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    Runs In the Family • S-Rank Exam


    Runs In the Family • S-Rank Exam Empty Runs In the Family • S-Rank Exam

    Post by Guest on 18th August 2017, 9:53 pm

    And while you are sitting indoors
    waiting for the storm to pass
    I will be outside dancing in the rain

    It was exhausting, constantly going back and forth between Oahu and Terasu. Which is why the elf girl tended to stay in one place or the other for multiple days at a time. There was no way she could gather up enough energy after her training with Sirius to walk back home, that would be near impossible. She could do it if she tried her hardest, but Astrid was careful not to exhaust herself completely these days. She tended to do that a lot, exhaust herself to the brink of death. But after a couple near death experiences already she wasn't exactly fond of the idea of meeting her maker quite yet. And and to top it off with her frail health she couldn't take any chances.
    It was funny... The elf could remember clearly that when she was younger the doctor told her the sickness she had was genetic, whatever the actual name for it might be. But... She was no longer in possession of her original birth body. In fact, this body had no connection whatsoever to her or any of her ancestors. Not even the tiniest drop of similar blood. Since this came from Erika it was made in a lab, it was a shell. An empty shell, until Astrid filled it with her soul of course. So, why was her frailness still effecting her so much? Really, it has even intensified since then. Maybe not a whole lot, but maybe just a little. Despite being trained under Sirius she was starting to notice her stamina was once again deteriorating over time. Things were becoming more and more of a hassle to do. Though this wasn't anything new. Astrid had gone through a similar period of this in her childhood, to the point where she was hospitalized for a couple of months due to it. But... This shouldn't even be happening anymore, not in this body at least. But the illness continued.
    She did not know. Maybe no matter what body she was in this retched curse was set to find her. It didn't make any sense, though she knew this would eventually pass. At least she hoped... She had survived this once before, and since then survived actual death itself. She wouldn't allow this persistent illness to take her life so soon. She had just achieved her dream status. A real wizard saint. She wouldn't want to gain the title only to lose it as soon as she got it. There was still so much to do.
    But at the same time, she could recall what her grandfather said once. The youngest Foss to ever pass was her great grandmother, at the tender age of nineteen... Astrid was only but a month away from becoming the same age. Yet her great grandmother was said to have died during childbirth, and as much as she hoped Astrid was pretty sure she wasn't pregnant or going to give birth to the next son of God any time soon. So her chances of going at the same time wasn't exactly high. Still, the thought of losing her life still weighed heavily on her mind.
    Would she even die? Her body would at least, but what about her soul? As long as her soul stayed intact she was immortal. At least that's what hazy information she had gathered through various memories of the past and legends about her very existence. But the question was, did the illness effect her soul? Astrid wasn't sure, nor were any doctors across the country. No matter what her grandfather did no one could explain the genetic illnesses of the Foss, even when her grandmother was dying of it and no matter what hospital or expert he forced to look into it they could never come up with a clear answer. Some say it's genetic and effected every generation, and yet her own mother had never been reported with the disease. It's like all of a sudden it decided to skip a generation. And at the same time it has only ever effected one person at a time. When that person died, another would get it in their place. It acted without rhyme or reason, as if it were sentient and understood exactly what it wanted in a host. So supernatural was this that science and medicine would not explain it. Astrid did not understand when she was younger, but her grandfather often called it the Foss curse. But now that she was older and understood the position she was in more, she couldn't help but agree with him.
    There was no understanding what it was.
    It just was what it was.
    A curse.

    That morning the elf awoke in a sweat, lunging forward as soon as she opened her eyes. For a while she sat there from under her futon, staring into the wall of the darkened cave in front of her, her breath short and ragged as she exhaled and inhaled under her breath. Purple eyes sat wide and unmoving. Eventually after gathering herself enough she began to look around the small space of the cave, eyes darting from wall to wall, almost forgetting where she was for a moment before she thankfully remembered. Ah, yes. That's right. She was still of Terasu, inside the mountain she first fought Sirius at. To confirm this was in fact the same place the slayer raised her head and looked to the top of the hollow mountain, spying the dark sky filled with bright stars that forever reigned over this planet's world. Yep, this was Sirius' place alright. She was there when he broke the top of it trying to fight her. Calming down by the familiar scenery Astrid leaned back in place, letting out a short breath through her nose. She rubbed her temples as a sort of natural way to wake herself up, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes while also massaging her aching mind. "So it was just a dream..." the elvish girl mumbled to herself, recalling the unnerving visions that had plagued her mind that night. She removed her hand away from her temples, dropping it to her lap. "... Or in this case, a nightmare." Nightmares were not uncommon for the wizard saint. In fact these days she tended to have nightmares more than dreams, as awful as that sounded. But what else was supposed to happen when you repressed trauma? It doesn't go away, even when you force it to. It's always there, always gnawing away at the back of your mind. It waits for you to lose your guard, and just when you're most vulnerable is strikes once more. Since Astrid was rather good locking things away the moments they usually liked to strike were within her dreams. Granted, not every nightmare was about her trauma. Just the night before she had this weird dream about a giant pizza rolling after her, trying to kill her. And she had absolutely nothing again pizza. Well, maybe now she would be a bit hesitant about buying one any time soon... But still, she was rather good at shaking her nightmares off. Because that's all they were. Nightmares. They couldn't hurt her and she knew that. But those times... Those times when she could recall a distant memory from when she was a wandering soul filled with bloodlust, or maybe the feeling of being abandoned and unwanted by her mother, or perhaps the time she died in Izayuki's arms. Those were the times when she could not shake them off so easily. They stuck to her mind, stuck to her very being. And no matter how hard she tried to remove them she was still shaken to the core.
    Last night had been no different. the memory itself was vague now, but the feeling was still there. The pain of dying before she was even born. It was just darkness, and then death. Nothing else. There was nothing more painful than to not even live before you die. To die alone, knowing nothing of this world other than the embrace of death.
    The silvernette turned her attention towards her arm, tracing it up and down slowly with a delicate finger, feeling the light touch upon her skin.
    But she was alive. How? She took the life of another. That's what her kind did. Filled with wrath the unborn souls search out for a host, another pregnant woman. Then they consume the soul of the baby still growing inside and take their place. She had done that. She had killed the originally Astrid Foss. And in return she got to live as her, in her place. She was living a life that was not supposed to be her's, but rather someone else's. All of the things she was going through shouldn't even really be her issues. But they were. Because she is Astrid, at least now she is.
    Purple optics looked back up towards the dark sky, the reflection of thousands of stars shining within them.
    The guild master could not help but wonder what the original Astrid would have done if she was in this situation. But she guessed, if this was the original Astrid she wouldn't even be in this situation right now. She herself wouldn't even exist at the current moment, and the Astrid she killed would probably either be dead, living, or maybe... Just maybe she would be doing exactly what she was doing right now, starring up at the same starry night sky and wondering where to go from here. It was a weird thought, but not an impossible one. After all what really made a person a person in the first place? They say personality and memories, as well as influences from other people. If that was the case, then wouldn't that mean she was taking every single step the other Astrid would have taken? It's like, her fate is already laid out for her, and she is just watching from this perspective.
    Realizing she was once again thinking too deep about things Astrid shook her head, patting herself on the cheeks in order to wake herself up from her half-sleep thoughts.
    It was too early to be thinking about deep things. What was done is done, and she had to live with it. She knew this, she always has since she first found out what she was.
    If fate did exist, then there was a reason she was here. There was a reason for all of this in the first place. Her consuming Astrid's soul and taking her place was not something she can prevent or stop. There is a reason she is still alive, there is a reason for everything. She just had to remember that.

    After gathering herself once more the elf neatly folded the futon and made her way towards the main entrance of the mountain. She tripped over a lose rock once, but that was only inevitable when you lived in constant darkness and your slayer senses were will a bit too tired to function correctly. It was a good thing Sirius naturally radiated light and was... You know, about fifty feet tall, otherwise she might get lost in those massive tunnels forever.
    She guessed it was about time for her training anyway, Sirius liked to train her as soon as she got up, that way they could get the tough stuff out of the way early and still have time to relax more. He liked to tell her stories of the past, and Astrid was naturally curious and drawn to such things. She liked the stories of old, always have, especially the books that told of such things. But to have an actual person who was there for these certain events was more than she could have ever wanted or dreamed. There was something raw and more powerful when they were told first hand. There was no censorship or wordplay, Sirius just told it like it is. It was fascinating, and defiantly her favorite part of their training.
    As she got closer and closer to where the dragon resided the elf could see the light from within the cavern growing bright and brighter, to the point where at somewhere in the middle she had to squint her eyes in order to get used to the light once more...
    But then something hit her randomly. A smell hit her sensitive slayer nose, all the way to the back of her throat. For some reason it smelled like something was... Burning.
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    Last edited by Madame Astrid on 20th August 2017, 10:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

    Runs In the Family • S-Rank Exam Empty Re: Runs In the Family • S-Rank Exam

    Post by Guest on 19th August 2017, 10:42 pm

    And while you are sitting indoors
    waiting for the storm to pass
    I will be outside dancing in the rain

    The smell of smoke set off all the alarms in the slayer's system. Upon identifying the particular scent she began to quicken her pace, shaking off whatever remnants of sleep still manifested within her. This had not happened before, this was no regular occurrence. Something was wrong, she could feel it. Her gut wrenched with unease. With how much dense forest filled this planet fire was not exactly a good sign, especially not a forest fire. They tended to last longer and be twice as large than most kind of fires. Astrid didn't even want to think about all the animals in the forest... But more importantly, if this was happening, where was Sirius? Surely they needed to get out of here as soon as possible. Maybe along the way they could help anyone in need of it.
    But those thoughts wouldn't last for long, as when the slayer turned the corner to where Sirius usually resided she found that there was in fact no fire. In fact, not even any smoke. She stood in the entrance of the cave, staring out past it into the woods. There was nothing. Not even a single ember.

    "Good morning, elfling." A deep voice rumbled from the side of the cave. The elf turned to look, spotting Sirius curled up near the side, obviously only having gotten up just before her judging by the amount of gravel in his regularly soothing tone.
    Still somewhat in high alert Astrid took a few moments to reply. Her widened eyes softened, confused, but recognizing there apparently was no actual danger.

    "Good morning..." She had to force the words out finally. The wizard saint looked from left to right, as if double checking there really was no fire. The smoke smell only continued to intensify, especially when she finally entered this particular cavern of the mountain, and now it was practically stinging her nose and eyes. But there was still no sign of any fire. She rose her nose to the air to smell a bit more, only to wince back and cover it with her sleeve when she got just a bit too much of a whiff. "Is it just me, or does it smell like something is burning?"
    It was then by using her sensitive slayer sense that she could pinpoint the exact location from where this wretched stench was coming from. She looked over towards the end of Sirius' tail, spotting a few black, charcoal-looking objects. Seeing her find the source the dragon quickly draped a trail over the black marks, looking up to the top of the cave and avoiding her eyesight.

    "Must just be you. I don't smell a thing."

    "What's that under your tail?"

    "What thing? There's nothing there."

    "Those black marks."

    "Honestly, Astrid. Are you sure you didn't stay up too late last night? You must be hallucinating."

    That's where she drew the line. She knew she wasn't hallucinating. And by his tone and lack of eye contact he was obviously trying to hide something. She wasn't going to let him make a fool out of her like that. Pouting her lips like a child the elf walked over to the overgrown lizard's tail. He flinched at first, shoving his tail closer to the wall. But with Astrid's strength she was able to pry it away. She picked up his scaly tail, gritting her teeth and pushing it upwards like a big weight at the gym. She looked upon the wall, spotting what she had seen before. Unidentifiable black objects scattered long the ground, some even leaving huge marks upon the stone. From the overpowering smell, this is where the smokey stench was coming from.
    She had a good idea of what it was already, but she felt the need to ask the elder dragon for confirmation.
    "Sirius, what are these things?"
    If dragons could Sirius would look as if he were sweating right now. His split, amber pupils grew small and darted around the room before landing back on the silvernette

    "W-Well you see, last night i was doing some research and i-" he cut himself off in the middle of his sentence, seeing Astrid's pout from the corner of his vision. The great dragon sighed, lifting his tail from her shoulders to lay behind her, revealing the marks and all their glory.
    "It's... Food, okay? Burnt food. All i wanted to do was make some cooked food for you and i may have messed up and burned everything."
    Astrid's pout turned into a thin line, eyes growing wide. He tried to cook? For her? All she could imagine was him using his light breath on the food and instantly turning it to ash... Guess he didn't realize his light was millions of degrees hotter than any fire on Earthland. Nothing would ever survive a blast from that.
    Still, was this him trying to do a nice gesture for her? She stared up at him, but he only continued to look away bashfully. It was honestly nice to see the dragon she first thought was so intimidating to be so... Embarrassed and bashful. It was kind of cute. Though to him it might as well be like a nightmare. He was supposed to be this all power and all knowing being after all. If he messed up it would mean he wasn't living up to his legend. Astrid could relate maybe a bit too much to his feelings.
    Thankful for even just the thought of it Astrid gave him a soft smile.

    "It's fine, Sirius. You didn't have to. I need to consume some light before our next training session anyway, and food would have just filled me up."

    "For what you are doing next you need not magical power, but actual fuel for your body." He rumbled to her in response, now gaining enough courage to finally look back with those mixed optics of his. He looked directly at her, loosing any sort of bashfulness and replaced back with his serious tone and expression. The sudden and quick turn of emotion was unnerving to the elf.
    "Which is why i was trying to feed you real food. Beings like myself do not need it, all we simply need is to absorb light through our skin. But humans need more than light to fill them up. They need food, otherwise you'll just end up getting sick from the journey."
    Journey? Was he taking her on some kind of trip? The woman tilted her head in question.

    "... What do you mean? What journey?"

    "You wish to gain more power, correct?"
    Astrid nodded in response.
    "You need more than physical and mental strength to become strong. The soul of a person, when untrained, can lead to a devastating demise. To become strong all must have a balance. Your strength and mental state are fine, even more so with our training. But i cannot teach you how to use your own soul. For that, you will have to look inside yourself." He paused, resting the tip of his tail on her head.
    "Only you can train your soul."
    Her soul... The very being of who she was. The reason she was her in the first place. What he said made sense. You could have all the strength and knowledge in existence, but without soul you might as well be a walking husk of a person. But then the question was...

    "Then, how do i do this? Train my soul, i mean."
    She couldn't exactly tell, but it looked as though Sirius' black lips curved into a smile for a brief moment. The dragon removed his tail from her head and reached over to a stray coconut shell that had landed just outside of the entrance. He snapped it in half, bringing only one half of the shell up to his face. He poured out the white milk to make it hollow before lowering it to his jaw, parting his lips. A moment passed before a colorful liquid substance that could only be described as rainbow colored began to leak out between his white teeth, pouring out over his mouth and into the coconut shell. Once full it stopped, and he lowered the now full shell towards the girl.

    "You drink this."
    Astrid stood in shock, unsure of what exactly just happened. He practically just... Slobbered into a coconut... And now he was asking her to drink it. Of course, she was hesitant to take it from him, a bit disgusted that he was asking her to drink his own drool. It wasn't exactly the most appetizing thing to think about, dragon spit.
    She gave him a sheepish smile, wincing away from the cup.

    "D-Didn't you say i, uh, needed to eat before doing this whole thing?"
    There it was again. Astrid knew this time she saw him smirk, even if it was just for a split second. He was enjoying her discomfort.
    He lowered his face to her's, shoving the drink more towards her.

    "You don't need to. The only thing eating would do is make it so you don't throw up once you come back. And seeing as how i burnt all the food we have it looks like you'll just have to take a chance~" he rumbled, somewhat sickly sweet.
    The bastard. He totally burnt all the food on purpose. That was no accident, it was just so he could see her drink this stuff without having anything to wash it out with.
    "That is, unless you're a coward~"
    Something snapped within the silvernette's mind upon those words, causing a rush of rage through her system. Coward? Her? How dare he call her such a thing. She was no coward, she'd drink dragon drool any day, no matter how gross it tasted or the aftermath of it!

    "Give me that!" A agitated vein pulsated upon the corner of her head, swiping the coconut from his grip. Her expression was that of annoyance, silver eyebrows narrowed and lips pouting out. But when she peered down into the colorful liquid and saw her reflection, she couldn't help but become slightly worried.
    "What will happen to me once i take this?" Not that she wouldn't end up drinking it or anything. She wanted to train her soul no matter what, but she would at least like to know what she was doing before taking even a sip.

    "You will be transported inside your own soul. There, you will meet your guardian, the one that protects your soul. Think of it as a sort of spirit animal, it's the same concept. There is no telling what exactly it is you will have to do. That is completely up to your guardian. The only real advice i can give you, is don't die, and don't let your guardian die either."
    Die? Her gaze popped back up towards the white dragon. She didn't know she would be risking her life for this training session. This made her only even more hesitant.

    "What will happen if one of us... dies?"

    "Then the other dies along with you." He didn't even hesitate to answer her. The elf bit back a nervous sound to the back of her throat, looking back into the liquid. Sirius only hardened his gaze at her.
    "You told me when we first met you were willing to do anything to train under me. Is the thought of death too much for you? If so we can stop our sessions now. Taking risks is a part of growing stronger, Astrid. If you are not willing to take risks you will go nowhere in your quest. Knowing this, what will you do?"
    His words stuck like daggers within her. They were harsh, but she knew them to be true. She had already sacrificed enough to get this far, it wasn't a new concept to her.
    If she really wanted to gain power, she would have to take this risk.
    The elf took in a deep breath and allowed it to fill her chest, trying to calm her tingling nerves.

    "I'll... I'll do it" she stated. "I'll take this journey, no matter the risk."
    Sirius nodded.

    "Very well. Now, hatchling, consume the concoction and concentrate on my words. Do not stop until you have consumed every single drop of it. And whatever you do, if you value your life, do not look back until you have found your guardian."
    With those somewhat intimidating words Astrid hesitantly rose the coconut to the edge of her lips, taking in another breath before lifting it up and parting her lips for the liquid to pass through.
    "Oh, pitiful shadow cloaked in darkness. Thine actions cause mankind pain and suffering..." the taste was not one she could describe, as it did not have much of a flavor to begin with. But the texture itself was like that of cough medicine, gooey and thick. The more she let it rest on her tongue, the more she got from it. The liquid began to fizzle, like pop rocks, tingling her entire mouth and the back of her throat.
    "Thy soul drowns in thy sins...."
    The thick liquid stuck to her throat on the way down, but she did not stop, not for a minute. After a few gulps she began to notice the side effects kicking in. Her mind became hazy, and she felt more and more distant from her body, as if she were floating. She felt... Weak. If she wasn't so keen on following his instructions she might have just fell over right then and there from the lack of her being able to sit straight. But wanting to follow every last step perfectly she continued to drink, forcing herself up, gulp after gulp. By now she had closed her eyes, to concentrate solely on his words. It was hard to do though, seeing as with every passing minute his soothing voice grew further and further away just like the feeling of her body. But just by the time she thought she would have to give in and keel over, his voice suddenly grew louder, as if he was right next to her ear.
    "Repent for thy sins."
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    Last edited by Madame Astrid on 20th August 2017, 10:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

    Runs In the Family • S-Rank Exam Empty Re: Runs In the Family • S-Rank Exam

    Post by Guest on 20th August 2017, 10:04 pm

    And while you are sitting indoors
    waiting for the storm to pass
    I will be outside dancing in the rain

    The last sickly gulp was taken. She removed the coconut shell from her lips, rubbing her tongue against the roof of her mouth in discomfort as the last drops of the thick mixture traveled down her throat. A shiver crawled up the slayer's spine, her body shrinking back in disgust when she felt the last bit of the liquid fall down into her stomach. But other than the incredible displeasure Astrid could not say she felt any... Different. All of her senses came back to her on the last drop, she no longer felt a disconnect from her body of mind. She felt, normal.
    "I don't... Feel anything different?..." Then it hit her. Wait, how can dragon drool cause such a weird experience anyway? That didn't make any sense. He tricked her! He totally fooled her into drinking his spit! The nerve of that overgrown lizard. He just wanted to fulfill some sick, twisted joke on her. That was it.
    "Sirius! I'm going to take that tail and shove it up your-!" Just before she could finish the threat she opened her eyes, only to be met with no sort of familiar scenery at all, taking whatever breath she had right out of her. Optics shone brilliantly. What stood before her was breathtaking to say the least. All around was nothing but blue. The sky, the clear water below. It was just... Blue. The water itself didn't even really act like water. She was standing on it, she knew that much. But the only times it rippled or moved at all was when she moved her feet across it. She wasn't falling through it like normal water would. It was as if it were solid...
    No... This was a familiar scene. That time when she almost killed Izayuki, this was the place they were transported. Inside of her soul.
    So this was her soul... Interesting to say the least. She didn't think souls had whole others would in them let alone anything close to this beauty.
    Though something was quick to catch her attention when watching the ripples beneath her feet. Ceasing her test of trying to understand what exactly this water was, the liquid eventually cleared once more, and reveled a different picture from what she was expecting. Instead of silver locks and purple eyes the wizard saint fashioned blonde hair and yellow eyes framed behind thin glasses. Not natural blonde hair though, Astrid couldn't help but notice this was more pale than she had seen of most blondes. But it was tied up in a way she couldn't help but compare to Violet's own french bun. Actually, she just so happened to look a lot like her own other in this form.
    She brought a hand up to her cheek, patting it lightly, as if she just had to confirm this was indeed her. Breaking her gaze from the reflection she scanned over her current clothing. A red scarf, a weird sort of blue school girl uniform, a black light jacket, a black garter belt, and to top it off some nice buckle boots. A... Strange look, given that this was nothing like her normal body. But yet, that body wasn't even really her body, so by this point waking up in a new body wasn't really that foreign to her. Though the question was, why? Why did she look like this? And, why of all people did this so closely resemble Violet?

    A sudden gust of wind was enough to break the slayer from her thoughts. It snuck past her legs, catching her off guard and making her jump slightly from the cold feeling. A wind? In her soul? The entire time she had been here there was no wind. Why did it all of a sudden...?
    Following the direction the wind was going Astrid looked behind her. The biggest mistake she could have made.
    Behind her where three swirling winds filled with red petals. The petals floating dainty, riding the wind before they began to take a more physical form. They shifted and changed. One wind transformed into a fox-like figure. The other, a bear. The one in the middle, a rooster. Each one didn't take physical form per say, but the wind and petals continuously rushing about together made them loosely form into those identifiable shapes.
    The blonde stepped back, mostly out of surprise from seeing them. In return they all stepped forward in unison.
    She took another step back, they stepped forward again... Okay, she would admit, this was kind of creepy.
    "Uh... H-Hey..." she greeted them sheepishly, starting to feel more and more uncomfortable by the second. They all gave of this powerful ominous aura about them, putting Astrid on edge. She wasn't sure if they were friends or foes. They didn't... Seem to want to attack her. But there was differently something very off putting by their strange appearance. The animals didn't move at her, they simply stared, their expressionless faces staring right at her. A cold sweat formed on the guild master's forehead, a nervous laughter sounding up from her throat. "Well okay then. I guess... I'll just be on my way." There was no use standing around here staring at these things. She was just wasting time, and she had no idea how long that concoction Sirius gave her lasted. She needed to act quick and find her guardian. "Au revoir~" she forced another nervous smile, saluting them off before turning her back on them.
    Just then something flew towards her back, but she was not quick enough to turn back around before a blue blast crashed down upon the creature and tore it apart within seconds. Astrid only heard the sound of the blast, but nothing else. She turned back in place after the explosion, seeing the once so beautiful red petals turn black and crumble into nothing. She turned her attention towards the three animals, noticing now that there were only two. The fox and bear. The rooster was gone. And by judging what she had seen, the dark petals belonged to it. Looking beyond the destroyed petals the other two animals stood unmoving, the only thing changing being the bright red color of the petals turning darker and darker until eventually they were black. By which time, just like the rooster, they too sprung forward into action. Seeing this threat Astrid prepared to summon her magic, but as the seconds passed by, there was no flicker of light anywhere on her body. She looked towards her hand, trying harder to summon any light. But there was none, no matter how hard to tried to force it.
    Great. This is what Sirius meant by not letting herself die. She should have been more careful.
    In a fit of panic Astrid turned in place to run, only to remember without her magic there was no super speed for her. She was stuck. But still, she ran. Ran for her life. She could hear their paws hit the ground hard and splash up water, and they were only getting closer. Only within a few seconds into the chase and Astrid could already feel herself starting to get fatigued. Her chest tightened and her breathing became erratic, most likely due to the combination of lowered stamina and panic. Her body was already giving into fate, and was naturally trying to slow herself down. But Astrid pushed on into the endless, watery abyss. With no way to fight back and no way to run or hide was she just stuck here? She was, wasn't she? She didn't listen to Sirius, and now she was going to be killed. Why was she not more careful? What was there to do now? Run until she eventually got tired and gave up anyway? Or give up now and die sooner. Either way, she'd die... She would really die...
    Her body grew heavier, and with it, she began to slow down. It was worthless. She was going to die. Why even try anymore? "It's useless... I can't outrun these guys... And i can't fight back... It's over."
    These thoughts continued to enter the girl's head with every step, and with every step she got slower, they only seemed to get faster. But just when she was about to give into it all, another flash of blue light came from behind her. The two animals were shredded into tiny pieces, each petal fading to pure black before disintegrating into nothing. Feeling the presences behind her finally fade Astrid stopped in place and fell to her knees, only her hands stopping her from completely face planting into the water. She inhaled and exhaled sharply, trying to regain her breath and cease her out of control heart rate.

    "Do not fear now, we are safe." A light, feminine voice sounded up from in front of her. Looking up Astrid spotted a figure just inches away from her. It was light blue, and semi transparent. She could see through it, though it did have a sort of solid shape. The shape... Of a dragon. Granted it was not as big as Sirius, it was only maybe a few more feet bigger than her. But still the way its frame shifted and pulsated with light, this was not normal. Afraid for this to be another encounter of those animals back there the blonde fell back onto her behind, scooting away from it out of fear, whimpering under her breath. But the wavering dragon lifted a claw, as if to tell her to stop. "No no, it's okay. I promise. I'm your guardian. I am you, you are me!"
    her weirdly childish way of speaking and light voice caught the girl off guard, though did make her stop trying to get away. Instead, she became intrigued, her expression turning from that of fear to awe. Her... Guardian. So this was it? This dragon? She didn't think it was going to be... Well... A dragon. Though she guessed she didn't even really know what exactly it was she expected anyway...

    "You're.. Me?" Astrid tilted her head, still a bit hesitant to trust this beast fully.
    The blue dragon nodded vigorously.

    "We are the same! I can prove it! I know all this stuff only we would know! Like i know you wet the bed until you were thirteen, and there was that one time you got that pebble stuck up your nose and grandpa had to take you to the clinic. Oh, and you also didn't know what sex was until that one boy in our class brought in that magazine with the-"

    "Okay okay! You're me! You don't have to go any further." Astrid halted the dragon by raising a hand to her face, to which it stopped its sentence instantly. The dragon blinked its eyes rapidly.
    "You're me, i believe you." She blushed, remembering quite well what that last memory was going to be.

    "Oh thank goodness" the dragon sighed happily. "That memory was embarrassing."
    Astrid, still slightly red from embarrassment readjusted herself so she was sitting up, staring up towards the guardian spirit.

    "So you're my guardian..."

    "Yep! That's me. Nephthys, at your service." The dragon dipped her head is a sort of bow.

    "Nephthys?" The girl questioned, blinking curious optics upwards. Wasn't that the name of an ancient goddess? She could remember reading something about her way back in school.

    "Oh, yes, well i assumed it would be weird if i introduced myself as Astrid also. So i took the name of that goddess we learned about in fifth grade instead. She's the goddess of death. There was something about her that intrigued us when we were younger, and it stuck even after all those years." Nephthys... That was right, she was the Egyptian goddess of death from when Astrid could remember. A bit of a strange reason to call yourself that, but she knew it would be better than having two Astrids. This was for the best.
    Noticing that she was still sitting before the dragon Astrid pushed herself up from the floor and stood, gazing into the beast's blue eyes.

    "Well, Nephthys. Thank you for saving me back there. If it wasn't for you i would be a goner... Well, i mean i guess we would both be goners..." After all, if one died the other died. It was only natural the dragon would protect her.

    "You're quite welcome." Nephthys chirped, swishing her tail back and forth behind her. "Those were manifestations of your sins. They feed off your darkest thoughts, making you weaker and them stronger. It's my job to hunt them down and protect your soul from becoming overrun with them... But there's just so many of them nowadays. This place used to be so lovely before they started showing up..." At the last part of the statement Nephthys turned her head to gaze out into the blue abyss. Astrid wasn't sure, but she swore she saw a hint of sadness in the dragon's eyes, even from just out the corner. Astrid turned to look in the direction she was gazing into, staring at the never ending blue. Sins... They were her sins. And now because of her sins it was Nephthys' job to fight them in order to keep her soul clean. At least, that's what Astrid could gather.

    "How do we get rid of them?" Astrid asked, tearing her eyes away from the scenery to look at the dragon. "There has to be a way, i don't want my soul overrun with those things..." Just the thought made her shiver.

    "Repent." Nephthys spoke the same word as Sirius had, in equally the same serious way despite the female dragon's more cheerful tone. Blue eyes grew hard when they landed back on Astrid. "Repent for your sins."

    "Repent..." Astrid repeated to herself. That word sure was getting thrown around a lot... "How?"

    "How do you want to repent?" the dragon asked. "There is no true way of repenting. Some say to suffer is to repent, while others say you must do good. But that is entirely up to the person repenting. So, how will Astrid Foss repent for her crimes?"
    How would she repent? It wasn't something so easily thought of. But for Astrid, there could only ever be one way to repent for the life she had taken.

    "I will live" Astrid responded. The blonde smiled, looking back out into the distance. "I will live my life. I will live the life the other Astrid never got a chance to have. That is how i will repent."
    The dragon rose an eyebrow.

    "Living? Do you realize how long a Frankenstein of a being like you will live for? Part youkai, part unborn soul, part elf, and whatever that thing Elyx is. You could be immortal if careful enough. Are you willing to live with your sins for that long?"
    Astrid nodded.

    "I am."
    It was her fault in the first place why things were like this. She did not mind living with her sins and repenting her entire life. In the end, it was what she deserved. And in a strange way, after witnessing everything she has up to this point, she was okay with that. If by just living she could repent and help Nephthys, she did not mind. It was the least she could do for the being that fought so hard to keep both of them alive.
    Nephthys' lips curved into a smile.

    "I had a feeling you would say that. We really are the same."

    Astrid smiled. "Indeed, we are."
    Upon those words, a cracking sound broke out like thunder and echoed through the abyss. Both females looked up, only to see a long crack in the sky, pieces of debris falling out and into the water.
    Nephthys looked back down to Astrid, shoving something into her hand.

    "Here, take this" she commanded. Astrid looked down, spying a bright blue lacrima within her grasp. "There is not much time before you wake up. Think of it as a parting gift, a way for you to remember you are never alone. I am with you. Forever and always." Nephthys smiled, pointing a claw to Astrid's chest.
    Debris continued to fall all around them, the sky falling in on itself and shaking the very ground under them. Astrid could not move, but only simply stare at the dragon's smiling face until a sudden flash of light consumed her vision and the loud noises stopped.

    "Take care of us, Astrid."
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      Current date/time is 1st June 2020, 1:14 am