Ash: :(

Yumeì: What's...down?

Ash: I'm unhappy with myself.

Yumeì: Why?

Ash: Because.

Yumeì: Because...oh! Well for you readers information, this is not only the climax, but the sad part.

Ash: And you said I was spouting information!

Yumeì: *Shrug* Read and Review, real people!


Yumeì's View:

Yumeì was trying to make Shadow leave his tie be. Yes, she had dragged her six companions to the ball as well. Mylene, the blue-haired one who was also the only girl, wore a simple dark blue dress, but fidgeted uncomfortably. Lync, a short boy with candy floss pink hair, had already found a dance partner was was standing outside the gateway into the ballroom, waiting for the doors to open. Volt had come alone, for no girl had the nerve nor kindness to accompany him to the ball. The other two companions, who weren't really familiar with Yumeì, Gus and Spectra, had come back from Vestal and agreed to accompany her, though with no partners of their own. Yumeì ,having worn an indigo dress, waited uncomfortably. A great many boys wanted to dance with her,none of them whom she hoped. Jesse Glenn, a Gundalian noble, was at then festival too, but had come single. Yumeì had chosen another boy with coarse brown hair and green eyes to take her to the ball in the hope she would make Jesse jealous. If he even had feelings for her. She sighed, pushing a lock of black curls (done by no other than Tabitha) and waited impatiently for the ball to begin.

Iyu's View:

Iyu stood uncomfortably amongst the line of dance pairs. She had forgotten that a woman coming to a ball alone was almost unthinkable. Her silk dress rustled with each fidgeting step, bringing more attention to her singularity. The dance pairs around her were whispering and casting her odd looks. She started to edge backward, hoping to remain unnoticed. She had left her bow and arrow on the roof, and had carried a concealed dagger with her. Neither of which would be any use in stopping the whispers. Suddenly, she bumped into someone, and she heard a thump, as someone hit the ground.

"Sorry, are you oka-"

Her voice stuck in her throat. It was him. Shun sat on the floor, rubbing his head where he had hit. He had worn a simple cotton outfit of black, almost blending in with the surrounding. Iyu concealed her eyes behind her bangs and hoped with all her faith that he wouldn't see them.

"Hey, I'm sorry...what's your name?"

Iyu tried coming up with a name as fast as she could.

"Ummm, Kaphirci. Kaphirci of...Tacari"

"Kaphirci? Of Tacari?"

Beneath her bangs she could see him frown.

"Well, pardon me" ,he said getting to his feet, " but I don't think I have ever heard of you."

Her heart seemed to have leapt to her throat, and she had force out the words,

"Well, a lot of people haven't."

He tipped his head to one side, curious.

"And why is that?"

"Well...I'm the youngest daughter in my family, and I'm a girl."

Shun's frown deepened.

"That isn't much of a reason."

Her heart was about ready to leap out of her throat, when he said,

"That isn't quite fair. I have a girl in my family and she's the youngest, but I doubt there's a soul in the universe who doesn't know her."

Iyu breathed a small sigh of relief, and said,

"Well, she is the Princess, isn't she, Prince?"

Iyu did an awkward curtesy. Shun seemed lightly impressed that she had figured out who he was.

"Now tell me, how did you know I was the Prince? "

How could I not? ,asked Iyu to herself.

"Well, I...uh...guessed? They said you had amber eyes, compare to everyone else's brown."

Shun smiled.

"Some guess." ,he said. "I haven't seen your partner. He's going to be late."

Iyu shifted foot to foot.

"Well, my Prince, he isn't going to be because...I don't have a partner."

Instantly, the warm feel of the room changed to one of disbelief.

"You...you don't have a partner?", she heard him ask.

"You heard me right." ,she answered miserably. When silence followed her answer, she dared to look at Shun's face through her bangs. His face wasn't one of shock or disappointment as she assumed it would be, but thoughtful.

"I don't have a partner either. Perhaps..." ,he trailed off. Iyu knew exactly where he was going with this and she did not like it at all. But, Iyu, clamored her assassin instincts, This might be your chance to get closer to him and finish him off! Her common sense protested, Yet, he can also figure out who you are. It's better to do the job from afar or, better yet, not at all.
Iyu had been so absorbed in her dilemma, she hadn't heard Shun ask her whether or not she wanted to be his dance partner.

"Kaphirci, is everything alright?"

"What?" ,said Iyu, her head snapping up. "Oh, yes."

Shun studied her suspiciously.

"Kaphirci, why were you without a partner?"

Iyu's heart was in her throat again and she had to force out,

"Well, again, I'm the youngest of seven. I would be lucky to have even a few pennies to my name, and, like you, many did or do not know who I am. Therefore, I am a lone wolf."

Iyu smiled bitterly, for this was almost true. Instead of seven siblings, she had two older brothers and an older sister. She would be lucky if she had one penny to her name.

"That's a pity, but that could be the only reason why you were ignored. It's definetly not because you're not pretty."

Iyu's cheeks burned and she dipped her head in respect.

"Or did they ignore you because you're are too modest and reserved?" ,he asked teasingly, "Do look up!"

A cold chill spread up Iyu's spine. Look up? That was out of the question, but she couldn't refuse a royal order. She reached into the folds of her gown for her dagger. If necessary she would kill him right here in front of a hundred people, if it meant keeping her mother and other family member safe, but it would be her death. She got a grab on her dagger.

"Kaphirci?", she heard Shun ask. Now or never. she thought desperately, but that was when the ballroom doors opened, and she and Shun were swept in.

Iyu's View

The instant her dance shoes hit the floor, she whirled around, but Shun was gone.

"Darn it!" ,she growled, and she turned around and around, almost to the music that now resounded around the ballroom. She muttered curses, struggling to dodge dancing couples and reach a nearby corner. She tripped over someone's foot and she crashed to the ground. She sat up groaning, stars dancing in her eyes.

"Oh, I'm really-Kaphirci?"

Iyu looked up to see Shun again.

"Nice to see you again." ,she mumbled.

"I'm really sorry, but where did you disappear to? Here."

He held out his hand. She took it, and he pulled her up. The force of it made the bangs covering her eyes fly out, and she thought uh oh.

"Oh!" ,he said noticing her eyes. "You know, you really shouldn't hide them. They're very...", he stopped taking a closer look into her face. He paled, resembling very much a phantom.

A person behind her muttered, "Now you're in trouble." Iyu didn't bother looking around to see who it was.

"Hello, Shun." ,said Iyu coldly, "Has it been so long that you no longer recognize me?"

He continued to look stunned, then narrowed his eyes. He grabbed her wrist, twirled her around once to avoid suspicious eyes, and led her off the dance floor. He led her outside to a rose garden. She instantly began sneezing.

"I-achoo!-have pollen allergies.",she growled, sniffing furiously. "Or did you forget that too?"

Shun ignored her, and led her past the rose garden into a small mazes of hedges. He kept turning corners and walking past bushes full of berries.

"Where are you taking me?" ,she hissed.

He finally led her to an area surrounded by thick bushes. No way to escape She thought grimly. Smart, but he's also signing his own death contract.

He suddenly pulled her over to a plain stone bench, and forced her to sit on it.

She glared at him and asked,

"What did you bring me here for?"

He leaned down to her eye level.

"Answers."

Iyu laughed a mirthless laugh.

"What answers? Oh that's right, you found my arrow, didn't you? I heard. You always were an accomplished archer and analyzer. Why do you need me to answer anything?"

Iyu had to strain her ears to hear his answer.

"Because I need to hear it from you."

Iyu pursued her lips, musing.

"Fine. Spill."

"Why were you not in Meron?"

"Personal business." ,answered Iyu coolly.

"Did you send that troupe of gangsters after me?"

Iyu looked up into his amber eyes and answered flat out,

"No."

He glowered at her before sighing exasperatedly

"Iyu, what the heck was your arrow doing in one of my sentry's bodies? What the heck is going on?"

Her throat closed up. How could she tell him that she was going to end him. How would she be able to explain that she was kidnapped, and was forced to take a task she knew she would never forgive herself for? Shun was now sitting at her side holding her hand, looking anxiously into her face.

"Please, tell me what's going on!"

"I...did kill him."

"What?"

"I killed the sentry guard and his friends out of self-defense. I was trying to...to talk to you."

He stared at her disbelievingly.

"What happened to knocking on the front door?"

She sighed,

"I couldn't exactly do that. I couldn't have anyone listening in on us."

"How come?"

" If you haven't already figured it out..."

"Yes?"

Iyu looked up at him, tears brimming in her eyes.

"Someone's trying to kill you, Shun. Isn't it obvious?"

"I can see that, Iyu, but why? And how did you find out?" ,he growled, frustrated.

"They...they...", she just couldn't tell him the whole truth. "They tried to recruit me, because of my past."

Iyu avoided Shun's eyes.

"Do you know that right now you are the prime suspect behind the attack in Meron?"

Iyu laughed bitterly, "How could I not be? Are there any other suspects?"

Shun paused before answering,

"Not...that we can find."

"We?"

"Yumeì decided to be the investigation leader. I just tune in for the sake of curiosity."

"Curiosity or vengeance?"

Shun's eyes flashed,

"Look, the point is you killed a royal guard-"

"In self-defense!",growled Iyu.

"The Council or whoever views the case will say that guard acted in defense of the Crown! Do you not understand?!" ,Shun shouted. Iyu cringed. He searched her eyes, concerned.

"You don't understand.", he muttered in a stunned manner.

"No, I don't." ,hissed Iyu, "I thought I could be trusted but apparently not." She abruptly got up and backed away reaching for her dagger.

"Iyu, don't try to leave until I say so." ,warned Shun. He began to advance on her, holding one hand out, a show of peace.

"I don't think so.", she spat, and slashed her dagger in Shun's direction. He cried out and backed away, clutching his shoulder.

"What the-? Iyu, put- that- down."

"Do I look like I'm going to listen?"

"Iyu," ,his eyes flashed toward the bushes, "There could be people in this garden. Put it down, or put it away."

Iyu glared stubbornly back at Shun.

No, she was not going to put down the dagger. Not until the mission was done, and that was to make sure Shun never left this garden alive. Her hand trembled and her feet shook. She tried to pull herself forward, to strike the killing blow, but her feet remained stuck to soggy ground. Her and Shun's breathing were the only things heard in the still silence. Then the bush beside her rustled. A small black-haired girl poked her head in the only opening in the hedged area. Iyu quickly stowed away her dagger into the folds of her gown.

"Yumeì, what are you doing here?" ,asked Shun dangerously.

"I'm on bush patrol!" ,she declared. "I have found you in the shrubbery!"

"We are not in the shrubbery," ,Shun informed her, irritated."We are in the garden."

"Same difference."

Then her eyes fell on Iyu.

"Aha! In the shrubbery, with a girl!"

"That's quite observant of you." ,said Shun cuttingly. "But how do I know that you're not trying to 'sneak into the bushes' with a certain boy?"

"Because I'm on bush patrol! Not in them! Plus, I'm alone!"

"Well we're not in the bushes. We were having a friendly chat, till you poked your nose in. What happened to your dance partner?"

Yumeì winced.

"I had...other...obligations? Like keeping Shadow from messing with his tie? But still, who's the pretty lady?"

Shun shot a scathing look at her before pointing to Iyu.

"She's...Kaphirci. Of Tacari."

Yumeì squinted.

"Haven't heard of ya."

She quickly turned her attention to Shun again.

"Why are you clutching your shoulder?"

Shun lifted his hand from his shoulder, and Yumeì groaned.

"You're covered in blood again. Why is it you're always covered in blood?"

"Thorn." ,said Shun tersely.

"Excuse me." ,said Iyu curtly, and she slipped past Yumeì into the maze of plants. She heard Yumeì yelling at Shun.

"Alright, what did you do now?!"

Iyu started running toward the palace. She had failed, again. Her eyes filled up again, but this time, they spilled. They blinded her vision as she ran. She didn't notice the ivy vine till it was too late. She tripped and fell face first toward the ground. She gave a yell of shock before she hit the ground. A burst of pain lanced through her temple. She ignored it, and got up. She kept running toward the palace, running for the stairs that led up to the terrace. When she reach the terrace, she collapsed into sobs.

Why? Why me? Why couldn't I finish the job? ,she cried to herself.

She found herself answering herself.

Because you love him.

Iyu took her bow and arrow and rocked back in forth, contemplating what to do next.

Kel's View:

Kel found herself laughing and dancing in the ball, instead of standing to the side. Shinoru was entertaining, and had somehow managed to keep her from dying of tiredness. When the song ended, Kel's eyes were filled with tears of euphoria. She couldn't believe that almost an hour ago, she was fuming over the idea of an escort. Though she still didn't completely agree with the idea of escorts for lady knights, she had to admit that Shinoru was not a bad choice. She wondered if this is what it felt like to be a normal noble lady.

"I think," ,Shinoru said, breathing heavily, "That's enough for now."

"Yes. That will do." ,breathed Kel back, and collapsed into a chair.

Shinoru grinned,

"Tired?"

"Sore, not tired, Prince."

He laughed, then stopped when he saw past her shoulder. Kel looked over and saw Yumeì was shouting indistinctly at Shun, who was clutching his shoulder looking annoyed. She heard Shinoru sigh.

"What happened now? Can't get through anything without a fight, can she?"

He shook his head, and began walking toward the pair of them. Kel smiled, then looked at the Sayali, who was sitting chatting nonchalantly to the ambassador from Carthak. He was paying rapt attention to her. Then he held up one finger, as if to say one moment, and got up. He muttered something into her ear, and she nodded. He turned and walked toward the ballroom doors. Just before he disappeared through the doors, he caught her eye and gave a curt nod of acknowledgment. She gave a nod in return and he disappeared behind the heavy oaken doors. Kel wondered where he was going, and her eyes traveled to the now single Sayali who watched the crowd. The Sayali spotted Shun, Yumeì, and Shinoru, who were now bickering furiously. Yumeì seemed to have taken offense to something Shun said, and stormed off through the oaken doors. The Sayali rolled her eyes, then followed her sister through the exit. Now the twins were shaking their heads and were talking pleasantly. Kel sighed and turned her head to watch the dancing couples, when something long shot past her ear, she got up and whirled around, when her eyes fell on Shinoru. He had suddenly frozen on spot, and his mouth was slightly ajar, as if in shock. Kel wondered what had stunned him so much, until she spotted the problem immediately. A shaft of an arrow was jutting out of Shinoru's chest like some absurd wand. Shun didn't seem to notice for a second, and when he did, he swayed lightly before gripping a rail. Shinoru dropped like a puppet whose strings were cut. Someone screamed, and pandemonium broke loose.


Ash: ...

Yumeì: ...

Shun: *coming through door* Hey, why are you guys up at 3 in the morni- *pauses staring at the screen*. Oh.

Yumeì: Oi! Who told you to wake up! OUT!

Shun: !

Yumeì: I-said-OUT!

Shun: But-

Ash: *sighs miserably* I just wanted to let you know- Yumeì don't drag Shun out by the ear!- that an earlier quote is from "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" movie. Review!