“How long since the last time I visited an event like this?” Rodan asked to himself while strolling around inside the circus tent with Nono beside him.
Although it was a long time ago since he had visited places like the circus, he found it odd somehow. “Is this even a circus?” he wondered. “If I recall it right, circus is a place where professional stuntmen doing some attraction that entertain people. But why though...” he added while looking around him.
“Here where I stand, there is a gallery of floras and faunas from many different parts of the world. This looks a lot like a museum rather than a circus,” he said to himself.
“Well, I guess that’s why the Gloria Circus is one of the world’s best. They’re showing off something different than just a mere circus,” Nono replied while looking at an empty shell of an armadillo-like monster.
“Gloria...? You sure you didn’t get that wrong, Nono?” Rodan said with narrowed eyes.
“Huh, what do you mean?” Nono failed to understand.
“It says here that it is ‘ALGORIA’ not ‘GLORIA’, you know?”
“H-Huh, really?” Nono quickly looked at the stone tablet and realized that he was spelling the name wrong. “Oh, yeah... i-it is Algoria, my bad, my bad, ahahaha...”
“That’s why I wondered why you would call it Gloria when there’s a damn giant sign on the tent that says ALGORIA instead of GLORIA. I thought I misheard, but turns out you’ve blanked out.”
“Ahahahah...” Nono rubbed the back of his head. “My bad, Roro,”
“Anyway, why the tent was open to all visitors, even without tickets? We’ve been exploring around here, yet there’s no locket that needed any tickets,” Rodan wondered.
“I heard the tickets will be used as entry pass for the main event in the center of the tent, Roro.”
“Let’s go there, then. I’m not too interested in looking at remains of carcass and leaves.”
“Okay, okay. But before that, let’s go get something to eat!”
Rodan and Nono went outside for a moment to go to food stands. Nono bought a few food and drinks. Meanwhile, Rodan was unexpectedly going to the fruit stand.
“O-Oi, Roro... what are you...?”
“What am I doing? It’s obvious isn’t it? I’m fetching some green apples!”
“But what about the ones Miss Ringo sent us?” Nono frowned.
“Bah, it takes too long! My tongue’s getting bitter. Don’t worry, I’m buying a few,” Rodan retorted while proceeding to buy up to ten green apples.
“I’m not sure that’s few, Roro...”
After that, they returned back in and went through the gallery that led them right to the center part of the tent. On the way, some people who recognized Rodan somehow laid their heads low to not fetch his attention. Though, so far, Rodan had done nothing out of the box, yet. Rodan and Nono didn’t want to start trouble anyway, so both sides ignored each other.
Finally, both of them reached the place where the circus kept their attraction animals. In that place, Rodan scrunched up his face as he met one of his ultimate foes: a snaking queue of people.
“The hell is this? Hundreds of people going in line just to enter the center part of the circus?! Oh, this gonna take a century to end...” Rodan grumbled.
“Now, now... we can wait in line, Roro. We have plenty of free time, right?” Nono reasoned.
“Mmmrgh...” Rodan grunted. After several minutes into waiting, Rodan’s mind suddenly shined full of thoughts. “Oh, I got an idea. Nono, keep in line!” he told Nono while leaving the queue.
“H-Huh, okay, what now?”
“I’ll go elsewhere!”
“Hey! That’s unfair, Roro! I can’t fill up your shoes to hold your queue!” Nono retorted quickly. “Besides, is it even okay to do that?”
“Tsk, tsk, there’s no written rule about someone taking up two slots in line. Very well, then, I’m counting on you. I’ll be back shortly~!” said Rodan while merrily left his friend on his own.
“Hey-wai-wait, RORO! Ah... he’s gone. Geez, can’t he wait in line properly. Well, he disliked waiting for too long, though...” Nono said to himself. “Besides...
Why the people in here did not complain of his attitude?!”
Rodan explored the wide room that stored many living animals. Those animals were not like any ordinary circus would have, they’re literal monsters. They’re dressed in circus properties and all of them had a single same thing attached to their necks: a choker necklace.
“That necklace... Collar of Obedience, that’s a magical tool that can force monsters to obey humans, huh...? It is commonly used for slaves, too. But that big guy, Bartz, was not wearing one neither his boys as well.”
Rodan proceeded walking around the cages that were storing the animals in. Some people were attracted to look at those animals, despite knowing how dangerous they were if they’re released. But the ample amount of people gathered near one concealed cage, which also caught Rodan’s attention.
“That’s one huge cage. Moreover, it’s covered in blanket. I wonder what’s in there...” he said while walking to the crowded people near the cage. But when he reached there, he noticed some parts of the cage were unveiled for visitors to look at. And in that time as well, Rodan saw some people throwing rocks into the cage.
“The visitors were allowed to throw objects at the monster in that big cage. None of these people fear the creature in there, which means, it must be a low level monster that was in there. But it is strange why a huge cage was needed to store a small fry. Not to mention it is also covered in sheets as if blocking lights from reaching inside.
If that’s the case, then the creature in there might either become fierce or die if it is exposed to light. What kind of creature that is weak to light? A lesser vampire, perhaps?”
Rodan could only think of a vampire being encaged in there.
“I couldn’t think of anything else. Judging by how people react to it, that’s the only possible thing. Very well, then, enough thinking. I’ll let my eyes see it for myself.”
When Rodan blended himself into the crowd, he had a hard time trying to look into the cage since the crowd was eager as well to look at the creature.
“GRR—DAMMIT, you piece of rotten apples, let me through!” he yowled while trying to plow through and push people aside. His voice was rather silenced by the cacophony of rushing voices of those people around him.
Finally, he got a glance of the creature in the huge cage. In there, it was dark. Lights could only shine through small opening of the unveiled blanket. Rodan had a hard time to look clearly, but after taking some time, he finally got some free space to properly look at it.
Rodan saw strands of white hair and blood on the cage floor. In the darkness, he saw a pair of shining red eyes gazing sharply as if it was staring into those souls who tortured it. Rodan stepped back a little, but then he realized the creature wasn’t focusing to him, but to someone else. He put his face near the iron bars, but the guards prevented him from doing that.
“Please steer clear, good sir. You might get hurt,” said the guards who blocked with a long pike, presumably used to force the creature into obedience.
“Oh, right...” said Rodan complying.
But after a moment, Rodan heard a grumbling noise from inside the cage. He then saw the evil-looking gaze hazily squinted as if holding an immense pain. There, Rodan realized the creature was unfed by the circus owner.
“I see. You weren’t given any food, yet, were you?” said Rodan into the cage. From his waistbag, he picked one of his favorite fruit. He then picked a small rock that was dropped by another visitor and then he threw it into the cage next to him with his thumbs, which caused the animal in it to roar relentlessly.
The guards that were defending the large cage quickly went to that cage to calm the animal down. In that short moment, Rodan rolled an apple between the iron bars, intending to feed the creature. The creature stopped grumbling as its eyes looked at the fruit near it. It looked back at Rodan in a confused stare.
In a sincere look, Rodan said, “You’re hungry, don’t you? Enjoy that small meal.”
The creature’s eyes slowly turned tame. It looked again at the fruit and shortly, that food was munched to bits.
After that, Rodan left the crowd and headed back to where Nono was waiting. “Shite, Nono might’ve entered! I got too carried away. I must head back now!”
While trotting back to the snaking queue, Rodan remembered something. “Oh, yeah... I didn’t look at the stone tablet near that huge cage. What was that creature? Meh, whatever, I must go back now.”
Rodan nearly got lost due to how wide the room was and the positioning of those cages made it like a maze. But after some effort, he eventually made it back in line. Nono was just three steps away from the locket entry.
“RORO! Where the hell did you went to? I thought I would just go in there without you! What the heck did you doing back there, sightseeing?!” Nono nagged.
“Ah-hahahahaha, some things got in my shoes and I had to pluck them out. And yeah, it was quite fun going around this place,” Rodan conveyed his satisfaction. Though unseen, he actually smiled behind that mask of his.
“Sheesh, next time, you’re going to wait in line while I’m going out for a walk,” Nono grumbled.
“Fine, fine, what a snappy teenager you are. Though if I do that, I might die out of boredom, he-he.”
“Nobody’s gonna die because of boredom, Roro. Whew... so, what kind of thing did you find there?”
“...Nothing much, I don’t think you’ll like some sightseeing, anyway, hee-hee,” Rodan chuckled.
“Ha! You’re underestimating me, Roro. Didn’t you know I’m reaaally—
“—Ah, yes, yes, I get it, Nono. Look! Now it’s our turn to give the tickets.”
“Oh, you’re right.”
When Nono showed his ticket, the employee behind the locket said this:
“Good sir, VIP tickets are through that door. In there, there’s a locket for VIP visitors. My apologies, sir, I only handle regular visitors.”
An utter silence.
“R-Regular... visitors...?” Nono asked stutteringly.
“Yes, sir, this is the regular entry. You can see the sign above, sir.”
Another silence, but this time felt like a drill piercing through Nono’s head. Since he saw the board above written out ‘REGULAR ENTRY’ pretty large yet Nono didn’t notice it.
“Oi, N-Nono... c-calm down...” Rodan stated, trying to lower down Nono’s blood pressure from boiling point.
“Ha... hahaha... How foolish of me. I didn’t read the sign up there... he...hehehe... what am I waiting for all this time? We can just go in there instantly. Look, the VIP entry has zero queue...”
“C-Calm down, Nono, um... here, have some apples! It’s okay!”
Eventually, Rodan took both tickets and led his friend that was like a dying man. Rodan showed the tickets through the right entry and he was welcomed in like an important person. He was led to his seat on the highest and the safest point of the circus tent to watch the show.
Shame, Nono was shaken that he could not feel how comfortable it was to be treated like an upper class. He sat down beside Rodan like a man who lost all hope in life.
It turned out that he hated waiting more than Rodan did.
And with that, the main show was about to start shortly, as visitors filled in the seats in the lower level.