A tunnel of darkness lay before her, monstrously hungry and gaping as it gave no indication of what awaited the mage, inside. Muddled water in varying shades of murky green and yellow sat in miniature pools, which were scattered all around the opening of the long cave. She peered inside, but the shadows were impenetrable past four feet in, partially due to the overhanging edge of the mouth of the cavern. With a nervous lick of her lips, the mage dashed lightly forwards in a burst of swiftness until she was approximately twenty feet inside the tunnel; so far, so good. Continuing with more hesitant steps, the pink haired girl managed to attain an even further distance than last time.
This was a common pattern for her, despite the fear which surrounded every venture into the cave. Her method of exploration concerning this area was to go in about thirty feet further than last time, then return safely to the outside world. Today's expedition complete, the young woman turned around and started off on what was supposed to be a brief walk back to the forest. However, an obstacle immediately rose in her way, for the girl hit a solid barrier only four or so feet away from the spot where she had turned around. After a moment's consideration, the mage decided that she had hit a side wall of the tunnel, so she rotated her body slightly to the side so that her path would no longer be obstructed. It seemed that this was not actually the solution to her dilemma, as she promptly ran headfirst into what could only be described as a slab of rock and dirt.
Shaking her head in confusion, the girl furiously backed away from the wall, only to have her spine and shoulder bones slam against another, just twelve or so feet behind her. It was quite clear that they were the sides, the structure of the long cavern... so what on earth had possibly blocked her path? She raised her hands up to feel in the darkness, for the distance she had gone within the cave was enough so that no light from the surface was able to reach her location. After hopelessly shifting around for several minutes, her terror only rising as she stumbled around in unknown directions, the mage finally paused, panting. Extending her arm to the side, she pushed a single palm flat against the sturdy, flat surface, taking a moment to stabilize her breathing. Once her pulse had mostly stopped racing, the girl lifted up her other hand to brush her bangs to one side of her face, as they were clinging to her skin due to the nervous sweat her pores were excreting. The back of her hand connected solidly with what was obviously a cave wall; the rough, crumbly texture of it only solidified that theory.
So, what was she supporting her weight with, on the other side? It wasn't possible for it to be the other curved tunnel surface, as that should be behind her... with a small gasp of alarm, the youth drew her hand back once again. She squinted at the spot where her hand had been a few moments ago, and then finally after about five minutes of staring, the girl hesitantly waved her arm around in the space. Whatever had been there was already gone, vanished without a trace or even a muffled sound. An even greater sense of unease rose in the young mage's body, and she bit her lip to keep from crying out. Just then, a suffocating presence filled the air without warning, nearly sending tremors through the atmosphere. Whirling around, since the most pulsing force seemed to be originating from behind her, the girl barely caught sight of a horrendously disfigured face, lit up by a scorching fire just inches from her own head, before--
"AHH!" Syn let out a yelp before squeezing her eyes shut and tossing around, further entangling herself into her sheets and bed covers. After a moment of panicking, the girl cracked open her right eye to stare suspiciously at her surroundings. Cheap bed frame, check. Whitewashed walls, check. Clothing scattered all of the floor?... check. Breathing in a sigh of relief, the fiery haired mage sat up and was just opening her mouth for an enormous yawn when a sudden prod on the shoulder immediately startled her back under the pile of blankets. "Jeez, you're like a li'l mouse. Hurry up and get dressed," berated Wish, who had apparently summoned themselves at some point during the night. Most likely quite recently; in fact, the change in Syn's magic power due to Wish's summoning had likely been the reason the mage woke up.
"C'mon, get moving already! You've been sleeping for ages, and I just got here! Let's have some fun before I gotta leave again," the spirit grumbled as they harassed the bond mage with a pillow. Upon hearing the cranky voice for a second time, Syn promptly leaped into action.
"Wait, Wish! Why did you summon yourself here in my house? You're going to wreck the place... I'm just renting it, you know. The landlord is going to be unhappy if your miniature shadows and spirit blade damage the apartment," she protested, eyeing the crackling spirit magic that was currently giving off sparks here and there as it swirled around Wish. The spirit didn't seem to be discouraged by Syn's feeble attempts to dissuade them from using spirit magic indoors. Wish only rolled their eyes and snappishly turned away, the amount of light surrounding them only increasing in power and size with their anger.
"Just hurry up and get dressed! I want to go on a mission, today. We've been slacking off, so today is the day where you're going to do at least three missions. No less. Maybe more," they grumbled. The young mage could understand where Wish was coming from, but she valued her sleep highly.
"Alright, Wish! I'll be out in just a minute!" called the girl as she rushed into the bathroom. All the spirit sword did was shake their head and murmur under their breath, "Baka... it takes you at least ten minutes for a shower."
A bead of sweat trickled down her neck as Syn prepared herself mentally for the final stretch of her daily morning run. It was rather cool outside at the moment today, especially considering the fact that the sun had not yet risen; it was the perfect time to do some running on the sidewalks without being disturbed. The girl completed the last lap and stretched out her arms and legs briefly before beginning a final walk around the next block. With any luck, it would help her get cooled down enough so as to not be uncomfortable later on. A rumbling of wheels against the pavement was barely audible as Syn turned the corner, but soon enough it was nearly deafening, the rattle of loose metal plating also grating on the mage's nerves. She was tempted to try and stop the truck, but the girl was well aware that it probably held some poor worker who was doing his best to finish the final deliveries before the destined recipients woke up and began their daily schedules. Just then, the rattling abruptly ceased.
The neighborhood plunged into silence, and Syn retraced her footsteps, trying to recall where she had seen the truck previously. It was a lacrima powered minivan printed with the official navy magical delivery service logo; well to do people paid extra to have their personal and business mail delivered sooner than usual. The large, ivory colored vehicle came into view, and the girl could immediately see that something was wrong. The lights on the car were out, while the engine seemed to have also stopped. A man of approximately thirty years old was hovering over the hood, a worried expression tracing his face. Upon noticing Syn, though, the driver promptly straightened up and rushed over to her. "Excuse me! Could you please-- do me a favor? You see, there are several of these packages which are promised to be delivered before sunrise today... and that is just within less than a half an hour from now. I've called a repairman, but the mage won't be here until it's too late. Please, if you deliver a few for me, I should be happy to pay you with what is available!"
Given his pleading and obvious state of need, Syn gently patted the man on the shoulder before turning and heading for the broken vehicle. It was integral that she get a hold of these letters and packages immediately so that they could be delivered. After piling as many as she could up in her arms, the girl smiled apologetically at the man and said quietly, "You will be able to deliver the others safely by foot, I presume?" and then started off, heading for the nearest house. The task itself was not very taxing at all, and it was a lovely way to get to know the neighborhood a bit more, although it was not really very interesting. Most of the buildings had a similar structure, and all were painted an ordinary shade of white that had little variety; only from cream to ivory. Once she returned to the car, the sun was barely peeking over the horizon, but thankfully, the vehicle was empty. There was a willowy spell caster muttering incantations over the broken engine, but other than that, everything seemed to be now going wonderfully. The delivery man thanked Syn profusely one last time before handing her a few jewels that he fished from his pocket, and then the girl was on her way back home, to clean up before going out to find another adventure for the day.
"Miss! Miss! Excuse me, miss!" Syn stopped in her tracks as a squeaky voice repeatedly called out to her in a rather whiny, irritating tone. Sighing under her breath, the young woman turned around, plastering a friendly smile on her face. She did, however, allow a questioning look to come through in her facial expression-- with any luck, whoever was calling her in such a way would understand that they were to explain pronto why the girl had been stopped on her way to the guild hall. "Miss, could you play tag with us? Pweeeease?" Apparently, these kids wanted the mage to play some sort of game with them. Tag, was it? Of course, Syn had played it, but only a very long time ago. Nonetheless, the pleading faces of the kidlets prompted the girl to discard the awful memories she had of her home village's tag and roll up her sleeves to play with them.
Swiftly nodding to one another in a unanimous signal, the group immediately dropped to one knee and poked themselves in the noses. A chorus of, "Nose goes!" echoed around the small, grassy field on the side of the road. The children had chosen a slightly dangerous spot to be goofing around; after all, a car could come and hit them. While Syn was contemplating how to go about directing the kids to another, more secure area, she realized with a start that all of them had run off already. Clearly, she was it, and the reasoning behind this fact was completely biased, in her opinion. Syn bit her lip as she scanned the area briefly before catching sight of a small figure crouching behind a thick bush which was just beginning to enter the "blossoming heavily" stage. The girl silently tip-toed towards the spot until she deemed it near enough that he couldn't escape-- then, with a quick burst of speed, she gently tackled the little boy into the emerald grass, playfully saying, "You're it!" It was soon apparent that Tag was a game to be taken very seriously; the children were not below playing dirty to win. Within moments of being tapped, the kid scrunched up is face and stuck out his tongue before swatting Syn and yelling back as he ran away, "You're it! Ya forgot to say, 'No Tagbacks!'"
With a groan, the young mage sat up slowly, her expression back to its ordinary serious mask. These little squirts think they're so clever, she realized. But I know what I have to do. She gave a loud, fake yawn that was audible all throughout the play area; then, propping herself up against a nearby oak tree, she faked falling asleep after muttering 'to herself,' "This game is too hard. I can't possibly win." Soon enough, the children began to regroup and surrounded her, scowling and kicking the grass as they all threw miniature fits. Once she perceived that the entire group was at their current location, she suddenly jumped up and swept two of the kids into her arms, therefore simultaneously tagging them both. "You're it!" she decreed, before putting them down and running away before the lack of no tag backs came to bite her in the butt.
Only half an hour later, Syn was saying good bye. "Thanks a lot, big sis!" one of the little girls yelled, grinning, as Syn continued to walk away. The game had ended a few minutes ago, so now the mage had decided it was about time she departed. After one last round of hugs and a few tearful sniffles, the girl walked out with much improved spirits, and a vow to win Tag someday-- for she had lost in the end, just like always before. It's because I forget to say no tagbacks, she decided with a small smile and a short sigh.
'Th-the sun... it's so bright', realized Syn as she squinted at the road in front of her, eyes watering due to the almost pure white, overcast sky above. Clouds apparently happened to reflect more sunlight than she had known. With a shrug of her shoulders, the girl continued down the lane until an elegant, towering restaurant caught her eye from her peripheral vision. Syn blinked in surprise and craned her neck in an attempt to see through the high windows of the building, but she quickly came to the conclusion that it was futile. Apparently, this restaurant shielded their customers from passerby, most likely to protect their privacy from nosy people such as Syn. The girl sniffed at that, a bit miffed, but she then spotted a small, inconspicuous sign hanging up inside the window, outside of the heavy drapes that were the color of deep, red mulled wine. It read, Help Wanted in crooked but clearly legible handwriting, which seemed to be written using a cherry colored sharpie or something of the sort. The mage glanced quickly from side to side, curious as to whether anyone else had caught sight of the notice, yet. After realizing that it seemed to be newly put up, the girl straightened up and walked as confidently as she could into the restaurant.
Promptly, an overwhelming display of chandelier lights dazzled Syn, sending her reeling as she tried to recover from the blindness the light show had inadvertently caused. Or was it supposed to give potential customers the biggest blind spots of their lives? She wasn't sure, but she assumed the answer was no. At that very moment, a portly middle-aged man with a black apron and plain, grey clothing, strode out of a back room through a door that the mage hadn't noticed previously. His demeanor was clearly frantic, and the girl immediately stepped forwards, her forehead creasing with confusion and worry. "Sir, is there any way that I could be of service to you?" she flashed him a smile and spoke with a gentle tone, doing her best to calm the man down. His worries were currently unknown to her, but certainly there must be some way the tall girl could assist the stranger. He wheeled around, heading straight for her with an expression of extraordinary relief on his face.
"Oh, my dear, my dear! You have come at precisely the right moment! For, I have been requesting assistance from random citizens of the town for simply ages, but nobody has replied! I require an ordinary person or some ordinary persons to perform a taste test on my wine. Would that be quite alright with you, my dear? You are well over the age requirement, I presume?" his voice and questions were all quite nonchalant, as if he had never been panicking in the first place. Syn replied with a quick smile and a nod of her head, figuring it was best to simply do everything she could to help this poor man. After trying a few minuscule sips of sweet wine and praising its "glorious taste," Syn moved on to a more crisp, dry variety, which she gave similar compliments. Once the man seemed to have calmed down a bit and regained his confidence, the girl smiled at him sweetly, her eyes blinking up gently.
"May I be excused now... sir? It was a pleasure to assist you today!" the stranger nodded and shooed her away with a few words about how she would be welcomed back and given a free meal later on. Well, I suppose that was at least a nice thing to do, decided the girl as she strolled back out into the blindingly bright midday sunshine of the world.
Syn proudly swept her hair to one side to reveal the Meliora Vitae insignia stamped at the nape of her neck. Another heart beat later, the serious-eyed guard asked her in a low, rumbling voice, "What is your name?" With as confident of a smile as she could possibly make it, the youth replied with her full name, Syndrome. The man was altogether unimpressed, but he finally shooed her through the door, murmuring after she had crossed the threshold, "Nondark guild members need not show their stamp, girl. They only are required to give their name." Syn blushed at her mistake but held her head as high as she could possibly manage as the inside of the hospital came into view. It had a set up similar to that of any professional office; a receptionist's desk and work area was located in the center of the room, while an array of sofas and armchairs surrounded two coffee tables. The young mage padded silently up to the desk and blinked down at the receptionist, who seemed to be engrossed in his work. After coughing quietly a few times, the girl finally gave up and let out a loud "Ahem!", upon hearing which the young man looked up with a start.
"Ah, you must be here for the blood drive. Go right ahead, 'tis on the current floor, the first ward on your right." Syn had debated slipping on nicer shoes for this occasion, considering that it might be required in order to enter a public facility such as this one; however, it seemed that she was exempt from these rules, as a mage. Instead, only hats and hoods of a sort were not permitted in the place. The girl stepped lightly down the hallway, her shoulders trembling ever so slightly as the cool tiles pressed against her feet even through her thin soles. Upon reaching the room, Syn was more than delighted to find that some parts of the flooring, particularly surrounding the beds, was carpeted. She was immediately spotted by a hospital employee and put to work fetching water and juice for the adults sitting in various chairs nearby the entrance. It seemed that they had given blood only a few minutes or so ago, and it was required for them to drink some sort of cranberry or the like of juice to refresh themselves.
After transporting several trays of various liquids to and fro for the kind souls who had agreed to give their blood for those who required it, Syn was instructed by a hospital aide to assist some of the more exhausted patients in making their way to the dining hall. Promptly rushing off to go do so, the mage noticed a thin, middle aged man seemingly about to collapse as he stumbled in the direction of the eating room. Once she had helped him up and escorted him all the way, Syn turned back and repeated the process several times over until it was past the time when the majority of patients would be traveling there. A nearby young woman dressed in purely white clothing stopped the mage and jerked her thumb back to the front desk, saying, "Y'can go now. Thanks a lot for coming out today, we all are grateful." Syn nodded and smiled sincerely at the stranger before heading back to the receptionist's office, where she was sent off with a few words of appreciation and a wave of the hand. As the girl ambled back to her home, she reflected upon how courageous and caring the patients must have been, to give so much blood for a cause that it affected them, too.
Syn had gone through a day of hard work, only to come home to a strange box that had been delivered to her temporary apartment. Wh-what is this? Syn's eyes widened as she carefully parted the tissue paper inside the delicately wrapped box, revealing a lavish dress and a neat, smartly tailored suit. Her hands trembled ever so slightly as she held them over the clothes nestled within the package, hesitant to pull them out lest she cause any damage. Wh-what's going on? she wondered, anxiety taking over. Fishing through the folds of the dress but not misplacing any fabric quite yet, the young mage discovered a square card of creamy, expensive paper that seemed to have the texture of polished metal, it was so smooth and hard. The typography was gold script, elegant and refined in appearance. Still more than a bit uneasy, the girl read the card, but it only arose more questions within her. Why was she being invited to a foreign ball? Minstrel was surely a lovely country, but she had never been there before. The citizens and hosts of such an event would have no inclination to invite Syn. She chewed thoughtfully on her bottom lip before finally releasing it, along with a huff of breath.
"It seems like an overly formal, uppity event anyways. Perhaps I ought not to attend," the youth mused, considering her own words for a minute. If she rejected the invitation, would the hosts find their reputation of Fiore in general to be lowered? But surely, they could not expect a poor, ordinary girl mage as herself to have any experience with such matters... Syn twisted a lock of hair around her index finger as she tired herself out by overthinking the matter. "Sh-should I go?" she whispered, eyes flitting down to the beautiful formal attire that had been sent to her by private magical mail that only the wealthy could usually afford. The most crucial question was whether she could get away with not attending; if enough guests had been invited that she had been included, surely they would not notice, right? However, Syn had absolutely no hint as to how many others had received such invitations. It could have been an attempt of some extraordinarily well-off people to do some charity work and invite "normal" citizens to spend one night as rich folk
As she finally managed to make a decision, the girl withdrew the dress and slipped it on, doing up the buttons in a criss-cross fashion on the back using a hook that she had been gifted a few years ago. It fit perfectly, only cementing the mage's desire to attend the party. And so she set off after undressing once more and carefully folding the clothes into a small suitcase. According to the note, she would be arriving through flight on a private vehicle, which served to unnerve the girl quite a decent amount. Nonetheless, Syn was confident in her decision, so she boarded with as relaxed of a mind and body as she could. During the flight, she felt no sort of shaking or quaking that she had originally expected; it was her first time flying, though, so anything would have surprised her. She was told by an attendant that a change of clothes was provided near the back of the airplane, so the girl left her seat to quickly change into those. They were nearly an exact replica of the type Syn had been sent; except, the material was slightly more fine and softer to the touch.
Upon arrival, she stepped out onto a dark runway that was lit with various small posts along the sides of the pathway. A young man ushered her into a gargantuan building that seemed to resemble a castle more than anything, and soon enough she was directed to an opulent room which had a size comparable to over six times the entirety of Syn's apartment. She had the most lovely time, mostly dancing with strange partners and tasting morsels of rich, delectable foods that she did not know the names of. Eventually, the party died down until she was one of the only ones left; at that time, the same young man from before gently took her by the elbow and directed her back outside, to where another flight was being prepared. It had been a tiresome day, so Syn fell into a peaceful slumber on the way back home. This resulted in a flight attendant being forced to wake the girl, with several rounds of apologies on both sides. When they touched down back in Fiore, the girl smiled out the window one final time before exiting the craft and stepping down onto the ground, which was for once, not cold upon her feet during the night, for Syn had worn intricately embroidered slippers to complete her beautiful wardrobe. It and the dress were hers to keep, and after hanging the gown up in her cramped closet, the mage kicked off her shoes and toppled down onto her bed, more than ready to sleep away what was left of the hours of the night.