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    The Other Shoe

    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:

    The Other Shoe Empty The Other Shoe

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 12th October 2023, 9:00 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    The Other Shoe RJtajUnz_o

    Vandrad disliked having to follow through on political steps. He was used to his mother taking care of all of that but it seemed the time for that was over.

    Now that Maker had been dealt with and Mercury could finally reveal herself to still be alive, the plans were fully in motion to begin the installation of New Rhaegar’s governing body. It had been decided that Vandrad would take up the role as king, with Mercury becoming queen once they were officially married. She was still bestowed the title as queen apparent, given that the only thing keeping her from any kind of official title was the lack of matrimony. Technically Vandrad wasn’t a full king yet either; mostly because their system of government wasn’t fully established. Vandrad had tried to coerce his family, when they had brought the idea forward, to establish a democracy. But they had pointed out that with two varying races on the island, it made more sense to have a monarchy for the sake of equal and fair representation for both the Rhaegarians and Xocili. They didn’t anticipate issues but that didn’t mean the future didn’t hold quarrels of disagreements. And with Vandrad and Mercury due to be wed, it made sense that their unity be the knot that tied their people together.

    Themesycia could take up the role of Queen Mother, which essentially was an honorary title in recognition of her former status as duchess. Simon would act as the Royal Representative, taking the place of Vandrad and Mercury in meetings that they couldn’t attend, especially within the cabinet. Cyrene was nominated as the Prime Minister of the Rhaegarians and Zemenar was the only logical choice as the Prime Minister of the Xocili, working together to represent their people to the fullest extent. Underneath all of that was the cabinet and the other offices that still needed to be organized. A declaration had been drafted and was waiting to be ratified.

    But one of the requirements to be viewed as a sovereign state was ability to enter into relations with other countries. It only made sense that New Rhaegar established trade routes and peace with Fiore, given the ruling family’s connection with the Rune Knights. Of course it still was up to the Magic Council and the king and Mythal and Serilda had a sneaking suspicion that the Council would attempt to sway the fledgling nation into the ongoing Ishgarian conflict. But they would do everything they could to keep that from happening, with Vandrad himself stating that he would put his foot down before they were drawn into the war. Still, it was smart to get ahead of the full completion of the nation’s declaration and begin organizing future trade. As such, Vandrad had been tasked with going to Era to meet with Serilda and Mythal as New Rhaegar’s official representative, all but king in his name.

    Themesycia had attempted to convince him into wearing something gaudy and showy in his first official trip as ruler but the near-king had refused. Instead he had opted for something down-to-earth, a set of armor leftover from his battle on the border of Pergrande and Bellum. He cleaned it up enough that it didn’t look as battleworn but there were still scars over the pauldrons and small tears in the fabric that was attached to the breastplate and belt. It showed him as a warrior; a ruler that was unafraid to fight when absolutely required. A hard statement for the Magic Council that he would not be intimidated by them, even if he was meant to engage them peacefully. But as far as Vandrad was concerned, he was there to talk with Serilda and Mythal on equal grounds. The Council and their puppet king meant very little to him at the moment, until a time came where they were.

    The meeting went well enough, without issue, as he supposed it would. Serilda and Mythal had standard questions about the nation, forced to ask in an official manner despite them already knowing most of the details. In the end, it was agreed that they would meet again once New Rhaegar had officially declared itself a nation and Vandrad had been put in place as the king. Then they could discuss with both the king and Mercury, the queen apparent, the ratification of a peace treaty along with trade routes and resources. Vandrad stayed behind for a short bit to talk with Serilda and Mythal in a more unofficial manner, simply to chat and catch up with the promise of getting together soon. And then he was off, heading back to Rhaegar. The trip required him to head north past Crocus, a trip that would usually be rather quick. But out of a curiosity that he couldn’t quite explain, he felt the need to set down on a mountain peak within the land known as Fat Monsterland.

    Below him, some wizards were battling some kind of large lizard creature. He watched the battle from afar, arms crossed over his chest as he witnessed the end of the monster, handing the wizards a victory. They were probably weaker magic-users, given the way they haplessly wielded their magic. In a fight against something a bit smarter, they may have found themselves on the losing end. But they had pulled through; scraped, cut and with a newfound experience and understanding of what they needed to improve. With any luck, they would take the lesson to heart and begin training themselves to be better for the future.

    He was only moments from turning to leave when a sharp pain shot through his forehead. Marka’s brand, attempting to force itself to the surface of his brow. And his senses were haywire in a vibrant alert. Instinct took over and he turned around, hand already snapping up to grab the black, wiggling tendril that had very nearly jabbed itself into the unprotected part of his neck. His body turned fully to face the attacker as he crushed the tendril in his grip, causing the tip of it to dissipate and the rest of it to slither swiftly back to its owner. Whatever it was, it was causing the Ark to react violently. It was humanoid in nature but bulky. Its entire outer form was covered a black covering that nearly resembled skin but not quite. There were round bumps over the arms and torso, raised points that seemed alien to the already strange form. Talons were raised up around the neckline, as if the neck was rising out of a wide, open maw. Glowing yellow eyes, jagged and billowing, stared at him as black tendrils slithered about behind its head.

    "Bold of you to assume I would have my guard down, though I suppose I can’t fault you for trying,” Vandrad said, wincing slightly as the rage inside tried to build up and he was forced to stamp it down. "Who sent you?”

    “Someone who knows who has been manipulating you, Vandrad. Believe it or not… I’m here to help,” the creature responded, relaxing slightly into its stance. The voice echoed and reverberated, as if it was speaking through a voice box.

    "It seems you know more about myself than even I do, though I hardly call a cowardly attack from behind ‘helping’,” Vandrad remarked as he recrossed his arms and faced the attacker. "Explain yourself this instant.”

    “I will… once I’ve made sure you won’t attack me. I’m sorry but for both of our safeties, I need to immobilize you. Then I’ll explain everything.”

    "You expect me to put faith and trust in you, after the way you introduced yourself?” Vandrad scoffed. "What you have in boldness you lack in intelligence. You know who I am, then you know I don’t simply give into the whims of strangers, especially ones that attack me. You will explain yourself without restraining me or you will explain yourself after I’ve turned your limbs to pulp.”

    The attacker’s head lowered slightly, as if it was weighing the options. “I see that you’re as stubborn as ever. Ain’t surprised at all; though who knows if that’s just the du Wolff in you or Ulthar’s control. Whatever it is, I can’t risk taking a chance. I’m sorry, Vandrad -- you’ve left me no choice.” His hands opened up, his fingers turning to razor sharp talons as more tendrils emerged from his shoulders.

    Ulthar? A name he’d never heard before. And one he wouldn’t get the chance to question or wonder about. The attacker came rushing in, hands at the ready and tendrils charging forth. It seemed his day was about to get a lot more interesting.





    Words: 1771/3743 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Xavier Clarent
    Xavier Clarent

    Player 
    Lineage : None
    Position : None
    Posts : 218
    Guild : Confidence International (GM)
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Mentor : N/A
    Experience : 2,714,115

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Symphonic Savant
    Second Skill: Champion of Bastet
    Third Skill:

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Xavier Clarent 13th October 2023, 5:18 pm


    Xavier Clarent

    Y Rank
    Confidence Int.
    Fat Monsterland

    The Truth Will Out

    The mountaintop exploded, rubble and dirt rocketing into the sky in all directions. Through the smog, Vandrad went soaring down towards the ground, back to the ever approaching earth, staring back up into the smoke. The haze twisted and split apart as Xavier rushed through it, quickly gaining on the falling future king. Vandrad scoffed as his magic took hold of him at the last moment, ripping him from his descent and pulling him parallel to the ground. Xavier crashed into the ground, denting the grassy surface and carving a new hole before he shot out of it in pursuit.

    “I’ve powered the suit to match his current magical level and beyond. I saw the strange transformation he undertook when he fought you on Rhaegar and I have calculated what boost he would attain if he took it on during this fight,” Bast spoke to him in his head as dark tendrils erupted from his shoulders, jabbing at Vandrad. The future king zipped to either side, easily dodging the stabs without much effort. Xavier didn’t answer Bast as his hands and feet landed on the ground and he leapt again, ripping the ground apart beneath him as he boosted himself even faster. Vandrad’s eyes widened a touch as the former God-King slammed into him with his shoulder, wrapping the future king around him for a moment. His arms grabbed his legs and one leg slammed down into the surface as he turned and spun around, sending Vandrad flying into a hillside. With a thunderous slam, Vandrad was buried in the earth, a dark hole left in the wake of his impact.

    “I doubt I’ll need it,” Xavier remarked as he stared into the hole.

    "Need what?” Vandrad asked. There stood the future king, his back to Xavier, with only a few scuffs of dirt over his face and armor.

    “What?!” Xavier cried out in surprise, twisting around and leaping back. But Vandrad was already pushing off the ground in a hurried pursuit, arm pulled back and rushing forward to grab the facemask of Xavier. His magical energy exploded from behind him, thrusting him forward as he pivoted their direction, causing Xavier to slam into and through a tree. Vandrad kept up the pace, pushing the former God-King through several trees before he twisted and sent Xavier flying away, much like the former had done to him.

    Xavier’s tendrils shot out to catch him and slow his movement as Vandrad came rushing back in. Grunting, he quickly evaporated into crackling smoke and zipped around behind Vandrad. His arms shot up and together, preparing to deliver a hammerblow to the future king. But just as he brought it down, Vandrad brought his knee up and shifted his bodyweight, slamming his leg into Xavier’s gut. The former God-King gasped in surprise but his shock was dealt another painful blow as Vandrad’s leg unfolded in a rising kick, forcing him from a bent over to a fully bent back position. A final, spinning back kick slammed into the front of his mask, knocking him back. He growled as he planted his foot and rushed in to throw a punch. But in a split second, movement he couldn’t even see, Vandrad was gone, teleporting behind him and slamming his elbow into his back to send him flying once more.

    Magical energy gathered into Vandrad’s hand as he held it up, compressing into a ball of roaring power. He gestured towards Xavier and the magic attack rushed forward after him. The former God-King managed to pivot in the air and dodge the attack, the blue orb zipping just over his shoulder and up into the sky. Xavier whipped back around to look at Vandrad, who snorted again and took off one more, soaring just above the ground. Xavier quickly chased after him, leaving several yards of distance between their parallel tracks. Black magical energy swirled around his right hand as he fell in sync with Vandrad and then he twisted to throw it at the future king, only to watch it zip past the dissipating afterimage of the other man.

    Vandrad reappeared behind him, another ball of magic in the same hand as before. He launched it at Xavier, who spun around and reinforced the hand of his suit so that he could knock the blast away. He sent it spiraling off to crash into a nearby hillside, exploding instantly on contact. Xavier swiped his hand through the air and released another black globe of smoky magic towards Vandrad, following it up with another and then combining both of his hands to launch a ray of magic to complete the trifecta. Vandrad summoned his magic around him in an aura, empowering his defenses as he stretched one fist up to punch the first blast away, twisted to punch the other in the opposite direction and then pulled both hands back behind him, coalescing magic in the space between his palms which he then shot into and through the heart of the ray, extinguishing it into particles. A rip of thunder tore through the air as streaks of lightning, leftovers of his attack, ripped right past Xavier, who put up his arms and leg defensively, gritting his teeth as the shock tagged his body for a moment.

    But it was a fakeout, as one of the streaks of lightning zipped past and animated Vandrad behind him, hands already ready. "Foolish,” Vandrad spat as the magic between his hands reached its brink and he thrust it into Xavier, trapping him on the head of it as he soared up into the air. Up, up went the former God-King, high into the atmosphere. He twisted his body around the cracking magic and thrust his hand into the core, warping the ethernano within and bringing it to a halt. In a split second action, black wings, made of the same material the suit was, erupted from his shoulder blades, allowing him free control in the air as he threw the altered magic attack back at the now approaching Vandrad.

    The future king flipped over it, releasing another blast at Xavier as he came over himself. Xavier’s wings flapped heavily, pushing him away from the countering blast. “He’s barely breaking a sweat and he hasn’t even gone blond,” he grumbled, both to himself and Bast. “Time to put the pressure on.” Warped magical energy erupted from him, smoky darkness billowing off the outline of his form as he quickly disappeared from where he was in the air.

    Vandrad’s eyes narrowed as he scoffed again. He fully turned in the air and threw his fist forward to clash with Xavier’s as it reappeared out of the smoke behind him. Both men pulled back and launched forwards again with knees slamming into one another. But it was Xavier this time who pulled away and past Vandrad, using his boosted speed and agility to slam his foot into Vandrad’s rib and send him flying through the air. He twisted and followed after, even as Vandrad used his magic to force him to stop several yards away. Magic coursed into his hands as he shot them forward, resulting in a ray of magic that slammed into Xavier. He pulled his arms to his chest, reinforcing his suit against the damaging properties but still pushed back. As the ray dissipated, he once more disappeared into smoke and reappeared behind Vandrad. Only this time, as the future king brought his hands up to slam Xavier down with a hammerblow, Xavier was able to extend the talons on his fingers as he thrust them forward towards Vandrad’s sternum. “Got him.”

    Except he didn’t. Vandrad pivoted his body at the last moment, the talons stabbing into his right side. His armor cracked and broke as the talons found purchase on the flesh below. But Xavier had missed his mark. He needed to hit a major artery or Vandrad’s magical core for the toxic to take effect and paralyze him. A side wound, barely deep enough to slow Vandrad down, wasn’t enough. Vandrad growled and thrust his hand forward, releasing a thin line of magic that slammed into Xavier’s body and sent him flipping backwards.

    Vandrad hissed as he looked down the holes in his armor, blood oozing out from the spots. "So you’re more than an everyday assassin. I’m almost impressed,” he remarked as golden light began to emanate off of his body. With a flash of light and a burst of magic, his Golden Grade Empowerment swept over him, raising his power higher than before.

    Xavier regained his grounding, slamming his feet into the ground as dark magic wrapped around his hands once more. He thrust them forward, releasing a dangerous ray of magic towards Vandrad, before following it up with a blast. Digging deep into the suit’s power, he swiftly dissipated into smoke once more and appeared in front of Vandrad, hands out as he caught his own ray of magic in his hands.

    "What?!” Vandrad asked in surprise as Xavier disappeared and reappeared behind him, clutching the shimmering magic in his hands before pushing it out in a ray again. And the other blast was still rushing in, placing the future king between both attacks. For a split second, his mind splintered into a thousand different possibilities, his eyes flashing silver as he rotated his body in a leap and avoided both attacks without injury. But the moment of clarity left as quickly as it had come, allowing Xavier to get the upper hand as he came crashing down into Vandrad. He slammed his fists hard into the future king’s stomach, denting and cracking the armor before he twisted and delivered a kick hard into Vandrad’s sternum, sending him soaring down into the ground.

    The hard impact caused the entirety of the area to rumble, erupting in a thick smog of dirt. Xavier landed on the ground yards away from the earthy plume, panting. “How long until it’s ready?” he asked Bast concerning the paralyzing attack.

    “A few minutes. But you cannot afford to miss another time. You are pushing the suit to its limits already,” she informed him.

    "Who is it that you keep talking to?” Vandrad’s voice rose out of the smoke as it began to fade away. The future king stood up from the crater, his armor fragmented. He was already showing signs of some bruising but even as he got fully to his feet, it seemed to be healing. He rolled his shoulders as he set his gaze on Xavier. "You’re gibbering away to yourself like a madman. Do you have someone giving you instructions inside that suit?”

    Xavier didn’t answer, despite Vandrad scoffing. "Yes, I realized it after the first few times I hit it. That is some kind of synthetic creation, not your real form. Whoever you are, you’re hiding your presence beneath it. What I can’t figure out is what it’s made of. Something unearthly, that much I know.” Every time he’d gotten close to the assassin, he could feel the Ark twisting, yearning to break free and lash out. Whoever this person was, they were involved with some kind of god or demon. The question was, who was that determined to capture him? Faera possibly but the magic didn’t feel like Mythal’s when he used his Kingdom Darkness Embodiment.

    The former God-King continued to remain silent. "It doesn’t matter. Whatever master you’re serving, I’m going to make an example of you for their benefit. A warning against trying to make a move against me again.” Vandrad tucked his arms at his sides. "I’m done playing with you.” Magic erupted from him at levels that shook the very foundation of the land around them. Xavier’s eyes went wide behind the mask as he watched golden hair give way to blue. The ground splintered beneath the future king as he took on his strongest Empowerment, the air in the surrounding area thick and heavy from the pressure he exerted.

    “No…no…” Bast muttered, the first time Xavier had heard fear in her voice. “He’s… too strong. This suit is not prepared to fight that level of power. How did he become this strong?”

    Xavier grit his teeth. “It don’t matter. This is our one shot. If we try to run, we’ll die tired. We gotta fight!”

    Even as the words left his mouth, Vandrad was in front of him, having moved so quickly that he hadn’t even seen him leave where he was standing. The punch landed hard enough to shake every bone in his body, his suit quaking from the impact. He was sent flying, his wings forced to shoot out to stop his rapid movement. He tried to bring his hands together to prepare another magical attack but Vandrad was already behind him, slamming his fist into his stomach and driving the wind out of his lungs. He gasped, hunkered over the first in his stomach, the sound cut off as Vandrad planted another fist into his face, knocking him back up. He felt the magic in Vandrad’s hands building and he quickly turned into smoke to get behind him, only for Vandrad to be behind him, slamming his fist into the back of his suit and sending him forward.

    Xavier flew forward, catching himself but Vandrad was there, punching him in the chest and sending him flying again. Within seconds, Vandrad reappeared, attacked and repeated the motion several times, ping-ponging him around the area as they moved up into the sky. Vandrad slammed his elbow into Xavier’s chest and then quickly teleported above him, hitting him with both legs in a hard kick to send him down towards the ground. The former God-King used his tattered wings to abruptly stop, charging up magical energy in his hands. But above him, Vandrad already had a beam charged and when it came down, it filled the area with light. Xavier just barely managed to move out of the way of it, thrown back as it hit the ground and exploded. Vandrad was there, always there, punching him and kicking him. Xavier roared, pulling from his own magical core to add to the suit. Dark energy ebbed off of him as he met Vandrad blow for blow, slamming fists, legs and knees against one another in quick flurries that moved them around the area. It was a last rebellious gasp, he knew; a surge of fervor that would buy him moments to live longer.

    Vandrad grabbed an incoming punch, holding it in place as he pulled back his other fist and slammed it into Xavier’s chest. This one carried much more weight, aided by the magic he had compressed into his muscles. The former God-King flew at such a rapid rate, he broke the sound barrier, slamming into a hillside and erupting out the other side. He repeated that several times, his suit snapping and breaking with each new impact. As he came out the other side of the last hillside, Vandrad was already there, hand at the ready, devastating, lethal magic formed in his palm.

    "It’s over.”

    Just as he released it, Xavier got one last surge of adrenaline. He used the last bits of the suit’s magic to push him just out of the way and twist around. A single, barely formed tendril erupted from his hand and stabbed into the center part of Vandrad’s chest plate, tearing through the plate, the protective undergarment and his skin. It found its mark, hitting his magical core and swiftly injecting the toxic. Vandrad’s eyes shot wide as he felt his entire body seize up, his muscles locked in place as his own ethernano was turned back against him. He began to fall towards the ground, Xavier finding the very last traces of his fighting spirit to push himself down to catch Vandrad in his arms. He turned around, putting himself in the trajectory to hit the ground first, which he did hard. The two bounced along the grassy knoll, rolling down together before coming to a stop at the bottom of the fractured, splintered hill.

    At the end of their tumble, Vandrad lay on his back, still immobilized. Xavier was on his front a few feet away, unmoving as well, at first. It was Bast’s voice yelling in his mind that pulled him from the dark depths of unconsciousness. “Xavier! Xavier!  You need to get up!”

    The former God-King groaned softly, eyes blinking weakly. His suit had begun to slowly reform after being pulverized. As he slowly pushed himself up to his knees, he turned his gaze to look at Vandrad, still lying on the ground, staring at him.

    After a moment, he crawled over until he was seated right over Vandrad. “We… we got him,” he said between ragged pants, coughing and tasting blood.

    “This energy… It's so palpable. It’s horrendous. Ulthar, what have you…?” Bast muttered in his head.

    “What do we do? How do we free him?” Xavier asked.

    Bast didn’t answer right away. Xavier’s head turned slightly away from Vandrad. “Bast? What do we have to do here? How do we save Vandrad?”

    “I’m sorry, Xavier. He’s too far gone. This power is deep. He’s fully infected. We can’t…” He almost felt her swallow hard. “All we can do is cut Ulthar off from his weapon. Xavier, you have to kill him. Now.”

    The former God-King’s eyes went wide. “What?! But you said I wouldn’t…”

    “I know what I said! But I didn’t know he’d be this too far gone! There is no other choice, Xavier. You have to kill him now before Ulthar learns what has happened to him and intervenes!”

    Xavier’s hands were shaking as the weight of realization came crashing down on him. He could only stare down at Vandrad in shock, the mask hiding his horror. He swallowed hard once, twice, all the moisture leaving his mouth. “But-”

    “Xavier! If you delay even a moment longer, it will be too late! He has to die! For the sake of this world, of every world, you must end Vandrad du Wolff right now! Make it easier on yourself and think of all the pain his family caused you! It’ll make it easier! NOW DO IT!”

    All the pain that the du Wolffs had caused him. His father left high and dry at the moment of his finest hour. Cut down in his prime by Bacchus… disappearance. All because Ulthar had forced his will upon them, taken hostage of an entire family for his own purposes. And Vandrad was his tool, his weapon, the instrument he wanted to use to bring about the return of the Vogdae…

    Then why couldn’t he sense it? He was wearing the suit, why didn’t he feel the same wicked aura that Bast was claiming she felt, a whole dimension separate from them? Something wasn’t adding up right. Slowly his hands fell to his side. “Naw. I ain’t about killin’ Vandrad anymore. There has to be another way. I told you, no more killin’. That shit ended when Rhaegar did.”

    Vandrad’s eyes seemed to widen just a bit more in realization, even in spite of the immobilization. "Xav…ier?” he mumbled out softly.

    He would have answered. He would have taken that time to explain everything. Bast was screeching in his head but he couldn’t hear her anymore. They had exchanged blows yet again but now, given the chance to end it, Xavier had chosen a different path. He knew he owed Vandrad every explanation in the world and he was ready and willing to finally give it to him.

    But any attempt was brought to a stop when something hard, fast and powerful crashed into his head and sent him flying back into the hillside.


    @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | 3295 words • Notes •



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    Saffron Remington
    Saffron Remington

    Player 
    Lineage : Aspect of Pluto
    Position : None
    Posts : 252
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,310

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Saffron Remington 13th October 2023, 9:08 pm



    COME AT ME AND YOU'LL SEE
    I'M MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

    --- YOU THINK THAT YOU'LL BREAK ME, YOU'RE GONNA FIND IN TIME ---
    It was going to be an eventful day, although none of them could have truly predicted just how eventful. Vandrad was in Era having an official meeting with Fiore’s leaders, including Mythal and Serilda, in an effort to start establishing New Rhaegar as an independent nation. It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing that one could simply slap a stamp on and call it a day. Alliances had to be formed, trading organized, and in this case a monarchy established. Saffron knew very little about such things, and while she had certainly asked about the meeting in advance a bit out of an effort to be a good friend, it was obvious that most of it was beyond her ability to fully understand. Simply put, she hadn’t been raised to understand the nuance of ruling, and her grasp of politics really only extended into military matters. She was interested… but at the same time, she was grateful that all of it had nothing to do with her.

    Her training that day had been canceled, meaning that she had the day to herself. Senna had only gone home a day or two prior, her sister having been out visiting for roughly a week and a half or so. Saffron had been elated at having the younger Remington around, taking time to introduce her to some of her friends at the guild, as well as to show her all the sights of Magnolia and beyond. The vacation ate up nearly all of her time, the blonde certainly still keeping in touch with Trevor, Cedric, and others, but devoting every waking second to spending as much time with Senna as possible before shipping her back to Bosco.

    Once Senna was gone, Saffron caught up on a bit of her guild work that she’d been putting off, taking on a job or two from the posting board before heading off to Crocus to help Cedric move into his new apartment. The former Dread Master had managed to land himself a place all his own during their night out after the concern, after discovering that Cillian had a vacant unit in the building he owned. Of course, shopping for things like furniture took some time, not to mention Cedric had wanted to do a few renovations that would be easier done while the space wasn’t filled, so by the time Saffron’s sister was returning home, Cedric was only just starting to truly move in. The blonde was good for nothing if not lifting heavy objects, so she was more than happy to show up with an extra pair of hands to help get him settled and organized in the space, offering him ideas or making suggestions on other things that he might need, since he’d never truly had to think about that kind of stuff before. She even brought him a housewarming gift: a large basket filled with basic kitchen necessities, as well as a case of beer to christen the new space.

    It was while she was there that Cillian came by to say hello. Saffron gave the necromancer a cheerful greeting and a beer. He’d been dressed in rather grungy attire that was covered in dirt, and when asked about it he admitted that he’d actually just returned from, of all places, Teras Prime. Apparently, after enough time had passed to give Blade plenty of time to take care of himself, Mercury had worked up the courage to ask Serilda to send her to the planet so that she could search for her friend’s remains and give him a proper burial. It was something the Xocili had mentioned wanting to do during Blade’s wake after he left, and it seemed that Cillian had also volunteered to go with her when she was ready. Since he had plenty of exposure to deceased bodies, it was easier for him to go there ahead of the Silver Wolf ace to locate Blade and make sure Mercury was at least prepared for whatever state it was in – which apparently wasn’t much – and he’d helped her to lay what was left of Blade to rest.

    It was surprisingly thoughtful of a man that, for all intents and purposes, was considered a danger to society. Cillian was a bit of an idiot, and his magic was certainly not the most tasteful, but otherwise he seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He stayed and chatted with them for a while before heading up to his place to get cleaned up. Saffron only stayed for another hour or so herself before taking off, promising to be on standby if Cedric needed any more help and setting up a time to binge a show once he had a lacrivision and living room setup.

    She’d returned to the guild in Magnolia and thought about killing time in the training room, but the thought didn’t last very long. Saffron had gotten plenty of a workout helping Cedric with the furniture, so she really didn’t need to do any more physical labor. She checked the time; Vandrad was likely already done with his meeting, or if not then he would be soon. The Boscan was interested to see how it had gone, but something also told her it would probably be a good idea to go check on Mercury to see how she was doing as well. Electing to change into a cleaner set of clothes that didn’t smell like the sweat she’d built while moving furniture, she tossed on an orange midriff tube top and a pair of black jeans, with her calf high leather boots and a purple sash tied around one of her knees. She completed the look with a brown leather trench coat that was trimmed in gold with red panels beneath the split tails of the coat, and a belted collar around the neck, and brown leather gloves on both of her hands.

    Opening a compartment on her arm, she pulled out the teleportation device that Ever had given her, using it to pop over to the island. Saffron saw a number of familiar faces on her way up the hill to the manor, waving and even stopping to greet people occasionally. Eventually she made it all the way up, and with some suggestions from Simon, whom she’d run into inside, Saffron would eventually find Mercury sitting by herself in a balcony that overlooked the ocean on the back side of the island,a cup of coffee in her hands. She had cleaned herself up but was dressed in casual lounge wear that consisted of little more than gray sweatpants with a loose, sleeveless black shirt with large holes on the side and a tighter fitting grey midriff shirt beneath to keep it modest. Resting on the table beside her was Blade’s sword, the weapon appearing as pristine as it had looked after Vandrad had fixed it. The Xocili sensed her approach, turning to look with reddened eyes that were still puffy from crying recently, the orbs widening slightly in surprise. “Oh, hey Saff.”

    “Hey. Good to see ya.” The blonde wandered fully out onto the balcony.

    “Are you looking for Vandrad? He’s not back from the meeting yet.”

    Saffron pulled up one of the chairs next to the queen apparent, taking a seat beside her. “Partially. But, mostly I came to see you.”

    Mercury’s brows furrowed. “Is everything okay?”

    “Oh, yeah. At least, for me. I was just helping Cedric move into his new place earlier. Cillian swung by while I was there, and mentioned where you both had gone. I knew Vandrad would be tied up for a bit so… figured I’d swing by and check on you myself until he was back.”

    “Oh… That’s very sweet of you.” She seemed genuinely surprised at the blonde’s efforts, but so too did she appear grateful, a small and somewhat sad smile on her face as she turned to look down at her coffee cup.

    “Do you want to talk about it..?” Saffron’s tone conveyed that she wasn’t prying for information, nor was she implying that Mercury was in need of anything. Rather, she was simply offering herself up as a listening ear, should Mercury want it.

    The future queen was quiet for several long beats. When she did speak again, her voice was soft. “There… wasn’t much of anything left to bury,” Mercury admitted. “Just a pile of ashes; it seems he used some of his abilities to cremate himself after he passed, I presume so that he wouldn’t have to worry about anything nefarious being done with his body. Can’t say I blame him, given what happened while Knowhere was being transferred.”

    Saffron nodded her understanding and another moment of comfortable silence passed before Mercury continued. “We buried what we could collect of him and put up a tombstone and a memorial. Cillian… said he could sense Blade and Halcyon’s spirits, but he didn’t reach out to them. He said they most likely were able to sense Cillian, too; I guess he’s more than just a necromancer. He told me that he was a servant of Death, who is apparently a woman, so the dead usually take notice of him if he’s nearby. But if they did, they didn’t try to talk to him, either.”

    “Well… that’s good though, right? They may be gone from where we are, but… it sounds like he’s alive and well in whatever waits each of us after death. He finally found his peace… and he’s not truly gone.”

    Mercury gave another sad smile. “Yeah… I guess that’s true. It was a little hard for me to understand it all, but… I trust Cillian, and as heartbroken as I am that Blade is gone, it did help to know that he was still around, maybe even watching over us as… as we laid him to rest.” A few quiet tears leaked from her eyes, the Xocili reaching up with a hand to gently wipe them away before taking a sip of her coffee.

    The blonde turned her attention out toward the horizon, giving Mercury a bit of privacy with which to compose herself while Saffron thought about how to continue the conversation. “What was it like?” she finally asked, looking at Mercury once more. “His home world.”

    “Oh, it was beautiful. It really was. There was a large city with tall buildings that had mostly been grown over with no one there to maintain anything. Nature had pretty much taken over, but despite how empty the place was it just felt so.. Full of life, you know? Just trees and plants as far as the eye could see. We took some time to wander some of the ruins, just to appreciate what we could about what the Terran culture had been like before Maker destroyed it. A part of me would really love to go back again just to explore it for a while, but… I think it’s best if Teras Prime’s history remains buried with Blade and Halcyon.”

    “Yeah, I get that.” Saffron gave another slow nod, though her reply was slightly on the idle side. There was a slight frown on her face. A slight feeling of… something… had washed over her briefly, a bad one, but it was gone so quick that she wasn’t really even sure she’d actually felt it. With a shake of her head, she brushed the moment off and returned her attention to Mercury in full. “I’m glad you got to experience some of it though. And I’m sure Blade would be happy, too. It was obvious how much he cared for you. I’m sure, if things had been different, he would have wanted to bring you there himself. How… are you holding up?”

    Mercury gave a small sniff, keeping herself composed and her tears at bay. “It’s hard. Honestly, it really sucks. There are some days I feel okay, and others where it.. All comes up and hits me all over again. There’s always a feeling of a pit in my stomach, to varying degrees of intensity, and… sometimes it feels like my heart is in a vice. It hasn’t really helped much with my panic attacks. But.. Vandrad and everyone keeps assuring me it’s all part of the grieving process; that it may take a long time, and the pain may never go away entirely, but will lessen as my own life goes on.”

    “That’s typically how it goes, yeah. It’s not a fun process. Been there myself on more than one occasion. You just have to learn to be patient with yourself. A rough day doesn’t mean you’re having a setback or that you haven’t made any progress healing – it just means you’ve had a rough day. But you’ll never have to handle all of that alone. You’ve got all of us, me included, when you need us to help keep your head above the water.”

    The Xocili nodded before finally turning to glance at Saffron with a soft smile. “Thank you, Saffron.”

    Saffron smiled back. “Any time.”

    Feeling much more like her usual self, Mercury sighed peacefully before shooting the blonde a mischievous smirk. “Have you ever heard of bereavement sex?”

    “Yeah, not happening. I love you and all, but you’re gonna have to go bark up someone else’s tree for that.” Saffron snorted, firm in her desire to never sleep with Mercury, but pleased and tickled by the Xocili’s ceaseless efforts.

    “Well, it was worth a shot.”

    The women shared a small laugh and a comfortable silence befell them. But then it happened again – that feeling. It was stronger than before. Some sense of… wrongness. Saffron felt disturbed, though she had no idea why. It was like a sense of dread had settled on her shoulders.

    She must have been making a face because soon Mercury was giving her a concerned look. “Saffron? Are you okay?”

    “I… I don’t know,” the blonde admitted, hesitant to say anything at first. Was she losing her mind? “I just feel… I don’t know, this sensation washed over me all of the sudden. Something feels off. But I don’t…”

    Her voice trailed off as a different feeling, a more familiar one, settled in amongst the unease. It was like there was a presence around them, somehow both sentient and not, intertwined and one with the world around her, almost.. Speaking to her. She could almost hear the sounds of some kind of battle. Images flashed in her mind quicker than she could truly process them, and somehow through it Vandrad was firmly buried in her mind like something had come along and embedded him there. “Hey… when is Vandrad supposed to be back?”

    “Soon. Honestly, I’m a little surprised he isn’t here yet. I’m sure he stayed to chat with Seri and Mythal a bit, but knowing him he likely wanted to head home sooner over later. Saffron..?!”

    The Xocili watched as Saffron winced, the feeling suddenly so overwhelming that her head was throbbing. Her heart was racing like she was in a battle for her life. “I’m okay, I just… something doesn’t feel right. I know this is weird, but could you just make sure he’s okay?”

    Mercury had set down her coffee and had turned to face Saffron fully with a deep look of concern. “Y-yeah. Yeah, hang on.” She was confused beyond belief, but rather than question Saffron’s reasons for wanting to check on Vandrad, Mercury elected to just follow through with what the blonde was asking, shooting a quick message off to the future king. A minute ticked by, and as each second passed Mercury grew more and more perplexed. “He hasn’t replied. He hasn’t even opened the message. He could just be in the middle of something; maybe the meeting took longer than expected…” She didn’t sound convinced of her own excuses. Even if the meeting was still going on, Vandrad would have at least read the message, his scouter able to put it up on the screen without anyone else knowing it had happened.

    “Something’s wrong.” Saffron was sure of it now, though she couldn’t for the life of her fathom why. “I don’t know how to explain it. I think… I think it’s related to whatever happened to me during the fight with Seberg. Something bad is happening, and I think it’s happening to Vandrad.”

    The Xocili could only stare at Saffron briefly in wonder and apprehension… but she barely waited more than a breath before she was on her feet. “Then we’re going to go check on him.” If Vandrad was still in Era for whatever reason, it wasn’t going to look good for her to randomly pop in the middle of the meeting, but if Saffron said something was wrong, Mercury would rather choose to believe it and have to make a few apologies than ignore it. Saffron stood beside her in an instance, her blood already pumping through and amped up with adrenaline as Mercury conjured her translocation ray. Fiddling quickly with the settings, she opened and portal and the two women practically threw themselves through it.

    What they found on the other side did absolutely nothing to assuage their worries.They looked around briefly in wide eyed shock, captivated by the carnage of the torn landscape around them. It was Saffron who ultimately noticed the two men first, drawing in a deep gasp of horror as her premonition took life before her. A strange creature of some kind, or a man in an extremely disturbing looking suit was kneeling on the ground. Beneath him was Vandrad, the former prince breathing but stiff and unmoving, his armor torn and cracked, blood soaking through scratches in his clothing and bruises already building on his flesh.

    In the same breath that Mercury turned to see what had caught Saffron’s attention, the lavender haired woman also gasping in terror, the Fairy Tail mage was already moving. The sight had snapped her fully into confrontation mode, instinct taking over in place of thought as she released the constraints that kept her reserves of power in her synthetic arm, instantly pumping every single drop of the stored power inside her body. Her golden aura roared to life around her and her hair turned into flames so hot and pure that bits of fire were jumping out and shimmering around her like bright ash. She was already moving, her body across the field so quickly that the man hadn’t even noticed their arrival, nor his impending doom.

    Saffron roared at the top of her lungs, her fist already cocked back as she practically materialized next to the man with crimson red rage in her eyes, punching him so hard in the face that he was sent careening into the nearest hillside. Before he had even landed, she was already launching herself after him to continue her pursuit. “YOU’RE DEAD FUCKING MEAT, ASSHOLE!” Saffron bellowed as she unleashed her full power on the mysterious attacker, swinging hit after hit at him in a furious and unrelenting assault.

    “VANDRAD!” Mercury had shrieked her fiance’s name mere milliseconds after Saffron had engaged the enemy. In normal circumstances she may have been the quicker to react between the two of them, considering her strength, speed, and processing times were far superior to that of Vandrad’s pupil. But her physical and emotional exhaustion from the earlier events of her day had left her a bit slower than normal. Still, no sooner had Saffron cold cocked the assailant and removed him from the immediate vicinity had Mercury practically materialized next to her lover, kneeling down beside him. “What the hell… Are you okay?! What happened?!”

    Her hands had already reached down to try to help him sit up, but already she could tell something was wrong. Arguably speaking, he didn’t appear to be all that injured. Certainly not enough to leave him laying out flat like this. His eyes were wide open and responsive, but he seemed to be having trouble moving. Mercury’s mind was already in overdrive. Quickly, she pressed her fingers against the small wound on his chest, collecting a sample of blood and analyzing it for any kind of poison or toxin, or anything that might have forced some kind of paralysis on him in an effort to see if she could reverse it. “Hang on, baby. I’ve got you…”
    deltra of gangnam style

    WORDS: 3398 | TAGS: @Vandrad Ragnos @Xavier Clarent


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Xavier Clarent
    Xavier Clarent

    Player 
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    Posts : 218
    Guild : Confidence International (GM)
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    Experience : 2,714,115

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Symphonic Savant
    Second Skill: Champion of Bastet
    Third Skill:

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Xavier Clarent 14th October 2023, 6:48 pm


    Xavier Clarent

    Y Rank
    Confidence Int.
    Fat Monsterland

    The Truth Will Out

    Xavier’s suit had suffered intense damage in a short amount of time, all thanks to Vandrad’s assault. It was barely clinging to existence around him, only recovering thanks to drawing from the man’s own magical pool. But he was nowhere near prepared for someone to attack him again, let alone the woman he was pretty much in a relationship with. Her first hit sent him careening through the air into the nearby hillside, slamming into it so hard that it nearly split into two. But she wasn’t done, her blazing form upon him as she slammed her fists into his armor over and over again. The pressure and pain from the impacts were barely anything against his complete and utter horror. No, she wasn’t supposed to be there. He had waited specifically for Vandrad to be alone and he had never taken the time to contact anyone. How did anyone find out, let alone Saffron?

    He had to get out of there, fast. Not an easy measure, given how she was beating on him.

    Vandrad still lay on the ground as Mercury rushed to his side. The paralyzing effect was beginning to weaken or, more precisely, Vandrad’s body was beginning to overwhelm its effects. He still couldn’t fully move but he was able to turn his head slightly as Mercury began to analyze his blood for the toxin. "Xav…ier. It’s… Xavier…” he told her, gritting his teeth as his fingers twitched slightly.

    Xavier somehow found it in him to shake his shock and awe off. Bast was quiet in his head, her screams long gone and leaving him in abandoned silence. Hardly a concern, given the powerful fists breaking his armor to pieces. He waited for the moment between her hits before acting, turning himself into a smoke and warping to a different spot, though not very far. As he materialized, the power of the suit reached its limits and the broken pieces gave way as he fell to a knee. A loud cracking noise filled his ears as the mask protecting his head, protecting his identity, crumbled away, whatever limited magic left in his suit focusing on repairing the parts around his torso and extremities. His eyes were wide in horror once more as he looked at Saffron, completely revealed to her, Mercury and Vandrad.

    "No…no…” he muttered as his eyes began to water slightly. Not like this; it couldn’t have gone this badly, it wasn’t possible. He’d been trying to do what was right, trying to save his people and everyone else. After he had finished his mission, he was supposed to reveal everything.

    Not like this. Not caught over Vandrad, looking like a beast about to chow down. Words failed him, any kind of explanation or reasoning dead before it even tried to come to life. He had to get out of there, now. His body acted for him, funneling his own magic into the suit to activate its limited functions. Once more he turned into smoke, his teary, shock-filled eyes the last thing to fade into the smog before it disappeared, taking him far, far away from the site of the battle and the place where everything he had built and tried to work for had come crumbling down on top of him.

    When he reappeared, he didn’t even know where he was. He’d arrived in some alleyway between buildings, some open area set among several brick structures. He once more collapsed to his knees as the suit melted away, returning within him. He just continued to stare into the void in front of him, replaying it all like a terrible nightmare he had just woken from. It was in that state of shellshock that he felt his spirit be rudely pulled into the Dreadlands, a powerful hand pulling him into the other realm and throwing him down.

    “You had Ulthar’s weapon right there! You could have finished this war, saved your reality, with one painless strike and you froze!” Bast chided him as she slowly circled him, her eyes brimming with rage. “Do you think you know better than I about the workings of my world?”

    "I…”

    “You will speak when I tell you to speak!” She roared at him, the ground quaking beneath them as she stood tall over him. He just continued to remain on the ground, up on his hands and knees and trembling. She scoffed. “The opportunity to stop Ulthar is gone now. If he hasn’t activated Vandrad du Wolff and taken over him, he will swiftly abandon him and find another vessel. And he will do better to mask his power from me. Our chance is lost, Xavier Clarent, because you didn’t have the nerve to do what needed to be done!”

    "I told you I wasn’t gonna kill him!” Xavier roared, surging to his feet. Tears dripped down from his eyes, staining his cheeks as they fell to the ground below him. "You told me that I wouldn’t have to. I was ready to move on, to forgive the du Wolffs for all the shit they had done and try to make things right. I didn’t even want to fight ‘em but Vandrad just… he wouldn’t listen! And then you, you told me after all that… that I had to kill him. Knowing the steps I’d taken to try and make things right, to getting close to people he knew, to loving…” The words failed again as he swallowed hard, baring his teeth in anger. "I am not your attack dog. You offered me the chance to help people and I took that, thinkin’ we was partners in tryin’ to protect everyone. But you told me to kill without even stoppin’ to think about it, without even considering other options.”

    He lifted his eyes to look up at her. "All I see is a woman like I used to be. So caught up in her own shit, she doesn’t stop to consider everythin’. You didn’t even pause to think of a way to save him.” His eyes were filled with an undeniable rage, much like her’s had been only seconds before. But just as quickly as they had flared up, they dimmed in grief and hopelessness. "It don’t matter. She… saw me. Saw me standin’ over him like I was gonna kill him. Saw my face when…” He shook his head. "It’s over. All of it. Your dumbass mission, any hope of makin’ things right with my people, with Saff… it’s all crumbled to shit. I’m done.”

    “Xavier…”

    "I said I’m done! Now leave me the fuck alone!” he roared once more before he fell back down, his head drooping down onto his chest as he wept. She didn’t say anything and before he understood what had happened, he was back in the alleyway. Well and truly alone. All he could do was weep openly, mourning the life he’d had only a day ago, before he had messed everything up.

    Now… now he had nothing.


    @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | 1166/ 4461 words • Notes •



    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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:

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Mercury Arseneault 15th October 2023, 12:52 pm

    Mercury Banner
    Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects
    and discovering other peoples' weaknesses.
    “What..?!” Mercury’s eyes snapped to Vandrad when he explained the identity of his assailant, her shock and surprise palpable. It was Xavier? She turned her gaze over to the distance where Saffron was currently attempting to pound the man into a bloody pulp into a hillside. Both Vandrad and Saffron were well aware of the former God-King’s survival and that he had reached out to Mercury. There had been no reason to withhold the information from either of them, nor the rest of their close friends and family. The Rhaegarians, in particular, had a right to know their one time tyrant of a king was out and about in the world.

    But he had expressed that he was remorseful of his history and the things he did, not just to Vandrad but to his people, and Xavier had seemed genuinely remorseful. Not that Mercury had a perfect record when it came to judging other’s intentions; the way that Maker had fooled her into believing he was repentant and wanting to make changes in his life was still a sore spot in her mind, one that was likely to make her more cautious of others in the future. But, Xavier was not Maker, and as far as anyone was aware the wayward Rhaegarian didn’t possess a Blood Marker or any other ability that allowed for deceit like Maker’s had. Maybe it would have been one thing if he had known who Mercury was when he first looked her up and tried to talk to her, but he had been authentically unaware that the Xocili was engaged to Vandrad, so it wasn’t like their meeting had been an act to lay seeds for any kind of attack.

    So why had he done so now? It didn’t make any sense, and Mercury was starting to feel a bit angry herself. Sure, she hadn’t told Xavier what to do in order to start making things right with Vandrad and his family, but she had pointed him in the right direction: be upfront and speak with Vandrad openly and honestly. The future king only reciprocated what he was given, so if Xavier had just approached him to talk, then Vandrad would have talked. Perhaps not nicely, but he would have. The only reason there would have been a battle was if Xavier forced it, or resorted to any kind of underhanded means – which seemed to be more the case, considering the way his suit covered him up. Xavier had come to her for perspective and then gone and done the exact opposite of what she’d suggested, and the scowl on Mercury’s face suggested that she was none too pleased about it.

    Leaving Xavier to Saffron for the moment, she turned her attention back to Vandrad even as her scan of the toxin was completed. “Well, I don’t know what you got dosed with,” she told him. “I don’t recognize whatever toxin got in your system; it’s not native to Earthland as far as I can tell. But it also doesn’t appear to be dangerous or harmful. It’s just a paralytic.” A paralytic that was already starting to wear off, based on the way he was already starting to turn his head toward her and regaining some control over his fingers.Unfortunately, with the substance being as unknown and alien as it was, there wasn’t anything she could do at the moment to speed up the process of it wearing off. They would just have to let it take its natural course.

    Meanwhile, Saffron was grunting with the effort of every punch she was throwing into her opponent, intent on beating him down before he had a chance to retaliate. He seemed to be stunned, several of her hits landing without any true defense or response. Finally, one of her strikes missed as she found her fist punching through a puff of blackened smoke as the man’s body dissipated. With a growl, she whirled around to find out where he went. He re-materialized a small ways off but it wasn’t far at all, and from the way he immediately dropped to a knee she knew that he had next to no juice left. All she had to do was give him another solid hit or two and he’d probably be out cold. Her energy renewed and Saffron shot after him again, closing the distance quickly…

    …but not as quickly as his mask crumbling from his face.

    In an instant, her eyes went wide in shock as he looked up at her, the blonde screeching to a halt so hard that her heels dug deep trenches in the ground. “Trevor..?” Her name on his lips was a broken and pained whisper, confusion and horror temporarily overwhelming her rage as she simply stood there and stared at him dumbly. “What are you..” Saffron couldn’t even finish her question, her mind scrambling to process the situation. Why was Trevor here, fighting Vandrad? Why was he wearing some weird, grotesque suit that she’d never seen before?

    Before she could fathom a complete sentence he was gone, disappearing into another cloud of smoke. This time, wherever it took him, it was nowhere near where they were. Saffron was rooted in place, gaping at the spot where he’d just been for another beat before turning her face toward Mercury and Vandrad. She pointed to the spot where Trevor had just been. “What just happened?”

    “Apparently, Xavier chose not to fucking listen to me,” Mercury grumbled as she massaged down Vandrad’s limbs, trying to keep his blood pumping so the toxin would speed up its course through her husband’s body more quickly.

    “Xa–” The sound of the former God-King’s name almost sent Saffron rocking back on her heel. Finding her feet once more, she practically ran over to where the two of them were. “What do you mean? What are you saying?”

    “That was Xavier, Saff. He–”

    “No!” The blonde cut Mercury off sharply, denial clawing its way up so swiftly that Mercury’s gaze snapped up in surprise. “No, that was Trevor!”

    The statement was so profound, so terrible, that it took even Mercury a moment to find her words. “Wait… wait, you mean your Trevor? Trevor Winters?” Saffron said nothing, but the look on her face was all the answer any of them needed. And slowly, painfully, the truth sank upon them.

    The Boscan was on the verge of panic, her eyes darting away as her mind scrambled. He’d lied to her. All this time, the person she’d been spending so much of her time with, growing close to, sharing her body and her heart with… all this time it had been Xavier. She’d never thought twice about any of the seemingly innocent questions he’d asked about her mentor – and he had asked them. Saffron had been careful not to touch on anything too sensitive or anything that might put Vandrad at risk, or at least she thought she had. Now doubt was drowning out all thought and reason, shame and embarrassment swallowing her up. Had she done this? Had she unknowingly aided Xavier in some attempt to get closer to Vandrad? No, no that couldn’t be true, could it? He cared about her. He had to. It was so clear in the way he looked at her, treated her, talked to her…

    Somehow, an even more terrible knowledge swam up to slap her in the face. He’d slept with Mercury. Saffron remembered the Xocili talking about her encounter with the man, and she’d been quite up front about the fact that she’d slept with him. At the time, no one thought anything of it. It was a fairly standard Mercury move at that point, hardly a surprise to anyone that knew her. And maybe if it had happened longer ago than it had, it may not have hit Saffron quite as hard in that moment. But it hadn’t been that long ago at all, not long before their attack on Maker and Seberg. Sure, the two of them hadn’t set any boundaries or made themselves official as a couple, but Saffron had already long since started distancing herself romantically from Cedric and had all but committed herself to Trevor. She knew how she felt about him, and had though he felt the same way, but apparently he had still been sleeping around behind her back, and with Mercury of all people.

    He’d used her.

    An all too familiar feeling crept its way through her body, her heart physically aching so hard that she reached up to clutch at her chest like she was about to have a heart attack. All this time she had been falling for him, and he’d just been using her, lying to her, cheating on her. Saffron had been so careful with her heart, so cautious with it, finally venturing out after years of struggling to overcome the pain and trauma of her abusive ex, and what happened? She’d stumbled right into the arms of another abuser.

    Saffron wasn’t the only one spiraling. Though Mercury wasn’t drowning quite as hard as Vandrad’s pupil, she was looking up at her with open mouthed dismay as she, too, realized that she’d crossed the one line that she had tried so hard to respect when it came to Saffron. Unintentionally, perhaps, but it had happened all the same. “Saffron… Saffron, I’m so–”

    “I’m going to fucking… kill him. Rage had once more taken over, pressing every other emotion to the wayside. She pulled out the teleporter that Ever had given her. It was primarily for coming to the island, but it had a reverse setting to take her back to Magnolia as well. Opening the portal, Saffron stormed through it without another word, leaving Mercury to tend to Vandrad while she left in a narrow minded quest to hunt Xavier down. And Mercury couldn’t even bring herself to try to stop her.

    Saffron emerged just outside of the Fairy Tail guildhall, several Magnolia residents and guild members parting quickly out of her way as she rushed to her bike. Throwing the ignition, the Boscan peeled out into the street with little regard to her speed, racing her way to Reinford as fast as she could. When she got to Confidence International, she didn’t even bother properly parking the vehicle, slowing down only enough to ensure it wouldn’t go flying through the building and stepping off of it. The bike immediately toppled over, skidding several feet along the ground before coming to rest on its side, the engine still idling where it laid. She ran so fast through the building that no one would have the chance to stop her before she reached Xavier’s room, the calls of several members trying to stop her or asking her what was wrong going unheard.

    Reaching up a foot, she kicked Xavier’s door fully off its hinges and pursued inside after it. The blonde checked each room, finding them empty. Wherever he had gone, it wasn’t here. With a growl, she pulled out her phone and called him. It rang several times before going to voicemail. She hung up and called again, her anger all the more incensed at his refusal to pick up. After the fourth time without him answer, she finally waited long enough for the answering machine to trigger. “WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?” Saffron screamed into the phone, uncaring as to who in the building would hear her – which was surely going to be a lot of people considering her entrance into both the building itself and the way she’d destroyed his door. “ANSWER YOUR FUCKING PHONE, YOU COWARD! YOU LIED TO ME. YOU LIED TO ME…!” Tears finally started breaking through, her anger and heartbreak battling one another for dominance as she cried into the phone. “I’M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS, DO YOU HEAR ME?! GET OUT HERE AND FACE ME!”

    It was all she’d have time to say before several members of the guild rushed in. Saffron growled in anguish and hung up the call. Ever fiber in her being wanted to tear through his room, to take her anger and sorrow out on the place where she’d spent so much of her time being led on and manipulated and used when she couldn’t do so directly on him. Instead, she allowed herself to be firmly pulled out by the guild’s members, somehow finding the wherewithal to restrain herself from lashing out at them despite the forcible way they removed her from the grounds and put her outside.

    She crumbled to the ground outside the building, falling to her hands and knees and finally giving in to her heartache, uncaring to the wary and confused stares of the people around her. Tears poured down her face as she wailed into the ground, feeling sick to her stomach from how stupid and blind she had been. Someone tried to approach her, though she wasn’t sure who. It was probably someone who knew her, considering that her face was a fairly regular sight around the guild these days, but Saffron didn’t even bother to look to see who it was. “Leave me alone..!” She pulled back from the hands that had reached out to her, lurching to her feet and stumbling over to her fallen bike. As heavy as it was, it was very little effort for her to turn it upright. There were deep scratches and dents all along the side where it had fallen, but she barely noticed them as she swung her leg over and once more tore off, doing her best to control her sobs and her breathing enough not to crash.

    She had to get away. Far away. It didn’t even matter where. Saffron turned on to the road and just drove, without really paying attention to where she was going. She just drove and drove and didn’t look back.

    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:

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 16th October 2023, 4:40 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    The Other Shoe RJtajUnz_o

    Saffron had managed to beat Xavier into a corner and then he’d made a hasty escape, though not very far. It was there that Vandrad’s assumption was proven correct, as the man stood staring at the blonde bombshell for a moment before disappearing. But it was the look on Saffron’s face that drew Vandrad’s attention, her mix of confusion and shock beyond what could be expected after an attack. Mercury cursed Xavier’s actions and Saffron questioned what she meant and why she was bringing him up. It was when Mercury confirmed that the man was Xavier and Saffron insisted it was Trevor that a terrible truth began to settle on the paralyzed Vandrad.

    He couldn’t have, could he? Wormed his way into Saffron’s life in an attempt to get close to him? Then what was the point of ever even talking to Mercury in the first place? And who was he talking to that was insisting that he kill him? And why had he refused? None of it made any sense but the very palpable anger that Saffron was feeling was about the only thing he could focus on at the moment. The two women were both in utter agony, the revelation weighing on both of them in different ways and yet, horribly, in one shared aspect. Mercury was the first to speak up after what felt like hours of tense silence, trying to apologize to the blonde. But her fury was already brimming to a breaking point and was beyond being approached. She pulled out her teleporter and burst through it. "Saffron…” Vandrad tried to yell, to call her back but it was far too late. The portal disappeared, leaving them alone.

    "God…damnit…” Vandrad hissed between clenched teeth. Slowly he pushed himself up as his magical aura began to waft off of him once more. With enough of his magic returned, he swiftly cycled it through his body, purging the toxic in his veins before he stood up. He knew he should go and try and stop her but… well, who was he to intervene? He had questions, of course; Xavier hadn’t had any kind of murderous intent in his aura and he had been surprised to be told he needed to kill Vandrad. That wasn’t even including all of the deception in posing as Trevor Winters and his reasons behind that.

    But he couldn’t possibly imagine the pain Saffron was in at that moment. He could understand it but the closest thing he’d ever felt to that was watching Yuna die. And the first thing he had done was murder Beatrix. He sighed and let his Empowerment drop from him as he turned to Mercury. "Let’s head home,” was all he could say, lacking any other words. He knew that she was going to be dealing with her emotions as well; after all, Saffron had made it explicitly clear that she had no desire to share partners with Mercury. And now it seemed they had and that was only the frosting on top of the bullshit. He’d help his fiance get to her feet and once she was ready, follow her through the portal back to New Rhaegar.

    Vandrad assumed it would be a bit before Saffron came back. Most likely she was going to the best place to search for Xavier, considering the time she had spent with him. But after several hours had passed by and there was still no sign of her, he began to worry. He doubted that Xavier would hurt her; the look on his face when he had seen Saffron had been complete and utter heartbreak and the future king had felt his swirling emotions of dismay. Still, that didn’t mean that she couldn’t have run into some issue, possibly with the one that Xavier was working for. So he and Mercury did the only thing they believed could get them a swift answer; they called Cedric and let him know what had happened. The former Dread Master had barely heard the explanation on the phone before he had teleported over, frantic to exactly what had occurred. By the end, he was already searching for her, though he couldn’t quite pin her down. She was on the move and he wasn’t able to teleport to someone that was moving as quickly as she was. He was forced to wait, which only made him more impatient and concerned.

    He checked every few minutes until finally her magical signature had come to rest. With a promise to return with some answers, the former Dread Master zipped away and reappeared in a forest. With the sun already beginning to set, the light under the canopy waned and leaned into the encroaching shadows. He hadn’t teleported right to her, which wasn’t unusual. It took him a moment to find tracks and followed them around a few trees. “Saff?” he called out, his voice soft so as not to startle her. After another turn, he found her laying up against a fallen log, curled into a tight ball. She looked like a wreck; her clothes were covered in soot and grime from the area around them. The most shocking of all was the amount of crap that was in her hair; dirt clumps and sticks were tied among her golden locks, a crime punishable by death in any other instance.

    He made his way over to the log and sat down next to her. “Hey Saff…” he said softly. “Vandrad and Mercury told me what happened. I just… wanted to check on you. I know you probably want to be alone but… I don’t think you should be.”





    Words: 941/4684 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Saffron Remington
    Saffron Remington

    Player 
    Lineage : Aspect of Pluto
    Position : None
    Posts : 252
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,310

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Saffron Remington 17th October 2023, 2:04 pm



    COME AT ME AND YOU'LL SEE
    I'M MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

    --- YOU THINK THAT YOU'LL BREAK ME, YOU'RE GONNA FIND IN TIME ---
    Mercury felt just terrible. Not just because of the knowledge that she had unknowingly slept with the man that was all but Saffron’s boyfriend, but also because of the sense of betrayal that she was sure Saffron was feeling. To not just discover that she had been lied to all this time, but to discover it like this? Well… Mercury could empathize with how frustrating that had to be. She tried to apologize to the blonde and was swiftly cut off, though in truth she wasn’t sure that Saffron had even heard her. The Fairy Tail mage was far more focused on her understandable anger toward Xavier in that moment, the rest of the world forgotten.

    Vandrad tried briefly to call after his apprentice, but she was already gone. With a growled curse, he found the resolve to sit up, Mercury helping to stabilize him as he did, using his magic to finish forcing the toxin through his system until it was purged. For a moment he looked like he was planning on trying to follow Saffron, but then he sighed and released his aura, suggesting they head home. Mercury nodded, taking his hand and opening a portal to bring them back to New Rhaegar.

    Once home, the couple exchanged the details of what had gone down on both their ends, Vandrad filling her in on what had happened during his fight with Xavier, and Mercury explaining how exactly they had come to suspect that he was in trouble. Or rather, how Saffron had somehow managed to sense it. From there it was a waiting game to hear back from the woman, who’d made her intentions on killing Xavier quite clear, though whether or not she actually intended on going through with it or whether that was just her anger and heartbreak talking was up for debate. Saffron had killed during her time as a soldier, but she wasn’t what Mercury would ever consider a killer at heart. She had an explosive temper at times and rarely filtered her thoughts and emotions, but neither did she ever truly let her temper control her.

    Mercury spent her time the next few hours trying not to think about it too much, and doing her best not to focus too much worry or time rehearsing the very large apology speech that she owed her friend, the one that had just gone out of her way to comfort her during a time of need. The Xocili knew it wasn’t her fault – she had hardly known that Xavier and Trevor were the same person, and she certainly had no reason to suspect that Saffron would have ever been interested in Xavier in any capacity. If anything, she suspected Saffron would have avoided the man in that respect, knowing his history with Vandrad and Rhaegar. But Mercury still knew that she would have to apologize.

    Yet several hours passed and neither of them had heard from Saffron. They attempted to contact her a couple times, but she wasn’t answering. Vandrad seemed convinced that Xavier wouldn’t hurt her, but that didn’t mean something else – or someone else – couldn’t have gotten involved that had fewer reservations about harming the blonde. Eventually they decided the best course of action was to notify Cedric, since he’d be able to find her almost instantly. The former Dread Lord zipped himself to the island in a snap when they tried to explain what had happened, concern written over his features as they gave him more details. Once he had the full story he was already working on trying to locate her, but his ability to track her was hindered by the fact that she was on the move. She was clearly still alive, which was a relief, but he wouldn’t be able to reach her until she settled.

    Saffron had driven for what felt like hours, paying very little attention to her surroundings. The only time she’d made any conscious choice in her direction was when she came to a fork where she had to choose between heading into Magnolia or heading slightly more north toward Oshibana. She’d immediately chosen the latter, having no desire to return to the guild where anyone, least of all Vandrad, could find her. The scene replayed over and over in her head, Trevor’s mask – Xavier’s mask – crumbling to pieces to reveal himself for who he truly was. Her stomach was in knots.

    Eventually, her bike ran out of lacrifuel, the machine puttering to a stop along a small back road that cut through the woods outside of Oshibana. The area was practically deserted; very few people owned their own mode of transportation, most of the public relying on the trains to get them back and forth to major cities. Abandoning the motorcycle near the side of the road, she pushed herself into the forest until she knew that she would be shielded from anyone that happened to walk by, and hunkered down behind a fallen log. She gave way to tears again, sobbing hard with her face in her knees and her hands up behind her neck

    Saffron earnestly wasn’t sure how long she had been laying there. Time was a vague blur. All she really knew was that she was there long enough that exhaustion had taken over, leaving her in a foggy haze of pain and heartache where she had to remind her body to breathe from time to time. She was completely ignorant and uncaring to the stains on her clothes and the mess that her hair had become from laying on the forest ground and getting tangled up in the log behind her.

    You brought this on yourself. The voice in her head was small but crystal clear, her pain dredging up far too familiar memories that suddenly weren't as far buried as she once thought they had been. You put yourself in this situation. There were signs, and you chose to ignore them, and look where it got you. If you had just paid attention to me for once in your life… I love you so much, but all you ever do is make me feel lonely. What did you expect me to do? How can you expect me to stay faithful if I’m never enough for you? I don’t know what you want from me! Nothing is ever enough for you..!

    A soft voice cut through Addy’s words in her mind, calling out to her. She could hear leaves crunching underfoot as Cedric approached. Saffron wasn’t surprised that he’d come to find her; it wasn’t hard to imagine that Vandrad and Mercury would tell the former Dread Master what had happened, given how much they knew about how close the two of them were. There was a strong mix of emotions that coursed through her in that moment. On the one hand she was grateful and relieved that he was there, that he cared enough to seek her out in her time of need. At the same time, the aching in her chest deepened at the knowledge that he was going out of his way to comfort her, knowing that she’d been hurt by the very man that arguably had prevented her and Cedric from being an item themselves. She didn’t deserve his comfort.

    Yet he sat beside her all the same, acknowledging that Vandrad and Mercury had told him about what happened. He assumed she probably wanted to be alone, but felt it was best that she wasn’t. Truthfully, Saffron didn’t want to be alone, but after trying to confront Xavier and coming up empty handed, she hadn’t felt there was anyone she could turn to. Cedric deserved better than to hear her pour her heartbreak out over a man that she’d all but chosen over him, and the thought of seeing Vandrad or any of his family filled her with shame and embarrassment.

    She was quiet for a long time, curling into a tighter ball as she fought back a renewed wave of emotional anguish. “Is Vandrad okay..?” Saffron finally asked, her voice hoarse and despondent. Her anger and pain had been so great in the moment that she’d practically abandoned the man in pursuit of her own selfish anger. Sure, Mercury was there to make sure he got the help he needed, if he had even truly needed it, but that didn’t make it right for her to leave him the way that she had.

    Assuming he assured her that the future king was fine, Saffron once more sank into a deep silence. She knew she needed to talk, to get her thoughts out of her head, but she didn’t know where to start or what to say. Eventually, she forced herself to speak again. “He lied to me. He knew who I was, knew I was close to Vandrad and his family, and I never once suspected him. All this time… all this time I let myself be suckered in by the man that fought and imprisoned Vandrad, imprisoned his family, had his family killed. How am I supposed to face them, after this? I’m so fucking stupid…” She dug her fingers into her hair, practically pulling on the sullied yellow threads as her body shuddered, tears pouring from her eyes once more when she’d thought she had no moisture left in her body to even produce them. Every fiber in her being was wracked with guilt over letting herself be used. She felt violated, and yet was somehow still convinced that it was her own fault.
    deltra of gangnam style

    WORDS: 1596/4994 | TAGS: @Vandrad Ragnos @Xavier Clarent


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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:

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 17th October 2023, 6:01 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    The Other Shoe RJtajUnz_o

    Saffron didn’t speak right away; in fact, she was quiet for quite some time. Cedric didn’t mind though, he knew that the kind of emotional agony that she had gone through wasn’t easy to just brush over. And despite her upfront, sassy attitude, he was very well aware that Saffron was a truly emotional woman and was especially a secret romantic. So learning that the man she had chosen to pursue a relationship with had lied to her on multiple levels… well, that was the kind of thing that could uproot a person’s entire world. Any thoughts of coming up as second place hadn’t even entered his mind -- all he cared about was making sure she was alright.

    When she finally spoke up, she first asked about Vandrad, wanting to know if he was alright. “He’s fine. Xavier used some kind of paralytic agent to completely immobilize him. He’s… well, he’s Vandrad about the whole thing.” She would certainly understand what that meant. When these kinds of stressful situations happened, the future king resolved to get annoyed and try to pick apart each moment to see not only where he had left himself wide open but what he possibly could have missed in terms of conversation or intent. Understandably, he had a lot to consider when it came to this particular attack.

    Silence fell between them again, Cedric remaining seated by her as she rummaged through her head on where to start her thoughts. Eventually she would speak again, stating the obvious; Xavier had lied to her, having been aware of who she was and who she was connected to. She’d never even suspected him for a moment and she allowed herself to care for the man that had caused so much pain to Vandrad and the greater portion of his family. She didn’t know how to face any of them and called herself stupid, grabbing at her hair angrily. Cedric reached over and took her hands in his, stopping her from causing any damage to her scalp. “Saffron, stop,” he urged her gently, sliding down from the stump to sit directly beside her. “There was no way you could have known. Some people… they’re just that good at hiding their intent. That isn’t a failure of yours, it’s just… bad luck. You are no more stupid than any of the rest of us.”

    Waiting for her to release her hair, he would gently pull her hands down to her lap. “There is a lot to unpack here. Vandrad said that when he was paralyzed, Xavier was arguing with someone -- someone who was telling him to kill him. But Xavier refused, saying that he was done with killing and was trying to make things right. Before they fought, Xavier had even insisted he wanted to explain things, though he still insisted on Vandrad being paralyzed for one reason or another. He also mentioned a name -- Ulthar, that means fuck all to any of us.” He stopped and let out a small sigh. “But I understand none of that matters right now. He lied to you and deceived you about who he was. Whether that was to get closer to Vandrad or for another reason, it doesn’t matter. You didn’t deserve that. And I’m sorry it happened.”

    He reached over and took one of her hands in his. “But none of Vandrad’s family is going to blame you. If anything, they are worried for you. Because you are not at fault here; he is. You were a woman who allowed yourself to care and he took advantage of that. That just makes you human, just like the rest of us. I never suspected him, he seemed genuine and I could tell that he truly cared for you. But that doesn’t matter now…” He shook his head solemnly. “I’m sorry, Saffron.”





    Words: 639/5323 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | © marzia at shine & gs.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Saffron Remington
    Saffron Remington

    Player 
    Lineage : Aspect of Pluto
    Position : None
    Posts : 252
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 1,310

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Saffron Remington 18th October 2023, 9:55 am



    COME AT ME AND YOU'LL SEE
    I'M MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

    --- YOU THINK THAT YOU'LL BREAK ME, YOU'RE GONNA FIND IN TIME ---
    Cedric confirmed that Vandrad was okay. He hadn’t really been very hurt, just got hit with a cheap shot that the future king was being exceptionally “Vandrad” about. Saffron certainly understood what he meant. Her mentor was always looking for ways to improve, and he was often less offended by being attacked by someone as he was by falling prey to tricks in battle that he felt he could have, or should have, avoided, treating them as learning opportunities.

    Saffron would have been amused if she weren’t completely wrapped up in other, more dominant emotions. She forced herself to speak, berating herself for allowing herself to be misled, only for Cedric to ask her to stop. He gently pried her hands from her hair and slid down to sit beside her on the ground, insisting that there was no way she could have figured it out sooner, not when Xavier had played his cards so close to the chest. She knew he was right, of course, but that didn’t make her feel any less ashamed of the situation.

    The blonde continued to keep her head down as Cedric went on, filling her in with some of the details that she hadn’t stuck around to hear directly from Vandrad himself. Supposedly, a third party had been involved in the mix somewhere, someone that was trying to convince Xavier to kill the former prince, but he’d refused. He’d claimed that he was done being responsible for taking the lives of others, and had even tried to insist on just talking to Vandrad from the start.. If with the caveat that Vandrad needed to be restrained first. While Saffron didn’t visually react to that information, she mentally gave a scoff; like Vandrad would ever agree to those kinds of terms. There was mention of someone called Ulthar that no one seemed to recognize, as well.

    Cedric cut himself off there, understanding that the information made very little difference toward how she was currently feeling. At the end of the day, Xavier still had treated her unfairly, no matter his reasons for doing so. However, the former Dread Master insisted that Vandrad and his family didn’t blame her for anything. They were simply worried about her, knowing that she was a victim in all of this. There was no fault in being human and caring for someone… though Cedric seemed to think that Xavier genuinely had feelings for her, based on his own limited interaction with the Rhaegarian before everything had gone to shit.

    “If he cared about me, he wouldn’t have led me on under false pretenses,” Saffron was quick to point out, her tone soft and despondent. People could argue all they wanted about whether or not Xavier had feelings for her, but when push came to shove he still allowed her to get close to him, knowing that she was close to Vandrad and that she might not have been as open to being with him if she’d known who he was. He’d had more than enough time and opportunity to respect her with the truth. It would have been one thing if he hadn’t discovered her connection with the du Wolffs until after the two of them had already started growing close to one another, but he’d known practically from the start.

    And the simple truth was that she wouldn’t have allowed herself to become romantic with him if she had known. She wouldn’t even have stayed in the band, at the very least not without confronting him and making it very clear on where she stood regarding his past actions. Gods, the first time she’d even met Seberg she’d gone out of her way to voice her lack of respect for Xavier, and now here she was, months later, discovering that she’d been on the path to nearly falling in love with the man. It was humiliating on a number of levels.

    Tightening her hand a bit around his own, she leaned over against him resting her head on his shoulder. It still felt.. dirty… relying on Cedric for comfort in that moment, though she knew that was her own baggage and upbringing. He wanted to be there for her and the simple truth was that she needed the support he was offering.

    They sat with one another for some time with the blond essentially crying in his arms before he suggested that it was time to go somewhere else before it got too dark out. Saffron wasn’t keen on going back to Fairy Tail, if only because she wasn’t ready to risk running into Vandrad just yet. While she knew the former prince wasn’t upset with her by any means, Saffron knew she would need a couple of days before she was ready to show her face again, if only to get herself in order. She’d been about to suggest getting herself a hotel in Oshibana for a while when Cedric offered for her to stay with him for a couple of days. It was an offer that she still felt a little bad taking, but she knew he was only offering because he wanted to be there for her, and also had the means to do so now that he had his own place. So they made their way back to her bike, and once she had the handles in hand he easily teleported them to Crocus.

    She spent the next couple days going back and forth between watching shows with Cedric, helping him get his apartment in order, and fixing up her bike. The motorcycle hadn’t maintained any mechanical damage but cosmetically she had a fair bit of work to do. The blonde ordered some parts that stores wouldn’t just have on the shelves and worked on repairing everything else she could do until those other items were in. But eventually the time came when she knew that she had avoided her other friends long enough. There was a difference between taking time to adjust to a difficult change and wallowing in self pity, the latter of which Saffron wanted to avoid, so for better or worse she decided it was time to face the du Wolffs.

    Once again, Cedric insisted on being with her so the two of them popped over to the island together. Saffron was doing her best not to look like she was thinking about running away again, stubbornly committing herself to reconnecting with Vandrad and his family, though anyone looking at her could see that she lacked her usual chipperness and confidence. They found Vandrad first, the future king awaiting them in a study. “Hey…” she greeted him quietly, her posture not necessarily apprehensive but certainly betraying her lingering sense of vulnerability. She was having some difficulty meeting his eyes. “Sorry I took off on you. It… wasn’t very cool of me.”
    deltra of gangnam style

    WORDS: 1141/6135 | TAGS: @Vandrad Ragnos @Xavier Clarent


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    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:

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 18th October 2023, 6:06 pm

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    The Other Shoe RJtajUnz_o

    Saffron was quite quick to state that if Xavier had cared about her, he wouldn’t have lied to her. Cedric nodded gently. “You’re right.” Whether the former ruler of Rhaegar truly did have feelings for Saffron or not was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. He had plenty of opportunity to tell her the truth, to come out with who he was and not deceive her. Whether he was trying to move on and have a fresh start, he should have known better than to keep something as large as his past from the woman he was spending time with -- especially since she was so connected to his past or at least portions of it. Saffron had every right to be angry about it and Cedric fully supported her in her anger.

    She leaned over and rested against his shoulder. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and held her against him, letting her let out her anguish in tears and sobs. There wasn’t any pressing issue they needed to get to and he normally would have let her stay right there but… she didn’t deserve to be sitting in the woods, in the dark, covered in grime and dirt. So once she had calmed down a little, he suggested they go somewhere else before it became too pitch black. And before she could suggest anything otherwise, he insisted she come and stay with him. Yes, things were going to be tense -- he could already tell she was wrestling with the fact that she was relying on him even this little bit. But he wasn’t there as a backup romance, he was there as her friend and nothing more. Making sure she was okay was far more important than any concerns about where they stood. Those questions wouldn’t be important for a very long time as far as he cared to worry.

    He got her situated at his semi-furnished apartment. Luckily he had a couch and a bed so it wasn’t like he was going to be sleeping on the floor. Days moved forward, with her helping him organize and fix up the place and taking breaks to watch many of their classic viewing programs. Other than that, she focused on fixing up her bike, which had taken some cosmetic damage in her rampage from Magnolia to Reinford to Oshibana. He’d let Vandrad and Mercury know she was okay and he was looking after her and would alert them to the moment she was comfortable seeing them again. There was no outside pressure for her to do anything than just… existing at the moment.

    But eventually, and arguably sooner than Cedric thought, she decided she wanted to see the du Wolffs. He made sure she was one hundred percent certain and once she was able to guarantee that, he offered to go with her as a sort of emotional support. He couldn’t imagine it was going to be very easy but she was brave enough to try. He zipped them over to New Rhaegar and headed into the manor, finding it surprisingly quiet. It only took a short exploratory walk to find Vandrad in one of the studies. He knew they were coming, of course but he’d still made a point of working on some things until they arrived.

    He glanced up from the papers he had laid out on the desk towards Cedric and Saffron. Unusually, the blonde bombshell was withdrawn, lacking her usual robust nature when she entered any room, especially ones with him in it. She greeted him softly and apologized for taking off, admitting it hadn’t been a good look. "You pursued your enemy, knowing I had aid there to help me. You reacted exactly how I trained you,” he replied, a bit more stoically than perhaps he meant, the mentor in him showing in all its fullness. "Don’t waste another second worrying about it. The only reason I even attempted to stop you was because I was worried for you, as silly as that sounds. Please, sit,” he said, gesturing to the couch on the side wall. He came around the desk and sat on the edge of it facing the pair. "Everyone else is waiting to see how you want to do this; if you’d rather see everyone at once or meet with them one at a time. Whatever makes you the most comfortable. But before we get to that; how are you feeling?”






    Words: 741/6064 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | © marzia at shine & gs.


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    Saffron Remington
    Saffron Remington

    Player 
    Lineage : Aspect of Pluto
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    Experience : 1,310

    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Saffron Remington 19th October 2023, 12:26 pm



    COME AT ME AND YOU'LL SEE
    I'M MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

    --- YOU THINK THAT YOU'LL BREAK ME, YOU'RE GONNA FIND IN TIME ---
    There wasn’t much activity in the manor that day. It took them some wandering before they ran into anyone, finding Vandrad in the study where he was doing work while waiting. He looked up from his paperwork and Saffron gave him a somewhat timid greeting before apologizing for running off and leaving him behind after his attack. The future king merely insisted that she’d done exactly how she’d been trained, and that his only hesitance had been his concern for her own safety, though in retrospect he realized that was a bit silly of him. He knew she could handle herself. Saffron hadn’t thought he was upset with her for taking off anyway, but her internalized awkwardness over the situation practically demanded that she say something to fill the silence, if only as a distraction.

    He asked her to sit and she did so without protest, making her way over to the couch and slowly sinking down onto it while Vandrad came around to the front of the desk. The rest of the du Wolffs were waiting to see how she wished to proceed, whether that be to address them all at once or individually. But first, Vandrad wanted to know how she was feeling.

    “Like shit,” she told him honestly. “I’m angry. And embarrassed. My entire life was brought to a screeching halt. I mean, the only reason we weren’t in a committed relationship yet was because I asked for some time to decompress after everything with Seberg and Maker. But… he made it clear that he wanted more. He was just waiting for me. And he was just… going to let me walk into that without knowing who he really was, when he knew from almost the beginning that I’m friends with you and your family.”

    Saffron crossed her arms over her chest, her gaze askance as her head dropped a bit. “And now he’s gone and I don’t know where the fuck he is. I got kicked out of Confidence after I broke down his damn door trying to find him. The band is done for, and right when we were starting to really build up our momentum. Or at the very least, I quit. Nik and Emma haven’t heard from him, either, and if he does reach out to them, they’re going to have several questions of their own. I didn’t give them all the details; just enough to know that he lied to me about who he really was and that he attacked you. They want their own answers.” She shook her head sadly. “It just sucks, y’know?”

    “But it is what it is.” With a resigned sigh, lifted her head again. “No need to draw this out with one on ones. Let’s just… get this over with.” There wasn’t going to be any avoiding the discomfort of facing Vandrad’s family again, and she’d rather just get it all done at once rather than draw it out longer than it needed to be.

    Thankfully, this wasn’t a big meeting with the entire clan. By now, word had surely spread through the manor about Xavier’s attack and his deceitful connection with Saffron. All she really wanted – all she really needed – was to just get past the initial hump of her embarrassment over everything that had happened, and she didn’t need his entire family for that.

    Soon, they were joined by Mercury, Themmy, and Cyrene. Saffron did her best not to fidget, greeting each of them with about the same level of energy as she had Vandrad. Once they were all settled about the room, she leaned forward with her elbows braced on her knees and her arms crossed over one another. “I didn’t find him,” the blonde explained, reiterating some of what she’d already told Vandrad moments ago. “His guild was pretty much the only place I had to look, and he hasn’t been back there since everything. If he’s got other places where he can hole up for a while, I don’t know about them.”

    “I keep…going back and thinking over our conversations for the past few months, trying to figure out if I ever said anything that put Vandrad or you guys at risk. I don’t think I did. He did ask questions from time to time, but… I never thought much about them. They seemed innocent enough, and always came up organically in conversation as far as I recall. I definitely never mentioned New Rhaegar or anything about your people. Not that I think he plans on trying anything, at least if his meeting with Mercury was any indication. Then again, he still went out of his way to get to Vandrad…”

    She shook her head. “I don’t know if I did anything to put Vandrad or any of you at risk, but I’m sorry all the same. Objectively, I know that it’s not my fault, but… that doesn’t make me feel less ashamed about it. You all have become important to me in a rather short amount of time. I take Cedric’s and my fights with Seberg personally because of everything he did to hurt your family, things that Xavier let him do. Encouraged him to do. Maybe he didn’t pull the trigger, but he still condoned all of it. He needs to be held accountable, and instead all this time I was…”

    Her voice trailed off. “I know that kind of stuff isn’t… quite as big a deal to the rest of you as it is to someone like me. I’m sure it bothers me more than it will any of you. Not that I consider myself a prude, but it’s just been a very long time since I put myself out there. My last real relationship, if you can call it that, turned me off to dating for a very long time. Addy – Adamina, my ex – she was very controlling and manipulative. She demanded all of my attention, never let me talk to or hang out with any of my friends without implying or straight up accusing me of cheating on her. That only got worse when I joined the army and was suddenly not around as often because I had to stay on base. I tried to break up with her several times, and she responded with threats to kill herself… even attempted it several times, only to turn around and cheat on me a few times and blame it on me for not being devoted or loving enough. And for a long time, I let myself believe that the things she was saying were true.”

    “When I finally did put my foot down on breaking things off, she lost her mind. Started stalking and harassing me, harassing my family, made more attempts on her life in the hopes that I would show up to check on her. We eventually had to go to court to file for a restraining order.” Saffron reached up a hand and rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly. She hadn’t talked to almost anyone about Addy. Cedric had been the first outside of those who had lived through it with her out in Bosco. But otherwise, she had kept it to herself, always presenting as a chipper, confident, and carefree woman that was otherwise well adjusted and took no crap from anyone.

    But the truth was that she had been heavily abused for a long time by someone that had claimed to love her, and it had made her a lot more insecure in herself than she presented on the surface. Saffron was opening up about it now not because she felt they were owed an explanation about her visceral reaction to all of this, but because she respected and trusted them, and wanted them to understand where she was coming from and why this was hitting her as hard as it was. “So this is all just… very, very familiar. Maybe Xavier didn’t abuse me… at least, not to the extent that Addy did. But he did lie to me and manipulated me, and all the years I’ve spent trying to heal and overcome what I already lived through just… feels like I’m back at square one. As much as I hate admitting it, now… I really liked him, and it just really sucks that the first time I let my guard down around my heart, I found myself in just the kind of situation I was always afraid of putting myself in again, with someone that I would never have considered had I known who he really was.”
    deltra of gangnam style

    WORDS: 1431/7566 | TAGS: @Vandrad Ragnos @Xavier Clarent


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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
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    Experience : 7,808,129

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Energy Monarch
    Second Skill: Ark of the Dread Masters
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    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Vandrad Ragnos 23rd October 2023, 11:29 am

    There’s no fair or unfair in battle.
    ( There is only victory or in your case, defeat. )
    The Other Shoe RJtajUnz_o

    Cedric remained at Saffron’s side, quiet and observant as she and Vandrad spoke to one another before the future king asked that they sit. He would follow her and sit beside her on the other edge of the couch, crossing his leg over the other and leaning against the arm as Vandrad came around and inquired as to how Saffron was. She was honest in her statement, saying that she felt badly, given how angry and abashed she was over the whole matter. She’d been made a fool of by Xavier, whom she was almost officially dating, save for a little bit of time and clarification. Hell, the man had seemed just as determined to make their pairing official, despite the massive secret that he was keeping, especially in spite of her relationship with the du Woffs.

    She continued, stating she hadn’t found him and didn’t even know where to begin looking. She’d gone to confront him at his guild and had been unceremoniously kicked out, the band was kaput as far as she figured, given her departure and telling her other bandmates that he’d lied to her and attacked Vandrad. They would want answers and she doubted it was going to assuage any concerns or anger on their part. It didn’t make things easier and she felt like crap but there wasn’t much else she could do. She opted to meet with everyone at once so that they could just clear the air in one larger meeting rather than several singular instances. Vandrad nodded. "Understood. I’ll go and get them,” the future king said, pushing up off the table. He paused and walked over to place a hand on Saffron’s shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze before he finally walked out of the room.

    “That’s about the closest thing to a hug I’ve seen him give anyone,” Cedric pointed out, inserting a little lightheartedness despite the situation. It did not take him very long to come back, bringing Mercury, Themesycia and Cyrene in tow with him. They all greeted Saffron gently and settled in around the room. Once they had, Saffron took a moment to collect her thoughts before she started, starting out by saying that she hadn’t found him. She had gone to the guild to try and find him but he hadn’t been there and any other hiding places he had, she didn’t know about them. She’d taken the time to reflect on all the conversations she’d had with Xavier over the prior months, wondering if she’d put Vandrad or any of them in danger by revealing anything she shouldn’t. She didn’t believe so, especially since Xavier had asked such innocuous questions that didn’t seem pointed towards them or the Rhaegarians at all. She hadn’t mentioned the island or anything about the rest of their civilization, though she doubted he had any plans to do anything beyond what he’d already done, given what he’d said to Mercury but he had still gone out of his way to attack Vandrad so any truth in his words was lacking at the moment.

    She circled back to not believing she had done anything to put them in danger but still apologized nonetheless. She understood she wasn’t at fault but she still felt embarrassed over the matter, given how important they all were to her. She had fought Seberg with a personal grudge over the actions he had  taken against the du Wolff clan, actions that he’d been allowed to make at Xavier’s behest or his ambivalence. She felt he needed to be held responsible for that and unfortunately, he’d deceived her and instead she had gotten close to him. She paused there, her voice trailing off before she continued. She spoke of how comfortable they all were with affections and how she was a bit more conservative with who she got together with. But she hadn’t committed herself to anyone in a long time due to a prior relationship with someone named Adamina. Apparently she was abusive, manipulative and controlling, trying to run Saffron’s life according to her schedule. She didn’t let the Fairy Tail mage have a healthy social life, often stating that she was out there cheating. Joining the military had only made things worse and when Saffron had attempted to dump the other woman, she’d threatened and attempted to kill herself or went out and cheated and tried to spin it as Saffron’s fault.

    Saffron had been caught up in it for some time but eventually had enough and broke things off. Adamina had nearly lost her mind because of it, stalking and harassing her and her family and had made more attempts on her life for sympathy. In the end, they had to file a restraining order to put the law between the two of them. So the situation with Xavier had hit home more than it may have with other people. True, Xavier hadn’t quite abused her like Adamina had but he had still manipulated and lied to her. She felt like she had been knocked down and back to where she had started and worse, in her opinion, was how much she had truly cared for Xavier. Somehow, she’d found herself in a similar situation as the first time she’d been in a relationship, despite how careful she had been and it had been with someone she would have crossed off if she’d ever known.

    The room was quiet for several long seconds afterward as everyone processed everything she had said. It was Cyrene who spoke up first. “I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this but you have nothing to be sorry for. And while our views on intimacy may differ, I feel we all can agree that any kind of connection, physical or emotional, should be respected. You kept yourself guarded for very good reason and Xavier’s betrayal of that trust is insulting and horrifying. Believe me, Saffron, it bothers us as much as it does you. Whether you want to be with one person or one hundred people, you opened yourself up for him and he abused that trust.”

    “I am sorry to hear about what happened with this Adamina. You are a wonderful person, whom we all cherish and respect, and you don’t deserve anything that has happened to you. I spent a… decent amount of time around Xavier, while I was imprisoned in the capital. Before that even, during the revolution. That boy idolized his father, though that wasn’t extraordinary; Roddrick Clarent was a diamond among the grime of our world. He was the man we all believed would be the greatest leader of our people. And we were robbed of him; struck down on the battlefield against overwhelming odds. At the time, he’d been led to believe that Bacchus du Wolff would be providing aid in that pivotal moment and he wagered more resources because of it. In the end, Bacchus never appeared, which we learned, once we arrived here, was because he’d come to Earthland for one reason or another. All Themmy, Simon and Ever knew was that they were told to forget Rhaegar. Roddrick was struck down… and Xavier was there to see it, holding his father in his arms until he passed.”

    Cyrene let out a soft sigh. “His anger was… understandable. But he let it fester and grow, even as he led the revolution to overall victory. Before we knew, Xavier was put forth as the new leader to replace Roddrick, a son to lead where his father was meant. There were hopes he’d take the same ideological path as his father but… as I said, his anger infected him. Anyone named du Wolff or even slightly related to them was rounded up to be imprisoned. Those that resisted were swiftly dealt with by Seberg, who hated the du Wolffs just as much as Xavier. It was hard to hate him for his grief, even in spite of his assault on our families. We Rhaegarians are notoriously protective of our own and have killed for less. But we’ve attempted to evolve past our baser inclinations, at least in those regards.”

    She looked at Saffron. “I’m not explaining this to excuse his actions; I firmly believe what he did was wrong and hurt you in a way no person should ever be hurt. He needs to be held responsible for his lies and deception. I just… felt you should also know the truth of him that he didn’t have the courage to give you himself.”

    “He needs to be rounded up. Our nation may still be days away from declaring but he has made an attempt against its king and has abused a member of its inner circle,” Themesycia spoke up, proclaiming Saffron as an important part of their family without hesitation. “We didn’t grow up on Rhaegar so our views on the matter may be different but Saffron is a close friend of all of our’s. And as a woman, I am furious for her.”

    “So no killing on sight then?” Cedric murmured.

    "No,” Vandrad said, crossing his arms. "Saffron deserves answers. We all do. His actions… don’t make sense. If he was looking to make a clean start and pursue a life as Trevor Winters, why track Mercury down and say he wants to make things right? And why would he then attack me with the intent of capturing me and ‘saving’ me? We have too many questions and no answers.”

    “We’ll find out. In the meantime, Saffron -- please let us know if there is anything you need or want from us. We are all here for you and though we can’t make the pain or anger go away, we still want to support you. Though this feels like a fall back down to the foundation of your growth, believe me when I say you have not fallen as far as you think. You have us here with you and together, we’ll help you get back to the woman you want to be. You’re one of us and unfortunately that’s a lifetime connection you can’t sever.”






    Words: 1682/7746 | Tag: @Mercury Arseneault @Saffron Remington | © marzia at shine & gs.


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    Saffron Remington
    Saffron Remington

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    The Other Shoe Empty Re: The Other Shoe

    Post by Saffron Remington 23rd October 2023, 4:47 pm



    COME AT ME AND YOU'LL SEE
    I'M MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

    --- YOU THINK THAT YOU'LL BREAK ME, YOU'RE GONNA FIND IN TIME ---
    Her answer for Vandrad was relatively short and sweet, at least in comparison to what she was going to say when everyone was present. The future king didn’t have anything to add, merely nodding and confirming that he’d go collect the other. As he walked by, he reached out and put a hand on her shoulder, giving it a comforting squeeze. The act caught Cedric off guard and he voiced his humor on the matter during the brief minute they were alone. Saffron smirked. “You should have been there the one time he actually hugged me,” she remarked dryly. “We promised each other we’d never talk about it.”

    Moments later Vandrad returned with Mercury, Themmy, and Cyrene in tow, and the blonde launched right into what she wanted to say before she lost her nerve. It was a bit of a debrief of sorts, with Saffron wanting to make sure they were all on the same table as far as Xavier was concerned, exchanging what information she had – which wasn’t much – about him. But it was also to express her embarrassment and guilt over the way she’d been swindled by the man, opening up about her past dating experiences so they could understand what she was struggling with.

    The room was quiet when she finished. Understandable, given the weight of what she’d confessed. After a few beats of silence it was Cyrene that spoke first, assuring Saffron that she had nothing to be sorry for, and no matter how Saffron’s views on romance and intimacy differed from Rhaegarian views, they shared the sentiment that one’s romantic partners should be respected. Xavier had not respected her, and that was the former god-king’s responsibility to address.

    Saffron listened quietly as Cyrene went into a little bit of her own history and experiences with Xavier, explaining how hard his father’s death had hit him. It had sown seeds of grief that rooted deep, blossoming into festered anger that became focused on the du Wolffs and anyone related to them. It was a reaction that none of them could really blame him for, since Rhaegarians were fiercely protective of their families. It didn’t excuse his actions, either past or present, of course, but it did paint a picture of the path that Xavier had walked to get to where he was today. Cyrene firmly believed that he would need to own up to what he’d done, but she hoped that her words would at least give Saffron some perspective. The blonde nodded slowly.

    Themmy was less compassionate toward the wayward Rhaegarian. He had attacked Vandrad, practically on the eve of them stepping forth to declare themselves a kingdom, and in doing so had used Saffron as well, whom she considered part of their “inner circle”. In fact, she stated outright that she was furious on Saffron’s behalf. It was a little odd – and more than a little flattering – to see Themmy so animated about it, if one could call it that. She was still as composed as ever, but there was a palpable anger to her that she hadn’t even seemed to show whenever Khelben was brought up in conversation, despite the fact that almost everyone else seemed to hate the man’s guts. The Ashen Dread was insistent that Xavier be brought in to face the consequences.

    Of course that meant that he needed to be found and kept alive, much to Cedric’s voiced chagrin. Vandrad doubled down on not killing the former Rhaegarian ruler, insisting that all of them, particularly Saffron, deserved answers. Much of Xavier’s words and actions simply didn’t add up, and the only one who could answer their questions was Xavier himself. Saffron’s gaze flicked back up to Themmy as she insisted that they be notified if Saffron needed anything at all. She assured the Fairy Tail mage that she had not regressed as far back as it probably felt, and all of them would be there to keep her head held up high… mostly because she was already a part of their lives and apparently wasn’t going to be getting out of that very easily.

    Saffron smirked, an expression that wasn’t as deep as she typically held it but was genuine none-the-less. “I highly doubt Van would let me even consider it. Frankly, kind of surprised he didn’t show up after the first day or two to drag my ass back to training.” She flashed him a teasing look, earning a small chuckle from most of the room. Then, she returned her eyes back to Themmy, as well as Cyrene. “But… thank you. Both of you. I just need time to adjust and… fight back a few of my resurfaced demons. Though honestly, I probably will still be a bit low for a while.” Being able to at least confront Xavier would help. Or at least, it would give her a chance to let her frustrations out on the one who deserved the lashing. But in the meantime, she just needed patience from those around her while she fought to find her emotional center again.

    Mercury had been abnormally quiet the entire time, the Xocili leaning up against the desk close to Vandrad. It had been hard for her to listen to Saffron’s testimony. Not just because it was horrifying to hear the kind of abuse that Saffron had dealt with, which Mercury would have ever assumed or guessed even this far along into their friendship. But also because it had put an extra measure of added weight to her own guilt over what had happened with Xavier.

    “Saff…” she finally voiced, finding her courage and forcing herself to meet the blonde’s eyes. “I just… I want you to know how sorry I am. I had no idea that he was Trevor. When he came to Silver Wolf, he introduced himself as Xavier and he never once mentioned his Earthland alias or anything that could have connected the pieces for me. Looking back now, I can only assume he left out a lot of things out of fear that we would piece your connection to him together…”

    Saffron frowned sourly, though the expression was more at the truth of what Mercury was saying rather than the apology that Mercury was getting to. The future queen continued. “Anyway… ignorance doesn’t excuse what I did. I really am.. So sorry for my part in your getting hurt.”

    “No.” Saffron’s single, firm word brought any further words on Mercury’s part to a close, the Xocili blinking at her apprehensively. For the briefest of moments it seemed like Saffron might be rejecting the apology, but that wasn’t the case at all. The blonde sighed and leaned forward, holding the other woman’s gaze squarely. “No, in this case ignorance does excuse it. For all that I tease you about playing fast and loose with your vagina, I know for a fact that you would never, ever have done that on purpose. Xavier deceived you as much as he did me, and that’s not on you. It’s on him.”

    “And even then, it’s only him to a point. I was pretty firm about wanting to take things slow with him, and not form any commitments too quickly. It was a shitty thing for him to do, don’t get me wrong, and certainly not the action of a man that claimed to care about me as much as he did… but he also wasn’t aware about my lack of interest in sharing sexual partners with you until recently; it’s not exactly the sort of thing that comes up in conversation without very specific prompts.”

    “But even then, I don’t dislike you or lack respect for you so much that I would truly write off someone that I saw potential with just because they’d slept with you at some point. Mostly I keep that standard up because it amuses me and, I feel, contributes to our friendship.” Saffron gave Mercury a playful look before her expression sobered again. “But you are my friend, Merc. I’m not mad at you. I never was. I don’t plan on holding this against you, and it changes nothing about how I see you or the respect I have for you. We’re good. I promise.”

    Mercury swallowed a little, fighting back a surge of emotion before she finally nodded and offered a small smile. “Okay. Thank you, Saff.”

    There was another beat of silence as the conversation came to a close before Saffron finally gave her thigh a light slap. “Alright, well, that’s about all the mushy, heartfelt emotion I have in me for the next month. If it’s all the same to the rest of you, I’m gonna have Vandrad and Cedric and whoever else wants to join us go punch me a few times out in the courtyard until I feel more like myself.” With that, she stood and stretched before leading the way to get in some long overdue training.
    deltra of gangnam style

    WORDS: 1495/9061 | TAGS: @Vandrad Ragnos @Xavier Clarent


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