“Did you hear?” Ryu Naruhodo said as he turned off the television set found at the basement of the fine dining restaurant he worked in and leaned back against the chair, giving a low sigh. The man placed his hand on his bonnet and scratched his head through it, acting all exasperated with the news that he just heard the night before today. That news came as a large shock to him, as maybe to any citizen of Ryona City. He hanged around at the basement, playing poker with one of his students at an early Saturday morning. He held two cards on his hand, a two of diamonds and a jack of hearts. Despite his age and experience at the game, the chips and the cards on the table were not in his favor. The female student smiled at the man, putting up her cards so the man wouldn’t be able to take a peek. “You know, it’s hard to hear something when you don’t know what it is…” Cagalli Rodriguez said confidently, knocking on the table and placing her card face down on her side of the table. Ryu gave a slight laugh then scratched the back of his head right before tossing two green chips in the pile. The student gave a wide smile as her teacher did this, showing off her confidence to the man’s watchful eyes. “Oh, right—you never did pay any attention to the news, Cagalli.” The man said, shaking his head in slight disapproval of his student’s lack of interest in current events. Cagalli shrugged at the man’s words. “So— what happened?” She said with a smirk, despite her asking—her attention was more in the game rather than the words of her teacher. Cagalli threw in the same number of chips in the pile as Ryu took the remote control from the table and turned on the small flatscreen TV lodged against the wall of the basement. He was suddenly reminded that he had to fix up how the TV was latched on the wall sometimes before it falls off. Cagalli dealt one more card on the table. “Here’s the river.” She said as the TV turned on, with Ryu switching it to the news channel. “Ah, right on timing—” He said with a nod as the news covering the events pertaining the incident that happened on City Hall. Ryu glanced on the cards that was on the table and swallowed hard. It seems that Cagalli would win this hand, unless… “Good Momomomomomomomomomorning Ryona City!!!” A field reporter exclaimed as he walked through the streets of downtown Ryona City. His voice was exuding with energy that matched the blinding and heavily contrasting colors of his coat and tie. Formality and a fashion sense that belongs in a fiesta and a carnival was the name of this guy’s game. The man pointed at the camera and flashed the widest grin and pose that was humanly endurable. “This is Raymond R. Richards, live today in the Brilliant City of Jades and covering a hot off the press topic that will send your knickers tying themselves in a bunch!” The man said, slicking back his hair as he spoke through his microphone. He walked across the streets, attracting the attention and suppressed ridicule of the people who were minding their own business. “Is this guy for real?” Cagalli remarked as she leaned back against the backrest of her seat, fully engrossed by the reporter’s antics. “Heh, is this the first time you’ve watched the news, kiddo?” Ryu asked her as he was in great internal conflict whether to cheat his way to victory nor play it clean. The two continued to watch through the news. “—You’ve got that right folks, this bright morning; we will be discussing about Governor Tony Garcia’s recent heartshocking, mindblowing and tear jerking proclamation at City Hall around sometime yesterday!” The man exclaimed as he placed his hand on his forehead, scoping out the scene for people around the immediate area as he stood above a waist high wall. “But of course, my beloved people of Ryona City—” The reporter said, acting as debonair as he could infront of the camera—complete with a gentlemanly smile that showed off his pearly whites. “—this segment is all about you and what you think of the topic at hand… so without further ado… LET’S HEAR THE CITEZEN’S VOICE!!!” Once again, he exclaimed loudly as he pointed his forefinger in the air. The people all around him gathered for a moment then dispersed after his boisterous declaration. Raymond hopped off the waist high wall and began his great crusade to get the people’s opinions… (Or so he thinks.) The man went around, his ever faithful cameraman in tow as they coursed through the city looking for someone to interview. The reporter kept a keen lookout for people that may have a good mind about this issue, or at the very least good looking. After a while of looking, he spotted one that seemed interesting enough. A red haired girl that was in her late teens or early twenties wearing casual clothes that was walking through the streets was his first target and in full haste and confidence, he approached her. “Excuse me, miss—” The reporter called out the opinion of the girl, in which left her startled for a moment as she found herself right looking at the man and featured live on camera. Raymond flashed his most exquisite smile, something that would be hard to differentiate from his usual smiles. The man promptly introduces himself to the girl, indicating that he was a reporter for the local News station of Ryona City. “Ummm… so how may I help you?” The girl said with a polite nod, impressing the man that the girl didn’t simply shy away from the camera. The cameraman gave the reporter a thumbs up and a smirk. “Before anything else, can we ask the fine lady her name?” Raymond asked the girl posthaste, his eyes moving up and about and eyeing different zones of the girl. “Please call me Aina, and I’m quite glad to be featured in your program~” She said with a smile, but her words came out more for politeness’ sakes rather than anything else. The man, though, nodded approvingly and smiled at the woman. “And we’re very happy to have you as well, Aina~. Now for our topic in hand, we’re going around the city and asking intellectual people like you on their opinion of our Honorable Governor Tony Garcia’s latest proclamation—the one where he declares that in or—” The man said but was interrupted by the girl raising her hand. Her calm expression immediately shifting to something a tad more annoyed and shook her head. “I’m sorry, I don’t wish to comment on that one—I’m not in the mood to cut my life short.” She said, dismissively and walked away. The man was startled by Aina’s reaction and pursued her. “Wait, it’s just a simple question of your opinion, I’m sure you won’t get any trouble for this!” The man said, stumbling on a few wires as he pursued her. “Besides, surely the police force will have your back in—” The girl looked back at the man and gave a smile. “Pardon me for not believing in a government that employs criminals to destroy criminals… it would be like trying to douse fire with fire.” She said right before running away from the man with a hastened pace. The man tried giving chase for a while, his interest now not in the woman herself but her answer—but a few meters forwards and he was already out of breath. “By Jove… that kid runs fast…” The man said, trying to catch his breath. He then looked at the camera then straightened himself up and smiled once more, trying to recover his composure. “Ah, it seems Aina is in quite a hurry folks~ We’ll go speak to others to see what they think.” The man said with a nod then turned around right in time to see a walking man who seemed to be heading to work. J udging by his clothes, he seemed to be a white collar worker. “Excuse me good sir, Triple R here from the Ryona City news station… I would like to ask you about your opinion on Governor Garcia’s recent proclamation, surely you’ve heard of it sir?” The reporter asked the man, now trying a formal yet polite approach in asking him rather than all friendly and informal—that and because this was a man as well, just like him. “Oh, very well then.” The working man said with a nod. “For me, I admire the effort and resort that our Governor has acted upon, it shows he knows when things have to be done.” The man replied then shook his head. “Although his choice of acquaintances might not be the best for all, especially for people like us in the grind.” The man concluded. Raymond nodded then extended his hand. “Thank you for your thoughts and may you have a good day at work.” He said to the man, who promptly took the reporter’s hand and shook it before walking off. The reporter then spun around in his heel and faced the camera once more. “Well, that makes two peeps and maybe a few more before we go back to the Weather report.” He said to the camera before walking off once again and looking for more people to interview. He then spotted a young girl who just crossed the street, hopping on each and every line on the pedestrian crossing. “Hmmm, I wonder.” The man said to himself as he walked to the kid, intent on asking her opinion. The cameraman shook his head in amazement on how far his partner would go to entertain people. Well, at least he was good at his job. “Hello little twin tailed kid~” Raymond said as he approached the kid at a safe distance. The kid faced him with a hotdog jammed on her mouth, chewing it slowly. She then opened her mouth wide and ate the hotdog in one fell blow then grinned widely. “What’s up, ze?” The kid asked the man, waving at the camera and staring at it. “Am I on the TV, ze?” She asked as she looked straight up the camera and grinned widely, waving with both hands now. “Ah, why yes you are!” The man said and clapped a bit. “Now, Big brother Triple R wants to ask you a question—do you watch news?” The man said, crouching to the child’s level. Although he wondered as to why he did this, he just brushed it off to be all for fun’s sake. “Do you watch the news?” The man asked her. The kid nodded and took another hotdog and ate it in one bite. “Hai, ze.” The kid nodded. The man nodded sagely then rubbed her chin, might as well since he’s already at this point. “So, what do you think about our Governor Tony Garcia’s announcement on the TV, if you’ve just watched the news.” The man said with a smile, praying that he doesn’t get fired for this. The kid looked at the man for a moment then cleared out her throat and took a deep breath as she composed her inner thoughts and tried to form the words in her head. She would try to explain this to the man in the easiest way possible since she was infront of the camera and there might be children watching on the TV. She knew of the sensitive aspects that were present on the topic so she should be careful of what she says but at the same time avoid sugarcoating her words or favoring one side. She then opened her mouth to speak. “I dunno, ze…” The kid said with a shrug then walked on her merry way. The man laughed at the kid’s response. For a moment there he thought she was going to say something complicated that would blow his mind away. The man shook his head and looked at the camera with an amused expression. “Well there you have it from little twintails, folks… now just one last person before we go back to the studios.” The man said, looking around the city for one more person to interview. This time it had to be as substantial as the first two. “Aah, there’s one~” The man said, spotting another woman setting up her restaurant’s sign from closed to open. He rushed in after her before she could enter the restaurant. There was something about this one that seemed above the rest. His eyes were already focused on it like two deadly laser beams. She was no older than the first one, ah, maybe a few years but nothing too noticeable or prominent. What was prominent to him about her was her flowing and golden hair, her fair—whoa, whoa, whoa… he had to focus on his work first. The man shook his head, trying to keep his head out of the clouds The woman noticed the man coming towards her and waited for him to approach. She recognized the man from the news and knew of his daily segment, it seems it was her turn to be asked right now. “Ah, Good morning, ma’am~” The man said with a polite bow as he stood a respectable distance from the woman. To him, she seemed like a woman that he should give abject respect to… that and there was that encroaching feeling that there was someone deadly watching him. “You must be Triple R from Ryona City news station on Channel 283, I watch your segement.” The woman said with a friendly smile as she dusted off her apron. “Ah, I’m flattered to have a fan such as you~” The man said, his ego inflating like the blazing sun. The woman laughed warmly then looked at him. “So what question do you have for me today?” She asked him, anticipating his approaches. “Ah~ I would like to ask you for your opinion on Tony Garcia’s current proclamation—the one where the Police Force would have a joint-operation with the Criminal Organization Pearl Corporation to suppress and capture all of the other criminal organizations who operate within Ryona City?” The reporter asked his question. “Oh, and ummm… can we have your name please… at least anything to call you by?” The man said, losing a bit of his composure. “You can call me Cyril.” The woman replied then gave his prior question a bit of thought, tapping her chin lightly. “As for my opinion—I find it quite daring not to mention risky that our Governor would actually hire criminals to fight against other criminals. Whether it is a desperate move or a well measured one. I still believe that it is rash and foolish as well as the people won’t look upon it too well if the ones that are supposed to protect them are allied with the ones who terrorizes them. It brings up the question of—who do we count on now if the police and the criminals are one and the same?” Cyril said with a warm smile. “At least that’s what I believe in.” She said, turning around and waving at the camera. “If you’ll excuse me—I’ll have to open up shop now~” She said, entering the restaurant. “All of the sudden, I’m hu—ah, thank you for your opinion, Cyril.” The man said, looking back at the camera and grinning widely. “Well, that’s all for the Citizen’s Voice—this is your friend and partner, Raymond R. Richards, signing off.” The reporter said pointing at the camera. “Back to you, studio!” “Damn it!” Ryu exclaimed as he threw his cards to the table, mixing it with the chips as he lost this hand again. It would seem that they lost interest in the news after Cagalli saw that the man tried to cheat. “Read em and weep, Mr Naruhodo—read them and weep~” She said, pulling all of the chips on her side of the table. “Now you owe me 100 breakfasts and one quiz exemption~” The student said, happy that she was able to undermine her teacher once more in his own game. “Fine, fine—I’ll do as I promised…” The man said with an exasperated sigh then looked back at the Television set, his expression shifting to a more serious one. His eyes glanced a bit at his rejoicing student then back at the TV. “I wonder what’ll happen as of now….” He said, looking at the replay of Tony Garcia’s proclamation.