Rating : K

Characters : Alicia, Etheral Queen

Pairing : None

Genre : Fantasy

Preview : After her death, Alicica found herself not in Hel or Heaven but a totally strange place. The ruler here, Etheral Queen as she introduced herself, offered her choices in which she could change not only her fate, but the fates of others.

Alicia woke up to find herself surrounded by darkness. What this place was, she did not know. It could be Hel since she had already died. Yes, she was dead now. Her body had been stabbed by Gungnir, the divine lance that could even destroy an undead. She had died, together with the three Valkyries. It had been so warm, so gentle, the melody that had cooed her soul to sleep, an eternal slumber that she would never wake up. But now, she was here,all alone, endless darkness was her only companion. There were no Silmeria, no Hrist, no Lenneth. She letted out a bitter smile, simply they were different, their souls, their spirits were all stronger than hers. She was just a mortal, after all. It was fated that she had to go to Hel, alone.

Alicia lifted her left hand. In a place where it should have been, her ring, her good-luck charm was gone. Water started to roll down, made her feel wet and warm on her cheeks, for that she knew she was crying. Pain stabbed her, so severely that she recall the last moment, when he had called her name.

_ Rufus !!

Alicia shouted out his name, her voice was swallowed by the darkness. From the bottom of her heart, Alicia knew so well that even if she called for him, he would never come. Ad she would not expect him to come, either. He had to bring the Dragon Orb back to Midgard, he had to become a god, he had to restore the world’s order. For her, he had to live. This darkness, this loneliness, was something she had to deal with all by herself.

_ You know he will never come and yet, you still call out for him. That’s what a mortal like.

A chill sensation went down her spine as she heard a voice. It was deep, it was cold, just like the darkness that was surrounding her. But before she had a chance to question the stranger’s sudden appearance, the darkness had quickly vanished. Light filled her surroundings, many colors mixed together. And in front of her was floating a woman. She was clad in strange outfit, her golden mane floating in the air. She had an alien beauty that Alicia had never seen before. However, her face was so cold, so emotionless that could even surpass Hrist’s or Lenneth’s.

Her mind was filled with quetions but Alicia finally came up with which she concerned most.

_ Where am I ?

_ This is the Seraphic Gate, a world that exists outside time and space, outside of Yggdrasil. I am Etheral Queen, every beings here are under my command. Welcome, brave one.

_ Then, why am I here ? -Alicia humbly asked, still confused about what had just happened- Am I supposed to go to Hel ?

_ Hel is just the destinations for souls of the fallen. You are different. That’s why you were summoned here.

_ How different ? I’m just a mortal.

_ The one that was willing to sacrifice eveything in order to change her destiny. That’s the difference. You were summoned here to be offered choices.

_ Choices ?

_ You can decide to move on to the cycle of rebirth, to be mortal again. Or you can stay here, become an angel and a ruler of one of my realms.

_ I’ve had enough of the god’s tyranny. I will not be under any god’s command.- Alicia clenched her fist, voice filled with determination.

_ You may believe it or not but I am no god. The ones whose wills which are strong enough to change the fate of others are worthy of deciding their own destiny in the afterlife. You did, and so did he.

_ He ? Who was that ?

_ The man whom I had offered the same choices as yours. He had been summoned here after Ragnarok. His name was Lezard Valeth.

_ Lezard ?

_ However, he chose to come back to the world of mortals by exchanging the Philosopher’s Stone for his body.

_ I could understand…somehow.

When she said she could understand, Alicia wasn’t lying. People viewed Lezard as a madman, an evil necromancer who would do anything to attain the power of the god. Alicia had thought the same way, too. But now, hearing what Etheral Queen said made her think differently. He could have stayed here, he could have enjoyed an eternal life, he could have a world to rule if he wanted. But he had chosen to come back. Simply being defeated by the Valkyrie wasn’t part of his plan but in the end, he had met his fate. Somehow, Alicia felt sorry for the necromancer. After everything he had done, the one he loved still rejected him. Lezard was always alone. At least, Alicia had Silmeria and Rufus. The thought made her heart feel so warm, like a campfire in the midst of winter.

_ It’s time to make your decision.- Etheral Queen’s voice suddenly interupted her. Behind her, golden ether started to form two gates : One led to the cycle of rebirth, another led to the world that would be hers if she chose to stay.

_ He would come here, wouldn’t he ? The one I will be waiting for.

_ I cannot say anything for sure but, if you are willing to wait for him, then you will have to wait for a long time, brave one. Until the day Ragnarok comes.

_ I can, no, I will wait for him. No matter how long it will be.

_ I think you’ve made your decision. Now, come here !

Alicia stepped into ther circle form by the queen’s ether.She could feel herself weigh less and less, like she could almost melt into the air. Warmth filled her body, from head to toes. Everything went blurred when ether wrapped around her, for that she was blinded for a few seconds. This was a moment of transcendence.

_ Promise me that you’ll come…someday. I’ll wait, even for all of eternity.

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