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The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more]

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The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Tue Jul 18, 2023 7:54 am

Arriving at the docks of the coastal port, not too far from where Mishiko's forces were setting up their encampment the large ship had just finished docking and while the containers were being unloaded and hauled by the workers the young Puppet Master quietly looked around.

How long had it been since she last set foot on Joyan soil? She had left behind her homeland in the aftermath of the events that devastated her family, the consequences still lingering in the form of her disabled legs. Even now she couldn't help but idly rest a hand on one of them, the sensations in it entirely absent. Not only was she being accompanied by her personal puppets, but nearby she could spot several of the sentient machines that were patrolling the port.

"I see that you already put them to good use Mi-chan." The young lady whispered softly as she gazed further around the port. A warzone was no place for the disabled, and certainly not for a merchant who cared about staying alive. However, she had come here for a reason. A lot of the technology being used had been invented by her, or used schematics from Talaz Lagaar that she had refined and finetuned, so it was understandable that Mishiko would likely prefer for her to be nearby in case anything went wrong.

Nothing was as terrible as technical complications in the midst of a war that was being waged. However, for this particular trip, she wasn't going to take any risks, as was evident in the giant puppet that towered right behind her. Calling it massive was an understatement, and its strength was evident as the puppet easily hauled both the wheelchair and its inhabitant with a single arm with no sign of even struggling in the slightest.

Two more puppets were trailing at her sides, clearly keeping their sensors primed in case some unpleasant company decided to show itself. Of course, she had not expected Mishiko to come to greet her at the port, the young goddess likely had her hands full managing the troops and political stuff of the war, so instead after making sure the containers were ready to be transported to the encampment did Kairaiko decide to speak again. "Guess we shall make our way to the camp and see if they need any aid in the logistics department."

As the puppet started to move each step it took was akin to a small tremor, leaving its footprint in the ground as it carried her toward the camp while the remaining puppets kept an eye both on their surroundings and the shipment they had brought with them.

Who knew what type of state they would find the camp in? She did recall that Mishiko had called for the aid of various guilds and individuals, a decision that fascinated her. How many would forgo the politics of Fiore for the sake of Mishiko's call for aid? Some might for the sake of honor, others for the promise of a challenge or wealth, in her case she would likely have considered the war nothing but a testing ground for her inventions. It was that which actually scared her slightly, the awareness that so many lives could be lost in the war, and yet a part of her only cared about the results it would bring. Perhaps she herself was becoming as heartless as the puppets she made...

WC: 570

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] U07Xjho
#2Daiko Flayme 

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Wed Jul 19, 2023 7:08 am

Daiko Flayme
A lot of shit was happening down… over there… to the west? No, east? No, no, no, it must’ve been to the west, he checked when he leapt onto the ship! No, wait, he had a map with him… ah, never mind! We didn’t have time for any of this! The Shogun over at Joya was really drawing a lot of attention with all of the dumb shit they’d done – Daiko had been briefed about the oppression that the people over there had been enduring in silence. He hadn’t been to Joya before, and given its rich culture… they definitely, hopefully had a lot of beautiful restau- places, y’know. Forests and fauna… and Coda would’ve loved to fly across falling sakura leaves. They can’t do that if the country’s plagued by war!!!

Who was this Shogun guy, again?! Couldn’t he just… well… Daiko had very few tracking skills, to be completely honest. He had knowledge of hunting animals, sure, but it was completely different when hunting a creature that rarely made much of an effort to hide in the first place – humankind itself. If he wanted to track down the Shogun himself, then he’d have to do so in the open, ‘cause… surely the Shogun was in some kind of power-drunk haze. You couldn’t convince him that all of these oppressive assaults on Joya were caused by a person hiding under a table.

But to get to the big bad boss, you’d always have to pass through a bunch of enemy sympathizers. In order to not escalate things further, given that Daiko’s immortality didn’t exactly help others from certain doom-level repercussions to his own uncalculated ambush, he’d have to actually plan things out at base. He shouldn’t rush into things… Alisa permitted their participation in this rebellion for a reason.

However, upon meeting up with the other participants, he soon found himself as the center of attention. You see, he eagerly explained what he was capable of, how he could contribute with literal firepower, altitude and regenerative abilities, but… well, when he told them that he could transform into a Phoenix, they kind of-

“HŌ-Ō! IS THAT REALLY THE HŌ-Ō?!” some screamed in jubilation. Why this news elevated their moods so much was a mystery to the Pyromage. “B-BUT… but… with you here, that means a period of peace is nearing us! Our efforts certainly won’t be in vain! Thank you so much for this invaluable blessing, Hō-ō!” Daiko’s head was flinging from side to side, glaring at many others who shared the same joy that the man in front of him did. Despite their joy, however… Daiko was so confused. He didn’t know why him being this Hoe-oew was so important!

Despite being surrounded like this, Daiko felt the earth shake much more… as if an earthquake was about to occur! “Oh crap, EARTHQUAKE! GUYS, WE GOT-“

“N-No no no no, it’s just the gigantic golem over the- h-hooooooooooooooooooooooooly moly, sucker’s massive…”

“Wait, did you build that giant… p-p-p-golem? Those two, too, too-t-too? Wait…” He was about to say ‘puppet’, but that word felt unfair to describe these giants. It felt like calling a golem a ‘doll’, after all. “Those aren’t golems, right? Sorry, I thought they looked like- C-CODA, C’MON, LEAVE HER ALONE!”

Worry, confusion, curiosity, bashfulness, and now panic and anger at the bird of prey that decided that it would be totally fine to perch on the armrest of the wheelchair and rub her face onto the blonde lady’s arm. Affection out of fucking nowhere, just like Coda always was… an unpredictable lover. “Y-You can’t just annoy every single damn girl you find, Coda! Pleeeeeaaaase, I always have to apologize and all that! Have some restraint…”

WC: 620

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The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Wed Jul 19, 2023 12:40 pm

She had just arrived at the encampment where a crowd had gathered around a foreigner, likely one of the people who had rallied to Mishiko's call for aid. The mentioning of Ho-oh left the Joyan merchant somewhat curious, but she decided to leave the question for later. Instead, the giant automaton had come to a halt while the duo of maid puppets stopped at her side. Hearing the stranger's surprised voice and the question formulated by them led to Kairaiko to reply with a gentle smile on her lips. "They are quite similar to Golems, and yet share more traits with the robots from Talaz Lagaar. Unlike Golems they are not necessarily bound to a summoner, for example: As long as a situation unfolds that is within the range of possible reactions they could formulate, they will be able to react independently without the need of a command. However, similarly to Golems they need mana to function, and as such should their core be depleted they will need to be recharged or have their core replaced."

Yet the arrival of Coda who perched on the armrest of her wheelchair briefly surprised Kairaiko. While it was common for her to be able to interact with animals easier than than humans, she had not yet experienced an encounter where a animal showed such affection. "It is alright..." For a moment her politeness faded, her smile seemingly more genuine as she raised one of her delicate hands and tenderly tried to caress the back of Coda's head, trailing down along her nape and stopping at where her spine was, then trailing back upwards.

"Animals make for wonderful companions. Unlike humans, they are so genuine in expressing their feelings. There is no deception in their affection, no need to worry about one's true intentions when one deals with animals. If they like you, they will show it. If they hate you, you will experience it for sure. That is what makes me so interested in them."

Realizing she had talked for too long, her smile turned slightly more apologetic as she turned her attention back toward Daiko. "I couldn't help but overhear the crowd mentioning Ho-oh earlier. If you're wondering: It is a divine entity, a Kami that is more commonly called a: Fènghuáng, they are beings that represent Virtue and Grace and stories often suggest that should a Fènghuáng appear at the side of a ruler, they are sure to be just and fair. However, should they become swallowed by greed and corruption the Fènghuáng will leave them behind. In some ways they compare to the Phoenix in other stories, but overall the mere sighting of one is considered a blessing to most."

She turned her gaze down at Coda again and continued. "My name is Kairaiko, a wandering merchant who has aligned herself with the general of this army. You could consider me something of a benefactor since I came with a shipment of supplies for the army. And you are?"

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] U07Xjho
#4Daiko Flayme 

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Thu Aug 17, 2023 3:36 am

Daiko Flayme
Thank the lord that she sounded so friendly. Daiko was ready to get a mouthful, but this lady with the golems seemed really understanding and kind based on her first words said to him. Although a lot of weird articulations were used to explain the golems that weren’t really golems, he caught the fact that they could move on their own without the command of a mage. Yet, they still had cores like golems… big, magical cores, perhaps.

Coda would’ve purred like a cat if she could, the tickling sensation of Kairaiko’s hand caressing her neck sending such pleasant shivers through the raptor’s body. Anyone who was a friend of animals was a friend of Daiko, after all. The lady’s next words really resonated with his own beliefs, causing Daiko’s eyes to sparkle like stars – animals were the most honest creatures in all of Earthland. His deeply rooted respect for animals was almost extreme, but to hear the reassuring words of someone else reinforce his beliefs was so comforting. “I agree! Coda’s always honest with me, even if I don’t like it… but that’s what makes her so invaluable to me.”

Now, about this weird thing called Hoe-oe… apparently, it was a divine creature. She referred to it as a Kami, as Feng Wang… something to do with virtue and grace. It sounded like a very idyllic creature, a just force of nature. An ally of justice and a deserter of evil… wait, it wasn’t a Phoenix? Huh… then why did they refer to him as this Hoe-oe then?! “W-Why are they calling me a Hoe-oe, then…?”

Perhaps a question for later.

She revealed her name – Kairaiko, almost sounded like Kai-Daiko. Funny thing. Obviously, Daiko saluted in pride upon introducing himself: “My name’s Daiko Flayme! I’m a mage from Blue Pegasus, back in Fiore. I… I don’t have a lot with me, but I have firepower, Fire Magic, I can heal, I can regenerate, and I don’t fear death anymore! Just like a real Phoenix… or a Hoe-oe, or whatever it was called.”

Truth be told, he really wanted to punch something right now. “I was told that they use prayers to heal injured people around here… I can heal them, too! Just gotta share some of my blood, and they’ll all be good to go… wait, what about you? Do you need to be healed as well?”

WC: 398
TWC: 1018

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The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Wed Aug 23, 2023 3:46 am

Kairaiko smiled warmly at these words. "I'm sure Coda-chan will share the sentiment when it comes to the importance of your bond with her." As she gently allowed her hand to continue petting the bird and give her more attention she chose to clarify a bit further. "The Kami are sometimes depicted in folklore and myths as being able to take on mortal forms to interact more favorably with the mortal races. Perhaps due to the fact your powers hold some striking similarities to the ho-oh, it might be that they thought you were one of the Kami."

Upon hearing Daiko's introduction she brought her free hand to her cheek and pondered for a moment. "Fascinating~ Your first name suggests your parents were inspired by Joyan culture when they named you. You see~ based upon the reading Dai can be interpreted as 'Great' or 'Big', but while 'ko' is primarily used as a suffix for 'child', it sees a secondary less common use that I feel is quite appropriate for you~"

She smiled as she looked up at the guild mage and after a moment of building the anticipation spoke: 'Light'~ In older religions your name would mean 'Bright Light', a suitable name for the heir of the Phoenix whose light is meant to bring hope to people."

Yet when Daiko mentioned healing her expression turned more sorrowful. Her gaze lowered to her long dress as a hand instinctively rested upon her injured leg. "I'm fine~ Although I might look like this I'm quite healthy, and the injury I suffer from is one that magic can't cure that easily. Believe me, my father even had me bask in a pool of Phoenix feathers once in the hope it would heal my leg."

She gently raised the outline of her dress, pulling it just high enough to where her stockings covered her legs and through the fabric one could likely see the telltale of the scar. "Ugly isn't it? It also reminds me how ugly society can be, because this scar was inflicted by my own sister."

Indeed, it was the tragic truth: when wealth became involved many could show a far uglier side to them than one would imagine possible. Not that she expected someone as pure and bright as Daiko to understand in that regard. And maybe that was a good thing as well, she didn't want to see such a pure and kind-hearted young man to be tainted by such feelings, a light that should truly continue to shine brightly for all.

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] U07Xjho
#6Daiko Flayme 

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Fri Aug 25, 2023 1:07 am

Daiko Flayme
Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh? There was a chance that this Hoe-oe could have taken the form of a human to interact with others… so maybe Daiko had already met them before! Without realizing it, too! Damn it! “But I’m… I’m not, though. Last time I checked, I was human- okay, with magical powers, but human nonetheless!” he protested against the very idea of being this Kami, “I’m sure I’d know if I was this Kami…” As if taken it as an offense to his identity, Daiko crossed his arms and pouted the other way.

Then… she made a striking observation. She claimed that his name might’ve been inspired by Joyan culture, which only led back to the whole Ho-ow thing again. However, instead of fretting the idea of being a Kami who forgot who they were, the meaning behind his name in Joyan language was revealed to be quite sweet… although, ‘Big Child’ sounded like a weird name. He wasn’t that big as a child – on the contrary, he was on the skinny end.

But there was a second meaning to his name, which he found much cooler – Bright Light. That made his eyes shone in awe at his mother’s creativity, as if she could’ve predicted his entire persona from birth. “T-That sounds much better than Big Child! My mum sure knew how to name people…” he laughed in joyous remembrance.

She politely refused his help concerning her legs, explaining that they couldn’t be easily fixed with magic alone. Although, she didn’t look like she enjoyed talking about her legs… he shouldn’t have brought it up. Why did he bring it up?! Who brings up visually undesirable traits on another woman?! If Alisa was here, she’d tear him a new one for such misdemeanor…

“Wait, where’d you get- n-nevermind,” Daiko’s curiosity peaked concerning the mention of ‘phoenix feathers’, but that sounded like more salt to her wounds, which he had decided not to linger over. He didn’t expect her to actually show him her scars – it felt like a very intimate thing to do, but not at all in the good way. Her scar looked terrible, and she noted how ugly it was. “But scars…” he wanted to protest, but she also mentioned that the source behind the scar was none other than her own si-

His hair didn’t just turn reddish like most. It didn’t just coat itself in tongues of fire – all of the hair on his scalp began flickering in bright lights of orange and white, as if a bald person had doused oil over their heads and lit it aflame. Such was Daiko’s trait of showing emotions beyond facial grimaces – yet, the fires on his head were turning grey with rage. “Your own… b-but why…?” He couldn’t make head or tails over such logic, hurting one’s own family like that…

“I-I can’t leave! My country needs me – screw my legs! I’ll walk with my hands, instead!”

A commotion roared up further away from them, revealing a scene with a man in a wheelchair himself, restrained by several for his reckless attempts at leaving said wheelchair and reaching for his confiscated equipment. Due to an accident, his legs too were injured, and he’d have to wait it out and receive proper medical care before getting any ideas of marching to Joya. Yet, the man’s raging love for his country clouded his own safety, and that was clear to see for everybody around. “Wait, why’s he panicking like that? What’s going on?!”

“Sir, please, your legs won’t recover if you continue now! I beg of you, stand back-“

“B-But Joya’s so close to meeeeeee! And my country’s bleeding, and so am I! I can’t wait here any longer!”

Daiko rallied over to him, for if he couldn’t help the gentle puppeteer-golemeer lady with her leg injuries, then… maybe he could help with this lad’s. “Sir, I can help you! Just stay still, I’ll he-“

“I can’t wait for you to heal me, lad! Do you think I care about these injuries?!”

WC: 670
TWC: 1688

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The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Fri Aug 25, 2023 1:33 am

Kairaiko couldn't help but chuckle softly at Daiko's protest, finding it quite endearing how he seemingly felt slightly offended at being compared to some grand lustrous being like a Kami. "I know Daiko~ Even if you possess the powers of a Phoenix, even should you had been a Kami it wouldn't matter, because in the end you're still you. 'Daiko' right?"

As she saw his expression brighten even more upon the revelation of his name's origins she decided to entertain him a little more with a bit of information. "My name is a far less used one~ You see~ Ever since I was a child I was very fond of playing with puppets and marionettes, it is where the first part of my name comes from 'Kairai', and since I always surrounded myself with puppets the phrase 'Puppet Child' seemed fitting."

However, as she was about to explain Daiko's worried response about the origins of her scar the sight of the injured war veteran trying to reach Daiko made her smile faintly at him. "Go on and help that man Daiko~ I can tell you more while you do so."

The two puppets at her side strode over toward the injured man who was wobbling over toward Daiko. "Please calm yourself sir, even if Daiko heals you, the mere action of injuring yourself further by this reckless behavior will cause him to need to expend more mana to tend to your injuries, healing he could use to help your brothers in arms return to the battlefield as well. Surely your love for your country has not blinded you to your responsibilities for them as well?"

After she stated these words and let Daiko start the healing procedure she went quiet for a bit, Until at last...

"My family owns a prestigious mercantile company within Joya. Although my interest has always been in tinkering with relics and making puppets like these, I also hold a certain aptitude toward commerce, and as such my father taught me from a young age about how to be a merchant."

She turned her gaze toward Daiko and smiled gently. "It was not a bad time, I liked learning how to barter, and frequently spend times learning about the trends of markets and such, but my prowess for it made it that my father wanted me to succeed as his heir someday. Which meant running the family one day. This meant that my elder sister wouldn't be able to inherit the large fortunes my ancestors made, she was... quite vain, vain and considered her wealth a birthright, so when she learned about my father's plans she had hired several assassins to kill me. The poison their blades were laced with contained a rare venom, a single drop can paralyze even an adult."

She turned her gaze toward the side, obscuring her expression. "I... had been tinkering on an old golem I purchased from a Talaz Lagaar scientist, and went to bed during the work but it seems that during my attempt to struggle free from my would-be killers I somehow activated the droid that overpowered the assassins and saved me. However. When my sister came to investigate and see if the job was done, I saw through her intentions as the droid retained her, seeing her as a threat. However, I asked my sister one question that night..."

She turned toward Daiko and smiled sorrowfully. "Are you my enemy?" My sister never answered me, even when the droid bashed her skull. It is the harsh reality Daiko. When money is involved many people, very many can have very ugly sides to them."

She sighed sorrowfully, a hand raising to her cheek as she pondered for a moment.

"What was the saying again? 'Bright lights cast deep shadows?"

WC: 640

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] U07Xjho
#8Daiko Flayme 

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Fri Aug 25, 2023 3:12 am

Daiko Flayme
At last, Kairaiko’s words managed to soothe the panicking soldier into relaxing more. His duty… his sense of duty hadn’t died out with his paranoia just yet. He was a strong soldier who had suffered a lot, like many of his brethren among them today. It felt like their camaraderie alone would topple the Shogun, so Daiko intended to answer in full spirit himself!

His healing required him to cast the flames of regeneration. These would activate when he injured himself, since those flames also tended to his own wounds – upon shedding his own blood, the droplets would light aflame like oil and start to recover tissue on his allies. He learned that a while ago, and it was a wild ride to test it out on his guildmates, should the dire need for it arise one day.

Now, he knew exactly how to treat people. With his own nails, he flung into his left wrist like it was nothing – the scene terrified a few around them, but his spilling blood immediately lit aflame and fell upon the soldier’s thighs and shins. The flames didn’t hurt him one bit, despite some protests from his worried companions – upon noticing the rising spirit in the injured soldier’s eyes, they were taken aback by the awestriking prowess of this peculiar Pyromage. To heal with fire that usually harmed… an element of destruction used to regenerate… it was the stuff of miracles.

“I-I never could’ve thought that the Hō-ō was capable of this…” one of the lad’s friends commented, approaching Daiko himself after the soldier suddenly rose from his wheelchair in jubilation, “C-Can you help me too? I’ve lost my fingers… I can’t bear weapons like this.”

“I’ve sustained a back injury for a week now…”

“Wait, can your Magic also regenerate inanimate objects?”

Safe to say, Daiko got busy rather quickly with shedding blood, turning the blood to regenerative flames via his fancy, little spell that he artistically named ‘Phoenix Flame Restoration Burial’… but to make matters quicker, he just shed flesh and blood everywhere and immediately regenerated from his self-inflicted injuries. It was quite a mad show.

Kairaiko told that her family owned a fancy mercantile… uh, that was a new word. Oh, merchant- yes, right! Her family were merchants, and pretty awesome ones at that, based by her own words. “Wait, so you sell fancy stuff and all that? Wonder if you sell clothes…” Daiko expressed, turning into a mumble at the end as his own wishes for new garments to replace his torn ones.

At least, her younger years weren’t bad. Fancy, rich merchant upbringing – it sounded ideal in many ways. You could afford so many things and see so many places, like an adventure in and of itself! But it kept begging the question… what happened to her? And why was it by her sister?! Her legs… just… it hurt his head trying to think about it, but when she mentioned ‘running the family one day’, some wheels began screeching inside of his skull to his dismay. Her sister, the elder one, had lost her right of inheritance due to her younger sister outshining her – but, like, why didn’t the elder sister just try and make her own merchandise? Y’know, to get back at the family by becoming successful herself – not like this! Not by trying to assassinate your own sister, who’d think that was a good idea?!?!?!

At the end of the story, the elder sister was killed by Kairaiko’s droid that saved her life. A damn tragic, sickening end to a sickening circumstance. Daiko was beyond distraught by the story, his hands shaking which not even self-mutilation could bring forth. “I… I’m glad you’re doing well now. B-But what about your parents – are they alright?”

“S-Sir, your hands are shaking so much…” one of the patients observed, letting Daiko glare down at his muscular arms vibrating with all sorts of raging feelings. No matter his age or his experience, he always had a way with channeling fury and extensive emotions in a rather explosive manner. At least, in these years, he was able to hold back, but… he really wanted to blast fire into the heavens from what he heard.

WC: 703
TWC: 2391

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The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Fri Aug 25, 2023 3:39 am

Kairaiko smiled at the mentioning of 'fancy stuff'. "I do frequently collect garments for collectors to sell to them. In fact..." She paused, a hand reaching for her waist as she tapped a few keys on the metal bracelet on her wrist. "My parents are safe, I asked them permission to move to Fiore to distance myself from the political intruiges of higher society. There is something about all the acting and pretending to be nice that people do that tends to frustrate me. Either way, go and wash your hands Daiko, after that meet me in the tent over there."

After she said these words the golem started to carry her over, leaving the boy to likely wonder what she had been planning, the secret soon revealing itself as once inside the young man would find a manequin wearing a colorful garment of leather and feathers adorning it There was also a shoulderguard, clearly designed to hold a bird of prey. Meanwhile on the table beside it were several bags that would no doubt excite Coda immensely just from the scent alone already.

"In the past there was a hero like you who embodied the powers of Ho-oh, it is said he was a very benevolent and kind adventurer who went around saving people, protecting them from monsters and even sometimes paid the direst price a person could pay to save someone. His healing could even bring the dead back, but in return it forced him to reincarnate over and over, losting a bit of his own being in the process. These clothes were made in his image by the people he saved in the past as a showing of respect and gratitude. But in your case? I like for you to take this personally altered version and keep its naming in consideration: Armor of the Phoenix Knight: for you might possess infinite lives, but you can't save these dear to you if you're dead."

She smiled warmly at him as she continued. "and I do really want to talk to you a lot more in the future, so don't go sacrificing yourself to the point your smile disappears~ For a smile better suits a hero like you."

With that said she gestured at the bags. "The bags contain exotic bird feed. Although very rare, the Fire Birds collectors love to have are frequently thought to be distant cousins to the Phoenix, and the hot spices in these seeds are favored by the fiery little ones~ Consider them gifts for our meeting today."

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] U07Xjho
#10Daiko Flayme 

The Threat Remains [Brain: Open for Two more] Empty Mon Aug 28, 2023 3:24 am

Daiko Flayme
She did have clothes for sale! Nice, he should ask her later – these torn garments on him were starting to get annoying. Speaking of annoying, it was strange to know that Kairaiko wasn’t a big fan of politics from higher societ-

Wait, what did she mean by higher society? There was a society living above them somewhere in the clouds? Did she come from that place? If so, it sounded like a terrible place to live in – pretending to be nice and acting friendly when you weren’t was an invitation to get punched in the face. And he didn’t want to punch someone like Kairaiko… unless she was pretending! But then why would she bring it up? She was speaking the truth, and he decided to trust her. It’d be a dick move to expect the worst from everybody.

“Yes ma’am!” Daiko saluted before going back to the center of the camp to wash his hands. There were no traces of his blood left on them, but Coda didn’t like seeing Daiko all injured… she cared, after all. Still, what did she want to show him now? Maybe another golem?! Oh, maybe she had a new outfit for him – he did just tell her that he was in search of textiles. Or maybe… she also had a pet bird and a new friend for Coda!

Once he entered her tent, he found one of his guesses to be true – a most colorful outfit of leather and feathers from various avian species. It looked marvelous and left Daiko’s eyes sparkling for almost a minute without pause; the design, the colors, the shoulderguard, it was all just amazing!

Coda had already begun munching on the contents of the bags laid on the table, making even Daiko’s mouth drool a bit. That was when Kairaiko revealed something even more coincidental than the existence of the Hooooooo-oooooooh – that there was once a hero who embodied its powers… just like him. “F-For real? He must’ve been amazing!” Of course, a valiant hero like that had Daiko’s approval – especially with such similarities… but the story took a darker turn. With every regeneration, the hero apparently lost a bit of himself, which made Daiko shiver.

Was that… the same case with himself? He’d never noticed it, but he wasn’t good at noticing things.

Still, Kairaiko offered the memorial garments to him as a gift. Armor of the Phoenix Knight… and Daiko accepted it. “I-I’ll take it… I’m very honored,” he expressed bashfully, almost feeling like apologizing on behalf of the previous hero who wore it. It must’ve been tough going on like that, losing a bit of yourself with every person you save… Daiko prayed that the same wouldn’t happen with him, for he wasn’t Ho-oe. He was Daiko.

“In that case, I’ll smile forever! The least I can do for your help – Coda can’t exactly smile, but I’ll smile on her behalf too!”

WC: 488
TWC: 2879

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