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Perhaps she was thinking too much on this. Malva found herself staring at the painting hung across her room, sighing softly to herself as she launched herself against the pillows stacked on her bed. The family portrait had been there for awhile, ever since they made this place their home, to be exact. It was the 8 of them, in Marseilles and it was over 400 years old. For people who almost never stepped one foot outside the Isle, Malva recalled this was one of the only times she was given the chance to scour an entire city for one night. It was a rare case to have the Ailwards out and about, especially when they cannot move around individually for long without slowly deteriorating. It was also the proof of them being a family, once upon a time. It wasn't as if they were no longer a family, but they've been very distant as of late and Malva could feel herself feeling out of it.
The only times they would ever gather together were during meetings and she was sure her brother tried his best not to call them every week or month. It made her wonder if her family were no longer the family they once were. It didn't help that she had been trying to get away from them either, but after what has happened with her connection to magic, she didn't know what else to do. Octavia remained her only confidant and one of the ones she wouldn't toss an object to, every time people attempt to enter her room. The crumpled papers surrounding her bed were a result from her attempts to create a new spell, only to remain futile as ever. "Usually, I would say nothing… perhaps you're just tired. But it's been months, Mal… get ahold of yourself" she grumbled to herself, she could handle one month or two, but this has been on-going for far too long. And if it continues, then she wasn't sure what else she could do to get back to her old self.
So she gathered every crumpled piece and threw it into the bin before dragging herself to take a coat and scarf from her closet so she could find her answers elsewhere. Keeping herself cooped up in the room would not do her any good, anyway. Her eyes fell on the picture in her tablet, right, the flower; a flower that she's been dying to get her hands on ever since she heard from Bexley that it was growing nearby. One flower would do her more than enough but if Mal was able to get more than one, she could do some good with it. Just because she could no longer do magic, it doesn't mean she couldn't still practice alchemy and the likes. The Aspect of Magic tucked in the tablet inside her bag alongside her journal and closed the door behind her before making her way downstairs.
The manor felt so empty and even Christmas last year wasn't able to make it better. Her hair grew longer and she was tempted to cut it but promised not to touch it until she was able to get her magic back. The snow was sticking in and she couldn't believe she would be our searching for a flower in the mountains this early in the morning, especially in the cold. Trekking there wasn't an easy route and the moment she saw where the flower would be at, she knew climbing was inevitable. "How am I supposed to climb… that far up ahead... " she murmured and kept trying to look for a loophole that doesn't require her to climb. The brunette kept pacing back and forth while holding out her gloves, with no proper equipment except a few ropes to climb, how was she supposed to do that?
To say things had changed for the young star in the past few months was an understatement, coming to Evermore he had known that he wanted to seek out his identity, something he had tasked himself with ever since he came to the city. What he wasn’t expecting to find was answers in the form of a family member, that was complicated and still rocky and while he had finally let Hanseol into his life, he still had his reservations about trusting someone he barely knew. Still, Hanseol hadn’t been lying about the fact Sunmin was a Celestial, seemingly one who didn’t function normally though because no matter how many times he tried to draw on his supposed energy of tap into it in anyway, nothing happened. It was frustrating and everyone asking him to keep trying to use it when it clearly wasn’t working, didn’t help.
He’d been staying with Hanseol and his boyfriend Jaesung for a few weeks now but he made himself scarce most of the time, usually out in the city in one place or another or tucked up in the spare room which the other star had insisted he stay in. It was different, but he didn’t find himself hating it. It was hard for him to accept that anyone would want to help them out of the good of their heart but he actually seemed to be that person. Perhaps it was rude of him not to be around that often but he wasn’t used to staying in one place and it made him feel agitated so he often found himself heading out. He’d even put in for a few jobs because he now technically had a fixed address, though not much had come of it so far.
He still loved to climb though and over the past few weeks he had been trying to hike his way up the mountains that towered over Evermore City, he kinda wanted to do it with his own hands but Hanseol had insisted that he borrow some of his climbing equipment if he was going to head up there and the younger male felt like he owed him at least a little. He could keep himself self if that was what Han asked of him. It took him about three hours total of walking before he actually felt like he got anywhere near the top but he felt refreshed as he saw the expanse of the city from up here, it was better than your average rooftop that was for sure.
He wasn’t too far away from the peak but he decided to come to a stop, seating himself on one of the ledges as he just stared out into the distance and contemplated where his life was right now. He had a brother, he’d made a few friends, he knew for definite that he was a fallen star, all he needed to figure out now is why the hell he didn’t glow. But no one seemed to be able to answer that question for him and so he found himself constantly frustrated by the whole thing. What was wrong with him? Was he broken? Had his light been snuffed out because of the life he lived before now? He had no idea, but what he did know was that there was a part of him that wanted to be a Celestial, wanted to fit in somewhere.
She’s been pacing back and forth while staring at the mountains the entire time, there was a clear look of distress marring her distinctive features. How was she going to climb? Malva was nowhere near a climbing expert, she’s never even hiked that much anyway, considering the Aspect of Magic always seemed to have magic at the tip of her fingertips. Now, that’s a problem for the current timeline seeing as she couldn’t do as much as make a flower bloom. There’s also another option; she could fly. But when was the last time she shifted into her dragon form? Right, when she met Sio again at the cabin by the meadows, where she failed to maneuver her flight properly and ended up falling over, resulting in a broken ankle and minor concussion.
It made her feel like she was still an amateur when she first tried shifting into one. Was she ready for another fall if anything happens again? “You can’t be complaining, Mal… nobody’s gonna help you, so…” she murmured to herself and halted on her steps, squinting her eyes at the sight of the flower growing at the edge, that’s it, she’s doing it. The brunette dragged herself in between the trees so she could shift into her dragon form, the sight of her purple-scaled claws made the Aspect sigh internally before taking a leap to the sky. The good thing about their dragon forms, they’re invisible, which allowed her to guise herself with ease. The flower wasn’t hard to obtain since she could fly but the problem wasn’t that. It came after that.
When she had her grasp around the flower, she was going to land on the highest peak but felt wobbly all of sudden, “Shit…” It doesn’t seem like she was going to be able to stay up in the air any longer, at this rate. Mal braced herself for the impact when she hit the trees located near the peak, it wasn’t enough to injure her dragon form but did it hurt to revert back into her human form and hit the tree bark? Yes. So did falling down from the highest tree and hitting the ground. Admittedly, she didn’t sustain any serious injury except for a few minor cuts she couldn’t be bothered to get worried about, thanks to the fact that she was still in her form halfway toppling. Mal thought she had a grip on the trip, obviously not. That's why she slipped. Hard.
For anyone else nearby, the rustling from the trees earlier would’ve caught their attention, especially seeing as whoever they found was only a female standing at 5’6” tall, clutching the flower in her left hand while groaning on the ground. “Owww… congratulations, Malva. You scored a 100 with that exceptional landing.” She didn’t even bother to get up and remained rolling on the ground, squirming while her right hand held the right side of her head that was bleeding. How she managed to stay intact all the while she didn’t have her magic access by doing all the reckless things she shouldn’t, is still beyond her. When she got up, Mal shook her head and blinked a few times before taking the silhouette not far from her. “Uh... am I hallucinating now? Or is there an actual person in front of me.”
As he sat there in the quiet he realized how peaceful it was up here, you could see the entire span of the city in the distance and it looked so quaint and small, like it was so far away that you could barely even feel in touch with it. It seemed strange to think that was the very place he could wander for hours and never get tired. He was an explorer at heart, he loved finding new places and reaching feats he thought were impossible which was exactly why he was halfway up a mountain right now he supposed. What he wasn’t expecting though was to hear the sound of the ledge he was sitting on begin to crack beneath him. He frowned but before he could properly respond to the danger he was already falling.
His eyes flew open with panic as the air rushed around him and the young Celestial reached for the first thing he could get a hold of, a particularly tall tree, he gripped tightly against it, grabbing the rope from around his waist to secure it around the bark to ensure he didn’t fall any further. His heart was practically beating out of his chest as he looked around wondering how the hell the ledge had managed to break all by itself only to hear what sounded like a person below him. He heard the groan of pain and frowned as he pulled himself over so he could get a grip against the tree and see the figure laying on the ground below. He raised a curious brow, well he wasn’t expecting to meet someone else up here, that was for sure. He slowly made his way down the tree, hopping from branch to branch until he eventually landed with a thud against the ground near the woman.
Hearing her mutter to herself from beside him he raised his brows “You know I would have only given it a 72, you have to at least deduct points for the bleeding” he commented as he stared at her, looking at her intently “You do realize that it’s very dangerous to climb the mountain without proper gear right?” and from the looks of her she definitely didn’t have the right gear, in fact, she didn’t even look like she dressed prepared for the hike which made him wonder what it was she was doing here. His eyes moved to the flower in her hand and pressed his lips towards stepping back to lean against the tree he had just scaled down, he hadn’t come off unharmed either, there were a few cuts on his hands where he had gripped the tree. He had to laugh when she asked if he was a hallucination “No idea, it could all be an illusion at this rate” he was messing with her a little “What exactly are you doing on the mountain?” he asked curiously as he offered his spare t-shirt from his bag so she could press it against the wound on the side of her head.
Perhaps, she shouldn't have gone up there without proper equipment. It was bound to be a mission gone wrong anyway. But then again, she was literally flying in her dragon form, she should be able to get that one flower in her grasp easily enough. Unfortunately, the world was trying to tell her that she should've gone for a test drive before doing this, resulting her crash landing against the tree. Initially, Mal thought she had a firm grip against the tree but evidently, she didn't because she slipped while trying to hoist herself up. That action sent her falling from the tree and rolling a bit to the side where her head had hit a rock, rendering her delirious for a moment as she tried to grasp her surroundings. She was too busy trying to shake the headache away so she didn't notice another figure had landed nearby.
Malva eventually saw a silhouette towering not far from her after that. She asked, obviously, wanting to confirm his identity because someone needed to do that, what if she was really just hallucinating and he's not real? And he definitely wasn't being helpful by teasing her about it. "I thought the bleeding gives creativity points. I rolled down... " she exclaimed in confusion and shook her head once again as she attempted to get up from her lying position earlier. In front of her was a taller young male who doesn't look to be more than his late teens, sporting a casual outerwear and actually looked the part of hiking or climbing whereas she's not. But then again, Malva does stand out every time, even when she didn't want to. Either her attitude or appearance would make it, most of the time; her attitude. That rebellious streak from her young years clearly didn't wash away as she grew in the last millennium.
"Yes yes… I know… I didn't think of it, as stupidly as that sounds" She really didn't. She thought her dragon form flying and hovering over it would've sufficed. Clearly not. But at least, she got it, it's still around her firm grip. But as soon as her eyes fell over it, the Aspect of Magic frowned because while she survived the fall, the same couldn't be said for the poor flower. "I did not just risk a concussion to my head for this flower to die...goddammit.." she grumbled and sighed heavily, there goes her luck. She couldn't even heal it back, how could she when she couldn't even tap into her magic inside to do her bidding without malfunctioning?
Mal looked up from her flower to the stranger and narrowed her blue hues, "If this is an illusion, it sure is believable. Even my head wants to sass me, as if I don't have enough of those daily" she shook her head and chuckled because of the irony. When he offered her a spare t-shirt, Malva stared at it for a few seconds before gratefully accepting it, thanking him in the process of doing so. Mal pressed the shirt against her wound and sighed, "I was looking for this, but it's… dead now. Well, not dead dead but I can't heal it either. So it's useless" The exasperated whimper obviously said a lot, the flower had been crucial for her to obtain.
He gave a somewhat amused scoff when she said the bleeding gave creativity points “Hardly what you’d call a graceful performance, though I’ll give points for quite literally appearing out of nowhere, that’s impressive” he pressed his lips together, probably more supernatural information out there in the world which he needed to learn. He felt like he was in a weird position, knowing there was so much out there but also not knowing fact or fiction, it made him suspicious of every person he saw and what they could do. He watched her carefully, noting that she wasn’t dressed for climbing very well which made him wonder if she actually climbed up here herself or used some kind of magic instead. Not that he was judging only crazy person went randomly climbing up the mountain on a whim, like him, he supposed.
“Well ...probably good to consider your brain next time, falling hurts but I don’t need to tell you that” that didn’t stop him helping though because he was worried, it wasn’t like she could easily get to a doctor from up here and while she was conscious and seemed okay, it did look like she hit her head pretty hard on the way down “You shouldn’t move too much, you might have a concussion” he’d had a few of those before and it wasn’t any fun, very disorienting and confusing and made you feel like you might pass out at any moment. He then saw the flower in her hand, all crumpled under her touch and frowned “Well surely you shouldn’t have picked it if you didn’t want it to die?” he leaned over to inspect it closer and tilted his head, actually he had never seen this kind of flower before, though he had never looked all that close at flowers before “Is there something special about it?” just looked like a pretty flower to him.
He gave her a questioning look when she spoke about it being an illusion and he lifted his leg to nudge her with his foot “Not an illusion, if anyone is hallucinating here, it’s me” considering she just popped up out of nowhere and knocked him down a cliff he actually wouldn’t be all that surprised. He stood back again after she took the shirt he offered, it was one of the very few he owned but she needed it more than he did at that moment and he wasn’t going to mention it, he could begrudgingly ask Hanseol for another. He let out a sigh and crouched down so he could inspect the flower she was looking at “You say it like it’s normally possible to heal a picked flower” he commented with a puzzled expression before he reached out to touch the flower, his hand accidentally brushing against hers for a moment and he felt a really weird sensation, like some kind of electric shock but now quite the same, it made his body tremble and for a moment he saw a bright light between them which made him jump back “What the fuck was that?” he asked with widened eyes.
Mal narrowed her bright blue hues towards the male towering above her, perhaps he wasn't the tallest but he sure does tower over her 5'4" frame still. Then again, she's always been quite short around the corners anyway. "Not every landing needed to go with a graceful ending…" she grumbled, clearly also being dissatisfied that she failed to land properly. Again. "At least I didn't roll over the meadow and break my ankle like the last time... I think" she tried to stand up steadily and examine if her ankle was spared from the pain this time and let out a relieved sigh when she realized the only injury she sustained was the bleeding on the side of her forehead. "Surprisingly this time it's mild… milder." She wondered if he had questions from where she even came from because technically, in her dragon form, Malva was invisible but she certainly managed to shift back, albeit recklessly, when she hit the trees.
"Maybe I'm a magician, practicing my… next trope." When he talked about caring for the head, Mal instinctively brought her hand up and rubbed the spot, wincing lightly because he wasn't wrong, "Yeah, I should probably wear a helmet next time... Or stop… trying to fly... " Maybe it's best if she doesn't fly around in her dragon form for a while. "I'm fine… I can still walk properly... " She took a few steps further just to prove that, and while she was a bit wobbly, she managed. It wasn't as if she had time to kill by waiting there and wait for a miracle to kick-start the flower back to life. Her gaze dropped to the flower she still had around her grasp, "It's not supposed to die so soon, if you're able to preserve the life inside it, it'll stay fine." It was a magical flower for remedies, after all. It's not normal. "If I was normal, I could probably revive it but… that's a bit impossible" she muttered silently. Mal's never been so unproductive, like this.
The Aspect of Magic parted her lips in surprise when he actually nudged her with his foot, "Don't worry, I'm not a part of your hallucination. So we're both quite awake." She gave him a look when he said it's normal to heal a picked flower, right, she always did forget there were humans living amongst them but something about him doesn't scream human either. That didn't last long when he stretched out his hand to touch the flower that was still in her grip and accidentally brushed against her skin. It felt like an electric jolt, something she usually experienced when she's channeling something; preferably an energy signature. And this energy was something familiar. The light had come from the flower where Mal squinted her eyes to take a closer look as she realized the flower was slowly healing itself back.
As a practioner of non-verbal magic, Mal was used to such gestures but she didn't have any conduit to begin with earlier. Until that guy brushed his hand against hers. Once the light subsided, Malva blinked a few times in wonder and stared at the male, "You're not a human, are you... " The energy felt familiar, but she couldn't pinpoint it at that exact time. "Give me your hand" she outstretched her free hand out to him, prompting for him to do the same and when he didn't, Mal sighed and pressed her lips together, "Please?"
“I’m definitely judging the fact that there was a last time” he commented in a matter of fact tone, he didn’t make a habit of going climbing without the right equipment and he was very well practiced in climbing and knowing how to hold himself and she gave him the impression she was very...inexperienced. She certainly wasn’t up here for the leisure or the views which meant that flower must be really important. “I mean it looked pretty spectacular, if I filmed it then I probably could have gotten one of those home video shows to give me money” he chuckled softly, not that he hadn’t fallen himself before but usually someone would manage to hold onto something instead of going full-on tumbling down.
He gave her a skeptical look when she said she was a magician practicing her tricks “Halfway up a mountain? Ten bucks on that being something that never happened” he wasn’t the kind of person you could easily lie to, especially not when the reasoning was completely unbelievable. “Yeah I feel like your safest bet would be to not…” he paused for a moment and widened his eyes “Wait did you just say fly?” well that would explain how she appeared out of nowhere but how did an average-looking girl fly? She didn’t seem to have any wings. “That’s it, stubborn your way through it, foolproof way of facing your pain” he chuckled seeing the way she was struggling to stay standing. He’d had to grit his teeth through an injury more times than he could count.
He was definitely surprised when she said she would normally be able to heal the flower and his eyes traced over it, wondering what was so special about a tiny plant “Oh I didn’t think you were a hallucination, I’m just enjoying messing with you” he responded with a grin, he enjoyed doing that to most people, it was most of his entertainment to interact with others. He watched her as she explained about the flower and when he reached to touch it he suddenly felt the weird jolt go through him. He was startled by it as he jumped back and looked around as though she was some kind of criminal. His eyes narrowed slowly as he saw the flower in her hand, it was glowing faintly and then when the light faded the crumpled looking plant was back to a healthy-looking flower.
He wanted to say something but what did you even say to something like that? How did you process watching a flower repair itself right in front of his eyes “Is this some kind of...magic trick? A scam? Do you want something from me” Sunmin’s default reaction to the unfamiliar was to go into defensive mode so it wasn’t surprising to see him suddenly doubting her intentions and he naturally froze up when she said he wasn’t human and tried to touch him, naturally backing away “Tell me who the hell you are first” he responded bluntly, shaking his head when she said please. It wasn’t easy to gain his trust and now he was definitely on edge after seeing what happened.