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Abelle

Altough overly underestimated, Nine wouldn't be as half as powerful without her.

0 · 177 views · located in A multiverse of connected worlds with magic

a character in “Intertwine”, as played by Leleu2

Description

Age 19

Race: Anoan

Gender: Female

Physical appearance: Abelle resembles a fox with white fur on her belly and paws, and on the middle of her face. The rest of her body, and her tail is completely orange, altough some circles of white fur are here and there. She also possess a black line across her eye that makes it seem as if it is makeup, but it is also just a different color in her fur in that specific area. She has big and vibrant green eyes, and no pupil is visible. She is tiny enough, to make a living inside Nine's pocket.

Personality: She is very introvert, and rarely talks to others. That is a reflex of how she and her original master were trreated in society. However, whenever she becomes close neough to someone, she becomes a very caring and loving individual. She does not like figthing or blood, and will oftenly attempt to calm Nine down if he is angry or frustrated. She is very supportive of whatever Nine decides to do, but she will most of the time, try to talk him out of it, especially if he decides to go on an expedition (which is the way he mainly uses to make a living for both of them). She loves Nine as a very dear brother, and will not hesitate to protect him in any means she can.

Background: Abelle was born as the familiar to a very introvert Shinoran. Altough he and she had a deep bond, both of them were not good figures in their own society, and as such were always looked down upon and mistreated. This ended up leading to both of them trusting into each other more than what is usual for a Shinoran and their Anoan. However, after an event she rarely talks about to anyone, her original owner died, and she was left alone, trying to live by herself in the wilderness, mostly eating small fruits, and keeping herself safe from carnivore animals that would see her as prey. A very sad, and lonely life, she lived for 3 years, until she finally met Nine. When they first met, she felt a connection to him, similar to what she had with her former owner. He and her owner shared much of the same personality, and overall life (at least what she knew so far, letting the torture aside). After a whole day spent together, she convinced Nine to form a contract with her, and then, she turned into his familiar.

When she asked his name, he would always answer he didnt had one, that his "name" was actually a number. She ended up starting to call him Nine, because it was the first number of his code, and also the only one she could remember at all. The nickname stuck, and he took it as an official name. Ever since then, both of then have become inseperable.

Due to her cute appearance, and the grotesque way Nine fights, and their overall personalities, they were given the nickname of "The Beauty and the Beast" by other expeditioners.

Focus:Her focus is a pendulum she has around her neck. She uses it to draw symbols on Nine's body, and also on the air, if necessary. She can also chant her healing spells, but she is not as profficient in those.

Magic types: Completely healing oriented. She does not posses any sort of figthing capability and trust Nine to protect her in such a brutal event. Her main focus is keeping him in the battle for as long as she can, as he is the only way her safety is guaranteed.

Chanting: 2

Symbology: 5

Relinquishment : 0

So begins...

Abelle's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nathaniel "Nate" Shin Character Portrait: Seong Kwon-Liang Character Portrait: Lysander Mirtha Character Portrait: Subject 943 AKA "Nine" Character Portrait: Adalia Valentina Chriselda Savoy Character Portrait: Abelle
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#, as written by Senato
Today was going to be an interesting day, at least that was what Nate had told himself multiple times as the newly formed expedition group was getting together for the first time. They were gathering in a small plaza at the back of the expedition hall situated in the largest city of Saher; Umkathiz. Nate stood beside his friend, Seong, looking around at the other people gathered here. Most seemed to be your run-of-the-mill explorers, however there was one that seemed to stick out to him, he was thin yet covered from head to toe despite the somewhat warm temperature today.

“Nate.” Seong said whilst nudging Nate’s side, “Stop staring at people.”

Nate quickly turned to his friend, “Sorry...” he replied somewhat downtrodden, “but that guy just gives off a weird vibe, you know?”

Seong sighed, “Just give it a rest for now. You’ll get plenty of time to meet all these people during the expedition.”

“This ought to be fun though!” Nate said, changing the subject, “A new layer, oh I can’t wait to see what it holds!” He said with a large smile on his face, “Maybe they’ll have some really cool carnivorous plants or like 4-winged flying behemoths, or...”

Seong cut him off as she pointed to the woman walking towards the gathered explorers. The woman was wearing a beautiful Victorian dress, which was navy blue in colour, and got darker as the dress got closer to the ground. She wore a small black coat which only covered the upper half of her torso. Her cherry-brown hair was neatly tied up and she walked with elegance and a sense of superiority. She was followed by a cleanly shaven man, with long white hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a neat black suit and held a large cleanly carved ivory staff, with golden accents on the ends.

As the two arrived in front of the group, the man raised his left hand, signalling the group to become silent, which they did. “Good afternoon. I am professor Brayden, authority on dimensional travel and master of the expedition hall. You have been chosen as members of the expedition to a layer recently discovered, you shall be the first to step foot onto this layer and shall be involved in making first contact with any sentient race that lives on this layer. I shall now give word to the chosen leader of this expedition, princess Adalia of the Savoy household.” He ended with a gesture towards the woman standing beside him, and then took a step backwards.

The woman took a good look at the group before eventually opening her mouth, “My name is Adalia Valentia Chriselda of the Savoy household of Kosem. I am both the leader and diplomat of this expedition. We shall be entering this layer with little knowledge of its climate and even less of its inhabitants, and thus all decisions from the moment we have crossed over, shall be made by myself. If you cannot take orders then I suggest you leave at once, however if you are capable of listening to my commands then I welcome you into this expedition.” She took a moment to gauge the groups’ reactions, noting every sigh and nod. “The actual expedition shall begin in 3 days, in this time, we must learn one-another’s strengths and weaknesses and overcome any possible obstacles that may reveal themselves.”She once again gauged the groups’ reactions before continuing. “We need to be able to trust each other if we wish for this expedition to go smoothly. If you refuse to comply with this, then I shall not allow you to join this mission. That is all.” With that, Adalia stepped back and nodded towards the professor, who then stepped forwards again.

“You will all stay here, at the Expedition hall. We have enough rooms to house all of you. Our workers will show you to your rooms shortly, also, feel free to make use of any of our facilities.” With that, both the professor and Adalia turned to walk away discussing matters between them.

“Well...” Seong began, “That was something, eh Nate? Nate?” She turned to where Nate had been standing to notice that he was no longer there, “Nate?” looking around she noticed him heading towards the same man he had been staring at earlier. She brought her palm to her forehead whilst sighing. “Honestly...” she began walking towards him but was cut off by a young man who seemed to all but jump in her way.

“Excuse me!” The young man replied, he was slightly shorter than Seong, with spikey blond hair and dull brown eyes, “You’re See-on Kwon-Ling, right, right?!” he asked, having completely butchered her name.

She looked at him for a moment, “No, I am not See-on, but I am Seong Kwon-Liang.” She replied sarcastically.

“Oh, sorry...” the young man quickly became more timid.

“You can’t really blame him, can you? I mean it is a difficult name to pronounce if no one has ever told you how to.” Another young man said, joining the conversation. He, unlike the blond, was short and had shaggy brown hair tied into a ponytail. “The name’s Lysander, nice to meet you.” He said, extending a hand in Seong’s direction, which she slowly took hold of and shook.

Having been backed up by someone else, the blond perked up again, “I’m Colt!” he said eagerly, “I’ve heard a lot about you, you’re like a really great adventurer right?!”

Seong looked at him before realizing the situation she was in, “Why yes. Yes I am.” She said confidently, “I’ve been on many expeditions before this one, and like the previous, this one will succeed with ease.”

Colt was clearly star struck and Seong was enjoying every minute of it, Lysander however, wasn’t quite as easily impressed, “Guess we’re lucky to have you with us.” He stated with a small hint of sarcasm.

“You sound doubtful.” Seong pointed out with a smile, “Perhaps retelling one of my old expeditions would help ease your mind...” without even giving Lysander a chance to reply she began telling a long story of one of her old expeditions, slightly embellished for dramatic effect, of course.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the mean time, Nate had made his way to the isolated man he had seen earlier.

“Are you sure we should still join this expedition?” A soft, gentle voice said, it seemed to come from where the man was standing.

“We need this to afford living.” The man said bluntly, “We aren’t in danger or anything like that, so why are you worrying?”

“Well...” The soft voice began

“Hey there!” Nate shouted as he patted the man’s back, “How you doin’ ?” He questioned inquisitively.

The man turned to look at Nate, staring at this strange person. “What do you want?” he said slightly annoyed

Nate looked at the man’s eyes noting the eye patch. He also caught a glimpse of the man’s white hair. “I’m just being friendly,” Nate began with a smile, “I mean, we’re all meant to get to know one another right? That’s what the leader just said anyway.”

The man scoffed, “You can call me Nine.” He replied, just then a small orange furred Anoan peaked out of his pocket.

“Oh wow!” Nate said, “I haven’t seen an Anoan adventurer in, like, forever!”

“My name is Abelle.” The small furry Anoan said in a rather soft voice.

“My name’s Nathaniel, but you can call me Nate!” He said with a smile, before extending his right hand towards Nine. Nine simply stared back at Nate’s hand, “It’s not that hard,” Nate said jokingly, “You just grab and shake.” After a moment of awkward silence, Nine slowly shook Nate’s hand. Neither Nine nor Abelle said anything afterwards, prompting Nate to keep the conversation alive, “So... have you two been working together long?”

Nine and Abelle looked at each other for a moment, “We’ve been a team for quite a while now, yeah.” Nine responded.

“Ever been on a new layer expedition like this one?” Nate questioned

“No.” Nine responded dryly

“You know,” Nate began as his voice dulled down a bit, “If you want to hide something, dressing so obviously and acting so isolated isn’t really going to help your efforts.” He stated

Nine starred at Nathaniel, surprised by his sudden remark. Abelle’s stare went straight to Nine’s face, then over to Nathaniel, then back to Nine, though in this time, and for several minutes thereafter, not a word was spoken between the two.

Nathaniel then broke the silence with a smile, “Well, I gotta get back to my partner!” He said, “I’ll definitely see you two around, and don’t be strangers!” with that, he hurried off back to Seong, whom was still boasting to the two men gathered near to her.

“You really sure you still want to join this expedition, Nine?” Abelle questioned, a little uncertain, “Isn’t this maybe a little unsafe?”

Nine shook his head, “We’ll be fine. That guy wasn’t threatening us.” He stated bluntly

“What? How do you know that for certain?” Abelle responded, “It seemed like a threat to me.”

“He was conveying his opinion.” Nine stated, “He has a point too, on an expedition like this, it may be better to blend in.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adalia sat opposite Professor Brayden, they were inside a small lounge within the expedition hall.

“Any opinions on the recruits, Miss Savoy?” the professor questioned before taking a sip from his cup of tea

“Not quite yet, Professor.” Adalia replied, “I have some ideas but I will need to observe them a little more before I can formulate a proper opinion on them. I do believe, however, that not all of the gathered adventurers shall be joining the actual expedition.” She leaned back into her chair before looking out the window. She could see that most of the adventurers were still in the plaza, some talking in groups, others were checking their gear and making sure they had left nothing behind, and a small few were following their guides to their rooms.

The professor lay his cup down on the table, “You seem quite confident and sure for someone who is leading their first expedition, most people are rather worried their first time round.” He stated as he looked straight at her

“Well, you could say I’m not an average person.” She replied before meeting his gaze, “My family has trained me quite well, and I doubt that anything that could happen during this expedition will be beyond my abilities. They would not have chosen me as the family’s representative, were that the case.” Her words were rather confident, and it was not the fake kind of confidence. Professor Brayden had seen and organised many an expedition, and he could easily tell when someone was hiding their insecurities with fake confidence and this was not the case.

Having finished his tea, the professor grabbed his staff and stood up, before turning to Adalia one last time, “Allow me to give you one warning.” He began, “It’s nothing seriously dangerous, though you will have to keep it in mind throughout the course of your expedition.” Adalia looked at him, displaying genuine interest in what he was about to say. “Roughly half of these adventurers are seasoned veterans; they have been on many dangerous expeditions and have likely encountered a weak leader more than once. If you cannot prove yourself as a strong willed leader, then it will be difficult for you to maintain the command that you currently demand. Out there, rank is not always first on peoples’ minds.”

Adalia nodded, “Thank you.” She replied before turning to look at the plaza once more, “I shall keep that in mind.” She watched the professor through his reflection in the window, as he walked away. He came to a sudden stop when a rather beautiful woman entered the room, prompting Adalia to turn and look at her. She was likely a fellow Barad, as she had markings on her face and legs, from what Adalia could see. She had tanned skin and long pale blue hair. Her clothing was quite revealing yet she still had some aura of elegance surrounding her.

“Oh. Miss Poside, I thought you were only going to arrive tomorrow?” Professor Brayden questioned

She looked at him through her pale blue eyes and smiled, “My appointment for today had been dropped, so I no longer needed to stay in Kosem, and thus thought I should arrive as soon as possible.” She replied with a wink, “How are the plans for the expedition coming along?”

“It seems to be going quite well.” He replied, somewhat flustered, “The adventurers have been gathered together and are mingling. The leader is a young but confident woman, though I don’t know how well she will keep control throughout the journey. The expedition will begin in 3 days time. Will you still be around by then?”

“Oh most certainly!” she replied, “I would just love to see one of these expeditions from behind the scenes!”

The two of them soon left the lounge, whilst Adalia was silently watching. “What a tramp.” Adalia thought to herself as she watched the woman cling closely to the professor’s side.

#, as written by Leleu2
They went to the c“It sucks to be forced to stay inside this complex until the expedition starts.” Said Nine as he walked a giant corridor filled with rooms. He stopped right in front of the door to the room which key he had been given. The room? 900. He smiled sarcastically at another twist of fate that was thrown upon him as he put the key into the lock and turned it, a click sound coming of it, as the passage was now open to the room.

He quickly entered locking the door behind him, and throwing a bag full of clothes and other important things he would need for the expedition such as first aid kits and etc. Abelle’s healing skills were very good, but it wasn’t recommended to use then while not on a battle since it drains a lot of her energy. Remembering of his furry friend, he stared inside of the pocket, seeing her sleeping quite confortably. She always liked that pocket. He took the jacket away, slowly and very carefuly, placing it on top of the bed. He then took away the shirt he had under and went to the closest mirror he could find. He stopped at it checking the runes of healing she had painted on him. They were almost fading.

“I am going to have to ask her to re-do then before the expedition starts.” He tough to himself as he put the shirt back on. He then took off the eye-patch. He hated using it, but it was necessary in order to not bring up to much attention. But like Nathaniel said, it actually brought a lot of attention to him. More than he would like. But it was better than being seen as a Undurmet. His race was badly seen by others, especially because of the way the relationship between the current races of the multiverse, and his worked out. They were seen as predators, and life was very hard on then. Oftenly prejudiced for their nature, Undurmet had very little to live for.

He walked to the kitchen and started making some food. After a few minutes Abelle woke up, and flew next to him.

“My favorite time of the day!” she said happily.

“It is still a mistery how you are slim.” Nine said making fun of her. Abelle simply replied by showing her tongue to him, in a childish manner. He laughed and sat on a chair next to the place of the table Abelle was sitting on. He gave her plate with dried fruits and a bit of vegetables. Since she was very small, the plate was actually a saucer. The cup was right next to her, and it was actually one that was custom-made for her, that Nine carried with him wherever they went. In the cup, just water. She hated soda. But since there was practically nothing besides the dried fruits she was eating, he couldn’t make anything else.

“You could at least have made me a juice.” She said

“There is nothing here at least for now Abelle. We can go later to buy some fruites if you want.” He said as he took a bite off an apple.

Both of then kept talking about regular stuff. They seemed like siblings and many would take them for such if not for her very different form and size. After a few hours of rest, both of then got up. He put his jacket and his eye-patch, and with Abelle on his shoulder, he walked out of his room, bringing the key with him. He felt kind of left out. His room was one of the few left of the old area, and while mostly everyone had keycards, he had a rusty key ring.

They went to the cafeteria, and mostly everyone was there, either talking with each others, sharing ideas and expectations, or simply reading the journal or pretty much anything any of then could get their hands on.

“Let’s also take our time and try to blend in.” Nine said to Abelle.

“You really think it is necessary? I don’t feel that good around people.”

“Abelle you’ll do fine. We need to build some sort of companionship in order to survive. It’s just momentarily. The moment the expedition is over, we will just leave. So don’t worry.”

Nine scanned the cafeteria for anyone whom h felt more comfortable talking too. However, before he could decide on which group tp blend, he felt someone pass by him, and wave at him.

“Yo.”

It was Nathaniel, the same man as before.

“Hey.” Nine replied. Nathaniel kind of smiled and let a smirk appear on his face.
“You’re not very good at blending in.”

“I am not very social.”

“Yeah I know. I got that impression already.” Said Nathaniel, while he stared at Nine’s white hair. “It is funny how we both have white hair but share almost no other features to be alike at all. However, being different does not mean we can’t be friends.”

Nine remained quiet while Abelle stared at Nathaniel, then at Nine, then back at Nathaniel than Nine again.

“You are that Anoan right? Abelle, if I am not mistaken.” He said smiling at her. She simply smiled and nodded back in agreement but said nothing.

“Geez, you guys are horrible at making friends. For starters, why not buy me a drink? Soda would be fine.”

Nine stared at him. They both went to the closest table there was, and Nathaniel made his order to the waiter. The place was pretty fancy. For a complex from where most people would never come back to.

“You see, the advice I gave you. You are taking it seriously. That is good. Very good. You will need friends to survive out there.”

“What kind of expedition are we into?” asked Nine curious, while Abelle was pretty much just a bit scared.

“Well, the only type I know. The unknown.” Nathaniel said while smiling. He took a sip of the soda before continuing. “You see, there can be pretty much anything on the portal that will be opened in the next few days. So you better have a guard up. Do you know why they leave us here for a few days before letting us go out there?”

Nine simply remained quiet. Taking that as a no Nathaniel continued.

“It’s to make us build camaraderie. To become friends, at least as much as someone can be in such a short amount of time. You see, if they simply opened the portal and threw us in there, we would have no one to protect, and no one to protect us. We would be all by ourselves, each one going anywhere they wanted. Well, that’s the theory pretty much. To make the expedition have the biggest chance of success possible, this time we get is to make ourselves comfortable with one another enough to trust each other with our lives.”

“I am not sure I trust anyone in here with my life.” Nine replied.

“It’s because you’re to closed! Too deep inside your own little world. Perhaps if you came with me for the next few days, I could present you to some people. Make you see the world differently. It would sure help you in your task.”

“Which task?”

“To blend in?”

Nine smiled a bit before nodding in agreement. The smile was not genuine, but there was no way Nathaniel could not know.
“Great. We are friends then.”

After a few hours of talking with Nathaniel, learning pretty much almost anything there could be to lear about expeditions, Nine went back to his room. In there Abelle went to the bed lying on top of it.

“Are you sure we can trust him?”

“He is pretty straight forward, but he seems to be a good guy. He will do nothing he feels may be uncomfortable to us. So we can trust him. I think.” Said Nine as he too the eye-patch out once more, along with the giant jacket. He was sweating because of the heat of being inside such a piece of clothing in such a time of the year.

“I am still a bit scared of what may happen on this.” Said Abelle.

“Just remake the runes on my body a day before we set out, and everything will be fine.”

Nine sat on a chair where a small notebook was and turned it on. He then started checking stuff about socialization.

“You’re really taking this seriously aren’t you.” She said as she flew and sat on his left shoulder.

“Nathaniel is going to be introducing me to a friend of his tomorrow. It’s a good chance. We can’t miss it.”

He made his “research” for quite some time before going to sleep. When he finally did only one tough was in his mind. How to survive this expedition and make as much money as he could.

#, as written by K0VIP3R
Saher as the central hub for interdimensional travel was a very grand place to say the least. Every city, town and village was well built, maintained and policed, making the dimension as close to a utopia as was thought to be possible. There was however one downside. The criminals that spawned from such a place and the criminal underworld that would then take root inside the dimension would be among the worst known to man. Any place synonymous with travel would be a prime place for smugglers and smugglers bring with them all sorts of characters. Saher’s drug problem was astronomically bad. Drugs were smuggled in large quantities with seemingly no end in sight. The drugs themselves, gave money to the dealers and mob bosses who bought off politicians, allowing seeds of corruption to spread through the utopian government. Drugs brought addicts who often turn into murders, the murders leave survivors who turn into vengeful bounty hunters and criminals themselves. The spiral of evil was pretty much out of control below the ground, yet the public remained unaware of this, only being told certain areas were “off limits”.

Comradery between criminals was low at the best of times. The bars frequented in Saher by the more depraved of society were often trashed in bar brawls, spilled liquor and the occasional blaze set alight by the odd pyromaniac. However many of the gambling dens set up in bars were one of the few places where there was underlying respect between them, leaving aside the cheating. One such place was Smuggler’s Cove, a rather upbeat and rambunctious bar that was well known for its gambling.

On this particular day, as usual, the bar was alive with boasting, drunken songs, brawling and gambling. At the high end table were bets were usually in excess of 100,000 xion (The Interdimensional Currency). The table had what seemed to be a magic aura about it. No fighting would come anywhere near it, a circle of onlookers usually watched the games, often cheering and ogling the money on the tables, many having not seen such amounts in their lives. The game was down to the last two players, the other three having folded already. One was a well dressed man, whose clothes bulged from many years of overeating and lack of exercise. He had a very ostentatious appearance wearing frilled jackets and shirts gold rings, bracelets and a very lucratively bejeweled necklace lay around his neck. He was sweating rather profusely as he tried to down more wine between his fat lips, his monocle shaking a little in his slightly drunken stupor. He placed his wine glass down shakily, groggily waving his two cards in his left hand, a swollen smile planted firmly on his face.

“I must say, you have done well to get this far,” He said drearily, his voice filled with self importance and confidence. “But I think you had better leave and take what little Xion you have left and run along home.” His jibes kick started a raucous amount of laughter from around the table. The man, a high ranking diplomat pushed in a stack of money valuing 500,000 xion. “I raise to 500,000.” The laughter immediately stopped as all eyes became fixated on the money in the pot which was well over 1,000,000 by now. The diplomats eyes were a glimmer with the prospect of victory.

However his opponent did not think so. “All in.” He said as he pushed in his meagre funds into the pot. His voice rang with a Southern twang. The man looked up at his opponent, tipping his hat to him, a black backed card attached to it via a ribbon. The man took a large sip of the whiskey he had next to him.

“All bets are in.” The dealer called out, bringing about a hefty silence around the bar. The five cards on the table were perfect for a straight: A 10, Jack, Queen of clubs. Plus a 2 of diamonds and a 5 of spades. The diplomat put his cards on display. An 8 and 9 of clubs.

“Straight Flush!” He yelled in triumph getting a hearty cheer from the men surrounding the table and respectable applause from the folded players.

“There’s no way that country bumpkin could beat that.” Shouted one man from the crowd.

“Aye! That shithead’s royally screwed.” Joked another.

“Just fold and be done with it!” A woman shouted to many drunken laughs.

The man played around with his cards a little. “Well partner,” He said almost sullenly. “Looks like you got me…” He threw his cards face up on the table, however all eyes went from glee at his supposed loss to looks of abject horror. “A fair chunk of money. I thank you for your generous donation.” A King and Ace of clubs lay face up on the table. “Royal Flush.”

There was a huge uproar from the crowd as the man began stuffing the money into a large bag he had beside him. The diplomat’s face slowly crumpled into pure rage. “CHEATER!” The crowd all stared at him while the man carried on loading his bag with the rest of the money. “Stop that man and turn out his sleeves. There is no way that you could have those cards.” Men from the crowd surged around the disconcerting man who just put the last of the money in his bag. One man grabbed his wrist and rolled up his sleeve showing his bare right arm. While another rolled up his left revealing a deck of cards that had different backs on them to the cards they had been playing with. However that did not stop the mob from accusing him.

“There see, a second deck of cards. That fucker must have been changing cards.”

“Who woulda thought it, huh?”

“I was right! I knew some peasant could not have beaten me.” The diplomat laughed.

The two men were almost pinioning the cowboy between the two of them, preventing him from moving away as the diplomat stepped forward, a smug grin on his face. “I do not like cheats and neither I’m sure do any of the people here.” A chorus of ayes met his words. “So I think you know what happens next, right? Bumpkin?”

The man remained relaxed despite the situation he was in. It was pretty off putting to those around him to a great extent. “Well I’d say I’m in a real predicament right now, huh?” He looked down at his right hand which unknown to the people in the room had three cards between his fingers. “That was if I was some hopeless babe.” He said with a smirk as he whipped his wrist backwards at one of the men holding him. “Three of a kind.”

The cards flew backwards piercing the man’s torso, ripping him open and allowing blood to spill from his gut. He let go of the cowboy to clutch his wounds, allowing the cowboy to whip another card from his sleeve and slam it into the other man’s chest. “High Card!” He shouted as the card exploded into the man’s body, killing him instantly as his chest was blown open. His eyes then turned to the diplomat, an evil smile playing on his lips. “You’ve made a horrible mistake, callin’ me a cheat, partner,” He whipped the remainder of his deck from his sleeve to his hand and placed the deck down on the ground, placing one finger on top of it. “48 card ocean.” The cards all flew in multiple directions, littering the entire floor with cards. “Ocean of fire.” He said as he picked up his bag. The cards all released a torrent of flame each, engulfing the entirety of the bar. The screams of the people getting hit by the fire alerted the presence of anyone in the vicinity. The town guards were amoung these people who ran towards the burning bar. They were about to call for help dealing with the fire but before they could, a man emerged from the flames unscathed. His tattered brown trench coat fluttered in the wind that seemed to spontaneously and quite appropriately appear out of no where. This man’s sudden appearance caused the guards to immediately point their weapons at him, a mixture of spears and swords.

“Drop the bag and come quietly!” One, the leader, shouted with an air of authority. His troops began inching their way towards him.

This action however only garnered a tut and tip of the hat from the man. “I’m sorry sheriff.” He said with his face hidden by his hat. “I’m afraid that won’t be happenin’ anytime soon. I have things to do, places to be, people to meet, so I’m gonna mozie on outta here.” He took a deck of cards from his pocket and placed both hands on it. “Card rain” The cards erupted from his deck, raining down on top of the soldiers, obscuring his view from them. Using this to his advantage, he fled the scene, but some of the guards chased him managing to escape the card rain. The group ran pell mell through the streets, running past all manner of people and buildings, heading in the direction of the Expedition Hall.

The man looked upon the hall and without a second thought, plowed through the double doors, in view of many of the adventurers.

Marina Poside watched as a familiar figure rammed his way through the doors. “That idiot..” She sighed under her breath as she tried to avoid being heard by the others around her.

The man ran, keeping his eyes trained on the guards behind him and threw a handful of cards in their direction, the cards struck each one of them, piercing through them, leaving the men either severely injured or dead. However not looking where he was going, the man plowed straight into Nathaniel and Seong as the two were investigating what was going on. Nathaniel sprang to his feet, whipping one of his pistols out and placing it in the face of the downed man, allowing Seong to bounce to her feet.

“If I was you friend, I would surrender. I don’t want to kill you,” Nathaniel threatened in a gentle tone.

“Nate, he’s just killed five men, I somewhat doubt he’s going to surrender willingly.” Seong said in a tone of annoyance.

“The lady’s right, boy,” The man said with a smile. “Some yellow belly like yerself wouldn’t be able to scare me. You need to have the balls to carry out your threats. Something I can do and you can’t. Now take that gun away from my face before I kill you.”

“Make me,” Nate said defiantly.

Nate pulled the hammer down on the gun, his finger jumping to the trigger. The man however threw a card at the face of Nate, which exploded in a bright light, temporarily blinding him. He placed another card underneath Nate which fired a column of fire at him which he narrowly avoided in his blinded delirium.

The man leapt to his feet, throwing more cards at Seong and Nate, who threw themselves out the way. Seong rolled, raising her shield and aiming her magi-tech pistol at the cowboy, firing three shots in rapid succession. However to her dismay, her opponent used one of his cards almost like a small knife, deflecting the bullets as they came within range of him. He then threw the card, which only just missed her head by bare centimeters.

“How did you deflect my bullets with mere cards?” Seong remarked in disbelief.

“I’ve never seen magic like that before.” Nate said out of curiosity. He silently studied the man who stood up straighter, radiating an aura of calm.

“My cards aren’t normal, m’lady,” The man explained. “Every one is enchanted. That all I’ll say on the matter.”

At that moment Nine and Abelle rounded the corner to see what all the noise was for. The man immediately sent a trio of cards flying at him. “Wild card.”

Two of the cards missed but the one in the centre of the bunch, the joker, hit Nine’s arm, opening a horrendous wound up on his left shoulder. This caused Nate to run forward, drawing his second pistol and open fire upon the man.

“I don’t think so kid. Card Wall!” Cards erupted from his sleeves and pockets, surrounding him in a protective barrier, blocking each incoming shot.

“I think it’s about time I take my leave. It was fun playing with you kids. Thorned Rose!” a number of cards from the card wall sprang out in all directions in a fiery inferno, completely coating the entranceway in flame. Nate was saved by Seong who got between him and he flames with her shield, using a null magic spell. Nine however was not so lucky. In his desperation to keep Abelle safe, took the brunt of the fire spell. His skin became scorched, his clothes singed and burned. And with that the man vanished from sight, behind the sea of flame.

__________________________________________________________________

The man in question had managed to get a good mile away in a short amount of time, using his knowledge of the streets in the area. He had found himself a secluded area in amongst the alleyways and began counting his money carefully, having not let the bag out of his sight the entire time he had acquired it.

“Matthias…” A voice sounded from around a corner. Matthias stopped immediately and looked around, catching a glimpse of a cane and a part of a man’s body covered by a coat. A book seemed to be in his revealed hand, open as if the figure was reading it. “It would be nice if you could try not to draw attention to yourself. I know the promise of money is something difficult for you to ignore but we can not have your escapades ruining our...no my plans.”

“Well sir, I’m sure no harm was done to your carefully laid out plans,” Matthias said as he stood up, facing in the man’s direction. “But a man’s gotta support himself somehow. Besides...I’m sure this money will be helpful to your plans.” He picked up the bag which only contained half the poker winnings he had earned and threw it next to the figure.

“I have no need of money, I’m sure you realise.” The man said, shutting the book as he did so. “However I’m sure your colleague over there could do with some spending money. I’m sure she would have some use of it.”

“That I would sir.” Sounded the alluring voice of Marina Poside as she stepped out of the shadows. “That would certainly help my cover story of being the delicate and rather beautiful aristocrat.” She walked up beside the mysterious figure and picked up the bag of money. “Of course I would request that someone does not try and blow my cover next time. If I was not so confident in your abilities I would have had to step in.”

“Well missy, I’m more than capable of handling myself. There aren’t many who can match my power.” Matthias boasted.

“Hmmm...I think of at least seven people.” Marina remarked with a wink, causing Matthias to blush.

“So can I, Miss Poside.” He said with a sigh. “Has Shika reported in yet?”

“Not yet no,” The man responded curtly. “She’s maintaining a low profile at the moment. She will make her move soon. As will Heirtif.”

“That psycho? He gives me the creeps, the emotionless bastard.” Marina complained.

“What about…” Matthias started but was cut off immediately.

“They are standing by. Those two are far too noticeable and dangerous to be allowed to roam where they please.” The man interjected with authority in his tone. “Now I suggest we all depart from here. Matthias you will come with me for the moment, I have need of you.” Matthias nodded. “Marina continue with your orders, try not to blow your cover too soon.”

“As you wish sir!” She responded with a bow.

And with that the three vanished without a trace.