treacherous

Chapter 7: The Concert

Today was the day. Natsu sat on a sofa in a waiting room while a man with the weird face and sunglasses combed his spiky hair. He had said to Cancer, the man's name, that his hair was persistently spiky. And it took a half of an hour for the weird man to finally give up on tidying his hair.

Wearing his formal black suit, with his white muffler as the substitute of the red tie that his father insisted him to wear an hour ago, he looked like an adult, at least, a young adult since he was thirteen. The brown violin has been left untouched since his departure from his house. It wasn't unusual because it was his habit and a self-rule; not touching the instrument before the concert, even if for practicing purposes.

The rehearsal he did days before and yesterday went well. The orchestra group was able to match his song somehow. No wonder, it was the famous Fairy Tail orchestra that his manager himself who was the conductor.

His gaze stilled on the high ceiling above him. It was filled with complicated carving and gold ornament that only the professional who able to made them. Mercurius was one hell of castle, if you wondered. Its construction was amazingly confusing. Since the castle was the widest in the Earthland's kingdom, the corridors were like a maze. And about the maze, there was one on this castle's garden, a maze made with bushes and flowering plants.

This was Crocus, after all, and it means flower everywhere.

He thanked silently that the girl didn't come with him; otherwise, he was sure that she would do an adventure and ended up lost somewhere. Yeah, that girl had no sense of direction. Two days ago, she got lost in his mansion just to search for a certain blue cat to feed him. The blue cat was sleeping in the library and she knew it, but she didn't know where the library was. And it took almost all night to find her in the attic.

How ridiculous.

"I have to meet someone today, I'm so so sorry I can't accompany you to Crocus, Natsuuuu!"

It wasn't like he needed a company to get here. Natsu snorted at the memory.

Then again, what was her name? Oh yeah, Lucy.

Lucy Dragneel.

"Dragneel-san," a man with formal attire talked and stopped his train of thought, "five minutes until the concert begin."

The young violinist nodded. As the man walked away, he breathed in and out. No matter how much he had done concerts, he never did one in front of the King himself. And now was the chance. He had to impress this man in order to gain more popularity. But popularity wasn't the thing he wanted, actually. But it could irk his father to no end if he gained more popularity than his father, resulting to another silent challenge his father would throw.

"Dragneel-san, it's time," the same man called for him. Natsu opened the wooden case and held the instrument and its bow tightly yet gently. He walked to the stage, showered in applauses. After a quick, deep bow from him, the orchestra group started to play; he started to play the first piece, Bloom.

He could feel the stares from the audience, who were from the upper class people. Not the intimidating one, but relaxed and somewhat it was like they were thrown back to their old times. Nostalgia, he mused. He betted he would get thrown too if he was the one who listening it. But being the one who played the piece, he simply poured all his nostalgia to the song.

As the song reached the end, he heard applauses exploded from the audience. Inwardly, Natsu grinned in proud as he succeeds in playing the first one. After a short bow, and noticed some ladies were actually shedding tears, he played the second one. He guessed that more ladies would shed more tears from this one.


Igneel was standing on a balcony near the entrance door. Despite the soft melody his son was playing, his mind was wandering somewhere else. The autumn wind brushed his suited figure, leaving a lone brown leaf on his shoulder.

"You know, I don't mind a company this time," he said to no one. But a figure clad in black clothing stepped out of the shadow behind the door almost immediately. "What do you want?"

The person chuckled dangerously, "Not your wife, Dragneel-san."

"You!" Igneel turned with a gun in his hand. "The hell you want!"

The person's black eyes gleamed, "Let's see, there is actually many things that I want, but I believe you don't have much time to hear the list, correct?"

"Don't you dare to touch my son!" he growled. A finger was ready on the trigger. Where the heck were the guards?!

"Igneel, if I were you, I won't dare myself to point that weapon to me," Igneel swore the man was smiling insanely just now. "I came here to simply tell you a story, a based-on-true-life-kind of story, ready to listen?

"So one day, there was a queen who wanted to be the most beautiful lady on the earth. She kept on asking the mirror on her chamber, who was the fairest of all and such, and as usual, the mirror told her the same answer; she was the most beautiful lady in the world. But one day, she was asking the mirror again, who was the fairest of all, but the mirror's answer was different. A girl with pure heart was the fairest of all.

Raged, she sets out a hunter to kill the girl and return with her heart as the proof of the hunter's loyalty to her. So the hunter found the girl in a crowded place, with beautiful song around her."

Igneel eyed the man weirdly. It was an old Snow White story tale, why was this man told him now? Why didn't he just pull the trigger and kill him on the spot?

"But the story didn't end there. The hunter was successfully killed the girl and met with the queen. Finally, the queen gained the eternal beauty as the equivalent exchange with one's soul. The. End."

The music inside was suddenly stopped. A loud scream filled the concert's room.

CRASH

"That's the signal, I'll see you later, Igneel Dragneel-san," the man leaped to the shadow and quickly disappeared.

"Shit!" Igneel turned to the crashing source, it was from a window. And from that window, a small figure which also clad in black jumped out and ran. His eyes widened. The figure was bleeding or the blood wasn't his. Then, a second later, his eyes caught a familiar figure that also leaped out of the window and ran following the first figure.

"What the hell, Natsu!" he shouted, gaining the attention from the boy. "What was happening in there?!"

"You gotta call an ambulance, pops! I'm going to follow that boy!"

"Oi! Natsu! Wait–!"

Natsu was sure that the boy had just turned to this intersection; however, he didn't see the figure anymore. As if he was disappearing in the thin air or in the shadow, or in the darkness of the autumn night, whatever; you name it. But he gotta find this guy; he almost killed the Princess back then. He just hoped that his father had called an ambulance by now.

"Wait! Stay where you are!" Natsu spotted the same figure, but it wasn't like the guy was going to listen to what he said. The chasing begun again, this time, the figure was running slower, as if on purpose so Natsu would catch up. But what the benefit the guy would gain from slows his pace?

The figure then made a sharp turn to the left. A narrow alley was what he headed. Natsu's luckiness had worn out; the alley was covered with clotheslines. He almost tripped over a fallen laundry once before the guy finally disappearing from his sight.

Punching his fist into the brick wall, he panted in tiredness. Slowly, the air filled his lungs normally before he walked away from the alley as an ambulance passed by quickly in front of him. Must be the Princess, he thought. He congratulated his father on his unusual quick reaction silently, then made a quick walk back to the castle.

As much as he wanted to keep the guy away from his mind, or at least, cornered him in the darkest place in his mind, he couldn't. The guy was commenced a crime right in front of his eyes, then again, he couldn't do anything before a lady's high-pitched scream reached his sensitive ears. For the second times in his life, Natsu had left his violin away and chased or thinking another thing. The boy was smaller than him, judging by his smooth moves around the crowded place. He threw a knife or something to the window hard enough to shatter the glass and jumped out of the room.

Then he felt a pang of guilt creeping through his mind. The same feeling when he found his unborn sister died in his mother's womb. The same feeling when he found out that she was dying because of it.

A new feeling quickly formed as he remembered the unwanted memories. Hatred, anger, it was all directed to one person. His mother and sister' killer and he suspected the killer was still alive today, this very second. And he doubted that the sinful person was suffering.

Elysian.

It was a code. But he couldn't decipher it, because it was too nonsensical to be a person's name or a place or anything. He never acknowledged such a word, or a name, in this case, but maybe that one word was unconsciously making him feel this shudder. But to think of it, was the guy just now working for him?

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