Chapter 3: Duel of destiny

The illuminating glow of the full moon shined down upon all beneath its natural beauty. The cool midnight breeze carried along the snow white clouds that traveled carefree through the midnight sky. Among these natural wonders, a sparking light appeared; the moon shining off the hull of the beautiful yet non-natural creation. This golden man-made (Or manlike-made) creation soared through the air to join the clouds among their grand heights in the midnight sky. The vessel, that matched a collection of flying temples, was named the "Golden Roar".

The silence of night was broken by the soft humming of engines that worked in keeping the ship afloat and carving through the strong winds. All knew that the Gold Roar was a sign of the Kurvaz's power and wealth as it flew proudly among the clouds.

Although the beauty of the ship's extorter remained the same; the interior was filled with tension. The tension thickened the air with the whispers of war that lied upon ever soul's lips. Some handled the stress well; others had trouble sleeping at night. Yet among them there was one who felt the greatest of stress.

Within the lower decks of the Golden Roar, among the light humming of the ship's engines was a voice that slowly muttered in the darkness. This voice belonging to a male whose tone seemed to hint at anger, sorrow, and exhaustion (Mostly exhaustion though), "One nom-bone, two nom-bones, three nom-bones…" The voice counted restlessly.

His eyes were shut tight as if attempting to force himself to sleep. "Four nom-bones, five nom-bones," His eyes shifting behind closed lids that exposed his struggle to rest, "Thirty nom-bones, thirty one nom-bones…" he carried on as time seemed to slow around him.

The midnight wind started to pick up outside, grazing over the large hull of the ship. "Thirty seven nom-bones, thirty nine nom… wait… Furballs…" He started over again. Sadly though, the outside wind was too strong and the porthole that let in the midnight glow of the moon swung open from the force of the wind. The room flooded with cold air and the loud sounds of wind gushing through the opening had fully awoken the poor male.

He got up from the bedding and stumbled on over to the window "Gah, Furballs! Just when I started feeling tired it happens again!" he reached in just as the moonlight exposed the male for who he was, Red Savarin, robot riding hunter of Shepherd.

Red pressed hard on the porthole window, pushing against the strong wind as he struggled to close it. With a large snap the window was back in place and this time Red was not going to be content with just that. He took out a roll of duct tape and placed it over the window to keep it from ever reopening against the wind.

With his handy work done and a porthole almost completely covered with duct tape (In Red's Zeal) Red fell silent. For a minute he stood still in the pale moonlight that made it through the cracks of silver till he sighed "I'm never going to get any sleep at this rate!" he complained to himself.

With his current discouragement Red tried to head back to the bed he lied in earlier. Yet, without the light of the moon to guide him now, he couldn't help but slip upon a pool of liquid. "Gah Ahh!" Red cried out in a shock before the back of his head came down with a loud thud against the wooden floor.

"Ow…Ow…. Ow" muttered Red as he rubbed the bump that formed from the blow. After a little struggle to get back on his feet from the bruising blow to the back of his head, Red lean up against a nearby wall and ran his hand over it in search of a light.

Once the light was flicked on the room was exposed as being that of little more than a supply closet. The pool of liquid he had stepped in was little more than cleaning soap. Although the other items in the room were rancid with chemicals that burned the Caninu's nose. It had even worsened due to the wind blowing in and rising their heavy scents back up into the air.

Holding his nose and feeling the bruise upon the back of his head, Red returned to his makeshift bedding that was composed of a few old sheets and some pillows; all seemed as if they needed to be washed. Red sat down atop it and sighed. With no way to sleep at this point his mind started to drift back in time to how he got caught in this situation.

Three days ago Red, His sister Chocolat, and his close friend Elh were assigned a mission by the largest hunter guild in Shepard, The Kurvaz. As such they took the job with little hesitation and went off to the Hindenburg 2.0 to capture secret files.

Sadly though their mission was a failure and to add insult to injury, the organization known as "Blue Devils" has placed a high bounty on the group, alongside declaring a guild war upon the Kurvaz by proclaiming them as government oppressors. Opera offered up protection to Red and the others seeing it was her fault that they were caught up in this mess and after a little of smooth talking Red accepted it.

Red wanted to remain independent as best he could from the Kurvaz and didn't agree to sleep on the Golden Roar, but as Red later learned they were planning to upgrade his ship, "The Asmodeus" with 'weapons'. Red sighed at this thought. Begin as such the only place left for Red to feel at ease on the Golden Roar was somewhere away from their main barracks. So his 'independence' gained him a dark, ill smelling, and damp supplies room.

Red's fist clenched tightly as he went through his thoughts. He understood he was angry but he was starting to take it out on others. The exhausted caninu was void of cheerfulness due to all that had happened. It was against his common character. "Idiot…" he muttered to himself as the thoughts traced back to when he took the job… "If I didn't take it… We wouldn't be caught in this mess…" Red clenched his fist tighter as he quickly slammed it against the wall; a small drop of blood dripping from it.

Red even feared that his exhaustion and growing anger would cause him to lash out at those he cared for most. In such fears he started to isolate himself from others and remained in the lab to do simulations or work with Merveille on the Dahak's systems.

Red eventually brought himself back to the present where the pain of his bleeding hand brought his attention to it. Wrapping up the bleeding fist with a small first aid kit that was inside the supplies closet; He lied back down on the makeshift bed and tried once more to sleep after turning off the light.

Red's body started to relax against the bed and he started to feel tired once more. Before long his body finally couldn't withstand the exhaustion and Red had drifted off to sleep.

Hours pass…

Dawn began with an orange sunrise that brought the signals of a new day approaching to all. The clouds ease their pace as the midnight winds dimmed down and a calm ride was for all to enjoy. That is if they could feel such things as joy.

Traveling in the direction of the sunrise was a black, rusted, and decrepit ship that flew through the clouds. A Small banner waved along the sides of the ship's hull as to show who it belonged to. It was a blue flame, meaning one thing, Blue Devils.

Within the small frigate ship there was no crew other than a single being. The dark interior of the ship made it roughly hard to see the male as he issued controls to the ship. "Four hours till target is reached." The programmed computer stated through a speaker system throughout the small ship.

"Red…" a sinister voice broke through the silent darkness of the ship, Piercing crimson eyes that belonged to the voice's owner stared down at a single picture… a wanted poster on Red's head that was issued by the Blue Devils. "… My target is in reach now. I just need to…" he was quickly cut off by the loud static sound of a monitor as a signal came in.

On the monitor appeared the familiar male of which he had asked to lead him to Savarin, The same feline whose vile words corrupted the minds of the people in his favor. "Greetings!" He started,"I hope your ride wasn't too rough. I do hope that you're heading straight to the duel ship as we agreed." The male spoke with atongue that could charm a snake. The creature's eyes shifted down to the monitor and then back ahead to the rising sun.

"Eh? So you still going to keep the silent treatment?!" The man said in annoyance."Well that doesn't matter to me so long as you managed to get the prize. In return you get to take Red and the reward money so it's all fair!" the unwise man stated as if he had an upper hand over the creature. The creature remained silent as the man carried on about 'their' geniuses and his 'skill' even though it seemed the man enjoyed flattering himself more than the creature; although he cared little all the same.

Finally the creature broke the rant of the man by stating "I have no intention of taking the bounty on Red. I want only him and will do as I please with him. You'll only get your prize from this little game because Red will be in it." He leaned in as the monitors light exposed the dark metal armor plating on the creatures face. It was clear that he was a caninu from the construction of the armor plating. "And if you value your life you will not bother to speak to me again once I have finished with my job." The creature's voice was cold and intimidating among all other vile things.

The man quickly withdrew the majority of his ranting but did manage to state one final thing to seem superior before frantically ending the call "Just get it done! We do have big plans and we can't mess this up!" Once the man was gone and the ship was once more quiet the creature slowly closed his eyes and whispered "Beasts like them… nothing to do but talk their prey to death. They are fools the lot of them. As if they could ever understa-".The male was caught off as the computer stated "Starting to close in on the destination. Duel ship will be reached in three hours"

The creature smirked softly, white, sharp, chilling teeth he exposed as they flew closer to the duel ship…

…And Red…

Around the same time the sun had already peaked and now started to hang higher in the sky with each passing minute. Back aboard the Gold Roar speakers started the sound off in the upper decks of the ship. This issued the time of day which the men were to address the leader of the Kurvaz; as such the men formed long line formations that face each other. The instructor was none other than Gren, who beside him was Calua. Calua yawned and stumbled over to lean on Gren "Dude…. Why do we have to get up so early…?"

Gren looked down to Calua with an irritated sigh as he stepped away from the Felineko who was now without support and fell face first to the ground. "Because Lady Opera demands that we shape up our drills to prepare for the upcoming war." He quickly turned to face the Felineko "Are you saying sleep is more important than…" he stopped when finding Calua snoring loudly on the ground, fast asleep.

Gren sighed softly and leaned over Calua, tapping his head softly. "Hey… wake up air head… come on…" Gren tried to awaken Calua peacefully. Gren failed though and choose to deal with the mess his own favorite way; with a forceful kick to the side.

Calua was quickly awaken and struggling to get up. "H-hey! What you do that for dude!" he shouted out in a panic. Finally getting up, Calua faced Gren who shrugged softly and replied with "Sleeping on the job is one thing we can't afford these days. Understand that Calua… for Lady Opera." Before Calua could snap back with a little sass, the sounds of drums beating as the men saluted. Gren and Calua quickly got into positions as the leading men who would first greet Opera.

Slowly the door that leads to the office where Opera's room now lied was sliding open. "Everyone bow your Heads with respect!" Gren issued out as the men faced to the doorway. "Good Morning, My Lady." Gren stated with his head held down as he instructed the others. Calua followed suit in a sloppy. "Good morning, my lady!" Following suit with every man in the company of Kurvaz troops stating at once "Good morning, My Lady!"

Gren raised his head then with a smile, in hopes that Lady Opera would have been pleased. What he found instead were two rather confused young women who stared at the massed men who had just greeted them. One of these 'younger' looking women was a Felineko; purple like the mistress Opera but without any form of relations. The other was a pink Caninu.

The caninu slowly raised her hand and waved kindly "Hello everyone! Such a nice greeting from all of you…" Felineko turned away with a soft blush on her face from embarrassment of her friend. "Chocolat I don't think they were meant to be greeting you." Chocolat turned back to the Felineko and tilted her head "Really? Are you sure Elh? They seemed determined on the greeting."

Elh nodded softly as she pointed to Gren, who was at the time wide eyed and mouth left agape (Along with everyone in the company behind him). "The look upon his face is all the proof you need." Elh stated as she and Chocolat started to walk along the path that was lined with Kurvaz troopers. Each one of them staring silently, holding their tongues in embarrassment by the event.

As all were faced at the two walking off into another doorway that led down to the lower part of the ship Opera had slipped over to Gren and asked "My, My? Is there something I missed? Why is everyone out here at this time?"

With her consisting questions Gren had snapped back to the present and faced his lady. "Oh! Lady Opera! Forgive me but we had mistaken those two for you. We planned to greet you in such an organized manner to show how well we were when the war would start heating up."

Opera just simply smiled at Gren and chuckled "Darlings like you all should not waist so much energy on me! A woman can only handle so much!" she jests to them all with another giggle. "Although all of you I thank greatly but please go back to your posts and relax because after today I don't honestly know when we will be able to relax."

Given the order from their leader the troops disbanded back across the ship. In the End leaving Gren a little pink faced with Calua laughing loudly. "Dude you totally screwed up!" his laughter carried on and Opera couldn't help but giggle herself. "Now, Now, Play nice you two! I rather not have a fight start right now. We need to prepare for today anyway." Opera shifted her gaze around the opened area of the ship and then asked "Where did those two little ones head off to anyway?"

Calua quickly pointed over to the doorway that the two had departed to. Once done Calua stated "Those two gals headed down in there to find Red I take it! Shame he hasn't been around too much though. I like to brawl with him some more cause he is a fun dude!"

Opera being quick, responded with a sigh. "The muffin has been a little stale lately. It seems he has been bothered by something and it is ripping him up inside. I guess… it is because I dragged him into this." She turned away and started to walk back to the office. "Gren have Red ready by noon. The Duel ship is just ahead and I don't plan to let this advantage slip up like the last." Her tone was serious, a little bossy as well.

Gren nodded "Yes Lady Opera. It shall be done." Gren went off to the same doorway that Chocolat and Elh also had gone through. This left Calua and Opera alone with each other. Calua slowly looked over to Opera, asking "Lady Opera. Can I Ask you something?" his eyes shifted downward, head hanging a little. Opera remained silent as she grasped hold of the panel of her doorway. "What is it dearie?" she answered his question with her own, not facing him though.

"I wanted to ask… if you're feeling it as well. A sense of danger that is lurking closer to us as we move in, Lady Opera… I'm feeling as if we should not go, as if a pain in my chest is grasping me and keeping me from breathing." Calua, serious, unlike himself, in every manner it was almost a pitiful thing to see.

Opera slowly turned around and smiled softly "Darling! Come now you are just over thinking things. I'm sure everything will be okay!" her words seemed like reassure to Calua as he smiled and nodded "You're right Lady Opera! Thanks for your help!"

Opera nodded and slowly closed her door to the office and was left alone. She moved her hand over her chest and slowly sighed. "I feel it as well… but I have to be strong," she told herself before returning to her workplace, "For everyone this time."

Red slowly awoke from his rest to be greeted by a blue, cloudless sky. He smiled softly "What a beautiful day…" shutting his eyes and sighing peaceful. "Wait a minute!" he shouted before then springing up. Red examined his location. Standing in the middle of a colorful valley of flowers Red watched silently as the wind blew across the long fields of color.

What sort of trick had been played on his eye? He started rubbing them but no change in his surroundings.

He muttered to himself "I think I've inhaled too many of those chemicals. They must be screwing up my head!" Viewing the colorful flowers as they carried on upon the endless landscape, they differed in colors from white, to yellow, to blue, to purple and so on; all beautiful independently yet complementing one another. It was like art for the eyes that you could feel.

Red had been on edge and his sense were still sharp. The soft scent of another was on the wind, close. "Looks like someone is…" Red stopped himself as he heard a small giggle behind him. He quickly turned around to find none other than…"Elh?!"

Elh stood calmly before Red, although she seemed different. Her eyes were serene and her postures were more feministic then normally. Red had only seen this once before and that was within the forest of Samoyede where they had been sent to collect white flowers for a women and her deceased Boyfriend. Something about this made Red blush and a soft clench was felt at his chest. Why did he enjoy seeing Elh so relaxed, so beautiful?

"Hello?" Elh asked while waving her hand in front of Red, pulling him out of his daze. "Oh? Huh? what?" Red asked while looking back to Elh.

Elh returned Red's gaze with a soft smile "Come now. Don't tell me you're losing even more of that unused brain." She teased just as she would in their average conversations.

"Hey! That's not it at all! I was uh… hey wait! Do you know how we got here Elh?" He asked while looking around. Elh responded with a sorrowful sigh. "Not honestly, no. Although," she turned to face the flower beds, "I have to admit that this place is rather relaxing don't you think?"

Red smiled softly as he looked down at the flowers beneath their feet. "It is beautiful. I really do enjoy seeing these flowers! I mean they make people happy so they can't be that bad!" Red's gaze turned back to Elh to find her holding a rose; although to Red the flower was exotic for it was a trace of the old earth; Not the new one that they inhabited.

Elh held up the rose "Sometimes Flowers don't bring happiness though. Sometimes they are meant to symbolize pain, grief, and even sorrow. Besides they wilt so their beauty never lasts." Elh sighed softly before then stepping closer to Red. Red eyes went from soft warmth to a slight sorrow "True…" he admitted while lowering his head a little, "… They wilt and nothing can be done about it." Red then noticed the stem of the Rose, its thorns sharp and soft blood dripping from the stem as it fell to the ground below. "Hey Elh… I think you cut-"

Everything turned red around where the drops of blood fell; the ground soon turning fully red then as much blood fell onto the ground. For a split second Elh stood before Red. She wore a soft smile, the same one Red had grown to enjoy but something felt different. Red couldn't speak, life draining from him, as if he just couldn't… "Forgive me Red" Elh spoke. Red was confused, he tried to ask what she meant but the words didn't form; Just a gurgling like sound. Red understood now as he looked down, a piercing long blade that had appeared from the rose pedals pierced straight through Red's heart.

Red started to understand the ends. Yet the means remained unknown as he looked to Elh with a sorrowful and confused gaze. His eyes watered and started to stream down his cheeks, tears running down before he coughed. His hand grasped his muzzle and blood stained his lips and hands. His own crimson blood leaking from him and Red soon started to feel the world fade as he fell back.

With a heavy thud Red was looking up to the blue sky that started to turn a blackish grey. Red's gaze shifting towards Elh who looked back at Red, but her expression turned cold and lifeless. She stepped forward to him, tugging the blade out of Red's chest, numb now to the pain and placing it against his muzzle.

Red's world growing dark each second as he tried to mutter out "W-hy…" but only coughed up more blood. Elh finally spoke to Red only her tone was as lifeless as her expressions "Wake up Red, Its time you see the truth…" the words 'wake up' echoed over and over as the loud slash of Elh's blade slashed into Red.

"Wake up Red…"

"You're going to be late…"

"You're always to late…"

"No!" Red quickly sat up, panting once more as he held his forehead, he was sweating, scared, throbbing in pain, and when he looked up he found himself gazing at Elh who was holding her forehead as well.

"E-Elh?" Red started to ask before then getting smashed over the head by the Feline's fist with full force "Idiot! Why are you such a moron?" She called out as a fury burned in her eyes.

"OW!" Red yelped as he looked back up to Elh while rubbing his now growing bump. "Hey what the fur was that for!" Red asked.

"You were startled and you slammed your forehead up against Elh's." Chocolat stated as she stood on the other side of the Bed.

Red turned to his sister and then back to Elh "Oops! Sorry!" Red smirked before then rubbing his eyes of sleep. With a soft yawn he then asked "So what's going on? Did something happen?" while then getting out of his bed and stretching his aching body. His eyes were still full of sleep yet he kept rubbing to try and awaken himself.

Elh didn't respond to the questions at first. She seemed as if she was trying to remember the answers as well. Perhaps the blow to her head was harder then she thought "Give me a second to think. After all getting knocked with a head as hard as your own is perhaps the strongest attack you have." The insult made Chocolat giggle even though she wasn't always one to enjoy Red being picked on (Less she is doing it).

"We came in to get you." The pink caninu answered her brother's questions "We are going to be reaching the duel ship within an hour or so." Chocolat's voice remained cheerful, yet as if she was struggling to make the feeling of joy last among her friends.

Red sighed softly as he fell back into the present, "Already huh? Well looks like it can't be helped." Red's gaze shift to the others "Looks like I'm going to go out all this time. I can't let anyone beat me. I am the best duel ship fighter after all!" this lightened up Elh and Chocolat to see Red acting like himself.

Just then though Gren appeared at the doorway "Come now. Get yourself descent, Lady Opera wishes to speak with you before we arrive." Gren's tone was as cold and disciplined as ever. "Also please refrain from your normal stupidity. You already ruined that last mission we assigned you and I prefer that you don't hinder our war effort any further."

Red gave an annoyed stare as Gren motioned to leave, only stopping for a moment and turn to face Red with an equally annoyed stare. "What? You want to fight now?" Red asked as Gren then stepped forward.

Red would not have picked a fight without reason. He might not have thought it through but for sure he wouldn't just pick a fight with an ally like Gren. It was just though that Red was angry still; At Gren, Opera, Caulca, and himself. This pent up anger having to escape through the glare in Red's blue eyes.

Elh and Chocolat ready themselves to stop a fight before it broke out. "Red. Calm down." Chocolat asked of her brother who wouldn't ease his tensed body, fur rose up along his form. Gren seemed slightly calmer then Red, although his eyes showed the same amount of pent of rage. "You really are a fool." Gren stated. Red's eyes widen abit "What?"

"You're a fool, taking your anger and placing it on your friends like that. You are hurting those you desire to protect and as such you are a fool and a hypocrite. I don't fight Hypocrites. I only bother with those who are honorable enough to understand what is important." Gren turned and walked out of the room, stating one more thing as he left "Take that anger you feel. Place it on the enemies' forces. Use that anger to your victory and win back peace." Upon that Gren turned and walked out of sight.

Red having been scowled like he was a young child eased back, his body relaxing now. He was angry but it was a silent anger that was fading out. Among them Gren was able to cool the fire that burned in Red's emotions. Elh and Chocolat looked to Red still concerned about him but slowly he smiled "Well furballs. Looks like I just got told off. Only thing I can think now is getting up to the deck and get ready for the duels. I'll show him then who's a fool!"

Elh nodded "It will be tough. The Blue Devils will not give up the chance to secure support from a princess so easy." Stating her thoughts, a slight amount of concern hinting on her voice; Red of course being oblivious to it while Chocolat picked it up and smiled softly and spoke as if to ease Elh's concerns "I'm sure you'll do well. Please be careful Red."

Red replied with another smile as he got shoes and strapped on his cap. ; stating "I will be careful and I will win!" The confidence was strong in the voice of the mutt as he started to step out of the room and running up the stairs while being followed by his sister and feline friend, Red was ready for every challenge that he would face today….

Or so he thought…

Red was already departing for the Duel ship in The Royal Envy, ship used by the Kurvaz special ops, that was meant to carry Dahak along with Calua, Gren, Elh, Opera, and Chocolat and also their robots, expect the girls that had known or they were to big. "We shouldn't need too much man power. Besides with a small force the Blue Devils would be less likely to try and ambush us." Opera had explained earlier in the meeting that they all had.

Red remained silent throughout most of the half hour ride. He seemed tired regardless of his upbeat attitude. Everyone wondered if he was falling back into a depression so the first to ask if Red was okay was… "Hey," the feline tapped Red's shoulder which he faced. It was Elh, "What are you being so silent for? You were pumped out a few minutes ago. Please don't tell me you are getting worked up again? "

Red remained quiet for a few moments before smiling, "I still have my spirit but I'm exhausted!" he closed his eyes and didn't notice how everyone was a little surprised at the Caninu's answer.

Opera then giggled from group, "Well if that is the case puppy boy then you take a little nap. I think with a little sweet talk…" she paused and moved a hand to her chest, "And some tempting…" she started unzipping the top of her suit. Which Gren shouted with a flushed face, "L-Lady Opera!" but it was too late.

She pulled out a string of rings from the opening she made in her suit. Upon the string was quite abit of money. She zipped the crack of her suit back up quickly and smiled at Gren, "Was there something wrong?" Gren froze for a moment and looked away with embarrassment and somewhat disappointment.

Opera held the money and stated, "I can convince the duel manger to withhold your fight to be the last fight of each round. That way you can get a few winks alright?" and Red didn't show any signs of refusal at the offer of more sleep. "You got a deal."

Opera smirked, "There we go." She looked at the computer screen and nodded, "We land in a few minutes so all you darlings get ready. There isn't any stopping or turning back now!" With that the ship pulled up near the Duel Ship and the doors opened. They stepped into the light and heard the cheers.

The day was nearly clear of clouds and so it was a little hotter than normal. Many people from around the Shepard republic had come to see this battle as the deck was almost overcrowded. Lucky for the group though had a reserved area of which they could bring their robots down to gear up and get ready.

Red moved out into the sunlight last and the glare of the sun caught his eyes, "Man it is bright…" he muttered to himself. Elh beside him gave a light smile and took a deep breath, "The air seems tense but I feel hope here. People are here to cheer us on so we can't let them down."

Red was a little surprised to see Elh so cheered in such a situation but someone had to be if Red wasn't. He smiled and turned to her, "Thank you." He said in a gentle tone. Elh met Red's blue eyes and felt a tint of blush on her cheeks as he thanked her. "What for?" she questioned him.

Red smiled wide and laughed, "For enduring with me being so down. Kind of reminds me of the time I tried to talk to you when you were upset."
"Yes," Elh started with a smile, "And you are welcome."

"Are you two lovers done kissing and cuddling now?!" called out Opera who caused Red and Elh to turn red quickly. Taking that as an answer Opera giggled, "Now then I'll talk to the officials of the ship and while I'm doing that I need you to get some rest Red. We will wake you about ten minutes before your fight."

Red gave a nod and turned to Elh while still feeling a little embarrassed, "I'll see you in a little while. Don't forget to cheer for me." He gave her thumbs up and walked away. Elh nodded and wanted to say something but stopped. She froze and once Red was out of her sight she sighed and walked off to the stands with Chocolat who was alongside her. "Good Luck." She muttered to herself while taking her seat.

Opera had watched the whole thing and was giggling to herself while unaware of the presence of another behind her, "Lady Opera, Do you enjoy teasing them like that?" Gren questioned in his serious tone as always. "Yes, they are both headstrong and brave but become weak and insecure when they are addressed to how they feel about each other. It doesn't hurt to push a little." Opera tried to reason but Gren seemed to not be amused, "Their feelings have little to do with the mission and teasing them will only cloud their judgment for the battles ahead. You know this…" Gren warned.

Opera turned around and smirked, "Oh so in order to do our mission we have to abandon all emotion?" She faced Gren as if already confident she had won.

"I wasn't suggesting long-term but clearing the mind and remaining calm is much better than allowing yourself to be distracted by emotions that hinder your progress." Gren stated, keeping calm and confident as ever. Just then he felt a rub along his left leg which caused him to blush bright red.

It was Opera's tail.

"Lady Opera… W-what are you doing!" he asked while trying to remain calm.

Opera just smiled and removed her tail and walked off, "If they are so hindering then why are you flushed? Seems more encouraged then discouraged!" she teased and walked down a stairway that would lead to the lower decks of the ship, "Come now. The match starts in ten minutes." Opera stated with Gren limping behind awkwardly from the teasing, muttering "Y-You are so difficult at times Lady Opera."

While the 'interesting' conversations between our heroes unfolded in the upper decks, lower in the preparation rooms was a certain vile sensation in the air. The creature had made its way onto the duel ship an hour before Red and the others and had been told to wait. The creature was still dressed in a black flexible like metal armor which covered most of his characteristics.

The creature was not one to sit and wait but without any choice he sat there in an agitated silence while awaiting the battles to start. Suddenly the door to chamber opened and the creature quickly glanced over to see a large elderly like male Felineko. He turned away again, uninterested in this general character.

The older male didn't seem to take the hint as his first action in the room was to walk right over to the creature and ask, "Hey is this chamber 3?" To which the creature remained silent at first.

The Old male still took no hint to the creatures resolve to not speak and pressed further, "You deaf boy? Come now, is this chamber 3?"

Despite the creature desiring not to interact with the Elder, He didn't have much choice.

Finally the creature spoke out, giving nasty toned response, "Yes." To which the Elder male responded with a smile, "There we go… just need to speak up and I would have left you be." The Elder man went over and took a seat on the far side of the room.

The creature looked at the male with a somewhat questioning stare, "What are you doing?" The creatures tone remained negative towards the elder.

"I'm here because this is my chamber. I take it you got the same one huh? Guess the duel ship needs more space." The Elder shrugged during his response. "So what is your name?" He asked.

The creature paused for a moment to ponder the question before looking at the Elder. "Azul, My name is Azul Ordinateur." Azul stated as his response.

"Interesting name, I'm Québec." Replied the elder who leanedforward and coughed a little, "So Azul, what are you doing here?"

Azul responded swiftly, "Something that does not concern you old man."

"Old?" Québec replied with a brow raised, "Hehe, I'm not that old 'boy' and I'm sure I can handle you in the ring just fine."

Azul was not moved by the statement and fell back into his silence. Québec remained silent as well and looked over to the doorway. It was only a minute or two before Québec asked in order to break the silence, "You are working for the Blue Devils aren't you?"

Azul looked to the older male and nodded, "Yes, I take it you are here for another faction as well?"

Québec grinned, "Yep, that faction is just me. I plan to spend the day with that lovely young princess even if it kills me!" the burning desire within his eyes was admiring (If not also a little creepy…).

Azul fell silent again, finding little reason to speak now. Québec was about to speak more about his love for the ladies, but before he could the only doorway into the chamber opened and in stepped a caninu women that was very professionally, "Azul you are up." Azul quickly stood up and made way to follow the women.

As Azul was leaving Québec stated, "Good luck and win! I want to show you what this 'old' man can do!" Azul looked back, kind of annoyed. Once he was out of the room his face went from a blank announce to a dark glare, "Soon…." Azul stated softly to himself as he went down the hallway that led to the battle ring…

A few minutes earlier…

With only ten minutes before the match, Red was resting his head upon the back of a chair, snoring softly. Calua was playfully touching over Gren's robot, Mephisto, and breaking a piece of metal off. Calua panicked and tried to place it back on but it didn't seem to be working. "Lady Opera I still think your making a mistake." Gren stated from the hallway outside of the entrance to chamber 1. Calua nearly yelped at Gren's voice and threw the piece into the air.

Gren and Opera came inside the room soon after and looked at Calua who had his hands behind his back. "Is something wrong dearie?" Opera asked.

Calua shook his head, "Nothing at all Lady Opera. Everything is fine." The odd behaviors made Gren raise a brow, "Mind showing us what you have behind you?"

At first Calua seemed a little hesitant but he chose to show them what he held was nothing. Calua had nothing in either of his paws and so Gren dropped his curiosity. Calua sighed with relief and gave a glance up to see the metal piece stuck in the roof after he threw it up in fear of being caught. "Uh, anyway do you know who is going into the first fight?" Calua questioned.

Opera thought over it, "There were too many fighters for the duel ship to fully handle the fights. So the ship made a few rules for today's fights. Only professional fighters are allowed and that means no cannon fodder between us and the Blue devils on claiming the prize. Factions are only permitted three individual fighters to fight for their side. Once all three fighters have been defeated is the faction removed from the claim to the prize. So all we have to do is defeat all the blue devil fighters and the prize will be as good as ours." Opera turned her gaze to Red who was still resting before turning back to Gren and Calua, "The pup there may not even be needed if you two can defeat them."

Gren looked to Red and raised a brow, "Well then let us hope that he isn't needed. The last thing I want is another boast from a hothead like him." Gren turned his gaze to Calua, "Then again I prefer you not be the main victor either. Both ideas have a bitter taste in my mouth."

Calua pouted, "Aww dude! That is mean!" he looked to Opera and smiled, "Ah well I guess you want to win the most simply because Lady Opera would give you a kiss if you did!" Upon these words Gren's face flushed and lashed out a strike over Calua's head, causing a bump to form.

"Ow! Dude that hurt!" cried the ocelot while rubbing his head and looking at Gren, Who still had an anger burning in his eyes, "It is what you deserve. Your void of a head shouldn't say such indecent things like that!"

Opera giggled and moved in between the two, placing both of her hands on the males' chests. "Now, now," she started, "Save your energy for our foes." She giggled and released the two. They knew their loyalty to the lady and both turned away from each other to sulk in silence.

Just at that moment a Caninu women came into through the single doorway and stated, "Calua, you are up." And with that she left the room to go about rounding up the other dueler.

Calua walked to the doorway and smiled while looking back, "Don't worry Lady Opera. I'll be sure to beat down those dudes. I can't let Red Dude or Mr. Grumpy Dude over there," he pointed to Gren, "Have all the fun! Wish me luck!"

As Calua left, Opera smiled and waved, "Be careful!" As Calua walked out of the doorway he gave a wave and a confident big smile. As the door was closed behind the feline and he was out of sight had Opera given a gentle sigh and brought her hands to her chest, as if gripping her heart.

"He will be fine." Gren stated as his notice Opera's movements, "He's a fool but he has endured far more then people come to realize."

Opera gently nodded, "I understand. Still though… this heavy burden in my chest is growing with every passing minute, as if something is coming and I should be afraid of it." Gren placed a hand upon her shoulder, giving her a strong look, "Everything will be fine. You'll see my lady."

Opera sighed and tried to smile, "Yes. You're Right." She looked up the monitor that was to display the fight from an overview perspective.

Meanwhile two men came into the room and moved Calua's robot over to the lifting pad with extra care. It was lifted up by the system just as Calua stepped out into the ring without riding his bot.

"Welcome everyone for today's grand battle!" The announcer stated as he took a step upon the middle of the stage. Everyone in the audience gave out a loud cheer as to show the crowd's excitement for today's events.

"Thank you! Thank you!" The Announcer showed the appreciation of the fans cheering. "As you know the rules of today's special event will be simple. There will be about five major fighters for today's event. If all members of a faction team are defeated then the faction is removed from the battle!"

"So let's get this battle started!" He pointed to the left, stating as Calua stood there, "The first is Calua Napage from the Kurvaz faction! Give him a cheer!"

The Crowd roared upon the request and Calua being a hot head raised his hands and fisted into the air, "Hey dudes! I'm going to win today!" Just as he said that the lift nearby brought up Calua's robot, OverMephisto, so he could climb in.

With Calua in his robot the Announcer pointed to the right, "And within this corner comes the Dark and mysterious Blue Devil member known only as Azul and his robot Harbinger!" Azul came from the shadow of the doorway into the light; the people seemed in a mixture of cheering and booing at the sight of him. Azul still wore his metal armor that kept his features hidden of course.

Azul's robot rose up from the lift; it was a special design with a black plate like coating and having stood at a height of only 18 feet. It look more like a humanoid with a more then a robot though its arms were missing with just holes and upon its backside were two tank's that connected to the shoulders of the robot.

Azul swiftly climbed up into his robot and looked to Calua on the other side who taunted, "Hey dude! Don't think you are going to win! I'll beat you down in five seconds flat!" Of course Azul was not amused by this comment but that didn't stop the announcer from stepping in, "Oh what is this! Already a self-declared rule made by Calua! Alright so if Calua can't defeat Azul within five seconds then he loses the battle!"

The crowd went wild, while Chocolat and Elh watched from the stage with concern, "Elh… do you see that Azul guy's robot? I wonder if that is a flamethrower on his back."

Elh narrowed her eyes, her concern was not to the robot but the male upon it… he seemed familiar in a way that she couldn't understand, "Azul… seems like…" she shook her head and watched with a concerning glance in her eyes.

Meanwhile Opera and Gren watched Azul and his robot and then Calua's stupidity declare the new self-imposed rule. "That airhead! He got himself in trouble again," Gren shouted at the screen, placing a hand to his face, "I should have gone out first!" Opera sighed and looked to Red who was waking up from Gren's shouting, "Hey pup."

Red looked up with sleepy eyes and asked, "Hey what's going on?" Opera looked back to the screen and stated, "Calua is in the first fight with a guy named Azul. He declared that he could defeat Azul in five seconds. Now it's a self-imposed rule!"

Red got up with wide eyes, "Ah man! I know the feeling of getting yourself stuck like that." Red had once done such a thing himself but pulled out on top as well. He watched with Gren and Opera as the battle was about to unfold.

Calua was a little confused at first but once realizing he had to defeat Azul in a really sort amount of time did not give into doubt, "Alright then! Let's start!" Azul altered his robot's position into an attack stance as Calua got ready.

The announcer made the call, "Ready!"

Elh widen her eyes as she noticed something about Azul just then. Her heart stopped as she felt then Azul's eyes moved to gaze at her.

"Set!"

Red grinded his teeth a little as he felt a sudden sense of terror that he never once experienced.

Opera widen her eyes as she saw something as well, her heart skinning and she let out a cry, "Calu-"

"GO!"

Azul was suddenly sped up at a rapid speed as the port like stubs of arms went twirl backwards and a massive amount of energy flew out of them. It was so fast that almost none would have seen it. Just a quarter of the distance way to Calua, who was charging, did the two arm stubs turn forward and a silver liquid spray out and take form in the split second, forming a large scythe that Azul slashed into OverMephisto with that intense speed backing it up. Harbinger stopped once the damage was done.

There was a long silence as Calua still gripped to his controls, shock in his eyes before he fell forward upon the robots controls and OverMephisto exploded upon its side and split in two, falling right over. Harbinger managed to retract the scythe before anyone could see what had fully done the damage.

The crowd and silent and the announcer were shocked. The announcer managed to mutter through his surprise, "A-A-Azul h-has m-managed to defeat Calua in nearly two in a half seconds! A new record! Medical teams will extract Calua now and we will prepare for the next round!"

Opera watched in horror and soon enough cried out "Calua!" She rushed out along with Gren, "Lady Opera!" He called after her. This left Red alone to view at the monitor… viewing Azul on the screen before rushing out as well.

The three managed to get up to the top deck where the crowd was and see Calua coming through with the medics, having to place him on a stretcher. The others could see that Calua took a lot of damage from the attack even though it was not direct upon him. There was a major burn mark upon his left side and his head was bloody.

Opera was petrified for a short while before slowly walking up to one of the medic's and asked, "I-Is he going to be okay?" The Medic looked at her with weary eyes and stated, "I never saw damage this bad before honestly. It seems that most of his lower bones have been crushed and his ribs are broken. I can't say that he will be okay yet."

Opera yelled out as tears started to form into her eyes, rage over coming her, "Can't you do anything for him!" Gren placed a hand upon Opera's shoulder and stated, "Lady Opera calm down." Opera lowered her head and sighed, "You're right Muffin."

Gren pondered something and then went over to the medical team and started to speak with them. After they listened to the male they turned and took Calua to the Royal Envy. "I'll see to Calua getting treatment. The golden Roar should be more then suited to any medical situation."

Opera sniffed softly while trying to hold back her tears, "No wait." She placed a hand upon Gren's shoulder, "I need you here. I'll go back."

Gren shook his head in response, "No, Lady Opera. Forgive my rudeness but you're needed here more then I. You are the leader of the Kurvaz and if you left after this defeat it might give the Blue devils a sense of confidence and lower our moral. The men do not need to see their beloved leader broken down like this."

Opera sighed softly and looked away, "Alright, please just make sure he is okay." She wrapped her arms around Gren which made him blush and widen his eyes. He looked down at her and gave the smallest comfort smile as he stated, "As you wish my lady." He slowly freed himself from her grasp and stepped into the Royal envy. The ship took off after Calua was loaded on along with Gren's robot that they brought up swiftly.

Red stood there in silence during the whole event, unable to form words at the sight of Calua, only to tighten his fists till it started to hurt.

Elh and Chocolat had made their way to the others after getting past the crowd. "Red what happened?" Chocolat asked as she watched Calua get loaded up, seeing the feline friend made Chocolat break down and start to sob.

"I-Is he?" Elh tried to ask, comforting Chocolat while she looked up to Red. "No," Red stated, his eyes never leaving the sight of Calua till he was gone, "He's being taken back to the Golden Roar to get advance medical treatment with Gren."

Red turned his gaze to the Arena and then stepped over to Chocolat, helping in comforting her with Elh. He couldn't help but look over to the Arena every now and then while thinking of Azul.

Red thought to himself "How could someone be that fast! It's impossible!" Red turned to Elh and spoke, "Elh… get contact with Merveille. Explain what happened and see if she can get here to see this. Something isn't right here." Elh nodded and slowly got up to try and find a message machine.

After a few moments Chocolat managed to regain herself and look to Red, "P-Please don't tell me you are going to have to fight him… I… I'm scared." Red softly nodded, "I have to sister." The first few times he ever called Chocolat sister was when he was truly serious. Chocolat slowly nodded and whispers while leaning in against her brother, "P-Please be careful." Red hugged her tightly and stated, "I will." After that she slowly let go and walked back to find Elh.

Red placed a hand upon Opera's shoulder, "I'm heading back down. Don't stay out here too much longer." Opera slowly nodded and watched as Red left back down the stairway.

Once back down into the lower decks did Red turned the corner which would lead him back to chamber 1. He was shocked to see Azul on the other end of the Hallway and coming his way as well. Red widens his eyes and tightens his fists once more as he kept walking.

Azul was fully aware of whom he saw before him but kept silent and just kept walking. The two got closer and closer, passing each other with a single glance that seemed to last a life time. Once this life time of a second passed the two kept walking away from each other till Red stopped and in turn Azul did as well, "I won't forgive you… you are a monster." Red stated calmly to Azul, not even facing him.

Azul stated in his dark voice, not facing Red either, "Then that makes you one as well… Brother." With that Azul turned the corner and left without another word.

This left Red alone with his silence. "Brother…" Red thought to himself as he entered into the chamber. He took a seat and started thinking to himself, "The only others to ever call me brother… are…" Red widens his eyes… "Could Azul be another Hybrid?"

Later Red would find how wrong he was…

And how much he would lose from this mistake…

TO BE CONTINUED…