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The Sewer Alligator of Zaun

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The longer time passed without the reemergence of Lux from the sewers the more anxious Caitlyn seemed to grow. Vi and Ekko had tried to play cards on a makeshift table, but neither could really focus with the intense pacing that only grew faster.  Their waiting had continued for so long that eventually Ekko had to leave to attend to Firelight business, looking incredibly apologetic about it, but unable to put it off any longer. Now it was just Vi and Caitlyn waiting, the hour promise from Lux having long passed.

 

“Cupcake, you’re gonna burn a hole through the ground at this rate. Just relax, you said she was an expert we could trust. What’s there to worry about?”

 

“An international incident if anything should happen to her….maybe even war with Demacia…”

 

She couldn’t help laughing at Caitlyn’s absurd answer, though that quickly died at the serious look she was sent.

 

“…..You serious?”

 

“Vi, her family is incredibly protective of her. I only managed to persuade them using the backing of my family and having Lux plead with them to let her go. They would rain hellfire down if she has so much as a scratch.”

 

Caitlyn cradled her temple.

 

“I still remember the time I attended the Royal Demacian Gala on Lux’s invitation, this was several years ago mind you. An older nobleman made snide remarks about her, something in the vein of being willing to take the burden off their hands by marrying her off to a noble he knew with less than good morals. That night he died, not even making it home and any investigation halted after coming to the quick conclusion of it being an unfortunate carriage accident.”

 

Her anguish only seemed to grow as she went on.

 

“Then there was the time when we were children walking around the Demacian capital, someone had pickpocketed Lux and stolen her notebook. She had a full on meltdown, her guards unable to stop her crying no matter how they tried soothing her…..”

 

“Lux’s aunt happened to be in the area and came racing over on horseback, after hearing the details she ordered her elites to scour the city and to lock the gates so none could leave. She held the sobbing Lux atop her horse the entire time as they ransacked the city in search of her missing notebook, only stopping upon finding their man. Her aunt promised fitting punishment while hauling him away…”

 

Vi took a nervous gulp, having been drawn into the morbid picture Caitlyn was painting.

 

“Wh-What happened to the guy?”

 

“…..I don’t know, but let’s just say the criminal underbelly of Demacia was quickly cowed into submission afterwards. Even the worst scum on their best behaviour whenever Lux was around, eager to always help her if she asked…”

 

“……Cupcake..”

 

“I-I know Vi, but she was our best—”

 

“Hello you two! Did I make you wait long?”

 

“Oh thank the Gods!”

 

“…..?”

 

Relief flooded the both of them upon hearing the chipper filtered voice of Lux, both pivoting to spot her crawling out of the sewer pipe she’d descended into. At Caitlyn’s loud exclamation she cocked her head to the side in confusion, before seeming to forget as she scampered onto the ground with excited giggling.

 

“Oh Caitlyn, I had so much fun down there! I found so many different species of animals I’d never seen before, my notebook is practically full after only a short while and—”

 

“Lux, it's been three hours since you left. Th-There’s no injuries right!? You’re okay!?”

 

Caitlyn pulled close to Lux, giving her a quick check over as the girl once again tilted her head in confusion, at least going by the questioning hum.

 

Three hours? ….Ah, I’m fine Caitlyn. My exploration gear is reinforced with dragon scales and coated with special chemicals to counteract fire or acid, I’m very well protected!”

 

Lux proudly held her arms wide to show off the likely incredibly expensive gear, no doubt having been given by her family. With weary eyes Caitlyn finally seemed to relax somewhat, making light tapping motions at her face while wobbling back towards Vi.

 

“Your mask Lux.”

 

“Hmmmm? Oh! Silly me.”

 

Not seeming to notice Caitlyn’s current state, Lux got busy unclipping her head gear, still busy chattering away about the things she’d seen without a care if anyone was actually listening. Vi couldn’t help her stare, the girl truly incomprehensible to her, making her seriously doubt if she was human. If Lux had revealed herself as a being from outside Runeterra, Vi would have believed her without a second thought.

 

 Trying to steer back their conversation, Caitlyn, while massaging away a headache, began to ask the questions Vi had almost forgotten about with all the shocking reveals.

 

“What did your exploration turn up, Lux? Any sign of her?”

 

“Hm? Oh I found Powder just fine, honestly I thought she was a ghost at first and I can’t stand ghosts! Ah, you remember that time—”

 

“Lux please focus.”

 

“Right! I had a rather lovely conversation with Powder and managed to convince her to come up with me.”

 

Vi bolted upright at her words, surveying the area with a frantic energy, turning a confused look to Lux at spotting nothing.

 

“….I-Is she hiding in the sewer pipe?”

 

“No, she’s right behind me. She’s rather nervous about the whole idea so I volunteered to cast invisibility on her until she felt comfortable.”

 

Sudden shuffling from behind Lux and the slight straining of her clothes as if something was gripping them let Vi know she was telling the truth. Slowly she drew closer, stopping as Lux’s figure suddenly pulled backwards, carried by her cloaked sister in an attempt to move away.

 

“Wh-Why are you nervous Pow-Pow?”

 

There was no answer, Lux tilting her head back to stare at something before giving a soft gasp.

 

“Ah, do you want me to speak on your behalf Powder? Hmmm, alright I’ll try my best!”

 

Nodding at that something, which looked rather tall given how even Lux had to crane her neck somewhat, she turned back towards Vi.

 

“Powder is rather nervous over how you’ll react upon seeing her. I don’t really understand the fuss since she’s the perfect blend in my mind, but she thinks you’ll care. If you do, I’ve decided to fight you for not understanding how cool she is.”

 

She was finding it incredibly hard to understand what Lux was even trying to get at, her words so disconnected from each other it was impossible to keep up.

 

“Wh-What do you mean blend!?”

 

“Hm? Powder is the absolute perfect blend of an alligator and a human! Oooh, I could talk for hours about how beautiful she is in her scale patterning or her powerful claws that could easily—Umpfh!”

 

Lux stopped her ramblings suddenly, mouth pressing shut as if someone had placed a hand over it, confirmed by the quizzical look she sent behind her. Silence followed outside of the brief sound of shuffling as Lux floated upward slightly, her outfit wrinkling around the waist showing Powder had wrapped an arm around her.

 

“….You’ll hate me, I know you will…"

 

The voice that came from nowhere almost made Vi collapse on the spot at the all too familiar undertone of Powder she still remembered after all their years separated. Even with the guttural overtone that layered on top of it and the natural deepening of age, Vi knew it was Powder.

 

"How could I possibly hate you Pow-Pow!? You were the only thing keeping me going all those years stuck in Stillwater!"

 

"Stillwater? ….W-Why would I when I ruined everything !? They all died because of me!"

 

A low guttural hiss came from Powder as her upset built, grip tightening around Lux who offered up zero struggle at that fact. Vi struggled to maintain her cool, knowing getting too emotional would make things blow up in her face, a fact that always haunted her.

 

“That wasn’t your fault Pow-Pow, you just wanted to help! I should never have yelled at you like that, least of all hit you and walked away without saying anything!”

 

Another low hiss came from Powder.

 

“You–”

 

Incredible, I can feel my dragon scale reinforced gear creaking underneath the pressure of your grip! What amazing strength Powder! Oh, I’d love to measure it more thoroughly, but I doubt my armour could take much more than this and then I’d be crushed…pity that.”

 

Their increasingly emotional talk was interrupted by the excited cry of Lux, Powder dropping her instantly, circling around her going off the sound of shuffling.

 

“O-Oh Gods, I’m sorry Lux! You aren’t hurt right! I-I just i-it’s hard to–”

 

“Hmm? I’m fine Powder. Like I said, my suits reinforced, there’s no need to panic. I can also protect myself further with a light barrier…”

 

“O-Okay, I was just…”

 

Powder’s panic was easily soothed by Lux’s carefree tone, the girl giving a wide grin to where her sister apparently was.

 

“But thank you for the concern, Powder. It reminds me of my family, always fussing over me, not that I hate that mind you. Ah, I’d love to introduce you to them, I think you’d hit it off! Especially after I explain to them how beautiful you are, really your scale patterning is breathtaking, the most gorgeous I’ve seen for any being!”

 

“R-Right…”

 

Something about Powder’s expression made Lux pull closer with a curious look.

 

“What’s up Powder? Your face is growing flush are you–”

 

“I’m f-fine!”

 

Further shuffling filled the brief lull in silence, Powder eventually speaking again.

 

“W-Were you being serious about beating them up if they were mean?”

 

“Totally, I’ll knock them out in one punch!”

 

Vi sent a confused look to Caitlyn who had drawn closer, whispering horrifying words with a solemn nod.

 

“She’s not lying Vi. I once saw her knock out a Demacian soldier with a single punch, broke his jaw and left a fist-sized dent in his helmet. Her family kept it as a little trophy while praising her over how strong she was.”

 

“Wh-What….Cupcake, you sure Lux is human?”

 

“.....Yes.”

 

“.....”

 

While their short side conversation took place, it seemed like Lux and Powder’s discussion had come to an end, with words Vi had been praying for being spoken.

 

“....W-Would you release the invisibility then? Just get it over with….”

 

"Alright then, I'll be ready to attack as soon as you say the word then Powder!"

 

Lux batted the air with her fists, snapping her fingers after, finally revealing her sister.

 

Vi wasn't sure what she had expected given Lux’s hard to understand descriptions, but it didn't prepare her for actually seeing her. Powder was tall, easily making Vi need to crane her neck to see her face. Far more bulky than she would have expected too from her memories of how skinny she used to be.

 

Large clawed arms nervously fidgeted in front, covered in tough looking blue scales which also coated her similarly lizard-like legs. A long tail twitched rapidly behind, for whatever reason Lux was staring intently at. Her hair, while slightly shiny, was still the same blue she remembered, just long and messy.

 

"Pow-Pow… "

 

"F-Freakish right? I-I know–!"

 

Whatever she was about to say was cut off by Vi rushing over and wrapping her in as tight a hug as she could, sobs beginning to escape her at finally being able to hold her sister after so many years of yearning to do so. The countless nights she’d only managed to make it through letting herself fantasise about getting out and tracking down Powder, being able to speak the apologise she’d run through endlessly in her mind.

 

“....I-Is it really okay?”

 

Her question was barely above a whisper, a deep fear of rejection painting it, melding with an unspoken guilt that she’d carried since that night. Vi snuggled closer, noticing how Powder’s claws hovered behind her, desperate to return the hug, yet unable to.

 

“....I’ve wanted to hold you in my arms like this for years and make sure to tell you something important. I love you, no matter what form you take. It’s okay now Pow-Pow, the past doesn’t matter, not if holding onto it hurts our chances of being together in the future.”

 

“.... R-Really?”

 

“Really, Pow-Pow.”

 

With sniffling sobs Powder finally returned her hug, incredibly light at first before slowly increasing in strength until she had pulled Vi tightly against herself. Nuzzling into Vi’s shoulder her crying grew even louder, greedly accepting the gentle soothing of her big sister.

 

“...Just seeing you has made me the happiest I’ve been in years , Pow-Pow. Though I gotta say….you being taller than me wasn’t something I expected. Hard to call you little sister anymore…”

 

Vi’s attempt at lightening the mood with a poor joke seemed to work wonders, Powder’s sobs turning into fits of laughter, lifting her far up from the ground with ease and spinning with her.

 

“You just didn’t grow enough!”

 

“You just never stopped!”

 

They erupted into a giggling mess at each other's jabs, Powder finally putting Vi down to wipe the tears that had built up in her eyes, sending down a sharp toothed grin that revealed her teeth had also gone through some transformations of their own.

 

It was only then that Vi noticed the absence of Lux, who had disappeared off somewhere after having stuck close for so long. Turning she noticed Caitlyn had herded Lux off into a distant corner, sending a subtle thumbs up before returning her attention to the girl loudly chattering away about something from her notebook, making sure to ask questions to keep her going.

 

‘Thank you Cupcake….’

 

She didn’t mind Lux, but right at that moment she wanted to fully enjoy some alone time with her sister for the first time in a long time. Vi noticed Powder’s curious gaze to where she’d looked, first landing on Caitlyn, making a mental note to introduce the two of them, before focusing on Lux. 

 

‘Hmm? Is Pow-Pow….purring? While looking at ….Lux?’

 

A truly horrifying thought dawned on her, squinting up at her baby sister who continued to stare intently at the girl, her eyes having even narrowed to slits.

 

“....No way… Pow-Pow…”

 

“H-Hm! Wh-What is it!?”

 

Powder broke her focus with a jolt, nervously staring down at Vi with a light blush.

 

“N-Nothing!”

 

‘Oh Gods, Oh Gods, Lux of all people might end up my sister-in-law….’

 

Her internal panic didn’t show on her face, just sending up a wide grin instead that hopefully didn’t look too strained. She couldn’t even begin to imagine the reaction of Lux’s family if it went beyond a light crush on Powder’s end. That was even if Lux would realise it, Vi incredibly doubtful of the girl being very…. perceptive in that area.

 

‘I’ll have to strategize with Cupcake….hopefully it’s not too big of a headache…’

 

Shaking that thought from her mind, Vi pulled Powder close again, internally relieved that she leaned into it. They had way too much catching up to do to worry about Powder’s future love live, even if the possibility of it being Lux planted a huge ticking time bomb in their path.

 

“Ah!”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“E-Ekko, I gotta tell him we found you!”

 

“Ekko! H-He’s still around! Oh man, I’ve really miss–”

 

The excitement that had clearly built at learning her old friend Ekko was still around dropped just like her tail, nervously turning back to Vi.

 

“D-Do you think he’ll hat–”

 

“If he makes you cry I’ll be joining Lux in beating his ass, you got my word Pow-Pow.”

 

“O-Okay…then I guess I gotta introduce you to my f-friends too at some point…”

 

Noticing how panicked Powder was getting, likely overwhelmed at everything that was happening, Vi placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

 

“Pow-Pow, we can take it slow if you want. We’ve been apart for so long that there’s a bunch to catch up on. I have zero plans of leaving you again, so we have all the time we need to take it easy alright?.”

 

Reassured at her strong tone, Powder relaxed somewhat, giving a nod of understanding. Stealing a glance over at Lux again, Powder’s blush returned, leaning down to whisper into Vi’s ear.

 

“U-Um, is Lux s-staying for long? I-I just..um w-we still had a lot of animals I was curious about…she knows so much Vi! I could listen to her talk for hours, she makes even the most boring sounding topic interesting!”

 

Her eyes drifted down at the excited swishing of Powder’s tail increasing the more she spoke.

 

“Th-That so Pow-Pow…you’ll have to talk with Cupcake – Ah! – Caitlyn over there about that, she’s the one that originally invited her.”

 

“D-Do you think Lux would stay longer if I a-asked her?”

 

“M-Maybe?”

 

“Hmmm. I-I’ll have to ask then…it would just be too – um – sad after just meeting and all…”

 

“R-Right….”

 

‘Oh Gods, she’s entirely smitten!’

 

“Pow-Pow….um did you get a lot of talks from your friends in the sewer? Stuff on like relationships or on how they might progress for example?”

 

The entirely clueless look she received was all the answer she needed, pulling her sister close again with a serious gaze.

 

“We have a lot to go over then once we get a chance Pow-Pow, see exactly what knowledge you’re missing out on okay?”

 

“O-Okay…umm, they did teach me how to tell what was edible or not! Only took a couple nasty stomachaches to never have those problems again! Um and Jericho taught me how to fish, though I just liked diving in myself ....”

 

“Th-Those are good things to know Pow-Pow…”

 

Perking up at Vi’s encouragement she spread her arms out wide to the side with an excited grin.

 

“One time I found a fish this big, that had like six arms, which I fought for about an hour until eventually getting it by clamping tight to it and spinning it really fast which tore it up. Was super tasty and a good workout!”

 

“W-Wow!”

 

“Oh, then another time I–”

 

Vi let Powder continue her excited chatter about the incredibly strange things she’d done down in the sewers, relishing the fact she was even able to do so in the first place. Watching her wide grin as she described her time over the years made a warm feeling spread through Vi that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

 

She was content, finally having reunited with the last piece of family she’d craved for all those years.