When Amon arrived at their Free Company house, he was still dressed in the garb of the Far East. The trip back to Shirogane had been uneventful, if a little quiet without Zuri’s company. The Elezen had not yet broken the news to the others that the AuRa had decided to stay in her homelands for a little while longer. It was the first thing on his list to do.
These thoughts, however, were quickly sidetracked as he entered the house. He noticed that someone had been hard at work at decorating. This made sense – he’d been gone for several moons, after all. And who wants to sit around an empty Free Company house?
Amon pinned this on Koh. Something about the choice in décor seemed to have a feminine touch. This wasn’t a bad thing. He knew if it had been up to him, there would likely be all kinds of unwanted mess to sort through when it came to selecting furniture. Koh always wrinkled her nose at his carbuncle chairs, for example.
“Hello?” the Bard called. “Anyone home? I’m back!”
This sounded a good bit more cheerful – in a sincere way – than normal. Probably because his trip to Yanxia had actually done him a lot of good. He’d spent a lot of down time focusing on figuring things out for himself than on whatever next harebrained scheme came to mind… which was not a normal occurrence for him. And the improvements he’d seen in developing finer motor control in his cloned form were actually starting to make a difference.
All in all, the Elezen felt he came home with clarity and a sense of refreshment that he’d not known… … … well… pretty much ever.
“Amon?” The sound of Koh’s voice brought him back to reality. There was a quavering quality in how she spoke his name that almost… almost… sounded fearful.
He turned to see her standing in the doorway, her eyes taking him in warily. He could sense guilt and concern radiating from the girl, but he didn’t know what had gotten her in such a state.
“Well, hello to you, too,” Amon offered a calming smile.
This didn’t seem to help. She was really worked up about something.
“Hi,” Koh managed, swallowing down the word awkwardly. “You’re back?”
“I mean…” she shook her head out, flustered. “Welcome back!”
“Where’s… Zuri?” The cat-girl peered around.
Amon furrowed his brows, hoping he’d have more time to explain the situation than this. Of course, Koh had to sense their missing companion and hone in on it quickly. So he played it off.
“She decided to stay on in Yanxia for a little while longer.”
“What?” Koh’s tail puffed out anxiously.
“It’s not permanently. She just wanted to…”
“Oh, gods,” the girl covered her face with her hands.
He watched this display of utter distress with his own growing concern. “Koh, is something wrong?”
“I just hoped…” she motioned with her hands. “I mean. Zuri’s so good at diffusing… ugh… why couldn’t she be here?”
“Koh,” Amon repeated, this time a bit more firmly. “Is something wrong?”
The girl opened her mouth, staring at him. Then she admitted. “I might have made a mistake. You’re going to be mad.”
“What?” Amon laughed the word, relaxing visibly as he dismissed this all as her over-sensitivity and perchance to worry. “Why would I be mad?”
Koh just watched him with the look of someone too scared to admit something they’d done. He’d never seen her so shaken by something.
“’Tis okay,” he reassured her. “I won’t be mad.”
“You’re going to be mad,” she disagreed and hid her face again.
“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?” Amon tilted his head back and asked in the most gentle tone he had. “What happened?”
She gulped in a deep breath, “While you were gone, a woman came and asked to join our Free Company. It was really odd… I mean… she’s a White Mage from Gridania and… she came specifically to us.”
“So we’ve recruited another healer, is what you’re telling me.” He summarized. “Why is that a bad thing? You could use some time off.”
“It’s not bad fundamentally. I mean… It was all really confusing, and it happened so fast… so I didn’t ask her name until after I told her she could stay.”
“I’m sure it’s just coincidence. I mean… it can’t really be…”
“Koh, you’re straying,” he coaxed.
The girl nervously licked her lips and blurted, “She says her name is Scylla.”
Amon froze at the word, a cold prickling rushing over his skin, heating and turning into a slow-boiling anger. He never quite knew where it came from or how his rage was so easily ignited, but even at the mere mention of his once-rival, his whole demeanor transformed.
Koh’s face paled as the room seemed to darken with his frigid expression. She squeaked, “Oh gods, you’re mad.”
He pulled himself in check, still having enough self-control to do that, and quietly bit off the words, “Not at you. I’m sure if ’tis the real thing… you were likely manipulated.”
The cat-girl wrung her hands, looking unsure.
“I will take care of this,” Amon told her coldly, his gold eyes flashing with ire.
“If it’s really her,” Koh reminded him.
“If… ’tis really her,” he repeated. True, it would not do to skewer someone whose only crime was to share a first name with the person he loathed the most.
None of this made sense – if it really was Scylla, why would she just pop up on the doorstep of his Free Company house and make herself known by her real name? Was it just to taunt him? To test him? To see what he’d do?
How was she even alive? Was that possible?
It was no more impossible than him having survived… but…
And what had this woman done to Koh to upset the girl so badly? Oh, that thought almost steamed him more than just the pure audacity of…
“Amon.” A touch on his arm brought his attention around. The cat-girl peered up at him in concern, “What are you going to do?”
“I…” He paused for a moment, collecting his thoughts. She was right, he couldn’t approach this in a frazzle. “I shall make myself more presentable and confront this woman. Where can I find her?”
“She’s taken up residence in one of our Free Company rooms.”
“Already making herself at home, then. That’s just like Her Majesty,” Amon sneered quietly. Then, pursing his lips, he turned on his heel, very ready to get this unpleasantness over with.