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Avvercus

A Divine Deployment

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Rin grumbles at the mention that his seabag weighs more than her. She doesn’t know what a seabag is, but she immediately dislikes the comparison. Her cheeks puff outwards a bit, filled with air before she deflates with a sigh. Her rose gaze closes as she contemplates the exhaustion that seems so sudden. The gentle crunch of the earth beneath his booted feet is a soft, lulling motion and sound, the rocking of each step made her fall into a further sedation.

His comment of her face being red, however, caused her to huff.

“It is not.” A quiet protest before she falls silent once more. Resting against him she ponders just how far this tunnel goes, as they seem to have been walking for quite some time. Rin frowns, knowing that with time, she will only get heavier for the man to carry.

After a good fifteen minutes, the silence is too much for her to bear.

“Tell me about your job.” Rin offers as she tries to make herself smaller against him, wrapping her arms around his neck so as not to leave all of the weight against his arms, spreading it out a bit.

Whatever answer he responds with fills the time of their walk. As they progress further, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel shines down on them. Instead of being above them, however, it appears that he can simply….walk right out. The light from the forest filters down around them and instead of finding them surrounded by pine, it is a thick area full of leafing foliage.

“How long were we walking?” The woman questions, a frown crinkling her visage as she looks around, finding the area unfamiliar.

“I ..have no idea where we are.” Rin admits, a sheepish look as she gently tries to wiggle out of his hold, stretching her uninjured ankle to the ground, her arms still remaining around his neck. Alas, he is too tall, she dangles awkwardly from his neck and shoulders. There is easily another four inches to the ground as she stretches her bare toes in an attempt to scrape terra firma.

“I don’t…Maybe if we just…go straight back above the tunnel we can find the shop. We can’t be so far from the village.” She contemplates this for a moment.

“We could start a fire, of course. That would draw the attention of any nearby people…or predators, as well.”

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The Marine’s eyes snapped down to his female payload. Her arms snaked around his neck, causing his heart to skip a beat. He was suddenly very aware of the feel of her body pressed against him, and her scent clung to his thoughts, mixed in with dirt and blood as it was. Her meekness caused a stir in the silent air, and he felt something shift in his chest. She was really cute right now, somehow.

He remained quiet for a few seconds after her question shattered the awkward quiet, pondering his response. The tunnel didn’t change much as he walked on, re-adjusting the girl every now and then.

“I just do what needs to be done. Someone tells me to get something done, and I do it. It’s the same with my subordinates. I say jump, and they go as high as they can without asking questions. I joined the Crops to serve my country, but I didn’t ask to go to combat. I just ended up in the middle of it, and they liked how I handled myself. I went from support in the rear to the frontlines real quick after that. I’m a yes man, a professional killer, a savior, a mentor, a janitor...my job is complicated,” Hudson spoke casually, thinking about it for the first time, really. He’d never pondered what it was like to be a Marine before now.

He chattered on for some time, about simple things like physical training and the time and dedication it took to keep his appearance within regulations. Eventually, they simply walked right out of the tunnel and back into a wooded area. Distracted, Hudson bent over to lower Rin the rest of the way to the ground. He straightened up and looked around them, frowning. It wasn’t normal to go from one kind of forest to another so quickly. They hadn’t been walking that long.

“Gyahahahaha! Stupid humans, hehehehehe!”

A shrill, snickering laughter bellowed out from overhead. A purple winged fairy that was only a few inches tall sat on the branch of a tree, pointing at the pair with tears in his eyes.

“They went right on through, yes yes. Dumb bastards got no clue, no clue. Went through a fae tunnel, now they’re in a totally different forest kekekek.”

The fae continued to laugh at their expense before flying off. Hudson let loose a heavy breath through his nose before letting go of the rising fury. Best to make do with the situation. So, this was magic, eh?

He looked back to Rin and immediately noticed she was still struggling with her injury. Rolling his eyes, he plucked her right back off her feet with a grin. Perhaps he would make a game of this. Her reactions were entertaining enough, at the very least.

“Well...first thing’s first then. Gotta find a water source, then we’ll make camp. Predators are fine. As long as it isn’t another...dragon, I can take care of it,” he said with confidence. He started to walk perpendicular to what he determined was the sloped part of the ground, no matter how slight and subtle it seemed.

“I don’t suppose you have any way to tell what direction north is?”

Edited by Avvercus

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Rin closed an eye and listened to Hudson explain his job. While he prattled on and on, she found herself contemplating what kind of life that was to lead. It sounded…lonely at the core. She had seen the comradery of the men in uniform before, just once. They seemed close knit and fond of one another, but, perhaps those bonds faded when reduced to civilian life.

The shrill voice of the pixie caused her head to snap up, and if looks could kill the floating annoyance would be in ashes on the ground. For a moment, she desperately wished she had offensive magic, a fireball to the little assholes’ face would be incredibly satisfying.

She had no time to contemplate her distaste for the little creature, as she was suddenly scooped from the ground once more. A yelp escaped her and a short flail.

“Put me down, I can walk!” Though they both knew it was a lie, Rin huffed despite. His question, however, prompted a dull stare. “Sorry, must have left it in my other shoe.” She offered as she lifted her bare (Sans the wrap) foot. Her dress and one shoe was all she had – everything else had been forgotten in the running for their lives.

“We’ll need to figure out where we are. If we can find a water source we can follow it to the nearest town. They’re almost always built close to running water.” Rin offers as she sighs. Whether or not the man lets her down, she hobbles OR remains in his grasp. The land slopes suddenly, daring him to lose footing as it veers to the left. Rin contemplates this for a moment, as if trying to remember the lay of the land they might be in.

It is quite a walk to the bottom of the slope, but they are not greeted with water. Simply a valley full of turning trees awash in oranges, reds, and greens. It’s beautiful, if not a tad eerie for the silence that plagues it. “Be careful…I think there’s Fae Circles down here.” Rin offers as she peers around. “Don’t step on any toadstools.” Another warning, hopefully he’ll heed this one.

“I think I see a game trail over there. Those generally lead to water.” She points at a thin trail well-traveled that seems to run along the valley and out the other side.

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The trail was old. Hudson noted faded tracks made by what he thought to be hooves as he waded through the tall vegetation, being mindful to try and spot out any ‘toadstools’ as he was warned by his very vocal companion. Within a few steps, Hudson could clearly hear the sound of running water, and hastened his pace to inspect. However, one more stride and suddenly everything changed.

Colorful forest gave way to unrelentingly green jungle. The temperate air transformed, becoming awash in thick humidity that refused to ease its grip on the dispersing heat of the sun. Right in front of the Marine and the Healer was a viciously churning river, and that was where the man stopped in his tracks. His head shot left and right, taking in all the new information.

Magic. How unsettling. It could change a situation on its head in an instant. How was he to ever make sound decisions when his perception was based on what might be purely transient? A dissatisfied grumble vibrated his frame that ended with a dismissive breath of hot air that tickled across Rin’s cheek.

A glance left and right immediately drew Hudson’s attention to the latter direction. Half a click downriver was a delta, and sitting atop it was a huge, exotic city. Out of the corner of his eye, the Marine noticed Rin’s feet peeking just inside his vision. The uninjured foot still had a shoe, but its twin was naked for all to see. A sound rumbled through the air then. It started with a small chortle, but quickly grew into full-on laughter. The warfighter couldn’t help himself as he threw his head to the sky and finally allowed himself to accept his situation in full.

“Haha, we’re really on an adventure, eh? Any idea where we are now?”

Edited by Avvercus

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The change in scenery both shocked and angered Rin. Was it not enough that they had set them off their path, but now they must also trick them with illusion? She inwardly cursed every Fae, the names in which they had been lain to her in her mind less than ladylike. It was raw emotions and tender ankles that made her sour, laughing pixies be damned she wanted them all dead, at that moment.

When Hudson shifted into laughter, she made a noise of surprise. It seemed such a foreign thing to his face, laughter, his eyes carried none of the weight of it, and the crinkles of his eyes weren’t put there by smiles. No, this was a man for whom laughing was superficial, never quite reaching into his soul. Rin contemplated this for a moment, her crimson gaze peering to take in the weight of his expression before she turned away at his question.

“No.” It was a simple response, one that didn’t need any further words. Her heart hurt, and she had just about had enough. The displacement of Hudson, the upheaval of her home, and now they were lord knew how many miles away, with nothing. She had no money, nothing to trade, and only one shoe. It was simply too much.

Rin sniffed, unable to help herself as she felt the hot tears slide down her dirty visage. They created rivers in the mud caked on her face, leaving behind bright flesh in contrast as a gentle sob shook her shoulders. While she despised crying in front of others, there was no escaping Hudson. She could barely put weight on her ankle, and his grip was strong.

The small woman instead folded into herself as much as possible as she tried to stifle the sound of her tears in an effort to keep him from being too concerned. If he even would be. Rin wasn’t sure if he was capable of even responding, but either way she was too worked up to care.

“I just wanna go home!” A loud confession only moments beyond the initial sob. “I want to go home, I hate this place! I just want to see my brother again, and I want to eat a hamburger, and tacos, and I want to walk through Central park!”

After her short tantrum, Rin rubbed at a hue, scattering muck across her visage before she pointed to the large city.

“We might as well as go there. We aren’t doing ourselves any favors by staying over here.” She sighed after a moment, sniffing heavily before she rested against him.

After some time, they came upon the large town of Hodra, filled with beautiful waterways and bridges, arches and aqueducts that spanned the length of the river as far as one could see. Of course, entering on the outreaches, and surely looking out of place, only served to get them a few odd looks even as Rin sniffed a bit.

“Excuse me!” She called to one of the passing people, “What city is this?” Rin questioned, though she was regarded with a strange look, the young girl answered.

“Hodra City! The best city!” And like that, the little girl ran off.

Canopies of bright colors and art that could only be imagined filled the streets as Rin made a soft noise. “Hodra…I’ve never been inside Nar Ostre….It’s another part of this continent. It houses Vampires.” Rin shuddered against Hudson, suddenly trying to curl smaller into his chest.

“Well, not just vampires, but can we avoid them, please?” Rin practically whimpered. “We need to find a map…”

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Tears. He’d seen this exact same behavior plenty of times in the past. The Marine heaved a sigh and looked skyward, contemplating how to respond here. He’d seen many leaders approach this dilemma in different ways, but definitely preferred how he himself went about it. His men did too.

“You know, I said something like that when I was a young Marine on my first deployment. Six months away from home in a foreign land is tough. But, it’s gonna be alright. Keep your chin up, eyes forward. We’ll get home, it’s just gonna be a little while longer. Besides, the longer we’re here the better that first burger when we get back is gonna taste, eh?”

Hudson gently nudged Rin with his shoulder, trying to comfort the girl and give her a pep talk. She’d be alright, they just had to keep on moving forward. With that, he began the march to this mysterious city neither of them was familiar with.

The marble archway marking the entrance to the city was extravagant, exotic, and felt to the foreigner like a symbol of wealth. He had already formed something of an uninformed world view, and couldn’t help but notice the lack of walls or any sort of defenses to the place. In a world with dragons and who knows what else roaming around, Hudson couldn’t help but be skeptical.

The man’s head kept on a swivel as they entered the city, desperately trying to take in everything around them and committing it to memory. Skimpy dress styles that showed off a lot of skin, bright flashy colors, and a loud and energetic stream of people moving about kept the man on edge. He pulled Rin in closer, tightening his grip reflexively. His brow set defensively, an unconscious scowl sure to scare away any approaching without good reason.

He noted he couldn’t understand a thing anyone said. It was something he’d experienced before, so he wasn’t put off. However it definitely meant he had some serious disadvantages in this world until he could get a grasp on the language. Rin, however, showed she was quite fluent. That put him at ease slightly, and brought to light just how dependant he was going to be on the girl until he could learn to speak himself.

“Vampires? But it’s the middle of the day. As for a map… Well, we don’t have any money. We should do something about that first. Maybe you could-”

“Vaaaaaampires you say?”

Hudson’s sentence was cut off by a voice the Marine could happily say he’d never heard before, nor anything that compared. It was male, but effeminate and obnoxiously flamboyant. Hudson didn’t need to whip his head around to locate the origin, because it slinked around his right shoulder with admittedly elegant steps. A blond haired man, thin as a rail in a violently pink feathered corset and matching capris, had his purple shadowed eyes on Rin and was definitely aiming his words in her direction.

“My dear, I assure you this city is free of Vaaaaaaaampires, unlike the rest of the region. Well…mostly at least. Huhuhuhu!” the stranger laughed, placing a finger at the corner of his mouth in an attempt to appear coy. An elongated canine slipped out of his lips, and he ran that finger down it slowly before returning his hand to his hip.

“It’s plain to see you two are new to this city. Even plainer that you are… Wanting, for finances. If you would be so kind as to accompany me back to my most luxurious abode, I’ve several offers that could help you and your beefcake here get on your feet. What do you say, darling?”

Hudson noted that the moment this… Man? The moment this person approached them, several worrisome, predatorial eyes slinking about the crowd and from within windows on high disappeared, withdrawing back into the shadows. He immediately disliked this fellow, but had to admit his arrival was likely beneficial to the pair. This was, however, based purely on conjecture. Afterall, Hudson couldn’t understand a damn thing he’d said.

“Rin, I don’t speak whatever language this guy is speaking so I don’t know what he’s saying but… Do you want me to make him go away?”

Regardless of the benefits, if he was harassing Hudson’s charge the Marine would get rid of him, and any other pests that might come nipping at their ankles.

“Oh, how rude of me! The name is Fizzroy, by the by.”

This was directed to both of them, along with a jubilant smile that genuinely reached his very yellow eyes.

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Rin grumbles, but says nothing to Hudson as he mentions first burgers and getting home. Five, no, nearing six years of isolation in a foreign world has left her a tad bitter. Her hopes of returning home dwindling each day.

When the voice echoed around them, however, Rin couldn’t help the immediate clench of the entirety of her body. Her crimson gaze narrows as she takes in the strange appearance of their untimely savior. Her fingers curl into Hudson’s shirt, unable to help herself as a soft noise is made.

“Tell me, here and now, these offers.” Rin stated as she tries to shrink into Hudson, scowling all the while. She doesn’t trust this man, clearly, and trusts him even less at the thought of being trapped in a devilish home with the flamboyant …creature.

She also refuses to give the man her name, though he likely deduces it from Hudson as he speaks. “Just…wait a moment, just in case.” Though her knee jerk reaction was to ask Hudson to set the man on fire for even existing, Rin quietly admonishes herself inwardly. She is better than this, she knows she is, but she can’t help her instant dislike.

“You seem to have us pegged quite easily, so tell me why I should trust you enough to join you at your abode, or further yet, trust the jobs you have?” She questions. Quietly, she hopes that Hudson is fast enough to take on a vampire, if need be.  

“Try asking your beefcake, deary. He seems to have nooooooticed something you missed,” the man gestured to Hudson with a swirling finger, cocking his head sideways and giving the girl a very smug smile. Hudson, gave Rin a puzzling look, a nonverbal request for a translation.

Rin frowned, her gaze tilting to Hudson as her fingers curled and uncurled in his shirt. “He’s offering us a job. Er...I think.” She shuddered. “Any reason we should trust him? He said to ask you.” She offers, though reluctant, her attention now turns back to the vampire. “You didn’t answer my question about the jobs.”

“Well...I don’t know about trust, but he’s definitely scared off the city’s predators. Having him near us is probably good protection, at the very least. If he tries anything funny I can always shoot him,” Hudson shrugged, peering at Fizzroy for a moment before turning his attention back to their surroundings.

“Well, that’s… Sensitive information, missy. There are ears everywhere out in the open, and I certainly don’t want the entire city to know my business. You want a bath, yes? Perhaps something to eat? I will of course, provide you full hospitality if you simply agree to come without too many questions, huhu~ Besides, doesn’t the mystic excite you?”

“Light him on fire if he does.” Rin states quickly, unable to keep the slight tremor out of her voice. However, her attention is then drawn by the ...charismatic man who promises them boarding. “Alright...we’ll follow you, but if you try anything unsavory…” She warns, from her oh so threatening position in Hudson’s arms. “My name is Rin.” And that is all he’s gonna get out of her until they get to where they are going. Turning back to Hudson, “Go ahead and follow the weird man, for now.”

“Loooooooovely~<3” the man spun around on one heel, attracting quite a bit of attention with his lilting singsong voice piercing the ambient murmur of the daily crowd. He walked with a confident sashay, peeking over his shoulder and crooking a finger for the pair to follow along.

With a heavy sigh, Hudson followed along, dancing out of the way of horses that came running through without a care to the pedestrians in their path, avoiding a bar fight that spilled out of a tavern they were passing by called The Queen’s Bed. All the while, Fizzroy seemed totally comfortable amongst the chaos that had Hudson completely on edge. Especially given he was carrying a squishy package.

Eventually, they turned down a road into a sector that was obviously not for the commoners of the ambitiously large settlement. Large, ornate homes dotted either side of the paved and well-kept road. Each was fenced in, with a sizable yard for city real estate. Fizzroy, of course, turned into the garden of a home that stood out. It was bright, eye-gouging neon pink. The sight actually made Hudson stop and shake his head for a full three seconds, as well as prompting yet another sigh from the estranged Marine.

“If I burn him, this place is going with him I swear to whatever God sent me here…”

A maid stood waiting by the door to the home. At least, Hudson thought it was a maid. Her attire was sheer, skimpy, and left very little to the imagination, but she stood ramrod straight with her hands folded in her lap and a professional smile on her face, an expression difficult to focus on when her black, white, and frilly clothing drew a male’s gaze elsewhere.

“Welcome, most honored guests,” the woman with hime-cut shoulder length red hair and a gaudy amount of wine lipstick greeted the pair with a proper curtsy. “Master Fizzroy is changing. What would you prefer first?Food, a bath, oooooooor me? Hehe, just kidding about the last one.”

The maid was bubbly, but her posture maintained its professional integrity despite… Everything.

Rin watched, her crimson gaze taking in the surroundings as they moved - unfamiliar sights and sounds greeted her, and she wrinkled her nose at them. Of course, keeping track of how to get back out of the area they had headed into was good, and Rin was certain that Hudson had done the same. Between the two of them, they should be capable of escaping. The woman was certain by now that Hudson’s arms had to be getting tired, and as they approached the ...rather brightly decorated home.

“I don’t even blame you. It’s so...pink.” Rin grimaced as she gently squirmed in his lap. As they came upon the maid, however, Rin rose a brow and wrinkled her nose at the woman’s clothing. She could only assume her to be very well paid, or perhaps a thrall of sorts. Grumbling, she tried to slip from his grasp once more.

“Go ahead and put me down. I think I can stand now.” She offered, though knowing it was going to be a feeble attempt at standing, but at least he wouldn’t be burdened with carrying her any longer. She contemplated the woman’s question for a moment, before grimacing. She was quite muddy, and likely so was Hudson. While her stomach rumbled with hunger, her need for cleanliness came first.

If the man was going to offer them something so simple, she supposed she should take it. “Alright...Bath first, then, please.” Rin states, managing to wiggle away from Hudson as she hissed under her breath as she put weight on her ankle. It throbbed painfully, she’d need to find a way to wrap it and get the swelling down. The maid grinned at them, nodding as she led them through a ...hideously decorated hallway beyond the front door. Fleur de lis of bright pink and black wallpaper covered the walls, and Rin audibly groaned, this time not from pain, as she hobbled after the chipper maid. Many doorways and arches branched from the hallway, and the woman hummed as she led them along to a door.

When they were finished, Rin sighed as she came out, dressed in another, modest bright white dress that accented her figure very nicely. It swayed around her knees, and she grimaced as she tried to put weight on it.

Her attention turned briefly to Hudson, who had also been bathed. She opens her mouth to speak, but finds herself cut short by the maid who approaches.

“This way, please.” She offers as she turns, expecting them to follow her back into the hideous hallway. She leads them to yet another sitting room of sorts, a comfortable couch on one side and a loveseat on the other. The table between has a plethora of foods available, tortillas and shredded meat of some sort, as well as many other hand foods.

“Master Frizzroy will be in shortly.” She states, closing the door behind her as she leaves them once more.

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The bath was a long, long time coming. Months of sand and sweat, and hours of blood, mud, and ash had peeled away from Hudson’s skin in a way he imagined must feel for a snake to shed its skin. Despite the eccentric master of the home, and its less than aesthetic interior, that ten minutes of hot water and blissful soap had made this entire event worth it.

If you hadn’t shot the dragon, you could have taken as long a bath as you wanted, and sooner

An imaginary Rin in the Marine’s head reminded him that this was all his fault. Fuck, the one time he didn’t stay disciplined. But hey, who could really blame him? Most people who ‘died’ in battle just to end up in a strange world and suddenly presented with a big ass dragon out of nowhere would have panicked and started firing, right?

Hudson would never admit it, but the maid made him very uncomfortable. He was a man, after all. A man who had been deployed for nearly a year, and had next to no contact with women whatsoever during that time. And here was this attractive maid in a revealing outfit, dragging him around this ridiculous house with his companion whom he didn’t want thinking he was staring. Speaking of which, the dress she’d been given looked very much the same, but somehow better than the first. Not a man of fashion or subtly in dress, Hudson couldn't put his finger on it. For his part, the Marine was given a green tunic, sturdy green pants, and his own boots that miraculously had avoided getting any blood on them. He’d strapped his gear to this new outfit that was strangely light, but comfortable and easy to move in. He couldn’t tell if it all fit him properly or not.

The lounge was no better. As they moved to sit, Hudson allowed Rin to walk on her own without complaint, but he kept a watchful eye out to make sure she couldn’t fall or push herself too hard. The pair sat on the loveseat, neither wanting to end up sitting next to the vampire when he arrived. Hudson immediately tackled the table, shoving food down his throat without restraint. If asked, he’d never be able to say if it tasted good or not. He just knew he was incredibly hungry for something that wasn’t an MRE. The cookies Rin had given him were tasty, sure. But, not exactly filling.

After eating his fill, Hudson leaned back into the seat, trying to relax. He was going to need to leave everything up to Rin here. His ignorance as far as the local language went was troubling to him. He was infinitely grateful for her help and perfectly fine with relying on her, but he also worried she was going to get the two of them into trouble at some point because of her nature. Tumbling over these thoughts, it was then he noticed it.

The chandelier in the room, hanging not more than ten feet overhead.

It

It was a fucking stuffed, pink cat

The light came from its eyes, and the ridiculously fluffy thing looked pissed.

“We need to get out of here. Now,” Hudson hissed into Rin’s ear, a low whisper he didn’t want overheard by-

“Hellooooooo darlings. Terribly sorry for keeping you, I had some… Business. You're not my o~~~nly guests today~”

The unfortunately familiar voice filled the room in a sing-song that was, admittedly, perfectly pitched and not unpleasant to the ears. Fizzroy swung himself onto the couch opposite his guests, sprawling out on it like a king.

“I see you’ve already partaken of the snacks here, and you’ve had a bath. Excellent, excellent. I am rather busy, so I’m afraid we can’t spend much time on this little meeting. I slipped the two of you between appointments, you see,” the vampire felt the need to whisper as he leaned over the table.

Still leaning, the man leered at Rin with an almost mischievous smile.

“Now, I have three offers. Two are for you, my sweet, adorable little Rinnypoo~ and one is for your scary scary friend here! Now don’t be alarmed, but you simply smell… Divine. Virgin blood of such a fine age is… rare, in this aaaaaaaaaaarea~ If you would allow me to take some, I would be willing to pay as handsomely as the face you’re looking at. Right. Now~” the vampire began, putting a pinky to one of his fangs as his eyes drew their way to the albino’s neck.

“The second offer is very simple. I’d like to play dress up with you, dear Rindalin. You’re almost as lovely looking moi, and a few paintings of you in various dress would make great ediiiiiiition to my collection. Just imagine, your cute little tushie decorating my walls!”

At this point, the vampire was standing and twirling, pacing the room in his excitement. He found his seat again rather quickly, and pointed to Hudson.

“As for hmm hmmmmmm hmm hiiiiim~ I’m going to be taking a stroll this evening, and attending a… Party, of sorts. I could use a nice meantshi… Ah, I mean a scary scary companion to keep stray dogs and bible salesmen away from me during my time out! What do you say, RinRin, interested in one or all of my irresistible ventures?”

The entire exchange was annoying to Hudson. Somehow, he could tell whatever Fizzroy was saying would irritate the hell out of him, as if on instinct. He turned to Rin, watching her face for any bad giveaways, and waited for her to explain things to him.

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Rin ate, though more delicately than the marine, until she was full. Satisfied with being warm, clean, and now full, Rin found herself lulled into a false sense of security. Even surrounded by the garish decorations that Fizzroy had placed throughout his home, the woman sunk into the couch, looking as though sleep might lay claim to her at any moment. Even the pain of her ankle had started to subside, going from a thunderous throbbing to a dull ache.

Aches could be handled.

The woman found her spine involuntarily going ramrod straight, however, at the voice of the man who slipped inside the room. Fizzroy was most certainly a character, and though his flamboyant nature set her on edge, it was more the knowledge that he had them completely at his mercy that gnaws at her.

Fingers curl into the borrowed dress as Fizzroy lays out his offers, her immediate reaction of refusal stifled as she considers them for a moment. She knows that they need the money, furthermore, they need a place to stay. The fastest way out of the …eclectically decorated home was to simply give the vampire what he desired. Though Rin has no desire to allow the man to touch her.

She knows what Hudson will say, or rather, she thinks she knows. “Blah blah blah, safety, take advantage.” Or things of that nature. The second offer is not so terrible, but potentially leaves them at Fizzroys mercy for hours or days, not to mention, what type of outfits would be presented them? Surely with his garish decorations, Rin’s imagination can only run wild.

The last is for Hudson, and while she has no doubt that the man can handle his own, a strange sense of protectiveness washes over the woman. She instantly shakes her head to that, not wanting to throw Hudson to the wolves…perhaps literally.

Turning, Rin clears her throat as she speaks to Hudson.

“We have three offers. The first is to give him some of my blood, the second is to play dress up, or the third is for you to act as a bodyguard at a party tonight…Giving him the blood will get us out of here fastest.” Rin offers.

Perhaps they could manipulate it so that the vampire never has to touch her. She would be fine with that. The human body can lose up to one pint safely, as that’s what they take when they give blood donations. If healthy and stretching it, maybe even two. Though for her stature, one pint would be more than plenty without causing bodily harm.

“How would you get my blood, if I offer it to you?” The woman’s gaze narrows at Fizzroy.  

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Hudson's arm immediately took a protective position on Rin's shoulder as he cast a glare in Fizzroy's direction. "Give him your blood? Hell no, I'm not letting him bite you. Who knows, maybe those movies are right and he can turn you into his thrall or something. I'll just play bodyguard," Hudson said rather strongly, letting a heavy breath blow through his nose. Fizzroy looked at the pair, noticing the obvious glares of suspicion. He wasn't surprised when the cute little Rin opened up with that particular question.

"Dear, dear, please. Do I seem unprofessional to you? Of course it will be safe, clean, and done by a licensed practitioner of medicine. A simple needle in your arm my dear. No fangs, I promise!" The vampire put his hands up and smiled genuinely

Rin shifted a bit beneath the weight of Hudson's arm. "If he doesn't touch me, he can't." She murmurs to the larger man. Her rose-colored gaze lifts to Fizzroy. "I accept your terms, on the understanding that we are paid and given leave immediately."

Fizzroy tilted his head to the side slightly, tasting the meaning behind her words as his tongue quite literally rolled about his mouth in contemplation. "Rindalin, do you feel unsafe? You are both, of course, guests and free to come and go as you please!" the vampire puts on a look of actual hurt for a moment. It disappears just as quickly, and he goes back to his usual jolly self. "Excellent, excellent. I will have my servants prepare your payment beforehand. Now, as for my other offers?"

"I don't know this area, I don't know you. You've been kind up until this point, but there's nothing stopping you from taking advantage of us. While normally I trust easily, I find your timing a little too... Convenient." Rin admits, though she frowns as she does so, surprised at herself. Momentarily she looks to Hudson. "He said he would be your guard."

"Oh, yes I understand your concerns young lady. I suppose I had merely hoped my hospitality would've put you at ease. No matter, I'm very happy to hear beefy here will escort me. Lucky! Let him know we'll be leaving at midnight sharp. The two of you will have rooms to stay in until then, so he should get some rest. Would you preferrrrrrrrr separate rooms, or to share one?"

"If we can have two beds in the same room, I'd prefer to share."

"No problem no problem my sweet Rinnypoo~"

"By the way, why midnight? For dramatics? The sun goes down at ten." This is why I don't like vampires.

"Silly Rinrin, the party doesn't start until 12:30! I wouldn't mind taking him for a... Joy ride before then, however. Great idea! Tell him we're leaving at 10 instead!"

"No."

Fizzroy burst out laughing. "Darling, you are simply too fun to tease. Anyway, please follow Charlotte. She will take you to extract the blood and show you to your rooms. I can't tarry any longer. On with my oh~so~busy schedule. Toodles dear!"

And just like that, the vampire teetered out of the room. The maid that had brought them inside in the first place approached the pair.

"Please, follow me."

Hudson looked at Rin with pleading eyes.

"Could you please... Fill me in?"

He felt terribly out of his element. That being lacking information, control of his situation, and confidence and direction with his actions. A sudden fatigue came over the man, a result of all of the culture shock he had been experiencing. Rin was his one and only anchor of sanity in this place, and he could certainly use some grounding words from her at the moment.

Edited by Avvercus

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Rin drew in a deep breath as Fizzroy teetered himself out of the room. Her gaze turned towards the maid, she didn’t trust her either at the moment, but such was life.

She tucked her arm into Hudson’s as they moved to follow the maid, and she momentarily gave a disgusted look to the stuffed cat light.

“I am giving him my blood, through a needle. After that, we’ll rest in a room and then at midnight sharp, you and he will leave for a party. I assume you’ll just have to look menacing and make sure no one tries to stab him?” Rin sighed a bit.

The maid, to her credit, led them to a sterile room where a woman in a white coat. There was a tray with the unopened medical supplies in front of a chair. Rin grimaced, unable to stop herself as her arm tightened around Hudson’s own.

“If she takes more than a pint, …I dunno, hit her or something.” Rin mumbles under her breath as she draws in a shakey attempt to regain her composure. She steps to the chair, plopping in it as she looks away, not wanting to witness the needle entering her flesh.

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As Rin settled into the chair, the woman in white began rapid firing questions about her health history. Satisfied after a minute or two, she turned around. From behind, Hudson could see the white clothing was more an apron and hat than anything, because the frills of a maid outfit were clear as day. This individual wasn’t a doctor…

The maid saw Hudson’s skeptical gaze, and immediately pointed to something on the wall. There hung a medical degree, framed with pride. Though he couldn’t read it, the meaning was easy to interpret. He sighed and made no move to stop what went on. Rather, he approached his tiny, pale companion on the side that wasn’t being swabbed with cleaning solution and wrapped in a rubber band in what he had to admit was a professional manner. Kneeling down,  he did his best to smile at her. Or, as much as Hudson smiled.

“Look at me, Rin,” he said, taking her hand in his. The ‘nurse’ or ‘doctor’ or whatever the maid was supposed to also be placed the tip of the needle to the healer’s skin, hunting for a vein. “I want you to picture something.” The needle seemed to have found its entry point. “The cat,” he hissed, squeezing her hand just as the needle took the plunge. “Just… Why? Is that… Do people normally do that in this world?”

He glanced at the blood collecting in what was quite literally a pint-sized glass jar on the counter. The blood reached a certain point and the ‘nurse’ went to tug the needle out. Hudson squeezed Rin’s hand at the same time that the instrument left her body and then stood up.

“Are you feeling alright?”

At the entrance to the room, the maid Charlotte waited patiently to take them to their room when they were ready.

“If you’re light-headed, I’ll carry you again.”

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Rin had an idle thought – more of a wondering, who the hell was this maid and why the hell did she know how to draw blood? In some way, her service to the vampire made more sense, but her mind simply could not fathom why…just…why.

When Hudson knelt down to eye level, Rin stared at him with a rather unimpressed look. It had been a trying day – her house burned down, faerie tricks, and now blooding. Her adrenaline had gone up and down, wavering with each new thing that seemed to come up. She was exhausted and irritated.

“What does the cat have to do with anything?” She practically hissed as the needle entered her body. When she had filled the bag, she withdrew and crossed her arms. Her neck was still bruised from Hudson’s antics at their first meeting and now she felt faint.

Her body had endured more damage than it was used to, not to mention the amount of energy she had put into healing Hudson…Rin moved to stand when they finished, and promptly her vision went black. She fell sideways, right against Hudson – completely passed out.

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The Marine caught his companion gently, scanning her face for a moment. She was breathing, just passed out from their adventures and the sudden blood loss. His blue gaze shifted to the 'nurse'. "About that room."

Perhaps he was aware of how atypical his tastes were, or perhaps he thought them too good for guests, but Fizzroy's guest room was thankfully not like the rest of his home. Simple white walls dotted with equally simple paintings of various locations in Genesaris, two beds, two large comfy armchairs set before a fireplace that was currently empty, and a small bookshelf filled with tomes Hudson couldn't read completed the generously large living space. Hudson had been led here without any fuss, and left to watch over his sleeping savior. He sat on the bedside, watching her tiny chest rise and studying her peaceful face. A lot had happened to him in a relatively short amount of time. Truth be told he'd known this woman less than a day, but felt like he'd been at her side for so much longer. He owed her his life, and more.

He gingerly brushed a stray hair out of her face, thinking about how lucky he was to meet Rin. She was beautiful, patient, empathetic, kind. He'd get her home, one way or another. Home to earth. He gave her sleeping form a small smile before standing and moving to his own bed. Despite being one of the most physically impressive specimens one could find on his home world, he had his limits. He hit the bed like a rock, almost immediately passing out before he could get comfortable.

Neither of them heard the knock. But Hudson certainly felt the stabbing feeling in his side, jolting him awake and sending him into a defensive panic. He'd grabbed whatever was jabbing him and immediately settled into a combat stance at the side of the bed after rolling off of it. As the world came into focus, he found himself staring through the dark room at the red headed main, who had poked him with his rifle.

"It is time, Master Hudson. I've brought your things, thoroughly washed. Take them and follow me, if you please," she handed the weapon over, which was thankfully not loaded, and the rest of his gear, now somehow free of bloodstains, if still riddled with bullet holes.

A shudder ran the man's spine as he hugged his weapon. You never truly get used to having a gun pointed at you. He had no idea what the maid said, but assumed he'd have time to gear up before leaving. He opted to replace his slippers with boots and forgo wearing his flak jacket. It was useless now that the plates had been shattered anyway. He took the harness that had his pistol, ammo, and K-BAR attached and donned that before slinging his M-16 and marched out of the room, throwing Rin one last glance before the door shut.

Fizzroy was certainly dressed for a party. Pink robes with a ridiculously flared collar, golden mascara, eye liner, and lipstick certainly felt like something he would wear. A black tattoo made of strange symbols in a circle had appeared on his throat. Fizzroy said something Hudson couldn't comprehend and the maid was suddenly going for his neck. He tensed up as she took a quill and drew something on his throat that he could not see, but he guessed it was probably the same thing Fizzroy had drawn on him.

No sooner had the maid stepped away than Hudson found himself able to understand Fizzroy's words.

"Loooooovely, you understand me now, yes yes?"

"...I do. I need information. Who, what, when, and where about this... party of yours. Who do I need to know about that is a threat. What will they be trying to harm you with. When will we be returning. Where are we going exactly." Hudson replied in a serious tone, shifting into duty mode.

"Now now, beefcake. Where's the fun if I spoil everything for you? All~you~need~to~know is that you need to keep my pretty face and clothing in one piece, nothing more. Now, shall we?" Fizzroy replied in that sing-song manner he was partial to and guard towards the mansion entrance. Oh fuck... I did not get enough sleep to deal with this shit.

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Rin remains asleep, even after Hudson is violently woken. The disturbance bothers her not, her dreams full of cheeseburgers and thoughts of home. In her sleep, a deep longing fills the spaces of her heart and makes her wish for these things all over again. Things that Hudson has reminded her of, a family, warm food, and laughter with the people that matter.

 

It was these thoughts that kept Rin placated in her sleep, though her brow furrowed in what might be construed as frustration as she tried desperately to keep ahold of the dreams that kept trying to slip away into something more nonsensical. At multiple points they drifted to the pink stuffed cat-lamp that Fizzroy treasured so – and her whole body shuddered with the thought.

 

As Fizzroy lay claim to Hudson for the evening, the maid bowed and promptly saw herself out of the way. Hudson was to escort her master to and from the party, hopefully with neither of them maimed.

 

As they exited, it was obvious that they wouldn’t be expected to walk. Fizzroy had acquired a vehicle, a closed carriage that would leave them only intimate space between. Pulling it, was a terribly gaudy dressed man who looked quite uncomfortable, if the bright purple suit and teal hat were any indication. Like all things involved with Fizzroy, it was loud. The horses that pulled the carriage had foot tall feathers clipped into their bridles, and were adorned with a shiny glitter layer that caused them to sparkle in the streetlights.

 

As they approached the party, the driver finally pulled to a stop and moved to open the door so that they might escape the tight confines where Fizzroy was no doubt tormenting the poor marine. As they left, he made a quick bow and moved back to park the carriage elsewhere.

 

The party they arrived at was in a grandiose building, it’s pillars strong and tall, and a gentle warmth radiating from within. There was a long red carpet draped over the stairs as they arrived so as not to soil their shoes as they approached. The sounds of the party were already in full swing, and the man at the door paused them before offering a smile.

 

“Ah, Master Fizzroy, a pleasure to be seeing you. Please join us.” He crooned.

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