He left a bouquet pretty pink roses at their doorstep—the ones leading into the Silver Wolf guildhall on top of the Phoenix Mountain. In floral language, pink roses were a symbol of gratitude, or more specifically, gratitude for being understood. He left them there hoping that someone would find it and think of him when they did. Not because he hoped that someone would miss him, or someone would feel a loss when they realized that it was him who left those flowers at their doorstep, but because he finally left that mountaintop without turning back that time, and he didn't say anything to them before he did. He spent all morning finding the prettiest of pink roses, neatly bundled them up with a tight string, and left them there, hoping that they'd say all the things that he couldn't. 'Thank you for letting me stay here' is what he wanted to say. 'Thank you for putting up with me' is what he was feeling, but like so many other things, he didn't have the strength nor the courage to tell them any of that. He found Pimwadee and bid a shy and choked farewell, but he couldn't find Mathis or Poppi before he decided to leave. Maybe it was selfish of him to leave like that, without giving a proper goodbye. Maybe he was too full of himself for thinking that flowers could make up for everything they've done for him—and it was so much, even if they hadn't realized it. Maybe he shouldn't have ever left in the first place. His head could understand all of the things he could've done better, but his heart just couldn't accept staying there, being dead weight. All he did was take up space and breathe air. Every day felt like one step forward and two steps back until his insightful encounter with Dagda in Sakuramori.
He had almost died that day, along with that huge unit of a man, and yet the words he shared with Ling after that encounter left him believing that he wouldn't have lived a life with no regrets if he didn't leave Silver Wolf and come here today. He shared with him a beautiful vision of preserving the delicate balance of all life, and even though he had only met one guild since his home was destroyed, it felt so different. Ling had always shared those same values and dreams of peace, even though for the longest time, it felt like he was the only one because he was the only one. He lived alone for most of his life. Then there was Pimwadee, and Mathis, and now Dagda. He felt like if he didn't take this chance and participated in a vision that he so wholeheartedly resonated with, that he'd be doing himself and his family a huge disservice. It already began to feel like his greatest regret if he had stayed. He had to go and meet these like-minded people... and yet it was so tragically difficult.
This is amazing... Ling thought to himself in awe, staring up into the sky at the enormous ship hovering above a beautiful lake. He was wearing his usual white cloak, covering most of his body as he swung in the gentle breeze, hiding the pretty boyish face, blonde hair, and stunning emerald eyes hidden in the shade of his white veil. On one hand, Ling was holding one of the flyers that were scattered all over Fiore right now, holding it like some precious thing as he looked up at the hovering ship. Ling couldn't read or write, so he had to travel through towns and villages and ask people to translate it for him, and give him oral directions on how to get to where the flyer said to go. Needless to say, someone as easily embarrassed and comically shy as Ling felt like he was asked to do the impossible—talk to people. Even more than that, he had more exposure to towns and cities than he had ever had before, and he was mentally drained from all that navigation.
Whatever the case, he was here now, but that refreshed feeling of awe and wonder quickly wore off when he saw people some meters away step into a pod. It was full of people, and he couldn't really make out any faces from where he was. If today was going to go the way he thought it would, they would probably end up as his guildmates. He would have to talk to them eventually, but... maybe not now. Suddenly, seeing such a huge group of people felt terrifying and daunting on his already dwindling mental state. So, instead, he stepped onto the pod nearest to him, which was empty. It closed and began to ascend to the ship he was fawning over just now, and played a little message amidst his quiet panic.
"Dagda is probably up there... oh God... oh geez... I should've brought him flowers as thanks! What is wrong with me?! Stupid, stupid, stupid—" Ling suddenly pulled his hood all the way over his face and gently banged his head against the pod walls, chanting 'stupid, stupid, stupid' to himself over and over until an automated message began to play within the cell, frightening him so bad that he froze and went pale. "—?!!?!"
"Welcome to the S.S. Endeavor! Thank you for your interest in today’s banquet event. We will be departing shortly for the top tier of the ship and will be landing in the Arborium, where the banquet will be held. There is food and refreshments available once we arrive."
When Ling realized that it was just an automated message, a sigh of relief flooded out his mouth as he slowly regained composure. Well, tried. As the pod approached the ship more and more, it was beginning to feel like a time where you signed up for a school talent show, and while it sounded great on paper and you had no issues with signing up for it, the moment you had to step onto the stage in front of all of your peers, you could feel your confidence crumble into a million little pieces. He already had to talk to so many people just to find his way here, and now he was going to have to face even more.
Well, by the time Ling was wallowing in his panic, the pod had finally docked onto the ship, and there was nowhere left to go but out of it and into the Arborium. When he did, he was once again stricken with awe and wonder as he was surrounded by nature and forestry. It felt like... home, almost. Even more, there was a fountain, tables with food on them, and more importantly—Dagda.There was a lot to take in, but as he fixed his gaze onto Dagda and made his way into the clearing, so much more came into view.
Ling's heart lifted nearly out of his chest when he saw none other than Mathis and Poppi there was Dagda, the man and companion who had taught him a thing or two about reading and writing while he was still at Silver Wolf. A million questions ran through his head when he saw that stoic man, but the only thing that showed on his face were tears running down his face and dripping off his chin like a wet cloth.
"M-Ma-Mat...!" Ling called out to him, walking over to the group like a lost puppy who had found its beloved once again. When he walked up to him, he couldn't even finish his name before wrapping his thin arms around Mathis from behind, squeezing him in a gingered embrace, smooshing the side of his hooded, sobbing face into his back. You could hear his small, gentle and yet rupturing sniffles when suddenly he shifted his wet, tearful gaze to Poppi, moving from Mathis over to her and wrapping himself around her in the same mushy hug. "P-Poppi...!"
Although it was sort of cute, Ling's face was smothered with tears, and frankly he was sort of impervious to his bashful tendencies at the moment, and Dagda wasn't safe from the sobbing blonde either, even though their meeting was completely anticipated. Ling just felt like crying even harder when he saw that tragically tall man before him and went in to hug him as well, burying his face into that impossibly large and broad chest of his. "D-Dag... Dagd...!" Ling sniffled and continued to bury his face, "I'm here...! But... I...! Mmmph! Huh...?"
When Ling was looking up and around at all the people he just broke down in tears in front of, he caught glimpse of another curious individual seated just nearby. He had two hair colors split down the middle of his head, and more than that, he looked like he had just gotten mugged. It had nothing to do with him, and Ling didn't know who he was, but seeing this stranger in that state... his heart shattered again, and suddenly he was sobbing twice as hard when he saw it and registered that this guy was hurt.
"Ish hwe gonnuh DIE?" Ling began to panic, still holding onto Dagda and looking at that man at the table, all forms of speech breaking down into something between weeping and confusion, slurring his words together as the overwhelming emotion took over. It really did look like a puppy having a happy, anxiety-induced meltdown. "I'm sho sorry, mister...! I'm so sorry...!"
What was Ling apologizing for? It wasn't really certain. But needless to say, Ling was easy to cry.
— @SlayerMathis_ @Dagda @Percy