You don't have permission to post in this thread.
Stephanie watched the unfamiliar man running toward the unicorn and prepared to strike. Then she saw the witch and changed her target. Who knew about the new guy, but Mercurial wanted the witch eliminated now. Surely killing her would earn Stephanie some praise, they’d see she could be useful. Ruby’s earlier jab that the witch outclassed her still stung. She’d prove Ruby wrong.
With that determination Stephanie launched herself out of the tree for Hilda, her sword aimed right for the chest. Hilda must have noticed something, or some instinct warned her, because she stopped running and started to step back. It ruined Stephanie’s perfect attack, and the vampire swung out at the last second. Rather than the kill she’d hoped for, she only managed a scratch on the witch’s arm. It was with her magic sword, so it was a little more than just a scratch, but only a little. It wouldn’t drain her much from just one cut. She probably only even landed the scratch because of the enhanced speed Ruby’s blood granted her, not that she wanted to admit that. Stephanie narrowed her eyes at Hilda, readying herself to attack again,”Not going to let you get away this time.”
Ruby took down most of the clothes hanging to dry when Daggeron sent her flying. She took a moment while she was there to grab a towel and set to work tracing her finger over it, leaving symbols scorched into the fabric. Crystal took the chance during the brief reprieve to get away from the cage trap since Daggeron had cut it. Her eyes were still wide, and she looked at Daggeron, then toward the ruined clothesline where the other unicorn was already getting to her feet. She obviously wasn’t eager to pick up a sword against an actual opponent, even if the sword was Daggeron,[#c4519e “I don’t… I can’t kill her. Make sure I don’t. Please.”]
Ruby was walking toward them slowly with a fierce look in her eyes and the towel in her hand in such a way that whatever she’d written was hidden. While Ruby had gotten closer to them Crystal had gotten closer to Daggeron, and finally took hold of the hilt. She could feel the surge of power. She knew the feeling of Daggeron’s magic better now, and how to work with him. Between the geas and working on the RV they’d had a few opportunities to use magic together now, but she hadn’t actually wielded him since that spirit of mischief. It was a different sort of feeling than just working magic with him, and she wasn’t really comfortable with it for several reasons. One of them being she wasn’t comfortable with a sword in her hand at all. Ruby could tell that and smirked,[+firebrick “So here’s the sword. And you don’t know how to use it, do you? I’ll show you what a blade can do. You’ll survive so much more pain than a human could. We’ll get to know each other so well. I’ll start, I’m Ruby.”]
Crystal took a step back. Somehow it was all worse because while obviously malicious, Ruby said it in this sickeningly sweet way. Like torturing Crystal would be a fun game for them to play.
Jasper rushed in and right to where Crystal and Daggeron were. He glanced at Ruby on the way, and seemed to recognize what she was even faster than Crystal had with how quickly his face twisted into horrified shock. It got a curious look from Ruby, then she looked rather pleased,[+firebrick “A second unicorn? How interesting. This is wonderful. The three of us will have such fun. Better than toying with the hunter.”]
[+goldenrod “Crystal, are you alright?”] He put a hand on her shoulder and looked over her for injuries. Her arm had a red line wrapped around it where the skin looked burned, but aside from that she didn’t seem hurt.
She pulled back from Jasper, not taking her eyes off Ruby,[#c4519e “I’m fine. We have bigger problems.”] Crystal was still trying to keep Jasper at arms length. She gripped Daggeron a little tighter, raised him defensively and mumbled,[#c4519e “Felix better get here soon.”]
Jasper frowned but turned to Ruby. He was going to try to protect Crystal even though Crystal was obviously the one of them better prepared to fight. He wanted to show her he could protect her even better than the hunter could. The obviously mad unicorn disturbed him, but he was determined and inexperienced enough to feel confident fighting her,[+goldenrod “I don’t think you’ll be having any fun.”]
Ruby just smiled like she thought they were pathetically cute and tossed the towel at them. The symbols flashed at some whispered word of hers and the towel started to burn and gave off a cloud of dark smoke that burned to breathe and rapidly expanded. It burned their eyes, and right away Crystal and Jasper started coughing and bent over, trying to catch their breaths. The smoldering remains of the towel fell to the ground where it burned away with no trace but the unused runes which flared a little brighter on the ground before fading and becoming invisible. That would be an unpleasant surprise for anyone unfortunate enough to step on that spot.
Ruby wasn’t expecting the cloud to do more than momentarily distract them and conceal her laying her little trap, either one of the unicorns or more likely the sword would clear it quickly. She’d hopped back out of range of the smoke, and readied herself to attack the male unicorn as soon as the smoke cleared. She’d correctly guessed he would be the less prepared one, and either she would hit him with the fireball or the female would rush to defend him and possibly leave herself vulnerable to a follow up attack.
Shit! Felix was unarmed, and he didn't know the capabilities of this wold-man-thing. He's never seen anything like it, and he didn't even know Mercurial had something like this... Wait. [b “You were sent by-”]
[+silver “Mercurial, yes. I am known as Falken, the Dark Lord's Sword.”] It responds, taking a few menacing steps towards Felix. However, when it seemed the fight was about to begin, a light of red and gold stole both of their attention just passed the tree-line... Where Crystal was! So in response, Felix gets in to a ready stance, and just when he was about to pounce... Jasper came running by right passed him and Falken. The two adversaries look at the fleeing form of the male Unicorn and then back at each other. [+silver “Not a lot of cohesion, it would appear.”]
[b “He's new.”] Felix remarks.
[+red “Felix!”] And the monster turns to look over his shoulder, only to get blasted by a fire-ball from the doorway of the RV. Falken covers himself a bit, engulfed by the flame, Felix diving out of the way to avoid the blast. He rolls to his feet and to face Falken. He would have assumed that would have done at least [i some] damage, but it appeared the creature just shrugged it off, his black armour shimmering with fire still clinging to him. And he turns his angry yellow eyes on Hilda, and begins stalking towards her.
Corkscrewing in the air, Felix lands a spinning roundhouse kick, and sends Falken flying off to the side and away from the RV. Luckily for him, his only pair of boots were the ones with the magical wings, but considering Falken just tanked a fire-ball, he assumed he'd be getting up pretty quickly. He quickly looks at Hilda and jerks his head in the direction Jasper had run off to. [b “Go! I'll make my way over to you soon.”] He'd just have to fight smart. Fortunately, Hilda didn't argue and with a resolute nod, runs off towards Jasper and Crystal... But where the hell was Daggeron?!
Spinning through the air, the sword cuts through the wooden bars horizontally, landing next to the cage. [+blue “Greetings.”] Daggeron says, and his jewelled eyes glow a bright blue and quickly blast Ruby away from Crystal with powerful beams of energy. It bought them some time, but it wouldn't buy them a whole lot. Whoever this was, Daggeron could tell she was powerful, she felt almost like... Like Crystal!
[+blue “Crystal, I need you to wield me until Felix gets here! I will give you an advantage.”] He tells the Unicorn. At this point, she would know he was magically reflective, and he was hoping that some of Felix's training with her swinging around practice swords would have stuck. They just needed to buy some time until back-up could arrive.
Crystal had left Jasper in the RV’s kitchen while she’d gone out to get some fresh air. Not that she hadn’t had fresh air all day, she just didn’t want to sit inside and watch Jasper cook and let him try to talk with her. She felt so tired in more than just the physical sense. Emotionally and mentally she felt drained. A good night’s sleep would help, if only she could have gotten even one this past week. She didn’t want to wander too far, but she found a nice tree near where the laundry was hanging to lean against. She put her forehead against the bark and shut her eyes. The laundry needed to be taken down soon. Maybe it was time to ask Daggeron if he knew of anything to help her sleep. She couldn’t keep going like this.
Felix shouting was her first warning that something was wrong. She lifted her head and turned to look. She’d barely had a chance to see whatever it was in front of Felix when her arm started burning.
She hadn’t even noticed someone else approaching her. Ruby had wandered partway through the hanging laundry. Now between her and Crystal was a shirt burned in half by the red rope of magical energy Ruby had wrapped around Crystal’s arm. Crystal was making a pained sound that made Ruby smile and tilt her head,[+firebrick “How cute. So you’re the unicorn. I’m going to have so much fun with you.”]
She gave the rope a violent yank that brought Crystal to the ground. For a brief moment they just stared at each other. Ruby with the sort of open curiosity and delight of someone opening a present, and Crystal with slowly dawning horror. The red haired intruder was another unicorn, but something was [i terribly] wrong. Ruby seemed to be enjoying Crystal’s reaction. Crystal gave the rope a surge of magical energy and it dissolved. Crystal scrambled away and to her feet.
Ruby laughed, and with a flick of her hand sent a red bolt of magic at Crystal, which was stopped by a golden bubble Crystal summoned to defend herself. She was staring at Ruby with huge, wide eyes like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She didn’t want to believe it. [#c4519e “This is some mistake. You can’t…”]
Ruby tossed her hair back,[+firebrick “I can. Very good with the adorable little bubble. I wonder, will you or the hunter last longer? Probably you, Falken doesn’t like to toy with his prey. Pity, I’d have loved to play with him.”] With another flick of her wrist she shot another bolt, and then another. Each was stronger than the last. After a few one finally broke through, shattering the shield. Crystal was able to avoid it easily. Ruby wasn’t aiming to kill, but when Crystal stepped aside to give the bolt a wide berth she walked into what Ruby had been quietly preparing. She’d continued muttering under her breath while firing the bolts, and once she was done broke Crystal’s shield to make her walk right where she needed her for her little trap. As soon as she was in the right spot a cage of tree branches sprang up out of the ground to engulf Crystal. Dirt sprayed everywhere and Crystal screamed in surprise and covered her face. She expected it to hurt, but it didn’t, and Crystal looked up once the cage was finished. Ruby was laughing as she walked up to the wooden bars,[+firebrick “You scream easily. I like that.”]
Stephanie was staying back in the shadows for the moment. She was waiting up a tree for the right moment to strike. A moment that also wouldn’t put her in the way of Falken or Ruby. Both of them wouldn’t hesitate to kill her to get their real targets. Besides that, Stephanie was feeling a little drained. It turned out Ruby [i would] draw venom from her in a moving car. Not much because she said she still needed Stephanie to be of some minimal use in the fight. As a ‘distraction’, according to Ruby. Stephanie wanted to be more than just a distraction, more than some easily expendable pawn.
Jasper leaned over to look out the window when he heard the shout and his jaw dropped. [+goldenrod “What is that?”] Whatever it was looked huge and tough, and it was attacking. Where was Crystal? He looked back and confirmed to his distress that she wasn’t in the RV, then he saw something glowing red and gold farther away. He leaned close to the window to get a better look and saw Crystal and Ruby. Crystal was dragged into some fight here! He knew Felix was getting her into some serious danger somehow! Jasper hurried to the RV door to rush out and to help Crystal. His heart jumped in his throat when he heard Crystal scream. He thought to himself he’d never forgive this hunter if Crystal got hurt because of whatever mess he dragged her into.
Luckily for Felix, Hilda was more than happy to help him out with some alchemy. Its been a while since she's 'flexed her magic muscles', so she was eager to give it a whirl. Without much pressure, he pulled out the collapsible table, some of his boxes of stuff in storage, and they set up somewhere a safe distance away from the others mostly for safety. For the most part though, alchemy was pretty low stress and low stakes for magic-users, and Felix knew enough of the theories and had a book of formulas him, Shepard, and Daggeron had compiled where he wouldn't be flying blind. All he needed was someone to give him some juice when he needed it, and someone with patience as this could be a long and somewhat annoying process...
And surprisingly enough, it turned out Hilda was a quite fun alchemy partner. She broke a lot of the tension he was feeling by asking curious questions, pointing things out, and even making jokes. Despite Felix feeling like it was serious business, there was a lot of quiet laughing and giggling. They were working on the purple powder which mostly required ingredients to be ground up in a mortar with a pestle, but they did go off the rails a little bit when Hilda kept trying to catch some beams of light with magic as the sun began to lower. Once they got back on track, a few sparks here and there to the powder and then to his Eye-bracelet, and they were in business again. Although, he wasn't going to re-sprinkle it around the area tonight since they'd be uprooting in the morning. No use in wasting some of it now.
It took them a few hours, but it seemed like everyone else was pretty occupied during that time as well. Felix didn't even have to look at a clock to know it'd be dinner time soon, as the blue sky faded in to a more orange colour.
[+red “Time flies when you're having fun.”] Hilda says, looking up at the sky with Felix. They both look back down at each other. [+red “Didn't you say there was something else you wanted to look at?”] And Felix nods at that.
[b “We kept one of those weird dark swords from Mercurial's goons. I've never seen magic quite like that, and its a complicated dark magic Daggeron can't make heads or tails of without hands.”] He looks off to the side at Crystal and Jasper. [b “You also used similar magic when we fought you in the underground prison. Maybe you can help figure it out.”]
Hilda's gaze drops a little bit, feeling slightly guilty but also trying to remember. Magic came naturally to her as she was powerfully Talented, but her memory had lots of big gaps in them, especially during her time as a mind-slave to Mercurial. He taught her dark magic, she knew that, she could [i feel] it, but at the present she couldn't conjure it or recall the nature of it. It was almost like her real name, where every time she tried to force a memory with someone where her named might have been used, she couldn't see their face and her name being said was like white noise. She shakes her head and looks back to Felix. [+red “I'm sorry, Felix, I can't remember, not even the fight. Its like every memory I had while I was under Mercurial's spell has been torn from my memories.”] Which is what she guessed might have literally happened, along with a lot of her own. But you couldn't ever truly take someone's memories, just lock them away. She knew eventually they'd come back, but how long it would take was something she didn't know. It felt suffocating.
[b “There, there.”] Felix says, his mouth in a tight line as he pats Hilda on the shoulder. She might not have known him very long while not possessed, but he wasn't a difficult person to figure out. Obviously this mildly emotional situation was uncomfortable for him, but he was trying his best to comfort her. She smiles gratefully at that, patting his hand.
[+red “Why don't we go get the sword and we'll see if anything can be done about it?”] She asks and Felix nods. The two of them head to the RV, Hilda going in first, and Felix following close behind. However...
A shadow moved, Felix's instincts screaming at him, and he back handsprings away from the RV in to a high ready stance. Between him and the door was... Something he's never seen before. It stands up, pulling a strangely shaped sword that had plunged in to the ground where he was not a split second ago, and looks at the Hunter. It wore black armour, was nearly seven feet tall with a human body, but it possessed a wolf's head. [+silver “You are quicker than you appear, Felix Lincoln.”] The thing says, its voice a deep baritone with a growl. [+silver “If you wish to live-”]
[b “Crystal! Jasper! We're under attack!”] Felix shouts and the thing growls.
[+silver “Death it is, then.”]
He wasn’t entirely back to normal. Crystal could tell something was still bothering him. It probably had something to do with Jasper or it was because finding out about unicorn exile bothered him that much. She figured it would. She just wasn’t sure how else to tell him, especially with Jasper running his mouth. Crystal wished she could just [i talk] with him a little more, but Jasper was hovering behind her with the laundry basket. He seemed hesitant to practice magic too. She didn’t blame him, it was going to be even more of an uphill battle to get anything done today after everything than it was normally. She still sort of felt like they needed to, but maybe taking it easy for one day wouldn’t be too bad.
When he brought up alchemy she looked a little more interested. That was another area she was curious about, though she’d been too busy with the RV to really do much besides watch Felix and help with the magical side of it once Daggeron noticed her interest and walked her through it. She had laundry to do though, and Jasper shadowing her. Hilda would be able to help… which meant Daggeron wasn’t. So was Felix avoiding Daggeron right now? Crystal didn’t ask, instead she forced a smile,[#c4519e “Right. Sure. We can decide later. Just let me know if you need any help. Or if there’s anything I missed for washing.”]
Yeah, he was definitely still feeling awkward. Crystal looked down at her laundry supplies, and nearly jumped when Jasper walked up beside her and commented,[+goldenrod “Well, isn’t he…”] Jasper paused, then decided it was probably best to not say anything about Felix just then. Crystal was looking a little deflated already when the hunter left, and he could see her shoulders tensing already,[+goldenrod “So, laundry? What did you want me to do?”]
Crystal appreciated that Jasper was trying to back off. She’d known he was about to say something and had tensed up, ready to argue again. He changed the subject and she tried not to exhale too obviously. Maybe Jasper biting his tongue would help smooth things over a bit and make the rest of his stay less unpleasant. Crystal got things set up and started scrubbing, instructing Jasper to help by rinsing and wringing out the clothes then setting them aside to be hung up once they were done. While they washed he made another attempt at conversation,[+goldenrod “You still have it. I was surprised. It made it easier to find you though so I’m glad for that. And he hasn’t…?”]
Crystal looked down at the crystal hanging from her neck,[#c4519e “Oh, no. I don’t think he even knows. Even if he did, he wouldn’t... So I just… I mean, I should, I guess. Sentimental stuff is… I shouldn’t be so attached to it, I know. It’s probably time I destroyed it.”] Daggeron had probably noticed it wasn’t just a piece of jewelry, but he hadn’t said anything yet. And Felix almost certainly hadn’t even noticed. Now that Jasper mentioned it she felt self-conscious because there were a couple of important things she hadn’t done she knew she was supposed to. She was a little ashamed she was so reluctant too, but there was that too familiar weight of dread setting in her stomach. She didn’t want to. She didn’t want to do any of it.
Jasper responded quickly and with enough energy he sloshed a little water out of his bucket. Crystal wasn’t doing a good job of hiding her distress, and he didn’t want her getting upset again,[+goldenrod “No! No, no, it’s fine.”] He settled back down and cleared his throat,[+goldenrod “It’s just, if you keep it I could find you again. To check on you. So if he won’t… do anything, then maybe you can wait a little longer. You’re sure about him?”]
Crystal nodded,[#c4519e “Yes. I don’t have to know him long to see that he has a good heart. You’ll see too. So I guess I can hold onto it for a little longer. You can let me know how my family is doing? How they take the news that I’m fine, I mean. You will tell them, won’t you?”]
Jasper nodded, and reached to brush back a stray lock of hair that had fallen in Crystal’ss face. She shied back and shook her head to get the hair out of the way, and Jasper withdrew his hand, stung by the rejection,[+goldenrod “Yeah, I’ll tell them what I see. It’s the least I can do, right? You’re sure you don’t want to run off with me?”]
He asked almost like it was a joke, but he was still half hoping Crystal would agree. She shot him down with a sigh,[#c4519e “I’m sure. I’m staying here, Jasper. Thank you, though.”]
Their work continued like that for hours, with Jasper trying to be helpful and not bring up subjects that would upset Crystal, but nearly walking into them anyway. Bringing up her friends seemed to bother her, even though she wanted to hear how they were. Mentioning the upcoming gathering was quickly dropped when Crystal very obviously tried to keep him from seeing her face, because she was feeling a little teary hearing about it. Asking about Felix and what Crystal had been doing was only a little safer since Jasper couldn’t help but roll his eyes sometimes or say something not quite so nice about Felix despite efforts to keep the snide comments to himself. Those rude comments always bothered Crystal, and Jasper was thinking over why, when he wasn’t searching for some other topic for conversation.
The laundry got done, and Crystal got a little more outdoor cleaning done. She got Jasper to be quiet for a little while setting him to work scrubbing the outside of the RV. It made it hard to carry on conversation from different sides of the RV, which she was glad for, but past a certain point she couldn’t make him keep scrubbing. By then though it was getting near enough to dinner time that she could get Jasper to cook.
For that task he wanted her to take things easy so he wouldn’t let her help too much, so pretty quickly she wandered away to leave him to it and get some space from him. Keeping her ex-fiance out of Felix’s hair for the day was exhausting.
Felix was pretty intent on just making a B-line for the RV, locking himself in the bedroom and waiting for all this dramatic crap to go away. It didn't help that he was angry as well. Angry at Daggeron, Jasper, Mercurial, and Shepard. Maybe not in that order, but he felt a sort of anger he hadn't felt in a while, and there wasn't anywhere constructive for him to direct it... Well, maybe there was.
Stalking towards the RV, the hunter didn't even see Crystal until she was right in front of him, and honestly, it was probably for the best that way. If he'd seen her beforehand, he might've tried to nonchalantly avoid her... Well, not [i her], but more so the situation currently surrounding her. At the same time though, he wanted to support her and make sure she was okay. This situation wasn't her fault, and he didn't blame her for any of it happening. If he'd known more about Unicorn society, things would've been different. Things [i would] be different now. Felix was sure there were things he could do for Crystal to make sure she didn't have to go through Unicorn Exile; that was ridiculous. It'd be difficult, but maybe he could try and contact Queen Naida somehow...
He snaps back to reality when Crystal mentions laundry and magic practice later in the day. [b “Yeah, I can do that. But...”] But the magic? He didn't know about that. Even when Felix and Crystal were in their best head space it was hit and miss, so considering everything that just happened, he wasn't sure if practising magic was going to yield any helpful results. Maybe tomorrow? Or maybe they could dance instead? Crystal was getting pretty good, so it could be high time for him to move her on to some basics for Kung Fu. [b “Nevermind. How about we decide closer to the time? I'll go put up the clothesline and then I have to do some alchemy. We're running a little low on some things.”]
Alchemy posed a bit of a problem though. Since Felix was a vanilla human and despite having Crystal's magic, he couldn't put the magical 'spark' in to his concoctions or baubles. At this point in time it was left up to Crystal or Daggeron to help him, but... [b “You don't have to worry about it; I'll have Hilda help me with the magical side of the alchemy.”] And at this point, he didn't know how to properly end the conversation. So with some quick thinking, both of his hands are raised to chest level and he points fingers guns at Crystal before making a hasty retreat back to the RV. For the next few hours he and Hilda would be working on the alchemy, more specifically the purple alert dust he used to surround the camp. He used the last bit of it when they got here, and the stuff starts to lose its potency when it leaves its contained jar.
It was obviously hard news for him to take. She wasn’t sure how she could have phrased it any better. She wasn’t thinking very clearly at all really. Crystal nodded, not sure what to say. He didn’t linger while she thought about it. With him gone she covered her face with her hands. Hilda was still here, quietly tending to the plants.
Crystal took a moment to just breathe. He wasn’t going to send her back. She believed him, he wouldn’t make her go knowing what would happen. That was one weight lifted. It didn’t answer the question of what she [i would] do, but it solidified one of the things she wouldn’t be doing.
She meant it about cleaning. They couldn’t just leave things a mess, especially if Felix thought they ought to move on soon. Crystal took her cup to the sink, then went outside to fetch the dishes from breakfast. Jasper was waiting for her with the dishes mostly stacked. He was looking a little less cocky, like the wind had been taken out of his sails. She supposed that’s what happened, he’d come here confident and with a plan and she’d rejected it. Now he probably wasn’t sure what to do, and he obviously felt bad about upsetting her.
[+goldenrod “I want to make it up to you. And him, I guess. If that’s what you want. I’m sorry. I’ll help with dishes, and whatever else. I’ll cook dinner.”] Jasper was holding the dishes, leaving Crystal with only a few to pick up from the table, which she did.
Crystal nodded. Everyone was apologizing to her, and she just wasn’t sure what to do about it. At least Jasper seemed willing to give Felix a chance now, which was mainly what she wanted for now. It would ease her mind if she knew her family wasn’t so worried, if they could hear that she wasn’t in that bad of a situation,[#c4519e “That might be nice. Just give him a chance, Jasper. He’s a good person. I mean it. We’ve been in a couple of… difficult situations already, and he’s been keeping me safe. Protecting me. He didn’t have the RV before. He got it for me, you know.”]
She was leaving out the part where they’d argued. Jasper really didn’t need to know, and didn’t need any reasons to dislike Felix. What Jasper did notice was the softer tone, and the way Crystal brushed her hair back from her forehead, rubbing just a little where he knew her horn was. Then there was her turning to see Felix coming back to the camp before Jasper even noticed he was there. Then she went up into the RV with the dishes.
It all sort of bothered him, because it was [i really] clear that she liked the hunter in some way, and there was the reminder that she had that stupid ring on her horn even if he couldn’t see it. Jasper wasn’t sure he really wanted to know, but of course his mind was jumping to certain conclusions about the nature of the relationship between Crystal and the hunter. He couldn’t really help it.
Inside the RV Hilda was already washing the tea cups,[+red “Just leave those with me. I’ve got the dishes.”]
It seemed like Hilda was still looking for reasons to stay in the RV where things were relatively quiet, at least for now. Crystal nodded and left the dishes for Hilda, and took Jasper’s to add to the stack. What else needed to be done… laundry wouldn’t hurt. With their limited space Crystal didn’t like the idea of letting dirty laundry pile up, especially because [i she] had to wash it if there wasn’t a laundromat nearby. She was still trying to figure out if she could even add a washer and dryer somehow and make it fit.
After retrieving the basket of dirty laundry Crystal headed out of the RV. The washing board, buckets, clothesline, clothespins, and soap were in exterior compartments, which aside from her laundry supplies she’d largely left for Felix to put whatever he wanted. He had a lot of stuff in his van and he needed space to put it, and she wasn’t going to let him put too many odd things in the kitchen.
Jasper was quick to take the dirty laundry basket from Crystal,[+goldenrod “Here, I’ll get that for you. What else do you need?”]
[#c4519e “Ah, thank you. I’m fine for now.”] Crystal let him take it, but wondered if maybe he was a little over eager to help. She got the washing supplies and went to Felix. She didn’t want things to stay awkward, so she was ready to just go on like things were normal, even with Jasper there,[#c4519e “Hey, I was going to do some laundry really quick. Could you put up the clothesline for me? And if there’s time later we can maybe practice? Magic, if you’re up for it.”]
If Jasper was going to cook dinner they could use that time to practice magic. Of the things they were working on magic seemed the most important and most likely to eventually produce results. Eventually. Things hadn’t been going great, but it had to work sooner or later. They had to figure it out, or Mercurial would probably kill them.
Ruby sipped her coffee. At least she had that from her little side trip. [+firebrick “Oh good. Sunset is a wonderful time of day for a slaughter. See, I am pretty useful to keep around. You’ll see even more once we get there. You can worry about the sword, I’m sure it won’t give you any trouble. I’ll take care of the fun bonus things. The unicorn will be especially fun. She’s probably still so pure and innocent.”]
For the moment that was the part she was most eager about. Getting her hands on another unicorn and having some fun. Of course Mercurial wanted the sword, and he would get it. But Falken would take care of it, so as far as she was concerned she didn’t need to really think about it. Then there was the vampire, Stephanie. Ruby turned to look at the vampire in the back seat,[+firebrick “And you mainly just stay out of the way. Kill the witch if you can, though I doubt you’re capable of it. She outclasses you, though maybe my blood will help you not die. If you can bite the unicorn though… She’ll be weak to your venom. It’s pretty potent against unicorns. Hm, I wonder if I can collect some...”]
Stephanie wasn’t sure she liked the sound of that. Ruby collecting venom might hurt nearly as much as collecting blood. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. It wasn’t like she could tell the unicorn no. Well, she could but it wouldn’t make any difference. So she just stayed silent, hoping Ruby wasn’t actually going to go through with it. Especially in the car, on the road. Would she do something like that? The way Ruby was looking at her, cold and curious, it seemed like a real possibility.
For the most part, it seemed Crystal was starting to get better which made him feel a little. But then her eyes began to leak again and her respiration increased, causing a mild shot of panic to shoot through Felix, however, she composed herself and the hunter was thankful for that... What a roller coaster!
The group had a brief moment where they sat in silence, sipping at the tea Hilda had made them. It did very little to get rid of the awkwardness, and Felix felt like he shoulder say something, he just didn't know what. Did he point out that they've all been drinking more tea lately and the possible health benefits of that? Did he tell them a funny story to try and break the tension in the room? It was hard to say, so Felix elected to just sip his tea and wait for this all to blow over. It'd have to eventually, right?
The loud quiet was finally broken when Crystal spoke again, and Felix perhaps a little too quickly shot up at the chance to clean up, literally being the first one up. [b “Yes, good idea.”] He tried smiling back at her, but when her faded as fast as it appeared, so did his. He looked to Hilda for support, but she gave him a thin smile before leaving the table, and busying herself with literally [i anything] around the RV. It seemed she was currently content with fluffing the plants, effectively leaving Felix was no back up in this situation. He turned to look for Daggeron, but the sword conveniently disappeared out of the vehicle at the end of the conversation... Which could be a good thing; the two of them needed to have a talk anyways.
About to take that opportunity as a convenient excuse, he turns to leave but it stopped by Crystal. [b “Warn me?”] Felix asks curiously. However, as Crystal elaborated on the warning, his heart went cold and sort of sunk in his chest. He gave her another one of his beady little stares where his mouth nearly vanished. [b “Oh...”] He says, his eyes curling and getting a little glossy. [b “If you'll excuse me.”] Felix moves to leave the RV, but stops at the door, looking back at Crystal. [b “I don't think I've said this yet, but I'm sorry... But now knowing this, nothing has changed; I won't let anything bad happen to you. Unicorns or otherwise.”] And with that, he moves back out in to the day.
Felix didn't see anything at first, but he saw Daggeron's metallic handle and pommel glinting in the sunlight just beyond a few trees. He stomps over there, and once the sword notices him, he moves a little further in to the brush. It seemed like he was trying to get away from the hunter, but stopped when they were a good distance away from the camp.
[b “You son of a bitch!”] Felix shouts, and swings a fist at the sword. It went wide, a 'cowboy punch' as Felix would refer it, and sloppy. Daggeron levitation shifted downwards causing Felix's fist to crash in to a tree. He reels back in pain, holding his hand as a result.
[+blue “You swung at me!”] Daggeron shouts.
[b “You ducked?!”]
[+blue “I'm an indestructible sword!”]
[b “And you ducked?!”] Felix shouts and then nurses his hand for a few moments, Daggeron floating patiently until his partner cooled down. But he doesn't, his eyes return to the sword with a fury he's never seen directed at [i him]. [b “How long have you known about the exile?”]
[+blue “That's hard to say... I don't know, sometime after I got out of the iceberg.”] And Felix just gawks at him.
[b “So like, hundreds of years? You knew about this [i before] we kidnapped Crystal?!”]
Daggeron was silent for a moment, his immobilized features doing nothing to betray the fact he was trying to choose his words carefully. Felix was angry, sad, afraid, and even more angry; a complicated cocktail of emotions Daggeron's rarely ever seen in the boy. He was clearly very upset with the old dragon about electing to keep that tidbit of critical information to himself. He really couldn't blame Felix, it was heartbreaking, but there were worse things, and worse things to happen if they didn't take a Unicorn to fight Mercurial. They lacked the firepower, they [i still] lacked the firepower, but it was less of an uphill battle now with Crystal lending them her magic.
[+blue “What I do, I do for the good of all, Felix.”] And the Hunter raises a finger and opens his mouth, but Daggeron cuts him off. [+blue “And before you say 'except for Crystal', even for her. She may not be able to return to the Unicorn's once we're finished, but there are different paths she can walk. This isn't a death sentence.”]
[b “She was engaged, Daggeron!”]
[+blue “And you can blame your god-awful investigative skills for that!”] The sword bites back. [+blue “You might not like it, but what's done is done. I didn't tell you because I knew you would reject the idea then, and we would be dead ten times over without Crystal's help. It was a necessary sacrifice, the two of you will see that one day. You know it in your bones that stopping Mercurial requires every edge we can get, you've faced him twice now and barely managed to get away. The only reason we won against Hilda and broke her mind-control is [i because] of ringing Crystal.”]
A little angrily, Felix crosses his arms and shakes his head, pulling a face. [b “You're right, but it doesn't make it right...”] There's a brief pause in the conversation before he looks back up at Daggeron, this time his anger slid away in to something more sombre and mournful. [b “I'm mad because you robbed Crystal of the life she deserves, but...”] He rubs his eye slightly as if something was in it, but Daggeron caught what it was: a tear forming. [b “but I'm upset that you lied to me, too. I trust you more than anyone in the world and you threw that in my face.”] The hunter quickly turns away, head down slightly, the silence and tension between the two almost a tangible entity. It felt almost suffocating. [b “I'm gonna head back to camp before anyone starts looking for me. We need to pack everything up so we can leave tomorrow morning.”]
Felix began to walk away, and this time it was Daggeron's turn to be sombre and mournful. [+blue “Felix...”] He says lightly, the boy stopping just outside of leaving the treeline. [+blue “I'm sorry... I know it doesn't mean much, but I truly am sorry. To the both of you; you deserve better from me.”] With a small nod from the hunter, he sets back off in to the camp, preparing for their move in the morning.
Defiant to the bitter end Ruby appeared to be. Falken would give her credit for that, but [+silver “You greatly overestimate your value.”] He tells her, turning away and leading them out of the store back to the car. He had never worked with Ruby before, nor any other Unicorn for that matter, but he began to wonder if all of them were as vexing as her. The Dragon Sword was the most valuable thing here, eclipsing a Unicorn by far, and if it came between one or the other, Falken would not hesitate to leave Ruby behind or kill her to accomplish his mission in retrieving the sword. Ruby and Stephanie were just [i the help].
Turning the ignition, they were soon on their way towards Team Felix. The spell Ruby had provided gave them the direction they needed, and when they got close enough, Falken could track them through scent.
[+silver “The only thing we need is to retrieve the Wing Sword.”] Falken tells the unicorn. [+silver “The unicorn's survival is welcome, but optional.”] He says, eyes intent on the road. [+silver “We will arrive at sunset thanks to your spell.”]
The awkwardness was palpable. Hilda didn’t seem to know exactly what had set Crystal off and was tactful enough to not just come out and ask right away. Felix was obviously not comfortable at all, but he was [i trying], which was something Crystal appreciated.
Crystal leaned onto him when he put his arm around her. He was stiff and uncertain, but she’d take the comfort he offered. He wasn’t always great at showing it, but Felix cared. She nodded, but she was still trying to wipe tears with the napkin. They just didn’t want to stop. She was trying to slow her breathing and calm down that way. Hilda offered another napkin with a kind smile.
Sure enough the first one was getting too damp to use so Crystal was glad for the second one. She sniffled and Hilda gave her head a pet,[+red “Take your time. Did you want to talk about it?”]
It was the only tactful way to ask, and it was a bit of a gamble at the moment. It might just make Crystal cry harder, but it might help her to talk about what was wrong. Still, without asking or something there wasn’t much she could do to help.
Crystal’s gaze shifted to Daggeron. He could be surprisingly expressive at times, but then at others he was impossible to read. This was one of those hard to read times. He was the one that had known the whole time what this would to to her. That should have made her more angry, she probably should hate him for it, but instead she just felt a sort of sad resignation, and a little hurt. She didn’t hate him, she wasn’t even angry with him. She had a feeling that of the three at the table with her he was probably the one that had figured out the most about what was going through her head too since he knew so much. That by being here she was missing out on any chance at a normal unicorn marriage and and family, and she wasn’t ready to face that this directly. She shook her head after a moment of just staring at the sword and then leaned more into Felix’s shoulder, half hiding her face against him,[#c4519e “I just got overwhelmed.”]
Fresh hot tears were stinging her eyes and she wiped them away with the napkin. Her breathing was getting irregular again so she tried to slow it down. She was being evasive. She had gotten overwhelmed, but there was more to it. Jasper was doing a good job of bringing up everything she was trying to bury. Her fears about the exile if she went back, her missing her family, and that she’d really wanted to get married and start a family of her own. She didn’t want to drag all of that out in the daylight and make everyone feel miserable. Tea might really help. Crystal sat up a little straighter, briefly looking at Daggeron again, before she took a careful sip of tea.
She wondered how much Daggeron had figured out and if she could find out. Now really wasn’t the time though. The tea did help at least. She took a couple of minutes to sip more tea and dry her eyes. [#c4519e “Sorry. I’m fine. We should clean up.”]
Crystal looked at Felix with the smallest shadow of a smile. Then the smile was gone and she looked uncomfortable. Jasper kept telling Felix more and more about what would happen. She remembered what he was telling Felix about the exile and loneliness earlier. If Jasper got a chance he’d probably tell Felix in as rude or cruel a way as he could. It would probably be easier on him coming from her. The cup in front of her was suddenly very interesting,[#c4519e “Um, Felix? Before Jasper has a chance to, I should uh, warn you? Or something. See, so far almost every unicorn that’s… been captured and come back has, um, sooner or later... killed themselves. So I don’t want to… They… Anyway. We should clean.”] She almost couldn’t look at him. Almost. She couldn’t help but look, both because he was sitting between her and the way out and she wanted to know how he’d take [i that] bit of information, on top of everything else that he’d learned today.
Ruby looked up at Falken, more like a pouting child than afraid. It wasn’t really easy to intimidate her. She didn’t have much choice but to follow. He had the ring, and he was stronger than her. He was resistant to magic too, and she’d never get a chance to find out if she could overcome that with her raw power because he’d be able to turn her magic against her with the ring.
Her compliance didn’t keep her from whining about it though,[+firebrick “It’s not a waste if it’s fun.”] Ruby protested, because to her fun was the goal. If Master asked her to do something she would do it, certainly, just in the most [i fun] way possible. Falken clearly valued speed and efficiency. Two things she rarely cared about. [+firebrick “You wouldn’t kill me though. Master would be furious. I’m valuable~”]
There were probably plenty of things short of killing her he [i could] do, but she ignored that for now to sound smug. Stephanie was waiting with the car like she’d been told to. She followed directions better than Ruby.
Once she was in the car Ruby crossed her arms,[+firebrick “You know where to go at least, don’t you? They really can’t be far. And I can play with the unicorn at least. Master will want her alive, won’t he?”
Surprise, Felix wasn't exactly sure why Crystal felt the need to apologize for crying, but it did have the effect of making him feel a little guilty about the situation. She had no reason to be sorry about this; everything that was happening was his fault after all... And Daggeron's... He scowls internally at that as he tries to help Crystal in to the RV with Hilda. Him and the dragon would be having a conversation about trust and honesty later for sure.
Handing Crystal off to Hilda, Felix was prepared to go do literally anything else instead of watch the Unicorn cry. However, as he returned to make his hasty retreat, Crystal caught him by the shirt, cutting off his exit faster than it began. He turned to try and give her a poorly formed excuse as to why he had to do... Whatever it was he did around here, but the look of sadness lanced through his chest like an icy spear. Wordlessly, he follows behind her in to the RV and sits next to Crystal a little stiffly. He was trying his best to not seem uncomfortable, but he wasn't sure if he was doing a very good job of that.
When Hilda placed a cup in front of him, he clasps his hands around it for a second before taking a small sip from it. Hilda quickly joins the two with Daggeron floating harmlessly near the table, his impassive features not really helping the awkward situation... Or was it just awkward for Felix? Despite everyone sort of staring at their mugs or hands or off to the side, the hunter couldn't really tell. He was hoping Hilda would be more helpful in this situation than he was, because he had no idea how to handle someone who's ex-fiance showed up and made them cry. That was not in his otherwise diverse skill set. Despite that being blatantly obvious, he still didn't know why Crystal might want him around to comfort her during this difficult time... But to be fair, she didn't really have much variety in that regard.
Crystal began to apologize again and Felix tentatively put an arm around her shoulder, his mouth compressed in to a firm thin line. [b “There, there...”] Felix says. [b “Everything is going to be okay.”] He tried to sound as reassuring as he could; he didn't know what else he might be able to say to help.
[+blue “Everything [i will] be fine, Crystal. I am truly sorry that this had happened. Give yourself some time to feel better and then we'll continue on from here.”] And there was a small nod from Felix to the sword. He was thankful for the help, but also for the reminder that they should get moving soon. Two Unicorns, a sorceress, and a magical sword being together wasn't good for them if they wanted to keep a low profile. Perhaps he'd have to cook something up to dampen their magical signature or see if Hilda might be able to do something about it.
When Ruby finally emerged from the dressing room, gave herself a once over, and then approached Falken, he exchanged the coffee for the clothes. [+silver “I do not play with my prey as you do; that is how you end up facing an opponent more than once.”] He cautions and then moves to leave the store. Unlike Hilda, Falken would not underestimate this Felix person, and that's why he would emerge victorious. So far he's never met someone who could match his skills or strength, but he didn't let that cloud his judgment in battle. That is how mistakes were made.
When said they had one more stop to make at a [i candy] store, Falken stopped abruptly and turned to look at Ruby, looming over her with his well above average height. It seemed like that was the last straw. [+silver “I have been patient with you, Ruby, but it appears you need to be reminded that this is a [i mission] and not your special vacation.”] He chomps out, clearly holding back some fury. [+silver “There will be no more stopping; we have supplies in the car and a time sensitive endeavour to attend to. We have already wasted too much time here with your errant indulgences and silly need for useless amenities; we are leaving and if you put up a fuss, I [i will] kill you without a moments hesitation.”] He grabs her wrist and begins dragging her to the door.
For a moment Crystal was ready to run. She wasn’t sure where to, or how far, but she just wanted away. She hesitated there, ready to bolt but rooted to the spot. If Felix hadn’t looked at her, hadn’t put his arm around her, she’d be off in the trees somewhere. After a moment stiff as a board she let herself lean against him with another sob. That little bit was enough to get her to go from about to run off to wanting to cling to him, because for the time being it was going to be one extreme or the other, nothing in the middle would work. She put one arm around him and held on tight.
Jasper wanted to bristle at Felix getting between him and Crystal. He wanted to get mad at the human in the way, but Crystal was still crying and the sword had a point. Jasper’s shoulders fell, and all he could do was watch while [i Felix] comforted her. She really [i was] choosing to stay for some reason. He couldn’t understand [i why] she was so set on staying, but she wasn’t pretending. That much was painfully clear. Jasper looked down at the dress bag and at the potted plant laying on its side. He had to make this up to her. He couldn’t just leave things like this. Just… He looked up again at them leading her into the RV. Just she needed a few minutes at least, and not with him. For whatever reason Crystal was choosing the hunter at every turn.
It was a slow walk back to the RV. Crystal kept wiping her eyes and hoping she’d stop crying already. [#c4519e “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”] It was the only thing she said between shaky breaths on the way to the RV. He hadn’t seen her crying before. She’d cried before, she’d even cried about this, and she thought she was over it. Or nearly over it. She wasn’t. Crystal was an apologetic sort of crier, feeling extra bad for causing trouble for those around her by crying. It wasn’t really helping her stop even though she wanted to because now she felt bad for making everyone worry.
She looked up at Hilda and with a sniffle and a little whimper that must have been an attempt at ‘yes’ nodded. Crystal took Hilda’s hand to get up the steps and into the RV. With her other hand though she grabbed the side of Felix’s shirt and gave it a little tug. She looked back with probably the most pathetic look to make sure he was coming too. Like she was worried he might not.
Crystal was aware of being ushered to sit at the little table in the RV, and dragging Felix to sit next to her. Hilda had produced a napkin for her at some point during that, which Crystal used to wipe her face. There were more apologies,[#c4519e “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I… It’s just… A bit much. Right now.”]
Hilda had the tea ready so fast she must have been making it already. When she set a cup in front of Crystal, Crystal felt a new wave of tears and quickly wiped them with the napkin,[#c4519e “Sorry. I’m fine.”] She wasn’t really, but she wanted to be.
While she was inside Jasper quietly cleaned up the lilies and took the dress back to his car, a little dejected and wondering what to do now. He still wasn’t up for just [i leaving], not after all that. He wondered how he was going to even begin to make things up to Crystal. She hadn’t been thrilled at the idea of a rescue. Why? What was it about this human hunter? Or was it his task, which the sword had been so vague about? Jasper frowned, wandering back toward the RV. No, the way she acted, how [i affectionate] she was with the hunter, this couldn’t be purely about whatever it was he needed her help with. She cared about the hunter, not just whatever he was trying to do.
Like Ruby guessed, it didn’t take very long. Which was part of the problem, and why she eventually emerged from the dressing room a little frustrated. She’d decided to go with the red dress, it had a plunging neckline she liked, and while the skirt was long for her usual tastes it was pretty enough once she cut a slit high enough. She had to keep her knives accessible. She was pleased enough with that as she turned to see herself in a mirror and gave herself a nod of approval.
Then there was the man. Ruby had left him in the room, tied up and strung up. He’d most likely suffocate if no one came for him soon. He had to hold an uncomfortable position to breathe at all.
[+firebrick “Disappointing. Such a shame, but at least you’re more amusing now. Falken, will this boy we’re after be any fun? I want to play with him before we kill him.”] Ruby mussed her hair a little with one last look in the mirror and then went to look through some more of the clothes, obviously with something in mind. While she looked she talked,[+firebrick “I do hope you won’t be too quick about it. It’s not as much fun that way, he should really suffer first.”]
She’d found what she was looking for, a pair of tight black pants and a red blouse. She waved to the man and shut the dressing room door,[+firebrick “I’d love to stay and watch, but I’m in a hurry. Just relax and it’ll be over quicker.”]
Ruby held out her change of clothes for later to Falken and took the coffee,[+firebrick “One last store on the way out. It’ll save us having to stop for a snack later. How lucky they have a shop full of candy!”]
Her disappointment seemed to have been quickly forgotten at the prospect of terrorizing the candy shop. She gave the coffee a sip on the way out and rolled her eyes,[+firebrick “Is this as hot as they can make it?”]
Felix appreciated the fact that Crystal was trying to comfort him, but at the same time he didn't really feel like he deserved it. Nor did he think [i he] was the one should be getting comforted. From what he had gathered from what he's picked up on what Crystal has said about the Unicorns, it seemed that going back wasn't going to be an easy process since he sort of kidnapped her. It was understandable, especially since a while ago she told them about how secretive the Unicorns, and pretty much how lucky he was to be able to get to Crystal.
However, when Crystal began to speak about what actually would happen, Felix's already wide eyes grew even wider, and his heart sank even further. [b “Wait... You mean-”] He cuts off Crystal, but is soon cut off himself by Jasper who... Kind of lays it on thick as to what would happen if Crystal was to return the Unicorns. [i Exile?] Why? Well, that was kind of a stupid question to ask, he knew why... The Unicorns were a secretive and equally protective group, and no doubt to make sure the many were safe, they were more than happy to sacrifice the few. The thought sort of sickened him. He couldn't believe he had resigned Crystal to this fate without even knowing it; it was almost unbelievable! ... Almost.
For the most part, Felix was mostly silent, finding his attention to Crystal and Jasper's conversation sort of faded mostly in and out for the most part as he wracked his brain at the revelation. Although he was mostly just a backseat passenger in the conversation, feeling slightly faraway from the situation, he was brought back full force when tears began to rush down her cheeks. He managed to react just as she began crying, his eyes sort of bugging out of his skull as the Unicorn began to sob. He looked from her and then to the dress bag Jasper had been carrying... Felix might not really understand what was happening, but he [i did] understand that she was upset and that she had pretty much been upset since Jasper had arrived.
It took every ounce of willpower just to refrain from giving Jasper a solid clock to the noggin, but Felix managed it, instead stepping forward and placing a hand on the male Unicorn's chest as he tried to approach Crystal.
[+blue “You've done enough, Jasper.”] Daggeron says, floating next to Felix, creating more of a barricade to Crystal. He turns and looks at Felix, unspoken words being exchanged between them. The hunter turns away and moves to Crystal, mostly trying to usher her back to the RV as Daggeron turns back to Jasper. [+blue “I think its time you recognize how much you don't understand about the situation and come to grips with it. We've given you ample opportunity and time. If you can't understand that Crystal is staying here of her own free will, I recommend you leave before you cause any further damage. If you're willing to put a stop this war you [i think] you're fighting for Crystal, we'll give you enough time to say your goodbyes...”] Daggeron turns and floats away a few feet before turning a bit back, having one final thing to say. [+blue “For someone who is supposed to care for Crystal enough to marry her, I have to say I'm disappointed.”] And with that, Daggeron is finished and turns away to rejoin the group.
An arm around her shoulder, Felix gently coaxes Crystal back to the RV where Hilda all but bursts through the doors. She offers a sympathetic smile and holds out her hands to invite Crystal inside with her. [+red “How about some more tea? We can have some and relax.”]
When told to find something he liked, Falken pretty much shrugs at the comment. His Glamour was enough for him, and he didn't think anything would fit over the magical armour fused to his body underneath. So instead, he elected to stay back, leaving Ruby to her own devices as she looked over the clothes brought to her and as she instructed Stephanie to go get her a coffee. As the vampire moved passed him, he held up his hand, swinging out a bill for her to take so she could purchase the coffee.
When implied that the employee was boring but he'd 'have to do', Falken simply rolled his eyes, motioning towards him. [+silver “As you said; be quick about it.”] He says as Ruby literally drags the man behind the dressing room doors. Soon after, Stephanie reappears, looking a little befuddled and glances around looking for Ruby. However, as soon as the [i sounds] begin to come from the back room, her unasked question was answered.
As patiently as she could, she looks down at the hot caramel coffee with whipped cream and sprinkles, tapping her foot in anticipation. Was it going to get cold before Ruby was done? What happened if that were to happen? She glances towards Falken who gives her a sidelong look before taking the coffee from her hands. He then motions for her to go wait in the car... He'd wait for Ruby. Someone had to.
Crystal could tell he was uncomfortable. He was so transparent it was impossible to miss. She just really didn’t know what else to say. They both set about cleaning. Neither of them seemed up for being particularly chatty about whatever was bothering them, and that seemed to be the end of that for the moment. Until the dam broke.
She immediately wanted to try and reassure him. She started to shake her head. It wasn’t his fault, but she just couldn’t go back. She didn’t know where anyone was, she wouldn’t be allowed to know. She wouldn’t be allowed to contact them. It wasn’t Felix not allowing her though.
Daggeron understood, or at least he understood part of it. Felix so obviously didn’t that it hurt to watch. Crystal didn’t want to have to tell him. He looked so [i distressed]. It would be better to hear it from her than let Jasper continue to run his mouth. Jasper wouldn’t even try to spare Felix’s feelings, and he was bound to say something sooner or later.
Her first attempt she just opened her mouth and closed it again. Crystal was obviously uncomfortable, her whole body twisting one way and then another, like she wanted to turn away and run. Instead of going with that instinct she looked down and reached for his hand. It was as much for herself as it was for him, holding his hand kept her [i here]. She took a step closer, looked back at him and tried again,[#c4519e “It’s just that if… [i if] I go back, it’s not… It’s not a warm welcome.”]
[i That] was an understatement. She was stressing the ‘if’ deliberately. She meant it about not wanting to go back at this point. She exhaled and glanced at Daggeron for just a moment. How much did Daggeron really know? It was hard to say. He obviously knew a lot more than he said about pretty much everything, but unicorns had been very reluctant and secretive lately. He was always curious whenever she did mention anything, which wasn’t often but still. She turned her attention back to Felix. The exhaustion was really starting to show, especially around her eyes, and her voice sounded a little tight like she was struggling with the words,[#c4519e “They… The Council I mean, they would want me away from others. Unicorns [i and] humans. For... an unspecified amount of time. Not a short time, it’s more—”]
[+goldenrod “Exile. Imprisonment. A quarantine. Call it what you want, they’ll isolate her. For [i years]. Decades most likely. Most don’t handle the loneliness well and—”] Crystal had been so focused on Felix she hadn’t even noticed Jasper return. His arms were full, mostly with a large potted plant. Pink lilies. Crystal had jumped a little when she heard Jasper. He looked a bit sour and gave a sharp look at Crystal’s hand over Felix’s. She kept rejecting his attempts, but she was quick to hold the hunter’s hand.
[#c4519e “Jasper! What… Are those…?”] She’d interrupted him a little sharply, but her question thankfully seemed to be enough to get him willing to change the topic without further argument.
Jasper nodded and held out the flowers to her, practically shoving them into her arm and looking a little excited and pleased with himself. She held them in one arm but didn’t let go of Felix’s hand, looking a little stunned at the sudden flowers in her face,[+goldenrod “Yeah, lilies. You know, because your name? I always thought Lily was a pretty name…”]
Crystal looked a little embarrassed and glanced toward Felix then practically buried her face in the flowers while offering an explanation,[#c4519e “My… middle name is Lily. Lilies are… nice.”] She wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about the lilies, though she also didn’t mind them. They weren’t her favorite flower. She liked roses best, white roses specifically. One of her plants on the windowsill she tended to was a miniature white rose bush. The other plants there she’d picked because they were good for cooking and sat in the kitchen, that one she’d gotten just because she liked it. Besides that it felt awkward getting flowers from the man she was breaking up with. She hadn’t seen what else he had yet, the flowers obstructed her view. What he had with him behind the flowers was a white bag with a zipper over a hanger.
He held it up for her to see and started talking while she peered around the flowers[+goldenrod “Anyway, I also had this. I haven’t looked at it yet! I just thought… even with everything you should… uh…”]
Jasper trailed off, seeming to realize mid-sentence he’d made a terrible mistake. He sort of expected her to tear up maybe, but for her to look happy. He miscalculated, because when she caught sight of the dress bag she didn’t look happy at all. She looked distraught, and the tears were most definitely not happy tears. She started by trying not to cry, but the tears just flowed down her cheeks. Her shoulders were shaking, and then she was just sobbing into the flowers. Jasper was moving too fast with everything from butting into her explanation, to the flowers, and now to [i that] dress, that he only just realized this was too much for her. And he didn’t know how to fix it either. [+goldenrod “Crystal? I’m sorry. I didn’t...”]
The dress was the last straw for her. She could handle him being rude and interrupting, figuring he would calm down after a little while. The flowers were only awkward. Seeing the dress she’d never get to wear though, what that meant, that hurt. It really hurt, enough to make her chest ache. It wasn’t just not marrying Jasper, it was not getting married [i at all] that bothered her. When Jasper tried to reach for her to comfort her she took a step back and let the flowers fall. She was shaking her head, unable or unwilling to speak.
Ruby couldn’t help the little giggle at Falken joining in. [+firebrick “Oh good. You aren’t a complete stick in the mud.”]
A table with neatly folded shirts was Ruby’s next target, and she carelessly picked up one shirt after another, briefly holding it up before dropping it on the floor if she disliked it. There was one in red she threw over her arm. She was humming to herself, vaguely along with the music playing in the store,[+firebrick “You should enjoy yourself too. Find something you like before we get on the road again. Something new to go with the new face.”]
She had nearly cleared the table, then decided to just tip it over on its side. Her attention wandered again and found Stephanie. Stephanie was dutifully, if sullenly, choosing a pair of pants. Ruby went over and looked at what the vampire had found, which were black jeans,[+firebrick “Dull, but it will have to do. We’re not wasting the amount of time we’d need to on you. Go get dressed and then fetch me a coffee. Caramel, hot, with whipped cream. I want sprinkles on it too. Make sure it’s really hot, not lukewarm.”]
Her demands so far were pretty tame. She made her way toward the dressing room in back, where the man watching the shop was amassing the red and black clothes he could find that seemed about Ruby’s size. Ruby tilted her head, watching him fetch a red dress down using a stepladder,[+firebrick “He’s a bit boring, but he’ll have to do. Not time to be picky.”]
Once the man was down Ruby grabbed his shirt and pulled him toward the dressing rooms where all the clothes were. She waved her free hand vaguely at Falken,[+firebrick “Don’t worry, he won’t last long. He’s probably a virgin.”]
When the man tried to put up some resistance and protest, he found his feet not quite touching the floor anymore,”W-wait, miss. I really—Holy shit. Fuck.” He was freaking out and Ruby rolled her eyes,[+firebrick “Calm down, or I’ll make you calm down.”]
Sort of awkwardly, Felix just stood there when Crystal spoke. His shoulders were up and his face looked like he had just taken a chunk out of a lemon at the mention of him being 'alright' with Jasper staying, or the fact that she thought she wasn't going to see anyone again. Knowing Felix this long, and sort of how uncomplicated his personality was, it was quite clear he had many things to say on the matter. But his eyes—which now looked like beady little things—kept glancing over at Daggeron who drew ever so closer at each glance.
[b “Yup.”] Seemed like all he had to say about the matter for the time being, and quickly began to help Crystal clean up. He was mostly quiet for the time being, but it almost seemed like he was holding his breath. And the second Crystal and him made eye contact again, Felix burst like a balloon.
[b “You know you can see whoever you want, right? You really aren't a prisoner here.”] Felix comments. They could even go together, and her parents could see that he wasn't some awful human abusing their daughter!
Clearly a bit of what Jasper had said seemed to have got to him, but he wanted to make sure Crystal knew he wasn't keeping her under lock and key. At first Felix was at a loss for how to defeat Mercurial, and after some brainstorming Daggeron had recommended [i borrowing] power from a Unicorn to give him an edge. Mercurial had too many advantages to begin with, and if they could take magic out of the equation, then they'd have a much better shot at taking him down. Honestly, it didn't seem like he had that many other options, and despite it skating pretty close to breaking one of the tenets of the Brotherhood, Felix agreed, deciding Mercurial's defeat more important than anything else, even his own life... But why was that so hard to see now? Why were things so emotional and complicated. This wasn't anything like what he had imagined.
Daggeron floats closer. [+blue “Felix...”] He seemed strained, but t be fair, it appeared that the hunter was going to open up a can of worms that he had hoped to avoid. It was only a matter of time, he knew that, but he had elected it a problem for the future, and did not consider the full ramifications at the time when they conceived their plans. [+blue “I don't think she can do that anymore...”]
Felix looked between them quickly, almost frantically, his eyes growing wide and locking on to the sword. [b “What... What did you make me do?”] He looks back to Crystal. [b “What does Jasper think I condemned you to?”] He wanted to ask when the time was right, but at this point he couldn't stop himself from asking. He needed to know everything now, and he needed to know if he could make it right.
Despite Falken feeling like Ruby was wasting their time, he had to admit it appeared she was trying her best to be well-behaved... Or as well behaved as a Bloodmad Unicorn could be, at least. It still vexed him that they were here instead of hunting Team Felix, but that might be a limitation of Falken's own: his programmed loyalty to Mercurial and single-mindedness about it.
So, with a bit of self-awareness in his pocket, Falken stood back, arms crossed and watched the two women 'shop'. For the most part, Ruby was just antagonizing Stephanie and the staff of the store, but again, he found himself strangely proud of the Unicorn when she didn't set fire to anything or anyone when one of the employees approached her. However, it seemed that Falken needed to run a little interference as the employee seemed to be slowing Ruby down... That might have some [i catastrophic] consequences if the Unicorn got annoyed or bored.
Falken was suddenly at Ruby's side. [+silver “You heard the lady, boy.”] And he reached out and knocked over a mannequin chest displaying a brightly coloured golf shirt. [+silver “Go get her everything in red and black.”] And the man quickly scurries away to do so, Falken offering Ruby a small smirk. They'd make this quick and get on with the mission; there wasn't any point in letting anyone else slow them down.
Crystal probably wouldn’t have picked the word ‘simple’, but Daggeron was on the right path. A lot closer than Jasper was anyway. She looked over at Daggeron when he started to apologize and gave him a sad smile. Even without moving features he was surprisingly expressive. He and Felix both felt bad about bringing her into this, but she could tell they didn’t have many options. [#c4519e “It’s alright. I understand. Or I think I sort of do. It’s not an easy situation. You needed a unicorn and you found me. It’s not like finding a unicorn is easy in the first place. And I wouldn’t want to push this onto anyone else.”]
Crystal rubbed her forehead and sat up a little straighter. She’d developed a habit of rubbing her forehead a lot,[#c4519e “I’m not sure what I want anymore. I thought I wanted to marry Jasper and…”] She sighed and looked toward the RV for a long moment before turning back to Daggeron and struggling to articulate something she couldn’t pin down consciously at the moment. She [i thought] she wanted Jasper and cared for him, and she did care about him, but when it came down to a choice between Jasper and Felix she hadn’t even hesitated to pick Felix,[#c4519e “But I just… I don’t know.”]
She’d fallen quiet by the time Felix approached. She stacked her plate with Jasper’s to start cleaning up and got up,[#c4519e “Yeah.”] She still sounded distracted. Her sleep deprived brain was still trying to deal with the mess that her brief conversation with Daggeron had brought up in her head,[#c4519e “You’re probably right. We should go soon.”]
There was one more thing and Crystal stopped cleaning and set everything on the table,[#c4519e “Um, thanks for… being alright with Jasper staying. I know he’s being difficult.”] She fidgeted with her hands a little, lacing her fingers together,[#c4519e “I um, I would have told you if I thought he might show up. I just didn’t expect to ever… see anyone again.”]
[+firebrick “Of course you don’t understand.”] She waved her hand dismissively and looked out the window. The scenery was so [i boring]. Ruby would have liked more people around, it made for more interesting options at least. [+firebrick “I won’t let it delay us too much.”]
The mall wasn’t huge, but it would have to do. Stephanie seemed to have gotten pretty quiet, realizing she and her siblings weren’t nearly as important as they thought they were. Now it was just her following these two, and Ruby seemed to be treating her like something of a pet. Ruby snapped her fingers,[+firebrick “Come here. What was your name again?”]
[+firebrick “Right. Now come with me and we’ll try to get you looking decent. You’re too pathetic to be seen with.”] Ruby told her as they made their way into the mall. It wasn’t terribly busy, but there were several shops for clothes, make up, jewelry, and a food court. Ruby even spotted a candy store, a coffee shop, and in the distance a movie theater. [+firebrick “This will do nicely. First clothes.”]
She went into what was probably one of the higher end shops with the sort of confidence like she owned the place, while Stephanie trailed behind. Ruby right away went to the shirts, holding them up and dropping the ones she didn’t like on the floor, which was most of them. Finally she found a tank top in black that she tossed at the vampire,[+firebrick “Gloomy, like you. It’ll have to do. Go pick out some pants.”]
The man working at the shop had emerged from the back room and watched as Ruby pretty much tore apart the display. He seemed a little surprised at first, but went up after a few moments,”Can I help you with anything, miss?”
Ruby paused and eyed him up and down,[+firebrick “Most likely. It’s been ages since I’ve been out.”] Evidently she decided nothing on this rack was to her liking so she tipped the whole thing over. The shop worker flinched when it crashed on the floor.
“Um, miss. You really can’t—”
[+firebrick “I really can.”] She had put her finger over his mouth to quiet him and was looking at him like a cat deciding if this toy was worth it,[+firebrick “Go get me everything you have in red and black.”]
All posts are either in parody or to be taken as literature. This is a roleplay site. Sexual content is forbidden.