Winter had found its way to Fiore once more, it seemed. Aspen had a hard time believing that she'd been here for an entire year. An entire year since she had fled Pergrande. Time had passed rather quickly, it seemed, though the return of omnipresent snow, frost, and ice reminded her of her homeland. Being honest with herself, she could've done without it. The memories served to keep old wounds fresh, and especially now since she had just begun to learn about everything about the outside world, everything she had missed out on all these years, thinking back on those wasted, agonizing years was especially painful. At least, she thought, she faced the future with optimism. As much as Aspen managed to bring herself to feel or express, at least, blatantly following the motto "You can't be disappointed if you have no expectations". In any case, her life had changed for what was evidently the better, and even the girl, who was lacking in her expression of emotions, had opened up just a little, and while the process of beginning to work through and deal with her particular issues and habits had been set in motion, it was still nowhere near finished. Aspen knew that. The girl caught herself easily falling back into old behaviors, be it out of routine, drill, or even fear. Yet, so far none of Pergrande's agents, which she knew existed, everyone knew, had come for her. She had left behind no traces as to where she was headed when she had left, and she had covered her tracks behind her, so that much was to be expected. Still, that ever-present feeling of fear and uncertainty remained, akin to a constant nervousness that would never quite subside.
Regardless, she had at least kept her outward appearance of overwhelming and all-consuming stoicism, trying her best to keep any attachments at bay, especially in regards to the guild that had taken her in. While she was rather grateful for Silver Wolf providing her with shelter and access to an immense plethora of knowledge at her disposal, not to mention the guild's excellent workshop as well, she had to be ready to abandon these people, this guild at the drop of a hat if she had to. If she was found out, if they were to find her, every second would count. The organization Pergrande relied on were like bloodhounds, and Aspen was sure that, in one way or another, she was their target.
And yet, here she was, her face covered by welding goggles, periodic pulses of sparks fusing the metal before her together. The girl had volunteered to produce weapons for her guildmates, it was one thing she was learned in and good at, after all, the task proving easier than expected given her abilities. It left her with enough time to complete missions and learn more about the world, magic especially. Through all of that, though, there was another thing, that thing, in particular, carrying the name "Theo". The goofy Silver Wolf mage had shown up one day with the promise of adventure, and while it was initially hard to imagine such a thing, the soldier had learned that the Treasure Hunter was not a bad guy. Excentric, though, to put it mildly. It had its own distinct and unique kind of charisma. Something Aspen was reminded of when she felt a gentle tug on her arm, the girl lifting up the welding goggles only to spot the small creature, made entirely from purple-ish Jello, standing on the workbench, presenting to her a piece of paper. An eyebrow raised, Aspen put down the welding torch and took it from the little creature, opening and, of course, reading it before flashing the faintest of smirks. "Oh?
, the thought passed through her mind as she removed the goggles before sitting up, giving a nod to the little Jello creature, "Let's see what you have planned then, Theo ..."
-----"You called, Treasure Hunter?"
, the girl asked in an uncharacteristically teasing tone as she tapped her guildmate on the shoulder, her accent giving her words the usual twist. Aspen was dressed perhaps somewhat inadequately for these temperatures, her jacket and a pair of jeans presenting the only ward against the cold. The frigid winter, however, didn't really affect her much, her slayer magic possessing its own way to deal with this particular weather extreme. Besides, she was used to much, much harsher winters from back home. "Creative, I'll give you that. So, Theo, what are you planning now?"
. Her tone hadn't changed. She was genuinely curious, though. Of course, she figured that the other hadn't made her come down to Beanstalk Village through the snow and cold without reason, and indeed, it was hard to miss the festive liveliness that had befallen the settlement.
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