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"Steady there, partner," said Luz. "I don't mean one with another you. One with everythin' but you, waitin' fer yer arrival. If such a place existed—Millijoule talks about the multiverse as if it's literally endless, perhaps one does."
"No," Truffle snapped, giving Luz a pointed look that briefly displayed his Ghostly nature. Spectral darkness flared just beneath his feathers like a raging river. He quickly quashed it away, staring downward again. Leg, nervous, seemed to be peeking out from her room's darkness. "I'm... sorry. But I cannot replace them like that. I cannot."
"I'm sorry. Grief an' loss are still new t'me. Anythin' really matterin' is still new to me. And I'm still so young y'can count my age in weeks. I take it this is somethin' I oughtn't t'bring up, an' that's fine. I know you're buildin' new bonds. Like with Leg."
Truffle relaxed a little, and replacing that initial ire was what might have been waves of shame. Now wholly unfocused on his cooking, he didn't realize Leg had approached from behind and pressed against his talons.
The Mimikyu didn't let go. Truffle deflated more, held his breath, and composed himself.
"...Grief is... a long process. For some it does not go away. For an immortal like Maple... Well. Look at how she treats herself over Telum, from so many ages ago..."
"Yeah, but t'be a Voice with no world, and t'lose an entire world? There's hardly a greater pain than that, nor one so hard to escape," commented Luz, taking a brief moment from her chopping to coax Truffle's wings back to effective use in his cooking.
She sighed, and blew a tiny kiss to Leg, still clinging to Truffle's talon. Poor creature. What a strange existence to lead. Disturbing in appearance to normal folks, with a body unsuitable for ordinary life, and possibly immortal while without family ties that could last. ...Not so different from herself.
"Anthus, does what you do in God Squad . . . help? I expect you save a lot of people. Are there failures, losses, an' heartache too? I woulda guessed things were pretty good, but I can't help but wonder."
"It helps immensely," he replied easily, and that seemed to put a little bit of light back in his aura. "I would... certainly have not gotten so far with myself had it not been for Joule, Maple, and all the others. I do owe them my life. And even when we fail... we've had so many successes. Our failures are often things that could not have been helped otherwise--I cannot recall a time when we outright made things worse, for example..."
"Absolutely," Truffle replied. "When this is over... I would not be against taking you along. After all, the drawback of leaving behind your home... Cibus is as much a home to you as anywhere else is, hm? Perhaps your story is already... enough."
Luz beamed. "I'd be thrilled. I mean, yeah, I think of myself as a Cibus native, but all my memories are from Brisa's world. So my culture is from a world I've never been to. I don't belong nowhere, so why not belong everywhere I wander?"
She cocked her head. "Hang fire, what d'you mean 'story'?"
"Ah?" Truffle cocked his head at that. "I see. So in the end, your folklore also includes a system much like... this one, with perhaps a mortal one day becoming something of a legend. Though, considering it's far more than folklore in this world, I do wonder... Well. That isn't really important to here, now is it?"
Luz shrugged again. "Who can say? I was never mortal, 'less y'count Brisa as my past self or somethin'. Yeah, she, uh. Always kinda daydreamed 'bout bein' a zeraora someday. Earnin' her place as a sentinel 'gainst evil, an' ascendin' to succeed th'Wanderin' Light."
"Yer forgiven," said Luz, immediately. "Not that yer wrong, but it ain't nothin' considerin' the context."
She hopped up on the kitchen worktop to swing her legs in the air. "Strivin' t'be better is good. Brisa's all about that. Me, I reckon y'gotta take it easy sometimes too. Life's too painful if you never give yerself any allowance fer joy, or escape from sufferin'."
"Of course." And with just the food waiting, Truffle finally took a moment to relax in a seat nearby. Leg was quick to scuttle over to Truffle and rest under his right wing. "We all do need some time to relax..."
Luz grinned. "Whaddaya do in yer downtime, anyhow? The way I hear it, yer the busiest soul on the squad, but I know y'still find time to help Leg out with her dolls. It's sweet. You're sweet. But there must be time that's just fer yerself?"
"Time with Leg is time to myself," Truffle replied. "I get to relax. I always enjoy having... someone to help, even if it's in a leisurely sense. I meditate, I practice my shields and my wards... Cooking is nice. Little treats for the team..."
Luz beamed. "Aww, that's swell! Wouldn't mind samplin' some if that ain't too presumptuous of me. Oh, an' I've seen some of yer wards in action in combat and heard of yer profiency as a defender. What're each of you like in a straight fight? You specialise completely in defense, or can y'pack a punch?"
Luz punctuated that by slamming one oversized fist into the other palm and flashing a fanged smile. "Can't say I've heard much about Leg's fightin' style that I credit. I gather Brisa's had a couple sparrin' sessions with her, but only at a tiny fraction of her strength, as I heard it told."
"Ah, yes. Leg has a bit of battleheart in her. Myself, I do prefer defending. I suppose I do have a few strikes that I have memorized in case there is a need... but I certainly leave those to Potluck and Maple, really."