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Crystal gave a little sound of agreement. This sort of thing did draw a lot of attention, and attention like this was usually a bad thing.
The fact that the supermarket parking lot was empty was kind of creeping Crystal out. In one sense it was a relief to not have to keep dodging dancers, but the complete absence of people was unnerving. Felix couldn’t be that far behind. Crystal didn’t need to look, she could feel that he hadn’t stayed too far behind them the whole time. She wondered if whatever was keeping people away from here would be enough to actually keep him away, or if he would follow anyway.
That was something for later. For now she pushed a half full shopping cart out of the way to go down one of them empty aisles. She couldn’t hear or see anyone, so she was inclined to think the back room as well, but then Daggeron noticed something she missed and got her out of the way just in time.
Crystal covered her mouth as she watched the shelves topple over one by one. It was a really good thing no one else was here.
[#c4519e “Oh.”] She was surprised at the appearance of the spirit. It was sort of cute, in a slightly creepy way. So it got the idea from observing their truth spell. That was annoying, but she was hoping it would listen to Daggeron and just undo this.
The look on her face when the one cat burst into a dozen, maybe more, little cats was complete disbelief. [#c4519e “You have got to be kidding.”] Crystal mumbled. They were hopping around and laughing in a way that was sure to drive her nuts.
Then there was Daggeron, who made her jump a little,[#c4519e “What? Me? I don’t know. I’ve never—”]
There was a crash from somewhere in the store, the spirit had probably knocked over something. She flinched at the sound. It really was down to her and Daggeron. Who knew if Felix would even get here, let alone if he’d be in any shape to help. She’d never held a sword before, but she hoped Daggeron would be able to help make up for her inexperience. She was biting her lip as she took hold and pulled him out of the ground,[#c4519e “Banish, right? No killing.”]
She wasn’t sure if Daggeron killing something while she held him would cause problems, and she really didn’t want to find out. With Daggeron in hand Crystal started down the nearest aisle that wasn’t toppled over. Right there at the opposite end was one of the cats, or was it [i the] cat? It pranced along and out of sight seeming pretty pleased with its head held high and the shadowy tail swishing. Crystal ran after it,[#c4519e “How are we supposed to catch or banish it? Wait, illusions… Only one of them is real, isn’t it?”]
She stopped at the end near the case holding milk, and looked toward where the cat had wandered. Nothing. This was a very slippery spirit, she hoped it wouldn’t decide the whole town was fair game, it would be hard enough with just the store. There was a giggle somewhere above her, and Crystal looked up to see a shadowy cat bouncing on huge letters that spelled out ‘Dairy’ above her. The ‘D’ came loose and Crystal backed away just before it came crashing down, holding Daggeron in front of her a little awkwardly, since there wasn’t really anything to block at that point. When she looked back up the cat was gone, having bounced off somewhere else. Was this a trap it had tried to lure her into? [#c4519e “Pretty sure that was real.”]
[+blue “Theoretically,”] Daggeron says as they rush through town towards the supermarket. [+blue “It could be a lot of magical beings. Even a human with an artifact. However, just like mortal's, no matter who it is it all lies within the motive. I haven't known many Unicorns to perpetrate this kind of mischief; it draws too much attention, and when you draw too much attention it could mean a fate worse than death.”] It sounded like Daggeron knew from experience on that front.
They had to dodge around groups every now and again, but their propensity to stop to sing and dance would give the two enough time and space to maneuver around them. So it took them a little longer than it would have unobstructed, but they made it to the supermarket. The first thing that would catch both of their attention was [+blue “The parking lot is empty. No singers or dancers.”] Just cars that had been parked and abandoned, no doubt before this mess had started. But it seems like when it [i did] start, the shoppers and pedestrians around the area up and danced their way out of here. [+blue “I have a bad feeling about this. Proceed with caution, Crystal.”] He warns. Since she was the most powerful of the two, if it came down to a fight she would be targeted first. However, Daggeron [i did] have some tricks up his sleeve in case they needed to rumble.
The sword hovers and leads Crystal inside the supermarket, and just like outside the inside was devoid of people. And eerily enough, in here the music that seemed to sort of permeate the air outside was silent. They were in the eye of the storm now, so they were close to the source of whatever was causing this madness.
[+blue “Whatever this is, its probably in the back. More fortified, more-- Crystal look out!”] And the last two words were carried on a spell that pushed Crystal backwards out of the aisle they were just in. The shelves fell over just as Crystal cleared them, hitting the next stack and bringing down more like dominoes falling. When all of the shelves were done falling, a mischievous giggle could be heard somewhere hiding somewhere in the store. Daggeron grumbles and hovers out a pile of chips that fell on him. It would take more than a shelf to do little more than irritate him. As this artifact he was nearly indestructible.
[+blue “Show yourself trickster!”] Daggeron demands, and more snickering echoes through the store like they were in a cavern. It had a slight magical touch to it, and immediately Daggeron knows what they're dealing with. He curses under his breath in an unidentifiable language. [+blue “We're dealing with a Spirit of Mischief.”]
“Correct!” And out of a shadow, what looks like a large black cat leaps and lands on one of the fallen shelves. Upon closer inspection, it appeared the cat [i actually] was a shadow, being featureless and only a shape of a feline.“I wasn't expecting anyone to get this far, but I should've expected from a Unicorn and the Blade of Whispers.” It laughs jauntily. “Your truth spell was so much fun I thought I'd do my own version!” So that's why this felt so similar to the truth spell.
[+blue “If you would kindly stop this spell, the two of us won't have to banish you.”] Daggeron tells the trickster, and it laughs at him.
“I invite the challenge!” And with that, the cat starts to expand like a balloon before bursting. And once it bursts, it seems to have multiplied in to at least a dozen shadow cats that pounce and jump around. One of them jumps and swipes near Daggeron, clawing a hole in the linoleum floor. “Catch me if you can!” They all say in unison, bouncing and laughing at intervals around the store.
Daggeron curses again, and then spirals backs, the tip of his blade puncturing the floor near Crystal's feet. The sword was tilted ever so slightly in her direction. [+blue “Wield me and you may see through these ridiculous illusions. I work better in the hands of someone else.”] Not to mention he could cut through and reflect magic. The blade glows ever so slightly. [+blue “In your hands I will banish this spirit back to where it belongs.”]
A supermarket. Crystal thought that sounded odd, but what [i wouldn’t] sound odd in this situation? It wasn’t like it would sound any less weird if it was coming from a nail salon. Crystal smiled a little at Daggeron,[#c4519e “Thank you, the threats were getting boring.”]
Which was sort of true. Though Crystal was still a bit worried about the [i what if] scenario where Hilda really did escape. She wasn’t entirely sure if she could take down a fully capable Hilda at this point, so it was a relief to know she wouldn’t have to.
She followed Daggeron to the door only to see Felix. She should have realized he was closer, she could have felt it, but she wasn’t paying attention. Something about the dance was drawing her in. She could feel it, but couldn’t quite stop herself from taking a step forward. Daggeron slamming the door snapped her out of it. Mostly.
[#c4519e “[i I almost can’t resist when he holds out his hand, I look at him and want to join the band.]”] Crystal shook her head. This spell got worse for her the closer Felix was, it seemed. She followed Daggeron to the office,[#c4519e “This spell is ridiculous. I can’t wait to end it.”]
Crystal grumbled a little as she climbed out the window. The random singing was starting to irritate her, especially since it was so tempting to join in. Once they were out Crystal started walking at a pretty quick pace away from the church, letting Daggeron lead the way to the supermarket,[#c4519e “I guess the best way to snap Felix out of this is to just end it. What sort of person, or creature, could maintain a spell like this? It wouldn’t be a unicorn, even though I know we [i could], theoretically.”]
Not knowing what they were walking into bothered her. A few people were dancing in the street, but Crystal gave them a wide berth and they were too busy to go out of their way to bother her, at least the ones near the church. That wasn’t the case for Felix, since like she couldn’t get too far from him, he couldn’t get too far from her. She guessed he would follow her and try to draw her in until he succeeded or the spell was over.
Really all Daggeron did when he got in to the staircase was float upwards between the stairs, making it to the door to the outside with haste. He'd have flown himself up here outside, but he needed solid structures to sort of 'push' off of. That's why he only ever hovered off the ground at a specific height.
The door itself was locked, but after an eye-roll, it blew open, and hanging in front of Daggeron was the big bell with a three hundred and sixty degree view of the small town. He quickly hovers near the edge and pinpoints the motel they were staying at and quickly picks out Felix in the chaos, slowly riffing and boogieing his way towards the Church. Because of his magical bond with Crystal, the two were quite literally inseparable, so Felix was probably at the very least [i compelled] to follow Crystal. Daggeron just hoped he would keep his distance so he didn't pull Crystal in to the dancing spell.
With Felix in mind, he quickly scans the rest of the town as some noise from downstairs reaches him. Magic was a complex thing, especially spells of this magnitude, but they had a source. But since Daggeron was a magical creature and trapped inside a magical artifact, he had a bit of an advantage to finding out. He focuses for a moment, before everything became more clear. The town became more picturesque and brilliant, and so did the sky, and for a moment he almost didn't catch it. But soon enough, he spotted what looked almost like a geyser spewing out magic in to the Heavens, spreading out tendrils of lights that fell like rain and touched everyone in town. From here he could also see the small tendrils of magic that blew like leaves in the wind, but those were simply the workings of magic that flowed through this world everyday. The geyser was another story, and it was the source of all this trouble. It seemed to be coming from the centre of town like Daggeron had hypothesized and it was some kind of warehouse attached to a new supermarket.
He was just about to head down when Crystal called up to him. [+blue “Indeed! The source of this madness lies within the supermarket!.”] He quickly descends the steps and floats back in to the room where the Unicorn had apprehended the Witch like a funny backwards fairy tale. [+blue “Looks good, Crystal. I would've thrown her in to the metal candle holders and tied her up that way, but I guess you're just nicer than I am.”] He muses lightly, and Hilda bares her teeth.
[+red “When I get out of here, you both are going to pay! I'm gonna-”]
A slight whisper from Daggeron and the Witch's voice can't be heard despite her mouth still moving. [+blue “She never has anything interesting to say.”] The Sword comments before turning his full attention back to Crystal. [+blue “The wood will hold her for as long as we need, so we're free to run out of here and fix this. Follow me!”] And the sword quickly darts back towards the door they came in, swings it open, and lo and behold, Felix and his gang were there. He thought they had more time.
He spins, lands on one knee and poses, Felix's friend humming and snapping a beat behind him.[i [b “You can't escape the music, so don't even try and refuse it, we-”]] Daggeron slams the door in Felix's face and quickly locks it. Too bad this church wasn't old and didn't have secret entrances around it, that'd be pretty handy. They were down two entrances now.
[+blue “Dear God! He's too good at singing and dancing! They're packing up to him like wolves!”] Daggeron exclaims. [+blue “To the office, quickly! We'll use the window.”] An upside to modern church's. Felix and his band of miscreants would think they were trapped in. Daggeron quickly flies past the mutely shouting Hilda and opens another one of the doors which lead to the Priest's office. Luckily for them it wasn't occupied and no one thought to stand near the windows, which Daggeron promptly opens and ushers Crystal out. They just had to make it to the supermarket! It was unlikely it would be fortified, and then Daggeron and Crystal could kick this things ass.
[#c4519e “Oh! I didn’t expect that.”] Crystal was pretty surprised to find out Felix was so into singing and dancing. It wasn’t something she expected, but Felix had so far proved to be full of surprises. The first priority really was ending this spell though.
Crystal looked a little alarmed. She’d heard of that. If that was what was going on here they needed to stop it fast before anyone got hurt, or worse.
The chair caught her by surprise and she turned quickly, her heart racing. She was ready to just run out, but didn’t when she saw who it was. [#c4519e “You…”]
She had to remember that Hilda was under a powerful geas. One that Crystal intended to remove today, after they dealt with this whole dancing plague. She still had no magic, as Daggeron pointed out to Crystal’s relief. [#c4519e “Right. Good luck.”]
She was already looking around the church for things she could use to help restrain Hilda. Honestly the chairs were looking like the only really useful thing in here, which Hilda had already figured out, apparently. [#c4519e “Kill me? I thought you wanted a unicorn of your own.”]
That seemed to infuriate the witch judging by her face, but there wasn’t any biting response. The lack of magic was obviously bothering Hilda, she wasn’t so confident without it. Crystal was feeling reasonably well rested, though not quite as much as she’d like ideally. It would be enough. Crystal raised her hand,[#c4519e “It’s alright, I won’t hurt you. [i Grow and bind.]”]
[+red “I’ll hurt you.”] Hilda looked pretty desperate. The chairs around her had sprung to life in an odd way. The wood seemed living, and started growing branches which twisted to trap Hilda. They snaked around her, forming a sort of cage. Hilda almost managed to slip out, but a branch caught her leg tripped her, only for other branches to catch her. She struggled, but the branches twisted and tightened. Some were even sprouting leaves as they grew, turning from a cage into binding her much like ropes, though not quite so neat and orderly. They were effective at immobilizing her, keeping the witch standing and stuck.
Crystal rubbed her head, feeling a little drained from that. It took more magic than she would have liked, something like that was impressive but burned through magic fast. She needed more practice, so it was a really good thing Hilda didn’t have her magic back. She leaned against a chair and waited for that drained feeling to pass as she watched Hilda struggle. Hilda hissed,[+red “Release me!”]
[#c4519e “Not going to happen and you know it.”] She called out without looking away from Hilda, still wary of her even if she didn’t have her magic,[#c4519e “Daggeron? Did you spot anything?”]
At the question, Daggeron lets out a short but hard laugh. [+blue “Oh no no no no. Felix is gonna kill me for telling you this, but...”] He snickers to himself [+blue “Everything he said was true. He was known as 'the music man' before he was a hunter. Very in to ballet, singing, dancing, and musicals. Its probably why he's so good at Wushu and extraordinarily flexible. But as for someone casting this spell...”] He thinks on that one for a moment longer as they approach the church. It was difficult to ascertain who would benefit from this.
There was something the semblance of a nod as they approached the church and went around the side. The further away they kept Crystal from others, the less likely she'd fall under the spell like Felix did. She'd experience what he referred to as 'magical hiccups', but just like regular hiccups, those were just annoying and not life threatening. The sword swivels and looks back too see Felix and his crowd slowly dancing their way to them, the connection between him and Crystal no doubt having some sort of effect on that. Being ringed together would make it hard for them to keep far a part, but Felix having to stop and sing and dance would buy them the necessary time to keep their distance. For now at least.
[+blue “Breaking this spell is of the utmost importance.”] Daggeron agrees as they enter the church. He takes a cursory glance around to see no one was in there, and then looks to one of the doors that lead to stairs up in to the bell tower. [+blue “Have you ever heard of the Dancing plague of 1518? This is what happened, so people can actually die from this. I'd say it was Hilda who cast the spell, but she could've just killed us or made a quiet escape. Not to mention she's not as powerful as you, so she couldn't fuel this spell, nor could she for this kind of duration. Knowing that, the spell has to be centralized, and whoever cast the spell most likely has Hilda.”]
And suddenly a chair is thrown their way, but it misses. [+red “Wrong!”] A familiar voice says, and when they look, they can see a very angry Hilda standing among the pews, a broom in her hands that she's broken in half. [+red “And you're going to get these cuffs off of me before I kill the both of you.”]
Daggeron makes a point to slowly look over at Crystal and then back at Hilda. [+blue “You have no magic.”] Daggeron points out, but Hilda doesn't seem to budge. She was an animal back in to a corner. [+blue “I'm going to go upstairs and look for the source of this spell. Try not to be too rough with Hilda, Crystal. She's got valuable goods in that noggin of hers.”] And with that, he leaves Crystal with Hilda, hovering over to the door, opening it telekinetically and then ascending the staircase and to the bell.
Crystal rolled her eyes at Felix. [#c4519e “Uh huh.”] It figured this was because of him, usually she had resistance to magic like this. It was a good thing no one seemed to notice Daggeron though, that would make taking him along so much easier. He knew a lot, so Crystal was really hoping for his help.
She was smiling at Felix singing, and trying to think of how to tease him when she saw the car, then things got worse.
He seemed fully in the spell, and Crystal wasn’t sure how to snap him out of it. She knew this wasn’t good, they needed to stop this somehow. Could she hear the music? She thought she almost could when she looked at him with his hand held out to her. Maybe it was just the townspeople behind him. She wasn’t sure, but she took a breath and opened her mouth to answer when Daggeron interrupted. It was probably a very good thing he did.
Crystal shut her mouth again and followed after him, with one glance back at Felix staying with the crowd. The allure of the crowd weakened as they walked away, and Crystal sighed. This was ridiculous. [#c4519e “He is, is that just the spell? And why would anyone cast a spell like this?”]
Most of the people nearby seemed to be part of the crowd around Felix, so it was pretty easy to get away and see the church just down the street. It wasn’t far, or she hoped it wasn’t too far. There were people outside the church, singing and dancing on the steps. [#c4519e “We should avoid them… A side door maybe?”]
Crystal looked at Daggeron before continuing toward the church, careful to avoid the main entrance with all the people, instead going to the side door,[#c4519e “I think you’re helping with the singing. Being around you, I mean. [i Felix would bring the urge to sing].”]
Crystal groaned and rubbed her forehead with her hand,[#c4519e “It’s better anyway. Let’s just break the spell fast.”]
The side door of the church had been left unlocked, so it was easy to sneak in. Inside was empty, anyone there was outside singing with the group. The tricky part would be finding the way to access the bell tower.
Felix nods at Crystal when she... uh... Sang her response. He looks to Daggeron who floats conspicuously in the air, taking a look at the two. He was quiet for a moment before turning around, the door swinging open telekinetically. ]+blue “Honestly if it wasn't for all the mayhem, this would be hilarious.”] He hovers out the door and takes a quick look around, making eye contact with a few residents of the little town but they don't seem to react to him. His suspicions were confirmed. [+blue “Lots of mind magic these days.”] He says to himself as Felix joins him. [+blue “It seems at the moment their only purpose is to sing and dance. The only reason you're not going musical like they are is because of your connection to Crystal.”] They both glance at Crystal. [+blue “And the only reason [i Crystal] is being affected is because of her connection with [i you].”]
[b “Goddammit.”] Felix groans to himself. This was going to be annoying. [b “We'll just do what Crystal said and go up high we may spy which way our trouble lies.”] He said in a way that was clearly meant to mock the Unicorn. He smiles deviously at her and begins walking across the street. There was a Church in town that had an old-timey bell-tower. It'd be up high so they could spot more signs of magical disturbances that way, and perhaps even spot where Hilda might've run off to. Daggeron rests himself in to the sheath on Felix's back. [b [i “To the Church, we can research what is happening to the Birch.”]]
Daggeron chuckles a little bit, but then gasps. [+blue “Felix look out!”] And Felix looks, a car careening towards him down the street. He rolls out of the way, the car continuing on like nothing happened. He groans a little bit and then looks up, mob of feet in front of him. He looks up further to the faces of the residents of Birchwood, their yes glazed over with magic.
[i “Hello young man, are you a fan?”] One of them asks sing-songy. It almost seems like there was actual music in the background.
[b “Am I a fan?”] And it was too late. [b [i “More than. Singing and dancing are my thing.”]] He stands up, pointing to the air, his hip scooped, and one knee bent. Daggeron hovers out of Felix's sheath, backing away towards Crystal. [b [i “I once was known as 'the music man', and I would sing and dance as best as I can.”]] He spins elegantly on one foot, as the townspeople hum, clap, and perform acapella for a beat to Felix's song. At the moment he seemed more engrossed in dancing, spinning, and prancing. He turns towards Daggeron and Crystal, snapping his fingers on his approach, with some of the townspeople doing the same behind him. [b [i “Can't you hear the music? I find it therapeutic. And it's really quite fun, so why don't you come on and have some?”]] He holds out his hand to Crystal, the townspeople humming a kind of tune to keep the music going.
Daggeron turns to Crystal. [+blue “Do [i not] open your mouth! Nada! Zip! I'm not rhyming, find another tune. La la la la la la la.”] He shouts and then shoots passed the Unicorn, trying to get her the hell away from the hypnotic allure of the crowd. [+blue “As much as Felix's embarrassment is an eternal joy of mine, we need to get to the Church to find out where this is coming from. He'll be fine singing and dancing for now. God knows he's good at it.”]
Crystal heard Daggeron shouting and shifted, sleepy and reluctant to wake,[#c4519e “Mmm?”]
Felix was up, and Crystal sat up more slowly a moment later, only for Felix to poke her shoulder,[#c4519e “Huh? She… oh.”]
Hilda was gone. Crystal rubbed her eyes, waking up more fully. That was bad, that was really bad. And something felt off about the whole thing. She didn’t put her finger on what it was until Daggeron mentioned it. She nodded. There was some kind of spell, and it was pretty big.
Felix was singing. Her eyebrows raised up into her bangs. This was ridiculous. She’d never run into a spell like this. Her eyebrows were still up when she followed them to the window and looked out,[#c4519e “What in the… [i A spell like that is quite a trick, we must act to catch the witch quick.]”]
Crystal clapped her hands over her mouth. She was singing too. [#c4519e “Oh no. Okay. Okay. Let’s just go and—and figure this out. We won’t get any answers here.”]
She grabbed Felix by the arm and tugged him to the door, and out into the mayhem. People really were singing and dancing, and ignoring all sorts of things. Traffic was a mess, so they were going to have to search on foot for the source of the trouble. That meant following where the magic was stronger, which wasn’t going to be easy with the large scale area that was being affected. [#c4519e “[i If we go up high we may spy which way our trouble lies.]”]
Crystal made a little sound of annoyance. This spell was going to drive her nuts. No one else seemed the least bit bothered by it though, even with the wrecks and fires. Even though they were affected by it too, it obviously wasn’t getting to them nearly as much. They needed a high place they could get to though. She was looking around for a place, her lips firmly pressed together after the last outburst of singing.
Daggeron floated next to Crystal and watched her s she sat next to Felix. Both of them had been through a lot, he could see the weariness in Crystal, and despite Felix hiding it quite well, he saw it in the boy too. [+blue “Don't forget to take care of yourself too, Crystal. That's just as important, and I know Felix would be upset if something happened to you.”] He floats around a little closer when she makes the connection of the hunter's age and if he had questions for Crystal. She couldn't see it, but she could probably feel him smiling. And as she healed him, he could feel the energy leaving her to heal Felix. [+blue “I have lots, but I will save them for another time. Good night Crystal, get as much rest as you need.”] And with that, the sword leans itself against a wall, and the light in its eyes seem to dim. Not entirely awake, but still aware, he would watch over the two in the night in the event something were to happen.
And it seemed like something [i did] happen.
[+blue “Felix! Crystal! Wake up!”] There was an urgent shaking, but Felix shakes it off, mumbling something before trying to go back to sleep. There's then a string of curse words in a long forgotten language and suddenly an alarm clock struck Felix.
[b “WHAT?!”] Felix shouts, straight up and wide awake in an instant. It was light out already, but it felt like Felix had just put his head to the pillow only moments ago.
[+blue “She's gone!”]
Felix turns and looks at Crystal and pokes her shoulder. [b “She's right here.”]
[+blue “Hilda, you dolt!”] And Felix's adrenaline shot through him like fire as he spun to look at the bed opposite of them. The bed was empty, no sign of Hilda Cromwell anywhere.
[b “Son of a bitch!”] Felix exclaims and runs to the door, touching it and feeling that it was not fully closed. She must've snuck out while they were passed out... But how did she get passed Daggeron? And how did she remove the sleep spell? With the cuffs on there was no way she would be able to counter magic, let alone cast her own!
[+blue “Something isn't right. I fell asleep.”] And Felix whirls on the sword.
[b “You fell asleep?! When we had Hilda Cromwell in our room?!”]
[+blue “That's the thing Felix, I don't sleep. I go dormant, but I'm still aware of everything. If Hilda so much as breathed differently I would have noticed. I fear there's more magic at play... I can feel it.”] He hovers a little closer to Crystal. [+blue “Can you, Crystal? There's something all around us. It feels like-”]
[b “The Truth spell.”] Felix says. He could feel it too, and there was... Something else too. [font “papyrus” [b “From an unknown force but where's the source that has us in its sway?”]] Wait what?
[+blue “Did you... Did you just [i sing] that?”]
[font “papyrus” [b “I'm sounding shrill against my will and cannot stop this singing!”]] He even moved his arms in a cinematic and dramatic fashion. [font “papyrus” [b “And in my ears I swear I hear a quite distinctive ringing!”]]
[+blue “Are you okay, Felix?”]
He holds his head for a second. [b “Yeah, I think so. What the hell is going on? Why am I singing and dancing some times?”]
Daggeron thinks on that for a second and then looks out the window. He gasps. [+blue “You might want to take a look at this.”] And when they do, on the outside they can see people on the street, prancing and singing. But beyond that, there were fires, crashed cars, and general mayhem from what seemed to be some kind of neglect from the residents of Birchwood who would sing and dance rather than drive or turn off their ovens. [+blue “Its some kind of mischief spell. One of the most powerful I've seen.”]
Felix brings his fist and palm together. [b “We need to find Hilda! She has to be the source. Already [font “papyrus” this silly game is very lame and she is going to pay!”]]
Crystal had to lean against the table to keep from falling over. She was also smiling. He liked cooking and reading too. She made a little noise of understanding when Daggeron explained about the alchemy and potions. That made sense.
She listened pretty intently, breaking into a giggle about not realizing Daggeron was sentient until he laughed. She hadn’t really expected him to answer with so much information about himself, but she was really glad he did. She looked at the photograph for a long moment, curious about this Shepard. So many questions still, but no more time tonight. [#c4519e “Thank you, Felix.”]
Getting to know him better was the point, and this seemed to work pretty well. It made her feel better about the whole situation. It didn’t feel like she was stuck with a stranger anymore.
Crystal did need the help getting out of there and back to the motel, at least if they wanted to get to the motel room any time soon. Crystal looked at Hilda still asleep and just said,[#c4519e “Oh, right.”]
Apparently Hilda had also slipped her mind while they’d been drinking. She had to agree with Felix, the idea of sharing a bed with Hilda at this point was very unappealing. Before they could talk more it seemed like Felix was out cold.
[#c4519e “My pick. Fun. Better take care of him first. He won’t remind me, I bet.”] Crystal mumbled. She went to sit on the bed next to Felix and put her hand on his back. It was still hurt, she remembered. Whatever she decided she figured she could do something about that before she forgot again. He wasn’t the type to complain about his injuries. Sixteen and he had been ten. The math finally added up in her head. She didn’t look at Daggeron, though she was clearly talking to him,[#c4519e “He’s not much older than me. I thought… I’m not sure what I thought. Thank you for helping, I’m really glad you did. You must have questions for me too. Did you want to ask one before bed?”]
Her other hand went over his arm, direct skin contact would help. She whispered the word ‘heal’, to take care of his back and any other cuts and bruises he had. She’d clearly miscalculated something though, because while it worked the color drained from her face and she made a soft, surprised,[#c4519e “Oh.”] Then flopped over next to him, her head painfully tight and her head swimming. She wasn’t quite as recovered as she thought she was, and maybe the alcohol was at play here too. Wherever she was going to decide to sleep, this was where she fell asleep.
Felix was interested to hear what Crystal had to say about how the Unicorn's transformed their whole race. It looked like he was interested too, but his vision was swimming a little bit and he was swaying in his seat. Both him and Daggeron leaned forward while she began to talk, Daggeron obviously finding this the most interesting. By the time the Unicorn's had transformed themselves, Daggeron had already been trapped inside the sword.
When Crystal reached over and touched the ring, indicating there was more history behind that, he couldn't help but feel more intrigued with her story. Honestly he never thought anything about the rings, just that probably some megalomaniac and greedy sorcerer or hunter might've conjured up the idea for more power. But it seemed like that was a story for another time as Crystal began to talk about her people's story.
It was interesting to say the least. And it was sad as Crystal had mentioned earlier. Unicorn's were essentially backed in to a corner with no other option than to change their entire race so they would survive rather than be a race destined for servitude. The Brotherhood of Cain would have [i never] let something like that happen if they had existed back then. It was always sad to hear tales like that... It reminded him of the Sasquatch and a very similar tale he had. But Unicorns and Sasquatches differed, and on a cellular level as Crystal had mentioned.
[b “Remind me not to become a vampire.”] And apparently that was the funniest thing he could say, and he laughed at his own joke.
[+blue “Oh, Felix. You're certainly a sight.”] Dagger mumbles to himself as Crystal carries on answering Felix's questions. He was listening dreamily to her, but it was probably safe to say some of her words weren't connecting to him, especially since he didn't jump on and start asking who this 'Piper' person was.
[b “A kitchen would be so fun! I love cooking. And Taylor Swift. As for fun, I uhh...”] He had to think for a moment. What did he do in his spare time? Felix didn't have a lot of free time these days or for the last few months, but a lot of what he did required waiting around some times, so what did he do to fill the time? [b “I read a lot. Mostly about folklore, legends, and mythology, 'cause, you know, my job and stuff. I also dabble a lot with alchemy and potions.”]
[+blue “Thanks to yours truly.”] Daggeron says. [+blue “Since Felix is a vanilla human he actually can't perform alchemy or make certain potions without outside help. Despite being in this [i limited form] I can provide the necessary energy to channel in to his devices and concoctions for them to work. As well as cast minor spells as you've no doubt noticed.”]
[b “And Daggeron helps, I guess. I've been a hunter for... uhh...]
[+blue “Sixteen years and a quarter, which is actually how we met!”] Felix shoots Daggeron a look, and the sword seems to shrug. [+blue “I am assuming you're having a hard time there, drunky. Thought I'd help.”]
[b “Yeah, yeah.”] He waves the sword off. [b “But I met Daggeron when I was ten, he belonged to a man, my mentor, Shepard. I've known about the existence of the supernatural my whole life, and when I was ten I ran off to 'find my destiny'.”] Gigantic air quotes. [b “Really I wanted to be a Hunter like my dad, but with the attitude I had then I would've ended up just as dead. I got in a little over my head and ended up almost being killed by a violent vampire cult, but Shepard swooped in and saved me. I didn't even know Daggeron was sentient until like, a year later. I told a stupid joke and he laughed and I freaked out.”]
[+blue “Shepard had a funny sense of humour.”]
Felix nods and then looks back to Crystal. [b “Shepard was actually the son of my father's friend, you know, who also died, and my mom called him when I ran off. Embarrassing. And he agreed to teach me how to be a hunter so I wouldn't get myself killed.”] He reaches in to his pocket and pulls out a folded picture and hands it to Crystal. The picture was of a much younger and chubby Felix and a man, tall, lean, with brown hair, glasses, and a scar through his eyebrow, which was more than likely Shepard. Daggeron was on his back too.
[+blue “You're lucky Felix is drunk or else he would've [i never] told you any of this.”] There was a light chuckle. [+blue “As a hunter and magic-user, Shepard had conditioned Felix not to tell anyone too much about anything, especially not himself. 'Knowledge is power' and what not.”]
[b “Yeah, I wouldn't tell anyone any of this.”] His eyes grow wide and his cheeks flush.
[+blue “You forgot about the spell, didn't you?”]
[b “Yeah.”] He responds curtly and then makes an obvious look at the clock. [b “And we are out of time ladies and gentleman. Its time to head back to the room and sleep this off. Good talk everyone.”] And Felix stuffs Daggeron back in to the bag, grabs the picture, leaves a few more bills on the table, and then helps Crystal out of the room and the pool hall even if she didn't need it. At this time of night, there were still some people hanging around playing pool and drinking, but the crowd had shrunk significantly since they arrived.
Either or, they get back across the street to the motel and Felix opens the door and switches on the light. [b “Ah shit! I forgot about her!”] Felix motions towards Hilda unconscious on one of the motel beds. [b “I'm not sharing a bed with her, she'll kill me in my sleep. Help me put her on the ground.”]
[+blue “That's a touch rude, don't you think?”] Daggeron inquires. [+blue “She's a guest. A spooky guest, but a guest none the same.”]
[b “So what? [i I'm] supposed to sleep on the floor and give the bed to this lunatic?”]
[+blue “You're call, man.”] And Felix lands face first on to the empty bed. [+blue “Where's Crystal supposed to sleep?”] But there's no answer from Felix as he lays there on the bed, and Daggeron makes an annoyed sound. He turns to look at Crystal. [+blue “Its your pick where you want to sleep: Felix, Hilda, or floor.”]
Crystal wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction over that question. He definitely had her curiosity. What kind of friend got this reaction out of the two of them? She took a drink while they argued, her nose scrunching up. It was getting easier to drink the more she drank. Either she was getting used to it, or getting too drunk to care. Would he pass anyway, even with Daggeron insisting?
She leaned in when he actually started to answer. After all that, the anticipation was too much. Crystal blinked, the answer was unexpected. A sasquatch? Crystal just couldn’t picture it. It was nice to have friends, and only now was it starting to hit her that she’d never see hers again. She didn’t want to think about it now, so she tried not to and just mumbled,[#c4519e “Really? It can’t be so bad...”]
She leaned back after he blurted all that out. At least they were both struggling with the truth spell at times. Daggeron was having a great time. She was glad he wasn’t bored silly.
[#c4519e “Sure. I feel like we could be here all night otherwise and still not be satisfied. It’s just not long enough, but I am glad I’m getting to know you better.”] She wasn’t sure what he meant by ‘a few’, but she drank what he poured, making another face, not as bad as before. Then the next one while he asked his questions.
She was leaning forward on the table, but still looked like she might tip over. Her balance was clearly way off even without her standing up. Crystal was smiling, finding something about his questions funny,[#c4519e “Took you this long to ask. It was long before I was born, or even my parents, so all I have is the story I was told. I have some interesting stories about the past. Like how these were first made.”] She reached over to his hand and lightly tapped the ring, but instead of taking her hand back right away her fingers lingered over the metal and his hand. She looked thoughtful, and a little sad,[#c4519e “It’s tragic really. The story always makes me sad. I never thought I would wear one.”]
She withdrew her hand and continued the story she was asked to tell, not eager to tell the other story yet,[#c4519e “The story goes that during the height of a hunt for Unicorns, we call it the Great Hunt, we all gathered. A dangerous move, but at the time we were easy to hunt and faced slavery, death, or madness. Hiding wasn’t working, people found us and only wanted to use our magic one way or another. Our numbers were dwindling, and soon there would be no wild Unicorns. There was an argument at the gathering, it lasted for days and it seemed like we would fight there until we were found. Then the Council finally reached a decision. It took all the Unicorns together, a huge burst of magic. The forest where it happened is still enchanted with lingering magic, not entirely unlike one of our graveyards. Whatever the spell that changed us was is either hidden or lost, and we’ve been born in human bodies ever since. The Great Hunt ended shortly after. The Council had been right about a human form being easier to hide in.”]
Crystal wasn’t slurring her words too bad, but it was still pretty obvious the rum was hitting her hard now,[#c4519e “There were problems they didn’t anticipate too. ‘The forms affected our desires’ is the formal way of saying it. We wanted more human things. We became more human. We’ve dealt with the problems though.”]
What those problems were, exactly, she didn’t elaborate on. Instead she moved on to his next question,[#c4519e “As for my blood, I thought you would know. It’s very magical. Unicorn blood is… what’s the phrase? Highly reactive. It purifies air and water, makes plants grow, turns rocks into gemstones like crystals or even more precious stones, and metals into silver. For humans, and most creatures, it has healing properties. We’re sort of… universal donors, blood types or infections aren’t generally a problem, especially for humans or anything part human. It can also be used in magic for even more effects that I don’t even know about. It can be used to boost power, just like we can, but it’s just temporary. One thing though. Don’t drink my blood, not unless you’re about to die. It will heal you, but it’s also supposed to be very addictive. It’s not a problem on the skin though.”]
Was that permission to drink her blood if he were dying? Basically, but she glossed over that to get to the next question. She didn’t want to say something embarrassing about not wanting him to die. She leaned back, looking like she was about to flop over even though she was leaning back into the seat pretty well,[#c4519e “For fun I like to go hiking. I always wanted to garden, but I can’t do much in an apartment, so hiking is the next best thing. I read, but that’s a given since I worked in a bookstore. I also like to sew, sometimes. I love cooking though. We should get a kitchen.”]
Crystal leaned forward again, very nearly falling to the side but caught herself on the table,[#c4519e “Some of her music is fun, but I’m not a fan, Piper’s the fan. Nevermind. Your turn. Do [i you] like Taylor Swift? What do you do for fun? How long have you been a hunter? And how [i did] you and Daggeron meet?”]
It was hard to tell if Felix took offence to being called kind and peaceful or if he was confused about it. He was squinting at her, his neck craned a little forward; his confused face. He did like to think he was sort of a bad ass after all, but to be fair he wasn't wild like a lot of the other Hunters out there who would've shoot Crystal first and then asked questions later. They'd probably shoot him too since he was now attached [i and] drinking leisurely with a Unicorn... Even maybe the Brotherhood would too since he's like, pretty dangerously close to breaking one of their most important tenets about peaceful creatures and free will. But there was also more to that story anyways, but that was for another time.
Crystal's sort of back-peddling made him grin a bit and his cheeks flush slightly, feeling her embarrassment, but quickly sobered when she told him she couldn't tell him about meetings. He opened his mouth to same something, closed it, opened again, and then closed it in to a firm line. He sat quiet for a moment as well, then quickly took a sip of his drink, shrugged, and grinned. [b “That's fair.”] He said, but not telling him was sort of just like telling him. He still walked away knowing a bit more about Crystal and her Unicorn society.
He was talking another sip of his drink when Crystal asked him about friends; he nearly spat it out. Instead, he had a bit of composure and choked on the liquid, sputtering and coughing a bit, and at the same time Daggeron was laughing wildly at the question.
[+blue “You have to tell her!”]
[b “I don't want to.”]
[+blue “I know, but you have to!”] More laughing from Daggeron, the sword even shaking and swaying in place as if it was a full body laugh. Felix put an elbow on the table and his head in his hand as if he had a splitting head ache. Mostly he was just embarrassed.
[b “I think I want to pass.”]
[+blue “You can't pass, Felix!”] The sword bellowed. [+blue “The trust! The magic! My eternal amusement.”]
Well, Daggeron was sort of right. Mostly about the trust and magic. He did want to connect with Crystal more on a personal level so they could work together better. He was still thinking about how scared she was in the cave and how guilty her look of fear made him. At the same time she was literally the only one who could allow them to beat Mercurial; she even tanked Hilda! And not to mention, even though its been a short period of time, he had to admit he liked having her around now. It felt like they could actually be friends... Which kind of reminded him of why he was embarrassed about the question.
[b “Other than being friends with Daggeron, my only other friend is... is a....”] He was blushing hard and it wasn't the alcohol. At the same time Daggeron was leaning in in anticipation, trying to keep his shit together until the big reveal. [b “A Sasquatch.”] It was almost a whisper. And again Daggeron loses his mind, Felix rolling his eyes. [b “I'm not a people person. I'm too abrasive, arrogant, I don't get along with anyone or rules, and people are just so goddamn dramatic!”] He pauses for a moment, his eyes widening again. [b “Wow, that was [i way] more than I wanted to say.”]
[+blue “Your therapist would be a very rich person.”]
[b “Shut up.”] Felix says and then thinks on what to ask Crystal. He also looks at the clock on the wall and it seems a significant amount of time has passed as well. They should turn in soon because firstly they needed rest and probably the entire day to plan and gather supplies before they left. [b “We're low on time. I say we pound back a few of these and do some rapid fire questions and answers.”] He pours the bottle in to both of their glasses, enough for a shot, and then as he said, he pounds his back, refilling his glass again and Crystal's if she needed it. [b “How did Unicorns change their entire race? Whats up with your blood? And what do you for fun?”] He takes another shot, now looking like he was slowly melting in his seat. [b “Do you like Taylor Swift?”] His words were slurred a little bit and he was leaning on the table with both elbows.
[+blue “Oh boy.”]
Crystal smiled, pleased that he was willing to go along with the favorite color thing. It was silly, and such a small thing, but it really did lighten things up since they were also talking about some pretty heavy stuff.
So that’s what it was called. Crystal did know hunters organized somehow, but she wasn’t sure of the details. It seemed like the Society was the loose, larger organization. Crystal listened attentively, amused by Daggeron’s clear enjoyment. She leaned over to look at the gold coin, though she didn’t touch it.
That was a good question, she might ask later. She did wonder a bit about that. [#c4519e “Hm, so there are more peaceful hunters? I guess that explains you. I mean, you’re not quite what I expected. In a good way, you’re kinder than I thought hunters were. I was worried— I just mean I like— It’s surprisingly easy to work with you.”]
The better she tried to make it by adding more, the worse it got. She couldn’t lie, but the truth came out awkwardly. She was blushing and leaned back. His next question made her uncomfortable too, though not quite as bad as her fumbling for words had. She sat quietly for a moment, considering what to say or not. Crystal opened her mouth, closed it, and then took a drink and shook her head, partly from the burning taste,[#c4519e “I really shouldn’t say anything about it.”]
It was practically and admission that they [i did] meet. She just wasn’t going to risk giving any details. The meetings being so secret had been drilled into her since she was old enough to understand. She was already starting to feel the alcohol, the warmth and bit of dullness in her senses. Crystal was an infamous lightweight to anyone who had ever had drinks with her.
Crystal looked at Felix, considering what type of question to ask. She could ask how he met Daggeron, like Daggeron suggested. They were talking about organizations, but it didn’t seem like there was much more she wanted to ask there. It wouldn’t tell her much about him, and the point was getting to know him better. More personal, but not too personal,[#c4519e “You said you’re not much of a people person, but you must have some friends. Could you tell me a bit about them? Not just Daggeron, but you must know other hunters, or even non-humans besides us two.”]
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