Chapter 3: Glimmer
He blinks away the disorientation as vision returns to him. The summoning chamber is dim, its walls a soft powder blue, all intended to provide a calming atmosphere for returning champions. He needs nothing more than a breath to cleanse the battle from his thoughts, of course, but there are others that have…difficulty.
The Ionians leave in a tight group, chattering excitedly about their victory and ignoring the hate-filled glares from their enemies. Slowly, the rest disperse, Renekton spitting on the floor as he passes. He waits impatiently for Lux, occasionally glancing at the only other figure in the room; the fox woman.
She is still staring.
“What do you require?” he finally asks. She smiles and moves closer, her tails draped around her.
“Only what you want to give,” she murmurs, and he blinks in confusion. He feels…extraordinarily odd. He glances downwards to make sure his breastplate hasn’t fallen off somewhere along the way.
“I do not understand you, human,” he growls, holding his staff warily.
“Nasus,” she says, lingering over his name, “you feed on life, and it makes you stronger. You are like me.”
Yes, he feels distinctly uncomfortable now.
“What of it?” he demands.
The fox-woman pauses, her brow furrowed. She frowns at him.
He looks back at her, completely bewildered.
“Argh!” she grumbles, and leaves in a huff. He stares after her, his eyes wide. What….what was the purpose…he cannot even begin to connect her actions together in a way that would make them make sense. Had she wanted something from him? Only what he wanted to give…what, by the vulture’s mercy, did that mean? He snorts in disgust and purposefully looks away from the exit.
Finally, the little blond human appears in a shimmer of blue at his side.
“Luxanna,” he says, relieved.
“Nasus,” she greets him. She starts to walk out and he bars her way with the length of his staff.
“Are you unwell?” he asks bluntly as she looks at him quizzically.
“No,” she says firmly. “Let me out, Nasus.”
“You are not telling the truth, human,” he growls. “Why were you saying those words? You are no tekepi, repeating a message to its master.”
Her cheeks look like they are bleeding again and for a second he worries about finding a route to the healers. He doesn’t actually smell any blood, though, so he relaxes and waits for her to answer.
“I get…uncomfortable when I volunteer for matches,” she says finally. He grins at her, delighted. She must be nervous! He can figure out that she is nervous! A victory in the eternal struggle to understand the humans!
“You…performed well,” he says hesitantly. “You were very efficient with your spells. You are extremely proficient with timing and aim. Your efforts resulted in the death of many. You…uh…did not bleed in copious amounts?”
Her blinding smile returns and he congratulates himself on his compliments. He must be learning swiftly. First nervousness and now this! If only the facial expressions were easier to understand, he mourns. The bestial heads of his kind did not allow for the same range of movement as humans’.
“Thanks, Nasus,” she says brightly, patting his hand. “You were great, too.”
Great? Great! He goes to all the effort of thinking of appropriate praise for her and she settles for ‘great’!
“Well, I’m off! Have a marvelous day!” she chirps, ducks under his staff, and is gone.
He stomps out the door, still fuming. Great. Pfft.
He prefers to spend his time in the library. It is the only part of the Halls that is familiar, and not so terribly small. The chief librarian, an agreeable male called Madred, had jury-rigged several chairs together to form a comfortable seat for him, and there he sits, enjoying a late lunch.
He has actually retrieved some food, this time. While he satiates his hunger with a complex treatise on the Demacian royal family, he samples a selection of Runeterran fruits. He prefers to exist on knowledge alone in this realm. All of the food he has tried so far has been so alien as to be almost nauseating. Still, he perseveres. It is an amusing challenge, after all, to find something he likes to eat.
He growls at the strange yellow fruit in his hand. It is shaped like a miniature version of Renekton’s glaive and it is frustratingly squishy. On the outside, it has a fibrous, bitter-tasting skin (as he finds out the hard way) but inside, it is sweet and delightful. The problem was separating the two.
The fruit pops and sends yellow gloop flying as he tries to tear it open with his claws. He snarls and purple flames erupt, devouring the mess in seconds while leaving the furniture untouched. Sadly, his spirit fire is mindless enough to have consumed the untouched fruit in his lap as well.
He sighs and leans back in his chair, turning to the next page.
The Crownguards, it says. Interesting. They are guardians of the Demacian royal line, it seems, a noble house that consistently pr—
He holds the book in the light and peers closer. Luxanna Crownguard, it says. An unmatched prodigy from the College of Magic, a valued member of the Demacian military, renowned for covert operations in the heart of Noxus, a national hero before she hit twenty.
A Demacian…he hadn’t thought that there were chatty Demacians.
Although, now that he thinks about it, he supposes that the odd female with the sword counted as chatty. He just hadn’t been able to understand her. Her words were so garbled that he had been convinced that she was intoxicated, until she managed to kill all five members of the enemy team in a row.
Luxanna gets nervous, he wonders, looking at the illustration of her in her shining armor, baton at the ready. She certainly doesn’t look like it in the picture. What impresses him most about the image is that she has the wisdom to cover her entire torso with armor to protect her vital organs, unlike the Noxian hero he read about yesterday. He pats his own golden armor smugly before he returns his attention to the book.
She…intrigues him, and he sees it as a learning opportunity. If he can understand one human female, maybe he has a shot at understanding them all. He doubts it, but he will try.
He reads late into the night, and when Madred finally forces him out of the library, he takes a book with him, one that was mentioned in the treatise.
It is called the Measured Tread.