Ares held a party for the Hunters who risked themselves in battle in order to protect the city and its Civilians. Jack was more than happy to try the food, but Blue coldly denied them, even if Kris brought over dishes from other tables. Ares and Blue face off with fake smiles and hidden intentions, and the female Strider had hit bullseye with her words. Sweetheart Cafe gets an inspection from two mysterious men, as well as Kyle’s shop. Angella and Leyna pick up Elise, Aileen, and Kimmie as well as an unexpected guest: Eve. In their headquarters, they discuss the danger that Ares is possibly creating, and Blue asks for Angella to reconsider MidnightBound’s safety. Everyone, including Eve, agreed it’d be a shame if they abandoned all their knowledge. Blue’s subconscious scolds her for attaching herself.
He was only seven when it had happened.
His family mansion… engulfed by flames of hatred. The obsidian sky had exploded into vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. He was sleeping a second ago, and suddenly, he was being carried away from his bedroom by the family butler. He felt the fires lick his face as it hissed in its objective to devour the living space into ashes… along with his parents. Luckily for him, he escaped with half of his face burnt. He had watched helplessly as the maids try to put out the fire with water, but all efforts were futile. The siege that had started wasn’t from a natural cause; it was the wrath of the beasts.
Flashes of his father and mother appeared, their smiling faces, their joyful laughter, and their wonderful praising upon seeing his grades in school. They were kind, loving, and precious to him, but the beasts have taken it all from him. The family manor was something that his father had built, standing for over a decade, but it was in ruins now. His infant clothes his mother made, all from scratch silk or some signature fabric, but they were all wiped from their physical forms.
The guild that his father had led almost lost its footing the day he died. Fortunately, there were Vicemasters to take the leading position. Originally, his father had planned to give him the Guildmaster seat, but the flames extinguished that before it could happen.
His hair wasn’t red or shaped like a forward mohawk back then; it was clean cut and blonde. It gave him a scholarly look, and he accepted it to satisfy his parents’ expectations. His eyes weren’t gold either; they were a lustrous light brown. Back then, he was a child: weak, helpless, innocent. But as he grew and reality slapped him in the face several times, he changed. Red and the fiery hairstyle suited him more and recently, he’s been favoring gold above all other colors.
It was like a reminder, kind of, his new look. The red, gold, and untamed hairdo. If it was a reminder, it wouldn’t be his house or his parents.
Ares had sworn to annihilate every beast and anyone who dared to interfere with his mission.
Opening his eyes slowly, the Commander was looking up at the ceiling, his back stretched broadly across his bed, the linen fabrics stuffed with cotton draped over his abdomen. Gold eyes stared intently upwards. He remained there for a while before he let any thought come through his brain.
The dream again… Ares sighed, pushing himself up to a sitting position on the bed.
Whenever that same dream plagued his mind in his sleep, he had no intentions of sleeping after, not that his brain allowed him to, anyway. It happens at least two or three times a year, but it felt like he had it daily. The day was going to be a tedious one, because of losing his sleep. He hated it when the politicians criticized him for being fatigued and he knew that they start to wonder if he was even suited for the Commander position. As always, Ares has proven them wrong, but he wondered how long it would be until the madness takes over and he ends up killing them all.
Slipping on his blue blazer, he decided to leave the pink bow tie that he’d normally wear with his outfit on his desk. When he did wear it though, he put the bow tie on the left side of his neck; it got very popular with the ladies at parties he would attend. Snatching his Weapon Key and stuffing his hands in his pockets, he left his room. He walks out the hallway of his mansion, glanced briefly over his belongings before he shut and locked the front door. Of course, there were always two guards standing on each side of his front lawn, even if he had ordered them to or not.
“Commander━” The one on his left began to argue against his intentions.
Stopping, he held up his left hand and closed his eyes, as if he didn’t want to hear anything else. “No, no, don’t start. I don’t need it. You two go home and get some sleep yourselves.”
“But the General━” the guard continued to disagree, which was a bad decision in front of Ares.
“How do I put this in the simplest way?” Ares turned toward the guard now, opening his eyes and securing a deadly gaze on him, “Leave your positions or never have one again.”
At this, the two guards froze and hesitantly glanced at each other, as if deciding whether to obey the General they worked directly under or the Commander of the entire City… The choice is too obvious.
“I expect you gone by the time I return.” Ares retreated his hand into his pocket, and continued to walk down the steps of his mansion. He stopped again when he placed both his feet on the sidewalk, concealing his eyes under his eyelids again to enjoy the midnight breeze. Turning to his right, he started his stroll. The pitched thuds of his boots on the concrete echoed around him in the silence of his neighborhood.
He lived in the innermost of Central, a place where only government or military officials could enter and reside in. It wasn’t his choice to live there, he was forced to. Ares could defend himself readily, but those inferior to him insisted that he have guards everywhere in his house. He already had three able persons as his guards, but they didn’t stop their begging for him to place soldiers around the Commander’s mansion.
Sighing, Ares wanted nothing to do with guards or soldiers around his home right now. The white structure was half as large as his childhood home, the one his parents had built for the entire family to reside in. Unlike the Commander’s solid white mansion, his parents’ had the outer walls made of gray bricks, while the rectangles around the doors were a maize color. One thing the two massive houses had in common were the wooden floors… at least he had that.
Lifting up a hand to cast a spell as a key to opening the enormous iron gates in front of him, he paused to glance back at the little wealthy area before exiting to resume his walk. Noticing a familiar presence behind him, he firmly placed his feet on the ground again, and looked up to the sky, not needing to know the person’s face to know their name.
“Dagger, you know better than to accompany me on my walks.” Ares said, his golden eyes scanning the beautiful sight of the sleeping sky.
“Are you going to tell me to go to sleep like those guards, too?” The female Blademaster chuckled behind him, crossing her arms, “I know not of sleep when my master is awake.”
“There you go again…” Ares sighed deeply, “Using those cliché phrases.”
“I may overuse it a little, but I have no choice other than to do so to pound it in your head.” Dagger replied, “What else would you want me to do? It’s midnight.”
“Sleep.” Ares shrugged, still not facing her, “I want to have a peaceful walk alone. I’m in my own domain; I have nothing to worry about.”
“What if the attack happens again?” Dagger asked.
“Then I’ll make it so the attack stops.” The redhead answered, easily.
“Honestly, why are you people so stubborn?” Ares turned around, exaggerating the action a bit to display his exhaustion of the argument, “I don’t want to cut off sentences, but you make me do it anyway. And for what? Just to hold my hand, walk me down yourself and treat me like a kid?” He paused, placing his palm on his forehead and shaking his head, “Listen, it’s just one walk. It’s not like it’s going to kill me.”
“All right, all right.” Dagger rolled her eyes, “Though, now I wonder whether or not I should tell Kaos about this…”
“If you do, I will personally suspend you from your missions.” Ares’s shoulder rose. Kaos was a stalker, and everyone should leave it at that. He was quiet and lethal, and especially protective over Ares. There was little effort in convincing Dagger or Rose to not follow him, but Kaos never listens. He trails Ares without a warning. The redhead has a hunch whenever one of the three was near him, but it was extremely difficult to detect Kaos.
Dagger grinned mischieviously, “Just be glad it was me and not Kaos.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever, go.” Ares waved for Dagger to leave, knowing her words were true.
Instead of going back to where she came from, the Blademaster sat on the concrete, crossing her arms and legs, “I’m just going to wait here then.”
“What?” Ares stared at her in confusion, “Until I come back?”
Dagger nodded, “You said it, not me.”
Ares rotated around angrily, his veins popping, and finally resumed his walk, not bothering to glance behind him. Clearing his mind by shaking his head, he stared out at the city that lay in front of him. Where to go… Hmm… Those sisters lived in Southern Central, do they not…? Finding his destination, the Warlord began to walk in that direction, throwing away his worries for now.
The majority of the walk up until this point was silently serene. Ares wondered why he hadn’t taken these types of walks often. But the answer was always the same: Because you’re the Commander. You can’t go into the city without attracting a mass world gathering. Scratching his head, he looked at the various closed shops, impressed at how neat they were and how clean the sweepers kept the streets. Eliciting a small smile, he pressed forward, the sound of his boots still resounded off the hushed road.
Suddenly, his eyes opened, its golden shades alarmed. Glancing around warily, Ares could see nothing that was out of the ordinary, yet he felt something upsetting his stomach. It was different from the feeling he had when he noticed the presence of Kaos, Dagger, or Rose, but he was definitely sensing someone. It made him want to ravage and torture it. It drew out the inner sadist in him.
Dragging out his Weapon Key and willing it to transform into its true shape, the black-and-maize two-handed sword’s handle fell on his palm, and he took it with no hesitation. The two fire opals that was fused into the weapon hummed with power, almost replying to Ares’s growing madness. Now that he thought about the feeling more, he felt like a predator closing in on a prey. The only difference was he didn’t know what his prey was, but it seemed like a good one.
Pivoting his head to the left, he immediately darted in the direction. His instincts were the only sensation that told him where to go. The bloodlust he kept inside of him boiled, threatening to spill at any second. Careful not to make contact with the concrete through his sword, he slipped through narrow alleyways, jumped over walls, and climbed up assorted buildings, all in order to find out what his prey was. Ares only hoped it’d be more lasting than a Virgo beast.
Alpha had arrived at Central in the afternoon on the train from Maddox to Central, but he didn’t expect for himself to be roaming around in the city━at midnight, too. He planned to take the Southern Train to the city of Tiberius, but it left without him. Why were trains to Central always so late? There were constant slows or even complete stops on the way; all of the trains had one or both of those problems. The Strider should’ve thought his journey through more carefully.
Walking through the streets, his icy front mohawk was slouching from the lack of gel. The weather at Central wasn’t cold, but he had count on his sky blue and yellow scarf to keep the cold out. He wore a blue jacket over his dark navy long sleeved T-shirt and teal pants held up by his golden belt, which, the extraneous parts separate into two, dangling on the right side. Although not on rugged terrain, the orange treads beneath his navy boots felt light as he walked on even ground, specifically the concrete streets of the city.
By now, every store he saw was closed, and everyone was sleeping peacefully in their beds or doing other activities. Alpha’s green eyes lost their hyper glow, and was turning duller with every passing minute as they yearned for sleep. Alpha had to fight the urge to collapse on the ground right then and there. He didn’t know what else to do; the Strider had no idea where he was even at in the city let alone seek out a hotel. So he figured he would walk a little until he stumbled across… any store that was open, essentially.
If it wasn’t for his late arrival at Central, he would’ve been in Tiberius, and then he could’ve boarded the train from Tiberius to Vresa, too. He wanted to get as far as possible from where he left. As if a flame exploded in his mind, Alpha started to walk a little faster, frowning as he stared at the ground. The city of Myla was at the outermost fringes of both the Evain Nation and the the Estaria Union. Basically, one of the coldest cities in Asna. All there was were snow, snow, and even more snow. The tourists from other regions gape when they see it falling down, but Alpha gets disgusted by them whenever they do that. To any foreigner, snow is a wonderful thing; but to the natives, it was monotonous.
Alpha had wanted to escape from the everyday alabaster scenery. His life was filled with snow. The cold material was everywhere he looked, and he had wanted to visit other areas and see if they had snow or something else that’s the complete opposite. But he was caged in his own city. Myla was the city of the Descendants, a guild that is on the brink of extinction. Alpha never understood why, but the Silver Knights, an extremely popular guild in Central(why, they even had the Central City Commander as their Guildmaster!), and Descendants had a millennia long grudge with each other.
The icy haired Strider was supposed to be the heir to the Guildmaster seat. Alpha had to go through all kinds of training━both mental and physical. As if the snow wasn’t already annoying him by the day, his rigorous training began to make him wonder if he could escape. It did not help that his mentors were grumpy, either. They told him that double sword wielding was a tradition in the line of Guildmasters of Descendants━every single day. He wanted nothing to do with the “long line of Descendants Guildmasters” or the unexplained grudge that just happened to be there; he wanted a life of his own, filled with choices that he wanted to make.
They say Central City was the city of hope and new beginnings, where people rose from nothing to something without revealing their history. Alpha wanted to believe that, but he also started to lose trust in things that are too good to be true. Besides, he couldn’t live in Central City… it was the Silver Knights’ territory. They made it very clear to the Descendants that Central was theirs and theirs alone. Alpha doubted the Civilians even questioned their authority; they simply accept it. Alpha had to hurry up and find a way out of the city, but he couldn’t do that because he was walking through it at midnight. When no one was awake.
Out of nowhere, his head swung to the right, his green eyes immediately contracting with fear. Alpha didn’t know what was happening himself, but he felt something monstrous was coming his way. The fear continued to build up, but he was still frozen in place. Prey━that’s what he was. And where there was prey there was bound to be predators. Fangs… sharp ones at that. He started to run from his unknown doom, feeling desparate as his feet carried him up buildings or above barriers. The panic began to settle in as his breathing became more labored and audible.
No! His mind screamed at him, </i>Don’t stop running! The monster’s getting faster!</i>
Turning around a corner, he saw a bridge stretching across the street he had brought himself to. It was substantially a perpendicular intersection between two roads, but one of the streets were raised onto a bridge, allowing the two to coexist on different planes. As much as Alpha would like to jump onto the construction and walk across it, he had other matters to worry about; like a wrathful presence breathing on his heels.
He almost missed it, but there was a person underneath the bridge. All he could make out was the person’s head, which had long black hair. Approaching the structure, he realized that it was a female, and she looking at the bridge like she was inspecting it for a hidden treasure. His mind formulated a quick plan. At first, he wanted to throw the plan away for the sake of his morals, but he had no other choice… the pursuer would reach him soon.
Trying to run quietly when his breathing was out of order was difficult, but he managed it anyways. Walking toward the girl, she still had her back to him, completely transfixed with the bridge. Oh well, it made the job easier for him. Nice outfit, was the last thought on his mind before he willed his hands to move, grabbing the girl’s shoulders, and turned her around to place his lips on hers firmly.
“Wake up.” A voice called to her, its tone dreamy and almost like a river, “He’s here.”
When Angella opened her eyes, she was standing in one of the streets of the city, its moon-washed concrete ground created a hazy aura in her eyes. She was directly facing a bridge that arched across a road on the ground, forming a concrete arch above the street it soared over. When the Dragoon started to walk toward the structure, a figure appeared on the walls that lined the edges of the bridge. When she looked closer, it was a gray cat with white underfur sitting on top of the stone rail.
Taking more steps toward the bridge, she stared up at its sky blue eyes, the black slitted pupils of the felidae stared back as intently as her mauve gaze. It wasn’t a normal cat with faded stripes on its back… the feline had markings. The spirals extending from the corner of its eye to the middle of its cheeks were black and three thin stripes from its belly arching up onto its flanks. On each of its four paws, one toe was black and its tail had markings similar to a snow leopard.
Angella raised her arms, reaching up for the petite feline. Its tail curled and the cat got on all four, its eyes watching the road as if measuring the height. Finally, it decided to jump into Angella’s arms; and the Dragoon held the gray felidae close to her chest. The cat’s fur was short but fluffy, and petting the soft hairs made her want to stay in the dream she was having.
“He’s here.” The cat seemed to be saying, but its lips didn’t move, the only sound coming out of its throat was its content purr.
“Who?” Angella tilted her head, getting a better view of the cat’s deep eyes.
The cat lifted its head off Angella’s arms and perked its ears. Its lovely blue gaze seemed to be looking at something behind her. Noticing this, the female turned around, wanting to know what was behind both of them. Her eyes rested on the two animal figures that was sitting on the ground in front of her. On her left was a wolf, its pelt like hairs of obsidian, its green gaze connecting to hers in a hopeful manner. Next to the wolf, on Angella’s right, was a golden lion, though the lack of natural light made the brilliant hue fade out a bit. His lighter mane flowed as an invisible wind played with it, his eyes were the exact same shade as the wolf’s, and she was on the receiving end of both of their stares.
Before she could open her mouth to speak, everything turned to black and a pair of ice cold eyes opened underneath silver eyelids. When the eyelids completely peeled back to reveal the full glare of the harsh eyes, the dream shook Angella awake, her eyes flung open as the sight of her bedroom’s ceiling greeted her.
Everything was dead silent in their apartment. Even through closed curtains, the half moon’s light managed to pierce through the fabric. Pushing herself up into a sitting position then eventually getting off the bed herself, Angella peeked behind the cloth that draped over her windows. The city was quiet, there was not a sight of anything moving. Sighing, she looked over to her sister’s bed, at ease to find that Leyna was still sleeping comfortably underneath her blue blanket.
Slipping her usual uniform on, Angella decided to let her hair down because it was midnight━no one would be up to see it. Silently picking up the Weapon Key she hid under her pillow, she slipped out of her apartment without a word to the Elemental Master; she seemed too carefree to be disturbed.
Angella recognized where the bridge from her dream was; and she was glad it wasn’t far away from her. Her combat boots made muffled sounds against the stone ground as she hurried in the direction of the location. She forgot what the bridge was called, but she was going to find out soon. Her eyes were a bit sleepy, but she didn’t need any coffee to wake her up; the confusion from the dream alone can keep her curiosity peaked.
Distracting her mind a bit, she noticed the city was quite serene when it was sleeping and the commotion had died down. There were no slow walkers or rude people to interrupt her walk at midnight, which was a relief, because she hated those kinds of people. Slowing down, she drank in the lazy scenery, a bit glad that she chose to seek out the bridge at this crazy time.
There were some pet stores she noticed, and made a mental note to visit them sometime. Seeing the cat in her dream made her feel like cuddling one for real. There was something about cats that she liked; their soft fur, the way they purr, and the way they believed that they were the owners and not the pets. Angella hoped she wasn’t allergic to cats.
Ah, she caught the bridge in the distance, there it is.
Accelerating into a quick jog, she soon found herself staring up at the structure. Angella half expected for there to be a stray cat sitting on the rails. Looking around, she found no wolf or lion, either. Maybe there’s something on the bridge itself. Pressing her hand on the cold stone, she let her nails trail on it and her eyes were looking around at the same time.
Featherspirit Bridge, huh…? The Dragoon looked everywhere on the bridge, but found nothing. She climbed onto the bridge, too, but found even more nothing on it. Jumping down onto the road below, she glared at the structure with a slight pout, not knowing what she was looking for or why the architecture was in her dream. Hmm… Maybe standing under it and looking up…? Testing the bridge one last time, she did what she suggested herself to do.
At first, all she could see were stone, but when she squinted her eyes, there was something visible. A rune? Marking? She raised herself on her toes to get even closer, but still couldn’t figure out what it was. Putting her heels to the ground, she stared at the spot on the concrete bridge, trying to ponder on what she could do. It was useful if she could use her magic to form a light bulb or a flashlight, but her magic didn’t have that type of potential.
Angella would’ve loved to ponder more, but suddenly, she was twirled around forcefully and before she could register what was happening, she was being kissed by a stranger. She only saw a glint of the green in his eyes before he closed it. What the?! She panicked and automatically assumed he was drunk, but there was no sign of alcohol in his mouth, though there was a taste of… train food?
Refusing to open her mouth, she instead bit on his lower lip hard, earning herself temporary release from his grasp. As he let go, Angella stepped back, wiping the trace of their kiss on her lips away, “What are you doing?!” She shouted at him, willing for her Weapon Key to transform, holding the tall spear in her hands in a defensive stance.
His icy mohawk was almost white, drowned in the moon’s light, but his determined green eyes never lost their glow. He had a Weapon Key of his own, and his double blades appeared in his hands. Throwing one at Angella, he aimed for her but he targeted for her spear. Angella spun her spear to counterattack the spinning blade coming towards her, effectively knocking it out of its planned path. What she didn’t expect was the guy’s swiftness; he shot in her direction right after he threw his blade, knowing Angella would have her attention on the blade before he got to her.
Taking a hold of her weapon, the Strider yanked it out of her hands and threw it out of her reach, the steel screeching across the stone as it slid further and further away. He grabbed her right hand, stilling it with his own strength. He still held his other blade, and he pressed the flat side of the blade against her back as he snaked his arm around her waist. The female Dragoon tried to make best of her knee by attempting to hit a man’s greatest weakness with it, but before she could, the man shoved her against the concrete wall of the bridge.
Her back didn’t make contact with the solid structure, but if it did, Angella was sure she would no longer be a Hunter. The female Dragoon had assumed worst of worst, that he was going to force himself onto her, but he didn’t make any attempts to hurt her. His grip on her dominant hand had loosened, but she still couldn’t break free of it.
“What are you trying to do?!” She tried to ask his intentions again, knowing she could still very well deliver a lethal strike, but she held back. He didn’t hurt her, so what…?
“Trust me.” He only replied, his green eyes desperate and begging for Angella to cooperate with him. Alpha figured out who was hawking him: Ares. There was no other person that his blood would react this enraged to. His father was a Guildmaster, so he guessed the reaction through his vessels, too.
Angella had no idea what the two words meant, and it definitely didn’t answer her question completely. They stared at each other for a few moments more, and by that time, Angella knew he wasn’t a guy with bad intentions, but that didn’t justify his actions for suddenly attacking her like this. She’d never been touched by anyone like this, and when the thought finally crossed her mind, her cheeks flared a brilliant pink, her mauve eyes widening. The sound of her heart pounding in her ears made them turn red, too.
The ice-haired man noticed, and whispered, “I’ll explain after… Pretend you’re my girlfriend. Please?” He blinked pleadingly, grinning in an apologetic manner.
Before Angella can turn any redder or open her mouth to speak, the sound of something dropping from a tremendous height sounded to their right, and the sound of rubble scattering immediately followed. Alpha knew who is was making an entrance, and Angella was starting to get the situation. Wait, is this guy a criminal? Why is he being chased? The two questions were among the first to pop in her mind after making assumptions off of the circumstances.
Looking back at Angella, Alpha stared at her urgently, the panic in his eyes only comprehensible through their eye contact. Widening her eyes again, the female Dragoon gulped in reply under his compelling green gaze. So heis being chased… by who…? Should I trust him? Before she could consider on his intentions, he gently captured her lips again, much softer compared to the first one.
Deciding to just go with it, Angella complied with his kiss, timidly spreading her mouth apart. It was awkward, since this was her first kiss and the first time that she was pinned by a guy. The feeling of tongue on tongue was disgusting to her at first, and their noses sometimes got in their way, though it was mostly Angella’s fault. As they deepened the kiss, Alpha guided her a little, tilting his head to where he wanted hers to tilt to and successfully getting rid of the nose complication. His grip on her hand completely melted away but the female Dragoon was too busy to notice as he smoothly brought her hand to the small of his back. Her fingers grasped onto his blue jacket on instinct, as if to keep her from falling.
The girl was cute, Alpha had to admit, but he couldn’t take it further than this; at least, not right now. He had met beauties back in Myla, and all of them shared the same traits: pale skin, blonde hair, and secretly dark eyes. And yes, during his earlier years, he has dated and made out, so this was nothing to him, but he was dealing with a first timer. Alpha was just glad she understood the situation and offered no more resistance… and he was grateful for her not hitting him.
Ares straightened himself, patting off the dust that had collected onto his clothes, kicking the ruin of pebbles that was once part of the concrete street. Dragging his blade now, the overwhelming urge to destroy and contort was gnawing at him. The titanium and obsidian sword made a metallic sound as he pulled it across the stone. He knew the name of the bridge he was approaching, but the hysteria building up in him had completely drowned the name of it away.
Descendant scum… His inner voice growled, How dare you step into my city…?
It was rather anti-climatic, the sight that revealed itself before him. Absurd and ridiculous were close runner ups, but weren’t sufficing. He had expected the Guildmaster of Descendant himself to make some type of dramatic entrance in front of Ares; not that the sight wasn’t dramatic already. Ares also expected some guy who was buffer or more badass looking, but the world doesn’t give you what you want. He paused in his approach, and stood to look at scene in a blank expression. The demons of his mind completely dispersed, leaving it barren and without thought. All of his predatory cravings were gone in just a split second.
Then, he let out a loud laugh, holding his stomach and throwing his head back to the sky. Throwing his head forward, he tabbed the ground with his sword and used his weapon as something to hold onto, as if he’d collapse from laughing at any moment. Tears started to form at the corners of his eyes, and he hugged his stomach with one arm tightly. If anyone who regarded him with great admiration saw him now, they might lose all of their hopes in him.
Alpha slowly broke their intimacy, his green eyes lingering on hers a little before he hardened them at the sight of Ares’s laughing fits. Angella was about to lose herself but the feeling of cold wind against her lips shook her back into reality. Turning her head to where the green-eyed man was glancing, she was shocked to see Ares, let alone him maniacally laughing like this. Retracting her hand from Alpha’s back, she straightened herself, blinking at the scene, still blushing like crazy.
Alpha stepped back from Angella, letting her have the space that she owned, but still held onto her hand. From what he heard from his mentors, Ares was nothing but a barbaric bastard, resorting to bloodshed anytime he could. Alpha didn’t want the girl to get her life in danger because of him. So why aren’t you letting her go so she can run away from Ares? The question bothered him, and he didn’t know why he couldn’t answer it.
“Oh, Ares,” He started, a calm expression washed over his face, “I didn’t know you enjoyed midnight strolls.”
Wheezing out his last fit, Ares stood up, wiping the tears from his eyes, “Me neither!” Letting out another bough of laughter, he shook his head, “This is the most eventful I’ve ever seen the city!”
“I’m glad to be under the spotlight, then.” Alpha gave a little bow, his look turning smug.
“Certainly, being in a Silver Knights’ city and trying to steal yourself a girl?” Ares’s voice pitched in amazement, “All in front of the Central City Commander… how daring you are.”
“What can I say? I live to greet death.” Alpha shrugged, “And you’re talking as if she belongs to you, when clearly, she thinks otherwise.”
“Is that so? I apologize.” Ares bent over exaggeratingly, “Anyway, now that I know I have a scrawny rival, I have nothing to worry about. Why are you here?” He glared at Alpha ridiculously, “To try and take the city? Because good luck, you won’t be able to beat me with your two blades cast away for the urge of a woman.”
“Who knows? The power of love can be pretty daunting.” Alpha grinned in reply, “And I’m not here to take the city. I wouldn’t want to rule in such an unambitious position.” He shrugged, “I was merely making a visit to my girlfriend and pick her up to go to Tiberius together.”
Tiberius?! Angella glanced at his green eyes briefly, Good thing this is all just an act… right?
“Do whatever you want, just know that my guards will have your full description written down and they’ll be looking for you.” Ares smirked, “Honestly… you disappoint me, Descendant. Here I thought I was going to be tested and… you show up.”
“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be back to kick your ass one day.” Alpha promised, though he wasn’t sure if he could keep it, “I’m just picking which places in Central to lay no mercy on.”
“Go ahead and browse through it all.” Ares stretched his arms, as if offering Alpha the whole city, “I’m sure you’d find something.”
“And I will.” Alpha replied, and turned toward Angella, “Let’s go to a more private place.”
Suddenly receiving the attention, Angella blinked in confusion for a second, but sighed and only nodded to the man. Alpha placed his arm around her waist as he guided them away from the bridge and away from Ares. Angella had never seen Ares in person before, only in broadcasts, but when she did, she could see why everyone talked about him so much. The dominating atmosphere he gives off would make anyone submit to him.
Ares commanded for his weapon return to its Key form, his hand closing over the key chain and his miniature sword. Walking the opposite direction Alpha had, Ares grinned madly, barely able to hold in his amusement.
His rival and his mark together… Ares wondered how many times things can go wrong.
“We’re safe.” Alpha cautiously looked behind the two, confirming that there was no one nearby, “Sorry for that… I panicked.”
Angella stepped back from his arm, glaring at him, “What the hell was that? Why were you talking with Ares like you two are familiar with each other? And what did you mean by taking over the city? I didn’t agree with you just so a criminal can take power by force.”
“Calm down.” Alpha held up his hands, taking a little step towards her, “Can you promise to be quiet when I explain, though?”
“Just go.” Angella demanded impatiently.
Alpha explained from the beginning, and he told her about him being the heir to the Descendants guild and where he came from, about how Descendants and Silver Knights were longtime rivals. Why he left, how he left, why he was stuck in Central, almost everything.It bothered him that he didn’t just give the girl a short one-sentence summary. So why hadn’t he?
After he finished, Angella glared at him for several seconds, testing if he was telling the truth. The whole story seemed very detailed, and it was just a lot to take in. Ares being his rival? Him denying his rightful position? Being a Guildmaster, herself, she thought about who was the “heir” to her place. Guilds technically did have a successor, and that was the most experienced Vicemaster in the guild. But from his perspective, an heir was the offspring of the previous Guildmaster. She never thought such systems existed, but the person in front of her (might) be a living proof of it.
The sun was beginning to light the sky from the west now, signaling the official start to a new day. Soon, stores would be open and Civilians would flock the streets. Suddenly, Angella wanted to return to the night sky and walk under the moon some more. The two were walking toward where Angella’s feet took her, since she learned from Alpha he had no idea where to go. And her feet seemed in the mood for Sweetheart Cafe, and she was more than happy to go there.
“Okay…” Angella finally spoke, pushing all of the facts aside for now, “...You still haven’t told me your name. And don’t think about faking it, or I’m reporting you to the police.”
“Please don’t.” He pleaded, “It’s Alpha.”
“Alpha.” Angella tested it with her voice, “I see. So I’m not going to Tiberius with you, right?”
“If you want to, we can.” Alpha arched an eyebrow.
“No!” Angella made a face, “I already decided to move here.”
“Shame.” Alpha sighed, “You would’ve made good eye candy.”
“Sh-Shut up.” Angella turned her face away, “I don’t want to go there.”
“Why?” Alpha tilted his head, his voice pitched, “I heard they have great scenery.”
“I’ve got a guild to run. One filled with… unique problems.” Angella hoped she chose the right word, first impressions were everything. Wait… first impressions? Why did she want to make her guild impressive? It’d be nice if I could make her guild impressive to everyone, but…
“Problems?” Alpha echoed, “What kind of problems?”
Angella hesitated in telling him. On one side of the argument, he was a stranger; he shouldn’t be trusted. But on the other, he was rival to Ares, which means he’ll be a surplus to their guild.
“Your thinking face is cute.” Alpha commented, staring wide-eyed at the Dragoon.
That earned him an unfriendly punch, but he also got a hushed explanation from her as well.
“Honestly…” Leyna paced around their bedroom, the iRis panel rushing to keep up with her, “Where is that idiot?”
The Elemental Master has been trying to contact her sister in the last two hours. Leyna was rarely a morning person, but for some reason, today she woke up earlier than usual to find Angella gone. At first she thought her sister went to the bathroom or gone to the kitchen to get something to eat, but after checking both places, Leyna grew worried. Angella wouldn’t leave without telling her.What if something happened to Angella?
Giving the Angella’s iRis ID one more call, she frowned when it wasn’t picked up. Dismissing the floating transparent eye, Leyna decided to go to the headquarters to ask Avanna if she knew anything. Looking out the window, the bright orange sun almost blinded her. Checking the time, she noted it was almost five in the morning. Letting out a frustrated sigh, she draped her two ponytails over her shoulder and plucked her Weapon Key from a hook jutting out of the table designed for the purpose of keeping it.
Locking the door to her apartment and walking out onto the streets, which began to be littered with people, she opened her iRis once again. On her way there, Leyna sends the whole guild a message to meet her at Sweetheart Cafe when they wake up. She hoped Angella would see it. Her blue sneakers tapped on the solid ground as she walked, and the Elemental Master picked up her speed when she saw the Cafe in view━and what a surprise: Avanna was standing outside the front door, unlocking the store.
“Avanna!” Leyna called, waving her right hand.
Turning around, the manager’s face lit up and she waved back, “Oh, hi Leyna!”
Running up to the black haired girl, Leyna asked right away. “Have you seen Angella around?”
“No, why?” Avanna tilted her head in confusion, opening the door for Leyna.
The brunette entered the shop backwards, so as to keep their conversation, “She’s been gone since… I don’t know! I woke up to find her gone and I can’t contact her iRis.”
“That’s weird.” Closing the door, Avanna made a straight beeline for the tables with the chairs resting on top of them and started to put them down gently, “Are you sure you couldn’t contact her?”
“Yeah,” Leyna sighed, starting to mimic Avanna’s actions for another table, helping the manager, “Ugh, I can’t help but feel panicky.”
“Don’t worry.” Avanna finished putting down the chairs for one table and started on another, “Angella can take care of herself; nothing bad will happen. She’s strong.”
“I hope you’re right…” Leyna placed a chair on the ground and pushed it into the empty space beneath the table, stopping when the backrest clunked with the edge of the table, “I’m going to give her a good slap for making me worry…”
Avanna chuckled, finishing the tables on her side, “Can you put down the rest of the chairs, please?”
“Sure.” Leyna shrugged, already on the case anyway.
“Sounds complicated.” Was all Alpha could say, “Whoever this girl is, I’m sure Ares is using her to get some objective… Any villain would, or else he would’ve killed her.”
“True…” Angella nodded, “But for what? He has everything in the world.”
“He does, doesn’t he?” Alpha chuckled, turning his head to face Angella, “But… does he have the world?”
Stopping in her tracks, she stared at Alpha in disbelief, “What… do you mean?”
“People like him… don’t stop at having everything in the world.” Alpha explained, walking forward as Angella catched up to him, “Some people who want the world in their hands become maniacal. Like him.”
“So… he wants to control the world?” Angella asked, “Sounds like what a storybook would be about.”
“But this is his reality; he can make it happen.” The male Strider argued.
“Ah, I see it.” Angella changed the topic, “You see the sign? ‘Sweetheart Cafe’?”
“Yup.” Alpha nodded, “It opens this early?”
“It’s a coffee shop, idiot, of course it would.” Angella rolled her eyes, walking ahead of him, “I’m not paying for you.”
“Dang.” Alpha grinned, hurrying up to match the Dragoon’s pace, “Is it worth the gold?”
“Let’s just say it has more worth than you.” Angella answered deviously, not knowing why she was so defensive toward him.
“Oh, I think I see her!” Leyna stood out of her seat, putting down her Weapon Key which she had played with in boredom. “Wait…” She squinted her eyes and moved toward the door, peering out of its glass, “Or rather…them.”
“...Them?” Avanna’s head popped up from behind the cash register, suddenly alert. Walking toward Leyna, she spotted Angella in the distance, walking with… “Ohhhhh.”
“Yeah.” Leyna’s face turned wicked, the Elemental Master rubbed her hands, “I hope they didn’t do anything funny.”
“Oh, gee…” Avanna sighed, but couldn’t help the smile spreading across her face, “This is going to be an interesting guild meeting…”
“Oh, yes it is.” Leyna pushed the door open, waving both of her hands in the air, “Hey! Angella!”
“Leyna!” Angella waved back, but then froze in midstep as she watched Leyna’s expression turned malevolent, “...Oh no.”
“Oh no… what?” Alpha raised an eyebrow at Angella, puzzled.
“Oh no…” Angella only repeated, her hand withered, a shadow washed over her face.
“What’s the matter, sister?” Leyna asked, though to Angella the brunette had gleaming eyes and grinning to reveal fangs, “Why won’t you come closer?”
“</i>Ohhh…</i>” Alpha nodded in comprehension, “It’s one of those sibling things right? Whenever one of them brings a date home?”
“W-Who said you were my date?!” Angella punched Alpha again, her voice nowhere near a normal girl’s, but closer to a speaker on full volume.
“If you’re not coming, then I’m coming for you!” Leyna called to them, teasing her sister.
“All right, all right, hang on!” Angella shouted, choosing to ignore the Civilians that stared at her strangely.
Avanna shook her head, “Just a normal day, huh?”
“It’s good.” Alpha replied to Angella after she’d asked him of his opinion on the coffee he ordered, looking at the gradient of brown to white it displayed.
“It’s the Winter Caramel Mix!” Leyna exclaimed, her widened eyes glared at the Strider, “It’s more than just ‘good’!”
“Calm down, Leyna.” Angella consoled her sister, blinking, “Everyone has their own tastes.”
Pouting, the brunette leaned back onto her chair, “Why can’t you bring a guy with more coffee appreciation…?”
“Hey! If you want a guy, then go ahead and search for one!” Angella’s veins popped, “It’s not like I wanted to bring him anyway, he just tagged along.”
“Yo!” By now, everyone (except Alpha) knew who had entered the shop. “What’s up?”
“You didn’t interrupt me for once.” Leyna turned toward the opening door, Jack entering first and lastly Blue.
“Who’s this?” Jack pulled off his shades and placed it on the table they were all sitting at.
“An idiot off the street.” Angella replied, casually.
“How endearing.” Alpha rolled his eyes, “I’m Alpha.”
“Jack.” The two male Striders shook each others hands firmly, smiling in greeting.
“Angella, Jack’s stealing your boyfriend.” Leyna whispered in a not-so-quiet voice.
“Go ahead, I wouldn’t care.” The Dragoon shrugged.
“You have a boyfriend?” Jack smiled mysteriously at Angella, his eyebrows perked.
“Nope. Single and proud.” Angella answered.
Avanna looked at the table fondly, their voices barely reaching her thought-heavy mind. She had no idea that MidnightBound would be so serious and that she would actually befriend the people in it. It made her want to create a guild, but she guessed she was already in one; the Sweetheart Cafe. Every group has its unique people, and Avanna was sure that went for everyone. Sighing, she went on with her work.
Hearing the chime that was the bell of the door, she hoped the customer wouldn’t be weirdened out by the commotion in the corner of the shop. She put her smile on, and began to greet the customer. “Hello, welcome to Sweetheart Cafe, how may I help…” Avanna trailed off as she recognized her brother in front of her, “...you?”
“Can I just have a cup of dark coffee please?” Kyle smiled at her benevolently. He had on a trench coat and a briefcase, as if traveling somewhere.
“You’re going somewhere?” Avanna nodded at the order, preparing it as she asked him.
“It looks like I haven’t been keeping my store in balance with the bills…” Kyle started, his tone apologetic, “...So I’m closing it and moving back to Khaso.”
The shop went silent as the sharp sounds of ceramic shattering to pieces made everyone’s ears twinge, and the fragments of the coffee mug lay on the ground, as broken as Avanna.