Holbar crouches on a plateau of thin greenery, sipping water from his canteen and looking down thoughtfully on the bustling city of Gem.
Lai Misuna sits next to him, sipping from his own canteen, and likewise regarding the vista. "So many people, even in this one city."
Holbar "I haven't been to Gem since I was a little kid."
Lai Misuna "I have never been here. Just heard many and fanciful tales of its riches."
Holbar grins. "Oh yeah. Cloth, jade, artifacts, you name it. Especially gems."
Holbar "Actually, that's kind of a funny coincidence."
Lai Misuna "Oh?"
Holbar "Well, that it produces lots of gems, and that it's named Gem."
Holbar "I wonder how that happened."
Lai Misuna "I imagine the latter followed from the former."
Holbar "Well, yeah, I...I was kidding."
Holbar "It was a joke."
Lai Misuna "Ah, I see." He nods his head. "I suppose that it was." He smiles and shakes his head.
Holbar looks at him for a moment, then laughs and looks down at the city.
Holbar What do you want, Lai?"
Holbar "I mean, in general."
Lai Misuna "That is a rather large question." He remarks, before giving it some consideration. "I want to make things better for people. I want to rule the world better than those that do so now do. I want to help them." He makes a vague gesture out over the city as he says 'them'
Holbar "It's not just all about getting back at this Herons fucker? You're not just looking for cheap power and a chance to be on top?"
Lai Misuna "Why that, when I know I can do so much more? That we can do so much more."
Holbar "Good question."
Holbar "What are you willing to DO to get what you want?"
Lai Misuna "Almost anything. What about yourself, what do you want?"
Holbar "To help them."
Holbar "To make sure nobody has to suffer the way my people suffered."
Lai Misuna "And what wouldn't you do to ensure that?"
Holbar "Make people suffer the way my people suffered."
Holbar "If we become them, Lai, we're not doing anybody any good."
Lai Misuna "I know that, Holbar. I also know it will not be an easy fight."
Holbar "Not this way, it won't."
Holbar "You think you're the leader and you can make everything work out, but I'm the one who has to sit here and watch Shikaya and Kasima slaughter innocents."
Holbar "You can't ride the scorpion forever, Lai. Sooner or later you're going to have to deal with them, if you really want to make things right."
Lai Misuna "Do you think I did not grieve as I saw that man killed?"
Holbar "I think you didn't stop them."
Lai Misuna "No, I did not." He agrees. "Would you prefer that next time we need blood, we ask for volunteers? Would you talk people into dying for us?"
Holbar upends his canteen, watching dully as the water splashes into the grass.
Holbar "I know, I know. That's not any different from what they do either."
Holbar "I dunno, Lai, maybe you're right, maybe we can't fight for freedom without causing a few casualties."
Lai Misuna "I would that we could, but our foes are many and powerful and we are few. But?"
Holbar turns back to look at him.
Holbar "Promise me something."
Holbar "Promise me that if I die, you'll kill Shikaya for me."
Lai Misuna "Kill her?" He asks. Something in the tone of his voice suggests he knows why, but wants to hear it said.
Holbar "Don't play games with me, Lai."
Holbar "You can see as well as I can that she's one of them."
Holbar "You want me to play along, fine. I'll go along and I'll tell the men to fight and die and they'll sell fight and die for us and I'll sell my fucking soul to save the world."
Holbar "But I won't do it for nothing, and I won't do it so Shikaya can get her fucking revenge."
Lai Misuna appears to consider Holbar for a long time. "You would have me chop off my left hand after I loose my right?"
Holbar "I thought you said you had principles."
Lai Misuna "I do." He says firmly. "I also have a world to save, one ruled over by many evil and uncarring people and I cannot win my fight alone, Holbar. I need you. But I also need her. There are those we can reason with and those we will reason with. There are those we can lead and those we will lead. But there will be some we can niether reason with nor lead. And for those, we need Shikaya. She is the knife we will use to cut those (...)
Lai Misuna things that cannot be changed, cannot be from the world."
Holbar "Lai, the reason Shikaya can deal with those people is that she IS those people."
Holbar "What are you going to do when she's the last one left?"
Lai Misuna "I know she is those people. She is probably one of the worst, since she knows how much they can hurt and does so anyway." He looks sad. "And yet, she is also my companion. She will have done all of those things with my leave, if not my specific instruction. Who am I to kill her then?"
Holbar "Didn't your mother ever tell you to clean up after yourself?"
Holbar "You said you'd do almost anything to make things better."
Holbar "Killing Shikaya will make things better."
Holbar "Don't worry. If I don't die, I'll do it for you."
Lai Misuna has a deeply pained expression pass over his face at the mention of the word 'mother' and he is quiet for a time. "When she is the last, she will be put away."
Holbar "I won't ask you about Kasima."
Holbar "Because I know you'll have to kill her eventually if you want to survive."
Holbar "I guess we'd better get started, huh?"
Lai Misuna nods to the mention of Kasima. There is no arguement there.
Lai Misuna "I suppose we better had."
Holbar begins walking, then...
Holbar "It'll be okay, Lai."
Lai Misuna rises and walks alongside. "I know it will. We will make that way."