Veni, vidi, vici
I came, I saw, I conquered

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Warnings/notes: Krai, briefly imagined Darres/Yujinn, snippet, silliness, ooc?

Disclaimer: I don't own Vampire Game.

written at 4th march 2005, by Misura.
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There are, Krai has discovered early in his 'career', a limited amount of things with which you can build a reputation that will attract girls. (And, really, who signs up for the guard -without- wanting to attract girls by wearing a fancy uniform? Aside from weird people like the Captain, that is.)

Firstly, you can build a reputation on skills. The Captain, for example, has girls practically throwing themselves at him, merely because he's generally known as the best swordsman of Pheliosta. Which is a crying shame, really, because if there's anything the Captain seems not to be interested in, it's girls.

(In theory, Krai supposes, the Captain might simply be smart enough to have figured out that as soon as it becomes known that he has a girlfriend, said girlfriend will be lynched by the mob of his female admirers. Krai'd sooner put his money on the Captain being a virtuous, honest guy, who doesn't lie to his trusted subordinates and has a thing for pretty guys like Yujinn though.)

Secondly, you can become known for bravery. The sainted Phelios, for example, would probably be swamped by pretty girls if he wasn't dead. Which, in Krai's opinion, is the big problem with bravery; it's so close to stupidity that it shortens your life-expectancy with several dozens of years.

(Privately, Krai thinks that having signed up to guard the Princess was one of the bravest things he's ever done, and also one of the most stupid. At the time, of course, it just seemed like a smart move, a great chance to get a raise. He wonders if bravery's always like that, if maybe the sainted Phelios, when he realized he'd killed himself together with his enemy, said something obscene and undignified, instead of experiencing a 'noble joy', as Sir Keld keeps telling the Princess.)

Thirdly, you can be born rich and powerful, like, well, Princess Ishtar. She's plain as a board and doesn't have much 'chest' to speak of, and if she hadn't been born as a Princess, Krai's pretty sure she'd have ended up as an old spinster. But she is, and so she'll probably marry one of those creepy cousins of hers - Krai has heard most of them aren't quite 'normal', so to speak. Not really a happier prospect than remaining single, in Krai's opinion, only of course he's not a girl.

(Girls, Krai knows, can be really, really weird. Some of the ones he has ahem had the pleasure to get to know better might easily have made a lesser man than himself decide to give up on the so-called weaker gender altogether. Maybe the Captain has run into one of those at some early point in his career, when he wasn't 'the Captain' yet, but merely 'Darres'. And then he met Yujinn and discovered that, what do you know, if you've sworn off real girls, there's still fake girls. Not, of course, that Krai'd ever tell Yujinn to his face that he looks and acts like a girl sometimes; he only thinks it.)

Lastly, you can become famous by -telling- people that you are. Loud and often. Sooner or later, someone will start to believe it, repeat it to another person and voila, the foundations for your reputation have been laid. This method is the one Krai has chosen to use, because Sir Keld's morals and mind aren't the only thing that's remained stuck in the days of Saint Phelios; his idea of 'reasonable wages' are severely outdated as well.

The Captain probably never has any reason to complain, because one, he's the Captain, so better paid, two, he's the Captain, so the Palace provides him with food, boarding, clothing, weaponry and a horse, while Krai only gets two meals a day and a small room he has to share with Jill, and three, he's the Captain, who doesn't have any demanding girlfriends. Yujinn might present him with a gift every now and then, but Krai has never noticed the Captain ever buying anything for the mage in return.

(Krai guesses that if you have to keep your relationsip a secret, you can't exactly go around shopping for presents. He wishes -he- could have a secret lover, who wouldn't be able to demand him to bring her all kinds of expensive things, for the sake of discretion, but alas, his position isn't high enough for that. He could probably have an illicit affair with his -horse- (if he had one), and nobody would mind. Aside from Jill, probably, who'd start to evade him, the stable-master, who'd accuse him of having seduced his little darling, the apple of his eye, and, naturally, the Captain, who'd fire him for behaving in a way that doesn't suit a royal guard.)

Of course, Krai's method, that some people unkindly call 'bragging', also brings a few risks with it ...

"Krai? Are you all right?"

If he'd been brave, Krai reflects, he'd have said 'yes, sure, don't have a scratch'.

"No," he answers instead, because his head feels like it's going to explode, his stomach feels like it's contemplating to practice acrobatics and his legs feel like they're made of jelly.

"She really hit you pretty hard, didn't she?"

Jill, Krai muses sourly, sounds nearly admiring, that wretch. If Krai had been his superior or -better yet- the person who paid his wages, Jill wouldn't have been so unsympathetic to his suffering, of that much Krai is sure.

"I tried to dodge," he defends himself. If he hadn't been so mediocre at sword-fighting, he would have been able to avoid that bottle and maybe prevent the evening from being a complete loss.

However, as he'd already concluded, Krai is neither skilled, nor rich and powerful, nor brave, and thus far he has also failed to convince anyone that he calls himself 'Krai the Conqueror' for a reason other than the fact that it makes him sound like a Hero.

Jill chuckles -chuckles!- and helps him get up, slipping one arm around his shoulder, so that Krai can lean on him as they stumble out of the alley behind the tavern. Krai toys with the idea of going back inside, give it another go, but he's not really in the right kind of mood anymore.

Sometimes, girls simply aren't worth the trouble, in Krai's expert opinion.

Besides, there's always tomorrow to try again.

OWARI