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#MAZE DEATH RACE
angelic-jeonghan1004 · 2 days ago
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Enhypen reacting to you cheating in a game to win
More enha timeeee I've got more stuff in the works for them so soon I'll make a masterlist! Doing a mixture of both video games and arcade games in this. If it's not obvious to tell from my past fics I love me some video games I'm now super into Genshin atm!! Heeseung is absurdly long btw sorry about that he's the only one I actually had an idea for from a random tropes list on Wattpad the rest I wrote the prompt games and ideas for sitting through a school lecture
Pairing: Enhypen x reader
Genre: fluff, crack
Warning: swearing!
Gif credits to rightful owner ✨
Heeseung
Thinking of a way to spend time with your boyfriend and have a fun date
You went to play laser tag, there's no physical harm in laser tag
Problem here is you're both competitive
And deciding against being on the same team
Decided to go being on opposite team
Whoever lost has to buy lunch
So going into the game in the black out neon room full of obstacles you both had one thing on your mind
"I'm going to win" was the one thought racing through both of your heads (spoiler alert you won in the end)
Protecting your chestplate for your life in fear of someone shooting you
The game got very heated but you thought strategically
You didn't try to find him (that was his goal to find you, but by his height yells or cheers of success eliminating a player you knew where he was 99% of the time) you actually avoided him
You went to get out all of his teammates
It wasn't hard you where in it to win it
You realized there's no way it's not just you and Heeseung now
An idea came to mind
Yelling to him you said
"Heeseung I have an idea to make this fun for us , meet me at the middle since I don't want to yell"
You both made your way to the middle very cautious of eachother but he was very curious of the challenge
Quickly you explained that you two should go on opposite ends of the laser tag maze but each step you take you have to do one shot no matter what
Due to your limited amo this intrigued Heeseung
How he could strategically move his lanky body around the maze without loosing tok much amo
He agreed
And you leaned in for a kiss before "putting the plan to action"
He quickly accepted the kiss closing his eyes taking in the moment before having to head to the opposite corner
That was until he heard the "Defeated" noise come from his chest plate as you shot him in the chest neon red lights covering the what used to be blue chestplate
You giggled as you broke the kiss
"UNFAIR" Heeseung yelled
"We can talk about it over lunch" you said putting your hand in his
You explained your true strategy to him at lunch and how you made that plan up just so he wouldn't kill you on spot
He peas so pouty
Just ate his food and sulked
"You owe me a fist game and next time let's try that challenge I was excited baby"
He'd say with just 🥺 eyes
Pls win this boy some sort of gift he deserves a pick me up
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Jay
You guys where having a great time having an in home date
Then you disrespected man's gaming skills
Oh all hell broke loose into a heated argument
"I totally bet I could beat you in Tekken"
"Oh you fucking wish"
"Who do you main"
"Roger" (Roger is a Kangaroo)
"What the fuck are you doing? Representing Jake's home? That character takes no skill to beat people as"
"Yeah well who do you main"
"Is that even a question? Alisa Bosconovitch. A cyborg robot lady with fucking jet legs and chainsaw arms you can't tell me that's not cool"
"You're telling me I'M the one that plays someone that takes no skill to play as?"
You both knew there was only one way to settle this
Jay got out Playstation and everything for it and put it as a 5 match game
Settling yourselves into the game you both where doing actually really well
Way too well actually it was 2 to 2 so whoever won this round one the game
Your anxiety got too high
You where not gonna let this dude win
He'd be too cocky for his own good holding it over you
Quickly you had an idea as you saw his health was only 50% of the way nearing death and your ultra power and held up enough exp
"BABY IS THAT A SPIDER" you yelled looking at the ground near his leg
Causing him to roll away from his spot fearing a spider near his leg loosing focus
That's when you charged at his character
You could see the soul leave his body
When he saw the pink and magenta hair move speedy across the screen straight to his sweet little kangaroo in boxing gloves and a neck tie
"K.O" filling the screen you knew his yell was coming before he even did it
"AAAAAAAAA"
"WAS THERE EVEN A SPIDER"
"No baby I just had to through you off your rthym"
Man he was HURT
"I can't tell if that was foul or not. I'm going to talk with Niki on if what you did was fair or not"
"Babe it's not that deep-"
"No No No you owe me a rematch, kiss and patience as I consult with Niki"
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Jake
Gosh this sweet boy
You two where playing dead by daylight on switches laying on opposite sides of the couch so you couldn't see eachothers screen
And you just kept scaring Jake coming up out of no where behind him
"Baby please just kill me you don't have to run up behind me" he was so scared please(〒﹏〒)
He was giving you puppy dog eyes that quickly went to fear as he shrieked from you running up behind him as he tried to start the car for the 18478282 time
You realized he was actually almost done fixing the car due to his pears so you went on a killing spree it was just you, Jake and some girl who was searching for fuel that you couldn't find
Getting back to Jake you realized he actually started the car and was ready to drive it and win the game
You hid behind a tree so he wouldn't see you
So in that moment you said "Jake can you toss the blanket I'm really cold"
Jake is too much if a gentle men he did so immedietly with a smile on his face you felt a little bad for what you where doing ngl
You took this chance and killed Jake's character
He knows that's how the game works that you you still could've done that without
But boy still yelled that it was unfair
Another boy who would just pout
Beware next round he's not going to be nice and will play the murderer
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Sunghoon
Who knew a game of thumb war would get so aggressive
You where just waiting for the time to pass for a cafe to open up since you guys where too early before opening
The glares you shot eachother where unreal
Neither of you wanted to loose and both where confident in winning
But one thing was tempting you
The sign flipping over to open on the front door
So in that quick moment you felt really bad
But you stepped on his toe as you lifted your arms down and quickly put your thumb over his
"12345678910 I WIN"
"NO YOU DIDNT THAT WAS TOTALLY CHEATING"
He was so upset omg
The glare on his face
You know the look like just 😐 but definitely angry
But he couldn't hide the smile on his face when you leaned in to kiss his cheek
"I needed the game to end the cafes open now baby,,,"
He went blank for a second confused then
"OH SHIT YOU'RE RIGHT WE WHERE IN LINE FOR THE CAFE LETS GET IN"
A smile filled his face and he moved your hands to be in an actual hand holding way as you too went in
But don't get me wrong
This boy getting a rematch
And if you playing dirty he'll play dirty too
But for now he'll be fine having this cafe date of coffee/tea and pastries with you
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Sunoo
Rthym games aren't a competition
But you guys made it one-
Who could get a higher score??
Originally a joke gone TOO far
Since here you are playing one song from Superstar Woollim, Superstar SM and Superstar JYP
Just 3 main and random superstar rthym games
Each thing was going alright then you got to Woollim
You both played the same songs but each got to choose a song
Woollim you knew The Eye was hard so you chose it and had him go first
He was doing surprisingly well though
Too well🤔
But suddenly Jungwon entered the room
You knew what to do
Make that boy jealous
"Hi bubs! How are you?" You said looking up to Jungwon
Jungwon was very polite asked you how you where
And Sunoo was not having it
He's fine with you being friends with all of enha
He encourages it!
But bubs is a pet name that's for him and him only😔😔
This caused his attention to tare away for a second
Suddenly in the blink of an eye his heart dropped as the "missed" noise came through the phone
The yELL
He was so mad
Once the song was done he immedietly went
"Did you do that on purpose?"
"Sort of"
And then you just did your turn and this boy gasped and look at you likeヽ༼⁰o⁰;༽ノ
He would be pettyyyyy
He'd be so mad
Pouting and glaring at you
Just completely done
You'd have to go in with a LOT of cuddles and affection
But he'd still not budge for a while
You got a better score than him so you won
But he will hold this over you whenever he wants something he'll be like
"remember when you cheated in a game we where playing by making me jealous? That was a little too much don't you think? Now grab me one of the ice cream bars from the freezer"
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Jungwon
Wonnie this precious boy
Ppuyo ppuyo Tetris is not a game to play with others
It ruins relationships, friendships, family bonds (from personal experience as someone who got grilled on their Tetris skills while playing 1v1 while my friend was also doing terrible)
He got it since the characters looked cute
And Tetris is fun!
So why not??
You guys started playing it on the switch and everything was fine at first
Then it started getting faster
Wonnie chose the annoying little wizard guy that just yells every 5 seconds
It was driving you both up a wall ngl
So you where like how do I cheat in Tetris,,,
You realized you where gonna get a 5 in 1 move so it was gonna fuck up his play real hard
But if he realizes that's your move he can make one just as strong if he puts his brain to realize what spots he has open and he's good at coming back from riskfull moments
So you digged deep in your brain to think of something quick
It hit you then
"Wonnie did I ever tell you who my Enhypen bias was"
His face just sort scrunched and he was like ¯\_ಠ_ಠ_/¯ I thought it was me? Moment
"wouldn't it be me? I never thought to ask"
"Oh okay" legit you had gone in with the 5 in 1 move and he hadn't looked at the silver blocks that quickly started to fill his screen he wanted to know
"nonono who is it?" Turned to you he didn't even see the mess that was on his screen
Until he heard the god for saken wizard just yell in defeat
"wait no that's unfair you can't drop something like that on me while we where in a 1v1 match"
His eyes he would just ಠ︵ಠ
Boy so sad :((
He lost the game and now he doesn't know if you bias him or not
If you do bias him you'd just tell him and he'd be like you stressed me out for noThing??
If you didn't bias him he'd be fine with it but he'd need a little moment of confirmation
Idk give this boy some kisses you stressing him out
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Niki
Intense DDR fight let's go
This boy don't go down without a fight
Neither do you
But as the levels kept going and the energy got more and more intense
You know it was very likely Niki could win
That boy is dancing prodigy type of guy
So he be doing these steps while also the hand work of the dance itself just to flex
Done with the cute boys snarky behavior
You did the one thing that would throw him of his rthym
Pretend to get hurt
You crouched in a way and made it seem like your knee was in pain but you where still doing the steps
Niki was gonna look over to you to be snarky and witty
But you looked in pain and this giant baby got panicked
"nononono baby are you okay? If you're in pain don't worsen your injury we can stop playing, what about your knee hurts?" He was panicking and you immedietly felt so bad
He stopped moving and so his score got worse and worse
You felt so bad you pretended to just act it out a lil more
"no don't worry Riki it's okay I'll be fine"
"don't say that you're in pain you could worsen your condition, let's find out what happened maybe you just buckled your knee? I've done that, be more careful please"
He legit went over to your board and tried to just stop your movements and left a kiss on your forehead
The song would end and your score would be higher but you would never do that as a cheat again
You didn't even have the courage to tell Riki after
He continued to be just so sweet and caring throughout the date
Would probably even text you afterwards like "Im sorry you injured your knee a little but I'm glad afterwards you felt better and I had a lot of fun :))"
Pls you better keep that all in till the day you die or tell him it's up to you but don't mess with this pore boy again like that pls(〒﹏〒)
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gamemoviethoughts · 3 days ago
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Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB 'The Running Man'
Before TX 1138 there was 'Electronic Labyrinth' Dir. George Lucas dystopian big Brother Future —a screaming maze with bulky screens and disco lights to button switches numbered prefixes spoken throughout. 
George's undertaking of the a future labyrinth short film featured the inspired  theractical film that was THX 1138 years later with Robert Duvall 1971 having that familer underground city the bleached backdrop a whitescape a beating organ of music thats much more fast paced than the full length due film due to limited time on short film it runs as fast as the escapist. 
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The Controllers Image Source: IMDb
The running man's an earth born 4EB has a mate YYO 7117, is he running from her too? He's racing against dates and time —a runway in violation of breaking out coded with a number tattooed on his forehead and hand (a hitman marked for execution).
Escaping the suppressed mind-lock, the governed state can tap into his mind as they bend to control technology that can access his mind from afar —his pain is like a aching headache, governed by a bunch of monitored people in white wares and flight helmets that appear like there unfathomed their purpose 
Tracked surveillance using an I-R Viewer to catch the runaway —they continue, enabling the mind access  suppressing  the running man —can he escape into the sunset that will either lead to Death or Freedom and be just more than an observation number? 
It is said George based the concept on existing ware at that time based on the future which makes one wonder what exciting stuff now could be used - TX 2021?
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super-mario-facts · 15 days ago
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Super Mario Fact #14: My uncle works at Nintendo and he told me how to unlock Luigi in the N64 version of Mario 64:
(NOTE: This method will only work if you are using a GREEN N64 controller.)
1. 100% the game once on each save file
2. Delete all 4 save files and start a new game on File B (It HAS to be File B or it wont work)
3. Get the first 2 stars in Bob-Omb Battlefield in less than 5 minutes
4. Go to the Star Statue and run around it counterclockwise 64 times, then 2401 times clockwise
5. Play through the game as normal until you unlock the basement
6. Collect EXACTLY 64 coins. Do not collect more untill step 8
7. Catch MIPS and Drop him in front of the wall that leads to Shifting Sand Land.
8. Enter Hazy Maze Cave and ONLY collect the 100 coin star, not any of the others (This will only work if you are collecting this star for the first time on this save file)
9. Go to the Star Statue and drown in the pond
10. Go to the volcano in lethal lava land and collect any of the stars in there
11. Play through the game normally untill you unlock the second floor
12. Go to tick tock clock and collect every star EXCEPT the 100 coin star
13. Play normally until you have EXACTLY 70 stars. (Make sure not to collect the ttc 100 coin star yet) Defeat the final boss and beat the game.
14. Go back and obtain all 120 stars (NOW you can get the ttc 100 coin star)
15. Go back to the first floor and go to the cool cool mountain room. Stand on the left side of the room and wait until you hear boo's voice
16. Select the 6th star mission in Cool Cool Mountain
17. Beat the fat penguin in a race 7 times in a row (If you loose once you have to delete your save and restart the entire unlocking process from step 1) (Also using the shortcut counts as loosing)
18. Give mama penguin her baby, and then throw the other baby off of a cliff. Then, talk to mama penguin again. After doing this, exit the level withou collecting a star.
19. Go to big Boo's haunt and Kill All of the Boo and Mr I enemies
20. Go talk to yoshi on the roof of the castle
21. Jump off the castle and die by fall damage
22. Go inside and ground pound the sun thing on the floor. You will hear Luigis voice say "Its-a luigi time!" and the 121st star will appear. Collect this star
23. After collecting 121 stars, go to the metal cap stage. A Hammer Brother enemy will appear in the stage. Kill it to get the 122nd star (Note that it only has a 1/256 chance of spawning every time you enter the level, so you may need to enter and exit the level several times)
24. Collect 2401 coins
25. Go back to the Star Statue and punch the "L is Real 2401" sign
26. Go back to Big Boo's Haunt and collect the Ghoul Medal. After doing this, a 122 star door will appear in peach castle. Behind this door is a colectible clock hand.
27. Take this clock hand and go to tick tock clock at exactly 3 AM (In real time, not in game time). A yellow switch will be at the top of ttc. Hit the switch
28. Go the mirror room. A vanish cap will now be in the room. Collect it and go through the mirror
29. You are now in the mirrored version of the castle. Go to the mirror version of Jolly Roger Bay
30. Watch the death box go back and forth 2401 times. Ground Pound it, and a Luigi hat will appear. Collect this hat.
31. Go back to the Star Statue and [REDACTED]
32. Quickly swap the cartridge with an Ocarina of Time cartridge (Due to an error, some data and memory will transfer between games when quicky swapped)
33. Go to the "L is Real" Sign in Dodongo's cavern and hit it with your sword while wearing the white tunic (only unlocked after completing the sky temple)
34. Switch it back to the Mario 64 Cartridge
35. Kill the Wario Apparition
36. Sacrafice MIPS to king bob-omb
37. Shove the Ocarina of Time Cartridge up your ass
After following all of these steps, luigi will appear. Go up to him and talk to him on top of the castle roof. He will now be availible as a playable character on all save files
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rayona-writes · 22 days ago
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blog and request rules!
hi loves I just wanted to clarify some things before I reopened my requests and continued writing
BLOG RULES & REMINDERS
- This blog is a safe place for poc and lgbtq+ individuals, any hate or disrespect will not be tolerated
- none of my work has been uploaded to ao3 or wattpad so if you see it there it's not there with my consent unless I've said otherwise
REQUEST RULES & REMINDERS
Formula for a request
genre (fluff, angst , hurt comfort,) + character(s) + prompt and/or general idea
-Please do not send in a request without looking at this first!
-Also the more specific you're with the request the easier it is to write so please give me a few details
- I will not write hardcore smut, non/con, suicide, teen pregnancy, incest, adult/minor relationships, race fics ex: black!reader x ___ my reasoning for this is I want everyone to be able to see themselves in my fics regardless of race but I definitely respect seeking out fics with your race, and public figures
-I will write character deaths, poly relationships, male, female, non binary readers, spoilers, generally most SFW topics, soft smut
CHARACTERS AND FANDOMS I WRITE FOR
Marvel
steve rogers | bucky barnes | thor | loki | wanda mazimoff | natasha romanoff | bruce banner | peter parker
Legend of Korra
Asami Sato | Korra | Bolin | Kuvira | Kya | Eska | P'li | Ming-Hua | Suyin Beifong | Lin Beifong | Opal | Wei Beifong | Huan Beifong | General Iroh
Atla
Zuko | Katara | Sokka | Suki | Toph | Jet | Mai | Ty Lee | Azula
Riverdale
Archie | Jughead | Toni Topaz | Sweet Pea
Stranger Things
Steve Harrington | Billy Hargrove | Robin Buckley
The Maze Runner
Thomas | Newt | Minho | Frypan | Teresa | Brenda
Twilight
Jasper Hale | Rosalie Hale | Emmett Cullen | Edward Cullen | Alice Cullen | Jacob Black | Leah Clearwater | Seth Clearwater | Paul Lahote
Harry Potter
Luna Lovegood | Neville Longbottom | Ron Weasley | Ginny Weasley | Fred Weasley | George Weasley | Sirius Black | Hermione Granger
My Hero Academia
Shoto Todoroki | Izuku Midoriya | Katsuki Bakugo | Ejirou Kirishima | Tamaki Amajiki | Hawks | Dabi | Tomura Shigaraki | Shouta Aizawa | Kyouka Jiro | Momo Yaoyorozu | Hitoshi Shinsou | Mina Ashido
Send me a request!
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zemodaddy · 25 days ago
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Shades of Him
Chapter 3
Warnings: violence, fluff, caring zemo, death
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For the first time in awhile, you had slept without another nightmare. Granted it was like 3 hour you had rested but still. You didn’t want to get up, not yet. It was so warm and comfy that moving would be a sin. The blanket wrapped around you felt like a cocoon, making you feel safe. Your eyes slowly fall open. They land on a couch across from you. That’s strange, how did you.. Realisation slapped you in the face. That blanket around you isn’t a blanket at all. You look down. An arm was wrapped around your waist. It was then you felt the soft pounding of a heart beat against your back. Panic started to set in. This is not good you thought, not good at all. Closing your eyes you think of the best way to get out of your predicament.
“What the actual hell” Your eyes fly open. Sam stood there, eyes wide, staring at you. Shit. “Sam calm down, this can be explained.” Your whisper. “Can it?!” He whisper shouts “ I’m going to get Bucky”. Oh fuck no. Sam had already left the room to find him. Carefully you untangle yourself from Zemo. He was still sleeping peacefully on that couch, thank god. Slowly you roll over, however you miss judge your move and fall onto the carpet below with a loud thud. Zemo stirs in his sleep. You curse yourself as you get up and race after Sam.
You didn’t realise that as you exited the room, two chestnut eyes had followed your every move. Thankfully you reach Sam just as he was about to knock on Buckys bedroom door. You pull him into a room that looked like some type of storage area for food. “Look I woke up really early this morning and went down to get some pills for a headache that I had” Sam raised his eyebrows. “and so you ended up sleeping with the enemy?” “You make it sound like I did something more than just- anyway he’s helping us! I wouldn’t call him an enemy” He ignores your statement and says “So how did you-“ You explain what happened last night “so I sat next to him and fell asleep, nothing happened!”
You hear footsteps in the hallway. “ I’m no one to judge y/n, just please be careful, especially around him.” “You know I’m always careful!” You grin. He returns the gesture and opens the door. Your glad he kept this between the two of you, Bucky would freak out and get his metal arm in a twist. You walk back into the kitchen followed by Sam. Zemo was gone which explained the footsteps. Had he heard anything? You push that thought aside and go to make some tea for the second time that morning. You and sam both sit at the breakfast table, sipping from your mugs. He really was a good friend to you.
You were getting yourself ready when Sharon announces that she has a location on Nagel. You hurry and quickly check yourself in the mirror. You wore black slightly baggy pants, a matching vest top reaching just above your belly button and an accompanying jacket. It was perfect for missions like these, not too suspicious and practical. You fix all your weapons to yourself including you new gun and head downstairs to meet the others.
You all arrive at a place with cargo containers littered all around you. On the way there you kept glancing at Zemo to see if he acted any different. Fortunately he just kept to himself. Did he notice your intimate moment this morning? His expression revealed no answers. Following Sharon in the maze of cargos she led you to one particular one, handing you each an ear piece. “I’ll keep and eye out for you while you talk to Nagel” she says “thanks Sharon, for everything you’ve done so far” “just hurry people” you nod and all pile into the container.
Finding it completely empty, you do some searching until Zemo finds a secret door leading to a downstairs lab, an upbeat song playing in the distance. Walking down one by one you find a man filling test tubes up with some sort of liquid. Bucky stops the music and he turns around, shocked to find us standing there guns raised. “Who are you what do you want” ignoring his first question you state “you recreated the super soldier serum” after being told to get out of his lab you had no option but to threaten him. Nagel looked just like the crazy scientist you expect him to be, his calculating voice didn’t help that imagery.
“I’m not saying anything” you roll your eyes. This guy does not understand how this is supposed to work. You step forward until you were in front of him. “I can burn you alive from the inside out by making your blood boil, starting from your feet, then your legs, then to your heart, so I suggest you start talking” disbelief was prominent on his face so you summon up a flame around his ankles. “Okay!” He down right screamed. He begins to explain how he created the serum and how it was stolen by a girl named Karli.
“Guys we have company” Sharon says over the device. Shit how have they found us so quickly?
“Is there any serum here?” Sam asks. “No” was all he said. Sharon runs in “we’re seriously out of time”. Bang! A gunshot sounds through the lab. Zemo was holding the gun, now being restrained by Sam and Sharon. Seconds after, you were thrown back against a wall, the noise of an explosion had blinded your ears. Things were breaking and smashing all around you. Your whole body ached from the force that had lifted you into the air.
You hadn’t realise how much derby covered your body until a strong hand lifted you out of the rubble. None other than Zemo was now guiding you out of the collapsing lab and out into the open. “Are you okay?” That was the second time he’d asked you that today. “I’m fine” you were slightly annoyed at him. You were perfectly capable to getting out of there yourself, you’ve experienced worse. Guns were being fired and you both duck. You pull out your gun and start shooting back. “Did you steal that from somewhere?” “what? how did you-“ “they all have trackers on them, this is how they must have found us so soon” he looks at you. The one thing you didn’t want to do was get your friends hurt, and now you have led them right into a trap. “I..I didn’t know”. You were disappointed in yourself, and when you looked over towards the others, now also fighting these bargain hunters, that feeling turned to anger. Anger at yourself for being so stupid. You felt your body fill with energy.
The bargain hunters started shooting at you again, making you explode with rage. Without another word you start to run towards the men standing a few metres away from you, and send a monstrous flame, racing towards them. You let them find you. Another burst of flames in the other direction, engulfing the unfortunate soul in a living hell. You put your friends in harms way. The men started running away now. You couldn’t let them get away. You needed them dead. Fire burnt in your eyes, and death shone upon you, guiding you to them. You felt yourself loose control. Loose that sense of focus you had before, your task was to find them, and make them suffer for your mistake. It was the only way to stop that feeling of guilt building in you. If you deal with the threat then was there really any harm done?
Zemo had been watching your fiery battle in astonishment. He couldn’t move, he could only watch you gracefully send those men to their deaths. Only when he saw you move once again, following the guys running for their lives, did he run after you. “Y/n stop”. You spin around ready to fight whoever that voice belonged to. You stopped short. “Darling I think they’re gone now”
“No” you say forcefully and in a gravelly voice. “They want to hurt us”. You were not yourself anymore. You were only the killing machine you were trained to be. Zemo takes a few small steps towards you. “They’re gone” he repeats, taking another few paces. You look down on your hands, flames licking them. You had let yourself become the person you swore to keep away. “ you’re okay now” Zemo rips you out of that thought. You couldn’t find anymore words to say but “I’m sorry” you whisper, your eyes began to well up with tears. The baron reaches his hand out carefully, making sure not to make any sudden movements.
Before he could reach you however, your knees hit the solid ground and your face falls into your hands. Zemo quickly follows your action and wraps his protective arms around you, letting you bury your head into his chest. At that moment you didn’t care who he is or what he had done. You didn’t care how this would affect your future. All you wanted to do was crawl in a hole and stay there for the rest of eternity. “It’s okay your safe now”. Your mind was spinning with thoughts. It felt like you would never be able to escape them ever again. Zemo strokes the back of your head as he rests his chin on top of it, locking you into that embrace. You felt the most vulnerable at that point but yet so safe.
On the way to the airport you separate from Sharon. No one questions your blank expression as you look out of the car window. They had all seen your outburst. All knew better than to talk to you while your were like this. It was better for you to have space to think. Zemo had helped you get to the car, after you calmed down a little. Now being emotionally and physically drained, you wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t stopped you. Would you ever have ever returned to your normal self if he didn’t come for you?
Back in the jet Zemo was preparing something in the small kitchen at the front of the plane and Sam and Bucky were discussing the next move. You were sat away from them, staring aimlessly out of the window again, pretending to be interested in something outside. A few moments later Zemo hands you a cup of tea that you presumed was cherry blossom from the look of it. You give a very small smile and return to your staring. He leaves and a few minutes later returns with a blanket, silently suggesting to you to get some rest.
You sip at your drink and feel yourself drift away from reality. “How is she” a faint voice asks. “By the look of things mostly just tired now” a different voice whispers. “I should talk to her when she wakes up” “are you sure that’s a good idea.” “It might help” that was all you heard as you travelled to the world of dreams.
Note~
I know these aren’t the longest ever but the next part should be up in a day or so! Hope you enjoy 😊
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sumzysworld · a month ago
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OTHER HALF | Part 3
Pairing: Yoongi X Reader | Werewolf AU
Word Count: 4.6K
Warnings: adapting to change, dealing with heartbreak, medication, bitchy gossip, mentions of abduction, harm and death.
Genre: Werewolf AU, Drama, Mates
Summary: You find yourself with a mystery to unravel, heartbreak to endure, some good old gossip and a new friend.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Series Masterlist
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The day after settling in  you rose at the crack of dawn as was your usual time, and let the chill of Seoul air touch you. You let the feeling of the waking city wash over you slowly that morning and lightly dressed with glasses to hide your changing eyes, you begin your morning urban exploration. Mind shut, letting your wolf occupy your senses and just feeling everything.
The hum of traffic rising. Youngsters and oldsters with tiny pesky dogs on a morning walk that your wolf was tempted to nip at for fun.
Boisterous ahjummas selling roasted sweet potato and gilgeori, that suited men and women lined up for.
School buses with toddlers. An endless stream of expensive cars. More buses.
Highways that looked tempting for your wolf to race along, but dangerous as they gleamed in the harsh sun.
You eventually hopped onto a bus for the heck of it, took a ticket to a random part of the city. Got off, wandered around, and repeated the bus hopping across the city without any agenda in mind.
By evening, you had wandered many parts of the city, from bustling Itaewon, to Gangnam, to the seedy clubs and industrial stretches, the university, and ending up at the Han River sidewalk to catch the sunset that every Seoul resident seemed to swear upon.
The maze of concrete left your wolf feeling uptight, but full of curiosity. And as for you, the sea of humanity seemed perfect to be lost in. The newness seemed perfect to divert yourself with.
A barrage of scents, human, small animal, concrete, the whiff of other werewolves, sometimes even a vampire or a siren. You understood better why the city was romanticised so much on dramas.
You nearly forgot that cities were a vampire's haunt. Whoops!
That evening, you took a cab to a well known werewolf medic that Grandpa Jeon had recommended. With an office attached to Seoul University’s medical department, it  looked like the person treating you was much higher up the medical ladder than you were. Maybe you could learn from them at some point!
Dr. Lee was a sharp eyed female who looked to be in her forties. Her eyebrows raised at your casual clothes, and her lips curved into a smile as she bade you to come in and sit.
Crossing her hands on the table, she peered at you and said, "I received a call from Congressman Jeon Subin about you, especially regarding something you faced, in your personal life. He also mentioned you training as a medic. But I would like to hear it from you, in your own words, please"
You nodded. "I'm Song Y/N. I am primarily a tracker and training to be a medic of the Gangwon Jeon clan. My medical training was finished as far as the theoretical subject, but I haven't apprenticed under anyone yet."
Dr. Lee sat back thoughtfully with a hum. "I guess I can gauge your level with a couple of tests and practical sessions. Are you ready?" "Yes, Dr. Lee!"
"Wonderful! We can have your tests happen in a couple of days. Now tell me about that personal matter of yours?"
There was something about Dr. Lee's clinical methodical approach that comforted you. Here was someone who looked at the situation not with the lenses of judgement or gain, but as a problem that can be addressed. You took a deep breath.
"Two weeks ago, I met my true mate at the Spring Equinox gatherings. It threw me for a loop, but unfortunately we could not claim each other, as he has already marked and claimed one of my Clansmen. As you can imagine, this scenario meant straining ties within the clan, not to mention, the potential impact on my health."
Dr. Lee nodded, "Tell me when you first shifted?"
"I was six months old, Dr. Lee". Her eyebrows shot up. "Are you by any chance, orphaned?"
"Yes, Dr. Lee." "That could be it. And do you know of your biological family?" "I'm afraid not, Dr. Lee."
"So we don't have a family tree to reference then…. Okay. Here's what we're going to do - we are going to manage your health, physical and mental, as you keep your distance from your mate. That will mean a combination of things you'll have to do"
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ILSAN GWANGSAN KIM
Traveling home and meeting his so-called clan wasn't always a very pleasant experience. They were far too set in their ways, and too busy recalling their past glories than facing current realities boldly. That alone was good reason for Min Yoongi to be alienated. Aside from the main ones…
Being associated with the Congress meant a good deal of breathing distance for which he was grateful. But he was a Min. Their lineage was old and though on hard times off late, their influence was still felt. And that meant he had to do some necessary hobnobbing sometimes.
Like the council meeting he was attending now in Ilsan. A lot of the families milled around honoring outside, while he was privileged to sit in on the discussions by the Aldermen and the Alphas. A good amount of urgency was being given to the issues of some young wolves being attacked by a group of humans in a small town. Many wanted retaliation, but the elders argued that there were procedures to follow, including establishing that it was a hate crime to begin with.
Some were aggressive, demanding a tit-for-tat. The families' anger was a major tipping point, and it was of no surprise that resolving this challenge fell into the lap of Kim Namjoon. The young Clan Head was going to be tested. With so many eyes on him, Yoongi could visibly see the pressure on the young wolf's shoulders, as he took it all in with a straight face and stoic jaw and steered clear of making any commitments publicly. His statement was a safe one - investigate what transpired and ensure law takes its course.
Yoongi pitied Namjoon. While the idealist he saw would be interested in doing the right thing, he wondered how long it would be before he succumbed to the pressure of satisfying the families' anger as opposed to following the word of law. Lines were always blurred when it came to law between humans and wolves despite the recent century of peace. Then again, law and reform is time consuming. How would he handle it?
He scoffed. That idealist had plenty on his plate, not to mention that little personal matter of his...
After this hot topic, discussions shifted to sharing and moving resources to clan lands, education allowances for wolves in major universities, and other relatively mundane matters. Satisfied that the controversies had been tabled, he moved away to shoot off a quick report to the Congress before slipping out of the room and into the milling party outside.
That had been a bad move, as he had immediately been mobbed by a bunch of matronly ladies who were a little too interested in his personal life, trying to introduce their daughters to him. Politely extracting himself, he headed to the wooded land behind the building to cool off. He wasn't the only one who had had that idea, as a few minutes later, Kim Namjoon emerged breathing heavily. He didn't bother looking around, shoving off his garments and shifting promptly, diving into the bushes and taking off.
Yoongi kept his eyes on the irate wolf letting loose in the woods till he disappeared from sight. The moon was rising higher as the wolf returned, considerably calmer and morphing back into the tall strapping man who strode out of the bushes. And that was when he registered Yoongi's presence.
They considered each other in silence, and Namjoon finally dipped into a short bow, properly greeting the senior wolf in front of him. His hackles stayed raised, as Yoongi gave him a sardonic, dismissive smirk and sauntered off.
Namjoon didn’t understand why a spike of anger shot through him at the sight of Yoongi’s dismissive disappearing figure.
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BACK IN SEOUL
The silence that spread across the conference room that evening at Congressman Bang's words could be cut through with a knife. You could visibly see the anger washing across the features of some of the gentlemen.
"These humans are going TOO FAR!"
“I never said humans were responsible”, Congressman Bang interjected sharply. “Let’s not jump to conclusions, shall we?” he continued, pinning Rhee Jinguk with a pointed stare. He nodded at Park Jimin, who turned on the projector and began the presentation.
Jimin began, “The first disappearance was Lee Chaeryung. Aged 12, the second alpha ranked child of Lee Jinpyeong, an enforcer of the Jeolla Jang clan. Three years ago, on 23rd July, she stayed back to complete some after school assignments based on what her school teachers say, and did not return home that evening. The last person to lock up the school, the janitor, did not see anyone on campus. It was a rainy day, so any traces of scent were washed off before people could investigate. Her family raised the alarm the same night, and her disappearance was formally noted the next morning."
You noted the girl’s pre-teen cherubic face and the determined pair of eyes.
Alpha. Female. Preteen. School. Rains.
Jimin changed the slide. “Jung Baekhee. Aged 14, an orphaned child and ward of the Incheon Kims. She disappeared two years ago, on August 17th. An alpha ranked female child - she was running groceries and errands early in the morning for the Clan house, and was last seen near the fish markets. Her grocery baskets were recovered near the piers, far from her usual route through the markets.”
Female. Alpha. Teen. Fish Markets. Early Morning. Piers. Orphan.
The notes run through her head as Jimin moved on to the third child,“ Seo Eunhyo. Aged 15. She and her twin brother had skipped school in late March this year, and had played hooky near the Nakdong river, where they often went fishing. They were two of their family’s five children, and were pretty independent. So the family didn’t raise an alarm till nearly a day later when they still didn’t return. They found the children’s boat floating downstream. The boy’s body was recovered floating in the reeds. He had died by drowning, but his body showed signs of violence.  Eunhyo was nowhere to be found. That’s when they decided they were dealing with an abduction.”
Female. Alpha. Teen. One of twins. Fishing. Hooky.
He shut off the projector and turned to the group. “Apart from the fact that all the victims were teenage, female alpha ranked girls, there’s no other visible commonality between the three disappearances. The incidents themselves took place in locations far from each other. However, locally, not much headway was made on the cases before we began considering the possibility that they may be connected.”
“Local police tend to operate on the basis of human laws, and despite them being required to investigate, they can’t help but carry a bias. While they do investigate through official channels, we’ve decided not to sit still any longer and take things into our own hands”, Congressman Bang spoke.
“And that’s why you all are here. Each of you have enough experience in your positions to begin conducting enquiries discreetly. Consider yourselves a team. Think of every possibility. You can disperse, investigate and gather back. Park Jimin here will be your liaison”, Grandpa Jeon spoke up, indicating Jimin beside him. Jimin rose and gave a small bow and a smile.
_______
After that meeting, Jimin had handed everyone files of the cases so far, and taken you aside. He was definitely a capable liaison, you felt. He could subdue his dominance comfortably, and was very good in his interactions with people. He had sat you down, quizzed you about your life and role in Gangwon, where honestly, as a tracker there wasn’t much to do - it was a near domestic security role, as well as your pursuit to become a medic. He then revealed that your pursuit of medicine was what prompted them to select you. The excuse of your apprenticeship would give you a valid reason to travel discreetly between clans and territories, and investigate. Where the force and authority of those older gentlemen may not work, the innocent queries of a young girl may get people to open up more.
Park Jimin is GOOD, you felt, as he ran these reasons by you. You had no doubt as you travelled that, being the juniormost, you would end up doing most of the legwork. That said, the opportunity looked quite juicy.
If there was any chance of you getting something done, you had to begin preparing.
_______
It’s easy to underestimate what a tracker does. Originally in Werewolf clans, trackers held respected ranks because most communities relied on hunting in the forest to sustain them. WIth the steady adoption of agriculture and as more and more communities became urbanised, not many  clans retained trackers anymore. It was a lost art.
Some clans had the wisdom to modernise and turn the art of tracking to maintaining security - modernizing it to meet the needs of the current era. The Gangwon Jeons lay somewhere in between - the roles of a tracker were titular and domestic, but security as a subject was handled more and more by the enforcers and not trackers themselves.
You had recognised this, and trained yourself harder than what your role typically demanded of you, teaching yourself investigation in the process. You were no genius, but say, better prepared than you were expected to be. And that was key to where you stood.
______
GANGWON JEON
Being in Seoul for your new assignment was not reason enough to miss Somin and Namjoon's actual mating ceremony apparently. Grandpa Jeon suggested it may be bad for your ties with the whole clan to skip the occasion itself. That, in addition to some constant battering from the clan's elderly ladies meant the heart-breaking trip back home was unavoidable. Besides, werewolf mating ceremonies in Asia ran anywhere between three to five day celebrations to catch a full moon waxing and waning out, so you were out of luck.
However, when you looked at the guest list, you realized that there was one more reason to make it there - there were potential invitees from the regions you were planning to travel to. So some good old friendly gossip would definitely help push your work forward.
With this reasoning, you had drafted your proposals for a traveling research-based apprenticeship, with the three provinces in your circuit among others. Dr Lee had argued against it, considering your current unstable condition. But you had insisted. Something to work towards would be ideal to help you get over it. She had eventually given in and helped improve it, to give you scope to study, practice and take care of your health.
Traveling back to Gangwon took you much lesser time than your trip out to Seoul, but it didn’t shake off the feeling of being an outsider - like it was no longer home. Somin had seemed slightly mollified when she saw you arrive, which was a good thing. You busied yourself helping with the preparations while keeping an ear out for anything that could help on your case.
You had needed strong doses of what Dr Lee had prescribed to you, to bear being in the same vicinity as Kim Namjoon.
To put a smile on your face and go around unaffected.
To dull your wolf’s senses and extreme swings of anger, horniness, sadness, fury and desperation.
And lots of strong self-talk to remind yourself that dragging Namjoon out by his collar and claiming him, everyone be damned, was not an option.
The night before the ceremony, you were so completely buried in medical course work in the clan house cafeteria, that you hardly paid attention to the man who would have been yours watching you as you sat at a distance. At other times, you'd been careful to avoid any accidental encounters with him. The gossiping guests who often mobbed Namjoon helped too, but the suggestive rumours of how attached he was to Somin did not help.
Jungkook had taken to following him around. He had looked a little uncomfortable when he looked at you as he sat with Namjoon, but your reassuring smile brought him back to his starstruck youthful self. You wondered if Jungkook and his big perceptive bambi eyes might help you out…?
Speak of the devil- Jungkook slipped into the room you were sitting in, and hid behind your bed. When you asked him what happened, he replied with a grimace, "Joohyun is after me!".
You grinned. An opportunity.
Choi Joohyun was a girl a little older than Jungkook, but with an unfortunate infatuation for the teenager that had been going on since their childhood. She was a sweet girl, but irritatingly clingy, warm and empathetic, but a terrible gossip, a lover of drama, and not the sharpest tool in the shed. Being the beloved grandchild of Congressman Choi meant she grew up pampered to a fault. At the tender age of seven, she'd set her sights on a shy, tiny Jungkook and had been carrying heart-eyes for him ever since. Poor Jungkook!
You got out of your room to find Joohyun looking around frantically. When she saw you, she greeted you, curls flying, with a bone crushing hug and then asked desperately, "Unnie, did you see Kookie anywhere?". You smiled inwardly, Jungkook hated that nickname these days. "No, Jooie baby. Let's look for him together?", you replied warmly, putting an arm around her shoulder.  She nodded gratefully and you led her away towards the pavilions.
On the way, Joohyun talked nine-to-the-dozen. You both had walked around, asking people where Jungkook was, and with a knowing glance at Joohyun, they mostly replied that they didn't know. By then, you'd managed to tire Joohyun out, enough to convince her to sit at the end of the pavilion that was being set up. Guests were arriving, people were being greeted and installed in the Clan house.
Both of you settled on one of the benches to enjoy your ice cream as Joohyun enthusiastically supplied you with endless gossip.
“...Oh! It was unfortunate how Minsung brought back a human as his mate, everyone was so awkward! I’d never seen uncle Kang so apoplectic, but the girl had the best taste in gifts! She gave me a Birkin, chose some great wines and wore Louboutins all the time! ... Oh, and that’s nothing to beat what Kim Taehyung from the Andong Kims did .. did you know?” You shook your head, and motioned her to continue.
“There are rumours that he got someone pregnant! He’s not even mated, and he’s such a playboy! Nobody can say no to that smile of his, and they say he swept quite a few people off their feet! Human or wolf, he doesn’t discriminate. Everyone’s scandalised!”. You felt amused, knowing of Taehyung’s playful personality that was often mistaken for a strong case of casanova-itis, reeling in unfortunate men and women alike. There was definitely an amusing story somewhere in there.
“Looks like he isn’t the type for commitment”, you supplied, and she nodded vigorously, “Unnie, I really like you, so if you see him, run in the opposite direction. Anyway, the guest list is pretty long, but I am surprised to see some people…”, she trailed off to dramatic effect.
“Who came?” you asked curiously. “Well, there’s Alderman Yang’s daughter-in-law with her atrocious fashion sense (someone needs to tell her the difference between a curtain, a towel and a wraparound dress, none of which are suitable for a Mating Ceremony), and the Mins actually sent some people. But I was most surprised to find guests from the Daegu Nakdong Kangs. It really hasn’t been that long since Seo Eunsik died and Seo Eunhyo disappeared, and their clansmen are still attending celebrations?” she finished with distaste. Bingo.
“Really? How many people came in from the Daegu Nakdong Kangs?” You asked her, going back to eating your ice cream. “I dunno, but it was a mixed bunch, with a couple of people around our age.” she finished, moving on to, “But I’m most surprised at who came in from the Mins. Alderman Min himself, with Min Jungsik, Min Hyorin and Min Yoongi.”
Min Yoongi… wasn’t he the agent you’d patched up en-route to Seoul? The guy who witnessed your life-altering non-conversation with Namjoon in Jeju? What was HE doing here? You didn’t remember Alpha Jeon being friendly with the Mins anytime...
Joohyun wasn’t finished, “ They say the Mins are considering putting Min Hyorin forward as a Clan head - pretty radical for them since they’ve never put a woman in a place of leadership before. It looks like things are changing, since Hyorin-unnie is so strong and tomboyish and nice. But I’ve heard…”, her voice turned to a whisper as she leaned closer to you “ … that many in the clans of Daegu region are pushing for Min Yoongi to take the spot. Not even Yoonseok or Hyogeum. It’s a little iffy, since there are rumours that he’s not even a Min… no one knows who his father is. His mother apparently just went traveling in her twenties, and came back with a child before passing away. But in terms of ability, he’s a sure contender, if he cares to be. I’m really surprised he’s attending - he’s terribly asocial”, she finished with a pout.
All this speculation about a guy you barely met twice, in not-very-ideal situations made you uncomfortable, so you steered the topic back to the Mating Ceremony, and Joohyun happily jumped back to criticizing practically everyone. You just hoped things wouldn’t be too awkward if you bumped into him here…
______
Things were awkward.
Dr Lee’s medications had kept you in a pleasant buzz, helping alleviate your wolf’s state of distress at Namjoon’s presence. But it didn’t stop you from noticing how his eyes wandered in your direction each time. It certainly didn’t help when you were asked by an unknowing Alpha Jeon to assist family from the Ilsan Kims before the reception. Scents similar to his were everywhere, and hard to ignore. Not to mention locking eyes with him in his half-dressed glory in their wing. It had taken immense willpower to break your gaze and walk away.
After settling everyone from the Ilsan Kims, and directing them to the reception tent and refreshments, you fled to the main hall of the clan house. All evening passed like a blur, where people congratulated a beaming Somin and a slightly stiff Namjoon on their union. You had turned to tequila, and fake-socialized your way around till you ended up in the garden outside the ballroom. The place was packed with slow dancing couple, but what was surprising was the man on the piano.
Min Yoongi, with a humorously deadpan expression, was pounding out romantic song after romantic song on the grand piano. A laugh bubbled out of you at the blatant distaste and sincere desire to escape that painted his feline features as he played. You took advantage of your hiding place to look at him a little more closely. A face that was elegant and quietly masculine, with sharp intimidating eyes, fair skin, broad shouldered and big, practiced hands that danced over the keys, it was no surprise he gained attention whether he liked it or not, whether he was a Min or not. But he’s kind, you decided, remembering his actions in Jeju. The memory felt warm.
______
Long after the reception was over, and everyone had retired after their celebratory wolf runs, you sat curled up in the cafeteria in the most comfortable, warm outfit you had. Case files were open and you were reading up more on the Daegu Nakdong Kang side of the case, hoping to work something out of the visitors at the main ceremony tomorrow.
The abduction of Seo Eunhyo was quite troubling. Not only did the perpetrators take bolder moves this time, killing her brother in the process, weeks had passed since she went missing. Outside the 24 hour window, the longer the time passing, the lesser the odds of her being alive. What was worse was the families had received no demands of ransom, no proclamations of revenge, no communication.
Atleast Seo Eunhyo and Lee Chaeryung had someone to pay off a ransom, and push the Congress to find them. Your heart went out to Jung Baekhee. Orphaned just like you. What were the odds of her still being alive, and how interested would the Incheon Kims be in getting her back safe and sound?
You smelt cacao and woodsy smoky pine before you saw him approach. Min Yoongi walked into the cafeteria, still in his all-black dress-slacks, hands tucked into his pockets. Subtly pushing the papers back into their folders, you greeted him with a smile. He nodded to you as well, got himself a coffee and you indicated the seat opposite you. He settled in front of you with a polite hi. A part of you faltered, wondering if he’d bring up Jeju.
After a sip, he spoke in a low, soothing rasp, “Song Y/N, if I’m not mistaken? I wanted to thank you for helping patch me up on the way to Seoul. If you weren’t passing, my partner and I wouldn’t have been able to get to safety. I owe you a lot”, he said humbly.
You relaxed and decided to open up a little. “I owe you too, Mr. Min. Your gesture towards me in Jeju that day was very kind of you”. He brushed it off with, "It's Yoongi, and don’t worry about it" .
“I must say, you’re incredibly talented at the piano! Though… you didn’t look like you were enjoying yourself? I didn’t see you on the dance floor, though I’m guessing there would be no dearth of ladies lining up?” you finished with an impish grin that made him groan. “Don’t remind me.” he said, resting his forehead on the table. “My cousin Hyorin had practically abandoned me. She knows I don't dance. The only way I could escape was by claiming the piano and playing every disgustingly romantic song I knew”, he said grimacing.
You laughed. “So you’re here with family? I don’t remember seeing your folks in these parts before though…?”
He shook his head. “No, work actually. Family attending this was a bit of an excuse to make things move on something I’m working on, to be honest.” You were surprised at how easily he opened up about Congress work with you. Noting your surprise, he said, “Relax, I know you’re working on something for the Congress too. Park Jimin, your liaison, is unfortunately a friend of mine, so I am familiar with the case you’re on. He had raised it with me considering Daegu is my hometown.”
You acknowledged his words with raised eyebrows. Choosing to be cautious, you asked, “So in your own words, do you know what happened to the Seo twins?”
“No, unfortunately. I can only share secondhand rumours with you as I was traveling at that time on another mission. Though I can keep you posted if you wish”, he said. You agreed gratefully.
“Not to be intrusive though, but how are you holding up?” he asked carefully. Taking a deep breath, you replied, “Better, now that I’ve got some coffee to pull me through”.
Work was forgotten after that, as you and Min Yoongi chatted on and on - music, the ceremony, the coffee, his endless travels, surprise at you being a tracker, side-splitting anecdotes from his missions. Coffee flowed till you lost track of time.
It was nearly dawn by the time you bid each other sleepy good byes, but the warmth of the conversation held you close as you ambled back to your room. After weeks, you and your wolf felt a modicum of peace.
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shalebridge-cradle · a month ago
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Jane’s lost.
Kind of. She knows the red line running along the skirting boards will take her out, wherever that is. The problem is she doesn’t want to leave without everyone else. If she goes searching, will the lines still be there for her to follow? Are Anna and Kat and Cath still on the same plane of existence as her, or is she stuck here without them?
She looks to the impossible maze above her, and startles when she sees her old self in one of the corridors, looking (up?) down at her. Strangely, Old Jane seems equally shocked by this development.
Jane frowns. Old Jane frowns, too. They shuffle the same way, at the same time.
“Oh,” Jane says, and her past counterpart’s lips move at the same time, “It’s like a mirror. Right.”
She hurries down her own corridor, away from the reflection (in the hope that works somehow). Even now she understands it, she still doesn’t like it. It reminds her of all the things she did, all the things she didn’t do and should have. She remembers Cath said something like, ‘death gave me clarity’; she prefers to think of it as hindsight, but the emptiness in her chest says otherwise.
She stops. Something’s wrong. It’s cold, an unnatural sort of cold that digs deep into your bones. No breeze, but a faint howling.
Jane turns. The ghost is worse up-close – translucent, yet with a light flickering across her face in strange, frightening ways. Slowly, she reaches to her chest, to her wicked weapon –
“Don’t you stab me!” she warns. “I refuse to be a martyr again!”
The ghost pauses.
Encouraged, Jane continues. “I don’t know what it was that caused you to jump, but I’m ninety-nine percent sure it won’t help you escape from… you know. Holding onto anger, anguish, fear – how much harm has that caused the human race over the years? Catalina held on, and died alone and in pain, losing everything. Anne fought, got beheaded on false charges. I…” she pauses. “I was… looking. Looking for Edward. I couldn’t think of anything else, I just had to know, to be sure I’d secured my place… but, I’d died already.”
The ghost does not move for a few moments more, and Jane begins to lose her already fragile nerve – then, the ghost holds up a finger, then two, then three. Then, three more fingers on its other hand. It points at her, still holding up three fingers.
“Yes, I’m the third one. Jane Seymour, died. That’s all there is to my life, as far as most people know – the end of it. But, there was always more to me than that! I’m not a hollow thing to be filled by other people, and neither are you! You should hold onto the things that make you you, and you should acknowledge your past so as to improve yourself now. But… vengeance. Tragedies you had no say in. Those, you should let go. Some things cannot – should not – be brought back.”
The ghost stares.
“Do you know you’re dead?”
The impaled woman pauses, then looks away. She heard, Jane can see in her eyes that she heard. Did she not realise?
“Someone scared you, didn’t they?” A nod. Progress. “They scared you so badly you jumped out the window to get away from them.” Nod. “I promise, they can’t hurt you anymore. The only power they have now is the power you give them. You may not fully internalise that, yet, but I want you to know. None of the film crew – the living – are that person. Killing them will not solve anything, or help you. Okay?”
Pause.
Nod.
Jane smiles gently. “Good. I’m glad we talked.”
The ghost nods again, perhaps a bit more human-looking, now, and vanishes through the wall. Jane holds still for a bit, waiting, before all the nervous energy rushes out of her and she has to lean on the wall for support. She wishes she had a pillow to scream into right now.
But… hold on. She can hear something in the distance, sort of to her left. There’s a single note. Dragged out. Unceasing. Somewhere…
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metalmaniac619 · a month ago
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The Best FPS Campaigns of All Time
It’s easy to immediately think of classic multiplayer matches and modes when thinking about the history of first-person shooters, but the genre is full of captivating campaigns and memorable stories.
From the far-reaches of the galaxy to the literal pits of hell - and everywhere in between - these are our favorite FPS campaigns.
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10: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty may have originated as a rival to the dominant Medal of Honor series in the early 2000s, but leaving the backdrop of World War II behind for 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare transformed Activision’s billion-dollar baby into a truly trendsetting force all its own. Call of Duty 4’s bombastic single-player component became the gaming industry’s blueprint for military-based shooter campaigns, and with good reason.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2016/07/18/call-of-duty-4-remastered-graphics-comparison"]
Modern Warfare’s story careens along at a mostly breakneck pace, but it’s a wildly entertaining ride from start to finish, with an enthralling set of missions featuring some of the most memorable levels of the entire franchise. Highlights include the immediately gripping opener ‘Crew Expendable’ with its heart-pounding finishing race to evacuate the now sinking Estonian freighter to the now-iconic ‘All Ghillied Up’ and its eerie rendition of post-disaster Chernobyl. The list goes on, with the chilling realism of ‘Death from Above’ to ‘Aftermath’ and its brief but haunting glimpse of the devastating results of a nuclear blast. Call of Duty campaigns typically range from serviceable at best to genuinely well-done, but it’s hard to look past Modern Warfare’s as the best of the lot.
9: Halo 3
Halo 3 allowed players to finally finish the fight, with a trilogy-ending campaign that brings Master Chief’s story to a thrilling conclusion. Doing away with the dual-perspective campaign of Halo 2, Halo 3 firmly puts players through their paces as Spartan John-117, channeling Bungie’s top-tier gunplay through a series of memorable encounters. It deftly moves from small-scale, close-quarters combat to wider arenas, while always maintaining blockbuster tension and thrills – and that’s on top of the thrilling vehicle missions and a great use of the franchise-defining Skulls to turn the gameplay experience on its head. Interweaving more personal stakes with  its epic main story was no easy task, especially after the two previous entries were so well-loved, but Halo 3 sticks the landing like a plasma grenade on a Grunt.
8: Doom Eternal
While it never aims to diminish the power fantasy that comes with ripping and tearing through hordes of Hell’s residents, Doom Eternal is also never shy about reminding you that you need to be smart and methodical with your approach to its stellar combat scenarios. It took everything that made Doom 2016’s revival incredible and upped the ante by adding a unique push and pull to everything you do. You’ve got to dash to get to and away from enemies so they never know where to find you next, unload rounds of ammunition into the hordes of Hell’s creatures, chainsaw an unsuspecting zombie to replenish it all, then get up close and ruthlessly burn your victims to cause them to sweat out armor shards. Doom Eternal is at its best when it practically becomes a rhythm game, rewarding you for executing all of the right moves at the right time. Its story is mostly buried in text or audio logs, but don’t let that deter you. If you’re looking for 10-15 hours of adrenaline-pumping fun through impressively designed levels and encounters, backed by a thrashing soundtrack, then look no further than Doom Eternal.
7: BioShock
From its opening moments, BioShock lets you know you’re in for one memorable ride...even if that ride starts with a plane crash. There’s no shortage of stunning sequences: that first moment you catch a glimpse of Rapture as your bathysphere descends, Sander Cohen coming down the stairs, and of course the big, chilling twist that has become one of gaming’s most infamous turns. BioShock is a game composed of beautifully orchestrated and downright, well... shocking moments.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/half-life-alyx-bioshock-mod-gameplay"]
The mix-and-match gameplay of plasmids and firearms means that enemy encounters rarely occur the same way twice, and the story is so crammed with "WTF" moments that it's hard to put BioShock down, even if you've played it before. It's a game that demands your attention both with its incredible retro-futurist design sensibilities and its mysterious, mind-bending, morality-driven narrative. It was a masterpiece then, and it's a masterpiece now.
6: Halo: Combat Evolved
When Halo: Combat Evolved launched back in 2001, Master Chief looked ready to take his place alongside gaming's other faceless, gun-toting action heroes of the 80s and 90s. But Halo quickly revealed a universe of incredible ambition, depicting a massive war between humans, religious zealots, and a civilization-destroying plague. The original campaign took players through a gorgeous, mysterious world, forgoing the musty browns and gray color palettes of the past in favor of verdant greens, neon purples, and expansive blue skies. The twist, that this beauty was set within a weapon of mass destruction, is only one of the storytelling coups that made Bungie's sci-fi epic such a hit. With Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie didn't just revolutionize the console FPS experience, but laid down the cornerstone with which it built one of the most ambitious and enduring space operas in video games.
5: Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is the crème de la crème of neck-crushing, noggin’ splittin’, Nazi killin’ heroic pulp, and it’s one of the most magnificent single-player shooters ever. Picking up where The Old Blood and The New Order left off, The New Colossus moves the action to the Nazi-occupied United States of America where the OG of video game anti-fascism - B.J. Blazkowicz – and his loyal band of badasses are waging a bloody guerrilla war against their oppressors. Blazkowicz and his team can’t do it all alone, however, so they recruit a bunch of revolutionaries and hatch a plan that takes them from the radioactive ruins of New York to the ghettoes of New Orleans, even to BJ’s hometown of Mesquite, Texas, and beyond.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/07/26/the-most-batsht-crazy-moments-in-the-wolfenstein-series"]
A brutal and bloodthirsty mix of close-quarters hatchet jobs and dual-wielded devastation, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is an ultra-violent, fast-paced splatterfest of completely guilt-free garbage disposal.
4: Doom 1993
Without the original Doom, this list wouldn't even exist. It’s the granddaddy of them all, and as revolutionary as it was in 1993 – it created a series of copycats that were simply called “Doom Clones” – it continues to inspire modern gaming as well. But historical importance aside, it's still fun as - pardon the phrasing - hell. It's fast, frantic, controls like a dream – despite not being in full 3D – has an incredible atmosphere, and its soundtrack is still instantly recognizable. Doom excelled by having one of the best collections of weapons ever wielded in a first-person shooter, from the pump-action shotgun to the gib-inducing RPG, and of course the legendary BFG 9000. But it’s equally revered for its level design, which blended mazes, flickering lighting, and demonic imagery to create maps that remain enjoyable (and full of secrets!) to this day.
3: Half-Life: Alyx
No, it's not Half-Life 3, and yes, it's VR-only – but Half-Life: Alyx is actually better because of both of those facts. Alyx resurrects one of gaming's greatest and most revered franchises and melds forward-thinking VR game design with the gorgeous Source 2.0 game engine and roomscale interaction to create a slower but more intimate – and terrifying – Half-Life experience. The way weapons fire and reload is purpose-built for VR in a way that simply wouldn't work on a 2D screen. So are the puzzles. So are the combat encounters. It really is the “killer app” that VR gaming has been waiting for – and then there's its story. The less said the better, because by the time you get to the end – the very, very end – you’ll arrive at one of gaming's all-time mic-drop moments. But what you learn along the way is fully engrossing on its own, too, and proves that Valve hasn’t lost a storytelling step in the years since Half-Life 2. Simply put, Half-Life: Alyx is somehow both a worthy return for Half-Life AND the apex of VR gaming so far, all in one package. t. Alyx is both a modern masterpiece and the VR game we've been waiting our whole lives for.
2: Titanfall 2
Titanfall 2 has what is undeniably one of the best FPS campaigns of the last generation, and it was incredibly welcome after the original Titanfall game lacked any kind of single-player story. It builds off the universe the first game established but remains captivating all on its own. Following pilot Jack Cooper and his titan, BT, Titanfall 2's campaign is relatively short, clocking in at about 5 to 7 hours, but developer Respawn makes the best use out of that short window.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/apex-legends-the-story-so-far"]
Each chapter in the campaign seems to outdo the last, as Titanfall 2 constantly tests your mettle and finds new ways to showcase its excellent shooting and movement mechanics. Effect and Cause is a campaign highlight, though we’ll save exactly why as a surprise for those of you who haven’t played it yet. Suffice to say, it’s a prime example of why Titanfall 2's campaign is not talked about nearly enough, and why it should be remembered for years to come.
1: Half-Life 2
Topping this list is a game that not only changed the way we look at FPS campaigns, but how we interact with games as a whole. Half-Life 2 and its episodic expansions were revolutionary at the time, and they remain an absolute joy to play even today. From the oppressive atmosphere of City 17 to the gravity-defying physics puzzles within it, the influence of Half-Life 2 can be traced through to countless games that followed. But it’s not earning the top spot for its impact on the industry alone. Quite simply, Half-Life 2 is just a ton of fun to play. The story it tells feels both massive in scale and intimately human at the same time, and the contained encounters it constantly throws you into vary from thrilling to clever to downright terrifying. The alien weaponry it puts in your hands to deal with those obstacles are satisfying and powerful, particularly the iconic gravity gun – a weapon so great we still wish it were in just about every shooter we’ve played since.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/why-valve-never-made-half-life-2-episode-3"]
Half-Life 2 is truly remarkable. It’s not entirely free of flaws, just like every other game on this list, but it’s certainly one where the experience as a whole heavily outweighs any minor missteps. It's riveting world and smart ideas leave you begging for more, which is just one reason fans of the series have been waiting with bated breath for exactly that for more than a decade. Half-Life Alyx has finally given those fans hope again, and we can’t wait to see where the Half-Life series goes from here – but until we do, Half-Life 2 still stands an absolute masterpiece of an FPS campaign. [poilib element="accentDivider"]
While there are plenty of other great FPS games with memorable campaigns, these are the ten we hold closest to our hearts. What’s on your list that didn’t make ours?Let us know in the comments, and why not check out our picks for the Top 10 Mario Games and Top 10 PS2 RPGS . For all your gaming news, reviews, and more, keep it here at IGN.
from IGN Video Games https://ift.tt/3d3U1Wr via IFTTT
0 notes
sabbadoci0us · a month ago
Text
The Best FPS Campaigns of All Time
It’s easy to immediately think of classic multiplayer matches and modes when thinking about the history of first-person shooters, but the genre is full of captivating campaigns and memorable stories.
From the far-reaches of the galaxy to the literal pits of hell - and everywhere in between - these are our favorite FPS campaigns.
[poilib element="accentDivider"]
10: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty may have originated as a rival to the dominant Medal of Honor series in the early 2000s, but leaving the backdrop of World War II behind for 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare transformed Activision’s billion-dollar baby into a truly trendsetting force all its own. Call of Duty 4’s bombastic single-player component became the gaming industry’s blueprint for military-based shooter campaigns, and with good reason.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2016/07/18/call-of-duty-4-remastered-graphics-comparison"]
Modern Warfare’s story careens along at a mostly breakneck pace, but it’s a wildly entertaining ride from start to finish, with an enthralling set of missions featuring some of the most memorable levels of the entire franchise. Highlights include the immediately gripping opener ‘Crew Expendable’ with its heart-pounding finishing race to evacuate the now sinking Estonian freighter to the now-iconic ‘All Ghillied Up’ and its eerie rendition of post-disaster Chernobyl. The list goes on, with the chilling realism of ‘Death from Above’ to ‘Aftermath’ and its brief but haunting glimpse of the devastating results of a nuclear blast. Call of Duty campaigns typically range from serviceable at best to genuinely well-done, but it’s hard to look past Modern Warfare’s as the best of the lot.
9: Halo 3
Halo 3 allowed players to finally finish the fight, with a trilogy-ending campaign that brings Master Chief’s story to a thrilling conclusion. Doing away with the dual-perspective campaign of Halo 2, Halo 3 firmly puts players through their paces as Spartan John-117, channeling Bungie’s top-tier gunplay through a series of memorable encounters. It deftly moves from small-scale, close-quarters combat to wider arenas, while always maintaining blockbuster tension and thrills – and that’s on top of the thrilling vehicle missions and a great use of the franchise-defining Skulls to turn the gameplay experience on its head. Interweaving more personal stakes with  its epic main story was no easy task, especially after the two previous entries were so well-loved, but Halo 3 sticks the landing like a plasma grenade on a Grunt.
8: Doom Eternal
While it never aims to diminish the power fantasy that comes with ripping and tearing through hordes of Hell’s residents, Doom Eternal is also never shy about reminding you that you need to be smart and methodical with your approach to its stellar combat scenarios. It took everything that made Doom 2016’s revival incredible and upped the ante by adding a unique push and pull to everything you do. You’ve got to dash to get to and away from enemies so they never know where to find you next, unload rounds of ammunition into the hordes of Hell’s creatures, chainsaw an unsuspecting zombie to replenish it all, then get up close and ruthlessly burn your victims to cause them to sweat out armor shards. Doom Eternal is at its best when it practically becomes a rhythm game, rewarding you for executing all of the right moves at the right time. Its story is mostly buried in text or audio logs, but don’t let that deter you. If you’re looking for 10-15 hours of adrenaline-pumping fun through impressively designed levels and encounters, backed by a thrashing soundtrack, then look no further than Doom Eternal.
7: BioShock
From its opening moments, BioShock lets you know you’re in for one memorable ride...even if that ride starts with a plane crash. There’s no shortage of stunning sequences: that first moment you catch a glimpse of Rapture as your bathysphere descends, Sander Cohen coming down the stairs, and of course the big, chilling twist that has become one of gaming’s most infamous turns. BioShock is a game composed of beautifully orchestrated and downright, well... shocking moments.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/half-life-alyx-bioshock-mod-gameplay"]
The mix-and-match gameplay of plasmids and firearms means that enemy encounters rarely occur the same way twice, and the story is so crammed with "WTF" moments that it's hard to put BioShock down, even if you've played it before. It's a game that demands your attention both with its incredible retro-futurist design sensibilities and its mysterious, mind-bending, morality-driven narrative. It was a masterpiece then, and it's a masterpiece now.
6: Halo: Combat Evolved
When Halo: Combat Evolved launched back in 2001, Master Chief looked ready to take his place alongside gaming's other faceless, gun-toting action heroes of the 80s and 90s. But Halo quickly revealed a universe of incredible ambition, depicting a massive war between humans, religious zealots, and a civilization-destroying plague. The original campaign took players through a gorgeous, mysterious world, forgoing the musty browns and gray color palettes of the past in favor of verdant greens, neon purples, and expansive blue skies. The twist, that this beauty was set within a weapon of mass destruction, is only one of the storytelling coups that made Bungie's sci-fi epic such a hit. With Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie didn't just revolutionize the console FPS experience, but laid down the cornerstone with which it built one of the most ambitious and enduring space operas in video games.
5: Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is the crème de la crème of neck-crushing, noggin’ splittin’, Nazi killin’ heroic pulp, and it’s one of the most magnificent single-player shooters ever. Picking up where The Old Blood and The New Order left off, The New Colossus moves the action to the Nazi-occupied United States of America where the OG of video game anti-fascism - B.J. Blazkowicz – and his loyal band of badasses are waging a bloody guerrilla war against their oppressors. Blazkowicz and his team can’t do it all alone, however, so they recruit a bunch of revolutionaries and hatch a plan that takes them from the radioactive ruins of New York to the ghettoes of New Orleans, even to BJ’s hometown of Mesquite, Texas, and beyond.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/07/26/the-most-batsht-crazy-moments-in-the-wolfenstein-series"]
A brutal and bloodthirsty mix of close-quarters hatchet jobs and dual-wielded devastation, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is an ultra-violent, fast-paced splatterfest of completely guilt-free garbage disposal.
4: Doom 1993
Without the original Doom, this list wouldn't even exist. It’s the granddaddy of them all, and as revolutionary as it was in 1993 – it created a series of copycats that were simply called “Doom Clones” – it continues to inspire modern gaming as well. But historical importance aside, it's still fun as - pardon the phrasing - hell. It's fast, frantic, controls like a dream – despite not being in full 3D – has an incredible atmosphere, and its soundtrack is still instantly recognizable. Doom excelled by having one of the best collections of weapons ever wielded in a first-person shooter, from the pump-action shotgun to the gib-inducing RPG, and of course the legendary BFG 9000. But it’s equally revered for its level design, which blended mazes, flickering lighting, and demonic imagery to create maps that remain enjoyable (and full of secrets!) to this day.
3: Half-Life: Alyx
No, it's not Half-Life 3, and yes, it's VR-only – but Half-Life: Alyx is actually better because of both of those facts. Alyx resurrects one of gaming's greatest and most revered franchises and melds forward-thinking VR game design with the gorgeous Source 2.0 game engine and roomscale interaction to create a slower but more intimate – and terrifying – Half-Life experience. The way weapons fire and reload is purpose-built for VR in a way that simply wouldn't work on a 2D screen. So are the puzzles. So are the combat encounters. It really is the “killer app” that VR gaming has been waiting for – and then there's its story. The less said the better, because by the time you get to the end – the very, very end – you’ll arrive at one of gaming's all-time mic-drop moments. But what you learn along the way is fully engrossing on its own, too, and proves that Valve hasn’t lost a storytelling step in the years since Half-Life 2. Simply put, Half-Life: Alyx is somehow both a worthy return for Half-Life AND the apex of VR gaming so far, all in one package. t. Alyx is both a modern masterpiece and the VR game we've been waiting our whole lives for.
2: Titanfall 2
Titanfall 2 has what is undeniably one of the best FPS campaigns of the last generation, and it was incredibly welcome after the original Titanfall game lacked any kind of single-player story. It builds off the universe the first game established but remains captivating all on its own. Following pilot Jack Cooper and his titan, BT, Titanfall 2's campaign is relatively short, clocking in at about 5 to 7 hours, but developer Respawn makes the best use out of that short window.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/apex-legends-the-story-so-far"]
Each chapter in the campaign seems to outdo the last, as Titanfall 2 constantly tests your mettle and finds new ways to showcase its excellent shooting and movement mechanics. Effect and Cause is a campaign highlight, though we’ll save exactly why as a surprise for those of you who haven’t played it yet. Suffice to say, it’s a prime example of why Titanfall 2's campaign is not talked about nearly enough, and why it should be remembered for years to come.
1: Half-Life 2
Topping this list is a game that not only changed the way we look at FPS campaigns, but how we interact with games as a whole. Half-Life 2 and its episodic expansions were revolutionary at the time, and they remain an absolute joy to play even today. From the oppressive atmosphere of City 17 to the gravity-defying physics puzzles within it, the influence of Half-Life 2 can be traced through to countless games that followed. But it’s not earning the top spot for its impact on the industry alone. Quite simply, Half-Life 2 is just a ton of fun to play. The story it tells feels both massive in scale and intimately human at the same time, and the contained encounters it constantly throws you into vary from thrilling to clever to downright terrifying. The alien weaponry it puts in your hands to deal with those obstacles are satisfying and powerful, particularly the iconic gravity gun – a weapon so great we still wish it were in just about every shooter we’ve played since.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/why-valve-never-made-half-life-2-episode-3"]
Half-Life 2 is truly remarkable. It’s not entirely free of flaws, just like every other game on this list, but it’s certainly one where the experience as a whole heavily outweighs any minor missteps. It's riveting world and smart ideas leave you begging for more, which is just one reason fans of the series have been waiting with bated breath for exactly that for more than a decade. Half-Life Alyx has finally given those fans hope again, and we can’t wait to see where the Half-Life series goes from here – but until we do, Half-Life 2 still stands an absolute masterpiece of an FPS campaign. [poilib element="accentDivider"]
While there are plenty of other great FPS games with memorable campaigns, these are the ten we hold closest to our hearts. What’s on your list that didn’t make ours?Let us know in the comments, and why not check out our picks for the Top 10 Mario Games and Top 10 PS2 RPGS . For all your gaming news, reviews, and more, keep it here at IGN.
source https://www.ign.com/articles/the-best-fps-campaigns-of-all-time
0 notes
techxgames · a month ago
Text
The Best FPS Campaigns of All Time
It’s easy to immediately think of classic multiplayer matches and modes when thinking about the history of first-person shooters, but the genre is full of captivating campaigns and memorable stories.
From the far-reaches of the galaxy to the literal pits of hell - and everywhere in between - these are our favorite FPS campaigns.
[poilib element="accentDivider"]
10: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty may have originated as a rival to the dominant Medal of Honor series in the early 2000s, but leaving the backdrop of World War II behind for 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare transformed Activision’s billion-dollar baby into a truly trendsetting force all its own. Call of Duty 4’s bombastic single-player component became the gaming industry’s blueprint for military-based shooter campaigns, and with good reason.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2016/07/18/call-of-duty-4-remastered-graphics-comparison"]
Modern Warfare’s story careens along at a mostly breakneck pace, but it’s a wildly entertaining ride from start to finish, with an enthralling set of missions featuring some of the most memorable levels of the entire franchise. Highlights include the immediately gripping opener ‘Crew Expendable’ with its heart-pounding finishing race to evacuate the now sinking Estonian freighter to the now-iconic ‘All Ghillied Up’ and its eerie rendition of post-disaster Chernobyl. The list goes on, with the chilling realism of ‘Death from Above’ to ‘Aftermath’ and its brief but haunting glimpse of the devastating results of a nuclear blast. Call of Duty campaigns typically range from serviceable at best to genuinely well-done, but it’s hard to look past Modern Warfare’s as the best of the lot.
9: Halo 3
Halo 3 allowed players to finally finish the fight, with a trilogy-ending campaign that brings Master Chief’s story to a thrilling conclusion. Doing away with the dual-perspective campaign of Halo 2, Halo 3 firmly puts players through their paces as Spartan John-117, channeling Bungie’s top-tier gunplay through a series of memorable encounters. It deftly moves from small-scale, close-quarters combat to wider arenas, while always maintaining blockbuster tension and thrills – and that’s on top of the thrilling vehicle missions and a great use of the franchise-defining Skulls to turn the gameplay experience on its head. Interweaving more personal stakes with  its epic main story was no easy task, especially after the two previous entries were so well-loved, but Halo 3 sticks the landing like a plasma grenade on a Grunt.
8: Doom Eternal
While it never aims to diminish the power fantasy that comes with ripping and tearing through hordes of Hell’s residents, Doom Eternal is also never shy about reminding you that you need to be smart and methodical with your approach to its stellar combat scenarios. It took everything that made Doom 2016’s revival incredible and upped the ante by adding a unique push and pull to everything you do. You’ve got to dash to get to and away from enemies so they never know where to find you next, unload rounds of ammunition into the hordes of Hell’s creatures, chainsaw an unsuspecting zombie to replenish it all, then get up close and ruthlessly burn your victims to cause them to sweat out armor shards. Doom Eternal is at its best when it practically becomes a rhythm game, rewarding you for executing all of the right moves at the right time. Its story is mostly buried in text or audio logs, but don’t let that deter you. If you’re looking for 10-15 hours of adrenaline-pumping fun through impressively designed levels and encounters, backed by a thrashing soundtrack, then look no further than Doom Eternal.
7: BioShock
From its opening moments, BioShock lets you know you’re in for one memorable ride...even if that ride starts with a plane crash. There’s no shortage of stunning sequences: that first moment you catch a glimpse of Rapture as your bathysphere descends, Sander Cohen coming down the stairs, and of course the big, chilling twist that has become one of gaming’s most infamous turns. BioShock is a game composed of beautifully orchestrated and downright, well... shocking moments.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/half-life-alyx-bioshock-mod-gameplay"]
The mix-and-match gameplay of plasmids and firearms means that enemy encounters rarely occur the same way twice, and the story is so crammed with "WTF" moments that it's hard to put BioShock down, even if you've played it before. It's a game that demands your attention both with its incredible retro-futurist design sensibilities and its mysterious, mind-bending, morality-driven narrative. It was a masterpiece then, and it's a masterpiece now.
6: Halo: Combat Evolved
When Halo: Combat Evolved launched back in 2001, Master Chief looked ready to take his place alongside gaming's other faceless, gun-toting action heroes of the 80s and 90s. But Halo quickly revealed a universe of incredible ambition, depicting a massive war between humans, religious zealots, and a civilization-destroying plague. The original campaign took players through a gorgeous, mysterious world, forgoing the musty browns and gray color palettes of the past in favor of verdant greens, neon purples, and expansive blue skies. The twist, that this beauty was set within a weapon of mass destruction, is only one of the storytelling coups that made Bungie's sci-fi epic such a hit. With Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie didn't just revolutionize the console FPS experience, but laid down the cornerstone with which it built one of the most ambitious and enduring space operas in video games.
5: Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is the crème de la crème of neck-crushing, noggin’ splittin’, Nazi killin’ heroic pulp, and it’s one of the most magnificent single-player shooters ever. Picking up where The Old Blood and The New Order left off, The New Colossus moves the action to the Nazi-occupied United States of America where the OG of video game anti-fascism - B.J. Blazkowicz – and his loyal band of badasses are waging a bloody guerrilla war against their oppressors. Blazkowicz and his team can’t do it all alone, however, so they recruit a bunch of revolutionaries and hatch a plan that takes them from the radioactive ruins of New York to the ghettoes of New Orleans, even to BJ’s hometown of Mesquite, Texas, and beyond.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/07/26/the-most-batsht-crazy-moments-in-the-wolfenstein-series"]
A brutal and bloodthirsty mix of close-quarters hatchet jobs and dual-wielded devastation, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is an ultra-violent, fast-paced splatterfest of completely guilt-free garbage disposal.
4: Doom 1993
Without the original Doom, this list wouldn't even exist. It’s the granddaddy of them all, and as revolutionary as it was in 1993 – it created a series of copycats that were simply called “Doom Clones” – it continues to inspire modern gaming as well. But historical importance aside, it's still fun as - pardon the phrasing - hell. It's fast, frantic, controls like a dream – despite not being in full 3D – has an incredible atmosphere, and its soundtrack is still instantly recognizable. Doom excelled by having one of the best collections of weapons ever wielded in a first-person shooter, from the pump-action shotgun to the gib-inducing RPG, and of course the legendary BFG 9000. But it’s equally revered for its level design, which blended mazes, flickering lighting, and demonic imagery to create maps that remain enjoyable (and full of secrets!) to this day.
3: Half-Life: Alyx
No, it's not Half-Life 3, and yes, it's VR-only – but Half-Life: Alyx is actually better because of both of those facts. Alyx resurrects one of gaming's greatest and most revered franchises and melds forward-thinking VR game design with the gorgeous Source 2.0 game engine and roomscale interaction to create a slower but more intimate – and terrifying – Half-Life experience. The way weapons fire and reload is purpose-built for VR in a way that simply wouldn't work on a 2D screen. So are the puzzles. So are the combat encounters. It really is the “killer app” that VR gaming has been waiting for – and then there's its story. The less said the better, because by the time you get to the end – the very, very end – you’ll arrive at one of gaming's all-time mic-drop moments. But what you learn along the way is fully engrossing on its own, too, and proves that Valve hasn’t lost a storytelling step in the years since Half-Life 2. Simply put, Half-Life: Alyx is somehow both a worthy return for Half-Life AND the apex of VR gaming so far, all in one package. t. Alyx is both a modern masterpiece and the VR game we've been waiting our whole lives for.
2: Titanfall 2
Titanfall 2 has what is undeniably one of the best FPS campaigns of the last generation, and it was incredibly welcome after the original Titanfall game lacked any kind of single-player story. It builds off the universe the first game established but remains captivating all on its own. Following pilot Jack Cooper and his titan, BT, Titanfall 2's campaign is relatively short, clocking in at about 5 to 7 hours, but developer Respawn makes the best use out of that short window.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/apex-legends-the-story-so-far"]
Each chapter in the campaign seems to outdo the last, as Titanfall 2 constantly tests your mettle and finds new ways to showcase its excellent shooting and movement mechanics. Effect and Cause is a campaign highlight, though we’ll save exactly why as a surprise for those of you who haven’t played it yet. Suffice to say, it’s a prime example of why Titanfall 2's campaign is not talked about nearly enough, and why it should be remembered for years to come.
1: Half-Life 2
Topping this list is a game that not only changed the way we look at FPS campaigns, but how we interact with games as a whole. Half-Life 2 and its episodic expansions were revolutionary at the time, and they remain an absolute joy to play even today. From the oppressive atmosphere of City 17 to the gravity-defying physics puzzles within it, the influence of Half-Life 2 can be traced through to countless games that followed. But it’s not earning the top spot for its impact on the industry alone. Quite simply, Half-Life 2 is just a ton of fun to play. The story it tells feels both massive in scale and intimately human at the same time, and the contained encounters it constantly throws you into vary from thrilling to clever to downright terrifying. The alien weaponry it puts in your hands to deal with those obstacles are satisfying and powerful, particularly the iconic gravity gun – a weapon so great we still wish it were in just about every shooter we’ve played since.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/why-valve-never-made-half-life-2-episode-3"]
Half-Life 2 is truly remarkable. It’s not entirely free of flaws, just like every other game on this list, but it’s certainly one where the experience as a whole heavily outweighs any minor missteps. It's riveting world and smart ideas leave you begging for more, which is just one reason fans of the series have been waiting with bated breath for exactly that for more than a decade. Half-Life Alyx has finally given those fans hope again, and we can’t wait to see where the Half-Life series goes from here – but until we do, Half-Life 2 still stands an absolute masterpiece of an FPS campaign. [poilib element="accentDivider"]
While there are plenty of other great FPS games with memorable campaigns, these are the ten we hold closest to our hearts. What’s on your list that didn’t make ours?Let us know in the comments, and why not check out our picks for the Top 10 Mario Games and Top 10 PS2 RPGS . For all your gaming news, reviews, and more, keep it here at IGN.
from IGN Video Games https://ift.tt/3d3U1Wr via IFTTT
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paulkangart · a month ago
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The Best FPS Campaigns of All Time
It’s easy to immediately think of classic multiplayer matches and modes when thinking about the history of first-person shooters, but the genre is full of captivating campaigns and memorable stories.
From the far-reaches of the galaxy to the literal pits of hell - and everywhere in between - these are our favorite FPS campaigns.
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10: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty may have originated as a rival to the dominant Medal of Honor series in the early 2000s, but leaving the backdrop of World War II behind for 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare transformed Activision’s billion-dollar baby into a truly trendsetting force all its own. Call of Duty 4’s bombastic single-player component became the gaming industry’s blueprint for military-based shooter campaigns, and with good reason.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2016/07/18/call-of-duty-4-remastered-graphics-comparison"]
Modern Warfare’s story careens along at a mostly breakneck pace, but it’s a wildly entertaining ride from start to finish, with an enthralling set of missions featuring some of the most memorable levels of the entire franchise. Highlights include the immediately gripping opener ‘Crew Expendable’ with its heart-pounding finishing race to evacuate the now sinking Estonian freighter to the now-iconic ‘All Ghillied Up’ and its eerie rendition of post-disaster Chernobyl. The list goes on, with the chilling realism of ‘Death from Above’ to ‘Aftermath’ and its brief but haunting glimpse of the devastating results of a nuclear blast. Call of Duty campaigns typically range from serviceable at best to genuinely well-done, but it’s hard to look past Modern Warfare’s as the best of the lot.
9: Halo 3
Halo 3 allowed players to finally finish the fight, with a trilogy-ending campaign that brings Master Chief’s story to a thrilling conclusion. Doing away with the dual-perspective campaign of Halo 2, Halo 3 firmly puts players through their paces as Spartan John-117, channeling Bungie’s top-tier gunplay through a series of memorable encounters. It deftly moves from small-scale, close-quarters combat to wider arenas, while always maintaining blockbuster tension and thrills – and that’s on top of the thrilling vehicle missions and a great use of the franchise-defining Skulls to turn the gameplay experience on its head. Interweaving more personal stakes with  its epic main story was no easy task, especially after the two previous entries were so well-loved, but Halo 3 sticks the landing like a plasma grenade on a Grunt.
8: Doom Eternal
While it never aims to diminish the power fantasy that comes with ripping and tearing through hordes of Hell’s residents, Doom Eternal is also never shy about reminding you that you need to be smart and methodical with your approach to its stellar combat scenarios. It took everything that made Doom 2016’s revival incredible and upped the ante by adding a unique push and pull to everything you do. You’ve got to dash to get to and away from enemies so they never know where to find you next, unload rounds of ammunition into the hordes of Hell’s creatures, chainsaw an unsuspecting zombie to replenish it all, then get up close and ruthlessly burn your victims to cause them to sweat out armor shards. Doom Eternal is at its best when it practically becomes a rhythm game, rewarding you for executing all of the right moves at the right time. Its story is mostly buried in text or audio logs, but don’t let that deter you. If you’re looking for 10-15 hours of adrenaline-pumping fun through impressively designed levels and encounters, backed by a thrashing soundtrack, then look no further than Doom Eternal.
7: BioShock
From its opening moments, BioShock lets you know you’re in for one memorable ride...even if that ride starts with a plane crash. There’s no shortage of stunning sequences: that first moment you catch a glimpse of Rapture as your bathysphere descends, Sander Cohen coming down the stairs, and of course the big, chilling twist that has become one of gaming’s most infamous turns. BioShock is a game composed of beautifully orchestrated and downright, well... shocking moments.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/half-life-alyx-bioshock-mod-gameplay"]
The mix-and-match gameplay of plasmids and firearms means that enemy encounters rarely occur the same way twice, and the story is so crammed with "WTF" moments that it's hard to put BioShock down, even if you've played it before. It's a game that demands your attention both with its incredible retro-futurist design sensibilities and its mysterious, mind-bending, morality-driven narrative. It was a masterpiece then, and it's a masterpiece now.
6: Halo: Combat Evolved
When Halo: Combat Evolved launched back in 2001, Master Chief looked ready to take his place alongside gaming's other faceless, gun-toting action heroes of the 80s and 90s. But Halo quickly revealed a universe of incredible ambition, depicting a massive war between humans, religious zealots, and a civilization-destroying plague. The original campaign took players through a gorgeous, mysterious world, forgoing the musty browns and gray color palettes of the past in favor of verdant greens, neon purples, and expansive blue skies. The twist, that this beauty was set within a weapon of mass destruction, is only one of the storytelling coups that made Bungie's sci-fi epic such a hit. With Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie didn't just revolutionize the console FPS experience, but laid down the cornerstone with which it built one of the most ambitious and enduring space operas in video games.
5: Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is the crème de la crème of neck-crushing, noggin’ splittin’, Nazi killin’ heroic pulp, and it’s one of the most magnificent single-player shooters ever. Picking up where The Old Blood and The New Order left off, The New Colossus moves the action to the Nazi-occupied United States of America where the OG of video game anti-fascism - B.J. Blazkowicz – and his loyal band of badasses are waging a bloody guerrilla war against their oppressors. Blazkowicz and his team can’t do it all alone, however, so they recruit a bunch of revolutionaries and hatch a plan that takes them from the radioactive ruins of New York to the ghettoes of New Orleans, even to BJ’s hometown of Mesquite, Texas, and beyond.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/07/26/the-most-batsht-crazy-moments-in-the-wolfenstein-series"]
A brutal and bloodthirsty mix of close-quarters hatchet jobs and dual-wielded devastation, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is an ultra-violent, fast-paced splatterfest of completely guilt-free garbage disposal.
4: Doom 1993
Without the original Doom, this list wouldn't even exist. It’s the granddaddy of them all, and as revolutionary as it was in 1993 – it created a series of copycats that were simply called “Doom Clones” – it continues to inspire modern gaming as well. But historical importance aside, it's still fun as - pardon the phrasing - hell. It's fast, frantic, controls like a dream – despite not being in full 3D – has an incredible atmosphere, and its soundtrack is still instantly recognizable. Doom excelled by having one of the best collections of weapons ever wielded in a first-person shooter, from the pump-action shotgun to the gib-inducing RPG, and of course the legendary BFG 9000. But it’s equally revered for its level design, which blended mazes, flickering lighting, and demonic imagery to create maps that remain enjoyable (and full of secrets!) to this day.
3: Half-Life: Alyx
No, it's not Half-Life 3, and yes, it's VR-only – but Half-Life: Alyx is actually better because of both of those facts. Alyx resurrects one of gaming's greatest and most revered franchises and melds forward-thinking VR game design with the gorgeous Source 2.0 game engine and roomscale interaction to create a slower but more intimate – and terrifying – Half-Life experience. The way weapons fire and reload is purpose-built for VR in a way that simply wouldn't work on a 2D screen. So are the puzzles. So are the combat encounters. It really is the “killer app” that VR gaming has been waiting for – and then there's its story. The less said the better, because by the time you get to the end – the very, very end – you’ll arrive at one of gaming's all-time mic-drop moments. But what you learn along the way is fully engrossing on its own, too, and proves that Valve hasn’t lost a storytelling step in the years since Half-Life 2. Simply put, Half-Life: Alyx is somehow both a worthy return for Half-Life AND the apex of VR gaming so far, all in one package. t. Alyx is both a modern masterpiece and the VR game we've been waiting our whole lives for.
2: Titanfall 2
Titanfall 2 has what is undeniably one of the best FPS campaigns of the last generation, and it was incredibly welcome after the original Titanfall game lacked any kind of single-player story. It builds off the universe the first game established but remains captivating all on its own. Following pilot Jack Cooper and his titan, BT, Titanfall 2's campaign is relatively short, clocking in at about 5 to 7 hours, but developer Respawn makes the best use out of that short window.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/apex-legends-the-story-so-far"]
Each chapter in the campaign seems to outdo the last, as Titanfall 2 constantly tests your mettle and finds new ways to showcase its excellent shooting and movement mechanics. Effect and Cause is a campaign highlight, though we’ll save exactly why as a surprise for those of you who haven’t played it yet. Suffice to say, it’s a prime example of why Titanfall 2's campaign is not talked about nearly enough, and why it should be remembered for years to come.
1: Half-Life 2
Topping this list is a game that not only changed the way we look at FPS campaigns, but how we interact with games as a whole. Half-Life 2 and its episodic expansions were revolutionary at the time, and they remain an absolute joy to play even today. From the oppressive atmosphere of City 17 to the gravity-defying physics puzzles within it, the influence of Half-Life 2 can be traced through to countless games that followed. But it’s not earning the top spot for its impact on the industry alone. Quite simply, Half-Life 2 is just a ton of fun to play. The story it tells feels both massive in scale and intimately human at the same time, and the contained encounters it constantly throws you into vary from thrilling to clever to downright terrifying. The alien weaponry it puts in your hands to deal with those obstacles are satisfying and powerful, particularly the iconic gravity gun – a weapon so great we still wish it were in just about every shooter we’ve played since.
[ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/why-valve-never-made-half-life-2-episode-3"]
Half-Life 2 is truly remarkable. It’s not entirely free of flaws, just like every other game on this list, but it’s certainly one where the experience as a whole heavily outweighs any minor missteps. It's riveting world and smart ideas leave you begging for more, which is just one reason fans of the series have been waiting with bated breath for exactly that for more than a decade. Half-Life Alyx has finally given those fans hope again, and we can’t wait to see where the Half-Life series goes from here – but until we do, Half-Life 2 still stands an absolute masterpiece of an FPS campaign. [poilib element="accentDivider"]
While there are plenty of other great FPS games with memorable campaigns, these are the ten we hold closest to our hearts. What’s on your list that didn’t make ours?Let us know in the comments, and why not check out our picks for the Top 10 Mario Games and Top 10 PS2 RPGS . For all your gaming news, reviews, and more, keep it here at IGN.
from IGN Video Games https://ift.tt/3d3U1Wr via IFTTT
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oddeyevibes · a month ago
Text
DotSH Ch6: A Stirring Resolve and An Only Choice
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Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Shield Hero or any of it’s characters and/or plot, I only own my OCs and related-ish plot.
Also many of the images and gifs used aren’t 100% representative of people, items and places, etc. Just used for…ambiance. I also don’t own them, that should also be stated.
Summary: Dying much like the other heroes, former idol Mio Tanji finds herself dragged to another world as the Scepter Hero. I love intrigue, even if I might not be good at writing it. 
On a normal day, Naofumi probably wouldn’t be following some strange man into a strange tent because he knew that could end with Naofumi strangely missing a kidney. However, there was something different about his natural demeanor at this point. It wasn’t too surprising. The man became a nation-wide pariah in the span of a day. It was safe to say he probably didn’t care about his life too much at this moment. So he decided to humor this strange man.
“I’m quite pleased you accepted my invitation.” The man said as he guided the Shield Hero through a maze of wares.
‘This was definitely a shady man.’ The hero thought.
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The inside of the tent was dimly lit which gave all of the items covered in purple sheets a more eerie look to them. Were they slaves? Cursed objects? Pieces of armor acquired through sketchy means? Maybe something related to illegal animal trading. Now that he thought about it, it was probably a bad idea for him if he was caught here, considering his place as Melromarc’s main public enemy.
“So what do you want with me?” Naofumi asked.
The short man stopped in the center of his large tent and turned to face the hero. The man gave an evil chuckle. “I think you and I can help each other, Sir Shield Hero...” The man began pacing around Naofumi, circling him like the Devil looking for a deal. “After all...you and I are in the same boat when it comes to this country. You’re now known as the Devil of the Shield and me...well, I’m a merchant of...ill goods.”
Naofumi didn’t respond but from the look on his face, the merchant could tell he had the hero’s attention. This knowledge caused the merchant to smirk.
“I saw your exchange with a merchant earlier and how he let something as petty his own personal code get in the way of a deal.”
That wasn’t it at all and Naofumi knew that. That merchant from earlier obviously couldn’t care less about the “victim”. Naofumi knew that the merchant was only taking advantage of the situation and probably would’ve tried to cheat him even if Myne didn’t screw him over. Knowing how most people act when it comes to Naofumi and his shield, the merchant would’ve tried to screw him over based on that alone.
Of course, this was only the logical part of Naofumi’s brain trying to reason with him but that was a lost effort. Naofumi simply wasn’t in that headspace.
“So what? You wanna sell me illegal crap?” The hero asked, crossing his arms.
“Illegal? No, no, no. You have a duty to uphold as the Shield Hero of this world whether your detractors like it or not. If you as the Shield Hero cannot perform your protective duties then...well, you’ll die and our world will be in greater danger than it already is.” The man explained as he kept this untrustworthy smirk that made Naofumi uncomfortable.
“So you want to help me because your life’s at risk too? Seems reasonable.”
The creepy merchant nodded. “As a merchant, I have a duty to uphold myself. To protect my interests . Having the end of the world simply wouldn’t allow me to do that and if I’m in a position to aid the heroes of this world, what type of merchant would I be to ignore a righteous cause.”
Naofumi felt annoyed by this spiel this man was going on. “So what’re you selling?”
The short man chuckled. “Word traveled fast of your unfortunate incident with a female party member. So what I offer is an easy solution to that problem. A party member that can raise no objections,”
‘I do not like where this is going…’
“A party member that would do their best to keep you safe as if their life depended on it. One who’ll never plot against you,” The man placed a hand beside his mouth as if conveying confidential information, beckoning Naofumi to lean forward a bit. “Imagine a party member that won’t turn their back on you.” The man knew it would strike a chord with Naofumi, even if the Shield Hero didn’t show it.
As if a part of some grand introduction, the purple curtains covering all of the cages were snatched away revealing a plethora of beasts of varying types. Each and every one of them was snarling and growling at both men.
Naofumi’s eyes panned around at the different creatures giving him death glares. Almost similar to the ones thrown at him back in the King’s throne room. Maybe he deserved these though compared to last time. He’s still sane enough to admit that.
“Demi-humans?” He asked.
The man shook his head. “More than anything else. I have a variety of them, each capable of assisting you in whatever you may need. Especially fending off the waves.”
“Demi-human slaves, huh?”
“Yes, if I’m not mistaken, the Scepter Hero also has a demi-human slave as well.”
The comment gave Naofumi a pause. “Rowen’s a slave?” He muttered, unfortunately, the merchant heard.
“Yes, most Demi-Humans in Melromarc are. I’d imagine so is the demi-human in Madame Scepter Hero’s party. Tell me, have you seen the demi-human in action?”
“Only a little.” The Shield Hero thought back to when they fought the wolves, Rowen showed himself to be quite strong wielding the giant Warhammer. He didn’t think too much about it back then but now he was putting something together. Why else would Demi-humans be coveted in this way? “There’s something about them, isn’t there?” He asked the man.
“Yes and no. Demi-humans are practically humans with something extra added in. Depending on what variant they are, however, some Demi-humans are much stronger than humans. Most humans think of them as impure or demon-like.”
‘Demon-like, huh?’ While walking throughout the city earlier, almost every citizen whispered about how they knew that something like this would happen because Naofumi was the newest Demon of the Shield . He thought that was stupid. But now being introduced to why Demi-humans are despised by humans, it feels fitting.
The small merchant approached one of the cages that housed a giant, vicious-looking Wolf chained down by its neck. Drool dripped from the beast’s mouth as it stared Naofumi down. Naofumi looked closer, analyzing the stats of the wolf.
‘Offense-based slave...Lvl 75...race: wolf. Level 75? That’s way too high compared to me.’ He thought.
“Ah yes! He had wonderful stats, doesn’t he?” The man questioned. “Now about the price.”
“No, don’t tell me.” The man paused and looked towards the gloomy hero, staring up at his dark-circle ridden eyes.
Naofumi flashed the man an evil smirk. “You know, for someone I just met, you seem to know a lot about my situation. You know as well as I do that I can’t pay for that, yet you showed me the most expensive one.”  
The smirk on the merchant man’s face grew wider, almost contorting. “You are a customer that has developed good eyes.” The man chuckles. “How rude of me as a merchant. Why don’t you tell me what you’re looking for. No one knows a customer better than the customer, after all.”
Naofumi began strolling along the cages, his thoughts being overshadowed by the varied growling coming from the demi-humans. “Something cheap...but one that isn’t broken...preferably one not for home use.” If this slave was going to help him, they need to know how to fight. He paused in his step, thinking harder about what exactly he wanted. His mind instantly filled with the memories of what happened to him earlier. “A male would be nice too.”
‘I don’t want to deal with bitches who leave me in the dust and set me up for failure anymore.’ The images of evil expressed on the faces of both Myne, Mio, Motoyasu, and everyone that stood in that throne room that looked down on him and ruined whatever remained of his life within this new world.
The merchant thought about it. “I see...so you want one that's strong in battle but not one particularly great when it comes to skill.” The man began wandering before stopping midway and glancing over at the Shield Hero. “About those rumors…” He began.
The menacing but calm demeanor Naofumi had held instantly crumbled as he smashed his hands against an empty cage next to him, a loud clunk ringing throughout the massive tent.
“I didn’t do it.” The hero growled.
The merchant stayed silent as he watched Naofumi’s expression. “I see...you do seem different from the man the rumors spoke of.” The man then gestured for Naofumi to follow, entering a room curtained off from the rest of the giant tent.
Naofumi followed without issue, his earlier scowl had softly melted into his much earlier calm and tired expression.
This small and closed off room had a much more different energy than the main area. While the last one held a much more feral and showy energy, this one felt...dark...and cold. Almost like everything kept in here was abandoned. Dusk fluttered all about the space. Naofumi could feel the specs of dust lingering their tiny fingers against his cheek. Regret was starting to slowly trickle its way into the back of Naofumi’s mind.
“In this room are wares that are much more affordable for someone like you.”
Naofumi’s gaze wandered along the cages. These demi-humans looked and felt more human than the bigger much more beastial demi-humans did. There was still some malice and contempt held for Naofumi, he could clearly see that. However, it felt like if they did something, he felt he had at least a fighting chance against these demi-humans.
“These are problematic ones...but they can be trained if you’re willing to put in the work.”
‘This place stinks.’ Naofumi noted. He’s never really been around death but he could tell just as much as anyone else. ‘Knowing my luck about now, I’ll probably walk out of here with either nothing or a slave on the brink of dea-’
Cough! Cough!
Gross sounds that indicated that someone somewhere was desperately trying to get rid of the thick phlegm invading their throat caught the hero’s attention to a cage that held a small being inside. Naofumi moved away from the merchant, catching the man’s attention.
“Sir Hero?” He mildly called out.
As Naofumi inched closer to the cage, he got a better look at the being on the inside. It was a little demi-human girl. The Shield Hero looked down at the girl in disgust. Nothing but negative thoughts ran through his mind like maggots congregating on a corpse.
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She had raggedy and tangled light brown hair. The girl clearly hadn’t seen a bath in days, maybe even weeks due to how much dirt had accumulated on the kid, not to mention the rags she had on. This girl was probably the worst of the entire bunch. Probably had a shelf life of an hour or so given her current state of sickness.
“Hey,” He called out. “Raise your head.” There was nothing but a cold malice in his voice, something that could send a chill down a child’s spine.
The girl, with no other choice, raised her head slowly, revealing her pale face and tea red eyes that were filled with a tiredness not normally seen in a child unless they’ve been through hell. However, Naofumi didn’t really take notice of that, only taking note of one thing: her gender.
‘Same as them .’ He thought. Flashes of a smiling Mio appeared in his head, the images of Myne who seemed appreciative of the thoughtful gesture came next. ‘All smiles...just to stab me in the damn back.’ He thought.
“Name?” He coldly asked her. The little girl was either confused by the request or simply didn’t hear him. Regardless, he asked again with a more stern tone in his face. “I asked for your name. Don’t you have one?!”
The girl jumped in fear once her eyes focused on the mean glare Naofumi threw at her. “R-Raphtalia.” She answered weakly.
The merchant shifted his glasses. “Hmm. Sir Hero, I’d advise against this. Compared to the Fox variants, Raccoon Demi-humans aren’t very popular, especially for battle reasons. They’re prone to panic attacks and often suffer from disease. They also have a tendency to just stand there and not really do anything proactive at all. You’d be putting yourself in more danger by relying on one.” He then walked up next to Naofumi to continue the speech, looking Demi-human named Raphtalia up and down. “This one, in particular, doesn’t really have long to li--”
“That sounds fine.” Naofumi interrupted. The hero looked over the young girl who still had a frightened look on her face. ‘Problematic but trainable...thin but that could be fixed with some meals here and there...not much of a fighter so she probably won’t try killing me. At the end of the day, I could always imagine that it's her.’ Referencing the girl that got him into this situation in the first place. Naofumi’s glare hardened. “I’ve decided...'' he turned his attention back to the short merchant. “I’ll take this girl.”
Raphtalia’s eyes widened in fear at the proclamation with some tears welling up in her eyes.
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The door to the chantry swung open thanks to Izza and her attitude which was only made worse by the fact that she was greeted by the sight of Silas’ face alongside an unnamed sister of the chantry that he was in the middle of a conversation with.
“Welcome back, Sister Iz--”
The blue-haired woman pushed past the two and made way towards the stairs, no doubt on her way to inform Regent Dencourt about what had transpired earlier.
Silas made an amused face as he watched her walk away. “I wonder what’s troubling our dear sister now.”
Taji walked up beside him with a smirk. “We made a... small detour after leaving the castle is all.” The redhead then walked off into the common area.
“Small detour?”
The sounds of struggling behind him caught his attention. Looking towards the doorway, Silas watched as Mio and Rowen struggled to get the very drunk Tamara into the chantry. The blonde rolled his eyes with a sigh of annoyance as he casually approached the three until he was face to face with the bunny demi-human.
“You couldn’t even keep yourself sober enough the day you actually meet the Scepter Hero, Sister Tamara? You truly are pathetic.” He threw the insult as he flicked the tip of her nose, causing Tamara to let out a drunken giggle.
Mio groaned. “Afterschool special later! Help now, please! She’s heavier than she looks.”
“Is she?” The blonde looked on with a curious look. With all that muscle, I’d imagine she’s just the weight she needs to be.”
Mio threw a glare his way causing him to smirk as he switched places with Mio and guided Rowen to bring Tamara to the common area. Taji had made herself comfortable on one of the couches with a small glass of liquor in her hand, casually swishing it around in the dimly lit room.
The two males placed Tamara on another couch, who instantly fell asleep upon making contact with the soft cushions. Rowen plopped down on a nearby two-seater couch next to Mio, both tired from their previous endeavor.
“Jeez, that girl can drink.”
“Give her an inch, she’ll take a mile when it comes to alcohol.” Silas commented, casually sitting on the arm of the couch Tamara was placed on. “So, a full inquiry of what transpired today?”
“I’m surprised you don’t already know.” Taji replied.
“I do, but I have several versions of what happened and would like to know what actually happened.”
The three sat there and silently glanced at each other due to their conversation at the bar. ‘Silas sees all’ it what Rowen guided them towards in terms of a plan. Mio looked to Taji, who merely shook her head slightly when Silas looked towards Rowen, expecting the youngest and most honest of the group to speak up.
‘What do I say?’ She thought. ‘If he had a hand in this then, of course, he’ll want to know how his plan went down.’ Then Mio thought about her past life. A video game she played back when she was in middle school. One of the characters, a detective who turned out to be the main villain, was simply covering his tracks and any loose ends by posing as a PI. That thought alone made her a bit more stern. “Well, one of them has to be the right version...right?” She asked, leaning back in her seat.
Silas’ gaze stayed on her. “Hmm....” His face formed into one that was in thought before nodding. “ I see. It appears it’s been a long day for all of you. I suggest you all get some sleep then.” Silas stood up. “Regent Dencourt wants Madame Mio’s training to begin tomorrow, you’ll receive some extra funds and you’ll be expected the learn your duties as you travel.” He then snapped his fingers and a dark red book with a black writing quill attached to it appeared out of thin air, landing in his hand.
Mio examined the book. There was nothing written on the cover nor were there words accessorizing the pages. It was clear to see, with the quill involved, that Mio was meant to write in this. She shrugged. “And this is for?” Her last word trailing off slowly.
“Note-taking. It’s an imperative part of any type of study. I’d imagine this is something common back in your world, yes? You’ll have several books with you during your travels and of course, you’ll be taught by Sister Izza. Regent Dencourt especially suggests noting any and all experiences with using your abilities.”
“Aaand how am I supposed to know what to do with my powers?”
“What do you know to do so far?”
“Say I give myself to thee and then something happens.”
“Experiment with that then and write your findings down if you have a short memory. I imagine you’ll get much practice on the field. Regent Denocurt will be very interested in what you discover yourself.”
“I bet he would.” Taji muttered causing Silas to glance over to her with a smirk before he stood and bowed before them all.
“If you’ll excuse me, I have some last-minute business to attend to before I turn in. Have a good night.” The blonde then walked off.
Once the group was sure Silas was out of hearing distance as well as none of the other chantry members were around, Mio leaned forward in Taji’s direction. “How the hell are we supposed to watch him if we’re out of the chantry?”
“Relax~” Taji’s reassuring words came out like thin smoke off an incense. “We’ll be coming back to the chantry many times. Besides, if Izza is suspicious of Silas then she’ll do her damnest to make sure he’s not trying to taint Dencourt’s image. She’s a teacher’s pet like that.” The last sentence was spoken with such condescending vile.
It struck a chord with Mio. “Hey, I’ve been wondering...if you and Izza can’t stand each other, why are you in a coterie together?”
“Hm?”
“You guys seem to hate the very presence of each other. Or at least, Izza can’t stand you and you’re constantly talking shit behind her back.”
“I do NOT talk behind her back.” Taji seemed offended at the accusation but then her face flashed delight. “I say all of this stuff to her face too.”
“That...doesn’t answer my question.”
Taji was silent for a second. “Because the only reason I’m stuck in a coterie with her is so her precious Dencourt can keep an eye on me. I’ve probably mentioned this before but Dencourt is from Melromarc meanwhile Izza and I are from Oilean Pearl itself.”
“I don’t…”
“Since we’re from Oilean Pearl, we know better on a lot of things compared to Dencourt and he doesn’t really like that. Luckily for him, Izza was here to please...and I wasn’t. Two birds, one stone...yadda yadda yadda. If Izza plans on playing the teacher’s pet then I have no problem being the class clown.” There was an evil smirk on Taji’s face before she stood up, straightening up her outfit. “I’m going to bed. Rowen, make sure you get enough rest for tomorrow. Izza’s going to be leaning on you a lot.” The redhead then left the room, giggling as she caught a glance of the unconscious Tamara.
There was a silence in the room before Rowen spoke up.
“Well, we should probably head to bed.” Rowen suggested. “We have a lot of leveling up to do before the second wave comes.” The boy had a smile on his face but it was clear he was made uncomfortable about the situation. He stood up and left the room, rubbing his antlers as he did so, leaving the sleeping Tamara and Mio along in the common room.
Mio sighed. “This is going to be rough.” The Scepter Hero followed Rowen and Taji’s lead, heading up to her room.
Upstairs, it seemed that there were still some lingering chantry members roaming around wearing their night attires, all talking in hushed tones but their different conversations overlapping each other.
“Did you hear?” One whispered. “Apparently the Shield Hero has a slave now.”
Mio stopped in her tracks once she heard the rumor, her eyes widened.
“ Has a slave now? Are you sure he isn’t the slave? After today, I’m sure someone took advantage of him.”
“He does! Sister Brie saw him go into some ally with some creepy man and come back with a kid.”
“Maybe he adopted her?”
“Who would let a rapist adopt a kid, Bo?”
“I dunno.”
Having heard enough, Mio decided to approach the two girls. “Excuse me.”
The black-haired girl chatting with the other jumped in surprise. The main one talking, a generic blue-eyed beauty with wavy blonde hair looked over, smiling once she saw it was the Scepter Hero. “Oh! Madame Scepter Hero, I didn’t realize you were still up.”
“Please, call me Mio. I couldn’t help but overhear your whispering. What’s this about Naofumi having a slave?”
“Hm? Oh, yeah. Well, one of our older sisters, Sister Brie, went into the capital for some shopping when she saw him with some creepy guy. Apparently, he came out with some little girl. She looked ragged. I heard she had a slave’s crest on her. Shield Hero’s looking pretty despicable if you ask me.” The blonde was incredibly pompous as she spoke while her friend looked at her with innocent eyes.
“Sister Brie, huh?” It seemed even after this whole ordeal, Naofumi’s problems weren’t ending. ‘If someone in the chantry had Naofumi set up then it might be good to start with this Sister Brie person.’ Mio’s gaze locked onto the blonde. “Where can I find Sister Brie? What does she look like?”
The blonde seemed confused by the question. “Well um...she’s got brownish hair and dark blue eyes. She’s one of the chantry’s double threats, a cleric and a fighter. I think she’s asleep right now but she’ll probably be up tomorrow to see you and the others off...I think.”
“You think?”
“Well, Sister Brie is one of the Regent’s favorites so she’s busy a lot.”
There was a mildly intense stare-off between the two women as Mio was seemingly trying to find any noticeable trace of a lie. One of her older brothers was a lawyer and believed in the eyes being the window to a person’s soul. Her mother thought that belief was stupid but for her brother, it did get the job done.
The blonde seemed unnerved by this silent stare off but kept eye contact albeit shaky. Bo, the other girl, merely looked on in confusion. She wasn’t quite sure what to do in this situation.
Snap !
In an instant, Mio’s serious expression turned into a soft delight. “I’m being rude. I’m asking you all these questions and I don’t even know your name.”
Can I have it?
“Can I have it?”
The tension that physically built up in the two girls has eased. The blonde was the first one to speak.
“I-I’m Wilhelma and this Bo. We’re both clerics--”
“Well, clerics in training in honesty.” Bo jumped in.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you both. Talking to you two made me realize I should do a better job at meeting you guys. Sorry about jumping into your conversation like that but as a Cardinal Hero, I’m sure you guys know that anything related to other guys is also my business. You guys get that, right?”
The girls nodded. “Of course.”
“So, what does Sister Brie usually do?”
Bo tilted her head to the side. “Huh?”
“Wilhelma said that Sister Brie is one of Dencourt’s favorites right. Well, I imagine you Sister Izza and it seems clear that she’s also one of Dencourt’s favorites. Considering she’s assigned to chaperone me, I imagine Dencourt likes to keep his favorites busy. So what Brie usually do?”
Wilhelma and Bo thought on the question. Bo spoke up first. “I think she works as his courier. At least within Melromarc. The Regent usually has her deliver important letters and items to others in the capital. Sometimes when he’s too busy, she’ll sit in for important-but-not-really meetings.”
Mio looked over to the blonde, who still was looking away. Her expression was one that was now in deep thought almost as if she had a revelation of some sort. The Scepter Hero took note of that before looking back to Bo, who seemed to be more than happy to provide the Scepter Hero with information.
“So Bo~, do you happen to know who else is Dencourt’s favorite?”
Mio had to admit that the thinking expressions that Bo made were kind of adorable. “Well, you already know about Brie and Izza it seems. There’s also Brother Silas. He’s like...Dencourt’s FAVORITE favorite. I think also...Brother Erin is a favorite but he’s such a slacker, I don’t know why. Hmm...I think there’s another…”
As Bo spoke, Mio casually glanced over to Wilhelma, still avoiding eye contact but this time looking towards Bo with the occasional quick glance to Mio. It was very clear that something was up with her and judging by the look she was giving Bo, Bo might’ve been on her way to name dropping her. Something that Mio was hoping for.
“Um...I think Brother Walter too or maybe his sister, Winry. I’m not sure which of the two. Maybe both.”
“I see...well, thank you. Both of you.”
Mio then walked off to her room, leaving the two girls in the hallway. Once Mio entered her room, she looked around the room. It was practically like she left it earlier today. It was nice knowing that nobody went through her room while she was gone. A fear that carried from her time as an idol.
The only thing different was the lighting of the room, instead of moon spilling in, trying to peek in through the white translucent curtains which was a far cry from the black and gold color scheme of the rest of the manor, the room’s lighting was fixed up by a few scattered candles.
The heroine looked down at the book she was given by Silas, thinking of his advice to record what she experiences. She walked over to her new permanent bed, opening the book to the first page. After scribbling a few doodles here and there surrounding the Property of Madame Mio, Scepter Hero , the very first thing Mio wrote down in the book was: I heard a voice and it told me to take their names . She didn’t add anything else to the book.
After a brief pause, she flipped all the way to the back of the book, landing on the back pages. What she wrote on the last page was much different.
Izza
Brie
Silas
Erin
Walter or Winry (maybe both)
Skipping a couple of spaces, she continued writing.
The King claims that there were witnesses from the chantry but never said who or brought them forward.
Wilhelma says Brie saw Naofumi buying a slave earlier today, a little girl. Lie? Have to see.
She then stopped writing, placing the notebook in between the bed frame and the mattress, much like she did with her diary back home, before getting ready for bed, stripping down to her bra and panties before getting into the bed, blowing out the nearby candle as she did so.
“I’m gonna find out the truth.” She muttered to herself. ‘If someone here had a hand in setting Naofumi up, then what’s to say that they won’t come for me next? Or the others?’ She thought.
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This is was a big event for the Infinity Blossoms. This was their first fan meet and greet. All the day and night training, the set meal plans, the alarms, the hours of facial training and idol etiquette classes that they were put through, the constant rehearsals. It all culminated to this moment. Getting to meet the people that it was all for.
The fans who spent their life savings on all types of merch, from mugs with the group logo on it to pins with each of the girls’ initials. These were the people that believed in them, the people that felt motivated to keep living through their voices.
The ones that their manager would do ANYTHING to make sure that they kept lining his pockets.
“And remember, they’ll probably get a little handsy. That’s ok because they’re your fans. They’re not gonna hurt you. They love you~”
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The night seemed to pass by in a blur for Naofumi. When he woke up the next morning, he had almost forgotten he brought a slave last night. Almost . The girl had a coughing fit almost every hour on the hour. Naofumi found himself being irritated by it but knew nothing was gonna come out of telling her to keep quiet.
He was able to find an inn where the owner didn’t despise his very existence, especially with the appearance of a slave. Speaking of...
Naofumi looked over to the girl. She looked even more tired than before and he knew why. A part of the process of purchasing a slave was making sure they had a slave crest placed on them. Judging from the screaming, Naofumi could tell it was a painful experience. The sick part? He enjoyed it a bit. Imaging the little demi-human girl as Myne helped ease his guilt about what was happening to her.
He knew he could never admit that to anyone though...or could he? They already saw him as a villain, should he even care what everyone else felt? He could see Ren and Itsuki’s hate-filled glares, Mio’s disgusted and shocked look as well as Motoyasu’s holier than thou ramblings. Just thinking of it irritated the hell out him.
“Hey!” he shouted. The girl jumped at the rudeness, groggily sitting up on the bed. Her face indicated that no decent amount of sleep had been had last night and Naofumi felt a small pang of guilt...that immediately got overshadowed with a cruel pleasure when a flash of his hated redhead appeared with the same mark and the same exhausted look.
‘That’s just it.’ He thought. ‘So long as I pretend it's her, it should be no problem.’ He focused his attention back to her. “Come on.” He gave her no information on where they were going but the little girl knew she should follow or she’d suffer consequences.
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“Sister Izza, you’re so lucky~” A fighter whined. “Getting to do all that fieldwork with the Scepter Hero. I don’t think you deserve it.” He chuckled. “You know you only get that type of special treatment because you’re from Oilean Pearl.
Izza was offended and annoyed but it was important that she didn’t show Erin her annoyance, he got off on that. Instead, she merely rolled her eyes as she kept her focus on scouring the books for the information that she would need for her new task.
“As much as I would love to be the one to lead Madame Mio’s studies, the waves will be upon us once again and you’re the only one of her personal coterie that I can trust. If you need any assistance, I’d look to Brother Rowen for assistance.”
‘Rowen is a damn child.’ She thought. ‘How am I supposed to feel about relying on a... child .’ To her, she knew he had his reasons.
“With all due to respect sir, maybe I could bring along someone to assist me other than-- ”
“You know I trust you, right Sister Izza?”
The statement caught her Oilean Pearl native off guard, her staring at her superior with widened eyes. The Regent, who had previously kept his eyes focused on some documents as he spoke to her, was now looking up at her with a serious look on her face.
“Yes, I know you trust me. You wouldn’t have put in charge of Madame Mio if you didn’t. Right?”
The Regent smiled as he stood up from his desk chair, walking around the desk until he was face to face, an arm's length, with Izza. The older man gently placed his hands onto both of her shoulders, offering her his reassuring presence.
“Sister Izza, I expect a lot from the people I trust. Which is why I entrusted such a task to you. It pains me to say this but I cannot trust a lot of the people of our Melromarc congregation. I fear that people are plotting against me.”
Izza was taken aback. The conversation had with the Mio and the others replaying in her head. ‘So he was aware that something wasn’t right?’ She thought. Something about that idea eased her worries as she flashed a gentle smile, closing her eyes for a brief moment. ‘That’s good to hear.’ It meant that he wasn’t some nonchalant fool, ignorant to the things happening around them.
“Obviously, you know that recently the Shield Hero was convicted of sexual assault. It’s a grievance crime but something else seems to be at play.”
Izza gave him a confused expression. “You don’t think he did it?”
“In the past, the Shield Hero has done things...unbecoming of heroes before. I do not doubt that he harmed the princess. But something piqued my interest, the anonymous claims that came from our chantry. Of course, I encourage many of you to do what’s right regardless of the house’s code of isolation. It appears that this is not the case and I fear that this may be because of a conspiracy set against me.”
Now Izza was confused. “So wait...you think that Sir Naofumi...hurt that girl but you also think that there’s a conspiracy working against you because someone said something? If you believe Sir Naofumi is guilty, then what’s the issue with someone coming forward.”
Dencourt’s face turned grim. “It’s not simply that. It’s a means of undermining my authority. Would you say that I’ve mishandled the Melromarc chantry?”
“No! No, of course not. You’ve done well with what you’ve been given. I understand that working within this kingdom might be difficult but I’m sure this is a trial you’ll overcome.”
The Regent smiled at the words. “I couldn't have asked for a kinder trusted acolyte. But I fear my trust may be being abused, I simply don’t know by who however. That is why I’m completely entrusting the task to Madame Mio’s learning to you. I know I can trust you but I have to keep an eye on others here. Please assure me that you can do this task.”
There was a brief moment of silence as the two shared eye contact with Dencourt trying to reassure Izza with his and Izza trying to figure out what his plan was. She knew after the conversation she had with the others, it was important for her to pry.
“So...do you have an idea on who’s trying to ruin your reputation?” She asked curiously.
Dencourt seemed slightly shocked at the question, not really expecting Izza to ask something like that. His facial expression turned into one of contemplation as Izza waited patiently for an answer.
“I’m not quite sure. If you’re so interested, I’ll be sure to let you know when I make a break in this investigation. I appreciate you taking an interest, however. The next time we see each other, I expect progress in Madame Mio’s teachings.” As he spoke, he walked back behind his desk and sat back down.
Izza stood there for a moment in thought before her thoughts were interrupted by Dencourt.
“Time is of the essence, Sister Izza.” He didn’t even bother to look at her to give her a stern look like he would do everyone else. Izza nodded before leaving the room.
This leads up to now, where Izza was looking for the books she could borrow from the chantry’s library in order to help with Mio’s learning. Izza was grateful for an opportunity such as this but it definitely seemed like more of a two-man job. Of course, she wasn’t going to rely on Tamara or Taji but to be asked to rely on Rowen? He was a child!
Now to turn this frustration into a migraine, she had to listen to the mockings of some brat who didn’t get enough love and attention from his parents. Definitely one of the younger acolytes of the Melromarc chantry, Erin Deacon was an initiate from Faubrey who wasted no time in brownnosing when it came to the Regent. And the Regent lapped up every second of it. Big or small, he was always plotting something. It made Izza wonder however...
“I bet that if you were from other kingdoms like Melromarc or Faubrey, Dencourt would give you a second look.”
There was no reply.
“You and Taji, you know. Dencourt probably put you two together so you’d stay out of everyone’s hair. You pearlies are always so pompous about everything.”
Pearlies . That was the…”slur” that people liked to use against those from Oilean Pearl. Slur or not, there was no reaction from Izza. Erin was becoming irritated. The brunette walked up closer to Izza, inching closer towards her ear with a Cheshire grin.
“I mean, you guys have to be. Sending your own to other chantries. Why? To make sure we’re doing it right? Right?!”
“Annoying.” She muttered under her breath. Erin, still with the evil grin plastered on his face, merely gave a soft ‘hmm?’ in response before hearing the book in her hand shut. In a second, the cover of the book met his face quickly, knocking the boy back a bit. “Do you mind? Your breath is more rancid than usual this morning.”
Erin immediately cradled his face, letting out a pained noise that echoed throughout the nearly empty library. While his focus was away, Izza smirked, placing the book on her tower of learning materials before scooping them all up and leaving the room.
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“Do you even know how to drive, lass?!?!” Taji’s hands were placed on her hips with an amused chuckle as she gazed upon Tamara proudly holding the reigns of the two black and pink filolials that were going to be pulling the Scepter Hero party’s carriage.
“Of course I know how!” The demi-human shot back. “I used to raise carriages for money.”
The redhead looked on with disbelief. “You mean... race carriages?”
“That’s what I said right?”
“No.”
The front doors of the chantry opened up with Rowen bringing along some supplies alongside another boy. This was a young man that appeared slightly older than Mio and the others, most likely around his mid to late 20s. He was a pink-haired man whose straight hair reached down to his chin and he seemingly had a permanent melancholy expression on his face.
The two approached the back of the carriage, carefully placing the supplies as the pink-haired man let out a tired breath. “Jeez, does Sister Izza really think she’ll need all of these books?”
Rowen offered a nervous smile. “You know how Miss Izza is. She likes to be thorough.”
“Well, Madame Mio is certainly going to have her work cut out for her.” The man looked around the carriage. “Speaking of the Madame, where is she?”
Taji shrugged. “Probably still getting ready or getting some words of encouragement from our dear Dencourt.”
The man chuckled. “Sister Taji, a more mature person would hide their disdain for their superiors.”
The redhead let out a relieved sigh, a fake one obviously. “Thank goodness I’m not mature, right?” The reply amused the man. “You coming with us, Walter?”
“Nope.”
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity~”
“I don’t care.”
“You’re a tough nut to crack, you know that?”
“Winry does it just fine.” He kept with the short and sweet answers all while holding this innocent-looking eyes-closed smile on his face, tilting his head to the side as he did so.
The sound of the front door opening again caught their attention, this time it was Izza, all prepared for the journey. However, at the moment, she seemed to be occupied with a small book, mumbling to herself as she approached the carriage.
“Okay, I think that’s everything.” She looked around. “We’re ready to take--...Where’s Madame Mio?”
“Eh? We thought she was with you.” Tamara answered, slouching a bit at the helm.
Izza looked shocked...and scared, raising a finger as her mouth slowly gaped. “What are you doing?”
“Uhhh...I’m gonna drive.” Izza fixed her mouth to say something else but was quickly shot down by Tamara. “Ah, ah, ah! Before you go on your little tangent, I know for a fact that I’m the only one of our group capable of driving. Since Madame Mio’s not from our world, she probably doesn’t know how to handle filolials either. Rowen’s too young to be doing all this. Taji’s been driven everywhere since she was a baby and you’re probably kind of good at driving but you wanna be able to talk to Madame Mio, considering you’re supposed to be her teacher and all.”
The explanation caught everyone off guard minus Walter who did his best to hide a giggle.
Meanwhile~
The wooden door to Regent Dencourt office was opened by Silas as he guided Mio into the room. Once she walked past him into the room, Silas folded his hands behind him. “Regent Dencourt, I have brought Madame Mio as you requested.”
Dencourt glanced at them for a second. “Ah! Thank you, Silas. Madame Mio, I’ll be with you in a second, I just have to finish this letter. Silas, you’re dismissed.”
Silas nodded before turning to leave, however he paused, leaning in towards Mio. “Do you best...Scepter Hero.” He whispered with a smirk before leaving the room, closing the door behind him.
“You...wanted to see me?”
“Yes, I did.” Dencourt finished the last of his letter, setting his quill aside and motioning for Mio to sit in a chair that was definitely not there during his conversation with Izza, but neither of them needed to know that. “I realized that in the heat of all that has transpired, you and I haven’t had a proper conversation since your arrival. I know a lot has happened and I wanted to check in on you.”
“Oh um...I’m doing...ok, I guess.”
“You guess?”
“Well, to be honest, I’m not quite sure how to process a lot of things that’s happening. Between my new...role and what happened with Naofumi, it’s just....” She shrugged. “I dunno.”
“Well, what happened with the Shield Hero is quite unfortunate indeed but as one of the Five Cardinal Heroes, it’s important that you keep focused on the task at hand. Especially since you’re the Scepter Hero. Not only will you be required to fight the waves but there are other small tasks at hand that many of your followers will be expecting of you.”
“My followers?”
Dencourt nodded. “You’ll be the light that many people have yearned for in these dark times and I want you to do your best to bring these people the happiness that they wish for.”
“Uhh...I’ll try but I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Experiment. Unfortunately, past Scepter Heroes have never really kept notes of their work for reasons we do not know but they got the job done. I’m sure you’ll do the same. And about the Shield Hero…”
Mio’s interest piqued. “What about Naofumi?”
“It may be best to keep your distance from him.”
“Do you believe he--”
“What I believe is irrelevant to what I know...and what I know is that if you keep company with him and it’ll hinder your progress.”
“If this is about the leveling up, Taji already told me.”
“No, it’s not about that. You’ll come to find out that many people in this country don’t take kindly to the Shield Hero. Imagine what would happen to your status if you associated with him too often. I don’t put too much hearsay in handmaiden gossip but from what I have heard , it would seem that the Shield Hero has purchased a demi-human child slave.”
Mio was reminded of the same gossip she heard from Wilhelma and Bo, about Naofumi purchasing a slave. Before she signed away the warrant this time, she knew she had to see him to confirm or disprove the rumors. She knew she needed to be wary of Dencourt. She had to believe that Naofumi was set up because nothing lines up. Dencourt could be in on it or not. For now, it was simply important to pretend nothing was wrong.
Not only with Dencourt, but a few other notable people as well. That included his right hand Silas, who may or may not have been the main orchestrator of Naofumi’s accusation. The blonde has definitely been a bit more suspicious since Naofumi was practically exiled. Or maybe he was always suspicious. There was just something...off about him.
“You may not truly believe the accusation that has befallen your fellow hero and I suppose I could understand that but...be wary, understood? If he’s guilty, it wouldn’t be wise to risk being alone with him at any point in time.
“Well...I trust that he’s innocent.”
The reply piqued Dencourt’s interest. “Really? You didn’t seem to believe in his innocence during the trial.”
“How…?”
“I have some friends that told me about the situation. It came in handy considering you and your party came in late, after all.”
“Oh yeah...I had to clear my head. That whole thing happened so fast.”
“I’m sure it was an ordeal. Just know, I’m here to offer any assistance or guidance you may need. Don’t be afraid to ask.”
Mio lingered on his words before offering an innocent smile. “Thank you, Regent Dencourt. I should get going, the others are probably wondering where I am.”
Dencourt nodded. “Have a safe trip, Madame Mio. Remember: the world is counting on you and the other heroes.” Mio gave a sloppy curtsy before leaving the room and heading towards the carriage where her party was no doubt waiting for her.
Back Downstairs~
The sound of the front door opening once more caught the group’s attention and out came Mio in her Scepter Hero attire with black cloak draped over her shoulders. She walked towards the carriage with a purpose, the expression on her face seemed to be one deep in thought.
“Madame Mio!” The calling of her name snapped the Scepter Hero out of her thoughts, causing her to gaze up towards the pink-haired Walter who bowed before her. “It’s wonderful to finally make your acquaintance.”
“Oh, hi! It’s nice to meet you too…” Her words lingered, waiting for a name.
“Walter. Walter Hendrix of House Hendrix.”
“Walter, huh?” One of the names on her list. “You wouldn’t happen to have a sister named Winry, would you?”
The man seemed slightly surprised. “Oh, you’ve met Winry?”
“N-No but I’ve heard some of the members...talking about how cute you were.” She lied. “You seem to be a favorite around here.”
Walter laughed nervously, scratching the back of his head. “I guess it’s still persisting then. Funny enough, I have an idea on who you ran into. Sister Taylor is persistent...annoyingly so.” Walter’s gaze slid off to the side in annoyance as he said the last part.
There was an awkward silence before Walter spoke up again. “Well, I should get back to my sister, she and I were put in charge of teaching a few of the younger acolytes today since Sister Izza will be leaving us. I hope you have a safe trip Madame Mio, I’ll be praying for your success.”
Taji let out a laugh. “What about our success?”
Walter smirked in the redhead’s direction. “Yes, yours as well but I don’t think a shooter such as yourself needs luck.”
“I don’t but it is welcome.”
Walter chuckled as he began walking away from the group and back into the chantry. Once the front door had closed, Taji focused her attention on Mio, who was still watching the door. The redhead fixed her mouth to say something but then changed her mind, opting to simply climb onto the carriage, taking a seat next to Tamara.
Hearing the shuffling of noise Rowen took it as his cue to get in the carriage, climbing into the back.
“Madame Mio?” Izza called out, catching the hero’s attention. “We should get going.”
Mio perked up. “Right. Actually! Can we stop in town, I wanna see if Naofumi is still there.”
“Huh? Why?”
“I need to see...how he’s doing.” Mio didn’t know if they heard the same gossip she did but just in case they didn’t, she wanted to keep the gossip under wraps since she had a feeling they wouldn’t take too kindly to rumors about Naofumi having a child slave, true or not. “Maybe I could apologize to him right then?”
Izza seemed as if she was ready to say no but then stopped herself, thinking about what Mio wanted before nodding. “Ok then. We’ll head into the capital. We should stock up on supplies anyway.” Izza hopped into the carriage followed by Mio, who had a relieved smile on her face.
The Scepter Hero was nervous about this whole idea. Firstly, there was no guarantee that Naofumi was still in the capital but after yesterday, she was sure that all of the heroes were still in the capital after being summoned. Motoyasu was probably still consoling that Myne girl. She couldn’t really throw an accurate guess about what Ren and Itsuki were doing but that those two took it a bit more seriously than Motoyasu, she could bet they were training a bit before leaving.
Then there was the issue of how to approach him. Surely, he was still mad at her and probably wouldn’t even give her the SLIGHTEST chance to talk. She would have to be persistent. Then came the problem of what to say if the rumors were true. What should she say?
I came to apologize for not believing you yesterday but fuck you for getting a slave .
I came to apologize but clearly you out here doing the most, so I’ll see you next week.
I was DESPERATELY hoping not to find you with a child slave but fuck you had to have one, huh?
Her whole being was hoping that the gossip was just that: gossip. She let out a frustrated sigh as Tamara steered the filolials out of the driveway.
Next Chapter  ⏩
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kiirokero · a month ago
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Zephyr (MYG)
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Zephyr: A soft gentle breeze; Comforting wind on a hot summer's day.
Part of the “Protect the Village!” Oneshot series.
Masterlist
Pairing: Florist!Yoongi x Reader
Genre: Fluff, mentions of death (not major, don’t worry) Yoongles doesn’t know how to express himself, soft boi hours.
Note: Time for me to pass out. We’re back on schedule hoes. :)
Summary: First, it was flowers for your grandmother. Next, it was flowers for a sick friend. Now, its flowers because the handsome flower shop owner lives in your head rent free.
Word Count: 4.3k
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      A dense, luscious forest surrounds Bangtan Village. Filled with sturdy oak trees and delicate blooming flowers. As far as the eye can see, it’s nature. Trees stretch to the heavens, touching the sky with their strong appendages. Flowers draping over the petrichor forest floor, gracing those who walk through its lush maze. 
      It’s magical, really. Some rumour that Bangtan Village is ancient, rivaling the Mayans. Local historians say that the people here were protecting something that lays dormant in the forest. What that relic is? A mystery to most. But town elders always warn against wandering in the woods. Whispers of a magical heart that keeps the town alive roles through the town every year after New Year’s celebrations. 
Because nobody knows why every year the village gets a new influx of natural resources
      But thanks to this odd phenomenon, Min Yoongi never runs out of flowers. Peonies, sunflowers, hibiscuses. Every kind of flower grows in that forest, regardless if it scientifically should. Everyone collectively dismisses the impossible things that go on beyond those trees. Ignorance is bliss.
So because of the logic defying forest, Min Yoongi always has the best flowers. Which, in turn, means you always know where to find spider lilies. 
      Any event. Birthdays, weddings, minor celebrations. They always called for flowers. That was your motto. Flowers make everything better. Roses here, daisies there. Nothing can go wrong with flowers. They can make someone smile, ignite love, mourn a loss. Flowers can do anything, and your glad Min Yoongi indulges your thinking.
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She loved roses. 
      Your grandmother was a bit old-fashioned. Not the most tech savvy, would rather do things by hand, and was a sucker for a beautiful red rose. Maybe it was because those were the flowers in her wedding bouquet. Or maybe its because your grandfather always brought her one every single day before he passed. It doesn’t matter. 
What matters is your getting her those roses, one last time. 
      When you first walked into Min’s Flowers, it had a peculiar petrichor smell. Like the shop was in an endless cycle of spring. Solf showers and light rays. It was a comforting calmness that soothed the cracks in your heart. Every which was there was a flower resting in peaceful serenity. 
      All the flowers seemed to look dreary, or maybe the soft petals were acting as a mirror, reflecting the melancholy of the day. You wouldn’t know. The only thing currently on your mind was red roses. Red roses. You needed to get those red roses. 
      Walking deeper into the shop, the walls greeted you with blissful silence. Not a sound was made, not a person in sight, shopkeeper or customer. It was just you and the flowers. A cruel thing, really. Alone with beautiful works of art that couldn’t distract your racing mind with words, only looks. But everywhere you looked, memories of your grandmother lingered. You needed words to revive your slowly beating heart. 
      “Hey, can I help you with anything?” A gruff voice sounded through the hazy, quiet aura of the shop. Turning around, you saw a man with scruffy noir hair. He wasn’t the tallest, but wasn’t short either. He had sharp brown eyes that emanated a hidden warmth encased in cool glass. His skin was as pale as petunias and he wore a desaturated blue apron with flowers peaking out of the pocket. 
      “I’m looking for red roses...” You somberly informed, unable to keep the emotion out of your voice. His cat-like eyes slightly softened, flashing a look of sympathy for your lost soul. You wondered if he often encountered lost souls here in the shop, using his business as a pit stop in a wayward journey. “I have just what you’re looking for,” He said, gesturing me to follow him.
      He led you through the shop in silence, like a drifting ghost. He floated elegantly through his shop, uncaring of the twist and turns that appeared in his way, even if there were few. Soon, he led you to an area full of roses, all different colors. White, blue, yellow. It was a beautiful image. 
      But he walked passed them, going towards a door in the back. “Where are we going?” You asked, stopping just a bit behind him. “Those roses are pretty, yes, but I think you need something more,” He said, face unchanging from a stoic expression. He opened the door, walking inside to grab something out of the artificially sun lit room. 
      Reappearing, he held a bouquet full of two dozen bright red roses. The petals undamaged, their color as lush as the day they came out of the Earth. “I’ve been saving these for a special occasion, I think they’d be of use to you now,” The man said, handing you the bouquet, You held them gently, afraid to damage the perfect flowers. 
      “How are they so perfect?” You marveled, unable to peel your eyes away from the beauty of which you held. “A lot of odd things happen in Bangtan,” Was his answer, nothing more. “Go on, I’m sure you have somewhere to be,” He said, putting a soft hand on your back, guiding you to the entrance you came in from. 
      “But I have to pay!” You protested, but the man didn’t stop guiding you. “Consider it a gift,” He shrugged. “But I don’t even know your name,” You argued, looking at him incredulously. “It’s Yoongi, what’s yours?” He asked, tilting his head slightly. “Y/n,” You answered. “Well Y/n, it was nice to meet you. Now go on, I hope those roses bring peace,”
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      You didn’t go back to Min’s Flowers for three months. You decided it would be best to mourn in your own way, by yourself. That didn’t mean your close friends didn’t keep an eye on you though, Jimin and Jeongguk would never let you forget that they were there for you. Whether it was late night junk food runs to Hoseok’s store or messing around with Taehyung at the bakery. They made sure you knew they were there, waiting for you when you were ready to be picked back up and put back together.
      Which you were. You picked yourself back up and hammered yourself together. Life didn’t wait for anyone. Seasons still changed, flowers still bloomed, zephyrs still came and went. Maybe the tape you used to patch yourself up was still a bit brittle, maybe the glue you used to fill the cracks in your heart hasn’t quite dried yet, but you were okay. 
      And Jimin was not. Poor bastard caught a nasty case of the flu and has been miserable ever since. Jeongguk and you have been taking care of him whenever you could, and when he started complaining about missing the outside, flowers seemed like the perfect remedy. “I really like yellow and white chrysanthemums” 
      Those were Jimin's words when you asked him what his favorite flower was, and by golly were you going to get him the prettiest yellow and white chrysanthemums ever. So that’s how you found yourself back at the shop which aided your once wayward soul. 
      The shop still had that same comforting petrichor scent. Memories of the pixie like world that the flower shop simulated came back to you as you saw the same flowers in the exact same places as last time. When you first came to the shop, you had a heart leaking with melancholy. Now, you have a heart with scars and a mission to make your friend feel better. 
      “Oh, you’re back,” A familiar voice said. Turning, you saw the same man as before. He had mint hair now, standing at the counter. “That I am, Yoongi,” You said. You don’t know why the name stuck in your head the way it did, but you couldn’t forget it. Every time you thought about getting some flowers, Yoongi popped into your head. 
      It surprised Yoongi that you remembered his name. He thought that the interaction between the two of you was significant to him and him only. But hearing your soft utterance of his name made him freeze longer than he should’ve. “I’m surprised you remember me,” He said, cracking the slightest of smiles. 
      “You’re memorable, I suppose,” You chuckled, taking a few steps deeper into the indoor forest that was Yoongi’s flower shop. “So what brings you here this time?” Yoongi asked, not taking his eyes off of you. “My friend’s sick, so I wanted to get his favorite flower to cheer him up,”
      Yoongi nodded, walking around the counter to stand in front of you. “Well, I can guarantee that I have it here. What are we looking for?” He said, voice unchanging from a dull tone. “Yellow and white chrysanthemums,” You said, and Yoongi didn’t need to hear anymore before he was guiding you once more through the shop. The floor was slightly wet, showing that Yoongi had watered the flowers recently. 
      Quietly, he led you to where he kept the chrysanthemums, gesturing one of his hands to the yellow and white ones. “Go ahead and pick. A dozen flowers are 9,000 won,” Yoongi said, walking away to do his shopkeeper things. 
      That day you stayed in the shop a bit longer than you expected. You and Yoongi talked for what seemed like forever. Maybe it was minutes, maybe it hours, you wouldn’t know. You didn’t care, Yoongi was like a breath of fresh air. A whispering zephyr during the summer solstice. 
        So you kept coming back, again and again. Every day after work you made your way to Min’s Flowers, eager to talk to your new florist friend. You would arrange bouquets with him, tell him jokes, watch movies on the tv he had in the back. No matter the day or the weather, you never failed to meet with Yoongi every single day. Sometimes with Jimin and Jeongguk, sometimes alone.
You couldn’t get enough. Yoongi couldn’t get enough, and that scared him. 
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      Min Yoongi was a quiet man. He preferred to stick to himself, hoping to limit the amount of human interaction he had on a daily basis. It’s not that he didn’t like people, per se, but he just rarely got along with others. It was a problem for him since Kindergarten. Being overly blunt with peers or arguing with the teacher. 
      He just drove people away with his cold aura and “unforgiving” personality. Yes, Yoongi had friends. He had Hoseok, Namjoon, Jin, Taehyung, even Jimin and Jeongguk hung out with him from time to time. But he’s never had that certain type of connection with someone. 
     Yoongi used to think he was critically apathetic. That no matter how much he wanted to bounce off the walls in celebration when Taehyung met his business goal, he couldn’t. He couldn’t muster up anything other than a “That’s good, I’m happy for you,” And he was! He knew he was, but he didn’t quite express that he was. 
      It left Yoongi feeling inferior, like he was a bad person. What kind of friend comforts you after a breakup by saying, “Love is dead anyway,”? Min Yoongi, apparently. Yeah, Yoongi had feelings. Things made him sad, mad, happy, annoyed. He wasn’t entirely broken. But those feeling felt like they were dampened, diluted. 
      “Aren’t you happy? Sad? Mad?” Those were the words Yoongi dreaded, because the answer was always yes. Yes, he was happy that Jin got a girlfriend. Yes, he was sad that Jeongguk couldn’t find the person painting flowers all over Bangtan village. Yes, he was mad Jimin shattered one of his terracotta pots. He just didn’t express it well. 
But you never seemed to care.
      You took Yoongi’s blunt words at face value. You believed him when he said, “That’s funny,” at one of your embarrassing childhood stories. You didn’t question why he wasn’t crying during “The Notebook” even if the tragic story silently broke his heart. You took his small smile just as seriously as you would a full one. That made Yoongi happy, even if he couldn’t express that to you. 
      You didn’t treat Yoongi’s lack of expression as a bad thing. You didn’t think he was cold and uncaring, because you knew he was. Actions speak louder than words. When he bandaged your ankle after you slipped in a puddle one day in the shop. When he gave you half of his granola bar after hearing your stomach rumble. Or how he never fails to ask how your day went, even if it sounded rather uncaring to the average person.
      Yoongi didn’t know when it happened or how. Yoongi didn’t know why your simple touches turned smouldering to him. Or why your smile was a picture he’d look at forever. He doesn’t know when he started eagerly looking at the clock, waiting for 4pm when you’d undoubtedly would come visit him at the shop. Yoongi didn’t know when it hit him, when his horribly suppressed emotions made him feel something like no other. 
Yoongi didn’t know when he fell in love with you, but damn did he fall hard.
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      “Alright Yoongs, I agree with you on most things, but mint chocolate ice cream is definitely not it.” You argued, poking his carton of green ice cream with your spoon. “Well, coffee-flavored ice cream is weird too,” Yoongi retorted, stuffing a spoon full of ice cream monstrosity into his mouth. You dramatically gasped, “Yoongi! Coffee is totally a valid flavor,” You laid your head on the table inside Yoongi’s back room, putting a hand to your heart, “You wound me,” 
      Yoongi rolled his eyes, going back to his pint of frozen goodness. “You’re ridiculous,” He said, shaking his head. “Hold on, I speak Yoongi. You just said that I’m funny and you love me,” You teased. Yoongi felt his face slightly flush at your words, but he cleared his throat, changing the topic. “Whatever, wanna arrange a wedding bouquet with me?” 
      You quickly sat up, stars in your eyes as you ecstatically nodded your head. “Hells yes!” Yoongi hummed, grabbing both pints of ice cream and putting them away in the mini refrigerator he had. “Let’s go then, I already have my work space set up,” He said, walking out the room to which you happily followed him. 
      “So, a marriage? Is it a big one?” You asked. Yoongi shrugged, sitting down in his work chair to which he already had a spare one set up next to it. “I guess, I mean, how big can things get in Bangtan Village?” He said, picking up roses and cutting off bits of their stems. 
      “I dunno Yoongs, remember that time you found a huge sunflower in the forest? Bangtan Village may have a small population, but things can get pretty weird here,” You chuckled, joining Yoongi in his somewhat tedious task. “Yes, you are correct. Many things in that forest surprise me.” He said, nonchalantly. 
      “Really? Are there fairies? White stags? Gremlins?” You asked, turning towards the man contently snipping away at the stems next to you. “You and your fairy tales,” Yoongi sighed, secretly finding your interest in the unexplainable cute. 
       The two of you worked together in silence, enjoying each other's presence as the artful skills Yoongi had with flowers created beautiful bouquets. But the silent atmosphere was suddenly broken when your phone rang. Fishing it out of your pocket, Jeongguk's face appeared on the screen. You excused yourself and answered the phone outside, leaving Yoongi alone in the room. To him it felt a bit colder now.
      A couple minutes later, you peaked your head in the door, gaining Yoongi’s attention with a smile. “Sorry to say this Yoongs, but I have to help Jeongguk with something,” You said. Yoongi felt disappointed, but his face remained unchanging. “Oh... Okay... Do you- Nevermind,” Do you have too? Is what Yoongi wanted to ask. He didn’t want you to go, he wanted you to stay and make pretty flower arrangements with him. But he couldn’t express it.
      “I’ll be back tomorrow, don’t miss me too much, okay?” You joked, bidding the gruff florist a farewell. Yoongi tried to. But he really did miss you. Not only that, he felt... Jealous... He found himself wishing he was Jeongguk or wishing that you left your phone on silent so you wouldn’t hear his call. 
      It was selfish, Yoongi knew that, but that didn’t mean the feeling didn’t go away. He didn’t like this feeling. His emotions may feel weaker than others, but jealously always came on strong. Why did he have to be like this? Why couldn’t he just admit his feelings for you, ask you out on a date, tell you all the things that ran through his head about you?
      He needed to do something. What if Jeongguk made a move on you? What if you guys were kissing right now? Or worse, on a date... Yoongi’s heart felt heavy. His heart was heavy and his stomach was queezy. 
      One good thing came from Yoongi’s less than normal emotional responses. It meant embarrassment and shame were less of a bitch. Still total bitches, but bitches on chill pills. “Alright,” Yoongi told himself, “Operation fuck my emotional response and ask Y/n out on a date is a go,” Yoongi immediately pulled out his phone, dialing his friend Jin. 
     “Hello!” Jin answered. “Hyung... I need your help with something.” Yoongi said, his voice deadly serious. “What’s up?” Yoongi took a deep breath, wiping his sweaty palms on his apron. 
“You have a girlfriend...” Yoongi blurted out 
“Yes...?” Jin chuckled
“And you asked her out,” 
“That is correct.”
“How did you do that?” 
      Yoongi heard Jin’s squeaky laugh through the phone. “What?” He asked, confusion clear in his voice. “How d'you ask her out...?” Yoongi asked again. “I told her that I had feelings for her and asked her to go out with me,” Jin answered, most likely shrugging those broad shoulders of his. “How were you able to express your feelings?” Yoongi sighed.
     Jin was well aware about Yoongi’s trouble expressing himself in a way that didn’t make kids cry from his scary, brooding face. He had even helped him on a few occasions when he had to apologize and look like he meant it, (Whether he really did or not) But expressing a feeling like a crush or even love, was different for everybody. 
     “Yoongi, are you trying to ask that Y/n girl out?” Jin inquired, hearing a thing or two about you from when Yoongi dropped hints here and there. “Yes...” Yoongi said, resting his chin on his hand in defeat. “Yoongi, buddy, there’s no “right way” to express your feelings to somebody, you just have to do it in a way that is right for you.” Jin advised. 
“But the way I express things isn’t particularly... Nice,” Yoongi said. 
“Yoongi, if she likes you too she’ll accept that your just you,” Jin stressed, “And if what you tell me about the way she treats you, I’m sure she’ll understand just how hard and serious it is for you to admit something like this,” 
    Maybe Jin was right, you’d get that he’s basically head over heels for you, right? You know how he operates. You always treated him like a normal human with normal expressive capabilities. Okay, he’ll do it. 
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      Yoongi can’t do this. What was he thinking? Inviting you over at 9pm to “help him with flowers” was probably the worse idea he’s ever had. You probably think he’s a weirdo. More of a weirdo than he actually is. What is he supposed to do?
      Well, it was too late. Because you just came barging through the door with a bag of takeout and that beautiful, blinding smile on your face. “Yoongs!” You exclaimed, placing down the food and giving him a hug. “Another emergency flower order?” You asked, taking out styrofoam containers and disposable chopsticks. 
      “Um... No. Yes... No,” He said, unusually indecisive. Yoongi sighed, sitting down at the table and taking a huge bite of the food that you handed him. “Yoongs, are you okay?” You asked, brows creased in worry. “I’m fine,” He shrugged, but you knew better.
      “Are you sure? You seem a bit off,” You pushed, hoping he would give you the honest answer. “Mhmm. I just- uh... I’m just tired,” He answered, turning his attention back to his food. You frowned, picking your lukewarm dumpings.
     You liked to call yourself a Yoongi translator. You knew a lot about his body language and usage of words. “I’m fine.” Usually meant just that. He was fine and meant it. But paired with his odd behavior just moments ago, you knew something was up. 
     But you also knew that Yoongi wasn’t an expressive person. He didn’t show powerful emotions very often. Yeah, he’s genuinely smiled before and chuckled. However, that was few and far between. Yoongi wasn’t good at expressing himself, and now that fact only worried you more. 
      “Hey Yoongs, you know the meanings of different flowers right?” You asked, brewing up an idea in your head. “Um, yes. You revealed that embarrassing fact when you snooped through my old books.” He said, raising his eyebrow incredulously. “What are you planning?” He asked. 
      You said nothing, instead opting to grab Yoongi and drag him out into the store. “Tell me how your feeling, but with the flowers,” You said. Yoongi looked at you like you’ve grown 3 head, “What?” He asked, still sounding iconically unimpressed. “I know something’s bothering you. I know it’s hard for you to express things sometimes, so tell me without words,” You explained, urging Yoongi to do as you say. “You don’t know the meanings though,” He argued. “Wrong. I studied them for a month straight to impress you. It’ll be fine,” You gave him a smile, and he felt his resolve breaking. 
     Yoongi thought about it for a second. Originally he was planning on just forgetting his entire plan and watching trash tv with you in the back until the sun came up, but this could work. Does he want it to work? Will you understand what he means when he gives you a pink camellia? Will you be weirded out if he presented you with red chrysanthemum? 
It was worth a shot. 
    Yoongi sighed, giving into your admittedly smart idea. This could work. Yoongi ran around the shop, picking out flowers of different kinds and colors, coming back to you with a messy bouquet. “Okay, lets begin. You won’t have to talk or explain, you can just nod your head,” You said. Yoongi nodded, handing you his first flower. 
A yellow hyacinth. 
“Jealousy? Are you jealous of someone?” You asked, 
Yoongi nodded.
A vine of ivy
“...Friendship? A friend? Are you jealous of a friend?”
Another nod. 
Gardenia
      “Secret love... You have a crush on somebody?” Your heart stung a bit at that one, but you schooled your emotions. This was about Yoongi, not you. “Your jealous of your crush?” You asked, but Yoongi shook his head no. “Your jealous of... your crushes friend...?” You guessed, Yoongi nodded, stoic face still unchanging. 
A red columbine.
    “Anxious, your crush makes you anxious?” You asked. Yoongi didn’t answer right away, but he lifted his hand and made a “sort of” motion. You racked your brain again for a moment. “Having a crush... makes you nervous?” 
Yoongi nodded
“Is it because your bad at expressing yourself?”
Yoongi gave you a ‘duh’ face, holding out another flower. 
 A yellow carnation
“They rejected you?” Yoongi shook his head, pointing back to the red columbine, “Ohhh, you’re scared that they will reject you.” A nod.
      Yoongi had one more flower left, but he didn’t give it to you just yet. He hid it behind his back, away from view, so you opted to cheer him up a bit in hopes that you’ll be able to comfort him enough to express this last thing. “Yoongs, you’re a great dude! Anybody would be lucky to have you! Sure, maybe your not as dramatic as me, but you care in your own way. That’s all that matters,” You said, giving him a smile. 
     Yoongi looked away from you to the side. He wasn’t usually a nervous person. Why is he so nervous? Why is this the one emotion that’s cripplingly strong? He could do it. He didn’t even have to say anything, just hand you the goddamn flower. He’s psyching himself out. Quickly, he thrusted the flower towards you without thinking.
Chucking, you took it in your hands
A red rose.
I love you.
      “Yoongi, you should give this to your crush, not me,” You chuckled, but Yoongi didn’t move, just stared at you with unimpressed eyes. “Yoongs, you don’t mean...” “I love you,” He blurted out, a soft blush dusting his cheeks. “Y-You do?” You asked. 
One last nod.
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      “Sup loser,” You lovingly greeted your grumpy boyfriend, giving him a kiss on the cheek. Yoongi rolled his eyes, wrapping an arm around your waist from where he was sat in his work chair, meticulously finishing up his last order of the day. “And you claim you love me when you treat me like that,” He said, voice gruff and scratchy from not using it for a while. 
      “Yeah, yeah, I love you too,” You chuckled. Yoongi bent down under the table and grabbed a flower, wordlessly handing it to you. “A red camellia?” You asked, taking a whiff of its pleasing aroma. “I’m expressing,” He said, and you nodded, understanding. 
     Yoongi’s gotten a bit better with expressing himself, but it can still be hard for him. As a solution, he talks to you in flowers when he wants to say something but can’t form the words. “You’re the flame in my heart too Yoongs,” You smiled, kissing the top of his head
Yoongi might not know the exact moment he fell in love with you. All he knew is that it happened swiftly and silently.
Like a zephyr on a warm day.
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clints-lucky-arrow · a month ago
Text
Fervour - Chapter Three (Obi-Wan Kenobi x Sith!Reader)
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The orders are clear: Capture the escaped Queen of Naboo. Kill those who accompany her.
But on the harsh sands of Tatooine, one encounter changes everything.
The Force works in mysterious ways.
Sith!Reader. Embellished Canon. Force Dyad. Eventual Smut.
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Graphic Violence. Explicit Language. Past Abuse (Non-S*xual). Imprisonment. Childhood Trauma.
FERVOUR - TUMBLR MASTERLIST
FERVOUR - ARCHIVE OF OUR OWN
MAIN MASTERLIST
A/N: Thank you for the support so far. Here’s Chapter Three! This one took a while to write... If I hear the ‘Duel of the Fates’ one more time, I will SCREAM. (Although, it’s a great track.)
"Our shared journey ends here," Maul says, black hood tilted low over his face. "You are on your own now."
The words should have brought a wash of sadness. They don't. Not just because of Sidious’s dark influence jading your thoughts, but also because this is not new information. And while a melancholy ache forms in the deepest recesses of your mind, your voice is cold and devoid of feeling as you answer. "I have been for many years now."
No response comes from Maul. Only the briefest flicker of some emotion in his Force signature, but nothing near substantial enough to be sadness or regret. No. You have both long known that eventually the turning point would come. Today is that day, and the moment looms ever closer. Only one can prevail.  
Your footfalls echo down the marbled corridors of the Theed Royal Palace. It was indeed a beautiful place. The seat of the ruler of Naboo, and now the little Queen had come of her own accord to seize it back from the hands of the Trade Federation. It was much easier this way. Not so much chasing. A quick battle, and it would all be over with.
Sidious would finally come to the conclusion that he had known all along, and choose you as the Apprentice. The plan to rescue the galaxy from the corruption of the Republic could continue, except you would now truly be a player instead of a pawn.
Muted blaster fire rings out in the distance, accompanied by yells and shouts. Something else hums behind the double doors at the end of the hall. A jet of some variety, engine already alight and whirring. It’s not like their crafts would help them anyhow, as the blockade surrounding the planet is heavily armed. As you draw closer to the set of towering doors, another sensation grows more apparent. That tug at the back of your mind strengthens, pulling you forward by some invisible tether.
He’s in there. Obi-Wan.
You adjust yourself, back straightening, and reach to unclip the lightsaber from your belt. It matters not if he is present. It can't matter. He is your enemy, and there is a job to be done. Or at least, that’s what you try to tell yourself. But… With each step closer, every inch that you draw nearer, the dark grip on your mind tentatively weakens. You can feel the young Jedi’s thoughts trickling into yours, spilling like fresh water into a pool of ink. Diluting it. Letting those parts of you simmering underneath become gradually visible once more. There’s a pain behind your eyes, a ringing headache, as that dark hold burrows deeper, desperate to maintain control.
You come to the end of the hallway. Maul gestures, one hand extending, and the doors groan open. A troop of Nabooian soldiers greet you. At the fore-front is a figure that you recognise as their child-Queen. She glowers at you both, before glancing over her shoulder, back at the two bodies pushing their way through the other statuesque forms.
“We’ll handle this,” the older Jedi tells her, his eyes on you.
She nods, turning aside. “We’ll take the long way.”
The soldiers melt aside, rushing to follow their ruler as she sprints off to the right. All that remains is the two Jedi standing directly across the threshold. The Master positions himself opposite you. The Padawan - Obi-Wan - stands level with Maul. His eyes instantly flicker to you, just as yours immediately do to him, and that bond snaps back into painful fruition. You can feel it all radiating from him. Determination. Confusion. Curiosity. Resignation.
You shove it aside, reaching up at the same time as Maul to push back your hood. The Jedi shed their tan-coloured cloaks, dropping them on the ground to free their arms. You do the same, and the red and black cape billows languidly to the floor. Maul’s follows nery a second later, the edge of his hem spilling atop yours.
A sharp crackle splits the air as your crimson blade ignites in your hand. The other rises, fingers curled jaggedly inwards, as violet sparks of lightning boil and flicker within your palm. The familiar hum of Maul’s own lightsaber reaches your ears, the sound increasing in intensity as his secondary blade comes to life. The two-sided weapon spins dexterously in his expert grip. In response to your show, the Jedi bare their own blades, refusing to be cowed by your display. Green and blue activate respectively, as you had seen on the sands of Tatooine.
Your eyes are immediately drawn back to that azure, and you fight to look away.
Casting this Obi-Wan from your thoughts, your cold gaze falls on the older Jedi. A strange flicker of emotion crosses his eyes as they lock with yours. Recognition, alongside something akin to sadness. You don't pause to assess it, for Maul chooses that moment burst forth beside you, immediately prompting you to follow in kind. After so many years, attacking as one is a shared nature. A habit that you will soon have to forget.
Your brother slashes one end of his doubled saber, and the Padawan has to leap to evade him. There’s no opportunity to watch what happens next - as much as you want to - for the older Jedi’s emerald blade blurs in the corner of your vision. Yours rises sharply, blocking his swing. Red sparks against green, and the myriad of colours are reflected on both your faces as you glare at him over the deadlock of blades.
He breaks the hold the next second, knocking you back. You lean back as his lightsaber slashes again, sailing over your face. A wave of heat washes across your skin at the proximity. Spinning underneath his outstretched arm, your crimson blade sears through the air, headed in a ferocious arc for his back. He turns just in time, knocking it aside with an expert twist. The lightsaber threatens to tear from your grip, but you manage to hang on. Just about.
Noting the fumble and seeing the split-second advantage, the Jedi strikes again. You deflect the hit with a weak parry from your backhand, teeth gritted into a snarl. Time is needed to readjust yourself. Angling back, your free arm blasts a bolt of lightning at the Jedi. It just misses the side of his face. Before he can bear back down upon you, you hurl another. This crackling tether spins through the air towards him, but he splits it in two with another perfectly timed blow. However, the effort of the strike has him stumble. You rush forward, pressing the advantage by dealing a series of blows that shake your arms in their furiosity.
Dimly, you are aware of Maul and the Padawan locked in their own battle. You can feel Obi-Wan’s strain. The fear that he tries to hold back upon realising just how lethal your brother is. His worry that they may not win this, yet his determination to do exactly that. There’s something about him that makes it hard to keep your attention away.
Spinning under the Jedi Master’s swing, you come upright, hip colliding with something solid and warm. A quick glance over your shoulder reveals that it is the Padawan himself. His eyes catch yours, body mirroring your motions, backs pressed together as each of your blades deadlock with the other’s companion.
The contact - and the proximity of those crystalline eyes - sends another crack racing through the hold on your mind. A surge of emotion spouts from underneath, spurring you into action. You hurl yourself away from him, only realising now that you are now leaving the bright hangar bay and entering somewhere darker. This room is lit by two huge pulsating beams of light. Pillars line either side as a maze of narrow platforms stretch over a massive drop. One wrong step could have one plummeting to their death.
The dance continues. A flurry of parries and strikes and slashes that almost leave you dizzy. You’re spinning, twisting, reacting to each of the Jedi’s practised moves. There’s not enough time to summon your lightning anymore. He is forcing you backwards, presenting no opportunity to take the offensive.
At one point, a series of events causes you to switch partners. The Jedi Master and Maul sweep away in a duel, blocking blades in a series of vicious blows as they retreat a little down a platform. You move forward to strike at the Padawan, ignoring every instinct inside of you that is screaming not to, and his saber batters your half-hearted strike away with ease. That sky-coloured gaze is boring into you, but you refuse to acknowledge it. Fear is leeching upwards from the recesses of your mind, growing within your chest. You are afraid that if you meet his eyes, you will not like what you see staring back.
“Please,” he grunts, blocking another feigned blow from you. “Stop. Let’s talk.”
You want to. Stars. Everything is screaming to just lower the saber and hear his words. But your actions are still not quite your own, and Sidious will not allow you to relent. Your next strike shears across his cheek, leaving a blistering red burn in its wake. Pain radiates from the lower half of your face, as if it were you that were struck. Obi-Wan’s scream is agonising. Something gives inside you, and that crack in Sidious’s control splits wider.
“No!” The words bark from your lips.
Others are silently screamed from within. “I didn’t mean to.”
The Force pulses in warning. Something slams into you from the side, sending you spinning across the floor. The lightsaber scatters from your hands. Your arm extends, calling it back just as that green blade comes crashing down upon where you kneel. Emerald sparks viciously against crimson, emitting muted flecks of brown. The Jedi Master is back on the assault, standing above you and pressing his blade down upon your head. The kyber crystals within both of your hilts rattle uncertainly, straining against the effort being inflicted. Behind the Master, you can see Maul rushing forward. Obi-Wan staggers to intercept your brother, that welt swollen and glistening upon the side of his face. You can see the pain twisting his features, the effect that the injury you inflicted has upon his movements. He is slower than before. Not so well able to fend off Maul.
Your brother’s lightsaber swipes dangerously near the Padawan’s face. Your reaction is instant. Unthinking and uncontrollable, even as you strain to push back the Jedi looming over you. One of your hands tears free of your lightsaber, extending to launch a bolt of violet-imbued lightning. The jet streaks past your adversary’s side, stirring the corners of his robes. The sizzling impact catches Maul in the chest, sending him spinning to the ground.
Using the distraction, the Jedi's boot connects with your chest, knocking you sprawling back upon the ground. The lightsaber skids from your hand, sliding out of reach across the marbled floors. Your back collides with the hard ground, knocking away some of your breath. As one of your hands moves to call back your blade, that boot steps atop it, rendering it useless. A hiss of pain escapes your lips as the Jedi’s heel grinds against the tender skin of your palm.
Obi-Wan's Master towers above, and despite his stance and the threat of a broken hand underneath the force of his foot, that sadness is back in his eyes. The words that he utters are so soft that you almost don’t hear them. “I’m sorry. It shouldn’t have had to be like this.”
His emerald blade shimmers in the darkened bridge, almost ethereally bright as he lifts it overhead. Your free hand raises in a desperate attempt to ward him away. It will be no use. With a cry, his blade plunges down. A streak of blue intercepts, knocking it aside. The Jedi’s mouth falls open in a display of confusion and bewilderment. Obi-Wan lifts his hand, and the air pulses as he sends his Master stumbling backwards. The telekinetic push was not enough to unbalance the elder Jedi, but the meaning behind the action was clear.
The Padawan stands firmly at your feet, separating you from his Master. Your elbows dig into the hard ground as you watch the exchange from the floor, afraid that moving will break this tentative draw. Across the room, Maul’s form shifts on the ground. You can smell his burnt clothes, singed from your protective bolt. Overheard, a brief look passes between the two Jedi, some form of silent communication.
The Master turns to you, and his eyes narrow in concentration. His Force signature shimmers, and washing across your own. You know what he sees. How your aura leeches into his Padawan’s, and his Padawan’s into yours. That connection that burns bright at your close proximity, sparking like a beacon. He starts in surprise, disbelieving eyes passing between yourself and his Padawan. Throat bobbing as he swallows, he speaks quietly.
“A dyad.”
That darkness in your thoughts flickers in surprise. It’s not your own response. You shake your head, trying to dislodge the sensation. The urge to strike them down is fading, receding at the closeness of the young Jedi. He is still planted above you, stance almost protective. You know that it is a desire driven by instinct alone, for it niggles at you too. That wound shines on his cheek, burning like his blue eyes..
“I can help her,” he vows solemnly to his Master.
A scoff rises up in your throat as you clamber upright. You do not need his help. The words are forming on your lips, ready to spill out. They don't. Not as Maul rises to his feet back on the bridge, fury blazing in his golden eyes, one clawed hand extended.
His hold wraps around you, lifting you into the air. There’s a tightness around your neck, as if someone yanked a steel nose taut. You can’t fucking breathe. A choked gasp jars within your throat. Your feet dangle uselessly in the air, lungs heaving as they start to burn. Below, Obi-Wan stumbles. His fingers press against his neck as he hacks, as if trying to clear something from his airway.
The other Jedi shouts, spinning. His arm extends, and the Force pulsates as he knocks your brother back. The hold shatters and you drop heavily to the ground. Obi-Wan’s hand lands on your shoulder as you heave and hack, trying to catch your ragged breath. Watering eyes lifting, your disbelieving gaze falls on Maul. When you had struck him, it was not to kill, but you could sense his intent there. He had wanted to end you. And in that moment, you had felt Sidious’s influence recede from you.
Maul was going to kill you, and your Master was going to allow it.
There is no stopping the rage that your disbelief summons. It boils through you, hot and thick. After so much, after so fucking long, Maul was going to kill you, and your Master was going to let him. Furious lightning sparks over your body as you rise, pushing yourself upright from the floor. You can feel your face growing cold, hands clenching into fists at your side. Sparks of purple flicker across your arms, growing more agitated and intense. The lights above begin to flicker, pipes in the walls shuddering. Your wrath is hot and cold, prickling yet numbing.
Obi-Wan takes a step back. His Master stops in his tracks, slowly turning toward you.
Your attention is on neither. It solely rests on where your brother stands. Maul’s jaw sets upon taking in your expression. The lightning down your arms starts to boil, blurring together into a crackling violet sheen. It laces your veins, no longer separate, but an unignorable part of who you are. Your arms spread as a snarl twists your face, reaching for the electricity in the room and calling it inward. A quick flash of fear crosses Maul’s face. The energy builds in your chest, mixing into a churning vortex of jumbled chaos.
So this was what Sidious meant when he said that you were powerful.
Distantly, your Master’s far-away horror is palpable. You cannot bring yourself to care. The power wraps around you, intoxicating, clouding your mind with only the all-consuming desire for vengeance. It’s heat shreds away over a decade’s worth of Sidious’s control, shoving him from the front of your mind. All of the emotions that were kept restrained and muted for over a decade surge to the fore, and your wrath and rage only grows.
The Sith had stripped you off so much.  
Your feet leave the ground as the lighting lifts you upward, until you are hovering in the air, caught in a storm of absolute power. It only becomes more savage when you look at Maul.
He tried to kill you.
The lights overheard shatter, bursting into a shower of sparks. The pipes in the walls are now rattling wildly, and some splintering and cracking as the world comes alive under your control. You can feel it all. The engines of the distant fighter jets, the hums and surges of blaster-fire. It’s all leaking through the air, pouring into that swirling mass in your chest. Growing in ferocity with each passing second. But...
It’s too much. You try to rein it in. To draw back. You can’t. It’s growing overwhelming. Violet lightning blurs all over your body, flickering in bolts and bursts of sparks. This is far too much. You’re going to implode.
Unless you do something about it.
There is only one target that matters right now.
Your chest seizes as a crackling wave of lightning bursting your chest. It surges out, locking your body in a painful spasm. It’s wild, uncontrolled,, but manages to pass both Jedi without harm. Maul’s eyes flare wide as the crackling swell of electricity bears down upon him. You can feel him summoning all of his strength, and the familiar putrid sensation of Sidious’s own power trickles into his own. It gives just enough to survive the shock of the surge but the lightning catches him all the same, flinging him back as if he were nothing more than a ragdoll. Maul’s body collides with a pillar, before he drops to the ground heavily, rolling in agony.
You try to pull back, but the lightning still streams out from within. It is a swirling, roaring vortex, and you have no control over it. Darkness starts to build at the edges of your vision as your senses begin to overload. Distantly, you are aware of crashing and shuddering metal, of the ground shaking.
Something loud groans above your head, and then someone is tackling you, taking the sting of your lightning as they knock you aside and onto the floor. The contact jars you out of your trance just in time to see a brush of copper hair, and a pillar collapsing on the spot where you just stood. Your eyes fix on Obi-Wan’s concerned face hovering above you, his Padawan braid falling to tickle the side of your cheek. A shuddering inhale shakes your aching chest. Before either of you can speak, another voice shouts in warning.
“Look out!”
The opposite pillar directly above is tilting, about to snap down on top of you both. The hem of the metal crinkles before shattering loudly. Obi-Wan rolls off you, only his back, hands splaying as he uses the Force to stop the fall. The pillar jerks in mid-air. You can sense his strain and know that this hold will not last long. At least, not alone. Part of you whispers to run, to leave him, but that voice is born of years of dark thoughts and is not truly your own. You add your strength to the young Jedi, and together start to painstakingly push the pillar back, struggling upright as you do. Back on your feet, one final, synchronized shove from you both is what it takes to send it flying backward, spilling onto the other side of the bridge. Harsh vibrations run through the floor at the impact. You sag, legs shaking, weakened by the effort that both displays of power have taken from you. A warm hand falls gently on your shoulder.
“Good job,” that eloquent Coruscanti accent remarks.
Obi-Wan is smiling softly as you look up at him. That red burn glows on his cheek. One might have expected him to be wary, to raise his weapon at you one more. He isn’t and he doesn’t. That connection between you brings understanding, a knowledge that you never intended to truly hurt him. Stars. His warmth is like the sun. Reassuring and inviting.
Your tongue darts out to nervously wet your lips. “I…”
The clash of lightsaber blades distracts you both. On the distant platform, Maul and the older Jedi are duelling once more. The Padawan spins back to you, his momentary satisfaction replaced by a tinge of concern. You nod, and he wordlessly understands your meaning. Go.
You are about to follow when it happens again. One final attack from Sidious. A last attempt to bring you back under his control. Or at least capacitate you, as Maul would not survive an affront from yourself and the two Jedi.
His sharp mind pierces into yours like a knife, tearing through your thoughts. A garbled scream leaves your throat. Your legs give out, body clattering back to the ground. Obi-Wan starts to turn, but your hand lashes him away. He stands for just a moment, torn, but your shriek spurs him on.
“Keep going!”
Blood spatters onto the floor underneath you. Your tongue tastes like metal, from where your teeth bit it at the first bout of seizure. Sidious’s mental assault brings a wave of cramping nausea. The smooth floor is unrelenting as your hands scrape for a hold, for some type of anchor point as you fight back. Weak lightning trickles down your arm. A distant snarl reaches your ears as your Master redoubles his efforts.
Your Master. No, not anymore. You will not submit. Not this time.
“Get out,” you spit, feeling blood and saliva running down your chin. A violent tremour shakes your body as the world threatens to black-out. Your skull is pounding, a jumbled mass of pain and violence. Sidious tries to twist himself into your mind, but you react with a fury that stands resilient. He will not win. That rage builds inside you again, summoning a final blast of power. The sparks of electricity on your arms grow sharper, more defiant. You can feel him fighting, but this time it is a losing battle. You’ve regained too much control for him to take it again, and you are no longer a child. With one final scream, the lightning in your hands surges and you blast him away with a howl. “Get out of my head!”
And then you crumple, sprawling onto the ground, all of your strength abating. Finally ripping free of that telepathic hld was painful. Every inch of your body is aching dully. Each breath drawn into your tight chest is sore and grating. The floor is cool against your temple, though the dust and debris from the destroyed room tickles your nose and throat. Darkness swims at the fringes of your vision, but does not quite rise to subdue you. Instead, your exhausted mind breaks away, casting itself into another.
The visions come in flashes, but you know that they belong to Obi-Wan. A red force field.  The dampness of his palm as it clutches his blue lightsaber. His Master - Qui-Gon, as his mind tells you - facing off with Maul. The feeling of uselessness, of being caught so far behind. His concern for you. It centres you enough to slowly reach, recalling your red blade. Your arms shudder as you push yourself off the floor and start limping after them. The pace is laborious and slow, legs trembling with each step that you take. Air rasps in your throat, and your aching neck is already swollen from your brother’s earlier attack.
Those images still play in near transparency across your eyes, and Obi-Wan’s grief hits like a tidal wave as Maul’s saber pierces Qui-Gon’s chest. His scream rings out in the distance, full of anguish and woe. The intensity nearly brings you to your knees once more. The Padawan’s emotions are alien to you, too raw for your addled mind to comprehend. You manage to remain standing, sagging into the nearby wall.
Those scarlett screens of the force-fields shimmer up ahead. Obi-Wan bursts past the final barrier, intent on avenging his fallen Master. Maul engages with his usual unrestrained ruthlessness. He intends to kill the Padawan, and then come back for you. You will not allow that. If it comes to it, you will take him down too.
Their fight is fast, vicious. You can barely comprehend the blows dealt between them. A sense of urgency fills your mind, spurring you to limp quicker. Whatever this strange, protective instinct is, it’s proven to be one that neither of you can quite ignore. Those laser barriers are up as you arrive at the corridor, but your fingers smash into the control panel. Simultaneously, your face twists in strained concentration. The energy within those circuits flicker, fields abating with less than a blink at your command. The hallways before you clears, and does so just in time to see your brother’s Force push send Obi-Wan tumbling over the edge of a reactor shaft.
No.
The words are not screamed out loud, but within. Maul, not having realised your presence, stalks towards the lip of the platform. His face creases in anger as he looks down. A muted hope blossoms in your chest. You can feel him. The Padawan is alive. Lightning sparks weakly on your arms. One more blast. That’s all that you have capacity for. You need to make it count.
“Maul.”
He turns. Your lightning sings through the air, but his blade bats it aside with ease. Heat warms your thigh as your own lightsaber ignites a final time in your hands, preparing for a battle. As he starts to stalk forwards, a rattle sounds somewhere off to the side. Qui-Gon’s lightsaber zips through the air. Obi-Wan appears, vaulting out of the reactor shaft and flipping in the air. There is a blur of green as he lands, wielding his fallen Master’s blade, and slices Maul in two. Despite everything, your heart lurches painfully as the man you had once considered your brother teeters back, and then plummets from the platform.
The Padawan looks at you, just for a second, before rushing to his Master. Qui-Gon lies unmoving on the ground, eyes closed. A circular burn mark is visible on the chest of his robes, where Maul had struck him. The heat of the lightsaber would have instantly cauterized the wound, but the damage to his insides has been done. His Force signature, a vibrant forest-green, grows weaker by the second. Obi-Wan falls to his knees, lifting his Master into his arms. Qui-Gon stirs, shifting weakly. A sheen of sweat adorns his brow. When he speaks, his tone is strained. “It’s too late.”
“No,” Obi-Wan shakes his head, voice cracking.
His loss radiates through you, deepening your own pain. Your eyes flutter briefly closed, trying to centre yourself. Qui-Gon whispers something else to his apprentice, something too low for you to hear. One of his hands raises to touch his Padawan’s cheek. The bond between them is palpable. A warm, familial love that you had never truly experienced.
The Jedi’s unsteady gaze slowly shifts to where you stand, crimson blade hanging at your side, exhaustion slumping your shoulders. The ghost of a smile paints Qui-Gon’s face and he softly murmurs a name. One that you do not know, or understand the meaning behind. From the expression on his face, neither does Obi-Wan. And then the older man’s eyes slide closed, head falling back into the Padawan’s arms. Obi-Wan’s quiet cries fill the room.
A strange mix of longing and sadness whispers through your chest as you watch him mourn the loss of the man he considered a father. Everything else feels distant, muted. Not the way that it was when Sidious had control of your thoughts, but because your exhaustion weighs so heavily that it drowns all the other emotions out. But as you look at his distress, a new feeling simmers to the fore. Guilt. It’s not something that you’ve ever truly experienced in the past. For Sidious to let you feel such a thing… That would have been a cardinal sin.
The words that leave your lips are barely more than a whisper. “I’m sorry.”
Silence spreads out between you. The distant sounds of the battle begin to die in the distance. Obi-Wan just sits there, holding his Master’s unmoving body. Your eyes flicker uncertainly to him. You can’t help but be afraid that he blames you for this.
After an unbearable amount of time passes, he responds. “You need to run.”
Confusion twists your insides. The hilt of the lightsaber is suddenly heavy in your hands. You adjust it warily, afraid of the meaning of his words. In case he means it as a challenge.
Your voice wavers hesitantly as you speak again. “What?”
His head shakes, eyes closing to push back against the grief gnawing inside his chest. No move is made to rise. He only sits there, gently rocking Qui Gong’s body. He continues speaking after another pause. “The Republic will be on their way. Run.”
Swallowing thickly, your head dips in a slow nod. He’s right. They’d take you as a captive, charge you with war crimes. Possibly sentence you to death. No. The only choice is to escape somewhere far away and hope that they never catch up.
With all the things that you have done… The Jedi will never stop looking for you. And thanks to your betrayal, neither will the Sith. However, you can’t just leave him. Not without saying something else. Your lips form his name softly, uttering it aloud for the first time ever.
“Obi-Wan?” He turns, tears tracking down his cheeks. Those azure eyes glisten as he watches you without uttering another word. You have to swallow past the tightness in your throat before continuing. “Thank you.”
A/N: I may have taken some liberties with Force Lightning in this chapter, but there’s not a whole lot of information on its limits. Plus, I have a plan for why Fervour is so connected to it!
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