The Powers of Music and Other Things...

MUSICAL! Or songfic. Whichever. Chapter summary: Lacroa's alive again and there are TONS of people that Zero wants our friends to meet.

"LACROA!" Zero gasped in amazement. "It's- it's- alive again!"

Shute leaned over the knight's shoulder and surveyed the mostly brown world that was once the blue and gray Lacroa. "Barely."

"Shute!" Zero snapped at the boy, who responded with an airy giggle that clearly said "I'm kidding!". The knight couldn't help but smile and playfully shoved Shute away.

The once-beautiful-then-dead-and-now-alive-again Lacroa was indeed an interesting sight; where there was once stone was now brown dust and a few scattered gardens and shattered houses. Every now and then, there would be a far away blast of horns and a loud POPping sound, but other than that, there was no sign of life. The sky had turned from its previous shade of purple to a happy blue; the sun was still rising low in the sky.

"This is certainly good news!" Baku surveyed the decayed plants and bits of stone. "I think. At least it's alive again."

"At least we know all of the worlds take over by the Dark Axis have been restored." Captain lowered his eye piece and scanned the area. "I am detecting a few humanoid life forms. Zero, is there anyone you would like to say hello to?"

"Is there?!" Zero grabbed the person closest to him (Shute) and began dragging him towards the castle.

***

The castle of Lacroa was probably the only place well kempt in all of the kingdom. The ceilings were so high that they couldn't be seen; the black stone walls were covered in various tartans and plaids, all of them bright and looking new. Scrawled onto the stone walls were various etchings of Talgeese, probably all done by him, too. Loud, jovial music came from all directions, although it, like the sounds outside, was distant and fading.

"KING!" Zero's voiced echoed through the lofty halls. "KING DAVIS!"

Shute hovered near Captain anxiously. "Are you sure we should've come in without knocking?"

"All Winged Knights are allowed in the castle whenever they want," Zero explained. "And since I am the only Winged Knight remaining, they will..."

Baku leaned in towards Captain and Shute. "Could either of you tell him to wrap it up?"

"I don't think so," Captain monotoned.

"No," finished Shute.

"...with open arms. Are you paying attention?!"

Shute jumped and hid behind Captain. Bakunetsumaru made a startled 'eep'ing noise while Zero shot him an evil glare.

A strange voice ran through the halls. "Who's there!?"

It was Zero's turn to jump then. "Woah! That's not King Davis!"

"I won't ask again!" the mysterious voice wavered. "Who goes there?"

"It is Zero, the Winged Knight!" Zero called to the ceiling. "And company."

"Like we're a side note," Baku complained, making Shute giggle.

And there was a deafening BANG!

Captain and Baku both drew their swords and thrust them at the wispy cloud, Zero grabbing Shute and flying out of sword-range. As the cloud settled, a Lacroan man took its place. And not just any man...

His short hair was a shocking gold, which contrasted his pale skin and thin face. His beady blue eyes were a bit unfocused, probably because he was still materializing after being smoke. He wore a flowing blue robe, purple at the shoulders and golden at the hems, a bright red sash tied at his waist. Diamonds and rubies studded his collar. As his robe reached to the ground, it slowly dissolved into swirling masses of smoke, his feet hidden from the world. The magic man floated inches above the ground. In his hand he held an elaborate scepter, as tall as Zero himself and decorated with fine gems and precious metals.

The man shook his head and turned to Zero, who was just putting Shute back on the ground. "A Winged Knight?!" he gasped with surprise. "I believed all of you dead!"

Zero smiled. "I am still alive, Ki- wait." Zero stopped smiling and began to scowl. "You're not King Davis."

The man coughed and looked away. "Well, yes, King Davis is-a-hem." He straightened himself. "I am Prince John, Davis's brother and replacement king until he returns."

Zero cocked his head. "Returns? Where did he go?"

Prince John wiggled his shoulders and once again spoke proudly. "King Davis had to make a crusade to a far away land to get something to restore the kingdom to it's once proud state. He should be back soon."

"Oh, um, alright then." Zero looked to the floor.

"This guy definitely wins the weirdo award."

"Shute, be nice!"

"Bad Shute!"

Giggling.

Prince John turned on his heel and pointed his staff at the remaining three. They jumped, but did not technically react to it. Shute actually smiled pleasantly and waved. "Hajimemashite!"

"Who are they?" Prince John snapped.

"Friends of mine," Zero responded without hesitating. Shute, Captain, and Bakunetsumaru bowed.

"Umm... very well, then!" Prince John grinned. "It's nice to know others of noble upbringing survive this whole Dark Axis event. How would you like to join me and the others for dinner?"

"OO! YEAH!" Shute bounced into the air in joy.

"I'm Huuuuuuuungrrryyyyyyyyy!" Baku whined.

Zero went red in the face and began to sweat. "Oh dear..."

***

Prince John led the four of the Gundam Force through the many hallways of Lacroa castle. "As you can guess, only a few people of the nobility survived the Dark Axis invasion. For the time being, we are all residing in this castle until our numbers improve."

Shute paused, scratching his head. "Wait, that doesn't make sense. Whaddayamean, 'until your numbers improve'? Are you the only humans left in Lacroa?"

Prince John laughed; he had a pretty friendly laugh. "No! No! No! How silly! Zero, where did you get this boy? He's so ignorant that it's funny!"

"HEY!" Shute snapped, flinging his clenched fists to the side. "Who are you calling ignorant?!"

Zero placed him in between himself and Prince John. "Shute, be polite, he's a king!"

Shute's face sank into a frown. "But he called me ignorant."

"Well, you are!" Prince John put on his proud face and began to rant again. "Royalty and simple humans are completely different entities entirely."

"Why?"

Prince John pointed his staff at Shute. "Magic."

A blue glow surrounded Shute, and he began to float into the air! "Wha- Aa! CAPTAIN!"

"SHUTE!" Captain latched onto Shute's arm and tried to pull him down, but he wouldn't budge.

"AA! Witch! Warlock! Magic user!" Bakunetsumaru shrunk down to unbelievable size and hid under Zero's cloak. "Keep it away!"

"Stop whimpering, you cheese-head!" Zero kicked Bakunetsumaru out from underneath him. "You're all embarrassing me enough already!"

Prince John set Shute lightly down in Captain's arms. "People of royal lineage always have magic in their blood. What we're trying to do is bring back the magic."

Shute wiggled so that he was sitting comfortably. "Oh, okay. I understand now."

Prince John's happy face began to sink. "Yes, well... there are some problems."

Captain cocked his head. "Like what?"

"Well..."

***

The Dining Hall; not the dining hall, The Dining Hall. The most elaborately designed and most passionately celebrated estate in all of Lacroa. The ceiling was a beautiful gold, studded here and there with gigantic chandeliers which glimmered like stars. There were no tables; it was more of a coliseum seating, which chairs and tables rising in layers on the walls while jesters and clowns performed magic to entertain the small audience of people. On the far north of the room was the head table where the king, queen, and any of their children would sit, on the floor in between were luxurious rugs and the finest marble, and on the far south, a majestic oaken door. Huge windows stretched from ceiling to floor on the east and west walls, bathing The Dining Hall with the golden splendor of a rising sun.

Prince John waved his staff at the small crowd of blue, green, and gold haired people. "These are all of the royalty that's left in Lacroa. As you can see, there are either far too many men or far too little women."

Captain's eyepiece slid down from his helmet. "There is a ratio of 84 men to 23 women. That leaves about3.6522 males for every female."

"And it just doesn't work that way," Prince John grunted with a slight smirk. "So, we're having a little bit of trou- oh, good morning, Princess."

Zero could have easily jumped out of his armor at those few simple words. He turned on his heel and turned so red he looked like a female Bakunetsumaru. "Princess Aresia!"

Zero's fabled Princess stood about a head taller than him, and almost mirrored Sayla in appearance (just like Zero said!) except for two things; her hair was a green-ish blue, and her face lacked that innocent happiness; instead, the Princess's face was downcast and sad. She wore an elaborate pink gown which stretched down to the floor; she wore her long hair down, sweeping her shoulders.

The Princess looked up sleepily. "Hello, Uncle John." She turned slowly, and she grew a faint smile. "Zero. Thank you so much for saving Lacroa."

Zero bowed on one knee before his Princess. "Princess, please, blessing me with your presence and knowing that you are safe is enough."

The Princess touched one of Zero's helmet wings with her fingertips and kissed his forehead. "Such a loyal knight."

"Princess!" Prince John waved the girl in the other three's direction. "Look at this! Zero brought some others from the other dimensions! What are your names again? Baklava?"

"Bakunetsumaru!" snapped the samurai.

"My name is Captain Gundam," recited the mechanical Neotopian.

The human Neotopian bowed quickly, "I'm Shute! How ya doin'?"

Princess cocked her head curiously. "Why is your hair red?"

Shute looked upward at his little tuft of gravity defying hair. "Um... 'cause I was born with it like that?" Shute tapped it and watched it bounce. "It's not really red, it's more of a reddish brown."

The Princess giggled airily, surprising her uncle. "Oh, Uncle John, he's cute! Are they going to be staying for a while?"

"Are we, Zero?" Captain inquired, his vision focused on the Winged Knight. Zero rubbed his chin.

"I guess so..."

"YEAH!"

***

The Head Table offered a very nice view of The Dining Hall as the Gundam Force saw it. Despite his requests, Captain was placed on the far end of one table, Zero next to him, then Prince John, then Princess. Five more seats had yet to be taken.

"You can sit next to me, Shute," Princess Aresia insisted. "You don't mind sitting at the Head Table, do you?"

Shute shrugged. "I guess not. It's just a table."

Bakunetsumaru nudged Shute's shoulder. "Shute, look! Chicken!"

"Oo, chicken!" Shute sat down. "Can we eat now?"

Prince John ushered Princess into her seat. "Not until my nephews get here."

"There are princes, too?" Zero startled. "I didn't know that."

"I am the oldest of my father's children," Aresia proudly explained. "So, I am the only one in the family that need be worried about."

"That's mean!" Baku noted.

"Yeah, they're your brothers, whoever they are!" Shute continued. "You shouldn't think you're better just because you're older; I know, my dad told me so!"

Princess jut her nose into the air. "Well, My Uncle John said I am the only royal family member worth fussing over while my father is gone," she huffed. "So there."

Baku whispered into Shute's ear, "Stuffy little brat, isn't she?"

"Hai."

And they both began to laugh. Shute leaned far over the table to catch a glimpse of his best friend, Captain. "You doin' okay over there, Captain?"

Captain gave Shute the thumbs-up sign; an unexpected gesture that made Shute laugh out loud, not to the liking of Zero.

"Shute! Mind your manners!" Zero shot him a death glare. "You're in the presence of a king!"

"Then why is he 'Prince John', huh? Ha ha!" This time it was Bakunetsumaru who made the smart quip. One of his eyes went all swirly while the other was "closed" tightly. "Be-da!" Shute giggled uncontrollably.

Zero sighed and directed his attention to the jesters, who were casting illusionary spells of dragons, knights, and ghosts. One of the ghost illusions escaped and hovered over Bakunetsumaru's head, scaring the still laughing Musha Gundam out of his wits. Shute laughed again until the ghost took the shape of a dog; he yelped and hid underneath the table with Baku.

"Shute, are you alright?" Captain asked from waaaaaaay on the other side; the ghost floated to him and took the form of Shute, looking pale and holding his severed head in his arms. He paused. "Whoever's doing this, it isn't funny."

Prince John clapped his hands once. "Oh, that's just a bogart spell. It changes into whatever you fear most! It's quite fun!" Prince John waved his scepter through the approaching cloud, wisping it away.

"Is it gone?" Shute and Baku spoke in unison, still under the table.

Zero and Captain both answered, "It's alright. Come on out."

The Dining Halls doors opened, and in stepped Aresia's three brothers... her three identical brothers...

Shute and Baku looked out from beneath the table. Shute was the first to scream, "Baku, look! IT'S THE TRIPLETS!"

Coah, Doah, and Noah looked to the table, not noticing their friends at first. They wore no Pawn Leo armor or simple brown clothes; their dress was bright and colorful, with each separate triplet wearing a different color. Which one was in what, though, was debatable, but the colors themselves were purple, pink, and red. They wore the banded crowns that Shute had seen them wear when he first saw them; he now knew that it was Noah wearing red, Doah wearing pink, and Coah wearing purple.

The three triplets looked about curiously until Coah pointed to the table. "Look! Over there!"

"It's the guys who saved us from Talgeese!" Noah cheered.

Doah faces snapped into a huge smile. "I knew they'd be back!"

Shute jumped out from under the table, running to his friends as fast as he could (and vice versa). They met right in the middle of the illusionists, the three younger ones overpowering the taller boy and knocking him to the ground.

Noah latched himself to Shute's stomach. "It's you! It's you! You're back!"

Shute laughed. "I've missed you guys so much!" Shute shifted his weight so he could take Coah into his arm. "Sorry I didn't bring any cake, I kinda came on short notice!"

Doah hugged Shute's neck from the side. "That's okay, we didn't really want any."

"Did ya bring us anything else?" Noah asked expectantly.

Shute was about to answer when he heard the royal crowd chuckling. He looked up to see the illusionists casting floating hearts around him and the triplets; Baku was laughing with everything he could muster while Captain smiled, Zero groaned, and Prince John and Aresia fumed.

"Hey! That's not very nice!" Shute spat, casting evil glares at the laughing jesters. "You're ruining one of those sappy moments like they have on sitcoms that nobody admits to liking!"

Prince John shot out of his chair and floated down to the kids. "Listen, Children, why don't you go play outside while I have a little discussion with your friends, okay?"

"Sure!" Shute crawled to his feet. "Come on, triplets, let's go play!"

As Shute bounced away, Prince John gathered the Gundams together. "You're taking care of the boy. Let me tell you a little bit about teaching a child manners..."

***

"So, Prince John said that these are all the magic people left in Lacroa?" Shute asked Noah.

"Yep."

"What about all the normal people?"

"Oh, there are still a ton of those," answered Coah. "They live outside the castle. They're trying to rebuild Lacroa."

"So..." Shute tried to rationalize. "What exactly do they do to rebuild a kingdom?"

"They rebuild all of the villages, regrow the crops, that sort of stuff," said Doah.

"That sounds hard!" Shute rubbed his head. "Shouldn't you magic people be helping?"

"That's what I said, but Uncle John said that magic folk shouldn't associate with non-magic folk." Noah looked away. "I thought it was stupid."

"I think it's stupid too!" said the other twins.

"Me too!" Shute rocked his head back and forth. "All those hoity-toity manner-riddled jerks that think they're better than us. No offense."

"That's okay!" said the twins. Noah then spoke. "We're not technically royalty 'cause we're not gonna get the throne, that's what Uncle John told me."

"Does your Uncle John tell you everything?" Shute snapped.

The triplets nodded. "Pretty much."

A drop of sweat rolled down Shute's forehead. "Ai-ya. So, whadda you wanna do?"

"Let's go play in the Music Room!"

Shute didn't care which triplet said what; the word music jolted to the center of his brain, making him stand straight up and smile brightly. "Music?"

"Is it still working?" Coah asked Noah.

Doah nodded. "The power has been off since Daddy left."

Noah made a face at his brothers. "Daddy told me himself that he would leave the music room on. Let's go."

***

"... the boy acted like a wild animal in front of the guests!" Prince John wailed. "I expected that someone traveling with a Winged Knight woul-"

A streak of fire shot across the roof of The Dining Hall, scaring everyone inside! Suddenly the chandelier's began to glow even brighter, and multi- colored dots of light began to dance across the edges of the room, not unlike Christmas lights. Zero's eyes went wide.

"Who turned on the Central Beacon?" yelled Prince John.

"The Central Beacon?" he looked around. "But, everyone's in here..."

"What happened, Zero?" Bakunetsumaru whimpered, the bolt of fire scaring him.

"That was the Central Beacon, a crystal that provides power to the castle!" Zero explained. "That streak of fire means it's been activated, but only the King-"

"Or someone as powerful as the king," Prince John interrupted. "Come on, to the center of the castle!"

***

Noah gasped. "How did you do that, Shute?"

"I dunno!" Shute looked at his hands, then at the walls, trying to find something to blame for the blast of fire. "I just asked for someone to turn on a light, I didn't do anything!"

The music room was alight with the bright yellow glow of a gigantic diamond hanging from the ceiling. The walls looked as if they were made of dust; there were no instruments, but there were four statues. The statues, however, were of dragons, the largest one directly in front of Shute with another, much smaller (maybe a baby?) one resting on its folded legs. Two medium-sized ones flanked the room. The dragons' scales were large and arranged almost like armor plating; the statues were a glimmering obsidian. They had four legs and long necks, ending it a blunt nub of a head with outstretched, horn-like appendages that Shute guessed were ears. Their wings were stretched out in front of them, acting as a shield to the light of the crystal.

"Where are the instruments?" Shute asked the triplets.

"These are the instruments!" Noah laughed. "These are song dragons! Watch!"

Noah pointed a finger at the largest statue. One of the larger scales on its chest lifted slightly, then slammed back onto its body, making the loud ringing noise of a gong!

Shute's jaw dropped in amazement. "WOW! Let me try!"

Shute pointed his finger, picking a scale within his own mind. As it played in his head, it echoed through the scales of the song dragon statue, this time with smaller scales along its side sounding like church bells. "THAT'S SO COOL!"

"Isn't it?!" Noah laughed. "Do you know a song we can do?"

Shute thought for a moment. "Oh, there are so many!" He moaned it thought. "Oh, I know! Do you guys feel like dancing?"

"YEAH!"

"Where's a window?" Shute began scrambling around the room, looking for a window. "I need to see if any peasants are nearby."

"There's one behind this statue," said a very confused Coah. He pointed to one of the medium statues, which Shute immediately shoved himself behind. The window, unfortunately, was only a little slit in the wall. But as he peered through it, he saw a saw a small collection of peasant men, women, and children working in what looked like the stables.

"Perfect!" Shute chirped. "Aw, but they could never hear the song from here, the window would have to be bigger..."

But as he spoke, the window actually began to stretch wider and taller until the entire wall was practically gone!

"THIS PLACE RULES!"

The peasants looked upwards at the screaming, waving boy! He wormed his way to the other side of the dragon statue. "Hey, peasant people! This is for you!"Shute pointed to the smallest song dragon and-

***

Shute: Oh, the will sing of an Lacroan King

A thousand years from now,

And not because he passed some laws

Or had that lofty brow.

(One song dragon lowered its tail and let the peasants climb into the music room. They stared at Shute in amazement and wonder.)

While bonny good King Davis leads

The great crusade he's on,

We'll all have to slave away

For that good-for-nothing' John!

(The peasants nodded in agreement and clapped in rhythm.)

Incredible as he is inept,

Whenever the history books are kept,

They'll call him the phony king of Lacroa!

Peasants: A pox on the phony king of Lacroa!

("How the-?" Shute looked at the walls in wonderment; the words to the song were scrawling themselves into the wall like a child scribbling words into the dirt with a stick. "THIS PLACES RULES TO THE SECOND POWER! Noah, Doah, Coah, you do this one!"

The triplets grinned and began to sway in time with the song. Crude stick figures drew themselves onto the wall, miming the words that the triplets were singing.)

Noah: He sits alone on a giant throne

Pretending he's the king!

Coah: A little tyke who's rather like

A puppet on a string.

(Doah threw himself to the ground and began flailing his arms around.)

Doah: And he throws an angry tantrum

If he cannot have his way!

Shute: And then he calls for Mum-

(Shute leaned against a song dragon statue and began sucking on his thumb.)

Noah: While he's suckin' his thumb.

Doah: You see-

Coah: He doesn't wanna play.

(The peasant men, women, and children laughed uproariously. Even the statues seemed to shake with suppressed snickers. Shute sucked the air out of his mouth and yanked out his thumb with a humorous POP.)

Shute: Too late to be known as John the First!

He's sure to be known as John the Worst!

Peasants, Triplets, and Shute: A pox on the phony king of Lacroa!

("Lay the country on me, song dragon!"

The smallest dragon began to flap its wings violently, making the sound of a plucking guitar. Shute cheered in excitement, the music giving him an energy unimaginable!

"Dance with me, laddy!" A rather short peasant woman grabbed Noah's hand and began doing a fast jitterbug-ish dance with him.

"Do it, Coah!" Shute shouted.

Another voice screamed from behind him. "I'm Coah!"

Shute blushed. "Oops."

The dragon statues began to stand up on their feet and dance as if alive, their mouths open and blowing out sounds of horns and whistles! Shute danced and bounced along to the music; he normally HATED singing in front of an audience, but this barely felt like a judging crowd! This was more like singing Christmas karaoke with his cousins!

A tall peasant person jumped into the center of the room. He adjusted his tunic and took a deep breathe.)

Peasant man: While he taxes us to pieces

And he robs us of our bread,

King Davis's crown keeps slippin' down

Around that pointed head!

(Shute wrapped one arm around the tall peasant man's middle.)

Shute: Ah! But while there is a merry man

In this guy's wily pack,

(The man began to blush.)

We'll find a way to make him pay

And steal our money back!

Coah: And the minute before he knows we're there-

Noah: I'll go and snatch his underwear!

(Noah held up a pink shirt. A shirtless Doah snatched the shirt out of Noah's hands, his mouth angry but his eyes happy, and went behind a song dragon to change. The people began to clap and cheer.)

Shute: The breezy and uneasy king of Lacroa.

The snivelin', grovellin',

Measly, weasly,

Blabberin', jabberin',

Gibberin', jabberin',

Blunderin', plunderin',

Wheelin, dealin'

Prince John, that phony king of Lacroa!

Peasants, Triplets, and Shute: YEAH!

***

Shute had just grabbed a young girl's hands and started spinning her around when he suddenly slammed into one of the statues. "OW!" He put his hands on his bruised head and rubbed it. "Itai..."

"YEEP!" The girl's terrified cry shot through Shute's ears; in fact, from the sound of it (his eyes were twisted shut), the entire room was going into a panic. Shute didn't realize what was going on until a Gundam's hand clamped down on his shoulder.

His eyes flung open to see an EXTREMELY angry Zero looking down upon him, even though it was Captain's hand on his shoulder. Prince John was standing behind Zero, wringing his staff in anger. "Oh, crud!"

Noah hurried forward. "Don't punish him Uncle John!"

"It's not his fault that the peasants came in here!" Doah shouted.

Coah nodded. "Yeah, they were the ones who were singin' it, Uncle John! They made him-"

"Guys, don't cover up for me!" Shute snarled. "That'll only get all of us in trouble!"

"You BET you are all in trouble!" Prince John pointed the staff at Shute's nose. "Such rebellious racket ringing throughout the entire kingdom; if you were a citizen of Lacroa, I'd have you arrested for treason!"

"But you said to play outside!" Shute defended the triplets, going against what he had said to them. A soft squeeze from Captain's hand gave him a quick surge of confidence. "Don't punish them sir, it's me who started the song! I brought the peasants in here and everything!"

Zero shooed Captain away. "Shute, I'm very disappointed in you. If you don't get your act together, we could just drop you in the Realm of Faerie until we need you and not let you come with us at all."

"Yes, sir. I understand. I'll be good." Shute lowered his head in shame.

Prince John gave Zero a hard whack on the shoulder with his scepter. "NO! That's not how you teach a boy how to behave! Watch!" Prince John went to whip Shute smartly across the face with the stave in his hands; as soon as the staff made contact with Shute's skin, a jagged bolt of electricity shot from his cheek, through the scepter, and into Prince John!

The surrogate king stumbled backwards while Shute rubbed his tingling cheek. "OW! That hurt, man!"

Captain wrapped his arms around the boy while Bakunetsumaru rushed forward to make sure that it hadn't hurt him. Zero hovered backwards, his eyes wide and his face pale.

"It's only a small burn," Baku told Captain, examining Shute's cheek. "Nothing serious."

"Good." Captain released the auburn-haired one unwillingly.

Prince John shoved the Gundams aside, the triplets cringing behind. "You- how- come here!"

Prince John grabbed Shute by the wrist and pulled him out of the Music Room, the Gundams (all but Zero) confused and afraid for the boys well being. "There is something definitely wrong with you, boy! As Maana as my witness, we are going to find out just what!"

And all this, from the side of the doorway, unnoticed and unacknowledged, the Princess of Lacroa saw.

What happened with Shute? What's up with Prince John? Will my BROTHER SHUT UP long enough for me to UPLOAD the stupid CHAPTER?! Will my fan girl be upset that I'm putting up a new SD Gundam story when I've got other fanfics I should be working on? Did you know I have a fan girl? All this and more in Chapter 2!