Chapter 1: Spark Ring - (Lightning Resistance +20%)
The group's first day on Gran Pulse had been eventful to say the least; in a last minute attempt to become unbranded before moving on to tackle Taejin's Tower, Snow had suggested helping to liberate some of the many C'ieth stones. Upon seeing the first ancient stone, he had strode to the front of the group, placing a gloved hand upon the stone and addressed them as he would NORA.
"This could be the opportunity we've been looking for guys!" He laughed, hitting his fists together in his usual brash manner. "Help a few of these guys out and they might remove our brands!"
The rest of the group did not seem convinced. Lightning, crossed her arms and sighed, pacing slightly.
"Yeah. Help a few of these guys out, waste time and turn C'ieth. Brilliant plan." Her words directed mostly to the floor as she tried in vain to suggest what to do next.
"Or worse," exclaimed Sazh "try help a brother out, and die in the process."
Fang snorted behind him.
"You guys really don't know what you're in for. This is no playground, no Cocoon. We'll need these l'Cie powers if we want to get out of here alive."
Hope instantly stepped beside Snow, as if to show his allegiance to the brawler's cause.
"Yeah but it may also give us a chance to explore this place."
Fang stepped towards the boy as he spoke, placing her hands on her hips and leaning forward to become eye level with him.
"We can just as easily explore this place without the need to help out a few failed l'Cie." said Fang, prodding Hope on the forehead. "And luckily for you guys, you have two top notch guides with firsthand experience."
Hope rubbed his forehead, frowning with annoyance as Fang walked away laughing, back towards Vanille.
"How about a compromise, you guys?" suggested the redhead. "We'll help out any stone we find, but otherwise move on… pleeaaase Fang?" pleaded Vanille, tugging on Fang's sari.
"Fine." Lightning cut in. "Compromise it is, keep the kids happy and the adults from complaining." She finished with a hint of mockery in her voice, and began to walk north, using the brief clues of the C'ieth stone to find their mark.
"That's the spirit!" Snow cheered, his right arm punching the air in victory. "Keep the kids happy." He beamed and ruffled Hope's hair, who remarkably, seemed to have warm towards Snow at last and smiled in response.
Sazh sighed and fell in step with the blonde sentinel. "She meant you too, you know."
'The mark was easy enough to spot.' Lightning thought as she crouched behind a small ledge by the pond, she studied the movement of the large gelatinous beast with keen eyes; waiting for it to turn it's back on her. The monster seemed suspicious, suddenly becoming more aware of its surroundings and slid in multiple directions in order to gain a better view of the area. It moved away from where Lightning was hiding, and she swiftly drew her gunblade, ready to strike. She was about to leap forward when a sharp tug on her cape forced her to the floor unceremoniously, her eyes darted to the right, guessing correctly, the culprit was none other than a smirking Fang.
"What?" the soldier hissed, as to not alert the fiend to their whereabouts. Fang rolled her eyes and quietly laughed to herself.
"Did you not hear me back there? This ain't no ordinary monster ya hear?" lectured Fang. "This is an Ectopudding and despite the slow looking nature of it, it can swipe at you hard and fast, okay?"
Lightning tugged her cape from Fang's grip and repositioned herself back into a crouch.
"An Ectopudding? Who names these things?" she muttered under her breath. At a glance she guessed the beast would not be able to see her attack from it's current peripheral vision. A firm hand grabbed her sword arm, once again holding her back as she tried to go for the creature a second time, causing her to glare and resist the urge to smack the Pulsian.
"Stop touching me." Lightning spat, tugging her arm away from Fang, whose hand instead occupied her hair, as if to calm the soldier down. It had stunned her to say the least.
"Hold on a second there, at least wait for backup " Fang said, combing her fingers through her pink hair before tucking it behind her ear in one swift, but daring motion.
"It's water based and physical attacks are useless."
"Are you quite finished?" asked Lightning impatiently, her eyebrows dipping to make a frown.
"I am now, Smiler." Fang teased.
Lightning looked away for a split-second, feeling rather uncomfortable with the Pulsian's invading hands. She recovered with a deep breath, planning her next words carefully.
"Fortunately for me, it has a weakness to lightning." She said, quickly looking Fang in the eyes.
Fang had little time to dwell on the comment however, as Vanille appeared to her right, striding ankle deep in the pond water.
"I told the boys to wait at the stone, so let's show 'em how it's done." The redhead smiled.
"Well then, what are we waiting for?" asked their leader, who threw a quick Ruin spell and the back of the unsuspecting Ectopudding, as Fang and Vanille followed suit.
Lightning made the finishing blow to the fiend, aiming a thunder spell at point blank range. During the battle she had attempted a Sparkstrike, despite Fang's warning that physical attacks were useless, and realised her mistake once her sword became stuck in its back. It roared out of anger, rather than pain and aimed its heavy blows at Lightning once it sensed her vulnerability. It had caused the team to quickly change roles, Fang switching to sentinel in order to distract the beast long enough for Vanille to fish Lightning's blade out with her rod. It had caused endless teasing from Fang, who couldn't resist laughing at her blunder between provoking the Ectopudding and defending herself from hits. Lightning had been red faced throughout the rest of the battle.
"Don't breathe another word of this." Lightning warned the two Oerbans, sounding exasperated.
"Wouldn't dream of it." Fang snorted.
"I won't say anything, I promise." Vanille said sincerely as she opened a clear, empty vial and scooped what was left of their kill into it. "Wonder gel is great for healing burns," she explained to the soldier who curiously watched her from afar "and styling hair too! Fang will you carry this?" Vanille threw the bottle towards the huntress who quickly deposited it.
The three walked back in a comfortable silence, allowing Lightning to think in peace. Her Blazefire saber remained in her grip, still dripping with goo. Despite not showing signs of it, Fang had managed to scare her earlier, daring to run her hands through her hair. Lightning had suspected the woman to have an interest in her, she was from Cocoon afterall and an equal in combat, but not that type of interest. The woman was her complete opposite.
She's loud, self-confident and wild. Certainly not her type – not that she had one. She's also a woman, for goodness sake. I'm certainly not into women. Lightning thought quickly. I've never even had interest in men before, for that matter.
Lightning thought back to one of the many times she'd overheard soldiers under her command describe her as being asexual, and she pretty much had been until now. But that hadn't stopped her from almost castrating the man.
AN: I don't fully know where I intend on taking this... I have multiple different ideas, but a lot of them start after the ending of the game, but I wanted to establish a relationship first. It's hard to think of a storyline when I've read so many other fics, in case I'm copying ideas or something! Feel free to make any suggestions, potential ideas and constructive criticism... which I must learn to accept because I've taking an English + Creative Writing course at University at the end of this year! (hopefully)