~A MURDER IS A FLOCK OF CROWS~
Made by the lovely Lilian Thorne
:-: A.M.R.O. HEADQUARTERS :-: ROME, ITALY :-:
"Are you sure, Director Mason?" Tabion asked, pausing and turning around as he opened the office door to leave. His jaw locked as he waited for the Director to respond.
His master was across the room, which seemed cold as it was extravagant. It was as if the room itself breathed laboriously as the Director of AMRO as he gazed out at his open balcony. Sitting on his wheelchair, the Director seemed frozen. The sun has yet to rise, but the time was nigh--his breath was still. Finally, he cocked his head slightly and nodded. Tabion, a Chrono Asylum who always seemed to be at the Director's side, closed the door, his fists clenched. A few moments later, and Director Mason saw the first glimpse of the sunrise, peeking out across the mountains miles away.
It was then that he was no longer alone, for as the rays of light crept onto the balcony and into the room, the vague shape of a man materialized, as though from the photons themselves. The Director had been expecting his arrival and had wished to greet him alone, for his own reasons. The man of light then resumed his material, human form-- it was Yan Fang! The newest Chrono Asylum established, whose mastery of the Light alchemy specialization was unrivaled.
"Director?" Yan whispered, going down to bow at the knee, but Mason held up a hand, stopping him. Yan returned to his full height, bemused.
"Forget the protocol, Yan. Time is of the essence since the keeper returned," Mason replied, his voice sour but restrained.
"I heard--were his findings--" Yan began to ask.
"--Indeed! Which is why you're here," Mason interrupted.
"But I thought Siph--" Yan stated, crossing his arms.
"--Ahh yes. Him. He hasn't recovered as well as I would liked, and the Gemellie are their own problem. It has to be you, after all," Mason interrupted again.
Yan was quiet, feeling to content to let the director speak, but as it was, Mason said nothing, merely looked up at him. He finally continued, "You understand that there can be no hint of this. Not even an educated speculation."
"Yes, director, sir. Will my sister be joining me? She is young and doesn't know how to keep her mouth shut," Yan breathed, unsure of what he ought to think about his sister's condition.
"Her condition from encountering those Arcanas has left her... mentally challenged. Apparently the thought of someone being more powerful than her--other than you--was too much to bear. I have my best scientists working on her...she is special for a Lost Number, you know?" Director said and gestured, and then propped his hand under his chin.
"Yes... I know," Yan replied, relieved.
"But Geko will make a suitable replacement. For now. You may be joined later by more suitable allies--as suitable as the word can be stretched," Mason continued.
"Understood. And... the team--have you picked--" Yan asked
"--Oh yes. Several. In fact, here," Mason interrupted, picking up a thick group of folders off of his lap and handing it out to Yan.
The young Chrono picked them up eagerly and leafed through them. "I guess these ones will have to do, but I..." Yan stated, before falling quiet and blushing. His eyes were locked onto a photo of one dossier.
"I'm sure she will remember you--after all, she tested your potential to be a Chrono," Mason smirked.
"She did more than that, sir," Yan sighed, wonderful memories surfacing to his mind, "In fact, I... hrm, well... this is, this might be... what's the word I'm looking for?"
The Director was amused. It wasn't often that a Chrono Asylum let him or her self become distracted by such petty things as the human memory, so he came to the young man's rescue. "Fun?"
"Yes, I suppose." Yan stated flatly, still burning inside as he closed the folders.
"I should hope so. After all, FUN is such a clever red herring," Mason said cryptically.
"Sir?" Yan asked, cocking his head.
"Remember when I said 'Let what it is be whatever it happens to appear to be' before you arrived?" Mason asked him, grinning.
"Yes sir... so you mean that fun can certainly hide the truth of the matter?" Yan tried to clarify.
"What truth? What matter?" Mason chuckled, turning his wheelchair around and wheeling over to his desk.
Yan chuckled, following him and standing at the corner of the desk as the Director made himself comfortable. Guessing his intentions, the Chrono Asylum opened a pink box on the Director's desk and, upon glancing inside, smirked. He sliced Mason a piece of the strawberry cake and handed it to him.
"Thank you. At least this cake isn't a lie," the Director beamed, forking in a mouthful.
Yan had never understood the Director's fondness for strawberry cake, but as long as it kept the man content, he didn't really care.
"Is that all, sir?" Yan wondered, antsy to get back to his office. He had some things to tidy up before preparing for this mission.
"Oh, no, not at all--they're on their way here. Prompted them 20 minutes ago," Director Mason stated, chewing loudly. "In fact, the first one you read about will arrive first."
Yan blanched slightly, "Oh... wait, isn't that one with the guy who, well, her father and--"
"--Let's not bug her about it. The time will come when the clock strikes 12, after all," Mason said hastily.
Emina and Marcel--most deadliest of enemies. They were really coming into their own--that much, Yan knew. Having survived the onslaught in Beijing at the hand of those Arcanas 3 month ago, the Chrono Asylum was actually impressed. Then again, who wouldn't be? Only the most ignorant wouldn't understand that surviving a defeat from them was a victory all on its own. Yan could only imagine the difficulty of achieving this with the power of a regular asylum. It was...
"Best compose yourself, Yan," Director Mason stated, interrupting the young man's thoughts.
Yan came to, realizing that his nose was bleeding. Pulling out a handkerchief, he turned away and, indeed, composed himself. He could now sense his asylum teams close by.