Palace of Power - Dining Room
A long table of shimmering crystal fills this room, the cold and silent dining hall where palace meals are often held. This place looks like it gets very little use, and its more for state functions than casual meals, though the residents have tried, on occasion, to use it for that. Beautiful chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the floor is covered in a luxurious blue carpet. It's very large, very pretty, and usually quite abandoned.
And of course as the Mushroom Retainer, Collins, centaurs, and other walk-ons finish their pie in the background, they all just turn their heads and stare at the trio, especially the sword wielding pie maker.
Aeris Gainsborough makes the wise decision not to mention anything pertaining to the Cetra at this point in the conversation. It would just make things worse. "It's all a misunderstanding, I guess! Just because Squall's got a similar name to Cloud doesn't make them alike... and not every Ryu has a connection to dragons. Well, most of them do. But you get the idea."
Aeris giggles nervously, and glances over to Station again.
Station glances at Aeris again, giving her what he hopes is a reassuring smile--then looks back at Cassandra. "It's okay," he reassures her, quietly. "I can see how you'd get mixed up like that, an' no harm done." He frowns a little, and adds: "'M sorry to hear about your sister, though." Yet more evidence that Soul Edge destroys everything it touches, in big and small ways both.
In case you can't tell by the sound effects, there's some heavy footsteps approaching. Ziggurat enters the Dining Hall, unlike most though he's not here for food, he was only passing by and heard voices, and decided to see if any sort of tactical meeting was going on. However all he sees is some Mushroom Men, Cass, Aeris, and Station. He gives the Gamemaster an acknowledging nod "Greetings."
Cassandra Alexandra is about to say something else, but as the stomping is heard, and literally all the mushroom retainers, Collins, etc. stop eating and look around, the warrior maiden, just blinks, before turning to peer at the Cyborg.
"Permission to stop baking pies and freak out again?"
Aeris Gainsborough facefaults. Man, she's just never going to get used to that. At least the shaking wasn't so massive it sent plaster cascading from the ceiling and sent pies shaking onto the floor. Nope. That couldn't happen because the footfalls aren't that heavy.
Aeris stares at Ziggy.
"I guess, but try and restrain yourself. Example."
Aeris blue-lines and sweatdrops.
Station glances over at Ziggy as he enters, raising a hand to wave to the cyborg--then pausing as he hears Cassandra's words. "Uh." He thinks about this for a couple of seconds, then shakes his head. "Nah. Ziggurat won' hurt you, an' he's pretty normal as stuff around here goes."
He only has metal joints, and cold hard logic. Other than that, yeah he's quite normal. He merely nods again to Station "Indeed, though I often find people are intimidated by my appearance, I am not of the sort that would strike another in cold blood." He takes a few more steps in "At any rate, is this a meeting of sorts, or a social gathering?"
It only slightly reminds Aeris of someone else she knows who has metal joints. She composes herself, and points Ziggy over to the pies. "Nothing stragetic going on here, unless you count talking about old gods. Everyone was enjoying pie. I don't think there's much left now, though."
She turns to Cassandra. "/Have/ we got any more pie left?"
And of course as yet another Mushroom Retainer finishes yet another dessert, he chimes in, "It's pie!" before rushing off to the kitchen.
Of course Cassandra at this point, especially after hearing Station, is just fighting with herself not to freak out. "Ummm... We should. There was a batch of Blue berry in the oven, and the Key Lime just had to set a bit..." And with that, the warrior maiden just rushes off towards the kitchen.
Aeris Gainsborough says, "You want some pie, Ziggy?"
Station watches Cassandra leave, biting his tongue on any further comments to her. Instead, he glances over at Ziggy. "Yeah, like they said--we're just here for the pie, an' all." His tone is somewhere between relieved and disappointed. He gives Aeris another pat on the shoulder, and retreats to reclaim his pie. Miraculously, except for the bites he took out of it, it's untouched.
Ziggy merely nods and replies "I prefer to keep my intake regulated to synthetic nutrients, in order to keep my body 'clean', so to speak, as to prevent decay around my cybernetic parts." He looks as Cassandra runs into the kitchen, then turns back to Aeris "Talk about gods then? I'm afraid I cannot contribute much, though there are organizations from my world who have their own theories about such matters, I do not share any of them."
Cassandra Alexandra comes back into the room just a few moments later with one cart in front of her, loaded with almost twenty Key Lime Pies, and one cart behind her that she's pulling, loaded with twenty Blueberry pies that are still steaming hot. And in turn eight behind that, there's a mushroom retainer pushing yet another cart that's over flowing with cupcakes.
"Any ways ummm..." As Cass slows down, all thee carts are instantly swarmed with various individuals trying to claim something for themselves. Of course she doesn't really pay any attention to them. Oh no. Instead she just tries to work her way though the crowd, away from Ziggy, who she eyes wearily.
Aeris Gainsborough takes the second cart from the mushroom retainer, and after pushing it into easy access sinks into a chair. "Cassandra, I'm surprised you can still stand up. Take a break, please, wow," she sighs, taking a moment to breathe and get rid of the confusion and stress of the past few minutes. "Excuse me, Ziggy. Too much too fast. I will try some of the key lime, though," she says idly cutting a slice. "Have you actually had any of this yourself yet?"
Station is back to eating his pie, keeping a worried eye on Cassandra--but not intervening. Everyone has to make the transition by themselves.
Ziggy knows enough to tell when someone is uncomfortable with him being around. "If you'd rather, I can leave for now." He says, then turns to Aeris "I believe I may have eaten food like that back when I was still human, however since I commited suicide and was restored as a cyborg, I have maintained optimal intake of nutrients in order to keep this body in shape, for the past 100 years."
"No, Ziggy, it's not you," replies Aeris, with a same weariness of expression as Cassandra. "And it's not you either, Cassandra. Just a combination of all the awkward crazy stuff happening so fast." Chew. "This /is/ good key lime."
Cassandra Alexandra may be breathing deeply, but she manages a smile at Aeris even as she stops dead in her tracks. "I had some of the Chocolate... When was it... I forget when. Maybe yesterday. Really, don't worry. Besides, these guys love my pie." Of course as she hears the cyborgs story, the warrior maiden just blinks at him. "Ummm... Please.... Don't go. And thank you Aeris. This is only my second time making it. The first time was yesterday. The com-pooper in your kitchen has an amazing library of recipes..."
Station quietly finishes off his pie, scrapping the plate with a fork to get up the last crumbs and smears of chocolate cream. He's still keeping an eye on Cassie, though he seems to relax as she appears to be calming down.
Ziggy nods "Though I fail to see the point of staying around, if I am not going to eat nor participate in what you are talking about. Unless you wish to shift your discussion to the matters at hand with the villains." Yeah, so Ziggy has a one-track mind and isn't one for idle conversation, perhaps he should go have a chat with KOS-MOS
You want villains Ziggy?
"If you want to talk about... Villains, then..." the warrior maiden starts to say as she adjusts her shield slightly, before eying the now empty pie carts. "Perhaps you can tell me if you've heard anything recent in regards to the Soul Edge, Nightmare, or Charade?"
Deciding, perhaps, that Cassie's going to get into the swing of things a-okay on her own, Station snags the pie he's been guarding--and slips out, without a word. Whatever could he be up to? Probably just trying to get out of there with some pie intact.
Aeris Gainsborough busies herself with her pie. However, she does look up when Cassandra mentions Nightmare. "Nightmare said on the main radio channel that he was once again in possession of Soul Edge," she offers, although not very enthusiastically and with half a mouthful of pie.
Ziggy hmms "I am afriad I do not know much about this individual, though I have heard his name being mentioned on a few occasions." He looks at Aeris, then turns back to Cass "I assume this Soul Edge is something we do not want him to possess?"
Cassandra Alexandra simply nods as she hears Aeris, the very fact that even for a little while the Knight of the Soul Edge lost the sword news to her. Then though to Ziggy, the warrior maiden simply states, "The Soul Edge is a demonic blade. A cursed Blade. A sword that can be described any number of ways that in the end boils down to a single thing, a sword of pure evil. And to make matters worse, several years ago the old god of the forge, Hephaestus, sent my older sister Sophitia an oracle, which informed her that she had to destroy the Soul Edge." There's a momentary pause as Cass simply reaches down, and picks up Omega. "To do that, he had my sisters then boyfriend, a weapons smith, forge this sword out of holy metal so she could do what he /ordered/ her to do. Unfortunately she ended up failing in her quest, but up until the time I left, she thought that she had succeeded. I now know though that she didn't succeed. That instead she weakened it, and ended up with a single shard embedded in her own body until another woman removed it. The majority of the pieces are in a few places, like the now weakened blade Nightmare has, or the body of Charade. But that's not all of the pieces. There's still others out there waiting to be discovered, destroying the lives of who ever they encounter every day. People like my sister and her children who now bear the curse of that blade simply because some old fool of a god /told/ her to leave everything she had to fulfill a fools errand."
Although Cassandra may or may not have intended to pour so much emotion out in that massive rant, Aeris cannot do much more than sit there, dumbstruck by all the anger in her words. No wonder she felt so bad when she should that Aeris could have been some sort of War God... and might well still think so, she's still not sure... nevertheless, the anger is plain for her to see. Gather Souledge shards, another quest to save thousands from suffering... such a good cause, but as Aeris reminds herself with an internal choked feeling, there have been hundreds of causes she's borne witness to over the years that people are still trying to pursue to this day. I mean, she hasn't even got round to some of her own yet. What Cassandra is saying... the thought of it pains her so much, but... how would she do it? How many shards of Souledge are there? Who is Charade? How can they destroy it? So many questions, where does she even begin to start asking them?
Well maybe she can't bring herself to ask those questions, but Ziggy can "May I ask, how many of these Soul Edge chards are there? And who is this Charade person?" He stands there, arms folded, now he seems to be interested in the conversation. He wants to find out all he can about as many villains as possible, afterall. The more they stop, the better it will be for all, and the safer MOMO will be, that's his philospohy.
Cassandra Alexandra takes a deep breath before she answers Ziggy, using the momentary pause to try and sort out just what to say in response to that. "I don't know how many. I don't think anyone knows. I've only encountered two, and of those two, one is now in a safe place, while the other was taken by the woman who removed it from my sister. But I have heard about others. Pieces that ended up being scattered not only across the earth, but in places beyond the place I call home. As for Charade... I'm not sure how to describe... It. I'm not even sure if it's even alive. All I know is it looks like a mass of floating shards metal, and that my sword, Omega, reacts to him just like it does to a piece, a very large piece of the Soul Edge..."
Aeris Gainsborough swivels in her chair. "So what if there are dozens, hundreds of pieces?" she blurts out. It sounds as if the idea of this is rapidly upsetting her. "What a depressing thought... I'm sorry."
Ziggy nods "Is there any way to detect these pieces then? To track them? Or has anyone even tried? Perhaps if they were analyzed, a way could be found to track them." That's Ziggy for ya, always with the prudent, logical, ideas in mind. And the ones most likely to have been thought of already.
With a nods at Aeris, Cass manages a weak smile. "I'm use to that thought." Then though, she shifts her gaze to the cyborg, as she makes a motion with her sword. "Omega resonates, for lack of a better term, with the pieces, so when they're close enough, or present in large enough quantitates, I can find them. It's probably the only reason I use this sword instead of my others because of it's ability to find the shards. All though I wouldn't be surprised if others who are also after the Soul Edge have ways of detecting the pieces as well. Especially Nightmare since he does have the weakened Soul Edge..."
Aeris Gainsborough says, "So you would spend the rest of your entire life doing nothing but hunting these shards down?"
Ziggy pauses, then speaks up again once Cassandra is finished speaking "With so many shards to collect, perhaps it would make more sense to assault this Nightmare individual, defeat him and claim his shards. I assume that would make the task of finding the others significantly easier."
Cassandra Alexandra says, "In theory it would. And I doubt I'll spend my entire life doing this." before she just shrugs. "Nightmare isn't exactly stupid, or a pushover, especially when you add in the power the Soul Edge gives him. Plus well... I'll be blunt. The power of the Soul Edge corrupts whatever it touches. If someone were to try and use that sword no matter what, then odds are they'd end up like Nightmare..."
Aeris Gainsborough seems to have worked herself into a little upset. She looks around at several empty pie dishes, scans the room and then gets up and busies herself with picking them up, and after collecting a stack, complete with several mumbles of what she's doing and why, heads into the kitchen looking quite sorry.
Corruption by touch? Nothing Ziggy is familiar with, but after seeing Videoland, just about anything can be possible. At any rate, it is almost time for Ziggy's recharge cycle "He sounds like a dangerous individual, though there seems to be many of them in Videoland. Now, please excuse me, I must head back to Toran Castle for the time being. Good luck with your endevour to find these pieces, if you need any help do not hesitate to ask." And with that, he turns to leave, rather abruptly. Common courtesy isn't among his list of skills...
And of course at this point something very strange happens in the background, as a bunch of the mushroom retainers help the flower girl gather up the pie plates, while still others start to wander out of the room with their partially eaten pies, leaving behind Aeris who also is apparently leaving, Ziggy, and Cass.
And speaking of Cass, as Ziggy turns to leave as well, she simply blinks, before realizing that for once, quite possibly the first time since she left her home, she's truly alone...
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