I can feel everything... My blood coursing through my veins, the slight pounding in my head, the softness of the bed I lie upon, and the smooth texture of the blanket nestled around my body. I notice there is no weight on my left ring finger and for once I feel light, unburdened. There is no greater thing than the realization that I am free. The only terms I fight on now are my own. One breath and my eyes slowly open.
"Beautiful." I murmur, as it is the only word that comes to mind when I see the world before me. Soft light breaks through an open window, letting in a scent of lilacs. And to think that the last time I awoke in an unknown place all I could smell was rotting trash. I was foolish at six years old to give up on the world. Though it may be imperfect, it is beautiful. I slowly slide off the bed and walk into the sunny part of the room. The warmth fills me and I smile, instantly noting the tightness in my left cheek. My fingers dance across the scar that spans from there to the start of my right brow. It's only fitting that I pay for my wrong doing... but where am I?
I step to the window and instantly recognize the people outside as members of Koma Inu. Does that mean that I'm in their guild building? After everything I've done, they still bring me to their home... still treat my wounds?
"Kind, yet strong... I thought my foolishness had past but I was mistaken. To have challenged a guild like that, Shattered Dusk deserved to fall. These people, this family, they are a force to be reckoned with." As I say this I think back to Samarra Inari's words...
"I can't make right what happened in your past, but sometimes it's better to let those hardships shape you, and then let them go. Right now you have created something deeply wrapped in darkness and hatred. I believe you can still break free of that; I see the good that lies deep in your heart. I can feel it in your attacks, that you have no true malicious intent. Mold yourself into the bright, strong mage that walks with the light. You believe that Shattered Dusk has given you a second chance, but in reality you are still running down the path of your childhood. Right now you are only a puppet whose strings are being pulled by a madman. Please, allow us a second chance. At Koma Inu we value our loved ones above all. We accept anyone, no matter their past."
"No matter their past, huh..."
I watch the guild hall from the shadows, seeing the friendly interaction and bantering. The Dark guild had been constantly brawling, sometimes almost killing other members. I want to join them. I want to be apart of a family so full of acceptance. I take deep breath and step into their midst. In an instant silence falls, but I continue walking until I reach Miss Inari. Everyone is on their guard and I can hear the faint flow of water and a small crackle of flame... those boys. They're ready to attack if I do, but that's not why I confronted their guild master. Dropping to one knee and bowing my head, I deliver my request.
"I know that I have hurt your family, blatantly attacked your guild, and even refused your offer of forgiveness in the past, but I would like to make things right. If your offer still stands, it would be an honor to join a guild as loving as yours. Guild master, I apologize for my wrongs and I would like to make them up to you. Please, Lady Inari, I ask you to allow me to join your guild."
While I've been speaking tears have worked their way down my face.
"Stand up... I'm not like Crowley. I don't require my guild members to bow before me. And as I said before: We accept you, no matter your past." Inari restates with a smile. To me this women is a hero, a goddess sent to earth to deliver hope and a second chance.
"Thank you." I whisper. I pledge in my heart to protect the people here with all my strength and power. Next I turn to little Ahneybeth. "I apologize to you for sending those mages to attack you. I am truly sorry for what I did."
"It's all good now that you're a good guy," she says, beaming.
Finally I turn to the males I fought.
"I'm sorry for what I did to you three as well. I won't make excuses. I was trying to kill you all so I don't expect forgiveness. But I would like to say that all of you are very strong and I hope that the next time we fight it will be together and not against each other."
"Why? Ya scared?" the water user taunts.
The fire mage elbows him in the ribs as he says," Shut up ya rain drop. She'd have destroyed you if I wasn't there."
"I don't know. Maybe your name's Zero 'cause you've got 0 talent."
"You wanna go?!"
I laugh as they start a brawl right then.
Here I can feel happy. I can feel safe, and accepted, and- and
Here I can feel everything.
PREVIOUS CHAPTER: The Light of Dawn