I'm really sorry for the long delay, but like I had mentioned in my Transformers oneshot I took a break. A really long one.
School started recently, actually about a week ago and already we have a ton of tests coming up along with buying textbooks and a lot of other things. Yeah, teenage life's been keeping me pretty much occupied, but I really felt down for abandoning my stories (especially this one since it way my first) so I decided to sit on my ass and write a chapter. And boy did it hurt! You have no idea how many times I've re-written this crap!
I don't have any ideas about the next chapters so I'll probably take time making them up. I'm sorry for which. I have the plot after them ready, but until then I'll have to struggle and I really don't want to rush the story so, it'll take time. However, I do promise to finish it. NO MATTER HOW LONG OR WHAT IT TAKES!
Any mistakes made are Absalon's fault. Blame him.
An unsure look molted her features while she thoughtfully stared at the green liquid contained in the smooth to the touch, glass flask.
Whenever the reaper's idea was good or not was vague, but by Alya's words after short research it was an authentic solution to her problem.
Despite there being suitable food in the maker's realm, which the redhead provided her without any regret for wasting it, there were many places lacking it.
An example was her home, the Third Kingdom.
Any consumable supplies had certainly rotten by now along with her fellow human comrades, who still roamed the streets even if slightly dead.
An empty stomach wouldn't be her only dilemma, though.
Ross remembered in detail that many worlds, to which Death had traveled throughout the game had no sun nor water, which would give great influence on her well-being unless the health potion provided her such vitamins as well.
Sadly, to those questions Alya had not given even a supposition, which left the girl in intestine chewing await until she actually reached such location and tested the potion there.
Well wasn't her life looking all bright and dandy?
"Are you sure about this?" she asked, a mistrustful edge to her tone, and meekly shook the flask to test how thick the essence was before actually attempting to drink it.
"No." the horseman stated simply, his voice raspy as always, and continued to examine her with what she presumed was slipping away patience.
She understood why.
The two had rouse as soon as the sun peeked over the corrupted lands. Death first and her after he practically shoved her off of himself rough enough to leave a bruise that still pinched a nerve when touched.
From then till now they had talked and searched for information that could aid her before she starved to death and the flask in her hand seemed to be their only option.
She was honestly questioning the Council's working brain percentage.
With one last exhale she removed the lid and with held breath lifted the container and drank with haste, stomach churning with disgust and worry.
"Holy heck." she forced out between heavy intakes and dragged the back of her palm over her stained mouth "This thing has no flavor at all."
The rider slightly shifted against the pillar he was leaning on and grunted dryly, his stare averting from the prospecting teenager to Alya. "Are you certain this will not harm her?"
"Yes." she nodded and glanced at her brother, who felt her stare but ignored it, much like the rest he had received and would continue to receive until he finished the small pair of footwear in his hands "It can only do her good."
"Are there any side-effects?" Ross spoke up, drawing the attention of both her guardian and the redhead maker with how forced her question had sounded.
"-Why?" the reaper asked sharply, cutting of Alya who joined in the tense look he had concentrated on the girl.
A hasty rhythm emitted from the flask as the teenager vigorously tapped her fingers against the glass, unnerved by the loads of attention.
What could she say to them?
That the health potion acted in more ways than it should? That there were side-affects that would no doubt complicate her trip? That her body was practically burning from the inside and a specific ache thickened between her legs?
"I'm just asking." she barked back with a glare at the horseman.
With his arms crossed tightly before his wide chest his stare sharpened until it resembled her own.
He didn't believe her. Even without a word spoken he made it clear.
"What the fuck! Can't I just ask without a reason?"
"Alright!" the redhead inhaled deeply, interrupting the staring battle raging between Death and his charge "We've wasted enough time. Let us ready you."
Ross nodded and eagerly slipped from the heavy gaze weighting on her.
A vague, warning exhale sounded behind her, causing the hairs on her arms to perk up before she took a quick look at the reaper.
A glare caught her regretful glance long enough for him to make his point.
Do not lie to the one who will be keeping you alive.
He was letting her off with a warning. Great. But it was better than him knowing what the side-affects did to her.
"Valus?" Alya questioned, her voice urging her brother while he laid his hammer on his crafting table.
With a dismissing nod to him once the boots were laid in her hands she knelt before Ross.
"Try these." she said, now a bit shorter than the girl and sat the footwear in front of her feet "They will protect you better than those...rags."
"Why boots?" Ross slumped on the ground and reached for her laces, eyes going back and forth from her sneakers to Alya.
"Because you are too weak to join me in battle." Death answered blankly still resting over the pillar with crossed arms.
"It would be wise to keep you without a scratch." the redhead added after a brief look casted at the rider "Now stand and test them."
With the last leather strap secured tightly over the richly decorated steel Ross rouse to her feet and with slow steps circled around Alya, musing over the comfort of her new shoes.
It was as if the makers had expected nothing less when she spoke out her positive opinion.
And as abrupt as they had given her the boots came the leather gloves, which the teen took a liking to more so than the belt and all the rest that came after.
"Thank you, Valus." she turned to the massive blacksmith with a nod receiving one herself.
Eyes lingered over the graced, fingerless leather that clung to her hands while her fingers roamed the texture with interest.
Had they given her a different pair she would have cussed over them as well, but fingerless gloves were something she liked and wanted to buy in the past, but never really seemed to care enough to do so. Now she had them protecting the fragile skin on her hands without wasting money, which was a big plus.
The boots felt stiff and belt around her waist was slightly bigger than needed, but she would succumb to it in time.
After a brief examination on Alya's part the girl was freed to test her new gear around the fortress, preferably near Thane who, by his tolerance and nonchalant speech, had taken a liking to her unlike the reaper, who still stood as a splinter in his eyes.
Despite constantly getting reassigned to a new babysitter, Ross didn't complain, even if the reasons for that were selfish.
Death was the makers' only hope and if she died their lands would be lost. Simple as that, though the teen did enjoy the care she was receiving.
"Thane." she greeted, more like warned that she was there so that he wouldn't accidentally demolish her, and nestled on the edge of the stone tank filled with fairly fresh water judging by the lack of stench.
"Tiny." the large man grunted "Thought your babysitter wouldn't let you anywhere near me."
"Yeah well, my babysitter's having it tough with Alya turning his horse into a walking stall." the girl smirked and glanced at Despair who didn't look very happy with the bags and furs draped over his back.
A roaring laugh rouse from the maker's chest while he flung his axe over his shoulder and dragged a fist over the thick coat of sweat and dirt smudged over his forehead after his hours long training.
She leaned back in the stone wall, patiently waiting for him to continue his training while his mind carried him to the many battles he had fought in the past. And soon enough words spilled out of his mouth like liquor while his weapon left newer scars on the old wooden beams.
And through the ruckus caused by his booming voice, Valus' heavy hammer and Alya's heated monologue, Ross did see the horseman, the great Death, in a different way.
Despite him being rude to her, taking her words lightly and seeing her as just some extra weight it had been him who had thought of her health when they awoke. He had been the one to hold her dear through the night while she still suffered from the pain the amulet had caused. He had worried for her when she drank the potion and had asked an exchange with Alya.
All the coins he had gathered had gone for her gear.
Maybe he did it purely to protect his own life instead of caring for her little mortal self, but Ross had the right to choose. And she chose the second reason. Because she wanted him to care.
And while in the state she was in, the girl never acknowledged the reaper who was staring right back at her, but unlike in the past he didn't bore his usual glare, but a very vague look of lightness.
Like he took her as an equal.
It was when he stood right before her that she snapped out of her thoughts and looked up at him, trying to shake off the feeling of getting startled.
"We leave tomorrow morning." he spoke with an even tone, sounding nonchalant "Alya has prepared a room for you."
With the words out he turned to leave until she grasped three of his fingers in her bony hand to pull him back.
That specific feeling of content that appeared so rarely that it needed to be kept present for as long as possible felt light on her chest. And regardless of how naive she would sound or how meaningless her question was it didn't stop her from asking.
"Will you take me to see the sunset?"
By the wide eyes that gazed down a her she could tell that Death was taken back by her sudden request and it did bring a meek feeling of discomfort to awaken in her stomach.
"You can see it from here." he answered and tried to pull away, but to no avail. The small, delicate fingers that had chained his own were solid.
No matter her hot headed character, her plea was sincere so it did strike a soft spot in the horseman.
Maybe she reminded him of his brother, War, when he was still a child. But right or wrong, he had still surrendered.
A brief moment of silence filled with Thane's grunts and the hits of his hammer passed before the first sign of defeat showed.
The reaper sighed and slumped his shoulders. "Let it be your way...this time."
He pulled her to her feet and with his fingers still secured in her grasp led her to The Maker's Forge.
And as if they had been leaned a shield of invisibility, no one paid them their attention, not even when entering the makers' sacred tomb. Each kept to their work, ignoring Ross and her guardian with ease.
The teenager examined the wide chamber they were passing through, amazed at how truly large it was unlike on her monitor, but as her brother had said, being there in person was different than watching from afar.
Death stopped just outside the the Forge, making her force her nose against the spine protruding from his back before stepping back.
Without a word he had sat on the grassy ground and focused his gaze on the cliff that stood a few feet from them, patiently waiting for her to request their leave.
"Thank you." she mumbled and slumped beside him, shifting closer once sure that he didn't debate.
Warmth spread over her face, reddening her cheeks and making her smile while she faced the sun with partly closed eyes.
"Girl." the horseman sighed, drawing Ross' attention from the sunset and to him.
He reached for the side of his belt and traced his dry fingers over the chained trinket that was tightly clasped to the thick leather.
"Death?" a soft, questioning call came from his side, urging him to go on.
Instead of answering he laid the trinket on her lap and left her to examine it, which she did with visible interest.
"Mmmmm...thanks?" she whirled the chain around her hands, a look of disbelief casted over her face.
"It will protect you from any beast that tries to harm you."
And as if he had pulled a certain string the teen's eyes obtained a sudden glister that seemed to brighten the more she gazed at the charming present.
"Where did you get this?" she mused and pulled the chain over her head and left it to rest between her two collarbones.
"The makers are talented beings." a satisfied tone softened the reaper's usually blunt words.
With the trinket safely around her neck Ross felt a wave of warmth overwhelm her until both her cheeks and her chest were burning.
She took a brief, shy glance at the rider before turning back to the sun, embarrassed and in hiding of the flames her face had obtained.
Even if she didn't want to admit it for the reason that it was much too sudden or just because she was stubborn the fact didn't become less solemn.
Despite the tons of moral rules that screamed wrong, despite the chance of everyone seeing it as a sin.
Vivian Ross was warming up to the heartless and cruel horseman.