Finishing the Job
Finishing the Job
"It's not your fault!"
Celobia groaned. "Yes it is!"
After hearing from a distraught dove that Kuromori had been felled, the Lion had freaked out and ran all the way to the Northern Desert Temple for consolation from his sister. Instead of growling and turning him away like she usually might of, Celosia had simply sighed and accepted that she needed to talk with her brother. At this moment though, the Boar was having a hard time getting through to him. She huffed.
"Really, Celobia. The Wanderer would have gotten him eventually without you depressing him anyway. Stop blaming yourself!"
Celobia bashed his head into a nearby boulder and kept it there, his eyes black. He groaned again.
"How does that make me feel better?"
Celosia sighed and pulled her brother away from the rock with her paw.
"What did you say, dum-dum? It couldn't have been that bad."
The Lion walked over to the lake's edge and dunked his head in the water, as if trying to drown himself. His voice gurgled.
"Yes it was!"
Celosia rolled her eyes and pulled her brother's head out of the water.
"Just tell me what you said."
Celobia looked at his feet. "I spoke of the Colossi without including him. I said my brethren instead of our brethren."
The Boar blinked and walked a little ways away, appearing thoughtful.
"Hmm… That is bad…"
The Lion walked in front of his sister and kneeled down. He cried,
"Just rip off my armor and bite my vitals now! I deserve it!"
Celosia growled and pushed him to his feet. "No you don't! And besides, if I killed you it would be like doing the Wanderer's work for him! Now, I know you. When you're upset, you feel like you need to do something to restore your worth. Think, Celobia. What could you possibly do to redeem yourself?"
The Lion looked in the distance. "I could do something for Kuromori…"
The Boar nodded. "Good. What could you do?"
Celobia began to pace a little, getting back in his normal mode.
"Before he died, I had asked him to go to the wise Colossi for their opinion on my theory about why the Wanderer is here. On my list were Basaran- who he already spoke to- Dirge, Argus, and you. If I ask for their-and your- opinions, I will be completing Kuromori's work!"
Celosia sighed, relieved. "Good idea."
The Boar began going back up the side path into her temple when she paused and looked back at her brother.
"Wait…You think I'm wise?"
Celobia nodded. "Indeed."
Celosia's eyes turned blue before continuing up the path with a spring in her step. The Lion swore he heard her mutter happily,
"Such a kind brother."
Celobia chuckled and began to wade through the lake then walk up the path out of the desert canyon. Once out, the Lion set a course for Dirge's cave. As he picked up speed, Celobia thought to himself,
Such a kind sister…
An hour later…
"Dirge, I know you're here."
After making the long journey to the Sand Cave, Celobia had had no success in trying to coax out the usually welcoming Sand-Serpent. At that moment the Lion was pacing over the patch of sand he knew Dirge was coiled up under. Stopping, Celobia sat and huffed. Suddenly, an idea hit him.
The Lion got back on his feet and began digging. As he dug deeper, the rumbling caused by Dirge digging down farther himself increased. Finally, the Sand-Serpent hit rock. Uncoiling himself, Dirge slid through the sand sideways before popping out his head about 5 yards away from Celobia. The Sand-Serpent blinked in annoyance. In his gravelly, hissing voice, Dirge spoke.
"My Lion, I am afraid I am taking no visitors today."
Celobia scoffed. "Dirge, you always take visitors. Why is today the exception?"
The Sand-Serpent sighed. "I am just tired I suppose. I am still recovering from the loss of our dear Sea-Serpent. It doesn't help that Kuromori was just felled, either."
At the sound of the Gecko's name, Celobia winced. Dirge noticed.
"What bothers you, my Lion?"
The Lion looked at his paws and mumbled.
"What happened to taking no visitors?"
The Sand-Serpent rolled his large eyes.
"Celobia, your inner turmoil is written all over your face."
The Lion looked up and grimaced. "I blame myself for our Gecko's demise. And rightly so."
Dirge shook his head. "No, my Lion. Your self-blame is incorrect, as Kuromori's death was completely out of any of our control. No matter what you said or did. I can tell you wish to redeem yourself. Though that is not needed, during your journey of so-called 'redemption' you will realize that nothing that happens to the rest of us is your fault, and you will once again find your nobility."
Celobia was shocked. "But I have always been noble! Its part of who I am!"
The Sand-Serpent nodded. "True. But recently, you have lost that nobility."
The Lion opened his mouth to speak, but was quickly interrupted.
"Celobia, I know you question how. My answer is that you lost your confidence in how truly good you are. Nobility is not just being good, it is knowing that you are good, and accepting it humbly. That is what you have been like since the Time of New. But now, your belief in having been associated in Kuromori's murder has skewed your self-image. It can only be fixed by going on this journey."
Celobia blinked and nodded. "I will… And I was correct when I chose you as one of the wise Colossi to speak with."
Dirge chuckled. "Thank you, my Lion. Hmm… Why did you wish to speak with me?"
The Lion shook himself and shifted into a more leader-like stance.
"I have a theory as to why the Wanderer is here."
The Sand-Serpent became more serious, and the blue of his eyes dimmed slightly.
"You have heard of the girl that was brought by the Wanderer and placed on the altar in the Great Temple, right?"
"According to Kuromori, who went there while the boy was away doing who-knows-what, Dormin told him that the girl's name is Mono, and that she was closely associated with the Wanderer while alive. My theory is that the boy plans to bring her back to life somehow. And he's doing it because he loves her."
The Sand-Serpent was silent for a minute. Suddenly, Dirge roared.
"Curse Them! They are exploiting the human weakness of love to do the ritual! The unspeakable! Oh, curse Them, curse Them, curse Them!"
Celobia had heard rumors long ago of an attempted ritual by Dormin, but the people of the land had quickly disposed of Their pawn before they could so much as lay an eye on any of the Colossi. But now… Dormin was free to make a pawn do as They pleased.
The Lion sat, feeling a little overwhelmed.
"But… according to legend, the further the ritual goes, the stronger the pawn becomes. They absorb power from the deceased Colossi. That would mean that by now, the Wanderer would be much more powerful then when he first felled Valus. And if… heavens forbid… he got as far as Malus, he would be practically unstoppable."
Celobia looked up with despair at Dirge.
"What are we to do?"
The Sand-Serpent returned his gaze with almost equal fright and sadness.
"We fight, my dear Lion, we fight."
Dirge's eyes flared red.
"Don't you see, Celobia? There is nothing else we can do! There's no tricky solution or loop-hole! There is absolutely NOTHING we can do, except fight like the Colossi we are!"
The Sand-Serpent sighed, his eyes returning to a dull blue color.
"There, Celobia. There is my answer. It may sound final, but I still wish for you to check with the rest of the wise Colossi on your list. Who are they?"
The Lion shook himself and stood.
"Argus and Celosia."
Dirge nodded. "Good. On your way to Argus, you can go to the Great Temple to try and see what order the Wanderer is going after us in. I have my suspicions, but having them confirmed would be nice."
Celobia cocked his head to the side.
"Argus first? But my sister is closer."
The Sand-Serpent had a strange glint in his eyes.
"Trust me, Celobia. Seeing Celosia last will be a key to your journey. Now, I would like to continue my rest."
The Lion nodded. "Of course."
With that, Celobia headed out of the cave, hardly hearing the sound of Dirge sliding his head back in the sand. As the Lion began making the long run to the Great Temple, he thought determinedly to himself,
Now to finish the job…