Knights of Hope, Prologue
By Wolf-Prince-Leon & Kit-The-Wolfy
Millenia ago, in a world unlike the one we know today, a malevolent force was born. It was reviled in all corners of the world: the Dark Legacy, "Sin". Like a plague, this "Sin" spread across the world, stealing and twisting the lives of many. Soon, there was no escape from "Sin".
Until one fateful day.
A child was born, chosen by the many gods who govern our world. Under the guidance of the gods themselves, this boy was able to defeat "Sin", allowing the gods to lock it away within the legendary holder of evils... Pandora's Box. As a reward, the boy was granted a divine boon, allowing him what was essentially a one-way ticket to the good part of the afterlife when he died.
Pandora's Box and the boy then disappeared into legend, and their exploits forgotten... until one day, in 2013.
In Greece, present day...
"Hey, look at this!" A shovel scraped away the last bit of dirt, revealing a small, glittering box.
"A box? Open it! See what's in there," said an archaeologist. "For all we know, this could be the biggest archaeological find of the century!"
The other archaeologist nodded, and with a greedy look in his eye, began to open the box.
As the box opened, black smoke exited its confines. A terrible coldness filled the area. And for a moment, the archaeologists swore they could hear a bone-chilling laughter.
"We... are FREE!! And now, to reward the ones who freed us," a cold, soft voice hissed. The coldness grew colder. And colder. And colder. When the area finally returned to normal temperature, the only remainders of the event were the corpses of the two archaeologists, frozen to death, and the echo of another laugh.
"Now then, let us escape Pandora's box, and find a new place to plan the conquest of this world."
For a time, things were quiet, though"Sin" still plotted and planned in the darkness.
However, when "Sin" was gone, out of the box came a small, white-haired girl with white wings on her back. She blinked and yawned, groggy from centuries of dreamless sleep... and then, her bright silver eyes widened as she realized what had happened.
"Oh, no..." she gasped. "Sin hath been freed?"
A week later...
It was an ordinary day in the city of Vertrauen Falls, Washington. Gray clouds covered the sky, and rain was falling- not the kind of soft, gentle rain you can go out in, the kind of nearly-hard rain that kept people inside.
Leon McCloud looked out his window, saddened by the rain. "Aw, man... today was the big soccer game," he said to himself. "I was looking forward to watching it..." He sighed and turned to his computer, where he was writing something. "At least today's a chance for me to continue this." Leon took a seat at the computer desk and began typing, sapphire eyes fixed intently on the screen.
"Okay, what should happen next... Oh! As the boy watched the dark one gain in power, lightning struck all over town like crazy!" Leon said triumphantly as he typed the details he was speaking into the story. And while he typed...
The sound of thunder outside startled Leon. The boy rushed back to the window just in time to see a lightning bolt in the sky.
"What the... Lightning... okay, that's a little creepy." Leon brushed back some of his brown hair with his right hand and returned to typing, a little unsettled. "Soon after, the sky was alight with fire."
For a split second, the soft light passing through the window became a brilliant, sickeningly orange color. Leon whipped his head around... to find nothing out of the ordinary. Just more rain. The ten-year-old shuddered and started typing a third time.
"...and... and the dark one's evil army ascended from the depths, and the evil forces declared war on light." Leon gulped. He was afraid of what he'd see when he looked out the window this time. Would the ground crack open, and would demons pour out of the abyss? Slowly, the boy looked.
He saw nothing more than raindrops splashing onto his windowpane. Leon sighed in relief... until...
"Such a wonderful, sin-filled place..." a cold voice cackled, sending a chill down Leon's spine. He squeaked in fear.
"Did... I unleash an evil force?" Leon wondered.
"Time to declare war on the light..."
Leon stiffened and gulped. "...uh-oh."
But the coldness, along with the voice, disappeared, leaving behind one scared little boy.
"What have I done..." Leon whispered. But at that moment, the room brightened, so much that Leon was forced to cover his eyes. When it was safe for him to take a look, there was a girl in his room. She had white hair, and was wearing a plain white dress. Her silver eyes regarded Leon with compassion, and two dove-white wings attached to her back beat softly.
"Who... are you?" Leon asked.
The girl sighed sadly. "I am Elpis," she said. She shook Leon's hand.
"Elpis? As in Elpis, the spirit of hope from the Greek myth of Pandora's box?"
Elpis blinked. "How didst thou know?!" she asked.
"I read a lot of mythology throughout third grade- wait a sec. If you're here... Someone opened Pandora's box and released the evil inside, right?"
To Leon's horror, the winged girl nodded. "Correct," Elpis said. "But... dost thou mind showing me thy time's telling of the myth?" Leon said a quick "yes", went over to his bookshelf, and brought Elpis a book on Pandora's box. She took it and began reading voraciously. When she was done, she looked baffled. "That is not what I recall..."
"It's not? Can you tell me what you remember?" Leon asked.
"Ay." Elpis sighed, and recounted her story: how "Sin" had spread through the land, unstoppable... until the boy hero had sealed it in Pandora's box with Elpis's help, at a great cost. Elpis was to be imprisoned with "Sin" as a form of safeguard. Leon was relieved that he hadn't unleashed the evil, but Elpis's words left him still worried.
"But now Sin is free... we need to find that boy!" Leon said.
"He is dead," Elpis said flatly. "He died long before Christ was born."
Leon's face fell. "Oh... so... we're doomed."
Elpis put her thumb and forefinger to her chin. "Weeeelllll... not exactly. I am not Hope without reason."
"Uh... Elaborate, por favor?" Leon said.
"There IS one way to get Sin back where it belongs," Elpis explained. "But that one way is extremely dangerous, and I have been warned against taking such risky moves."
"What? Recruiting teenagers with attitude, like on Power Rangers?"
Elpis raised an eyebrow. "What is Power Rangers?"
"I'll explain later. But still, would that way happen to be... gathering people to fight against Sin?" Leon asked. To his surprise, Elpis nodded. Leon smiled. "I volunteer as the first! I've always wanted to save the world."
"That is very courageous..." Elpis noted. "Surely, thou art aware that thou mayst forfeit thy life."
"The Power Rangers I mentioned earlier? They do it all the time. They're willing to give up their lives to save the lives of others, and I am too," Leon said, trying to be a big boy.
"A noble ambition. But thou shan't succeed without protection." Elpis laughed humorlessly.
"Of course. Supposing I know my hero concepts well- and I do- you'll grant me the power to face Sin, right?" Leon said. He grinned when he saw something materialize in Elpis's hand. She handed to him, prompting Leon's look of joy to change into one of bafflement. "...uh... this is a card... with a falcon on it." Indeed, it was nothing more than a card emblazoned with the image of a falcon. "I'm supposed to save the world... with a card."
Elpis realized her mistake, and laughed again, though this time blushing. "I've erred. You will need this, also." The spirit of hope gestured, and some sort of bracer appeared on Leon's wrist.
Leon looked at the bracer and smiled. "Hm... the card goes in this thing, right?"
"Correct. How are you so knowledgeable in these affairs?" demanded Elpis.
"The Power Rangers are similar to this. Anyway, let's get down to business." Leon saved his story and shut his computer down.
In an old, crumbling temple, a small figure paced. It was a young, white-haired boy, wearing a formal shirt and slacks. "Ahh, it's good to be back~!" he sighed, stretching.
An older, regal-looking figure eyed him coldly. "Don't get too sure of yourself yet, Nikolai. We still need to call the other generals."
"Wonder if the girls have gotten any sexier since the twelfth century~?" Nikolai wondered aloud, ignoring the other person.
"I wonder why Lust was ever made a sin..." the man sighed, before drawing a symbol in the dirt with a nearby stick. "I call the remaining members of the sins. PRIDE!"
A golden light erupted from the symbol, and when it cleared, a third figure was there, wearing gold plate armor with a hideous design: two golden dogs' heads, teeth bared in mirrored snarls, served as shoulder plates. He smiled malevolently at Nikolai, who was still off in his perverse fantasies. "The little pervert hasn't changed a bit, has he?" the armored man sniggered.
The symbol glowed teal, revealing a tall human boy with light blue hair. "Nani ka?" he asked edgily, crossing his arms. "What do you want?"
The blue-haired boy jumped out of the way just in time. The symbol shone white, and from it, a horrifying sight emerged- a three-headed Siberian husky, all three heads drooling and snapping with bestial ferocity. Cerberus. "Hello, brother," said "Pride". Cerberus looked at "Pride" and growled.
Now, the symbol glowed vivid red, causing Cerberus to step out of the way as a more benign-looking figure appeared. "Hello, everyone," the fancily-dressed young man who had appeared greeted, twirling his cane.
The symbol's color became blue, and the dandy embraced the young, formal-looking woman who had appeared. "Pleasure to see you, too, Kuyume," she laughed lightly.
The symbol glowed a sickly green color... and nothing happened.
Nikolai looked up. "... three... two.... one~" he counted.
A large dragon crashed through the ceiling with a chuckle. "Long time, no see, Levia!" Nikolai said brightly, smiling at the dragon.
"...and VANITY! ARISE"
At last, the symbol glowed with silver light, and from it emerged the final figure- a knight wearing tarnished armor, a pair of tattered wings on his back. "Ah... I'm back. Good."
"So, we were freed from Pandora's box?" the middle head of Cerberus said, rather calmly despite the other two heads foaming at the mouths. "...You two are drooling again." The other two heads looked sheepish and apologized.
"You're pathetic, Cerberus... So, the Seven Sins are reunited," said the dragon.
"Correct, Levia. Along with the, ah... hangers-on," "Pride" confirmed, looking at the blue-haired boy. He replied with a dark glare
"Leave the human alone. What matters is that we're here, and I don't sense the life force of the gods that sealed us away so long ago," the apparent leader said.
"That's where the problem lies, Lord Collera," the woman pointed out.
Collera raised a slender eyebrow. "Oh? Explain, Charana," he requested.
"The old gods are not the only ones that exist. New deities and demigods have been born during our imprisonment- Jesus, Buddha, and countless others."
"No matter. We will plunge the world in fear, to prevent the humans from calling for the aid of these gods."
"Bah! Do you know NOTHING, Lord Collera?" Charana spat, annoyed by her leader's lack of concern. "I can sense the tremendous amounts of faith put into those gods! It's staggering!"
"But faith can be poisoned by the evils we control. We must use the power we never used in the our great war with the gods. We.. will create Cardinals." Collera chuckled diabolically.
"So, we finally use mankind's own evils against them," Cerberus's heads said simultaneously.
"Lovely," Kuyume chuckled. "So many dreams and desires, ripe for the devouring. I do look forward to this." He gave his cane another twirl.
"Ohh, yeah~! The sins of these humans are far more potent than they were all those years ago~" Nikolai drooled. "Man, I passed a ton of nightclubs and bars and stuff on my way here from Greece~!"
The man in armor smirked. "I will create the first Cardinal." He walked away from the group, already plotting.
"So, Elpis, what do you think of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers?" Leon asked. He'd been introducing the hope spirit to modern culture, in an attempt to help her adjust. Elpis clapped her hands and smiled.
"It's delightful!" she said. "You humans truly know how to entertain!"
"Good! Now, I need to talk to you. I think we need a team of people like me, not just myself." Supposing Leon had an inner fanboy somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind, it would currently be jumping up and down and squealing with glee at how close his life was to being a Power Rangers series. "I mean, wouldn't it make more sense to have others to help me out with this?" Leon reasoned.
"Thou dost reason well, and thy task may require abilities you possess not. Who do you believe may be worthy?" asked Elpis.
At this, Leon was stumped. "...good question," he said. "I guess I'll just know or something." Then, he was struck with inspiration. "I know just who can share this power!"
Some time later, a girl was in the town park, with a boombox playing music. She was dancing to the music, putting on a show for the passersby. When it was done, she smiled, turned the boombox off, and sat down on a bench. "Man, I love giving performances..." she mused. She then heard someone clapping nearby. It was Leon and Elpis, having left Leon's house (with an umbrella, of course) to find her.
"Bravo!" Leon congratulated, clapping. "Great job, Lily!"
"Oh, Leon. Nice to see you... wait a sec. Is... that a white mage next to you?" Lily's mismatched eyes- one purple, the other red- widened.
Leon and Elpis looked at one another with confusion. "What's a white mage?" they asked Lily.
"Oh yeah, you've never played Final Fantasy. A white mage wears all white," Lily replied. This garnered more confusion from Leon, who decided to change the subject.
"I'll take your word for it. So... have you met... uh... Elsie? She's my... cousin, from... Norway," Leon lied.
"No, I haven't met her. Nice to meet you, Elsie," Lily said. Elpis raised an eybrow at Leon's lie, before deciding to go with it.
"It is a pleasure to meet thee as well... your name?" Elpis asked of Lily.
"Lily Nora, Leon's best friend." Lily said.
"Lily's a good dancer, and the nicest girl in sixth grade, in my opinion," Leon said proudly. "She's an awesome friend, but don't underestimate her. She can hold her own in a fight."
"I see..." Elpis said quietly. She was thinking hard about Lily. Then, the CRACK of thunder reminded the three that it was still raining.
"Hey, Lily. Let's get you out of the rain. Wanna hang at my place?" Leon offered, holding out his hand. Lily, realizing that her hands were numb from dancing in the cold rain, nodded and walked under Leon's umbrella.
Leon and Elpis brought Lily to Leon's place, where they got her some hot cocoa. "That warm you up?" Leon asked. Lily nodded eagerly, sipping the beverage.
However, moments later, the doorbell rang. Elpis started and hid, while Leon hurried to the door and opened it. What he saw was a very sorry, pathetic sort of thing. It was a boy about his own age. He had shaggy blonde hair that faded to a soft pink near the tips, was drenched to the bone, and looked absolutely pitiful.
"I'm sorry, but if it isn't too much trouble..." the miserable wreck of a human being murmured, "...would you let me come in and dry off, please?"
"Aw, how can I say no? Come on in. I'll get you some hot cocoa and a change of clothes," Leon said, bringing the boy in.
The blonde boy soon found himself seated by the fireplace, dried off and wearing Leon's spare pajamas instead of the tattered blue coat he'd brought in. Getting dry again had taken a long time- the only thing that hadn't been soaked by the rain was his messenger bag.
"Feeling better?" Leon asked.
"Yeah... I'm sorry to inconvenience you..." the boy apologized.
"No need to apologize. You're no inconvenience," Leon laughed. "So... from the way your clothes were falling apart, and the fact that you asked for shelter... am I right to assume you're an orphan?"
The blonde boy nodded sadly.
"I thought so. Ugh, I still can't believe my dad had the only orphanage in town torn down, just to build another lame parking lot," Leon complained. "All he ever cares about is money."
"Good thing you live with your mom, huh?" Lily added.
"Did someone mention me?" Leon's mother appeared in the doorway leading to the kitchen, curious.
"We're just talking to our new friend here, Mom," Leon said casually. Once his mother had left, he turned to the blonde boy again. "I never did catch your name... what did you say it was?"
"I never said my name before, but you can call me Nicky..." the blonde boy said.
"That's a nice name. Anyway. that was my mom, Charity. She's awesome, especially after she realized how awful my dad is. She divorced him, took custody of me and my little brother, and even registered us under her maiden name, McCloud," Leon explained.
"That's- that's nice." Nicky flinched a little. "Uhm... I guess I'll leave now... thank you for letting me sit here." He made a move to exit, but was stopped by the others.
"Don't leave, Nicky. It's pouring out there. You can stay the night here, and don't even try to decline," Leon insisted. "It was my dad's fault you ended up on the streets."
Nicky looked doubtful. "...really..?" he asked suspiciously.
Leon nodded. "I promise. After all, it's the Christian thing to do." He smiled and patted Nicky on the shoulder. "Come on, I'll show you to our guest room." Still beaming, Leon led the way.
Nicky was surprised to see how nice the guest room was. "How did you afford such a nice room?" he asked.
"That's the perk of having a rich ex-husband forced to pay both alimony and child support," Charity said, joining the duo apropos of nothing. Nicky squeaked when he heard the sudden voice, and he put a hand to his heart. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."
"It's okay..." Nicky stammered. "This is where I stay for the night?"
"Well... yes, not to mention the next few weeks, or perhaps even longer. I'm not letting an innocent boy like you out there on your own," Charity added. "You'll be staying here for a little while, okay?"
Nicky was silent.
"That's my mom. Unexpected, but fun surprises." Leon said.
The orphaned boy remained silent, not sure how to react. But he soon smiled, and in a whisper, he said, "Thank you."
The Sins, in the meantime, had decided to search for suitable sources of their respective evils. There was a wealth of both good and evil people in the world, but it was the latter they were interested in.
"Look, that man in the building- the one called Flynn Development," Cerberus barked, pretending to be a simple dog.
"Hm~?" Nikolai, disguised as a normal boy walking the dog, looked up. Sure enough, there was a man walking around in the top floor of the building... and he was practically radiating sin. "Hm... Looks like a fine target, my friend~"
"And more than one sin. Greed, Pride, and even those more forgivable sins that we don't cover." Cerberus let out a bark of laughter.
"I feel it... he holds so many sins... but most potent is Wrath, directed at... a woman... a former mate?" wondered Orthrus, under the guise of a businessman.
"How dreadful," Kuyume sighed. He was pretending that he was an ordinary gentleman. "He's so corrupt."
"Yes, but hold on a minute. I had an idea. His wealth and power could be helpful to us, and his Greed makes him a good pawn." Orthrus let a malevolent smile cross his face.
"...Orthrus, Kuyume, you handle that. We'll continue searching for sin sources," Cerberus said. The dandy and the dark knight nodded and separated from Cerberus and Nikolai.
The man being discussed by the Sins, Raymond Flynn, was on the phone at the time. "What do you MEAN, my request to buy the suburbs was declined?!" he shouted. The person on the other end of the phone spoke as follows:
"We were told you can't, because it would leave many families without homes. Basically, you'd be ruining lives- like when you brought the orphanage and evicted everyone from it without a warning or two week notice." The second sentence was very flat in tone.
"But the more cash cows I have, the richer I get each day!"
"You obviously don't know anything about ethics, do you?" The person with whom Raymond was speaking hung up.
"Ugh, idiots," groused Raymond. "How the heck am I supposed to be the richest man in the world without tons of cash cows?"
"Because you're not supposed to be," a light, clear voice said- right behind Raymond.
Raymond turned around to see a man wearing fancy clothing. "Oh, really? Who are you to deny that I can be richer than everyone else?"
"Oh, nobody," the dandy said cheerfully. "But I do know HOW you can become richer."
A greedy glint came into Raymond's eyes. "Really? How? Tear down the nearby high school and build a power plant?"
"Of course not," was the dandy's curt reply. "The protesters will eat you alive if you do that."
"What protesters?" Raymond asked.
"People who hate what you're doing, of course."
"How could anyone hate me?" Raymond asked. "I make more jobs. Ergo, people can get paid."
"But to make those jobs, you've done a number of atrocities," countered the dandy.
"Atrocities? Name these so-called atrocities."
"How about I simply show you?" The dandy snapped his fingers, and the television in the room flickered on.
"Welcome to the six o'clock news. Today, we're discussing the newest atrocity commited by developer Raymond Flynn." said the male news reporter on the TV.
"According to the state government, he's destroyed the only orphanage in the Vertrauen Falls area to build yet another parking lot," the female reporter continued. "There has been an uproar over this act, and people everywhere are denouncing Mr. Flynn's name."
"It's not hard to see why. First, he destroyed the town's outlet mall, and angered thousands of regulars there. Then, he wrecked that special education learning facility, garnering more backlash. And as if that wasn't enough, THEN, he tore down the country club a ways outside of Vertrauen Falls, thus getting even MORE of a bad reputation."
"And NOW, he's ruined the lives of innocent kids without families. As you can see from this footage-" A video began playing behind the news reporters. "-dozens of kids who lived in that orphanage are now on the streets, begging for help from others."
"Well, as they say, why keep around what you don't like?" Raymond said. "And I hated those places."
The dandy frowned. "It's not very pragmatic of you to simply tear those places down. You could have simply purchased them and used them to make money."
"Enough out of you," Raymond snapped. "If you're simply here to scold me, begone with you!"
"So be it." The dandy shrugged and sighed. "I'm Kuyume, by the way. We'll meet again." He walked out the door of Raymond's office.
Eventually, Elpis came out of hiding and introduced herself to Nicky, when nobody else was looking.
"Elpis? That's your name?" Nicky asked. "It's a nice name."
"Thank you. I am the spirit of hope- the one from the legend of Pandora's Box."
Nicky snorted. "No way," he dismissed. "That's silly."
Elpis smirked and revealed to Nicky her true form- she'd been disguising herself as a normal girl, much the same way as the Sins were disguised as normal people.
Nicky's jaw dropped. "W-wings?!"
"I AM the spirit of hope... and I sense thou art filled with hope thyself," Elpis said kindly. "A hope that blossomed when Leon first agreed to get you shelter- a hope that has gradually grown. Please, tell me thy story."
Immediately, Nicky went into full alert, stepping away from Elpis. "How do I know I can trust you?" he asked doubtfully.
"Would I be asking if I couldn't be trusted?"
"I can be trusted. I swear on my good right hand." Elpis took Nicky's hand in her own. "Please?" She gave the boy her best puppy-dog eyes.
Nicky sighed. "Okay, I'll trust you. But I'm not comfortable with revealing my personal life."
Elpis sighed back. "Oh, well. It was worth the attempt."
"So, why are you showing who you really are to me?" Nicky asked. "If you're comfortable with telling, of course..."
"...I'm not comfortable with telling you yet, either. You shalt find out soon enough," the hope spirit said vaguely.
"Are you sure?"
"Okay." Nicky nodded, not wanting to breach Elpis's privacy.
Meanwhile, Leon was talking with Lily, Charity, and his little brother, Yukio.
"You really think Nicky would be okay with it?" Charity asked.
"Yes. He's in a tight spot right now, and this is the best way I can think of," Leon said.
Yukio was incredulous. "But why?" he asked, narrowing his blue eyes. "He's a stranger."
"Yukio, he's in a bad way right now, and you know we need to make up for dad's greedy actions," Leon said.
Yukio slumped over and pouted. "Fine..." he muttered.
"Cheer up, little brother. Nicky is a nice guy. Very trustworthy." Leon ruffled Yukio's sky-blue hair.
"It's getting late. Leon, Yukio, go get ready for bed. I'll call Mrs. Nora and let her know Lily's staying the night," Charity said. She went off to do just that. Leon and Yukio went upstairs, both of them wanting to go to bed. It was late, after all.
"Yukio, I wanna ask you a favor." Leon said.
"Huh?" Yukio turned his head to face his older brother.
"During these next few weeks, I think things might get pretty dangerous, so be really careful. Okay?"
Obediently, the younger sibling nodded. Then, he yawned and entered his room.
Late that night, Raymond was at his favorite bar, half-heartedly sipping at a glass of Amontillado wine. "Hey, Virgil, I know I can always talk to you. I want to ask you something."
Virgil, the bartender, looked at Raymond. "What is it, buddy?" he asked, looking into Raymond's deep blue eyes.
"Why do people always make a fuss when something they like is taken away?"
Virgil shrugged. "Guess it's 'cause people have a lotta good memories of those things, and the memories hurt when those things're taken away."
Raymond scoffed. "Ugh. Memories can't make you money." He drank some more of his wine and sighed.
"I remember you saying that to Charity the night you were fighting over your son," Virgil said.
"Don't TALK to me about Charity Flynn," Raymond muttered.
"It's Charity McCloud now," Virgil reminded. "Y'all divorced, remember? You ranted to me that Charity not only took Leon, but you had to pay alimony and child support."
"Another Amontillado," the entrepreneur interrupted, changing the subject.
The next day...
"Morning, Leon!" Lily greeted cheerfully, seeing Leon enter his living room. "Sino and Sonya want to know if you wanna hang out with them today."
"Sino and Sonya? Okay, but they come here and hang with us."
"Alright..." Lily noticed what Leon was wearing, and decided to enlighten him to it. "But are you sure you want them to visit while you're wearing footed pajamas?"
True to Lily's statement, Leon was clad in a blue pair of footed pajamas, looking for all the world like a little kid. "I'll get changed, stupid," Leon replied with a self-conscious blush. He sighed, and returned to his room to get dressed, just as Yukio came into the living room.
"Morning!" Yukio chirped. "How are you, Lily?"
"Good," Lily said. Then, she frowned. "But I can't shake the feeling that something's going to happen soon. Something bad."
"Leon had that feeling too, last night," Yukio said. "Weird, huh?"
"A little. Anyway, is Nicky still asleep?"
The little blue-hair nodded. "Sleeps like a rock. Good thing he doesn't snore."
"Yeah. So, we've got friends coming over, and I think they'll find you to be cute in these footies," Lily joked. Yukio stiffened.
"P-people are coming over?" he said. "Y-yeah, I'd better change." The little boy scuttled away.
"What a precious child," Elpis said from where she sat on the living room couch. "By the way, Lily, I would like to ask something of you."
"What is it, Elsie?" Lily asked.
"Can you tell me about Leon's father? Leon refuses to tell me himself."
Lily made a face. "Leon's father... is an absolute jerk. He does whatever he wants, whenever he feels like doing it, without any regard for other people."
"What has he done that's so bad?" With another grimace, Lily explained. Elpis blinked when the other girl was done with her recountment of Raymond's misdeeds. After a period of silence, the hope spirit finally said, "...oh, my."
"Yeah. After the special ed building stunt, Miss McCloud was angered for the last time, especially since Leon was... taking a couple classes there."
Elpis winced. "Dear me." Deciding not to bring the subject up further, she entered the kitchen and began hunting for a soda, a beverage Leon had acquainted her with.
Charity was in the kitchen as well, humming a tune as she made cinnamon rolls. "Good morning... what was your name again?"
"Elsie," Elpis lied.
"Good morning, Elsie." Charity's brown eyes twinkled. "Want a cinnamon roll?"
"No thank you," Elpis said. "Er.. I have a question. Does Leon hate his father?"
Charity's face became grave at the mention of Raymond. "Yes."
"I see." Elpis sighed. She found a soda in the refrigerator, cracked it open, and left.
Soon, the spirit began thinking about Lily and Nicky. "Maybe they are worthy to combat the Sins as well." She looked out the window, watching the endless rain drown Vertrauen Falls. And she prayed for the safety of the world.