The Guardians of London: Third Echelon CHAPTER THREE [6 Slots Open]

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Above the group that was entering Fairie, something hovered in the skies. These somethings were small at first, but as they started to descend on the group they grew and grew in size until they were roughly the size of a beach ball. In the bushes near the portal, a small childish giggle could be heard, though muffled, as the water balloons threatened to hit the first few pioneers. The young Fae Rena couldn't help but pull this prank. She had intended to use the balloons on some of her friends later but upon hearing something happening at the portal, she figured someone, or something, was trying to get in and it was her 'duty' to give them a good Rena welcome!

"Heads up!"
Hadrian noticed the barrage of projectiles heading their way. He withdrew several knives and tossed them at the ones headed for his companions heads. The balloons popped mid-air, and the water flew everywhere, drenching everyone, including him.
'Water balloons?' he thought surprised.
He deftly caught the one aimed at him and tossed it into the bushes. A yelp let Hadrian know that he found his mark.
"I see you there!" he called out in a mocking tone.

A small squeak came from the bushes as Rena was hit with her own balloon. Her plans for a surprise 'attack' foiled, she floated into the air soaked and with a small pout, she said. "Hey that wasn't nice at all! I was just trying to welcome you to Fairie! Kinda like fireworks, just with water!" Rena appeared to be a child in form, one no more than roughly six or seven, with long pink hair that fell to her thighs and pure blue eyes. She wore an animal skin dress with leg warmers of the same kind wrapped around her shins to keep them warm. She wore no shoes, so her feet were bare and had bits of grass and dirt on them from walking. Most notable on her though were her pointed ears and the small horn on the middle of her forehead. It was only about two inches in length and was a golden color. She was relatively skinny, but that much was to be expected for someone so small.

"Welcome us, huh?"
Hadrian walked up to her, and knelt down to her height.
He gave her a look that radiated hostility, before breaking out into a genuine smile. He gave a hearty laugh and ruffled her hair. "Well you succeeded, I suppose," He gestured to the others wet forms and himself. "Now, what might your name be young one?"

Rena stiffened up as the man approached and even gulped when he glared at her, but once he started to laugh and ruffle her hair, she let out a small breath of relief while thinking to herself. 'I thought he was gonna kill me! This guy is scary!' Stepping away from the man, just for some personal space, she said. "M-my name's Rena, and I'm not young! I happen to be over 500 years old!" She was plainly lying, but she knew that so little was known about the Fae that she might be able to pass it off.

"Oho?" Hadrian raised a brow, not believing her. "Are you now?" Hadrian lifted his left arm, showing the Fae inscription in Soul's arm guard.
"You can read this, correct?" Soul's large, bright blade glinted beautifully in the sunlight.

Jeffery was in a terrible mood before he entered the portal, luckily in blowing up that box allowed him to blow of some much needed steam. Which he was using to restrain from killing the new... thing that had just soaked him. She was very, very lucky Jeffery couldn't reach his shotgun due to the sheer rage he was feeling. "Killing her won't solve anything." He repeated this quietly for the next ten minutes.

Harper was standing next to Jeffery as he hear him begin his little mantra. Glancing around, Harper leant over to Jeff and whispered in his ear: "Remember that she, in my eyes, has the same protection as a human. Kill her and deal with me. That should make things a bit easier, hmm?"

Jeffery snapped, within a second Harper found a shotgun shoved into his mouth. Neither Jeffery nor Harper had moved a muscle. Jeffery was shaking violently, spasming every now and again. "I said it wouldn't do it. BUT NO! LET'S MAKE HIM EXPLAIN THE SECRETS OF TIME AND THEN DISMISS IT AS COMPLETE BULLSHIT AND SKULLFUCKERY! LET'S PUSH THE UNSTABLE MAN WHO GOT US INTO THIS WORLD BY CAUSING AN IMPRINTED PARADOX AROUND! LET'S SEE HOW FAR WE CAN PUSH HIM TILL HE SNAPS LIKE A RUBBER BAND! IS THAT WHAT YOU FUCKING BASTARDS DO FOR FUN?! IS IT?!" Jeffery was in a fit, screaming with rage by now, "DO YOU EVEN LISTEN TO OTHERS? I'LL EVEN QUOTE MYSELF! 'KILLING HER WON'T SOLVE ANYTHING!' I WAS SAYING I SHOULDN'T KILL HER! I WAS REASONING AGAINST MYSELF! I WAS WINNING! AND YOU... YOU HAD TO GO SAY THAT. TO SAY 'IN YOUR EYES SHE HAS THE SAME PROTECTION AS A HUMAN'. WHAT ABOUT ME? WHERE'S MY PROTECTION FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU! BIGOTS! SCOUNDRELS! I MAYBE A CHRONOMANCER BUT I AM NOT A MONSTER LIKE YOU THINK I AM!"

Harper stared down the barrels, "Ah. We-ell, I would-like-totakethismomenttostatethatIdidNOTsayyourexplanationoftimewasbullshit Imerelydidnotpossesstheintellectualcapacitytounderstanditand assuch Ifeelmaybeitwould'vebeenbetterforyoutouselaymanstermssopeoplecouldunderstand hmm? IhavealsoneverstatedyouareamonsterIwasmerelyusingthethreatofme maybenotwise toconvinceyoutoavoidkilingherbecausehtatwouldnotreallylookgoodonyourresume wouldit? Irespectyouasaperson-and-as-a Guardian, Jeff and I'm sure the others do too - don't do this and make them do something they don't want to do. Look, I'm sorry for that comment. It wasn't wise and I retract it."

Whilst Harper did this, he carefully and slowly manoeuvered the pistol so it pointed at Jeffery's foot - for all the good that would do...

Hadrian sighed. "Hold on a moment Rena."
He quickly ran over to Harper and pulled at his shoulder to get his attention.
"It's highly recommend that you don't take continue with your current course of action." he whispered into his ear. "I've seen Jeffery angry before, and I don't want to see him like that right now."

Harper didn't move a muscle: "I...I can see him angry now: so move slowly and don't make him blow my head off, please!"

Following Hadrian's advice, Harper flicked the safety on and tossed his pistol aside.

Jeffery was shaking so violently it appeared he was having a seizure. The shotgun fell out of his hands. Harper braced for the impact of the shell against his chest. With a clatter the shotgun landed to the ground. Jeffery's reception seemed to get worse. He flickered off and on for a few seconds. "I-I even u-un-load-ed t-t-the gun... I... c-could-dn't e-even kill a fly i-in th-this state." The shaking seemed to subside for the most part and his reception was returned to vaguely normal.

He patted Harper on the shoulder and gently pushed him aside. He placed a hand on Jeffery's shoulder.
"You alright now Jeffery?" His arms appeared to be relaxed, and at his side, but if Jeffery were to lash out at him, Hadrian would be ready to drive his blades forward and rend him into many pieces.

Jeffery started violently shaking again when Hadrian put his hand on his shoulder. With a shaky voice, Jeffery managed to reply, "No. But I'm better. Just... No, I'm fine."

Harper took the unspoken advice and backed off from the pair, finding himself next to the Faerie, turneing he looked down at the shocked creature, "Eh, some advice: don't try that water-balloons trick again, none of us are people you'll really want to piss off that much. Least of all that pair."

He stepped over to Jeffery and picked up the shotgun, tossing it into the air and catching it by the barrel and holding it so he could give it to Jeffery when he wanted it back. "Man, I'm sorry about that: I won't do anything like that to you again..."

Hadrian backed up, smirking. "My friend, you haven't seen me angry before, and hopefully, you'll never have to."
He moved back to the little Faerie and showed him Soul.
"Now, can you read the inscription on my katara?" The good humor in his voice was gone, due to the interruption caused by Harper's poorly-worded warning to the ticking time-bomb that was Jeffery.

Jeffery slowly gripped the handle. He was still shaking minutely but otherwise seemed fine. He quickly donned his gasmask and slid the shotgun into its holster. "S-sorry about that. I've had a bad day."

Rena was overwhelmed by all that was happening. The situation with Jeffery had allowed her at least a little bit of time to think of an answer to Hadrian, but after it was all finished and over, he came back to her and seemed scary like before. Gulping once more, she took a step back and said as a feint. "O-of course I can read it! It's clear as day to me." He hadn't told her to read what was said after all. Trying to throw them all off topic, she asked. "What are you outsiders doing here anyways? I'm not sure if the other elders would like knowing that there's a violent band of non-Fae heading to them. N-not that I think you're violent! Just a little..erm..strange..and possibly a teeny tiny bit dangerous.."

"We're not a little strange! And I resent the accusation that we're possibly a teeny tiny bit dangerous! We'd be a little strange if it was just me but, well, Jeffery and Hadrian and Pyotr are here too; I don't know what could be more strange than a crazed man with a gas mask and a shotgun who can manipulate time, a drunken sniper and a werewolf with throwing knives! As for the dangerous part, I would say that I, myself, am more than a teeny tiny bit dangerous, then you get Bastian, Pyotr, Lurker, Jeff and, most importantly: Hadrian. We probably provide a combat prowess equivilent to a battalion strength of men armed with repeating rifles!"
Harper stopped talking and walked over to join Rena and Hadrian, "But all of this doesn't mean that we're necessarily a bad thing for the Faerie lands, depends on how we're recieved."

Emerging into the scene of an argument, Bastian and Zjar'q appeared. The portal almost seemed to spit them out and they stopped, stared a few moments as they assessed the situation.
Jeffrey was shaking, a look in his eyes made Bastian's insides clench with emotion. He felt bad for Jeff, he had to strongest burden to bear. One of few total masters of Chronomancy, he actually was always one with the time stream. Not like Zjar'q who came and went as he pleased but who was slowly being pulled under, like every chronomancer who eventually masters their art. Sometimes, the undertows and rapids of time sneak up on you.
Zjar'q went over and put a sympathetic hand on Jeff's shoulder and smiled a friendly smile.

Bastian walked up to the small girl with the pink hair and, crouching down to her level said "Hello little one. I am Sebastian Wyre and I am from Earth...could you tell me where the nearest city or township is?" and he smiled.

Hadrian sighed. Rena was a tricky one, reminding him of his time back in his home town, and her... He smiled sadly and backed up so Bastian could speak with her. He decided that he would get an answer out of her later, and try not scare her out of her wits.

Rena gave a sharp glare towards Harper and seemed like she was about to do something when one of the more kinder gentlemen of the group came over and asked where the closest settlement was from their location. That struck a nerve in the small Fae, since there was really only one town left.

Pouting, she shook her head and said. "I'm not going to lead you anywhere! I don't trust you people at all! That person there just admitted that you were all a dangerous group, so why would I take you to Grand Moon, the last free city in Faerie that's standing against the Dark Skull's army?" She let this sink in before continuing. "Grand Moon is the only place that hasn't been captured and destroyed by the Dark Skull and for all I know, you could be trying to trick me into getting you inside so you can kill everyone!"

She crossed her arms and said. "Unless you give me some kind of proof that you won't harm anyone in the city, I won't trust you." She looked at the more violent of the group and said. "I'm not afraid to die, so the whole 'take us and we'll let you live' routine won't work on me. I would rather die at the hands of savages than get killed and have my corpse controlled by the Dark Skull."

Rena's words actually stung Hadrian, causing him to flinch. He scratched the back of his head, trying to think of a way to gain her trust. 'Kids like sweet things, right?'
"Maybe some food will change your mind?" He rummaged through his pack and brought out some sweet bread that he purchased from the market. "And no, this stuff isn't poisoned." He ripped off a piece and ate it. "See? I'm not foaming at the mouth or anything." He doubted it would work, but it was worth a try. He never really intended to eat it anyway.

Rena looked to the sweet bread and it truly seemed like she was at a struggle with herself. Finally, it seemed her stronger side won, and she shook her head. "N-no! Just because you have delicious sweet bread doesn't mean I'll trust you!" She crossed her arms and closed her eyes, but one eye soon opened and said. "B-but..if you have more sweets.."

Hadrian grinned triumphantly. "Yep, got some right here." He pulled out a second piece of bread. "I also have a mint or two..." he patted his pocket.
'Ah, this is like the old times.' Hadrian thought happily.

Jeffery scowled under his gasmask. He did not like this brat one bit. "Not only that but she's openly pandering for sweets. What a brat." He turned to Bastian. "OI! Bastian? Do we really have to rely on this thing? I bet she'd just lead us into a trap and try to kill us."

Hadrian turned his head to Jeffery, still smiling. "I take it that you never dealt with kids before." He shrugged nonchalantly. "Besides, it's my food that I'm giving away here. It's not like she's asking for our souls or anything. Some sweets in exchange for information sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn't it?"

Jeffery placed his hands on his hips, "I told you. I'm married. So no kids... yet..." He gave Hadrian a knowing look.

Rena seemed to consider this. Sure, most of the people in the group seemed like savages, especially that gas masked weirdo, but if the person in front of her had so many sweets then he couldn't possibly be all that bad. The one who asked for the location of the city also seemed pretty nice too. Thinking this over some, she nodded her head and said. "Deal! I'll take you to the city in exchange for the two sweet breads! You can keep the mints, since I don't have any pockets."

"Great!" Hadrian handed the two loaves of sweet bread to her, and ruffled her hair again. He turned to face the group, but not before returning the knowing look that Jeffery gave to him. "We're heading out guys!"
He moved over to Jeffery and nudged him. "When this mission is over, you should get on that. You've never experienced true happiness until you got yourself some kids to care for." He went quiet for a moment, looking downcast, before coming to his senses and shrugging. "But then again, they may be ungrateful mooches who treat you like garbage. Glad I didn't have to put up with that."

Jeffery playfully pinched Hadrian's cheek. His eyes were both mildly annoyed and incredibly amused, "I do know my kids. They're delightful, well behaved and very talented in Chronomancy. That brat is none of the above." He let go and patted him on the back and pointed to himself. "Chronomancer... remember?"

"Right, right," He smiled. "You know your future and past, and whatever."
He smirked. "Kind of spoils the surprise though, don't you think?"
Then he pulled at his ear. "Who's a brat now?"

Jeffery laughed and pulled off his gasmask. "I don't know my future and the pasts... I know all of the possible futures and pasts that involve me. But you have a point I suppose I'm being just as much of a brat as I think she is. I don't appreciate the lying about the age though." He pulled out a candy bar and tossed it to her, "There you go. Sorry about before. I was having a bad day." He turned to Zjar'q and gave a grin to him mouth speaking through the timestream at him, "Thanks."

He chuckled. "Yeah, that's the thing with kids. Most of them are terrible liars." Hadrian scratched his chin in contemplation. "I suppose it does makes them more endearing though."

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