Years of Lies [IC] [Best Veteran Q2 '12]
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October 6th, 2012 (7:48 PM).
Bernkastel Vermillia and Daiki Ethered- Night before the Games
"....." My fingers laced like vines over the handle. I was standing outside, with the setting sun to my back. I had just come back from the city, even though the interviews had ended well over two hours ago. As expected, my Guide relayed that I had an 'astonishing' amount of sponsors this year, which wasn't all that astonishing to me. I had expected it, since I had won twice before. It was just statistics. I knew how to play, so my chances of winning were even greater. I didn't have any emotions to control me, and instead played with five demons like puppets on string. Yet... I was just a larger puppet myself; unable to turn my head to see who was really controlling me. Was it Lord Ashura? The Gods? Or was it someone else entirely?
My eyes flickered back to the door. According to Natruo, the new arrivals would be training directly after the interview in a building seperate from the others, but still nearby so they could go to bed when they were finished. The four of them were beyond this wall, and I could hear the sounds of magick and metal and exhausted people. I felt almost sorry for them... Having to cram in a training session the night before being thrown into the arena... Sighing soft, I dusted off my skirt and entered the building. As soon as I was through the door, I ducked a few inches downward automatically. A knife whizzed past my head, and clattered off the opposite wall. My gaze fell to the vampire girl named Scarlet. "Sorry," She muttered, but it was obvious she didn't mean it. She was definitely not alliance material. However, there was one participant here that had caught my attention the moment I had seen him. "....." I wandered around the stations until I found him with his Guide Preserias. I watched them from afar; curious, but still cautious. After meeting everyone else, I was half-expecting this nice-looking gentleman to be some kind of psycho, or at the very least nothing like what he appeared to be. Yet, the more I watched him now, the less I thought like that.
Preserias was busy with the activity Daiki had chosen to practice at, when his gaze lingered away slightly to a dark figure watching them from over by archery equipment. The angel leaned to Daiki's ear. "Seems you have caught the attention of the two-time winner, Daiki."
"Well, that cannot be good," Daiki said, as stopped firing his magic bolts of energy. It was readily apparent that he didn't want his tricks being seen by others. "I am curious as to why she would bother visiting me. Hopefully, she isn't after my hard earned sponsors." Grabbing a towel from his guide, Daiki wiped his brow of sweat and slowly made his way over to the two time winner. "I shall be back shortly. I cannot bear to waste a lady's time, even if she does want to kill me in less than 24 hours." Daiki approached and smiled as he made eye contact. "What do I owe the pleasure of being visited by the legendary Lady Bernkastel?"
When Daiki stopped his magic, my attention turned to what Preserias uttered to him. Well, that certainly made him stop. Quietly, I held my hands together in front of me, and watched as the human departed from his guide to greet me. "I am hardly legendary. People will forget I existed the moment I die. That's how this society is." I tipped my hat at Daiki. "You did an amazing job at the interviews today, and I have come to properly congratulate you. It seems they have all taken a liking to you, which is very favorable." I looked over in Preserias' direction. "Even more interesting, a human who can manipulate light.... Is this a recent talent?"
"Any time a human does anything these days it could be considered interesting. But no, I could always do so. Not like I will succeed with it tomorrow regardless. Now, may I ask why you visit me of all the tribute?. Do you not bigger and better contestants to spy on? Or request alliances with?" Daiki said. He was skipping right to point. A strange development from Daiki, who always enjoyed a pleasant conversation. It was the pressure of the games, though. He would admit as much if someone asked. It put him on edge. He was nervous, scared maybe, but definitely nervous. He didn't know what to expect, what to do. Perserias told him to make friends, but that was much easier said than done.
I blinked at his straightforwardness. Interesting... "Ah, pardon... I do not wish to waste your precious time with chatter. To the point..." She gazed up at his eyes. "You have caught my interest... And I would like to settle a sort of agreement with you. It would not make sense to go after each other, as one can win from each district." So, his being alive didn't affect the winnings of anyone besides a human. "And actually, I do not do a whole lot of spying. Even now, I was in plain sight."
"Or perhaps you are merely a terrible spy," Daiki said with a cheeky smile. "A deal does interest me, but first answer me this: why me? Surely they are other humans you can make such an agreement with? Such as…Raike? Nokoto?"
My lip flinched, and I forced the smile to not form. "Yes, maybe that is it..." I played along, if nothing more than to fit in. "Why..You?" How to answer that... "I already have an immunity deal with Raike, to be completely truthful. Simply means one less person I have to worry about..." My wings lowered slightly. "I think you are a nice young man, and one of the more deserving to win..."
Daiki smiled at the comment. "Kind words that I did not expect. I apologize for my crude behavior then. I expected more hostility, but then again I am talking to a beautiful young woman. I forgot my manners completely. However, if you want a deal with me, I fear I would have to decline if you already have a pact with Raike. Seeing how he is the most direct threat to my chances of walking out alive, I do not seek to create a conflict of interest with a third party. I am more than aware that you have a number of alliances, Lady Bernkastel, but sadly I regret to inform you that you cannot save everyone. You must pick your allies with greater care. So I will be kind in this exchange. You may choose to ally with me and cancel your previous deal with Mr. Raike, or walk away and pray that you do not see me in the arena," Daiki eyes narrowed at the end with a eerie blue glow.
Was that last bit some kind of threat? I was the one trying to save him, here. "None of my alliances or immunities will have any affect on you. What is made between myself and Raike is not a 'watch my back, I'll watch yours' but a... 'don't attack me, and I won't attack you'. I would not be obligated to save him or help him win. At the same time, if yourself and himself happened to be, say, hanging off a cliff... I would not be obligated to help either of you. An immunity simply means I will not go after you. My demons will not go after you, and my specific allies will not go after you." My eyelids fluttered, and my gaze fell to the archery equipment. "I cannot save everyone, but I will save those I can. I've done it before..."
"Immunities sadly do not interest me right now. I rather have a deal with someone and feel as if I can trust them. An alliance. Not some fickle peace treaty that a mere whim can break. Otherwise, I would be better off on my own," Daiki said, preparing himself to go back to training. "And I do not think I need to remind you that there can only be four winners. I have no idea how you plan to save everyone with that little…handicap. However, if you truly want me on your side I am open to discussion later. You may visit either tonight or find me in the arena before I become a corpse. Till then, milady," Daiki bowed, taking Bern's hand and kissing it lightly. "May the odds be ever in your favor."
I listened quietly to what Daiki had to say. It was too bad he wouldn't even consider an agreement. Perhaps that would be his downfall. He was a nice man, but it seemed like it wouldn't work out if I had an agreement with another human - especially Raike. It would be rude of me to break off my agreement with Raike, not to mention dangerous. He had a contract with Mammon, and Mammon would certainly be on his side if I decided to go against him. I wasn't one to go back on my word to begin with, so the very thought of my doing so was absurd.
I didn't need reminding that there could only be four official winners. I knew that. I had been through this twice already and had somehow survived both times. I wasn't going to explain myself, seeing as a peace-agreement, let alone alliance, seemed impossible between myself and Daiki. Would it be his loss, or mine? Well, it certainly depended on how Daiki dies in the arena... Or which person decided to backstab me this year.
The human took my hand within his own, and I watched as he kissed the top of it. I tilted my head ever so slightly in reaction to this gesture. In all my years alive, the only person who ever did something like that was...
"And may they ever be yours three-fold, Daiki. I shall contemplate your words with utmost care." I really needed to stop thinking I could save everyone I saw. Just how foolish was I? And how many things have I done that I have regretted? Not many, but they would definitely have a negative impact on my game-play this year. I was still angry with myself deep down, that I had let peace slip away so easily between Ryuu and myself. He was the biggest threat to me; moreso than anyone else I had ever encountered. I didn't like having to rely on my Servants, but it would seem I wouldn't have a choice. Ryuu was a physical competitor; something I lacked. I was physically weak, and even though I couldn't express my emotions outwardly, they still affected my thought realm. To Ryuu, his only happiness came through fighting, and his anger drove the train of his power. I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared of him.
"Farewell... I do hope we can speak to each other again." With that, I let my hand slip from his, glanced back at Preserias, and turned on my heels. Such a busy night this would be...
Daiki Ethered- Morning of the Games
There came a knocking on Daiki's chamber door. It was 8'o clock. On the dot.
That was so like Preserias to be on time,
Daiki thought to himself as he stared out the window of his room.
"Come in," Daiki said, wide awake. He barely slept the past night, which was to be expected. He was training with his mentor for most of the night, almost like a cramming session. By the time he was to sleep, it was in the early hours of the morning. Daiki caught a few winks of sleep, but it was meager for the most part. He resolved about half way through the night that he would make up for any lost sleep in the arena. There were ways to escape danger now. Confidence, a once precious resource, had been restored. Daiki found himself almost smiling now.
"I brought your required attire for the games. I went ahead and picked the best set for you, given your skills," Preserias said with a gesture towards the clothing as he placed them on the made bed.
"Excellent," Daiki said as he shuffled through the black shirt, pants, coat, all terrain boots and belt. "Boots, eh? Not exactly my style, my friend."
"I do not think you will need running shoes. Not with your abilities."
All Daiki could do was smile.
Daiki emerged from his room with his attire on. It was surprisingly comfortable, though he feared for the fact it would be his only outfit for likely a number of days. In other words, it was doomed to smell putrid by the time he would be done in the arena. Alive or dead. The only little accessory he had with him was a necklace with a locket in it.
"I do not recognize that," Preserias said with a discerning look.
"That is because I rarely wear it outside my clothing. There is a picture inside. Of my sister. I figure the crowd would love it," Daiki replied with a sheepish smile. Preserias held in a small chuckle, realizing that Daiki was almost too good at the whole nature of the games. He led his prodigy of a tribute downstairs into the garage of the facility to SUV Limo. It seems that they would ride in style to the games. At least Daiki could enjoy comfort a little longer.
"We will take this car to another building of which you will board a hovercraft to the games. I have prepared a fine meal for you. I suggest you eat up since there is no telling how long it will take to access food in the arena."
"Fine by me. I am hungry anyway."
The ride to the building was lengthy, if only because it traveled at a slow pace. Daiki had little doubt Preserias organized that fact as he wanted to give Daiki time to enjoy his meal of meat, vegetables, fruit, tea, and other delicious food and drink. It was to be Daiki's last presumed meal as anything could happen in the arena. All the other contestants could contract food poisoning, or have sudden fatal heart attacks. Or they could gang up on the new guy in Daiki and kill him in an instant. Daiki hoped that wouldn't be the case. After all, he still wasn't told why the Gods demanded his involvement in the Games.
Daiki munched on his food, pondering his strategy in the Games. Preserias was there, but the talks between the two were kept at a historic low. Daiki expressed a desire for space the previous night, as he knew that he needed to prepare himself mentally and emotionally for the trauma that was going to take place. The inevitable fact that Daiki would likely have to kill people. Or at least experience the death of others. Luckily, he hadn't bonded to anyone (meaning their deaths would be only minor tragedies), barring that fact that he admired the beauty of some of the women here. Hopefully, he wouldn't be forced to fight them.
"We are here, Daiki. Are you ready?"
Daiki took one last bite of steak and crammed his mouth full of bread. With a loud, painful swallow, Daiki mumbled the words: "Of course" before nearly choking. Chugging a pitcher of water, Daiki preceded to step out of the limo and followed his guide to the previously mentioned hovercraft.
"I will meet before you enter the arena. Just keep to yourself on the craft and focus on the mental exercises I gave you. Then we will 'cram' as you aptly said before you go in," Preserias said with a forced smile.
"Aye, my lord."
Daiki boarded the hovercraft and took his seat, following orders when they were given as to not stir up any trouble. It was exclusively humans, so Daiki caught a glimpse of his only real competition. He did not concern himself with the other races. At least not yet. During the flight, Daiki took Preserias' advice and focused his mind. It was a form of meditation in which Daiki blocked out any fear and anxieties he had. It was to focus on the task on hand. Obtain some more confidence in himself, his abilities, his knowledge, his resources and above all, his heart. Preserias tried to assure Daiki that he had the potential to win, permitting his focused on it. "There is nothing to fear but yourself," he was told. "Conquer thyself and you will conquer all."
Bold words that kept Daiki going.
The hovercraft landed in an underground base that was impossible to decipher the exact location. It didn't really matter. No doubt whatever was outside was deadly to every species here. Part of him wanted to say in the dreary base. Regardless, Daiki followed his escort to his private room where Preserias stood, ready to give Daiki his final preparations.
"None that I have right now."
"So you believe you are ready?"
"I think so. As long as we precede with the plan we have, I will be fine."
"Just remember your part. I remember mine."
Daiki smiled and forced Preseries to shake his head before giving him a brief embrace. Preserias' eyes were a mix of shock, awe, and confusion. "It is a human thing. Get used to it. I am sure I will give you many more when I am done cleaning up the arena."
Those were his last words before entering the glass tube.
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