Now back to Roxas!
Special thanks to: MonMonCandie, XIIIXV, Animeluv3, AKAAkira, Otherguy14, and Kiome-Yasha for the great reviews! I appreciate the feedback on the last chapter. :)
And yes, I do howl at the moon. Don't look at me wired; we all have hobbies. :3
Writer: Terra ForceXIII
~*~ WearingBlack ~*~
Chapter IV: Dangerous Games
It's been two weeks since Roxas first joined the organization, since then he's learned quite a lot about how the world works in a business standpoint. Thankfully, he was always good at math which helps in these situations.
He learned that each member owns a company or property, with layers of strings covering their tracks as they control their assets from the shadows. This brought concern to Roxas, being the only member with nothing to call his own. And it didn't help that each member was a complete stranger to him, he hardly saw them outside the meeting room. The only person he knows by name is Axel, and even that didn't stretch too far.
"Mr. Al Edwards?"
Roxas snapped out of his meditation and nearly jumped off his seat. He was in the middle of eating lunch at the Black Wolf dining room when he was interrupted by a maid, the young girl looked just as frightened as he was from his blunder. She was cute, Roxas admitted. She wore a black and white maid's outfit with short brunette hair.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Roxas sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was just spacing out, didn't mean to scare you."
The young maiden waved her hands in plea and her cheeks flourished. "No, I should be the one apologizing. I shouldn't have interrupted you but I was sent to bring you a message, Mr. Al Edwards."
Roxas still hasn't gotten used to being called by his last name, especially from people his own age. He had to keep reminding himself that he's a member of a powerful organization and had an authority over most of the workers. But it didn't help that all the maidens and female workers talked about him behind his back, like a bunch of high school girls giggling in the hallways.
"What message and who's it from?" he questioned.
"From one of your fellow members, Mr. Los Valerie," the maiden answered, returning to her respectful tone and stature. "He would like to meet you outside the building."
The maiden bowed as if she failed a task. "I do not know; the information belongs only to you once you meet him."
Roxas sighed under his breath and stood from his seat, taking a moment to fix his checkered tie and dismiss the maid. In a moment's notice, a waiter recovered the leftovers of his lunch and took it away. He felt kinda lazy, letting everyone else do the tasks that would've been his chores back home.
He walked out of the dining room and headed down the long white hallway leading to the building's entrance, noticing the guards bowing to his presence when he walked by their posts. As he walked, he caught an intriguing site near the elevators. He saw two familiar men whispering in secret, one with ruffled rose pink hair and gray suit while the other was much older with long platinum hair and green eyes. The senior man was speaking in a hissing tone which suggested some seriousness in their discussion, while the pink haired man responded calmly with his hands together behind his back.
Those two are gifted members; I've seen them in the meeting room, Roxas thought.
As if they heard his mental thought, the two business men turned their heads towards Roxas and halted their tongues. Both displayed a displeasing frown towards the nosy blonde, the senior man whispering a remark while the other man smirked mischievously. Roxas gulped and returned their disapproving expressions with his own, until he collided into something soft.
He stepped back and was ready to apologize when he recognized who he stumbled with, blood rushing to his cheeks as he realized where his face collided with.
A woman with slick blonde hair and cyan eyes, showing another displeasing frown towards him. She had two long distinct strands that were antennae-like, a slim hourglass figure with her hands placed on her hips, and cat-like eyes that looked down at him like a dangerous predator ready to pursue a mouse. She wore a black-blue suit and half thigh length skirt, dark leggings covering her prime legs down to her black high-heels. A button or two were undone and revealed her black blouse and single diamond necklace, the sleeves of her suit pulled back to her elbows with a silver ring on her ring finger.
"Watch where you're going, kid!" the woman hissed, snapping the boy back to the situation.
Roxas gulped a lump and prayed that she didn't notice the redness on his cheeks. "Oh, I- huh… I'm sorry, I wasn't looking."
The woman raised a single blonde eyebrow and tilted her head. "Hey, you're that new kid, aren't you?"
"Y- Yeah, number thirteen, Roxas Al Edwards," Roxas introduced respectfully.
The woman shrugged away his kind response and proceeded to walk passed him, frightening the blonde as she gave him a little pinch on the cheek. It hurt like hell, but it only deepened the redness on his face and he was left rubbing his sore cheek. He could've sworn that he felt a shock from her touch, like feeling the electricity pass between another person who's been skating on the carpet in their socks.
"Try not to get on my bad side, okay, pumpkin?" the woman advised, walking down the opposite direction of him.
Roxas felt like an idiot, acting like a scared puppy in the presence of an alpha female. After spending two weeks in this risky business, he's grown accustom to comparing the organization to an actual wolf pack in the wild. Among the other members, he would consider himself an omega, the lowest ranking member of the pack that hardly gets the scrapes out of the meal.
When he exited the building, he was met with stray raindrops tapping at his hair and shoulders. It's been raining forever it seems, Roxas missed the afternoon warmth of his home.
There was a limousine parked right in front of the entrance, two more familiar members standing before him. Axel was one of them, his blazing red hair making it easy to spot him from any crowd. The other was a man Roxas never spoken to before; he was tall with long frayed blue hair and a noticeable scar shaped like an X between the bridge of his nose and extended down under his eyes and touched his eyebrows. The scar made him look menacing, an opposite magnet that pushed away any positive energy.
The scarred man wore a dark gray striped suit with a white undershirt, a navy blue tie and black leather shoes finishing his attire. Roxas could tell that this man was serious about appearance, with no buttons loosened and the strictness of his clothes. His hands were behind his back and he stared at the blonde with narrowed orbs of yellow.
"Glad you finally made it," the blue haired man spoke in a venomous tone. "I see that punctuality isn't your strong suit since you took your time in getting here."
Before Roxas could explain himself, Axel stepped between the two and blocked the blue haired man's daggered gaze on the newest employee.
"I'll take it from here, Saïx," Axel chuckled, speaking rather playfully to the scarred man. "I'll give you my full report when I come back."
The man named Saïx gave the redhead a challenging glare, and then he silently walked passed the two employees into Black Wolf.
Roxas kept his gaze back at the entrance, wondering if he'll ever meet someone without irritating them from the start. He felt a prick on the side of his head and he turned with a frown, seeing Axel as the culprit for flicking him. The redhead smirked and gestured the blonde to follow him into the limousine.
"Don't get dispirited about him, he's always that moody," Axel explained as Roxas entered the vehicle. "That's Saïx Los Valerie; he's the second in command under the superior's orders."
A guard closed the door and the limo started moving, leaving Roxas in the quiet space as he examined the interior with curious eyes. There was a TV box on one side and a compartment of champagne and glasses on the other, Axel sitting on the opposite seats across from him. The spiky redhead leaned back and stretched his arms out over the black leather, getting ready to reveal a discussion.
"Looks like you'll be taking on your first assignment today, Roxas," he stated with enthusiasm. "It's time to show your stuff and prove your worth."
This truly was like a wild wolf pack; having to verify your contribution to the ranks while exposing your weaknesses to the leader, giving him the option to accept or kill you right there and then. Roxas gulped and felt the blood rushing through his veins, an eager anticipation inside of him waiting to show that he's capable of anything.
Axel grabbed the remote from his side and clicked the television on, revealing a pretty woman speaking the morning news. She had blue hair and ocean eyes, an elegant voice to match her perfect smile. The woman talked about stockholding charts and the leading investments in revenue. Then a digital image appeared beside the woman of a photograph, a plump looking man with short blonde hair and facial features. His name was Alan Li River.
"This man is the owner of a small trading company and a five-star restaurant called Dansce crépuscule," Axel explained, breaking Roxas away from the news. "We fear that he might have too much on his plate, so we would like to take control over one of his businesses."
Roxas kept silent but he was already brainstorming the situation. So Black Wolf takes interest in certain owners of large industries and properties, keeping the power strictly in their hands whenever someone tries to succeed over their limits.
"Do I have a choice between the two?" Roxas questioned.
"In my opinion, its best to go after something smaller," Axel answered with a sigh, looking out the window into the drenched city streets. "So the restaurant ownership should be more in your game. Actually, our superior visited the building two days ago for further investigation and decided to make it your first assignment."
Roxas has never been into a high class restaurant before, he felt excited to experience the luxury. Immediately, his thoughts explored decisions and plans in taking this property. But he quickly stopped and felt guilty, wondering if he's slowly becoming a conniving schemer like the rest of the members. But then again, he would rather become something more than to end up in a corner, even if that something is malice.
Roxas came back to reality when the limo halted in front of a small building, the name black Sheep's Hotel written in bold letters over the entrance.
"Unfortunately, I won't be the one assisting you on this assignment," Axel admitted. "But I couldn't think of anyone else better suited in teaching you then him."
Who's him, Roxas thought. A guard opened Roxas' passenger door and the hesitant blonde stepped out, worrying the fact that he'll be going in alone without Axel. At least he knows Axel well enough to trust him in a trivial way.
He looked back to see Axel peering out of a window, giving him a friendly smirk. "Don't let me down, kid! I'd hate to lose a bet!"
In a moment's notice, the limousine drove off while leaving Roxas alone with a guard. The armored guard bowed and led him into the building, walking straight into the nearby elevator without greeting the female receptionist. The lady had a disconcerting expression as she saw the two, perhaps already informed of the arrival of a Black Wolf employee. Did she think he was dangerous?
When the elevator opened again, the faceless guard led the way down a small hallway. The hotel was fine in Roxas' opinion, with reddish carpets and good air conditioning. The guard stopped at the tenth door on the left, standing by the wooden door as he waited for Roxas to open it.
Roxas released a sigh and silently fixed his tie again, trying his best to look presentable. He gripped the golden knob and twisted, opening the door to be welcomed by warmth and smoke.
His blue eyes scanned the room; dark red carpets, black furniture shaped like an L and a glass table in between, a sliding door leading to a balcony, and a small kitchen. But the star of the show was the pool table near a city view window, with a suited man facing away from him.
He wore a taupe brown suit and pants, black shoes, and the exposure of his collars revealed his undershirt to be white. His hair was platinum and was Caesar cut while his ears had helix piercings. The man turned towards Roxas to reveal more of his appearance. He had minor beard and mustache, a goatee the same color as his hair. His three button suit was refined and he had a striped auburn brown and sand colored tie.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, young Edwards," he greeted, speaking in a sophisticated accent.
Roxas felt perplexed; this was the first member to address him properly other than Axel. This man looked cunning and swift, his electric-blue eyes analyzing his visitor's every move.
The platinum blonde man turned his attention back to the pool table and grabbed a cue off a rack, rubbing chalk on the tip. He still had a smile on his face, like he was enjoying the game before it even started.
"Care for a friendly game while we talk?" he addressed again.
What is this? Roxas was busy theorizing as he walked over to the table, picking out the smallest cue off the rack as he tried to think of a way out. The wooden cue was slick in his hands and he mimicked the man's gesture of rubbing chalk on the tip.
He took a chance and spoke. "Would you mind telling me your name?"
"Luxord Vos Bradford, at your service," the man replied, standing across from him at the table.
Roxas glanced down at the pool table, seeing all fifteen colored billiard balls designed in a triangle with the eight-ball centered in the middle. The white cue ball was on Luxord's side, ready to break and start the game. It was a standard pool table, but Roxas could smell smoke in the air.
Luxord pulled out a cigarette from his pocket and placed it in between his front teeth. "Would you mind?" he asked.
Roxas shook his head and Luxord lit his cigarette with a lighter. He couldn't understand why people loved the taste of poison in their lungs, or the intoxicating smell they produced.
"Do you know the rules?" Luxord questioned, almost in a double meaning sort of way.
Roxas was quiet for a moment. He was trying to figure out this man's agenda and wondered if he was his assistant. He didn't look the type, more like the dealer handing the cards rather than the one receiving them.
Luxord bent over the table with his cue positioned in his hands, using his left hand to steady the end while the right readied to strike the white ball. In truth, Roxas didn't know all the rules of the game and didn't have any particular skill in it. In a deafening clash, Luxord struck the cue ball and smashed it into the triangle, the numbered balls scattering across the green table. With a quick look, none of them fell into the six pockets, which was a good thing for Roxas.
"Your turn," Luxord spoke, snapping Roxas out of his gaze.
He felt nervous, already predicting the embarrassment if he didn't perform well enough. He scanned for the cue ball and saw an opportunity to knock a whole seven into a pocket; he'd be a fool to miss this chance. He struggled to get the balancing right with the cue stick, slipping the wooden end off his left hand as he tried to maneuver it. He mimicked Luxord again, having it over his thumb and circling his index finger to hold it. With a straight shot, he knocked the cue ball into the seven and pocketed it.
He heard a whistle and looked up at Luxord, who was leaning against the wall as he observed. "You play the game quite well, you go again." He acknowledged.
Roxas sighed and positioned himself for another shot, finding a more difficult angle to shoot from. He couldn't find an opening, the best he could do is hope for a ball to rebound into a nearby pocket. He struck again and found no results.
"So, let us discuss our job for the next month or two," Luxord spoke calmly, taking his turn. "I assume that you are aware of Mr. River's growing business and our mission to claim it from him?"
"I've chosen to go after his restaurant," Roxas stated, watching as his opponent readied to strike the cue ball.
Luxord displayed a growing smile from that response, like he was hoping for it. With a quick thrust, Luxord shot a striped three into a pocket. "That's good; it'll be a good establishment under Black Wolf's control. It's one of the most expensive dining restaurants in Twilight Town. But still risky."
Roxas caught the important part of his sentence and questioned it. "What do you mean?"
Luxord made another shot and nailed a striped four into a pocket, tipping the score in his favor. "The owner has a lot of enemies, which makes him equally hazardous. He has his own private bodyguards protecting him and his daughter, Naminé Li River; he might be paranoid as well, which is a negative on our part."
He has a daughter, Roxas thought. He could imagine the pressure she must be feeling, having to walk around with bodyguards all around her. Was she the same age as him?
Roxas dismissed those thoughts as he prepared for his turn. "What's our plan, aren't we just going to deal with legal paperwork to own the place?"
Luxord chuckled. "No, we would like to keep this whole thing in the dark. Instead, we'll have to negotiate with him in person, convince him to make a pact between Black Wolf and his restaurant."
Roxas made a shot and missed, his teeth clenching from his failed attempt. He watched with narrowed eyes as his fellow member readied to take a shot across the table.
"That sounds like a dangerous move," Roxas muttered. "He doesn't look the type to just submit and rollover."
Again, Luxord pocketed another striped ball. "That's when a little persuasion is in order; some Kolakeia."
At that point, Roxas began contemplating possibilities. This was a dodgy game he was playing; he had to be precise in his actions if he wants to survive. He needed something to latch on, a key move to winning this battle between him and Mr. River. But he was just a kid, how could anyone with a sensible mind entrust him with business arrangements and opportunities?
"Let me remind you of something," Luxord interrupted, getting the blonde's full attention. "You are a member of Black Wolf, the corporation that rules over this city and nearby towns. You have privileges that no one else can afford, an invisible status granting you anything you want. So I suggest you take advantage of that."
That was helpful advice, Roxas admitted.
"But there's one more thing I need to remind you before we progress in our discussion."
Roxas felt something twist in his stomach, like he was about to hear something troublesome. He watched with serious eyes as the man before him struck another ball into a pocket, decreasing the chances of Roxas winning this perilous game. Like a sinister foretelling of the days to come.
"I'm not just your partner," Luxord confessed, exhaling smoke from his lips. "You see, I also want this restaurant for myself."
Uh oh, someone is in trouble, poor Roxas can't get a break. Hope you all liked this chapter, cuz I had fun writing it. I'm a big fan of pool, (even though I'm not all that good at it) so I added a little bit of that in this chapter. I think it's perfect for Luxord! XP
By the way, this story features disposable characters with original names, so don't get discouraged. I'll keep where the interesting things lay, with the main characters. Hope you enjoyed, please leave a review if you can. It's much appreciated. :3
Kolakeia is a rhetoric word meaning "Flattery or telling people what they want to hear".
Well guys, I'll be taking another vacation for the next two weeks. I'll be in Indiana, helping my grandparents on their farm. But don't worry; by time you read this, I should be already half way through my vacation. Meanwhile, I'll be contemplating the next chapter. Later! :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy, original characters and story belong to their original owners…