"No, no, I agree with you. I think it would be better for me to be anonymous. Oh, is that so? Well, that's nice. Great. I'll try to give you an article by Monday then. Good day."
And with that, Arthur hung up, somewhat pleased with himself. He had just talked to his new boss, Edelstein, and things, despite a minor hangover and the horrors of the summer fair, were looking good.
Arthur would now earn more money than he had as a waiter and would be an anonymous journalist for the New Heta Papers (the Name was yet to be decided). Edelstein was impressed by Arthur's work, even though he had tried to hide it.
After all, everyone knew that it was never that easy to write articles about supers.
The Brit pocketed his phone and picked up his satchel, sighing. Now it was time for four hours of pain, misery and being stuck with your worst enemies.
On arrival at the Summer Fair, they split into groups. Arthur was stuck with Alfred, Feliciano, Kiku and Lovino, much to his displeasure.
However, he could have ended up stuck with the Frog, so this was the better alternative (or at least, he hoped so). Alfred had quite enthusiastically dragged the whole group to the shooting booths, while Francis had lead his group towards the stalls that sold things from across seas (and also the kissing booth).
It had now been a good half-hour since they had arrived at this cheap, pickpocketing fair and so far, Arthur was not enjoying it.
He'd only ever been to fairs in order to practice pickpocketing, back in his teen yeras. The idea of actually going to a fair to spend money was absolutely absurd.
Why use your own cash, if you could spend someone else's?
Arthur frowned deeply, his arms crossed. They were in front of a laser-shooting booth. Feliciano and Lovino were paying for a lot of rounds, although Lovino had won quite a few things, unlike Feliciano...
Let's not speak of the poor thing.
The woman in charge of booth was bored. It wasn't because she was watching Feliciano's pathetic attempts to win something though. It was because of a certain debate between one American and one stubborn Brit. Her hand tapped against the table surface impatiently.
A child walked up to her, placing some money onto the counter. Her head barely nodded, she was too frustrated to do anything else that wouldn't result in her arrest.
"Come on Artie, one round! I'll even pay if it's such a big deal!"
"Arthur. No one calls me Artie. And no, I'm fine."
"But dude, it's the fair, place of fun and awesome times? You're not having any fun though! And that's because you haven't been spending cash on fun things!"
"That's because I don't want to waste money on something stupid, like that." Arthur replied, waving at the booth. The lady running it frowned, crossing her arms. There was no such thing as a waste of money when it came to her booth.
Well, unless you're that poor Italian fellow, of course.
"From which planet do you come from? Pluto?" Alfred asked loudly, shocked that someone would consider shooting little plastic things a waste of time.
"I just have a different definition of "fun", alright?I'm not a very good shot anyway."
"But come on, doing the shooting booths is a warm-up for the rollercoasters!"
"I'll help ya win something~."
"Alfred! I think they have a new shooting booth over there!" Kiku suddenly spoke up, jumping the two out of their conversation. They stared at him awkwardly for a moment, before Alfred finally processed this new and sudden information.
"Really? A new booth?"
"Hai. Just around the corner."
"... Well, let's go!" Alfred quickly responded, grabbing Kiku's arm and dragging him behind a corner, excitedly running towards the supposed new booth. Kiku smiled at Arthur, as if saying "You owe me", before disappearing. Arthur sighed.
He shouldn't have had so much difficulty in making Alfred leave him alone. Maybe it was the hangover, maybe it was the sudden revelation of who Alfred was to him. He didn't know.
Arthur shook his head. He would not let that revelation get in his way ever. They were completely different people now and being sentimental about something as pathetic as that was just... Stupid. Besides, it was a good thing Arthur wasn't a nostalgic person, because otherwise, ignoring this connection would be difficult for him.
... Because he's not nostalgic. Not at all. Nope. Not him. No siree.
Arthur sighed and watched Feliciano's pathetic attempts to hit something. He really pitied the younger man, as he pretty much failed to hit any of the targets, even the painfully large ones.
The Brit looked around quickly, noticing that Lovino had left, which mean that Kirkland and Feliciano were alone. Perfect.
Arthur walked up to Feliciano, who had just given the booth his last shot. He looked rather upset, his eyes large and teary, but he hadn't bursted out into tears. Not yet.
"Three rounds please." Arthur asked to the woman behind the booth. Feliciano turned to him surprised, but said nothing.
The woman was likewise surprised, but wasn't about to complain about that turn of events.
Arthur was given a gun, which he immediately loaded.
"What were you trying to win?" Arthur asked, cocking his gun.
"... Er... A... Goldfish." The Italian replied. Arthur looked at him surprised, but then shrugged it off.
"Fine." He said. He looked around the booth at the targets. Hitting a smaller one gave a lot of points, hitting a larger one in the heart gave you even more.
Arthur wasn't completely lying when he said he wasn't a good shot. He could not shoot like America could, but what he could do was hit the targets, near center. He just wasn't likely to hit anything in the heart.
Arthur took aim. He focused on one target. Three shots rang out, whizzing through the air. Arthur smirked, pleased with himself.
"I thought you said you weren't a good aim." The woman said, picking out a goldfish from her fishtank. Arthur shrugged in reply.
"Not good enough to shoot the three larger targets in the core."
"Still better than that poor fellow." The woman replied. "Here's your win. Enjoy. And thank you for playing."
Arthur nodded, then turned to Feliciano.
"Here, I think this is yours." He said. "Now come on, let's catch up with the others."
"Buh... W-wait, Arthur..." Feliciano said, running up behind him. The Brit turned, with a mildly puzzled expression (which vanished relatively quickly).
"You won this." Feliciano said, showing Arthur the gold fish. "Him, I mean. You won him. You shouldn't just give him away."
"I only played, so you could have that goldfish. Otherwise you'd still be standing there right now." Arthur responded, rolling his eyes.
"... Yeah but... Well... Well, consider this an official retirement present from grandpa's restaurant." Feliciano replied, shoving it into Arthur's arms. He stared at the Italian blankly, before nodding.
"Ve~ Great! Now, let's go!" The Italian replied. Arthur nodded again, then looked at the goldfish.
Idiot. Now I have a pet. Ugh, I don't have time for this. Besides, I'm not retiring!
He tapped his foot, annoyed.
And this is a female Goldfish, not a male one.
... Well, I guess you need a name... Hello Geraldine.
"I... I don't like this." Arthur said, as he clung to his seat. They were on a roller coaster and heading upwards.
Now, this wouldn't be too bad, if it weren't for a) Arthur had never been on a coaster before and b) This place was cheap. Who was to say it wouldn't fall apart at the snap of his fingers? Alfred was sitting next to him, having been the only one to convince him on to the damned contraption.
They had also been split from the others, who were still waiting in line.
"Too late to get off now!" Alfred replied, grinning. Arthur said nothing, his hands gripping the bar in front of him firmly.
"... Really... Don't... Like..." Arthur muttered, when he realised they'd reached the top.
"Here we goooo!" Alfred said, before the screaming started. The thing shot down and Arthur could have sworn he was falling. Then, with a jolt, it went straight up and down again, making the Brit terrified and start screaming.
However, his voice was swallowed away by other screams, much louder than his.
This "Horror" lasted for two minutes, as Arthur was swished around from side to side, with an annoying American sitting next to him, grinning like a psychopath (was Alfred really a good guy? Arthur now had his doubts).
As they reached the station, Arthur breathed out in relief.
"Finally. It's over." He muttered, combing a hand through his hair.
"You kidding? This is a four minute ride!"
"Round two, coming up~!" Alfred replied grinning. Arthur could have started crying at that moment. They, once again, travelled upwards. Arthur could have sworn he'd started hyperventilating, but it was probably his imagination. After all, no one was asking him whether he was OK or looking at him strangely.
Oh lord, we've reached the fucking top... Ffffuck... Please stop, please stop, I don't want to go through this again!
They reached the top. It slowly started to make that grinding noise of brakes, the sound that in a minute, they would be falling towards the Earth at high speeds again.
But then there was another unwanted sound.
Arthur's stomach lurched.
The roller coaster had stopped moving.
... Why does a villian have to strike now? Arthur thought, having already guessed what was going on (thanks to the Sight).
Alfred was wary, looking left and right, much like the other passengers. The American had two suspicions, that either the ride had just gone bust on them or that one of his enemies was behind this.
Arthur rolled his eyes and looked around.
It wasn't so bad, being stuck up here, really. At least they weren't moving. And there were plenty of supers around to help them, so no big deal.
That's what the Brit kept telling himself.
Arthur noted that time seemed to have slowed down, but that was just him. When a major event was about to kick in, time always seemed to slow down to him, because he went into full alert and let his Sight run free over his location, drawing a lot of information in, in just a few split-seconds.
From what Arthur could see, it wasn't just his ride that had come to a halt. The whole fair had suddenly stopped working, all electricity gone.
There was a list of people who could be behind this. Arthur could quickly guess who exactly it was though. Arthur knew twelve people with electrical powers that had ever dwelled in New Pond City.
It couldn't be Germanium or Red Blitz, they were good guys. There were also the four amateur heroes, who united themselves under the name Fear Volts, but it couldn't be them. And that's not just because of the rather bad super hero team name with a horrid German pun.
Even though the four barely had their powers under control, the blackout was far too controlled for it to be a fluke from any of the four members.
That left six people he knew. One was a bad guy in New York City and usually, villains from different cities didn't clash, seeing as each set of rules in the Super Villain World varies from City to City. The guy had only come down here once, because he'd been hired for a job. After that, he never came back again.
Another Bad Guy worked in Europe. He was an Enemy of Young Santa (in case you forgot, Young Santa is Tino Väinäö... Whatever). The reason it couldn't be him, is simply because Young Santa was in Europe right now. That meant, that the villain had to also be in Europe.
Now there were Four left.
One of the four was a young teen, who had decided to be a neutral super, so she could lead a normal life. She also had no secret alter ego, so she was neither a villain nor a hero.
Two electrical super villains were sitting in prison, thanks to yours truly, Jeanne Ofarcher, head of police.
So that meant only one person left. One of America's favourite super villains. Joy.
"It is me, Electron! And I have returned to challenge America!" A guy in an outdated jumpsuit yelled out to the crowds, appearing on top of the highest part of the Summer fair, which coincidentally was the roller coaster.
Arthur frowned. He hated it when he ended up a victim to a villains scheme. Especially when it was to a villain as pathetic as Electron.
So, OK, Electron was the second right hand man of Cold Bite, however, who could take someone seriously, with a name like Electron? Come on, seriously?
Did no one have creativity when it came to name choosing? Then again, who was he to complain? He was called the Magician. It didn't get much more uncreative than that (unless you consider Allure's or America's super names).
Alfred had gone into panic mode. Super heroes weren't allowed to intervene when the bad guy challenged one specific super, unless the challenged super called for help, too much damage was being caused or people were in harms way.
So until Electron had hurt someone or actually put them in harms way, Arthur would be stuck up... Here for a long time.
At least all the supers had gone off to get changed into their costumes, in case back-up was needed.
Alfred was trying to figure out how to get down, without being noticed. But that would be impossible. The people in front of and behind Arthur were panicking. Arthur sighed, wishing he'd stayed back at home in his nice little flat. Life could have been so much nicer.
"So much for fun at the summer fair..." Arthur muttered sarcastically, rubbing his forehead. Alfred turned to him, surprised.
"Huh? Aren't you scared?"
"Aren't you scared? Frightened? Panicked?"
"Er... W-well, of course I am! I'm just a normal guy after all!" Arthur replied, lying through his teeth. Of course he wasn't scared, he was a super villain! Super Villains do not get scared of other ones!
Unless they're the Great Dragon or Cold Bite, of course, but those two were nothing Arthur couldn't deal with. Even thought they were twice his size. And stronger. With super powers...
Yep, Arthur could definitely handle them. Nothing to worry about.
"America! I know you're out there! Come and fight me, like a man!" Electron challenged again, his voice edged with annoyance. The guy was wondering why his foe was ignoring him.
Arthur rolled his eyes.
"Oh, where is America, I am so scared." Arthur muttered, with a bored voice. Alfred smiled awkwardly, actually believing Arthur's words. This made the Brit want to jump off the roller coaster and commit suicide right then and there.
His voice was laced with sarcasm, how could this guy not see it?
"It's OK Artie-"
"-I'll protect ya!"
"Right, yeah. That's what I said."
"... Isn't it about time for America to appear?" Arthur asked, deciding to have some fun if he was going to be stuck up here for a while.
And he could consider this revenge for what Alfred had put him through, not five minutes ago.
"Er..." Alfred replied. The American was probably thinking something along the lines of "If he knew I was America...". Arthur got an idea and bit back a grin.
"Say... Wait, did I ever tell you, you look familiar? Like I've seen you somewhere before? On the telly or something... Kinda like... Americ..."
Alfred panicked. Arthur looked away, letting out his grin. That expression was priceless.
Who would have thought that Kirkland was capable of something the Magician wasn't capable of? Sure, the Magician had made America panic before, but not to the same degree as Kirkland.
It was hilarious.
"... Is it me, or do you look a bit like... Well... No, it's ridiculous... Right?"
"Er... Y-yeah! Right! Totally, absolutely stupid, I mean, look at me! Could I really be a, uh... A guy as awesome as America? Pff, no."
"Mhm." Arthur decided to stop teasing him, not wanting to push it too much. Otherwise, America might actually spill the beans to him and he just simply couldn't have that. Arthur looked around, impatiently.
"We need to get down from here." he said, thoughtfully. Amer- Alfred turned to him, puzzled.
"Aren't you panic-"
"I'm good at hiding it... Come on Am-igo, America's not making any sign of showing up anytime soon, so best course of action is to figure out how to get down."
"I don't want to sit up here all day. Besides, Electron won't hurt us, until America shows up, right?"
"So... We need a way down..."
Alfred nodded in agreement, and paused to think. While he did this, Arthur focused his attention on Electron. The super appeared after the Magician's disappearance, so Arthur didn't know that much about him. From what Arthur could tell, Electron was very prideful and short-tempered, which often got in his way.
These two flaws could be very useful to him.
America wracked his brain around, but came up with no solution. Of course the git wouldn't, he had, as an old friend of his would put it, garbage for brains.
"Alfred, be quiet for me quickly." Arthur said, hushing him. The American nodded, confused and curious about what Arthur was about to do.
"America!" Electron yelled out again, now getting angry. He wasn't happy that America hadn't shown up yet. If his enemy didn't appear soon, this situation would get awkward, very quickly.
"Hey, Electron!" Someone yelled out. Electron turned around, hoping it to be America. Instead, he saw one of the roller coaster riders speaking to him.
"What is it, human scum?" He asked, disdainfully. The man (with abnormally large eyebrows), continued speaking.
"I see America hasn't turned up yet!" The villain didn't respond at first, processing the man's voice. It sounded British... English specifically? Electron had never been very good at recognising accents.
Then Electron realised what Arthur had said.
"Where are you going with this?" The villain demanded. Arthur scowled, but resisted crossing his arms. Why if that wanker knew who he was talking with...
Well, currently, it wouldn't make a difference, but it would in a few weeks time!
"I think you're not being impressive enough!"
"Well, anyone can cause a blackout at a fair!" Arthur replied shrugging. "These things blackout nearly every other hour!"
"Artie, what're you doin'? Get down here; he'll hurt you!" America hissed, but Arthur whacked him behind his head, in a "shut up" kind of fashion.
"Are you saying I'm not impressive?" Electron demanded, angry that this insolent norm would tell him he was dull.
"Well, I don't mean to insult. But you should try being more elaborate with your appearance. More attention grabbing."
"I'm losing my patience."
"Dude, why are you advising him on his performance?" Alfred asked, completely confused. Wasn't Artie on his side? Arthur ignored Alfred again, whacking him behind his head.
"Why don't you turn the electricity on again?" The Brit asked Electron. "Not even Red Blitz can do that! Maybe that will get America's attention?"
Electron stared at Arthur blankly for a moment, before he snapped out of his confused thoughts.
"I see what you're trying to do! But reverse psychology isn't going to work in this situation, kid." Electron sneered, his eyes flaring.
Arthur scowled. He was only five years younger than this guy, how come he got called "kid"? Besides, he'd been a villain for much longer than this amateur, if anyone was the kid, it was Electron.
"But... Since America's not turned up, I might as well have some fun, I suppose."
Arthur rolled his eyes and looked off, into the distance, ignoring the super villain, who was making his way to the riders.
"Artie, you shoulda shut up~" Alfred hissed into Arthur's ears, but, yet again, he was ignored by the Brit.
"Tsk. Shoulda known." Arthur muttered, making the other villain hesitate.
"Oh, no, it's nothing."
"No really! It's nothing!"
"Tell me now, little man." Electron snapped, now standing next to Arthur, his electrified eyes glaring at the Brit. The gaze was still no match to Arthur's own glare.
"Well, you obviously don't want to reactivate the Summer Fair, because you're not capable of doing it. Shoulda known, what with a second-rate villain like you." Electron's eyes narrowed.
The other riders gasped and Alfred placed a protective hand on Arthur's shoulder, should worse come to worse.
Arthur dimly noted that other supers were standing by. Allure was already all charged up, in case he had to make a split-second teleportation, to save Arthur's life.
But that never happened. Instead of Electron attacking Arthur, as everyone had expected, he distanced himself. He touched the groundworks of the roller coaster and reactivated the whole fair.
The Brit's stomach lurched again, finding himself once again the victim of the ride. He could head Electron screaming out shouts of joy at the ability to reactivate the fair(since he had indeed doubted he'd be able to do it), but those shouts soon turned angry, when America still didn't show up.
Barely two minutes later, Arthur got out of the roller coaster as fast as possible, glad to be back on solid ground.
I'm never going on that thing again. The Brit thought, as he wandered over to Lovino. Alfred had "disappeared".
"Where are the others?" Arthur asked Lovino. The Italian panicked slightly, but soon became silent and calm again. The Italian brother knew that most of his friends were supesr and knew their secret alter egos. He knew about his brother.
"Those bastards ran away like cowards." Lovino pretended to grumble, frowning deeply. "Don't expect to see them until this fight's over."
Arthur sighed and rubbed his forehead.
"Do you have my goldfish?"
"Can I have it?"
Lovino handed Arthur Geraldine the Goldfish. The Brit then looked at the battle between America and Electron. It looked like this could be a while.
"... Tell the others I went home. Er... And I had fun. I guess." Arthur asked awkwardly, hastily leaving.
"See you around Lovino!"
The Italian said nothing, eyeing Veloce, otherwise known as Feliciano, who was hiding inside a rubbish bin, too afraid to move. The Vargas brother sometimes wondered about his younger sibling, whether or not Feli really was cut out for this hero business.
Half the time Veloce was running away, after all. Lovino looked at Arthur's retreating form, then sighed.
"Bastard." He muttered, returning his watchful gaze to his younger brother.
Arthur hopped across the roof tops, a certain place in mind. After getting some sleep, it was time for a little night spree. Tonight, he needed to find a list of all those involved with the Exibition of the Rose of Britain, and organise a few other things.
Another thing he was doing, was visiting those two kids, the Hiltons.
It had taken a long time for Arthur to realise how he could practice his tricks in front of an audience, without risking anything. Yes, he couldn't practice them as Arthur Kirkland and yes, he couldn't practice them as the Magician.
However, as Capt'n Brows? You betcha.
The Magician retraced his steps from a few days ago, remembering (or rather seeing) where he had once been. Now and then, he would look around, up, down and who knows where else.
He was checking for scouting supers. Even though he had never been seen in his Street Magician costume, there was still a small chance that they would make the connection between the regular Magician and his current self, if ever seen.
Besides that, a costumed man jumping from roof to roof would be quite an attention graber. He really didn't want to have to talk his way out of that kind of situation.
He walked along the pavement, looking around for that allyway. He could have sworn there were less around when he'd last been there.
Once again, he checked for scouting supers, then paled. One super hero was up ahead, but hadn't seen him yet. The Magician quickly ducked into the nearest allyway, getting down to his knees, his back pressed against the wall. His hands slipped down to the gun around his waist. He wasn't used to having extra weight there, so he thought tonight would be good time to get used to it.
He sat there, watching patiently. If that super came too close, he'd simply use the stun gun and hope whoever was coming, wasn't looking in his direction.
The super was coming closer.
He was coming slowly.
Arthur knew that meant he was checking each of the allyways and since the Magician hadn't exactly picked a good place to hide...
The Magician drew out his gun slowly, quietly, loading it. He had to wait for the right moment.
Arthur didn't jump out from his hiding place, however, his arm did. It touched a chest and before the super had time to react, the Magician pulled the trigger.
The Brit quickly withdrew his arm, unless he wanted it getting squashed.
The super slumped forwards and collapsed onto the ground.
Veloce? Arthur thought, the super lying in front of him, face-first.
The Magician would have to move quickly. Veloce was always in contact with someone, in case the Italian really did find trouble and needed help.
So, pretty soon, someone (probably Germanium) will turn up to come and aid Veloce.
So the Magician needed to find that ally, with the Hilton's bedroom in it, very soon.
Arthur paused and looked around.
He was in it.
He smiled to himself and walked up the fire-escape.
What were the chances of using that same ally twice to hide from a super hero? Pretty small, he reckoned.
He ran up and tapped on the children's bedroom window.
The two were tucked in bed, however, Timothy Hilton was still awake. The child looked up and saw "Capt'n Brows", immediately getting excited. The boy looked over to the closed door, then crawled out of his bed and opened the window.
"Capt'n Brows!" The boy greeted, smiling. Arthur resisted the urge to push him away, when Timothy also proceeded to hug him.
"You really did come!" Timothy said, burrying his face in Arthur's chest. Again, Arthur suppressed the need to push the child away.
"Huh? What do you mean?" Arthur then asked, having processed what Timothy had said.
"Mommy and Daddy have left Esther and me-"
"Esther and I."
"Esther and I alone at home. Esther doesn't know though, she's asleep."
"Wait, you two are alone?" Arthur asked, surprised. Timothy nodded.
"But it's OK. They're always back... In the morning... Sometimes." Timothy said, his gaze downcast. That motion nearly tore Arthur's heart strings out, him having experienced similar situations when he was a young lad. The poor kids, neglected and forgotten by their parents!
No child should have to experience what Arthur Igor Kirkland had!
Arthur sighed and motioned for the boy to give him some room. The child didn't hesitate to do this.
The Magician looked over his shoulder and saw lights coming. Wow. Rescue was on its way relatively fast, eh?
He climbed into the children's room and closed the window behind him.
"I actually wanted to do some crime-fighting tonight, but I guess Child Protection is currently more important." Arthur half-joked. He had actually wanted to do some "crime-encouraging", if you will, but he didn't want these neglected children to be here, by themselves.
"Oh no, you don't have to stay because of us!" Timothy whispered back, but "Capt'n Brows" shrugged.
"I have time. And there are plenty of other super hero's around to protect our fair city, right?" He replied, before smiling. "Now, I've come here, because there are some things I need to practice... Magic, to be specific."
"What does specific mean?"
"Um... It doesn't matter. Tell me Timothy... Do you like... Magic?" Arthur asked, before making a deck of cards appear in his hands, from seemingly nowhere.
The child stared with wide eyes, totally amazed.
Arthur had the feeling he wouldn't go home tonight.
Ultimate Spiderman TV series? Me likey. And why am I mentioning it? Because it got me out of the Magician's writers block. So yay Spidey.
I can't remember what I named Jeanne D'Arc, but I've permanently changed it to Jeanne Ofarcher. I'll correct her name in earlier chapters later, when I next have time to edit.
"Fear Volts", German pun: Four in German is "Vier", which is more or less pronounced "Fear".
The reason why I updated early, is because I'm not here at the end of the month to update. I'm celebrating Christmas in France, up in the alps, so no internet connection. :D
Also, last update of 2012!
Merry Christmas! :D (and happy holidays to those who don't celebrate it)! And a happy new year!