Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Riviera characters or the Iron Chef television show. This story contains spoilers about several major events in Riviera. You have been warned.

There I was, holding a microphone in my hand. I did not know why I was chosen to do this, or why I have to dress in black. I hate black, and what's with all of these golden decorations on my clothes? This is so not my style. Whoever thought of this really needs to check their book on fashion tips. I felt this uneasiness which would not go away. It's like this event was designed to cause nothing but chaos. Why me? I know I've done wrong in the past, but if this is the punishment, I'd rather accept death again. I see nothing but darkness, but I know that when those lights shine brightly, I will be forced to endure it. No, I shall overcome it! I am stronger than this! I know I will make it through in one piece!

"And here is your host, Malice!" the announcer boomed. The dark room was now lit up and five figures were seen standing in a straight line. The five figures laughed as they saw Malice, standing in front of them wearing the black attire. She glared at them and they quickly stopped in a moment of silence.

"Today...we have the five finest heroes of Riviera all together. They are here, because they wish to prove to each other something. They will compete in a cruel and grueling contest. The competition is a battle of will power, wits and guts. These five contestants will compete, in a cooking face off!" Malice cringed at the last sentence but continued on, "Here we have the wingless angel, Ein. Undoubtedly the clumsiest and the bookies say that he will be the one to watch for hilarious events during this competition!"

"Hey!" contested Ein.

"Cierra, the witch who controls the element of fire. The bookies say that she is also clumsy and that will more likely set fire to the whole building than the stove! Next we have Fia, the vegetarian who will no doubt stick by her vegetarianism and give us nothing but salads as if we were rabbits!" Malice laughed to herself. She was thinking that this was not such a bad idea after all. Fia glared at Malice for the comment which was announced but Cierra was smiling away, unaffected by Malice's speech.

"Lina, the sprite who is apparently older than Fia. She is labeled the applecot specialist."

"...It's true!" said a distressed Lina in the background. Everyone else except for Fia stared at Lina.

"Moving on, our final contestant is...Serene. Very flamboyant, short tempered, really needs a new hair do, and someone get rid of those freaking ears on her head! The rules state that all contestants must wear chef hats. That includes Cierra too."

Malice turned to see the arc, drawing her scythe and lunged to attack her, but to no effect. Two sets of arms stopped her cold as she fought desperately to break free from the grip. Ein and Fia struggled desperately trying to hold Serene back from slicing Malice into fresh cold cuts with her scythe from her comment.

"Let me go! I must avenge the arcs!" Serene shouted in aggravation.

"Lina thinks you want to kill her because of that comment about your hair and hat!" Lina said, laughing at Serene.

"Shut up, squirt!" Serene retorted.

"Waaa! Serene is a meanie!" Lina said, bawling her eyes out.

"This is just too much fun." Malice thought, "Now, everyone, please put on your chef hats!"

Everyone picked up a chef hat which was colour coded. As Cierra took off her witch hat, everyone noticed that Cierra was actually shorter than what everyone thought. Cierra wore a red hat, Fia a green hat, Lina a yellow hat, Ein a white hat, and Serene put on the blue hat, which she was forced to take off her neko ears before putting it on. Everyone gasped as she took off the neko ears. Two antenna like strands of hair, were now curling upwards forming the infamous ahoge.

"Well, it seems we have a bad case of hat hair!" Malice announced with a wide grin. Upon this comment all four of them were needed in order to stop Serene from tearing into Malice once again. Fia and Cierra were holding her arms back and Lina rapped herself around Serene's legs. As Ein was about to try to stop Serene from the front she broke free and ran straight into Ein. His hands, which were directly in front, were now grasping Serene's chest area. Ein was blushing a bright red, as well as Serene. A few seconds passed before Lina broke the moment of silence.

"Ein's a pervert!" Lina said gleefully. Ein slowly backed away as Serene glared at him. As each step backwards he took, she took one step forward.

"...W...Wait! Serene! It...It was an accident! I'm sorry! Puh...Please don't hurt me!"

"Oh, I won't hurt you Ein..." Serene said in a devilish tone with a shining, evil glint in her eye, "I'll kill you instead!"

She drew her scythe and was chasing after him around the kitchen area. He was screaming and pleading for her to stop. Malice was trying very hard to contain her laughter, with a hand covering her mouth. Finally, she managed to regain her composure.

"Ahem. Now, since the contestants are ready, I shall now announce the judges for this contest!" Malice looked behind her to show a table with 2 figures sitting behind them, in the dark. "First we have Soala from the Magic Guild! The lights now shined above the left side of the table, showing Soala with her purple hair and equipped with a black pointed hat on top. She smiled and waved to everyone.

"Our second judge is...Rose?" Malice quickly turned around to see the lights go on and a female with brown hair and a green bow on the front of her clothes. Ein taken back by surprise, quickly stopped in his tracks shortly followed by Serene who crashed into him and landing on the floor. Serene rubbed her backside and was about to yell at him when she saw Rose sitting there. Rose leered at Ein and communicated with him telepathically.

"If you tell Cierra that I'm Gateau, you will feel a pain so great; it will haunt you in the afterlife!"

Ein's spine felt a cold chill as those words reached him and he was now bolt upright. Malice noticed this and reminded herself to get a copy of this later on for her own personal amusement.

"And now, our final judge. One person randomly selected by me, will join these two judges to help crown, the Iron Chef of Riviera!" Malice laughed to herself and thought, "I know exactly who I want up there, and even the gods themselves will agree."

The group of five chefs anxiously awaited the announcement of the final judge. Malice quickly interjected.

"Oh, and one more thing. The winner gets to take Ein out on a date, and in the case that Ein does win, he will get to pick who will go on the date with him. Although, I suspect that the latter scenario won't happen."

Lina, Serene and Fia glared at each other, mentally telling one another that they will be the one to win and go on the date with Ein.

"Being alone with Ein…that will be the perfect time to ask him if he loves me!" Fia thought.

"If Lina wins, Lina will be with Ein and Serene will be jealous!"

"That Lina, I don't care who wins as long as it's not her. Actally, if we're alone together, he won't be able to escape me! He is kinda cute though..." Serene thought, blushing slightly.

Suddenly, they felt a cold chill as they looked towards Cierra. Her facial expression had totally changed. A few seconds ago, her eyes were wide and with a warm smile. Now, her eyes were as if it was a hawk, seeking out its prey. Her warm smile had now disappeared. Determination to win was now in Cierra's mind as well.

"Ein knows something about Gateau's disappearance. If I use this date to trap him where I want him, he'll definitely tell me!" Cierra thought.

The three girls backed off a few steps after gazing at Cierra's facial expression, fearing her slightly. That quickly changed however, as now they all know that they were all determined to win this contest, no matter what the cost. Ein feared for his own safety from the sudden change in atmosphere and slowly backed away from the four girls. The mood quickly changed as the spotlight above the far right side of the table lit up. As all five of them watched, the light itself contained sparkles of light, as bright as the stars. A dark shadow materialised at the spot, slowly regaining a bodily form. As the body finally shaped itself, everyone gasped in surprise and amazement.

Who will be the third and final judge? Find out in the next chapter!