Setting: The Entrance Hall.
Time: Night 004 into day 005
Summary: Leo stumbles onto the House, and wonders if he's been punished by the Goddess.
Warnings: Lolis swarming a very grumpy and confused Leo.
Leo halted where he stood, looking about him in barely concealed alarm. This certainly wasn’t Pentagulia, nor even the dungeons that were hidden in the city, interwoven with the towers of the Four Heroes. What in the… Leo growled, sharp fangs baring themselves in anger and something he didn’t want to name. “What in Althena’s name is this place?” he muttered aloud, his dark gaze darting from side to side as he searched in vain for anything familiar. He remembered slipping, perhaps on one of the smoother stones of his tower, but this had never been there.
Leo swallowed, feeling nervousness well up in him. Ghaleon, who had power second only to the Goddess Herself, had doubted him. Mauri had doubted him. Had Althena as well, and was this place Her judgment on Her servant? Had he failed?
No. The thought was jagged and caused Leo’s breath to catch for a moment. No. I have been loyal and fulfilled my duty. He couldn’t stop his face from darkening (and the beastman’s eyes closed as darker thoughts raced through him) or his heartbeat from quickening, couldn’t stop the thoughts that flooded – what if he had been banished from sight of the Goddess, and this place his ultimate fate?
Dammit! There was no time for this! He had been tested before, and he had pulled through. All of the Heroes faced their own ordeals; perhaps the Goddess merely felt that it was time for him to be tested again. Yes. That had to be it. Leo calmed, taking deep breaths in what had to be relief. If the Goddess had truly felt Leo unworthy, she would have struck him down where he stood. This was simply another test for him – and perhaps it was high time for one, considering the doubts Leo had entertained on the return trip to the holy city.
The swordsman opened his eyes again, fresh determination on his face, and strode forward, head held high. He would pass this, and prove himself to the Goddess again.