Tataru desperately tried to gasp for air, but the gauntleted hand gripping her around the throat restricted her breath.

"Were. You. Involved?" a voice spoke in her ear. The cold metal of the gauntlet dug deeper into the soft flesh of her neck.

Tears fell down her cheeks as she squirmed "N-no!" She choked out, but the grip tightened as she was lifted up from the table, only to be slammed back down causing her to let out a pained gasp.

Tataru thrashed in panic, her eyes darting over to Sid who stood protectively in front of Rielle, his eyes showing his uncertainty whether to intervene.

God's above.. how did it come to this?

-Earlier-

"And that's about it." Naruko said as she leant back in her chair.

It was late. The Forgotten Knight was empty except for Herself, Tataru, Sid and Rielle, and last but not least the proprietor of the Forgotten Knight, Gibrillont.

"God's… to think that they would go through so much just to kill one man. That being said, you should have told me Naruko, I would have aided you." Naruko shook her head at Sid's words "Aye, I know. But this was my issue and as much as I appreciate the sentiment, it was better this way."

In truth Naruko would have declined the offer anyway. The last thing she wanted was to drag anyone else into this mess. Besides, it's not like she couldn't handle those idiots in the Crystal Braves or that vile prick Ilberd…. It was actually quite sad really, the moment they saw her they either ran like cowards or tried rushing her.

Besides, Sid had enough on his plate at the moment with Rielle's lunatic mother and all.

Naruko's grip on her tankard tightened when she thought back to what happened at Halatali.. how she was so close to killing that honorless, coin hungry bastard.

And then Alphinaud just had to show up with Riol's unit. The little bastard had blindsided her with a Ruin spell that had smashed against her helmet, disorientating her. Giving Ilberd and his lacky's the time they needed to mount their chocobo's and disappear to god's know where. Then the bastard had attempted to arrest her. Ha! Fat lot of good that did him.

The look of fear on his face when she rushed him made her feel a tiny bit better, but not as good as when she punched him clean in the face and then kicked him in the ribs when he was down. And she would have gone further too if not for Riol intervening as well as Yugiri exiting Halatali with Raubahn.

And perhaps that was for the best. For shortly after Riol made a hasty retreat with Alphinaud slung over his shoulder, a messenger told them that a certain individual wished to meet them at the Waking Sands.

Said individual turned out to be none other than Dewlala Dewla, the Head of the order of Nald'Thal.

-two days earlier-

"And that is why I am telling you this, Warrior of Light." Dewlala said softly as she put her tea cup down and leaned back in her chair.

Both Naruko and Raubahn were in shock. Nanamo was alive, barely but still… she was alive.

"As.. as fantastic as this is… why? Why tell us this?" Naruko asked quietly.

Dewlala sighed softly before removing her glasses. "Kokoro… Nanamo's mother was a dear friend. And while I will always stand firm by my neutral stance between the Monetarists and Royalists… I will not sit idly by while the filthy rat who had a hand in her death takes her daughter as well." The elder woman said firmly.

"Teledji Adeledji had a hand in the death of Lady Kokoro and Lord Nanaku? Just how long has he been planning this?" Raubahn muttered

Dewlala nodded grimly "Yes. Every member of the Syndicate knew… only, we didn't have the evidence. That damn snake covered his tracks well."

It was apparent that the subject was a sore spot for the older woman.

After a few minutes of silence, Dewlala let out a tired sigh. "Well then, I should be off. There is a meeting this evening and I just know Adeledji will be enquiring why I was here." She said as she reached forward and finished the rest of her tea.

"You gonna be ok?" Naruko asked

Dewlala gave her a wry smile "Do not fret yourself about me, dear Warrior of Light. I have my ways of dealing with that ignoramus."

-present time-

"Are you certain that the information isn't false though?" Naruko looked at Tataru in confusion "What? Tataru I am certain the information is true, Nanamo is alive." She said with no small amount of certainty.

Tataru muttered something under her breath. "Care to repeat that?" Naruko asked somewhat forcefully.

Tataru looked at Naruko hesitantly "I… I think you are being given the runaround Naruko. It just seems far too convenient… it could be that Teledji Adeledji is trying to bait you into a trap and that he-" Naruko slammed her fist on the table "She is alive Tataru! Gods damn it why is that so hard for you to believe?"

However Tataru sadly, was not as optimistic. While she didn't know the full details, what she had overheard before she fled Mor Dhona painted a rather nasty picture. The poison that had been acquired was from what she had heard was… potent to say the least. A few drops would supposedly be enough to kill a fully grown Aldgoat apparently so what chance would a Lalafell have? Did she tell Naruko this? No, what good would telling her that the poison used would have caused Nanamo to die in a cruel and painful way… though if she was honest with herself she knew Naruko would be hurt if/when she found out she knew.

Because Rhalgr's Bile was already known for causing extreme pain to the one it's used on… and gods know what it was mixed with.

Was it cruel? Yes, in a way it was. But she would be damned if she let Naruko suffer more at the knowledge that the poison was slow acting after the initial effect, it would destroy Naruko if she learnt that after she collapsed, Nanamo would have been partially conscious as the poison that was mixed with the Rhalgr's Bile caused her to asphyxiate while the initial poison slowly shut down her vital organs.. Gods if only she had caught the name of the second poison. Perhaps then they could track down the whoreson that made it.

And it sounded so fucking familiar as well. From what she overheard it caused asphyxiation and minor hallucinations.. damn it what was it?

"Naruko… I-I just think you should be careful. Chances are this is a trap and you know it.. and if it is then-"

"I'll kill the little shite and anyone else with him then and there! She is alive, Tataru. I know it!" Naruko argued.

Tataru didn't know what to do. At this rate Naruko was going to get herself killed…

The pink clad woman looked down at her cup ' I'm sorry Naruko… but it looks like I have to be the bad guy.. gods I really hope I don't get slammed through the table for this.' She thought as she downed the rest of her drink in one go, hoping that the potent alcohol would give her some modicum of strength. She honestly hoped that Naruko wouldn't hate her for this.

Taking a deep breath she looked directly at Naruko "Would you listen to yourself? Naruko I'm sorry but are you fucking stupid? It is obviously a god's damn trap, but you are still going to rush in head first because of the slight, I repeat slight chance that Nanamo is still alive?" Naruko sat there wide eyed, her grip on her tankard began to slowly crush it.

"Look Naruko," Tataru got up and walked over to her friend. "You need to accept the fact that she is gone. Nothing will change that... you did all you-"

"Shut up!" Naruko's fists smashed against the hardwood table. However Tataru remained firm "Or what, you'll break my ribs like you did with Alphinaud? Fucking try it! Because when you are done I hope you take a long hard look at what you are becoming! How do you think I feel? Well Naruko! She was my fucking cousin, the last fucking member of my family and now she's gone!" Naruko recoiled before looking away.

The Tavern went silent at her outburst. Naruko was unable to meet Tataru's gaze.

Taking a deep breath Tataru gently grabbed Naruko's hand "Look Naruko… I'm sorry, okay. But you can't just go in without looking at the bigger picture. If it is a trap and they get the upper hand and you die what would happen to Eorzea….to me? I can't lose you as well..." She whispered as she buried her face in Naruko's side.

"Why? Why are you so insistent that she is dead and that is a trap?" Naruko asked quietly.

Tataru sighed as she pulled away from her "The poison was Rhalgr's Bile mixed with another poison… Naruko, my mother, was an alchemist. So take it from me when I say that no more than a spoonful would have killed her." The room went quiet at her statement.

"Hold on lass. How do you know what kind of poison was used? I thought they didn't say." Gibrillont inquired. A week ago an official statement was released about the incident.. However, what poison was used was left out for obvious reasons. As well as on top of that, if she had come across something she would have told them… right?

Tataru looked over towards the Elezen man to respond only to nearly let out a shriek of pain when she felt Naruko's grip on her hand tighten to a painful degree. Tataru turned back to Naruko to yell at her but froze when she saw her face.

Naruko glared down at her with no small amount of anger and betrayal.

'W-what is she…!' Tataru's eyes widened in fear as she thought back to how she told them about the poison… about how she had unintentionally made it seem she knew more than she let on… oh gods she made it sound like she had a hand in what happened! "N-naruko… I-I..!" She didn't get the chance to finish as Naruko's other hand grasped her around the neck as she was slammed into the table.

Tataru desperately tried to gasp for air, but the gauntleted hand gripping her around the throat restricted her breath.

"Where. You. Involved?" a voice spoke in her ear. The cold metal of the gauntlet dug deeper into the soft flesh of her neck.

Tears fell down her cheeks as she squirmed "N-no!" She choked out, but the grip tightened as she was lifted up from the table, only to be slammed back down causing her to let out a pained gasp.

Tataru thrashed in panic, her eyes darting over to Sid who stood protectively in front of Rielle, his eyes showing his uncertainty whether to intervene.

"Don't lie to me!" Naruko roared as she slammed the smaller woman into the table again.

"I.. I'm not!"

With a roar of anger Naruko flung Tataru across the room.

The Lalafellin woman slammed into the wall arm first… the resounding crack causing Rielle to gasp.

Naruko went to charge her but was stopped by Sid "Control yourself Naruko! Do not lose yourself to the power of the Dark Knight." He said as he grasped her arm.

"Let go of me!" Naruko roared as she tried to pull herself from his grasp

"No. I will not." The older man said sternly "Look at yourself, turning on a dear friend over what is likely a misunderstanding." Sid said firmly as he pushed her towards the broken table.

"Misunderstanding!? She all but admitted it!"

Sid shook his head. "I find that highly unlikely. She cares for you-"

"She was always jealous that I chose Nanamo over her!" Naruko growled out, the dark aura of her Darkside flowing around her.

The room went deathly silent.

"Lass.. are you saying-"

Yes, Gibrillont. Nanamo and I were in love… and this little wretch just couldn't let that happen, could she?" Naruko spat.

"N-naruko that's not true! I-" Tataru tried to defend herself but was swiftly cut off.

"Silence you snivelling rat! You just couldn't let go could you? You couldn't just accept I chose the better girl… instead, you helped those wretched scum poison your dear cousin. And for what? To get me back? Well news flash you diminutive little bitch.." Naruko said venomously as she looked the now crying Tataru dead in the eye "I. Hate. You."

With that Naruko began to channel aether around herself.

"N-naruko *sob* wait!" Tataru tried to reach for her with her good arm only for her to teleport to parts unknown.

Tataru stared at where Naruko just was for a few moments.

This couldn't be happening… right? N-naruko didn't truly hate her right?

A sharp sob escaped her lips. Whether it was from her broken arm, or the words Naruko spoke, she didn't know…

All she knew is that things… things would never be the same again.

"Tataru.. do not take her harshness to heart." Sid said as he knelt down. "While yes she was indeed angered… the power of the Dark Knight enhances such emotions." The Au Ra man explained gently as Rielle began to cast some basic healing magicks on Tataru's arm.

"And while it doesn't excuse what she did…" Tataru didn't hear the rest. All she could think of was what Naruko had said.

Maybe she did deserve this….


And done. Part one of two complete.

Some serious shit went down in this chapter eh. Strap yourselves in, because it's only gonna get worse.

So sit back and get ready. Because the Crimson Twilight is nigh!

Also, please don't kill me for changing why Dewlala helps them... And for

Preview

"Wait, you mean to tell me that a small group of Immortal Flames are here?"

"Mhm, they said they were here on a follow up investigation on the poisoning of Her Grace and that they wanted to go over a few things with Meriel."

/\/\/\/\/\

"Y'know.. this could've all gone smoothly if you told us the truth.." an armoured woman spoke as she walked from the house. Following shortly after her was Flame Marshal Terupin.

"I am truly sorry for this Master Alphinaud… but my debt to the Uzumaki Clan prevents me from allowing you to continue."

"N-no wait! Please I'll tell you what you-" Meriel was cut off by a gauntleted fist to her face "Too late bitch."

"You are being played, boy. The pieces are in motion, and the true mastermind behind Nanamo's poisoning has used the Scions and Crystal Braves as his pawns."

/\/\/\/\/\

Naruko looked over at Alphinaud and the other two as they approached. "Kyna, if he takes one step closer you have my permission to kill him."

"You poor deluded fool."

"Now then," Naruko leaned forward and grabbed Meriel by her jaw

Naruko let out a raucous bout of laughter "That's right! She's alive. She's alive… and I want answers." Naruko said with a mad glint in her eye.

"Naruko stop!"

She splashing slowly began to cease

"What have you done…"