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Roots

The Magic Council, Fiore Branch, has been rebuilt in a short time. It is a large priority for the country. It only took 2 weeks to rebuild the entire structure, thanks to the power of Magic. It was even better than before. Era's main headquarters possesses more space, a larger meeting room, and even resting quarters for tired soldiers to rest, next to the medical quarters.

"...Everyone else is late." Midas said, sitting at the forefront of the meeting table, surrounding by only three full seats. The individuals present were a pink haired woman with blue eyes, wearing a brown buisness suit, a short, blonde and blue eyed young woman, wearing a white lab coat, a black sports bra and blue jeans, on top of wearing glasses, with goggles present on top of her head, next to her stood a tall man wearing a black suit, a white mask with red marking covering his eyes, crimson hair and a sheathed sword in his hand, and finally, a large odd man, with geometrical patterned skin, large orange hair, a mustache, dwarfing even Midas in size, wearing a loose black shirt, with a white coloured top half, very much resembling a priest, carrying a book in his hand, and wearing a red-bead necklace around his neck.

"They're probably busy. It has been incredibly hectic, remember." The blonde woman, Hakase, explained "I mean, some of us are transferring from different countries after all. Like me. And my squad. And cat.".

"If I may speak." The pink haired woman stood up "Sir Chairman, this matter is simply too urgent to await everyone. We'll start without them, and give them a briefing later on." Drakon suggested to Midas "I just got back from my vacation. I'm not in the mood of having my time be wasted waiting for others who can't keep up with the times.".

"That's quite harsh, Miss Drakon." Hoteye, or Richard Buchanan, spoke "They could be in danger...or worse, kidnapped. Oh dear, this is quite worrying actually...Maybe we should check on them?".

"No. They're all elites. We don't accept just anyone as a seated member." Drakon refuted Hoteye's worries, sitting back down "Besides, it's ultimately the chairman's decision.".

Midas smiled, clapping his hands once "Ah! I love your excitement! Well, we'll begin the meeting then. And Miss Drakon will be in charge of briefing the others, since it was her offer~.".

"What?! I can't waste my time with the-...!".

"Continuing!" Midas said, cutting off Drakon's impending arguement. "Now, we are here to discuss an urgent...problem we are facing." Midas pressed a button, activating a Lacrima, showing a hologram of a letter, hand-written with an elegent poise "This is a death threat. Well, that would be an understatement.".

"What do you mean? What does this letter entail?" Hakase asked, being handed over a warm teacup by her supposed bodyguard.

"Whoever sent it is rather arrogant. The context of the letter is..."I recreated the face of destruction", signed by a man who goes by-...".

"Excuse me!" A voice coming from the outside of the meeting room echoed, a feminine tone. The sound of crashing into objects and people with an occasional "oof" being heard. The doors openned, revealing the bird lady, Arella "I'm sorry for being late, boss!" Arella apologized, bowing her head down.

"Oh, Arella! You've arrived at last." Midas greeted Arella "Come, come, sit!".

"Who is this woman?! How dare she intrude on our meeting!" Drakon stood up in anger, frightening Arella, who whimpered behind the door.

"I'm sorry...I got some urgent neeeews." Arella said, peeking out the corner.

"Calm down, Drakon. This is a spy of ours." Midas explained, gesturing Arella to come in, as she did "And also our newly aquainted 9th Seat.".

"Her? She looks younger than Hakase. And Hakase is a hag!" Drakon said, much to Hakase's noted irritation.

"No need to be so harsh. You're not exactly a young lad yourself. Infact, Arella is probably the youngest." Midas chuckled in amusement "The rest of us are old hags." No one had any meaningful comment to Midas.

"Can we move on...?" Hakase asked, appearing rather troubled by the interruptions getting in the way of their meeting.

"Sorry~!" Arella closed the door behind her, sitting down, taking a seat a bit far from Drakon and Hakase, feeling rather intimidated by the two women, especially Hakase's bodyguard.

"Right. Moving o-..." Before Midas could continue, he was interrupted by a red hologram screen covering his own "Oh, come on!" Even he was getting tired of this.

The red screen only had static, with a vague voice coming from it. "Dammit, Diana, did you put it on the correct channel?" A deep, baritone voice spoke, sounding irritating.

"Sorry! I put it on HDMI, I don't know why it's not working!" Diana replied, worried, frantically trying to fix the screen.

"HDMI is for the game consoles, AV is for screening! Why are you inept with modern technology?" Azazel corrected Diana, who quickly fixed the screen, and Azazel was visible, standing at the corner of the screen, only his cloak's back being visible.

"Sorry, sorry! I honestly spend too much time here to get updated with new technology." Diana said, walking offscreen, awkwardly laughing in embarassment.

Azazel sat on his chair, putting a remote down next to him, coughing to clear his throat "Hello, Magic Co-...".

"Holy shit, that guy looks evil!" Arella shouted, ruining the barely serious mood already.

"...Thank you for the insight, Arella." Drakon sarcastically said.

"No problemo, boss~!" But Arella didn't get the sarcasm, saluting Drakon.

"Who are you?" Midas asked Azazel, a sweat bead on his face, as if actually intimidated by Azazel's presence.

"...Hmph." Azazel took off his hood, fully exposing his skeletal jaw and empty blank eyes to the audience. He could very well frame Midas for so many acts, so easily strip him away from the position that he's worked so hard to achieve...but there's no fun in that. "Introduction are a neccesity. I am Azazel. But, I know who you are. Every single one of you.".

"That information isn't exactly classified, you know?" Hakase said, refuting Azazel's intended threat. "You can easily hop on the web and find the name of anyone working for the Council.".

"...Wakefield." Azazel uttered, saying that simple name, causing Midas to grit his teeth, much to everyone else's confusion "Hahaha, that's right. Do you think it is...impossible for me to get the information I want?".

"Wakefield? What does he mean, Sir Chairman?" Hoteye asked Midas, who began trembling.

"What do you want...?" Midas was uncharacteristically serious in this situation. His goofy, happy-go-lucky attitude switched by a trembling man.

"Don't think I don't know the identities of the other two Roots. The base. I know everything." Azazel chuckled in amusement.

"Roots...? Wait, is he referring to the Roots of the World?!" Drakon jumped from her seat, standing up "How can he know something not even a seated member knows?!".

"It's not your rank that matters, dearest Drakon." Azazel said to Drakon "It's how loyal and trusted you are. Not even Chairmen get such a privilege. Infact, Midas is among the only 4 who know of the Roots' identities and location, correct?".

"Just...what do you want?" Midas tried continuing the conversation, feeling as if even a single mistake can ruin everything he's worked up to build.

"Do you recall FACE?" Everyone was startled at Azazel's mention of FACE, except for Arella who was oblivious to the seriousness of the situation "What is even the logic behind the name? Is it an acronym? Fully...Automated...Contamination Eradicator? That is simply questions I will not get answered.".

"What does FACE have anything to do with this?!" Drakon snapped, striking the table, breaking it in half with her fist "The weapon has been terminated 3 years ago! It's no more! It's...!".

"Fools." Azazel interrupted Drakon "Like I said, I know everything. Even how to bring forth chaos. I excell in the art of chaos.".

'What is this? A threat?!" Drakon shouted at Azazel once more, losing her patience quickly.

"This is not a threat. Just a...message? I don't know a lighter word for warning." Azazel snapped his finger, as several red monitors appeared around the large red screen, showing imagery of dying soldiers in a remote location. "You know of my existence. Midas, this is specifically for you, but having the rest...of those who bothered appearing hear it won't hurt. Do not get in my way. I'm certain I am not the greatest concern you have right now. I am a very busy man, I cannot afford you getting in my way." Azazel said, his voice sounding serious "Don't make me remove magic from over half the planet. I still use it you know.".

"You...you're demanding us to stop pursuing you...? Is this what this is all about?" Midas was astonished at the lengths Azazel would go to make a message clear "And you're willing to use something such as FACE?".

"If you don't like that, how about I use your own weapon against you? I am like a magician. I possess a new trick under my sleeve. One greater than the last." Azazel said.

"Pfft...!" Hakase began coughing on her own tea, as her bodyguard took the teacup away from her, patting her on her back, as she regained her breath "Hahaha!" Hakase bursted out laughing, taking her glasses off for a moment to wipe away her tears "Haha...Ha, hey, Gazelle, did you hear him?".

"Everyone did." Gazelle, the bodyguard, replied to Hakase.

"He...he said he'll...hahaha!" Hakase stood up, her hands on the table "Haaah...You're new to threatening aren't you?".

"Actually, I have a long record of threatening people. Usually it involves loved ones or torture." Azazel casually replied to Hakase's rhetorical question, much to her surprising.

Hakase adjusted her glasses "Regardless! You think you can threaten us with Etherion and the likes of that weird phallic dick face?" Hakase grinned, bearing her teeth "You think I can't combat those? I come from Bellum, just so you know. My entire research on weaponry was successfull thanks to the country's...fascinating with their military power. Whatever monster you make, I will make a bigger, more powerful monster.".

"...Oh, she's a cheeky one. Diana, add this Hakase to the list of people to invite to a game of chess." Azazel said, turning his head around to face Diana.

"Right now? Oh, fine." Diana did as Azazel said.

"So...I assume that's a challenge then, Hakase? Between two scientists?" Azazel said to Hakase, ignoring everyone else in the room.

"Challenge is misinforming. A challenge would mean you stand a chance against me." Hakase sat back down, adjusting her glasses once more "You will lose on the first round.".

"Oh, yes, I like you. You have spunk." Azazel turned to Diana "That's the correct use of that word, right?".

"Yes, it is." Diana replied, irritated.

"Then it's settled! My Arma Squadron, my Armaments, by power against your sorry excuse of might!" Hakase was getting into it, maliciously grinning.

"It is! Hahaha!" The two scientists began laughing madly together, a moment shared for a brief 5 seconds that filled the entire room with an uneasy feel "But, seriously. I will kill you all if you don't stop. And I don't like killing guinea pigs too early before their examinations.".

"Wait, what?" Drakon asked, concerned by Azazel's final words.

"Azazel out." With that said, the red screen vanished, leaving the room blue again by their own holograms. Midas sat back down on his chair, feeling as if he's out of breath, despite just standing for the last few minutes.

"...What will we do, Sir Chairman?" Hoteye asked Midas, still trying to let everything sink in accordingly.

"...Call back the troops." Midas ordered "Anyone who has been sent on the search for Demon Monarch must return at once! We cannot risk any potential threats!".

"That's insane! It's showing weakness!" Drakon objected to Midas' orders "If we simply submit like this, then we'll...!".

"Be safer!" Midas raised his voice, silencing Drakon "We cannot confirm whether or not he can do the things he claims, but he knows things he shouldn't...That alone is something we must be wary of. The Roots of the World, FACE, secrets that not even half the people here are supposed to know...We will not risk it. That is final." Midas adjusted his shirt, his collar and sleeves "Anyone in agreement, say aye.".

"Aye." Hakase agreed, adjusting her glasses "He has a point. The Roots of the World is a secret too severe to be let out. Even if to a simple peasant.".

"I agree as well." Hoteye concurred as well "I'd much rather avoid any violence or death if possible."

"I dunno what's really goin' on but aye!" Arella raised her arm, waving it like a child in a classroom.

"...!" Drakon gritted her, walking to the door in anger "You are all fools!" Closing the door behind her, the sound of it breaking echoed throughout the room, and halls, as Drakon angrily left.

"Don't take this against her." Hakase said to Midas "I've known her for a long time. She just knows what it's like to be powerless. It's not fun.".

"I don't hold anything against her..." Midas said, covering his forehead with his hand "That was the most hectic ten minutes of my life...".

Festivities

Azazel stood up from his chair, dusting himself "Whew, that was fun." Azazel casually said, turning to Carmina, who was resting on a bed, eating what looked like ice cream "Did you see that Carmina? That is how you threaten a political group. With their lies being exposed to the world.".

"Hmph." Marx grunted, lying against the wall, crossing his arms "You think that was really neccesary? It's barely an issue if they find this place. If they can.".

"You're right. It wasn't neccesary." Azazel said, much to Marx's surprised.

"Then why did you do that?" Marx asked.

"Because, an animal can't be captured without bait." Azazel replied, cryptically. He turned to Diana, clapping his hands to get her attention "Diana, prepare my suit, I have an arrangement in Fiore.".

"Fiore, Azazel? What do you have there?" Diana was surprised to hear Azazel would be physically going out of Bosco or Stella to some place else. Usually, he prefers staying in the dark.

"Yes, you see, we're going to have an event." Azazel said, as he took off his cloak, exposing his rather muscular figure, slender still "Krampus Gremory has gotten an invitation from the Queen of Fiore, Hisui E. Fiore.".

"What?! Why would she be interested in the CEO of a clothing company?".

"And furniture." Azazel corrected Diana "It is because something is returning. The games that last time they were held, tragedy struck. The symphony of destruction followed suit, and ended in silence of death." Azazel explained, snickering.

"The Grand Magic Games..." Diana came to a realization of what he was referring to "Almost 5, no, 6 years since last time...and she's thinking of bringing it back?".

"She wants Mr. Gremory to help advertise it. She knows Gremory Arts can do the trick in the span of a month." Azazel grabbed two shirts from a closet, one white and the other black, holding them "Which do you think? Black or white? I feel rather grey myself.".

"Black." Diana replied "Wait, no! Are you putting everything on hold for this...this event?!".

"No." Azazel put on the black shirt, as he tied a white tie around his neck, neatly adjusting it "This will be the test run for the gate.".

"The gate? But we don't have all the keys. I've only gathered two, remember? Because you said not to try and get the rest agai-...".

"Because I found an alternate power source." Azazel silenced Marc, wearing a black blazer, adjusting his collar "The key to ring the sound of chaos once more." The pitch black skin on Azazel's body began to fade, revealing a pale skin, his bald head growing white hair, and his blank eyes gained colour. He grinned, looking in a mirror, admiring his human appearance, short messy white hair, blue eyes and a fairly charming smile. 

"But the book said we require the golden keys to even open the gate, remember?" Diana reminded Azazel.

"And a Lunar or Solar Eclipse, which, as I have calculated...is not too far off infact. It will be on schedule." Azazel said, his voice no longer deep or gruff, possessing a more baritone and light tone to it. 

"Schedule? Just explain what you're planning already, you nutjob." Marx sounded impatient "What sort of substitued can you have for something that's a neccesity for the gate.".

Azazel snickered, turning to Carmina, as he pulled out a female buisness suit for her, complete with a short skirt "Carmina, I have this for you. Mr. Gremory needs his assistant by his side for this buisness trip.".

"Ah...alright." Carmina said, grabbing the clothes "I'll go change.".

"No, we'll leave. Please, take your time." Azazel said, gesturing for Marx and Diana to follow him outside to the halls.

"So what is it? Did you find a way to replicate the keys so they would be accepted as the real deal?" Diana asked, going back to the subject at hand.

"I modified the Eclipse Gate a bit in the last few months to be compatible with a new power source and the two keys we have now." Azazel said, walking down the hall, followed by his two subordinates "This is a power source I discovered centuries ago, yet I had no use for it. Until now.".

"You're referring to Omni?" Marx asked Azazel.

"Oh, is that what I called it? I was going by Black Pearl as a placeholder, but I suppose Omni is more suitable." Azazel said, shrugging.

"Do you realize the mistake you're doing? Last time someone tried using Omni it...".

"Blew up, yes. But, that last person wasn't me." Azazel refuted Marx's warning with a straightforward reply "You know I have delicate, crafty hands.".

Marx grunted in irritation "...When do we start?".

Azazel grinned, as the three entered his lab, with a newly rebuilt Eclipse Gate standing in the center. However, it was notably larger than the previous version used years ago. "Do you recall the tragedy of the festival? Honestly Dragon's Attack is such a...plain and boring name for a catastrophe involving such fearsome beasts.".

"You got a better name?" Diana sarcastically said.

"Festival of the Dragon King sounds more fitting." Azazel replied.

"A festival implies a happy time. There was no happiness back then." Marx retorted.

"...I was happy though." Azazel was truly a terrible, terrible person.

"Moving on, what's your point?" Diana said, moving the conversation along.

"Well, it's simple. On the first five days, the songs of cheer and properous men and women from the country will hail the fighters of the games. But, on the sixth day, the symphony of destruction will ring loudly and deafen the ears of the weak willed. And on the seventh day..." Azazel turned to his fellow subordinates "The world will be in silence as the wings of chaos carries them...down.".

"...You really fucking love your voice, don't you?" Marx jokingly said, ruining the mood.

"Well, excuse me for having a great talking voice." Azazel said.

"But are you seriously going to wait that long, just to recreate some tragedy? Why not take advantage of the situation. An eclipse isn't exactly a common event, you know." Marx pointed out.

"I've spent centuries plannings hundreds of different ideas to the smallest detail. Do you think waiting some few measly years are going to stop me?" Azazel replied, followed by a snicker "Or just make things more convinient for myself.".

"Heh, whatever you say." Marx said, crossing his arms "As long as Archard doesn't get involved...".

"Get ready then!" Azazel snapped his fingers, taking a rather grandiose pose, with his arms extended to the sides, his hands open and palms facing to the sky "Because this will be a festival, no one should miss. Or forget.".

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