*Dedications and Special Thanks*:
This story is dedicated to the many people who have helped me with this story. That would be in no particular order:
James Firebrand: For encouraging me to be original, despite the fact I'm sure some of my ideas are just weird and putting up with some questions I had for this story.
Jaunea: Thanks so much for helping out with this story; once again, I had to ask several people for their opinions before I wanted to upload this.
Rita Arira: Couldn't do it without you, thanks for some wonderful ideas, like a certain Noise form.
My brother and sister: Helping me come up with the appearances, personalities, and Noise forms of the many other Reapers.
The Light's Refrain: For allowing the use of your "Noise Form" idea, even though I'm using an edited version of yours.
The Legendaerie LT: For basically being awesome and being one of the many people I pestered with questions.
Midnight Critic: Once again, a person I asked for an opinion on, thank you very much for your support.
Last but certainly not least…
RawkstarVienna: For being patient as I got this up, allowing me to bother you with some questions, and giving me permission to use your amazing characters from "Crossing".
Also, special thanks to everyone else that has ever reviewed my stories, I hope you're back here again, along with some new ones, as I start my biggest project ever.
I've done a story with 129 pages and around twenty chapters.
This has, so far written at the time the prologue was posted, four chapters and 50 pages.
I'll try my best to keep this in character and at least make some kind of sense, but be aware this is fan fiction and some odd things can happen.
Be sure to check the poll out on my page, and maybe snag the TWEWY Interview when you get there?
On that final note, I proudly present:
~::Unus Ultim Ludus::~
~*One Final Game*~
Prologue: Tournament of Angels
Joshua stalked down the corridors of the white hallway.
Everything, and he meant everything, was white. Completely featureless, so featureless that he almost walked into a pillar, but of course he caught it in time to dodge it.
I wouldn't have almost did that if I was in my Composer form. He thought with some annoyance.
Normally he would be, but after the Games with Neku and the others, he felt more…comfortable lately in his downgraded form. True, he was lower in power, but a thought could alter that. There was no reason to change right now, especially since someone would have to be crazy to attack him where he was anyway.
The white hallways of the Ange Palais, or "Angel Palace", were eerily empty. Not that he knew whether or not they were often populated, but to someone used to the constant noise of his city, the silence was disconcerting.
Not that he showed it.
A voice from behind him:
"I hope we're not in trouble, boss."
The voice belonged to Sanae Hanekoma, the Producer of Shibuya. He was an Angel, although a Fallen one, but still had some high influence by simply being who he was. Joshua respected him, to a degree, and he nodded in agreement.
"I certainly hope not." He replied mildly.
A new voice spoke from his side, his tones vaguely amused as he removed the lollipop from his mouth.
"I wouldn't be surprised."
Koki Kariya, Joshua's current Conductor, (albeit unwillingly), walked at his side, each step carefully measured. His calm eyes looked out from behind his orange tinted glasses, each word unhurried and tranquil.
The only reason he was even his Conductor was because Joshua had threatened to…"get uncivil" with him. Kariya really was a powerful Reaper, and once he had been promoted his powers had only increased, and his Noise form was impressive.
The only problem was he hadn't wanted the job in the first place and only agreed to do it if the Composer let his partner, Uzuki, be Game Master at least once. Joshua agreed, promising that she would get to be Game Master permanently if she did a good job.
Also, Kariya was very similar to Joshua himself via his loathing to do any labor personally. It was by this virtue that he guessed Kariya wouldn't plot to overthrow him.
He hoped, anyway. It'd be a shame to get rid of a Reaper that was here before even he was.
As they walked down the hallways, huge doors opened of their own accord, flooding out intense light so bright that everyone squinted for a second.
Once the light had faded, they were standing in a large circular room that was filled with chairs. The chairs on the left were the lowest, each one steadily growing taller until the chair on the right was the highest in the room. Kariya gave a low whistle, lifting his eyes up.
"What's this about?" He asked lazily.
"It's the big meeting room." Sanae explained. "I have no idea why they called us here, though." His tone was serious, which was unusual, and Joshua crossed his arms, a smile on his features.
"We're going to find out."
As soon as he spoke, more flashes appeared across the huge room. Some were white, others black, some were rainbow colors, and still others were bright and dark and every shade in between.
There was no exception; every group was a group of three. A boy Conductor, a girl Composer, a boy Producer, a girl Conductor, a boy Composer, a girl Producer. The groups were different, some all boys, some all girls, some a mixture of both. A few even appeared in their Composer forms, glowing different colors, while others appeared in their Noise counterparts. A Conductor in the form of a long, dangerous looking snake blinked comically before shrinking into his normal appearance, gaining a disapproving glare from his superior. A few Angels had their wings out, but Joshua saw others were doing what he was doing, hiding their powers in their more downgraded forms.
A Conductor swaggered by, his large wings expanded, eyeing Kariya with a smirk. Kariya simply rolled his eyes, expanding his own wings, which were in comparison much larger than the other's thanks to his promotion. His wings were usually shrunk down anyways, but his full expanse of them was something to view.
Smirking at the Composer of the swaggering Conductor, Joshua then turned his attention to a girl that had just approached him. He would have thought nothing of her, she was surprisingly young, about Rhyme's age, with short ginger hair and lavender clothes, but her eyes were yellow. She smiled, clasping her hands behind her back.
"Hello, I'm the Composer of Nagoya, are you who I think you are?"
Joshua smiled. "It depends. Who do you think I am?"
"You're the Composer of Shibuya, right? So lucky! I wish I was!" She grinned again, but her eyes were sharp and almost had a bestial quality to them. "What's going on?"
"If I knew, trust me, I'd tell you, dear."
Pouting at his mocking tone, she skipped away, followed by her hulking Conductor and her skinny Producer. Sanae rolled his eyes.
"Real charming, boss."
"I try." He giggled.
Kariya removed his lollipop, pointing to the mass of gathering people. "Looks like they're calling us, I doubt this many people broke this many rules."
Joshua inwardly agreed, his eyes roaming over the crowds of inhabitants. Some were dark skinned, others light skinned, some in between. Americans, he knew them by their distinguished accent, were clustered together near him, speaking in whispers.
A girl with sharp, intelligent eyes that didn't exactly look unfriendly but was somewhat difficult to read nonetheless was giving her Conductor a strange look. "I would know what's going on…why?" Her tone dripped sarcasm.
The girl she was talking to, her Conductor Joshua guessed, shrugged. "I don't know Vienna, we just got here out of nowhere."
Vienna nodded in agreement, and Joshua realized that must be the famous "Vienna" he had heard a lot about lately. He turned his attention to another group of North Americans talking amongst themselves.
"This is stupid, why were we called? I was this close to Erasing that Player!" A Conductor grumbled.
His Composer smiled, long fingers tapping each other. He had a distinct mane of dark brown hair that framed his thin face and languorous eyes. "I trust James is still behind? A Game without a Game Master is a disaster. Why were you Erasing Players anyway? You explain the rules. You aren't a Harrier anymore. Player Erasing is only if you were part of a mission for that."
"I was going to say so too." A female Producer said, frowning at the Conductor. "However, I have a sense we're going to find out soon."
"You were right." Joshua said to Kariya, who folded his hands inside his skeleton parka, not looking shocked.
"I usually am."
Sanae laughed. "What about that one t-"
"Meh. Details." Kariya interrupted.
Joshua narrowed his eyes. "Shh. Over there."
Everyone else had noticed and felt it too, a ripple in the air that made the Vibe of the current plane they were on shudder. Suddenly emerging from the thin atmosphere, floating above the various heads of the assortment of people, were none other than Angels.
They were very powerful Angels, so powerful they had shed their physical bodies and now were beings almost entirely comprised of raw Imagination, Soul, and energy. They had long, shimmering white bodies that vaguely resembled humans in cloaks, with tight, slim features and multicolored eyes that peeked out from beneath the smooth folds of their clothing. One thin arm lifted, and silence entered the room.
The being spoke, his voice soft but somehow loud, echoing in the area.
"Welcome, Keepers of the Games. You are all gathered here for a reason." A pause, then the being next to him spoke in a feminine tone, also soft.
"One of our own as ultimately passed on for the last time. There is now an opening amongst our ranks. Not just as Angels, but as part of the Grand Council that resides here in our palace. Our leader has moved on, and simply put, it's time for another. Customary to this, we are holding a tournament, so that one worthy may once again watch all Games from above. The being who proves themselves worthy of Ascension will become the Grand Archangel."
Voices erupted around the room, and Joshua felt his lips twitch of their own accord into a smile.
Become leader of the Grand Council? That does have its merits.
The beings spoke at once, drowning out the voices.
"We are having a Game, a Game that pits all Composers and those associated with them against each other in a Tournament. Only certain cities with certain traits may participate... The one that emerges as victor will ascend to our ranks, as leader."
A gruff voice, with a heavy accent.
"Why leader, mon? Not dat I be complainin', but one of your own could be leader of da Council."
"The Council's leader has always been the victor of the Tournament. This Tournament will be long, and not all will compete against each other. There will be a series of rounds, each one defeating the other, until there are only two cities left. After that, they will participate in a Game of our choosing."
"Boss…You're not-"Hanekoma began uneasily.
"Oh, but I am Sanae. As leader, I could amend your current Fallen status, and maybe…'correct' a few problems." Joshua replied, violet eyes glimmering.
"Cities may exempt themselves if they do not wish to play."
No one spoke for a while, then the girl that Joshua had spoken to earlier said:
"What's the Fee?"
The beings replied, "There is no Fee. You may not play yourself, but you may choose four representatives, and a Substitute should one become injured .These five Players will then play in your steed, Proxies, if you will."
Joshua smiled wider. He had the four perfect candidates…
"Anyone may play. There are no limitations. Even if they have played before."
More whisperings and Kariya sighed, unwrapping another lollipop.
"I feel sorry for Skulls Jr. and the others."
"Oh, but don't. I'm sure dear Neku will have so much fun!"
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