nine

The winds have gotten chillier and the nights felt longer. It is almost winter and Allen had bittersweet feelings for the next days to come.

The Noah family temporarily left the ark to stay at The Kamelot's residence for the season. It wasn't long ago since Allen's last encounter with the exorcists and Cross Marian but he felt like the days moved slower; The Millennium Earl doesn't allow him to leave his side ever since he met with the general.

Allen couldn't blame him. It was his fault, to begin with.

It was fun while it lasted; he couldn't help but smile at the memory of The Earl panicking wildly at his quick absence.

The Kamelot's residence isn't to be taken lightly; he realized that Sheryl's political power with humans is a great advantage for the family. The mansion is bigger than a common aristocrat's household and the garden that surrounds it is very well maintained. It was almost funny that Sheryl is the best at playing human out of all of the Noahs.

Allen didn't expect that the ball Sheryl planned would require the Noah family to attend. It had been a busy week, with so many preparations to be done just before the event. It was surprising to see that almost all of the Noahs were willing to participate at the ball.

"Allen~" The Earl called out playfully interrupting him from his train of thoughts. He blinked in response, eyeing the pudgy man beside him. He had almost forgotten that the two of them were strolling together at the rose gardens. It had become an unexpected part of his afternoon routine and it helped with easing the boredom of doing nothing inside the mansion.

The Earl held Lero around his hand, swaying the golem leisurely as the two of them walked slowly around the garden "You seemed to be somewhere else." He joked with a chuckle lacing his words. Allen smiled at the older man "I'm thinking about the ball." He said casually, trailing his gloved fingers unto a rose sticking out from the bush.

"It's almost time, isn't it?" The Earl asks him, he paused from walking causing the younger Noah to stop beside him. There is a moment of silence between them and Allen didn't notice that The Earl was watching him intently.

It took him a quick moment to realize that his fingers were clutching the roses tightly; the petals crushed between his hands as a few of them trailed down the ground. His mouth opens as if to say something but the words died down at the back of his throat. It wasn't the first time he felt this way... It was something familiar in him that reminded of the time when he was undergoing his Noah transformation.

A sickening feeling that is brewing inside of him; at first he didn't realize what it was.

But it was strikingly clear as day now.

He is the Noah of Destruction. Whether he liked it or not... the blood that runs through his veins isn't certainly human. Despite his desperate attempts to push it to the back of his mind. The faint whisper of the fourteenth's past still lingers in his memories.

And now it felt almost impossible to push back his desires. He wouldn't blame it anymore on just the fourteenth. It was overwhelming at first... to try and sort out his feelings—Allen Walker's feelings against the Noah's feelings. He thought he could recognize what was his and what wasn't... but now he couldn't make out a single difference between the two.

So he decided to accept these emotions as his own.

It wasn't just the fourteenth's.

It was his. It was Allen Walker's.

He knew that very well. If the hatred he's feeling was the fourteenth's then it might as well be his own.

After all, He is the fourteenth Noah.

And he knew what he was feeling now.

His fingers itched to destroy something—to bring ruin and watch everything crumble to ash right before his eyes. It was as expected of his Noah.

He knew that The Millennium Earl would happily give that opportunity to him.

Allen dropped the roses to the ground; startling the golem that was silently mourning the poor, ruined roses. He sucked in a deep breath to calm his nerves making sure that he wouldn't transform to his Noah form in such a place where some of the human workers of the manor might see him.

"Adam." He stared directly towards The Earl; the older man was eerily silent but Allen knew that he understood "I want—" his words were cut off when The Earl leaped to wrap his arms around Allen.

"Oh dear~ My dear fourteenth!" He exclaimed and Allen couldn't recognize whether he's laughing or crying "Have I been too hard on you?" He didn't let go of Allen's body as he gently brushed his fingers unto Allen's white hair. The younger Noah leaned closer to his touch but his lips thinned into a frown "...What?" he asked in confusion.

The Earl pulled back from their tight hug and Allen saw Lero floating behind him with a worried look plastered on its pumpkin-like face "Your Noah is acting out." He stated as he picked up the fallen roses from the ground, inspecting it with his eyes "I was too careful with you, Allen..." his tone sounded regretful and Allen didn't understand why.

"I'm scared, my fourteenth. I'm scared of losing you after I just reunited again with you."

Allen's heart felt heavy but a warm feeling of relief washed over him.

"You could have lost your Noah and you would have no choice but to stay with the exorcist." There was a hint of bitterness as he spoke. Allen regretted having ever believed those exorcists... if he just tried hard enough he could have escaped and he wouldn't have to experience the pain of being exorcised as a Noah.

He didn't want to think about those exorcists. His old comrades, friends, and family that he once trusted—he would have sacrificed everything for them but now everything felt horribly wrong. The thought of it just brings a suffocating amount of anger that he couldn't control.

"If that happened would you come for me?" Allen asked.

The Earl looked calmer now. It was strange to see him using a different face that doesn't have a single hint of familiarity to what Allen has gotten used to. He gave Allen a sad smile "Only if you want me too." He didn't say any more than that and Allen knows what he wanted; it was simple and he accepted it the moment he became a Noah—to carry out the will of The Millennium Earl.

The lord of the Noah Family.

His lord.

His brother.

His father.

Allen smiles "I couldn't want for anything more."

The two of them arrived at the school pathway towards the mansion after a quick stroll, Allen eyed the golem who had become silent after the conversation between him and The Earl. He couldn't help but feel sorry for Lero. He smiles a little bit towards the golem as a small sign of reassurance to Lero that he's fine now.

However, The Earl looked way too happy and Allen sighs at how easy it is to please the older man. He had a wide smile plastered over his face ever since they talked but it was understandable. A lot of things had happened in such a short amount of time and Allen realized that never really got to explain himself to The Earl.

It was harder back then when he still had something that was holding him back.

Allen's glad that he was able to have this conversation with The Earl.

"—Useless!"

There was a loud booming voice that surprised both Allen and The Earl; Sheryl Kamelot stood outside the mansion and there was another figure kneeling in front of him. Allen couldn't recognize who it was— or what it really looked like since its form was covered by a thick red cloak.

It was the last thing Allen expected from the Noah of Desire. Sheryl usually bickered a lot with Tyki and sometimes his adopted son Wisely but it was never more than that.

He knew how important it is for Sheryl to maintain his image as a minister and an aristocrat. He never really expected Sheryl to lash out in his white form.

"Good afternoon, Sheryl~" The Earl greeted the other Noah. He didn't seem fazed by the anger painted on Sheryl's face. The Noah's eyes widened "M-my Lord!" He sputtered out, his expression quickly falling to be replaced by a shock.

A moment of awkward silence hung between them; The Earl waiting for his response and Sheryl still looking flustered. Allen decided to step in by giving Sheryl a polite smile causing the older Noah to snap out of his surprised state.

He gave Allen a curt nod before letting out a sigh, still glaring at the hooded figure kneeling quietly in front of them. Allen felt the amount of dark matter surrounding the figure, realizing that the figure is an akuma.

"Can you kindly explain what is happening?" The Earl inquired as he eyed the akuma. Allen stood beside The Earl and noticed that the akuma's eyes were staring at him under the hood, he frowned but didn't say anything. A sense of familiarity hitting him and he tries to search his mind for an answer.

"T-This akuma!" He seethed, his voice loud and Allen could feel the anger radiating from him "This akuma failed to protect information and now the exorcists know about the ball!" He scowled.

The Earl tilted his head and noticed that Allen is looking at him curiously, expecting his response "Well~ we all fail sometimes." He shrugged his shoulders as if just brushing off what Sheryl had said.

"Thank you, Master Noah." It was the first time the hooded figure spoke and Allen was taken aback by the akuma's feminine voice. The familiarity of its voice stirred Allen's memories.

"But my lord— The ball! We had plans to—" he argued only to be cut off by The Earl's childish whine "I wanted to have tea with my dear fourteenth~" he faked a sob and Allen gave Sheryl an apologetic look.

Lero flew up from his hands as The Earl proceeded to

walk towards the akuma. He floated towards Allen; worry plastered over its face "Master Allen-Lero." The golem squeaked. Allen let out a nervous laugh and held Lero in his hands, watching The Earl who is silently staring at the poor akuma.

"Is there anything you want to say?" This time The Earl's voice went hard "You have to ruin a perfectly good afternoon with this much commotion ." He said. His tone sounded almost disappointed in Allen's ears, making him feel a little bit of sympathy for the akuma.

"I apologize, my lord." The akuma's voice was low and quiet "I'll take responsibility for my actions." It sounded almost emotionless but Allen could feel the trace of fear lacing the akuma's voice.

"Good." Sheryl hissed bitterly "My lord, why can't I just destroy them?"

"Because they're special, Sheryl." The Earl answered, "And they happily aided us in taking back Allen, a little bit of mercy wouldn't hurt." His words made Sheryl's eyes wide, almost looking as if they were going to pop out of their sockets. Allen felt relieved that they wouldn't have to needlessly destroy a… special akuma?

A sudden realization popped out in his mind and his mouth gaped open. He stares at The Earl with disbelieving eyes "...Third exorcists?" He gasped out, pointing his finger towards the akuma.

Allen didn't have a good impression of them. They were products of The Black Order's desire for power. A disgusting mix of humans and akuma— A man-made weapon created just for the sake of their cruel purposes.

He always thought of them as just humans who've done everything they could just to survive and he wasn't wrong. But now, Allen couldn't see them as humans… They were just tools. Discarded by The Order; their position as members of CROWS were nothing more than just an easily replaceable slot.

And now they're being used as tools by The Millennium Earl. They're half akuma, after all.

"You didn't realize it?" Sheryl asked him and Allen shook his head in response, his memories felt a little bit jumbled— Allen thought that would have been an understatement. He desperately tried to push back his past self and that includes Neah's memories. He wanted to focus on his present and not scenarios of what would have been; Sheryl sighs "Remove your hood." He ordered, his expression turning cold as he looked down at the akuma.

There was a slight quiver at the akuma's fingers and a quick moment of hesitation as it— she pulls down her hood. To reveal a familiar face framed by long blonde hair and dull eyes that didn't meet Allen's gaze.

Allen's face visibly scrunched up "...Tewaku…" he says her name in awe.

"So, you remember her." Sheryl said nonchalantly "What do you think, Allen? I think it's better if we just destroy her." He asked casually as if his question is just nothing out of the ordinary; still holding unto his idea of destroying the akuma.

Tewaku flinched and Allen noticed the small tremble of her body; her lips pressed into a thin line. Allen could feel her fear despite Tewaku's attempt of keeping a straight face. Allen shook his head in response "...I agree with Adam." He saw a flash of relief on Tewaku's face and he couldn't help but feel a pang of pity.

"Let's just leave it." The Earl waves his hand dismissively as he smiles "We'll take care of those exorcists after the party." He patted Sheryl's shoulder and The Noah of Desire nodded with a dejected expression "Of course, my lord." He mumbled looking defeated.

"However, I think my dear Allen here hasn't had a formal first mission yet."

Allen's eyes lit up at The Earl's word; he failed the last mission and caused a huge commotion between the exorcists and the Noah family… in which he deeply regretted his actions. He'd been grounded by The Earl for a few weeks and the days added, even more, when he sneaked out to meet Cross Marian.

He wanted to do something more than just reading Sheryl's documents and having tea with The Earl.

"Really?" He happily twirls Lero between his hands causing a loud protest from the golem.

"Destroy those exorcists for me, Allen."

His mind clicked and The Earl's orders were engraved in his brain. Something about the Noah genes makes it almost impossible to disobey an order given by The Millennium Earl. It was part of being a Noah.

Allen couldn't help but smile "As you wish, Adam." He promised and for a quick second, he saw a flash of gold eyes staring back at him.

"I'll get the details about the exorcists from Tewaku later." Sheryl motioned the third exorcist to stand "But for now I have a ball to attend to." He gave a quick bow as he turned to walk towards the mansion door, pausing for a moment "I trust you in this, Allen. Don't disappoint everyone...unlike this useless akuma." He said and the tone of his voice got harsher with every word.

Sheryl had always been a strict person. He didn't tolerate failure lightly unlike some other Noahs. It was expected for him to get mad, he worked hard to prepare for this ball and Allen knows the ball is necessary for the family's position as nobility and The Earl's plans of making more akuma.

Allen kept his wide smile and nodded even if he knew that Sheryl was already walking inside the mansion "I'll try." He watched the other Noah enter through the door; slamming the door behind him with a loud sound.

"Oh dear… Poor Sheryl. He's been busy lately." The Earl said wearily; his brows furrowed in worry and his lips pressed into a frown "I'll ask Road to help him."

Allen cringed when he remembered how possessive Sheryl is when it comes to the Noah of Dreams. But it will indeed help lighten up his mood if Road was there to help him.

"Poor Road…" Allen thinks as he turns toward Tewaku and gives her a small smile. The ex-CROW member's eyes widened and she bowed her head in response "I'll take my leave, Master Noah." She sounded rushed but Allen didn't mind and it was obvious that she seemed to be suffocated by their presence.

He wonders what Tewaku thinks about him now that he's with the Noah family.

"Hm." The Earl hummed in response "Make sure you won't fail next time, third exorcist. If you did, I wouldn't have a choice but to destroy all of you."

An involuntary shiver went down through Tewaku's spine and she kept her face straight as she pulled up her hood. She turned away and left as quickly as she could, not even wanting to waste a single second.

The Earl faced Allen with a warm smile across his lips "Let's go have some tea, Allen."


Tyki Mikk sighs tiredly as he adjusted his black tie neatly on his neck. The thick velvet fabric of the tie is still something that he will never get used to. It felt stiff and uncomfortable around his neck, he knows how expensive this tie is; since it was given to him by Sheryl… but aren't expensive stuff supposed to be better than cheap ones? Then this tie would have defeated that purpose.

He shook his head to remind himself that the ball will only last a few hours and he wouldn't need to be the center of attention. He wasn't fond of spending time with other nobilities… they were too annoying for him.

Conversations with them were the worst; they flaunt their riches as if they were the ones who worked hard for it.

Tyki hated the rich.

Even when he was still an ordinary human, he hated them.

"Are you done?" Sheryl Kamelot called from the outside, a soft knock can be heard coming from his bedroom door. Tyki glanced at the mirror for a second, staring back at his slicked black hair and dark eyes. It was strange being in his human form for a longer period of time, he flicked back a lock of hair to the back of his ears as he walked towards the door.

"I'm coming." He said with an exasperated tone, the first thing that greeted him was Sheryl's smiling face. The older Noah wore a long black suit jacket over an intricate-looking red vest and black suit pants. Road stood behind him with a lollipop inside her mouth "Hiya, Tyki~" she giggled.

"Oh! You look great Road." A wide grin formed across his lips and his gloved hand automatically wanted to pat the shorter Noah's head. He stopped himself before he could do so realizing that he didn't want to ruin Road's hairstyle. Bright crystals adorned her short hair matching with her puffy white dress lined with a thick layer of frills and lace.

Road kept her wide smile as she let out a soft laugh "I know! I'm going to match with Allen." She exclaimed happily as she twirls her dress, her low-heeled shoes clicking on the marble floor.

Sheryl's eyes widened "W-What?!" He yelped out "Is this why you made me wear black?" He exaggeratedly pointed on his clothes.

"It's not fun to match with you, daddy." She faked a pout and Tyki watched the life drain out of Sheryl's eyes "You're going to embarrass me." Road provoked even more… at this point, Tyki wonders if Sheryl still has his soul inside of him.

"Cut it off you two." Tyki groaned as he pushed Sheryl away from the Road. The older Noah basically spewing out complaints while Road covered her ears with a bored expression, not bothering to listen to Sheryl's whines.

"...At least let me change clothes!" Sheryl cried out and Tyki shook his head "No." he replied with a hard tone "We're already a few minutes late and your guests must have been waiting by now, brother." He held Sheryl's arms as he dragged him towards the hallway. Road skipping behind them as she laughs at Sheryl's dejected expression.

They arrived at the end of the hallway, which directly connects to the mezzanine that overlooks the wide ballroom. A wide set of stairs is located in the middle of the ballroom which was supposed to be their way of 'entering' the ball.

They were greeted by a bored-looking Wisely who was leaning at the golden railings of the mezzanine "Took you long enough." He yawned as we walked toward their direction.

There were probably more than a hundred people downstairs who were all busy socializing with one another. Tyki notes the ballgowns of some of the attendees are an array of dizzying bright colors, most of them cool-toned hues that are actually reminiscent of the upcoming winter season.

He forced down a frown as he let go of Sheryl's arms, noticing that the guests' eyes were already laid on them.

The Noah of Desire took a lot longer to compose himself as he was busy looking over to his daughter. Road, on the other hand, was busy scanning the crowd to look for other Noah family members. He frowned but turned to the people downstairs and an empty smile formed across his face.

"I sincerely apologize for being a little late, dear guests." He announced with a loud voice "I prepared many things for everyone to enjoy just for this special night. I hope it will be to everyone's liking." He spread

his arms in a dramatic manner which made Tyki cringe "Enjoy this ball to your heart's content!" The fake cheeriness surrounding his words was enough for the guests to feel welcomed as they all clapped in response.

When he finished his short welcome speech, he instantly turned his back from the audience. Tyki noticed the disgusted expression on his face but decided not to comment about it.

"Let's go find Millennie." Wisely said mischievously as he scanned the crowd. The Noah of Wisdom wore a dark olive green suit that complemented his dark brown hair. He hummed under his breath as he and Tyki walked down the staircase.

He found a mop of white hair standing out at the side of the ballroom. It was undeniably easy to find Allen in a crowd of people. He waved his arms high, calling out to the other Noah.

"Allen!" He called out causing everyone's attention to turn to him. Tyki gasped as he grabbed Wisely towards, covering his mouth with his gloved hand. He forced out an apologetic smile "I-I'm sorry about my nephew." He tightened his grip on Wisely's shoulders and whispered to his ears "Etiquette! Don't you forget that you're supposed to be Sheryl's son." He warned despite the struggles of the other Noah against his tight grip.

A sigh of relief escaped Wisely's mouth when Tyki let go of him. He clutched his chest, heaving deep breaths before giving Tyki a sharp glare "You could've killed me!" He hissed out and the black-haired man rolled his eyes "Don't exaggerate things."

Wisely scanned the crown and found that Allen had already disappeared, probably not hearing him due to the number of people surrounding them. He frowned "See! Now we can't find Allen." He huffed.

"I thought you wanted to find The Earl." Tyki gave him a questioning look but he did the same thing as Wisely; trying to find the white-haired Noah from the crowd.

"I do! Come on, Tyki~ Those two are always together."

Tyki sputtered out a choked laugh remembering that Allen is grounded by The Earl and had no choice but to stick around The Earl's side "Yeah, yeah I know." He said giddily, trying to stop himself from laughing even more.

It was funny seeing Allen helplessly trailing behind The Earl, trying to convince the Noah patriarch to lessen his punishment. But Tyki was glad to know that Allen stays around The Millennium Earl's side even if it isn't necessary for him. This meant that Allen trusted him more now.

The two of them moved towards the other side of the ballroom, Tyki greeted some of the women they encountered a small sign of courtesy. Wisely ignored them with a snort and walked in front of Tyki, not caring when the women gave him a shocked look. He'll definitely get scolded by Sheryl later on.

"Who are you guys looking for?!"

Tyki jumped at the sudden voice that interrupted his train of thoughts, only to find JasDevi standing behind him. Sure enough, the twins are always sticking together and even wearing similar black suits.

"You scared me!" He yelped out as he took a step backward; bumping the unsuspecting Wisely in the face. The Noah of Wisdom plopped down on the marbled floor "-Ugh Tyki!" He rubbed his forehead and Tyki managed to pull him up instantly.

A small part of Tyki felt a slight sense of shame since there were a lot of people who saw them but he shook it off since it really didn't matter anyway.

"Stop popping out of nowhere, jeez." Wisely said to twins as he brushed off the non-existent dirt off his coat "Also we're looking for Allen and The Earl." He continued.

Jasdero's face scrunched up as if trying to spot the white-haired Noah from the crowd "Huh?! Strange." He mutters out "We saw him just a minute ago." Devit continued, donning the same confused look like his brother.

Wisely waved his hand dismissively towards the twins "He must be somewhere around here." He then eyed JasDevi for a second before speaking out "If you're planning to hide from Sheryl, I suggest you do it now." The twins visibly paled and it was strange to see them walking around in their human forms.

"That's unfair! You read our minds!"

"I'm trying to help here." Wisely snapped back.

Tyki looked at Wisely and then back at the twins, looking bewildered before he sighs "What are you talking about?" He asked. The twins swallowed nervously but Wisely managed to answer the question with ease "They already started trouble. We're not allowed to be in our Noah forms and some guests have already seen them." He explained but his expression shows that he doesn't really care about what the twins did.

"I-It's just a few guests. They probably thought they just saw something strange." Devit argued, Jasdero agreeing with what he said but Tyki knew better that what they did might have caused more trouble in the future. The party had just begun and there were already problems appearing left and right.

They just couldn't get a break, could they?

"...Wisely's right. Just try to avoid Sheryl for a while. These guests love to complain and it probably reached Sheryl by now." Tyki clicked his tongue in annoyance; he wasn't really in the mood to deal with anything. The number of people surrounding them also didn't help brighten his mood.

"Yeah yeah. We know." Devit said wearily as he scanned the crowd. The look of relief on his face after realizing that Sheryl is nowhere to be found.

"See you later at the main event." Tyki waved his hands lazily "Don't cause any more trouble." The twins nodded their head response as they blended in with the crowd. That's when they spotted Allen Walker standing at the side of the ballroom with Road Kamelot, her hands wrapped around Allen's arms.

"Yo, boy!" He greeted with a grin, he ruffled the younger Noah's hair lightly. Making sure that his neat ponytail wouldn't be messed up. Allen smiled at him and then at Wisely "I was waiting for you guys. I don't really want to go to the middle of the ballroom." He shuddered; he didn't like how some of the people started to just approach him just to ask about his white hair and scar. It felt like a breach of his privacy and this type of approach is way too similar at how he was first treated at The Order.

Allen didn't want to deal with that for a while.

So he opted to stand at the side where no one could notice him… in which Tyki thought was absolutely futile. He stood out like a sore thumb from the crowd.

Allen wore a complete white suit except for the citrine gem in the middle of his tie. A nice color Tyki remarks…very reminiscent of the Noah Family's eye color.

It was beautiful to look at but eerie at the same time. Allen's pale skin, silver eyes, and white hair along with his white clothes; he couldn't help but feel like Allen's going to stand out more than what he would have expected.

He knew that the guests, especially the women are already whispering about the peculiar looking boy. They really like to gossip, don't they? It was almost laughable to him at how easy it is to trick the human mind. For them to think something is strange just because of outward appearance.

And they still haven't seen the true Noah family.

How ridiculous.

Wisely gave him an all-knowing look and there was a flash of gold in his eyes. He snorted "Calm down, Tyki." He said with a sour tone "You're rubbing your bitterness all over me." He joked.

Tyki glares at him "Stop reading other people's minds. It's annoying."

"I can't help it. I'm the Noah of Wisdom afterall~" he mocked with a sing-song voice. Tyki clenched his teeth and he could almost feel a vein popping in his forehead "You're lucky this is a family event." He emphasized with a tight smile formed across his face.

"—And why are you two fighting?"

The two of them stiffened when hearing The Millennium Earl's voice and they realized that he was standing close to them the whole time. Road let out a hearty laugh "You guys we'll get scolded later~" she teased, snuggling her face closer to Allen's chest "Daddy already found out what the twins did." She laughed once more.

"Why are we included?" Tyki raised an eyebrow and the only thing he got was Road sticking out her tongue at him with a sly grin plastered across her childish face.

The Earl chuckles with her "That's enough." He had a giddy smile on his lips. He had been excited for this event for a very long time and Tyki always questions his enjoyment for this type of gatherings… especially when it's just filled with humans.

"No one will get scolded." The Earl reassured, "We're here to enjoy, after all." He hummed. He twirled his cane; which Tyki knew was Lero in disguise. Tyki sighed, his face relaxed and he couldn't help but smile. The Earl seemed to be in a very good mood. He hasn't been that happy ever since the fourteenth disappeared.

But now that he has the fourteenth back, everything has changed for them. The whole family is grateful for that… he silently wished that The Noah of Wrath will come soon. He's the only one everyone is waiting for.

"I want to eat dinner..." Allen complained with a frown. Tyki understood what he meant, they were busy preparing for the night that they didn't get to eat much during lunch or have an afternoon snack. He still found it strange how Allen needs to eat much even if his parasitic innocence is gone.

"The banquet will be served soon. The Family will be eating on the second floor." The Earl replied. Allen nodded in response and eyed the multiple circular tables placed at the other side of the ballroom. It was elegantly designed with golden candles and red roses placed as centerpieces on each one.

The Family's banquet table was placed at the mezzanine. The long table overlooks all guests downstairs and Tyki found a strange irony there. Sheryl loved to show his superiority among all other nobles, how typical of him.

He noticed the blonde hair Noah, Lulubell standing on the second floor. She hated being around people...which is understandable. He smiled at her and she gave a curt nod in response. The other Noahs however, didn't attend the ball.

The Earl had them on another mission. Which is a disappointment since they haven't gathered in a while since Allen's awakening. They also haven't debuted in society and they found it unnecessary too, mostly Mightra. He didn't like to appear in public and Tyki has yet seen his human form since he's always hiding it in his mask and suit.

Feedler, Mercym, and Tryde are on another continent and they haven't finished their mission after a few weeks. It's such a big shame but he couldn't do anything. Their work is really important to The Earl.

"Let's proceed upstairs, shall we?" The Earl invited them as he led them towards the staircase. As expected all eyes were focused on them, Road still holding Allen's arms gave some of the women looking at Allen a sickly sweet smile.

It looked nothing more like an innocent girl greeting guests with her smile but Tyki saw a hint of bitterness in her eyes.

Allen's face softened as he greeted the guests that were smiling at him. It was always expected of him to be polite when he's with other people; for how long have been doing that? He's practically perfected it already.

How lucky for him, though.

The other Noah doesn't know how to play nice.

There were whispers about them being a 'strange family' by some of the guests. The others were nice while it is unavoidable to have some rude people in the guest lists. Some nobles they are.

Some of them are directed to Allen, with his white hair and strange scar. Probably because it's his first time appearing at a Kamelot ball. But Tyki couldn't help but feel frustrated, his lips twitched and his cheeks hurt from his fake smile.

Allen didn't budge and still had the same kind smile on his face.

Sheryl was waiting for them at the banquet table, waiting patiently at the other end of the table facing The Earl's chair. Tyki sat beside him together with Lulubell, the twins facing them at the opposite side.

Allen sat at the chair closest to The Earl while Road and Wisely sat beside Sheryl.

Sheryl invited the guests to seat down as the meals were already being served by some of the servers. Most were human workers hired by Sheryl but some are full-evolved akumas that were placed there by The Earl.

It would be easy to wipe out hundreds of aristocrats in one night; some could be Sheryl's political rivals and it would be advantageous for him. But surprisingly enough, that wasn't the main purpose of this ball.

The first course was served and everyone had started eating. A mix of music coming from the orchestra and the conversations of the guests echoed in the wide ballroom. Tyki was lucky to be able to drink tonight at least he'll be able to drown out this day's stress.

There was an empty seat beside Sheryl and Tricia Kamelot was nowhere to be found. Tyki glanced at Sheryl with a worried look on his face "...Where's Tricia?" He asked.

An awkward pause and Sheryl stopped midway from putting food in his mouth; he placed the silver fork down on his plate with a soft clang. For a second there, Sheryl looked disappointed—almost sad but it was quickly replaced with a smile.

"My wife is still in the hospital…" he trailed off. "Her sickness is getting worse and I don't think the doctors can do anymore" He looked like he didn't care but Tyki knew better than that; Sheryl had told him that he married Tricia since she's timid and easy to control, unlike other humans. He needed someone to finish the normal facade he'll show to the public.

Why not a big, happy family?

Despite that, it was obvious that he cares for the human. He could've let her die and mask it off as a poor husband losing his beloved wife but he still traveled country to country trying to find a doctor that can help cure Tricia.

It was to no avail. Tricia always smiled and she would say she lived a fulfilling life. That she is happy with what she had experienced. It seems like Sheryl had finally respected her wish.

"...Oh." Tyki breathed out as he took a sip of his wine.

Road hummed beside Sheryl "It's fine, ya know." She giggled "She already accepted her fate. There's nothing else we could do." She was looking at Sheryl who gave everyone a wide smile. It amazes Tyki at how easy it is for Road to accept death… is it because she's the oldest? He didn't dare to ask his niece.

The Earl clapped his hands once, startling everyone at the dinner table "Now isn't the time to be sad, my dear family." He coaxed and Tyki agreed with him. There's no point in being sad in a family event. Allen's eyes were drifting downstairs as if looking for someone.

Tyki tilted his head, their conversations couldn't be overheard by the guests since they were on the second floor and the servants that were with them were all akumas. The troubled look in Allen's face surprised Tyki. Allen locked eyes with Tyki, silver orbs filled with confusion. He blinked once and then twice before choking out a cough.

"Something wrong, Allen?" The Earl asked worriedly besides Allen, hands patting the younger boy's back as Allen wheezed out a pained breath.

"W-Why are there exorcists here?" His voice quivered and his eyes looked unfocused. Sheryl jumped out of his chair and scanned the guests… there were too many of them. He caught sight of a familiar black hair exorcist standing at the side of the ballroom, barely even visible to anyone but he was there.

Is this why he felt agitated today? The hidden presence of innocence might have unconsciously affected his mood.

There could be more exorcists hiding or maybe just somewhere together with guests. They wouldn't send a lone exorcist to spy on them. It's also possible that multiple finders are hiding undercover as guests.

Sheryl visibly shook in anger. A flicker of gray on his skin and for a quick second a scary amount of murderous aura filled the room.

"I'll kill them all right now." He snarled, slamming his hand on the table. The twins squealed in surprise, still keeping quiet about their previous mistake to Sheryl. Allen stood up from his chair and leaned over the mezzanine to try and find the other exorcists.

"Not right now, brother." Lulubell reminded him in a calm voice "We have to carry on The Earl's plans." She took a sip of her drink and Tyki was glad that someone else is still calm despite their situation. Just another wrong move and The Earl's plan would be sabotaged.

"Keep up appearances." Lulubell said in a hard tone. Tyki nodded in response and Allen bit his lips"Y-yes. I'm sorry, Lulubell." He sputtered out hesitantly. Tyki noticed his gloved fingers tapping anxiously on the marble railings.

The Earl warned them earlier that Allen's Noah is starting to act out of control. He'll have to give the boy praise for his ability to suppress his Noah urges. Tyki was suffering back then, it was almost impossible for him to control his Noah.

"We should greet them. It would be impolite if we didn't." The Millennium Earl said in a dangerously low voice.

"What about the guests, Millennie?" Road inquired and her lips curled into a frown.

"I think Allen can take care of that."

Allen leaned over the railings and he let out a deep breath to try and calm himself. He nodded his head "Of course, Adam." His tone now was cold as ice; his eyes looked distant and his lips tracing to a smile.

Road jumped out of her seat after pressing a soft kiss on Sheryl's cheeks and skipped over to Allen. A wide smile across her face "Hm~ I wonder what you'll do." She drawled out excitedly. Allen's lips twitched and his eyes twinkled mischievously "It's not really that important." He replied. Road pouted and she jumped on the railing, sitting on it with her body facing Allen.

The fourteenth gasped and he immediately grabbed Road's body with a flustered expression "Be careful." He warned only to be met by Road's laughter.

"Allen." Sheryl called with a tight smile and Allen snorted at him "I didn't do anything." He insisted. The Noah of Desire clearly looked angry… Tyki hoped it was still because of the exorcists.

"Daddy!" Road whined "Stop being mean to Allen!" She wrapped her arms around Allen's torso sticking her tongue out towards Sheryl. Allen laughed nervously "...Road stop teasing Sheryl…" he said quietly but he didn't bother moving away from Road.

Sheryl screeches Road name and Tyki was sure he could already see the tears that were welling up at the side of Sheryl's eyes.

"Oh dear." The Earl mused "I think we caught the exorcists' attention."


Kanda Yuu was forced into this mission. He didn't have a choice after his feat of helping Allen Walker try to escape The Order— and also him possibly injuring two CROW members.

He got a thorough lecture from Lvellie as if he would ever listen to that stupid old man. But he had to carry on his 'punishment' of participating in this mission or else they might mark him as a traitor.

He crossed his arms on his chest as he stood quietly at the side; watching the people dine on their food but his main priority is to watch The Noahs who were on the second floor.

Kanda thought from the start that the mission is stupid. They'll get discovered right away and they might take the lives of the finders who were placed undercover. The golem placed inside his pocket buzzed and Lavi's voice rang through his ears.

"—Noah—" a buzz between the transmitters"—They already caught us."

He clicked his tongue "No shit, stupid rabbit." He said harshly and he glanced at the mezzanine. Allen Walker locked eyes with him and he found himself looking back at those familiar silver orbs.

Allen's lips curved into a smile before he turned away from Kanda.

He glared towards the white-haired boy's direction, not caring even if the boy's back is turned away from him. Mugen felt awfully heavy around his waist; the innocence reacting towards the presence of akuma and Noahs around.

Marie Noise approached him and his usually calm face looked rigid. Kanda could sense fear from him "They're planning something." He informed and his hands clasping his headphones.

"Is that really Allen?" The blind exorcist asked "... It doesn't sound like him." He continued, not expecting any answers from Kanda.

The party carried on like normal and no one from the family left the table upstairs. All of them were still seated and everyone was finishing their last course of dessert.

That was when one of the Noah— The Noah of Desire— spoke "I hope everyone enjoyed the meal." He walked towards the staircase, Kanda's hand automatically grabbed Mugen, his eye traced Noah's movement.

"I've heard that most of you are curious about our new family member."

Whispers filled the ballroom and Kanda couldn't help but avoid staring at the guests "Tch." He spat out bitterly; why would they even bother whispering? Their voices can almost be heard from his side.

"—How strange."

"Do you think the minister adopted another weird child?"

"The scar on his face—"

He decided to stop listening. They were all prying all over Allen as if they were looking at an attraction. It made his skin crawl and a sudden sickening feeling pooled inside his stomach.

Allen Walker walked over to Sheryl and bowed; gloved hands on his chest and a mocking smile gracing his lips.

"Good evening, everyone."

It was the first time he clearly heard Allen's voice since they last met at the headquarters.

It hasn't even been that long… but it changed. His voice was the same but different. It was soft but hauntingly cold and sounded as if he's singing a melody. Kanda reminded himself that the fourteenth was known as the musician.

"This is Allen Walker." Sheryl introduced "The Earl's son."

Kanda felt an overwhelming dread overcome him.

The ballroom was eerily silent and everyone looked shocked. There aren't many who knew the truth… only the exorcists and the few finders had an idea who Allen Walker really is.

"The Earl had a son?" He heard someone ask. He knew damn well that Allen Walker isn't The Earl's son. Isn't the fourteenth supposed to be the brother of The Millennium Earl?

He noticed Allen staring at him with a wide, knowing smile. He was sure he saw Allen's mouth move but he couldn't make out the words he was saying.

"Now, let's just enjoy the evening. The night is still long."

Allen walked down the staircase with Road Kamelot trailing behind him. That was when Marie came running to Kanda "Get away, Kanda." He warned but Kanda ignored him as he watched the white-haired Noah approach him.

Marie took hold of his arms and was ready to drag him away but he stopped midway. Kanda noticed the way his body slumped and the limpness of his hold. Road Kamelot placed a finger on her lips "Don't do anything stupid, Mr. Kitchen knife." She said quietly.

Allen Walker stood in front of Kanda "Stop it, Road." He said to the shorter Noah "He helped me back at the headquarters." He explained. Road's face scrunched in confusion as she tilted her head, staring daggers at Kanda "Oh." She said flatly before smiling "I hope we get along well, Kanda." She said teasingly as she stretched her hands out to a mocking handshake.

Kanda glared at her "What did you do to Marie?" He asked. Marie stood there with a blank expression on his face, his head slumped almost downwards. Road shrugged "Don't worry. It's nothing harmful." She said nonchalantly "I just made sure he won't bother us."

Allen hummed beside Road "...I'm not sure that it's only Marie you should be worried about." He said in a playful tone; hinting that something dangerous is about to happen.

"That Bookman really doesn't know his place, does he?" Road asked bitterly as she twirled her dress, looking around the guests to find that no one was paying clear attention to them. Except for some occasional curious glances directly towards them.

Kanda's fingers trailed on Mugen's hilt but Road's threat of hurting Marie made him stop. He froze on the spot and noticed the way Allen's eyes sparkled towards him. It was obvious that Road Kamelot is more than willing to hurt someone— her facade as an innocent girl is quickly crumbling to be replaced by cruel excitement that radiates from her.

Allen glanced nervously at Road before rummaging something from his coat pocket. He quickly took out a small object before quickly unwrapping it and gently shoving it inside Road's lips.

"Calm down." Allen sighed.

Road whined but didn't say anything more. Allen smiled as he placed a hand on Road's shoulder, pulling her closer to him.

"I'm sorry about that, Kanda." Allen apologized but Kanda knew that he wasn't particularly sorry. He clenched his fist and growled "...What did you do to him?" He demanded.

"N-Nothing!" Allen exclaimed in an overly fake tone; Road snorted beside him… Somehow, Kanda couldn't help but think that Allen loved messing with him… even more now that he is a Noah.

"We haven't done anything yet." Road helpfully put in "Unless you force us to." She gave Kanda a toothed smile "So...do your best to behave, exorcists~" she let out a childish chuckle, her fingers now playing with the lollipop inside her mouth.

"But Kanda~" Allen jokingly whined "Why did you even come back?"

Kanda blinked in surprise "What the hell…" he muttered under his breath. The white-haired Noah looked offended "I've gone through all the trouble of bringing you far from The Order. You could have been free from being an exorcist."

Road nodded "We've seen what happened with the second exorcist program… never knew you were so forgiving towards those who treated you cruelly." She sounded disappointed but Kanda knew he couldn't find an answer for what she said.

"Don't you hate The Black Order?"

Kanda Yuu gritted his teeth. He isn't an idiot. She didn't have to ask him as they would to a child. He glares towards the Noah of Dreams but he answers anyways "Of course I do."

But he doesn't hate the innocent people who worked for The Order. Kanda wouldn't let his emotions get a hold of him. Even if he hated The Order… what good would it do? In the end, he's still an innocent accommodator and even if he doesn't like it. It's still his duty to fight against the akuma.

What choice did he have?

Road Kamelot laughs as if she just heard a funny joke "Wow!" She wheezed "How honest. If the exorcists heard that; you could have been branded as a traitor."

She said coyly still sputtering out choked laughs.

"I already am under suspicion." Kanda growled "No need to say that." Somehow his words made Road laugh even more. He didn't bother telling her to stop. Allen, however, gave Kanda a worried frown "They didn't do anything to you… did they?" He asked quietly.

"No." Kanda answered abruptly "They couldn't."

The exorcists' numbers are getting low. Even if they lost even more it would take a big toll on everyone. The Order couldn't lose any more exorcists; that's probably why they let Kanda be even if he helped a Noah escape the headquarters.

"Good." Allen said snarkily and the smile on his lips didn't mask the smugness of his tone "I'll get mad if they try to do anything to you." Kanda didn't understand what he meant. He doesn't want to ask either.

"Allen!" A sudden voice called, Kanda's eyes immediately scanned his surroundings, noticing that no one is reacting to the loud voice. He gave Allen a suspicious look and he only earned a shrug from the ex-exorcist.

"Let's go, Allen." Road called as she leaped out of Allen's arms, skipping over to the center of the ballroom. Allen gave Kanda a friendly smile and waved his hand as he followed after the shorter Noah "Get ready, Kanda." He whispered; he didn't get the chance to ask the meaning behind Allen's words as Marie fell limp. He managed to hold the taller man's body so that he didn't fall to the ground.

"...What…" Marie breathed. His mind felt hazy as if he had just woken up from an already forgotten dream.

"We have to find Lavi." Kanda said coldly. He couldn't find himself saying anymore. It's better if Marie didn't hear anything from his conversations with the Noah.

Marie groaned as he stood up straight, Kanda letting go of his grip on his shoulders. Marie nodded in response and ignored the faint dizzying feeling at the back of his head.

They searched the crowd, trying to find a glimpse of their fellow exorcist. Marie listened to the voices throughout the ballroom and there were no traces of Lavi's voice or even just his golem. Their communication was cut off just moments ago. He hoped that they haven't done anything to Lavi.

Their search was cut-offed when the lights around the ballroom completely dimmed and darkness clouded their eyes. A few whispers could be heard but it was apparent that the air is thick with suspense.

Kanda's heart was pounding inside his chest. What would the Noah do? There are more than hundreds of guests if the Noah planned something sinister; all of their lives would be in danger.

There was a loud click and then followed by the flickering of the chandelier before completely turning on. Kanda blinked for a few seconds, his eyes adjusting from the lights. Then he heard gasps from the guests.

In the middle of the ballroom stood Allen Walker and behind him was a pure white grand piano. He had a small smile playing across his lips before he gave everyone a bow.

Silence filled the room as the white-haired boy sat down behind the piano. His fingers trailed quickly on the keys and there was a soft crescendo of notes.

He closed his eyes before playing. A familiar melody filled Kanda's ears… he realized that it was the 14th's melody. Shock was plastered across some of the guests' faces as they listened to the melody that Allen is playing.

Allen's voice followed with the song. Kanda didn't expect him to sing with such an enamoring voice. It was the first time he heard the ex-exorcist sing. It was hauntingly beautiful.

However, the beauty was short-lived.

A sudden sharp pain erupted in Kanda's head. He felt his stomach squelch and he felt bile rising to his throat. He tried to ease the pain by squeezing his eyes shut but it somehow made it even worse. The pounding inside his skull felt as if his eyeballs were popping out of his skull.

Kanda squinted his eyes and saw that almost all the guests were down to their knees. Marie struggled to breathe through the pain, it was worse for him as the sounds were amplified by his senses.

It continued for a few more seconds that felt awfully long before a deep note ended the song. Kanda's pain eased in an instant, his knees gave up on him as he fell down the ground panting heavily.

He saw all the guests were slumped across the floor and their chairs. The only people left conscious were him and Marie, the blind exorcist leaning on the pillar behind him. There were no traces of Lavi either.

Allen stood up and bowed once more as if there were guests still watching him. The rest of the Noah family clapped their hands as he finished with his performance.

It was then that he saw Allen's Noah form clearly.

Back then, he was only able to see Allen's Noah form for a quick second before it was nullified. But now he could make out the ashen skin and golden eyes of his old comrade.

He didn't want to admit it but fear struck his whole body. His eyes were wide as he looked at Allen with surprise, they locked eyes once again. This time Allen didn't look away from him.

At this moment a burst of loud, comical laughter coming from The Millennium Earl snapped him out of his shocked state. The Noah patriarch jumped down from the mezzanine with the umbrella golem acting as a parachute that broke his fall.

Allen's eyes sparkled "Adam!" He exclaimed happily. The Noah is now back in his pudgy form with the same wide smiled mask. Kanda shakily stood up and he tried to help Marie stand but the older exorcist shook his head but gave Kanda a reassuring smile "...Let me rest for a second."

"So… how was my fourteenth's performance?" The Earl mockingly asked them. Allen walked towards their direction with the lack of sound coming from the guests and orchestra, Kanda could hear the clicking of Allen's shoes against the marble floor.

"Don't worry. I just made everyone sleep, they wouldn't remember it when they wake up." He explained as if it would help Kanda feel less bad than he already is

"Where's Lavi?" He growled but the white-haired Noah ignored him as he walked over to The Earl's side. Kanda noticed a handful of servants still standing around the ballroom and it was obvious enough that they are outnumbered by the overwhelming amount of akuma inside the room.

Allen watched him carefully, his bright golden eyes tracing his every move. He isn't stupid enough to draw his innocence… he'll get gutted the moment he even shows a hint of resistance against the Noahs.

"We don't plan on hurting any exorcist tonight, more so killing any of you." The Millenium Earl announced. A few of the Noah looked disappointed and they didn't bother hiding their distaste regarding The Earl's decision "It would be such a waste of time and we'll just attract attention from the exorcists left behind." He added which cut off the twin Noahs' complaints.

"We're even now, BaKanda." Allen said teasingly as he looked expectantly towards The Earl. The Noah of Wisdom; Wisely as Kanda remembered gave him a calculating look "I looked through Allen's memories." He said dryly "Thanks for the help… I guess." His tone sounded forced but Kanda couldn't comprehend what they meant.

Marie was silently listening. Kanda hoped that the older exorcist would understand his situation.

He couldn't deny what the Noah said. He did try to help Allen Walker escape The Order after just a day of putting him under their custody. He knew what The Order would try to do to Allen and it was part of him to reject it; he wouldn't let this wretched organization do what they want.

Of course… their crude plans went to waste. Allen Walker escaped with the help of the other Noahs and The Order got to relive another experience with a level four akuma. There were no casualties and minimum damage was done due to it being nullified.

"Oh!" Road Kamelot jumped up from her spot "About the Bookman, we'll have him for a while!" She said enthusiastically. Allen gave her a pleading look as if just telling her to not speak anymore. After a quick second, he immediately gave up; letting out a soft sigh.

"I have some unfinished business with him. I hope you understand, Kanda." Allen said solemnly. His tone irked something in him but he didn't bother to say anything.

Kanda didn't understand. It was way too confusing.

The Noahs act as if they were just playing around. Like it's just an effortless game to them.

"I suppose you could leave now?" Sheryl Kamelot said harshly "You crashed my ball and we are letting you go. You should be grateful for that, exorcists." He glowered at the two of them.

Allen ignored him as he gave the two of them a kind smile and this time Kanda couldn't determine if his smile is real or not.

"See you soon, Kanda." He waved his arms and he spared Marie a glance "...you too, Marie." Before the two of them could speak up; a bright white light surrounded them and the last thing he saw was Allen's smiling face before they appeared directly at the wide gates of The Black Order.

END

AUTHOR'S NOTE:

The new chapter is up! Will update as soon as I can again ^_^
I haven't completely edited this chapter but I'll try to check for mistakes in the future!

I hope everyone likes this chapter! It's longer than what I expected and I don't want to make separate chapters for this.

More will be explained soon! Please Review and Follow since they really motivate me to update more.

Comments or reviews about the chapters are highly appreciated!

Thank you, everyone! Stay safe!

NEXT CHAPTER:

-Allen's new mission

-Lavi and Allen talks

-Link Howard's decision