I'm terribly sorry for the delay. I have no real excuse anyway, so please do forgive me.

Chapter 10: Hidden

Morning found Flynn startlingly waking up, as he realized how the entire layout of furniture he was seeing was not of his own room. And the most startle thing was the presence of another person next to him. Flynn suppressed a yelp of surprise as he recalled last night's event.

It was late yesterday so Yuri asked him to stay over, and he did stay out of courtesy. Flynn glanced over to the sleeping figure, how innocence of a face the other man had. He leaned forward, pushed a few strands of black hair away from his best friend's face as he carefully got off the bed, trying not to wake the other up.

Another day had begun with Flynn put on his shirt while debating whether to or not waking up the other man and pressuring him to do some morning exercises. The memory of the day when they still lived together ran across his mind, as he chuckled to himself.

The door softly swung open after Flynn's slight push, the Commandant brought his eyes scanning the room one more time before marching towards the Imperial Castle. He would definitely do something about this, for Yuri and for himself.

The Commandant closed his eyes for a moment to temporarily avoid the intense eye contacts from the Council's members. From the far end of the long wooden table, the members consisted of more than twenty, however only ten nobles were seated here today. One of them did not bother to shoot him any contact at all in any form of a contact is described, since the red haired man was busy leaning over his notebooks, scrabbling some notes on the pages.

"Shall we start the meeting?" The man sat across to Flynn's right cleared his throat, said. His dark hair had already turned gray at the roots to the point of actually having two separately different colors.

"First, we need to hear the report from what we have on the assault. Would you mind, Commandant Flynn?"

Flynn stiffly nodded his head, reaching his hand out to take the file report from Sodia-his second in command. Their eyes met for a brief moment as she gave him an encouragement, before Flynn turned facing the Council again with a newly added confidence.

"Last week, an incident had occurred much to our disbelief and the only clue we had was the first hand witnesses, and His Majesty personally. We can also conclude the weapons, assaulting techniques and the armors of those who had fallen after the counter attack of the Imperial Knights; all bore the emblem of Brave Vesperia." Flynn felt himself clenching his teeth slightly at the final statement.

There seemed to be a silence ruling among the Council members as they discussed the matter using noiseless communication that were only understandable by those who were in the Council themselves. Just like the Knights had their own communication means that guaranteed for the sake of keeping information secret. Yet, the Guild even had their own ways of revealing the curtain so skillfully as it made Flynn wondered whether there were spies among the Knights after all.

"First of all, what we can do right now is having a meeting with the head of Brave Vesperia and those who in involves to see what they can come up to save themselves using those small, uneducated brains, in which I afraid that they would not be able to."

Following that, chains of laughter filled the room. Some of those eyes turned to him, poking his value full with holes of shame and disgust. He always knew that the peace treaty was just one of many formalities to fool the eyes of the people. The real thing inside, of course, was more complicated and went the opposite direction from what the people had expected.

Soothing down his anger, Flynn pulled a yellow paper from the document that Sodia handed him earlier, said, "We had already arranged the time and place of meeting. Although there is no guarantee that we will be able to meet with the head of Brave Vesperia Guild, as they do not know when the boss will return from his journey."

As expected, after his statement, the whole room exploded with laughter. The members seemed to have a well-developed sense of humor as they could able to turn something that was not funny into something definitely laughable. Which was sometimes seemed ungraceful or to be frankly stupid.

"What a dedicated leader he is. Having such a strange hobby of hiding when his own organization is undergoing such an incident. May be he already fled because he was afraid of facing the truth that the Guild had attacked the Emperor and damaged the treaty. Since we had have all the crucial evidences that with just in a few blink of an eye, we could swipe the whole guild into trashes."

Flynn furiously dropped the documents onto the table as he stood up from his seat too forcefully as it nearly fell backwards, "However sir, those evidences alone stand nothing. Anyone could just using the same type of weapon, or wearing the same uniform as that of Brave Vesperia Guild to pin the blame on them. It is too soon to come to the conclusion sir." And Flynn knew that it was a true fact, no matter who want or do not want to believe it.

"Commandant Flynn? Would you mind telling me what is the position that you are in?"

The question caught him off guard, but he quickly regained and answered, "I am the Commandant of the Imperial Knight."

"Then please do act like a Commandant should act. A Commandant of the Imperial Knight is not supposed to favor those delinquents from the other side of the continent. Our Emperor was injured, and that was a lost, and you still insist on depending those low lives?"

"But sir…"

"Do not interrupt me when I'm speaking, Commandant Scifo." The man who was constantly speaking ill of him and his friends raised his voice, demanding Flynn to keep silent. And to shame, Flynn did.

"You of all people should feel the most ashamed right now. Is it not your duty to make sure no harm shall ever come to the Emperor? You failed at your duty, Commandant. Should not you consider yourself lucky for are still be able to stand and talk to us after all this failure? Please know your place, and perform the right job, Commandant Flynn."

"Karol, do you have any idea about that damn whoever he is?"

The boy shook his head in anticipation, for the past few days, the two of them had harassed the Guild that was specialized in dealing with information by continuously burst inside their base and ran around, grabbing whomever they came across by the collar to ask, and yet they obtained nothing about the person who was behind the attack the other day.

And here when the Guild was going under such problem, the old man-boss of the guild was nowhere to be found. Yuri thought bitterly to himself, it might be not a good idea to let the man take the position after all. But, it was no use crying over spilt milk, Yuri knew much better than that.

Karol seemed to read his mind; a trait of little guilt held the fourteen years old boy's face sullen. He should not have given up the position, but he was yet a kid still, he could hardly lead the whole Guild as it was expanding so fast everyday. Besides, Karol felt the urge of growing up maturely, and there were many things that he had to learn in order to become a respective leader just like the Don.

Hand on his hips; Yuri looked over the boy's shoulder to only be met by the lovingly beautiful Krityan, who currently seemed to be occupied with her own thoughtful thinking. Yuri hoped that what was going on inside her mind did not have anything to do with what kind of fabric would she use for the next appearance of Lady Leila. Well, as if he had any other choice.

It was not a good start for them since the Emperor had stated that Brave Vesperia, even though doubtlessly, was involved in that infamous incident and it drove both Imperial Council and the Union nuts. Some of the Knights also confirmed about the presence of the Guild members through the weapons and machines that those delinquents left behind after retreating. Rita had already left earlier this morning to personally inspect those explosive machines that claimed to be her own creation (and that made her equally furious when destroying her beloved blastias)

And here they were, waiting for the genius mage to come back from her investigation, hopefully she will bring back some useful news regards the incident that lead them onto the next step of getting close to reveal the truth.

The door suddenly burst opened as the said mage came running in with her face as red as if it was burning, Rita put both her hands on her knees trying to support her breathing.

Besides her breathing, the whole composure of the mage just screamed dangerous, and both Yuri and Karol knew so well as not to touch the infamously insane mage even though by trying offer her a seat. Because, when Rita Mordio was angry, she was something to be fear.

They waited for a few good seconds before the mage finally straightened up and be ready to tell whatever she found out on her investigated trip.

"Okay, I got two news," she said while moving forward to where Judith was sitting when the Krityan offered her an empty chair beside her, "One is bad, and the other is worse. Which ones do you want to hear first?"

"Come on, you can't be serious. Are they both not bad news? What is the difference? The case itself is already bad enough, your humor isn't going to work here Rita." Karol shook his head, disappointingly.

"Dumb head, did you hear me clearly, one is bad, and one is worse. They are completely different, mind you."

As seeing the rising tension, Yuri quickly cool the heat down by telling the mage to inform them the bad news first. After all, the bad or worse would be very unpleasant to hear. And under this circumstances, it just merely discouraging, that was all. Therefore, hearing which ones first didn't matter since it didn't change one single thing nor doing any releasing stress treatment. Yuri thoughtfully looked at the mage while waiting for her to process all the information.

Rita put her hand into her chest pocket and pulled out a small crumple paper, "Well, the bad news is those weapons and the armors they found at the scene were all indeed bore the Brave Vesperia emblem. I also took a look at the spirit cores on those explosive weapons, and guess what, they all have our Guild mark inside them. Everything I saw there tells who the mastermind behind the attack is really." Rita eyebrows knitted together into a thoughtful grin, "The weapons could be fake, but those spirit cores are a real deal, I'm afraid that…"

"There must be a hole in somewhere in our control over arms. Or else, how can the foes be able to carry those cores right in front of our noses without us realizing." Judith crossed her legs, putting one finger over her chin.

"If it was only that, the problem is much easier to deal with. However…"

All three immediately turned their heads, staring at the mage. The look in her eyes told them that the worse news Rita was about to say would definitely going to be the one that they all anticipated the outcome. However, none of them said anything since they knew how serious and how much damaged it would cause to the whole Guild if it was to be found out.

"According to the frequency of spirit vibration I collected at the scene, it…" The mage bit down on her lower lip, casting her eyes downwards as she managed to mutter, "The artes that were used in the assault… they were all my exclusive creations for our Guild. There were even few that are still under development. And yet, the collected data showed that the capacity of those artes were at their ninety five percent of operation when they were used at the attack."

Tears were glittering around the corner of the mage's eyes as she spoke. Researching and creating things are all in her life that she could be able to perform properly without mistakes. Now the fact that someone stole her creations and did a better job at something that she was so proud of, that certainly was a big shock for the young mage.

Judith gently wrapped her arms around the mage's shoulder, pulled her into a soothing embrace while whisper words of comforting.

"Yuri," Karol suddenly said, "Does that mean we have spies inside our Guild? Not the kind of spies for the Imperial, but…"

Things seemed somehow had gotten pretty far out of hand now Yuri thought about it. With this ruckus, the Imperial would definitely not going to sit back and do nothing, especially when the heated tension was about to rise. And now, they had to encounter the problem of information leaking and possibly a spy who was mingle right inside the organization without their knowledge. And worse, they may even had someone who could easily exceed Rita.

Yuri crossed his legs on the table while pressing his back against the back of the chair. Now where to begin to unmask this spy?

"Yuri, there is also something I found, take a look at this." Rita slowly pulled out a small object from her pocket after having a hard time calming down.

With just one glance at it, Yuri's body suddenly jumped up in fear of realization. It just…couldn't be…

Resting inside the mage's hand was a small, broken hilt of some sort of blade. It seemed to be made out of silver with the image of half a face of a wolf carved along the edge.

"Do you have any idea about this symbol?" asked Judith, who quickly noticed the change in Yuri's expression.

"No, not at all."

That was certain a lie, and Judith noticed that. Only the reason why Yuri lied was what she was about to find out. The symbol of a silver wolf, and Yuri-a used to be lone wolf.

A/N: I intended to make this chapter longer, but then I decided it would be appropriate to end it here, because I do not want to give out so much. I promise the next chapter will be longer.

p/s: I've done watching Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike. And I must say that one of a few thing I like about this movie is that there is a lot of Flynn (and can't forget puppy Repede) However, I do not want to acknowledge what happens in the movie. Especially how out of character Flynn is. Well, may be it is just me, but I expected to see a lovingly scene where Yuri left the Knight where Flynn would yell at him for being such a coward for running away, and blah...blah... Not the the happily touching 'leave everything to me' scene that we saw. And I thought that the two of them grew up at the Lower Quarter as orphans (but Flynn does have a father and even a mother in the movie *sigh*) Anyway, it's just that I feel the movie is a bit off-track to be acted as the prequel of the game, because it's onlt make us confused. Even though I had a lot of fun seeing so much interaction of Flynn and Yuri, but I must said that I do not like the way the writer build the characters, it is kind of different from what we can make out and understand from the game.