Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return Read 3483 times

Krystal Itzume

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Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« on: July 23, 2014, 08:41:06 am »
The SeeD exam was no longer tomorrow but today. The hours had passed first as restless tossing and turning. ‘I may as well be that damned sorceress who couldn’t sleep on anything but a feather mattress.’ Ah, movies from her childhood had made it a princess, but when she read the actual fairy tale it was a sorceress. Supposedly they were so physically frail that they could feel a pebble beneath hundreds of mattresses, and be unable to sleep. They’d be covered in bruises in the morning.

She, Elysia Zain, Elly to some, was no sorceress. There was no excuse for this, but when 3 am came, a frustrated groan left her and she rolled out of her twin bed. She didn’t catch herself well. Knees hit hard, but she sat up and looked around.
“Well, if I’m going to be awake, I’m going to be productive.” No, she couldn’t explain why she was speaking aloud. It felt necessary to make sound if she was going to wake up.

Her uniform was laid out, but she bypassed it. No need to get it dirty. Casual attire for the moment. The red-head stripped out of her pajamas and into a burgundy tank top and black sweat pants. No need to dress up, she was just heading to the training center, after all. She put her hair up in a high ponytail, but even then it fell to her hips. She needed to cut it.
‘One day.’ She was always putting it off.

Truth told, she liked it.

With that, she snuck out of her room and into the common area. She glanced towards her roommates quarters, but opted not to wake them to join her. It was always dangerous to go alone, but she felt secure enough in her own talents to make the journey.
‘Just can’t forget this.’ Elysia snatched up her gunblade. It was one of the thinner models, made for speed rather than strength. As her hand moved over the blade, it also moved over a lightning symbol on it, which briefly glowed.

As she walked, she went through the mental process that was Junctioning, awakening the Guardian Force she had retrieved on her mission to qualify for this SeeD exam. The Guardian Force tied itself to her weapon. Most had their Guardian Forces constantly junctioned, but when Elysia heard of the memory-loss thing, she decided not to have it be a constant thing. She valued her memories. They made her who she was.

‘Hello, Ixion.’

She could feel him then, like an old friend offering a warm embrace and she smiled. Ixion had not been easy to win over, but once won, he was loyal. He didn’t seem to resent this, which she found curious. No one really knew where or how Guardian Forces came about, but it did seem their purpose was as guardians. They went to it as if it were natural.
‘Let’s have some fun, yeah?’

Into the training center she went, ignoring the garden staff that guarded the other areas, now closed.
‘Breakfast is at 6.’ She could get in a few hours of training, get breakfast, and then meet the others. Simple.

It didn’t turn out to be so simple.

Most of her time was spent drawing magic out of the creatures, and hiding from them. She also found the ‘black market’ man, Rigel, and bought a few extra items off him to be prepared for the upcoming exam. There wouldn’t be time to stop in Balamb town, after all. Everything was going smoothly. As more magic flowed into her, she felt its power weave its way into the very fabric of her being. She junctioned them, and her blade lit with fire in each attack—quite useful for the Grats.

Of course, she had to get that fire from somewhere. That just so happened to be the T-Rexaurs that roamed.

One of them noticed her when she was drawing the magic from afar. There was no questioning that when it let out a furious roar. Elysia froze, hazel eyes widening in horror. It rushed at her.
‘No good!’ She crossed her arms over her chest and drew on the creature that resided in her now. That protective field wrapped around her, and when the T-Rexaur’s tail slammed into her, she didn’t feel any pain.

Ixion, of course, felt it. Her body still reacted as if it had been hit, and she was lifted from her feet and thrown. She landed on the ground and rolled with it, ended up on her knees.
‘Still good?’ Ixion’s force could still be felt. ‘Good.’ She stood quickly and held the gunblade out in front of her, focusing on that force and drawing it out to strike the creature that made another rush at her.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 08:47:43 am by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 09:14:02 pm »
his body was her shield and his oath was her sword.

Magnus Gale knew he was dreaming the moment he closed his eyes.

The quiet shadows of those snowy woods were as familiar to him as his room in Balamb Garden, the barren branches of the mighty trees forming a thin barrier between a twilit sky and the white forest floor that reflected their light. There was no sound in that place, where the twisted trunks of the trees spread in every direction as far as the naked eye could see. The snowfall was gentle and steady, and though his lean form stood tall and naked amongst the chill, Magnus did not feel the bite of the cold. He was a single soul in an existence cold and empty of life.

But he was not alone.

The dragon was as terrible as it was beautiful, argent scales glinting and dark eyes gleaming in the odd twilight of this ethereal place. It rested before him into the snow, massive wings folded to its side and tail wrapped around its body, scaled snout oddly quiet even as steam inhaled and exhaled from it. It watched him with an intelligence frightening for a beast its size, as if it was patiently waiting for something from him, the weight of its expectance heavy in its stare.

Magnus knew what it was waiting for. He knew it the same way he knew how to breathe, the same way he knew how to smile and laugh – it was an intrinsic part of him, something he couldn’t express how he knew even if he tried. Its name rested at the tip of his tongue, caught by the hesitance of his teeth. What would happen if he said if he said it? Something both wonderful and awful, he was certain. But he wanted to say it regardless. No, he needed to say it. His lips parted and there was no hesitance this time, only-

He woke in a cold sweat, breathing hard and hand over the rapid beating in his chest. Icy blue eyes glanced to the clock on the table, taking a moment to register the fact that it was still the middle of the night, just barely past five in the morning.  Magnus sighed and sat up, shifting his weight so that he was sitting on the edge of the bed to welcome the cold bite of the floor against his bare feet. Calloused hands rubbed his face and into the short mess of fine blonde hair, elbows resting on his knees as he carried the weight of his head in his palms.

“That dream again.” Magnus murmured to himself aloud, needing to hear even the sound of his own voice after the silence of that forest. It was the same thing every time and he even knew it was a dream when it was happening, but it made it feel no less real. It was an old friend, one that had lingered with him since he was a child, but only recently had really begun to haunt him. What had once occurred every few months was now turning into a weekly event, bringing with it a partial night’s rest and the impossible task of returning to sleep afterward.

“And of course it happens the night before the SeeD exam.” Magnus groaned and stood from his twin bed, resigning himself to his fate. Long legs carried him to his closet, shifting through his uniforms to find an old black t-shirt and some loose shorts, ideal for a wide range of movement. If he was going to be awake until breakfast, he’d rather spend the time warming up than brooding restlessly in bed. Hopefully a good sweat and some stress relief on the Grats in the training center would be enough to shake him from his foul mood.

His lance rested against the wall at the foot of his bed, a long metal pole tipped with a simple but sharp blade. It had proven to be a reliable companion through his cadet training, seeing him through even the most difficult fights without ever breaking. It was a comforting weight in his hand and he gave it a fluid twirl, wondering idly why his dream self always appeared without a weapon. Magnus shrugged on the metal straps that acted as a magnetic sheath for his weapon and attached the spear to his back, the tall cadet adjusting his posture habitually to account for the length of the pole.   

The fair-haired cadet paused then, reaching for the other half of his weapon. Garuda thrummed in his chest in answer, the constant breeze that rested there rising like a sudden storm to his silent call. She had always been a rather capricious guardian force, her moods as varied as the direction of the wind she manipulated, and had proven remarkably difficult for Magnus to win over. Now though, junctioned with the lancer at all times, she had warmed up to him considerably. The ferocity he had once seen directed at himself now seemed reserved for those who challenged him in battle, as if the very act of lifting their hand against Magnus was worthy of her unrelenting fury. Honestly, he never would have thought such a volatile creature would be capable of that kind of protective instinct.

Satisfied that both his lance and Garuda were prepared, he quietly made his way into the common area. His roommate’s door was shut, though that did little to mask the noise of bear-like snoring from it. His lips quirked into amusement as he made his way out into the hall, wondering when he had stopped hearing that snore as an impossibly loud cacophony and started accepting it as normal back ground noise to sleep to.

He spent the short walk to the training center debating the likelihood of constant GF junctioning as the reason he couldn’t remember, though it was done more out of idle curiosity that any real concern. Magnus didn’t really understand why so many people had issues with using the guardian forces; did they really expect to receive such incredible abilities with no price to be paid in return? Only a fool expected to achieve something without sacrifice.

Personally, Magnus knew he would gladly give up more than just his memories for the strength to protect those who needed it.

A terrible roar shook the lancer from his thoughts, accompanied almost immediately by the sound of combat. Any cadet who had spent more than five minutes in the training center knew that roar and exactly what it meant: run. They were aggressive beasts that were meant for group training rather than single, but Magnus had a hard time believing there was even one other person awake this early on the day of SeeD exams, let alone a group of them.

There was a roar again and this time tall lancer did not hesitate before moving toward it, calling on Garuda to lend him her speed. Even if it was a group of people, they likely would not turn down a helpful hand. And it if was one person, well…

Magnus just hoped he would arrive in time.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 09:31:54 pm by Pride »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 09:39:58 pm »
The problem with not being constantly junctioned to a Guardian Force was how slow it was to bring them out. The bond wasn’t there, wasn’t strong, and so it took time and concentration. That meant she had to stay in one place and focus, and pray, and hope. Ixion wanted to protect her, she knew, but they were not strongly fused together. They were not one, even when they were.

‘Come on!’

Hazel eyes squeezed shut as she imagined the strike that would come, and knock Ixion out.

Something distracted the creature, however. Another student had entered the training center and come running. It turned its head to see itself flanked. A threatening roar escaped it.

Elysia opened her eyes wide as the pulse of energy rose up in her chest. It caused her to straighten, pushing her chest out and lifting her head as the creature seemed to run right out of her. Whenever it left her, Elysia felt paralyzed. It was another reason she didn't trust these guardian forces. She felt so vulnerable in that instant.

Ixion resembled a horse, gray with a white mane, and glowing white eyes. A long, golden and crooked horn rose up from it like a bolt of lightning, and that lightning coursed over its body as it ran forward, sparks emitting from its hooves.

However, energy was building in its horn, and before the T-rexaur could strike, that horn threw a ball of lightning right into the gut of the larger creature. The lightning froze it and the force caused it to skid away some yards. Ixion vanished then, and Elysia’s posture relaxed with its return.

She took in the arrival then and recognized him. Magnus Gale, a lancer, another cadet who would be up for SeeD. She knew him, not as well as she’d like to know him. They had never worked together, but they were in the same classes. They spoke to each other, and they went to these grounds a couple of times together. She knew some of what he was capable of.   

Now he was involved, and the T-rexaur was pissed. The distraction hadn’t done anything to it, so its focus returned to her. Another charge, head low. That could only mean it intended to use its teeth rather than its tail. Fight to run, or fight to win were the options.

A smile flashed.
“High morale for the exam?” It came out as a question as she held her ground, lightning flickering over the gunblade. Coming off victorious from a fight with a T-rexaur sounded like a good way to go out into the exam. If he opted not to, though, she would run. There was no way she could win on her own, and she knew that. Ixion's strike had been planned to give her an opening to flee.

She threw her weapon hand up, and like the fist of the gods, a strong bolt of lightning struck the creature’s nose and put it into the dirt, halting its advance for a second.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 09:48:40 pm by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 10:13:09 pm »
Magnus arrived in time to see the light-show, the guardian force he recognized as Ixion taking advantage of the momentary distraction his advance had allowed. He met hazel curiosity with an arched brow of his own, annoyed but a little impressed to find it was indeed just a single person fighting against a fifteen foot tall embodiment of death. He recognized her as a fellow cadet on the verge of becoming SeeD, Elysia Zain, and would likely forever remember her now as the girl with a death wish.

That said, the gunblade wielder was remarkably nonchalant in the face of a rather pissed off T-Rexaur. Did she really just smile at him while that monster was charging at her head on?

Despite his own misgivings, Magnus did not hesitate to capitalize on the opening she granted him with her lightning bolt. The lancer tensed and sprang forward, jumping much higher than any person should be capable of as four emearld, ethereal wings lifted him into the air. Garuda's guidance left him at the peak of his momentum, his hands reaching for the spear on his back and bringing it down with him with the full weight of his body behind it.

The spear point caught the monster in the exact spot the lightning bolt had struck it, the beast barely having begun to struggle back to its feet when Magnus' lance pierced it and brought it screaming back to the dirt with blood splattering up the side of his shirt. Distantly, as Magnus ripped his weapon free and jumped from the T-Rexaur to the gunblade wielder's side, he acknowledged that this would indeed be an excellent preparation for the exam. It certainly wouldn't hurt to start with a good chunk of morale and he had already been looking forward to letting loose all the stress from his dream.

"You're a crazy person," Magnus informed his temporary partner matter-of-factly, keeping his eyes locked on the bleeding and furious dinosaur stumbling to its feet. They certainly were as resilient as all the textbooks said. His own lips tilted into a lop-sided grin and he shrugged his acceptance. "But we have some time until breakfast. Do you think you can maintain that crazy until then?"

He hoped so. There was only so much satisfaction one could get from killing Grats.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 10:18:06 pm by Pride »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 10:33:31 pm »
Magnus did not run. He saw the opening presented to him, and he took it. The smile widened as the man jumped. Elysia took the time to add distance between herself and the struggling creature. It was again put into the ground by that spear, and blood manifested now. Cadet Gale came to her side.

A smirk graced her lips,
“Yes, crazy isn’t temporary in my case,” she agreed. That was the rumor, now confirmed.

She pointed the gunblade at the struggling dinosaur and grasped at the energy exuding from it. Para-magic, as it was called, existed in this world and could be grasped and taken from certain energy points in the world, or from others. All monsters had some sort of energy associated with them, and with the T-rexaurs, it was fire and lightning. As she’d just wasted some of the energy she’d been gathering and keeping, weaving into the fabric of herself, she wanted more to replenish the stock. Now was the best time, while the creature was getting itself together.

‘Draw and cast.’
As the last of the energy started to move through her form, she took hold of it and channeled it forward as another lightning bolt.

Though it hurt the creature, it did not have the same effect as before. The T-rexaur shook its head, tossing blood off it. Now fully upright, it burst forward with surprising speed, swinging its tail at both of them.

No evasion and no guardian force this time. Elysia took the blow and was tossed back. She managed to roll in spite of the pain and get herself to her knees quickly.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 10:34:47 pm by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 11:02:06 pm »
The beast moved far quicker than any thing its size had a right to.

It was thanks only to his junction with Garuda that Magnus had the agility to jump over it, clearing the sweep by only the barest of inches. He flipped head over heel, landing on his feet on the opposite side from where his less fortunate peer had rolled to a stop. The shock of that second lightning cast hadn't been as effective as the first, but watching her finish her draw during the T-Rexaur's recovery had given him an idea.

The aggressive beast's ire was still trained on Elysia, probably not very happy it had hit him with yet another lightning bolt. It advanced quickly, but Magnus moved faster, his spear point trailing low to the ground and then sweeping into an arc under its tail that caught the vulnerable flesh of the monster's inner leg.

That annoyed it well enough, another angry sweep of the tail expected enough that Magnus had no issue preempting it with another jump to the opposite leg, where he performed the exact same sweep. Now with the monster's full attention, it turned and snapped its massive jaws at him, finding only air as Garuda's wings spread from his back buffeted the Lancer backwards in time. It turned and lumbered after him, roaring it's hatred for the fly with a sharp stick.

Well, Magnus mused, it was most certainly focused on him now. Then while it was distracted-

"Hey, you've been drawing from the monsters here for a while, yeah?" It was only a guess, but Magnus really doubted she had come here just to fight a T-Rexaur alone. It was more likely that she had come to practice agains the Grats, just as he had. "You wouldn't have happened to-"

Magnus paused to jump to the side, avoiding a lumbering charge and stay out of range of the follow up tail-sweep. He didn't bother attacking; his spear was hardly doing enough damage to make it worth the risk. He continued as the monster turned to face him again. "-drawn any Sleep from the Grats, would you?"

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2014, 12:40:25 am »
Elysia’s nose wrinkled. The T-rexaur had it out for her. Lighting sparked up again, daring the creature to be as stupid as before. As the creature realized keeping its nose low to the ground was bad, though, Magnus caught it. The creature turned its attention to the distraction and Elysia righted herself, standing up quickly.

She could hear Ixion’s whinny of desperation, wanting to be drawn forward to help. Elysia ignored it and channeled that electricity forward again, hitting the side of the creature as she pointed her blade at the location she wanted struck. Small arm. It had ridiculously small arms for such a terror. This occurred after its attempt to bite the lancer, who used his GF as if it were a part of him.

Elysia envied him his courage with using the beasts, the trust he had in them.

Though that strike had seared flesh, the creature ignored her completely. It went after Magnus, who came up with an idea. The simplicity of it made her laugh, unable to help it in spite of the situation.
“I did!” Of course she did. She had intended to be fully stocked by the time she left the training grounds, and sleep could be useful for sneaking by things. She didn’t tend to use it in combat because one jarring blow woke most things, so it hadn’t occurred to her to use it.

Elysia called upon the spell while the creature remained distracted with assaulting Magnus, who was proving to be quite the good shield despite how often he tended to be out of the way of attacks. Again, she channeled it through the gunblade, and the spell moved out, sparkling silver dust. It struck the creature, but the T-rexaur didn’t succumb to its effects immediately. It did appear disoriented, and turned its head towards her. The second sleep spell then struck it right between the eyes.

It tried to fight off the drowsiness, but it couldn’t. It was already feeling tired from the fight, and so its large eyes shut and it fell forward.

Elysia wasted no time. Magic didn’t tend to wake the creature sleeping, and she wasn’t about to question why. A lightning bolt followed, striking the nose of the creature again, opening up the original wound wider.

It might be cheap, but she would spam magic until it died if that was what it took. SeeD were mercenaries, after all, not honor-bound knights. 

« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 12:58:28 am by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2014, 05:54:25 pm »
Magnus would have laughed at watching the giant dinosaur fall flat, asleep even before it hit the ground, if he hadn’t had to skip backward again to avoid it falling directly on top of him.

It seemed he didn’t need to waste time explaining what should happen next. Elysia was already reigning lightning down upon the slumbering T-Rexaur, a veritable storm of critical hits with every connection to the abused wound. The lancer had little offensive magic to resort to himself, knowing that his capacity for magic was far less than his strength, but did join his peer by immediately casting the lightning he was drawing directly from the beast right back into its face. It wasn’t as strong as the spells the red-head had already stocked, but it would take too much valuable time to draw it, stock it, and then cast it. They needed to inflict as much damage as possible for the monster woke back up.

Sure enough, it wasn’t very long before the T-Rexaur showed signs of waking.  Magnus grimaced and knew it would certainly attack the female cadet again as soon as it could, the threat of that sleep and the pain of her lightning bolts exceeding anything the lancer had managed thus far. It was unlikely any sort of taunt he could manage would bring its attention back to him. Then the question now was: would she be able to put it back to sleep before it reached her? It resisted once already before Elysia had managed to grab it with the second. If it caught her mid-cast, she would be in serious trouble.

Magnus stopped drawing from the over-sized lizard and its comically small arms, reaching inward instead for his own small stock of spells. It consisted mostly of the Scans he had picked up from the Bite Bugs that lived in Balamb and a handful of Fires in case of physical resistant monsters like Blobras, but it was the former he sought to cast this time. He brought his left hand to his chest, still over the spot he always felt Garuda’s wind rising from, and clenched it into a fist. That fist began to glow a steady white as it gathered the spell, then released as Magnus swept the arm forward toward the waking T-Rexaur. There was a momentary lull as the familiar red circle encompassed the massive beast, analyzing and recording the target’s current state before displaying its findings above its head.

Alive since the beginning of time, its power and HP are very high. It’s better to run if you encounter one.

Magnus did laugh this time, more out of exasperation than amusement at the abundantly obvious description. Scan proceeded to list its stats, the strength and health holding true by being ridiculous in their scale, and announced that it was weak to ice but strong to poison. Both fairly useless, as Magnus figured if either cadet had ice spells, they would have been casting them long before they started throwing lightning bolts at it. What he was looking for came after.

Health: 7,100 / 21,907

“Even after all that, it’s still got that much kick left?” Magnus muttered, watching as it climbed back to its feet. As he thought, it didn’t even spare him a glance; that beady hatred was focused entirely on the Elysia. This roar was the loudest yet, the very air reverberating with the might of it, and it began to pick up speed as it lumbered toward her. Magnus made a sound of frustration, air through teeth, and reached deeper for the core of Garuda’s power. It would weaken him for a time and it definitely wouldn’t kill the monster, but it would hopefully be enough to buy some more time to at least put it back to sleep.

Green energy pulsed from his body and Magnus doubled over, both hands clutching his lance to keep him up right as the wings sprouted again from his back. The four wings beat, but rather than lifting the tall cadet into the air, it pulled the harpy GF from his body and into the air above him.  There was a sudden gale in the Training Center, the sill air rising with Garuda high above the ground, her vast wings gathering her element around her. Magnus’ command was loud even in the tempest, icy blue locked on his target.

“Scream, Garuda.”   

The guardian force shrieked a terrible cry, the high soprano to the low bass of the T-Rexaur’s roar. The wind that had coalesced around Garuda rocketed downward, forming three twisters that converged into a single point just before it reached the beast. The vortex spear slammed the monster into the earth, the unrelenting airstream continuing to drill the mighty lizard further and further into the dirt, its angry roar lost in the cacophony of the wind. The twisters dissipated all at once, the wind fading with Garuda’s body as she descended. The guardian force disappeared entirely before her talons reached the earth, leaving only a tired, grinning lancer held up by his weapon and a stunned dinosaur laying in the dirt.

He’d would like to see that stupid lizard resist anything now.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 06:03:08 pm by Pride »

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2014, 09:39:11 pm »
Elysia was starting to truly understand why it was a good idea to run from T-rexaurs. Every time she’d fought one before had been in a big group, and so it didn’t take this long, and it wasn’t this scary. Now, it was. It was waking up, and it only looked like a thing of nightmares now.

Somehow, all that blood only made it more terrifying. The impulse to run was growing within her. She might be able to take another hit, but she wasn’t sure she could stand after it.

The laughter caused her attention to shift to Magnus, who the T-rexaur no longer cared about. His declaration confirmed what he had done, and she grit her teeth together to keep back a comment. She’d promised him that she was crazy, after all. She didn’t need to know how much kick the creature still had.

It roared, though. Elysia dug her heel in to the ground to show she wasn’t moving this time, and the creature charged. Gunblade pointed, and sleep after sleep spell left the tip of it, but none were working. Effects of drowsiness were showing, but the T-rexaur was intent on its mission, much as she was intent on putting it to sleep.
‘Really going to need to restock on this spell.’ Of all thoughts.

A gust picked up, but neither Elysia nor the T-rexaur looked to the source. That was, until there was a shriek. Elysia looked, but the T-rexaur didn’t—her mistake. A sharp pain announced itself in her side, but before it could become more, the Garuda’s scream and the winds that obeyed the powerful creature pushed the T-rexaur away. Given, the teeth that had started to embed themselves were ripped out and opened up her side, but Elysia would take that over being dragged along with the dinosaur.

Elysia staggered a couple of steps away from where she had been standing, and a hand fell over the wound. Then, as the vortex continued and she assessed her hand was doing very little to keep the blood inside, she reached into her pocket for a small vial, a potion, but before she could tear the cork off with her teeth, she reconsidered.

It slipped back into the pocket. It was there, and she’d use it if need be, but she knew one thing about herself. In this state, she had an ace up her sleeve, a power far stronger than that of her Guardian Force.
‘And teachers advise against using it.’ Even finding it, for that matter. Too risky. Apparently Guardian Forces were less risky.

The gunblade was pointed at the dinosaur again. The sleep spell worked. Lightning rained down once again, for it was naturally her quickest cast, but thirteen seconds later the creature was waking up. It didn’t look so hot this time.

“If you run, I’ll let you live to try again.”

If it understood English, that must have infuriated it to hear such a small and wounded creature threaten it, for it roared back and that lost none of its ferocity.
“Suit yourself.” A glance towards Magnus, “How is it doing?” She might need to reconsider using that adrenaline rush if the creature couldn’t be put down quick. That would be difficult in its own right. Her heart was in her ears, and all she could hear was the call of her own body in its desperate state, wanting to make the environment safe. Not even Ixion could speak over it.


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2014, 06:16:49 pm »
Though Magnus managed only a couple of drawn casts against the T-Rexaur in its second sleep, those precious few seconds did give him enough time to recover from the paralyzing after-effect of Garuda’s power.

Blue flickered to his companion at her question, though the words lingered unspoken on his tongue when the lancer saw her clutching her side. It was obvious even from where he was standing that the wound was far from superficial, the blood that seeped between her fingers a crimson dark even against her burgundy top. Though she made no comment on it, there was little doubt that her own health must have been in a critical state.

The fair-haired lancer wondered if it was possible that someone on the verge of becoming SeeD would ever go into battle without at least one or two spare potions for emergencies. Why would she not use it while the opportunity granted her the chance?

“A masochist as well as insane? What kind of injured girl insults a nightmare?” It was an aside under his breath, but now wasn’t the time to reprimand, not with the thirteen seconds coming to an end. He turned back to face the T-Rexaur and the information Scan still cycled above its head. He called out to her in reply this time. “3,119. Just a bit over a tenth of its health. Not too bad, if you think of it like fighting fifteen Grats all at the same time.”

Of course, no one in their right mind would do that. A swarm of monsters was only a marginal improvement to one gigantic terror. Then again, no one in their right mind would fight a T-Rexaur in a pair.

What to do now though? That was the real issue, the creature climbing back to its feet for what must have been the third and likely final time. It was unlikely any more cheap tricks or simple tactics would stand against the single-minded ferocity that now drove the creature to the brink of madness, dirt blinding its black eyes and the terrible, roaring maw a terrifying mesh of gleaming teeth and crimson life. Magnus would not be able to summon Garuda again so soon. He likely wouldn’t even be able to manifest her wings to give him the agility he needed to dodge the colossal beast’s swift tail.

It was a race against time and death itself. Could they inflict enough damage, tired or injured as they respectively were, before it managed to catch them between those terrible teeth?

“If you have any crazy ideas, I’m all ears.”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2014, 10:29:50 pm »
‘Oh, this is easier than fifteen grats. Maybe.’ Elysia didn’t plan to put that to the test any time soon. The question was not whether or not she could bring that down to 0, for Elysia held no delusions that she could manage it. The question was whether or not Magnus could finish the job.

She had the nightmare’s attention.
“Just one,” Elysia said, “Don’t let me die.” Crazy enough, considering the creature was rushing forward on unsteady legs, bloody maw with its daggers prepared to finish the job it had started. The gunblade arm lifted up, but not in a way to suggest she was preparing to bring it down on the creature’s head when it came in close.

This thing teacher’s referred to as ‘limit break’,
“For when one reaches their limit,” the instructor had said, always made her wonder about the human potential. The lightning that flickered up from her feet, over her body, and to the tip of the blade, was nothing she’d junctioned. She felt no loss, but rather, felt that burst of adrenaline as the charge moved through her, electrifying every muscle in her body.

She felt immortal in those few seconds, when magic was natural and flowed without restraint.

The muscles reacted quicker than normal, and when the T-rexaur reached forward to bite her, she twisted around and used the momentum of the spin to thrust the gunblade into the bottom of the lower jaw. A pull of the trigger sent the electricity right into its mouth, causing it to shake and clamp down.

The blade wasn’t pulled out immediately, but the trigger pulled again as Elysia pushed the blade forward to cut through the thick flesh. With the t-rexaur bent down to try and bite her, she could run the blade down its neck and open its abdomen. The problem was her earlier junction—fire elemental attack. It would cauterize the wound, keeping it closed.

Even so, it was going to hurt.

The vibration from the second pull was enough to let Elysia push the blade down the creature’s neck. It smoked as it went through, closing the wound behind it, until she pulled the blade out mid-way down the creature’s torso. Blood dripped from the bladed, and sizzled as it fell.

She had to end the attack, for it was able to twist its head around to try and bite her. While that missed, she wasn’t taking any chances. With the jump back, she crossed her arms over her chest and called on Ixion. She didn’t truly intend to call it forth, though if that was what was necessary, so be it. It was more that she wanted Ixion’s protection from the next blows, for they were going to come, and the rush of electric speed was already gone.


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2014, 05:31:19 pm »
“Don’t let me die?”

His echo was incredulous, punctuated by a sound of protest as he recognized what the sudden surge of power that danced light lightning around her body was. Limit Break!? Was that the reason she had allowed herself to linger with her health growing steadily more critical, that bleeding wound at her side having little to staunch its flow? It was supposed to be a last resort maneuver, not something you forego a hi-potion in order to achieve. All it took was one misstep, one mistake, and it would be game over.

“Idiot,” He hissed, most of the amusement at her insane tactics gone now thanks to the reckless state she had allowed herself to fall into. Even so, he did not simply stand idly by distracted by his exasperation; he took the opportunity she granted him by distracting the beast to make his way forward quickly, a well-timed jump landing him on the tip of the T-Rexaur’s swinging tail. Though his jumps lacked the height Garuda’s lifted him to, it only meant that he took a series of quicker, shorter jumps than one longer one to reach his goal. Edge of the tail to the middle, mid-tail to base, base tail to shoulder, shoulder to the crown of the roaring beast. 

The Seed Cadet landed just as Elysia skipped backwards, her limit break falling from her like a shroud dropping from her shoulders. As she called Ixion to protect her, Magnus lifted his spear with both hands high above his head, blade pointed downward. Just as it seemed the beast overcame the pain that the female cadet had dealt him, it realized that there was another fly standing on its head. Its hateful black glare shifted upward, just in time for the sharp point of Magnus’ lance to catch it in its right eye.

The T-Rexaur’s roar was almost painful when you were only a few feet from the source, the lancer wincing as his head rang with the sound of it.

“Woah!” Calloused hands gripped his lance as the monster began to violently toss its head back and forward, his body swinging wildly like a weathervane in a storm as it attempted to throw him off.  Though his arms ached from the strain of it and he was fairly certain that he might have whiplash after this, it was his weapon’s grip in the beast’s eye that gave away first. One particularly strong shake sent Magnus high in the air above, icy blue looking down to see one, beady black eye glaring up at him. That maw of bloody teeth opened wide, ready to swallow its prey as he fell back down. Even from this high in the air, he could still see the raw wound from where Elysia’ blade had cut and cauterized the flesh.

Magnus couldn’t have dreamt of a better target.

The upside down lancer’s grin was savage, the expression of a victor dealing the killing blow, as he drew his lance arm back and threw it with all his might. The metal shaft tore through the air with shrill screech and down the beast’s throat, piercing the vulnerable inner flesh of its esophagus and everything in-between as it erupted from the cauterized wound Elysia’s limit break had left. The massive beast visibly stumbled, closing its jaw and choking on the long weapon stuck half in and half out of its throat. Blood from where the spear had ripped through half of its throat before it got stuck seemed to choke the monster further, as when it opened its mouth to roar, the only sound that came out was a strangled garble, before it finally collapsed to the ground and became still.

Magnus landed on his feet and rolled into a crouch, coming to a stop a short distance from both the T-Rexaur and his female partner. Though he was concerned about her physical state after the limit break, he was not foolish enough to break his concentration before it was absolutely certain the battle was over. The tall cadet waited in silence and watched the information Scan provided with a cautious eye, seeking confirmation that the terror was actually dead. It came eventually, the numbers a welcome sight as he gave a heavy sigh of relief.

“0/21,907. It’s dead.” Magnus stood and brushed the dirt form his clothes, moving forward to retrieve his lance. His tone was a mixture of amusement and exasperation. “That was perhaps a bit more of a warm-up than I had in mind, but I guess not many can say they killed a T-Rexaur as a pair.”
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 05:39:21 pm by Pride »

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2014, 06:19:51 pm »
‘Come on!’ Not that Elysia could force Ixion. She knew how to make the summons faster, but she refused to allow it. Ixion could sense her panic, no longer fear for herself but fear for the lancer who was getting swung around as the T-Rexaur tried to save itself. At least it wasn’t paying her anymore attention. Magnus took the command to keep her alive rather well.

The T-Rexaur managed to throw him, but its eyes remained on the airborne one.

He smiled, and Elysia felt instant relief. He had a plan. The lance was thrown, and that move brought the beast down at long last. Elysia shook off the summoning action and relaxed her posture, but she didn’t start to walk. Magnus wanted to assess its life first, and she would allow that before putting herself in the path of its jaws.

Elysia echoed his sentiments,
“It wasn’t what I had in mind, either,” she took that potion out of her pocket once more and bit off the cork of a lid. She downed the icy green liquid. It was cold, too, which always struck her as strange since the healing magic was warm. That icy flow moved through her body in seconds, causing her to shiver as the wounds were closed. ‘Frozen.’ That’s how it felt.

It wasn’t a full heal, but it would suffice. She didn’t want to waste more potions when there was an infirmary here she could go to.
“Thank you,” she told Magnus. There were bragging rights to taking on a beast such as this in a pair, considering larger groups still struggled with them. “If that was enough of a warm-up for you, let’s go get breakfast,” she invited, and took a few steps towards the exit of the training center. “You know, before they run out of the good stuff.”

They’d probably be the first two people there. Most people didn’t line up for breakfast, it was lunch that everyone craved, and those hotdogs. Elysia didn’t see what the fuss was. The sausage-pancake on a stick thing was the best.

People just didn’t know that because they didn’t want to wake up early. Sleeping in was the preferred luxury of Balamb students, it seemed.


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2014, 05:57:20 pm »
Magnus waved a dismissive hand at her thanks, the bemused shake of his head expressing an internal conflict at pride toward the kill and concern to how a rescue mission had turned into a tag team death match. It had been overtly dangerous, something he wouldn’t have typically gone along with even with the promise of high Morale, and certainly not when someone’s life was in real danger. But there was something about having seen Elysia standing there, grinning as she extended him a casual invitation to kill a nightmare, that made the tall lancer want to fight beside her.

Magnus Gale sighed. He hoped madness wasn’t contagious.

“Breakfast sounds excellent.” He accepted her invitation with a well-practiced spin of his lance that bound it to the sheath on his back. His stomach rumbled in agreement and he chuckled at himself. “Who knew that killing a 15 foot death machine would make a guy so hungry?”

The fair-haired cadet trailed a little to the side of Elysia as she led them to the cafeteria, hands in pockets and watching her out of the corner of his eye. The gun wielder appeared hale, but he was skeptical that a wound of that severity would have been completely mended by a single potion. Even if she wasn’t bleeding anymore, Magnus could still see the darker patch of red on the side of her burgundy top, a physical reminder that she had almost become snack food. He wasn’t sure how much blood she lost in order to reach her Limit Break, but he would keep an eye on her at least through breakfast.

The automatic doors of the cafeteria opening brought his eyes forward again, stepping into the half-circle room. Light blue flicked from the empty food counter along the flat wall to the elevated seating area around the curved wall, lined with a number of equally empty tables. Well, it was to be expected that they were the first ones here, but Magnus would be surprised if they didn’t see fellow Seed Cadets before long. The eighteen year old sincerely doubted they were the only two to have woken early in preparation for the exam.

Magnus trailed behind Elysia again as she moved to the counter, picking himself out some scrambled eggs, couple pieces of toast, and a glass of orange juice before eying the sausage-pancake on a stick on his peer’s plate as she passed by. He grabbed one himself before joining her at a table, adjusting his posture habitually so that his weapon wouldn’t be in the way. He glanced at his companion as he reached for his fork and stabbed at his eggs, wondering if it was just his imagination that she looked a bit paler than she had earlier. It could just be the lighting of the cafeteria. Or…

His concern got the best of him. “How are you feeling?”

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2014, 09:24:13 pm »
The invitation was accepted, and the young woman brushed her hand over the lightning image on the gunblade. It flashed yellow as she unjunctioned, Ixion attaching itself to her gunblade. The magic, too, moved into it. She’d do a check of her stock before the mission, but she had a feeling she’d be re-arranging some of her magic now that she’d used quite a bit of her stored spells on that monstrosity. It just sucked that every time she unjunctioned, she only felt weaker. It was her natural strength, her natural self, but it always felt weak compared to the junctioned state. ‘It will wear off.’

She smiled at the sound of his protesting stomach as they walked out of the area.
“You learn new things every day,” she commented to his newfound hunger.

The gunblade was put completely away when they stepped out of the training center, a sheathe at her hip which she took off and strapped to her back, more to show she had no intention of using it. She was just too lazy to go back to her room to put it away.
‘Or change.’ Blood wasn’t generally appreciated in the cafeteria, but they’d come to accept it…grudgingly. Many students did come from the training center.

She pulled her arms back behind her and stretched out as they walked, lifted arms up, rolled her neck, and acted as if she were trying to straighten her back. It always felt good, and presently that was necessary. She felt awake now.

Into the cafeteria they went, where the student workers and full-time cafeteria staff had most everything set up. The staff eyed the weapons with evident distaste, but said nothing. The rules were known. No weapons in the cafeteria.

It was often broken.

Elysia grabbed a plate and began to fill it with food. She ignored the way her hand shook as the weight increased, understanding what it was immediately.
‘Water. Don’t forget water.’ She swallowed air in a feeble attempt to let her body know everything would be all right.

Of course she forgot water as soon as the plate held the hashbrowns, sausage-pancakes sticks, and an assortment of fruits. She grabbed coffee instead, and chose a table where Magnus soon joined her. She bit into the sausage-pancake, pleased it tasted as good as ever, and noted there was one on Magnus’s plate.

Before he ever took a bite, he asked after her. She swallowed her bite,
“I’m all right,” she answered, noted then all the things he had. Orange juice sparked the reminder that she needed water, the two connected as items for health. “Well, I’ll be all right. I’ll see the doctor after breakfast,” she clarified and stood. Head rush. Dizziness. Blood loss, loss of hydration and loss of iron. The first time this had happened she’d fainted and the nurse swore she was pregnant since the potions had taken away all sign of injury.

It soon became apparent that potions were not, in fact, cure-alls, and that nurses did not listen to fifteen year old girls who came from a single mother. The doctor understood the situation better.

“I’m going to get a bit of water, though.”
She excused herself, stood, and felt the head rush. Dizziness. She walked it off, hyper-aware of her balance and where the water was, in general. She left her plate of food to fetch that cup she meant to grab earlier.

She filled it, downed half of it there, and then filled it again. She snatched up a bit of ham, too, remembering that had been recommended for iron. Chicken livers was preferred, but as she didn’t like such things, ham would have to do.

Besides, it was more breakfast-y.

“Don’t worry,”
she reassured as she sat back down, “not my first time dealing with this.” Maybe that was worrisome. To her it meant she understood how to deal with it, unlike the untrained who avoided that situation at all costs. To most, though, it seemed to translate as her being reckless—and she wouldn’t deny it. "Are you doing all right?" 


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2014, 04:56:33 pm »
Eased a bit by her admission to seeing a doctor after breakfast, Magnus nodded his acknowledgement when she excused herself to get a glass of water. He turned his attention back to his own plate and lifted the speared eggs on his fork, ready to appease his rumbling stomach.

He paused, fork full of eggs half way to an open mouth, when she stood and weaved slightly, her balance shifting unevenly from one foot to another as she tried to steady herself. Magnus had already set the fork down and was half way out of his chair before she recovered, walking away from the table like nothing had happened at all. His frown followed her all the way to the fountain, where he watched her immediately down half of her cup before filling it up again.

The lancer finally took his seat again when she made her way back to the food counter, apparently having found her balance just fine. Still, his fork remained on his plate and a wary eye watched her from the corner of his sight, drinking his orange juice more out of absent habit than any real conscious thought. She returned with a plate full of ham and a mouthful of reassurances, at which he almost snorted through his juice. He was not surprised in the slightest to hear this was not her first time doing this.

Reckless, he thought to himself with a sigh. Would this girl really be okay as a SeeD? There was no doubt to her combat ability, but she needed to be careful with how far she pushed her luck. He answered her concern aloud with a dismissive wave of his free hand. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just a bit tired, but I’ll be fine in time for the Exam.”

He set his orange juice down and took up his fork again, pausing for a moment to consider what to say next. Again, he found himself unsure if he should say what was on his mind. But perhaps in a way, Magnus was similar to Elysia. Just as she seemed the type to push herself to do what had to be done, no matter how reckless it may be, Magnus was the kind of person who wouldn’t let a person in need go unaided. He would not – could not – sit idly by when he could be helping.

“You really shouldn’t push yourself, you know. The Exam is only a few hours away; what are you going to do if the doctor won’t let your take it?” Magnus finally took that bite of his eggs, perhaps chewing a bit more vehemently than necessary to release his exasperation at the girl across the table. He didn’t look at her as he spoke between bites. “If you need something, just ask. I’ll get it for you at least until we get you to the infirmary.”

Indeed, it was ‘we’ at this point. There was no way his conscience would let him have any semblance of peace without knowing she at least got to the infirmary without falling and busting her head on something.

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2014, 05:19:28 pm »
There were plenty here in Garden who looked after each other. They were trained to, in some ways, but in others it was more than that. Many here were orphans, or otherwise estranged from their families. Plenty grew up in Garden, so that even the bitterest of enemies tended to wrap an arm under the shoulders of each other to help the other walk. Even so, Elysia found the movements of Magnus to assist nice. ‘Nice.’ The word echoed and she almost laughed at it as he held back his own laughter at her commentary.

Mentally shrugging it off, she started into her food at long last, and there was silence after Magnus confirmed his own state, followed by her,
“Good.” Relieved, and thankful.

Elysia was used to playing shield, sword, and mage. At the end of the battle, it was shield that she felt—she did not want her companions injured more than herself. Somehow that meant she was failing, even if rationally, there were much better shields out there.
‘Not if I’m stocked on protect and shell.’ Rather difficult spells to find around here. She needed to order stones from the Shumi again.

Magnus interrupted such thoughts and she looked up from her plate, just picking up the pancake-sausage. What he said would have caused her to pale, were she not already that way.
“You’re right,” spoken absentmindedly. “I shouldn’t go the infirmary. I can’t risk not taking this test.” She had waited to be eighteen, to when she was certain she could pass. If she didn’t, she would only have one more chance.

That was not Magnus’s intent, and she registered those words a moment later. 'We'. Well, that meant they were in this together, right? She reconsidered going to the infirmary, since she knew it for the best, and asked,
“I don’t suppose you’re in good with the doctor?” Elysia was not. Typically she wouldn’t worry about that, as the doctor still performed their duties well, but today she couldn’t risk not being allowed to leave. “I might need the doctor convinced that I’m well enough to take the SeeD exam,” a frown, a note, “The doctor doesn’t always get my health right anyway.”

There was a snort, not masked, at that comment. Black-haired instructor Kenneth Irving had entered the cafeteria for breakfast. He was always up early anyway, but today he had to be as he was the instructor in charge of one group for the SeeD exam. As such, he wasn’t in typical casual wear, but already in his own SeeD uniform.
‘And there is two of them.’ Magnus Gale and Elysia Zain. He knew Elysia, and he even knew what she was referencing as he had been called to the infirmary for he was her homeroom instructor.

He had been with her to get Ixion, and was already trying to prepare himself for the day. He was glad that at least Magnus was on her team. He was a rather level-headed individual.
‘Never really seen them interact much before.’ He didn’t think they had many courses together, so he wondered how they ended up here.

He shrugged it off, waved, pushed up his glasses, and turned his attention back to searching for food, pretending he was not eavesdropping.

« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 05:47:00 pm by Krystal Itzume »


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2014, 06:11:59 am »
The lancer’s eyebrow twitched at the casual way she misinterpreted his warning, as if her reasoning wasn’t the exact opposite of what he intended. Was she messing with him? Magnus really didn’t know her well enough to guess if she could pull off a straight face that well. He resigned himself to a sigh and another bite of his food.

He was still chewing the last bit of his eggs when she asked him a question, but her further elaboration and a snort of disbelief from across the room that Magnus felt he could strongly identify with gave him enough time to finish and swallow. He glanced to the source, offering one hand in way of greting to the Balamb Garden instructor waving, watching as the bespectacled man turned away to gather his own breakfast. Kenneth Irving, up bright and early but looking fresh in his uniform. It was odd for Magnus to see an instructor awake and dressed already so early in the morning, but that was perhaps less of a true oddity and more likely due to the…eccentric woman who had acted as his supervisor in his acquisition of Garuda. 

As Magnus took another sip of his orange juice, he wondered idly if Lily Gauss would even wake up in time to supervise her team for the exams. The last time he had seen her, she was stumbling back to her room, the bottle in her hand only half empty. If the cadet hadn’t seen her fight first hand, he never would have believed she was SeeD.

“I doubt I’m on better terms with the doctor than most,” The fair-haired cadet said in way of answer as he lifted the pancake-sausage on a stick, eying it critically. How was someone supposed to eat this properly? From the top down? Or bottom up? Maybe sides first? A side-ways glance toward Elysia holding her own offered him no clues. “But as long as you don’t faint half way there, I don’t imagine I’ll have too difficult of a time convincing him. You can manage that, yeah?”

He took an experimental bite – top down, he figured, was the most logical choice – and chewed slowly. A swallow, then a pleased hum. “Hey, this is pretty good! Why have I never tried this before?”
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 06:18:38 am by Pride »

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2014, 02:28:27 pm »
Elysia’s eyes moved to the Instructor as Magnus began to wave. ‘Ah, you.’ Were he not her Instructor, she might have called him friend. Ever since her arrival in Garden, she had been under his wing. He had been an elder student when she first got here, and soon after that, SeeD, and then Instructor.

She picked up her sticked-treat, but didn’t bite it quite then. Magnus spoke, and she returned her attention immediately to the pale-eyed one who might help her out. She smiled.
“Being on as good terms as most is good enough,” she said, “I’m 87% sure I won’t faint on the way there.”

He took a bite into his own treat, and she observed his expression with growing amusement. His question had to be rhetorical, but she offered an answer anyway,
“Breakfast isn’t the usually the time to experiment.” Breakfast was the start to the day, a time to be safe lest the day begin miserably. The end of the day was the time for such things.

Elysia had never done things in the right order, though. She bit into her treat, showing Magnus had guessed the proper way correctly by also going top-down.

Kenneth set up a table not terribly far from the two of them. He did not have the sausage pancake on his own plate, despite the exclamation by Magnus. He had tried them, ages ago it seemed. His plate instead showed his dietary plans of three years ago, entirely vegetarian.
“I should warn you two,” he spoke calmly, “that you will need to be at the front gate in an hour, and the doctor may take a while. You will both be expected at the gate in full uniform.”

His curiosity got the better of him and he asked,
“What did you do?” Singular. She was the usual suspect.

“We,” plural, “took down a T-Rexaur.”

His eyebrows lifted to show he was actually impressed by the feat, and his gaze shifted from Elysia to Magnus, before a smile touched his lips and he nodded,
“Very good, then. Still, don’t be late.” The car would leave without them. “We have a ways to go this time.” Thus the early time. Most SeeD exams began mid-afternoon to evening, which Kenneth had never quite understood considering the dance that immediately followed. There was so little time to get cleaned up for that.

“Right,” and Elysia decided to just finish her stick-treat and then push the tray forward to indicate that she was done. She did not rise, though. She would let Magnus finish his own meal, even though she was now too anxious to eat another bite. She would continue to drink, though.   


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2014, 05:30:38 pm »
87%? Magnus eyed her smile with a little suspicion, once again uncertain if she was speaking in jest or honesty. Somehow, he got the feeling it was a little bit of both.

Regardless, he hummed his agreement to her accurate description of breakfast through a mouth full of delicious pancake and sausage. Magnus Gale wasn’t exactly a creature of habit – it was rather difficult to form habits with Lily Gauss’ loose interpretation of punctuality and rules – but it was human nature to take the conventional convenience over the relative unknown. Light blue flickered to her as she took a bite of her breakfast stick, mildly pleased with himself to see he had guessed correctly.

His gaze shifted to the male Instructor sitting a short distance away, reminding the two Cadets of their limited time. Magnus nodded his understanding as he nibbled the food around the middle of the stick, thoughts drifting back to his own likely hung-over Instructor. On top of the trip to the infirmary and cleaning up for the Exam, he’d have to make time to check and ensure Lily was at least awake enough to complain about how much her head hurt. It was something he was unfortunate enough to have a good deal of experience with already; he knew it would be at least a ten minute ordeal. Icy blue glanced back over to the food counter, wondering idly if he should bring the irritable woman something to eat.

Elysia’s answer to a question Magnus had only half heard grabbed his attention, looking back in time to see Instructor Irving offering an impressed smile and nod in their direction. He shrugged modestly – after all, it had been Elysia who had done most of the heavy lifting, taking more than the majority of the beast’s ire and pushing her limits literally to the breaking point. He had just done his best to do as he had been asked.

Don’t let me die. Magnus chewed perhaps a little more vehemently than strictly necessary on his meal, still vaguely exasperated with the demand. Honestly, when he asked for ‘any crazy ideas’, he hadn’t meant her to take it so literally.

Another reminder of the time was punctuated by Elysia pushing her tray forward, her plate still partially full but seemingly full herself. She seemed content to wait for him, but Magnus had already swallowed the last bite of his new found treat, a flick of the stick sending it bouncing to his plate. He picked up his tray and glass before standing, nodding his head back toward the food counter.

“Let me grab a few things for a certain lazy someone and then we can make our quick stop by the infirmary.” He pushed his chair back under the table with his foot, arching an amused brow at his companion as he passed by toward the disposal. “’Quick’ assuming a certain crazy someone doesn’t make 13% a reality out of an improbability.”

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2014, 06:54:45 pm »
Another snort escaped Irving, as if he knew exactly who Magnus was speaking of. If he did, it was not revealed to Elysia when she glanced his way. He merely averted his gaze and continued to eat as if he wasn’t smiling.

Elysia did not know who, unaware of the struggles the light one had with the teacher known as Lily Gauss. She didn’t even know that instructor off-hand, having no courses with her. She assumed it had to be a roommate.
“It’s only 13%,” Elysia said as she took up her own tray and walked to where the trash was, dumping the contents left over into the trash and setting the rest of it atop the trash. Her balance was much better now. It seemed food and drink had done that much for her. “I should be fine,” should being the operative word. She couldn’t guarantee it, even if she felt all right.

Once Magnus was finished with the disposal area as well, they took the turn out of the cafeteria and towards the main area of the Garden, but once outside Elysia asked,
“Do we need to stop by this lazy someone’s room first?” Just in case. The dormitories were closer than the infirmary from this point of the Garden. Perhaps they also had an exam and needed to be awake.

Elysia could probably manage that detour. She didn’t think the percentage would get any lower.


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2014, 06:22:48 am »
Magnus nodded, his smile apologetic. “If it’s not too much trouble. If we don’t do it now, she probably won’t be ready in time.”

The trip to Lily Gauss’ dormitory door was a short one, but Magnus held no delusions that actually getting her to open that door would happen quickly. He knew better than to even bother with a polite knock, a sound that would never pull his slumbering instructor from her the depths of her drunken snoring.

“Lily.” He called loudly, unworried about waking anyone nearby. The room parallel to hers was his own after all. “Lily, wake up. Today is the day of the Exam, remember? You need to be at the front gate in 45 minutes.” He paused, wondering if he had imagined the sound of grumbling from the other side of the door. At the very least, the bear-like snoring had stopped. When he heard nothing further, he pounded a fist on the door. “Lily!”

SHUT UP!” A female voice roared from inside, far louder than anything the fair-haired lancer had managed so far. Magnus just sighed, unsurprised by this reaction. “My head already hurts enough without you beating down my door. Go away, I don’t need some snot-nosed cadet telling me what to do.”

“And I don’t need some lazy, alcoholic instructor to embarrass me by sleeping through the Exam she is supposed to supervise. You’re going to get your license revoked if you don’t show up.” He snapped back, lifting the bag of food he carried to the door as if she could see it. “Now hurry up and open the door, I brought you breakfast.”

There was a pause this time, followed by the sound of clinking bottles and someone moving around inside of the room. Magnus glanced over at Elysia, shrugging apologetically, before he turned just in time to see the door slide open a bare few inches. He grinned at the red-rimmed gaze of his unhappy instructor, peering at him from under a mess of golden curls.

“Well good morning Sunshine!” He said in a tone that was perhaps purposefully a little too loud if the way his grin broadened at her wince was any indication. “Have a good night’s rest?”

Blue eyes only a shade removed from purple glared at the smiling lancer before she shifted to look at Elysia. Lily looked her over once, lingering on the gunblade over the girl’s shoulder, before turning that disgruntled look back onto her cadet. “Isn’t that Kenneth’s brat? Why is she here?” Magnus frowned at her rudeness, but Lily had already moved on before he could reply. “Nevermind, I don’t actually care. C’mon, give it.”

She reached for the bag, one pale hand emerging from the dark and gesturing impatiently at the tall cadet. He held the bag just out of reach, arching an eyebrow at her. “Remember, you need to be at the front gate in 45 minutes in full uniform. That means you need to take a shower too. I’m not going to give this to you unless you promise to be there on time.”

The one visible eye narrowed at him. Magnus shook the bag a little, emphasizing the weight of it and letting the smell waft forward. “I have all your favorites in here, you know. And three of those blue berry muffins you love so much.” The growl her stomach made in reply was audible, marked further by the scowl she made at him.

“I don’t like you.” She informed him matter-of-factually, but from the way Magnus rolled his eyes, it was clear this was not news to him. When he didn’t bring the bag any closer, she finally grumbled her something that might half been half acquiesce and half insult, but the blue eyed cadet deemed it as good as it was going to get.

She snatched it from him the moment he offered it, pulling it into the darkness of her room without ever fully opening the door. She glared balefully at her cadet a moment longer before she let the door slide close, leaving Magnus and Elysia to listen to the sound of her stumbling around her room to get ready, followed almost immediately by a tirade of curses when Lily seemed to have stubbed her toe on the edge of her bed.

“Well then.” The lancer turned to his fellow cadet, nodding his thanks for her patience. “That went better than expected. Shall we pay a visit to the doctor?”

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2014, 04:32:19 pm »
‘The day when we students are more responsible than our instructors.’ The thought amused Elysia as she followed Magnus. That wouldn’t happen in her case. Kenneth seemed to epitomize responsibility, sometimes to a fault in her opinion, when his caution caused him to waste time.
Elysia was surprised to find herself in a dormitory for two. Last she knew, all instructors got their own dormitories, since all instructors were expected to be SeeDs. All SeeDs got their private ones. Elysia was looking forward to it.
‘Why doesn’t she?’ Elysia stayed a couple of paces back, arms crossed, and glanced around the common area, unaware that this place was shared with Magnus. It would have explained the looks of it, as she didn’t expect a drunkard to keep things in order. She was startled by Lily’s roar, but made no comment.
She wouldn’t speak at all for the duration of this trial, but simply took in how Magnus dealt with the situation, and how Lily reacted when at last she popped her blonde head out. Elysia did offer a smile, though it wasn’t returned.
‘Kenneth’s brat?’ Was that how she was known? Was that how Kenneth talked about her? Curiosity and suspicion started to distract her from the actual situation.
Her attention returned to it when Lily snapped that she didn’t like Magnus, before grumbling and then receiving the bag. She snatched it quick, before returning to the darkness from whence she came and stumbling about. Elysia’s crossed arms fell back to her side as the fair-haired one turned back to her, far too optimistic about it all. A smile twitched to her lips, and she shook her head, not in denial but in amazement.
“Do you have siblings?” came the query as she turned to leave the dormitory area and head on towards the doctor’s, “Or are you just naturally this generous?”

To her it seemed odd that he would be, if he hadn’t had a younger sibling train him in the art of patience—not that she would know. She just spent too much time wondering what it would have been like to have a sibling.

Elysia would listen to his answer on the way to the infirmary. The doctor was, of course, already in, but her luck was better. There was no antagonistic clerk at the desk, nor irksome nurse.
“Carter!” She was overly familiar in tone, despite using the surname of Doctor Charlotte Carter. The woman’s gaze lifted immediately from her computer screen to see the two who had walked in.

“Dear Hyne,” she saw the blood and rose from her swivel chair, “Don’t you have an exam today?”

“Yes, so I came to see you before, so that I would be in the best shape possible,”
Elysia clasped her hands behind her back.

Doctor Carter brushed a few strands of graying brown hair back, clearly doubting what Elysia said about 'best shape' but offering no comment. SeeDs and SeeD cadets were lunatics. It kept her employed, though, because all the potions and magics in the world couldn't replace her job, try as they might. She pointed towards the nearest room.
“Remove any clothing that would obstruct my ability to see the wounds, and prepare to enlighten me as to the causes, and what treatment you’ve already taken.” For clearly she’d at least taken a potion, considering she wasn’t bleeding out on her floor.

Elysia did not question the fingerpoint, but marched in that direction.

She assessed Magnus,
“Are you here to be seen as well, Mr. Gale, or did you just bring her?” She suspected the latter. Elysia rarely came on her own initiative, despite how familiar they were.


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2014, 05:49:15 pm »
Magnus shrugged a little as he followed Elysia on the path to the infirmary, uncomfortable with the innocent question but not wanting to draw attention to it. There was more than one reason the cadet did not mind the possible memory loss that came with constant junctioning with GFs. “A little sister.”   

Despite Magnus being two years younger than the twenty year old drunk, Elysia wasn’t the first to draw that comparison between him and Instructor Gauss. Though Lily’s natural gift for combat had gained her the rank of a full-fledged SeeD at a young age, she had been reassigned as an instructor after the volatile martial artist led a long string of ‘technically successful’ missions that ended with a great deal of collateral damage. But even that status was constantly in flux due in no small part to her capricious nature, multiple reprimands from higher ups cumulating in further and greater stripping down of the privileges a SeeD normally enjoyed.

Magnus doubted it was a coincidence that the moody instructor had been paired with him after she had her single room taken from her. For some reason he couldn’t understand, somewhere along the way of learning to deal with Lily Gauss’ temperament he had gained the reputation of being  one of the very few people in Balamb Garden who knew how to handle the irresponsible instructor, uniquely capable of convincing her to fulfill her obligations. Even if Magnus gained the status of SeeD, he had the growing suspicion that he would still find himself acting as roommate and unofficial handler of the crude and beautiful blonde.
The interactions between the two often seemed like he was a responsible older brother scolding an impertinent younger sister, a relationship he already had extensive experience with. But it was different in the field – that is to say, Lily was different. There were still traces of that lackadaisical indifference, taking a nap under a tree while he struggled to learn the basics of wildlife survival or brushing her long hair while Magnus fought against monsters, but she was always aware of him and what he was doing. She could be surprisingly fierce in how protective she was of her cadets. He had experienced proof of that first hand, years ago.

The fair-haired teen had never seen anyone who moved as quickly as Lily did when she intercepted a powerful follow-up strike of an attack that already sent him tumbling to the dirt, a blow that would have surely been Magnus’ direct ticket to the infirmary if Instructor Gauss hadn’t been at his side in the blink of an eye. Her hairbrush snapped under the stress of the blow she used it to deflect before she countered with a single uppercut that put a decisive end to the battle. Everything the lancer had learned about Lily Gauss to that point in time told him that she would have been furious at the loss of her precious hairbrush and would rail him for being an incompetent waste of her time. But to his surprise, she did neither of those things. She turned and offered him a hand instead, pulling him to his feet.

“Moron.” The familiar insult held no bite to it, purple eyes looking over him to make sure he wasn’t too extensively injured. “That’s what I meant when I said you should watch out for enemies who build up their attacks. You can’t guard against something like that, even with a GF. Next time, widen your stance a bit like this-“ She kicked at the inner part of his left foot, surprising him into spreading them further apart, “-and use your weapon to deflect the blow like I did instead of trying to block the entirety of it. Were you watching how I turned it away? Show me.” She looked at him expectantly, arms crossed under her chest, looking more like an instructor than he had ever thought her capable of.

“Lily’s not so bad.” Magnus said eventually, in lieu of any further explanation of his sister. “She has her good moments. She just gets bored very easily, especially here in the Garden. The trick is to convince her that whatever she is doing is less appealing than what she should actually be doing.”

Their arrival at the infirmary seemed to have been a timely one, as there was no one to stand between them and Doctor Carter. Elysia greeted the doctor in a familiar way that Magnus was certain was the inevitable result of many previous encounters, something he found himself amused and exasperated at in equal parts. His female companion was shuffled off to the nearest room, leaving him to bear the weight of the doctor’s analytical stare by himself.

“No ma’am, I’m fine.” He waved an easy hand to dismiss the idea. It was the truth – he was a little tired and could do with a shower before the exam, but he was healthy. “I just thought I’d tag along with Elysia and make sure she’d be good to go for the exam.”

He paused, remembering his promise over breakfast. He was supposed to convince the doctor she’d be fine for exam, right? “We were just a little too zealous in our warm-up this morning, that’s all. She made it through breakfast and an encounter with Instructor Gauss without batting an eye, so I think she’s more than ready for whatever the exam will throw at her.” 

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2014, 12:05:21 am »
Elysia let a smile rest over her lips as she slipped the shirt off behind closed doors, reflecting on how Magnus had a little sister while he told Doctor Carter she was alright. ‘You would have been….’ A thought that never needed finishing, for all the would-haves never were. It amused her in the way that almost’s could.

He was an older brother, used to looking after reckless sisters. It all made sense.
‘Would she have?’

But as the thought came, it ended, for she heard Doctor Carter say,
“Very well. You should get yourself prepared for your own exam, Mr. Gale,” and then start to walk to the door.

Elysia inched away from it, took a seat on the bed and glanced down at the wound. Quite a bit of was visible still. The potion had only really stopped the bleeding. The scabs and scars were horrendous if only due to the size it suggested of the wound.
‘Should have taken off pants.’ Her waistband covered a bit of it. Oh well.

In walked Charlotte, who looked as exasperated as Magnus had earlier. She shut the door behind her and walked closer, lightly touching parts of the wound, and near the wound.
“Over zealous training?”

“T-rexaur,” Elysia elaborated.

“Sit up straight.”

Elysia did her best. The Doctor applied pressure to areas, just hands, seeing if she could detect internal damage easily. Normally, she’d prefer a more thorough check.
“Have you vomited?”

“No,” she answered. "I've only gotten dizzy, and I think that's blood loss. I'll drink lots of water."

The doctor lifted one hand to Elysia’s forehead, checking for fever.
“Hmm. You are warm. I think there may be internal bruising and injuries, but you aren’t distending.” Elysia wasn’t sure what the Doctor meant by that, but nodded, figuring it was good that she wasn’t. “I’m going to give you a pill now that ought to deal with any infections immediately, but I want you back here tomorrow so I can get a better idea of what’s going on. If you happen to find yourself urinating blood, come back right after the mission. Try not to load up on potions or curative magics.” To say the doctor wasn’t a fan would be an understatement. Too many SeeDs used those things to deal with all their problems.

They were good for short-term things, and closing wounds, but some went to the extremes of using them to knit together bones, which never worked out well. Not to mention, they really just couldn’t fix blood loss, and one always had to be wary when a potion knit together an organ. They kept one alive, but it was always advisable to get more professional treatment done.

“Yes, ma’am,” she wasn’t going to argue. She was going to get out of here with a pill for infection, and that’d be it!

Charlotte left the room, and shortly returned with one, and a potion to down it with, one of those expensive potions known as the ‘X’.
“Here. This should knit up the rest of your injuries, as well, so that they aren’t as vulnerable.”

“Thank you,” Elysia took the pill, popped it into her mouth, and downed it with potion. The rapid healing caused Elysia to go rigid for a few seconds, the freezing sensation all the more intense due to the type of potion it was. Then, she shivered, and tried to shake it off.

“Here. Tomorrow.”

“I will be,” Elysia hopped off the bed, snatched her shirt and threw it back on. “Thank you!” The smile was bright, truly grateful.

Charlotte couldn’t help but return it, despite herself.
“Get going, SeeD.” She'd seen stranger things happen.

And Elysia took off running, practically ran into her dormmate on the way in to shower and change into her mission uniform. “HEY!” Gwen yelled at her just as the bathroom door shut, but then rolled her eyes and carried on.


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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2014, 04:46:51 pm »
As per the doctor’s orders, Magnus left Elysia in the woman’s competent hands while he went to get himself ready for the Exam. A quick scrub in the shower did away with most of the sweat and grime from the good morning wake up with the T-Rexaur. He donned his cadet uniform, long fingers carefully adjusting the crimson cuffs as he moved toward his lance propped up against his bed, and slid on the metallic sheath. Dressed and weapon gathered, he moved into the common room, a glance at the clock informing that he had ten minutes before he was to report at the front gate. It was more than enough time to make the short walk.

Icy blue flickered to his roommate’s door, where he could still hear the sounds of someone moving around. Magnus sighed, exasperated. Of course, ten minutes wouldn’t be nearly enough if Lily hadn’t gotten ready when she promised she would. Magnus reached a hand forward to knock, only to withdraw it in surprise when the door slid open of its own accord.

Lily Gauss, a half-eaten muffin hanging limply from her teeth as both her hands carefully swept her long hair behind her back, glanced up and glared at the tall cadet blocking her doorway. She was dressed in her full SeeD uniform, red tie and gold embroidery an elegant companion to woman’s impressive curves and waist length blonde waves. There were no hair ties or clips of any kind to keep that mane in check, nor any individuals left in Balamb Garden who would openly question her about the danger of it. Though Lily complained about the sleeves on the combat uniform, citing them as ‘restrictive’ and ‘unnecessary’, the vain woman did not appreciate anyone else applying that same logic to her hair.

Magnus took a step back to let her move into the common unhindered, making a soft hum of surprise as her door slid shut behind her. “You’re ready?”

“I said I would be, didn’t I?” Lily said, sounding vaguely annoyed at him through a mouth full of muffin as she adjusted the flexible steel of her half-gauntlets to fit more snugly to her fists. Once satisfied, she bent down to do the same to the greaves over her thigh-high boots. There was more garbled words that Magnus couldn’t quite make out at her lower angle, but the lancer had the rather distinct feeling they were insults and curses directed toward him.

“Yes, you did.” Magnus allowed. He leaned against her door as he watched her tighten her weapon’s straps. “But maybe you should wait and check your weapons when we get there?”

“Eh.” She grunted, obviously unconcerned as she idly polished a blemish on the greaves’ metal. Magnus frowned. They weren’t late yet, but they would be if he allowed her to continue like this. He’d have to prod her a little into hurrying.

“Enjoying the muffins I brought you?” Magnus asked, all smiles and amusement. “Isn’t there something you should say to your favorite cadet for helping you with your morning grumpiness?”

She glanced up, purple glaring at her ‘favorite cadet’ as a hand reached up to grab the hanging muffin. She took a particularly vicious bite, all teeth and resentment. “No. They’re hard and stale. I only ate this one so you wouldn’t cry that I threw them all away.”

“That’s very kind of you.” Magnus grinned knowingly as he watched her finish it off in a few more fierce chomps. “Who would have guessed all those crumbs in your hair could have come from just one muffin?”

The instructor stood abruptly, horrified. She reached frantically for her hair, fingers combing her precious locks thoroughly for the offending blueberry specks. Magnus edged toward the door and slipped into the hallway while she was still distracted, doing his best to muffle his laughter as he jogged quickly away. It was only a matter of time before Instructor Gauss realized that he hadn’t seen any crumbs at all. The lancer knew he would need a good head start toward the front gate before-


Uh oh. She had figured it out much more quickly than he had expected her to. Magnus immediately shifted from his jog and into a run, not needing to look over his shoulder to know there was now a violet-eyed monster chasing him. He could hear the heavy, rhythmic beat of her boots gaining on him even as he turned the corner. He may have been taller with his longer legs, quick and agile in his own right, but Lily was ridiculously fast when she was angry – his only hope was to reach the others before his Instructor reached him. She wouldn’t deck him in front of other Instructors.


Or maybe she would. Well, at least they’d be on time.

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Re: Final Fantasy 8: Hyne's Return
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2014, 09:15:30 pm »
Elysia did her utmost to clean herself of the blood. The wound itself had fully closed, not even a scar left. That part did always bother her. Her body had been maimed and potions and magic made it seem like nothing at all. She’d be a perfect corpse, one day.

Not today.

Showered, cleaned, she didn’t bother with drying her hair but dressed herself as quick as she could in the cadet uniform, cursing under her breath the folly of trying to get into fitting clothing when wet. She nearly slipped in putting on her socks.
‘Who thought skirts were a good idea for this? Honestly?’ Though she slipped into the black thing and rolled her eyes at the ruffled yellow fabric that hung over her chest. ‘Ridiculous.’ She wanted pants. She was a gunblade wielder, she needed pants. ‘Well, if you want to be modest.’ And in the end, modesty would die a quick and painless death when it came to her own life.

At least normal attire would be anything she wanted. SeeDs were mercenaries. Uniforms would get them caught.

Her hair was brushed back, wet, into a high ponytail once more. She took a deep breath as she looked herself over in the mirror, then picked up her blade. She junctioned Ixion for a moment and opened the end table that was full of stones.
“All right, let’s refill,” she spoke to the guardian force before resting her hand above the stones and drawing on their energy, twisting it to reflect the energy of thunder, and bringing it in to replace the magic she’d used when fighting the T-Rexaur. Then, she brushed the stones off into the trashcan near her bed, knocking a framed photo in the process.

She caught it before it, too, ended up in the trash, and let out a sigh of relief. She set it back up and gave a grin at the smiling faces.

There were three, one recognizably her mother, Perdita Zain, with the same red hair, though it had waves. She was smiling in turquoise, her stomach a bump, a hand over it. The man besides her was also a red-head, with facial hair and a bright grin on his lips. His hand rested over Perdita’s. Elysia had been told his name was Firdos, and that he was her father.

They had never met.

On his shoulder was a small girl who shared the family trait of red hair. She had been called Carina—beloved.

Elysia’s fingers brushed over the wooden frame. The smile didn’t waver,
“Soon,” she told the happy family. “You watch.”

‘Because this will never happen again.’

With that, Elysia turned from the photo and exited her room. She didn’t run, for she ended up with more time than Magnus, perhaps because she chose not to dry her hair. Kenneth was there when she arrived, as were others from the groups. Standing by Kenneth was, no doubt, their other member and Elysia gave them a quick nod before stepping up to Kenneth’s side.

He lifted his eyebrows, thinking it a question he should ask, but he nodded anyway. Of course Elysia was ready. She’d just dealt with a T-Rexaur, and she seemed to be glowing despite the wet hair.
“You’re still junctioned.” He wasn’t sure why he pointed it out. He knew what she’d do.

She did it immediately, flushing as if embarrassed to be caught so careless. Her hand swiped by the lightning on the gunblade, and Ixion left her.

Then came the shout and the running footsteps. Kenneth glanced towards the third Instructor, before he stepped forward, flecks of magical energy brimming about him suggesting he was ready, but withholding. He was certain the instructor would get herself together once she entered the garage but he’d be prepared—he wouldn’t let a student get injured.