings you here, Feliciano?” he asked. “Aren’t you usually with Ludwig and Kiku? Did something happen between you guys?” The Italian man lowered his head.

“I don’t know how to put it,” he said. “Nobody wants to tell me what’s going on. Everyone looks so worried for some reason. Kiku still locked himself in his house and he has smelly black spots on his hands and feet. And Ludwig keeps talking to himself while looking up this bella, Lydia, and her family.” The other three men looked at him.

“Describe that last part,” Dio said. Feliciano rubbed the back of his head.

“Ludwig talks about trying to take this bella to this address,” he said. “I forgot where it was. I couldn’t read the handwriting or what language it was in. All I know is that place doesn’t exist anymore, but Ludwig says that the bella insists on going anyway.”

“Have you ever seen this woman?” Sadık asked. Feliciano shook his head. Dio took a moment to think about this new information.

“Has anyone else seen this woman?” he asked.

“No,” the Italian man said. “Everyone keeps saying that he keeps talking to no one. Gilbert tried to take the file away from Ludwig, but he keeps getting it back somehow.” The centaur looked at Heracles.

“How well can you see my reigns now?” he asked. The Greek man narrowed his eyes as he looked along the Great Beast’s torso.

“I can see it a little bit better,” he said. “I can see the outline of it.”

“What color is it?” Dio asked. Heracles shook his head.

“I can’t tell,” he said. The Greek man reached for the reigns, but Dio pushed his hand away as fast as he could.

“Stop!” he shouted. “Don’t try to exhort yourself. You already burned your hand once when you tried to grab my reigns. The last thing you need is to be drained before the war begins.” Feliciano about jumped out of the couch.

“There’s a war?!” he yelped. Sadık moved to calm him down.

“There, there,” he was quick to say. “It’s nothing serious. Calm down.”

“But…” the Italian man said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Sadık said. He stopped Feliciano as he opened his mouth.

“Don’t worry about it,” he repeated. The younger man finally closed his mouth and lowered his head. Heracles glared at Dio as the centaur covered his mouth.

“You weren’t supposed to say anything to him,” the Greek man hissed. The Great Beast lowered his head.

“I’m sorry,” he said. Dio turned and walked down the hall.

“Now where are you going?” his handler-in-training asked.

“Getting more wine,” the centaur said. Heracles dropped his head and sighed as the horse hooves disappeared down the hall.

For the longest time, Im Yong Soo couldn’t figure out his estranged twin sister. Ever since the 50′s, Mi-soon Soo kept to herself and looked at the trees outside while listening to her music from her Walkman. Alfred mistrusted her while the other Asian siblings pretended that she didn’t exist. Im Yong, on the other hand, believed that she was just misunderstood. He tried to reach out to her by leaving teddy bears and candy at the border.

But lately, something is different about Mi-soon.

She seemed to have developed an interest in the Sea of Japan. The only rare time she came out to Ivan and Lin Yi’s wedding, Mi-soon gave Kiku cold looks. Yao tried to talk to her, but she refused to even say hello. Im Yong wants to ask his twin what is on her mind, but doesn’t know how to approach her.

For now, he watches from a distance. Even more so now that she’s always attacking the sea more and more frequently in the coming days. He took it as a sign to panic when two missiles flew over his house. Alfred had his suspicions about the younger Korean twin, but now he and Yao were ready to step in at any time to stop her before she did more damage to the rest of the world. But, Mi-soon loved her family deep down inside. She wouldn’t try to murder Kiku and Sena for no reason. There had to be a sound motive for this. There had to be.

Maybe, Mi-soon knew something that even the older countries and Kiku couldn’t see for themselves.

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