Episode 056: Mischief! The Grant Gala Heist
Episode 056: Mischief! The Grant Gala Heist
Zelas let out a theatrical yawn, as Filia finished her script, exactly like the host club manager had explained it to her earlier. "Boring!" Filia said nothing, maintaining a blank expression. "It must be a dragon thing. Are all male dragons supposed to be dull? It must be what they're taught. Milgazia sure learned it well. I guess I should at least commend you on your acting skills. You're putting me to sleep with boredom, just like dragon boy would." Filia twitched a little, but didn't say anything. "I guess that's it, see you at the gala tonight, and to the cute boy with the purple hair, make sure you bring all your jokes tonight!" Filia twitched some more, remembering Xellos' dragon jokes, particularly her least favorite of why did the dragon cross the road? Yet still the blond cyborg remained silent, fuming inside in a way that Xellos quietly longed to taste.
xoxox xox xoxox
That night, the host club was full, and the manager was stressing because the CEO was coming to oversee the operations of that particular establishment of the franchise in person. He saw that Mr. Lin was there and his stress grew. Yet he didn't breathe a word, assuming that Zelas had somehow managed to cure the redhead of his 'barbaric ways' as the manager would say. Yet a stream of high pitched, "eeks" drew his eyes to the aforementioned redhead. "Oh no..."
"Mr. Manager," a melodious voice called out from right behind the stressed man. He turned around slowly to gaze upon the smiling face of the CEO of the chain of host clubs, Tamaki Souh. "I must ask a question." The only response he got was a quiet nod, thus he continued. "Why are there three princesses playing the part of princes?" The manager remained speechless and the CEO concluded that he didn't know about the princesses that were, as he said, disguised as princes. Tamaki approached Lina and gently took her hand, "greetings, princess."
Lina's jaw dropped and she mumbled incoherently, too shocked to stop Tamaki from removing the voice modulator from her tie. "How... how did you...?" Tamaki only gave her a charming smile in reply to her unfinished question.
Gourry spilled the tea he was trying to serve to one of the giggling customers. Amelia noticed the situation and dashed over to encourage him. "Go to her! Don't let anyone steal her from you!"
Gourry frowned, oblivious to the displeased expression on his client's face. "Lina only likes me as a friend. I can't stop her from liking someone else. Just look at her face, look at how she's blushing!"
Amelia thought it was ironic that Gourry noticed all that when Lina did it for someone else and remained clueless when it came to such reactions directed at himself. "She's just surprised; you're the one she really wants. You can't give up, fight!" Amelia posed as if she was delivering a justice speech and the curious voices and squeals of the customers increased.
Gourry still looked indecisive, so Zelgadis stepped in. "In love, there is often the one who runs away and the one who gives chase." In his case, Amelia had been the one chasing him. "Lina is shyer than she lets on, you'll have to be the one to chase her. Take my word for it, you have all the possibilities, no, you have all the assurance, in the world. Go to her."
With new determination from his friends' encouragement, Gourry decided that he was not going to stand quietly on the sidelines. He marched right over to where Tamaki and Lina stood, then he stopped with a blank expression. What was he supposed to do? He had no experience in fighting over a girl, and he had a feeling that it would be vastly different from any other kind of fight. Besides, that guy didn't know he liked Lina, not that it officially made a difference anyway, since she was technically single. "Um... excuse me..."
Tamaki looked at the man who addressed him. "Yes, how may I help you, fine sir?"
Lina's eyes widened and her heart skipped a beat as she considered what Gourry could do next. Yet Gourry's reply was an anti-climatic, "may I cut in?"
"Of course," Tamaki stepped aside, but before he left, he gave Gourry a piercing look, right into his eyes. "However, my good sir, I must remind you that one must be more assertive in the quest for a princess' heart. I can see it in your eyes that your love is true, you must not hide it." Just as elegantly as he came by, Tamaki moved on to talk to the other disguised 'princess', as he referred to all pretty girls, whether they were royalty or not, though this one actually was. "Greetings, princess," he kissed Amelia's hand and felt Zelgadis' eyes burning into him. He had managed to remove all his armor after battling it out with a screwdriver and actually looked fully human for the night. "There is no course for alarm, good sir, I simply wanted to greet the lady," he smiled.
"I guess you have a very good eye..." Zelgadis admitted.
"Of course," Tamaki assured with a proud charming smile. "The eyes of a true prince can spot a princess from any distance, in any crowd. I am also skilled in spotting love and I see it here too. I'm not sure what the purpose of this masquerade is, but it may prove to be amusing, so I will not interrupt." As Tamaki walked towards the third princess in disguise, the murmurs of the guests increased and the fan-girlish theories flew about all sorts of hidden soap opera worthy plots to explain the current setting. Forbidden lovers, the whispers said. They were all forbidden lovers in disguise trying to hide away from a murderous ex or an arranged marriage with great influence or something along those lines.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lun, aka Filia's, table as filled with fan girls. They squealed in delight as they tasted the tea Filia brew herself. "Here you go, miss, please enjoy," she politely served the tea of another girl.
"Thank you, Mr. Lun," the brunette girl sighed happily.
Two other girls whispered among themselves. "Mr. Lun is so charming," the blond whispered.
"Oh yes he is," the dark haired girl next to her sighed. "He's so kind and delicate."
"He's a true gentleman," a redhead sighed.
Xellos watched the scene play out with jealousy building up inside him. He shouldn't even be jealous, Filia didn't like girls and he knew it, but he couldn't help it.
"Look at his eyes, he finally opened his eyes!" A girl with blue eyes, who was at Xellos' table, exclaimed.
"His eyes are so mischievous and mysterious," voiced her green eyed neighbor.
"I told you there was more to his cheerful expression," added the girl with brown eyes.
Xellos remained ignorant to the conversation about himself happening right next to him, for his attention was focused on Filia. She was not paying any attention to him at all. She shouldn't be playing the gentleman; she should be trashing the building in a jealous rampage. Then the purple haired hologram saw a blond man with charming violet eyes heading towards Filia and every other mental alarm that wasn't already flaring, went off at that moment. Try to deny it as she may, Filia had a thing for eyes that were purple or similar shades.
Tamaki reached Filia, who had been focused on making and serving tea and thus didn't notice the recent happenings with her friends. She thought the way he carried himself meant that he held an important position. She was about to greet him politely when her view of the approaching blond was blocked by another body.
Tamaki had already begun to step forward and reach out for Filia's hand when Xellos projected himself between them, though there was hardly enough space for him there. As a result Tamaki ended up stepping on Xellos' foot when he stepped forward to reach for Filia's hand. The CEO of the chain of host clubs famed throughout the galaxy, had already inclined his head ad closed his eyes, as he always did when kissing a woman's hand, but the hand wasn't quite what he expected, "greetings, prin... prince?"
Tamaki looked up in confusion and saw a pair of deep violet eyes with elongated pupils glaring at him. "You're stepping on my toes." Xellos pointed out with a growl.
"Oh," Tamaki stepped back, not bothering to ask if he meant that only literally or both literally and metaphorically. "My apologies, kind sir." It wasn't that Xellos looked kind at that moment, but rather Tamaki hoped he was. "I can se you hold a strong and passionate love for your princess. I merely wanted to greet her. I assure you, there is nothing to worry about."
Xellos reclaimed his usual cheerful mask. "A strong and passionate love?" He laughed mockingly, as if it was the most ridiculous joke he ever heard. "You, kind sir," he intoned with sarcastic mockery, "are delusional."
Tamaki grinned, his expression momentarily resembling Xellos' mischief, which caused the tricky hologram to do a double take. Yet in a split second, the mischief was gone and the charm was once again thick on Tamaki's handsome face. "My good man, denial is not becoming for a gentleman." He smiled a charming smile that was so full of true innocent cheer, that if Xellos had still been a monster, he might have cringed.
The whole time, Lina and Gourry were standing around, unsure of what to say. Amelia and Zelgadis watched them, as if trying to coax them with their eyes into spilling out their feelings. Before anything more could be said, the lights of the elegant establishment turned off for a few seconds. Squeals of fright erupted through the gala until finally; the light came back on with a flicker.
"Save us, Mr. Lun!" Several girls were clinging to Filia for protection. Xellos pulled her out from their group before he had time to think about what he was doing. His unexpected reaction towards his fellow host, elicited more squeals from the girls. "Shounen-ai!" They squeaked.
"That's one possessive uke," Xellos thought he heard one of the girls whisper to another, who had the nerve to nod in firm agreement.
He pouted, Xellos was no expert in fan girl language, but he thought the possessive one was usually labeled seme. "Why am I the uke?"
"Does it...?" Filia paused to remove the voice modulator hidden in her tie and grinned. "Does it matter?"
The fan girls gasped in unison. "She's a girl!" They squeaked in disbelief.
The girl who had made the uke comment before flipped her short auburn hair back and grinned. "He's still the uke, because she's such a sadist, I can smell it."
Feeling self conscious, Filia blushed and took a discrete breath as if trying to perceive her own scent. Never mind that logically speaking, no one should be able to actually smell sadism. The whole time, Xellos continued to glare and pout.
"My jewels!" One of the girls of the gala cried out. A wave of similar cries followed, as the distracted fan girls finally realized that their jewelry had been stolen when the lights flickered off a short while ago.
"It's about time you noticed my genius heist!" A voice was heard echoing all over the grand hall. The lights flickered off and on again and there stood a certain hologram that, despite her current apparel, Lina and her friends recognized right away. Zelas was wearing a black suit similar, yet not exactly the same, as that of Catwoman. Tall boots and long gloves were paired with a main piece that looked more like a black leather bathing-suit than anything else. She had a wolf tail and a mask that covered the top of her face with wolf ears. The mask ended atop her nose, making her eyes look like golden lights. Her platinum hair was long, reaching down to just above her wolf tail and she sported a fanged grin.
Tamaki gasped, "it is a jewel thief she-wolf princess!" He exclaimed with more excitement than concern.
"Paper and coin currency isn't commonly used on this planet, cards are all the rage, but they go with finger prints to activate for purchases and for large sums even retina scans. It's too troublesome, so I'll just take the jewels instead and sell them in the black market," Zelas announced. "The way things work in this world, jewel thieves have a reputation for leaving an impression, so here's mine!" She was basing that conclusion on the jewel thieves from movies, but who could stop her anyway?
Suddenly, strong metal, long arm-like hooks held on to the building's high ceiling and pulled it right off as if removing the lid of a box. The hooks originated from the Great Beast, controlled by Zelas. "It's time to make our triumphant escape!" The hologram projection of Zelas disappeared, as a tractor beam extended from the Great Beast and levitated Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis and Filia towards the ship. Being a hologram as well, Xellos simply reappeared in the control room, where he was soon joined by the others.
The interruption caused a distraction, just when Lina and Gourry were about to have a breakthrough. But now Lina automatically, maybe even unconsciously, took the opportunity to retreat into her shell and demand an explanation, focusing on anything that wasn't directly related to her feelings for Gourry. "What's this about, Zelas? Was it your plan all along to steal all those jewels?"
"Of course it was," Zelas grinned as the Great Beast made its way further away from the planet where the robbery took place. "Did you really think I was going to wait for you to try to make some honest money? I'm a monster lord, remember?"
"I for one remember it crystal clear," Filia pouted. She was having such a good time studying Xellos' possessive reaction to the fan girls.
"I'm glad that's been clearly established," Zelas continued to grin with egotistical mocking mischief.
A transmission suddenly came online and Zelas curiously received it on her main screen. A young man with black hair and silvery gray eyes, wearing a blue and gray uniform appeared on the screen. Next to him there was a young woman wearing the same uniform. She had light brown hair in a ponytail and big green eyes, with a very Amelia-like expression upon her face. "This is lieutenant Raily Claymore of the Galaxy Police. Great Beast, you are here by ordered to stop immediately!"
"That's right!" The brunette woman next to Raily exclaimed. "I, agent Nina Mercury, order you to do as he says!"
"Not again!" Lina groaned. "I said I had enough of running from the police with that time when Wizer was trying to arrest me!" She exclaimed exasperated.
Zelas adopted a thoughtful expression. "That's funny; I thought Rail was supposed to be on our side."
"It's true that Kain and the others are our friends and I sometimes get them trouble contractor jobs," Raily admitted. "But I can't allow your unnecessary crime spree to continue. I've been tracking you since that incident on the highway of the previous planet you visited."
"That's right!" Nina joined in, speaking in a tone that was remarkably similar to the volume Amelia used for her justice speeches. "We followed you to this planet to get an explanation, but after the damage you've caused, it's clear that your behavior is inexcusable. We may all be enemies of Darkstar, but we at the Galaxy Police are also protectors of the innocent!"
Amelia's eyes were shining with admiration as she listened to the speech with full attention. "I want to join your noble cause!" She happily exclaimed, going into a justice speech of her own. "To travel across the galaxies, from one planet to another, apprehending evil doers and protecting the good and innocent; to spread hope throughout the vastness of the universe, that is the noblest goal an ally of justice could have!"
Nina and Amelia's eyes shone with just bliss as they realized they shared a special mutual connection. "Yes, join us!" Nina encouraged. "The Galaxy Police will gladly welcome an advocate of justice like you!"
Raily and Zelgadis exchanged concerned looks, while Zelas thought it was time to end the conversation there and then. Nonchalant and disregarding, Zelas spoke, "so you wish to get in our way instead of making yourself useful? Oh well, it doesn't matter anyway, it's not like you can make a difference anyway! Preparing calculations..."
"Ready!" Xellos chirped cheerfully.
"Eat our stardust, copper, mwahahaha!" Zelas had heard that line in a space opera sci-fi gangster movie and she had been wanting to say it ever since.
Raily gritted his teeth and delivered an interesting attack in the form of a particular phrase. "The one who arose from Shabranigdu bows down in the name of Chaos!"
A jolt of electricity coursed through Zelas' holographic projection and the Great Beast's engine momentarily stalled. "What did you do?" Xellos demanded.
Zelas growled with her holographic projection flickering and almost fading. She couldn't control her vessel at all. That man's words felt like a powerful very astral attack would feel in her world. It was paralyzing. "Xellos, take over!"
"Jumping to light speed now!" With Xellos in command of the vessel, the lost ship Great Beast made the jump to light speed, leaving the Galaxy Police far behind. "Their ship is too slow to catch up with us, but we'll have to keep moving if we're going to continue to elude them. I didn't think they posed any danger just by looking at their ship, but..." He looked at Zelas with concern.
Zelas' holographic projection stabilized as her systems rebooted. "That phrase caused me to shut down almost completely. It must be some kind of emergency shut down code integrated into lost ships. I'm alright now, I'm going back online. I guess it's a good thing this vessel has two AIs, it seems the shut down only affects the one acting as the primary AI at the time."
"I'm not one hundred percent clear on everything that you just said," Lina admitted with a serious face. "But from what I can gather, basically, if he had spoken that phrase again before we had time to escape, then Xellos would have shut down and without an AI system to support the ship's functions..."
"Not even the manual control would have responded, because even if we relay control to the crew, an AI is still needed to keep the ship's complex systems working properly," Zelas confirmed. She frowned upon realizing she had a glaring weakness that she wasn't even aware of before. "I take back what I said about this not being so bad, having a physical form is troublesome."
"Yet vital," Amelia reminded.
Realizing what the Seyruun princess was talking about, Zelgadis recalled. "What we heard about Darkstar having the remnant power of the Stillness."
"Yes," Amelia nodded. "At least you won't have to worry about that."
"Yet that needed defense comes at a price," Zelas mused aloud. "However," the mischievous confident grin returned to her face. "Wasn't it interesting how lieutenant Claymore made use of Shabranigdu's name in that phrase he spoke? What if we switched it to Darkstar?"
"Then it should only affect the dark lost ships of this world!" Filia exclaimed in realization.
"Well then, let's try it out while we're safe to make sure," Lina decided. "The one who arose from Darkstar bows down in the name of Chaos!" Nothing happened. "Looks like you're safe as long as I don't say Shabranigdu." Lina grinned evilly. "By the way, Zelas, you won't mind making a few stops at the best gourmet restaurants of the over-world, would you?"
With a cheery expression like that of Xellos', Zelas voiced, "oxygen off!" Lina and the other humans found themselves gasping for air until Zelas decided the warning was clear enough. "Oxygen on... Oops, I guess I was still recovering from that last shut down and couldn't keep the life support system going for a second there."
"Point taken," Lina grumbled between big breaths of precious air.
To be Continued
Tamaki is from Ouran Host Club, Raily and Nina are from Lost Universe, though in this story they joined the Galaxy Police from Tenchi Universe, after the Darkstar battle.