[5:13] Eden: She wasn’t really allowed in the labs during school hours but thankfully to some rare exception and the fact the headmaster favored her… Eden was allowed to come and go as she pleased. It was midterm interviews about their personal projects so the halls seemed a bit crazy just alone. Fixing the bag across her chest the doll made her way to an open classroom before peering inside. A little girl with black hair was standing over a table with back facing the doorway while ranting on about the progress. Of course Heimerdinger noticed but acting as if he didn’t see in order to let them both have an audience.
“And the results of your last trial?”
“The pumps weren’t placed on the values and that was my fault. I was running out of time and I wanted results and because of that the whole prototype broke as soon as I gave it a shock to the rat. I don’t know how many times I can do this… I killed a lot of test subjects.”
“Melody, they’re rats.”
“But there is going to be a time when it moves stages!” The girls hand pushed over a metal art before trying to calm down. “They’re rats now, Headmaster but then it’s going to keep getting bigger and bigger until it gets into human testing, if it even gets that far. I know I can only improve but I don’t like it…” Melody head leaned down before falling silent.
“Do you remember why you wanted to come to this academy?”
“The academy isn’t like any other school in Piltover or even Valoran, sure there are others that I can apply too but that will not get me where I need to go with my life. It’s an opportunity that’s bigger than myself but I won’t know if I’ll make it unless I give it a try.” Taking a deep breath, slowly figuring out how to word the rest. For such a small thing, she always found Heimerdinger frightening. “I can’t tell you what I wish to accomplish, I haven’t taken the chance to figure it fully out yet. I can however tell you what I want to do; I want to be able to learn engineering properly, I want to understand how one form of techmaturgy will work over the other given the situation. I want to be able to be given the most random of assortment of tools or scraps and create something with my own hands. Your academy is still the first step to many opportunities but I can’t take the chance in earning them if I never try…”
With each answer she gave, the Yordle scribbled something down and nodded. It seemed he was taking notes of the whole interview, though he more used it as intimidation, to make her wonder and see if she’d break down. It was important in their line of work, to be able to stay level headed. Even if Heimer would be seen by others as being all over the place, in his mind, everything was laid out into nice pieces that he kept track of.
“You are right you know, this is the place for a young mind likes yours to develop. But stop doubting yourself. I can see you’re smart. So show me that you are smart.” Heimer was used to this sort of thing with people her age. Especially smarter kids who were usually teased about it or didn’t have many friends. One thing he didn’t miss about Bandle City youth. “Confidence is key, Melody, so instead of trying to convince me, make me know why I should keep accepting you here.”
“Because there are people who need this.” It wasn’t even a moment later that she answered. “I may have been Viktor’s pupil in another time but I will not be a monster. I am going to keep working and working until this project is finished and keep improving it. If I fail then it only means something didn’t work right and I can fix it. There are broken pieces of beings that can’t rely on their body incase something goes wrong and that’s not their fault. If one has heart failure than what? Pass time until they die or replace what’s broken with a hextech piece? What about if someone lost an arm? It’s not that hard to make metal function as replaceable limbs.Human beings are not at fault for their designs”
“Designs?” Heimerdinger fixed his glasses while sounding concern.
“Their… Bodies, sir.” She did it again and already felt worse than before. Everyone else found it creepy she referred to the body function as a design but it had slipped so much that it would never be an okay time to correct it.
“Thank you for your time Melody, I’ll be speaking with the rest of my staff and you’ll be notified later today. For now, do take care for there is much to go over.”
“Thank you for your time, headmaster…”
“You’re going to stay at the school peanut, I don’t know why you’re so worried.”
“Because mom, this project has been going downhill.”
“Baby girl, you’re worrying over nothing. You’re more intelligent than half of your class, you’ve never gotten anything lower than a C and… well that was when you missed two weeks of class. Your whole.. Heart, hextech limb thing, while I don’t understand it, it’s amazing. You’re doing this for a good causes and on top of that, the idea is legal to you so no one else can work on it. That’s the joy about going there. Calming down was never your highlight though. I blame the books, no more books for you.”
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“Depends, did you take my collectors copy of The Golden Arrow?”
“No more books.” Of course it was a joke though others in the area didn’t seem to find it as such. It had always felt strange shopping with Melody in public if only for the fact someone could say that they looked like siblings. Eden dared not wonder what it would be like when her daughter grew into an older teenager but that would have to wait in the future. “Do you want something to eat? I can get you some food or… Maybe a small shopping trip before I’m leaving? I don’t know what’s going on in Ionia but I’m not stopping back home.”
“Where are you going tonight then?”
“I’m spending the night at Mister Hallam’s house before we go to the temple. Remember that letter I talked to you about? I’m going on a small trip for your grandfather because of a boring ruin stuff. I know how much you love me rambling about it.”
“As much as you like me rambling about techmaturgy… You’re not going to be alone with him are you?”
“Peanut, as much as I know you dislike him I need you to understand that he’s not the one you know. There’s no… Random half man robot thing, Mister Hallem is just, well he’s a thing alright. he’s proficient at what he does and we work in our own fields but together. I don’t like traveling and you know this but it’s really, REALLY important to your grandfather I go. How about this,” Eden leaned down slightly to be eye level with the girl, “Small shopping trip after I force feed you. Chieko’s will be with you so you’ll be safe, I promise.”
“What is it, honey?”
“Don’t forget the frabel, please. In case something goes wrong that way he can go to you…”
“Would that make you feel better about me leaving for a few days?” When Melody nodded the doll moved in to wrap her arms around the girl tightly. “I promise you, Peanut, nothing bad is going to happen to me. I know a lot of awful things have happened before but… Diana and Lunetta aren’t with us for awhile so she’s not going to come near you. Besides, she wouldn’t do anything stupid when we’re friends with a summoner. Okay? If anything happens… You’ll know.”
Childless and brandishing a shopping bag Eden stood outside Ezreal’s home waiting for him to answer the door. It wasn’t much of an eventful afternoon but thankfully there was some small celebration. Another knock before turning to face the street view. It was clearly night and day with the differences of Piltover and Demacia but the city had been growing on her. How anyone managed to figure out the streets however was beyond her and even then they had this strange loom over them. At least it would be a quite evening.
[5:47] Adventure Ezreal: ”Piltover Predators take home another big win over Ionia this week, stay tuned as our expert analysts breakdown what went right and wrong for the-” Ezreal swatted a hand over the brass dial and the sound of the radio died down. Sizzling noises overtook the silence left by the muted device and a mixture of robust aromas filled the small kitchen. One of the few things left to do for the stew was to add the remaining vegetables and let it simmer.
‘At least you’re not having to cook for two.’ He reminded himself with a faint smirk.
Chunks of sliced potatoes and carrots were piled onto the opaque white plastic surface and lifted over the bubbling mixture of caramelized beef tips and onions cooking on the stove top. The ingredients tumbled in with a soft plop and Ezreal covered the pot before setting the cutting board down and rubbing the palm of hands to the back of black dress slacks. Fingers found the white strings of an apron and untied the knot holding it around his waist. The blond frowned as blue orbs gazed down to see a soft splash that had soiled the white dress shirt.
'Oh well, not trying to impress anyone now.’ He consoled himself silently.
“Something smells good, Ezreal. You didn’t inform me that you would be serving dinner, I would have dressed the part.” The older voice came from outside the kitchen’s door-less archway and forced the Piltover youth to turn and face it. Placing his apron onto one of the hooks stationed onto the wall of the apartment’s kitchen, Ezreal started to work the buttons of the dirty shirt loose.
“I see you still have the key to my place, good to know. I also didn’t mention it because I had planned to have other guests. I overlooked something so that won’t be the case tonight. I’d fix you a plate but it’s not much to your taste.” The prideful blond admitted and approached the living room where his newest visitor stood with papers tucked under his arms. The male before the famed Explorer was nearly a complete head shorter than him, at least three times in age, and with a brown gaze that offered a quick once over the youths attire.
“Messy- Messy- Messy. Not much has changed, has it Ezreal?” The older gentleman smiled and placed the papers pressed into the breast of his tweed jacket onto the coffee table at his knees. “Surely you would have learned by now to manage a simple stew without making yourself look like a slob.” He scolded but a soft smirk beneath the white business of a mustache hinted that he expected nothing less. The older gentleman’s hands free of papers reached for the dress shirt Ezreal just removed and inspected the spot with a sigh. “Soda water and a wash. It should be fine.”
“Thanks- I forgot what a big help you were.” Ezreal mocked with his own smile and roll of azure orbs. “Now if you’re done lecturing me on how to cook and clean, you want to go over what you were able to find?” His gaze shifted from the fatherly figure before him and lingered over the various folders and papers that laid strewn over his coffee table. “Something helpful, I hope.”
“You know finding this on such short notice was not an easy task Mr. Hallam, I’ll have you know as the Museum’s Curator it is up to me-”
“It’s up to you to bore me to death like one of your mummys. You’re doing an excellent job I might add.” The blond snickered and reached for the top folder.
“Tch… If you don’t show a bit more respect you’ll lose the luxury of hounding me for favors. Skilled or not I can find other talent to do what you do, Hallam.”
“And about three quarters of the new hires will end up dead on their first assignment. Relax, you know I’m just giving you a hard time. It’s what I do.”
“Yes- My point exactly…”
“I’m sorry Pops, now what’s this?” Ezreal’s fingers traced over a small sketch similar to one of his own that had been sent in a letter to a certain Demacian Doll, one that had haunted the quiet of his slumber and left more questions than it did answers.
“That I’m afraid… We do not know. In fact, everything in that pile-” The older male looked frail as he admitted the truth of the situation. “Is little more than gossip, but it is all I could manage to uncover on such a short notice and with little to go on besides your…. Vague- descriptions.”
Ezreal’s face contorted into a grimace and he dropped the folder of sketches back onto the table. It was all useless. Nothing to help prepare the duo for what was to come when they descended beneath the jungle floor of the Kumungu.
“I see… So I’m pretty much back where I started.”
“Not entirely, something in those papers may be of use. I’d advised giving a look over before you set out. When will that be exactly? You know we still have that excavati-”
“The excavation will have to wait… I promised a friend I’d help out with this and I plan on making good on my claims. I’ll be back before you know it and then I’ll spearhead it, promise. I leave tomorrow morning.”
The Curator of Piltover’s Museum nodded his silent understanding and sighed. “I trust you’ll be safe Hallam, you are aware I worr-”
“I know Pops, I know.” Ezreal’s face softened and a single arm wrapped the shorter male into a small hug. “I’ll be safe.”
“See to it that you do Ezreal. I have faith you will manage your obstacles.” The hug dissipated between the two and Ezreal reached down for the remaining stack of information he would have to scour before tomorrow’s departure.
“You sure you don’t want to stay for dinner?”
“Quite sure, the wife is making my favorite, in fact… I should be off, I promised her only a short visit with you.”
“Tell her I said 'Hi’, I’ll have to swing by for dinner one day.” The Cartographer instructed and unlocked the top deadbolt of his door to let out the visitor.
“As long as you leave any strange girls at home, that sounds lovely.” The Curator sighed recalling incidents he’d rather not relive with dramatic fans and admirers of the young boy.
“Do Dolls count?” Ezreal chuckled and closed the door shut, just in time to notice the boiling pot that required rescuing from spewing over.
The dishes had been done, the food enjoyed, and the paperwork before him a quarter reviewed. Without much luck the last minute 'cram session’ had proven to be more of a distraction than actual help. It allowed the blond to throw himself into preparing for the few short hours that separated him from a dangerous trek into the Kumungu. Provided him with something he could focus his efforts towards that didn’t involve following Eden around to see just what was so important that she needed the majority of the afternoon and then evening. It wasn’t like he was jealous of who she had been communicating with earlier, no… Ezreal concluded it was just curiosity.
His back arched into the maroon fabric of his chair and for a brief moment his eyes closed. Dreams soon followed and stole him from reality. The pleasantness of fantasy faded away as quickly as it came about and images flashed into nothing but were eventually replaced by the sound of knocking at his door. Grogginess delayed the blond for only a moment and he lifted himself from the comfortable seat to investigate who had dropped by.
“About time you got back, I was beginning to worry I was going to have to get this done alone.” His gaze studied her for a brief moment and words paused. “So what did you bring me?” His hand lifted to cover the gape of a yawn and the blond motioned to her shopping bags.
[6:05]*Eden rolled her eyes before walking in. “As if I’d skip out on anything my father needs me to do.” Yeah, not bringing up all the other times she didn’t follow a single word when understanding humanity. From restricting where to go in such a limited time to forcing her hand in events not really desired to be a part of… Better left unsaid to those who knew nothing of family disagreements. “Charming, though I did in fact get you something for having to put up with my sorry behind.” Pulling the strap over her head the doll dropped her messenger bag on the floor. “Long story short my daughter took up a big chunk of my time and I’m sorry for coming back so late. Poor thing has been worrying herself to death about attending this damned school. I don’t understand why either, I don’t know if that makes me a poor parent but goodness she just… Wouldn’t stop and I didn’t know what to do. Clearly she did make it back in so I don’t know. I’m going to murder Himer if he puts her through that again.” Pulling a large box out of the bag she slowly turned to face him with a smile. “Alright two gifts really, but you have to open the big one first before I give you your real one. Not to say that this isn’t fake but the smaller one is a bit more personal for you if you catch my drift. So…. Yeah, here.” It was a gamble but it couldn’t have been that high risk, right? Once he would have taken the wrapped box, Eden started pulling on a piece of metal jewelry so that it fit properly over her right hand. It was uncomfortable to wear but a promise is a promise to help ease someone’s mind. Fingers pushing to bracelet part tighter on it wasn’t too long before she ended up fixing the chain and ring.
[6:13]*Adventurer Ezreal watched carefully as she withdrew the packages from her belongings, he had been merely joking about 'a gift’ but it shocked him little to see that she had done so anyway. A hand reached for the large package of the two and he examined it with little thought. “When I open this, I’m not going to get blasted in the face with one of Zigg’s Prank Explosives?” The two always seemed to have heated exchanges that bordered arguments, ones in which he was sure would eventually warrant retaliation from the Doll. Could this have been that? Without opening the package the Explorer carried the two boxes to his living room and set the smallest one on top of the papers left by the Curator. “It’s a good school, Himer is weird- but he won’t let any harm come to her.” He understood that was likely not her main concern but it sometimes helped to restate the facts so she wouldn’t forget. Fingers found the edge of the package and he started to work it open. “So the suspense is killing me, what is it Eden?” Ezreal lowered himself into the chair and braced himself for what was the less serious of the two gifts.
[6:25]*Eden shook her head before crossing both arms over each other. “I may like yordles but I’m not a fan of Ziggs, trust me. As far as the other one goes…. yeah, he won’t let anything come to harm her.” Unspoken past meant for an even better future. “Go ahead, Blonde.” The man at the shop never explained just what it may have been but for some reason she found no issue dropping money on it. The joke was that each pocket was filled with something different but due to not having the true opportunity to sit down with Ezreal and learn more about him brought a small issue at hand when the idea came crippling down. In the first pocket was a wrapped journal with his full name engraved or inked on into the corner of the sheets and ready for use but that had been far too boring to bring together. The other side pocket had not been filled so really the main and the one was left. “Open the big part first, the real gift is in last because I want to see your reaction to it.” Commanding? Maybe a little bit but for good reasons. Carefully stuffed with tissue paper around another box was a vodka set. Whatever the brand name was it made little sense but it had matching classes to go with it. Not the best gift but it was normal in Demacia to gift drinks when one was staying at another’s place as a sign of unity. Both parties were supposed to share a glass together. “I hope you like it, it only just got finished today And.. erm… Don’t freak out.” It was a gray ring box in the front. Opening it would show a silver hand with different colored gems indented into it. If he had touched it than it was clear it pinched the finger tip to draw blood much like a needle.
[6:38]*Adventurer Ezreal’s blond bangs dangled freely over his brow while a blue gaze focused on the gift before him. Hands reached to retrieve the first and the youth smirked at the thoughtfulness. A thumb grazed across its empty pages and Ezreal scanned through it with an admiring nod of approval. “Pretty nifty, I needed a new one of these- My other was getting pretty ragged.” The tips of his touch grazed the engraving of his name and he set the object to the side to continue on with the other remaining ones. “You know you didn’t have to do this…” He confessed and was already reaching for the liquor set. He chuckled to himself and placed the bottle of 'Silver Duck Vodka’ next to the journal. “How about you pour us a glass- That is if Dolls are allowed a drink?” The question genuine and not full of the normal teasing he frequently inflicted upon her. After all, she was spoiling him with the various presents, he could behave for a few more minutes. “So this next thing is the real gift?” Ezreal placed the glasses nearest her, to allow her to fill them, and looked for the smallest box remaining. “When you tell someone not to freak out, generally their first response is to worry… Should I be worried?” He asked and revealed the gray ring box. The blond paused for a moment and did not dare open the small square.
“You asking me to marry you Dollie?” He knew this wasn’t the case but it was to hard to resist teasing her any longer. “You’ll have to get a few more drinks in me first before I’ll even consider saying 'Yes’.” A thumb pushed open the box and revealed the gem encrusted ring. Fingers reached out to grip the silver band and instantly Ezreal squinted as the pinch pierced a drop of blood free.
“What the heck? Is this a gag?”
[6:54]*Eden knew she didn’t have to do it, but it wouldn’t be proper otherwise. “I know you don’t understand the whole old fashioned ways thing, but as a member of the Binari household it is only my bi- My right as a member to entrust that nothing is left out. Rumors of you and Lady Crownguard might be enough to ensure that you at least know some customs. While I am in your domain, that does not negate the fact that I am a Demacian. You’ll have to deal with it, that’s me saying it and not the pride.” Standing with a big smile on her face the doll just kept watching. Gifts were just the way of life, in hers and everyones. “Giving and receiving gifts is one of the ancient customs that have been preserved throughout time and time again. Gift giving is an art and have been part of traditions for like, ever. Needless to say that the type of gifts are what matter the most. I would have brought wine but I didn’t recognize any brands here so I had to settle. I blame myself honestly for that mistake and I don’t wish to do it again. I’ve been snarky without more than most people I know or interact with. While it may seem I’m sucking up to you Mister Hallam, please do not think I would ever allow myself to marry someone like the likes of you.” Pushing the glasses up from the bridge of her nose she pressed on.
“With all do respect, of course. The ring is custom made and I may have to size it down or up depending. I promise it’s not a joke but…. You know what people say about karma.” It was hard to not seem pleased with the results. “It took a blood sample so it would only work for you. I have an amazing friend who does gem crafting and we’ve made only a few sets of these before. One for my daughter, my ex wife , my father and now you as well. Each gem is infused with a different type of magic though I’ve disabled some of the stones for the time being.” Like a student presenting their own project to a class, it was hard for Eden not to come off as a little smug. “It’s my magic that you’re using, but at times it hurts to make these so… I didn’t want to wait anymore and that’s the reason you can only use one type at the moment. We’ve spoken briefly about my magic and the joke I have a ‘color for everything’ does come into play here. It’s not that strong, but, if you focus hard enough you can make your own ribbon to heal you… So… It’s lame but I would feel better that incase you got yourself into any danger you would be able to help yourself at least for a little while.” Moving to the box her fingers started to pry it open. “For the record, I can have a drink but the effects will do nothing.”