"Are you sure about this, Blaster Dark?" the phantom knight's scarlet pupils glimmered as his doubts on his friend's judgment surfaced. The dark knight beside him gave him a look of disbelief.
"You still doubt me despite who I am? I'm offended." Blaster Dark responded.
The phantom knight bowed his head. "Forgive me, sir. But you were the one who appointed me as leader, and I am merely doing what is required of me."
Blaster Dark scoffed. "And why, may I ask, are my motives being questioned?" his silver-haired friend gave him a perplexed look.
"Erm, we are going to a circus show, sir. I doubt Void has any need for carnies."
His statement was the most ignorant thing the dark knight had ever heard. It seems that the knight he appointed as leader had never heard of the circus that resided in the Dark Zone. To say that these circus folk were mere carnies was like saying Leo-pald of the Zoo nation's discipline committee was a kitten.
Blaster Dark shook his head. "No, my friend. It is not the circus they are after." He looked on and saw a wide array of tents, all colored with black hues. As he and the phantom knight approached, he could hear the lively sounds of the circus growing louder and louder. "It's her. The Millennium Elf."
Blaster Dark and the phantom knight walked through the crowd, who were all buzzing excitedly about an upcoming performance. "There," Dark said, pointing at a purple tent.
"Are you sure?" the phantom knight asked. Blaster Dark nodded. "She is the only one who uses that shade. Let's move." The two knights moved swiftly toward the tent. A small goblin bellowed as the knights cut in front of him.
"Flyer flyer flyer!" The goblin grumbled, raising his dainty fist at them. "Flyer…"
"We are attracting attention, sir," the phantom knight pointed out.
"Keep running, Mordred," Blaster Dark instructed. The two knights continued on until they were halted by a small purple demon wearing a dark circus suit. He adjusted his hat and cleared his throat.
"This part of the circus can only be accessed by the members of the Pale Moon family," the demon said.
Blaster Dark's serious expression did not falter. "This is important, ringmaster. The Millennium Elf is in danger. We need to warn her." The demon ringmaster's eyes glowed red as he displayed a devilish smile. "Did you not hear my words, boy? Out! Get out of my circus!"
Blaster Dark partially unsheathed his sword. The determination on his face made the ringmaster flinch. "Raqiel!" Hades ringmaster said, "Get rid of these fools!" the shadow behind Hades ringmaster suddenly widened, and in an instant a dark creature appeared. Blaster Dark drew his sword and slashed through it, but the creature reformed itself and attacked him again.
Mordred narrowed his eyes. "It is only an illusion, sir!" he cried out. The creature's shadowy claw jabbed at Blaster Dark, and he was thrown to the side. Blaster Dark groaned as he stood again. "Sure feels real to me," he muttered. He glanced to his right and saw a mysterious figure behind the tent. Blaster Dark glanced back at Mordred. "Keep that thing busy," he instructed, pointing at the creature. He dashed toward the figure he had spotted. Hades ringmaster scowled. "Raqiel!"
A series of horrid creatures appeared in the shadows as Blaster Dark ran to his target. He dodged the shadowy creatures easily, until finally he tackled his target to the ground. In an instant, the shadow figures disappeared. Blaster Dark placed his sword by the nightmare summoner's neck threateningly. Raqiel, now pinned to the ground, grinned at the dark knight.
"Well played, very well played. Now, Blaster Dark, would you please get that sword of yours away from my pretty face?" he said.
Blaster Dark glared at him. "No more nightmares, elf," he replied. Raqiel smiled. "No more, I swear. But may I say… where ever did you get that red cape tailored? I might want one of those…"
Blaster Dark withdrew his sword and got up. "Keep your ringmaster in check," he ordered. He turned his head to his friend. "Come, Mordred."
Blaster Dark was not going to let the circus folk get in the way of his mission. He stared at the purple tent before him, gritting his teeth as the beat of his heart suddenly increased its pace. He scowled. Not again.
"Blaster Dark," Mordred's stern voice captured the dark knight's attention. "Are we not going to step in?"
Blaster Dark cleared his throat. "Yes, of course," he said, finally entering the tent.
The two knights were greeted by the back of a slender-looking female with long black hair. Her entire back was almost all exposed, with only her breasts covered with a black bra. Her entire arm was covered with black leather, as well as from her hips down. She donned a couple of tattoos, and her signature black tiara was placed neatly above her head. The girl's eyes, one red and one blue, looked at them from the mirror in front of her.
"Blaster Dark," she remarked with a grin, "always a pleasure to see you."
Her voice always had that flirty tone to it, one that Blaster Dark thought was hard to forget. "Luquier," he said sternly, "You need to come with us. We have reason to believe that you are in danger."
The elf named Luquier turned her head to face them. "Oh?" she said playfully, "The Revengers took the time out of their busy schedule to protect me? How cute."
Mordred stepped forward. "Madame Luquier," he said, "We need to take you to a safe place. Void is back and this time he possesses a new power, one that can control will."
Luquier chuckled. She moved closer to Mordred. "Hm, You are an elf like me, but I've never seen you before. What's your name?"
Mordred couldn't help but notice how enthralled he felt at the sight of this mysterious elf. His heart was racing, his head spinning, and his mouth went dry. Luquier's beautiful red eye was glowing as she stared lazily at him. The phantom knight suddenly found it difficult to breath. "M-Mordred," he managed to say. Luquier smiled. She traced a finger slowly down his armor. "Mordred," she purred, "A wonderful name for a… strong, powerful knight."
Blaster Dark swatted her arm away. "Enough charms, Luquier," he demanded, "We need to move. Now."
"Tch," Luquier huffed, "Void knows nothing about controlling the will of another. I have that power, and no one else. I'm pretty sure I can take care of myself." She took the silver whip of thorns on top of her dresser and walked past the two knights. "Step aside boys, I've got a crowd to please."
Blaster Dark grabbed her arm. "If you go out there you will lose yourself," he warned. Luquier didn't move. The dark knight stared intently at her, tightening his grip. "Luquier… please."
The alluring elf smiled. "You know," she began, "you were the only one I have ever known who has addressed me without a title before my name."
At that moment, Blaster Dark smiled. "Well, your name is what makes you who you are, not your title." Luquier looked visibly stunned. She never thought a man like him would say anything close to a compliment, let alone to her. Luquier shook her head. "The crowd is waiting. Please let me go."
Blaster Dark gritted his teeth. He can't let her go. He has seen Vowing of the Eradicator Special Force go rogue, and he was not going to let that happen to her. But…
After a moment's hesitance, Blaster Dark finally lost his grip. Without turning back, Luquier walked toward the circus stage. The knights watched as the audience cheered for her.
"Blaster Dark, are you sure about this?" Mordred asked. Blaster Dark shook his head. "We'll do it her way for now. If she gets into trouble… well, we'll be right here to get her out of it."
Narumi Asaka opened her eyes. She glanced at the clock and was shocked to see that it was three in the morning. She heard a melody coming from upstairs. It was a faint tune, but she could tell that it was from a piano. Asaka got up from bed and put on her Midnight bunny slippers. She walked into the elevator. The music was still playing. Asaka pressed the floor directly above hers and the elevator doors closed. As she rose, the sound of the melody grew louder and louder. The elevator door opened.
At the end of the dimly lit room, Asaka saw Ren, sitting in front of a piano. Her heart fluttered. What a beautiful tune coming from a beautiful man! Of all her years that she has known him, she never knew he played the piano. Quietly, she stepped closer toward him. Ren kept on with his playing until he reached what seemed to be the finale, but he stopped. Asaka furrowed her eyebrows. Did something… happen?
"Ren?" she called. Ren looked at her and smiled. "Oh, hello Asaka!"
His cheerful tone made her smile too. "Aren't you going to finish the piece you were playing?"
Ren nodded. "I was going to, but… I forgot what came next."
Asaka couldn't believe it. How absent minded was he, really? "W-well, nevertheless, it was a beautiful melody. You are very talented, Ren!"
Ren cocked his head to the side in wonder. "Asaka, what are you doing up so late? Did I wake you?"
"No," she said, shaking her head, "I honestly don't know. I woke up feeling awake but couldn't remember if I had a dream or not. And now I can't sleep."
"Oh," Ren replied, moving himself slightly to the left, "I can't sleep either. So I'm doing this instead. Did you want to learn how to play this thing?"
Asaka's heart jumped for joy. "Yes, of course!" she exclaimed, sitting beside him. "Please, I am eager to learn from you, Ren."
Ren chuckled. "You're always so enthusiastic at everything, Asaka," he observed, "It's so fun." Asaka blushed at the remark. Ren turned to the piano and placed his index finger on a key.
"Now… how does it go again? Mi mi mi mi mi," he pressed the key continuously, but a different note from what he formed was produced. Ren cringed. "Er, that's not right. Ba ba ba," he said, pressing three different keys, all with the wrong notes. Ren frowned. "Aww, this is too difficult! The piano is playing tricks on me again!"
Asaka almost felt sorry for the guy, but she couldn't help but admire his child-like demeanor. "Here," she said, placing her right hand on middle C. "Do," she sung, pressing the key in tune with her note. Ren's face lit up. Asaka continued, "Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do!" she sung, playing the correct notes in time with her singing.
Ren clapped his hands excitedly. "Wow, that was cool, Asaka!" he praised, "you know much more about this thing than I do!" Asaka smiled. "Thank you Ren, but that was nothing compared to that melody you played. You were amazing, as always."
Ren stood up. "Well, it's time for bed. You should get some rest, Asaka. You have vanguard practice tomorrow with the rest of Fukuhara. You wouldn't want to snooze while you're fighting."
"Right," Asaka said, standing up and pushing the stool under the piano. "You will be there too, right Ren?"
To her surprise, he shook his head. "I was going to see Aichi and the others. Cardfighting them would be much more challenging."
Asaka brightened, "Then, let me come with you, Ren!"
Ren gave her a look of disbelief. "No, Asaka, you need to stay here. Aichi is too strong for you." Those simple words slammed on her like a freight train. Despite everything she displayed, she was still not good enough of a fighter for him. "Oh, alright, then. I will show myself out. Goodnight."
Ren watched her curiously as she headed for the elevator. "Asaka," he called. She stopped on her tracks. Ren continued, "Did I say anything wrong? You seem sad."
Asaka sighed. His concern was so innocent, she doubted that he really understood how she felt. "Ren,"she said, "do you care about me?" she waited a moment for him to reply.
"Of course I care about you, Asaka," Ren admitted. Asaka almost basked at the wonder of what that remark could mean, but then he continued, "You are my teammate. I care about everyone in my team. You, Tetsu, Suiko…"
Suiko, she thought. She grimaced, walking away without another word.
"Wait." He said. Asaka stopped again. "Asaka," Ren began, "If something bad were to happen to you… well, I'll be right there to get you out of it."
Those words rang in her ears like his melody from before. Slowly, a smile crept across her face. "Thank you, Ren," she replied.
"but I won't be a burden to you. I'm pretty sure I can take care of myself." With that, the Pale Moon wielder left the room.