Refinement (Yuna Kagurazaka)

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Refinement (Yuna Kagurazaka)
Date of Cutscene: 21 September 2014
Location: Fraulein Sector: Planet Ruliezes
Synopsis: Yuna's training with Ryudia continues, and she begins to learn why this training was necessary, along with gaining insight into its goal.
Cast of Characters: Yuna Kagurazaka

With a soft groan, Yuna slides into the hot spring, making sure the light towel that's wrapped around her won't come loose. "I didn't think learning to walk a certain way could wear me out so much ..."

"Technically, it's the kind of thing you're supposed to have learned from the time you graduated from crawling," Ryudia says as she slips into the water next to Yuna, barely making even a ripple. "But you're coming along well. The question is, have you mastered it inwardly, deeper than just your muscles?"

Yuna can't suppress a slight wince. "I thought it was just physical, though."

"What good is it to be a lady only outwardly?" asks Ryudia, her tone gently chiding. "More than that ... do you understand yet why I needed to begin your training here?"

"No," Yuna admits. "I thought this was going to be ... I don't know. Maybe combat training, maybe history lessons - I didn't think you'd need me cut off from the Multiverse and the Union and everybody. They're probably wondering what happened to me."

"To cut off distractions," Ryudia answers. "You need to give this training your full attention ... and if you need to learn the history that went before you, I can arrange for that. But there's a simpler reason why you needed to study here, Yuna: to become a proper lady."

"I still don't know what that means, though ..."

Ryudia nods slightly, settling deeper into the water and tilting her head back against the edge of the pool. "When you understand, you'll be past the difficult part. I suppose I should elaborate on part of it, though - to be a 'lady' in the sense that I mean has nothing to do with birth or status, money or power or social standing. If I had to simplify ... it is a matter of 'pride'."

"Pride?" Yuna sits up straighter. "I thought pride was a bad thing."

"To take undue pride in oneself or one's works is a bad thing," Ryudia explains. "Pride where it is unwarranted, the kind of pride that precedes a fall. That's not what you need to learn; you already know that for yourself."

Yuna nods slowly, settling into the spring more comfortably. "Okay. So ... pride. But not 'bad' pride." She falls silent, mulling that over. "... what kind of pride isn't bad? I mean, even if you've earned it, I thought being proud was - well, maybe not 'bad,' but ... what's the word I want ..."

Ryudia looks over at Yuna with a gentle smile. "You're on the wrong track. Pride is not your goal. Pride is neither the means to an end, nor an end to be pursued for its own sake."

"What else could it be, then ..." Yuna closes her eyes, thinking. "Maybe 'reward' is the wrong word, but -"

"You're correct. You're not trying to make others proud of you, which is what pride being a 'reward' implies. But you're closer ..."

Yuna shakes her head. "I still don't get it. Maybe I'm not cut out for this ..." She pulls her knees up against her chest. "It's not like I wanted to be the Savior of Light; maybe I should just tell Elner -"

Ryudia sits up, the water splashing quietly about her as she reaches for Yuna's shoulder. "No. Yuna, I saw what happened when Elner was going over your flaws; you collapsed, you were deeply shocked ... it almost killed your heart. It may be true that there was a time when you didn't want this role and it was forced upon you, but since that time, you've accepted the role, even embraced it. Perhaps you've even embraced it too tightly, from what I've heard ..."

"Brash, impulsive, and emotional ..." Yuna murmurs. "Yeah. I've been so desperate to protect people against the Confederacy, against other evils ... I know Elner followed that up by saying I could still be worthy of the title, but - how?" She lifts her head to look at Ryudia. "How can I be something so different from what I am? I'm just a girl - a girl from a middle-class family who won a contest and got to become an idol, and then got picked to protect the galaxy or more against something awful and hideous ... and I can't even fight right, I keep messing up -"

"You've always had the potential, Yuna," Ryudia interrupts gently, letting go of Yuna's shoulder to gently brush a few tears away from the blonde's cheeks. "That is what the Queen of Light saw in you, and which the contest helped to demonstrate. But that potential goes far beyond 'what' you are. It lies at the heart of 'who' you are - a potential that has always defined the young woman named Yuna Kagurazaka. Not 'a middle-class girl,' not 'a teen idol,' not 'a student at Shiraokadai Girls' Private High School' ... just 'Yuna'."

Yuna is silent, reaching up to rub at her eyes and cheeks.

Ryudia looks at her a moment longer, then sits back against the rocks that line the spring's edge. "I'm not allowed to simply tell you the answer, Yuna; if you don't realize it yourself, in your heart, then nothing I try to teach you will take hold. But there's more to this training than simply walking a certain way, or speaking in a certain manner, or knowing how to eat politely - not that you need much coaching on that last one," she adds with a smile. "I can help you find your way to understanding it, though; that's why we're here right now."

"What happens if I never figure it out?" Yuna asks wryly as she sits back again. "Will we stay on Ruliezes together?"

"Probably not; I have my duties, even if I've been able to delegate them to others for now. We have a month or so before I need to leave for anything, but we need to make the fullest use of that time that we can. If you 'graduate' before then, all the better."

"So there's a time limit." Yuna looks up; the sky is starting to darken. "Not the first time. ... hey, Ryudia?"

"What is it?"

"If you were the Savior of Light before me ... how come ... er." Yuna trails off. "I'm sorry, it's probably rude to ask ... stirring up bad memories."

"Why did I fall into the power of the Queen of Darkness?" Ryudia finishes Yuna's question. "I was tempted in a manner that I couldn't resist. Is that enough of an answer?"

"Mm-hm." Yuna sighs. "Have you - or Elner, or Lia, or anyone - been worried about that happening to me?"

"Yes," Ryudia answers softy. "It's never seemed likely, but there have been times, especially since you went out into the Multiverse, when I wondered if it might happen to you as well."

"What will you do if I fall like that?"

Ryudia shakes her head. "Yuna, you can't talk like that. You of all people cannot ask such a question. If you believe that you might fall into the Darkness, it is as dangerous as if you believed that it's impossible for you to fall."

"... wait, how can both of those - how can it be both 'possible' and 'impossible'?" Yuna looks up as Ryudia gets to her feet. "Or am I just not supposed to ask about either one?"

"There is a point in between the two," Ryudia says as she steps out of the spring. "It is delicate, a precarious balance ... to acknowledge the possibility without really accepting it. Yet to one whose heart is bathed in the Light, that point is as sturdy as a highway of stone. Part of my task in teaching you is to let you reach that point." She starts to dry herself off. "The fact that you know the possibility enough to ask ..." She trails off.

Yuna closes her eyes. "Am I allowed to ask how close I've come?"

"Nobody but the Queen of Light herself can really answer that question ... but it's been close enough that we have worried. Dry off and dress yourself; we should eat soon."