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Aug 08, 2020 8:28 AM
Ben and Kyros on the run, or: I Got Very Attached To My AI Dungeon Game
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"Can I?" Kyros asks, gesturing at the collar of Ben's shirt.

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Ben sighs and folds the fabric away, revealing a swelling.

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At the sound of sighing he looks away. "No, sorry, didn't want to pressure you. Just thought- There was some medicine involved in my apprenticeship, maybe I could do something, if not much. But I don't have to."

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Ben seems surprised at this change of mind.

"O-okay. Thank you for the offer, but this is what I deserve. Thank you for the offer, I will let you know if I need help."

He gently presses around the swelling with his fingers; it feels like there shards of bone moving underneath. A hiss of pain escapes his mouth and he quickly covers the injury again.

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Kyros gives him another slightly concerned look, but quickly covers it up with a smile. "I hope you get better soon. We can also look into real doctors when we're in a city again."

He stretches out on the car's floor, watching the sky dash by. He feels... strangely okay, despite everything that happened that day. It's a mess of a situation, and he hasn't even begun unpacking the fact that he killed a person for some reason and that's very wrong, and he's going to have to unpack that at some point, but he doesn't feel like he can do it just now. Right now he wants to rest and let himself enjoy this random conviction that something, somewhere is okay about the universe.

"Goodnight, Ben!" He says, turns to his side, and closes his eyes.

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"Goodnight!"

He lies down as well, but is not blessed with the same sudden peace of mind as Kyros. There's... so much. The escape doesn't even make it onto the list, he has done that before, but everything that happened with Kyros?

A demon. He feels so stupid now for not recognizing the link right away, it was so obvious! But if he did recognize it, they would never have become... whatever they are. Friends, before the escape happened, he supposes. And it would probably have been better, because being friends with a demon sounds like an awful thing that only a bad person would do, but Kyros made him so close to happy, and now Ben's true nature has been firmly established anyway, with a murder no less he didn't mean to, so maybe he can have this one nice thing in his life?

Talking as if Kyros would want to be around him after all this. He... did agree to travel together for some more time? Probably not for him, probably because he wants to find out more about what happened, but... Oh god, he's going to have to tell him what happened, he doesn't want to, he doesn't want to think about it. But Kyros was right when he said he has the right to know.

...and maybe if he understands how doomed both of them are, he won't mind having Ben around?

He thinks back to the hug, wraps his arms around himself, and finally sleeps.

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Several hours later he opens his eyes to sun peeking over a mountain side outside the train. He squints and yes, that's the mountain, they should probably get off soon. He shakes Ben awake.

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That will have Ben first jump up and back away from him in near panic, then freeze and apologize frantically, and then actually realize what's going on and apologize again.

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"No, it's okay. I'm sorry, I should have just said your name. Anyway, we're should probably get off soon," he nods towards the mountain. With a slight frown, he watches Ben relax again, considering whether to ask and then dismissing the option, remembering the reaction to talking about the injury yesterday. He's going to need all the credit he can get for getting some answers about the whole demon thing.

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Ben is back to normal relatively quickly and even smiles slightly at Kyros. "Morning! Yeah, calling out might be better next time. Wanna go now?"

 

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"Sure! We can also wait for it to slow down, though, with your arm and all that?"

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"It's better today. Wouldn't want to get close to the station looking like that."

He jumps off first and tumbles on the ground.

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Kyros follows and soon they're both laying in the grass waiting out the dizziness.

"You're right, we should probably get different clothes as soon as we get a chance. And some food, the berries yesterday were not nearly enough."

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They are in luck: After an hour or so of walking they come back by a small village and a house whose inhabitant was kind enough to leave their laundry unattended. They slip the least important-looking pieces off the drying lines, walk some more to get far enough the owner probably wouldn't bother looking for them, and find a river.

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At that sight Kyros regains all strength he has lost in the few hours' hike and almost runs towards the water, quickly strips off the prison uniform, and goes in, sighing with delight as the cold current passes around him. He swims towards the center of the bed and dives, letting the water wash away the crusted blood road dust from his hair. Emerging again, he gives Ben a smile.

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He hesitates for a moment, thinking about the questions the state of his skin will probably inspire, but these are questions that have to be answered sometime anyway and a bath would be nice. He joins Kyros in the river. It's hard to miss some scars in different spots of his body: Something like whipping marks on his back, cigarette burns on his chest, and, least prominent but most numerous, pale cut lines on the inside of his forearms.

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A pained expression passes through Kyros's face, but he wipes it away and continues rubbing his own skin. Once he's done, he glances at Ben, bites his lip, and finally splashes him with water.

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He laughs, out loud, spontaneously and sincerely. There are few things in the world with which he has fully and unambiguously good associations, but Kyros just found one. "This means war!" He calls back and sends a powerful splash in Kyros's direction.

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Then they can have a water fight for several minutes before he has to catch his breath and goes out of the river to lie on the grass and dry in the sun. This is good.

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It is. He joins Kyros on the ground, although he puts on one of the stolen shirts first.

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"You were right, this is better than prison."

He watches the clouds for a while, enjoying the fact the sun on his skin is not coming through any bars.

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And then he remembers, and sighs--now more than ever he wants to just pretend the events in the empty cell didn't take place, now that he knows what it could have been like if they just made it out without any issues. But he can't, can he?

"We should keep going," he says, putting the new clothes on and, after some consideration, hiding the prison uniforms under a large boulder. Then he takes a deep breath. "And we should talk. About. About the demon thing."

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Ben nods slowly, resigned. "Yeah. W-what do you want to know?"

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"Everything is not helpful, is it?" He frowns. "You said you summoned me. Why? And please don't leave out the details, neither bad nor redeeming ones."

He puts emphasis on that second option, remembering Ben's inclinations in moral judgement of himself.

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He wraps his arms around himself.

"I- It- It was when I was a kid. My parents- they died- they were killed, the demon hunters killed them, just came into our house one night and- and slaughtered them, just like that. Told me they were summoners, and dangerous, and that they couldn't risk letting them live for a process. And they took me away. I think to our detention center? I think it has more parts, more secure ones, underground."

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