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Ellen Winter

"Which me is the real me? What role do I have to play?"

1293 views · last seen in Noraneko
a character in “Into The Woods”, as played by Ninja Bunny

Description

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❝Destiny weaves the path of our lives.❞
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ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||







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{☛ ⒻⓊⓁⓁ ⓃⒶⓂⒺ ☚}
Narcia Seraphim
{☛ ⓃⒾⒸⓀⓃⒶⓂⒺⓈ ☚}
Ellie | A nickname for her friends on Earth
Sera | What those in the Royal Army call her.
Nee | A nickname for those who knew her as a Princess.
{☛ ⒶⒼⒺ ☚}
16

{☛ ⒼⒺⓃⒹⒺⓇ ☚}


{☛ ⓈⒺⓍⓊⒶⓁⒾⓉⓎ ☚}
Homoromantic bisexual
{☛ ⒻⒶⒸⒺ ⒸⓁⒶⒾⓂ ☚}
Miyuki Shiba || Mahouka Koukou no Rettoussei



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❝ The face to rule the nation? ❞
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{☛ ⒽⒺⒾⒼⒽⓉ ☚}
Quite small, yesh.
{☛ ⓌⒺⒾⒼⒽⓉ ☚}
Very slender, befitting a Princess.
{☛ ⒽⒶⒾⓇ ⒸⓄⓁⓄⓇ ☚}
Black as ivory!
{☛ ⒺⓎⒺ ⒸⓄⓁⓄⓇ ☚}
Cold as ice!
{☛ ⒷⓄⒹⓎ ⓂⒶⓇⓀⒾⓃⒼⓈ ☚}
An angel-wing shaped birthmark on her back that she never understood.


{☛ ⒼⒺⓃⒺⓇⒶⓁ ⒶⓅⓅⒺⒶⓇⒶⓃⒸⒺ☚ }

Ellen is someone of refined beauty, keen, cold, and very easy on the eyes. Her features are sharp and defined, with long black hair and pale skin to give her an almost ethereal appearance. Her eyes glint with intelligence and experience, as if she were something more than what she seemed, something more than just a normal girl. Ellen's small, very short for her age yet when she's serious she can give off a feeling that you're an idiot for underestimating her. Though it's rare, hidden behind those cold ice and that stoic face is a playful smile, a joking grin. Though Ellen tends to dress in neat, semi-fancy clothing, don't think she's just a feminine girl.
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♙I'll sacrifice anything!♙
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☛ ⓁⒾⓀⒺⓈ
❥ Freedom | A normal thing to like, but Ellie loves the freedom to do as she wishes.
❥ Reading | It's common to find Ellie curled up in a corner, enjoying a good book.
❥ Technology | She's always been a natural with gadgets and computers.
❥ Fashion | Ellen is fond of making and wearing clothes of her own design.









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❝This fate of mine before me❞
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☛ ⒹⒾⓈⓁⒾⓀⒺⓈ
⌦ Being worried about | Ellen's smart, she knows how to handle herself.
⌦ Needless cruelty | She won't just let someone suffer if she can help it.
⌦ Wet animals | They tend to smell really bad.






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ⓆⓊⒾⓇⓀⓈ
Nightly walks | In the dark, it's easier to see the stars and the sky.
Foot tap | When idle, Ellen enjoys tapping her feet to an imaginary beat.
Book in face | When she's annoyed, she hides from the world by burying her face in a book.




ⓌⒺⒶⓀⓃⒺⓈⓈⒺⓈ
Unfriendly] | Ellie puts up a cold face for those she doesn't really know.
Dependency | As much as she hates it, she's emotionally dependent on Cress.
Self-Sacrificial | Has a bad habit of hurting herself to help others.
Overconfidence | Sometimes she's a little too sure of herself.




ⓈⓉⓇⒺⓃⒼⓉⒽⓈ
Analytical | Ellen knows how to stay calm and look at a problem from many angles before taking action.
Techno Wizard | She's... seriously nearly magical with technology.
Royal Aura | Ellie gives off a natural intimidating aura when she's angry.
Calm | She can keep her emotions in check when times get tough.




ⒻⒺⒶⓇⓈ
Isolophobia | Fear of solitude, specifically in regards to Cress.
Potophobia | Fear of alcohol
Chiratophobia | Fear of being touched

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♙A Princess or a human?♙
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{☛ ⓅⒺⓇⓈⓄⓃⒶⓁⒾⓉⓎ☚}
Intelligent | Cunning | Political | Curious | Stoic | Steady | Harsh

Ellie is definitely someone whose mental acuity is her best attribute. She's sharp, she's quick, and she knows how to see people for who they really are. It doesn't take too much effort for her to weave through lies and see the truth for what it is, making her a natural for discussions and debates. Because of her intelligence, however, it makes her feel isolated and not-in-touch with most people, thus it's difficult for her to make friends, and is naturally closed off from most. People mistake it for not caring because of her tendency to hide her emotions from everyone but Cress. Around her cousin, however, Ellen becomes energetic and playful, and is willing to express herself and show her inner self, the self that loves to talk and to wonder and to think about deep things like philosophy or destiny.




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❝Where do I go from here?❞
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{☛ ⓅⓁⒶⒸⒺ ⓄⒻ ⓄⓇⒾⒼⒾⓃ ☚}
Ashia Palace, upper tiers, the Kingdom of Ourania
Sierra Nevada, California

{☛ ⒻⒶⓂⒾⓁⓎ ☚}
Azel Seraphim | 45 | King | Biological Father
Nirana Seraphim | 41 | Queen | Biological Mother
Leona Winter |4 4 | Adopted Mother | Sister of Cress's Father
Marcus Winter | 48 | Adopted Uncle | Cress's Father | Deceased
Cress Winter | 16 | Cousin

{☛ ⒽⒾⓈⓉⓄⓇⓎ ☚}
Six years ago, the younger sister of Marcus Winter went on a walk in the Yosemite National Park. She found a ten year old girl there, lost, alone, and with no memories. When Leona checked her at the police station, no one recognized her, she wasn't even in the registry. Leona was barren, unfortunately - after a miscarriage years ago she found herself unable to have a child. This ruined her marriage and her then husband left her, so she decided to adopt the nameless child and name her Ellen.

Ellen was always a strange girl. She was naturally curious, but she was also quiet and reserved, preferring not to talk whenever possible. She was incredibly intelligent even when she was young, and very quickly learned about the world. Still, Leona was afraid that Ellen might've ended up afraid and alone once she was thrown into an unknown environment like school, so since she was the same age as Cress, Leona moved to a house closer to where her brother's widow lived, one of her best friends for a long time, Louise Winter. There she introduce Cress to Ellen and it was then that fate was decided.

Cress showed Ellen the world, and it was her that helped Ellie feel as if she were really a part of the family. The two were as close as real sisters, and was what was needed to help ease Ellie out of her natural shyness, bringing out the repressed child side of her that liked fun and playing around. Of course, Ellie's almost magical ability to warp technology however she wanted only proved to be worse and worse as time went on and soon enough, Ellie saw men in black suits following her around. They took pictures of Cress, using her as leverage to draw Ellie out and she agreed to help with whatever they wanted if it meant they'd leave them alone.

The girl was forced to create strange futuristic weapons that humans had never seen before and she always felt horrible for knowing that her knowledge was going to be used to hurt others, but she had to prioritize Cress, because her cousin was almost everything to her. From then on, though, Ellen started closing herself off again, distrusting those around her and made sure to always think through things before doing anything hasty. She wasn't sure if Cress or the rest of the family ever knew about the incident, but Ellen wasn't sure she'd ever tell anyone.

Then one night, Ellen fell into a trance at the family summer home, hearing a strange voice that made her feel things she hasn't felt for over six years. She followed the voice, not knowing her beloved cousin, Cress, was following behind her, tying their fates together...


{☛ ⓄⓉⒽⒺⓇ ☚}






ⒸⓄⓅⓎⓇⒾⒼⒽⓉ: ⓉⒽⒺ_ⓆⓊⒺⒺⓃ





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[center][font=aa]❝It's time to break the umbilical cord. I don't need you anymore.❞

【[size=97]ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:[color=#4ca2b8][b]#4ca2b8[/b][/color] ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя [color=#8b4cb8][b]#8b4cb8[/b][/color][/size]】

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[center][font=aa]❝I hate you. I hate myself, I can't stand it anymore. Please look at me, please look at me!❞

【[size=97]ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:[color=#30b818][b]#30b818[/b][/color] ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя [color=#d1ca00][b]#d1ca00[/b][/color][/size]】

[b]||[/b] [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUClIslXKZo]Crystal || Of Monsters and Men[/url] [b]||[/b][/font][/center]
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[center][font=aa]❝Even now, the smiling savior is a façade.❞

【[size=97]ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:[color=#949495][b]#949495[/b][/color] ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя [color=#B2AC8E][b]#B2AC8E[/b][/color][/size]】

[b]||[/b] [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_VrGGnFx2U]Keshin || Asami Imai[/url] [b]||[/b][/font][/center]
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So begins...

Ellen Winter's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

Footnotes

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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress opened her eyes with a gasp, spine tingling, sweat clinging to her back, sliding down her shirt and around her chest. Light filtered in through the heap of trash she was trapped beneath, metal surrounding her on every side. "Ellie!" Cress called, pain striking her skull. She grimaced, trying to stand. "Ellie!" Cress attempted to dig herself out, looking for her cousin. She crawled on all fours, metal cutting at her, grabbing her skin and clothing, blood making the surface slick and making Cress glad she had gotten her tetanus shot. Now where could her cousin have gone? The night before they had been sleeping in the house, wall partitioned to allow the summer air to filter inside in Sierra Nevada. Ellie had gotten up in the middle of the night, stepping outside the house and Cress followed her, confused.

They ended up in a field, Ellie looking as though she was no longer a human but a robot following some masters orders to keep going. Cress had tried to shake her out of it, she had placed both hands on her cousin's shoulders and suddenly something like lightning had struck them, sending white hot pain through Cress's body. Then she had woken up here, buried underneath a pile of rubbish. She could hear things moving, machines beeping. "Stupid scrappers," someone above her muttered, rummaging through garbage. She reached her hand up, trapped in a tunnel of garbage. "An android arm? Sweet!" Someone grabbed it, taking her arm, pulling her up. "A whole body!" They gasped as Cress surfaced, kicking trash out from underneath her. She coughed, closing one eye as blood flowed from a cut on her forehead. "Stop touching me like that!" Cress snapped as the person screamed and scurried away.

"Wait! Have you seen another girl! Black hair, blue eyes!" But the person didn't answer. Cress tried to stand, one foot sinking beneath the pile. She pulled it out, metal tearing at her skin once more. There were large machines moving around, crushing together piles of trash and stacking them in neat little squares. "Where am I? How did I end up in a junkyard?" Cress shook her shoe out. She was wearing her hiking boots, which seemed to be the only pair of shoes Cress cared to own. "Ellie!" Cress called, trying to walk. She took three steps before something beneath her collapsed and the pile rumbled, Cress falling beneath, what looked like a car part falling onto her leg, pinning her.

Cress yelped in pain, calling out for help. She tried to claw at everything around her, attempting to get back up which only cut up her fingers and made her surface slippery. Cress pressed her lips together in a thin line, knowing she was going to need someone to get her out, maybe multiple someones since her leg was pinned at an odd angle. She looked around frantically, wondering if she would have to cut off her leg to get out like that man in the movie 720 hours.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Something amazing was happening, Shiro could tell. The entire castle had a nervous sort of energy in the air, charging it and making it spark when Shiro rolled out of bed, putting on one of the dresses that was tailored specifically for her tiny body. What was happening? Shiro wondered. She was doing up her hair when a servant burst into the room, "Get up, get up, get up!" Shiro jumped, taking a step back. "What's wrong?" Shiro asked, "What is it?"

"The Princess has returned!"

Shiro's eyes widened. She rushed to find a pair of shoes and ran out the door behind the other servant, there was no time for breakfast, it was officially time for Shiro to begin her job and the last thing she wanted was to be late. They went through the servant door quietly, the King and Queen fretting over a sleeping form in the large bed. "Shiro, oh thank goodness." The Queen had been personally overseeing Shiro's training for the last three years and didn't hesitate to call her over. "Isn't she beautiful?" The Queen asked, gesturing to the sleeping form. Shiro nodded her head, "Yes Highness, she's very pretty." Shiro felt a slap to her face, the sting of pain as her head snapped to the side and she fell to the ground. "Yes, my Queen," the Queen hissed. "How many times do I have to tell you?" She shook her head and the collar took her words as a cue for punishment, sending an electric shock up Shiro's spine that made her whimper and tremble.

"Now, now Shiro. Take your punishment quietly, don't wake the Princess up."

"Yes my Queen." Shiro said once she could stand again. "Good girl," the queen pat her head, careful not to disrupt the intricate hairstyle she had taught Shiro to do every morning. "The Princess is only to be surrounded by beautiful things and you Shiro, are a beautiful girl. That's why you will serve her," they were in a separate part of the bedroom, the sitting area. The bedroom was right behind the door which was closed. They were standing on the balcony overseeing the Ashia, the wind making Shiro's skirt flair up and she put her hands down in an attempt to keep her panties from showing.

"You flatter me Queen," Shiro said, struggling to be heard over the wind but the Queen didn't seem to care. She was pacing, posture perfect, dress freshly pressed, looking as a Queen should. "Never grow Shiro, it wouldn't do for you to be taller than the Princess." The King and Queen had purposely stunted Shiro's growth, making her wear a brace of sorts so that she couldn't get any taller than she was now. Stay cute and small, that had been the primary objective until the Princess returned.

Now her life was bound to serve the Princess, she was a puppet, a doll for the Princess to play with as she saw fit. Even if the Princess wanted to use Shiro's body Shiro wasn't allowed to resist, such was the life of a servant. Shiro didn't mind though, or at least that's what she continued to tell herself through training. Shiro would be the best Lady in Waiting, she was determined to accomplish that much.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

Footnotes

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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Ellie remembered.... she didn't remember much, to be honest. There was a strange voice reverberating in her head, calling her out in the middle of the night. It felt as if the Earth itself was fading away, nonresistant, melting from her consciousness as she walked, stars gathering below her feet even if she knew stars didn't really work that way. It was definitely a trick of the mind, but it was still mesmerizing as the light enveloped her. It was summer with the family, with Cress, but when the light happened, when she was being beckoned to, everything else disappeared. There was nothing quite so important as following the sound, like something deep within the bowels of her blank memory was finally stirring, activating. Wherever she was now, though - a large fancy palace of sorts - Cress wasn't there.

She blinked slowly, thinking, considering, old memories resurfacing in the sea of her consciousness. That's right, before she was Ellie, she was someone else, she was something different, something more. It hurt to think, the names in her mind overlapping over one another as she pieced things together. There was - there was some sort of war brewing, wasn't there? And she knew she was..... she was sent to Earth, torn from her family and the life she'd always known in - in Ashia Palace, wasn't it? The Kingdom of Ourania.

So she was back in Ourania, back in the place where she was born. Did this mean the rebellion was over now, that it was safe? Her mind thought back to her home on Earth, Cress and mum and auntie and the big brothers. Would they miss her, now that she disappeared? Would mum be lonely in her home, all alone, now? Maybe their memories were being erased, re-written, with herself out of it. Or, perhaps, it was all a dream and Earth never existed in the first place. That too, was a possibility.

Without Cress here, there was no way to confirm nor deny that. For the time being, it was safe to abandon Ellen Winter, however, and retake the mind of Narcia Seraphim, wasn't it? That was, after all, her true self, was it not? But did that mean her six years on Earth were meaningless, making friends with Cress and spending time with her cousin, did that all amount to nothing? That was an incredibly lonely thought to be certain. Maybe it'd be best to preserve Ellen for a little longer, even if it was hopeless. That way she could make sure that in some way, Cress and the rest of the family lived on.

"I'm back, mother." Narcia's voice was the same as Ellen's, quiet and emotionless, as if she were a robot rather than a human. She couldn't bring herself to call the Queen 'mum'. Nirana Seraphim was never the same type of motherly figure as Leona Winter was - Leona was warm and loving, Nirana was strict and formal. But when you were royalty, there was never time for kindness, was there? "It has been a while."

"Yes it was, my darling." Nirana said with a smile, not bothering to touch Narcia or hug her, no overt display of affection whatsoever. Ellen glanced at the tiny figure there, with billowing blonde hair, her new lady in waiting, it seemed. She remembered her last one, the one that had died during an assassination attempt that failed. The princess wondered emotionlessly if this girl was being used for the same purpose, or if there was something else in mind. She wouldn't let that happen, however. While Narcia was fine with it, Ellie didn't want an innocent's life on her hands.

"Whatever life you lived previously, discard it all." Nirana said, voice full of sugar and magnanimous cheer. "You're Narcia Seraphim now. Your life on Earth is irrelevant to who you are now, so it would be best to abandon those memories and return to the life you were destined to live."

Narcia nodded, eyes slightly clouded over. Of course that was how it was going to be. She was never going to see them ever again, after all. "Oh, and this is your new lady in waiting. You may call her Shiro. Make use of her as you wish." The Queen turned to leave, dress fluttering behind her. "Oh, and do come and greet your father once you are well. He has been waiting."

With that done, Narcia turned her attention to the little girl, Shiro. She tried to smile but found that she couldn't, so she instead simply stared. "Hello, Shiro. It is nice to meet you." She put on her best friendly expression, hoping life wasn't too hard for the girl thus far, that she hadn't been mistreated. "When we're together, I'd like you to consider me a friend. I won't hurt you, nor will I punish you. Is that acceptable?"

And the Queen hadn't touched her once. Six years and a reunion, and not once did her biological mother touch her.



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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Aya had a super important mission to do today! She woke up and saw the box of supplies ready for transport! Sure, there was fighting to be done, and all that stuff, and she glanced awkwardly at her gun - one built to shoot electricity and could be attached to her arm to be prompted by nerve impulses - but for now, it was just bike time! She bounded out, ignoring the bruises all over her body, covering them up with her normal oversized green jacket that she always wore. This was going to be exciting, she was going to get to be useful! And riding her bike around was always something exciting, wasn't it? Daddy was already gone somewhere, Mommy was talking to someone on the phone, so it was time to go, wasn't it? Well, after showering and eating stuff, but, meh.

The little blondie took a glance at the bed above her own before she left her room. That was where her sister used to sleep, Kora, before she was killed. Kora was always a quiet little thing, but Aya sure did miss her. Hopefully by helping the rebellion for Daddy, it'd make Kora happy and they could see each other again? Aya liked the idea of that, she really did. Still, for the time being, it was time to ride through the lower districts to get the goods to other people in the rebellion plot! How nice it'd be to have all the tiers gone and everyone being able to eat and be happy whenever they wanted? For everyone to have the money to afford medical stuff when you were hurt so you wouldn't have to die? That sounded fantastic, didn't it? Aya loved the idea of that.

Kora probably would've loved it, too.

So Aya fastened the packet onto the back of her bike, saddling on. Her bike was a unique one, made special for her with something called a gravity engine. Basically it worked by shifting gravity so she could pick whatever direction she wanted to go and the bike would go that way. It was very useful, and Aya liked it very much because it let her fly really high sometimes! She even once flew to the Untouchable Tier before, almost seeing the clouds where Ashia Palace was! That was very very high up, it was incredible!

So Aya zipped through the streets before pressing a button to shift gravity and aim her upwards, to float above the crowds. Aya was well known, of course, the people knew her and liked her, didn't they? She was that silly, cheerful girl that was always having fun and being friendly and nice with everyone! Eventually Aya reached Captain Gallus's house and gave him the supplies, being paid in a head rub and praise.

"You're always on time, aren't you, Squid." Gallus said fondly, lifting her up in the air and doing a twirl. Aya liked it even if his hands were on some of her bruises and made it hurt, but she didn't mind, not at all! "Aya is always happy to help!" The girl sang and returned to her bike. With her task done, it was time to explore! Maybe she could find random cool treasures in the junkyard to bring home for Daddy to build into something cool!

What Aya found wasn't treasure, but a really cool looking girl, crying out for someone named Ellie, but that wasn't even a name she heard before. Aya parked her bike beside the strange short-haired girl and tilted her head curiously. "Why is your leg under that?" She asked with a smile. "Is it fun to have your leg under that? What if you got stuck! How can you get out?"

Aya was confused, she didn't really understand. "What is an Ellie? Is it a cool new machine piece?" Figuring the girl was probably stuck, Aya decided to shift gravity, allowing the car chunk to float up, and she pulled the girl out from under and placed her on the back - a new package, a funner package! "Aya will take you to the doctor, he can put a metal sheet on and make it better real quick!" So Aya once again took to the skies with a new package, a new treasure on her bike, zipping through the air with her bike of awesomeness. "What is your name? My name is Aya!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

Footnotes

Add Footnote »

INK

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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress grunted, she was losing a lot of blood, her leg crushed beneath some piece of a car. There was sweat running down her back, the sun heating up the metal around her, making the surface hot to the touch. Cress looked up at the sky, her eyes widening. It was vast and dark, she could see right through the atmosphere to the glittering stars. Was it still nighttime? No, there was a sun in the sky too. An artificial atmosphere? Cress wondered in awe, forgetting about the pain in her body. Then, a girl, she zipped past, slowing to a stop beside Cress. "Have you seen my cousin?" Cress asked as the girl hopped off her bike. "Her name's Ellie." But the child seemed to know nothing, with a flick of her wrist she lifted up the metal trap and freed Cress, picking her up like she was a child. Cress yelped as she was suddenly on the bike and they were zipping through the... Sky? How was this possible? Jet propulsion? No, there was no heat, no jets. Was it a maglev? Using magnets to propel them up so that it looked as though they were floating?

Cress was in awe, attempting to puzzle out what it could be. Ellie was always good at this sort of thing, she would have been able to figure it out in two seconds. "Um, thanks for saving me." Cress blushed, touching a cut on her cheek. She winced, wondering where this doctor could be. They left the junkyard, floating over a city in shambles, put together with bits and bobbles, standing on wobbly stilts with houses stacked up atop one another. It was busy, children in bare feet and scarce clothing diving in and out of hovels, jumping into trashcans, tucking pieces of metal into their waistbands and laughing at one another.

"Ellie isn't a machine, she's my cousin." Cress sighed, great, her rescuer was an idiot. What would a metal sheet do to fix her leg? The bone was crushed, there was no way something like this could heal quickly. Then again, Cress had never seen such technology before. There wasn't a tree in sight, in fact, it was more a sad city of gleaming broken metal and wood. Where were all the plants? The grass, the trees, flower pots, gardens? There was none of that, in fact, the ground looked improvised, stomped down, no doubt unusable as soil.

Cress blinked, she had nearly missed the tiny blonde's introduction. "My name's Crescent," she replied, "Like the moon. Call me Cress though." They stopped in front of one such hovel, a tiny child bundled in a threadbare sweatshirt being pushed out by their mother. Did people really live like this? Cress thought back to the city, even those structures had been sound, albeit some were being squatted in by homeless families. In Sierra Nevada there had never been anything like that, just miles of endless nature and some homes spread few and wide between. This place was cramped and recycled, carts wheeling people up by the load into the clouds, no doubt to levels above. Was there a level below this? Was it even worse? Cress wasn't sure she wanted to find out.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Shiro followed the Queen back inside, staying quiet as the woman greeted her daughter, giving not so much as a hug. Shiro shifted in her spot as introductions were made and the Queen left. Shiro bowed, "Um, thank you your hi-I mean Princess." She squeaked, knowing she had made a mistake. There was no way to evade it, no place to hide. She waited for a slap, for the shock, the disapproving tone that meant she was going to be punished, but the Princess said she wouldn't do such a thing. "Kind words aren't befitting for a servant," Shiro whispered, wondering if what the Princess said was true, that she wanted Shiro to treat her like a friend. Shiro wasn't allowed to though and she was much more scared of the Queen's wrath. "Are you hungry? Do you want me to get you breakfast?" Which reminded Shiro that she herself had yet to eat. "Or I can run you a bath, anything you need, I'll take care of it. Okay?" She tried to smile, her legs shaking.

It was her first day, Shiro didn't want to mess up already. She tried to take a deep breath to calm down the terrible feeling in her stomach, the butterflies flitting about, ready to burst and spill over and break free. Certainly the Princess wouldn't want to see anything like that, this wasn't the time or place for a meltdown and so Shiro closed her eyes, blue orbs hidden beneath long lashes and opened them again, composing herself.

"You were calling out in your sleep," Shiro said quietly. "Was it a nightmare?" Normally the servants weren't to speak unless spoken to, but Shiro was concerned and the Princess's welfare came before any rules. "Are you in pain? Do you want me to get you the Doctor?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Ellie blinked at the girl, at Shiro, thinking in her head that Cress would probably have loved to meet her. She sighed internally, knowing it was pointless to think such things. Most likely her beloved cousin didn't even remember her anymore, that she was erased from everyone's minds. That was the best case scenario, wasn't it? She would have to get used to life on the Untouchable District once again, the shimmering palace that reached high in the sky, above everything else. The Seraphim family, known foe extravagance but also ignorance. She wasn't sure she ever saw what lied under this top tier, ever. Her life was once again going to be confined to the palace, it seemed.

"Perhaps you are a servant. The Princess said, standing up, shivering slightly from the cold. "But I have no need of that. I've learned how to tend to myself during my time on Earth." One thing was good, at least. The Queen, Nirana, acknowledged that the Earth did exist, that her life there did actually happen, which meant that Cress and mum and everyone else was still there. Her heart thumped, missing them, knowing that they were gone from her life forever. Hopefully they didn't remember, so they wouldn't have to be sad. Narcia regarded the girl, sincerity in her eyes. "Perhaps my mother has hurt you, but I won't. Be at ease, I won't have a child such as you suffer if I can help it."

A tiny secretive smile appeared on her face, the first she could manage in a long time. "Shiro, you may call me by my childhood name when there's no one else to hear us." It was oddly familiar and she remembered her past lady in waiting calling her that all the time when she was still nothing but a little thing. Even now, Narcia wasn't sure where it came from. A faint blush was on her cheeks but only for a moment. "Nee."

Calling out in her sleep? That was certainly odd. "What have I said?" Ellie asked, curious. It was probably about Cress, about her old family, right? That seemed the most likely. There was no pain she could think of, however - at least not now. The light was a white hot searing agony but that had all but faded into nothing. "I'm fine, Shiro. There's no need to worry about me."

Her eyes glanced to the poster on the wall, about some sort of commemorative celebration of the return of the lost Princess. Narcia sighed internally - it wasn't that they cared about her coming back, it was an opportunity to gossip with the other nobles, to figure out their secrets and try to see who was a threat and who wasn't. To find political alliances, to find holes where there were once friendship, the complex web of relationships of the aristocracy that lived in the city, with her return as an excuse for more plotting and planning. It was just as well.

"Shiro, what should I wear to the event?" Narcia asked. While she enjoyed fashion and sewing back on Earth, she wasn't sure what was considered suitable for formal situations in Ourania. Hopefully the little girl would have more of an idea than she did.




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




It could be seen as a sad thing, the dilapidated state of the Scrapper Tier. It was full of sadness and suffering, but there were good things, too! Aya glanced at the Gravity Drive on her wrist, manifesting as a sort of bracelet. One of the noblemen from the top had given it to her, as a show of support that he was going to help with the rebellion once he found an opportunity. Aya liked it, and with it, Daddy was able to somehow create the Gravity Engine for her bike! The girl wasn't sure how it worked, but it did, and she was pleased.

"We of the Rubble Tier have to save each other." Aya said, somewhat sadly. "If we don't work together, we'll all slowly die! You should know this already, silly!" Once they were at the Doctor's, he smiled at her, ushering them into another part of the tiny, ruined building, still with no real privacy but at least there was a little room. "Good to see you, Squid. Who's this?" Aya was floating her new friend, Cress, in by neutralizing her weight with gravity, making her float, dragging her by the foot idly. "This is Cress, she has funny hair." Aya said with sparkly eyes. "Her leg got busted, so can you fix it up?"

After preparing a little mattress, Aya released the gravity, letting Cress fall onto it with a little thump. She held her new friend's hand eagerly as the Doc examined it, analyzing the damage. "Luckily this isn't too bad, so commercial tech will do well, if it was any worse you might've had to beg one of the upper tiers to help you."

The blonde frowned slightly as the metal sheet wrapped around the hurt leg. "Ah, uh, it's gonna hurt." Aya murmured, a sad slump of the shoulders. "There's not enough painkillers so you'll have to deal. I'll squeeze your hand if it helps!"

Then the metal sheed started buzzing, turning to life, forcibly rearranging the bone into it's correct place and began stimulating regrowth of the skin. As this happened, the bike rider pressed hard on Cress's hand to show her her support. "So, where do you live? Aya can take you home to your family after!"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress blinked, the Rubble Tier? So she really did live here... It was curious how she thought Cress seemed to belong here as well. "Um, yeah of course." She said in response, wondering just where in the heck she was. This had to be some crazy dream, technology like this didn't exist. That soothed her a bit, yes, she was still home, sound asleep in bed with Ellie right beside her. They stopped and before Cress could jump down, Aya pointed her wrist and pressed something and Cress was floating. "Hey, what are you doing!" She yelped as her body floated and Aya grabbed onto her boot, the good foot, thank goodness.

She was pulled into one such hovel, frowning as Aya commented on her hair. "It's easier this way, not everyone can have long locks you know." She huffed, crossing her arms. Aya released whatever magic she was doing and Cress landed on the bed, groaning in pain as her leg hit the mattress. She tilted her head back, closing her eyes and biting down on her lip while the Doctor did his examination. He pulled out something, at first it just looked like a plain piece of metal, but if anything, Cress had quickly learned not to judge by its exteriors.

"Wait, what are you-" Cress's breathing picked up as the metal squeezed and she screamed, Aya slinking her hand into Cress's grip. "Stop! It hurts! God take it off!" She wailed, she was breathing hard while it did whatever the heck it was doing. Aya tried to distract her in the meantime. "I live in Sierra Nevada, it's in the mountains. We're still in California right?" She asked, praying to whatever they worshiped in this strange place that the answer was yes.

Finally it stopped, the metal contraption released her and Cress felt like she could breath again. She looked down at her leg, wondering what damage that strange thing had caused and blinked, seeing that her leg was righted, no longer bent at a weird angle. "H-how?" She asked, racking her mind as to what city Rubble Tier was, if she had ever heard of such technology existing anywhere on earth.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




When the Princess got up, Shiro took a step back, keeping a respectable distance between the two. The Princess's manner of speech was exceptional of course, using formal talk that one such would use with a lowly servant. Shiro, of course, maintained her smile and posture, at least, until the Princess stated she had no use for Shiro to prepare things for her. Shiro blinked, her smile falling. "It's my job to serve you," her shoulders slumped just a tiny bit. If she wasn't to help, then what was she to do? Shiro racked her brain, remembering something the Queen said. That the Princess wouldn't be used to living such an amazing life, that she would have to become accustomed to Shiro helping her with everything. Shiro cheered up; yes, she still had a purpose, she was not useless.

"Nee?" Shiro tested it out, rolling the syllables across her tongue. "Yes Pr-Nee." Shiro quickly corrected herself, years of drills pushed into her mind. If this was what the Princess wanted, then it was Shiro's job to see to it. The Princess went on, asking what she said in her dreams. "Pardon, but I don't recall as to whether it was arbitrary or something important, but you said Cress. I can search through the citizen database if you're looking for a certain person?" Of course they kept tabs on everyone, being unregistered was highly illegal and punishable by extreme means.

Shiro shivered, if there were such a person she would certainly feel bad for them. "It's good that you're not sick P-Nee." She was relieved that the princess had sustained no injuries. The Queen was worried about as to what condition the Princess would have been in considering she had just traveled across the universe, but it seemed that she was fine and so Shiro wouldn't worry about that. Shiro followed Nee's gaze to the tapestry on the wall, a picture of Nee on it from when she was younger.

Finally, something Shiro could help with!

"Ooh, you're going to love what I've picked out!" Shiro tried to stem the excitement, but it was nearly impossible. She loved balls and this one especially she had been assisting the Queen with. It was up to Shiro to know exactly what the Princess liked after all, but since she was away, Shiro had mostly gone with instinct. She opened up the doors to the magnificent closet that had rows and rows of clothing. Shiro stepped on a ladder and reached up, grabbing a dress and hoping down. "I picked it to compliment your eyes."

"Is it to your liking?" Shiro asked eagerly, wanting to be praised. "There's shoes and jewelry that go with it of course, if this is what you choose to wear."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




"The best way you can serve me is to be my friend." Narcia told the tiny girl who definitely seemed afraid of her mother, the Queen. The princess glanced at the glass window, the window to her room and observed the clouds, the familiar view of how high up they were compared to the rest of the city. How much of Ourania had changed while she was gone? Would she even recognize the rest of the Palace anymore? The clouds obscured everything, and that was just how the royals liked it. With the clouds blocking the lower tiers, they'd be able to blissfully ignore the people's suffering and continue being absurdly rich and extravagant. Back then, Narcia bought it completely, but now that she was Ellie, there was an incredibly bitter taste in her mouth. However... solving this problem on her own was going to be impossible, unless Azel and Narina - the King and Queen - were killed.

But they were all she had in terms of family now, weren't they? Could she really kill the last family left? The Princess was conflicted, unsure of what to think or do for the time being. She glanced back at Shiro, pulling her gaze away from the glass, pleased that her old informal name, Nee, was being used - somewhat. "Cress.." Ellie sighed, a pang of misery deep within her. Cress was long gone now, forever out of reach. "Cress was a dear friend of mine back on Earth. I'll... most likely never see her again." Ellie felt her voice shake but she swallowed the emotions, returning to the robot the Queen wanted her to be. "She will not be in the database, because she isn't in Ourania."

Narcia idly thought back to the distant past, one of her favorite inventions as a child. She created a bracelet that could shoot out a variety of electric attacks, and was small and easily hidden, so it was a good stealth weapon. Her father, Azel, had taken it and said he'd have the research teams modify it and the like, but most likely it was horribly out of date now. A part of her hoped to get her hands on the latest tech so she could tinker around and make new things, stronger things. But there was no time for that now, because Shiro had to get her dressed for the ball.

The dress was suitable, elegant and graceful. A suppressed part of Ellie was excited to put it on and feel the material on her skin, but another part of her knew that it was pointless - that the dress was simply to make her look the part, and that feeling such enthusiasm was silly to begin with. "You have a good eye, Shiro. Thank you." Was Narcia's response, even though Ellie wanted to squeal in a way she only ever did around Cress.

She gave Shiro a kind smile and prepared to exit the room, offering her to take her hand. "Would you be at my side for the ball? I would feel more at ease with a friend."




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Unfortunately, begging and screaming was commonplace in the little makeshift hospital. None of the other patients seemed remotely bothered by Cress's pain, it was far too often heard due to the under stocked and understaffed hospital that this was. Little more than a shack, in all honesty, and even though some people tried to give the Doc more supplies, it was never enough. It'd never be enough, and that was another of the sad truths Aya had come to terms with. It wasn't forever, though! Soon enough, once the royal family was killed, life would surely be better, right?

"Please bear it." Aya whispered gently, not liking her new friend being in pain. When Cress answered her question, it honestly confused the girl. What? "Um... what's a California? There isn't that in Ashia Palace." The only thing resembling a mountain Aya had ever seen were the mountains of houses where there was no longer enough space to build elsewhere. "There is a Sierra, though! A Sierra Square, but, um, it's on the Untouchable Tier, and we're not supposed to go there."

The blonde girl was quickly becoming suspicious that Cress might've come from one of the upper districts. Her clothes were weird, though, strange and unfamiliar and her accent was odd as well. Still, once the sheet was taken off, the Doc took a second look and smiled, patting her knee. "Good girl. You're all good to go!" Aya smiled cheerfully at her friend and pulled her to the front, muttering something about watching over her bike, then turned back to the bearded doc, fishing through her pockets for payment. "There's no need, Squid. You're always giving me more supplies, so this is on the house. No charge."

"Rubbles gotta stick together!" Aya grinned then went back to her bike. There wasn't much time, they needed her for a spy mission on the inner Ashia Palace, but the girl really wanted to get her friend to her home. If she was late, Count Serpina would be mad, and he was always so nice, Aya didn't want to make him upset at her! He was counting on her! So once again the bike floated up to the sky. "Show me which direction your home is!" Aya gestured at the poverty-stricken dump that was the Rubble Tier. "Aya has an appointment with a certain special person from the Untouchable, so Aya must hurry!" She leaned in to whisper, eyes sparkling. "Apparently the princess just came back after six years, so there's a big thing to celebrate!"


Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress was confused, she had never heard of California? Surely that must be a joke. Everyone knew of California! Land of the movies and stars! There was a Sierra, but it wasn't Sierra Nevada. She'd have to settle for the square, maybe the girl was just confused. She didn't prove to be too bright so it shouldn't have come as a surprise. However, the girl had called this place Ashia Palace. "Where is Ashia Palace? Is it in another country?" There were a lot of things that weren't right, nothing made sense, especially not the technology, or the way Aya had called this place Rubble Tier. Tier, as in there were more levels. So if she went up then maybe...

"Take me to the square." Cress said but Aya was talking to the Doctor. She then turned to Cress, saying she needed to meet someone, something about a ball. "Can I come?" A plan formed in Cress's mind, If she could get up to a higher tier then she could further her search and maybe then she would be able to find Ellie and get the heck out of this place that seemed to have no logic or plants. The lack of greenery was the most disturbing part of it all. Had they never heard of a garden? Or vegetables. Cress patted her pocket to see if they were still there and she sighed in relief, the packets of seeds were indeed still in her coat pocket. Luckily he had grabbed it before following her stupid cousin.

"If you take me, I'll give you these." Cress pulled one out, carrots. They could grow in nearly anything, the only problem was that they depleted the soil of its natural minerals, not that this place had any to start with. "It's food that you put in the ground and take care of and it'll grow." Cress explained, unsure if Aya even knew what a vegetable was. What did they eat here? Freeze dried astronaut food? Cress wasn't sure she wanted to find out despite the grumbling in her stomach. She turned to the Doctor who was standing outside the door and recalled the lessons on different cultures she had been taking. Cress bowed, "Thank you very much for your kindness!" She stood and turned back to Aya, waiting for an answer.

Cress wanted, no, she needed to go to the ball. What if they were holding Ellie captive in the castle as an alien and don't all sorts of painful experiments? Cress's hands balled into fists. She would bring Ellie home and leave all this weird tech behind, although no doubt Ellie was dying with curiosity about all the technology. Cress had never been like that. She checked her other pocket, her cell phone was still there. She snapped a picture, turning it off to save the battery. There was no way Cress was going to forget about all of this later if she ever did make it home, she would take pictures as a sort of evidence to show to her mother in explanation for their absence. No doubt Mom and Auntie were freaking out at that moment, calling the police. What would they tell them? Cress felt a pang of guilt, no doubt her Mom would call her brothers who would return home, freaking out just like they had after the accident when Cress's Father died.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Shiro frowned, she felt sad for the Princess. Suddenly, Shiro had an idea. "Pardon Princess, but what if I asked the Queen to bring Cress here, then you wouldn't be sad! Right?" Surely if they brought the Princess back then no doubt they could find this Cress person. Shiro thought this was a great idea and she congratulated herself for thinking it up. No doubt Nee would approve and then she would praise Shiro. The thought made her cheeks warm and Shiro looked at the floor to keep the Princess from seeing.

"Your words are too kind for me Nee." Shiro bowed, she looked up when the Princess asked if Shiro would be there. "Of course!" The servant chirped, "It's my job to take care of you after all." Shiro stood upright, wondering what she was going to wear. She had to adorn a color that complimented what the Princess was wearing, but didn't overshadow it. Ooh pink would work! Pink went with green very well and the dark tone of green would be more vibrant, therefore instantly drying the eye to the Princess. Yes, it was a great thought if Shiro did think so herself.

"Would you like me to draw you a bath to get off the earth smell or is it preferable to simply begin primping?" Shiro didn't know what earth smelled like, but she was curious. Up here the air smelled great, you couldn't even smell the gross poverty of the Rubble Tier. Shiro knew she had been rescued somewhere between the Tiers from a trash compactor, but she had no idea which Tier it was or why she had even been abandoned. She thought of the Queen as her Mother really considering the woman had acted protective over her. It was strange how she simply had handed Shiro over to Nee.

It almost made Shiro feel as though all the love and singing was for nothing. No, she wasn't going to think of that. Shiro would serenade Nee if that's what her new Mistress wanted. She would do anything the Princess asked! Even if it made her blush just thinking about it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Shiro's suggestion was definitely not something Ellie wanted to happen. She wouldn't, she couldn't force Cress to leave behind everything she knew, just for her sake. No, Cress needed to stay home, she needed to stay with mum and auntie and everyone else, because that was where she belonged, wasn't it? Cress belonged on Earth with everyone she loved, and Narcia belonged here, in the sky prison she called home. "Thank you, Shiro. Your offer made me happy, trust me." She lightly touched Shiro's golden hair, wondering if there was a way to at least give her a happier life. "But Cress is happier back on Earth where she belongs. It's better this way." She knew the girl wanted praise, she wanted to feel good, so Narcia took the reigns. "You're a kind girl. I'll be happy as long as you're happy with me."

Knowing that Shiro was going to be there eased Ellie's mind a little. Not only would it be nice to have a familiar face at her side, it also meant that Shiro wouldn't be somewhere else, tormented and afraid. She wasn't sure if her mother's cruelty to the servants had gotten worse over the years, but she always had been rather callous to anyone but herself and the King. "Your job is to be my friend. If you wish me to do something for you, I'd be glad to be of service, Shiro." The Princess did a little bow, lowering her head to the girl before standing herself back up.

"I can bathe myself, but if you could, you can prepare the cosmetics for the ball." Narcia said in a gentle, yet formal tone. Inside, Ellie wanted to try to open up, to be less formal to the poor thing but she couldn't, not yet. She was afraid the girl would faint on the spot if she were to speak colloquially. "I'll see you soon. It was nice to meet you, Shiro. I look forward to enjoying our time together as equals once we can."

It was already set in her mind that once she inherited the throne, she would set the servants free. There was no need of such a thing. She would also tend to the lower tiers to try and make their lives more tolerable. A good monarch was one that earned the hearts of everyone, rather than ruled in fear and ignorance. Once she was in the bathroom, Ellie was momentarily confused - it was a complicated new device. After she waved her hand and brought up the holo-screen, however, she learned the tricks to the bath and cleaned herself off quickly and efficiently. Cress had yelled at her before for taking too long in the shower, and the habit stuck.

Dressed in a towel, but with her hair mostly dried, Ellie returned to her room, slightly nervous of the fact that Shiro would see her exposed. "I'm ready." She said politely. "Please, you can say no to anything you don't want to do. I wouldn't like to force you, Shiro. Because we're friends."




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Maybe Cress was someone weird, because how could someone not know what the Ashia Palace was? She smiled at her friend seated behind her on the back and turned the gravity to send them higher into the air, flying to the the holes, through the pipes and the like, navigating the paths she knew very well. "Below us is Rubble Tier, where the best people in the world are." As they went up each tier - and there were many - Aya gave Cress each name, hoping one of them would spark a memory in the silly girl.

Finally they were at the Untouchable Tier, where the worst of the worst people lived, where Ashia Palace was. It was really high up, it was cold, but Cress wanted to know, so Aya would show her! She was quiet, though, super quiet. "No loud noises! If we're spotted, we'll die, Cress." Her voice was a low, tense whisper as they flitted through the streets, behind people's backs, doing whatever it took to not be seen. Finally she saw the base of the tower where the Royal Family lived, and she pointed way up the sky, into the clouds. "That's Ashia Palace, where the princess and her family of pigs are." Rare anger was on Aya's face and her arms were trembling. "Look how super rich they are while we Rubbles have to suffer. It's not right, nuh uh."

Everything was fancy and shiny and it hurt Aya's eyes. Clean, far too clean and it wasn't natural, not at all. It was a forced kind of cleanliness, one that scared and frightened her. Eventually, though, Aya parked her bike carefully behind a house, taking the strange little things. "This isn't food, silly." Aya giggled, pocketing the prize. "Food is these... synthesized paste tubes full of nutrients, didn't you know?" She stuck her tongue out playfully. "Tastes super icky, though, ugh."

The blonde leaned in again, another conspiratorial whisper. "Oh, but there are rumors that there are... hydro-hydropon.. some sort of magical thing that grows green stuff and animals for eating!" Aya shook her head in disbelief. "Why have that but not share it? That's so dumb!"

"Come here, Cress. This is Sierra Square, and where Count Serpina lives. He's the one that will sneak me into the ball! I'll ask if you can come too!" With that she pressed a secret button that only she knew existed and the wall seemed to warp and shift, revealing an opening only for the two girls. It was beyond fancy, super fancy, and Cress was probably super impressed by the decor. "Serpina is cool! He wants to help make life more fair for the Rubbles. He'll like you, I'm sure of it!" Her feet made excited pattering sounds as she dashed through the ornate halls, before she finally found him - an immaculately dressed man with a friendly and open smile unlike the rest of the stupid rich folk. "Ayanna! You've arrived! And you brought a friend as well?"

"Yes!" Aya jumped into his arms excitedly, almost exploding from happiness. "Her name is Cress and she's super cool!"

The man extended a hand in greeting to the short haired girl. "I am Count Serpina Dorones, but just call me Serpina. I'm nothing like those other, stuffy nobles. A friend of Aya is a friend of me."


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




It seems Cress had gotten lucky, Aya seemed entirely too pleased to help her out, not even considering that she could be an enemy. Apparently, meeting her once had made them best friends. Cress was skeptical, but the kid was helping her so she accepted it graciously. "You plant it dummy." Cress replied, cringing at her mistake. She already knew what Aya was going to do with it. "I'll show you how to use it, so don't just go eating them. Okay?" They rose through the tiers and Cress's guess had been correct. You did, in fact, move upwards through the tiers, the Rubble city disappearing into a place of moderate beauty. There was more green there and it made Cress sigh in relief to see something so natural.

Then they went to the top layer and she looked up at the castle, unable to see the top as the spire rose into the clouds, disappearing. "So this is why it's Untouchable." Cress whistled. "You see those trees? That packet is kinda like that." Cress jumped off of the bike, they were on a side walk, on either side a bubbling mini ecosystem that housed fish and plants. Cress blinked, she had never seen anything like this. Not even the aquarium was this extravagant.

One had to be careful, otherwise they may fall off and into the pond. She followed closely behind Aya, through the back. "Why would we die?" She frowned, "Are they strict here about the caste?" Cress whispered as they went inside. She stopped in her tracks. It was clean, the sort of unnatural clean that a hospital would have. The floor was polished so brightly that Cress could see her reflection. Her cuts and scrapes had all healed, probably because of the metal thing and all that was left were drops of blood. She looked up as Aya ran into a man's arms, greeting him. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance." Cress said with a smile, holding out her hand as he raised a brow.

He laughed, taking her hand and kissing it. "You sure don't speak like you're from the Rubble Tier." He seemed surprised and Cress shrugged. "I heard you can get me into the ball." He laughed again, ushering the two girls into a sitting area. Cress's stomach growled and she sat on the couch, practically sinking into it. There were snacks on the table as well as tea. "I thought you said food came from tubes." Cress nudged Aya.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Alright, but if you change you're mind than I'll gladly summon her." Shiro bowed. "It's much nicer here in Ashia I'm sure, but it's your decision." Shiro swelled with happiness at the praise. Maybe Nee was simply too shy to request it. Shiro would remember to request it to the Queen later. Maybe the Queen would allow the human girl to come on as a pet for Ellie? Yes, Shiro thought that was a great idea. She could practically hear the praise in her ears, Nee telling her about such a great and clever girl she was. Shiro smiled, she was to take care of the Princess's every need, no doubt Cress wanted this friend then. Yes?

"Oh no Princess, I could never ask that of you!" Shiro shook her head, holding up her hands and waving them. Shiro blushed as Nee bowed to her. "Princess, please stand up. What if someone walks in?" Surely Shiro would be severely punished if anyone bowed to her. Cress was simply a servant, nothing more, nothing less. A puppet, a tool for Nee to use at her disposal and if she ever saw fit to get rid of her than Shiro would have to accept that to. There were servants that had been fired and Shiro had never heard from them again. She had heard rumors of what they did to servants who had outlived their use and the thought of having such things done to her made a shiver tickle her spine.

"Yes Princess, the honor was all mine." Shiro went back into the closet, setting up the dresser with various lipsticks, eye shadows, etc. She had learned to do this from another servant and had practiced until it was perfect so that she could do not only do her own makeup, but the Princess's too should the Princess ever want it. Shiro decided to go for a more natural look, taking out complementary colors that would suit Nee's eyes and dress.

The Princess returned incredibly quickly, wrapped in a towel. Shiro turned around, not perturbed in the least at Nee's nude form. "I have your underwear," Shiro opened a drawer and pulled out the undergarments including a garter belt and corset.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Narcia and Ellie were two very different people, and the memories of both inhabited one body. Narcia questioned why she was being so kind to Shiro instead of treating her like the lowlife servant she was. Ellie tried to insist that she was a child, a human, and that everyone deserved to be treated fairly, to not have to live their lives in fear. Narcia countered, arguing that the same system existed on Earth, albeit differently. There were the super rich, and the not-so-rich who worked at their feet, right? And Ellie couldn't find a way to argue back, so she went quiet as Shiro pulled out the underwear.

A garterbelt, Narcia said with pride. The height of formalwear and what one should be proud to have available. Ellie simply stared at it in confusion, and the corset as well, despising how difficult it was going to make breathing. Narcia scoffed internally, berating Ellie for being so un-ladylike, for now realizing that true beauty required sacrifices. "That would be wonderful, thank you." Narcia said graciously, dropping the towel. "I'll leave it to you, then, Shiro."

Once she was dressed and made up, Narcia stood up with the grace of a noblewoman, proud and stunning, feeling perfectly at ease, though Ellie was struggling and clearly wasn't enjoying this whatsoever. Why was beauty so uncomfortable? Back when she made her own clothes at home, she made them pretty but also incredibly easy to wear without all of this fuss and pain. The worst was when Shiro was tightening up the corset - it was yet another prison, one that restricted even her own shape to fit whatever was seen as ideal in Ourania. "You may get dressed now." Narcia said as she prepared to leave the room to talk with her father. "Thank you again for the aid. I'm glad to have you."

Ellie missed home, she missed Earth, she missed hanging around with Cress and impressing her with her technological knowledge, she missed freedom. But this was her destiny, it seemed - this was the path her life was forcing her to take, and no matter what she felt on the matter, this was what she was doomed for, for the rest of her life. Even becoming Queen offered no release because, as Narcia kindly reminded, she would likely be considered 'unfit to rule' due to her time on Earth and be forced to marry and give him all of the political power. There was no way the nobles and the aristocrats would ever agree to removing the caste system.

"Hello, father." Narcia was cold and emotionless as she spoke, and there was no kindness from her father. "Had you been born a man, quelling the rebellion would've been easier." He said, voice soft but words hard and biting. "We wouldn't have had to send you away, since you'd have been able to fight." He stood to his full height, tall and intimidating. "Do not embarrass yourself with your silly earthly sensibilities. You are the Princess of Ourania and you are to act as such."

"Yes, father." Ellie said, not surprised in the least that there was no kindness at all.






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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Aya stared at the strange packet. So these things are like those tall weird things? That was weird, it didn't make sense. The only food most people not in the upper tiers were allowed to have was the food that she knew and recognized - the synthesized paste tubes. Sure, she had seen rich food, magic food before but she had no idea how it was created, nor did she ever feel the need to ask. "This doesn't look like those things at all." The girl said suspiciously. "These are so small, Cress, don't be silly."

So when Serpina explained to the girls about hydroponic gardens and artificial soil blah blah blah it didn't make sense and Aya didn't really care, either. It was rich people magic, that was all she cared about! She was impressed that Cress knew how to talk like the pigs up top, with those fancy flowery words. Aya could too, if she wanted - but she hated it and liked talking how she normally did. Wasn't that for the best?

"Food for Rubbles comes from tubes." Aya pouted, and Serpina looked displeased about that fact. "Just another thing that'll have to one day change." He said warmly. The girl then urged him to tell a story, the story of that one girl because Cress didn't seem as if she understood the danger just yet. So Serpina told the story of the girl of ten who had a sick little brother, so she snuck from the Gridiron Tier to the Lavish Tier to try and get medicine, and she was caught and tortured to death over a period of three weeks, while her little brother was sold as a slave and died later in slave-fighting ring.

"So we have to be super careful!" Aya shivered, remembering her own long lost sister who died simply because she was a Rubble.

Serpina then explained the plan, that he would introduce Aya as his daughter as he did many times before, and introduce Cress as a half sister from another mother who had proven her worth and grace as a noble. The man knew how to fake ID chips to trick the scanners - in truth, his own daughters had died long ago during the first war but their bodies were hidden away so they were never registered as officially dead.

"Aya's known as Aine Dorones at the balls." Serpina explained, then showed Cress the fake chip he'd later inject into neck. "You'll be her half sister, Aura Dorones."

"Here comes the fun part." Aya was jittery with excitement and Serpina clapped his hands - two maids appeared - without collars or anything to show they were servants, but were rather voluntary employees from lower tiers - whisking Aya and Cress away to be transformed from Rubbles into Untouchables, if only for a short while.

Aya was done first - looking completely different than she normally did, with brown hair to match Aine's, and lots of artsy stuff to make her face look like Aine's as well. She twirled in the fancy dress, still hating the corset but was fine with it if it meant she could spy in places Serpina normally couldn't! Sadly she had to leave her Gravity Drive off of her wrist, but otherwise, she was ready. The girl was almost bouncing up and down, waiting for Cress to appear.


Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress was very interested in the hydroponic garden. Her eyes were wide and sparkling as Serpina described the setup they had here in the Untouchable tier. "Wow," Cress marveled. "I've always wanted to make one, but I don't have the time with school and all..." She trailed off, wondering if she would ever return home to see her school, her friends. At least she wouldn't have to wear that stupid uniform, Cress thought on the bright side, but it was hard to see the bright side when you were wondering if you'd ever see your family again.

Cress listened to the plan, trying to remember the fake name. "ID chips?" Cress asked, confused. Like what they put in dogs so that when they ran away they could find them again? Were the people here trapped like animals? Soon she was whisked away up an elevator. Who the heck has an elevator in their house? Cress wondered, going up four floors to a new room. She was taken to a bathroom where a woman promptly stripped her. "Wait! I-I have stuff in there, don't lose it."

"Don't worry, it'll all be here when you return." The woman assured her and Cress was shuffled into a bath where she was scrubbed down. "I can do it myself!" Cress protested the entire time, they scrubbed everything from her neck to bottom of her feet, saying that this was what socialites did in preparation of big events like balls. Afterwards they dried her off and the real fun began. Fancy underwear and garter belts, squeezing into a corset. Cress leaned against the wall as they tightened it. "I can't breathe." She complained, face turning red. "Oh hush, you have plenty of room."[/color] Cress's eye twitched in annoyance.

Then there was makeup, they went through many shades attempting to find something right for her eyes, the unnatural pinkish red that made her stand out even among the people on their planet. "Those are some wonderful orbs you've got there. What sort of augmentation did you get to make them that color?" A maid asked politely while sewing a wig into Cress's real hair so that it was secure. "What? They're not contacts, they're real." The woman bent down, staring long and hard into Cress's eyes before nodding. "They're nice," she finally said, going through the closet to get out a dress. Technically, Cress was playing an imaginary half-daughter Serpina didn't have, therefore they simply needed a disguise.

Finally, Cress came down the stairs. Her feet were wobbly, it had been a long time since she last wore heels but once she got down the initial flight she straightened, smiling. Her dress was a beautiful peach number that looked marvelous with her eyes and skin tone. "How do I look?" Cress smiled. Aya no longer looked like Aya but like some much older girl. "You thought that was fun?" She asked, slightly out of breath from the combination of stairs and the corset.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Shiro assisted the Princess dutifully, dabbing makeup on Nee's face and cooing as to how beautiful the Princess looked. She tightened the corset, ensuring that there was plenty of room to breathe so that the Mistress didn't pass out and helped Nee into her dress. When Nee dismissed her, Shiro stood and bowed skipping back to her own room. She was so happy, she was receiving so much praise. The Princess was probably the best royal Shiro had met and she didn't mind serving her, unlike the Queen who hit and abused Shiro. So Shiro decided, she would do that thing for Nee and surprise her with her earthling friend. Maybe she would serenade them both. What if Cress was a boy! It was an earthly name after all, it could be ambiguous. Shiro shook her head, that wouldn't do, the Princess fraternizing with earthly men.

Maybe it was best that Shiro keep word of this human to herself. It was a romantic thought though, the Princess of a far off kingdom have illicit relations with a mere peasant. "Ah, Shiro!" The girl stopped, turning around with a smile. "Yes my Queen?" Shiro asked, walking up to the woman. "I trust everything went well and that the Princess is accepting of her position?" Shiro bowed, giving a short nod. "You may rise."

"The Princess is very happy to be home." Shiro replied. "My Queen, might I make a request on behalf of the Princess?"

"You may."

"There is an earthen named Cress. The Princess speaks fondly of her, I was wondering if it would be in the Princess's best interest to bring her earthly friend here."

"Hmm, that's a good thought Shiro. If the Princess mentions her again make sure to tell me, alright? I'll bring Her earthly friend here." Shiro nodded her head, clearly happy to be praised. The Queen pat her head lovingly, "You're doing well Shiro, keep up the good work."

"Yes my Queen!" Shiro chirped, bowing until the woman had passed. Shiro skipped into he room, going to prepare for the ball. Breakfast was there as well as a note that Shiro crumpled up, going to throw it in the wastebasket since she couldn't read. Shiro took a quick bath and did her hair, putting on dabs of makeup like sparkly eyeshadow and lip gloss. Finally she put a dress on, not bothering with corsets or garter belts. When Shiro finished she stood outside the Princess's door, raising her hand to knock.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Narcia spent the time prior to the ball memorizing faces and names of the important people who'd attend the ball. The Countess with the many daughters and as such many marriage alliances with other families was one in particular, the massive and threatening Cherubim family was certainly of note. There was also Dorones, whose daughter Aine was apparently a great beauty to behold. More names flashed her by and Ellie made sure to remember each one, to remember what area each family lived, who was allied with who, and who was possibly a threat. The Queen came by later to quiz her on her knowledge, but naturally Narcia excelled. Narina gave her a cold smile that had no real love. "Just as smart as you were before." She said in that voice of hers that Ellie already hated. "It's good that filthy earthen air hasn't spoiled your mind."

"Of course it wouldn't, mother." Narcia said pleasantly, emotionlessly, even as Ellie felt sad and lonely inside, retreating further inside of her head to let the Princess inside of her take control. "I am, after all, Princess Narcia Seraphim, with two exalted parents to sire me."

Once that was dealt with, she moved to return to her room, finding Shiro about to knock on her door. "Shiro, there you are." Ellie said, glad to come out around Shiro, even if the rest of the palace preferred the doll with no will of her own. She opened the door and beckoned the lady-in-waiting in. "If you don't mind, I'd like to hear stories to pass the time until the ball."

Hours later, the ball was in full bloom, her father the King giving a speech about her return and how joyous an occasion it was for Ourania to be graced with such beauty and intelligence. Ellen cringed a little inside listening to her father's far-too-descriptive poetry of her features, but Narcia happily ate it up. All the showed on her face was a mask of no emotion, nodding at everyone who shook hands with her to celebrate her return from Earth. Shiro was at her side, and perhaps it was her presence that helped keep Ellie from completely hiding inside of her mind.

That was, until she spotted a certain girl with eyes that she'd never ever mistake for someone else. Cress was here, with Aine Dorones for some reason. Why was Cress here? Wasn't she - this changed everything. She had to get Cress home somehow, Ellie had to find a way to first get Cress out of the ball - someone like her would most likely get in trouble somehow - and secondly, to have her sent back to earth in whatever way possible. This was the worst case scenario... but it was also, unfortunately, nice, to see her as well. Aine was speaking animatedly with someone, looking a little different from the image, but still quite beautiful, though it seemed she was clinging to Cress in a way that felt strange.

The best plan Ellie could think of was to pretend she had no memories whatsoever of Ellie, that she was Narcia, body and soul. Cress had come to save her, but she couldn't go home. This was her destiny now, after all.




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Aya did a little twirl, making sure to remember her name was Aine now, Aine, not Aya. She felt strange and weird in fancy clothes, but it was for Daddy's mission, so she had no choice! She stared at herself in the mirror, almost mesmerized by how she looked. It impressed her every time, and Aya knew something like this was like a dream to almost every Rubble girl there was. Once Cress was ready, she too looked incredibly pretty. "Cress is super pretty!" Aya said, almost glowing. "I mean - Aura, dear sister, you're quite beautiful!" Fancy talk still sounded weird in her mouth, but Aya knew she'd have to do it for now. "Remember, my name is Aine, and you're Aura!"

Serpina was giving them last minute tips of people to avoid, complete with pictures as he transported them to the ball on a super fancy floating capsule-car-thing that Aya loved riding in. It was cool, it was super cool, and it was unfair that the rich had things like this all the time! "I like my bike more." Aya murmured, but smiled as brightly as she could. "This is super fun though, Dad!"

"The mission is to find the Princess and figure out what kind of person she is." Serpina said one last time before it was ball time. "Do your best, but be careful. I won't be able to save you if you're spotted."

It was like stepping into a whole other world, a world where Rubbles didn't even exist. It was so clean and bright and the people were so colorful and beautiful and super super rich and stuff, flaunting their wealth and their might with all they could. Aya didn't like it, even as people greeted her. "This is my half-sister from another mother, Aura." Aya did a little curtsy, squeezing Cress's hand tight. "This is her first time, so please forgive her!" With that they shuffled through crowds of people - occasionally forced to do a dance and make more small talk until they found a pink-dressed short blonde girl next to someone who the Queen was parading as the Princess, clad in green and stunningly beautiful.

She looked as Aya expected, honestly. Those ice cold eyes with no emotion, that stoney face that never changed, she was soulless and evil, just like the rest of the royal family. Aya hated her, she hated her, she hated everything about that stupid princess! "There she is." Aya said, hiding her hate with a shaky smile, pointing subtly in the direction of Narcia. "She doesn't look very nice at all."


Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress did not enjoy walking in high heels. She did, however, enjoy riding in a weird pod down the road and up to the castle staircase. She marveled at how tall and isolated it was, spiraling up so high that it touched the clouds. That was some view the royal family had. No doubt they did it to cover up the filth of the lowest tier and for some reason, the thought irked her. Here they had all this greenery and beauty, while down there the people were suffering without decent access to health care. Cress's hands balled into fists. She was definitely going to save Ellie from this place. It was weird and backwards.

Sure they had great technology, but no empire should be built upon the poverty of its people. If Cress had to bet, she'd guess that the people had to pay insane taxes on mundane things so that the people up here could line their pockets with blood money. Her hands balled into fists. Yes, Cress was definitely going to get Ellie out of here. No way would she let her sister suffer like those on the lowest tier. Finally, they were inside and Aya curtsied and spoke like someone from an upper class family. When Aya bowed and introduced her Cress copied the girl's form, unsure of social parameters and not wanting to unintentionally make a rude gesture. A man kissed her hand, some sort of duke. "The pleasure is mine," she smiled flirtatiously. There was no time for games, Cress had to find- Aya tugged on her and Cress's eyes widened.

"That's no princess." Cress gasped. "That's my cousin." What was Ellie doing parading around playing dress up? Wasn't she nervous? What if she was kidnapped and being held hostage against her will? What if the royal family was using her as some sort of substitute for their real Princess? Cress gathered her dress, she was prepared to march over and grab her cousin and get the heck out of there, but Aya held her back, clinging to her. So Cress smoothed out her dress.

She'd have to be patient if she wanted to get close. Cress met Ellie's eyes and was surprised by the coldness in her expression. Ellie was definitely being brainwashed, her cousin wasn't some cold hearted frigid bitch. None of this was making sense. "Don't worry Ellie," Cress murmured. "I'll save you." Her voice was too quiet to be heard over the music and Cress turned to Aya, smiling. "Would you care to dance sister?" She questioned, holding out her hand. Cress and Ellie had taken lessons at cotillion together. While Cress certainly wasn't the best dancer, she was still good.

Aya though would need guidance. Cress wasn't sure if Aya had ever danced before. "It's okay, I'll guide you." She whispered, wondering if this would trigger Ellie's memory. Surely her cousin was still in that body, waiting to be rescued.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Shiro told Nee a story about a far away planet she had heard about from another servant. It included a girl that was a super spy and used cybernetic enhancements to steal from the rich and give to the poor like a modern day Robin Hood. Shiro seemed very excited by the idea of this, everyone getting to live equally with no one having to serve one another. Yes, a world like that sounded marvelous to the petite blonde. She used great detail and expression to describe everything, down to the rhinestones on the stolen jewel. Then it was time for the ball and Shiro led Nee to the ballroom. Yes, this was going to be very exciting indeed. It was a time when Shiro could sneak as many treats as she wanted and got to stand and look pretty rather than running around and taking care of whims.

Shiro stayed quiet, such was her job. On special occasion nights the collar was set automatically so Shiro could only speak when spoken to. The others servants didn't get to speak at all. They were to be like shadows, sometimes seen if one wanted a cocktail or food, but otherwise they were to stay silent as a mouse. Shiro however, got to stand right beside the Princess and smile prettily at everyone that walked by. There were quite a few lords sizing her up like their next meal but Shiro had grown used to the leering, it was a part of the food chain after all.

Chills still crept up her back though, she hated the eyes on her body, as though imaging what she would look like without her dress. Shiro remained perfectly pleasant though, knowing that they were staring at the collar, wondering if there was a way to buy her or possibly being disgusted that she was a mere servant. Shiro didn't care, Nee was a nice Mistress and she only wanted to serve her.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Ellie enjoyed the story, it reminded her of Robin Hood from earth, of a gallant hero trying to fix the wrongs of the world, to bring about equality and allow the poor the chance to live comfortably. If only something like that could exist in this world, if only there was someone plotting to overthrow the Seraphim family. But Ellie still felt conflicted, because cruel or not, they were still her family - her real family. She didn't want to admit it, but even back no Earth she always wondered where she came from and why she couldn't remember anything before Leona and Cress. She finally found the answer she was searching for - with a whole slew of other things as well. She praised Shiro for her story before the ball.

Cress was here. Cress had somehow found her - but to what end? Even if she seemed to have been adopted into the Dorones family, given that Aine was attached to her hip, what could she do? There was no way for her favorite person, her treasured cousin to be able to rescue her from this destiny. Even if she tried, Cress would likely end up dead - or worse. She couldn't let that happen, so Ellie hid behind Narcia as the princess in her nodded icily at everyone, with Shiro dutifully at her side, perhaps the only good thing left in her life.

Far too many people were eyeing up her servant for her liking, so Narcia turned to Shiro pleasantly. "Ah, Shiro, that woman over there has my same necklace. Do you mind heading to my room to retrieve one that's even more magnanimous?" It was a lie, of course, but Narcia was skilled at this. "Take a long time to consider what would best compliment my outfit, as long as you need."

Then Cress and Aine started dancing - Cress seemingly taking the lead with Aine doing her best to keep up. The steps were familiar and painful flashbacks returned in her mind, searing. Cress was trying to give her a message, trying to stir her memory. She couldn't bear it and she couldn't react, either - if she did, people would definitely notice, would they not? But.... she desperately, desperately wanted to see her cousin, even if it was only one last time. So the Princess stood from her seat to go mingle with the crowd, walking towards Aine and Cress when suddenly someone she memorized from the videos approached her. Itward Cherubim, eldest son of the prestigious Cherubim family and the the favorite of her own parents for her husband. He leered at her, sizing her up and before Narcia could prevent it, Ellie moved her hand to her hair, brushing it behind her ear.

Normally this action wouldn't have meant anything, but for anyone who knew Ellie, it was something she did whenever she felt nervous or afraid. And unfortunately, her cousin had most likely seen it.

"Princess Narcia, I am Lord Itward." The tall man - maybe mid twenties - took a bow and kissed her hand. "May you do me the honor of a dance?" And no matter how much Ellie wanted to retreat and hide and escape, Narcia returned with a curtsy, a very subtle smile gracing her face. "It is my pleasure, Lord Itward." And as they started the steps, Ellie hated it, she hated how touchy he was, how his hands roamed her body in ways that felt incredibly uncomfortable and gross. But she was the Crown Princess, and she wasn't allowed to fight back.

Perhaps worst of all was Narcia's confusion, stating that it was a woman's role to please a man, and that Ellie was doing a fine job.




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




This whole ball was foul and smelled of rich pig stench. Aya hated it, she really did, she wanted to bomb and destroy the whole building and show them that the Rubbles were suffering, that hoarding all the goods was evil and bad and wrong if others needed it too! At least Cress - or Aura - seemed to be doing well, interacting and following her lead for the general mannerisms that one was expected to make. She had been afraid - and it still was weird from all the eyes on her, from all the pigs probably trying to rate her body for their disgusting piggish needs. Aya didn't like it at all, not even a little bit. But this was necessary, they had to make contact with the ice Princess, with eyes as feeling as darkness. Aya liked being pretty yes, but not this kind of pretty, not to fill these people's fantasies.

Then Cress saw Princess Narcia and a very surprising thing was said. Apparently they were cousins, and that Narcia wasn't a princess? Aya blinked but didn't say anything, she had to think. This explained a lot, explained why Cress didn't seem to understand about the Rubbles and the other lower tiers, and why she had those weird seed things that could transform into those tall things called trees. Cress was an Untouchable then, right? She was another of the rich - but Cress was like Serpina, he was cool and nice, and Cress was too! Cress wasn't mean, she seemed to care and Aya liked talking to her, even if she was an Untouchable.

"So you're in the royal family too, Aura?" Aya's voice was near silent, because she didn't want to risk anyone overhearing. This was a spy mission, after all. Aya followed Cress's lead as they approached the Princess, and Aya was very glad that pulling on Cress made her stop from doing anything crazy. If they weren't careful, death would happen, wouldn't it? Then once they were close, Cress turned to her, a smile on her face, asking for a dance. "Why yes, I'd love to, sister!" Aya said, somehow being able to step along with Cress even if she didn't know the dance itself. She relaxed and let Cress play the man's role, making it easy for Aya to look as if she knew what she was doing.

"She's coming." Aya whispered, noticing the Princess standing from her throne to approach - until she was interrupted by possibly the most dangerous and grossest of all the younger pig filth. Aya knew her face from previous balls, and even once when he danced with her. Chills went up the girl's spine as she remembered it. "That's Itward Cherubim." Aya whispered quietly. "He's bad, he likes to touch and then do weird dirty things and hurt girls when they try to say no. It's not a good kind of hurt, it's a bad kind and Aya doesn't like it."

And the hands started moving, touching more than they should. Aya tried to carefully steer Cress away, to remain unseen by the disgusting man. "Let's go before he sees us. Her voice was almost inaudible, only heard by Cress. "Aya doesn't want him to dance with me again."


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Shiro left dutifully, which was a thankful thing for Ellie. While she had no choice in the matter but to be subjected to all of the stares and internal evaluations, there was no need for Shiro to have to feel uncomfortable as well. Narcia scoffed in her head at the idea of showing kindness to a servant, once again questioning why it was so bad to be admired by the men. After all, a woman's virtue was to be beautiful and flawless, was it not? The more male gazes you stole, the more power you had - and it wasn't as if such a thing didn't exist on Earth, either.

Ellie wasn't enjoying Itward's roaming hands whatsoever, and she was growing more afraid by the second, feeling intensely uncomfortable at everything but was unable to prevent it lest she caused a scene. Her heart burned with shame at being so weak, especially in front of Cress. Whatever respect her cousin had for her most likely disappeared. What was dignity anymore? Ellie decided to try and distract herself, to pull her mind away from her ordeal. King Azel was drinking with a man Narcia faintly recognized as the leader of the Seraphim Military, general something-or-other. Apparently he and Azel were old friends since childhood, the general was once nothing but a page for Azel in the very beginning. What intrigued Ellie the most was the lack of a collar - did Azel release him from service upon being crowned King? She turned her gaze to Narina who appeared to be scheming with two other noblewomen, often casting a glance at her, coldly appraising her torment from the sidelines.

Something odd happened when Ellie looked at Aine. The brunette was familiar, and down the roads of memory Narcia recalled that she and Aine were once friends, a long long time ago. Aine was odd for a daughter of a noble - she was always telling Narcia about how she disliked the nobility and the caste system and how she wanted something different. Honestly, Aine was the last person - other than Cress - that Narcia expected to see at the ball. A cold part of Narcia wondered how she hadn't been executed yet for her ridiculous ideas. But before Narcia could ponder more, Cress made her approach, somehow peeling Itward off of her and she was lead away from him - Aine lost in the crowd.

"Hello there, Auna." Narcia said icily, blocking Ellie out. The girl wanted to at least thank her but both sides of the Princess knew that it was best if Cress didn't get any ideas about rescuing her or anything. It was dangerous, absurdly dangerous. "I am Princess Narcia, returned home from Earth after six years, to my family. Thank you for attending my homecoming." She bent slightly to kiss the back of Cress's hand, feeling awkward the entire time. She gave her a pointed, emotionless smile. "Should you not return to your family? One wonders what trouble you might get into if you were to lose little Aine."

Cress would get the idea, right? She'd realize that it was too risky and give up, wouldn't she? "Who knows what eyes must be watching your sister this very moment, Auna Dorones."





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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Wait, what? Not from this planet? But the only planet really known to inhabit humanoid life was this one - as well as Earth. Wait, Aya was confused. Cress came from earth, then? She laughed as instructed, hoping it fooled everyone into mostly ignoring her, but inside the girl was incredibly puzzled. So Cress might've known Princess Narcia back on earth, then? But - but that wasn't good at all, was it? That meant that Cress was going to try and take her back, probably? Probably! Narcia was too valuable a pawn, there was no way they'd let an earth girl take her back.

But then Cress went and pulled her into the arms of some other nobleman, whose name started with something like an L but she didn't remember and she was being spun around and lifted and a whole bunch of weird stuff that Aya didn't like at all! Worse was Cress stepping between Itward and Narcia and bugging about - the eldest son of the Cherubim family seemed a little frustrated and was about to take the Princess back so Aya did what she could to help! "Thank you for the dance, sir." Aya curtsey'd the man and carefully made her way to Itward, tapping his shoulder with a demure smile. "Itward Cherubim, it has been a while. Would you like a dance?"

The man grinned and took her into his arms greedily and Aya wanted to cry and whimper but she kept her mask on, she held it in. Cress and the Princess - Ellie or something Cress had said way back, that was her name, wasn't it? - were talking, about something or other so she was probably fulfilling the spy mission that way. Once Itward seemed to have forgotten about the Princess for the time being, Aya finished the dance, peeling away from Itward. "Thank you. I must excuse myself, but it was a pleasure."

Aya needed to drink. She really, really needed to drink, so she snuck her way through the floor and exited the dance area. So Aya walked, panting, glad to be free where she found a tiny blonde girl - shorter than she herself, if such a thing was possible, holding a drink with a servant's collar. She looked like a little doll.

"Hello!" Aya said cheerfully, walking up to her. "I'm feeling a little tired, do you have any suggestions to drink?" Honestly, all the brightly colored concoctions were alien and strange and Aya had no idea what was good and what wasn't. "I am Aine Dorones, by the way."


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




And as such, the ball went on, but all Ellie knew was that Cress was there, standing before her, seeming as if she wouldn't just leave. Unfortunately, it was just like her to be stubborn about this. To take it further, it would take quite a lot of effort to convince Cress that she was a lost cause, that it was her destiny to live out this life in the prison of a palace, in the role of a Princess. She didn't take the warnings very seriously at all, Cress had no ideas how perilous the royal family was, how much danger she was in. If anything were to happen to her dear cousin, Ellie would never ever forgive herself.

"This ball is quite the event, is it not? The esteemed King and Queen have been awaiting my return for quite some time now." Narcia trained her cold ice-like eyes on Cress's warm amber orbs, a distant and formal smile on her face. "As you know, I was born and raised here until I was ten years of age before being sent to Earth. I am here now, where I belong, at long last." Ellie wanted to cry, she didn't want to say these things to Cress, she didn't want to but she knew it was the only thing she could do. Cress needed to return home, didn't she?

Ellie's face flushed for a second when Cress spoke of Itward, but Narcia gladly took over. "In a family as influential as he is in, one does not need manners." A warning was clear in her words, that the Cherubim family was not to be trifled with. "Some say the Cherubim family could rival my own Seraphim family if they wished, Auna. They are esteemed to be quite powerful." Ellie felt like hugging Cress, but she knew it was impossible. Never again would they simply be Ellie and Cress. There were so many more things she wanted to do with her, so many fun times they could've had left, but now they'd never get the chance. "It is easy for them to crush those that stand in their way."

An unreadable emotion was in her ice blue eyes. "Their motto is that one cannot resist the flow of fate's rivers." Narcia explained, maintaining her forlorn and distant expression. "Once something is set in stone, there is nothing anyone can do to change it, dear Auna."

Ellie wanted to puke in disgust at herself, and she wondered exactly where Shiro had gone off to. Was she safe in her room, hiding from the crowd? That would certainly be for the best.




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Now that was interesting, wasn't it? She was the Princess's lady in waiting? Aya felt giddy - but then she realized that no, this wasn't a good thing in the slightest. What horrible fate had this poor girl suffered at the hands of that ice cold Princess? She was nowhere as cool (or was hot the right word?) as Cress's firey eyes that she could see even from where she stood, away from the dancing and the mess of bodies - though from the slowing of the music, Aya knew time was running out.

"Thank you, Shiro. You're such a good girl!" Aya knew life as a servant must be difficult, if not worse than being a Rubble since it meant you had to work and serve the disgusting pigs your whole life and be disposed of once you were unfit to serve. There was no happiness, no dignity. "Green, please!" She thought about patting Shiro's cute little head, to squeeze her hand to try and comfort her, but there were too many people watching. So instead she gave the girl her best radiant smile, a way to wordlessly tell her that there was still hope, that there were some good nobles. (Even if she was a fake).

Enjoying the fruity green flavor, Aya traversed back into the maze of bodies until she finally reached Cress and Princess Narcia. She tugged insistently on Cress's arm. "Auna, father wants a word with us." Aya said urgently, using the straw in her mouth as an excuse to not have to smile at the princess. "We should go." And then her heart stopped when Princess Narcia spoke, eyes narrowed, freezing her on the spot.

"Aine... why do you look different from what I recall?"


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Her cousin was unreachable, a sheet of ice that was only getting thicker with each stroke of her words, like painting a masterpiece over a previously existing picture. Cress was tired of it, she was tired of this Narcia, or whatever the supposed princess called herself. She knew Ellie was trying to protect her, to push her away so that she would go home and forget about her, but there was no way, no way Cress would leave family behind. Not after Dad. Cress's hands had unknowingly balled into fists. She wanted to punch the woman before her, to put Ellie out of her misery and kidnap her and take her back home, to convince her cousin this was all some twisted dream but there was no way she could accomplish such a thing with all of these eyes on her. So Cress tittered appropriately, as though she and the Princess were having a delightful conversation about dresses or politics or whatever a Princess spoke about.

"Hmm your earth family must be concerned as to where you've run off to then without so much as a notice. Don't you have any sense of loyalty?" Cress was trying to hit where it would hurt the most. Auntie, she had taken Ellie in when the girl had no one else and now Ellie would simply abandon her for a family that had thrown her away? "While your homecoming is a spectacular event, I'm sure there are some aspects you must miss of earth. Do you not?" The girl wearing her cousin's face said it was appropriate of someone of such status to act how they pleased. It was disgusting. Ellie wasn't like this, Ellie would have been clueless as to how to go about someone touching her.

"But bridges can always be built over rivers and dams can flood and redirect their path." Fate? Cress didn't believe in such things. They were to forge their own destiny, not walk some predetermined path set by boundaries and precedents. That's what fate was about! If Ellie was just going to give up so easily, then Cress may as well let her stay and rot in this palace. Instantly she felt regret for thinking about that. There was no way, no way Cress would let them do this to her, let them brainwash Ellie to make her a puppet for the monarchy. Then Aya, came tugging at Cress's sleeve saying that their fake father was getting worried and wanted to check on them or leave or something of the sort. Cress wasn't really listening. Instead she dipped into a bow, there was no warmth in her expression, no hint as to what could be flickering behind her fiery eyes. Something was evident though, that Cress was furious.

"Thank you, Princess for your time. I should hope to see you again," with that Cress turned away, tugging Aya along before she could answer the Princess and destroy their cover. When they reached Serpina once more, Cress smiled, pretending they were talking about something incredibly pleasant. "You need to know things about the Princess? I can tell you everything."


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Shiro glowed beneath the praise, her eyes lighting up. It was obvious the royals had her trained, that the rules had been beaten into her although there were no signs of abuse on her skin. The evidence was on her back and underneath the collar, somewhere no one could see. It was accepted among nobles to do such things, but a sort of unspoken rule that they needed to cover this up with makeup or finery. Most of Shiro's abuse came in words and small inflections from the collar, a shock, an hour of no voice, a consequence that to a servant was like a scolding, but to anyone else would have been plain assault. Although, if you were on a high enough tier you could get away with such things. Kidnapping from the lower tiers wasn't uncommon, although most slaves were abandoned at birth in the Rubble tier, unable to feed another mouth as they were already starving themselves.

Shiro herself had come from the tier below, a tier no one cared to acknowledge existed, not even by the Rubbles. "Excellent choice," she picked up the glass cup carefully, handing it over to the girl. Shiro was not allowed to speak anymore, not unless the noble prompted further. She waited for Aine to leave, watching as the girl walked across the room to the girl speaking to Nee. Her eyes like fire while Nee's were like ice. It's too bad it had to be a nobleman that the Princess married, otherwise Shiro thought the two would make a great match. Fire and ice, ying and yang. She shook her head, casting away such silly things.

Relationships of the same gender were tolerated on the lower tiers, but up here it was an explicit thing that could take away your caste and have you expunged from the community, so affairs happened privately, some nobles staying single on purpose and employing only servants of one gender. Shiro had heard rumors, but that's all they were.

That must have been Auna, the way Aine was prodding at her to go. Once she was finally gone, Shiro made her way across the dance floor. She was stopped first by a noblewoman who squealed in delight, hugging Shiro against her like a stuffed animal from the toy shop. "Oh how cute, you're coming home with me deary. Positively adorable."

"I'm sorry Madam, but I'm loyal to my Princess." She sighed, shaking her head. "Figures, the Queen always picks the best ones." She set Shiro down on her feet and the girl quickly walked away, back to the Princess's side like a silent shadow.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Ellie was no longer responsive, allowing Narcia to gleefully take over, blocking out the emotional distress of the silly earth girl. Unfortunately for the Princess, it seemed ingrained into the brain to prioritize Cress's safety, so it wasn't as if Narcia could try and expose her for the fake she was. Deep within the princess was Ellie, huddled into a dark corner of her mind, wishing that this was just some horrid nightmare and that she could return home, that she could go back to the life she knew and loved. But that was impossible, because fate has dictated she return to Ourania, where she came from originally.

"Destiny cares not for emotional ties." Narcia said pleasantly, staring into those fiery embers with the force of a blizzard, making nothing but the ball-appropriate faces. "Nor does it care for loyalty. What happens shall happen." The ball swelled and swarmed around the girls, like the wind circling the eye of a storm, featureless and blurred together into nothingness. If they took one thing went out of line, unspeakable tragedies would begin. "With the wondrous technology we both know of, what is there to miss on Earth?" Narcia deftly evaded the question entirely.

It was just like Cress to believe in fighting destiny, in forging ones path. Ellie wanted to reach out, she wanted to believe in Cress, but she knew the risks, and she knew that no one could stand against the might of the Seraphim family. Anyone who tried was met with a fate worst than death, one beyond the imaginable. If it ever happened to Cress, if she was forced to become that, Ellie would rather kill herself than continue this life. None of this had a chance to come to the surface with Narcia in control, however. "Well, the Cherubim's motto sure is interesting, is it not? One must be careful. Their eyes are everywhere."

Here was the problem, though. Aine was different, by the time Narcia was sent to Earth, there were already plots in place to have Aine killed, and it was incredibly unlikely that she'd have been able to survive the series of political traps before her. There's no way the child could be alive here today. While Ellie loved Cress and needed her alive and safe to function, there was no such attachment for whoever was posing as Aine. So, naturally, Narcia questioned it which prompted Cress to take Aine and leave, saying a standard farewell. But before that happened, one thing reflected in the fake Aine's eyes. Utter and desperate fear.

Narcia caught a glimpse of Shiro and went over to her, her usual cool expression on her face, taking her servant's hand and bringing the two back to her father, Azel. "I must apologize, father, but I must turn in for the night. I have only but returned from earth and am quite exhausted, to say the least." With that, the King stood and began the closing speech, and Narcia took Shiro back to her room, but before she could, Itward was there, somehow getting ahead of her.

"Welcome back, Narcia." He said salaciously. "It has been a long time, hasn't it?"

"Please excuse me. I must rest." Narcia sported a chilly glare. No one was here to listen now. But the man only stepped closer, grin widening, backing the princess to the wall and placing his hand on it, almost pinning her in place. "It's quite interesting that Aine Dorones is still alive. I wonder what your thoughts are on that?"

Then Narcia smiled. "Who knows?" She deftly twisted his arm, freeing the path for her and Shiro to retreat into her room, leaving the eldest Cherubim son behind for the time being. Ellie dug through her past self's memories, recalling something quite interesting. Years back, many years in the past, it was known that there were three particularly skilled children for the younger generation. Itward Cherubim for his military expertise, Aine Dorones for her charisma and charm, and Narcia Seraphim herself, the wizard of technology. Narcia wondered if there were new threats just waiting, after these past six years.

"My apologies, Shiro. I should have remained at your side." Ellie was back and she was sincere in her apology. With that, she got to work - having stealthily pickpocketed several nobles during the ball, their devices strewn about her room. She began tinkering, toying, playing, until about an hour later, Ellie's knowledge of the current technology was, for the moment, acceptable. She created a small, tiny thing - as well as an assortment of makeshift tools that would suffice for the time being. Narcia pressed a button and an electro-magnetic wave was released, frying any spying devices that might've been in her room.

"I call this the Privacy Module!" Ellie exclaimed with dramatic fevor, feeling better after digging into technology. "With a few upgrades, it should be able to drown out my conversations with a noise-blocking sound. For now, though, this will have to do." Her eyes were shining. "So, Shiro.... can you tell me all of the secret exits to the lower tiers?"

Cress wasn't going to give up, that much was certain. And the fake Aine was proof that she had somehow gained at least two allies. For now, convincing her cousin to leave was going to be impossible, but maybe, just maybe, if Ellie did her best from her room, just maybe they could accomplish something.






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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Aya had enough of these stupid pigs, she had more than enough, she just wanted to leave, to get out of this stupid place. The Princess knew, she somehow knew, and that meant trouble, didn't it? Still, with how much Cress and Narcia - Ellie - whatever - spoke, it seemed her friend had gotten a lot of information. Especially if they once knew each other in the other world, in earth or whatnot. Still, her voice caught in her throat and her feet wouldn't move because the Princess knew with a single glance. How was that even possible unless - unless - did Aine and Narcia once know each other?

The drink tasted amazing, though, so Aya greedily took a refill at the drink stand before exiting the ball with Serpina - who had spent most of the time speaking to other nobles - and the three left the ball, the man announcing their exit to the Queen who was nearby.

"Do come again." She said, venomous sugar lacing her words. "I'm sure the princess would love the company. Especially you, Auna." Her eyes locked on Cress's for longer than Aya liked. "You're welcome any time."

"Thank you, your majesty." Aya did a deep bow and scurried with Cress to the podcar thing as Serpina and the Queen exchanged a few pleasantries. And finally, they were free from the pig stench and were returning to the Dorones estate in Sierra Square. Almost free at last. The first thing Aya did was go back to her normal clothes, especially her favorite green jacket and she smiled at Serpina and Cress.

"You did good, both of you." He said with a smile. "I'm going to assume the mission was a success."

Aya glanced at Cress, grinning as she drank the green fruity drink. "Tell us everything! Who was the Princess, and how do you even know her?" Perhaps Aya meeting Cress was the greatest possible thing that could happen for the rebels. At the moment, Aya seemed to think so.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




"The pleasure was mine," Cress bowed to the Queen, her heart was racing, but Cress remained calm. She smiled, turned, and left, getting into the pod with Aya and waiting for Serpina before the pod took off back towards Serpina's house. It was only back in the room, alone, that Cress threw a fit, ripping apart an entire pillow in her rage. She calmed herself, breathing hard and attempting to clean up a mess but one of Serpina's woman cleaned it up for her, helping Cress out of the dress and wig so that her hair was short once more. Good, having long hair, being looked at by greedy men who only wanted your body for a political pawn, it was disgusting.

Back on earth, she would have slapped men like that. Men who touched girls like they were property and not people. Cress didn't care what anyone said, she would change fate, make them all regret taking Ellie here. Yes, Cress would make every one of them pay. She'd tear down this monarchy, plant trees in the rubble tier, ensure that the people below would flourish as a way of protest. She turned towards the dresser, where Serpina had, had his people lay out a pair of clothes for Cress so that she would fit in. Her old pajamas had been thrown away, only her hiking boots remained which she tied up with relief, standing in her much more comfortable shoes. Heels were dreadful, how anyone managed to wear them was beyond her.

Finally, they were back downstairs. Cress had hardly touched the food at the ball but now she was ravenous and ate what was spread out before them, knowing that she probably wouldn't have a meal this good in a long time. Finally, the pressing question came. What could she tell them about the Princess? Where to start? Cress sighed, taking in a breath and a long drink of water. Finally, she spoke, starting from the beginning. "Ellie came to us after I was in a car accident. I lost my Dad, but I gained a cousin. We were the same age, or so we assumed. She was an undocumented citizen and not a one person knew where she had come from. My Aunt took her in, she was going through a tough time too."

Cress stopped, hesitating. "After the accident, we moved to my Aunt's house in Sierra Nevada, California. Ellie, she was so timid at first, although in retrospect it makes sense considering she had no memory." Cress scratched the back of her head. "She's weak, Ellie. Her mental fortitude is strong but physically... She was never a great fighter. I tried to teach her everything I knew, I used to wrestle with my brothers a lot and I was always outside climbing trees and stuff, gardening. Ellie was more of an indoor sort of person, she liked fooling around with technology and sewing. She's smart, Ellie, but she has a bad habit of shutting people out."

"I'm the only person she opens up to. Or at least, I used to be." Cress's shoulders slumped a tiny bit, she took a long drink to avoid talking, wiping her mouth on the back of her arm. "We took dance lessons one year, I remember she was so patient and good at everything and I got really frustrated and would snap at everyone. She would come over and show me what I was doing wrong." Cress felt so bad now, looking back, yelling and Ellie having to calm her down every time she acted up. "I was her protector but I guess now... She doesn't need me."


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




The servant was all too happy to leave. She followed after the Princess, waiting patiently. Once they were in the room, the setting on the collar switched automatically and Shiro could speak freely once more. She watched the Princess curiously, wondering what she was doing with all of those gadgets. "Princess, if you need tools I can simply fetch you some?" She suggested although the girl seemed perfectly content to stay in place and hide with Nee in her room until all of the guests left. So Shiro watched quietly, wondering if the Princess wanted to get into her nightgown.

Shiro went into the closet, pulling two nightgowns down from the racks. "Would you prefer the light or the heavy gown tonight Princess?" Shiro asked, knowing it could get cold. The two were identical in color and cut, only the material was different, one good for summer nights, the other for colder winter nights. If Shiro remembered correctly, right now on Earth, where Ellie had come from, was a season called summer. That meant heat right? Here though, it was different. The highest tier had its own weather seeing as to how tall it was. Shiro herself sometimes had to carry around a sweatshirt, tying it around her waist when it was no longer used and she couldn't spare the time to go back to her room.

The Princess didn't seem to be listening though. She was building something, holding it up proudly and saying that it would throw off any spies in the room. "That's brilliant Princess," she praised with a smile, wondering what she wanted it to be used for. Shiro blinked in confusion, realizing that the Princess wanted her to tell her things. Secret things that happened in the tiers below. Shiro thought about it, she placed the dresses down on the bed, careful not to allow them to touch any of the things the Princess had built. "There are a few rumors, but nothing confirmed." Shiro hesitated, knowing it would be forbidden for her to speak of such things. "I do know one thing that's real. The rebellion, they've gained a new leader. Her name is Xion and she comes from the middle tier." That was all Shiro really knew, anything else was simply rumors.

Regardless, Shiro told the Princess everything else she knew, every scandal, every rumor, any whisper from the servants although she was careful so as not to spread any unnecessary rumors.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Shiro was always so helpful, she didn't deserve any of this. Ellie was felt some guilt in forcing the girl to help her with her scheming. If they were ever caught, Ellie knew very well that Shiro would be the one who would take the fall. She couldn't let that happen, and if possible, it would be best to keep Shiro out of her plans as well. Of course, escaping with her was the goal, with her and Cress and maybe even that fake Aine, that would be the best possible solution. For now however, Shiro was her only source of information and her only ally she had access to. Cress and fake Aine would be fighting from their end, so it was up to Ellie try and reach Cress's hand with one of her own. Narcia laughed in her head, mocking her for bothering to try, but decided to simply let them try and fail and realize how futile it was.

"I'll take the heavy one, thank you." Ellie said, and stood to get ready to change when she realized that, perhaps, Shiro would be more at ease if she was allowed to do small, simple tasks for her. Ellie didn't want to force her, though, because Shiro was her friend more than anything else. "Do you - would you like to change me?" Colloquial speech might also scare the girl, right? She was probably used to the formal syntax that threatened to drown Ellie at every turn, after all. "You have no obligation to, but if you wish, you may."

So there was definitely a rebellion, which meant for the time being, Cress had allies, she had people she could trust. Ellie wasn't sure what this Xion woman wanted or was trying to gain, but she knew that an enemy of her enemy - which seemed to be the Seraphim family - was definitely a temporary ally. In all likelihood, this Xion could be simply pretending to serve the people and could bring about an even crueler regime. But for the moment, she was the only option. It'd be nice if Ellie could somehow contact Xion and plot with her.

"Thank you." Ellie rubbed Shiro's head gently, slowly, and made it short in case the girl disliked it. "I promise, Shiro, I'll do all in my power to keep you safe. One day, we'll be free." The princess hesitated for a moment, then gave her friend a gentle smile, a genuine one. Ellie's smile, not Narcia's. "So please, cooperate with the - with my parents so you won't get in trouble. I'll save you, I swear on my life."

Ellie wasn't going to be some damsel in distress. Perhaps some of Cress had rubbed off on her after all? "It's time to build a bridge." She whispered, and hearing the words of defying fate made her smile grow brighter, if only just.




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




As Cress spoke of her past with Nar - with Ellie, she couldn't help but walk around the table (after eating, of course, it was rare she got to eat something other than the synthesized paste) to the fiery girl's side, putting her hand over her shoulder in a silent show of support and comfort. Serpina was sympathetic as well, though perhaps he was missing his real daughter. Cress opening like this made Aya know for sure that she was going to be a great friend for when the war truly began.

"Well, then, the way forward is obvious, is it not?" The nobleman said, a sincere aura coming off of him. His eyes glimmered with the pain of a parent who had lost his child, and Aya wanted to hug him, too! It wasn't fair, it wasn't fair that good people had to get hurt all the time. Once they won, once Xion lead everyone to victory, Aya knew things would be better. Xion promised, Daddy promised, it was definitely going to be a better world! "No parent should have to lose their child, Cress. I'll do whatever I can to help send the both of you home."

Oh. Oh, right! Cress and Ellie would - they would leave, wouldn't they? This friendship with Cress wasn't going to be forever then, was it? Loneliness was on the blonde's face as she looked down, suddenly sad but also upset at herself for feeling sad. She was supposed to be happy that they'd get to return to earth, right? Even if - even if it meant Aya would be alone again.

"I'll send word to Xion what you've said." Serpina nodded. "We'll find a way to win and save your cousin. But before that..." The man then took Cress's hand in his own, shaking it firmly, powerfully. "Welcome to the Rebellion, Cress. We'll be your family until we can return you to yours. You're one of us now."

Aya nodded eagerly, taking Cress's other hand enthusiastically. "The doc could use a new assistant!" Aya radiated sunshine with her smile. "You can live with him for now! Yeah!" For some odd reason, the blonde girl absolutely did not want Cress to live with her. Daddy would probably not let it happen, no way, right? How silly, so silly.

"We should head back before it's too late." The bike girl slipped her Gravity Drive back onto her wrist. "Thank you again, Serpy!" He said his own farewell and went to submit his report to Xion, allowing Aya to take Cress by the hand back to her bike, patting the backseat for her to jump on. The two were back in the sky, zipping and weaving through the districts, through tunnels and pathways until finally they were back at Rubble, back to where Aya felt the most comfortable - to the ruin and the dirt and the dust and everything else.

"Serpy lost his daughter a few years ago." Aya explained once they were safe, once they were back home. "Since then, he was happy to help us out!" The girl shook her head, an angry frown. "He says the Cherubim family killed her because she was causing trouble, trying to change the minds of the nobles, to make the world better. She was about your age, Cress." Aya was sad as she landed in front of the Doctor's hovel. "...She and I probably could have been friends."


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress was quiet at first, processing this information. "I'm sorry for your loss," Cress wasn't sure how she felt being a part of a rebellion. She had never been a part of anything like this before. It felt weird and also kind of new, she liked it though. Cress the rebel, Cress the one who would dismantle an entire world to bring her cousin home. Yeah, that had a good ring to it. Cress looked at the Doctor's hovel. She had a lot of work to do if she was going to change this world. Cress would have to start small though. "That seed packet? Can I have it back? I want to show you how to use it." She went around the back with Aya, marking out a place in the dirt.

Cress knelt down, turning over the dirt with her hands, digging into the tough earth. "Can you get me one of those tubes of food and some water?" Cress asked, seeing as how there were no nutrients in the soil. In the meantime she plotted out the space, determining where each plant would grow and knowing how much the roots spread out, around how big each one would get, etc. Once Aya had returned, Cress took the tube. "There are no nutrients in the soil, therefore we're going to put some in using this." She rubbed the soil and the tube together, which made the near white dirt turn a deep brown. Finally, Cress inserted the seeds, covering them back up and watering them with what Aya had brought.

"Some plants need more water than others, I'll take care of it for now, but I'm gonna teach you how it works so once I'm gone you can take the garden over and provide for yourself okay?" Her hands and pants were dirty, but Cress didn't care. She had never minded dirt. The girl rather embraced it really and seeing the other children in the rubble tear, it appeared as though they didn't seem to mind the dirt too much either. Cress smiled, she would definitely fit in here that was for sure. Back inside, Cress went to wash her hands. "Just tell me what to do," she said to the Doctor, prepared to help.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Shiro nodded her head, "Yes Princess." Shiro smiled, finally she was allowed to do something. Shiro unlaced the dress, the corset, the bra. She put the nightgown over the Princess's head and buttoned it up. "Is that alright?" Shiro asked, going to hang the ballgown back up. Night had fallen, it was a beautiful evening and up here there was no light pollution. Shiro loved to sit on her windowsill and look at the stars, sometimes she would fall asleep there and wake up on the floor. Shiro could see the stars through the balcony door and she admired them for only a moment.

She felt someone pat her head and Shiro looked up. Nee was doing it and it felt weird, but also kind of nice. Shiro listened and smiled, her expression genuine. "I'll do everything in my power to satisfy you Princess." Shiro said, seemingly oblivious to the true words that the Princess was speaking, that she wasn't just being pleasant. Shiro was sure that after the initial shock of being moved from Earth wore off, Nee would be like the others. She would order Shiro around, punish her when she did something wrong. Shiro was sure of it, so she was doing her best to remain a great servant, to not get punished once the Princess returned to herself.

She didn't understand what the Princess meant by it was time to build a bridge though. A bridge to where? Did the Princess want to cross a body of water? Technically, Ashia Palace was an island, around it was water that led to other lands. They were not the only ones on this planet, but they were by far the most advanced. No one cared to acknowledge the other cities or systems since they didn't care for Ashia, so their universe consisted of this caste, an inescapable city that swallowed its victims whole and drowned them in a life of misery or fortune based on the luck of where they were born.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Without the corset, breathing was easier once again. Ellie sighed in relief, gathering up her tools and scanned her room for a suitable hiding place. It wouldn't do for anyone to see, for anyone to think she was planning anything. Still, there were many puzzles to figure out, and many threats, not just her biological family. If she couldn't find a way to contact Xion, the rebels would definitely kill her on sight, wouldn't they? Even with Cress's input, it'd be difficult to be spared in that scenario, right? Ellie was aware of her status as a symbol of oppression and control, dominion over the weak and unfortunate, and there would definitely be a public outcry for her execution if the Monarchy were to ever fall.

Another possibility would be that the Cherubim family was plotting something from the shadows, and would eventually kill the Seraphim from behind. Ellie knew Nirana and Azel were trying to ascertain that problem with the ball they threw for her 'sake'. Itward would definitely have her killed, or worse, keep her as a slave. That'd be the ultimate victory for the Cherubim family, wouldn't it? Ellie couldn't let that happen, but simply executing them without reason would only pit the rest of the noble families firmly against her.

"Thank you, Shiro. Feel free to speak your mind here. I promise, I'll never hurt you." She gazed honestly at her blonde friend for a moment before placing her tools and scrap materials and other such devices inside a box, then she fastened the box underneath the balcony - though she almost fell as she leaned out past the railings to secure it in place. Still, like this, it was incredibly unlikely that any of her things would be found unless Shiro was asked directly. "In this room, the two of us are equals."

The night sky was beautiful. Was Cress looking at the same sky, much more illuminated than the one on earth? Were they seeing the same sight, was it possible that she and Cress had this one, tiny connection linking them in this world? Cress was fighting her hardest, doing her best, so Ellie would do the same. If Cress was building her end of the bridge, Ellie would as well, and hopefully one day, the two would connect in the middle, finally being cousins once again.

"I'm not sure how much you know, Shiro, but..." Ellie frowned slightly. "Can you tell me all you can about Itward Cherubim and Aine Dorones?"

Her memories had gone slightly fuzzy, and Narcia's presence had all but faded. It made sense. The girl was still technically only ten years old, so most likely she'd have gone dormant for the time being. So this meant that the nights belonged to Ellie, where her mind was truly her own.




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




Seed packet? What? Aya was confused, what the heck was Cress talking about? Aya blinked, then she remembered those weird things that the fire girl had given her earlier. She fished them out of her many jacket pockets, and handed it over, not really knowing what to make of it. "Uh, here." She murmured, curious and slightly afraid. What was this? She'd never seen anything like this, ever. Aya followed Cress behind the Doc's place, where Cress examined the ground for what seemed like a while. The rebel couldn't really make heads or tails of this - what was going on? Shouldn't they go and greet Doc, and start helping out with the sick and the injured?

"I'll get them!" Aya went into the doc's place, greeting him, as well as the patients who were still awake. "Doc, doc, Cress - that girl with the leg and the super cool eyes from before - she wants tubes and water! Do you have any extras? I'll fly supplies to you again tomorrow, extra, if you want!" The doctor was tending to one patient, feeding the child some sort of pill for this weird, strange, rotting sickness. More and more people were getting it, and no one survived. Doc said before that it was contagious, but not person-to-person transmissions. Possibly it was water, but there was no way to be sure.

"Everything here is for the public." The doctor said kindly, crinkling his crow's feet in that way that made Aya giggle. "Take what you need, Squid. Also, that girl, is she...?"

"Yeah, I recruited her!" The blonde grinned cheekily, holding out two fingers in victory. "She's gonna be your assistant, so, uh... teach her stuff! Keep her safe!" With the requested things in hand, Aya scampered back outside, finding the girl with holes dug into the ground, handing them over and watching Cress.... mix the food into the ground and then bury the seeds with it. She explained and Aya hung on to each word, an eager smile spreading - until she realized that Cress was going to leave her behind one day.

Aya didn't want that to happen, but she knew it had to. "Thank you, Cress!" Aya seemed to sparkle as she spoke, understanding a little. "So soon we'll have those big tree things! That's so cool, thank you so much!"

Once they were back inside, the doctor started by showing Cress to the patients, and began his teachings on what medicine did what, what machine thing could fix what, and many other things. He gave Cress self-sanitary things like gloves and face mask stuff, and Aya wanted to feel like she could help, too! But she knew she still had more supply runs to do.

"I have to ship more food and weapons and other stuff now." Aya turned and waved at her new friend, determined to make the most of what time she had with her until it was time for a permanent goodbye. "I'll pick you up in the morning, Cress! We have show you to Xion!"

And with that, Aya hopped back onto her bike and flew home to retrieve another box, back to her daily duties once again.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress waved goodbye to Aya as the girl hopped on her bike. She went back inside as the Doc showed her how things worked. She cleaned cuts, fixed wounds, used machines and tools she never would have dreamed existed. If they had, had this sort of technology on earth then maybe Dad... No it was better not to think like that. Her father was dead, there was no way to reverse it. She remembered the funeral, they had waited until Cress was in rehab to have it since there was no body anyways. A day draped in black, her mother cried, her brothers were destroyed. A family had been smashed to smithereens and there was no way to repair it.

There were a scattering of people there. Work buddies, fellow photographers who had come to pay their respects, family of course. Cress had been in a kid sized wheelchair, she hadn't even known they had made ones that small. She had been in one once before, when she had fallen out of a tree and pretended to be confused so she could get out of a test the next day. Her mother had taken her to the hospital and had been so relieved to see that everything came back fine, that Cress wasn't really concussed, her punishment had come in the form of no desserts for a week.

This time though it was different, it was raining. Cress was covered in band aids, her arm in a cast, her brothers solemn. At first she had thought it was rain drops on their face but now looking back it was tears. Tears for the father they had pushed away, tears for the father who had wanted to teach them about the world and they denied him. Now their tears were salty, bitter and full of regret. Cress had felt numb. There were no tears, no sadness, no relief. Her father had died in the car, she had watched him, had seen the life leave his body and in that moment had been so afraid.

There were no tears left for a body that hadn't been fished from the lake. Her father had loved nature so much he became a part of it. He had left his family for it and now... Cress was all alone. Her mother had wanted a change of scenery, she wanted to honor the memory of her husband and so they replaced sprawling cities with quiet forests. Her brothers had been pulled from boarding school and they turned to Cress to try to understand the father that had taught her everything he knew. It was only a month in when their Auntie brought home a stray. Her name was Ellen and Cress had taken her into the family with open arms, filling the missing void in her heart.

Now that hole was torn open once more.


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




The Princess went out onto the balcony and of course, Shiro followed her. "Princess!" Shiro grabbed the girl before she could fall, pulling her back onto the balcony. She didn't seem disturbed or out of breath in the least bit, but Shiro on the other hand had used up far too much energy trying to keep the girl from tumbling down into the Rubble Tier, or worse, into the ocean below. Only the privileged knew how to swim with their expanse of expendable water. No doubt Nee knew how to too, but a fall from this height, even into the ocean, would kill her. They couldn't lose the Princess they just gained and if needed, Shiro would sacrifice herself. She didn't want to die though, not yet, not when there were so many things she still had to do.

So many things and yet... she would forever be here, serving the Princess until she outlived her usefulness. In a way it was comforting, knowing she would have a bed to sleep on and food to eat. She didn't have to eat paste out of tubes or sleep in a house made of crumbling dust. Nee said that in this room they were equals but the Princess really had no idea, that even if she took away all the spyware, how far apart their tiers truly were. If words could break walls, could undo caste systems, then they would have done so long ago.

"Aine Dorones.... It's confusing because I heard she was dead. We're not allowed to know anything more than rumors though," Shiro shook her head. She could already get in so much trouble for speaking to the Princess so formally. "I do know that Itward has been on the political upswing since Aine's death. He's been gaining favor in the court and is wooing every family he can. He's been starting a rumor mill that the reason Aine was killed was because Serpina betrayed the crown."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Two lives overlap. Which one do I call real?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#4ca2b8 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #8b4cb8

|| Secret ~Black Vow~ || Rin/Len (cover by SirHammet) ||




Ellie nodded, once again praising Shiro, thanking her, but she was much more afraid now that she had earned this information. That man who had - had touched in such horrible, disgusting ways, he was absolutely going to be a problem in the future. Aine was also more or less confirmed to be dead, but she wondered what game Serpina was playing at, having someone act as his deceased daughter. Perhaps he had betrayed the Crown, but there wasn't yet enough information to go on to make a judgment just yet. "So they're definitely enemies, the Cherubim." Ellie murmured, a slight frown, the same look as when she was faced with an intriguing yet difficult puzzle. "They'll probably challenge this family once they have enough power in the court."

Now, there was something else of concern. That was, of course, sleeping arrangements. "I need to speak to my mother." Ellie murmured, holding her hand out for Shiro to take. "Will you take me to her?"

The Queen was in her room - the King was elsewhere, most likely talking to the leaders of the military for war-type things, so it was just her in all of her cold, cruel might, not saying anything as Ellie approached, curtsying and sitting down across from her, facing her mother's frozen eyes. Queen Nirana was flawless as always, showing no weakness or anything of the sort.

"Mother, I'd like to have Shiro sleep with me from now on." Ellie spoke emotionlessly, trying to copy Narcia's manner of speech as best as she could. "I am still unaccustomed to life in Ashia Palace, so I'd like the company, to help ease me back into this life. I hope that won't be a problem?"

Ellie waited for a long while until Narina finally nodded her head, smile widening and giving the image of a deadly serpent, circling its prey. "That should be acceptable for the time being." She said, waving her off. "Rest up, dear. There are people I must speak to. I shall see you in the morning."

Once she was safely back in her room with Shiro, Ellie locked the door and flopped down onto the bed, patting the other side for Shiro to get on. "Now that you have permission, it'll be fine to sleep with me, won't it?" Ellie had a strange smile on her face. "It will help with the loneliness, Shiro." She curled her legs, forming a fetal-shape, preparing for sleep. "It was nice meeting you. I hope you'll be happy with me. You're a sweet girl."

Ellie missed Cress. Where was she now, anyways?




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❝I don't know to fix me. Is there something wrong?❞

ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя:#30b818 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #d1ca00

|| Hope of Morning || Icon for Hire ||




After the supply runs were finished, Aya returned home. She felt cold, she was shivering, even as she took the jacket off, draping it over her mattress to use as a blanket to cover her and keep her warm. She'd already taken a bath at Serpy's so that problem was fine, but there was another issue to deal with. It ate away at her, giving her guilt and shame and finally, Aya could no longer hide it, walking to Daddy's room to wake him up.

"Daddy, I was bad today." Aya admitted, knees shaking. She let her clothes fall from her body, revealing herself to him, having trouble breathing from the fear. This was what she deserved, this was her punishment. Every time her mind stopped being Aya and tried to change - change into Kora, or sometimes even Aine - this had to happen. She was Aya, she couldn't be anyone else, because both Kora and Aine are dead. It's silly to take the name of a dead girl, right? "I was Aine today, Daddy. Please, fix it so I will try harder next time. I was a bad girl. Aya will be Aya."

"A very bad girl, Aya." Was the only response and the beating began, all over the body, never the face or hands or anything that showed.

Once it was morning, Aya had a box full of medical supplies on the back of her bike and she flew off towards the doc's place. Today was a big day, a special day. Today they were going to get to show Cress to Xion, and have her officially join the team! Doc's place was same as always, though he (and Cress now, probably) slept in a different section of the house from where the patients where. Aya snuck in, using her Gravity Drive to float the meds at her side. It was too heavy for her to carry, obviously. She crept into the house and sat the box down near the doc.

"Here ya go! I added more as thanks for taking Cress in." Aya smirked, and the doc took the box, looking through what was given with a smile. "Thanks, squid. Helpful as always, huh?" The blonde laughed cheerfully, careful not to accidentally bump her many new bruises against anything because they were still sore and tender. She didn't mind though, because it was love, wasn't it? "How was Cress? She's cool, isn't she?"

"She was a great help. The kids love her already." And so Aya decided to sit around and wait for her friend to come, slurping down her nutrient paste with a disgusted frown. She was gonna have to ask Cress how people on her planet made food, and if it was better than this goopy gross stuff.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cress Winter Character Portrait: Ellen Winter Character Portrait: Ayanna Filia Character Portrait: Shiro
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❝Let your soul take you where you long to be.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #CD5C5C ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #C5E3BF

|| Flaws || Bastille ||




Cress had spent the night in the backroom, sleeping on a thin mattress that hardly had any insulation. It was cold and she had covered herself with a sheet. It was a bit like camping, Cress thought. If she had, had her sleeping bag it would have been much more comfortable, but sometimes you had to rough it. Other than that the night was mostly uneventful, sometimes a patient would get up screaming and all the Doctor could do was quell their nightmares and pain by reading a story. Sometime during the night Cress had woken up and went to sit by the side of a little girl. She was whimpering, clearly in pain. Cress figured it was better she get up than the Doctor since he had taken care of anyone else.

"Hey there," Cress sat beside her bed on the floor, her fiery eyes like the low flicker of embers at night, lighting the mostly dark room. "What's wrong? Are you in pain?" The answer came in the form of a whimper. "How about I tell you a story?" There was no answer, only the slight whisper of breath. "Once upon a time there was a girl who lived on a mystical planet called earth." Even in the dark she could see the child's eyes widen in awe. Most likely she had never heard of earth, had never known any other planet to exist aside from her miserable tier in this scrapped up rubble hospital. Cress smiled, she knew she had the girl's attention now.

"This girl was an explorer, her name was Melody and she traveled the world far and wide searching for a treasure that no one else could find. It was rumored to be a magical item that could make people fly." The girl was enamored by the adventurer Melody, no doubt wishing she could fly too. Cress gave her a colorful description of the land, the vast greenery, details of plants, and dirt, and the smell of the salty ocean. "Melody was a strong girl, but she was also lonely hunting for the treasure on her own. Luckily, on her adventures she came across a boy named Mark. Mark had never stepped foot outside of the castle walls, he was an esteemed Prince that had to marry a Princess to forge an allegiance with a neighboring kingdom." Cress told the girl about the castle, how beautiful it was and how it sat on the shore line, but she also made sure to let the girl know that Mark was kind hearted and despite the fact that he was a royal, he was nice to the people.

"So Melody stormed the castle, holding the Prince hostage and making him take her to a boat. They escaped the Kingdom and at first, Prince Mark hated Melody, but then one night there was a storm and the ship crashed against an iceberg, throwing them into the ocean! They were swept up by the waves and Prince Mark had never learned to swim. Melody, who had grown up around the ocean her entire life grabbed Mark by the shirt and pulled him onto a floating door. Melody was freezing in the ocean and as morning came they washed onto the shore. Melody was sick from the cold and so Mark wrapped her in his jacket and made a fire, taking care of Melody until she was no longer sick."

Next was the best part, the real adventure the two embarked on in search of a treasure that could let people fly. It was a terrific story that Cress had made up, albeit she may have stolen bits and pieces from other such tales and movies. "Finally, Melody had her treasure but she realized that Mark was really the thing she had wanted. It was too late though, Mark was gone, off to his wedding day to marry the Princess Selene." Melody had to perform a daring escape from the bandits who had taken her captive. Cress outlined how she flew there and stopped the wedding, discovering she was really a Princess herself. "And they lived happily ever after." Cress smiled, the little girl shuddered and then... Nothing. She was gone, the illness having taken her. Cress stood, wordlessly pulling the sheet over the tiny body.

In the morning when Cress awoke, Aya was there. The blonde was as energetic as ever, asking Cress whether they had to eat from tubes. "No, we make real food. The kind Serpina eats."


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❝Yes Mistress.❞


ɗιαƖσgυє cσƖσя: #FFAEB9 ♙ тнσυgнт cσƖσя #63D1F4

|| I'm on Top of the World|| Imagine Dragons ||




Shiro was overjoyed at the fact that she wouldn't have to sleep alone. She couldn't show her happiness until she was out of the Queen's room, safely inside Nee's room once more. "Thank you," Shiro swallowed her tears. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her and she felt honest gratitude. Shiro went to her room to get ready for bed, taking out the hairstyle and allowing her blonde ringlets to fall. She dressed in a nightgown and crawled into bed beside the Princess, making sure to sleep close to the edge in case the Princess changed her mind or Shiro moved a bit in her sleep. She closed her eyes, able to fall asleep easily with someone there beside her. "Goodnight Princess."

In the morning, Shiro was the first to wake. She went to her room to prepare, putting her hair up and getting into a pair of clothes. A black skirt with a red shirt. She clipped on the gold chain that went into her breast pocket, covering up her collar with a cute ribbon. She nodded her head in the mirror, determining that she looked put together and went to go wake up the Princess. Shiro slipped inside quietly, drawing the bath and adding some bubbles in case the Princess wanted to feel pampered today. She had the chef prepare breakfast and then gently opened the curtains. "Princess, it's time to get up." There was a full schedule ahead of them, many things to do and lessons to learn.