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The car sped down the hill. Trees flew by, flashes of hill seen in between. The driver was a pale man of about 27, with wavy, long blonde hair. He wore white elegant gloves and dark glasses that hid his cerulean eyes from the world. His name was Charden Flamberge.

Charden glanced at the girl beside him, Kyoko Kirisaki. Munching on a bag of potato chips while she played her game, Kyoko still caused Charden's heart to race. Out of the corner of his eye, he studied Kyoko: her pale face set in concentration, eyes alight with glee. Without missing a beat, she would occasionally reach up a slender, sensitive hand and brush back her short inky black hair. Charden felt his cheeks warm as Kyoko bit her small, perfect red lips intently. Dressed in her school uniform, she looked like a normal teenager, which she was.

However, Kyoko was also a (former) member of the Apostles. The Apostles, headed by Creed Diskenth, was a group designated to overthrow the leading government, Chronos, and cause a worldwide revolution using the power of Tao. They both had the power: Kyoko had control over fire and stored it within her own body. Charden felt the flames only made her the more beautiful. His own power was much darker and hidden, not as glamorous. By slashing his palm, he could manipulate his blood to defend himself or to attack his enemies.

Unconsciously, Charden tightened his left hand on the wheel. His left hand, which bore a scar on the palm from his having slashed it so many time. Not as beautiful as Kyoko's thin, delicate hands. Kyoko and Charden were fugitives, deserters from the Apostles. Creed had finally gone too far, when he killed a fellow member, Durham. Charden still remembered the conversation the two of them had had by a river.

"What do you think, Kyoko?"

"About Durham? I dunno … I didn't like him, but killing him was a bit far. I mean, like trash?"

A Pause.

"It makes me wonder … if I did the same thing, would Creed kill me also?"


Charden's reverie was broken. He hadn't liked Kyoko saying that, but she had gone with him. Charden was surprised that she had chosen to desert. He spoke up.

"You know, Kyoko, you didn't have to come with me. Now you will also be considered a traitor."

"Well, yeah," Kyoko replied conversationally, "but I don't want to fight Black-sama! Besides, Charden-chan would have been lonely."

Charden's heart gave a jolt. Kyoko continued.

"Kyoko wanted to come with Charden-chan. Kyoko doesn't want Charden to be lonely."

Charden's stomach lurched and his eyes grew wide. That's why she had deserted, risking death? He actually held a place in her heart? Trying to regain his composure, he smiled.

"You're a strange kid, Kyoko."

"Well, Charden did tell Kyoko to listen to her heart."

Her heart. Charden felt warmth in his own heart, but he didn't mention anything. They kept driving.