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Aug 10, 2022 10:06 PM
Emiya Kiritsugu runs away from his problems
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It’s still a whole different kind of magic than what Bran has ever seen before, certainly not like how the hearth heals when they wish for it, so he’s still captivated by it. “Thank you, Emiya.”

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"You are welcome," Kiritsugu says, bowing shallowly. "I hope it can tide you over until we return to the Hearth." 

They return without incident?

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Indeed. There’s a subtle change in the mood of the forest, the tone and prevalence of birdsong and insect chirping. Somehow, it seems the creatures of this strange place can already tell the malevolence of the cave-sleeper has been set back, for now at least.

Thia and Ira are waiting for them by the front door of the house, wearing expressions of exhausted relief.

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"Hello," Kiritsugu greets. "I am sorry I could not do more, but it seems we have driven it back into his cave. I believe Bran should heal and rest up, and I can do whatever he usually does for the day."

He's exhausted himself, but he still feels the need to prove that he deserves this hospitality, despite what he has just done. His bullets did most of the work, alongside Bran's awesome strength. He was just the hand wielding the gun, lucky enough to have a relevant Origin allowing his bullets to affect the monster in such a way.

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Thia nods and welcomes two men back into the cabin. Ira rushes to Bran’s side, guiding him to the table where there’s two bowls of soup waiting.

”I appreciate that very much, and you will have your tasks soon, but even if you didn’t wrestle the monster like my son, you’ve still walked a long way there and back, and I’m sure even just seeing the thing has had an effect. I implore you, sit down, eat.” The older woman’s voice is kind, but stern all the same.

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He sits. "I wish I could have killed it once and for all." 

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Bran is quite focused on his soup, but still nods in sympathy.

Thia and Ira both take seats at the table as well. “You did good, young man. We could tell you hurt it mighty well even from here. The hearth reacted at just the moment you shot it, I think. From what I know, the sleeper is not a thing that dies easily, not now anyway. You did more than I honestly thought could be done.” Thia says, her voice the most gentle, and perhaps vulnerable, it has been so far.

”What was it like? Fighting it?” Ira asks to both men.

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"I can't speak to the physical side, but it's... darkness. An aura of darkness wrapped around what might be a bear, a thing that is two things at once. I think that's how I hurt it. I stripped away the shadows and exposed the vulnerable flesh beneath. 

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Bran nods again, and after drinking the last of the broth from his bow he adds, “Yes, it seemed very quickly to change from the force of nature I’ve wrestled before into a scared animal, once Emiya’s attacks proved its weakness.”

“Do you think, maybe now that it knows we can hurt it, that it won’t bother us anymore?” Ira asks hopefully.

This fixes her granddaughter with a sharp look, as if daring to hope might jinx them, before turning back to Kiritsugu. “Please, eat.”

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He does. 

He doesn't know quite what to say but smiles at Bran. He'll be silent unless spoken to.

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"I believe that it will be recovering for a long while at least, Ira." Bran offers. Ira remains chastised, though, and is quiet. "I'm feeling mostly recovered, thank you for meal mother, Ira. I think I'll take a shower and change out of these clothes now." And he does just that, though not before putting his bowl and spoon away, in the same spot where the plates from earlier this morning as well as the utensils that Thia and Ira presumably use for their own breakfasts and dinners as well currently sit.

While Bran is gone, Thia speaks again. "Normally during the summer we mostly stay inside, try to keep cool and out of danger from the sleeper. Your help has made the latter less of a concern, but the heat is still too much for hard work, not during daylight hours at least. You are a guest in my home, so I won't make demands on your time, but if you must have something to do, you can help Bran gather wood or help me tend to the green room in the evenings, whichever suits you best."

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"What is the green room?" If it's a place where he can work with plants, that would be nice. He hasn't worked with plants since he killed his father, and it would be good to reclaim his memories. 

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Thia gestures to the door to the greenhouse that Kiritsugu spotted when he first came to the cabin. "I can show you around now, if you prefer?"

Ira chooses this moment to leave the table and wordlessly head upstairs. Thia sighs resignedly as her granddaughter walks away.

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"Yes, please," he says. 

He looks in the direction Ira has gone. "Is everything alright?"

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"She has a lot to think about, as we all do now that the cave-sleeper has been...suppressed. I imagine she's headed upstairs to work on the dolls and work through her thoughts," Thia answers as she stand from the table. "Follow me." She steps from the table towards the glass door.

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He follows.

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The cabin is fairly warm, it is summer after all, though it's a bit cooler than it was outside on the walk back under the summer sun. As Thia opens the glass door, however, Kiritsugu is hit with a wave of properly tropical heat and humidity. Inside, the plants are likewise tropical in nature, with a couple of palm trees, another couple ordinary trees, and numerous smaller bushes, herbs, grasses, and other low-lying plants. If Kiritsugu is familiar with the environment, he may notice that this room forms an imperfect but surprisingly robust replica of a sort of patchwork of the flora of the Maluku Islands in Indonesia.

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It reminds him of home. Not in a way that he wants to think about, either. 

"I grew up around plants like this," he says. He doesn't mention that the last time he saw them the whole world felt like it was on fire. "How did you manage to grow so much of them here?"

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"When I wished for the green room all those years ago, I knew that the environment of this place wouldn't be survivable for the plants I wanted to grow, so I asked for it to have systems to keep it warm and humid. Other than that, Bran and Ira help me mix the compost and ashes into the soil when it's for replanting, and we all keep watch for any blights or pest. Every few years we wish for the problems we failed to notice or fix to go away as well."

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"Incredible," he says. "It can do so much..." 

He crouches over some tropical flower or another. "I've never had good experiences with wish-granters."

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"There are others?" Thia asks incredulously.

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"Only the one I know of, from my world, but it is much less kind than this one." He does not mention that he is pretty sure this was his fault. "I left my home after my father destroyed it." He doesn't want to burden her with all of this, but the words just sort of spill out of him. 

If she asks the right questions he's going to tell her everything. It's not a confession, exactly--he's not Catholic, as much as he's worked with priests before--but he'll only stop talking if she tells him to. 

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Thia is both too personally interested, and too familiar with the dangers of ignorance, to tell him to stop before she has the whole story. They have an afternoon and an evening to talk, and she'll begin properly taking care of the plants, having Kiritsugu fetch tools from the cabinet by the green room's door and generally helping her, especially with tasks that involve bending down a lot or benefit from a bit of strength.

As Kiritsugu explains, and the two of them work, the world steadily darkens and the sun sets. Eventually, Thia will direct them to head back inside the house proper, finding Bran (wearing some fresh clothes and seemingly fully recovered from this morning) tending to a cooking pot over the hearth. "Ah, mother, Emiya. Supper will be done soon."

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He's happy to help. He's also grateful she's still letting him stay, given everything he's done. There are worse times to learn your lesson than after you're no longer in your own world, but he can't think of one right now, and he just wishes that it hadn't cost him everything.

He's also happy to see Bran, and to see him in good health. "How are you doing?" he asks. 

He tries not to worry that he's upset Ira. That way lies (more) madness, probably.

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Thia somehow seems unsurprised about the sordid elements of Kiritsugu's past, and seems to accept him nonetheless.

"I'm doing quite well! Perhaps still a bit drained from exerting myself, but from previous times I expect I'll be at full strength again by tomorrow.

Bran will continue cooking for a while, before pouring four bowls of soup and calling Ira down from upstairs for supper.

Unless Kiritsugu makes conversation, it will likely be another quiet meal.

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