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Hero, Don't Kill The Demon King! Chapter 1: Lives Not Yet Thrown Away

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"It's fine, we were just wrapping up... as for your offer, I do appreciate the willingness to assist." Nessraya replied, looking the newcomer over for a moment before continuing.

"I'll need you to tell me a bit more about yourself, as well as why you wish to help us. Allow me to get a handle on your reasons, before taking you on, hmm? That seems fair to me."

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'Taliyah...aaah, i remember now.' The lizard girl that helped Ayane while she was at her low points when she had first arrived, and then again after her zombified sister had fled. Her words seemed to have had enough of an effect on Ayane to leave an impression, she owed her. But hearing all this was quite a revelation. 'Taliyah's father...hm...' Quite a bit of this was a bit past Ayane's realm of knowledge, the Ithraxl part anyway. But she seemed very conflicted, and scared. Something Ayane took notice of. "Hm..." The truth was she wanted to say something, but she wasn't sure what at the moment. Confronting your family is hard, she knew it well herself. Hopefully the words would come later...

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"Ah... It's okay, Nessraya, er... General. Uhm. I... I'll be alright. I have friends for the first time. It's, a lot more than I've ever had to fall back on." Taliyah did her best to smile, as Erephis continued to comfort her, hoping that the girl would be alright.

"Mnnhh, alriiiiight," Asami whined, finally sitting upright and nodding. "Let's all eat, get some energy into ourselves... And mosey on out of here on our way, like the proper soldiers we all are."


"It's alright, Marina." Lavinia felt a little better, that her words were helping, rather than hurting. Marina giving her a hug was a bit surprising, really... That she'd become so comfortable meant the world to Lavinia. It was... Also a bit easier to accept the affection, without the sword around, despite her words. The weapon still caused Lavinia a level of panic, that she was trying to come to grips with, but it would take time. Marina could be trusted... She could. All the signs were pointing to it.

"The leader of Khach... Duchess Asphodel Ana. She is a pureblood, though please, don't get it into your mind that they all despise humans... She is just... A very special case." Lavinia bit her lip and scowled. "If Coteon was to go to war with Khach under the banner of her death, honestly... I would wish them well. She is exactly what the church wants. A vampire that wants to wipe out the humans of Xensat... Truly, if we come to blows with her, I urge you to use the holy sword. Do not give her pity, the same as you may for the enemies we have faced so far. She doesn't deserve a moment of it." A bit heavy of a response, but it was the truth. Asphodel was a reprehensible villain, in all ways.

"My apologies for becoming so dark... It just pains me to be a vampire, and have someone of my race so damning an example. Take your time to ready yourself for travel, again. We should be off soon, I would think."




Just beyond noon, the group had traveled some ways south of Aensbrook. Having eaten their fill and said their goodbyes to Geoffrey for his hospitality, they followed along towards where he had said the issues had been happening. They had simply been following the main road, but a gentle mist had begun to overtake them... Something definitely not normal for this area of Vaia.

"I don't like this," Lavinia remarked, sitting up front next to Jade, as her wagon rolled along. "This reeks of magic... Considering what we learned of it, it can't be any good magic, either."

"Probably something underhanded, of course," Asami yawned out, still tired, "but that's all we seem to deal with nowadays~"

"Thank you for your input, Asami... Oh, Jade, turn here." There was a mostly natural fork in the road, a path leading into the woods they had been traveling alongside. "Geoffrey mentioned this being where people were heading for these goings on... Apparently a lot of hunters use this road to enter the woods, as it provides less resistance than wading directly into the brush... I just hope this mist is a side effect, and nothing to do with the magic itself. I don't need the sun and the air beating down on me, hmph." A wry smirk, Lavinia could only hope that this side trip ended well.

Taliyah, in the back of the wagon, had curled up once again next to Agni, hugging her tail and fighting nodding off. She didn't want the thing to go anywhere and start poking at Jade's wares, or their excess supplies. "Mnnh... Mm, cozy..." Unfortunately, hugging something warm so close to herself, had been inviting sleep.

"T-Taliyah, hun, you h, have to ssstay awake," Erephis tried to prod, sitting slightly uncomfortably, trying to get used to legs.

"Ahh... Mn, I'm, trying... Travel makes me, sleepy though..."

"Oh... You poor d-dear, hmhmhm."

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"Yes, um... Of course..."

Taiyute nodded, as she took up a seat next to the General...

(tbc in a retro <3)


A pureblood vampire who hated humans? That rose a couple questions to Marina, as well as something from before... a story she got told about Coteon's royal family. It wasn't time for that now, Lavinia was right. She had to get her things together so they can leave. Including Jade's clothing.

"Mhm... I have a question regarding the Duchess, but, um... Not now. I guess, if you remember, can you remind me?" She nodded, "Anyway, yeah, I got a few more errands to run. I'll come with you to give proper thanks to Geoffery and an apology, then... Yeah. Gotta get all my stuff together." And Marina gave a small smile.


As soon as they had boarded the wagon, Marina had reacquired the Holy Sword. As much as she was upset to keep the thing on her person, it was her responsibility. So much responsibility... But she kept her head up, she perked up a lot more than she had been in the morning. She did a good last night, she could accept that. Lavinia did. Nessraya did, maybe it's easier than I'm making it.

She had set the clothing in a free spot in the back of the wagon. Maybe she'd be able to give them to Jade 'officially', but if not, they were at least there for Jade to see and retrieve.

During the ride, she couldn't help but accidentally eye at Agni and Taliyah over and over. It was really cute, but it still surprised her. She was grateful of the development Agni was making. It gave her hope her efforts have helped change him at least a little bit. It was a solid start overall.

She had returned to her notebook, as she kept herself close to the front. If anything, maybe for once she'd take the leader role seriously, and when they'd arrive, she could take initiative as their leader. To make that extra difference for the sake of the future. Who knows, maybe she's just feeling overly eager today.


Taiyute herself had a very unorthodox way of sitting in the wagon. In fact, she hadn't been IN the wagon. She had found a sturdy spot on the outside, and sat there. It was too crowded for her liking inside, and she liked the feel of the wind, and the freedom that came with it. She hung out her feet a bit, letting the air go by.

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With the meeting over and done with, and everyone was well fed, the group continued on their way towards the aforementioned location of the sightings.  Ren of course sat next to Ayane, his eyes closed in concentration as the wagon started to move.  He idly stroked Ukogi's wings and back, the softness of his feathers a welcomed distraction as he mulled over his thoughts.

He wasn't surprised by the reactions and answers he had gotten during the meeting, accepting it for what it is.  He was actually impressed and glad at the reactions; that showed to him the importance Marina held, and that there were people who would protect her if things went south.

As he opened one of his eyes, Ren noticed that their little hero had chosen to sit at the front of the wagon, occupied with her notebook of sorts.  Maybe this was the best opportunity he had to speak with her.

"Dear cousin, would it be alright if I went and kept the little hero company?" he asked, leaning in so Ayane was the only one to hear.  If anything, only those with ultra sensitive hearing would be able to listen in as well. 

Edited by sweet podado

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Gabriela was quite excited to leave the town they had been in. The further she was from Jezebel, the better. There were nice memories there as well, but a change of scenery was necessary. There was one person Gabby hadn't really spoken to, but was interested in. So during the ride in the wagon, she made sure to sit nice and close to him, the black-feathered individual, Bladen.

Gabriela began speaking to him in a quite voice during the ride. ''Hey there. Your feathers look nice you know. I want to know some more about the fallen. Would you tell me over drinks?''

Edited by Michelaar

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They were definitely getting into the right area at this point... the unnatural mist was a telltale sign, and even Lavinia could make out the density of magic in the air at this point, the vampire commenting on it from up front. Floating over to the front of the wagon, Nessraya leaned her elbows against the driver's area, resting her face on her palms.

"It's a heavy concentration of nature magic, causing that mist... I can't say at this point whether it's malevolent or not, but... it certainly adds up with the idea of some sort of forest spirit prowling these woods. Whatever exactly is causing this, we must not be far off, if it's manifesting so plain to see."

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The ride had been relatively quiet for the most part. Bladen had been a bit surprised when Gabby had sat next to him, but given how tired he was, he hadn't thought too hard about it. He was more focused on getting awake enough and in the right headspace for whatever might come. And then she started talking to him. Another surprise, given she'd seemed very uninterested in him up to this point. He glanced over at her, confused. "Uh. Thanks? I guess? They don't really require much focus. Since I can make them shrink or disappear at will. I guess they're probably mostly magic now that I put it that way." They had to be, didn't they? Why hadn't he thought of that before? I guess I never cared. They were my wings, why does it matter if they're mostly magic or if they're flesh and blood.

The whole drinks thing didn't make sense to him though. Why couldn't he just tell her about the Fallen now, if she was so curious? "I mean... We're a relatively private race, but I can tell you some stuff, I guess. We don't need to wait or anything though, I could just tell you now. If you have questions that is. I mean, I suppose I could just start talking, but it would make more sense for you to tell me what you're so curious about first. That way I could start somewhere relevant and not just ramble on about ancient history that you don't care about."

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Ayane was settled by Ren just the same after the meeting had concluded, leaning back in the wagon ride with her sheathed blade resting on her shoulder. This wasn't too far off from their travels across Izuna, well during combat anyway. There were more cozy rides to temple visits no doubt, but Ayane was no stranger to travelling like this. Ren had leaned over to speak to his cousin about visiting Marina. Interesting...perhaps he wanted to apologize for his "foot in mouth" moment as it were. "Do as you wish." She turned her head a bit. "Just be careful not to overstep things, Ren." She also took this as an opportunity to speak with a certain someone herself, but she wanted to wait for her cousin to leave first.

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Gabriela was surprised, but not displeased at Bladen's willingness to talk. ''Well, for instance, where do you live? I don't think i've ever seen a fallen before I met you. Also, what do you use your wings for? You sure don't seem to be flying around often...'' That fact was quite unfortunate, as she would be quite happy to have a flight race sometime, but Ren's pet seemed to be the only candidate for now.

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"Yes yes, you have my word as a warrior Ayane," he says with a casual wave of his hand, smile spreading wide as he shuffled and made his way towards the front where Marina was.  His cousin wouldn't be wrong in him wanting to apologize, since he was at fault for such brash words...but there was something else he wanted to tell the young hero as well.

Once next to Marina, he cleared his throat lightly before letting his smile soften.  "May I join you?" he asked, Ukogi peeking from behind the other's fingers as he was offered up towards the girl.

"I bring you a bird, as a peace offering and apology."

 

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Marina had a small jump as she turned to see Ren, and... Ukogi pop out from his hands,

"O-Of course, it's fine." She soon took the offer, and carefully cupped the bird into her hands again. How excited she got just to see the bird, it was almost visual. "Hello Ukogi," She greeted, slowly petting at the bird, "I'm sorry I almost dropped you last night," Her smile was so bright, so briefly, before turning to Ren,

"It's alright Ren, I forgive you." She nodded, "Y-You were right, I've been... difficult, recently. I'm working on it, I swear."

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Well, the recruitment effort went well enough, it looked like. Jade had hoped one or the other would have taken a more aggressive attempt at engaging the newcomer after her introduction, but with Nessraya passively making some time for her afterward, when Taiyute approached her, that was good enough. As for now... taking a moment to look backward, at the outside of her wagon, the merchant was a little bit conflicted. Well, it wasn't actively harmful, at least, but she would have preferred more a normal passenger, on the whole.

Her sigh was cut short when Lavinia signaled her to take a branch off the main road. The path lead deeper into the rising mist that seemed to be emanating from the woods, and to claim that gave her zero anxiety would be a lie. But Jade trusted in the nightmares. If there were something frightfully amiss, she believed they'd react and make it known. On the contrary, the 'mares were almost in exceptionally high spirit. That didn't stop an odd chill from settling into the zombie's bones, however.

"I'm fine with you keeping the mist, as long as it doesn't develop into full-on thunderclouds..." she muttered in reaction to the vampire's wistful hope that dealing with the spirit they were here to seek out wouldn't dispel the bit of relief it was offering her from the light of day. Jade was starting to wish she'd paid a little more attention to the discussion of the rumors and the content of their business now, rather than having had to deal with other distractions at the time. Ah well, such is life... or in her case, its slightly twisted replacement.

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Agni was pleased that the meeting did not last long after their objectives were set, feeling sympathy for the rough situation they'd thrust Taliyah onto. Erephis being her relative was also news... but it meant Agni wouldn't have to concern himself so much, with another person being well able to provide comfort for Taliyah.

Still, Taliyah seemed to mind his presence a great deal, in a positive way. Agni did not mind keeping company, in that case.

It was curious to see how Xalrei would react to that... and she was certainly flustered, in some sense. Hm.

That could be a topic for later.


Traveling by wagon was... not terribly exciting. It left time to spare so think about their journey so far, but that wasn't quite something Agni felt inclined to ponder about at the moment...

Taliyah seemed to prefer staying by his side ever since their talk last night, which was surprising. Agni figured she'd feel most comfortable beside her friend, Xalrei, but perhaps he'd missed something. Agni glanced Xalrei's way for a moment, curiously trying to piece something out of her behavior, all he could surmise was that his friendship with Taliyah probably bothered the dragonewt.

At least, Erephis was keeping her company as well. "As long as you're not oversleeping, Taliyah, just make sure not to drift off to the point you can't hear our voices." It was quite an adorable scene, Agni couldn't help a slight smile. "We'll be reaching our destination soon, anyways."

If that talk of mist was anything to go by, Agni wagered as much.

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Once breakfast was served, Xalrei was quick in devouring the meal before her. She wasn't particularly hungry, but she did want to be done before most everyone else. She didn't stick around either, instead excusing herself without much of an explanation and promising that she wouldn't be late. Really, she just wanted to get out of room and clear her head, before she did something stupid in front of everyone. It just didn't make sense to her, Agni and Taliyah. There was no reason to believe he'd turned over a new leaf, so why him? She couldn't understand. Wandering as she thought, Xalrei stumbled, more or less, into a knickknack shop, one item in particular catching her eye: a pin with a white feather painted on it.

It was magical; the price tag told her as much. However, that did little to deter her from purchasing it. She had the money to spare and she wanted it, so she was going to buy it. If anything, it would make a nice addition to her collection back home. She had a jewelry box filled with similar items; as long as it wasn't something too outlandish, in price or otherwise, her father was more than willing to entertain her attraction to shiny trinkets. Perhaps that made her spoiled, but it was just how she had been raised.

Xalrei buys the Speed Pin.


As the mist began to settle on their not-so-little group, Xalrei couldn't shake the feeling that something was off. It snuck up on her, caught her off guard. Something wasn't right; and no, it wasn't just Taliyah snuggling up against Agni in the back of the wagon. It was unsettling, more so than the aforementioned snuggling; she could explain that feeling, describe how it felt and why she felt it. She couldn't do any of that with this new feeling, words always at the tip of her tongue but never any further. That in itself gave rise to another feeling: anxiety. What was waiting for them in this mist? What if whatever was responsible was lying in wait to ambush them?

Remembering Requiem goading her to fight when Ayane had stormed into dinner last night, Xalrei tried to rouse the sword, a question in mind. 'Hey, Requiem, wake up. You feel anything out there? Like, blood lust, or malevolent intent, or anything like that?' If the sword could sense an angry Oni, why couldn't it sense evil spirits? Or whatever it was that was here? As she waited for the cursed sword's response, Xalrei followed Nessraya to the front. She wasn't going to say no to an excuse to get out of the wagon. With this weird feeling weighing down on her, it was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic.

"I don't think 'good' nature magic can feel like this can it? Whatever's causing this probably isn't going to lay out the welcome mat for us."

Edited by Ursali

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Yeah, now seemed like a good time. Ren had left her side and the wagon still kept pressing on. So the oni princess fixed her sheathed katana back on her side and walked over to Taliyah and Agni in the back of the wagon with a serious expression...which is really just her normal face all things considered. "Uh, pardon me." She spoke toward the two with a cleared voice. Ren was much better at introductions, but she had to try at least. "May I speak with you for a moment, miss Taliyah? You don't have to leave, Sir Agni. I just wanted to have a quick word."

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Seeing Marina express something other than the uncertainty she had been showing was such a breath of fresh air.  Ren couldn't help but smile warmly at the girl as she gently brushed her fingers against Ukogi's feathers.  The bird's response was positive, lightly cooing at the attention as he fluffed his feathers and leaned against her touch.  It seemed that all was forgiven now, which let the oni breath a sigh of relief.

"Usually Ukogi is quite difficult to forgive someone, but seeing as you meant no harm with your actions he has accepted your heartfelt apology," he asnwers, before his smile softened into a smaller upturn of his lips as she apologized.  "From what I have learned, not only from the others here but from my father's travels, that you aren't...from here?" he asked, not wanting to tread into dangerous territory but at the same time wanting to understand Marina better.  "I wouldn't be surprised that the reason you act this way is because of what you've been told so far, so the blame doesn't only lie on solely you."

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"If it were to rain, that would be quite the boon. Most of this magic would be disrupted by the nature of what a storm brings... Alas, I think we are only in for a nasty surprise, if anything." Nessraya had spelled out plainly what they were feeling, though Xalrei's comment was likely on the money. The only natural thing about this magic was its source. What it was being used for would remain to be seen, but a concentration heavy enough to end up visible... Either there were massive experiments going on, or a vein of the great tree had somehow sprung up in the area.

"If you're feeling uncomfortable, Xalrei, place a hand on Nessraya and focus on her magic instead... She likely has plenty, right now. Her last night in the town seems to have perked her up quite heavily..." Lavinia smirked only a bit, Nessraya was practically glowing in appearance. One of the townsfolk had likely supplied her, or Xalrei herself. Lavinia wasn't quite interested in the details, but she did wonder how the woman went from one person to another so easily... The 'perks' of being a succubus, perhaps?

Asami merely rolled her eyes at all this talk, and landed them on... "Really?" With a heavy sigh, she picked herself up and placed herself on Bladen's free side, stealing his arm and hugging it right between her breasts. "The only person he's getting drinks with is me, harpy." Asami stuck her tongue out and scoffed, leaning against Bladen with a confident smirk. "Go ahead and continue talking, Bladen dear~"

"Mmnmnh, not, gonna fall asleep..." Taliyah's eyes cracked open some and she yawned... Her renewed gaze falling on the oni that had suddenly approached them. "Hwahh!" Hugging Agni was her first plan of action, though it was less of a comfortable hug, and more of a scramble to try and hide herself behind his shoulder. She didn't succeed. "Uh, wh-wha, t, talk? Uh... Wh-What, did I do? Did my tail s-steal something from you? I'm sorry! I didn't mean it, i-if it did, I, uhm..."

"Taliyah... I believe sh-she just, wishes to speak calmly, with you. Please, ssssstay calm, dear." Erephis wasn't that surprised by the girl's reaction, but...

"R... R-Right, I... Ah, s-sorry, Agni!" Letting his arm go and sitting upright just a bit, she took a deep breath, timidly looking up towards Ayane. "S-So... What... I-Is it?"

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The cursed blade didn't like being mentally prodded, though admittedly, it had been the very definition of dormant. Doing anything other than quietly observing its surroundings exacted a toll on Requiem, and observing these peaceable arena goers was a special kind of torture. Having opened its spiritual eyes just long enough to take in its new surroundings, it was clear that something was off. There was also something extremely unpleasant about this place. Requiem had an extremely difficult time acquiring energy through nonviolent means, which made extracting magic from this area impossible in its current state. The cursed blade tried anyway and failed. Maybe the source of this area's magic was physical, something that could be struck and properly drained.

'This place resists.' Feeling conservative with its scarce energy and information, Requiem answered Xalrei with questions of its own. 'What do you intend? Will you fight or flee?' If she admitted her intention was to fight whatever came their way, then perhaps the cursed sword could be bothered to reach out farther with its senses and try to be more helpful. If the plan was to avoid a fight, Requiem had other plans, and enough stored energy to facilitate them, albeit with some minor risk. On top of leaving the group perturbed, potentially dead or worse, calling out a challenge into the mist to try and draw the danger to them was an investment of precious energy that might not pay off.

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Marina listened, as the butterflies in her stomach flew about as she continued being enamored by this bird.

So much personality in such a tiny animal. Marina hands got ever so more gentler. "He's so sweet," She answered, her smile beaming again. "What a good little bird,"

Then Ren brought up how she wasn't from here. She nodded, simply letting Ren keep talking, bringing how she's been pushing herself. Everything was fine. Except for bringing up his father. It made her start frowning, thinking about home, how she really didn't want to be here. How much she missed her parents,

"I'm from another world, yeah." Marina nodded, "It's been... five months. Everything's so different, nothing like home. You'd think I'd be adjusted by now, but really, I..." She stopped, "Sorry, everything was just so nice now, I'm just gonna ruin it." Shaking her head, Marina returned her eyes to Ren. "Tell me about Izuna."

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This... was not how he had expected this conversation to go. Gabby had seem interested in his people, asking questions, and then all of a sudden Asami was... Blushing, Bladen yanked his arm back from her, trying not to think about where it was and what he was hitting on his way out of captivity. "Asami, please. She was just asking questions..." Rubbing his hand over his face for a second, he shook his head and did his best to just pretend that none of that had just happened. Focus on the questions. Whatever the reasoning behind Asami's ridiculous behavior could be dealt with later.

"You wouldn't see any of us around really. There are very few of us who leave our settlement, near the edge of the country. We are isolated on purpose. Our race is long lived but small. It's... it's why what happened with the battle against the humans is so devastating. The loss of that many Fallen lives will take centuries to start to fix. But we could not have done anything else. Our failure with the last King could not have been repeated." His voice cracked slightly on the last sentence, so he took a second. One deep breath. Another. Focus on easier subjects. "As for our wings, well, we uh... We can fly with them. But... Well, to make them large requires focus. At least it does for me. Apparently the older you get, the easier it gets and I'm, well, young still. But I'm getting better! I've only lost control of them once or twice the last few days... But until you have full control over them, it's safer to not risk falling in the middle of flight."

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"Hyah! Heeyyyyy..." A hefty pout followed his escape, sighing, and listening in to his talk. Of course, she knew all of this already. Especially the small size of his race, and what Marina's crusade had done to them. With a smaller sigh, she stole his arm again, avoiding her chest to hopefully keep him there. "Bladen, darling... She's flirting with you. That's why she started with asking to talk over drinks... I know you're sheltered, but, really... Though, I can't imagine it's on her mind anymore, after all of that heavy talk. Do you want to know something else, hmm?" A small smirk, she was happy to have all of this knowledge. "Your special magic will help make flying easier too... The concentration stems from the same source. A good deal, don't you think?"

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Before her question was even answered, none other than Asami swooped in, calling her a harpy. ''Is that how you want to play this, Asami of the Dawn? You're on.'' Bladen managed to get his arm back from Asami and answered Gabby's question. But of course, the conversation couldn't go on before a certain jealous fox had to make Gabriela out to be a villain. ''Asami, don't act so clingy. I just wanted to talk with one of my allies. We'll be on the battlefield together, after all. Getting to know someone over drinks is a great way to get to know someone, if you must know. And i'm certain, Bladen...'' She turned over to him. ''If you try to fly more often, i'm certain you'll master it. I can even teach you if you want. These wings of mine aren't just for show!'' She couldn't believe Asami would be so rude, though it was to be expected with the attitude she showed earlier... Gabby had just hoped that she was exempt from this attitude.

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She seemed very skittish. Was it the oni's appearance or just the situation at hand? Either way she pushed those thoughts aside and shook her head. "No, you stole nothing from me. I came to thank you for what you did on the battlefield." She took a short bow and rose just as quickly. "I felt rather lost when I saw my sister, Suzume...but your words of encouragement did reach me. I was raised to return debts, so know that I am grateful, miss Taliyah." Ayane...well she didn't smile, she wasn't at that stage just yet. But her serious expression did soften, if only slightly. It was a start, right?

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He quickly focused on her change in mood, especially after he mentioned his father.  Ukogi continued to preen and chirp in delight at the little hero's attention, even nibbling the tips of her fingers playfully here and there.

"I'm sorry if I brought up any memories of home or anything that upset you negatively.  Honestly, I can relate to your loss, because even though it's a different kind of loss we still are far from our homes."  The smile he wore now was small, sad and the corners (if you looked cloooosely) were trembling slightly.  "Five months?  That's so little time, and yet..they've made you do so much for such a young lady-"

He cleared his throat, not wanting to finish that train of thought.  Best not to ruin the moment they had right now.

Instead, he perked up when she asked about his home, relaxing his tense shoulders he had just noticed were hunched up a bit.  "Izuna i- was quite the site.  Beautiful mountain ranges and bountiful forests as our boundaries, we were the envy of our neighbors, heh.  The festivals we held were full of life, and the dances that were performed to honor our Gods and, and the games we used to play while waiting for the food to be called...and..."

It wasn't until now, that the homesick oni had noticed the tears that had left his eyes silently.  With a graceful wave of his hand and sleeve, he wiped and dried his eyes, taking out his fan to cover the bottom half of his face.

"Marina, you must stay strong.  Every one of us in this group have lost something dear to them, and what unites us at the moment is one common goal.  Hopefully that changes later on...but right now, we must persevere against the evils of the world that threaten this fragile balance we're trying to bring back to them."

Hopefully you understand...eventually...that you're not alone, not anymore.

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