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Up and Awake

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It’s stormy season in Fortuna. For days, heavy rain poured down on the island causing most of the residents to take refuge in their houses. The strong wind carried whatever in their path that most of the traders had to secure their tents with iron chains. The storm caused the sea to be in a raging fit as none of the fishermen were able to set sail. Only a fool would brave the stormy sea only for their ship to be destroyed by the raging tide.

 

Kyrie looked outside from her windows. Worried clearly painted in her face. She screeched when she saw the lightning stroke a nearby tree. She quickly turned away from the window, and faced Nero.

 

“Mom and dad are still out there!” She stated.

 

“But Credo said they will be fine at the town hall” Nero said as he jumped from his bed to the window. He was equally worried as Kyrie. Earlier this evening, his foster parents had left to the town hall for an emergency meeting. Nero didn’t know what meeting it was but from the way his foster parents quickly gotten ready and left the house told him something had happened.

 

Kyrie bit her bottom lips, “Do you think they are stuck in there?” She asked.

 

They both stared at the window. Its pitch black outside and everything was blurry thanks to the rain. “I guess so” He replied.

 

“Why are the two of you still awake?” Both Nero and Kyrie snapped their head to the voice at the door. Credo was standing there straight, arms crossed. Clearly not pleased seeing the two of them awake past their bedtime.

 

“I can’t sleep,” Kyrie pouted. “And the thunder was too loud!” Kyrie crossed her arms, mimicking her brother’s stance.

 

“Kyrie’s worried that mom and dad are still out there. That’s why she came here.” Nero added in. He still felt weird calling them mom and dad, but the two of them had insisted.

 

“I guess that explains why Kyrie’s here instead of her room.” Credo stated. Nero thought Credo was going to be mad since it’s past eleven and they were both still awake. Well, they both had went to bed at 9 and was ready to sleep in, but Nero didn’t feel sleepy at all. So he decided to just stay awake and listened to the rain outside. An hour later, after a loud bang from a nearby thunder, Kyrie slowly crept into his bedroom and called out to him. It seemed that Kyrie also found it hard to go to sleep and there’s also her fear of thunder. She didn’t want to stay alone and she badly needed a company. Usually she would ran and slept in her parents’ room but since they weren’t home at the moment, she decided to crash into Nero’s room instead. They quietly turned on the table lamp and started playing games and telling stories.

 

Credo sat at the edge of the bed and gestured Kyrie to sit next to him. Nero thought it had been awhile since the three of them sat together in a room. The last time they did was months ago, before Credo moved to stay at the barracks. Credo joined the order and currently was in training to be a full-pledge knight. He only had one year left before he’s anointed. Because of that, he rarely stayed at home. But even so, Credo still came home for dinner and teaching Nero how to sword fighting.

 

“Credo, you’re staying with us for tonight right?” Kyrie asked.

 

“For tonight, yes I’m staying here, Kyrie. Plus with the rain outside, I don’t think I could run back to HQ” Credo answered as he let Kyrie sat herself on his lap. “And with mom and dad are away, how can I leave the two of you here alone?”

 

“We can take care of ourselves just fine.” Kyrie said with a huff.

 

“And yet you’re both awake still.” Credo smirked as he stared at Nero.

 

“What? I told her to go back to her room but she don’t want to.” Nero defended himself, “And the thunders were loud. You do know Kyrie hates thunder.”

 

Credo had to be amazed at Nero’s tactfulness towards Kyrie’s fear. He knew both of them were sensitive, especially Nero. That boy had endured so much insults and isolation when he was very young, so he knew that feeling of helplessness. And Kyrie wasn’t the type to ignore her peers alone just because of bad rumours surrounding them, especially said rumours seemed to hurt the kid more.

 

“I’m aware of that, Nero. But that didn’t mean the two of you could stay awake now” Credo put both of his hands on top of Kyrie’s and Nero’s head before he started rummaging their hair.

 

“Awww come on, Credo. It’s just for tonight. And I can’t sleep!!!” Kyrie began to whine.

 

“And I can’t sleep when she’s hyper, Credo.” Nero complained.

 

If Credo was in the barracks and saw the cadets acted like this, he surely would berated them and gave out proper punishment. He was known to his peers and fellow cadets to be the no nonsense person. He’s rigid and stern. And he always wore that stoic face. Most of the cadets respect him due to his leadership. And none of them dared to invoke his anger. If any of the cadets saw this situation, they would probably thought that Credo would not gave in to this foolishness and simply reprimanded the children. They would probably not had expected Credo to just smile and said,

“Alright. But that’s for tonight only. And not a single word to mother and father, understood?”

Kyrie and Nero both nodded at the same time.

 

“Okay… since we’re all awake, what are we going to do?” Nero asked.

 

“Can we play the board game, Credo? Please?” Kyrie begged.

 

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Kyrie. What if mom and dad came home while we were playing?”

 

“But the rain is still pouring outside. They might still stuck at the town hall.”

 

“Even so, they might be on their way back home. We can’t risk ourselves to get caught.” Credo tried to rationalise.

 

“But Credo, do you really think they can walk in this rain?” Nero interjected, “it looks kinda scary to walk outside.” Nero stared at the window, and Credo did so too. It was dark outside. Most of the street lights were not operational. And the winds were blowing strong. Walking outside right now seemed like a bad idea since you would probably not be able to see properly and you might hit something from the wind.

 

And there’s another threat looming around in the dark. Credo would not say it in front of the young kids, afraid that it might worsen Kyrie’s worries and his. Mentioning it was like a bad omen so he brushed off the thoughts away from his mind.

 

“Probably not.” Credo murmured to himself, then he looked down at Kyrie. “Why don’t I tell a story instead? It may help the two of you go to sleep.” Upon Credo’s suggestion, Kyrie eyes brightened up with excitement.

 

“Can you tell us the story about the Saviour, please?” Kyrie suggested.

 

“Again? Kyrie, we heard that story a lot of times at school.” Nero protested.

 

“But the school version is different than the Order’s version.” She said

 

“Wait, how so?” The two of them then looked up to Credo.

 

“The school version is… diluted a bit.” Credo tried to explain. To be honest, the story was still the same since it’s came from the Order, but the one being told at school was less graphic. But he didn’t really have to explain that, did he?

 

Nero brows furrowed in confusion. He never heard there’s a different version than the one he heard a lot at school. This might be interesting to know more about their former ruler, Sparda.

“If the two of you are interested, then there’s no harm to tell.” Credo smiled.

 

Credo began telling the story to the two children. He made a mental note to leave out any part he deemed not suitable for children while he narrated the story to Kyrie and Nero. Both of them were engrossed with the story and halfway through it, Kyrie already dozed off in his chest while Nero curled under the blanket.

 

How long had it been since he told the two of them bedtime stories? It’s probably had been a year or two, before he was busy with the Order. Credo went to the centre of the bed and put the sleeping Kyrie on his right, while Nero was sleeping on his left. He looked outside and the rain had stopped pouring. He sat there in the middle, hands gently combing his little sister’s hair. He patted Nero’s too and watched the boy sleep soundlessly. He already considered Nero as his little brother ever since the boy befriended his sister. The two then became close friends and he was thankful that Nero had always been there for his sister when she needed him. Credo sighed as he knew he would rarely got to spend time like this. His sister was growing up and he couldn’t be there to witness it.

He took one last look at his sister, before sleep started to crawl in.