Dantega:Volume 2 Chapter 8
"Eh... Don't you think this looks a little ridiculous?" Ash asked, her face sunken with a dejected glare.
She is wearing an extremely frilly pink dress with ribbons all over.
Standing next to her in one of the dressing rooms is a tall girl with lime green hair named Elise, she has stars in her eyes and her face is sparkling bright red.
"Ahhhhnn~ you look so cute!! How can you say this doesn't look good on you!?"
Ash smiles and with a vein on her forehead she politely answers, "Because it doesn't..."
Elise shows a pouting expression and replies, "Boooo, fine I'll get you a different dress. But I do think that one looks amazing on you."
"I'm not trying to impress a ten year old girl! I'm trying to make an older guy look at me, and if he saw me wearing this the first thing he'd do is laugh and say how childish I look!"
"I'm telling you, looking older will be much worse! Being young is the best part of life so you must show it off if you want to win him over!"
Ash sighs when she realizes that nothing she can do will break the determination of how Elise wants her to look; if she had any idea how to dress herself in such a way she would've ditched the dawdling tall woman long ago.
"Fine... let's just make this next one a little more classy."
Elise salutes her and says, "Leave it to me!"
She dashes out of the dress room and heads back into the aisles.
Ash takes the dress off and sits on a bench in the ten by ten sized dressing room, she glares at herself in the mirror and a saddened expression surfaces on her face.
"What am I even doing? It's not like this is actually going to work..."
Thinking about how enthusiastic this random girl Elise is, she can't help but feel grateful for her help, but at the same time feel that there is no need for Elise to put so much effort into a lost cause. After all, Zurvick is much older. And not only that, he has Queen LeLaine for a wife; is she really trying to do something as terrible as steal the Queen’s husband away?
Ash leans her back against the wall for a moment until her determination comes back. "So what if he's married to the Queen, I'll be damned if I don't at least try to get him to look at me!"
Elise is rushing through the aisles to find the right dress for Ash; it's almost as if she is in an entranced state as she scopes out the best of the best.
In the aisle that Elise is currently in, a girl with long black hair that parts at her shoulders and bright blue eyes is shopping as well. She is Rain Von Ronheim, the leading Battle Strategist for Eiyalazo.
Of course Elise, being the type of person she is, immediately picked out an outfit for Rain and handed it to her without even gathering a second look at either Rain or the dress.
"This one." she said as if her mind is focused on her original objective.
Rain doesn't really care about this random person’s opinion, but she decides to take a look anyway. It is a sky blue dress with black linings over the buttons and ribbons; there are slight and simple designs etched in dark blue throughout and it even matches the top hat and umbrella that goes along with it.
Rain is actually not too picky when it comes to things like this, she doesn't want to get a dress too extravagant to avoid standing out more than necessary, and she doesn't want a gaudy one for the exact same reason. Her job is to blend into the crowd, this outfit is perfect for such an occasion. It's just the right color to where she can look like someone with a lot of class, and with her personality make it seem as natural as it already is.
She takes it and begins to walk toward the dressing room, but before she gets there she turns to Elise and simply says, "Thank you."
Rain gets to the dressing rooms, there are three of them and they are all connected to where they share the same roofs with a gap in the top wall above the separating panels.
Rain begins to change when she hears the sound of thumping being heard on the wall next to her, that banging noise is accompanied by a girl's voice.
"Ahhh who am I kidding!? There's no way this is gonna work!"
This voice belongs to Ash, who is despairing over her current situation, she is banging her head against the wall in frustration at this very moment.
Rain, who is in the room adjacent to Ash is becoming very annoyed, she knocks on the wall and says, "Can you stop? The noise is giving me a headache."
The banging stops and Ash jumps to her feet. "Oh crap sorry! I didn't know anyone was in there!"
Hearing her loud voice, Rain wants to end the conversation quickly so she can try her outfit on and get out.
"Don't worry about it, now you know."
"O-Okay... sorry again."
Rain doesn't respond so she can get the other person to stop talking, and after a few moments she's pleased to find that it worked. She readies to change until she hears the loud sound of the adjacent door opening quickly and slamming shut, ringing violently through her ears.
The loud voice of Elise is heard yelling, "This is the one! It's perfect it's perfect it's perfect!"
Then, Ash's voice is heard, "Waaaaaa!? That one!? It shows way too much skin below my shoulders!"
"No it doesn't! This has just the right amount of mature sex appeal and shows just the right amount of your cute young body! Aaaaahhn~ I'm so proud of myself!"
Thuds and thumps are heard throughout the dressing rooms, it's as though a bear attacking a defenseless animal is taking place just a few feet away.
Rain sighs and says to herself, "Forget it, I'll just buy this one and get out of here."
Without trying it on, Rain leaves the dressing room and begins to walk to the cashier to purchase it.
Zurvick is staring down on a little girl who is holding a flask out, gesturing that she wants to give it to him.
He raises his eyebrow when he asks, "May I ask what you are doing?"
The little girl smiles and answers, "I'm paying you back for what you have lost."
"That came out wrong, what I was trying to ask is, why do you have a flask full of alcohol in your possession!?"
She glares at him and asks, "Doesn't everybody have one of these things nowadays?"
"Not at your age they don't!!! What's your name?"
She smiles and does a curtsy while replying, "Ebihara Seiri."
"Okay then miss Ebihara, where might your parents be?"
The smile leaves her face and she starts to tear up and sniffle her nose in an adorable way. It is obvious that this is a bad attempt at acting when she says, "M-My parents died when I was little, me and Haas here escaped from the orphanage that mistreated us."
Zurvick's face dropped, he completely fell for it.
Seiri sobs and continues, "The only thing my dad ever taught me when he was alive was to always repay someone if you have wronged them. The only thing I have to offer is this flask, if you don't take it, I'd be letting my dead father down."
Zurvick writhes in horror at what he feels to be the ultimate form of disrespect on his part by not accepting her payment.
He also starts to tear up when he grabs her little shoulders and shouts, "I'm sorry! I had no idea how tragic you and your friend's life is! Please allow me to take your flask!!!"
Zurvick takes it and once again apologizes, he leaves the two and heads to his original destination, the cashier's desk to talk to the old lady he knew from his childhood.
Seiri watches him walk away with a big smile on her face, after waving him goodbye she turns to Haas and that smile turns arrogant.
With a puff of her chest, she says, "So what did you think of my superior acting skills? The Ebihara family have a long lineage of famous actors and actresses throughout time, naturally, I inherited those talents."
Haas, who was trained to not speak nor show emotion, is actually quite annoyed at how this situation had turned out. The whole point of their presence in this town is to be as discreet as possible until the battle starts; of course he feels like he had made a mistake possible of jeopardizing the mission by bumping into the man and causing a scene in the first place. But Seiri butting in and pulling off the whole acting thing for no reason whatsoever is far worse.
So his answer to her question is as simple as can be.
Zurvick arrives at the cashier's desk and sees the familiar old lady working the counter. "Granny!"
The white haired old lady stares up at him and tilts her head, with a confused glare she coldly asks, "Who the hell are you?"
Zurvick jolts in shock.
The two stare at each other for a few seconds but the silence is broken by the old lady's laugh. "Hahaha, I'm just kidding. How can I forget that face of yours? But you’re no longer the little twerp I remember."
He sighs in relief and says, "That's right, I'm much bigger now."
"Yeah much bigger, you're the damn King now. How about that? Who would've thought that you, my little servant would become such a man." "Uhh, is that a compliment?"
"Haven’t I ever given you a compliment before? I'm happy for you."
Zurvick smiles wholeheartedly and says, "Thanks Granny!"
The old lady lifts her index finger and smiles menacingly, "I don't mean to break up the nostalgic mood, but I have a favor to ask."
"Ugh, a favor?"
"That's right, why don't you make yourself useful and help me move some boxes to the upper cabinet."
"Come on, do it for old time's sake. Besides, I'm not as young as I used to be, those boxes are too heavy for my aging bones."
Zurvick can't help but oblige; this is the kind of guy he is, he won't ever turn his back on people in need matter how much power he acquires.
He walks behind the counter and the old lady shows him what boxes to grab, he does so and lifts himself up the three stepped stool to put them in the cabinet that rests above the counter.
As soon as he does this, the old lady's voice is heard, but she is not addressing Zurvick.
"I hope you found everything okay."
The person on the customer end of the counter is Dice Di'vore, he is holding a gray suit with red lining, numerous buttons run down the middle but the suit gives off the impression that it would look better if it was worn as is. He also has a silk red scarf as an accessory.
"I think I did." Dice replied with a polite smile.
The old lady looks at the price tag and tells him what he needs to pay before saying, "You made a smart choice on this suit."
Dice pays her the money and says his thanks, he feels a tap on his shoulder and turns to find Rain standing there with a dress in her hand.
"Oh, so this is what you decided to get?" he asks.
Rain walks past him and to the counter, "I guess you can say that..."
She pays the old lady and watches her put it into a large paper bag. Just to the side of the working old lady is a man on a stool working on something up in the top cabinet whose face cannot be seen because the cabinet is blocking their view. He lets off a groan and a few items fall to the floor.
"Ohh sorry about that! It's just that this box is a little heavy." Zurvick said with strain in his voice.
The old lady's gentle smile turns into a bitter one. "Get your act together."
Dice looks a little worried when he asks, "Does he need any help?"
The old lady turns to him and waves her hand from side to side. "No no he's fine, it would be an insult to have a precious customer help a useless employee."
The struggling Zurvick becomes frustrated at her words, "It would only be an insult if I was actually an employee!"
"Shut up, little twerp!!"
The old lady punches his leg and he almost falls off the stool.
Rain sighs and her agitation level continues to rise, to her, this whole shop has been bugging her since the moment she walked through the door. Her experience here was definitely a bad one.
She starts walking toward the exit and says, "Let's go."
Dice doesn't know what to do, he really wants to help the poor guy, but when Rain tells him to do something, he can't say no. He politely waves to the old lady and gives Zurvick's legs a pitiful look, he follows Rain out of the door and into the town.
Zurvick gets done with putting the boxes in the cabinet and comes off the stool, he glares at the old lady with a bitter look on his face. The old lady shrugs her shoulders and says, "Don't give me that look, if anything, I should be the one who's angry. Your lack of work ethic embarrassed me in front of the customers."
"Huh? How does that work!?"
Before the old lady can answer, a flustered Ash walks up to the counter.
"I-I'd like to purchase this please."
The old lady's eyes light up and she says, "You made a smart choice on this dress."
Zurvick scopes out Ash's dress and smiles. "This is really nice! Oh wait, I still gotta get my suit!"
Not giving Ash anytime to soak the compliment in, he rushes off back into the aisles to finish his shopping.
"That boy... he hasn't changed at all since he was a little child." the old lady said with a proud smile.
Ash hands her the money. "I can only imagine what that idiot was like as a kid, it's amazing that anyone could handle him."
"Hehe that was my job. Back then he always used to sneak out of the Archbishop's estate to find an odd job to do."
Ash tilts her head and asks, "Job?"
"That's right, being born into a noble family he never had to worry about a hard day's work. But he would go to every shop in the city and ask for any kind of work they could offer, and one of them was this shop."
Ash turns and stares at him rushing to find the right outfit. "Wow... he really is that kind of guy huh? That behavior of his would explain why he joined the lowest ranks of the military. I guess he just likes work."
The old lady folds the dress and puts it into a large bag. "That's not it. He acts this way because he wants to be close to people, no matter what rank or social status they have, everyone is the same to him. I once asked him why he wanted to work when he didn't have to, and he simply replied, 'Because that's what people do.' He is some kind of man."
The old lady's expression turns from serious and honest to comical, she puts her hand on her face and blushes.
"If only I was younger, the things I'd do to him would be----"
"Waaaaaa! How does the conversation mold into that!? You shouldn't mess up the mood and talk about perverted things!" Ash interrupts as her imagination starts racing.
The old lady chuckles, "Oh why not? I miss the good old days where my friends and I used to dote over such things."
Ash takes a deep breath and puffs her chest out. "W-Well I can't, as his Captain there's no way I can speak of such things."
The old lady wryly smiles, "Even though you won't talk about it, you certainly are thinking about it right?"
"They say a young girl's feelings are always noticeable to the eyes of a seasoned woman."
Ash gets extremely flustered and shifts her eyes to the ground, the old lady finds her actions to be adorable and it reminds her of how she used to be years in the past. Not trying to poke fun at her or anything, the old lady begins to sympathize with Ash's situation.
"It's a shame... You really are a part of a fairy tale like story of the average girl and a man of royalty. You know, the stories about the forbidden love of two classes of people. Unfortunately it's just too little too late, that boy, once his mind is set, he never wavers. His heart belongs to the Queen and that is that."
Hearing the old lady's more than true words make her heart waver for a moment, she reveals a troubled smile and says, "I know... but the chances of me even being around him are once in a lifetime, so I won't give up quite yet."
Ash turns away and walks toward Zurvick, who is taking his sweet time and making her impatient.
"Hey you idiot! Hurry the hell up, how can I be done with my shopping before you!?"
Having not been yelled at and ordered around by Ash in quite some time, he turns and salutes.
"My apologies Captain!"
This makes Ash even more angry when she shouts, "I told you not to call me that!"
The old lady smiles and watches the scene from the cashier's booth, thinking about their situation, she quietly says to herself, "That girl... she doesn't even think of the consequences of her actions. If she were to actually win the King over, I could only imagine what the Queen would do. It'd most certainly be bad for Troy."
The old lady turns and begins sorting out the rest of the boxes that sit against the wall, she chuckles and finishes, "Hehehe, she's just like me when I was younger."
Little does the old lady, Ash, and Zurvick know, a powder keg of disaster had just narrowly been avoided.
Two people who wanted them dead at all costs were mere inches away from them.
This also applies to Rain and Dice as well, three members of the most dangerous group in all the world were shopping in the same store; if any kind of information on who they are was leaked, the high chances that they would be killed is through the roof. La'Juune, Eiyalazo, and Troy.
Three different Kingdoms that have been at an on and off war since their founding, had all been represented in this one little shop called 'ROYAL WEAR'.
The sun has almost set and the orange glare of the horizon makes the city of Tronoble look almost surreal. This view is seen perfectly from the large window on the top floor suite of a luxurious hotel. Noah is staring out this window and at the large snow capped mountains that are shining elegantly in the sunlight out in the distance.
He adjusts his tie and puts on a white overcoat when he says, "Are all the preparations complete, Jeffrey?"
Jeffrey is sitting on a dining chair by the dining table in the corner of the room. "Yeah, I've gotten word from everyone that their positions are set. Though a few of our objectives were changed around because of the presence of the King of Troy, it would seem like we have hit a great bit of unusual luck."
Noah turns around and says, "Good... luck always favors the victors, but we can't let this opportunity change our outlook on how difficult the mission is. This is going to be a rough night."
Jeffrey chuckles a little bit and straightens up his black suit. "I’m sure it will be, but at least we're going to look damn good doing it."
Noah straightens up his white overcoat as well and replies, "Well that is a bright side... Seiri, Haas, and Elise did a good job at picking out some good outfits for the Ball tonight."
"Who would've thought that those three oddballs could pull off something that doesn't involve fighting. Though Elise likes to think of herself as somewhat of a clothing connoisseur, I doubt she’s ever given any thought to what a man would want to wear."
Noah slightly laughs at how things have worked out in this way, he walks for the door and says, "Everyone is in everyone after all."
Jeffrey follows and responds, "That is certainly true, if that wasn't the case there'd be no way the ten of us could work together so effectively."
Noah opens the door and enters the hallway. "That truth will give us an outstanding victory tonight. They will do their jobs around the city, and we will do our jobs in the Ballroom."
The Ballroom is located in a massive castle that literally sits in the middle of Tronoble, this castle was once the house of a King and Queen that ruled over what used to be a city-state. In Troy's past, the southern half of the country was separated into many city-states; each one of these had their own rulers. Though most of them were considered warlords, the largest ones were so powerful that they were more like a country, so naturally they had their own Kings and Queens.
These city-states were soon taken over and disassembled by the north when the push to unify the country began. Some of the castles owned by the old rulers of the land still remain and this one in particular is over seven hundred years old.
This Ballroom is four sided and 100 meters wide and 50 meters across, smooth marble floors lay below the feet and more than a dozen crystal chandeliers rest above the head. Many tables covered in fine linen have many different kinds of food on them, and they are constantly being restocked by caterers and waiters.
There is a platform on the north end of the room that has an orchestra playing smooth classical music, giving the atmosphere of the place an even more classy feel.
As of now there are a few dozen guests of the Ball socializing around the tables and on the dance floor, the Ball doesn't start until eight o'clock so there is still a few minutes until the people in line outside of the front gate of the manor will be allowed in.
Sitting on the main table of the room is Zurvick and Ash, she feels dreadfully uncomfortable in her frilly dress that is covered in ribbons and shows a lot of skin from her chest up.
Zurvick, dressed sharply in a dark blue suit looks at her and says, "Don't be so on edge, it's not as bad as you think."
"Maybe not for you, but for me this is beyond awful. I hate dresses and I hate these kinds of parties."
He nudges her shoulder and jokingly says, "Quite the socially awkward girl you are. You'll never get a boyfriend like that you know?"
Ash frowns and stomps on his foot under the table. "Of course I'd be like that when I'm sitting next to the center of attention! And what makes you think that I want a useless boyfriend!?"
Zurvick cringes at the pain in his foot, he is about to say something back when the sound of horns are heard signifying the beginning of the Ball and people begin to head in.
"Just be yourself Ash, you'll be okay." he says as he stands up, he holds his arm out and asks, "Shall we?"
Ash takes a deep breath and exhales out of her nose, she grabs his arm and replies, "Fine."
Rain and Dice are in the queue at the gate, about a dozen people stand between them and four Trojan soldier/security guards checking the tickets at the entrance to the castle grounds. The two show no signs of nervousness, instead the aura of confidence is felt as they walk toward the guards with their heads held high.
They reach the guards and hand them the tickets, the guards look at them suspiciously because there have already been a few people caught for fraudulent tickets, but they are hesitant to say anything when Rain and Dice don't even bother to greet them.
This coldness comes off as though they are so confident in their class that they feel that there is no need to speak to the lowly guards. The people who were caught earlier were unusually kind to them, and it helped blow their cover.
Weary of looking foolish and being punished, the security guards let them through and the two royals from Eiyalazo entered onto the grounds where the King of Troy is present.
"That was easy enough." Dice says.
Rain puts her hand onto his arm to make them look like a couple and replies, "I was expecting it to be."
After entering the building, the two walk up a columned stairway that leads to the two large double doors to the halls of the castle, the doormen open it and lead them in.
The first thing they see are a few workers of the manor standing at a table that is covered in masks.
One of the women workers bows and says, "For the guests only. The first couple hours of the Ball is set as a masquerade theme, please choose a mask from our selection that is to your liking."
Rain and Dice look at each other and then to the masks. Dice picks a white mask that only covers his eyes and Rain picks a sparking onyx mask that covers her entire face. The workers say their thanks and the two walk down the hallway that leads to the Ballroom.
Dice chuckles a little and says, "A masquerade party... hh how the stars have aligned for us, this couldn't have worked out any better."
Rain agrees, "I guess you can call it some kind of divine intervention, having masks on will make things much easier to escape after we kill the King." She adjusts the mask a little to the left to fit her face and adds, "And it's not just that, this will make it even easier to spot the King since he's the star of the Ball and not wearing a mask, it's quite convenient that only the guests have to wear them. The star of the show is the King, so it's only natural that he'd be the only one that needs to be seen."
Dice smiles at her words and the two walk into the Ballroom, close to 150 people are already here and more will show up in a short time.
"The time for your revenge is coming up very shortly."
Her lips rise slightly at the thought of her revenge.
"I can't wait."
Ebihara Seiri is standing on the rooftop of the Ballroom; next to her is Haas, the two are dressed in black and are hidden behind merlons, keeping them out of sight from anyone down below.
"I just want my light show to start already." said Seiri impatiently while tapping her heel on the roof.
Haas looks at his wristwatch and says, "... One hour..."
Seiri pouts and sits, she looks into a duffle bag that is full of flasks, she takes one out and begins to toss it up and down. "An hour to go before these babies can go boom.”
Haas looks at his watch once more, he has a duffle bag himself and pulls out a large roll of string.
He turns to her and says, "... Time... To begin... Set up..."
Seiri jumps up and smiles, "Hooray! This is going to be so much fun!"
Haas takes the string and starts walking along the edge of the roof, leaving a trail of string behind.
Seiri merrily skips along the edge of the five story building and cheerfully says, "Alright!"
Ash is walking alone in the middle of the ballroom filled with hundreds of people all dressed up and socializing; the red mask she’s wearing is hiding her current frustration.
(Damn that idiot, as soon as he takes a few drinks out of the flask that some random girl gave him, he runs off and leaves me alone! Now I can't find the bastard!)
The ball has been going on for well over thirty minutes and she hasn't been with Zurvick for the majority of it. Rubbing shoulders with people and dodging bodies becomes more of a hassle with each passing person, she gets extremely frustrated and starts to power through people, and that's when runs into something very sturdy.
"Ooowahh!?" Ash yelps as she falls backwards, before she falls the feeling of hands on her shoulders lifting her back upright. She looks up and sees the man she had just carelessly ran into making sure she has returned stably to her feet.
He is tall, wearing a gray suit with a lot of buttons, a silk red scarf covers his neck and a white mask is worn over his eyes.
"Are you okay mam?" he asks.
Ash looks troubled when she says, "I-I apologize."
The man smiles and happily replies, "It's not a problem, it never hurts to bump into a pretty lady."
The way he smoothly said that reminds her that she’s surrounded by the type of people who can say such flattery with easy familiarity.
"Thank you... but I really gotta get going, I was separated from the person I was with so I need to find him."
The man in the white mask shrugs his shoulders, "So you were separated too huh? The person I was with disappeared as well, though I can't say I expected her to hang around me all night anyways."
He lets go of her shoulders and is about to send her off when the sound of the orchestra's music can be heard. They are playing a slow waltz that is perfect for dance.
He looks around and sees people beginning to join their partners in a dance, not wanting to have to walk in between numerous dancing couples, he turns to Ash and holds out his hand.
"Would you care to dance ma'am?"
Ash is pretty much feeling the same way, the awkwardness of walking through those couples would make her night even worse.
She nervously takes his hand and responds, "Sure."
Rain had spotted Zurvick, desperately trying to get near to him; she ended up losing sight of Dice and the two got separated in the dense crowd of partygoers. And now that there are dancing couples surrounding her, there is no way that she can get to the King. If she walked through them all and damaged him in any way, she would easily be spotted and quickly caught.
She clicks her tongue in frustration, her vision begins to become blurry at the thought that her father's murderer is only a few feet away from her and she can't do anything about it. She takes a seat by one of the tables and never lets her glare leave what looks to be an intoxicated King Zurvick.
Zoning out at the crowd and emanating a dark aura, she senses a presence to her left, she ignores it at first until the presence speaks.
"May I ask what you are looking at? This is a Ball, usually people aren’t so serious and uptight, I can sense it from behind your mask you know?"
Rain turns toward the source of the young man's voice and finds the person standing there in a white overcoat, a light golden brown vest is worn under it, and under that a white collared shirt accompanied by a black tie.
He has orange hair and a gold mask covers his black eyes.
Rain is disinterested in making conversation with this young man so she replies in a combative tone. "Just because I'm at a Ball doesn't mean that I have to be merry."
"Oh? How cold you are. I like that in a woman." the young man says as he holds his arm out. "Care for a dance?"
Rain keeps her glare on Zurvick when she replies, "No thanks."
The young man chuckles, "You want to get close to the King right? If we dance, we can maneuver our way closer to him."
Rain thinks about this for a second, if they dance and move in on him, once the music stops she'd be able to integrate with the crown that surrounds him.
With this thought in mind, she capitulates to his offer.
"Very well then."
She stands and grabs onto his hand, the two move to the center of the dance floor and begin dancing.
Holding Rain's hand and waist, and already moving to the music, he finally asks, "May I ask what your name is?"
Rain frowns behind her mask and says, "Isn't it supposed to be the job of the man to introduce himself before the woman?"
"Oh right, I guess I got carried away. My name is Noah."
"Only a half introduction?"
"Is the last name necessary in this situation?"
Rain blows air out of her nose and faintly smiles, "My name is Rain."
"It's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Rain."
The two begin dancing their way towards the crowd in which Zurvick is entertaining, inching closer and closer, the two actually dance quite well together considering their goal isn't to be so in sync.
"Thank you for accompanying me for this dance, it wouldn't have been any fun being a wall rat while everyone else is enjoying themselves."
"It's fine, this benefits me more than it does you anyway."
Noah looks around at their surroundings, he raises his eyebrow and asks, "Why is it that you want to get close to the King?"
"That's none of your concern."
"Hmmm, that's true but... would you mind if I guess why? You see, I like to think of myself as a master at guessing things, I bet I could even guess your full name."
Rain looks at him with a raised eyebrow, him wanting to guess at her intentions sent flags rising in the back of her mind.
"Knock yourself out."
Noah smiles confidently and says, "Let's see. Looking at your appearance... blue eyes, long black hair, I'd say that your last name isn't very common. And the reason why you would want to get close to the King depends on your last name as well."
Rain begins to become extremely suspicious, and those suspicions become something much more when her hand is gripped very tightly and she is pulled closer to him.
Noah again smiles and says, "Assassination is your motive... Von Ronheim is your name."
Rain's heart drops and her eyes grow large in shock.
"Who are you?"
“I am someone who knows a lot about you, Rain... would you care to join me on the balcony?"
It's obvious that Rain doesn't have a choice in the matter, with her body held so tightly, she is at the mercy of this mysterious young man. She frowns and is quietly led past the crowd surrounding the drunken King and towards the stairs that lead to the balcony.
Ash is dancing with the man wearing a white mask, though you can't really call this dancing because she is horrible at it. This is more like a student and teacher moment because the man in the mask is teaching her step by step.
Ash is flustered at how things have turned out and she says, "This is way more embarrassing than disturbing the dancing couples."
The man laughs, "Hahaha no you're doing great, just keep following my lead."
She follows his foot movements and more than once she steps on his toes, but since she is so light it doesn't hurt him at all.
He smiles and says, "Oh yeah I forgot to introduce myself. My name's Dice---"
He stops the finish of his last name so as to not blow his cover, he turns his head away from her and hopes she didn't notice it.
While his head is turned, he notices something strange, he sees Rain walking up the large staircase hand and hand with a man he has never seen before. His stomach turns cold as many different thoughts go into his head as to why she is doing this and where she is going.
He turns to Ash and is about to say his apologies because he wants to chase after them, that is, until she introduces herself as well.
"My name is Ash Alworth. It's nice to meet you, Dice."
Dice's eyes grow wide, that name hits him like a bolt of lightning.
He takes his hand off her waist and puts it to her ear and asks, "May I see your face?"
Ash blushes, (I hope this guy isn't getting the wrong idea about me.)
She nervously shakes that thought out of her mind.
Dice unties her mask with his hand and sees her face. Her description fits perfectly, this is the girl who along with the King of Troy, assassinated Rain's father Ditreig Von Ronheim. This is the girl who is one of the two obstacles standing in the way of his love for Rain to be fulfilled.
Confused on whether or not he chases after Rain or acts upon this chance opportunity with Ash, he grits his teeth and comes to a decision. There is only one thing for Dice to do, he frowns and instantly twists her arm, he grabs her tightly and pulls her in.
Ash is completely caught off guard and doesn't know what in the world has just happened, all she knows is that she is pinned to him and cannot move.
Her questions are answered when Dice leans down and whispers into her ear, "If you make a sound... I'll kill you."
Ash is in shock, and it finally dawns on her that she is in imminent danger when she feels the sharp edge of a dagger pressed against her back.
On the top of the building that holds the Ballroom, Seiri and Haas are standing there looking at their wristwatches.
"...Preparations... Done..." Haas said in a robotic tone.
Seiri is tapping her toes on the ground impatiently, it is 8:59 and the final minute seems to be taking extra long.
"Come on come on, change already!"
The clock hits nine and Seiri jumps up and down in excitement, she is normally a calm girl but the thought of what they are waiting for makes her unusually giddy. She leans over and pulls a box of matches out of her pocket, she pulls a match out and strikes it on the sandpaper. The flamed match is gently held to the rope that Haas had strategically stretched all around the building, the fire from the tip of the rope begins to spread and crackle, and like a stick of dynamite it sizzles down the length of the rope.
"Let's go, we only have five minutes to get out of here." Seiri says as she picks up her duffle bag and rushes to the edge of the building.
Haas grabs his bag as well.
He runs to the edge and jumps off the Ballroom building onto another smaller building of the manor.
Seiri follows and the two hopscotch across the roofs until they leave the castle grounds.
"So who are you?" asked Rain.
She is standing by the railing of the balcony and is cornered by this mysterious man in the mask.
Noah takes his mask off and shows her his face, she instantly knows who he is and expresses shock.
Noah knows she recognizes him, but introduces himself anyways. "Noah Courlivet... I suppose you don't know why I'm here and what exactly is going on. So I'll explain it to you, Rain Von Ronheim, the leading Battle Strategist for the Eiyalazonian military."
"Tch." Rain clicks her tongue and backs away from the approaching Noah, she clenches her fist and the pentagram on her right hand begins to glow.
Noah takes another step closer to her and says, "On second thought, why don't you take a look behind you. What you see will explain it for me."
Rain quizzically turns around and sees a sight completely unexpected, the night sky is glowing with the tint of orange. At least half of the city is engulfed in flames and citizens and soldiers are running all about in confusion and getting caught in the blaze.
Rain scopes the destruction and asks herself, "Have my men already commenced their attack?"
Noah grabs her right hand and puts his arm over her shoulder, he leans in towards her ear and says, "No, they are mine... your thirst for revenge has cost you the opportunity to sack Tronoble. So just sit back with me and watch La'Juune destroy this city along with your precious revenge."
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