Notes: Smash Brothers, Fire Emblem and all related characters belong to Nintendo. The lyrics inserted in the chapter are from the song "Quasimodo" and are owned by Lifehouse. There, that sounded professional enough, ne?

This is the sequel to "Black Balloon"--a sequel that some people didn't want me to write. But I suppose I actually got around to starting this because I was reading over some of my work, and I decided something: I'm damn proud of Black Balloon. It's one of the very few stories that I've done well, and I personally think it deserves a sequel. And one more thing: There are a few references to Fire Emblem (note the disclaimer). If you read this and don't understand some of the things said throughout the story, I'll explain them either in author's notes or in the story itself.

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'You can be right and I'll be real
Honesty won't be a pain that you will have to feel
Cause I don't need your approval to find my worth.'

"Look at them all," I murmur to myself from the corner of the cafeteria that I've hidden myself into. Twenty-one of them, laughing, yelling... It isn't often that all twenty-five fighters actually go to lunch. In fact, this is one of the few times that I actually have. Sure, I went when I first came here... Only to be ridiculed, being the first time they had some off time with me. When I came here, all I wanted was to prove my strength and have a good time doing it... The first part seems to be going through, at any rate. But even with my exceptional abilities that some people have admitted that I have, I still don't get respect.

It's probably because I was the last one. I was the last to register, just barely getting the last spot. Number twenty-five. I suppose that just made me immediate material to poke fun at. Also, everyone here has done something great--some wonderful way of making his or her mark. As for me... I'm a prince. As such, I've grown up earning respect from my title. But here, that doesn't matter. They had told me, "you mean you've been sheltered all your life? Novice. What experience could you have that will serve you purpose here?"

Those are the important reasons, of course. They also love picking on me for little things. For instance, they always make a point that I look so much younger than I actually am. I quickly got irritated with the comments similar to those given to the ten-year-olds. And they find amusement in my spiked, yet long, hair. I think I'll probably go insane if I hear the phrase "punk rocker" one more time. After the situation with Link... Well, they just had more to ridicule.

'Trapped inside of my own mind
Afraid to open my eyes cause of what I'd find
And I don't want to live like this anymore.'

I suppose that crossed the line. It seemed as if my only reason for being there was to be there for them to laugh at, and I was sure I deserved more than that. But Link... He was the one whom I noticed never did. I was stupid to think... That maybe he didn't hate me, too. I guess that's what caused my attraction to him. When he acted as if I wasn't even human, I just couldn't take it. I started questioning whether or not I really did deserve better. After someone I hardly even considered before got involved, the frustration and confusion overtook me, and I found myself with my blade to my own throat. With his help, I recovered... But the scar across my throat gives them more to criticize.

'There goes my pain
There goes my chains
Did you see them falling?
Curse this feeling
That has no meaning.'

Someone approaches me, at my table that I'm sitting on in the corner... It's him. A little smile reaches his face as he sits down across from me. "You're here. That's a change of pace."

"Yeah," I mumble, trying not to look at him. "I just... Felt like coming."

He begins peeling the orange that he carried with him, seemingly expecting my reaction. People start glancing over. I guess by befriending me, Marth--or Marus, as he told me to call him--became less popular among the others. But still he's kind to me, even in public. I'm not that important; why doesn't he care?

Falco mumbles something to Peach while staring at us, no doubt causing her to giggle. I roll my eyes and sigh. "You know..."

"Hm?" He asks calmly, still concentrating on the fruit.

"People are starting to say things."

"How do you mean?" His nonchalant tone continues.

"Marus, haven't you realized that by befriending me, you've compromised your respect to these people?" I get off the table and sit down properly, leaning my elbows on it.

"Let them talk," he shrugged. "If they're bored enough with their own lives to care about what we do when they don't even like either of us much, that's for them to worry about," he finished by putting a piece of orange in his mouth.

I just don't understand how he can have such a casual attitude with what they think of him... By now, I suppose I'm used to it, but they used to like him. Maybe...

"Want some?" He interrupts my thoughts, holding a dripping piece of fruit in front of me.

"Uh... No, that's all right," I mumble as I look down at the table.

...Maybe I should be more like him.

'There goes the world
Off of my shoulders
There goes the world
Off of my back
There it goes.'