Heartstrings Ch1: Double TroubleA/N: I do not own the Pokemon Franchise, Pokemon Sword and Shield, or Piers.I just own Ivy Thornbury and any other OCs mentioned.Warning: Story contains scenes of violence, homelessness, bad language, mentions of sexual themes between Piers and Ivy, and Pokemon Abuse.Do not read if any of these make you uncomfortable.Heyo! I had a lot of trouble with this chapter, surprisingly, but I think in the end it came out pretty good! Ivy's finally reached her destination, I wonder what awaits her inside?Enjoy!The time had finally come...Ivy's purple trainers scuffed against the dirt path as she came to a halt in front of a massive tunnel leading to her destination. She was stood at the very edge of Route 9, staring at a place called Spikemuth, home of the seventh gym-leader in the championship circuit, and the home of many up-and-coming musicians throughout Galar's history. Said city had been partially closed off by a long set of shutters that had been held open by a massive metal pole which looked like it had seen better days, but was still sturdy all the same.Her Rotom phone slipped from her pocket and flew around her head, looking at her nervous expression for a moment before it snapped a picture of the tunnel. It then buzzed and floated up to her face, startling her out of her anxious thoughts as it showed a series of messages on its screen. "What is it, Rotom?" She asked, taking the device and swiping the screen to see said messages. Immediately she was bombarded with at least a dozen missed calls and texts from her parents demanding she return home or she would be disowned without any hesitation. These messages had been sent over the course of the morning, and she was more than sick of seeing the same threats over and over again.Sneering at the screen, she lowered her arm, looking back at the city hidden in the mountains. She had spent a full day riding the rails to get to Hammerlocke, and had even spent the night at the Hammerlocke station to ensure no wild Pokemon attacked her during her trek to Spikemuth. She may not have a lot of knowledge about living outside of her family's wealth, but she knew everything she could get her hands on about Pokemon.She preferred street smarts anyway, and living was best done in the moment.As if on cue, she hummed as her phone buzzed again and she lifted it to see what the newest threat was. However, her eyes widened as she read the text to herself, a short, capslocked series of bitter words from her father's phone. This was rare, as he usually asked her mother to text her if she was in trouble."SINCE YOU REFUSE TO FOLLOW OUR RULES, I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO CUT YOU OFF! YOU ARE NO LONGER WELCOME IN THIS HOUSEHOLD, LILY IS NOW MY ONLY HEIR! DON'T COME CRAWLING BACK ONCE YOU REALIZE HOW DIFFICULT LIFE IS WITHOUT US, BECAUSE I'LL TURN YOU AWAY AT THE DOOR."Ivy's eyes narrowed as she gripped her phone a little more tightly, not hearing its uncomfortable drones as she stared daggers at the message. She would be lying if she said that his words did not hurt in the slightest, it was hard losing your family and just reading that harsh text made her gut wrentch with anguish. It was not even the fact that she was losing her family that really bothered her that much, no, it was the thought of losing her sister, who would cut her off without a second thought thanks to her parents' influence.Swallowing the lump in her throat, she muttered an apology to her phone as she let it go, watching as it floated around her and back into her pocket nervously. With a deep breath, she took one last look at the strange city, then stepped forward, starting her journey the way she always wanted to.In Spikemuth, the original home of her favourite band, Roserade Renegade. If they could make a name for themselves in the most rundown city in Galar history, then she knew she could too.The short, young adult did nott even have to duck as she walked through the gap in the shutters, her eyes squinting shut as she adjusted to the darkness of the underground city. In mere moments, her sudden lack of light was cured as the sunlight in her eyes faded and the neon lights the city was known for finally came into view, lighting up a long street filled with dingy apartments, stained roads and ominous alleyways. There were people littered around the town, all a little rundown themselves with Pokemon by their sides, usually a dark-type by the looks of things, though there were a few Perrserkers around, a common Pokemon in Route 9.Immediately the stench of alcohol and cigarettes filled her lungs and she coughed, only to get distracted by the sounds of music coming from nearby radios and Rotom Phones. Unlike most who would have turned their nose and left at the strange surroundings, Ivy went from being nervous to letting a huge smile spread across her lips as she looked from one bold view to another. This was where she wanted to be, she wanted to start from the city known for its musical talents, and there she was at long last.Even with the harsh reality of being homeless and without a family, she could not quell the silent excitement she felt when faced with a true adventure, her own adventure, not one that had been planned for her before she was even born.At that moment, her stomach rumbled and she blinked, looking down at her empty tummy before she rubbed it with a grumble. "Need to find some shelter, I ain't eating out in the cold..." She muttered to herself, looking around for a place to sit and relax while she ate. In the distance around the many other bright lights, she saw the telltale neon sign for the Pokemon Centre and a grin crossed her lips. "There we are!" She kicked off towards the building, looking forward to eating what was left of her already battered lunch.However she skidded to a halt when she suddenly heard a Pokemon cry out, and some yelling from an unknown person, the voice sounding like that of a man. At first, she assumed it was a common dispute among the locals and their Pokemon, as fights were not uncommon in Spikemuth, but that soon changed when she heard the man yell again, then the pained cry of the same Pokemon. With concern and curiosity, the nosy teen peeked around the corner of an alley where the sounds were coming from and her eyes widened at what she saw.A man with black hair and blue highlights was stood over two small purple Pokemon that looked like little dinosaurs with bolts of white lighting shooting from the centre of their foreheads. Both these small Pokemon were terrified and clinging to one another as the man continued to berate them from above. "What kinda useless Toxels are ya?!" He snarled, stepping closer to the shy, nervous one, while the more outgoing growled and shuffled in front to protect the other. "Get outta my way, ya runt!"Suddenly the man swung his foot out and kicked the poor Toxel away, and Ivy snapped, she growled angrily and slammed her foot down. "Hey!" She roared, startling the man who spun around, only to leg it in the direction of the exit immediately after being caught. "Yeah, you better run, you asshole! Don't let me catch you here again, you hear me?!"The man skidded out of the open shutters, fearing what the locals would do to him if he was caught. Not many in Spikemuth would allow Pokemon abuse to go unpunished. Though Ivy would not learn that fact for quite some time.Letting out a huff of anger, she glared at the man's back until he was out of sight, before she turned her attention to the two Toxels he had left behind. The one who had been kicked was lying on the floor, bruised and battered, while the more timid one stood beside what she assumed was its sibling, holding onto the injured one's arm in fear of losing its only family.Her heart broke for the two of them and she stepped forward, only to falter when the weaker of the two started growling, shuffling forward to protect its injured family. "Hey, it's okay..." She cooed softly, crouching down as much as she could to assure the Toxel that she was not a threat. "I'm not gonna hurt you...I'm here to help, ok?"The little Pokemon's growl deepened as she slowly crawled closer and closer to the pair, worried for the other one's injuries. She could faintly make out a blue patch on the timid one's chest, while the other had a yellow patch. For ease, she opted to name them Yellow and Blue respectfully, just until she could find them a real owner who would give them more permanent names.However right now, her priority was to get Yellow to the Pokemon Centre. That scumbag had kicked it hard. "Look, I'm not with that guy..." She pointed her thumb in the direction the coward had ran in. "I just want to get you both outta here." Carefully, she reached forward to let the Toxel sniff her hand, but Blue was too scared and the moment she got close he snapped at her fingers, causing her to yelp and pull her hand back before she was bitten. "Aah!" She shrieked, checking her hand for a second before she looked into the eyes of the timid, yet protective creature.She did not know what to do, these Pokemon were barely old enough to understand human speech, let alone protect themselves if she were to leave them. Her eyes darted from left to right, hoping to see a trainer who could help her get them to safety, but sadly anyone within earshot did not even bother to look her direction, and she knew better than to ask for help from a complete stranger, especially when she had nothing to protect herself with.There was only one thing she could do.Slowly she sighed and steeled her resolve as she stood up. "Sorry about this, buds..." She mumbled, standing over them with her arms outstretched slightly, she needed to grab them before they could run or attack. "But you need medical attention, and I ain't in the habit of leaving a Pokemon to suffer...!" Suddenly she dove for the two, grabbing them in one fell swoop. However this action caused both the Toxels to panic and they sank their barely dangerous fangs into her exposed wrist and hand. "Aagh!" She ground out, chenching her teeth as a burning pain shot up both her arms. "Poison-types?! God dammit!"Ignoring the sensation of the poison pumping into her blood, she spun on her heels, still holding the two in her arms, despite their struggles and kicked off towards the Pokemon Centre, jaw locked and ready to grab them again should they escape her hold. Luckily, someone chose then to open the door and leave the building, and she shoved her way through when they panicked from the oncoming threat and dove out of the threshold, watching with wide eyes as she yelled out a 'sorry' during the whole ordeal."Nurse!" Ivy hissed, jogging to the counter in the centre of the room as both the shop keepers and the cafe manager watched her with the same expression the poor onlooker held before being forced to vacate the doorway. The nurse behind the counter looked mortified as she watched the two little creatures bite into the woman again and again."What do you think you're doing?! The poison from those Toxels, though painless at first, can cause severe harm in large doses!" She reprimanded, only for Ivy to shoot back a pained smile as her skin started to pale and sweat dripped down her forehead. Her body was burning up now."I don't give a damn about me, can you put these two in Pokeballs and heal them, please?!"The nurse made a hesitant noise, but one look in Ivy's lilac eyes told her how serious the situation was. With a nod, she looked at the shop keeper, who tossed two Pokeballs her way with a smile. "Thank you!" She called back to the man before she touched both Toxels with the devices, and watched as they were consumed by two red energy beams which then retracted back into their respective ball. Immediately the Pokeballs clicked and a green light appeared on the central button. Quickly the nurse spun around and put both devices into the machine behind her before she pressed the button.The moment the machine started working and she saw the health of the two Pokemon go into the green, Ivy relaxed and sat down, breathing heavily as she felt her muscles spasm. She all but jumped out of her skin when the nurse snatched her wrist in a tight grasp and shoved the sharp end of a syringe into her vein. "Ow!" Ivy complained as the yellow tinted fluid was pushed into her blood stream. "What're you doing?!""Giving you an Antidote!" The nurse snapped, which in turn made the young adult flinch back in surprise. "What were you thinking, bringing two wild Pokemon back here without carefully capturing them first?!""I, uh..." Ivy scratched her cheek with her free hand as the nurse placed a plaster over the needle mark. "I'm not a trainer...Yet."This made the nurse straighten up as her blue eyes went wide with surprise. "Then what were you doing with those two Pokemon?!" She sounded vaguely suspicious, and Ivy did not blame her, if someone was just carrying two Pokemon, she would assume they were stolen too."It's not what you think!" Ivy stated, raising her hands up in surrender. "I was just walking by and this guy, some asshole in an alleyway, kicked one of those Toxels! I didn't think I'd be able to catch them before they ran away, so I just picked them up and carried them here to get help!"The nurse hummed and stroked her chin. "I'll need to contact the authorities to ensure this story is true, is that alright?""Well, you were able to catch them, yeah?""Yes.""Then doesn't that prove they were abandonned, you can't catch trained Pokemon!"That was true. The nurse's pink brows knitted together and she glanced at the other shop owners in the relatively large building, who both shrugged and nodded. She sighed and placed her hands on the counter. "Alright, I believe you, but I'll still need to contact the police to ensure that the original owner is reprimanded for abusing his Pokemon.""Heh, I'd gladly give a statement as a witness!" She said strongly, pointing her thumb at her chest. "I ain't gonna let that guy get away with hurting those two babies! What kinda monster does something like that?!"This made the older woman smile and she turned to the machine, taking the two Pokeballs from inside. "I need to run some tests on these two to find out more information about them, do you mind waiting here?""Nah, go ahead...I wanna know if they're okay."The nurse nodded, looking at Ivy over her shoulder, grateful for her co-operation. She then walked behind a red column blocking the wannabe trainer from view and entered another room, closing the door behind her. After the door clicked shut, Ivy let out a sigh and crossed her arms against the counter, resting her chin on her folded arms. She looked tired, though it made sense considering what she had done in the past twenty-four hours. "I just hope they're alright..." She mumbled, straightening up as she rolled up her sleeves and looked at the various marks the Toxels had left.Even Yellow, who still had some fight in it despite suffering from such a viscious blow to the abdomen. Whoever that guy was, if she ever saw him again, she would kick him so he knew what it felt like to be that little Pokemon.The mere thought of that moment made Ivy's blood boil and she grimaced, hoping to at least bring them some justice by telling the police everything she knew and witnessed from the scene. Though she had to admit, her heart ached at the thought of those poor creatures being dragged away to another stranger, it was not good for them to be passed around so much, but she knew someone with more experience would be a better help to them.Her thoughts were broken when the door opened and she looked up to see the nurse walk around from behind the pillar, holding the two Pokeballs. "Well?" The young adult asked, clenching her fists. "How are they?"The nurse sighed. "While I was able to use a Pokeball scanner to find out the basic information about each of them, I couldn't perform a physical examination...They greatly fear humans, and given their age, that tells me they were raised by an abusive trainer..."Ivy clicked her tongue and glared down at the counter. "That bastard...!""Not only that..." This made her hum and she dragged her attention back to the nurse. "There were no electronic patterns in their DNA to match them to a trainer...It's likely they were born from eggs, but never given their own Pokeballs.""Doesn't that mean they were raised wild?""To a certain degree, yes...""Can't they go back to the wild then? Since they don't like being around humans?" The frown on the nurse's face told her everything she needed to know, and Ivy sighed. "Lemme guess, they're too weak to survive out there, huh?""Unfortunately so...They were raised by humans, despite never having a proper trainer, therefore they know nothing about surviving in the wild. If we were to release them, then they would likely be killed by the first predator that crossed their path."A hiss left Ivy's throat as she felt her entire bosy tense, she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to get that horrible image out of her mind. "Can't they be put up for adoption then? I know they hate humans, but it ain't their fault!"The nurse sighed. "I understand you want to help them, but there are very few trainers out there willing to take in Pokemon that attack them without provocation...It's likely they'll be released into the wild by the next person who comes along, or put up for adoption again and again...""So you're telling me...They ain't got a good future?"The nurse shook her head and the young woman with little life experience let her own head drop, staring down into her lap with her eyes wide as she tried to come up with something, anything, to give these two a life they deserved. She refused to believe they would have to suffer even into their next evolutions without someone to care for them.And that's when it hit her. Suddenly she stood up, startling the older nurse as she slammed her hands down onto the counter. "I'll take them!""Wh-what?!" The nurse placed her hand against her chest, standing in front of the two Pokeballs she left ontop of the machine, as if ensuring Ivy could not grab them, not that she would anyway. "These two are feral Pokemon with no trainer experience and a deep rooted fear of humans, if you take them in you'll be in here more often than a grass-type trainer looking for antidotes!""I don't give a damn!" Ivy shouted, her booming voice startling everyone in the building, even those who were outside just walking past. "I ain't gonna let them get scooped into a system they'll never get out of, and I ain't gonna let them step outside and get snatched away by some Corviknight looking for a meal! I'll come in all the time to get Antidote injections, I'll do whatever it takes to show them that not all humans are scumbags!" She then relaxed a little and frowned solemnly. Her heart ached for them so much. "Just please...Let me give them a home."The nurse stared at Ivy's pleading expression, then she looked to the other shop keepers, who all hesitated too. Then suddenly, the cafe manager spoke up. "I say she's got the potential t'make 'em see sense..." He started, petting his Indeedee who purred at his touch. "It takes someone strong o'heart t'promise somethin' like that.""He has a point..." The essential shop keeper started, looking over at his brother, who was polishing the TMs. "Didn't you adopt your Pokemon, Dave?"The almost identical man hummed and looked up, then smiled at the memory. "Oh yeah, I'll tell ya, me an' Krabby ain't ever been closer! She was a little rough around the edges when I got her too!""It seems everyone here believes you can handle this..." The nurse said, looking back at the two Pokeballs. "And I do agree that putting them into an adoption system wouldn't be fair on either of them...Are you sure you can handle the responsibility of caring for them?"Ivy brightened up at the question and slammed her fist into her chest, ignoring the pain her overly-excited reaction had caused. "I swear on my life as a Pokemon Trainer, I'll make sure they never go without!"This caused the nurse to relax slightly, her shoulders sagging as she smiled and turned to pick up the two Pokeballs. "Alright, both of them are Level 5 male Toxels with unique patches on their chests...The one with the yellow patch is a Impish natured Toxel, and the other is a Gentle Natured Toxel, if you ignore the fear he has against humans." She spun back around and placed both devices in Ivy's hands. "The nature of these Pokemon determines their evolutions, though I doubt you really care about that right now.""I'll get to that when it happens." The young punk-rock wannabe started, looking at both Pokeballs with a small smile. "Right now, I've gotta bond with them first!""Good luck, lass!" The cafe manager boomed, laughing at her rather energetic outlook on things, while his female Indeedee spun around excitedly, her purple and white fur glistening in the incandescent light."We're rooting for you!" Dave chimed in, while his brother gave her a thumbs up."And I hope to see you again soon to act as a witness to that man's horrible crimes." The nurse said, crossing her arms as she watched the young woman stare at the two Pokeballs in awe. "Do be careful about letting them out of their Pokeballs willy-nilly...They're wild and fearful, they will attempt to run away if given the chance.""Thanks, the last thing I want is for them to get hurt running away from me."Ivy lifted the two spherical devices up and watched as the light from the bulb reflected against the metal surface. Her small smile turned into a large grin and she felt her entire body tingle with excitement. She was a Pokemon trainer, and these two Toxels, despite being rough around the edges, were her starter Pokemon.Now her journey had officially begun.A/N: Thank you for reading, if you enjoyed this chapter, please review as it helps me improve and gives me the motivation to continue making awesome content!Ivy's TeamToxel (Y) Lv.5Toxel (B) Lv.5
With Love in Every Stitch“Knit one, purl two. Knit one, purl two.”Over and over again, Juvia was repeating the pattern aloud as she was knitting in her home. She was using light blue yarn to make a special sweater for her dearly beloved, Gray Fullbuster. A cerulean sweater had already been made for herself, and it was the perfect fit for her when she tried it on a couple of hours ago. In the midst of her knitting, Juvia fantasized about Gray’s reaction to her presenting his sweater: he would love it and would give her an amorous kiss as a thank you to her. It was like a scene straight from a shoujo manga, and it was that way every time Juvia had daydreams of her and Gray together.“Oh, my darling Gray…,” she sighed dreamily. “My sweater for you is made with love in every stitch, and when you wear it, it’s as if you’re wearing me!”At the Fairy Tail guild hall, Gray was hanging out with his friends Natsu, Lucy, Wendy and Erza at a table nearby the stage area. The two Exceeds Carla and Happy were also with them, enjoying their usual favorites of darjeeling tea and fish. Little did they know that Juvia was spying on them from behind a wooden pillar, holding a large bag that contained the sweater for Gray. She was wearing her cerulean sweater, and she was quite eager to see her beloved wear his matching light blue one. It would definitely make her day!As soon as Gray shifted his focus on the pillar, it turned out to be nothing. Juvia had slinked herself behind it to avoid being seen by him, and it was a close call for the Water Mage.He almost spotted me right away! she thought, her heart thumping out of her chest. Her hands firmly gripped the handles of the bag as she remained still like a statue and quiet as a mouse.“Hey, Gray,” Natsu’s voice said, grabbing his attention. “Are you okay? You seem to be out in space somewhere.”“Of course I am okay, Flame Brain,” Gray answered him with a frown. “I have a feeling that someone familiar is spying on me.”“Let me guess… the rain woman.”Juvia’s blue eyes widened in shock, horrified that Natsu’s guess was correct.She slowly peeked from behind the pillar and headed over to the table, butterflies fluttering in her stomach.“And here she is now,” the Fire Dragon Slayer said.“What’s up, Juvia?” Gray asked her. “And quit spying on me, will you? It’s making me feel uneasy every time you do that.”“Here,” she said, handing out the bag in front of her. “I made this especially for you. I don’t want my darling Gray to freeze from the cold autumn air!”“I’ll be fine… and it’s not that cold out tonight…,” Gray replied, and he took the bag from her and opened it up. As soon as he pulled out the sweater and held it up in front of him, his eyes lit up in surprise. Juvia could hardly believe it; she wanted her darling to react that way and it came true!“It feels… kinda soft,” he described, stroking the yarn softly. “And I like the color. What did you use to make this sweater?”“It’s made of yarn, with my love for you in every stitch!” Juvia answered with a sweet smile. “And it’s in your exact size! I did my best following your measurements.”“Gee, thanks. Anyway, I’d better—”“Please try it on! I want you to match my sweater!”“Oh, come on. Do I have to wear it right now?” the Ice Mage grimaced. “I don’t want to do the matchy-matchy thing with you in front of everyone! It’ll be embarrassing!”“Please??” she begged, her blue eyes twinkling like stars as a pout formed across her lips.Gray was hesitant to answer for a moment, but after thinking over, he finally answered with a sigh:“Fine, I’ll wear it to match you. But just for today, alright?”“Of course it’ll be for today, but I would love to do it again more often though!” Juvia chirped.Gray groaned roughly and he shook his head, mortified at the idea of wearing the matching sweaters with Juvia all of the time. On the bright side, though, the light blue sweater was just what he needed to bundle up from the frigid snowy weather when winter would roll around. He would have to thank Juvia for that the next time he would see her again, for as long as she wouldn’t make him feel uncomfortable with her spying.He slipped the sweater on, to Juvia’s excitement, and was given a tight hug by her with a round of kisses to follow. Who knew that love would conquer all—including the unpredictable weather patterns.The End
FbnL Ch7: A New PurposeA/N: I do not own Voltron: Legendary Defender.I just own Ziera, Colran, Sephiras, Janze and any other OCs mentioned in this fic that isn't canon.WARNING: Contains violence, death, racism, implications of sexual acts, Lance's flirting, and other things that may cause some readers discomfort.I can't believe it took me this long to post another chapter, luckily now that my university projects are over and done with, I have all the time in the world to keep writing, so I should get chapters out at a much faster pace.I hope you enjoy the chapter! Plus, if I've been inconsistent with the use of Ziera's nickname, please tell me, it's been a long time since I started this fic.Enjoy!"Wow..."Ziera let out a sharp exhale as she fell back onto the couch in the break room of the ship, staring at nothing in particular as she absorbed all the information Coran and Allura had given her. It was a lot to take in, and she was not really sure how to process so much at once. "So you're telling me Zarkon wasn't always an evil tyrant but was actually King Alfor's ally?" She looked up as Coran and Allura shared an uncomfortable frown. "And that Zarkon was originally the Black Paladin, therefore the leader of Voltron in its origin?""I'm afraid so..." Coran confirmed, his tone soft and solemn at the memory.Ziera sat there, reflecting on everything she was told, though it was not much, she was now on the same wavelength as the other paladins. Originally Zarkon had piloted the Black Lion and was Alfor's closest friend. However, he was poisoned by the Quintessence that powered his ships and kept him alive for ten thousand years, despite his species' lower lifespan. As a result, he turned on his once allies and destroyed Altea, forcing Alfor to disband Voltron and spread the lions across the universe to stop him from taking control of the greatest war machine history would ever create."That's...A lot to take in." She admitted, staring down at the floor. The more she heard, the more her heart ached for all those who suffered at the hands of Zarkon's cruel tyranny. Knowing what she did now, she wanted more than ever to end his vicious reign and free the universe from his grasp. She wished she knew a way to show the Galra working under him that they do not have to dominate the universe to survive, co-existence was an option.However, her frown deepened when she remembered that Allura herself did not believe co-existing was possible. Due to this, she thought it was best to keep her ideals to herself for the time being. She had only just gained Allura's trust, the last thing she wanted to do was rock the boat so soon. But she was relieved that both Keith and Shiro believed that they could all live peacefully should Zarkon be killed, and that there were rebellious Galra out there already fighting for peace themselves.And if she were to believe them, which she did, they had encountered someone from this rebellion already, a Galra soldier named Ulaz who sacrificed his life for them during a fight against one of Zarkon's 'Ro-Beasts.'She only wished he was still alive so she could thank him for helping them and giving her hope that they could all live in harmony. This thought motivated her strongly and she realized it was high time she found a purpose among the others, a way she could aid them without being a bystander in their battles.Suddenly, the Tylyrion stood up, startling everyone in the room with her quick, energetic movements. "Do you have any ships or pods aboard that you wouldn't mind being upgraded?" She asked bluntly, clenching her fists in front of her torso as she gave Coran, who had almost fallen during her movements, a bright, hopeful look."Wh-what do you mean?" Coran stammered out, looking comically flabbergasted by her question. He and Allura shared a look, and she stepped forward towards her new friend."Era, why do you need one of our ships?" She asked, arching a white brow curiously."I believe I know how I can assist you all in the future!" The female engineer stated, turning to the Paladins, who had been watching from behind the couch, each wearing their own confused expressions. "If I take one of the ships and upgrade it into a fighter jet, I could join you in the fight against Zarkon, rather than just watching from the sidelines, like I have been the entire time!"Lance cleared his throat. "Hey, uh...Piloting a fighter isn't as easy as I make it look, y'know." He pointed out, raising a finger as he proved his point. "You could die out there if you're not careful!""I hate to admit it..." Keith started. "But Lance is right, Watching someone battle and being in a battle are two totally different things. It's pretty dangerous, especially if you don't remember if you've ever piloted one before."Ziera deflated slightly as they spoke, but she did not let their words convince her otherwise. "I've been in fights before, I was the one that lead the Olkari into battle for the sake of their city! I can handle it, trust me..." She softened her stance a little, gripping at her pendant comfortingly. "I'm no stranger to war..."Shiro stared at her for a moment, then stepped forward, placing his robotic hand on her shoulder. "I understand your reasons, Ziera...But fighting on land is different from piloting a fighter jet."Ziera did not budge, instead, she just met Shiro's black eyes with her own ombre tinted orbs. "I'm willing to take all the training necessary to fly a ship if it means I won't just be sat here while you risk your lives for your beliefs."With those words, Shiro looked back at the other Paladins, then at Allura and Coran, all now convinced she would not budge. Allura however, stepped forward and touched Ziera's other shoulder, waiting as the Tylyrion survivor turned to face her. "Are you sure this is what you want, Era? The risks are almost as high as the casualties..." She frowned. "Are you sure you want to step into that reality?"Ziera smiled and squeezed Allura's hand reassuringly. "My entire family, my planet and my people are gone, Allura...You know how that feels just as much as I do...Would you sit back and watch as others fight for a future you want?"Allura and Ziera kept their gazes locked for a moment as Allura processed her words, she then smiled slightly. "You will be a valuable asset in our fight against Zarkon." She stated proudly, which in turn caused the feline engineer's ears to lift happily, glad someone understood her perspective."Are you sure, Princess?" Coran asked as the Castle's pilot turned to face him."Ziera has proven herself to be a loyal and trustworthy member of our cause, I see no reason to deny her request, given the aid she provided when Zarkon attacked."Coran hummed and closed his eyes, placing a hand under his elbow while the other stroked his mustache in thought. "I suppose you have a point. In that case, I can find a pod that would make a fine start to a ship."The way Ziera nearly bounced on her feet as her tail swished back and forth and her ears twitched excitedly made the others smile slightly. "Really?!" She asked, surprised that they actually accepted her request, given their hesitations."We have at least twelve pods available, but it'll take a lot of time and resources to turn one of them into a battle-ready ship you could pilot." Coran let go of his mustache and the end snapped back in place almost like elastic, his facial hair forever defying logic. "Not only that, but they're not designed for long-term use and deep-space warfare. If we had any other kinds of ships aboard, I'd recommend one of those instead, but we don't." He opened an eye and arched a brow. "Do you still want to do this, even knowing all that?"Ziera's excitement settled and she thought for a moment, then her expression hardened slightly and she nodded. "Absolutely. I won't allow my friends to fight while I sit by and watch...It's not in my nature."Though, despite her words, she could not lie that a small part of her feared flying a pod, given how she crashed on Olkarion in the first place. However, she refused to let that small sinking sensation in her gut dictate how she would live her life. She wanted to bring Zarkon to justice just as much as they did, and if that meant facing her fears head-on, then she was more than happy to take the risk.With that thought motivating her further, she eagerly stepped into Coran's personal space, startling the poor advisor further. "Can you show me the pods available? If possible, I'd also like a copy of the blueprints, otherwise, it'll be a challenge to change the design!""Whoa, whoa!" Shiro chimed in, holding his hands up as he stepped between her and Coran, giving the older man the space he desperately needed. "Hold your horses, Ziera." He said, smiling exasperatedly at her. "I know you're eager to help, but before you make any plans, we should rest. Zarkon could show up at any time, and we need to be laser-focused if we want to have the upper hand."Ziera's ears drooped as she pouted childishly, dejected that she had to wait to start her newest technological challenge. However, Shiro had a point. If she worked herself ragged now, she would be even more useless if Zarkon attacked again. The best course of action now would be to get some sleep and some sustenance.Luckily, Pidge understood Ziera's excitement well and adjusted her glasses. "If you want to tinker for a bit, I could come by your room and we could work on your Skate-Overs for a while?" She said, smirking when Ziera spun around, eyes wide with surprise and glee. "The way you control them seems a bit difficult, given the activation switch is on your ankle, maybe we could find a way to wire it through your suit so you could activate it through the cuff around your wrist?"The female feline glanced down at the metal cuff around her wrist, the cutoff point for her suit where her gloves began. Looking at the shiny, bright pink surface, she could easily imagine crafting a panel that held the switch beneath it. The mere idea excited her more than anything and her ears lifted again as a grin spread across her catlike lips. "That sounds like a wonderful idea! Thank you Pidge!"Hunk then puffed up his chest, inspired by Ziera's little declaration. "Alright, if you guys are gonna do something useful, then I'm gonna fix the food goo machine! You can't build ships on empty stomachs!" He all but marched from the room, which made the others chuckle, going so far as to tease Hunk for his seriousness.Ziera could not thank them enough as she watched them all interact, since losing her memory she lacked a purpose, a true motivation, but with their help, she was able to find something to cling onto, something worth fighting for.Peace.~FbnL~Ziera let out a giddy little purring sound, a short burst that sounded similar to 'Prrt' as she stood up from her chair, holding her newly modified Skate-Overs, a very tired Pidge watching her from the other side of the table. After hours of tweaking and causing one or two small explosions that had the castle occupants running into her room armed with space-age fire extinguishers, they had successfully applied the changes to her special hover boots that would make space travel far easier in the long run."Thank you so much Pidge!" Ziera gleefully exclaimed as she looked them over from top to bottom, her large, floppy ears raised high with her excitement. "You're a genius, I've never seen such a flawless change in mechanics that didn't affect the overall appearance of the boots!" She placed them down on the floor and slipped into them, feeling them clip around her ankles, securing them in place, thanks to Pidge's ideas.Not only were the controls now linked to the metal cuff on Ziera's right arm, but now she had a secure locking mechanism to ensure her boot wasn't lost during intense situations and a new cooling system that would stop her feet from boiling inside the boot after several hours of constant use. "Though the boots were secure by design, though I can't remember making the changes all too well..." She pouted slightly and opened the cuff of her wrist, looking at the controls. "Your secondary lock to secure the ankle is a welcome change, it'll make injuries in that area less frequent!""Yep, the moment I looked inside, I could tell you needed a secondary securing system," Pidge stated simply, leaning back on her chair with her arms crossed, though she raised one of them with a pointed finger so she could educate her friend further. "And with the new cooling system inside, I was able to increase the power capacity of the hovering mechanic further, so you should move much faster in the air, but still maintain a comfortable temperature!""Ah yes, when you suggested that change while I was attaching the cooling fan, it was inspirational, to say the least! It was because of those designs that I opted to add a second control switch to adjust the power of the energy expulsion that allows me to hover at all. So now I'll be able to go at different speeds when the situation calls for it."Pidge smirked and Ziera shot her a very happy, very pure smile, the two gave one another a high five before Ziera walked to the door and pressed the button to open the sealed entrance to her room. "Shall we find somewhere to test them?""Well, with the new enhancements, the best testing area would be space itself, but you don't have a helmet right now, do you?" Pidge asked, and the feline's ears drooped in response.She turned away from the open doorway. "Ah yes...That's right, and I believe collecting a temporary helmet would cause alarm, considering my recent...adventure with Keith and Princess Allura.""Yeah..." The young engineer adjusted her glasses with a contemplating pout, she too wanted to see the capabilities of the Skate-Overs, now that they had been adjusted, however, it was best not to stir the pot, so to speak.However, before the two could find a convenient alternative, Shiro appeared in the doorway, having walked up while they were deep in thought. "Oh hey, there you are." He started, only to pause in sheer surprise when Ziera let out an unholy yowl and jumped away from the door, like a terrified cat. Both humans stared at her in shock, and Ziera blushed, clearing her throat."S-sorry.""What was that?" Pidge blurted out, causing Ziera's blush to darkened her entire face, turning it a shade of black that would not have been possible in any other situation."Wh-what was what?""That noise you just made, what was that?!"The feline stammered nervously, remembering when she first made that noise in front of Melrak and the others, they all thought she was dying at first, due to the horrific nature of the sound, though funny at the time, it was still rather embarrassing. "I-it's not important! Sh-Shiro, did you need something from us?" She quickly directed her attention to the salt and pepper haired soldier standing outside her door, still dumbstruck by her hellish 'snarl.'After a second, he blinked and came to his senses. "Oh yeah, that's right." He started, stepping away from the door with an apologetic smile. "Everyone's gathering in the bridge to discuss what we're going to do next." He pointed his thumb back towards the bridge. "We're all waiting for you guys, so I thought I'd come get you.""Thanks, Shiro, we'll be right there," Pidge told him, standing up and stretching her short arms above her head with a yawn. "Just gotta pack up my tools!""Oh no, leave that to me!" Ziera told her, waving off Pidge's oncoming protests. "It's the least I can do after you spent so long helping me improve my Skate-Overs!""Well...Alright." Pidge finally relented, walking out of the room towards the bridge, her hands linked behind her head. "Just make sure not to test them without me, okay?"Ziera giggled as Shiro waved at her and followed Pidge to the bridge. "Don't worry, I wouldn't dream of it." She waved back for a moment before she closed her bedroom door, leaning against it and all but combusting under her own hands as she hid her face."How embarrassing...!"After that, Ziera got to work and quickly fueled her embarrassment into something productive, cleaning up after their modifications without so much as a fuss in the process. Once she was finished she rushed from her room without stopping to seal the door shut behind her, leaving the charred table in view of anyone who passed.When she finally reached the bridge and opened the door, she was met with the faces of all her friends, stood in a circle around Allura's control podium, awaiting her arrival. "Sorry about that, just had to clean up." She said sheepishly, letting out an awkward laugh as she stepped into the room and the door sealed shut behind her."That's alright, I was still in the middle of fixing the food goo machine when Shiro came to get me." Hunk admitted, only for his smile to fall at the end of his sentence. "No luck getting it to work...I'm so hungry.""There are raw ingredients as well, Hunk," Ziera stated, surprising the food-loving hero as his face lit up excitedly. "Didn't anyone tell you?""No!""Oh...Well, there is."Shiro cleared his throat, catching both their attentions. "Okay look..." He started, looking from one friend to another as he spoke. "I now know for certain that Zarkon is tracking us through the Black Lion...We have to find some way to stop him.""How're we gonna do that?" Pidge asked, stood beside Allura with Keith to the princess' immediate left."We've never had this situation before." Allura chimed in. "Two Paladins battling for the same lion."Shiro let out a heavy breath. "Well, unless we want Zarkon taking control of Voltron every time we get close, I'll have to forge a new bond with my lion." The older pilot looked down, his black eyes shining with his determination. "One that's stronger than his...""Well, while you're working on that," Coran started. "The rest of us need to find some new Teladuv lenses, otherwise we won't be able to travel via wormhole!"Hunk stroked his chin. "Is that something we have to mail order?""Does anyone even make those anymore?" Keith chimed in.Allura sighed. "I don't know..." She said, her eyes narrowing at the thought. "Only a few Alteans could use the Teladuv ten thousand years ago...They may not exist anymore."Coran hummed and tugged on his mustache, eyes closed as he held up his elbow with his other hand. The moment he let go and his facial hair snapped back into place, his eyes popped open as an idea formed. "I think I may know where we can get some." He said as Pidge glanced at him from his left. However, she soon jumped back when the Altean advisor spun around and jogged over to his control unit."What're you doing?" Ziera asked curiously, the group strolling over to him as he typed on the holographic monitor. He pressed a single button and suddenly a large file of information appeared on the larger window that showed them the vast emptiness of space. Within these files, were images of Coran in his youth, and several more unsightly individuals who looked like they would give you a bad deal for just breathing in their direction."Coran!" Allura started, her tone was a little incredulous as her brows knitted together at the images. "You're not suggesting going to one of those filthy Swap Moons!" She sneered and crossed her arms, giving the older man a pointed look. "The last time you went those space pirates took you for everything you had!"A second passed as everyone else absorbed her words until Lance piped up and asked the question on everyone's minds. "Space pirates?"Coran glanced back at them for a second before he zoomed in on the untrustworthy individuals in the images. "The Unilu were traders and pirates that roamed the galaxies and dealt in black market goods. umvee spice, bitole water, little bottles of infinity vapor..." He straightened up and closed his eyes, pointing upwards as he taught them some history. "Of course you had to bargain with them." He clenched his fist as he opened his eyes again. "No one could bargain like the Unilu!" He laughed and turned to them. "Last time I ended up giving away three-quarters of my shipment of lango in exchange for a used bogo occelator!"Allura started laughing alongside him at the memory. "Father was not pleased about that!"And that's when Lance swooped in alongside the princess, smirking flirtatiously at her while Ziera grimaced in discomfort, knowing what was coming. "Well, while Coran is picking up his lenses, I'll take you shopping for something sparkly~!"Suddenly Coran shoved his way between the princess and the human teenager, glaring sharply at the boy for his bold attempt to win over Allura. "This isn't shopping!" He straightened up with his hands on his hips. "You're not running around saying 'ooh, what a lovely pink hat! This is so becoming!'" He thrust his arms out one over the other in the shape of an X, before slamming them against his sides. "No! I won't allow Allura to get anywhere near those filthy, low-balling Unilu hoodlums!"Coran crossed his arms and closed his eyes tightly, refusing to budge while Allura slowly shuffled into his line of sight. "But I'd love something sparkly..." She then gave him a bright, convincing smile as her eyes glittered excitedly, wanting to join them on their little adventure.The older Altean opened an eye, then sighed and frowned apologetically. "Look, you're the only one who can operate the castle..." He then turned away from her, still watching her over his shoulder as she pouted, giving up her sweet act. "Plus, you need to be resting after all you've been through!" He walked towards the center of the bridge, turning to his fellow teammates. "Now lets ready a pod for our mission! We need to get in, find the Scaultrite lenses and just get out!"Lance smirked and quickly kicked off towards the door. "Shotgun!""What?! No!" Hunk whined, running after him. "Y'have to be in the pod bay to call shotgun!""Since when?" Lance asked as Keith and Pidge followed along at a much slower pace, mainly Keith since Pidge kicked off to catch up with her friends."Uhhh, since forever!" Hunk countered. "That's shotgun etiquette, I wrote the book!" However, he paused before he left the bridge, both he and Pidge looking back at Ziera, who stood next to Shiro. "You coming, Era?""Actually..." Ziera started, scratching her cheek with her gloved claw. "I think I'm going to stay put for this one." She pretended not to hear their obvious complaints on the matter. "I want to familiarize myself with one of the pods and their blueprints so I can start planning how I'll turn it into a fighter." She looked over at Coran, who was waiting for everyone to leave the bridge before he followed. "Coran, where do you keep the blueprints for the pods? I can't start without knowing the ins and outs of their schematics.""They're in the engine room, with the Teladuv, though you need to unlock the system to access them," Coran stated, frowning when he saw her ears droop, she really did love to tinker.Allura placed her hand on her chest. "I'll help her with that, you go ahead and get those Scaultrite lenses."Coran nodded then gave them all a simple wave before he too left the bridge to catch up with his much younger teammates, already dreading the trip to the Swap Moon, considering their high energy and knack for getting in trouble. "Don't overwork yourself, alright? Make sure to get some rest.""Don't worry, I'll make sure she doesn't overdo it." Ziera chimed in, getting a grateful smile as thanks before the door shut, blocking Coran from view. "Alright, I'll make my way to the engine room, would you be able to open up the schematics system from here?" The feline asked, directing her attention to the princess, just as several small rodents climbed onto her shoulder and in Ziera's line of sight.In a split second, the atmosphere in the room became heavy with tension, before it was broken by Ziera's shrill scream, which surprised the two other occupants as she dove to hide behind Shiro. "Wh-what are those?!" She squeaked out as the mice, she had never seen before, twitched their noses at her, then gave Allura a confused look, which she mirrored."They're the mice, haven't you seen them before?" Allura asked curiously, arching a brow when Ziera shook her head rapidly. "They were in the cryo pod with me when I awoke, we share a...connection of sorts." She shrugged a shoulder with an awkward smile, unsure of how to explain the situation clearly to someone who was not there in the beginning. "Why are you hiding?" She stepped closer to Ziera, who all but dragged Shiro back with her as she tried to keep a distance between her and Allura's pets."H-hey!" The older pilot complained, not too pleased about being used as a human shield.Allura smirked deviously and took another step closer, which resulted in Ziera dragging the poor man another step back. "P-please don't come near me! I-I don't like mice!""Why? They won't hurt you." The princess told her, quickly ducking behind Shiro and grabbing Ziera's arm to stop her bolting the moment she was in view."A-Allura!" The feline squealed, as Shiro grimaced and covered his ear, stepping away from the two to ensure he did not get dragged, literally, into their little conversation further."While you're doing that..." He said, just as Ziera shot him a helpless, pleading look, which he ignored by averting his gaze as he thrust his thumb out behind him, pointing at the bridge doors. "I'm going to the hangar. I need to strengthen my bond with the Black Lion.""D-don't leave me with her!" The engineer begged, trying to pull away from Allura's iron grip, shrieking at Shiro as he turned and quickly left the room to escape their antics. "A-Allura, I need to get those blueprints!""They're just mice, Era," Allura stated simply, smiling as she softened her mischievous expression and carefully let go of Ziera's arm, watching as the feline stepped back, but did not make a beeline for the doors. "They won't hurt you.""M-mice are not harmless!" She squeaked out. "They carry pathogens and have a bite that does a little more damage than I'd care to experience!""Where did you learn that?" Allura asked incredulously, arching a brow as she pouted, slightly offended by her claims, as were her mice-y friends."...Uhm..." Ziera sweat-dropped, looking at anything but the princess as she tried to recall where she had heard all those facts from. "I...Can't remember."The princess sighed and held out her hand as the largest, but sweetest mouse ran down her arm and settled on her palm, sat on its hind legs as it stiffed the air near Ziera's trembling form. "Look, I promise you these mice are harmless..." She assured her. "Go on, try petting him, he won't bite."Ziera hesitated, looking from the mouse to Allura's comforting smile, she then lifted her shaky hand and crooked her finger, holding it out so it was near the mouse's nose. The cute ball of fuzz gave her finger a tentative sniff before he plopped down on his belly, excited for head and back pets. Seeing the adorable display, the feline's nervous frown quirked up into a small smile, then she shakily placed her finger on the mouse's head, stroking down its back once, twice, three times before she finally relaxed completely, the other mice running down for pets too."See?" Allura gleefully asked, watching as Ziera became startled for a moment as the mice climbed up her arm, then relaxed and giggled as they tickled her neck, settling on her shoulders cutely. "They're much more gentle than people give them credit for.""I guess you're right," Ziera said, stroking the small, mean-looking blue mouse's head, her heart-melting as his little face softened comfortably under her touch. "They're rather sweet, aren't they?"Allura's small smile spread into a bright grin as Ziera matched her expression, the two just lovingly petting the mice as the feline let her rather ironic fear melt away. "Now that we've handled that little...spectacle." The Princess started as two of the mice crawled back onto her shoulders. "Shall we head to the engine room for those blueprints?"In an instant, the lingering dread in Ziera's eyes transformed into glittering excitement at the idea of tinkering with some amazing machines. She had even forgotten that she originally asked that Allura gained access to the systems from the bridge itself. "Y-yes please!"The royal Altean laughed under her breath at her friend's refreshing excitement and the two made their way out of the bridge doors and down the corridor in search of the engine room. In all honestly, Allura felt awkward around her, considering she once suspected Ziera of being a spy for Zarkon. How would she build a friendship with someone who she had so cruelly accused of working with her enemy?Ziera herself was looking down at the cuff of her wrist, opening it up to check on the settings for her Skate-Overs, her way of keeping herself occupied in the silent atmosphere. Allura glanced over at what she was doing when she realized her companion did not seem to mind the awkward lapse in conversation. "What're you doing?" She asked curiously, making the feline jump slightly in surprise."O-oh!" The Tylyrion female looked from Allura to her controls and back again, smiling sheepishly, her ears curving downwards in her embarrassment. "I, uhm...I like to tinker when it's too quiet, so I was checking the settings on my Skate-Overs.""Those are the boots you created yourself, right?"Ziera nodded, stopping to lift her foot and show off the heavy-duty metalwork of the boots. "Yes! I don't remember much about their creation, just the moment I finished working on them and tested them for the first time." She smiled at the memory, her ombre eyes softening as she remembered her gleeful expression at the achievement. "It was the memory that allowed me to remember how to use them and helped me aid my friends in our fight against the Galra who had taken over their city."Allura hummed and bent over to take a closer look at the boot, then glanced up at Ziera with a small, curious pout. "Then what made you want to be an engineer, to begin with?" She asked.Ziera's softened smile turned into a solemn frown. "Honestly?" The cat-like engineer started, lowering her foot and clenching the chain of her beloved pendant. "I can't remember at all why I wanted to be an engineer...But I do remember when I fell in love with engineering for the second time."The princess straightened up and arched a brow as Ziera continued towards the engine room, forcing her royal friend to follow. "I was given a tour of the Olkari's forest home for the first time, and I happened to see them inventing a new type of weapon made from the petals of a flower..." The feline giggled. "I was in such awe over their marvelous creations, but was overwhelmed with an all-too-familiar pain between my temples..." She stroked her right temple as if the pain could still be felt, over one hundred years later. "And I was flooded with images and moments of my previous self tinkering with different machines, each one a failure, but I never seemed to give up...In the end, I learned one thing about myself from those images, and the feeling remained even after I came to my senses...An overwhelming love for creating machines, and seeing just how they work and move for myself.""So you saw your love for engineering in a memory, and the feeling stuck with you?" Allura asked as they finally arrived at their destination. She pressed a few buttons on the keypad and the door split in two and slid open with a 'whoosh.'"Mm-hm~!" Ziera nodded excitedly as they entered the room and Allura got to work on finding those blueprints, having to change the language settings back to Altean, as the feline had forgotten to do so after aiding Coran in keeping the Teladuv up and running.This made the princess' lips tug upwards into a snicker, despite her experience with technology, it seemed that some things would slip through the cracks depending on the pressure of the situation. Allura did not blame her in the slightest for the oversight, with all things considered, it made sense to forget to switch the language settings back during a crisis.With the press of a holographic button, a small device ejected from the larger machine, it looked somewhat like a scroll. It was two silver tubes connected securely as if with glue, however, no such adhesive could be seen. The Altean royal picked it up and held it out to Ziera. "There, this is a portable screen that's programmed to display the pod's blueprint whenever it's activated.""What an interesting device!" Ziera exclaimed, taking the small screen in her hands as she looked it over as if assessing its design. "I wonder what the inside mechanics look like..."Allura laughed. "Well, since you need that to make your ship, I doubt you want to risk destroying it to find out~."The feline faltered and blushed, realizing she had let her tech-obsessed mentality take over again. With a nervous giggle, she found the button on the two cylinders and pressed it, almost jumping out of her skin in surprise when the two metal tubes separated with a 'fwsh' and revealed a holographic screen displaying the blueprints she asked for. "Oh, so that's how it works." She mumbled, earning a laugh from the princess."Perhaps we should make our way to the pod bay?" Allura pointed out, gesturing to the door while Ziera absentmindedly turned and walked towards it, her eyes still fixed to the screen. The princess let out an exasperated breath and opened the door, watching as her feline friend continued her zombie-like walk down the corridor, as if on auto-pilot. "You really shouldn't do that.""Do what?" Ziera asked, her tone giving away how distracted she was."Read while you're walking, you're inclined to crash into a wall in these hallways."And with that, the engineer realized what she was doing and blushed, closing the screen while she turned black with embarrassment. "A-ah. Sorry, I should really pay attention to my surroundings."Allura giggled and held her hand up to her mouth, hiding her small smile behind the pinky side of her palm. "It's fine, you remind me of Pidge quite often, did you know that?""Hm, no I didn't. I'm flattered, Pidge is a genius among her species. Even on Tylyrio she would be a valuable scientist! And we're a species well known for our scientific understanding and natural instincts!""Your people sound very interesting! You really should tell me more about them sometime."Ziera's bright smile faltered and she withdrew slightly, looking down at the floor as a frown took over and Allura's own smile faded at the sight. "I would...But I still can't remember much about them, and...Well, I can't show you my home when it no longer exists, can I...?"Allura placed her hand on Ziera's shoulder. "No one understands your pain as much as I...I won't say it gets easier, but as times goes on, you're able to cope with the pain and live your life even through your grief...""It's even worse when you can't remember your own family...You have memories of your planet, a comfort in the darkness, but I have nothing...Just myself as a reminder of what I once was." Tears pricked Ziera's eyes and she took a deep breath as they stopped at the doors to the pod bay. She quickly wiped her eyes with the back of her arm, ignoring Allura's concern as she pressed a button on the keypad and the doors slid open. "There's no use dwelling on that now. if I keep thinking about it, it'll get harder. I need to work, I can't get stuck in my forgotten past when there are more important things to be focusing on."Allura went to speak but hesitated as her surprisingly strong ally walked ahead of her, looking from one pod to another as she tried to figure out which one would take her torturous tinkering without much hassle. The homeless Altean understood her need to distract herself from the pain of her loss, but she knew that in the long run, ignoring the pain would only help it grow stronger. Until Ziera could process her grief properly, it would forever haunt her thoughts.However, she also knew that her friend had to figure that out on her own, that forcing her to think about it would only cause her more harm than good, so she awkwardly cleared her throat and got Ziera's attention. "Well, now that you've found your way and have what you need, I should leave you to work in peace..." The princess stated sheepishly, giving Ziera a stiff wave before she turned to leave."Princess!"Allura paused mid-step and leaned back to see her from around the open doorway. Ziera had a gentle smile on her face, holding the device in both hands. "Thanks for...well, this." She lifted the small object to indicate what she meant. "And for listening to me...It helps to talk about it sometimes, but I just want to...Lose myself in my machines for a while."The Altean princess' shoulders sagged as she relaxed with a sigh and a smile. "I'm glad I could help you. I deeply regret the first impression I must have left, and if this has helped you see me in a different light, then it was worth every second of my time."The two shared a gentle wave and Allura turned and left, her footsteps echoing down the hall until she was out of earshot, well, earshot for her species anyway. Ziera could hear a pin drop from the hangar to the very top of the ship, thanks to her species' elevated hearing.Said ears lifted slightly as she opened the screen again and in no time, she found herself a good, strong-looking pod to experiment on and got to work altering the plans on her little monitor until she was happy with the design, mechanics and overall compatibility of the tweaks she would be making.If she worked hard enough, she would have a working fighter jet in no time.~FbnL~It had been a good hour since she started working on the plans, however, Ziera had been forced to stop due to a small error in her ideas. The controls of the ship were far too simple to work with any adjustments she would potentially make. Therefore, the first order of business for her was to change the control system and allow for even more changes to be made after future installations were added.After coming to that realization, Ziera found herself inside the cockpit of the small pod, lying on her back between the two seats as she situated herself beneath the controls themselves. The large metal panel keeping her away from the mechanisms of the machine had been removed, and at her side was a small box of tools she had collected from her room, once contained within the boxes she had arrived with."I need to give Allura and Coran praise for their security systems..." Ziera mumbled, grunting as she tried to turn a fairly rusty screw to reach the alarm system. "If this alarm is anything to go by, stealing one of these pods would be impossible without alerting the entire castle."She had already assured Allura that there was not a problem when the alarm first went off and the princess barged in, ready to do battle with any potential threats. It had been a funny discussion and Ziera could not help but laugh laughed at the memory as she slid out from beneath the control unit, tossing her screwdriver into the toolkit before she realized she had left her wrench under the console.With a soft huff, she crawled back under, this time on her stomach and looked around for her wrench. "Ah-ha!" She exclaimed as she snatched it up from the darkest corner of the small space before she lifted herself while crawling backwards to leave her cubby hole.However, due to her position, she miscalculated her exit and without the ability to see the back of her head, she hit it full force off the metal edge of the control unit, letting out a loud yelp as she slid out from beneath the console and gripped her scalp with her clawed fingers. The pain pulsed through her head as tears pricked her eyes and she gritted her fangs together. "Ow, ow, ow, ow...!" She whined, waiting for the pain to subside so she could cognitively understand her surroundings again.But the pain did not stop. Instead, the pulsing sensation only intensified into a dull ache that felt like her skull was being torn in half by unseen hands. Her surroundings still rattled, now blurred and every sound, every ringing sensation the sudden impact caused, dulled into a silent hum.Then everything went black."Hey!"Ziera yelped as she jumped and slammed her head against the metal underside of the ship she had been tinkering with. Whining, she pulled herself out from beneath the machine using a wheeled wooden board she was lying on for ease of movement. Once she was out from under the dark underbelly, she came face to face with a young man who's featured matched her own.He had short cyan colored hair, much like she did, dark skin, yellow-tinted square markings that looked almost like the whiskers of a cat on his cheeks, along with markings on the edges of his eyes and down the bridge of his nose, and large, ombre-tinted red to purple eyes. It was like looking in a mirror that displayed the same person of the opposite gender."Denzie!" Ziera complained, sitting up and rubbing her forehead as the serious man's features twisted and he finally broke down in laughter. "You know not to disturb me when I'm working!""Ha, ha, sorry sis!" Denzie snickered, sitting down in front of her, his tail swishing behind him, the furry end the same color as his hair. "I just wanted t'see if you needed any help! Oh, and Mom's not happy with you."Ziera groaned. "What did I do now?""You missed dinner again, she knows you get absorbed in your work, so she sent me to tell you that you need to go home and eat at some point.""But that means stepping away from the ship..." She sighed.Suddenly she saw a hand in front of her face and Denzie flicked her forehead, making her yelp again as he pouted, glaring at her like a strict parent. "So what? You're not a machine yourself! You need t'rest once in a while!"Ziera mirrored his pout. "You wouldn't think I was the oldest, with the way you're acting...""Just 'cause you're two minutes older than I am, doesn't make you my big sister." He stood up and planted his hands on his hips. "Now c'mon, let's get you some food, then we can come back and get this ship done so you can relax!"Ziera stared for a moment and Denzie's serious frown twisted into a small smile as he held out his hand for her to take. Within a moment, a sweet smile of her own resonated with his and she took his hand, allowing him to lift her to her feet.Ziera gasped as she suddenly felt herself return to the realm of reality, she lifted her head and looked around with wide eyes, finding herself back in the cockpit of the pod, where she was before she experienced yet another flashback of her past. The images she saw, the conversations she heard, they all played through her head and her breathing elevated. She felt her eyes fill with tears and her expression twisted in anguish as she choked out a sob and covered her face, wailing on the floor of the ship as the weight of her visions settled on her.She had a brother. A twin brother. And he was dead.Before she had told Allura that she at least had memories of her family and that it was a comfort to remember the good times, but now that she had experienced a little of her own life, it hurt, it hurt so much that she could barely stand the pain. She grasped the pendant in both hands as she all but curled in on herself, her sobs turning into agonizing whimpers. "D-Denzie...!"She did not know what to do, she did not know how to process such a painful loss. Without giving herself time to re-calibrate, she quickly scrambled to her feet and clambered out of the window of the pod, rushing from the large room with her Skate-Overs fully activated, despite her promise to Pidge. The tears she felt in her eyes blurred her vision but did not stop her as she made her way to the hangar, ignoring the elevator as she instead did the awkward steps of using the zip-line and cart to find her way to the resting place of the Black Lion, where Shiro currently resided.The moment she entered the large room where the small part of Voltron rested, she saw Shiro exiting the maw of the Black Lion, petting the side of its paw as it straightened up completely, then powered down. He heard the hum of her boots and turned to the sound, his black eyes widening as he stared at her grief-stricken, flushed, tearful face staring back. "Ziera...?" He managed to say before she choked back another sob and switched her shoes off, running at him and tackling him in a much-needed hug.Confused, and a little scared for her well-being, he remained still for a moment as she cried against him, then put his arms around her, his mechanical limb patting her back gently. "Hey, what's the matter?" He asked, his tone soothing to assure her she was safe with him, she could tell him anything without judgement."I-I remembered something...!" She blurted out, stepping back as she wiped her eyes with both her hands, while Shiro held her shoulders in hopes of grounding her and giving her comfort. "I-I...!""Shhh, take deep breaths, you're fine, you're safe..." He said softly, watching as she did as she was told between her hiccups and sobs. "Once you're ready, you can tell me what happened..."It took a while for Ziera to calm down, and Shiro took the time to lead her to a different part of the castle, the two eventually settling in the kitchen, where there was ample space to sit and talk without interruption. Ziera was sat on the opposite side of a counter, while Shiro leaned against the other side, he just stood there as he patiently waited for her to begin explaining her sudden emotional breakdown."I..." The feline stated, her voice strained from her tears, but no longer hysterical. Instead, she looked tired, her eyes puffy and her cheeks black and irritated from constantly rubbing away her falling tears. "I hit my head on the control panel when I was working on the pod..." She started, covering her face by placing a hand on her forehead, looking down at the cup of suspicious blue tea that was placed before her. At least, she hoped it was tea, Shiro could not understand the Altean language, nor how to change the language settings, and she had been too distraught to help him. "A-and it triggered a memory."The images replayed in her head and she clenched her hand against her hair, jumping slightly when Shiro touched said hand and carefully placed it on the counter so she did not hurt herself by pulling her hair out of her scalp. "Remember, you're safe...It was a memory, it can't hurt you anymore."This caused her to swallow another lump as it formed in her throat. "That's the thing..." She choked out, her chin quivering. "This one still hurts...!"Shiro's expression turned to confusion and he sat down on the stool he had originally planned to use. Now eye to eye with his friend. "What do you mean?""I saw my family..."Oh...Oh, he knew what she meant. His brows softened and a solemn frown crossed his usually calm features. However, he stayed quiet, she needed to explain it to him, or she would hold back on her emotions and cause herself more pain further down the line."I saw a man who looked exactly like me, we were chatting, and laughing, and it was just a normal, everyday occurrence...S-something you'd forget after a week or two normally..." Ziera covered her eyes as she let out a shuddering breath, her tears blurring her vision again. "B-but it hurt so much because I knew that anyone I knew before is now dead...! I finally remembered someone from my past, and he's dead!"She let out a hiss and angrily slammed her fist onto the counter, surprising Shiro, who jumped back as her tea trembled in its cup. "It just reminded me that I'm alone now, that I don't have anyone to really call family, or anywhere to call home!" Her loud voice then settled into a soft whimper. "I'm all alone...And I'm scared to remember anything else because I know it'll hurt even more..."Silence settled in the room, apart from the barely audible sobs the traumatized feline expelled in her pain. Shiro let out a deep breath and took her hand, squeezing it tightly until she looked up at him in surprise, her eyes wide and shining with unshed tears. "You're not alone." He assured her, smiling gently, soothingly as he gave her hand another squeeze with both of his. "It may not be the same, but you have a family and a home...Ryner, Melrak, Colren, Janze and Sephira would agree with me."Ziera's eyes widened as she realized what he meant, but he continued none-the-less. "The others would say it too! We might not be blood, but we're all part of your family in some way, we all work together for a brighter future, and the bonds we share, despite only being here a short time, won't be swayed. I'd consider that a familial bond, wouldn't you?"Shiro carefully let go of her hand and grabbed a nearby napkin, holding it out to her in his non-human hand. "Olkarion, and even the Castle of Lions could be considered your home too..." He watched as she took it and gently dabbed her eyes, being careful not to aggravate her skin further. "I'm not saying this'll make it easier, but you don't have to grieve alone, we've all lost something important to us, and we'll all listen if you need to talk.""How did..." Ziera started, coughing a little with the hoarseness in her throat. She took a sip of her tea and was actually surprised when it warmed and soothed her dry throat. It tasted like bitter medicine but helped as well. Shiro had a good eye. "How did you cope with the fear of remembering your past?" She asked, taking another sip.Shiro's gentle smile turned into another frown and he thought his answer through. "I...I won't lie and tell you they don't affect me...I still have nightmares about my time with the Galra, even now..." He looked down at his mechanical arm, clenching and unclenching his fist. "Sometimes I'll wake up and feel the pain from when they took my arm...It's haunting, and I never really know when I'll suffer through those memories again."Ziera's ears dipped and she looked down at her tea. "Oh...""But I look forward anyway, I face my past with my fists clenched tightly, and use my experiences to build a better future for my friends, for my family." He clenched his fist as she looked up and the two locked eyes for a moment. His lips curled into an understanding smile, and unclenched his hand, holding it out to shake her's. "Because if I let my past control the present, then I'd still be trapped on that ship, fighting for my life."Ziera stared for a moment, then she let out a broken sound, akin to a grateful sigh. She took his hand and shook it tightly, feeling the very real metal and the kindness of his gesture. "I get it..." She managed, putting down her tea. "It hurts, and it will always hurt, one way or another, but...If I channel that pain into something productive, a goal of some sort, it'll help me look forward, not back...Right?"Shiro nodded and stood up, watching as she did the same. "Right." He walked with her to the door. "If you see any more memories that are too painful for you, don't think you can't talk to me about them...I probably understand what you're going through as much as Princess Allura does. We can be a good ear if you need to vent."Ziera giggled and nodded. "I know...Thank you for talking to me...I hope the same could be said for you...If you wake up with those pains again, wake me up, okay? I might be a little sleepy, but I'll definitely listen if you needed someone to talk to."Shiro laughed. "I'll keep that in mind."The feline lifted her hand to open the door, but hesitated, causing Shiro to tilt his head to the side curiously. "Would you..." She started, looking over at the seasoned pilot. "Would you keep me company while I work on my ship? I...don't want to be alone right now."He could not help but let out a huff of laughter, but not in a mocking way, no, he was just glad she trusted him so much. He nodded and opened the door, gesturing for her to go first. "It'd be an honour, Ziera, no...Era. I'll stay for as long as you need."Ziera thanked him softly as the two exited the kitchen and made their way back to the pod bay, chatting aimlessly about trivial topics to put both their minds at ease. She was truly grateful that both he and Allura were willing to listen to her qualms, and she knew with them by her side, she would be fine, even with her painful memories.She just had to trust that they had her back just like she had theirs.~FbnL~Finally, another hour had passed, and both Shiro and Ziera had taken a break for the day. The two stepped through the doors to the bridge as they slid open, just as Shiro finished explaining what had happened with him and the Black Lion before she had arrived. "So when I opened my eyes, it turns out we never left the hangar at all...I owe the Black Lion a lot for saving me.""Praise the Divine Beings that it was able to come to your aid in time." Ziera chimed in, the doors closing behind them. However, before she could continue with what she was going to say, the two looked over at the central platform in the room and instantly froze at what they saw.Allura turned her head to look at them, surprised they were back so soon, her hair was styled in an array of strange and unique ways. She was sure one of the plaits she now adorned was tied like a ribbon too, so God only knows how silly she looked to her two onlookers. "Oh, you're back!" She blurted out, quickly standing up as the mice squeaked back giggles. "How did it go?""Well-" Shiro started, only for the bridge doors to burst open once again and Coran, dressed in an odd garb with an eye-patch, all but leapt inside, followed by his far younger travelling companions."We got the Scaultrite lenses!" The older, far sillier, Altean called out excitedly."Excellent!" Allura gleefully responded, running over to look at the large blue lenses in Coran's satchel. They looked almost like giant blue plates but slightly see-through. They were basically larger versions of Hunk's Scaultrite cookies, which made Ziera giggle a little. "Now we can get the Teladuv up and running!""Uhm..." Shiro piped up, crossing his arms as he made eye contact with the newest member of Team Voltron, a large black and white creature which seemed a little spaced out. "Is that a cow?"Lance smirked as he looked over at the cow, who seemed to respond to his voice. "Mmhm! His name is Kaltenecker!"Both Shiro and Ziera glanced at each other, one brow raised between them before they looked back at the bovine creature before them. "What's a cow?" The Tylyrion female blurted out, stepping closer to the large beast. "It looks a lot like our Gnecterives! It's so big!"No one knew how to respond to that comment, so Keith decided to change the subject. "So..." He started, getting Shiro's full attention. "Did you find a way to bond with your lion?""Yes." The veteran pilot said, looking down as his expression intensified. "And we need to get moving..." He looked up at the window of the ship, staring out into space as if their destination would magically appear before them. "We're going to The Blade of Marmora's headquarters!"Coran lifted the satchel. "I'll plot a course!" He stated, before he spun and sprinted off to the engine room to set up the Teladuv lenses, they could not go anywhere without the ability to wormhole."While you're doing that..." Pidge started, hugging the box she carried. "I'm gonna hook up the video game Lance and I bought!" She dropped to the floor on her knees and slammed the box down, opening it without any time for questions, especially from their newest alien companion, who had never seen such a device before."Yeah!" Lance exclaimed, grabbing the controller while Ziera inspected it in his hands. "Let's set this baby up!"Pidge excitedly grabbed the wires and stood up. "Where can we...?" Slowly, they realized there were no Earth televisions to connect the wires to. "How do we...?"And something in the small Green Paladin snapped, she let out a weak laugh, eye twitching as both Lance and Ziera shared a confused, nervous look. Then out of nowhere, the poor young teen bellowed out a "NOOOOO!" Knowing she could not play the game she and Lance had worked hard to buy.Lance crouched down beside Pidge as she flopped to her knees, defeated, and patted her back. "Hey, it's no big deal, with your big brain, you'll figure out a solution in no time!""Lance is right, Pidge." Ziera started, crouching down in front of her with a kind smile, glancing down at the controller she had taken from Lance to inspect properly. "And until then, I have something you can help me with to keep you occupied!"Pidge looked up with tired, sad eyes. "Like what?" She asked with a soft, defeated voice.The feline's smile widened and she opened the screen she had been given, showing Pidge the blueprints with large red alterations added by Ziera's own hand. "I came up with the designs and alterations I needed to make to the pod to turn it into a fighter jet, but as I tend to miss one or two practical points to ensure they work, I wondered if you wanted to go through them with me and help me iron out any fatal errors?"The young Earthling's eyes lit up within seconds and she jumped to her feet, causing Lance to fall back on his ass in response, eyes wide and almost terrified. "Yeah! I can't wait to see what Tylyrion engineering looks like for a ship!"Ziera giggled and stood up, gesturing to the door, watching with soft, grateful eyes as her friend spun around and ran to them as if she was going to Disneyland. Slowly, the feline followed, turning off the screen and holding it tightly in her hand as she neared the doors."Hey, Era."The engineer hummed and turned around to see Shiro smiling at her, his eyes portraying the same emotion they showed when she went to him for comfort. "Take care of yourself, okay?"She blinked twice in surprise before she mirrored his expression and nodded. "Yeah, I will." She then gave him a little wave, which he also returned before she left the room."Uhhh..." Pidge piped up as the two walked down the corridor towards the pod bay. "What was that about?""Oh, it's nothing..." She shrugged, her tail swishing behind her cheerfully. "He just gave me some really sound advice earlier...That's all."And for that, she was eternally grateful, because now she knew, just by seeing them all interacting on the bridge, that she was never truly alone. Not with so many wonderful friends surrounding her.A/N: Thank you so much for reading! I hope you liked this chapter, please review, as I'd love to get your feedback on what I could improve or keep the same!No Voltron time was used in this chapter.
CR Ch1: The First MissionA/N: I do not own the Black Clover Franchise or any canon characters mentioned below.I do own Lucia Flurris, and any other OCs mentioned.WARNING: This story will contain death, violent, blood/gore, angst, loss, trauma and mentions of sexual themes.Hey guys, God I'm so nervous about this chapter. Lucia is supposed to come off as a little...well, mean, in this one, and I know it might cause a few of you to hate her.Give her a chance ok?Enjoy!Lucia would never admit to anyone that she was nervous, not even her parents.As she climbed the steps and entered the grand halls of the Grey Deer headquarters, she could feel her own potential as a Magic Knight being outshone by those she would call her superiors. Not only that, but she had delayed her training by three years and was only just beginning her journey at eighteen rather than at fifteen, as most people in the Clover Kingdom would. Because of this, she dreaded to imagine that her superiors would even be younger than she was, and far more skilled.However, she would never show these fears to anyone, not even her newfound captain, Julius Novachronos. She was hailed, even by her friends, as the coldest woman of the Flurris family. She felt more comfortable keeping others at a distance, and wouldn't think twice of showing this same frigid exterior to her superiors, not many got to see the weaknesses she held, and she preferred to keep it that way. Her pride, her status and her family's well-being, depended on it.Another large staircase started to loom over her and she looked up to where there was a platform separating one staircase from another. On that platform stood her captain and several other Magic Knights, including the brute who had ran into her outside. Without letting her mild irritation show, she finished her climb and slammed her hand against her chest with three fingers pointing to her left, saluting her new leader. "Lucia Flurris reporting for duty!" She stated strongly, her orange eyes sharp and almost burning with her resolve to do her best.Julius laughed when as she boldly introduced herself. "Welcome to the Grey Deer headquarters, Lucia. My name is Julius Novachronos, captain of this humble squad and a friend to all those who vow their loyalty to our kingdom!" He soluted back, smiling at her warmly, relaxed enough to allow her to let her shoulders soften ever so slightly, but not enough to seem open to those around her. "When I saw your remarkable performance yesterday, I knew your talents would be best utilized in our group, after all, everyone here has magic that is rarely seen refined to such a high degree!""You flatter me, sir." Lucia said, lowering her arm and crossing them in front of her chest, as Julius did the same. "It is an honor to serve you, and all the people of the Clover Kingdom.""I'm happy to hear that. Have you got everything you need for a prolonged stay in our dorms?"The lilac-haired noble nodded her head and snapped her fingers, her broom, which had been left outside, floating in; her belongings all strapped on the back. "Of course. Once I was accepted into the squad, I was quick to pack and prepare. I wish to begin immediately, though, if you wish for me to settle into my new accommodations first, I will do so with haste.""Ho, ho! Eager, are we?" Julius stroked his chin, then snapped his fingers, surprising Lucia when her broom floated around him and stopped in front of another member of the Grey Deer, a young man who seemed to follow Julius, almost like an attendant would. "Well your spirit is quite refreshing, I must say! And lucky for you, your room has yet to be prepared to an acceptable standard. My subordinate will take your things to your dorm while it is still being cleaned, and if you like, we can begin your introduction to the ways of a Magic Knight immediately."Lucia nodded, lowering her arms to her sides, clenching her fists as she prepared for whatever her first task would be as a Magic Knight. "Yes, sir. I'm grateful you understand my desire to prove my worth.""On the contrary, you're the fifth rookie knight I've spoken to today, and each one was sent on a mission before entering their dorms, it is a custom for members of this squad to 'prove their worth' before settling in. Though, I must admit, you proved it quite clearly during your performance yesterday." Julius cleared his throat and gestured to his right, where three young knights stood. One was a taller man with a heavy build, tanned skin and dark brown, curly hair. One was a thin, curvaceous woman with pale blue hair and dark skin, while the last was a young man with pale skin and uncontrollably long, spiky, bronze-tinted hair. "These three are Magic Knights much like yourself, however while you are a 5th Class Junior, they are 5th Class Intermediates, all with a year of experience in the field. These three will be your mentors during your patrol around the city, listen to their words, and trust their knowledge and power as you help them protect our people."The large man waved meekly, barely meeting her gaze. "Roark..." He said, though his introduction was so quiet, Lucia barely heard him."It's nice to meet you, my name is Celeana~!" The young woman chimed in, her voice similar to the songs mermaids sing during peaceful sunsets."Heya!" The last one blurted out, grinning widely as he jumped forward and grabbed her hand, shaking it excitedly. "The name's Dante! I think I saw you outside, I thought you looked familiar!"Lucia yanked her hand from his grip, much to his surprise and glared daggers at him while wiping her hand against her pant leg. "Yes, I remember you...You all but knocked me to the ground in your rush to enter the building."Julius stepped forward and put his hand on Dante's shoulder, this made the young man step back, as Julius moved forward, continuing his explanations to their newest teammate. "Now, your patrol will last an hour at the very least, once you've been relieved of your duties, return to the headquarters and report to the next set of scouts...After that, you're free to do as you please until tomorrow."Lucia nodded, saluting the strong captain once again. "Yes, sir. I'll ensure the safety of the people, even if it risks my life.""Good, I'll hold you to those words."The three younger, yet more experienced knights walked past Lucia and down the steps, stopping after a few to wait for her as she nodded and turned, following them as they continued until they left the building. Julius watched them as their backs were enveloped by the light of the outside world, and just as the doors closed, he hummed curiously. "The first-born daughter of the Flurris family, I wonder just how powerful her magic really is..."Meanwhile, outside, Dante let out a groan as he stretched his arms out above his head and then linked his fingers behind his skull, looking up at the clear morning sky. "Hoo! It's always so stuffy and stale in there, I'm glad to be breathing in some fresh air!"Roark nodded in response, and Celeana giggled, turning to walk backwards as she spoke to Lucia, who listened intently, though her face did not mimic their carefree attitudes, instead she seemed almost sickened by their presence. "So, our duty today is to patrol the city. We've got to walk through as many streets as we can and make sure no one's up to no good. If we see a theft in action, assault or even someone illegally using their magic on others, we need to intervene and aprehend the culprit and ensure the safety of the civilians involved. Make sense?"Lucia nodded briskly as they reached the bottom of the outside steps and wandered into the heart of the city. Despite the beautiful scenery and the elegant charm of the capital, her eyes remained sharp and vigilant, no matter the situation and this caused a bit of tension to settle in the air around her and her mentors. "Uhhh, so what's your name?" Dante started, slowing down to walk at her side, noting that she was a little shorter than him, despite being older. Lucia's late start in the squad was common knowledge to almost everyone at this point."Lady Lucia Flurris, first-born daughter of Glacia and Wintre Flurris.""Yeesh, you're a noble then?" He hummed and looked up at the sky once again. "Must be nice having such well-known parents, eh?""Yes." She did not even bother to look at him as she kept shooting out icy, barely polite responses. She was not the talkative type, especially to commoners, and just by the strength of their overall mana, she knew they were not of noble descent."So what kinda magic do you have?""Dry-Ice.""Oh yeah, like your dad's? Is it strong? Sounds pretty cool!""Yes, it is."Finally Dante huffed, sick of her 'holier-than-thou' attitude as she kept her gaze elsewhere and refused to exchange pleasantries with him. "What the hell's your problem? I ain't some sleaze that's trying to loot your Yule, you can talk to me, you know!"Lucia found his sneer irritating and finally shot him a glare, her orange eyes alight with a warning, which he stubbornly ignored. "Do you really want to know?" She asked, arching a brow.Dante glared back, pouting stubbornly as he crossed his arms. "Yes, what's up with you?!""Personally, I feel rather foolish being trained by three people who are not only my juniors in age, but also lesser than me on the social ladder. What business does a commoner like you have in telling someone far superior than you what to do during a mission, hm?"The young man with uncontrollable hair choked out a scoff and staggered back a little, now behind her as he struggled to keep up in his shock. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?!""Exactly what I said, you are not my mentor, nor will I ever consider you my mentor. I am merely doing as Captain Julius asked, nothing more, nothing less."The tension in the group only became heavier with her words and the three intermediate knights shared uncomfortable looks, not happy to be disrespected so easily, but used to it, all the same. "Geez..." Dante piped up, linking his fingers behind his head as he quickened his pace, now walking ahead of her, near Roark and Celeana. "Talk about a cold attitude...Is your magic as frigid as your manners?""If you don't like how I speak, then you don't need to start a conversation with me. I'll do my work, you will do yours, and neither of us will have to suffer in the other's company.""That's not how this works, Flurris!" He snapped back, spinning around, causing everyone to stop walking as the frigid noble nearly bumped into the angry man before her. "It's my job to supervise you for today, whether you like it or not!"Roark, despite being the quiet one in the group, stepped closer and put his hand on Dante's shoulder. "Hey..." He started, only to be shrugged off."Don't 'hey' me, Roark! She's asking for a lecture!"Celeana laughed awkwardly and stepped closer to Lucia, waving her hand dismissively while the smile she portrayed seemed fake and very uncomfortable. "C'mon now, it's far too soon to be making enemies, isn't it?"Lucia huffed and sneered at Celeana, stepping away from her. "I never asked for your opinion."Celeana's awkward smile melted away with shock, and suddenly her expression hardened, almost terrifyingly so. "Now listen here-"Suddenly, their argument was interrupted when a shriek was heard down a nearby alleyway, behind a jewelers venue. Before Lucia could even fathom what was happening, the three knights she deemed inferior leapt into action and rushed down the alleyway, leaving her behind as she processed what was taking place. After a second, she scrambled after them and rushed down the small road, cursing her delayed reaction as she neared the source of the screams.Skidding around a corner, she all but froze at the sight that met her. Instead of the struggle she thought she would see, perhaps even proof of her comrades' inferior magic skills, she saw something no noble thought possible. Celeana was stood in the center of the small alley, a thief held high above her head in a prison of water, while Dante handed a woman her purse, smiling kindly as he did so, and Roark held down another thief with gauntlets made of pure stone.Lucia was shocked to say the least. She never expected them to not only react as quickly as they did, but diffuse the situation before she even had a chance to enter the frey. However, instead of apologizing for her earlier words, like any decent person would, she simply huffed stubbornly as she walked towards them to help in whatever way she could.She refused to be shown up by mere commoners, and vowed to improve her skills so that one day, she too would be able to jump into action without even a sliver of hesitation. She would not rest until she was strong, until she could prove to them that she was not all talk. And Lucia always kept her promises.~CR~Despite the short patrol, once the hour was over and Lucia was relieved of duty, she felt a sudden exhaustion wash over her. During the time between getting the thieves to the headquarters and being relieved for the day, several things had happened. She had witnessed yet another moment where her teammates rushed into action with her merely lagging behind, and had even stopped with them for a cup of tea, something they did quite often, apparently.It was frustrating that on her first day she found herself doing nothing but watching as they proved time and time again that she was merely a rookie compared to them, and though it was a humbling moment, she continued to act like she was better than them in front of them. When in fact, deep down she resented their skills, their knowledge in the field.With a sigh, she entered the room she was lead to and closed the door behind her, looking around at the relatively large bedroom that was assigned to her. It had grey walls and large black furniture, including a small blue couch beside a bookcase, a desk and a bed with soft, blue sheets. It was far smaller than her room at home, but it would be more than enough for her time spent at the headquarters.The hardest part of the entire experience was not seeing her family every day.Taking off her grey deer robe, she placed it on the hook on the back of the door before she went over to her belongings, stacked neatly in the corner with her broom. She rummaged through a bag until she found what she was looking for, a picture frame. With a smile, she took it and walked over to her bedside table, placing it down before settling onto the neatly made sheets."I made it, Hailan, Hailia..." She spoke softly, staring at the photograph of herself holding her two younger siblings on the day of their birth, wrapped in a nice blue and white frame. She saluted to the photograph, her smile warm compared to the cold and cruel frown she had shown earlier in the day. "And I promise I'll make you proud. You'll see...Your big sister will be the best Magic Knight in the Grey Deer squad, and its all thanks to the both of you."She leaned back on her hands and looked up at the ceiling with a soft sigh. "I will become as strong...No, stronger than Father, all so I can protect you and the children of the Clover Kingdom from any that wish you harm...That is my goal, and I will do whatever I can to make it a reality."Though she gave her squad mates the worst first impression possible, there was a softer side to the icy noble beneath what she allowed others to see. However, only those who proved themselves important to her got to experience this. No matter her reasons, she held people at a distance, because she knew only the strongest and most deserving of humanity gained her respect.Maybe in due time, her stance on a commoner's strength would change, however, right now, she refused to allow herself to dwell on such pointless things. She had her own work to do, and she would be damned if she failed before the first hurdle.She was kind deep down, it just took her some time to let it show, whether or not they gained that right, well, only time would tell.A/N: Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the chapter! Let me know what you thought in a review, I love hearing from you guys, and it always inspires me to improve!
Here you'll find this is focused on pairings of many fandoms. It's not restricted for just anime or animation. Nor is it restricted on content. All that I ask is for respect.
First of all, I am going to allow the members to have up to two galleries for their own pairings. Be careful on your choosing.
For now all galleries are set to auto. If this is abused, it will be reduced to a vote. PLEASE submit to right folder
Fanfiction is accepted. For now please submit to the category it best fits in. A folder will be created for it, but not right now
All fandoms are welcomed
If you wish to have a gallery folder specific for a pairing, you may send me a message or request on the wall. Remember, you're limited to 2
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