The red-haired recruiter let his gaze wander up and down the other's form as he sat down, and though his face portrayed no visible emotion, his eyes carried with them a hint of curiosity. The black-haired youth, he was probably in his teens and just barely at the right age where one would be allowed to join the Knights without raising eyebrows, who had sat down before him was nothing the regular recruiters would expect, Shen had no doubt. Still, what followed, Shen had to admit that he had not expected, either. The young Staff Sergeant was by no means an expert at reading people, their emotions, their intentions, or anything of that sort, though most people could be interpreted with careful observation. His trained senses aided in this matter, but the other's intent would still elude him as he spoke, introducing himself as a certain "Ambrose Vermillion", which was not what got Shen's immediate attention, of course. Rather, the question he asked applicants, "the reason why you wish to join the Rune Knights" or something to similar effect, was designed for Shen to discern some of the applicant's personality, though this boy, for the lack of a better word, had baffled him somewhat. His eyes narrowed a fraction as he leaned forward slightly, keeping his eyes on the dark-haired youth expectingly, though the other didn't seem to wish to expand on his reply to Shen's original question.
"Protect people?", the question would echo through the Staff Sergeant's mind. Was that ... was that really all there was to it? Was it really that simple? If that was the case, that would certainly be heroic, admirable even, but it struck Shen as awfully naive, though this revelation brought back some old memories. Memories of a young man who had just joined the Rune Knights, without any perspective or abilities to boast about, magical or otherwise. The young man in Shen's memory, too, was naive, he had been weak, unassuming, some would go as far as say hopeless and utterly unsuited to be a Rune Knight. Of course, Shen wasn't the type to judge according to appearances, acknowledging that he would have to apply any judgment to himself as well. He was, after all, not exactly the most threatening appearance, and his physique could be described as wiry at best and somewhat lacking in the muscle mass one would expect from a fully-fledged Rune Knight at worst. Well, that was only half the truth. Shen, after all, had had a thing that had helped him go forward, that had put him where he was today: Determination. The youth before him reminded the Rune Knight of himself. Still ... was that really a good thing?
That was all the more reason to try and send the young applicant away at once, though the Rune Knight's curiosity stopped him from following up on that impulse without delay. Instead, he wanted to get to the bottom of the youth's words. Why he couldn't tell exactly, though he was sure he would find that out as well if he only would understand. "Protect people, huh?", the Rune Knight would repeat, this time aloud after a few seconds of continued silence. Was the young man really that confident that he could afford to be carefree like this, or was he perhaps not aware of the implications that his words carried altogether? It was of no matter. All in due time. "Tell me, Ambrose, how old are you?". Like the young applicant, Shen, too, would disregard any honorifics. The Rune Knight did not care much for excessively formal behavior, he never had, practically ignoring the fact that his official title had been absent from the youth's reply. His question was, of course, not only part of the recruitment process, he had to know if he was at least 16, after all, the minimum age at which one was legally allowed to enlist in the Knights, but it would tie into his next question perfectly.
Shen assumed that, given the applicant's age, he was inexperienced, and applying that principle to his magical potential, if he even possessed any, he would try to shine a light on this aspect of Ambrose's response. "Do you think you have what it takes to protect people? Do you even know what protecting people really entails?". The questions were asked in the same monotonous voice as before, entirely devoid of any emotion, though the second question was spoken with a little more tempo, to the observant beholder being an indicator for at least some form of agitation. It wasn't out of malice, of course, but he could hardly state so directly. After all, Shen knew best that, in order to fulfill one's mission, a mission that was supposed to "protect people", casualties, collateral damage, and "sacrifices" would not only be tolerated, they would be expected, the young Rune Knight recruiter swallowing a rising feeling of guilt that slowly but surely tightened his chest with every low, imperceivable breath he took. His eyes still firmly locked on the young man, however, he seemed to be eagerly awaiting a response.
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Personal Word Count Total: 1,715
Thread Word Count Total: 2,611