Description: Zach Glenn has an interesting visitor, to whom he gives an interesting offer.
It's late evening in Kushiro City. Zach Glenn, for reasons that are mostly his own, is hanging out near a construction site in a manner that suggests he is standing guard over the place. It might provide a frame of reference that the site is advertised as the future home of the Ainu Revival Academy.
It's quiet, the work crews having gone home for the day. The only other person on the premises is the person known as Makaotari. They know Zach is here as well, even if they were not expressly told /why/ the sisam that was regularly seen with the Dahlia was hanging around.
To those sensitive to such things, there are four additional presences, but it might be difficult to figure out what they are without proper knowledge of them.
"I never could have imagined,"
The voice comes from behind Zach. It would be no discredit to his perception to not sense her first, her presence is as subtle as the warm summer breeze.
"That from a skeleton of steel and wood would form a vision of promises kept."
She stands with her hands clasped behind her back, a curtain of obsidian hair spilling over her shoulders down to her waist, her eyes on the construction site. She appears much as Zach may remember from a more violent time in a more blood soaked land; a pristine long white robe, crimson and azure geometric patterns forming its border, her moccasin-clad feet barely visible beneath it. She is small compared to him and her aura is as tranquil as the hidden lake.
"May its presence pave the path for peaceful understanding."
She exhales softly, still not facing the sentinel. Her attention seems to shift off to one side for a moment. "These are grounds hallowed by the spirit of their purpose. You do well to honor them with your attention, Zach Glenn. Would that all such places were so well protected."
A gust of wind draws her hands from behind her back to shield her face from stray strands of hair that are tossed lightly by the current. "I hope you have been well, defender of Earth." she adds, finally turning to face Zach, her expression bearing a faint smile, a look of quiet serenity.
Zach takes in a sharp breath; he really /hates/ it when someone sneaks up on him like that. He smiles a bit, realizing that there is little threat here at the moment. "One hopes," he agrees. "This... all of this is important to the Dahlia. It means a lot to her." He frowns a bit. "And that makes it a potential target for those who would want to cause her harm or insult."
He nods once in respect to Nakoruru. "It's good to see you," he says by way of greeting. "I was wondering when you'd show up here," not if, that was never a question really, "But I never figured you'd present yourself to me in this context. What can I do for you?"
Zach is wearing one of those long coats he favors, but Nakoruru can see from the way the coat settles that he has either a small sword or a really long knife at his left hip. The weapon has an aura of power hanging around it, more of a hint of potential than anything outright dangerous. The weapon, whatever it is, is still sheathed after all. Possiblity, not actuality.
As the breeze dies down, Nakoruru snakes her hands behind her back, fingers clasping once more as she continues to look up at Zach. "The Dahlia..." she muses then, glancing to the side as if searching her thoughts before nodding slightly, "Right, yes. I remember now. She did go by that name in the great war."
She is quiet for another moment, nodding as Zach speaks, his own sentences seeming to spark new thoughts in hermind with the way her eyes lose focus and she glances to the side. "How long has it been since- since Outworld's claim to our world was finally snuffed out?" she asks, looking back up at Zach with an uncertain expression.
At her waist is the same blade she had carried on the ill fated island. In fact, she looks nearly identical to the last time they spoke, a certain time-lost disturbance about her form.
She looks to the side, toward the distant mountain peaks, then glances south, "I almost had the chance to see one once." she remarks softly, her voice low, thoughtful, "The beautiful flower from across the great seas, the Dahlia... that's what he had called it." She shakes her head, closing her eyes briefly then opening them again to focus back on Zach, putting the stray memory aside as she shifts back to his question.
"I find myself here, I think, to see the nascent work taking place on these grounds." She pauses, turning halfway away from Zach then so that she can look toward the construction behind her. "Perhaps in the years to come, I will also be blessed to see the fruits of this honorable labor."
Nakoruru inhales then exhales softly, releasing a contented breath from her lips. "Is she well? The one who represented us all in the last battle? The power she was given... the magnitude... such things never come without sacrifice."
"It's been about four months," he says. "Which seems like a lifetime ago. Honoka is doing well." Zach nods towards the structure, smiling a bit. "This place... It's good for her. It gives her a way to direct herself in a way that suits the path she has been trying to walk. She's happy, when she is here. I would like to think that part of it is me, but I know that the promise this place represents to her is more than what I can give her." Oddly, he doesn't seem jealous when he says that. He knows that he cannot be everything to her, probably /shouldn't/ be everything to her. A project like this would have been beyond him at any rate.
"Would you like to see one?" Zach asks, picking up on Nakoruru's curiousity as he fishes his phone out of his pocket, "A picture won't do it justice, but none of the florists are open at this hour." He taps on the device with his thumb a couple of times before showing the image to Nakoruru. What can you say? Zach likes to be helpful.
He does not yet raise the point that she could, can, come her at any time. That she specifically got his attention. It's not that he's inherently distrustful of the woman before him; she helped him personally and she means a lot to Honoka. Honoka... to say Honoka holds Nakoruru in great respect is an understatement of epic proportion. It carries weight with Zach.
But he'd be lying if he said he wasn't curious.
Zach's words regarding the benefactor of the construction site bring a smile to Nakoruru's lips as she turns to face him once more. But when his question is posed, she blinks, "W-why yes," she stammers, seemingly caught by surprise at the offer. His hand goes to his pocket and her focus follows, as if expecting him to actually somehow produce a living flower from his person.
When he pulls up the device, she looks no less curious as to what he's up to, hands clasped behind her back as she leans forward a little as if to try and peek at what he's tapping at. And when he turns the screen to face her with the glowing image of a vibrant flower, she marvels, "Ooo." From behind her back, one of her hands lifts, reaching out to try and press against the screen with her fingertips.
%Withdrawing after a moment, she blinks her eyes a couple of times then looks away, "There was a man who tried to bring me one as a gift once." she states softly, a hint of blush to her cheeks. "Protected it, cared for it, and ferried it across the great seas." She shakes her head then, "When at last he came ashore, along the dusty roads to where we were to meet..." she sighs, closing her eyes, "He stopped to help a village in need - a detour the flower did not survive." She smiles wistfully, eyes opening, "That was the kind of man he was."
She flicks her focus back to Zach, smile fading as she looks contemplative before she dips her head, "These days, I have need for little, but find myself where I might be needed." She looks back toward the framework, its creation paused for the night, "But perhaps I just needed to see the birth of new hope with my own eyes. A chance to look forward, to better days for my people - a reminder that dwelling I should do more than dwell on... ancient history."
Zach doesn't pull the phone away when she reaches out to touch it. He's curious as to how she deals with the device. He listens to her words. "And you think you might be needed here," he says after a moment. "Honoka... saying she'd be all for it would be an understatement. But it's true that just dwelling on the past gets you nowhere fast."
When she pulls away from the phone, he pockets the thing. He tilts his head to one side for a moment. "Maybe get out and see some more of this world you helped to protect?"
"When the time is right, Kamui willing, perhaps I will see her again too." The young woman answers on the subject of Honoka, eyes following Zach's hand as he stuffs the phone back away, before finding his face once more.
At his suggestion, however, she recoils, taking a step back, arms folding over her stomach. "I..." She glances left, then right, looking along the length of the block, "I'm... not so sure." There is a suddenly timid uncertainty to her, glancing back up at Zach after her survey of the street, "When I was... a young girl, we considered this area a bustling port town. Why, there had to have been at least..." she closes her eyes for a moment, "Maybe almost a thousand Ainu living here around the bay."
With a wistful grin, she looks south then, "Then, when following where ever my calling lead me, I set eyes on the great city of Edo with its... one million people, and I thought within its borders lived... nearly all the people alive in the world."
She looks toward Zach then, a hint of sheepishness about her, "I did finally undertake a long journey before my rest, and my eyes were opened to a greater understanding of this world's miraculous diversity." She closes her eyes, shoulders falling a little, bowing her head, "Your words do have wisdom to them, Zach Glenn. But..."
"The world's a big place, more so than you might than you might remember," Zach agrees. "You don't have to go see it all at one go if you don't want to." Zach considers for a moment. "Though if you'd like something of a tour," he pulls an envelope out of his coat pocket. "There's a fighting tournament getting underway," he opens the envelope, showing his King of Fighters invite. "Martial artists from around the world will be participating. Nothing like the stakes in Mortal Kombat. Money and property for prizes mostly. People fighting for a lot of different motivations. Lots of interesting locations."
Zach glances at the construction site. "I teamed up with Honoka and some of her co-workers last time around," he says. "But she's not really interested in going this year for obvious reasons."
Looking up as Zach speaks, her arms find their way back behind her back, hands clasping together again. She's quiet as he speaks, at first looking appreciative of his expression of empathy and then looking intrigued as he reaches for a different pocket to produce another surprise for the evening.
Initial mention of a fighting tournament is met with a shift in her expression toward the skeptical but when he clarifies that it's nothing like the bloodbath Earth's sovereignty hinged on not long ago, she relaxes a little, looking curious again.
"And this... tournament, it's going on around the world you say?" The trepidation from a moment prior melts away to open interest now. "On... that island, I saw many fighters from today's world, each with their own story, their own burden, their own strength." A quiet smile finds its way into her expression, "I don't care about prizes, but... if this tournament was even an opportunity to see any of them again, I would like that very much."
She reaches out for the invitation in order to be able to take a closer look, brow furrowing as she seems to realize something, "You teamed up with her? Then it's a team tournament?"
Zach considers for a moment. "There's a good chance we'll see some of them again, yeah," he says, "Yes, it's a team tournament. We'll need at least one other person, though." He looks thoughtful. "If we did this, Honoka would be upset if I did not at least extend the offer." He looks at Nakoruru questioningly. "I don't think she'd miss the chance to work with you again either. Is... that going to be a problem?"
The young woman brightens, hands lifting from behind her back to clasp in front of her near the base of her neck, "Really?" she asks, eyes lighting up as he mentions that other fighters might be in attendance. At his question, she closes her eyes and shakes her head, expression still cheerful, "To fight alongside Honoka as a team..." Her eyes open, finding Zach's as she continues, "In friendly competition instead of at the front of a deadly war... Of course it would be no problem."
She bows slightly at the waist toward Zach, "If this tournament is something you would enter with me, then I will in fact take the opportunity to see and learn so much about the world today. Thank you, Zach Glenn."
"I'm willing," Zach says. "I'll ask Honoka. No promises on that end, though. Like I said, the school carries more weight with her. If not her, then I can probably make some phone calls to find us a third person." He stops, and considers again. "Unless you have a suggestion, of course."
A slight nod is her initial response to Zach's reply, "I understand." She looks toward the foundation again, "I have a feeling she has already seen... so much of the world. But one day, she will need to see it again, with new eyes. Now may not be that time."
She looks back toward Zach as he talks about finding a third, nodding slightly, eyes blinking once, before he asks if she has any insights. Pausing, she bows her head, hands unclasped so that her right hand can rest at her chin in a closed fist, "I will certainly think on it, though there are few that I actually know. If... I find the right candidate, I will send them your way, but don't wait on me." she states, looking a touch chagrinned.
Relaxing, she breathes in then exhales once quickly, clenching her hands at her sides, "Yes, I do think that this is what I should be doing. Thank you - to find direction, it's... Well," she shakes her head, "I can't be the only to have ever struggled with it."
Zach smiles, rolling his eyes a little bit. "It's something I struggle with almost daily these days," Zach says. "On the one hand Ihave a job to do, and I am not really doing it to be here. On the other, there is someone who was on the island who might have a serious grudge against Honoka, and it's a good chance he'll express that here." Zach shakes his head with concern, "There would be bad consequences for everyone involved, and I'd like to prevent that if I can."
Nakoruru "She will always have her enemies," Nakoruru replies softly, "It is the fate of anyone who tries to change the world." She dips her head toward Zach one last time before turning to face along the sidewalk in the direction of the distant mountains, "It sounds like she has you though." She breathes in, pausing for another moment, before exhaling softly, "Let me disturb your vigil no longer then. Until next time, peace be with you."
"She will always have her enemies," Nakoruru replies softly, "It is the fate of anyone who tries to change the world." She dips her head toward Zach one last time before turning to face along the sidewalk in the direction of the distant mountains, "It sounds like she has you though." She breathes in, pausing for another moment, before exhaling softly, "Let me disturb your vigil no longer then. Until next time, peace be with you."
Zach grins a bit. "You know how to find me, right?"
Log created on 15:53:54 07/23/2017 by Zach Glenn, and last modified on 13:00:39 07/24/2017.