Creation had encouraged the Pillar to go and walk, enjoy himself in the greenery outside the Pantheon; to stretch his muscular legs and enjoy himself...perhaps even to take a dip in one of the lakes that had been formed. Yu was loathe to leave his master's side, but he had taken his leave if for no other reason than to patrol; to see some of the other Gods, the mortals...whomever.
As much as he was driven by purpose, the lazy feel of the day got to him and instead of returning directly to Creation's side after a quick patrol, Yu Five Claws had instead settled at the water's edge, feet dipping into the water while he looked up; no sky...but a false sort of emptiness that Creation had fashioned. Yu missed the sky. He also knew that there were plans in action that were meant to return it - or something like it - to them. Sooner, rather than later, he assumed as Light had finished his task...and Glyph and the others had also finished theirs. Both things that required completion before something new could be fashioned.
A small bug skittered by, catching his attention and causing his muzzle to skin back in something akin to a smile. With Him back, things were returning to how they Should Be. It made him happy.
For the first time in a while, the priest was finally at peace. He wasn't overly elated, but no longer did he slink in the shadows of the Pantheon, torturing himself with thoughts of his fall from grace--though it had not been his choice to do so. After talking to Him, though... well, Laurence had grudgingly started the process that would eventually lead to forgiving himself. He had at least realized that God could not simply relieve the burden from him. Even if he could, that would somehow cheapen the worth of the lives that had been lost.
Shuo, too, though he mourned the one named Aristogeiton, had also done what he could to move on. Harmodius was who he lived for, who he still strained to serve even with his weakened presence. His first, failed rebirth had done him no favors. Even now, Laurence knew that his damaged memory frustrated Mang, but the dragon didn't like to speak of it much.
He paced closer to the lakes he'd spotted in the distance, a little restless now that there was really nothing left for him to do but wait for the eventual takeover of his body. Though the thoughts preoccupied his mind, it would be hard for anyone to miss the not-demon lounging near the shore, still so vast and wrong somehow, even with the dragon-like features he could pick out now.
There was no denying how Shuo's mood lightened upon seeing one of his beloved brothers, and Laurence suppressed a sigh before he reluctantly called out to the beast. "Yu Five Claws." The priest dipped his head politely, and his dragon's radiant pleasure at his politeness was nearly enough to make him cringe.
Upon hearing his name called out by a semi-familiar voice, Yu lifted his head and turned it to identify whom had wished his attention. Ah, the priest-holding-Brother-Mang! The monsterous Dragon King stretched and rose to his feet, muzzle skinned back in a greeting - and in remembrance of how utterly horrified the priest had been when they first met...and how pleased Shuo had been despite his host's obvious distaste.
"Greetings, Brother Mang and host Laurence." Though he did not dip his head, he did incline it graciously out of respect for his Brother's host - likewise did he not joyously jump and wrestle Mang as was his wont. Not causing heart attacks in delicate mortals-turned-hosts could be so difficult sometimes!
"Enjoying the day? You seem well, at peace. Moreso than before."
The wicked teeth that gleamed in that dark muzzle was enough to inwardly rattle the priest--but he had grudgingly accepted that despite Yu's ferocious outward appearance, there was no questioning the Dragon King's loyalty. He served the same purpose that Shuo and even himself did, and anyone willing to serve God deserved his respect.
"I am," He said after a moment, steeling himself. "I spoke to our Lord. He has forgive me, for my sins, and given me advice that I've taken to heart. ...and I apologize for the way I first treated you." Laurence forced himself to say, dipping his head once more. "I misjudged you. Your appearance took me aback."
It was a feeble excuse, at best, but it had been the truth.
"Good. I am glad to hear that you are more at ease now...being chosen as the vessel of rebirth for a Dragon King is no small honor." He chuffed a bit, ears twitching as his tail swished lazily from side to side; he was relaxed, amused and yes, pleased.
Yu cocked his head a bit, mentally going back over the way that Laurence had tried to exorcise him and keep him - a demon - from harming that godawful punk female that Creation seemed to enjoy talking with. Hilarious! But he didn't laugh since Laurence was apologizing, it just wouldn't do and he might offend the mortal host if he did.
"Thank you, but no apology was necessary." A flash of more teeth, bright and gleaming, "I am well aware that my host gave me quite the...fantastical face. I think it suits, quite well."
Laurence was touchy--and he'd started to realize that Yu was not about to swallow him whole, so he might have attempted to verbally shoot the Dragon King down. Mang would have been horrified. "I'm realizing that," He muttered to himself, pressing his fingers against his temples.
"What was your host?" He genuinely had to ask, having never seen something quite like... well. Whatever it was that Yu had possessed. He couldn't help but think that in the very least, it might deter people from doing something stupid and trying to harm Him again. Laurence couldn't see anything wrong with that.
The priest hesitated again, somehow feeling like his apology hadn't been enough. "I've had--bad experiences with demons before."
Laurence may have attempted to verbally shoot the Dragon King down, but he would have been hard-pressed to succeed. Yu was a monsterous visage for certain, but that did not mean his brain was minute or soft; the priest definitely would have gotten a goodly amount of what he'd given right back at 'em.
"My host...was a shapeshifter. A nightmare figment, bathed in blood and shadows. We are not entirely surewhat the Fragment was, but he served me well and faithfully to the end. I did not have to fight the creature to be reborn." Which was a huge thing...not all hosts were pleased to discover that they were going to "lose" themselves so that some deity or other could be born! Many were quite upset, truth be told - quite a pity, in Yu's mind. There was much to be said for the glory and honor that accompanied being chosen as the vessel for a God's rebirth. Fragment had understood that...sought it out, even. Nearly killed his Brother, Jin Huang's mortal host, Delmin Brock.
Yu chuckled again; that rumbling, inhuman sound. "Understandable, Host Laurence. I understand quite well and take no true offense. As I have said and you have no doubt noticed, this form has some distinctive advantages for my service to the Twin Crown."
That would have undoubtedly impressed him--brute strength and open ferocity did little to sway his opinion, but wit and a barbed tongue never failed to have him reconsider. Usually. Unless he'd already decided you annoyed the hell out of him and there was absolutely no chance for redemption. Hypocritical? Always.
"You'll forgive me if I don't seem sympathetic that he's gone for good." The priest said drolly, shaking his head. Blood and shadows. That hit too close to demons for his liking, and if such a monstrosity could become something good, then that was one less creature prowling about and preying upon the innocent. Laurence himself had struggled with accepting such a fate--not because of what it would entail, but rather, he wasn't sure if Shuo Huang Zhe had been telling him the truth or not. To serve God was an honor he could not even begin to describe.
The man nodded grudgingly at that. "If you'll make His enemies think twice, then that's good enough for me. I have a question for you, if I may." His fist tightened as he could literally feel Shuo wondering what Yu's face and horns must feel like. Damnable dragon. He'd already had to humiliate himself in front of Jin Huang, and he would not do it again if he had any say.
Considering that Yu looked as much as a demon as any of those that had crossed the planes of existence during the week of Hell and that Laurence had already tried to exorcise him...mayhap the priest had already decided that Xia Lu Ling was...one of those had had absolutely no chance for redemption. Hell, he was likely correct! Yu wasn't exactly the most...pious of reborn/rebirthing deities.
"I'm under no such requirement." But Yu could appreciate Laurence's tone and attitude and meant it mostly in jest; he didn't have to forgive the host of his brother, but he likely would for that same reason. Also, because he was somewhat fond of the man. He stuck with his principles, that was for sure...and he had an unwavering sense of duty, obedience and love for Harmodius that wasn't just part of being a Dragon King or the host of one under the influence. "But I'll not find you at fault for that - while I will not harm you, that doesn't mean you're entirely safe, now does it?" Yu chuckled, ears twitching back and forth.
A question? Naturally he could ask; the darkly furred Dragon tilted his heavy head, eyes watching the other male with undisguised interest. "Feel free to ask anything you wish, priest."
The priest's eyes threatened to narrow at that, but with obvious effort, he forced his expression to stay as neutral as possible. He could hear the joke in it--somewhat--but that didn't necessarily mean he liked realizing that the dragon's words were true. If he made bad blood with one of Shuo's brothers already... well, it'd be going directly against his wish to better serve God. Still, he got the feeling that Yu was the sort who wanted to figure out just how to wriggle under his skin.
Some of the tension withered away when permission was granted, though Laurence was quiet for a moment as he mulled over how to best phrase what was already on the tip of his tongue.
"When I'm gone, what is it exactly that Shuo will do for Him?"
Well now, wasn't that a fantastical question to ask! A very astute one as well; Yu grinned at the Priest and twitched his ears and tail in a manner that might suggest that he were pleased as punch.
"You wish to you know the import of my Brother to Harmodius? I approve." He pause a moment and then chuffed warm breath across Laurence's skin without thinking about having done it. "Brother Mang went forth to the Peoples. If I am His Voice to the Pantheon, he would be His Voice to the various Beings across All That Is. From the rankest drooling mortal to the most impressive, fancifully gleaming 'immortal', it was - is - Mang's job to mediate between all parties. A lofty position requiring a silvered tongue and great understanding of customs, languages and etiquette; and in all things, excellence."
Xia Lu Ling thought perhaps that he had described Mang's position quite well - Mang went about in the Twin Crown's name and talked to people. Basically. In ages past, he'd ventured to the lands wherein the Grigori dwelt, among others. This he knew only from speaking with others and/or having read such things - not from actual memories (of which he had precious few).