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 [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight

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PostSubject: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   6th December 2015, 2:47 am

The Hero's Knight
Creator(s): Sailor Neptune

Forum: Crystal Tokyo
Type: Relaxed

Plot Summary: After learning to be a knight for years, Marina has finally achieved her goal and become one of the few women knights in the kingdom of Andromeda. Since she was Princess Kira's childhood friend, and because the king and queen were increasingly concerned about their daughter pulling further and further away from them - not to mention she had just been missing for five months with no word - they decided to assign Marina to guard the princess. One of the troubles Marina would have to deal with is Kira's apparent slight addiction to alcohol in her attempt to cope with the tragedy five years ago when her parents attempted to sacrifice her to the sea monster, and her way of dealing with abandonment issues. This is not going to be an easy job for Marina, and the moment she re-enters Kira's life, things are not going to go smoothly at all between the two of them.

Details on any necessary information: Follows The Heroes' Quest. It will start with Marina tracking Kira down and introducing herself as her new guard. This is mostly going to be character development stuff so there won't be much action. It will explore their relationship, Kira's step toward healing herself, and ends with her hopefully being in a better state of mind.

Restrictions: Only for Kira/Sailor Andromeda and Marina, everyone else will be NPCed.

OOC Thread: None

Characters:
Kira Alderran/Sailor Andromeda - Sailor Neptune
Marina Ceto - JupiterThunderCrash

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   6th December 2015, 9:04 am



Finding Kira at Mermaid’s Clam seemed like an almost guaranteed thing lately. She was on her—fifth? Sixth? She’d lost count—shot of Pearl Drops and was getting delightfully woozy. She was approaching the point where all thought ceased to matter, which was just as well. These days it was simply easier not to think at all.

“Oneeee morrreeeee,” she demanded, slamming her empty shot glass on the counter for the fifth or sixth or nth time.

“Princess, I’m going to have to cut you off.”

She glared at the barkeep. Or at least she tried to, on account of she couldn’t really see where he was standing because there appeared to be three of him.

“Who’s the royal here? You are ‘sposed to list-uhnnnn to my order.”

People were starting to notice, and the barkeep looked around worriedly, clearly wishing for someone that was not him to diffuse this situation without getting anyone in trouble.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   6th December 2015, 1:35 pm

Finally, after years of hard training and discipline, marina could call herself an official knight. She did her best to stay professional during the small knighting ceremony in the castle, but on the inside, she was smiling hard enough for her face to hurt. This was what she had wanted to achieve since childhood, and now it was done. When the King and Queen gave her the fist assignment, she immediately set off to look for the princess. 

It was a great honor to be picked to guard Princess Kira, though as Planet Andromeda's senshi, Marina had no idea what she could be of much use for compared to that. But she was sure she could find some purpose... Marina checked Kira's room first, only to find it empty. Hm... Maybe she was somewhere else around the castle? Undeterred, she expanded her search to the kitchens, the library, and the soldier's barracks. Each time she came up with nothing, and her enthusiasm died a bit.

Just where could she be? Desperate for some information, she approached one of the guards at the main gate. 

"Have you checked the Mermaid's Clam yet?" he asked, earning a raised eyebrow from her.

"Pardon me?" she asked. What kind of strange establishment was that?

 "It's that popular bar in town," he continued. "I've heard rumors that the princess frequented it." Marina disguised the surprise that crossed her face momentarily. Did he really think she could be at some bar, of all places? But...it wouldn't hurt to look anyway. 

"Thank you for the information," she said, nodding respectfully. Less than an hour later, the knight stepped into the Mermaid's Clam, her full set of armor, shield, and lance on her back drawing some attention from the patrons. Marina ignored the stares, laser focused on her mission. She let the door close behind her as she looked around. And there, right at the counter arguing with the bartender, was her charge. Unsure what to make of what she was seeing, Marina hesitated before approaching her. 

"Your Highness," she said, standing behind the princess's seat. The poor bartender looked like he needed relieving from the situation he was currently in. "I am your newly assigned guard, Lady Marina Cato." 

Judging by the smell in the air, her general behavior, and the empty glass on the counter, Kira had been here for a while. This wasn't proper at all! What if someone tried to attack her while she was like this? Her neutral expression turning into a slight frown, Marina touched Kira's shoulder. "We should return to the castle..."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   10th December 2015, 2:18 am



Kira’s ear twitched when she heard her official title. She so hated hearing it sometimes. It was so… pretentious. It reminded her of how, despite her title, her parents had once treated her like nothing more than a criminal. That title was meaningless and had only ever brought her burden after burden.

Newly assigned guard?

Oh great, so now they gave her a babysitter. Now they thought she, the senshi of this planet who had saved it multiple times as well as some other planets besides, needed a bodyguard. She laughed out loud, the notion thoroughly hilarious, but especially so under the haze of alcohol. The guard’s name was drowned under her peals of laughter and she wasn’t paying much attention to it anyway, not after that ridiculous line.

“That’s a really good one,” she said, turning to look at the person who was obviously making a joke. Her sight wasn’t very good anymore, and she narrowed her eyes. “You look kind of familiar.”

But then the other girl made the mistake of touching her without asking for permission first. Kira jumped up the moment she felt the contact and grabbed the offending hand threateningly.

Do not. Touch me.”

She wobbled on her feet, but her battle instinct suddenly came into sharper focus. She was already on the defensive mode, and this physical contact was not helping at all.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   10th December 2015, 2:36 am

Marina stopped when her hand was grabbed with an unexpected amount of strength. In a place like this, it was easy to forget that she was not just dealing with a princess, but a powerful senshi as well. If it came to a straight fight, Marina would most likely lose. But...she wasn't here to fight, was she?

Instead of letting the princess's words offend or bother her, she took a step back as Kira stood up, giving her some room. She'd seen what threatened people could do if they felt cornered, and she didn't want to be on the receiving end of anything Sailor Andromeda was capable of. 

"I'm not here to bother you, I'm just making sure that you return in one piece," Marina explained, folding her hands behind her back. "That is my duty..." She'd stay professional, even if it hurt to not be recognized at all by her friend.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   10th December 2015, 2:52 am



Wisely, her adversary stepped back, and Kira let go of her hand. The girl was wearing a guard uniform, which was the part that really annoyed her at this moment. Did her parents really send a guard to retrieve her? They were probably not even really worried about her, but rather about her reputation. No, their reputation as the royal family.

“I am a senshi,” she insisted. “I have returned in one piece from far more dangerous places than this.”

She almost scoffed when she heard the word ‘duty’. Right, so, the guard was just doing her job, was she? Nobody actually cared about her. Nobody ever did. But she probably should give this girl some credit for at least trying to do her job, unlike that useless guardian Narcissus.

Kira looked around at the tavern, seeing everyone’s eyes on them. The atmosphere was tense, and she knew she was scaring the people she was meant to protect. She needed to sort out her issues elsewhere. Sighing, she left a couple of bills on the counter and walked toward the door.

“Fine, fine, let’s get out of here so I can relieve you of your ‘duty’ as soon as possible.”

That was probably what the guard wanted anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 12:04 am

Marina nodded respectfully to the bartender, and then followed Kira out of the Mermaid's Clam as if she hadn't been laughed at by the person she was responsible for. This hadn't exactly been what she had expected, but she would not give up so easily on her assignment. 

"You want to... relieve me of my duty?" she asked, now that they were mostly alone on the darkened road back to the castle. Why would the princess think this was some kind of burden placed on her? Marina had been honored to do it. She didn't touch Kira again, but she stayed close enough to her on the pathway to hold her steady if needed.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 10:55 am



“Well, I’m sure you’re only saddled with it because my parents…” she trailed off. “Feels guilty or whatever. Anyway, I already have a guardian, you know. Albeit a useless one. And I can take care of myself. So…”

She turned toward the guard, about to ask for her name again when she paused and really stared at her. Her brain was fuzzy, so it took her entirely too long to connect the dots on why this woman looked so familiar. It had been about five years, but she would recognize that face anywhere.

“Marina?”

For a moment her expression changed; less guarded, less hostile. The memory of her childhood friend took her back to the old, happy, carefree days. When she was innocent and naïve, believing the best in people, trusting everyone…

Before she was betrayed by everyone she cared about.

“What… why are you here? Are you really my bodyguard?”

She was confused. It seemed like she was missing something obvious, but did not have the pieces of the puzzle she needed.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 11:19 am

Kira really thought that this had been forced upon her? Maybe the king and queen did feel remorse for the past, but that didn't influence Marina's own reasons. She gave a small smile when Kira recalled her name.

"It's been so long that I thought you had completely forgotten about me," she said, though she didn't sound hurt. "I am officially a royal knight now, so you could that I'm fairly qualified as a guard..."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 11:35 am



“I didn’t… forget,” she replied, an unexpected stab of guilt coming out of nowhere. After the sea monster incident, she had pushed everyone away, ignoring even those closest to her. Especially those people, in fact. Marina had been one of her closest friends despite their difference in status because Marina’s father was a guard and she hung around the castle a lot. But after that day… Kira had just felt abandoned by everyone. Realistically, she didn’t know what Marina could have done—if she could have stopped it—but she had assigned blame to everyone who claimed to care about her and ended it there.

It just felt easier to be angry at everyone and not let anyone in again.

“Well… congratulations,” she said at last. “It looks like you’ve achieved your dream. But if this is the task you’re assigned to, then I’m sorry to say you got the short end of the stick. You deserve better than a glorified babysitter.”

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 11:50 am

"I don't consider this the short end of any stick," Marina said. "Being assigned to you means that I..." She trailed off, the words sticking in her throat. Was it proper to admit her more personal thoughts now?

"Means that I'm able to help you. Maybe I can't be of much use when it comes to protection, but I'm willing to find a purpose that I can serve. I've also, er..." Marina felt the back of her neck warm up, hopefully obscured by the darkness. "...missed you. I didn't see much of you after the incident."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 12:00 pm



Kira didn’t know what to think. Marina had always had that… serious, dutiful quality in her, and she didn’t know if Marina was just doing her job and upholding her position right now or that she actually cared.

But then her former friend’s professional façade broke a little bit, and Kira felt herself teetering dangerously on the brink of emotions. Emotions that she had protected so carefully all these years. Making new friends was one thing, because none of them was tied to her past, to the source of her pain and mistrust. She could trust the people that had not betrayed her yet.

But allowing someone from the past—who’d been there—in? That was dangerous.

“I’m not sure how you can help me or what purpose I can give you,” she said carefully. “My parents betrayed me. My guardian abandoned me. I’ve learned that the only person I can depend on is myself.”

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 12:10 pm

It hurt to see Kira this closed off, but Marina had no idea how to pry the walls back down again. Trust could not be reforged in an instant. But if there was one thing she was good at, it was being loyal. 

"I will do....whatever it takes to prove that you can depend on me, if you choose to do so," Marina said, looking into her eyes. "I'm up for any task or challenge you see fit to give me." It could take forever, but she could wait if it meant that Kira might open up once more. "I swear it on my own honor as a knight."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 12:25 pm



Whatever it takes?

She wished she weren’t so drunk, because her feelings were all over the place. Her emotions were always heightened with the alcohol, and keeping the walls up became impossible. Still, she stubbornly stood her ground, afraid to fall into the same trap that had once captured her.

A knight’s vow was a serious thing, and coming from Marina, Kira knew she meant it. She had never had someone pledge their life to her before, and she had to admit it felt… tempting. Tempting to see how far Marina would go. Tempting to lean on someone and just… release all this uncertainty and doubt and defense mechanism.

“Why?” she asked finally, her voice no longer steady, but her question simple.

Was this her speaking as Lady Marina the knight, who would have said it to any princess she was assigned to? Because that was not the kind of pledge Kira was looking for.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 12:43 pm

"Why? Because I cared about you back then, and I still do now..." Marina hesitated, thinking about the sea serpent's attack again. "Part of the reason I wanted to be a knight was because I liked the idea of serving you. It was the only way I'd be able to help my friend after we grew up. I watched as countless knights died against that sea monster, and my father almost lost his life doing the same, but you... you stopped it." Marina dropped onto one knee, bowing her head. 

"I'm sorry I couldn't do anything that day, I wasn't strong enough to protect you at all..." And now Kira was like this, all because of that one day.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 1:25 pm



Care. Someone said they cared. The words pierced the walls, and Kira could feel them cracking.

Words. They’re just words, she reminded herself. Her parents had said they’d cared too, after. That it had been a difficult decision and that they regretted it. Words that felt meaningless in the wake of what they’d already done. She liked to think she had forgiven them, but she could never quite forget it. She’d never told them what she felt, never had the confrontation that was a long time coming. It was what was holding her back from letting it go, but she was holding onto it like a lifeline. She didn’t even know why, when letting go was probably easier and better in the long run.

She never realized that Marina wanted to be a knight because of her. They talked about it sometimes, of their dreams, but this was the first time Kira had ever heard that part. She was even more surprised when Marina dropped to one knee.

Her regret sounded clear and true, and Kira felt tears brimming in her eyes. It was just as well Marina wasn’t looking at her. She couldn’t handle this—the idea that a person had cared all along and had felt this strongly about what happened. It was the very opposite of what she was used to receiving—from her parents, from Narcissus. The feeling almost felt foreign and it threatened to overwhelm her.

“I’m way too drunk for this,” she said finally, turning away. “Where do you live now? Do you still live with your father?” She remembered he’d gotten hurt and once again realized how selfish she’d been, only thinking about her own pain. A lot of people lost their lives that year, and she still had everything intact, at least on the outside.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 10:49 pm

Marina waited on her knee in silence before Kira finally responded, and then she forced herself to keep her emotions in check. Kira was right, this could be talked about in the morning. She had probably said too much already...

She stood up again and made sure she was completely in control again before answering. "I used to, but with my new assignment, I've moved into the castle now." The king and queen had insisted that she change housing so she could be in easy reach in case of emergencies. Her new room should be ready by this time, but it still felt odd not to be in her old home with her parents. Her mother could take care of her father just fine, but it'd be an adjustment for sure.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   11th December 2015, 11:44 pm



“Alright, well, let’s go home then,” she shrugged, and without waiting for an answer, she started walking toward the palace. “And… if I could request one thing…” She paused, wondering if she’d regret this in the morning.

“Ditch the formalities. You were—are—my friend. First and foremost. It’s my only condition in accepting this assignment. Which is a decision I can totally overturn, being the princess and all.”

If Marina was telling the truth about this not just being her duty, she should have no problems with that.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   12th December 2015, 12:16 am

Marina moved to catch up with her surprisingly quick pace, slowing down beside her as they walked. A request? She had already agreed to doing what she was asked, so she didn't see a problem with it if it made Kira happier with their arrangement.

"Alright, no more titles," she said, her mood lifting a bit when she was referred to as a friend. Was this some kind of progress they were making? Slow progress, but it was still moving forward. "Forgive me if I slip up once in a while, but I will try my best..."

__________________________________

The next morning, after making sure Kira had gone to bed when they arrived at the castle, Marina was back at the princess's room. The sun had only been up for a couple of hours, but early starts were always good, right? Still riding a high from their conversation last night, Marina knocked loudly on the door, fully dressed in her uniform and armor. Hangover or not, there were things that needed to be done today.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   12th December 2015, 10:06 am



Was that pounding inside her head or outside?

Kira groaned when she realized it was both. Why was someone knocking on her door this early? All of the castle staff knew better than to bother her at this ungodly hour. The sun was out, yes, but it wasn’t high enough to be noon.

“Go away!” she yelled, then immediately winced when yelling made everything hurt more. She buried her head further under her pillow and blanket.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   12th December 2015, 11:17 am

Marina took Kira's yelling to mean that she was awake, and used it as an invitation to walk in, closing the door behind her.

"Don't tell me you were planning to sleep in past midday..." Marina said, feigning genuine surprise when she saw the lump huddled under the bed covers. "Think of all the hours you'd be wasting." Marina wasn't completely cruel though, and she had a package of medicine for headaches in her possession from the apothecary. She moved to the nearby window and pulled back the curtains.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   24th December 2015, 3:06 am



Why was the door opening? Who was supposed to be guarding the door? Why wasn’t it locked last night?

Oh, right. She was probably too drunk to lock it.

Kira curled into a tighter ball under the covers as she heard someone’s voice. It sounded vaguely familiar, but her head ached too much to try and think beyond simple thoughts like “More sleep” and “Pain bad.”

“What’s the point of being a princess if I can’t sleep past midday?” she grumbled. She poked her head out when her curiosity won, unfortunately just in time to see the curtains being pulled back.

“Noooooooo!” she moaned like a vampire being turned to ash in direct sunlight.

She immediately dove back under the covers. “Light bad! Badddd!”

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   27th December 2015, 10:20 pm

It took all of Marina's composure and discipline to not start laughing. It was weird to see their Princess- no, Kira, act in a manner that wasn't cold or distant, but she wasn't about to complain. It was also pretty amusing to watch a senshi struggle against sunlight of all things, but she didn't dare say that aloud. Maybe their conversation from yesterday night really meant something...

"My apologies for the rude awakening, but hiding won't get rid of your hangover." Marina approached the bed, waiting patiently for a response beyond whining and groaning. "...But I did pick up something that will help."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   27th December 2015, 11:59 pm



“I beg to differ,” Kira’s muffled voice retorted from under the covers. If she just waited long enough, surely this torture would pass.

At the mention of ‘help’, she peeked out carefully again, like a newborn afraid to face the world. “What?” she asked suspiciously.

She got a good look at the person who was bothering her at last and frowned. That face was familiar. Did they talk last night? She seemed to have a vague recollection of an emotional exchange, but she didn’t remember all the details, only how it made her feel. Which was overwhelmed, and she didn’t know if she could handle overwhelmed emotionally right now when physically it was already bad enough.

“Ugh. So I really got a babysitter?” she groaned when bits and pieces returned to her. “That wasn’t just a dream?”

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   29th December 2015, 8:34 pm

"I believe we came to an agreement that I wouldn't be 'babysitting' so much as assisting," Marina said, looking vaguely annoyed by the term. A knight didn't babysit anyone. "I'm here to help with anything you need. Like this, for example..." Marina pulled out the little brown packet of medicine and placed it on a nearby nightstand. 

"I wouldn't know from experience, but I heard Ambrosia has a strong aftertaste to it. You might want something to wash it down with."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   8th January 2016, 8:34 am



Kira also vaguely remembered that conversation. Was there something about on oath? It made her feel all confused and overwhelmed again, so she decided not to think about it for now.

She scrunched up her nose at the sight of the medicinal herb. She still vividly remembered how it tasted after she was forced to eat it before she battled Medusa. Ugh, where was Percy when she needed him? She could really use his help in keeping away Marina. “Are you serious? ‘Strong aftertaste’ is the understatement of the century. I think I’d rather sleep it off, thank you.”

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   15th January 2016, 12:00 am

"It's such an nice day out, and you just want to stay in here?" Marina almost wanted to sulk at Kyra's stubbornness. Almost.

"Oh well. I guess you'll just miss all of breakfast...again," she said with a sigh. "I should tell the kitchen staff to throw out the rest of that Conch Bread before it goes to waste on the table..." Marina seemed to give up, and started to leave the room. "I'll be out in the courtyard if you want me for something."

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   2nd February 2016, 12:10 am



“What do you expect me to do out there, exactly?” Kira grumbled.

But then she heard Marina’s next sentence and whipped the covers off of her, sitting up so quickly it felt like someone just split her head in two. “Owwww!” she cursed as she massaged her head.

“Why would you throw away perfectly good Conch Breads? Have we suddenly become rich enough to waste food or something? That is completely irresponsible governing!”

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   3rd February 2016, 1:37 pm

Marina stopped walking just before she got to the door when she heard Kira get up.

"Well you certainly can't comment on the kingdom's governing from in here," she said. "So...I guess you'll have to get up and supervise breakfast yourself. You could do that instead of sleep until noon."

Marina knew that the entire bread problem was stupid and minor, but anything that motivated Kira to not spend part of the day shut off was a good thing. And it'd be even better if she found a way to keep her out of the bar more. Marina just needed to get her out of the habit she'd fallen into, even if she had to shove her.

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PostSubject: Re: [Relaxed] The Hero's Knight   7th February 2016, 8:42 pm



With lots of grumbling and minor cursing, Kira swallowed the gross-tasting Ambrosia and chased it down with water, which was nowhere near enough to get rid of the aftertaste. “Next time you bring me this poison, make sure to bring something sweet too,” she said, coughing.

At least she started to feel better afterwards—the headache was leaving her. “You’re really still as annoyingly stubborn as always,” she added as she jumped out of bed and headed for the shower.

After a long and refreshing shower, Kira walked downstairs to the dining room, where thankfully her parents were nowhere in view. She didn’t handle family meals well anymore and it was always easier to eat on her own these days. Though now she wondered if Marina would accompany her. Having her wouldn’t be so bad… maybe. “Have you eaten yet?” she asked.

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