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Old January 3rd, 2008 (12:34 PM).
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"AND THE BOARDERS ARE AT THE START LINE FOLKS. THIS LOOKS TO BE AN EXCITING RACE, WITH SUCH CROWD FAVORITES AS BILLY DURAM AND ALLY PENBUR." boomed over the loud system, deafening the red haired girl dramatically. This was silly, it all was silly. Why did they, the Archai squad, have to help with stupid things as protecting the Princess of Carn at a frigging skyboard race? The phoenix girl knew the answer, it was all jealousy talking on her part. Rosaline Dian was an important sponsor of their efforts. If anything was to happen to her, than Flazure would be in deep trouble. Although, what Flaire couldn't wrap her mind around was why she would come all of the way to Meredy, Tealia anyways. Sure, Prince Ryan invited her, but why would they go in a public place knowing their lives were at risk? The girl's red eyes wandered until they locked on to the two shades of blue glistening in the silver haired girl's eyes on the opposite side of the course. Good, Ellianne was in place.

'Ally Penbur' noted the relative location of her comrades from atop the stand for the starting line, along with the location of the Prince and Princess. This was troubling. They had received a threat from the terrorist group known as ARTI days prior about an attack on their lives, but nothing suspicious was really visible. She sighed, before grasping her board tightly in her hands. Reid Davies didn't like taking on this form, this name, for anything, but skyboarding was one of those things where he just didn't have a choice. Although, he was more concerned about meeting people he didn't want to meet while in Tealia rather than the imminent threat of a terrorist attack. After all, some of Tealia's finest soldiers were there. What if someone he knew recognized Mistral's appearance, even after all of these years?

The skyboarder was quickly brought back to reality as a loud beeping was heard, which signaled the beginning of the race. Habitually, the green haired, white cloaked girl dropped off the edge of the starting line, which was essentially a long beam hoisted sixty feet in the air, before throwing the board below her feet and taking to the sky. The course at Meredy was simple. Nothing but a few circular laps. The only real issue was that skyboarder has become a much more violent sport in the past five years. As long as you tip the ref enough, you can punch, kick, or even stab the competition as much as you want. Unfortunately for Reid, he always played fair, which left him at a painful disadvantage in most races. However, it was because he played fair that Ally Penbur had such a large fanbase.

Lap one, lap two, lap three. Flaire couldn't help but notice her boyfriend was distracted during the race. If she could, she would have shouted something along the lines of "WE'VE GOT IT COVERED, IDIOT!", but he'd probably just become more distracted. Reid's competition didn't look too serious, but there was one black cloaked man trailing closely behind Reid that she has never seen before. Flaire's eyes suddenly darted to Ellianne in the distance, who rose quickly as the black cloaked man whipped out a knife and threw it at Reid's neck, which caused Mistral's body to fall at a dangerous speed to the ground. At the same time, the sound of an explosion erupted as dust flew up in the center of the racetrack, many armed men appearing from the cloud that had appeared.

Gunfire was heard from the stands soon after as Ellianne has torn out her pistols, and was firing from over top a cement block on the stands, hiding behind it every so often to avoid projectiles being thrown at her. The stands erupted in panic as people began to flee from the stadium. When the dust cleared, approximately twenty men, five dead from the gun wounds, were present, a large hole in the middle, and Reid lying on the grass nearby. Flaire turned in a concerned manner towards the location of the Prince and Princess. They weren't out yet... Why? Rosaline was trying to convince the soldiers to let her stay and help... typical. The phoenix girl sighed as she stretched out her wings, before taking to the sky. When she was about 50 feet in the air, just above the black cloaked men, she pointed her hands downwards before a stream of fire fell at the men, engulfing most of them in the heat and burning them alive.

Reid ripped the dagger from his back before resuming his own, male form and pulling the blade from his back. He was in pain, and he was pissed. There were five men in his generally area, all shocked that this girl had just changed into a guy. "What the hell are you!?" Reid smirked and began to point at each one of them, mouthing the numbers one to five as he did so and writing it down on a piece of parchment he took from the pocket of his cloak. "Hey! What the hell are you doing!?"

Reid smirked again. "Sorry, I really shouldn't be writing down how many coffins I'll need before I kill you, should I?" His voice was arrogant, very arrogant, and Mistral inside his head laughed a little. One of the men shouted "Bastard!" before all five men came at him. He caught the sword of the first man with his own, only to throw a punch at his heart with his left hand, the poisoned stinger visible. With the poison in the man's body, Reid kicked him in the gut so that he fell back a few feet. While he was busy with the first man, another came at him, only to meet with a gunshot to his head, splattering blood all over Reid's white cloak. Reid blinked twice. "...Thanks Ellianne!" The silver haired girl sweatdropped. The third man was heft, and he carried a large hammer. Unfortunately for the man, he was slow, and met with Reid's blade to his throat long before he got an attack in. In the meantime, the fifth man's head left his body as Flaire's dagger came flying at it from the left, his body falling with a thud nearby the others.

The three met in the center when the last body was dealt with, and Reid yawned. "I was expecting them to send some better people than that. I guess it's a good thing Sven was on vacation today. We didn't need him after all."

"Yeah, really..." Flaire replied, stretching her arms upwards before falling onto Reid, resting her head on her hands on Reid's shoulder. "I just want to take a nap..." A loud scream was heard suddenly, which snapped Flaire out of it as Rosaline came running back down the stands, four men chasing her.

"Dammit... Rosaline!" Reid shouted, quite aware that at the rate they were catching up to the princess, he wouldn't be able to help her.
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  #2    
Old January 3rd, 2008 (1:06 PM). Edited January 3rd, 2008 by Loki.
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“THIS WEEK’S SALARY IS ON YOU, BILLY!”

Levi sighed, leaning as far away from the rabid Billy Duram fan he’d had the misfortune of sitting beside. As far as Levi was concerned, any skyboarder had a fan in him. People who could fly in the sky without the help of wings. But stealing a skyboard wasn’t exactly the easiest job, considering they were so huge. So Levi consented to showing up every now and then to watch these competitions. He could never get very hyped up, since there were always Tealian soldiers crawling all over the place, and he constantly had to avoid them.

The race began, as usual as ever. Levi wasn’t paying any attention though, because he was trying to get out of the stands, nervous that a Tealian soldier who was heading in his direction might’ve caught sight of his unmistakeable red hair and goggles. It was difficult, being famous. Levi laughed to himself, before people began to push and shove him out of the stadium, every man for himself as a mad stampede trampled all over the thief. If anything good came from it, it was that the Tealian soldier was whipped away with the crowd, or preoccupied with fighting off the intrusion.

“Ahhh.” Levi stood and brushed himself off, re-adjusting his crooked goggles. Scratching the back of his head, he looked around himself, unfazed by the commotion. After all, this was pretty similar to a gang fight. It took most of his willpower to keep from joining the fight, as his natural urge to just sock someone was edging him on. But his resistence paid off in the end, as he caught sight of a very pretty damsel in distress, being chased by four of the men that had probably caused the disruption. He stared for a moment, as though assessing whether she was pretty enough to merit a grand-scale rescue, but a grin broke out Levi’s face when he recognized the girl. He wondered if he could get himself a pardon for his stealing practices in Tealia for saving the Princess of Carn.

Worth a try.

In an explosion of Wionus, Levi bent down to press the two buttons on his boots, his metallic wings expanding and launching him into the air before they shrunk once again. Twisting around in the air, Levi landed feet first on the man who was closest to catching the Princess. Crushing his foot down on the man’s skull and smiling when he head the crack, he turned to face the other three men.

“It’s rude t’chase a girl y’know.” Levi stated in mock seriousness, snapping his fingers in one man’s face before the attacker had the chance to sink the dagger into Levi’s face, a tornado of Wionus blowing two away, while Levi dished out a roundhouse kick to smash the third’s head into one of the seats.

“And,” Levi turned to the Princess, “Y’really shouldn’t stick around when they chasin’ after ya. Where’s yer escort m’lady- GAH!”

“GOT HIM!” Shouted a Tealian soldier, who had flung himself on top of Levi, his huge weight compared to Levi sending both of them to the ground, a number of other soldier’s running to catch up.

“GOT ‘IM NOTHIN’!” Levi yelled, pounding his fist on the floor in frustration, “Y’GOT THE WRONG GUY!”


- - - - - - -


She was dying, and anybody could see that. Her chest heaved, every breath a chore. She had difficulty keeping her eyes open, her eyes lids heavy, as though someone had hung weights upon them. The Plague was tugging them shut, ever so slowly so that eventually, they would never open again. She insisted against it, but I was confident that the illness would not transfer to me, and stayed by her side with Ella, who was safe from this disease that was destroying her family.

“Will you,” She inquired softly, mustering her energy to speak, “Bring … the items on my nightstand… to their destinations?”

Silence overcame us as I pitied her. She was dying, and anybody could see that. Even herself.

“I will.” I replied, picking up her hand and squeezing it reassuringly. I made no movement from my spot beside her bed though, because I was going to keep my promise to stay by her side until the nearing end.

“Don’t tell… Reid and Aertan…. About this.”

“I won’t.”

“…. Thank you.”


A charcoal haired young man snapped his eyes open, pushing himself off the window of the airship. Trying to catch his breath from the unsettling dream, he ran a hand through his hair, sighed, and let his head fall against the glass again. Waking up in that sudden manner made him feel as though he hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep, and the bright rays of sunlight that burned through the window beat any sort of drowsiness away. Remembering something like that was unpleasant. He’d lacked the courage to stay in that house after she’d died. He wasn’t acquainted with her mother at all, and it was awkward to him, to be alone with someone who had just suffered two tragedies in a row.

It was selfish of him. Selfish, and insensitive. But he couldn’t help that. Books didn’t tell him how to act in situations like that.

It had been four years since Alicel had died from the plague she caught from her also deceased father, Reks. It’d been exceedingly long, with her fael’s efforts against the plague dragging out the process. She’d been one year shy of receiving the letter from the Princess of Carn, and so Lazarus was the one to read it, and keep it. It was his only clue to where he might find Reid, the person Alicel had asked him to give a silver bracelet to. She’d written only two letters before her death; One for Ella, which I delivered after the funeral, one for an ex-priest, Aertan. She explained that Aertan would understand that she’d written only him a letter because she was unwilling to burden anyone else with the knowledge of her illness. Aertan, whom Lazarus assumed was cold and insensitive, would most likely fail to mention it to any of the others that Alicel had once known. He’d actually failed to say anything to Lazarus when he’d managed to track the ex-priest down. (He was considerably hard to find though, and only through a friend who had mentioned something about Verdance by chance had he been able to discover his whereabouts.)

He stood from his seat when the airship sputtered to a stop, and moved quickly to the exit. Stepping off the ship, he looked around himself, brushing off his snugly fitted double breasted jacket with a free hand as he did so. If there was anything he got out of going to Beta, other than getting pushed back onto another airship the minute he handed the letter over to Aertan, it was a nice winter wardrobe.

“Flazure, huh?” Lazarus mumbled to himself, looking over the letter that Alicel was supposed to have received from Princess Rosaline, “I’m glad I didn’t have to give this Reid guy anything. It would’ve been a pain, to get into that country, or send anything in. So, now all I have left is Reece, who’s MIA according to Aertan, the Princess, which will be virtually impossible, and Adela. It’ll be a pain to get an audience with this girl too. I wonder if I missed anyone…?”

But, that was the whole reason he was in Tealia anyway. It would be easier to get an audience with a Lieutenant, when compared to getting one with a Princess. Folding the letter up and sliding it back into it’s envelope, Lazarus proceeded to head towards the base where Adela was stationed at.


- - - - -


“The bimbo?” Adela mused, an untouched glass of water sitting on the coffee table before her. Sitting with one leg crossed over the other and her arms folded, Lazarus felt like he was trying to convince her of something that she didn’t believe at all, even though death wasn’t exactly something most people would deny on the spot. But as far as he could tell, this girl who looked no older than himself sitting at position of Lieutenant probably wasn't similar to most people. She seemed colder than Aertan, who had recieved the letter and news with nothing more than a sigh and a troubled look.

“So is that all you have to say?”

Lazarus blinked, surprised at the girl’s reaction before mustering words, “W-Well… yes.”

Adela was silent for a moment, staring through the glass windows beside them out of the corner of her eye. She’d made an effort to forget about everything, and now this man she’d never met was telling her that the bimbo had died within Adela’s most hated year. The year when she was still waiting on someone else like a child. It was easy, to forget them. But now that Alicel was dead, she'd have to choose whether she wanted to go pay respects in Alta or continue on her determination to erase her past. She stood, leaving her water where it was and turned to leave the sitting room. She'd made her choice faster than she'd anticipated.

“Then be on your way. I have better things to do than listen to how someone I haven’t seen for five years died.”

“You don’t care?” Lazarus asked quickly, standing up as well. He hesitated when Adela turned a cold gaze upon him and he stared, unbelieving at how heartless the girl before him was, repeating his sentence in a statement as though proving it to himself, “You don’t care.”

Adela faced forward again without a single change in her indifferent expression, walking briskly away as she spoke, “Mind your own business.”

Drumming her fingers on the handle of her mahstion gun, Adela swerved around a corner to head for the training room. She needed to relieve some pent up stress in a productive way. She was frustrated that that man had found it in himself the right to judge exactly why she didn’t care. ‘Mind your own business’ was something that everyone needed to learn, and so it had turned out to be the expected answer amongst soldiers when they spoke to their Lieutenant. It was no different for the soldier who saluted Adela, stopping in her tracks as he spoke. He was vaguely aware that Adela made no effort to face him.

“There has been a disturbance in the skyboarding competition.” He stated stiffly.

“Has it been resolved?” She asked, folding her arms impatiently, hating the subject of skyboarding, or any other kind of sport.

“According to the report, it is under control. It seems as though it is a terrorist attack, and most of the perpetrator’s have been killed or captured. It began when one of the skyboarders, registration name unknown, attacked another, Ally Penbur. However, the soldiers present have reported capturing the thief known as Levi, who is charged with multiple counts of theft, four murders, and other offenses.”

“That petty thief?” Adela snapped scornfully, turning her sharp eyes onto the soldier, “If he’s already captured, then I don’t care. As for this terrorist attack, find out the registration name, find out everything about that skyboarder who attacked Penbur. I want to know what kind of failure would try to attack a stadium full of Tealian Soldiers.”
  #3    
Old January 5th, 2008 (7:38 PM).
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"I understand why we're here... But why is the little punk here too?" Unfortunately, the entire fiasco has ended in the capture of the Archai Squad by Tealian forces, despite the pleas of the Princess of Carn. Even though the Prince had cleared his name of all charges, apparently there was some bitterness within the ranks over his absence. No doubt due to the fact that he was originally engaged to wed Adela Ciacco, a girl he had recently learned had become a commander like her mother was. What had happened to her? Reid wondered. This was his first time in Tealia in years, and the air of Meredy hadn't changed a bit.

Flaire nudged him in the ribs with her elbow softly, snapping the boy back to reality. He glanced back at the thief, who was being closely watched by four soldiers who had him surrounded. That being said, they weren't in amuch better predicament. Actually, the three Archai Squad members were stuffed uncomfortably close together between for Tealian soldiers as well, and the fact that they were walking down a long, dark hallway void of windows didn't really help add to the appeal. "I guess he was a wanted a criminal or something... although I do owe him thanks later for saving Rosaline." His voice dimmed to avoid Flaire catching the second half of the sentence. she considered Rosaline one of Reid's past love interests, and wasn't particularly fond of her. Although if they sat down for a while, they probably could come to understand one another. Rosaline was a very innocent and polite girl, after all.

"Heh, I guess so. How are you doing Ellianne?" Flaire responded, before turning her attention to the wyvern girl who was stuck in behind the couple. With a look of false comfort on her face, the silver haired maiden managed to provide a pathetic looking thumbs up as an answer to the question. "Well, that's good!"

"She's obviously lying because she doesn't want you getting worked up..."

"Whatwasthat?"

"Nothing..." Reid was aware of Flaire's energetic, yet occassionally violent personality when he became a couple with her. The girl was easily worked up, especially when the condition of her friends was involved. Despite this, Reid found it entertaining to be sarcastic with her from time to time. The group finally reached a door at the end of the long dark hall, and one of the soldier opened it, before essentially throwing Reid inside, back up, onto the floor inside. Flaire landed on her butt on top of Reid.

"Hey, girl, get in there!"

"..."

"Hey, are you listening to me? Answer when you're spoken to!" Unfortunately, Ellianne was having some trouble. Obviously scared by the larger man, she shook subtly as she slowly walked into the room, before Levi was thrown in after her. Just as the door shut, as the man was leaving, the back of his shirt suddenly caught aflame. Cries of pain rung in the hall from behind the door, and Flaire let out a snicker.

"Flaire... get off of me."

"Fine, but you make a good pillow, Reid."

"Really? I wouldn't know by the number of times you FALL ASLEEP ON ME."

"Hmm?"

"Nothing..."

Ellianne sweatdropped, but perked up when she realized there were two other people in the room...
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  #4    
Old January 5th, 2008 (9:10 PM). Edited January 5th, 2008 by Loki.
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"Ahhhh, this sucks. So much for a royal pardon." Levi whined childishly, his arms roped together from his hands up to his elbows with rope. Awkwardly, he wriggled about on the floor, trying to get to his feet, rolling left and right before he finally let out a frustrated cry, pushing himself up with his forehead. Finally on his feet, he shook his head and blinked once or twice to get his goggles back onto the bridge of his nose, "S'about time. What'choo guys doin' here? Don't look like bloody murderer's 'ta me. 'Fact two ah ya are pretty cute. Can't say the same about you mate," Levi laughed, addressing Reid, "Winds don't blow my sails in that direction kiddy."

Winking at Ellianne, Levi smiled, "Heya there sweet pea, if yours or my head's not blown to pieces by then, you free sayyy... next Saturday?"

"Cease conversation." Came a chilly voice. Levi, completely unaffected by the lack of amusement in the feminine voice, turned and came upon Adela, who was standing in front of her desk with a gaze of little more than sheer disgust. He, who knew nothing of who she was or why she was here grinned stupidly and made to salute in mock seriousness. However, the ropes that bound his hands together caused him not to salute, but to lose balance and fall back onto his face.

"Ohhh, I got me three cute ones. I got the makin's of a harem here."

"The murder of the Evallen family, and multiple thefts of valuable pieces." Adela glanced at the soldier in the corner of the room nearly out of sight, holding a clipboard while ignoring Levi's rude comments to the fullest. He nodded, and Adela turned her eyes back onto Levi, ignoring Reid and his company. Her arms were tightly folded across her chest as she let loose with her condescending attitude, saying without the slightest twitch in her serious face, "You're not very impressive for a murderer."

"Aw, what can I say?" Levi replied, continuing to be unaffected by Adela's bitter ways, struggling to get to his feet again, "They were kind of annoyin', 'specially since the lit'le girl kept moanin' somethin' about needin' ta pay medical bills er som'thin. Wouldn't stop askin' me not ta take the money right? Like I'm gonna tell her "Oh yeah sure, I went ta' all the troubl'ah gettin' here, but if you need it den I guess I be goin' elsewhere t'night." Ay, I got what I wanted, 'nd they didn't have to pay no medical bills, we're all happy 'in chummy right?"

Adela seemed not to have heard a single word as she grabbed the back of Levi's jacket, pulling him up and saying without a smile, "It's not going to be such a cheer when I get what I want. You, behind bars."

"Aw, c'mon now," Levi smirked slyly, "You're makin' me blush."

Adela's grip on his collar intensified, and in a second, Levi's face had collided roughly with the wall, the Lieutenant straightening and folding her arms again, silent for a moment before her gaze turned sharply to the Archai Squad. To be specific, she was mostly pointing her attention at Reid, whom was underneath a girl wearing a repulsive fancy dress that made Adela's upper lip twitch in digust. Her expression finally changed from indifference to irritation as she turned to face them entirely, leaning her weight on one foot. The soldier in the corner leaned over in the slightest, surprised at seeing the normally stiff and on-call Lieutenant standing in such a manner. Adela was silent for a minute before she scoffed, striding behind her desk and pulling out her mahstion gun so that Reid could see it. Setting it down on the mahogany tabletop, she began to unbuckle her gun holster, speaking lightly in a tone that was obviously a frail cover over an undeniable amount of resent.

"So," Adela began, speaking clearly to Reid, "Of course, I've already fixed up everything in your favor, and I assure you there's not a soul in Tealia who might make the mistake that the Commander's daughter is engaged to the exiled hero."

She pulled off her holster and tossed it onto the mahogany tabletop, unzipping the small pocket on the inside.

"Once you're finished here, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd get out of my sight for as long as you live or die. And I'd appreciate it if the next time you decide to get caught by the Tealian Forces, I would be ten times more inclined to write you a clearance statement if you would refrain from attacking Tealian soldiers, Miss Teluia, it hinders progress when a soldier is hospitalized for burns.” Adela made no comment about the soldier himself, showing about how much she cared about the soldiers themselves.

After adding a flourish to her signature, Adela pulled out a stamp and pressed the seal next to her name, dropping a necklace she'd pulled out of her holster onto the paper before folding it in half and holding it out to the Archai Squad, "I wager you'll need this necklace back Mr. Davies."

“I hope you don't mind, but the Archai have outlived their welcome in Tealia.”
  #5    
Old January 6th, 2008 (2:30 PM).
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Reid gulped a ferocious gulp. Adela. Lovely. Unfortunately, he was a little more preoccupied by the less than suitable comments coming from the direction of the apparent murderer. A murderer. Perhaps he didn't deserve Reid's gratitude after all. It wasn't strange to take the life of another. That ironically, was life, however there was a difference in taking a life in order to protect and taking a life for one's selfish agenda. Murderer or not, this kid sure did let his mouth run about woman. It was only a matter of time before- "SLAP". Nevermind. Ellianne had approached the boy, and slapped him hard across the face. Apparently the thought of going out on a date with his kind was enough to send her of all people over the edge. She proceeded to throw her head to the side and walked away from the boy, her face beat red from a flurry of both anger and embarrassment. Even Flaire sweatdropped at the sight, knowing that was well out of the wyvern girl's personality. "That's okay Ellianne! You don't have to take that kind of harrassment from such a low creeper like him!" She offered encouragement, which Ellianne responded to by sighing.

"Ohhh, I got me three cute ones. I got the makin's of a harem here."

Flaire's foot came at Levi's head at this comment. "STINKING PERVERT. GO CRAWL INTO A SHALLOW HOLE AND DIE."

Both Reid and Ellianne found themselves drawn to Adela once more as she drew the mahstion gun from it's holster. Ellianne instinctively reached for her own in self defence, but Reid signalled to her that it wasn't necessary. Reid glared at his ex-comrade suspiciously as she took out the weapon and told him of things he already knew. He cringed however, when Adela attempted to address Flaire lighting the soldier on fire. "Oh, I'm soooo sorry. The next time my friend is being harrassed by your soldiers, I'll just sit and watch, okay? And when she ends up hospitalized because of what your soldier did, I'll be sure to tell the paper that you permitted him to do so, and the world can see what a witch you are." Flaire subbed the word witch in for a nastier word. She didn't want to push her luck too much.

"Anyways." Reid began, full well knowning he needed to divert the topic before the very lives of Ellianne and himself became at risk by these two young women, as he took the piece of paper from Adela's hand, unfolding it neatly as to gaze unto the necklace below. "Telling us we're unwelcome here does not fall under your jurisdiction, commander. The prince and queen have allied themselves with Flazure, much like the royalty of Carn. We can come and go just as we please." He grabbed the necklace and chucked it to Flaire, who seemed pleased by the fact that her boyfriend was giving her something that belonged to his ex.

"Reid? Oh- Adela." Rosaline Dian suddenly barged in through the door, panting vigorously. "I was... afraid... I was going to... miss you..." She continued to pant between words. Reid smiled an awkward smile. The young woman's heart was in the right place, but she just seemed to push herself too hard. Rosaline, once an unnaturally thing and dirty looking girl from 15 years of being contained underground, had blossomed into a beautiful 21 year old woman suitable for the role of Carn's princess. Her body, once frail and malnourished, was now 5'9", healthy, and overall very attractive, although Reid would never admit that to Flaire. She had long since abandoned her longer hair style, and had cut the navy blue locks at a location that was just past shoulder length. Her blue eyes had never been prettier as well, as they had found the love and admiration of many people, although many Carn citizens still despised her for not carrying out her role as sacrifice and taking the deceased Princess' place. Usually, she was forced to wear the most elegant of dresses, but today she wore nothing more than a white sundress and dainty white shoes. If her identity was realized by the public, she'd be in trouble, so she had to dress differently while going out on excursions. "Your presence has been requested by the Queen to attend a dinner tonight at Tealia's castle. The leader of the Archai squad will be there, so the whole squad has been invited. Sven will be there too, along with my father. Also, Adela, the Prince has requested your presence as well." The Princess went back to catching her breath after the long speel of words, and Reid looked at her concerningly.

"...Shouldn't Ailia be with you? Where did she take off to? It's dangerous for you to be out like this and you know it." Reid eyed the Princess suspiciously. Sometimes he wondered why he let his younger sister join up with Carn and act as Rosaline's body guard. She was never around when she needed to be, after all.

"Ah, yes. She's helping prepare the dinner. Apparently there is going to be a big announcement, so please try not to be late! You'll all be given accomodations when you reach the castle, where you can spend the rest of the day until the dinner at seven. I'll... see you there then?" The girl smiled an innocent smile. Her soft voice didn't really help add to the aura of innocence she radiated with.

Flaire eyes the princess suspiciously at the last line. Was she making a move on Reid!? She better not be!
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  #6    
Old January 6th, 2008 (3:44 PM). Edited January 6th, 2008 by Loki.
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Adela, with each response, noticed that it was getting harder and harder to keep a passive face. At the end of it all, she was just about ready to blast their heads off with the mahstion gun in her hand, but sighed instead, feeling the air in her lungs calming her. She opened her mouth to speak, but was interuppted by the sound of shattering glass. Her mouth closed, an annoyed look crossing her face for a split second as she turned to regard Levi, who had stumbled into a glass vase after being kicked by Flaire. He stared at the carnations on the floor for a second before jumping and hurriedly apologizing.

"Ah, s-sorry thar girly, I wuzn't watchin' me step." Levi sweatdropped, “But, don’t worry dolly,” He said to Flaire, “At the rate this is goin’, I migh’ not crawl, but I’ll certainly die in a hell hole called prison.”

"Stand still, shut up." Adela snapped, Levi's tense shoulders sagging as he hung his head. What a boring response.

Her eyes darted back to Reid and Flaire, as she began to speak, "Excuse me, Ms. Teluia, but I did not ask you for your opinion. I have extended my best effort to remain at least minimally civil towards you, and I'm sure you understand why this is an effort to be appreciated. Mr. Davies, I relent, your words are fair enough. Let me specify, you are no longer welcome in this office, so if you would please take your lea-"

"Reid? Oh- Adela."

Adela sighed in frustration, but said nothing to Rosaline's interupption, listening with a bored and irritated gaze. She was arrogant now, but she was far from the type to rebuke those superior to her in ranking, unlike that washed up excuse for a Princess. She frowned after Rosaline revealed that she was also invited. Dinner with the Archai Squad was not an appealing prospect, and she would not be allowed to refuse, due to this being the Queen's invitation.

"Oh an invitation to dinner? I am the hero of the day after all, so I'd say that sounds great! I’ll show up for dessert, if you don’t mind-" Levi grinned, before a soldier grabbed his shoulder, the color in his face washing out as the burly man’s rumbling voice interjected.

"You are not included."

"Aw, don't be such a stiff, yah? Just a slice ‘o cake and I’ll be on mah merry way." Levi nudged the man in the ribs with his shoulder awkwardly, though both he and Adela looked far from amused, "… Alright you stick's in da mud, I be shuttin' up now if that makes ya'll happy. My head migh’ be a little safer from all yer violent tendencies. ‘Nd they call me ah murdahrer."

"Your silence is greatly appreciated by everyone who seems to have an affinity for lingering in this office." Adela rolled her eyes, "Thank you for relaying the invitation. I will inform the Queen of my presence tonight later on, please do not bother yourself with these trivial duties Princess Dian. Now, I assume that you have come to retrieve the Archai Squad. I have already signed any documents I have been informed of, so unless they may somehow find that they have further business here, I'm sure that Mr. Davies will not object to seeing you to your next destination."

Adela paused, tapping her finger on her gun before finally saying, “And there’s a man by the name of Lazarus seeking an audience with you Rosaline. If you’d like to hear what he has to say, I will send one of my soldiers to call him back. In the meantime, Garrick, please place the murderer into the seventy-fifth cell, second level. I want two mahstion bracelets, both on his ankles. I also want the satchel of explosives around his waist.”

"I have a name, y'know. My name's not murderer, it's L-e-v-i." He sneered childishly before his jaw fell open, "W-wait, d-don't take my explosives, I got somethin' in thar I want ta keep! It ain't dangerous, just a keepsake, lemme get it before ya take the bag!"

"OI!" Levi yelled, losing his accent when the soldier pulled the bag off of his belt, "I SAID DON'T TOUCH IT YOU BUMBLING IDIOT."

"And this is why I told you to rope his feet together too." Adela sighed, caring very little when the soldier was sent flying into the same wall that she'd smashed Levi into after taking a kick to the face.

"Yah but tha' way I can't walk on mah own y'know." Levi shrugged, turning back to standing in place after retrieving his explosives, looking as though even though he'd just taken out a soldier, he had no intentions of busting out at the moment, "I be takin' my leave after I have my fill of cute faces. Bit jealous of ya though mate. Y'got what, four cuties on your tail. Seem to me they're all pretty high rankin' too." He laughed, sitting down, "So do yer worst, Lieutenant."
  #7    
Old January 6th, 2008 (5:34 PM).
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"Someone wants an audience with me? I can't imagine what for..." Rosaline replied, trying her best not to comment on Adela's overall attitude. She had heard rumors of the commander's behaviour all of the way over in Carn, and a lot of them were none too pleasant. "I suppose I'll accept to meet with them, but Reid, would you mind accompanying me for the remainder of the day? There are many things we need to catch up on, and Ailia would probably like to see you after two years."

Reid glanced over at Flaire, who has giving him the 19-year old equivalent of puppy dog eyes. He had promised to take her shopping after their mission was over, and she really wanted to go. Not to mention she probably wasn't that fond of letting Reid accompany Rosaline off all on his own. The girl hadn't left his side since they met, after all. Well, essentially... "I don't know, I mean I'm not really supposed to leave Ellianne and Flaire behind..."

"That's fine, they can come too! I mean, I'll just set the meeting location at the VIP quarters at Cirallie Falls Plaza. There we can get as much food as we want, and there's a bunch of stores nearby so we won't be bored after we meet with this person..."

"CIRALLIE FALLS PLAZA!?" Just the mention of the locating was enough to light Flaire's up in delight. "THE Curallie Falls Plaza? Famous for it's vast size and numerous stores and restaurants that make it THE place to visit on any vacation to Tealia?" Rosaline nodded in response to each of the points the phoenix girl asked. Finally, Flaire let out a squee of delight before grabbing Reid and Ellianne by the hands and dragging them out of the office. "See ya, you little brat! I hope that bug thats stuck up your ass falls out before dinner tonight!" She called back, in Adela's obvious direction.

"Heh... sorry." Rosaline apologized, bowing. "I know this isn't my place to say, and I know you don't like Reid, or Flaire, Adela, but you should try to be a little bit nicer. That wyvern girl is half blind, and mute. Flaire was in the right by protecting her." The Princess spun around to head for the door. "And sorry to trouble you again, but I need you to pardon Levi for this evening, just temporarily. I have an important issue I need to discuss with him. Have an escort bring him to the dinner tonight, but be sure he remains on his best behaviour. And please send the one requesting an audience a message informing him of the meeting place and that the meeting will take place in one hour. Again, I'm sorry for burdening you on behalf of my own personal wishes... This isn't even my country after all, nor do I still feel I deserve the title of Princess..." With that said, she closed the door behind her.
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  #8    
Old January 6th, 2008 (6:42 PM). Edited January 6th, 2008 by Loki.
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Adela leaned back in her seat. Peace at last.

"Commander," The soldier began tentatively, unknowing how the girl would react to Flaire's parting comment, "Shall I cancel the training regimen you planned for this evening?"

"Sure. Why not." Adela snapped, in a terribly foul mood as she put her gun holster back on. It felt terribly light, and Adela immediately reached for her mahstion gun, hoping the weight would return. When it didn't, Adela frowned, turning to stare out of the window. It had been five years, huh? Reid looked incredibly different. His attitude didn't seem to have changed all that much though, from what Adela could see. After dragging him into the back of her mind, she was finally allowing herself to think freely. That Phoenix girl was annoying as hell, and she was rude. Washed up was the wrong choice of words. More like, washed away. Not to mention that Adela had done nothing to her with the same caliber of rudeness to that dressed up doll, thus, the girl had had no right to speak like that towards Adela. That blind girl must've been helpless beyond helpless if she was hurt by a plain, weak scout soldier. Scoffing to herself, Adela moved around her chair, folding her arms as she stood before the window, watching the soldiers beyond doing exercises. She preferred this view over the view of Tealia itself. On that side of the base, she would see air ships coming and going. She hated airships more than anything else in the world.

"Sooo..." Levi shifted rocked side to side in boredom, disliking the silence that came with Adela being lost in her thoughts.

"Oh shut up already." Adela sighed, not turning around. Thinking about everything had calmed her, and reflecting on her actions, she sighed. She'd most certainly not imagined that Reid's new girlfriend could be so..... Disagreeable. And that was for a girl who had been little more than a animal behind bars as a child. As far as she'd been told about the princess' history anyway, by word of Rod's Father.

"Erm... what shall we do about the murderer?"

Adela's eyes slid toward Levi, who gave a hopeful smile.

"You heard the Princess." Adela said to the soldier, "He's pardoned until tonight."

"AWWRIGHT!" Levi whooped, but gagged when he was thrown against the wall, his neck surrounded by sand that was flowing in from underneath the door.

"Shiraume and Kirden will accompany you for the rest of your stay here at the Tealian Base." Adela turned her head as a woman with long brown hair wrenched open the door, the left side of her face mangled with burns that she hardly bothered with hiding, followed by Shiraume, who hadn't changed in the slightest, other than her hair, which hid the right side of her face, mangled in the same manner as Kirden's. Shiraume's right eye was covered with a medical patch that sunk into the hollow where her eye obviously should've been, while Kirden wore a black eye-patch to match her entirely black attire. The only thing she'd lost since being turned into an apostle was her black veil, which she needed more now than she had before. The sand loosened to form a collar, fortified with Shiraume's Lionus flowing through the middle. Stepping forward, Shiraume snapped a mahstion bracelet onto Levi's left wrist before standing again, moving back as Kirden grabbed a tuft of his hair and wrenched him to his feet.

"Get up." Kirden commanded to Levi, who gaped shamelessly at their faces, "Shiraume is busy with healing and we don't have time to be gawked at like zoo animals. Hurry it up."

"Adela, what shall I do if he disturbs the patients?"

"Shut him up." Adela replied, as though it was obvious, "Kirden's already done it anyway."

Shiraume's indifferent left eye watched Levi, who was fiddling with his collar muttering something about 'itchy', before she turned, sweeping out of the room with Kirden close behind her. A line of Eation connected to Levi's collar, dragging the thief along and knocking him off balance. Kirden's strength was more than enough to pull him along the floor though. The two, Shiraume and Kirden, had been inseperable ever since they had abadoned the name 'Villa', each having taken the half of the side-effect that had plagued the apostle after attempting to use the iridescant potion that had kept Villa in Shiraume's form for a year.

"Leave." The Lieutenant waved the remaining soldiers out of the office.

Adela had thought that after she gave Reid his necklace back, she would never have to see him again. But now she had the chance to look forward to the fact that he'd be present at the dinner tonight. People these days had no consideration for others. She didn't want to make it seem as though just seeing him made her sick to her stomach. That was weak. But nobody seemed to have the insight to tell that just being around him was excruciating. They were doing a really good job, minding their own business.

"Ahh, what a pathetic sight." Adela clenched her fist, ignoring Jeckt's voice as he taunted both her and Xaviae. She blocked out the sight that Jeckt gave her of Xaviae. All she needed was the sight of his snow white hair, "It's not enough for him to just up and leave, but he's gotta come back with another girl too. And she's got higher ranking than you. He just keeps climbing up the ladder, doesn't he? Carn's Sacrifice, Daughter of the Commander, Phoenix Princess, man. He's caught a real ringer this time."

"More like he's going down the ladder." Adela replied coldly, "She's about as high ranking as a destitute beggar on the streets."

"At least we're never deployed to Flazure." Xaviae interjected, hating the tribes as much as Jeckt and his reila, watching his butterfly necklace swing in the sunlight, "That would be the worst."

Work was waiting. Blocking out her faels as she had done so many times before, Adela pushed away thoughts of the Archai Squad. Civility was of the essence, Adela repeated in her mind once or twice before beginning to sign documents and review the station plans for Tealian Troops in Flazure. Seeing all this protection for people she hated wasn't helping at all.
  #9    
Old January 11th, 2008 (11:16 PM).
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    OOC: Okay, I know it's short, and I know my sign-up isn't even finished yet, but I made a promise, so a promise is a promise. This is just to get things moving; I'll have my sign up done by either tonight or tomorrow.

    IC:

    In room 208 of the Sundown Inn in the south-east sector of Meredy, tempers were rising.

    "Just one more day, please! That's all I ask fo-"

    "I've had 'bout enough from you, kid. I don't want to hear any more of yer jabbering. I knew I never should have agreed to take you. Nothin' but trouble, you young punks. Three days. Take it or leave it. We're leaving tonight. Y'all can come with us, or you can stay here and die, we don't care. We're payed already. But there's no way that I'm going to risk the lives of my crew for more than I have to.. or am being payed to, while we're on the subject."

    "If it's money you want, I can get you all the money you want, just as soon as I get-"

    A harsh laugh barked out through the door frame, and a young maid sweeping the halls, daydreaming about sharing a plate of pasta with Billy Duram was quickly shaken from her fantasy, and she rushed down the stairs, flushed and ashamed of herself.

    "If you think you can lie to Jaak Delacroix, yer a bigger idjit than I thought. If I had a buck (1) for every time some sap gave me the 'I'll get you all the money you want' speech, I wouldn't need to be doin' this kinda !#[email protected] for a livin'!"

    "..You're a monster..!"

    Another dry laugh burst from the closed door, although it fell upon no ears, instead merely bouncing from wall to wall like an insane man rocks from wall to wall in an asylum.

    "Y'all got a lot of nerve, partner, callin' ME a monster. Why, if I were a monster, I'd just call up them rich folks down in the nicer sectors and tell 'em all 'bout a little friend I got with a pretty pair of wyvern wings that I'm sure he'd LOVE to take a gander at.."

    Silence. Amy Stringam, the young maid with a tendency to daydream, slowly reascended the stairs chastising herself for being afraid of nothing. The loud voice began again, softer than before.

    "Now. Why don't y'all just think about it, and see us at the dock tonight? Or maybe you'll be a damn fool and stay here, maybe find yourself a nice master to parade you like a prized animal on the street, but hey. It's your life, partner."

    The door to room 208 opened and Delacroix, a tall, broad man wearing a leather cap and jacket walked out, his patchy yellowed beard slightly discolored from his silver white hair. As he stepped out of the room, he took a sharp look at young Ms. Stringam, who promptly turned tail and fled down the stairs again, clutching her broom tightly to her bosom.

    The door quietly shutting behind Delacroix seemed to also close the door on Axel LeRoux's fate. As the silence grew to a roar around him, he felt, not for the first time, his sanity clear it's throat and look at it's watch, shaking it's head. He needed something to drink, and quickly.

    After waiting to make sure he wouldn't encounter Delacroix in the bar below, Axel set out for the bar, a large overcoat covering (to the best of it's abilities) his valuable wings, and he sat down at a booth several booths away from the door. He ordered a drink, made a toast to no-one in particular, and took a shot.

    Agrias spoke up from the confines of his conscious mind.

    "Oh, Axel.. it'll be okay. You.. just need to-"

    "-man up and find Artemis!" interjected Pandora. "There's nothing for you anywhere else; you've tried to live a boring life and it ain't your style, you dig? Find your old pal, you know it's what you want to do."

    "And how would I go about doing that?" Axel groaned, and to his disappointment, (but not surprise) neither of his faels had responses for him. He had to face facts; Artemis wasn't anywhere to be found. In the three days that he had been in Meredy, Axel had checked everywhere he had access to, and nobody had even heard of him. The only place that he hadn't combed was the royal palaces and the military facilities; none of which he had any method of infiltrating. A wild idea came into his idea of getting arrested and busting from the hands of the law once within, and reuniting with his long lost comrade, but a sigh and a single glum word from Pandora shot that one right out of the sky.

    "Psyche."
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      #10    
    Old January 12th, 2008 (5:18 PM).
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    "Hmm... are you sure you don't have just... water?" Lazarus sighed, a stack of books leaving only half of the irritated bartender's face visible. A bookworm at a bar was surely one of the greatest annoyances of all.

    "It'll cost you."

    "For a glass of water?!" Lazarus cried incredulously, only adding fuel to the fire.

    "Do you want the water or not?!" The bartender snapped, and Lazarus handed over a few gold pieces without protest, as though he'd simply made a scene to annoy the man. Though he hadn't, he just didn't want to get into a fight over a glass of water. He should've taken his unfinished water from the Tealian Base. It would've saved him some money. Perching his chin up on the cover of his books, Lazarus sighed. How was one to get an audience with a Princess? Alicel had met some very inconvinient people in her lifetime. He'd probably have to go back to that moody Lieutenant to ask her to arrange it. Maybe if he bugged her and promised to go away forever she would do it. Turned out unesseccary though.

    As soon as the bartender set down a glass of water, Lazarus felt someone tap his shoulder. Turning, he was face-to-face with an unmistakeable uniform. Tealian Forces.

    "C-...Can I help you?" Lazarus asked, wondering whether the commander had changed her mind and decided to lynch him for being annoying.

    "Lieutenant Ciaccio has arranged an audience with Princess Dian for you. You will arrive at the Tealian Base in one hour." He said stiffly, "And you are not to be late, as Princess Dian has more important business to attend to."

    "Oh." Lazarus replied, as though meeting with the Princess was a daily thing. The shock of such a simple solution to something he'd been pondering about since leaving the base was numbing over his brain, "Y-Yes of course. I'll be there."

    Though the soldier didn't stick around to hear the last part of what Lazarus had to say, as he promptly exited the hotel, leaving a dumbstruck Lazarus sitting at the counter. The bartender seemed to have forgotten all about the water ordeal, and was curious as to why Lazarus would have the privelege to meet with a Princess.

    Lazarus, however, forgot about the water altogether.

    ~ + ~

    Crap post, but I don't know what I'm supposed to do... xD;;
      #11    
    Old January 12th, 2008 (8:49 PM).
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    parallelzero parallelzero is offline
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    Flaire walked closely alongside Reid, to the point where she was practically hanging off of him, her obviously uneasy eyes examining every person that walked past her. On Reid's other side, the left, Ellianne was hanging off him in a similar fashion. If it had been any other girl doing it, Flaire probably would have snapped despite her social discomfort, but to her, Ellianne was family, so she didn't mind. They always hated going out in public, because their kind always got strange looks in public, even under the protection of Flazure. Well, of course they would. In the eye of the majority of the public, they were still nothing but items representable of social status. They went out in public knowing that they would get these lustful and dirty glares from people, especially walking around plain as day with their wings out. If anyone was aware of what Flaire's colourings meant, chances were they'd try to capture her regardless of consequences. To add to the poor image of the shopping group, Rosaline was also with them. Her white wings made it clear that she had royal blood in her body. Thankfully, Carn made sure nobody knew what their Princess looked like. After all, she had become a terrorist target the second she became pro-Flazure. But that left Reid to wonder, how exactly did the attackers from earlier know who Rosaline was? Perhaps Carn had a leak in it's intelligence? Ah well, he'd bring it up with the King later that night. But back to the topic at hand: the group was essentially a big walking target.

    After a short while of navigating through a labrynth of Elizabethan styled homes, complete with the tall iron fencing and beautiful, luscious gardens, the group finally arrived at their destination. It was a large building, made of brick which was covered elegantly with lush, green vines and ivy. This pattern of brick and growth continued upwards for ten floors, and was squarely sized at nearly half a kilometer in width every which way. Cirallie Falls Plaza was the single largest shopping center in the entire world at the time. While it was ten floors, only the first five were for general shopping needs. Floor 6 was full of restaurants, floor 7 was an amusement park, floor 8 was used for business dealings, floor 9 was a hotel, and floor 10 was reserved for Meredy's VIP guests.

    The group entered the large, glass revolving doors of the building with little hesitation. Of course, they still had 45 minutes left until Rosaline's meeting, so the girls insisted on shopping. It didn't take long for the girls to let go of him after entering the nearest clothing store and hearing the words "I'll buy!" come from Rosaline's mouth. Reid couldn't help but think "That girl... she's trying to go bankrupt, isn't she?" at the reality that Flaire would buy an entire clothing store if she wanted to. For the first little while, things were okay. They just looked. Then, the girls actually wanted to try things on. Reid sighed, full well knowing that he was going to have to reply to all of their "How does it look?" comments, on top of Flaire trying to outdo Rosaline's outfits. Fun. It could get worse, too, they could try and-

    "Reid, why don't you find some outfits for when you're in Mistral's form as well?"

    Dammit... To Flaire, when Reid was forced to assume the form of a girl for mission purposes, he was her doll. It had been that way since they first met, and Reid hated it. Mistral, on the other hand, found great joy in it. As a fael, she could technically wear whatever she wanted, and while Reid was in her form, the outfit he was wearing could be manipulated, but the fael girl found great interest in the human species and their everyday activities. Though, the fael girl had been very quiet for the past couple of days, as had Yule, Flaire's plufael. Reid saw this as the perfect opportunity to change the topic. "Hey, did something happen between Yule and Mistral? They haven't really been talking lately..."

    "They got into an argument over- ...nevermind." Flaire responded, but abruptly stopped, which left Reid to tilt his head curiously.

    "AIIEE!" A loud female scream was heard from outside of the clothing store they were currently in. Reid tensed, as did Flaire. Where was Ellianne and Rosaline? Did they take off without telling the two? "STUPID FILTHY BEAST GIRL. GET AWAY FROM ME!"

    "HEY! GET THE HECK AWAY FROM HER! SHE DIDN'T DO NOTHING TO YOU!"

    Reid sighed. He knew that voice, and familiarity lead him to come to a conclusion about what was going on. "We're going." Flaire nodded in response and they bolted out of the store into the massive cobblestone floored colosseum that was the hall of the second floor. Sure enough, there was a crowd huddled outside of a pet store. The sounds of some sort of physical damage being wrought on some poor person, and cries of Rosaline and another female voice for someone to stop. Reid's eyes narrowed as his pace increased. Damn it all, they better not have been doing what he thought they were. Was society really THAT opposed to the wyverns and phoenix? He made haste to draw his sword as the two drew closer. He wouldn't actually use it as a weapon unless necessary. After all, these were citizens, and if any stupid moves were made by the Archai Squad, what little trust placed in Flazure could be lost.

    A burst of wionus shot up into the air from the center of the crowd, but it cut off abruptly, which implied the user had been interrupted. Reid knew that wionus. After all, he shared the blood of who, it belonged. Almost there... the voices of the crows began to fill the ears of Reid.

    "Serves the little witch right."
    "Those people have no place here as anything other than slaves anyways."

    And it just went on. Flaire eyes watered as she heard all of this. She must not have caught on to what was happening until now. On top of that, the things being said had probably brought up a lot about her past. As they finally hit the crowd, massive winds began to form under the boy's control, parting the crowd so that they had a path to the center. Flaire rushed ahead, and found herself looking upon a horrid sight. Ellianne was on the ground, fallen on her side, completely bloodied by wounds of what could only be a nail bat. Rosaline, crying, was draped over the unconscious corpse, trying to pour as much lionus into the girl as possibly to prevent the chance of death. On the other side of the crowd's center was a very large man in comparison to the small, butterfly winged girl who had a red, chained quarterstaff in her hands. It was split into three pieces so that it could be swung around. This girl was bloodied as well at the right side of her stomach, and her black Carn uniform had been torn in multiple locations.

    The large, ripped, topless man swung again at the blonde haired girl with the nail bat, and she narrowly evaded by cartwheeling off to his side. She threw her staff down on his exposed head with all of her might, but it did no good, and she got the man's fist into her stomach, which had her sent far into the crowd. "Hey look! Another beast girl! A phoenix!" Someone in the crowd shouted out, his voice full of entertainment. The man's gaze focused on Flaire, who was still at Ellianne's side with Rosaline, trying to help. Between helping his sister fight and preserving the life of his comrade, Reid had chosen to stay at Ellianne's side.

    Upon seeing Ailia thrown away and the man's target being changed, Reid stood once more, his eyes irritated, but not pissed off. He knew Ellianne would live, and this was a natural reaction from a people whom up until recently enslaved these people. By the time Reid had stood, however, it was already too late. He had miscalculated. Flaire's face was drilled into the ground as the insanely large man moved at an inhuman speed towards the girl and brought his bat down vertically on her bent over back, the sound of cracking bones echoed even above the sounds of the crowd as her upper body was ground into the cobblestone, her red eyes wide open in fear. That speed... for a man like that... it was impossible... If Reid had blinked he would have missed it! Did he have a fael? No. Fael's can only increase your speed depending on your body size. His body was far too huge to gain the significant a speed increase.

    Fael or something else, that was it. "Unforgivable."

    "What was that ya brat? Ya got some kinda problem with weedin' out them people that are usin' so much of are resources 'n' money? Besides, tha wyvern gurl attacked a ladi. I'm doin' tha lady a faver." The man spoke with a bizarre accent, and he wreaked of alcohol. Yet, he wasn't drunk. "Ya shouldn' get involved in tha operashuns of NEAR. Ya may end up like tha there Carn girl who got involved."

    "NEAR?" Reid readied the sword in his right hand. The man responded accordingly by ripping the bat out of Flaire's barely concious corpse, a pool of blood beginning to form as the nails were removed from the girl's flesh, and a soft whimper was heard coming from her mouth.

    "Ya, NEAR. We're a organization aimin' to set thin's right in tha world." Reid couldn't help but think how stupid this man was. Unless he had a reason for spewing this out, of course. "Ya see, evar since Flazure formed, it's ben feedin' off are resources n cripplin' the economy. NEAR wans to fix that by removin' the weed." An extremist group. The market for phoenix and wyvern must have crashed after Flazure was formed, so that must be why they're resorting to killing them. "N you dun't wanna mess with me. After all, I've ben given sum of that there special drug they've been administerin' to willin' soldiers. Makes me unbeatable." Reid grinned. So that was it. "What, what ya grinnin' 'bout you little brat?"

    "You beat down my friend, my sister, and then my girlfriend. Then you proceed to tell some random group of people all about this secret organization. Why would you b-"

    "Why d'ya think?" It was followed by a menacing laugh, which had Reid's eyes shoot open in sudden realization.

    "DAMMIT. EVERYONE GET OUT OF HERE! HE'S GOING TO KILL YOU ALL." With the speed he had exhibited, it wouldn't take him long to kill everyone on the floor. Some people began to ran, while others seemed to remain behind for reasons unknown.

    "Y'people are interested in joinin' up with NEAR, eh?" Grunts of confirmation came from the remaining people. That was his purpose? The reason for this whole thing? To get new recruits? "Very well." A vast pool of dation formed behind the man, and he motioned for the new recruits to jump in. He was using it for teleportation. That was an ability Reid hadn't seen since his experiences with the apostles five years prior...

    When the only people left were the wounded bodies of Ellianne, Flaire, and Ailia, along with Reid and Rosaline, the man stepped back towards the portal. "Reid Davies of the Archai Squad. I reckon ya should keep out of are affairs. Some goes for little miss Carn Princess over there." Rosaline's eyes shot open. He knew who they were. How did he know that? "And the little phoenix princess over thare, she's damn lucky I didn' kill her." He knew that too!? How did he know THAT? Even the King of Carn and Queen of Tealia didn't know that! "Ah well, nex' time maybe. Until then - Ciao." He fell back into the portal, and all was silent.

    That is, until Reid finally spoke once more after a few minutes of reflection. "How did they know all of that... How did they know?" He turned around abruptly and knelt down in the puddle of blood beside Flaire, who was still bleeding heavily, her breathing short and shaken. Ellianne wasn't faring any better. While she had many more wounds than Flaire, they weren't as severe, and unlike Flaire, she had no broken bones.

    The sound of footsteps behind Reid made him turn around. To his surprise, his sister, Ailia, was there, barely standing, with her right hand supporting her left, dislocated shoulder. "Sorry... I wasn't much use... By the time I got here, he had already done most of the damage to Ellianne. Apparently she had tripped and landed on a woman. One of the guns fell out of her pocket, and the man saw all of this and jumped at the opportunity..." Her voice, too was shaken. Thankfully, her wounds were nowhere near are plentiful nor as severe as the other two. "I just paged the hospital a moment ago, they should be here shortly. And Rosaline, I called Tealian HQ to inform them of the issue and to move the location of your meeting to the hospital."

    "What the hell are you doing, brat? You need to lay down as well. You're in no condition to be moving around."

    "Maybe for once... I'll agree with you... big brother." Using the wall as a support, she slid down into a sitting position on the floor.

    It wasn't long after that they were transported to a nearby hospital, and Tealian forces arrived on scene. In the end, Ellianne, Flaire, and Ailia were all placed in the same room after having the more severe portions of their wounds healed. Reid and Rosaline ended up waiting in the room as the three slept.

    Reid threw his head back as he let out a loud sigh in the comfy guest chair in the medical room. He had never, NEVER seen a look in Flaire's eyes like the one he had seen in her eyes when the bat hit her. It was so full of pain, and fear. It was so... unlike her. He could only imagine what kind of pain one would have to be enduring to provide such a look. He hoped he'd never have to see that look again...
      #12    
    Old January 13th, 2008 (2:50 PM).
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    Adela heaved a sigh. As she read the hastily put together report on the event at Cirallie Falls Plaza, a soldier stood by to wait for orders. It seemed like Rosaline was a danger magnet. Or maybe it was Reid. Either way, she knew she should’ve prepared for something like this the minute they showed up in Tealia. And now she’d have to apologize for it. Oh, how she hated apologizing. How much more excruciating it would be to apologize to the Archai Squad. She slammed the report down on the table and the soldier jumped from the sudden movement. Adela remained silent however, staring down at the words before sweeping out of the office and stepping into the very middle of the room, giving orders as she did so.

    “I want the fifth squad to occupy Cirallie Falls, and the third to meet me at the hospital where Princess Dian and the Archai Squad should be. I want at least ten units investigating NEAR.”

    “Shall I make an announcement discouraging discrimination against the Phoenix and Wyverns occupying Tealia?”

    Adela hesitated and glanced at the soldier, silence overcoming the room again. Thoughts ran through her head.

    “Not unless Prince Ryan asks for one.” She replied, sinking into a pool of Dation and emerging in the hospital waiting room, brushing off her dress and taking one sweeping examination of her new surroundings. Irritation registered in her expression upon seeing Reid, but she said nothing to contribute, merely stated plainly, “My apologies for the disturbance at Cirallie Falls Plaza, Mr. Davies, Princess Dian. I hope that it is not a burden to ask you to keep both Flaire and Ellianne’s wings concealed at all times. They may be free, but that does not mean they are equal in the eyes of all Tealian citizens. It is in your best interest.”

    She turned, “I have asked for the third unit to accompany your stay in this hospital, and for half of the unit to accompany you for the rest of your stay in Tealia. Our head healer should arrive any moment now to continue treatment on your friends, and they should be fine in less than an hour. Princess Dian, I ask that you discuss whatever it was you needed to with that murderer before his incarceration tonight. He will arrive with the healer shortly as well.”

    She sank into another pool of Dation, making sure to show up outside of Cirallie Falls so that her own Dation wouldn’t mix with what was undoubtedly a large amount of Dation that must’ve been swirling in the Cirallie Falls Plaza. It would be a feat, to find those few particles that would be stronger than the rest due to drugs.

    In the meantime, at the hospital, Shiraume peered around the corner the second Adela left.

    “What a stiff.” Levi’s voice came, before he yelped from being punched, and muffled another yelp after being punched again for being loud in a hospital.

    “It’s good to see you all again.” Shiraume smiled, stepping out from the hallway where she'd been avoiding Adela, who would undoubtedly give her another cold reception, “Flaire, Ellianne, and Alia are out of harms way and are simply resting at the moment. However, I’d prefer if they had peace to rest while their bodies catch up with my healing and wash out the remaining Lionus that is preventing any scarring tissue from forming. Rosaline, please be careful of Levi, he seems to know more than he lets on, but I have arranged an empty room if your discussion must be private. Unfortunately, Kirden will also be present during your discussion, but this is a necessary and unavoidable precaution, as Levi seems to know your face and name, something that Carn covets. ”

    “It’s not hard to find tha-owowowow!“ Levi began, interrupted when knuckles of sand drilled at his temples.

    OoC;; I honestly hate the posts I've been making. xD; I'm sorry guys, they're all so crappy.
      #13    
    Old January 13th, 2008 (6:23 PM).
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    Jack O'Neill Jack O'Neill is offline
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      Aleksandra Zaitseva, a.k.a. Staff Sergeant Natalya Romanova, hated everything.

      She hated working for Tealian Forces Materiel Command, who rebuffed her when she rediscovered the methods for making Mahstion-independent firearms and explosives. She hated working for Tealian Forces Medical Command, who essentially employed her as a guinea pig and manual laborer. She hated life at the Meredy base, where she had to deal with all sorts of boobs, boneheads, and general incompetents in her various lines of work. She especially hated Lieutenant Ciaccio; in Aleks' eyes, that shrill harpy of a commissioned officer couldn't command even a class of kindergarteners, much less a platoon of NCOs who had been defending Tealia long before she was born.

      The only thing keeping Aleks from suffering a psychotic episode and breaking her cover was alcohol. Lots of it. She was currently at the Sundown Inn's bar, where she was in the middle of downing her fifth beer of the night. As events unfolded around her, she simply remained at the counter, asking for refills when needed. She was on her seventh beer when the Tealian Forces soldier came to inform Lazarus of his meeting with Princess Dian. Upon hearing mention of the names of the Princess and the Lieutenant in quick succession, Aleks decided it was time to go; she quickly gulped down what little beer remained in her mug and tossed a bag of gold coins onto the counter. "That should take care of my tab here," she chirped as she rose from the stool.

      The barkeep redirected his attention from Lazarus and his bookpile to the bag of coins that Aleks had left for him. "That's what you said last time, Sergeant Romanova," he muttered as he pocketed the bag. "I'll count them later."

      As Aleks stumbled over to the exit, her gaze just happened to fall upon Axel LeRoux. A kid wearing a thick overcoat in relatively warm weather definitely registered as suspicious to her. She shuffled over to his booth and sat down across from him. "Hey, kid," she said, "that there is one damn fine coat you're wearing. Don't you think it's a bit warm to be wearing something like that, though?"

      With that extremely cryptic statement, Aleks left the booth and walked out of the hotel in a slight alcohol-induced haze. She was barely several yards out when she was spotted by the same Tealian Forces soldier who had given Lazarus his orders. "Sergeant Romanova!" he called out.

      "Yes, what is it?" Aleks replied with a question of her own.

      The soldier replied back, "There's been a terrorist attack on Cirallie Falls Plaza. 5th Squad, 2nd Platoon, 1st Company has the plaza secured, while 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon has been assigned to hospital duty. There are at least ten other fireteams patrolling the surrounding area."

      Before the grunt had finished his status report, however, Aleks was already running towards Cirallie Falls; despite being slightly drunk, she still had an impeccable sense of direction. "Sergeant, wait up!" the soldier called out after her.
        #14    
      Old January 18th, 2008 (8:34 PM).
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      Reid groaned at the sudden appearance of Adela. He was NOT in the mood for little miss emotionless' cold little statements and orders that Reid wasn't going to pay too much attention to. What did she know about them? What did she know about their cause? If she really understood what kind of stand they were trying to make, she wouldn't have done something as insulting as asking the group to have their wings hidden. But no, she didn't stop there. She proceeded to tell them that she would be assigning soldiers to accompany them. His mood lightened a little as Adela left and Shiraume came into the scene. She had always been such a nice woman, and it was refreshing to actually get a nice greeting for once in the town. Actually, it may be a good time...

      "Rosaline, go to your meeting with the felon without me. I have something else I need to do for a while." He rose from his seat, and Rosaline followed suit. She looked at him, concerned, but decided against asking about it and made her way to the room that housed the thief and murderer. When she had left, Reid turned to Shiraume, before opening his white cloak and letting it drop to the floor, and then removing the white undershirt that he had on underneath, although he kept his black pants on that were underneath the cloak. He turned his back to her, revealing two deep, obviously infected, black gashes, where a normal person would have wings. "I need an examination. A thorough one, and you can't tell anyone about the results. I don't want anyone worrying about nothing..."

      Rosaline looked over worringly at Kirden before taking her seat, while removing the sunhat from upon her head. She wasn't comfortable speaking her mind in front of Kirden as well. She had intended on the conversation being private, but there wasn't much chance of that now. "Um... Mister Levi?" Her voice, very innocent, had never been very power. "I have a favor to ask of you... Uhm..." She began twiddling her fingers. She was a woman now, why she still did such gestures really was a wonder. After a while, she just decided to blurt it out. "Could you please act as my envoy and travel with the Archai Squad? Since I'm not allowed to participate in the battles, I'd like to send someone capable. Of course, you'd be free of your prison sentence, and your paycheck would be generous, although you would be under Reid's jurisdiction and if you did anything wrong you'd most likely be killed..." She had a knack for somehow mixing good and bad news into one nice long string of words. That was a talent.

      ---

      "But, sir! A war with Flazure? NOW? You realize, sir, that this would label our country as an enemy of both Carn and Tealia!"

      "Lieutenant. Please don't speak out of line. You are aware that these decisions are not mine to make. We've been assured that the two countries will not take action on us if we take any action on Flazure. After all, most of their population already don't care for the country. The leaders can only push their stance so far before their citizens rise against them, after all."

      "But SIR-"

      "LIEUTENANT. I gave you an order. The operation begins at 00 hours, and you are to mobilize your unit. Also, we'll be using the new units during this operation, so go make sure Auricia is ready by tonight."

      "With all due respect, Auricia is still injured from the testing, sir. I don't care if she's a weapon in the eyes of the government or not, we wouldn't send any soldier in the condition she's in."

      "Do you expect me to care? Do you expect anyone to care? A weapon is a weapon, it doesn't matter if they can breathe. Now, Lieutenant Tappen, I suggest you do as you're ordered. You haven't been a Lieutenant for long. You can always be demoted."

      Darkness. Foolish mortals. This world is doomed to the darkness.
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        #15    
      Old January 18th, 2008 (9:35 PM).
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      Shiraume lifted her fingers to her mouth before stopping halfway there. She bent over a little to get an even look and traced the wound with her finger just centimeters away from the blackened skin, being sure not to touch it. Furrowing her brow, Shiraume straightened and weaved her fingers together, pausing before finally apologizing in advance as she felt the wound, starting from the bottom and moving up to the top. Sighing, she impatiently hooked her blonde hair away from her eyes, probing between the black patches.

      "Well Reid..." Shiraume said quietly, immersed in the wound on his back as a tendril of Lionus stretched to form gloves while handing her a syringe. Her eyes lingered on the syringe for a moment before she swiveled around to face Reid, "I'll take a blood sample then." She jabbed the needle into his upper arm, continuing, "The results of the blood test won't come back for awhile. I'll need more labs for that black skin, but it's apparent that there's tissue damage on top of bruising. It's best if you try not to do too much bending so that the tissue can mend." She capped off the blood sample and set it on a tray of Lionus. Shiraume turned to look at the wound again. Silence overcame her as she gently felt between the wounds, where his spine was. She frowned.

      "You've been using those synthetic wings, haven't you?" She asked with disapproval in her voice.

      Pulling a pair of tweezers off of the Lionus tray, Shiraume continued with various things, sending samples to be tested by way of Lionus.

      "It's not my place," Shiraume said apologetically, "But as a healer, I'll give you my honest opinion. You shouldn't try those wings until they're approved. They might cause your spine serious damage. But if you want to continue with it, try not to put them on again until the bruises go away. I'll inform you of the lab results sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, please don't strain yourself and give this wound some time to heal. I've never dealt with synthetic wings before, so I'm not sure what the effects will be if I use Lionus on it. I'm sorry I can't do more."

      ------------------

      Levi gaped stupidly at Rosaline. Kirden did too.

      "P-P-Princess-" Kirden spluttered, but Levi quickly interuppted, standing up with a boundlessly joyous expression.

      "HECK YES!!!" Levi answered with extreme enthusiasm, pumping his fist up and down, "I'M OUTTA THE TIN CAN- Er." He stared at Rosaline for a moment before sitting back down, "I'm not worried about that Reid kid, I don't mind taking orders. And not to be impudent Your Highness, but I don't get killed, I do the killing. But getting out of jail, and getting paid for it? Sounds like a plan to me." Levi grinned, but the smile quickly changed into a surprised look when he realized something.

      "Oh. The Archai Squad is allied with Flazure, aren't they?" Levi muttered to himself. It shouldn't be an issue. The Jaquez Family didn't have enough income to send out assassins now anyway. At least, not assassins of the caliber that they could even touch Levi's head. Er, unless they were anti-phoenix-wyvern assassins... No, this was like a get out of jail with profit ticket. It was too good to give up just because of that.

      "Yeah." Levi smiled, "So do you want me to do anything in particular? Send you reports every now and then, just be their babysitter, or do you just want me to follow 'em around?"
        #16    
      Old January 19th, 2008 (3:55 PM).
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        "So picking on girls makes you a big man, huh?"

        The burly Underneather's drawl went unheard by the escaping topless male. He alone, of all the room's occupants, had stayed when the other Underneather had warned everyone to leave while remaining outside the portal. Hidden by the shadows, he had watched. He would have protected the girl, but he had been there too late. Besides, the man's inhuman speed would have been a problem if he had just rushed in. But waiting on the sidelines sickened Gael. His anger and rage knew no bounds. How could anyone do that to an innocent girl? She'd done nothing! What made the underneather's rage really boil was the fact that he had been lied to. Those NEAR punks! They promised him money for researching pre-cataclysmic technology so long as he was kind enough to dispose of a certain special agent named Reid Davies. Gael hadn't cared at the time. A war between the winged ones was of no consequence to him, he was an underneather. As long as his airship could fly and there was work for him, he could weather a war without any personal risk. But fighting wars was different from beating a girl with a nail bat. Gael knew how fighting was supposed to work. One guy beat the snot out of the other guy, by any means necessary. On the other hand, one guy whaling on a defenseless girl was classified as abuse. It didn't matter whether the girl was human or winged, someone who did that deserved instant death. And that was what Gael planned on giving this guy.

        What now, Gale? Are we gonna kill the soldier-boy? Diana's giggling voice broke across Gael's thoughts. The fael appeared in his mind's eye, resting herself on an outstretched tree limb. I mean, if that was him why didn't you throw the knife and off him right there?

        "Shut up, you stupid louse," Gael grumbled. "We aren't killing that boy anytime soon. Damned if I'll sell my services to anyone who lets their employees do things like that. I don't care if they've got wings or not, hurting someone in that way is wrong. I'm not gonna be a part of it, no sir."

        Fortuna's subdued, calm voice broke through Gael's mind as well while he pictured the fael sitting at an old card table, crystal ball in her hand. Gael...

        "Captain. I don't care if you're a part of my soul or what, anyone who is not named 'Gael' and is part of my crew adresses me as 'Captain'." Gael admonished grimly as he slipped from his hiding place and moved towards the city's square, careful to blend in with the crowd.

        Ah, of course. Captain. I'm glad that you've decided to stop working with these people, but what are you going to do now? Fortuna's voice softened the normally rough and blustery Gael, but only for a moment.

        "Do? What am I going to do?" Gael laughed at the question. "What we always do, of course! We fuel up the Otherworld and look for work again! Honestly, what kind of a question is that?"

        Captain, don't you think we should tell that soldier what we know? Fortuna was concerned, moreso then usual.

        Unfortunately, this prompted Diana to begin performing her duties as a Negafael. Oh come on, sis! You've got to be kidding me! Of course Captain isn't going to do anything like that! Why should we help these stupid Tealians anyway? Fat lot of good they've done us! she challenged.

        Fortuna remained calm, though her voice still registered concern. But if we truly wanted to hinder NEAR's actions, wouldn't it be best to-

        Yeah, yeah, who cares? As long as we aren't helping them kill girls, we've done our duty. Let's just hit the road and call it quits!

        But-

        "SHUT UP!"

        Gael's command was followed by a burst of as much assertive energy as his psyche could muster. Both faels quivered as the rush of energy passed them, shaking the landscape of their mental world. Gael's eyes sparked as he advanced towards the two mentally. "You know by now that I make up my own mind about these things," he growled. "Now, I really don't feel like doing anything particularly nice for Tealia-"

        Fortuna's face fell and Diana prepared to launch a crushing "Toldja so!" at her sister just as Gael finished his sentence with "-But those NEAR punks are asking for it, and I want to make sure that they go down and stay there."

        Diana was confused. So what are we doing?

        Gael's eyes were set as he replied "We're going to decide the old fashioned way: coin toss." Removing the small gold piece from his pocket, he positioned on his thumb. "Heads, we go to that Reid kid and tell him what we know. Tails, we leave without saying a word." As both faels acknowledged the fairness of this form of decision making, Gael flipped. The coin spun through the air as a golden blur for a moment before rushing down into Gael's awaiting palm. Both faels watched breathlessly as he slapped the coin onto the back of his hand. The three were silent as Gael slowly raised his hand and stared at the image displayed in front of him. A small grin slowly spread over the Underneather's face. "Looks like we'll be paying a visit to Mr. Davies, and this time it won't be to knife him in the back. Fortuna, c'mere. We'll need that ability of yours to track heat signatures to find him. Diana, sorry, maybe next time." His orders given, the captain stepped forward lightly and quickly, following his fael's directions as he tracked Reid Davies towards the capital...
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          #17    
        Old January 23rd, 2008 (3:53 PM).
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        "I see..." Reid went silent for a minute to consider his next course of action. If Shiraume's analysis was correct, then the science department in Flazure must have been aware of the effects. If that was so, then why did they refrain from telling him, and instead start lying about it? It wasn't that strange, however. He had been considering the possibility of being used for a while now. He had links to both royal families, and was one of the few supporters of Flazure that was neither phoenix nor wyvern. Not to mention he was in a romantic relationship with their princess. While the others weren't being used by the country, he surely was, which meant Sven was too. After all, Reid set down Sven's acceptance into the squad as a requirement for joining himself.

        "You know, you really shouldn't push yourself, Reid." An eccentric, male voice chanted from the doorway. "After all, Rosaline and Ailia would have a fit if something were to happen to you, and that's always troublesome for us."

        Reid threw his cloak on before turning to the source of the racket. Standing in the doorway was a boy, no older than seventeen, with messy, snow white hair and icy blue eyes. He, like Ailia, was dressed in a black Carn uniform. Uniforms now a days were never really that creative. It was generally a pair of black pants, and a black jacket with a white patch on it. The patch had the black rose symbol on it that Carn was so famous for. However, this boy had an additional badge, one with a black horizontal stripe on it that indicated he was a part of the Princess' royal guard. He wasn't very tall, only standing at 5'6", but it was obvious he was a practiced fighter.

        There wasn't just the boy, however. There was a woman with him, as well, most likely in her early 20s. Her hair was straight and black, falling halfway down her back, and her eyes were blue. She was pretty tall, at least in comparison to the boy, standing at 5'11". Like the boy, she was dressed in the uniform of one of the Royal Guard, with the exception that she wore a black skirt and stockings as opposed to the pants. She was physically attractive, but Reid would never admit it. He knew better.

        In reality, these two were originally the two parts of one of the apostles, Cress, during the events five years ago. They boy's name was Blanc, and he had some sort of relationship going on with Reid's sister that he didn't like. He was always flirting with her, but thankfully she didn't return the feelings. Ilya was the name of the woman, and she didn't talk much. However, she was a very powerful fighter and an idol for Rosaline. Damnit, had they overheard all that? He sighed. "Don't tell the others, you know what would happen if you did."

        "You mean how Rosaline would force us to confine you to the sick bay until you healed, regardless of what was happening in the world? Yup. I'll keep my mouth shut, and I don't think Ilya will have too much of a problem with it." Blanc grinned, but Ilya's eyes seemed to track Reid's every movement. Was something troubling her?

        ---

        "Kirden, please understand. If I involve anyone with military connections, all of their actions would be restricted. Besides, you know military personelle from either country are not permitted to provide personal aid to Flazure unless in the case of an emergency. Also, I don't want to bring any citizens into this. So, a convict is the perfect choice, so long as he behaves." Rosaline's glance shifted from the soldier to Levi once more. "And you. Don't think for a moment that you'll be able to get away with anything stupid while under the surveillance of the Archai Squad. I warn you in particular about harming or saying anything inappropriate to the two girls that Reid has at his side. He holds those two very close to his heart, and if you do anything to them, I won't be responsible for what happens to you, nor will he. If you abide to these conditions, you will be hired and released tomorrow morning. Until then, you are being held for your crimes."

        ---

        "Oh? Lieutenant Tappen? Why are you here? You visit me on Tuesdays, not Saturdays."

        "You're still not well, Auricia?"

        "I'm well enough to fight, if that's why you're here. "

        "You don't have to fight, I can always talk them out of it and let someone take your place!"

        "Don't be naive. I was born to fight after all. To fight and die..."
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          #18    
        Old January 23rd, 2008 (9:14 PM).
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        Levi folded his arms and leaned back in his seat with a satisfied grin spread across his face. So it was worth saving her after all. Talk about a smooth bail. Although he wouldn't have been surprised if that stingy Lieutenant wasn't too enthusiastic about pardoning him. It wasn't as though she could do much now though. He was the Princess of Carn's envoy.

        "Alright." Levi replied easily, "I won’t say or do anything to them. If I do, then I accept the beatings I’ll probably get. They’re pretty violent people, from what I’ve experienced earlier in the Lieutenant’s office… Reid is the important one though, right? I’ll keep an eye on him and send you an update every now and then. I’ll make them write some stuff too, it’ll be more interesting that way.” Standing from his seat, Levi sighed, readjusting his goggles and ruffling the back of his hair so that it would remain standing at attention. It would definitely not be fun, this babysitting job. It would definitely be better than rotting away in a prison though.

        “If tha’s all, then I’ll beg yer pardon and be on my way.” Levi hitched his accent back up as he shoved his hands into his pockets and turned to look at Kirden, “So ‘cuz I’m still a convict ‘in all, I guess I’m spendin’ th’night in prison anyway, eh?”

        “Hmph.” Kirden stuck her nose in the air as sand wove itself into the shape of handcuffs around Levi’s wrists, and compacted itself to become as hard as stone, “That’s up to the Lieutenant. Although I don’t know where else you’re welcome to stay, since you obviously can’t stay in one of the hospital rooms, you being who you are.”

        “It’s no more fun killin’ half-dead people then it is livin’ round ‘em.” Levi shrugged, only to get shoved out of the room by Kirden who paused and turned to Rosaline.

        “You shouldn’t be so trusting of people Princess. It’s not my place to judge your decision, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would stick around if his life was in danger. And that’s what the Archai Squad is all about, isn’t it?” Kirden sighed, shaking her head as she let the door swing shut again, “Have a nice afternoon then.”

        --------

        “Blanc, Ilya.” Shiraume greeted, smiling warmly at the two who had just arrived in the doorway. They were two of many people who made her feel awkward when she was addressed as ‘Shiraume’ instead of ‘Villa’. It was interesting, how many duo’s had stuck together even after they’d been ripped apart. Although some staying with each other were a given, like the pieces of Velin. She rearranged the tools on the tray and wrote a note with instructions on what to do with them as Blanc and Reid conversed. As the tray floated out of the room over Blanc and Illya’s heads, Shiraume clapped her hands together twice before the Lionus evaporated off her hands.

        Brushing off the skirt of her white dress, Shiraume looked up at Blanc and Ilya, “Shouldn’t you be keeping an eye on Rosaline? The Lieutenant might blow a fuse if she has to apologize for something again.” Shiraume clasped her hands together in her lap, laughing as though talking about a little sister that could only be doted upon. But her hands immediately parted again as she remembered something.

        “Oh, I should check on Flaire and the others.” Shiraume said suddenly, looking at Reid, “Would you like to see them too? They should be stable enough for visitors, there weren’t any wounds that couldn’t be healed with Lionus after all.”

        ------

        “We’ve tried to retrieve some of the Dation particles in the air that was released by the drugged man, and they’ve already been sent to be diluted. The results should be in by tomorrow at the latest.” Said a reporting soldier, “Cost of damages are being calculated at the moment, and witnesses are being identified and called in for questioning.”

        Adela sighed. She really wished she hadn’t come at all.

        “Do what you see fit.” She replied vaguely.

        “… Lieutenant?” The soldier asked, raising an eyebrow.

        “I want someone to go through the records- Find all and any report that mentions the organization ‘NEAR’ before now, if any. Just run a double check.” Adela sighed, rubbing her temple in frustration. If only they would leave just a little faster. Maybe by this time tomorrow, they’d have already high-tailed it out of Tealia. It would be good if life went back to the way it had been for the past three years.

        “Right away. We have also received a report that the Staff Sergeant is on her way.”

        “Fantastic.” Adela said flatly. She wondered how much longer her civility would last, and if she could keep enough of it to speak to that pessimistic drunkard without throwing a few unprofessional jabs in. She had nothing left to do before that stupid dinner party anyway. Maybe she could get the Sergeant to go in her place. Highly unlikely.
          #19    
        Old January 24th, 2008 (11:19 AM).
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          Aleks finally arrived at Cirallie Falls Plaza, extremely out of breath. As a Lionus user, she couldn't teleport from place to place; without ready access to an IFV or other form of mechanized transport, all she could do was run, and that she did. "You okay, Sergeant?" a private asked.

          "Yeah, I'm fine," Aleks panted. "So, anyone mind telling me just what happened here?"

          "I think I can answer that," the voice of a male corporal piped up. It was Aleks' own 2IC, Corporal Thomas Andreyevich Gradenko. "From what I can gather, it was an assassination attempt on several members of the Archai Squad by members of an organization that calls itself NEAR. Three of them sustained injuries and were taken to a hospital not far from here."

          The acronym "NEAR" sounded somewhat familiar to Aleks; she had taken part in counter-insurgency operations against it just a few months ago, actually. "Wait, did you just say NEAR?" she asked.

          "That's the name, or at least that's what the witnesses have told us," Corporal Gradenko replied. The two NCOs started walking towards a stairwell. "Apparently, someone tipped them off the Archai Squad was going to be here, and they decided to take matters into their own hands. But then again, the squad's not exactly the most secretive part of the Flazure military."

          "You don't say," Aleks remarked as she headed up the stairs. "How come there was no security detail posted to them?"

          "They never asked for one. They were off duty, and they were trying to keep a low profile."

          "And several of them are now in hospital due to their hubris. If there's one thing I can't forgive, it's stupidity. It was damn foolish of them to go gallivanting out in public like that without anyone else to back them up. Why couldn't they shop at the post exchange like the rest of us regular grunts?"

          "To be honest, Sergeant, they're a bunch of fops and dandies," Thomas shot back. "They think they're too good for the PX."

          Aleks and Thomas arrived at the second floor, where the attack took place. Even with the military contingent on this level, there was still a reasonable civilian presence; shops and commissaries directly away from the attack continued their business as usual, while many of the shoppers simply went around the cordoned-off crime scene. The two NCOs had to fight their way through the crowds in order to make it to the crime scene, where Lieutenant Ciaccio and the rest of 5th Squad were waiting; while Thomas waited off to the side with several other soldiers, Aleks walked up to the Lieutenant and saluted her.

          "Lieutenant Ciaccio," Aleks said, trying to maintain her composure. "What's the insult of the day for today?" she thought to herself.
            #20    
          Old January 28th, 2008 (2:15 PM).
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          parallelzero parallelzero is offline
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          "Kirden, please understand. I'm not the irrational little girl I was when I first became Princess. It's been five years, and I'm well aware of the influence of money on people like him. Although, I don't feel right about having to use such a method, it is one of the few things that I can actually use to help people..." Rosaline got to her feet, and slowly made her way to the room's exit, her sundress and hair swaying under the influence of the breeze from an open window. Before completely leaving the room, allowing the door to shut, she put in one last sentence. "Besides, something bad is going to happen soon. Something that will push them all. They're going to need all the help they can get..."

          ---

          "Really though, you can't say you weren't responsible at all for walking around like that. An obviously male voice rung in Flaire's mind as she sat on the hospital bed, staring worriedly up at the ceiling with eyes wide open. While the pain was lessened, and her bones moreso were repaired, it still hurt enough to bring her to tears when she moved around too much. She hadn't spoken a word since the incident, but rather had done nothing but stare, as if she was desperately searching for something. "Listen, I know you feel bad and all, but you know it troubles everyone when you aren't so... erm... energetic. You need to let go of the past during times like these, or you're just going to become a burden to the others." Flaire groaned in response. She knew her fael was correct, but it was hard to let go of years of confinement and abuse. "You didn't have anything to live for before, did you? Ellianne gave you someone to believe in, and then Reid came along. You owe it to them to give it your all. Although, you really should drop your street persona every now and again, you just get on everyone's nerves. It's obvious you only keep that persona to hide your feelings."

          "Yule."

          "Yes?"

          "Shut up, I know all of that already. I know, damnit... Besides, didn't you make Mistral so mad that she won't even talk to you anymore? What'd you do, anyways?"

          "I told her I didn't like her outfit."

          "You have a lot to learn about girls."

          "Apparently."

          Flaire turned her head to either side, as Ellianne and Ailia were in beds on either side of her. From what she could tell, both of them were still sleeping peacefully. They had been lucky, they had no bone damage like she did, let alone wing damage like her own. She ended up becoming distracted looking at Ailia's butterfly wings. It was weird to think Reid once had a pair. They were so fragile, but so pretty with all of their colours. With this in her mind, she drifted back asleep temporarily.

          ---

          "Yo Shiraume! How's it been? It's been forever~" Blanc said eccentrically, which made Reid sweatdrop. That boy was such a weird kid. "We were told Rosaline was in a meeting, and to wait here. But since you're going to see my lovely Ailia, I suppose we'll tag along for that~" Reid suddenly looked irritated. When did Ailia belong to him?

          "Hmm, I don't know. Really reminds me of a younger you, actually~" Mistral spoke for once in the back of his mind.

          Reid sighed. "Oh, so you give me the cold shoulder for two days and NOW you decide to input something?"

          "Yup~" The conversation dropped after that. He could tell she had something she needed to talk to him about later, but understood that now wasn't the time. Reid made his way to the room's exit to go see the three girls, but bumped into Rosaline as he did so. "Oh, sorry! How'd your meeting go? We're going to see Flaire and the others now, so you could tell me after if you want."

          "Sure, that's fine." Rosaline replied cheerily as she glanced over at her two guards. "What was my father having you two do so suddenly?"

          Blanc looked hesitant to reply, so Ilya did it instead, in a cold, emotionless voice. "He wanted us to investigate something."

          "Oh? What was that?"

          "That's classified."

          "Anyways, we'd better go. Shiraume, I'm assuming you can lead the way?" Reid interjected before Rosaline got too worked up.

          ---

          "Lieutenant Tappen, why are you looking at me like that?"

          "You know I disagree with the use of dolls for battle purposes. The government is crazy for thinking this is alright."

          "Even so, it isn't our place to say otherwise, as soldiers of the military."

          "I know, Auricia, but ever time you pilot one of those things you end up hurt..."

          "Shall we go? I'm sure the Colonel will be waiting for us at the main docks..."
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            #21    
          Old January 28th, 2008 (3:51 PM).
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          ooc;; I don't know what I'm doing anymore. xD So in that sense, this post might reflect that. Apologies in advance.

          ic;;"Good afternoon, Sergeant Romanova." Adela replied absentmindedly, "I trust Corporal Gradenko has given you the update on the events at hand. In that sense, please lead the clean-up of this investigation, and look into this new rebel organization NEAR, alongside your usual tasks...."

          She stopped, letting an irritated gaze wash over the civilians who were going about their business. It was getting harder and harder to distinguish mahstion signatures with all these meddling people. But Cirallie Falls Plaza wasn't exactly a place you could shut down without prior notice. And it seemed that most people weren't all too concerned about NEAR. Not many had yet accepted the prescence of wyverns and phoenix's in general society, and that was something Adela couldn't blame them for. But she could blame them for getting in the way of official investigations.

          "Use whatever civil methods you need to dig up something concerning them." She continued, wrenching her gaze away from the crowds to face Sergeant Romanova and Corporal Gradenko, "I have other business to attend to, but report any findings to me as soon as possible." Adela nodded to the two who had just arrived before turning on her heel and leaving with a soldier trailing behind her, scribbling down the agenda for the day after next.

          -----

          No response from Kirden. She was busy remembering how much better things had been when Rosaline was just a sacrifice. Back when Tylonstus was still her entire world, her driving reason for living, her very existence. Although, no one could recognize her now. She’d always worn that veil. And it was probably now that she needed to wear that veil more than in the past. Ah, cute little Aertan and his missing left hand. It had been so many years since she last saw that annoying little brat. But he wasn’t excluded from those who wouldn’t be able to place where they’d once heard her voice.

          “Ah.” Kirden looked up, surprised to see that Rosaline had beat her back, “Blanc. Ilya. A party is it? Not that I wasn’t expecting to run into you guys at least once…”

          She jerked her thumb at Levi, who had a strip of ducktape secured over his mouth. Necessary measures to keep him from interrupting Kirden’s thoughts moments earlier. He waved a hand as best as he could with his hands cuffed in sand, “I’m taking him over to the prisons now. He’ll be spending the night there until Lieutenant gets the order for his pardon.”

          “His pardon?” Shiraume peered around the doorway to see both Kirden and Levi clearly, “Why is he pardoned?”

          “Don’t ask me.” Kirden shrugged, dragging Levi past the group, “I’ll catch up with you later Shiraume.”

          “Oh… Okay.” She said, sliding through the doorway and turning to Reid, Rosaline, and the two she once referred to as ‘Cress’, “Well, I’m not sure it’ll be good for them to have so many visitors at once. I was thinking it would just be Reid.” She laughed, “But if you’d all like to see them, then please be very quiet so that you don’t disturb them if they’re resting.”

          Leading the parade down the hall she held an index finger up and stuck her head into the room before retreating and holding the door open with a smile, “They’re asleep, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you’re silent.”
            #22    
          Old January 31st, 2008 (8:46 PM).
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          "Oh~ My dear Ailia~ You are like the Sleeping Beauty of my dreams~ But alas! Even in the presence of your Prince, you fail to awaken~" The deranged boy called as he threw his hands down on the bed on either side of the sleeping girl, eventually easing his body in closer. "I know! Perhaps a kiss~!" It was at that moment that the Prince was overthrown by both his subjects and the sleeping beauty, as a foot flew up at his stomach from the bed, and Reid's foot made contact to his skull after being thrown into mid air by the initial kick. It resulted in the "Prince" being thrown at a 45 degree angle at the wall.

          "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!?" The siblings shouted angrily, Ailia beat red from having woken up to that scenario of all things. "WHAT ARE YOU? SOME TYPE OF PERVERT!?" This time only Ailia spoke, as Reid had run to the side of Flaire, who was stirring uneasily in her sleep, most likely as a result of the noise they had caused. It was obvious by the glistening streaks under her eyes that she had been crying, although out of pain, or for a different reasoning, was unknown at the time.

          "Reid... would it be better if I was dead?"

          Reid's eyes widened in shock as the words came from his girlfriend's mouth. If one was to describe the mess of thoughts he had at that very moment, they would have a very difficult time doing so. "W-why are you asking that?"

          "...I was just thinking, that's all. Nevermind." She stared up at the ceiling like she was a while before, not even making an effort to look at her significant other.

          There was a brief moment of silence between the two for a moment. A brief but thick moment that you couldn't cut with a steak knife. Eventually, Reid was the one who broke it. "We don't have to keep doing this, you know. We can leave the squad and settle down somewhere rural. You, me, and Ellianne, the three of us. We wouldn't have to worry about this kind of stuff..."

          "Don't be stupid. You know I can't do that. I'm the Princess, and I... I..." She began to sob softly, and Reid lifted her up into a hug. But something was wrong, he realized, when he brought his hand away from her and saw it covered in blood. He looked over his shoulder, and almost dropped her. As the gasps of the other people in the room were heard, Reid just brought the girl closer to him as she began to cry extremely hard. "...I ...I ...I don't know what came over me! All I could think about was... was... freedom. I couldn't take it anymore, it's haunted me forever! Before I knew what I was doing, I had already done it! God! Oh god, what have I done!" She clung to Reid for dear life, shaking wildly from loss of blood, and he clung to her, crying himself now. For, amidst a thick pool of blood on the bedsheets, were Flaire's wings, severed from her body by her own dagger, which was lying nearby.
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            #23    
          Old January 31st, 2008 (9:39 PM).
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          Shiraume sighed when Blanc flung himself into the room without any concern for the resting. Although she should've been expecting it, she'd wondered if he'd even take to hear the fact that she's specifically asked them to be quiet. She strode briskly over to Blanc's side to help him to his feet and to steer him out of the room. She was halfway there when her feet stopped moving. Such a strong scent. It was everywhere. How could she have missed it? The commotion. The commotion had done it. Shiraume spun around to see the source of the smell. The distinct smell of blood she'd acquired an acute sense for after the back-fire of that vile liquid. Wings.

          Phoenix Wings.

          "Everyone needs to leave at once." Shiraume instantly moved towards her, a blinding amount of Lionus encircling Flaire and Reid before she could get there. She made no move to force the others out of the room though. She was too preoccupied for that. Rushing to their side, she could think only of stopping the stench. She gagged at the clear sight of wings, roughly cut from their place on her back. Red hair orange eyes. Would it make any difference, if she didn't have the wings? Shiraume hardened her expression. The first priority was healing the wound.

          "Reid, please," Shiraume said, hovering her hand over Reid's shoulder, unable to touch him, "It's impossible for me to treat her properly like this. I'm sorry but I’m going to have to ask-..." The words stuck. Piling up in her throat, they were blocked, unable to form themselves out of lack of air. What a strong smell. The smell of phoenix blood? Ignore it. The thought that she was going to ask Reid to move away escaped her mind entirely. Lionus weaved itself around and in between Reid and Flaire, the flood of light encasing the girl’s back. To have those wings back was something that she'd already given up, and right now the blood more dire to Shiraume than anything else. If she healed the wound without reattatching the wings, putting them back on would be a near impossible feat. She put a hand over her nose and mouth, shrinking back into the very corner of the room and holding her arm across her stomach.

          “Someone… please call a healer…” Shiraume choked out.

          Hurry hurry, her mind was telling her, get rid of the blood, get rid of the smell…. There was no need for a healer to heal any wounds in this room. The healer needed to clean the blood. Clean the smell. Escape escape! Massive amounts of lionus had flooded the room in reaction to Shiraume's distress. The sight of a beheaded Kira replaced the phoenix wings, the head rolling off the side of the bed with a heavy thump. Kyra's shriek echoed through Shiraume's head.

          ----------------

          "I CAN SMELL IT!!" A maniacal voice cackled, the man who stood alone in an endless white room clutching his dark crimson hair as though trying to suppress a massive headache, "I SMELL IT, BLOOOD,” He paused for a sharp gasp for air, “BLOOOODDD!!" He shrieked, knocking himself back onto the single victorian lounge couch that was situated beside him. A sadistic and insane grin was spread across his face as red splatters suddenly began to appear on the white walls and floor of the room, marking where they began and ended.

          “I hear the sound of despair….”

          “REMINDS YOU OF GOOD TIMES, DOESN’T IT DEVITELL?!” The man shrieked with laughter, as he morphed into a little boy who reached out and grabbed thin air, his voice turning innocent and threatening, “Doesn’t it, big brother??”

          At the touch of the little boy’s grasp, a girl appeared in the blink of an eye, no older than 14 years of age. She was dressed in an old fashioned Prussian blue dress, heavily laden with frills and lace around the hem, collar, and wide sleeves. Her gaze was blank and indifferent, completely unaffected by the walls that were slowly turning into a pure shade of blood, or the thick sticky substance that was accumulating around their feet.

          “It does… The Everard girl….” Devitell replied in a hushed and reverent tone.

          “I REMEMBER!” The boy laughs, stomping his feet so that the blood splashed up and around.

          “Phoenix wings…” Devitell murmured and Jazrelli’s eyes fixed upon his older twin brother’s.

          Thought shorter by an entire head’s worth of height, his eyes were filled with unending malice and displeasure as he hissed, “Something about those good-for-nothing slaves?”

          Levi listened to his plufael and negafael silently, his arms loosely embracing his knees. It was incredibly cold in this prison. It tasted nothing like the freedom he’d been so desperate to acquire. Perhaps there was no such thing as true freedom. But the feeling was real. He knew this. The feeling that you could do whatever you wanted. Levi closed his eyes as Devitell and Jazrelli continued to converse. Devitell was so annoying… mentioning those phoenix wings and wyvern wings. That those two girls had had earlier.

          Rosaline was saying something about not trying anything with them. As if he would. He didn’t particularly care about politics, but he’d never been raised to treat them as equals. As if he’d try something on someone of that low ranking. The Jaquez family once flourished in the trading of phoenix and wyvern slaves. He’d only ever seen those wings behind steel bars before today. Acting and treating them equally was not difficult. But considering them as true equals was a different story entirely. It was not a feat that could be done in less than an hour. Princess Rosaline had nothing to worry about. Neither did that Reid kid.

          That stupid Everard family that had been insufferable enough to doubt whether the Jaquez family had truly ceased trading. Liza was suffering because they stopped the trading, living an increasingly less luxurious life as their parents continued to spend the same amount as when they’d had a stable income.

          They’d deserved to die.

          “I want to rip someone’s head off again!! Again, again!!!” Jazrelli shrieked with laughter, falling back onto the couch, overcome by his mirth. Devitell and Levi both watched silently, but the scene was blocked from Levi's eyes when he opened them.

          Freedom, huh?
            #24    
          Old February 3rd, 2008 (1:02 AM).
          parallelzero's Avatar
          parallelzero parallelzero is offline
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          "Ilya, remove Reid, Shiraume, Ailia and Ellianne from the room. Place Shiraume in a bed in room 34 with Ailia, and take Elliane to room 37. Bring Reid to that room as well, I'm sure he won't want to be around that many people right now. Afterwards, I want you to check the archives downstairs for any files regarding phoenix' and bring them up here. Blanc, come here and give me a hand with the repairs. If she loses anymore blood, it might make recovery difficult!" Rosaline took charge at the sight of Shiraume's malfunction. Thankfully, she had been studying the ways of a healer for the past five years, and with the added power of Blanc's lionus, she wouldn't run into too many errors... she hoped. But that's why she wanted Ilya to check the archives. Dealing with the health of a wyvern or a phoenix was different than any normal person, as rumor had it they both possessed some sort of unique abilities.

          Ilya dealt with Reid first, as he was a direct obstacle to the healing procedure. While the tall, quiet girl couldn't help but admire his determination not to leave the girl's side, she couldn't help but feel sorry for the couple. There were going to be many trials for them to overcome in the forseeable future, and they'd have to have more than pure determination to overcome them. What troubled Ilya more was not knowing what would possess someone to cut their own wings off. Sure, Flaire's kind was discriminated against, and she must have met many hardships, but wasn't that a little extreme? Was she mentally ill? If it was deemed so, what would Reid do?

          Eventually, Ilya's work was done.

          ---

          "Has she really been this disturbed the whole time? Did I really not notice? Is this somehow my fault?" A tap on Reid's shoulder snapped him out of it. He had been moved into a room with Ellianne, who had only witnessed the end of the event, and she had invited him to sit on the bed she was lying in upright. When Reid turned to look at Ellianne, who shook her head in response to his many questions. It was obvious by the glint in her eye that there was so much she could say, so much she wanted to say, but couldn't. Mute, and half blind, she was the epitome of unfortunate. Yet, she was one of the few people Reid felt really understood him. Ever since they set out on the journey, he had always felt he had a big brother relationship with her, but he always failed to notice that he hurt her when he decided to go steady with Flaire. Even still, she persisted in helping him whenever she could. She pointed to her heart, and then to Reid's heart, which was her way of indicating he needs to have a heart to heart with her. "I guess you're right... I can't help but worry though. She mutilated her own body, she must be deeply troubled..."

          But Ellianne didn't have a response for that. She wished she did, she truly wanted to help him. After all, the feelings she had for him were genuine, there was just no way a relationship could ever work between them. About an hour later, Rosaline came into room 37 and found the two playing cards on a table in the middle of the room, Ellianne obviously in prime physical condition. Placing his card hand on the table, Reid stood to face the Princess, who wore a troubled look upon her face. Ellianne watched and listened intently. "We... couldn't reattach them... But we stopped the bleeding, and the combination of mine and Blanc's lionus should have her up within the hour..."

          "Don't worry about the wings though. I have a feeling it'll work out."

          "Huh?"

          "You'll see later!" She knew something he didn't, and it didn't sound like she intended on revealing it anytime soon. "More importantly, it's about her mental state. After we sealed up the wounds, we had a psychiatrist have a look at her. The doctor says it probably won't be a problem anymore after doing something so extreme, but she whatever is troubling her has something to do with Rod... You should probably sit down and talk to her in a bit, once the bandages are off."

          "Thanks Rosaline. You've done so much. It's hard to believe five years ago you could barely use lionus."

          "Thanks..." She turned to head for the door, her white wings still covered in blood from dealing with Flaire. "One more thing though... Watch her carefully, Reid. If she acts abnormal again, something could be wrong with her. And if it really is related to Rod, and you haven't told her you killed him yet-"

          "I know."

          "Okay."

          And with that, Rosaline took her leave, leaving Reid to figure out what to say to the girl, the girl who took her own wings.
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            #25    
          Old February 4th, 2008 (9:55 PM).
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          "Jeez," Kirden sighed, using a sheaf of paper to fan Shiraume, who was pressing the heel of her palm to her forehead, breathing deeply yet unevenly, "This is why I told you-"

          "It's not like I knew she was going to do something like that." Shiraume replied calmly, wiping her brow with the back of her hand and sighing. Sitting back against the post of her bed, she peeled her long blonde hair away from her face, revealing the burned and gray skin underneath that she kept hidden. After she found sufficient cooling through the breeze, she ran her fingers through her hair a few times to pat it back down into place, slapping her cheeks lightly to bring herself back to reality. Putting the packet of paper down on the nightstand, Kirden sat back in her seat with folded arms, cracking her neck as the silence continued to engulf the room.

          How embarrassing, a breakdown like that in front of everyone. Shiraume made a mental note to apologize later on. She was wiped though, from the sudden exhaust of all her concentration on focusing the Lionus. And it wasn't even all that focused, fizzing in and out of materialization and doing little proper healing. She was glad Rosaline and Blanc had been in the room, but she'd wished she'd told at least someone that she couldn't handle all that blood. Remembering it was enough to send her sliding back down the bed to lay down.

          "Levi is properly locked up, don't worry about it. I'll inform Lieutenant Ciaccio of all the developments later on." Kirden replied, judging Shiraume's thoughts by her expression alone, "She's been acting strange for awhile though." She glanced at Shiraume and shrugged, "I know, but she's been lenient and more irritating than usual. It's like she's being thrown off balance. It's actually kind of entertaining to watch her be the one squirming instead of us."

          "That's true." Shiraume laughed.

          -------------

          The sweet smell of smoke filled the air as Adela watched the flames flicker weakly as they ran out of fuel to burn. The faint flecks of white amongst the black ashes were a reminder of what the powder that was now slipping through the cracks in the cobblestone once were. As much as she hated it, a sense of guilt had been eating away at the edge of her mind. Faewyn had been her favorite out of everyone, but Alicel was definitely the runner-up. There was nothing wrong with doing something that so reminded her of the past like this. It was precisely because it was now in the past and nothing could be done about it that Adela had foraged up enough willpower to let go of almost half a decade of stony principles.

          Adela blinked. Oh. She'd forgotten two more people. Not that she'd ever really known Juliet, it wouldn't hurt. She waved the soldier standing by over to her side again, having requested he stand a fair distance away. Removing a yellow carnation and a pink flower she couldn't name off the top of her head from the boquet of randomly assorted flowers, she tossed those onto the pile of ashes and lit another match. Aertan wouldn't have needed matches.

          Again, she watched in an almost awe-inspired fascination as the swirls of smoke curled into the air and disappeared. She'd visited Rod's grave a few times already. It was as though it was far away, like Juliet's or Alicel's. Scoffing to herself, she twisted the end of her red bandanna around her finger as the flames died away for a second time. Her expression hardened. Ugh. Self-pity. This whole day had just been made for breaking rules she'd set for herself, wasn't it? Standing up, she took a deep breath, smelling the burning perfume of the flowers. Enough.

          Sleep before the dinner. That would do plenty of good to regain her calm. Bare minimal of words and social exchange. Ignore everything that doesn't matter.

          She felt better already and almost broke another rule by letting a smile tug at the corners of her lips.

          "See, I knew you were somewhat human. But, she likes forget-me-nots."

          Adela's expression wiped off to reveal indifference, maybe a hint of annoyance. She recognized this voice, of course, and turned around to see a calmly smiling Lazarus who was carrying two thick books under his right arm. She glanced at the books for only a split second before folding her arms.

          "Mind your own business." Adela was engulfed by Dation, disappearing as the soldier left behind sweatdropped, unknowing where his Lieutenant had just run off to.

          "Do you know where the hospital is?" Lazarus asked the soldier plainly, white pink streaked forget-me-not sprouting from nowhere, "I can't find someone I've never met before with mahstion." He tossed it upon the ashes, turning back to the man who watched the flower for a moment before nodding and setting off.

          After being led to the hospital in perhaps half the time it would've taken for him to find it on his own, the soldier let Lazarus wait in the lobby while he informed a passing healer that there was someone to see Princess Dian. Lazarus turned a silver bracelet over and over between his fingers as he waited, his elbows resting on his books that were weighing down on his legs. Ah, after this, he would be free to go back to studying herbs.
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