Laguna had just returned from dropping Wendy off at Royal's, and had headed straight to the library. If he recalled correctly, there was another Princess working here. The more, the better.
He didn't run into the one he'd expected to find, but did find another girl looking over some of the books and smiled. She was one of them too.
"Hello?" he called, putting up his innocent pretense again.
Dagger glanced over her shoulder, dark hair swaying about her chin as she peered at the new comer. "Hello..." she said quielty, withdrawing a book from the shelf.
Dagger had been spending a lot of time in the Library lately. With zidane running all around, and all of her friends seeming to have fallen out of existance, she found a little comfort in re-reading old stories.
"Hey. I don't think we've met?" He laughed nervously. "This is my first time in the library. It's so big." He made a gesture with his arms. "Totally can't find anything I'm looking for."
"You might talk to Kairi," Dagger offered, keeping her voice low. It WAS a library afterall. "She has this lovely card catalogue... it can find almost everything."
He tilted his head to the side slightly. "I... can't seem to find her, either." He winced. "I'm such a dweeb. I don't even know what she looks like or anything. To be honest, I thought you might be her at first. Guess not. Sorry."
She shook her head. "Sorry. Oh..." she turned to face him. "I'm Dagger. "
"Laguna Loire," he said, offering a hand to her. "Pleasure to meet you, Dagger. You seem like a real nice young lady."
Dagger blushed a little. "I...I try..."
"Really, you're so nice!" He was starting to regain some faith in girls after Lilo, what with first Wendy and now this princess, Dagger. "Hey, uh... would you mind helping me out? I'm... a little lost. And I have no idea where I'm going."
If he could lead her into one of the darker areas of the library, it'd be all to simple. Indoors or not, it didn't matter. The Heartless could emerge wherever there were shadows.
"I suppose... though I'm really not a local. I dont' know me way around very well," said Dagger, hugging her book to her chest.
"Hey, as long as you can point me in the right direction, Dagger." He was resisting the urge to call her Princess. It'd only set her on guard. "You got anyone else from your world here with you?"
"Only one..." her face fell at that, and she swallowed a little, "And he does not seem terribly interested in staying in one place, or letting me catch up with him."
"Oh, man, that's awful," he said, shaking his head. "I'm sure he's interested in you, Dagger. Maybe he's just... busy?" He shrugged. "Sometimes that happens, you know? It sucks, but it happens." He started back toward the door of the library, deliberately taking the way that was further from the lights.
"He's always busy," she said, almost with a bitter tone. "Always... " she trailed off and shook her head. "I shouldn't be bothering you with this, Sir. Now, exactly what were you looking for?"
"In the library, or in town?" he laughed. "Actually, in town, I'm looking for the train station." He continued through the darker parts of the library. The Heartless were already on their way. "I just saw here, and thought I'd stop in and take a look."
"Oh, I do know where the train station is," said Dagger. "but, I beleiev you're going the wrong way. The exit is this way," she added, pointing down another, better lit hallway.
He glanced back at her. "Oh? I must have taken a more roundabout way.
Darn. He'd have to get her into the shadows in town. Regardless, it could work. He wasn't going to mess this one up.
With a shrug, he turned around and headed off in the direction she indicated. "Thanks a lot, by the way."
"No problem," she said, smiling gently as she lead the older man to the exit.
"You're too kind, you know?" He shook his head, his bangs falling down over one of his eyes. "I mean, I've been here how long now, and I still don't know the way to the train station. I'm hopeless, I guess."
"I only know the way because I was trying to meet someone there. It didn't work out..." Dagger sighed, still holding the book in her hands. she knew Kairi woudn't mind, and she would bring it back soon.
Laguna opened the door and gestured for Dagger to head on through. There was a particularly shady street on the way to the station. That would work perfectly. "Oh, man. Well, maybe he'll be there waiting for you now? I'm sure he's anxious to see you."
Dagger shook her head. "Oh, no, that was weeks ago," she said, as she stepped outside.
"Oh, was it? Well... Okay then." He followed her, letting the door swing shut, and started down the streets before pausing and offering her a nervous grin. "Uh... am I going the right way?"
Dagger nodded. "Really, it's not hard to find, but I'll take you there if you like."
"That'd be great!" Laguna said. "Oh, man, I owe you one. I'm supposed to meet somebody there, myself."
Since he had met Royal, he had gotten far more adept at lying. He had never been much good at it before, but now he was quite skilled at it. And around the princesses who hadn't awakened? His job was all too easy.
"Hey, just tell me where to go."
Dagger giggled a little. "You're fine, Mr Loire." she smiled. It was good to feel useful.
Laguna headed off down the street alongside Dagger. "So, uh... tell me about your world, Dagger. What was it like? I've been interested in hearing about the other worlds since I got here."
That, and he needed to buy time until he got to where the Heartless waited.
"Well..." Dagger paused. "It's nothing like this place, for starters."
How could she explain Gaia? "It's a lot... well, it's ..." she found she was having trouble describing it.
"Hard to describe, huh?" He chuckled. "My world was like that too. Before the Heartless destroyed it, and all." The images of destruction were still fresh in his mind, though happily he didn't really care about them anymore. "Don't worry about it if you can't find words. It's fine."
They were getting closer now. But not close enough.
Dagger nodded slowly. "I don't really know hwo to compare them..."
"Hey, understandable," Laguna said. "After all, a world's a big place. S'probably hard to describe. An' I've never been the best with words myself, either."
He paused at a corner, and glanced at Dagger. "Do we turn, or keep going?"
The right answer, of course, was to turn. But he did have to play dumb.
Dagger paused, as if to consider. "This way, I think," she said, pointing around the corner.
"Right," he said with a nod, and started off. The shaded part of the street was just ahead. Some Heartless becan rising from the small shadows around them, and Laguna scowled.
"Of all the times," he muttered. "Dagger, I hope you're ready to run."
Dagger blinked, confused at first. that is until she saw the little black demons. Then, she froze. Memories rushed back, the flood of the the tiny, gnarled shadows crawling over her, the sharp, non existant claws in her back, the cold that seemed to wrap around her heart...
She did not run. She didn't even appear to breath and she stood, paralyzed, eyes transfixed upon the moving shadows.
Well, this was easier than expected. He stopped his charade and watched her, interested, as the Heartless advanced.
"You scared of them, Dagger?" One climbed up his legs and back to perch on his shoulder. They were coming out in greater numbers now.
Dagger opened her mouth to speak, but choked on the air that was meant for words as one of the heartless advanced on her. She staggered back, knocking into a brick wall.
"Oh, there's no need to be afraid." A couple more had climbed onto Laguna now. "They won't hurt you. Really. In fact, if anything, they'll take the pain away."
He nodded. "And besides, these ones know better than to take your heart now. You're a Princess, after all." His smirk was back, vivid as it always was when he knew he'd won.
Dagger looked up sharply at Laguna. "A... a what? H-- how... I never told you about Alexandria...." she stummbled backwards, away from Laguna as a heartless attached itself to her leg. "W..what do you want?!" she wanted to scream, but she found she could not -- she was too scared.
"I'm just doin' my job, Princess." He stepped forward. The Heartless were gathering thickly around her now, but they'd only attack if she proved stubborn. "So you're a real princess, too? How convenient." He took another step forward. "It'll be better this way. They'll take away your pain. Everything that hurts will just... go. I know, believe me."
Dagger was shaking now. She swallowed thickly, and then, did the only thing she could think of.... she THREW the book she'd been holding at the swarm of heartless, and gave a blind leap, trying to get away.
A few were knocked away by the book, but more of them arose to greet her. Laguna ran and caught her in his arms, still smirking as the Heartless chittered.
"I think maybe you need to get some rest, Princess." He brought one hand up in the air before bringing it down hard on the back of Dagger's head.
Just as she'd opened her mouth to scream for help, the blow was dealt to her head. A dull, numbign sensation spread from the back of her neck, through her whole head as the world around her turned dark. Her scream died before it reached her lips, he breath escaping instead in a sigh as she felt completely limp.
Laguna picked her up and headed back toward where he knew Royal was. He halfway wished he could travel through the shadows like the Heartless could.
No. I'm not one of them. I don't need that.
This made three. And thinking about it, he knew exactly where to find another one.
It was becoming all too easy.