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Return of the Emblem Chapter Twelve: Divergent Paths

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Dining Hall

"Probably the training room," Gabbie suggested offhandedly. She would find out that she was spot on in just a moment or two. "I'll have a look around and fill'er in when I foind her, I guess," she shrugged.

Meanwhile, Anna turned around to face a potential healer right as she was about to leave the dining hall. At least she didn't have to go looking for one now, though. "I already dug it out," she said, frowning in discomfort at the recent memory. "Never again. I just need this fully healed, though it's definitely going to leave a scar at this point."

[spoiler=The Ship]<"WHERE ARE MY STAFFERS?!!!"> Petia yelled at the top of his lungs as light from the explosions out on the deck flashed through the cabin windows. Turning back toward Antares, fire in his eyes, he snarled, <"Your bastard soldiers hit them from afar, didn't they?!">

<"They weren't just your plan for getting me from ship to ship, they were also your plan for getting out of here, weren't they?"> the emperor hazarded a response when he sensed the fear in Petia's words and body language. Another explosion outside seemed to punctuate that response and Petia began to tremble.

Petia quickly released his grip on the avian and made for the door. <"I will have your secrets, Avian King, I promise you that."> Just as Antares was about to utter a witty response, a beam of light flew into the cabin, striking the seal secured to his restraints and causing it to explode like a small fire cracker. The blast singed Antares, but he'd been expecting them to make a precise shot like that, and his minor burns could always be healed later. <"N-no! NO!!!">

Antares stood from the chair as his restraints caught fire and fell from his body. <"You're not going to make it back to your homeland, Petia ... so I'll make you this offer,"> he said, reaching out with his hand. <"I'm on my way out, now. Come with me and I'll tell you what you wish to know before your end comes.">

<"Heh ..."> Petia couldn't believe the kind of ridiculous offer he was getting. <"You're going to tell me what I wish to know, and then kill me? Is this some kind of sick joke?!"> His amusement quickly faded when Antares' pitying expression didn't change, and his hand stayed right where it was, beckoning him to come and meet a more gentle end than the rest of his men. It was an insult to the man's pride if ever there was one. <"You feather brained bastard, who do you think you are, giving me offers like that?!">

<"Consider it a 'last meal' of sorts,"> Antares shrugged, and left his hand out for Petia to take. Another explosion knocked them both off balance as the ship began to list to starboard. Too much water coming in from that side due to the angles of the aureolas ripping through the hull. <"The physical mind dies and decays, Petia, but the spirit never forgets. You will carry the knowledge I give you into eternity. If you're going to die, at least obtain what you came here for,"> Antares insisted, righting himself and offering his hand to Petia again.

Now the rebel captain was getting scared. <"Y-you can't just let us go ...?">

<"I doubt you can swim far enough to reach the next ship ... I doubt most of your men even know how to swim, but that's beside the point. If you won't come with me, then you'll leave this place empty-handed. Maybe you'll survive this battle, but if you plan on reaching the next ship, you'd better get going.">

<"D-dammit ..."> Petia clinched his fists tightly as he struggled to make a decision. It became all too apparent that the ship would probably break into pieces before it actually sank, if only because those aureola spells kept on coming, and he could hear men screaming and equipment sliding off into the water as the ship kept on listing.

[spoiler=The Sky]There was little for the avian warriors to do now that the rebels were through fighting back. With their ship falling apart and about to capsize on them, they were more concerned with saving themselves, but there wasn't another ship in sight, and they were half a mile off the coast. Swimming in either direction could have been a death sentence for them. <"I hate this part,"> one of the avians said, recalling other times she'd watched as ships went down, taking half their crews with them while the others drifted on debris for days and eventually drowned. Fortunately she never had to stick around for the latter part, but knowing the fates of these daring idiots was still disheartening. She glanced at the avian who had been loosing aureola after aureola to cripple the ship and as soon as she did, he stopped. That was definitely enough, and they wanted to make sure the emperor wasn't taken down with the ship.

The avian who assaulted the deck reappeared in the air in a flash of light, knowing there was nothing more to be done. <"The ship's going down; are you going to pull him out of there or aren't you?"> he asked the larger warrior from earlier.

<"In a moment. He is ... speaking as one leader to another.">

<"Understood,"> the avian immediately nodded. Now to wait. Most wouldn't have liked to wait as the ship fell apart and sunk right in front of them, but they had faith that it would all work out in the end. It always did, it seemed.

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Casting a sideways glance to the floor, Mushirah groaned. It all still sounded so superficial to her, simply a means to the others end with the thin veil of not having a visible leash. "I'm sorry, I just don't feel comfortable accepting anything regarding an exchange here. I feel like I've overstayed my welcome here as well, so... I think I'll just take my leave now. Sorry for wasting your time, everyone." She made a quick bowing motion to Nyx before turning and making her way out of that room and cautiously wondering what was going on in the outer chambers.

Aneda gulped, wondering why things had to get so... violent so quickly. "Look, I know she's being incredibly insensitive, and really I should have seen that coming but can you not do something so drastic? If she didn't get the message then, I'm five hundred percent sure she gets the message now..." She couldn't help but feel tense now, but ultimately she didn't feel at too much risk. Honestly, she didn't have much to lose here if things went south.

Edited by ReformBlade

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Well, he'd managed to get Glen out of the stable without much problem. Cyrus could see the amusement that had been plastered on the Wyvern's face as he was taking him to the adjacent one he'd been told about. "Freaking smartass..." He grumbled as he sat down next to the lizard as they sat down next to each other, he'd hang out with his partner for a little while...

______

"Greta's probably just worried about profit margin, give her a little bit of time and she'll come around Jam, don't worry too much." Alphonse replied to the dancer. "For now, we should probably just rest up for the trip ahead of us... maybe a bit of training yeah?"

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When he made it to the stables, there wasn't actually many people there. It was mostly equines. There wasn't a wyvern to be seen, either. With a "hm" and a nod, Norbert went to check out the damage Rizen caused, satisfied that at least the wyvern issue seemed to be taken care of. The latch on the stall's door had been torn off of the supporting beam, and seemed a little bent. Yeah, that made sense. It still caused his contemplative frown to deepen, though. The last time Rizen tried to break out of her stall was at Fort Dailey, and he, himself, had finished tearing off the latch for her.

The memories of the place, and the circumstances surrounding it, weren't exactly Norbert's fondest. He could only assume that Rizen was of a similar mind regarding it. Maybe I should've spent more time with her out here. This must've reminded her of that place... A wyvern being around must've been the last straw -- it's no wonder she broke out. She might've held it together for a while, but with all that, of course she'd snap eventually. He couldn't help but feel sorry about it. He'd gotten used to spending more of his time with fellow humans and less with Rizen. She seemed to be handling it a lot better than she used to, but when push came to shove, she was by far his longest-standing ally, if not most faithful. She deserved more of his time than he'd been giving her recently, not just treating her as a mode of transportation or a weapon in battle.

All that aside, there was someone in the stables. He didn't recognize her, so maybe she was one of Weyland's. Either way, if she'd seen about where Rizen went besides "outside," that would be helpful. So, Norbert walked up to the woman and asked, "Hey, did you see a pegasus run out of here?"

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"HOLY-" shouted Tia as she ducked down, trying to dodge the incoming blade and watching as several of the red hairs on her head fell to the ground. Had her vocabulary of curse-words been expanded upon Nyx would have probably just gotten a torrent loud enough to make even a divinity quiver.

As Aneda spoke, Tia looked up at the monstrosity. All she could see was an abomination of magic grafted upon metal, not a mixture of magic and technology. Nyx seemed utterly egotistical to the point of being willing to punish someone for speaking while out of earshot. How was Tia to respond to that? A woman who could probably graft a listening aid onto a mosquito just waiting for Tia to step out of line so she could bring down dictatorial judgement upon her? Lie like a filthy rug? The only message she got was that Nyx was a horrible person.

"So, is that it then? I have no choice but to give up my magic or die?" she asked as she stood up, brushing off her clothes.

---

Robin sighed. Well, that was over, for now. Turning around to look at Pete again she shook her head. "Sorry. That must have been pretty awkward. Having me come over just to have a healer come over to question me about a head injury."

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A Man Called Gar

"Worry indeed," Gar depressingly sighed as everything sort of collapsed into making things obnoxiously complicated. Well.... his plan might still be feasible if they were on alert... but hell, this just made it all the more rewarding if he pulled it off. But of course all the nasty news meant he needed to rethink things over with Raquel. "Much as I'd love to stay and chat, seems like I need to get going." Gar scarfed down his unfinished food and forced it down with a gulp of water. Grossly unrefined in front of a lady but there was little time to waste. "Sorry 'bout this."

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"No point minding your words, since I heard about it earlier," Blake bluntly responded to Gabbie. "I think it some ways it might be better if that happened, but we can't let this chance slip away so easily, all the same. Anyways, I haven't been to the training room, so could you please give me directions? I need to ask Raquel to make a decision about a related matter."

***

Pete shrugged.

"I've seen worse," he said, evenly. "Though, it might be a good idea to listen to what she said, and talk to him. It's better the clear the air as soon as possible, especially if you end up fighting alongside him in the future."

***

"I apologize if I only have a relatively short window to come meet with you, Seth. That happens sometimes, when dealing with the fallout of an idiotic man and his pride," Evelyn said, before she draped her cloak over her shoulder. The royal guard pushed a button on her staff, and it quickly compressed, to about the size of a small club. "As you can see, it is easily concealable and the extension and compression are working properly. I do get more force from the Vindicator's blows than I do from my other staff, though I prefer its' familiarity a bit more. Despite that, even though that is personal preference, it's performing better than I expected."

She took a moment to push the button to extend the staff again, before addressing Steinn. "Aside from asking Seth what was he thinking? I wanted to speak with the healer- Ethan, I believe his name was. We've been looking for Professor Wyght, who went missing last night during the attack, and I want to see if he has had any luck since we split up. Since I've arrived, however, a couple of things came to mind. First thing was why did you invite Raquel Valcyn and her associates to the ball, Seth? And where is her father, for that matter? Last I heard, the two of them became merchants."

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"Maybe. I will find him once I know he is not chasing his flying pony. No matter what my relationship is with him, I do not think he will be happy about me dragging him away from making sure his trusted mount is okay for a girl who just HAS to confess her love to him right away."

Robin shook her head in slight annoyance. "Besides, even if I did, I still desire to try and meet people more. If that involves talking about bows and hunting, fine. If it does not... I do not know, but I suppose getting used to such a thing is part of the process."

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Dining Hall

"I'm on my way there anyway so just tag along," Gabbie replied, motioning for him to follow as she made for the entryway.

Suzume frowned when Gar made it clear that business beckoned, though not solely because he was leaving her alone to her meal in a room full of strangers and former adversaries. She also knew he was going off to initiate a plot to kill a lot of unsuspecting people. There was something just really off putting about this kind of work, but she refused to hold it against him personally, if only due to what he himself had gone through to become the person he was now. He wasn't a heartless monster, either, at least not on the surface, so while it felt wrong not to try and stop him, she couldn't bring herself to do it. It was either this or a stand up fight that would get people on both sides killed, and she'd seen what those kinds of battles were like. It was brutal ... far more brutal than a sudden series of blasts, really. She was struggling with a lot of feelings right now, but no matter what, she wouldn't let herself repay his kindness with ... anything but kindness. "It's okay," she nodded, not managing to hide her discomfort, "just take care of yourself and ..." if only to soothe her raging conscience ... "try not to let anyone suffer for too long."

Study

"That reminds me of Gabriella's old weapon," Steinn noted as the staff retracted and expanded right in front of him. He'd never seen Gabbie's original lance, Gemini, in person, but he'd definitely seen it in her thoughts ... at least before they became an incomprehensible mess to him.

"A testament to consistency, I suppose," Weyland said, remarking on Evelyn's and Steinn's words at the same time. "It's a part of the same series but Gabbie's is far too dangerous for general use. The staff's a much better choice for mass production but I'd like to work out any outstanding problems first. That said," he leveled his gaze on Evelyn, "it's good news that it's exceeding your expectations but let me know if anything else is a miss. I want to nip any potential problems in the bud. As for Ethan, I haven't seen him since last night; the whole household's mourning right now and a lot of people shut themselves up in their rooms after breakfast. I'll be sure to ask him about Miss Wyght when I see him, though." So the Unlimited Professor was missing in action, too? That could have meant any number of things, but given the almost one sided first half of the battle that took place in the city, even a highly skilled mage like her could have been killed.

The Raquel and Jethro situation came up as well, to both men's surprise, though Steinn wasn't visibly affected. Weyland frowned, trying to decide how much he would divulge now that there were much bigger problems that such revelations could only distract people from. "I got Raquel and her 'associates', as you put them, in as guests so that Raquel could attend her meeting with Desmond Langley without feeling terribly vulnerable. The meeting itself was essentially an ultimatum. As for Jethro, he's the reason Raquel's been running all over the country. Do you remember that incident in Sergio from a couple of months back? Well we believe the people responsible for that attack are the same ones that made off with her father, though the situation's become a lot more complicated since then ..."

"Her father has joined that organization, which makes her goal all the more trying and arduous," Steinn spoke up, looking serious but also indifferent to the issue. "It's interesting that we don't have a name ..."

"I'm starting to believe that's intentional ... since the lack of a flag, insignia, or even a bloody name is making it impossible to distinguish them from all the other shady groups out there." Out only clue is Sardis ... and I suppose these artificial humans that keep showing up. We hadn't made an absolute connection until that other one showed up, though. I just hope we're right track and I'm not sending Raquel on a wild drake hunt in the capital.

Stables

"Uh yeah, everyone did," Vivian replied, though in hindsight, she realized her wording wasn't helping matters. "I don't know which way the pegasus went after it left the stables, though. Did you want some help looking it?" And then suddenly she realized she'd made that offer on reflex, having not really wanted to go back out into the rain after narrowly escaping a good soaking on the way here.

The Archives

Shadrak couldn't take it anymore; if something happened to Tia, the others would blame him simply because they could. The thought made him so furious his aura began to flare, becoming visible, an oily voilet shadow surrounding his entire body. "Nyx, please don't kill her," he begged, trying to keep his anger in check. The fact that Mushirah was making for the door wasn't helping matters. He couldn't go after her and try to remedy the situation at the same time. He really needed to talk with her about what had happened here, too ....

Ignoring Shadrak for a moment, she looked to Eva. "So ... wyvern riding lessons? That's so mundane it's kind of amusing," she smiled.

"NYX!!!" Shadrak could barely hold back anymore. "P-pleeeease ..." But he still tried.

"Shadrak, there are only three reasons you are still alive after your last visit here," Nyx began, looking back at him with her usual scowl. "The first reason I kept you alive is because I know you'll keep coming back to me when you run out of ideas of your own, and that could prove useful," she smirked. "The second reason is because my father agrees. And the third reason ... well ... you don't need to know the third reason."

"Yeah, I figured ... just single me out while other people can just mouth off in the background," Shadrak muttered. Though given what was happening with Tia, he felt he should have clarified that he was talking about the last visit, not this one.

"Hahah! Oh no, there are only two reasons Gar is still alive, but that isn't important. The point I'm making here is that at this stage, your words are just as important as your actions. If you don't choose them wisely you are going to pay dearly for it. If you're going to involve yourself in the affairs of gods, you need to learn how to conduct yourselves. Of course this is true of almost any government, but for some reason you people just don't seem to understand that, yet. She especially doesn't, which is why this isn't going to end well for her."

"Tia's just a kid! Come on, you know children are rebellious until they're much older!"

"Much older," Nyx echoed with a sideways glance. "Don't use the excuse of her being a child when it's convenient; she's even more murderous than you are, and she's more than willing to fight alongside you people. Those who willingly enter the business of death don't have need of excuses like that and neither does she. I'm going to let her decide how this ends, now. You can stop trying to cover up your mistakes and pick her up on your way out ... what's left of her I suppose."

"Urgh ..." Shadrak clinched his fists, wondering if he should hurry to her or not, even though he doubted he could stop whatever was going on out there.

"And remember Shadrak ..." she stood from the bench, "You are in the realm of the gods, now. If you and the others don't start taking our kind seriously, you'll be crushed, you'll be killed, and soon enough ... you'll be forgotten. You need to conduct yourselves in a proper manner if you want to last long enough to free yourselves from the limitations of ordinary people. That's the path you're on now, but you can't overcome anything if you're too proud to lower yourself on occasion. Now get going," she nudged her head at the door. "I still have one exchange left to conclude, it seems."

The Outer Chamber

The rune knight was silent for a moment, and then with lightning speed closed its fist around Tia's throat. She wasn't being choked ... yet, but the knight had no intention of letting her escape. "She has not," the knight replied to Aneda. Then, its helmet turned back toward Tia. "I'm certain you don't believe you did anything 'wrong' ... certainly nothing deserving of reprisal. Excessive pride blinds you, but it does not excuse you. There is a price to be paid for your foolishness. Only you can pay it. Now, you will choose: I will take your voice and your language, and you will never convey your vile heart to others again ... I will take your power, and you will no longer be able to wield magic, or claim any understanding of it ... or ... I will take all but one of your years, and you will live as a fool in that year which remains. Choose, now, or I will take them all and cast you out into the streets a broken vessel."

[spoiler=The Sky]<No spoils of war ... not for us. Not today ... just a parting glance.>

The ship's masts finally hit the water as it slammed down on its side and broke into three distinct, light ravaged pieces. Antares turned to look back at the destruction as he reappeared in the midst of the small group of avian warriors. <"He rejected your offer?">

<"Yes. He is determined to live ... and despite his chances, he will try,"> Antares answered in a somber tone.

<"They're using parts of the ship to stay afloat while they try to swim to the other ship ... but it'll be nightfall soon ... they'll freeze to death out there,"> Noah noted.

Antares nodded. <"Yes, they will."> He turned to the avians and said, <"I want David and Sarah to remain here and guard the coast. Let no one ashore. Noah, Liam, you're to return with me to Aria; your shift was nearly over when this battle began and it's past time you head back. Everyone else, take the civilians to Flugel Village. It will be nightfall soon so you should stay in one of the outposts until morning and then take them the rest of the way. After that, come home.">

<"Understood,"> one of the avians nodded.

[spoiler=The Ocean]<"EAST!!! Swim EEEEAST!!!">

<"Where's the other ship?!">

<"HELP!!!">

Petia clung to the floating door of his cabin and stared down at nothing as his men panicked all around him ...

<"I cannot die ... not here! I will swim to my other ship, no matter how long it takes, and I will be back for you, avian king!">

<"... very well.">

And then the whole place began to come apart, Petia remembered. He actually summoned up the strength to rip the door right off its hinges and leap into the ocean with it. He could feel on his men coming, clinging to the door with him as soon as he'd reached him. <"Captain? You're alive!"> Petia had no words for him. Right now, it wasn't likely any of them would see another sunrise. <I must live ... I must live ....>

Edited by Phoenix

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Dining Hall

"I'll come along as well- I have something to discuss with Raquel," Veronika announced. Gabbie can be helpful enough...when she wants to be.

"Lucky for ya, I keep my staff on hand almost all the time. Never know when someone's gonna fall off a horse or get attacked by a wolf or somethin'," Nadya said, pulling out her staff and focusing on repairing Anna's injury. "There, almost good as new!" Nadya proclaimed, stepping back to admire her handiwork.

[spoiler=The Sky]

<"As you wish,"> Liam responded to his emperor with a bow before heading back to Aria. He wasn't sure whether to cheer at the safe return of the Emperor and the hostages or mourn for the doomed humans. They were fools to attack us and Cloud Legion must always defend Aquila- but freezing to death would be a terrible way to die. He made a swift prayer to Mercy that the humans would have quick and painless deaths.

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"Alright, thanks," Blake said, as he followed Gabbie out of the hall. This recent revelation only strengthened his belief that the Wrathites would be needed.

***

"To be fair, you could help him find his pegasus using those skills, then confess," Pete said, crossing his arms. "I mean, meeting people can be nice, and all, but I imagine today isn't the best day for it."

***
"Noted. That's all I can ask, I suppose," Evelyn said, about Ethan. "But Jethro joined that group? That doesn't sound like something he'd do, at all. Is he being coerced? As for his daughter, forgive me if I am skeptical of your intentions in inviting her, but one of her 'associates' just happened to catch the eye of the prince last night. Before all this."

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Well, that wasn't the response that Eva was looking for. At least not from Mushirah. The idea Nyx had presented seemed like a pretty great idea. It removed her from the deal, and it still gave them what they'd come for, albeit at a later date dependant on Shadrak. Of course, the deal had to be set aside, as Tia seemed to have gotten herself into even more trouble. What she'd done when she left, Eva didn't know, but it seemed to be enough to get tempers flaring on both ends (though if Nyx had any temper towards the girl, she wasn't showing it a bit). She wanted to say something; she didn't think Tia deserved anything, though she wasn't about to risk her own life for that of an outspoken brat's.

At least Nyx's smile disarmed her mood a bit. "Y-Yeah... Take offs and landings; can't seem to get a handle on them. Might be the wyvern's fault, but if any of it is mine, I'd like to correct that..." That was the awkward response she gave back to the Vasili. She then looked at Shadrak and thought for a moment before saying anything. "Listen, I can still trade my memories for that information on the arm, for you. Mushirah says she doesn't want to be a part of it and this way, well, she doesn't... Just you, me, and Nyx. You can take the information and make something of it at some point. Maybe she'd be more interested then?" It was a crapshoot, with the mood he was in, but it was better than nothing.

"What Nyx said is right. My request is a bit more mundane than I assume most are willing to give their memories for. But, I...don't have any grand experiences behind me. Nothing that I've really accomplished. At least if these bland memories can be used to practically save someone's life, and help the lives of plenty others; as I'm sure this magic will, then I'd more than glad to help. If it even is helping, at this point." She looked back at Nyx with a bit of a half smile. "I don't suppose that riding lessons are so mundane you could throw them in on top, could you?" after a small laugh, she clarified, "j-just joking around."

Edited by I have opinions

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"Nah," Norbert sighed, resting his hands on his hips, "I'd like the help, but it's not actually necessary." Or at least, I hope it won't be... He couldn't help but remember the incident on the ship a while back when he had to start using a chain to tether Rizen so she'd stay in the hold. She'd not only broken out back then, but broke out Raquel's horses, too. Raquel's stallion and Rizen had both been difficult then. Now, though, the circumstances were different, so maybe he could just lead her back this time on his own. ...Actually, that might be better. "I think she'll listen to me, but right now having someone else along might raise her guard. I don't know for sure, though; I'd have to know more to figure that out."

He sighed again as he stared down the rain outside for a moment. Guess I'm going to have to walk around in that. "Thanks anyway." With that, Norbert began walking away. This was looking like it was going to be a long search, especially with visibility and sound cut by the downpour. There was no telling just how far the pegasus had run or flown either, and on foot, this was going to be slow-going. Either way, however, this was his responsibility and besides that, it would give him some much-needed time away from this infernal estate and the company within.

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A Man Called Gar

Trying not to let anyone suffer may be a wee bit out of his effective range... but the first request he could plenty agree too. "I've come back from plenty worse, I'll be fine, count on that," he slammed his fist into his chest for emphasis. One good turn deserves another. "If anyone gives you any gruff while I'm away, just let me know once I'm back. I know you can take care of yourself, but hey, gotta let'em know they're messing with an us then." He gave a flash of a smile before moving with a flash away. He waved before catching up to the group heading to Raquel maybe.

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Lumi

"But I'm trying to help him before someone gets hurt. Cause if someone does get hurt and they're not in our group, someone's going to get in trouble, and it's probably going to be Rizen and it's not fair that she should get punished for doing something he never taught her not to do. Ugh." She sat up some, but her shoulders were still slumped. She didn't quite know where to go from here.

Erion

With a shrug, Erion said sympathetically, "Well, that's why we're trying this, right? So that you can figure out your limitations and build a plan from there. Might be something as simple as you warp in, grab someone, drop 'em outside with us, warp back in, grab the next person, and then we get out of there. We can still work with this, we just need to be smart, that's all."

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Ultimatum issued, Aneda had many misgivings with it but there didn't seem to be any opening for her to say anything. That wouldn't stop her though, "Can we not do this, please? This can't be a logical step in chastising or punishing someone, even if this is her house or whatever."

The yelling and seeing a choked Tia gave Mushirah a good scare, having to walk by the scene on her way out. It felt automatic for her to simply ignore Tia and keep on walking, though she did have to cover the side of her face to block it all out, drawing an extremely disapproving glare from Aneda who thought maybe Mushirah might help out but ended up just going past. The Pegasus rider stammered, trying to call out to her in her anger but it always came back to her just being more and more frustrated with this knight thing right in front of her.

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Dining Hall

"Good policy. I thought the salves would work so I wouldn't have to carry anything else with me but ... nope ..." Anna replied, leaving her healed skin and the hole in her shirt alone for now. "Thanks. I think I'm going to go get cleaned up now. As much as I'd like to get back to work, I'm still soaked to the bone and covered in dirt ..."

"Yeah, mounts definitely deserve owners smart enough not to get them hurt," Reign mumbled from beneath his folded arms. "Hope mine's okay ..."

'Us' ... was he talking about the group or just the two of them. Oh the implications! Suzume still managed to wave back, but that was likely just her body moving on its own. Once he was gone, her hand came back down and she forced herself to start eating again, thoughts let loose like a stables full of pent up equines.

Study

"I somewhat hope he's being coerced ... otherwise Raquel's running a fool's errand trying to bring him back," Weyland said with a frown. As the prince came up, he gave Evelyn a confused look. "I'm not sure what you expect me to say about that. The group likely won't be here more than another week or so. I don't see one night on the dance floor causing any issues down the road."

"On the contrary, many a prince have met their wives at a social gathering," Steinn teased. They were holding up plotting so he was going to make light of their issues to amuse himself until things got back on track.

"We aren't ... quite so quick to settle down, Steinn," Weyland noted with some hesitation.

"Neither are 'we', most of the time," Steinn smirked.

Hallway

"Mmm ... yeah she's definitely in the training room," Gabbie said as she made her way toward the right side of the building. "Okay, though ... seriously, Blake, what's goin' on, here? How the hell did the wrathoites do whatever they did to you? It feels loike there's a ... spirit leech on you or something." Gabbie wasn't too fond of the picture she just painted for him, since it wasn't even remotely accurate, but there was no real way to describe things of the spirit, not in any language that existed right now, at least. It was something she could barely comprehend herself, really. What she didn't want to elaborate on was the nature of that 'spirit leech'. Most spirits she sensed were ... essentially the same. Even a vasilus had a spirit that was aesthetically same as anyone else's. If she had to give them all a color it'd be some shade of blue or green. Turquoise maybe. if she had to give this thing a color, it would undoubtedly be red.

Training Room

"Now if only they would just sit still and let us. I'm still worried about minor things," Raquel explained, "like if someone shuts a door as I'm coming through. I move way too fast during a warp to come out of a collision 'okay'." Thoughts of Veronika slamming into her during the skirmish with Schwartz and the Neviskotian shooters came to mind. She'd been slowing down but not enough to avoid a painful reunion. "You know what ... I think I'm just going to have to practice and find a way to break through or slip between doors, otherwise this whole plan could fall apart just because someone decides to shut a door," she bitterly decided. "Let's try to find some props, something I could pretend is a door ... or maybe two boards. Maybe there's a way I can slip between cracks. It doesn't seem too complicated since I already get a lot smaller when I do this."

Stables

At first Vivian was going to point out how needlessly stubborn this guy was being, but when he went into his reasoning, she began to agree with him. Besides, she didn't really want to go out there anyway, she was just being reflexively polite. "Well, then good luck finding her. Though I should warn you, the damage she caused to the stall isn't going to make the stablehands happy ... or Mister Weyland for that matter. Are you going to be able to cover that? Or wait ... do you work here at the estate?" She cut her questions off there so he might have a chance to actually answer one or both of them.

The Archives

"Shadrak didn't tell you that I don't keep all of these memories for the archives, did he? I pick and choose based on what I'm giving in return. If you want the information on the arm and those 'riding lessons', your experiences will more than pay for both," Nyx explained.

"Urgh ..." Shadrak swallowed his pride one more time. The last visit to the archives was so long ago that he only remembered the brutal highlights with any sort of clarity, and now knowing they could both get what they wanted out of this using Eva's experiences, he had to go for it. "Alright, I'll take them," he glanced at Eva for a split second, "if she's really willing to do this then I'll take them. Like you said, I already considered the other options and most aren't going to get us immediate results. The ones that might are too dangerous. At least if I know what we need I can find a way from there."

"Excellent ... perhaps we can actually get started this time. Though, you'll have to hope that she'll accept 'your' arm ... even though it came from me," she said, almost smirking again but not quite.

"... yeah." True enough, this exchange wouldn't amount to much if Mushirah's misgivings about Nyx were such that she wouldn't accept an arm that Shadrak designed based on Nyx's information. That thought really irritated him, but it was a problem for later.

Outer Chamber

"Warning and correction was given ... and ignored. The consequence won't be," the knight said to Aneda, clearly having no intention of altering course, now.

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Lumi

"Yeah, I just... ugh, I hate to see such a beautiful animal put in such danger because he's too stubborn to train her..." She shook her head. "But, that's enough. Your mount? What type of animal are they? What's their name? And... where are they that you don't know if they're ok?"

Erion

"Hmm, are you sure that you can't just go through walls with this power? Another good thing to test might be to see how far you can go with it and how long you can stay in that form before needing to switch back. As for props... why not just try an actual door?" He shrugged. "I mean, we can try with a fake one, but seems to me the best practice is just using what you'll be facing. Best way to get over a fear is to face it."

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Norbert's indifferent countenance shifted to a somewhat annoyed frown as he stopped to listen to this pegasus rider. He should be looking for Rizen, not chatting idly. Rizen was definitely wet and cold and she was probably scared. This could take a while, too...

"If you're going to delay me, then I'll have to take you up on your offer, at least for flying around and looking for signs of my pegasus -- I wouldn't want you actually trying to approach her, though. Not when she's this scared," he somewhat irritably informed, not bothering with turning around or facing her until his next sentence, which was a little sharper than the others. "And I couldn't care less what the stable hands think; I'm only worried about Rizen!"

His tone died back down, but now held a small note of bitterness as he answered, "And whatever the cost is, I'm sure Anna will just tack that onto what I already owe. I work for Weyland, yeah, but I haven't actually been assigned anything yet and I only work for him because I'm indentured. Now, is there anything else you want to ask or are you going to let me find my pegasus?"

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"Even if my skills could help, I would have to find him, get the information from him, and then simply be a..." Robin sighed. "I am making myself sound useless again, am I?"

---

A glare that could have shattered the Runeknight if it had eyes on sheer rage alone shot from Tia's eyes. Her magic, her voice, or her life? Which could she give up? Her time, her talent, or the one thing that made Nyx so mad in the first place?

Why was that even a question?

Doing her best to empty her head by letting a silly little song filter through her head in the event Nyx tried to read her mind, she finally gave her answer.

"Then go ahead. Take my magic."

Edited by Snowy_One

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Well, with that pretty well taken care of, Faatina scanned the room looking to see what else she could do. Eventually her eyes came across Reign in a rather... interesting state. He seemed to be convering his face with his arms and periodically... and by that she meant rather frequently, staring with longing at the empty shot glass in his hand, seemingly hoping it would cease being empty by sheer force of will. He did seem to be in the midst of several people but it wasn't like they were really strangers, after all.

"Hey Reign... you seem a little out of it... you okay?"

***

From one proceeding to another, Annelise mostly watched in passing... she was taking in the thoughts of those who entered, but Lord Devlinos would likely cover that already, with much more information at his disposal than she herself had... no matter, he would inform her later on if it was her place to know. For the time being her attention was more focused on the peculiar little tubes of ground and spiced meat. She had snatched a piece of one off of a serving tray earlier, and had then proceeded to have another tray brought so that she might have more of the human delicacy... each one had a different assortment of spices, and there were several different types of meats used amongst the pile that now lay on the platter in Annelise' lap. A pile that was steadily decreasing in size and one by one they were picked up and nibbled on until they dissapeared.

***

With the Prince, huh? Arietta had heard talks of something like that happening but she still didn't know exactly who it was that had been the supposed culprit... not that a mutually consensual dance with the Prince was anything criminal... despite what the Royal Guards might like to enact.

***

"It has been a little while since I've seen FIzza... hell the last time I caught a glimpse of her was the last time we were at the damn Cathedral... you don't think she's still hanging around, do you?" Angelica chimed in somewhat lazily... they didn't seem to be getting much of anywhere.

Edited by Ether

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"Yep," Pete said bluntly. He didn't see the point in suggesting otherwise.

***

"Well, why don't you tell me how it looks, Seth, when you have a guest who just so happens to run into, and be fancied by the Prince, right before this Fallen business began? Even though it might not have been your idea, given the circumstances, that is likely to cause problems," Evelyn said, bluntly. "... Anyways, with regards to Jethro, let me know if there's anything I can do. Moving on, I heard Joanna was arrested. Considering your previous guests were the ones who mentioned it, I was hoping you'd be able to shed light on why she was arrested?"

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"Greta's probably just worried about profit margin, give her a little bit of time and she'll come around Jam, don't worry too much." Alphonse replied to the dancer. "For now, we should probably just rest up for the trip ahead of us... maybe a bit of training yeah?"

"Training, eh? I would like to practice before getting that sword you're hiding somewhere."

Jam picked herself off the ground, lending Alphonse a hand.

"You think they have a proper training area somewhere here?"

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Resting just outside the entrance and letting out a massive sigh which she seemed to have been holding in for the duration, she could finally somewhat de-stress herself and catch her breath. Leaning against the wall almost made her want to fall asleep and the yawning wasn't helping her out. I should've just stayed in bed... I think I made things worse by going with everyone here. I don't even know what's going on with Tia there but gods it didn't look good and now that's on me, isn't it? No... she knew better. She told herself, not entirely believing it but it was better than wallowing. She also felt that people would somehow try to convince her differently if she were to mention it and just thinking about that disagreement tired her out mentally, slumping further against the wall.

With the armored knight's current hold on Tia, Aneda still wanted to try and punch the guy but it would ultimately end terribly for both of them if she did and that made her furious. The mage said she would give up her magic, which earned her a worried glance. They're really doing this... Why?! More helpless frustration piled on top of the rider as she continued to worry. Aneda could only see things ending worse if she tried to actively stop, and things were already stupid to begin with. Life choices, this was not one of her good ones...

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"Huh? Really? That's fantastic!" Eva said with an exuberant cry. "Wait, I'm not going to forget anything, right? I was a bit confused on this before... You just take a copy, right? Something like that?" It had suddenly gotten her worried, but even if that was the case, she'd probably still do that. Wouldn't really be forgetting that much, right? "This is great, isn't it, Shaddy? I can't believe I had enough up here to actually manage this," she said, idly poking her head. Truth be told, Eva felt pretty good about herself. I can't wait to see Sasha outside. I can't wait to try flying! I hope it goes better... Well, if she gives me what she knows about flying wyverns, certainly it would go better, wouldn't it? Surely. Oh, I can't wait! Eva had to restrain her happiness, simply letting out a contented giggle.

Edited by I have opinions

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