Other [FanFic] Rose & Sunflower 2: Vox Arcana (Updates MWF) -Ch 51 [27 January] -COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Fan Works' started by Risukage, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. ApertureGaming011

    ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Oh lys, you daredevil bastard. I really like the way the fsnfic is going. I think this is sparking an inspirating!
      Risukage and Pudassassin like this.
    • Risukage

      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

      *Laughs.* So you have a third story in mind now? Or simply new ideas for your existing tales? Regardless, it's delightful to see someone go, "hey, you know what, now I want to do something..."
      • ApertureGaming011

        ApertureGaming011 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

        I want to add things like those in my fanfics if it will help me get feedback (last time i got one was a month ago). Or perhaps... A SOASE crossover?
        • Risukage

          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

          //I am really enjoying the backstory and drama I'm developing for this. Ideas are just rushing in and I like where things are going. Like I said in R&S 1, I know how it starts and how it will end, but the "getting there" is still a work in progress, and will evolve as the story writes itself. In the meantime, our heroes wind down with a nice cup of tea and another info-dump. Grab a cup for yourself and relax, try not to doze off. :)//

          Lys rubbed at his arms as he followed Rasmodius back to the main room. It almost felt strange to be back in his normal clothes, after the protection and freedom that his other garb had offered him. Linus nodded to them cordially before disappearing in a swirl of light.

          "Drink up," instructed Rasmodius, "Gil will procure a small bundle of the herbs and materials you will need in order to brew this yourselves. I will answer any questions that you have at this time, within my ability and within reason." Lys reached for the cup that Elliott had just poured for him before pausing to think of something, then pulled out his phone to stare at it, prompting Sam to laugh at him.

          "What, you spent so much time using magic today you forgot how technology works? I'll give you a hint, you use it to talk to people."

          "Not that, you dingus. Where the hell was it?"

          "Uh, in your pocket, duh."

          "Exactly." There was a thoughtful silence around the table as Lys stood up, put away his phone, and shifted back up into his Empowered state, staggering on his feet at the sudden drain on his power. Elliott supported him until he was able to regain his balance, and he immediately reached into the pocket that he had just used and pulled out his phone again. Amused, he set it on the table and rummaged through the rest of his pockets, just now noticing that he had the same number and location of them as he did with his normal clothes.

          "Okay, that's just nifty. It looks like magic is 'smart' enough to recognize what is clothing and what are items and accommodate for it. I've got everything I started with today. Even..." He brushed the carved pendant at his throat with his fingers and breathed a sigh of relief, also seeing the platinum ring on his left hand. "So I retain those in this state as well. Neat, we'll have to tinker with this in the future."

          "Oh man, I just thought of a thing," remarked Sam with his ever-present grin, "you remind me so much of that one series now that I think of it. Sind sie die essen, nein, wir sind die Jaeger!" he sang, and Lys laughed in reply.

          "I can sorta see the weapon and fighting style parallels, but I've got wings and not grappling hooks. Though my butt would look great in those pants and that harness setup. Besides, none of the walls in town are that high, and our enemies came from underground." Rasmodius shrugged, arms folded across his chest.

          "Your armor has many abilities, and more than simply being impressive or decorative. You are protected from your respective elements in that state, your defenses in general are stronger, when Linked and focused you can avoid or repel each other's elements, and drawing upon your own power your armor can turn aside nearly any attack, in addition to being able to repair itself if you concentrate and have enough mana left." Once again searching his pockets, Lys pulled out his lighter, flicked it open, and held the flame under his opened palm for several seconds.

          "Yeah, this isn't bothering me. It's taking a bit of my mana to keep me from being hurt by it, but I can feel the flame and absorb it if I need to. Interesting." Releasing his Empowered state again, Lys sat back down, almost unsuccessfully hiding fatigue as he dropped the lighter on the table. "Hey, Ras, those herbs, can I grow them myself?"

          "First, do not call me 'Ras,' as you have not yet earned that privilege. Second, it is not so much a matter of permission but ability, but yes, you are able to grow these at your home. Linus should have prepared some cuttings for you already and will show you what needs to be done when you return home tonight. Having them close at hand and cultivated yourself will make them more potent and accessible for all of you, and I'd rather you took care of it yourselves rather than having to pester me each time you need a pick-me-up." Sam rolled his eyes and took a long drink of his tea.

          "Damn, dude, you don't have to be such a grump. Lys and I can be a pain in the ass but I didn't think that we were that bad." Rasmodius shot him an angry violet glare before pacing back and forth across the room. Marlon and Gill were forced to dodge aside as they returned down the stairs, nearly getting shoved aside by their companion.

          "Your healer was very close to being critically injured this morning, and your fire-wielder almost burned himself out completely, in addition to nearly killing himself out of foolish curiosity later on. If I am vexed then I have a good reason to be. We were unprepared and unwarned for this situation and are scrambling to ensure that you have the knowledge and power to combat this enemy, and I fear that it will not be enough. So forgive me if I am trying to prevent having the blood of others on my hands once more." Elliott set down his cup and peered at Rasmodius critically, running a finger around the rim.

          "You stated earlier that some of our predecessors have perished in battle with these beasts. Please elaborate."

          "Hey, yeah," Sam piped up, "there's only four of you here, where are the other three?"

          "They fell in combat against Umbra Volatus. Our battle was arduous and costly, and even those who survived carry scars." All three men looked suddenly old and tired, lost in the pain of old memories. "Every generation is the same; no matter how hard we try to prepare you and how hard you train, the beast is eternal and his memory long. We mortals fight with strength and conviction, but every time he returns he learns from the past and never repeats his mistakes. That is why we do this, because we had no such guidance then and seek now to prevent the future loss of life. The Junimos have always done this on their own in the past, but with our assistance, the Chosen after us have had better chances, but even so..." Rasmodius stopped pacing and stopped at his work area, placing both hands on a table for support as he sagged with the weight of time and memory. There was one question that they all wanted to ask, and it was Alex who finally spoke up.

          "Before you were Activated and began training others, how many survived the final fight?" The cold silence from all three elders was the answer that nobody wanted to hear, either. Marlon walked over to Rasmodius and put a hand on his shoulder as the wizard pulled out his pocketwatch again, opening it not to the clock but a picture within.

          "Ras, how many times do I need to say it? We're here and able to do this because of her."

          "If I had just-"

          "Damn, it Ras! We've been over this a thousand times and I'll say it a thousand more! With our Voice dead we couldn't Link up and that damn beast knew it. He crippled us from the start and we're all alive now because she put our safety ahead of her own. Quit beating yourself up. You know she'd be angry at you for holding onto her memory like that. Let it go and remember the good times." Closing the watch, he clasped it in his fist, holding it close.

          "I failed her, Marlon. I will never forgive myself for being unable to protect the person who meant the world to me." The Chosen sat quietly, almost uncomfortable at being privy to the private conversation, and Lys and Elliott reached for each other's hand at the same time, sharing a quick smile of understanding as they realized each other's intention. The mood shifted as a portal opened up and Lewis stepped through, followed by Linus.

          "I still can't believe that the stories really are true. I know you explained this to me when I became mayor, and I understood it when you showed me proof, but-" He stopped abruptly as he saw who sat around the table and gaped in shock. "No... No! Not them! By the light, you can't-"

          "This isn't our decision," Gil sighed, patting Lewis on the back, "the Junimos choose those who are most connected to the land and its energies, and are therefore the best equipped to fight for it. You've heard their music and seen how well they work together, and we just saw how well they can fight together. They'll be fine. Believe in them." Marlon gave Rasmodius a look of sadness but support as he approached Lewis.

          "Follow me, please, I'll brief you on everything we've learned and what you'll need to do in order to protect and guide the townsfolk. You can talk with the Chosen tomorrow, but right now they've had a hard session of training, and that's after a rough Activation." They walked off to one of the other doors and took a set of stairs down, and Rasmodius stood quietly for a moment longer before putting away the pocketwatch.

          "Long have we been guardians and watchers. And long have we carried the knowledge and pain of those before you who gave their lives to protect everyone else. We must do so, because nobody else can. Everything about this, us, you, the dragon... It must all remain stories and myths, and the memory of those who fell must fade into it as well. We alone carry the burden of remembering, and with each generation of Chosen that weight grows more heavy." Haley sniffed and dabbed at tears with a handkerchief.

          "But... Why do people have to forget? What's so wrong with knowing what happened?" Squeezing Elliott's hand, Lys answered for the wizard.

          "Because people can't handle something this unnatural. We're all a bit strange as it is, and we grew up around stories and games and being immersed in alternate worlds. It's natural for us to think like this and adapt, but think about your parents and many others in town. Most people can't handle anything that isn't 'normal.' They wouldn't understand. I'm not speaking badly of anyone else, but I've done theater and acting for as long as I can remember, and I know how people think. They'll happily believe and accept anything if it's a story, but reality needs to conform to specific parameters. Further, what do you think they'd do if they knew? They'd ask the same things we did but demand answers that cannot be given. How can we defeat the dragon permanently? Why are these abilities limited and why don't we have a standing army at all times? It's more dangerous to people for them to know than to remain unaware of this." Sam looked unusually downcast, holding his half-drunk tea in both hands.

          "Lys is right. When we were coming back down here I was thinking the same thing. Dad's a Soldier, fighting in the war right now, and I thought, just for a second, I could help him. With this power I could obliterate the bad guys and keep our people safe. But that means using this power against other humans, not shadow-monsters, and with too many people with access to our abilities... I don't think everyone else would be so ethical. This has to stay a secret."

          "You might have to fight humans anyway," Rasmodius sighed, "there are people who have in the past pledged themselves to the Shadow. They are dark and twisted people, seeking power and domination, uncaring of the toll it will take on others. Should you encounter them show them no mercy. They know fully what it is they are doing, and like you, their power is granted through desire, it cannot be forced upon someone." Frowning, Sebastian put down his now-empty cup as Abigail refilled it and hers.

          "How many, and how often? And why are you so sure that they're beyond help? Maybe they're just confused or were lied to."

          "Too many, and too often. Not every generation, but most have had humans on the side of the Shadows. They call themselves the Gifted, as they sought out the Shadows specifically to seal a pact, as opposed to those who receive their power through the blessing of the Junimos. You may have been Activated unexpectedly, but you were not unwilling in assuming the mantle of being chosen. Rather, you all have embraced it and worked in synchronous from the beginning. Before you realized what you could do you still ran at the Shadow swarm, not away. You all are already stronger and braver than those before you. Perhaps...there might be hope..." Silence fell across the table again as everyone let the information sink in, realizing the very real possibility that the fight would not end completely in victory. Unable to take the tension anymore, Lys stood up and slammed his hand on the table.

          "No." Everyone glanced up in surprise, wondering what triggered this outburst. He looked around the table, making eye contact with everyone one by one as he spoke. "No. I won't allow it. Nobody dies, nobody gets hurt. We will all do this together and we will all come back. Sam will write a kick ass rock opera about it while Elliott and I novelize it, and Abigail will draw the most amazing graphic novel. Alex will go on to be a star gridball player and Haley will achieve her dream of making a living of photographing hot men. We will fight together and together we will win." He smiled warmly now, spreading his arms wide to encompass everyone.

          "Because I believe in everyone here, in the strength that every one of you carry, and because I love you all as friends and family. That thought, that power, that's what keeps me going. Because I want to see all of you smile and laugh, and to help you all achieve your dreams. You are amazing, all of you, and the love I've received from you has made me a better person." Without looking, he reached over and felt Elliott lace his fingers with his own. "I've never been stronger or more confident in my life, and I will fight to my last breath to defend everyone here. Sam once said that you all are better people simply because I believed in you, and you believed it as well. We are going to be brilliant. Besides," his smile suddenly got cheeky and his posture more flamboyant, "how many songs are there about the power of love and how it's unstoppable and everything? Nothing can stop us!" Laughter and shouts of support resonated around the table, and only Lys was in the right position to see Rasmodius smile, albeit a bit sadly.

          "...Yes, there is hope after all..." He removed his hat and inspected it, turning it in his hands a couple of times before donning it again. "You all carry the song of the valley, as well as one that binds you all together. It is more than mere thaumic entanglement that connects you, it is mutual love and respect, and I am certain that you all will overcome any obstacle you encounter. Never, ever underestimate the power of a suitably determined and motivated Bard. Even I find myself inspired now. Remember your song, Lysander, the one passed down to you through your family. It is the song of this valley and will guide and protect you all." Abigail realized something and groaned.

          "But there's more than just this valley. We have classes and musical gigs, Alex has practice... What are we going to do about that? I mean, are we stuck here until this is done? If we're free to roam what happens if something attacks and we're out of town? Ugh, this is going to be a mess, isn't it?"

          "Not as much as you might worry. Your abilities will work outside of this valley, though it will be more difficult to replenish your mana. If distant, you can still teleport to any of your attuned destinations, although it will cost more power the farther you are. It will also be possible to use the portal shards if you are together. You will be free to live your lives as you need, provided you adhere to the training and lessons that we provide to you. If fortune sees fit to favor us, you should be able to complete your out-of-town activities without the concern of being recalled unexpectedly. Repelling a Shadow attack depletes their numbers and energy, and it takes a few days for them to properly regroup and resummon. Further, once you are attuned to each other, it will be possible to teleport directly to each other if you are able to Link through your Voice. Haley, you will be vital in establishing and maintaining communication between your friends, as well as being a conduit for power. You all will draw both passively and directly from your surroundings, but the Voice can allow you to channel much more than you could unaided, and this will be a vital skill to master in your upcoming battles." Gil returned to the room, weighed down by seven satchels, which he passed to everyone.

          "This should be enough tea for everyone for a week. Instructions are in there, and Linus will meet with you in the morning, Lysander, to show you how to plant and care for the live plants. We'd do it today but there are a few things we want to investigate while the trail is still fresh. Ras, you can take care of the rest from here? Marlon finished briefing Lewis a few minutes ago, and as soon as he's back we're off to hit the mines."

          "Very well. I will send them on their way for the evening myself. Good hunting." Gil tipped his hat and teleported away in a swirl of light. Sighing, Rasmodius shook his head again. "Your last lesson for the day is to attune to the statues in town. In that bag is a map with their locations. You have already attuned to this tower, and as such are able to return at any time. We will meet again tomorrow morning at Lysander's home, do not keep me waiting. For now, I will sent you back to the community center so that you may retrieve your belongings there and return home as normal." With a wave of his hand, the black circle into nothing appeared. "I bid you all a good night and a restful sleep. And for what it's worth, I do wish to see all of you safely through this."

          One by one, they entered the portal and found themselves back in the community center, everything as they had left it.
            Gabaw, Pudassassin, Minimanta and 2 others like this.
          • Pudassassin

            Pudassassin Hard-To-Destroy Reptile

            Wow, you nailed down the backstories, nice work!
              Risukage and Gabaw like this.
            • Gabaw

              Gabaw Scruffy Nerf-Herder

              Looks like it's all starting to sink in. Pretty heavy :p but i believe tho. i believe that Haley will photograph men in attack on titan gear suits :rofl: Definitely a few badass lines here as well and I always enjoy seeing them. Lys has taken it upon himself to bring his people home alive. It's one heck of a task but if anyone can pull it off, he has the drive to do it. Will it be possible tho? I guess that remains to be seen... It could go either way!
                Risukage and Pudassassin like this.
              • Risukage

                Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                Well, since there were no back stories to speak of, I was sorta free to create my own. Muahahaha. Though I do feel the need to point out that I built the framework for this story before 1.1, so if there are major discrepancies with "canon" elements it's because those elements were not yet canon. :D

                Trying to add a bit of, well, peril, because as fun a romp as this will be, they are facing a real and dangerous threat, but I despise heavy-handed narratives and pointless angst. Though as silly/meta as it is, I'm having quite a bit of fun referencing and riffing on All The Things right now, and I refuse to apologize for it. R&S1 was a serious story and followed our heroes as they grew personally and inter-personally. Now? It's time for them to have fun. Especially since, as you noted, I seem to have a bit of a talent for pulling out the badass/kickass dialogue and snarky quips. And Lys? Well, he's already proven that he can do reality-breaking things just because he thought he could. Let's see if he can do it again. :)

                (Also, when I have the time to draw next week I want SO bad to try sketching him in the Wings of Freedom outfit. It'll be a bit rubbish, but I've gotta practice somehow. :D)
                  Gabaw, Alkanthe and Pudassassin like this.
                • Risukage

                  Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                  //*YAAAAAAAAAAAWN.* Long night, not much sleep, need coffee SO BAD. Have a cute chapter of cute stuff, 'cause I wanted to write this because damn it, it's cute and sweet and it just fits them. More shenanigans on Monday, but for the moment, our heroes are taking care of final business for the day and having a bit of a wind-down.//

                  Nobody spoke for a minute as they sat back down where they had been earlier that afternoon. Alex picked up the crumpled soda can and looked at it with a smile, suddenly thinking of something. Crushing it further between his hands, he rolled and shaped it into a sphere before flattening it out into a neat, flat square. Focusing intently, he began to fold it as though it were a piece of paper, and everyone watched with fascination as a flower took shape, which he offered to Haley.

                  "Oh, sweetie! That's so sweet and clever, thank you!" She kissed him on the cheek, and he chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck.

                  "It just occurred to me that I could do something like that when I picked it up, y'know? I felt so strong and invulnerable in that armor, but I suddenly wanted to see if I could do something small and delicate, too." Sam was typing furiously on his phone, and Sebastian leaned over his shoulder to see what he was doing.

                  "Electrical engineering? Magnetic fields? What's that all about?" Flashing his friend a thousand-watt grin, he waggled his phone for emphasis.

                  "Making notes for stuff to look up later. I've got SO many good ideas, and I wanna do a bit of research to make it all happen. There's a lot of stuff that's already intuitive 'cause of that genetic magic memory or whatever it's called, but-" He stopped as something amazing came to mind, and his eyes widened almost as much as his smile. "Guitar. Electric guitar."

                  He sprang up from his seat and picked up his guitar, which was on its stand but not plugged in. Slinging the strap over his head, he settled it in place, examining it with new eyes as he ran his fingers over the instrument, attuning with it completely. That smile returned with a brilliant intensity as he played a loud rock chord, which by any normal means should have been impossible. Unable to resist the call of song, Lys bounded over to his bass, and Sam, knowing exactly what he was thinking, extended himself to the other instrument that was also disconnected. Doubly impossibly, the bass produced music as well, and they launched into one of their guitar-heavy songs, singing in harmony, joined shortly by Elliott on piano, who likewise could not sit still. Abigail picked up the beat on drums only a few bars later, feeling the sound and vibration of her instrument like she never had before; her element was wind, air, and she could hear the way sound carried through it in a new way, giving her ideas. Swept up in the moment, Sebastian took his place at the keyboards, almost dancing in place at the infectious energy radiated by the two guitarists.

                  They only played the one song, but all of the fatigue and concern that they had carried back with them was gone. Bouncing up and down, Sam giggled incoherently as he tried to articulate a sudden avalanche of musical inspiration, putting his guitar down to sit in front of and type furiously on the laptop, jotting down every thought before it could have the chance to escape. Laughing with delight, Lys returned the bass to its stand and hugged Elliott from behind, kissing him brightly, and Abigail and Sebastian were already engaged in a back-and-forth discussion about theories and ideas for their abilities. Haley was still humming the song, eyes unfocused as her thoughts turned inward, considering and contemplating the spontaneous act of performance and how everyone connected to each other. With a sigh and a lengthy stretch, Alex stood up.

                  "Sorry to be the voice of reason, but we just had a long day and still have to do a couple of things before we can go home. Might as well take care of it while we're still going strong, right?"

                  "You are correct," agreed Elliott, "I do not yet feel exhaustion, yet I am certain that when it finds me I shall be quite unaware of its presence until too late. May I suggest that we finish attuning to this location, then our home, the mountain, and then the ocean? Lysander and I can leap ahead to provide a reference point for everyone else, and we can go from there." Sebastian picked up his backpack and the satchel of tea, nodding.

                  "Good idea. Most everyone lives close enough to the beach that it'll be a shorter trip home after, and it'll just leave me to pop back up the mountain, and you two back to the farm."

                  "Well, I've got this place locked in, so I'll blip back home," offered Lys, retrieving his own backpack and satchel, as well as Resonance, "see you all in a few minutes, I'm going to drop all of this inside as soon as I get back so be careful if you're going to try to 'port in directly on my location." He disappeared in a swirl of light, followed by Elliott, who was in possession of Harmony and his relative satchels. With an easy, smooth stride, Lys jogged from the back of the property where the statue was to the back door of his home, setting everything just inside the door to run back so that everyone else wouldn't have far to go. He felt a tingle in the back of his mind as Haley "requested" a Link, and he complied, smiling as he felt the points of light of his friends through that link. Without really knowing how, just knowing how, he let them connect to his mind, letting them "see" where he was. Five lights appeared and faded as they jumped to his location.

                  "Not sure how, but I already knew how to get here," he remarked, "maybe it's because I've lived here so long, or because I already had a latent link when I found this thing last year." Abigail shrugged, poking the statue curiously.

                  "Good question. I've been up and down the mountain for years, but I don't have the location in my head. Sebby does, so maybe it's a 'home' thing. Anyone got a lock on the beach?"

                  "While I cannot explain it myself, I do possess a link to the statue on the coast, even though I encountered it only once. Perhaps it is a matter of it being one's 'home,' as Lysander has spent considerable time in my company at my cabin, but I do not know if he can access that location."

                  "Nope, I can't. So the 'home' theory holds water, so to speak. You know, I wonder... I'll have to test idea later, but for now, if we're all set up here, let's get set up at your place, 'Bas."

                  "Okay, gimmie a sec." He disappeared, and they waited for him to give the 'go ahead' signal through the link. It was Lys's turn to reach out through their connection, finding Sebastian's mind, and he suddenly knew exactly where to go and how to do it. With his friend as an 'anchor,' he teleported to his location, automatically offsetting so that he would not collide with him or anyone else. Once the other six were familiar with this new location, it was Elliott's turn to lead the last jump to the beach, and moments later the mountain was silent and empty.

                  "It's not quite as much fun as riding a motorcycle, but it is pretty damn amazing," Lys remarked to Sebastian, who grinned in agreement. Elliott was looking out over the ocean, lost in thought, smiling faintly, and as soon as he had attuned to the last location, Lys approached him, brushing his back gently. He nodded in reply, humming something to himself, and Lys left him to his ideas, having one of his own. The fire pit was still where it had always been, and was still stacked with wood, damp as always from the moist ocean air. Snapping his fingers, Lys produced a spark on the logs, willing it to catch, and nurturing it to life. The fire was slow to build, but it crackled warmly as the wood dried out and got up to ignition temperature. Everyone save Elliott took a seat around it, enjoying the warmth and light it provided against the backdrop of the setting sun. Recognizing the look that Lys always wore when he felt the urge to perform, Haley reached into her bag, pulling out her video camera.

                  Humming the same song to himself, Lys reached out with his hand and mind and called a bit of the flame to himself. A ribbon of fire wound itself around him, flickering and weaving like a living thing as it fed off of his mana, and as though it were an old habit, shifted back up to his Empowered state, even though he should have been too tired to do so. Continuing to hum the song he felt, he danced with it, a duet of life, moving on the sand with complete freedom of self and mind, feeling delight at the physical representation of his current mood. Somewhat aware of his husband's actions, Elliott extended his mind to the ocean, having studied and connected with it in the time he'd been standing there.

                  The other chosen watched with fascination as Elliott adopted Lys's rolling, fluid stride as he walked toward the water, shifting up as well as he stepped out onto the ocean's surface, which froze neatly into a fractal -edged circle of arcane power, inlaid with runes. The Gem Sea was massive and slow to move, but Elliott could feel how it moved, and nudging it, guiding it, infusing it, he called it to himself and danced with it as well. The circle under his feet continued to follow his steps, with ice spiraling out around him as he wove and wound tendrils of water into a gently weaving dance, mirroring Lys's. Where Lys was flashy and energetic, Elliott was stately and powerful. They reached out to each other's minds at the same time through the Link, asking the same thing: dance with me. Everyone else could feel and hear it, and though Sam would usually have laughed and sassed them for something so dramatic and silly, he sat quietly, smiling to himself as he vicariously experienced the exhilaration his friends felt.

                  Without fear or hesitation, Lys stepped from sand to ice, trusting his partner to support them both. Water and flame twined around them as they lost themselves in the energy, in the mutual joy of resonating with each other and their respective elements. Sharing their thoughts, they felt how each other guided and controlled their abilities, gaining a deeper understanding of the other person, feeling more alive and connected than they ever had before. Haley had carefully followed Lys as he had joined Elliott, and now filmed from the shore, trying not to sway in time with their dance as she felt the music that they carried and shared through the Link, in addition to the sensations of mutual respect and trust, and the joy of life and sharing it with someone else. Lys's laugh of pure delight carried over the water, echoed by Elliott; bright and energetic, deep and warm.

                  Their urge to test their powers sated, they released the elements that they had held onto, standing alone on the ice, feeling the rush of adrenaline and mana. Wrapping Lys in a warm embrace, he kissed him softly, feeling the harmonic tingle through the Link, loath to break the connection just yet.

                  "We should get back," Lys whispered, breaking away for only a moment, "I can feel you getting tired, and I don't know if you can support us both out here much longer."

                  "You are correct, though I think you will forgive me for desiring to prolong this moment as long as I can." With sure footing and unwavering confidence, Lys returned to shore next to Elliott as the ice faded behind them. Once upon the sands, they released their Empowered forms and stepped back down, sighing at the loss of the power and connection that they had shared. Stopping the recording, Haley checked the camera and giggled with satisfaction.

                  "Oh, this is going to be amazing. We'll never be able to share it with anyone else, but this will be such a great memory to watch again in the future. You two are just so elegant together."

                  "After today's events I suddenly felt the draw to reconnect with the element next to which I had lived for a year. I feel a greater connection and understanding of it now, and I simply could not contain a moment of flamboyant enthusiasm. I believe that I also understand the warmth and drive that Lysander feels at all times, the exuberance and love for life that inspires moments of spontaneous expression." Lys chuckled again, squeezing Elliott's hand.

                  "And I think I've got a better understanding of that patient strength you always carry. Though I'm feeling a bit weak now. It was a really long day, and I kicked my own ass up and down this place." Sebastian had helped Abigail to her feet and picked up their bags, approaching the three by the ocean's side with his hands in his pockets.

                  "I'll catch you in the morning at your place, then. And that dance out there should have been goofy or strange, but it was actually neat to watch. You guys have something good going on. Hell, even Sam was fascinated, and he's usually full of piss and vinegar." Their spiky-haired friend had also gotten to his feet and was brushing the sand off of himself.

                  "That's 'cause I don't snark on stuff that's genuinely cool. I still remember when I nearly got his ass drowned last year, and seeing that out there just now was pretty awesome. Way to give the finger to your fears and to show total trust in someone else, right?" Haley put away the camera in her bag by the fire pit, hefting it, her purse, and the tea satchel over her shoulders.

                  "Until tomorrow, then. G'nite, all, I wonder what weird dreams all of this will bring."

                  Sam, Haley, Alex, and Abigail walked back to their respective homes, while Sebastian, Elliott, and Lys opened their minds and teleported, the latter barely having enough power left to do that. Sagging for a moment against Elliott, he smiled and squeezed his hand in thanks and entered the house through the back door. He stepped around the bundles that they'd discarded just inside and strolled to the bedroom, pulling his shirt over his head, and throwing it across the room without looking to land neatly in the laundry bin. Feeling Elliott's fingers on his shoulders, he leaned into his husband's touch, gasping at a new sensation as Elliott nuzzled his neck.

                  "What in the- What did you just do and how?"

                  "Well, the human body is mostly water, and I know yours so well..."

                  In the quiet darkness, Lys rested against Elliott's shoulder, feeling the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed the relaxed, even rhythm of sleep. Carefully, he got up and out of bed, unable to sleep, though it wasn't for fatigue of the day or a lack of skill on Elliott's behalf. He shrugged into the dressing-gown that had been a wedding gift from his parents and padded softly into the living room, trying to silence the noise in his mind. Xander chirped at him as he sat down on the couch, and he gave the ginger tabby a distracted scratch between the ears before he reached for the large photo album on the coffee table. The wedding had only been a month previous, and the memories were still fresh in his mind, but he turned the pages to refresh those thoughts, sorting out the mental tangle. He smiled faintly as he slowly looked at the photos, remembering how happy everyone had been, forcing himself to commit every picture with his friends to memory, because...

                  He jumped in surprise as he felt Elliott's touch again, and looked up to see him, clad likewise in his own robe, but also wearing a look of concern.

                  "Dear, is there something the matter? Was I too-"

                  "Not at all, I liked it. You know how to make me feel good, and that was delightfully creative. It's just that..." Sitting down next to Lys, Elliott put an arm around his waist and waited for him to find his thoughts. "Despite what I said earlier today, I... I'm scared, love. We were lucky this afternoon, and I almost burned myself out recklessly when I saw you hurt. Later on I stupidly jumped off of a tower on a whim because I had an idea I thought would work. Yeah, it worked, but if it hadn't... And I watched them. I can read people, and I saw the pain that Ras and the others carry. They didn't bother to put on a brave face for our benefit, and I don't blame them. I believed my words at the time, because how can you do the same if I cannot? But now, since I've finally had the time to really think about it, after our dance on the water, I know we're strong and a great team, but we're up against something ancient and dangerous. I'm scared that I'll be wrong, that I won't be strong enough to bring everyone home safely."

                  "Do you trust us?"

                  "Of course. All of you. With my life."

                  "I feel the same, and I am certain that everyone else would say the same. So trust us to be strong as well, that we will fight as one and be victorious. Do not defeat yourself before the enemy can have the opportunity to do so," he smiled, with that gentle warmth that touched his eyes. Sniffing back tears he didn't realize were starting to form, Lys sighed and hugged him.

                  "Just promise me you'll be careful, love. You scared me this afternoon, and while it's my fault for having a lack of self-control, I'm irrational when it comes to your safety. And I'm sorry for causing you worry, too, I'll try to be more aware of that in the future. It's... You're the best thing to ever happen to me." He brushed the pendant again without thinking of it, subconsciously reassuring himself. "Maybe I'm just a little on edge because so soon after we're finally together and things are working out and looking up that this happens. The author that writes my life is a bit of an asshole sometimes, y'know?" he joked, flashing Elliott a cheeky smile which earned a chuckle of good humor.

                  "Well, were it earlier in the evening I would make innuendo toward offering a different sort of a 'happy ending,' but for now I simply want to coax you back to bed so that we may rest and recover. It is lonely and cold without you. Let me hold you and keep your concerns at bay." Nodding, Lys closed the photo album and stood up, returning to the bedroom and hanging up the robe. Elliott's warmth and firm but gentle hold around him were enough to push aside the nagging doubts that had kept him up earlier, and he quickly dropped off into deep sleep, completely exhausted.

                  So I've had that scene with Lysander and Elliott in mind for AGES now, and I'm so happy to have it written down, though I didn't get it quite as impressive/cool as I was hoping. Some stuff I still can't translate well enough from a visual concept to a literary one. However, this week I saw the first two episodes of Yuri on Ice (basically, hot men doing figure skating), and I am simply smitten with the opening theme. As such, not only did I loop the shit out of it when writing that bit, I can't think of them dancing to anything but this piece, even though I already had it blocked out like two months previous. It's funny what inspires and when. But you have to agree that 1) this is totally a kickass and inspiring piece, and 2) that it matches the moment and the mood.

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                  • Pudassassin

                    Pudassassin Hard-To-Destroy Reptile

                    That got to be a nice romance between the two. You did it again!
                    Just curious, what's going to happen for the other folks in town, will they realize those fanasy were true or simply dismiss them again.
                    And, I am looking forward to see more unexpected elementalist coming in.
                    • Risukage

                      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                      There's something quite satisfying about writing a healthy, positive, and endearing romance. If I wanted angst I'd write a Shane fic. :rofl:

                      As for the people who saw the swarm, that's one of the questions that Lewis asked as well during his briefing, so we'll find an answer to that at some point, in addition to our heroes finding new and fun things to do with their abilities.
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                      • Risukage

                        Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                        //No commentary today, it was a VERY long but VERY satisfying weekend where I got a lot done, and I am physically and mentally wiped. I'll be chatty on Wednesday. :D//

                        Elliott woke up and for a moment was confused as he looked out the window to see the sun as high as it was for the morning. Releasing Lys and rolling over, he reached for his phone on the night stand and swore quietly as he realized that he had switched his phone to "mute" instead of "active" when he'd gone to bed. Several messages from his friends warned of them arriving soon. Grabbing a fresh pair of trousers, he hastily put them on and checked Lys's phone on the night stand on the other side of the bed, wondering why they had not heard the alarm that he always set. He picked it up and found that the battery had died, since Lys had forgotten to plug it in. In fairness, he admitted to himself, he had been quite distracting when they had returned. A knock at the door prompted him to grab a shirt as well as he strode briskly to answer, shrugging into it and opening the door. Abigail smiled in greeting, and her eyes went wide with approval when she noticed his state of dress.

                        "Lys is a very lucky man if this is what he wakes up to every morning."

                        "Then he is not that fortunate this morning, as he is still abed. My apologies for our lack of readiness, my phone was muted and his off, so were unaware of any attempts to contact us."

                        "I tried to reach you through the Link," commented Haley, "but neither of you responded. So either it's not possible to contact someone when they're asleep or you were really out of it."

                        "I would suppose the latter, as I recall waking briefly, thinking that I'd heard something, but I promptly returned to sleep before I could ponder it further." Sam dropped his backpack just inside the door and trotted to the bedroom.

                        "I'll deal with Sleeping Beauty in here, time for him to get up. We've got so much cool stuff to do today and he's not helping."

                        "Ah, Sam, that's not the best- Oh, never mind, this is one of those life lessons that one must learn for themselves," Elliott sighed, buttoning his shirt and following the energetic man to the other room. Lys had rolled onto his back with Elliott's departure, and was now snoring loudly, mouth wide open and one arm trailing off of the edge of the bed.

                        "And this is what Elliott has to wake up to? I think Lys got the better deal," snickered Sam as he leaned over to pinch his friend's nose closed, "let's see if I can solve the noise problem. With the way he's sawing logs I'm amazed you have any trees left around here." Lys stopped snoring for a moment, and it appeared that Sam’s prank had worked, until Lys grabbed him around the waist and rolled onto his side, pulling his friend over and wrapping himself around him.

                        “As I was about to warn, he is rather…grabby when asleep. In addition to…” Sam gasped and laughed as Lys muttered something to himself and ran a hand up the other man’s shirt. Sensing that something was amiss, Lys woke up enough to give Sam a perplexed look that transitioned into an annoyed frown.

                        “Well, there goes that good dream. What the heck are you- Shit, what time is it?” He reached for his phone and realized as soon as it was in his hand that it was unplugged and what that implied. “Damn it, phone died, didn’t it? Right, push off a few minutes so I can figure out pants for myself.” As soon as Sam had departed, having a good laugh, Elliott closed the door behind him so that they could prepare in privacy.

                        “I wonder if we would have responded to our respective devices even if they had been functioning properly in the first place. The moment I settled back in last night around you I remembered nothing else until just a few minutes ago.”

                        “I believe it. I’m pretty sure that if I was to react to my phone at all it would be to turn it off or throw it across the room, provided I wouldn’t have slept right through it completely. Guess that’s a lesson for all of us, don’t use too much mana or you’re going to crash out hard.” Having dressed in beige pants and undershirt with a bright yellow unbuttoned shirt over it, Lys hastily laced up his boots and grabbed the hairbrush off of the dresser as he departed for the living room. Elliott followed a moment later, in gray trousers and waistcoat and a violet shirt, taking the brush from him and gently working out the tangles that Lys was struggling with.

                        “Have any of you heard from Ras and crew yet?” Lys asked, enjoying the personal grooming, “I remember that he and Linus were supposed to drop by.”

                        “It is fortunate that we chose to give you time to rest, as it appears that you needed it,” commented the man in question, letting himself in through the screen door, “but now that you all are awake we can get to some ‘housekeeping,’ as it were. When you are ready join us in your garden. Linus will instruct you all in the proper care and growth of these plants.”

                        “Damn, no time for a coffee, then,” Lys remarked, taking the brush from Elliott and returning the favor, “and now I wonder if I should have put on my work clothes instead. I’m not off to a good start this morning.” He tied his hair back and followed Elliott outside, who saw Rasmodius walk to the far side of the greenhouse in the section of the garden that they had not yet had plans to cultivate. Linus was rummaging through a satchel and carefully pulling out sprouted plants, their roots wrapped in cloth. All of the necessary gardening tools were already at hand, and Lys recognized them as his, so apparently Linus had been there for some time already and had had the opportunity to explore his tool shed a bit.

                        “Good morning, it appears that you slept long, and therefore possibly well,” offered the shabby man, dusting off his hands as he stood, ”I have fourteen plants, two for each of you. Camellia Arcana is a hardy breed, but I’d just as soon prevent you from harvesting too often from a single plant. There is no need to attune to these, but it is probably a good idea to find a way to ‘mark’ your own plants so that you do not over-harvest by accident. In the meantime, it is fortunate that both The Fire and The Water are together and living on suitable land for cultivation, as it is your abilities that will nurture and replenish these plants. At full maturity you will be able to harvest cuttings in order to have more, for yourselves here or for your companions, but in my personal opinion, it is best that these plants are never seen by others.” Lys nodded and knelt next to him, picking up and examining one of the tiny bundles.

                        “Fair enough, fewer questions that I don’t think we’ll have good answers to. So what do we do? And I get that Elliott is important, ‘cause plants need water and all, but I’m fire.”

                        “You are also warmth and light, and your aura will help them grow and thrive. Not just as they are reaching their full state, your aura and mana in particular, since you are so closely bound to this land, will make them more potent and compatible, and you will gain a greater benefit from their use than you would an unattended plant.”

                        “Hey, this place has been in my family for ages, and Ras said that the fire element always came from us. Why aren’t there any plants already here? Did someone tear them out, or are we the first to get our own cuttings?”

                        “As I mentioned, it is a hardy breed, but it requires mana to survive, and though it is able to survive by passively drawing energy from the land, it needs mana from a caretaker in order to thrive.” Sam perked up an tilted his head to the side, realizing something.

                        “So we’re kinda storing up energy for later use, like organic batteries, right?” Elliott chuckled, having had a similar thought.

                        “It appears so. We pour power into it when it is not needed in order to draw it out when we are drained. How clever.” Linus nodded, picking up one of the cuttings.

                        “You are correct, and the ‘flavor’ of mana is irrelevant, it simply needs to receive it from someone, but The Water and The Fire are the most suitable for it. Now attend, Chosen, and learn.” The next couple of hours went by surprisingly quickly, and nobody found themselves bored or confused. Linus was a patient and enthusiastic teacher, answering questions thoroughly without being long-winded, and anticipating others. By the end of the lesson they all knew quite possibly everything there was to know about Camellia Arcana, and Lys was extremely pleased about the new and amazing addition to their farm. Rasmodius returned at this time, and before he and Linus could catch up, they peered over behind Lys, who also turned at a curious chirping. A Junimo, looking very much like a bright red apple, squeaked at him before dropping a folded paper packet and disappearing.

                        “What was that all about?” he wondered, picking up the palm-sized object. Linus stepped over to have a look as well, and Rasmodius shrugged and folded his arms across his chest.

                        “They still fear you, Wildfire, but apparently this was important enough to approach you directly. I cannot think of what, however.” Lys carefully opened the packet, and inside was a small, round, purple seed. There were strange squiggles on the paper, which seemed to change and move of their own accord. Frowning, Linus passed the paper to Rasmodius and prodded the seed in Lys’s palm.

                        “You’re the only one of us who can read their glyphs, Ras, what is this all about?” Blinking a few times, Rasmodius was next to frown as he tried to parse the information.

                        “’Fallen star?’ No, that’s the wrong tense and case, it’s ‘drop.’” Both he and Linus shared a look of shock. “Stardrop. Light help us, I thought that we had lost that cultivar ages ago.”

                        “This one also needs mana or something?” Lys asked, and Rasmodius and Linus both replied in the negative.

                        “It is a difficult breed to maintain as it is, and a very long time ago the Shadows conducted a raid upon our gardens, destroying any and all plants, specifically targeting the Stardrops. It has been so long since I have seen this that I had forgotten what it looked like. I do not know how the Junimo were able to get this or why they never shared it with us previously, but I am delighted to be able to revive a long-dead line.” Abigail sat down, her elbows on her knees and fists on her chin.

                        “So what does it do, then? Give us awesome cosmic powers or something?”

                        “Very close, yet very far off,” Rasmodius replied, somewhat lost in thought, “it will expand your powers permanently. You will be able to channel more energy at once safely, you can use your abilities longer, and you will have more mana, among other things. There is a limit to the number that one can consume, but even so they are a powerful and useful additional to our proverbial arsenal. Linus, do you still recall how to grow it?" He sadly shook his head in reply, standing up and sighing.

                        "Regrettably, while I am adept at its care, we discovered it as a full tree, and we never made cuttings or attempted to cultivate and plant seeds. I have no idea what we need to do." Haley looked at the seed thoughtfully.

                        "Maybe we can ask it." Rasmodius and Linus shared another look of surprise, and Lys offered her the seed, which she examined and concentrated upon. After a moment, she sat down and scooped up a handful of slightly damp earth, forming it into a ball with the seed at the center. "I didn't get words so much as an image, or thoughts, just...sensations. It seems to want a bit of fresh soil as well as mana." She closed her eyes and opened her mind, Linking with the seed. Everyone else felt this and joined, trickling their mana through her to the tiny purple orb. There was nothing at first, but they maintained their focus, trusting Haley to know what to do. After a few minutes, however, a small leaf on a stem emerged from the handful of dirt. Almost reverently, Linus reached out to touch the new sapling, then stood up suddenly and looked around, infused with new energy.

                        "It will be a large tree, it needs space. I think... Here, this shall do." A little farther away, with nothing above or nearby that could interfere or get damaged, Linus scooped out a small hole, just enough for the plant that Haley carried, and set it into place as though it were made of spun glass. "I do not know how long it will take for this tree to achieve maturity, but I have no doubt that under the care of these Chosen and on this land it will thrive." He seemed both giddy and bewildered, sitting next to it with a distant look of delight, and Rasmodius's lips quirked in a quick smile at his companion's enthusiasm.

                        "It appears that we've not lost as much as we had feared, it was simply...misplaced..." Lys couldn't help but feel further pride at his home being the site of something so special, and he felt the same in Elliott's touch as he put an arm around his waist and kissed him softly.

                        "Our home has become quite remarkable, my dear."

                        "Especially since you moved in, love." Sam made a gagging noise and pulled an exaggerated face at them, giggling as Lys rolled his eyes and Elliott smiled with gentle patience. Straightening after examining the new Stardrop tree, Rasmodius brushed off his robes and turned to the Chosen.

                        "Linus and I will delve into our notes to glean what lost information we can about this. It has been very long since we last thought about Stardrops, and that which is not practiced atrophies and is lost. Speaking of which, we will resume your training shortly. I have taken the liberty of borrowing your kitchen to prepare another batch of tea. Partake quickly so that we can return to the tower with due haste. I wish to see what you can do when properly rested and ready."
                          Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
                          Gabaw, Pudassassin, Alkanthe and 2 others like this.
                        • Pudassassin

                          Pudassassin Hard-To-Destroy Reptile

                          Reviving the long lost magical plants is a nice touch indeed, I'm curious about Ancient Fruit; what are their uses beside monetary value?
                          I don't think one [​IMG] is enough for the co., but yet, too many of them could pose a dangerous side-effect.
                          Also, you must summon additional Junimo Hut! You have as much help as possible to take care of the garden.
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                          • Gabaw

                            Gabaw Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                            They key to badass magic? Gardening :rofl: that's what a lot of folks don't think about. mana management is perhaps the most crucial of all a magician's tasks. hopefully they'll be able to show off a bit more and grow their powers to some insane levels!
                              Risukage likes this.
                            • Risukage

                              Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                              Good question! Ancient Fruit might make an appearance, but what is their purpose, if any, in this setting? Hmm! As for a Junimo Hut, well, that might have to wait a little while; they're still quite fearful of Lysander, though they likely have taken a shine to Elliott. I guess we'll have to wait and see...

                              Their power comes from the land; respect and love for each other and their home, which is reciprocated in turn. It is easy enough to take, but learning to give and doing so selflessly is what will make them stronger in the end. And showing off? Clearly you've not been paying attention to our ginger nuisance! :p
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                              • Kid Absurdity

                                Kid Absurdity Big Damn Hero

                                Ancient Fruit are terribly evil but also mega-profitable Shadow Fruit, which is why the forces of Shadow, including corrupted Shadow Pierre, who sold humanity out to stop Joja Mart not knowing that Morris also bargained with the evil Shadows, want the farm swimming in them. It would anchor the Shadow into the heart of Junimo lands, while also making the Corporate Shadow-minions fat stacks of gangstadollahs.

                                Or they're just old, expensive, and otherwise mundane fruit. WHO KNOWS?
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                                • Risukage

                                  Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                  //More practice for our heroes, and their first mission! Oh yeah, it's getting interesting now...//

                                  Even more enthusiastically than the day before, they sparred and tinkered with their abilities, both alone and in conjunction with each other, though they had moved outside to a neatly-kept garden. It was still warded against damage like the tower, but now that they had a better idea of their limits and skills, they had more freedom to safely experiment. This also opened up more possibilities by being able to use their surroundings, which had been limited in the tower to whatever small amounts that had been provided for testing purposes.

                                  Abigail and Lys had made great progress toward being proficient in their respective modes of flight, as Abigail had slower but stronger power, and Lys was fast but erratic. She also took the time to practice with the compound recurve bow, learning how to power her shots, and how to make stronger or weaker shots as needed. Her accuracy was still impressive, and the earthen backstops that Sebastian had provided for her to shoot needed to be rebuilt every time. Grinning, she described herself as "both small arms and artillery," and enjoyed having two forms of combat, giving her both slow, hard-hitting power as well as quick, accurate finesse.

                                  While she was happily attuning further to her element and weapons, Sebastian actually smiled a bit as he rolled bits of dirt, stone, and clay in his hands, learning how to "read" them; their structures and compositions that made them unique but still familiar. The dirt variants shaped themselves as his mind guided them, and for a moment he was reminded of Leah and how she sculpted. She would probably give anything to be able to do it like this, he thought to himself, and he was also amused at himself in that he'd never had any skill for art, yet here he was, shaping a rock into complex forms because he could now see it and make it happen.

                                  Alex and Elliott teamed up to practice defending, and Lys and Sam were more than happy to provide offensive capability to test that skill set. Water and Steel were a powerful combination, and despite Lys's victory the day before and their impressive speed and agility, they were unable to crack the defenses that their friends established. Elliott frosted the ground around them, making for treacherous footing that kept Sam from utilizing his full speed, but Lys was able to float above it and utilize his zero-point flight. Despite this, he was unsuccessful in his assaults, and found himself burning extra power to stay warm and flexible, as Elliott was also chilling the air around them, making their movements sluggish and stiff. Easily distracted, Sam found that the slick surface was quite a bit of fun to skate on, and zipped around merrily, lamenting that he had left his skateboard in his room, but couldn't be bothered to go and get it just yet.

                                  Haley sat and meditated the entire time, learning to expand and maintain her focus as well as the multiple Links, studying the battlefield up close and at a distance. Everyone benefited from this, as they learned how to better connect to each other's mind and jump straight to each other, something that could prove highly useful not just when travelling quickly, but possibly in combat, and with the close distances in the garden, it took less mana to teleport. At first they were only able to Link to each other one at a time, but as they learned the feel of each other's minds and the act became more of a reflex, they were able to connect with more of each other at once, and coherently so. This allowed them to start sharing and borrowing abilities, which Lys demonstrated by borrowing Wind from Abigail and Water from Elliott, then blending it with his own to create Hard Light platforms upon which he could stand or spring off of, further boosting his maneuverability on the battlefield and taking less power than it would using just his wings.

                                  Rasmodius and Linus watched the training quietly, making mental notes but not interrupting in any fashion. For a couple of hours the Chosen experimented tirelessly and with enthusiasm, until Marlon and Gil ran up, breathing heavily and looking extremely worried.

                                  "Ras! This is bad! Really bad!" All activity ceased as everyone turned to the newcomers.

                                  "You are not often worried, it must be serious. What did you discover down there? You were gone for quite some time." Marlon nodded and took a second to catch his breath.

                                  "Krobus didn't know anything because they cut him off somehow. He's been bound to our world for a while though our abilities, but we always thought that he still fed off of the same link that the others did. At some point that link got weaker and he was severed completely, and even he doesn't know when that happened. It may have been recently, could have been as long as years. Regardless, he's pretty much useless to us now. Worse..." Gil took off his hat and ran his fingers through what remained of his hair.

                                  "They had help, Ras. My wards were intact, but when I had a good look at them, all of them, I found that they'd been tampered with. It was careful, and whoever did it did a damn fine job of not only not tripping them but putting them back together so they wouldn't be found out. And yeah, I know what you're thinking, that should be impossible. Only another Chosen should be able to mess with them. We're not dealing with mere Gifted anymore, the Shadows have their own champions now." Rasmodius did not immediately reply, and shot a glance at the Chosen before sighing deeply.

                                  "Then we have little choice. They must go in and take care of what infestation lurks down there as soon as possible. I am loath to send them in so quickly, but it seems that time is a currency in which we are poor." Sam perked up and spun his copper staff enthusiastically.

                                  "Oh heck yes, we're doing our first dungeon crawl? Freakin' sweet! Wonder what cool loot we'll pick up. Hey, Lys! You're not a Rogue, but Bards are close enough. How's your lock picking and trap sense?"

                                  "Funny you should ask that..."

                                  "Wait, you can seriously pick locks?"

                                  "...It's a long story..."

                                  "You will have time to tell it," Rasmodius interrupted, "time is of the essence but yours is depleted. Your training for today is complete. Go home, prepare and sleep. I shall send you on your way in the morning. There are things that we must do as well for you to be successful." Giving the Chosen a rather sad look, Marlon crossed his arms across his chest.

                                  "I figured you'd say that. I had Linus start another pot of tea as soon as we 'ported back in. No sense in sending them away completely drained." He turned to everyone else and sighed sadly to match his look. "We'll brief you in the morning, so be here at dawn. We still need a bit of time ourselves to go over this info and send you on the right path down there. I wish we wouldn't have to send you on such a dangerous mission so soon, but..."

                                  "No worries," Lys shrugged, sheathing his swords with fluid ease, "we're pretty confident as-is, and the info and training you have given has been excellent. I mean, think about it, we've had this going for us for a day and we're already a party that would make most RPGs proud. We'll be okay. Although... Hey, love, we haven't practiced one last thing. Gimmie a quick ice shard, nice and sharp." Curious but confused, Elliott complied, handing over a small blade of ice, glinting in the light.

                                  "What is it that you- Lysander!" He recalled the elemental weapon as Lys used it to score a shallow but long mark on the back of his hand, leaving a thin cut that began to bleed.

                                  "Healing. You haven't worked on that yet, and I know we're probably going to need it down there. And since I don't know if you'd be able to effectively practice on yourself, and I don't want to ask anyone else, I'll take on the burden of being the test subject. Besides, you know me and my body better than anyone else, so you've got a bit of baseline knowledge." Taking his hand, Elliott gave him a look of frustrated understanding.

                                  "You are correct on all counts, but you do seem to nearly make it a game of causing me concern. Now, I think I can do this without Linking... Yes, I can, though it is a bit difficult, not as 'clean.' I can apparently repair damage by consuming your body's mana and resources, but if I am not connected to your mind it is more of a slap-dash patch rather than a proper heal."

                                  "I can cut myself again if you-"

                                  "No! That is not necessary."

                                  "Love, chill. Heh, chill... Seriously, it doesn't hurt, and you need to learn. I'm not bothered."

                                  "But I am. I do not like seeing you injured, particularly when it is self-inflicted."

                                  "Then don't watch."

                                  "Dear! Please, don't." Sighing, Lys smiled and examined the back of his hand, which showed no sign of what he'd done to himself a moment before, save for a small smear of dried blood, which Elliott washed away with a thought.

                                  "Okay, you win. I won't deliberately do anything. But you need to do this more than once, you know."

                                  "You are correct. For now, however, let us call it a day."

                                  "I dunno about you two, but I'm famished," Sam remarked, folding his hands behind his head, "I didn't eat much before I bounced out to your house and we just had a massive training session. Wanna pop down to the saloon and grab some munchies after we chug that pot of tea?" Alex looked embarrassed as his stomach rumbled, having thought about food when Sam mentioned it.

                                  "Sounds great, I'm starving, too."

                                  They finished their tea quickly and teleported to the beach, which was the shortest route to the saloon, though more likely to have foot traffic than the mountain. Elliott went ahead first to check, and sent the all-clear for everyone else to follow. Chatting amiably, they walked back to town, and upon entering the plaza, stopped to see Lewis surrounded by other townsfolk.

                                  "Please, calm down, yesterday's incident was nothing-"

                                  "What the hell was that, Mayor?" someone asked, and Lewis's answer was lost in the sudden swell of voices demanding the same thing. Before he could calm the noise and repeat himself, he saw the Chosen, and his shift in attention likewise shifted the attention of the crowd.

                                  "Hey, they were involved as well, weren't they?" another person asked, "they're okay, ask them what's going on." Everyone froze, unprepared for this situation. Well, everyone but Lys, who felt the call of the stage and reached for his mask instinctively. Laughing in self-deprecation, he smiled and rubbed the back of his neck.

                                  "Really, really sorry, all, Lewis talked to us about it afterward. I know we should have told somebody, but that would have ruined the surprise, and we needed genuine reactions. I think I'm the only professional actor in town." The crowd was no longer angry, just confused, and curiosity began to creep in.

                                  Perfect. Misdirect and redirect. I should feel bad about playing a crowd instead of playing to it, but I really have missed the stage.

                                  "Whaddya mean, 'surprise?' You think it's okay to prank the town?"

                                  "Far from it!" he laughed again, though this time with delight, "it's a new project with the Elements of Sound. I'm really sorry that I can't go into details about the effects, either, but if they caused that much panic then they must be really convincing. Again, proper sorry about that, it shouldn't happen again." Lewis nodded, catching on.

                                  "Just don't let it happen again, okay? Your grandfather and I gave the last mayor more than his share of grief, so I can't be too mad at all of you, but you only get one get-out-of-trouble-free card, okay?"

                                  "Can do, sir. I promise that if we do anything else in town again you'll know all about it."

                                  And every word is true, just not in the way that the townspeople think.

                                  "Very well. Be on your way, all of you. Nothing to see here, nothing wrong, just our local musicians getting into shenanigans." The crowd dispersed, and the mutters and whispers were laced with the start of rumors, which Lys made a mental note to encourage and spread.

                                  "If nothing else is going to get in the way, it's time for lunch. I could devour an entire pizza myself. Though we'll have to order a couple anyway, I hate combo, and I think that that's all that Sam will eat."

                                  They took their time eating, not wanting to stuff themselves so quickly after not having eaten that much earlier, and after such exertion. Besides, it was nice to just sit down and chat again, as they all felt the need to converse about random things to take their minds off of what was to happen the next day. It wasn't until evening that they left for home, though half of them did cheat and teleport, but they had plenty of power left and would regain it overnight. Back at home, Lys yawned and stretched, sitting on the edge of the bed as he unlaced his boots, and Elliott began working on the numerous buttons that fastened his waistcoat and shirt.

                                  "I'm not nearly as wiped out as I was last night. I feel like I used roughly the same amount of mana, but it's not as tiring. But I was also using it a bit more efficiently and smartly, so that could be part of it." He pulled off both shirts and discarded them in a practiced arc across the room, and Elliott's smile gained a sultry edge as he pushed Lys into the bed, kissing his neck.

                                  "If you aren't tired then I shall have to find ways of mending that."

                                  "You're nearly as bad as I am," Lys grinned, winding a lock of his husband's hair around his finger and kissing him warmly, about to-

                                  Help! Someone!

                                  The mental shout got their attention, and they both knew who it was.

                                  "Sam!" Reaching out at the same time, they found an open Link, as Haley had apparently heard it as well and knew that they'd respond. Connecting to Sam's mind, they both jumped to his location, wielding a sword of ice and a ball of concentrated flame. There was nobody there save for their friend, curled up on the floor, looking very ill. Releasing their respective elements, Lys put a hand on his arm and winced at the crackle of electricity. The other four had teleported in just in time to see this. At first there seemed to be no explanation for Sam's state, until Abigail picked up a mug and sniffed the residue.

                                  "Mana tea? Why would he- Damn it."

                                  "Mana poisoning," Elliott snarled, reaching through his thaumic memories, "and I know how to deal with it, fortunately. However, with him sparking off like that I will have difficulty in cleansing him."

                                  "I've got it, love," offered Lys, pulling his friend into a hug and gasping in pain at the random arcs of electricity that leapt off of him. Leaning up against the bed, Lys gritted his teeth, holding Sam tighter than he meant to.

                                  "...Hurts..." Sam whispered, twitching as his power discharged and burying his face in his friend's chest, "I can't...stop the..."

                                  "Relax, mate, I've got you, I- Ow, damn, can't do this much-" He shuddered as the pain went away, and noticed Sebastian sitting next to him, a hand on his shoulder.

                                  "Got you two grounded. Elliott, you're up." Sitting down between them, he took Sam's hand and Linked with him, closing his eyes and focusing.

                                  "You drank too much, Samson, but you will not suffer any lingering effects now that I am here. Empty your mind and allow me to assist." He still breathed swiftly and shallowly out of fear, which subsided quickly as Lys began to hum his song. The resonating tenor and warmth seeped into the Lightning wielder, and he slumped into Lys's arms, making Elliott's task easier. Alex and Abigail flopped onto the floor, watching and waiting, and Haley sat on the edge of the bed, focusing to provide the steady Link that Elliott needed. There was silence save for Lys's song until Elliott stood up some minutes later, nodding in satisfaction. Groaning, Sam tried to push himself up unsuccessfully, running a hand through his hair and mussing up the spiky hairdo.

                                  "Thanks, dude, I no longer feel like I'm gonna die, though for a bit I wasn't sure if I was more scared 'cause I would or that I wouldn't. I just wanted to try something before I went to sleep, so I made a massive batch of tea so I'd have enough power for it, and... Guess I was already capped out or something. Shit, that was awful. And you too, Lys, I-" He paused as he noticed his friend's lack of a shirt, and the unbuttoned state of Elliott's, and chuckled at himself. "Damn it, I owe you both so many beers if I interrupted nookie. Though you're pretty awesome friends if you put my safety over a good time." Lys hugged him again, further messing up Sam's hair as he ruffled it.

                                  "You called out in pain, so we replied. I'm just glad you're okay." Smiling, Sam returned the hug and went limp. Surprised, Elliott reached out to his mind again when Lys shook his head.

                                  "It's okay, he's just out. I'll put him to bed, the rest of you can head back." Relieved, the other four disappeared, and Elliott helped Lys stand up and put their friend on top of the covers, who was already deep asleep. "Well, as much as I'd like to pick up where we left off, love, we should get some sleep ourselves."

                                  "Regrettably, you are correct. That was not as taxing as I had feared, but we should avoid a repeat of this morning."

                                  "I am going to give him so much crap about this later." He turned off the light, and Sam's room was illuminated momentarily by twin swirls of light that quickly faded.
                                  • Pudassassin

                                    Pudassassin Hard-To-Destroy Reptile

                                    Ouch! Poor Sam, that gonna hurt so badly as he having something too much! Yeah, and more creative thinking with magics, nice one!
                                    I like how you referring to Leah, yes, she is going to be like Hermione Granger-- if she knows these stuff exists. I can't even imagine what she capable of with a touch of magic...
                                    • Risukage

                                      Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                      //Oh dear, Lys, you really need to get your power under control. I don't think that this is the way that any of them expected their first fight to go...//

                                      Shortly after dawn, the Chosen loitered in the tower, Sam and Sebastian yawning deeply, and everyone else not looking much more cheerful. Lys and Alex weren't quite as bothered, given the morning routine that they'd had for a year or so, but they weren't exactly keen about it.

                                      "Should'a made coffee," Lys sighed, stretching his arms over his head, "I'm sure I've got a travel thermos somewhere. Anyway, we're going underground, does it really matter what time of day it is?"

                                      "The time of day is irrelevant, it is the time remaining that is important," Rasmodius answered, followed by his companions, "were it not for the need for you to rest after your practice I'd have sent you yesterday. We have prepared travel bags for you that contain food and potions that will restore you as you journey. They are no substitute for proper food and rest, but they should keep you going in a pinch."

                                      "What, like healing and mana potions? Kick ass, this is a real dungeon crawl!" Sam grinned, rummaging through the bag.

                                      "Be careful this time," Lys smirked, bumping him with his hip, "you already had one incident, and I didn't get any last night because of it, so you're on my shit list for a while."

                                      "You and your libido, dude. I'm not sure if the mana poisoning or your guilt tripping is worse."

                                      "What happened?" Queried Rasmodius, not quite sure what direction the conversation was going.

                                      "Sparky here nearly OD'd on mana tea last night, and awesome friends that we are came to his rescue right away." Linus burst out laughing, slapping Marlon and Gil on the back.

                                      "Pay up, all of you. Double for you, Ras, you were wrong on both counts." Frowning in confusion at the look of semi-apology that Rasmodius gave him, the puzzle pieces clicked for Lys in just a few seconds.

                                      "Oy! You mean to tell me that almost all of you really thought that I would be the one to do it first? And given the 'both counts' comment, I assume you thought I'd do it two nights ago, hunh?" Rasmodius huffed but said nothing, Lys sniffed with injured pride and folded his arms across his chest, and Linus shrugged in good humor.

                                      "You may be wild and unpredictable, but you're still calculating and thoughtful. Sam, however, is a bit more impetuous and prone to acting without thinking."

                                      "If we're done psychoanalyzing us I thought we were supposed to be getting on our way," muttered Sam, slinging the satchel across his chest.

                                      "Nearly done," Marlon commented, "I'll brief you all on where you're going and what you're doing, but Gil has something that Sebastian needs to know."
                                      "I assume since we're going into the mountain it deals specifically with my element." Nodding, Gil took out of his pocket a smooth, palm-sized piece of round obsidian, cut in a cabochon, with runes somehow etched inside of it

                                      "Correct. You need to know how to read and follow my wards, among other ways to navigate the mines safely. I'll also show you how to make your own waypoints and markers to you can teleport to and from them safely."

                                      Separately briefed, they regrouped and teleported to the statue on the mountain, following Marlon and Gil to the entrance to the mines. Pausing at the mouth of the cave, Marlon leaned against the mountain and folded his arms across his chest.

                                      "If you get into big trouble just teleport on out. We trust you to know your capabilities and strengths, but we've never had to send a group out this quickly before, and we're facing a new type of enemy. You know how to contact us in an emergency, but Gil is the only one that's properly attuned to the waypoints down there. Sebastian should be able to pinpoint the location of what we suspect to be their 'nest.' Destroy it, search the area, and see if you can figure out how the hell they got past our wards. And if you see any other people down there..." He trailed off for a moment, setting his jaw firmly. "Destroy them as well. This mine has been abandoned for hundreds of years and we've been watching it for just as long. Anyone else in there has intentions in mind that do not include your well-being. May the light of Yoba illuminate your path."

                                      "I carry the light with me always," Alex replied automatically, and Marlon smiled at the correct response to the old blessing.

                                      "You'll need that light down there. Get back here safely, all of you."

                                      Following Sebastian's lead, they waited for him to leap ahead to Gil's waypoints, joining him once he had given the all-clear. This allowed them to bypass a considerable amount of the journey down, though Lys and Sam noticed that it took more and more power with each jump, while Alex and Elliott were mostly unaffected. Abigail noticed it a little as well when they mentioned it, but it wasn't as pronounced. Haley was unaffected, apparently, and naturally, Sebastian teleported effortlessly.

                                      "Okay, we're at the last waypoint they scouted before they had to go back up. It's still a way down, and I can sense the other points, but he didn't clear them as safe, so I don't want to jump ahead that far."

                                      It was completely dark in there, and though Lys had summoned small spheres of fire to provide some level of illumination, it barely kept the darkness at bay, leaving sharp, defined shadows at the edge of the light that somehow felt alive and hungry. They had brought flashlights and a camping lantern, but didn't want to burn the batteries just yet, even though Sam stated that he was certain he could recharge them himself. Besides, the organic nature of the fire was more comforting than the harsh beam of a flashlight, and that small bit of focus required to keep the orbs active gave Lys something to think about other than the darkness that felt like it was trying to swallow him.

                                      Rubbing his arms without realizing it, Lys jumped as Elliott touched his shoulder gently, and flushed a bit red at his reaction. Sam was a little on edge as well, but not as much as Lys was, mostly because he could sense how his element wouldn't be much use down there. They continued their trek in silence, observing the cave system around them, which honestly wasn't much to look at; it had been mined out rather thoroughly to this depth quite some time ago, so there were no trace of precious metals or gems, only jagged and ragged outcroppings of rock, resembling earthen fangs. Brushing the bottles in his satchel with his fingers, Lys felt concerned that it was taking too much of his power to maintain those fire spheres, but damn if he'd let them go. He'd never been scared of the dark, and he had even less reason to with his abilities, but at the same time, there was something here... Passing another waypoint, Sebastian knelt to examine it and attune.

                                      "We've been going for several hours now. How's everyone holding up?" he asked, straightening and putting the obsidian talisman back into his pocket.

                                      "Not bad," Abigail remarked, "I could use a chance to sit down for a bit, but I can still press on." Alex, Haley, and Sam had similar opinions, but Lys was silent, lost in his own thoughts, holding his arms tightly. Elliott gently connected with his mind and felt a wave of pulse-racing anxiety.

                                      "Dear, shall we stop for a while?" Snapping back to reality, Lys looked around at the concerned faces around him and blushed again in embarrassment, shrinking further into himself, unable to answer.

                                      "Let's take a breather," Sebastian suggested, sitting down, "I could use a moment to check our path and make a few notes anyway. Grab a drink and a snack. Here, break out the camping lantern, give Lys a bit of a rest." Lys relaxed a little at the touch of Elliott's fingers on his back and the soft kiss on the top of his head.

                                      "Sit with me, dear, rest a while, we all could use it, as we are likely nearing our enemy. Meet them fresh in mind and body." Elliott sat down with a large rock to support himself and Lys was grateful to recline in his lap, feeling a bit less worried as his husband held his hand and ran his fingers through his hair. That gentle, warm touch dispelled the tension that had gripped him for most of their journey, and without trying, he dozed off.

                                      Lys swayed on his feet, exhausted, looking around in the darkness through blurred vision, only able to support one fire sphere. The Shadows had come out of the solid emptiness, silent and swift, crashing upon them like a wave of entropy as they had rested, without warning or preamble. The fighting had been loud and full of energy, but the cavern was now silent and the Shadows appeared to have retreated.

                                      He reached out for Haley's mind to connect to everyone else, his mouth too dry to speak. Nothing. The meager light illuminated a white-clad figure sprawled on the floor, though there was more red than white... Alex lay nearby, his armor more closely resembling a crumpled soda can, and Lys was for some reason reminded of the first day that they had received their powers.

                                      Staggering, he somehow maintained his balance, reaching out to Sam until he saw that his friend was smiling, he always smiled, even though most of his throat was missing. Abigail and Sebastian held hands, her weapons twisted and warped, his staff broken, their armor shredded.

                                      No... My friends... My love, where are...

                                      Turning around, he felt bands of horror and pain tighten across his chest. Torn pages were scattered among scraps of white fabric, stained red. The silver armor was dented and scored with the marks of claws formed from shadow, somehow stronger than steel. His head spun and he dropped to his knees, not noticing the pain, reaching out to him, but... The light was gone from those blue eyes.

                                      All of you... I wasn't strong enough. I failed you all.

                                      He felt the shadows stir and saw pinpricks of white in the darkness, the eyes of this enemy. Filled with burning hate and rage he reached deep within and called up his last reserves of power, leaving nothing behind. In a moment he was surrounded with a corona of white light that illuminated the cavern as though it were midday. With a scream of rage he drew his swords as the Shadows attacked once more.

                                      Sam was playing a small handheld game while Sebastian and Alex discussed their path, and Abigail and Haley shared a bit of girl-time as they brushed out each other's hair, which really didn't need doing, but the little bit of physical contact and mundane action reduced the tension that they all felt. Elliott reclined against the rock, now lost in his own thoughts as Lys napped on him. The quiet peace was shattered when Lys screamed and jumped to his feet, shifting up to his Empowered state, drawing both swords, and surrounding himself with fire that hurt their eyes from the sudden change in light. Wings fully outspread, his stance was defiant and proud, though his face was a mask of hate and pain.

                                      "You cost me my friends, my husband, my life. I will burn the world and you with it. I am The Oblivion, the Incandescent Swords of Vengeance, the Winged Angel of Destruction. Be consumed in righteous fire and know my wrath!!"

                                      "Oh SHIT, this is bad," Sam said, in what could be best described as an understatement, "what the hell-" They all dodged aside as he swept the area with a flamethrower-esque cone of fire.

                                      "Nightmares," interrupted Elliott, shifting up as well, "and I can't snap him out of it." Haley was already in her Voice armor and grimaced as she gripped her staff.

                                      "Neither can I. He's blocking me, or something else is."

                                      "It's time for another nap," grinned Sam, electricity crackling around himself as he ran around and behind his friend and shocked him with enough power to put him on the ground. It should have, anyway, but with the adrenaline rage and the amount of power that Lys was holding onto it simply hurt, and that only fueled his ire. Squeaking in fear, Sam dodged away again with speed that his friend couldn't match as both swords swung through the air where he had been.

                                      "You dare?! Wearing the faces of my loved ones?! I will END YOU!" Abigail thought carefully as she formed a vortex of wind around him, hoping to draw out the available air for him to breathe and sustain his fire, taking care of two problems at once. This only became a vortex of fire as he poured his energy into it, merging with and taking over it. Hastily, she released it before he could do anything with it and avoided another lash of fire.

                                      "Damn, that didn't work. Sebby, got any ideas?"

                                      "Yeah, stand back." The stone below Lys's feet suddenly flowed like a liquid, flowing up and around and binding him up to his shoulders before solidifying back into solid rock.

                                      "Your tricks have no power over me!" Lys snarled, and the air became dangerously hot as he channeled even more mana.

                                      "Oh come on!" moaned Sebastian as the rock melted away, forming a large pool under the Fire wielder, above which he floated, hissing angrily.

                                      "HOLY SHIT THE FLOOR IS LAVA." yelped Sam, who had tried to sneak around for another shock attack and barely missed dipping himself into the molten rock. Alex hefted his warhammer in one hand and raised his shield as he charged in to attack.

                                      "Looks like it's my turn. Hope you've got your heals handy, bro, 'cause I don't know if I can be gentle- WHAT THE HELL." Alex was forced to retreat as Lys sheathed one sword and grabbed for the shield, his fingers sinking into it as though it were made of foil, and crumpling just as easily, before yanking it off of his cousin's arm. The shield deformed, resembling taffy rather than hardened steel, and Lys dropped it with a clatter, drawing his other sword again.

                                      "Filthy face-stealers, I will destroy you all!!"

                                      "My dearest, please, wake up!" Elliott shouted, stepping in front of him, and for a moment it seemed to have worked, until the look of surprise turned into twisted fury.

                                      "And you dare to wear the visage of my beloved. DIE!!" Dancing back, Elliott, raised his hands, as though working a marionette, and Lys staggered on his feet, looking surprised for a moment before regaining his footing and pressing forward.

                                      "What are you doing?" asked Sam, and Abigail gasped as she realized what was happening.

                                      "We're mostly water, you know? And Elliott knows him better than anyone."

                                      "...That is both amazing and terrifying. Let's hope it works, 'cause I'm out of ideas."

                                      Continuing to focus, Elliott and Lys danced around each other, as Elliott played the puppetmaster and tried to restrain or wear him out and Lys tried to close the distance to strike with his swords. Elliott's influence was enough to suppress some of his fire abilities, though it was also possible that he was almost out of power anyway.

                                      "This is taking too long, and I fear the results should it continue longer," snarled Elliott, "I must take drastic action, though I wish I did not have to take it this far." Abruptly, Lys collapsed, the swords clattering on the floor before they vanished along with the rest of his armor. Silence and darkness fell like a lead weight and everyone held their breath, blinking away afterimages. Sebastian righted and turned the camping lantern back on as Elliott tended to their fallen friend. At Lys's groan of pain, everyone froze, ready to fight again, but he merely sat up, holding a hand to his head.

                                      "What the... Everything hurts, and I'm freakin' exhausted. What did- Oh gods, I... I didn't mean to... By the light, I..." Tears welled up as he buried his face in Elliott's chest, sobs shaking his entire frame as he remembered the fight. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I thought you'd all been killed and I just lost it, I shouldn't have believed it but it's so empty down here. I can't feel the sun, it's gone, I can't feel the light anymore. I'm scared, I can't do this, I can't do this. I'm so cold, I'm sorry, I can't..."

                                      "What did you do? He just dropped, but since you weren't Linked I've no idea what happened," Haley asked, sitting down and sighing in relief. Elliott held Lys firmly and warmly, needing the physical contact just as much as the other man did and wrapping his cloak around them.

                                      "Carotid artery. I cut off circulation for just a moment, and that was enough to render him unconscious. It was a very delicate maneuver and one I did not want to attempt in the heat of battle, but I saw no other way to end the fight before it got even worse. And it's alright, my dear," he reassured, turning his attention to Lys, "this is a dangerous mission, and I don't think you've ever been underground before in any capacity. You have always lived your life in the light, whether it is the warmth of the sun or that of the stage. Your apprehension is not only understood but sympathetic."

                                      "I tried to kill all of you... I'm so sorry, I'm just so scared..." Lys jumped in surprise for the second time that day as Sebastian put a hand on his shoulder and smiled in a way that lit up his violet eyes that Lys didn't often see.

                                      "Cheer up, little brother, we're not hurt, and if that's how you fight when things get tough then we're going to be okay. Besides, I've got an idea and I want your help."
                                        Gabaw, Lanx12, Alkanthe and 2 others like this.
                                      • Lanx12

                                        Lanx12 Ketchup Robot

                                        Two words. Amazing Story. I now feel jealous inspired and a bit chomping at the bits for the next chapter...*Claps* Bravo Braavvvvooo
                                          Gabaw, Risukage and Pudassassin like this.
                                        • Risukage

                                          Risukage Giant Laser Beams

                                          <3! Thanks sweetie! This story sometimes feels silly and strange, but damn it, I'm having fun. And if I'm inspiring others, well, that's just proper awesome. Here's hoping that three updates a week scratches the itch for literature! (And I saw your fic thread update. Glad to see you're doing better, hope you improve even more. Health issues SUCK. *BIG HUGS.*)
                                            Alkanthe likes this.

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