Fairy Tail RP

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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 : 673
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

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

    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 : 771
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 7,808,129

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

    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 : 673
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

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

    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 : 771
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 7,808,129

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

    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.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

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    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

    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



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Vandrad Ragnos
    Vandrad Ragnos

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
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    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Skill:

    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.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Mercury Arseneault
    Mercury Arseneault

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Player 
    Lineage : Gold Rush
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    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Gunblade Master
    Second Skill: Mecha Primordial Slayer
    Third Skill:

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

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 17th October 2021, 1:41 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Mercury tried to get a feel on Vandrad’s breasts, only to have her hand slapped away as she was tersely informed that the princess was not a plaything. She snorted. “Since when? You’ve been my plaything since day one, and we both know it.” Still, Mercury didn’t press the issue, nor did she make another attempt. Instead, she strolled her way haphazardly into the newly blasted door, demanding her own turn at being transformed.

    And transformed she was, though not into what she had been hoping for. What was surprising was that she had barely even felt the change, despite how dramatic it was. And frankly she had come to grips with it pretty quickly, while Bandit had been thrashing about the room and drawing all the attention to himself. But that was also before she realized that she couldn’t even talk. Most days she would find the humor in that and roll with the well deserved teases that Vandrad was raining down upon her head, but if she couldn’t talk then she couldn’t mediate between Vandrad and Khelben, and that worried her immensely. She still had access to her magic, but there was no way she’d be able to use it with Khelben around. And while she could probably talk to Khelben wirelessly -- after all, she was still synthetic -- she wouldn’t be able to so in a way that wouldn’t draw questions from Vandrad if Khelben couldn’t keep his face straight.

    As she worked on finding a table to climb up onto, Khelben was eying the interior of the home with a bit of wariness that was played off mostly well beneath light hearted humor. Unluckily for him, Vandrad had no intentions of letting the mysterious man get off easy. A swift kick was all it took for the taller man to get knocked inside the home with a small yelp of surprise, the princess far too quick for him to stop it in time. Through the threshold he staggered, stopping as quickly as his feet would let him where he stood in a slight hunch, his sword raised defensively with a wince on his face.

    But nothing happened.

    After a moment he opened his eyes and looked down at himself, finding everything to be in order. He patted his chest a bit with his free hand, even touched his face and ran his fingers through his grey-blue locks to make sure everything was in order. “Oh. Huh, well… That’s lucky,” he commented with jovial humor, though his emotions were definitely coming down from a barely contained panic. He stared down at Mercury like he was trying to comprehend her current existence and drawing a blank. While he had been on Earthland long enough to understand that magic was capable of many baffling feats, he was still a Xocili and had been alive much longer than anyone else in the room, so it was harder for him to adapt to stuff like this. Shaking his head, he reached a hand down with the intention of letting Mercury climb up his arm so she wouldn’t have to fall behind

    But as soon as he began stretching his hand toward the small chipmunk, Bandit scrambled to his feet and screeched at Khelben at the top of his lungs, flapping his arms at him like they were wings and trying to warn him back from the furred creature that he clearly knew was Mercury. Khelben swore and jumped back in surprise, once again lifting his sword in defense. “Alright, alright! Calm down! I was just going to help her get around, damn..!” Bandit gave him another screech, his eyes full of hate, before he hopped back over to Mercury, still moving like he was a bird -- very light on his feet and jumping more than walking. He leaned down to look at her and somehow he got the sense to bring his arms toward her and she was able to climb up one to sit on his shoulder, completing the role reversal.

    “So what now?” Khelben asked as he finally started taking the time to look around the room now that things had somewhat settled. “Clearly whoever is in charge here is able to control things remotely, but we don’t really know what we’re looking for or where it is. This house is huge, and it could be anywhere…”

    WORDS: 730/5872 | @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
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    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Energy Monarch
    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Skill:

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

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 3rd November 2021, 3:57 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
    Ah, it felt good to send Khelben careening towards certain doom. Though Vandrad never claimed to be as impish or immature as Mercury, she had her moments of mischievous amusement, usually at the misery of others. And considering she already didn’t like Khelben, she had no qualms about giving the man a swift kick and sending him through the magic doorway. He yelped and went forward, doing his best to slam his feet into the boards in hopes of stopping any progression. But through the opening he went and… well, nothing happened. He was curled into a ball, his sword up in some utterly ridiculous attempt to defend himself. After a moment, he slowly started to unwind himself, looking about to get an idea of the area around him. He did a quick check of his physical attributes before concluding he had, in fact, dodged the metaphorical bullet.

    Vandrad’s face sank as she looked at Khelben and saw he had gone through unscathed. Though what had happened to Mercury was amusing, it wasn’t as fulfilling as whatever could have happened to the other Silver Wolf mage. With an annoyed snort, the prince(ss) stepped on through and started to investigate the immediate area, no longer interested in dancing in the realm of mischief. Her attention was only summoned back when she heard the human Bandit’s attempts at squawking. Khelben was leaping backwards and a cursory glance was all it took to realize that the taller man had been reaching for the transformed Mercury; a slight that the Bandit would not allow. She smirked slightly before continuing her visual investigation of the parlor, his magical senses roaming over every nook and cranny within the immediate area.

    What she hadn’t noticed before -- and what was immediately baffling -- was the stark contrast between the exterior and the interior. Looking at the structure from the road, it looked utterly dilapidated; on the verge of being condemned and demolished. The tenants had left it to nature and the land had taken back much of the yard and was working on the house itself. But now, inside, it was pristine. She’d expected to find hanging cobwebs, dust thick as early winter snow and instead there was nothing but clean surfaces and well kept corners. Vandrad would even reason that some of the furniture was completely brand new. The candles flickered in their sconces, lighting the rooms enough to see but leaving dancing, ominous shadows. The familiar crackle of a fireplace was coming from the next room over. It was homey… which made it all the more suspicious.

    Khelben spoke up once more, drawing Vandrad’s attention back to him. Lacking a plan, the Silver Wolf mage was trying to theorize what had caused the two events to transpire and how to begin their investigation. "Control things remotely. That’s ninety percent of what magic does naturally. That seems like something a member of Silver Wolf should know inherently. That and the scientific method one should use to solve any mystery,” the prince(ss) replied, settling her gaze upon Khelben with a cool but critical stare. "We start right here, at the beginning. We search room by room until we find the source. It might take some work and time but that’s the point of the job.”

    “H-Hello?” A voice called out from another room. In one swift motion, Vandrad spun towards the voice, hand raised and stance straightened. From one of the doorways down the hall emerged a shadow, hunched and shambling as it moved towards them. “W-why are you doing this?”

    "We aren’t doing anything, besides making our way inside. Identify yourself,” Vandrad spoke to the stranger calmly.

    “Don’t do this! I can’t stand this anymore! No one gets in, no one gets out!” The shadow screamed out, its darkened hands going to its head and grabbing at either side of its skull.

    "You need to remain calm. You can exit right--” As Vandrad was turning to gesture towards the hole in the wall, his eyes widened slightly. The fragmented portion was gone, nothing but plaster and paint completing the full extent of the barrier. Unamused, Vandrad spun around once more and slammed his fist into the wall, the sound of his might meeting the surface echoing in the immediate area. But it didn’t give way; there wasn’t even a crack where his knuckles had hit solid matter.

    “Stop MESSING WITH MY HEAD!” The shadow sprung from the hallway, the appearance of a blanched, haggard man replacing the mysterious entity. In his hand was a three-pronged candle holder, glimmering gold in the dim light as it came down towards the prince(ss). Without turning around, Vandrad’s hand shot out and caught the man’s wrist, stopping the assault before it began. She hadn’t sensed it before but now, up close, she could feel the man’s anguish and pain. His mind was splintered, his sanity shambles from the punishment and torture he had endured. She yanked the man towards her and turned, planting her fist into his stomach. The air sputtered out of his lips, his lungs emptied with such force and speed that his body’s only reaction was to shut down. He went limp over Vandrad’s arm, the prince(ss) holding him up before turning and letting him slide down into a pile on the ground.

    "This house broke him,” she informed the group. "Now it’s time I break it back.”






    Words: 903/4261  | 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 : 673
    Cosmic Coins : 0
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    Experience : 6,857,298

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

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

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 9th November 2021, 8:46 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Once everything with Bandit had been squared away, Khelben turned to follow Vandrad’s lead, content with letting the smaller man -- er, woman? -- take point. Though apparently his comments earned him a bit of scrutiny from the princess. The Xocili gave a dopey, somewhat sheepish smile as he scratched the back of his neck. “I suppose you’ve got me there,” he said easily, not seeming at all perturbed by the stare that Vandred set upon him. Instead, as the Bellum royal instructed him that they would go through each room as necessary for as long as it took to get to the bottom of this, Khelben merely nodded. “Works for me!”

    He certainly didn’t seem too put off by the idea of putting the work in. In fact, he was shifting as if to start making for the next room when a voice called in from beyond another doorway. Khelben turned with his sword slightly raised in the direction of the sound as they watched a hunched figure enter the room toward them, asking why they were doing something to them. When Vandrad calmly asked the individual to identify themselves, the haunted man ignored the question, instead begging the present company to stop, lamenting about how they could not stand being trapped in the home any longer.

    That was when Vandrad turned to show the husk the door out, only to find that the hole she had blasted through the wall had completely disappeared, leaving all of them trapped inside. “Well, that’s not ideal…” was the only thing Khelben could say as Vandrad struck at the wall several times trying to break back through it, only to find the way impenetrable. The attempts only served to stress and enrage their fellow captive further, the man rushing Vandrad with a candle holder. Before Khelben could even get the chance to help out, Vandrad had her fingers around the haggard man’s wrist and pulled him into her fist, knocking him out cold in a single strike. The princess gently dropped the now unconscious man to the ground before vowing that she would break the home in the same manner that it broke its captive.

    “Pretty sure you tried that already and the house just filled itself back in,” Khelben teased merrily, though there was a slight twist in his emotions that betrayed he was taking the situation much more seriously than he was letting on. Bandit, meanwhile, was mostly just standing there in a half crouch like he was getting ready to spring at any moment, watching everything in relative silence as he surely didn’t understand a word of what was being said. On his shoulder, the chipmunk Mercury was eyeballing the unconscious form of the man on the ground, presumably studying it with some of her mechanical abilities that she had surely maintained despite her transformation.

    Since there was no point in lingering, and none of them really wanted to stay inside this crazy house longer than necessary, Khelben took the lead in venturing out into the adjoining hallway and starting to poke through rooms. Most were empty of all but furniture, however they did wind up running into a few more anguished victims that had been trapped inside the home for who knew how long. Each time they found another person Khelben did his best to try to help coax them into a state of calm, but each time it did little good and the pair would have to knock them out. While Khelben didn’t have as much raw physical power as Vandrad did, it was worth noting that he had very little effort using a single punch to the gut or even a well executed swing with the flat of his blade to leave the victims sawing logs. Much like Mercury, it would grow ever more apparent that he was much more honed for battle and war than his easy, almost innocently stupid mannerisms would lead on.

    Things didn’t truly start getting more hostile until Khelben was looking into what appeared to be a bedroom of some kind. He stepped inside and scanned the room with his xray vision to see if he could find anything hidden behind the walls or furniture. When that showed no results he swapped to infrared -- a habit he had built up after the first couple rooms so he could hopefully find things that might otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. Vandrad, Bandit, and Mercury were easily seen in this mode, but it wasn’t until he turned around that he noticed something different. With a frown, he swapped his vision back to normal, only to see nothing. But when he swapped back to infrared, there was no mistaking a rather humanoid shaped cold spot.

    He was in the process of trying to figure out how to bring the spot to Vandrad’s attention without revealing his status as an alien when the shape suddenly became more solid and rushed toward him. In a flash, instinct took over and he quickly raised his blade to cut the spirit cleanly in two, the presence seemingly disappearing into a fine mist. Only a moment later, however, as Khelben’s vision returned to normal did the spirit reappear, this time visible to the eye -- and it was angry. It let out a primal scream that sent chills down his spine as he reacted once more in an attempt to fight the spirit with his blade, only to find that his mundane, magicless weapon was completely ineffectual against the phantom as it passed through the specter without resistance.

    “What the hell?” he exclaimed, maneuvering himself expertly around the room in his continued attempts to fight the thing without breaking any ground. The fight lasted only a few seconds, but it felt like minutes until the phantom finally rushed him again and it was evident that it intended on trying to pass through or into his body. A wave of panic surged within him, and without knowing what else to do he raised his sword in a futile attempt to block the creature and stop it in its tracks.

    In that moment, it was like something had awakened in him, and out of nowhere he found himself being defended by a wall of blue fire that exploded out from his body, swallowing up the spirit. The ghost screamed again, this time in anguish rather than fury, and in a blink it was snuffed out by the magical energy, never to return. Khelben could only stand there as the flames died down and disappeared, his eyes wide in the very real shock of a man that had clearly never cast a spell from his own body before.

    WORDS: 1118/6990 | @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
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    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Energy Monarch
    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
    Third Skill:

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

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 27th November 2021, 3:52 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
    Well, at least Khelben didn't seem too put off by the idea of effort put in to investigate. Perhaps he was feeling extra confident because he'd managed to breach the perimeter of the house without suffering any kind of transformation. But considering Mercury was a chipmunk, relying on her to pick up the slack would have been asking for a lot. All the prince(ss) could hope for was that Bandit was a deliriously dedicated to his owner in human form as he was in avian form -- thus far it seemed to be holding true. But that was all the contribution the former bird would be able to accomplish.

    Things took a sour turn when the shadowed man appeared, asking suspicious and ominous questions to the group. The mentally decrepit man had been tortured by the house and it seemed he believed they, too, were part of the figment. When Vandrad tried to direct his gaze to the open hole they had made, she found the wall sealed once more, trapping them within much like the poor, agitated fellow. Of course that created the problem that it looked like the prince(ss) was lying and the man rushed in to unleash punishment for the deception. Vandrad had little choice but to defend herself, using just enough force to knock the man out and lower him to the ground. She took a moment to observe him, her face wrought with distaste and concentration before she remarked about repaying the house in kind for its machinations against the innocent man.

    Khelben decided that was perfect time to shoot off a half-playful remark, even if his tone and emotional state was far more serious than his words. "You have yet to see me get serious," she told the other Silver Wolf mage coldly, her focus remaining on the unconscious man for a moment longer before standing back up. "We search together. No more than a room apart. No exceptions." She laid out the plans before heading towards the closest room, following after Khelben who was just as intent on beginning their investigation. As they moved room to room, they discovered very little in terms of viable sources for the corruption. The ornate setting of each new interior continued to confuse, as the furniture continued to look more new and fresh with each new entrance. Along the way they found several other trapped men and women; poor souls that had either wandered in to investigate the problem or had come looking for loved ones. Each one was just as manic as the last, refusing to listen to reason and having to be dealt with physically to stop any kind of continued assault. Vandrad took the time during those moments to watch Khelben, observing him without truly looking at him. There was no flare of magic power with his attacks but there was definitive strength that was worth noting; being a Xocili like Mercury, it was understandable that he would utilize the bare minimum of his abilities.

    But the question remained to why he was here. It was clear his presence put off Mercury; she made a grand show of looking and sounding normal but her emotional state was as raw as a fresh wound. Though she acted the superior, given her place in Silver Wolf, it was almost like she felt like she was being looked down... or perhaps observed. In the military, it was customary for superior officers to investigate the operations of their soldiers to guarantee they were operating at full, useful capacity. Those that were deviating from a set path often found themselves with a shadow -- an officer that would watch how they complete tasks and seeing where correction needed to be applied. Vandrad had seen it dozens of times and had even acted as the observational party on several of those cases. Was that was Khelben was here to do then? Act as overwatch for Mercury's operation because she hadn't been completing orders as laid out? So then the real question was what had the Silver Wolf ace refused to do or cooperate with that had resulted in the punishment?

    It was one big mystery and, worse yet, she couldn't ask Mercury directly what the problem was. Getting her alone would be near impossible with Khelben acting as her shadow. That and her physical inability to converse in a language she would understand. It seemed she would have to wait and be patient, something she was keen to do for the sake of unraveling the truth from the confusing threads. With the trapped survivors putting up very little resistance, it made it quite easy for the prince(ss) to work internally. It wasn't until they had reached somewhere in the deep belly of the house that his attention was brought back to the fore. Khelben had stepped into a bedroom to look around when he suddenly swung his blade up. A shimmering mist seemed to bend around the blade and then coagulate back into a full form -- a spirit, by the looks of it. Vandrad turned to look at the other Silver Wolf mage as he attempted to put up some kind of resistance against the ethereal force.

    The prince(ss) made a move to step in and help when suddenly, a surge of sapphire fire erupted from Khelben, enveloping the spirit in its fiery haze. The ghost screeched as it attempted to rid itself of the fire but was swiftly overwhelmed, melting away into nothing but flickering fragments. The Silver Wolf mage stood there, bewildered, looking as shocked as the spirit had been that any kind of supernatural force had come out of himself. "Why didn't you start with that? It would have made it easier rather than swinging your sword around like an idiot," Vandrad asked, a leading question meant to evoke some flare of emotion that would betray the obvious, incoming lie.

    It wasn't but a moment later that the house itself reacted to the slain spirit's demise. The floorboards shifted upwards, rolling up as if an ocean wave had run under the length of the structure. Then the entire house yawned inward, the floor turning as smooth as ice and causing the group to slide inwards toward the center of the room. A great hole opened in the middle, a stone cavern revealed just below them. Though Vandrad could have flown up to avoid the trap, she opted, instead, to go with it; in hopes that this was the house's attempt to punish them for their previous actions by bringing them closer to the source. She shifted just enough to grab Bandit around the waist and used a bit of his magic to slow their fall, landing softly on the stone below.

    A raw, malicious chuckle rumbled out from the walls around them. The prince(ss) cocked a brow as she scanned the room for the amused offender. "Four little maggots, good as dead. One went out and lost her head!" The voice remarked before a dark cloud erupted from the far wall, rushing towards Vandrad. The prince(ss) stared down the approaching force until the last minute before her magic activated, if only slightly. A film of dense magic wrapped around flesh, sealing it from the attack. It did its work; Vandrad could feel the force impact the barrier and stop but then it refocused its attention to her... armor? The chest plate of her armor began to glow with an ethereal light and a face, with jagged eye holes and a cracked smile, appeared on the front of the dense material. With a grunt, it leapt off Vandrad's form, almost the entirety of her armor and jumpsuit ripped off her body. The prince(ss) found herself standing almost completely naked, save for her boots and gloves, Vandrad's eyes widening as she looked down at herself. It seemed, even in her transformation to a more feminine form, that her muscles had transitioned over as well, her body well cut and developed.

    "Abashed and ashamed, the poor naked girl had lost her aim. To embarrassed to move, with nothing to hide, the self same girl was about to die!" The spirit mocked Vandrad as it took on a more corporeal form, now wearing her former armor. The wicked looking ghost swung around and came soaring towards Vandrad for yet another attack... only this time, there was no defense. Instead, the prince(ss)'s gloved hand shot out and grabbed the spirit around the throat, stopping it in its tracks. Fingers curled around the near-invisible throat of the ghost, halting its laughter and trapping its voice as pain and shock overtook amusement. Vandrad smirked as magic began to funnel into her fingers, light blue energy dancing on the digits and lapping painfully at the ghost.

    "Are you all so antiquated that you think turning a man into a woman and removing her clothing will petrify them? Your asinine beliefs disgust me almost as much as your failed attempts to rhyme," Vandrad sneered as the ghost began to wiggle and scratch at his glove, finding no purchase as magical energy continued to sear its ethereal form. Releasing a burst of condensed energy from her palm, the prince(ss) exploded the spirit's head into twinkling particles, the rest of the ghostly body going limp before also dissolving into the air. Grunting in annoyance, Vandrad glanced down at the wreckage that was her former outfit before reaching back and pulling off the shreds that had clung to her back. "If that had been a more recent model, I'd be pissed," she remarked idly before she nodded towards a gap in the cavern walls. "That looks to be a path deeper. With any luck, we'll find our culprit hidden there."






    Words: 1622/5883  | 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 : 673
    Cosmic Coins : 0
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    Experience : 6,857,298

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

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

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 3rd December 2021, 7:00 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    “Yes, sir. Er… ma’am?” Well this was very confusing. While Khelben seemed unsure of how to refer to Vandrad after the impromptu gender swap, he was more than willing to follow the noble’s instructions for how to proceed through the mansion. Vandrad did not want any of them to get separated, and the taller man seemed keen to follow along.

    From there, things more or less went along fine. The trio plus Mercury went along room by room and investigating each space at a time, finding a few more deranged victims here and there, but it wasn’t until the first spirit appeared that things started to go a bit sideways. Khelben fought against the creature as best he could, finding his weapon and military training all but useless against the incorporeal fiend, only to have an unexpected burst of fire magic shoot out from his person in a wave to swallow up the spirit whole. As he stood there looking at his hands like they were foreign to him, Vandrad chirped up to inform him that the entire encounter would have gone much more smoothly had Khelben simply opened with his spellwork in the first place rather than trying to rely on his sword, insinuating in the same breath that the man was inexperienced.

    If Vandrad had been going for getting under the man’s skin, he would not be successful. In fact, it seemed Khelben didn’t even plan on lying to him. “Ah, well, about that,” he would start, his tone continuing to be jovial despite everything. “I uh… I don’t have fire magic. Or any caster magic, for that matter.” After a moment of thought, he straightened out and glanced around the room again, as if taking the place in afresh. “Well, I guess this place did change something about me, after all.”

    Oddly enough, the knowledge had set a very real trepidation in the man, regardless of how casually he carried himself. It was like he was afraid of the fact that he suddenly had magic at his disposal. Was the change permanent, he wondered? A slight chill went down his spine at the thought. While he couldn’t deny that casting the spell had been… well, exhilarating, he also was unnerved by the idea that he may have suddenly gained access to abilities he shouldn’t have. As a Xocili, he didn’t even think he was capable of something like that under any circumstances. If the Nazru found out that their people could gain powers like this…

    He would never get the chance to finish the thought process as the home lurched, opening a hole beneath their feet and dumping them down inside of it. Bandit screeched bloody murder, still instictively trying to use his arms like wings and flapping them to no avail like an idiot. When Vandrad took hold of him and he stopped freaking out long enough to realize that the woman was helping him, he stopped waving his arms and instead cradled the chipmunk that was Mercury in his arms, using his body to try and protect her own until they were safely on the stone floor.

    For his part, Khelben had only a brief moment of initial panic at the surprise cavern beneath his feet before his own training took over. With a focused look of determination he twisted in the air to plant his foot on the stone wall leading down the pit, kicking himself off and pushing toward the wall on the other side. There, he planted his other foot, using the brief change in momentum to slow his fall. He went back and forth like this down the length of the newly formed shaft, like a parkour runner going in reverse down a chimney in a controlled fall until he could effortlessly roll across the floor and onto his feet with the grace of a dancer. His large sword never once appeared to encumber him on the way down, even during his tumble as the man sprang up into a low crouch with the great weapon bared before him in a steady, masterful guard, ready to face whatever was waiting for them on the bottom.

    They heard their assailant before they saw it, an unnerving, disembodied voice that seemed to echo off the walls in a bizarre nursery rhyme that seemed to be aimed at Vandrad. A splotch of darkness appeared before them and shot toward Vandrad. Bandit shrieked and hopped backward, taking Mercury in tow and leaving Vandrad to his fate. Khelben quickly adjusted his stance to face the oncoming cloud in an attempt to assist the Fairy Tail wizard, only to remember that his sword didn’t seem to do much good here on his own. He faltered only long enough to try and decide how in the hell he would go about casting a spell intentionally, and by then the cloud had already connected with Vandrad, who had made no effort to move out of the way.

    Whether Vandrad was overconfident or truly was so strong as to not have to be worried over such an attack, the prince(ss) didn’t seem to be affected too much by the magic. Khelben watched carefully, doing his best to be at the ready to face a foe that he wasn’t entirely sure he could fight but willing to throw himself into the fray nonetheless. Before his eyes, a face appeared on Vandrad’s armor and grinned before ripping itself forward and taking the mage’s armor along with it, leaving her stark naked outside of her gloves and boots. The voice spoke up once more, taunting Vandrad about her nudity and shame before taking on a more humanoid form, clad in the stolen attire. It rushed her again, and Khelben leaped forward to intervene, sword poised for a mighty swing that he hoped would at least be able to hit the armor, if not the spirit wearing it.

    However, he skid to a halt before his attack could take its course as Vandrad stood her ground, reaching out and grabbing the spirit by the throat. His eyes were wide in surprise and he stood there with a dumb expression as the woman mocked her captive for thinking that a concept so archaic as nudity would be enough to render her powerless. Visible energy seemed to be siphoned out of the specter and into Vandrad herself, the ghost clawing and scrambling to gain an advantage and finding none. Within moments, the prince(ss) released a raw blast of energy from her palm and obliterated the spirit in one blow, causing the creature to burst into glittering dust and disappear.

    Khelben straightened himself out as Vandrad plucked the remains of her armor from her body, lamenting how angry she would have been had she been wearing a more updated set of armor. With a nod forward, she indicated her opinion that whatever they were searching for would hopefully lie in the path ahead. “Only one way to find out,” was his only light hearted response, clearly rolling with the situation alongside the woman that seemed rather indifferent to her state. Still, after a brief moment, he did remove his large overcoat and offered it to her wordlessly, his eyes politely cast aside without staring. There was, perhaps, the slightest of blushes on his cheeks that seemed fairly genuine. Vandrad may have been a man by birth, but presently she was quite female and it seemed that, no matter the rather suspicious situation of his presence in Mercury’s life, he did have some sense of honor and decency.

    The princess nodded toward a crevasse in the hallway, indicating that it seemed like the most likely option as to where their quarry waited. Khelben approached the gap and slipped through it carefully, taking the lead in heading further in. As they walked along the hallway the rooms got colder, and the light echo of a child’s laughter seemed to reverberate from the walls. Despite knowing that his sword wasn’t much good against a great deal of the enemies they’d faced thus far, Khelben still continued to hold it carefully before him, uncertain of his ability to summon fire again. Their path seemed to lead toward a large door at the end from which the laughter seemed to originate. The entryway was only partially open, enough to allow a sliver of light to pour into the rest of the hall. With a silent glance back at Vandrad to make sure the prince(ss) intended on going straight inside, Khelben approached the door as stealthily as possible, taking a peek beyond the crack before yanking the door open and stepping inside enough to give Vandrad and Bandit enough space to follow in afterward.

    What lay beyond was a child’s playroom. It was quite large and held a number of toys large and small of various types. There were tables with open, half played board games upon them and a few coloring books with crayons strewn here and there about the floor. There were toy trains, doll houses, and a plethora of reading books all around. In contrast to the rest of the mansion, the light in the room was bright and soft, almost peaceful. Khelben blinked in confusion as he looked around before he froze. Standing before him was the ghost of a very young girl. While the color of her flesh and hair from life had been stripped from her in spirit, she wore a short strapless sundress, and had long flowing hair that reached nearly down to her ankles. She looked up at him curiously, with the childlike innocence of a youth that had not yet truly learned to be wary of strangers.

    Wordlessly, she reached out and took his hand. “Uhhh….” Khelben was completely thrown off by the meeting, having been expecting to run into something much more sinister and aggressive. He cast a flabbergasted look toward Vandrad as he let himself be lead toward one of the doll houses, where the girl let go of him only to pick up a couple dolls dressed as a prince and princess, holding the prince up to him expectantly. Without putting his sword away, the man hesitantly took the toy and, at her insistence, knelt down on the ground beside her.

    “Play with me..!” she told him with a smile as she set her doll upon the miniature house and began to hop it around as though she were making it walk. “You’re the prince, and I’m the princess, and you have to slay the dragon to free me!”

    “S-sure, I guess….?” Not really sure what else to do, he sort of half heartedly started moving the prince figure around the house, his gaze flicking to Vandrad in open confusion.

    WORDS: 1789/8779 | @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 : 771
    Guild : Fairy Tail
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    Experience : 7,808,129

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

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

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 4th December 2021, 10:05 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
    It seemed their hunt was finally coming towards its conclusion, even if the entirety of the mission had opened up a whole slew of new questions -- mostly concerning Mercury and Khelben. The crazed men and women that had been trapped within the halls of the home were knocked out somewhere above them. One spirit had tried its luck against Khelben and found itself at the mercy of the Silver Wolf mage’s sudden appearance of magic. He had commented on the newfound power, claiming that it was not within the range of abilities he controlled. In truth, though, it seemed the assumed Xocili had actually used magic for the first time and it sent several differing emotions through him. Vandrad had chosen to not remark further on the subject, selling the belief that it was simply the house’s transformative powers that had altered his power.

    Another spirit had attempted to embarrass the prince(ss) by possessing her clothes and ripping them off of her. It was an asinine strategy at best and Vandrad was all too happy to show just how foolish it was to assume. Siphoning off the ethernano that made up the ethereal form, she reversed it back into a shotgun blast of sorts, destroying the head of the ghost and causing the rest of it to wither away. Now there lay one last path before them; one that the house had led them to of its own accord. Khelben was amenable to the plan and, after a moment, offered his overcoat to her, so as to cover herself up. Normally Vandrad would have rebuffed the action but, for the sake of some sense of decency, she took it and offered him a single nod of gratitude. Though he held no love for the man, he opted to regain some sense of neutral output, if only for the sake of being done with this ridiculous day. Putting the coat on, she made sure it was properly covering herself before she proceeded onwards alongside the rest of the group.

    The Silver Wolf mage led the way, sliding through the gap and followed by Vandrad. The pathway was narrow and, as they proceeded, got colder and colder, the prince(ss)’s breath beginning to appear in front of him. There was also the eerie sound of a child laughing ahead of them, her vibrant voice echoing off the walls and flowing down the hallway. Eventually they found themselves before a large door and the source of the innocent laughter. The door was not sealed, allowing a small gap looking into the other room and basking the area nearby in the shallow light. Khelben looked back to Vandrad for confirmation to continue, which the prince(ss) provided. Staying close to the Silver Wolf mage’s rear, she waited until the door was pulled open and then followed right behind, coming up beside Khelben.

    What they found was far from expected. It was made to look like a child’s playroom, with an exorbitant amount of space filled with toys and games. Several tables were set among the space, with boards and crayons and books to color in strewn about. It had everything any child could want and as her gaze settled downward, she found said child before Khelben. She was clearly some kind of spirit, her form pale and ethereal. Her eyes were settled on the Silver Wolf mage, her surprise innocent and curious as she looked him over. Then she reached out and took his hand, leading him over to a set of set up toys. Khelben looked flabbergasted, unable to comprehend the sudden change in atmosphere. Vandrad’s eyes narrowed slightly as she, too, was trying to work out what all of it meant. She continued to watch as the child brought Khelben to a toy house and then brought up a doll form of a prince and princess. She held up the prince for the Silver Wolf mage and then, after he had taken it, insisted that she play with him. It seemed she wanted to play prince and princess and needed him, playing as the prince, to slay a dragon to save her. Khelben hesitantly agreed to it, tossing yet another glance at the prince(ss). Vandrad was still for a moment before she nodded.

    It seemed this child was the one that had been manifesting the spirits and the madness of the house. No doubt it was some magical form of agony; the perished girl anguishing over the fact that she had no one to play with her. Perhaps that was what had caused the others to lose their minds -- they had refused to interact with the girl and she punished them for it. That’s counting that they had made it past all the other threats to even get to the odd room. Crossing her arms over her chest, Vandrad watched silently at the game being played, curious to see what giving the girl what she wanted would grant them.






    Words: 830/6713  | 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 : 673
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

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

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

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 5th December 2021, 5:09 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    This was certainly shaping up to be an odd job. There had been a lot of things that Khelben had been expecting to meet them at the end of the road, so to speak, but the ghost of a seemingly harmless little girl hadn’t really been on the list. By this point Khelben had been on Earthland long enough now to know the theory behind what ghosts were, even if he hadn’t encountered any himself before this day. After all, he’d been doing extensive research on Mercury -- as well as her partner -- since he arrived, and their very first mission together had involved ghosts. Still, all the research in the world couldn’t truly prepare him for trying to deal with a spirit head on, particularly one that he presumed he would have to fight with his new found magic rather than his sword.

    And yet, he didn’t really want to fight her. Despite the other creatures they’d come across in this maze of a mansion being crazed and fully maddened by their imprisonment, by comparison this little girl was almost tragic. She clearly had died far before her life had ever truly begun, and for whatever reason her spirit was lingering here in this home, lonely and desperate for attention. Yet there was also no mistaking how dangerous she was. She clearly had control over the entire house, more than enough to influence other spirits to aggression and still living victims to insanity. There was a conflict of emotions within him, one alert, wary and suspicious, the other moved to a soft compassion that he truly hadn’t not felt in quite some time.

    Trusting that Vandrad would take up the reins of reacting should the girl suddenly turn violent, Khelben elected to turn all his focus on obliging the girl’s request, even setting down his sword so he could have both of his hands free. He played with the girl for a few minutes, his demeanor appearing to relax as he steered into his current assignment, going through the motions of playing dolls with the small girl complete with sound effects and dramatic lines of heroism from the “prince” in response to the dragon and the princess. Every time the girl threw in some random plot twist, no matter how nonsensical, he rolled with it with ease, and given how comfortable he seemed in the environment it was clear that he’d spent quite a bit of time with children.

    Once he was sure that she was enjoying herself and that they had built some small rapport with one another, he decided to switch gears. Turning his own toy toward the girl, and maintaining the voice he had been using for the prince, he asked, “So what is your name, fair maiden?”

    She giggled. “Annabel.”

    “It’s an honor to meet you, sweet Annabel. My name is Khelben. I’m a little lost. Do you think you can help me?” Annabel nodded, prompting the man to continue. “You see, my friends and I are trying to get home, but we can’t find the door that lets us back outside. Do you know where it is?”

    “I hid it.”

    “And why did you do that?”

    “Because I don’t want you to leave.”

    He gave that some brief thought. “Do you just want some friends?” She nodded again, a bit sadly that time. “Where are your parents..?”

    Annabel didn’t answer right away, her eyes on the toy in her hands rather than on Khelben, who waited patiently for her to answer. “Gone.”

    “My parents are gone, too,” he told her gently. “I know how lonely you must feel. It’s very scary, not having your parents around to protect you. Why do you stay here? Is this where you lived?” Another nod. “You’ve been very brave, being here all by yourself.”

    There was another long pause as he tried to think of something else to say or something to ask her, something to prompt for more information that might help them navigate this house and get out. “Can you tell me about the other people here?”

    “They’re my friends.”

    “They don’t seem very happy in here.”

    “They tried to leave. I didn’t want them to leave.”

    “So you trapped them inside?” Yet another nod. “Well, that doesn’t sound like a very nice way to treat your friends, Annabel. You don’t want to hurt them, do you?”

    After a brief moment of thought, she gently shook her head. “Do you think that maybe you should let them go?”

    “Are you going to go, too?”

    He looked at her for a moment with a soft frown, a pang of heartbreak washing over him. “Well… I don’t belong here, Annabel. I don’t think you do, either. Don’t you want to go somewhere where there’s more little girls and boys like you? Ones that can play with you all the time and never have to leave?”

    “I don’t know how,” the girl told him, her face scrunching up as though she might cry.

    “Are you scared?” She nodded again, small ghostly crocodile tears dripping lightly down her face. “Hey, it’s okay to be scared. Grown ups get scared all the time, too. Oh yes, we do! In fact, did you know that I was scared about walking into this room?” She finally looked up at him then, and he gave her a sober nod. “Oh yes, see I thought you were going to be a great big dragon..!”

    He picked up the dragon toy they had been playing with moments ago and roared lightly with it. Without really stopping to think about it, he put his finger by the mouth of the dragon and tried to touch the magic he’d received a second time, surprised and pleased when a small jet of blue flames shot out from his fingertip like the tip of a light as he mimicked the dragon breathing fire. It was clear to the adults in the room that he didn’t actually think there was going to be a dragon in this room, he was just trying to find a way to make her laugh and feel better, and it seemed to be working. She giggled again, even as he stopped conjuring flames and started tapping her playfully with the muzzle of the dragon toy like it was trying to nibble her.

    Once the somber feeling had settled, he spoke up again. “Well, I’ll tell you what, Annabel. My friends here and I sure would like to help you so that you’re not lonely anymore. If you promise to let the people in this house go free, and to change people back to normal, then I promise we will help you… move on.” He wasn’t entirely sure if that was the right way to phrase that, though the quick search he had done in his head confirmed that “moving on” was often what the people of Earthland said when referring to a ghost that lingered in the world instead of heading to the afterlife.

    Granted, he had no idea how to even go about something like that, and so it was with some slight trepidation he wordlessly looked up to Vandrad once again, this time hoping for some help or ideas on how exactly to assist the little girl.

    WORDS: 1214/9993 | @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 : 771
    Guild : Fairy Tail
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 7,808,129

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

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

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 5th December 2021, 5:40 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 wasn’t sure if, were the positions switched, that she could so convincingly play the role that Annabel needed. The little ghost girl was attached to the idea of playing, a task that most likely proved more confusing than endearing for others that had come before them. There was no telling how long the previous adventurers had put up playing with dolls before they got fed up or tried to leave. Khelben, at the very least, seemed to be handling himself well enough. Despite his overwhelming confusion over the situation, he was appealing to the girl’s playful side while still seeking answers to the questions they had come to solve. As the prince(ss) had theorized, the ghost girl was the one responsible for manipulating the house. Her parents gone, she had adopted the venturers to become her friends but when they had attempted to leave, she had trapped them inside.

    Despite whatever position he served in Mercury’s life -- one that gave her dread and concern -- Khelben was genuine with the girl. It was frustratingly annoying for the Bellum prince(ss), as she would have preferred if he was an all-around scoundrel. It would make killing him later much easier and more satisfying. Yet he was empathic to the girl’s misgivings, her situation and truly wished to help her -- not only just to save his own hide. Nonetheless, he lacked the knowledge on how to do it, doing just enough to talk to the girl to a point of consideration and than coming to a dead end. He had roped the rest of them into helping her move on, a task that the prince(ss) highly doubted was well known by any of them. The idea of an afterlife had never really appealed or interested Vandrad. As far as she was concerned, a person was simply gone once their life had been extinguished. Indeed, there were ghosts but they were echoes of the body’s soul, trapped by their own guilts and unfinished business. Once they had cleared the slate, they disappeared and in doing so, returned to the natural ethernano, recycling to the void. Or so Vandrad believed.

    Not that she would tell a child that. With a soft sigh, she walked over to kneel down next to Khelben, barely casting him a glance as she settled her eyes on Annabel. Finding some sliver of compassion in her heart, she smiled at the young girl and held out her hands. Creating a very loose cage with her fingers and palms, she funneled magic out from her body and into a swirling pool, rotating in the curvature of her hands. "Think of the light, Annabel. No doubt you’ve seen a light every so often, right? I know it’s a bit scary and intimidating but think back to it. Now let it grow within you; feel the warmth of it spreading over your limbs and body. Beyond it, you can hear the sounds of children, running and playing. The soft whispered words of your mother and father, telling you its okay and how much they’ve missed you. I know you’ve missed them as well. The light is there for you, wanting to take you somewhere safe -- where you’ll never be lonely again. Embrace it, Annabel and find the friends and family you deserve.”

    It was a parlour trick, nothing more. But it served to act as a conduit for what he hoped she would see. So many talked about seeing a long tunnel of light, in the few instances that people have come back from the brink. Whether this was some afterlife or the ethernano seeking to replay one’s fondest memories as they returned to the world, Vandrad couldn’t tell. Nonetheless, she would hold the light there for the little girl until she had successfully found her way, watching until she was fully and truly moved on, as Khelben had said. And the last instant before whatever remnants of Annabel were truly faded away, a puff of smoke surrounded him and from it, he emerged as his normal, masculine self once more. Unfortunately he had tied Khelben’s coat tight around his former feminine form and the sudden change in mass had caused him to rip it in several places.

    Vandrad gave himself a small pat down to make sure everything had returned to normal. "Good work,” he said to Khelben, the only encouraging and positive remark he’d made to the man the whole adventure. Standing back up, he turned to face Bandit and Mercury, assuming that they had returned to their former selves. "No chance in my luck working in my favor and ridding me of your grating voice?” he asked her, giving her a quick raise of a single brow before letting out the smallest of smirks.






    Words: 796/7509  | 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 : 673
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 6,857,298

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

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

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 5th December 2021, 6:41 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    Vandrad clearly seemed to have at least something an idea of what to do or say to help the little girl, and with a small speech of encouragement and a little display of his magic, he was able to coax the spirit into some kind of meditative state that allowed her to disappear once and for all. In only a matter of moments, she was gone and everyone returned to normal. Vandrad returned to being a man, and Mercury and Bandit had reverted back to their proper forms as well. Vandrad complimented Khelben on his work, if begrudgingly, while the taller man collected his sword and fixed it to his back. “Oh, uh.. thanks,” Khelben replied, his mannerisms returning once more to the semi-doltish demeanor he’d been keeping up the rest of the day prior.

    The prince turned back to Mercury with a small smirk, lamenting his lack of luck at being able to keep rid of her mouth. The Xocili grinned back at him. “Oh honey, it’s so much worse than that. See, now I gotta make up for the last like two hours of not being able to chat your ear off, starting with a lot of comments I didn’t get to voice about you being naked as a woman. Khelben spoiled all my fun.”

    The blue haired man laughed lightly, scratching the back of his head. “Sorry. Just seemed like the respectful thing to do. Maybe I’m just old fashioned.”

    Mercury rolled her eyes and though she was still smirking there was still a layer of anxiety beneath her casual exterior. “Alright, well I guess let’s go make sure there’s a way out of this place and see how the others are doing. Wrapping up the report for this job is gonna involve quite a bit of paperwork and I’d rather get a head start on it so I’m not up all night.” Truthfully, she just wanted to hurry up and separate Khelben from the prince as quickly as possible. The male Xocili had gotten what he wanted, and Mercury wanted nothing more than to move on and be done with this whole day.

    She took the lead in bringing everyone back upstairs, where they were able to gather up the living persons that had been trapped for so long. While many of them were still in a frightful state, and would almost certainly need therapy for the rest of their lives, they did seem to be more in control of themselves, almost like the spirits’ magic had been possessing them into some form of mania. They were shaken, but mostly sane… and grateful. The door was easily found where it had been before, and soon enough they filed everyone out -- along with Bandit, who took to the skies at first opportunity to stretch his wings and remember what it was like to fly again. Most of the victims were other adventurers that had tried and failed to solve the mystery of the mansion, but many of them had been citizens of the small town in which the mansion resided. There was a tearful reunion as many of them found their way back to their families, and so thankful were the people of the town that they didn’t hesitate or shy away from expressing their gratitude, despite knowing the party was made up of mages.

    Once they had fully completed their task, Mercury opened up a new portal to bring them all back to the main hall in Fairy Tail where they had originally picked up Vandrad. Then, after fiddling with the dial on her translocator gun, she opened another portal and nodded to it meaningfully with a smirk toward Khelben, even as Bandit cawed and flew through the gateway ahead of them. “Alright hot shot, you did good today. Go ahead and head on back.”

    He blinked at her, the very picture of some clueless intern. “Oh, are you not coming?”

    “I’ll be right in after you. I’m just gonna bid goodnight to my partner here. Not sure you’re gonna want to care to watch that.”

    “Oh… oh!” As though it had dawned on him the reason she was insinuating as to some need for privacy, he gathered himself up. “Well, alright then! It was nice to work with you, Vandrad! Thanks for helping us out. See you around!” And then, with a slight wave of his hand -- and a slight wave of suspicion beneath the surface of his emotions, he popped through the portal where he appeared back in Mercury’s room. Only then did his face relax into stony thoughtfulness as he stood there and thought over the day’s events. Gently, almost hesitantly, he raised his hand palm up before him and for the briefest of moments did his best to attempt conjuring more flame. When nothing happened, he closed the limb into a light fist, a mixture of relief and disappointment washing through him before he took a seat and awaited Mercury’s return.

    Meanwhile, back in the Fairy Tail hall, Mercury turned to Vandrad with her usual self assured smirk, even now not dropping her guard despite the fact that Khelben was no longer within eyesight. Even though he could not see them, the older Xocili still had a live audio feed on her, and as such she could not truly drop her guard. Wandering to the prince, she gently leaned against him and wrapped her arms loosely around his neck. “You realize, of course, I’m going to do whatever it takes to find someone that can turn you into a woman again so I can get my fair chance at having some fun?” she teased.

    Then her tone softened just a bit, not enough to completely drop her playful attitude but certainly enough that Vandrad would notice, even without his ability to feel her fluctuating emotional state. She was quickly deteriorating on the inside, despite her calm and even expression. “Thanks for the help, as always. And for not breaking my little protege too badly.” There was only a brief pause as her eyes searched him before she leaned in and kissed him, despite there being a number of people within full view of the hall. Her intent had only been to give him a brief kiss and play it off more for Khelben’s sake and committing to the supposed “ruse” she had told the Collector in regard to her fabricated relationship with Vandrad. However, she found herself unable to pull away as quickly as she planned, instead holding herself to him tightly as the kiss deepened into something much more passionate and filled with longing and sorrow.

    Just when she thought she wasn’t going to have the strength to walk away, she pulled herself back with a shaky smirk. “See you next time, killer.” Before he could stop her or try to say anything, she stepped back and practically threw herself into the portal, which snapped shut behind her.

    And then she was gone.

    WORDS: 1164/11,157 | @Vandrad Ragnos
    Serilda Sinclair



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