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Truth of a Friend In Need
(2013-02-26 - 2013-02-28)
After dealing with an exhausting trip at Wutai, Leida returns to he headquarters to hide herself, but encounters Reize along the way. The two have an important discussion...
Reize Seatlan It approaches evening, the sun has already fallen and the moon slowly rises in its place.

It is a week of festivity. People are happy and singing. While the initial pary from the festival itself has calmed down considerably, there is an event going on at the pub hosted by the other clans. All of them have set it up for the leader of the Shard Seekers to attend.

Although it is only a few hours until the event, Reize is out and about the lobby. Although they are now an official clan, things are normal as always. So, Reize is just lazing around, lying back against one of the workbenches. He lifts his head as he remains upside down, "Ooooh. It'll be time soon!"
Leida The front door creaks treacherously as it swings open, announcing the arrival of a visitor to anyone who happens to be listening. Leida winces at the noise, her fingers digging into the worn surface of the wood reflexively. A steady din of laughter and jubilation from the people outside filters in through the windows and she hopes it was enough to cover for her sudden return from the disastrous mission to China.

As she had little money on her at the time, Leida's new pink blouse and skirt which was picked out for her by Imi is still a ragged mess. Cuts and rips of various sizes have rendered the garment practically useless and the dark black stains underneath can only be patches of her distinctive demonic blood. However, despite this she does have on a rather strange addition to her outfit in the form of a loose hood which is currently pulled up over her head and drapes a short cape about halfway down her back.

The girl peers inside as much as she can through the cracked door and then quickly steps through, turning to shut it fast behind her once more. Her shoes are kicked off and pushes aside so as not to get in the way. Exhausted, Leida turns about once more to step off down the hallway towards the dorms but in doing so she finds Reize lying upside-down on a nearby bench that was obscured from her view.

She stops mid-step and jolts backwards, taking in a sharp gasp of surprise. "O-oh... Reize-san...!" A bow is offered to him but she takes great care in slowly moving her head so as not to shift the hood around too much. "Good evening."
Reize Seatlan Bored Reize is bored.

He should be out adventuring. However, he has a party to attend! So, he is trying to be good. He has to be good. If he doesn't, the other clan leaders will do bad things to him that aren't fun! Nevertheless, the boy is almost pulling himself up from the bench. And then...

"Oi! Leida!" He gives off a laugh, "You look funny upside down." Then, he squints over her, realizing that her clothes are in tatter. Blink. "Uhhh...." He is pulling himself up, then he turns to face her directly. As he stands up straight, he brings his hands into the air.

"...Are you alright?"
Leida Leida blinks at the strange greeting and then offers a soft chuckle in return, turning to make a quick exit towards the back rooms. But she is not quite quick enough to keep him from noticing the state of her clothes and even as she turns her back to him to start walking his concerned question hits her from behind like a gunshot. No such luck.

The girl's shoulders slump as she briefly ponders rushing into her room with some weak excuse. It probably wouldn't help. Besides, she tells herself, you promised to stop running away all the time.

"Reize-san... I..." She clasps her hands together nervously and takes a deep breath, letting the exhale carry the tension out of her body with the air. "I made a... terrible mistake."
Reize Seatlan Something is bothering her.

Reize is able to see it as her shoulders slump and looks contemplative. Reize looks at her closely, considering her before he smiles at her, "Leida..." His eyes fall shut, then he scoots over towards the bench.

She finally admits something, "You can tell me. We're friends, right?" The young adventurer brightens. Even if he is her guardian, she is at the point of proving that she can take care of herself. He no longer needs to guide her as much. But, he is still willing to step in and take responsibility if need to be. That is the promise that he made.

"Come sit, we can talk about it."
Leida Nodding gently, she moves over to take a seat beside him. Leida hunches forward with her hands resting on her knees, staring intently at the ground for a few long moments in silence. Fear is the prominent emotion that grips her now, the same sensation that has always hounded her when important decisions are on the line. Except the decision has already been made and she is just stalling now.

She sighs again and timidly reaches up to the hood covering her head. The fabric is lifted upwards and then drawn back and the reason for that becomes exceedingly clear. Four blade-like protrusions of bone or something like it jut from the top of the girl's skull, peeking through the top of her hair like demonic horns. They sit in two rows with the front pair being larger and more prominent. From their appearance it's likely they are exceedingly sharp.

Leida drops her hands back into her lap once the hood is down and continues to stare at the floor with a melancholic expression. "I lost control again. The darkness called to me and... and I listened."
Reize Seatlan Once Leida takes a seat by him, Reize is looking over her way as she stares at the ground. He can see that she is worried completely. That is why Reize is reaching his hand over towards her own. His grip around it tightens.

He gives her a reassuring smile.

Once she takes the hood off, reize sees those blade-like protrusions at the bone come at her skull. They are demonic horns. Reize's eyes drift to see her appearance. At first, Reize looks very shocked. In fact, his muscles tense completely as he holds onto her.

However, Reize does not let go.

Instead, as she explains again, Reize offers her a faint smile.

"Leida." He fixes her with a gaze that locks only to her, "...When I offered extended my hand out to you, I knew you were alone. I knew that it would not be easy to help you. It would not be easy for you to keep out of the path of darkness." He smiles, "But I took the chance anyway. You have shown that you're capable of becoming stronger for yourself." He lowers his head, "...It's taxing having a lot expected of you, isn't it?"

He leans his head back from the wall, gazing up towards the sky.

"...You try to follow the expectations of people. Even if it's through good intentions. ...I am guilty of expecting a bit out of you as well."
Leida Leida flinches at the obvious reaction to her newly acquired hair accessories. She had expected as much. But the grip on her hand tightenes rather than lets go and she turns to peer back at him with misty eyes as he tries to comfort her in his usual manner.

"I do not know where to turn any more, Reize-san. It feels like this is a betrayal of... of all the kindness that everyone has shown me. That my promises of redemption meant nothing. But..."

She is unable to look him in the face as she continues, her corrupted eyes drifting down to the floor again. "It feels like I am trying to deny an important part of myself when I push the darkness away. It is painful and... wrong. My heart is being pulled in two directions at once and I do not know which path is right."

There is a moment of hesistation, as if unsure of the wisdom of the words she is about to speak but she has to ask. "Do... do you think that... the darkness can be controlled? Could I use it to protect the things that I hold dear?"
Reize Seatlan "It happens," Reize lowers his head, "...We're all human in the end. " He considers as he listens to Leida. His eyes lift towards the outside of the place. The boy glances at Leida a moment later. "...You remember that I was planning to leave, right? ...I thought about it before. ... I felt that I would have betrayed everyone leaving. But, in the end, I almost fell into my own desire." He doesn't look proud of that. "...It took Emi intercepting to remind me how selfish I was for doing so."

But, that goes back to falling over the expectations that people put on him. He is supposed to be the leader. But, some people have to make that sacrifice. Though in retrospect, she was right. Reize wants to be a knight one day, right? Reize knows that with the stuff he says, people are to expect him to hold up to his word.


"Leida. You are here. You don't need to turn to anywhere. You have friends that are willing to support you." He smiles, then he looks over towards her corrupted eye gazing at the ground.

"...There is someone that I know. I consider him a good friend. Even if he gave into the darkness. I would defend him." In fact, Reize /did/ defend him. "...He was taken into the darkness when his world disappeared. He had no one to turn to. Even to this day, he struggles with it." His eyes fall shut.

"And yet, he continues to drive on." The boy turns to face Leida.

"Knight's Vow #21: Everyone has a path that is called out to them, follow that calling, that is where your heart is telling you to go. ---There is a difference between what is the forces outside that are influencing you and your heart." He smiles faintly, "You're feeling pain, but at the same time, you want to help people. You're not a bad person." His eyes narrow, "And don't let anyone tell you that."

"I believe you can use it to help those in need."
Leida Somehow that doesn't seem to comfort her very much. The girl looks at him quietly for a few moments with the gaze of one who is considering something with a very bleak odds and doesn't like the outcome that they see. Eventually, she turns her head away again.

After all that she can't tell him what happened in the reactor. She doesn't want to lie but with his faith in her goodness shining through like that it would feel horrible to simply show him the proof that he is probably wrong. The darkness inside of her did not have a single scrap of good lingering within its festering embrace. It was raw and angry and twisted and almost drove her to do something utterly terrible. In the end only her fear saved her; fear of losing her friends, of being driven away when they she what a monster she really is.

Being too afraid to follow through doesn't make her a good person. It makes her a coward. And that is something that has not changed even after her deal with the demon. "I... thank you, Reize-san," is all she can manage. The disgust she feels for herself right now is heavy.
Reize Seatlan "...Leida."

Reize's eyes lower. He can see that in the end, it doesn't seem that he is helping. A sigh is given towards her.

Whatever she is feeling, whatever feels odd about her... Reize looks over at Leida. The young adventurer manages to calm down from how he feels. He is likely doing it again.


Reize finally gazes up towards the stars, "...Be honest with me." He gives her a glance, letting her know that he will accept the answer she gives. If there is anything that will make him angry is if she lies to him.

His eyes shut, "What is it that you want from yourself?"
Leida "Reize-san...?" Leida looks back at him with the same dejected expression though her curiosity at his sudden question is evident as well. She ponders quietly for a few moments then lowers her head again. For a question that gets asked so often the answer is maddeningly elusive. Existential questions rarely had easy forthcoming responses, otherwise philosphers would be out of a job.

Leida is no philospher though. She's just a scared young woman who's never been willing to stand up for herself. Never took a risk or braved terrible danger without some ulterior motive. Even now the only reason she fears to answer is because she doesn't want to be left alone again.

"I... I cannot say. I want to be happy but... I do not know how to accomplish that."
Reize Seatlan Shutting his eyes, Reize knows that his words may not be helpful to Leida. In fact, the question just asked... may not help. Truth be told, Reize is not certain what advice that he can give. He doesn't know how he can help Leida feel better about herself.

...What he does is this.

Reize leans over to embrace Leida. It is the same, honest-to-god hug that he gave her the day that they crossed paths once more and she lashed out at him. The boy shuts his eyes, closing them as he takes in a breath.

"...I don't know what I can say that will help. I don't have the answers. I'm just a simple kid from a small village." He smiles. "...But, you can bet that whatever decision that you make, I will stand by you a hundred percent."

He opens his mouth for a Knight's Vow, but thinks better of it. Instead...

His hug tightens.

"Know that I will not abandon you."
Leida The princess stares at him with surprise for a moment. However, it dawns on her that this is simply the kind of person that he is. Sweet to a fault. Despite herself she allows a faint smile to surface as his arms tighten around hers and she tilts her head to the side to rest it against his for a few moments

"Reize... thank you." She sounds more sincere this time partly because his optimism and kindness have made her a little happy and partly because she knows that he won't be satisfied until she stops moping. "I promise that I will... do my best to never give you a reason to."
Reize Seatlan As the tension slowly starts to fade away, Reize maintains the hug, loosening it enough to not be suffocating. He just wanted to make sure that she knows that he is here for her. He is not going to give her any reason to not feel that he will not accept her.

As Leida calmly accepts the hug, Reize nods and then he retracs the hug. He brightens a smile, "Good." He looks over towards her, "If you want, in a couple of hours, there is supposed to be a group gathering at the pub. I will be going there to party with the other clan leaders. If you wish to join, I would like to have your company."
Leida Leida sucks in a soft breath when the grip around her chest finally fades but does her best to cover it up with a soft smile. "Actually, Reize-san... the day has left me exceedingly exhausted. And... I am not quite ready to face a large crowd with... these."

She gestures up at the deadly spikes on her head. "I think I will take my leave and retire for the night. Thank you for your support. I will be counting on you."

Sliding off the bench, she offers him another bow before heading down the dark hallway leading to the dorms and vanishing into her room. The door thumps shut softly behind her and Leida doesn't even bother to disrobe before she collaspses onto the small futon that serves as her bed. Her head hits the pillow with a dull sound and she drifts off to sleep almost immediately as the day's events finally overwhelm her all at once.

This scene contained 16 poses. The players who were present were: Reize Seatlan, Leida, Annalise