tozasemurcielago: (Normal: dressed up)
[personal profile] tozasemurcielago posting in [community profile] spira_rp
Ienzo-san required books.

This was a situation Ulquiorra had become familiar with over the weeks and months of knowing Ienzo. He read voraciously, and he read everything. Left to his own devices, it was not unusual for Ulquiorra to enter the library to find Ienzo-san sat in the middle of a pile of books, three open at once on the table, or floor if he hadn't even got that far, and another in his hand. Ienzo-san read as if it was as basic a requirement to his continued existence as breathing.

The problem with the library, Ulquiorra had learned, at great length, is that unless the subject was one in which another denizen of the Desert Palace held interest, the books on that topic were old. Old books were not in themselves a problem, but aspects of modern history, modern developments in some scientific areas, and, importantly, modern advances in alchemy, weren't covered by the library's current texts. This had led to a situation in which Ienzo-san required books.

Aizen-sama had previously been wary about letting Arrancar leave the Palace too freely. Ulquiorra already attended to duties as a Squad Five Shinigami, which kept him busy or absent from the Palace for extended periods, and his absences from the division were explained at least on paper as him working with Squad Three, accompanying Aizen-sama on whatever excuse he used for his absences, or made not to exist at all. Midgar had been a good excuse of late, but it also meant that Aizen-sama was wary of letting Ulquiorra venture somewhere he may be seen, in case he was seen by the wrong person in a place he was not supposed to be.

There had also been the issue of the other Arrancar. They had been unable to venture out of the Palace for any period of time without getting into a fight, a situation which presented Aizen-sama with a headache, and an easy solution. Or had, until Neliel and the other female Arrancar, and Tayuya of the Sound Four, had gone out for the evening, and returned the following day without incident. Thus proving that it could be done, provided the Arrancar in question were sensible, and not violent and untrustworthy trash such as Grimmjow.

Which was why, when Ulquiorra had approached Aizen-sama for permission to accompany Ienzo-san, he had requested visiting Alexandria. He had business there himself now that L had passed the Schiffer estate on to him legally, which would be sufficient explanation should he be seen by any of the gossiping shinigami known by Lieutenant Hinamori. Aizen-sama had, after a little thought, consented to Ulquiorra accompanying Ienzo on the trip.

In truth, Ulquiorra hadn't been back to Alexandria since he'd left it in the aftermath of his parent's deaths, and much had changed from his childhood recollections. Book shops, however, had been easy enough to find, despite the changing faces of the streets. Ulquiorra walked with one hand in his pocket, out of his usual Arrancar uniform for once, and dressed a neat suit and tie, though Murciélago remained at his side. His other hand held a bag, which currently held enough books to make Ulquiorra wonder why it was that a single book weighed little, and yet every book after that seemed to multiply the weight rather than merely add to it.

He'd been quiet for most of the day since they'd arrived, though this wasn't particularly unusual for him, speaking when addressed and little more. On account of the fact that Alexandria was famed for its Castle's library, they'd planned to stay for a couple of days, to give Ienzo-san the opportunity to upset the librarians there with his book-hogging habits. They'd checked in at one of the inns, and after depositing what little baggage they'd seen fit to bring, headed out. Ienzo-san could smell chakra, Ulquiorra knew, but he was becoming steadily more convinced that he could smell books like a shark could smell blood, too.

There was another book shop coming up ahead of them. Ulquiorra saw another multiplying of the weight he was carrying in his immediate future.

Date: 2016-02-14 09:51 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Bright eyed. (I need to see again the way I'm bound.)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
Ienzo had been enjoying his time out of the palace so far.

He wasn't sure he'd get cleared to go, but befriending Aizen's favourite and most loyal Arrancar did have some benefits in that regard. Ulquiorra was trusted, so Ienzo had been given permission to leave so long as Ulquiorra was at his side. In truth, Ienzo didn't care much for escaping. He didn't have anything to run back to even if he had plenty to run away from. For the moment, his current situation was safer than he'd be out in the wider world alone, so he had little interest in jeopardising that, prisoner or not.

Rozarria's capital was pretty and the lopsided houses and winding streets were testament to their age and the unplanned nature of its expansion. He'd never spent much time in the Alexandria, or the country itself, despite it being where he had ended up when he'd arrived on Spira. His License reflected that where his nationality was concerned, but he didn't know much about it that he hadn't learned from outdated books.

He had intended to go out to shop for research material but books on Alchemy, particularly useful ones, were proving to be few and far between, such was the rarity of Alchemists. The history books said that Alchemy originated in Nabradia, but Nabradia was a non-entity and its neighbour had been found lacking thus far. Rozarria was nice, but going to Galbadia would have been more useful. Of course, going to Galbadia with a distinctive looking Mist Mutant who was known to work in the Gotei Division that served that nation's greatest enemy wasn't particularly wise, so he didn't push his luck. The Gotei Squads were supposed to have diplomatic immunity, but he didn't trust that outside of peacetime.

At any rate, he'd picked up some interesting books on other subjects of interest.

He looked up as he spotted another bookshop and glanced at Ulquiorra. The shops were far from modern, but that was preferred in a bookshop as far as Ienzo was concerned. He liked the smell of old bookshops partly because it tended to hold as many stories as the contents of the shelves. The few they'd been in so far had been small, old and filled with a mixture of second hand volumes stuffed tight into close-built bookcases towards the back and new editions sitting pristinely on tables within view of the door.

"That one looks promising," he said, looking up at the peeling gold letters above the shop's leaded bay window.

Ulquiorra had offered to carry his books, but he had been quiet since they'd got there, so he wasn't sure whether he was particularly happy with that arrangement. He was never particularly talkative, but he did seem to be doing his best impression of Marluxia's pet. It made Ienzo feel ever so slightly uncomfortable. Maybe he'd carry the next bag.

Date: 2016-02-14 10:46 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Pensive. (....Find it tough to be myself.)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
"All right," Ienzo said, giving a nod.

Tea sounded nice. They had done a lot of walking and while the weather was starting to turn cold as the seasons changed, it had been rather warm, all things considered. That, and Ienzo thought that going in and out of dusty bookshops, pleasant though it was, did tend to make your throat a little dry.

He smiled as Ulquiorra held the door open like a sentinel and he thanked him as he walked past him into the shop.

He'd never get bored of the smell. This one smelled like an old library. He paused for a moment, taking everything in, almost sensing what the previous owners had been thinking and feeling the last time they'd read those books. Sadness, elation, anxiety, anger, frustration... it was as though such things were imprinted in the pages and worn into the paper and leather. It was curious. Ienzo often seemed to experience strange little pockets of memory, but bookshops seemed to hold those sensations nearly as effectively as Mist, if only in strange and disjointed flashes. The Palace's library had been the same. Sometimes, depending on the book he was reading, it felt as though he was sitting in a sunlit garden, feeling the grass under his feet and listening to the continuous spray of a fountain, just for a moment, even when he could hear the growl of thunder outside the library's heavily curtained windows.

He crossed the floor, nodded to the staff member behind the desk politely and disappeared between the book cases, searching for something of interest.

Date: 2016-02-15 12:49 am (UTC)
theschemer: Battle: Book of Retribution. (What is it we think we know?)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
Ienzo scoured the bookshelves for something of interest.

He noticed but ignored a beautiful and leatherbound duodecimo by the name of Alchemists Through the Ages. It was a volume that had proven on previous occasions to be more of a historical account of Galtean era Alchemists than anything practical. The one in the Palace's library was older, so he left this one where it was. Next to it there was a book called, quite simply, Alkahestry. The title being so similar to his desired subject caught his eye, so he pulled it from the shelf. It was old and made of some sort of strange and nobbled leather that Ienzo had a horrible feeling was Chocobo. The letters on the spine, though embossed, were surprisingly bright for something that was old enough to have, as he discovered when he opened it, illuminated pages. Much of the text was written in something that looked like very old Jyllandi and there were rather a lot of complex looking diagrams. It looked interesting, so he tucked it under one arm to buy.

The rest didn't look so good.

Even so, he put his time and curiosity to good use and picked at the other books on offer. He glanced at the pages of Animagi - A Guide, a book he wasn't entirely sure was even legal, before sliding it neatly back into place; gave Avon - The Lord's Biography, an old book that looked to be about the world-famous playwright the once over; flicked through a very old copy of Archades: A Modern History by Micah Garnet, something that was outdated by at least seventy years; and, shoved into the wrong place, he found a third edition copy of The Sorceress's Knight, a popular tale set way back in a romanticised version of the Age of Magic. He was surprised to find that one, and not just because it was out of place. He, isolated though he was, knew that it had recently been made into a movie so critically acclaimed that it had managed to win two Tantalus Awards including 'Best Film'.

It was mostly disappointing. He put The Sorceress's Knight back in the right place, something he couldn't help himself doing, and looked at the books further along in the alphabet. Little caught his eye. There were a lot he would have liked to have read, but only for entertainment's sake. He didn't intend to put to use many of the subjects covered (though he did take a second look at the book on Animagi), so he didn't do much more than flick through some of the ones that caught his eye.

He sighed and shook his head.

Date: 2016-02-15 01:58 am (UTC)
theschemer: Considering. (Who was I before I lost myself?)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
"Yes," Ienzo said, grasping the book he'd picked out in one hand. "It's not really my field, but it might be interesting."

Alkahestry, to the best of Ienzo's recollection, was a distantly related art that dealt with the manufacture of elixirs and potions. He hadn't delved too deeply into it, but he knew of some similarities regarding the base methods, though the applications were different. Over the centuries, Alkahestry had faded into obscurity and the useful parts had become assimilated into other, more specialised subjects, with some going into the Engineer class's study list and other, more simple aspects being put to use in basic potion making. By the time the simplified method of making potions had reached Ivalice, Alkahestry had all but died out.

He had heard that there were other methods for the art, some more similar to Alchemy than the potion making that it was known for, albeit not widely, so he decided that spending some time poring over the book was in order. It sounded, from what he had managed to pick out from the introduction text, like Alchemy that was specifically applied to healing, but Ienzo had a feeling that there was more to it than that. There must be, he thought, or medical Alchemy would be considered part of that branch of learning instead of his own.

At any rate, it would be worth a read. The book was old, old enough to be interesting, and written in what he believed was the language of its native land. There were other texts mixed in, text written in what looked like another more complicated and decidedly more foreign tongue that he didn't recognise, though it could have been a runic version of Jyllandi. He wasn't sure.

He turned the pages again, scanning the print, closed it and turned over to the back cover. The circle there, he wasn't sure if he could call it a Transmutation Circle or not, was odd. Shaking his head, he gave Ulquiorra a smile.

"I'll get it, then," he said, shrugging. "There's nothing else."

Date: 2016-02-15 02:51 am (UTC)
theschemer: Pout. (See my true colours.)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
"All right," he said, giving nod.

He turned to leave the reference section and head to the counter to pay for his book, slightly disappointed with his haul from this particular shop, when something caught his eye.

On one shelf, near the top of the bookcase and in a different place to where he had dedicated time to looking (a piece of paper taped to the shelf's edge declared it the 'Foreign Language' section), he noticed a book that he would have otherwise missed. The book was bound in black leather and faded, but not so much that the lettering of what he figured must be the the title was illegible. It was stamped into the leather and filled in with what looked like silver leaf. The words, if he went as far as to consider them that, were written in something he only barely recognised, but the other symbols, one at either end of the spine, were familiar enough.

He cocked his head, scowling up at it. At the top end of the spine he saw the Flamel Cross, a cross crowned, flagged by disjointed wings and draped with a serpent. At the bottom there was an array that was, unlike the one depicted on the back of the book in his hand, unmistakably a Transmutation Circle. Curiously, he stood on his toes to pull it from the shelf.

When he grasped it he inhaled sharply. The book felt strange, like it had been present for far more than Ienzo could comprehend. It wasn't a particularly pleasant feeling, and the brownish stain that marred the rough edges of the lower half of the pages made him uneasy. It was old. Very old. He ran his gloved fingers over the front cover, noticing the scuffmarks and abrasions on the dry, unembellished leather and opened it.

All of it was written in the same symbols that adorned the book's spine. He didn't know what they said, any of them, but he knew that he was buying the book, regardless. His prior learnings told him that the symbols printed on the spine were Old Nabradian, the language from which Old Rozarrian was derived, and he knew this because Nabradia was where Alchemy was believed to have originated. Both languages had all but died out halfway through the Galtean Alliance, but some people clung to the remnants of them all the same and it was because of this parts of them had survived, albeit in simplified form, in localised, every day speech.

He knew that Ulquiorra's little verbal oddities were of that origin, so he closed the book and turned its spine to him. He looked questioning, but couldn't shake the curious scowl on his face.
Edited Date: 2016-02-15 02:52 am (UTC)

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Date: 2016-02-15 07:17 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Look of surprise. (And I try to ...)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
Ienzo, unable to answer verbally due to being halfway through sipping his tea, gave a too-late nod when asked about the book.

He watched Ulquiorra examine the pages and reach his conclusion. It was similar to what Ienzo had considered back before he'd bought it. Many Alchemical texts were written in a difficult fashion, with coded clues as to the true meanings within meanings, and he did think that, for a language such as this, unfamiliar though it was to him, having somebody without knowledge of Alchemy translate it might yield rather less information than it contained. It would be better than nothing, but not optimal.

"You'd be able to?" He asked, looking levelly at him over the rim of his cup. "I heard that Rozarrian and Nabradian were similar, but is that similarity sufficient enough that I would be able to pick up the disparate aspects that don't cross over between them?"

It was entirely possible, of course. Rozarrian was the mixed version of the old language that had been widely spoken throughout the entire eastern side of the continent of Kerwon. Over the years it had been mixed with the now dead tongue of Lionel and whatever they had spoken in Landis back before it had been called Landis. Nabradian, on the other hand, was the pure, undiluted form of the language and had been relatively distinct for centuries before it, like Rozarrian, gave way to the common tongue.

That said, according to what little he had studied on the subject, while the languages were considered different, he had heard they were alike in enough ways that speakers could generally understand one another if they needed to converse. He wondered if many of the differences were dialectal rather than anything more profound. That could, of course, provide enough of a problem should he come across a difficult paragraph, or even word, but it was better than going in blind.

Learning from somebody who spoke even a related language like a native could prove to be a great help.

Date: 2016-02-15 11:36 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Considering. (Who was I before I lost myself?)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
Ienzo nodded his understanding at Ulquiorra's short explanation of the differences between Rozarrian and Nabradian and smiled a little when he said that he should have no difficulty in teaching him. The vote of confidence was heartening.

He watched Ulquiorra's expression for a moment, his curious frown mirroring his friend's unhappy looking one. Judging by the look on his face, Ulquiorra did not, in fact, have the books back at the palace waiting for use. Ienzo could almost guess where he had them stored.

"Do you think your boss," he didn't dare say Aizen's name in public, "would allow you out again to get them?" He asked the question delicately, not wanting to seem pushy. He doubt he managed it, but he tried. "If you wanted, I mean. If not, I'm happy to buy some," he added, quickly.

Date: 2016-02-16 10:40 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Look of surprise. (And I try to ...)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
"If you're certain," Ienzo replied.

He finished the last bit of his tea and put the cup back down on the tray. That Ulquiorra was willing to help him on such a large undertaking was nice, though Ienzo couldn't help but feel that it was all tied up in something a little more negative. Ulquiorra didn't look happy, not about having to retrieve the books. He frowned a little, but nodded all the same.

Date: 2016-02-16 11:14 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Dismayed. (If this is how we think we make amends.)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
Ienzo blinked, but shook his head. He didn't mind where they went, in truth. It was nice just to be out of the palace and not having to lay waste to a city for the privilege.

"Across the bridges, you mean?" He asked, cocking his head to one side.

Ulquiorra could, of course, mean the outer edge of the city within the confines of the island that Alexandria was situated on, but the question of an objection didn't make it sound that way. That was a bit of a surprise.

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Date: 2016-02-17 05:19 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Considering. (Who was I before I lost myself?)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
Ienzo had sat in the foyer while Ulquiorra's meeting with his solicitor was under way, quietly ignoring the receptionist.

He had dedicated his time to reading a little of the Alkahestry volume. Due to the fact that he had ended up sitting and reading for far longer than he had expected to, he had formed an unpleasant theory regarding the runic-looking text that dotted the book. It wasn't Jyllandi. None of the letters matched up to what Jyllandi looked or sounded like. It could be a strange, syllabic writing build, but he doubted it. The words seemed too long for that. No, each rune looked to be an individual letter. It was always possible that it was a writing system he simply didn't understand, that archaic Jyllandi was more complicated than it had initially seemed, but he would need to have this confirmed.

Unfortunately, the only person he knew that could speak the language was Apache, the Arrancar. He thought she could, anyway. He had a vague feeling that she was the only one of the Arrancar not from Ivalice, so it would make sense that she would be Jyllandi. She didn't sound Bhujerban, at least, and there was no chance she was from Pulse. It might not be easy to get such information out of her, though. She was abrasive, aggressive and, worst of all, part of Grimmjow's group.

He had been scowling at the book's pages when Ulquiorra had emerged from the meeting. He hadn't seemed in the mood to talk about the conclusion of that, so Ienzo hadn't pressed him. Instead, he had put his book away, got to his feet, and joined him to leave.

The bookshops had been rather welcoming after the stiffness of the waiting room. They were almost all small, cramped affairs, all old enough to have their date of establishment painted in flaking letters over their doors or on their squeaking hanging signs and all nice to have a look around. He didn't manage to find any more books on Alchemy, but he did pick up a history of Nabradia published before the fall of their capital and, this time, he didn't resist the call of the book on Animagi. It was an older edition and apparently printed somewhere called 'Milites', a place that Ienzo wasn't sure even existed any more. In addition to those, he had decided to buy a few books on advanced magic and magical theory.

He had spent time briefly flicking through a book written entirely in Old Rozarrian which, from the illustrations, seemed to be some sort of fairytale, or perhaps a love story, he wasn't sure. At any rate, he'd replaced it where he'd found it. There were a few more like that that Ienzo had considered buying, if only to help him get more familiar with the language, but he had decided that it wasn't worth adding that weight to their burden this soon. Nothing else got his attention.

By the time they got back to the hotel room, Ienzo's shoulders were aching. He hadn't let Ulquiorra carry all of the bags, so some of that had fallen on him. Well, they were his books. Still, they were his heavy books and he wasn't a fit Gotei 13 member used to tests of endurance, like some people.

Ienzo watched Ulquiorra toss the portfolio onto the bed and he frowned, brow creasing. Did he really care so little what his parents had left to him?

Date: 2016-02-17 05:55 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Huh? (I see my heart...)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
"Was it bad news?" Ienzo asked, cocking his head.

Ulquiorra had been quieter than usual since seeing the solicitor. He wasn't usually particularly talkative, not unless he got to explaining something, but he was quieter than he had been before that meeting had taken place.

Ienzo, despite the cake earlier, was starving. He wasn't so fixated on food that he'd bring that up before making sure Ulquiorra was all right, though.

Date: 2016-02-17 06:21 pm (UTC)
theschemer: Comprehension. (Waving me bye-bye.)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
Ienzo blinked. Claiming his inheritance shouldn't take that much effort, surely. If he'd inherited something he should be able to sell it off, live in it or rent it out, whichever he liked. at any rate, it shouldn't cut into the time he dedicated to his role in the Gotei 13 or the Arrancar too much, surely?

"May I?" Ienzo asked, indicating the portfolio.

Usually he would have just picked it up and read it. Ienzo would read literally anything if it stood still long enough, from histories to the backs of matchboxes. This was Ulquiorra's private affair however, and he didn't wish to pry unless allowed.

Date: 2016-02-17 06:43 pm (UTC)
theschemer: What? (So I know.)
From: [personal profile] theschemer
Ienzo picked up the file and opened it. As he read, his eyes widened and his brow furrowed.

Ulquiorra was, not to put too fine a point on it, rich. His family, prior to their deaths, must have been extremely well off. Ienzo figured, due to the nature of the land and property they owned, that this must have once been a family business that had been handed down for more than a century rather than something acquired during his father's, or even his grandfather's generation. Ienzo had been set, quite likely, to inherit the running of a castle and small town, but this, in terms of sheer value, was in roughly the same league.

"Ulquiorra, this..." he looked up at him, dragging his eyes from the page. He wasn't sure how to finish what he had started to say.

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