DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 48: Courtyard
Ninjas > everybody else.
thatdamnedninja wrote in damned
"I could tell you some stories," Yuffie suggested brightly, "of unquestionable legality." Illegality, that was. Petty little things like the law didn't usually mean very much to her, except for the times when she had to uphold it. Always fun for the breaking, though, the law, and messy for the clean-up. Just the way she liked it.

Her nurse looked like she wanted to rub her temples. With sandpaper. "No, thank you," she said instead. "Why don't you run along, now?" Please!, was the unspoken request. Before I spontaneously combust. Or commit various acts of violence that would have me arrested, or placed in a loony bin. Like this one. Yuffie had quite a bit of fun filling in the blanks other people left. Sometimes she did it outloud, just to see the reaction; sometimes she kept it to herself. It really, really depended.

"Don't mind if I do!"

She took off, bolting out into the Courtyard. The weather was dour, overcast and threatening rain, but Yuffie didn't care. She'd refused a coat on principle, and had found herself bargaining: Fine, fine, Plucky had conced she could go without a coat, but unless she had at least a sweatshirt on, there'd be no outside-time for her. She ran a little ways down the dirt path, then toppled herself into a series of cartwheels. Straighten, run. Cartwheel. Straighten, run, just for the sheer sake of movement, and the whip of the wind. She laughed a little giddily, checking her gait down to a jog. Gawd, Leviathan, she'd needed this. Right from the get-go, she'd needed this. Every day she spent cooped up in side, the more nervous energy she had.

Nanaki had helped, she realized. Sort of. He'd…helped. In a way. His presence and everything that was wrong with it weighed on her, for sure, but he was still Nanaki. He didn't deserve to be here, didn't deserve to be stuck in a body that he hated and couldn't use, but all the same, she found herself glad to have him.

Yuffie started to hum, as she jogged leisurely around the Courtyard. A cheery little tune, one of her favorites; no, it was her favorite. A Wutaian walking song, with the roughly translated title of Pathway After the Rain. The pace stayed even but the tune picked up, and she found herself half-singing snatches of the lyrics to herself. It felt like ages since she'd last said anything in her native tongue, at least outloud; she wrote in it all the time.

[The Doctor]

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Edgar flashed a smile at his nurse as he exited the building before pulling his coat around him tightly. The air was surprisingly chilling, even more so than the night before. Despite his trips to Narshe and the cold air of the nights in Figaro, he'd never quite learned to adjust to the lower temperatures. The thin fabric of the assigned clothing didn't help matters in the slightest.

The unpleasant conditions wouldn't ruin his day for him, however: his scavenging endeavors the previous night had been a major success, and he couldn't wait to get to work on his plans. He had many of the major components- another night, and he'd be ready to start assembling his latest design. Once better equipped, he'd have a chance managing a safe escape.

Unfortunately, the previous night had also made real some of the dangers he'd been warned about. He couldn't help but wonder what that was he and Yuna had seen floating above the Sun Room. Perhaps he'd never know. Either way, he never wanted to confront something like that without a proper weapon. Soon, that wouldn't be a problem.

He made his way toward an empty bench, taking a seat and watching some of the other prisoners. Two men sitting awkwardly a distance away, an occupied bench- no Celes among the crowd. A part of him was starting to wonder if he'd ever see her again.

[Celes]

It had indeed been a strange series of days for Celes. After seeing Dias, everything had gone dark, for a very long time. Especially if the notes she missed were any indication. And, like the others, now Dias, too was gone. Well, he was the fifth, weren't bad things supposed to come in threes?

With a soft, pitying sigh, Celes hid the sword that she'd slept on and braided her hair away from her face. If there was nothing she could do, and no way to protect anyone that she became close to, what was the point in fighting? Still, as she was led along to the courtyard (her nurse yammering on about how missing meals was just no good for her), she couldn't hope but look for Edgar.

Thankfully, she was rewarded. Parting from her nurse, Celes joined Edgar. "Is this seat taken, or are you expecting to court some woman?" The usual bite in her words seemed subdued.

Just as he was settling into the idea of spending the shift quietly people-watching, Edgar heard the one voice he'd expected not to hear. He grinned widely, more thankful to see her face than he'd ever reveal. "You'll be pleased to discover I've kept my courting at a minimum while here," he replied, scooting to the side to make room for his companion.

He clasped his hands before him, resting his elbows on his knees, allowing a moment to pass before speaking again. It'd been so long since he'd seen Celes- despite looking each day, each shift, she'd somehow managed to stay out of sight, though not out of mind. She was his closest friend here, and his only acquaintance from home. Even if she didn't know of the end of the world, she was still the Celes he'd known, and that was better than no one at all.

"I was certain you'd kept yourself away from me on purpose," he said, casting a sideways glance to her. "Where have you been hiding?"

"Sleeping, apparently," Celes replied as she settled beside him. "Though I do cannot fathom how they managed to keep me under so long." To be honest, the thought was unsettling; she was supposed to be resistant to certain things, wasn't she? Then why?

"And I'd never keep away without good reason." Like, for instance, pique. Or, as the case seemed to currently warrant, self-pity. If there were a chance for Celes to skulk off and hide while she licked her wounds, then she would take it without a doubt. "I'm glad that you're still here."

"Believe me, I wouldn't be here if I thought I could escape," he said, his eyes on her. True, he'd not put forth much effort to find a way from this place, but he believed in being prepared. "Though if I do find a way out, I won't be leaving without you."

He leaned into the bench, bringing himself closer to her. "I saw my first monster here just last night. It was some abomination floating above the Sun Room- it appeared to be a mass of swords with a person at its center. For a moment, I thought it might be an Esper, though I question if they exist at all in this place."

He wondered briefly if those who had been fighting the monster had defeated it, or at least made it away safely. He hoped Yuna wasn't too mad they'd not returned to help. "Until that point, I'd been wondering if you'd maybe been imagining things- I've been here for days with little incident, aside from your disappearing act."

"They exist; they at least have Siren, Edgar. So they're here. Somewhere." He was getting closer and she, ostensibly, moved over and away from him. "I'm sure of that, anyway," to be far, though, it'd been months since she'd seen a monster and--

-- wait. That sounded familiar, but, her experience with sword-bearing monsters had been brief at best, at least here. At home, they called them Emperors. "It wasn't a man, was it? A cocky one with white hair?" So long as he wasn't asking her what she had been doing, Celes was satisfied.

Edgar shook his head. "I didn't get a very good look at the being, admittedly," he said. "We were ill-equipped to even begin to face such a foe- Yuna and I, that is- so we left it to those already in battle. They seemed to be handling it well enough."

He crossed his arms as Celes moved away, a faint smirk on his face. He'd not intended to make her uncomfortable, though he could see her demeanor was as icy as ever. Perhaps one day, she'd learn to sit next to a gentleman without being disturbed. Then again, perhaps it was just him. He sighed: the thought that his skills might be rusty was slightly distressing.

"Soon enough, I'll be better prepared to face the dangers this place can produce," he said, his smile returning. "I've been working on a project during these past few nights. Something to keep myself entertained."

"Good to know," Celes replied quietly, unable to shake off her malaise. If she didn't lighten up (as much as she could, anyway), he was going to suspect something. Triad knew Celes couldn't allow that to happen, even though her experiences with the playboy king had alerted her to that heightened awareness one learned after a lifetime of tending court.

She reminded herself to tread carefully, and straightened her posture slightly. "So long as you've something to do, I can figure out how to regroup the alchemical club I'm in, or abolish it entirely. The head of the group has vanished, and so have many of the alchemists." She really was a useless woman if she couldn't even keep her forces together.

Edited at 2010-03-09 03:54 am (UTC)

Alchemists? They didn't seem like the sort Celes would align herself with, somehow. She had been here for some time, though. Perhaps her tastes had changed.

"I've not given much attention to the 'clubs' they advertise on the board," he noted. "It seems like a reasonable system, but I prefer to make my alliances on a face-to-face value." He liked to have a person before him when in conversation: it was infinitely easier to decide how to act accordingly when dealing with anyone, friend or foe, in-person, as he could watch their mannerisms and behaviors. True, he didn't always have the luxury of speaking to a potential ally himself- usually, a delegate was sent- but it was his preference.

Speaking of reading a person's behavior, Celes was still acting odd, and it frustrated the king that he couldn't quite put his finger on why. Maybe she was disappointed at the aforementioned loss of club members, or maybe the loss of someone more important to her. He wanted to ask, but the initial fear she'd think him prying quelled his concern briefly.

"How did you become involved in such a thing, anyway?" he asked, trying to fill the void in conversation.

"Chance," Celes replied. "The Brigadier General was rather perplexed on how to go about managing his organization and we just... sort of fell into conversation about it." You couldn't blame her, really, she was just drawn to that sort of thing. "To be honest, I hardly trust any of the other leaders of the club. History makes no bones about being entirely for their own benefit, I find it hard to believe there'd be a magnanimous soul in that group.

"Arts and Crafts has gone through too many leadership changes. I'm sure that the current Hitsugaya is doing his best, but I cannot help but wonder if it wouldn't be worth it to scrap the whole thing and start again from scratch. Indeed, if I choose to continue the work left for me by Hughes and his former superior, Mustang, then I would be the third leader in as many weeks." It wasn't the source of her problems, but it was one of them. "Followed by the numerous other associations that seem to have nothing more than a joke or a time-wasting effort planned..." she shrugged.

"It makes me wonder," if any of them are really worth saving, or if it would be better for all of us to just give up now, she added to herself. Such mutinous thoughts, Celes chided mentally. Ah well, it wouldn't be the first time.

"If a complete abandonment and reorganization of the group would help settle your concerns, then perhaps that's the best route to take," Edgar observed. It sounded like she had a lot on her mind, most of it kept so far from anyone that she was the only one who could possibly help herself; however, maybe she wasn't sure how. It was an unfortunate position, and one he didn't like to see anyone, especially a comrade, in.

"While I've not seen you in quite a while, you have been fairly... distracted, and seem to be growing more so with every conversation I have with you." He kept his eyes on the area before them, staring down the far wall as if it'd fall under his gaze.

She glanced at him, and smiled thinly in a way that never made it to her cool, blue eyes (though one could hardly call the slight upward shift of her lips a 'smile'). "It has been a very long month, Edgar." Possibly the longest month ever in recorded history, if Celes thought about it long and hard. "The population has swollen and subsided and changed so many times that I'm at a loss to pair those faces I know and hope that they haven't changed or forgotten me. I am just... tired, Edgar. I'm very tired."

There, she'd said it. She was ready to lie down and give up. Betray the others if it meant a chance at peace. Go into that deep darkness and become a tool of Landel's or wake up forevermore as Nancy Kensington. O, what mutiny was this? Celes sighed through her nose and sat back against the bench. She raised an eyebrow, "So forgive me, if I am not my warmest."

Despite his best efforts at being polite, Edgar could not stifle the brief chuckle that accompanied his smile of sheer disbelief. It was no wonder he couldn't figure out what it was that was bothering her- he'd never have believed it if she'd not said so herself!

"Surely I've gone mad from being in this place," he said, rising to his feet and taking a step from the bench. He shook his head before turning to Celes, putting his full focus on her. Was this really the Celes he'd known? It was true that she'd said she'd been pulled to this wretched place from an earlier period, but did that change so much of who she was?

"Surely I didn't just hear one of the most extraordinary women I can think of using such a lousy excuse," he said sharply, his smile fading. "You've been here a long time, I understand. You've met several people, and had them disappear without a trace or explanation. I understand that more than you know. I can see where that would wear the heart thin, but to let such losses drag you to the point where you're ready to give in? That doesn't sound like the Celes I know."

Celes frowned sharply back at him, "Surely, you have, and surely it is the truth." Had he gone deaf in his advanced age? "And even I am allowed a moment to act as regular human being and not some mythic Goddess of Victory, you do realize. As pleased as I am to see you, perhaps it is best if I take my leave." She was angry alright, not because she expected Edgar to sympathize with her, but because she knew he was right.

And oh, how she hated when someone other than she was right. Though, he probably knew that (apparently the talent to annoy someone into action went both ways, didn't it?).

Edgar sighed, the cold air stinging his lungs and giving little relief to his irritation. He'd momentarily forgotten Celes' upbringing, how she'd already been deprived enough of times to simply be a lady, to enjoy herself, to experience sadness and joy and all the highlights in life. Being raised a soldier couldn't have been any easier than growing up with a shattered family and the weight of an entire kingdom on one's shoulders.

Still, he wouldn't take back his words. He'd seen her at her finest, when she risked it all to prove her herself to her friends and keep them from harm. She might not have known it yet, but she really was incredible.

"I'll not apologize for what I said." His tone was serious, though not as sharp as the past moments. "I know you have it in you to keep going, Celes, no matter how dark the world gets, no matter how hopeless a situation seems."

He turned from her, speaking again over his shoulder. "I'll leave you alone for now. Give you some time to think it over. I'll be heading out this evening, and while I'd prefer you either came with me or found some other endeavor to occupy your time, you may hide in your room and accept defeat if you so desire. I'd hate to see your talents go to waste, but if that is your choice, then there's certainly no changing your mind."

"Hmph," Celes huffed at him and turned her head away, furiously drumming her fingers on the arm of the bench as if that might keep her from rising up and throwing Edgar into the pond.

It was only after he was out of sight that Celes stood and stalked out of the courtyard, into the Sun Room. There were other cats to skin today, and she needed to steel herself for it.

[to here]

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