"I see...so you will be taking both of them?" Lossa said to Al'ka and the Elven woman who were both sat across from her.
Al'ka nodded his head. "That's right, Clan Elder. Naturally, we won't treat Miss Rachel any worse than we plan to treat Lone. And we would like to reiterate that it is our absolute honour to welcome an esteemed eight-tailed Crimson Foxkin to our ranks as World Tree Keepers."
"That certainly is a relief. And this will establish an alliance between our two factions, yes?" Lossa asked with a certain stubbornness in her voice.
Al'ka had a slightly worn out look on his face. "Yes. While we cannot spare any of our Keepers to aid in your coming war against the Humans, we are more than willing to let you use our names and prestige to your benefit. That is assuming that miss Rachel will pass all of our tests, but I doubt that will be an issue after having seen her talents."
"That's good enough..." Lossa looked content with this. Clearly, the World Tree Keepers held a great amount of power, even when only mentioned by name.
"Elder! Elder! Big trouble!" Tiera barreled through a sliding door and interrupted the very important meeting.
Lossa had an angry scowl on her face when she responded with, "Tiera! What did I tell you earlier?! I am in an important meeting right now, and even if you are the third in line to the Matriarchy, that does not excuse such impudent behaviour!"
Tiera looked scared and her ears laid flat on her head while she wrapped her body up in her two tails. "B-But...Big Sis Ray-Ray started fighting with Lone-ro..."
Lossa pupils dilated upon hearing this. "What did you just say?! Take me there now! Al'ka, Your Highness, please forgive my rudeness, but I must stop such lunacy from occurring if Tiera is being truthful."
The Elven woman spoke to Al'ka in their native tongue and he turned back to face Lossa mere seconds later. "It is of no concern. However, please allow the two to fight and allow Her Highness to witness their skills."
Lossa frowned slightly but soon hid it under a pleased smile. "Of course, let's go."
Lossa, the two High Elves and Tiera all rushed to the clan's archives since they all knew that was where Lone had been spending most of his time lately. What greeted them when they arrived, was a very shocking scene.
Lone was stood ten paces away from the small Rachel and they were simply staring at each other, however, it was clear to see that the tension between the two was very thick.
Lossa held her forehead and sighed. 'To think that even I would fall for Tiera's exaggerations... The two haven't even started fighting yet, in fact, they are gazing at each rather passionately, no? Perhaps I can use Rachel to tie Lone to our clan...'
A split-second later, a loud whizzing sound drew everyone's attention, Lone and Rachel's included. What everyone saw was Sophie holding onto the edge of her barrier saucer as it tilted forward. She was sat cross-legged and she had a very upset look on her face. She came to a stop right in between Lone and Rachel.
Immediately, Rachel raised her guard. 'A Human using unfamiliar magic in my clan? She must be an intruder! B-But... There's no way a girl like her could make it into the clan without having already been noticed... I... I'm confused...'
Sophie sighed and mumbled under her breath. "Lone really is a loli magnet... And this one's so cute! So much fluffiness..."
She closed her eyes and collected herself. Seconds later, she opened them and stared at the still confused Rachel. "Your name is now 'Fluffy'. After your fight with Lone, you will obediently sit and let me pet you, okay?" Sophie ordered with a certain ancientness and power to her voice which even scared Lossa.
'I trust Lone, so the least I can do in this situation is fondle those beautiful tails!' And thus, Sophie's true target had been revealed. The road to pursuing true fluffiness was ever winding and twisting, but Sophie would never give up her noble pursuit of the fluffiest things in existence!
A chill went down Rachel's spine and her face paled. She didn't know why she was so terrified of this C-Ranked Human's words, but for some reason, she felt it would be unwise to refuse, so she weakly nodded her head, still unsure of this person's intentions.
With Rachel's confirmation, Sophie smiled and floated next to Lone before she kissed him on the cheek. "She's the other future Keeper, right? Don't hurt her too badly. I have a playdate with her tails now."
'I often forget it, but Soph sure is creepy as fuck when she wants to be, but that's just one more reason why I love her. Usually shy, but very forceful when it comes to her jealousy or when t's concerning fluffy things...' Lone thought to himself.
"I'd be more worried about me. I don't even think I can win, hahaha..." Lone chuckled.
Sophie kissed Lone again. "I have faith in you."
Rachel, still befuddled, spoke with a shaky tone. "S-So... A-Are we gonna fight now?"
Even though she was admittedly childish and brash, even Rachel, an untamable eight-tailed Crimson Foxkin, couldn't help but get caught up in Sophie and Lone's pace.
"Of course. We even have an audience," Lone happily responded while he gestured to Lossa, Tiera, the High Elves and the very small crowd of a few bored Crimson Foxkin that were previously studying in the archives.
"Good! The Elder can save you if I go too far, so I don't need to hold back!" Having said that, Rachel's entire body was covered in a layer of pure red flames. She looked like a Human Torch.
Lone assumed he wouldn't be faster than her, so he used his bone manipulation to create his heavy armour which hadn't made an appearance in a long time.
Calm blue wavy streaks accompanied by lazy patches of dark purple all fused onto the terrifying black bone plate that was Lone's best form of defence. Lone held Dawn in one hand and created a bone shield with the other. "Show me what an A-Ranked genius Foxkin can do!"
The female High Elf looked surprised upon seeing Lone's armour, so she spoke to Al'ka. After hearing her, he translated her question to Lossa. "Elder, is that multicoloured armour of Lone's a special Foxkin magic that we are unaware of? I've never heard of such a thing. Her Highness is also very curious about it."
Lossa shook her head. "I have no idea. It's not a skill or magic that I'm familiar with, I'm afraid. I would assume it was necromancy due to the fact that he created it from his bones, but I can't detect any evil magic being used."
"That is certainly a relief. We'd have to kill him otherwise, regardless of how talented he is," Al'ka replied.
Necromancy was illegal amongst the Demihuman civilisations. This wasn't because of its evil connotations, but actually due to the Darkness Dragon and his influences. Banning it was one of many methods the Beastman council, along with the other Demihumans, had devised to weaken the fearsome creature's powers.
"Your Highness, I will have to beseech you to save Lone-ro's life if things go too far. He is no match for Rachel, and I would hate to see him leave this fight injured," Lossa asked humbly while fully expecting Al'ka to translate for her.
Al'ka repeated Lossa's words and gained confirmation from Her Highness, relieving Lossa. The three now stood silently and proceeded to watch the fight.
"Well fuck, how hot even are those flames?" Were one to peek inside Lone's helmet, they would see that his face was covered in sweat.
It was also a bit hard to tell, but his armour was melting slightly. All of the grass within thirty-feet of Rachel had been scorched by her magical flames and turned into nothing more than ash beneath her feet. Her eyes turned fiery crimson and her small body started to float in the air.
The eight-tailed Foxkin raised her two hands and immediately the flames surrounding her followed her will and turned into two large balls of orange fire that spun and shot towards Lone.
Jumping out of the way, Lone managed to dodge them narrowly. They impacted the earth behind him and exploded, resulting in small craters of flames to erupt, replacing the grass and dirt. "You'll have to do better than... that... shit..." Lone's face paled.
What had caused his words to falter was obvious to everyone present. Rachel had created exactly one-hundred identical fire orbs behind her and her hand was raised like a General's signal for death. All she had to do was lower her arm to cause a literal rain of fireballs, each powerful enough to completely erase a typical C-Ranker's existence.
"Um, hey? Eh, c-can we talk about this first?" Lone stuttered. he was scared. He couldn't kill the girl with Mental Destruction for obvious reasons, however, he wasn't sure if he could actually survive such a powerful magical attack, so he was naturally very frightened.
Unfortunately for Lone, Rachel's naive mind had absolute confidence in Lossa's ability to save Lone should he come close to death. Her arm slowly lowered and the fireballs of doom all came crashed towards Lone whose face immediately turned snow white despite the immense heat.
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