Aetheria – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Teufel

Lucianus caressed Setsura’s soft black hair as she fell into deep slumber from tiredness on his chest. His face was filled in guilt since he never knew his absence will put Setsura into such great danger. If only he was more sensitive towards Setsura’s feelings after he left her to clear all incoming hordes of monsters that were approaching the campfire.

Lucianus kept his eyes fixated at Setsura; she was no longer the small child who had always run around in excitement but a dainty fine lady with fair skin and silky long black hair.

The wounds on her cheek and body were completely healed by Lucianus’s power and the blood stains on her skin were long washed away except for her once cotton white dress which was semi torn by now.

His gentleness was soon replaced by a threatening glare when he shifted his attention to the katana that was laying on the ground beside him.

The katana was fairly long, at least half the size of Setsura, and its well-carved hand guard appear to mimic the cherry blossom with five identical gold petals arranged neatly in between of each other. Its pearl white hilt was wrapped with dark chestnut-brown same-kawa and decorated with gold cherry blossom patterned menuki.

“Come out,” Lucianus gave an order in a cold-hearted tone but there was neither any respond from the katana nor the surrounding.

“I’m no fool, stop hiding before I melt that rusty blade of yours,” Lucianus’s ominous tone was followed by a fire red aura surrounded his body, strongly implying that he was not in the mood for jokes. His hand approached the katana without any hesitation.

“Now now, woman likes it better when the man is more persuasive and delicate,” the mysterious woman spoke and cherry blossom petals emerged from the thin air. The petals gathered and formed a human figure, and transitioned into the woman.

“What do you want from me, Luci?” The woman sneered as she continued to levitate from the ground.

“Call me by that name again and I will make sure you never utter a single word for eternity,” Lucianus glared and the woman gritted her teeth.

“That work of a crazed fanatic must be your creation, sword demon, or should I refer you, Akuma Zakura?” Lucianus called out the woman’s true identity with ease.

The woman who levitated before him, was none other than the feared sword demon herself, Akuma Zakura was her name, which translated as the Cherry Blossom Devil.

“How nostalgic, for someone to be able to call me by my name again,” Zakura chuckled because the last one who did was her previous owner that died 30 years ago but Lucianus did not to have slightest interest on her past.

“Why are you here?” Not planning to waste too much time, Lucianus threw out a straightforward question.

“Hmm? To serve my new master of course,” Zakura simpered and tilted her head slightly to the right.

“Nonsense!” Lucianus clutched his fist and gave Zakura an ominous glare. His anger was obvious, since every single man that Zakura had once served in her lifetime were eventually drove into mad individuals – neither one of them had a good ending.

“Oh? How about this, if I may ask, why would someone like you, the almighty Lucianus, fallen into such pitiful state? Or even, you seem rather fond of that child,” Zakura’s tongue was as sharp as ever.

“That is none of your business. You should leave now when you have the chance,” Lucianus did not wish to derail from the original topic and he hurried his intention on dismissing Zakura as dawn approached the three of them.

“Whatever you said, I’m staying,” Despite knowing her words would have provoked Lucianus’s wrath, she continued her speech.

“Those foolish trashes who thought they could control me after being my owner got their well-deserved retribution, I hold no responsibility on that. I like that child, she is different and I am certain of that. She would be my worthy owner.” Zakura did not plan to back down from her objective.

“Lucianus, how long do you plan to keep her sheltered? Are you even capable of that? If it wasn’t for my appearance, that beloved child of yours would’ve perished long ago,” Zakura lifted her tone, stating the cold, harsh reality.

“With my life, so long as she lives, I swear to protect her as my master. And if any of my actions doubt you, you may do as you please,” Zakura put her hand on her heart as she declared and faded into thin air, leaving a single cherry blossom petal which swayed its way to Setsura’s cheek.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

“Are you even capable of that?” Zakura’s question echoed repetitively in Lucianus’s mind.

Her words were not exactly wrong since there have been numerous times where he was forced to leave Setsura alone in the woods at night to clear incoming monsters from getting near the campfire. It worked all along – if Setsura stayed inside the barrier that he casted around the campfire.

He was careless on not expecting Setsura to leave his barrier just because he advised her not to do so. The thought of his mistake resulted harm to Setsura ached him and he was utterly disappointed at himself.

 “Luci?” Setsura looked up to Lucianus as she felt the grip on her hand have suddenly increased in strength.

“Luci,” Setsura called his name again but Lucianus seemed to be in his own world at that moment.

Out of annoyance, Setsura boldly kicked Lucianus’s lower leg and it managed to knock him back to his senses. The sudden attack did not irritate Lucianus but was returned with his usual smile.

“Is that katana too heavy for you?” He asked Setsura gently as she had been carrying it for the whole morning. “It is surprising light,” Setsura shook her head in excitement.

“I see,” Lucianus did not comment much on it but he could have guessed that it was Zakura’s act.

For a demon to be willing to serve a child like Setsura, what exactly is she thinking? Lucianus would never understand that but he did agree on the part where Setsura is different from the rest.

“Setsura, have you ever wielded a katana before?” Despite the carefree tone, Lucianus’s heart was thinking otherwise – Akuma Zakura, I hope you do not keep empty promises.

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