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Fantasy Terrarium Heart {Closed}

Sub Genres
  1. Adventure
  2. LGTBQ
  3. Magical
  4. Realistic
  5. Romance

maddymew

Member
The incessant dripping of water in the darkness had finally ceased to be a source of irritation for her. Now it simply reminded her that she was still alive, despite everything. Whether that was a blessing or a curse, she couldn't tell anymore. They had stopped moving some time ago, the lull of the waves around them gone. They must have been moved onto land again. Lorelei slumped into the corner of her cell, her wrists aching from the rope tied too tightly. How much longer would she be here? Would she ever see the moon again? Taste the fresh air of the forest? She curled into herself further, the starburst scar covering her forehead beginning to throb. Someone near her was injured. Her cell door rattled as heavy footsteps began to approach, and the scraping of metal filled her ears as it was opened. A boot pushed into her thigh.

"Get up. You've gotta fix this one again." She looked up, and two more armed humans threw a bloody young Mantacore down onto the floor before her. Lorelei suppressed her soft cry at the creature's state. She scooted to him and placed her bound hands into his soft, slick fur.

"My friend, you can't keep doing this." She whispered as her scar began to glow, and his wounds began to close. The Mantacore growled lowly in response, glaring at their captors.

"I would die before they sell me off." The humans around them laughed. As the creature's wounds healed, they opened on Lorelei. Silver blood began to pool onto the cold metal floor. Once she finished, the men hauled the Mantacore up and away. The guard that was with her still leaned down and began to collect her blood into a vial. He filled up three of them before her wounds even began to heal themselves.

"Don't worry sweetheart, your buyer is coming tonight." He sneered "Though I'll miss getting to look at such a pretty broad through these freaks." He closed and locked the cell behind himself, and Lorelei dropped her head down into her knees again, exhausted.
 

Lykos

New Member
The muted sounds of fish scurrying away ahead of her makes Belladonna shake her head as she watches them flee. The silt from the bottom of the murky lake settles around her hooves with each step as she breathes in a deep lungful of water. As she grins, self satisfied, her sharp teeth flash in the dim light making it's way into the water as it sluggishly breaks through the surface. This is her domain. Here, she is the predator.

Movement along the shore catches her attention and bubbles stir up around her as her ears lay flat against her head. A shadow falls across the water as someone leans over the shallows, not quite touching, but staring just the same. Belladonna snarls quietly. Who dares trespass here? A quick and powerful kick sends her streaking towards the surface and her jaw opens wide as her nose reaches for the surface. Their end will be swift. As her head and the rest of her dark body surges into the air, a startled shriek echoes through the weeping willows surrounding the water as the trespasser leaps away from Belladonna's jaws. Her teeth snap shut on open air and the trespasser whacks her soft nose.

"Bella! You scared the shit out of me."

Belladonna snorts, stomping her hoof as the water and sludge drip down her overlong mane and her tail swishes, still half in the water. She lowers her head, eyes shut as she tries to remember her more civilized self. Don't kill her. Don't kill her. There would be way too many forms to fill out. She growls quietly.

"I know you said you were going for a swim, but it's been two hours and the paperwork is still going to be there when you get back." Gale smiles, her beaklike nose softened by her big doe eyes. She stands tall for someone within drowning distance.

But then, she was the only one who dared to get so close. And for that, Bella was grateful.

Even then, Gale was as fierce as any other Griffin and wouldn't hesitate to cut her way free. Bella shivers as the memory of claws raking across her flank comes to mind. The scars have long healed, thanks to her time in the water, but it wasn't a lesson easily forgotten. Neither was the way Gale looked like a drowned rat after...

"Are you coming, then? I haven't got all day."

Bella snorts, opening her eyes and watching as Gale grows taller in front of her. Really, that's a lie, but it feels like that as her body shrinks down to her human size.

"Better. So glad you're coming in." Gale flits about awkwardly, "Now, do you have a towel? You're positively dripping."
 

maddymew

Member
As the two returned to their desks, a low voice came over the office loudspeaker.

"Agents Belladonna, Bones, Ice and Lyster report to the supervisor's office." Like all things in the MBPA, there was no second warning. Gale gave Belladonna a curious look and a small shrug of her shoulders as the Kelpie stood and moved towards her new destination. She was ushered into the office along with an animated skeleton, Bones, a lithe and elegant Yokai Tsurara, Ice, and a broad shouldered werewolf with dark hair. The door closed behind the group, Lyster gave a fanged smile and gestured for the female creatures to take the couch.

"Please, ladies first." The other three sat, and turned their attention to the Minotaur behind the desk. He dwarfed them easily, his bulky form looking uncomfortably shoved into the suit he was wearing. He peered at the group over his half moon glasses as he laced his fingers together before him.

"You all are here to receive a special assignment. Tonight at midnight you will be conducting a raid on a den of smugglers that has recently resettled into the country. They have no less than fifty magical creatures imprisoned to be auctioned off, some who have been with them for years." He took a breath before continuing. "Our undercover operative tells us that among them is quite possibly...the last unicorn." The agents began to mutter, and Bones rattled with surprise. The Minotaur held up his hand for quiet, looking to Belladonna. "You will be in charge of the operation. Keep as many alive as you can--captors and creatures alike. You cannot bring anyone else onto the team, but you have unlimited access to our resources and the rest of the day to prep. I understand it's last minute...but high pressure raids are what you're known for. Can I count on you?" This would be the MBPA's biggest rescue up to date, and if the rumor about the unicorn was true... it could very well change the way the world treated them.
 

Lykos

New Member
The Last Unicorn? Belladonna clenches her jaw to keep it from dropping open. She nods to her boss, eyes glazing over as her mind whirls. She can already picture the den in her mind - prisoners scared and bound, smugglers proud and dangerous. But this one is different. A Unicorn? The Minotaur gives her a knowing look. As much as she might hate the paperwork involved in the day to day, this was the part she lived for. Her bloodlust flares and her breathing comes quicker, muscles flexing as she imagines the fight.

She refocuses on the room, pulling herself from her deep thoughts and stands, her long, waist length black hair still dripping water even though Gale had squeezed it so hard with a towel she thought the Griffin was going to rip her hair out. Striding from the room, the others flanking her, she utters quick orders and everyone disperses to attend to themselves, their creatures, and to grab anything they might need.

Belladonna takes the time to cross to her desk and brushes a featherlight touch over her nearest Venus flytrap. The plant reacts, closing it's mouth around an imagined foe, and she smiles. Her eyes flash as she stalks down the rows of desks, a dark shadow hovering about her as she leaves the building, her skin itching to change. She licks her lips and the ghost of her sharp teeth pricks at her tongue.

Blood will be spilt. Those smugglers picked the wrong fight.
 

maddymew

Member
It was hard to tell between day and night in a place with no windows. Lorelei didn't know what time it was when the guards yanked her from her cell and dragged her to what seemed to be the main room. She was weak from exhaustion and hunger--they fed the creatures only enough to survive to keep them compliant. Lorelei could hear the groans and growls of many others as they moved through the metal hallways. Her scar ached with the amount of pain near her.

The guards roughly shoved her into a chair, and she felt strong, cold fingers grasp her chin. They forced her head up, and she was looking into the face of a human male. He scrutinized her for a moment, bringing his face close to hers and staring into her iridescent eyes. He dropped her face as he looked back to the guards.

"How do I know she's the real thing?" One of the armed men moved forward and slit the buyer's palm. The man yelped in surprise, letting out a curse and glaring at him. Lorelei's scar pulsed dully and she winced, before reaching forward and touching the wound. It was almost unconscious. When she had still been herself as a young foal, she remembered what her herd had taught her. All things deserve healing. Pain and suffering benefit nothing. If you can help, you must. Lorelei hissed softly through her teeth as the wound opened on her won hand, silver blood dripping down between her fingers onto the floor.

The buyer looked delighted, and gave a short laugh of disbelief. "Well, I'll be damned. Fine, then." He opened his phone and began the wire transfer.
 

Lykos

New Member
The sounds coming from within signaled something close to an auction. There are buyers within. Belladonna's ears lay flat and air hisses between her sharp teeth at the realization. Her bright green eyes slice through the darkness as Bones and Ice pull at the padlocked front door. Lyster was on the roof looking for a hatch as there were no discernable windows. Impatient, her hoof stomps against the ground, making the Werewolf peer down at her with his own amber eyes. Ice finally gets a good hold on the door and it gets wrenched open with a metal grinding shriek.

That's all the signal Bella needs.

Surging in, the harsh floodlights pointed at the chair on stage would blind just about anyone, but Bella finds the creature seated there even more bright. Focusing past the humans in the way, and the smugglers who are now pointing weapons into the darkness, Bella's breath is stolen by the pain etched into the Unicorn's face. Her hooves clatter as her knees knock into a few chairs. A call deep in her chest rises and she throws back her head and releases a scream: a blood-curling war cry. Immediately she is tearing into those around her, tossing weapons away and biting down into flesh with sickening crunches of bone and the wet flop of flesh against concrete. It no longer matters what the Minotaur - her boss - said about keeping captors alive. The coppery scent of blood fills her nostrils and it's like a siren's call which sinks deeper and deeper into her bones.

The darkness hides the worst of it when it's over. Of that, Belladonna is sure. But her sleek black hide is still sticky and damp as she slowly approaches the stage, leaving the rest of the crew to check for survivors among the buyers and the captors. She hears a faint groan so at least one isn't mortally wounded... yet. Part of her fears the Unicorn's reaction to her, but the larger part can't help but get closer, even if she never looks at Belladonna again. Even if all she sees is a monster. Bella lowers her head, leading with her muzzle, ears pricked as she steps towards the light.
 

maddymew

Member
Commotion broke out around her, and suddenly the air was filled with gunfire, screams and the nauseating scent of blood. Lorelei shut her eyes against the carnage, shrinking into the chair to try and avoid harm. Her scar was searing hot against her head. She hand;t felt pain around her like this for a long time. Not long enough. As suddenly as it had started, it stopped. The quiet was almost scarier than the chaos. She opened her eyes, slowly, and saw before her a Kelpie. The creature was magnificent, jet black with gleaming eyes and white fangs. It was slick with blood as it approached, but Lorelei couldn't find it in herself to be scared.

Lorelei was dizzy, but the Kelpie gently ripped off the rope, then looked down her muzzle at her. She seemed hesitant. Lorelei reached out and gently took the horselike head into her hands, her scar beginning to glow.

"You're hurt." She muttered, her voice almost too soft to hear. The wounds upon the Kelpie's back and sides became her own, with that old familiar twinge of pain and her pearlecent blood began to seap through her ragged dress. She gave the Kelpie a brilliant smile, almost shining with it's own light as happiness formed in her eyes for the first time in nearly a decade. "You are so beautiful," She murmured, running her fingers down the creature's muscular neck. "Thank you." Finally, the blood loss was too much, and she fainted just as Belladonna resumed her humanoid form and caught her. Her team had set to work, and Ice approached her cautiously.

"Agent Belladonna." She said, her accent lilting as she reached out a chilled hand to her shoulder. "No injuries amoung the imprisoned. But only five captors survived. We've got them restrained. Do you want us to call all clear for backup?" Her white eyes shifted over to the Unicorn, and she gasped quietly. "Even like this," She murmured "She's radiant. That's incredible."
 

Lykos

New Member
Bella scooped the Unicorn into her arms carefully, more gently than she remembers holding anything else in her life. Ice's words hardly resonate as she stares down into the Unicorn's peaceful face as she cradles the bleeding woman against her chest. Those iridescent eyes now closed. Her gentle touch burns in Belladonna's mind; the whisper of her fingers across her Kelpie face and neck tingling. She said I was beautiful. Bella clears her throat and finally turns her attention to Ice.

"Yes. Right, backup. Get the mess cleaned up." The blood still lingers in the air which accompanies a satisfied heat in her belly. Her arms tighten around the Unicorn and she makes a choked sound, still addressing Ice, "Please."

Ice looks bewildered and frowns, but she nods, "Of course." In a quieter tone, she asks, "Are... are you ok?"

"I'm fine. Make sure the others get back safely," Bella snaps, the click of her teeth a warning as she brushes past Ice carefully and heads once more to the broken door. I have to get her somewhere safe. The others can handle the rest. The urge to shift in her skin hits her hard, as does the longing for her water, but the way her heart clenches when she gazes down at the Unicorn in her arms takes priority. I can't hold her in that form. Not while she's unconscious.

Reaching their MBPA truck a couple blocks away, Bella carefully shifts her hold on the Unicorn as she reaches for the emergency phone and dials. The line rings for half of a tone before being picked up,

"Yes?"

Belladonna clears her throat again, growling into the phone, "Priority status. Medical. Meet me at the back door." She glances down at the Unicorn's face. Her hair loose but creating a sort of halo around her in her sleep. Bella still can't believe her eyes. "I will be staying close by."
 

maddymew

Member
It was almost four days before Lorelei woke up. When she did, she was clean, in a warm bed and covered in tubes. Strange machines beeped and whirred around her. Lorelei began to panic, and as she did the strange sounds got louder and more persistent. She couldn't remember anything past the Kelpie approaching her. The door to the room opened, and a humanoid with wings in a long white coat entered with a soft smile.

"Easy now. You're safe, ma'am. You were rescued by the Magical Beings Protection Agency earlier this week." Lorelei didn't understand everything, but she could gather the gist of the information. "It's an honor to have you here. You'll be strong enough to move about freely, soon. Your metabolism is incredible! I hope you'll consent to study it at some point." Lorelei looked at him curiously, but said nothing. He came forward and checked the machines, then gave her another smile. Though she was still a little uneasy, she smiled back.

After anther three days, Lorelei was allowed to get up and walk around. She still looked gaunt, but she was definitely better than before. A lavender top and skirt were given to her, and she put her hair in a braid. She was escorted by two other creatures, a Monkey demon and a silver werewolf to the offices of the MBPA. They lead her through the building, all eyes following them as they went. They approached an office where muffled shouting could be heard, and the Monkey Demon opened the door, letting out a polite cough. The two figures inside froze, a massive Minotaur and a slender woman with long black hair and shining eyes. Lorelei stepped forward with a smile as she recognized the Kelpie who had saved her. She reached out her scarred hands and took one of hers into it.

"Hello again. It's wonderful to see you safe and sound."
 

Lykos

New Member
She was worried about me? Belladonna blinks, mouth still partially open from yelling at the Minotaur, her boss, Vasileios. Shouldn't I be the one worried about her? Bella closes her mouth and feels the frown deepen on her face as her eyes quickly scan over the Unicorn. Wearing clean clothes and with her hair in a braid, she appears soft but there's almost an air of importance to her - not a commanding or arrogant one, but a subtle one as though she herself is unaware of her effect on others. Belladonna purses her lips and gently extricates her hand from between the Unicorn's, averting her gaze as the Unicorn looks on questioningly.

Vasileios grins widely and rounds the desk to approach the Unicorn, hands outstretched to shake hers, "It's so good to see you up and about." Belladonna shifts her stance to come between the hulking Minotaur and the Unicorn, only realizing she's done it when Vasileios gives her a strange expression.

"Right," Bella steps back again, edging around the Unicorn, "This conversation isn't over yet, but I'll be at my desk."

The door closes behind her with a soft click and she refrains from running all the way to her desk. Once fully ensconced in her foliage - comprised of all manner of carnivorous and poisonous plant life, which is encouraged to grow around and on her cubicle, she takes a deep breath. The healthy smell of the plants greets her and she makes her way to her padded desk chair, falling into it heavily and snorting out a deep sigh as she closes her eyes. What am I doing? She's out of the hospital ward now at least. Vasileios can't stop me from seeing her in the office. He'll probably assign someone more mild mannered though. Maybe even someone like Gale? She grits her teeth. Certainly not the office's temperamental Kelpie. Maybe I should just go for a swim. She glares at the paperwork peeking out from under a vine. Later. I'll go swimming later. Clear my head after I see her walk out with someone else.
 

maddymew

Member
Lorelei watched as the Kelpie skittered out of the room after their strange encounter. The Minotaur gestured for her to sit, and she did so, smoothing down her skirt. He returned to his desk and began to speak.

"My name is Vasileios, and I'm the director of this branch of the MBPA. That who you just met is Agent Belladonna. She was the leader of the raid that rescued you. Now that you've recovered, we have many things to discuss. You are our only link to the Unicorns of old, we know very little of their culture or what happened to them. We know some scientific and magical applications for various...uh, parts of the unicorn, but that is the extent of it. Would you be willing to educate us? And submit to painless testing so we can further our knowledge?" Lorelei shifted a little as she thought.

"What if I say no?" He gave her a soft smile.

"Nothing will happen to you. You are free to live your life now as you see fit." Lorelei felt her heart pound. Free. She could finally be free? But how long would it last among the humans? And perhaps they could help her, too.

"I'm happy to help, Vasileios. But...can I ask you for something in return?" He looked curious and nodded, so she continued. "With your magic studies and your science, could you help me? You see.. I'm dying." The Minotaur looked shocked, staring at her. She gave a bitter smile. "This body wasn't meant to last as long as it has. It was always a temporary measure of protection until it was safe." Vasileios collected his thoughts for a moment before replying.

"Are you saying you can't change forms? At all?" She shook her head.

"My magic is more concealed in this form." He nodded, stroking his chin.

"Of course we'll help." Lorelei breathed a sigh of relief. "I'll assign you a guard to escort you to and from the office here, we can't be too careful. We'll preform the tests as we discussed, and I'll get you a scribe for recording your cultural information." A smile spread slowly across his face. "And I know just who." Several minutes later Lorelei was walking out of the office with him. He lead her over to a desk covered in plants. Delighted, Lorelei reached out to touch one, and felt a sharp sting. She recoiled with a small gasp, holding her throbbing finger as her scar began to glow softly.

Belladonna had stood up at her gasp, and Lorelei gave her a smile.

"It seems we'll be working together, Agent Belladonna." She gave a small bow "My name is Lorelei who dances under the moon."
 

Lykos

New Member
Lorelei who dances under the moon. And she just cut herself on one of my plants. Belladonna isn't sure if she's more concerned or delighted that Vasileios is letting them work together.

She shakes herself and reaches for a bottle full of a mix of poison antidote and antiseptic. "This might sting." She holds the bottle out before administering it, giving Lorelei time to say no. When she doesn't, Bella spritzes the cut - almost healed already - and re-shelves the bottle. Stepping through the plants, waving vines and branches aside as she reaches Lorelei's side, she asks, "Is that a title, or your full name?"

"My full name. We, Unicorns that is, get named after something we do while still young," Lorelei's smile is back and it's blinding.

"It's beautiful." Belladonna pushes at her hair, tucking one side of it behind her ear. Only then does she remember Vasileios is standing there as well, though he remains a good two strides away from the nearest plant. He's beaming. Bella glares at him, not so eager to share her personal delight with winning their argument. "So what's the play here?"

"Protection detail. You'll be at Lorelei's side as she requests. There will be daily tests to show up for, but the rest of the day is hers."

Belladonna stares hard at him, "Anything else?"

"We haven't compiled a file yet, given... the circumstances." Right. With her being the Last Unicorn. "But with your help, we should have one started by next week."

"Fine. In that case, we're taking the rest of the day off."

Vasileios bows slightly to Lorelei but Bella is unsure the Unicorn recognizes it for what it is, and the Minotaur leaves.

Bella turns and sweeps out an arm toward the exit, letting the faintest hint of a smile toy with her mouth, "Allow me to escort you, Lorelei who dances under the moon. Where should we begin?"
 

maddymew

Member
Lorelei let Belladonna treat her wound, touched that she would even think to. Once her assignment was confirmed, Vasileios left them, and Belladonna gestured to the door.

"Oh, well you can just call me Lorelei. I understand that it's easier. And... I have no idea. I've been in that cell for almost a decade, if I've kept time correctly, and before that I was imprisoned for many years. I know nothing about anything. Even these clothes are...strange. I'm used to long linen dresses. I think the nurse mentioned a store..." She scrunched up her nose, trying to recall the name. "Melanie's? She said the clothes there would flatter me. And Vasileios mentioned a small home that is mine, I would like to visit there, too. Please."

Before Belladonna could respond, Gale came over, just back form her lunch. She gasped at the sight of Lorelei, and grabbed the Unicorn's hands excitedly.

"Oh my GOSH you're BEAUTIFUL!! Radiant even!! Oh, it's an honor to meet you! How are you feeling? I can't imagine what you've been through, there's SO much I want to ask." Lorelei smiled bashfully, overwhelmed by the sudden burst of energy directed at her. The Gryffin was obviously swept up in her awe at meeting the living legend, ignoring the attention she was beginning to draw as others looked up at the disturbance.

"O-oh, hello. Thank you for your kind words."
 

Lykos

New Member
Gale squealed and gave Lorelei another once over, "I cannot BELIEVE you're real! Like! Can you imagine? You're so nice too." She turns to Belladonna who scowls at her bubbly coworker and Gale's energy flags before she ignores Bella in favor of Lorelei. "And you got out of the hospital wing so QUICK? Is it something about Unicorns? It must be, right? I..."

Belladonna grabs Gale's shoulder and hisses, "Shut up for a second, would you?" Her tone is soft but the way she flexes her fingers on the Griffin's shoulder drives the point home. She glances furtively around the office at the curious faces now peeking over cubicles. "We need to go."

Gale pouts comically and lets go of Lorelei's hands, detaching Bella's hand from her shoulder, "Ok ok, fine." She takes a deep breath and turns on Bella, "You're absolutely taking her to Melanie's though. I mean, come ON. And I heard she got that cute little cottage? It might even be by your la-"

Bella slaps a hand over Gale's mouth, growling, her pupils turning to slits as her creature rises, "Shut. Up."

Gale pales a bit in the face of the looming darkness threatening to swallow her, but nods insistently so that Bella drops her hand. Gale squeaks out, "Right. Following you then."

"You can't be serious," Bella rolls her eyes at the Griffin.

"Oh, but I am." Gale sing-songs quietly, "I'm the cultural note taker assigned to the case."

A slow smile haunts across Belladonna's face and Gale leans backward as the Kelpie leans forward, "Great," Bella hisses out quietly, "Then we'll see you... tomorrow."

"But, I..."

"Stay. So help me Griffin, I will de-feather you if you don't let me leave." With that, Bella gently takes hold of Lorelei's hand, and then not so gently drags her out the door and into the world outside the office. Quietly, almost under her breath, she says to Lorelei, "I'm so sorry about all that."
 

maddymew

Member
Lorelei was perplexed by the interaction between the Griffin and Kelpie. While at some points they seemed friendly, at others they did not. She pondered quietly about it as Belladonna lead her outside. She gave the other woman a bright smile and shook her head lightly.

"Oh, it's alright! I got a lot of it at the hospital." Belladonna called up a car as they waited. "I hope I'm not inconveniencing you. I understand that you must be very busy, babysitting me must be a chore." She looked away sheepishly, squeezing Belladonna's hand gently, as they were still holding onto each other. Before Belladonna could respond, the car came, and they entered it. Lorelei was awestruck, touching the seats and windows with curiosity, and squealing in delight as she discovered the window mechanism. They headed into the city, and Lorelei was like an exuberant child. She asked questions about everything new she saw--right on top of the other with little tie to answer between. She was fascinated, her iridescent eyes wide with wonder.

They arrived at the boutique--which was owned and operated by magical creatures--and after Belladonna helped her unbuckle her seat belt, they went inside. Again, she was awestruck, overwhelmed by the newness of everything. Shoes, bags, accessories, clothes of all different styles were arranged inside. The store seemed to focus on feminine, cottage-core clothing and the like. A harpy at the register looked up and gave a waive, coming over to them.

"Are you our guests from the MBPA?" When Belladonna nodded, she smiled. "Great! We've closed the shop for the afternoon and you have the pick of the store. It's our honor to serve you." She turned her attention to Lorelei, who blushed a light pink as she gave a deep bow.

"Oh! Please, none of that is necessary." The Harpy smiled as she straightened.

"Of course it is! Come, we've got a lot to try on." Lorelei was ushered over to the dressing room, and the attendant helped her change. She emerged in a milkshake pink sundress, decorated at the hem with teddy bears ad strawberries. The Harpy flitted around the store gathering accessories, and Lorelei smiled bashfully at Belladonna through the mirror.

"What do you think? Does it suit me?" The attendant returned, and began to size up different pieces against the dress.

"I'm so sorry we don't have anything to cover your scars." She apologized. Indeed, Lorelei was covered in ashen scars of all shapes and sizes across her body. From paper cuts on her fingers to slashes on her face, even what looked to be old lash marks across her back. It was almost hard to see her delicate skin through the ugly marks. Lorelei gave another smile, this one tinged with something melancholy.
 

Lykos

New Member
And she thought I was beautiful. Belladonna's eyes never left Lorelei on their way through town, hiding her smile over Lorelei's incessant questions and her excitement about everything around them with her long black hair. Seeing her disappear into the changing room, even knowing the store was empty for them, sent Bella's protective side surging to the front and she had had to pace the length of the shop while Lorelei tried on the dress she now wears. Hands slung into the pockets of her slacks, Belladonna can't help but be awestruck at the way the dress fits Lorelei. She looks so innocent.

When the attendant commented on Lorelei's scars, Belladonna felt herself bristle in Lorelei's defense. The little silver lines were beautiful. Like they were star kissed, and light seeped from her wounds. They're nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to hide. She huffed quietly and returned to Lorelei's question, clearing her throat so as not to growl at the Unicorn. "It suits you very well." Her hands itched to take Lorelei away, deep into the woods, and the feeling startled her. Shaking her head to herself, she pulls out the phone assigned to her for anything regarding Lorelei, and tries to distract herself from other bothersome thoughts, all the while scanning for threats around the room.

Unable to help herself as the attendant pouts once more about the scars on Lorelei's fair skin, Belladonna pockets the phone and strides across the room to where a soft faux fur wrap sits on a mannequin. Peeling it off quickly, she makes her way back over and maneuvers between the attendant and Lorelei with a murmured "Excuse me." Wrapping the material around Lorelei's shoulders, Belladonna leans in to whisper in her ear as the two of them stare into the mirror at themselves. One a vision of light and joy, the other a dark shadow. "If they really bother you, try something like this." Bella reaches up, hesitates, and then reaches the rest of the way up to brush a stray strand of hair away from Lorelei's face, fluffing the rest so it's not caught in the wrap. Bella's voice is hardly audible as she softly feathers her thumb over one silvery mark trailing down Lorelei's forearm, "Scars mean you survived."

Before Lorelei gets the chance to say anything in response, Bella addresses the attendant, "Anything she wants, you charge to the account. I know MBPA wants her taken care of."

The attendant smiles past her indignation at being brushed aside a moment earlier and nods agreeably. Bella assumes she knows the bonus she'll get for helping, especially with an unlimited price range. To Lorelei, Bella says, "Just get whatever makes you smile. Or is comfortable. Or... whatever."

Taking up residence in a nearby lounge chair to watch the proceedings, Belladonna fidgets with her hair, brushing it behind her shoulders before pulling it forward again a minute later. Then she braids it, unbraids it, and sighs to herself. Clearing her mind, she thinks to her lake. The way the willow tree branches sway down and touch the water. The way the fish swim away from her more often than not. The one brave eel who glides past her whenever she returns. And the way the water flows over her withers and back before she ducks under. The water rushes in, muting the noisy outside world, and she can breathe.
 

maddymew

Member
Belladonna's soft kindness touched Lorelei deeply. Looking at them together in the mirror, she admired again how beautiful Bella was. Her dark eyes glittering under the lights of the store and her long black hair. She whispered words of confidence into her ear and gently touched her hair to fix it. Lorelei blushed heavily at the action, and as Belladonna moved away she breathed out a shaky sigh.

The attendant flitted around the store, helping her try on everything from a comfortable shirt and jeans to a floor length lavender slip dress. When the Harpy stepped away to take a call at the desk, Lorelei approached Bella. The Kelpie had been watching from a slight distance. Lorelei knelt down before her, the silk dress pooling around her on the floor like a soft puddle. She placed a set of jade hair sticks in Bella's hands.

"These would look wonderful in your hair, I think." She said quietly, looking into Bella's eyes with a gentle smile. "We should add them to the rest. I wanted to say thank you." The attendant returned, and smiled at them.

"Of course we can, no problem!" Another two hours passed before the attendant was satisfied with the wardrobe they had amassed for Lorelei, citing that her boss would demand that much. They boxed everything up and the driver had to help them load it into the car once he arrived. They got in and began to depart from the city, driving down to a quiet plot of land that was isolated from everything else. It was ajoined by Belladonna's lake, so security was taken care of. They arrived at a small cottage, covered in plants. Lorelei gasped as they pulled up, looking exuberant.

"Is this where I'll be staying??" She looked to Belladonna, who nodded, and gave a giggle of delight as she leapt from the car. "I can't believe it! How beautiful!!" Lorelei wanted to rush inside and explore, but she held herself back long enough to help unload the clothing. Once it was deposited inside the house, she explored the rustic place from top to bottom, running about like a child. She dragged Bella with her, asking her to explain how different appliances worked like the shower, the stove and the TV. She was fascinated by it all.
 

Lykos

New Member
The way Lorelei darts around the cottage is, quite frankly, adorable. Bella knows the Unicorn has been locked away for far... far too long, but it's amusing just the same to watch her rediscover the world. A little part of her mind tugs at her in the background of Lorelei's bustle as Bella wonders what Lorelei's home would have been like. Her people. Other Unicorns. She shakes the thought loose, determined to save that for another day - or perhaps even for Gale to discover, as Lorelei's cultural attendant.

Bella watches as Lorelei presses buttons on the microwave and the plate inside starts spinning. Lorelei bounces and gives Bella such a bright smile it's as though the sun shines from her face. In that instant, Belladonna is glad she's already leaning against the island counter.

Not to let the experience of the microwave go to waste, Bella sets about gathering the materials to make a microwaved hot chocolate, picking out a mug with flowers scrolling across the surface, and asks if Lorelei wants milk or water. Given an answer, Bella stops the microwave and sets the mug inside to begin heating the liquid as she places a container of cocoa powder and a bag of marshmallows out while they wait. Lorelei's eyes flit between the spinning mug and the offered treats on the counter until Bella pulls the steaming mug out.

"What do I do?" Lorelei asks, reaching for the mug.

Belladonna pulls the mug just a tad further away, suddenly worried Lorelei will hurt herself with it. "You put however much cocoa in here and once it's mixed, you add marshmallows. Here." She hands Lorelei a spoon for the powder and watches the Unicorn's eyes as they widen in fascination as the first spoonful of cocoa slips into the liquid and spreads out while most of it sinks before bobbing back to the surface. Bella gently clears her throat, "Stir it."

Sufficiently cocoa-ed, Bella drops half a handful of marshmallows on top and slides the mug towards Lorelei, leaning once more on the island as the Unicorn takes a sip.
 

maddymew

Member
Lorelei gasped as the sweet liquid hit her tongue. Her head shot up and she looked at Belladonna with glee.

"It's SO sweet! It tastes like chocolate tarts!" She took another few sips, careful because of the drink's temperature. Lorelei hummed happily, looking out one of the ivy covered windows in the kitchen. The sun had set a small while ago and the sky was beginning to darken. Tonight was the full moon. She had been in her humanoid body for so long that she had actually had to check a calendar to be sure. Lorelei felt an old ache settle in her heart at the thought, wishing she could spend the night dancing again as she once did.

She shook her head out of the thought and looked back across the counter at Belladonna. She had a small drip of marshmallow on the corner of her lip. Lorelei reached forward and handed her a napkin, which the Kelpie took sheepishly. "Belladonna..." She said quietly "Will you stay here with me tonight? Please?" Lorelei didn't know how to properly explain herself. She didn't think she could be all alone in the darkness quite yet, even in such pleasant surroundings. She held Bella's dark gaze with her iridescent eyes. "I know I've already asked so much of you, forgive me for asking even more."
 

Lykos

New Member
A shiver rolls over Belladonna as her body wars between the sweet woman's request and the desire to plunge into her lake's dark waters as the night draws higher into the sky. She turns her head toward the window, holding her quickly cooling, empty mug close to her chest, and gives the Unicorn a sideways glance. "Sure. I'll stay." She sighs as Lorelei smiles, "You get ready for bed then, and I'll clean up."

"Oh, I can help-"

Bella snags the now empty mug from Lorelei and feels a tiny smirk grace her lips. "Go. Get comfortable, ok?" As Lorelei heads to the bathroom, Bella calls out over the sound of the kitchen sink, "There should be stuff under the sink in there for you."

Drying the mugs and putting them away again, Bella plucks the little indoor watering can from under the kitchen sink and tends to the - explicitly not hazardous - house plants. She laughs quietly to herself as she remembers Gale's expression when the Griffin asked Bella about these plants in particular, after encountering the ones on the Kelpie's desk at work. Satisfied the plants are happy, she returns the watering can and pads towards the bathroom to make sure Lorelei found everything ok.
 

maddymew

Member
Lorelei had gone to the bedroom and put on a new pair of pajamas that they had gotten that day. A thin, soft button up shirt and matching pants that had large strawberries on them. She then brushed her teeth and washed her face with something that smelled like grapefruit. After drying off, she looked around in the small basket of toiletries.

Belladonna entered the small bathroom, plucking the hairbrush out of her hands and wordlessly gesturing for her to sit on the edge of the bathtub. "I'll brush your hair." She said curtly, a slight tinge of color on her cheeks. Lorelei did as she was told, hiding her face in her hands as Bella began to run the brush through her silver hair. She knew Belladonna was just trying to be kind, and had no idea of the statement she was making. "Are you uncomfortable?"

"N-no!" Lorelei squeaked "It's just that..nobody has ever brushed my hair before." Her blush was hot against her hands, and after some minutes Belladonna put down the brush. The women then moved to the bedroom, where a small black overnight bag sat on the bed. IT was Belladonna's, supplied by the agency for this specific occasion. A note on top of the bag told her to have a good night, with a small winking face and signed by her boss. Lorelei moved to the window and opened the soft curtains, so the moonlight would come through the room. She then took a single, decorative pillow and a small throw from the bed, and proceeded to settle down on the floor.
 

Lykos

New Member
Watching Lorelei take up residence on the floor, Bella fought to not say anything. Instead, she went to the closet and pulled out a warm blanket and perched on the windowsill, staring out into the darkness to give Lorelei some semblance of privacy for sleep while still adhering to the Unicorn's request for Bella to stay nearby. Her thoughts kept coming back to Lorelei's seeming embarrassment over Bella brushing her hair out. I'll have to get Gale to ask her about it. Maybe she can make sense of what I did wrong. Bella frowns.

It took a while, but finally Lorelei's breathing evened out into the soundness of sleep. Bella waited for another half an hour before quietly moving over to the bed and pulling back the covers, tossing the excess decorative pillows onto the floor. Satisfied there's enough room under the folded back covers, she then carefully scoops up Lorelei, the pillow she chose, and the throw blanket before resettling the Unicorn into the bed and tucking her in. She makes sure the blankets and other pillows won't make Lorelei feel suffocated when she wakes up - glaring at one pillow that won't settle properly before she flicks it off the bed as well.

Restlessness suffuses through Belladonna's muscles as she stares out the window again. Her fist softly clenches in the top layer of blankets before she forces herself to let go of it. The darkness calls to her.

Her hands whisper over the seams of the window, fingers tightening on the opening mechanism as a soft whimper comes from behind her.

Immediately, Bella freezes and turns back to the bed. Lorelei appears to be peaceful, but the faintest of frowns now decorates her sleep. Bella sighs into the room, her heart thumping with the lure of the water just out of reach, but she feels herself drift back to the side of the bed. Hovering a hand by Lorelei's mouth, Bella checks on her breathing before pacing around and she climbs slowly onto the remaining bit of bed, settling against the headboard and folding her arms across her chest. I won't fall asleep here. It's just until the nightmares pass. Her gaze is gentle as it falls upon Lorelei's silvery hair and the faint blueish tint of her closed eyelids. Sleep, sweet Unicorn. Kelpies eat nightmares for lunch.
 

maddymew

Member
When the moon hit it's apex, Belladonna was able to slip away into her lake as Lorelei slept soundly. When the morning came and Lorelei woke in the soft bed, she was confused. As she thought more, a smile touched her features. Lorelei got out of the bed, slightly stiff from sleeping on a foreign surface. She made the bed and got dressed, then went to the bathroom to wash up. Lorelei was still a little nervous about using the shower, so she decided to wait until later.

Lorelei looked around in the fridge and found a few apples. Putting them in her pockets, she also grabbed one of the fluffy towels from the bathroom and Belladonna's phone, which had begun to ring. It buzzed in her hand and made her arm tingle strangely, but she carried everything down to the lake. The calm surface of the water glittered under the morning sunlight, small fish daring around beneath.

Lorelei leaned over the water carefully, and called out. "Agent Belladonna? Um, good morning?"
 

Lykos

New Member
Swimming laps of her lake, the morning sunlight dapples through the water with the shifting of the willow trees. The water is cool but feels just perfect gliding against her hide. As much as she enjoys being submersed once more, she's been alert all night just in case a cry came from the bedroom. When the shadow falls over the lakebed today, it comes as a surprise. Turning towards the shore, she pauses under the surface as fish begin fleeing deeper into the lake, away from her inquisitive gaze. She came. And not only that - She calls for me.

The water ripples as her head breaks through the surface, nostrils flaring softly at the transition between breathing water and breathing air. Crocodilian, she keeps the rest of her body submerged as she blinks up at the Unicorn. Her ears flick forward when she spots the apples and the towel, a flicker of warmth seeping into her chest.

With another snort, she gathers her legs under her and slowly, gracefully rises from the water in front of Lorelei. Bella keeps her gaze trained on the Unicorn, watching for any signs of fear as her sleek body rises from the lake and water runs in rivulets down her flanks and her mane, dripping from her muzzle. She lowers her head, tipping it to the side as she eyes one of the apples. The only thing stopping her from taking it immediately is conscious effort, not knowing if her sharp, predatory teeth will send the Unicorn running. Surprised she hasn't already. But it's a good surprise, one of the best.
 

maddymew

Member
Lorelei watched in awe as Belladonna rose from the lake in her true form. Water beaded along her coat and fell from her like rain, sparkling like jewels in the sun. She took two steps forward, entranced, and ran her hand down the Kelpie's powerful neck, feeling the wet fur under her fingers.

"You are truly...magnificent." She breathed. Jet black with a deep green sheen on her coat, she looked like the night come to life. Lorelei took her hand back, and blushed once she realized what she'd done. "Oh, I'm so sorry agent Belladonna. I lost myself for a moment." She took one apple and held it out in the palm of her hand. Belladonna took it, crunching down on the fruit with her sharp teeth. Lorelei took a step back as she held out the towel to her, looking curious. "I can avert my eyes if I'm making you uncomfortable." She said quickly, blushing again. "I've never seen someone transform into another form."

Belladonna's phone vibrated again, and Lorelei looked down at it nestled into the crook of her arm, taking a bite of her own apple. "It's been making noise since I got up." She explained.
 

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