“ So, it’s been a while. “ Said the man whose hair was once rich and brown. He waved his hand slightly at the awaiting maid who stood not so far from his wheel chair. She was quite pretty with blonde hair, fair skin and smokey-blue eyes and dressed in traditional maid outfit. Understood her master’s sign, she quietly poured some tea for Saya and Kai.
“ Enjoy yourselves. “
“ Thanks. “
“ I apologize for not being able to pay you a visit since your awaken. “
“ Don’t worry about that, Joel-san. By the way, How are you doing ? “
“ I’m doing fine. “ The man replied with his warm and gentle smile, which Saya had remembered so well. “ Being unable to walk is quite a disadvantage but once you’re used to it, it isn’t so uncomfortable like other people imagine. Besides, this cyborg helps me a lot with daily tasks. “ Joel pointed at the young and blonde woman standing behind him.
“ She’s a robot ?? “ Kai nearly dropped the fine-crafted cup in his hand, not entirely believed in his eyes. Right after he had seen her, he noticed something unusual with this woman. Not only were her eyes blank, they did not blink at all. But Kai could not imagine she was not a living being. She… it was very humanlike.
“ I think she prefers being called by her name, Madeline. She’s the latest model of Goldschmidt company. We’re able to give her a form that resembles human almost perfectly and a highly complex ‘brain’ that can understand human’s simple language. She can follow orders or participate in a casual conversation. “
“ She will be very handy at Omoro. “ The thought of having a pretty and hard-working waitress at his restaurant made Kai grin from ear-to-ear. The greatest thing was since she was a robot, she needed no salary or health insurance. Compared to a normal worker, this ‘Madeline’ is simply wonderful.
“ The price is 150 thousands euros. Shipping cost is not included. “
Saya could not help but chuckled at her brother’s comical expression. The cup fell from his hand to the ground, promising an unpleasant sound. Thankfully, Kai was able to catch it with his super Chevalier’s speed. This cup probably cost the entire weekly income of his Omoro, though Joel would probably not charge him for it.
“ Yes, I am. But not about the cost. If you really want to have one or two, we can offer you a loan. With interest, of course. “
“ I guess that’s how your business flourishes. “ Kai held up his hands in defeated.
“ Saya, I heard from David that Haji isn’t with you ? “ The young man who now was ripe with age asked with concern.
“ That’s true. “ Saya replied, somewhat sadly. “ I’m looking for him. “
“ You have any clue of where he can be ? “
“ Frankly, I don’t. But Haji once told me about his favorite place, which is in Paris. Beside, since Haji grew up in France, this place must have hold a lot of good memories of his. “
“ I see. So, when you’re in France, don’t hesitate to come to my place when you need something. “
“ We won’t. Thanks, Joel-san. We’re like family after all. “
“ Speaking of family, have you heard about your son…uhm… “ Kai scratched the back of his head, struggling to search for the right words.
“ The twins want to make him Chevalier ? “
“ You knew already ? Asked Kai, startled. “ Rikku said they haven’t told you. “
“ David’s in Japan, you know. Even though we’re no longer fighting Chiropterans, we’re still Red Shield. Watching over Diva’s children is our crucial duty. No one wants that tragedy to repeat itself. “
“ I see. So, what do you think of it ? “
“ David and Joel are members Red Shield. It’s also their duty to take care of those girls. Human’s lifespan is limited so it’best that they are looked after by their Chevaliers, the ones closest to them in blood. Moreover, it’s not something against their wills. “
“ You accept it much easier than they thought. It seems Rikku’s worried over nothing. “
“ That was also what Davis said when I convinced him. “
“ You did ? “
“ Our ancestor’s sin lays heavy upon our shoulders. I think that’s how we can repay her : to ensure her children lead a life full of happiness. “
“ I thank you, Joel. On behalf of Diva. “
“ You’re welcome, Saya. “
“ I still remember the day Haji, Riku and I walked this street. His favorite place is near. “
That night, Saya and Kai paid a visit to their old house, where they had stayed in their battle against Diva. Although the time was short, one major event happened here still stroke their hearts as they recalled it.
“ That time, I tried to keep myself away from you and Riku. Especially you. “ Said Saya remorsefully.
“ We all felt sorry about Irene’s death. But I was so busy cursing my own inability to help her that I forgot you were suffering as much as I was, probably more. “
“ You know what Riku told me when we were walking this street ? ‘Don’t hate yourself’ and ‘Don’t hate Kai-niichan’. “
That boy… he’s always the one to get us back together. “
They were silent for a moment, reminiscing their lost brother.
“ Do you think… somewhere up there he’s watching over us ? “ Asked Kai, eyes gazing over the starry sky.
“ Saya ? “
Kai looked over to his sister, whose eyes were fixated on an invisible object, red irises shone brilliantly like a raging flame. Those rubies, although seemed mesmerizing to his nature as a Chevalier, actually worried his human’s side. The queen’s irises never shone for no reasons. Something was tickling her senses.
“ What’s wrong, Saya ? “
“ Did you hear that ? Did you hear that sound ? “ Saya said in a low and quiet tone, almost murmured to herself.
“ Sound ? “ Asked Kai who barely made out Saya’s words. “ I hear only the sounds of vehicles and people talking ? “
“ The sound of cello ! Haji’s yearning for me. “
“ Are you sure about it ? It’s certainly noisy here. “
“ There’s no time for explanation ! I must go after him. “
Leaving a bewildered Kai, Saya leapt up in a flash. Normally, she was careful enough not to display her power in a highly public place. But when it came to Haji, the queen was surprisingly careless. Watching her faint figure melted into the night, the Chevalier let out a sigh and quickly ran after her.
Once in a while, Haji left his shelter and joined the outside world in a brief moment. One could say he was both fond and afraid of the world outside the rusty iron bars that made the cage he reluctantly called ‘home’. Terrorizing people with his monstrous look was his worst nightmare and because of that, he kept shielding himself away in this abandoned ‘Zoo’. But, being haunted by the ghostly memory of a mansion engulfed in flame and his beloved’s agonizing expression every day and night made him desperately crave for the sights and sounds of the living world, which would let him temporarily forget his present state of an undead.
At the darkest corner of the avenue sat a man covered in cloak as black as night. His appearance would give anyone approaching him fright, especially children since he somewhat resembled the boogeyman. On the contrary, the mellow sound of the cello in his embrace seemed to ascend from heaven itself. In this city of lights, there are people like him, lonesome artists who walk the streets and perform their talents not for making a living but solely for their devotion to art.
And he too, was devoting everything in this performance, not for the love of art but for one single woman whose eyes always set his heart ablaze with just a glance.
“ Haji…Is that… you ? “
The voice, though shaky and hoarse as the speaker’s mind was flooded with emotional tides, was a harsh shot right through his heart. Masking himself with the darkness, he managed to hide his agony.
“ Haji. Is that really you ? “
The voice, still choked with tears, was firmer. Her burning crimson irises looked straight at him, strongly demanding an answer.
His eyes shut tight in fear that he would succumb to her gaze and his Chevalier’s instinct, Haji quickly turned his back to his queen.
“ You have mistaken. “ His answer was short and with his deformed voice, he hoped it was enough to fool her.
He was wrong.
“ Liar ! I knew it was you. You were calling out for me, why didn’t you refuse to see me ? “
Haji did not know his cello a moment ago had instinctively transferred all his crave to his queen’s senses. Even now, every cells in his body were shaking violently in excitement of her presence. He had to fight against them all to run away from her. He could never forget her terror-stricken face the first time she had seen his transformation. It did not need to happen twice.
“ That man is dead. “
He said in a low tone, but clear enough for her to listen. With all his strength, he escaped from those eyes, leaving her behind, shocked and speechless. He cast one last chance to see tears wetting her pretty face.
It seemed he really had betrayed her.
His sister downed on her knees was the only thing Kai saw when arrived at the place. Trying his best to avoid people’s attention had made him a little bit slow. Haji had already gone.
“ Saya… what happened ? “
“ He left me… He doesn’t want to see me anymore. “ Buried her face in Kai’s chest, her overflowing tears dampened his shirt. “ Why is that, Kai ? Why is that ? “
“ Because he’s a damn moron. Running away from someone who ‘s desperate for his return. I swear when I find him, I’ll beat him up like a damn trash bag. “
“He doesn’t want to see me anymore.. . “
Her sanity was clouded and she kept repeating those words.
“ Then I’ll make him see you, Saya. Now we know he’s here, he’s soon to be found. “
“ If you dare to hurt her again, I’ll make sure you regret it. “