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    Saw You Watching Me from Safety [Leah's B Rank Exam]

    Lacey Botticelli

    Regular VIP Status- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Player 
    Lineage : Viktor's Descent
    Position : None
    Posts : 558
    Guild : Guildless
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 8575

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Kiah Lake
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Saw You Watching Me from Safety [Leah's B Rank Exam] Empty Saw You Watching Me from Safety [Leah's B Rank Exam]

    Post by Lacey Botticelli Sun 9 Apr - 10:26

    "'Big girls don't cry.'
    'But mommy, the sky is crying.'"

    Her hair was plastered to her face in twisting strips, the crimson threads clumped like blood that had dried in rivulets against her cheeks.  Emerald eyes shot through with gold peered out from within her skull.  With a dryness that felt misplaced here under the pouring rain, her lips twitched up into a thin smile, lacking any real mirth.  Her destination: Shirotsume Town.  A place which insisted on upholding the laws of a feudal system, despite the fact that it was barely a couple miles wide.  There were hardly any lords who could have a say on account of the fact that no more land could be handed out, and that which could was minuscule enough to have no bargaining effect.  It completely ruined the feudal system.  Leander would have known this immediately and scorned the thought of ever dubbing such a place as one where the feudal system was in use, but Leahndr did not.  It was good, then, that right now she was completely Leander right now in all but appearance.  And even that was shifting slowly into blonde hair and crystalline blue eyes that glowed like oceans were pooled in their ovals.  Enough of getting carried away by imagery.  Back we go to the story.  So here we have Lea, our lovely protagonist, trudging through the rain.  Thunder crackles in the sky and lightning flashes once or twice every other minute.  It's cold and wet, but it's dark: she loves the dark.  Life was pretty alright on the way to the old-fashioned city.  

    The job which she had taken requested for a mage to come visit Shirotsume and judge the mansions based on first impressions.  Clearly, superficial appearance was extraordinarily important to the lords and ladies, for she was getting paid forty thousand jewels to come stare at their buildings and give a couple criticisms for the lucky random ones she chose.  The girl was anything but an expert in architecture, although admittedly, she had been in more than one fancy house before.  As a resident, guest, or thief, though... that was the real question.  Shrugging to herself, Lea lifted her left hand to wipe away the drops of rain water that had accumulated on her forehead as well as her brow bone and were currently dripping down into her eyes.  The village shouldn't be too far away now, she thought as her eyes sought out a gate or watch post or some other sign that she had arrived.  They met only the point where the visible road curved around the side of the peak as her light, quick steps turned slow and deep in the mud of the mountain path.  She was tired.  And she didn't want to be here anymore.  

    Huffing a lock of hair out of where it had been blown by the gusts (which also threatened to send the now strawberry blonde right off the side of the mountain top, thanking the intelligence of the engineers for the railing they had never seen fit to put in) and fallen across her nose and one eye, Lea failed miserably.  The stupid lock of hair seemed to be pasted to her skin, so reluctantly, the girl drew her right hand out of the pocket of her jacket.  Slender fingers, pale and criss crossed with a few thin scars from catching blades in her training years, peeled the nuisance off of her face.  Taking the opportunity to clear the entirety of her vision from the now-blonde hair lingering at the corners of her peripheral vision, the mage tied her hair up and back into a high pony tail.  That was much better; even the strands hanging down were far enough away that they barely clung to her neck at all.  She glanced up with a start and saw that without having realized it, the girl had already walked all the way up the bend and had turned the corner.  As her eyes darted around the unexpected view of the landscape, she reflected that it was already rather unwise to walk on a mountain road with the not unlikely possibility of getting knocked off and falling to her death.  What only made it worse was how she hadn't been paying attention to where she was going for the sake of fixing her hair.  Sucking in a breath, Lea studied the area in front of her.  It honestly looked just about the same as before, except the next bend seemed to be closer than before; in fact, it was almost right in front of her face compared to earlier.  She set off at a slower pace too, to compensate for the fact that her range of vision was a bit limited (it had nothing to do with the fact that she was tired from dragging her feet through the mud.  No, really... it's not like she actually has an ability to see things within 100m of her and had vision that was just fine.  Psh).  In the end, it was this set of steady steps that finally got her to the peak.

    Green eyes widened as they lighted upon a small structure, maybe two meters long and a meter wide, less than three tall.  It was stationed next to what seemed to be an enormous metal gate, made of twisted iron.  On second thought, it seemed perfectly pristine; with all the rain that this area seemed to get, the girl doubted that it was iron and had survived oxidation for so long.  Unless the lords and ladies got a new one put in every while or so... which wasn't an idea completely thrown out the window, what with how rich these people were.  The jealousy was strong in this one, Lea recognized, but she completely ignored that flaw of her own.  Shifting her gait to more of a bouncy, friendly walk, the girl approached the small shack of a building with a wide smile on her face.  By now, her appearance had completely changed into that of a rather petite girl with flaxen hair and sapphire eyes.  Her blue dress was soaked almost all the way through, but wisely enough she had worn a shift underneath.  Finally the mage stood in front of the little construction and peered through the cloudy window installed in the front.  Inside, a woman with thick red glasses and muddy greenish brown hair was filing her nails.  For a moment, Lea blinked uncertainly at the sight, but she soon came to her sense and tapped lightly on the glass.  

    "Hello?  Are you the gatekeeper for Shirotsume Town?"  It was hardly an unreasonable assumption.  And although the little half-room seemed to be fragile, the mage assumed that it was locked to prevent people from trying to use violence or thieving tactics to get inside the village.  The woman looked up, and her gaze was dark, level, and surprisingly cautious for someone who had seemed to be focusing on nail care rather than watching out for any potential threats for the small city guarded mostly by the effort it took to climb the darned oversized hill it was built on.  Then again, first appearances weren't everything.  Lea just happened to have fallen into the habit of judging people by their superficial actions: something to work on and something she wouldn't remedy until it was necessary.  "My name is Lea, and I'm here to assist in renovating some homes here," the blonde went on as the woman looked at her blankly.  After she got the words out, the stranger's countenance changed from full of confusion to full of skepticism.  As the woman raised an eyebrow, the young mage hurriedly went on, "I'm to be a judge, for the lords and ladies."  The girl didn't know why her cheeks suddenly felt flushed and her voice flustered, so she fell silent and waited for the presumed gatekeeper to speak up.  But without a word, the woman simply nodded despite the strange look that remained on her face.  A moment later, the doors of the gates swung open slowly, and inside the little box the female returned to caring for her nails.  Without another word, Lea stepped through and jumped slightly as they immediately slammed closed behind her.  The gates hadn't seemed to be hiding much, but inside was a whole new world that didn't seem to belong up here in on a rugged mountain top.

    She had been expecting a beautiful, peaceful village with large mansions and perhaps smaller stores.  All would be tastefully or a bit garishly decorated, but none would seem beat up.  After all, there were no peasants from Shirotsume (despite the feudal system, it was more of just a traditional way of government).  In addition, the streets would be swept and clean, with even roads even if Lea expected them to be made of dirt.

    Instead she saw fire.

    Blinded by the searing light, she stilled and froze on the spot.  How close are they?  She urged herself to remember frantically as her eyelids squeezed even more tightly shut in response to the blaze that she could see even through the skin.  How close are the houses?  Activating her ability to see through anything of her surroundings for a relatively short radius around her, the mage scanned the area for other people.  What houses are burning?  She found the answer in six of the largest mansions, situated relatively close to the entrance of the village.  That was why it was impossible for the citizens to have left already, the girl recognized.  They couldn't get past the wall of flame that she was standing in front of right now.  Opening her lids just a crack, Lea glared at the flickering tongues of fire that seemed to reach out further and further towards her every moment.  A soft mutter of, "Stormbird-Feathered Cloak," had a warm azure cape materializing into her dimension, fastened around her neck in half a second.  Using the power of flight that was automatically granted to her, the mage took off like a dart straight up into the air until she was out of the reach of the highest of the leaping flames.  Flying over them was an easy enough task, for they weren't yet boiling the air above them nor were they growing steadily.  The firestorm must have started recently; yet it had already spread to six houses?  And large ones, at that?  Furthermore, while it was raining?
    Even if there was a decent amount of wind (yet not to the point where it would snuff the flames right out and instead might help to spread them) no natural fire just leaped from house to house under these circumstances.  Something was wrong.

    She landed behind the wall of flames with barely a poof of dust rising into the air around her landing area.  A quick glance ahead told Lea that although the majority of the residences and shops seemed to be untouched, little flickers of fire were beginning to nip at the edges of the buildings among those who were nearest to the burning homes.  The girl sprinted towards the house that seemed to have started it all, the one that was right next to the entrance and basically straight to her west.  It had probably been a magnificent mansion at some point judging by the size of the structure even as it was burning.  There was no water in sight, which normally would have comforted the girl, but she only felt panic now.  Eyes roaming over the land and fiery things, burning all around her, the mage hissed as she failed to find anything at all that could alleviate this situation.  And then her eyes met someone else's, and then someone else's... soon, the blonde realized she was staring directly at several pairs of eyes.  Every single one of them were gaping at her, hidden behind a bunch of bushes at the side of the road, behind the burning buildings.  For some strange reason, all of them had yet to catch on fire; that only proved Lea's point that the disaster had been caused by some sort of magic and was a deliberate attack, since mistakes didn't do this.  She activated her special sight and counted the people cowering behind the leafy green hedge-like plants.  At least twenty were there; the fact that they were all dressed in silken pajamas or wearing high quality, (it looked like cotten velour?) robes cued her in to the fact that they could possibly be the families who had lived in the six houses that were currently in the process of burning to ash.  Striding over, the girl parted the bushes and stood over the crouching children and adults.  Even in such a position, each of them had their shoulders back and their chins either straight out or raised slightly in the air.  Lords and ladies, the lot of them: the children, too.

    "What happened here?" Her face was full of worried curiosity as the question flew from her lips, directed towards anyone would answer.  The strangers muttered between themselves and shot various responses at her.  Among them were several versions of 'a fire' and 'evil mages' and 'an angry god.'  Each made her seethe with a little more anger until finally, Lea smiled as gently as she could manage and asked, "What have you done?  Do you know what went on during the night or out here this morning?"  When she had first arrived at the top of the mountain and spoken to the gate keeper... ah!  The gate keeper!  How could the woman not have known about the fire?  How could she just let the blonde walk in like that without even a warning?  Perhaps her staunch un-concern had been a complete act.

    "We can't get out of here," a little girl with jet-black hair finally said in a louder tone than any of the other responses the mage had received.  "The gates are always locked, but we couldn't open em manually cause the flames were too close.  Nobody was replying to our calling so I bet the fire already got to Manny-"

    "Manny?"  With a crinkle in her forehead, the blue eyed girl repeated the name out loud once more, followed by another question.  "Is Manny your door keeper?  ...is it a male?"  She was going to fly over the iron gate and ask that woman a few questions as soon as the civilians were half-way calmed down, a little bit more organized, and she figured out exactly what the hell was going on here.  In fact, Lea would just have flown over in the first place, except she thought it might be rude to not enter formally.  As soon as the girl replied in the negative and said that Manny was actually a robot, the young mage nearly fell over in surprise.

    "She's made of metal, so the flames might m-melt her, and I worked so hard on her hair!  Mama and I dyed the wig ourselves, and Papa helped us program her to actually need glasses, b-but now the fire is going to ruin everything!"  The more she spoke, the closer the kid seemed to be getting to a complete breakdown, so the blonde quickly held up her hands to dissuade any of the freaking out and crying that the child seemed on the verge of maybe doing.  A man in a jade green robe, who had silver hair as well as a trailing mustache and beard that came to a point just centimeters above the ground, swiveled his head to face the two females.  He had been sitting maybe two meters away from the little girl when Lea had first arrived, but he rose to his feet now and moved to pull the dark haired kid away from the mage.

    "Dongmei, don't speak to strangers," he rebuked sharply as he situated his daughter behind his thin but imperious form.

    Lea was dumbfounded.  Frozen partially by rage that these people were just wallowing around and waiting for their village to burn, having abandoned their staff and other residents of the houses they were supposed to take care of, as well as due to the fact that the one person who had been trying to help her was now forbidden to do so, her eyes grew dark.  Still resisting the urge to scowl, the blonde sucked in a slow, deep breath and then let it all out.  Just a bit calmer now, she asked in a quiet but sharp tone, "Tell me two things.  First, that you sent news of the disaster to the other sleeping families.  The fire is not as loud as it seems,
    and the crack of beams falling across their bodies might be the only thing to wake them up.
     Second, where the hell can a person get water around here?"
     In the very least, there must have been some alternative if a spring or well was not available.  It would be odd for either to go all the way up through a mountain, though, so she expected a type of magical alternative.  Every human needed water to survive.  Her questions were answered (although barely) as the man muttered a crisp 'no' to the first and then simply answered 'the market square,' to the second.  Turning away, he took on the image of a person who refused to say anything more, with slightly hunched shoulders and a stony position.

    The girl was having none of it.

    "Listen to me.  I'm going to go back into that village and risk my life for the other inhabitants and your property, so you'd better give me at least this if you all are going to stay here and twiddle your thumbs while your houses literally burn.  Tell me how to get to the market square."  The fury in her voice came through, and reluctantly the man gave her directions: straight up ahead and then turn left at the gold plaque, then later turn left again at the dolphin statue.  Apparently the water was magical; it could definitely put out the fire, if it could remove the thirst from a man, no matter how parched.  Inclining her head in barely a nod, Lea shoved her way back through the bushes and and took off into the air.  It would be much easier this way; the landmarks were burned into her memory already, but she ought to warn the other civilians first in case she wasn't able to put out all the fires before they began to spread to more houses.  She swooped down to land on the doorstep of the mansion closest to the inferno and banged on the door with all her might.  A bright eyed maid answered the door with a downward curl to her lip.

    "Excuse me miss, but please pardon me for just a moment, as I was about to open the curtains and the madam doesn't like if she can't wake up to sunlight in the mornin-"

    Lea blinked at the slim female in slight bafflement before she regained her senses with wild eyes.  "Tell everyone to get the hell out of the house!  Fire!  Fire!"  She screeched the last two wards directly into the building, directing her voice past the maid and hopefully into the ears of the rest of the residents.  Dashing down the steps to bolt across the street to the next house nearest to the fire, she repeated the process and zig-zagged from place to place until she had reached the end of the blocks for both sides.  Upon doing so, the girl nodded in satisfaction and then shoved off against the ground, rising into the air with her cloak billowing out behind her.  Now for the water.  Flying straight ahead, the mage continued as fast as she could go until she spotted the first landmark that the lord had mentioned.  A golden plaque... it was bolted to a wooden post and had some engraved writing on it.  Behind the post was another road that led to the left.  Perfect, the blonde thought.  She turned sharply and sped through the air down that direction, flying over the path as if there were an aerial one that she was following.  As it blocked the dim light from the overcast sun (the downpour from before had toned itself down to more of a drizzle) the girl's shadow sped over the ground.  Faster, faster! she commanded herself, and her wings squeezed out a little bit more power as the girl rushed through the atmosphere.  She spotted a bronze statue at least five meters tall, and it was of a dolphin.  Lea turned left once more and flew down the lane, searching for the spring.  Or the well: whatever it was, really, since the man hadn't specified.

    She eventually landed in an open area that had a large grey box positioned in the center.  A small hole (it could probably fit a cup or something in diameter) could be seen peeking out from the top, so it seemed like a good thing to check out.  Right as the blonde was about to take the two steps needed to bring herself right in front of the box, a dark shape came hurtling at her from the left and slammed the mage into the earth.  Just as quickly as it had appeared, the weight on top of her vanished and the girl got to her feet unsteadily, intending to grab the water and fly away before whatever it was could ruin her intentions to save the village.  "Ah ah ah... little girl, you don't belong here," a playful voice said from right in front of her.  Lea's head and eyes jerked up in the direction of the voice, no longer focusing on getting her feet situated and pushing off of the ground with her palms.  That was a bad decision.  Something swept under her feet in one quick motion and the blue eyed mage ended up on the ground, flailing on her back again... at least some consolation was that she now knew who she was up against.  A beautiful woman, wearing a dark shoulder less dress and possessing wings the color of charcoal.  The earth beneath her feet had been scorched and flames leaped around her shoes, as well as on the upper feathers of her wings.  There was no doubt in Lea's mind that this creature had caused the disaster here.

    "Fire doesn't melt ice," she muttered before yanking the Javelin of the North Sky from her inter dimensional space and stabbing it upwards at the woman.  The dark woman managed to dodge her first thrust and sent the blonde a smirk before she conjured a fireball that seemed to be more glowing but hardened magma, than anything.  Of course... that meant-

    As soon as the woman threw the rock at her, Lea pulled her hand up to block her face, and a Mercenary's Dagger materialized grasped inside her palm.  "Hard luck," she muttered before the enemy spell slid off the metal and to the ground in two perfectly equal chunks, having been cut in half by her blade.  Deflty switching to offensive, the girl dropped her dagger and grabbed for the javelin, which she swept underneath the woman's feet, scratching her with the tip and forcing her to back away.  Except, there was nowhere to go.  With her back against the box, the female creature looked at Lea with contempt in her eyes.


    A dark shadow passed over the blonde as in a split second, the fiery opponent had flown over the mage's head and kicked her towards the box from behind.  Lea slammed into the metal and felt it knock the air out of her lungs with a whoosh.  The woman in the dark dress conjured another molten piece of rock and bounced it playfully in the air above her right hand as the girl struggled to get up once more.  "This is the end..." she remarked almost regretfully.  "The rain has no effect on my magic, but the holy water would.
     It's a shame that you couldn't beat me, but I'm not surprised at all.  Second-rate ReQuip mages are everywhere, for sure, and it's too bad that you're just another one of the casualties in what will go down in history as the massacre of Shirotsume.  Fire is hungry, so of course I'll be moving on to bigger and better things.  I do thank you for your time, though.  That was... a nice trick, you had,"
    the creature mused, likely referring to how the blonde had cut through the woman's spell.

    "You talk too much," was all the girl said before a smile ghosted across her lips and the girl rose unsteadily to her feet.  As soon as the mage had begun moving, the fiery angel had tried to kick her down again, and toss the ball of molten rock straight at the back of her head.  But her limbs- her limbs were frozen in place.  "I'm glad the holy water will save the town," Lea finished before she leaned over to pick up the javelin, which had just the slightest bit of the woman's blood on it from the earlier scratches on both of her feet.  Regarding the creature without the slightest bit of pity, she stabbed straight down towards its chest-

    But she stopped after the tip had pierced the skin shallowly, yet enough that the monster wouldn't be moving any time soon.  In situations like this, where there wasn't really a need for more lives to be lost (if any had been in the fire) she could find the mercy to simply freeze hellish angel until some other mage was able to find a proper prison or what not.  Returning her focus to the problem at hand, the blonde leaned over to peer down into the hole.  She saw nothing but darkness, until that is, a spout of water jetted upwards and sprayed with all of its force directly into her one eye that had been hovering over the opening.  "Ah-eghiesh-eck!" the blue eyed, (now wincing and one red-eyed) girl spluttered.  Frowning at the hole, the girl tentatively waved her hand over it and noticed as the spray erupted from the box again, almost as though it were connected to an actual geyser or something.  Thinking fast and summoning both her Oriental Armor and all of the extra clothes that she had stored in her space for necessary times on missions, she held them both over the hole and said a silent prayer that hopefully they wouldn't get blown up into the sky by the force of the water pressure.  Thankfully, the clothes only got soaked, which was just what her intention had been.  Exquipping the sopping garments back into storage and adding another part to that prayer about them not getting all of her other weapons and items wet, Lea flew back up into the air and set off towards the disaster zone again.  It was easy enough to spot, since pitch black smoke (another sign that this wasn't an ordinary fire) curled up in perfect spirals (yet another sign).  As she flew over the area, she requipped articles of clothing one by one and wrung out the fabric over the flames.  It seemed to have an extreme effect, since the flickering tongues of fire receded quickly away from the water and fizzled out when they had no place to go and were doused by it.  Some of the houses, particularly the first two and parts of the other four in the six, were damaged.  Overall, though?  The village was saved.

    Later that day, after the citizens had gotten a chance to discuss repairs and were able to create a system where they would all pool together resources to help pay for the ruined houses (after all, the residents of the town were rich, but not really greedy) and the fiery angel had been dragged away by the called Rune Knights who had flown in purely for that purpose, the villagers grouped around Lea.  The blonde had been darting from place to place around the city, doing her best to help with any repairs that she could.  Now, she blinked at the ladies and lords and their beaming children.  At least a third of the kids had miniature bouquets of wildflowers clutched in their hands, and Dongmei's mother carried a large cream envelope marked simply with the words, "For Leahndr."  She handed it to the mage with smile of gratitude, and the woman's black haired daughter stepped up proudly.  "Lea-onee-san!  Thanks for saving our village!  We got everybody to sign the card, and me and my friends picked you flowers!  We'll remember you forever, so thanks a lot!"  And then she shot the blonde a bright, sunny smile, and the ReQuip mage felt all of her tiredness of the battle and the labor melt away.  She struggled at first to find the words for a response but settled for returning the smile and replying simply, with all of her heart.

    Saw You Watching Me from Safety [Leah's B Rank Exam] Ef26c6cc7d6b1d15b032b617841c0199c07d3c3d_hq

    "No problem!" she said.

    4856/3500 Words.
    Astrid, I ended up writing 4.5K for you anyways x3

      Current date/time is Mon 4 Mar - 3:43