She had come to notice Vize always had one particular talent, aside from acting: getting himself in trouble. She was always the no-nonsense one of the trio, always trying to keep them in check. And yet she wound up in each and every of their shenanigans.
As she applied her make-up and made up a bright red symbol on her forehead to complement her look, Faina sighed to herself. Now this was just ridiculous. They were never going to pull this off, she thought. It was stupid she thought. It shouldn't have worked and yet it did. Everywhere they went, people threw their money at them, mistaking them for their heroes.
"Told ya! Look at all that gold! Hahaha!"
There he was, smiling and laughing like an idiot... Yet she couldn't help but smile when he did. She rarely showed up emotions but he managed to get through to her every time.
"We're going to Nasrad tomorrow. Give the poor townspeople some... hope, wouldn't you say?" Anita suggested and Faina's smile faded.
Of course, Vize immediately agreed to her plan.
"Alright! Let's do it! We're gonna big rich!"
Faina had that unnerving feeling that this wouldn't last. She had to bring that fool to a stop. In gambling people should know when to stop, and she had the feeling that now was the time.
"If you say so..."
Why couldn't she say no to that damn smile?!
"Oh boy, I knew I just felt a chill. Snow Queen Faina just showed up"
The group of young people chatting happily moments ago just moved away as soon as she had arrived. Idiots. All of them. She didn't need to be liked by those fools. Ever since she was a little girl, Faina had been the mature, quiet one. She didn't smile often, why bother? She had earned her nickname Snow Queen Faina because of her aloof attitude. It wasn't that she hated EVERYONE per say but... She didn't understand people and they didn't understand her. They thought her a snob and a mean girl, she thought them shallow and judgmental. They were stuck in that stalemate of mutual avoidance.
It was fine. She wasn't lonely. She wasn't. Maybe if she repeated this over and over again she would actually believe it someday.
More laughter were heard and every time it made her heart hurt for some reason. Annoyed, she was about to leave to get some peace and quiet, until she realized that these were not the mean laugh she had come to expect. They were not even directed at her. Curious.
Faina followed the voices and it led her to a small crowd in front of what looked like a very goofy performer. A clown? A comic maybe? She stood around to watch from a distance and was surprised to find herself smiling. She felt her mask of indifference crack and by the end of the show, she found herself laughing behind her hands, still trying to contain herself. Just... who was that silly boy?
She found herself wandering to that place everyday, in hope of seeing him again. She learned that his name was Vize. That he was an entertainer of some sort. He was a funny guy, maybe it wasn't all intentional since he looked like he took himself so seriously. But that part of him made him... dare she say endearing?
Faina was perfectly content with watching him from a distance. It was fine. Until... Until SHE came along. Things changed. Vize became more... reckless in his shows. Even more of a show-off and the way he glanced at that purple haired girl as if seeking her approval was starting to get on Faina's nerves.
It was at that time that she stopped being a bystander. She introduced herself to Vize... and Anita. And found herself caught up in their mad world.
There she was again, about to be dragged in more nonsense but Vize's smile stopped her from all rational thoughts. Every time she saw it, she lost all will to fight back. He had her around his finger and he didn't even realize it. That was even more infuriating. Faina had to wonder if the real Vyse was as terribly dense as he was with the women. Nah, couldn't be. He probably had a lady at every port and he actually deserved his reputation. She was stuck with a dumb wannabe...
She could just leave, let him fall and actually face the consequences of his stupid decisions without dragging her to his level.
"I'm so pathetic..." Faina muttered to herself.
Then it happened. They found themselves in front of the real deal. Hmm, they really looked alike, except their eyes and Vize's freckles. Honestly, it had felt like looking in a deformed mirror, they were their better selves. The good, righteous rogues. They were nothing like them and deep down, Faina knew they would lose. Except Vize and Anita didn't. Without a care in the world, the purple haired girl tried to seduce Vyse, pissing off her counter-part in the process... And Faina too. Where did that girl get so much confidence? And Faina had a moment of weakness. What if... What if for once she tried to act like that girl? Would he look at her then?
"If we kill you, we'll become the 'real' Vyse and crew. And nobody will be the wiser''
Vize believed in her false bravado. He seriously thought they would perpetually live their lives like this. She...wanted to believe it too.
But, as she'd feared, they couldn't back up their bravado. The real Vyse's crew trounced them soundly, and with that the glory days were over. There they stood in front of their righteous counterpart. Instantly, Vize and Anita tried to grovel to their ''heroes''. Vize even pulled the fans argument and frankly, Faina had to say it was pathetic. No one in their right minds would let them go. Especially after they had attempted to kill them. They were utterly defeated and yet... as good as his reputation was, Vyse let them go with a warning. Faina had a hard time believing it but barely feeling any shame, Vize was already up to a new plan: go back to being entertainers as if nothing happened. He never wasted an opportunity did he?
As they left Nasrad, Faina felt her headache worsening as Vize was laughing carelessly, already talking about the Vyse lookalike show. Perhaps Anita wasn't as dense as she looked and she left them alone for a few minutes, coming up with a silly reason to excuse herself.
That left Faina the opportunity to speak her mind to Vize or at least try to.
"Do you even know why I put up with all of this?" she snapped at some point.
He blinked in confusion, giving it some thought before showing his silly smile again.
"Well... Because you're their fan too?"
...But he was her idiot.
"By the waaaaay..." he started, looking at her with a slight smirk.
"When did you learn to speak up like that. I mean, don't get me wrong. That 'We need you to die' line was pretty cool, but what's up with that attitude? It's not very like you"
The nerve of that guy! Flipping her hair back she puffed up a bit.
"Well, someone had to take some initiative!"
He immediately bit.
"Hey, what's that supposed to mean!?"
"Take a guess"
Watching the two for afar while licking on her lollipop, Anita couldn't help but smile. Having Vize do all her bidding had been amusing for a while but now... Watching this could be fun. She pitied that girl Faina really. Playing matchmaker wasn't her cup of tea and honestly, if the girl wanted Vize that much, she could learn to make a move or the chance would pass her by... Still, she could try to make one little push and see where it goes from there. Savoring her candy, Anita joined them as if nothing happened.
"You know big boy, you handled yourself pretty well in that battle?" she mused later on pretending not to notice the glare Faina shot her.
"Hahaha, ya think so?"
"If you ask me..."
Anita leaned back into her chair, putting her arms behind her head as she continued with a pensive expression.
"It's kinda of a waste for people like us to settle to entertainment"
Faina was the first to react, furrowing her brows.
"Huh, and what do you suggest?"
"Why, Piracy of course!"
Red alarms went into Faina's head. No, no, absolutely not. She scoffed in derision.
" Oh yeah because that worked so well... Don't you remember what just happened? Did you hit your head in that last battle, Anita?"
Smirking, the purple haired girl shook her head.
"I got my wits about me. I didn't mean mimicking Vyse and co, and honestly passing as that scarecrow girl is getting old anyway. I mean, as ourselves. Get a ship and go full on air pirates. Doesn't THAT sound trilling, Vize?" she asked with a pointed wink.
Faina hands balled into fists, trying not to shake.
"I guess... Yeah"
As usual Vize would end up warped in one of Anita's schemes. As usual Faina would have to pick up the mess!
"Forget it! That smells like more trouble!"
"Aww... If you're scared, you don't have to stay you know?" Anita said.
Faina froze. Was she...trying to get rid of her? It would mean less trouble, more peace and quiet. And Vize gone. Of course Vize would follow through with that.
She steeled herself as Vize opened his mouth to reply
"Hey! Don't say that! I mean... we did promise Vyse to be on our best behaviour"
Vize would... What? Faina blinked as she stared at him.
"Wouldn't turning to piracy beat the entire point? And you know... I kinda miss the stage. Don't ya think it's where I belong?" he smiled.
He showed that smile she loved so much. Anita raised her hands.
"I yield. It was just an idea really. I'll leave it at that"
Faina needed some air. She stepped out, taking a deep breath. Did he meant what he said or was it some way to defend her? Regardless of his reason, that meant... She still belonged at his side, right?
"Hey, you okay there, Faina?"
She jolted, turning to face him before slowly nodding.
"Yeah... Are you sure about this?"
What was she saying?
"Someone need to take initiatives" he winked.
"Besides?" she echoed.
"It just wouldn't be the same... without you I mean"
"We need our 'Fina' for our show!"
She said with a smile.
"This is a dangerous quest and a very heavy burden to place upon you but..."
Faina tried hard to keep her cool and focus on her text but Anita's incessant pacing through the room made it hard for her to focus. Clank, clank, clank. It seemed like she stepped hard on the floor on purpose too. Must. Keep. Focus.
"Would you... aid me in my quest oh Vyse of the Blue Rogues?"
And then Anita yawned without restraint. Faina threw her text on the floor in exasperation, finally snapping.
"Okay, what's your problem?!"
"Oh! Wow do it again, did I just hear an emotion in your voice?"
She had the nerve to mock her too?!
"Come on Snow Queen. Are you rehearsing for a funeral or for a show? Put... I dunno, more soul into your text? And who wrote that script?!"
Before Faina could react, Anita grabbed the discarded script and gave it a look over, gradually frowning.
"Want to hear my opinion?"
"Give it back!"
"It sucks! Seriously we're supposed to make the audience feel excited over adventure and have them have some fun... Not put them to sleep"
Faina clenched her teeth. Anita was really asking to be slapped.
"You know what's worse?"
Faina didn't want to hear anymore. She wanted to just leave.
"...You actually have some potential you know? You just need to let loose a little."
Great more ins- What.
Faina blinked and rose her head. Did Anita just... sort of complimented her?
"Just give it a few tweak here and there. Make it fun. Be expressive. I mean if you want to play the moody chick, that's you everyday. But you're supposed to be sweet demure Fina. Show me what that means and put some heart into it. You didn't want to turn to piracy? Show it then"
Let loose huh? Faina grabbed her script and gave it some thought.
"...I'll... I'll see what I can do. Just leave me alone for a while. I need to work"
Working on learning how to let loose... Faina had a long road ahead of her. It seemed so easy for Vize and Anita. They never took anything seriously. Maybe... Maybe if she was in their head. Or tried to imagine how it was. Faina always had been the quiet, serious girl, but that didn't mean she didn't have any imagination.
She was going to show them.
"Alright! Treasures?" Vize called.
"Check!" Anita yelled as she threw the jewel like props.
"We got it!" Faina replied.
"Prince of Valua... Huh. Oh hi prince. Check, I guess" Vize completed as he threw a blong wig over a sack of potato with a serious face scribbled on it.
The Vyse lookalike show had attracted quite a lot of spectators. The show had quite a unique concept and portrayal of Vyse's most popular feat. This one was called "The Grand Escape".
"Let's get out of here!" Vize exclaimed!
"B-But! The Grand Fortress's gate is closed!" Faina pleaded.
Huh, she really had worked hard to put some life in her quote, Anita noticed.
"Who said it could stop me? Just watch!"
Their Delphinus prop immediately smashed through the cardboard representation of the Grand Fortress.
That wasn't quite how it went in the actual events but it didn't fail to amuse and induce cheers from the audience.
"Wow, did you see how wild the audience was? They LOVED it!" Vize cheered.
They were still trying to get over their first massive success. It felt like they were floating.
"And look how much cash we made!" Anita added with a smile.
Even Faina couldn't stop smiling. They actually succeeded. She was still trying to convince herself it wasn't some sort of fever dream.
"Still can't believe you were the one who write that script. You were incredible too!"
Vize was actually showering her with praise. She didn't even know how to react, feeling her face burning. She liked that though. It seemed like he was noticing her for the first time.
"Ooooh it was nothing" she muttered.
Faina wanted to punch herself.
"You know we actually received some flowers too... I think you really deserve them though" He said with a shy tone as he presented to her the bouquet.
She reached to take it, her fingers barely brushing against his. She felt weak. She must have been flushed with embarrassment as she stared at the flowers. Red. Her favorite color too.
An awkward silence settled between the two as she tried to think of what to say or as she waited for him to speak up. Maybe... Maybe...
"Heeeey we also got some loqua! Come on let's drink!" Anita called.
"Oh nice! Coming!"
Or maybe she was just deluding herself from the start. She clenched the bouquet as she lowered her head. She needed to get out. Get some air. She didn't want to cry. Not in front of them.
The two were already sharing the bottle, drunk on their own success and soon on loqua.
Maybe that was what she was meant to be. A bystander, always watching him from a distance until... until he would be gone from her sight completely.
She looked down at the flowers, feeling like just throwing them into Deep Sky. She plucked a petal between her thumb and finger, merciless pulling it apart before doing the same with another.
That idiot. How much longer was he going to play with her heart? Did he not notice anything? Of course he didn't. He had only eyes for Anita. She was the one who joined them out of the blue. She never belonged. She was...
Despite her best effort to keep her cool, tears were rolling out of her eyes. Dammit all...
"Hey Fainaaa, you okay there? We opened the loqua, come get some before Anita finishes it."
Faina wiped her eyes without looking once at him. What remained of the flowers were all scattered on the floor. Vize looked at the petals, blinking slowly in confusion.
"Um... You didn't like the flowers?"
"You stupid jerk!"
This time, she couldn't contain herself.
"You're so damn insensitive... You just don't see anything don't you?!"
"Umm... I'm not sure I follow-"
"I LOVE YOU, YOU MORON!"
"And then she drops the 'I LOVE YOU, YOU MORON!' bomb! Can you believe that?!"
Vize's immediate reaction was to seek Anita's help to make sense of it. He was completely lost and needed her input.
She stared at him in utter disbelief.
"...No I don't believe it" Anita finally said.
"Right?! It's just...Ow!"
Did... Anita just HIT him?! Vize's hand slowly rose to his warm cheek as his eyes widened. How did he manage to piss off two girls in the same evening?! He was about to open his mouth to speak but the girl cut him off immediately.
"Don't give me that look. You totally deserved that hit. What kind of guy just runs off after a girl confess?! What are you even doing here? Just be a man and go to her! Geez..."
"What do you want me to do exactly?!"
He never expected a girl well... to actually like him. What did he even feel for Faina?
"Someone just had the courage to share their feelings for you. Do you like her or not? It's not hard! Either way, just give her an answer instead of running away like a coward!"
...That stung even more than the slap did. But dammit Anita was right. He needed to catch up to her, wherever she was. She couldn't have gone too far!
As Vize returned for more performances, he had come to notice someone watching for afar. He didn't give it too much thought until he realized that she was there every time, even on the shows he was repeating. Never mingling with the crowd, but she laughed all the same. She always left before he had the chance to talk to her.
"Who is that girl?"
"Oh her? That's just Snow Queen Faina. A real creep that one... She never smile and think she's sooooo much better than us"
...That was not at all what she looked like to him. She always smiled and laughed whenever he showed up and she didn't look like a snob either. Maybe... she was just shy?
Eventually, he got wind of his acts getting "repetitive", the crowd yearned for something new. That's when Anita showed up, to spice up things a little and bring more variety. Maybe that girl, Faina would like the show even more and keep on watching?
Vize chuckled to himself in derision to that memory.
"I'm... really a moron aren't I?"
He was not Vyse, he was not a leader, he never even had the courage to talk to Faina. She was the one always making the first time. She was the one who introduced herself to him and pretty much helped the gang staying organized and away from trouble... Most of the time. She always seemed just leagues away from him.
"Hey Faina, wait up!... I said wait!"
"...What now? What did Anita told you to say to me?"
Ouch... Well, he couldn't blame her.
"Look I'm sorry... You took me by surprise and I didn't know what to do and... Honestly I deserved to be punched. Just... hear me out will ya?"
She let out a sigh looking and feeling very tired. Staying and talking wouldn't change the outcome, wouldn't it?
"I understand if you hate me... I feel pretty stupid right now. I mean... You know I just never expected you to actually like someone like me? I always wanted to talk to you and I never did."
"I'm terrible at making initiatives and you're always so cool and I mean, I didn't mean cool as icy, I meant like real cool. You're always looking out for me and I'm always causing trouble for you and... And I'm bad at taking decisions. And I understand if you don't like me any-"
The poor guy was blushing madly as he fumbled more and more with his words. That idiot. That... lovable idiot. Faina took a step forward and Vize closed his eyes, steeled himself, expecting to be hit again... What he felt however were the girl's lips against his. Well, that ought to shut him up, she thought, surprised that she took the initiative. Well... somebody had to do it, right?
He... didn't have any rational thoughts during that time. They parted ways, finding themselves looking in each other's eyes.
"...You really are an idiot, you know that", Faina whispered.
"That's why I need you so much"
"Then I guess I'll just have to stay. The show must go on"
And there she smiled again. She was no Snow Queen Faina. She... really was beautiful when she smiled didn't she?
Anita didn't fail to notice the two holding hands on their way back. Well, about damn time.
"I'm keeping the loqua bottle" She thought as she wandered off to give them a moment's privacy.
"Once I'm done crushing your iron wall, I AM GOING TO SAIL AROUND THE WORLD!"
Vyse's impersonator was pouring out all his soul and screaming at a literal wall standing between him and a panel with dark circles scribbled on it in an attempt to recreate the dark rift. Vize's overacting always caused the audience to laugh and Faina had to contain herself to keep the scene going. She did catch Vize's side-glance and his proud smile.
Sure, he was an idiot.
But he was her idiot