The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
by Charon the Sabercat
Zero's turn to hate me, now.
Zero's turn! Let's watch him fly, and hope we don't watch him die!
Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23
The Gundam Beauty Pageant|
22. Zero's Gauntlet
It was the next day by the time Cobramaru was well enough to attend Zero's gauntlet. Many accused him of just being a whiner, but Charon felt like waiting a day (she was tired out from a Dance Dance Revolution marathon). The next morning found the Gundams going through the same routine...
Charon waved the mechas into the small room. "Come on, we're doing this again! I know, it's small, I'm sorry. Priority seating, first come, first serve. Come to cheer on Zero, Rele?-" (Rele squeaked, "You know it!", promptly making Deathscythe fume.) "- that's great. Come on, hurry it up, hurry it up- Killer Kath! I haven't seen you in forever! How've you been?" (Killer tossed her head, rolling her eye at what was essentially her mother. "All right, I guess. Grappler's great, but I wanna freakin' go outside!") "Well, I'll work on that. See you later. Come on, everybody, scrunch together, get cozy, you're gonna be here a while. Speaking of which, where's Mel? MEL!"
Mel lying in a mountain of beanbags. "Must... kill... Marluxia..."
"Dangit, Mel!" Charon slapped her forehead. "Knew I should've invited Lala instead... but then again, Lala hates SD Gundams... bah." An idea snapped into her head. "Hmm, have to try that later. Okay, everybody, everybody, show's about to start. Find a seat!"
Zapper's head bobbed in time with the music in his earphones, while Britainmaru watched curiously. He pointed to the tiny white speck (meaning his Ipod) in Zapper's hands. "What are you listening to?"
"Devo." Zapper paused the song and took off the headphones. "The only organic band with music worthy of the Dark Axis."
"It's so..." Killer struggled for a word.
Grappler finished with, "Techinical."
"So different!" Dom cheered.
"So passionate..." Madnug mused-
"While being passionless." Sazabi added.
"The perfect music for real mechas." Zapper retreated back into his music while the others pondered the perfect techno, leaving Britainmaru more confused than before.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Most Talented competition! Our contestants, to prove their skill and number of abilities, will run through a gauntlet of my design! There is no particular scoring system, although contestants will be judged on speed and grace. Any trips or long hesitations will be taken into consideration.
"Today's second contestant is Zero, because hey, why not? To test Zero's skills, he'll have to fly through a number of rings suspended in the air, fight of targets with specific magical skills, and solve a puzzle with the help of a certain feather dragon. Bathrooms are on the left, snack bar on the right, 3-D glasses available on request with an extra 50 cent charge.
"And this is the button to turn of- (click)"
"You know, it's a shame I don't see more of you, m'lady," Zero remarked to the Lacroan wench who had been his stylist for the past two rounds. "Why don't you come join the Gundams and I someday?"
The wench declined. "No thank ye, lad. I'm stayin' in me own lit'l' suite with the othah girls. The cat does'n' wan' us around too much, wants ye to make friends with the othah Gundams."
"A shame, m'lady." Zero offered her a rose. "You are a very nice woman."
"Aw, thank ye, lad."
There was a knock on the door Zero enterred through. Zero eyed in warily, and the wench sighed. "I's Talgeese agaihn."
The Winged Knight growled, every muscle in his body writhing in anger. "Why won't he leave me ALONE?!"
The wench nodded. "And it's no' tha' he's gay, ah no. Nothin' wrong with tha'."
Zero mentioned, "Some of my best friends before the Dark Axis invasion were homosexual."
"I's tha' he's just a lit'l away from bein' a rapist." She shook her head disapprovingly. "Doesn' care 'oo he goes aftah, eithah. No respect for other people's privacy a' ahll."
The door flashed red. Zero flapped his wings and stretched, ready to fly.
"Ready, Zero? Once you leave the ground, you start."
Zero took a minute to survey his surroundings. Charon had finally fixed the never-ending landscape, adding a few trees, a forest along the horizon, a stone path around the very plain, very brown building where the Gundams were staying, and a fountain. The sky was now populated with dense, heavy clouds. Also present was a lone ring, suspended in the air comically by two little propellers. It hovered just above Zero's head.
He leapt off of the ground, zooming straight through the hoop and into the sky.
"And Zero has begun his challenge! This is the very beginning of the flying portion; he must fly through each hoop without missing. If he misses one, the other will not appear until he flies through the one he missed."
Another ring appeared above Zero; he flew straight up, right through the middle, feeling his wings pass through the hoop as he flew. He heard the hum of the next ring to his left. Shifting his weight, he snapped to the left and fell through the next ring, catching himself just as the next one appeared before him. The fluttered through that one, effortless.
"Zero seems to be taking to the ring course fairly well. We'll step up the difficultly a little and see how he deals."
Zero once again heard the hum of the propellers, but this time, it was behind him. Thinking quickly, he pushed his wings straight out in front of him. He shot backward, but instead of going right through the hoop, gravity caught the back of his knee on the bottom of the ring. He flipped through the hoop backwards and stallled, holding out his arms for balance.
"Oo! That's gonna cost him some! Let's see what he does now!"
The buzzing sound came back, now directly below him. Mindlessly, he tucked in his limbs and fell. He turned in the air like a Olympic diver, dropping headfirst through the ring and gracefully swooping straight back up in the air.
The fans cheered. Princess Rele could be heard among them, singing an impromptu song of celebration. "Zero is my hero, and what I say is true, oh, Zero is my hero, what can I say of you, oh, Zero is..."
The rings all collected together and formed a straight line, leading Zero in the right direction. He zipped through them, going faster and faster with each pass. In fact, a little too fast...
He stopped flying, but he didn't fall. The rings were pushing him!
Captain felt his soul drive quiver. He searched for the source. Madnug was staring at the ring line, his body shaking in fear. "No... no, not again..."
"Oh no..." Captain reached past Zapper Zaku and held Madnug's shoulder. "It's all right. It's all right, don't be scared..."
Zapper's lip curled, a little shaken from Captain's arm being held in front of his face. Despite this, he also voiced some concern for his commanding officer. "Hey, Madnug, you okay?"
Madnug could only shudder.
Zero was muttering to himself. "It's okay, it's okay, it will not hurt me, Charon wouldn't kill me..."
Something was coming for him!
He instantly summoned his sword and shield. "Super Magical Violet Tornado!"
The object, a rock, was stopped in its path and blown back to earth. Hardly a second later, he felt a strong breeze fly past his head. That could only mean one thing. He looked up.
He couldn't believe it. "A DOOR?!"
No time to think! The door was coming right for him!
He swung his sword. "Lacroa Crescent!"
The door split in two, and Zero passed without so much as a splinter. He turned his head to watch the door fall beneath him. "Ha! Serves you right to challenge The Winged Knigh-" He turned his attention back to himself, blushing. "I am trash talking a door."
"Oo, Zero shouldn't have turned his head!"
Charon's words shot through him with a dangerous jolt. "Oh no..."
He tried to find the door, but all he saw was a cloud of wood shards flying past his head and curving back around towards him. "Oh no, oh no- TRIANGLE SHIELD!"
The magic cone snapped over his body, deflecting the wood shards and making them drift harmlessly back into a field of flowers.
He could have killed Charon. The telltale buzzing of bees followed the wood shards. "Bees? How do I stop bee-"
He sighed. With a careless snap of his fingers, the bees were showered with a endless wave of purple Princess roses. Their attention turned to the sweet smelling flowers, leaving the Winged Knight to fly through the last ring unharmed.
"And Zero is doing great! I could've sworn the bees would have gotten him! But anyway, it's time for him to come back down to earth; it's only a few more obstacles before he reaches the end!"
"Good..." Zero began to float back to the ground, taking his time and getting ready to unsummon his sword.
A gate appeared before him. He stopped. "What above earth?"
Words appeared on the gate, writing themself in Lacroan. Charon translated for those who couldn't read.
"Bring me an object you know fairly well, and bring it to this place by using a spell. A prison for dragons, a cradle for seeds that fall out of the great Citrus sinesis trees."
"What?" Zero paused for a moment. "Prison for dragons? Citrus...? Citrus... wait!"
He summoned a cardboard orange crate. The gate opened, and Zero flew through.
"WOW! I didn't think he would get that riddle! I didn't get that riddle, and I wrote it! Zero's only got one test left, and he'll be finished!"
The ground was quickly approaching, and the red finish button was in sight. The only problem was in was behind a glass dome. On either side of the dome was a large handle, larger than Zero himself. He gulped. He couldn't pull either of those. He didn't know anyone who could, either... or did he?
He held his sword above his head, concentrating.
"Zero seems to be concentrating really hard."
He began to glow. A shining circle appeared behind Zero, stroking his body with magic wisps of energy.
A single horn pushed through the magic hole...
"YES! Zero is summoning Fenn, The Feather Dragon! Not to be confused with FennFeatherDragon, fanfiction authoress."
Fenn drifted through his magic portal and grabbed the giant handles, pulling them upward. As he pulled, the glass dome surrounding the finish button split apart and opened. Zero gave Fenn an affectionate pat on the nose before flying into the opened dome and pressing the finish button.
"And we're done! Zero has finished in seven minutes flat! A round of applause for The Winged Knight!"
Fenn placed his nose down to Zero's level. Zero hugged the dragon and patted his horn. "You're a good friend, Fenn. Thank you, so much."
Fenn purred, nuzzling his master softly.
Okay, that's done. Once again, it's late, and I don't feel like writing author's notes.|
Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23