[ Bebop II Training Room: ]
Vi: *Catches that and grins* Instincts, you say...?
*Pitching back, she replies with a headbutt of even greater force*
*In the process, she slings her arm around and presses her hand into the nape of Shroom's neck*
*From her hand crackles an electricity of the same blue as her halo*
Vi: *Eyes glowing, gives a distinct growling*
Misaki: ...You see...Vi is able to use electricity to stimulate the body's systems.
*Within Shroom's mind, the portions governing instinct are slowly inhibited and the portions governing reason are steadily enhanced*
Misaki: It's just a matter of whether she can get through in time...
Vi: *Eyes glow brighter and brighter*
--- --- ---
[ Bebop II, Outside the Main Room: ]
*With a yawn, a figure shambles in*
Ryoko: ...What's goin' on...? *Noticing Ryo-Ohki, she zips back to full attention*
Ryo-Ohki: Myaaaow! *Rushes over, hugging Ryoko's legs*
*From the other direction, two figures approach*
Zev: *Face unusually stern* Tamao...We need you. Alone, preferrably.
Ryo-Ohki: *Suddenly looks over* ...Meow... *Forehead gem gives a glimmer*
Ryoko: ... *Speaks up* Mind if we tag along, Zev?
Tamao: *Huffs* You will have no part in this, Space Pirate.
Zev: Actually...We'll need her input on this.
Tamao: ... *Scowls, but follows* ...
Makoto: ... *Wraps arms around Yuuka's shoulders* I think I know someone who'd like to see you~!
*Hurrying off, she drags Yuuka along with her*
Makoto: *Thinking* This doesn't bode well.
*However, she keeps a smile on her face*
--- --- ---
[ Another Room: ]
Washu: *Looks around* ...Good, good...
Kokonoe: *Stands off to the side, holding her forehead* My head is gonna split open...
Ryoko: So? What's this business that's got everyone so down?
Zev: ...First of all, the ship's been broken into...And there was a...Casualty...
Ryoko: Who? Did you get them to the infirmary in time?
Anna: ...Chrome...She's...Sh...She's... *Hic*
Ryoko: ... *Veins go cold* No way. *Does a search for Chrome's presence* ...!? ...No...
Tamao: Poor girl...I hope she didn't suffer. I truly do...
*Nearby, the Varia - Minus Fran - Are gathered close*
Xanxus: ...The Decimo is gonna lose his sh!t when he finds out...
Fran: Actually, I don't think that'll be the case.
*Waltzing in, the Varia's Illusionist is followed by...*
Chrome: ...I'm sorry for worrying you...M...My cloak...Hasn't worn off completely...
*Her form is still slightly indistinct; her ring flickers with Mist Flames*
Ryoko: ...!? What the hell is going on!!?
???: I'll take over this one.
*Yet another figure emerges, from the same passage*
Pitou: ...I recognized Mushima while he was fighting Anna. So, I tipped off Chrome, and she got the plan...
Chrome: ...I...Faked my death...And imitated the...Signo Ring... *Yawn* ...I'm sorry...
Pitou: Don't worry, dear. *Turns back to the group* The Signo Ring is no small feat to imitate. It allowed Chrome to isolate her existence from the Shima Brothers - And thus, allowed her to plant a spy.
Fran: Supposedly, that's where I came in. Toymaker-sempai was counting on me knowing something wasn't right - And now, my Sei-Sei-Sei Ring is connected to a special Box Weapon.
Pitou: Thus, no matter where they go, Fran will be able to track them by the nearest star. *Tilts head* Now, am I right in thinking that this computer holds a special meaning to your family...?
Washu: ... *Looks to Tamao* ...It's that computer, isn't it? The Arboretum Notes? *Frown deepens*
Tamao: ...Indeed. I only told Zev this, but...There was another reason that both I and Anna were sent to him.
Zev: It was rightly predicted that someone wanted the Notes...So, under Father's mandate, Tamao and Anna were sent with them to my side in order to keep them protected. Vi agreed to secure a location onboard, and have her memory wiped of their existence.
Anna: ...The Arboretum Notes, or the Jurai Book of Secrets...Contains the deepest secrets of our family.
Tamao: I should say...The Glory-Raregroove Family is not exactly...Weak. We hold much sway in the known universe.
Zev: Basically, what my sister means to say is that our family controls a superpower which made us an empire.
Tamao: ...The Juraian Royal Family...Is in fact the Glory-Raregroove Family.
*Everyone falls into stunned silence; even Pitou has stopped smiling*
Washu: *First to speak* The Juraian Royal Family...I had suspicions, but I didn't know you three were the full royalty. So, that can only mean...! *Bites down on the tip of thumb* The Royal Trees?
Zev: Indeed...For those of us who have been living under a rock for most of recorded history, the Juraian Royal Family became an empire by the Royal Trees. Sentient, immense power, the ability to harmonize with and sustain both organic and mechanical systems...I had to hide my ship to go undetected; if you all saw Misaki-fune, I'd instantly be revealed as royalty. Thus, I wouldn't be given a lot of legroom...In this room, only Ryoko and Pitou were aware.
Ryoko: ...Don't give me that look, Washu. You know you're damn proud I kept this secret for so long.
Washu: I'll fess up to that much. But you've still put me in quite a situation... *Looks over* You, Pitou? I take it your family was involved?
Pitou: ...Somewhat. We didn't "cover it up for an old friend" so much as "nobody asked, thus we didn't tell."
Washu: So, Zev...You've been on the run from Jurai for how long? *Quirks eyebrow*
Zev: ...Our family is strong, and I've been pressured to come back so I could prepare to ascend the throne...But I've not really been on the run. Mom and Dad were fine with me going out and about, so long as I didn't bring any hussies home and claim them as my wife.
Tamao: And you've been respectably chaste, brother. *Looks back to the group* So, I take it you can surmise where the Arboretum Notes key into this?
Washu: Yup. We can't let this information get too far outside this room.
Ryoko: I can hazard a guess. *Strokes chin, cackling* Blackmail, anyone~? *Ignores Tamao's glare*
Pitou: This is growing exciting. A real scandal~ *Ears twitch* I appreciate masters of coercion like this.
Kokonoe: My headache's gone, and now I'm involved in what may be the biggest criminal event in 80,000 years. *Grins, tails curling* Now I might have a way to get rid of those nukes in my lab...
*Over at the Varia, there is much confusion*
Xanxus: ...Geh. I've got a hangover. Not even gonna try.
Squalo: I'm no expert in political matters. I'm not really sure who we leave that to...
Lussuria: *Crows happily* Oh frabjous day, kaloo, kaley~! Chrome-chan is alive~ and I'm in the middle of an event that will make all the girls in the cafe so~ jealous~! Don't worry, though - I'll keep it a secret~
Belphegor: Ushishishi...Sorry. I just can't stop looking at Tamao-chan now that I know she's a princess...
Tamao: You may not be a king, but I can certainly crown you, punk. And by the way - I'm physically seventeen in Juraian years. With my tree's influence, I'm much older.
Belphegor: So? I'm eighteen physically - And you're not too old for a schoolgirl uniform, baby!
Squalo: Voi. One year on Jurai is equivalent to seven-hundred years offworld. And she's older than that.
Belphegor: ...You look good for an over ten millenia bod. Not a day over six millenia, to my eyes. *Cackles*
Tamao: As much as I appreciate flattery, and as much as I love your hair... *Grin* I only date men. Come back when you're Prince Charming and not Boy Prince.
Belphegor: *Snarls, before whirling on Fran* So, Froggy. I take it you're in on this damned computer that those three freaks stole?
Fran: Nope. And Chrome-san isn't in on it either - Pitou's very keen on making this a dramatic reveille.
Belphegor: Perfect. None of us are in on the whole treehugger charade, so how about -
Levi: The Arboretum Notes, aka "The Jurai Book of Secrets," aka "Masaki's Great Work," are the compiled results of three centuries straight spent researching Royal Trees, originating from the first mortal to study and harmonize with a tree - The sister of Jurai's First Raregroove Emperor, Masaki Raregroove. It was thanks to her that her brother - Emperor Sunshine Raregroove - And Emperor Rayleigh Glory were able to bond to the trees, and ever since, the trees have assisted the growth of their family in return for the Glory-Raregroove Family strictly adhering to the responsibility of maintaining order and protecting the weak.
Levi: The ruling monarch of Jurai shares dual responsibility with his 'counterpart' in the other bloodline of watching over the Arboretum Notes. However, there is said to be a secret law regarding a heightened danger of the Notes being stolen - It was believed that the entire Royal Guard Elite Squad has responsibility of protecting them in that case. However, as we can plainly see here...
Zev: ...That duty instead falls to the First Prince, and the rest of his siblings who are entirely capable of battle. *Chuckles* And we're completely sure you're supposed to be the stupid one, Levi-san?
Levi: *Shrug* Meh. I'm the Varia's Diplomat, actually. It was mandatory to memorize important knowledge that the Juraian Royal Family only released to specific allied groups - Within Vongola, only the current Boss Vongola Nono and I know stuff of that sensitivity.
Xanxus: *Scowls* And you felt no reason to tell your boss about this earlier because...Why exactly, Leviathan!!?
Levi: Because, with all due respect Xanxus-sama, you wouldn't care in most cases. You probably don't care how much of the Royal Trees are wood and leaves and how much are mind and soul, frankly.
Xanxus: ... ... ... *Shrug* Well, that I don't. *Gets a cellphone out; leaving it closed* I'm ready to give orders to the rest of Vongola at any time. What exactly do we need to know about these trees that's so dangerous...?
Anna: *Abruptly speaks* A particular set of files whose existence was entrusted only to me, initially.
Tamao: *Blinks* What do you mean, Anna-neechan...? Does it change the Shima Brothers' plan to blackmail our family?
Anna: ... *Scratches at the back of head* ...Well...You see, sister...About that...
Zev: ... *Rests forehead in hand* ...Their plan was never to blackmail our family in the first place.
Tamao: *Pales slightly* What do you mean? What worse could they do with this information than blackmailing us?
Anna: Well...These files contain rather...Sensitive information. We can only assume the Shima Brothers know.
Zev: Please, go ahead and say it. I'm fully prepared for however horrible it'll be.
Anna: ...There are files detailing...How to manipulate a Royal Tree's will.
*Everyone falls silence again; Tamao and Zev expressionless*
--- --- ---
[ Outside the Ship: ]
*A stray wind picks up some dust*
*The sun has risen again, turning the sky gray*
*All is silent, for the most part; then...*
WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY!!?
*A female's voice explodes from out of the ship, echoing across the planet*
*The echo goes all the way to the opposite side of the planet*
*Only then does silence fall again*
--- --- ---
[ Back at the Meeting: ]
Tamao: *Is panting, hair falling out of bun*
Zev: *Twitches slightly* Damn, sis. Nearly blew out my eardrums.
*The Varia are simply staring at the group; not knowing whether or not to get involved*
*Both Pitou and Kokonoe share a similar reaction: Frozen stiff, tails bristling and angled up*
*Off to the side, Chrome is trying to keep out of the way of these events*
*Standing where she was, Washu's face shows exasperation and a bit of distress*
*Meanwhile, Ryo-Ohki seems confused, and lastly...*
Ryoko: KYA~HAHAHAHAHA~! This is too rich! Too rich!
Anna: ...Sorry...I didn't think anyone could steal the Notes so quickly...
Tamao: No, sister...I understand. I just need to...Oogh. *Tips over*
Zev: *Catches her gently, murmuring softly to placate her shaking body*
*Once the fainted Tamao calms, the situation fully hits him*