Chi: That's right. Totally on top of this. XDDD We're getting this done this summer, yo.

Big: Woo! This update came a bit quicker than the last one, ne? Well, I'm writing Rin's POV for this one. Chi-chan is writing Len's. Hopefully you guys have figured out the pattern, and I don't have to repeat this. Don't forget to review!

Chapter II

The First Glance


As livid as one could be, I struggled against the restraints they locked upon me to this damned chair. Mere moments before, from the look on my father's face, I dropped the knife in disoriented confusion. The man hadn't known what was talking about? How could he not? He killed her, didn't he? And during that time, as I thought to myself in bemusement, a guard restrained me. I struggled blindly, yelling at them then. "Let me go, I say! LET GO OF ME," and over my yelling I could hear others murmuring to each other that "the Prince has gone mad with rage" and "he seems distracted and dangerous."

Distracted I was, all right, and I glared at every person in front of me menacingly as they used gold chains to keep me to in place. To Hell with them all.

"Damn it, let me out of this! Damn you all!" Clank, the chains smacked against the arms and legs of the chair as I struggled helplessly but persistantly against them. They couldn't do this to me! NO! Someone killed her! Someone murdered Rin!

"Len," my father's voice barked at me and I didn't stop myself from snapping my head up and glaring him down with all of my being, displaying the very hate I had for him and holding nothing back. This was the final straw. If he had nothing to do with it, it didn't matter. She was gone! I wouldn't hold anything back anymore! The better half of me was deceased. And he reeled back some, struck dumb again by the absolute hate for him on my face and burning through my eyes. But of course, he collected himself and continued, "Stop this barbaric behavior at once! No one can understand you!"

"I will not!" I snapped, lashing out at him. Clink – clank! God, I wanted to kill him. This was it; this was the last straw. I would take nothing more! He had to be associated with it. He had to have caused her death! "You killed her!"

"How many times must I tell you I did not," he yelled, voice deep with frustration. It didn't take him but a moment to tower over me, trying to make me shrink back by the superiority he thought he still had. Little did he know, he had none over me anymore.

"If you are so knowing, tell me who did! I know for sure you were behind this in some way," I growled, squeezing my fists so hard I could slowly feel the dull pain of my nails piercing my skin bit by bit.

"I did not," he said. He pulled back somewhat, showing me that same shocked face as before and I shook my head, suddenly feeling so overwhelmed. I couldn't believe this. Even when his voice cut in again, I just couldn't believe it. "I had nothing to do with this, son."

He could call me son, and lie to my face. Never before that very moment did I ever realize how much I hated my father. Right then, I did.

I couldn't help myself after those words. He was a liar, he was my father; my wife was dead and I was restrained to a chair, distracted. It was all an abyss of so many things; so many memories, so many emotions, so many realizations that I felt myself choke on air and slump back in my chair.

Before I could even formulate a single thought after that, I realized that I had bowed my head and merely began to sob.

Not one person crowded around me, maids or servants, guards, Luka, father – not one person had one single thing to say. Nor did I care. I merely sat, bowed in front of my king, sobbing over the life I had had, the happiness I had had… it was gone.

"Rin…" I breathed shakily before choking and sobbing. "Rin...!"

I felt a hand on my shoulder, felt a squeeze. That same feminine hand that reminded me of my beloved. Luka was showing me comfort. And in the distance, I heard my father ask, gently, for the second time in my life ask me…

"Who was this…girl, to you, Len?"

Slowly, I raised my head, looking up to him. I look deep into the brown pools of his eyes and I wondered – truly wondered… had I just been stubborn? Immature? Did I only think he killed her because of my absolute hate for him?

Somewhat testing this, I pathetically wept with a certain pride, "My wife, father. My wife."

As if in slow motion, his eyes flared to life and widened, absolutely flabbergasted at this. And from that point, I slowly began to re-question everything. For, apparently, my father had nothing to do with the murder of Rin. But if not him, then who…?

. . .


. . .


"Here is your mask, Miss." I was so enthralled by the beautiful scene in front of me that the man's voice made me jump. I smiled sheepishly as I took the mask from him, feeling a bit foolish.

"Thank you, sir." As the man walked away, I looked down to inspect the mask. It was shaped like a black cat, with golden sequins lining it. Like most of the masks I saw the other townspeople wearing, it only covered the eyes of the wearer. Smiling, I slipped it on.

The slightly obstructed view of the town caused by the slanted eyeholes didn't diminish it's beauty. I tried to think back to the time when I had lived here, although it had been many years ago, and attempted to compare. I recognized the cobblestone streets with the strange, yellow-colored stones, and a wave of nostalgia swept through me. It was so strong that for a moment I was sure that I was five years old again, and if I were to look up I would see my mother and father, or maybe my older sister.

That notion was gone in an instant, and when I looked up I was greeted only by unfamiliar people hiding their identities by black and yellow masks. I was not upset, however; being back in my home kingdom was enough to make me happy, even if it was only for a night.

I walked along the gayly lit streets, humming a small tune under my breath. I was happy that I had decided to come to this festival - I had always wanted to come back to visit this kingdom, but I had never had the opportunity. My mistress was nothing short of a slave driver, and this was the first time I had been given a moment to myself since I started working for her.

I found myself wondering what life would have been like if I had decided to stay in the Yellow Kingdom after my family died. It would have been nice to be among people who were similar to myself, of course, but I knew that living as a five-year-old orphan in the Yellow Kingdom would not be wise. His magesty was not very sympathetic to the plight of the commoners. I had heard rumors that the young prince was kinder, but I didn't know whether to believe it. Besides, who knew if I would be able to last long enough for the young king to take the throne. So, with a heavy heart, I bid my homeland goodbye and set out for other places.

I had been to multiple kingdoms before being noticed by my current mistress. I had been working in the Blue Kingdom at the time, eight-years-old and taken under the wing of a few kind women. Like me, they were from a different kingdom, and working for a merchant. I did so, as well, doing what little I could. For whatever reason, the young Princess of the Megurine family had taken a liking to me during a visit to the kingdom, and I was ordered to work for her. I wanted to get Haku and Miku (the women who had taken care of me) jobs as well, but Miku had ties in the blue kingdom, and Haku would never leave her side. So, at the tender age of eight, I had become personal servant to the princess of the Pink Kingdom, who's castle neighbored the Yellow Kingdom so closely that I was able to walk to it within an hour. This thought had excited me, as I thought I would be able to visit my own kingdom whenever I wished. And now, nine years later, I was coming back for the first time.

I shook my head. It's no use thinking about such things now, I tried to tell myself. The past was the past, and I must live for the present. Although I tried to live by that motto, it was difficult when you were surrounded by the past. I had been accustomed to sticking out, one blonde amongst a sea of pinkettes. Being surrounded by people similar to me (although there were quite a few people from other kingdoms, come to visit) made me remember the way things used to be, before that terrible fire.

The thought of the fire made my heart ache, and I wondered what had become of my own house. Surely, someone had torn it down and rebuilt a new house over the charred remains of the place I once called home! Curiosity got the better of me, and I stole away from the main center of town, away from the shops and towards the houses.

At first I thought that I would never remember where I had lived, but the route was surprisingly easy to recall. As the sounds of laughter and shouts from the festival died away, I felt my heart speed up in anticipation. What was awaiting me at the end of this walk? I was almost positive that it would be a new house, so when I finally turned the final corner, I swore that I could feel my heart stop, then shatter.

The charred remains of my house had never been taken down. They remained there, a black skeleton of a horrible disaster that had ruined my life in one simple instant. Breathing suddenly became difficult, as if the smoke lingered along with the framework of the house. I swore that I could hear the shouts of my mother, my father, and my sister, all unable to get out of the house.

"Rin! Run, Rin!" As if it were happening before my eyes all over again, I saw the bright orange flames leaping high above me; I heard the pained screams of my dying relatives. And, just as the house collapsed in on itself, I had been given a glance of my older sister, fire twirling through her long yellow hair. In the moment before her body was crushed by the burning house, her blue eyes locked with my own, and I saw in them an expression of such pain and sorrow that I still have nightmares about it.

The weight of my memories was far too strong, and my legs gave out. I collapsed to my knees in front of my house, tears leaking out from the bottom of my mask. I took the thing off, disliking the feel of the trapped tears against my eyelids. "No," I moaned softly, "Mother... Father... Lily..." I shook my head, trying to wipe away my tears. I knew that they would hate for me to carry on this way, but at that moment I wished to be under the ground with them. I was so terribly lonely that I thought I might never get up.

"Miss? Are you alright?" The sound of the hesitant voice snapped me out of my thoughts. I must be thankful that I am still alive, I reminded myself, It is what they would have wanted. I picked myself up off the ground, mask still clutched in one hand. The person who addressed me must have noticed my tears, for he said hastily, "I am sorry. I was merely on my way to the festival, and I was worried that you might be... Well, in trouble." I put on a small smile, dusting off my skirts.

"Oh, do not worry, sir. I had merely..." As I looked up at the stranger, my words stopped. I felt my heart skip a beat, but this time it was not from the thick depression that had occurred upon seeing the ruins that I once called home. My eyes widened, and I swear I saw his do the same. The mask clutched in my hands almost fell to the ground in my shock.

Standing in front of me was the most handsome man I had ever seen.


To cover the miles it took to secretly get into the city may be long, but I never found myself bored with the travel. Walking through the grass and admiring the brush of wild life in the small forest between the rolling fields of the hill, as well as a little dirt walls to slide down, was always something eventful and quite beautiful to me. And the fact that I had to travel it all as the sun slowly began to creep down the sky was all the more pleasuring. I had a smile on my face the whole time.

All the while, my heart bubbled with a certain satisfaction at the fact that I actually had free-time given to me. I did not have to pick a day to sneak off and lie, just to spend some time with myself, good people, and away from those dreaded lessons of how to be the perfect King, so to speak.

Truly, the topic was unsatisfying and plain out unnecessary to me. It was too orderly, too…forceful. I was being taught that fear was key and that only my judgment (which really only meant the traditional judgment of the prior kings and queens) was what mattered. And each lesson, I found myself having to beg to differ.

Over the years, out in these fields and trees and sky, I came to realize what I truly wanted, and that was to be king. I had never found distaste for being inline to the next throne; it was only the order I was being taught that made me rebel against it. I wanted to be king, but only my definition of 'king'.

My definition of being 'king' was only that of what I've heard called a "democracy." It was not in my blood to command others and make them do what I wanted and charge them more than they can give me. I wanted my people to have their choice; I wanted my people to know that I respected every single one of them and their families. I believed that a certain affection towards a people was better than that of fear and absolute dominance. I would be their leader – but I wanted to be their friend.

There in those fields I came to realize that my father understood this and thus had such distaste for me, besides the fact that his wife was dead because I was born. Another harsh thing, and it only taught me what not be like towards my sons and daughters if that were to happen. I would be sad, but I don't think I could bring myself to hate just an innocent child that needed to be born.

Of course, it was only a possibility that that was why he has such distaste for me. But, knowing the kind of man he was, it was definitely the most likely reason.

A shame it was, but the relaxation and beauty of these fields, the city, and the people had kept me sane and had kept my spirits as high as they could ever be. They were all so important to me.

Even the house I passed on the outskirts of the city. It was merely a house that held a probable tragedy, but still, in a way, I could feel a certain connection to it. The charcoaled brick and wood; the results of an out-of-control fire proved that loved ones had been killed. Someone didn't have a family or people didn't have a complete family…or there was no family. I felt I had something in common with it. The sorrow in some way, was the same.

When I came upon the remains of this house again, making me remember that I was close to the city now – and the festival – I found myself stopping and merely admiring it with a tilted head again. Every time, the tragedy seemed to play in my head. Dancing flames, panicking voices, pure destruction and devastation and sorrow…all such attributes I had felt before. And when the vision faded, I saw just how lonely this house was and I felt myself relating to it. It was quite…stupid, in the least, to be relating to a burned down house, discarded and forgotten in the outskirts of the older parts of the city…but what could I do? I had not one friend; who or what else could I relate to?

This once-home stood on the last bit of the support-beams, looking so frail and yet, in a way, dignified. It made me think that the family that had lived here had had pride in this house and love for it. I wondered who the people were; how much my father had made them work. I wondered what had happened, and why did they deserve to lose their precious sanctuary? It made me question the authority over all life and why He deemed that such a tragedy were necessary.

I guess, only He knows, I finally decided as I observed the ruins for probably the hundredth time. And He knows everything.

With that in mind, I decided that I had better start finishing my journey to the city and be on time for the festival. I did not want to be late…

However, it surprised me to suddenly see a girl, not too far away from the ruins of the mysterious house. She was dressed in that of a maids outfit, and definitely from the Pink Kingdom, due to the fact that the shirt under her brown dress-straps was that of a pink hue. Her head was bowed and adorned a ribbon that stuck up quite interestingly. Her hair was blonde and short, held back by her ears mostly and I noticed that she was wearing a mask that had the face of a cat.

She had come from the festival it seemed…and it saddened my heart. Perhaps, she had traveled the simple hour journey from the Pink Kingdom, just to enjoy the festival…and see her old home. I figured it must have been tragic for her and it didn't surprise me when she slid her mask off to let her tears run free.

I started to take steps towards her, and I saw her lips move and a sorrowful moan, but none of the words that were with it. I wondered what she was saying, but truly, it was none of my business. The most I would do was make sure she was alright. There was still the possibility that she had been traumatized by something else and that she had no connection to the ruins what so ever.

Hesitantly, I spoke as I got closer, "Miss? Are you alright?" She somewhat rose her head, seeming to snap out of her thoughts. I made a face at myself, thinking I was rude for interrupting her; I could have thought twice before doing such a thing. I quickly added, especially after I noticed her tears as she picked herself up from the ground, "I am sorry. I was merely on my way to the festival, and I was worried that you might be... Well, in trouble."

She put on a smile and I watched her dust her clothes. "Oh, do not worry, sir. I had merely…" she started before she raised her head and her eyes locked with mine. And from then, I did not know if she had said anything else. We stared at each other and the landscape, the destroyed house and even the world began to disappear around us. It was a moment I knew I would never forget and as distasteful as it was that such a thing could be so breathtaking – so…sudden and yet so wonderful…

I realized she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. And it was hopeless. My heart cried out to hers by her single glance.

Heh, corny right? But we love it. Or at least, I do, heh, I don't know what my wonderful partner is thinking, but I'm sure she thought this was cute. Lol, yeah, I know she did. XDDD Why am I talking like I know everything o_o

Anyways, we hope you liked yet another chapter for Red. Have in mind that very soon, things will be steaming up and what you're all are wishing will happen and more. ;D Hope you stay with us until then. Hopefully, we'll be done with this by August. Big-chan is supposed to be getting out of school two days from now. XD And I'm already out of school so yeah. Updates will be common.

Next time!