Well, he certainly wasn’t much of a talker. Or at the very least he liked to observe people before speaking too much. Aside from agreeing to a water, he didn’t really say anything while Mercury introduced herself and got him settled in the office for their scheduled one on one. Perhaps he was just shy? He did seem a little nervous as she approached, though his handshake had been firm and confident enough. Whatever it was, Tim was becoming more and more curious by the minute, and those were Mercury’s favorite kind of people.
In fact, it was only after she invited him to open up about himself a bit that he finally started stringing a couple sentences together, but his answer wasn’t quite what she was expecting. He stopped her almost in her tracks by admitting that he felt there was some kind of mixup in what exactly kind of work he was looking to do for them. Mercury raised a single brow in surprise, her interest piqued as he avoided answering her rather general question and chose instead to change the topic a bit. Thankfully for him, Mercury was a bundle of patience that simply let him do so, if only because she wanted to see exactly where he planned on going with all this.
So she listened without interruption as he explained that his interest in the guild was due to knowing that they held one of the largest vaults of relics and artifacts in the country, and his hope was to apply his years of experience in warehousing to helping to keep them organized and inventoried. It wasn’t until he spoke about magic being imprinted upon him and the particular emphasis he used on the word “mage” that her computerized brain started putting the pieces together. He clearly had magic; she’d seen him use a small amount of it only a few minutes ago. But just as clear was the fact that he wasn’t comfortable with that fact and the mere implication that he might be associated as being a mage was making him fidget and panic.
As he continued to try and brush off any kind of discussion that might equate him with magical abilities, something strange began to happen. While she kept an even expression and maintained her easy, casual composure, her eyes couldn’t help but drift to take in the sight of his skin changing color, taking on a hue as dark as night. He didn’t seem to notice right away, but it didn’t take more than a second or two for him to realize that her gaze had wandered, and as Bandit squawked some loud, untranslated commentary, Tim practically leapt out of his chair and backed away from her in fear, all but begging her to remain calm and frantically assuring her that what was happening to him wasn’t dangerous. All that before tripping over the chair he had been sitting in only a moment ago.
The room was quiet for a moment as Mercury calmly stood to her feet and came around to the other side of the desk where he laid prone, tangled up with the chair and presumably a fair bit of embarrassment. “You good there?” she asked, a small note of amusement in her tone but nothing malicious, and overall she would seem genuine in wanting to make sure he hadn’t hurt himself. She offered him a hand to help him get back onto his feet, and if he accepted it he would find that she was able to pull him up with very little effort, hinting at a physical strength that didn’t seem to match her petite build. Then, just as casually, she took the chair and set it right side up again in front of the desk and gestured to it. “Have another seat,” was the gentle invitation.
Walking around the desk once more, Mercury sat across from him again. She leaned back comfortably in the chair, her emerald gaze studying him kindly for a moment as she pulled her thoughts together and formulated a plan of approach. This kid needed a soak in the hot springs even more than she did, and that was saying something. When she did finally speak up, her tone was patient and lacking any hint of judgment toward him. “I’m going to assume that you’ve had more than a few negative reactions to whatever this is,” the ace said, nodding her head toward him and his changed skin. “A shame, really. It’s pretty neat. Not sure who’s been feeding you this idea that you’re ugly, cause that’s a bold faced lie if I’ve ever heard one, and as far as I’m concerned this makes you even more attractive, not less.”
She shot him a playful, somewhat flirty look before her expression sobered into something a bit more serious. “But my unprofessionalism aside, it’s obvious that whatever is going on is new to you, possibly even scares you a bit. If that’s true, it’s understandable. I myself have only been able to use magic for a little over two years, now, and I can recall how alarming and exciting the first couple months of that adventure were. Anyway, my point is this.” Mercury looked in right in the eyes, holding his gaze evenly and without reproach. “We’ve all got weird shit. If I told you even a quarter of my weird shit, you’d probably assume I was either making things up or look at me like I suddenly sprouted two extra heads.”
“I know you’re not dangerous to me, or anyone else here. If you were, you wouldn’t have made it this far. The wolves wouldn’t have allowed it. They would have either taken you out or run you off the mountain before you got anywhere near the guild hall. They certainly wouldn’t have been begging for your attention like love starved puppies, like your ethereal buddy out there was.” She chuckled lightly. “Here at Silver Wolf, we’ve made it our mission to seek knowledge pertaining to all things science and magic, to understand and preserve artifacts and history and culture exactly how they are, without bias. If we were to approach the unknown with fear or prejudice, it would defeat the whole purpose of what we do. So relax; no one here is going to fly off the handle just because your skin changes color. If anything, it would probably make you a lot of friends here, myself included.”
Giving him a small but friendly smirk, she shifted a bit in her seat to get a little more comfortable, leaning forward and taking on a more engaging posture. “As to why we are here having this conversation, I don’t believe there’s been any misunderstanding at all as to what kind of work you’d do here, mostly because I didn’t have any assumptions at all about what kind of work you were interested in. All I wanted to do was get to know you a little. Establish a rapport and familiarity with one another, as it were. Making small talk. There’s a lot of opportunities for work with Silver Wolf, and not all of them revolve around being a mage. In fact, we have plenty of members that don’t use magic at all.”
“However, if you’ll humor me in making a small observation… I am starting to think you may not be very familiar with guilds and how they operate. Most people that want to join a guild don’t typically send in a resume.” She tapped on his paperwork lightly with the pad of her finger. “They just show up and express an interest, and as long as they seem like a good fit, they’re in. It’s not really a formal process that requires a full fledged interview or contacting a list of references. We just have a chat and get to know each other, and at the end if we like you and you like us, then you become a member. It’s that easy. You don’t need to try to impress me, here. I just want you to be yourself.”
“Most people that are truly interested in being part of a guild generally know how it works. If I may say so, and I mean this kindly, it’s clear that you’re unfamiliar enough with all this that you haven’t really looked too far into it, which leads me to believe that we weren’t your first choice for putting your resume toward. And that’s fine, I’m earnestly not saying that to call you out or make you uncomfortable or anything. It just makes me wonder…” Her voice trailed off for a moment as she sought for the right way to word what she wanted to say. Finally, she nodded toward the lacrimas on the table. “Your references. Did you happen to listen to them before you sent them off with your applications?”