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“Y-You know me! Once I set my mind to it, I’ll catch up really quickly! Especially if you’re helping me out!” Ringo rambled on as she grabbed her bag and followed hot on Mamoru’s heels, perhaps feeling the need to sugar coat her plans to get better. There wasn’t a lot she could say to make him calmer, other than just being herself. She seemed so cheerful, despite being berated moments earlier. She still had her gloves on, reverted back to their innocent, non-threatening form, but kept them on regardless.

Ringo hummed quietly for a moment as she considered something, still following Mamoru. “I know what can make this right.. or at least make you less salty. Pizza! An Italian place opened up recently in town. We’ll both feel better after that! Yeah?!”
Yuki nodded at Cronic knowingly, “There was something like that at home, too! The guards would finish their duties and go to the communal hall to drink. The next morning, they would always visit the shrine to ask for a spell that could end their headaches and poor stomachs. Unfortunately, no spell exists like that to my knowledge. I don’t understand why they drank it, if it caused such pain.” The teen explained, innocent and yet free from any kind of influencing substance.

—————

Aria sighed gleefully in their way to the tavern, happy to let her hair down for a while. She’d told herself not to drink much, or the morning journey would hurt... But once the first jar goes down the hatch, another would have to follow. Self-control never really kicked in when there was fun to be had!

As Aria pushed the door open, she looked back to Serena. “Just one or two, then home. Yeah?” she asked, confident in her ability to stop whenever she felt like it!
Yuki took a few short, fast bows for Cronic, “I can help with the enchantments, too! This is exciting, I haven’t been able to study or practice in so long... Temple life was quite boring, if I’m honest...” she admitted, scratching idly at her cheek.

“Like a proper lil’ adventurer now, huh?” Aria mused, making Yuki smile at her. “Well... I’m gonna head to the Bannered Mare, have some drinks before sleeping. Tomorrow we’ll set off on our epic journey, Serena.” Aria said as she got to her feet and headed for the door.

“Anyone coming?”
“We’ll be heading up Dawnstar-ways, so it’ll be lovely... Until we hit the mountains.” Aria said, “Ever hear of the Vigilants? Stendaar cult, they hate unholy things. Vampires especially! But from what I gather, they’re stretched thin and need someone to deal with gangs in their local area. I’m keen to see what they know about the situation with this ‘Harkon’ guy.”

Yuki ran back down the stairs in her new outfit. It was a snazzy grey winter coat, tidy-looking as well as protective from the harsh environment of the province. A belt hugged the coat at about waist height, full of pouches and holders for magical equipment, or storage. She did a couple of twirls as she looked up and down herself, then beamed a gleeful smile at Cronic. “Thank you, this is perfect! I can keep ingredients and vials with me!”
“I guess this is why we haven’t closed down like everyone might expect. Odd skills for odd jobs, no? Means there’s hardly any limits to what we can do! Within mortal boundaries, at least.” Aria said. She gave Cronic a thumbs up, and fell back into a relaxed position on her chair.

“Traveled much of the province then, Serena? If we’re going hunting morons tomorrow, it’ll probably be far away. North, actually.”
Yuki spared no time and bolted up the stairs to find her new clothes. Who would blame the kid walking around in a strange mix of ragged Akaviri and Thalmor attire? It went silent upstairs, save for a few odd creaks and thuds as she apparently rushed to get changed.

Aria nodded slowly at Cronic, “That was pretty damn quick. I mean, her speed, and your tailoring both. I guess step one was to have her look normal - now we can actually leave town without being mega suspect, hm?”
“It’s... not what my dad wants for me,” Ringo said, her quiet voice shaking as she tried to find a reason for her weakness. “I only have myself to blame for slacking off, but he always hints toward me moving away, studying, being better off in some peaceful life.”

She paused, and exhaled, trying to compose herself. She’d never really witnessed Mamoru get angry like that, so it took a while to process. It was easy to understand his point of view. “I’ll try harder! I just can’t find a ‘resolve’ to push myself with. I don’t know what I’m aiming to become, or what I need to do to reach that point. You know?!” she tried to explain. “I keep being kept in the dark with all this mafia stuff...”

“Maybe giving the rings to me is dad finally giving in,” she thought aloud, visibly nervous, and hesitant to look Mamoru in the eye. There was nothing worse than the fact that she’d let him down, and not come through on her side of their promises.
“It’s not something any one or few people could pull off, I think. To fight the Thalmor is to fight the Dominion, and you’d need to somehow put the Empire back in good fighting condition for that. Gets real complicated with all the work we’d have to do - and yes, I’ve thought this through~” Aria chuckled. “I was a rebel once, but the results of combat with the Thalmor were... Bloody.”

Yuki entered just then. Having spent her time well exploring Whiterum, she looked quite tired. The girl was carrying two books, both with alchemical symbols on the front covers. She went to wave at the three, nearly losing one of the books before holding them tightly again.

“This land is so interesting!” Yuki remarked, cracking a big smile.
Aria couldn’t help but wear a smug grin as Serena explained herself. Cronic wasn’t exactly complaining, and Serena was happy to admit she needed the comfort he provided! All she could think was how they might make a cute couple in the future. Still, she worried about income now that there were two more ‘employees’ at the shop.

“How about it, then? We could head out tomorrow morning at first light and scout the west plains. Allegedly bandits took a castle in the area, and keep using it to mess with travellers and caravans.” Aria said, clearing her throat, “The castle is worth a lot to Mr. Balgruuf.”
“All this pent up aggression needs an outlet, and I figure Jarl Balgruuf wants bandits killed, dead.” Aria deadpanned, turning to look at Cronic with a sweet smile. “And so, we’ll get that done tomorrow if Serena is okay with it! I have a location already,” she suggested, looking to Serena again.

“How about it? Just... imagining they’re Thalmor, so we can let loose for a while.”
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