“Student council president!” Yumoto yelled from where he stood in front of his friends, finally facing their enemy, which turned out to have been the student council this whole time. All of this had been about a fight… It hardly made sense to the young teen. “Let’s talk about this!”
“Don’t be absurd.” Kinshirou’s tone matched the cold, in control air he was giving off. “I have power! Power that you lack to cleanse the world!” He smirked and raised his hand, a black orb glowing as he prepared to destroy the Battle Lovers once and for all when-
“Don’t be deceived!”
Surprised by the sudden shout both groups turned to look at the source of the voice.
“This has all been prearranged!” Gora cried holding up a red and white goldfish in one hand while clutching his axe in the other. “It’s a set up!”
“Gora-chan?” Yumoto exclaimed, shocked to see his brother at the school.
Atsushi tilted his head trying to make sense of the older male’s words. “What was set up?”
“All of it!” Gora yelled, glaring darkly as Hireashi continued to struggle to get out of Gora’s grip. “This guy set up all of it!”
“Let me go! Let me go I say!” Hireashi tried to wriggle his way out of Gora’s grip.
Kinshirou stared at the goldfish, “A talking goldfish?” How… Was that fish from the same planet as lord Zundar? The alien had stated that their enemies has access to the same advanced technology as them. Kinshirou glanced at the Battle Lovers from the corner of his eyes, they seemed just as confused as Caerula Adamas. “It couldn’t be…”
“A pink rodent?” Akoya tilted his head, grimacing as he looked at the pink, pig-like animal that had run up to Gora, from near the Defense Club’s festival stall.
“You know that guy?” En asked Wombat, jerking his head in Gora’s direction.
“Of course he does!” Zundar cried, running out of the building, he was actually hard to spot from where the eight students stood on the rooftop. “Hireashi is one of our emperors most trusted workers! He works directly under the throne of love!”
“Again with that throne thing?” En muttered running his hand through his hair.
“How many talking animals are there?” Ryuu questioned making a face. And here they thought Wombat alone was weird.
“This was not how it was supposed to go Hireashi!” Gora surprised everyone with the anger in his voice. “Machiga promised it wouldn’t go like this ever again!”
“Emperor Machigattao-sama owes you nothing!”
Gora let out an aggravated growl. “TELL THEM EVERYTHING!” He shouted squeezing the fish harder.
From his place on top of the roof Yumoto shifted from one foot to another, “An-chan?” He had never seen his brother so angry.
Gora didn’t hear him, he tightened his hold on Hireashi even more.
“I’ll tell! I’ll tell!” Hireashi screamed flailing his fins around in panic. “I’ll tell them everything! Just don’t crush me!”
Gora nodded, a grim look on his face, but he loosened his hold.
Sighing Hireashi turned to face both the Defense Club and the Conquest club. “This is a television contest show targeted at our home planet. The things you say, the things you do, every move you make, all of it to the tiniest detail is being broadcasted to planet Lovil.” He focused his attention on the five Battle Lovers. “That way our people can watch which of the heirs lose.” He looked at the conquest club. “And which of the knights wins the right to do the job.”
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?!”
The Conquest Club’s reaction was much calmer than that of the Defense Club.
Kinshirou stood frozen on the spot, all the color had drained from his face. “B-b-broadcasted…” He mumbled, numb as he tried to deny what he’d just been told. People had watched him- Every decision, every foolish act that he tried to deny- all his talk about order and cleansing the earth… Did it even ma-
“Kinosaki-chan!” Hireashi looked at the door on the tower. “Continue the broadcast! We only have so much time before he arrives!”
The door on the tower on the school roof slammed open and Kinosaki Kou happily walked out followed by his camera man Tazawa. “Okay this is Kinosaki on the scene!” He cheerily declared walking over to Kinshirou who still stood rooted to the spot. “Now let’s have a talk with the leader of the Conquest Club Kusatsu Kinshirou.” He held the microphone close to Kinshirou’s face, not bothered with invading personal space like always. “How are you feeling right now?” He pressed the microphone even closer to Kinshirou. “Say a few words to our viewers.”
Kinshirou’s red eyes were still on Gora, though he appeared unseeing. He wanted to deny what was happening, what they just found out, but he only managed to let out a choked sound. None of it had been real… He really wasn’t-
“Okay!” Kinosaki turned to the camera. “That was Dark Aurite, A.K.A Kusatsu Kinshirou, whose expression suggests some lingering shock!”
Kinshirou didn’t even hear the first year’s words. “That means…” Kinshirou mumbled as he felt his Dark Aurite form dispel, the change had him feeling even colder. “That everything I’ve said and done… Has all been watched?”
“Yes, that’s right!” Kinosaki grinned. “You have become quite the fan favorite! It’s the tsundre in you!”
Meanwhile the five Battle Lovers had leaped down to the ground to stand with Gora, who wasn’t happy with that development. “You have to stay back!” He warned, backing away from his kid brother and friends.
“What’s going on?” Atsushi asked, feeling lost in the whole situation. He looked at Hireashi. “Watch which one of us loses? Loses what?”
“Forget that!” Wombat cried worming his way between to group’s legs to get in front of them. He looked at Zundar. “You’re saying that all those monsters weren’t the only tests?!”
Gora sighed and looked down at Wombat. “You were sent to recruit new heirs.” He concluded. “You’re still too young.”
“He doesn’t speak like it though.” Ryuu couldn’t help but point out.
“Ryuu.” Io chided his boyfriend, reminding him that this probably wasn’t the time.
“Enough already!” En spoke up, they needed to focus now, he glared at all three aliens before his gaze landed on Gora. “Start making sense.”
Gora sighed sadly. “This wasn’t supposed to happen again… We tried so hard to prevent it.” He shook his head, now wasn’t the time to get lost in memories. “But it seems like planet Lovil is searching for a new emperor, and just like before,” The look on his face hardened as he glared at Hireashi. “Lord Hireashi is broadcasting his show so the people of the planet can see which heir will be fit to rule on the throne of love.”
“WHAT DID YOU SAY!”
“That’s twice in one day I’ve ever had a ‘What did you say?’ moment.” En felt like he needed to point that out, as if saying that would maybe make the situation feel less absurd.
“So the whole thing about there being a throne of love was the truth after all.” Io stated a finger on his chin.
“Of course it was!” Wombat cried frantically waving his arm around, shocked that he was doubted so badly. “Who do you take me for! THIS IS A SERIOUS MATTER! I have been entrusted with the great honor of finding five new heirs on earth!”
“And you chose the first people you meet?” Atsushi said trying and failing to not sound judgmental.
“It was destiny! It was fated!”
“When you put it like that it does make sense.”
“No it doesn’t!”
The group disagreeing with Yumoto like that had almost become a sort of habit at this point.
Gora sighed and looked at Hireashi again. He no longer looked angry, just tired and very worried. “Is there a way to stop it all this time? Let me talk to Machiga.”
“Don’t you understand! There is no talking to emperor Machigattao!” Hireashi sighed, his fins lowering. “It doesn’t matter anyway, we-“
He broke of when both Yumoto and Ryuu’s Loveracelet flashed brightly.
“A Love Alert?” Yumoto looked at the bracelet curiously.
“But we’re already transformed and all.” Ryuu muttered holding his arm up and looking at his wrist.
En, Atsushi and Io looked at their Loveracelets, they weren’t glowing at all.
“We already have our finalists.” Hireashi finished his sentence no longer looking amused.
Gora stared at his brother in shock. “No,” he whispered, his grip going slack and both Hireashi and his axe fell to the ground. “No!” Gora repeated more strongly this time. “Not my little brother, he will not be your king!”
“Gora-chan?” Yumoto blinked, worried by how strongly his brother was reacting. He smiled brightly. “Don’t worry, we can totally handle this. Just one love attack to whoever is being a monster an-“ The Love Alert went on again, this time stronger than ever before, strong enough for Yumoto’s hand to jerk back and let go of his love-stick which dissolved before it hit the ground, the sparkling red particles returning into Yumoto’s broche. “Ouch…”
The same had happened to Ryuu who was gripping his wrist in pain, he and Io both examining his Loveracelet. It was still glowing.
“What’s going on?” Io demanded turning to Wombat. “Why are their loveracelets reacting like that?!”
Wombat opened and closed his mouth trying to form words. He gave up with trying to find a way to answer Io, instead he turned to Hireashi. “You cannot be serious! I didn’t even know the tests were already being done! And why are two reacting?!”
Zundar nodded, even he looked slightly panicked by this development. “And what about my knights?! Da! They aren’t ready yet!”
“Don’t worry my lovely subjects.”
It wasn’t the goldfish-like alien who answered.
Everyone, minus Kinshirou who was still gazing in the distance, looked around for the source of that baritone voice. There was no visible source, the sound seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.
“Your majesty!” Hireashi sputtered quickly sitting up. “I-I am so sorry for the delay! I-”
“There are other ways to test those princes, the same goes for the knight’s training.”
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” This time it were Wombat and Zundar who cried out that same question.
“Machigattao-sama!” Zundar protested. “You cannot be serious! My boys are not-“
A glowing oval appeared, hovering in the air a few feet away from Gora and the Battle Lover. A dark humanoid shape could be seen standing inside the portal. The person tilted their head to the side, his face wasn’t visible but somehow he still gave of an aura of amused disdain. “In offering to prepare the next generation myself, Zundar-kun? Why would I joke about that?” The person turned their head in Hireashi’s direction. “Now continue, the people are still allowed to see this far.”
“Right, right, right.” Hireashi nodded hastily. “You heard it Kinosaki-chan!”
“Of course!” Kinosaki nodded.
The group hadn’t even noticed the Press Society coming down from the roof.
Kinosaki turned to the camera, a large grin on his face. “And how many twists will this day have people?! Though are any of us really surprised that it’s the ones representing Romantic Love and Unconditional Love?!“
“You can’t do this!” Gora cried stepping in front of Yumoto, he focused on the person in the portal. “Machiga! You can’t do this! You know Yumoto for god’s sake!”
“Hakone…” The person let out a short chuckle. “You should be happy for Yumo- Scarlet. He might be king worthy.”
Yumoto’s eyes widened. “King…?”
“Don’t worry you and Vesta will be with me soon.”
“What?!” Ryuu cried, taking a step further away from the portal. “No way!”
The person standing in the window like portal let out another chuckle.
Circles of light appeared on the ground underneath Yumoto and Ryuu, red light shot out of the circle underneath Yumoto, and bright pink light shot out of the circle under Ryuu, once the lights surrounded them it became solid, trapping them both.
“What is this!” Ryuu demanded punching the wall of light with his fists. “Let me out!” He kept punching un till-
Yumoto and Ryuu screamed when their Loveracelets went off again, it wasn’t the same Love Alert as before.
It no longer was that short annoying jolt going through to their wrist for a second to let them know there was a monster causing havoc. No, this was white-hot electricity coursing through their arms- and it didn’t stop after a few seconds.
“Ryuu!” Io cried out when Ryuu and Yumoto sank down in their light cells. “Ryuu!” His panic grew when he didn’t get a response. He hit the light barrier with his palms.
Ryuu gritted his teeth, and forced his eyes open. “G-get us out!”
“YUMOTO!” Gora clenched his fists, not able to helplessly watch. He whirled around, his glare on the person in the portal-like window. “STOP THIS! YOU CAN’T DO THIS! NOT MY BROTHER- Please…”
“You of all people should know that this is how it goes.”
Atsushi frantically shifted his gaze from Ryuu to Yumoto, not knowing how to help, but something needed to be done soon. “Wombat!” He turned to the pink creature. “Turn the loveraclets off!”
En stepped forward putting himself in front of his friends. “Coward!” En yelled at the person in the portal. “Show yourself and don’t hide behind actions!”
Machigattao focused on En, their head tilted to the side. “You are saying the wrong lines.” He sounded puzzled over something. “Don’t you mean ‘You who befoul our beloved earth’?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Machigattao stated. “You weren’t meant to be and have lost this right.” Suddenly Machigattao’s whole posture changed, he perked up. “But there is one more who earned this right!” He sounded so excited now. “Kinosaki, have the votes been counted?!”
“Eh…” Kinosaki seemed a bit shaken. “Right! Of course!” Never let it be said that Kinosaki wasn’t a good reporter, he switched from scared student to professional and cold reporter in less than five seconds.
He reached into the breast pocket of his Binan High School uniform jacket and pulled out a neatly folded piece of paper. Kinosaki turned to the camera. “Oh! It seems that the fans have a thing for conflict. Or maybe it’s just a thing for beauty!” He exclaimed an enthusiastic grin on his face. “And the chosen Chevalier to earn the right to stand and fight at the emperor’s court is….” He paused for dramatic effect and looked at the piece of paper. “Gero Akoya!”
From his place, still on the rooftop Akoya stiffened. “What?!”
Arima put himself in front of Akoya ready for whatever attack the person in the portal planned on trying, he expected some sort of attack. He didn’t expected to be pushed forward by a circle of salmon colored light appearing underneath Akoya, beams of light shooting out of it.
“A-Akoya!” Arima gasped.
“What is the meaning of this!” Akoya demanded pressing his palms against the barrier. “Release me at once!”
He didn’t even get a reaction from the person in the portal, his yelling did have another effect though. Slowly, Kinshirou turned his head in the direction of his two club members. He blinked owlishly realizing what was going on.
“And that was our election period.” Machigattao seemed to be trying to hold back laughter. “Now it’s time to begin and get to the real deal, boys.” He said and the portal-like window closed.
And just like that he was gone.
Everyone stared at the place the window had been moments before unsure how to proceed, when suddenly the sphere cages of light trapping Yumoto, Ryuu and Akoya started glowing brighter and brighter.
The cages got so bright it became impossible to see the person insides the cages. The only evidence there was when all three of them let out brief shouts.
Kinshirou yelled the loudest of them all, snapped out of his shock when the light trapping his friend started brightening. He quickly made his way to Arima. The two of them pulled out their sabers and pulled their arms back, ready to attack the light cage- when it suddenly disappeared.
All three cages faded away, along with its’ three prisoners…
The school yard seemed terribly dark without those three light beams.
“W-what…” Arima lowered his saber and looked around, hoping for some sign of Akoya, of course there was none. There were no traces of him or Yumoto and Ryuu, not even spots on the ground where those beam-like cages had been! “What just happened?”
Io stared ahead of him, his hand in the air where it had been pressed against a bright pink barrier, trying to break through, only seconds ago. Ryuu had been here seconds ago! He tore his eyes away from the empty spot in front of and whirled around to face his team mates, En and Atsushi were both just as confused. Io slowly shook his head in denial, people didn’t just disappear!
They couldn’t just be gone!
Gora took a step forward, standing where his little brother had stood just before he disappeared. “No…” Not again! “Yumoto!”