Episode 42

Long rows of back to back benches stretch across the floor space of a clinic waiting area. Desk staff busily guide people through the forms and advise on the signature requirements. An older woman in neat, professional attire inspects a couple of clipboards upon a desk, each with a metal clip binding paperwork. Deedri promptly steps up next to the older woman, presents a proper stance, and dutifully hands over a clipboard. "Dr. Blackwell, it was as you advised. Though, it was a particularly advanced sinus infection. I felt he would be best served with a magical evacuation of sinus build up. It was... substantial... But, the he was VERY relieved. I prescribed some low-grade antibiotics, and recommended some over the counter nasal sprays."

Dr. Blackwell takes hold of the clipboard from Deedri, flips through the pages, and pauses as her eyes slightly widen at a note upon the page. "Oh. That IS a substantial amount."

Deedri awkwardly smiles and shrugs her shoulders. "It was quite colorful, too."

The stoic head doctor cracks an amused smirk and sighs with a shake of her head. She casts her gaze over the nearby clipboards, hovers a hand over the collection, and places it down upon one particular stack of paperwork. She lifts up the wooden back of the board and presents it to Deedri with a slight smile. "I believe you'll enjoy this one, especially after reading up on your medical school publications."

With a curious tilt of the head, Deedri grasps onto the clipboard, lowers her attention to the paperwork, and her eyes light up. She smiles graciously and nods with a slight bow to Dr. Blackwell. "Thank you, Dr. Blackwell."

Dr. Blackwell returns the nod and points Deedri towards a room door in the distance. As Deedri leaves, Dr. Blackwell focuses upon the files on the desk before her. Less than a minute later, Aristespha steps up with a clipboard in hand, attempts to neaten up her appearance with her free hand, and straightens up her posture. "Dr. Blackwell. It turns out the patient had a rash... extensively on and around the perineum. I performed some basic magical treatments to alleviate the more prominent symptoms and prescribed some topical ointments from the pharmacy."

A well-hidden sinister smirk creeps upon Dr. Blackwell's lips out of view of Aristepsha. She promptly picks up a case file, pivots to face Aristespha, and exchanges clipboards with her. "Excellent. Here is your next one."

Aristespha nods, scans over the first few pages, and the corners of her mouth contort slightly as her eyes reads the detailed notes of the patient's previous history.

Deedri stands outside the examination room door, takes a long breath in, and turns the handle. She steps through the open doorway and quickly scans the room. A tall, strong man with short dirty blonde hair turns in place to face Deedri with a hint of recognition. An evuukian woman with long golden brown hair and golden highlights upon her cheeks stands up from a wiping a the face of a four year old boy with dirty blonde hair and golden highlights on his cheeks. Deedri presents a happy tone and greets everyone. "Hello, I'm Mage Preeta."

The man reaches out a hand and smiles. "Nice, to meet you doctor. I'm Mason Anderson."

Deedri shakes his hand, and expresses a bit of embarrassment with bright smile. "I'm very flattered, but it's only mage. That's a few more years of schooling I need before I have that title."

She rolls her eyes at the topic and sighs lightly. "Quite a few doctors get particular about that title sometimes."

Mason laughs, shrugs awkwardly, and sighs. "Ah, sorry. Certainly showed my lack of upbringing there. Is doc okay?"

Deedri nods quickly with a laugh and turns to face the evuukian woman. "Of course."

The evuukian woman lifts an amused brow at Mason, giggles to herself, and accepts the handshake offered by Deedri. "It's nice to make your acquaintance, Mage Preeta. My name is Lalyanpha and this is Mylo."

Deedri focuses her attention upon Mylo and waves her hand toward him. "Hello, Mylo."

Mylo glances up from playing with the toy wand in his hands, notices Deedri, and blankly blinks his brown, orange hinted eyes. He sits upon the examination table and happily returns the wave. "Hello. My name is Mylo. What's yours?"

Deedri flicks her ears forward and grins back at him. "I'm Mage Preeta, but my first name is Deedri."

Mylo accepts the answer happily and his attention returns to the toy wand. Lalyanpha sighs with a shake of her head and Mason shrugs. Deedri turns her gaze back to Mason and Lalyanpha. "So far, seems like normal four year old behavior. You are here for his yearly checkup and immunizations, if I'm correct."

Lalyanpha nods and points to her eyes with a bit of concern. "Yes, but we wanted to check on his eyes. He seems to see just fine, but a new orange coloration is showing through."

With a pondering expression, Deedri glances over to Mylo briefly before returning to face the parents. "And, you've noticed this recently?"

Both Mason and Lalyanpha nod in unison. Deedri steps over to an adjustable stool next to the examination table, sets the height, and takes a seat in front of Mylo. She thinks a moment, smirks thoughtfully, and lifts a finger up. With her eyes flickering to a glowing auburn, a rainbow point of color forms on the claw tip and she directs a playful tone to the child. "Mylo, look!"

Mylo lifts his head up, looks around briefly, and locks his full focus upon the tiny rainbow orb of color upon Deedri's finger tip. As he watches the colorful display, Deedri guides the illusion around and leads Mylo's eyes to gawk in awe. At opportune moments, she leans in quickly, squints at Mylo's face, carefully backs away, and directs the colorful glow to another position. After an examination, the rainbow upon Deedri's finger tip fades and Mylo directs his excitement to Deedri. "How did you do that!?"

Deedri smiles with a slight laugh and fake gestures out a spell. "Just a simple illusion spell. I see you have a wand. Can you do magic?"

Mylo immediately nods, fumbles to grip his wand, and begins to randomly wave it around. Colorful fading streams trail out from the wand's path in the air. Deedri momentarily eyes the wand as her mind itches with familiarity, but she glances over to Mason and Lalyanpha. "I would recommend seeing a specialist in genealogy genetics for confirmation, but I believe that it is just a different expression of his evuukian traits."

She quirks a quizzical brow at Lalyanpha. "Is there anyone in your family with orange eyes?"

Lalyanpha blinks in thought, and nods with a reserved smile holding back joy. "Yes. Yes, there is. My father."

Mason places his arm around Lalyanpha, gently pats her shoulder, and sighs, playfully rolling his eyes. "You know if you tell him this, he's just going to find a reason to come down again to see it for himself."

With sly grin and nudging lean into Mason, Lalyanpha chuckles to herself. "Oh dear. My father and mother will come down yet again and spend the weekend capturing our child's complete and utter attention. However shall we survive the peaceful moments together we rarely experience these days?"

Momentarily staring out distantly, Mason's brow contorts in thought and he slowly nods to an acceptance. "Well... So, whenever you want to tell him, go right ahead."

Lalyanpha's ponders a moment and directs a question to Deedri. "Could this have anything to do with magic use? Last visit my father was very excited with getting him started on a lot of my old magic focuses."

Deedri sways her head slightly from shoulder to shoulder indecisively and sighs with a tug to the corner of her mouth. "That would be very hard to determine at this point. It could be a possibility if there was a family history of a similar magically reactive biological trait. But, he's a bit young to be able to flow enough magical energy to trigger most known traits."

She returns to examining Mylo at brief convenient moments as he plays with the color vapor trails he draws in the air with his toy wand. After Deedri moves around a few times, Mylo stops waving the wand around and his eyes settle upon Deedri's furry tufted ears. "Why are your ears furry?"

Deedri smiles at Mylo, guides her fingers along her long, furry ear to the end tuft, and pulls the ear lower. "I'm a fvalian. We have furry ears, claws, and a tail."

The boy thinks blatantly about this and then curiously looks to Deedri. "Will I have a tail when I'm big?"

Slowly shaking her head with amusment, Deedri chuckles lightly. "No. Probably not. You will probably have long ears and skin colors like your mother. And, you will probably be as tall as your father. Maybe even taller."

Mylo's cocks his head to the side, his eyes piece together his next sentence, and a bit of excitement hops up on his face. "Will I grow horns like Nass?"

Deedri blinks in confusion, her minds replays the sentence, and she glances over to both Mason and Lalyanpha. "Who is... Nass?"

While Mason tries to match the name, Lalyanpha perks up and answers. "Oh, that's Mylo's friend from the park we visit. She is a little emin girl."

With a shakes of the head, Deedri presents a small smile to Mylo. "No. Probably no horns. Those usually show up early and I don't see any signs."

Mylo frowns downward with the revelation and pouts in his disappointment. Deedri grins with a giggle and cranes her to gaze at Mylo. "Horns aren't always good, Mylo. My friend, Tass, has them. As much as she likes them, she has trouble with them sometimes."

The little boy gazes up curiously at Deedri and blinks puzzled. "Really?"

Deedri soft chuckles as she sets up to a table nearby with some basic medical diagnostic instruments. "Oh yes! One time she didn't get much sleep one night and she walked around most the morning with part of a pillow stuck on her horn."

Mylo's eyes widen in amazement. "She didn't know?"

Shaking her head, Deedri rolls her eyes and prepares her stethoscope. "No. I had to tell her."

She continues the examination, amusing both child and parents with her stories of getting tails caught in doors, absentmindedly clawing up furniture, and insects flying into ears.

Bach stands with his arms crossed and projects a very unsure expression at Sotalia. Under the shade of the tree near the ranch style house, Sotalia lifts a prominent eyebrow with a grin and rests her hands on her hips. "Well, I think it's time for another session of flight training."

Apprehension floods Bach's body language and he forces a comment through an awkward smirk. "Right. Does it involve a harness, a floating disc, and swinging me into treetops? Because, I'm not exactly convinced that taught me anything... Apart from which trees had the nicest leaves to crash through."

Sotalia grits her teeth and averts her golden eyes momentarily as the wave of embarrassment passes through her posture. She recovers her confidence, carefully eyes Bach with a prying smile, and cocks her head inquistively to the side. "Okay. That was a bit over ambitious. But... Your attitude towards flying has changed from what I heard from your brother. Are you afraid of flying now? Because, it didn't sound like you used to be."

Bach twists his lips, cringes out his unease, and eventually releases a long sigh, relaxing his shoulders. "It's not the whole flying thing... It's the whole falling from great heights that's become far more of an issue."

Sotalia shifts her weight from leg to another with a sway of the hips, blinks at Bach in honest thought, and puzzles. "Okay?"

Releasing his arms to his sides, Bach shrugs and sneers lightly at his situation. "Well... Before, if the main flight spell failed for whatever reason, I had AT LEAST three other spells I could direct cast in moments to keep me from falling to my death. Now... I don't have any."

He draws in a long breath, rolls his eyes at himself, and fidgets his nerves out through his idle hands. "It takes A LOT of concentration and care to even liftoff. And, just a split second interruption is enough to get me falling too quickly to stop... nicely."

Sotalia's analyzing stare upon Bach softens to a genuinely concerned gaze. She pieces together the possibilities in her mind and empathetic frown appears on her face. Nodding her head, she steps forward to stand immediately in front of Bach, and dons an honest smile towards him. "Okay. Well, I truly apologize for the previous approach. I've gotten so used to having the same options for not falling, that I kind of forgotten what it's like not to have them."

Bach chuckles and rolls his eyes at himself. "It's cool. I didn't either until I couldn't use all my old spells. Puts it all into perspective."

A warm grin graces Sotalia's lips and she clears the stray dark red hairs in her eyes over her horns. "So, I think we need to try a different approach. Don't worry, it's FAR less intense and more controlled."

She speedily speaks incantations and quickly gestures a stream of motions with hands. Bach watches carefully and suspiciously eyes her. "Standard hover spell?"

Extending both her dual toned forearms out at waist level, Sotalia flips up her palms with a graceful flair and flits her brow at Bach with a smile. "Yes. Hover is much more tolerant to additional weight and has all the extra stabilization measures."

Bach glances down at Sotalia's arms and returns his uncertain gaze back to her. Sotalia flexes her fingers and reaches forward to Bach's arms. "Oh, come on. Hold onto my arms and I'll support underneath yours. It's what my sisters and I use to do all the time when practicing."

Bach nods slowly and moves his arms up. He grasps lightly around Sotalia's elbows, and rests his arms onto her awaiting palms. "Okay, I'll give it a try. Something slow and easy. I think I can get behind that."

After a few moments of Bach standing, Sotalia's hands playfully squeeze Bach's forearms and she patiently awaits with a grin. "Whenever you're ready, flyboy. Whatever height and speed you feel like."

Bach stares at his feet and a blue glow shines in his eyes. Moments later, the grass surrounding gently waves to a silent breeze, radiating outwards from Bach. Stray hairs upon Bach's head lift to an invisible upwards pull. Sotalia watches attentively, carefully examines the phenomena around her, and senses the magical flows stirring. Her focus returns to Bach as she feels the weight upon her arms briefly lessen. Bach's head and shoulders gradually rise up along with his upper body. The heels of his feet part from the surface the ground, and his whole body floats slowly up to hover centimeters clear of the dirt. Sotalia pushes off the grass and immediately matches Bach's height, her hands firmly supporting his shaky balance. Seconds of sustained flight later, she glances down at the ground and hoists a puzzled brow at Bach. "You can go higher if you want. I still have plenty of flight time left and you aren't shaking too badly."

Bach grimaces and his full attention remains purely towards the distance between his feet and the ground. "Uh... I'm okay. This is a pretty good height... for now..."

Sotalia rolls her eyes, shakes her head, and directs an incredulous stare at Bach. She searches the top of her mind and nods with a genuine smile. "Here's an idea to try. Have you tried closing your eyes and not focusing so much on what's below you?"

The blatant hesitation spills over into Bach's tone and he barely lifts his head to respond back to Sotalia. "Uh... Well, maybe I tried in the past. I don't know. After the first few flops... upon the ground... I never really tried much else."

Sotalia squeezes her long black nails into the thick of Bach's forearms and meets his perplexed gaze with a firm stare. "Let's try it."

Bach eyes drift downwards while he mulls over the concept. Sotalia pops an assertive hiss. "Stop. Looking. Down."

Bach snaps his head up and sees Sotalia's calm smile. "Okay."

Sotalia tilts her head to the side to gaze at Bach. "It'll be fine. You close your eyes and focus. I'll keep you from drifting or tilting."

A mischievous grin parts her mouth and her hands tightly grip onto Bach's arms. "And don't worry, I won't let anything happen to you."

She winks with a sly smile. "You still know too many spells that I don't."

Bach narrows his partly amused gaze at Sotalia, chuckles lightly, and closes his eyes with an accepting sigh. He straightens his posture, resettles his balance with Sotalia's support, and calms himself. Seconds pass and Bach steadies himself gradually, relying less upon Sotalia buffering his corrections. Sotalia flexes her fingers out to open her hands, briefly drops her palms slightly away from the underside of Bach's forearms, and pays attention to the stability. She replaces her hands underneath Bach's arms and waits. "See. You're doing really good. Now, try going up."

Bach draws a slow breath in, nods his head, and tugs at the corner of his mouth. "Alright. But, not too high."

Sotalia bites her lip and contorts a guilty grin. "Of course."

With a careful, gradual pace, the distance between the toes of Bach's shoes and the ground increases. Sotalia rises up in sync and keeps a steady hold of Bach's arms, providing a stable platform to buffer the occasional corrections of balance. She glances around at the nearing branches overhead and the opening between them that both her and Bach float into. Over two meters up with green leaves surrounding them, Bach's progress fades to a stop and Sotalia levels off in sync. Bach breathes in slowly and exhales carefully with an awkward smile. "I can't really judge, but we're not too high, right? Maybe a meter?"

Amusement fills Sotalia expression as she glances down and stifles a giggle. "Oh. At least."

Bach's head cocks to the side, his lips twist, and he opens his glowing blue eyes. He studies Sotalia's brightly smiling face and spots the branches and leaves surrounding him, much closer than before. His eyes widen and he begins to tilt his head down. Sotalia pops a firm, assertive hiss and commands. "Do not. Look. Down. You are doing just fine."

Sotalia's arms shudder from the shakes in Bach's balance and she feels Bach's grip around her elbows tighten. She directs a calm tone to Bach and firmly grips Bach's arms. "Look at me. I've still got you."

After a few unsteady moments, Bach regains stability and keeps his gaze upon Sotalia's face. "O-O-okay. I'm trying to not think about it. But, it's a bit hard to not think the situation and how high I- Uh... Ah... You mentioned your sisters?"

With a smile Sotalia nods and she speaks with a comforting tone. "Yes, I've got two of them. One younger and one older. I'm the middle child. The younger is Talelia, and the older one is Maelvia. Two years difference either way."

Bach nods, swallows down some of his nerves, and thinks a moment. "Are they mages like you?"

Sotalia laughs, shakes her head, and sighs. "Not exactly. Both picked up magic, but didn't do the whole adventuring thing. Maelvia is a research mage at a magical materials company. Talelia did the medical route and became an alchemical pharmacist."

Bach thinks a moment and smirks impressed. "Wow. Not a bad choice there."

Sotalia shrugs and chuckles. "I know. You should see her and her husband's house and the massive pool."

With a tense exhale, Bach searches his mind for another topic and avoids the urge to look down. "Your nieces and nephews?"

Sotalia's attention turns inwards and a genuine, warm smile graces her face. "Dellena, Taetala, and Merrick are Maelvia's. Then, there's Kalant and Sontaila, and a boy on the way for Talelia."

She pauses in thought, gazes right at Bach's face, and presents an appreciative grin. "By the way, they all LOVED the wands. Including my sisters. So, thank you very much for making them."

Bach's averts face away momentarily to work out the humble shyness and nervously laughs. "Ah, not a problem. I'm glad they liked them."

Sotalia's arm muscles tense as a bit more weight briefly rests upon her arms. Bach straightens his posture and continues surveying the tree tops. Sotalia quirks a brow. "Speaking of which, Kalant was curious if you could make a wand that shot projectiles."

Hoisting a suspicious eyebrow up, Bach aims a reserved stare at Sotalia. "Yes... But, well, how old is he?"

Sotalia sighs with a tinge of frustration and shakes her head. "Seven. I keep telling him he's just too young for anything powerful."

Bach twists his lips in contemplation and grumbles uncertain. "I have to agree. There might be something I could make. I'd need to test it... Don't want to be the one responsible for him shooting his eye out."

Sotalia nods in complete agreement, rolls her eyes, and grumbles. "Gods, I'd never hear the end of it from my sisters."

She feels Bach's wavering balance and weight upon her arms momentarily, and grins slyly as she watches him fail at playing off the fit. With a light chuckle, she pats the underside of Bach's arm with a her hand. "You ready to land?"

Bach pauses a moment as his mid-air stance shudders, grits his teeth sheepishly, and nods in resignation. "Yes. I'm about at my limit."

Honestly smiling, Sotalia gradually floats down and steadies Bach's descent. Bach's full weight presses into the soil below, and he stands rigidly with a slight wobble. Glancing down at the ground, he lets go of Sotalia, and eases himself down to a seat on the grass. Sotalia sits down nearby, reaches over to a belt of pouches in a nearbyequipment bag, and pulls out two small vials. She offers a container to Bach and rolls her eyes at herself. "Before you ask, I made sure the cherry flavoring was correct this time."

Veevi lifts up the training dagger in hand at the wooden post. Modoran stands off to the side, nearby in the backyard of the two-story house. He gazes down at his aetherphone, flips through a few evuukian news articles, and briefly watches Veevi clumsily strike at the training target. With sloppy form and awkward style, Veevi slams the blunted dagger upon the post and her hand bounces back from the force reflecting back. She growls and grumbles as she feels her wrist. Seconds later, she guides the loose pinks hairs back over her fuzzy, upright ears and trains mischievous stare upon Modoran. Displaying a sway her step, she approaches Modoran with a devious grin. "I'm sure that this is important training and it was... fun... yesterday. But..."

She slowly lifts her finger close to her mouth, bites playfully upon the sharp nail, and arches a suggestive eye with a flirty squirm to her posture. "I think I might learn much, MUCH more if our exercises were more... one ON one."

Modoran blinks in bewilderment, lifts his head up from his phone, and looks towards Veevi. He witnesses the sultry pace of Veevi as she hooks the tip of the training dagger down upon the collar of her tight-fitting shirt and stretches the opening to reveal the plentiful surface area of her tan, brown striped chest. Modoran's eyes widen and he quickly scans the area in worried thought while keeping a confident pose. After a few moments and with Veevi in immediate proximity, he flashes a sly grin, slowly nods, and puts away his phone. "I think I have an idea of what you want."

A spark of interest flickers in Veevi's eyes and she places her hands upon her hips with a sway. "Really?"

Modoran takes a step back, rolls his shoulders in a stretch, and smirk cunningly as he draws his training blade. "A simple exercise. Try to touch the blade upon my body. If you are successful, you choose how we do... training."

A sinister grin pulls across Veevi's lips and she narrows a determined stare upon Modoran. "Deal."

She sloppily lunges out with the blunted dagger first and stumbles off to the side on the ground as Modoran parries the attack. Deftly hopping away, Modoran maintains a relaxed, flexible stance and carefully examines every one of Veevi's actions. He stands a few meters away, smiles nonchalantly, and gestures for her next attack. "Good effort."

Veevi picks herself off the ground, snaps her head towards Modoran, and grits her teeth. Her eyes widen in a mix of shock and ire as she witnesses Modoran casually check his phone. She quickly scrambles back up to her feet, places her training blade forward, and charges. Seeing the last second feint from Veevi current attack, Modoran deflects her dagger and forces her momentum into a tumbling spin upon the backyard grass. He mumbles to himself, flexes his fingers, and steps away from Veevi, closer to the two-story house. Furiously blowing the stray pink bangs in her eyes, Veevi digs her fingers into the dirt, and watches Modoran calmly wander towards the corner of the back lot. He whistles loudly, plays with the phone, and keeps his dagger loosely in fingers at his side. Veevi slowly stands up, bearing her teeth, and steps closer to Modoran. She walks patiently towards Modoran and locks her full attention upon him, moving unaware of fresh foot prints in the grass that lead towards the house's sliding glass door. She closes the distance and her pink eyes flit wide the moment Modoran turns his back completely towards her. Her feet dig in and she sprints off. The few meters gap shrinks in seconds and she swipes out her blade to his exposed back. "GOT YOU-"

As the blunted dagger contacts Modoran's back, a triumphant grins ignites upon Veevi's face, but quickly dissipates... along with the form of Modoran. She leaps through cloudy imagery and the magical miasma puffs out into the passing wind. Veevi flops upon the grass, blinks in utter bewilderment, and flicks her ears towards the sound of the sliding glass door closing. She springs up off the ground, rushes over to the door, and tugs the handle hard. It doesn't move. Well inside, Modoran hums a smug tune to himself as he climbs up the stairs and listens to the shrill screams of a very angry half-fvalian.

In a small diagnostics room, Aristespha stands back up straight, carefully pulls off thin polymer gloves, and presses her foot on a pedal to the medical waste bin lid, depositing the gloves. "You may redress yourself and take a seat. That's all the examination I need to perform."

A young man dressed in the latest fashionable fads pulls up his pants, zips back up, and sits down upon the examination table with an anticipating stare towards Aristespha. "So, doc, is there something you can do? I mean he's been down and out all week. That's NEVER happened to me... ever..."

Aristespha picks up a clipboard, retrieves a pen from her coat front pocket, and clicks the tip out with a stoic gaze towards the paperwork before her. As she carefully writes upon the page, she glances over to the young man and maintains a stern stare. "Mr. Henderson, I have good news and bad news for you. Which would you like to hear to first?"

Henderson blinks blankly and gradually opens his mouth to reply with a slow twist of the head. "Uhh... How about the good news?"

With a perk of a scrutinizing eyebrow, Aristepsha calmly explains the situation. "Despite your gross misuse of a medical alchemical product, that you acquired through less than official means, which is typically used to stimulate localized blood flow with possibly dangerous side effects... You are only suffering the minor, temporary issues of said misuse. Since there's no signs of discoloration, swelling, redness, loss of sensation, and/or necrosis..."

She presents a smug smirk and amused face to Henderson. With a quiet sigh, she brightens her tone slightly. "You get to keep it. Sexual function of your penis should return in another week as your body stops overreacting to the remaining effects of the drug."

A wave of relief radiates through Henderson and he releases a long exhale, relaxing his shoulders. A short moment later, his eyes open wide when a thought smacks into the front his mind. "Oh, shit. A week?! Doc, is there anything you can give me to help me out until next week? I got a date in two days... And well... I want to be ready..."

Aristespha narrows an unamused glare at Henderson and chills her tone. "So, you are asking me to prescribe a drug to misuse... to remedy a situation you put yourself into by misusing a drug?"

The young man's eyes search his mind and he pieces together the logic to an embarrassed conclusion. "Oh... Yeah... Sorry..."

Twisting her mouth, Aristespha rolls her eyes with a shake of her head. She smiles calmly at Henderson with a supportive tint in her voice. "This is not medical advice, but a mere dating suggestion. Why not just have a night out doing the things your partner wants to do? Nice and relaxing. And will certainly earn you favor."

Henderson nods at the thought and idly scratches the hair of his goatee. "Robin did mention wanting to go downtown and the park marketplace."

After he agrees to the idea, he reminds himself of a prior statement and glances up to Aristespha. "Wait, you mentioned bad news. What's the bad news?"

Aristespha dons an amused grin and shrugs. "Whoever sold you that alchemical compound ripped you off completely. If it was as pure as he advertised, you'd be in the hospital wing deciding between prosthetic or regenerative replacement options."

Henderson's jaw drops in bewildered terror tempered with gracious acceptance of his strange luck.

At the dining table near the kitchen, Tassilda drones on technical about the detailed basics of magic energies and flow. She averts a lecturing gaze away from her single student, Veevi. While Tassilda, turns in her seat to search a bag for another tome to add to the pile in the middle of the table, Veevi narrows her eyes with a sinister smirk. She quietly mouths out a simple stream of incantations, and slowly gestures out a series of rough motions with her hands. She winces in concentration, points her finger at Tassilda, and cracks a mean smile. A plume of pink mist smokes out from her finger and drifts in near Tassilda's head. The cloud looms and holds its position. Tassilda finds the book, grips it firmly in hand, and resettles her self into her seat. Her head swings right into the awaiting trap of magical miasma and the vapor settles a bright pink hue onto her gray, patterned skin and black hair with a brilliant contrast. Veevi grins brightly and stiffens her posture pseudo studiously. Tassilda drops the new tome in front of Veevi and dryly lectures. "This particular book with go over the proper, proven methods of refining your control of magical flow and practical practice spells to aid your understanding of casting."

She pauses her explanation and notices the lack of overwhelming boredom radiating from Veevi. As she continues to examine the strangely attentive gaze from Veevi, her cheek twitches and her face contorts from a growing itch. As the seconds pass, Tassilda cocks her head to the side and glares suspiciously at Veevi, who keeps an attempt at innocence upon her face. The heavy footsteps of Trakenthin precede his entry into the room and he starts towards the refrigerator once he passes through the archway. He glances up from a book in his hands, notices Veevi, and nods towards Tassilda. With a brief slide, he abruptly halts his momentum and squints confused. Tassilda realizes Trakenthin's stare upon her and she contorts a wary glance at him. "What are you looking at?"

Trakenthin blinks, lifts his hand up, and gestures towards on side of his face. "Pink?"

Tassilda pauses in thought, her eyes widen in surprise, and her hand yanks out her aetherphone tapping through screens in one motion. She holds the device up, squints at the screen, and grits her teeth in a surge of anger as the front camera mirrors her face on the display. Spouting out a series of phrases in a very aggravated emin dialect, she slams her hands on the table and stands up with a furious glare at Veevi. "Where the fuck did you learn of that spell!? There's NO WAY you have the knowledge to have found it on your own!"

Veevi cackles out ill-humored laughter and lounges back in her chair at the table, admiring her results. Tassilda quickly gestures and growls out incantations. She directs the palm of her hand at the pink covered side of her head, flexes her long nailed fingers out, and releases a transparent wave of magical energy. The flow washes over her head and neutralizes the magical pigmentation into faint wisps of miasma that fade away. Veevi dons a contemptuous smile and narrows her pink eyes at Tassilda. "Well, of course I couldn't have found them on my own. I had to seek the help of a proper, proficient mage. One with demonstrable ability. One that DOESN'T need material components to do a fireball."

Tassilda glares down her light blue on black eyes, sneers incredulously at Veevi, and eyes out the back sliding glass window towards a distant ranch-style house. She tenses her hands repeatedly, popping a knuckle with each flex as she grits her teeth.

The doorknob to the bedroom door turns, and the door slowly opens to reveal a very exhausted Aristespha. Dretphi's voice bounces down the hallway. "Dinner will be ready in an hour."

Aristespha calls back. "Thank you."

As she closes the door, each step weighs heavy on her as she approaches the bed. Her shoulders slouch, head sways in long rolling stretches, and she yawns loudly. Standing at the side of her bed, she falls forward into the welcoming sheets with a muffled whump and a rush of air waves out from underneath the bed covers. Fumbling to grasp, she pulls out her silvery blue from the tight bun, crawls along the top of the bed to the pillows, and buries her face into the fluffy cushions. A long muffled groan resonates softly from Aristespha as she drags another pillow over her head. Sebastian's ethereal visage forms next to the bed and looks down upon the weary Aristespha. "So, how was work today, dear?"

Aristespha slowly rotates her head underneath the pillows and pulls back the top pillow enough to peer a violet eye out toward Sebastian with a trailing sigh. "What do you think, Sebastian?"

Sebastian kneels down next to the bed to Aristespha's eye level and smiles lovingly at her. "Any more rashes around people's junk today?"

Sliding the cushion on her head further back, Aristespha smiles slightly and chuckles softly. "Funny you should ask that..."

A chime rings out from Aristespha's pants pocket. She rolls over to her back, tosses a pillow off to the side, and reaches into her pants pocket for her aetherphone. Tapping through menus and sliding to the right screen, the body of an aethermail message appears on the screen. She quickly read through the lines of text and furrows her brow at the new information. Sebastian cranes his head over to peek and Aristespha tilts the phone to let him read. Aristespha sighs out a mixture of relief and frustration, and settles her head down. "It's from Nash. Looks like the Grand Library higher ups are trying to figure out how to deal with the Orth Ridge coverup and the likelihood that Isaac Huxley is Noxian."

Sebastian grimaces and drifts his ghostly form down to lay upon the bed next Aristespha. "They probably didn't expect one of their own to become a Dark Lord and go around trying to do... whatever he's trying to do..."

Aristespha eyes flit wide and she brings the down phone to focus upon the display in surprise. "What the- ? Isaac has had access to the library database systems- Wait, STILL!? Gods! He still has access?!"

She grits her teeth and narrows her disbelief at Nash's words on the screen. Sebastian searches through the lines of text to where Aristespha is at in the message. Aristespha puzzles momentarily and then grins sly. "Excellent! Nash is compiling usage logs for Isaac's accounts and he's going to send us copies of all the data he's pulled!"

Sebastian grins proudly and nods. "Good! Maybe we'll figure out exactly what he's plotting finally, dear. Maybe he'll be able to track where Noxian is by tracing the connections?"

Aristespha frowns briefly with a grumble. "He mentions that. Unfortunately, no recent accesses so all the tracking stuff is probably old, but Nash is sorting through it to create a timeline."

A sense of calm fills Aristespha's face and she smiles with an exhale. "And from what he's heard... They're going to keep our group hired on to pursue Noxian."

Sebastian smiles lovingly to Aristespha. "It's going to be okay. After you get your hours together, you'll have all kinds of research to do. We'll start figuring out his plans and where he's going next."

Aristespha closes her eyes, breathes contentedly, and absorbs the moment of silence. Minutes later, she cracks a devious violet eye towards Sebastian with an ill-humored smirk. "So, I'm curious... What part of smearing a dangerous alchemical cream on your penis sounds like a good idea?"

Sebastian blinks blankly and eyes over to Aristespha. "Uh... none of it?"

Rolling her eyes, Aristespha groans. "You'd think so."

Dretphi lifts her flow blade up, concentrates, and focuses her full attention upon the sword in her hands. Gradually, a red glow creeps through the worn passages embedded in the blade. As the wind blows through the shady tree above and rustles a chorus of leaves, Dretphi maintains her calm demeanor and fights to keep herself relaxed. Cideeda's voice carries around the corner of the ranch style house with another unfamiliar voice. Dretphi snaps out her trance, rests her sword down, and brushes platinum blonde braids out of the way as she glances over her shoulder. Cideeda steps out from around the corner of the house with a young, tall muscular teenager following behind her, scanning around the area. She waves towards the grassy area on the side of the house with the steel plate targets and shrugs. "I wouldn't worry too much about this area. Also, I'd avoid mowing anything near the targets."

The young teenager nods understandingly and notices the dents in the heavy plates. "Cool. Wow, looks like you guys are shooting some serious firepower out here."

Cideeda chuckles and shakes her head. "Nothing too crazy. If you find any spent brass or lead, it's all yours."

She steps forward towards the shady tree and waves towards Dretphi. "Hey, Dretphi! This is Dace. He's checking out the place out to see what it'd take to get the lawn together."

Dretphi greets Dace with a nod and gazes out to the backyard of tall grass. "Significant labor awaits you."

Dace stands in line with Cideeda and Dretphi, crosses his arms, and surveys the area. Seconds later, he deliberates internally before nodding in acceptance. "Aww, this isn't that bad. My tractor with side cutters can take care of this. It looks pretty smooth and I can finish it up with the zero turn mower."

He searches the area, squints his eyes at nearby forest, and turns to Cideeda. "You need that forest cleaned up? Could bring out my family's forestry mech and make short work it."

Cideeda shakes her head politely. "Not our problem. Just the lawn work for now."

Dace agrees to the scope of the work. Cideeda dons a reserved expression, crosses her arms, and casually mentions a number for the payment. With Cideeda watching carefully, Dace quickly replies with a slightly higher number. Cideeda pauses in thought a moment, grins slyly, and retrieves a plastic wrapped object from her shorts pocket. Between two claw tipped fingers, she holds up a large, blue black dragon scale within a plastic bag. Dace's attention snaps to the artifact. Cideeda smiles smugly and calmly explains. "How about this fine specimen of dragon scale to make up the difference?"

Cideeda presents the dragon scale into Dace's awaiting hands. Quickly scrutinizing the item, Dace smiles excitedly and reaches a hand out to Cideeda. "Hell yeah! I got a friend in college right now who'll freak out when send him a picture of this. It'll be worth it just to see the look on his face."

With a toothy grin, Cideeda firmly shakes Dace's hand and stretches her arms behind her back. "Excellent! Now, since you are here, are you in the market for artifacts and other items from ruins?"

Dace calmly shakes his head with a smile and nonchalantly shrugs. "Ah, nah. I'm more interested in making new stuff that's like the old stuff."

His focus shifts towards Dretphi's sword and he puzzles at blade. "Speaking which, where did you get that sword? That's the best looking replica flow blade I've ever seen."

Dretphi blinks, hoists the tip of the blade up to the sky, examines the blade, and directs a confused gaze towards Dace. "Replica?"

Dace stops his thoughts, squints at the blade, and hangs his jaw open as finds himself dumbfoundedly incorrect.