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Mercenary on the Winds

Faith in the Spirits Arc 1: To Align the Stars

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The compliments from the four were enough to get the healer flustered. 'Do...do I really look that good? Oooh...' She held her elbow for a moment as she tried to compose herself. 'This outfit might be a bit too strong. Maybe I should turn it dow-' But then Tio asked if she was fine with that choice, in such a happy tone too! The only thing she could say in that moment is: "Ah, yes! This is perfect!" 'Ah hell...' But despite her negative thoughts she couldn't hold back a bigger smile. "I'll treasure it, Tio. Thank you so much for picking it for me..." She nodded her head at her.

"But you said you had a few things to do earlier, right? I got what I wanted, I won't hold you up any longer." She was filled with a lot of mixed emotions, to the point where she couldn't quite notice Gean being smitten. But she did turn to Nyx for a quick moment and gave her a nod. 'Oh it's Nyx. I wouldn't have known if she hadn't spoken up...she really cleans up well herself.' 

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Gean eyes followed Renais as she walked towards the counter, not even noticing that she was ignored. Nor did she register Nyx's comment. Eventually Gean registered how much she was staring and shook her head free of those thoughts. Her dreads whipped like tails behind her.

"Right, weapon shop and arena after this. Definitely want another axe and some more gold." There was also the fortune teller on her list of places to stop before they left, but that would be her last stop.

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There it was. Cinaed had finally managed to keep his head straight long enough to find the clothing shop, after wandering for a little bit after the fortune telling. It still didn't make sense, but he was too tired to think very long on it at this point. He had a goal he had to accomplish and then he could relax. That would be enough. And so he made his way into the store, not expecting the sight that brought him up short. There was Gene in a poncho and some... impressive pants, followed by Nyx in a suit and Renais in a beautiful dress. Miria and Tio were there as well, both holding what looked like dresses, but Cinaed found his attention drifting back to Gene and Renais whenever he tried to pull it off them.

Clearing his throat, he realized he was staring and so casually waved at the group, thankful that his skin covered his blush. "Good afternoon ladies. I see you all have been shopping. You all look. Great. Really." He smiled, glancing back at Gene and Renais, before turning to look at the rest of the shop. "There's quite a nice selection here, huh? I'm only here for some thread, but it's good that you all found new outfits. You all have anything else on your plates before we head out?" There. Nice and casual, as if he hadn't just been knocked on his ass by the sight of two of his friends. Because that's what they were. His friends. Nothing more.

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Right as Gean made her way towards the door, guess who would show up. "Why hello tall dark and handsome. I hope you got that rest like we told you to." Cin still looked groggy, so it probably wasn't a good time for the two to talk. Plus there were other places to visit. It was probably for the best to find him later. "I'm gonna stand outside while you guys finish up." Gean strolled past Cin as she made her way to the door, but not before placing a hand on his shoulder and whispering to him. "Remember to come find me later. I have something for you." Having given her message Gean exited the shop info the nice afternoon sun.

Edited by Bluemask 96

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"Talk, maybe. Just not want be alone for while." The lizard followed along after Tasha, desire to not be alone far heavier than her concern about the fear her presence would cause the teller. Cinaed beat them to the punch, however. She didn't quite understand why he was so intent to keep his fortune to himself, but she also didn't know him that well either. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't curious, but even if she rose up on her tail she doubted she'd be able to see. Besides, Tasha had posed her a question. A rather morbid one at that. "If luck like mine, you not see thing good." 

As Cinaed's telling concluded and he left, Alriana wondered if she should have included him in her comment about luck. Maybe this teller was a doom teller rather than a fortune teller. "Do you want me not look like Cinaed?"

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It seemed today was quite the day for seeing new sides of Alvira; first her shopping cheer, and now her warm treatment of the child, Tonio, in the magic shop. It was fortunate that she was slowly getting slightly more comfortable wearing the dress; had she been wrapped up in self-conscious worry, she might have missed it. She could do with being like this more often... She raised a hand in greeting to Tonio, still somewhat meeker than usual from her change in attire.

Glancing around the shop, there seemed to be a fair amount of interesting things... not that she could really know for sure, being not a whit magically inclined. That was fine, though; she was already letting Alvira drag her around the town, so letting her browse as she liked wasn't much different anyways. "I'll just be looking around... I'm not as much for magic as she is."

...Wait, did I leave my armor at the last shop...? Ugh, she dragged me out of there so quick I couldn't even get it first...! 

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The Teller sighed, partially from relief, and partially from confusion. The now wandered off dragon was beyond sure that he had seen a vision of the past. He'd also mentioned a war, of which, there were only two in recent memory. There was the Hecatian Civil War, over fifty years ago--highly unlikely that the Dragon was referring to that one--and the more recent, Islexian Collapse. 

The dragon had gone, but his words, and vision lingered. It was possible that the vision was entirely false; that was the downside to divination, and how it differed from true precognition. True precognition dealt almost definitely with reality; while still subject to events altering things, one could be sure of their accuracy, and there would not be any logical impossibilities. Future sight in that manner was incredibly rare, to the point that people considered it a lost art. Divination was far more accessible; it did all that true precognition could, but Divination also latched onto thoughts, and wishes, and sometimes those affected the visions in impossible ways. 

She'd noticed it, but the Dragon clearly had some longing, and that very easily could have warped the vision into a wish, rather than a possible reality. But then... if it was a wish, then why would the ending have happened? 

She shook her head, and turned to Tasha, "Are you prepared to see what awaits you?" 


Alastor took the gold from group, nodding slowly. He looked at Miria once more, wondering if he'd get the same feeling of familiarity. It was strange; he felt like he'd seen her once, but couldn't remember where. Back in Kansei, perhaps? That seemed unlikely as he thought on it a bit more. It had been eight years since they'd been in Kansei, and with as young as the girl looked, recognizing her after eight years, and with only a single meeting? He put it out of mind; it was likely just a coincidence. 

His attention turned back to Renais, and Tio--the two remaining patrons. He smiled at Renais's joy over the chosen dress. It suited her well. He opened his mouth to speak, and then the door opened again. In walked a very tall, dark skinned dragon. He paused for a moment, gazing at the ladies inside, seemingly a bit taken with them all. But he quickly rebounded, and found his voice; revealing that he knew the group. Alastor wasn't surprised at the reaction; all of the ladies were quite attractive, and all of them seemed to know how to highlight it with their clothing choices. 

"Looking for thread, are you?" Alastor pointed to the back corner of the shop, and a small shelf with different colors of thread on them. "A lot of colors back there; let me or Celes know if you don't find the color you need. We've got a few more in the back."


Tonio's eyes lit up, "You know Cinead too? Wow, wow!" Tonio looked at Alvira's scales, and then smiled brightly, "Your scales are super pretty, just like his!" Tonio also took note of Alvira's wings--Cinead didn't have any, but he wasn't quite sure of what that meant. He couldn't help a little bounce, backing up to let Alvira go and speak with his Nana. "Okay! I know a little about magic, but Ri and Nana haven't taught me too much yet! Ri and Nana are super smart, and they know a lot about magic!"

He turned and smiled wide at Lani, returning her wave. She wasn't a dragon like Cinead or Alvira, she was a cat; and Tonio had met a couple before. Though, none of them were dressed in the pretty dress that Lani was. "Nice to meet you too! Your dress is really pretty, and so is your tail!"

"Tonio, don't badger them..." Nana looked up at the approaching Alvira, moving her wheelchair out from behind the desk with a cocked eyebrow. "Aha, a tomeless caster. Not everyday you see one of those. Anything unique, huh?" Nana reached under the counter and pulled out a dusty and worn book, and a odd looking charm. "I can't vouch for the book--the guy who gave it to me swore it had some magical quality to it, but with it in disrepair, I can't really verify that. The charm though... That's got some strange magic to it, not sure what causes it to work the way it does, but apparently it can save your life."

She then pointed at two staves on the wall behind the desk, "And those staves are pretty uncommon out here. One's a restore staff, and the other's a rescue, pretty self explanatory."


Tio smiled at Renais, "Alright, if that's the one, then we should--" The door opened before she could finish, and in walked the tall dragon from the boat. "Oh." Tio hadn't really taken in just how tall the man was. She wasn't particularly tall, but she wasn't short either, and he stood a good head, and shoulders over her. But given that she'd almost definitely met everyone else in the Tigers at this point, this could only be Cinead. This worked out almost uncomfortably well. 

She turned back to Renais, "I do have other things that I need to do, but one of those just so happened to walk in. So I'm not particularly in a rush; it's not like I can't pay for this dress."

Before walking over to the counter to pay, she cleared her throat. "Your name is Cinead, right? If it is... After you've gotten the thread you need, can I trouble for a moment of your time? I'd like to ask you about something." 

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Alvira nodded along with the explanations afforded to her, glancing about the items and the staffs. She couldn't use staffs... As far as she was aware, getting a small annoyed thought toward a certain magical school. She let it pass before it could show on her face, looking towards the charm and the book.

"I'll take those two. How much are they?" While she waited for Tonio's Nana to tell her, she bent back over to the boy. "Wanna see something cool?" She punctuated her pun with an open claw and formed a chunk of ice in it, letting it idly spin around in front of him, radiating a slightly chilly aura.

"I might be a fire dragon, but I can create ice magic. Weird, huh? But I figured you'd wanna see. Knowing Cinaed, he probably showed off some of his magic." She wished she could show Tonio some fire, but at least he'd maybe seen that with Cinaed and this would give him something new.

Edited by Mel the DM

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Nyx couldn’t help but roll her eyes fondly at Gean as the big dragon rolled into the clothes store - looking for some thread, apparently? Huh. Here, she figured he’d be after some fancy new duds like the rest of them were. Although she couldn’t help but crack a smile at the way he looked at Gean and Rennie, which definitely gave Nyx something to tease her erstwhile daughter about.

”Oi, Moonie, m’gonna wait outside wit’ Gean. When ye lot’re done in here, just come find us, aye?” Nyx said to Miria, before strutting out of the store without a reply. She had to admit, now that she was walking around in it; the suit just felt right on her. Maybe she’d wear it all the time, rather than just as a fancy thing.

”’ey, Gean, y’sure ye don’ wanna help yer man find ‘imself somethin’ nice in there? Big lad looks like he could use a shirt, fer one.” Nyx couldn’t help but tease Gean when she came out of the store, though it was clear there was no bite to her bark. “Thanks fer helpin’ me wit th’ boots, by the by. Although somethin’ tells me dis suit’s gonna get a lil’ more mileage outta me.”

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Renais turned to Cin as he came through the door, and another compliment was enough to put the girl red again. She just nodded. 'So much attention...I feel like I'm back at the academy.' She had some small regrets about the dress given all the attention it put on her, but it was something from Tio. So she had to treasure it. Before she continued on that thought however, she noticed Gean leave the building with Nyx. "Ah, you want to pay for mine? In that case I'll pay for your dress too!" She turned back to the taller woman. "It's only fair, right? Let's get this finalized then!" Before she knew it Renais rushed to the counter to pay for Tio's dress.

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"Moonie?" Miria asked as Nyx walked put of the building. It was fine, she turned back over seeing Renais at the counter paying for... Her(?), Tio's(?) clothes...? It didn't matter. What did was that she noticed the clothier look at her again. This time,

"Excuse me," she started, moving over so she was also at the counter. "Sorry for interrupting but, is something wrong, sir?" She tried her best to sound as not-rude as possible.

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"Err, well, I'm doing fine now, yes." He wasn't directly answering Gean's question about rest, because he fully expected to get smacked again if he did. He was doing better though, so he wasn't lying. He would be even better after a long night's rest though. Stuck in his own head about how tired he was or wasn't, Gean's hand suddenly grabbing his shoulder, followed by the whisper was enough to cause him to jump slightly, turning to say something as she left. But the words didn't come and instead he found himself watching her as she exited the shop, noticing just how well those pants fit her.

Feeling his cheeks start to heat up again, he quickly turned back around to the rest of the shop, nodding in thanks to the shopkeeper who directed him to the thread. He was about to head that direction when Tio asked to speak to him. He froze, not having expected that, before slowly nodding. "Uhm. Yes, of course, we can talk. The thread can wait, honestly. And it seems like there's enough to keep them busy for now, so I don't mind. Talking now, that is. I can always come back for the thread." The truth was, seeing some of the other members of the group with their new clothes had started to make him wonder if he should get some new clothes too. But that wasn't something he wanted to do in front of everyone, so talking to Tio now and then coming back after the rest of them had cleared out worked perfectly for him.

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Gean stretched her arms up above her head, her turquoise scales shining in the midday sun. It was odd for her to show her scales, her jacket tended to keep her monster lineage under wraps. Now that she adorned a new top, things felt different. In a good way.

She turned her head slightly upon hearing Nyx call to her. "He doesn't need me to help him, unlike someone else I know. Besides, I can tell how groggy he is." Gean didn't rise to Nyx's jab about Cin being her man, no Nyx would have to work harder than that to get a ride out of her.

"I'm glad you like the suit, it's a good look." It seemed that clothes shopping had paid off in dividends. Good, that's what Gean was hoping for.

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Tio flinched as Renais said that she would pay for her dress, "Now, wait a minu--" Renais was already across the store by the time Tio had gotten her words out. She looked at Cinead and then back to Renais, before sighing. "Well, uh. If you let me go and fix this, and pay for the dresses, then we can speak. It's about Ingverd, and things that occurred today." With that little bit of information dropped, Tio hurried over to the counter. 

"Hold on there, Renais. I'm paying for the both of the dresses. I am the one who forced this upon you so it only makes sense." Tio waved her hand, forming a pouch almost out of nowhere. "I believe I heard... 35 gold? So would that apply to the dress I'm holding too?" It was then Tio realized that she'd forgotten one of the Tigers. Probably about Renais's height, chestnut hair, and golden eyes. Somehow she'd missed her every single time she was around the Tigers. She waved a little hello, "Sorry if we're interrupting." 


Alastor scratched his head at the girl finally noticed that the was gazing at her oddly. He sighed, there was no harm in asking, was there? "Ah, no, there isn't really. You just look familiar." He paused a moment, running his hand through his beard. "You're not from Kansei, are you? I certainly don't think I've seen you around here before. That would be the only way, but it's been almost eight years since we were back in Kansei. Right around the time that Celes formally left the knights." 

About that moment, both the pink haired woman quickly walked up, all smiles. "Ah, yes, are you prepared to pay?" He looked over Renais, "Aha, your friend has good taste. Hmm, I think that will run you about 35--" He was swiftly interrupted by the noblewoman, boldly proclaiming that she was paying for both dresses. "Oh, I see... hmm, the one your friend is wearing is 35, that one there is probably closer to 40. So 75 altogether." 


"Woooooooooooooooooow..." Tonio tilted his head back and forth as he looked at the chunk of ice. He knew a little about how magic worked; mostly that it was using magical energy to create phenomena, and that it wasn't the same as the actual elements. So he found himself surprised as he gently poked the ice, and it was tangible, and cold, "Wait! It's, wow! That's real ice!" He wasn't quite sure why Alvira had mentioned that she was a fire dragon; Ri hadn't quite gotten to that part of lessons yet. "Wow, it's... so different from when Ri or Nana use magic... I can't touch it when they're casting it. But I can when you do! That's really cool!"

Nana on the other hand was about to respond when Alvira had shown off her magic. The woman was bewildered for a moment. The girl had just said that she was a fire dragon; even with her limited understanding, she knew that fire dragons typically couldn't use the element opposing their nature. It was the same for many monsters. Avian mages tended heavily to wind and light magic, but couldn't really use dark or earth. Beasts were their opposite, good with dark and earth, but not so great with wind and light. It was a rough simplification; monsters tended to be so varied, and mixed with one another that oddities were sure to exist. But even that couldn't explain a fire dragon using ice magic and it being tangible in the way it was. 

"...My word." She shook her head with a chuckle, "Magic will never cease to surprise." She held the Charm and the manual up, "The Charm is going to be 1000. No mark downs; I can at least verify the usefulness of this. But the manual, I'm willing to bargain on that one. It starts at 1000, same as the Charm." 

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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Miria waved back nervously at the Evoker. Tio was her name, Miria remembered that. And not to call her by her other name. "Nono, you're fine." She smiled with confidence. Then, she turned back to the shop owner.

A small explanation, eight years ago in Kansei. That could check out, if... "Well, maybe? Were you ever in a shop owned by a... big guy, a bit taller than me, teeth, poofy ears, basically a big teddy bear disguised as a dog man?"

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"Bargain, huh?" Alvira turned back to the woman again, letting the ice fly around, gently spinning around Tonio to keep him entertained. "Give me both for eighteen hundred, then. I think that's a good deal... Since I'm willing to buy both so readily~" Hopefully the deal would be accepted, especially with how nicely Alvira was entertaining her nephew. Offer made, Alvira clenched her fist and the ice disappeared, bending back down to the boy. "You wanna know what else I can do, Tonio?" She pulled out the tome Tio had given her, gently focusing, since she didn't know the incantation yet, finally producing a small orb of light magic, sending it spinning around herself and resting in front of Tonio's face.

"I learned today I can use light magic too~ Pretty impressive, huh?" She smirked, getting a little full of herself. He kept mentioning someone, though... "Who's Ri, by the way? You keep saying that name, so you've got me curious." The light orb popped with a small circle of light radiating out, far enough away and weak enough to not bother the boy. "I'm sure I could learn a thing or two from another mage."

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Cin sighed, mentally preparing himself for the scolding he expected was to come. Again. It was bad enough Ingverd had lectured him, he didn't need another one. But he couldn't just avoid it either. Tio was one of the Evokers and he suspected she would always eventually get her way. "I'll. Be over by the thread. If you want to meet me there when you're done. We can talk there." It was out of the way and isolated enough that she could scold him however she wanted. 

Shoulders sagging, he walked over to the rack of thread, taking a look at the options. I may as well make a whole kit. Others might need clothing repair at some point too. And it might be nice to embroider again... He began to pick out some options, first a few cloth squares, mostly white but a few other colors as well, and then a packet of needles. He found a pouch to hold everything and started to fill it with thread. Several shades of red, yellows and golds too. Finally some of the cooler colors to round out the selection. Overall he had close to two dozen options now, not nearly as much as he had access to when he lived with his mother, but it was something. 

As he finished, waiting for Tio to finish, he glanced around at the store around him. Seeing everyone else dressed all nice and fancy had stirred something. His clothes were fine. Simple, but comfortable. Perfect for traveling in. But they hardly looked impressive. No, if anything, they looked poor and ratty even with his careful repairs. Maybe, maybe he could find an outfit here too. But first he had to talk with Tio.

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"Ah but I..." She did have a point about forcing it on her, she was missing a cloak because of Tio. Still, she wanted to do something for her time. "Alright, alright. But I'm buying you something at some point. Probably not today, but soon enough." Renais couldn't let this go by, perhaps she was stubborn. Regardless she relinquished the purchase to Tio and turned to Miria. "I'm going to go find Gean, I saw her go outside so she's probably waiting for us. Catch up as soon as you can." With that small plan to Miria said, the pinkette rushed to the door to go talk to her taller friend.

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Tio smiled at Renais, "I'll hold you to it, Renais. But this one is on me." She was mildly surprised that it was that simple, but there were no complaints from her. There was something worth complaining a little about; she had hurried off, but she didn't miss Cinead's seeming apprehension to her request to speak. Whatever was going on between him and Ingverd was certainly a point of concern now. She handled Alastor the gold, and parted with a smile and a curtsy, before moving off to the corner to speak with the large dragon. Renais had already disappeared out the door, seemingly to go find Aegean--she was a popular girl, it seemed. But for now, a quick breath, "Okay... That's done and out of the way for now." Tio made sure to not put her hands on her hips to try and seem as impartial as she actually was on the matter, "I wanted to speak with you about what going on between you, and Ingverd. I have Ingverd's side of things, so I want to hear it from you as well." 

It was now that Tio realized that the man looked tired, very tired, almost like when she was forced awake at early hours. 


Alastor accepted the gold but hadn't even gotten to put it away before Alastor heard the description. Alastor looked at Miria with blinking eyes. That description was so incredibly pointed, and one that he couldn't ever forget. "...Are, are you... talking about Bigby?" He looked at Miria a little closer, and then the older man burst out laughing, "Ahaha! It makes sense! The shop, you were the little girl that was helping him, and Noelia! Goodness, how long it's been since I've said those names... Celes was a knight, used to work with your ma. We never really got out to the shop, except for a handful of times, but I remember now." 

Celes popped her head out of one of the changing rooms, "Did I hear that correctly? You're Noelia's little girl?" She blinked, and started laughing herself, "Oops, I probably should do that later." She looked at Alastor, "Hey, I think the feline from earlier might have left a little too quickly; her armor is still in here." 

Alastor nodded, "If she's a knight, she'll be back here soon enough for it; she looked a lot like you did whenever you decided to wear a dress."

Celes rolled her eyes, and then refocused on Miria, "I remember her saying so much about you. She might have left the knights, but she sure was around a lot still. How are they?" 


Nana grinned at Alvira, "Aha... I like you; not one to beat around the bush." She looked at Tonio, seeing the smile on his face. She chuckled, "Ah, it appears my hearing is going a tad... I think I heard seventeen hundred--that is what you said, right?" The older woman shrugged. She'd had her fair share of issues with the clouded, and monsters, but the two dragons had been a remarkably pleasant experience. Tonio was having an incredible day it seemed like, so a little repaying was in order. 

Tonio watched as Alvira pulled out the tome, and created the orb of light. There wasn't the same level of bewilderment as there had been with the ice, but Tonio was watching the orb intently, as if he'd seen the magic before. "You can use both Light and Ice magic? You're just like the dancer lady from last night!" He swayed back and forth, "Oh, and Ri! Ri's my older sister! She taught me everything I know about clouded and monsters! Oh, her name isn't Ri, it's Risette! She's not here because she's at the Arena! She's a super strong light mage! She's really cool! Uh..." He paused a moment tilting his head, "Oh yeah! She goes by Rya in the Arena! Sorry, I forgot." There was a huge smile on his face as he looked between both Alvira and Laniva. 

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Rya... That meant she'd fought and beaten the girl just last night. Can't gloat about that. It'd break the poor kid's heart... Hmm... "So that was your sister? Yeah. She was super strong, Tonio. I got to fight her last night. Really had me on my toes. You should be proud of her~" Alvira wasn't one for humans, not really... But kids were her soft spot, so she felt rather comfortable speaking with these two. She gave his Nana a wink and slid her the gold, gently taking her purchased items.

"So... This isn't to brag, but I just want to let you both know. We're part of the group that took care of the Crows... All I wanted to say was, getting to meet nice humans like you two really makes doing things like that worth it. So, thank you. And thank you, Tonio... Mmmm... Here." Alvira knelt down again and with a small wince, pulled one of her looser scales off. "A little souvenir for you. Dragon scales are supposed to be magical, so hold onto it, okay? Maybe it'll help you one day~ See ya!"

Satisfied with her purchase, her talks, and everything that had gone on in there, Alvira linked her arm with one of Laniva's and took her outside, sighing and blushing as she got out of earshot. "N-Not a word of how I acted to the others... Okay? I... I'm just, really good with, with kids."

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Miria's eyes widened and she had a smile, "You know Mama and Papa?" Then, his wife, apparently Celes, an old compatriot of her mother's came out of a changing room, bringing up Lavina's left armor. Woops. But, they're right, she'd come back for it.

"Ahh, mm, they were good the last time I sent a letter out. I have been... adventuring, for a little over a year now. I miss them." She smiled, however. "But they know I'm okay."

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"That'll be a problem if or when it happens. I'd like not having to fight too much on the way to our destination, but if some trash like that decides to get in our way, we'll just take them out, simple as that." And if they chose to be particularly underhanded about it, well, that's what the Tigers were hired for, so they wouldn't be caught off guard even in the dead of night. Hopefully some of them were up for shifting their sleep schedules, because Elisa had to make sure she was on Tio's schedule. Problems of being the lighter sleeper of the couple. "We may understand how important the mission is, and hope you all do too, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't care about you. If anything, I care enough to be annoyed if you imply I don't." A small side glance, and a single tap of her foot; Syndra wouldn't have to apologize any more, but she'd at least be reminded of what exactly her problem was.

However, Tio was typically the one to care more about others, even if she got exhausted by socializing much quicker, and she especially hated it when others put words in her mouth. If the ice mage was going to apologize, she should at least know that. "That goes double for Tio. Please don't ascribe things that she hasn't done to her, and please just call her Tio, if you don't want your apology to fail right away." Hopefully, that'd let the two smooth things over without too much issue.

With Syndra on the way out, Elisa would be free to see if anyone else would come to challenge the arena, or if she'd have to make her own entertainment.


What Natalya heard of Cin's discussion with the teller sounded more bizarre still than what Alvira and Aly had spoken of. She might not have been looking, but those ears of hers were real good. Heh, wouldn't that be something? Fortune teller gains an ability she's not had from suddenly serving a bunch of ill-fated monsters. Sounded like something you might read in a fairytale, but what did she know about magic anyway?

"Yeah, I'd prefer if you let me tell you about it rather than showing you straight up. Lets me be more mysterious~" The tiger flashed a grin at Aly, obviously joking around, before turning into the stand. "I am, so fortune me, lady teller. Am I looking at a death by combat or what?" Maybe the others' visions had given Tasha some nerves she was working through with humor, or, at least, a jocular tone for what shouldn't be a laughing matter.

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Laniva watched quietly as Alvira spoke to the child, raising an eyebrow slightly as she gave one of her scales to him. Before she could comment on it, though, she found herself dragged outside, faced with an increasingly flustered Alvira.

"Okay, okay. I won't say anything. But... good with kids? I think it's more that kids are good with you." She shrugged slightly; she'd softened rather quickly entirely of her own accord, but she was clearly embarrassed about it already. No need to do so any further.

"Hahh... Okay. Where next? I still need a new sword... and we have to go get my armor back too, because you ran out of the clothes shop so quickly."

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Both Celes and Alastor nodded at Miria, "Ah, so you're adventuring... That makes sense; you're here after all. Glad to hear that they're doing well, and you seem to be too. Though, I am surprised that Noelia let you go. She was always a protective sort."

Celes spoke up, "I was an instructor for the knights for several years, up until Alastor and I left after Feld's policies started to take root more. And Noelia was a captain, so we interacted pretty frequently when she was active, and even when she wasn't. Alastor wasn't a knight but he was involved enough that he was practically an honorary one." 

Alastor gently jabbed Celes with his elbow, "Enough of that." Alastor did wonder what the noblewoman, and the dragon were speaking about off in the corner. It was clearly something that they didn't want out in the open, but he couldn't help but be a little curious. "Can I ask where you're heading? You're a little far away from Kansei. It's fine if you can't; I know that there are some secrets to be kept." 


"You fought in the arena too?! Cinead did, and he beat Ri!" He paused and thought for a moment, "Ri's really strong, but if you know Cinead, that means you're probably really strong too! I know that your magic is good against Ri's magic, so I bet she had a hard time with you! But I also bet that she enjoyed the fight a lot!" Tonio's assertion would be backed up by Alvira's announcement that they defeated the Crows. He knew a little; Ri had her fair share of issues with them, and Nana despised them. But none of that mattered when Alvira knelt down, and handed him one of her scales. A beautiful purple scale. Tonio was so in awe of the pretty gift, that Tonio couldn't do anything but smile. His mouth was moving but no words were coming out. He just ever so gently clutched the scale to his chest. 

Nana took the gold, smiling at the wink, and then more warmly as Alvira mentioned who they were and what they had done. "Aha... how ironic that those damned Crows met their end by what they swore they were meant to protect us from. I much prefer you all, and thank you ever so much for ridding us of them." Nana just looked at Tonio, just clutching the scale to his chest as both Alvira and Laniva left the shop. Maybe there was a chance at this after all, if there were more clouded and monsters just like that. 

Alvira Purchased the Torn Manual and the Miracle Charm! -1700 Gold! 


The teller steeled herself, but at least this tall, but not as-tall-as-Cinead feline seemed to be taking the threat of a less than pleasant future in stride. At least one person involved in all of this was taking this well, and it wasn't her! 

"Then come, gaze with me." 

An image took shape. There Natalya stood in a throne room, unlike the one that Iseria occupied. There were two shallow pools of shimmering water on either of the room, flowing from somewhere in the back. There was perhaps a banner, and someone standing in the distance in front of the throne. But everything was obscured. The image zoomed out, and the viewers could make out that there were other figures standing next to Tasha, but they too were obscured and nondescript. All except for Tasha herself. She stood there with a large, beautiful poleax, and wearing brass-plated armor, finished with a golden trim, and a red cape behind her. The Tasha in the vision hefted the axe, pointing it towards the distant obscured figure. For a faint moment, it seemed like there was something behind her. Not unlike what had occurred with Alvira, but before anything else could come into view. The vision faded, and nothing else played. 

The teller tilted her head a moment. She felt like the vision was short compared to the others, but even after a moment, no more scenes played. 

"Hmm... It seems that there is something more to you. That place... I've never seen anything quite like it. But it seems you have great things in your future." 

She internally breathed a sigh of relief that the image was largely benign seeming, or if it wasn't, her gaze was not strong enough to bring the full severity of it to light. 

"There is nothing more that my power can show you. I hope it was enlightening." 

Finally, a little breather in her worries, and hopefully her patron's as well. 

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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Cin turned to face Tio as she approached him, asking for his side of the. Dispute that he and Ingverd had had. He was too tired to deal with this, just wanting the lecture to be over, but he knew it wouldn’t be that easy. So stifling his sigh, he nodded. “It’s. Well. I disagreed with his methods in getting the Crows to attack us and the lack of warning that he gave us as a whole. I understand that taking care of them was important and that they likely would have attacked us without his intervention. My fight with Rustal earlier likely guaranteed it. I do not mind him antagonizing them further, they deserve everything they got. As I said, I simply disagree with his methods and his intentions to set us up to face an attack unawares at a time when we believed ourselves to be safe. As a test.” That final word was almost spat, but he reined in his anger, refusing to let it control him again. “However, as far as I can tell, it is settled. I will leave him alone and he can spend his time with, as he said, the more reasonable members of the Tigers. Better for everyone that way.”

Tio stifled a huff of her own listening. There was definitely a bit of animosity regarding how things happened. Which was completely understandable; many people would have been quite furious over how things transpired. “If you think this is settled then I have a castle up for purchase.” She took a deep breath, this was going to be a bit touch and go it seemed. “The both of you are doing a terrible job of making it seem like things here are settled.”

She relaxed just a little before continuing, “To be absolutely clear; I don’t quite like Ingverd’s methods either. But at the same time, I can see them as both reasonable, and done with concern in mind. I wish I could say that things are going to be as simple as people attacking us on our terms, but they aren’t. Ingverd is aware of that fact, and he does need to know if the Tigers are capable of managing. I understand your frustration with the aspect of it being framed as a test, but somehow, I don’t think being upset at that is the only reason you would be as exhausted as you seem, right?” 

Cin winced as she immediately called him out on it not being as settled as he had tried to say it was. “Look, it’s. It is what it is. He’ll be better off playing with others and I have plenty of people that I care about to spend time with, so really it’s for the best.” Even if it hurt. Even if it made him upset. It was for the best that he leave Ingverd alone. The other man would enjoy his time with others more than him anyways.

“Look, despite what Ingverd seems to think, I’m not a completely innocent and naive idiot. I know full well that as we move forward the dangers we face are only going to increase. But that’s the thing. We know it. We’ll prepare for it. We’ll set up a watch rotation, we’ll sleep with our weapons close by. It’s why yesterday, after what happened in my fight in the arena with Rustal, I told Commander Natalya what happened. She apparently decided at the time that the threat of a night attack wasn’t high enough to set a watch. But she didn’t know what Ingverd did. That he pushed them further. So the majority of the group was sleeping unaware, thinking we were safe. And Ingverd is acting like this is exactly what will happen further on, as if the entire group doesn’t know how to handle themselves in enemy territory.”

He shook his head, trying to pull his frustration out of his words. “At the end of the day, things went fine and we got paid and apparently that’s all that matters. Ingverd got his test, showing his-” No, stop, he needed to do this more calmly. “He got his proof that we could handle ourselves I suppose. But he didn’t seem to care that his actions begged for revenge of the same kind. I’m a big guy, I can handle myself on the field. But if some of the others... If someone like Renais had ended up losing an arm because he took Rustal’s hand, I would have never forgiven him. So I kept watch in case of a night attack. Because someone had to. And because I couldn’t be in the room with him after that.” There. Now it was all out and she could tell him again how much of an idiot he was.

“Right, for the best.” Tio couldn’t hide the pout on her face now, but admittedly, she hadn’t tried very hard. “So, firstly. You kept watch on your own, is that right? What if the Crows had shown up then, and you hadn’t the time to rouse everyone? You clearly knew, but you didn’t warn anyone, and just tried to shoulder that yourself?” Tio paused. There was no need to lecture about something he clearly understood. 

“I… guess, I really shouldn’t be too surprised that you don’t get it either.” Tio looked into Cinead’s eyes, “You really think that Ingverd didn’t care about what his actions could have caused, and now, it makes a little more sense why Ingverd has been so bothered by all of this.” She took a deep breath, “Mind if I tell you a story? I haven’t known Ingverd very long, but he’s very close to Iseria. I know Iseria quite well; she’s the only person I know who could stare down a person capable of killing her and make them grovel at her feet. She’s an amazing person, and a truly capable leader. But Ingverd? At the time, all I saw was this smiling, overconfident elf.” 

She waved a hand, “I didn’t like his nonchalance, and I still don’t, really. Because it made me feel like he didn’t care. And until about an hour ago, I thought that was true, about everything except his goal.” She walked up and poked Cinead in the chest, “That was until Ingverd told me about a young man named Cinead, and a girl named Alriana. His face… I’ve never seen Ingverd have anything but a smile on his face. But he was genuinely upset, same as you. Because he thought, same as you, that he was doing the right thing. He did tell you why, right?"

“By the time I found out, everyone was already asleep. Me raising the alarm then... If nothing came of it, I would have disturbed them for no reason and I could keep watch alright by myself. We were in close enough quarters that I could have roused everyone almost as quickly as I would have been able to with an additional person. At that point, why bother others? I still managed to fight just fine.” And he had. He’d made it through the battle. Even if he had collapsed immediately after. But that was just because the adrenaline crash had combined with the exhaustion, as evidenced by the fact that he was up and moving right now.

As for the rest of her story, well. He could dismiss it. The facts that he had been presented to up to this point certainly agreed with Ingverd not caring about whether or not the Tigers had survived, rather just if they could pass his test or not. But rather than just completely ignore it, he at least gave her some thoughts. “I’ll be honest, I find it hard to believe he cares. I believe the exact quote was ‘If any of you let that mutt cut off your own hands, you deserved it’ in response to my concerns. That if we couldn’t function under the threat of indiscriminate attack, then he does not need us. From everything he has said to me, he views the Tigers as a whole as nothing more than a means to an end, which is his right as our employer, I suppose. And maybe he sees a few more of us as fun to play with, but that doesn’t mean he cares.” 

He shook his head. Maybe there was more than just curiosity with Alriana, but he couldn’t believe that he had been anything more than an amusing distraction for Ingverd. Not after everything the elf had said to him. “He thinks he did the right thing because he needed to make sure that he had the best group for the job. I think that’s bullshit, to be perfectly honest. The queen picked this group for a reason, having a bunch of racists attack us doesn’t prove anything that the pirate attack on the ship didn’t prove. That was as much of a surprise as this was. To me, it seems like he just wanted to vent his frustrations at a racist and then decided to use it to run his little ‘test’ because it was convenient. And I understand the urge, as I said, I got carried away in my own battle. But I still told people what was coming. Because if someone knows an attack is coming and doesn’t tell people, how are we ever supposed to trust that person again?” And there it was. The issue he’d been skirting around for this whole issue. How could he ever trust Ingverd again if the man would purposely withhold information that would help the group just for a test? What test would come next then?

Tio thought for a moment. Admittedly, she didn't really disagree with much of what Cinead said, and what he was feeling. Still, much of it was fraught with contradictions. But Tio wasn't sure how much of that to press on. Well, better to be honest, I suppose. "Cinead. I won't lie; while I don't agree with his method, I don't fault the sentiment. The queen chose this group, yes. That much is true. But it's not for the reasons you think. There were more prominent options than the Tigers; groups that have been around longer than you or I. But the Tigers had particular qualities that made them the best option." 

She crossed her arms, "The Tigers were the best option for three reasons. First, a talented group of clouded would hopefully keep Lufiria from acting rash when we do arrive. The situation is still incredibly unknown, and volatile. Take every precaution possible. Second, the Tigers aren't known outside of Lufiria, so people are less sure to ask questions. Third…" Tio took a deep breath, "In the event things do go wrong, losing the Tigers wouldn't be the blow that the other groups would be. The group was warned that this mission would be unlike anything they’ve experienced, and the compensation was made to match.” Tio felt herself tiring. Her hands tensed and untensed. 

Tio kept eye contact with Cinead. Doing anything less would be a disservice to him, and the Tigers. "This mission is potentially far, far more important than we've made clear. And, admittedly, with what the stakes are… I, too, would be prepared to trade lives to avert it. Or that's what I would have said until I got on that boat. I thought I was ready to throw away lives if it meant that we could avert things, and I’m not. I don’t think I’ll ever be, and I would have believed you saying that Ingverd didn't care about your lives until I spoke with him not too long ago. If he is this unflinching, unfeeling man that you seem willing to paint him as, why would he care what you have to say? Why would he have been furious when Alriana almost died in the Arena? Why would he have bothered to fight with you at all?"

She sighed, bringing a hand up to her forehead. Somehow talking with Ingverd and Cinead was harder than talking with Alvira. "I almost can't believe that I'm defending Ingverd right now. But… he cared enough about what you said that he was visibly distressed. Completing the mission has always been at the top of his list, and this mission is of grave importance. From… what I know, that’s how he’s been raised, and trained. Not saying that as an excuse, but as an illustration. Because probably for the first time he’s questioning that belief, and it’s because of you and Alriana. I know what I saw, and heard when I spoke with him. I know he cares. I haven’t disagreed with you, because I believe you’re right to be upset with him, to despise him even. But you are absolutely wrong that he doesn’t care, and I will not back down from that belief.” 

“Yes, obviously, I know that there are stronger, better, however you want to say it mercenary groups out there. My father used to be a part of one of those and he taught me a lot about mercenary groups, but we were still pic--” His words trailed off as Tio finished the list of reasons why they were picked. Of course. It made sense. He’d been right, they were just disposable to Ingverd. And he couldn’t fault the reasoning. Not even if it made him mad to think of someone out there looking at people like Gean and Renais and saying it didn’t matter if they died. But that wasn’t his call to make and sometimes that call had to be made. After all, a bunch of Clouded and a few humans who tagged along with them dying, who would care, right? 

He met Tio’s gaze, he owed her that much respect he supposed, and listened to the rest of her talk. His dad had always warned him that mercenary groups were viewed far too often as replaceable. That they could be easily dropped if things got too complicated. He just hadn’t expected to run into it this early in his career. He let her finish her argument, accepting that she even had some good points in there. When he finally responded, his tone was very polite, but somehow stripped of the feeling that had been there before. “I understand. You’re right, of course, this mission is important, the pay alone proves that. I suppose I’m the fool who signed up without really knowing what I was getting myself into. Perhaps Ingverd is more right about me than I was willing to admit. And honestly, I’d almost believe he cares about Alriana. She’s different and mysterious enough, she’d catch his attention. So I promise I won’t bother him again with any of this. You say he had his reasons and you and he are two thirds of the people in charge of this job, so I suppose I have no ground to argue.” After all, I’m just the idiot greenhorn who’s going to need rescued, as Ingverd warned me. 

“Is that all you wanted from me? I wouldn’t want to keep you from more important things.” The frustration just barely tinged his voice again, his control slipping. He didn’t really see the point in her coming to talk to him if all she was going to do was try and convince him that Ingverd cared deep down, she promised. And maybe he did. But that didn’t really change anything. He’d still purposely put them in harm’s way with no care for whether they survived or not, as supported by his own words. What good was caring at that point? Cin would almost rather the man hated him than the possibility that he cared at this point. Almost.

Tio wondered if she had said too much. She’d hated admitting all of that, and Cinead hadn’t taken well to it either. She had considered leaving it be, and letting Cinead and Ingverd deal with things for themselves. Much like with Alvira in the bath, it was none of her business. But Tio couldn’t help but bristle. His understanding felt more like a soft dismissal, a quiet admission that he simply didn’t believe what she was saying and just wanted the conversation to end. Something that he all but admitted with his last sentence. 

“...You’re right, I’m sorry. I suppose that I wouldn’t know what’s important, and what’s not. You’ve got no reason to trust me or in my decision making; ‘surely this dense mage who sought me out has more important things to do,’ and you know what? Maybe I do. But I really, really don’t appreciate that insinuation. Because this is very important.” Tio let some of her growing frustration bleed out for a moment. 

“You know something I noticed? You seem quite focused on Ingverd’s feelings for Alriana, but you seem incredibly sure that he doesn’t care about you. I suppose I’m being nothing but a nuisance to you at this moment, so I might as well keep going. I think you want him to not care, and honestly? I get it. He put all of the tigers at risk on a whim, and didn’t care if any of them were seriously hurt. If any of them lost an arm, a leg, or their life. Told you that he didn’t really care if anything happened to the Tigers in the event they failed. Why would you want to trust anyone who could do that? But that’s the thing. I think you do want to, but you can’t reconcile between that, and what he did. Simpler to just despise each other from a distance. Simpler to just be like this. If you may allow me to use a word of yours from earlier, I think that’s bullshit.”

Tio shook her head, and stepped to the side. “I won’t stop you from leaving this conversation if you wish. I’ll, even apologize on Ingverd’s behalf; all of ours, really. You’re not pawns in some greater game. But you’re lying to yourself. I shouldn’t have tried to make you believe that Ingverd does care; you wouldn’t have believed me in the first place. I think the both of you are nearsighted, and it’s hurting you both in the long run. I don’t think it takes a genius to realize that.” 

“That’s not-” He cut himself off, knowing somehow that interrupting would just make her more mad, something he wasn’t exactly interested in seeing right in that moment. And so he listened, trying not to flinch as she called him out, breaking the eye contact that all of a sudden seemed to burn into him. He stared at the ground, waiting for her to finish, feeling like an admonished child. 

When she was finally done, he allowed himself to speak, still staring at the ground. “I don’t think you’re dense. I know enough about the Evokers to know that you’re anything but. I simply don’t see why it matters so much that a hanger on who wasn’t even a part of the Tigers when you hired them knows that you believe that Ingverd cares about this group.” Even now, after all that, he still didn’t want to admit that there was a chance she was right. That the elf did care. But he wasn’t really sure he had an option anymore.

He finally looked up, weary eyes meeting Tio’s frustrated ones. “Of course I can’t reconcile things. We’ve had all of a handful of interactions and in half of them he seems angry that I dare question his methods, believes I’m a naive idiot who’s going to get myself and others killed, implies our lives don’t matter so long as the job gets done. And in the other half.” Cinaed shook his head, closing his eyes, voice trailing off to a whisper. “In the other half, he’s kind and gentle and caring and. Flirts and makes me feel wanted. So combining those two parts gives me, what? Someone who cares but has no problem sending us into danger on a whim with no warning? Or. Someone who’s just playing with me because he’s bored and doesn’t really care.”

He rubbed a hand across his face, surprised to feel a wetness in his eyes. “Like I said, I don’t believe you’re dense. No, if anything, these last twenty-four hours have convinced me that I really am the naive idiot he believes me to be. I don’t want or need your apology. As you said, you don’t agree with his methods but the idea was right. And to be perfectly blunt, we are pawns. You may not view us as such, but. Given our reasons for being hired, it feels cheap to try and turn around and deny it. Maybe we shouldn’t be, but we are. But your apology... I appreciate it, but it carries very little weight when you’ve done nothing wrong in all of this. And I don’t mean that to be rude, but to just be honest. You were never the one I needed an apology from. That apology, well, I think we both know I’m never going to get. And so yes, it’s easier to lie to myself, be the idiot he labeled me to be, and avoid him, rather than try and reconcile the chance that his flirting wasn’t a lie. There. Are you happy now?” The wetness in his eyes had returned, and he angrily dashed it away. This wasn’t how he had at all imagined the conversation going and all he could do was barely keep his head above water now.

Tio looked at the tears forming at Cinead’s eyes, and listened to how contrary his words were to the tangible emotions that he quickly dashed. No, maybe not entirely contrary. There was a truth, tangled in what Cinead felt he needed to tell himself; the apology that he would probably never get, and Ingverd’s flirting. She’d only noticed so much after events on the boat, but hadn’t realized that things may have been a bit more than that. 

“Don’t… lie to me, Cinead. You know exactly why it matters that you know that I believe that Ingverd cares about the group. You know exactly why I’m telling you that. You know exactly why it matters.” She let her hands fall to her sides. This was exhausting, but it was important, both to Cinead and to her. She couldn’t let this just stand the way it was now. Not again. “Because you want to believe it too. Why would I be happy with you telling me that you’re content lying to yourself? I can see the tears on your face.”

Another shake of the head, she hadn’t even noticed that her hair had remained partially green all throughout. “Neither of you are okay with this, and you’re both doing the same thing. You both care. Ingverd is just more experienced at hiding it. And even then, he still was upset by the words of a supposed pawn. Someone whose opinion shouldn’t matter to him. Someone who he was willing to let die if things came down to it. Why, Cinead? Why would that bother him? If he was never going to see any of the Tigers again; why would he be upset with what you thought of his methods? You’re perfectly willing to believe in the side of him that was willing to use you to complete the mission at hand, but you refuse to give that other side the same courtesy.” 

A deep sigh, “I’m… not going to make you do anything you don’t want to do. But I really do think you should consider really hard whether you’re prepared to just run from this. Because those tears can tell people a lot, and they tell me that you don’t want to run.” 

“I’m not lying.” He looked at her, shaking his head, trying to find the right words. “I really don’t, that is, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand why you care so much about someone you don’t even know. Why does it matter if he and I get along? He doesn’t even want to be around me anymore, so you trying to convince me of this. It’s not going to. I mean.” He stopped talking, trying to take a breath, figure out his next sentence before continuing down the path of starting and stopping once more.

“Of course I want to believe it. I want to believe the things he said weren’t just him having fun. Weren’t lies. I truly thought he was a good person, you know? But I’m not so sure I believe that one anymore. Maybe it has to do with what you keep implying about how he was raised. Maybe I’m being unfair to him. I don’t know. And that’s the problem, I don’t know. Maybe he was bothered because he cares about me or maybe he was bothered because I was questioning his actions when all I am is a naive idiot. I tried to apologize, you know. For how I acted during our first fight, the one that led to me being up all night. Explain why the hand removal bothered me, apologize for getting angry so fast. But because I still wouldn’t agree that his actions were correct, he just. Dismissed me. As unreasonable and a fool.”

He sighed, resting his head in his hand, staring back down at the ground. “Would I prefer he was the good person I believed him to be, that I didn’t need to run? Absolutely. But. I don’t think it matters what I want at this point. Because I’m not going to concede that his actions were the right ones. Maybe that’s because I am that fool he labels me as, but I just. Cannot agree with willfully putting members of our group in danger like he did. So it’s easier to lie. To run. Because then at least it was my choice. He can stay content, spending time with, as he put it, the more reasonable Tigers, and I won’t bother him with my idealistic view of the world. Maybe it doesn’t make either of us happy, but it keeps the situation from exploding in a way that causes issues beyond the two of us being sad. He’ll have his distractions and I’ll... Mmm. I’ll find something to keep me distracted.”

Tio slowly nodded, “You’re… right. I don’t know you, and I’m not the person who would be able to convince you of, anything, really. But every friendship has to start between strangers, doesn’t it? I’ll admit, I have my reasons, but that doesn’t change my thoughts on the matter. And of course you don’t know. We’ve been working together for just over a week, hardly enough time to learn anything about anyone, and certainly not someone as guarded as Ingverd. But it was still enough to make you, and him, care enough that this disagreement of method and ideals harms the both of you so.” 

“I think that’s that then. I’ve said what I can say, and perhaps a lot more than I should have.” She curtsied to Cinead, “I’m sorry for sticking my nose where it didn’t belong. But to answer your question; why would I care so much about someone I hardly know?” She looked at him, a small sad smile on her face, “Because I know what it’s like to not have that. It’s instinct now, I guess.” The sad smile disappeared into a more neutral expression, “Besides. Why did you help the two dancers from before? You didn’t know them either, but you cared, and helped them anyway. Seemingly no ulterior motive, so I assume you helped them because you could, and it was the right thing to do in your eyes. Does it really not make sense that I would feel the same way about this? Am I not allowed to care about people I hardly know, and wish them the best?” She couldn’t help but see a similarity in that, and Ingverd’s flirtations, and caring for Cinead. But the conversation had taken its course. He was right that she couldn’t possibly be sure that Ingverd wasn’t just toying with him, but sometimes people were just genuine. Three times today… 

She turned away, hiding the frustration in her last words and thoughts, “All I ask, is that you talk to people that you do trust, and really, truly decide what you’re going to do. With that… I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time, and thank you for speaking with me.” With that last bit, Tio walked off, leaving Cinead behind.

He didn’t have responses for her points. Not a single one. He stared blankly at her back as she walked away, without the energy to call her back even if he had managed to find the words to say. I helped them... Because I want to be a good person. Like I thought. No. Don’t go back down that road. It was pointless now. He wasn’t going to get anything productive done thinking about this right now, when more than likely he would just start crying if he put any real thought into everything he’d been pushing down. So instead, he slowly gathered the items he’d set aside, and walked up to the counter. Setting the cloth, needles, and thread down on the counter, he looked up at the man running the shop with a small smile. “Just this for me today, I think. I’d thought, well, it doesn’t matter. I should be getting back so this should be good.”

Alastor saw the noblewoman finally leave the corner that she and the dragon had been speaking in. There was a quickness to her movement. There were a couple ways that could have been taken, but then the dragon appeared with his thread. He could leave Celes to speak with Noelia’s daughter for the moment.“Ah, just the thread today?” He tilted his head a little looking at Cinead. The man just seemed tired. “What doesn’t matter? Um, there’s more thread in the back if you didn’t find what you were looking for. Or… did you mean something else?” 

He stroked his beard, looking at the thread, “Hmm… I’d say 20 gold for all of it is fairly reasonable. You’ve got quite an assortment.”

 "I had no problem finding thread. A good mix of normal and embroidery thread even. No, I had. Considered the idea of a new outfit. When I first came in. But I find myself not in the headspace for that now. Besides, I would likely just end up with it looking like my vest does now. So I'll stick to repairing one set of clothes, I think." He dug into the pouch of gold he had at his hip, pulling out the money required and handing it over. "I appreciate the selection you have to offer, and I'm glad I was able to resupply here. Thank you."

“Hmm… Are you sure? I don’t mean to prod, but we have a decent selection, even for one as tall as you are. In fact…” Alastor turned, and looked around before pointing at a pair of pants on the wall. “Those would suit you quite well. But, it is your gold, and thank you for the compliment. We try to keep our thread selection as varied as possible. You never know what people will need it for.”

Cinaed turned, looking at the pants, before turning back and shaking his head. “I appreciate the thought, but. Thank you, I’m good with this.” He picked up his purchases, giving the man a small nod before heading out of the shop, aiming to go straight back to the inn to repair his vest and hopefully avoid the rest of the group, at least for a little while.

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