2018-09-17: Forgiveness

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  • Log: Forgiveness
  • Cast: Riesenlied, Elhaym van Houten, Fei Fong Wong, Noeline
  • Where: The Fereshte
  • Date: 17th September 2018
  • Summary: Elly, Fei and Citan visit the Fereshte on the Land Crab and meet Riesenlied and Noeline, who are taking care of Vierge with Hammer...

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied has not really... left New Petra in a few weeks -- not even to heed the call of the world as it inevitably draws her towards Ruins, which ever since Uzda il-Jam she seems to have had some resistance to. Maybe it's a good thing?

Less good is that she's been pretty fragile lately, fresh off the anxiety and stress inflicted upon her by Sin. Right now, she's taking a break from gathering the names and identities of the Azadian refugees by stepping to where she thinks would be a bit quiet--

--which happens to be the makeshift hangar where the Wayside crew is currently tending to poor Vierge. She looks up to the Gear with a bit of awe and trepidation...

She thinks about when it deployed those AERODs against Id, saving them at a critical moment... and against Sin too.

To think it was Elly this entire time...

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Elly feels like there are things she has to conclude before she can focus on what they need to do. Important matters to resolve before they all go to die in Elru. And...

Whatever happens, she can't let herself have any regrets.

So it is that she has come to this hangar together with Fei, with whom she is sitting, and a certain well educated gentleman. She is riding, but not on foot.

"... I feel awful about all of this. I wish that we didn't have to do this. If we didn't have the possibility of fighting 'Mother,' I'd just... I'd just give them the Gear. I suppose I'm just anxious, though...."

"Or maybe it's the ride..."

Because Fei, Elly, and that certain country doctor are riding towards the hangar - not in a wagon, not on horseback, but on the exclusive labor-type transport Gear known to the world as

The Land Crab!

THEME of LAND CRAB (substitute lyrics as needed): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcMXQ4mQ0oA

Upon arrival, Elly dismounts in short order. She remains recognizable, and so is Riesenlied (it's the horns). Spotting her across the hangar, Elly momentarily freezes, wracked perhaps by her regrets!

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei Fong Wong is not being carried by the Landcrab so much as he's riding with Elly. The Landcrab is, however, carrying Weltall which does look like it needs some work done on it, as if it tried to fly into space but failed and instead crashed back to Filgaia. It's a bit like that. It'll give Hammer work to do.

"Did I ever tell you what Bart told me?" Fei asks of Elly. It's a kind of answer-with-a-question, but even so. "It's alright to be anxious though. Anxiety is just the brain's way of protecting you. Sometimes it's in overdrive, but sometimes, well...considering our current situation I guess a little anxiety is likely better than none at all."

A certain country doctor pushes up his glasses through his stock animation as he uses the LAND CRAB to set down near the hangar. It drops Weltall off and then crawls a bit away itself before crouching down onto the ground, its doors opening.

"After you," The qipao-wearing doctor says.

Fei steps outside and says, "To be honest," in a quiet tone to Elly. "I missed Citan. He is a good listener and, well, he is the only person from home who'll still talk to me."

Fei doesn't freeze, instead of waving a hand to Riesenlied. Hammer, who has been working ON the Vierge turns, sees the two of them, and approaches Fei and Elly.

"Welcome back!" Hammer says. "Here you go, Miss Elly! All done!"

He hands Elly a piece of paper.

...It's a bill.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline is at Riesenlied's side today - with most of New Petra pottering along as best it can, she's run out of things to organize in Riesenlied's stead, and after spending some time letting the other Hyadean recover she's now obviously wanting to stick close to her companion. It lets her support the other demon when she needs it, ready to offer a shoulder in case things become too much for her.

It also gives Noeline a chance to stare up at the Gear, her brow lightly furrowed as she regards its construction. She isn't a Gear specialist by any means, but she is someone who enjoys taking on as much information as she can - and she can spot enough in the way of idiosyncracies to pick out. The part of her mind that's fond of making plans and contingencies has more than once suggested breaking the Gear apart, stripping it to look for weaknesses they can use against the rest of the Solaris--

--but the rest of her has rejected that out of hand, knowing full well that it wouldn't fly with Riesenlied, with Hammer, with Elly, or if she's honest, with herself.

(Fei would probably be on board with it, though, Noeline reckons.)

Her eyebrows shoot up when a crab-shaped mech carefully stalks its way into the hangar, biting back a bemused laugh as she breaks into a grin. "Is that a donation, perhaps?" she wonders playfully at Riesenlied, but then rests a hand at the other demon's back, nudging her forward just a little as she spies Elly hesitate. "... let us go and say hello, at the very least. You know she's going to worry otherwise, and so are you," she adds, but not unkindly - just with a fond and practiced huff of air.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied lets out a little pip and draws her arms to her chest, the clipboard by her capelet as she looks towards where the Land Crab has just descended. Fei, Elly and... well, there's a certain other country doctor who she might've seen once or twice around him but otherwise doesn't know that much of.

"M-Miss Elly...! Fei!" Riese expresses, sounding rather fatigued and stepping a little bit closer. She smiles just a bit fondly at Hammer and tilts her head, bowing to the doctor and waving at Fei as well.

Elly's not the only one freezing, at least. The way Riese's fingers dither and struggle a little as she clutches that clipboard. She's very glad to have Noeline at her side -- she's rather needy and clingy at present, often hitching into panic when she isn't around. It's a problem, but something she needs time to work with.

Maybe Sin's Toxin is present in her after all.

"I--I know," she stammers as Noeline urges her forward to break her out of her stuck state. "How... how have you all been?"

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

IN THE CRAB: "I don't think you did. But... I want to hear," Elly tells Fei, even as Citan drives. Weird, Elly thinks, how not so long ago he was the one I feared and suspected. But now he's Fei's friend and supporter.


Riesenlied's calling out to her...!

Elly doesn't have time to feel miserable. Because it's Hammer time. "Oh, Hammer," she says, smiling at him, before he hands her paper. She looks down, sees the bill - and her face starts to slowly crumple.

Is this all I am? I can't pay this back, she thinks. He can't be blamed, but - her eyes squeeze shut, almost brimming with tears, but before she does, she spots something on it. On the second line item after something obscure she didn't recognize.

VIER-04800.............3900 G

Elly blinkblinks. The tears are gone. "Hammer, what -" she begins to ask, before Riesenlied is there.

Elly looks at her. Her arm is still bandaged (Elly's, that is to say) but is mostly on the mend. "Oh," she says, "we met the last of the Elw, we revisited that ruin in Linga... a typical week in ordinary time, I suppose..."

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei doesn't seem to suspect Citan at all. Of course, he's got plenty of incentives not to. It makes his life significantly easier to not consider Citan's motives all too deeply.

Fei isn't sure why everybody is hesitating. They are all coworkers and friends, essentially, even though he does find it fascinating that peaceseekers who rarely raise a blade against another have such a strong connection to a mercenary company, even one run by Leon.

Citan dips his head to Riesenlied and Noeline. "Hello there. Riesenlied. Noeline." Citan says, even though he may not be particularly known by said Riesenlied and Noeline.

"Ah, I don't remember if I introduced you guys. This is Doc, Doc Citan. And these are...uh...well I guess you know them."

Fei smiles wryly at Riesenlied. "I've been better. Boomerang showed up while we were trying to get a boat. It got pretty violent." Though he doesn't look haunted so maybe it wasn't too ad.

Hammer says, "Well, I tried to cut the expenses as much as I could but gear frames are really expensive, even through my network, I'd do it pro bono but they'd break my legs." to Elly. "And I figured if you were fighting something like Mother, you'd want to have this beauty in tip top shape. I took the liberty of upgrading the frame. Maybe it can take two hits from a giant whale now. Um." He quirks his head. "Are you okay, Miss Elly? S-sorry, I didn't mean to offend you, I just thought I'd go ahead and--"

Fei looks over to Elly and then laughs a little weakly as she just kind of points it out. "She seems really nice. I felt bad I had to keep...saying things."

"The last of the Elw?" Citan says with wide eyes and then sighs. "I can't believe I missed such an opportunity."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline makes sure to keep her hand at Riesenlied's arm throughout - just a light touch, but one to try to reassure the other Hyadean that they're still connected, in any small way she can. With her return to Filgaia, she's apparently decided to return to her 'Crimson Noble' persona for the time being, though more for what it means to her than any thought of fashion.

With a quiet snort, she accepts Elly's enumeration of the week's business. "... I hope you told them," she notes politely - though the glint in her eye and the fanged grin rather suggest that she's putting the genteel voice on, and that's confirmed when she continues: "That their ancestors absolutely had a knack for the most troublesome devices I've ever laid my hands on."

She raises her eyebrows the next moment, though, letting out a soft breath. "The last Elw... really, it does feel like things are coming to a head, doesn't it? That must have been one very interesting conversation--" she adds as she glances across at Fei - but the jovial lilt goes out of her tone instantly when Boomerang's name comes up, and she grimaces instead. "I can't say that I'm surprised. The Photosphere's forces are just following standard rules of engagement - slow down your enemy whichever way you can. ... it's good to see you safe."

After a moment, she tilts her head - and then bows at the country doctor. "Welcome to New Petra, doctor. ... if you'd be willing, there are plenty of refugees who could probably use your assistance later, but I can't say much for our supplies right now," she chuckles lightly.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Blink. Blink, blinkblinkblink -- "T-the last of the Elw...?" Riesenlied sounds just a little bit surprised, before hesitating, tilting her head down. "Ah... the Linga... ruin." She shivers for a moment, looking genuinely horrified as she imagines owlbears and has a bit of an episode that fortunately only lasts a couple seconds. Noeline's hold on her hand really helps to push through it.

Riesenlied doesn't really say anything about Hammer's bill at least, because it was his work and... w-well, merchantry and finance aren't really her strong suits. (See: Hucking every single last penny she had in guilt to Jacqueline to get the CaraKin started.)

She bobs gently as she-- bows her head at Citan and says, "H-hello... Mister Citan," she nods quietly. She did vaguely remember the Land Crab... during the attack on Adlehyde. Best to not let her mind get clawed by such memories. Again, Noeline's presence there helps as she shudders.

Her horns wilt a little bit at Fei's comment about Boomerang. "Boomerang..." she whispers, the name hanging a little bit in her lips. She's not nearly as well acquainted with him as she is Siegfried, but...

She looks to Elly, and expresses, "I hope your arm is doing well? I'm-- sorry about Lord Si-- er, Siegfried..." with the exact tone of a daughter still trying to make up for someone she clearly speaks with conflicted affection.

It's hard.

There's a longer pause. "I-- um, I never... I never knew you were the pilot of the-- 'Vierge', was it?" Riesenlied hasn't had to pronounce it before, sounding unsure. A pause--

Then she smiles a bit more warmly. "Thank you... um, I never got to thank you for helping us survive that encounter with Id when Gebler attacked us, right after Wayside was consumed..."

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Hammer has to stop because he just got a sudden borderline-tearful embrace. "Oh--!! I thought you were - I don't know what I thought - You really think it will function again, Hammer? Where did you even source the frame from--!"

That's probably a good question with a complex and exciting answer! Elly lets go, smiling. "You didn't offend me, at, at all. Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry you - You were on the Fereshte, I suppose, it must have been awful. I wish I could have done more, but against a creature of that scope even Gears have limits... I'm glad we don't..."

Have anything like that on Filgaia, but Elly seems unwilling to commit to that statement.

"We didn't say anything like that, but we did chat. She's a gardener... she gave me some ointment for my arm. Um. I broke it," Elly explains, "fighting Siegfried when we arrived... It's mostly better now, though." Her lips purse as Noeline reports on the standard op-force.

"... I was," Elly confirms to Riesenlied. "Or, I am. It's a platform for the Animum Ether Response Offense Drones," or something close to that, it's probably a phrase she's literally translating, "or "AEROD"... It needs a high Ether response rating to... Well; the point is that it's Gebler technology. Um."

Her lips purse. And she blushes. She looks at her feet. "... It was my fault," she says, her voice shrinking visibly (audibly, really.) "You... You were..." Her arms tightly hug herself. Now she /is/ going to tear up, oh no!

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Hammer says simply, "Oh I can't reveal those sources, ha ha they really care about being under the radar--" Because of the breaking of legs as previously noted but suffice it it say, he does it somehow. Hammer tilts his head in confusion but seems to come to his own conclusion and says, "Miss Elly, I..." He trails off because he can't quite bring up to her that he has been second guessing himself as well so he just kind of awkwardly trails off.

"Yeah," Fei says, regarding the Elw. "Well the last Elw on Filgaia. But to be honest, she didn't know much. I didn't really want to give her any more trouble, but considering the situation I felt I had to talk to her." He looks over to Riesenlied. "Um, I thought it'd be best if we only brought a small group at first because, well, I didn't want her to feel overwhelmed or anything." And also, well, Riesenlied's people killed a heck of a lot of Elw. He's sure Riesenlied doesn't need to carry the sins of the metal demons on her shoulders any more than she already has.

"Well, I don't intend to stay too long," Citan tells Noeline. "But I can certainly provide a hand while I'm here. I imagine I'll be leaving with you--or with Captain Albus's crew. There are a few matters I wish to check on in Elru anyway."

Fei raises an eyebrow but doesn't ask about that. Fei has been to New Petra before but he always feels a little ill at ease around here for reasons he can't explain. He imagines it's largely because he still remembers the battle fought here. It wasn't an easy to stomach fight. Fei rubs at his stomach, remembering Siegfried's--

"We chased him off but it's only a matter of time. I guess they know that we're coming and know that the longer it takes us to get ready, the better their own odds." Fei admits.

He looks over to Elly, and then back to Riesenlied. "Oh yeah? I guess, come to think of it, I ... huh. I wonder when I first saw it myself." He tries to think back but doesn't recall in just this moment. "So Elly saved you guys." Fei closes his eyes for a moment. "...I wish I could've helped too."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline glances across at Riesenlied when she mentions Siegfried; she holds her gaze on the other woman for a long moment, then lets out a breath as she squeezes the Hyadean's hand in hers. "... that wasn't your fault. You cannot control what he does - especially not when we were temporarily on another world entirely. ... we'll get through to him, I hope," she mutters more softly.

Shaking the rest of it away, she picks up on the final statement, her eyebrows raised. "It is certainly an extremely impressive machine," she sighs gently. "I would genuinely say it is equivalent to some of the Photosphere's forces, albeit in a very different manner. Making use of those talents the Metal Demons don't have... but I assume that the materials involved are much too rare for anyone else on the surface to easily copy," she sighs, picking at her hair for a moment. She doesn't sound upset, so much as just quietly resigned.

Then she nudges Riesenlied again - propelling her towards the slowly curling-up Elly.

As she lets that collision happen, she glances at Fei with a rather rueful smile. "... that is entirely fair. I don't imagine any of us here remember much of that time, but that is not intended to be an excuse. We also would understand an amount of reticence on the part of-- well, just about anyone, it feels like these days," she huffs quietly to herself, shaking her head. "If you see her again... I suppose, please let her know that I would be very interested in trying to show her we hope to change, and have sworn as such to the Guardians."

Straightening up again with a more vibrant smile, she nods her head to the Doctor, glancing him over. "You and the rest of the continent at this point, Doctor, but every set of hands helps, I assure you. If you need anything in particular, I've been running around trying to ensure everyone's needs are met."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied looks happy to see Elly reunite with Hammer; she nods and expresses, "Hammer was absolutely pivotal in flying the Fereshte to help us rescue the citizens of Azado during the fire, and I'll forever be grateful for his help." She feels, she doesn't need to dwell on Sin because it doesn't take away from the acts of heroism that he did! That they all did, even.

She bobbles her head a little and lowers her head, biting her lip. "I remember... I-- wasn't able to do more to reach him." She lowers her head, trembling a little; where Elly's tearing up, Riese is too as she remembers that. Fei's probably got the right idea, cause Riese probably really would shoulder the entirety of her species' sins if given an opportunity.

"Even if it's not something I can control... I still feel-- responsible," Riesenlied murmurs. "I should've been able to... er... no..." her thoughts falter again; like father, like daughter?

"AE... ROD..." Riesenlied whispers, as well, as Elly comments on the weapon's name. She sounds like she doesn't understand-- well, um, she understands 'Response' and 'Offense'! That's 40 percent! But more importantly--

"... I'm-- I'm not about to blame you or-- or anything," Riesenlied stammers as she moves closer and... and just-- looks at Fei, at Noeline as she encourages her forward and--

--and just hugs her.

"... I can't. After everything I've done... after-- well-- I mean... even if-- I forgive you. Okay?" The logic of how her own deeds translate to Elly isn't exactly clear, but Riesenlied is very much an emotional creature.

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

First things first: Elly gets hugged.

She sobs in reply. Her own arms unlace and slide outwards and she returns the embrace. She buries her face into Riesenlied's shoulder despite everything. She makes a few choked noises deep in her throat, trembles, and...

Fei, of course, can see the pain in Elly's face. But he can also see it go away, or at least ease, if he watches closely.

And the storm passes. She lets go. Sniffling, she says to Riesenlied, "Do you remember when we met in that weapons shop so long ago? I guess as days go, it wasn't all that long - but oh! So much has happened since then... Everything's been a constant swirl, and... ... And, and later I'm going to tell you a couple of things but they're just, technical, it's easy to do when you know how, I'm - aaah, Riesenlied..."

She sniffs once. Looking at Hammer again, she practically beams. "No, I understand completely. But I think even your networks won't be able to find out much about the AERODs. They're really new and cutting edge. I suppose in fifty years they might be in every Gebler machine - that's how war tends to proliferate things - but..."

But that's making a couple of assumptions there, Elly. "... Don't feel like you abandoned us, Fei. I know if you could, you would have been there... but it worked out, in the end. We can't change the past, even if it hurts..."

Back then to Noeline. "U-uuh. Yes. I can explain the theory to you sometime but it's probably best to say that it's... I'm able to control it with a special 'spell'. I'm sure you've seen Ether amplifiers in Gears if you've been around here, and Vierge has one too, but that's a simpler sort of mechanism... like a speaker amplifying the input from a microphone."

"A-as for Mariel, she's very shy. She said something about... What was it, Fei, something about that great creature. I didn't completely understand it, but of course I spent the last few days before we returned being, um."

Her hands wring together.

"I wonder if Tabitha survived," Elly mumbles.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei doesn't want to interfere with Riesenlied and Elly coming to terms with one another even if he'd very much like to embrace Elly in this moment himself. Yeah, that's it. His player totally didn't miss that last bit in the pose woops I mean not woops. Yeah! Not woops!

Hammer frowns as Riesenlied compliments his flying in that situation because considering he was trying to literally escape Azado in a blind panic. It's nice of her to do to cover for him, he thinks, but he kind of wishes she hadn't.

Fei shakes his head to Noeline. "She would, though. She more or less confirmed Lombardia's story, though the biases might be a touch different."

He closes his eyes for a moment, sighing faintly. Maybe he wishes he hadn't gotten that confirmation.

"Lombardia...?" Citan asks.

"I'll tell you later, Doc." Fei says.

Citan quietly pushes up his glasses again. "I'll give you a list of what I need, but don't worry, it isn't too much."

Nevertheless, the weight on Fei's shoulder eases ever so faintly as Riesenlied hugs Elly. He smiles. Of course, that's about what he expected she'd do, but Elly's pain must is guilt based. He does rest a hand on Elly's shoulder, giving it a small squeeze. Elly was really trying hard, wasn't she, he thinks. He thinks to his conversation with Elvis but manages to avoid getting into darker thinking patterns right now.

"...It's..." Not that, Fei tries to say. It's just weird that I wasn't there. It's weird that I don't remember what I was doing then. My memory has always been difficult but sometimes...

But sometimes... is when he can't think of how to clarify further so he doesn't end up saying any of it. Instead, he says, "About 'Clysmians'? I think she was surprised to hear about Sin. I think 'Clysmians' are a legend even to the Elw, and that might explain why Celesdue freaked out so much. I guess they're very rare." He frowns. "And very dangerous. Mariel looks young but--oh, I guess we said her name, haha--well she looks young but she isn't, objectively speaking, even if for an Elw she is."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

Noeline does interfere with the reunion, but only to put her hand back on Riesenlied's shoulder in remarkably short order, letting out a breath as Riesenlied nearly wavers right back into worrying over Siegfried. She doesn't have it in her to interrupt, however, just leaving it at that much.

When all is said and done, she chuckles lightly at Elly's explanation, tilting her head. "I understand the principle, at least very roughly. I doubt I could ever do it myself, but then I've never really been much for piloting a Gear after all. ... just do try to take care of it, I suppose. It might be ridiculously hard to get some spare parts for certain aspects of its system," she huffs--

--and then even she is brought to a standstill, her mouth hanging open for a moment. "--Mariel? That hotheaded young girl is the last Elw?" she grumbles in quiet astonishment, immediately recognizing the name as she rubs at her forehead. "Honestly... that would at least explain why she was so angry at us back then. I dare say we have already faced at least one of her trials and earned some begrudging respect, or at least avoided outright hostility. She demanded we try to grow some flowers and vegetables for her, and then apparently talked to them to discuss our evaluation."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Noeline can probably guess that the waterworks are out for Riesenlied too, because they are; there's a sniffle as she fully experiences Elly's own sobbing and sobs herself, nodding as she says, "... I do. I was... I was-- everything was different then, it feels. I was pretending, and fearful, and untruthful..." Technically, they both were, one under the guise of a traveler, the other a Beastwoman, but...

She doesn't exactly know what technical things Elly's going to tell her, but it's not like she's not going to try to learn even if she's not technically minded...! She also... well, knows nothing about Gears, and sorcerous Gears are like combining two topics she knows very little about!

"It's true," Riesenlied expresses earnestly to Fei. "You still helped us when we crash-landed at the Pleasing Gardens... and Leon, and Lily-- everyone."

She takes a moment to cling further to Noeline, sniffling and gasping as she leans towards her soulmate's side. She draws in a little breath as she lets her hug her, trying to compose herself. She lets go of Elly, so that Fei can move to her side and give her a supportive squeeze on the shoulder. They're all trying really hard...

... but she has to try harder, for her father's sake, she thinks to herself.

"M-Mariel...?" Riesenlied sounds extremely surprised. "That's the young girl who gave me medicine in Marze and--" as Noeline confirms, she looks just down the hangar, gesturing to point to where there's a large bed of plants that've been with the Fereshte since Wayside. "Mariel gave us those saplings... they've helped us nurture the village since then."

"... I see... that explains why she was so scared to see me back then..." A pause, as she sounds more guilty. "I can't blame her for feeling that way..." She hesitates, then says, "I--I won't tell her I found out from either of you if I see her."

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

Elly momentarily overlooks Hammer's discomfort. "That was the name," she confirms when Fei speaks. "Goodness. I didn't hear a single thing at all. I even left my Medium back on the ship..."

"I suppose we've come a long way, haven't we?" Elly tells Riesenlied, smiling for a moment, even as Fei touches her shoulder. She reaches up to put a hand on top of Fei's own. "'Let's keep working hard' is the kind of thing you say here, isn't it...?"

Then she blinks.

"... How long has she been," Elly begins, before looking back at Noeline. "Hotheaded? She seemed incredibly shy. I was afraid we were terrifying her. Um. I think that you're right... ...She /demanded/ you try to do that?"

"As for spare parts," Elly says, "It's essentially impossible. If an AEROD was damaged, we'd have to undertake a -Special Repair Mission-. The core operational components are pretty durable, of course, but it might require all sorts of rare materials to complete. Um." She sucks on her teeth for a moment, and laughs, looking at Fei again for a moment.

"Did you ever have to worry about that with Weltall?"

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"Um, shortly after we fought that dinosaur with it, I think we needed to get it fixed up a bit, but I don't recall it ever needing parts we couldn't just get from anywhere else... Other than that..." Fei answers Elly, though he does hesitate for a longer moment before adding, "Um, according to Bart's technicians, there's all sorts of uh--black boxes, unknown tech in Weltall." Of course it's a special prototype gear so that makes sense. "But they couldn't tell what they did, and um--I think Weltall's already dangerous enough, considering. It's probably better to just leave those things alone."

Fei looks over to Noeline for a moment with wide eyes, but he thinks he has an answer. "It doesn't surprise me that she could analyze how you take care of plants. I suppose that was her method...of seeing whether or not she could trust you." She glances to Elly then back to Noeline. "But to be honest, with me I just kept feeling like I was scaring her. It was, haha, actually pretty stressful. I don't think I would've done it if we weren't in so much trouble. I mean... if she really is the last Elw on Filgaia...she should be allowed to live in peace right? I shouldn't bringing trouble to her."

It's just some small touches, but it's enough to soothe Fei's heart. Just a little longer and then--then what? They'll be free to live as they'd like? Solaris hasn't gone after them in some time. Maybe they don't even have to-- 5r"I don't think I've ever seen anything like those AERODs before." Fei admits thoughtfully. "Though I guess, that's probably pretty normal since I haven't actually seen many Gears." He pauses, looks to Elly. "Do you think they'll try to take them back? Though I'm guesing the average person can't use them effectively."

Citan isn't the huggy type. He seems content to sit back a bit and let others do the talking. But eventually he does speak, "Fei. How are you feeling?"

"Huh? Okay, I guess." Fei says.

"Mm," Citan says, inscrutable. "You two have gotten close."

Fei reddens. "Ah, um."

"I hadn't expected to see you again," Citan looks to Elly. "Are you certain of your decision? Even now, you could go back to your home."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

When Riesenlied turns to her, Noeline is quick to accept the other Hyadean into her arms fully, closing her eyes as she nestles the other woman in a hug. She allows herself a while to adjust - a while to let them both recharge, and ease out some of her own worries slowly.

"... she was not shy about being not shy when she met us, if you see what I mean. I suppose that would have been her anger at us coming to the fore - though I admit, we were attempting to make peace with her when she gave us the ultimatum to plant and nurture some life," Noeline chuckles quietly, ever so slightly rueful about it. "Whether that anger would translate into anything else, I cannot say, but it was certainly my feeling at the time."

"... I-- with the most respect in the world, I am not sure what a single Elw could do at this point," she says after a moment to Fei, her brow lightly furrowed. "I do not mean that in a demeaning way, so much as to say that even if we tried to push everything onto her, I rather think there is a limit to what one Elw could do. And whatever misgivings I have about the Elw practices of a previous age, I doubt very much she had anything to do about it."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

Riesenlied glances to Hammer for a moment, feeling genuinely contrite for a moment... it's a bad habit of hers. She means well, but she knows she can overdo it, and has made people feel bad in the past...

She does nod towards Elly, however. "... yes. No matter how many times we're knocked down... we'll stand back up and never give up," she thinks of Avril, Dean and Rebecca for a moment -- they'll be fools together, they once said back at the Wolfsbane in Lunar...

"I see... outside of Hammer, the rest of the Outreach will do their best as well to help Vierge, but I'm afraid my own knowledge is next to nothing..." Riesenlied muses. The closest thing that she ever has handled to Gears are her Dragons, and... well, headpats, scritches, food and water...

... it's a lot more like raising dogs than anything else...

She listens to Fei talk about Weltall for a moment. She remembers... getting kicked in the face by Weltall, one year ago in Adlehyde. ... it speaks a lot to how far they've come, and come to think about it, how brittle she's become as well that the degeneration has gone that far...

"You're right... I don't-- want to impose on Mariel any more than I have to," Riesenlied replies quietly, looking to Fei. "But I'm glad she gave us the saplings. It's allowed us to really grow as a village... ... I can only hope that was her own way of helping, even if it hurt a lot..."

She tilts her head and expresses, "I'm--" she takes a quiet breath and says, "I think I'll take a walk amongst our gardens... I could use a bit of a breather. Do you want to come see as well, everyone?" She clings her hand to Noeline, just a little unsteady. "Would you guide me...?"

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"Black boxes...? That does explain a lot," Elly muses at what Fei says. Then she says, with a faint smile, "I don't think you're frightening."

"I don't know," Elly then says, about the AERODs. "I think as long as I don't use them, any sightings of Vierge would be taken as it being used by salvagers... I imagine they would want to destroy it, but the AERODs are useless, and they might assume they were destroyed in combat too."

Then... Citan.

Elly's gaze rests on him.

"No," Elly tells Citan, "I couldn't. I suppose that isn't literally true. But I couldn't live with myself if I did... and that's something of the same thing, now, I suppose."

Then to Noeline, who raises the fair point. "I think we were hoping she would know of hidden technology. There's a - did you say it was a Gear or a Golem? - Something named Asgard. It's supposed to be important." Then she smiles at Riesenlied.

"If you're alright with that... I'd love to see your garden."

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"And as for Gears..."

For some reason this explanation takes place off screen.

"The majority of Gears are being operated on the Kislev/Aveh front, with other nations and groups maintaining the Gears as a trump card against each other or against dangerous wildlife. Since we've been on Lunar for a long time - and before then, we were focused on low-intensity conflicts - it's understandable that we didn't see many Gears. But I expect that's going to change, especially with the Gear transports that broke loose. All sorts of people may have access to them... but that's something to worry about after we handle 'Mother'!"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

A chibi Riese with thick round white eyes with black borders goes :<|! and suddenly understands more about Gears than she did before. Good job, Elly-sensei!!