Shadowy Comfort

Unbeknownst to most people, occasionally when he got up, Odin Eidolon enjoyed an early morning stroll in the beautiful garden where Ducklair Tower once existed, feeling the cool morning air on his synthetic skin and admiring how the plants and animals were thriving in the area.

It was a small amount of time of peace he treasured, before he had to return to the hectic life of the owner of the world's largest manufacturing droid company. For a quiet hour, he could leisurely walk through the garden, watching the animals wake or head to sleep, and gaze at the plants. He knew them all by name. Well, all the Latin names of the flora and fauna he placed there, of course; after all, it was all stored in his database, but he had given the animals names of their own too.

"Hello, Tablita," he mummered softly as he ran his hand across the winged unicorn's mane, smiling fondly as she bowed her head to nuzzle him in greeting. "You're looking better today. I'm glad those pills are working for you. Is Dusky up yet?"

After checking on the unicorn herd, he continued his stroll, humming to himself.

Sometimes, if no one was around, he would take out his key and unlock the door to the secret floor underground, the only room left of the remains of the Tower. He had not had the heart to destroy it all, and sometimes, he would stay there for a short while before returning home, reminiscing about the past times he had with his dear friend, way before he was the man he was now. Perhaps Everett was right in that clinging to the past and being nostalgic was a defect he was never meant to have, but it was only human to have memories of the ones he loved. He would not try to fix it for anything in the world.

However, today, he wasn't alone. It was... strange. His scanners, when turned on, were not picking up any signs of foreign life. And yet, he still felt as if he was being watched. He never brushed off a gut feeling, having full confidence in his own intuition.

That only left one answer. Someone was in this garden with him, somehow hiding their presence. Either they did not want to be detected, or they could not be detected.

Odin opted for a friendly approach to deal with the situation.

"Hello? I know you are watching me," he said as he looked around with a smile. "Would you mind showing yourself? I'd like to meet my admirer." His tone was playful and teasing. "I promise I won't bite." 

    • Kamkairo
      Kamkairo

      Anybody with enough knowledge of dark arts would say that a shadowraith was incapable of feeling. That was partially correct, but also incorrect. They could not physically feel anything, and their touch senses barely registered anything to them, as if they were prodding at thin air. They could not feel wind, water, or changes in the temperatures and seasons. However, they could still feel emotions the same way as they could when still a living, biological being. For many years, two such entities clashed with each other in an unending feud until only one of them remained.

      Ever since the erasure of her malevolent counterpart, the ever benevolent Malvolius no longer served a purpose to anything or anybody. She had been exceedingly useful with providing others with a means of standing a fighting chance against the other shadowraith, but now that her opponent had been permanently subdued, she was no longer needed. Feeling unwanted and not belonging anywhere was a painful reminder of her current state, and all she could do was wander aimlessly through the shadows, her only company being the dark silence of nightfall.

      Malvolius, after days of floating through the ever-changing city under the cover of darkness, had somehow ended up in what looked like a garden of sorts. The bright, colorful environment would have clashed terribly with her dull, dusky black form if it weren't for the fact that she hadn't made herself visible. The flora seemed to hide her as she slunk across the ground, but she went dead still when she heard a voice. Not just a voice, however, a voice that was acknowledging her. She held her position in silent fear of being spotted, or even worse, possibly attacked.

      • Odin Eidolon
        Odin Eidolon

        The person did not seem like a threat. If it was a threat sent after him, they would have attacked by now. Unless they were very confident of their cloaking abilities and were waiting for him to brush it off as paranoia? Possible, but not quite... 

        "It's alright, I mean no harm," Odin continued gently as he looked around him, even though he was certain if anyone else were to see him right now, they would think he'd gone mad. But he was very certain of his mind and programming. None of them had yet to fail him. "My name is Odin Eidolon. Did you come here to enjoy the garden too? When I built it, I meant this place to be for everyone, so there is no reason to be frightened. I promise." 

        He noticed he was growing more and more uncomfortable. Maybe he should walk away. Maybe he should call Gamma and Delta for backup- 

        Wait. Right there. 

        He forced his pupils to shift a little to the left, and realised it felt like he was... making eye contact with someone. That explained the mild discomfort. He could probably win many staring contests, and had once stared down the Commander of the Time Police into submission. However, looking into the eyes of someone he could not see was... disconcerting. But he did his best to smile warmly. 

        "The history of Eidolon Garden is very fascinating. I met my best friend here, you know. He's no longer around, and I miss him a lot. But we shared many fond memories. Would you show yourself so I can tell you more?" 

        Perhaps, whoever they were, they were unable to. Maybe it was a damaged cloaking device. Or a malfunctioning chronosail. Or... he disliked thinking of possibilities outside of his capabilities, but perhaps it was magic...? 

        Of course, there was also the complex and intricate emotions of the biologicals he had to take into account, too. For all he knew, it was an actual admirer, who was spooked by his outgoing personality. 

        He briefly considered his options, then smiled and turned his back. "I understand if you don't want me to look. I'll just sit down on the bench over there, see?" he demonstrated by walking over and sitting down on one of the comfortable garden chairs. "Please, feel free to join me," he invited, patting the empty space next to him still without looking at her. He then pulled up a tablet joined to the chair, and began browsing though the news as he patiently waited. 

        There was, however, a five-minute limit. He was worried. If the being did not reveal themself, or show a sign that they were alright, he would have to assume the worst and call the Time Police for assistance. Chronosail accidents were very rare, but they could happen nonetheless. 

        • Kamkairo
          Kamkairo

          Even though the man's voice was soothing, Malvolius remained still, practically a stagnant, shadowy puddle camouflaged by the plant life filling the garden. She could have easily kicked up a dark smog as a smokescreen to slip away undetected, but that would likely just draw more unwanted attention to herself. Besides, it was not like he had given her a reason to do so. As dangerous and powerful as she was, Malvolius was terribly skittish and was far more likely to flee than to fight.

          She could have stayed there for an indefinite amount of time until the man departed, but she could risk being attacked regardless. When their eyes seemed to lock, Malvolius seemed to seize up even further. Odin's pleasant demeanor was somewhat unnerving, she was so used to people being afraid or stand-offish towards her. However, she feared that his disposition would shift as soon as she revealed herself to him. She was unsure how everybody felt about shadowraiths and other such entities in this new day and age, but she would rather not find out while she was in such a vulnerable position.

          Although, if he had intended to harm her- no, he wasn't even sure that she was there. He might not have had the proper means to dispose of her on hand, and was merely biding his time, waiting for just the right moment for her to display herself. If that were to be the case... well, it was not like she had anything to lose at this point in her endless, purposeless existence full of emptiness and despair.

          Finally, after a long handful of minutes had passed, a black, shapeless mass slowly emerged from below the flora, gradually reforming into a more distinct figure the further it rose. It had a very feminine form clad in attire from many centuries past with sharpened features on its otherwise soft, round face. A pair of glowing, magenta orbs opened slowly, downturned and full of dark energy and pure sadness, staring directly into Odin's with silent regard.

          • Odin Eidolon
            Odin Eidolon

            Odin's brows practically reached his hairline, and he dropped the tablet on the grass, but that was the only signs of surprise he showed in reaction to her appearance. No fear. And he was quickly back to smiling again, standing and approaching her. 

            "There you are! I was worried you may have had an accident with a chronosail!" he smirked and offered his hand for her to shake. "You seem like a lovely person. May I have the pleasure of knowing your name?" 

            He could not resist the temptation to give her a quick scan, however, just to try to understand what she was. However, his scanners were unable to get a read on the shadowy form and kept going right past her, and she did not show any signs of organic, alien or droid life, but here she was, alive, in a way. Fascinating. 

            "What brings you here so early in the morning?" 

            • Kamkairo
              Kamkairo

              When Odin extended his hand towards her, Malvolius instinctively flinched back away from it. She didn't mean to be rude, but being what she was, it was difficult to be so trusting of someone she had absolutely no knowledge of. He could have been waiting for her to let down her guard, for all she knew.

              There was nothing accidental about what happened to me, she wanted to say, but she didn't speak a single word to him. Not yet, anyway. The shadowraith seemed to sink into herself as she warily kept her distance from him, watching him anxiously. Her sharp fingers curled around her sleeves, fidgeting in place. She had made up her mind that she intended to simply observe him before engaging with him. Again, not to be unkind, but to determine whether or not her existence would be threatened.

              • Odin Eidolon
                Odin Eidolon

                Odin noticed her frightened nature and realised he had been right about one thing. Emotions were definitely involved. This meant she was most likely an organic being. A shadow (ha) of her former self? 

                He let his hand fall to his side and decided to change his approach to become a little slower and less exuberant. Leaving her alone was also an option, but she had piqued his interest. There was no turning back. 

                "Pardon me for my enthusiasm. It's not everyday I meet other people in person," he smiled gently. "Do you like this garden? A tall tower used to exist here, with the height of a hundred and fifty-one floors. Sadly, it was too unstable to allow it to continue to stand, but I personally made sure that something just as wonderful took its place. It's a place very important to me, you see. It's where I met my first friend. Oh, we made so much memories together..." he sighed fondly. "He was always stubborn and brash and impulsive, but he had the heart of a hero. I loved him for it." 

                He was happy to continue to chat about his late friend, recounting how he teased him for enjoying a soap opera he pretended to turn his beak up at, and their regular games of chess (which he always won), as he waited patiently for the strange creature to open up. 

                • Kamkairo
                  Kamkairo

                  The shadowy goose was content to simply drift around the garden while keeping her eyes on him, studying him carefully. Whenever it felt like Odin was getting too close to her, Malvolius darted further from him, maintaining the distance between them for the time being. She had the mentality of a stray animal that had not had any form of positive human interaction in a long time, and was too reluctant to trust them right away.

                  The more Odin described this friend of his, the more her attention was turning onto him. Somehow it felt like she knew the same person so very long ago, back when she was still alive. But that couldn't be right, he would have long since passed. Besides, she had not gotten to know him for very long before everything was taken from her that one evening. But... Stubborn, brash, impulsive... those descriptions matched him perfectly. Reckless might as well have been another, as he was always getting wounded in combat, and she would always diligently tend to each injury he sustained.

                  At long last, Malvolius just had to say something about it. Everything was adding up too well, and she needed confirmation now more than ever. Her voice was hollow and ghostly, almost reverberating with a mild distortion.

                  "... w̶a̧s... his̡ ͘na҉m̶e.͞.. ͡D̛onàl̀d.̛..?"

                  • Odin Eidolon
                    Odin Eidolon

                     "...sometimes I feel like his mother- hmm?" Odin blinked at the strange shadow goose when she spoke. Even as the most advanced AI and the smartest person in the world, it still took him a full minute to register what she just said., and tried to make up for it with an intelligent answer. "What?" 

                    He felt a little wary about giving out information that would give away his seemingly unnatural lifespan or even his droid identity, but how else would she have known if she recognised his old friend just from the stories? And she called him by his first name. She must have known him personally. Or, again, she had been spying on him and was trying to expose his true identity. But she was very sincere. And even more fearful of him than he was of her. 

                    "It may have been a different Donald," he finally suggested with a soft chuckle. "Hot tempered? Ready to violently attack someone for a friend? Always trying to resist treatment for his injuries?" 

                    • Kamkairo
                      Kamkairo

                      Even though Malvolius remained a great distance away from Odin, she was obviously quite interested in what he was talking about. Her hands folded over her chest, her eyes falling to the ground below her. She was always somewhat reclusive when she was alive, so she didn't make many friends, mostly acquaintances. But that duck... He made such a lasting impression on her. She could still recall their time in the war together, how he always fussed that his potentially life-threatening wounds were merely scratches and that he could still take on the enemy despite allowing her to treat them. It seemed like every day he was in the med bay, but they had developed a bond in spite of their circumstances. The shadowraith opened her eyes, now realizing that dark, inky tears were falling from them, dissipating before they ever met the ground.

                      "No͝... ͢h̴e i̢s ̶the̕ v̴ery s̛a͏me.͢..̷ I n͝e͜ver cou͞ld͠ forge͏t ͡someone ļike him.̷..̴" Her voice was more quiet, almost pained-sounding. "Hi͏s ͟b͏ri͠ght͜ ey͠es an̡d sm̶il͢e...̶ hi̧s ͘lit̢tle naval̕ uni͠form..̷. ̷h͝is͜ ̨ténd͏enc͢y̕ t̕ò get ͏hìmself h́u͘rt ̕often͢..."

                      • Odin Eidolon
                        Odin Eidolon

                        Odin looked concerned as he noticed her crying, and tried to approach her again, this time to try and comfort her, but he wasn't certain he could help dry her tears. She appeared to be incorporeal. 

                        He gasped softly when she mentioned the naval uniform Donald always wore with pride. She used to be a friend. He was more certain of it now. If it was a trap, Donald was more likely to be referred to as the Duck Avenger, especially since he once chased down a vehicle he was in just to meet him. Even now, as far as he knew, only a very select few held the information about his alter ego, and none of them were ever likely to divulge it. 

                        "So you knew him too?" he smiled wistfully. "He was indeed someone very special. I could never forget him either, even though it's been so long..." 

                        He was aware he was revealing a bit too much about himself, but it was still pretty vague. And he was starting to trust the strange shadow person. He wanted to know more about her and how she met Donald. 

                        "Will you tell me some of your own stories?" he asked eagerly. "He's never mentioned you to me."

                        Although, if this wasn't her original form, he had a sneaking suspicion he knew who she was. It was only mentioned twice in passing, but he had a very good memory. 

                        • Kamkairo
                          Kamkairo

                          Malvolius still shifted away from him, but it was clear she was becoming less tense around Odin. It seemed he truly had no idea of what she was and what she was capable of. At least he didn't seem to mind her regardless, it was a welcome change from the usual reactions she got.

                          When asked about herself, Malvolius's features fell further. She was nothing and nobody special, and this man clearly knew Donald far better than she ever did. Would Donald had cared about her if he had ever known what had happened to her that night?

                          "...I was not͏ ̧as ̢cl̕o͢se ţo ̴hi͟m a͝s y̨ou͡ ̀seem t̷o be. I ̢d͢i͝d̸ ńǫt ǵe͝t͠ ͞to ̨s̶ee him̨ much ͟ąfte͠r ̷the̴ ͟war en̴d̢ed... T͟he ͟ve͟r͢y̸ ̛lítt̴l͜e k͘n̵ow͜le̡d̸ge͝ I ̶h̨a͠ve͘ o͝f ͡him w͜a͞s̨ th̨rou҉g͏h̴ th̸e lette̵r̢s͘ ͠we h͟a̶d͡ ͝e҉xc͡ha͏ńgèd ͞o̷ver҉ tíme..."

                          Hold on. He... never mentioned her? Was she really so easily forgotten?

                          "... I ̵se͠e.́..͞ s̀o̴ he̷ ̵ha̡d̛ mo͝vèd͜ on͞ f͝rom me si̶n̛ce th͟e͝n̕." Her form sank to the ground, more wispy tears falling from her blank eyes. "H͝e left ̷mor̢e ͏of ́a͡n͏ i̡mp͟a͠c̶t̀ ͢on ̕me t̵han I͢ ̴did t̕o ̀h̀im̧..."

                          • Odin Eidolon
                            Odin Eidolon

                            Letters? She just confirmed his theory. 

                            "Now, hold on a second..." Odin reached out hesitantly, and very gently patted her back, trying to be comforting. Biologicals liked to comfort each other like this. He often did it because it felt nice too. But he was never sure if he was doing it right. "Donald never mentioned a shadow being. But... he did mention, a couple of times to be precise, of a very kind and sweet nurse he met in the war. He kept contact with her, but one day, her letters stopped coming, and every letter he tried to send to her was sent back. He even went to her house to track her down, but he only found a half-written letter, addressed to him. That's all he told me. He would become upset if I pressed for more. Seeing it was a painful subject, I let it go. Are... are you-" 

                            He suddenly turned his head in alarm. People were approaching the area for some morning exercise. 

                            "Come with me," he pleaded with her, gesturing with his hand. "There's a secret floor under this garden that only I know of. I've stored away everything Donald left at the Ducklair Tower here. Including the letters. I never read them as I did not want to intrude on his privacy, but I made sure they were all preserved." 

                            • Kamkairo
                              Kamkairo

                              She never felt Odin's touch, nor did she notice that he was so close to her, having had her sharp-tipped hands over her eyes as she silently wept. However, the more he spoke, the more Malvolius's dejection faded. Everything Odin had said matched up with what she could remember before she became a shadowraith. The war, the constant contact, the sudden stoppage of her letters...

                              The sound of people nearby made her flinch, and her form collapsed as if she were made of water, taking refuge within Odin's own shadow. The shadow shifted and morphed, becoming a flat silhouette of Malvolius.

                              "Go on,̷ I'l͜l̨ fo̢llow ̕you. Ju͟s̵t, plea͟s̢e d͠on͡'͘t let th̵e̴m ͘se̵e me..."

                              • Odin Eidolon
                                Odin Eidolon

                                Odin froze and looked around until he realised she had only merged with his shadow. 

                                He let out a breath, then smiled reassuringly towards the shadow being and nodded. Quickly, he headed towards a more dense part of the garden, petting a very affectionate griffin on the way as he headed towards the hidden entrance. 

                                No one knew of this little hidden area, and even if they did accidentally stumble across it, there was no way they would be able to identify that this led to a secret passageway, or have the means to open it. Only Odin had the key to the hatch, hidden cleverly under a rock. 

                                Soon, they were downstairs, covered in complete darkness. Then Odin found found the light switch, and the space was revealed to be... some kind of storage space, filled with connecting rooms stretching out under the garden. One of them held many old-fashioned cars from the 20th century, parked neatly in a row on either side. 

                                Odin passed each room until he reached where he wanted to be at. A room with a large, equally outdated monitor with shelves of files and boxes. He ran his palm across the dusty screen, almost fondly, then retrieved a biscuit tin from a drawer, opening it to reveal the letters, in almost perfect condition. 

                                "Here," he offered them to her. However, he quickly realised she was unable to take hold of the letters, and chuckled softly. "My mistake. May I... open them all for you...?" 

                                He carefully spread all the letters out on the ground without reading them, Donald and Malloria's letters corresponding to each other sorted out by date and time neatly. Odin almost felt pride at his sorting system. Of course, once, a long time ago, he had Donald to boast to. He wasn't sure he wanted to let the woman know yet. She seemed like she had a lot to take in. 

                                • Kamkairo
                                  Kamkairo

                                  Malvolius followed closely behind Odin from within the safety of his shadow, not entirely certain what sort of 'secret floor' he was leading her to, but it was more preferable compared to being exposed out in the open like that.

                                  Being a literal creature of the night, she could navigate through pure darkness just as easily as one could during the daytime. If Odin wanted to carry out a sudden ambush attack against her, she would undoubtedly notice it. However, no such action was carried out before the lights illuminated the area. The old cars caught her attention, a sense of familiarity washing over her. She could vaguely recall the old family Birmingham four door Sedan and the day she got her own little Hatfield Coupe...

                                  The technology in the file storage room was very unfamiliar to her, but that wasn't what was important. When the letters were held out to her, Malvolius simply stared down at them. While she was capable of touching, she couldn't really pick things up. Thankfully she didn't have to, as Odin lay them out before her for her to look through. Her blank eyes crawled across the words on each one in silence, a small smile forming. Oh, how she missed those days. She and Donald often exchanged recipes they either knew from relatives or found in magazines and newspapers, and they would report whether or not they succeeded.

                                  It was up until she recognized the final letter she sent to him that her smile fell. Her eyes welled up with more wispy tears as she remembered the unfinished letter that was never sent. When she skimmed through the letters he had written that she never got, Malvolius seemed to come apart right then and there. She choked out a sob as her hands met her face, covering her eyes as she wept softly. The air around them seemed to grow heavy with emotion, as if she radiated pure sadness.

                                  "...d͢-͏d͏e̛ar ̕f̕rienḑ... ͞I'm soŗr̸y͞...͜ I'm̶..̶.̧ s͢ò ͝s͝or̀ry..."

                                  • Odin Eidolon
                                    Odin Eidolon

                                    Odin was sitting nearby to watch the shadow being as she looked through the letters. He was tempted to look at them himself too, but until Donald and Malloria gave consent, he would respect both their privacy. Which was... not ever likely. He did enjoy the smile the letters brought to the shadow being's face, however. His friend really had that effect on people. And it was touching to see that another felt that same about him. He was glad he did not decide to throw out anything Donald had left behind. Everett said nostalgia was a defect... but he didn't know everything, did he... 

                                    "He was a very special person to all of us," he said softly, kneeling down next to her to comfort her. It was strange. His touch sensors were not feeling anything, but he was definitely putting an arm around her shoulders. Sort of. He felt that if he relaxed his arm it would go right through her. It would probably be rude. "I don't think he ever forgot you. Everyone had a special place in his heart." 

                                    He wanted to know what happened to turn her into this, but he decided to give her some space for now. She could always feed his inquisitiveness later. 

                                    "If you need me, I'll be outside," he told her, getting up and leaving the room quietly. He leaned against the wall, wrapping his arms around himself and closed his eyes as a single tear fell. 

                                    • Kamkairo
                                      Kamkairo

                                      For a good while, Malvolius grieved alone. She knew she shouldn't feel any blame towards herself, yet she did regardless. She blamed herself for not finishing that letter, even though there was no way to predict that she wouldn't return that night. She blamed herself for leaving Donald in the dark, even though she had been sealed in that amulet shortly after her horrific transformation. She blamed herself for Donald never finding closure before his final days.

                                      The shadow entity reached down and brushed her clawed fingertips lightly on the old stationary. She couldn't imagine what the poor duck had gone through when she never wrote back. His unsent letters had grown increasingly worried in tone, and to know he had tried to look for her...

                                      Malvolius's hands clawed at her head and pulled on her hair, her very aura radiating heartbreak and sorrow. If this hadn't happened to her, she would have lived a quiet, normal life. She would have still been able to carry out her duties as a nurse. She wouldn't be such a hollow, empty husk of who she once used to be. She would have been able to spare Donald the grief of her disappearance... Suddenly, the silence was broken by a loud, garbled scream, a ghostly scream of agony and pain that echoed throughout the underground space.

                                      • Odin Eidolon
                                        Odin Eidolon

                                        Startled, Odin looked back into the room. He wasn't sure if he shpuld be relieved or sad that the woman was only grieving. 

                                        What should he do? Comfort her? But he did tell her he'd leave her alone until he was needed. Surely it was rude to interrupt her grieving? But she did seem more in pain than... upset. And biologicals tended to flock together for comfort. Of course... there was always some who prererred to be alone. Like Zoe from Synthetic Hearts. Then again, that was just dramatic acting. Odin felt it wasn't good to be left alone. 

                                        Deciding to go with his gut feeling, he entered the room again and sat down next to her. 

                                        "I know I said I'd leave you alone... but may I hug you?" he held out his arms towards her with a sad, understanding smile. 

                                        *** 

                                        Meanwhile, not far off, the reading on a dusty supernatural radar lit up and started beeping crazily, spewing out a printed paper with a series of numbers printed on it. A man, doing some work on the computer, looked up and ran over to the paper, picking it up to check the readings with a growing smirk of anticipation, then collected some things in a bag and made a call. 

                                        "You were right. Gather the others. The hunt continues." 

                                        • Kamkairo
                                          Kamkairo

                                          Her hollow wail trailed off into more sobbing, her form falling to the floor in a kneeling position as she held her arms against her chest. "I'̀m s͢orr̵y..." she whimpered softly in a broken voice. "I'm s̕or͜ry͟... ͢I'm ͡so̧rry̡..." The shadowraith's cheeks were streaked with black, inky trails resembling running mascara, and the glow of her eyes and markings were now much dimmer. Donald had never gotten closure, and now, neither will she. Malvolius didn't think she could feel any more barren and lifeless than she already did, yet she indeed felt it.

                                          When Odin returned by her side, she was too distraught to point out that he likely wouldn't have been able to hold her or even actually touch her, and instead submitted by leaning towards him, a few stray sobs escaping her.

                                          • Odin Eidolon
                                            Odin Eidolon

                                            Odin figured she did not have a solid form, but back then, neither did he, but he always appreciated gestures of care from Donald. And it was something biologicals really liked. 

                                            He stayed with her, gently petting her back, although he wasn't sure if she could feel it or not (as he could not feel her himself), though as long as she was comforted, he did not really care. 

                                            "I'm sorry for the rough morning," he said softly. "But at least... you know now you were never forgotten." 

                                            He remained quiet for a bit longer, then jumped slightly when his phone rang. 

                                            "Mr. Eidolon? I'm, uh, sorry to be calling, but you promised last week you would be at the droid factory for the St Canard Elementary schoolkids on their field trip. It's been an hour. A-are you still coming...?" 

                                            That made Odin sit up, wide-eyed. Was it time already? He'd got so carried away! 

                                            "I mean, it's alright if you're busy, I'm sorry for disturbing you, we can get your assistant to-" 

                                            "No, no, Doctor Alph, I want to be there. I apologise for losing track of my schedule. Can you buy them all pizza? Put it on my tab. I'll be there in half an hour. Thank you." 

                                            He cut the call, and turned to the shadow being apologetically. "I will have to head off soon. Can't disappoint the children, they won the trip here for best droid programming contest. Can I drive you home? I'm leaving Donald's letters in your care, since they rightfully belong to you. If... you want to remain here a bit longer that's fine by me, I'll leave you my card so you can call me via holocom if there's an emergency..." 

                                            • Kamkairo
                                              Kamkairo

                                              Even though Malvolius physically felt nothing, it was the intention that mattered, and Odin had intended to soothe her broken old heart that had not beaten since her forced transformation. Her sobs were finally reduced to occasional sniffling until she had gone completely silent.

                                              While the fact that Donald had always remembered her since the war was also comforting, it didn't help as much as it could have, as he had possibly wondered the same about her, and never gaining a satisfactory answer to it. How badly she wanted him to know that she had never forgotten him either, and how much she had cared for him.

                                              The unfamiliar ringtone broke the tranquil silence, and going by the conversation, she was going to be alone again. Malvolius was unsure if he would bother seeing her again, or if she would ever find him again. Odin had his own life, while she no longer had hers. How she envied him...

                                              ...could he drive her home? Malvolius almost wanted to laugh at the absurdity of that question. She would simply phase through the vehicle, and she had lost her home ages ago, having been sold and remodeled around a decade after her death. While her personal belongings had been retrieved by fellow nurses and stored away in a sort of archive as a small memorial to her, she was uncertain if that same hospital was still standing. Odin meant well, but he seemed to have forgotten that she was essentially a ghost.

                                              "...I̷ h̸a͟v̸e n͏o ̴pla̕ce̶ ţo ̵put t̸hem. A҉nd,̡ ̵if́ I ma҉y ͠remi͘nd yo̢u..." She reached her hand out and lightly waved it through his, where it passed through like thin air.

                                              • Odin Eidolon
                                                Odin Eidolon

                                                "Well, you could have a shadow house of some sort?" Odin suggested with a small, playful smirk. But he grew serious again. "You don't have a place to call home? That is unacceptable, especially for a friend of Donald's. I will make living arrangements for you. But, for now..." 

                                                He hesitated, then cocked his head to the side. 

                                                "Come with me to the droid factory? Then when I'm done with the tour, you can take up residence at one of the guest rooms at my place, until you find something you like." 

                                                He felt like this was how you invited demons into your home. It was the start of a horror movie. Like the ones he watched with Donald. But then again, while he had not encountered a demon before, he was certain she was nothing like one. She was genuinely the person Donald had treasured and lost. And now, somehow, she was here, and now she was grieving for him in return. 

                                                He knew. He could see through her, after all. 

                                                Haaaaaa. 

                                                Donald would probably groan if he could hear him now. 

                                                • Kamkairo
                                                  Kamkairo

                                                  Malvolius simply remained silent for a while, pondering her options. Either she could return to wandering thoughtlessly through the outskirts of the city where she was not guaranteed to find anybody as non-threatening as Odin, or tag along where she could risk being seen regardless but would likely be protected by him. While he had given off vibes that had made her uneasy before, it was more from the initial stress and uncertainty of him noticing her. He had many opportunities to harm her, and he never took them, and he had further proven that he indeed knew nothing about the monster she had been transmogrified into.

                                                  "I... s͡up͟p̧ose̡ I am b̛etter off ͟a͜ccepti͢ng y͞our ̸offer͏, Mr̸. ̧Eidolon..." Her voice was gradually becoming less distorted and easier to hear as she became accustomed to Odin. There was... an odd charm to him that assured her that she was making no mistakes by placing her trust in him.

                                                  • Odin Eidolon
                                                    Odin Eidolon

                                                    "Please, just call me Odin," he smiled gently. "Any friend of Donald's is a friend of mine. However, I don't think you've properly introduced yourself yet, even if I have a very good guess at your name. So tell me, what would you like to be addressed by?" 

                                                    Once that was settled, he gathered up all the letters and placed them in the cookie tin again, and let Malvolius hide in his shadow before venturing back into the outside world. He was careful to look around to make sure no one saw him reemerging from the secret door or the dense foliage, and quickly headed to his limousine. He got a few stares as the garden visitors soon noticed him, but he was used to them and brushed them off, unlocking his car and getting in. 

                                                    "Do you wish to continue to stay like this while I head into the droid factory to give the tour?" he asked, as the car lifted off. "Not that I think Dr. Alph and the school children will mind if you revealed yourself - well, Alph might scream and faint initially but she's sweet when the shock wears off - but you don't seem to be a... people person. Or would you rather stay in the car? Normally I'm uncomfortable with keeping people in confined spaces, but if you- hmm? What's this?" 

                                                    A police car had pulled up behind him, sirens blaring, signalling for him to land his car. 

                                                    Odin frowned slightly. He was certain he had not violated any air traffic laws, aside from that one time he chased down and bumped a car that the Avenger was in. But Styvesant had been too scared to approach him for the scratch on the side (or anything else for that matter) ever since the droid accident at his villa, and the police had let him off with a warning. This was odd... 

                                                    "There must be some mistake. I'm sure it won't take long," he assured her, landing the car. 

                                                    • Kamkairo
                                                      Kamkairo

                                                      "... I... used to call myself... M-Mal... volius... but..."

                                                      The shadowraith's empty gaze met the ground. Of course, 'Malvolius' was not her true name, but that was the name she had given herself the moment she had become a shadowraith. It was as if her identity was locked away in a box inside of her soul as a new, unfamiliar one took its place. After being affected by a revelation spell from a sorceress, she had regained her selfhood, but not without the consequence of bearing the cross of remembering every moment before her transmutation. She finally looked back up to him, her voice quiet and soft.

                                                      "Malloria... my name is Malloria..."

                                                      ---

                                                      Even within the vehicle, Malvolius remained within the safety of Odin's shadow, and it kept her 'tethered' to him so she wouldn't get separated due to her incorporeality. "If I may... I would rather remain hidden from sight... I do not wish to alarm others..."

                                                      The sound of a police siren wailing made her bristle, sinking further into his shadow as if it would protect her. Once the vehicle landed, her silhouette vanished as she further hid herself from sight in a mild panic.