(Originally posted by me on Mon March 01, 2010)
"Well, well, what's a young lady doing out by herself and away from a festive party?" inquired a deep, somewhat cold voice from behind Aria.
She turned back, away from the roses, and saw before her a giant man. He was definitely past six feet tall, wore semi-elegant clothing that were too small for him and were stressed by his very muscular body, had jet-black hair, and was unshaven. His expression was colder than his voice, mixed in with subtle pain and deadliness.
This disheartened Aria, and was kind of sad to see. "Um, I was just getting some fresh air."
The man took a deep breath after that, then exhaled slowly, saying, "Don't we all need some? To forget our troubles?"
Aria hesitated, then nodded. The two looked at each other for a couple of seconds, locking eyes. She shook her head a bit and looked behind him, to the left of him, the right, all around. She was looking for the man that mysteriously appeared before her.
"Hey, did you happen to see a guy with red hair, an eye patch and black armor? I was talking to him a minute ago and he just disappeared...." she asked the new man.
When she looked up at him after a moment of silence, his expression was clearly telling her that he thought she was being crazy, about as much as Fujitsu. She felt a bit angry and embarrassed at the same time.
He replied, "I would have remembered seeing a man who looked like he was going to war in the party room."
Aria nervously glanced to the ground and said, "Okay, sorry."
The man shook his head slightly and started to leave to go back to the party room, putting on a masquerade mask. Aria, having nothing better to do now, followed him.
It was a bit uncomfortable walking alongside this cold man, but she really didn't feel like walking alone now, so she dealt with it. Even when they were inside the ballroom, she kept to his side; Fujitsu hadn't come back, so Aria assumed that he had gone off to bed. He needed it, too, as did everybody else, moreso her.
While she was in her thoughts, the man halted spontaneously by some of the musicians, and she bumped right into him, knocking her away from her those thoughts and back a few inches. He turned around and inquired, "Do you need assistance, or do you just not have anything better to do?"
Aria was now a bit more embarrassed. This man clearly did not want her tagging along side him, and there was a bit of annoyance in his voice that made her flush in that embarrassment. However....
"Listen," he continued. "Why don't you scurry along somewhere else now, and stop following me around. Quite honestly, I'd rather be lef-"
"Hey, have I met you somewhere before? I don't know why... but your face seems familiar," she interrupted.
The man stayed silent. Apparently she might have touched a nerve or something, but now his expression had a bit of fear mixed in... along with a very, very subtle anger. Why? She couldn't figure out, but now she was getting somewhere with her thoughts. Yes, she had seen him somewhere... on a poster of sorts. It had a mugshot of his un-masked face on it. She was about to remember who he was, in fact, but then....
A deafening BOOM sounded from the top center of the ballroom, followed by the sound of few crushing bones under the broken chunks of ceiling. The partakers of the party were in panic-mode. Who could blame them? The ceiling just fell from above them, but what caused it? The answer soon came flying down, nearly filling a quarter of the room.
It was a dragon, and on top was the third in command of Xeranad's army, Ultritch. They were hovering before the Prince.
"Good evening, Prince Elric," he greeted, actually almost sounding bored. "Xeranad gives you his congratulations on your acceptance of your crown."