AUTHOR'S NOTES: I'm really, really, sorry for not posting this up soon! Ya see, I have STAR testing this week, and I kinda just got too busy! Well, anyway, there is a scene which kinda resembles the movie Charlie's Angels, so you have been warned!
A Mission Mishap
Lily saw the expression on Squall's face and shook her head in vain.
"Man, I KNEW that this wasn't a good idea..." she muttered.
Seifer smiled his typical, arrogant smile at the gang. "Well, if it ain't Puberty Boy and his gang. Long time no see."
Zell struggled to control his temper, fists clenched. "Freakin' hell..."
Luna put a firm grip on his shoulder to keep him from lashing out at Seifer. He was a bit surprised by the strength of her grip despite having such a delicate frame.
"Well, everyone's here," Phoenix said to the silent crowd and began walking back to the home. "Let's go."
"Wait." --she stopped--- "Why are THEY here?" Squall growled. Rinoa wrapped his hand around hers for some comfort. He gripped it tightly.
"Coincidence, ya know?" Raijin shrugged his shoulders. "We didn't think that we'd meet you guys here, ya know?"
"The reason why they're here is because Alexander specifically asked us to gather all those who were involved in the Time Compression," Phoenix answered Squall's question with a casual tone. "That's including Seifer and his posse."
"Then what about Sis?" Irvine asked. "She was involved, too."
She didn't answer that question.
Instead, Luna changed the subject. "Look, whatever happened in the past, drop it. Having grudges are NOT going to help on what we have to do." She addressed to everyone, but was aiming at Squall and Zell specifically.
"But why do WE have to help?" Quistis asked, trying to make a point. "Aren't you guys supposed to be fighting Ultimecia?"
"And isn't it a SeeD's goal to get rid of a sorceress who threatens the entire planet?" Luna countered. "Look, I don't mean to be rude or anything, but you're safer with us than letting you be while chaos is roaming around the place. It's better to attack rather than be attacked by Ultimecia's goons, believe me."
Phoenix placed the stack of papers on the table. Because the home was set in Japanese style, the interior was set in the same style as well. The table they were gathered at was low and rather small, so either you sat on top of your feet or lay around the room on your respective side. Weapons were in another room; the twins did NOT want any blood to be spilled.
Lily sat nonchalantly on the floor, resting her head on her knees with her back against the wall. She looked rather bored. "So, what did Atamos send us now?"
"Basically, for now anyway, we're going to crash a party where the top leaders of the world are meeting at," Phoenix explained. There was a device in front of her where she pressed a button to project an image of a tall, thin man. "That's Princeton Deling, the grandson of the murdered President Deling II five years ago. He's a young, arrogant, and clever enterpreneur who's currently running for the President of Deling City right now. He's boomed a big industry of computer-controlled cars that are ecologically safe. Nice guy on the outside, donating large amounts of money to charities, and so forth, but he's also running the black market of selling Anigomos. It's an illegal drug that can take over a person's mind. Kind of like hallucinogens, to put it at that." The projection faded into yet another image. This time, it was a crystalline mansion or castle. The style was so familiar that Squall and the others could've sworn it was Ultimecia's castle.
"That's..." Rinoa trailed off, shocked.
"You got it, Ultimecia's castle," Luna replied, smiling grimly. "Well, one of them, anyway."
"One?!?" Zell exclaimed. "Whaddya mean ONE of them? There's more?!?!?!?"
"Calm down, Chicken wuss," Seifer commented. "Let the twins speak."
"I ain't takin' orders from you!" Zell snarled.
"Would you two just shut up and let us continue?" Lily interrupted, a tad bit annoyed.
The look in her eyes told them to do as she said or else. Zell sat back down, muttering an apology while Seifer just leaned back to his original position. Phoenix continued.
"Ultimecia has a lot of castles all scattered about in each of the major countries and one up in the sky which is her main fortress. Our goal is to take out each and every castle down to reveal the location of the main one."
Selphie politely raised her hand. "But isn't Ultimecia's castle in the sky located right above Matron's home?"
"Chain's been cut off and it's not floating freely in the sky," Gene answered, the first words he said since he came back. "So that's why we have to take away the castles on the ground."
Selphie looked a bit disappointed. "Oh."
"Anyways," Phoenix continued again. "The crystalline mansion is the closest one that we can reach right now. It's located a couple of miles north of Esthar."
"So, what are we going to do?" Squall asked.
"Try and find out some info on how Deling is associated with Ultimecia," Luna answered. "Think about it: the Deling family were already wealthy, but why in the world would they want to get even wealthier and control the world? Once we find out the cause, take Deling into questioning and destroy the castle."
"That doesn't seem too hard," Seifer murmured.
Luna eyed him for a moment, then continued on. "You might say that when you're done with the mission. Looks can be deceiving. This isn't a typical mission that you might be used to. Deling knows that our organization is onto him, so we have to do our best to remain hidden or else suffer under Ultimecia's control."
"Ultimecia's a lot stronger than what you've experienced," Lily explained. "Not only can she take your magic away from you, she can also manipulate people through mind control. Kinda like how Ellone can go back into the past, but she can control the present."
"I see..." Rinoa observed.
"So, how are we going to take this on?" Selphie asked eagerly.
"Angel is a very famous singer in our time," Luna answered. "She's renown throughout Esthar and is our top decoy among our organization. Either me or Phoenix will be her..."--she paused for a moment, thinking---"Nah, Phoenix, you do it."
An indignant protest came from her twin. "Hey!"
"You sing better than me, so don't complain."
Phoenix rolled her eyes and relaxed back into her original position.
"And we need two guys to be bodyguards; any volunteers?" Luna asked.
Gene tiredly waved his hand. The briefing was making him sleepy, but he snapped back to reality when he felt eyes burning at him.
"What?" he asked, confused.
Luna just shook her head. "Nothing, should've guessed."
Gene was about to respond to the comment, but then thought the better of it and remained silent.
Zell waved his hand eagerly. "Hell, sign me up, too. Better than doing nothing."
Luna nodded. "Okay... now that's settled, I'll give out the other orders tomorrow."
"H-hold up, that's it?" Zell asked incredulously.
Luna smiled. "Well...no. Phoe's part is probably the most important because she ahs to be accepted. The party isn't held 'till tomorrow night, but she's gotta go in the morning to confirm her invitation and explore around the castle to find anything suspicious."
"So me and Sakura're out of the picture for now, huh?" Alex asked despondently.
"Don't worry, Alex," Phoenix assured. "You two just gather some info while we're gone, got it?"
Rinoa looked a bit amused. Alex was just like Squall, looking for some action besides just gathering information.
"Well, we've got a long day tomorrow, so let's get some rest, huh?" Luna concluded.
Early the next morning, a dark limo pulled up in front of Deling's mansion. All the windows were tinted so nobody could be seen except for the driver, a man in dark uniform with a cap put on so low that his eyes were hidden. The only thing that Princeton Deling could tell was that the driver was young with dark brown hair with what seemed to be a small scratch on his face.
The limo pulled up to a stop and the door swung upen in front of Deling and his servants. A rather tall man got out, his auburn hair ruffled to look like it was made out of puzzle pieces. He wore strictly a black suit and dark sunglasses that reflected in the sunlight. On the other side of the limo came out yet another man wearing the same apparal. However, he was a bit smaller than the other with blonde hair and what seemed to be a tattoo etched on the side of his face, yet just as strong by the ripples that formed around his sleeves. Deling felt a bit intimidated by them, he being tall and thin in stature with ice blue eyes that stood out with his midnight hair. He assumed, though, that they were Angel's bodyguards by the way they rigidly stood. The man with auburn hair leaned back slightly, stretching out his hand to the opening of the door. A slender one grabbed it and lifted itself up.
Phoenix stepped out of the limo as gracefully as she could. She had changed her appearance completely in style. Instead of the dark clothing and trenchcoat that she usually wore, she put on a white spaghetti strap tank and a long, flowy skir that fell into different shades of blue with a revealing slit on her right side. Her hair was tied up into a delicate bun, held up by a deadly dagger-like pin, and not in its usual style of being tied back into a ponytail at the nape of her neck. She let the crimson strands of hair curl loosely around her face. Her sapphire eyes were decorated by a light shade of glasses, to keep the sun out of her eye.
Deling absolutey fell in love with the beauty of his entertainer for the party this evening. He came towards her, lifting her delicate hand to kiss it with his dry lips.
"Angel, my dear, it's a pleasure that you could come," Deling eagerly said, his eyes gazing deep into her own.
Gene was glad that he had really, really black sunglasses or else Deling would notice the deathglare that he gave him.
Phoenix just giggled lightly, returning Deling's gaze. "Oh, I thank you for inviting me, Mister Deling," she replied with a beautiful British accent. "I've always been wondering how enterpreneur's extravagant masquerades would be like."
Zell had to muster all the will he could to stay calm. Shit, I didn't know that she could talk like that! That's so cool!!
Deling began leading Phoenix in as courteous as he could, becoming a gentleman. "Just call me Princeton, Angel. Princeton."
Gene and Zell followed behind them along with the servants. Squall watched them go in the limo, tipping up the cap and driving away. Man, I hope this works.
Irvine strung softly against the wires of his guitar, concentrating at the notes in front of him. Luna had given him the role of the guitarist in the "band" that Esthar's mercenaries had used for their operations using Angel, a famous singer known throughout the world who had the ability to entrance them with her voice. The notes he looked at were pretty easy to know, and he was getting familiar with them and the song itself. Rinoa and Selphie were singing softly by themselves, familiarizing with the lyrics. They were to be the backup singers. Raijin was in charge of the percussion instruments. Why, Irvine didn't know, but he hoped he played well. All of them were practicing alone until Phoenix got to the rehearsal. Being in one of Ultimecia's castles was kind of creepy, even if it is one of Deling's mansions and very beautiful in its own mysterious way.
He thought back to the mission. Besides him, Sephie, Rinny, and Raijin, everybody else was a part of the crowd in the party. He didn't know what they had, but he what he did know was that Seifer had a very special part with Quistis. Otherwise, why else would those two be dragged off by Lily?
The party was starting, everyone in their spots and micropieces turned on. Or, at least, that's what everybody thought. This was one of the most intricate and most difficult mission that Zell had every been him, he had to admit. Hell, he would take on a fight against Galbadia than this anyday. When will that day come, he wasn't sure.
Everybody invited to the party arrived as scheduled. Phoenix now changed her wardrobe to an elegant dress that looked simliar to Julia's so many years ago as she stood in front of the microphone. Irvine began to play the introduction, then after everything just sort of fell into place as Phoenix began to sing. The orphanage gang could now tell why Luna told her sister to take the role of Angel instead of her: her voice was beautiful. It was both deep and seductive:
A smoky room, a small café
They come to hear you play
And drink and dance the night away...
The elevator doors opened as Seifer entered, fashionably late, with Quistis and Fujin on either arm. They were also dressed formally.
"Damn, why the hell do I have to be with you?" Quisits muttered to herself.
Seifer heard and let the comment slide as grinned, answering the question. "Why, Instructor, don't you like my company?"
Once again she muttered, "No..."
But Seifer grinned even more making Quistis resisting the urge to punch him.
I sit out in the crowd and close my eyes
Dream you're mine....
Fujin, who had taken off her patch to reveal a crystalline ruby eye, began listening to the song. "SINGER?"
"Hyne," Seifer murmured as he began to listen as well. "Is that Phoenix? She's good..."
"Yeah, incredible," Quistis agreed.
"Hey, would you guys get going? Princeton's approaching you! " Luna's voice yelled into their hidden mircropieces.
"Hey, I'm just taking my time," Seifer casually replied.
Luna, who was halfway across the room sitting on the balcony having an appetizer, rolled her eyes as a waiter approached her.
"Would you like another refill, Miss?" he asked, gesturing to the empty champagne glass.
Luna smiled sweetly at him and nodded. "Sure, thank you very much."
He handed her another glass, replacing the old one and left. Luna herself had also changed her appearance to escape any detection of being a twin. The colors of her eyes were grey and her facial features were slightly altered with a little makeup powdered on. She couldn't stand it, but it had to be done.
Hey, Sis, how much did you find out? she asked, staring into the glass.
Not much, but Deling had a room he left out while he was giving me a tour of the castle, her twin answered, still singing:
But you don't know
You don't even know that I am there
I wish that I was in your arms
Like that Spanish guitar
And you would play me through the night
'Till the dawn
I wish you'd hold me in your arms
Like that Spanish guitar
All night long, [All night long...]
I'd be your song...I'd be your song
Luna was a bit shocked. Really? How can you be sure?
I felt a strange aura passing by it.
Luna frowned, That's gotta be it...Ultimecia's underground complex.
Fujin left Seifer and Quistis alone as Deling apprached them.
"Atamos Kisinean, I presume," he said as they shook hands. "Pleasure to meet your after hearing so many rumors about your famous reputation in Esthar."
"Nice to meet you too," Seifer answered, plastering a realistic smile on his face. He wrapped an arm around Quistis' waist who tensed slightly. "I've heard rumors about you as well. Princeton Deling, the young enterpreneur who started an automobile business at the age of eighteen and now is one of the world's most richest men."
Wow, how did he find that out? Quistis eyed him silently.
Deling chuckled. "Well, I see you've done some research about me."
"Hah, everybody knows about you. Even the babies."
They both shared a laugh as Deling called a waitress nearby. Megan turned around, carrying a tray with some empty wine glasses, surprising Seifer and Quistis. They never knew what position she was taking until now.
"Yes, Mister Deling?" she asked.
"Ah, two glasses of wine and a light drink for the beautiful woman here as well," Deling asnwered.
She smiled and nodded. "Coming right away, sir."
Megan left the "couple" with Deling as she was listening to their conversation with the micropiece hidden in her blouse collar.
"So, I heard that you're opening a new field of business, Deling, " Seifer's voice said.
She heard Deling's laugh. "Ah, yes, well, it's focusing on the medical industry..."
"Hah! Yeah, right," Lily's voice scoffed who was also listening to the conversation somewhere in the mansion.
Megan rolled her eyes as she approached to the bar and smiled at the bartender attending there. She had very little relationship experience due to her overprotective brother and was a bit shy making eye contact with him.
"Here you go," she kindly said, putting the empty glasses on the counter and smiled yet again.
"Hey, thanks," the bartender replied, refilling the glasses and smiling back. "You're new here, right?"
Megan nodded, the auburn curls bouncing along. "Yup, the name's Megan. Yours?"
"Joe," he simply answered, passing along the drinks to others who were coming for some. "You know, Megan, you've got a really beautiful smile."
She blushed slightly, walking backwards with her tray. "Um...thanks."
There was an awkward silence between them as the distance got even farther. Megan smiled timidly and made one last eye contact with Joe before walking away.
"Megan, what the hell are you doing?!? " Luna's voice exclaimed in the mike. "That guy's cute! Go back and talk to him! "
"O-okay..." She began walking back.
Apparently, Luna wasn't the only one observing Megan's little conversation with Joe.
"Leave. Make him ask for you," Fujin's voice said softly in the same tone she gave that speech to Seifer in Lunatic Pandora.
Megan turned around back to the crowd.
"No! Don't listen to her, Megan," Luna argued. "Go back! "
Once again, she turned back to the bar, but they had confused her so much that she went back and forth in one spot.
"Dammit, you two are confusing me!" she whined.
A pause from both ends.
Then finally, "Flip your hair."
Megan blinked in confusion at Fujin's command. "What?"
"Flip your hair and smile back at him."
She hesitated for a moment.
"Just do it! "
She did as she wsa told. She flipped her auburn hair back with a swift hand and smiled as charmingly as she could to Joe. It seemed to have worked because he stared at her in awe for a couple of seconds then immediately jumped over the counter and walked briskly to her.
"Hey, um, Megan," Joe was a bit nervous, she could tell. "Um...how about Friday at seven?"
"Huh?" Megan asked, her mind totally blank.
"Megan, just say yes. He's asking you out," Luna explained.
After a pause of silence, she smiled and nodded. "Sure, I'd love to."
"Dammit, you two, what the hell are you doing to my sister?!?!?" Gene hissed as quietly as he could into his micropiece.
Small chuckles could be heard by the two females.
"Oh, hush, Gene," Luna said. "We're trying to help her out and get away from you, Mr. Protector."
"Luna..." he warned.
"Hold on, I've got something coming from Lily."
"Um...we might take some time here," Lily replied to Luna's question as she dodged the Chimera's axe-like tail.
Squall flipped over its tail as well. "What do you mean SOME time? Luna, this is gonna take a while."
Lily and Squall were to sneak into Ultimecia's crystalline castle and find out anything "interesting". Well, they got in all right, but the area that Phoenix said that was a mystery to her was a staircase that led down to an undergrownd lair. It was filled with tough creatures as well. Most of them were taken down with some struggle, but now they ran into a high level Chimera. And with an anti-magic barrier up, it was hopeless to defeat it.
They heard Luna swear to herself as they tried to avoid injury from the Chimera's attacks. Then they heard her mutter something incomprehendible.
"Luna, what did you say?" Lily asked.
"Get out of there as fast as you can because the party's almost over," she repeated.
"What?!?" Squall exclaimed as he barely avoided one of the Chimera's heads. "But how do we get out when we'er already at the bottom of the dungeon?"
"Find a transporter of some sort. It's one of Ultimecia's castles, right? " Luna pointed out. "Lily, I leave it to you."
"Gotcha," Lily replied before grabbing Squall by the fur collar and high-tailing it out of the Chimera's way.
"Dammit, we can't break the barrier, can we?" Zell muttered to the others as they walked through the streets of Esthar the next day.
"We probably got the castle with the strongest creatures," Phoenix changed the subject. "So, the majority of us have to go and sneak in again."
"But what's the use of fighting if we can't use our magic?" Quistis asked worriedly.
"Pretty much used to that," Gene mumbled.
They arrived back at the Japanese dojo. Nobody seemed to be around.
"Where's Alex?" Rinoa asked.
"Probably out walking around town," Luna replied, unconcerned. Then she smiled. "Don't worry, he does this all the time."
Alex, Sakura, and K-chan were wandering aroudnthe vast city of Esthar. At first, Alex was by himself which he preferred, but Sakura and K-chan spotted him and became company. He wished that they would just leave him alone sometimes, but that option was next to nothing.
"So, how do you think they did?" Sakura asked.
"I dunno," Alex plainly answered. "Okay, I guess. They're not usually late, but I guess it's because there're more people than usual."
"Oh, that's true, huh?" Sakura inquired.
A black car was following behind them. It began to make Alex feel uneasy, and he began to walk faster.
"Hey, Alex, what's wrong?" K-chan asked worriedly.
"It's...it's that car," he answered quiety, still keeping an eye on it. "I think we're being followed."
"Huh? You really think so?" Sakura asked, curious and turned around to a halt. "That never happened before."
Oh, shit. He grabbed Sakura and K-chan as the car stopped and men, lots of them, began piling out.
"Idiot, don't do that! Now we gotta run for it!" he yelled at her harshly as they ran.
Tears began to form in her chocolate brown eyes as she ran beside him, trying to keep up. "B-but..."
He didn't want to make her cry, not at this time. "Oh, forget what I said! Just run!"
Alex ran even faster as Sakura struggled to keep up with him. The men that had piled out were giving chase. They seemed to be very far away until Sakura tripped over her own feet. She landed flat on her face and looked up. "Alex!"
He stopped and turned around to pick her up. But it was too late, the men had already surrounded them.
They held their weapons steady as Alex glared at each of them with cold sapphire eyes. He held Sakura close to him as she clung tightly onto his shirt, obviously scared. K-chan hovered defensively around them.
"Alex Leonhart and Sakura Wolfe, come with us," one of them commanded.
Alex snarled like a lion, still glaring at them, and drew out his gunblade. "Like hell we will!"
He stood and turned to Sakura and K-chan, whispering. "You two, go back and tell Sis and the others what's going on! And get help!"
They stood, hesitating. He impatiently yelled, "Just go! I'll distract 'em for you!"
"Oh, no you're not!" one of the men shouted, raising his axe high above his head.
Alex blocked with the blunt end of his gunblade and quickly took him down. "Now go!"
"R-right!" Sakura stammered as she ran away with K-chan. Some of the men gave chase but were stopped by Alex who slid in their way.
"Ah-ah-ah, you're fighting me now," he growled dangerously. Win or lose, I gotta give them time! There's no WAY I'll let my sisters get caught!
The fighting ensued. One attacked on his left, the other on his right. If only Alex wasn't so fast, they wouldn't have killed each other. With speed on his side, he took down most of the men in front of him with a flahs. He then paused, panting slightly, checking to see who was left. Then a sudden pain came was felt behind him and he fell into darkness....
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Bwuahahahahahahhahahahahahaha.......what's going to happen to Alex? Is Sakura going to find Phoenix and the others in time? Who found out about their mission? Stay tuned for the next chapter of Angels.....