Chapter 1: Rust-Colored
When it happens, there’s a moment where everything seems to fade out, an instance of darkness to contrast with the sunlit, abet dreary, classroom. And for a moment smaller, they recall words – no, rather, hands, cryptically foretelling something that, now, they could very easily understand.
If you fight too hard, strange things will happen to you.
And that was, indeed true – yesterday, they had helped the duo fight off a pretty nasty monster, after a good month of avoiding any form of combat. And, compared to their first battle, they had full control over their abilities, not to mention, the power to easily fell the foe before anyone was seriously harmed.
In essence, they had returned the favor that they received so long ago.
But, would every fight come with this cost?
In what felt like few moments after, they would weakly blink, adjusting their tired looking eyes to the surroundings. A few minutes seemed to have passed, judging by the clock’s time, but more importantly, no one was in the classroom. Had there been some sort of fire drill, maybe an impromptu school meeting? No, something didn’t feel right.
And, quite literally, at that. Their whole body ached, the air felt tense, and they had been bent over on their desk, their head laying against surface almost lifelessly, arms limply spread out in front of their face. Did something – no, what had hit them so violently that had them in such a condition? It couldn’t of possibly been the type of thing that the duo had mentioned to them, they described these, what were they called, distortions, as mental, never painful.
Warily, they would let their hand fall, reaching for their phone. They couldn’t call these two, as they were probably in class as well, but they could very well text them. The one they chose to bother, anyway, would probably prefer it to be text, anyway.
“Hey,” they would slowly type on the keyboard, my word, it was so hard to concentrate with this weight on their body, “I think I overdid it yesterday. What sorts of symptoms were there?”
It doesn’t even take a minute for her to respond.
“Oh, hi!!!! Usually I’ve found that I’ve gotten mad at things, or really clingy to someone,” she added a fair number of hearts after that, making it easy to deduce who she might be talking about – the latter of the duo), “but I’ve seen clocks go backwards, or small things like that? What happened??”
They never really liked how upbeat she was, but of the two, she – Rita, right, that was her name – was a bit more reliable than her taller friend. “I passed out. Now no one’s here.” Simple enough to understand, they hoped.
“They probably left for the strange meeting down at the gym, it was so sudden!!” A moment pauses, and then, another text. “I’ll try and sneak out. Stay put, ok!!”
Something stirs at the pit of their stomach, but for once, it’s normal – they were never the type that were good at conversations, and the thought of even talking to Rita, or rather, signing to her, was enough to make them uneasy. Without even questioning whether it was a proper time to or not, they dug into their pockets, hoping to fish out some sort of snack, but alas, nothing comes forth. Figures.
A frustrated growl comes from them, as they run their hands their their hair, plopping their face against the top of the desk. There’s a moment where they catch the light of their phone go off, but, rather than remove their face from the desk, they let it vibrate quietly beside them, not even trying to move until someone – Rita, right on cue – would gently nudge their shoulder with one of her hands.
Barely taking an effort to look at her, they lazily signed a ‘what?’ towards the girl. Oh, how their disagreeable face clashed with how panicked they felt, having someone looking at them, trying to have a conversation with them!
At the very least, Rita’s reply would give them a face that would fit their feelings better, though, for reasons other than their issues with communicating with others. Carefully, they would sign for ‘repeat’, and confirmed once more, slowly signing the letters out to avoid any miscommunication.
She couldn’t possibly be serious, but, as their hands trailed towards their back, awkwardly running them up it as best as they could manage, something was found that couldn’t no, shouldn’t be there.
“…my word, Rita was serious.” The ring of her voice – Rita’s friend, Mette – would come through as she entered the room, not even asking for permission before scooping the poor, confused person into her arms. “We need to hide you, fast. The school’s bringing people upstairs to see if you’re still alive.”
They had many questions, so many questions as to what was going on, why this happened, if either one of these ladies actually knew what was going on, but all they could muster was a small, weakly forced, “am I alive..?”
All they would get is a curt nod, before they found themselves being carried out of the room, with the smaller girl following them shortly behind. And, thankfully, getting out the school doesn’t prove to be too much of a challenge, though whether or not any of the security cameras caught this was another story – there was a lot of explaining to do, many in which was difficult to put in proper words.
At the very least, they had found themselves now with a jacket draped over their shoulders, awkwardly being lead by Mette, who was, quite efficiently, trying to keep as many eyes off their back as possible. It was also the third time that Rita had asked if they were able to walk ok – yes, thank you very much, mom – before making a beeline to one of the kiosks to nab them some train tickets.
Part of them yearned to break free, and get as far away from the two before they got too familiar with them. It’s very quickly dimmed by the fact that, with something so bizarre occurring, it was impossible for them to simply brush it off as something ‘common’. How, pray tell, were they going to proceed with their mission in secret, if their back was an immediate sign that read ‘hey, looking for the bomber? They’re right here!’ Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. And the only people who did know about magic, from what they knew, were very much aware of this unusual change.
How bitterly convenient for those two lovebirds.
And, speaking of lovebirds, Rita had bounced back, waving the tickets about, before assigning one for each of them – it looked like they were headed to her home, or at least, definitely not the neighborhood that they were familiar with.
At the very least, there, they would be safe, and not to mention, a house with food (they even warily asked what was for dinner, and nearly jumped with anticipation when they were told it was pizza), but the simple fact that they were magical, and probably eager to solve the recent bombing sprees…
Well, it was a bit awkward to be that said bomber, whom was also magical, being invited to their house for delivery grade pizza thanks to an inconvenience of, well, something happening to them.
And whatever it was, it involved suddenly having – no, maybe growing – a set of feathery, rust colored wings.
Chapter 2: Candy
Characters: Hayden, and their weapon
Hayden tries to figure out their powers. Contains an injury with a detailed (and gross) description.
...did I mention that Hayden has a talking fish for a weapon? They were SUCH a good character.
A full three days, and Hayden was still having issues figuring it out.
The 'it' would be their power -- the magus' power -- that differed from one person to another. According to their magical acquaintances, it would come to them in a few days, maybe more, depending on the type of power it was.
After all, if it was a power for fighting, well, Hayden hadn't exactly had plans to fight any youma. In fact, aside from the unease that came from not knowing their power, Hayden was more than happy to continue living their life, avoiding the conflict of youma as much as possible.
..of course, this didn't mean that they wouldn't occasionally spy on the two people they've come to know. The fact that they knew they were magical, and had powers, too -- there was a urge of curiosity that was sparked, one that Hayden had only felt when they became so engrossed in learning about the sea.
For now, though, Hayden had been listlessly looking through a book, flipping through the yellowed pages. They had an essay that needed to be done, so Hayden thought it'd be best to take studying to the library, where they could take some notes in peace and quiet.
...or, that was the plan.
There wasn't many people in the library that day, but the two that were, or, at least were nearby Hayden, were talking away, with no disregard to the fact the place was supposed to be silent place to study.
Grumbling, they would try to ignore them, gently dog-earing a page as they would write down an important note. More chatter would try to drill into Hayden's ears, as they would focus their attention on their paper -- shoot.
Their efforts to try and keep calm only had made them write too fast, and press the pencil too hard against the paper. A groan leaves their mouth as they grab their eraser, removing the mess of a scribble they made with their pencil.
'Stupid, stupid people...' Hayden would mutter, applying more pressure against the paper. Why didn't they leave, and go somewhere else? If only they could get them to leave, if only they had the guts to actually talk to them, to force them out of here...
There's a small sound -- some sort of beeping? -- and Hayden lifts the eraser, eyes narrowing.
Did they seriously think they could have their phones on here, too? Oh, that was the last straw, to think that people would be that ignorant to bring electronics to a library--
The next moment, Hayden found themselves colliding with the ground.
Blinking, they tried to confirm what had just happened -- they had fallen backwards, it seemed, with chair in tow, leaving them in a rather peculiar position. The two who have been talking had halted their conversation, just a moment, only to continue gabbing about who knows what. Thanks for the sympathy.
A small whine would then come from the pit of Hayden's throat. While the chair falling backwards, and bringing Hayden along for the ride had hurt, there was something else that was just now registering in their head as being in pain as well.
And god, it hurt.
Carefully, Hayden would bring their left hand towards their face, their breathing hoarse. Somehow, in some way, their entire hand, even some extension of their arm, was bright and raw, barely resembling the creamy skin that had been there just moments before. The question of how was shoved in the back of their head as they carefully rose to their feet, racing to the bathroom. Quickly, they would turn on the sink, and after testing the water, shoved their damaged hand under the frigid liquid.
At first, their entire hand would spike in pain, questioning whether or not this was a good idea, but a minute passes, and they find their hand numbing, enjoying the steady fall of water against their reddened skin.
Hayden's breathing, by then, had started to steady, allowing them to concentrate on the situation before them.
"...how did this happen...?" they would quietly ask to themselves, turning their hand slowly about under the refreshing stream of water. The injury was definitely a burn, at least of the first degree, but possibly to the second degree in some areas by how red and ravaged it looked.
The thought of going to the hospital crosses their mind, but the thought of explaining how puts them, once again, it a puzzling situation. How would they explain something that simply happened out of no where? All they had been doing is writing down notes, listening to the infuriating sounds of the two people nearby, and erasing their mistakes on the paper...
Once Hayden's found that their hand had been soothed, temporarily, by the water, they make their way out of the bathroom, examining their workstation.
Aside from the fallen chair, everything seemed normal, from the book to the paper that laid there -- if anything, the paper seemed to be pushed a bit to the right, the pages of the book had flipped well before the page they've dogeared, and the pencil they had had rolled off the desk...
They would take one more glance at the desk, then the ground. But what happened to the eraser they had?
Careful not to use their injured hand, they would pack up their things, placing the book back on the shelf they've found it at. But, no matter where they looked, even after bringing the chair back on it's feet to see if it had fell underneath, there was no sign of the eraser.
In any case, they needed to at least bandage their hand up -- with how much their skin had warped and peeled, it was impossible to use their hand without at least protecting it with something. The pharmacy proved to be an effective stop, caring to avoid anyone looking at their hand as they rang up the purchase of some bandages, along with some antiboitic cream, to treat their wound.
Ok, they had bought some candy, too. But at a time like this? They needed something to cheer themselves up.
Once they had left the store, Hayden would carefully apply the cream to any serious spots, then wrap the bandage around their hand, starting from the fingers, and ending just inches short of their elbow. Trying to move their fingers, even slightly, caused a searing about of pain to race up their arm. Thankfully, if it persisted, they could always go back in and buy pain medication, but the fact that an injury this great had happened in the course of a second...
Suddenly, Hayden would gasp. This couldn't possibly be...
But, looking at how their hand was, how impossible it was to become injured that quickly, the only answer would have to be magic. So, why would their power --if it was their power -- have to be one that hurt them? It was counter productive.
Then again, it was their first time using such a power. Maybe there was a way to use it without hurting themselves in the progress? As dangerous as it was, Hayden yearned to know more.
Once they're sure their hand is securely wrapped up, they would find somewhere a bit less crowded, just a small alley that didn't attract much attention. And as they walked, they replay the order of events, idly popping a piece of candy into their mouth as they tried to think.
Thinking about it now, they had definitely gotten mad before their hand suddenly had sustained that injury, and whatever did happen, they had fallen backwards, hadn't they? So, maybe anger was the trigger, and the power used a lot of force, enough to push them backwards and cause a nasty injury.
Which, honestly, brought them back to square one -- how to actually use this bizarre power without hurting themselves. Or, maybe to learn how to never use this power, ever? Why did they agree to become a magus, anyway, if this was the result? Why, oh why had they been so stupid --
They would snap back to reality when they heard a small, but very familiar sound.
And, taken by the surprise, they would let what they had been holding -- just a piece of candy -- slip out of their fingers, falling to the ground..
...and promptly watched it burst, an explosion of flames and heat swelling upwards.
While the explosion wasn't massive, it had definitely hit them, and they could feel the heat. But something was different this time. But what?
"Woah, what's cooking in here?"
Ironically, the sudden voice had helped Hayden conclude what was going on. Whether by fate, or otherwise, they had turned into their magical form just in the nick of time, warding the impact from severely injuring them. They would even wonder if they had been injured at all, given how little their outfit was sullied by the fiery assault. Their moment of being thankful, however, was short lived. For whenever they would take on their magical form, they would also have the unfortunate company of their talking, unconventional weapon.
"Oh, I get it~! You've summoned me for dinner! Watch out, I might taste a little fishy!"
Did they mention that they were really punny? And a fish? Oh, they were so bad at puns. They did not have the time for this.
And yet, it was remarkable that Hayden had the patience for them. "..no, I'm not eating you." They'd assure the fish, "I just used magic, I guess." With everything going on, Hayden wasn't sure how else to really put it.
"Oho, so I'm saved! You're such an angelfish, sparing a wee guppy like myself....but magic? So that's why I'm here!" An obvious statement, one in which Hayden blatantly ignored.
As they would peer down in search of remains of the once colorful candy -- they could hear their weapon woefully ask why they weren't speaking, only to ignore them further -- Hayden would kneel down, hesitating before touching the charred pavement. Still warm, and brittle to the touch, now that that magic, that explosion, had occurred. There was no sign of the candy, however, meaning that had of perished in the flames.
Hayden, feeling the pressure of the fish pressing against the back of their head, pleading for attention, would bring them to their final straw, reverting themselves to their non-magical, mundane form. There was no need to hear more of them whining about how they didn't get the attention the claimed to need!
The fish being there, however, meant that they did use some magic. And, if the candy had been effected in such a manner, disappearing after an explosion like that, would it be the same for the eraser they once had? Things were finally becoming clearer.
Cautiously, Hayden would dig through there pockets, finding the leftovers of the candy they had been eating. Even more carefully, they would pull a single piece out, setting it down in front of them, focusing their aggression on it.
Nothing, thankfully or not, followed.
"Strange," Hayden would mutter, as they would go to pick it up -- and would hear a sound, a small, monotone beep that they were growing quite accustomed to hearing.
"So it's based on touch," they would start, before suddenly backing away. If it was by touch, then what was that sound? Was it telling them it was going to blow up? Was there any control on when? After a minute of slowly scuffling backwards, the lack of explosion meant that there had to be some other trigger. There was no way Hayden was going to pick something like that up though, not like this.
Quietly, they instead would try and focus more of their tempered thoughts, their anger, towards the object, waiting for some response. And boy, a response was found, as suddenly, Hayden was once again found in magical form, doubled over by the sudden burst of magic and flames.
Maybe an alley, even one this remote, wasn't the best answer to a power like this. But Hayden was growing to enjoy this power, and soon enough, they would have set their sights on a goal to use this newfound power --
-- to finally, finally, bring justice to the people that Hayden had grown to hate more than anyone.
Chapter 3: Sunrise
Characters: Hayden, Lucia
Lucia, Hayden's childhood friend, texts them at an early hour.
Hayden could remember the days vividly, almost as if it had just ended, despite it being many years ago. Of quiet strolls in the sand, making tracks as each foot met with the warm soil. Adventures where, more often than not, led to climbing rocks, searching for any crabs that might of been wedged in between, hoping not to be found; wading in the seawater, occasionally tasting the tangy liquid as it would spray upward after a roaring wave; finding seashells, and trying to bring them ashore before the tide pulled them out.
They weren't alone on that matter, either.
While Hayden would make yet another 'amazing' fact about sealife, they had the ears of their friend, Lucia, listening. Much like themselves, she was quiet, but loved to learn. Looking back, maybe she wasn't as fond of the sea as they were, but her desire to explore, and to understand the world, burned just as brightly as their own.
The dull vibration of their cell is felt under Hayden's fingers, and immediately, their thoughts are tugged to the back of their mind, lifting the phone to eye level. Upon checking the clock, they find that it's still a little early, but the somewhat sleepy Hayden was still a fair bit restless from the events that occurred yesterday to mind.
Up until very recently, they really only had one person who would text them, anyway -- and, as expected, she would be doing so today. A little less sleep wouldn't hurt.
It's really heartwarming too that she, Lucia, had kept in contact all this time. It was her that suggested the idea of owning cell phones in the first place -- something that Hayden never would of considered getting -- and exchanging numbers.
Carefully, they would make a reply to Lucia. It was nothing fancy; just a simple 'good morning' to go with Lucia's much more cheery greeting.
The reply comes back quicker than Hayden expects, eyes directed on the phone just moments after they drift off.
"How are you doing? I didn't think you'd be up, but I guess I got lucky?"
Lucky is right, but Hayden's not surprised. The girl was so lucky that the unusual wealth of fortune drew their curiosity towards them. Not in the hopes of having the fortune rub off on them, though -- simply to research if there was any correlation or behaviors that influenced it.
Stopping mid reply, Hayden would let out a sigh. Even as a kid, they had always been so eager to learn more about people from afar, hadn't they? No wonder some people would associate them with being a stalker -- fortunately (or not) for Hayden, they never really picked up on that social cue in full.
"You sure did get lucky." Hayden would respond, after what felt like years of waiting, "I'm doing ok, I wasn't really sleeping much. You?"
Another quick reply. "Same here, I haven't slept much! Do you want to talk about it, though? I'm fine, myself, btw! Just restless thinking about exams today, trying to get some more studying in too."
As they try to create a proper response --explaining what had happened yesterday was near impossible-- another message is sent midtyping.
"By the way, Hayden....do you think you can look out your window?"
That was an odd question. deleting what they had before, they'd instead reply with a quick, "sure, I can."
Getting out of their bed, Hayden would lazily make their way to the bedroom's only window, peering out if it. Still night, they concluded, but getting brighter by the moment.
Curiously, Hayden would question why, and, go to voice their confusion with a text, to see yet another had come forth from Lucia.
"Don't you remember when we woke this early, and watched the sun rise?"
And, as if one cue, Hayden could catch the glimmer of the sun as it peaked over the horizon, bringing a red hue to the sky. While none of these sunrises would compare to those by the sea..
"yeah, I do remember."
They were some of Hayden's most treasured memories.
Chapter 4: Ribbons
Characters: Jenny, Hayden
After learning about the mutation that Hayden's been trying to hide, Jenny, a human, tries to cope with it. Mainly by researching. But also just trying to decide if what she saw was just a dream. THIS IS ALSO AN AU WRITE AND IT MAKES ME SAD. Hayden. Hayden why are you a bomber when this could have been the potential
She could recall the very words that her parents had said.
“High school is going to be great, dear! You’ll have a lot of new experiences, but going through high school is an enjoyable one. The possibilities are endless!”
The girl, Jenny, had taken those words to heart, being ambitious enough to even start her own club. The school treated her in high regards as well, praising her from her skill and kind demeanor. For a petite freshman, she was rather popular already!
But, gosh, when her parents said ‘new experiences’, she certainly did not stop to consider that one of these could of been becoming acquainted with someone who was, well…
Honestly? She wasn’t sure what to call them, but human was anything but the answer she was looking for.
After a quiet weekend, and a mundane Monday, the mysterious allure of this person had become the subject of her thoughts. They had said they were born here, but was that really the truth? Was there any other non-human behaviors or traits they had? Question after question piled up, and by the time Tuesday had rolled around, poor Jenny had made her way to the library, hoping that maybe, just maybe, there was some sort of book that could steer her in the right direction.
As she would wheel herself down the aisles, scouring each shelf for any book of interest, her eyes would catch onto those on sea creatures. While they weren’t human, maybe they had some similarities to these sorts of creatures? Especially those related to squids, or octopuses, considering that their unusual friend’s most prominent feature was the long, writhing feelers protruding from who knows where on their body.
The word ‘friend’ was such a strange statement, too. She did trust them, and she had known them for a few weeks, but it still put her to shivers thinking that all this time, they weren’t actually human-….
Suddenly, the girl would gasp. Of all people, the very same friend of theirs was now standing in front of them, peering down at them curiously. When in the world did they get here, and why? The answer was not an especially hard one. Like herself, they were here for books on fish, though unlike her, was simply reading them because they liked the subject, not for research purposes.
“Do you think…I should get a book on clownfish, or something on sharks?” They’d ask, as they would skim the shelves, returning their attention back to the girl. “Are you looking for fish books too? I can help. I’ve read a lot of these books.”
“Oh, uhm…” What a pickle to be in. She didn’t want to lie, but she definitely wasn’t going to explain why she was here, either. “...I...I am! Do you think you could grab the green one on the top shelf, Hayden…?”
Their friend would, thankfully, agree, easily bringing the book to her – an anatomical study on cephalopods – and placing it into her arms. “That’s a good book,” Hayden would state, matter of factly, to the girl; “There’s a lot of well drawn pictures. The person behind this book did a lot of research.”
She was really, really glad that they didn’t connect her reasoning as to why she wanted the book. Phew! As Hayden would focus their attention to what book they were going to rent themselves, Jenny’s curiosity would get the best of her, beginning to flip through some pages. And, every once in a while, she would glance up, staring at their companion – while she was glad that they finally ditched their previous attire for a long, concealing dress that easily kept their oddities hidden, she had really hoped that there was some way to covertly compare them to the diagrams in this book…
To her surprise, the answer to that came to her in the most unexpected manner. As she had readyed herself to head home, with her new book checked out, Hayden had prompted her with a simple question:
“Can i go to your house?“
It was such an alarming question that it took Jenny a fair minute to digest it. “…sure, but, w-why do you want to go?” She would stumble out. "Because i keep trying to make something, but it doesn’t come out right! I don’t want to wait until Friday. I’m hungry for it now.'
Oh, they were talking about baking! At least the subject at hand was not too different to what she was used to. "Ok, i think…i can help! What are you trying to make…?”
“Uhm..those….cream puff things, they sounded good, but they’re so hard…I’m making them anything but puffy. Or creamy. I don’t know what to do…” The disappointment on their face was clear, too clear. Was this usually stoic person actually going to cry?
Nonetheless, their worries causes the girl to request that they stop pushing the wheelchair, motioning them over to take their hand. “We can try together, ok?’ She’d tell them, gently stroking their hand. "I should have the ingredients at home.”
It’s after Hayden removes their hand from hers that she’s reminded of the first time she truly saw the peculiar appendages of theirs. She had caught a glimpse of them as they had left the room abruptly, but it wasn’t until after the club was over that she had gotten a good look at them. and, to make things even more awkward, Hayden had allowed her to hold one of their many feelers, with the hope that touching one might allow her to accept the strange reality. Even now, she could recall how eerily smooth, yet pleasantly cool they were against her fragile hands. Chilling, but surprisingly less slimy than she expected.
The lingering thoughts of that encounter is halted as she hears the telltale screech of the train as it pulls to a stop. The ride sure had passed by quickly! Getting home wasn’t going to take much longer. With a bit of help from Hayden, the two of them manage to get off the train, and eventually, make it home. To Jenny’s surprise, no one was home, but perhaps it was for the best. After all, she was letting in someone her parents barely knew, and while Hayden had practiced hiding their…abnormalities, she was still wary of them messing up.
As she ensures the door is locked, she finds that Hayden’s already in the kitchen, searching for ingredients and any sort of measuring tools, placing them messily on the table. She calls out to them that “ketchup is not one of the ingredients” as she carefully searches the shelves for her never failing set of recipe books, presenting a rather huge book on the table for the both of them to view.
“This should be a good recipe…” She mumbles, as her hands pull forth a page depicting a basic, but promising, recipe on the ever so coveted cream puffs. “Do you think you can handle this?”
“I should!” Hayden states, though there is some obvious hesitation in their voice. The girl would watch them squint at the instructions once more, and then, without warning, pull their feelers up and out from their dress, three protruding out from each of their sleeves to make a grand total of six, wiggling appendages.
Jenny couldn’t help but to bring her hands to her mouth, drowning out any chances that she wanted to use to scream. This was many, many more than she had been accustomed to seeing. “h-Hayden, why are those…uhm…out?”
The response she gets, at first, is a long, fixed stare at her, a puzzled look present on their friend’s face. And then, as if something clicks, she sees them gasp. “We have to do all these steps, so i figured it would be faster if i could do them all at once!” A confident nod follows, as they take a bowl into their hands, directing their ribbon-thin feelers towards the pile of ingredients.
“W-Wait, wait!” Jenny would wheel over, taking a firm hold of the flour they had attempted to lift, “you can’t just do all the ingredients at once! D…Did you try this the last time you made the cream puffs, too..?”
“It’s faster that way…” Hayden would admit, perplexed. “should it be slower then?”
“Just…… just one step at a time.” Jenny would confirm, letting her hands relax. “How about i measure, and you can mix, ok…?” Hayden was more than happy to agree to these terms, eagerly mixing the ingredients together as Jenny would carefully measure them out. Soon enough, they had the puffs in the oven, with the creamy mixture cooling in the refrigerator until later as well, leaving the two of them to wait for their tasty treats to bake.
“See, wasn’t too long, right?” Jenny would ask, her perky smile warmly spreading wide. Despite the awkward situation she was in, she was having a lot of fun! And her friend was too, even if she had to scold them for absentmindedly licking the batter off of their hands (and, even more so with their feelers).
In fact, now was less of her relaxing and more of her attending to the mess that Hayden had made on themselves. “Gosh, you and the ingredients really like each other, don’t they?” She would tease, as she would dab a towel against their arm, warily keeping an eye on the just as messy, but much less normal, set of feelers. Unless Hayden would take liberties on them, she would have to clean them too, and she couldn’t help but shake a little in her seat thinking about it.
“Are you still concerned about them?”
Jenny would look up at Hayden, and gasp. “Oh, nono, i wasn’t, I mean…they are a little strange, but they suit you…?” They did like fish, after all, and anything sea related. She wasn’t completely lying here!
Thankfully, Hayden didn’t take this as anything but a compliment. “You think so? I think they do too. They’re really helpful…” Once again, She had to scold them for bringing one towards their face and trying to eat the batter of one.
“You’re going to get sick that way!” She warned them, waving a hand to, perhaps reluctantly, request that they bring the batter covered feelers over to be washed as well. It was always fascinating how surprisingly gentle Hayden would be whenever they brought one to her hands – she very well expected them to simply throw the bulk of them onto her lap, wavering about impatiently. Then again, she was cleaning them, not stroking them with her hands. It was rather priceless seeing an expression, especially an upset one, from Hayden as she would remove the precious batter that they still had every intents on eating.
She did not, however, expect that expression to change to that of a smile once she had finished. “You made them look so nice and shiny…” Hayden would comment, eying their clean and batterless feelers before turning their attention back to Jenny. “You’re really talented, thank you!”
“Oh, it was nothing, I just….”
“wanted to see them?” Hayden would finish for the girl, giving her a curious glance. “I know you’re trying to research them. I rented the same book when I wanted to learn more.”
Jenny would simply nod. She really did think she had gotten away with that! “It’s ok, you know.” Hayden would continue upon noting the lack of words. “They are…abnormal. So, looking into the abnormal is common. It helps to understand and familiarize one with the subject."
Carefully, they would place one of their appendages ontop of the girls hands. "So, don’t be ashamed to view me as anything but human, or to research me for that purpose. I can’t change the fact that I’m not human.” they would glance away, contemplating their next words. “Just treat me…as a friend. That’s all i want.”
“Of course…!” The girl would reply, taking the startled person into her arms, catching them off guard with a gentle hug. “You…You’re different, and its overwhelming, but…you are my friend, ok?”
This time, it would be Hayden who would only nod, letting the girl hold them in loose, but heartwarming embrace.
Chapter 5: Mist
Characters: Hayden, Lucia
Hayden fights off a youma, and realizes far too late what their mist-like form can do. Contains character death, a bit of violence as well.
The sound of the girl slumping to her knees still rang in their ears. They would run to her, barely dodging an attack, and hoping that she was alright, oh please, please be alright…
And yet, as they would pull her to their trembling hands, they already knew that the life of her had left, leaving behind a wide eyed, panicked looking corpse – if that was even a possible thing for corpses to do.
"This wasn’t supposed to happen.." they would weakly state, bringing her limp body closer, burying their face in her long, amber hair. "You were…I was supposed to-..."
They would hear their companion yell about something – gosh, sometimes it was hard to decipher them when their words were laced with puns – and would turn their head to see the monstrous culprit marching towards them.
Seeing the murderer dead on had sparked something in them, as they put the corpse to the ground, standing between the body and the beast. "You…you did this!" They’d yell, eyes glaring at the mushroom based monster, who simply left loose a few more spores into the air.
The monster didn’t care. In fact, it looked content, in a twisted way.
That moment of triumph – no, maybe it was still happy – had left when a ball of energy struck it, turning the monster into a mass of mist. They would look to see that their friends had secure the final blow, and were now rushing over to check on them.
But no, this…
This shouldn’t happen, either!
They had won, but the body was still here, they had to move the body–
As they turned back to the corpse though, it had already been too late. The mist that once hung in the air to signify the monster’s defeat had stormed towards the body, stuffing itself inside through the still bleeding wounds.
They knew what would come next. The body would stir, but the life inside there? It wasn’t her. It wasn’t Lucia’s. As the corpse would lift itself to its feet, cold eyes staring into their own like daggers–
–suddenly, they would find themselves on the floor, their long, ribbon like feelers tangled about themselves.
It would take a moment of long, deep breaths to realize that it was just a dream. And, after laying there, staring at the ceiling, silently absorbing what had happened, they would bring themselves to their feet, untangling themselves from their appendages.
It was just a bad dream, but..
Carefully, they would move to the bedside, taking their phone from the table nearby. Hesitantly, they would send a simple text, then collapse on the bed, staring once more at the dark ceiling.
"You’re important to me."
And they would do anything to keep her alive. Anything to keep her from making their nightmares a reality.
Chapter 6: Snuggles
Characters: Hayden, Reilly
Another What-if. I wrote this when I thought it'd be cute if these two were together and gay, but then I remembered that Hayden's a bomber and none of this would work out AT ALL.
On a uneventful Monday afternoon, the first oddity had occurred.
Reilly’s acquaintance – alright, perhaps it was rude of them not to consider them a friend – had not shown up yet for the Strategic Games Club. This was not odd to any of the other club members. As far as Reilly could gather, their…friend, Hayden, was absolutely notorious for showing up for a week and then ditching a month due to ‘boredom’ and a ‘lack of challenge.’
Had Reilly bored Hayden as well? Were they just another form of entertainment, another pawn to pass the time with? The thought eats at their head for a few minutes, burrowing deep into their self esteem.
Then, the door slams open, and oddity number two happens:
Hayden is here, and they’re wearing the most puzzled look Reilly has seen in their life. Reilly attempts to at least wave. Everyone else in the room groans in disappointment. Neither of these are picked up by their friend, who continues forward, marching to the table where Reilly sat.
The last, and final oddity would be the words that come out of their friend’s mouth:
"Reilly. After reevaluating the definition, it has become clear that we’re dating each other."
The groans in the club had turned into curious murmurs. Reilly, on the other hand, had nothing to say. Their mouth opens, closes, then pulls themselves out of their chair, a firm hand placed in their friend’s.
"I need a word with you. Outside."
There’s a tentative nod from Hayden, and that’s enough to allow Reilly to pull them out of the classroom, faint mumbles blocked by the closing door. A heavy sigh follows. "Hayden, I…" there’s a distinct pause. If they were going to get answers, they had to arrange their words correctly: social interaction was not one of their friend’s strong suits.
So they change direction, instead prompting a question. "What is the definition of dating?"
Hayden, who had been vacant, eyes fixated on the door, makes a small peep when Reilly finally speaks. "The definition…" They voice, words trailing off. Reilly would go to prompt the question again, but..
"I learned the definition from Rita. She said that, in dating, people do not act like the movies, but they do take each other out to nice places. They talk about secrets too. Sometimes hold hands. Sometimes more? Rita wasn’t too clear on that."
Reilly is not sure how to reply at first, as they dissect the long winded definition Hayden had kindly put upon them. There is one thing that Reilly knows they have to address, though. "Firstly," they state, "you don’t just date someone. You have to ask permission."
Hayden deflates a little at that. Reilly is honestly glad they do, as harsh as it seemed – before, Hayden was needy and impatient, pulling poor Reilly along impulsively. They still were, but it was refreshing knowing that they understood one thing: bringing people, especially friends, into things without asking their permission was bad.
"And secondly," Reilly adds,"'A lot of those things can be done as friends. Dating is when you want it to be more than friends? That you want to spend your life with them, I suppose. Some even feel sensations only with the person, but it’s different with everyone."
It takes a long time for Hayden to process the information, but when they do, they gasp. "ah, i see…"
Another bout of silence follows. Reilly isn’t sure whether or not they broke the poor soul, who was standing there, staring blankly at them, thinking, thinking, thinking..
And then, Reilly notices how bright their face had gotten. Color dusts on Reilly’s cheeks as well.
"Can…no, should, uhm…" Hayden tries to pull up some sort of coherent sentence, but fails. They try again, but at a different angle.
"…Reilly. Your…..presence makes me feel strange…?" A small hmmmm escapes their lips. "I’ve never felt it like this before. It…do you think…could this feeling be what you are referencing as the sign?" Hayden proposes, quickly lowering their head afterwards. "I..if this is the case, i shall ask for permission, but i am not forcing you."
For permission. Reilly takes those words in, a thousand words readied to reply. But they can’t seem to squeeze out even one word, instead staring at their friend.
Their friend, who of all people, was suggesting that they form a relationship.
"…Hayden." Reilly prompts. Their friend perks up. "I’m willing to test this out. But-" and they point a finger towards them, empathizing the point; "you have to promise that, if this doesn’t work out, you give me the permission to go back to being friends." The request seemed simple enough.
A slow nod follows, confirming.
Several weeks go by.
Unsurprisingly, Hayden finds their way into Reilly’s schedule one way or another. It’s not like anything’s changed, however. They’re still prompted with any 'cool facts’ Hayden finds about fish, or taken out to eat tasty food, or spend time together analyzing the curious mystery that Reilly’s sister’s disappearance had somehow become intertwined with.
They way they do battle in AI is different, though. Hayden’s still reckless, but always seems to make subtle nods, small glances, something to give insight for what they’re going to do. They know that Reilly can back them up, and know they have Reilly’s back as well. Their fights with the youma become smoother and coordinated, making them a reliable duo.
It’s after the battles when Reilly really notices Hayden’s affections. It’s not impossible to say that magic has some effect on their minds – after all, Reilly still didn’t quite understand why they threw themselves so desperately, so tearfully, to convince Hayden that they were useful. They had issues with self esteem, but they never openly showed them like that.
And it’s not to say that Hayden didn’t feel the urges to take hold of Reilly’s hand, or compare them to their favorite sea animals – no, it was clear that their intentions were amplified and made less daunting to take on, rather than fabricated without any rhyme or reason.
Tonight would be another night like this. Hayden absolutely insisted they stayed over tonight, prefaced with a 'but you don’t have to’ despite how forcefully they requested it. Reilly is more than eager to stay, though. And gods, it was times like these where Reilly truly felt the heat rise to their cheeks.
Hayden was explaining yet another fact on sea life – something about sea slugs and how they smell – when they would suddenly position themselves behind Reilly, putting their hands out in front of them. "See, look, you should look…"
Hayden would then promptly bury their head into Reilly’s shoulder.
Subtle. They was always so subtle.
Reilly focuses back on the book Hayden’s presented them. They were shyly pointing out to Reilly their favorite color schemes, propping their head over their shoulder to properly see as well. "It’s a shame that their eyes cannot see pigments," Hayden muses, "because they have a fascinating spectrum of color variations."
Reilly glances to their side, spotting Hayden’s semi-hidden face. Their super subtle, rosy hued face. Reilly can’t help but chuckle. "Are you sure you aren’t showing some color variation? Your face is red."
"But…I’m not a nudibranch?" Hayden retorts, "this is…" They halt their words.
And then a smaller, "oh.." echoes out, and, instinctively or otherwise, brings themselves closer. As if they thought, maybe, just maybe, they could hide themselves and their steamy face from Reilly. It was such a poor plan, but it was such a Hayden thing to do.
It is a success on that end, actually – Reilly could only see the person’s teal mop of hair behind them, burrowing themselves deep into Reilly’s back. but it’s not perfect for both ends.
The position leaves Reilly a bit stuck, and it’s not just because of how Hayden’s interlocked their arms about their chest. There’s another thing keeping them at bay. Something cold, smooth, and surprisingly, not sticky or damp to the touch like they had first assumed.
And to think, for a moment, Reilly had forgotten how inhuman the person they were dating was.
They take a deep breath, exhaling a bit more soundly as they had planned as Hayden would pull them into a gentle embrace. Their movements are slow and careful – almost as if they feared that sudden movement could harm Reilly. Or, maybe they simply didn’t want to tangle themselves up? Hayden did have a fair number of….well, appendages to keep track of.
"You know," Reilly would hum, "If you wanted to cuddle….you could have asked."
Finally, Hayden would surface from behind their back. "I didn’t think i wanted to. But then i got close, and…" Reilly would feel them nuzzle their face against their body once more. "You’re really warm, its been chilly lately."
Their long, ribbon like feelers would also tighten around poor Reilly – there was no way they were escaping their grasp anytime soon, not unless they wanted to wrangle with all six of these peculiar appendages.
Reilly’s smart enough not to try that anyway. Or, at least not again: they did not want to relive the adventure of untangling Hayden’s tied up feelers, especially considering they had also intertwined in some rather uncomfortable places. Now it was something the two of them could laugh about, but at the time, golly, it had certainly made the situation awkward.
At the very least, Reilly did learn two things – the tip of Hayden’s feelers were extremely sensitive to the touch of others. It was no wonder they took such care in wrapping them around Reilly. And the second thing: Hayden had absolutely no interest in the more intimate side of a relationship. Even snuggling together like this, with a very comfy Hayden pressed into Reilly’s back, was 'very close’ and 'a special exception’ to them.
Anything further than that was 'weird’ and 'uncalled for.’ Even the 'please untangle me’ incident was more embarrassing than….well, appealing on any sort of level. Hayden wanted nothing more than to free their poor partner.
Reilly, on the other hand…..well, it’s not impossible to say that they didn’t mind it, in a roundabout way.
And of course, that particular train of thought saturates their face. They idly put a hand to one of Hayden’s many feelers, careful not to stir their companion. In fact, they start to wonder if Hayden’s dosed off – there was an alarming lack of fish facts spouting out of their mouth, and their breathing was slow, relaxed…
They didn’t show it on the surface, but today’s battle had really exhausted them. Hayden was the one doing the attacking, after all – and the youma did put up an impressive fight.
"You did good today," Reilly whispers, bringing one of Hayden’s appendages to their face, softly giving a kiss at the base.
Then Reilly realizes they were kindaaaa still stuck, unfortunately having to wake Hayden from their slumber to properly get out of the tangle of feelers. Though, honestly, the freedom from their grasp doesn’t last long – a half hour later, and the two of them are slumbering together in bed, a clingy Hayden embracing them comfortably with all of their limbs.
At the very least, this time, Reilly’s also comfortably laying in bed, snuggling them just as closely.
Chapter 7: Appearances
Characters: Hayden, Lucia, Anyo
A post-game write about Hayden and Lucia living in the alternate version of Illura, where the youma reside.
After the first few days, it had not fully registered to Hayden that they were not leaving anytime soon, not under any circumstances.
They knew that it would be the last time they would see their parents, their friend Jenny, and the rest of the magi. Knew that the last few texts they sent, complete with a photo of themselves, their childhood friend, and the friend they had met recently, would be the last time they could communicate with the world they were born in.
And yet, they didn’t feel lonely. Reminiscent of the past, but not lonely. Maybe that was what held them back from thinking about the situation.
But it wouldn’t be much longer until they did. That they and their childhood friend, Lucia, would become painfully aware.
They had been fighting off yet another youma; after a few days of fighting, the two of them had become well versed magi. As Hayden would deliver blow after blow to the fearsome beast, Lucia would raise shields, follow up with a swift punch of her own, or whisk a low stamina Hayden to safety.
The two were not alone on this manner. In fact, the main brunt of power came from the friend that Hayden and Lucia had met recently; the ever changing, but kindhearted Anyo, who would fire a beam from the tip of their slender fingers.
As the battle came to its conclusion, the mysterious being would turn their head, addressing their comrades. “It seems we still do not possess the ability to completely eradicate the body.” They would gesture towards the fallen body, where a fine pink mist would disperse from the creature’s decaying host. “But we have taken out another vessel. There should not be many left.”
These ‘vessels’ were once the image of every youma that the three had encountered. Plant like and imposing, it came to Hayden’s surprise to learn that these youma had these bodies made by another magus. A out of control, overgrown magus who had youma hitch a ride into their bodies once they strayed too far away.
The true form of the youma was misty and lacked a corporal form. And until recently, no one knew how to rid of them permanently. But with time and patience, a fully fledged magus could rid of them. There was plenty of youma to practice with. One of them would learn soon enough!
At least, that is what they had planned.
When no response comes from either one of them after the battle, Anyo turns to face them, a curious expression on their face. “Do not worry, the next one we fight could be a it’s termed, ‘the one,’ and-”
the expression twists, somewhat literally. The being had still yet to learn proper emoting, but the pained look was fitting, even if impossible on a human’s standard.
Sitting a few feet away was a knocked over Hayden, and a Lucia who barely mustered the strength to sit up. They had been fine moments before, so why now? What was wrong?
Briefly, the being regrets giving their ability to analyze to a human they cannot reach out for assistance. Instead, they inquire the two for more information.
“I…think Hayden’s getting dehydrated again…” Lucia mumbles, “A-And hungry. We’re both really, really hungry…”
Anyo recalls the word; not long after the two had settled here, it was the first question Lucia had asked about. Unlike themselves, humans required some form of physical energy. Eventually, the two would burn out without it.
They never expected it to deplete that quickly. It only had been a few days, right?
“n…no, it’s ok,” Hayden’s voice would weakly murmur out, “I just…..need a break…”
“We don’t need a break!” Lucia worriedly replies, “We need food, we…if we don’t…” She leans forward, letting herself lay on top of her exhausted friend. “Anyo, I’m so sorry, it was foolish of us to do this…”
“What about your efforts is foolish?” They ask, tilting their head. The two had done well in battle. They just required food, right? There wasn’t anything wrong with that.
But it is. Lucia makes it very clear.
“Anyo,” she speaks, her voice cracked and hesitant, “We promised to keep you company, but there’s no way we can survive here for much longer. We…promised something that we are failing to fulfill…a-and...”
The rest of her words are drowned in sobs.
Perhaps Anyo too would have cried in this moment, but their warped face made it difficult to comprehend. One thing did stick out however, and it was how long it took for Anyo to muster up the ability to speak.
“There are no guarantees..” they would voice, their whispers scaling to a firm tone, “But I may have a solution.”
Lucia meekly lifts her head. Hayden watches with half lidded eyes.
“If you were to obtain more of my power, you may reach a point where you no longer require to absorb earthly nutrients for energy.” They lift a hand out, offering it to the two. “However, I do not know the extents of the effect. Your bodies may alter in other ways. Your humanity may be…no, certainly will be, lost forever.”
Lucia gets to her feet, tying to at least assist Hayden in sitting up.
“How…is that a bad thing?” Hayden would speak up, their voice coarse. “We are stuck here together, it’d be sad if we kicked the bucket after a week, or about that length, when we promised to stay…”
As the less human of the two, it’s not surprising to have Hayden be on board with the idea this quickly. Lucia’s rabbit ears, and possibly the compartment on her back, were not quite as startling as their see through body, or their wriggling feelers; they had already lost most of what could be considered human.
It’s not to say that Lucia isn’t quick to concur, either. Her words are soft, slow, but filled with conviction.
“To think of others before your own bodies….”
The being places a hand on Lucia, and the other on Hayden.
“…humans are such surprising, unpredictable creatures.”
With a flash, the bodies in which the two resided in had twisted and turned, tearing, destroying, building, creating….
And before Anyo, two figures would sit before them, appearing woozy and listless. One was completely covered in a fine fur, adorned with a small button of a nose and a fine set of whiskers, which twitched as she crinkled her nose; the other had a mess of feelers in their hair, a vacant expression, and from the base of their chest, the flower that had once sat there had bloomed into several kinds, one even reaching high enough to pierce the side of their head and bloom outside of their clear body.
“The..pains..” the fluffy figure would speak, “Anyo, they are truly gone…”
“i feel re-energized myself.” The other figure would state. “But i see…it appears our bodies have become strikingly different in such a short time. It seems correlated to our previous changes? You appear fluffier and…unmistakably rabbit faced, Lucia. I probably look odd, too. I wonder if we require air still…”
They would go silent, cutting their long spiel short.
Lucia continues speaking. “Oh my, I..have become…furrier, haven’t I?” She gently strokes her arm. This wasn’t a dream, not at all.
Anyo had been silent the whole time, though, as the two had looked over their new bodies. Unlike the spacy Hayden, Lucia is quick to perceive this, glancing up at the being.
“We’re alright Anyo.” She confirms, taking the hand that had just briefly been used to give her these powers; “Thank you for saving us.”
A smile spreads on Anyo’s face. It was far from anything perfect, but in that moment, as Lucia would smile back…
It had become alarmingly surreal that Anyo, the ever-changing, inhuman creature, was the most human looking of all.
Chapter 8: Calling
Characters: Hayden, various NPCS
Hayden learns about the distant future, after being brought there by....an interesting set of means. Post-game 'what if'. Contains a lot of random npcs! I probably had a bigger idea for this one too, but I don't remember.
Time was a peculiar concept.
For several moments, there would be a brief frame where it could be recorded, felt, recognized. And then, just as quickly as it would exist, it would disappear, and an unmeasurable amount of time would pass.
And then, another brief moment where time could be seen. A small frame of time where someone would remind of them of the world outside.
The cycle continued for a long, long time.
However……one day, the wait was uncharacteristically long. Long enough that the three who dwelled in this world began to question it. Long enough that they wondered if, perhaps, time would forever be halted, unaffected by the land parallel to their own.
For a while, it appeared that way.
But suddenly, right as they had dismissed it completely….
“I keep hearing…voices..”
There was finally something to alert them that perhaps, the outside world didn’t forget them.
“I don’t hear them…what are you talking about?”
That being said, it wasn’t everyone who noticed. In fact, it had to be questioned whether or not the voices that this being, Hayden, was truly from somewhere else, or simply a last ditch effort in falsely convincing themselves that someone did remember them.
Their friend, Lucia, would gently tug at her fluffy ears. “If you truly are hearing voices, we should tell this to Anyo…maybe they have a better idea about this.”
Of the three, Anyo would have the strongest leads on anything unusual. Everything and anything magical had been wielded by this being at some point, and anything they could not had been given out years upon years ago to humans.
The term ‘human’ was bit of a stretch to some; Hayden and Lucia, who had once been one of the people to have been gifted magic, had taken in so much magic that their bodies had transcended humanity. Human requirements for living did not apply to them anymore, nor did the threat of aging, from what they could tell so far.
Unfortunately, the matter of voices was a new one to Anyo. “Humans especially tied to magic can peer into our world,” they would explain, “But to contact someone…I am not sure if that is a possibility. Do these voices say anything in particular?”
Hayden would shake their head. “I don’t understand them. It’s fuzzy and muted, like..they’re underwater, maybe?”
“How odd…do take caution.” Anyo looks between the two of them. “If you, no, either one of you, hear these voices again, you must tell me posthaste.”
The two take this to mind, and Lucia casts a worried glance to Hayden.
Just what were those voices?
Some time passes before they rise once more.
They had been taking on a fearsome youma, misty and pink and difficult to contend against. Hayden had been supporting the two with a quick heal, then a launching powerful blow against the cloudy entity.
“That should bring it close to scattering,” Hayden would informatively point out, “Lucia, you should finish it off.”
The rabbit like creature would nod, determined but very clearly nervous. Hayden would raise a hand, giving the girl a thumbs up; she could do it, they knew she could!
As she readied her attack however, and Anyo would stand behind to watch cautiously, something else had spoken up.
Hayden would pause, trying to pick up the phrases; they were clearer this time, quiet but full of vigor.
“…ome for….to our wo….”
They see Lucia absolutely demolish the youma that had once been threatening them, the fine pink mist evaporating into nothingness.
“…for we require your assistance!”
The next moment, Lucia was gone. Anyo gone. Everything was suddenly very, very dark, save for the soft glow of some sort of light source.
“Did we…do it?”
Blinking, they would readjust their vision, taking in the situation before them with a clearer head. Someone had just spoken, hadn’t they? Their eyes fell before not one, but two people. Children, barely old enough to be in high school. Humans. These were…actual, living, humans….who were now bent over on the ground, avoiding eye contact.
“We are sorry to disturb you!” one of them calls out, “but there is someone we wish for you take of!”
“Yeah,” the other one peeps, “S-So don’t mind us, get them, o-or at least destroy our class so we don’t have homework this week?”
A baffled Hayden finally speaks up. “Are you truly…the source of how I have appeared here? Aren’t you uncomfortable sitting like that?” What weird people! They couldn’t sense a magical presence from either them, though.
“Eh? Oh, uh…” One of them sits up, and the other follows suit. “Sort of? We’ve been practicing really hard, but it actually happened..”
They would take a moment to relax, let their senses reach out; they were small, but they could feel several presences of magical users about the area. Maybe one of them had done something?
Hayden would look to the two once more. “I do not know the person you wish me to take care of, but if you allow me to meet them, then i can consider what to do about them.” Lucia had always taught them not to approach a person with violence unless they had a full understanding of them. Even then, she’d ideally have them not inflict pain on others at all…
Speaking of the matter, they would take a few steps back, surveying the room. Upon spotting the curtains that had kept the room dark, they would pull them from their hinges, wrapping the fabric about their body.
The view that was unveiled was nothing like the world they knew. This was not Illura. It couldn’t be.
Hayden would then turn to the puzzled humans. “It would be best not to touch me.” They would push the fabric over their head, completing their makeshift robe. “Show me to this person.”
The two students would direct them down the hall, pulling open another door; only one person was there, but from what Hayden could tell, they had some form of magic in them.
“That’s them!” the two would point out, “They keep taking our things and won’t give it back!”
“Awww, cute, you brought a friend to stop me?” the magi would chuckle; “Why should i return these things to people like you? We protect the city. It’s the least you can do.”
“You…protect things?” Hayden questions, head tilting puzzlingly.
“Of course. You should know, shouldn’t you?” The magi draws closer, becoming uneasy. “Wait, no, your presence….why is it this big? Who are you?”
“Simply someone who has been asked to help.” Ah, blunt as ever. Good descriptions. “If it is true that you have been rude to these people, stop.”
“Or what?” the magi doesn’t budge.
“…i’d prefer not to have conflict…” Hayden voices, trailing off for a moment. “..but, if you do not comply, i am comfortable sparring with the likes of you.”
“Pppfft, is this some sort of insult?” They state; “I’m not afraid of you, i could take you on.”
Hayden simply turns to leave, pausing at the door. “You are mistaken…I merely am aware that your magical standing means that my touch should not kill you.”
The magi follows along at a farther distance.
Soon, Hayden would find themself outdoors; finding a place in the open, they look back to the magi, accessing their strength.
An impromptu strike to the cheek was a great start. It appeared that this person was ranged. But it also appeared that the person had no experience in fighting. Hardly a bundle of mist had escaped from that blow.
Taking that hit as the start of battle, the being would suddenly rush forward, lashing out with its long, ribbon like feelers. The sky around the two would darken, and rain would pool below. Every step the person took, the winds would pull them closer and closer to the creature…
“Wait, waitwaitwait!” The magi would suddenly cry out, “I’m done, I give up, those cultists can have their dumb things back!” It was a sad sight, watching them plea after so confidently proclaiming their power moments before.
“…very well.” A sigh escapes Hayden, and the clouds in the sky part. Their eyes glance to the latter two people, who were shaking in both fear and…excitement?
“I’ve helped out.” They approach the two, holding a stare for a minute. “…can you send me back now?”
The two would look between each other. “erm…” They both look to the ground. “We don’t…know how.”
They wait for something more, some sort of notification that perhaps, they didn’t know, but knew of someone. But nothing follows.
“I…..see.” Hayden turns away from them, appearing deep in thought. Neither one of them liked the look of this; it was probably best to say their last words to their families, right? But then the being turns back to them, hands placed confidently on what could be their hips. “I’ve decided. We shall search for a solution…”
And for once, an expression had been present on their face visually; a wide smile. “But in the meantime, we should dine everywhere in this world. I am curious what foods are there to offer…..”
Hayden was worried about the safety of Lucia and Anyo. But while they were out there, and needed to find leads to get back…why not have a food break? Even if they did not require food, the taste of food was all too fulfilling.