inventrix: (kenshin leo)
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this is turning into a bloody saga


Leofric sat, waiting and watching, and the only thing keeping him from pacing nervously - or worse, charging the camp single-handedly - were decades of martial self-discipline. He'd sat down, worked out the whole plan in advance, made absolutely sure it would work, and yet... And yet. The younger man - Jeska, he'd said - was his, now; Leo was responsible for him. And he'd just sent him back into a pack of Nedetakaei, to get himself grabbed by a wild monster and hauled off.

It wouldn't be that bad, Leo reassured himself for the dozenth time. He'd turned off his new Kept's ability to feel pain, for the moment, and he'd heal him as soon as the others were sufficiently convinced he'd been killed, but it was still... uncomfortable.

He was never, ever, going to tell Cya how he'd done this.

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inventrix: (kenshin leo)
The woods were quiet as Jeska sat in his hiding spot, waiting. He was responsible for getting food for dinner that night, and to that end he'd been camping out waiting for something to pass by. His hiding place had the bonus of being out of the way of the rest of the pack, giving him a few precious hours to himself. And those few hours would be even more valuable if he kept having so little luck. There'd been a deer, but something had startled it just as he'd taken the shot and he hadn't even wounded the damn thing.

Just as he was thinking it might be best to cut his losses and head back to camp, there was a whisper of a presence behind him - and before his hand could reach the hilt of his knife, let alone he could turn around, there was a press of sharp, cold steel against his throat.

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inventrix: (Default)
Not that Kouveig would ever admit it where his oldest brother could hear, but plants were boring. Yeah, sure, it was useful - for eating, houses, not getting killed, blah blah - but the actual plants? They just sat there. ...Unless you made them do something.

He glanced surreptitiously around the rest of the class; they were all paying attention to the lesson and their assigned plant. Schooling his expression to one of studious concentration, he muttered a Working.

The biggest tree in the greenhouse bent over, waving its branches gently in a slow-motion macarena.
inventrix: (Default)
Another teleporter from Addergoole. Number six in the Air event.

Calcifer Stein scanned over the Games roster for the student in question and put a perfectly innocent asterisk next to her name. Nobody would question it; even knowing whose copy it was, no one would suspect anything of it. And the roster, it had the names of the students, their Mentors, and their year. Enough information to easily find them, later.

This one would be graduating at the end of next year. Calcifer considered the timing carefully. She probably already had her two children for her school and, as past experience has proved, the female Addergoole graduates were rarely willing to have another child, let alone sign them away to another project in any capacity. Which left the theft of genetic material as the only option.

Calcifer sighed, chewing absently at the end of a pen cap. It was a tricky option, legally speaking. What with the Law regarding maternal rights, the material had to be donated willingly. The only loophole that had worked in the past was that full disclosure was not necessary...

Berena. Berena would make a good surrogate. She liked children, she was always thrilled to assist her former Mentor, and she was excellent at persuasion and prevarication. Motherhood would make her effectively useless for any other projects or experiments for a few years, but with Wells as the genetic father again...

One more generation. One step closer to opening a gate to Elleheim.
inventrix: (leo by djinni)
"But then why did she give him to Professor Inazuma?"

The Unofficial Shipper's Club of Doomsday Academy were gathered on the lawn outside the dorms, trying to make sense of the most recent, completely unanticipated developments in one of the most hotly contested 'ships of the school.

"Maybe she was regifting him or something?"

Principal Doomsday, it was known both throughout the school and most of the city of Cloverleaf, Kept a new boy ("young man") every year. He was usually an Addergoole graduate, which most of the school and very little of the city knew. And all but the most unobservant noticed they always fit one of two types: tall and blonde with horns or antlers, or small and dark-haired.

"He was one of the blonde ones!"

The Unofficial Shipper's Club kept a meticulous tally of which was which. When she came back with a blonde one, the Red Lightning faction cheered; a brunet, the Doomsday Law faction looked smug. When she'd come back with the latest - a blonde with a crown of horns - Red Lightning had gleefully marked down a third in a row for their side, and Doomsday Law had sulked.

"Maybe she's tired of blonde."

"No, no, she's got a new boy now and he's blonde too."

The third consistent feature of Cya Red Doomsday's habits was that she always released the boy at the end of the school year, shortly before going and getting a new one. Never sooner; never later.

"Leo-sensei doesn't even want to Keep anyone again. He said so himself!"

Except this year. This year, she'd handed him over to Professor Inazuma. Leofric Lightning-Blade. One half of the 'ship that this year's Kept was supposed to be supporting.

"I guess he changed his mind...?"

"Forget about why; what does it mean?"

The Unofficial Shipper's Club stared at their charts, both halves completely at a loss.
inventrix: (Default)
Cya was happier. Every time Leo had started wondering what the hell he'd been thinking, he reminded himself of that: not dealing with Apollo had made a visible difference in her. That's why he volunteered to take Apollo off her hands, and it'd worked. Having to live with a confused and still resentful teenage Kept for ten months was a small price to pay for helping Cya.

Leo sighed, resisting the urge to put his head down on his desk as the first few students for his last class started wandering in. He'd known the kid was going to be a pain. He'd known he was reckless and stupid and full of himself in that way his fellow cy'Luca graduates specialized in.

He hadn't realized how little Apollo knew. The only things Addergoole'd taught him were from his Keeper (whoever she'd been). Leo'd disagreed when Luke said he'd "failed" Apollo when he'd come by to check on him, but now... Well, he was feeling a lot less sure about that.

Not that he was complaining about the situation. Leo flipped through his notebooks, looking for the one with today's lesson. Apollo wasn't outright rebelling or anything. He hadn't trashed the house or tried to run away or refused to come home or started sabotaging things or... well, Leo could think of a lot of ways to be a deliberately bad Kept, and so far Apollo hadn't done any of them. And it was nice having someone around the house besides Sayuri (his cat). Even if that someone was still too annoyed about the situation to be much good for conversation.

It had only been a week. Apollo'd been months with Cya before he started even trying to cooperate; he wasn't going to get used to being Kept by Leo in just one week. Leo could give him at least a month for things to settle down; maybe even two. The last thing he wanted to do at this point was make Apollo hate being Kept even more than--

The sound of a throat clearing caught his attention and he looked at the door. To his surprise, a young woman with metallic flower-like patterns on her skin and wearing the city guard uniform was standing there at attention. Frowning, Leo stood and gestured for her to come over, searching his memory for her name.

"Sondra, right? What's going on? Did something happen?" He kept his voice low, though the students had probably already started rumors about this...

"Not to the city, sir. I recognized him from your description," she added, just barely loud enough for him to make out. "Says his name's Apollo. We're holding him at the hospital until you get there."

The hospital.

He nodded curtly. "Thank you. I'll be there shortly; I need to let sa'Doomsday know."

"Glad to help, sa'Lightning-Blade." Sondra inclined her head and left.

Leo's jaw clenched and he flipped the notebook back shut. So much for giving the kid a generous adjustment period. Now, now he was annoyed.

--------

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inventrix: (ruki glare)
It was an entire week before Corentin finally said something.

"You know," he said in a low voice as they stopped for lunch, "there's some--"

"Yes." Sigruko cut him off before he could finish the sentence. "I noticed."

Corentin sighed. "I know you did."

Sigruko had known Corentin for years now - decades, really - and that tone in particular was one she knew very well. (Better than she would've liked.) Holding back an echoing sigh of her own, she looked over at him. "All right, what is it then?"

"Are you really going to just let him trail after you like this?" Neither of them looked back; the boy following them was good enough that they wouldn't see anything, and they knew it. "It's dangerous."

"I'm sure he knows that." Sigruko looked thoughtfully at her friend. "What are you thinking, Cory?"

"Well." He hesitated, now that she'd forced him into the topic, like he usually did. "I was thinking, if we can't convince him to go home--"

"Unlikely." The corner of her mouth twitched up into a smile. "He's stuck with us this far."

"Yeah. And trying to lose him is too dangerous, so why not let him join us?"

Sigruko raised an eyebrow. "Because that's not dangerous at all."

"It's less dangerous than trying to follow us through the wilds alone," Corentin pointed out, a little acerbically. "At least that way we could keep him from getting killed. Maybe even teach him something."

Sigruko blinked in surprise. "You mean take him as an apprentice? ...a Student?"

"Well... something like that."

Sigruko thoughtfully pulled out a piece of bread and chewed on it. Her father had taken up being a Mentor; she could certainly handle having one Student. Or student, if the boy wasn't Ellehemaei after all.

It was an interesting idea.
inventrix: (prof inazuma)
Leofric clicked off the television and stretched, the motion gently dislodging a protesting Sayuri from his shoulder. "Sorry, neko-chan," he said, scratching his cat behind her indignant white ears. "I can't spend the whole day watching anime with you, you know?" Summer vacation was nearing an end, but it wasn't over yet. Even if he had finished all of his preparation for upcoming classes and was left with nothing to do except watch anime.

Sayuri purred in response, rubbing her head against his hand before hopping onto the floor and sauntering away.

Ten minutes later, he closed the door behind him and stepped out into the street, heading for Doomsday and the dojo. Read more... )
inventrix: (leo by djinni)
Leo strolled down the street, humming cheerfully to himself as he headed for the city pastures. It was a beautiful late spring evening; perfect for taking a long walk outside. Cya was still busy managing city things and he had nothing much to do most of the day (what with school being out of session) - and he was always up for doing her a favor. Plus, he hadn't actually met her new Kept, yet. He'd heard about him... despite Cya's best efforts, it seemed. He was being difficult; Luke owed her big time; stuff like that.

All of which just made him more curious. Stepping through the archway to the pasture area, he looked over towards the sheep flock. Cya said he'd be... aha. Tall, blonde, and from the set of his shoulders, resentful. That looked about right.

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inventrix: (kenshin leo)
TW: self-harm, thought of suicide

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inventrix: (kenshin leo)
The trader hadn't been to the town before, but they were friendly to strangers - friendly enough, at least, to consider his goods. He had plenty to trade, and plenty of interest in what they had to offer, and was completely willing to overlook any overtones of wariness in their treatment of him.

"And if you want, I'll pay for these with real currency." The trader waved a handful of colorful slips of paper. Money was a rarity and in most places, unless it was their own money, worthless. But Cloverleaf - the city whose money the trader was waving around - was growing, in size, trade and influence, and some places were starting to take clovers as payment. It was convenient, and the city merchants and residents all took it...

This town was skeptical, but the mayor (who greeted all their visitors) took a few of the bills to look at. And as she looked at the faces printed in colored ink on the papers, she suddenly went very still, her face going a shade paler.

"This." She held out a single clover bill. "Who is this?"

"Who?" The trader was surprised at the question. "I don't know, I heard they're all the founders of the city."

"I see." She stared at the money a moment longer. "Maybe this will come in useful, after all."
inventrix: (Default)
Leo looked at his oldest Students, kneeling patiently across from him, and took a moment further to collect his thoughts.

"As you know," he finally began, "the 'games' between us and the other schools are coming up. It's safe to assume this will be your first experience in real combat."

The students just barely avoided glancing at each other at that.

Leo smiled faintly. "Go ahead, you don't have to be formal today."

"I thought this was supposed to be some kind of sports competition?" Edie asked.

"A competition, yes," Leo answered slowly. "But the other schools have a different idea of what 'sports' means. You're safest assuming it's going to be a real battle."

"But in real battles they're trying to kill you," Blair protested, ignoring her neighboring cy'ra's elbow and muttered "hush".

"As I said." Leo looked solemnly at them all. "The other schools aren't going to play nice or fight fair. This is not the time to worry about good sportsmanship."

"But..." She frowned. "But surely killing another student would at least mean their team would lose. They wouldn't--"

Leo cut her off with a curt gesture. "There are lots of ways you can fight with murderous intent without the risk of actually killing anyone. Knowing your opponent is skilled or tough enough to survive, for example. Or being ordered by your Keeper not to kill anyone. They might not kill you, but they can hurt you - and your teammates - very badly. So again. Assume this is going to be a real battle."

This time, they all nodded, looking various degrees of apprehensive.

It was a good start, Leo decided.
inventrix: (Default)
"Sir."

Dr. Stein looked up from his desk without putting down his pen. Merce, along with the rest of his Students, were standing in front of his desk - had been, in fact, for almost half a minute before Merce had spoken. They were attentive, respectful, and for the most part, a little nervous. Nothing of note there.

"Yes?"

"The inter-school games are coming up, sir." Merce seemed to have been appointed cy'ree spokesperson today. "We were hoping you might have some advice."

Dr. Stein sat back, placing the pen down on top of his papers. "Of course I have advice," he said matter-of-factly, flicking a brief glance over his Students and waiting.

It took disappointingly long - almost three seconds - before any of them got past blank confusion. "Um, actually," Kevan said, "we were hoping you might give us some advice."

"Very good." The corners of Dr. Stein's mouth turned up in the faintest suggestion of a smile. "You remember my advice, 'know your team'?"

His Students nodded.

"Good. That is still my first piece of advice: know your team. Know how they think, how they feel, how they act and react. Where their metaphorical buttons are and how hard they need to be pushed. Know what strategies and responses your teammates will give before they know themselves."

He paused, glancing over them again to be sure they were still paying attention.

"My second piece of advice is: know your enemy, like you know your team. If you do - if you know them better than they know themselves - you are virtually guaranteed to win."

"But sir." Kevan spoke up again. "How are we supposed to know all that? We aren't going to meet them at all until the games."

Dr. Stein looked at him and smiled. (To their credit, only one of his Students visibly cringed.) "Well then, you'll need to learn very quickly."
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