In the morning, after getting dressed and a little breakfast, Little Arcadia renewed her misty disguise as the older version of herself that she would be if her magic were under better control.
Properly disguised to avoid any unwanted delays, the blonde, bare foot slayer set out to meet Ellie. Ellie was only a Lieutenant in the Rune Knights when they first met, but the brave Exceed's actions in guarding Major Tanaka, and since had quickly moved her up in the ranks. Ellie was now a captain of the Rune Knights, stationed in Crocus. Thankfully, the trip to Ellie's new home was a short one. The little pale blonde wizard stopped and stood in awe. Ellie's new home, while not a palace, was far more lavish than Arcadia had imagined it would be. She snerked briefly to herself, maybe she should have signed up fort he knights instead of being a guild mage.
Then again Rune Knights often came in or dealt with crowds far more often than she had to. Moment of professional jealousy gone. As Fairy Tail's newest ace, she figured that was as fancy as being a Rune Knight captain, and if she put most of her earnings into housing maybe she could afford a place as nice as small mansion Ellie had been given. Who was she kidding, she'd have to work far more jobs than she did to keep a place like this up. Taking a deep breath, she headed up the stairs, and knocked on the front door. One thing was for sure, she'd be glad to get inside and leave the heavy early morning city hustle and bustle behind for a little bit. She let her magical disguise evaporate, no need to maintain it among friends.
Knocking on the door, a rather tall, thin human woman answered the door, her dark hair worn up in bun. She introduced herself, “Good morning.. ah your down there. You must be Captain Ellie's guild mage friend. I'm Jen, Captain Ellie's assistant. Follow me please.” Arcadia followed Jen in through the foyer into the the living room. The woman gestured to a grand couch over in front of the fire place, “Please, have a seat. The Captain will be right with you.”
Little Arcadia climbed up onto the couch, and took a seat. She absently kicked her small, bare feet, while her faerie green eyes took in the rather opulent surroundings. The littlest slayer was beginning to wonder if Ellie was really paying for all this, it looked rather expensive even for a captain in the Rune Knights. It was happiness to hear her friend's voice not too long later. Ellie smiled to Arcadia as she entered the living room, ”Arcadia! You really did shrink. Still good to see you though. And I hear you been made an ace of Fairy Tail. Congratulations! Though what on Earthland do you need to meet with the princess for?”
The young Fairy Tail ace rose from the couch, smiling brightly to her Exceed friend, she was currently shorter than five year old appearing slayer. Arcadia knew better than to pick up and squish this cute little kitty with hugs and pets. Ellie was wearing her captains robes, specially enchanted to change size when she did. The young slayer bowed to Ellie, ”It's good to see you too! And yeah unlike you I can't control..this size thing, only disguise it. I'm still working on the cause. But that's not why I need to see the princess. My exact title as ace is Executive Manager. Fancy name that means I do things like bring in new business deals. One new business I've been focusing on is Fairy Tail Productions, throw parties, events and make movie lacrimas or videos for lacrima-net. And I'm looking for investors for one movie lacrima in particular, and I was hoping the princess might be interested in just such a business opportunity.”
Ellie smiled and shook head in amused disbelief, "I don't know if the princess will go for that kind of investment. You deserve a chance to find out though, so I will do my best to see you get that chance."
Arcadia jumped and wiggled to fists excitedly. She re-engaged the illusion of her older self, but Ellie swiftly corrected her, "Oh that's more like Arcadia I remember, but I'm sorry, Arcadia. The royal guard frowns on active magics on visitors. You can probably be let through with the right explanation, but I get the feeling you'd rather keep those to a minimum." Ellie activated her own magic that grew her from cute little kitty, shorter than Arcadia at her smallest, into a confident and intimidating feline woman covered in the same black fur with white markings she had as a cute little kitty. Her robes and sword changed size with her. "Guards on the other hand, are expected to while on duty. Not on duty yet, but some of the newer recruits still have to learn the little cat is the same as the woman who is their captain. No need to go through that lesson with them, while I have a guest. Let's head out."
The pale blonde mage smiled, happily following her feline friend out the door. She stuck close, and scampered to keep up. In her battle form, Ellie's stride was long, swift and full of purpose. Arcadia would have asked her to slow down, but she was eager to meet the princess.
People naturally moved out of Ellie's way as she moved through the street, but she didn't simply plow through. She'd make simple adjustments to her route as she needed. The Exceed captain also explained some of the limits of the help she could give, "I wish I could take you straight to the princess myself, but even I cannot just drop in. That's what official channels are for."
Arcadia sighed softly, "You are my official channel. The official, official channels wouldn't give me the time of day." The littlest slayer kept trotting along, partly wondering how far. Though she could easily see the palace up ahead, she wondered if they would wind around to a more discreet side entrance. She was extra glad when they'd just head through the main gate, her heart fluttering, and throat a little parched. She was a teensy bit more nervous about meeting the princess than she had thought she would be.
She nodded to the guards at the main gate as Ellie exchanged nods and a salute before heading into Mercurious. The Flower Light Palace was so much bigger up close, despite having seen it many times from around the capital city. As awed as she was to actually be entering Mercurius itself, getting inside was just the beginning. She wondered how many people she and Ellie were going to need to talk to, before she could finally arrange an official meeting with the princess. She paused for a moment, ”You sure the king is too busy for a meeting, Ellie?”
The Exceed captain sighed and nodded, ”Yes, I know so, that's why I suggested we meet with the princess in our letters instead. It's still a long shot, but that's better than the no shot you've got at landing a meeting with the king on short notice.”
Arcadia nodded, ”Yeah. Just thought I'd double check.” She stayed close to Ellie, this first floor was huge, and the hallways quite labyrinthine once they had left the grand entrance behind to head off into the palace's east wing. The twists and turns of the hallways almost seemed without end, but they did finally come to some stairs. Their journey followed them a whole three flights up.
One more hallway, and Ellie turned toward the little slayer, ”This is Major Gray's office. He's my commanding officer and in charge of the Rune Knights in Crocus. Once we get his blessing, it should be a piece of cake to work our way up the Royal Guards stationed through the rest of the palace.”
Ellie greeted the guards stationed at the door to the Major's office, stating their goal, before heading through. ”Let me do the talking, until I introduce you. Then just answer any questions the Major has.”
The pale blonde slayer nodded, and as she entered, she couldn't help but notice how orderly Major Grey's office was, compared to even the rest of the palace. Out in the hallways, everything was clean, but she still noticed cobwebs and dust here and there. The Major's office was immaculate, making the little slayer wonder if the Major spent more time cleaning than doing actual Rune Knight duties. Something she wouldn't voice, not if she wanted to meet the princess today.
Ellie saluted and bowed to her commanding officer who was seated at his desk.”Major Gray, Sir. Good to see you.”
Major Gray looked up from the reports on his desk, giving a polite nod in return to his captain. “Captain Ellie. It's good to see you as well. What brings you in on your day off? And who is this little girl with you? Did she get separated from her parents? If she did this is really something the palace guards can handle.”
The kind and patient Exceed shook her head, ”No, Sir. This is Arcadia Fairchilde, a wizard and ace of Fairy Tail. She wishes to speak with the princess. She one and the same ice dragon slay whose helped us out in the past and was key to saving Major Tanaka's life. And her current state... it's magical and along story she a little sensitive about.”
Major Gray smiled brightly on learning who the little blonde girl actually was. Her turned her dark eyes down tot eh small slayer, “My apologies. It's an honor to meet you. So you want to meet with the princess? That's a tall order, but for the wizard who helped save my friend's life, I'll see what I can do.”
Arcadia smiled brightly in return and bowed to the Major, ”Thank you. Thank you, Sir. I appreciate anything you can do for me.” This was actually very exciting, and going much easier than she had imagined... so far.
The Major stood from his desk and gestured a couple chairs against one wall of his office, “Please have a seat. I shall see what I can do.”
Arcadia and Ellie both took seats, while the Major went out into the hallway and briefly chatted with one of his guards. He and one guard then disappeared down the hallway. The remaining guard closed the door. The littlest slayer smiled up to Ellie, absently kicking her feet as they dangled from the chair. ”So far, so good.”
Ellie smiled back, nodding, ”Aye, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Who knows how may layers of Royal Guards we'll have to talk to. Part of that depending on where the princess is when we catch up to her.”
That was something Arcadia hadn't considered, was playing catch up with the princess, and hopefully catching her before her schedule took her out of the palace. Thankfully, it was only a short few minutes more before the Major returned.
Major Gray flashed a smile upon entering back into his office, “The bad news is the Captain of the Royal Guard won't permit me to take you straight to the princess, but I think we all expected that. Good news is, he's made time to see you, so you should head on down. His office is one floor down. Convince him and you may get to talk to one of the princess's personal advisers. Wish I could do more for you, Ms. Fairchilde, but I'm afraid the rest is up to you.”
Rising from her chair, Arcadia bowed graciously to Major Gray, ”Thank you, Major Gray. You've helped more than you know.
Major Gray chucked, returning to his desk, “Anytime, Ms. Fairchilde. Captain Ellie. Good luck to you both.”
Ellie rose from her chair too, also bowing to the Major, ”Thank you, Sir. See you tomorrow.”
The major nodded and starting up with the reports on his desk again, “See you tomorrow, Captain.”
Arcadia followed Ellie through the hall and down one flight of stairs. She was one step closer to meeting the princess of Fiore, but also feeling the pressure getting to her nerves as her goal was that much closer to reality. She just hoped she'd remember what to say once she caught up with the princess. Last thing she wanted was to be star struck, and screw up a valuable opportunity to make a deal for production. The investment of jewels was important too, but scoring a deal to get discounts in Crocus and any business associated with the royal family around Fiore could potentially be an even bigger boon.
It wasn't a very long walk, just a few turns once they left the stairs behind, and they arrived at Captain Van's office. Ellie knocked and lead the way inside. Van, captain of the Royal Guard was busy with finishing up paper work. He looked up as Arcadia closed the door behind her. “Ellie, hello. This.. must be Arcadia with you. I apologize, if I seem brusque. But that is the lat of my paper work, so you have about 10 minutes before I 'm due to drill a few of the newer recruits out in the gardens Just know I'm only giving you time as a favor to Major Gray. He tells me you've been a big help to the Rune Knights in the past. Is it true you are to thank that my friend, Major Tanaka is still alive and kicking?”
Arcadia smiled and nodded. ”Yes, Sir. Uhh both me and Ellie fought hard to get him out of that mess back at the river village.”
Ellie fondly ruffled Arcadia's pale blonde hair, ”She's being modest, Captain Van, but it's true we both there. Arcadia here served as the Major's body guard during the fight. My men and I were busy on the perimeter.”
The little slayer flushed briefly, and bowed Captain Van, ”That's true too, and thank you for your time. If you could just direct us to the princess or her adviser, we'll be out of your way.”
Captain Van cracked a rare smile, “You must have some fight in you from the stories I've heard. Thank you both of you. I'm glad I get to thank you in person. And I would send you straight to the princess, but even for you, that's not a headache I'm willing to take on. The princess's advisers guard her time jealously, and hate being bypassed. What I can do is give you my signet ring. Just give it to Lynn, that's her current chief adviser. She'll return the ring to me later, so don't worry about that. It will let her know that you have my trust. It should give a little of the princess's time if you can catch her before she leaves the palace later today. I believe she's scheduled to go on a tour of Fiore, and will be leaving his afternoon. You should find them up in the princess's study on the top floor getting ready for the trip.”
Arcadia graciously accepted the captain's Royal Guard signet ring. She bowed, ”Thank you again, Sir. If you ever need any extra help, I'd be glad to. We'll get out of your way.” Both Ellie and Arcadia bowed to Captain Van, and he smiled and waved as they left his office. She was grateful to have Ellie with her, or she would surely have gotten lost in the last leg of her trek through Mercurius. It was quite easy to get lost walking through it.
She smiled up to Ellie as she followed the battle form Exceed through the winding halls and up the stairs, ”Thank you, Ellie. I mean, I couldn't have gotten close to this far without you.”
Ellie smiled back over her shoulder, ”Of course, just keep a cameo open for me in a few of your movies.”
The little blonde slayer laughed, ”You got it!
Together they wound their way through the last flights of stairs and maze of hallways to find the door to the princess's study. Three of the princess's advisers were standing outside the study, sharing and comparing what left to do under their various responsibilities before the princess could leave for her tour.
Ellie bowed to the gathered advisers, ”Hello, friends. This is Arcadia Fairchilde, an ace of Fairy Tail. We're here with Captain Van's blessing to see Chief Adviser Lynn.”
One of the three spoke up after they glanced at each other. He opened his mouth to say something, but he apparently changed his mind. He held off whatever he was about to say when Arcadia presented Captain Van's signet ring for him to see. Another of the advisers spoke up when he failed to find anything new to say. She smiled after a glance over the ring, “What I believe my colleague was about to say, is wait here, and we'll inform Chief Adviser Lynn that you are here.”
Arcadia bowed to the advisers and offered a friendly smile, ”Thank you.”
The woman who spoke slipped inside the study.
Less than a minute later, a taller, red-haired woman emerged, nodding to Arcadia and Ellie. ”Ah, Captain Ellie, Adviser Neera said you brought wizard friend of yours with you. I hope it's important. The princess still has lots to do before she leaves this afternoon.”
Ellie smiled and bowed to the red-haired woman, ”Chief Advisor Lyn, good to see you. Indeed. Arcadia here is an ace from Fairy Tail. She's a good friend, and to me and to the Rune Knights. She even earned Captain Van's gratitude. My friend has a business proposition that the princess might find to her personal benefit.”
The little slayer bowed to the Chief Adviser and presented Captain Van's signet ring to her. ”Thank you for seeing, Chief Adviser. Captain Van gave me his ring to prove we had his blessing, and he also said you could see it gets back him. I promise I only need a few minutes of the princess's time.”
Lynn took the signet ring from Arcadia, inspecting it a little more closely, ”Hmm I'll see he gets it back. And if Captain Van is willing to personally vouch for you, I suppose I can arrange a few minutes for the princess to see you. Never let it be said that I stand in the way of the princess's business opportunities.” She disappeared back into the study, taking a couple minutes before she opened the door and beckoned both Ellie and Arcadia in.
Arcadia followed Ellie into the princess's study. The Princess of Fiore stood out on her study's balcony. Ellie nudged the little slayer forward. She turned her faerie green eyes up to Lynn, and the Chief Adviser nodding and signaling for her to go ahead. This was it, what she braved all the crowds and bureaucracy for. The young slayer smoothed down her dress and drew out her iLac, quickly calling up samples of official work on Fairy Tails Productions. It was mostly reviews of the corporate party she had thrown together not too long ago, some of the pre-production notes for the Magic Council PSA and a few personal videos she had put together and released on lacrima-net.
Arcadia wished she had an actual finished movie to show the princess, but if she had that, she might not need the princess's investment. She smiled brightly to greet the princess as she joined the royal on the balcony. It sure was a breath taking view of Crocus from the top of Mercurius. ”Your Highness, thank you for seeing me on such short notice. I'm Arcadia Fairchilde of Fairy Tail. I have a business proposal I believe you will make plenty of jewel from, and maybe help make a few dreams for a lot of people come true. I'm Executive Manager at Fairy Tail, and it's my job to seek out business opportunities for the guild. And I've been working on Fair Tail Productions to try and expand Fairy Tail into the move lacrima business, but also all manner of production, from music recording to event planning. It is a wide range, but we can do it. We could use your investment of jewel to acquire top line recording lacrima. With those we can record muscial acts, videos whatever people want us to publish for them. The lacrima-net is the perfect place to publishing a lot of the content we'd be producing. With our connections I'm working to maintain, we can also put on major events on short notice, you maybe heard of the corporate gala we recently held in Magnolia.
The princess turned and looked surprised at how a small child Arcadia appeared to be. She smiled as the little slayer proceeded to give her pitch, happily taking the girl's iLac when it was offered to her. Arcadia guided the princess through the various media as she went through and continued her pitch, ”Right now we're focusing on expanding our capability to produce movie lacrima and musical lacrima, while the event planning and lacrima-net videos are something we can make jewel on right now. But we're not here for jewel only. If you could arrange for discounts with a few key local businesses in Crocus and places around Fiore where the Royal Family may do direct business, Fairy Tail could bring in extra business to them when production on a project is brought to Crocus. Those discounts would allows us to focus many movie shoots in Crocus in addition to Magnolia. That would mean plenty of extra jewel from and for the actors and crew we'd have to hire.”
Arcadia was glad when the princess smiled again, “That sounds all very impressive, Arcadia. Why don't you let me talk it over with my advisers and you'll have my answer shortly.”
The little slayer smiled and bowed, ”Thank you, Your Highness. That's all I can ask.” She bowed again and returned inside to wait by Ellie's side. The Princess of Fiore also headed inside, calling Chief Adviser Lynn and the other couple advisers that had already been in the study over to talk Arcadia's proposal over. Ellie gently squeezed her shoulder and offered a reassuring smile. Arcadia had done everything she could, it was all up to the princess and her advisers now.
After a tense four or five minutes, the various advisers occasionally looking over at Arcadia and Ellie with a critical eye. Finally thought the princess approached with her advisers flanking her either side, “Alright, Arcadia of Fairy Tail, it seems my advisers and I have come to agreement. I accept your deal, but I'll be using my personal jewel rather than Royal Family coffers, so I hope you do not mind 10,000 Jewel as a initial investment. If the return is good, we can discuss greater investment in the future.” The princess blushed mildly at the next item of her counter offer, “And if you promise to publish at least one of my songs, we'll see about arranging those discounts. If that is to your liking we can make the formal arrangements when I return from my tour at the end of the week.”
It wasn't as much as Arcadia was hoping, but also way better than the outright rejection she feared. She smiled brightly, ”Your Highness, you have a deal!” Once all said their farewells, Arcadia and Ellie headed out of Mercurius to go out on the town and celebrate!
Arcadia's Total WC: 4490/3500