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Unexpected Meeting [Social / Adrastos, Ariella]

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“…nothing really changed…” Noir murmured under her breath when she arrived at the city of Balbadd, inhaling the refreshing smell of the sea. She sighed a little, remembered when she used to be a dancer after a certain circus group bought her, that was a little fun experience and thanks to that, she had a good dancing skill. It was a little sad when the circus got bankrupt and had to sell her back again to those slave masters, which requires her to leave Balbadd after staying for around two years. But despite staying for that long, Noir was not really familiar with the layout of the city itself since she was not allowed to go outside the circus base, from her comfy little cage to be specific.

“Rawr…” Haku growled softly, approaching her and rubbed his head on her leg, liking the country view and thanked Noir for giving him a chance to visit such beautiful city. She would then wait for her mentor to show up from the ship and meet her at the café near the port.


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Ari flew her carpet over the capital city of Balbadd, enjoying the crisp sea air. Now that she had raised the dungeon, she was eager to make her way to Magnostadt, but she wanted to get a better feel for the type of lives the people in this area led. Her last trip through Balbadd had been brief and she had a different perspective on life in general now. The city was bustling, expected for being such a huge trade city on a port, and she could hear the chatter and city noises even this high up. Her stomach grumbled, reminding her that she needed to eat something and so she slowly brought her carpet down to the ground before rolling it up and tucking it away in her bag.

Wandering down the busy streets, she was not paying too much attention, simply soaking in the rambunctious nature of the busy city as she searched for a food cart that might have something that sounded good. She followed her nose as she smelled something amazing and found herself in front of a stand offering grilled fish on a stick. The growl of her stomach drove her to buy more than she could possibly eat before she began searching for some place to sit and devour her findings.


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Never before had land been so welcoming to Adrastos as he followed after Noir, his footsteps brisk and as he attempted to keep close tabs on her. Ever since Diego had shown up and was knocked off the ship, the young magician was edgy on letting Noir be on her own for fear of her being stolen. However, since they had just arrived from their five month journey, there was a low chance of her being taken that very day, and they would both accompany each other for a meal at a tiny little cafe not far from the ship they vacated.

He met Noir at the shop, immediately making himself comfortable while ordering some tea and at least a salad of sorts. "Feels nice to be back on land, that's for sure. How does Balbadd seem to you, Noir? Same as when you last came here? Or is there at least some differences?"


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The black haired nodded slowly after taking a little sip of her warm tea, gulping it down and answered, “Nothing much has changed from what I remembered.” She looked around her surroundings and continues, “It’s still an interesting country… even though I don’t remember much about it since I didn’t have the chance to explore the country itself by when I was a slave for circus’s group.” Her golden eyes would now fixed on something as she looked at around 30 meters in front of the, it would be right behind the silver haired man. Something about this made the black haired girl eyes widened her eyes and shutting her down. She was not sure but she kept looking at the slender figured woman that she thought she recognized, she waited and waited until the person would turned around and revealed the face. Noir gulped hard, slightly surprised like she was just saw a ghost. “….Ariella…” She murmured someone’s name under her breath, having mixed feelings about it. She didn’t know about how she should react if that person was really the purple haired magician, but even if the person was not her, could it be that her death still haunted the young magician? No it was not like that, it didn’t haunt her that much anymore, but she would immediately feel down every time she remembered it, knowing that the cause of her death was just solely because of her own foolishness to choose wrong move.


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Ari searched for a seat before something cause her eyes, a semi-familiar face. While her memory was still fuzzy on a few things, the girl she had spotted resonated in her mind. It was the person she had ‘died’ to protect on the Shrouded Isle, the reckless young woman who had dared to get too close to the beast. Ari had flown her carpet to put herself between the danger and Noir and had taken the devastating blow intended for the young woman. The stunned look on Noir’s face told her that Noir recognized her. Perhaps she should catch up with the young woman, to soothe any worries she might have. She tugged a smile to her lips before slowly approaching Noir and the silver-haired magician that she recognized from being at the Shrouded Isle as well.

“Noir? Is that you?”


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For just a moment, Adrastos was puzzled as to why Noir's face became a white sheet and her eyes widened into giant saucers. Only when he heard a familiar voice, one that had not been heard ever since the hell of the Shrouded Isle, and turned around, did he understand the situation that frightened his student in such a manner. There, like a ghost resurrected from the dead, stood Ariella Negri, the magician that had perished on the accursed island.

Her death was still a clear picture within his mind, though he knew not why exactly. He was never one to mourn the loss of life, especially when that life held little meaning to him. Perhaps it was thanks to the gore that had taken place that day. If not for the foolish actions of his student, then Ariella would not have succumbed to the grisly death that swiftly followed. The manticore's tail pierced her heart with absolute ease, allowing the sickening crunching of bones to be heard and blood to spew forth from the wound in her chest as if she were nothing more than a geyser of blood. Her body, now a flimsy doll, was weak from the fatal blow and thus crumpled to the floor. There was no proper burial though, much to some people's dismay. Her body had been consumed by a flash of light, and still to this day, Adrastos swore to himself that there were a pair of giant hands within that blinding light.

"Ariella Negri? Last we saw you, you had been stabbed straight through the chest and vanished in a bright light, assumed to be taken by the island," the magician said calmly with his silver eyes inspecting her thoroughly, "so how is it that you are here, appearing to be of flesh and blood as if that moment had never transpired?"


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Her body jolted in surprise when the woman called her name, her voice sounded real, it was not an illusion at all. It was her with no doubt, it was Ariella. But it was odd to meet her here as she was supposed to be… dead. Noir was confused, keep asking to herself about what was going on right now. The purple haired magician… died protecting her, being taken by those giant hands and disappeared along with the lights. She remembered it like that clearly, or was it her mind that was playing with her right now? Or is it just another vision or nightmare for her? Just like that nightmare from before that almost awakened something filthy inside her, something horrible that resided inside her and almost made her killed. Would she be suddenly collapsed on the ground and blood gushing out from her chest right at the spot where the beast pierced when she approached to her to closer? No… but… maybe yes. She didn’t know anymore…

“….Ah—“ She was cut off by Neo who started to questioning the fellow lightning magician’s existence here as if he understood that she wanted to ask about that too but letting her confused to ‘mute’ her. She would step a little bit closer to Ariella, stared at the yellow colored orbs that shone brightly before lifting her left hand. She wanted to touch her, needed to know if she was really alive or not and to see if she was real or not. The girl slowly brought her hand to touch the purple haired magician’s cheek, if the woman allowed her to do so, she would proceed to touch it gently, feeling the warmth emitting from the woman’s cheek and noticing that she was real and alive. But if she didn’t let the black haired girl to touched her cheek by swatting her hand away, Noir would feel the warmness from Ariella’s fingertips and realized that she was really alive.


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Ari approached the pair, arching a brow at Adrastos, recognizing him from Magnostadt. Adrastos cold, uncaring tone made her almost angry. She had not even been talking to the man

“Not that I was talking to you, in the slightest, but I suppose I will address you before talk to the woman whose life I saved.”

She gave Riku an apologetic look for the silver-haired man’s complete dismissal of the young woman. She ran a hand gently over Riku’s head.

“The shorted version is that someone did not wish for the island to be used to artificially float and sustain on the lives of innocent peoples. So a much higher power saved me from being rejoined to the Great Flow of Rukh. After that, I was educated on the nastiness and useless isand and returned to life to ensure Noir did not waste the gift of life. Or are you more asking why I greeted the woman whose life I save instead of some quiet, slightly arrogant magician I have not known for very long? You question was really quiet vague.”


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The way Ariella looked at him made his own blood boil and as much as he wanted to lash out, it would have been childish. Adrastos looked away, setting his eyes on Noir for a second before looking away from both women, and took a sip of his tea. After a moment of silence, Adrastos returned his now softened gaze toward the magician. "My apologies, Mrs. Negri. I mean no disrespect toward you or Noir. I'm just relieved that Noir is still alive now, thanks to you., and was puzzled as to how you were here."

Adrastos glanced at Noir, then as before, looked away from both women. It was obvious he wasn't suppose to talk unless he was spoken to, an observation that stabbed him in the gut, but he wouldn't start a fight now. The magician wasn't sure why, but he assumed it was because Noir was there. Adrastos would remain silent since he was just a third wheel that apparently had no right to talk, and drink his tea while to two women engaged in conversation if they so desired.


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She gasped a little bit when the purple haired woman ran her hand on Noir’s black hair, making her blush a little bit because it was unexpected at all. How could this woman still giving her warmness even though she was the cause of her death?   Noir couldn’t understand and if the purple haired girl noticed, she would see the puzzled look on the black haired girl’s face. It was strange and indescribable, something that Noir wouldn’t be able to solve by herself, couldn’t answer her own question even though she remembered all the books about emotions that she read. “…Miss… Ariella…?” She hesitantly called, didn’t feel the right to call her name, all the guilt suddenly crawled up back, creeping in her mind, swallowing her heart. “I-I apologize… for causing your death… N-now that you are…” She could feel her body shaking and needed to gulp down a little bit so she could be calmer, “Now that you are… alive… you can take ‘your’ life back from me…” Noir said while hesitantly taking the woman’s hands and made it wrapped around her neck. It was always… an eye for an eye… a tooth for a tooth and it was a life for a life… at least that was what she believed, that was what she learned at the time when she was a slave. Noir would stare at Ariella’s eyes, reaching out her hands to cup her cheek and said, “I am glad that you are alive… and thank you for saving me…” She had this sad look that was mixed with relief, but her lips formed a smile. It was not a happy smile, it was not giving any significant meaning at all… it was just… acceptance smile. She could hear Haku's growl from behind, but the beasts couldn't do anything when Noir commanded him to stay still. She knew that if Ariella's wanted to take her life back, Noir would have to leave Haku all alone, but what could she do? It was not 'her' life...


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Ari arched a brow at Noir before shaking her head with a snort.

“What on earth would make you think I would have you life, only to want it back? It isn’t like I said ‘go forth and do amazing things or else I will slaughter you!’ I just wanted you to survive Noir and you have done that. Besides, something good came out of it for me! I got something I never could have imagined. So do not think I wasted my life on you. You had great potential. I would like to see you live up to that. Perhaps your friend here will help with that!”

Ari ruffled Noir’s hair before stepping back.

“As a better answer to your question, young Adrastos… it was decided that this world needed more help to guide Fate. So, I was made into a Magi. Is that a better answer?


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Adrastos' head jerked toward Noir when he heard her ask Ariella to take back her life. His heart tightened and he suddenly found it difficult to breathe. Was Noir asking to die? After all the talk of wanting to be a leader, after wanting to check out the rumors of the dungeon, and she just wanted to throw it away that easily? The magician didn't know what was more infuriating: the fact that she was giving up her life with a sad yet relieved expression or the fact that she didn't even seem to consider how it would affect him. In the back of his mind, he knew that Noir had no knowledge of how he felt, but did she really not care and thought that he would shrug off her death?

Adrastos stood mindlessly, his hand crushing the crumpled piece of paper that he had written earlier. Should he have just given it to her then? Would that at least lift the weight that rested upon his heart, his soul, and his fluctuating mind? However, Ariella's words calmed him down; his shoulders relaxed and his hand released the paper and fell to his side, leaving the parchment inside his pocket. At least Ariella wasn't one of those people who revolved around an eye for an eye concept. Adrastos then looked at Ariella after she had said something

"A Magi? To help guide Fate?" When the word 'Fate' was mentioned, Adrastos couldn't help but smirk inside his mind's eye and raise a questioning brow. The whole concept of Fate was ridiculous. If he had let Fate guide him, he'd probably be dead by now and thrown away like garbage. But to know that someone decided that Fate needed more help to guide it, that there was someone out there that was watching and could choose people who only they thought was worthy of being whatever this Magi was, was annoying. So they were all just pawns to be used and cast aside? Was that it? Adrastos crossed his arms over his chest. "Well, it's a better answer, but I'm not sure I understand the part about helping to guide Fate."


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“Great potential?” Noir blushed upon hearing that and blushed more when the friendly magician ruffled her hair. She was so kind to her and made her confused… her mistake that resulted this beautiful magician to lost her life… made her gain something that she never imagined? ‘If only the world is filled with such a kind person like her…Noir looked away while the red color painted her pale cheeks, feeling relieved as if something heavy was just lifted from her shoulder.

After she heard about how Ariella was made into magi, Noir listened closely; nodding after the silver haired man said that she didn’t understand the part about helping to guide Fate. She would listen to whatever answer she would give to them before then reaching to the chain around her neck. She took the Crimson Bladed Crystal and showed it to Ariella, “I took this before… but I hope you are okay with me to hold onto this. At least to remind me that such a kind person like you existed in this world.” She would then try to search for something for a while before letting out a sigh, “Hm… but I don’t have anything to give back…”


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Ari listened to Adrastos, nodding in understanding.

“It is not necessarily the best job option in the world, but it was one chosen for me and I cannot very well deny it, unless I wish to die. So I will do what is asked of me, for now.”

Turning back to Noir, Ari gave a kind smile, folding the young woman’s hand over the tool.

“Keep it… I hope it serves you as well as it has served me, but I no longer have a use for it. I do not have need or want of anything from you, young lightning mage, aside from you to continue to grow and strengthen yourself. Do not lose that small light of hope and humanity. It will serve you well, even if at times it causes you strife and pain.”


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Chosen for her? So she didn't have a choice? Was that all fate was? No freedom to do what you wanted? You couldn't be what you dreamed. Fate sounded more revolting ever time it was mentioned. However, none of these thoughts would be made public knowledge. Adrastos kept his mouth shut, watching as Ariella turned her attention back to Noir and said words like light, hope, and humanity, words that were meaningless to the blue magician. Only strife and pain were engraved into Adrastos' cold heart for that was what he was so accustomed to feeling.

Witnessing how Ariella lifted Noir up, telling her that she had great potential, that she shouldn't give up on hope and humanity, made an uncomfortable blanket fall upon Adrastos' shoulders. Nobody had ever told him that, not since he was a child still comforted by two loving parents. His teachers were ruthless, the world was merciless, and life was apparently directed and played by someone else rather than the individuals that lived in the world. This sort of interaction was alien. He shifted his weight while looking somewhere else, trying to think of anything other than what Noir and Ariella were talking about.


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Noir held the woman’s hand with a worried look. “I’ve seen your fight and battles, so I know that you are a very strong magician, Miss Ariella. They said some strong magicians are capable to create their own magic tools.”  She then glanced at the crimson bladed crystal that was in her hand at the moment before glancing back to the purple haired magician’s eyes. “I am sure that you are the one who produce this beautiful tool, since you are so strong…”  
 
Something emitting from the man who stood beside her, it was like he gave this kind of different vibe right after Ariella talked to her, giving her some advices. “Neo…” She called softly, “What is wrong?” She failed to understand the moment as she continue asking when her mentor looked at somewhere else, “Do you feel sick?” Then she would spend several second to think and when she thought that she knew what her mentor wanted, she would ask, "Or do you want this kind of beautiful magic tool?"


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Ariella gave a smile at Noir’s compliment, shaking her head in denial.

“That tool was given to me by a special friend who gave it in her time of need. Now I give it to you with my blessings. However, I can make my own magic tools, yes. I went through extensive training in Magnostadt to learn to make tools. While the ones I make are a bit on the simple side, I am quite proud of what I am capable of doing.”

Ari looked to Adrastos, her head cocked to the side in curiosity.

“Was there a particular kind of magic tool you were look for?”


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"The kind of sickness I am feeling is not the kind you must be referring to," Adrastos responded, his silvery gaze fixed on Noir once more. His eyes, with set scrutiny, beheld the magic tool that his young pupil clutched within her dainty fingers. A beautiful magic tool? A mechanism's allure was of no concern to the blue magician, a man whose ambitions focused on power, money, and god-like rank; however, a magic tool possessed one of the objects he desired: power. If he could wield a weapon other than his wand, would he have a little more power than he currently retained? It was possible, and Ariella seemed interested in whether or not there was a particular magic tool he craved for.

"A particular kind?" Adrastos inquired, responding to Ariella's question. One sliver of a thought consumed his thoughts within that instance, and that was to manipulate the undead, to have those who perished rise, if only in body, and fight for him. When he could secure that potential, he would be able to live up to his namesake as the Undaunted God of Death, the New Death. Yet, he couldn't provide that reasoning. He would be rejected immediately, his charade nothing but a shattered mirror exposing his true nature. Something else would need to be said.

"I lack the abilities to resurrect any fallen comrades if they were to fall in battle, but I would never bring them life just to suffer yet another agonizing fate due for my sake. If there was a way for them to still assist me in times of peril without calling back their souls and simply utilizing their corpses, reanimating them, then I would choose that instead. It is that sort of magic tool that I seek."


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With a nervous smile, the black haired girl nodded and said, “Thank you…” She stared at the magic tool, looking at how beautiful it looked. She wondered, the crimson color that the crystal had was definitely stunning, but her crimson eyes was… different. It was not beautiful like this crystal; it was scary, making her felt like she was not herself. She shook herself as if doing a mental slap, knowing that it was not the right time to think about that. As her liger noticed her uneasiness, Haku would lick her leg before nuzzling it, making Noir gave him a loving pet as the return of her beast’s kind attention.

“Hmm…?” Noir tilted her head, didn’t really understand what kind of sickness that he had and decided to just stay quiet. She looked at her mentor with admiration as Adrastos explained about what kind of magic tool that he wanted to have, amazed at how intelligence the silver haired man was by having that kind of desire for his magic tool. She would note it in mind as she thought that it would be interesting to try to research if she could actually create that kind of magic.


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Ari contemplated the man’s request, understanding the drive behind it. Many felt tearing someone from the Great Flow was unnatural and were not comfortable with the idea of it. She could also understand the urge keep your allies assisting even once they have fallen in battle.

“I could probably help you with something like that, Adrastos. It would not too much to achieve something like that, a simple combination of lightning magic and life magic, I believe, should do the trick. If you are truly interested in something like this, come find me at my inn, with something I can inscribe the spell on to. It shouldn’t be a problem at all.”


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Out of the corner of his vision, Adrastos noticed Noir's discomfort as she looked upon her magic tool. What was ailing her? Maybe he could ask her later. Assuming they had the time. With each moment he spent with her, it was becoming more difficult to see his future. No doubt the Alchemists were watching him now. They were probably witnessing his lack of action, associating them with the lightning magician. Would they kill her to force him on the appropriate route? To make sure their choice in him wasn't wasted? Or perhaps annihilate her for fear that he would spill the Alchemists secrets? No, they wouldn't. At least not out of fear, but regardless, Adrastos couldn't take the chance. His resolve was deteriorating and soon, he would accidentally tell her everything. Already he contemplated on exposing Noir to his real name and his past, all that knowledge stored in ink upon a parchment that seared his flesh and heart. What was to stop him from disclosing the private affairs of the Alchemists? Adrastos couldn't remain with Noir for much longer.

His attention shifted to Ariella and her words, providing a distraction from his worrisome thoughts. Unfortunately, he had nothing on his person to aid in the creation of a magic tool, so he would have to seek one. Still, the fact that Ariella was willing to forge him a magic tool relieved him. At least he knew that he spoke correctly. "When I procure a suitable item, where is your inn?"


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Noir still listened to Ariella’s and Adrastos’ conversation when she heard a loud stomach growl from beside her. The when she looked at Haku, he was staring at the girl with a plea before his stomach began to growl again. She reached for her bag to see if she brought some beast food but she couldn’t find any and that made her wondering if she should just go back to the inn so she could feed Haku. But she could hear her own stomach growl as well and judging from it, looked like it was lunch time.

The girl might need to excuse herself now because she didn’t want to make her liger starved, so she would wait a little bit until both of the other magician finished. After she thought that she could excuse herself, she said, ”I need to go now to feed Haku, but it was a pleasure to meet you. Now then, until we meet again.” Noir bowed down before turning her back, motioning Haku to follow. The beast would lick Ari’s hand and dashed to follow the girl, couldn’t wait to have lunch.


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Ari gave Noir a friendly wave and nod as she ran after the hungry liger before returning her attention to Adrastos.

“My inn is near the docks, the woman at the front desk can direct you to my room. Once you have obtained an item, we can discuss the more precise details of what exactly you are wanting from this magic tool. Think carefully on what you are wanting me to reproduce, it can be costly for both of us if I make a mistake or misunderstand your intentions.”

She would give brief directions to where her inn was located, glad that she was finally able to begin helping produce magic tools for those in need. While she had no intention of charging a large amount for the tools, she would still need her customers to provide the items she would be making into tools.

[exit]


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The sight of Noir running off almost made the young magician sigh with relief. At least now with her gone, he could concentrate without being uncomfortable or distracted. Adrastos nodded at Ariella's words. "I understand completely. I'll stop by soon when I have a good enough idea and an appropriate item for you to use. I'll make sure to think long and hard about it so nothing is confusing or misleading."

He managed a slight nod of his head, then turned to walk away. He had some shopping and quite a bit of planning to do. Hopefully, all would go well and he'd soon have a magic tool befitting for him within his grasp. He thought about the possibilities as he strolled back to his inn with his skin prickling with excitement and anticipation.


[EXIT]


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