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Angelcynn: The Myrcian Conflict - Act 3 Reunion

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The Morning of 5th April 812


Only a day had passed since the group had split to tackle their various objectives. Owen had joined Malaphar to eliminate cultists controlling the region, Cass had rescued Esclabor whilst Angus had managed to retrieve their sea captain. Each task seemed so distinct, but eerily linked together through mentions of a wizard - and there was one wizard that everyone had become painfully aware of. The sun had been setting, there couldn't have been more than an hour left of daylight in the harsh land of Magonsaete. With so much information, much of which concerning, discussion had waited until the morning - giving all involved a chance to recover from their battles. Most of their injuries were rather superficial, even Esclabor only required minimal treatment.

The presence of Malaphar hadn't aided things at all. Many had expressed their unease around him. However, with little explanation, the wizard had said he'd be absent for a few hours, leaving Owen's group to their own devices. Now joined by Baron Esclabor and Captain Haddock, they could finally begin to piece parts of the story together. As usual, the Reliants had found their own space to hold up, still feeling like outsiders to the whole host of nobility.

The night was quiet, with so many battles in the area, it appeared the barbarian forces had been somewhat depleted. Not a single soul had been spotted or even heard as the hours progressed, the various people on watch having rather little to focus on.

Morning had come quickly, and Malaphar was still gone. With no given time frame of his return, it left the group with decisions to make. The sun had just appeared over the horizon, the oranges and reds of the sunrise being replaced by an endless blue. It was difficult to believe that a massacre had occurred when they arrived. People had started to gather in the main meeting room, anxious to hear how Owen intended to proceed.

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[spoiler=Emmet hates clowns]

Emmet spend some time getting to know the other members of the reliants. By the end of the night he was familiar enough with them to think it a shame they would be going their separate ways the next day. Thinking about the party division made him realise he would be split up from lady Claire. He was surprised he had not realised it sooner. So just as the night was ending he took her aside and addressed the issue.

"You will be assisting the princess tomorrow, correct?" he said. "I trust you still have..." Emmet cast his eyes around once more to be sure no one was eavesdropping, least of all Malaphar, "the elixir?"

Claire nodded somberly. "I have it, but..." At this point, she wished that they'd never found it. "According to Malaphar, the fountain isn't as great as it seems." That's an understatement... she thought bitterly. She wanted to rush back now, and find out what became of Slappy, but with an ocean in the way and work to be done, that wasn't an option.

"Yes. I heard the tale end of your conversation with Malaphar earlier on" Emmet said. "You looked pretty worried. But I don't think you should be too concerned. As far as my research suggests those are rumours and nothing more." Though the entire fountain itself is a myth so there could be some vestige of truth to it. "But of course that's why we're cautious. If there was no danger at all I would have suggested a test on something more than a badger long before now."

Claire looked away for a few moments, struggling to figure out what to say. In the end, honesty seemed like the best policy. "Emmet, I used the vial on a sick man." Her lips began to quiver. "I... he was of death, and I couldn't just leave him be, but..." she trailed off. But I should've known... She'd overlooked the obvious signs that something was wrong with it, and now she had a feeling the clown wouldn't be smiling for very long..

The smile on Emmet's face faltered for a second. "This is some kind of joke" he said, his smile become more forced and unnatural. "Right?" Her expression told all. Emmet's smile broke. He put a hand against his face. Sliding it along his eyes he rested in on his mouth for a second. Then he began pacing. "Who was it?" he said at last. "Who did you use the elixir on?"

"One of the clowns at the circus." she mumbled, looking away. "I couldn't just leave him like that..." Emmet was taking this about as poorly as she could've expected, but it wasn't his reaction that was making her uncomfortable as much as her own self-criticism. She didn't regret her decision because it was a waste; she was afraid of what she'd done to Slappy. She didn't particularly trust Malaphar, but he had no reason to lie to them - as far as she knew, anyway.

"A clown? A bloody clown? Was he at least a friend of yours?" Emmet waved a hand and answered his own question without giving Claire a chance to speak. "No of course isn't. It's a travelling circus." He shook his head. "I did not expect this from you Claire. I trusted you. But it seems I was a fool. Turns out that despite your bravado, all you are is a bleeding heart little girl. You know dozens of people die on the streets of Hull every day right? Yes you choose to waste a miracle on a fucking clown." Emmet sighed heavily. It had been a long time since he was this angry. Not since he argued with his parents. "Did you even consider that we're on a battlefield right now. Who are you going with tomorrow? Lady Cassandra right? What if the sole princess of Wyke dies on your watch tomorrow. That you had the ability to save her but thought a clown's life more valuable? Did you even think?" Emmet curled his hand into a fist and knocked it against his own head when he said the word think. It was taking all of mental training not to shout right now. "Why didn't you tell me sooner? I wouldn't even be here right now if I knew you wasted all of my elixir on a god damned clown. You think I like trekking through bandit country for a foreign prince?" Emmet finally quieted down and gave Claire a chance to speak.

Claire's expression soured over the course of Emmet's rant. She was sick of being talked down on for doing what she thought was right. "At least I have a heart." she spat back at the scholar. "I don't care if it happens every day. I can't just ignore it!" Her voice was barely restrained by this point. She didn't want to explain what was going on to any passerby, or even to Emmet by this point.

After a few tense moments, she spoke up again in barely more than a murmur. "I''m done with this." And with that, the mage turned to leave, not even glancing back at the idiot she'd just left behind - although part of her wished that she could see the look on his face. She'd been an idiot to involve him in the first place. It wasn't worth telling him that the vial was still almost full - it wasn't like she needed him to know about it.

"Don't you walk away from me" Emmet growled. "And don't go suggesting you have the moral high ground. You've acted rashly, foolish and you've broken my trust. Did it even come to anything?" Emmet swung his arm for emphasis. "Did this clown gain any exceptional powers Malaphar referred to? Tell me this entire project wasn't a colossal waste of my time!"

"Your trust?" she snapped back over her shoulder, stopping in her tracks. "I wasn't aware that I needed your permission to use it." Owen had found the vial, and she was the one who discovered it was significant. Emmet had just been in the right place at the right time, but this was her project first and she wasn't going to take being lectured by him.

"Don't you think I would've told you if it worked?" she continued. "Whether its because we left so quickly, or because I didn't use enough of it, I don't know, but we won't know until we get back." She looked away again to hide her face - torn between anger and anxiety. The thought of what they would find there wasn't any more comforting, even if it would shut the stupid scholar up.

"Didn't use enough of it? Does that mean you still have some left?" Emmet asked, his tone more even but still very stern. Maybe she isn't a complete fool he thought to himself.

"I'm not stupid." Claire answered as she produced a mostly filled vial from her robes. "If I used the whole vial, the experiment would've been completely pointless." Although she doubted Owen would want to use the vial on the king att his point.

At the sight of the vial Emmet rushed forward and snatched it from her hand. He held it up to his eyes while at the same time stopping Claire from taking it back. His heart fluttered with relief as he saw it was still over half filled. He held it close to his chest and sighed. "You had me scared for a moment there" he said in a much more relaxed tone. "But it was still foolish of you to try that experiment without consulting me. There is one reason and one reason alone I'm going to give this back to you." Though he was noticeably more calm, he still spoke in a stern and measured voice. "And that's because I don't want it anywhere near Mallaphar." He held the jar out to her in his open palm.

Emmet snatching the vial, combined with him berating her, did not exactly put Claire in a good mood. Are you even listening to me?Evidently not, since she'd already made it clear that she didn't value his opinion very highly at the moment. She grabbed her vial back wordlessly and stuffed it safely in her pocket again, stepping away from Emmet's reach.

"Is that all?" This conversation had dragged on long enough, and if Emmet thought that he was going to have the elixir returned to him after all of that he was sorely mistaken.

"Yes" Emmet muttered. "Good luck on your venture tomorrow." He left Claire where she stood without looking back. Without delay he found his sleeping quarters and headed to bed. His emotions were all astir in a very uncomfortable manner. He was still fuming from thinking the elixir was gone but at the same time filled with relief to know it wasn't. That night he meditate for the first time since leaving the monastery.

Weary from the day of battle, Emmet headed to bed as soon as the he could. Part of him felt he should report the appearance of the second vial to the lady Claire but he doubted she'd be in the mood to talk to him just yet given how their previous meeting had gone down. When morning came Emmet considered it his duty to report the result of the battle to Serge. Though keeping the nature of the vial secret meant there wasn't much to tell.

"Hey Sergeant" he said wearily as he met his commander. "Sorry I didn't report last night, I was much too tired and wasn't sure if you'd returned. It turns out the thieves Malaphar sent us after were Belial cultists. Everyone managed to survive with little risk thanks to Malaphar's help and the prince's solid leadership. They didn't seem nearly as guilty as he led us to believe however. I really feel like we've been forced into something with little context. How did rescue mission go?"

Edited by Jotari

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All that had been on Cass' mind since they'd returned was what Morta said about Angus. Treating him like something I can share or toss around... Have I been doing that? I suggested this farce to protect myself and assumed he'd be fine with it on such little discussion. Do I value him as nothing but a shield? I just... But I was so scared, I wanted... To feel safe, I... These thoughts kept her up until the early hours of the morning, finally managing to rest after wracking her mind on the one thing that continued to eat at her. I should be nicer to him...

Morning came too quickly. Deprived of sleep, but not of thought, Cass gloomily wandered through the halls until she'd reached where everyone was meeting. Without pause, she wandered her way over to Angus, pausing next to him before slowly giving him a hug. It felt... A bit odd. But not wrong. Though it probably horribly confused the man. "Hello... Dear." She managed it awkwardly, not disgusted, this time. "I'm glad you made it back! I... Well, I'm sure you got roughed up a fair bit, so I'm glad I didn't have to see it. Still, you're... You're alive. I couldn't ask for more." She patted his arm, knowing, not hoping, that her sudden positivity would surely confuse him greatly.

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With everyone finally together again, Adeltrudis figured that it would be for the best to try and garner some information about what had transpired on the other paths. Everyone seemed to be in one piece, which was a blessing in of itself. As Adele stepped into the meeting room, she noticed Cassandra and Angus appeared to be pre-occupied with one another, so she turned to the next source for information, the new leader of the Reliants, Serge. Walking up to him, it seemed Emmet was already talking to him, but it likely wasn't much of a problem.

"Hello Serge. First off, good work out there. Everyone in the Reliants made it back safe and sound from the first big outing with the new squad. I'd like to ask you how your mission transpired, and your take on everything so far."

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"Yeah...about that." Serge had nodded at Emmet and was focusing on Adele for the moment, though his information was for the both of them. "...The captain wasn't captured by any of the bandits. He was rescued by them." Serge was leaning against a wall of the castle, his arms folded across his chest. "We had instead fought...the Reliants...the real Reliants. A group of wyvern riders mostly, one of them wielding some holy weapon of Engel or something. Point is, they had some interesting things to say, like how they claimed Raewald had been killing a bunch of messagers of peace sent to Wyke, and that our prince was going to start a war, not stop it." He looked down to the floor, pondering his words carefully. "I don't doubt that the prince has good intentions, but I feel like we're being led astray by somebody..."

"Also. We met up with one of the murdertwins from the beach. Turns out their not dead after all... And he gave me a warning. A warning I'd like to privately discuss with the prince if I can." He took a deep breath. Ever since they had gotten back, Serge had been wary about the grand wizard that had hung around. Granted, it felt weird trusting Apellon, the guy who had come to try and kill them before leaving because he had a good laugh, versus the man that had helped them, Malaphar. But everything made too much when he looked at it that way, especially after what Emmet told him. "Adele...I'd like to keep this quiet for now before I can talk to the prince. And that goes for you too, Emmet. Malaphar...might not be on our side." He hoped to god no one else was listening in. He had told his mercenaries to keep it dark about it, and hoped that Angus, Alain, and Doug would stay quiet about it as well, at least until he was sure. "Apparently, the wyverns we fought were looking for a wizard. A very powerful one. One that easily fits the description of Malaphar. And if what Emmet says is true...then he's probably using us."

He looked back at Adele one final time. "And that's my report. Nothing was what it seemed, but we still made it out." He gave out an uneasy smile. "Just another day in the life, I suppose. Heh."

Edited by Dandragon

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"We had... similar misgivings, having gone along with him. It felt like he was just playing us to get his own dirty work done... there's so much we don't know about Malaphar, and with him disappearing now... I definitely think it's for the best to discuss this with Owen... all of us. I'll have to see what the third group has to say, if anything, on the matter, but..." Adeltrudis trailed off, biting her lip. It certainly didn't feel like they had much agency over the recent events...

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"My, my, I didn't realize Sir Angus and Princess Cassandra were so close," Alain chimed, a thin smile forming on his lips. "You should have told me as much before we left, Princess. I would have tried to do a better job protecting him," he said, winking towards Angus. "Ah, but I suppose I should mind my manners. I don't mean to tease. It's good to see you and the others unharmed though, the Prince as well," he said, shifting his tone. Most of Owen's ensemble had gathered, but there was at least one person missing, and his presence, or lack thereof, was perhaps the most palpable.

"It appears as though Malaphar had other plans for the morning? I can't say I'm particularly fussed by his absence. The sooner he takes his leave of us the better," he muttered.

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Emmet tilted his head slightly. "What do you mean by turns out they're not dead? The so called murder twins? I heard you personally killed them both in the previous battle. Is that merely a rumour or...are you suggesting they have returned to life?"

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"...I stabbed him through the chest, and not only did he come back, but he wasn't even injured. It was like it never even happened." Serge faced Emmet, still leaning against the wall of the old castle that currently served as their base of operations. "They have some way of...reviving. Coming back from the dead. Apparently our good old princess fucked up the sister so badly it took longer for her to come back. Point is..." He moved himself off the wall and placed his hands in his pockets. "...There are ways that people can come back. And they can come back with a grudge. To be honest, we only barely got out of that. I apparently got a laugh out of him and..." He took out the Thunder Sword, showing it to both Adele and Emmet. "He gave me this, rather than try and murder us with it."

Edited by Dandragon

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"My god" Emmet muttered. "That's incredible." I must speak with one of these twins. From the sounds of it we'll be crossing paths again. I wonder if someone fed them the elixir after the battle or if traces of it in their blood revived them automatically. "Was he part of these "Real Reliants" that you fought?"

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Sidney hadn't slept as well as she'd hoped. Seeing Owen and the others well certainly helped soothe her mind, but she still had some worries as they were set to head forward soon. Raewald... it's been so long. After all this, we'll be there soon... I hope things go well.

Her morning started with an irritated moan as she woke up. Reluctantly, she'd made her way to the main room to converge with the others. She gave a few brief waves before (probably predictably) sitting near Owen. "Good morning, dearest," she spoke drowsily, giving his cheek a quick kiss. "Hopefully you're better at facing this day than I've been so far."

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Angus starts slightly at the Princess' sudden embrace, cracking tiny grin once he sees who is at his side. Her warmth is unexpected enough, and very welcome. An awkward scratch at his neck accompanies the spread of his grin. A handful of pleasant seconds pass before the knight can form a sentence, with the implicit bravado Cassandra could surely expect after so long.

"Well, find a Kearney short a beaten ass, an' I'll show you a unicorn, eh?" Angus chuckles--the beating he took was by far the most pleasant part of the battle he undertook. "Glad t'see you in one piece, too. An' Sidney, too, eh?" Pre-empting any further speech, Alain joins them, his speech like the flat of an icy blade. Angus flushes a slight red, remembering the discomfort his dear friend related not long ago. A casual elbow on her shoulder, Alain's once and nominal leader concurs.

"C'mon now, Alain, you know better'n that!" Angus turns to face Cass, offering a scrap of substantive detail. "Guy's hidin' brass in 'is breeches, blasted more wyverns'n I can remember. Fought shoulder-t'-shoulder with th'rest of us!" A nod, now, to the diplomat. "I'll let Owen cast judgment on 'im, but aye, we should get on. We're draggin' through this godforsaken place f'r time's sake, nah? He c'n find us quick enough if 'e'd like."

[Well, I don' rightfully know], young Kearney admits to himself. [Told Owen we could handle it, an' I can't imagine why else he'd want t'take a hard journey.]

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"Don't get too happy," Cass noted with a smirk, surprised Angus was so pleased to be hugged by someone like her, especially after their last talk. Maybe he was just elated to see her alive. Be nice... It's not impossible, right? It's not like I've never been friendly to him before... I've just let myself get muddled in everything concerning Wyke. But you know what? We're not there. And whoever is there can't hurt me out here. I have friends, I have family, I have Angus and Adele. We've survived being chopped to death by bandits, managed to save Esclabor, and our only remaining nuisance is nowhere to be seen!

Cass' smile steadily grew as she mentally pumped herself up with their current situation. In all honesty, it was fairly good. The anxiety would return on their way back, but for now, elation, as things were going perfectly-- or as perfectly as they could. "Don't say that. I'm sure if we found the proper accessories, Doug could fly in here on a unicorn, and you'd have to go back one beating." Throwing a horn onto Doug's pegasus would probably lead to something going horribly wrong, so leaving it as a joke was for the best. "And yes, Sidney's fine. I'm fairly pleased, as I'm sure Owen is too. That reminds me, I must speak with him about her..."

"Ah, Alain. A pleasure..." Cass blushed faintly, looking away, her unrelated smile not helping her situation. No matter, if it helped mask their engagement as true, to people that didn't know-- did Alain know? --then the farce would be worth it. Though Angus' elbow was not. She quickly removed his elbow and shook her head. "I must agree with Alain, honestly. That Malaphar grates on my nerves, and sends shivers down my spine. The less we have to deal with him the better... As much as it pained me to be away from Adele... A-And Owen, of course, I will say I am glad that my excursion had little to do with the mage." He was far too powerful, and far too sinister, to ever be fully trusted.

Edited by Narmaya

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Claire was glad to find that there was no meeting on the night of the return. This whole Magonsaete affair had stressed her out (to say the least) and she was glad that were no longer under the watch of an unwanted wizard. They were still lacking in context, and part of her wondered how Malaphar knew that Baron Esclabor had been captured in the first place. But at least they were rid of him for now.

In the morning, she wordlessly made her way into the meeting room and glanced around. She immediately averted her eyes away from Emmet - somehow not feeling too enthusiastic about another one of his lectures. As things were, the mage took her seat and yawned widely, trying to will herself awake. They'd beaten back the bandits, but mornings were a tougher enemy to conquer.

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Unlike most, Doug was still sleeping quite soundly. No matter the circumstances of the real world, he found solace in his dreams. There, he ruled over Dougistan, or rather, the idealized version of it.

Doug was a king, complete with crown and cape. He traveled the cobbled streets, passing between street performers and excited crowds. In the horizon stood a massive metal wheel, with people riding in carriages hooked along its arc. Children were riding another contraption: an assortment of porcelain pegasi spinning in place. A story teller would recount the origin of Lord Doug to an eager crowd, how Doug singlehandedly fought through fire to save the royal family. Amidst the scenario, Doug raised his hands. Everyone went silent to listen to his proclamation.

"I declareth this day...BOGO DAY! Buy one souvenir mug, get one 50% off!"

The announcement was met with brief applause as everyone started flooding souvenir stalls.

"Enjoy your stay in the land of Dougistan!"

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

In reality, Doug's fantasy was only hinted at from his unconscious murmurings.

"Land of Dougistan...BOGO day..."

Edited by Toogee

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"Right...the 'real Reliants.' I uh..." Serge found it hard to talk about the next part. "...No, Apellon wasn't part of them. In fact, he might of killed a few. I'm not sure..." He looked out to see a number of different conversations happening, just out of reach to listen in on anything to try and change the subject, or at least get away. With a heavy sigh, he gave up trying to hide it. "...Niko lied to us about something, Emmet. Something big."

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"Lied to us about what?" Emmet asked, somewhat disbelieving Serge's words. "Surely you're not suggesting our former commander is a potential enemy."

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"Ah... Hello, Sidney." Owen forced a faint smile, caught in surprise by the affection. He'd been in a world of his own, lost in thoughts in his seat. "I suppose sunrise was nice." Malaphar still isn't back... The prince slept rather poorly, the moment Malaphar claimed himself a god to the cultist still fresh in his mind. Leaving without him would be more dangerous... But there's also the matter of him considering I am no longer of use. The line of thought helped the prince in nothing, but he couldn't let it go away as he grew more anxious. "It seems everyone is safe from their missions, I'm glad for that, at least."

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"Well, I'm glad that's something we can all agree on then. I've half a mind to assume the rest of the party might be inclined to feel the same way," he sighed, sinking back into his chair. "Hopefully Prince Owen shares in our sentiment and we can get moving along sooner rather than later. Speaking of which, did either of you two get a chance to speak with the prince? I'm rather curious to know what came about his venture. If I recall correctly, Malaphar was seeking some artifact or another? I can't imagine a man like Malaphar was looking for something of historic value, so I assume it was of the arcane sort," he said. Thinking back on it, Serge had said something about their previous foe, Apellon having come back to life in some capacity. Was the artifact connected, or was there some arcane sorcery at play? Somebody had said something about a fountain...? He bit his lip, slightly irritated that he hadn't been able to speak to the would-be revivalist himself.

The prince, for his part, seemed rather perplexed, lost in conversation with Lady Charlotte. They seem rather close as well. In any event, he hoped they would find out their course of action soon enough.

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"...Doug told me that before him and Niko showed up in Wyke, the Reliants had all been slaughtered by some unknown group. According to Doug, they were the only survivors." He turned around. He was uneasy talking about this so freely, but he wasn't going to let this sit. Not like Niko did. "Then a bunch of wyvern knights show up and call themselves the Reliants, calling Niko a coward, saying that there WERE survivors." With another heavy sigh, he closed his eyes and shook his head. "Look, I don't know who to trust right now, Emmet. I just don't fucking know..." Serge held his hand to his head. "I just wanna get some grub in me before I go about ranting or something. ...Does anybody here even know how to cook?"

Edited by Dandragon

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The most surprising thing for Emmet was that Serge wasn't aware of the Reliants massacre. He had heard what happened to the group in his travels, and even if he hadn't a famed group like the Reliants should have had a lot more members when they first joined. The result of the massa was one of the reasons Emmet suggested they change the name. But he didn't see much use in bringing the issue up again.

"You don't have to trust anyone" Emmet said somewhat reassuringly. "It's good to have people to rely on but everyone is capable of making mistakes. There's nothing wrong with guarding your heart from harm. You're doing a good job, Serge. If nothing else then thrust in that fact."

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"Mmm, I'm glad that went well for you, then," Sid responded cheerily. She ran her fingers through her hair idly as she thought, having a tough time finding things to chatter idly about- the feeling in the air was so serious. "That's good, yes. Even split up we managed to succeed, yes? I didn't have much trouble at all rescuing Esclabor. Though, Cassandra had a few things to discuss about him, I think. You'll have to talk to her about it." She leaned her head against him, smiling.

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"Yes, some artifact. And don't worry, I can solve that. Just a moment~" Angus hadn't spoken again, and Sidney was talking to Owen right now, which was perfect for her wants and needs. Strolling over to them, she gave a passing glance to Adele, smiling, and deciding to talk to her later. Once this deal with Malaphar has died down, we can have a nice, long talk about everything that's happened. And maybe they could even discuss what to do in Raewald. They'd have to include Sidney in that, if she even remembered what there was to do.

No matter, thoughts for later. At the moment, she wished to speak to Owen about what Alain had mentioned: Malaphar. "Brother, hello. Sidney, hello to you as well~ I'm pleased to see the two of you getting along so well. Though that is a matter for later, once we're in a better place. What of this Malaphar? What is to be done about him? And what did you go to find?" She had more questions, but Owen seemed a bit taxed as it was. Overloading him would do no good.

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"That truly does seem like quite the issue... as much as I'd like to dig into what became of the Reliants, we have more immediate fish to fry... though if those men you met spoke the truth, I doubt it's the last we'll hear of them..." Adele noted with a sigh, giving her head a shake.

"Either way, come on Serge, we should join Owen and the others. Emmet, if you would like to join us, I think it's imperative that we figure out a proper course of action." Adele concluded, turning to walk towards where Owen, Sidney, and Cassandra had gathered.

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"Emmet, I'd like to be able to trust SOMEONE in this world...But I get your point. Somebody could just be wrong about this thing."

But before he could even continue his thought, Adele was off. "Right. Let's go then, Emmet." He said, walking behind Adele, before awkwardly stopping and blushing at his stomach growling. "Ehm...Pretend you didn't hear that, thanks."

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