Scenario:Pholia - Never Farther Away from Home
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Never Farther Away from Home
To escape the True King's clutches, Pholia abdicates the throne and leaves Idelva, going into permanent exile. Pholia goes to Kluger Island to see Zeyen who offers to show her the inner teachings, but Pholia opts to continue traveling with Bai Ze, even as the thought of home weighs on her mind.
Pholia and Bai Ze decide to pay a visit to Kluger Island in the aftermath of the Great Wall's destruction.
Zeyen: What a pleasant surprise for you to come see me personally.
Pholia: Oh, please. With your level of omniscience, surely you foresaw my arrival.
Zeyen: Indeed, I did. Hence the reason I am welcoming you with open arms.
Pholia founded the kingdom of Idelva and developed the fledgling nation while serving as its sovereign.
But after the True King's plans for Nalhegrande were thwarted, her standing among her subjects changed drastically.
Pholia stood before the people of Idelva to make a statement in the days after the event that shook the skies above Starke Island.
Pholia: But I'd like to take this chance to clear things up.
Pholia: I hereby renounce my position as sovereign of Idelva Kingdom.
Pholia: I give this land back to you—the people.
The abrupt abdication of their sovereign caused a furor to sweep over the citizens.
It wasn't long before the Istavion Kingdom, sensing an opportunity, sent an envoy to make demands of Pholia.
Anissida: By order of the True King of Istavion, we've come with three demands.
Anissida: First: The True King's daughter, Princess Pholia, is to return to Istavion.
Anissida: Second: The True King's other daughter, Princess Alliah, sister to Pholia, is also to return to Istavion.
Anissida: Third: The Scarlet Knight Baragona must return to the True King's command in Istavion.
Pholia felt as if she had nowhere else to run. She was prepared to hand herself over, hoping to bring an end to this chapter in her life.
Cain: Sovereign, if I may have a word with you...
By Cain's proposal, Pholia leaves Idelva in permanent exile, but in possession of her own freedom.
Pholia: Unbelievable... I relinquished my title of sovereign to become nothing more than an ordinary country girl.
Pholia: But once I arrived, your litany of eager disciples surprised me with a feast, as if I were still a prominent stateswoman.
Zeyen: You were in a predicament, I believe. You had to make a hasty escape from Idelva.
Zeyen: The True King has received word of your refusal to comply. Consequently Istavion troops have already been dispatched to sniff around other nations.
Zeyen: It makes perfect sense that this island near Groz would serve as the first stop in your getaway.
Bai Ze: Your assessment is correct.
Bai Ze: However, we did take a risk. There was no guarantee you would welcome the sovereign.
Bai Ze: The sovereign has a sharp tongue, but in her heart, I believe she is appreciative of your hospitality.
Zeyen: I understand. This island shall accommodate you until you are ready to leave.
Pholia: Hmm... That's awfully kind of you.
Pholia: It seems odd to ask this, considering how I am in your debt, but...
Pholia: You ignored the Idelva messenger I sent out earlier. What made you have a change of heart?
Zeyen: Why, because a simple country girl with no ties to Idelva is deserving of protection.
Zeyen: I am not some callous ogre. I adapt to what the situation calls for.
Pholia: I see. Sage is an apt title for one as wise as you.
Pholia takes a sip from her cup, savoring the bittersweet tea. Her back straightens to take a posture of humility.
Pholia: You have my thanks for sheltering me and Bai Ze.
Pholia: However, were it not for your prudence in extending a hand to the members of (Captain)'s crew, Nalhegrande would currently be a skydom inhabited by the dead.
Pholia: I, too, call this skydom my home. Just the thought of losing it is a pain that stabs me in the chest.
Zeyen: I merely offered them morsels of wisdom. It is (Captain) and the crew who deserve to be praised.
Pholia: Well, it would appear that the day we finally agree upon something has come.
Pholia brings a sugary pastry to her lips, breaking her self-satisfied smile to stuff her cheeks.
Pholia: Cain told me about Kluger Island's primal beast and the power it possesses.
Pholia: It calculates future events based on information in the present. In essence, it foretells what will happen.
Pholia: Do you know what becomes of (Captain) and the others after they fall to the bottom of the sky?
Zeyen: I am afraid that is not possible without further information about the world below.
Zeyen: However, considering how many hardships those skyfarers have overcome, I doubt their next adventure poses much of a threat.
Pholia: So even the Omniscient Sage offers a simple prayer.
Zeyen: I am just a man. What right do you have to speak when we share the same sentiments?
Pholia: Heh-heh-heh... I concede to your judgment. At least for today.
After polishing off her pastry and tea, Pholia stretches out in a relaxed manner as if she were right at home.
Her lax manner suddenly gives Zeyen an idea.
Zeyen: I did tell you to make yourself comfortable until you were ready to leave this island. However...
Zeyen: If you have no particular destination in mind, then I can show you a path to greater knowledge.
Pholia: Is that your way of keeping me here?
Zeyen: You would be sheltered from Istavion troops. There are worse offers out there.
Pholia: Hmm... I've found today's conversation with you thoroughly intriguing.
Pholia: Such an offer doesn't come lightly, I'm sure, but I refuse. The food here is a bland affair I can do without.
Pholia: Thank you for the charity, Zeyen. Cooking aside, the pastries were quite delicious.
Pholia: Come, Bai Ze.
Bai Ze: As you command, Sovereign.
Pholia's statement signals her intention to leave. She and Bai Ze sprightly exit the guest house.
Zeyen: (The trust between Pholia and Bai Ze is close to what I would expect from practitioners of the inner teachings.)
Zeyen: (There is a way to make their abilities bloom, but perhaps it is unnecessary in their current state.)
Zeyen smiles in silence as he gazes at the doorway where his two guests left.
Pholia travels out to the edge of Kluger Island. She stands there, gazing far out into the horizon.
Somewhere among the sun-bleached sea of clouds floats the beautiful island of Groz, the place she once called home.
Pholia: Luxurios... It feels like just yesterday that I was still in the capital.
Pholia: Groz Island is right there in front of me. So why do I feel as if I'm thousands of miles away...
Bai Ze: Isn't that because you are lonely?
Pholia: Hmm... Am I?
Pholia: Maybe it's due to no longer having teasable targets like Cain or Leona to curtail my boredom.
Bai Ze: They're not your playthings. Please refrain from beguiling them.
Pholia: Heh-heh-heh... You're always so serious.
The young woman reaches her hands into Bai Ze's mane, letting his soft fur glide through her fingers.
Pholia: (They often say loneliness is like having a hole in your heart.)
Pholia: (It's not an emotion so easily remedied with pretty words, unfortunately.)
Bai Ze: What is on your mind?
Pholia: I liked Idelva, Bai Ze.
Pholia: It was a beautiful, steadfast kingdom I could be proud of. Living there was like a dream.
Pholia: And now I can never go back, yet I can't bring myself to stop calling it home.
Bai Ze: There's no reason to deceive your feelings. You are free to call whichever land your home.
Bai Ze: You've been released from all of the chains that bind. It's unnecessary to hold onto unlocked shackles.
Pholia: Yes. You make a good point.
Bai Ze: As long as the people continue to recognize you as sovereign, so will I.
Bai Ze: I chose to follow you upon seeing your qualities as a leader. Moreover, it has always been in my nature as a primal beast to serve my master.
Bai Ze: That is all the reason I need to call you sovereign.
Pholia: Hm... Fair enough. Then you'd better be ready to follow me to wherever this leads, Bai Ze.
As Pholia buries her head in Bai Ze's mane, she reflects on her decision to abdicate the throne.
Pholia: I had always assumed I'd be fine traveling the skies alone if it ever came to that...
Pholia: Thank you, Bai Ze, from the bottom of my heart for coming with me.
Pholia: Don't you ever leave my side.
Bai Ze: I would never entertain the idea, Sovereign.
Pholia: Good! That's the perfect response!
Pholia presses her cheek against Bai Ze's neck once more. The warmth of the primal beast grounds her in reality.
The island they'd once called home remains as it always has. It almost seems to be watching over the two who had left of their own bitter accord.