HUNDRED YEARS VOW
Eos slowly opened her eyes, fighting back the haze and daze of a new dawn as she blinked rapidly a few times before looking around. The last memory before passing out swiftly penetrated her mind yet again as a surge of melted pot of emotions besieged her mind. Hoping it was all a mirage, she scanned the cave once again, but Hannah was still there, reading a book, with the Empyrean lying on her lap, humming a low tune.
She felt her heart crack temporarily as she fought the tears back from dripping from her eyes. Lino shifted his head sideways and met her eyes though lacking the previous mockery; she saw a mixture of emotions within them, even stark traces of pity hidden beneath it all. Ever since she was captured she has not once admitted defeat, not to him or to herself -- but now, here, she felt it, admitting it or not. She felt it stir in her bones, penetrating the depths of her being. She was defeated.
Hannah put the book down and sighed lowly, pushing Lino off as she walked over to Eos who was no longer either chained or naked, but rather gently placed on top of a large cushion.
Putting on the face of bravado, Eos gritted her teeth before screaming and lunging herself at Hannah who easily evaded the flimsy strike and retaliated with her own, sending Eos back down, clutching at her stomach.
“... don’t do anything stupid, Eos.” Hannah said.
“... I’ll fucking kill you, you traitorous whore!!!” Eos cried out in maniacal anger. “You made bed with him?! With HIM?!!! That is worse than killing any one of us outright!! You betrayed the one who gave you everything for him?!!! I’ll skin you!! I’ll fucking skin you alive you bitch!!”
“Hey, how’d she know we already screwed?” Lino chimed in from the sides as Hannah quickly placated her palm onto her forehead; she knew very well he did it intentionally, yet even she found it slightly funny. “Must be that you look far happier now than before. Sexual tension gone and all.”
“Shut up.” Hannah spoke sternly, glancing at him.
“Yes m’am!” Lino saluted sheepishly and sat back down, picking up Hannah’s book and flipping it to start, beginning to read.
“Why, Hannah?! Why?! Have we not done our best to accommodate you?! Have we not given you everything you could ever want?!” Hannah saw the genuine hurt of betrayal cruising through Eos’ moist eyes and felt a sting of pain surging deep within.
“... you’ve given me everything you could possibly have given,” she replied, smiling faintly. “But... none of it was what I wanted, Eos. I know it’s hard for you to understand and I don’t expect you to... but, at least, believe I had my reasons.”
“... heh. Reasons?” she glanced at Lino. “You turned coat because of that emotional wreckage? Perhaps it’s for the best if that was the case.”
“Hey!” Lino exclaimed, furrowing his brows. “Thread the line finely, young lady! Some truths aren’t meant to be spoken!”
“Didn’t I tell you to keep your mouth shut?” Hannah spoke in frustration.
“...” Lino chuckled sheepishly for a moment before returning back to the book.
“... I’ve chosen my bedrock long before Lino came along, Eos,” Hannah said. “He just happened to be a happy accident of it all.”
“... I’d have expected it from Erebus... hell, I’d have even expected it from Allison over you. Unlike them, you’ve always been a part of our world. Heh, I can’t imagine how colossally idiotic you are to have aligned yourself against the Mother. Your end won’t be pretty, Hannah, I promise you that much.”
“How long do you plan on hiding, Aurora?” Hannah’s voice distorted quickly, as Lino glanced up curiously. “This hardly suits you.”
“... despite all of us warning Mother to chain you,” Eos’ voice, too, grew heavily distorted as she spoke out after a few moments of silence. “She forgave you, time and again. Astrum... the shining beacon, she’d say. The point of recognition to Entropy; the thread that binds the Chaos. I imagine... even after this failure, she will still forgive you and take you back into her arms.”
“As devout as always,” Astrum replied with a cackle. “But, what makes you think it will be a failure?”
“Ha ha ha, don’t make me laugh. You don’t really think that a human brat stands a chance, do you? The Age of Empyreans has long since passed, Astrum. When Oreb fell, so did any vision of future within which Empyreans were anything more than hunted beasts.”
“... man, this is the first time that scumbag isn’t jovially bursting out of my soul to join the chit-chat of Writs,” Lino heaved onto his feet and walked over with a beaming smile. “Does this mean my time has come?! Ha ha ha! At last, I’ve a chance to free my soul! Astrum!”
“I very much appreciate your sweet whispers about Hannah’s sensitive spots!” Lino gave a thumbs up quickly, winking. “As you saw it worked wonders!”
“Aurora, was it?” he then shifted his attention from the stunned Hannah onto Eos. “Can you convince her to just do as we ask so you guys can go? It doesn’t even have to be a permanent vow. Just give us a buck hundred years or so, and we’re set!”
“No? What the fuck? I thought Writs were supposed to be wise or something,” Lino frowned. “No, wait, I used to think that about fifteen years ago when I first learned about them. Ever since then, I’ve been pretty much exclusively proven the opposite is true. Exalted, revered, respected... but as dumb as a bell. Kind of like villages’ local charlatans.”
“... well this is no fun,” Lino sighed dejectedly as he realized both Writs didn’t utter another word. “Hey, if nothing else, it was a decent chat. Alright, you can now go back to pointless bickering that literally means absolutely nothing and won’t amount to even less than that.”
“... I’ll convince her,” Aurora spoke out as Lino began walking away. “Any idiot who believes he will be able to contend within a hundred years... well, I’ll just leave it at that.”
“... oof, bad bet.” Lino sucked in a cold breath, winking. “But that’s great to hear.”
“... she told you my sensitive spots?” a cold, murderous voice forced Lino to come to a halt as he awkwardly turned around and met Hannah’s dead eyes.
“Hey, hey, what did we talk about just a few days ago?!” Lino frowned “Don’t cover up your embarrassment with angry flare-outs! It’s not healthy!”
“How else am I going to cover it up, dammit?!!”
“... just... I don’t know... leave?”
“... don’t look for me for at least three days.”
“Wow, that’s one long-ass chill period.” Lino said.
“No, that’s how long it will take me to rip her out of my soul and give her the beating of her fucking life.” Hannah mumbled through her gritted teeth.
“... yeah. Good luck with that.”
“...” Hannah quickly vanished, leaving Eos and Lino alone again. “So? You convinced yet?”
“... the next time we meet, I’ll rip you in half with my bare hands.” Eos commented coldly before taking a deep breath. “In the name of my Heart, Soul and Will, I vow to not disclose any information regarding the Empyrean, the Elysian, the Sword Maiden and their concurrent circumstances for a hundred years; shall I break the vow, may the sky smite me dead.”
“See? Was that so hard?” Lino chuckled. “Well, I’ll leave you to it. From what I remember, it takes roughly four-five days for the oath to fully chain you, right?”
“... five days.” Eos said.
“I’ll see you in five days, then!” Lino smiled widely and vanished too, leaving behind Eos who merely cracked a faint smile before closing her eyes and sitting upright and cross-legged, meditating.
Lino found himself on the outside, at last, his gaze quickly moving toward the distant, floating Palace and then beyond, where a tranquil and seemingly ordinary lake rested. It has been over a year since he took the mission from the balded guy, and it was finally time for him to reap his rewards. Though he was promised an answer to a single question he may have in mind, ever since he completed the mission he had been concocting a plan on how to get far more from it all.
The whole plan formulated just recently, however, when he learned that the old baldy was his family. And however much Lino respected the familial bond, he still had no qualms about ripping the poor old man for all he had before leaving that place again. He was once again dry on materials save for what Hannah handed over which, though enough for a few pieces he had in mind, wasn’t enough for his next big project.
He had three main priorities when it came to the rewards: learn everything the old man knows about the Primal Chaos, obtain at least two books describing the two Laws he put the most time into -- Death and Time -- and, lastly, obtain a mountain of materials that would last him for years to come. Anything beyond those three, small favors he’d consider a bonding gift and accept graciously, as one should always accept the definitely not backhandedly-extrapolated gifts.