- Exam Info:
- Ratatoskr has decided to be rather mischievous today and wanted someone new to play with, and you've become his new target. Ratatoskr will steal something of value off of you, and decide he wants to play hide-and-seek with you over the said item of value. Your objective is to obviously get it back and make sure it's in one piece.
Karasuki Kitsuharu found herself seated at a small bench in the Ace of Spades on this grey and quiet morning. A thick layer of dull cloud covered and blocked out the blue sky, a suggestion of rain to any with the common sense to look up. Considering this, most people were not out in the streets. It suited nobody to wander in the rain so the usual riffraff and hullabaloo had also quieted down, rendering this an unusually peaceful morning for the bookworm on the bench. The woman turned a strand of purple hair over her fingers and back, twirling it absentmindedly as she read the book in her hands. It wasn't her typical book of poetry, a fictional novel, or a gratifying magical biography. It was a primary source text written by an obscure mage that Karasuki hadn't heard of prior and it was on the subject of summoning. Karasuki wanted to know more about her mysterious power and she wanted to know if there were any people who could summon the same way that she did. So far, she had no luck. Though some mages appeared to use books with their magic, it was always a holder magic and not quite the same as what she was dealing with. Endlessly curious to see if there was a way to read Geralt safely out of her body and into the book he had come from, the woman's brown eyes continued meticulously sifting through the pages with a driven and intent look on her face.
Her lips turned to a small scowl of frustration, and then relaxed into one of piqued interest. The author was describing summons and his knowledge of summons' souls. This could be exactly what she was looking for. Geralt had been silent during the time, no doubt equally curious about the text and the information in it. He had no interest in staying in her head forever either. A small tug on the leg of her pants, down by the ankle, made Karasuki reach down and swat gently, shooing whatever it was away. There was no time for stray cats or stupid pigeons, not now. She lifted her delicate hand to turn the pages and felt a sharp tug at the nape of her neck, someone jerking on the tiny violet hairs. Karasuki yelped, turning startled to see a squirrel with an oddly mischevious grin seated on the bench back and looking up at her. She let out a sigh, "Really?" After a moment, the squirrel replied back and the guild mage blinked stupidly.
"Yes, really. Stop reading that boring book and get off your ass and play with me." Karasuki couldn't believe what she was hearing. The squirrel was talking. And not just talking, but cursing at her. Her mind ran through what she had been told about the area, about the guild, and then her face relaxed in relief again. She wasn't going crazy, this was just the guild pet whom she had yet to meet. Karasuki looked longingly at the pages, hesitating while the squirrel huffed, "What are you, stupid? Didn't you hear me?" Karasuki frowned, now getting irritated. It wasn't like all animals talked and it wasn't like they were ever introduced. What made him think he could show up, pull the hair on her head, and then start demanding things from her? Insulting her only plucked at her further, her secretly short temper something that Karasuki now had to actively control.
"Listen, please," Karasuki urged, working on keeping her patience as she closed the book in her hands and pushed up the red framed glasses on her nose. "I am on the brink of something important. I have to read this. I don't even know your name and you don't know mine. Can't you find someone else to play with you?" The squirrel looked offended, "I'm the great and only Ratatoskr. And you are Karasuki, one of the new mages. You don't know my name? How is that possible? You have no time for me, the great, the wild, the powerful..." Karasuki rolled her eyes. She was impressed that he knew her name somehow, and by extension she had heard the guild pet was strong and would not doubt his abilities anytime soon. However, given his small size she couldn't help it. He was going a over the top, even if he was strong, and exaggerating surely. The squirrel caught sight of her eye roll and wrinkled his nose, "You will play with me, foolish girl. Or else I will play with you."
The threat still seemed harmless to her, but Karasuki saw the serious look in his eyes. "If you get beaten up by a squirrel," Geralt chimed in her head, only half joking, "You don't deserve to control this body." Karasuki dog-eared the corner of the page she was on and sat the closed text on her lap. She spoke with her hands, a small rosy flush coming to her cheeks as she fought to maintain her temper. "I don't even know what that means, Ratatoskr the great. I'm sorry, but I really am busy with something. Can't we plan on doing something another time?" The squirrel straightened his back, making himself look taller, though to what end Karasuki couldn't say. His small eyes narrowed on her and she felt insecure under his gaze, a most perplexing feeling. "You've given me no choice then, idiot. Suffer my wrath and take your punishment!" Karasuki arched a single brow, half in a "are you kidding me?" attitude and half still fighting the anger from his insults and audacity. Then, as quick as a flash, her whole world changed. Everything went blurry: once clear images became skewed, distant, and shaken. There were no sharp or fine lines anywhere before her and as she turned her head, squinting her eyes, she could not see the squirrel or much of anything else either. She snapped, "My glasses! You little beast! Give me back my glasses!"
She stretched out her hands, feeling around on the bench. She got to her feet and stood, pushing her head forward like a chicken, eyes squinting. There was a flash of movement to her right and when she had turned this time to see it, there was a small dark blur standing beside her feet. "Now you have no choice, idiot. Play hide and seek with me, discover me and shall return to you these spectacles." Karasuki's hands curled into fists and she moved to kick the small creature with her foot. "I swear if you don't give me my glasses, I will have my summon burn you to a crisp!" Ratatoskr easily avoided her kick with a hearty high pitched laugh, "I am the best hider. The best in the world. And if you can't see me, you can't find me. If you can't find me, then you will never get these glasses back." There was a pause in his speech and Karasuki used it to slide her book into her side strap leather bag. Geralt hadn't yet reacted, unsure whether to laugh or burst out in anger at the ridiculous situation. "Also, if you start using magic to attack me, then I'll be forced to use my magic to attack you. And you don't want that, foolish girl." As angry as she was, the violet haired mage couldn't tell if he was telling the truth and with a guild pet as dangerous as he, it was better not to risk it.
Karasuki was quiet, realizing that the squirrel had all the cards in this game: this terrible game that she was being forced into playing. The squirrel made a sound like the firing of spells, a little "pfew pfew" and some sort of gesture with his tiny hands. "I can't see a thing with these on. How do you manage?" He chortled in sing-song before bounding away. He became a speck in the streets of Ace of Spades and Karasuki let out a loud scream. She couldn't tell if anyone was around to see or hear her. Without her glasses, she was practically blind and it was going to be a long and futile day of chasing Ratatoskr around. The fact that at the end of the day she would likely remain fruitless for her efforts only served to anger her more and the thought of how bad her headache and eye strain would be after hours of this wretched game had made her tight fists shake at her sides. "I guess he's gone now," Geralt said to her, "I'm going to wish you luck with this. If it were me, I'd blast the little guy anyway, but then, I was always rolling the dice on my ship." Karasuki released a sigh and her shoulders slumped. Her hands let go of the tension and she murmured out loud, speaking to Geralt, "The best I can do is try to play the game. Can't win if I don't play. And if it gets really bad, then maybe luck will work out and I'll bump into an Ace who can help me." Geralt clapped his hands, "Now that's th' spirit. Go to it, girl! Just do me a favor and don't walk off a bridge or somethin'."
Training her eyes on the horizon line, Karasuki set out her hands and carefully swaggered down the main street of the Ace of Spades. On the one hand, she was thankful nobody was around to watch her and on the other she wished someone was around who might help her. She wasn't allowed to use her magic to attack him, but the squirrel had to have known that telling a mage not to use magic at all was a bad idea. Ratatoskr had been around long enough to know if he was choosing to mess with a mage, he ought to expect magic. Karasuki debated on if summoning a creature to help her would break the squirrel's rules, teetering back and forth across the street until she made her way to the tavern frequented by other guild members. She didn't really know anyone and certainly without her sight, she had no plans to try to involve a stranger in her affairs. Karasuki placed her hand on the outside wall and made her way to the side and then the rear of the tavern, getting off the main street before deciding to use her magic.
Karasuki considered her options and gave a slight nod of her head when she mentally selected the summon for the job. Ryokō was the most calm, the most wise, of all of her summons. He had abilities that would allow for teleportation, which might come in handy depending on where Ratatoskr was hiding. Karasuki let out a breath and recited the spell from memory, reading the line from the book of which Ryokō was a part. "Resting a hand on his comrade's shoulder he replied, 'There is no such thing as a perfect person. That is why we can't live alone, no da!'" A sugegasa poofed before her in a small cloud and Ryokō appeared, the hat riding above as if he came from inside of it all along, standing in a pose with his right hand in a position for concentrating chi energy. Once Ryokō saw her and noted the lack of danger, he too relaxed into a standing position. He has long bluish purple hair and shaved along the sides and a large scar over his left eye. Ryokō wore purple and white monk's clothing. "What's going on, no da?" Ryokō asked, perpetually happy with his usual grin. He leaned slightly on a shakujo staff, his red prayer beads dangling from his neck and his head tilted to look down on her. "Oh, wait, where are your glasses?"
Karasuki gave a flustered shrug and lifted her hands, dropping them as she spoke somewhat helplessly. "Stolen. The guild pet, a little rodent creature is using them to force me to play with him." Ryokō made a face, "Sounds like something a child would do, no da. Why do you need me?" Karasuki pressed her right hand to her forehead, pinching the bridge of her nose. "I can't see! How am I supposed to find the damn thing! He's like two-feet tall or something, I don't know.. he was blurry and I wasn't paying enough attention at first and.." "I see your problem," Ryokō said kindly, stiffening his back and lifting his chin. "But it isn't the squirrel and it isn't your glasses, no da." Karasuki closed her eyes, pinching her nose harder. "Please, Ryokō, I don't have time for this. I don't need another speech about enlightenment or obtaining peace. I need my glasses." She loved the monk and his advice too, but right now she needed her eyes, not his words.
"You think you need your glasses. Maybe this is the universe's way of telling you to take a break, no da? You have been at your books for weeks without socializing and you haven't met a single other guild member have you?" "Well, no, but-" Ryokō shook his head and lifted a hand to silence the mage. "This is a sign then. Breathe in the world, take in the city, and just be alive for a day. That's not so hard is it? Have you tried to find your pet, no da?" Karasuki gave him the expression of an admonished child, "No, Ryokō. I wouldn't even know where to start." Her hand finally released her nose and the strain vanished from her face. Ryokō had made a good point. Even if she didn't want a break, perhaps she needed one. "You were gifted with magic, no da! That's about as good as my chi. Try sensing him, he must have very powerful magic if he is responsible for defending all of Sabertooth, no da." Karasuki looked dumbfounded up at the monk. She bit on her lip, somewhat in disbelief of her stupidity. She had been too upset and focused to have even considered something so simple. "You're right, Ryokō. Thanks." Ryokō gave her a compassionate smile, and though she could not see it, Karasuki could feel it. He rested his staff in the crook of his elbow and pulled the young woman into a hug. "Enlightenment and peace aren't such bad things, you know! Keep a level head and I'm sure you will find what you are looking for." Karasuki noted the duality of his words, the significance of pointing out that he did not say that she would find her glasses per se. She felt his arms fading from around her and whispered, "Thanks again, Ryokō." The visit of her summon was brief and she saw the shape of his conical hat sinking into the ground until it too vanished from the material world around her.
"Well, that was deep," Geralt said sardonically and Karasuki put a firm block in her mind. Usually, they had a deal to keep all lines of communication open, but right now Ryokō had been correct. She needed a level head and Geralt kept her anything but level. Once cut off, Karasuki felt lighter inside. Seeing was still going to be a problem, but she wasn't really in harms way and she had been around Ace of Spades long enough to have a general idea of where she was. Karasuki sensed around her and felt the pull from inside of the tavern of multiple guild mages no doubt enjoying some sort of brunch gathering within. Farther away, she sensed a shop where a mage enjoyed selling lacrima and other magical objects to civilians and mages alike. She knew that area well enough too. She was picking up on a powerful magic, probably Ratatoskr or an Ace, out by a small local pool. Most probably weren't aware of the pool's existence, but Karasuki had enjoyed several long afternoons seated in the shade of the mountain on the little pond. There hadn't been much for wildlife that she could see besides the varieties of birds and it made for a relaxing place to read. It was a good place to start looking for Ratatoskr.
Karasuki took a full hour to get to the pool of water. She had to stop a few times and back track, losing her place once she had made her way out of the main town area. The sparse trees thickened slightly and she knew she had to be getting close to a source of water, and with luck it was the pool she was hoping to find. Another hour of searching later and the mage had found the place. The magic she sensed had gotten stronger and stronger, almost frighteningly so, as she discovered the place. She took a deep breath of the fresh air and sat down. Karasuki knew that she had to be in range of the little creature by now and she was taking a bit of Ryokō's advice and slowing down. There was no real rush and she had the time of the whole afternoon still to find Ratatoskr. In the grass, her hands brushed against the dry blades and the little weeds. A small insect crawled up her arm and she brushed it away, thinking to herself about how she had not really stopped to enjoy the place before. She had been here before, but had she ever stopped to think about how soft the grass was? How the sound of a small breeze pushing through the trees sounded almost like a woodwind instrument? Or how all the varieties of birds who stopped at this place created a collage of color that even without her eyesight, she could find amazement in. For a half second she chuckled, "Ryokō's getting to me, I guess." She leaned against her hands and looked around, still unable to see anything with detail.
Ratatoskr's words went through her mind: 'If you can't see, you can't find me'. To her dismay, she supposed it was true. Magic as strong as his helped her to find his general location, but to wander around with only sensing magic as her guide was sure to get her slipping straight into the pond itself at some point or walking directly into a tree. Her lips twisted as she considered it. She couldn't change her eyesight or abilities, but perhaps she could lure the squirrel out using her intelligence. He liked games, he was definitely full of himself, and he absolutely doubted her capability in comparison to his own. The expectation was for her to fail and beg for his mercy, asking for forgiveness and no doubt doing something to further boost his ego while he gloated. If all she truly wanted was her glasses back, then all she had to do was find him. Karasuki reclined further until she lay there in the grass and as soon as she did she shot right back up again. Ratatoskr wanted someone to play with and for that, she could oblige him. She could give him a companion and lure him out, forcing him to concede and hand over her red frames.
She had just the summon for that! Under her breath, Karasuki uttered, "The warrior princess thanked each of them in turn: Kojo, Jojo, Tojo, and Hojo!" In a blaze of golden sparkles, amidst the light, four chubby panda fairies appear by Karasuki's side. The plump bears had green dragonfly wings and they enjoyed nothing more than playing. Karasuki told the bears that she just wanted them to hang around and play, keeping her some company, and without question the bears were happy to nose about the pond and reeds doing just that. The small pandas stumbled around haphazardly bumping into each other until the most aggressive of the bears, Tojo, took to the air to start wrestling with the others. When a fun game without any rules that Karasuki could discern, broke out, so did the woman's smile. She lay still now, hiding in the tall grasses. Minutes later, it seemed Ratatoskr could not bear to wait any longer. His curiosity and his eagerness for play must have grown while he waited for Karasuki to find him. The squirrel came out to join the games of the Kuma fairies and Karasuki revealed herself from the grasses, pointing a stiff finger at the squirrel.
"Ha! I found you!" The squirrel stared at her without speaking and then laughed heartily. "You tricked me!" Karasuki nodded, "You deserved it. I found you, Ratatoskr, the great and wild." He crossed her arms petulantly and observed her, not that she could really make him out as more than a little blur standing in the grass. The panda fairies had stopped to watch the interaction and one of them let out a little friendly squeak of a growl. Ratatoskr stepped forward and then vanished, his speed once again making him too hard for Karasuki to see. She felt a hard push on her nose and a brush of plastic against her ears and within a moment her sight had been returned to her. "Guess you're not as dumb as I thought you were." Ratatoskr looked disappointed, having hoped for a more exciting game or a playful fight between mage and guild pet. Karasuki could read it in his squirrel face, or she thought she could, and she spoke to him kindly this time. "Why don't you play with them for a little while. I can read here and I am sure they would enjoy your games more than I."
Ratatoskr hesitated, debating on acting aloof or superior once more, and then gave a rodent equivalent of a smirk, showing sharp square teeth. "I think I'll do that then." Karasuki leaned back on her hands again but she didn't take out the book. With her vision restored, the young woman took in the afternoon with Ratatoskr and her summons, practicing 'just being alive' as Ryokō had advised.