AQUA

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Chapter 5 - Irrational pact

Aqua stood, wide-eyed, every nerve coming to a halt as she faced a scene she'd give anything to wipe out of her memories. Luckily, it was frozen. No movement present whatsoever. Still, anything regarding her past arose unwanted feelings within her. Something that is foreign, and has been foreign to her for a long time.

Seeing herself, kneeling on the ground like an unattended weakling, shivering with the breeze, she clenched her teeth.

She never expected Igujin to try and expose her vulnerability to Jayden so fast. Especially that he was no more than a mere mortal, and the supernatural world to him might not only be terrifying but haunting as well. Having Igujin do this was beyond her. Was it simply to mess with Jayden's fragile human mind? Or was it to warn him about her intention? Whatever the reason was, she refused to give in to the God's game.

She masked her expression and turned to Jayden. "Don't take any of this seriously."

Her tone was threatening, and Igujin noticed immediately that it wasn't towards Jayden, instead, towards her. "You just wish for him to fear you. For your own sick pleasure," Igujin said. "And I don't doubt one bit that you don't want him to know your intentions."

"... No." Aqua's response was sudden and too unexpected, but it was strict, giving off a sense of certainty. Aqua was selfish and Igujin, of all people, knew that with specificity. Igujin tilted her head, expectant. "Jayden is still young. He's an innocent human being and... I wish to protect him from the supernatural world."

Aqua didn't know why she had said that. She didn't care if Jayden's mind got overwhelmed by his exposure to the supernatural. She didn't care if he could possibly face far too much pain. All she wanted was for Igujin to transport them back to the hotel room before he had the chance to get too involved in her past.

Igujin was right.

Deep down, she just didn't want anyone to have the littlest bit of information on her. Especially Jayden. Because he's a pawn to be used for a certain amount of time. He isn't supposed to know why she's here. Nor does he deserve to be so knowledgeable about her.

"... You mean that?" Before he could stop the words, they tumbled out of his mouth so quick. Even if he was clueless, even if he had absolutely no beliefs in the supernatural world they kept bringing up, he couldn't hide his perplexity. Though he hadn't spoken much with Aqua, he saw enough to make him think she was plain shallow.

"Yes." Not really. She simply wanted one last thing. And she had to take the opportunity the current circumstances provided, so Igujin would finally keep a distance from her. So she would let her go, and stop bringing up her past actions. Maybe she would, at last, be liberated from Igujin's presence and constant interference. "You offered me a chance to redeem myself years back, Igujin. But I never took it on. Consider me accepting it now."

"Huh." Igujin nodded, trying to be as thoughtful as she could.

The offer was outdated. Way too outdated. And beside the fact that Igujin had Aqua's in-the-moment plan figured out, she herself had one of her own. The presence of compromise was the secret ingredient to having both work out in a way.

"You want to change? You?"

"Yes me! What is wrong with me? Why are you making it sound so strange?"

"It's not like you. Not like you at all."

"That's why I've decided to try and change. As a redemption for all the killing I've committed."

"... There's one thing I could allow you to do. It has its advantages as well."

"Go on. What is it?"

"You shall rid the human realm of filthy souls."

"Huh?"

"Exactly what I said. Firstly, it's the least you could do. Secondly, consider it an apology. And lastly, it would be of great help. For both, the humans and the Gods."

"An apology for who, Igujin? And why would the Gods ever need my help with that? You all have the power to catch those wandering souls."

"Yes, we may have the power but every God has their own purpose, in which they exceed. Plus, it's your punishment not ours. And remember this, Aqua. We weren't the ones who killed humans for fun, so without a doubt, it's an apology for them."

It was two hundred years ago. And if Igujin remembered correctly, Aqua did accept her punishment. But never kept it up.

Killing humans and harvesting their souls to fuel hers perfectly matched up to her killing the supernaturals and gaining their powers. Both were her ultimate goal. A lifestyle she couldn't give up.

"Will you own up to it this time?" Igujin asked. She already knew the upcoming answer was a lie. But for her plan to be carried out, Aqua's had to be accepted. And just this once, Igujin would pretend to be clueless.

"Well... Can't I just become Jayden's guardian angel or something?" Aqua didn't want to come in contact with the filthy souls ever again. She was desperate to do anything but that. And saying that she'll protect Jayden was the only way she could convince Igujin. It gave the impression she would dedicate her life to keeping him safe when she knows for sure she won't do so.

"That defeats the purpose. The whole point was for you to sacrifice your life helping all humans not just one." Igujin scowled, very little of her anger expressed even when she loathed every part of Aqua's request. For her protection. Willing herself to serenity, she sighed. "I'll try my best to compromise."

"Please do." All she could do was try and sound the sincerest she could. She hoped they would reach an agreement.

"... You protect Jayden like you said you wanted. And if you come across a filthy soul amongst the humans, you kill it. Only if you stumble upon one."

"That's more than fine by me." She smiled, the thought of her freedom fogging up her mind, completely making her lose sight of what Igujin did next.

Jayden groaned, catching Aqua's attention, a sharp sting suddenly piercing through his hand. "What the—" His eyes followed an electric string that leisurely tied itself around his wrist, the pain swelling once more.

Aqua was momentarily confused. She felt and saw nothing, so she concluded that Jayden's soul might be feeling disconnected with his body, as Igujin had only transported their souls.

While she shrugged it off, and not too long after Jayden's pain eased away, Aqua noticed how the string was stretched out towards her. In her haste, she looked down at her hand, to find the string wrapped around her wrist as well.

As tight as a metal cuff, and as burdening as the thought of how badly her plan backfired.

Damn this God knew what she was doing.

"There... Now, if anything were to happen to Jayden, I think cremation awaits."

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