I forgot to mention this before: I do not own Disgaea, and Zaeon is a character created and owned by KappeZ. I'm sorry if she's OOC, but I'll take the time to reread our story and take notes on her more for if and when I make my next fic involving ALL my Disgaea characters. And sorry if this seems weird. Had a brainfart/writer's block. Enjoy ^_^
And sorry if this seems weird. Had a brainfart/writer's block. Enjoy ^_^
Steel clashed on steel, echoing throughout the castle halls, yet no one questioned it. Everyone knew it was that time of day where Kaili and Magnus went at it in the Dojo, and every day, the intense battle ended in a draw, which didn't help the bet Lizzie had created on their fights. It was a miracle people still weighed in on them, expecting the fights to come to a conclusion and clear winner. It was almost humorous, especially given how neither vassal knew of the bet, Kaili because the Rune Knight was too hot blooded to give a care about anything other than battle, and Magnus because the Fighter actually didn't care about Lizzie's silly bets, which meant he either knew of it and didn't care or didn't care enough to bother acknowledging such a bet existed.
With Laharl away from the castle on his training with Barbara, it was up to Etna to see to the daily work around the castle, which was something she really did not find enjoyable. The red-haired demoness had been about to make the Prinnies go to the Sea of Gehenna and get her some more pudding, but that was now on hold, as they were now doing all the chores Etna herself was supposed to do in Laharl's steed. Time could not change her attitude, even as it changed her looks: her hair was tied up into a large ponytail, a black ribbon holding it all in place, her tight, leather top and booty shorts now long since replaced by a flowing black dress, complete with black evening gloves and leggings. Most surprisingly about her now was the fact her chest had grown in size a few cups, now not quite busty but also not quite flat (this had only caused her to call herself a sexy beauty queen with more vigor), and with it had come a surprising number of male vassals developing crushes on her. It amused her, finally having men rushing over each other to try and suit her. None had yet to claim her heart (at least, so it seemed, although vassals like Lizzie suspected she was seeing someone in secret).
As she walked through the halls, in search of yet another Prinny to drop her work onto, she found Sicily talking to one of the vassals. Keith, if she remembered right. He was a strange one, not quite a Gunner but more of a Strider, a demon class she hadn't seen in centuries. He wore clothes more like a Strider, complete with a small backpack, had the marksmanship of a Gunner, yet had an air around him like an Angel. No one, not even Keith himself, knew how or why that was.
"Oh, Etna," Sicily said as she noticed the demoness. "What are you doing here?"
"Hey, have you seen any of the Prinnies?" Etna asked. "I can't find any of them that's not already working."
"Maybe because they're all busy with your work?" Keith suggested, his voice quiet. To think he was the older brother of that idiot Rogue... Which reminded Etna, she had been meaning to drop by Priere's castle and smack that idiot of a ex-vassal of hers. How Priere had allowed him to work for her was beyond her, especially when he kept dropping by and pissing her off.
"Etna, have you been dumping your workload on them again!?" Sicily gasped, giving her an accusing glare. She had a near obsession towards the Prinnies, always worrying about them and treating them nicely. "You know they're busy enough with their chores as is. You can't just keep forcing them to do your work."
"Well, it just helps them atone their sins faster. Ever think of it that way?" Etna countered.
Sicily sighed, knowing it was pointless to go on with the argument. "Well, I don't think any of the Prinnies are free at the moment. But why don't you try doing the work yourself?"
Etna looked at her as though she had asked a stupid question. "You think I'd want to do the Prince's work? He's off somewhere with Barbara when he knew he had a crapload of work to do today."
"Aw... Laharl's not here?"
Everyone turned to see a young angel standing nearby, a frown on her face. Her long blond hair fell all the way to her ankles, a simple blue bow in her hair. A simple, yet elegant white dress covered her, laced with blue trim, while a pair of bright, pure white wings rested on her back. Sicily's face brightened up as she realized who it was. "Flonne! Hey, what are you doing here? You didn't call ahead."
"Yes I did," the newly appointed Archangel said, slightly confused. "I told Laharl I was dropping by today."
"Um, Flonne... when did you tell him this?" Etna asked, somehow feeling she knew the answer.
"Why, I told him last week, during one of his training sessions."
Even Keith had to shake his head. "Um... well, Lord Laharl isn't here, milady. He's out with Barbara on a training session."
"Is that so?" Flonne seemed both visibly disappointed and happy. Only she could pull that off when it involved Laharl, Etna guessed. "So, have they progressed yet?"
"Progressed?" Sicily asked, confused.
"She means... love wise," Etna explained, almost choking on the word "love". "And no, they have not. What would even make you-?"
"Lady Flonne!" Raven suddenly ran into the room, seeming to somehow be alerted to Flonne's presence. "Oh, what are you doing here? Did you hear the news!?"
Flonne smiled. "Laharl took Barbara out to go train. Yes, I heard. So, has he opened his heart to love?"
"I don't know yet, but it would appear so." The Saint almost seemed to be in glee over it all, which kind of scared Etna. She wasn't as scary as that one Cleric that served Valvatorez (no one was that scary, not even Flonne when she was completely pissed off). "But what about Rose and Fenrich? Have you heard anything about them?"
"Oh, yeah, Artina told me a few days ago that it seems Fenrich has finally opened his heart to her."
"Girls, girls," Etna interrupted, rubbing her temple over the talk of love. "Can we talk about that some other time, preferably when I'm not here?"
Flonne nodded. "Sorry, Etna, I forgot about you."
"So~~" Raven asked, smirking slyly. "How's it been with your secret lover~?"
"W-w-what are you talking about?" Etna asked, blushing slightly. "I don't have a secret lover!"
"So your love is public?"
Suddenly, all that work seemed better than this. MUCH better.
After what had to feel like a couple dozen floors of sailing through the Item World or so, luck seemed to have be in a pleasant mode as Barbara and Laharl found themselves on a small bonus island. The Knight stepped off the boat, stretching her body in relief at the break from all the fighting. The island seemed almost barren, save for a small patch of grass in the center. It seemed like one of the strange islands Yumi had been talking about, except there weren't any flowers.
"This looks like a good place to set up camp," Laharl said, walking over to the patch of grass and resting his pack down. Everyone knew to come more than prepared when making a trip into the Item World, and Laharl was one who went above and beyond. Where as before, he would have had one of the vassals do such a task, he now was the one who gathered up supplies and carried them, something Barbara found to be both strange and kindhearted. "So, what do you want: Mushroom Soup, an Eclair, or a Sundae?"
"Sundae, please." Barbara joined the Overlord, dropping her pack down and resting on the grass, laying her axe beside her. It wasn't exactly the weapon she used every day in battle, but it was her training weapon, one she had upgraded herself with the help of a few of the vassals, as per Laharl's orders. Every one of the vassals had their own training gear, which they had leveled up themselves, something Flonne had suggested as a way for them to feel more in-tune with their gear (everyone placed it under her Love Freak crap, but it did actually work somehow. Barbara herself felt more inclined to use her Axe than any Axe bought from the stores or looted in battle), something in which Laharl thought would work well, as it allowed them all to grow a bit stronger before diving head-first into heavy training.
Laharl produced two Sundaes, handing one to Barbara as he sat beside her, opening up his Sundae and beginning to eat it. "I guess we should have gone into a harder Item, don't you think?" he asked suddenly, a slight laugh in his voice. "Either that, or you've grown much stronger than I thought."
That heated up her face. She had noticed the enemies seemed to be much weaker than normal for a training session, which was strange. Had Laharl done this on purpose? Could it be...? No, no, there was no way THAT was the reason. It just couldn't have been. "Well, thank you, Master."
Laharl chuckled softly as he consumed his sundae. It was strange, but he seemed even more... NO! She was not going to think that. "I'm beginning to think that maybe you don't need training anymore, Barbara. I bet you could beat even me in battle."
"I would never do so, Master, unless you're ordering me to do so. Are you?"
Laharl broke out in laughter. "No, no, I'm not ordering you to defeat me. I'm just saying."
"I understand." Somehow, that made her feel... sad. Sad that she couldn't defeat him? Or sad because...?
"Anyways," Laharl said, disposing of his now empty Sundae. "I think we should head on back to the castle. I still have a lot of work to get done and I get the feeling Etna's pushed aside what work I gave her onto the Prinnies again." The Overlord shook his head, sighing at the thought. "Finish up your Sundae first, though, okay?"
Barbara nodded as she continued at her Sundae. Maybe when they returned to the castle, she would talk to Flonne or Raven about what was plaguing her thoughts.
"... So, that's what happened. It was a draw, again."
Raven nodded as she hung up the laundry on the clothesline, listening to the silver haired Fighter beside her. "So, you still can't beat Kaili? I thought you had the edge on sheer power, Mag."
Magnus sighed, shaking his head. "I thought so too, until she decided to cheat again and use her spells against me. She can't seem to stick to swords or magic alone; she just has to fuse them up. I swear, if she wasn't... wasn't..."
"Wasn't your girlfriend?" Raven finished for him, smirking. It wasn't much of a secret that Magnus and Kaili were romantically involved, especially since Raven had walked in on them once. Kaili was still embarrassed by that, yet Raven had simply laughed it off. "So, who gets the victory "reward" today?"
Magnus gave the Saint a look that said "are you fucking serious?". "Why can't you mind your own business, Rav? Why don't you go pester Lili or Etna?"
"Well, I already got my fill of trying to get Etna to admit she's seeing someone, and Lili's... well, it's not all that fun, really."
"Bullshit. You always find stuff like that fun." Magnus laughed, smirking at the Saint. "So, any news on Lili and Cyril?"
Raven finished up the laundry and nodded. "Last I heard, Lizzie saw them leaving together somewhere. Somewhere into town. But other than that, I don't know if she's broken through her shell and admitted her feelings to him."
Magnus nodded. Everyone knew the calm and collected Armor Knight had a thing for the Evil Academy Heretic. It was only last century that Mao had allowed the Heretic to leave the Academy and come work for Laharl. "What about Artina and Val?"
"No news there, but Fenrich seems to now be dating Rose."
"That Yandere cleric? You mean mister "Love is for the weak and useless", tsundere Werewolf is finally dating that psychotic Cleric?" Whatever restraint Magnus had was now broken as he almost fell over in laughter. "Are you sure it's true?"
"Well, Lady Flonne only told me that he seems to have finally opened his heart to her, so I'm just guessing they're dating now."
"Who's dating who now?" Zaeon walked up to the pair, a basket of clothes under her arm.
"Oh, we're talking about how it seems Fenrich is dating Rose," Magnus explained, wiping tears from his eyes. "I can't believe it myself."
"That's great," the Archer-Healer said, a small smile on her face. "It's about time he opened his heart."
"While we're on the topic of love and emotions," Raven said, a sly smirk forming on her face, "why don't we talk about you and Keith~~?"
Zaeon's face lit up slightly with a blush. "W-what do you mean?"
"Oh, don't be coy, Zaeon. I can tell you have feelings for him."
"W-what? I-I... um... well..."
Raven giggled. "Oh, sweetie, you need to confess to him about your feelings. He's not going to wait forever~"
Magnus sighed, shaking his head. This was Raven in her moment, that was for sure. She caught even a trace or hint that there was love between two people and she'd hunt it down and harass it with all her might. "Raven, will you stop doing that for once in your life? It's annoying and rude."
"Oh, hush now~ I'm just trying to help out."
"Well, I don't think-" Magnus glanced over at Zaeon, only to realize she was gone. "... You scared her off."
Raven sighed, rubbing her temples. "Well, is it my fault I just want her to be happy and all. You know her and Keith like each other."
"I know, but you really should let them confess by themselves."
Raven waved him off, walking away. "Well, at this rate, they'll be dead before they confess anything." With that, she was gone, leaving Magnus standing there, shaking his head at her sheer tenacity and stubbornness. At least she wasn't making bets on Keith and Zaeon, unlike what she had done in regards to a certain Overlord and his most loyal Servant.
That still made him question her sanity most days.