Just a little oneshot after playing through Chapter 6: Awakening again… Chloe and Norma were told not to spy on Senel and Shirley during the evening the group was staying in the Village of the Ferines, but I don't think that even with Walter being around that Bubbles would stay put. She's far too curious and stubborn to do that.

Here's my take on what could have happened…

In the quiet village hidden on top of a lake, most of the Ferines and those visiting had already gone to bed, the lights in the small Spartan homes extinguished for the night. Near the large meeting hall, one building hosted a large room with spare beds for guests, where the Fun Bunch was staying.

All of the occupants of the room were asleep aside from the nocturnal information-dealer Jay, Senel who was attending a late-night visit with Shirley, and esteemed treasure hunter Norma. The later would normally be sawing logs at this time, but currently she was hiding behind a bush near a small building out of sight, trying to figure out in which direction the white-haired teen had gone for his midnight rendezvous.

"Darn, where did he go?" Norma whispered to herself, peeking through the leaves into the dark night.

Technically, she really should have heeded Jay's warning to both C and herself. It's a bad idea, wandering somewhere in the middle of the night and trying to hide from someone at the same time. It was a worse idea that said-somebody was Walter, and to top it off he was in a fouler mood today than his usual cold arrogant self. Getting caught suspiciously sneaking around in the middle of the night (or at least around midnight) by him was definitely on her list of "Should never do if prefer living".

And yet, her curious and stubborn self refused to give up, and she was very curious about what Senny and Shirl were talking about. Looking around for any signs of movement, she carefully made her way through the village, trying to make her footsteps as quiet as possible.

She couldn't see a single thing in the dark village, and it made things more difficult to find the loose gravel and sticks to avoid stepping on. Growling to herself, she stopped at a house she recognized when they walked in that afternoon. She was going around in circles! At this rate, Senny would be done with his talk and asleep by the time she got to the northern courtyard.

As she battered herself for her lack of night-vision and was ready to turn around and go back, she heard a light footstep from nearby and froze in place. Another footstep, then another.

Crap! She mouthed to herself silently as she tried to keep her breathing as low as possible. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a figure walk down one of the paths towards the front of the village. Even from the little light the new moon gave, she could tell from their tense posture and long strides that it was Wally. Double crap!

He had his arms crossed as he patrolled the path, looking for anything out of the ordinary. His hair shifted as he turned his head from side to side. Norma narrowed her eyes into a squint so they might not reflect any light to give her away. Don't look my way, don't look my way, don't look my way, don't look my way… The mantra went through her head over and over again, hoping that it would make her invisible.

She slowly opened one eye a few moments later when she heard the sounds fade away. The blond figure had continued down the path and was out of sight now. She slowly released the breath that she had been holding, and snuck off in the opposite direction towards the back of the village.

Norma crept through the village blindly before nearly running into a tree. She saw the bushes that surrounded the courtyard and a smug grin lit her face. She'd made it without anything bad happening, awesome! Now she could listen in to Senny's—

Before she could finish that thought, she heard footsteps in the clearing; loud ones that were only a few yards from her. Nearly squeaking in fright, she hid behind the tree and crouched down low to the ground as a figure passed her. She recognized the greaves on his arms and feet anywhere, that was Senny! She had missed their entire conversation!

The solemn figure continued down the path back towards their room while Norma nearly screeched to herself in frustration. Not only was she stuck alone, in the courtyard, at midnight, with an ranting blond lunatic patrolling the village, but she didn't even get to eavesdrop on their conversation at all! This trip was for nothing!

She scratched her scalp in aggravation, then let out an exasperated breath. …Well, it wasn't like she could do anything now except go back into the building and get some sleep before tomorrow's journey to Vaclav's Fortress. Quietly the brunette trudged back, half tempted to kick a stone off into the dark, but the possible outcomes of that were not in the least bit pleasant.

She saw a figure by the door of their room and peeked out from behind a tree. Wally again… Her evening was shaping up to be a real pain in the butt, wasn't it? The blond was leaning against a nearby building, arms crossed and head slightly lolling forward. Was he asleep? She nearly snickered at the thought as she looked for a distraction of some kind. At her feet were a few measly pebbles, barely larger than an inch or so. One of the oldest tricks in the books, but it'll have to do though.

Quietly , she brought back her arm and threw it towards the entrance of the village, watching it disappear within a second into the dark. Eventually, she heard a clattering echo that ended in a splash. The blond jolted from his spot and turned his head towards the sound had come from. Not risking an attack or surprise appearance for anything, he left in that direction with a quickened pace.

Home free, Norma quickly trotted off towards the house before her feet slipped on a smooth rock and she slid across the ground. She felt a sharp pain shoot through her knees before getting to her feet and bolting for the building, opening the door and closing it behind her just as she heard loud footsteps outside. She held a breath as she barely heard his aggravated voice cursing to himself quietly before running off into the night, loud footfalls disappearing into the silent night.

Norma exhaled, relieved at her great luck. Without another thought, she slid off her boots and fell into bed with a relieved sigh, already drifting off into dreamland.

x x x

However, it didn't seem that she had gotten off so lightly as she would have hoped. As she woke that morning, she noticed dried blood and dirt on the outside of her yellow boots around the knees. Brushing off most of the grime, she carefully pulled them on and ignored the sting of her scrapes the yellow leather pulled at.

Norma noticed later that morning that the blond leading them to the fortress moved sluggishly and blinked hard to keep his bleary eyes open. The blue eyes had a slight purple tinge underneath them, and Wally was even more irritable this morning then the previous afternoon. His temper hadn't shortened, he literally had no string of patience to hold back his temper, and viciously snapped at anyone who even so much as spoke to him.

Later that day when they were halfway through a forest that led to the fortress, Grune made a strange comment that made even him turn back to stare strangely at her. While his head was turned towards Grune and a few of the others, his eyes flicked down towards her knees for a moment. Immediately after, his head snapped back forward and his angry muttering about stupid amnesia-ridden Orerines could be faintly heard. He then stormed off at a quicker pace and made it more difficult to follow.

Then at Vaclav's fortress, the group was fighting a few of the monsters who had moved into the fortress in the short time after the soldiers had moved out. During this time, Norma had made eye contact with the blond as just a passing glance. This short amount of time was subtle enough for Walter to give her the darkest look she'd ever seen on his face save for one or two other instances. Short as they were, only lasting a few seconds or so, it was enough to make her completly terrified of him for the remainder of the time in that foreboding place.

…Norma slowly figured out later on that he had found out she was the one sneaking around, and had probably wasted the entire night trying to find an intruder in and around the village. Softly, she thanked herself that they were still allies at the moment, and he wouldn't have any reason to take revenge…


I'm half-tempted to make an alternate ending for this... Should I go for it?