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 [Advanced] Rift

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Sailor Saturn
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PostSubject: [Advanced] Rift   9th April 2018, 9:28 am


Banner by the talented Lyssarie <3

Storyline Name: Rift
Creator(s): Sailor Mercury and Sailor Saturn (inspired by Phantoms)
Forum: Free Form
Advanced or Relaxed: Advanced
Plot Summary: In this universe, the solar senshi we all know and love don't exist. The world has never heard of the Moon Kingdom and its famous Silver Crystal.

The reigning kingdom is now located upon a planet called Nemesis. Instead of a Moon Princess, this kingdom is ruled by Princess Esmeraude and her Malefic Black Crystal, a mysterious artifact with powerful magic. She is backed by her own senshi who keep her protected against any outside threats, stopping at nothing to keep enemies at bay.

When Princess Esmeraude is brought into an arranged marriage with a neighboring Prince Demande, the prince brings along his own entourage.

The resulting clash of these two peoples is only amplified by underhanded manipulations by the mystifying Death Phantom.

But perhaps amongst the darkness, a kind of light can be found.

Details on any necessary information:
Essentially this is a storyline with a general Silver Millennium feel and theme, but is played within the Black Moon Clan family instead. It will focus primarily on Koan and Rubeus, but could include smaller plots with the NPC characters along the way.

The Ayakashi Sisters are Princess Esmeraude's senshi. This information is kept relatively quiet amongst the kingdoms, to offer higher protection to the Princess. Their senshi powers are based around the powers they have as villains.

In this RP, Rubeus is a female character, but retains the same personality, ambitions, and past history as the original.

Restrictions: This is a 1 x 1 RP between Sailors Mercury and Saturn. Any background characters will be NPC'd.
OOC Thread: Discord
Member to Character List:

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   10th April 2018, 4:43 pm



It would be good to get off this ship. Rubea had long lost count of how long she'd been cooped up on the Prince's personal traveling ship, but it was far too long in her opinion. She was beginning to feel that itching feeling of claustrophobia.

If anyone were to tell her that it only been a few hours at best, they'd find themselves at the bad end of a threat. The addition of a dagger or two would highly depend on just how bad of a mood Rubea was in that day.

As it was, she was mostly just bored. She hated being cooped up like this. And most of the staff here were dull and far too accommodating.

Standing in the bridge next to the captain, Rubea glanced back at the two Princes quietly conversing with one another. She'd listened in on their conversation for most of the trip, but Royals rarely ever had anything good to say. Politics. Economics. Public opinions. Prince Demande was alright most of the time, but get him started on any of his royal duties and he became just as daft as all the rest.

They were lucky they paid so well for her services. As Prince Demande's personal bodyguard, she also received a lot of prestige to go along with it.

Tavern visits were always so much more interesting now.

"So, how long before we arrive?" Rubea asked, turning her attention back onto the captain. She glanced down at the dials and maps lighting up on the console, but she understood none of it. She squinted harder, trying to make sense, but quickly gave it up.

Who cared about such things, anyway?

"Won't be long now."

The captain had a pretty face, deeply tanned with bright eyes. Rubea grinned, admiring the view, but the captain was having none of it. Instead of blushing as was the usual and expected response, the captain gave an overly polite nod of acknowledgement and turned to view her console once more.

Pah. Boring.

Rubea moved smoothly away from the captain and her beloved console and went to the back of the room. Leaning up against the cool surface, she crossed her arms and let out a short puff of annoyed breath.

She didn't have any real interest in going to Nemesis. She had her fill of Royals and regalia back home, what need had she to go to another planet that would surely just as stuffy and stifling? But a bodyguard had no say in the matter. She went where her Prince commanded.

And if that meant following him to some backwater planet to meet a pompous princess, then so be it.

Hopefully she'd find something interesting to keep her occupied when she wasn't watching the Prince's back.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   11th April 2018, 9:04 am



"Ohhhh, aren't you so excited, Princess?" Koan gushed. The violet-haired teenager practically vibrated with her own enthusiasm, yet somehow her hands remained steady and practiced. If there was one thing the exuberant girl could be counted on for, it was a dedication to style. Considering that she was doing Princess Esmeraude's makeup for the young woman's very first meeting with her betrothed, the mysterious Prince Demande, her attention to detail remained laser-focused. Her Princess deserved the very best, after all!

Of course, the young lady sitting before her retained her composure much better than her stylist. No one could accuse the Princess of being anything less than noble and lovely. The beautiful waves of kelly-green hair contrasted so nicely with the forest tones of her dress. She wore emeralds, just like her name. Koan appreciated that. Emeralds suited their lady so perfectly!

It was so strange to think that this hadn't always been her life. She loved being here, living in the castle at the center of the busiest city. This was "home" now—that other place, where she had grown up with her three older sisters, was somewhere she was glad to have left behind. Nothing ever happened there. Life was boring. By awakening to their mission as Guardians of the Princess of Nemesis, so much had changed! They lived in this amazing place, all of them together almost all of the time, with every last bit of everything taken care of, thanks to the Princess! If only she didn't have to attend lessons and training it would be utterly perfect!

"My goodness, Koan—calm down!" chided Calaveras, with a good-natured laugh. "If dear Emmy wasn't nervous already, all your bouncing around is going to make her be!"

"Have some herbal tea, child," suggested Petz, the eldest, gesturing towards a cup that had been left unattended on the tray nearby. Koan made a face at the suggestion; she wasn't as fond of mint as the Princess and her sisters clearly were. They all teased her about it, of course, insisting she'd like it if she were more mature. That was what it was like sometimes, being the youngest.

They were all gathered together in the Princess's chambers—fairly typical—while the rest of the castle bustled about to prepare for the visitors. With the level heads and attention to detail from her two eldest sisters, there wasn't much left to be done today. They provided an excellent framework and timeline to support the receipt of these important guests, eager to alleviate some of the stress from Princess Esmeraude's shoulders. Still, this was extremely important—the marriage between the Princess and the foreign Prince Demande had all sorts of political significance that Koan was happy to ignore. Serious discussions like that put her right to sleep. The part she cared about was the romance!

"I think I see the ship," commented Berthier, standing at the window. She exchanged a brief moment of eye contact with Koan, along with a shared smile. They were closest in age, which had resulted in a particularly close relationship. Even if Berthier didn't speak up when Koan voiced her own excitement, she knew that her white-haired older sister felt just as thrilled as she was.

Her violet eyes were more like stars as she clasped her hands together, sighing deeply. Someday she wanted to fall in love, too! She wanted to have a handsome prince arrive dramatically and sweep her off her feet. Not only would he be gorgeous, which was obviously a requirement, but he'd have some kind of mysterious and dark past. Maybe a tragedy! But she'd prove that she could understand his tortured soul, so he'd open up only to her! He'd treat her like she was a princess herself, which of course she'd become when she married him! He'd spoil her with his riches and lavish her with his pure-hearted affection.

That was some version of what Princess Esmeraude was going to get, right? How could anyone not be enticed by such prospects?
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   16th April 2018, 7:32 am



The sound of metal screeching against metal made Rubea remember exactly why she disliked traveling. Being cooped up was one such problem, but the turbulence created when taking off and setting down made her feel ill to her stomach.

She was the first to exit the ship, pushing her way past the guards and royal officials and the like. She mumbled some excuse, Prince security or some such thing, but it was more for her own personal benefit than to look for potential attackers.

Though she looked for threats at the same time as stepping off the ship and breathing in the fresh air. She was a professional after all.

Running a hand through her cropped hair, Rubea glanced around, ruby eyes seeking anything that looked amiss. Her untimely exit caught the attention of a servant—or whatever he was—who looked at her in uncertainty. Perhaps he was offended by her wrinkled clothing.

Or it could have been the large curved sword strapped across her waist that gave him pause.  

Rubea raised an eyebrow. "Oy, the prince has arrived. Tell your princess."

She could tell by the footsteps behind her that the Prince was now exiting the ship. "Scaring the help already?" he said in that even tone of his. Calculating silver eyes watched as the Nemesis servant bowed and walked quickly away.

"Just doing my job." Rubea turned to grin at him. "Gotta make them fear me, right? How else am I to properly protect you?"

Demande looked unimpressed, but Rubea was certain she saw a small twitch of his lips. It was, after all, her unconventional ways that had helped her rise in the royal guard so quickly. It had been what drew Demande to choose her as his personal bodyguard.

She once had thought it was simply because she was irresistibly sexy—who wouldn't want her around all the time?—but soon learned that Demande wasn't the type of man to get caught up in that kind of thinking. And she respected that. It was one of the main reasons she'd accepted the offer. It wasn't often she'd give her respect to anyone.

"So what now?" she asked, stretching. A part of her wanted to go find the nearest bar or tavern and have a strong drink to help her get the last of that traveling discomfort out of her bones. Maybe find a fight or two to gauge the general fighting style of those from Nemesis.

But, 'official business' and all that. Plus, Saphir wouldn't let her hear the end of it if she took off now.

Rubea couldn't care less about meeting the princess or her entourage, but she did want to be there in order to make sure this wasn't some carefully planned trap. She typically didn't trust anyone, and other Royal families were at the very top of her list.

"Now?" Demande repeated. "I suppose we meet my future bride."

His voice was as level as ever, with no real tonal shift to give away his emotions. But Rubea didn't get far in her job by being unobservant. She noticed the hard set to his jaw, the way his arms were straight at his sides. She might have chalked it up to nervousness but that didn't seem right. Perhaps unwillingness? Not that she blamed him. Arranged marriages seemed like a crap deal for everyone involved.

Saphir had tried to explain to her just how important this match up was, but Rubea tuned him out just like most of their other conversations, so she didn't remember the particulars.

"Alright." Rubea grinned again, meeting the Prince's gaze. "Let's hope she's a beauty, at the very least."

The Prince didn't quite roll his eyes—he was far too proper for that—but Rubea counted it as a victory anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   17th April 2018, 9:25 am



Final touches had been applied to Princess Esmeraude only moments before one of the palace staff members informed them of the Prince's arrival. Of course, by that point they already knew it. Berthier's keen eyes had picked out the ship's descent, and even the eldest girls eagerly crowded in the window to watch the arrival. Only their princess kept her distance, feigning disinterest. Her guardians and best friends kindly exchanged knowing smiles, ignoring the tension in her hands that betrayed her nervousness, and did not insist that she had to come watch with them—although they did blithely chatter about what they saw and thought. No one dared admit that the emerald young woman had crept closer and closer with each comment, and they didn't say a thing when they parted slightly to allow her a bit of a view.

Now they waited in the formal reception hall, each wearing her attire as a royal lady in Princess Esmeraude's court. Koan could barely keep herself still. She fidgeted from foot to foot, practically dancing in her high heels. When the bouncing of the dark-haired girl became too distracting, Calaveras nudged her. Koan pouted, but did her best to maintain slightly more decorum. How were the rest of them able to stand so still when something so exciting was about to happen?

The violet eyes glanced over towards Princess Esmeraude, waiting in the center. Koan stifled a happy sigh, pleased to see that her choices in tones looked perfect even in this different lighting. If the Princess had been anyone else, Koan would have felt jealous of her beauty. Yet knowing her so well, instead it seemed only fitting that someone with so lovely a heart would have such a beautiful appearance. Of course her Prince would be completely smitten with her. How could anyone not be?

Ohhhh, why weren't they here already? Tonight there was going to be a grand ball, another marvelous event, but first this initial meeting was required. It had something to do with formal traditions of Nemesis and the way that upper-class people behaved... Petz tried to instruct her sisters on the rites, but Koan hadn't been paying attention. Her daydreams had taken her somewhere else, thinking about what it would be like to be royalty herself and responsible for those kinds of traditions. She understood the bare minimum for what was required of her right now—stand next to Calaveras, don't talk, and curtsy politely when everyone else curtsied.

A fanfare jolted her back to reality.

"Presenting their Royal Highnesses, Prince Demande and Prince Saphir!"

Koan blinked. Two princes? How had she missed that? Did that mean... she could wind up with a prince of her own after all?
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   8th May 2018, 10:40 am



Saphir had demanded she change into formal Guard attire for this first meeting. He'd mentioned she could wear whatever she wanted for the ball later tonight, but this first meeting at the reception hall had to be done in a precise manner.

And showing up in her "ratty beat-up casual wear", as Saphir had so lovingly put it, wasn't going to work.

Rubea saw the sense in that. As averse to formal attire as she was, it wouldn't do well to give a bad first impression. She didn't care what these people thought of her personally, but for the sake of her Prince, she'd switch into the stiff coat and pleated pants.

For a little while, anyway.

She stood behind the two princes, waiting for the cue to enter the reception hall. A fanfare trumpeted throughout the hall a moment later, and the princes began move forward.

It was kind of comforting to see that even in a completely different place, Royals still held a love for the frivolous.

As she followed behind the two of them, Rubea kept a casual pose, giving the air of nonchalance while retaining a rigid and proper stature. Anyone with a trained eye would have noticed that her hand wasn't just idly hanging by her hip. At a moment's notice, she'd be able to draw the ceremonial Guard's sword from its overly decorated scabbard with deadly speed.

She glanced around the hall, checking for anything out of the ordinary. Nothing stuck out at her, besides the normal pompous feel about everything with its extravagance and needless refinery, and so she allowed her gaze to finally make its way up towards where the Royals were located.

The woman front and center was obviously Princess Esmeraude. Even if she hadn't taken the place of honor, her demeanor gave her away. She held about her an air of elegance that you didn't see in most people. Her hair fell in waves of bright silky green and her eyes were as faceted as her namesake.

Impressed, Rubea wished she could see her Prince's face in this moment. She hoped he was pleased with what he saw. But, knowing him, there would be no outward emotion on his face right now. He would be at the height of his practiced decorum.

Esmeraude was surrounded by other women, members of Esmeraude's court, and although Saphir had attempted to brief Rubea on each of them beforehand, she couldn't recall which was which.

Each were pretty in their own right, but they didn't hold nearly the same air of power as their sovereign. Still, there was something in their stance that gave her pause. Something more than all the other empty-headed court members Rubea had observed.

Another fanfare trumpeted within the reception hall, heralding another announcement. "Presenting the heir to Nemesis and the wielder of the Malefic Black Crystal, her Royal Highness, Princess Esmeraude!"

It was here that Rubea and the rest of Demande's own court were expected to curtsy and bow. As they all pulled up from the gesture, Prince Demande took another step forward, head still bowed low in a sign of reverence. "Thank you, Your Highness, for receiving us in such a fine manner." His voice was as cool as ever, void of anything other than complete politeness. "I hope this meeting will be a great beginning for us both."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   8th May 2018, 11:32 am



She couldn't turn her head to watch Princess Esmeraude, but she knew exactly what her Princess must look like. She would return the most elegant bow from Prince Demande with her own perfect curtsy. After all, their sovereign was far from just a pretty face. Even as a child, her tutors spoke nothing but praise for her training. In her maturity as a young woman, she exemplified what was expected from royalty. Koan couldn't have felt prouder.

"A goal we share," Koan heard the Princess respond. "Together, I hope that we shall bring prosperity to both our kingdoms. Thank you for joining us today. We will continue to honor you with a celebration this evening, however, I am sure that you and your people are exhausted from your journey. Please allow us to show you to your quarters that you may refresh yourselves before then."

The "us" in her final statement obviously referred to the stewards who had moved forward, genuflecting before the travelers. It would have been improper for the Princess and her ladies to do this task personally, although the young violet-haired woman particularly detested that restriction at the moment.

The girl swooned over the handsome Prince Demande, not truly a crush—after all, he was promised to the most worthy woman she knew—but merely an appreciation for his handsomeness and regal bearing. They didn't know much about him, but Koan was already set to peg him as absolutely perfect for the Princess. Those beautiful blue eyes flashed like fire, like the hottest part of the flame. His alabaster attire perfectly suited him, just a shade or two different from his silky hair, avoiding a "matchy-matchy" look that she found very unbecoming on men.

The other prince, who seemed much quieter, shared some of those good looks. They shared a bone structure in their faces that pointed to brotherhood. Prince Saphir carried himself well, and although he had a different type of good looks than Demande, good looks he still possessed. She could have easily carried a candle for this quiet young man. Perhaps he was just looking for someone to understand him. Maybe that could be her... wouldn't it be amazing to find herself related by marriage to Princess Esmeraude? They'd be even more like sisters than they already were!

The violet eyes that scanned the crowd intended to skip over the others in the procession... but they halted on the figure in red. Koan felt strange and slow, as though time had stopped, somehow. Her heartbeat echoed in her ears. Yet this was no handsome man, but instead a fierce and handsome woman. Standing at her position behind the princes, Koan guessed she acted as bodyguard. The dazzle of a ceremonial sword at the hip seemed like a confirmation.

When she looked up to inspect the woman's face, their eyes met. That deep, rich red hue... she felt like she had never seen anything so intense.

The girl quickly glanced away, feeling her cheeks burn, but she resisted the urge to move and embarrass her Princess and her sisters with her lack of propriety. She couldn't wait for the staff to lead the team away. She had been so interested in them, but now she just wanted to hide.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   8th May 2018, 8:41 pm



Rubea watched the Princess's face as she spoke, taking in the details of every expression. It was a tough face to read, however, as Esmeraude was what every Royal hoped to be. Rubea studied that face, wondering what kind of woman Esmeraude truly was under the regal facade.

It seemed that she and Demande would make for an interesting, if somewhat dull, pair.

"Your hospitality is most kind." Demande responded. He gave another bow. "Until tonight." He turned then and began to follow the stewards towards the exit of the reception hall.

Rubea waited until her Prince was past her, intending to take the proper place at his back. She glanced once more at the head of the room, looking to Esmeraude whose face was impenetrable, then to the others standing at her flank.

Violet eyes caught her own in a sudden trap, the depths deep like a pool of amethyst. There was curiosity there, and something else. Innocence, perhaps. It was difficult to tell as the gaze quickly turned away.

Rubea raised an eyebrow, curious despite herself, as she took in the owner of those violet eyes. Purple hair twisted into elaborate shapes sat like a crown upon her head, the rest of her hair loose to fall into voluminous waves around her. Her attire was befitting her station and her makeup was done to perfection.

Rubea didn't have the luxury to try and puzzle out more as she needed to follow her prince. She'd already fallen a few steps behind as it was.  

Things were mostly quiet as they moved through the castle. The stewards gave them general directions of where to find things and Rubea made a mental note of all the important landmarks. Truthfully, she just wanted to get to her own quarters and out of these uncomfortable clothes.

Finally they reached the correct place and the stewards bowed their goodbyes before leaving completely. Rubea glanced at her Prince's face for the first time in a while, attempting to read the emotions hidden behind his calm demeanor. Saphir, on the other hand, was easy to figure out. The darker haired brother appeared tired and even a little frazzled.

"Rubea, take this time for yourself," Demande said, halting any thoughts of other conversation. "Relax, eat, rest until tonight." And with that, he turned into his own quarters without another word.

Rubea stared after him for a moment, before sliding crimson eyes to glance at the remaining prince. Saphir also stood still, eyes trained where his brother once stood. A moment later, he glanced at Rubea as he reached a hand towards the door handle to his room. "Don't be late."

Well, he was in a mood, wasn't he?

Utterly dismissed, Rubea crossed her arms, trying not to feel annoyed. As much as she might like Demande and even Saphir, sometimes even they rubbed her the wrong way.

"Pah. Royals," she cursed under her breath. Nothing much left to do except retire to her own quarters, it seemed.

~~~

She'd spent the time doing as her Prince had suggested: relaxing, resting, and snacking on the bits of fruit on display in her room. She wasn't certain if they were there for consumption or decoration, but Rubea wasn't the type to leave a useful thing go to waste.

Besides, it had been a tasty apple.

Now she was putting the finishing touches on her outfit for the celebration. It was made entirely of vibrant red fabric that cut across her bust for a sleeveless top, and ended in leggings. The rest of the fabric was gathered at her hip and shoulder, creating a cloak and skirt hybrid.

Rubea quite liked this outfit, for its appeal at being comfortable, but still giving the air of an elegant gown without too many skirts catching on her legs.

Plus, she looked good in red.

She'd been promised a night of merriment and fun, and she was expecting Nemesis to deliver. It would be interesting to see what this place truly had to offer for entertainment. What kind of people were these Royals, anyway? Was Esmeraude truly as powerful as she first appeared? What was it that she saw in the stance of those women behind Esmeraude? What had those violet eyes been seeking?

She'd enjoy trying to figure out the mystery.

As she finished buckling the last strap on her heeled boots, Rubea slipped a dagger into a small space under the folds of her side skirt. Just in case.

OOC:
 

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   9th May 2018, 5:54 am



"Koan, really! Oh, look what you've done!"

The expression that turned towards Calaveras looked dazed, the cheeks and nose slightly pink and the eyes unfocused. The brunette reached forward with concern, the annoyed expression melting from her face. She slid the back of her hand across her youngest sister's forehead, and the dark-haired girl closed her eyes to appreciate how cool and soft it felt. The elder girl leaned back, hand on one hip, no longer upset about the stain on her new dress from where the other girl had upturned a glass of wine.

"Honey, are you okay? Do you feel sick? You're slightly warm..." Calaveras asked, golden highlights visible in her amber eyes. Her delicate eyebrows furrowed together as she turned to Petz, who had leaned over to see what was going on. The taller woman with the dark, foresty hair peeled off one glove and repeated the action. Koan hadn't even moved.

"Well, she's always warm," Petz replied, sighing and replacing the glove. "How do you feel?" She addressed this to the girl in violet.

"Fine," Koan replied, the voice soft and eyes still looking somewhere else. "Don't worry about it."

The two older sisters exchanged glances. They were definitely going to worry about it.



Thankfully the teenager seemed less out-of-sorts by the time the group was needed in the ballroom. Koan's eyes glittered as she took in her surroundings. She loved parties like this, and they didn't have them as often in the castle as one might think. There had to be the right kind of occasion—and this finally qualified! So many flowers decorated the room that the perfume almost overwhelmed, but thankfully it stopped just short. The orchestra filled the air with lovely music.

It wasn't just one room—the ballroom provided an area for dancing or socializing, with several connected parlors to offer seating or other gaming amusements, and a large dining area easily reached from a corridor below the grand staircase that important visitors entered through, heralded. If she concentrated, Koan could smell the rich aromas of the repast for the night—the height of culinary greatness of Nemesis catered for the Princess. She wondered if their guests would be impressed. Princess Esmeraude had been explicit in her desire not to copy the cooking from Prince Demande's home, lest they embarrass themselves with poor imitations.

When the Princess arrived, now in her formal ballgown, Koan clasped her hands together and sighed. She couldn't wait to see the Princess dancing with her handsome Prince. It would be like watching a scene from a fairy tale!

She tried to imagine herself dancing, perhaps with the quieter of the two, but in her imagination Prince Saphir didn't look quite right... There was something about his eyes... Why did they seem to glow like rubies? Koan shrugged, shaking her head. Perhaps, if he asked her to dance, she wouldn't have to worry about flaws in how she envisioned it.

The staff milled about—the hour had almost struck for the celebration to begin—and Koan once again obediently joined her sisters for the reception line. They'd have to stand and smile while the Princess greeted those who arrived, but once that formality was over she could really enjoy how marvelous this party was! Ooooooh, she couldn't wait!
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   21st May 2018, 9:53 am



The two princes looked good in their fine clothing, pressed and polished. Rubea followed behind them as Prince Demand lead the way, but even she had to admit that they looked well and properly "Royal".

Not that Demande was one to ever look less than perfectly polished, but there was an extra bit of shine to him right now. Surely even Princess Esmeraude would find something to like.

They were standing before the entrance to the ballroom, guards stationed at the sides. Rubea wondered for a moment how they would react to know a dagger currently lay concealed amongst her skirt. She smiled, a cutting expression. She could take them, dagger or not.

As Demande moved forward to be received once more by the Princess, Rubea let her eyes wander around the ballroom. She was tired of the formalities, the stiff interactions. So far, there'd been nothing at all to bring any kind of redeeming quality to this place. Surely there was some kind of life to be found in this kingdom.

But as red eyes swept across the assembled court, nothing seemed to spark at all. Everything was in its place. Perfect. Exact.

Sterile.

She found herself glancing back towards the head of the room, the place where Esmeraude and her entourage were currently situated. She looked past the Princess and instead sought out violet eyes. The girl looked just as dazzling as the rest, but it was those violet eyes that held far more interest. She'd only held that gaze for a single moment before the girl had looked away earlier, breaking the trap. She'd need to find something to entertain herself with while the Prince was off trying to bridge a gap between himself and the Princess.

And those violet eyes held just enough mystery to actually be of interest.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   21st May 2018, 11:20 am



He heart thudded in her ears. She could feel it fluttering in her chest, like a caged bird beating itself against the bars. Her dark eyes locked with those that seemed to flare with their own internal flame. It called out to her as if it knew she possessed a heat of her own, embers aglow within her soul. She felt suddenly aware of her role as Sailor Inferno, moreso than usual, as though something tried to draw upon her powers without her consent. She would have turned towards Princess Esmeraude, to check that the Princess wasn't calling to her Sailor Crystal somehow, but she couldn't look away.

The eyes that held hers... they fascinated her.

And yet, she almost felt like they saw too much of her.

It spurred that sensation from before, and something within her called out to run—to flee. She steeled herself; forced herself to remain in place, as required. Her gaze, inquisitive and wondering, remained elsewhere. A guest or two passed by, receiving the socially-required greetings from everyone in the royal party except the youngest. She finally looked away when Berthier nudged her. The icy-haired young woman managed to do so much more discreetly than some of the others would have. Koan didn't see the two eldest sisters exchange worried glances. This time, she kept her focus on the wall ahead of her, curtsying as required and repeating the same phrases when necessary.

Her mind was elsewhere, occupied entirely by the two Princes and their entourage. Beautiful crimson eyes seemed to watch her from every direction. She tried to act like nothing was amiss, but her sisters could tell that something kept the teenager distracted. Koan merely focused on surviving the reception line.



She managed to pull herself away, both from the party as a whole and the inquiring eyes of her sisters. She didn't want to discuss this. There was nothing to discuss, wasn't there? She felt warm—the young woman usually felt warm, but this time it was almost oppressive. The massive ballroom felt constricting, suffocating.

She thought again of those eyes. She felt like they were still on her, recording her movements. She felt exposed in a way she didn't understand. She just wanted to be somewhere else, without the scrutiny of the high-society guests. How strange—usually she reveled in this kind of event. Tonight it just felt... different.

The girl in violet felt thankful to call the castle her home—she knew exactly what route would take her past the fewest people. Her sisters weren't around to reprimand her, so she snuck down the servants' passage, knowing it would have no guests and few staff members in the direction she headed.

When she emerged in the gardens, Koan took a deep breath, soaking the night air into her lungs. It cooled her skin, and she stretched her arms to welcome it. She could hear the murmur from the party, as several doors from the ballroom opened to a large balcony area that overlooked the royal garden. Perhaps she could find a vantage point to watch for a bit, unobserved, until she had to return.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   22nd May 2018, 12:04 pm



The celebration was proving to be just as boring as she had feared. From the stilted conversations to the prim and proper dancing, it was utterly devoid of any sparkle of real life.

She stuck around as long as she could bear it, watching over her Prince as her duty dictated. But the ivory-haired man was caught up in conversation with his new Princess, and seemed content to stay where he was for a while longer.

In all of the time that had passed, Rubea had yet to find anything amiss. No nefarious ne'er do well to vanquish. No carefully laid traps to spot. No reason to draw out her dagger from its concealed spot.

A pity.

A good brawl would really liven up the place.

Rubea leaned against the banister, arms resting on the flat marble, a cool drink held in her grasp. The air was cool outside—a welcome reprieve from the stuffy oppressive feeling found inside of the ballroom. She took a sip from her beverage, enjoying the way it burned down her throat. She couldn't remember what it was called—didn't really care—but it was alcoholic and strong, and that's all that mattered.

She thought then, of the violet eyes. Rubea had watched the girl with the violet eyes just as carefully as she did her Prince, but with her escape to the veranda, she'd had to give up on her observations. At least for now.

There was something there, she could tell. Something worth investigating. But the girl with the violet eyes was always surrounded by others, always focused on other things, flitting from one place to another like a little bird.

Rubea took another deep draft from her glass, the liquid turning gold in the dim light.

Movement caught her attention and her hand instantly dropped down towards her thigh. Just a small gesture and the concealed dagger would be in hand and ready. Instead of a would-be attacker, the movement turned out to be something even more interesting.

The girl with the violet eyes.

She seemed to be basking in the night air, arms spread out before her. Rubea smiled at the relief in that single gesture. That, at least, she could understand completely.

Rubea downed the rest of her beverage and left the empty glass on the smooth surface of the banister, and then walked closer to the girl with the violet eyes. She kept her steps light and quiet, a skill born from a childhood of strife and then perfected through training. She didn't want to scare the other away, after all.

She stopped only a few steps away from the girl, watching for a moment longer, a smooth smile gracing her lips. "What is a little bird like you doing out of her gilded cage?"

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   22nd May 2018, 12:41 pm



If her sisters had been here, they would have chided her for not paying enough attention. "As a guardian of Princess Esmeraude, we should always be alert to danger!" she could imagine Berthier stating, shaking her finger. It would be paraphrased from something Petz had said, of course. She took this the most seriously, and Calaveras didn't need coaching for any of that. It was always Koan on the receiving end of that feedback. Judging by how easily this newcomer had snuck up on her, they were correct in giving it.

"What is a little bird like you doing out of her gilded cage?"

She turned towards the unknown voice, feeling her ball gown swirl around her body, and looked up... to see the same crimson eyes that had been haunting her.

It was that woman from before, her lean form silhouetted in the darkness of the gardens. Koan hadn't seen her so closely in their brief previous encounter, but even in the dim light she felt struck by her beauty. Starlight highlighted the lady's fine, precise features, showing off their balance of masculine and feminine handsomeness. Unlike her usual feelings besides her beautiful sisters or dazzling princess, Koan felt suddenly shy, almost ashamed, standing before someone with so much presence.

"I..."

She felt unsure of what to say, an anomaly for someone so often described by others as animated and talkative. She might have told any other noble that this area of the gardens wasn't open for the party, but she felt her usual bravado abandon her in this situation. She couldn't have the same openness now that she would have if her sisters had caught her here. Somehow, she felt pressed to respond honestly.

"I needed to get away," Koan replied, looking at the other woman, transfixed. "Why are you?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   1st June 2018, 4:39 pm



She watched with a keen gaze, taking in every slight adjustment in those delicate features, every movement of impossibly violet eyes.

Everything about this girl drew Rubea in, itching to figure out the secrets of this little pretty bird. Soft waves of hair typical of most noble fashion choices, but partly done up in an intricate style that demanded attention. She wore baubles and jewels like most other members of court, but they didn't look quite so pompous and out of place on this girl. Dress voluminous and flowing, a whisper of a gown, but the girl held herself with some command, some inner strength that was easy to see if you knew where to look.

Such a dichotomy between soft and hard, weak and power. How could one person possess so many different qualities? And, Rubea wondered, which was the truth?

The little bird's voice was as pretty as her eyes and when Rubea realized she was staring as the girl awaited an answer to her question, Rubea grinned, easy and comfortable.

"I'm not one for cages, gilded or otherwise." She glanced away to look up at the night, crossing her arms across her chest. "Out here... it feels much more comfortable, don't you think? One can actually breathe without causing a ruckus and inciting a full out war."

She looked back at her companion, eyes searching. "So, does the pretty little bird have a name?" Her grin widened, knowing she was being impudent to keep pressing this nickname—no matter how much it suited—and that, if Saphir ever caught wind of this conversation with a member of Esmeraude's entourage, she'd never hear the end of it.

Still, she only smiled more, unphased, almost daring the other girl to comment on it.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   11th June 2018, 6:46 am



Koan stammered and blushed under that gaze. Her self-assuredness felt stripped away out here, almost enough to make her shiver—although, of course, she wasn't cold. Not this young woman with embers in her heart. But she couldn't shake that feeling, the one that had first arrested her when she saw the woman's crimson eyes—the persona she tried to craft, the image she so carefully upheld, this person saw through it.

When Rubea called her a bird, she felt like one—like prey, hypnotized by a predator.

"Koan," she replied, her voice hesitant. "And you are...?"

She didn't realize how much she wanted to know the bodyguard's name until she asked the question. Amethyst eyes locked onto those of garnet, searching. Who was this woman?
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   5th July 2018, 6:26 pm



The fact that the little bird did not react at all to the liberties taken and decorums ignored in this conversation made it all the more interesting. Especially as heat clearly reddened that fair skin, so the words weren't just simply ignored or misunderstood.

Rubea wondered how far she could push it before her own impudence would receive a verbal response.

"Koan," she repeated, the name foreign on her tongue. She smiled then, enjoying the sound of it. "Seems fitting, somehow."

She looked to violet eyes as she introduced herself. "Rubea is the name my parents gave me, the name I go by, but," she shrugged, posture languid, "call me whatever you wish. Matters not to me."

Her lips quirked up into a lazy grin. "So, what do little birds do when they want to 'get away' from the stifling restrictions of court life?" She paused with a thoughtful hum, turning crimson eyes skyward as she played at counting ideas. "Run to safety? Turn to drink? Find a certain kind of...companionship?"

With the last, she turned her gaze back onto Koan, grin cutting into something sharp and teasing.

But she didn't leave the words hanging, relenting her attack as she continued. "Myself? I prefer to find a nice crowded bar. One can always easily hide away from the world within the overindulgence of others." She let out a small amused chuckle. "But then, finding a drunkard to brawl with works wonders, too."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   6th July 2018, 7:18 am



Rubea. So that was her name.

Koan found it as foreign and alluring as the other woman had pronounced her own. It, too, was fitting: a ruby, like a drop of crystallized blood, and this person, with the dangerous allure of a sharp blade. Her attitude it made it clear that not only was she a bodyguard by trade, she preferred to settle things with fists rather than words. Her sisters would have been appalled. Koan only found herself more and more intrigued.

Although she bristled at the implications of companionship. She was a lady—guardian and friend of the most excellent and honored Princess. Surely this woman would not imply such a thing about those who associated with her own Princes?

The world Rubea talked of was course and rough. Perhaps it was the sort of thing she would have known, had she never been awakened to this destiny, but now it was distant and unfamiliar—nor did she desire it. Freedom differed from baseness. One she longed for sometimes, the other she would never stoop to. The words of the redhead conjured images of a bar, dusty and dark, filled with the stench of sour ale and the laughter of barbarians, but it was not a place Koan would visit. Yet, at the same time, she could understand how it could be this brash woman's haven.

"I find fresh air," Koan replied, and almost as if bidden the wind tousled her long violet locks.

Fire needs oxygen to burn, whispered a voice in her mind, but she did not speak it.

"And solitude."

She didn't intend her words as something to scare off the other woman, but as soon as they were out of her mouth she realized how easy it would be to take them as a dismissal. The teenager brushed a few strands away from her face and turned slightly away, her mind racing to find a way to avoid ending this interaction too soon. She glanced back over her shoulder.

"But company is nice, too. As long as it's not the simpering, false kind most of the 'fine people' have to offer."
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   6th July 2018, 1:08 pm



The words Koan spoke were short, to the point. Courteous, perhaps. But still something lingered in the air, something with a subtle edge that sparked and burned. Nearly impossible to notice if she hadn't known how to look.

Rubea couldn't quite pinpoint where this instinctive observation came from, only that she became more convinced the longer she stayed within this woman's presence.

There was more to this pretty little bird than what first met the eye.

Fresh air and solitude, was it? Rubea could respect that, understood it, even. There were certain nights where she would run and run until the only things surrounding her were trees and silence. Difficult to imagine the same of this woman, in her perfect make up, glittering jewels, and thin sweeping dress.

But at the same time... not so difficult at all.

Everything existed in duality with this one, it seemed. How intriguing.

Rubea raised an eyebrow at the last comment, the words holding an undercurrent within them that she hadn't expected. Was that bitterness she detected, or did her own feelings for court life color those words? "You'll find no deceit with me, little bird." She gave a short laugh. "And I downright refuse to simper."  

She stretched, lazy and unconcerned about the fact that the woman near her had mentioned solitude only moments before. Until the other spoke plainly her desire for them to part ways, Rubea wouldn't give up the first interesting conversation she'd had on this planet.

"I can see the appeal out here. Sky's kind of pretty." Despite this, her eyes sought violet, not the stars above. "I wonder, how long have you been a part of Esmeraude's court?"

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   9th July 2018, 8:57 am



When the other woman replied, Koan knew she didn't speak falsehoods. Her sisters would have chided her for trusting this stranger too readily, but she felt like she understood what Rubea said. There seemed to be unspoken context crackling in the air around them, filling in the gaps and adding light and colour to the woman's words. The redhead certainly looked too proud to simper and pander—that she felt sure even her sisters would believe. Perhaps it spoke something about the Princes that they had engaged someone like this as their companion and guard. Maybe they appreciated her bluntness as much as Koan did in this moment.

Then those ruby eyes turned away from the stars and focused on hers, so bright and clear, searing into her thoughts.

The question almost knocked the air out of her chest. Her arrival at the court—her origin as just another citizen from Nemesis—remained a closely-guarded secret. She barely remembered the official story used when she and her sisters first took the places that now seemed so natural. If he expected Koan to justify her current role and how she got it, it was not something she could be honest about. She'd have to tread carefully here—not just for her own sake, but for the Princess.

"It's all I remember," she replied, and that at least was more truth than anything else. "My sisters and I are fortunate to serve her."

That, too, was true.

"And you? What of the Princes you guard?"
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   3rd August 2018, 8:25 am



She watched Koan's every move. The close scrutiny reminded her of how she would keep tabs on an opponent, looking for every tell of what the opponent would do next. Parry? Lunge? Retreat?

Strange thoughts, honestly, considering that fighting with this girl was the last thing on her mind right now.

Still, there was a kind of battle going on here, regardless. Subtle, and made of words that rang out just as loud as clashing metal. Wordplay held no interest for Rubea, normally. A silly tradition meant for royals who wanted to feel as though they did something while others fought their battles for them.

But here, under the stars, with the air near electric, and violet eyes sparkling like amethysts, it was the most intriguing interaction she'd ever had.  

She could tell that Koan spoke the truth, but there was more to it than that. What words did this pretty little bird leave unspoken? For what reason?

Rubea didn't press the matter, accepting the answer as it was given. There'd be time later to delve for straighter answers. She'd allow the pretty little bird her secrets this night.

"Fortune found me as well," Rubea replied, for it was the truth. "Growing up on the streets left me with certain skills that got me into trouble from time to time." She laughed. "All the time, I suppose. I was good though, always found a way to get out of a pinch."

Pride colored her voice, but Rubea didn't try to hide it. She was proud of her origins. It didn't matter that she now lived amongst those she once hated. A person's upbringing said a lot about them as a person. "I became far too ambitious one day, when the Royals were holding some fancy ball. I decided that I would prove to everyone that I was the best thief around. I would steal from the Crown Prince himself."

She turned a grin towards Koan, expression mischievous and fond as she recalled the memories. "I was just a kid. Stupid, arrogant, and far too in love with my own skills. I thought myself invincible." She laughed again, realizing that most of that still rang true even today. "Only I could steal from the Prince and get away with it, I thought. Now, to my defense, I did successfully steal the jewel right from his pocket. He only caught up with me afterwards."

"But, he's a good man, that Demande. A bit boring at times, but what Royal isn't?" Rubea shifted her position, glancing back towards the celebration she'd left. The reminiscing left her unsettled. She was not one to often blather on for so long. "I've been absent too long," she said as she sought violet once more. "I should return."

Her duty called to her, but even from a distance, she already dreaded returning. Everything was calmer her, quieter, with a companion as pretty as she was engaging. "If you decide to return to your gilded cage, perhaps we can speak again." She smirked, bold and flirty merged into one expression. "If you're lucky, I may even allow you to ask me for a dance."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   3rd August 2018, 11:49 am



She wasn't sure what gave her the courage to reply, but the words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.

"It will be you who shall extend the offer, should I allow it."

Her sisters would have had comments, but not criticism of her tone—despite constantly being nagged by any of them to keep her sarcastic or prideful quips to herself. This time, there was no haughtiness in her voice, although the words could have easily been construed as such. Nor was it said due to some kind of cultural expectation. All Koan could think about before the arrival of the guests was her desire to be treated like a princess, swept off her feet by a noble paramour. That wasn't her angle, either, not with this. It rang out instead as a challenge, a slight warning that the game in play wasn't tilted as solidly in the direction as the other player expected.

She looked deeply into Rubea's eyes, those eyes that glimmered like rubies in the dim light, an offer of encouragement despite the lack of fawning smile. With a slight curtsy, Koan turned, the skirts of her dress rustling like feathers, and swiftly exited. The palace was her home, and returning to the ballroom did not require she follow the usual paths. She easily discerned that her sisters and the Princess did not need her current attention, and made sure to occupy herself for the rest of the night in areas that the Prince would not deign to be in, trying to stay one step ahead of Rubea. After all, she had her duties, as well.

When Koan finally turned in for the night, kicking the frivolous heels from her aching feet and collapsing in the room shared with Berthier, she dreamed of the story the woman had told her. Her interest in the headstrong youth that featured in the dream blurred with other emotions—worries from her own relatively unassuming upbringing, a sense of longing and curiousity both drawing her near while something else, something more ominous, tried to warn her off without enough understanding to make sense of it. She awoke in a sweat, her head swimming with feelings and half-thoughts. Kicking the blankets aside and moving to the open window, she stood in the darkness of early morning, staring up at the moon, remembering the conversation.

Remembering those brilliant scarlet eyes.

The week that followed was abuzz with preparation for the wedding. There was much to do for Princess Esmeraude and her fiancé, much to do for the courtiers that seemed to have tripled in number since the arrival of the Princes, and much to do for the palace and the state as a whole. Koan went through the motions, following her sisters' instructions, but they chided her often for failing to pay attention or seem engaged. She felt agitated and distracted, but she couldn't vocalize why. She slept restlessly, clutching at the fractured memories of her dream, unable to hold onto them in her wakeful hours. Her mind remained occupied, thinking of one person; she poorly pretended it was not.

"What in the name of Nemesis is going on with you, Koan?" tutted Calaveras. "How could you have lost the sketches for the dress?"

The wedding gown had been one of her responsibilities. She worked with renowned designers from all over their planet, each hoping to be the one that graced the beautiful form of the Princess on that special day. Her sense of taste and style recommended her for the task—she had certainly selected looks for Princess Esmeraude on many occasions before. This time, complaints from designers and stylists reached her sisters' careful ears. She asked too many people to repeat themselves, confused outfits from one designer with those of another, and now... she had mislaid the three finalist selections only hours before the Princess herself would be reviewing them.

Koan felt the shame burn the tips of her ears, her cheeks already afire. She couldn't bear to look up, violet eyes focused solemnly on the stone floor.

"I... I just wanted to review them again," she muttered. It was a lame excuse, but not untrue. She had taken a stack of them with her, looking for a bit of peace and quiet to be sure of her choices. She couldn't really explain how she had returned to her room yesterday empty-handed and not noticed.

"What are we going to tell the Princess?" sighed Petz, rubbing her temples.

Temper flared in Koan, and she glared up at the accusing faces surrounding her. "You won't tell her anything! We don't meet with her until teatime! I'll find them—just you wait!"

She spun on her heel and ran out before anyone could stop her, the anger spurring her on. Everyone thought she was a screw-up, didn't they? Wasn't it enough that she hadn't lied about misplacing things? She told them she was going to look for it! Why did no one listen to her? It wasn't like they never got anything wrong sometimes! Did they really think they were so superior?!
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   16th August 2018, 12:47 pm



"It will be you who shall extend the offer, should I allow it."

An eyebrow quirked at the statement, even as her heartbeat sped up with excitement as she studied that delicate face. A perfectly executed parry, one Rubea had not foreseen ahead of time, pulled off by a skilled and beautiful opponent. What more could a girl ask for?

Rubea kept that steady violet gaze, unmoving, not breaking the connection as Koan dipped into a slight curtsy. She didn't look away as Koan turned and walked away, her waves of hair bouncy in the movement. Despite her admission that she needed to get back to her prince, Rubea remained still, watching the little bird disappear into the darkness of the night. Only the slight taste of perfume in the air a remnant that she'd been there at all.

Rubea stood there for several moments, mind oddly blank, before she finally turned to find her Prince.

As she returned to the bustle and chaos of the celebration, Rubea instantly sought out that vision of purple. Finding Koan amongst the other nobles was far more difficult than she would have thought, even with her keen eyes trained too look for the smallest of clues. It didn't help that she needed to keep Demande within her sights as well. Shirking her duties was only acceptable for so long before it turned to negligence. And as unreliable as Saphir thought her to be, Rubea did take her job quite seriously.

So she dutifully stayed near him through the rest of the night, though that did not keep her eyes from seeking a pretty little bird amongst the pigeons. Her prey, however, seemed unwilling to be caught.

It kept that way for the next week. It would have been impossible for Rubea to never see Koan amongst Esmeraude's entourage, but those instances were not conducive to further learning about the girl. But outside of those formal instances, Koan was much like the bird Rubea nicknamed her to be. A hint of purple spotted from the corner of her eye would be gone by the time Rubea turned to look. Waves of purple disappearing from around a corner, the hallway empty once Rubea caught up.

The chase left her frustrated, but equally excited. Rubea was not a stranger to such things, to this type of longing for she was not one to keep herself from indulging in whatever she liked, but those situations fizzled out into nothing mere hours after they'd begun. A fun time left forgotten in hope of finding something new. They were never like this.

This was something else. Something more. She couldn't get those violet eyes out of her head, the strength behind Koan's posture despite being clothed in dainty silks and lace, the quirk of challenge in the way Koan spoke. Distracting all different kinds of ways, leading Saphir to reprimand her more often than not. She was lucky in that, as a bodyguard, her only true involvement in the wedding process was security. She could conjure up security protocols and strategies in her sleep, which left her with plenty of spare time to ponder over the pretty little bird and the conversation that left her wanting.

Hell, she'd even give in and ask for that dance if it meant she could hold another conversation with Koan, to try and decipher those violet eyes again.

Except, she never got the chance.

Rubea spent most of her free time—times when Demande wanted privacy--wandering the palace and its surroundings. She kept an eye for that pop of purple, but never could she find Koan. As an outsider, she wasn't given complete open access to all of Nemesis's secrets, but it still helped in creating a mental layout of all the entrances and high-risk areas. Of which there were surprisingly few. No matter Rubea's dislike for royals of all shapes and forms, at least Esmeraude seemed capable in keeping her property safe from all but the most determined attacks.

Today she barely paid attention to where she walked, heeled boots click against the floor, her mind recalling the night of the celebration. So  caught up in memories that she could clearly see before her, it took Rubea a few seconds before she realized that what she currently stared at was not a spectre of a night long gone. It was Koan herself.

She moved through the hall, back turned to Rubea, as her waves of hair bounced with purpose. So similar to the exit of that night, Rubea could only grin. Luck always found a way, sooner or later.

Instead of letting her surprise show, Rubea colored her voice with calm confidence, and a hint of teasing. "Who let the pretty bird out of her cage again? Isn't it dangerous to go out alone?" She paused, grin widening. "You never know what sort of ruffians may be lurking about." She crossed her arms, intending to indicate herself as one such ruffian, but her devil-may-care pose was ruined as she quickened her steps to catch up with the other girl.

Koan proved herself resourceful and quick this past week, but now that Rubea had caught sight of her, there was no way she would let this opportunity slip by.

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   21st August 2018, 7:18 am



At first, she thought her sisters were following her. Who else would walk so brazenly, trying to approach her? Had they not been listening to anything from the argument only moments ago? Not enough time had passed for the flames of Koan's irritation to have quelled. She whirled around, fully expecting to see Calaveras or Petz, perhaps even Berthier, her mouth open to retort against whatever calming efforts her older siblings attempted.

But it wasn't them.

She froze for a moment, violet eyes startled, her mind whirling. In the confusion, she hadn't been thinking about Rubea. Funny, she had spent so many hours since the welcoming reception thinking about the crimson woman, and it was only in the moment where those thoughts were temporarily silenced that she found herself before her. This wasn't enough to douse the fire of Koan's anger, but the sense of surprise overwhelmed it in the moment, long enough to hear the taller woman's teasing commentary.

The girl quirked an eyebrow at the mention of danger, her eyes fiery.

"They ought to know better than to mess with me," she replied, the words sharp, but not a weapon intended for Rubea. The manicured hands at her sides were clenched in tight fists, Koan struggling to keep her temper in check.

Her mind and her heart whirled with feelings and thoughts at seeing the woman again. She felt both drawn to this foreigner and too aware of their conflicting duties to pull too close. The excitement at seeing the redhead who haunted her dreams clashed with her current predicament—the clock ticking down every moment as the appointed time to meet with the Princess approached. Out of all the times she could have run across Rubea, why did it have to be now? She couldn't stay here and banter as they had during the party. She was a member of Esmeraude's court and she had to find the sketches she had mislaid!

"My apologies, madam, but I'm busy at the moment," she stated, trying not to hiss, feeling herself start to sway too close to the side where she lashed out at anyone in her way.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   22nd August 2018, 9:36 pm



Her words bit, sharp as a knife, though it did not deter Rubea from her efforts at keeping Koan close. In fact, it intrigued her even more, to see such fire and thorns from this girl dressed in delicately soft cloth. Every time Rubea set eyes upon Koan, she saw that duality, that mix of soft and hard, delicate and coarse, frailty and strength.

But judging in this moment, only one of those sides was truly at play here. The fire in those amethyst eyes was something most people would recoil from, not wanting to truly get in the way of such evident power and poise.

But Rubea was not most people.

She heard Koan's dismissive statement, and promptly ignored it. Instead, she took a step closer.

"Busy?" she repeated, languid and at ease, though she did wisely keep a bit of distance between them. She was not afraid but she was also not stupid. Something powerful lay coiled within this girl, something that she couldn't quite figure out. Best not to get in too close, just in case Koan had any more surprises left to spring. "Surely all pretty birds get some time to relax?"

She crossed her arms, attempting to keep her grin from being too wide. Curious, playful, perhaps even cheeky, but with the caution of a warrior who did not quite know her opponent. "You always seem busy, you know. Every time I see you it's busy busy busy. Why don't you let me help you? Perhaps then you will not be quite so stressed."

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   24th August 2018, 6:37 am



Koan frowned at the woman, eyes still blazing.

"You're busy, too," she retorted. "You serve the Prince; I do the same for the Princess. It's not a life of leisure." Her tone was still sharp, passionate. She may not have been angry at Rubea, but flames don't care where they spread once they've sparked. Everything else gets caught in the moment if they're unlucky enough to be there.

The woman standing in front of her offered... help. Koan hated it. She hated it, because she wanted to prove she was independent. She wanted to be an adult, not the silly child she knew her sisters pinned her as. But adults didn't lose important documents because they couldn't stop daydreaming, right? She knew that. In this moment, she deserved their censure. She had earned it. Koan didn't live in the palace for fun or luxury, she lived here because she served Princess Esmeraude. If anyone was to comment on that now, she could't adequately defend herself against accusations of poor management.

The confusion and frustration bubbled up inside her, boiling over, and the next words from the teenager erupted like magma.

"I made a mistake, okay? I don't need to hear any more about it. I don't need you or anyone else to help clean up my messes! I'm not a child!"

She could feel the hot tears on her cheeks, and she didn't bother dashing them away. Her emotions spurred something inside of her, and she could feel the flames rising inside of her chest. Her heart burned, and Koan didn't realize how close she was inching towards betraying her abilities as Sailor Inferno. Even from a distance her body—usually high temperature—radiated heat like a furnace. She wasn't thinking about anything, not her role as a sailor guardian or her need to conceal it. Emotions overwhelmed all rational thought, and she felt like she was going to explode.

She didn't want to do so here, under the calm mockery of the woman who had haunted her dreams for days.

Koan choked down a sob and resisted the urge to lash out, turning on her heel and running.
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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   5th October 2018, 1:37 pm



Busy? Rubea served her Prince, that much rang true. But busy? Rubea couldn't think of a time in her life when she'd truly been busy. She'd had much to do in a day, and bodyguarding held its own unique difficulties from day to day, but she had never been the kind of busy she'd seen of maids and servants and other well-to-do people.

Emotions burst from Koan, her words striking with razor-edged truth and frustration. Rubea did not have the details, did not know Koan well enough to pick out the intricacies for what they were, but she did know enough to realize that this was something not born of simply one bad situation.

A lifetime lay buried within those words.

Tears formed within those intoxicating eyes, expression so full of flame and anger, it was a wonder those tears did not evaporate into heated steam. Strange, too, that despite the respectable distance between them, Rubea could swear the woman practically radiated with warmth. As if the fury of her frustrations had been given form within her very heart, radiating from her body like a magical aura.

Strange, indeed.

Before she could say anything in response—Rubea wasn't even certain what the right response was in this situation. She talked a big game, but words were not her forte—Koan turned heel and ran, all skirts and soft waves of hair and fury as powerful as magic.

Rubea's lips twisted into a frown. She hesitated for a moment before throwing caution to the wind. She gave chase to the girl with the amethyst eyes. A risk, she knew, as there was something more about this woman. She'd felt it from the first time she'd laid eyes upon her, but Rubea was becoming more certain with every passing moment within Koan's presence. But Rubea felt up to the challenge, felt a need to know more.

If Koan wished for a companion who allowed her to hide away, she'd need to find someone else. Years of training aided Rubea in catching up to Koan. The little bird was fast in her flight, but Rubea was capable enough to keep Koan well within her sights.

She'd said she wouldn't let Koan slip away so easily this time, and she'd meant it. Quickening her steps even more, Rubea reached out and attempted to grasp at Koan's arm, to still the little bird's escape.

Another risk. But what was life without a little risk?

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PostSubject: Re: [Advanced] Rift   19th October 2018, 7:08 am



She halted when the hand closed around her wrist, her stride interrupted not of her own volition. She could feel the fingers on her skin, and she knew it wasn't one of her sisters. When she ran, Koan hadn't been listening to the footsteps that thudded after her, although wasn't it like one of the fairy tales she had been chided for adoring? When the heroine flew off, eyes glittering with tears, didn't the hero chase after her? But this wasn't a story or a play—she hadn't run to be pursued. She ran to avoid another outburst, to give herself a minute with her own feelings. Koan felt sure she'd say the wrong thing if she reacted now, but she could also sense the certainty of the other woman's actions. She wouldn't be able to break free without a fight... and was that what she really wanted?

Her head swam with emotions and desires, so many undefined and others often conflicting. The flush that had overtaken her with the anger and frustration still smoldered on her skin. She hadn't stopped straining away from the grip that grounded her, but she hadn't moved. The outburst was over, but she wasn't yet the collected self she knew she ought to be presenting, especially to their honored visitors.

"L-let go," she protested, her voice feeble and choked, the flame smothered.
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