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Midnight Matsuri [Rania]

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#1Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:27 am

Kenzo Valens
”Heh! This is perfect” Kenzo said with a satisfied voice. As the male finished adjusting the kitsune mask over his face, he let out a smile of excitement. ”This brings back so many memories” He muttered to himself. Truly, he had never expected Hosenka to be such a lively city. It was the first time the mercenary had visited the city, and even if it had barely been a couple of hours, it was quickly becoming his favorite spot in all of Fiore. The reason for that was quite simple. After spending ten years in Joya, the male had become quite accustomed to their traditions. Never did he think that he’d be able to visit a traditional Joyan Matsuri in Fiore, yet here he was. The best part? They were selling festival masks. After racking up a bounty as big as his, it would be hard pressed for him to think about enjoying a festival as crowded as the one taking place at the Starlight Parade, but no one recognized him with the mask on.

This put the mercenary in a good mood. After travelling through the Sieghart Mountains and Dahlia hunting monsters and whatnot, he had promised himself he would take some vacations. After Rania suggested visiting Hosenka, there was nothing left to discuss. As the male merrily made his way through the large corridors full of stands and other interesting stuff, he threw both of his arms behind his head. The smells, sounds and colors brought him back to some great memories. Kenzo couldn’t wait to try all the delicious food and booze that the festival had to offer. With a smile on his face, he finally arrived at the place where Rania had stopped for a while. For some reason, she was insistent on stopping at the place, urging Kenzo to go ahead. Now that the warrior was able to conceal his identity, came back for the black-haired paladin. ”Yo! Rania?”

Mask:
Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] S9OA0XV


#2Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:37 pm

Rania

When Rania suggested stopping by Hosenka, the young girl didn’t expect everything to be so much like home. The joyan inspiration lay in every choice of colour, every brick and every part of this town and even though Rania had never met her birth mother, the half-joyan had always felt that connection and wanted to visit her homeland – but she never had. Today, the raven haired was in the company of her guild mate, who had run off while she looked through the different food stands, eager to make a purchase. Joya was infamous for its sweet snacks and Rania had picked out a few mochis on a stick while Kenzo was away. The last week or two they’d spent together had been quite exhausting, but also interesting.

Kenzo was a curiosity and even though Rania liked him very much, she could never shake that dark feeling she got from him; the man radiated a twisted aura and after everything she’d (accidently) seen, with his face and his torso, the Paladin believed that there must be some sort of haunting background story to everything, something that explained why Kenzo was the way he was. But tonight was beautiful, calm and relaxing and she didn’t want to ruin any of that with asking too many personal questions. So instead, when the mercenary approached wearing a new mask, she gave him a sweet smile and pointed at her mochi.

“Look what I got,” said Rania and lifted up his mask ever so slightly to stuff a strawberry mochi into his mouth. She picked a matcha one for herself and happily chewed away as they continued their little trip through the city. There was so much more to see and Hosenka truly had a lot to offer. “I like your mask. You seem familiar with this culture, have you been to Joya before?” Perhaps starting out with small-talk was a good idea and besides, Rania really liked Kenzo’s look. It made him appear all the more mischievous and it suited him well. The Paladin herself was dressed appropriately as well, but her attire wasn’t as flashy. Rania had chosen a silken black kimono with green, white and pink flower patterns, and a flower hair ornament that suited her light and feminine appearance. Even in spite of her bright, green eyes and the freckles on her cheeks, Rania’s joyan heritage was undeniable.

“I heard there will be fireworks later tonight, so lets finish our shopping before that and find a good spot to watch them.”



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI
#3Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:23 pm

Kenzo Valens
As soon as he greeted his guild mate, she surprised him with something he wasn’t expecting. Pointing at the stick in her hand, the girl came closer to the merc to feed him a strawberry mochi. Returning her sweet smile with one of his own, the tall male compliantly lowered his head, so it was easier for her to reach his mouth. ”Heh. Cute” Kenzo thought, as the girl munched at her matcha mochi. The one he’d just received was a delicious strawberry mochi, more commonly known as a strawberry Daifuku in Joya. As he finished swallowing the sweet, the male happily thanked her. ”That brings back so many memories. Thanks for the treat.” A warm smile permeated his lips as it turned into a light chuckle. For the last couple of weeks, the two of them had traveled through the country in quite a peculiar adventure. However, they’d yet to spend some time together. As the two of them walked through the lively streets of Hosenka, the male noticed how little he knew about her. She was an interesting person, for sure. Someone the warrior wanted to get to know better.

”Well.. You could say I practically grew up there.” The male answered at her question. ”I spent ten years in Joya before coming to Fiore just last year.” As he looked at hear while answering, the male finally took a time to see the paladin better. Even if the male was usually someone witty and capable, he could get to be quite hardheaded and dense in most social situations. Rania had changed into a beautiful black kimono with patterns and colors that fit her perfectly, something the mercenary had just noticed now. As he became entranced by her bright emerald eyes, Kenzo was left speechless for a second. Absentmindedly, the male murmured his thoughts out loud. ”You look beautiful” Instantly realizing what he had just said, the male doubled down as he continued speaking, placing both of his arms behind his head in embarrassment. ”Heh, you look like you just came out of one of Joya’s stories. That look really suits you.” The male added with a cheeky smile. He meant every word of it. He was sure Rania would have no troubles finding someone to be with in the future. As he heard her comment, the male quickly changed gears and left the previous talk behind like it was nothing. ”Oh? That really sounds fun. Anything you want to buy?”

Just at that moment, it seemed that a commotion was taking place in the distance. People were rapidly moving away and to the sides. For a second, the mercenary was worried that something was happening, but his worries were melted away as soon as he heard a familiar tune coming from flutes. It was faint, almost imperceptible, but the man was surprised over hearing it here. ”Huh? Awa Odori?”

#4Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:27 pm

Rania

The matcha mochi tasted delicious, and the pure-hearted girl smiled brightly at the sweet and aromatic taste of the snack. “It’s so good,” she mumbled to herself and quickly turned around to buy a second round of dango for the both of them. “Tonight we are feasting,” she announced to Kenzo and offered him the sweet and chewy delicacy. Her green eyes sparkled at the sight of so many exotic and interesting things and Rania was left speechless at the beautiful scenery, the cozy and festive atmosphere and the friendly company she found herself in. “This country isn’t even near to Joya, and yet there’s so much it can offer,” she whispered in disbelief and took a bite from her dango. “I can’t believe I missed out on so much for such a long time.” A hint of sadness could be heard in her voice, because knowing that under different circumstances all of this could have been her life stung a little bit. She quickly stuffed herself with more sweets and brushed off those depressing thoughts to shower her senses in more joyan festival glory.

When Kenzo casually mentioned that he’d lived in Joya for ten years the woman abruptly turned around and looked up to him. “No way, that’s amazing!” Rania had stepped a bit closer, making sure he could hear her regardless of their noisy surroundings. “How come? And did you like it? I mean if you stayed for ten years you must have liked it!" There were more stores and stands to explore, and unable to keep her focus on the mercenary for too long she turned back around, took him by the hand and started dragging him along while she stopped by different places of interest and looked through all the different items that were being sold. “Do you speak the language? I was taught joyan as a child, but I have never actually been there,” she continued to happily chatter on until her eyes fell on a bunch of hand-held fans with beautiful designs.

“Oh, we will definitely need those,” Rania decided and began picking out between the different colours and patterns. The Paladin’s eyes immediately fell on one that was water-themed, with a beautiful aquamarine dragon drawn upon it – one that perfectly matched the colour of Kenzo’s eyes and hair. Ironically, it was at that very moment Kenzo complimented her appearance and Rania slowly lowered the fan she’d picked and looked up to him. The world around them became quiet for a moment, and his words echoed through her mind over and over again. Rania was frequently called beautiful, because she was, but hearing those words from someone who was important to her, someone who didn’t seem to be the type to care about superficialities, meant a lot.

“Thank you,” the woman responded, and her cheeks showed first signs of a rosy blush. “Hearing that made me very happy.” She quickly threw some coins over the counter for the fan and before the mercenary could move his arms away, she took his hand into her smaller one and handed it to him as a gift. “And traveling with you has also made me very happy. I felt protected and taken care of in your presence and I’m grateful that you took the time to come with me and take care of something that was clearly below your pay grade.” She squeezed his hand and gave him an earnest smile. Rania wasn’t an idiot, and after giving herself some time to think about it she had quickly realized that Kenzo was no ordinary warrior. She had seen his strength first hand, and she heard the whispers of the people whenever they went somewhere. But not everything they said was true, because contrary to their beliefs Kenzo was a good person – and only he could change her mind on that.

“Please accept this fan as a thank-you gift? It matches your eyes and your hair perfectly!” In the background, voices could be heard, people were shuffling around and it seemed that the Awa Odori dancers were making their way through the crowd.



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI
#5Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:45 pm

Kenzo Valens
As the girl went to find a second round of sweets, Kenzo took advantage of the moment to look around the stalls as well. There were countless food and beverage places littering the streets, each offering a different assortment of Joyan delicacies. From sweet to salty, anything Kenzo remembered eating in the eastern country was offered here. As such, it would be an understatement to say he got drunk off the aromas. Once Rania came back with the dango, the warrior couldn’t agree more. ”You bet” He was definitely in a good mood. Food, booze and good company. What else did a man need?

Listening to the girl’s words, Kenzo couldn’t help but notice a trace of sadness in her words. The way her emerald gaze dozed off in an apparently lost past was not lost on him. He knew that sight, one the swordsman had held before. Before he could ask about it though, he told her about his past in the country, making her excited again and forget the nostalgia. She was definitely trying her best to cheer up, so Kenzo decided to leave the topic for later. Looking around to discover new things, Rania was hardly paying attention to one thing at the time. As she shot a couple of questions, Kenzo simply replied with a smile as he let her grab his hand. ”Well… I wouldn’t say I was exactly there as a tourist. Joyans have their own set of troubles and disputes. For that reason it’s not surprising a mercenary like me can make quite a living there” Kenzo took a pause before saying anything else, maybe talking about his actual experiences there was not something he should talk about while in a festive mood like this. ”Either way, I picked up quite a bit of Joyan. I can be your practice partner if you’d like. I know you’ll love it there” The male tried to lighten the mood a little before they stopped at a stall selling different items.

As he saw Rania’s reaction to his compliment, Kenzo couldn’t help but crack a smile. It was the first time the girl didn’t counter with one of her witty remarks, turning the tables on him. For the first time since they met, he was able to bring out such a genuine reaction from her. Something about it made his heart start beating faster. He meant those words, for real. As the two of them locked hands, the usually detached mercenary could feel a warm feeling flowing through his body. The gift she had picked for him was beautiful, but what moved him even more was the gesture. It had been so long since the last time he had received a gift from anyone. For the first time since he arrived at the country, Kenzo felt like he was given a second chance at life. ”What are you talking about? It is me who should be thanking you. You’re the one who took care of me after all.” The male let out a gentle smile as he looked at her emerald eyes. As he scanned the contents on the table with his eye’s special ability, he was able to find a perfect match to his own gift.

Almost like a magic trick, Kenzo instantly grabbed a beautiful dark emerald fan with gold and white cherry blossom designs, knowing perfectly where to look for it. Golden laces at the bottom of the fan where held in place by large emerald at the knot. As he placed it in her hand, he continued speaking. ”Please accept this fan in return then. Know that if you ever find yourself in need of help you can count on me… - I also think it fits this moment quite well” Kenzo finished with playful bashful smile, motioning at the Haiku written in masterful black ink calligraphy. The music of the Awa Odori procession had disappeared for a moment, as his attention was on the girl in front of him.


A lovely spring night
suddenly vanished while we
viewed cherry blossoms

Dense as he was, he also felt rather out of place in situations like that one. For that reason, his mind quickly scrambled for a way to dispel the tension between the two, regardless of how tactless it actually was. ”Eeerm.. Do you know about this dance?”

#6Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:14 am

Rania

When Kenzo spoke about his time in Joya, Rania’s lips formed a curious smile. After slavery, her father had decided to return her to Minstreli, a modern country with many technological mysteries and advances – it was as mesmerizing as it was perplexing, and in the first free years of her life Rania had learned more than she’d ever been able to properly fathom. Joya’s reputation was much more sinister, and known for their stern traditions, all of which they practiced without the slightest qualm, the country didn’t appear to be as colourful and vibrant as Hosenka City was, but Rania still craved seeing her mother’s homeland, regardless of how cruel and disappointing it might be. Her gaze fell on Kenzo and she couldn’t help but wonder if the mercenary felt as out of place as he looked wherever he went.

“I would like to hear more about your time in Joya, if you don’t mind sharing it with me,” she spoke sweetly and flashed the male an encouraging smile. Not all stories were beautiful and easy to listen to, and not all of them had a happy ending, but that didn’t mean they shouldn’t be told.

Rania saw how Kenzo’s face lit up at both her words and the gift she’d chosen for him, and something about the way the mercenary’s mouth tugged upwards and into a smile was more genuine than any smile she’d ever seen before. In that moment the woman also realized how lonely the person in front of her was, and how company seemed to do him well. The Paladin couldn’t help but wonder if the guild master of Blue Pegasus was truly that perceptive, or if their encounter had merely been a chance, their first meeting a fortunate coincidence, because in a way Kenzo and Rania were good for each other in spite of their differences. The Warrior added an interesting, yet chaotic aspect to her life and while he was uncontrollable and wild, the Paladin balanced him out with her mellow persona and empathetic insight.

It was a strange match, but oddly enough it worked out just fine.

In that moment Rania’s eyes locked with his and being but a young girl at heart, she couldn’t help but lose herself in him a bit. He was different now, not the loud and rowdy person she’d met in Marigold Town, but someone who sincerely appreciated her presence, and for that she felt grateful. He surprised her by picking out a fan for her as well, and even though he hadn’t looked away from her, the item suited her appearance strangely well. Rania’s face revealed a hint of confusion, before she graciously accepted the gift. “It’s beautiful. I’ll be sure to take this with me anywhere I go. Thank you, Kenzo.” Her cheeks flushed red at the thoughtful gesture, and the colour intensified when he pointed out the poem written on it. Rania took a moment to read it, before looking back up at the mercenary.

He was flustered, and amused by his helplessness the Paladin quietly watched as he scrambled for words to dissolve the situation. Rania didn’t mind that he wasn’t as emotionally aware as herself, because men often weren’t. “It really does," she simply responded and kept her emerald gaze locked on him. “It’s a beautiful night and the sky is clear. If you want, we could go stargazing later. We should be able to see the Summer Triangle and the Lyra constellation,” suggested Rania and pointed at the night sky. Astrology and astronomy had always fascinated her, and she was quite well-versed in that topic.

The music of the Awa Odori sounded in the background and Kenzo’s sudden question about this particular dance caught her by surprise. Rania’s meek smile turned into excitement and she gave Kenzo a strong nod in response. “I do,” she said and took the fan she’d given him earlier from his hand. With a flick of her first, the Paladin flipped open both fans, twirled around on the spot and gracefully moved them along to the sound of the music. She then threw Kenzo’s fan up into the air, where it spun around and she mimicked its movement, before it landed perfectly on top of the second fan. The Paladin dropped a curtsey and grinned at the mercenary.

“I used to dance for a living for over a decade – dare I say there’s hardly a dance out there that I don’t know. Do you want to get closer so we can get a better look at the parade?”



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI
#7Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:43 pm

Kenzo Valens
”I’ll definitely tell you about it at a later date… Once we’re at a more peaceful place” Kenzo smiled as the girl asked him to share more of his story. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to tell her, but rather didn’t quite know how to start. A knot formed in the mercenary’s belly, the unfamiliar feeling of nervousness taking control over his body. His answer was both a valid reason as well as an excuse. He would tell her about it, but today was not the day.

The more Kenzo looked at Rania, the more he could feel a restless feeling creeping up on him. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy her company, but rather the contrary. Rania was the person that the warrior had spent the most time with for a long time. Not only because of the mission assigned by Alisa - He’d have found a way to slip away if he didn’t want to be with her, but rather because they were quite an interesting match. For all of his crudeness and recklessness, she counteracted it with balance and gracefulness. As the mercenary saw the beautiful paladin blush under the dim lights of the moon and festival stalls, he couldn’t help but worry in his heart. Kenzo didn’t know at the time, but it was a defense mechanism his brain had developed over the years. His heart had run cold, detached from others, and worrying only for himself. As her gentle smile and warm emerald gaze started melting it, there was a single feeling he could distinguish. Fear.

Fear to feel again. Fear to trust. Even if he knew he didn’t want to push her away from his life, the fear of these feelings becoming something stronger was bigger. As such, his mind would lock them behind the depths of oblivion within his unconscious, stacking them up in an ever-growing pile of denial. Ever the solitary, the opportunity his heart wished was before him. Alas, he was too scared to take it. For now, his heart and brain would be locked henceforth in a battle for what he thought about the girl. As the internal struggle between his mind took place, Kenzo missed her invitation to gaze at the stars. ”Uhm. S-sure” He answered out of politeness, hoping it was not a question.

Once he changed the topic to the dancing precession, he was able to collect his thoughts once again. Dismissing away the anxiousness and nerves from before, an amused smile once again graced his lips as his eyebrows cocked upward, surprised by the sudden display of skill by the girl. She was a gifted dancer, more talented than he’d ever expected. ”Woah.. that was amazing” The trick she’d just made caught the male by surprise. ”Y-yeah. Let’s go find a place where we can see better” Kenzo tried to play it as cool as he was able too, but the weird mix of excitement and restlessness was still persistent. Looking around, he found a stall selling sake. Just what he needed. Relieved by the finding, he quickly turned his head around as he started making his way to the vendor. ”Just give me a second! I’ll be getting something to drink… Want anything?”

#8Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:09 pm

Rania

At some point during their conversation Rania could sense that Kenzo had lost track of her words. He absentmindedly responded to her suggestion, but rather than taking it personal the Paladin simply shrugged of the uncertainty she felt from him and continued on. The mercenary looked to be the type who was much more complicated once you learned more about them, but regardless of how odd he sometimes acted, she still enjoyed his company very much. Being a down-to-earth kinda girl herself, the woman simply decided to pull through with her plans (he’d agreed to them after all) and should he want to leave, he could always still say something. Of course she wanted to know what kept his mind so occupied, but Rania wasn’t one to pry.

“Oh, I think I’ll have whatever you are getting, thanks!”


When Kenzo disappeared to fetch them something to drink, the girl flicked the fan around and looked it over again, this time while he wasn’t watching. Rania made her choice because she thought the colour pattern suited him and complemented his unique looks. He had returned the favour almost immediately, and even though it had only taken him a moment to find it, he knew exactly how to place meaning on something as small as a fan – it was quite thoughtful of him, and the girl couldn’t help but think that this was one of the rare moments during which she would be granted a peek at the warrior’s more sentimental side.

She began fanning herself some air and went ahead to look for a good spot from which they could watch the parade. Rania’s attention was still on the countless stalls and vendors and as she moved through the crowd, she stopped by some of them to take a look at what they were selling. The sweets were still tempting her, but the raven-haired girl decided enough was enough and they should focus on the parade for now: the music was getting louder and the dancers were nearing. There was a small hill nearby, away from the crowds and stalls, from which they could easily overlook the festival and enjoy the music. Rania turned around to look for her guild mate and waved him closer once she’d spotted him. “Let’s go up there,” she spoke and pointed at an area that wasn’t entirely empty, but still much more comfortable to be at than the alleys they were currently walking through.

“I think we came to Hosenka at just the right time,” the girl said to Kenzo and looked up to him. He’d been short with her earlier, but perhaps now that they weren’t surrounded by so many people he would feel more comfortable again. “I heard that this festival is a yearly event and only ever lasts for a few days. It’s a big spectacle, but without knowing about it we could have totally missed it,” she flashed him a candid smile and her expression softened. Rania was feeling both happy and content and she wanted her friend to feel the same. Eventually the dancers came along and from their spot they truly had the perfect view. The Paladin remained quiet during the show, carefully following the dancer’s each and every step with her eyes, her emerald gaze never letting go of the show. Perhaps I should consider signing up next year, she thought to herself, and the idea excited her.

The streets had been emptied for the dancers to pass through, and towards the end of the parade slowly began filling up with people again. Rania’s focus eventually fell off the event and her gaze began wandering the area until she spotted something curious. “Oh!” She exclaimed and quickly chased after something seemingly invisible before coming to a halt and slowly returning to Kenzo. Her hands were cupped together in front of her chest as if she was holding something in between her palms and once she stood in front of him, Rania looked up to Kenzo and nodded at whatever it was that she was holding. “Quick, make a wish.” Rania slowly opened her hands and two fireflies buzzed out from in between them, slowly soaring upwards and into the night sky.



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI
#9Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:28 am

Kenzo Valens
Once Kenzo had arrived at a stall selling for booze, he finally had time to collect his thoughts. Rania had asked to take the same as him, but he wasn’t sure she was going to like it. Either way, he decided to follow her request. ”Three sakes please. Make sure they’re warm please” Kenzo said to the person tending to the place as he threw enough jewels at the counter. His mind was focused on another thing entirely. He still felt a bit of restlessness over what he’d just said. It had been a long time since Kenzo was with someone else, so he wasn’t entirely sure what he was feeling. However, he had to admit that the girl had a certain charm that pulled the mercenary in. Downing one of the three sake gourds freshly warmed up, the mercenary took the other two and made his way towards her. The familiar sensation of sake burning down his throat invigorated him. For now, Kenzo decided to simply enjoy the night with Rania.

”Alright!” Kenzo yelled as he acknowledged the plan Rania had. People had started crowding the streets, making way for the performers, so the spot that the paladin suggested was quite perfect to enjoy the show. Noticing her signal from afar, he finally made his way to the top of the hill. ”Here you go” Kenzo said as he passed the warm gourd of sake to Rania, sitting right next to him. Rania was visibly excited over their arrival at Hosenka. Apparently, the current festival was only a seasonal thing, so they’ve come at the perfect time. ”Heh. Leave it to my luck~” Kenzo replied at her with a smug smile on his face. Even if Kenzo had been struck by misfortune many times, he still considered himself quite a lucky person. Once the procession came into sight, the two of them enjoyed the show silently. As the dancers pranced and hopped around in synchrony, he couldn’t help but lose himself a bit. Periodically shifting his head slightly to look at Rania, Kenzo warmly smiled after noticing that was entranced by it. He’d just learned that the girl was a dancer, so he figured this was just the kind of thing she was into. As he looked at the emerald eyes gawking at each and every moment from the dancers, he felt jealous about her having something she loved to that extent.

Soon enough, the music stopped, and the dancers started leaving. It had been quite a marvelous show if he could say so. While Rania lost herself in the dance, Kenzo did so in the music. Perhaps not on the same level as her, Joyan style music was something that always caught his attention. Before he could exchange opinions with her though, she sprinted out of her seat to catch something. Once she came back with her palms closed, Kenzo simply rose a brow with intrigue. ”Is it going to jump at me?” He joked, waiting for her to open her palms. However, she soon opened her hands to reveal to fireflies buzzing out of them. Their light flickered through the sky as they flew away. Closing his eyes for a second, the male thought about her words. ”Hmmm.. A wish, huh?” After a brief moment of hesitation, he wondered if it was right for him to wish for something. Wishes were told to the gods or so, right? There was nothing more he hated than the gods, so asking them for something felt kind of awkward. Even if he felt that way though, he decided to give it yet another shot. Maybe this time they’d listen.

”What did you wish for?” He finally asked with a gentle tone.

#10Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:14 am

Rania

Rania had found a cozy spot for herself and her friend, and the wooden bench was far enough from the spectacle to allow for normal conversation to happen, and close enough for both guild mates to be able to watch the entire parade. When Kenzo handed her the sake gourd, she almost sighed in relief and gifted the mercenary a warm smile. “Ah, thank you so much,” said the woman, and carefully lifted the bottle up to her lips. “It’s still warm,” Rania noted and quickly took another one, grateful for the burning sensation in her throat, and the feeling of warmth that now spread into her stomach and limbs. The Paladin wasn’t going to admit that she had been a tad bit nervous herself in his presence, and it seemed that a drink could calm both of them down easily.

The bottle had been made from a gourd, which not only made it taste and look more authentic, she also thought about the benefits of environmental friendly packaging, which was always a bonus. When the dancers had disappeared into the night, and Rania had left and returned with a pair of fireflies in her hands, her eyes locked with his for a moment. He asked if whatever she had been hiding in between her palms was going to jump at him, but Rania gently shook her head in response; strands of deep black hair fell into her face and she blew them out quickly. “It’s not, trust me.” It was a simple thing to say, and perhaps in these circumstances they meant little to nothing, but to Rania it was important. She opened her hands and allowed for the little insects to fly out, silently watching them as they buzzed off into the night.

She thought back to her days in Desierto, where the nights were often cold but blessed with beautiful starry skies and even a few shooting stars here and there. Rania was lucky enough to catch sight of a few, and her wish had always been the same: she wanted to be free. Eventually the Paladin’s wish had come true, and because of this she had a rather positive mindset on the whole idea. But at the same time, this was also the first time in many years that the woman had wished for anything, and she didn’t feel shy about sharing it with Kenzo when he asked about it. Looking up again, Rania’s gaze fell on his face and without saying anything at first, the pair of curious, emerald orbs carefully traced every line of his face, jaw and neck until they eventually locked with his very own.

In the end it didn’t matter to her that Kenzo had a giant hole in his body, or that there was a piece of jawbone on his face. No matter how many times she looked, sometimes even stared at him, Rania’s eyes would always find his eventually and to her it was that gentle look she sometimes caught him with that made him remarkable, and nothing else.

“I wish that tonight never ends. And you?”


Now, that one was for sure not going to come true, because that’s not how time worked, but for once Rania didn’t care. It was the first time in her life that she felt this sense of togetherness with someone, and with the whole guild coming together it seemed that the Paladin had finally found a place in life that she was content with staying at for a while. Regardless of how Kenzo decided to interpret her words, he would be met with a meek smile before the Paladin quickly took another sip from her sake. “Anyways, now you have to tell me how you came about joining Blue Pegasus. Is it because it matches your hair?” She joked and switched up the topic, getting comfortable again on her wooden bench with Kenzo next to her.



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI
#11Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:49 pm

Kenzo Valens
As soon as Kenzo asked Rania what her wish had been, he couldn’t help but feel a little self-conscious. Instead of answering, the black-haired paladin spent a couple of seconds in silence, looking at Kenzo’s features without saying a word. However, the male couldn’t help but smile, flattered at the attention the girl was giving him. Once she finally answered, Kenzo chuckled. It was a silly thing to say, but in all honestly it also represented the way he felt. ”Maybe I should’ve asked for that.” The warrior spoke with a cheeky smile before answering her question in a playful manner. ”Mine is a secret~ Maybe I’ll tell you later if the moment is right.” Kenzo wanted to keep this hand for himself at the moment. Deep down, the male was one for theatrics and perfect timings. For now, he simply left it at that. He wanted to enjoy the evening. The festive spirit had put him in a good mood.

After the two of them took a sip of sake, the warrior furrowed his brow a bit with a sigh before shrugging his shoulders. ”Well… I think my previous guild wasn’t as bad of a fit for my hair either.” Kenzo released his tension with a chuckle, almost as if trying to wash it away. After a second, Kenzo stopped and stood silent, freezing as he brought the fan Rania had gifted him in front of him to observe it. It was beautifully adorned, and the blue dragon was actually quite cool looking. The warrior’s fingers played with it, twisting it around before he finally looked at the girl. Taking off the fox mask still strapped to his head, Kenzo spoke with a more serious tone. ”Well… I’m sure you know by now that I’m a wanted man, I assume.” Kenzo was unsure as to how someone that he’d spent so long with would react in case she didn’t know. ”If we’re being honest, I think I have the greatest bounty in the country. However, I swear it was all a misunderstanding.” For how little he knew the girl, he knew he could trust her, so he decided not to hold anything back.

”A couple of months ago I was part of a guild called Advent World. Most of the people there were a rowdy bunch, a far cry from what the usual Blue Pegasus member is, much like myself.” Kenzo huffed as he shift his head away from Rania again, losing his gaze at the distance.

”Either way… After tying with Daeva Eye at the Grand Magic Games in Crocus, our guild members started disappearing one by one. I wasn’t sure at the time what was going on, but little by little, all of our members were never to be seen again. At the time I was busy at Port Astera, helping my friend, the local guild master deal with some higher level sea monsters.” Kenzo looked at the girl once more, taking a sip of his gourd.

”Long story short, after finishing my business in Astera and returning to the guild, I found out everyone was missing. Meanwhile, my friend Noel, who had helped me at Astera, and I had been assigned huge bounties for some reason. After hiding for a time at Marigold Town, Finn, my guild master, finally reached to me. Our meeting was very brief, but he seemed to be agitated by something. In the end, he handed me the position of guild master of a dying guild. Some days later, I found out that he had died… It was then that Noel and I decided to join Blue Pegasus for the time being. There was someone or something targeting us, so returning to Advent World was dangerous. They are dangerous people pulling the strings from the darkness, hellbent on destroying Advent World for unknown reasons”

Kenzo sighed for a final time, taking yet another sip of his drink. His tone became much more relaxed and casual. ”Lucky for us, it seemed that Finn and Alisa were best friends in the past, and Finn even was the Ace of Blue Pegasus before founding his own guild. Joining Blue Pegasus was the obvious choice I guess.” Kenzo shrugged as he held the fox mask towards him, trailing his eyes around the red details that gave it a mischievous look. Turning it around, he placed it over his face again, turning towards Rania and locking eyes with her.

”Now I’m stuck hiding myself everywhere I go while I find out what happened with my guild.” Kenzo’s carefree attitude came back again as he leaned a bit forward, getting closer to the girl. ”You should watch your back around me though… People in the streets say Kenzo Valens has been possessed by a demon and eats children at night” The male bit the air as he joked around, making the ominous jawbone in his cheek open and close, flashing its sharp teeth in the glistening light of the moon.

#12Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:06 pm

Rania

A curious smile spread into Rania’s lips, and as she tilted her head to one side a few loose strands of obsidian black fell into her pale face. “A secret, huh?” He had said it in a way that peaked her interest, but Rania was fine with not knowing – for the time being. It seemed that the alcohol loosened his mouth a little, and when Kenzo began speaking and revealing more about himself, where he was from and the burdens he carried, Rania was spellbound by his stories. “I know,” she admitted, and a twitch in her mouth hinted at a faint smile. “I think it’s exciting,” the Paladin finally gave in, breathing a sigh shortly after and lifting the bottle of sake to her lips. Truth be told, Rania had known about Kenzo’s reputation for a long time and it was said reputation that attracted her.

Rania was secretly a daredevil, and after living a life without purpose and interaction for a long time, the woman yearned for something different, and perhaps even dangerous. It made her feel alive – and the thrill of life was something she’d never felt in all those years in slavery. She gave him a smirk and a shrug in response, eager to hear what he would tell her next. What Kenzo told her was thought-provoking, and when he turned his head away she sensed something akin to grief over what had happened to his previous guild. “Sounds to me like that guild wasn’t happy to share first place with you guys,” she remarked and leaned back against the wooden bench. Rania stretched her legs out before crossing them, and her eyes began searching for the stars.

It was a beautiful night.

When Kenzo spoke about how he had acquired his bounty, Rania held back a laugh. Instead, the woman took a sip from her bottle of sake and licked the strong taste off her lips. “I think you got scammed,” she concluded eventually, turning her head back to him. “Several times, or so it seems.” His story was comical up until now, and Rania couldn’t believe that the mercenary was the gullible type – he certainly didn’t seem to be. What followed next were words tinted in sorrow, and when he spoke of the disappearance of his former guild members and the death of his master, Rania felt his grief. “I’m sorry for your loss, Kenzo.” Her hand found his, and if he allowed she would squeeze it gently. Her mind went back to his jawbone, and the hole in his body. It seemed that the world was trying its hardest to destroy him, and the empathetic Paladin felt for her friend.

“You are safe now, I hope you know that. It’s okay to still let your guard down sometimes. You have the guild now, and you have me. I will take care of you.”

Her expression softened visibly and when their eyes met for a moment, she gave him a genuine smile. She meant those words, and regardless of how different they were and how little time had passed since they had first met, Rania knew that Kenzo understood the weight of it. Rania was a healer, and the wounds she mended weren’t just of physical nature. She noticed the way he shrugged off his own words after explaining why he had chosen Blue Pegasus as his next guild, and it was then when Rania decided to give him a piece of advice. “Home is where we make it.” Those were the words she lived by, and hopefully the mercenary could too.

His buoyant disposition returned shortly after, and when he leaned in to tease her Rania unexpectedly returned the favour and started laughing at the faces he was making. “If it’s the same Kenzo Valens that bought me sake and a pretty hand-fan then I’m not worried about it,” she gave back and for a moment her eyes were seized by the strange deformity on his face. Rania tore her gaze away eventually and looked up at the stars. “Look,” she said and pointed upwards into the sky. “If you focus on the brightest stars, you will catch three of them, forming a triangle. Two at the top, and one at the bottom,” Rania explained the Summer Triangle to Kenzo. “Those three stars are called Vega, Deneb and Altair.” Not knowing if the man had anything left for astronomy, she decided to give it a try anyways. It was one of the things Rania knew a lot about. Eventually she gave in and decided to be upfront with him.

“You are an interesting person and I want to know more about you, but I also don’t want to overstep. Will you tell me what happened to your face, and the hole in your body?”



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI
#13Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:18 pm

Kenzo Valens
Before noticing, Kenzo had spoken quite a lot. If he thought back on it, this was maybe the most he’d ever spoken with somebody in quite a while. Instead of bothering him though, he felt comfortable with it. It was as if a huge invisible weight had fallen off his shoulders. He had only felt this way once before, back when he talked with Alisa about what had happened to Finn. However, it seemed that it hadn’t been enough. Was that how normal people felt when talking about their problems? Maybe he was the weird one assuming talking to only one person could feel so liberating. Regardless, he was sure that it also had to do with the person he was sharing all those things too was Rania. The two of them were really different in most aspects, so it felt like a breath of fresh air.

Regardless, Kenzo chuckled at her comment about Daeva Eye. The thought had never crossed his mind, given the incident that he’d lived with Nuala at Astera. The two of them had been tasked with assassinating one another. At best, the organization that was trying to destroy his own guild didn’t like Daeva Eye much either. ”Nah, that’s definitely not it. We always had good relationship with them. Sometimes a bit rocky, but good nonetheless.” Kenzo paused for a second, remembering something else. ”Also… I’ve heard their guild master has also gone missing. Maybe it’s not a coincidence?” It was the first time the warrior connected the dots. Might he be onto something? For the moment, he’d just keep the thought for later.

Instead, he simply smiled at the girl with a nod. She was gentle and sweet. Surprisingly for the male, he found himself needing for those traits sometimes. However, it was something he’d never admit to himself. Even less to others. As she squeezed his hand with hers, Kenzo smiled at her once more. She was beautiful as always. However, he couldn’t help but feel that the general ambience, the lights or perhaps her Joyan outfit suited her perfectly. ”I know… At least I never have to be afraid of werewolves and vampires at you side.” The male joked with a serious, yet gentle tone. ”You know you can count on me too, right? Just make the call if someone’s ever bullying you. I’ll give them a piece of my mind – Maybe even of my fists” Kenzo flashed off a light grin. He definitely felt lighter after talking with her for some reason.

Turning his gaze up, he listened to the girl’s words in fascination. One of the few things the male enjoyed was looking at the night sky. He never had any formal education on them, but he knew the stars and their general dispositions in the sky perfectly, like the back of his hand. Hearing her talk about constellations for the first time and the names of ones he’d seen so many times before opened a whole new world to him. ”Aaah! You mean the summer fish?” Kenzo voice and eyes hinted at how invested he quickly got into the conversation. Lifting his hand in the air, he tried to point at where Altair was.

”Haha I’ve always thought that looked like a fish. If you look at the part where Altair is you can see there are a couple of others that make it have a tail shape… Never knew what they were called though. I always called the summer fish since it’s the time when you can see it best”

Kenzo chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head. A little bit embarrassed by his ignorance about the topic. In truth, what he mistook as the tail of a fish where 4 of the Aquila constellation stars, from which Altair was also part of.

However, even if he wanted to ask her more about the night sky, she seemed to have been holding a question back. Upon hearing it, Kenzo huffed in amusement. He knew the question was coming, but he was surprised she took so long for it. ”I expected you to ask way sooner since you’re a doctor.” Kenzo moved back against the bench as he extended his arms on the backrest. ”That I know little off. I was a small kid when I got cursed by a demon apparently. Lost my ability to use magic and these have stuck with me ever since.” Kenzo didn’t want to delve too deep into the topic, but it also was the complete truth about it. The male opened his mouth wide open, making the teeth on the jawbone separate a little between them once again. Brandishing at Rania, he plucked his finger between the sharp teeth as he spoke once again. ”Looks kinda cool, don’t you think?”

#14Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:23 pm

Rania

Rania wasn’t used to hearing Kenzo speak so much; a rare moment during which the mercenary opened up. He wasn’t very talkative, but the woman could visibly see the relief on his face once he had said all of those things, and effectively gotten them off his chest. Rania herself was notorious for bottling her emotions up and then having them burst out before she could help it. The Paladin had been rather lonely in the past few years and truth be told, even when Rania had people to speak to she was more used to playing the role of the healer and listener regardless, even though she liked it that way. So when Kenzo finished telling his story, she simply gave him a warm smile.

“Thank you for sharing all of that with me.”

Rania pondered the thought of whether Daeva Eye – a guild she had heard one or two things about – was good or bad, but it seemed that Kenzo himself wasn’t too bothered by that question. “If that’s the case, then maybe it’s something else you would want to investigate.” The more Rania thought about it, the more curious she became. The story of two guild masters disappearing so suddenly, after gathering the attention and favour of the entire country – she couldn’t help but wonder what was behind all of that. “If it’s not a coincidence and you want to find out more about it, I’m totally on board.” If Kenzo ever offered to investigate the strange circumstances surrounding his guild (and theirs), the Paladin would be happy to help. But for now, there were other things the two of them had to concern themselves with.

”Well, I don’t know if I would call it a fish–,” said Rania, and with an arched brow she tilted her head to the side to get a different, perhaps better view on the constellation she knew so well. A strand of black hair fell into her face, but she blew it out almost immediately while squinting her eyes at the night sky. ”Actually, I think I get where you are coming from.” Finally deciding that, with a lot of imagination, there could be a fish somewhere in there, Rania chuckled lightly and leaned back to take another sip of her bottle of sake. It was almost empty now. When Kenzo responded positively to her inquiry about his deformities, she quietly uttered a sigh of relief, hoping he wouldn’t notice. It wasn’t so much as to her being a doctor, as it was to her being a person with common sense – Kenzo’s organs had to go somewhere and with that hole in his body, there wasn’t much space left for them. But Rania decided not to overthink that topic, and once he gave his explanation she nodded along silently.

”Cursed by a demon,” she scoffed, and shook her head in disbelief. He came straight at her with the answer, and Rania was left bedazzled at his explanation, even though it did make perfect sense. He said that he lost his magic as a result, but from what the woman could tell that didn’t seem to be bothering him much. ”I’m sorry that happened to you, but it seems you came out of it well. You clearly don’t need any magic to get things your way.” It was a compliment, albeit a backhanded one. The last part of her sentence was said with a tad bit of scorn, as she was aware at this point that the mercenary used his excessive amount of strength and might to get what he wanted.

“But yes, it does look kinda cool. Not that it’s helping much with your bounty.” Rania flashed him a grin and shrugged her shoulders. Her eyes fell back on the parade, and for a moment her emerald gaze lingered on the countless food stands and vendors that were still open and selling their goods. She pulled out her fan and began fanning herself some air while thinking about if she wanted more snacks, or rest a little longer. ”Should we go back to the parade, or stay here a little longer?” Rania was uncertain, so she would let him decide. In the end, the Paladin truly did enjoy spending time with Kenzo, even if it was just sitting in silence and quietly appreciating each other's existence. Life could really be that simple if you had good people with you.



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI
#15Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:27 pm

Kenzo Valens
After telling Rania his entire story, Kenzo couldn’t help but chuckle at her thanking her. He’d noted it before through the night, but he was being quite loose lipped that night. Was it the sake? Harding saying. Perhaps it had to do with the whole environment. Joyan festivities were quite lively after all. Either way, spending the night with the black-haired paladin definitely put him in a better mood that night. ”Heh.. There’s something about you that makes me wanna tell you all my secrets” Kenzo spoke with a light tone, feeling some sense of Déjà vu. For some reason the one liner seemed familiar to him, but he honestly couldn’t remember where he’d heard or said it before, almost as if it had been cut short from his memory. Regardless, it was nothing but the truth.

”Hmmmm….” Kenzo scratched his chin in a playful manner as she offered to help him investigate. He made it so as if he was actually looking for the words how to reject her offer. He already had someone in mind for the job though, but Rania was definitely a capable person. Still, he wouldn’t know how bringing the black-haired girl make her react. Even the mercenary was worried she would find some trouble due to their polar opposite personalities. Furthermore, if his hunch was correct, he knew that he’d be prodding into far more dangerous territory than what she’d seen before. ”Alright. As long as you get recognition from Alisa as an A-Rank I’ll take you with me” Kenzo cared little about the ranking system of Fiore, but it definitely came convenient at this time.

Even if he wanted to know a little more about constellations, the merc knew he’d have to ask at another time. For the moment, the glaring pink elephant in the room had finally been addressed. Kenzo’s remark was true. He was actually amused at the restrain and big effort Rania had made to avoid asking about the hole in his chest and the jawbone in his cheek. Even if she tried to hide it, he could still find her glancing at him from time to time. In the past, he hated when people did that. However, the moment he stepped on the battlefield for the first time he saw it as nothing else than an asset.

For now, he really thought it gave him a kind of cool look either way. Chuckling at her remark, the male smirked as she agreed with him. The slight hint of resentment and anger did not fall on deaf ears though. He knew far too well what she meant with her words. Instead of hurting him though, it simply amused him further. ”Well… I’m pretty sure it was all a plan of the gods in the end. It wouldn’t have been much fair for you magic casters if I still had my powers after all...” Kenzo haughtily added as he rose a brow and spoke with a cocky smile. He liked teasing the girl, wondering now how she’d reply next. Usually, she had a knack for burning him in return.

Either way, his demeanor quickly changed as she asked if they should return to the festival. As much as he’d liked to go and try all the different food stalls, he decided to grab her hand holding the fan he’d just given her, almost as if trying to stop her from jumping back to the festival. ”Heh. Why so fast?” The male looked for her gaze, scanning her attractive visage in search for her entrancing emerald eyes. ”It’s no fair that I still don’t know anything about you” Kenzo had told her quite a bit about his backstory. Even if they’d spent quite a while with each other through their trip, that last bit was true. There was very little he knew about the girl. ”So? Will you tell me your story?” Kenzo’s lip arched upwards to form his characteristic half-smile. ”I really want to hear it.”

#16Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:23 pm

Rania

As Rania and Kenzo sat together, the atmosphere shifted into a more calm ambiente. The music resounding from the festival had slowed down, the dancers disappeared into the distance and soft, melodic tunes replaced the erratic beating of the drums that had previously accompanied the Awa Odori. It was a beautiful night by all means. The starlit sky, the soft buzzing of insects and the occasional late summer breeze put the joyan woman into a nostalgic mood. In spite of everything that had happened in her past, she missed Desierto. It was – and always would be – her homeland after all. Rania’s smile turned bittersweet when the mercenary unexpectedly pulled her out of it.

Her emerald eyes lit up at his words, and she lifted her head up to let out a hearty laughter. “And yet you won’t tell me what you wished for,” she playfully snarled back at him. It wasn’t an actual dig at his choice, because Rania wasn’t a nosy person and surely the blue-haired warrior had his reasons. If she had to take a guess however, it would be to be able to sleep on the right side of his face again – it was truly the only thing she found wrong with the jawbone and the way in which it was placed. But perhaps Kenzo had already gotten used to it, since he didn’t seem to mind it much. When Rania offered to help him on his quest to find the truth about what had happened to Advent World, she could see hesitation and reluctance in his eyes. He didn’t deny her right away, even though Rania could see that he was inclined to do so.

“I am offering you my help, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it,” the woman softly reassured him and put a hand on his shoulder. “You do whatever you think is right.” The Paladin preferred honest words, but she didn’t put it against him that he was avoiding it. If anything, she wondered why he was being gentle with her when there was no real need to be. Perhaps he’s more soft-hearted than I initially suspected, she thought to herself, and a faint smile turned the corners of her lips upwards. He did bring up an interesting topic however, one the mage hadn’t paid much attention to thus far: the ranking system of the fiorian guilds. Rania wasn’t entirely sure what rank she classified for (nor did she care), but surely there was plenty of room for improval. Still, in terms of magical helpfulness the Paladin did feel as though she could keep up with the warrior just fine.

Kenzo’s light-hearted attitude towards his loss of magic only brightened up the healer's smile. He was confident in his abilities regardless, and Rania had a lot of respect for that. “The gods wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself. Magic does require a certain amount of intellect and self-control after all,” she snapped back at him immediately, knowing that it was exactly what he expected and wanted to hear. It had turned into a little game between the two of them, and during their travels and the constant teasing they had actually grown rather close. It was a strange relationship, but in spite of their differences their synergy seemed to match. Rania was able to be laid-back and blunt, because that’s how Kenzo was naturally and she could match his pace almost effortlessly. It felt good and easy, but only in his presence.

“I need much more alcohol for that,” she gave back with a chuckle, and this time avoided his gaze. Instead, Rania emptied her bottle with a quick sip before reaching for his with her free hand. The woman had a rather impressive alcohol tolerance and was quite resilient when it came to becoming light-headed. Of course all of this was due to the healing effects of her magic. “I was born in Desierto, but my mother was a joyan woman and my father a merchant from Minstreli,” she began her story and lowered the hand he was still holding. While Rania’s attire and style was quite reminiscent of the desert nation Desierto, her physical features seemed to perfectly resemble a mixture of joyan and minstreli origin. Rania had porcelain skin, faintly freckled cheeks and bright green eyes. Her pitch black hair and the shape of her eyes however, were a dead give away at her oriental nature.

If he was still holding her hand at that time, Rania would place away the bottle and lower it. She would then gently unfold his fingers so they could both have a look at her scarred wrist. The scars were almost faded at this time, and left were white remnants of what was once large swellings from having worn shackles for her entire life. She inhaled a deep breath, and uttered a quiet sigh before turning her wrist around ever so slightly. “I was born into slavery, much like my mother. She passed away during my birth, and I never knew what she looked like.” Rania smiled a bittersweet smile. “I could have removed these scars, but I didn’t because I thought it’s the only physical attribute that I know for sure she and I have in common.” She often thought that others might be uncomfortable by hearing her story, and Rania herself failed to realize the deep sadness that she had lived through regardless of what she told herself.

“I was a slave for fifteen years before my father was able to buy my freedom and take me to Minstrel, where I discovered my gift for magic and lived with him. He passed away a few years ago, and I decided to move to Fiore due to its abundance of mages.” Rania had left Minstreli behind in order to find a place suitable to practice her magical skills and abilities. Fiore seemed like the perfect place, and especially now that she had joined a mage’s guild Rania finally felt comfortable enough to settle down somewhat. Pulling her hands back, the woman looked up at her friend and smiled apologetically.

“I’m sorry, I hope that didn’t kill the mood for you.”



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI
#17Kenzo Valens 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:01 pm

Kenzo Valens
”Hehe~ That’s a completely different thing! I’ll tell you later” Kenzo playfully answered at her snarl. The mercenary was definitely in a good mood after everything. A feeling of calmness flooded him with the brush of the cool night breeze. He had many things that still held him back, but for once, he felt like he was moving forward. Simply nodding at her remark, Kenzo appreciated the fact the girl was understanding. He didn’t usually like delving too deep into some things, so he decided to hold back the dangerous nature of his task. However, it might actually be smart to invite her in that case? Regardless, he’d think about it when the time came.

”Pfft” Kenzo was unable to hold back a chuckle at her smart response regarding his magic powers. She’d once again responded just as he expected. It had started turning into somewhat of a clique thing to do between the two of them, and he actually quite enjoyed it. ”Always leaving me at a loss of words” The merc stated with an amused smiled. This was certainly one of the things he enjoyed the most about being with the paladin. How easy it was to let go of his stress and enjoy the moment for a bit. He didn’t feel the need to fight her remarks any time. It felt good knowing he needn’t. She was special after all. Something about their souls was simply compatible for all their differences. In a sense, Rania made Kenzo feel at peace; deep down, that was all he looked for right now.

Unsure as to how she’d react, Kenzo waited silently as she prepared to tell him her story. He’d never heard anything about the background of the girl, so he was genuinely curious. The mere fact itself was surprising for him, considering he generally didn’t care much about others. However, he knew he wanted to learn more about Rania. Yet, her story was nothing like what he expected. She seemed a little hesitant at first, evading his eyes as she readied herself with more sake. Taking his hand with hers, he noticed how frail she seemed. Her hand wasn’t callous as his, given the arduous task wielding a sword was. However, this didn’t mean hers was one of someone that didn’t know work. Unknowingly for the male… hers was one caused by a very different kind of work.

The girl showed Enzo her wrist. It was a sight he’d almost forgotten, but still one he was all too familiar with. In the end, the slave market and mercenary companies had a long history of mutual collaboration. A bitter taste creeped up Kenzo’s mouth. He too, had dealt in the slave business through his years as a mercenary. It wasn’t something he particularly felt proud about, but the pay for prisoners was juicy. Still, it wasn’t as if he couldn’t feel empathy for the girl’s story. Quite on the contrary, he knew far too well what being a slave meant.  Still, he couldn’t help but smile as the girl told him about her life. She didn’t speak with a bitter tone about the past. Even more, she didn’t want to hide the scars of it, erase the marks of her shackles. Rather, she wore them with pride.

Kenzo respected this. Perhaps to the point of being jealous. For all his physical strength and experience fighting, she was stronger than him. As she worried about killing the mood, Kenzo simply chuckled with a smile. ”Nah. Don’t worry.” Kenzo tilted his head upwards for a second, taking a gaze at the sky and the stars. ”Thanks for sharing your story with me” The male paused for a second, forming a half smile. ”You’re really cool you know? Hope I was as strong as you” The male locked his eyes with hers in silence. She was stunning, and the night sky simply served as a flattering medium to enhance her beauty. A thought Kenzo had held on the back of his mind came to surface once again. He’d been keeping it away for a while now, but he simply said “Fuck it”

The merc rose his hand slowly, brushing gently a couple of her dark silken hair strands away from her face, his hand cupping her cheek. Without a word, the corner of his lip rose into a smirk. The sounds and life from their surroundings seemed so far away as they sat at the bench on top of the hill. The mood was right, and the timing was perfect. The male had nothing to lose. Closing in, the blue haired warrior aimed for a kiss, hoping she allowed. Actions spoke louder than words and he felt he’d been far too silent for far too long.

#18Rania 

Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] Empty Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:26 pm

Rania

The mercenary did not seem appalled by Rania’s story and if anything, the woman could see a hint of pain in his blue eyes – not just for her suffering, but for his own as well. Unfortunately Rania’s upbringing wasn’t unique nor extraordinary as her fate had befallen many children who were born into similar, unfortunate circumstances. It was never her intention to stand out and when Kenzo’s features remained unchanged, a wave of relief washed over the young Paladin. It’s just the type of person he was, and because of this Rania knew that her thoughts and words would be safe with him. “Thank you for listening,” she gave back softly and smiled. There was something about the way in which he treated the situation; with ease and grace reminiscent of her own, the warrior made her feel acknowledged and heard – but never awkward or out of place. It was as though she fit right in, here with him.

Rania followed Kenzo’s gaze and her eyes glanced into the night sky. Somehow it was the most beautiful one she’d seen in a long time, but perhaps she only paid attention now that she was in cozy company. His next words caught her by surprise, and turning her head back around Rania’s lips parted ever so slightly as their eyes locked – but for a short while, she didn’t say anything. Her smile thinned out and her features softened into something warmer; an expression meant to comfort him.

“But you already are,” the raven haired maiden responded, and every word was spoken with sincerity. In Rania’s mind Kenzo had never been anything less than strong, capable and quick-witted – a reliable friend and skilled fighter. Of course there had been some odd moments, but the healer noticed him letting his guard down more frequently by each day and contributed his change of behavior to him growing more comfortable around her and trusting her more. It was this very assumption that she had based her own actions on.

In that moment the way he looked at her changed and Rania was able to catch a glimpse of a different side of his. His reluctance almost made her smile again, but regardless of whether she’d seen this coming or not, Rania was still stunned when it happened. Of course there was chemistry between them and she would be lying if she said she wasn’t attracted to the handsome mercenary, but because of the way both Rania and Kenzo lived their lives there was little time for romance – it was a safe haven neither of them could afford to build just yet. Rania allowed for it to happen, not because she needed it to, but because she knew it could only benefit them and wouldn’t turn things bitter – he just wasn’t that kind of person. And as both of them craved a sense of companionship in all their solitude, it was probably what made them right for each other.

When his hand found its way to her cheek the woman stifled a sigh and shut her eyes for a moment; it was quiet in the realm, the night had fallen silent. Rania closed the remaining distance between them and gently pressed her lips against his. His mouth melted against hers and he tasted like sake – both of them did at this point – and even though the girl hadn’t been nervous at first she could suddenly feel her heartbeat pick up in its pace. Her cheeks flushed deep red and by the time she pulled away to catch her breath, Rania was flustered without wanting to be. Not wanting him to take things the wrong way, she quickly ran a hand through her hair to sort herself out and pulled him in for a second round shortly after. Rania wasn’t innocent anymore, but during a moment like this even she couldn’t help herself. It was only after that second kiss that she gave him a mischievous smile and ran her thumb across his lips.

“I suppose we could also go back home.”



Midnight Matsuri  [Rania] BD5lNhI

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