The two saints had finally reached Bluegrad. Degel dragged Kardia to the store where they meet the owner again. At first, he looked surprised but then pleased with himself.
"Hello again, how did your first love potion went? " he asked.
"Great, and that is the problem," Degel said.
"So you are not here to buy more," he asked, feeling disappointed.
"Of course, not! But we are here to ask you a few questions about the love potion you sell to my friend here."
"I am not responsible for any injuries!"
"We are not here for that."
The man sighed in relief. "Alright, ask away."
"My friend accidentally spill the entire love potion over another friend of mine. Now he has a group of girls and female animals chasing him."
"That is why I tell my customers to only spray the potion once on themselves and not to dump the entire potion on another person!"
"It was an accident!" Kardia exclaimed.
Degel was getting frustrated. "Is there a cure?"
"Fortunately, yes. I always make a cure in case something happen."
The man pulled out another potion and gave it to Degel. "Just put this potion into the water when he is bathing."
Degel took the bottle. "Thanks. How much?"
"30 gold coins."
"What?" Degel was shocked. That was clearly a rip off. Degel sighed once again. He just didn't care anymore. "Fine, just take the money."
Degel gave the money to the man, took the potion and left with Kardia.
Sisyphus was still trying to find his friend. He saw El Cid ran off in a direction and ran after him but now he had no idea where his friend is. After searching for a few minutes, he took a short rest. He looked around and saw a place that sold apples. He was glad because he was getting hungry. All this running could made a man hungry. He went over and bought an apple and ate it in a few minutes. Then he threw the core at the closest garbage can.
Sisyphus turned around at the source of the voice. He looked down at the garbage can.
Sisyphus whispered, "What are you doing in here?"
"Isn't it obvious? I am hiding from the crazy girls."
"But in a garbage can?"
"I know this is humiliating! But I had no choice. They were catching up to me and I was cornered. It was the first thing I jumped into and besides the smell would chase them off, right?"
Sisyphus looked at him with sympathy. "...You are right about that...Well, it could be worse."
"Where is Degel and Kardia? I swear when they come back, I will personally murder Kardia."
Sisyphus didn't know how to comfort his friend. He felt sorry for his friend. He didn't deserve being chased by girls and now hiding in a garbage can, waiting for the girls to leave.
Sisyphus turned around and saw a confused Degel and Kardia.
"Why are you talking to a garbage can?" Degel asked.
El Cid popped his head out.
"El Cid?" Degel asked, surprised.
When Kardia saw El Cid, he hid behind Degel hoping El Cid won't see him.
"There you two are. There better be good news. How do I stopped girls from chasing me?"
"The solution is very simple. You just need to pour this potion into the water when you are taking a bath," Degel said.
"Or you don't have to. I am sure the girls don't want to chase you anymore," Kardia said, pinching his nose in disgust.
El Cid glared at him and walked away to take a bath. Kardia sighed in relief that he didn't have to be near a smelly El Cid. Kardia knew that he needed to be careful around El Cid next time. El Cid would make sure that he will be punished.
Athena sat on her throne greeting the different saints and listening to their reports. Pope Sage was also beside her helping her. The day was going as it should be until she heard an argument outside. She was about to stand up to go out and see what was going on but the pope told her to sit back down.
"Don't worry, Lady Athena. It is best if I go and see what is going outside."
Pope Sage walked out and saw Regulus arguing with Shion and there was another man standing behind Regulus.
"I still don't understand why can't he just meet Athena?"
"Because he need to have permission from the pope. If people didn't need to have permission from the pope, Athena would be swarmed by the people asking for help."
"But you heard what he said. It is an emergency and his villager doesn't have time for that."
"What is going on, you two?" the pope spoke up, interrupting their argument.
They turned around and saw the pope. They quickly bowed down.
"I am sorry, Pope Sage, for causing any disturbances outside your chamber."
"It is fine. However, tell me what and why are you arguing outside my chamber instead of somewhere else."
Shion was about to speak when Regulus spoke, "Well, this man here, Sophus want to meet Athena to ask for help. I should let Sophus explain," Regulus glared at Shion who glared back.
Sophus bowed down very low. "Please, my village need Athena's help. I am from Wettash village. Recently, travellers and some of our villagers were turning to stone near our village."
"Yes, at first, we were confused. And then one day, two of our villagers, Alcaeus and Euclid were outside of the villager to search for herbs. However, only Alcaeus came back. He told us that Euclid had turn into stone and he was lucky that he escaped. But he told us that before Euclid had completely turn to stone, Euclid saw a hideous person with snake hair."
"Hideous person with snake hair? That... sounds like Medusa. But that is impossible because one century ago, the silver saint, Perseus defeated Medusa."
"I know of the legend but we don't understand it ourselves. We decided to send Alcaeus and another villager to go to the Sanctuary for help but..."
"We watched them leave the village and it had been a week, we never saw them. So I and a few villagers set out and we saw Euclid and the other villager were turned to stone."
"We didn't know what to do and were too afraid to ask the Sanctuary for help. That very night when we came back, a horrible tragedy happen. The next morning when we woke up, we found most of our children were missing. We searched for them for hours and....and...we found them but...those poor children...they were turn in to stone."
Sophus started to cry. The pope let him cry for a few minutes and then spoke again.
"I can send out a few saints to find out who the culprit is and defeat him or her."
"I am sorry for my outburst but I will explain. There was a man there. We couldn't see his face. It was hooded. But he told us that his master was Medusa and she had turned our children to stone to punish us for trying to go to the Sanctuary to get help. And he told us Medusa will keep doing this unless we go to the Sanctuary and bring her Athena. We know that we can't kidnap Athena so the village send me to ask Athena to come. Please, we need her help. I know she is a powerful goddess so fighting Medusa should easy. And Athena can help free our children too. Please, I am begging you."
"And the answer would still be no. We can send out saints to help your village but it is too dangerous for Lady Athena to come to your village," Shion said.
The pope looked at the man thoughtfully. He was still thinking of what to do. He didn't know who this Medusa was because he knew the legend said Medusa was dead a long time ago, killed by Perseus. It was also true that none of the saints can free the children from stone except Athena. He want to send out the Perseus saint but he was killed by Defteros a long time ago. Despite telling Defteros to not kill anyone, he still didn't listen. The pope sighed. As much as he want to help Sophus' village, he couldn't send Athena there. It was too dangerous for her. The best he could do was send some saints to find out who the culprit is and hopefully defeated him or her. He was about to speak when he heard someone spoke first.
"I will go to your village."
Pope Sage turned around in surprise.
"Lady Athena? I don't think that is a wise idea. It is too dangerous for you to leave the Sanctuary and we don't even know who the enemy is or how strong the enemy is."
"I know but there is no way I could refuse the fact that there is a village that need my help."
"I know but I think we should just send a couple of saints to find out what the problem is."
"Sage, you have always told me that as Athena, it is my responsibility to protect the people."
"Yes, and that is why it is important for you to stay where it is safe so you can continue protecting the people."
"How am I going to continue protecting the people if I stay in the Sanctuary? I want to be able to actively protect the people. Besides, this person want to meet me. I will go there and see what they want. I will find a solution to this."
"Plus I am the only one who could free the children."
"It is still too dangerous."
Sasha sighed. She didn't want to do this but it seemed that she had no choice. She knew that if she went alone, Sage would definitely not let that happen. She thought over who would be good to accompany her. She was thinking of Asmita. He would be a great choice but the problem was that Asmita was recently on a mission. So it left her no choice but to chose a few saints who she knew and trusted.
"Sage, I am ordering you to let Leo Regulus, Sagittarius Sisyphus, Aries Shion, Pegasus Tenma, Crane Yuzuriha and Unicorn Yato to accompany me to the Wettash village."
She trusted Sisyphus and Tenma a lot and knew they were strong. She decided to let Yuzuriha and Yato into the group because Tenma trusted them and they were always there to support Tenma. She also chose Regulus and Shion because they were with Sophus and he would feel more comfortable being with the two saints he already talked to especially with Regulus. She was too busy thinking to notice their surprise faces. They have never seen Athena ignored the pope's advice and even ordered him before. However, Sasha didn't wavered.
She continued, "I am Athena and you have no choice but to listen to my order."
"...Of course, Lady Athena. But please do think about this."
Athena's face softened. "I did and thank you for being concern for me but I have to do this."
"...I understand, Lady Athena," he said, softly. "...But as least let me accompany you..."
"No, somebody need to look after the Sanctuary and you are the only one who can."
The pope was silent. He knew Athena was determined and couldn't be persuaded. He sighed.
"Yes, Lady Athena."
"Thank you," Athena said to Sage.
"Thank you, thank you so much, Lady Athena," Sophus said.
Athena smiled at him before turning toward Shion.
"Shion, please call Tenma, Yuzriha Yato and Sisyphus for me."
Shion stood there, staring dumbly. Then he realized that she was talking to him and bowed. He sped off to find the other saints.
Yuzuriha was busy apologizing many times for leaving Yato.
"I told you that I was sorry. I didn't mean to leave you in the middle of our conversation. I have no idea what went over me."
"Sure. Are you sure it is not because you are interest in El Cid?"
"El Cid? Why on earth would I be interested in him?"
"I don't know because he is mysterious and silent. Isn't that what girls like these days, a mysterious and silent guy?"
"What? No! I am not interest in guys like that and plus saints like us are not supposed to fall in love with anyone so that idea should be best scrapped off from your brain. Besides, why are you so jealous?"
"Jealous? I am not jealous at all. Why would I be jealous? I don't care if you go and chase another guy."
"Um, I think you two should stop fighting," Tenma said, interrupting the fight between those two. "I mean Yuzuriha said she was sorry so you should just forgive her."
Yato and Yuzuriha had been arguing between themselves for a long time and Tenma was starting to feel awkward. Yato glared at Tenma.
"Tenma, Yato, Yuzuriha!"
The three turned around and saw Shion and Sisyphus approaching them.
"Athena had call all of us to see her to her throne now."
Tenma sighed in relief while Yato and Yuzuriha glared at each other before following Shion and Sisyphus to meet Athena. When they arrived, they bowed down.
"Lady Athena, we are all here to await your command," Sisyphus said.
Lady Athena nodded and told them the mission. After hearing their orders, all of the saints except Shion and Regulus was shock.
"Lady Athena, I don't think it is wise to leave the Sanctuary to face an unknown enemy," Sisyphus said.
"I had thought about it and I know it is a risky decision but I will not change my mind," Athena answered.
"Don't worry, Sisyphus. You were chosen to accompany me so it would be fine. I have complete faith in all of you."
Sisyphus was silent, not knowing what to say.
"Do you accept your mission?"
All the saints had no choice but to agree with Athena's decision.
"Yes, Lady Athena," they all spoke in unison.
Lady Athena nodded and smiled at them. "Thank you."
After the meeting, Tenma and his friends had a couple of hours to enjoy themselves before leaving for the mission. Yato had already forgiven Yuzuriha about what happen earlier and they decided to hang out by the training area, watching other saints trained. Yato and Yuzuriha were busy talking to each other while Tenma was thinking to himself. He was worry for Athena. Yato decided to break the silence by asking Tenma a question that he had for a long time.
"So Tenma, I have a question that I had been meaning to ask you something for a long time."
"Yeah, what is it? Just ask."
"Are you gay?"
Tenma nearly fell over when he heard the question while Yuzuriha looked at Yato like he grew another head.
"What? What kind of question is that? Why would you think I am gay?"
"Well, I noticed that you are always wearing that flower bracelet. Guys don't wear flower bracelets, that is a girl thing. Plus it looks like you like it a lot."
Tenma blushed angrily. "Are you blind? Don't you notice that Sasha also have the same bracelet. She made me this bracelet for me and her brother as memento! As girly as it is, it is the only thing that would remind me of our friendship and promises!"
"Oh... I didn't know that. Sorry," Yato laughed nervously.
Tenma sighed in anger and walked off. Yuzuriha shook her head at Yato's oblivious and stupid behaviour.
Yato lowered his head and muttered to himself, "I said I was sorry. I had no idea...I want a bracelet too from Lady Athena."
"What was that?" Yuzuriha asked.
"Nothing!" Yato walked off in the same direction as Tenma did.
Yuzuriha sighed softly. She heard what Yato said but she didn't know why she was a little jealous when she heard Yato wanting a bracelet from Lady Athena as well.
Stupid Yato. Tenma thought to himself angrily as he walked away from Yato and Yuzuriha. He continued walking to Athena's Colossus and looked up. He remembered looking up here so many times wondering what Sasha was doing. Then he looked around to check if there is no guards and went inside. He peaked into Sasha's room. There was nobody inside to his disappointment. Then he heard footsteps and he quickly hid inside the closet. The door opened and Sasha went in.
Sasha jumped back a little surprised. "Tenma? What are you doing here?"
"Uh...I just want to see you again."
Tenma scratched his head and blushed. "Sorry about coming here all of a sudden without warning."
"No, it is fine."
Sasha quickly looked outside her room and then closed the door.
"I am worry about you," Tenma said, bluntly.
"Why? Aren't you here to protect me? And Yato, Yuzuriha, Sisyphus and Regulus with us to protect me too. Besides, I am a goddess. I am well capable of defending myself as well."
"...Exactly, you are the goddess and there is a high chance you will get hurt. I mean you shouldn't be away from the Sanctuary. There are only me, Yato, Yuzuriha, Regulus, Shion and Sisyphus protecting you..."
"So you are saying that you have no confidence that you will be able to protect me?"
"What? No, that is not what I mean. You are important to me...and to everyone else. If you died, then what will the Sanctuary do without you...what will I do without you."
"Tenma, I am the goddess of war and wisdom, sooner or later I have to fight. It is my destiny to protect the people of Earth. Have more faith in me."
Tenma was silent. He didn't know what to say. Sasha got closer to him.
"I am just worry about you...I am scared that you are going to get hurt or even killed," he whispered softly.
Sasha moved in closer. Her head touched his head and she could feel Tenma's breath near her neck.
"Well, I get worry and scare too when you are out in missions too," she said as she touched his face gently.
"You are someone really important to me," she continued whispering.
She leaned in but stopped a few inches away from Tenma's face. Tenma held his breath. Was she going to kiss him? He blushed at that thought. Why was he blushing? He only thought of Sasha as a friend. Wait, if he only thought of Sasha as a friend, why was he so excited to get kiss? Tenma froze, waiting for the kiss to happen. However, to his disappointment, she took a step back and turned away.
"All the saints are important to me. I am thankful for you and the others for always protecting the people and me. I want to help repaid everyone for what they did."
Tenma looked down. "Of course..."
"Thank you, Tenma for being concern for me. But I have to do this."
Tenma nodded. "...I have to go...train. Bye...Athena."
Athena. She could feel her throat become dry. Tenma had always call her Sasha. However, she decided to pretend that she didn't hear him say that.
"Don't overexert yourself."
Tenma closed the door behind him and Sasha sighed sadly. It wasn't fair. She knew as a goddess, it was forbidden to be in love with a saint. Pope Sage had told her that she, herself in the earlier centuries had written a law that she had to love all the saints equally. So that meant she wasn't allow to fall in love with Tenma. But when she heard Tenma said "Athena", it really hurt her. Tenma was the only one who call her and recognized her as Sasha and not Athena.
"Tenma," she whispered to herself as she played with her bracelet.
Maybe after the war, he can find someone who would love him. Besides Tenma only like her as a sister, right? She looked out the window and saw Yuzuriha walking in the distance. She remembered Yuzuriha was a close friend of Tenma and they were always together along with Yato. She wondered if anything is going on between Tenma and Yuzuriha. She shook her head. What was she thinking? She had no time for that. She sighed and walked to her desk. She looked at the scroll and started to read.
"What?" Dohko yelled out.
"Do I have to repeat everything again?" Shion said, sighing in frustration.
"No, no, I understand what you said but I was just a little shock. This is terrible! What about our plan to have Yato and Yuzuriha together and Athena and Tenma together before Valentine day. And what about the cupid costume?"
"We can still have them together, you know. All four of them are going on the mission together and Sisyphus, Regulus and Shion is going on the mission," Aldebaran said. "When they come back, we can still have Sisyphus wear the cupid costume."
"Yeah...this is great news! That means they have more time to get together! So that means you three must try your best to get them together!" Dohko exclaimed excitedly.
"Yeah! Don't worry, we will try our best," Regulus shouted excitedly while Sisyphus and Shion both sighed in defeat.
Dohko smiled at Regulus' enthusiasm.
"Aren't you excited?" Regulus asked Shion and Sisyphus.
"Yay," they both answered weakly.