Laying underneath the tree in a park she commonly frequented, Zriracha of Chakkapak was enjoying a little time thinking, unfettered by any Glamour. She’d been reflecting on her time in the mortal planes and, after her conversation with Kayen at the Eight Furnaces, it had given her quite a bit to reminisce about. She missed a few of the first acquaintances she’d met… Mumbo had made quite an impact on her and Carro had challenged her way of thinking beyond what her clan had taught her.
But something still felt… off.
She just couldn’t figure out what it was, no matter how hard she tried to fit in within the Earth culture. Honestly, it made her wonder… why. Why had she chosen Earth to be expelled from the Demon Realm? What reason did she have to even *stay* here when she’d sufficiently grown stronger than most Demons? And… why try to gain ties with the mortals when there was a family awaiting her at home?
Many of these questions rattle around in her head incessantly and made her gaze down in the grass with an expression deep with conflict. Lifting her head to stare through the leaves of the tree’s branches at the sun, the Satyr just grimaced at the dilemma she put herself in.
It seemed as if it was a few moments ago that Vangreth first stepped into one of these big cities, yet so much had changed since then. Before, he was scared of them, intimidated by the sheer number of people that were living in some sort of giant symbiosis where most people have their own role in the grand scheme of things. Compared to the settlement back on Muko, this was multiple planets together! But now, it was just a normal part of his new life here on Earth, and that feeling of fast change really took time to settle.
While he was out in Central City to grab a few goods, he noticed that a ki-signature felt familiar, especially with how strong it was. He smiled to himself, holding up a bag half-filled with everything he needed for that one milkrun, and decided to go have an interesting talk with that very person! Last time they talked, Zriracha managed to get Vangreth out of some guilt and properly set him back on the path to save his people. For that reason, Vangreth held the demon in high esteem and valued every moment he could spend talking to her.
He made his way towards the park where he felt the signature was coming from and noticed the demon simply on the ground, under a tree, and relatively left alone by the rest of the humans and aliens in the park, enjoying a hot day of summer. Right from the start, Vangreth noticed that she seemed to be bothered by something; perhaps he could try to help her this time? Then again, he didn't have much wisdom to share like she had.
Approaching her silently, he just sat a fair distance away from her and politely nodded.
'' Hello Zriracha. What seems to be bothering you, if you don't mind sharing?''
Saying that, he didn't realize that it might have been a little intrusive, but then again, perhaps she needed someone to talk to. The summer breeze blew in their face, bringing a rather confortable warmth.
So absorbed by the unending train of her thoughts, Zriracha didn’t notice someone approach and sit a fair distance away until the voice of someone addressing her had her flinch with a soft bleat. She turned to them, eyes wide with surprise before she recognized them as the sneaky conversationalist, Vangreth and calmed to give him a brief smile. They were kind to seek her out, likely aware of her morose mood and lack of an optimistic disposition. “I am… deep in thought, though I suppose that much is quite obvious, isn’t it?” She chuckled, looking away and back down to the ground, her laughter fading to nothing slowly as the moment passed on.
While she didn’t have any mistrust for the boy, Zriracha was still wary of her inner thoughts and desires being bared for any and all the hear… perhaps even more so of their scrutiny. She glanced back at him, taking the chance. “Vangreth… do you believe me to be an… ‘example’ for Demons?” She questioned tenderly, tossing the question around in her mind seconds after posing it and hating the way it came out. “W-What I mean is,” She tried to rectify, “-Do you believe I am… good at being a Demon? Is it something I’m good at?... Oh dear,” She brought a hand to her face, shaking her head, “No matter how I phrase it, I do not know how to express it.”
She turned back to Vangreth. “I suppose what I’m trying to say is… Am I a bad Demon?”
It was pretty obvious from the start that the demon was lost in her mind and questionning herself pretty heavily, but Vangreth did not expect it to start off with such a serious note. He took a moment to think about what she was saying, and perhaps understand what she meant by that too. Now, from what he knew, she would be speaking of how demons were perceived, which was pretty much as terrible monsters that claimed lives and conquered world... now, he didn't think she was making up to these standards, but there was something more to it, or at least, the alien believed it to be.
After a long pause where he visibly struggled to grasp as the complicated nature of the problem, he managed to form an answer that, at least for him, worked in its own weird way.
'' I believe the first form your question took better suits you than the last one.''
He smiled at her, his eyes still glowing the the innocence of youth.
'' From what I've heard of demons, you set an example that, if achieved, allows you to break through stereotypes and achieve who you truly are... kind of your own collar-mind-control thing being broken. ''
He massaged his neck, thinking back to his own controlling force in his life, which was much more litteral.
'' I might just misunderstand the expectation you have as a demon, but I believe that fighting against the expectation and nature of what a demon is suposed to be shows... well... character, for lack of a better term. Does being a demon prevents you from being yourself? If so, then do you WANT to be a demon? Perhaps it would be more important to... be yourself first? I know it is probably easy for me to say this, because I am free of the expectation of my kin, but I believe being an individual before being part of a species is important...''
He sighed, that was a long and complicated way of saying 'if you can't be a demon, be yourself', but like he would ever be able to simply say what he was thinking.
'' I guess what I'm saying is, do you feel like you are yourself right now? And if you do, then why doesn't it fit the idea of being a demon? And finally, have you tried... going full demon? Do you think you would feel better if you just... became what I've heard about demons? Because, you have the power to do so after all. ''
Saying that, Vangreth felt almost like he was opposing his own self from the past, where he was forcibly blinded into fitting into a mold that was just helpful to others, and not being able to be himself. Perhaps some people's restrains were much more complicated than a simple device around your neck that erases your ego.
Listening to Vangreth as he went on to give his perspective on things, as well answering her question to a surprising degree of lucidity. She cocked her head to the side at the metaphor of how she’d broken free of such stereotypes and blinked, a little flattered that he would have thought so. As he on to continue that she should try to be herself before trying to be a Demon, Zriracha had to really think about that, given she’s always did what she wanted to do on her terms – and by default though that was the way Demons were.
“That is… very thought-provoking, thank you,” She almost felt silly for not thinking of something like that before. Now it was his turn to ask her a question and Zriracha felt her smile fall in a sudden expression of shock. Did she believe her true self to fit within being a Demon and… Had she tried to be a TRUE Demon? Nervously, she swallowed and crossed her arms, looking down at the grass once more with a deeply contemplative expression. “I…” She began but stopped short as the words seemed to be a fleeting as the wind that blew around them.
She recalled the brusque manner in which she’d declared her desire to take over this world. How easily she felt it would be the challenge those whom dared to oppose her desires. And the years before that when she’d stop at nothing to prove herself time and time again, only to gradually find that what she found to be more her speed was… less the speed her clan might have desired.
She brought a hand to her head, “I feel… as though there are important differences between what I was expected to be and what I have chosen. I am, what I suppose you would call, a Full Demon, but…” She looked over at him with a sad smile, “I don’t think I could do that - become what is expected of me as a Demon. That power. The… The hatred it would require of me..." She recalled the use of power she felt as she had fought against Kraktus and when she'd been challenged by Polarus for the right to court her. It was no where near the kind of battle fueled blood thirst that she was familiar with among the warriors of her kind. Vangreth
Now, Vangreth didn't expect his thought to actually be helpful to Zriracha that much, but seeing the look on her face and the general change in her attitude seemed to have been sparked by his view on her problem, which did please the Muko-Jin a little; it always feels good to give back to someone who's given to you, doesn't it. Her words came and confirmed what he had been thinking, sparking him to show a shy, but content smile, one which was pretty expressive for the alien. Then again, Zri's face began to shift once more and she seemed torture once again...
A few moments later, as she seemed to have reached some form of conclusion, at least for part of what she was getting through; but seeing her sad smile, paired with her harsh words that seemed to really hurt to say, it did not feel like a victory...
The alien took a moment to think on her word; now she was going into a territory that he was most oblivious of; existential crysis were not exactly the kind of problem he had dealt with, even if his own life seemed to be perfect for that kind of issue to happen.
'' Well... for me at least, it seems like it comes down to the importance of what you chose to be versus who you expected to be in the first place. From now I can safely say that I have no knowledge or idea of what you could be feeling. '' Vangreth said, as he wanted to be sure she did not think he was some kind of 'know it all' and believed he had an answer for everything. If there was one truth in the world, it was the sheer amount of things the Muko-Jin was absolutely oblivious to.
'' But if you want my honest opinion... you have much more than enough power to be terrifying! I can feel your aura, and I know most people, like me, can push their power further, and I believe you are no exception. So if you're worrying about not being strong enough, I would ask you to look around and count how many people could fight you in this parc. ''
Vangreth motionned looking around, although he was just using his ki-sensing ability to scan the surrounding.
'' I count 0 total. So 'that power' you mentionned, the hatred it requires... you need none of it. ''
He then lifted a finger in the air and closed his eyes.
'' Beaten is the easy path that leads to mediocrity. Make your own!''
He giggled, hoping she wouldn't have seen the billboard just outside the parc with that very slogant... well, that and 'with Extra-Power pill, only 25,99 per dose!'.
With an almost comical look of surprise on her face, Zriracha had only a moment to really take in his words, before she leaned back and let loose an almost unhinged amount of laughter. So tickled was she that she’d even lost her balance and held on to the tree behind her for ballast until she could eventually calm down. “Th-That… has to be most amusing manner of guidance I have ever received!” With a few more chortles, Zriracha had to hold up a hand just in case she had offended Vangreth and add with clear amusement, “But you are right… There aren’t many here that could hurt me. Scenting them… you are quite right, no one.” She closed her eyes.
And reached out for him… there was little she could sense, and the suited her just fine, but… she knew that there was power among those whom did not show it. “Even still,” She opened them back up, clear understanding there. “That does not mean they do not exist. Queen Kayen of Vegeta… General Kraktus as well… They are all powerful and influential allies to me whom have shown me that power shouldn’t remain stagnant. And so, it is wise that I still pursue the it’s growth.”
And thus came the issue, “Recently, I have grown… hollow. Without purpose. In the time I have close to the mortals of this world and established a life – I have throw wide the great chasm of my instinctual desires and,” She frowned deeply. “-ignored the consequences of their existence. If I cannot find a place to curb these urge and instincts, I fear for the eventual conclusion that I have been warned against.”
The words Kraktus had parted her with, of the fate of a similar Demon that had grown so powerful and greedy that they lost objectivity and was, effectively, slain. She would not make a such a mistake. “I have thought long and hard about leaving this world for the sake of it’s population. To grow my power and knowledge of the mortals beyond this place. I…” She looked down, suddenly shamed as she recalled Polarus, “-realize many do not approve. However, it is for their benefit in many aspects, that I do this.” Vangreth
Seeing how amused Zriracha was being, but unsure what exactly had brought so much suddent joy into her demeanor, Vangreth couldn't help but follow along on her laugher! Again, since he was so receptive to everyone's feeling, that was not weird to him in the slighest! Chuckling along with the demon, he couldn't help but feel how alarming it would look from afar if someone didn't have any of the context, they could probably look like they had just finished their plan to conquer and then destroy Earth for all they know! But this moment, the alien really appreciated it for the short moment it lasted. What Zriracha said at the conclusion of that moment reminded him that she could not sense him, at first he almost felt offended that she didn't consider him someone who could hurt her! While he did not believe he could win, he would still put up a challenge.
At the mention of General Kraktus, the Muko-Jin would visibly tense-up, and his eyes widened when he was told that the most horrible and despicable person he had met was considered an ally by Zriracha... While he didn't want to create a conflict, there was no way the General Kraktus he knew would be of any good influence to anyone. While what she seemed to have retained from those two person was truth as far as Vangreth was concerned, he couldn't help but wonder why it was coming from the person who casually talked about extinguishing life on whole planets...
Zri's issues seemed to go deeper and deeper whenever Vangreth believed he was making progress, the problem multiplied into two equally concerning issues, and those only went further and further from the alien's understanding.
'' Sorry if I've been quiet a lot...'' He would simply say, visibly shaken by everything that was said and how tortured Zriracha now seemed to him, even though she was so strong, she was completely dominated by emotions so complex...
'' At this point, I cannot even begin to explain how lost I am on all that you are feeling, and talking about. ''
He paused, pondering for a moment what he was going to say.
'' I am going to ignore my own personal experience with General Kraktus and going to focus on... what I CAN understand from that. If you feel the need to leave, and feel like this place isn't where you belong... then find that place. I know if I were you, I'd want to live the life I want, not the one who wants me. I would try and supress those urges, and well...''
He smiled innocently. '' ... when it blows up, when and IF you can't hold it in anymore and its...'' He makes exploding noises and motions with his hands.
'' ... then... you'll know that was everything you could give it. You would have no regret you know? And you said it yourself, you have allies, and you know there are people who can stop you. ''
Vangreth let our a deep sigh and smiled to Zriracha.
'' But I'm guessing it's not that simple is it? I'm getting use to that being the case.''
She didn’t want to alarm him, honestly, but… seeing his reaction to her mention of Kraktus brought on a little but of guilt. She knew he was not a nice man, and he made scruples to ever have anyone think otherwise. “It is fine,” She gently reassured, certain that her words must have shaken him intensely for him to think so intently upon them. He continued, valiantly putting his own bias aside somehow, and speaking to her on an option that she hadn’t really given much thought. For good reason.
She looked off to the side, recalling the emotions she’d felt when she fought Polarus. How he’s foolishly taken a hit as powerful as her Blaze and tanked it without even blocking… as so he could prove a point about his devotion to her. If she were not within her right mind or… possibly even unable to differentiate the difference between a spar or a fight… Or what if Whisker had gotten hurt and she didn’t have the self-control to keep him out of the battle?!
She swallowed, fear visible on her face, “I-” She started, trying to still her pounding heart. “There… could be people who could stop me… but what if-” She brought a hand to her head. “-they weren’t in time? What if I was too powerful to defeat?!” Such thoughts to most might seem arrogant and worthy of insult, but Zriracha whom did not ever expect herself to come so far… it was a very real fear. She wanted to trust that she could keep her power under control, but the threat of the unknown was beyond her understanding. “I… I thank you for being so transparent with me, but I feel like this might be the best option.”
She looked up at him, a morose expression on her face, “If not this, then… it would be best if I returned to my people and played the role best suited to me. I do not wish to harm the Mortals I have come to… dare I say adore.” Vangreth
While Zri's words were reassuring, he was glad she did not feel attacked by his judgemental approach on what seemed to be, or have been, one of her mentor and/or friends, Vangreth just knew there was something wrong that would not go away now that this was mentionned and said. While the demon seemed to be troubled as well, it gave Vangreth some time to reflect on just what Kraktus being a mentor to someone good meant... and perhaps even the worst person could still teach something good to the ones who are willing to listen to him... truly fascinating.
She looked resigned, decided... and that was not a bad thing as far as the Muko-Jin was concerned; if he had been able to shake her belief just over the course of one sitting, then it would have been a signal that she had not done a lot of thinking on it. Thinking as hard as he could on this complex scenario, the alien ended up reaching the same point she did, only it was much easier for him to accept, and that did feel like a defeat in the end. He only knew the demon for a while, but knowing someone is just going to go away must never be easy.
'' I guess you are right. If the two options are either go full movie demon and destroy until you are stopped... then perhaps...'' He looked up to see the sky, nodding to himself.
'' ... perhaps the answer you are looking for is not down here, but somewhere else in the universe. And I bet you would be able to find it.'' He looked back down at her and did the silliest, wide smile he could do.
'' But do promise to visit a few times! You might undersestimate or not even think about it, but those little talk we have... it really helps me figure things out... ''
His smile faded mostly, leaving a side smirk, confident, but still silly in the end.
'' And in exchange, I'll promise to make it quick if you ever lose it or something. Like some sort of pact? I believe friends do those... that or I was tricked by a tiny human friend into training him when he's older... you tell me!''
The relief she felt when Vangreth accepted her point of view was like having an entire world of stress lifted from her shoulders. It helped her to feel like she wasn’t making a rash or under elaborated decision, even if she was certain that most would find the idea to be short-sighted. She gave him a light push against his shoulder at his offer to make it quick if she ever does ‘lose it’, throwing in a quick comment, “Oh, you would, would you? Right after my heart,” She laughed. However, she made no qualms about visiting – if anything, she hoped that the idea of going into space for a long while would be one that was… little more than a last resort.
She just hoped Kayen would be quick with whatever plans she had to expand. The last thing she needed was to be stuck out in the vast expanse with no where to go and not a shred of knowledge.
She cocked her head to the side at the mention of a ‘pact’, something very familiar with her clan. “A pact to kill me? Hah, I’m afraid I would have to decline such a thing,” She leaned toward him menacingly, “I highly disapprove of suicide, I’ll have you know,” And she’d be content to let him connect the dots and assume whatever she could mean. With their jokes aside, however, Zriracha found herself less burdened and that… was a much better feeling to enjoy the warmth of the park with.
Looking up into the large branches of the tree, Zriracha would (feeling playful) suddenly look off to the side and point in a direction. Assuming Vangreth would take the bait, the Satyr would grin before silently bounding upwards into the protective shade of the trees, landing on a branch and floating just enough of her weight off of it so that it would not break. If he should spot her, she would grin down at him and lounge upon the branch on her stomach. The lightness of her heart was truly a difference of night and day. Vangreth
While Vangreth did not fully understand what she meant by 'right after my heart' as she said, he had a feeling, guided by her general speaking patern and reaction to it, that it was not something he had to be worried about, at least until it would happen about it. The alien did however notice that she had not addressed the part about visiting... even if he was a little oblivious about a lot of things, there was signs even he would pick up on... and well, that one was pretty obvious not to be lost on even the likes of him.
Next thing he knew, the alien was being somewhat threatened? Zri's expression became intense in way too little time for him to process what had caused it, and even the word 'suicide' did not mean much to him outside of 'it's bad' and 'talk about it', simply slogans he had heard around in his travels. All Vangreth could decypher form it, is that right after that tiny moment of stress, she seemed to have calmed down. Perhaps that was a demon thing? But, true to himself, Vangreth stopped worrying about at the same time she did, still confused over what that was.
'' Oh... did I agree to do something stupid by mystake then? I really need to be more careful about what I promise to people... '' He simply said in some half-whispered note to himself.
Taken by surprise however, Vangreth totally looked where Zri pointed, giving it his full and complete attention! He squinted, not seeing what would give her such a reaction, he turned back to her only to be taken by surprise as she vanished!
'' Oh? Was it something I said?'' He wondered aloud, only after a few long seconds to search her with his aura reading ability.
'' Wait... you're not invisible are you?'' He asked, giving a few swipe to where she was before vanishing, half-certain he would connect on her somehow.
It took even almost a whole minute to figure out where she was, slowly looking up to see the demon laying there, on a branch, looking down at him. He would chuckle and even whipe a tear from his right eye.
'' And to think I prioritised invisibility over ... going up a tree!'' He exclaimed, flying upward towards the tree and chosing his own branch to try and immiate the pose she was doing. Although he was not wise enough to levitate on top of the branch, he seemed just light enough not to bend it too far.
She felt more comfortable on the tree, enjoying a lazy stretch as she watched Vangreth look for fail to find her until she surmised that he sensed for her energy. It amused her to see that he believe invisibility was the most probable course of action she’d take and she laughed, “You’re not too far off! I would dare to say I might feel inspired to do just that next time.” It was certainly something to think about. As he floated up to mirror her pose, Zriracha would turn over and lay upon her back, the branch hardly moving from her position change.
“I will,” She would say suddenly, as if prompted by an unknown question. She turned to him, grinning, “Visit, I mean. If I do leave, anyway. I… I want to give the people I care about a chance to tell me how they feel and… perhaps grow stronger. They’re quite dependable. And don’t worry, I don’t believe you would actually kill me,” She grinned at him, a wild but beaming smile. “I think you’d hesitate at the last moment, anyway!” Vangreth
Really? Invisibility was just something Zri could do? And Vangreth though some of his own abilities were wierd, but that was just uncanny! The fact that his own inaptitude to resolve a simple mystery made the demon smile was just a bonus to the learnt information about her capacity!
'' Oh well... next time I might expect it though, so chose your moment! You don't seem like the kind of person who enjoys being predictable at all.'' The alien would say as he attempted to change his pose to match her new one... and that was a bad idea. Not even a second after he layed on his back, his body tilted on the side and he just face-planted into the ground bellow.
He got back on his feet while listening to the declaration that would disperse the negative feeling he had for a few seconds. He turned to her and smiled from ear to ear.
'' You bet I would! Friends are not something you're suposed to kill are they? So I'll make sure to be strong enough so that I don't have to! But anyway, I will mostly just hope the time does not come when it will be necessary. If you do not, then I will make sure I am the one who fully believes you won't fall for whatever force pulls your towards the dark. ''
Saying that, Vangreth began to fly and levitate at about the same height he was before falling; he would not be tricked again by the tree!
Zriracha blinked as Vangreth fell from the tree, floating back over onto her stomach a good few inches from the branch as she looked down at him with concern. When he seemed alright and had even made the riposte that he would hope to be strong enough to not kill her, the Demon would smile warmly at him and float back down against the tree limb. It felt… nice to hear that she could rely on him and it inspired her to try harder at keeping her instincts at bay.
“Thank you…” She followed him as he floated back up to the branch, her eyes half-lidded calmly. “You… have no idea what a relief that is to me. To consider you not just a friend, but… a close friend is not something that many Demons ever have a chance to attain. Perhaps,” She looked away, ahead in front of her at the many mortals that went about their say. “-it is because I am different… that I choose to be different that separates me… Hm,” She sighed through her nose, grinning.
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