|The firm connection between a slayer and his exceed scarcely ever contribute to the dullness of ordinary life - it's often mutually agreed by both parties that their lives were far better off once they had partnered, days now being largely thrilling, boundaries being torn apart as sky travel becomes anything but a luxury.|
There was something about this almost ancient form of symbiosis between the two entirely different species that warranted an indispensable amount of trust, regardless of the circumstance.
However, not every slayer or exceed were exempt from a slight distaste for their partner when the situation called for it. More so for Meilin, of whose patience was wiring thin as she hoisted her 'master' up beyond the clouds.
"Harumph..." she mumbled, her face puffed up in aversion.
Given the state of things at the current moment, the black exceed wouldn't have normally held unto the grump in her expression with such a passion. She was, truthfully, an exceed who was no different from the rest of her kin. Though unvoiced, Meilin fostered an affection for her slayer friend that was befitting of her compassionate character, as she liked to address herself. And while it was perhaps a far too pretentious thought, it wasn't necessarily untrue. If there was anything that Xiao Jing's eccentric tendencies demanded, it was an above-average level of compassion that Meilin hadn't seen manifest in a normal human for a significant amount of time.
It was...just a special case in the handbook of 'How to Be a Good Exceed' that the slightly older exceeds liked to have on their shelves. While it had been Xiao Jing's physical body, it wasn't his consciousness, was anything but her lovable red-head. This one was not the jester who threw party bombs at people, nor was he the one who wasted away in his little 'projects' for several nights, only to come out covered in oil and smelling like metal, the victory in his face the only thing pure about his appearance.
This one, as he was, is a man named Marco. A redhead whom, in Meilin's experience, is an overbearing, stoic prick who has little to no interest in any sort of fun, having opted to focus on the boring, more technical aspects of life as a mortal.
Meilin didn't exactly loathe Marco, rather, her careless personality created an irrevocable friction when paired with his rational way of handling things - a match that has a large probability of sparking a heated argument at the wrong time. Though it was a relationship that wasn't going to progress, it needed to remain, for so long as Jing's condition persisted and thrived, so too, would Marco continue to inhabit this ginger's body as a fragmented portion of the slayer's being whenever he was needed.
The exceed could resent Marco for all eternity, but she could never forsake her master. And for what's left of it, this man was still him, albeit a shade duller than Xiao Jing's colorful scheme.
And it had been that way ever since, and is how things were then that very day. After Xiao Jing restlessly slaughtered his way into a frenzy back at Fat Monsterland, Marco forcibly crammed his way into activity, stabilizing whatever demons his host was about to unleash as a means to keep the fugs off his (their) butt, and the council off his (their) head.
Seven days, Marco thought, bemused, perhaps realizing that it was by far the longest time he's been active, and in essence, also means that Jing's bloodlust was nearing a critical high, should he not have intervened at the last minute. It wouldn't be another full day until his host exhausted most of that murderous drive, so he might as well make the most of it.
Perhaps his current agenda would manage most, if not all the future instabilities in Jing's mental state. Marco could only hope for the best possible outcome at this point.
"So where to, ol' fancy hat?" Meilin quipped, visibly restless with the sheer lack of party bombs as of late.
Marco involuntarily pulled at the rim of his fedora, casting a dark shadow over his steely blue stare, one that probed at the docks of Hargeon with incredible interest, "I appreciate the compliment fluffy cheeks, but we've ought to land by the port over there if we want to get this over with."
The exceed made a face that appeared none too delighted at the prospect of more mundane work, but would later decide to follow the prompt anyway, flapping her wings once to remind herself that, as she had been told last night, it won't be very long until her original master returned to his senses. It was only a matter of patience, she thought, priding herself on her tenacity as she regularly did.
"So what's so special about this town?" Meilin asked, her body swiveling to the right to avoid a seagull, although it was much to her disappointment to discover that she'd be doing it more than once, for a whole flock of them seemingly invaded the seas beneath them.
"And why are there so many birds?!" she hissed, twisting to an uncomfortable angle just so Marco could avoid an unnecessary mouth-to-beak session with one of the local gulls.
The slayer dug his gloved fingers into the material of his hat, peeling off his head lest the buzzing flock of birds warrant him a record for animal abuse should the fedora leave the safety of his person and into the hungry waters below.
"Apart from the birds there's ptftft-,"
"Eh? What?" the exceed said, a thin brow arching over in confusion.
"Pleh! F*ck this hair! Cazzo!"
Marco could feel the blood immediately rush to his face as he tore the hair locks from his mouth, chewing on the inside of his cheek as a reminder to limit his swearing habit to a bear minimum. Having rid of the hair problem, the slayer manages to dodge any other question or insult that his feline companion might have cooked up in his moment of indecency, layering out the answer she sought for earlier as plainly as he could.
"Jing needs a limiter, something that would restrict his involvement in violent murder sprees." he said, straightening his collar for good measure. "I hope that the likes of a guild or an association in need of subordinates would put him under watch."
Meilin flutters her wings inward, then out, bracing for their landing as she vaguely thought of her favorite red-head being ordered around. Her face scrunched up slightly. "Jing...? In a guild....?"
With the comforting flatness of the earth finally coming into contact with the soles of his shoes, Marco separates his person from the exceed's hold, stretching his taut shoulders as he, once again, sports his unnecessary hat. "Ridiculous, right? But that's why I'm looking for something on the neutral side of morality here, so he won't bore himself to death being a legal, or get lost in blood baths by going dark. Hargeon is one of the many places I wish to begin looking for such a group."
The exceed, though still heavily doubtful that her master would feel positive of the prospect, decides to rest atop of Marco's left shoulder, her tail curling in a crude imitation of a question mark. "I dunno....but if you think it will work..."
"I'll make it work." he said, the striking brevity of his statement seemingly fit as a final say for the situation, silencing the both of them as they walked along Hargeon's docks. To him, it was more of an encouragement rather than a moment of pride. Surely, he must do everything in his current realm of power to keep Xiao Jing under management. It was not because he hated being active, but him being present meant that his host's sanity was continually regressing. Even he, whose existence was slightly more transient than that of Jing's, knew it was not a good sign.
As he collected his thoughts, Marco briefly recalled a business man whom he toasted a drink to the other night, his robust figure shining from the success of his recent trade plot. If his memory served him right, the man had mentioned a trading guild of sorts, who were especially diligent whenever their services were sought.
"Hmm..." he whispered, stroking his chin as he walked several steps more, "It's a good start."
There was very little detail to mull over however, and knowing he had no grounds as to where this guild might've resided, Marco resolved to ask the closest stranger to him, which happened to be a very ornately dressed gentleman who stood no less than a few short breaths forward. His figure loomed over another person, a woman from the size of her frame, and they appeared to have only recently engaged in a conversation.
Though he didn't have the mouth to compliment it at this point, Marco had enough awareness (and decency) to mind his manners when interrupting an exchange between two people. Instead, he stood to one side, moving farther back a few steps, before sticking his back unto the slightly hot surface of the wall behind him. He'd produce a single cigar and a lighter from his pocket, ignoring the pointed looks he was getting from the 'cat' on his shoulder as he lit it on reflex. Satisfied with the soft tinkle coming from his lighter as he closed it, Marco gave himself the indulgence of a single puff, dully watching the arch of smoke bend and disperse.
'Wonder what they're talking about...' he thought.