KitsuneFreak: You know how in Mulan there's Mushu when he's comes to life with a ferocious "I LIVE~!"

Yeah, feeling like that right now.

And I'm also crying internally at the progression of the manga. It's really screwing with the plot that I had originally wanted TART to follow. I have to be creative to make it work again (head-desk).

Oh, and don't get me started on how many hair-jokes I can crack right now about Mukuro's body / Daemon Spade. It's totally going to work with this eccentric chapter.

Disclaimer: Oh look, CAPES! 'Nuff said.

{Badger, Badger, Badger, Badger, Mushroom, Mushroom…}

"Take it off."

"No."

"Now."

"No!"

"Strip for goodness sake!"

"What!"

Okay, maybe not the best choice in words.

"Alright then…. Take the cape off, you do not need it."

"It's a mantle, no, and no."

"Giotto, we are indoors."

"I know!"

G blinked and shook his head for a moment as he registered the different meaning of the same pronounced syllable. For the past three hours, the right hand man found himself musing over the ridiculousness of his best-friend-and-mafia-boss's strange habit of always keeping his ca—no, mantle on. However, no amount of nagging, ordering, or begging could detach the parasitic cloth from its host. G would have considered giving up altogether but the mantle … it bothered him. It gave off a very distinct aura that G could not yet place the origin of despite its insidious familiarity. However, the redhead was very much sure of the fact that when he did find that source, he will inevitably cock a gun to it.

"Giotto, please tell me," G sighed in exasperation, "as your friend, I should at least know why you always wear that."

"I like it."

"Yes, but everywhere," G stared pointedly at the back of the cape.

"I really like it?" Giotto answered with an innocent look.

"Even to bed," G said through gritted teeth.

"Well I thou—wait, what? How'd you figure that out?"

Giotto suddenly became very worried about the almost mother-hen nature G was developing. Was he taking stalki—no wait, monitoring lessons from Alaude? Oh no, that would be very, very bad. What will be next? Asari eavesdropping like Daemon? Knuckle laughing maniacally like Daemon? Lampo lazing around and shirking work like Daemon? No, the young noble did enough of that already.

Wait a second – why do all the worst case scenarios involve Daemon?

Probably because he's that much of a jerk who will attempt to screw over the Vongola family sometime in the future in a vague attempt at revenge. Giotto shook his head forcefully. No, it's not like that'll ever happen, right? He was simply over-thinking it.

"There are some down feathers clinging to the nape of the mantle," G answered nonchalantly. "And not to mention," G suddenly gave an intense glare, "you were shirking paperwork again since I saw you napping on the couch in your office. Based on that and your reaction – it's not too hard to guess."

Oh, never mind.

G was just being perceptive – as usual.

"Oh, right," Giotto let out an inaudible breath of relief. G didn't know the real reason – and that was always a good sign.

"Don't think I'm done trying to figure out what you're up to."

The young Vongola boss paled slightly, "This is bad. I need to throw him off, quickly… somehow…"

"H-hey, uh, G?"

"What?" G's eye twitched in annoyance.

"Do you mind if I take the rest of the day off? I mean it's only a stack or two, right?"

"Not like you did any work this morning," G muttered underneath his breath.

"What did you say?" Giotto asked, perplexed.

Throwing a wicked glare that sent shivers down Giotto's spine, G replied, "Well, even if I disagreed, you'd still probably get out of doing your job."

"So it's a yes then?" Giotto practically had sparkles in his eyes. The rising intent of murder was completely missed by the boss.

"I never sai—"

"Alright G! See you later!"

And without another second, Giotto was already sprinting down the hall, leaving G to stuff his hands into his pockets and slouch against the wall.

"Well, what do you think?" G shifted his eyes to look at the man who had been leaning to his right on the corner of the walled intersection in the hallway. Asari Ugetsu was not your average stalker. After all, he only did so when something bothered him or piqued his interest. The absence of Giotto's cape – or the lack thereof – definitely intrigued him. It was he who enlisted the aid of Vongola Storm Guardian to help him solve the dastardly mystery.

"Giotto-san is definitely hiding something," the Japanese man said with a suspicious glint in his eyes.

"Or he could just be trying to look cool one hundred percent of the time," G offered, staring at the ceiling.

"Now, why would he do that?" Asari asked, genuinely confused.

At this statement G's facial features contorted to a look of pure and utter disbelief. "Are you kidding me? What part of 'we're the nice guys in the mafia' sounds cool?"

"Hmm," Asari thought with a finger on his chin, "I always thought it was cool. What's wrong with it?"

Flabbergasted, G could not provide his mafia friend with a proper answer. Instead he just scoffed, and began to light a cigarette in frustration.

"You know that Giotto would rather you smoke outside, if you smoke at all."

"Stop reminding me, Asari."

"Hmm?" Asari looked back at G, perplexed. "I didn't say anything."

"What?" G looked back in surprise.

However, as the two were trying to figure out who the speaker was, the source presented itself in the form of Knuckle, Alaude, and Lampo.

"Like I said G," Knuckle began, "smoking is bad. It leaves a foul odor."

"Yeah, well, if I don't smoke, I get a foul temper."

"Take one more breath of that and I will have you arrested for contaminating my breathing space."

"Alaude," Lampo whined, "We're breathing too, you know."

"Really?"

Everyone else just stared back at the stoic man – unsure of whether or not he made a genuine statement or actually cracked a joke. Either way, his facial features betrayed nothing. They all found that to be rather scary actually.

"Ahem," Knuckle cleared his throat, trying to end the silence that fell upon them. "So, what were you two up to?"

"Nothing much!" Asari answered with childish delight. "It's just that we were trying to solve a mystery."

"A mystery?" Lampo asked. "I'm bored enough; let's solve it so long as it doesn't involve actual dead spirits or fighting or dark places."

"You know," Alaude mused back, "that just about destroyed any chance for a real good mystery hunt to occur."

"How would you know, Alaude-san?"

"Trivial details – don't bother yourself with them," Alaude answered back, waving his hand.

And another awkward silence fell upon the occupants of the unusually empty hallway. One had to really wonder where the other mafioso henchmen were at a time of crisis such as this.

"Yes," Knuckle cleared his throat again. "You were saying about the mystery?"

'Dear God, my throat is going to be hoarse at the rate I'm going.'

"Oh right!" Asari started again. "You're in luck Lampo! So the mystery is about Giotto's cape. Put simply, he never takes it off. And we—"

"You," G corrected.

"—were wondering why that is so."

"Isn't it because he's trying to always look cool?" Lampo offered.

"See? Exactly what I said," G muttered in annoyance.

"It can't be that simple! Nothing ever is!"

"Why not? Life is much easier that way, I assure you."

"Remember when Daemon always—"

"No. I don't need more horror stories."

"You're no fun, G-san," Asari frowned.

"Either way," Lampo offered, "we just need to figure out the mystery behind the cape and we're good right? Plus we'll be amused for the rest of this day."

"Amen to that. Today was going awfully slowly."

"Alright," Asari called out cheerfully, "Let's proceed with Mission Cape Off!"

"It's a mantle," G offered back frowning glumly.

"Hai hai, whatever you say captain!" Asari saluted his comrade good-naturedly.

Together, the five of them went trailing in the direction that Giotto had run away. Nevertheless, the daunting idea of finding their boss in a maze of mansion did not faze them at all. Alaude had already begun writing up a list of probable hiding locations that Giotto might have taken. Lampo amused himself with counting the floor tiles as he walked. Knuckle and Asari were wondering out loud what Giotto could be hiding with his mantle. And of course, G fumed away in his little corner wondering who he had angered in his past life to be landed with such an eccentric group.

Meanwhile, in one of the Vongola Guardians' vast game rooms, Daemon Spade was utilizing his scepter as a makeshift billiards cue stick. His form was graceful and poised for the attack. He mentally calculated the distance between his target and the cue ball. When all the stars aligned he released th—.

"You know, if you're not going to use the cue stick, odds are, it won't work."

In an instant, Daemon's arm tensed up when it shouldn't have and the perfect hit of his scepter on the target just ricocheted slightly, but enough so to royally mess up whatever hopes he had of making a faultless hit. As all his billiard dreams crumbled to ash before him, Daemon's eye twitched at the spherical carnage. Turning, he planned on giving his interrupter a serious load of his anger along with some head trauma.

"Do you know just what exactly you destroyed?" Daemon's voice rose with each word.

"A triangular array of billiard balls?" the Vongola boss offered sweetly.

"A masterpiece! In the form of creating the perfect dynamic of cue stick hitting a cue ball which in turn chooses to knock its brethren from their humble and triangular abode. Not the mention the glory that I, Daemon Spade, will have had, knowing that it was I who created such a masterpiece. The stars may never align again to allow me to crea—"

"Daemon," Giotto sighed in exasperation, "You're doing it again."

"Doing what?"

"That whole tirade. I was getting worried for a second that you might forget to breathe."

"I am an aristocrat."

"Yes and how does that work?"

"I always breathe."
"…Right… understood. I—uh, I will never question your … breaths, ever again."

"Good."

With a loud huff, Daemon made his way to the door, but not without taking a good swing at his boss. Luckily for Giotto, he managed to duck his way out of a concussion. However, the Mist Guardian was inevitably disappointed at his miss from point blank.

"By the way, I'd watch my back if I were you. I will have what is mine."

"Your fault for leaving it unattended," Giotto called out behind Daemon.

Once the illusionist left, Giotto let out a sigh, "Oh boy, he still hasn't forgotten has he? This is going to be a slight problem. Well, I better get what I came here for."

As Giotto rummaged around for his new-fangled toy to test out, outside was a slightly different story.

"All these lengthy weeks of planning," Daemon bit the nail of his thumb. "It had better pay off."

Daemon had been foiled at least twenty-three times before. He ultimately figured that luck lay in the beautiful harmony of the two and the four put together. The secret that he had kept for so long was the pure and simple fact that Giotto's much envied mantle, once belonged to none other than Daemon Spade. Prior to joining the Vongola, the illusionist of an aristocrat meddled in the fashion world. His mantle was among his most highly prized possessions. Simple braided designs and golden clasps to keep the folds together. Who else could have custom crafted the mantle to be capable of riding on even shoulders and reach knee length? Granted, Giotto's vertical challenge is the sole reason that the mantle glides, barely touching the ground.

On that fateful day, Daemon decided to go for a lengthy morning walk in the gardens on his first day of being initiated into the vigilante group. He wanted nothing more than to explore this new territory which he would soon call home. Little did he know that when he came back, the mantle that lay peacefully draped over chair was gone. Hours later, during the 'family' dinner, it made its sudden reappearance – on the back of his vigilante-team-leader-current-family-boss, Giotto.

A man's pride is a terrifying thing. From that moment on, Daemon chose to steal the mantle back rather than prattle away about the injustices that came with his job. The Mist Illusionist, himself, was secretly petrified to look back on the issue for the simple fear that his past twenty-three attempts were all in vain when he could have easily solved the problem in less time by informing the 'proper authorities' of the theft – namely Alaude. But then, what was a man without his sense of pride?

Weekdays were often reserved for extensive planning and weekends were the moments to execute his plans. To date, there have been twenty-three attempts. Note that this was also the reason why Giotto figured that it would be a better idea to sleep without taking his mantle off.

"Today," Daemon muttered to himself. "Surely today, I will have back what is rightfully mine!"

"Yours? Your what? What is yours, Daemon-san?"

'Oh crap. If Asari finds out, then there's absolutely no way it's going to stay a secret.'

"Why my dear companion, Asari, I am merely speaking of … the… m-my… my monocles."

"Mono—cles? What are they?"

"They are similar to glasses, actually," Knuckle answered. "Except they're only for one eye."

"Interesting European contraption, what about the other eye?"

"It doesn't exist," G grumbled. "What is a freak like you doing here, prowling in the hallway?"

"Plotting a way to retake my monocles."

"From whom?" Alaude asked suddenly.

"Giotto."

Silence fell upon all the occupants of the hall as they pondered the reliability of the named accusation. It didn't seem possible. Then again, Daemon probably had some seriously spiffy monocles that would tempt anyone to steal it. And Giotto liked spiffy things. In one moment of weakness it may tip the balance. Thus, the true question became:

Would Giotto really go out of his way to steal monocles that belonged to Daemon Spade?

"Yeah 'kay what's the plan," the other men simultaneously asked Daemon.

"Wait a second," Daemon threw his hands up in front of him, as though afraid it was all a silly joke. "You guys are willing to help me? This is new."

"Well, if we help you we could potentially get what we want," Lampo answered slowly.

"Which is?" Daemon's eyebrow was raised in mystification.

"His cape."

"What."

Daemon couldn't have these five fools land their hands on his cape. Even if he wanted help to find his monocles—

"Wait a second," Daemon thought, "I don't even own monocles."

Even if Daemon wanted fake help to find his 'monocles', he had to throw these dogs off the scent with a really good red herring.

"Why Giotto's cape? Go solve bigger problems, bigger mysteries. I assure you it will bring you greater satisfaction."

"I thought you wanted help?" Alaude asked pointedly.

"Me? No, never. I'm always fine."

"But you just said—" G started, only to be cut off by his arch nemesis.

"What's so secretive about your name anyway? Hmm?" Daemon questioned with a quizzical look, twirling his scepter.

"I told you before, and I'll tell you again, it's just G."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes."

"Does it stand for something?"

"No."

"What about—"

"Lay off already!"

"Give it a rest my friend, before he actually has a reason to go to confession" Knuckle attempted to calm the situation before anything got shot – most likely Daemon's skull.

"I wouldn't go to confession, I'd proclaim his demise to the world Knuckle."

"That's kind of mean, G" Lampo frowned.

"I'd agree with him actually," Alaude mused out loud.

"Alaude-san! You're violent!"

"There's a surprise," G glowered.

"Oh, I know!" the Mist illusionist lightly smacked his open palm in inspiration. "You're parents probably thought you were a girl and named you before you were born. I bet it was something really amusing."

"Huh?" was G's only eloquent answer. For good measure his eyes widened at the sheer stupidity of the idea.

"He kind of has a point you know. It's not unlikely for parents to name their children early," Lampo added. The edges of his mouth began to curve upwards as the situation changed towards the entertaining. Out of the corner of his eyes, the green haired man also caught Asari and Knuckle biting back their laughter, albeit with some difficulty.

"Hmmm…. Would you be a Gabriella? Or a Gertrude?"

"Shut up!"

"Gertrude. Definitely a Gertrude."

At this point, the other three men burst out it fits of laughter as they were incapable of containing their mirth. It wasn't too long before they were trying to wipe stray tears from their eyes from all that laughing. On the other hand, G was positively red-faced although none of them could tell whether it was as a result of anger or embarrassment. Or a mixture of both.

Oh wait. G's holding a gun that's pointed at Daemon.

"It seems that I have angered you," Daemon stared up at the barrel that was now aimed at his forehead.

"No. Really?" G commented sarcastically through gritted teeth.

The situation was tense as G was quite tempted to pull the trigger.

Daemon was considering if he should illusion a log to be shot in his place.

He then realized that he was indoors making it highly difficult.

"Hey G! I have something for you to try out!"

In a moment, Giotto found himself the center of attention as six pairs of eyes focused on him.

"Giotto, I know you're my friend and all but, really? Can't you see I'm busy?"

"Oh, is he trying to kill Daemon again?"

Alaude, Knuckle, Lampo, Asari and Daemon all nodded their head melancholically.

"Well," Giotto began, rolling his eyes, "this is more important!"

Giving a frustrated sigh, G gave one last glare at Daemon before returning the gun back into the holster at his back.

"Yes? What do you want?"

"It's this new expertise that you can dabble in."

Giotto then took out from the folds of his mantle and exquisitely crafted bow and a case of arrows. The base color of white was only interrupted by the maze of red flame-like shoots that covered the entire surface.

How he hid it under the mantle was a mystery that only Daemon knew the answer to.

"Hey, it matches you!" Asari laughed pointing one hand at the bow and the other to G's face.

"Shut it."

Throwing a menacing glare in the Japanese man's direction, G took the bow and arrow and tentatively fitted the arrow into the bow.

"I take this as my cue to leave," Daemon said as he darted away. "Farewell my friends."

Giving chase, G drew his arm back in order to ready himself to release the arrow.

"Stay still so I can hit you!"

"No can do!" Daemon sung back mischievously.

Meanwhile the others looked to a contentedly smiling Giotto and wondered what possessed him to entrust G with yet another weapon.

"So…" Knuckle started to ask. "Why did you give him a weapon? Isn't that going to give him the assumption that it's okay to kill Daemon?"

"Ah yes, but notice that a bow and arrow is a ranged weapon. Plus he's using it for the first time."

"I still don't understand, won't he figure it out after a while?" Lampo asked.

"It buys time while he practices." Giotto answered back.

"Oh! I see!" Asari started, "If it's a ranged weapon, there is always the preference that he'd be a distance away from his target!"

"Plus it's likely that he'll miss," Alaude added curtly.

Not too long after there was an aggravated shriek of anger.

"Yeah he missed."

{Badger, Badger, Badger, Badger, Mushroom, Mushroom…}

KitsuneFreak: And there you have it folks~ Cape mystery and G's archery somehow solved… although there are probably a billion more on the horizon.

Is anyone 'daw-ing' because of the family portrait in Daemon's pocket watch? Sure, he's probably demon-spawn from hell and all that but, I just…. Elena… It's too cute. It also begs the question, why is it out of all the men, he is the first to land himself with a chick? XD

Oh my, quite a number of you are up to date with your festivals, there was even a sweet darling over who posted up 2 descriptions of the Tanabata festival. Thank you all! It finally triggered a part of my memory that scolded me for forgetting because I am very familiar with the Chinese version of the story.

So pending chapter topics are: Box weapon origins and because so many people want it, the Tanabata festival (I see this as a really good way for Elena and Cozart to cameo) 8D

Keep requesting!

R&R!