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Fantasy Unlikely Partners

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Flutterby

standard-issue human
"Um.." Ilaria hesitated. She wanted to get back to the Grove and start working on what was next. But she also wanted a shower with all of her own products, and there was a box of cookies in the pantry that she had been wanting to eat..
"I'd like to go home first, just for a shower and to grab a few things, if thats okay," She said quietly.
"I dont know if you want to wait for me, or if you want me to come by myself.." She trailed off, as they started to exit the highway. They would be to town in about 5 minutes, and then to her house shortly after that.
 

Tharivle

Member
It was about 4 when they approached the familiar town of Mullbrook.
"If you are going to be just a few minutes, or even just an hour or so then I can drive you home, and we can go to the grove together afterwards." Chris smiled cheerfully at her, glad to be back home and happy that their mission had gone so well.
"It'll take a while for everyone to settle in and get cleaned up themselves. Official debriefing won't actually happen until after dinner tonight. So we have a few hours. Three if you want to eat dinner at your place or in town."
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
Ilaria gave a small smile, and said simply, "If you don't mind waiting, I'd like the company."
As they wound down the small road that lead to her house, Ilaria figetted with the hem of her shirt. It had been a very long car ride, but relief washed over her at the sight of home. For an instant, she thought about going directly down to the beach, but decided against it. After the day and a half of travel, she need a shower.
The back door swung open with a soft creak, and the smell of vanilla candles drifted out. She had left the wax warmer on accidentally. As she walked through the kitchen, she flicked it off.
"I'm gonna shower. Make yourself at home," She gave him a small smile as she said it. Her bags got dumped on her bed, and she turned the shower on before rooting around for clean clothes to put on and pack again.
"Im going to need to do laundry soon." She sighed, and wrinkled her nose. It could wait until after a shower, at least.
"Did you want to eat here, or out, or...?" Ilaria asked, with a towel in one hand and clothes in the other, wondering if she should hurry.
 

Tharivle

Member
Chris was glad to be done being in the car as well. When they stopped in front of Ilarias house he quickly got out and opened the door for Rex. Then he stretched, standing on his tows before following Ilaria inside.
"We don't need to rush, but we do need to hurry." Chris replied with a smile. "Matters not where we eat as long as it is relatively quick."
Chris didn't bring anything inside. He would get everything cleaned back at the grove. Once Ilaria had disappeared into the bathroom he kicked off his shoes and sat down on the couch and put his feet up, resting his eyes, not really sleeping but relaxing.
Rex on the other hand had trotted straight for the woods and was stalking around for anything yummy for him to eat. But not finding anything I the first few minutes he gave up because he wasn't really hungry and went and laid down in the sun on the porch.
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
"I don't want to cook, so.." Ilaria didn't finish her sentence, but just turned and went to shower. She would be more ready to think about food once she was clean.

About 20 minutes later, she returned to the living room, dressed and with a towel on her head. As she sat down and unwrapped her hair, she cleared her throat. "Did you decide where to eat?"
The moon child brushed her hair and quickly braided it, keeping the blonde-white strands out of her face. "Ready when you are."
 

Tharivle

Member
Chris thought for a second and then asked, "Want a club sandwich?" Chris said as he was thinking, "We could order ahead to Dolly's, then eat as we drive."
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
"Okay," Ilaria replied softly. She knew she should go put on shoes, so they could go get food and get the the Grove. But her body was so heavy and sore. She should've filled the bath and soaked for a while, but she hadn't wanted to keep him waiting. Not that it looked like he minded, lounging on the couch with his feet up.
"A sandwich sounds good," She said, as she switched from the chair to the couch, next to him. "Just a twenty minute power nap, though."
Ilaria leaned against him, her head fitting into the crook of his neck. A few moments later, she shifted, inching closer and into a more comfortable position. He was warm, and breathed slower than she did. The combination was soothing, even if she wasn't sure what the hell she was doing.
 

Tharivle

Member
Chris smiled but didn't answer when she agreed to get sandwiches from Dolly's. And he didn't move at all when she curled up next to him. He just settled further into the couch and closed his eyes for the 20 minute power nap.
About 20 minutes later Chris lazily opened his eyes an pulled his phone out and went to his contact list and called the number that was "Dolly's Diner"
The phone rang for a moment and a female voice answered, "Hello, Dolly's Diner, how an I help you?"
Chris smiled because he recognized the voice, "Hey Beth, It's Chris."
"O, hey there honey. Where have you been? Haven't gotten your lunch in a while." The voice on the other end was clearly a women in her 50s, the kind of waitress that gets to personally know every costumer who comes in more than once a month.
"Sorry Beth, I've been out of town for work lately. And I'll be leaving again here soon. I need two of my orders this time, and I need them to go."
"Sure thing. I'll have them waiting when you get here. Want some coffee to go?"
"That would be great, thanks."
The women said goodbye and then hung up the phone. Chris hung up as well and slid his phone back in his pocket. By then Ilaria was starting to wake up and Chris asked, "Ready to go get some food?"
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
She must have actually dozed off, because she became aware of Chris's voice rather suddenly, and it didn't feel like 20 minutes had gone by. He was on the phone, and after a few phrases, she realized he was ordering their food. She groaned softly, curling up tighter until he spoke to her directly.
"No," She mumbled, unfolding herself anyway. "But let's go anyway."
It was an effort to get up off the couch. She didn't protest anymore though, just slipped her shoes on and grabbed her bag again. She doubled checked that the important stuff was off this time, and then joined him in the car.
 

Tharivle

Member
Rex who had been sleeping in the grass stood and yawned while he stretched, before trotting over to the back door where Chris let him in. Once Ilaria was in Chris pulled away and drove out away from town. About a half a mile from town was Dolly's Diner, as well as a Shell gas station, both right next to the highway exit. They had driven by this stop every time they went to and from the grove, but never had a reason to stop.
Chris parked and got out and opened the door for Rex, who would have gone inside first if the door hadn't been one that you had to pull to open. Rex padded up to the register and sat down looking up at a large jar that was on the shelf on the back wall.
Chris walked up to the register and got his wallet out. There were two to go boxes on the corner of the register. The waitress who had been working her way away from the door, down the row of booths smiled widely when they walked in. She finished her round then circled back behind the bar and took the jar Rex had been staring at off the shelf. Rex wiggled a little in anticipation but stayed sitting as Beth took the lid off and pulled out a thick slice of beef jerky. "Now say please." Beth said as she put the lid on and put the jar back before holding the slice of meat in front of her. Rex barked softly then licked his lips. Beth tossed the jerky to him and turned her attention to Chris without waiting to see If Rex caught the jerky (which he did).
"That'll be $16.58, let me go get your coffee. You want one too Miss?" She asked as she walked the couple steps over to where the coffee was on the hot plates.
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
Ilaria was quiet in the car, still trying to shake the sleepiness. It wasn't working.
She was surprised to find them stopping at a place they had passed multiple times, but that she hadn't been to yet. Inside smelled of the kind of food that "sticks to your bones." The waitress made her instantly at home, but her familiarity with Chris made her shrink away just a bit.
"No, thanks, but a Coke would be good, if you could." Ilaria watched quietly as their food was paid, and collected it to carry since Chris was driving. She glanced at her watch once; they should be moving along if they wanted to be in time for debriefing.
She paused for a moment to pull her phone out and glance at the screen, but quickly declined the call.
 

Tharivle

Member
Chris accepted his coffee with a smile and paid for the food laving a generous tip. "Thanks Beth, got to run though." Chris turned to leave sence Ilaria had already collected the food. When he got to the door he called back, "Come on Rex, you've already had one." Rex had been sitting in his spot hoping for another piece of jerky but left his spot when called.
Chris let him in the back seat and got in himself and started the car. Once on the road it was only another 25 minutes to the fast flight stop, and in that time he eat his sandwich, and picked at some of the chips that came with it.
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
Ilaria wolfed down her sandwich with an appetite that she didn't know she had. Which was probably a good sign, but it was still surprising. She was also surprised that no one in town had told her to go get a sandwich from Dolly's yet, because it was perfectly made.
She had moved on to the chips when her phone started to ring again. This time, she answered it with her mouth half-full.
"Hello?"
There was about 30 seconds of silence on her end, and the faint sound of someone else talking in a rapid cadence, and then she pulled the phoen away from her ear with a frown.
"What the hell?" She mumbled, slowly putting another chip into her mouth.
 

Tharivle

Member
Chris drove in sience, trying to eavesdrop on the pone call with no success. He finished off his sandwich and started in on his chips while waiting for Ilaria to finish up on the phone.
"Everything okay?" he asked once she hung up.
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
Ilaria finished chewing the chip that had been in her mouth, her eyebrows tented worriedly.
"I don't know.. I.. I have to check into something." She said softly, her thumbs texting rapidly.
She sent whatever it was, and then lowered the phone to her lap.
"I have no idea who that was, but basically.. she thinks Gio is bad news. I mean.. I already knew that, but.." Ilaria glanced at the phone screen, waiting for a respone.
 

Tharivle

Member
Chris just drove on in silence, knowing that he should be worried but not known why. They were about 5 minutes away from the fast fight post when Chris broke his silence and asked, "What do you mean by, he I bad news?"
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
"I dont know, Chris. It could mean that he's using this to get back into my life. Or it could mean.. I don't know, he's using this to benefit himself? He's involved in something?" She shook her head, and seemed to get more concerned the longer her phone stayed silent.
"He's not answering my texts." She mumbled, putting her phone onto her lap with a worried expression.
"Let's just.. worry about it when we get to the Grove." Even though Ilaria tried to put it out of her mind and finish her chips, she found she had lost her appetite.
 

Tharivle

Member
Chris gave her a worried glance when she dismissed the topic, but they could see the road sign for the fast fight stop, so Chris didn't press the subject. He pulled around back into one of the parking spots under the awning and got out and let Rex out. He collected his things from the trunk and through his duffle over his shoulder.
"Ready to go on the ride again?" Chris asked as they walked around the building, trying to cut the tension that had persisted sence Ilarias mysterious phone call. As they rounded the side of the building the rough old attendant was sitting on his lawn chair dozing in the evening sun. His old hound dog lazily woofed a greeting bark and went back to sleeping himself. "For one who is suppose to be guarding our secret entrance that zooms us past all our defenses, you sure do sleep allot." Chris said in a teasing tone.
The old man sighed slowly and dramatically, "I have so many wards up I could keep Seth away from this rickety old shack if I wanted... At least for a little while." As he added the second part he smiled and stood up. Walking around the other side of the building where the small clearing for the flight was.
Everyone put their things in the crate and like the last time the crate was taken, then Rex, then Ilaria, then Chris. Once on the other side, Chris took a second to gain his bearings and asked Ilaria, "Getting any better now that you've done it a few times?"
 

Flutterby

standard-issue human
Ilaria tucked her phone away with a frown as she got out of the car, trying to push away her doubts.
"Absolutely not," She responded in an exaggerated, cheerful voice. Her stomach was already gurgling at the thought.
That nervousness dampened the humor that they spoke with, and it was proved correct when they reached the other side.
Ilaria place her hands on her knees and drew in a long breath.
"Does it look like it?" Ilaria snapped softly, even though there wasn't much menace behind it. She straightened up again, took another breath, and nodded for him to lead the way.
 

Tharivle

Member
Seth had arrived at the Grove with the rest of the group and headed straight for a small clearing towards the center of the grove, with a dryad following him carrying the Golam heart. Even though he was in a hurry to put the Earth shard in an appropriate spot he simply had to slow his walk and take in the changes around him.
There was little stream that flowed in all directions and simply ended in small pools of water. Flowers were everywhere, and in such vibrant colors. The grove before had been functional and imposing, with hints of beauty and calmness from some of the smaller trees. But now there were flowering trees just for the sake of having flowers. The grove was now filled with scents of flowers, hummingbirds and butterflies filled the air, turtles and frogs and fish swam in streams and pools that were previously just open grass.
Seth stopped at the head of a small trail that he knew was the trail to the small clearing where the Sea shard was, he just chuckled and muttered to himself, "Looks like his sister took the liberty of redecorating." He walked on into another small clearing, one that had not been taken over by water and he muttered a few words and his staff opened up once more to revile the Earth shard. He let it slid out of the little pocket onto the ground. Almost imminently the grass hardened and turned to stone, and a stone pedestal grew from the ground and incased the Earth Shard. There was a smooth almost nest like bowl that formed on the now 3 foot tall pedestal. Seth then took the Golam heart from the dryad, and placed it in the bowl which formed around the emerald stone to hold it in place.
"Both of you rest now. You have earned it." Seth bowed just a little bit and walked out of the clearing and headed for the great hall.

Chris collected their bags from the crate while Ilaria collected herself. He drew in a breath to respond to her remark but then stopped and said in an amazed voice, "This place looks beautiful." Even on the edge of the grove where the trees weren't very big and there were very few clearings, the effects of the Sea shard and her love of flowers and beauty could be seen. Chris had to stand for a moment taking in the remarkable improvement to the looks of things past the functional. Once he thought Ilaria was ready he lead the way through the grove slowly as to take in the new sights. They eventually came to a small clearing where the willow that they stayed the time before was resting, lightly blowing in the breeze.
"Hello again. May we stay here again?" Chris asked.
"Of course" The tree replied in a cheerful tone. Chris let his things down by the trunk said thank you to the willow, and lead the way back to the great hall.
 
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Flutterby

standard-issue human
Ilaria gave him an odd look when he said it was beautiful. Didn't it look just like always?
A quick look around told her it really did not. Flowers had sprung up all over the place, on trees, in the grass, climbing over rocks. They attracted new wildlife- hummingbirds and bees and butterflies. The streams must be attracting new wildlife too; Ilaria could hear the beginnings of evening frog song.
"The Sea Spirit always was said to be un-apologetically joyful." Ilaria murmured, with a small smile. The Moon Mother would love this, too.
She followed Chris at a short distance, taking in the new sights and letting her stomach settle. She didn't make it all the way to the willow before he was coming back her way, and she turned calmly to follow to the great hall.
 

Tharivle

Member
When they got to the great hall dinner was being cleaned up. Allot of the people had left and those that were still around were having a few drinks and toasting their victory. As they walked in Rex slipped around the side and up into the rafters and found a place to lay down and have a bite to eat. Chris spotted Seth and Felix talking up in the front and made to greet them.
Before Chris got close enouph to hear what they were talking about, they stopped talking and both turned to greet him and Ilaria. "Hello Chris, Ilaria. I trust the both of you are well?" Seth asked.
"Glad to be back." Chris said with a smile, "I like the new look, Sea has certainly spruced up the place while we were gone."
Felix replied, "Yes, she has made it much more comfortable here. She has also improved our defense, which I appreciate now that there are three of the four great spirits here."
"We have debriefed as a group and have dismissed everyone or the night. Unless there is something on your mind, I would suggest another good nights sleep." Seth said with a smile.
 
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Flutterby

standard-issue human
Ilaria was quiet as Seth and Felix greeted them and talked with Chris. She smiled politely, but her mind was elsewhere. Who had that been on the phone? What did she mean? What could Gio be up to that would cause a stranger to call her?
There was a pause, where the conversation was quiet. She had to think about it, recall what was said while she was half-listening, and then she hesitated.
"Uh.. no, we're good." She said softly, and then pointed vaguely to the side of the room. "I'm just going to get a cup of tea, and then I was hoping to.. see the Sea Spirit for a moment, if she'll let me."
Ilaria excused herself to go get the tea, chewing softly on the inside of her lip. They needed to find the Moon Spirit, soon.
 

Tharivle

Member
Seth looked at Ilaria with questioning eyes, but simply smiled and nodded, "That's up to her now. She returned the willows guarding her pool to our service. Seems that she has her own guards now." Seth nodded to the three of them in their little group and slowly walked away. Spots met him at the door and they left together. Felix nodded to the two of them as well and walked off to conversate with others, his armor tinkling as he walked.
"I'm going to grab some coffee, and we can go see the Sea Spirit." Chris paused then added, "Unless you wanted to go talk to her alone?"
 
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Flutterby

standard-issue human
Ilaria stirred honey into her tea with methodical circles.
"No, you can come, if she says so." Ilaria sighed softly.
"I just want to ask her advice. She's the closest to the Moon Spirit, and.. I don't know, maybe she might have a feeling about where she is. Or what this mess with Gio means." The last part was mostly whispered, as she picked up her cup and glanced around the hall before nodding toward the door.
"Come on, might as well go now."
 

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