Ch 6: Cajole

Ch 6: Cajole

Massive lakes of blood littered the stone, squared floor of what appeared to be the throne room of Lestava Castle, Snow-hime's former home. All the pools of sickening and vital fluid linked together to lead in several thick and thin, wavering trails to one distinct source; the throne. A forest green blanket, white pillow and black beret also scattered on the floor by the few steps leading to the elevated seat. Leaning against the royal chair where two people.

An immobile body of a man with unruly white-gray hair, pale skin and an all-too-familiar symbol for Alviss marked on his hand and chest, dressed in navy blue, insecure white bandages and matching blue shoes was held to the chest by a dozing woman with long brown hair, a black eye patch covering part of her face, dressed in black and red leather straps and a revealing, one-piece bathing suit. Both people seemed asleep at present time; the woman laying her head over the man's who she embraced to her breast, they're eyes closed blissfully.

"Oh my God!" All the members of Team MAR mouthed silently to each other, conscious of the sleeping pair numerous feet away and huddled in a circle to work out a strategy.

"It's Phantom and Candice of the Zodiac Knights!" Dorothy whispered urgently.

"What happened here? And what's with the blanket and pillow?" Ginta asked around.

"Who knows? We'll have to sneak up on them and force it out of them! That's all I know," Nanashi declared.

"No, you fool! We'll startle them! That's the worst thing to do now because we're all exhausted from fighting the other Knights back there and they might beat us if we pick a fight with them!" Aran reasoned.

"You're right, Aran. Even if we have bigger numbers, they are both very strong Chess members that have given us tough battles in the past," Snow agreed and supported his thoughts.

"Minea, I don't think we have to worry about Phantom fighting. I think he's already dead." Alviss told them.

"Naniou! Dead! Are you sure?!" Jack cried.

"Yeah. All the trails of blood lead to Phantom's corpse. And Candice looks like she's uninjured. Look again if you don't believe me." Alviss rationalized.

"Okay, I believe you. But Phantom actually, finally dead? It's impossible!" Jack protested.

"That means if he really is dead, then your Zombie Tattoo should disappear, right Alviss?" Dorothy suggested.

"Well, yes, and no. I have to be the one to kill Phantom if I want my Zombie Tattoo to disappear completely. It's just faded and receded halfway up my body, as far as I can tell right now." Alviss explained.

"I'm so sorry, Alviss. I wish your Zombie Tattoo would disappear." Snow sympathized.

"Thanks for your concern, Snow." He replied.

"So what should we do now?" Babbo asked.

"I think we should either wait for Candice to wake up or approach her cautiously and friendly. If she tries to fight us, then we'll give her one to remember," Aran provided the possible options.

"That feels like a really hard thing to do then just putting it so simply, Aran. All the members of Chess have hurt us equally hard; and Phantom has had a hand in it every time. Somehow, he's always responsible for our hardships because he's tried to take over MAR Heaven. It's very difficult to just push those feelings and pain away so easily like that, especially for Snow and I, when this could be our chance to kill the rest of Chess; right here, right now. Wouldn't that compensate all our grief, even a little?" Dorothy said to everyone.

They thought it over silently for minutes before Nanashi broke it understandingly and cheerily. "I feel the same, Dorothy-chan. But they're both really in no mood to fight, at least from my point of view. Let's try to be kind and maybe we can change Candice for the better. So, I'm up for option 2; Be friendly! Who's with me?" Jack, Babbo, Ginta and Snow raised they're hand enthusiastically, saying, "Me!" Aran, Alviss and Dorothy shook they're heads; exasperated that the youngsters would forget the hardships they faced, all courtesy of Phantom and his Chess no Koma, but followed anyway.

The group of pure-intentioned intruders cautiously, quietly and respectfully edged over to the sleeping Candice and dead Phantom in her arms, avoiding the pools of blood, with Nanashi at the front, since it was mainly his decision. He soundlessly stooped down to her level and gingerly shook the enemy's bare shoulder, sweating slightly with the tense strain of awakening an enraged Rock-ARM user and his fellow team mate's anxious eyes boring into him.

She stirred some, groaning lightly and her visible eye fluttered open a few seconds to focus on him before closing again, turning on her side against the chair, clutching the fallen antagonist deeper into her bosom. The Luberian bandit tried again with a little more force, and just as nervously. 'Hm, that's strange; she smells like blood, tears and sweat. Was she crying, sweating and bleeding, or was it Phantom?' The handsome Eletric-ARM user pondered. "Leave me alone! I've suffered enough!" Candice mumbled, upset, shrugging off his touch. Now, that irritated Nanashi the Woman-Lecher, because no owna had ever resisted to his charm and unthinkingly turned her around to face the others, pivoting her shoulders hard and she responded effectively.

Candice's eye flew open, the brown orb sleep laden and drained at first sight hardened into flint and ignited unrestrained flames of loath as she focused on her enemy's faces. Her lips tightened into a grim, spiteful line to scream hurtful accusations at them. Rock-ARM decorated fingers with long, sharp, red fingernails grown overtop held Phantom's hour-old carnage to her so tightly that her hands went white as her pale as her face was now; as though they would steal him away from her if she let go.

The Knight did not sit up from her supposed defeated position and greet them with a ready, able battle stance like she might have days ago. To the members of Team MAR, she looked almost pitying and desperate to oppose them for her love and depression over they're greatest foe.

'Them! Those Team MAR kids! How could Peta and Rolan have been defeated by these punks? Doesn't matter! I'll never give them my precious, Phantom-sama! It's because of them that they drove my dearest to the state he was in and helped him die! They'll have to fight me for him!...For his corpse…' The woman thought vehemently and softened slightly at the thought of his body, glancing down his peaceful, sleeping face; renewing the stabbing, honored memories of him. Casting her eyes up challengingly, heard the stylish, long haired blond man with one visible green eye speak first and she listened with impatient fury.

"Hello Candice of the Zodiac Knights. From your expression, I guess you remember we're Team MAR. Well, for starters, I'm Nanashi of the Luberia Guild, and these are my comrades," He gestured behind him, pointing out and naming each member. "Okay, so you're probably wondering how, why and when we got here, right? We'll let you in on that later. But do you mind telling us what happened here? We're all really puzzled," Flinging a hand at the blood-soaked floor and looked back at her patiently, kindly and open-heartedly.

'Why's he being so—understanding? He doesn't know what I've gone through. He doesn't know my pain! They're my enemies; how dare they pity me! And why would they care about what happened to P-Phantomou? What do they have to gain?' The alert, suspicious and delusional female pondered. "What's your game, Team MAR? Why should you care about Phantom and I? We're your enemies!" She prosecuted.

The man named Nanashi looked surprised by her response and answered back politely and sincerely, "Nothing! We're not playing any games; no tricks. We're all just really confused about what took place here and we would like some answers. You seem to be the only one here who can tell us besides him. And maybe, we can help you turn over a new leaf, you know? If you want to, that is."

'This chick is really messed up right now,' the coaxer realized. 'Something bad must have happened here to make her like she is. Now if only she'd open up, then we can help her.' The emphasis directed to her beloved did not go missed by the paranoid Candice, adding more anger to her mounting rage. Her eye narrowed, scrutinizing the value of his words in her mind. 'Is he insulting my Phantom? If he is, he'll pay big time! And do they really mean what they say? Do all of them really want to help me?' She decided to test them. "Say I wanted to, then which of you would help me?"