Fairy Tail RP

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    Beneath the Surface [Faeral's secondary training]

    Rohma
    Rohma

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    Lineage : Technological Superiority
    Position : None
    Posts : 225
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : Xia Song (Deceased)
    Experience : 10,518.75

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: ReQuip: Dark Orchestra
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Beneath the Surface [Faeral's secondary training] Empty Beneath the Surface [Faeral's secondary training]

    Post by Rohma on Fri 10 Jun - 4:16

    Sometimes, on rare occasions, life liked to toss presents right into your lap.

    The timing could’ve been better he admitted, but staring at the woman rousing a few feet away from him inspired an odd glee even as trickles of fear slithered through him. The last time he’d seen her, she’d taken on a truly spectacular form, ready to deliver judgment upon a group of unsavory individuals who’d wrought untold harm upon a society. They’d had it coming to be sure, even Faeral in that lifetime growing weary of their juvenile antics and power trips. However that same moment nearly cost the man his entire reincarnation ability, about to smite him purely and wholly in that moment alongside the rabble. It’d been through sheer quickness he circumvented that end even if it’d tied those pathetic bastards to his soul alongside her’s and forcing everyone to join the cycle. He had plans to untie them and let the vermin go by the wayside…

    But she was something special.

    This raven haired woman commanded his respect in that lifetime, cunning enough that he hadn’t seen anything coming until that unfortunate moment, the determination to see it through to the end, and of course the sheer power to create that reality. It was perhaps the one reason he hadn’t minded her soul attaching to his if even by a thread through that moment of control. ’If only I’d absorbed her then…’ Well then they wouldn’t be in this mess he admitted.

    They’d fallen quite a ways from the surface in their attempted escape from one of the very pathetic souls he hoped to detach at some point. Rocks and dirt lay strewn about their forms as both slowly assessed their physical state, cautious about injuries in the hazy realization of their current fate.

    Unfortunately one of his favorite top hats sat utterly crushed beneath a hefty rock, the man sighing as he relinquished the thing to nature in this instance. There was no fighting it as he winced, more concerned by the growing pain in his side. Vague recollections of striking a jutting rock as he fell came back after the brief knockout he suffered at the bottom. ’Well, I should be thankful this wasn’t simply the end…after all its presented me with a small opportunity.’ Bruises no doubt lined his body, but the man’s eyes swept over to his current female companion.

    Dark hair cascaded in waves from her ponytail, skin tanned from either birth or copious amounts of sun – he bet a mix – and through the settling dust he could make out the green gems she sported for eyes. Thanks to the fall both their clothes sported various rips and tears, a bit of patting alleviating them of some of the dust, but initially Faeral had been the finer dressed of the two as it hadn’t been a mere outing for him. He enjoyed the contrast between her adventurous getup to the last memory he really held of her in that other life, swathed in fine robes and looking rather unhappy about it. He supposed this nomadic lifestyle suited her more, hiding the wicked grin internally.

    Keeping track of her through their connection had been a mere piece of cake, tracking her through their bond. And yet a minor spot of disappointment welled up knowing she wouldn’t recognize him as she lacked the same ability to recall everything from those past lives. This woman stood there none-the-wiser on how she’d basically killed him before and it both made him want to choke her and laugh. However now was neither the time nor the place for such activities.

    Peering around Faeral surmised that Morphine managed to avoid the same pitfall, the wyvern masquerading as a woman likely continuing on to avoid their pursuers. With any luck she’d divert some of their attention too, though at some point he figured someone might double back to check out the hole in the ground. ’What a shame I could’ve used the help, especially with such tantalizing prey before me caught unawares…but I suppose this isn’t a good time anyways.’ No, he could sense a bit of her abilities – the very same he wanted – and she could do away with him if he chose to act rashly. For now he’d have to bide his time and amusingly work together with her. Their current situation offered little choice otherwise.

    ”Damn, don’t ‘spose you got a way to get back up?” her voice finally broke their silence.

    Shrugging and wincing – ah right, the pain in the side – he casually answered, ”If you really want to face off against that mob then by all means: the climb’s all your’s milady.” He chuckled a bit at the glare she threw at him: as he surmised by her glare Rohma didn’t fancy either thought. ”Besides if they’re lying in wait up there as someone might be, our better chances would be to see where this cave goes and find a way out. With any luck my partner will be able to rendezvous with us and we can make a far better escape. Also better to move now before they start making their way down to us.” Watching as she turned the idea over in her head Faeral smiled slightly as she begrudgingly nodded, ”Ladies first?”

    ”I dunno bub,” her eyes revealed her mistrust as well as some doubt, ”We just met, and…well this is crazy…but I don’t really trust you: Rune Knight or not. Besides somethin’ tells me you’re gonna need some help with the way you’re holdin’ your side there.”

    Oh. Eyes widened a little as the man realized she was right, hand belatedly moving in surprise though it was too late to hide the fact. With little warning she marched right over and lifted his shirt to reveal perhaps one of the nastiest forming bruises he’d received to date, wincing as the musician noted the darkening color already. Moving fast would not be his forte today, not without some real necessity, though eyebrows shot up higher as the woman simply slung his arm over her shoulders.

    ”We’re gonna just have to go together, though gonna need you to help a bit as I can’t just drag your ass along…but somethin’ tells me I’ll be worse off ditching you. Maybe your knightly status, maybe intuition of those bastards showin’ up,” the roguish grin held quite the charm that a small bit of pink tinged his cheeks. No need for him to pass up the proximity or help – happy she chose not to leave him behind as some sort of distraction after all. He waited as she extracted one of her pistols, managing to hold it as she lightly held his fingers.

    Strength partnered up moving proved easier, his knee admittedly more banged up than he’d initially realized too – though he was glad when she didn’t shove his pants up or down to prove it to both of them. Her question after a few minutes of setting the pace threw him off guard a bit, ”Don’t suppose you know what’s up with that group? Some raiders or somethin’ you’re trailin’ and just happened to lead to me?” The gunner’s attention remained firmly planted ahead, focused on tripping and stumbling as little as possible.

    Topaz eyes blinked and then he let out a few chuckles, ”I’m afraid I don’t have as much information on them as you might hope. In fact they’re not even why I was there, though the capture would no doubt be convenient if I can somehow manage it.” The man wouldn’t tell her, or rather couldn’t, mention that the leader of that same group of ruffians was someone from the shared past life. Judging by how gung-ho he’d been about going after her the man regained his memories before her, a feat that left Faeral pondering on the statuses of some of the others. He’d pondered whether or not anyone other than himself (and Morphine of course) might regain any at all and just live this life out in glorious bliss. It seemed that they could, though judging by her lack of understanding or recognition perhaps they obtained them in varying intervals? It’d be worth it to locate some of the other’s purely to satisfy his curiosity on the matter.

    ”Then why were you there? Kind of a simple town to show up in all fancy like this.”

    ”Business really,” he answered on a sigh, ”Just because I’m a Rune Knight doesn’t mean other aspects of my life simply cease whether I want them too or not. Not all of us can devote ourselves solely to one thing.”

    ”What kind of business?”

    ”The kind I get grounded for talking about.”

    The burst of laughter was worth it, the man half-grinning as the sound erupted from her. It was true in a sense since he didn’t want to mention the dealings and how they’d ended with her on the off-chance she made it out of here. Some secrets were better kept as just that: secrets.

    Luckily she dropped it there as the pair continued to trudge on, only the sound of their boots grinding against the dusty-rock floor accompanying them. The threat of potential pursuers kept them both alert as they continued down the single pathway. Up ahead he spied one of their first challenges: a small cave-in. Rocks nearly filled the road, the opening at the top too small to properly squeeze through even for the slighter Rohma. Normally trying to dig out a bigger hole wouldn’t be too much of an issue if it weren’t for his inhibiting injuries – and he’d noticed how the arm around his waist held him a bit lighter than he figured it should be, shaking a little likely from hitting something on the way down – so their path appeared impossible to continue.

    ”Don’t suppose you have any ideas?” The disappointment came out easily, the man trying to think of a spell he might have that could help and coming up a little short. He supposed the dark-born clone could manage it, but he’d have liked for something a little quicker. ’Mayhaps if I give it Thorn Tempo that might speed it up…a little…’

    Any such thoughts vanished as she aimed her pistol at the pile and fired a few shots. Like…well…magic he supposed in silly hindsight, the rocks dissolved though not into a magmatic form or even dust. If anything he likened it to them being erased as they ceased to exist.

    Once, twice he blinked as she pushed them forward like it were an everyday occurrence unworthy of mention, hand again lightly holding both his as it continued to clutch the weapon. Slowly and with an obvious hint of curiosity he asked, ”If you don’t mind my asking…what kind of magic do you use…exactly? I don’t suppose you might consider the Rune Knights ever so slightly?”

    There, he worked in a bit of a recruiting attempt. Now the higher-ups could leave him alone for a spell.

    Rohma hesitated answering, the musician watching as she bit her lower lip before giving in, ”It’s just a gun magic. I call it “Rewrite.” I…um…well just kinda amended the rocks to reform later. Kinda like rewriting a story…it’s got some limitations though, but nifty for escapes I guess. And nah, they’re not my shtick, kinda threw my lot in with Infinity Hydra.”

    Mildly he wondered if they actually would reform, perhaps in a similar way. If nothing else it could certainly prove useful to cover up their escape with things that’d waste their enemy’s time. ”Ah, that guild that’s about taking down the Dark Guilds…so what’s so different between them and the knights then, if I may ask? Seems like you’re looking for a fight either way.”

    ”Cause they don’t seem to mind me disappearin’ for lengths of time. I figure you guys are probably a lot stricter about that. I mean you likely sought permission before you came out here, right?”

    ’Well she has a point,’ he admitted, nodding.

    ”But otherwise nothin’ wrong with not wanting to see good people hurt. Granted I could achieve that in any of them really…I just want a spot of freedom and maybe…” Curiosity gripped him at what she’d been about to say, but the woman sealed her lips and dropped the statement there. He took a mental stab at it though he opted not to say it aloud.

    ’A simple sentiment…’ One that caused his insides to tighten for reasons he didn’t want to explore. Instead he focused his mind towards her wanderlust, able to sympathize as his basic chain of reincarnation stood as a form of wandering from existence to existence. Each life permitted him different liberties and opportunities to explore, each inevitably finding an end and both freeing him from responsibilities yet tearing him away from whatever he had then. Only one existence would remain permanent amongst them and the man often avoided it because it lacked what he wanted.

    Though…what he wanted he admittedly couldn’t place.

    They continued on as silence once again reigned between them, neither sure how to break it even if they wanted too until the idea for him to set little traps for potential pursuers came to mind. More than their safety it allowed him snippets of watching her magic in action, at least what he could really catch. The way she conducted her “scripture” magic through the gun rather than writing everything out intrigued him immensely, wondering if she sacrificed power for speed in such instances or if instead she’d reached a point wherein actively writing was no longer a necessity. Faeral felt somewhat confident in the hypothesis that scripture mages could reach such points in their expertise…but admittedly couldn’t be 100% certain either. With the passing of each shot though he could gauge odd symbols – scribbles they looked like to him honestly – within the magical energy that further supported his notions of somehow formulating the word rather than always relying on drawing. ’Perhaps that’s more an early method. That mage was rather weak when I met them…I wonder if they can do this now?’

    Up ahead the tunnel widened into a full-blown room, the light of the torch Faeral held lighting up their path. Things seemed okay though neither could deny the eerie feeling creeping in as they walked in and tried to determine the best route to go. As the last step towards the middle of the room halted their movement the place exploded with sudden luminescence as orbs of light sprouted into existence around the room, startling the pair as they separated.

    A trio of goons filtered into the room, grins and a few low chuckles at their prey walking into the trap so easily.

    “Don’t spose we can talk you into dropping that gun, eh?”

    ”Piss off!” came her sharp reply, though Faeral could hear a hint of a smirk before she fired at the ground.

    A wall erected around them, absorbing the brunt of the fire from their guns, an explosion of light finishing the thing off as the two ducked behind separate rock formations. Wincing from the rough landing on his part, Faeral’s mind flipped through the instruments he could employ in this time. If he could move Thorn Tempo ability to inspire an extra thorny stab out of people wouldn’t have been remiss, though if he sported his usual rapier then even Marionette would prove quite useful in this instance. Tempting as Pied Piper proved he couldn’t bring himself to reveal its capabilities, afraid if he needed it later she’d be on guard for it. Finally it struck him as his clothing shifted, a violin and bow coming to hand as he stayed sitting.

    Rohma readied to negate the attack and saw it strike a shield instead, one she hadn’t created as the sound of music filled the room. It bounced around, little spheres enhancing the song and making it harder to discern the place of origin as confusion filled the trio. At this point it sounded like a fully-fledged band occupied this room, leading them to wonder if maybe the pair hid allies and allowed Rohma the opportunity to inject the light user’s next spell with a malfunction in its coding. The attempt instead exploded in his face, the ensuing cloud of smoke allowing her to aim earth-hardened shots at the other two and knocking them out of commission. Finally maybe they could slip out of here, the woman turning to grin at her partner, thinking they made quite the team.

    Her body went rigid, locked into place.

    Breath almost refused to enter her lungs at the shocking sensation as the invasive presence continued to flood into her body. It brought with it a cold sensation, though that could’ve very well been dread as she fought to fight against it. Escape was usually her forte.

    ”I’m quite sorry my dear…I’m a bit remiss to do this to you, but I’m afraid you’re a bit much of a threat for me…it really is quite unfortunate.”

    Stepping out from behind the rock he tipped his hat to her, the Mad Hatter’s festive outfit remaining in place, the violin returned to his pocket dimension for the time being. Finally she could see it, his shadow extending to hers, the eerie notion that something rose up from behind and stabbed her in the back. Yet she felt no physical pain, her healing codes not kicking in like they would’ve.

    ”I know you have so many things you want to ask, many of them running along the same lines, related to the things you should be asking. I’m afraid I won’t be expelling the story of “why” however, because soon you’ll instinctively know it as I’ll know everything about you. I respect you too much to do to you what I’ve done to others before you who had things I wanted so I’m going to let you live on with me. Though you really have nothing to fear: your desires will exist. Your aspirations. Your dreams. You’ll just be…a little different from now on is all. I like to think we’ll be stronger together…ah I’m sorry if this sounds a bit like a creepy love confession as I can think of one woman who might get a bit jealous, but I promise I speak out of admiration! Perhaps it’d be kinder to put you out of your misery, but I guess there’s a part of me who can’t bring myself to do that this time.”

    Truly it was odd, the notion of killing her simple in theory and yet the compulsion didn’t kick in: he cared for her life for some reason. Yet she couldn’t continue to exist outside of his power so instead he’d let them become one, Rohma to become another identity and form for Faeral. A small part of him wondered if maybe at some point her consciousness could take over, but…well it was a deserved risk. Maybe he wanted to give her that chance? He spoke truthfully about respecting her, one of the few to earn it in his long span of livelihoods. This was simply the best way he felt he could express it, not wanting to make her a familiar like Morphine all those lives ago when the wyvern’s will impressed him. No, Rohma stood above for some reason so he’d allow her to live on, continue with her power in essence even if in mind she became tainted with him.

    ’Well…no matter…’

    * ~ * ~ *

    The world stretched before him as an open book.

    Too open that those first few minutes felt blinding as archaic symbols moved every which way, dancing mockingly to the new reader. The very laws of reality laughed at his budding understanding, incapable of seeing beyond the words that it was almost maddening. Now he could understand why her memories didn’t flow the same, why she couldn’t access lives before like he could, the locks only beginning to break because of his influence. If only for the other perspective he could realize that she was one of them who drifted through time as he did, though it’d been a trait of hers from the get-go unlike his theft. Yet she’d delved so deep into the fabrics of the worlds and planes to comprehend them that it shattered a part of her, leaving the woman almost in a state of oblivious bliss. By the time she’d reached the lifetime shared with him this woman was a shadow of her former self, having created anew the personality that saw reason to help others rather than abuse like the soul Faeral encountered before her.

    The truths she replaced prior knowledge with however flowed into him, her abilities with this power remaining intact like a talent within the lifetimes. As he adjusted the man once crumpled to his knees found strength anew, hands no longer holding his head as the odd lines of text receded further and further into the background until he instinctively knew they existed, but no longer selfishly occupied his vision. Finally the world reshaped itself as he knew prior, cavern walls with a faint glow etched on their surface, the light flickering as the power in the flashlight wavered ever so slightly.

    As molten yellow eyes squinted at the walls he could see it again in vivid detail, this time able to focus upon only the laws of the rock before him rather than everything in its entirety. Symbols no longer came as a wriggling jumble as he didn’t see everything before and beyond it: simply the wall. Its structure, its rules, its composition: all summarized in this form. Huffing as he stood, one of his knees protesting even as his side bemoaned the movement the man hobbled towards it, hands braced against the curved, rough surface as he stared closer. Her knowledge continued to flow in, ideas about how to fix himself tempting, but Faeral wouldn’t trust himself to mess with his personal structure and rules quite yet.

    He wanted to experiment. He wanted to play a little. It was a child’s way to learn just as much as a scientist’s.

    ’What if I erase this line?’ he toyed. A gloved finger moved to trace a stem of one symbol, energy crackling a little as he altered its meaning to a new one. Almost instantaneously a small portion of the wall popped with pressure as if angry for his interference, an almost cyclical portion turning into an odd, slimy substance that burped out to the other side. The aquatic colored slime intrigued him, though admittedly not enough to actually touch as a closer look found it a bit acidic in nature, probably powerful enough to destroy his glove in part and slowly dissolve skin, but it would only shave a layer or two from the wall that birthed it.

    ’The very ability to shape reality as I see fit…’ he marveled, altering another symbol nearby and watching as a portion of the wall simply became sand and dust rather than an entirely different substance, ’I can add properties and take away as I please, all by altering part of a word or even an entire sentence…so many possibilities and you knew the entire time…my lady…you properly feared this ability.’

    Looking back behind him at the discarded pistols it made sense why she often hid it as she did, knowing it would be classified as a form of Scripture – perhaps even lost – if someone truly understood it. Even if they started getting an idea she tried downplaying how much she could actually do, a wistful smirk playing across his lips at memories not originally his. ’I am sorry m’lady, but you won’t be returning to the hydras.’ If maybe she hadn’t trusted him at all, left him to lay there where they fell rather than accepting his allegiance as a reason to trust…or even if she’d simply been a little faster on the draw then perhaps she would’ve made it back. If he had paused to rant and rave Faeral didn’t doubt Rohma would’ve broken free. He knew better and kept it at the mere apologies.

    Staggering over to the cast aside toys of hers the man sent them into his pocket dimension to retrieve and use as he pleased. ”To the victor go the spoils,” came the mirthless jest. Finally he allowed the outfit to transition back to his original garb, pausing long enough to fix its appearance at least prior to the fall. A small bit of pride welled up in not accidentally transforming something into another form, like a glove into a dove or his jacket into water. Whatever silly accidents might’ve occurred.

    More confidence blossomed as he created a pool of water in the middle of the cavern, altering parts of the rock to give off a form of light until he could properly stare into his reflection. A roughened mug wouldn’t do, not at all for the usually impeccably dressed man. Using the water as a medium he created a copy of his personal “code” of sorts, letting it take shape in a watery vessel to study the layout without permitting it to take on a full form. He could pick out where the simple forms of “life” altered his words, the pains of one leg far different than the other with the more aggravating injury. “Fixing” the word in the copy he transplanted the word into his body, eyes shooting open as the limb started feeling lighter and lighter by the moment. ’I suppose it’d be too much of a shock for all the repairs to happen immediately…a fast pace is okay as long as it stays between those parameters…I really wish I had a better way to thank you for all the research you’ve already poured into this for me.’

    A sigh escaped as the tension in his side eased noticeably, though lifting his shirt revealed the mark remained firmly in place for the moment, but he could bend with far less resistance. Feeling a little drained he relaxed by the water, allowing the injuries to continue healing while he recovered more strength in the meanwhile. ’A bit tiring at first…but only because managing it is so strange at first. I wonder how long before I catch up to your proficiency? Though I guess I’m still cheating a bit…hmm…’

    He really would have to be cautious though as their entities continued to pool together, knowing that his capabilities wouldn’t be fully the same as her’s, but he could still in large part perform the same actions and arts. Within time he could focus power into a few primary aspects for the sake of battle, more intrigued in the applications outside. ’Though who knows? It might be worth it to combine them someday…’ The thought held some appeal, though the man couldn’t help frowning a bit. What would be the best application of it? Would he simply do away with the instruments in favor of combining it with his more natural abilities? Though…theft was his most natural, but through shadows swiftly became the norm. And yet there existed a part of him that didn’t want to simply ditch the instruments by the wayside. It was a growth to his style he’d forever thank his grandmother for, enjoying the elegance and art behind it.

    ’I now have all the time in the world to consider it. For now I need to leave this place and deal with the menace waiting somewhere outside. Hopefully Morphine’s retained her freedom in the meanwhile.’ They would receive a far different punishment if they’d wrought any harm to his precious familiar. Good help really was hard to find these days.

    This time when he stood the man felt as light as a feather, or at least as well as before. It was almost laughable how his greatest threat had been so cautious about using her ability so sparingly for their escape, sure if she’d been a bit freer about it they could’ve avoided this tussle in the first place. Even now he could create a personal doorway set to reform behind him, though the man kept it to a few instances to try and keep distance between him and possible problems. A dark twist curled his lips as he created a few walls behind another group, keen on ensuring they never see the light of day again. Not without tuckering themselves out at least in the effort and maybe a little incurred panic for flavor’s sake.

    Finally an exit loomed ahead, one of many he figured with how many paths existed in this tunnel system. Ears listened for the slightest of sounds, catching the myriad of music from the winds as they blew through the tunnels and rustled nearby flora. A forest existed just outside, though he’d bet money there was some space between his exit and the safety of cover. The notion to look for key words flittered to mind belatedly, a look of self-exasperation crossing his face even as those golden eyes scanned the area from the safety of the shadows.

    ’Of course, I shouldn’t have expected any different. Two people hiding right there, lookouts probably. Hmm…I wonder…’ Tempted to summon his oversized crossbow Faeral cautioned towards Rohma’s sniper rifle lovingly nicknamed “Widow Maker” from what he recalled, piecing the thing together. He wanted a bit of range in this instance, though the pistols probably would’ve managed it the man wanted a bit of the extra ‘oomph’ of the bigger gun. He did have to make it through some of the rock after all, his practice in the magic in alternate forms lacking compared to his new counterpart.

    ’Steady…steady…’ he peered through the scope, eye looking beyond the physical to the words of one of the people. A trickster’s grin slid right into place as he programmed the “bullet” he crafted in the barrel and then pulled the trigger, ”Enjoy your new surprise.”

    Through rocks it shot, slamming into the man faster than Faeral’s eyes could really keep up with and he watched the havoc it reaked inside the fellow. The entirety of his composition would alter, the man starting to freak out as new sensations overcame him, his pal attempting to calm him down and figure out what just happened. The man wouldn’t cease however as his stomach region thinned, a curve of his hips aligning to his legs as the pants sagged bit by bit. The ribcage shrunk a little as burly shoulders minimized into smoother spheres, bulging biceps losing mass by the second. Pecs however grew and grew until they bulged in his shirt. Faeral listened with his ear for sound with glee befitting Loki as the man’s voice heightened in pitch with each moment until shrill shrieks could be heard, a few snickers escaping as “her” transformation to womanhood completed.

    Their friend sounded just as weirded out by the suddenness of the alterations, both voices yelling out in question. ’Well I suppose it’d be rude not to spread the wealth a bit…but hmm…we don’t want to get stale with it either. Ah, yes, perfect.’

    Crafting another special bullet, the man took aim as he again looked for words rather than a physical target, the shot racing through the lines until it solidly hit the other fellow. More high pitched shrieks filled the air, almost overpowering the man’s frantic yells as the transformation shook his body. That lower pitch soon rose to match his newly turned companion’s, though soon his vocals took on a more “yipping” sound until no intelligible words uttered forth, merely a minigun’s worth of high pitched barking. Where two strong fellows once stood now only a thin, well-endowed woman and a Pomeranian now awaited: far less intimidating.

    A careful look through the walls yielded no other current threats in the area, the man finally waltzing out of hiding as the woman fought to retain some dignity in holding her clothes up, and the dog could barely sink its teeth into his boots when revealed. Nabbing the little mutt by the scruff of his neck, the dark-haired man gave a harsh toss, the little body audibly slamming into a nearby tree and taking with it a layer of bark. One swift kick with a loud yip, and the thing ceased any further movement.

    The newly created femme fatale might’ve been the luckier of the two, at least in terms of keeping her life as fear crept into her eyes. In return he offered the lady a half-smile, petting the top of her head as she cowered against a tree she’d backed into, ”I’m going to offer you the choice to setup the rest of your life based on this moment: either things will continue in a downward spiral or they might start to look up! Now, I’ll be honest: you’re going to remain a woman. Simple as that. But…!” he smiled: he had her attention, ”I could further alter your looks so no one will offer you so much as a second glance except to glimpse the horror of your visage. I may be nice enough to change your clothes before sending you to a village where you can begin building up a new life. However I can also very well just leave you out here to be picked up by whatever riff raff happens along…or creature. It’s all about timing, and I won’t let you know which one finds you first. Again, keep in mind I’m going to be controlling the next little segment of your life so if you cooperate I can set things up nicely for you, and if you refuse then I’ll either leave it be or stack it against you according to my whims. I promise you one thing though: if you cooperate I will ensure positives. I won’t renege on this deal and instead hamper you. Do you understand?”

    Frightened, confused eyes quivered, and then just when he thought her mind might’ve completely shut down the woman gulped and nodded. ’Excellent.’ “Very good. Now I want a complete run down of your boss: skills, desires, assets, current base location – the works. I have a few hunches, but some of these things can’t be gleamed so easily so I want you to spill every little dirty secret you happen to know.”

    * ~ *~ *

    ’Oh dear Rohma, you really didn’t comprehend your position, did you?’ The man sighed as he surveyed the setting sun.

    Dark reds and pinks illuminated the sky, blue and purple creeping in to replace the brighter hues as the celestial body slipped further and further behind the rocky distance. The canyon, he admitted, could be a wondrous place to simply collect one’s thoughts. Alone as he’d sent the grunt off in a pretty nice getup to a lovely place, happenstance permitting her to run into a quite the nice suitor, Faeral then chose to delve into Rohma’s memories to compare alongside his. Unfortunately for the woman she’d witnessed some foggy dreams at best, but never received and inkling at their importance or anything of the like. It stung just a tiny bit that this amazing person almost felled him and yet couldn’t so much as recall the moment, though perhaps that amounted to luck for him? After all he found her wariness lacking in some regard, though it’d softened merely in the face of a common enemy. ’But if her awareness had been on a proper level she’d know exactly who I was…I suppose she really was damaged. How intriguing! Does this mean other Ancients could inflict such self-harm? Well, will be interesting to try and find them even if I can’t use her memories to find them. If nothing else it’ll be even easier with the power of two rather than just one. First things first I need to sever a few connections.’

    The unfortunate side of being a bit ill-prepared last lifetime for the suddenness of death’s grip – almost permanently – is that it left the man a bit surprised. It’d been a panic-inspired move, control a bit lacking compared to his usual finesse when commanding another’s moves, and ended up tying both of their reincarnation cycles together alongside the rest of their pantheon’s pathetic lives. The last thing he wanted was those wannabe gods tagging along for the ride, much less meddling as he knew a fair few would. ’Something tells me though…she’s already met a few…’

    Faces from her childhood popped up, ones he now knew the location of and yet felt a spurt of surprise as some part of her consciousness lashed out at him. Fear provided some strength, afraid he might go after her dear friends. ’My dear, that’s not it at all,’ he soothed with a playful smile, ’but they’re not going to get dragged along with us I’m afraid. If it means that much to you then I have no reason to end them. I just need to sever that little connection to us they bear. I promise you my dear.’

    Standing up, the man scribbled a character into the sky and then placed his hand through it. With only the budding, twinkling lights above as his witness, the sun too far gone for a proper view with its red cape, the man’s visage changed. Hair lightened, taking on a paled version of the crimson lining the edge of the horizon, topaz eyes giving way to cat’s eye green. The fine clothing of his station molded themselves into simpler designs. The jacket became a sturdier coat, lengthening even as it lost its embellishments – after all he didn’t plan to see any more business partners for the time being – the vest and button-up beneath replaced for a simple cotton, black V-neck. Slacks became thicker denim, boots no longer hugging his calves, but instead sitting more loosely beneath them. A scarf appeared, wrapped around his neck and the man brought it closer to his mouth, enjoying the shield from the cool winds slipping into the evening.

    ”Welp, I guess I best be off: don’t wanna be keepin’ old acquaintances waiting n’ all that.”

    The voice came out just as he remembered it, well, as well as he could over the multitude of lifetimes he lived through before that first incarnation. A roguish smile looked right at home on his mug as some of the fiery locks swept across his face, tickling a bit as they fluttered in the breeze. Stretching an arm out, he created a “gun” with his hand: pointer finger stretched out as the others curled and thumb jutting upwards. A dulled “pshoo!” noise escaped as he mocked firing it, disappearing a second later to the surprise of the mountain lion sneaking up on him.

    Miles away he reformed, a tent to his back and hiding the man from the view of the camp. ’Not a bad setup they got here, better than the usual ragamuffin bandits ya see usually.’ A hand scratched the top of his head as the man again peered through the fabrics of reality, taking note of all the people, various little tidbits about them, and noting where his primary target stood amidst them all.

    Back in the previous life this fellow stood towards the upper rung of their little mock pantheon, little more than a group of powerful people sporting unusual abilities amongst otherwise normal humans. The higher one went up in the pecking order however the crueler the god, the man recalling how this one rather enjoyed wars, though he’d delighted and laughed at the distraught attitudes of sacrifices as well. It was cocky enemies that’d been his real flavor of choice, and if he could do so on their home turf then all the better. ’I’m not going to call myself a hero on this matter,’ he thought mockingly, ’but people should be grateful all the same if they knew the trouble I was takin’ care of here. Hell, I’m the one gettin’ my hands dirty here.’ He aimed the last part at Rohma, though he’d subdued her mentality already.

    When the man inside the tent turned around to leave he stopped, surprised at the red-head now standing there, smiling at him with all the worries of a court jester. ”What the-?! ‘the hell’d you come from?” Teeth grit in the guy’s mouth, bared at the intruder menacingly as he glared, annoyance crawling along his skin at the way the man remained carefree.

    ”Now, now, no need to get all worked up! I could just be here for a casual chat for all you know!”

    The smile grew another centimeter as the man’s fists clenched. Before he could bark out a demand or yell for anyone he swiftly interrupted him, ”Come now Tybie, is that really any way to treat an old friend?” Ah, there was the reaction he really wanted, watching as color drained from the man’s face at the old nickname in their past life. How wonderful: he remembered! ”Good to see some of the ability passed on, seems like that’ll make this a whole lot easier then, Tybalt! May I call you Tybalt? No, I’ll go back to Tybie, so much friendly, cute even. I don’t really care to learn your name in this life. Too much a pain if you will.”

    Perhaps he moved too fast, smile dimming from its teasing joy to a calmer level, green eye not obscured by his bangs blinking as palpable confusion replaced the other man’s anger. Even his ruffled, dark brown locks seemed to no longer be on edge like a dog relaxing its hackles, though some color started returning to that tanned skin. Nervousness brought a slight sheen to him, his stance losing some of its edge and yet none of its wariness for the man now standing before him.

    ”Only one person dared call me such a ridiculous nickname back then…” Ah, and now he could see distaste join the mix! ”Though I guess I shouldn’t be entirely surprised you reared your unpredictable head. You always had a knack for showing up when either least expected or wanted…so…to what do I owe this pleasure…?”

    ”Remiel…well you can just go with Rem really. S’what I used to tell everyone – no need to bother with my previous name and no need to involve my current one.” He wouldn’t confuse the poor fellow by mentioning that it was his more comprehensible first name.

    ”So ‘Rem’…?”

    ”My very first name,” he answered cheerily, moving to a stool and plopping down. Crossing an ankle over his knee, the fiery haired man plopped his chin into the palm of his hand and regarded the other man, “Tybalt” as he’d decreed him moving to lean against a nearby desk. This little abode turned out a bit more long-term than ‘Rem’ initially figured, but decided it wasn’t a bad setup as his eyes turned back to the fellow. ”I won’t bore you with any silly origin story – besides only bad guys go into those long diatribes. Unlike a fair bulk of you guys I don’t consider myself a bad guy…even if that’s more of a personal opinion.”

    ”All right…then why’re you here? I mean it’s, erm, “great” catching up n’ all, but kind of interesting timing…”

    Rem watched the man’s face twitch here and there, his eyes giving more of it away: odd timing since his men currently hunted Rohma. ’Can’t fault him, my timing had its moments in our prior life. Glad to see he’s not quite as stupid as I recalled.’ The man shrugged a little, smile hardly faltering, ”Nothing more than an errand honestly. I do have other things to attend to today, such as finding my friend no thanks to the turmoil your little crew caused. However I figured it might be good if I untie the group a little, well unless everyone enjoys this odd set of circumstances, though I can’t imagine why…”

    The man nodded, knowing what the red-head meant. ”I admit, it’s a bit odd. I recognized someone just the other week, though, well, let’s just say he hasn’t really changed between lives: prefers to prove his mettle by going it alone. I figured it’d be easier to catch that bitch together and make her pay for what she did, but I’m just as fine getting to her first.”

    Eyes softened as Rem watched Tybalt’s hands clench around his arms, ’Still annoyed by that, hm? Well can’t say I’m surprised.’

    ”Well can’t say that I’m surprised on either front really, his loner status or the fact you both can retain quite the grudge. However I have to inform you that you will cease your hunt for the woman known as “Rohma” in this lifetime.”

    Much to his acquaintance’s surprise the man who called himself Remiel already had a rapier embedded in his chest, smile unchanging in its soft and pleasant appearance. Yet he belatedly realized that while uncomfortable it didn’t sport the pain he imagined, not a drop of blood staining his shirt as a glow instead appeared. Strained expression met Rem’s unworried one as he explained, a sharpness to his visible eye that hadn’t been there before, ”Fear not I don’t need to end you unless you insist on getting in my way. I’m not without some mercy and understanding for your plight and grievances, but I would advise you to instead enjoy this lifetime rather than waste it as you currently wish. I’ve broken our connection so when I next reincarnate you will not be joining me. If you opt to continue pursuing her however it’ll be a matter of time before I happen along again and I promise I won’t be so kind next time.”

    Delight filled him as he saw some defiance come to life in the man, enough that Tybalt grabbed onto the thin blade with one of his calloused hands. ”Are you shitting me?! You think I’ll drop it all so easily? This just means I have to try all the harder!”

    ”Shame then,” Rem shrugged, pulling the sword out in one swift motion. Rather than a spray of blood as the tanned bandit expected the hole in his chest closed up and yet a mark flashed for a few seconds on his hand before fading. ”I’m not quite ready for you to die so I guess we’ll just go the easier route then, shall we? See I rediscovered recently how to mark others as familiars, well, with less preferential treatment as my favorites. Now when I tell you to leave certain people alone and stay out of my way, you’ll have no choice but to listen this time!” Oh how he could’ve laughed at the frustrated expression, the man’s cheeks turning ruddy from sheer anger and yet they both felt the change in the man’s desires and goals like a shift in a current.

    ”There, now that wasn’t so bad, was it?”

    * ~ * ~ *

    ”Ah my beloved Morphine! It’s so wonderful to see you again! Why it even feels like ages, doesn’t it?”

    For the first time in a fair while Remiel enjoyed seeing the beautiful wyvern form of his primary familiar. While the woman forms were drinks of beauty nothing quite held a candle to the delightful rosy reptile, the black scales mixed with the soft and yet firm petals a rare pleasure.

    ”It’s been many a lifetime since I last saw this form,” came the mental reply as she kept her head level with his perch, enjoying the soft strokes of his hand, ”I take it things turned out well enough then?”

    ”As well as could be I suppose. There are still other matters to attend to I admit, but I’ve broken one connection and forced him off the path of vengeance while obtaining my beloved prey. There are others I need to cut the ties to, but they can wait. After all it’s probably best to setup for the life ahead of me. Ah…and I will be requiring your cooperation as always if you don’t mind? Only a few modifications to make, but luckily nothing beyond your capabilities.” The man kissed the snout of his beloved wyvern as she agreed, though he didn’t expect anything less. She’d been with him through so many lifetimes and she’d be the only one he fully trusted to follow him through many more lifetimes to come…well, alongside their new little companion.

    Pulling away from her – as much as he’d enjoyed their little rest the man sighed. It’d been a day since he obtained both Rohma’s powers and the new lackey, the sun managing to shine through the high tree tops. The hidden grotto was filled with shadows and speckles of light, a pretty image he never tired of whenever it could be found. It also provided plenty of opportunities even if the darkness often emanated from the man itself rather than outside sources. It’d been a longtime ally, longer than Morphine’s presence as it’d been the only way the man continued to live rather waste away as his people wanted. He’d never been good with following other’s whims, especially when they ran perpendicular to his and it’d been his crafty darkness that saved his hide.

    It’d been what allowed him to absorb that Celestial Spirit and prolong his life indefinitely, and provided the opening to contract to one of his people, the man secured in the “knowledge” that the exiled being wouldn’t crop up unexpectedly. His shadows eventually slipped in and stole what he required from the man, leaving the egotistical Ancient to eventually die and disappear from the history books altogether. They weren’t merely darkness that slipped out and performed parlor tricks, and this lifetimes’ grandmother saw the potential. She helped the young Faeral bond it to the instruments and learn to play, conducting them in a way that would leave people believing as he wanted. Honestly he could understand why his father had the crafty woman killed even if Faeral would see his end for it, because in his shoes the man might’ve done the same. Unfortunately for him dear Xia Song mentored him, helped him to grow and proved another strong ally that he somewhat regretted not being able to turn her into a familiar as well.

    ’A shame really, for such smart and scientific people they could be awfully forgetful…though I suppose…in the end who could’ve really stopped it?’ Remiel gave them some props for the attempted exile, but at the time they lacked the ability to steal more than his reincarnation ability since only he’d actively worked on such…’Likely one of their unnamed reasons for it. Jealousy can be so ugly at times.’

    Before him lay a variety of his instruments, their weapon forms and tied armor locked inside the bodies. Tying in the abilities came as an arcane art, one accomplished purely because of his late grandmother and yet he now found himself with a much simpler capability to remove the locks placed around them. Just mere alterations of characters of these foreign and unknown “words” and out slipped his old friend, oozing along the ground and reforming a much larger entity with no known form. Altering their capabilities proved a little odd as the man contemplated fixes for the inevitable holes left behind, forced to play with balances that might work for both their styles. In a way he found it exhilarating though like piecing together a large puzzle comprised of tiny pieces, figuring out how each thing might fit into the grand picture. While for the most part his dear friend would hold quite a few freedoms when he allowed her out, undoubtedly requiring her in fact, but there’d be those strings in the back she couldn’t break free from and would be a constant reminder how inevitably caged she’d be in the end. However he wasn’t wholly cruel, wanting the respectable woman to enjoy herself as well.

    ”What is it you’re planning now?”

    Remiel’s eyes widened just a sliver, head turning to stare at his large companion as his mind shifted gears. A laugh bubbled up, mirthful as he waved a hand and returned his primary focus to the array of weapons atop the manifested tables, ”As much fun as it’s been with the Rune Knights – I’ve truly delighted in how unorganized they are even if it’s proved troublesome at how random they can be – I think it might be time for a change of venue. Besides I’ve gained all I wanted from them. Luckily, according to her memories the woman didn’t exactly build up too many ties so some change occurring during her constant travels wouldn’t be much of a shock. Growth happens after all. But, on the off chance there’s anyone who held some real glimpse of her magic and might’ve understood it’s more realistic concepts then I can’t permit her to simply walk back home with my abilities. A little strange, no? Allowances must be made for the two of us.”

    Each weapon he shined up, unable to help the habit even as hands modified the symbols inside, releasing their held power and inscribing new possibilities into them. From his string-based lovelies to the wind users to the stick and mallet bearers each one commanded its individual attention. An orchestra receiving fine tuning from its conductor as the grotto’s floor became filled with a growing, flowing black mass thicker than oil and more fluid than water. As he finished the last instrument a portion rose up like a long neck, the end forming a vague animalistic head and snout.

    ”Oh my, looking for love as well? Have you been jealous of Morphine?” A hand reached out to stroke the side all the same, a wicked fang-filled grin breaking out on the thing. Treat it like a separate entity as he did, it existed as little more than an extension of himself and yet it reacted like an excited creature as its head rose up. The thing whipped around the air as the tables disappeared, rushing around trees and through branches as the floor once again became visible, a current whipped up and sending Remiel’s hair and clothes flickering about. Finally the entity rushed towards him, flying into his stomach and disappearing from sight altogether.

    ”Ah, isn’t life grand?” the man asked the sky, a broad grin filling his face. ”I suppose we should get going however, so many things to do and people to see! I must admit I’m getting a little excited!”

    [9,118]


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      Current date/time is Tue 27 Oct - 2:09