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    Crashing Down from the High

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 433
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,137,963

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Crashing Down from the High Empty Crashing Down from the High

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 15th September 2021, 4:57 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Scrambling to push through her grogginess, Mercury instinctively reached for Mercy only to find the gunblade missing. In fact, all of her pouches and gear had been removed from her and placed on the table on the other side of the room. Instantly switching tactics, Mercury swung a leg up to try and kick him in the face, which Khelben dodged by carefully stepping backward. Instead, she used the momentum to roll herself to her feet, her movements more slow than usual thanks to the lingering effects of whatever he had doped her with. Khelben easily dumped her back on her ass, hard, leaving her gasping for breath while he loomed over her, arms crossed.

    “It took you far too long to catch on to me,” the Xocili told her in their native tongue, his tone stoic and lacking the typical playfulness and flirty undertones it typically held. “I’m not impressed.”[/color]

    Emerald eyes flashed up at him in a dark glare. “Yeah? Well I’m not trying to fucking impress you, so why don’t you go choke on the disappointment?”

    This was bad. This was really bad. Mercury had been playing reckless for quite a while on Earthland, and she had always known they would send someone for her eventually, but this was much sooner than she had expected. She thought she’d have more time. A sense of dread was quickly washing over her as she wondered just how much Khelben had managed to pick up since his arrival to the planet. She was fairly certain that he hadn’t caught on to anything too important, if only because she trusted her own skills at covering her tracks and not leaking too much information about herself, but if Khelben was who she thought he was then his skills likely exceeded her own.

    “I think you could stand to show a little more concern about what impression you give me. Or do you not understand the gravity of the situation you have placed us both in?”

    “Don’t patronize me, Khelben. I know why you’re here.”

    "Then you admit that you have been slacking?”

    “Excuse me?!” Fury shook through her as she pushed herself to her feet, her head becoming more clear with each passing second as the effects of the drug wore off. “You think I’ve been sitting around filing my nails this whole time? You have no idea how much work I’ve been putting into this mission.”

    “Of course I don’t! How am I expected to know anything when you have been failing so spectacularly at sending in your reports? If you know why I am here, then you know you haven’t been doing your job.”

    Mercury growled low, pointing a finger at him. “Fuck you! You’ve been here long enough to see what this place is like. The magic here alone is more than enough to interfere with my ability to compile and send accurate reports.”

    “Oh, don’t even try that with me! I’ve been here for months and I’ve yet to run into anything that has caused too much interfe--”

    “Yeah, because you’ve been sitting on your ass playing with toys and spying on me!” Mercury interrupted him before he could get too far, her anger and fear continuing to rise. “Don’t you dare try to compare yourself to me. You couldn’t even begin to comprehend the shit I’ve gotten involved in just to gather research. I joined Silver Wolf for their endless resources and gained enough of their trust to be placed second in command of the entire guild. I got a job with the continent’s leading most provider of advanced technology so I could gather information about the technological limits of this planet. I’ve made allies out of royalty and leaders of entire nations, earning their trust while they know next to nothing about me. I’ve stolen entire databanks of information from organizations that no one knows exists. I’ve made deals with demons, and put my life on the line fighting gods.”

    She glared daggers at him, her body practically shaking. “You want to know why my reports have been inconsistent? It’s because I’m doing my fucking job.

    Khelben stared at her for a long, silent moment. Eventually, he sighed. “Mercury… do you think I want to be here? Do you think I enjoy any part of having to stalk one of my own people?”

    Mercury felt indignation swell up within her as she opened her mouth to rail at him. But somehow, her better judgement kicked in. With a low growl she finally lowered her tone. “No. I know you don’t want to be here.” Sitting back down on the bed, she rubbed her face wearily. As upset as she was, Mercury couldn’t believe that Khelben had any desire to be a part of all this. He had been forced into his role as much as she had been forced into her own. “So what now?”

    “Now, I will be observing you more personally from here on out. Whatever work you do will be done as a team with me. You will be under my constant supervision, and it will be my job to evaluate if you are still fit to be doing field work or if you need to be brought back to the flotilla for retraining.”

    She looked up at him with a confused look in her eyes. “Retraining? We were always told that any insubordination would result in immediate termination of the rest of the Xocili… Why would they want to go through the hassle of retraining me?”

    “Termination would be true for most of the scouts, but unfortunately… you’re different. I read up on your file on my way here, and it seems they have placed you above the rest of the scouts for a number of reasons. The first is your history of success. You have scouted seven planets over the last decade and of those seven five of them were ultimately wiped out by the Nazru. That’s more than double what the other scouts have managed to… accomplish.” Khelben chose the word carefully, his tone conveying his understanding that it was an accomplishment to the Nazru, not so much to either of them… thought for her part, Mercury’s face barely flinched at the acknowledgement of just how much death and destruction she was responsible for. “The other reason you seem to stand out to them is because you… have a scar.”

    He looked at her curiously and for a moment she was able to hold his gaze defiantly before turning away with a look of shame. “So you do have one.. How is that even possible?”

    “I don’t know, okay? I just do.”

    “May I see it..?”

    Mercury shot him a glare but ultimately turned around to let her back face him. Pulling her hair up from her neck, she revealed the thin, surgical scar on the back of her neck, the blemish barely visible upon her skin. Khelben had to stand and lean over her to truly see it. Once he’d gotten a good look, he sat back down and Mercury straightened herself out, her cheeks red with embarrassment. “Thank you,” he told her quietly.

    “Whatever. Listen, here’s the thing. I get that you have your own job to do, but it’s simply not possible for you to be with me everywhere I go. First of all, you’re not an ace with this guild and I don’t have the power to make you one, so I won’t be able to get you into any classified guild meetings with Leona. Second of all, there’s no way that your sudden appearance isn’t going to be a red flag to a lot of people. I told you, I’ve gotten in good and earn the trust of a lot of high ranking, powerful people on this planet. They’re intelligent people, and fooling them hasn’t always been easy. If I start bringing you around with me everywhere, they are going to get suspicious. So I’m sorry, but you simply can’t just start tagging along. Your presence would jeopardize everything that I’ve worked to set up.”

    Khelben nodded. “That is reasonable. Thankfully, I don’t always need to be there physically. I can observe you digitally when necessary… but one way or another, I will be present at all times.”

    Well, there went her sex life… among other things. Mercury’s shoulders drooped sadly as resignation settled over her. She’d been having fun for a while, but the vacation was over and real life had come swinging, just like she’d always known it would. What an idiot she had been for allowing herself to live in this fairy tail she’d crafted in her mind where she could feel safe and comfortable.

    “However, I am going to require that I meet your partner, Vandrad.”

    Her gaze snapped up at him. “What? Why?”

    “Because as far as I can tell, you have formed more of an attachment to him than you should have, and I need to verify for myself that your relationship with him isn’t interfering with your work.”

    “That is not a good idea.”

    “Then your attachment to him is compromising.”

    “No, he’s not just a fucking idiot. Do you know how long it took me to work him and gain his trust? He is constantly suspicious of nearly everyone around him, and I will not compromise my efforts in getting close to him just because you want to evaluate him.”

    “Don’t forget that I have already been observing you for quite some time, Mercury. I’ve seen the way you look at him and I’ve seen how you behave around him.”

    “Great merciful void.. Yes, because I’m using him. You think I could get away with half the shit I’ve done if I didn’t look authentic?”

    Khelben paused briefly, though his eyes were still narrowed on her. “I admit that you are a good actress. If I hadn’t already known who you were when we first met, I would have been fooled by a number of your actions. But my gut is telling me I must insist on this, so like it or not I will meet him… either with or without you.”

    “He’ll sooner kill you than give you the time of day. I’m telling you, my relationship with Vandard is not what you’re accusing it to be.” But it was. Mercury knew it was. She had known for some time, she’d just hoped to draw her time with him out as long as possible before her inevitable departure. Finally, she growled in frustration and resignation. “Fine. I will take you on one mission with us. Vandrad knows that I occasionally have to run jobs with other Scholar members, so I should be able to sell it, but it will only be the one mission. And that’s to protect my cover and avoid raising his suspicions. Got it?”

    Khelben watched her briefly, meeting her even gaze with one of his own until he finally nodded. “That will be acceptable. For now.”

    She’d had enough of this for one night. “Fine. If that’s the case, then I need to go prepare and find a suitable job to get everything arranged.”

    “Very well. I just need to integrate my processors with yours, and then you may go.” WIth reluctant submission, Mercury accepted the wireless invitation he sent and soon he was linked with her monitoring systems, able to see with her eyes and hear with her ears as though her body was his own. She wouldn’t even be able to send a message to Vandrad without Khelben being able to intercept and read it himself. Once he was satisfied, she stormed out of the room and back up to her own.

    And the only thing that prevented her from breaking down into tears was the knowledge that Khelben would witness it.


    Two days later, Mercury sent a text out to Vandrad letting him know that she wanted his help on a mission that one of her members at Silver Wolf had picked up and asked for assistance on. She informed the prince that they’d meet him at Fairy Tail. Since Khelben was able to read all the messages she sent and received, she didn’t include anything that might tip Vandrad off to the fact that she was in trouble, but the truth was that she knew he would figure it out. Mercury was petrified trying to figure out how she was going to mediate this interaction without everything going to shit. All she could do was trust that Vandrad wouldn’t tip either of their hands.

    Once Khelben was ready to go the morning of the mission, Mercury grumpily let him in her room -- which he’d inspected thoroughly the day after their confrontation. Bandit must have been able to sense that Mercury was stressed because it was vehemently clear that he did not like Khelben, the crow more irritable and ornery than usual as he constantly took excuses to scream, peck at, or even swoop down at the man if he got too close to Mercury. As soon as Khelben walked into the room, Bandit hopped from his perch down to Mercury’s shoulder and squawked loudly at the man in protest. “Bandit, knock it off, would you?” Her heart wasn’t in the chastisement, however. She wanted to yell at the man herself. “You ready?”

    He glared at Bandit briefly before turning back toward Mercury. “I am.”

    “Alright, follow me, then.” Fiddling with the dials on her translocation ray, she opened a portal and stepped through it, Khelben right behind her. It was obvious that he hadn’t ever used something like that before as he looked around in bewilderment and wonder for a moment at their new surroundings, his internal sensors likely scrambling to catch up with how far they had moved in a single step. But, he quickly covered it up. As Mercury slipped the ray into her pouch, she told him, “Alright, remember what I told you. Vandrad is not easy to fool, so I’m trusting you to be on your best game. I’m not going to sacrifice the work I’ve put in if you prove to be a novice.”

    In an instant, he smiled down at her. Up until that point he had not been behaving like the charismatic flirt he’d acted like before his true identity had been revealed, but now his own mask was back on and fortunately -- or maybe unfortunately -- it was as good as her own. “Relax. I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve even been alive.”

    Rolling her eyes, Mercury shook her head and strolled in the door, though her demeanor was noticeably quieter than it usually was when she visited her partner’s guild. There was no bluster or pomp, rather she simply walked inside with a casual gait, searched the room until she found Vandrad, and wandered over. “Morning, killer. This is Khelben Cox, one of my scholars. Khelben, allow me to introduce you to the one and only Prince Vandrad du Wolff.” She gave the prince her trademark cheeky grin that she usually had in place when she was purposefully doing something to annoy him for her own entertainment, such as acknowledging his title as a prince when she knew damn well that he hated the formalities. “I know you like to be all rough and surly, but try not to break this one too much today, would ya? He’s got promise, and I don’t want to fill out any more paperwork than I have to later.”

    She looked, spoke, and carried herself like she would on any other day, her eyes carrying a glint of mischief as she crossed her arms over her chest and smirked at him. But she was absolutely radiating with trepidation and anxiety, even sadness. It was so strong that the prince had probably felt it before they’d even walked in the door.

    Khelben stepped forward and offered Vandrad a hand shake, an easy and handsome smile on his face. “A pleasure to meet you, Lord Vandrad. Mercury’s mentioned you a couple of times. I appreciate your willingness to help us out today.”

    Mercury would give them a moment to sort themselves out, however that wound up going down, before jumping right into things, handing him a folded up flyer from her pocket. “I’m going to be honest, you’re probably going to have mixed feelings about this job, and given your status with Bellum we’re probably going to have to be a bit careful. We picked up a request for assistance from a small town in Pergrande that’s openly looking for help from any willing mages. It seems they’ve got a haunted mansion of some kind. Very few people that have entered the mansion ever come back out, and those who do are supposedly different from how they were before going inside. I guess it’s gotten so bad that they are throwing caution to the wind and defying the most basic laws of their country to get help. They suspect magic is involved somehow, and as such none of them are equipped to handle it themselves.”

    WORDS: 2853 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 487
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,309,025

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Energy Monarch
    Second Magic: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Magic:

    Crashing Down from the High Empty Re: Crashing Down from the High

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 15th September 2021, 6:07 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Crashing Down from the High RJtajUnz_o
    Something felt off.

    It was unsurprising to get a message from Mercury requesting his help with a job, though it was a little odd, at least in conduct. It wasn’t unlike her to ask him for assistance but usually she made a show of coming to the guildhall and loudly announcing her intentions to everyone within earshot. Giving him a heads up was a weird method but perhaps she was just busy. Yet that didn’t seem right either. Even as Vandrad thought it, his focus on the current creation paused, the light from his welder dying out. It had been two days since he had seen her; two whole days since they had kidnapped Patricia and established a semi-plan moving forward. One would think that she would have plenty to talk to him about but she had gone radio silent. He’d thought it weird but decided to let it go, understanding that she generally had other obligations to focus on. But no kind of message, no call or attempt to reach out… he wasn’t sure why he’d been so calm about it before. Now that he was thinking about it, it felt wrong. She was a constant pain in his ass and rarely let him catch a break and when she did, it was usually for her own benefit rather than his.

    His eyes narrowed behind the tinted glass of his goggles. "Reply back. Confirm the details,” he said smoothly to the operating system patched right into his goggles. He saw a blinking green light as the system verified his words and sent out the reply, using his lexicon to appropriately craft a message he, himself, would write. Once the light disappeared, he flicked on his welder once more and finished up the portion of welding he had left to do before turning it off for good. He probably didn’t have a lot of time before she arrived; her use of her portal device made travel instantaneous and abrupt. Taking off his goggles, he cleaned up his work area and then went to change into something more mission appropriate. Donning his refashioned Bellum armor, the same that he’d worn during the battle with Pergrande, he made sure all his instruments were working before heading down to the main hall.

    With the few remaining moments that he had, he checked with the fairies at the front desk for messages. As he rattled off a few comments about his responsibilities, he felt an overwhelming emotional force heading towards the guild. It was a wave that was growing stronger with every second; an approaching beacon of melancholy and anxiety. His attention slowly turned towards the door and, as if he’d planned it, Mercury and another person came in. He assumed it was the Silver Wolf member that had requested her help but all it took was one brief look for Vandrad to get a strange, uncomfortable feeling in his stomach. It was brought on, no doubt, by the fact that as she drew clear, it was evident that Mercury was the source of the unhappy emotional storm. His eyes flicked between the two of them as gears began to work in the back of his head.

    She sounded normal enough but even he knew that Mercury was excellent at putting on an act without much effort. Whether she was playing it up for his case or for this other person’s, who knew. She introduced the other Silver Wolf mage as Khelben Cox, a member of the Scholar branch beneath her. She then turned it around and introduced him to the man, opting to use his full royal title. She gave him a meaningful grin, one that held the same impish joy she got out of trying to annoy him. But it all seemed… well, muted. It was the same song and dance, no doubt, but it wasn’t as vibrant or as loud and boisterous as usual.

    He very quickly had to decide if he was going to vaporize this Khelben where he stood. His instincts, hardened from combat and war, told him to annihilate the supposed enemy before he had a chance to reveal himself. Even as Mercury told him not to be too hard on the man, as he apparently had talent, it didn’t seem to fully register in his mind. But they were in the main hall of Fairy Tail and an unexplained vaporization would require filling out a lot of paperwork and talking to Mura about why he had attacked a member of an allied guild. Plus then, he would receive no answers to what exactly was going on. Curse the woman for making him pause on his instincts and choose to explore the mystery. As Khelben brought up his hand and offered it to the prince to shake, Vandrad looked down at it briefly before raising his gaze back up to the man. After a beat that definitely went longer than it should have, he finally took the man’s hand and gave it a shake, though he put more force into his grip than he normally would have. "Just Vandrad. Call me ‘lord’ or ‘prince’ and we’ll have a problem.” It was a cold warning but not unlike his usual mannerism. If Mercury was bent on playing a part, then so would he, if only to see what the goal was.

    It was then that the Silver Wolf mage chirped up again, pulling out a flyer from her pocket and handing it to him. Before he had even unfolded it, she was laying the groundwork for a very difficult mission. His hand paused as she stated that it was going to hinge on his position within Bellum before revealing that it was to help a small town in Pergrande. He scoffed in annoyance as he finished opening up the flyer and started to read it, even as he listened to her explanation. Pergrande was emphatically anti-mage, more willing to put them down to death than to let them breathe a moment longer. If they were requesting help from wizards, then it was either a trap… or something that terrified them so deeply, they did away with other answers. And based on what both paper and Mercury said about the mansion, perhaps they had a reason to be scared. A stately house, supposedly haunted, where few returned and the ones that did had been altered in one fashion or another.

    As much as he hated to admit it, this was a mission they both actively looked for. Impossible odds, generally labeled as a suicide mission -- it was a challenge that was hard to pass up. Adding in the fact that he would be given the opportunity to show Pergrande how dismissing magic made them inferior. "Fine. I don’t like it but at least I’ll have something to mock Pergrande with, when we come out successful where all of their people have failed,” he said, folding the paper once more and passing it back to her. He glanced over at Khelben. "You had better be worth the time; I don’t have the patience to keep a weakling alive if he can’t pull his own weight.” With that said, he cracked both his hands against one another. "Alright. Let’s get going.”






    Words: 1209  | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 433
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,137,963

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Crashing Down from the High Empty Re: Crashing Down from the High

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 20th September 2021, 5:15 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    If Khelben was thrown off by Vandrad’s cold, scrutinizing stare, it didn’t show in the man’s face, though Vandrad would be able to sense a sort of tension from the man. A tension that would likely make the prince feel that, for all his casual and easy demeanor, he was analyzing Vandrad just as much. The two men eyed one another, neither flinching or giving, until Vandrad eventually accepted the handshake. “Well, I certainly don’t want any problems. Vandrad, it is.” Before he could even finish speaking, Bandit had elected to hop off Mercury’s shoulder and onto Vandrad’s, a perch that the bird rarely if ever took, flapping his wings in irritation at the taller man. Khelben pulled his hand back before the crow could get any ideas about trying to peck him again, withdrawing the limb gently but not without some slight haste as he eyed the bird briefly before electing to ignore it.

    By this point, Mercury was already moving things along and giving Vandrad the skinny on the mission that had been selected, one that was right up their alley. As she had suspected, Vandrad wasn’t terribly pleased at the idea of doing any favors for citizens of Pergrande but he also couldn’t turn down the challenge that it presented, nor the opportunity to rub his superiority in the northern nation’s face. He agreed in his gruff way before finally turning back to Khelben and informing the man that if he fell behind, Vandrad wasn’t going to stick his neck out to protect him.

    And much like Mercury had done back when she and Vandrad had first started working together, Khelben seemed completely unfazed by the older man’s cold mannerisms. His boyish smile widened a hair and he shoved his hands in his pockets comfortably, the perfect picture of relaxation. “Well, Mercury here is the one that’s been training me since I joined, so if I’m not prepared then clearly it’s her fault. She does enjoy being distracting.”

    “Who, me?” was the all-too-innocent response as she flashed Khelben a somewhat flirty grin. “No idea what you’re talking about, hotshot. I’m a beacon of professionalism.” As Khelben chuckled, Mercury pulled her translocation ray back out and adjusted the dial. “Alright, I was able to look up the coordinates of the town, so I should be able to pop us right over without us having to actually cross the border. If I angled it right, and I always do, we should come out in a small forest just outside the town, out of sight from the villagers so we don’t scare them into a panic.”

    Finding a blank wall, she opened a portal and wasted no time leading the way through, with Khelben right behind her. True to her calculations, they were greeted by a series of tall, thick trees that spanned in every direction. Just out of sight off in the distance was the town, where Mercury’s scanners were already picking up the various locations of the townsfolk as they went about their day. It was a bright morning, the sun shining happily as it promised a warm afternoon to come. The trio made their way toward the village, and as the buildings came into view it quickly became apparent that this was a place that had once been quite prosperous and full of life but had be swallowed by disrepair and poverty over the decades. The people were active and able, and while there was no air of outright hostility there was a hardness to them as they carefully eye the three newcomers with quiet consideration.

    Mercury seemingly ignored them as she lead the way to the mansion in question on the other side of the town. Yet another unusual behavior for her, as she was typically quite people oriented and always took a careful study of their surroundings to get a feel for everything before doing much to draw attention to herself. But today, all she was interested in was getting in, getting this job done, and getting out before everything fell ass over head.

    It wasn’t difficult to find the mansion, which was much larger than the rest of the town’s buildings. It was nestled up against the perimeter of the forest beyond an old, rusting wrought iron fence whose gate was halfway unhinged with age. A large pond took up the majority of lawn space in front of the home before a set of beautifully ornate stone steps overrun with plant life led up to a landing before the home itself. From a distance, it appeared to be about three or four stories tall, crafted of red brick with white stone columns. As they got closer, they could see that the building was just as much run down by time and nature as the rest of the property.

    What was weird, however, was how everything changed as they drew near. Though the sun had barely begun it’s trek for the day, it became darker as they drew close with the fence. A thick mist began to permeate the air, blanketing the property within despite the rest of the town being clear. The trees took on a withered, barren look, and even the din of the town’s hubbub seemed muffled and muted to their ears, casting an eerie quiet around the area. Khelben was clearly unnerved, though he was hiding it well behind a thoughtful frown. Bandit, having flown back to Mercury’s shoulder, shifted his stance nervously back and forth.

    “Well, that’s ominous. Honestly, I’m just impressed these people continue to live here, being as anti-magic as the people of this nation are. You think they’d pack up and haul ass out of town rather than risk sticking around.”

    WORDS: 954/3807 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 487
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,309,025

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Energy Monarch
    Second Magic: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Magic:

    Crashing Down from the High Empty Re: Crashing Down from the High

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 20th September 2021, 6:13 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Crashing Down from the High RJtajUnz_o
    This was, perhaps, the closest Vandrad could get to being anywhere near ‘jealous’ and truthfully, it was more distrustful. But on the face of things, it certainly looked like he was annoyed by the appearance of this new man with Mercury and had she been in a different place emotionally, the Silver Wolf mage may have even made a similar comment. Still, it was the prince’s way of putting the man on guard, pointedly looking him over with the critique of a veteran judge in a contest or a drill instructor to a cocky young cadet. He bore a charming, confident grin and luster in his eyes that was just as playful as Mercury’s. In fact, he would even go as far as to say that it was almost exactly like Mercury’s. His eyes narrowed slightly as the Khelben remarked that if he were to fail, it was only because Mercury hadn’t prepared him appropriately. He claimed it was because she was distracting, to which she, falsely, tried to dissuade the thought and claimed she was as professional as they came. Vandrad didn’t buy into the game, which was even less than he usually allowed. At the very least, he was quick to dismiss her claims or roll his eyes. But not this time; for now, he was nothing but stone.

    Mercury stated that she had the coordinates and explained that they would pop out just on the outskirts of town, allowing them the means to get in without alarming anyone living there. Though he cared very little about frightening Pergrande natives, he conceded to the idea silently with a nod and waited for her to lead them over to a wall and activate her portal gun. They departed the warm, friendly atmosphere of Fairy Tail and reappeared in a forest. The sun was struggling to cut through the canopy above them but the air was still warm, despite the ever approaching chill of fall. On they want, moving through the greenery and coming upon the settlement. It was almost as rundown as some ruins the prince had visited in the past, with several buildings in different states of disrepair and dilapidation. The townspeople were moving around well enough but there was certainly a weight about them. Their emotions were sullen and muted, beaten down by the curse that apparently clung to their town. They watched warily as the trio passed, a glimmer of suspicion on whether the group was yet another attempting to challenge the haunted building.

    Mercury was making quite the beeline towards their objective, metaphorical blinders up as she went along. No surprise, considering what mood she is -- when she was bothered, she became eerily focused and determined, not allowing outside interference to distract her. Vandrad followed after the pair, leading up the rear and keeping an eye behind them as they went. Soon enough the mansion rose up before them, the rest of the town dwarfed by the massive building. A metal fence played pretend at keeping intruders out, the rust and wear having made it as flimsy as string. A sizable body of water sat before the structure itself, the liquid dark and foggy. The mansion itself had been abandoned to nature and the wilds was doing what it could to reclaim it, with vines and other such plantlife running rampant over the multi-floored home.

    Yet as they approached the mansion, the atmosphere shifted with each step. The sun, which had once been bright and rising in the sky, was swallowed up by darkness, bathing them in a much gloomier light. Fog rolled in from out of nowhere, covering the grounds in a thick haze that reduced their sight. The mulling of the town behind them seemed to fade away, as if they had been transported from the town itself and into another dimension. Vandrad glanced at the trees, watching the limbs sag and creak, the very life in them disappearing in an instant. He could feel the concern in Khelben, the outwardly stoic man clearly bothered by what he was seeing. Mercury seemed mostly unconcerned, her own personal issues most likely weighing more than the machinations of a cursed building. She remarked about the tenacity of the villagers, willing to stay within the limits of the mansion, despite their fear of magic. "Their anti-magic beliefs is exactly what keeps them here. They believe they can conquer the supernatural force with sheer willpower. No doubt they’ll deny any wizard helped them and claim they handled the problem themselves after we’ve done the work. Let’s get this over with.” With that cold statement, he kicked through the metal fence before them, reducing the once proud barrier to scrap.

    Now taking charge, the prince of Bellum bent slightly and then leaped over the pond in one, easy bound, using just enough of his magical strength to prove he wasn’t a novice. He continued up the stairs, onto the landing and then, when he came upon the front door, he glanced back briefly. "Be ready for anything, woman,” he told Mercury, not even bothering to acknowledge Khelben. Then once more his foot rose and slammed into the door. This time though, the barricade didn’t give way. Instead, there was a bright green flash of supernatural light all around Vandrad. A hard, abrasive noise ripped through the air as the prince was completely swallowed up in the glow and then a burst of smoke erupted from where he had just been. For a brief moment there was only silence before the distinct grunt of the prince of Bellum cut through the concerning shock.

    "Is that the best you… can… do?” An oddly effeminate voice asked, coming to a stop as the voice rose in shock and surprise. The smoke cleared away and there, standing where a man had once been, was a woman. It was quite clear that it was Vandrad; the hair was in the same shape, though the widow’s peak wasn’t as tall and he -- she -- now had a long braid that hung down to her lower back. Her armor had changed too, allowing for the now sudden appearance of breasts. Her entire form had slimmed down a bit too, though there was still evidence of cut musculature beneath the jumpsuit.

    Vandrad brought up her hands and looked at them but suddenly caught sight of the sudden mounds on her chest. She grabbed them, or rather the chestplate covering them, holding them as if she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. In truth, that’s exactly what she was experiencing. "Are you serious?” she demanded, snarling and turning to glare back at the mansion. "Is that supposed to scare me? You think my ego is so fragile that I’ll melt from being turned into a woman?” Vandrad had suffered all sorts of insults throughout his life but he was, perhaps, more insulted over the apparent insinuation that being a woman made him weaker. How little this house understood. With an annoyed growl, the princess thrust a hand towards the door and unleashed a volatile, invisible blast of compressed magic, shattering the frame and sending wood splinters showering along the immediate inside area. This mansion was about to learn that it’s mind games would have very little effect on Vandrad.






    Words: 1211/2420  | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


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    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
    Position : None
    Posts : 433
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,137,963

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Gunblade Master
    Second Magic: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Magic:

    Crashing Down from the High Empty Re: Crashing Down from the High

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 26th September 2021, 11:28 am

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Mercury quipped about how surprised she was that the people of this small town continued to live there when this one building was clearly so detrimental to the health of their community. Her companion informed her that it was their anti-magic viewpoints that spurred them to stay, thinking themselves above the phenomenon. In fact, he went so far as to state his belief that even after the three of them had taken the haunted building down, the townsfolk likely would deny that mages had helped them at all, claiming victory for themselves. With that, the prince elected not to waste any time, kicking the iron gate open with ease and causing the bars to clatter into a pile of debris before he leaped across the distance to the entrance in a single bound.

    The Silver Wolf Ace rolled her eyes with a smirk. “Show off.” Withdrawing Mercy from its holster, she shot Khelben a look while they weren’t immediately in Vandrad’s eye sight, and then made the trek to the door by foot. Along the way, she took careful stock of the mansion and its surroundings. Reaching into the pouch on her thigh, she withdrew a few of her drones and tossed them into the air where they hovered briefly before racing off to do a sweep of the perimeter of the home. Then, she took out her tablet and opened it up so she could see what information the drones were feeding to her. Khelben followed along beside her, unsheathing the massive greatsword from his back and holding it comfortably in one hand, despite the fact that its size suggested it was a two handed weapon.

    By the time Mercury and Khelben reached the entrance, Mercury’s drones had done a full sweep of the building. “Well, whatever is happening in this place, it’s blocking my drones from being able to scan the inside. I probably won’t be able to get a layout until we go in.”

    Khelben frowned. “Not even an x-ray?”

    “Nope.” She tucked the tablet away as Vandrad informed her to be ready for anything. Mercury smirked. “Relax, killer. I won’t let the big bad building lock you away forever.”

    With a flourish, Vandrad raised his leg once more and bashed the door in. Or at least, attempted to. Mercury and Khelben both found themselves temporarily blinded by a bright green light followed by a flash of smoke. A feminine voice asked if that was the best there was to offer, causing Mercury’s alertness to sharpen, aiming her pistol toward the door towards whatever woman had appeared to mock them. But when the smoke faded, not only was the door still closed but she realized that the only one who was there was Vandrad, who had been transformed into a woman. He looked almost exactly the same, though the widow’s peak was less pronounced and there was a long braid hanging from his -- her? -- back. Even her suit had been altered to suit the more slim, but still toned, body of a woman.

    There was a brief, thick silence as Vandrad inspected herself, raising her hands to her face before looking down and cupping her breasts in disbelief. Mercury and Khelben were both staring as well, Khelben in pure shock and Mercury with a somewhat blank expression that quickly dissolved into a fit of barely contained giggles. “Oh my stars, is it my birthday?” she asked, reaching out to poke Vandrad on the side of one of her boobs. For the moment, at least, her humor was genuine. The worries of the situation had temporarily melted away in lieu of how entertained she was at this development.

    Vandrad glared at the mansion, offended by the very notion that whatever entity within that controlled the place thought that turning him into a woman would be enough to send him into even a mild panic. Raising a hand, she unleashed a blast sizable enough to obliterate the door completely, leaving a gaping hole smoking in the entrance. “Aww, come on! I wanted a turn. Hey, do me next!” Mercury’s last statement was turned toward the mansion as she strode through the doorway without hesitation, Bandit flapping his wings awkwardly on her shoulders with an annoyed screech.

    And as if by some miracle, the mansion actually responded. She had barely taken two full steps into the building when another plume of smoke swallowed her up where she should. When the air cleared, there stood a wiry man with dark brown skin and chocolate eyes. His hair was long and scraggly like it hadn’t been brushed once in his entire life, and he had a thick beard and moustache. His chest was almost completely bare save for an adornment of bones hanging by a couple chains from around his neck, and a ratty skirt of frayed animal hide. For the briefest of moments, it seemed that Mercury had gotten her wish of being turned into a man, albeit one that didn’t nearly resemble her true form.

    But then the man turned around with wide, crazy eyes and as soon as he set his sights on Vandrad and Khelben behind him, he made a sound that was very much like a human attempting to let out an angry bird screech. He instinctively crouched and jumped into the air, flapping his arms like they were wings and learning very quickly that the fleshy limbs would not give him flight as he fell face first onto the stone floor. Now in a full panic, the human scrambled across the ground in an attempt to get away from his own body, knocking about the room with such force that a lot of the furniture inside was shoved aside and a vase shattered as it was toppled to the ground. All the while, he was continuing to scream like a bird through human vocal chords until he finally backed himself up against a corner and laid there in a half crouch, glancing around the room in confusion and uncertainty.

    Khelben looked quite spooked as he stood outside the mansion looking in at the chaotic scene, his sword brandished in a defensive stance. “Is… is that Bandit?” he asked incredulously. “Where’s Mercury?”

    Indeed, at first it would seem Mercury was nowhere to be found. But then a small bit of movement would catch the eye, revealing a little brown chipmunk standing not far past the entrance of where the door once was, looking at the humanized Bandit and waving its arms very much like a person might in an attempt to calm someone down. A series of squeaks came from the creature’s mouth, only to be follow by a brief silence as though the sound of its own voice had caught it off guard. In truth, it was actually the fact that being transformed into a chipmunk had stripped Mercury of her ability to talk at all that had given her pause. She had been both disappointed and very amused as the smoke had cleared and had found herself covered in fur and looking up at a world a hundred times bigger than it had been only a moment ago, but she had at least figured she’d still be able to talk. Apparently that would not be the case. With a very dramatic chipmunk sigh, Mercury accepted her fate and started looking for a way up onto the nearest table that hadn’t been turned on its side by Bandit’s panic.

    Clearly baffled and unnerved, Khelben very much looked like he was regretting this particular venture. Vandrad would be able to feel the uneasiness ebbing from the taller man as his hazel eyes glanced warily at the shattered door frame like he very much did not want to walk through it. “...Maybe there’s another way in?” he offered hopefully with a trace of humor in his voice that betrayed that he knew he was going to have no choice but to walk through that door and see what happened to him.

    WORDS: 1335/5142 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



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    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Traveller of the Multiverse
    Position : None
    Posts : 487
    Guild : Fairy Tail
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    Experience : 1,309,025

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Energy Monarch
    Second Magic: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Magic:

    Crashing Down from the High Empty Re: Crashing Down from the High

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 26th September 2021, 7:57 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    Crashing Down from the High RJtajUnz_o
    Vandrad wasted very little time in dismantling the metal frame in their way, creating an entrance into the yard. Mercury quipped about him showing off but he didn’t even bother to give her a glance. After all, she knew very well that this was barely a hint of his true strength. Had he truly been interested in getting them in with a flourish, he would have kicked hard enough to send the fence hurtling through the door, creating an opening in one fell swoop. But he still had no intention of showcasing his true strength around this Khelben and after a moment of consideration, he knew exactly why. Both Silver Wolf mages armed themselves with their respective weapons and Khelben very easily brandished a greatsword with the ease of a much larger man. Taking a quick glance back, his invisible scouter tracked the details of both the man and the weapon and began an analysis. Even before he’d reached the door of the manor, the device displayed for his eyes only that the weapon was composed of unknown elements, not unlike the ones that Mercury had in her weapon, Mercy. In fact, it seemed they were a direct match. The Silver Wolf ace was talking about how her drones couldn’t pierce the enigmatic building, prompting further curiosity from Khelben. But Vandrad wrapped up in his own mystery.

    So this was one of her people. Another alien from beyond the scope of his planet. That deepened the mystery; why would Mercury be so on edge and concerned about one of her own being here? Especially one that she was putting on a front of getting along with. More and more questions rumbled around in his head as he once again lifted his leg and attempted to kick in the door to the mysterious mansion. Unfortunately, his entrance was not permitted and instead he was submerged in a mist of color and concealment. Though he didn’t feel much of a change, his voice speaking up indicated that he had, in fact, changed. It was only after, when the haze cleared, that he was able to verify that his gender had been swapped. She did a quick personal exam of her new frame before she turned to the house in offense. But not before Mercury tried to poke her new enlarged breasts, prompting the prince(ss) to swat her hand away. "Don’t get any ideas. I am not a plaything,” she told her companion before settling her gaze on the offending structure.

    With a statement against the building’s perceived discrimination, Vandrad unleashed a stronger blast against the door, reducing it to pieces and opening up a path into the home. Mercury complained about being robbed of the chance to get her own quirky change. Opting to take the lead, the Silver Wolf ace walked through the newly formed path, with Bandit squawking in annoyance as his wings flapped. Her prayer, if one could call it that, was answered as Mercury was unceremoniously swallowed up by a plume of smoke as well. After a brief moment of being covered, the haze dissipated and, in its place, a thin, scraggly man stood there. It seemed her request had been heard and granted and Vandrad could only shake her head in disgust as the man turned to them. "Satisfied now?”

    The answer to his question came in the form of a gargled noise, not unlike a person trying to do their best imitation of a bird. Vandrad’s brow furrowed in temporary confusion, even as the man’s arms began to bat at the air aggressively in a futile attempt to gain air. Down the man went, hitting the ground hard and then he began to slide furiously over the planked floor, screeching in terror and confusion. Clearly, this newly transformed idiot was Bandit, the bird having taken human form.  Only a moment later, Khelben asked that same question out loud, the Silver Wolf mage resonating with confusion and fear as well. He wanted to know where Mercury was as well; a fair question, considering only Bandit could be seen and it was not hard to find him. But after a moment, a bit of movement near the ground drew Vandrad’s eyes downward to the sight of a chipmunk, acting quite outside of what could be considered normal for a critter. It was trying to calm Bandit down, waving its arms wildly about even as it squeaked at the horrified man. The noises coming from the chipmunk were normal, meaning that Mercury had not only been turned into the rodent but now lacked the ability to talk.

    "Well, well…” Vandrad said, the knowledge that his chatterbox of a partner was now rendered silent amusing her, a wicked grin pulling at her face. "Looks like you got your wish, woman. Or should I say, critter?” the prince(ss) remarked, chuckling a wholehearted laugh of amusement.

    It was right about that time that Vandrad could sense that Khelben was losing his nerve. He shifted slightly and commented about trying to find another way in. The prince(ss) glanced backwards, his amusement lost for only a moment before returning with its wicked vibrance. "You’ll never know,” she said simply and then, twisting on her heel, she managed to spin around and deliver a swinging sidekick into Khelben’s back, knocking him forward and through the doorway. As far as Vandrad was concerned, if this idiot was going to be there with them and make Mercury uncomfortable, then it was up to the prince(ss) to return the favor and feed the Silver Wolf mage’s fears. After all, turnabout's fair play.






    Words: 938/3358  | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault | © marzia at shine & gs.


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      Current date/time is 28th September 2021, 4:15 pm