And who was that? Laurence blinked, knowing full well that Alice had been about to swear, but he found he didn't mind so much. He'd stopped himself. "Okay. No problem. Maybe I'll talk to you again later." Simple enough, right?
Though he did have to wonder who she was not so reluctant to see...
"True," she conceded, not the least bit bothered by the grim humor, as she'd learned to have a certain amount of it herself. She probably would have gone crazy by this point, otherwise. She looked about to say something else when a female voice called her name, and she groaned. Without even turning to look, she knew it was Shyamaath.
"Oh, Chri- aah, sorry." Alice cleared her throat. "I should, uh. Get going, apparently. It was nice meeting you?"
Laurence laughed at that, though it was a low, cynical sound. "Guess we won't be around to do much, if they don't." He had a grim sort of humor about things, at best, and hopefully Alice wasn't too put off by that. It was either laugh, or punch something in the throat.
Laurence shook his head regretfully before doing what he could to twist the conversation around to something more lighthearted. "At any rate, maybe Mang and Justice can do some good in the world. Listening to this one talk, I don't think so."
Shuo was quiet for a moment, until-- Pardon, were you referring to me?
"Never completely," she agreed. "It never does, whatever it's for." No amount of time or forgiveness was enough to wipe it away completely, certainly not for her. She'd always been one to dwell on every mistake, real or imagined. Leaving the Castle was only the latest in a long, long line.
His snort wasn't directed at her, amber eyes focusing distantly on something that simply wasn't there. "Had to get that lesson beaten into me, believe you me." It had been a hard pill to swallow, but he'd managed it with help from Harmodius himself, and Shuo. "Don't think the guilt'll ever fade." He was referring to himself, but it could easily be misconstrued. "Trying to pay it back the only way I can, now."
That sympathy and unspoken understanding was a strange combination of awkward and comforting that Alice had a hard time reconciling with each other, and with her tendency to keep herself more distant than she had before. When she responded, it was with a humorless half-smile. "That's what I keep telling myself."
Laurence was quiet for a moment, his features tight with sympathy and eventually he would offer a curt nod. "A lot of things happened that weren't... supposed to." He exhaled roughly, resisting the urge to run a hand through his hair. "It wasn't anyone's fault, though. No one could have prepared for that." For the world to try and shake apart right underneath their very feet.
"Yeah," she answered with a nod. "Things got crazy - crazier than usual, anyway. I was on this world for most of it, though. I don't...know what happened after I left. I didn't mean to end up here, and I lost my way back." This admission was pained; she was plagued by thoughts of what might have happened, and by guilt for abandoning the people she was supposed to keep safe, even if she hadn't meant to leave them for more than a day or two.
The priest nodded at that. She had a fair point. "Not every day the entire... well, everything tries to fall in on itself. Can't let that happen." Not ever again, not if he could do something to stop it. "Did you notice anything bad going on? Wherever you're from?" Laurence usually wasn't one to pry, but he almost wanted to be reassured that it wasn't just him. Maybe someone else's world had gone to hell, too.
"Honestly, m'still trying to figure that out," He said a bit wryly, shaking his head. "So far, it feels like I'm just supposed to live like normal. Shuo's doing most of the work." Or so he thought. It wasn't as though he felt any different, not really.
"Not really worried about it. I'm just going to try and help where I can. Figure if Shuo needs something, I'll try and do that, too." Though his tone was light and casual, the priest was inwardly... uncertain about it all. No one was really prepared for death, were they?
It hadn't been meant as pity, but courtesy; what else did you say when someone's friend died? Or...sort of died or whatever the technical term for it was. Well, it was alright. She'd probably be a little touchy, herself.
"What do you do, anyway? I mean, besides wait?" It was really starting to bother her, and Laurence was probably a better person to ask than Arden, not that she knew how to find the marine. Either way, she'd have felt bad asking him much more about host stuff, because he hadn't chosen it for himself.
"Ah," Laurence said after a moment, digesting that. He never liked being the last to know, but it couldn't be helped in this situation. "Don't be. Illisia knew what she was getting into." He said a bit more gruffly than he intended. As much as he appreciated the sentiment, he didn't want anyone's pity. "It's a good thing another dragon is back to protect God. ...I just wish that the whole process wasn't so hard."
Illisia's soul would never go to Heaven, but she would live on through Xun Jiang. That's what he was hoping for, anyway.
Any other reality just seemed painful to consider.