Lucarin, Lorani Province
After Azalea Company clashed with the Black King's Army
After the retreat, the Azalea company regrouped and found the city of Lucarin lightly defended. With some effort and assistance of the citizens barricaded within the city, the Azalea Company retook the city and started to stabilize the province as the Black Army pulled their forces back into the neighboring Paju Province. For the time, Lucarin was at peace.
Creature was in central wing of what should have been his new palace. The large feeding hall was converted into a makeshift barracks. With which there were stores of weapons sprawled out all over a set of large long wooden tables. GP-1 rifles, captured Impaler rifles, pistols, swords, shields. All of them were arranged neatly and organized. The apprentices were still moving more weapons in and cleaning them meticulously. Clicking and charging reverberated throughout this hall.
Creature was, with his page at his side walking slowly around the table with his hands firmly behind his back. A cigarette was hanging limply from his mouth and in dire need of and ash. Creature looking at the weapons found two of them that were out of place. He had his shield, his swords. that pistol but he did not have a good operators weapon and was in dire need of one for himself. The weapon he was studying was a Gartagen Edjia battle rifle. But he did not reach for it. He stood there, leering at it. The page tugged on his jacket. "What’s wrong?"
He shook his head. "Oh, just considering grabbing it and using it on that McClosky fuck." He grumbled pensively.
"I still advise against it," Lukina was admiring the pile of weapons that had accumulated on the table. Her footsteps were soft despite the weight of the new grey body armor she wore. "It's better to make him deal with the consequences than to give him an easy out... unless you mean to collect the bounty on him."
"I mean that is one million burger dollars. We could use that fucking money." Creature said stepping away from the favored rifle his people often marched into battle with. "I get what you are saying though, I just rather the instant gratification of wasting his bitch ass. It isn’t even personal.... I mean it fucking is. Yet, he nearly fucked this province with this bullshit about law and order."
That amber eye locked on to Lukina. "But....you came here to talk. Without a fucking gun being pointed at us." He nodded at his page. "Go play or some shit." The child nodded and her bare feet padded on the dark stone floor as she trotted happily away.
Her eyes met his, "Yes. And without me being inside your head. Though I think I understand you far more than you understand me at this point."
"Uhhhhh. I had not really thought of it like that..." He said finally processing that yes, she had poked around in his brain and seen some thoughts. "Look, that’s fine and all, but I keep saying it. You don't owe me anything. You are my friend and that's fucking enough."
The half-elf moved closer to him, closing the distance. "I am but part of it is sharing. I have shared so little of myself with you, I haven't really told you how I serve the Lady... all you know is that we gave you the alias we created for her," her fingers traced the edge of the table along the length of the barrels, very much like he had seen Aleksasha examine the swords on Heled.
Creature's gaze drifted to her feet. "I know. But I never fucking expected that of you or anybody. You uh don't have to you know." He said, his hand coming from behind his back to rest at his sides.
"It's the unspoken contract you make when you claim friendship with people, you share things... not just the bad but the good. It's unfair to take on someone else's burden or for them to take all your joy. There is reciprocation," her hand stopped on the edge of a shield.
There it was. He almost wanted to smile at her. She was about to start going into her elven riddles. "Yea. That’s right." He said agreeing with her statement. "So, what’s up, Lukes? What are you about to fucking tell me?"
"I am Lady Bhelith Arleigh’s Herald. I serve her directly. I wrote the laws governing the Free Companies... I am many things. I was a mercenary, an assassin, a Peacekeeper, and a Marine but you already know, I am also the legacy of the Bloodtree clan, which means I am a bit cursed as well," she mused.
"I guess, we are all fucking cursed in some way. But yea. I figured most of that out. Except the laws thing, that is fucking new. Well I knew about your service to our Lady Empress. Your mother like totally sized me up and explained herself like I was a fucking boyfriend so. Didn't take me long to figure out that yeah, you are something rather important." He said holding his ground and resting on the table with his maimed hand. He crossed his feet, and his tail curled behind him. "Not that, I was trying to impress you by saying that yeah, I knew. I'm just fucking saying, the people closest to you know shit. Even when you don't want them to."
"You shouldn't have to discover this information about me, I should be sharing what I am allowed and able to share. For instance, I don't know how I truly feel about you. I care about you deeply but I don't know what it really is. Affection, companionship, what is love really? It's a complex series of words to explain chemical reactions and illogical rationality. I've never been in a relationship or really... have friends. I've fought alongside many, shared blood, sweat and tears but... I'm used to feeling alone," her eyes moved from the table up to Creature. "I am more than a role but I don't know how to be anything else than these things that define me."
"Well, you have been." Creature said looking back up at her "Coming after me. Saving me in that shit hole prison. Here, right now with this conversation you did not fucking ever should have like ever. You are doing that very fucking thing you said you have never had."
He then paused and thought for a moment. "I am not good at the flowery fucking romance at all. Sorry about that. All I can say about love is that, I don't think I want to live in a fucking world without you, and that's how I know." He then shrugged. "That or I'm a fucking idiot and should start doing the drugs again."
"And this terrifies me. I have something to lose beyond my life now. I've compromised things to take these risks and I should know better. But I don't regret making these decisions. I just don't know what to do... I... died on that planet before I came home," Lukina set her jaw, she was determined to say her piece. "I wanted a different way."
A taloned finger went up into the air. "Wait you, WHAT?!" He exclaimed hearing her say she died. "Well Lukina, you fucking nailed it, you did do something I fucking hated!" He wasn't going to grill her any further. "you are here now, they brought you back..." He said trying to calm himself down from the sudden alarm he felt.
He took a breath and calmed himself down. "What do you mean a different way? Look if it will make you happier to not have to worry about me and shit because fucking emotions are in the way, I'll do it. No questions asked. Don't have to see me again ever. I'm perfectly willing to hurt my fucking self so you can be content."
Lukina shook her head. "No, if I thought you being dead would make me happy, why would I live through the Arena with you? Why would I go after you? I had to die to change how I interact with the world... I wanted to find a way to fight this war that would enable me to fight the Black King. I've augmented myself with a GEIST."
She sighed and further elaborated, "It does not change my emotions or how I need to deal with the world, emotionally. My emotions are not dead. I am still me. I just interact with technology differently."
"I know. Trust me. I do know you haven't fucking changed, you don't have to worry about that. My people do something similar with our computer systems they just keep them fucking tucked away safely. Yea, I also know how you feel even if you don't. It kind of took a conversation with your mom spelling it out for me. I was just saying if you don't, like, want me here complicating shit for you, I will drop it and go wander around aimlessly or some shit. Only thing that's changed for me with my emotions is I actually have something to fight for. Even if that is something I can never fucking have."
"That won't change how you feel. I don't want to hurt you. You are my friend and I care quite a bit. You leaving or stopping whatever it is won't change any of that. It's complicated and it's out of the box. It doesn't just go back in because we want it to stop. That's how emotions are. Perhaps, these complications are meant to temper me into stronger steel. Perhaps, Anisa has a plan for me. I don't really know. I know that I have been alone for too long but I will have to leave at some point but that doesn't mean that I will be gone from your life forever. That's the advantage of setting roots somewhere and calling it home."
"Also doesn't mean you have to fight alone either. I can come with you whenever I like. I'm a Lord. Imma just hire a bunch of people who can actually run a province and take all the credit anyway. Plus for better or for worse I'm pretty fucking good and making shit get dead. But I wanna be in your life too. But uh. I dunno what do you want me to do? Shut up about it? Close in for a kiss? Call your mom and be like we got married, hang up and then pretend she is on the other line freaking out?"
"I don't want to be married, I think I still have much to learn about relationships before I try that," Lukina replied.
"Yeah, I wasn't proposing. Personally, I don't think a piece of paper and jewelry makes you any different. Plus, your mom is getting married and she is NOT fucking happy about it. I imagine it can work the opposite too."
"Because the Lord Whitemeadow is not my father, though she might wish he was," Lukina said with a sigh. "I don't know what I want you to do. I have your friendship, and your love, what more could I really want from you? I have no right to demand anything."
"Well you can wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills first. Yea. I dunno what the fuck I want either. So best you can do is take into account what you have, and reckon if you'd be happier without it," the Gartagen crudely replied. "Oh, demand away. May not be a right, but I am giving you the privilege. You could be like Lord Creature, I demand you go waste that Dallas bastard. I'd do it. Please demand this."
"I showed him what his actions did to you, he got to live it but he didn't get to feel it," her voice was still soft, it hadn't gotten louder or quieter. If anything, it was thoughtful.
"I was kidding! But really yeah, you can make demands of me. I'll probably do them....at some point..."
"If I have any request, it would be to not let die alone in some strange place again, if you are able and nearby. I can deal with dying a virgin but not feeling alone," she smiled gently as moisture filled her eyes.
"Well, you didn't let me die. I won't let you die." Creature said as he advanced. Though he hesitated. He did not want to spook her off, considering how her first kiss had initially gone. "Plus, if I die it would be so as not a virgin."
She watched him approach and stood her ground. "I can accept that promise. I won't make you swear, it's not an oath."
"Nah. It's deeper than that. It's something between us. Oaths are for others. Some things need to be for just for you and myself..." Creature said.
She looked up at him, the Gartagen was a foot taller than her, even wearing her armor. In the time she was gone, she seemed smaller somehow, frailer than he remembered
Creature blinked. "Mother Fucker." He said lightly. He then reached over and grabbed one of the assorted rifles from the table. He cleared the weapon, then loaded it with a fresh Magazine. "Oh well. Now to go give McClosky something else to kiss."
She tilted her head at Creature. "And we're back to this?" She chuckled and shook her head. "And here I thought you were planning to kiss me."
He paused and seemed somewhat flustered. He was not used to that forwardness with Lukina. Usually she spoke in riddles. "I uh...well. fuck I " He was stammering and not quite sure what to do. 'I uh haven't been kissed or kissed in a long fucking time...."
Lukina smiled gently. "Is that a 'no'?" She watched him flounder a bit, it wasn't the reaction she had been expecting. She didn't need to see his HUD to know his heart rate was elevated.
"No." He said starting to get even more nervous. His heart was racing. He had never been good at romance. Sure, he had had sex, and had A productive relationship. But he usually never had emotions involved in physical contact. "No, no. I mean. I want to. I just always fucking sucked at this stuff..."
Lukina watched him. Her weight shifted, "You rush into battle and you're scared of kissing me?" Her head tilted to one side as she smiled, her voice still soft. "Nice to know I'm more intimidating than a xeno or a super soldier."
"Well, you are prettier." Creature said closing in. He delivered not a passionate kiss, but a quick, awkward one that was over as swiftly as it had begun. "Oh, that wasn't so bad." He said
She smiled up at him as Creature retreated. "Never thought of you as the timid type." She leaned against him. "You want to try that again? I can go..."
"Well. I don't want you to laugh at me." He muttered as she closed in, speaking slightly under her as she spoke. "Uhhh okay."
He delivered a slower, though some how much shyer kiss. He had at least pulled up the wraps over his mouth. She'd find the sensation was not the same as her first kiss. His skin was thicker. But he also did not have lips on the right side of his mouth. She could see the stony scarring of his blue skin on the lower part of his face.
Lukina didn't seem to mind as she returned the kiss, leaning up on her toes and pulling him closer to deepen the kiss. Her lips were soft and whole. She pressed against him, her body armor clinked against his. She held the kiss for several long moments before she stepped back away. "You didn't argue that I wasn't intimidating," she spoke softly again. "I'm glad I was at least able to save you."
"You aren't." Creature said in response to her assertion. "And I'm glad you saved me too..."
Lukina smiled as she settled back down. "Are you going to be okay? We went a little hard the other day?"
"Yea. Wasn't the first time I've had to go through shit. I'm just glad I wasn't alone for it."
Lukina shifted her rifle on her shoulder, still smiling up at Creature. "I have to go out on patrol, so I have to leave you to inventory. I have a crate of Edjia weapons and the rest of the stuff you requested sitting off to the side." She reached up and touched the right side of his face. "You are not alone any more either, you don't have to run any more... welcome home."
Her hand lingered for a few moments before she lowered it again, "Not that we're dating now or anything," her voice was soft as she started walking away.
Creature just kind of paused. 'Uh, whatever you want to call it is fine by me." Creature said as he gave her a playful mocking salute. "Just watch out for that enemy sniper fuck. Word is he is still out there, wasting randoms."
"Oh, I will... I have a couple of bullets saved for him," Lukina replied as she exited the room.