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Giselle de Farry
Undead Princess, de Farry

Giselle briefly raised her eyebrows at the mention of divine servants, but didn’t comment. “Fresnel. It’s a type of carved lens that propagates light far greater than a normal lens does,” she explained. “If these silver light lamps of yours don’t have them, they would greatly increase their range. If you have a lensmaker or a carver, I can teach them the pattern they need to carve.”

She frowned when Akyasha decided to stay. Certainly, there was nothing wrong with that, but the white-haired vampire suspected the priestess still wanted the blacksmith for herself. Giselle would be very cross if she came back and found the priestess with a new thrall in tow, but dealing with what everybody suspected was Kordelia in the forest was paramount.

That was how Giselle found herself back in the forest, this time with her peers… facing a giant chicken, as Aleksiya had so succinctly stated.

“Threatening, no. But it’s vile.”

The vampire princess went into action after the smaller vampire and the songstress made their moves against it. Staying out of the way of Aleksiya’s firing arc, she paired up with Luna once she drew her sword, aiming straight for the throat of the creature even as the other moved to pin it down.

Same, same.

Éliane’s expression darkened as she passed by the dead in the passageways, noting the presence of both Edrenian and Valheimian fallen. How had such a strike force penetrated this deeply into a castle this fortified? Although she hadn’t been the part of the Household Guards that actually guarded the Overseer, she knew enough about castle defense to know that there were precious few ways to reach the protected sections of a keep this easily. Treachery was usually the culprit, and considering how she had been surprised, she had to assume it was so.

What irritated her, though, was that it was clear that she had missed most of the fighting where she could have made a difference. Moving through the empty corridors, she was merely a witness to the dead and dying. There was no aid that she could render there.

Battle still continued elsewhere, though, and the gunbreaker broke into a sprint in the direction of the telltale report of gunfire. From the way the cracks and pops of bullets began to die out, however, it was clear that she would be coming into a fight that was at its end.

Bursting into the courtyard of the royal garden, Éliane took a split second to process the scene in front of her. The Edrenian king and knights had obviously been pitted against a significant enemy force, and from the way the men stood, had been assisted by a party of men with familiar uniforms. They were obviously her countrymen from one of the other teams. There was also another group she identified as Team Kirin. From the way the smoke still hung in the air, and the manner in which the knights and gunbreakers swept their weapons over the fallen Valheimians, the fight for the courtyard had ended mere moments ago.

A bit disappointing, really, even if Jacques and Anne had been avenged by Skaelans.

For a moment, it looked like her countrymen were talking to those from Kirin when the short exchange suddenly erupted into bared arms. Éliane didn’t know what had happened, but she would always trust her countrymen over the dubious word of a foreigner.

She grinned. Perhaps there would still be a fight after all.

She still had her gunblade out, so with a wind-assisted sprint and a jump, she appeared and pointed the tip of blade at the swordswoman from Osprey that was threatening her countryman in the same manner she had done. It was still coated with the blood from running one of the Valheimians through.

“If you so much as move, I’ll shoot,” she warned. “I thought everybody was supposed to be allies here?”

If she wasn’t recognized, then the obvious Skaelan guards’ uniform made it obvious why she had suddenly intervened.
Polina Laye
Farisian Maid

Polina gave the demon maid-to-be an unamused stare. This demon girl was really full of herself, wasn’t she? Better than being extremely violent or twisted in a way that wasn’t analogous to human failings, she supposed.

“Come along, then. Lucrecia and I will show—”

She was interrupted by the girl suddenly snapping at Siegine. Ah. Ah… she had a height complex. Polina was very sorely tempted to tease her in her usual manner, but she decided that discretion was the better part of valor and dropped the thought that came to the tip of her tongue. “Yes,” she replied instead, nonetheless using a dry tone. “You are not short, Elizstrazia. Now follow me, we don’t have all that much time to explore the entire Maison in an hour.”

She really hoped that the demon girl wasn’t going to have a temper tantrum about her height right here. At the very least, Mariarca had extracted Akantha from the tricky situation so there wouldn’t be a small girl being traumatized by the small-scale demon.

Heh. Small.
Giselle de Farry
Undead Princess, de Farry

“I see,” she said, following the human blacksmith inside her home. She would have to look into the others when she had the time. She frowned when she elaborated. Lamp signals and runners? She supposed technology had degraded quite a bit, but Giselle thought constructing a telegraph system wasn’t that difficult, even with regressed technology. She supposed it was too dangerous to do line work, or she was just out of touch. Wouldn’t that be a thought.

Giselle idly asked a follow up question. “Fire lit lamps, or oil lamps with Fresnel lens?” Depending on the answer, she could more accurately gage the village’s technology.

“Hmm, so the vampire is new, as are the undead. The former we can likely deal with, but undead dragging themselves up from the oceans is curious, if a bit ominous.” She recalled the skeletal beast they had recently encountered, and imagined a sea monster equivalent to it. That was the stuff of nightmares, even for vampire lords.

As she settled in for a quick rest, she raised her eyebrows as Dragan and Aleksiya filed into Julene’s house as well.

“The immediate situation is dealt with, then?” she nodded to confirm Dragan’s question, before letting him continue on, frowning as he went on. “Interesting. Good to know,” she finally said, filing the information to review later. The two stopping by the largest settlement in the region on their way to Alavaris made sense, but knowing that they had a third that had been meddling with the beasts pushed her to be more wary of them.

Giselle took a moment to relay the two newcomers of what they had found, before concluding with her suggestion. “If we are all sufficiently rested now, we must investigate this vampire of the forest.”

For Éliane, the banquet and reception had been enlightening. The food had been exceptional, if simply for the variety it offered. The bread and the pastries at the end she found wanting, but even she was able to recognize the inherent bias that colored her opinions there. The coffee, on the other hand, was nothing short of fantastic.

With no one awake, she hummed to herself. “Coffee~ Coffee~ How I love you so~”

It was a pilfered carafe of this god’s nectar that Éliane was nursing in her room, slowly caffeinating even as the night drew on. Her three companions had long since gone to bed to rise early on the morrow, and despite the coffee, she would probably soon follow. She really was not the type to contemplate overmuch, but the spectacle that King Leonhardt and his guests gave –and that was all it really was, in her opinion—only served to reduce her opinion of the foreign king. The formation of such hastily assembled teams and the carrot of ten million gil felt to her that the man was simply throwing stuff on a wall and seeing what would stick several months later. If someone like herself could recognize that, then no doubt others had thought the same. It had been entertaining, though. She did like shows.

Éliane and her small delegation of two had come all this way, but she was of half a mind to turn around and go back to Skael. With the resources of her country’s scholars, the Garden, and the Household Guards combined, she was confident her countrymen could discover the solution to the Blight, or defeat a harebrained Valheimen scheme if they had been the cause of it like some had suggested, no collaboration with foreigners needed.

Intellectually, she knew that was a stupid opinion, but it was tempting train of thought. She was here as much as an act of diplomacy as much as she still needed to see what was going on, and she would be derelict of duty otherwise.

Taking a last sip of the delectable black beverage, she began to reluctantly set her cup down to change and turn in for the night. Before she finished the motion however, she caught the faint, hasty movement of heavy boots and froze. A Knight returning from the washroom? No, too many footsteps. An Edrenien patrol? Not in these hallways. It could only be…


Éliane yelled as she lept from her seat, coffee still in her hand as she grabbed her gunblade from the side of her bed. She was just in time for the bedroom door to crash open, revealing armored soldiers with guns pointed into the room.

An ambush by soldiers of Valheim? How… interesting!

A moment later, the entire room descended into chaos.

The two gunslingers that had been part of her delegation barely had time to rise and snatch up their weapons before their assailants opened fire. The fourth member of her team, a rogue that they had met in the banquet with the bed closest to the door, had no such luck and had managed to tangle himself in his bedsheets trying to get up before being riddled with bullets.

Instinctively, but with great reluctance, Éliane threw her coffee at the lead soldier, shattering the porcelain against his helmet and forcing him to stagger back into another soldier. It bought just enough time for her side to respond, and soon the small space erupted into a full firefight. Éliane opened up with her gunblade before she moved to close the distance, sticking to the wall as she made a wind-propelled dash to avoid the bulk of the fire being exchanged quarters. A fusillade of lead met the Valheimens, but the same number poured into her allies. She didn’t have time to contemplate the result before she made contact with the enemy.

She shot one in the head at near point blank before pivoting to the side to line up another shot. That too connected, but pinged off the thick point of his armor. Éliane, undeterred, lanced forward and stabbed out at the man’s exposed armpit as he turned to respond to the threat. Her gunsabre found purchase, driving deep into his chest before she pulled back with a kick. The soldier staggered back before collapsing to the floor with his heart pierced, joining three others on the ground. The remaining two had been shot dead by her comrades, and the room was now silent…

...Which wasn’t good. She turned back to her comrades, grimacing at what she found. Jacques was plain dead, Anne was bleeding out, and the rogue –she’d already forgotten his name—had clearly never gotten out of bed before eating shit.

“Damn, this sucks,” she muttered, pausing to collect the rest of her kit before jumping out the door. There were still sounds of fighting outside. Her comrades were a lost cause, but the others weren’t. And now she had a score to settle.

Polina Laye
Farisian Maid

Polina raised her eyebrows as a familiar little girl appeared in the hall. Somewhat ill timed, if you asked her, but she couldn’t fault her for feeling left out. Despite living safely with the rest of the maids in the mansion for the time being, she still had a lot of recent trauma to work out. The Farisian maid beckoned for her to come over. She supposed it might look strange to the mistress, but she assumed Livia had already been briefed about the temporary guest that she found herself taking care of for the time being.

Speaking of the devil, that was the moment Lady Fiore took the moment to make her entrance. Polina briefly smiled in amusement as Akantha sputtered at being caught out, before finally running over to hide behind her leg. She stood at attention, keeping her signature poker face on as the mistress of the Maison made her inspection and speech. Behind her was the new demon maid in question. She hadn’t been entirely sure what to expect out of an enmaided demon, but the cute, fluffy little thing wasn’t entirely what she had anticipated. Despite what Livia had implied about trouble, Polina didn’t have any existing prejudices against the concept of a civilized demon… or at least, one with the veneer of being civilized. The Kyrsa had been ‘enemies’ of the Empire, what was to say the demons wouldn’t eventually end up with some sort of détente? The very existence of this Elizstrazia meant this was a possibility.

Well, given that she had been just assigned to show said demon around the estate, she would probably get to know for sure. She inclined her head towards Lady Fiore in acknowledgement of the order. An hour wasn’t much time to give a tour before having to debrief, but it was good enough.

The Farisian maid turned to Elizstrasia to give her a welcome, finding some amusement at her antics, but hid it behind her usual face. “Polina. Welcome to the team. If you want admiration, it’ll have to be earned, but I can show you around the Maison in the meantime.”

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