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Artist: Okage Shadow King - Song: At the Bar - Word Count: N/A
Too long, far too long. Sorta missed the hustle and bustle of life. Just sucks that everything's changed. Even this ol' fella.
The clicking of heels echoed out through the halls as a certain figure decided to make her appearance in the world once again. She's noticed that a lot has changed since she left. People no longer were around while others rose to power, especially a certain figure she remembers working with. It was a little bit painful in her head to think about it, but she's been outclassed. Hayden had built such a large, powerful empire. One with strength, numbers, resources... a prime example of what a thriving nation should be while the sugiuran herself simply... vanished for a while. She didn't help anyone, she didn't even help the people she cared about so deeply. She was simply gone, and it hurt knowing that in the end, she was never needed. The Sugiuran people thrived without her, and all of her training in life was worthless.
But that didn't mean that she couldn't take the time to enjoy herself now, there was no reason why she should beat herself up over it too much. Just because she had the blood of a royal didn't mean she was destined for anything, hell her entire life should have taught her that by now. So to keep herself from thinking too hard, she decided to pay Hayden a visit. He should enjoy her company after so long, right? They did fight a hard battle together, and they had some time to talk and chat... hell, he was one of the few people she ever got to really talk with for more than a few minutes. Thinking back on her life brought her a few twinges of regret and pain, but before it could ruin her mood, she finally arrived to where she needed too.
An office, knuckled rapping against the door for only a moment before she gripped the handle and turned, leaning forwards to push the door open with a sly grin plastered on her lips as she went to step inside. She took only a moment of peering around to notice the decor before spotting Hayden himself. A man that... looked different than she remembered. Was changed by the consequences of his actions, for apparently the better. Good for him.
"Remember me buddy? Got your a reaaaal nice place here. A big ol' nation. Lots of people following you. Lots of power. Man, I remember when you were still talking about having plans and wanting to make this big empire. And just look at it all."
With a quick flourish of her hands, she gestured to just the room and building itself. "Makes me feel shitty for not keeping up with you or anyone else. Anyways, how's it hangin', got time for a chat?"
The Sugiuran quickly took a few steps forwards before aiming to place her rump right on the edge of his desk rather than a chair, legs crossing over one another as the equipment strapped to her cargo pants were the same as years ago. Relatively same condition as well. The only thing that really changed about her was the hood she wore. It was actually zipped up for once and frayed near the bottom, from something akin to an animal tearing into it. Eyes already peered out right towards the man himself, the same cocky smile as always on her face, though a glance at her eyes could tell that she seemed... rather excited to just talk with him after so long.
Time passes, empires rise and fall with each passing century. Yet, even with that fact being known a small man known as Desmond Hayden to some of his closest compatriots, had taken the initiative to establish his legacy. In that idea he formulated the beginnings of greatness which would far exceed his life hopefully, each step was blazing a path which had not been taken. On the long shot of a brief idea he had united almost the entirety of Africa under a single banner, the banner of Vastime. He had forged a place where people of all creeds could flock to, searching for their own happiness and instilling long lost virtues into the world- virtues which Shadow Fall had taken with their rise to power.
Never the less, the man sat at his desk waiting for the arrival of a long lost friend- one he had met and forged a fire born friendship in the pits of war. A lost soul even, one which was exactly the type that flocked to Vastime. The ideals of freedom and service, the responsibility that came with freedom was all too important- it was a solemn duty of each citizen of Vastime to understand witch this power of choice: Came the responsibility of duty.
Thus as the door opened she would see her old friend, the youthful yet hardened face held new scars which seemed to speak their own tales. His rolled up sleeves just under his elbow, the slightly unbuttoned shirt showcasing a brief few of his neck. His hair was still the same mess as it was the day they met, but what was even stranger was how different he looked but at the same time similar. This man wasn't wearing battle armor, instead he was wearing formal attire which was haphazardly done most likely from constant meetings and the business of the day. Despite the 'professional' look he adorned it was clear something was different, and it was all in his eyes.
Those coffee color's irises which when she first met was burning with ambition where now vibrant, a new passion in them which burned brighter than any flame. The intense look was almost jarring. It was clear this man had changed and worked himself into a man worth being, into a leader who now was at the fore front of change on a global- a cosmic scale. This man had been in the headlines having fought near godly beings, having taken a mantle of responsibility to the world. Yet, he seemed happy. Much happier than the man she once met. And certainly stronger.
"Of course I remember you, I made some calls once I heard you where in the nation- made it a little easier for you to get here and find me. Usually you gotta call ahead- get past the armed guards and such. But I made an exception for you."
The solid voice of Hayden was almost vibranting through the room, he held a new almost tangible aura to him. Chances are in her brief time in Vastime she would hear rumors about the king, about how he attracted a sort of empower and calming aura to him. It was funny considering she knew the mass amount of rage and power within him, but this effect was simply his will power and resolve being leaked into the earth. He was after all, their king and leader. Not only did he seek to be an example, but he actively was involved their nation- living in such a way that encouraged others to find their own ideals and beliefs. Vastime simply provided an archetype.
The man would push back his chair sliding backwards slightly as he stood at his full height of five foot eleven, considerably shorter than most who would be regarded as imposing. Yet, even with that it wasn't his muscle, his height, or his voice which made him imposing nowadays but his raw resolve and ambition which leaked from the man like a busted fire hydrant. The coffee eyes of his gazing at Kayta with such warmth that one could easily break down and understand a simple truth: He believed in what he was doing, he was willing to go the lengths to see his creation and ideals to the end.
Thus he would walk around the desk properly imitting her sitting gesture as his head tilted ever so slightly, gazing down at her with the briefest of smiles. The sly look on his face, the measured tone of his voice, and the formal yet casual look was such a stark contrast to the man she once knew.
"Sure I can talk, It's been interesting- Azure's death, me taking over the Vanguard, establishing Vastime, meeting the equivalent of Gods to the demons. Even met with Khala." The male remarked taking a deep breath before sighing, a good sigh one which indicated he held a lot of thoughts within him. "But all that is irrelevant at this moment, what is important is a friend has returned- one who is welcomed in my office or in the nation I serve."
"Truly, Kayta, How have you been faring? I gotta be honest, everything has been sorta just... happening. But I like it. Someone had to take responsibility, someone had to put their foot down. I'm glad, that I finally grew up enough, to understand with this power- this freedom- the duty and obligation I had. I've never been more committed or happier in my life."
The male hand would rest on his leg as he eye'd her, almost as if trying to see what was inside of her. The close proximity of the two allowing him a unadulterated view of her, since their last meeting she had not changed much. All it took as a small smile on his face to highlight just how drastically he had.
Artist: Okage Shadow King - Song: At the Bar - Word Count: N/A
Much different than before. So much different... just how long -have- I been gone? Feels like only a few weeks for me.
The fact that she was remembered warmed her heart just slightly, it reminded her that she didn't have to feel so alone anymore. Hell, she wasn't really alone before... but she didn't expect anyone to really remember her after so long. Especially with having their plates nearly as full as Hayden did himself. She didn't know first-hand the struggles of being a leader, but she's certainly been forced to study as if she was. God, that awful time period still made her cringe at times with just.. how much was wasted. She could have done so much more if she wasn't treated like a tool but rather a Leonhardt.
And one of the things she should do as a Leonhardt is gather connections, be it political or just simply friends. Even if it was spoiled that she was just led straight towards Hayden, she still thought she did a good job of even finding where his main place was and figuring out just what had happened. And boy, there was a lot to figure out, from the events changing the world to just even why Hayden even sounded different. It was a bit hard believing this was the same man who was filled with anger and rage with a will to sunder mountains.
Enough about the past, it was time to focus on the present and future! And currently the present involved getting to sit a bit closer to Hayden as she was at least 2000% sure she was being checked out by him. Even if there were words talking about what happened, it was obvious she was being judged, just as it was obvious that she hadn't grown a single bit since they're last meeting. No new defining features, no new skills. Just the same old Kayta with maybe just a bit more vigor in her step.
The news about Azure did shock her a bit. She didn't personally know him well, but she knew his was the big talk of the town for a while. That shock was quickly pushed to the side as a much more interesting and cheerful conversation was brought up. Talking about her... and Hayden too, but the Sugi still loved to gloat a little bit, even if she didn't have all too much to share with her friend. Gloved hands soon pushed herself off from the desk as she tried to rather quickly steal the seat that was for Hayden with a grin, and if it were a spinny chair, definitely spin around in it.
"Well, I havn't done all that cool shit like you have. No big adventures with gods and demons. No nation to take over since... I don't think I'm really needed or even wanted anymore. Leonhardts are dead, no one even knows or cares that I'm one of the few left around. But enough about the sad stuff, I've been doing good! I sorta went on a trip for a bit, though most of it's foggy. I remember last doing something with zombies and trying to save a town, but after that things went a bit blank and dull. I woke up somewhere in Canada and I think a month passed. But since I was around again, I decided to learn what I missed.
In just a moment she already tried to search around for a pen and paper to quickly scribble down something before holding it up to Hayden. It seemed to be a symbol of some sort, a crescent moon turned on it's side to be facing upwards with three claw marks slashed right down the middle. "Found this funky lil' symbol in the cabin I woke up in. I looked around but nothing much, so I'm starting to think maybe I was possessed or mind controlled for a bit, but I'm not wanted anywhere so nothing bad must've happened. Anyways, tell me a bit more about your big ol' nation oh King Hayden~!"
A teasing grin was visible now as she put the pen and hopefully not an important paper she few on back where she found it, leaning back into the seat and spinning around once more if it was one of those chairs. "Since you've seemed to grow so much, wanna tell me about some of your stories too? I'm sure you've got some cool shit about action and adventure compared to waking up in a cabin like some cheesy horror movie."
"I've had about one note worthy fight in the past since you've been gone and that was with a Quincy- damn powerful one."
The male would remark as his eyes followed her movements, allowing her to take a seat in his former chair. He had gotten to see all that he had needed in that small span of time- it seemed time had not aided her nor broken her. She simply remained unphased, unchanged as time had passed her by which was rather interesting. It a sense, it was refreshing to see as a reminder of days long gone.
In one swift motion he would be off the desk his back turned to her, calloused hands thrown into pockets haphazardly as his gaze focused on the orange horizon which allowed a perfect view of the city beneath them. The sprawling metropolis even going so far as to touch the ocean which was nearby, the cobble stone streets housing many active denizens as they carried about their business. All that was his to protect, it was his to allow to prosper- should he fail the life of millions could be lost in an instant.
"Sounds like you had quite the adventure in that cabin, can't say I know that symbol." For now he would not bring up the scared skin that he saw on her neck, now was not the time for questions such as that. It seemed the measured heavy voice of Hayden was preoccupied by thoughts which was aching to take him away from this honey dewed moment. The life of a king, the life of an leader was one filled with constant strife which often seemed to place him in a busied haze. "It's funny, to think last time we talked I was so strong yet so... wanton for purpose. Now that I have it, it's so hard to explain when everything is your call. Empires rise and fall, now it's my call."
The way he spoke in such a bittersweet tone highlighted just how much weight was resting on the broad shoulders of Hayden, almost like a modern day Atlas. He bore the weight proudly and with such vigor one might think that this wanton passion was not a burden but a gift. He had certainly grown, changed even.
"You wanna know about my nation Kayta? Simple. A place where people can come to find their own happiness, to seek their own legacy- the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Where strife is accepted not with bitterness but vigor. Each citizen of Vastime has untold freedom to pick their life, to choose to serve or create- to be a warrior or poet." The male voice changed as he spoke about what he had crafted, an immense proud voice which almost seemed thunderous. "We took ideals we believed in to make the world a better place, we ain't perfect. We have crime, murder- but we also have immense pride and love more than that. This I will defend."
The male would turn around to look at her, the sun horizon beginning to fall behind him casting his shadow forward. The bruning orange hue which over took the room was quite the effect, it was easy to see why he choose this location for his office. The fresh sea breeze air, the overlook of the city, and the dazzling sun allowed the man to work in peace- to have a small section for himself and his thoughts.
"For those who don't fit in this world, for those who hate the current way the world is- that is what Vastime is for. I know you must one day return and claim your throne- but do know a place in Vastime is always open for you." The male informed her allowing a smile to spread across his lips as he walked to the desk removing his hands from his pockets placing them on the desk leaning on it slightly.
"That is- if you think you have the tenacity and ambition."Of course, he had to also tease the girl as well a sly smile playing across his features. The mocha color'd eyes waiting for her response with interest.
Artist: Persona 4 OST - Song: Corridor - Word Count: N/A
The Sugiuran found it a little... off that this great and powerful man has only had -one- valid fight that was worth mentioning. It honestly made her feel a bit down considering that she wanted to hear stories about violence and action to give her some drive to figure out what to do from here on out. The only 'drive' she was getting was one to ask if he was really alright. From the tone of his voice and just the overall way he carried himself, he seemed much different. He seemed as if he took on a lot, which made perfect sense considering just what he had become, but she couldn't really see any 'fun' side to him.
To Kayta, he seemed much more level-headed and down to earth. So calm yet composed. It made her feel a bit awkward hanging around someone so tense, it actually reminded her back when she had managed to spend a bit of time with the Royalty of the Sugiuran lands. A short green-haired woman that could actually smile and enjoy them self, unlike the others all around. And right now? Kayta couldn't exactly tell which one Hayden had become. A ruler who still had joy in their heart, or a ruler that took the burden of everyone and lost that joy for a greater sense of responsibility.
Thinkin' a lil' too hard there, it's not that serious... right?
And before she knew it, she had gotten her answer with a teasing grin tossed towards her. It was still the Hayden she knew, just matured. Even if the response had made her happy, it still poked at her inner sense of pride, which led to her hopping right out of the seat she sat within, taking a few paces over to Hayden's side once again to stare out over the land that was Vastime... an honestly beautiful sight. Nothing like the lands she's yearned her whole life for, but it was still beautiful in its own right.
"I'm not sure if I'm wanted at the throne. I have the tenacity, and I used to have the ambition but... I'm not good enough."
The once joyful look on her face slowly began to fade away. She's never really actually come to terms with herself on this, but seeing how Hayden developed after all this time began to hurt. The twinkle in her eyes faded as her gaze slowly shifted downwards to the ground, shoulders slumping as overall it looked like she almost shrunk right where she was standing.
"No one knows I'm even alive. The few people I knew just... vanished. You're the only one who still remembered me and it hurts. I'm not the type to get all feelsy but... do you know how much it kills me to know I can't do a single thing? All my life I've been forced to train, be abused, and never even have a mother in order to reclaim the throne and lead my people to a better future, but I can never do that. I don't have the strength needed, I don't have the people needed, I don't have anything Hayden. I barely have myself, I barely even have the drive to do anything anymore. It's been so long yet nothing. I'm still just a spec of dust, and everyone's doing fine without me. Everything I've tried to grow just... failed. I never changed."
She didn't really know what she was saying at this point. It was hard to think straight, to get any coherent thoughts to form in her head. She's been keeping things in for so long, she's been putting a smile to just ignore her shortcomings, and having something to compare herself too shattered whatever facade she had fooled herself to believe. Even if she had Hayden's support...
"I don't deserve anything. I shouldn't have come- I... gotta go." For a slight moment, she seemed to be trembling in place before trying to step around Hayden, to move as quickly as she could without being held up, to go straight to the door and leave, and hopefully never look back.