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Old 12-13-2003, 08:47 PM   #1
Lady Vulpix
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What happened inside the temple in Templa Taure

<Iael's POV>

From the way Pearl looked, I wasn't too sure it was a good idea for her to be there, but at least she was not alone. Although, once we separated ourselves from the others, I took all the responsibility of her safety. It's strange how some things worked out. Under other circumstances, she could have been looking after me. She was older than me, even if she hadn't battled as much as I had, and she always had the right words and knew what the right thing to do was; two talents I wished I had.

We walk through the endless maze the temple had turned out to be, until Pearl started wincing again in pain.
"I'm really sorry," she apologized for slowing down. "I guess I'm not feeling my best at the minute."
"I think we should stop," I told her. "You can't go fighting demons in this condition."
"Don't be stupid, I'm not so bad that I can't fight, I mean I know I'm not my best at the minute but..."
"I've heard you say that at least 3 times today. If you don't want to take care of yourself, I will."
"I do, Iael, believe me I do, and I won't take any risks, that isn't how I work, but I know I can still be useful, and... I suppose I'm not sure if I can be this useful again for a while."
"Well, we haven't talked much before, but Gabi has made some comments about you. From what I've heard, nothing could possibly stop you from being useful."
"Why, thank you," the Ninetales blushed. "Although... no, I'd rather not talk about this right now."
"Alright, just don't push yourself too hard and ask me if you need anything."
"Okay. Thanks for your offer, but I'm sure I'll be okay."

We walked just a little longer. I wouldn't take my eyes off her. Soon, Pearl winced again... Only this time she muttered something under her breath, just loud enough for me to hear.
"Little buggers, take after your dad don't you?"
It hit me like a truck. That was the final straw. If Pearl wanted to risk her life alone, I'd trust her to know what she was doing. But there was no way I'd let her risk an unborn baby. I wouldn't let a friend lose his family...
"Ok, that's enough," I said. "We won't move until we get news from the others."
"What do you mean? I can carry on... really..."
"No way. I'm not letting anyone revive the worst moment of my life. You've just stumbled across my stubborn and unstoppable side, so now we stay here no matter what you say."
Pearl smiled weekly.
"We should carry on, though," she insisted, "I know this is a dark place, but..."
I held a firm stare at her.
"Okay. We stay here," she finally accepted. "I'm really sorry to have ended up putting this burden on you..."
"It was not your fault. It's the Black Dragon's. And Mewtwo's. And the likes'. Lives are ruined because of them. I just don't want that to happen again."
Tears began to roll down her cheeks. Maybe she was overreacting, but I wished I could protect her without hurting her. Why couldn't I just do things right?
"You're right. I'm sorry I even thought I could carry on... I'm sorry...," she cried, more to her womb than to me. "Please, Iael, please don't mention this to anyone. Nobody else knows, and I'd like to be the one to admit this."
"Don't worry, I won't," I promised. "Calm down now. Everything will be fine."
"Fine? I don't know, it's hard enough keeping everyone else in line... oh, I know I expect too much of myself but I still feel bad about this. I've either let the others down or I've let..."
"You haven't let anyone down," I interrupted her trailing. "Sometimes you need to count on others too."
"I suppose..." she reflected, "even the moron of the team is the most loyal creature I know, but..."
"You know what? You could do something really good right now and find us something nice to think about before we get crept out," I offered. "What do you say?"
"What I say?," she paused for a second and laughed. "Okay, I'll take the bait. How do you suppose Milliardo and Tsunami are getting along right now? I know it's not nice, but it's amusing, and that's something."
There was really no bait, I could have really used some light talk or anything that could make the situation more bearable.
"I have no idea," I admitted. "Tsunami's good, but I can't really figure him out, let alone Milliardo. All I can think about Milliardo is that he seems to be hiding something, but I can't imagine how the two would get along." Then I realized I wasn't helping make things any better. "Sorry, I'm not doing a good job, am I? I wish Caledor was here. He has a special talent for these things."
Pearl shook her head and smiled.
"Relax. You're doing fine. You got me to at least partially admit what's wrong. Although be a little easier on Milliardo. He has issues, certainly, more than most, but you'd be surprised as to how easily he gets on with others. He may be an antagonist, but he also has his own charisma of sorts."
"I don't know him that well, sorry. Now that I think of it, the only one in your group who has actually tried to get close to me before was Kasumi. I don't know if I should be scared."
"Oh, don't be scared of Sumi. Really, for a start that'll only encourage her, and secondly I'm not convinced any of her advances have been serious. She's freaky, certainly, but harmless."
"Oh, that's good to hear. I'm not the best judge of character, but maybe that's because I don't know how to get close to others. I hadn't had a deep conversation like this since Yvresse, and the way I snapped back there got all my friends shocked."
"I don't shock easily. We all have our hidden depths."
"I guess so. Anyway, it's great to talk to you. You make me feel... lighter somehow."
"It's been nice to talk to you as well. I've admitted what I'd rather not admit to you. And that's something."
Her words brought a smile to my face.


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