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Interview To Hire
(2013-04-27 - 2013-04-27)
Alma meets Souji in Costa Del Sol, wherein she offers her services to Souji after a discussion of mutual interests.
Souji Murasame Costa Del Sol is a sunny, bright place, full of happy, rich people who spend their money at the premiere Shinra vacation spot for a life of ease. The ocean is pleasant, the sun is high, and people swim, play, and do beachy things. Clearly, nothing could ever go wrong.... right?
Alma Hyral Alma decided that hangovers suck.

First came the sensitivity to light, and the pounding headache, as she laid abed in the inn room Kyra had procured for her in Costa Del Sol. She'd actually skipped her morning prayers, something she hadn't done for years just to lay in bed. After experimenting with Esuna with a cure, and failing.. Kyra offered one of her leeches. She was too miserable to turn her down, which likely delighted to no end. Once all the alcohol was sucked out of her blood, she'd actually look at it. The sight of the fat little thing, engorged with her blood caused her to tear it off and throw it away immediately.

Thanks to the machinations of Helena, her first dating experience had been utterly ruined. Not only had it not been with a boy she was interested in, but she'd gotten her drunk for the first time. In her uninhibited state she'd said so many things that she would never have said otherwise, and used her magic in a sinful way.

Helena truly was horrible.

To add insult to injury, Artyom had informed her that she'd never needed to go through the secretary in the first place, Souji would have seen her without an appointment. This suprised her, as even though he'd been affable to her, she had thought that there'd still have been protocol, proper channels. He was an important man after all, and likely didn't have a great deal of free time. It also humiliated her, as the depths of Helena's trick sank right into her.

Once she'd showered, and changed, she stepped outdoors, shielding her eyes from the sun. Costa Del Sol was truly beautiful, so that was some small comfort. After a time spent marvelling at the sights, she went to seek breakfast at the same beachside restaurant she'd been at the other night for the date. She was famished after all, their food had never arrived.

Hopefully nothing would go wrong, today.
Souji Murasame Leeches don't work that way! Leeches don't work that way at all!

But that's neither here nor there. Either way, one thing is certain:

Fate is not merciful to Alma Hyral. As she passes a table with a person reading a newspaper, it rustles, the paper turning as the woman passes...

"Alma Hyral."

The words are quiet and neutral. Respectful. The paper rustles again, this time being folded up quickly and cleanly, set to one side on the table to reveal Souji Murasame. "You appear to have been in some distress."
Alma Hyral Mad Science does not have to make sense! Natural laws bow to it. Gods shudder at its power. FEAR IT AND DESPAIR!

But again, neither here nor there.

Fate is not kind at all to Alma, as Souji speaks to her, she literally freezes in her tracks. She'd expected to have some time to prepare herself for her appointment mentally. She turns to look at Souji, appearing passing horrified. Had Helena planned this too!? She takes a moment to rein in her features, before responding. "M-Mister Murasame."

And then she takes a deep breath, trying to dispel her anxiety. What did she have to fear from Souji Murasame anyhow? He was actually kind to her. While she stuttered when she was nervous, or in awkward social situations with a crowd of people, the idea of speaking to him alone without anyone else present was a calming thought. She offered a bright smile his way, trying to casually dismiss the idea that she was in distress. "Its n-nothing, don't worry about me." With the unspoken words being that she was more worried about him.

"Its good to see you again, I haven't seen you since... well, you know. How have you been?"

She didn't take a seat yet, uncertain if she had his leave to join him.
Souji Murasame Souji pauses in his response, his eyes narrowing slightly as he watches Alma more closely for a moment... And then with a mental shrug, he dismisses it. "Very well." He gestures to the seat across from him. "Please, be seated. Order whatever you wish." Souji himself has some coffee in front of him. It is black and aromatic.

Once Alma has done so, Souji answers her questions and commentary. "It has been difficult. This new world is large and we have had little resources to work with. Additionally, there are those who seek to keep us disunified." He lets Alma think about that for a moment, reaching her own conclusions. "I am, however, fine at the moment. Yourself? You have been through a great deal."
Alma Hyral She would take a seat once it was offered. "Thank you." When the server came by, she'd order, "Coffee please, with two sugars, and cream."

Oh sweet Cosma, did she need the coffee.

Folding her hands in her lap, she'd give Souji a sympathetic look. She didn't broach the subject of Tira yet, it had spurred an ugly conversation between Helena, Kyra, and herself the previous night and she hadn't gotten over it. "I understand. We've all lost so much in the aftermath, more than some of us care to admit.. I'm suprised at how well some are adapting.."

On his comments regarding disunity, she knew exactly whom he meant. "You mean Nik." Also her sister, but she didn't want to bring that up. "Nik.. he's a good person, he means well, he's just stubborn.. I think even he knows that you want what's best for all of us, deep down."

Her expression became meek as she mentioned all that she'd been through. It was rare for people to express open concern about her unless she was emotionally devastated by some situation, she wasn't sure how to handle that. She decided on open honesty. "I only woke up recently from the dark, Souji.. my last memories were of my parents being consumed by Chaos. I'm still working out how I feel about it. Its like we're in some sort of apocalypse, from the scriptures. An open war for the fate of creation. All I know is that I don't want this to be the end.." It was a risk to use his first name and speak in a familiar way with him, but she felt at ease around him, unlike most.
Souji Murasame Souji's expression is respectful, but his eyes are inscrutable and shuttered. What could he be thinking inside there? "We have no choice. We have to push ahead or what we'll lose what little we have left. Some of us are doing better than others."

He shrugs when Nik is mentioned. "Deep down does us little good when he acts like a spoiled child." Souji replies... And then he shakes his head. "It doesn't matter. He can run all he likes. The world will move on, with or without him. The greatest irritant is that he could be so much more if he would apply himself properly and had guidance for his actions."

Hyral chooses to be open and honest about her feelings. Souji nods... But he does not open. Not like he used to. Were this in the past, perhaps he might have reached out, comforted her, promised her that everything would be all right and pleaded for unity.

That time is gone. While his thoughts are hidden, the scars of that time are very much visible to the more empathic ones. Souji wears them as armor. "We have all lost a great deal, Alma Hyral. But we will not stand for this. There will be vengeance. Chaos had come, and consumed our world. And I turn to seek it in return. The resources of my corporation are being used not just to reestablish the Academy, but to locate entities of Chaos and seal them away. You will not have the resources to do so yourself. Rituals are expensive and require many rare components, and technological solutions must continue to be developed. It is a search I must undertake, with or without the rest of you. Those who are of my organization work with me to do so, but I cannot force the rest of you. I have no right."
Alma Hyral The younger girl would nod at him. She wasn't good at reading people, always having been a social pariah. It made it even easier for people to tease her. If only she'd invested a few ranks in sense motive! As it stands, Souji's inscrutable mask was like a brick wall to her. It didn't disturb her, as she believed she knew why he was like this now. "You're right. I'd like to do what I can to help.."

And the subject gets sidetracked once again by Nik. She'd close her eyes briefly to take stock of her thoughts, before replying. "We're all running from something, Souji. He'll come around."

It was passing embarassing to have poured out her soul to the man only to be stonewalled in turn, but she didn't dwell on it. She didn't regard her feelings on the matter as important, she just knew that Souji had changed after Tira's death.. She truly was more worried about him, than about herself, and she'd already resolved to support him, as she fully believed its what Tira would have wanted. Unlike Kyra, she didn't blame him for her death. Still, it seemed like an improper time to broach the subject with him, and she felt that if she did, he might dismiss her, or close off entirely. "That.. is actually what I wanted to discuss with you. Other than my sister and my faith, there is nothing left for me in this world. I need to find something to keep me occupied, Souji, so that I can feel like I'm making a difference. I can't just stand by while the goddess' creation is undone. I have certain theories which might aid you in locating these.. entities of the destroyer, so that we can seal them away or some clues on how to restore our world. I just don't have the resources to research it on my own, as you say. I'd.. like to join you, if you'd have me."
Souji Murasame Souji simply glances up from his coffee. He takes his black. "Am I?" Souji asks simply, at the comment of everyone running away from something.

Alma asks about assisting. Souji arches an eyebrow. "You want to assist me in my work? You do have valuable skills to contribute to be sure... But I wasn't expecting a member of the Hyrals to associate with me so easily." He pauses, looking away for a moment. "What does your sister think of this? Or have you told her yet?"
Alma Hyral Once the server returns with her coffee, she'd place the sugar cubes in the cup, and pour a bit of the creamer, before stirring it with a spoon. When Souji asks the question, it takes her off guard, she didn't expect him to be so blunt, her expression softening. She doesn't respond for a while, before finally speaking to him very softly. "If you ever want to talk about her, Souji, I'll always be here." And then she dropped the subject, unless he chose to press her. She just hoped he wouldn't be offended.

She looked rather timid, even a bit uncertain as he called her decision into question. "There are certain things about your corporation that.. my family would not approve of, Souji." She tried not to traipse on dangerous ground of whether or not she approves. Black Magic was still a touchy subject for her. "..however, my parents always approved of the match between you and my sister. And I think, Tira would have wanted me to support you. We're in a bad situation, and you're trying to do the right thing."

And then the subject of Kyra's approval came up, "Kyra.. doesn't approve. Its no secret that she doesn't like you, Souji. But she hasn't tried to forbid me from associating with you. She'll come around too.. She can't keep blaming you forever. And I imagine she'll need money for her.." The next word was grudging for her, as she wasn't fond of Kyra's work at all. "...research."
Souji Murasame It's to Alma's credit that Souji does not immediately close up more than he already is when she brings up Tira. There is a reflexive pause, like someone prodding a sore spot, and then he relaxes. "Thank you for the offer, Alma. I appreciate it." His response is perfectly neutral.

"I am simply doing what I have to do, Alma Hyral." Souji replies. "I know they might not approve in the past, but current events have a hait of changing opinions... And with the corporation being recreated, it gives us opportunities to choose directions we could not before."

He shakes his head. "Do you believe she blames me for what happened, Alma? I wish to give her the opportunity to achieve what she is truly capable of... But she seems to be extremely wary of me."
Alma Hyral She actually cringes subtly during the silence, expecting a far more vehement rejection. When he relaxes, so does she. She nods wordlessly in response, grateful that he didn't simply shut down her offer far harder than that.

She'd nod thoughtfully, but still reply politely. "My family isn't known for their.. tolerance, Souji. Personally, I can understand the necessity, in part.. I just don't like it. Consider it a personal preference. I doubt you have any projects that were so grievously immoral that I'd be forced to part ways with you.." She'd take a sip from her coffee, giving him a searching look. "I won't try to lecture you on how to run your business, unless you ask for my advice.. Everyone from the academy knows the tenets of my faith, there's little point in proselytizing, and nagging you endlessly. I'm trying to preserve the future of my Church, but restoring our world and defeating the forces of Chaos will do far more than converting one person at a time, or trying to change how an entire corporation functions."

She'd close her eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath, her eyes remaining closed as she confides something in him. "I think I'm the last adherent of my faith, Souji. Its daunting. I don't think I'm prepared for the challenges I'll have to face."

As the subject returned to Kyra, she'd open her eyes once again, looking at him. "She was.. just as upset as I was, Souji. I think she believes.. well, its all speculation, we've hardly spoken since the funeral. I shouldn't malign her, until I know otherwise, but sometimes I wonder if she's angry with you because she thinks you should have been there for her, to protect her. I know that you're not to blame, and she knows it too.. Its just, hard to let go. Be patient with her, please. She'll come around."
Souji Murasame Souji's expression is as neutral as ever at the searching look. He takes a drink of his coffee, unconcerned that Alma is showing signs of suspicion. Any sane person would be. "I understand." He says, a short response to a long explanation.

He looks away, and sets down the cup, before he nods again. "Even now, I am doing everything I can for her, Alma. Kyra will come to understand that eventually." He sighs, and looks away. "Do you believe..." He pauses. "That we will meet again, eventually?"

Speaking of hard to let go...
Alma Hyral Her heart just breaks when she hears Souji ask that. She wanted to hug him, but that seemed like it'd be far too forward, and embarassing a gesture, at this public table. She didn't want to press her luck by acting overly familiar with him. So instead she reaches a hand over, to place her hand over one of his. When she looks him in the eyes, he'd see that her eyes are misting, tearful from her own sorrow. Her voice cracks as she finally speaks. "Y-Yes, I truly believe that. I promise you that we'll see her again, one day Souji. All are one, in her embrace."
Souji Murasame Alma puts her hand on his. He instinctively flinches at first, but then he stops, looking down at her hand as she touches his. He pauses, staring at it with an intensity. There is something in those eyes, a burning that was being hidden before...

And then his face smooths out, Souji efficiently smothering the breach in emotional purity he had allowed himself as he focuses upon Alma's face once again. "We will see her again. We all will." He says, quietly. A moment later, he puts down some Gil on the table to cover both of their drinks. "IF you are finished, we can go back to the Ame-no-Torifune to have you set up for your duties. You will need communications, authorization passes, and to be introduced to the other members of the corporation."
Alma Hyral She sees it. And for a moment, it gives her pause. It was the same disquieting feeling she always had around Helena. How much had Tira's death, actually changed him?

And then, he's back to normal. And she's uncertain whether she saw anything at all. She must be imagining things, the man was grieving for her sister after all. It was right and proper that she do everything in her power to help him through that.

So all she does is smile, removing her glasses briefly to wipe her eyes with a table napkin, nodding wordlessly when he affirms what she said.

"Of course Souji. I appreciate the oppurtunity."

This scene contained 16 poses. The players who were present were: Souji Murasame, Alma Hyral