Episode 1: Phoenix Fire

Mana is roused from her sleep by an uneasy feeling of being watched. She groggily opens her eyes and screams when she wakes up to see a boy with messy, spiky navy blue hair and dark gray eyes standing over her. He smiles and stares down at her with a curious look on his face, "Why are you sleeping on the ground, cutie?" he asks.

Mana responds by kicking him in the balls and scrambling out from underneath him, earning a string of swears and curses from the boy. She jumps up, watching him warily as he drops to his knees, groaning and clutching his family jewels. Now that she's standing, Mana gets a better look at him, trying to determine if he's really a threat.

The boy looks to be around her age and her height. He has lightly tanned skin and an athletic build. He has a black x-shaped barrette clipped to his bangs that doesn't really do anything to pin any of his hair back so it's pretty easy to see that it's for fashion purposes only. His face has a faint scar on his left cheek. Emile wears a silk black kimono with the design of the sun and the moon on the front, with several tiny stars scattered throughout the kimono. His kimono is tucked into a pair of navy blue hakama pants and he wears black socks and waraji sandals.

"Er, sorry about that." Mana apologizes. "Why the hell were you watching me sleep?"

When he recovers from the assault, the boy stands up on two shaky legs and smiles apologetically at Mana. "I just wanted to make sure you were okay." he says. "Pretty girl out here all alone? A chivalrous guy like me is bound to be worried." he says with a cheeky grin. "There are better places to take a nap than on the ground, you know."

Mana gives him one last once over before shrugging. "Whatever. I just needed a break." she says, unimpressed by his flirting. "You own this forest or something?" she asks.

The boy laughs. "No, I was just passing through." he says. "You should be careful though," the boy says. "there's some bad people around here." he warns.

Mana raises an eyebrow. "And you're not one of them?"

The boy shakes his head and gives her a proud smile. "My name is Emile Solflare, a Mage from Phoenix Fire." Emile introduces himself and holds up his left hand, showing her the white mark on his hand: a bird that looks like it's flying upwards.

Mana frowns. "Never heard of you."

Emile laughs awkwardly, scratching the back of his head. "Well shit. I'm not surprised, though." he says. "We're not that popular nowadays but I promise you we're the good guys."

A Legal Guild then? Mana thinks to herself. Maybe he can help?

"Have you ever heard of Revenant Beasts?" Mana asks.

Emile's face falls. "I have." he says. "Why are you asking?"

"They kidnapped my siblings and I when we were children. I…" Mana grits her teeth. "I don't remember all that much but they sold us as slaves, separating us. I only just recently escaped from who I was sold to." Mana says coldly. "I'm looking for them."

Emile crosses his arms. "For Revenant Beasts or your siblings?" he asks. "No offense but, well, you look like shit." he says with a frown. "You look like you've been a Vulcan's plaything for the last few months." Emile says, gesturing to the scratches, bruises, and scars all over Mana's body.

Mana rolls her eyes and mimics Emile's pose. "So much for 'pretty girl'." she says mockingly. "So what do you suggest I do, smart one?"

"You need to get stronger." Emile says. Then, it's like a light bulb appears above Emile's head; his face lights up and he looks like he just figured out the secret of the universe. Emile walks forward, grabbing Mana's hands and smiling. "Come join Phoenix Fire!"

"...Dude you just said I look like a monster's toy." Mana deadpans. "Why would you want me in Phoenix Fire, anyways? You don't even know if I can do Magic."

Emile shrugs, letting Mana's hands go. "You seem nice…?"

"Mana."

"You seem nice, Mana."

Mana gives him a confused look. "The first thing I did when we met not even five minutes ago is kick you in the balls." she reminds him. "Are you okay?"

Emile waves his hand. "The past is past; forgive, forget." he smiles. "You're a lot nicer than some girls I know." he says with a shiver. "Anyways, Phoenix Fire is a place to grow," he says. "to get rid of anything weighing you down so you can rise anew." Emile continues, stars in his eyes as he recites what Mana assumes is the Phoenix Fire mantra.

"Oh yeah? Like, say, a phoenix?" Mana says mockingly.

Emile nods, beaming. "Yes, exactly!" he says.

Mana just stares at him, unimpressed.

"C'mon!" he insists. "Master and everyone else can help you train to get stronger." Emile says. "If you do, she'll be more than happy to teach you or hone whatever kind of Magic you have hiding in here." he says, poking Mana's chest (which earns him a slap on the face). "Master loves teaching-" Emile pauses, a look of remembrance crossing his face. "-ah, but, er, when she can't her students are stuck with Cooley. He's...not as pleasant." he says with an awkward smile.

Mana blinks, the name 'Cooley' striking a chord with her. "Cooley…" she repeats with a frown.

"Yeah. You know him?"

Mana sighs. "No. Slave, remember?"

Emile just smiles apologetically.

"One of the girls I was locked up with...I don't know if I'm remembering right but I think she said her dad's name was Cooley. The only reason I remember that is because her mom's name was similar to one of my sister's." Mana murmurs, deep in thought. "Something happened to her while I was there. She wasn't there when I escaped and I don't know where she is now." she says sadly. "Is Cooley a common name, uh, wherever we are?" Mana asks, looking back up at Emile. She's taken aback by the haunted expression on his face. "E-Emile?"

"What was her mother's name?"

"I-I-"

"Mana, please."

"Morrigan-" Mana answers confusedly. "-her name was Morrigan."

Emile tenses. "And your friend, her name was Mary, right?" he asks.

Mana blinks. "Yeah, how did you-?"

"I'll explain later. Right now I really need you to come back to the guildhall with me. It's a half-hour walk from here. Let's go."


Nadine Septim, the Guild Master of Phoenix Fire, leans against the second floor railing, staring down at the other members of Phoenix Fire. Other than Rina trying to flirt with a horribly oblivious Danate, things were mostly tame at the moment. The more rowdy members were out fulfilling requests and Cooley is in the training yard trying and failing to power through his drunkenness and give a lesson to the younger members (she sent Alistair out with him to make sure he doesn't do anything too scarring in front of the children). She smiles, relaxed. The guild usually isn't this peaceful.

Good. I'm getting too old for this. She thinks to herself.

Nadine Septim is an older woman (who is definitely not too old for this, she's just tired of the responsibilities that being Guild Master brings). She has red hair cut into a short pixie cut. She has eyes as red as her hair and dark skin with a few wrinkles that being forty seven years old brings. Despite her age, she still has an athletic, healthy build. Nadine wears a white open back top with bell sleeves tucked into a dark brown side popper knee length skirt. Today, she's wearing short black socks with matching black slip on shoes.

"OOOOOOOI! GRANNY I'M HOME!"

Nadine sighs, dropping her head. "So much for peaceful." she mumbles under her breath. She looks back up, raising an eyebrow as she watches Emile enter the guildhall, pulling a girl dressed in rags behind him.

"Hey, Em." Danate and Rina say in unison, happy smiles on both of their faces.

Emile gives them a friendly smile. "I gotta talk to Master real quick." he says, dragging the reluctant looking girl behind him as he heads up the stairs. "Master!" he smiles at Nadine. "I have a new recruit." he says, pulling his apparent hostage up to stand right beside him.

The girl crosses her arms, not meeting Nadine's eyes. "I didn't agree to that." she grumbles, clearly uncomfortable with most of the guild's attention on her. "Didn't you bring me here to talk about-?"

"Not here." Emile hisses quietly.

Nadine studies the girl, unsure of where she came from. She has tanned skin, long, waist-length unkempt black hair and bright green eyes. Like she observed when the two entered, the girl isn't wearing actual clothes, moreso along the lines of something a slave would wear, and isn't wearing any shoes. The cuts, bruises, scars, and dirt littering her skin support Nadine's earlier observation about her clothes. Despite all that, however, Nadine can sense some sort of powerful Magic coming from her.

"What's your name?" Nadine asks her.

The girl flushes, meekly looking up to meet Nadine's eyes. "Mana." she answers.

"Mana…?" Nadine tries for a last name.

"Just Mana." Mana says. "Manami actually, but you can just call me Mana."

"I see." Nadine says, her eyes drifting to Emile. He gives her a pointed look.

"Can I talk to you alone, Mana?" Nadine asks.

Mana's eyes widen, clearly panicked, and she glances at Emile.

Emile grins. "Don't be shy," he says, patting her back. "Master doesn't bite...unless you bite first." he jokes.

Mana grumbles something under her breath and nods at Nadine, following her to another room.


Emile hums contentedly to himself and goes back downstairs, greeting his guildmates as he goes to sit by Danate and Rina.

"Em, where'd you find that girl?" Danate asks curiously. "She looks like she just escaped from prison." he says.

Danate is a young man with floppy black hair, gold eyes, and an athletic body. He's a little taller than your average teenager, but nothing too extreme and intimidating. His skin is lightly tanned. Danate typically wears a cropped, unzipped white athletic jacket with a large fleur de lis on either side of the jacket's front. He does not wear a shirt, instead having his torso bandaged from his abdomen to the bottom of his neck. He wears black pants, with a yellow stripe running down each pant leg. He also wears black gladiator sandals with matching black gauntlets.

"Danate!" Rina gasps. "Don't be rude." she scolds.

Rina Dawnstone is a teenager the same age as Emile. She has black hair that falls in loose curls that reach her mid-back. She has dark brown eyes and lightly tanned skin. She wears a tight black turtleneck romper with no sleeves and blue studs all over it. She wears a pair of black combat boots and to top it all off, she wears a white baggy faux fur coat. Rina also wears quite a bit of makeup: long dark lashes, eyeliner, lip gloss, and blue eyeshadow.

Danate pouts, smiling apologetically. "Sorry. I'm just saying…"

Emile shrugs. "I mean, he's not wrong. She's been a slave for a Dark Guild since she was a kid." he says offhandedly.

Rina facepalms. "You could've said that with a little more empathy…" she says and bonks Emile on the head.

Emile glares at her, rubbing his now sore head. "But it's the truth!" he protests. He pauses for a moment, looking between Rina and Danate like he's waiting for something. Then he frowns, "How come you didn't hit him on the head!?" he whines.

Rina blushes and smacks Emile's head again. "B-Because!"

"Because isn't an answer!"

"Well it is now!"

Danate's head just ping pongs back and forth as he watches the two argue, amused and oblivious.


Mana shifts uncomfortably as Nadine shuts the door behind them.

"Take a seat, Mana." Nadine says, walking towards one of the couches in the room. She sits down and pats the space beside her, "Like Emile said, I don't bite." she says, finally giving Mana a smile.

The smile doesn't help set Mana at ease but she shuffles forward anyways, stiffly sitting next to Nadine.

"Now, why did Emile actually bring you here?" Nadine says. "I heard what you said, I know you're not here to join my guild." she says gently.

Mana shrugs her shoulders. "I don't know. He didn't explain much on the way here. We were talking about joining Phoenix Fire and he mentioned a man by the name of Cooley. I recognized it and told him about a friend I had whose dad had that same name." she says. "Then he asked her mother's name and got all serious, now we're here." Mana explains.

Nadine gets a similar haunted look when Mana finishes explaining. "The mother's name was Morrigan and your friend's name was Mary, correct?" she guesses.

Mana nods, frowning. "Emile guessed the same." she says. "Why? Do you know them?" she asks.

Nadine looks down. "Cooley Brown is your friend's father. He's a Mage here." she states.

Mana blinks, taken aback. "I-I-I had no idea. Mary didn't say anything about that." she says.

Nadine shakes her head. "She wouldn't have known. Cooley joined us years after she was kidnapped." she explains. "Mary was taken when she was five years old so I'm surprised she remembered their names at all."

Mana shudders as she remembers the Dark Mage who'd seemed overly invested in torturing Mary, both physically and verbally with taunts of her supposed dead parents. "There was an old guy who brought Mary to stay where I was. He would always yell insults at her about her parents, 'Cooley this' and 'Morrigan that'. And then something happened to her some time ago and I was alone again. I...was he the one who kidnapped her?" she asks.

"Yes." Nadine nods. "Cooley doesn't speak much sense lately. He's a very powerful Mage but he's been drunk since he got here two years ago." she says, sounding both annoyed and sympathetic.

Mana hopes that comment about his being drunk for two years is an exaggeration.

"Enough about Cooley. I will speak with him later. Thank you for telling me about this." Nadine says gratefully, bowing her head slightly.

Mana blushes, embarrassed, and gives Nadine a small, awkward smile. "It's no problem. I really had nothing else to do." she says.

Nadine studies her again and it's silent for a moment. Then, "Tell me about yourself, Mana."

Mana scratches her cheek. "There's really nothing to say." she says.

"When you were speaking about Mary, you spoke as if you were also held captive." Nadine comments. "Is that not so?" she asks.

Mana looks down at her lap. "...I was." she admits. "I came to help with Mary but I also wanted to ask about a Dark Guild, Revenant Beasts." she starts, her nails digging into her thighs as she's filled with a dark, angry feeling. "They kidnapped my siblings and I when we were children and killed our parents." she says bitterly. "I was sold to someone within the guild so I was always visited by those people." she spits.

Nadine gently places a hand over Mana's and she's instantly comforted by the oddly warm feeling the action gives her. Mana releases the grip on her thighs, cringing at the angry red marks she leaves behind.

"I have a particular affinity for Fire Magic." Nadine says, answering the unspoken question. "It's allowed me to pick up a few tricks here and there. There's a scientific explanation for it but simply put, warming the skin makes people feel good emotionally. Did that help?" she asks.

Mana nods. "Y-Yes...thank you." she says.

Nadine nods back and takes her hand back, continuing her questioning. "You said you were sold to someone within the guild. How is it that you don't know where they are?" she asks.

Mana crosses her arms. "I was only permitted to move between three rooms for...for a long time. A washroom, the main-room, and my cell." she says. "This is the first time I've been outside since...er...since I was sold." she says with a small frown.

Nadine furrows her brow, noticing Mana's continued inability to provide a specific time frame of certain events. "Mana, how long were you held captive?" she asks.

"I don't know." Mana admits.

"How old were you when you were kidnapped?" Nadine presses.

"...I don't know."

"How old are you right now?"

"...I-I don't know..."

"Did you only give Mana as your name because that's all you can remember?"

"Y-Yeah." Mana says, fear brewing in her eyes. "What's wrong with me? Why can't I remember?" she asks.

Nadine gives Mana a serious look. "I can't say for sure but I believe they used a banned form of Memory Control on you." she says. "Unlike the legal form, becoming aware of its use on you won't break the spell." Nadine says.

"Wh-What?" Mana blinks. "Memory Control? Why would they do that? Why would they take those things away from me and not my family?" she asks. "Why would they let me remember that I had a past before them?"

"I can only guess they took those things away from you because they interfered with other memories they wanted you to forget." Nadine says with a frown. "Either they used it on you multiple times or they tried to erase too much of your memory in one go: that would explain your dyschronometria. But that's not the point."

Mana looks at her, completely lost. "I don't understand. What do you mean?" she asks.

"Your name and your sense of time aren't the only things they made you forget."

Mana freezes, her face full of confusion and fear. "I...why? Why me? I'm nobody special." she says, the confusion and fear spiraling into anger and frustration. "That boy - Emile - he said I'm frail and weak, just like a malnourished child!" Mana snaps. She stands up and starts pacing the room, gesturing wildly at Nadine as she rants. "You know my younger sister used to be able to do tricks with Fire Magic too?" she says. "The five of us...we all had some form of control over an element. Morgan had fire, I had air...I-I can't remember what the others had but they had Magic too." Mana says, her expression falling. "But they would withhold food from me to keep me weak - just like Emile said - so I couldn't use my Magic and I - I'm not in touch with that side of me anymore. I lost my ability to do Magic. I'm weak. Why would they let me remember that I used to be able to use Magic but not how old I am?" she says, deflating as she thinks about Emile's words from when they first met. "I'm not strong. I look like a monster tortures me for entertainment." she says, looking at the wounds on her arms.

Nadine sighs. "You've spent too much time around Emile." she says.

"We met a few hours ago-"

"Too much time." Nadine repeats, leaning back against the couch. "Listen, Emile doesn't have the best social skills but he does mean well." she reassures. "My stupid subordinate aside, I think you have great potential." she comments, waiting to see if Mana can put two and two together.

Mana pauses and Nadine can just picture her words running through Mana's head at a mile a minute. She turns around, looking at Nadine with wide, hopeful eyes. "Are you…?"

"It's like you said, they starved you and kept you weak for years." Nadine says, standing up. She walks towards Mana and ruffles her hair, "I could sense your ability when Emile brought you up to me. I'm confident that once you start getting the proper nutrition again, your Magic will come back to you in no time." she says reassuringly. "And when it does, you'll be strong enough to accomplish what you're here for."

Mana's eyes brim with tears as she looks up at Nadine. "I...really?"

Nadine nods. "And if you'll let me, I'd like to help you." she says.

Mana sniffs, smiling at Nadine. "Y-Yeah, um, Emile mentioned that you like to teach-"

"M-Master!" a clearly drunk voice bellows, bursting into the room and interrupting the moment. "Master I can't take those little sh - who's this?"

Nadine grimaces and answers him but Mana can't hear her over the blood roaring in her ears. Her legs start shaking, fear coursing through her veins as she stares at the face of the man who'd tortured her and Mary for a long, long time.

The White Bull is a tanned man with an ever present, dark, evil scowl on his face. He has messy black hair and bright sky blue eyes that betray his true nature. Mana hasn't seen him in anything but studded white leather armor, however he seems to have swapped his usual set for one with brown and green accents. He holds a hip flask in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other, talking to Nadine like nothing.

H-How? How did he find me? Why would he come for me? I haven't seen him in - I haven't seen him in forever. Where's Mary? How does he know Nadine? Why hasn't anyone called him out for being here? Did...Did Emile trick me? Was this all some sick joke?

Mana drops to her knees, hyperventilating as she stares at The White Bull. She feels Nadine's hand on her shoulder but she has tunnel vision for the man before them. Her heart drops when he finally looks at her. He says something to her but she still can't hear. The White Bull takes a step forward and Mana flinches, scrambling backwards until her back hits something solid. She covers her face with one of her hands and gets lost in her increasingly chaotic thoughts.

I won't go back there.

Mana's heart rate increases to a dangerously fast pace and each beat feels stronger and more painful than the last.

I refuse.

He's going to take you back.

I'm free again. I-

He's going to hurt you.

I have to protect myself.

Hurt him first or you'll never see your brothers and sisters again.

For my brothers and sisters.

Get revenge for us.

And for us.

And then everything goes black.


Mana wakes with a start, taking a sharp intake of air and shooting up in her bed.

Wait, bed?

Mana blinks, looking down, surprised to find that she is indeed in a bed: white sheets and all.

I haven't been in an actual bed in...forever. She thinks to herself, wrapping herself in the blankets. So comfy… Mana sighs contentedly.

"Yeah yeah, don't mind me. Just make yourself at home." a girl's annoyed voice says.

Mana screams, jumping at the sound of the voice. Her head whips to the side and she sees a young woman sitting beside the bed, smirking at her amusedly.

The girl has tanned skin and long, beautiful black hair much nicer looking than Mana's. She has bangs parted on either side of her face and brown eyes. She wears a red top that slightly reveals her stomach and a black skirt with matching shorts underneath (they're peeking out from under the skirt). The girl also has a white jacket tied around her waist and black and white sneakers on her feet.

"Who are you?" Mana says, a distrustful look on her face. "I don't - I've never seen you before."

The girl's expression softens ever so slightly. She uncrosses her arms and holds up the back of her right hand to Mana, exposing the emblem Mana is beginning to become very familiar with; this one black instead of white like Emile's. "Relax. I'm not gonna hurt you." the girl says, her tone not at all comforting to Mana, and crosses her arms again. "Master sent me to watch over you until you woke up."

"Okay. " Mana nods, looking back down as she tries to remember what happened.

The girl grumbles impatiently and props her feet up on the bed. "Akane." she says suddenly.

Mana looks at her with a frown. "Huh?"

"My name."

"Akane." Mana repeats, committing it to memory.

"That's right."

Mana nods again and throws herself back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. "Where am I?" she asks.

"You're still in our guildhall, this is our infirmary." Akane answers. "You freaked out on Cooley something and went a little crazy with your Magic." she says, the amused smirk returning to her lips.

Mana stares at Akane in confusion.

"What?"

"I don't remember that."

"Seriously?"

Mana shakes her head. "I seem to have a bit of a problem remembering a lot of things." she mumbles under her breath. Then she freezes, Akane's words hitting her like a ton of bricks. "I did what?" Mana asks, an intense look in her eyes.

"Calm the fuck down before I chain you to this damn bed-"

"I just - I don't - I thought - I-" Mana stammers, floored by the fact that she evidently used Magic. "Wh-What did I do?" she asks.

Akane gives her a suspicious look. "You really don't remember?" she asks.

Mana shakes her head.

Akane sighs and starts tapping her chin, "Alright, fine. I'll tell you. I was walking right in on whatever was going on…"

"Uh, Master, Cooley put Alistair in charge of the kids and it's not going-" Akane cuts herself off as she walks into Nadine's office, unsure of what to make of the scene before her.

Nadine is kneeling by that girl Danate brought in - Mana, she recalls Emile telling Danate and Rina - while Cooley stands by the doorway looking at Mana like she has two heads. Mana is on the ground, shaking in sheer terror, looking like she's seen a ghost. She has half her face covered with one hand. Akane squints, trying to focus on her. She can see Magic Power starting to emanate from Mana's hand, the red energy starting to engulf her head.

"M-Master-!?" Akane tries, raising her hand to cast a spell but Nadine puts her hand up, signaling Akane to stay quiet.

"Not yet." is all Nadine says to her, turning her attention back to Mana.

"W-Why..?" Mana says tearfully.

"Mana, tell me what's wrong-"

"Why is he here?" Mana says, her voice not at all sounding like it did a second ago.

Akane pales when Nadine tenses and stands up, moving away from Mana.

That's not a good sign.

"He hurt us." Mana says, moving her hand to cover her entire face.

Cooley frowns at her. "Kid I don't even know you." he says.

"Akane-" Nadine says.

"He hurt Mana." Mana says, curling her fingers like a claw and making a slashing motion over her face, which makes the Magic energy solidify for a moment.

When it clears; there's no other way to describe it other than a twisted looking skull covering her face like a mask. The mask is white with two vertical red stripes, each on one half of the mask, with the stripes being cut off by the eye-holes and teeth. Mana's iris' remain green while her sclera and pupils turn black, staring at Cooley with utter hatred.

And just as quickly as the giant surge of Magic Power came, it's gone in the next second as Mana rips the creepy mask off her face. It falls to the floor and disappears in a cloud of Ethernano.

Nadine lets out a breath. "Whoever that was is gone. Their Magic felt different than Mana's." she says, mostly to herself. Nadine turns her attention back to Mana, "Are you okay-?"

Mana promptly passes out, dropping to the floor.

Nadine frowns, a troubled look on her face. "I guess this is one of the things they wanted her to forget..." she mumbles under her breath.

"What?"

Nadine shakes her head. "I'll have to think on it." she says. "In the meantime, I'll take her to the infirmary. Cooley, go back and take care of the children. Go with him and make sure he does, Akane. When you're done, come back and wait for her to wake up. I need to do something but I want to speak to her as soon as she's able."

"...And now we're here." Akane finishes. "You were seriously freaky."

"A magic mask...?" Mana mumbles to herself. "You said I was speaking in a different voice?"

Akane nods. "Apparently the different voice is someone else entirely. We didn't get much information before you passed out." she says.

"And that man, that was Cooley? Not...not him?" Mana shivers.

Akane frowns. "I don't know what 'him' you're talking about but yes, that guy you spazzed out on was Cooley." she says and gives her another suspicious look. "That mask looked freaky as hell too."

Mana rolls her eyes, sighing. "Whatever. Where's Nadine?" she asks, throwing the blankets off and swinging her legs down to the floor.

"She's at the beach. I'll take you-"

"Akane! That just simply won't do, you can't take her out there like that! Oh, and hi Mana. I'm Rina."

Mana and Akane turn their heads towards the infirmary doors, an affronted Rina standing there with her arms crossed. Both of them tilt their head to the side in confusion. "Like what?" Akane asks.

"Like-" Rina gestures wildly at Mana. "-that!" she says. "No offense to you, Mana." she adds quickly. "But bare feet and literal rags for clothing will draw attention that I'm sure you simply do not want. You looked utterly terrified when Emile brought you in here." she says, walking up to them. "Come on, I'll take you to my room. You can shower and I'll pick out an outfit for you." Rina says, taking Mana's arm and dragging her out of the infirmary.

"B-But-"

"No ifs, ands, or buts." Rina tuts. "When we're done, I'll take you back over here and wrap your cuts and apply any necessary ointments to get you back to tip-top shape." she says, dragging her across the guildhall on their way to her room.

Mana blushes, embarrassed at all the attention Rina's drawing them, curious Mages eyeing the pair (more so Mana because as Rina pointed out, she's in literal rags), and gives up fighting her about whatever else she has planned.


Mana grumbles under her breath as Rina combs her freshly washed hair. She crosses her arms petulantly, "I can comb my own hair."

Rina hums. "I'm sure you can, I'm just trying to help you conserve what strength you have left. Akane said you passed out right after whatever possessed you, uh, left, or whatever. That means you and whatever that was; whoever that was, are both weak right now." she explains. "You've only been unconscious for about an hour so you haven't had much time to recover your strength either."

Mana looks down, huffing. "Fine." is all she says.

Rina finishes combing Mana's hair and nearly makes the girl jump out of her skin when she pulls out a Magically Charged Lacrima and dries Mana's hair with a gust of hot air. Rina lets a fascinated Mana play with it while she styles her hair and starts her job of cleaning and bandaging her wounds. She went back to the infirmary while Mana was showering (at Mana's insistence, not wanting any extra attention by walking back and forth across the guildhall over and over again) and brought the necessary supplies to her room.

After confirming that Mana's towel isn't hiding any open wounds, Rina finishes bandaging her last wound. "Now, for your clothes. I didn't pick anything too flashy but it still looks good. And, of course, it's comfortable." she says. "Now, let's get you changed."

"Seriously? I dressed myself before I was kidnapped, I can-"

"Mana."

"...Fine."


Rina guides Mana to a full body mirror and smiles. "Well, what do you think?" she asks.

Mana (much to her delight, as she can't remember the last time she could keep her hair off her neck) has her hair up in a ponytail with chin-length bangs framing the sides of her face. She's wearing a long sleeved red undershirt and black kosode with altered three quarter sleeves. Her shirts are tucked into black stretch pants and are accented with a large beige sash around her waist. Mana's feet don simple brown shoes. With the temporary bandages on her face and arms along with her new clothes, Mana hasn't looked more 'normal' since before she was kidnapped.

...Cool.

Mana nods, a small smile on her face. "I like it."

Rina beams. "I'm glad. Akane said Master was at the beach, right? C'mon, I'll take you." she says.

Mana nods, following Rina out of her room. "Thank you, Rina."

Rina hums, looking at Mana curiously. "For what?" she asks.

"All of this." Mana says, gesturing to her new bandages and clothes. "You didn't have to. Why do you have so many clothes anyway?"

Rina smiles again. "I used to be a model back in Fiore, this was just one of the perks. We're just lucky we're basically the same size. And don't be silly, Mana. We all have a good feeling about you." she says with a wink.

"What d'you mean?" Mana frowns confusedly.

"Er, I hope you don't get too upset but Emile told us everything while you were upstairs with Master. You're trying to start over and get strong enough to find your brothers and sisters, right?" Rina asks. "This is a place for fresh starts, as I'm sure Emile told you. We all think you should join us." she says.

Mana looks even more confused. "Join you?" she asks. "And who's 'we'?"

Rina gives her a sheepish smile. "Sorry in advance!" she says, and pushes Mana ahead of her.

Mana stumbles into the guildhall with a squeak, blushing furiously when she's greeted by a small crowd of Phoenix Fire Mages. She recognizes some, like Emile, Akane, and...Cooley.

Emile smiles at Mana and puts an arm around her shoulder. "Like I always say, it's always nice to have another lovely lady in Phoenix Fire." he says, sparkles in his dark gray eyes. His expression shifts into something more friendly than flirty. "I think you'd be a great addition to us." he says, taking his arm off of her. And then, "I think you'd also be a great addition to the partnership Akane and I have. She's great and all but-"

"Hey!"

"-I'm just saying, she's nice looking and all but I'm getting tired of looking at the same face - ACK!" Emile yells as two chains come out of nowhere, binding his arms and legs together. He falls to the ground with a thud. "Dammit, Akane I was kidding!" he whines.

Mana looks in the direction the chains came from, eyes widening when she sees an angry looking Akane. Still very pretty, but still very scary.

Akane stomps over and puts her foot on Emile's head, glaring down at him. "The hell you mean you're getting tired of looking at my face!?" she demands.

"I was joking!" Emile cries. "Get off, you're gonna mess up my hair!"

Akane narrows her eyes, leaning down and putting more pressure on Emile's head. "Do you think I care about your hair, Solflare?"

Emile pauses and grins, "That rhymed."

"...You're dead, Solflare."

Mana's welcoming party moves in front of the duo, blocking them from her view as they continue their introductions.

An even younger looking kid pounds his chest with his fist. "The name's Acro Picasso-Atlas!" he introduces himself. "I'd really like it if you joined Phoenix Fire, it's always nice to have more friends." he says with a smile.

Acro is a tanned kid with bright green eyes, reminding Mana of herself and her siblings. Acro's blond spiky hair has two tufts of hair sticking out, resembling little horns. He looks a little toned, although his arms look thinner than his legs. Under his large red cloak, Acro is wearing a yellow shirt and a pair of puffy black pants that are slightly tattered and torn at the knees. Mana can also spy a rainbow colored paintbrush dangling from his neck. He wears green wristbands and a silver headband to accent his outfit. Most notably, Mana finds, are his shoeless dirty feet and the gold Phoenix Fire emblem smack dab in the middle of his forehead.

A young man with floppy black hair nods. "We'd love to have you, Mana." he says. "I'm Danate, by the way. Danate Lunith." he introduces himself and gives her an apologetic look. "And, um, sorry about Emile-"

"Oh shut it, kid." Cooley interrupts, putting Danate in a very tight looking headlock. He turns to Mana, ignoring the struggling Danate in his arm. "Mana, right?" he says gruffly.

Mana stiffens, still not over his face looking exactly like The White Bull. "Y-Yes." she stutters. "I'm sorry about - um, going crazy or whatever." she apologizes quickly. "That wasn't-"

"Yeah, yeah, I know it wasn't you." Cooley says. "I'm more interested in why you know my daughter's name." he says, a dark look on his face as he looms over Mana. "And why you being here suddenly has Master saying I need to lay off the alcohol 'cause she wants to talk to me sober."

Mana gulps, getting flashbacks about everything The White Bull did to her and Mary. "I-I-I-" she stutters, on the verge of a panic attack. Fortunately, the voice of the Guild Master interrupts her and saves her.

"Cooley." Nadine's voice booms from the entrance of the guildhall. Everyone turns towards the sound of her voice; their master standing there with an unimpressed look on her face. "That's enough, all of you." she says. "Mana, Cooley, come with me."

Cooley rolls his eyes but follows his orders, letting Danate go (Danate taking in a sharp breath of air) and walking out of the guild.

Mana looks at Rina (who'd come to stand by the little group) and Danate desperately: looking for assistance from two of the only sane people she's met.

Danate repeats what Emile said to Mana when he'd handed her off before: "Master doesn't bite." he coughs, standing up and rubbing his now sore neck. "Cooley doesn't either...but he does pack a mean punch." he says.

Mana gives him an 'are you kidding me' look while Rina just gives her a small smile. "You'll be okay, I promise. And think about what we said, okay?"


Nadine leads the two towards a beach by the guildhall. She sits Cooley and Mana down on a bench that sits beside the sand. Nadine pulls a small vial out of her pocket and hands it to Cooley. "Drink this."

"What is that?" Cooley says, eyeing the vial suspiciously.

Nadine sighs. "After everything, do you really think I'd poison you now, Cooley?" she says. "It's going to purify the toxins in your body and sober you up. You've been drunk for a week. Sober Cooley needs to hear this, not drunk off his ass Cooley." Nadine says seriously, shoving the vial in his face.

Cooley shrugs and takes the vial. He uncaps it and downs its contents, handing the glass back to Nadine.

Mana watches in amazement as she watches the potion work its Magic. Cooley's eyes become clearer and she sees him physically un-tense and his breathing calms down. The only sign that he'd been anywhere near alcohol is the stench coming from his clothes.

"Better?" Nadine says, pocketing the vial.

Cooley pauses for a moment and nods, holding his head in his hands. "Yeah. Sorry, Master." he says, sitting up straight. He glances at Mana in his peripheral vision. "Sorry for scaring you, or whatever." he says, sounding more indifferent than apologetic.

Mana quickly shakes her head, still feeling wary. Sober Cooley seems so much more different than The White Bull but they still have the same face and it's horribly off putting. "It's fine." she says.

Cooley doesn't say anything and turns his full attention back to Nadine. "What did you want to talk to me and the kid about?" he asks, crossing his arms.

Nadine stands in front of them, an unsure look on her face. "Mana, the man who you're so afraid of, he looks exactly like Cooley, correct?"

Mana looks down. "Yeah...The White Bull. I never got his actual name." she says, chancing a glance at Cooley. "U-Um, he's your brother, isn't he?" she asks.

The air grows thick with tension at Mana's answer. It seems to affect Cooley the most, as his grip on the bench cracks the wood beneath his hands. "Yeah." he says. "Finn. That's my brother."

"And you're Mary's dad." Mana says as more of a statement than a question.

Cooley nods, staying silent.

Nadine sighs, "Finn kidnapped Mary about fifteen years ago. Cooley's wife and Mary's mother, Morrigan, was killed in the process." she says.

Mana pales. "I'm so sorry."

Cooley scoffs, "If you're gonna tell her the story, tell her the whole thing." he says.

Nadine grimaces.

"You don't have to-" Mana starts but Nadine quickly interrupts her.

"Finn is also responsible for the death of my husband." Nadine says shortly.

Mana looks a little bit sick.

How much pain has this guy caused?

"You're forgetting a little detail." Cooley says.

Nadine glares at him. "We've talked about this, Cooley."

"Who else could it have been-?"

"Cooley. Enough." Nadine snaps, giving him a serious look.

Mana flinches and Cooley slinks back, giving up whatever he was trying to argue about.

I can see why she's Guild Master. Mana thinks to herself. I could've sworn I saw literal fire in her eyes and embers fly from her when she shouted...cool.

"Whatever. Does the kid know where my kid is or not?"

"I have a name-" Mana starts but Nadine quickly puts an end to the beginning of the inevitable argument.

"As of this moment, no. There's some sort of Magic in place that's messing with various parts of her brain. It's affecting her memory and her sense of time. If we can fix it, we'll know what happened to Mary." Nadine explains. "Do you remember what happened before you passed out?" she asks Mana.

Mana shakes her head. "Akane filled me in. I think when you guys heard that other voice come out of me I was already blacked out. I don't have any memory of saying any of that stuff so…"

"What the hell are you saying, kid?" Cooley asks.

"My name is Mana-"

"I have an idea of what could be happening." Nadine says, once again putting an end to the bickering before it has a chance to really begin. "There have been stories of children in another country using masks to transform into all sorts of creatures. One of them got their hands on The Mask of Mujura, an ancient artifact that was used by an ancient tribe for its bewitching rituals. The Mask's wicked power eventually became so great that it was sealed away to prevent a terrible catastrophe. However, since the ancient tribe vanished, no one accurately knows the true nature of its power." she explains. "The Mask of Mujura was believed to have become so evil because it became possessed by a spirit. If you blacked out before we saw you physically drop to the floor, it's possible that your voice changed because it wasn't your voice at all."

Mana shrinks back, "A-Are you saying I'm possessed?"

"Not necessarily. The spirit resides in the mask. When you blacked out that gave an opening for the spirit to tap into your magic and put the mask on themself. Why you have the mask most likely resides in your blocked memories...or maybe the spirit knows."

Mana shakes her head quickly, understanding what Nadine is implying. "No. No way. I'm not putting it on!" she protests. "That's not my Magic, it's not familiar to me in-"

Mana.

Huh?

Nadine continues when Mana suddenly stops. "Mana, I doubt the spirit is evil. Whoever or whatever it was seemed to have the same goals as you." she says. "It kind of seemed like it wanted to protect you."

Not familiar to you, huh?

Who are you?

"Mana?"

Damn, I guess they really screwed with your brain. Or maybe it's just been that long since you've heard my voice. Whatever they did to put me in that mask is screwing with my brain too.

...No way.

Mary?

Can you apologize to my dad for me? I kinda panicked too and didn't recognize him when we were back up in Nadine's office.

Mana pales, her eyes wide. "I know...I know where Mary is." she says slowly.

Cooley immediately reacts, roughly grabbing Mana by her shoulders. "Where is she?" he demands. "Where's my baby girl? Is she alright?"

Mana squeezes her eyes shut, a look of concentration on her face. When she opens them again, she has one bright, sky blue eye and one in its normal green color.

Cooley blinks, taken aback by the difference, and drops his hands from Mana's shoulders.

Mana gives Cooley a sad smile, reaching up and touching his face. "Hi Papa." she says in that same voice she used in Nadine's office. "It's been awhile, hasn't it? I think I was five when The White Bull took me. I'm twenty now, and Mana is technically younger than me, so be nice to her from now on, okay?" Mana/Mary says, flinching and dropping her hand suddenly. "Mana and I are still very weak so I can't talk for long. I need to tell you something important." she says, her face turning serious. "It's about Revenant Beasts."

PF x AH x SS

A/N And just like Phoenix Fire, this story is rising from the ashes of what it once was and becoming something better. For personal reasons, I've decided to give Phoenix Fire a bit of a soft reboot.

ALL PREVIOUS SUBMISSIONS - Your characters are still in! This version is just removing certain characters from the story.

What you can do if you want

*DM me and tell me if I can write your characters better in some way if you're not satisfied with the way they've been portrayed so far.

*Now that you've seen the frequency the other guilds and characters will appear, is there anything you want to change about your character? Guild wise, appearance wise, history wise, anything at all. Just DM me.

*And if you have Discord, DM that to me too so we can talk easier :)

All locations, guilds, and people in this story are of my own/submitter creation and are not canon to the Fairy Tail universe unless stated otherwise. Fairy Tail characters will eventually be making an appearance though, so stay tuned for that.

**Submissions are temporarily closed until further notice.**