Reunited

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Reunited It's Been A While


NOTE: This interlude is only available when It's Been A While is live and is not added into the Archives after BW ends.
Characters
L.G.D. Officer icon.png
Beckbeast Trainer
Phantom Crossbowman icon.png
Doc
Musbeast icon.png
Musbeast
Storm Cloudbeast icon.png
Storm Cloudbeast (Sixty-Seven)
Mafioso icon.png
Shelter Owner
Feline Girl icon.png
Xiaoyuan
Beckbeast icon.png
Yangni
Backgrounds
Lungmen Bridges
1
Lungmen Back Alley
2
Lungmen RI Office
3
Office
4
Living Room
5
Bar
6
After coming across Xiaobai and Ah Gen, Xiaohei finds they're not the only ones reuniting.
<Background 1>
Morning twilight–a goodbye from the dark night to the light of day.
Evening twilight–a reunion between the light of day and the dark night.
They bid farewell, only to cross again, and so too the sun and moon alternate, and time passes, and all life begins to spread, and history stutters ever onward, and civilization comes to endure, and all this in its entirety starts from no more than a meeting and a parting.
–Putevykh Zametkakh Sumerek,
[note 1] anonymous, Ursus.
Xiaobai Xiaohei...?
Xiaohei!
Friends Reunited.png
Xiaohei Xiaobai!
[Xiaohei runs toward Xiaobai and Ah Gen.]
Xiaobai Is it really you?
Xiaohei Yep! It's me!
Xiaobai I thought I'd never see you again...
Ah Gen We've been looking for you all this time.
Xiaohei Same here! Are you guys alright?
Ah Gen (Pats Xiaohei on the shoulder) Good as ever. Don't worry.
Xiaobai What about you, Xiaohei? Are you hurt? Have you been going hungry?
Xiaohei (Shakes head) No, I'm doing great! I've been eating good every day!
Xiaobai Haha, that's so great to hear!
Ah Gen I just never expected we'd reunite in a place like this.
Xiaobai Who cares? We did!
Xiaohei Mm-hm!
<Background 1>
Xiaobai So you're working part-time for Mr. Lee now?
Xiaohei Yeah. He took me in, and I felt bad just freeloading there.
What about you guys? How have you been doing at that Rhodes Island place?
Ah Gen We haven't actually been to the landship yet. We're just here with their operators in the branch office for now.
Xiaohei And what's their branch office like?
Ah Gen A lot like the Hall for Spirits–their main thing is helping out some very unique people.
You might have seen them. The ones with rocks growing on them.
Xiaohei Ah. I know how... tough their lives are. Other people treat them so badly.
Ah Gen Yeah. It's why I admire Rhodes Island's operators.
Xiaohei I've been so worried about you guys coming here and catching it. Isn't it dangerous for you to stay there?
Ah Gen They have thorough protective measures at the branch office. And as for Xiaobai, I've been taking good care of her.
Xiaobai Don't worry, plenty of operators work there, and they don't get sick.
Like Rockrock!
She's been helping these sick people for forever, and she's always been fine.
Xiaohei (Glances at Rockrock)
Suzuran Rockrock, that little Feline's looking at you.
Rockrock He is?
(Waves an arm at Xiaohei)
Xiaohei (Stiffens up) Agh!
Ah Gen Relax, they're good people.
[Rockrock approaches Xiaohei.]
Rockrock You must be Xiaohei. Xiaobai and Ah Gen told me about you.
And you're just as adorable as I imagined.
Xiaohei N-Nice to meet you, Rockrock.
Rockrock Xiaohei, Xiaoyuan has a few things she'd like to tell you.
Come on, don't be shy now.
[Xiaoyuan approaches Xiaohei.]
Xiaoyuan Um, hello...
Xiaobai (Smile, Xiaohei! Xiaoyuan's really nervous to see you.)
Xiaohei Oh, okay.
Uh, hello, Xiaoyuan? What did you want to tell me...?
Xiaoyuan Um, thanks... thanks for helping me find Sixty-Seven.
Xiaohei No problem. If I weren't helping him, I wouldn't have found my friends either.
Xiaoyuan So you're all friends too! Today's such a great day. Everyone's finding everyone they missed.
Isn't that right, Sixty-Seven?
Storm Cloudbeast (Licks foot)
Wrraaw...
Xiaohei You named him Sixty-Seven?
Xiaoyuan Mm-hm, because he was sitting on sixty-seven LMD in a suitcase when we found him.
Xiaobai Did his original owner abandon him there?
Xiaoyuan Yeah. And that's not even enough for a bag of pet food.
Storm Cloudbeast (Lies down) Mreeh...
Xiaohei Sixty-Seven... I think heard that name somewhere recently...
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
Doc If memory serves, they had Oripathy. By the looks of it, they were on their last legs... Then they asked me to keep the little guy too.
Come to think of it, I still remember them turning out their pockets to find every last bit of change...
...I even remember how much they managed to scrape together...
Sixty-seven. Sixty-seven LMD exact.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1>
Xiaohei Xiaoyuan... did you ever go see a really strange-talking, but really good doctor?!
Did you ask him to take in this cloudbeast because you'd gotten sick?
Xiaoyuan No! Why would I do that?
He's my pet! Why would I give him to someone else?!
And anyway, there are all these really amazing doctors here! I'm not gonna go ask anyone else for help!
Xiaohei Well, if you're not the one...
Wait, then who was that?
(Stares at the storm cloudbeast)
Who else could be the one you're looking for?
Storm Cloudbeast (Droops its head)
Xiaoyuan Sixty-Seven... do you still miss somebody?
Storm Cloudbeast Mrew...
Rockrock Er, who are you lot talking about? Me and Suzuran are a little lost here.
Suzuran Who is this "somebody"?
Everyone looks around at each other with all manner of expression: furrowing brows and pinching noses, foreheads broadcasting their confusion, brains swimming through disarray. Everyone is repeating a single question in their minds:
Who?
Who are they?
Photo after photo stuck to the barbed wire seems to come to life, their clamorous noise drowning out the conversation as they fly every which way between its participants.
Face after face comes unstuck from the paper as they start to circle around Xiaobai, forming a storm.
In its center, faces of joy, pain, grief, resignation, tears, smiles, youth, age... all sorts of faces relentlessly flit past her gaze, faster and faster.
And thus she closes her eyes.
Is it you? She silently asks in her heart.
The photos all come to a halt in the air, the storm gone without a sound.
When she opens her eyes again, what greets them is another pair of eyes, soft and warm, creased in a smile as they gaze towards her.
Eyes belonging to an unfamiliar man, holding a familiar cloudbeast in his embrace.
Xiaobai Ah...
Ah Gen What is it, Xiaobai?
Xiaobai ......
I think I know who he's looking for.
<Background fades out and in>
[Xiaobai takes the others into a wall where a photo of a cloudbeast is posted.]
Xiaobai I saw a photo here. The cloudbeast in it looked exactly the same as Sixty-Seven.
Rockrock When did you see it?
Xiaobai Just today. I was trying to find Suzuran, so I could ask her to hold a funeral for Sixty-Seven.
Xiaohei Funeral? But he's right here, isn't he?
Ah Gen Haha, it's complicated. We were helping Xiaoyuan look for him too, but in the end all we found was a collar with blood on it.
Xiaobai So we were going to hold a funeral because we thought he'd already passed away. We wanted to send him off properly.
Xiaohei Oh, I see. He was probably just hurt at that time.
Xiaoyuan (Picks up the storm cloudbeast)
Sixty-Seven, where did you get all these new cuts... wasn't the scar on your leg big enough?
Storm Cloudbeast (Licks Xiaoyuan's cheek)
Suzuran (Removes photograph from the wire)
This photo's been hanging here for years. It's a good thing it was underneath all those other pictures, so it hasn't faded too much.
Rockrock Let me have a look... That's Sixty-Seven, no doubt about it. Xiaoyuan, here.
Xiaoyuan (Takes photograph)
Is this... the person you were looking for, Sixty-Seven?
Is that why you could never sit still, and were always looking out the window and running away?
Is it all because you were looking for him?
Storm Cloudbeast (Nuzzles photograph with forehead)
Xiaohei The weird doctor said there was someone with stone disease who took out all the money they had, and begged him to take care of their pet cloudbeast.
He was the one who told me to look here...
So when he was talking about what people had left behind, he meant these photos?
So who put this photo up?
And who'd come to visit it?
Rockrock Perhaps–they're already among the other photos, somewhere along here.
Xiaohei ......
Xiaoyuan, was there anything else left in the suitcase, apart from the money?
Xiaoyuan No, nothing. If you're right, then that was probably everything he left behind.
Ah Gen Not everything. Didn't he leave you Sixty-Seven too?
Xiaoyuan That's not really leaving him to me...
Suzuran Hey, look at the back of this photo, Xiaoyuan.
Xiaoyuan Huh?!
(Turns photograph over)
Xiaobai What is it?
Xiaoyuan It's a poem...
Ah Gen What does it say?
Xiaoyuan It says...
Says...
...May Heaven protect you. There will be someone out there, to love you as I did.
Xiaobai (Tugs on Ah Gen's sleeve) Ah Gen...
Xiaoyuan (Kisses the storm cloudbeast's forehead)
Sixty-Seven... did you know?
You...
You weren't abandoned. You were the... best, best present ever, from the most generous person in Terra.
From the storm cloudbeast's throat rolls a gentle rumble, like a sigh, and like a call too.
It turns its head, and gently brushes against the photograph.
Nightfall's embers fall on its face, like a hand reaching out from the past to brush away the fog of time, sweep off the dust of what light remains, and softly touch its forehead.
It soothes all its accumulated worries, and wipes away all its lingering doubts.
Xiaobai Sixty-Seven still misses his old owner so much.
Xiaohei Even though he's already gone.
Ah Gen He might be, but he'll live forever in Sixty-Seven's memories.
Xiaobai Ah Gen, Xiaohei, will I always live in your memories too?
Ah Gen Haha, what are you talking about? It's still too soon to be asking that sort of thing.
Xiaobai Yeah, but... you'll live forever, and so will Xiaohei...
Xiaohei?
Xiaohei Huh?
Xiaobai If you go somewhere really far away one day, you have to give me a proper goodbye, okay?
Xiaohei Mm-hm!
Xiaobai We have to eat our favorite snacks together one more time!
Xiaohei Mm-hm!
Xiaobai We have to read a really good comic together one more time!
Xiaohei Sounds good.
Xiaobai And we have to hug one more time.
Xiaohei Sounds good.
Xiaobai Um... and... what else was there...?
Ah Gen We're together now. That's more important than anything.
Xiaobai (Pulls Ah Gen and Xiaohei's hands in)
Xiaobai Mm-hm!
Xiaohei Mm-hm.
Background-Lungmen Alley Misty.png
It was a gloaming, it was a dayspring. It was deepest night, it was brightest noon.
The day's sunlight was brilliant, the day's rainclouds stretched forever. The clouds hung thick in the sky, the clouds hung as wisps in the sky.
My departing footsteps placed ever so lightly, so I would not rouse you.
I abandoned you, and you parted with me.
Unwilling, and unresigned.
Fate is a merciful one.
With a single finger, it turns time's needle back.
Background-Lungmen Alley.png
Click, pitter-patter.
Back the raindrops hid in the clouds, back the writing drew into the pen, back the leaves grew onto the trees, the forget-me-nots returning to their buds once more.
And little by little, I came back to your side.
My arriving footsteps placed every so lightly, without the heart to rouse you.
That day, I embraced you, and you met me.
<Background 3>
[A car is heard outside.]
Rockrock Xiaoyuan, the car's outside! Hurry up!
Xiaoyuan I'm coming, I'm coming! Wait for me!
[Xiaoyuan and Sixty-Seven rushes into the car.]
Rockrock Got everything with you?
Xiaoyuan Yeah! It's all in my suitcase.
Rockrock How about you, Sixty-Seven? You got everything of yours?
Sixty-Seven Mrrreah!
Rockrock Then I think we're off!
[Xiaobai rushes to the car...]
Xiaobai Miss Rockrock, wait for us! We're going to Rhodes Island too!
Rockrock Xiaobai?!
[...just as Ah Gen and Xiaohei catches up.]
Ah Gen Xiaobai, don't run so fast!
Rockrock Ah Gen! Weren't you lot going to stay in Lungmen?
Ah Gen Um, Mr. Lee gave Xiaohei a mission to send some things over to Rhodes Island.
Rockrock What things?
Xiaohei He told me it was confidential. All he said was to hand it to someone called the Doctor.
Xiaobai Doctor... That's such a funny name.
Rockrock Haha, it's not a name. It's just a title.
Xiaohei Do you know who it is?
Rockrock I do. Happens to be Rhodes Island's commander and one of its founders. Every operator I've ever met has nothing but respect.
Xiaohei Oh, I get it. It's your boss. You all listen to what they say.
Rockrock Haha! Not that simple, hardly.
Xiaohei Then what kind of person is the Doctor, exactly?
Rockrock Someone you'll all take a shine to, I know that. The instant you meet, you'll know.
[Suzuran reminds Rockrock,]
Suzuran Rockrock, are you and Xiaoyuan ready to go yet? The driver's getting impatient.
Rockrock Xiaobai and the lot want to come with us too!
Xiaobai That's right!
Suzuran Really?
...I was just thinking, what if I was so sad to leave you all that I started crying? This is perfect! We can all travel together now.
[Xiaoyuan and Sixty-Seven enters the car.]
Rockrock Xiaoyuan, you good to go?
Xiaoyuan Mm-hm, and so's Sixty-Seven.
Sixty-Seven Mraow!
Rockrock Then we're off.
[Xiaohei and co. enters the car, but...]
Ah Gen Wait, Xiaobai–you left a bag!
Xiaohei I'll take it.
[Xiaohei picks up Xiaobai's bag.]
Ah Gen Oh, thanks. Alright, that's everything. Let's go.
[Xiaohei and Ah Gen enters the car.]
Ah Gen (Looks around)
Time... flies so fast.
[Ah Gen closes the car's door.]
<Background 4>
[The shelter owner looks at Yangni having a meal.]
Shelter Owner Yangni, is that the L.G.D.'s feed you're eating? You look like you love it. Is it that good?
Yangni Wrwwrr!
Shelter Owner Why don't I give it a try?
Yangni Wrr?
[The owner ate some of Yangni's food.]
Shelter Owner Phleugh! Pteh, pteh. Guess that's a taste humans can't appreciate, after all.
Yangni Wraaw...
Shelter Owner Steamed buns for me, then.
[The beckbeast trainer enters.]
Shelter Owner So what brings you back here?
Beckbeast Trainer You think I'd be here with you if I wasn't bringing Yangni his food?
Shelter Owner You think I'd want you here if you weren't bringing Yangni his food?
Beckbeast Trainer (Narrows eyes at the owner)
Yangni, I bought you some new food and toys. How's that? Want to come live at the L.G.D. for a few days?
Yangni Awrruf!
Shelter Owner Evil on legs, you.
(Angrily tears giant bite of steamed bun)
[The trainer puts a bag full of vegetables and eggs on the table.]
Beckbeast Trainer Here. Take this.
Shelter Owner What... vegetables and eggs? Where'd you find the kindness in your heart to give me this stuff?
Beckbeast Trainer Heh, you just said it. I'm kind.
Shelter Owner Hah... thanks.
<Background 5>
Waai Fu Aw, Xiaohei and the cloudbeast are gone. I miss them.
Hung So do I. And I'm worried the food I gave him won't last the whole trip.
Waai Fu You filled an entire bag...
Hung He's at that Feline growth spurt age, after all. He needs to eat a ton.
Waai Fu Eh, that's fair.
Hey, Hung. Let's get a pet too.
Hung Oh? What do you want?
Waai Fu A cloudbeast?
Hung Oooh, hmmm... That could work. Let's ask Aak once he's out.
[An explosion occurs on Aak's room.]
Hung What's happening?!
Waai Fu *cough* *cough* What's this smell? People aren't meant to breathe this.
[Aak came out of the smoke from his room.]
Hung *cough* *cough* Aak, what in the six syllables are you concocting?
Aak Uh, slight mistake in the lab.
Hung Slight?
Aak Haha, you got it, aaand I'm out bye.
[Aak runs off.]
Waai Fu Actually... let's not get a pet.
Hung Yeah. You're right. Let's not.
<Background 6>
Emperor Listen up, mini-man, this vinyl's the work to end all works. The alpha and omega of opuses.
And its creator? The one who stands before you! Me!
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor Now that's what I like to hear. Somethin' tells me you're dyin' to get to it.
Music–
Start!
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor ♪ Every glass at the bar sliding up to my lips ♪
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor ♪ I got notes in the bank, makin digits flip ♪
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor ♪ Hustlas runnin on past me goin one by one ♪
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor ♪ Be all stranger's faces to me under the sun ♪
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor ♪ They brushin shoulders with me, crowds on me, calendar days ♪
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor ♪ But I just wanna open my eyes and see you face to face ♪
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor ♪ Diamonds bling bling, gold bars bling bling ♪
Musbeast *Chirp*!
Emperor ♪ But when I see the dazzle in you, they just ain't no thing ♪
Musbeast *Chirp*!

Notes

  1. Путевых Заметках Сумерек; "Twilight Travel Notes" in Russian