Chapter Three: Can't Win 'Em All

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     Soul watched the girl speed down the street, her body shrinking before disappearing altogether. He lifted his chin and stared at the clouds floating lazily overhead. The sky looked so calm and peaceful. Why, then, did he feel so shaken up?

     He pushed his hair back from his forehead and winced when his hand brushed over the welt on the back of his skull. It stung. His gaze fell, and he closed his eyes, lifting an eyebrow and pushing it against his skin, creating a crease above the bridge of his nose. Soul let the air he'd been holding in pass between his lips

     "Well, that wasn't cool, at all," Soul muttered. He put his hands back in his pockets and slouched his shoulders, neck tilted back. His expression had relaxed and settled. But he couldn't shake the feeling of déjà vu that was creeping in.

     "Oh well," he shrugged, brushing it off, "no sense in worrying about it. Anyway, I don't wanna be late to Black*Star's performance." With a grin, sharp teeth glinting white in the sunlight, Soul turned and kept walking down the quiet street.

     When he finally arrived outside of the large metal gates that towered over him like ugly, decorative giants, Soul pushed one open letting himself in and peered around at the bustling crowd. Seems like all of Death City showed up, today, he thought to himself. He moved sluggishly, weaving through the multitudes of students, teachers, and simple onlookers. The leaderboard displayed over the concession stand flipped from one image to the next. As it transitioned to the matchups, a map connecting each pairing to their designated opponents trickled onto the screen. Soul skimmed over the names and pictures, taking note of the ones who had already taken their places in the next round. When Soul found Black*Star and Tsubaki's names, he saw that they had yet to compete but were scheduled to go next.

     Good. Made it just in time. Soul smirked and shuffled up the staircase that led into the viewing stands. He turned his head to the right and spotted a seat seven rows up. He wasn't worried about the distance. A large screen that was playing the action in real time hovered over the arena, so no matter where you got stuck sitting, you could see what was going on.

     Right then, the previous fight had just finished, and the meister and weapon partners were hobbling out of the arena. They must have been new students; he didn't recognize them. The announcer came on the sound system and began calling out the next pairings to fight.

     "Meister Black*Star and his weapon partner, Tsubaki, will be sparing against meister Kilik Rung and his two-weapon partners, Fire, and Thunder!"

     Soul sat back in the chair and made himself comfortable, slouching down and placing his hands behind his head at the base of his neck, his fingers knit together for support. "This'll be interesting," he said. His lips twitched up to form a smirk and his eyes watched the screen.

     Black*Star bounded into the arena, leaving Tsubaki jogging to keep pace with him. Soul rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Here we go," he sighed.

     "YAHOO! I AM THE AMAZING BLACK*STAR! I WILL TRANSCEND GOD! WHEN I'M DONE WITH YOU, YOU'LL NEVER WANT TO SHOW YOUR PATHETIC FACES AGAIN! BWAHAHAHAHA!" As he bellowed his usual self-introduction, Kilik and his partners walked casually into the arena, stopping short to watch the fool make an ass of himself. The cameras panned close to their faces and you could see them looking at each other, eyebrows raised in confusion.

     Then the shot moved to Tsubaki who was trying her best to keep a smile on her face. Sometimes Soul felt bad for her having to put up with Black*Star's idiocy. But as far as partners go, they were perfect for each. Everyone could tell that. Her laid-back, quiet personality made it easy for her to accept and compromise with Black*Star's boisterous and hyperactive tendencies. And no matter what, even though they had only collected a single corrupt soul, they supported and trusted each other with their lives.

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