Categories > Anime/Manga > Princess Tutu > Princess Tutu and the Secret Six


by paladin313 0 reviews


Category: Princess Tutu - Rating: PG - Genres: Crossover - Published: 2009-05-29 - Updated: 2009-05-30 - 9150 words - Complete



It had been a few days since the incident, and Rue was beginning to come around, but she still was clearly marked by the incident. When the time was right, Billy gave her what advice he could, and taught her that she had to turn it into something else. He helped by sharing atime when he was a new hero, and how, in attempting to stop the invasion of an alien race of worms that could control minds, he accidentally sucked the entire race into the vacuum of space. The only survivor swore revenge, attempted to gain that revenge, and now sits in aspecial cell in the state prison. Although they needed to be stopped, he knew that he was also responsible for the eradication of an entire species of sentient creatures. All he knew was that he had to go on. He also had to console himself with the thought that, had they reached earth, there may have been no stopping them, because they could psionically control any creature and that would have been disaster. It may have been overkill, but they were stopped. He also used this as a guide always to teach him to be more careful in the future with his actions, always to remember that one small miscalculation could cost greatly. Furthermore, he told her that we must accept that we cannot change the past decisions that we have made, but we can change what we do from that point forward, and that we need to keep going, or our foes shall win. In this case, if she caved in, Martin would have won. This helped, but it would take time to be fully normal again.

For now, the attention of the class turned to the Christmas performances coming up right before Christmas break. However, the school had the tendency to avoidThe Nutcracker, because so many other companies perform this, and things like that get a little monotonous. Instead, they tried to keep a variety. The younger classes were lent to the local performance of the show, so they could get the experience. Meanwhile, the intermediate and advanced classes would be split between two different shows. Billy, however, was a bit torn. The theatre department wanted him for aperformance of A Christmas Carol, but Mr. Katt wanted him as well. When Billy explained his plight, the theater dean, and Mr. Katt, discussed things, and they figured out that they could set rehearsals in such that he could do both. Despite that, Mr. Katt explained that Billy was going to be strapped. Homework still had to be done, and then there was the stress of two shows. Billy said that he felt up to the challenge, and knew that most of his homework would have to be done between takes, and he knew that this meant many late nights. As for the class, certain select ones would be used to perform Cinderella, while the rest would be used as part of the music and voice departments'performance of the oratorio Carmina Burana. On the next day of class, Mr. Katt announced whom he wanted in Cinderella, and whom he wanted to play what role. Considering the skill of the six, he knew he could center things on them. However, he lent Yumaover the beginners, because he knew she had a good chance to land the lead in The Nutcracker, and wanted her to have that chance. Mai and Mary went to work in the oratorio. That left the rest. Mr. Katt said that he wanted Rue to play the lead. However, she thought for a second, and then said, "Mr. Katt, I think Ahiru could handle that role."

Mr. Katt looked surprised. "But Rue," she sputtered, "that is a hard role. I admit she has come a long way since last year, even since the beginning of this semester, but she still lacks certain..."

"Believe me, sensei," she said, "There are certain reasons why I think that she can tap into herself, and take the role. She was made for that role."

"That would put you as the wicked stepmother," he said, "It is not as prominent a role."

"That's fine," she said, "I can't have alead role all the time."

Yet, Ahiru paid close attention to the conversation, and was frightened. She did not expect to have any big roles yet, so she was quite surprised at this suggestion. Rue had only given her Odette the year before because she was attempting to make up for how she had treated her the year before. Now, there seemed to be no reason for this. "Are you sure you want to do this, Rue," she asked, "This is your grade we're talking about."

"I'll explain later," she said. Rue would have it no other way. Mr. Katt then said that Billy would be playing the prince, which suddenly made Rue smile even bigger. That meant the two of them would be doing quite a passionate pas de deuxtogether, and her reasons for balking at the role made her choice that much better. Mr. Katt then announced that he would be playing the father role. (He liked to be involved with the performances, because he could also observe the students directly, and be able to keep disaster from striking if something were not going right on stage.) He then looked at Ahiru, and said, "This means that you and I will have a pas de deux in the first scene. At least I can guide you through that."

Ahiru weakly smiled, not sure, if doing this with Mr. Katt would be very fun. He was her teacher, and a cat. How could she sell off a father-daughter love with someone like this? All of a sudden, the two other boys were starting to figure something out at the same time, and they realized what roles they had. Sure enough, Mr. Katt announced, "As for the two ugly stepsisters, well, hi boys!"

Both of them shrunk down on the mirrors against which they sat. It got worse! "With that," Mr. Katt said,"would you two come here, please, I have something for each of you!"

They both got up slowly, and approached cautiously, not knowing what was about to happen. Mr. Katt then turned around and handed both boys their own toe shoes kits! Both boys opened the bags, and looked in horror. There was everything that they needed, and nothing they wanted to use! However, when the girls realized what was going on, they all flocked around them, all giving their tips on use and wear, mostly in a teasing way. They did want to help, considering the lack of experience with this kind of shoe. On the other hand, they could not help but feel a sense of revenge, and could not wait to watch them struggle. Things got worse for them, because, when they tried to go set the bags down, Mr. Katt said, "No, no, boys: you need to be used to them before the show, which means you need to start learning the use of them now. Please, put them on, and ladies, give them a hand."

At this, there were shouts of glee, and then they boys were overwhelmed as they were sat down, had their slippers ripped off their feet, and the girls began to prepare their feet for the shoes. They all were giggling as they commented on their feet, how cute they were, and how much more tape and powder it would take, considering the difference in size between most men and women's feet. The boys looked over the cluster at Billy, hoping for a bit of sympathy. All Billy could do is smile and shrug.

Later on, Ahiru caught up with Rue in the science hall, and she just had to know. "Why did you give up the lead like that?" asked Ahiru, "You would have been so good at this!"

"Remember what Billy taught you about the Method?" Rue responded.


"Well, look at how things have gone for you," returned Rue, "Don't you think you have more in common with Cinderella than I?"

Ahiru rubbed the back of her neck, thought, and then said, "I guess I can see your point."

Rue then added, "Isn't Billy going to be the prince?"

"Yeeessss..." said Ahiru, slowly, and not sure where Rue was going with it.

"Well..." said Rue knowingly.

Ahiru turned as red as a tomato and smiled weakly. Rue then said, "Don't you think you could pull off the pas de deuxbetter with him than I?"

Ahiru silently conceded the point, and then Rue said, "Besides, I didn't look forward to the pas de deux with Mr. Katt," and lightly nudged her. They both laughed, and then, they both looked up to see Fakir and Mytho walking the other direction, both walking very tenderly and slowly, both with a look on their faces that seemed as if they did not know whether they had been shot, kissed, powder burned, or snake bit! The girls saw this, and laughed even harder. All the boys could do is sneer as they passed. "Mein Gott!" uttered Fakir, "I think my toes are going to be in my heels by the end of this show!"

"I cannot understand why the girls look forward to going en Pointe,"responded Mytho. As they continued, they passed by the chemistry classroom, now being run by a new teacher named Mr. Van Hellmann, taking over for the teacher that had retired the year before. They also heard the conversation going on in the room with the janitor. "How could you have left the chemical closet unlocked like that!" thundered Van Hellmann.

"I swear to you, I didn't leave it open!"the janitor responded.

"Dumbkoff!"he thundered, "Get out!"

They watched as the janitor left, quite angry for being accused for this deed, ignoring the follow up statement, "Have you any idea what some of those chemicals can do in the wrong hands?"

"Good day," said Mytho in German, "What is the problem?"

"Ah, it is so good to hear the native tongue," said Van Hellmann, "But, it is okay, boys: nothing I cannot handle."

"Some chemicals were stolen?" asked Fakir.

"Not just some chemicals," he responded,"but the same ones. Those chemicals can be used for some very bad things. Moreover, this is not the first time this has happened."

"How did they get them?" asked Mytho.

"That careless janitor," he said angrily,"I am always careful to lock the closet, because I know how dangerous those things are. I wish he only understood this!"

"Is it possible that it was a slip of mind?" said Fakir.

"Ach, maybe," he conceded, "but highly unlikely. You have to be careful with these things. You have already had this class, yes?"

"Last year," they both answered.

"Then you remember all the safety measures in here," he said, as he pointed to the chemical shower, eye wash stations, and so forth, "I cannot afford some student getting in here, taking these things, and trying to perform some stupid prank, or worse."

"Well, if we hear anything, we will let you know," said Mytho.

"Ah, thank you," he said, "You two are good German boys, yes? You have good heads. Please, tell me anything you may have heard."

With that, they all took their leaves. The two brothers walked silently, but Mytho was pondering the whole thing. Fakir noticed his deep thought, and asked, once again in English, "Something bothering you?"

"I guess I could believe some of that,"said Mytho, "yet, I can't help sense something slightly amiss."

"What do you mean?"

"He seemed sincere enough, but there seemed also to be a sense of him restraining something."

"Is this something you detected through your empathy?"

"Very much so, and, it was a sense of hiding something."

"Do you think he was lying?"

"I don't know. Maybe: but it wasn't something so strong. It seemed more like he may have left it open, he had forgotten that he had, and was looking for someone upon to blame it and save face."

"It could be. Of course, it could be something we can look into, or keep our ears open about, but it might not be something big enough for the Chess Knights to deal with."

"I guess so. Well, let's not make much ado about nothing, we have enough to worry about," said Mytho, pointing to his feet. They laughed, and looked forward to the weekend. Billy was going to take everyone to a music shop, because he wanted to get them all instruments. If they could pick up the instruments, then the act that they were toying with could have more punch.

On that Saturday afternoon, after they had gotten most of their homework done, the six went into town. As they left, however, they saw Mr. Johansen talking with the campus security. Poe was there with some paint and rollers, preparing to paint over something painted on the wall. "I cannot believe you could not catch this happening!" exclaimed the headmaster.

"Hey, sometimes these kids are quick," he responded, "They know how to leave these things within seconds, and be gone."

Billy recognized what it was, and he said,"I guess they didn't learn from the last time."

"What do you mean?" asked Ahiru.

"This is a gang tag," he said,"specifically, the Fawcett 126."

"Not again," said Rue, as she rolled her eyes.

"'Fraid so," said Billy.

"Pardon me for being ignorant," said Mary,"but what does the number mean?"

"They are a part of a larger gang," he responded, "These gangs sometimes have a national network, and this number is not too dissimilar to the kind of numbering system that the military units use to designate from one another. The 126 is only one branch."

Mr. Johansen overheard the speech, and said, "Whatever they are, they need to be stopped from doing this!"

"Why do they do this?" asked Ahiru.

"Sadly, this is also not too dissimilar to a pack of wolves marking their territory," Billy said.

"Hold on," said Mytho, "Do you mean they are trying to claim the school as their territory?"

"That is exactly the point," said Billy.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Mr. Johansen.

"Apparently, someone on this campus has some dealings with them," responded Billy, "and they are marking this as their turf, telling other gangs to stay out, and that all under the tag are under their 'rulership' for the lack of a better term."

"Oh really," said Mr. Johansen, "So you are saying someone here is a gang member?"

"It is possible," said Billy.

"Then it looks like we need to have an assembly on Monday to address this," said Mr. Johansen, "and thank you for the information, Billy."

"Glad to help," he responded, and the six went their way. All this seemed strange to them, and then Billy said, "If there is gang activity, whoever it is, is really good at hiding it. Number one, we need to find this clown, and number two, we need to nip this in the bud, or else the town is going to be overrun with the 126, and the gang wars that come with that. The Secret Six need to make it quite clear that Kinkan is very much off limits to any gang, and that any gang is going to pay dearly for even getting within spitting distance of this school."

They arrived at the music shop, and then he started by asking if any of them have any kind of experience on an instrument. Fakir said he had played some bass before, but added that he was very rusty. Billy assured him that this was okay, because he could get Fakir up to speed in time. Mytho also stated that he had started out on the violin before the'incident,' referring to the shattering of his heart. Billy then said that the knowledge was still there, and all he needed to do is get some self-instruction books and brush up. Mary said that she also took guitar, but that she had not learned any lead on it-just the chords. Billy said that this was fine, and learning alittle lead was no problem. All she needed to do is refresh her skills, and he could help with the lead. Billy said that, because of the folk sound they were aiming at, he wanted to get a mandolin. He then said that both Fakir and Mytho could help him, because the fingering on the mandolin was similar to the violin or the bass. That left Rue and Ahiru. Neither of them had played any instruments, so Billy had to figure something out for them. They then went in, and all but Rue and Ahiru were going to their respective instruments, trying different ones. Billy looked at Rue, thought for a moment, and then saw aconcertina. He picked it up, and brought it to her. The instrument itself was abit technical, in that, one had to learn the fingering, but he felt it was something within Rue's ability to pick up, and that she could learn some chords in time. If they ended up an act, then that would be something that they would be practicing all the time anyway, so she would become skilled in time. Ahiru, on the other hand, was someone of whom he was not sure how quickly she could pick up playing music. Therefore, he needed to find something easy. He then spied a 21 chord chromatic autoharp, keyed out in the complete circle of fifths. All she needed to do is to become familiar with where the chords were on the instrument, and learn when to play what. In time, if she kept up with it, she could learn how to play melodies on the instrument, but that would come with much practice. Rue was already starting to feel out the concertina as Billy went for the autoharp. He pulled down, gave it to Ahiru, and told her how the instrument worked. Uncle Dudley had advanced him enough money to make these purchases, considering the price of instruments, and how much all these, the instruction books, and all the paraphernalia that went with them would cost. Fortunately, he had enough squirreled away for this, but he also knew that he was about to shoot the wad for this. Billy figured that this would be an investment that could pay off in spades, so he was not worried. However, he also knew that he would have to be frugal for a few weeks to rebuild the funds. Once everyone had made his or her choices, Billy paid for the whole thing in cash, much to the great delight of the shop owner. Billy then said, "I have to get back to my homework, so what everyone can do is start looking at their books, mess around with the instruments a bit, and then tomorrow, we can meet somewhere, and I can help all of you."

It was decided that they would all meet in the girl's dorm, (visitors of the opposite sex were allowed to visit in the dayroom, as long as there were at least three in the room.) and practice then. Billy knew that they could pick it up quickly, because they had a collective ear, they had the discipline enough to handle ballet, being superheroes, and to pick up Tai Chi. They were getting to the point where he was not leading as much as the others were doing it alongside him. Billy also knew that these things were good to help them cohere as a team, in that, everyone would begin to know how the other thinks, and thus, they could act as one entity. This would be vital just as much on the stage as it would be acting as heroes.

That night, Billy was still pouring over his books, almost done with all his work and he began to wonder if taking on two shows had been a wise thing. On the other hand, he also knew that he needed the grade for theatre, and so he had to do this show. NOW sleep was going to be a luxury! Mary was still fairly fresh on the guitar, so she did not take long to get back into playing. She spent most of her time teaching Rue how to read the music, and painting the notes on the keys so she could learn where they were, and become more familiar as to what they sounded like. Meanwhile, Ahiru learned that, though this could be easy to learn, maintaining it would be a bit of a chore. There were so many strings on it, and keeping it in tune would not be very fun. She also saw how changing a string could be difficult. She fiddled around with it some, seeing if she could pick out a tune or two, much to the chagrin of her roommates. She was so infatuated with getting to know the instrument that she had not realized how late it had gotten. Finally, the other two said, "Good night, already, Mozart!"

This brought her to, and she quickly apologized, and slunk into bed. The next day, they all met, they spent about four hours getting instruction from Billy, and he made a world of difference for them, as he helped them to feel comfortable with their instruments, and helped to fill in the gaps that a book would leave as opposed to hands-on learning, and personal instruction. By the time they were done, they had learned how to play a couple of basic tunes, and became a bit more enthused to try this idea of a song and dance act. One thing was for certain, it would be one of the most unique acts ever done, because who ever thought of using folk music, and folk styling, while dancing ballet. Of course, there would be moments when they all would dance, and then they could use recorded material. That could then be anything. He then said that they could work on something for the Christmas variety show, where some could be dancing, and some playing and singing. He also said that he would kick around some ideas for them to try the next morning before class. "Hey, gang,"he said, "I don't think you realize the potential here."

"Do you think it will sell?" asked Rue.

"It could," said Billy, "It all depends. If we start local like this, in this school, we can refine the thing, that, by the time we unleash it on the public, it will be a very polished act."

The next day, they all came together to practice Tai Chi, and Mr. Katt came in for the last five minutes of it. They were so engrossed in what they were doing that they did not see Mr. Katt joining them. They were quite surprised to see this, and he asked them if they did this every morning. When they said it was every weekday morning, he said that he would like to join them. They did not refuse, because they did not mind, and they would not have known how to say, "No," to him anyway. He also commented on how in accord they had become, and said that they may have something. It was then he noticed the instruments in the corner, and asked about that. When Billy explained, a smile curled on the lips of Mr. Katt, and he said, "Kids, I never thought I would see the likes of this again."

When they asked what he meant by that, he explained that, every once an a while, there would be students that come together like they had, and became something in the business later on, either as a group, or in smaller factions, using the act they had in school as abreeding ground for their act. However, these days, everyone wanted to be their own thing, and sadly, too many record companies, producers, and whatnot, wanted to be the ones to form the groups, and control all that they did. Too often, kids would form a team, go out, and then have some so-called talent scout select only one or two of the group, put them where he or she wanted, reshaped their whole act, and made them nothing more than their marionettes. However, he knowing the personalities of Fakir and Rue, it would be hard to pull the wool over their eyes. Yet, this would also make it hard to get bookings, because, normally, the theatres and the producers are conspiring with one another, and work in lockstep to insure the highest profit for them, and not the hand that feeds them. They would have to make a name enough now, independent of those leeches, to where they would have to cave into the act's demands, or else the audience would turn them right off, and they would lose the profit. Mr. Katt, at that moment, decided that he was going to do everything in his power to prepare them for this, and protect them from those leeches. He knew a good thing when he saw it, and felt that it was his duty as an instructor of Kinkan to insure the students the best possible chance to make it in the business no matter what it took. With that, he asked them if they were going to do anything for the Christmas variety show. Billy said that he had an idea where two of them would do a dance, while the four of them played. He then hooked up his laptop, and pulled out a song called "The Gift." The most well known version was what he had, and it had a girl that was about Ahiru's age when she recorded it. It was his intentions to have her sing, and then they would decide who should do the dancing. When the song finished, they all agreed that Mary and Rue would be best in doing the dancing. That meant that the rest of them would be playing. Mr. Katt then asked for a copy of the song, and then he said that he would put together some kind of choreography for the dance. However, this time, he said that there could be no extra credit for this, since he was now taking more of a direct hand in the act than he had before. Billy said that he would try to get the sheet music for the rest of them, and work out a chord sheet for Ahiru from which she could both sing and play. This would be an interesting Christmas indeed.

The next day, the janitor was again being chewed out by Van Hellmann for the loss of more items, and this time, the headmaster was there. The poor janitor swore his innocence up and down, but Mr. Johansen did not seem very sympathetic. As this was going on, Mytho told Fakir that something did not seem right, and, taking the hint, they both slipped into the classroom. The closet was indeed open, with no signs of forced entry. However, the one thing that seemed odd was the fact that nothing was of sorts. In other words, nothing looked too disturbed or disheveled. If one did not know that something had been taken, one would swear that everything was as it should be. As they slipped out, the argument was ending, and Mr. Johansen was giving a warning to the janitor not to let this happen again. Mr. Van Hellmann and Johansen were leaving, and leaving behind a fuming janitor. Mytho took a reading of the janitor, and realized that he was not lying about the closet. He looked at Fakir, and gave an indication of the janitor being okay. Mytho and Fakir then spoke a touch in German, and Mytho conveyed that the janitor was not telling lies. Fakir then asked the janitor, "Pardon me for prying, but can anyone get a hold of your keys, you know, to try to make a copy?"

"Absolutely not!" he snapped, "These keys never leave my sight or my person. They are chained right here on my belt."

At that, he extended the keys on aretractable chain that were hooked quite securely to the belt. Then Fakir asked, "Well, what about Mr. Hellmann: have you ever seen him set his keys down on the desk, or turn his back on them?"

"That, I don't know," he said, "You'd have to ask him."

"Oh, one more thing," asked Mytho, "What chemicals were taken?"

"That's the odd thing," he answered, "It's the same chemicals all the time: never a change."

With that, he listed off the chemicals, and Fakir quickly jotted them down behind the janitor's back. They thanked him for the information, and went about their business. They were now walking better, but they were still sore. They had endured plenty of blisters, and treatments of NuSkin, which were very painful, on those blisters. The ankles were also beginning to get used to the new pressure, because going en Pointe calls for the use of the ankle muscles in quite a different angle than what they had been used to. Even though this was becoming quite the aggravation, they also knew that their legs would become stronger as aresult, and it may aid them somehow at an opportune time. When they left, Fakir said that they needed to go to the library to do some research. This was good for Mytho, because this would give him a head start on his homework. That way, he could spend time practicing on his violin. However, Fakir had a different reason for the library. As soon as they were there, Fakir went right for the computer lab, and signed on for the use of the Internet. Once there, he did a search on the chemicals, their relation to one another, and uses. A slough of sights came up, and Fakir sighed at the sight. This would take longer than he thought. However, he decided to pick the sights that had the most matches with respect to what he entered as criteria for the search. What stood out was the fact that, where there were the most matches in on site, they almost all made reference to narcotics. He went back to the main search box, and added the words "drugs" and "narcotics" to the criteria. Of course, this added more hits, but it also shuffled to the top of the list the sites that would deal the most with his suspicions. After looking at a couple of sites, he now realized that chemicals, in various combinations, could be used as precursors for narcotics. Fakir then remembered the tag that was put up the other day, and remembered what Billy had said. Someone on this campus had gang connections, and he or she was selling these precursors to the gang for money. However, whoever it was knew how to conceal things. Fakir thought for amoment about how one could identify someone that was making that kind of money on the sly. Well, one thing he knew was someone like that, if one had no discipline, would be buying a lot of what some called-in slang-"bling." He had not seen this kind of behavior on campus, and the only ones that had that kind of money were Rue, Billy, and Mary. Yet, the sources of income for them were well known, so that would immediately take them out of suspicion. In fact, even if the person were not very bright, he or she would not flaunt a sudden upsurge in money anyway. It was going to be hard to identify the perp in this case. After abit more pondering, he was forced to conclude that it was either a student,(which would make finding that person the same as trying to find a needle in the proverbial haystack,) a worker, (also a difficult hunt,) or...

After about three hours in the library, they went to eat. However, before they went, they passed by the main gate, and then heard a commotion, followed by, "Get it off me! Get it off me, man!"

Quickly, the boys were moving as fast as their sore muscles would allow. When they arrived, campus security was just arriving, as they saw a gang member pinned on his back by Poe, doing all he could to keep him from plucking his eyes out. Poe was not talking as much as he was cawing, and spitting out, "You bad! You bad boy! You naughty: try to hurt Poe! Poe teachyou lesson!"

From the scene outside, it appeared that alarger tag had been put on the wall with another mark. What no one knew was that the other mark was a warning not to remove this tag. The one who put it there then waited for someone to come and try to cover it,(which Poe was assigned to do again,) and then beat him up as an example to all. However, he underestimated the bird's ability to fight. He had jumped out, screaming some choice words, and the threat to beat him up. However, Poe knew a bad person when he saw one, and was not shy about defending himself. He tried to pull a knife, but Poe had quickly used the roller pole on his assailant, disarming him, and then pouncing on him with a mighty leap. He then tried for his gun, but Poe quickly plucked it out of his hand, and was now going for his eyes. The punk had all he could do to keep Poe's rather large beak at bay. Mytho and Fakir both did what they could to get Poe off, making a backhanded comment to his captive of maybe letting Poe go ahead and pluck his eyes out anyway. This caused him to scream as if he was going to soil his underwear. They then managed to get Poe off, and the campus security took it from there. By this point, a small crowd had formed, and saw the result of what had happened. It was at this point they then realized that it had been good ol' Poe that had subdued this guy, and they saw how shook up he was. They then all came up and started to console him, which began to calm him down. They were so happy to know that they had a friend on campus that could help take good care of them. Even Mr. Johansen began to make offers to him to join campus security. Rue said that she would talk to him about it, and see if that is what he wanted. Rue then chuckled a bit to herself, because she knew that they did not know of the six others that were watching over things. At this, the boys turned around to see Constable Brock arriving to take this man away, and decided to get a word with him if they could. When they were able, they voiced their concerns, and stated why it was that something like this was even taking place. Constable Brock thanked them for the information, because this seemed to connect with the two or three gang members that he and the precinct had already run out of town. It seemed that gang activity was trying to settle in to the town, and with the information that Fakir had just given, it made sense as to the reason why. It seemed then that the gang was trying to set up a convenient contact point in town to make business easier. He thanked them again for the information, but then also voiced that he wished he could get a hold of the Secret Six with this information, because any help would be welcomed. Fakir stifled a laugh, and said, "I think they may already be on it, though we do not know it as yet."

The boys sat down to eat, and Mytho and Fakir began to discuss the matter in German, so as not to gain any undue attention about that which they discussed. "Mytho, I don't think it is a student," said Fakir.

"How would you know?" wondered Mytho.

"Think about it," he responded, "If it was a student, he would have to get a duplicate key, and that is almost impossible. In addition, I find it very odd that that nothing in the closet had been disturbed. Even if they knew what chemicals to go for, they would not be as familiar with the contents of that closet, or be familiar with where things were put. Therefore, things should have been disturbed in a search for the chemicals: shoved aside to find this or that, nothing knocked over, that kind of thing. Certainly, it looked like there were missing items, but it was as if the thief knew exactly where to look."

"If the thief was clever enough,"interjected Mytho, "he might have tried to insure that he covered his tracks."

"That could be," Fakir reasoned, "yet...yet I don't think that he would have had enough time to be so detailed. Not only have you eliminated the janitor with you gifts, but also, I don't think he would even know where to look for things. He may be familiar with some things, because he goes in there to clean from time to time, but he doesn't go in there regularly enough to be as familiar with the items in there."

"Are you suggesting that Mr. Van Hellmann...?" said Mytho, but Fakir interrupted, and said, "You sensed something about him being evasive in some way, did you not?"

"Yes," answered Mytho.

"Then the only two conclusions I can draw," reasoned Fakir, "is either a student slipped in during a time he had to have the closet open, or he has been doing this himself, and trying to throw off suspicion."

"How do we confirm that?" asked Mytho.

"I think that, sometime tomorrow," said Fakir, "we catch him before he leaves campus, or gets into his car, as the Chess Knights, and ask him a few questions. Maybe the masks and costumes would cause him to slip in his words, and you might be able to detect something."

"This sounds like a good idea," said Mytho, and they made plans for this the next evening.

The next afternoon, as the sun was setting, the Chess Knights waited outside the science hall, and followed Mr. Van Hellmann to his car. As he approached the car, the two of them came from behind it, and stepped in front of the driver's seat. Mr. Van Hellmann jumped back in a start, but they then assured him that they were not thieves, but the Chess Knights. There was no worry about giving themselves away, because Rue had been giving the boys lessons on how to cover their accent. They told him that word had come to them about the thefts, and that they had come to discover that what had been stolen could be used in the narcotic's trade. His eyes went a little wider than normal, and said, "What does that have to do with me?"

"We just wanted to know if you have ever had a situation where you left your keys out, turned your back, and given someone time enough to press a mold of the key," said Black Knight.

"Those keys never leave my sight!" he boasted, "And, besides, no one would be able to know which key it was anyway."

"Could someone have then slipped into your closet during class time?" asked White Knight.

"Never!" he bragged, as if his pride had been hurt, "The only time that closet is open is when I need to get something out of there, and then, no student goes in without my supervision! Perhaps you should talk to that janitor. He is a suspicious fellow! There is no telling what he does when my back is turned! Now, if you will excuse me, Imust be going!"

With that, he shouldered his way past them, got into his car, and sped off. Black Knight looked at White Knight, and said, "Well?"

Mytho shook his head, and said, "That man has dirt all over him! His pride just now has been his undoing. He has told on himself. He fairly well made it clear that no one goes in there but he and the janitor, and even then, none enter without some kind of supervision. The sudden fear in him arose when we started to ask questions about the whole matter, and who had access to the closet, as if he had something to hide. So, what do we do now?"

Black Knight then answered, "Tomorrow, the Chess knights need to pay a visit to the headmaster, asking for permission to case out the science hall for the next few days, and see if we cannot catch the thief. We must also explain our suspicions without naming names: we do not know whether Mr. Johansen is close enough to him to try to protect him. If he is the thief, we have to have ironclad evidence, or we must be able to catch him in the act. This will also give us the chance to be out during study hall. Just make sure you get a jump on your schoolwork, or else people may grow suspicious."

It was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and Mr. Johansen was just preparing to leave for the day, when he heard something outside with his secretary. "Excuse me, boys," she said, "but, um, the Shakespeare club is tomorrow, and being held in the theatre room. No, wait, you just can't go in there."

The doors to his office flung open, and there stood the Chess Knights. "Mr. Johansen, I'm sorry for these boys barging in like this..." but Mr. Johansen said that it was okay, and invited the boys in. They closed the doors behind them, and apologized for the sudden intrusion, but that they also felt that this matter could not admit delay. "What's wrong, boys?" he asked.

Black Knight spoke, and said, "I'm afraid it's very serious. It may well be that one of your faculty has gang involvement, possibly selling items that their drug dealers need to aid in the making of narcotics."

"That would explain the gang activity, but..." Mr. Johansen trailed off for a moment, and then said,"..., but on my campus?"

"Crime can hit anywhere," assured White Knight, "Just because we are a provincial town does not make us immune. However, be assured, you are being watched over."

"What do you boys want to do?" he asked.

"We would like to stake out the science hall for a few days, and see if we cannot catch him or her in the act," said Black Knight.

"Do you have an idea who this may be?"asked Mr. Johansen, having his own suspicions.

"We do," said White Knight, "We just need to confirm this, and try to bring him in. All we need from you is to let the campus security know that we will be out those nights, so as not to cause an incident."

"That I can do," said Mr. Johansen, and with that, they took their leave.

The first night left no results, and they were glad. Their legs, though becoming stronger, were still a bit sore, and they were not sure if they would be able to give proper pursuit if it came to it. However, this night, they were almost fully recovered, and ready for action. It was now an hour after sunset, and an hour after Van Hellmann left. The days were starting to get more crisp and colder in the night. The boys, however, noticed none of this, as the undergarments that they had been provided for them always had the conditions comfortable. They also found out that the gloves for the uniforms also had that lining, so now they could fight if they had to. Not ten minutes after the sun had set, they heard the footsteps of what sounded like hard shoes, and they hid in the brush. It was dark on that side of the building, so it was hard to make out just who was the man in the trench coat and fedora who approached. They watched him approach the double doors, unlock them, and begin to enter. As he entered, the boys pussyfooted it behind him, and quickly swept around the edges of the door into the darkness. The doors closed, and he locked back the dead bolt from inside. They let him get ahead, and followed the sound of the footsteps. Black Knight then gave indication to White Knight to keep following. He knew that, if this were their man, he could go ahead to the chemistry lab, and try to slip in and catch him in the act. He arrived before the stranger, and hid around the corner. As he reached the door, he caught a glimpse of his partner hiding himself, and he signaled when it was certain the stranger could not see him. They had been practicing tailing a target, and had a bit of trouble moving silently. They could not understand how they were doing this now, at first. It then dawned upon Black Knight that the en Pointe lessons were actually beginning to pay off. When he entered, Black Knight was thinking about taking him then. However, he then realized that there may be more to it, and then backed off. If he was getting ready to hand over the goods, they could catch these resident gang members, and kill two birds with one stone. They both approached the door, and Black Knight whispered, "Did you get a look at him?"

"No," said White Knight, "but his emotional readings are that of Van Hellmann, no question!"

"We'll tail him," said Black Knight, "and then we'll see how many fish we can catch in our nets!"

"The JLA computers will be recording all of this," said White Knight, "so we can submit some of this to the police, and put them away."

Black Knight slipped in so that he, and the phone, could both witness the theft. He went right to certain spots in the closet, took things, and closed the door, not locking it, so he could blame it on the janitor. Black Knight waited until his back was turned, slipped out, and told White Knight to meet him down at the double doors.

It was easier to leave for the Knights, because the doors closed outwardly. They moved swiftly to the bushes, and watched as he relocked the door and reset the alarm. They waited until he was about fifty yards away, and then began to give chase. They followed him a good way from the gate, and Black Knight opened his phone and contacted Constable Brock, (who the JLA had added to the phone's database.) He kept the signal open so that they could trace it in case something happened. They caught up to him, and trailed him through the underbrush. Finally, four individuals in gang style clothing came out of the brush. "Ah, good, you are here," said Van Hellmann.

"You got the stuff," one of them said.

"Yes," he answered, "But you are getting sloppy: I should charge you double for this!"

"Hey, man: don't play games with us!"another said defiantly.

"I had some people asking too many questions after your friends little stunt a few days ago!" he answered, "You could have risked it all!"

"Hey, who needs who here?" the one snapped, as if he were the one in charge, "You're the one that said this job don't pay you nothing. I ain't the one that made those debts!"

"Just watch yourselves,"he answered.

Two of them were standing in front, while two were a touch behind, watching out for things. The Knights watched, waiting for the right moment. As soon as the principles in the transaction had looked down to do their business, the two jumped the rearmost of the four. They quickly pommel struck them, covered their mouths, and yanked them into the underbrush. They tied their hands with their own shoelaces, and gagged them with their own do-rags. Van Hellmann looked up just in time to see that the rearguard was nowhere to be seen. "Where are your friends?" asked Van Hellmann. The other two did not waste words as they already had their pistols out. "Joey, T-Lo: where'd you go?" the leader shouted. The Knights caught sight of each other, and both nodded. As soon as the gunmen's gazes went straight ahead, the Knights leapt out, each bringing his sword down on the wrists of the hands holding the guns. Loengrin and the Swan Sword both struck true, and cleanly removed the hands of both men. They both screamed in surprise and pain, but not for long. Both the Knights brought aspinning kick on each man, knocking them both clean out. Black Knight said, "Take care of them," to White Knight as he turned to deal with Van Hellmann. White Knight healed men's hand, but could not reconnect their hands-something a touch out of his reach. Therefore, their handicap would forever be areminder to them that crime does not pay. He then began to slip behind Van Hellmann. Black Knight was kneeling before Van Hellmann, sword aimed at his opponent. "Surrender now," said Black Knight, but all he did was laugh. He then produced a high caliber pistol and aimed it at him. "Oh, and tell your friend behind me to stand down," he said, "don't think I am so foolish like these riff-raff to not know how you would act."

White Knight could not understand how he had been caught, but he had to sit still, or his brother was guaranteed dead. "All too easy," said Van Hellmann,"Two things I leave you with before you die: never bring a knife to a gunfight, and two knights can never checkmate a king."

He began to raise his pistol, when a shot rang out from behind. Black Knight hit the deck just he saw Van Hellmann's head jerk back. He staggered back, able to get nothing out of his mouth except, "gak, gak, ach!" and fell to the ground. Black Knight turned around to see Constable Brock and a few from the precinct with him, as he was holstering his pistol. "No," said Brock, "but two knights and rook can win anytime!"

The next day, the news hit the campus like a ton of bricks. They could not believe that something like that could have happened at Kinkan. The headmaster called off classes for the day, and called a special assembly in the theater for an open forum to discuss the matter, and let people vent their emotions over what had happened. That way, they could gain closure, shake off the shock, and get on with business. However, not five minutes into the session, Ahiru slipped out, seemingly to use the facilities. Instead, she crept off somewhere to transform. She knew that counseling was one of Tutu's strong suits, and decided to help her peers deal with this tragedy. The rest of the six were shocked when they saw Princess Tutu emerge on stage, much to the surprise of Mr. Johansen, and everyone in the room. "May I please say something?" she asked gently.

He stepped aside without a word, and gave the floor to her. She had set up some music in the system before she emerged, and began to dance and speak in her special way. Since she knew she could not link up with everyone in the room at once, she decided to try to simulate the peace that the music and dancing in her links gave to them listening. That way, they could better hear and understand what she had to say. As she danced, she said, "My friends, I know you are greatly saddened by what happened, and I know it is sad that someone you trusted in the faculty essentially betrayed your trust by his actions. I know that must grieve you, and anger you just as much. Yet, the worst thing we can do is become overcome with grief, and lose sight of what has happened. It may cause us never to trust anyone again, and if that is the case, this school could die. Teachers could not trust students, and vice versa, Students would not trust peers, staff with faculty, and so forth. We cannot function like this. Yet, remember, even though someone here betrayed you, there were others around the school and town that cared enough to do something about it. This means that there are those that you can trust, and you can know that they, and I, shall watch over you. If something like this ever happens again, know that justice will be swift, and that we will do all we can to protect you. I love you all, and I want to support all of you."

With that, she posed in the position that means "love," (feet in the fifth position, hands curled up towards the heart on the chest, right hand pinched shut, the left cupped open and the back to the back of the right, both pointing up,) and then she extended her right hand to the audience. She returned her hand to that position, curtsied, and left the stage. After this, some were crying, and others were lost in thought. Mr. Johansen then said, "Then what I think we need to do next is meet up in our various departments, and use the arts we know to express how we are feeling through our forms. Sometimes it is the best way to vent how we are feeling. Tutu, wherever you are, Ihope you can hear this, but, thank you for helping to ease our pain. We owe you and your friends a debt of thanks."

She heard every word as she had returned to the auditorium as Ahiru, and then immediately headed for the ballet room. The other five could not believe how Ahiru had gained such courage to act like this, but then they remembered that Tutu could provide with her what she lacked. They also knew that there would come a time where there would be little difference between her and Tutu. It began to dawn on them that, when she matured, she just might be able to take the lead on the team, for Tutu certainly had a good head on her shoulders. In the meantime, there would be this day of mourning, but Tutu gave them the courage to face the next day, knowing that there were six guardian angels looking over them.

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