A delicious oneshot. RitaxEstelle, slight YurixFlynn.

"Estelle?" Rita called out with a rather reluctant tone.

She stretched her hand forward in the darkness, searching for the Princess amongst it.

"E-Estelle? Where are you, Estelle?" she asked again, her voice becoming more frantic.
"Ah!" Rita exclaimed, quickly reaching for her head.

She was severely wounded. Though she couldn't see the blood in the pitch darkness, she could tell. Not to mention that jolt of pain which was currently bickering at her head.

"Urgh.. damn it.."

The past occurrences were somewhat of a blur to the young girl. She slowly tried to recall what happened.

"Estelle, what are you doing?" Rita groaned, trying to catch up to the pink haired girl.
"I'll prove him wrong!" Estelle exclaimed, turning around to look at the girl behind her.

Rita groaned once more and crossed her arms in protest.

"He's just trying to get to you, don't listen to that jerk!"
"Besides, it's probably pitch dark in that damn cave, it's already night out here! Let's go back!"

Estelle's determined face quickly turned into one of discontent.

"N-no! I can't! Please, Rita! Let me do this"
"You can go back if you'd like, but I have to do this"
"I-I have to show Yuri that I'm not the same little princess that I was in that castle!"
"I've changed!"

Rita's eyes widened.


Estelle. She never ceased to astound Rita in some way or form. Whether it was a drastic action she hastily would take or something significant she would say, she was always making Rita gawk. She would always unveil another infatuating revelation about herself. She was always changing.. always growing. Getting stronger, everyday. Estelle was perhaps the strongest person that Rita had ever known, and it made her proud. But her feelings of admiration came packed with many others.
Others that she would quickly push away from her mind at the slight thought of it. Feelings that she refused to acknowledge.
Sure, she wanted to protect her. So much that it hurt her when Estelle would get hurt. It enraged her when others tried to hurt Estelle. She wanted to protect her, no matter what.. no matter the cost.
She wanted to protect her. Forever.

Of course she'd follow Estelle into that stupid cave in the middle of the night. Despite the dangers... despite what monsters may emerge from the darkness.
Because she wanted to protect her. She would follow Estelle to the ends of the Earth, no matter where it took her.

"Rita!" Estelle exclaimed.
"Eh?" Rita mumbled, emerging from the indulging of her thoughts.
"Are you alright?" Estelle asked, running back to young girl.

Estelle was not much taller than she was, or maybe it seemed that Rita had grown a little. Another three years and Rita would reach eighteen, Estelle's age. She'd probably be taller than her, by then. Estelle quickly took off her glove and placed her hand on Rita's forehead. Rita's cheeks lightly tinted red.

"W-what are you doing?" she asked.
"Well, you seem to be dazing off often.. I'm worried.. maybe you should go back, Rita.."
"No way!" Rita snapped.

Estelle was taken aback by her sudden yell.

"Ah.. I- I mean... I can't just leave you, Estelle.." she said.

She gazed at the ocean, a quite distant area from where they were standing. She couldn't look Estelle in the eyes.. not when she was conveying her true feelings to her.

"I will protect you.." she mumbled.

And there it was. The immense awkward silence. Rita's eyes were still captured in the ocean's waves, and the warm summer breeze gently blew strands of her hair.

"R-Rita.." Estelle mumbled.

Rita slowly shifted her eyes back to the older girl. She was trembling.

"Estelle? What's wrong?" Rita asked, worried.
'B-but I thought she'd be hap-'

Estelle grabbed Rita's arm, pulling her onto her chest. She then wrapped her arms around the shorter girl and clung to her tightly.
Rita's face quickly flushed bright red as she tried to push herself away from Estelle.

"Thank you, Rita!" she exclaimed.

Estelle pulled away slightly to face her.

"I'm so happy, I really am!"
"I thought you'd leave.. I!"

Rita managed to push herself away from Estelle's embrace. As she did that, she flung around and crossed her arms, so she wouldn't be facing her.

"I-it's fine! You know I just can't leave you alone like that! Especially at this hour!" Rita exclaimed.
"Rita! I!"

Before Estelle could say anything else, Rita grabbed her hand and started heading in the direction of their original destination: the Cave of Blistering Darkness and Love!~ Or at least that's how it was marked on the World Map. Rita figured it was probably wrong, the name was written when Raven was busy drawing in uncharted areas. Stupid old man.

"Let's go already!" she mumbled, the blush still avid on her cheeks.

"Ssss... Ah!.. Estelle?" Rita mumbled again, attempting to stand up.
"Dammit, it's too dark!" she exclaimed.

As Rita stood up, she calmed herself and began casting.
Opening her eyes, she looked around, searching for Estelle. She managed to catch a glimpse of her pink hair, the rest of her - covered with rocks.. ranging from big to small.

"Estelle!" she exclaimed, as she dashed towards her.

Running, she tripped over a large boulder on the floor, falling near the other girl.
Another jolt of pain quickly succumbed to her head, as the light from her casting quickly vanished.

"Ow! Dammit!"
"E-Estelle.. are you alright?" she mumbled, stretching her hands out in the darkness.

She began casting again, her concentration bordering on her sanity.
Now what exactly should she do? Blow this place the hell up so she can somehow drag Estelle out of here and get help, or try to pick up the rocks with her non-existent strength.
Although the former choice seemed as tempting as the latter, she avoided making a reckless decision.
Quickly getting up, she searched for traces of dirt and wood, managing to gather a small amount. She mounted them up and managed to build something sturdy.. at least enough support to bring light and get Estelle the hell out of there.

"Fireball!" she exclaimed, as the wood sparked and lit up brightly.

With no time to rejoice on her splendid achievement, she quickly went back to Estelle's side and picked up the smaller, lighter rocks. Her anticipation to rescue the other girl grew and she quickened her pace.
However, as her anticipation grew, so did the pain in her head.

"Dammit, Rita! You can do this!" she winced, encouraging herself with a bleak verbal attempt.
"Estelle!?" Rita exclaimed.

Estelle's forehead was bleeding, the blood dripping down slowly. It seemed that the rocks had done no vital damage, although she took quite some damage to the head.
She attempted to get up and free herself with what little strength she had, however; her arm was stuck under a large boulder.

"Ah!" she winced, as the boulder continued to crush her arm.
"Hold on, Estelle! I'll free you now! Just please hold on!" Rita exclaimed, quickly moving to the obstructive boulder.

She wrapped her arms around the boulder and attempted to move it, but the pain in her head only grew worse.

"Urgh.. damn it!!" she snapped.
"...Rita.." Estelle moaned in pain.
"..Don't worry, I'll get you out.."

Rita bent down and wiped the blood off Estelle's forehead with her sleeve. She smiled gently and brushed her hair back.

"Trust me, okay?"
"..Rita.." Estelle mumbled, looking into her eyes. She could see the determination in her eyes.
"..I'm so useless that I couldn't protect you.. but.. I can still do this much!" she exclaimed.
"This might hurt a little, Estelle. Please bear with it!"

Rita began casting, despite the extreme pain in her head. However, she brushed that notion aside.. for Estelle. Estelle needed her right now, and she was there for her.

"Blade Roll!" Rita shouted, as a mystic blade emerged and swept the boulder away.

Estelle was finally free.

"Estelle!" Rita exclaimed, going to her side.

She reached in her pocket and pulled out the last of her apple gummies. The rest of her items were used prior to the cave visit and she did not have time to restock. She actually caught Estelle leaving town in the middle of the night. She was relieved that they had slept on the same bed.
She gave the apple gummi to Estelle and as she consumed it, she managed to pull herself together. However, her arm was still gravely wounded.

"Come on, Estelle, let's get out of here.." Rita mumbled, as she helped her up.

As Rita slowly opened her eyes, she found herself gazing at a figure above her.

"Ah!" she exclaimed.
"Oh, you're finally up.." Yuri mumbled, sighing afterwards.
"Y-yuri?.. Estelle! Where's Estelle!?" Rita asked frantically.
"Calm down, she's resting. She was injured pretty badly.." he stated.
"Her arm is in pretty bad shape, a doctor is coming later to take a proper look at it today," he continued.
"And you too, of course. Your head was bleeding pretty badly when you came into town.. collapsing, rather!"

Rita recalled the events of last night. How she managed to thrash her way back to town, avoiding as many battles as she could with the Holy Bottles she had in stock. All she remembered was seeing five figures in the distance before collapsing at the town gate. Thinking back, those five figures were probably: Yuri, Karol, Judith, Raven, and Repede. They probably realized she and Estelle were gone.

"So do you mind explaining just what the hell happened? How did you two end up like that, and where the hell did you run off to in the middle of the night"
"Alright, alright, I'll tell you. Calm down, jeez!" Rita exclaimed.
"I am calm," Yuri muttered.

Rita knew that that was Yuri's way of expressing how worried he was. She then explained to him where they had gone.. and why. Whilst elaborating on Estelle's reasons, Yuri's face twitched and he let out a few sighs. She then told him about how they were ambushed and attacked from behind and while trying to escape, a cave-in occurred, adding onto their injuries. Yuri sighed again.

"And Estelle did all of this because of what I said..?"
"Aren't you a smart one.." Rita mumbled.

Yuri gave a wide, majestic smile.
His optimistic smiles often made Rita wonder.

"I'll have to talk with her later, I guess. I'm glad you two made it out safe,"

He then got up.

"I'm going to check up on Estelle, you stay here and get some rest. Wait until the doctor comes, alright?" he stated, pointing at Rita.
"Let me come, too! I want to see how Estelle is doing!" Rita exclaimed.
"No. You can see her later. For now, just get some rest.." Yuri stated again, closing the door behind him.

Rita frowned and looked out the window beside her. It was a beautiful day.
...It was only the Inn, anyway. Estelle was probably in the next room.. with proper supervision, of course.
Oh well, she could see her later, afterall. When no one else is there.
Either way, she couldn't just lie in bed all day, that certainly wasn't like her. She honestly didn't need rest. Her head hurt a little, but she was fine.
She got up and creaked the door open. She swiftly got out and went down the stairs, exiting the Inn. Thankfully, no one was around to notice.

"It's bright today!" she exclaimed.

She walked over to a tall, brisk tree just next to the inn and sat down. The shade felt good, it blocked the sun and she could feel the gentle breeze.
She sighed.
She wanted to see Estelle. Now. She wanted to know how she was doing. Not only that, but Estelle was most likely feeling down after the events that took place last night.

"ARGGHH! I want to see her now!!" she exclaimed, ruffling her hair.

But Yuri was with her now. He seemed to always have some private time with her.


And Estelle was so determined to prove him wrong after what he had said. So much that she would go into that crazy, dangerous cave in the middle of the night. So that he could see her for who she truly was. But why? It's not like he never did. He always looked at Estelle for who she was. Everyone did. Especially Rita. That's what made her like Estelle so much.
That's what makes Yuri like her so much. She just doesn't realize it.

..Wait, what?

Does Yuri like Estelle? ..Does Estelle like Yuri?

Some people threw comments here and there, thinking it was an obvious relationship.

Afterall, Yuri and Estelle DID share a close one. But what if Estelle liked Yuri? No.. that wasn't certain. She expressed no ideal interest in him, and it's not like she could keep her feelings hidden well. Plus, Rita was her best friend. She surely would have told her if she liked him.
But what about Yuri? Did HE like Estelle? He was different. He was experienced. He was good at hiding things, as well. Especially his feelings.
This left Rita troubled.

"Rita Mordio!"

Rita gazed in the direction the call came from and she was alarmed by a familiar presence.
She stood up as he walked over to the shade.

"Flynn!" she exclaimed.
"Hello, I didn't know you and the others were in town!" he said, in a rather friendly tone.
"Did something happen? You look like you're seriously injured"
"D'eh, it's nothing serious.. just a few scuffles," Rita mumbled.
"Estelle is injured pretty badly, though.. You should go see her, I'm sure she'd be happy!"
"I see, I'll do that.. I'll ask her about it.."
"So how are you? What brings you here?" she asked.

Flynn gazed at her bandages and then smiled.

"Well, just some business.."
"Is.. Yuri here?" he asked.

Rita nodded and looked over at the Inn.

"Well, right now he's with Estelle.." she mumbled.
"I see.. I think I'll go say hello!"

Rita and Flynn were never very good at making conversation. Only a few small talks here and there.

"Wait, actually! I have a question!"


"Do you think Yuri likes Estelle?"
"What!?" Flynn exclaimed.
"Well.. do you?"
"N-no! At least, I would hope not!" he exclaimed.
"W-why? Do you like Estelle?" Rita asked, rather tense.
"..Not exactly.." he mumbled.
"Huh? Then why?"

Flynn closed his eyes and smiled. He then looked up at the sky.

"I suppose you could some relationships are better left off as friendships," he stated, looking back at Rita.
"But I don't truly believe that. In my case, some things are better left unsaid"
"...I see.." she mumbled.
'Could it be that he.. likes Yuri?'

Flynn smiled again.

"That was rather sudden. Do you have something on your mind?" he asked.
"Well.. you see, Yuri-"
"Oh, actually here he comes now," she said, pointing over to him.
"Flynn!" Yuri exclaimed, rushing over.

Rita sighed and plopped down on the soft grass.
Maybe if she observed their conversation, she could get some clues.

"Why are you here?" Yuri asked.
"It's business," Flynn stated.
"I see.."

Yuri stared at the floor and then looked up at Flynn again. He gazed into his eyes.

"D-did you get my letter?" he asked.

Stuttering? What?
Rita perked up. That was surely not like Yuri. What's this letter about?

"Yes. I did," Flynn stated again, his eyes gazing over to Rita and then back at Yuri.
"You need to give me time for a response. Besides, Yuri. Your.. emotions. You need to sort them out. Mine are clear, but yours need to be clear, as well. Once they are, I will give you my response,"

Yuri flinched.


Wait, what? Letter? What was this about? This sounded like a love letter to Rita. But then again, she could be wrong. Those two can be misleading and unpredictable.
She'd have to investigate. But looking at the slight blush on Yuri's face, she felt pretty close.
Guess he can't completely hide his feelings, afterall.

"I've got to go. We've got a lot of work to do. I'm supposed to lead an ambush with three men today.. it's.. going to be a ferocious battle. These monsters are a new breed.." he stated.
"New breed? Will you be alright?" Yuri asked.
"I'll be fine.." Flynn muttered.

She got up and watched as Flynn walked away. Yuri gazed at him.

"What's with you?" Rita asked.
"Aren't you going after him?"
"..Why would I go after him.." Yuri mumbled.. more so stating it, rather than asking.
"Well, you seem to like him.. a lot.." Rita started.
"..That's because he's-"
"Because you want to protect him also, right? Because you love him!" Rita exclaimed, pointing at Yuri.

Yuri turned to look at Rita, his eyes widened. A slight blush appeared on his face as he looked away.

"Hah. And what about you, huh?" Yuri snarled, with a bitter tone.
"What about me?" Rita asked, crossing her arms.
"You and your crush on Estelle.. always blushing.. always hesitant.. overprotective"
"C-crush? T-that's not!" Rita exclaimed, her face reddening.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot that you were in love with her!" Yuri stated, correcting himself.
"What?" Rita asked.
"What?" Yuri asked, looking back at her.

He gazed at her startled expression, as if she were coming to some sort of realization or self-discovery.

"Aren't you in love with her?" Yuri asked.
"O-of course not, that's not what I-"
"Then what?" he asked.


"Ah.. Uh.. E-Estelle is my friend!" Rita stated.
"That's all there is to it!" "Now, if you'll excuse me.. I've got to go check up on my FRIEND!" she exclaimed again.

Rita quickly dashed off and went into the Inn.


He turned around and gazed at Flynn's fading figure.

"Is that what you are to me?"

Yuri frowned and let out a reluctant sigh.

"Aw, I don't know!" "I guess I really do need to sort out my feelings"
"Oh well. Flynn will be fine.. he's strong afterall.." Yuri stated, smiling widely.


Rita creaked open the door to Estelle's room and let herself in.
She walked over to the bed.

"Oh, she's sleeping.." she mumbled.

She gazed as Estelle's beautiful, sleeping figure. She really did look like a princess, sleeping so peacefully like that.
Rita smiled.
That's right. Estelle was her princess.
Reaching out her hand, she brushed Estelle's hair slightly and gazed at her.

"Estelle.." she whispered.

Without realizing it, Rita closed her eyes and slowly began to lean in.


Rita opened her eyes to find Estelle's staring directly into her own.

"W-what are you doing?" Estelle asked.
"Ah! T-this is!" Rita exclaimed, quickly getting off of her.
"I-I thought you might have a cold or a fever or something from last night, you know! It got really cold later in the night!" she exclaimed, quickly. Her face was burning.
"It did?" Estelle asked, trying to recall.

Actually, she was sweating like hell.

"Y-yeah! You were knocked out, so you wouldn't know!"

Estelle sat up on her bed.

"Oh, right. Rita, I'm so sorry I put you through that.. No, all of this!"

Rita's expression softened.

"I... I!" Estelle's eyes glimmered.
"I'm such a fool! I was trying to prove myself, but I just ended up failing!" she exclaimed.
"Yuri was right! ..And I ended up getting injured.." she continued.
"But what hurts the most is that I dragged you into this mess! And you were hurt in the process!"
"It's all my fault, Rita! I'm so pathetic! So useless!"

Tears began to flow from her eyes.

"I-I'm so sorry!" she exclaimed.

Rita ran over to Estelle and sat next to her on the bed.

"No, you're wrong!"
"Estelle! You're not useless.. you're not pathetic.."

Rita used her hand to gently wipe away Estelle's tears.

"You're so amazing. You just don't realize that!"
"There's so much you've done.. you're so strong.. just because Yuri said one thing, doesn't mean that it's true!" she exclaimed.
"And if you want to prove yourself, then do it! Nothing is stopping you. You just need to try harder.. you need to train harder.."
"And.. I'll be there for you. You didn't drag me into anything! I'm here because I want to be, Estelle!" she finished.

Rita gently brushed Estelle's hair back.

"We all fail at times.. we all fall down. And if you want to let it out, then let it out!"
"Because.. I'll be right here!"

Rita pulled Estelle into an embrace.

"A-and.. I-I love you"
"S-so I'll be there to support you.. no matter what.." Rita muttered.

She felt her face burning again, but she didn't want to let go.
It was an awkward position. She had Estelle's head pulled to her chest and her arms around her. Estelle was a bit trapped, considering the fact that she couldn't move one arm from the critical injury that befell her.
She wasn't saying anything, either. But she could hear Rita's heart racing. She used her free arm and gently wrapped it around Rita.

"Thank you.. Rita..."

Time passed. And it was time for Rita to leave so that Estelle could get some rest.
But she couldn't.
She couldn't help but think about the touching words that Rita had said to her earlier. Especially that last part.

'I-I love you..' What did that exactly mean?

Of course she meant it in a friendly way.. she had to, right?
It's Rita, afterall. And Estelle was her first friend, so it was natural.
But the possibility that it could be something more kept crossing Estelle's mind. What was with her? How could she think about it like that, it was Rita! How could she think of such things?
But those honest words.. they always struck Estelle's heart. Rita's ambitions.. her desires.. they influenced Estelle. And the fact that she expressed such compassion towards her bewildered Estelle at times.

"Ah.." Estelle groaned, ruffling her pink hair.

She never did that. Because, quite frankly, she was never really frustrated with matters like these.
She was frustrated with her own feelings.
She rolled over on her side and gazed at the moon through the window. It was so beautiful. She smiled and closed her eyes.
Rather than beautiful, she preferred cute. She loved cute things. Rita was cute.
She quickly rose up from bed again.

"..I need to see how she's doing.." she muttered and slipped out of bed.

Estelle quietly slipped out of her room and walked over to the next room.
Thankfully, they both got their own rooms so they could rest easy. Estelle's arm still ached, and the aggravating arm cast the doctor issued did not make things any easier.
But still, she managed. She swiftly creaked open Rita's door and slipped in.
She gazed at the moon outside Rita's window and then slowly approached her. She gazed at her sleeping figure.

"Rita.." she whispered.

For some reason, this situation felt vaguely similar to Estelle.
She shook her head and continued to gaze at Rita. She looked adorable, especially whilst she was sleeping. And especially now.. with the delicate rays of the moon gently shining on her.
What did she feel for Rita, anyway? She never really understood.
When she had first met the young girl.. all she wanted to was open her up. And slowly, she managed to. Rita became her closest and best friend. But lately, it was more than that. She was so happy when Rita decided to into the cave with her. She was so happy just being with Rita. All the words that Rita told her.. it truly warmed and captivated her heart.
And when Rita told her 'I-I love you'.. it made her heart race. She didn't know why. Or maybe she did. She never really understood love. But her feelings for Rita felt so strong lately. It was overwhelming her. It gave the desire to just be around her. Why WAS that?
Earlier, Yuri had muttered to her.. thinking she had fell asleep: "That kid cares for you a lot. Try to think more, okay? About her feelings. Though I'm not exactly one to talk, heh.." ..Did that mean to acknowledge Rita's feelings? But they were so unclear to her.

"Mmm.." Rita mumbled, gently shifting. A few strands of her hair moved, showing her rather long eyelashes.

And yet..


This time, Estelle closed her eyes and leaned in.
She gently pressed her lips against Rita's. She opened her eyes and gazed at her sleeping figure for a little while and then kissed her again, this time more deeply.
Just then, Estelle realized what she was doing. She lifted her head and gazed at Rita once more.
So.. she loved her. And it felt like she couldn't resist. Would she risk it? Could she risk it?


Rita's moans and groans didn't exactly help Estelle's position. In fact, it made her heart race more. It made her resistance futile. And she wasn't a very agressive person.

"Mmmm.. so.. what.." Rita mumbled.

Estelle smiled and softly chuckled. She was used to Rita's sleep talking. She often heard it when she woke up to use the bathroom. But she was quickly cut off.

"..if I love Estelle.."

Estelle's eyes widened. She felt her cheeks become hot.
She sat on the bed and gazed at Rita. Taking one hand, she brushed hair hair back. She then leaned in and kissed her again. She kissed her deeply and passionately, even surprising herself. She didn't know she could be so passionate with something she's never really done before. Now that she thought about it, that was her first kiss.

"Mmmf!!" Rita moaned, her eyes jolting open.

What the hell was happening? She used whatever strength she had to push the perpetrator off of her. It was quite easy, considering one arm was in a cast.
She quickly sat up.

"Who!?" she exclaimed.

Rita was aghast at the person she was gazing at. The person who was just passionately kissing her while she was asleep.
Estelle brushed her hair back. She had no idea what to say. She could hear her heart racing.

"I love you!" Estelle exclaimed.
"Um.. and I.. well.. I suppose that's not an excuse for what I did just now.." she mumbled, the guilt in her voice rather apparent.
"I'm sorry, you were just so cute.. I couldn't help myself.."

Estelle watched Rita's face flush red under the moonlight.

"W-w...what.." she stuttered.
"I'm sorry.. I'm sick, aren't I? Doing this to you while you were sleeping. Your 'love'.. it's not the same as mine, is it?" Estelle muttered, frustrated.
"I don't know what has been going on in my head lately.. please forgive me, Rita!" she exclaimed.
"P-please forget this..!"
"No," Rita stated.
"No, I won't forget this," she stated, once more.
"I-I see..."

Rita wrapped her arms around Estelle's neck and kissed her. Estelle's eyes widened.. however, they quickly softened. With this kiss, Rita was delivering her feelings.. she was returning them. Becoming less tense, she used her free arm and wrapped it around Rita.

Passionate and filled with resolve, the two kissed under the moonlight.

THAT TOOK FOREVER. srsly. I started this a LONG ASS time ago.