Chapter Three

Kanda stormed into Tyki's office, carrying a small black backpack. He was irritated - extremely irritated. The day had not been smooth at all, in fact it had been full of hiccups. He had the urge to kill someone, and would be very happy if that person was none other than Tyki Mikk himself. As soon as he stepped into Tyki's office, he was met with an outburst of loud crackly noises and confetti dancing all around him.

"Good eve-ning, Kanda!" came Tyki's almost gleeful voice from the back of the room, "I was expecting you. How about those party goods? Aren't they wonderful?"

Kanda frowned. "...have you got nothing better to do?" he asked irritatedly.

"Oh yes, of course I have!" laughed the other party, waving his brown cigar in the air, "but today, Road sent me some of these party goods from the city, I couldn't just let them rot in my cupboard, don't you think? Besides, I predicted that someone would be unhappy today, and could use a little bit of cheering up..."

"..."

Tyki raised an eyebrow. "You fought with your dance instructor today, didn't you? You should know better that doing that is only going to give yourself a negative feedback from the teachers."

"..."

"And so, I heard that you had to move boxes in the Dance storeroom as punishment for today," finished Tyki, leaning back in his armchair.

"...that's none of your business," said Kanda.

"That's my business, as well as yours," corrected Tyki.

Kanda's lips twitched. "Uh-huh, so why am I in dance?" he asked bitterly, "I sent in an application for pastels and oils, and they agreed to take me in, so why am I in that fucking class?"

"The Earl thinks you are better suited to be in dance, since you are so agile and flexible," replied Tyki, "and besides, you need to learn how to express yourself in a way besides shouting and yelling profanities - "

"I don't give a damn! Why is he even choosing which course I am to study? I don't want to study something I don't like..." Kanda mumbled.

"I think that you would be a dance hit if you had even bothered to try," said Tyki, "and don't sulk in front of your superior."

"..." Kanda was boiling with rage. He could not, and was not going to dance, ever. It was lameness to the core. In the morning, the teacher had ordered him to put on a pair of tap shoes and start learning how to tap dance, but he had refused, and got into some kind of brawl with the teacher. Finally, her patience snapped and she had ordered him to move costumes and props at the back room. What a sickening bitch, he thought.

Tyki looked at Kanda's sour expression for moment, then sighed. "alright, alright. If you complete tonight's mission and bring me the Morning Glory, I will talk to the Earl about your course."

"...Like he'd listen to you," spat Kanda.

"Of course he would! After all, this is about my dear Kanda, is it not?" Tyki shot Kanda a flirtatious grin. The latter was disgusted.

"...Go away."

Tyki crossed his fingers in front of his face. "I see you're more energetic now that you've been completely charged," he said, "see? Skipping recharging sessions won't help you."

"..."

"Know what's good for you, Kanda, or you won't like the outcome."

"I'm going." Kanda turned to walk towards the windows of Tyki's office. He opened it and hopped onto the ledge.

"...Have a safe trip," said Tyki, smiling, as Kanda shot off into the darkness of the campus. He put down his cigar and sighed, reaching for the telephone on his desk. "Now, for tonight's supper..."


"Coffee for Table 12!"

It was busy night for the workers in The Coffee Haven. The snug little coffeehouse was bustling with activity as customers swarmed in to have a cup of heavenly black coffee. Tonight's business was especially good, as there was going to be a auction in the Town Square, with the North Country's Princess as a V.I.P. Many locals wanted to see the princess, and many rich merchants wanted to bid for the antiques and rare jewels on display. Being one of the coffeehouses just facing the Town Square, The Coffee Haven was indeed a convienient place for the people to rest and have a chat over a cup of coffee and perhaps a slice of dark chocolate cake.

Lavi groaned behind the counter as he lazily fixed a cup of home-made brew. He was clearly exhausted, yawning as he passed the cup to his fellow part-timer, Miranda. She looked at him, concerned.

"What's wrong, Lavi? Did you stay up all night to read novels again?"

"Nah, its just that today's workload is amazingly huge," he replied sullenly, "and its my turn to take out the trash..."

Miranda gave him a smile. "Cheer up already, Bak has agreed to let us go out to see the Auction once we're done with our duties..."

"I guess that's a bonus," said Lavi, "but I won't be going out tonight. Bak asked me to wash the plates today..." He looked at the pile of cups and plates piling up on the kitchen sink and sighed.

"Eh...do you need my help?"

"It's okay, go enjoy yourself. Now, go deliver the coffee!"

"Oh yes, right away!!"

As Miranda whizzed off to deliver the cup of coffee to the customer, almost knocking into a table in the process, Lavi gave another sigh. He could not stop thinking about what Kanda had said. The words had been rooted deep into his mind, and could not be uprooted no matter how much he tried to distract himself...

"If you want your life, don't go to the Town Square tonight." Well, if this was Kanda's idea of a joke, it was a really bad one, thought Lavi as he stirred a cup of warm frothy chocolate.

Meanwhile, at the back alley of The Coffee Haven, two masked figures shrouded in darkness crept up the wall and crouched down. They emptied the contents of their bags onto the floor got down to business.

"...Are you sure it'll work?"

"Shut up, Daisya. I told you I've tested it already."

"I don't think raw jade can be mixed with Poison's Apple, you know."

"Just shut up and watch,"said Kanda irritatedly as he held up a black coloured apple in his right hand, "this will solve our problem." He drew a small circle on the ground with a piece of yellow chalk, then put the black apple and a few pieces of smashed jade bits inside it.

"Release," he muttered, putting his hand in front of the circle. Within seconds, small burst of light filled the back of the alley and when it finally faded, there was nothing left in the circle but a small grenade. Daisya stared.

"How did you do that?" he asked, picking up the grenade, "Poison's Apple cannot be fused with anything but Rose petals - "

"Check which circle you are using," answered Kanda, rubbing away the chalk marks from the ground, "Now throw this at the crowd, we'll be able to finish the mission faster this way."

"Geez, Kanda, I don't know why you didn't apply for Chemistry. Your alchemy is so much better than mine."

"It's precisely because I suck at Chemistry, dumbass," replied Kanda, standing up and dusting his pants, "Chemistry is as boring as hell. Besides, this is Forbidden Alchemy, not normal alchemy. I'd prefer fusing a Rosette Leaf with mud over fusing some stupid element from the periodic table any day. Now cut your crap and get cracking."

"What's the difference anyway," muttered Daisya as he jumped onto the rooftop of one of the shophouses just beside the Town Square, "oh, look. The Princess is here with her bodyguards."

He was right. The Princess of the North Country had arrived, donned in her flamboyant dress and silver tiara. Alongside her were about sixty bodyguards dressed in full military attire, carrying small black pistols. She went to the cushioned mini-throne in the middle of the stage and sat down elegantly.

"They really gotta be kidding, sixty bodyguards for a princess is like - wow."

"This is auction night, Daisya. Besides, a King has even more bodyguards ... Now, where's the Morning Glory?"

The Morning Glory was a purple crystal pendant with the ability to possess souls. The Earl had heard about it, and immediately gave an order for it to be stolen from the Auction. No local person knew about the power of a simple crystal necklace, and if misused by some scum, there would be quite a disaster in the little town. Therefore, the Earl wanted to extract the power from the necklace first, before destroying it.

"...The Princess is wearing it," said Daisya, pointing at the Princess. Indeed, there was a beautiful Purple crystal necklace hanging from her neck.

"Great," Kanda grabbed his sword from his sidebelt, "now, throw the bomb at that pissy-looking pile of mud over there..." He smirked at the head officer of the Auction, who was having a small chat with a Jewel Merchant, "tighten your mask, and we can begin."

"Aye aye, sir."


Somehow, Lavi had been dragged into the Town Square to join in the excitement of the auction by the ladyboss of The Coffee Haven, Fou. She was the one who had forced Bak to wash the plates and let the employees go out for a breath of fresh air.

"How cruel of that stupid Bak," she said as she pulled Lavi out of the coffeehouse, "as the boss he should let the employees take a break after all that work!"

"Don't blame him, Fou," said Lavi, "after all, I'm the one who's on duty today for cleanup."

"You shouldn't say that! After all, it's nice to bully him, isn't it?" Fou smiled evilly, "hey, that's the Princess isn't it? She looks so different in person! I've seen her in photographs but hey, this is the real her..."

Lavi smiled weakly. He scanned his surroundings slowly, trying to lookout for any suspicious character. Nope, there wasn't anyone who looked suspicious enough to be classified as a killer. Was there a hidden machine gun somewhere then? Or was Kanda just giving an empty threat?

Yes, that must be it. The rude guy must have been so pissed that he had babbled some rubbish to piss Lavi off. Yes! That must be it -

All of a sudden, a large explosion rocked the place, sending dozens of people flying and running away from the scene. A thick cloud of smoke covered the Town Square, making it quite impossible to see anyone or anything. Lavi coughed at the smell of the smoke; it smelled like rotten apples mixed with curry gone bad. Panic started to tug at his heartstrings as he remembered what Kanda had said.

"If you want your life, don't go to the Town Square tonight."

Oh shit! What that guy had said might just be true. It seemed like an assasination attempt by someone to Lavi, this situation. He felt Fou's hand tug at him, pulling him away from the scene. Stumbling through the mess, he ran aimlessly, trying to find some shelter. The smoke was clearing already, thanks to a small gust of wind; he could see Fou's head in front of him, as well as some other people -

Suddenly, Lavi tripped over a fallen chair and fell over. He let go of Fou's hand, making Fou turn back to look, but she was dragged away a police officer who happened to see her.

"Lavi!" she yelled frantically.

The redhead groaned in pain as he tried to pick himself up, realizing that he was currently sitting on a pile of jewels meant for the auction. He picked up an aqua necklace, feeling dazed. What was he doing on top of all these treasures? While he fingered the precious necklace, a big, burly man came up to him and yanked his hair hard.

"What are you doing, sitting on these jewels? Were you planning to steal them?" he asked in a deep, unpleasant voice. Lavi gulped. Guards were really idiots when it came to inferring.

"I was - uh, I just - fell down, you know - " he made a peace sign in an attempt to prove that he was not an enemy, but the burly man did not seem to accept it. He promptly pulled out a pair of handcuffs and advanced towards Lavi, who felt his legs go numb.

"Hey, you're seriously mistaken! I'm not a bad guy! I was dragged out here by my ladyboss and yeah that's seriously it! Hey, hey wait - ! "

No sooner had the man grabbed Lavi's wrist, he was struck on the back hard with the back of a sword. The man gave a yowl and loosened his grip, allowing Lavi shake off his hand. He felt a hand grab his hand and pull him up. Looking up, he saw a blurry vision of a figure dressed in black.

"Get up or you'll really die!" spat the figure he helped the redhead up and started to run the other away. Lavi was stunned for a moment, but his legs started moving all the same. It was like he had heard this voice somewhere, but he couldn't remember just where... Who was it who had such a voice like that?

BANG! BANG! BANG!

At that moment, he heard a series of gunshots and felt the other party push him aside. He fell into a small, deserted alleyway as he heard a small gasp. The person dressed in black stumbled next to him and pressed him against the wall, holding his breath as heavy footsteps passed the both of them. After a few moments, Lavi heaved a sigh of relief.

"...I guess they're gone," he said, wiping his sweaty forehead and turning to face his saviour, "thank you for helping me escape those people - "

He was cut short by the sight of a small pool of blood gathering on the floor as the person beside him closed his eyes, as if trying to ward off the feeling of pain in his left leg. Lavi examined the wound carefully - there was a large bullet embedded in the cloth and flesh.

"H-hey, you're bleeding!" exclaimed Lavi, panicking yet again. He stood up and attempted to carry the injured person, who struggled in response, despite his injury.

"Hey! What are you doing!?"

"I'm going to take you to the doctor's!" replied Lavi, only to be hit hard by the person in the face. The person wriggled out of Lavi's arms and started limping away as fast as he could. Lavi tried to give chase, but that guy was somehow faster than him even though injured. In a flash, he climbed up the wall and disappeared into the darkness of the night.


It was already 3am in the morning.

Kanda woke up, feeling a certain numbness in his left leg and grogginess in his head. He was lying on one of the beds in the school hospital, and it seemed like he was the only one in there...save for a certain Portuguese man who was eating a chicken wing in front of him.

"Ah, you're finally awake," said Tyki as he munched on the fried chicken wing, "you really had me worried there. Want a chicken wing?"

"You can't eat fried food in the hospital. Besides, how did I get here?..."

"Daisya found you lying on the grass outside, somewhere near the graveyard," replied Tyki, "with your leg shot. So he brought you back to the Academy."

"...!!! The pendant - " Kanda's eyes widened suddenly as he remembered the Morning Glory. He had retrieved it already, but where was it?...

Tyki held up his free hand. "Relax, kiddo," he said gently, "Daisya gave it to us already. It was in your zipper pocket."

"...oh." Satisfied, Kanda relaxed on his pillow and let out a sigh of relief. Tyki eyed him for a moment, then put the chicken bones back into the fast food box.

"You had better stay here until you're fully recovered," he said sternly, "avoid seafood and don't walk around too much until the nurses say you can do so. You were hit by a poisoned bullet, and the poison's affected your movements and health level. You need to recuperate well for at least a month."

"..."

"I'll come to visit you, no worries," said Tyki, pulling out a party popper from his pocket and pulling the string. POP!

"I don't need it," said Kanda simply.

"Don't be shy, Kanda," Tyki pulled out another chicken wing from the box, but nearly dropped it after seeing the Head Nurse enter the room. She gasped and screamed at him.

"University Head Mikk! No fried food is allowed in the school hospital. Besides, fried food is unhealthy stuff. Get them out of here at once!"

Tyki cursed under his breath, grabbed his supper and ran for his dear life as the Head Nurse brandished a feather duster and ran after him. Kanda watched all this in silence. He sighed - some things and some people would just never change. Tyki's habit of eating fried chicken wings and fried fish fingers with salsa late in the night would never change either, he thought. Slowly, his hand made its way to his chest, where his heart was situated. He pressed the hand on it gently. There was no heartbeat.

It felt empty.