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[pic https://i.imgur.com/VwGRNdm.jpg] [left Crystal wiped her face and took a deep breath. Of course he didn’t like Jasper much, but they weren’t going to just leave him to… to Ruby. The thought of what she might do to him, that he might become like her, was chilling. They were going to save him somehow. The reassurance was enough to let her reign in the tears again, for the moment at least. Felix was obviously not thrilled with the idea of her crying. She wasn’t exactly happy with it either, but that was the point. If she was happy she wouldn’t be crying, would she?
That was a really good question. Crystal went a little ahead, one hand over her wound. That cut was really starting to hurt. She put off dealing with it for now. Once Hilda was safely tucked into bed she could tend to it, it wasn’t like it would kill her.
She answered Daggeron slowly, not sure how much she should say,[#c4519e “I… really doubt I could find him the way he found me. They’ll have…”] She fiddled with her necklace again as she trailed off, then opened the RV door to let Felix in with Hilda. Then she shut the door behind her after following.
She was looking at Felix in that thoughtful way again while he got Hilda to her bed. Could she trust him with this? She’d trusted him enough to not get rid of the necklace in the first place. Maybe he really was like in the stories… Crystal looked away suddenly. There was that embarrassed feeling, like frustrated butterflies in her stomach. Maybe thinking Felix was like a knight from the stories was a bit much, but it was a thought her mind kept wandering back to. Trusting him wasn’t the issue right now. She shifted her gaze to Daggeron. There were more pressing things. [#c4519e “I’ll um, I’ll explain later. The important thing is I can’t track him that way. As for any other way, well, you know how hard it is to find a unicorn, plus I’m not actually that good at tracking magic. Jasper is, he’d be more use here. And he’d be able to find me so you wouldn’t have to wait and walk into whatever trap they’ll have waiting for us.”]
That was the guilt talking. If only it had been her. She’d taken the risks knowing, but he… He had no idea, and now he might be killed or worse. Crystal leaned back against the nearest wall and finally took a better look at the cut on her hip. Her face scrunched up a little, and she ran her fingers over and around the wound. Just like Hilda’s, the skin closed up, not even leaving a scar. Healing magic took a lot out of the healer after a while, and she was tired to begin with. She leaned her head back against the wall, trying to ride out the little wave of nausea washing over her without Felix or Daggeron noticing. She was looking a bit green, and wondered when she had last eaten. Breakfast. No wonder her stomach was giving her trouble.
[#c4519e “Anyway, so why are they after Daggeron now? Maybe we should talk and drive. Oh…”] Crystal looked a little crestfallen,[#c4519e “The laundry. I just washed and Ruby… that [i bitch].”] There was a little flash of anger, then it was gone as quick as it came as soon as the words left her mouth leaving Crystal looking confused about her outburst. She had worked hard on washing things, and now it was laying outside in pieces thanks to Ruby. [i And] there was no time to clean it up. It was unimportant in the grand scheme of things but the frustration had boiled over suddenly. Emotionally she was a mess bottling everything up, but there was too much. Something was bound to give sooner or later.]
Squinting his eyes at Ruby as she descended to the ground, a chill ran up his spine. It dawned on him that, that was her version of wishing him well and that she hoped to see him again. Felix didn't respond, nor did he really have one locked and loaded for the Mad Unicorn's parting words. Instead, he simply descends to the ground a little after her and makes a B-line for Crystal and Hilda.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he got closer, and other than Crystal's gash on her hip, the two magic-users seemed to be fine. Hilda was unconscious, but he wounds were closed and she was breathing steadily... His violent cold fury he didn't realize was building abated now that he could see the both of them, maybe not particularly happy, but healthy. It made their next steps that much easier, and-
[b “We're going to leave and get somewhere safe. Simple.”] Felix responds, helping Crystal up from her crouching over Hilda.
[+blue “What about Jasper?”] Daggeron asks, and Felix looks down at the sword in his hand, giving it an irritated and confused look.
[b “What [i about] Jasper?”] He asks, his emotional intelligence showing, and immediately wishes he could retract the comment when Crystal begins word vomiting on him, and tearing up. You'd think that fighting a nigh-invulnerable wolf-headed warrior and an insanely powerful and even more insane Unicorn would get to him, but it didn't. Emotions, [i deep] emotions like the ones that were threatening to erupt full force from Crystal's tear-ducts, that's what made Felix's anxiety shoot through the roof.
A foot instinctively moves backwards away from Crystal, but he quickly stops the motion, shaking his head at himself as if to shake some of the thoughts out of his head. The initial shock of her getting emotional stopped him from processing her words, but he quickly snapped back in to a more calm and rational head-space. [b “Wait, how is it your fault he found us? How [i did] he find us so easily?”]
[+blue “If he could find you, maybe we can do the same for him. Everything will be alright, Crystal.”] And Felix sort of nods in agreement. Although he didn't really want to waste his time, resources, and being rescuing currently the most annoying thing in his life, he'd do it for Crysal. He cared about her, and he guessed if she cared about Jasper, so did he... He pulls a slightly disgusted face at himself...
[i Maybe that was going a little too far. He'd just do it for Crystal.]
Felix crouches down and scoops up Hilda, nodding his head back towards the RV for them to head back. It was too bad Hilda was taken out of the fight, they could have used her for this rescue mission. She was one of the most powerful Talented he's ever come across, and if her memory wasn't broken up right now, he figures she would have been more of a match for Ruby. [b “We'll set up somewhere safer and prepare ourselves for the fight...”] He looks to the sword now floating next to him. [b “Fill me in on what happened, as many details as possible... And maybe why they've sent in their A-Team to take you.”]
[+firebrick “But she’s more fun. She screams so easily.”] Ruby taunted Felix as he made his way to her. He was as quick as she guessed. When he did make his way to her she tilted her head, her face as openly curious as her stance was guarded. He wasn’t using Crystal’s magic, he was using objects and the sword. Weaker magic. That was very interesting. Ruby had opened her mouth to ask about it when Falken interrupted.
It made Ruby pout a little. He was interrupting the fun! And not in a good way where he might swoop in and cause some chaos. He just grabbed the unicorn she saw coming a mile away and wasn’t the slightest bit an actual threat to [i stop the fight] when it was getting to be really fun.
The situation was distressing to Crystal. After the spikes she managed to get Hilda the rest of the way down. When she tried to actually hold most of Hilda’s weight to relieve some of the pressure in her head her injured hip objected and she ended up on her knees with Hilda half in her arms. Not perfect, but she achieved her goal of not dropping Hilda. She thought things were going pretty well, all things considered. Then she realized where Jasper was. Whatever he’d been doing before, now he was being held hostage. They wanted Daggeron. Obviously they couldn’t just trade Daggeron for Jasper, but she couldn’t bear the thought of them killing him or… The massive wolf creature struck on a worse fear just as she was thinking about it and what color was left in Crystal’s face drained. She couldn’t find her voice, it felt like she could barely breathe.
Falken’s use of her magic didn’t seem to faze her in the slightest. She felt the tug, but let it be. She learned a long time ago to let it happen and not think much of it. [+firebrick “Later. I’ll break every tiny bone in your hands and show the girl the mangled mess.”] Apparently that was Ruby’s idea of a friendly parting to Felix the way she said it so sweet, with a smile and a little wave. With that she hopped down to join Falken,[+firebrick “Spoilsport. At least let me play with him until the others come. I’ll be careful not to kill him.”]
Despite her complaining she seemed to be interested enough in retreating with Falken, since he was bringing along a new toy. She’d have [i plenty] of fun tonight between preparing for the fight and messing with Jasper. Much more interesting than the vampire. Speaking of, Ruby was only mildly surprised to find Stephanie waiting in the car. She just commented the vampire looked terrible and she thought Stephanie had died because she was so weak.
While they left Crystal fumbled a little trying to heal the worst of Hilda’s wounds. She had to lay her down to get everywhere. While she worked her hands were shaking and her eyes still a little wide. The guilt was crushing her from the inside out. The fresh plant growth near her was a telltale sign the blood wasn’t all Hilda’s, even if they couldn’t see the big gash on her hip. It wasn’t a tiny scratch, and the pain was creeping up on Crystal, slowly aching worse.
[#c4519e “[i Sleep].”] Crystal couldn’t risk letting Hilda wake up like this. She needed rest, and hopefully not feel the pain. As far as she was concerned Hilda needed to be kept out of whatever mess happened next.
Her mind was racing once Hilda’s wounds were closed, smooth and without any hint of a scar. They had to find a way to save Jasper without sacrificing Daggeron. They had to. When Felix got closer Crystal looked up with wide, slightly teary eyes. It was taking a lot of willpower to not break down and cry again. [#c4519e “What are we going to do?”]
Crystal held the little crystal pendant of her necklace. She wore it day and night, never took it off or said a thing about it, but sometimes she would fiddle with it and just think. Usually about her mother. Her family. Now it was smeared with blood from her hands and she had something else on her mind. She continued after only the briefest of pauses, sounding more frantic. [#c4519e “It’s my fault. It’s my fault he’s here, if anything happens to him… It was my fault he found us. I… I was so stupid. I didn’t think… Then I wanted him to stay. I know it’s dangerous but I was so [i selfish], I just wanted my mother to know… even if I never see her again. I want her to know. I don’t want her to worry.”] Her attempt to confess and explain wasn’t very clear. What was clear was how terrible she felt about it. If Falken did follow through she obviously wouldn’t handle whatever misfortune fell on Jasper very well. Her voice was tight and she hadn’t completely stopped a few tears from leaving a trail down her cheeks despite her best efforts.
Crossing his arms, Falken waited, staring off in to the treeline where he could see and hear the signs of combat. He could also see Stephanie writhing on the ground some ways away, his sword plunged through her and pinning her to the ground. It appeared his adversary had remembered her from their last encounter, and made an effort to keep her out of the fight.
Falken was eager to join Ruby in battle. He knew she could hold Team Felix off until he arrived, and then they would finish them... However, he couldn't help but tap his finger on his arm and his foot against the ground in anticipation, as the glowing grey field around him slowly faded. Getting caught in Felix's silly little trap was unfortunate, but very lucky for the hunter, and he had to admit he was impressed by his resourcefulness. But Falken wouldn't underestimate him again, nor would he fail Mercurial in the task to retrieve the Dragon Sword.
The field's power waned, and soon enough, it coalesced in to the wind. Certain senses and feelings powered by magic returned, and that's when Falken knew that he was free of the Anti-magic. He begins marching towards the sounds of battle, but quickly stops when he's beside Stephanie. He looks down at her and at the sword embedded in her abdomen.
[+silver “This may hurt.”] He says, and just as she begins to protest, he rips the sword from her, blood gushing, but quickly stopping thanks to Unicorn enhanced blood she ingested. She curls in on herself, groaning in pain and suppressing a scream. [+silver “When you have healed enough, go wait in the car. We'll be finished here soon enough.”] Falken tells her and begins marching towards the treeline.
[b “Your opponent is me!”] Felix shouts after Ruby. Despite jumping inhumanly high, he was able to keep up with her thanks to his boots and Daggeron's magic. Saying that though, he was still maybe a touch slow, especially after the volley of spikes went in Crystal and Hilda's direction. He was distracted, and it was obviously Ruby's intent to distract him, but that would also distract her which meant that...
Well, it really meant nothing. But he still had to remind himself that Crystal would be able to take care of herself; she flew them and shielded them from an entire mansion crashing down on top of them after all.
Felix touched the ground again, and immediately sprung in to the air and towards the tree that Ruby had brought to life. It was big, but it was slow, and even in mid-air, he was able to manoeuvre around its branches, grabbing on to a few and flinging himself closer to his target. In a pinch, Daggeron would summon a glyph for Felix to land on or to jump off of to avoid getting caught, but the closer they got to Ruby, the thinner and more agile the branches were.
[+blue “Keep your head up, Felix!”] Daggeron shouts as he summons another glyph for Felix to spring off of. Reaching in to his coat, Felix pulls out one of the runes he had, and despite not having his gauntlet to properly use its power, he still held it under his thumb in the same hand as Daggeron.
He glides towards Ruby and lands on to one of the larger branches as several small ones come towards him like angry tendrils. With another hushed word, the rune jammed between Felix's handle and the sword handle glows, and Daggeron's jewelled blue eyes turn in to a fiery orange and red. An explosion of fire in the rough shape of a dome envelopes Felix, blasting apart the branches with the force of a hurricane, save for the one him and Ruby were standing on. The rune in his palm fades to dust, and Felix grimaces at the thought of making and paying for another rune.
Taking it from his mind, he stands his ground against Ruby, getting in to a balanced fighting stance, sword at the ready as Ruby seemed to have hers. He was curious to see what her swordsmanship was like, but he assumed she relied mostly on magic, so he counted himself lucky that he Daggeron who was a sword and magically reflective. At this range Ruby wouldn't be able to pull off anything too complicated without giving him an opening.
[+silver “That is enough, both of you.”] A voice calls from below. He tracks with his eyes a little bit, but he didn't want to let his guard down with Ruby, but once he caught a glimpse of...
[b “Oh, for the love of God...”] Felix groans. Face down on the forest floor with Falken's foot on the back of his head was Jasper. One of those strange crescent swords also rested beside the Unicorn's neck, the golem ready to cut his throat. But since Jasper was still alive and pretty much being held captive, it told Felix that these guys wanted something other than to kill them or capture them.
Falken looks up at the two about the battle it out on the tree and lets out a huff. [+silver “Give me Daggeron or I will kill this man.”] And Felix' narrows his eyes at that... But that's the only movement that they get out of him. He doesn't budge. [+silver “Seriously?”] The golem sighs under his breath, stroking his canine chin pensively. [+silver “What is his life worth to you?”]
And Felix thinks on that for a second, looking at Ruby as if she might be able to help him figure out an answer to the question. But then he looks to Crystal, weighing her feelings in on the matter as well... [b “Uhhh....”]
[+silver “Stop stalling!”]
[b “I'm not stalling! I'm thinking!”] And with a growl, Falken reaches down and grabs Jasper by the back of his neck, holding him up off the ground as if to display him tot he group.
[+silver “You have until midnight to decide if his life is more than that of the swords. If you try anything or if you believe I am joking, I will kill him and mail you him piece by piece.”] His glowing yellows eyes then turn to look to Crystal and the unconscious Hilda. [+silver “Or perhaps we will inflict him with the Bloodmadness and send him back to deal with you... The choice is yours. We will send you where you are to meet us at midnight within the hour.”] He throws Jasper to the ground like a rag doll, and with a magical snap of his fingers, binds his hands with Ruby's angry red bindings. [+silver “Come, Ruby. We will have our chance to play with them again later, I am sure.”]
Crystal pushed herself up onto her hands and knees. Her whole body was tingling with pins and needles like when a limb falls asleep. Felix was here though. That was a huge relief.
Ruby smiled at Felix,[+firebrick “I’ve just been playing.”] She wasn’t in a hurry to make the first strike, instead she was watching him, the way he moved. He was obviously more experienced, and he’d slipped away from Falken. No easy feat, so the hunter was likely [i very] agile. She knew Falken wasn’t dead, she’d have felt it, it was just a matter of time before he joined them. She knew better than to waste time trying to check on him, it would leave her open.
Crystal groaned and answered, her ears ringing,[#c4519e “I’m fine. Numb, but fine. I’ll get her, don’t worry. Jasper, come on. Get up.”]
Jasper was still getting himself up while Crystal was on her feet. Crystal didn’t go to Jasper, instead she went right to Hilda, expecting Jasper to follow her. It would probably take him a minute if he felt as bad as she did. As it was she was a bit unsteady on her feet. She looked up at Hilda, not sure how to start without risking hurting Hilda worse. There was so much blood running down the spikes, leaving streams of darker red against the angry glow of Ruby’s magic. Crystal was feeling a little sick again.
[#c4519e “Okay. It’s okay. She’ll be fine.”] Crystal muttered under her breath to reassure herself as she cautiously touched one of the spikes. She half expected it to do something, but nothing happened. She sighed in relief and got to work.
Ruby was ready to catch the sword, and she did even with the smoke enveloping her and clouding her senses. She mumbled to herself with a little cough,[+firebrick “Clever.”] Ruby couldn’t tell where Felix was or where he might come from, so she kept her arms and the sword up defensively. But she did remember where the witch was, still pinned in place, and Crystal was on her way there. With her free hand pointed that direction she sent out a scattershot of red spikes one after another, smaller versions of the ones she’d used to trap Hilda. It may or may not actually hit them, but Ruby wondered if the hunter would get distracted. He cared about his friends, and men had a soft spot for an injured woman. She wasn’t planning to give him an opening.
Immediately after launching the last of the spikes she jumped backward out of the smoke, then as soon as her feet hit the ground made another unnaturally high and long jump right onto the branch of a tree. When she put her hand on the tree she fed magic into it and it came to life, the branches bending around ready to defend her, and lashing out to strike at Felix. The wood creaked and groaned with the movements. The tree would be slower than more supple plants or new growth, but tougher. More subtly she was putting the roots to work, still having the goal to try and trap her opponents rather than kill them right away. She took a moment to check how both unicorns were fairing.
Crystal had initially made quick work to get Hilda down gently. The spikes dissolved at her touch and she was keeping Hilda up and hovering until she could lower her. Then the volley of new spikes hit before she could finish. The first missed them both by quite a bit, but the second by blind luck struck Crystal just above her hip, more a graze than piercing but it still tore a good chunk of flesh. She made a pained sound and gasped. She didn’t wait to see where the others would hit, or dare to check what her wound looked like, and put up a shield. The shimmering gold magic held against Ruby’s attack, but Crystal was starting to feel a little lightheaded from the effort and pain. Where was Jasper? He was supposed to follow and help her!
Jasper had pulled himself up and was making his way toward Ruby in a slightly more roundabout way, through the trees, while sending an illusionary version of himself to make a reckless charge out in the open. He hoped it would distract her, even if it wasn’t anything close to his best illusion, but it didn’t fool her for a second.
Daggeron spiralled in the air, but then stopped before going to a completely different direction. He slices through the air, and his hilt lands straight in to Felix's hand. Upon meeting his palm, the Dragon Sword glowed a brilliant blue light, and the familiar feeling of Daggeron's power surged through Felix's body, travelling down to his Iron Ring.
[b “What have you done to my friends?”] Felix demands, his narrowed eyes glancing around the battlefield. He could see Crystal and Jasper were stunned, and pretty much picking themselves up. And Hilda... His eyes were wide when they landed on her. She was suspended from the ground by red spikes, most of which were in her arms and legs, locking her in place, and her head was bobbed down, and if Felix didn't see her chest rising and falling, he'd have thought she was dead. His eyes narrow again and he grits his teeth, pointing the dark sword at the sorceress. [b “You'll pay for this.”]
[+blue “Be careful, Felix; Ruby is a Unicorn.”] And that pierces through him like a knife... It was like a hard reality check. This was something that could happen to Crystal if he wasn't careful or around to protect her. He was already doing a piss poor job of that right now, too... He kind of wished he didn't use the anti-magic field on Falken at this point.
[b “Crystal, are you alright?”] Felix asks, circling more in to the battlefield. He didn't take his eyes off of Ruby though, that could spell 'fatal'. The hunter squares off with the Bloodmad Unicorn, thinking of the options he had right now. If he'd had the foresight to keep some more iron on him, he'd treat this situation as if he was fighting one of the Fae. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, so he'd just treat her like an insanely powerful sorcerer. Both of those things had a pretty common theme between them though; don't slow down and don't let them touch you... At least he had Daggeron to help deal with this, and he'd just successfully played 'keep away' with Falken while unarmed. [b “If you can, get Hilda down and get everyone to safety.”] He spins the swords deftly in his hands, putting Daggeron in the reverse grip while keeping the dark sword in front of him defensively. [b “I'll handle this.”]
He spins and swiftly moves to one side, throwing the dark sword like a spear at Ruby. The second it take flight, and still in mid-air, Felix reaches in to his jacket, throwing three vials of grey liquid in a second volley. They shatter at Ruby's feet, engulfing the area in a cloud of thick magical smoke. It scrambled magical senses, but it wasn't like Ruby was a werewolf or it'd slow her down for long; it was just to keep her guessing and all he needed was a second. And with keeping with that fashion, the second his foot touches the ground, his magical boots launch him in a different direction as he makes his way towards Ruby. He'd have to remain defensive, so he and Daggeron were ready for a counter-attack, but again, all he needed was a second.
Crystal was relieved to be freed before Ruby could get ahold of her. She scrambled to her feet, looking toward Ruby. It would be dangerous to turn her back on the mad unicorn. But then she did anyway when Hilda got caught in the trap none of them had noticed.
It had a brief stunning effect to keep the target from being able to counter or evade the trap once it activated, not that there was much time to react anyway. The previously invisible writing burned red and up from the ground sprang magically constructed spikes, a bright red like all of Ruby’s magic so far. The spikes impaled at angles, oddly aimed to spear the arms and legs more than anywhere else. They twisted in places to reach their targets, so not all of them were even straight. Ruby didn’t mean for it to be fatal in case a unicorn fell for the trap, which was the only reason Hilda was still alive. Alive but in pain, when the spikes stopped they had Hilda held up in the air by impaling through her arms and legs.
Crystal thought she might be sick looking at it. There was a lump in her throat and she was looking very pale. Ruby had easily dispelled the green fire and laughed, delighted with the turn of events, but Crystal barely registered that for the moment. Crystal was feeling lightheaded, but raised Daggeron to try and deal with the spikes with him and get Hilda down. There were so many of them, more than was needed to deal with Hilda but extra fanned around ready to harm anyone who got carelessly close.
[+firebrick “Lovely. You’re really not used to this, are you?”] Ruby’s voice cut through Crystal’s mental fog. She hadn’t been able to deal with any of the spikes yet but her head was screaming ‘[i danger]’. She shouldn’t have turned her back to Ruby.
It would have been too late, except Jasper had ignored Daggeron and put himself in the way of the ropes Ruby had meant to use to get Crystal. They were wrapped around his arm, which was raised. It obviously hurt. Crystal couldn’t let Ruby get Jasper too, so she went to him and severed the rope with Daggeron,[#c4519e “No! You won’t win. You’re outnumbered.”]
Where was Felix though? Crystal tried to get Jasper back, but Jasper wasn’t going to let her do all of the fighting. That little disagreement where Jasper wouldn’t budge gave Ruby an opening she could have driven a truck through, so she extended her hand and out went a bolt of electricity. It hit hard enough to send Crystal and Jasper flying a short ways, and Crystal let go of Daggeron, so the three went separate directions. The two unicorns were stunned from the impact, and didn’t immediately get up from the dirt. Ruby was smirking and shook her hand to get rid of the lingering tingling sensation,[+firebrick “Outnumbered maybe, but not outmatched. Oh, I get to play with you afterall.”]
Ruby turned her attention from the stunned unicorns and incapacitated witch to the hunter who had somehow evaded Falken long enough to get here. She could finish her capture of both unicorns after dealing with Felix. She was pleased enough by the chance to see what he could do for herself she wasn’t even upset he’d interrupted just when she had both unicorns ready to capture, and most likely the sword too.
Despite being shaken, Hilda reacted quickly to Ruby's attack. Her abilities with battle-magic were strong and she mostly operated on muscle memory at this point. Twirling a finger in front of her along with an uttered word, the red net began to disintegrate in to the air, fully dissolving just before it came in to contact with Hilda.
She was proud of herself for being quick despite her condition, but Crystal's shriek and suddenly being dragged across the ground brought her out of the moment. It was a distraction, and she could tell Ruby was using both of the Unicorn's inexperience and lack of cohesion to their advantage... Damn, she didn't realize how tactically she could think either.
[+blue “Jasper, stay where you are! You're getting in the way!”] Daggeron calls before he whispers a word, and the rope around the blade goes taut and turns to dust, and with another word, the ropes around Crystals legs fade in colour and they stop moving.
Cocking her hand and straightening it, Hilda sweep upwards, a blade of fiery green energy severing the ropes between Crystal and Ruby. But she doesn't stop there. Hilda knew how dangerous Ruby was, she had to be stopped, had to be stopped [i for good]. The green fire concentrates and almost appears to solidify in one of her hands and she hurls it at Ruby. Much like the Bloodmad Unicorn's net, this was more of a distraction as Hilda rushed further in to the battlefield towards Ruby. She spat words on her way she couldn't remember where she learned, plants began dying at her feet, the temperature of the area dropped some, and Hilda's pupils overtook her entire eyes.
However, as she rushed towards Ruby, Hilda didn't see the trap she had laid earlier, and once she stepped on it, she felt its magic, and knew she had made a grave mistake.
[center [i ~*~]]
He wouldn't call them 'equally matched'. Falken had Felix on the defensive, and coupled with the fact that he was distracted trying to get to the [i real] battle while trying not to die... Well, this wasn't exactly the most efficient fight for him. Fortunately enough for Felix, he was trained to be a force to be reckoned with, more powerful opponents and things with magical abilities being his specialty. So despite Falken's greater strength, having a weapon, and lobbing spells at him, Felix's training allowed him to survive and manoeuvre.
And manoeuvring is exactly what Felix intended to do... All the way around the RV. He ducks a swing from Falken's sword, but receives a boot in the chest, feeling ribs crack and is sent flying backwards. With a few coughs, Felix recovers, using the Alchemy table he had purposefully been kicked towards to get himself up.
[+silver “It is over, Felix.”] Falken says as he approaches Felix, and the Hunter grins.
[b “You're right!”] And he scoops a light bulb from the table and whips it at Falken. Inside was what looked like bright swirling silver lights. It appeared to be magical, and considering Falken had a heavy resistance to magic, he did not fear it. With a swipe of his hand, he breaks the bulb and its contents disperse around him in a perfect half dome of shimmering air. He chuckles and goes to move passed the barrier, but is stopped at its boundary. He tries again, and again, and again before slashing at it with his sword to no avail. [b “An anti-magic field.”] Felix tells him. [b “A small one—they're expensive and hard to make—but I figured you were a magical construct, so it should be able to hold you for a while.”] And now he was out of them... But he guessed this was as good a time as any to use it.
Falken grunts at that. [+silver “Very perceptive, Felix Lincoln, but this won't be able to hold me for long; I can already feel its power waning.”]
[b “It'll hold you long enough.”] Felix replies before turning and rushing away. He rounds the RV and begins moving towards the treeline, grabbing his jacket on the way. He was about to rush in, but stops, seeing the vampire writhing on the ground trying to remove the sword from her chest. Honestly, he had expected it to kill her. She stops when she sees Felix approach and tries to move away, but he's quicker than she is at this moment. He grabs the hilt of Falken's sword and drives it through her and into the ground, eliciting a scream from the vampire. [b “I'll be back for you and finish the job this time.”] He tells her before retrieving her dark sword and rushing off towards the Unicorn fight.
The sword wasn’t enough to kill the vampire with the unicorn blood enhancing her, but it was plenty enough to take her out of the action for a while. She was left to writhe on the ground and try to remove the sword.
Ruby was momentarily distracted from attacking by [i Hilda] being the one to disperse the cloud. So there she was. Ruby found the recognition and fear in Hilda’s face delightful,[+firebrick “Yes, me. I get to be the one to kill you. Master’s orders, you understand. But I will enjoy myself. Just a moment though.”]
Instead of attacking Hilda right away, she went with her initial plan of throwing a fireball at Jasper. As expected, Crystal blocked the magic using the sword, and she was as sloppy and inexperienced as Ruby guessed. Ruby tossed a red net of magic toward Hilda at the same time as she flung a magic rope at Crystal. It would take just long enough to deal with the net that she could get to the unicorn before Hilda could do much. She didn’t really expect Hilda to be trapped by the net. Besides that, while flinging the rope she knelt down and put her hand to the ground. It begged the question of what she was doing, if anyone had time to even wonder.
Crystal was taken off guard by Ruby’s attack. She had protected Jasper with Daggeron, while Jasper was [i trying] to protect her. It ended up nearly tripping her, and she didn’t see the rope until the last possible second. She had been distracted by being concerned for Hilda, who was obviously shaken.
Jasper trying to move her to get between her and Ruby alerted her to the danger and she just had time to try and block. The rope wrapped around Daggeron’s blade, and Ruby just smirked. The sword would most likely break the rope in less than a second, Ruby could tell that. But it meant no one was paying attention to the ground.
At Crystal’s feet more of the red ropes burst from the ground while everyone was looking at the one above. They wrapped around her ankles before she even realized they were there. She had just looked down when Ruby stood up, the other end of those strings attached to the hand she’d had in the dirt. The strings were revealed and Ruby gave them a sharp tug that knocked Crystal off her feet. Crystal gave a surprised shriek. Jasper tried to grab her, but Ruby was already reeling her in, keeping Crystal just above the ground. Anyone who came closer to try and help would almost certainly run right into her little trap. She wondered if it would be the other unicorn or the witch.
Felix's only saving grace in this situation was his wild and unpredictable acrobatic movements. However, Falken was more than a match for Felix, blocking, parrying, and putting the young hunter on the defensive. He swipes at Felix a few times, and he ducks out of the way, swerves, and then flips over the monster with the power of his boots, landing low, and reaching. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to Falken, and he swings his Crescent Sword, but its blocked by his other one. He pauses and looks down at his hip, Felix having swiped it at some point during their altercation.
The two engage each other again, this time on more equal footing. The sword was weighted awkwardly though, and with an underhanded swing, Felix's mark was a little low and was easily blocked by Falken. He backhands the boy and the force sends him off to the side. Felix recovers quickly, but a little shakily on his legs.
[+silver “You fight like a Shaolin warrior, but with more unpredictable and improvised movements, and an emphasis on speed and mobility.”] Falken points out, taking a few steps towards Felix. [+silver “Your fighting is to be commended, but I have killed better men than you in shorter time.”]
[b “You talk too much.”] And with a spin, Felix hucks the sword at Falken who saw it coming, and easily avoids it... But he wasn't Felix's target.
Holding the arm that had just been cut, Hilda looks at the vampire with bared teeth. [+red “I don't even know who you are.”] She stands up straight and holds both palms up, both hands and up to her forearms engulfing themselves in green flames. The vampire gets ready to pounce and prepares herself for the Witch's attack, when she's suddenly taken off of her feet. Like a spear, Falken's sword impales Stephanie through the chest and takes her to the ground, giving Hilda enough time to make a run for it and join the rest of the group.
Falken turns back to look at Felix. [+silver “Impressive shot, but you've discarded your only weapon.”] And Felix grimaces at that, making wide sweeping motions before getting in to another ready stance, angling his one of his hands towards Falken and motioning for him to come at him.
[b “I [i am] the weapon.”]
[center [i ~*~]]
It was clear to Hilda that Felix intended for her to get to the others as soon as possible. She sprints just passed the treeline and stops before she hits a large cloud of smoke. She could hear Crystal and Jasper coughing on the inside, and from the sound of it, she assumed they couldn't catch their breath for the verbal component t clear the spell.
With a few uttered words and hand gesture, a gust of wind flourishes through the smoke, and with an upward motion, the cloud disperses in to the air, revealing the battlefield to her. Crystal, Jasper, and Daggeron were on one side, and... and... Hilda's pupils dilate at the sight of the woman with red hair, the hair on the back of her neck stood on end, she broke out in to a cold sweat, and began hyperventilating. She felt like she wanted to puke.
[+red “Y-you!”] Hilda shouts, despite being clearly terrified, she still managed to throw some menace in her voice. She punctuates it with the same green flames from before, albeit slightly weaker and more wild as she steps forward in to the battlefield.
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.
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