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(2013-04-17 - Now)
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Count Valos The Count spends a good portion of his time in Mullonde, despite the fact that he receives little admiration within said city, yet.... because he's renowned as a competent combatant who took on several opponents simultaneously at the battle near the Iifa Tree, who wore many of them to near-exhaustion, it can be said even those who hate him give him plenty of space. He has an isolationist policy on his own end, so to speak, which makes everybody happy, in the end, since he doesn't obtrusively pry into others' lives, especially the ones who are anything but eager to make his acquaintance.

Although it's debatable what makes a person and a beast, because of the level of intellect that allows complex versus simple communication and even definitions that are restricted on the basis of possession of some mathematic ability(which gorillas of the world of Manhattan are quite capable of), it can easily be construed that Behemoths don't qualify as sapient beings. A priori would therefore dictate that this applies to King Behemoths as well, and that they fall somewhere in the realm of 'dumb brute', which consequently is worsened by the fact that their idiocy is combined with violence, while happenstance has deigned that they be massive, ferocious abominations. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have the intellect, who has extrapolated to the extent that his awareness encompasses not just the existence of his own welfare, but that of other entities- for the most pitifully dullard of species, such as insects, will hastily devour their own offspring without a second thought, in many cases, whereas reptilian, and mammalian brains occasionally lodge the capacity for compassion.

Being able to tune in to forces not limited to one's own mere body is a particularly useful trait, and has allowed humanoids in particular to rise amongst the food-chain, to govern creatures that aren't able to process information much beyond instant gratification of the self, and the desire to satiate whatever unpleasant impulses guide them... in this case, hunger is probably the culprit behind the assault on Gidarch's person.
Count Valos Unlike some Gaian sword-slingers bearing a single eye, Count Valos has yet to best one hundred knights in a single fell swoop, but unlike the dregs of warriors the world over, he's still exquisite in his competence as far as dispensing with problems that come his way.... and in a compassionate manner, no less! It takes precision to be able to stop an enemy while simultaneously leaving them fairly intact.

A King Behemoth, at the foot of a great mountain has Count Valos in its mouth at this very minute, and is trying to crunch him into swallowable morsels. Unfortunately for the monster, objects made of stone have a level of structural integrity that doesn't buckle easily, and while there are a number of cracks in the dark elf's body with trails of vital fluids gliding down from the openings in his body, he seems to be weathering the effects of being gnawed remarkably, when taking into account that he's not wearing his armor, today! The King Behemoth, larger than its lower-classed brethren, the Behemoth, easily rivaling a deinotherium in girth, plus height, continues to try to grind Gidarch inside of his jaws, even as a magical aura emanates from within its mouth.

This whole ordeal is happening over the course of several minutes, and the initial portions of the fight surely took awhile as well, for the mammoth taurus to've managed to get Valos in its maw.... but it does eventually end. Suddenly, a desaturating tonality begins to wash over the gigantic hellion, with its texture fluctuating from something fleshy to more mineral in nature, until the King Behemoth is transmuted into a life-sized statue, imitating the very creature it was moments previous to the enchantment; an astounding feat, since only the greatest of sorcerers can transform high-level monsters like behemoths into stone, even the ones from Ivalice! Either Valos is a master of wizardry, or specializes in earth magics heavily. Gidarch is for the moment, still in the creature's mouth, but ideally, he has a plan to get out.... and down- the devil's head is a good twelve feet high off the ground, at least. yet another peculiarity to the observant one, who is unfamiliarized with Gidarch.... whilst being gnashed menacingly, he didn't make any sounds, or cries for help....?
Kuja And then behind him, he would hear an exaggerated applause. A purposeful hyperbole, two hands were slowly put together, then drawn apart, then clapped back together. It sounded four parts mocking, to one part congratulations.

This isn't to say that Count Valos couldn't sense his approach, simply that Kuja was not there one moment, and then was the next. He very likely heard him the moment it was possible for him to be perceived. One slender foot, was placed in front of the other, as the man ambulated forward, placing a hand through his hair, and flicking it and the singular feather within it backwards.

He was picturesque, and immensely vain at a glance, and he wore very little. Indeed his attire didn't even cover half of his form.

Kuja hardly cared that he had bested a King Behemoth by turning it to stone.. from within. If it were him, he'd have simply imploded it by creating a tiny star, the size of a pinpoint, before allowing it to reach critical mass and explode outward in a miniature supernova. It had the right sort of brutality and artistry both that appealed to him. Then again, there wouldn't be much left of the creature in the aftermath. He could appreciate, the.. attempt at preservation. "Well done. Is this the power that rocked the decrepit old man backwards on his heels?"

The thought of Garland being turned to stone appealed to him for some reason. After all, he'd be forced to live out the rest of his days in the greatest sort of obscurity possible. But no. It was best to take no chances with Garland. If and when the confrontation came, he'd see him utterly annihilated, in a manner from which there would be no possible return. "Are you a member of the main cast, in this grand drama of life, or but a bit player?"

He'd place a single hand against his chin, with one finger crooked to curl above his lips. The question may have seemed sincere to Valos, as if it to ask if he were a Predator, or Prey. Wolf or Lamb. But to Kuja it was entirely rhetorical. On his stage, there were only two actors, Garland, the antagonist, and Kuja, the protagonist. All others were inconsequential, in the end.
Count Valos If there was one thing Gidarch could do better than anyone else, besides manipulate stone and metal, it laid in his ability to sense vibrations, and electromagnetic wavelengths. Kuja was indeed not detected initially, until his being materialized into existence, a gimmick the dark one had seldom seen; Morrighan being one of the few who demonstrated it to him in recent times. The King Behemoth was quite sturdy.... as a rock, for that matter, and being that its matter was composed of stone, it was now putty in Valos' hands; without hesitation, the petrified beast lowered its head, now a slave to the drow, followed by the opening of its mouth, giving emancipation to Gidarch. He sees the satirical clapping, which suggests mockery, but the taller nobleman is apparently mostly dispassionate about being ridiculed, for he merely raises a brow very mildly as though more perplexed than insulted; mayhap he didn't understand what the gesture meant?

Whatever the case, He shrugs his shoulders lightly as Kuja asks him if his power 'rocked' the decrepit old man- a person with a sense of humor might've laughed at Kuja's reasonably witty play on words, having implemented the sedimentary aspect of Valos' technique, but instead, the large elf twists his body slightly towards the petrified monster, and remarks, "You would.... have to clarify in order for me to be able to provide an accurate answer, I am afraid. There are many an ancient fossil in this world and the one from whence I came, thus, to which elderly fellow you allude, I can not deduce." He rotates back towards Kuja, giving him his undivided attention for the time being, even to the extent of showing the man enough respect to look him in the eyes- something he'd had to learn from others in the past, since he felt it a non-essential pleasantry. Though Kuja is adorned in scant but a few shreds of fabric, Gidarch seems utterly un-offended by the newcomer's insufficiency of coverage.... Valos himself only has a robe that covers part of him, leaving a shoulder bare.... though with his outfit torn, because of his recent battle, he might be wearing only a little bit more than Kuja himself!

Rubbing his head when Kuja asks him if he's the member of the main cast, or but a mere player, he considers his answer, when trying to interpret the strange query- but he has enough sense to figure out that his companion is talking about people and their roles in life, in the grand scheme of things, so Gidarch shrugs his shoulders almost lifelessly, "I would say that I am of the belief that I am a component of the stage." Probably not the answer Kuja was anticipating, but Valos never saw eye to eye with anybody, really.... even when he was staring directly into theirs. Seating himself calmly on the ground, Gidarch then decides to do the sociable thing, against his better judgment, and inquires, "Into which role would you see yourself casted, in this epic, would you say, if I may be so bold as to pry?" His response doesn't have a tone laced with any condescension- it almost sounds like he truly expects an honest reply, and feels that he can trust what the other man has to say; or maybe.... he trusts what the other man has to say, is what the other man truly believes, whether or not it be the truth!
Kuja "It matters for naught."

It would be perilous to clarify anyhow. His association to the Old Man was not well known. Even the Shadow Lords didn't know who he was in order to preserve the integrity of their plot. All it would take is one slip of the tongue by Pete, or Negaduck and it would all turn to ashes. And while it might seem innocent to clarify his identity, given that the battle against Valos was rather common knowledge in the heroic and villainous communities alike.. it would lead to other uncomfortable questions. "...whether it be one ancient fossil, or another, it does not interest me whom you have turned your strength against, merely the nature of the power itself. And.. your limits."

After all, he doubted that most of the man's abilities would truly work on Garland, whose nature Kuja knew better than most. The man was an immortal demigod, after all. Terrakinesis, even when applied to one's own morphology was impressive, to be certain, but not capable of utterly destroying a god of chaos. No, what interested him was whether the man knew his limits, and would be capable of pushing past them. Perhaps emboldened by his own thoughts of invicibility, he would press his hand against the petrified, enslaved Behemoth, rubbing the palm against the surface, before drawing it away. He'd then look at the withdrawn slender hand, with perfectly manicured nails.

The man's seeming ambivalence to the question didn't interest him, though his answer was one he hadn't heard before. Still staring at his nails, he'd extend the hand away, holding it at a distance with a critical eye upon them. "The stage is the world, but what care have I, if you are the bones of it? Whether it be this stage, or any other. The drama goes on. Does the stage care if the actors trod upon it? Does the stage care for the tragedy and comedy, the prologue and the denouement? No. It just exists, without purpose. Its purpose is given to it by the actors upon it, and yet in the end, it remains inanimate, ageless."

He would grant the man an amused smile as he tilted his head to regard him with a sort of humorous statement. Do you know the old expression that there are no stupid questions? Not so with Kuja. He gave the man a patient look, though that patience only would take him so far. "The Protagonist. My puissance alone tends to shatter the stage no matter which I trod upon. You'll know that soon enough."

The whole world would.
Count Valos Gidarch Valos nods as Kuja decrees that the identity of the 'old man' is inconsequential- the dark elf wouldn't have said it mattered naught, since Kuja made an effort to ask a question referring to said individual to begin with, and without said individual being identified as anything other than a feeble elder, it might be said that the rumors of Gidarch's abilities and the attempt to ascertain if he was responsible, were not worth mentioning to begin with; flawed logic, especially when factoring into the equation that Kuja went out of his way to hint that he had -some- sort of association with the aforementioned geezer, which meant either a positive, or negative. The drow is getting used to people contradicting themselves, and at this point in time, he barely feels like bothering to correct them anymore, so he just listens to them banter, only occasionally showing mercy by lecturing them..... which is actually not revered as charitable, when given the egotistical nature of most sapients, but rarely do children enjoy the kind of discipline that helps them to hone their minds- thus, in their teen years, they often rebel.

Gidarch found most humanoids to be nothing but quaint. "My limits most likely change with time. Some days, I may be in moderate health, and capable of yoking the strength of a creature the size of a Bowhead Whale, comprised of stone.... others, I may be scarcely able to hold sway over something the size of a common Asian Elephant." He shrugs, Then raises a finger, "There are also other variables that mean that one should allow for margin of error, besides the fact that I gain strength every day, so there is no real predictable determinant of my limitations at a given point in time, lest my abilities be tested at that exact moment of time, provided there are enough resources available of which I may employ." He shrugs, unaware of what range of power he'd eventually reach, but perhaps more interestingly, unconcerned with them, or unimpressed by whatever 'enemies' he may be able to tackle someday, or never i his life-time. Valos observes as Kuja reaches out to touch the Behemoth, as if wondering what exactly he was doing- perhaps confirming that it was made of the substance it appeared to be made of, and that Gidarch was not brandishing meager illusions? The dark one didn't yet know what Kuja was all about, but he had every confidence he'd figure it out soon enough, once he was given the information he needed to assemble a viable theory- Occam's Razor had merit, when implementing the Scientific Method, and though Valos was a man of many words, the models of others he constructed were anything but mechanisms resembling something made by Rube Goldberg; they all appeared to be simple in nature, governed by the same desires, and fears, at their cores.

"Yet.... the stage seemingly contains everything within it; without the stage, there is no medium by which the participants may carry out their roles, or express themselves- without an environment in which to exist, does one exist? However, I am not the stage.... I am a /component/ of the stage, so I am but a mere facet of the identity of the world." The dark one folds his arms over his chest, "One.... could venture so far as to say that the stage and those playing their roles are co-dependent on one another, ergo.... without one of the two elements, there would be a void, preventing the remaining element from functioning properly....." And thus, in Gidarch's view, the stage and the actors are not that different at all, but it might not be so easy for Kuja to go ahead and deduce that on his own, since most people would think it an outrageous prospect, for who could possibly believe that life was totally meaningless? Gidarch shakes his head, sighing, "I doubt I will truly know anything soon, or late, for that matter; all I do is perceive, and hope that my perceptions are not distorted." He then looks up at Kuja, not trying to scold or belittle him, despite the disagreement of philosophical viewpoint, and remarks, ".....It might be that I will perceive that you are the protagonist, soon enough...." showing that he's not willing to invalidate the flowery genome's opinion in totality, and there is nary a trace that Valos is contrary to a word he speaks.
Kuja He hardly would have considered it a way of being committal to a relationship whether it be negative or not. It could have been mere rumor, reputation alone. After all, he'd never met, say /Maleficent/ before, but he knew of her exploits all the same. But given that it was an internal monologue on Valos' point, Kuja had no way of knowing that the Drow was weighing his words for contradiction. Nor would he have particularly cared. What Valos thought, in the end, was inconsequential. Whether he figured out the assocation, was inconsequential. He couldn't actually harm him. Kuja was a genome, an immortal and nigh-invincible creation by Garland made to be his perfect Angel of Death. Declared imperfect shortly after his birth, Kuja struggled to understand why. Garland was silent on the matter. However, Kuja's composition was as close to perfection as anyone might consider. While outwardly he seemed different no different from any human, it was in the nucleotides and base structure, the molecules and bonds. He wasn't just scientifically superior, he was superior when it came to the arcane as well. In every cell he bore a resistance to magic, /all magic/ that was matched by few. Garland had access to technology that was far more advanced than anything that had been seen in any civilization within the World of Ruin, he just chose only to reveal this fact to a select few.

Even now, far above them both, at an altitude that couldn't be perceived, something lay hovering in wait that could have brought a swift end to a small country, if Kuja deigned it necessary. He never did. He considered it a crutch to rely on any gifts the Old Man had granted him. And besides.. it would attract too much unwanted attention.

"Limits which are that amorphous don't concern me. Size, experience, age, health. You can set limits on anything, Limits are an excuse used by the weak. It is the strong, that surpass them. Could you change the composition of an entire mountain? Could you then shatter the mountain? Could you shatter the world? Those are the limits I am interested in. If you were to surpass your limits by subjugating an extra gram of mass, is it all that impressive? A kilogram? Twenty thousand kilograms. But if you were to surpass them, to the point where your limits can no longer be measured. That is the sort of power I am interested in."

While he was using empirical evidence, it wasn't exactly in the same way that Valos thought. He was wondering perhaps if the man would try to use his abilities on him. Many Shadow Lords that indulged in casual cruelty frequently used unique abilities of this nature as a test. If he were able to mire him under even a small measure of influence, and had sufficient motivation to express that cruelty, Kuja would understand if the creature was capable of holding any sort of power over him from even the smallest mote of dust. Not that he thought he actually could do it. Then again, he seemed to lack the same cruelty that the Shadow Lords had a tendency towards. Mayhaps he could, but he'd have to be sufficiently motivated. Still, it wasn't time for that.

And then Kuja would smile coyly at him. "You would be suprised, on what can still function inside the void. No, the stage is inconsequential. A component of the stage, moreso."

And then the remark. Of course he couldn't perceive that he was the protagonist. Few could. Few knew his purpose, none could hear his internal soliloquy. It didn't matter to him. He considered it a form of dramatic irony that only the universe and himself had him marked for greatness. The other bit players, on whatever stage he stood upon did not know, not yet. "I won't fault you for your lack of vision. Your dark lily must find it incredibly boorish from time, to time."
Count Valos The Count shrugs, "There are an infinite number of limitations, but they are only limits until the conditions change such that the reality that was 'expected' no longer matches the self-evident reality. You asked me what my limits were, no less, no more. You did not specify anything beyond that." He shrugs, "Whether I could level a house, a mountain, a planet, or the solar system doesn't have any bearing on the question you asked. This is not so much because the question itself was an ignorant one, mind you- through no real fault of yours can I see how you might have wanted an amendment to my initial answer, but the fact of the matter is that when one asks a question from another, they seek information." He bobs his head a little from side to side, as if considering what he's thinking over, and then elaborates, "Because I am not a being who seeks to destroy property in a conventional sense, I have not had an opportunity to even so much as begin to test the so-called 'limits' of my offensive prowess. If you sought information, and I was to give you information that contained any degree of accuracy, I would have to first believe I had such data to provide, or else it would be complete conjecture, and thus, potentially a fabrication." The dark one nods his head a little, "Unbeknownst to you, when you asked the question, no answer I could give would be that applicable, so it would be within the same pedigree as a query seeking to find out how many pink unicorns I am able to drink in a day.... First I'd have to find enough unicorns to feasibly fill me, if I was able to digest food in the same fashion as everyone else. Second, I'd have to find someone to grind them up into a liquid state for me while I guzzled, since doing it myself would arguably sap up some of the time I could otherwise spend explicitly on drinking the liquified unicorns. Such knowledge simply does not exist, and therefore, in my specific case.... Your question has, as far as I can see, no bearing on what I can shatter, since I am not in the business of shattering things."

Gidarch feels as though Kuja is going off on a minor tangent when he starts blathering about limits, which, in his view, is also typical of most humanoids- predictable, but he tries to stomach the business. "I might be surprised what can function inside a void, since a true void does not exist. I should also note that the term void is defined as having 'no contents', so to say that something can function within a void contradicts the definition, itself." Again, Kuja's logic is flawed, in Valos' view. He shrugs, "The term 'void' is mostly a theoretical term, as far as it was employed,... by myself, in the example of the two objects I portrayed as having an intrinsic correspondence with one another."

The dark one rubs his chin thoughtfully, and remarks, "If you reach a certain degree of microscopy, things can become quite difficult to measure, since just by the presence of the examiner alone, the fluctuation of subatomic particles may be influenced. Thus.... You can never truly measure anything with precise accuracy, whether large or small.... you can only try to predict a 'range' of what you think to be the underlying truth of what you see or hear." He lowers his hand, "To my knowledge, there is no such thing that exists that is with so many allowances, or lack of limitations, that it can be deemed totally immeasurable; nor is there such thing as something that is so entirely constrained, that its limitations are fully known in totality."
Count Valos He sighs, "Everything is relative. But the power that most individuals seek, to me, that they speak of, usually sounds..... rather paltry." The grey-skinned elf then peers adjacently to himself, starting to form an idea, as he remarks, "Most people, in my view, have poor foresight."

"Mister Senra, for instance, frets about swarms of Heartless conquering world after world, and yet he spends his days fussing over who gets to the pews on time every Sunday."

He shakes his head, disdainfully, "It is also my understanding that Mister Garland fritters away his hours panicking as he tries to keep an overgrown Xmas Tree lit up all year around, instead of investing in solar-panels, meanwhile, the sun radiates, at zero cost, four thousand megatons of energy per /second/, according to the records of the world of Manhattan- I suspect the celestial body that gives /us/ energy in this World of Ruin is not much weaker in nature; do you have any idea what the potency of a single atomic bomb is?" He feels like he wants to face-palm, but refrains from doing so.

"....And Miss Alazne squanders her time haphazardly meandering from one place to another, hoping to find somewhere that will make her feel safe, secure, and accepted. So what does she do? Does she spend her time researching psychology tomes as a means of devising strategies to either endear herself to others, or even to go so far as to empower herself to manipulate them, thus harnessing their power /under/ her banner? What would you say if I told you that she's more interested in what constitutes the fashionability of her wardrobe?" Gidarch Valos could probably go on for days, listing how many people he believes to be chasing their tails. "Now, from where I am standing, you seek the same brand of power everybody else does, Mister Whatever-your-name-is, albeit maybe to a admirably more ambitious grade.... Instead of wanting to rule towns, or countries, it sounds as though you want to rule continents, or planets." Gidarch flaps a hand dismissively, as though he finds the whole affair to be an utter bore to him, ".....But do feel free to have fun with that, if you think it will satisfy your cravings."

Gidarch, on the other hand, estimates that no matter what heights Kuja reaches, he'll inevitably get restless not long down the road, and then want more than whatever he might've already attained. While the dark elf didn't admit in a definitive manner that he finds Kuja's aspirations to be unimpressive, which effectually denies the Genome a substantial means to directly accuse Valos of anything without the liability of the Terran's words being objected to as simply being speculation, it would be hard to ignore the fact that what he says /insinuates/ that he's patronizing Kuja's hopes and dreams.

His deadpan voice may not diminish the airs of superiority that he's equipped during this particular spiel, either, thus.... in his mind, the Genome might be coming to realize that Valos has essentially placed himself /above/ Kuja; there may be bad odds that this will sit well with the silver-haired man.

Even so, Valos points at Kuja, and inquires, "Tell me. You say you won't fault me for my lack of vision, shall I extend the same courtesy and not blame you for the flaws in your vision?" He tilts his head to the side, wondering what Kuja means by his 'dark lily', but as of the present moment, seems disinterested in it. Spontaneously, Gidarch lifts a finger, and extruding from the stoney ground emerges a solid piece of stone, hewn to be in the shape of a chair. The dark elf cants his head over to the throne made of solid rock, and asks "Tell me, if you'd be so generous to indulge my fancy..... unless you're afraid to answer, that is.... But if you'd indeed be so kind, my questions are as follows: What is that object over there? What is its primary function?"

Is this one of Valos' odd tests? What answer was he looking for?
Kuja He would listen to all of this, smiling patiently as he related his thoughts on each person in turn. His misconceptions about how the world worked was delightful. The Void was not some mere metaphysical abstraction, but a realm of eldritch horrors from the beyond that could literally reduce individuals to nothingness. The Lifa tree, given that it wasn't even truly a tree at all. It didn't even need water, or sunlight. Its purpose was far more sinister than Valos knew, since it was subjugating the very flow of souls in the world. It prevented the cycle of reincarnation by seeping into the very heart of the world. In short, it was not an actual tree.

He didn't care to correct the Drow on the topic though.

He actually listened the closest when he spoke of Faruja. Well, the gilded rodent was extraordinarily boring after all. He just didn't know why Vermin such as he was capable of something that he was not.

Morrighan he hardly even cared to consider outside of how he might use her to amuse himself, or get to /others/. Her vanity was unsuprising to him, vanity was at least a concept he could understand, he was wholly enamored with himself after all.

"No. I don't care about power in the sense that I could use it to rule..."

Kuja placed a hand to his chin. The Drow was becoming truly bothersome. He'd almost actually related the truth to him. He didn't care about how power might be used to rule. If he ever achieved the sort of power he desired, then rule would be a simple matter if he wanted to bother with it. No, he wanted power to free him from his shackles, to tear down that which his progenitor had created. To prove that he was the superior being. He wanted power to feed his own narcissism, to do away with all feelings that he was inferior to anyone, that was all. Let the ants rule over themselves. What did he care?

And then he would show him the throne made of stones, the flamboyant man would give a shrug, barely sparing it a glance. "Stones. Their only function is to exist, to be subject to the whims of another. In this case, you."
Count Valos If Kuja did see fit to correct Valos on what 'The Void' constituted, Valos would gladly tell him to go find a dictionary and look up the definition of what an authentic void is, as opposed to a pseudo-void, but it would be a moot point, since perhaps in Kuja's own world, his dictionary had a different definition of what comprised 'Void'; this is indeed a plausible contingency, for in some realms, the esper Shiva is a long haired, blue-skinned esper who hurls ice magic with the greatest of ease. From Gidarch's world, Shiva had short locks- so the fact of the matter is, depending on what their sources their premises were based upon, both could've been right, or wrong.

As far as being concerned whether the Iifa Tree was an actual sapling was irrelevant, to Count Valos, he would not see how in the wake of being engulfed by a star, that there'd be any result beyond said object being reduced to cinders. Gidarch Valos would also beg to differ on the matter of whether Kuja was interested in reigning supreme over his environment, and to rule- but to actually win that argument, if it was actually a winnable one, he would probably have to do a lot of laboring to backtrack until he could find a common denominator between his own belief system, and Kuja's, in any /attempt/ to try to dismantle the Genome's ideology. When Kuja replies, it strikes Valos as amusing- though his face only issues the most faintest of smirks, it shows when the Genome gives his answer about stones and what their purpose was. The dark elf, of course, finds it completely satisfactory, not that he would have accepted Kuja telling him that it was a chair to be sat in.

There's feasibility in the notion that Kuja might've slyly declared that the drow was actually directing attention to the heavier dust specks that made their presence known via the mild debris that erupted when Valos ripped the large chunks of stone out of that ground, but this wouldn't've obliged Gidarch. If Kuja had been exceptionally witty, he might've hypothesized that Gidarch was canting his head not at the entire chair, but one of the protons or electrons composing the molecular structure of an atom of the chair, which in their own rights, without a formation of said particles to give them proper structure, would be nigh-identical to the electrons and protons that make up other substances; this, too, would have been deigned an unacceptable answer.

This was indeed a strange game Gidarch was playing, but there were just a couple answers that would've satisfied him, and he was dubious that almost anyone, whether Kuja, or a relative of Albert Einstein, would cross his path..... and manage to impress him.
Count Valos "Do you know what I find mildly intriguing?" He raises a brow, as if inquisitively throwing out a random thought onto the table, figuratively, "You see yourself as the main protagonist, which you apparently expect to verify before my own eyes in due time, leading me to believe this is something you not only expect, but something you -want-. As a result, this means that after a fashion, you seek attention from others." He then hooks a thumb at himself, "Whereas..... I see myself as an anonymous entity that requires no recognition from anyone, because I am self-sufficient, having freely asserted that I am but a component of the stage itself, and invisible to the naked eye." The dark one squints, like he was scrutinizing the Genome, "....Thus, you seek some degree of submission from others, and to have them treat you as the prima donna; no offense, of course, I don't mean to imply that I'm casting you as a female counterpart to the role of the leading man, but the both have a similar nature. And what would be to transpire if you would not get what you desired? You would.... suffer, and your quality of life would diminish."

Valos closes his eyes for a minute, pausing, letting his words sink in, before proceeding with more ranting, "You feel pain even now, because you don't yet have that for which you thirst, it is unquenched." Gidarch gazes down at his body, still bleeding and battered from being raked or else chewed up by the King Behemoth, to try and draw Kuja's focus to his condition, "Yet.... here I sit, my life flowing out of me freely, needing nothing from anybody, including yourself." He puts his finger to his temple, a gesture to signify retrieving a thought from his mind, "So.... you ultimately want acknowledgement from me that you have value, which you may or may not get, depending on if I withhold my willingness to appease your needs.... Whereas I need nothing from you, not even so much as a piteous healing spell. In theory, I have something you want, that I can dangle above your head, but you have nothing that I want that you can prevent me from acquiring...."

He puts his thumb to his chin and his index finger to his lip, in a thoughtful manner, "I can harm you, but you can not do the same back to me.... It /could/ be interpreted that I am more powerful than you." The dark one shrugs, "Just a theory, of course, but, one that coincidentally is grounded in numerous, concrete facts." He nods, "In any event, I have no further need for you, so I think that unless you can generate an answer to my question that is a little more profound than what I've been offered, I will discontinue diverting my energy towards communication that is hardly beneficial to me."

And with that, he closes his eyes. For all intents and purposes, he may have just as well turned his back on Kuja, which is probably the most insulting thing one person can do to another(rejecting a narcissist is especially bound to draw their contempt), as far as traditional etiquette is concerned. Gidarch, on the other hand, feels that he owes Kuja nothing, and being anything but beholden to the Genome, there is no reason he needs to even dignify Kuja's very existence, with so little as the simple acknowledgement of his presence. Though, if Kuja has self-entitlement issues, he might think Gidarch has some kind of debt to pay, but the dark elf would pay no heed to any such arguments, by virtue of the fact that they are operating on different philosophies. Is Kuja arrogant? Perhaps. But Gidarch has something even more cheap up his sleeve: highly concentrated conceitedness /impersonating/ modesty..... The Count does not stab people in the front, like an honorable warrior would do, he skulks, and slinks around towards their backside, where they have less recourse available with which to defend themselves. His compliments are usually backhanded, and he implies plenty but definitively states virtually nothing.... these are the tools of the scoundrel who sits on the fence, who refuses to act decisively in a way that could unquestionably put him in harm's way.

Then again, did Gidarch Valos ever once suppose that he was a courageous man?
Kuja Actually it wasn't the worst thing one could do to a narcissist, given that Kuja is for the most part, an /unknown/. He's not so much a fool to believe that an audience who knew nothing about him should bow down and worship him. The Drow doesn't know what sort of power he could bring to bear. So when the Drow says all of this, Kuja would merely smile at him.

"What care have I for acknowledgement from a stone?"

He'd gesture to the mountainside. "Do I care about the acknowledgement of something that exists without purpose?"

And then Kuja turns and starts to walk away, but then he'd look over his shoulder. "And let's say you are more powerful than I, that would only make you yet another hurdle for the protagonist to weigh, measure, and overcome. Whatever flaws I might have, I will annihilate them without mercy, just as I shall any who oppose me. And so.." A multitude of corridors of darkness would open. As Mist that Gidarch would recognize as being similar to that of the Mist that permeates the Iifa trea would pour out. Others would have only glowing yellow eyes within, as small walking black mage dolls would step out of it. They would only speak a single word, that being /DESTROY!/ before attempting to suspend Gidarch and his Behemoth both in the air with gravity spells, seperating him from the stones below.

"To answer your earlier question. I know exactly what the potency of a sun is, or an atomic bomb. Since you seem to enjoy the empirical approach. You told me earlier that the sun generates four megatons of energy per second. So here's a simpler question for you. What's four times two?" And then Gidarch would feel it as two stars the size of pinpoints were created at point blank range. Except, they weren't as /stable/ as the sun, per se. No, in fact they were two stars reaching critical mass. And then a moment later, they went supernova, as that same atomic energy would discharge right beside him.
Count Valos Being that Gidarch insisted he needed nothing from Kuja, even as the Genome began to speak, the dark elf remained silent, unconcerned what 'nonsense' was bombarding him. Even so, there were soon to be things to bombard him that were more damaging than verbalized criticisms, and though the dark one had doubts that the Genome had actually conjured up entities with the true force of the kinds of bodies in space that could vaporize a planet, that didn't mean that they were so mediocre that these blasts of nuclear radiation were liable to be revered as an afterthought.

In reality, there would likely be no real way for the dark elf to be consumed by the sun, and survive, for that would violate all laws of physics, even the seemingly warped ones in this World of Ruin, so if it's true that Kuja's condensed celestial bodies housed the same intensity as the sun that loomed overhead..... then either the sun got a severe downgrade, or Gidarch got a really nice boon. Needless to say, boon or not, he was not anywhere near /invincible/.... at least, not in the way most people perceive. The dark elf did sense the dark corridors open which bore energies emanating an aura reminiscent of the Iifa Tree's ilk, but more of his focus is on the inferno that combusts right beside his person, converging inward.

They both burst with enough raw might to render most beings dead on the spot, yet, being made of stone, he has a slightly better defense, and it turns his mineralized skin a reddish tone, like heated metal, even as he is driven upward, he makes not a sound to indicate that he's noticed anything has occurred. This attack is physiologically far more devastating than most other encapsulations of flame that he'd endured in the past, but this says nothing for the amount of emotional discombobulation that one should agonize over- for two flares conglomerating is nothing at all to scoff at, and even a slightly lesser man would undeniably be bellowing at the very second this blaze consumed them; skin that burns can get to the point of bubbling, and surely, molecular turmoil would germinate by this hellish blast. As he limply flails through the air, a strange energy envelopes Valos, and which seems to restore some of his vitality back to him, in addition to adding a barrier to aid in guarding him, in case Kuja transgresses further. The fact that he's not paying attention to Kuja must be remotely frustrating, or else the Genome wouldn't have resorted to violence to try and provoke some kind of response; and Valos did react....

....Internally, Valos reacted by registering Kuja's observations as slightly hypocritical, from his standpoint.... The genome asked what need for acknowledgement he had of things that existed without purpose. If the silver-maned fop required no acknowledgement, then this begs the question: Does Kuja always issue mathematical questions to walls, chairs, and random boulders lying around? Surely, if Valos was comparable to the mountainside to which the shorter man gestured, why did the Genome give any precedence at all to Valos, when choosing where(or to whom) to direct his arguably rhetoric question, and then venture so far as to summon his sorcerous servants to help aid him in this 'fight'? .....Something smelled inconsistent. Though, given that Garland was evidently so absent-minded as to either name the Iifa Tree, a tree, or to even so much as to assent to the application of the name 'Iifa Tree' that /someone else/ may have inaccurately designated it as, is a testament to how imperfect the Gaians are, which is quite akin to uneducated humans who nonchalantly refer to koalas as bears, or electric eels as eels. But Gidarch was not privy to this information, so he only has a few incongruent observations of Kuja's and Garland's to work with.... not that he even knows both are of the same ilk, to a degree!

But Valos /did/ claim he wouldn't speak, and, as far as that goes, he's held up his end of the bargain- though if Kuja hops lanes to brain from of brawn, he might elect to try considering alternate answers to the question Gidarch posed, if he wants some kind of significant reinforcement of Kuja's substantiality. In Valos' own mind, he has already won- it's obvious that Kuja has no way to outwit Gidarch, so he uses raw force to try and eliminate what he can not seem to comprehend; Gidarch, on the other hand, feels unthreatened by Kuja, to the extent that he demonstrates no need to retaliate to acquire dominion. If Kuja truly had power, he could beat Valos at his own game, and make him talk..... alas, he can not do this.

This scene contained 14 poses. The players who were present were: Count Valos, Kuja